Words of Wisdom #63

“Sky and earth are a great furnace and nature is a great smith”.

-Zhuangzi

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Sacred Ambulation

What represent the innumerable mythological figures marked by monosandalism, lameness and other types of afflictions and vulnerabilities to the lower limbs? Several clues indicate an indeterminate state of existence, in the balance between life and death, in the context of an initiatory ritual of rebirth.

Some examples taken from the Greek myths:

Jason (monosandalism).
Perseus (monosandalism according to a version of the myth in which Hermes gives him only one sandal).
Theseus (he retrieves the sandals and the sword of his father Aegeus by lifting the boulder [i.e. the cave or burial mound] under which they had been hidden [i.e. buried]).
Hephaestus (lameness: soon after being born his mother Hera throws him into the sea from the top of Olympus, and he remains for nine years [time frame that indicates the symbolic gestation that will be followed by the initiatory rebirth] inside a cave [i.e. the burial mound] surrounded by water [i.e. the amniotic fluid]); other lame smiths are Trébuchet (“the limping”) of the Arthurian cycle and Völundr (to which are severed the tendons of the legs) of the Norse myths.
Zeus (in a myth his tendons of the feet are severed by Typhon).
Achilles (vulnerable only to the heel).
Dionysus (he experiences a double birth, the physical one from the body of Semele, his mother, and the initiatic one from the thigh of Zeus, his father).

Theseus lifts the boulder:
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Achilles hit at the heel by the deadly arrow:
800px-detail_of_achilles_thniskon

They are all figures symbolically devoid of the femur (strictly associated with movement and thus with life) of the divine ancestor that will reincarnate in them, the bone that every child, during an ancestral initiatory ritual, had to retrieve from the deepest chamber of the cave or burial mound, the throne hall where was located the skeleton of the predecessor.

The Trinacria, symbol equivalent to the swastica, portrays Medusa’s head and three bent legs to suggest the concept of movement, synonymous with life:
Risultati immagini per trinacria vespri

To note the fact that in Crete and Delos was celebrated a dance called “crane” (in reference to the habit of cranes to stand upright on one leg) to which participated young boys and girls: the movements of the dance had to evoke the path of the labyrinth from which Theseus came out after killing the Minotaur, labyrinth from which the hero himself went out dancing its figure.

gru_una_zampadinoscampana1

Why not remember also the famous lameness of the Devil, the result of the intentional distortion applied by the Christians to the divine figures of the legitimate descendant and the reborn ancestor?

Lastly it is necessary to mention some children’s games: the Game of the Goose consists in a labyrinthine and initiatic path, in which is destiny, in the form of dice, that moves the pieces on the squares, which are composed by figures symbol of initiation such as the death, the skeleton, the labyrinth, the well, the prison and the bridge; the Hopscotch consists instead in a numbered path that must be completed hopping on one foot, in which the first square is called earth and the last sky (respectively the entry threshold of the womb of rebirth [i.e. the female principle] and the reaching of the burial chamber of the ancestor [i.e. the male principle], a path of there and back from the earth to the sky.

Comparison between the court of the Hopscotch and a typical burial mound seen from above:
newgrangeplan1

“Children continue to play the game of hopscotch without knowing of giving back life to an initiatory game, whose purpose is to penetrate and manage to come back from a labyrinth; by playing the hopscotch the children descend symbolically in the underworld and return on the earth”.

-Mircea Eliade

Risultati immagini per mircea eliade

Sacred Kingship

After the conclusion of the last glaciation, about 12.000 years ago, our ancestors gradually became sedentary and formed throughout Europe tribal societies based on the concept of blood and soil.

“It was customary of our ancestors that the king should also be pontiff and priest”.

-Servius

All these archaic societies were ruled by a Sacred King – a symbolic incarnation of the Sky, of the Sun and of the metaphysical principle defined with the term Being – and a Sacred Queen – a symbolic incarnation of the Earth, of the Moon and of the metaphysical principle defined with the term Becoming.

“I am that, you are this, this is you, that is me – I am the sky, you the earth”.

-Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad

Similar examples can be found, at the level of folklore, in the traditional European fairy tales and celebrations where a sleeping virgin is awakened by the kiss of a prince, act that symbolizes the awakening of Nature in Spring when the rays of the Sun kisses and fecundate the Earth.

Sleeping Beauty:
blascosbkissx

Sacred King and Sacred Queen, together, represented a complementary duality and during their hierogamy (“sacred marriage”) occurred the symbolic conjunction between the Sky God or Sun God and the Earth Goddess or Moon Goddess, i.e. the metaphysical coincidence of opposites.

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The Sacred King (in relation to its sacredness we can remember that in archaic Rome the function of pontifex maximus was still a prerogative of kings) was especially associated with the Sun (the monarchical title “Highness” referred to the sovereigns until recent times was a precise reference to the height of the Sun in the celestial vault) and consequently he embodied the power of the celestial body that illuminates the world and enables all life on our planet: an example of this symbolic function can be found in the knight Gawain of the Arthurian cycle, whose strength continues to increase from dawn to noon to then gradually decrease until sunset: just like the strength of the Sun during its various daily phases.

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That’s why in the archaic societies was customary the prohibition to look the Sacred King in the face and in his presence all had to kneel and stare at the ground: it is not possible to stare at the Sun without risking of becoming blind.

“Like the sun, (the king) burns the eyes and hearts and nobody on the earth can stare his face”.

-Mānavadharmaśāstra

The fact that the very existence of the Sacred King was identified with the annual apparent path of the Sun in the celestial vault explains the reason why he was subject to a ritual killing, real or symbolic, at the end of his annual function, on the day of the Winter Solstice, when the Sun temporarily dies: only after three days his successor, previously selected, was crowned, raised to royal dignity and celebrated.

The golden crown symbolizes the power of the solar rays:
Risultati immagini per king arthur charles ernest butler

Examples of ritual death of the Sacred King can be found in the myths concerning Achilles and Krishna: they both die after having been simbolically hit at the heel by an arrow, in their only vulnerable point, the tendon of the foot, part of the body that had the same symbolic function of the femur since the tendons allow the muscular movement of the body, synonymous with life.

Over time every archaic society altered the conclusion of the Sacred King’s annual function and the ancestral tradition manifested itself in new forms: in some cases the Sacred King staged an apparent death and isolated himself in a symbolic grave from which he would rise again following the ritual death of a substitute that had obtained the divine role during that last day of kingship; in other cases a symbolic animal was killed in place of the Sacred King; in other cases a wooden effigy that represented the Sacred King was torn down. In these scenarios the Sacred King in charge could confirm his role or hand it down at the end of a selective competition, but in the long run he refused to be killed or replaced and thanks to his authority and the support of his faithful managed to extend his divine mandate indefinitely, until death, and this particular deviation from the original procedure influenced and shaped considerably the institution of kingship during Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

pendragon

In the most archaic societies both the Sacred King and Sacred Queen were annually selected (a tradition whose vestiges could still be found at the times of the Roman Republic, when two Consuls were elected together each year): these divine roles were embodied by those who proved their superiority in various annual competitions held to determine the qualities and peculiarities, male and female, of the candidates. In this regard we can remember the ancient Olympic Games, that consisted originally in religious ceremonies – over time degenerated into simple sport events without any higher meaning and purpose – having the purpose to annually select, by means of a footrace between young women, the one who would have symbolically incarnated Hera, the Earth Goddess, and, by means of a footrace between young men, the one who would have symbolically incarnated Zeus (whose name preserves the Sanskrit root div- [“day, brightness”]), the Sky God.

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Every year the Sacred Queen and Sacred King had to confirm their role or bestow kingship to those who proved to be, inevitably over time, more worthy of it: hence the immortality and eternal youth of the deities.

“The King is dead, long live the King!”

The Book of Coming Forth by Day

The Book of the Dead of the Egyptians consists in a numerous series of chapters intended to reveal the initiatory process through which a divine ancestor could reincarnate in a chosen descendant.

The Weighing of the Heart:
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I will try to interpret some brief quotes that have caught my attention:

***

“I am the Today.
I am the Yesterday.
I am the Tomorrow.
Through my numerous Births
I subsist young and vigorous”.

