Thirst for Immortality

Previously we have clarified that the concept of “Tree of Life” (as well as any other type of axis mundi) is a metaphoric image that refers to the placenta. Starting from this premise is easy to understand how the “beverage of immortality” that, in various mythologies, is obtained from the aforementioned tree is nothing but the liquid nourishment (a real “liquid of life”) that from the placenta reaches the fetus by means of the umbilical cord: let’s see some examples.

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In the Vedas and in the Upanishads the Soma/Amrita is a juice that drips from the Tree of Life (remaining in the Indian context I can remember the episode according to which the Buddha achieved the metaphysical awakening [of the memories of his previous lives] under the Tree of Life) that is believed to grow in the mountains or in the “navel of the earth” (the concepts of “sacred/cosmic moutain” and “navel of the earth/world” are metaphors that refer to the burial mound, i.e. the realm of the dead), juice capable of conferring immortality to those who drink it: the etymology of the name is similar to that of the Ambrosia and means “immortality”. In the Persian mythology we find the Haoma, another beverage that bestows immortality, obtained in this case too by a Tree of Life that grows in the mountains.

Note: when we talk about immortality, we are not referring to the indefinite extension in time of an individual biological existence, without the occurrence of changes in the state of being. We refer instead to the possibility that, through a strong emotional shock in the context of an initiatory ritual of rebirth and through an induced awakening of the memory of the blood, the achievement of a transcendent state could bring out into the consciousness of a child the memory and awareness of his previous existences.

In the Greek mythology the Ambrosia and the Nectar are both foods that enable the gods to be immortals and perennially young: many have suggested that these mythical foods may be identified with honey or mead (i.e. fermented honey), since the ancient sources define honey as the first and primordial nourishment of the gods, while mead was known in antiquity as the beverage of the gods. In my opinion this connection makes sense, even more so when we know that the child who went inside the burial mound (thus becoming a fetus inside the womb of the earth), in order to accomplish the rebirth/reincarnation ritual, carried with him some honey to appease the sorceress/priestess (primordially the she-bear) inside the grave, and he himself had to eat some of that honey: the (symbolical) nourishment of the fetus inside the womb…

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To reinforce what I have just affirmed we can refer to the Norse mythology, where the dew that covers the leaves of the yew Yggdrasill (yes, some ancient sources use the term barr [“needle-shaped leaf”] in relation to its leaves, furthermore the yew is the tree that more than any other can symbolize the placenta, because in it grow red berries that recall the placenta’s red bubbles full of nutritious blood), in poetic language called “mead tree”, has the taste of honey and is compared to mead. Bees feed themselves with Yggdrasill’s leaves and, as suggested in a previous article, the child who faced the initiatory ritual was symbolically seen as a bee.

The leaves and berries of the yew:
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In the Völsunga Saga is told that in the hall of Völsung’s house there was a big apple tree (the apples hide the same symbolism described above in relation to the red berries of the yew, they are the source of the “beverage of immortality”), whose branches protruded from the roof: this tree was called Barnstokkr (“children’s trunk”, i.e. the placenta).

Barnstokkr and an apple tree:
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The Indo-Iranian god Mitra is born from a rock (“petra genitrix“, originally the burial mound and during classical antiquity the underground temple/cave called “mithraeum”: both symbols of the womb) surrounded by a serpent (i.e. the umbilical cord), near a sacred spring (i.e. the amniotic fluid and/or the liquid nourishment of the placenta) and under a sacred tree (i.e. the placenta).

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Now, why not throw into the fray the symbolism of the horn, that in certain cases represents the umbilical cord? First, the cornucopia (“horn of plenty”), a very explicit symbol in relation to the nourishment (of the fetus in the womb).

The cornucopia:
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Then the Sigrdrífumál (a section of the Poetc Edda), where Sigrdrífa after being awakened offers to Sigurðr the minnisveig, the “beverage of memory” (i.e. the memory of previous lives), a horn (i.e. the umbilical cord) full of mead (whose symbolism, in this context, we have already examined earlier). Lastly, the figure of Mímir (“memory” [of the previous lives]), the possessor of Mímisbrunnr (“well of memory”, located beneath one of the three roots of Yggdrasill): every morning, using the horn Gjallarhorn, he drinks the precious and sacred liquid (mead, according to the Völuspá) contained in the well of wisdom (wisdom is equivalent to memory); also Odin managed to get the chance to drink a sip of that liquid.

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I conclude my dissertation with the Grail (or Holy Grail if you prefer), traditionally known as a cup/chalice whose content has vivifying and healing virtues: are you thinking what I am thinking? The cup/chalice and the tree have a very similar shape and, taking into consideration the virtues of the Grail, we can assume that this important object of the Arthurian cycle symbolizes the placenta and its life-giving liquid nourishment.

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It should also be noted that in certain late medieval sources the Grail is called Sangréal: in Old French, san graal and san gréal mean “holy grail” and sang réal means “royal blood”; indeed the blood full of nutrients contained in the placenta is “royal” and “divine” blood, not an ordinary one. In this context will be good to remember that for our ancestors wine was a symbol of blood, specifically in reference to what I have just explained about the function of the blood contained in the placenta: that’s the reason why Odin, the symbolic fetus, only needs wine to feed himself.

