The Secret Blackness of Milk
In developing my Black–White–Red, Golden/Legal theory of mythology and history, I of course questioned how such theory can address the religions and histories of the Jews, Christians and Muslims. How can the seemingly male-dominated Jewish religion, for instance, be said to involve worship of the Mother? I recognized that the answer, if indeed an answer was forthcoming, must have something to do with the fact that the Midianites (alias the Madianites) considered Yahweh a volcano god. Being of the Earth, indeed bleeding red, fiery earth, a volcano certainly seems female. But apart from recognizing the obvious equivalence here to Hephaistos/Vulcan, I was at pains to embellish further on the female connection.
And then while surfing television channels late one night I happened upon a recently produced documentary about the famous Greek temple “of Apollo” at Delphi. As you may recall, Delphi in antiquity was called the Navel of the Earth (Greek Omphalos). The omphalos, or navel-boss, has long been emblematic of the Mother Goddess. The ancient Greeks considered a woman’s navel the seat of her sexual passion. In Delphi, therefore, we have an ostensibly masculine namely Apollonian temple which is fundamentally feminine.
A marble Hellenistic or Roman copy of Delphi’s original Omphalos.
The carved surface depicts a supposedly woolen net covering a smooth inner object.
Indeed the sacred, oracular site at Delphi was initially considered a precinct of Gaia and it continued to be famous for its female oracles — melissai, “bees” — who sat on tripods and thus in some sort of altered state of mind answered questions put to them, whether by statesmen, army generals, or common folk. The ancients likened the Delphi temple itself to a bee hive, claiming that the initial temple there had been made of beeswax. Legend says that the oracular conduciveness of Delphi was originally revealed by a swarm of bees. Generally the virgin priestesses of Greek goddesses such as Rhea and Demeter were called melissai; and the hierophants (from the Greek hieron, “temple”), male priests in general, were called essenes, “king bees,” a title that applied especially to the chief priest of the Eleusinian mysteries.
The Eleusinian mysteries were celebrated during the month of September. These performances represented the union between the chief priestess and the chief priest and likewise the union of the “corn-goddess” Demeter (i.e. cereal-goddess, the Latin Ceres) and “sky-god” Zeus (whom we’ve identified as the complex, Red/Dionysian Dyeus, the Latin Jupiter, Celtic Father Dis, god of the underworld as well as the overworld). Sir James George Frazer remarks in his classic Golden Bough (initially published in 1890 CE):
The torches having been extinguished, the pair [chief priestess and chief priest, queen bee and king bee, Sun and Moon] descended into a murky place, while the throng of worshippers awaited in anxious suspense the result of the mystic congress, on which they believed their own salvation depended. After a time the hierophant reappeared, and in a blaze of light silently exhibited to the assembly a reaped ear of corn [i.e. cereal grain], the fruit of the divine marriage. Then in a loud voice he proclaimed, “Queen Brimo has brought forth a sacred boy Brimos,” by which he meant, “The Mighty One has brought forth the Mighty.” [Note the Bri- prefixes.] The corn-mother in fact had given birth to her child, the corn, and her travail-pangs were enacted in the sacred drama.
Delphi is thus deeply related to Eleusis (which name means “advent, rebirth”) in terms of bees. And Eleusis points — in terms of the unity between female and male — through the agri-culture of the Great Reversal to a time when Zeus was recognized as existing within the Mother.
Legend says Apollo killed the serpent which originally occupied Delphi. That serpent is variously named Tityos, Typhon and Python and is said to be the son of Gaia and thus akin to Kronos, Hephaistos, Poseidon, Erichthonios, Andvari and to have 100 heads (and thus something of a centaur, like Chiron and like Merowig’s Quinotaur father). Here’s a direct connection to Yahweh as volcano god. But Yahweh as serpent?!? The Greeks considered this serpent equivalent to Egypt’s ass-eared Set, the supposedly evil elder brother of Osiris. Asses were sacred to Dionysus. Gordian King Midas, he who was enthralled with Silenus’s tales of a lost continent and whom Dionysus cursed and cured of the golden touch, suffered the further curse of the river god Tmolus, grandfather of Pelops, who consequent of Midas judging Marsyas a better musician than Apollo transformed Midas’s ears into those of an ass. Jesus of Nazareth, recall, poignantly manifested an ancient prophecy by riding into Jerusalem on an ass. Robert Graves, from his Greek Myths:
A pair of ass ear’s at the tip of a reed sceptre was the token of royalty carried by all Egyptian dynastic gods, in memory of the time when ass-eared Set ruled their pantheon. Set had greatly declined in power …. Set had previously ruled the second half of the year, and annually murdered his brother Osiris, the spirit of the first half, whose emblem was a bull: they were, in fact, the familiar rival twins perpetually contending for the favours of their sister, the [supposed] Moon-goddess Isis.
According to said television documentary, scholars recently discovered that the temple at Delphi is built directly over the nexus of 2 ancient and roughly orthogonal fault lines. This nexus was once occupied by spring water that bubbled with the anesthetic gas ethylene. It was this gas, the scientists say (and they do so in accord with ancient accounts), that induced the altered state in which an oracle would pronounce. On this geological view, Delphi is strikingly analogous to a volcano. Could the Mother Goddess who is implicitly below Delphi — or, more precisely, the mysterious union down there between the Mother and the Father/Son — be equivalent to the original Yahweh?
The name Yahweh (YHVH, Yahveh, Yivah) corresponds to the Sanskrit Jivah (Yava, Java), meaning “female tongue,” “fire,” “life.” The Latin viva is a cognate. Likewise in Sanskrit Ge (as in geo, gene, and Gaia) means “to live.” In Hebrew Yah means “existent.” In German the ge- prefix signifies commonality, collectiveness, plurality. The simplest cognate prefixes are: Ja-, Jo- and Je-, as in Jacob, Janus, Jason, James, Jesus, Joshua, Johan, John, Joan, Joanna; I-, as in Isaac, Isis, Isabelle, and Ian; and Se-, as in Sean, Set and serpent. The serpent represents the aboriginal offspring of Gaia–Ouranos/Kronos. Gaia’s other primal offspring, apart from Kronos, are the Mountains and Pontus (alias Proteus the sea god, “first man”; Poseidon, Neptune, equivalent to Hephaistos, Erichthonios, Andvari, etc).
In Greek lore Gaia, Ouranos and their offspring are called the Titans. They antedate the “Gods.” The serpent Tityos at Delphi symbolizes the Titans, which group corresponds to the Black/Baroque, the plenum, the infinite set of (related) souls. The snake lends itself as the chief symbol of this set: the fundamental nature of the set is represented by the snake’s lowness; the plurality of the set is represented by the snake’s myriad scales; baroqueness, by the coiling of the snake’s body; cyclicity, by said coiling and especially by the molting of the snake’s skin; unity, by the simple, linear and finite singularity of the snake’s body.
Several months after viewing the aforementioned documentary, I learned that James Joyce had cultivated a thesis (which he gleaned in large part from the famously anti-Semitic Jew Otto Weininger’s Sex and Character) according to which Jewish men are especially womanly — a term, notes Joyce’s biographer Richard Ellmann, “which, incidentally, is applied to [the Jewish] Bloom in Ulysses.” Leopold Bloom is Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker (alias Here Comes Everybody, or Holy Carolingian Empire) is Hephaistos is Erichthonios is Andvari is Noah is Moses is Merowig is Father Dis is Poseidon is Yahweh.
The suffix -weh (or -VH, -veh, -vah) in the name Yahweh as in Merowig signifies the serpent-like, phoenix-like nature of all souls and of (Black/Baroque) existence in general. This suffix is related to the Latin vertere and to the Anglo Saxon wicce, which mean “turning” or “dancing.” Hence we have the Latin term vice versa and the English words vertex, vortex, verge, verve, verb, and, importantly, vernal. Moreover we get the Norse vik (referring to the changing tide in a fjord) and the German wid and wit as well as the English video, vital, widow, wit, wise, wizard, wicked, wicca-craft (i.e. witchcraft), wicker, willow, and cricket’s wicket. There’s also weak and week and the other words I mentioned in connection with Merowig. Likewise there’s the Sanskrit vid, meaning “to separate,” and veda, meaning “knowledge,” which are closely related to the Old English, witan, “to know,” this word moreover being resonant of the Germanic god Wotan, alias Odin. Hence, too, we have the name David, the planet Venus (both “morning star” and “evening star”), and the star Vega (the “Witch Star,” attending the Hercules constellation). Furthermore there’s the Norse Vigrid Plain — site of Ragnarök and thus equivalent to the Semitic Megiddo, as in Har Megiddo, a.k.a. Armageddon, from the Hebrew gdd or gadad, “to cut” (as in di-) or “to troop.” The root vi/ve also features in the name of Vishnu, Red/Dionysian preserver god of the Indian pantheon. Vishnu corresponds to the Norse Loki and Odin, the Greek Hermes and Ares, and the Egyptian Thoth and Upuat, among many others.
At last a brief lesson is called for regarding what is conventionally termed the precession of the Earth’s axis of rotation relative to the background stars (i.e. relative to the fixed stars, the firmament). This so-called precession is the basis of the precession of the equinoxes. The current lesson, however, is told from the prehistoric, proto-mythological perspective, and as such it abandons talk of precession and of the Earth’s axis of rotation. In abandoning these modern (and I dare say White/Apollonian) concepts, we will largely enter the consciousness of prehistoric humanity. And from that perspective we will be able to literally see the secret master key to mythology and history.
Gravity is such that the fixed stars each night rotate as if they are a single extremely large spherical constellation with the Earth at its center. In other words, this rotation occurs relative to a pair of opposed and otherwise invisible points among this essentially universal constellation. These points are the basis of what we call “north” and what we call “south.” The upper half of the rotation about the “northern” point proceeds from right (White) to left (Red) (relative to an [Earthly] observer directing his or her gaze upon this point). The upper half of the rotation about the “southern” point, on the other hand, proceeds from left to right (again, relative to an observer directing his or her gaze upon this point). The Earth’s equator is the line on the Earth’s surface where these 2 opposite points are both on the horizon. As a person travels north of this line, said northerly point rises higher above the horizon while said southerly point drops lower below the horizon, and vice versa.
