“Sky and earth are a great furnace and nature is a great smith”.
“Sky and earth are a great furnace and nature is a great smith”.
“In my ancestry there is the majesty of kings, who excel in power among men, and the sacredness of the gods, who have the power of kings in their hands”.
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.
All these archaic societies were ruled by a Sacred King – a living symbol of the Sky, of the Sun and of the metaphysical principle defined with the term Being – and a Sacred Queen – a living symbol of the Earth, of the Moon and of the metaphysical principle defined with the term Becoming. Related 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, an act that symbolizes the awakening of Nature in Spring, when the rays of the Sun kisses and fecundate the Earth.
Sacred King and Sacred Queen, together, represented a complementary duality, and during their hierogamy (“sacred marriage”) occurred the symbolic union between the Sky God/Sun God and the Earth Goddess/Moon Goddess, i.e. the metaphysical conjunction of the opposites.
The Sacred King was especially associated with the Sun and consequently he embodied the power of the celestial body that illuminates the world and gives life: an example of such archetypal figure can be found in the Arthurian cycle, where the strenght of the knight Gawain continues to increase from dawn to noon, to then gradually decrease until sunset: just like the strenght of the Sun during its various phases.
That’s the reason why in the archaic societies was customary the prohibition to look the Sacred King in the face – in the same way as it isn’t possible to stare at the Sun without risking of becoming blind – and in his presence all had to kneel and stare at the ground.
The fact that the very existence of the Sacred King was identified with the annual path of the Sun in the Sky explains the reason why he was subject to a ritual killing at the end of his annual function, on the day of the Winter Solstice, when the Sun dies and is reborn at the same time: only then his successor, previously selected, was crowned, raised to royal dignity and celebrated.
The golden crown symbolized the Sun and the power of its rays:
Examples of ritual death of the Sacred King can be found in the myths concerning Achilles and Krishna: they both die after having been hit at the heel by an arrow (poisoned, in the actual ritual), in their only vulnerable point, the tendon of the foot, part of the body that had the same symbolic function of the femur, because the tendons allow the muscular movement of the body, i.e. they allow life. The death of Achilles and Krishna is concretely and symbolically associated with a part of the human body that was synonymous of life (but they will come back to life when their femur will be recovered by a divine child that will enter in their grave).
Over the course of time every archaic society altered, for various reasons, 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, by isolating himself in a symbolic grave, whereas a substitute obtained his divine role during that last day of reign, to then be ritually killed: at that point the real Sacred King returned to life from his symbolic grave; in other cases a totemic animal took the place of the Sacred King on the sacrificial altar; in other cases was torn down a wood effigy that represented the Sacred King; in these three scenarios the Sacred King in charge could confirm his role or hand it down at the end of a selective competition. In the long run the Sacred King refused to be killed or replaced, and thanks to his authority, his power and the support of his faithful, managed to extend his divine mandate indefinitely, until his death, natural or not, and this particular deviation from the original procedure influenced and moulded considerably the institution of kingship during Antiquity and the Middle Ages.
In the most archaic societies both the Sacred King and the 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 assigned to those who proved their superiority in various annual competitions held to determine the strenght, beauty, health, wisdom, skills and, generally speaking, the male and female qualities and peculiarities of the candidates. In this context 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 – through a footrace between young women – the one who would have symbolically incarnated Hera (the Earth Goddess, i.e. the Sacred Queen) and – through a footrace between young men – the one who would have symbolically incarnated Zeus (the Sky God, i.e. the Sacred King, whose name preserves the Sanskrit root div- [“day, brightness”]): every year the Sacred Queen and the Sacred King had to confirm their role or bestow kingship to those who proved to be more worthy of it.
Things changed with the subsequent distinction in matriarchal and patriarchal societies:
In the matriarchal societies the first daughter of the Queen was a Princess who inherited the title at birth, whereas her future husband (and future King, after spending some time as a Prince) was chosen/selected among men from other tribes or lands; in these societies the most ambitious sons of the King and Queen will go to other lands in order to marry a Princess or a Queen and thus become themselves Kings (a recurring pattern in myths [some examples: the chariot race between Pelops and Oenomaus to win the hand of Hippodamia and the archery race between Odysseus and the Proci to win the hand of Penelope] and fairy tales).