-Chapter LXIV

Through his numerous rebirths (in this context rebirth and reincarnation are always interchangeable terms) the honourable ancestor has lived in the past, is living in the present and will live in the future, returning periodically to be young, healthy and strong.

“He aspires to eternal life
As is the Sky, without end and without limits.
Because, in truth, to the Sky belongs your Soul,
But the Earth owns its corporal form”.

-Chapter CLXIII

The honourable ancestor aspires to live eternally through endless rebirths: the soul, i.e. the spirit, is associated with the Sky, since they are both eternal and immutable entities, whereas the body is associated with the Earth, since they are both temporary and mutable entities.

“May my Soul dwell in my Body,
My Body unite with my Soul!”.

-Chapter CLXIII

The deceased aspires to a rebirth that will necessarily takes place through the reconciliation of the soul with the body.

“Know this, your head will be saved!
It will not be stolen from you, for all eternity!”.

-Chapter CLXVI

For our ancestors the head was the symbol of the wisdom, memory and identity of a person: the skull had thus an essential role during the initiatory ritual of rebirth, and the text assures to the deceased that his head will be preserved and that his identity will belong again to him by means of future reincarnations.

“In truth, you are the same Horus
shining in the middle of your Cosmic Egg”.

-Chapter CLXX

Horus – the child that attempts to accomplish the initiatic ritual of rebirth – and the divine ancestor inside the pyramid – which is like a fetus inside the womb – are the same entity: both are waiting to be born from the cosmic egg.

The cosmic egg wrapped by a snake symbolizes the womb during pregnancy and the umbilical cord:
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The ankh was the symbol of life and represented the female reproductive system, intended as universal matrix:
ankh-105769_960_720female-genitalia--drawing-154725276-5b0417dc43a1030037ae4a93

“Horus himself puts you erect
Like many times he has already done, with the sanctified”.

-Chapter CLXX

The child puts in erect position – a prerogative of those who are alive and a synonymous of life and return to life – the mummy of the divine ancestor, like many times has already happened in the past.

“Behold, I rise up from the Bowels of the Universe,
And for the second time I come to the world…
I return little child, without father, a new-born…
Nobody will be able to prevent me, when the time will come,
From answering to the questions that I will be asked…”.

-Chapter CLXX

The divine ancestor inside the pyramid has finally reincarnated in the body of the chosen descendant which has accomplished the initiation ritual: back in the world of the living and he will be able to answer to all questions concerning the metaphysical truths.

“Your navel is the Realm of the Dead.
Where Light and Darkness are in equilibrium”.

-Chapter CLXXII

The concept of “navel” (as well as those of “navel of the earth”, “navel of the world”, “center of the earth” and “center of the world”) symbolized the realm of the dead, in this context the pyramid, the place where life and death are in equilibrium, the divine ancestor being not alive but not even definitively dead: he is in an intermediate state between these two, awaiting to be reborn.

“In truth, in the moment when I was born in the world of the Beyond,
A new deity was born: and it was me!
Now, with my own eyes, I can see…
I look around me; I exist.
My vision is clear and piercing.
Erect, I resume the interrupted thread of my existence…”.

-Chapter CLXXIV

The divine ancestor is reborn inside the pyramid, he returns to see with his own eyes and becomes aware of his renewed existence: alive again, he resumes the thread of his existence, interrupted only by a temporary death.

“The Yesterday has generated me.
Behold, Today
I create the Tomorrow”.

-Chapter CLXXIX

He who becomes aware of his own cycles of rebirths owns the past, the present and the future.

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Symbols of Fire

Hephaestus is the Greek god related to fire and all the uses we can do of it, and he is described as an excellent blacksmith, who realized even the armour, weapons and shield of Achilles: he is clearly related with terrestrial fire, rather than with heavenly fire, i.e. the Sun. The episode when Hephaestus is thrown from the top of Olympus by Zeus symbolizes the potential inherent in lightning to bring in itself fire, since it is from the Sky that the lightning – an attribute of Zeus – comes, causing, through its contact with trees, the birth of fire.