Strangely each of these points also changes independently of an observer’s position on Earth. Which is to say, each of the pair of points moves relative to the fixed stars. Such movement is essentially universal, invariant. (This is the same kind of invariance that is famously at bottom of Einstein’s special and general theories of relativity.) The direction of the northerly point’s invariant movement is the same as the direction of the universe’s nightly rotation about that point: right (White) to left (Red). Likewise the direction of the southerly point’s invariant movement is the same as the direction of the universe’s nightly rotation about that point: left to right. These changes are extremely slow, however, for each occurs within its own series of ellipses, each ellipse having a period of what is best considered to be either 25,920 years or 26,352 years. Nevertheless, each of these 2 points is a “hand” of the universal clock. Not only does this clock have 2 hands, and not only do these 2 hands move in perfectly contrary directions; the clock’s face is extremely complex, consisting of all the stars and the sub-constellations thereof.
This universal clock is naturally simplified because anywhere away from the equator only 1 of its clock hands is visible. The clock can be further simplified insofar as an observer considers only those sub-constellations proximal to that visible hand. In this sense the northern face of the universal clock has 6 hours, for the northern hand passes just inside 6 sub-constellations during its long cycle: Hercules, Bootes, Ursa Major, Cepheus, Cygnus, and Lyra. Another such constellation is located just inside and tangent to the ellipse described by said hand/point: the adze-like Ursa Minor, whose tip the star Polaris coincides with said ellipse.
Centered upon the northern face of the universal clock is the constellation Draco, the sea–serpent. Draco therefore is best considered the chief constellation of this face, symbolic of the whole face and moreover of the entire clock, the entire universe. He is equivalent to Hephaistos, Poseidon, Erichthonios, Andvari, Yahweh.
In other words, the universal clock is a photograph of the hero in general, of the singular, cyclic, heroic journey, of all culture. “Stars,” Hart Crane wrote in his Bridge, “scribble in our eyes the frosty sagas/The gleaming cantos of unvanquished space.” The whole universe i.e. the structure of your experience in general is a clock, a culture. And the meaning of the universe is that you are not alone. This universe, this universal clock the only perfect clock, yet still only quasi-cyclic is the prehistoric Holy Grail: a cup, an aegis, as it were, that contains all souls.
The (quasi-)periodicity which characterizes the universal clock corresponds to the orthodox quantum of action and moreover to the nascent quantum mathematics which I think physics is destined to be identified with. The modern, geometric, spatial model of the universe is false. There is no essentially unlimited configuration space. There is no set of Riemannian-like spaces. Increasingly since the inception of the Great Reversal, virtually all of us have been plugged in, as it were, to the geometric model of the universe. I’m going to indicate how you can unplug yourself, how you can recognize the universe and the matrix (reality) for what it is. In the process you will begin to understand that the famous “spookiness” of orthodox quantum theory is a drop in the bucket.
Let’s move forward in this extreme respect via an explication of the northern and southern faces of the universal clock. As I noted, all the movement associated with the northern hand of the universal clock is from right to left, from physically powerful to physically weak, i.e. from White to Red; while all the movement associated with the southern hand is from left to right. According to proto-mythology, the Red/Dionysian is superior to the White/Apollonian: somehow or another, whether by the high priest or by the universe at large, the ascended hero (e.g. king) is sacrificed, rendering him Red/Dionysian. In this respect the northern face of the universal clock is the proto-mythological face; it dominates the southern face as the high priest dominates the king, as the pen is mightier than the sword.
Almost all clocks, however, move in the other direction, the so-called “clockwise” direction, for this is the direction of ascendancy linearity, you might say and especially of the Great Reversal. The “counter-clockwise” direction is significant of the proto-mythological and the Red/Dionysian, of (quasi-)cyclicity.
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Destiny is a proto-mythological notion. The high tide of destiny corresponds to the time when the northern face of the universal clock is closest to the northern horizon, i.e. farthest from the south and thus furthest from the White/Apollonian. At that time the hand of that northern face coincides with the aforementioned tip of Ursa Minor, the “fox star” Polaris. In this sense Ursa Minor and its familiar star are the ultimate pointer, stellar equivalent of a proto-mythological guide, a high priest, a “king bee,” a bit, a Ptah, a Peter. The Egyptians called this guide Upuat, Opener of the Way. Again, the adze which the Egyptians used in their famous Opening of the Mouth ceremony, which ceremony they performed upon the body of the recently dead Pharaoh, corresponds precisely to the Ursa Minor constellation.
As far as I know, modern scholars have failed to recognize in the Opening of the Mouth ceremony a re-enactment of the cutting down (sacrifice) of a great tree (hero/king). My brother is a firefighter and has been professionally trained to manage wildfires. That training involves instruction in the art of the sawyer. The sawyer begins to fell a large tree by cutting (with saw, axe or adze) a “bird’s mouth” wedge into a side of the tree. That wedge should terminate about 3/7 of the way into the tree. The sawyer then steps to the opposite side and makes a more acute “kerf” cut the same distance inward, thus leaving the tree’s middle 1/7 or so as “holding wood.” Next the sawyer inserts a wedge into the kerf cut and “opens that mouth” until the holding wood begins to make a cracking sound. Upon hearing that sound the sawyer knows the tree is about to come down. He or she drops the cutting device and runs via a predeterimed route away from the tree (perhaps yelling “Timber!”). The saw (adze, axe) corresponds to Ursa Minor; the wedge that opens the kerf (i.e. mouth) corresponds to Cepheus; and the holding wood corresponds to the duration between Polaris and Cepheus. Prehistoric peoples even today often fell trees such that the downed trees form the fence line of a field. Those fenced fields correspond to the Pegasus Square.
Tom Sawyer is Upuat. Huck Finn and Jim are the Pharaoh, the Phoenix, the World Tree. The Mississippi is the river of death, of descent, of bondage. And the Ohio is the river of life, of ascent, of freedom. Samuel Clemens’ penname Mark Twain, by the way, means “2 fathoms.”
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Note regarding Argo Navis: Carina is “the keel,”
At high tide of the universal clock the southern constellation Columba the white dove, the White Phoenix is farthest from the clock’s southern hand. At low tide, which corresponds to the northern constellation Hercules, the southern hand coincides with the southern tip of Columba. Which is to say, Columba is not only equivalent to Hercules but is also the White/Apollonian counterpart of Ursa Minor.
In Apollonius’s Argonautica we meet in connection with such dove the aged and blind seer Phineus brother of Europa, and son of the aforementioned King Agenor of Canaan. Interestingly, Cepheus — husband of Cassiopeia, father of Andromeda — is said to have a brother named Phineus and to be a son of Agenor. That Phineus-brother-of-Cepheus was expected to marry Andromeda, but a certain dragon and Perseus/George upset the plan. Cepheus-son-of-Agenor is likely meant to be conflated with the Cepheus whose father is said to be Belus, making him the brother of Danaus, King of Libya, and Aegyptus, King of Egypt. Cepheus-son-of-Belus has a wife named Iope. The name Iope indeed looks like a truncated version of Cassiopeia and is probably eponymous with the “Aethiopian” city of Ioppa (i.e. Joppa, later Jaffa).
The Argonautica’s Phineus presides over Salmydessus in eastern Thrace. During a feast which Jason and the Argonauts throw in his honor, Phineus prophecies that these adventurers must attempt with the aid of a female dove (or heron or crane) passage through the twin Cynaen (“Blue”) rocks, which rocks are famous for inveterately slamming together to crush any living creature who dares travel between. Of course the prophecy comes true: “and then Euphemus grasped the dove in his hand and started to mount the prow; and they, at the bidding of Tiphys, son of Hagnias, rowed with good will to drive Argo between the rocks, trusting to their strength.” Released, the dove speeds between the rocks so fast that they fail to harm it. Hence the rocks return to their separate stations for the last time, absent forever their previous mobility. Athena meanwhile facilitates the Argo’s passage through the agitated neck of water. Said twin rocks are otherwise known as the Planctae or Symplegades, the latter meaning “Simple Gate,” the word simple deriving from the Latin sem or sim, importantly meaning “1,” and plus or plex, meaning “multiplied by.” To this day these rocks mark the transition between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, the so-called Bosporus, which also marks the transition from Asia to Europe. As we will see, these rocks correspond to the Pillars of Hercules, i.e. to the legs of the constellation Hercules. Which is to say, Columba equals Herakles.
Interestingly, Robert Graves notes: “Sir Isaac Newton was the first, so far as I know, to point out the connexion between the Zodiac and the Argo’s voyage.” Graves is referring to Newton’s Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended, in which Newton writes:
For the ship Argo was the first long ship built by the Greeks. Hitherto they had used round vessels of burden, and kept within sight of the shore; and now, upon an Embassy to several Princes upon the coast of the Euxine [Black] and Mediterranean Seas, by the dictates of the Oracle, and consent of the Princes of Greece, the Flower of Greece were to sail with Expedition through the deep, in a long Ship with Sails, and guide their Ship by the Stars.
And so the journey of the Argonauts is chiefly associated with the stars.
The Zodiac accounts for the movement of the universal clock in terms of the rising and setting of the Sun at the equinoxes and solstices. This accounting is White/Apollonian in contrast to the accounting based directly on the faces of the universal clock, especially the northern face. The White/Apollonian nature of the Zodiac is emphasized in terms of the convention by which the Zodiacal age is assigned according to the constellation that rises in approximate conjunction with the Sun on the so-called spring (i.e. “vernal”) equinox, when the Sun is directly over the equator (and thus when daytime is almost exactly equal to nighttime: day equals night, Latin equi nox). Therefore we have the phrase “precession of the equinoxes.” All the Zodiacal constellations are of course approximately in the “plane of the ecliptic,” i.e. the plane of the Earth’s supposed orbit about the Sun. (The orbital plane of each planet, although naturally unique to that planet, is nearly coincident with the Earth’s; this supposedly because the path of each planet as seen from the Earth is nearly identical to the path of the Sun as seen from Earth.) Insofar as a Zodiacal constellation rises in conjunction with the Sun, the constellation is not visible. However, by noticing which constellations have risen in the east over the course of the night, and by checking a general star chart of sorts, an observer can determine which constellation actually rises in conjunction with the Sun.