Odysseus during the archery race against the Proci:
In the patriarchal socities the first son of the King was a Prince who inherited the title at birth, whereas his future wife (and future Queen, after spending some time as a Princess) was chosen/selected among young girls from other tribes or lands (a recurring pattern in myths [an example: the judgement of Paris to decide which goddess was the most beautiful between Aphrodite, Hera and Athena] and fairy tales).
The Judgement of Paris:
In both types of societies the King and Queen will seek to marry their daughters and sons with Princes and Princesses or Kings and Queens of other tribes or lands, in order to unify two royal bloodlines but often also to stipulate alliances and obtain advantages of other sort.
“The King is dead, long live the King!”
The Book of the Dead is an Egyptian funerary text, consisting in a numerous series of chapters intended to reveal the initiatory process through which a deceased person could come back to life.
The Weighing of the Heart:
In this context, 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”.
Through his numerous rebirths the honourable dead has lived in the past, is living in the present and will live in the future, returning periodically to be young 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”.
The honourable dead aspires to live for all eternity, through endless rebirths. The soul (i.e. the spirit) is associated with the Sky, since they are both eternal and immutable entities, while 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!”.
The deceased aspires to rebirth (i.e. to reincarnation), that takes place necessarily through the reconciliation of the soul (i.e. the spirit) with the body.
“Know this, your head will be saved!
It will not be kidnapped from you, for all eternity!”.
For our ancestors the head was the emblem of the mind and memory, and therefore of the identity of a person. The skull of the deceased had an essential role during the initiatory ritual of rebirth (i.e. of reincarnation) and the text assures to the deceased that his head will be preserved and that his identity will belong to him by means of future incarnations.
“In truth, you are the same Horus
shining in the middle of your Cosmic Egg”.
Horus is the child that attempts to fulfill the rebirth/reincarnation ritual, the descendant of the noble ancestor inside the grave: they are the same person. The deceased inside the burial mound is like a fetus inside the womb: both are waiting to be born from their cosmic egg.
The cosmic egg wrapped by a snake symbolizes the womb during pregnancy and the umbilical cord:
The ankh was the symbol of life and represented the female reproductive system, intended as universal matrix:
“Horus himself puts you erect
Like many times has already done, with the sanctified”.
The child puts in the upright position (a prerogative of those who are alive) the skeleton/mummy of the deceased, like many times his previous incarnations have done in the past. The vertical position is synonymous with life and return to life.
“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…”.
The deceased in the grave is reborn in the body of his young descendant who has completed the initiatory ritual of reincarnation. The noble ancestor is back in the world of the living and he will be able to answer to all the questions concerning his previous existence.
“Your navel is the Realm of the Dead.
Where Light and Darkness are balanced”.
The concept of “navel” (as well as those of “navel of the earth/world”, “center of the earth/world”, “center of the cosmos” and “cosmic mountain”) symbolized the realm of the dead, namely the burial mound. Life and death are in equilibrium inside the grave, the deceased is not alive but not even definitively dead: he is in an intermediate state between these two, awaiting for his rebirth.
“In truth, at 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…”.
The deceased is reborn as a deity, inside the burial mound. 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.
I create the Tomorrow”.
He who becomes aware of his own cycle of rebirths owns the past, the present and the future!
Hephaestus is the Greek god related to fire and to all the uses we can do of it, including arts and crafts in which the burning flame has an essential role. Hephaestus is described as an excellent blacksmith, who realized even the armour, the weapons and the shield of Achilles! It is evident that he is connected with the terrestrial fire, rather than with the heavenly fire (the Sun).
The episode when Hephaestus is thrown from the top of Olympus by Zeus (his father, since it is from the Sky that the lightning [an attribute of Zeus] comes, causing, through its contact with trees, the birth of fire) represents the potential inherent in the lightning to bring in itself fire.
The Greeks represented Hephaestus with a blue headgear to symbolize the Sky, the place from which the fire god comes (via the lightning) and where resides the most pure and primordial form of fire, the Sun.