The Greeks represented him with a blue headgear to symbolize the Sky, the place from where he comes via the lightning and where resides the Sun, the most pure and primordial form of fire.

Ptah and Hephaestus:
god-ptah2

Anyway the terrestrial fire is less intense than that of the Sun and needs to be rekindled and sustained, or it will fade; that’s why one of the epithets of Hephaestus is “the lame” (after the fall mentioned above he broke a leg), since he can’t stand on his legs and needs a wooden support, just like the terrestrial fire that can’t continue to live without the sustain of the wood that feeds it.

falo-fuoco-misano

***

On the other hand Prometheus stole some fire from Olympus to give it to men, in the sense that he teached them how to light a fire so that they didn’t depend anymore on Zeus, via the lightning, to obtain it and benefit from it .

I want instead to focus on the enchainment and torture of Prometheus: in this case he represents the Sun itself and the myth reveals the process of self-combustion through which the Sun, in a sort of unceasing death and rebirth, feeds of itself to keep burining and shine eternally; our ancestors maybe didn’t knew this process of self-combustion of the Sun but they noticed that the terrestrial fire needed to be rekindled and sustained whereas the one in the Sky not, it was self-sufficient and perennial.

Note: a symbol related to the same process can be found in the figure of the Phoenix, known as Bennu among the Egyptians, the eternal bird able to be reborn from its own ashes.

Prometheus is tortured by an eagle, a solar symbol as well as a heavenly symbol, so we have more solutions to interpret the torture: if we look at the eagle as a solar symbol we have the Sun that devours and sacrifices itself unceasingly, coming back to life every day and therefore continuing to shine; if we look at the eagle as a heavenly symbol then we have the Sky nourished by the liver of Prometheus, because the Sky to keep on shining must feed on the vigor (that was believed to reside, as well as the fundamental Vitamin D that the Sun gives us, in the liver, the part of the body devoured everyday by the eagle) of the Sun, i.e. on the energy of its rays.

Prometheus’ torture:
il-prometeo-incatenato

Only at night Prometheus is exempt from his torture, as indeed the Sun from its eternal self-sacrifice; at sunset it sinks in the west, in the depths of the underground, the realm of death, to then reappear again in the east the next morning, resurrected: thanks to its guide the same journey was accomplished by the spirits of the dead, so as to be able to come back to life again.

una-notte-guardammo-al-cielo-pieve-di-cadore

Different Minds, different Skies

“When men see these spectacles, they believe that certainly the gods exist and that these great wonders are the work of the gods”.

-Aristotle

Immagine correlata

During antiquity and prehistory we had exactly the same astronomical knowledge that we possess today, but when the Judeo-Christians invaded us – killing our ancestors by the millions and destroying or giving to the flames every manifestation of our culture on which they laid their eyes – they forced on our minds the “fact” that our planet would actually be flat, at the center of the Sky and that if we had reached its limits we would have ended up falling into the abyss. Those who opposed, like Galileo Galilei that affirmed the Heliocentric System, were labeled as heretics and forced to publicly reject their knowledge if they didn’t want to be sended to the stake: this when they were not preventively silenced by means of threats and tortures. Anyhow the Renaissance came and we returned, for the desperation of the Judeo-Christians, to our ancient science: if it was for them we should still believe in the lies they promoted, today and in the future as well, until the coming of their fictional Armageddon.

At that point they tried to hammer in the heads of the Europeans the fact that also our ancestors thinked that the Earth was flat: “even the pagans believed to this, it was not a consequence of the wave of destruction and ignorance we brought in Europe! Oy vey!”. Then they started their distortion, corruption and willed misinterpretation of our mythologies, and today the Europeans generally think that our ancestors were indeed ignorant in this regard, and this would be proved by the fact that our mythologies tell all sort of things about the planet where we live but none of them comes close to the truth.

***

In this context one of the most exploited and abused figures is the one of Oceanus, a deity of the Greek mythology that according to the Judeo-Christians would have symbolized the waters that surrounded our flat planet, delimiting the borders beyond which we would have fallen into cosmic space: that’s what they think.