Precisely inasmuch as a stellar constellation is immediate to or otherwise associated with a face of the universal clock, the constellation is proto-mythological. This understanding can hardly be overestimated in our effort to understand mythology, yet it has gone almost entirely unrecognized or unremarked by the authorities on mythology, all of whom have labored under the spell of the Great Reversal. James Joyce is perhaps the only exception. In fact you now possess the master key to his Finnegans Wake. Joyce, as we will learn, considered himself equivalent to Ursa Minor, to Upuat, to the high priest, and, contrariwise, to Columba.
“As often as I think of that unbloody housewarmer,” exclaims Joyce’s (White/Apollonian) Shaun in the Wake, “Shem Skrivenitch, always cutting my phrose to please his phrase … He was grey at three, like sygnus the swan, when he made his boo to the public and barnacled up to the eyes when he repented after seven.” That “three” is a reference to the constellation Cygnus and to the beginning of the Zodiacal age of Libra, precisely 3 such ages from the end of the Zodiacal age of Aquarius; likewise it references the constellation Bootes and the Zodiacal age of Gemini, precisely 3 such ages beyond the age of Libra. “Boo,” of course, is Bootes. The phrase “repented after seven” means 5 + 7 = 12 and indicates the full circle back to Libra, which is separated from Gemini by 7 Zodiacal ages. The word “barnacled” refers to Joyce’s wife Nora Barnacle; and “up to the eyes” refers to the blind Orion walking through the sea, á la Poseidon/Neptune. (Joyce himself suffered terrible problems with his eyesight.) Orion as such is equivalent to Zeus in the form of a swan, i.e. Cygnus.
“Upu now!” replies Shem to Shaun a page later.
The preceding diagram of the northern face of the universal clock indicates the clock’s correspondence to the 12 or 14 Titans of Greek mythology, the sons and daughters of Gaia and Ouranos. Each of the daughters is associated with a son, the 6 or 7 resulting combinations being unique, dual, proto-mythological units. The river Oceanus connects the proto-mythological low- and high-points. In ancient Egypt the Nile delta and the sea were ironically associated with said high-point: Polaris/Aquarius. The proto-mythological celestial river of ancient and prehistoric Egypt flowed from the sweetwater mansion of Ouranos and Hercules to Ursa Minor and Polaris. Ouranos corresponds to the Egyptian god Amen, who thus corresponds to the previous Great Year, the Sunken Continent, a Golden Age. Cepheus is Ptah is Peter. He represents at once the ascendant and the descendent. He sits atop (or hangs upon) the World Tree, which tree is rooted in the Pegasus Square (a.k.a. the Great Square). From Cepheus’s head, as it were, the World Tree aborts into a huge canopy — the Milky Way — that arcs down to each horizon. Yet Cepheus is on the descendent side of the heroic cycle. He is falling. He is entering the tomb, the night, the ark the Pegasus Square. This descendent stretch of the heroic cycle is a river of sorts in its own right.
Cepheus is the Green Man, the Wild Man, the Sylvester/Sylvanus, the Iron John, of European myth. His name stems from the Greek Kepheús, meaning (á la the name George) “gardener,” and probably too from the Greek kephale, meaning “head” (like in cephalopod), as well as from the Aramaic Qepha, meaning “rock.” The Greek kephale is cognate with the Old High German gebal, meaning “skull,” and gibil, meaning “gable, pole of the Earth.” The most unique charge leveled against the Knights Templar during Philip IV’s persecution of the order is that they worshipped a strange human-like head. The legal records of the trials which culminated that persecution say remarkably little or nothing about the head but several do contain interesting accounts of it. Guillaume de Arbley who was the preceptor of the Templar house at Soissy in the diocese of Meaux testified on 22 October 1307 that he had seen a bearded head idol twice, which he claimed was gilded and made of silver and wood. In some instances the head is described as having 2 heads and 4 legs. Quoting British historian Norman Cohn: “Some describe [the head] as having three faces, others as having four feet, others as being simply a face with no feet. For some it was a human skull, embalmed and encrusted with jewels; for others it was carved out of wood. Some maintained that it came from the remains of a former grand master of the order, while others were equally convinced that it was Baphomet — which in turn was interpreted as 'Mohammed'. Some saw it as having horns.”
The Green Man of Bamberg, a corbel to the foliated ledge supporting the famous Rider of Bamberg (c. 1239), Der Bamberger Reiter, in the cathedral of Bamberg, Germany. Note the castle in the air, perhaps significant of Cepheus. Here, then, we see the Green Man, St. George and Cepheus virtually identified with each other. Recall in this connection the Arabic name for St. George: Al-Khiḍr, "the Green One." The statue is located on a console at the north pillar of the St. George choir (which indeed is its original location) and is considered the first monumental equestrian statue since classical antiquity. Kathleen Basford, in her study of these Bamberg figures, calls this Green Man the "dark counterpart" of the horseman. Stefan George (1868–1933) wrote a poem about the statue. His work influenced Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, the would-be assassin of Hitler who was a member of the cavalry unit Bamberger Reiter- und Kavallerieregiment 17 (17th Cavalry Regiment). Stauffenberg called Stefan George his lodestar. (Photo at left © Clive Hicks: www.clivehicks.co.uk. See the book Green Man, by Anderson and Hicks.)
In terms of the Zodiac, the mythological high-point is the 7th (seventh) age, the age of Aquarius “the water gatherer.” Similarly this age corresponds to the 7th month of the modern calendar, the month of September. More importantly it corresponds to the proto-mythological New Year. Recall that the Latin sem means “1.” Here is the very name Shem; it means multeity-in-unity. And this indeed is why the number 7 is named “seven.”
Every moment at every scale is a beginning and an ending, a moment of sacrifice, a Zenith and a Fall; every moment is quantum-gravitational, a crux, a cross, a multeity-in-unity — essentially, extremely beautiful. To occupy a Golden Age is to consciously occupy not only the mythological high-point but at once the whole heroic cycle. Thus a Golden Age is by its nature not only sustainable but eternal. Like the dragon in the legend of St. George, it is never really killed. The heroic cycle is the essence of every moment. Every moment is quantum in both a structural (spatial, you might say) and temporal sense; both are quasi cyclic. This is the complex, fractal, holistic nature of quantum gravity, of existence in general. xxx
The universal aspect of the Black/Baroque consists of a celestial component, a planetary component, and an Earthly component. These 3 components are a multeity-in-unity. As such, the spatial structures and temporal cycles evident within each such component should mathematically — i.e. quantumly — resonate with those evident within the other such components. Most importantly the aforenoted 25,920-year or 26,352-year cycle of the universal clock and consequently of the Zodiac should correspond in this sense to the seeming 365 days or 366 days of the Sun’s cycle relative to the Earth. (Pre-historic and ancient proto-mythologists of course considered the Sun a planet circling the Earth.)
21 September 2070
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This is the sense in which the number 5 enters the picture. The organic structures present on Earth tend to evidence a remarkable 5-fold symmetry. The animal body, for instance, tends to consists of 2 rear limbs + 2 front limbs + 1 head = 5 major parts. Moreover, the terminus of each such limb tends to be graced by 5 digits. There are also the 5 senses. And so on. Now, 365 - 5 = 360 (i.e. a moira), and 25,920 / 360 = 72. Likewise, 26,352 / 366 = 72. Thus if a universal clock face is conceptually divided into either 360 or 366 equal wedges, the clock will complete 1 such tick every 72 years, which is approximately the maximum human lifespan.
The modern measurements of the precession of the Earth’s axis give a figure of 25,776 years. Therefore the single-degree precessional figure is 71.6 years. However, the proto-mythologists would have gained virtually nothing and lost almost everything if they chose to code 71.6 rather than 72 into proto-mythology. They expected quantum mathematics, and that’s what they believed they discovered. This is actually proper procedure for a theoretical scientist. Recall Einstein: “It is theory which first determines what can be observed.” Principle should be the last thing abandoned; empirical inconsistencies — especially slight ones — relative to the corollaries of principle should be doggedly considered consequent of experimental flaw, whether that flaw be materially accidental or conceptually accidental (i.e. corollary of a different theory, which theory is nevertheless a basis of the design or interpretation of the experiment testing the theory in question). This conservation of principle should indeed be radical, although it likewise implies a radical critique of the principle or principles involved, which critique will tend to modify principles.
The “discovery” of the relations between 25,920 and 365 and between 26,352 and 366 is at bottom of the system according to which there are 5 holy days (“holidays”) plus 360 normal days. Here we have the Golden/Legal basis of Mesopotamia’s famous “sexagesimal” numbering system — i.e. the quasi base-60 system — which is still with us today in terms of 60 seconds, 60 minutes, 360 degrees, and so on. The word sexagesimal — indicating base-60 — as applied here is slightly misleading; for only 2 symbols (not 60 symbols) are used to represent the numbers from 1 through 60, these symbols being and . (Unless I note otherwise, the numbers presented in this volume are of course base-10 numbers.) The initial symbol serves for both 1 and 60; the other serves for 10. The number 7, for instance, is written ; the number 12 is written ; the number 74 is written ; the number 100 is written ; the number 2159 is written (where the is in the 103 place, the is in the 102 place, the is in the 101 place, and the is in the 100 place); and the number 2160 is written simply (where is in the 103 place, is in the 102 place, is in the 101 place, and the 100 place is either left obviously blank or left to be inferred from the particular context).
Note that the sexagesimal symbols for the numbers 9 — — and 4 are the only such symbols that are perfectly square — á la the Pegasus Square. Note, too, that 9 x 40 = 360.