Ptah and Hephaestus:
Anyway, the terrestrial fire – arrived on Earth via the lightning or kindled by man – 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 we talked about earlier, he broke his leg), since he can’t walk by himself and needs a wooden support, just like the fire on Earth can’t continue to live without the wood that feeds it.
Prometheus on the other hand is a more complex figure, but anyway related to fire. He stole some fire from Olympus to donate it to men, so that these weren’t anymore dependant on Zeus (via the lightning) in their need to benefit of fire, and could instead obtain it whenever they wanted.
However, I want to focus on the enchainment and torture of Prometheus: in this case he represents the Sun itself and the myth explains the process of self-combustion through which the Sun feeds of itself and destroying itself stays alive and continues to shine eternally, a sort of unceasing death and rebirth. That’s what happens and 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 while the one in the Sky not, it was self-sufficient and perennial.
Note: a symbolism linked 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 heavenly symbol as well as a solar symbol, so we have more solutions in relation to how we interpret the torture: if we look at the eagle as a solar symbol we have the Sun that devours and sacrifices itself perennially, 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 in the liver – the part of the body devoured everyday by the eagle -, where vitamin D, the “vitamin of the sun”, resides and accumulates) of the Sun, on the force of its rays.
Only at night Prometheus is exempt from his punishment, as indeed the Sun from its eternal self-sacrifice: at sunset it sinks in the west, in the depths of the underground – the subterranean regions, the realm of death -, to then reappear again in the east the next morning, resurrected. The same journey was accomplished by the spirits of the dead, to then come back again among the living…
Today we can once again know in details the Earth and the Solar System but it has not always been the case.
We had the exact same notions during Antiquity and Prehistory, but after the Judeo-Christians invaded our beloved Europe – murdering millions of our ancestors, destroying and burning every manifestation of our culture on which they pointed 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 sustained the Heliocentric System, were labeled as heretics and forced to publicly reject their knowledge. This is, when they were not silenced in the first place through threats, or burned alive, or tortured to death. Only in 1992 the Christians have officially admitted their “error” in relation to Galileo Galilei. Exclusively what the “holy scriptures” recited had to be believed. However the Renaissance came and we returned to our ancient science, for the desperation of the Judeo-Christians. If it was for them we should still believe today in their lies, 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, during Antiquity and Prehistory, believed in the flatness of our planet. “Even 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, and this would be proved by the fact that our mythologies tell all sort of things about the world where we live, but none of them is (apparently) close to the truth.
Now, one of the most exploited and abused figures in this context is the one of Oceanus, a character of the Greek mythology. The Judeo-Christians have concluded that Oceanus was a river that surrounded our flat planet, delimiting the borders beyond which we would have fallen in the cosmic space. In the best case Oceanus was a symbol that represented all the waters in our planet. That’s what they think…
How the Judeo-Christians see Oceanus and our planet:
Now it’s time for us 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, the primeval ocean, primordial source of any existing form of life, eternal and infinite space that corresponded to 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, which, after diving into it, are resurrected). In the Universe, as in water, we can’t breathe and we float if gravity doesn’t affects us. The Nun, the Universe, was thus defined by the Egyptians as “the watery abyss of the sky” and “the father of the gods”, it was a creative power from which arose all forms of life. I quote some passages taken directly from 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 Caos…”.
-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 remain on his own when Zeus demanded the presence of the gods in the Olympus – was described as “tireless”, “deep/fluent”, “refluent on himself”, “with no waves”, “origin of everything”, “origin of the gods” (just like the Nun); it encircles the Earth and is in reality the Starry Sky/Universe; it has no waves because it has nothing to do with water as we understand it, or maybe because the apparent motion of the fixed stars is very slow, calm and quiet; it is tireless and refluent on itself (terms that suggest a rotation) because even the Starry Sky/Universe was moving (apparently and very slowly) at the eyes of our ancestors, because of the Precession of the Equinoxes (a motion of our planet that they knew perfectly); it is deep because compared to terrestrial waters (that are very deep), but also because the Universe is spatially infinite; it is the origin of everything because the Universe at the same time is and contains everything, it has given existence 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” refers to the “inhabitants” of the Solar System, i.e. the planets); it is the only one not constrained to visit the Olympus at the call of Zeus because only the planets of the Solar System are “constrained” to go to Olympus (the Sun), i.e. only the planets are affected by the gravitational attraction of the Sun, not the Starry Sky/Universe.