Now you will be able to see with different eyes the Christian rite of the Eucharist, during which a mass of crazy fanatics drinks Christ’s blood from a chalice full of wine…

<<What the fuck I’m doing?!>>:
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The Syllable “Delph”

The syllable “delph” means “womb”. This is the reason why the dolphin (“delphi” in Greek), sea creature (the waters were associated with the amniotic fluid) fitted with womb, was seen by the Greeks as a symbol of the female principle and of the womb from which life is generated. Poseidon, if seen as the god of the “watery abyss of the sky” (the Universe), has the dolphin as one of his symbols, because the Universe is the eternal and infinite womb that contains all the forms of life that have been, that are and that will be, the womb from which new life is unceasingly and eternally generated.

Art from the Minoan civilization:
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Tile from Ancient Greece:
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Delphi (“Delphoi” in Greek), the Greek city in antiquity known as “navel of the world”, was mostly famous for the presence of the oracle of the god Apollo (that, by the way, had among his epithets the one of “Delphinius”, since in certain occasions he acquired the form of a dolphin, animal sacred to him), the Oracle of Delphi (the most important of the archaic Greek religion).

Ruins of the Oracle of Delphi:
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Under the floor of the oracular temple was located the Omphalos (“navel”), the sacred stone that indicated the center of  the world.

The Omphalos resembles a beehive with a net of bee shaped symbols (the child who went inside the burial mound/beehive – bringing with him some honey to face the initiation – and the sorceress/priestess who was already inside it were seen as bees):

We find here the same symbolism: delphi, the name of the city, means “womb”, and the city was defined “navel of the world” because the navel was archaically a symbol of the labyrinth, i.e. of the burial mound that represented also the “womb of the earth”. There is therefore a symbolic connection between the name of the city and its epithet.

Representation of an archaic labyrinth:
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The Oracle of Delphi was originally a cave (the cave of the she-bear, later replaced by the burial mound), a stomios (term that indicates both the mouth and the female sexual organ, i.e. an opening [in the ground]), guarded by the serpent/dragon Python, or by the dragoness Delphyne (again a name connected with the ancient syllable that means “womb”), as it seems from the most archaic version of the myth. The serpent/dragon symbolizes the umbilical cord, therefore, in the case of Delphyne, we have a symbolism that includes both the womb and the umbilical cord. Python/Delphyne is killed by Apollo (the divine child that accomplishes the rebirth ritual: in the mythologies the killing of the serpent/dragon symbolizes the resolute and violent conclusion of the maternal phase of existence, by means of the “killing” [i.e. severing] of the umbilical cord that unites the mother to the child), who later creates in place of the cave the Oracle of Delphi, presided by the Pythia (the Priestess called “Delphic Bee”).

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The serpent/dragon is the obstacle that the heroes of the mythologies encounter during their search for the source of immortality (i.e. of rebirth/reincarnation), and it is often the guardian of the Tree of Life (i.e. the placenta).

The Cup of Hygieia and the Caduceus of Hermes/Mercury: both represent the Tree of Life, intertwined with one or more serpents (that is, a placenta with the umbilical cord):
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Immortality (i.e. the rebirth/reincarnation) is hard to obtain, and a necessary condition is always the reaching of an almost inaccessible place (that always symbolizes the realm of death, i.e. the grave/burial mound), where a serpent/dragon guards a tree whose fruits, or an object hanging to it, will grant immortality if obtained. The heroes of the mythologies have to fight with the serpent/dragon, and prevail, to get access to the tree. This fight must be seen as a test, as an initiation ritual. We can find a pattern of this type in numerous myths, like in the one of Jason and the Golden Fleece, in the one of Heracles and the Golden Apples of the Hesperides, in the one of Sigurd and Fafnir (in this case the dragon guards a treasure – i.e. the goods of the divine ancestor in the grave – and the hero becomes invulnerable and omniscient [thanks to the awakening of the memories of his previous lives] after killing it) and in the one of Adam and Eve in Paradise.

Heracles fights against Ladon, the serpent/dragon that protects the Golden Apples of the Hesperides:
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The fight of the hero with the serpent/dragon isn’t always of the physical type, and sometimes the hero is defeated: the myth of Adam and Eve and the myth of Gilgamesh prove it.

Gilgamesh, after the death of Enkidu, decided he wanted to obtain immortality: he headed towards the dwelling of Utnapishtim, a man to which the gods conferred the gift of immortality. Gilgamesh overcomes every obstacle and meets the wise old man, but fails the tests that the latter imposes on him. Gilgamesh definitely wasn’t worthy of the immortality of the gods. At that point appeared the wife of Utnapishtim, who convinced her husband to reveal the existence, in the bottom of the ocean (the amniotic fluid, the waters of death), of a plant full of thorns, difficult to access. That plant would have extended indefinitely the youth and the life of those who would have eaten it. Gilgamesh manages to obtain it, but during the return to his own land he stops near a water source and meanwhile a serpent approaches and grabs the plant, renewing its skin after eating it. Gilgamesh, as Adam and Eve, has lost immortality due to his naivety and of the astuteness of a serpent.

The serpent steals the plant of immortality from the hand of Gilgamesh:
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Note: we should not forget the other symbol related to the serpent/dragon, i.e. the figure of the serpent/dragon that bites its own tail, also known as Ouroboros. This figure expresses the concept of cyclical eternity, infinite time, circularity without beginning or end and eternal rebirth.

Egyptian art depicting an Ouroboros, maybe to symbolize a womb:
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The Omphalos (“navel”) could therefore be a womb during pregnancy: it has a central opening which widens towards the base (vagina-womb during pregnancy) and a sort of knotted net engraved on the surface, the net that “imprisons” the child to the mother until birth, or better the umbilical cord that “binds” the placenta to the fetus, by means of the navel (“omphalos”).

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