Let’s now direct our focus to the middle component of the universe: the planets, the planasthai as the Greeks called them, the “wanderers.” The planets — which category importantly includes comets and meteors — wander relative to the fixed stars. The 7 obvious primary planasthai, which group includes of course the Sun and the Moon, were recognized by proto-mythologists as not only orbiting the Earth but also — due to the remarkable variance in their brightness over the months and years — as wandering by turns farther from and nearer to the Earth, such variance being especially noticeable of Mercury, Venus, and Mars.
The Sun — chief among the planets — was considered feminine. The planets were referred to as her “dogs”; the “the dogs of Persephone,” Pythagoras called them, implying Red/Dionysian Aphrodite along with Red/Dionysian Persephone. The fixed stars and each of the 7 primary planets rose and fell each day just like the kingly Phoenix. But the Moon — which furthermore waxes and wanes — is extremely Phoenix-like and is in this sense masculine relative to the Sun. Indeed, Sonne in German is a female word whereas Mond, “Moon,” is masculine. Likewise in Japanese the Sun is feminine and the Moon masculine. “There is, in fact,” writes Joseph Campbell, “a great mythological area east of the Rhine, where the myth of the moon brother and sun sister is told.” Essentially referring to the Great Reversal, Campbell emphasizes: “The new age of the Sun God has dawned, and there is to follow an extremely interesting, mythologically confusing development (known as solarization), whereby the entire symbolic system of the earlier age is to be reversed, with the moon and the lunar bull assigned to the mythic sphere of the female, and the lion, the solar principle, to the male.”
In the largely proto-mythological courts of Sumer the following planetary correspondences were recognized and honored: the king corresponded to the Moon (Dummuzi, Tammuz, Osiris, Attis, Adonis, etc., Joyce’s White/Apollonian Shaun and ultimately Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker), the queen corresponded to the Sun (Inanna/Antu, Ishtar, Isis, Astarte/Cybele, Aphrodite/Persephone, Demeter, etc., Joyce’s Anna Livia Plurabelle); meanwhile the virgin maiden who accompanied the king in death (to be his bride upon his resurrection, of sorts) corresponded to the planet Venus (Inanna, as both “evening star” and “morning star,” goddess of the underworld and goddess of the overworld, Aphrodite/Persephone and Athena, goddess of love and goddess of war, Red/Dionysian and White/Apollonian, Plurabelle and Livia and altogether Anna, i.e. the Sun, Everywoman, the Green Woman; Joyce’s Isabelle); and finally the 4 chief ministers of state — lord of the treasury, lord of war, lord executioner, and prime minister — corresponded to the planets Mercury, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter, respectively (Joyce’s Red/Dionysian Shem and, latterly, Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker). In terms of these last 4 planets we have the 4 aspects of the Red/Dionysian type: messenger, god of war (i.e. sacrificed warrior in contrast to active warrior), high priest, and sacrificed king (Father Dis, and all ancestors and descendents; corresponding to the Sun, Anna Livia Plurabelle).
The dashing, pure, sophomoric, provisional, White/Apollonian aspect of the male is represented by the silver/white crescent Moon. This aspect culminates in the king at the moment of sacrifice — i.e. in the full Moon, and especially the “Harvest Moon” when in the autumn the full Moon rises in synch with but opposite to the setting Sun and therefore appears both large and orange (owing respectively to its close visual proximity to the familiar objects of the horizon and to the extremely unusual path by which its light reaches the viewer). As we will learn, the color orange is proto-mythologically significant of the season of sacrifice. The king/Moon at the moment of being sacrificed is united with all the other planets — especially with the Sun, the apparent disc of which, by a quantum coincidence, occupies exactly the same area of visual space as does the full Moon, hence the transit of the Moon across the Sun can result in a total eclipse of the Sun. (The apparent mean diameter of the Sun is 32 minutes 2 seconds of arc, while that of the Moon is 31 minutes 37 seconds. Later I will explain that the number 32 is richly related to the precise moment of falling, i.e. to the tip of the pyramid. ... A similar and related quantumness is the fact that the Moon always shows virtually the same face to the Earth, the rotations of the 2 bodies being in synch.) Now you see the tremendous importance that the proto-mythological consciousness attached (and attaches) to such eclipse. Joseph Campbell, from his Occidental Mythology:
A fundamental idea of all pagan religious disciplines, both of the Orient and the Occident [during the period of the 1st millennium BCE] was that the inward turning of the mind (symbolized by sunset) should culminate in a realization of an identity in esse of the individual (microcosm) and the universe (macrocosm), which, when achieved, would bring together in one order of act and realization the principles of eternity and time, sun and moon, male and female, Hermes and Aphrodite (Hermaphroditus), and the two serpents of the caduceus.
The image of the “Meeting of sun and moon” is everywhere symbolic of this instant, and the only unsolved questions in relation to its universality are: a) how far back it goes, b) where it first arose, and c) whether from the start it was read both psychologically and cosmologically.
Thus far we have recognized the following set of “prime” proto-mythological numbers: 3 (levels of the universe), 25,920, 26,352, 6, 7 (the primary planets, and Ursa Minor), 8 (Draco), 9 and 4 (perfect cubes per the sexagesimal numbering system; akin to the Pegasus Square), 40 (because 9 x 40 = 360), 365, 5, 360, 60 (360 / 6), 366, and 72. According to proto-mythology, the movements of the planets should correspond in quantum fashion to this set of numbers. As I will explain much later on, the planets do not disappoint in this respect. In fact, they amaze!
From the set of primary proto-mythological (Red/Dionysian) numbers we can derive a strictly secondary (White/Apollonian) set which should correspond to the stellar constellations significantly apart from the northern face of the universal clock. It is only in this secondary sense that the 12 constellations of the Zodiac — as well as the set consisting of 12 first-magnitude stars, i.e. those stars bright enough to be visible upon their rising or setting — are to be considered fundamental. Likewise the number 30 is only secondarily fundamental, for 12 x 30 = 360. This recognition indicates that the proto-mythological month consists not of 30 days but of 40 days; likewise the proto-mythological year consists not of 12 months but of 9 months. I will confirm this hunch as we progress through this volume.
Inasmuch as the rising of the Sun in the springtime and hence 12-ness and 30-ness and clockwise directionality are primary, we have a clear mythological expression of White/Apollonian reversal and especially of the Great Reversal. These markers signify the discrediting of sacrifice, the elevation of the provisional over the principled, the warrior over the priest/poet, the continuum over the quantum, White over Red, ideal over real, male over female.
The legend of how the twins Remus and Romulus founded Rome recalls such reversal, especially the Great Reversal. When Remus (equivalent to Joyce’s Shem) and Romulus (Joyce’s Shaun) quarrelled regarding where their new city should stand, they agreed to settle the dispute by divination. But when during this process Remus saw 6 vultures and Romulus 12, the twins came to blows and Romulus killed Remus.
Note the 12-ness now ramifying in our world. We have 12 hours on the clock face, 12 months, 12 inches in a foot, 12 jurors, 12 eggs in a carton, 12 tribes of Israel, and 12 apostles. King Arthur’s famous round table was attended by precisely 12 knights (the perilous empty 13th seat was eventually occupied by Galahad, he who could see the Grail distinctly), and Arthur’s last and greatest battle was his 12th. The Egyptian physiological system is based on the number 12: “These canals, by cosmic flux and reflux, conduct the red and white solar energy to the areas where the 12 powers lie sleeping within the organs of the body. Once, every two hours of the night and day, each is activated by the passage of Ra, the Sun of the blood, and then it returns to sleep.” Chinese acupuncture is based upon 12 supposed meridians of the body; and every 12 hours a single meridian reaches peak activity. Buddhism’s karmic chain or wheel of life consists of precisely 12 links.
But let’s recommence our survey of the proto-mythological number 5, which number we haven’t paid its due. Horus — dominately White/Apollonian hero figure of Egypt, and the equivalent of Hamlet — is the 5th son of the greatest god Ra, according to the Egyptian Heliopolitan (a.k.a. Onian) theology. The progression in that theology is Ra to Shu to Geb/Seb/Keb to Osiris to Horus. Ancient architects of the Middle East, Central America and North America symbolized the cosmic primacy of 5-ness using the 5 points of the sacred ziggurat or pyramid. Such structures are akin to the begging bowl of the Buddha, in which 4 bowls from the 4 quarters are united, this unity being the 5th aspect of the set and akin to the apex (ben, “head”) of a pyramid. There are also the 5 “aggregates” or skandha of Buddhism, these being 5 categories in which the sense of self is ensconced: physical forms, feelings/sensations, perceptions, habits, and consciousness. The Chinese elements are 5-fold: wood, fire, earth, metal, water. And the Chinese calendar recognizes 5 seasons. Moreover, the Chinese musical scale consists of 5 notes. There are 5 Pillars of Islam, i.e. 5 Pillars of “Submission (to Allah),” of “peace”: acknowledgement of Allah (Shahadah); ritual prayers (Salat or Namaaz); paying of ritual alms (Zakat or Zakah); fasting (Saum or Siyam) during Ramadan, i.e. during the 9th month of the Islamic (lunar) calendar; and pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj). Muslims — i.e. Submitters (to Allah) — are moreover instructed to pray to Allah 5 times every 24 hours. The number 5 also represents the 4 Greek elements (earth, air, fire, and water) plus the force supposedly unifying them. Homer refers to the “rosy-fingered dawn” precisely 5 times in the Iliad.
In the United States of America the telephone number 555 1212 is generally the number to call if you need to find another telephone number. Red/Dionysian coupled to White/Apollonian.
I should add that the perfect “Pythagorean” or “Platonic” solids are 5 in number: the tetrahedron (pyramid) bounded by 4 equilateral triangles; the cube; the octahedron (8 equilateral triangles); the dodecahedron (12 pentagons); and the icosahedron (20 equilateral triangles). Each of these solids, being perfectly symmetric, can be inscribed into a sphere such that every vertex of the solid lies on the surface of the sphere; likewise each can contain a sphere such that the sphere is tangent to every surface. No other perfectly symmetrical, 3-dimensional solid satisfies these criteria. Plato considered these solids the smallest 3-dimensional constituents of perceptible things. He further recognized, however, that these elemental solids are not the ultimate elements. Rather the perfect solids consist of their faces, which are regular, 2-dimensional polygons consisting of triangles whose sides are related to each other in extremely beautiful ratios. Plato even allowed that the triangles can dissociate and recombine in new ways. Said mere yet beautiful ratios are therefore the true elements according to Plato. As Plato may have known, the function Phi (i.e. the Golden Mean of the Fibonacci series), the function Pi, and the square root functions of the numbers 2, 3, and 5 are altogether sufficient to form the perfect solids and to define and describe all possible harmonic combinations of numbers (i.e. ratios, quanta). “All is number,” asserted the Pythagoreans famously and in perfect accord with the Golden/Legal philosophy. In other words, the essence of reality is quantum, rational.