How the Judeo-Christians see the Earth and Oceanus:
terra-piatta

Now it’s time to look at the figure of Oceanus, called Ægir (“[metaphysical] scare”, “awe”) in the Norse mythology, in a European perspective:

According to the Egyptian mythology everything came into being from Nun (defined “the watery abyss of the sky” and “the father of the gods”), the primeval ocean, primordial matrix whose creative power gave rise to all existing forms of life, eternal and infinite space that represented what we today call “Universe”: the archaic thinking associated the concept of water to that of source of life and essence of purification and regeneration, with particular reference to the amniotic fluid, indeed, at the same time, the Nun is described as a river that flows through the realm of the dead, whom, after diving into it, are resurrected.

I quote some significant passages of an Egyptian sacred text:

“Here I am,
I that, swelling and overflowing the Abysses,
I generated, from them, the Waters of the Sky…
These waters, made me float on their liquid Spaces…
And that is why they remain in my power,
The Waters of the Sky!”.

-The Egyptian Book of the Dead

“Since this Earth has appeared
At the Dawn of Times, in the Ocean of the Sky,
Rising from the Primordial Chaos…”.

-The Egyptian Book of the Dead

“I lean on the forehead of Ra
And I sail on the heavenly Ocean
Seated in peace, on the prow of his ship…”.

-The Egyptian Book of the Dead

“Look! He is alone in the middle of the heavenly Ocean
While he crosses the Horizon!”.

-The Egyptian Book of the Dead

Oceanus, the only one that could stand apart when Zeus demanded the presence of the gods in Olympus, was described as “tireless”, “deep”, “fluent”, “refluent on itself”, “with no waves”, “origin of everything”, “origin of the gods”: it is the infinite space that encircles the Solar System, i.e. the Universe; it is tireless, fluent and refluent (term that suggests a rotation) on itself because even the fixed stars were moving at the eyes of our ancestors, apparently and very slowly because of the precession of the equinoxes, a motion of our planet that they knew perfectly; it is deep because the Universe is spatially infinite; it is without waves because it has nothing to do with water as we understand it and because the apparent motion of the fixed stars is inexorable but almost imperceptible; it is the origin of everything because the Universe at the same time is and contains all that exists, has given rise to all that has been, that is and that will be; it is the origin of the gods because without the Universe the Solar System would not exist, here “gods” referring to the “inhabitants” of the Solar System, i.e. those planets that since their first identification were called with the names of the deities; it is the only one not forced to go to Olympus, i.e. the Sun, at the call of Zeus because only the planets of the Solar System are “forced” to head towards the Sun, being inexorably attracted by its gravitational force.

<<But>>, say the Judeo-Christians, <<it encircles the Earth>>!

The “earth” of the myths is sometimes described as a plane, yes, but it is not our planet, it is instead the ideal plane passing through the four pillars or corners of the year, marked by the equinoxes and solstices, i.e. the ecliptic, and precisely this is the meaning concealed by the mythologies that describe a flat and/or quadrangular “earth”: the four pillars or corners that determine it are the four zodiacal constellations that appear behind the Sun in the days of the equinoxes and solstices.