<<But>>, say the Judeo-Christians, <<it encircles the Earth>>!
The Earth of the myths is a plane, yes, but it is not our planet, it is instead a plane that passes through the four corners/pillars of the year, marked by the Equinoxes and Solstices, that is the Ecliptic. The “Earth” was the ideal plane passing through the four corners/pillars of the year, and this is the hidden meaning when a mythology talks about a flat and/or quadrangular Earth. The four corners that determine an “Earth” are the Zodiacal Constellations that arise behind the Sun (which changes very slowly because of the Precession of the Equinoxes, creating at every “handover” a new “Earth”) in the days of the Equinoxes and Solstices, with particular care for the one that rises in the day of the Vernal Equinox.
Now, the Fixed Stars/Universe encircle the Ecliptic, encircle the Solar System, right?
Note: the prehistoric engravings with the form of a spiral may (also) depict a maelstrom, a symbol that refers to the Solar System and the various circles made by the swirling revolutions of the planets around the Sun at their center? The maelstrom (the first part of the name is connected to the verb mala [“grind”], perhaps in reference to the “grinding” of the eras as a consequence of the cosmic cycles) is known as the “navel of the sea”, where “navel” would be a reference to the Solar System and “sea” a reference to the Universe, the “watery abyss of the sky”.
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”.
The Plough is formed by the seven shiny stars that give shape to its constellation, but these make up only its backside. Only with the other thirteen, placed before and under the other seven, the whole figure takes the form of an animal. The Plough/Ursa Major 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 for 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, it is the Starry Sky/Universe, “the watery abyss of the sky”!
How the Europeans see the the Sky:
How the Judeo-Christians see the Sky:
Let’s examine a bit Typhon and the Hekatonkheires, characters of the Greek mythology.
The Hekatonkheires may represent the lightning; they are Briareos (“strong”), Kottos (“he who strikes”) and Gyges (“that has many limbs”): lightnings are strong, they strike (the ground and trees) and have many limbs/branches/discharges. The Hekatonkheires are described as having hundred arms and fifty heads that spit fire. I think that the numerous arms and heads can be a reference to the countless branches/discharges of which is composed a lightning. They spit fire because indeed a lightning “spits” fire the moment when it strikes a tree.
Typhon, according to Hesiod, fathered the stormy winds and ancient sources associate his name to the Greek term “tuphon/tuphos”, that translates as “whirlwind”. So Typhon symbolizes the whirlwind (and the strong storms) and this would give sense to the fact that “with his hands he was able to catch the stars and with his legs was able to cross the Aegean Sea with four steps”.
However the description of Typhon also suggests a similarity with the lightning: “he had immeasurable limbs…with his hands he was able to catch the stars…in his shoulders he had hundred snakes that instead of hiss sometimes barked as dogs, sometimes roared as lions…each of the legs was formed by two twisted dragons…from his eyes protruded tongues of fire”. It seems plausible that the “snakes” may be the discharges of the lightning while the barks and roars can refer to the thunder, the sound of lightning. It would make sense, because storms (or better, thunderstorms…) often bring with them lightnings and thunders.
In the context of lightning, Typhon can be compared to Loki (which name means “lightning”): they both have a monstrous and particular offspring. Typhon has generated the Chimera, the Hydra, the Sphynx, Cerberus and others while Loki has generated Fenrir, Hel, Sleipnir and the Miðgarðsormr. Loki is often followed by Thor and Typhon is defeated by Zeus.
In any case the battle between Typhon and Zeus (the Sky God) can at least be seen as a symbolic contrapposition between the Whirlwind (or strong storm) and the Sky, after which, thanks to the victory of Zeus, peace and serenity return in the firmament!
For Blood & Soil
La Prospettiva di Varg Vikernes
A journey to the golden age