At this point in our discussion I cannot resist presenting a particular further commentary about the aforementioned Fibonacci series. Every 5th number — and only every 5th number — of the Fibonacci series is a multiple of 5. In fact this is the most obvious symmetry in the series. Renowned British mathematician and physicist Roger Penrose, now of Oxford University, has developed an aperiodic 2-dimensional tiling pattern consisting of 2 shapes — a rhomboid with angles of 36 and 144 degrees (and reducible to 2 so-called Golden triangles connected base to base) and another with angles of 72 and 108 degrees. (Later I will explain why the numbers 36, 108 and 144 are proto-mythologically important.) When a plane is tiled according to Penrose’s rules the ratio of the number of occurrences of the 1st rhomboid to the number of occurrences of the 2nd is the aforenoted irrational “number” (i.e. function) called the Golden Mean or Golden Ratio (Phi): 1.161803…. The same Penrose tiling also reveals a pattern of overlapping decagons. Each tile within the pattern is contained in 1 of 2 types of decagons, the ratio of the 2 decagon populations being the Golden Mean.
This particular 5-fold symmetry calls to mind the spooky, non-locally growing, 5-fold-symmetrical quasi-crystals which Penrose thinks may represent the most minute physical correspondence to consciousness.
The Fibonacci series harbors an obvious 12-fold symmetry also, for the number 12 is a factor of every 12th number — and only every 12th number — of the Fibonacci series. This indeed is the penultimate obvious symmetry in the series, and together with the aforenoted 5-fold symmetry it amounts to a marked 60-fold symmetry therein.
As my previous comments regarding ziggurats and pyramids indicate, proto-mythologists symbolized 5-ness by coordinating 4 otherwise separate things to meet at a center. Such symbol projected onto 2 dimensions is found in the archaeological record of prehistory everywhere around the world except, or so I’m told, south of the Sahara and in Australia. Its name is “swastika.” The cross is a sub-category of swastika, as is the infamous symbol of the Nazis. When the legs of a swastika are rendered such that they seem to be churning in the clockwise direction (as in the Nazi symbol) the swastika expresses the White/Apollonian paradigm. Indeed, such clockwise swastika is an ancient Teutonic symbol for the dominantly White/Apollonian lightning god Thor. A swastika with legs moving in the counter-clockwise direction, on the other hand, symbolizes the Red/Dionysian. At the beginning of his fine book The Snow Leopard, Peter Matthiessen presents an extremely interesting map showing various Himalayan monasteries marked by swastikas of either the clockwise or counter-clockwise type, depending on whether the monastery is a bastion of the Mahayana Buddhist religion or of the relatively aboriginal B’on religion. Consider this excerpt:
Despite his persecution of B’on sorcerers, Padma Sambhava [who established Mahayana Buddhism in Tibet in the 8th century CE], in the Buddhist tradition of absorbing the local religions, seems to have tolerated the inclusion of much B’on magic in Nyingma, including the grim chöd rites from the pre-Buddhist Tibetan manuscripts known as “Heart-Drops from the Great Space.” The chöd rites may well be much older than B’on itself, deriving from archaic practices of sacrifice and exorcism.
Matthiessen continues, quoting an authority:
‘There is no word for Buddhism in Tibet. Tibetans are either chos-pa (followers of chos — the Dharma or Universal Law as revealed by Buddha) or b’on-pos (followers of bon).’ Yet in practice, B’on has adapted itself so thoroughly to Buddhism, and vice versa, that in their superficial forms they are much the same.
We began this chapter by regarding Yahweh and Delphi; we then coursed through the stars and planets, addressed quantum mathematics and perhaps quantum physics, and ended up in the monasteries of the Himalaya. If good old Yahweh is as complex as this analysis suggests, we should expect this complexity to be evident in Hebrew mythology. As you know, a prime and early character in that mythology is Abraham. A survey of Abraham’s legendary journey (as Abram) from Ur (a former capital of Sumeria) to Canaan will therefore be a good way for us to further our understanding of Yahweh’s complexity.
Straightaway in this respect we notice that Abram’s journey is indeed described as proceeding in the counter-clockwise direction, the direction significant of (and native to) the Red/Dionysian. Moreover, Abram is a son of Terah, who is a 9th-generation descendant of Noah’s Red/Dionysian eldest son Shem — the other sons of Noah being Japheth (a White/Apollonian character) and Ham (the youngest son; akin to Hamlet and Horus and Joyce’s Shaun; a White/Apollonian character and “father of Canaan,” which land and people Yahweh nevertheless curses such that they are destined to be dominated by the descendents of both Shem and Japheth). As a 9th generation descendent of Shem, Terah should likewise be considered Red/Dionysian. Terah’s other sons are Haran and Nahor. Haran has already and rather mysteriously died by the time Terah and family leave Ur, but not before fathering a son, Lot. Haran’s death leaves Nahor as the lone brother of Abram. Abram is Red/Dionysian, Nahor is White/Apollonian. Indeed Abram’s Red/Dionysian character seems to be emphasized in terms of Haran’s death, for Haran in dying becomes Red/Dionysian. In a sense, Abram is equivalent to the dead Haran.
Accordingly we should expect that the name Abram signifies the Red/Dionysian. Consider in this respect the root ram. Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic year. The Latin ramus means “branch” and is akin to the Latin radix, “root.” The Low German ram means “cream.” The Hindu Rama is an avatar of Vishnu, the chief Red/Dionysian god of the Indian pantheon. Vishnu is the preserver — as a poet or priest is a preserver — and is symbolized by the lion. The Egyptian Ra, equivalent to the Sun, is proto-mythologically female. Abraham, you see, is lion of the desert, Sun of the desert; he is a feminine male, like Joyce’s Jewish Leopold Bloom, like Joyce’s Shem, and like Joyce himself.
No reason is given for the commencement of Abram and company’s journey to Canaan, but it is implicitly a working out of the destiny whereby the descendents of Noah’s Shem shall dominate the descendents of Ham. This destined domination seems to be a proto-mythological thesis/recognition: the elder sibling should/does rule over the younger, the Red/Dionysian should/does rule over the White/Apollonian. Terah, Abram and his wife Sarai, along with Nahor and Lot and the rest trek from Ur toward Canaan. Midway, however, when the group reaches the most northerly point of the journey — at the town called Haran (or Harran; focal point of the Fertile Crescent) — they stop and settle there (for no stated reason). We can infer that Haran is mythologically related to the dead brother Haran and that it is a naturally attractive place. Terah eventually dies there in Haran. Thus Terah becomes united with his dead son Haran and also, in this sense, with Abram.
Only now does Yahweh enter the picture, instructing Abram to move onward to Canaan. “I will make of you a great nation … and by you all the families of the Earth shall be blessed.” Heeding Yahweh, Abram and his entourage set out toward Canaan. Eventually Yahweh establishes the famous covenant with Abram according to which Abram will be father of a “multitude of nations.” And finally Yahweh promises to Abram “all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession,” which covenant Yahweh punctuates by adding the suffix -ham to Abram’s name. This suffix recalls the name of Noah’s youngest, White/Apollonian son and is said to signify plurality. Thus the name Abraham seems to mean “branch branch,” “ramify ramify.”
Yahweh seals the deal with the newly renamed Abraham by commanding that “every male among you shall be circumcised,” which sacrifice of sorts is generally meant to initiate a boy into male maturity, i.e. to subsume the puerile, White/Apollonian relation between he and his mother in a mysterious, Red/Dionysian relation between he and another, masculine mother: the priests.
As we’ve noted, Haran (Harran) itself seems to be a very special place. In the story of Abraham, Haran is reached by a counter-clockwise movement; it exerts a mysterious attraction on the party; it is a place of revelation and completion, of death and destiny; and it is a relatively high place, both in elevation and in the sense of its extremely northerly location on Abram’s path. Indeed, as the map below emphasizes, Haran is akin to the so-called ben ben of a pyramid, to the top of a ziggurat, to the summit of a primeval mound, to the center of a swastika, and likewise to the season of sacrifice, the moment of (quantum) gravity, of multeity-in-unity, of beauty.
But what of Haran’s actual history? Located on the western shore of the Balikh River in southeast Turkey, between the Euphrates and the Tigris and within but at the northernmost frontier of the ancient kingdom of Mari, Haran was captured sometime before 1700 BCE by the Hurrians, who seem to have arrived from the relatively northeastern mountains near the twin lakes Van and Urmia on the far side of Tigris River. Considerable evidence now suggests that the Habiru — who became the Hebrews — emerged not out of the ethnic Canaanites but rather out of the Hurrians. If so, it was only in the process of this emergence that the Habiru language took on Canaanite forms and thus changed into the essentially Semitic Hebrew language we know today. The Hurrians spoke an agglutinative language seemingly unrelated to Indo-European and Semitic languages — although they were governed by a class of foreign, Vedic (i.e. Aryan, Indo European) Mitannite nobility. In this sense the Hurrians — and hence the Hebrews — were a dominantly Red/Dionysian people relative to the White/Apollonian Mitanni.