Note: the combined attraction force of the Sun and Moon, in relation to the fact that the Earth doesn’t have a perfectly spherical shape, has as consequence the phenomenon of the precession of the equinoxes, consisting in the spatial movement of the Earth’s axis with respect to a reference point in the fixed stars. This motion of our planet is very similar to the movement made by the axis of a top that is about to stop: because of the action of an external force and the motion caused by it the rotation axis rotates around another imaginary axis, tracing two symmetrical cones in the space. The duration of a precessional cycle, equivalent to the time that the Earth’s axis takes to accomplish a complete rotation, is of about 25.776 years: the most relevant consequences of this planetary motion are the movement of the celestial pole – with the consequent change of the pole star that indicates it – and of the points of the Earth’s orbit along the ecliptic – hence with respect to the fixed stars – in which occur the equinoxes and solstices (because of the precession the tropical year – the time taken by the Sun to return on the same equinoctial or solstitial point – turns out each year shorther than the sidereal year – the time taken by the Sun to return on the same position with respect to the fixed stars – of about 50.26″ clockwise, in the opposite direction to the counterclockwise one followed by the Sun in its apparent annual path, i.e. towards the spatial position where the previous constellation of the zodiac is located: over the millennia all the zodiacal signs slowly, relentlessly and cyclically followed each other behind the rising Sun in the days of the equinoxes and solstices), determining each year a small temporal advance in the succession of the seasons. In leap years one more day is intercalated precisely in relation to the phenomenon of the precession, so as to keep aligned the astronomical moments of the equinoxes and solstices with the calendar dates of reference. To pass entirely through any of the twelve zodiacal constellations, each of which occupies 30° along the ecliptic, the Sun takes about 2.148 years, therefore all twelve constellations, equivalent to the 360° of the ecliptic, are travelled in the course of the about 25.776 years that make up a complete precessional cycle. The ecliptic and the zodiac are inclined of 23.5° with respect to the equator (the myths that describe the sudden separation of the earth from the sky, simultaneously to the conclusion of the golden age, may refer to the separation of the ecliptic from the equator consequently to the inclination [the etymology of the Greek word “klima” means “inclination”] of the Earth’s axis: from the eternal and atemporal spring of the beginnings we were condemned to the yoke of the cyclical and temporal succession of the seasons): the half north of the equator – containing six zodiacal constellations and extending spatially from the vernal equinox to the autumnal equinox passing through the summer solstice – was archaically conceived as “emerged earth” whereas the half south of the equator – containing the other six zodiacal constellations and extending spatially from the autumnal equinox to the vernal equinox passing through the winter solstice – was conceived as “submerged earth”; the new constellation that rose behind the Sun in the day of the vernal equinox “emerged from the waters” whereas on the opposite side the constellation that ceased to mark the autumnal equinox sank under the equator and was “submerged” (only the equinoctial points acted as a symbolic reference since they result from the intersection of the ecliptic with the equator). After about 12.900 years from the beginning of a precessional cycle the position of the equinoxes and solstices reverses because of the diametrically opposite inclination attained by the Earth’s axis, with the result that the northern and southern hemispheres swap places in relation to the cyclical succession of the seasons.

Immagine correlata

Now, the Universe encircles the ecliptic, encircles the Solar System, right?

Note: the prehistoric engravings with the form of a spiral may also depict a celestial maelstrom, the cosmic mill or vortex (in the Norse mythology the etymology of Iðavöllr may mean “plain of splendour” or also “swirling field”) that dictates the rhythms of the celestial clock? The maelstrom (the first part of the name is connected to the verb “mala”, etymologically “to grind”, perhaps in reference to the “grinding” of the eras as a consequence of the inexorable current of time and cosmic cycles) is known as the “navel of the sea”, and from a cosmic point of view “navel” would be a reference to the axial and gravitational center and “sea” a reference to the waters of the cosmic ocean which dance vortically around the aforesaid center, respectively the Pole Star and the Sun in reference to the circumpolar constellations and the planets of the Solar System.

spirals_01Risultati immagini per vortex of stars around north pole

Moreover, in the Iliad the shield that Hephaestus builds for Achilles is described in these terms:

“…the Pleiades, the Hyades and the strength of Orion
and the Great Bear, that they call with the name of Wagon:
she turns on itself and watches Orion,

and only her has no part in the washings of Oceanus”.

In the Odyssey, Odysseus pays attention to the stars that Calypso advises him to follow:

“…staring at the Pleiades, staring at Boötes that sets late,
and at the Great Bear, that they call also with the name of Wagon,
and always she turns and fearful watches Orion,
and only her has no part in the washings of Oceanus”.

Ursa Major is composed by the seven shiny stars that give shape to its constellation and is a circumpolar constellation, thus always present above the horizon, that never sets in the course of the apparent motion of rotation of the Sky: it is thus visible during all the year in the Northern Hemisphere and never sets north of the 41° North, latitude of Madrid and Naples.

The fact that Ursa Major doesn’t participate in the washings of Oceanus is enough to understand that Oceanus is up high, is the Universe, “the watery abyss of the sky”!

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