The name Haran is said to mean “mountaineer” and “parched,” and it is probably linked to the Akkadian charana or harannu, meaning “road.” Haran in fact was known for the excellence of its water and is located where the ancient road north from Damascus intersected (i.e. coincided with) the ancient east–west road from Nineveh to Carchemish. Haran was also called Carrhae. Here the Roman Crassus and later the Roman Caracalla were slain, in 5 BCE and 217 CE, respectively. (Legend says molten gold was poured down Crassus’s throat.) Clearly Haran exerted an ominous attractive power on the Romans as well as on Terah and Abram. Haran was indeed home to the chief temple of the Assyrian Moon god Sin, a.k.a. Nanna. (Yes, Sin, as in Joyce’s Shaun). The other chief site of Sin worship was Ur. In the later centuries of the last era, Haran became a center of the Hermetic philosophy, i.e. the philosophy of Hermes Trismegistos (Hermes “Thrice Greatest” or “Most Great” or “Tree Greatest”), which philosophy deals primarily with the contrary notions of multiplicity and unity. Haran later served as the last bastion (relative to Islam; c. 10th century CE) of the so-called Sabaeans (from the verb meaning “to immerse, to plunge in”), pagan worshippers of the stars and of planets. Eventually the first Islamic university was established in Haran. Today Haran is characterized by its bee-hive homes, which typically consist of 2 cones joined by an archway. These structures are extremely unique and call to mind the deep association between bees and the temple at Delphi, “the bee hive.”
gracing the cover of his Lonely Planet guidebook to Turkey, showing 3 girls
and a baby in Haran, the leftmost girl having blondish hair.
It's fair to say that Haran is extremely charged in the proto-mythological sense. Consider its relation to Hermes, Greek equivalent of the Egyptian Thoth and Upuat. Hermes is god of boundaries, enclosures, crossroads, passes, summits. Herms, after which the god is named, are cairns — little pyramids, little ziggurats, piles of stones — marking such important points/coincidences. Joyce wrote to his friend Frank Budgen: “…Hermes [is] the god of public ways, and is the invisible influence … which saves in the case of accident. … Hermes is the god of signposts: i.e. he is, especially for a traveler like Ulysses, the point at which roads parallel merge and roads contrary also. He is an accident of providence.”
Likewise the word cairn which certainly seems cognate with Haran resonates. It is related to the words crown and corona and chorus (“ring dance”) and to the titles/names Kronos (which means “crow”), Hermes/Carnival/Tristan/Drustan (the herm/cairn/boundary/tree/3/phallus god, i.e. the Green Man) and Crone (Ker/Gar/Ger/Car/Cer/Cor/Kol/Kal, the carrion or flesh goddess and likewise the goddess of the herm/cairn/boundary/tree/3/phallus, as in the Caryatids, i.e. the Green Woman, the triple-Goddess). The crow was considered an oracular bird hosting the soul of the sacrificed king.
High, spring-fed groves akin to Haran were proto-mythologically considered sacred, primal, providential gardens, Earthly, horticultural paradises. Likely marked (or bounded) by herms (such as the pile of stones which Odin wills to accumulate beneath him as he hangs on the World Tree), these gardens were natural altars, i.e. places of multeity-in-unity, beauty, gravity, sacrifice. They were natural strongholds as well, natural inns, enclosures, the bases eventually of castles and of the hamlets (from the Old English ham, “village, home”) that sprung up around them.
The very name Haran will serve as our chief point of departure to an incredibly rich etymological treasure trove. For starters, note that Haran is in fact cognate with the Latin arae, which word refers to said primeval forest groves. Ploughed fields were likewise called arate. In Syria the word ari means “lion,” and most of the names of the cities there begin or end with Ara(m), “altar.” Syria itself was called Aramea or Aramia. Hence the name of the Aramaic language, which became the business language in the Middle East. Hermes, importantly, is also god of the market, of exchange, and of thievery…. Likewise we have the term Arab. The grand mosque in Mecca (which Saudi Arabian city is alternatively named Makkah, Bakka, and Baca) is named Masjid al-Harâm, where Masjid means “mosque” and Harâm means “inviolate area, restricted area” (for only Muslims may enter it). India’s Upanishads feature a pond called Ara, which is located in the underworld. The unwise drown in this pond, but the wise cross it using mere strength of mind. As I noted earlier, the English word pond stems from the Middle English poundes, “enclosure,” as in, say, “dog pound.”
The name Aaron is another cognate of Haran. According to biblical lore, Aaron is the older brother of Moses. Their father is Amram, who dies aged 137 years. Of Aaron it is said, “he [in contrast to Moses] can speak well.” Indeed, Aaron becomes the chief priest of Israel. Clearly Aaron is a Red/Dionysian figure. Both of these brothers are of the tribe Levi, whose eponymous patriarch is the son of Leah and Jacob. Levi, too, dies aged 137 years. The tribe of Levi is in fact distinguished as the priestly tribe of the Hebrews. As such, Levites are the tribe responsible for performing the sacrifices upon the altar.
The name Aaron recalls the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland. In the Irish language these 3 islands are called the Oileáin Árainn (the Islands Aran) — the word for island being linked to the word oil, this because oil in water is like an island. (In the name Árainn, the i before the nn serves merely to indicate the palatization of the n.) The Irish ára (dative árainn) literally means “loin” or “kidney.” Here we have a double reference to sacrifice, for oil and kidneys are primary ingredients of ancient offerings. The biblical Exodus and Leviticus together specify that the following sacrifices should involve the kidneys (and “the fat that is on them at the loins”) of a ram: the sin offering, the sacrifice at the consecration of priests, the peace offerings, guilt offerings, and the ordination offering for priests.
In Greek the noun ara also means “harmful object,” “fury,” “vow.” The Greek god of war Ares is also god of altars, the very hearts of communities. Likewise the Latin god of war Mars is also god of the market place. Which is to say, Ares/Mars is Hermes. As Giambattista Vico points up in his New Science — which classic Joyce methodically referenced in creating Finnegans Wake — the Latin noun hara “survived in the sense of sty,” i.e. a pen, an enclosure, a pound, especially for swine, this in contrast to a stylus, a writing instrument. Joyce refers to himself as Shem the Penman, at once indicating his room, his writing utensil, and his complex but dominantly Red/Dionysian nature. Here Joyce is likely also referring to his brotherhood with Symeon the Stylite, c. 390–459, who lived atop a column, á la Odin on the World Tree. Note the Sy- prefix in this name; it is equivalent to Si- and Se-. Symeon inspired the likes of Daniel, 409–93, who lived for 33 years atop a column near Constantinople. Joyce is also referring to the twins Ephialtes and Otus (the so-called Aloeids), bastard sons of Iphimedeia, daughter of Triops, and sired by Poseidon. These twins grew 1 fathom in height and 1 cubit in breadth every year, and when they reached the age of 9 years they declared war on Olympus. Ephialtes swore on the river Styx to rape Hera, and Otus did the same regarding Artemis. Eventually defeated, the twins descended to Tartarus and were there tied back to back to a pillar on top of which the Nymph Styx now forever sits to remind them of the oaths they took on her. They are called “sons of the threshing floor,” their mother being “she who strengthens the genitals,” their grandmother being “3-Face” (Hecate), and they worship the 3 Muses whom Zeus begot on Mnemosyne (“Memory”; the prefix Mne- being equivalent to the name Manu) over the course of 9 nights, such that some say there are 9 Muses. These twins are equivalent to the Giants — which, I think and as I will later explain, represent dreams and especially the nightmare, i.e. the triple-Goddess as she visits us each night. Odin’s nights are impressed by “the Nightmare and her 9-fold”; British legend likewise associates the number 9 with the Nightmare.
By the way, an ancient pupil using a stylus would inscribe characters into a wax tablet which could then be smoothed. The original wax used by humans was beeswax. It was associated with purity, as in the Latin term tabula rasa. The word wax is related to the Greek auxanein and the Latin augēre, “to increase,” and hence to the Moon and to augury. As such, a writer crafting characters is akin to a bee crafting a hive and, a priest marking the progress of the Moon/king, and a prophet interpreting providence. Beeswax was also the original wax for candles. In fact beeswax has the highest melting point of any wax. Beeswax candles burn considerably brighter, longer, with a richer spectrum and with less smoke than do either the petroleum-based paraffin candles familiar to us now or the tallow candles (feeble, smelly, smoky) common in the Middle Ages; they are also naturally fragrant, smelling of honey. The prehistoric cave paintings were likely created in the glow of beeswax candles. Like the tabula rasa, a candle represents purity. The dualites candle and flame, tablet and stylus, stone/clay/bark/papyrus/vellum/paper and ink, are White–Red dualities. I should add that the god Pan — considered the guardian of bees — created his famous pipes by joining reeds together with beeswax. Reeds of course were also used as styli. So there is a connection between Pan the Piper, Shem the Penman, and the bee. Impressed wax was also considered valuable in terms of seals and was likewise used as coin. In this sense, as well as in its actually color, beeswax is an original gold.
According to Vico, hara must originally have meant “victim” — “and it clearly derives from haruspex, seer, so called for consulting the entrails of victims slain at the altars.” In accord with the White/Apollonian paradigm, these sacrificial victims were called hostiae in Latin (from hostes, “enemies,” and cognate with the English hostages) and were referred to as “Saturn’s victims.” Saturn, as noted earlier, represents the high priest, Upuat, Thoth, Hermes, Joyce.
The har/ar- prefix is moreover closely related to the Greek harmes, meaning “joint.” Here again is the notion of separation, transition, sacrifice, creation, multeity-in-unity, beauty, (quantum) gravity. This meaning is deeply related to the fact that sacrificed humans and animals were occasionally torn limb from limb. In har/ar- we likewise have the root of the English words harmony, art, and harm, the latter of which means both “injury” and “mischief” and stems also from the Old Church Slavonic scramu, meaning “shame.” In this light we can largely understand the Peeping Tom accusation leveled against Joyce’s Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, the Phoenix figure in Finnegans Wake. Joyce knew that shamus is slang for “police officer” and that it derives from the Yiddish shames, meaning “a sexton in a synagogue.” A sexton is a person who performs minor but nevertheless ceremonial duties, such as ringing a bell and digging graves; he is a janitor; without him a sacred place would not function. The word janitor derives from the Latin janus or janua, meaning “arch” or “gate.” Hence the name of the 1st month of the modern calendar: January. The god Janus — characterized by the 2 contrary faces — is god of the New Year, god of thresholds, god of transitions, of boundaries, joints, harmes. Janus, like Ares/Mars, is Hermes. Frazer in the Golden Bough recognizes Janus as being equivalent to both Jupiter and Zeus. Concomitantly Frazer recognizes Jana, female consort of Janus, as being equivalent to the Greek pair of goddesses Dione and Hera (Red and White, respectively) and likewise to the corresponding Latin pair Diana and Juno (again, Red and White). Note the Di- prefix in the names Dione and Diana (“Diana of the Crossroads”; a.k.a. Trivia). Here again is the old *deywo-s, “celestial, luminous, radiant,” as in Dyeus, Deus, Zeus. Dione is consort of Zeus at Dodona. And it is from the great oak at Dodona that the (oracular) Argo is fashioned by Argus. Again, the Ar- prefix.
The root Di- also means “to divide,” as in the Greek word daiesthai. This word is linked to the Greek daimon, “demon,” and to the Latin dicere, “to say,” (as in dictate and dice), all of which are further related to tide and time. Here you see that the roots di- and ti- (as in Titans and Tityos and Tethys) are closely related — even more so than are the numbers 2 and 1, which numbers these prefixes otherwise respectively correspond to. In this sense di- and ti- — and likewise de-, te-, si-, se-, vi-, ve-, wi-, we- — mean “complex,” i.e. White–Red.
I’m reminded of the Irish mathematician and physicist William Rowan Hamilton’s understanding of complex (“imaginary”) numbers. It was while walking across a stone bridge over the river Liffey in Dublin that Hamilton finally recognized the proper description of a complex number relative to 3 dimensions requires 4 components rather than just 3, this because the orientation of the 3-component complex vector, as it were, relative to the 3-dimensions is not uniquely determined by the 3 components. Hamilton stopped on the spot and carved the corollary equations — the equations of the “quaternions” — into the bridge, where they can be seen to this day. Generally well liked, gregarious, but of a poetic nature and practice, Hamilton was disappointed in love, and for solace in this regard especially he increasingly turned the great bulk of his awesome intelligence to drink. He died in 1865, aged 60 years.
Hamilton, it’s fair to say, attended Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker’s bar/ara. Earwicker is a janitor of sorts. He tends bar. He administers firewater. He heaves drops and eavesdrops. He is an earwicker. Wizards, as Robert Graves points up, commonly claimed that their ears had been licked clean by serpents, “which were held to be incarnate spirits of oracular heroes and … were thus able to understand the language of birds and insects.” Athena, it is said, after blinding Teiresias, was moved by his suffering and therefore detached from her aegis the serpent Erichthonios and ordered it to, “Cleanse Teiresias’s ears with your tongue that he may understand the language of prophetic birds.” Simply put, Humphrey, like every janitor, is a god — the god, the hero. Earwicker’s tavern is a holy place, its bar an altar. Likewise that bar is akin to a ferry; it takes people to another “place.” In Sanskrit the word yāna means “ferry.” The barkeep paces the bar like a ferryman paces a river, and like a lion paces a cage (pen, sty), like the serpent encircles the tree.
The aforenoted words shame, shamus and sexton — which last word, please note, also indicates the numbers 1, 6, and 7 — are related to shaman, to the names Sean and Shem and Seamus and Shiva, and to shamrock. The true shamrock has a yellow flower. Later I will explain that the color yellow, like the color orange, represents the proto-mythological.
The Shamrock is a kind of clover (Trifolium repens, “3-leaved creeper”). The Irish word for clover is seamar; the German word is Klee. In Greek kle/cli means “glory, victory,” as in both Herakles (“Hera’s Glory,” Hercules) and Clio (muse of history). The Greek klimax means “ladder”; it is the root of the English climax and climate, and it is closely related to latitude. In French clé means “key.” According to legend, twigs of mistletoe — essentially reachable only via ladder, for the plant is a sort of evergreen parasite that grows only among the branches of deciduous trees, rooted as it were in those branches — are master keys, capable indeed of opening all locks. The magical “golden bough” featured in the Greco-Roman myth of the Trojan warrior Aeneas (whose name means “of copper or bronze”) is closely related if not identical to mistletoe. Said golden bough functions for Aeneas as a key, allowing him passage to the underworld despite the otherwise prohibitive fact that he is still alive. This passage occurs just prior to Aeneas’s arrival in Latium and marks Aeneas as a now dominantly Red/Dionysian, sacrificed figure. Likewise, Aeneas's birth from Aphrodite, his rather singular escape from Troy, and his eventual elevation to immortality as the god Indiges, from the Latin indu, endo, meaning “in, within” mark him as an Osiris-like, Hermes-like, Hercules-like, Pelops-like, Ganymede/Aquarius-like, CastorPolydeuces-like (alias Dioscuri-like), Odysseus/Ulysses-like type; i.e. an extremely complex, complete, WhiteRedBlack type. Odysseus in the wooden horse is the sacrificed hero in the Pegasus Square, i.e. in the tomb, the underworld, as Father Dis, Hades. Odysseus and Aeneas are identical in this deep sense. The twins Remus and Romulus are descendents of the extremely complex Aeneas, this through their mother; their father is Mars. The Irish name of Dublin, I should add, is Baile Átha Cliath (bal´ye áha cléah), “Place of the Ford of the Hurdles.” Thus we have an intimate and rather contrasting set of notions: key, climax/peak, and hurdle. In 1600 the Englishman John Head commented in regard to Dublin: “Many of its inhabitants call this city Divlin, quasi Divel’s Inn [i.e. Devil’s Inn, Deus’s Inn], and very properly it is by them so termed; for there is hardly in the world a city that entertains such devil’s imps as that doth.” The word hurdle is akin to the Latin cratis, meaning “wickerwork, hurdle.” Thus we are pointed again to the notion of a pen, a wall, an enclosure, a pound, pond, ara.
Mistletoe straightaway deserves our further attention. The name is commonly said to derive from the ancient understanding that this plant springs to life from bird droppings in the tops of trees. The root word mistel is Anglo Saxon for “dung,” and the suffix -toe means “twig.” Mistletoe grows into nebulous, nest-like forms, sometimes more than 1 meter in diameter. The shrub produces inconspicuous, yellowish flowers (in March/April) and whitish-yellow berries (in autumn) containing only 1 seed each. These berries are eaten by birds, which then tend to defecate the seeds in the tree tops, where the seeds naturally take root. Mistletoe is most obvious in autumn and winter, owing initially to the berries and then to its evergreen nature relative to the bare, brown branches surrounding it. The evergreen nature of mistletoe is linked to the ancient belief that the mistletoe is the seat of a tree’s life. The fact that mistletoe grows not from the ground but from the branches and trunk of a tree seems to confirm this belief. Hence, too, the ancient notion that mistletoe should not be allowed to touch the ground. Mistletoe, also known as ixias (as in Ixion), is remarkably intermediate, akin to the heroic, planetary component of the matrix, and especially akin to the Sun; it is an intermediary kind of fire, the fire of Hermes. According to the homeopathic principles of proto-mythology, this fiery, inflammatory nature corresponded as well to anti-inflammatory properties, both medicinally and literally, and this is why mistletoe is kept in houses as a safeguard against conflagration. Fight fire with fire, as they say. Indeed, mistletoe was believed to possess many marvelous medicinal properties.
As such, mistletoe seems extremely significant of the complex, mediating hero, the self-sacrificing Odin type, the messenger, i.e. the very substance of existence, the monad. But if mistletoe is an evergreen, why is it so closely linked to the golden bough? Well, mistletoe is traditionally gathered either at the winter or summer solstice. And a cut bough of mistletoe thoroughly assumes a rich golden color after about 5 or 6 months. As such, mistletoe harvested at the beginning of summer will be golden in November, when winter arrives, i.e. when the hero must enter the underworld. Mistletoe punctuating the top of trees in late autumn is in fact marvelously akin to Cepheus atop the World Tree.
In this light consider the following famous passage from Pliny, as quoted by Frazer, regarding mistletoe and the Druids:
The mistletoe is very rarely to be met with; but when it is found, they gather it with solemn ceremony. This they do above all on the sixth day of the moon, from whence they date the beginnings of their months, of their years, and of the thirty years’ cycle, because by the sixth day the moon has plenty of vigour and has not run half its course. After due preparations have been made for sacrifice and a feast under the tree, they hail it as the universal healer and bring to the spot two white bulls, whose horns have never been bound before. A priest clad in white robe climbs into the tree and with a golden sickle cuts the mistletoe, which is caught in a white cloth. They then sacrifice the victims, praying that God may make his own gift to prosper with those upon whom he has bestowed it. They believe that a potion prepared from mistletoe will make barren animals to bring forth, and that the plant is a remedy against all poison.
By the way, the name Druid is thought to mean “oak man.” In German this is “Eiche Mann.” (Yes, as in the name of infamous Nazi SS officer Adolph Eichmann, who organized the Nazi’s “final solution” of their supposed “Jewish problem.”) This epithet is very close to “eigen man,” i.e. “quantum man,” “force man.” It is also linked to Drustan, a.k.a. Tristan, and likewise to the P-I-E initial warrior Trito and the Greek Triptolemus. Furthermore the title is intimately related to the German drei, meaning “3,” and to the English tree, which stems from the Old Norse tre, “tree,” and the Greek drys, “wood.” This is the sense in which the aforementioned Hermes Trismegistos is literally Hermes Tree Greatest, i.e. the greatest aspect of Hermes: Hermes sacrificed upon the World Tree. Is it possible that we have here a sort of memory of humankind’s genetic relationship, in terms of the primates, to the great trees of the jungle?
In Norse myth mistletoe represents the singular and very subtle weakness of the otherwise indefatigable, predominantly White/Apollonian Balder, son of Odin and Frigg. Balder is killed, according to the Icelandic legend, by the blind, Red/Dionysian god Hodr, Balder’s older brother, who is tricked by (Red/Dionysian) Loki, the god of fire, into piercing Balder through with a branch of the strange plant. At Frigg’s behest, Balder’s other brother Hermod (akin to Hermes, the messenger) is sent to the underworld, to the goddess Hel (Kolyo, Kupalo, Kalypso, Kali, Callisto, Calliope, Persephone, etc.), to ask for Balder’s release. In a Danish version of the story, which version is likely older than the Icelandic, Hodr (Shem) and Balder (Shaun) are rivals for the love of Nanna (Issy, Iseult, Isis, Athena–Persephone — the Sumerian Inanna). Balder is therein portrayed as a hateful character, and Hodr eventually kills him with a magic sword.
Thus the mythological significance of mistletoe seems rooted in the analogy if not identity between it and the hero in his moment of self-sacrifice. Yet to my mind the associations attaching and attached to mistletoe dung, golden bough, fire, Sun, medicine, hero point deeper and elsewhere in human prehistory: precisely to the wild honeycomb and especially to that of Asia’s migratory, undomesticated, and dangerous Apis dorsata, one of the world’s largest honey bee species (of which there are 11 or so). Apis dorsata prefers to nest on the branches of the tualang tree Asia’s tallest tree (growing up to 80 meters high, second worldwide to the California coastal redwood sequoia) and actually a member of the legume family (as in Jack and the Beanstalk?), its seeds contained in large pods. The tualang whose bark, I should add, is remarkably slippery grows in the lowland rainforests of southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, northeastern Sumatra, Borneo and Palawan. Although common in these forests the tualang is not naturally abundant therein; as such it towers above the canopy, its initial branches not occuring until about 30 meters above ground. Presumably Apis dorsata prefers to nest in these and the higher branches or elsewhere on sheer rock cliff faces because of the extreme separation (and hence safety) these afford from the rest of the habitat. Her close cousin, Apis laboriosa whose domain stretches from Nepal to Laos to China and who is the largest honey bee in the world likewise prefers to nest on the high, remote cliffsides of the Himalayas.
All true honey bees (genus Apis) with the possible exception of Apis mellifera, the so-called Western or European honey bee are indigenous to Asia. As Robert Graves reports in his Greek Myths, “Apis is the noun formed from apios, a Homeric adjective usually meaning ‘far off’ but, when applied to the Pelopennese (Aeschylus: Suppliants 262), ‘of the pear tree’.” We’ve seen that the word apis is closely related to the Black/Baroque goddess Ops and to the Red/Dionysian goddess Aphrodite. Indeed the pear tree was considered sacred to the chief goddess of the Pelopennese: Hera. Hence the older name for the Pelopenesse: Apia. The word apex is a close cognate. Perhaps the close connection between Orion whose name means “risen”, “burned” (Latin urere) and “urine” and the Orient (i.e. the East, where the Sun, Moon and other planets rise) and fire and bees stems from a prehistoric recognition that Asia is the true homeland of the honey bee. The ancients believed that honey bees enter the world by spontaneous generation, especially from the carcasses of bulls (and especially if the bull’s body is buried up to the horns). The process of supposedly generating bees in this fashion was known as bougonia. Virgil describes the bougonia in book IV of his Georgics, attributing the process to the Egyptians. The bougonia is reminescent of Ovid’s story, told in his Fasti, about the origin of Orion from a thrice-godly-urine-soaked carcass of a devoured and subsequently buried bull. The Christians likewise adopted the honey bee as a symbol of the virgin birth. Generally in myth a virgin birth represents the equivalence if not identity of the incarnate hero and God, of the present and the distant. The seeming asexuality/virginality of honey bees corresponds to the fact that honey bee society is extremely dominated by female bees.
Now, a single tulang tree may contain about 100 Apis dorsata nests as Delphi’s Tityos/Typhon/Python, i.e. Kronos, has 100 heads. And each of these nests with the profile of a half-Moon, and up to 1.5 meters across may contain about 30,000 bees. From such tree some 450 kg (about 1000 pounds) of honey can be harvested. Do we have here the original golden bough? Moreover, do we have the original golden fleece?
As University of Arizona entomologist Stephen Buchmann describes in his wonderful Letters from the Hive, the traditional honey hunts are performed on the tualang trees during Moon-less nights in February and March. The bees cannot attack without ambient light. About 4 of the 7 or so honey hunters climb the tree using wood-and-vine ladders and carrying leathern buckets (or wicker baskets), bone decidely not metal knives made of the shoulder bone of a cow, and liana torches (made of tough liana vines pounded to soft, pliable fibers and bound into 2-meter long bundles about 8 cm thick and capable of burning for a whole night). The shoulder bone recalls the myth of Pelops, eventual conquerer of the Pelopenesse, i.e. of Apia. See below. But why the torches remarkably akin to Roman fasces if the bees need ambient light to attack? Because the bees inveterately follow points of light. The hunters ascend to a branch above a nest. Meanwhile other members of the hunting party wait at the base of the tree, and when the hunters are in place these others begin to chant:
“Hitam Manis Ooooi!”
The Sweet Dark One, I suggest, is especially akin to Aphrodite (and likewise to Persephone, Pallas, Electra, Andromeda, Helen, etc) whom the Greeks called Melaenis, “Black One,” Scotia, “Dark One,” Androphonos, “Man-slayer,” and Epitymbra, “(She) of the Tombs” and more generally to the triple-Goddess, i.e. the Tree Goddess, the Green Woman, and likewise to Hermes (and Aquarius, etc) and the triple-God, Tree Man, Green Man. The Greek word for honey is meli, as in melissai. So you see, the Greeks pointedly confused blackness and sweetness, too. The falling stars mentioned in the chant are the falling embers of the torch, for the hunter above the nest is now banging his torch on his branch, sending a rain of embers past the nest. Virtually all the bees follow this fiery rain to the ground, where they find themselves disoriented. Unable to return through the darkness to their nest, the bees harmlessly spend the night resting on low vegetation. The hunter then descends to the dung-like, you might say comb, cuts it from its bough using the bone knife, and folds it into his leathern bucket (an aegis of sorts). These buckets are lowered to the ground, where they are emptied and pulled aloft again. The honey is squeezed out of the combs into large containers. The night’s hunt is finally punctuated with a ceremony whereby the leader carefully selects the initial honeycomb taken, utters some honors to the “unseen owner” of the forest, and tosses the honeycomb as deep as possible into the forest behind the tree.
It has occurred to me that the determination and industry involved in humankind’s initial planning and execution of such hunts and the practical and mythological importance thereof is remarkably analogous to the Apollo Moon-shot missions.
Regarding the aforementioned chant and its connection to Aphrodite, we will do well to consider Professor Buchmann’s recounting of his colleague Professor Makhdzir Bin Mardan’s telling of the ancient Malaysian fable that explains the origins of tualang honey hunting:
Long ago a princess of the royal family had a Hindu handmaiden, a dusky beauty called Hitam Manis or “Sweet Dark One.” The handmaiden fell hopelessly in love with the sultan’s son, a handsome prince who requited her passion. But their love was doomed, for she was a commoner, and marriage of a commoner to a prince of the blood was strictly forbidden. When the sultan learned of the romance, he flew into a rage, and Hitam Manis, along with the other handmaidens, the Dayang, had to flee the palace for their very lives. As the terrifed young women escaped into the forest, they were pursued by the sultan’s guards, who hurled long metal spears at them. When one of the spears pierced the already broken heart of Hitam Manis, miraculously she did not die. Instead, she and the other handmaidens were transformed into a swarm of bees and disappeared into the night. Thus were born the giant honey bees of the Asian rainforests.
Years later, the still grieving prince now engaged to a proper princess noticed a large honeycomb high in the branches of a tualang tree in the forest. When he climbed the tree to investigate, he discovered a large carche of golden honey. He called down for his servants to send up a metal knife and bucket so he could harvest the treasure. The servants dutifully sent the knife and bucket up to the prince, but when they lowered the now heavy pail a few minutes later, to their shock and horror, they found the prince’s dismembered body inside.
From the treetops, a ghoulish voice cried out that he had committed a sacrilege by cutting the honeycomb with a sharp metal knife. Unwittingly, the prince had insulted poor Hitam Manis, reminding her of the cold metal spear that had pierced her heart and so changed her life.
But the Sweet Dark One took pity on the prince she had once loved, and released a golden shower that restored him to life and limb.
To this day, in deference to the dying anguish of the handmaiden known as Hitam Manis, honey hunters never use tools made of metal only those of wood, cowhide, and bone.
Hitam Manis = princess of the St. George story = dragon = snake = Eve = Aphrodite = Andromeda. The Dayang = proto-mythological college of man-killing nymphs (note the ny-/ne- prefix, as in Neptune) = bees = Pleiades = melissai = supposedly woolen net on the omphalos of Delphi. (During the aforedescribed honey hunt the hunters, all male, refer to themselves as Dayang.) Robert Graves:
Aphrodite Urania (“queen of the mountain”) or Erycina (“of the heather” [as in Erichthonios, i.e. Eri-cthonios, “heather of Gaia”, the snake/fish-tailed son of Hephaistos and Gaia, equivalent to the charioteer Auriga, Ganymede/Aquarius, and, as we shall see, Pelops]) was the nymph-goddess of midsummer [or autumn]. She destroyed the sacred king, who mated with her on a mountain top, as a queen-bee destroys the drone: by tearing out his sexual organs. Hence the heather-loving bees and the red robe in her mountain-top affair with Anchises; hence also the worship of Cybele, the Phrygian Aphrodite of Mount Ida, as a queen-bee, and the ecstatic self-castration of her priests in memory of her lover Attis [i.e. Odys(seus), Odin, Adonis, etc].
Daedalus built a golden honeycomb shrine to Aphrodite on coastal Mount Eryx in northwest Sicily. The ancient Maya, I should add, called the planet Venus (i.e. Aphrodite) Xuk Ek, the “Wasp Star.” The word wasp in Latin is vespa, this from the P-I-E webh-, basis of the modern English web and weave.
Note in the myth of Hitam Manis the significations of the Great Reversal: nubile, relatively indigenous woman not man as outsider, commoner; metal as the downfall of antique, female power. Note just as well the irrepressible proto-mythologic: dismembered honeycomb = Moon = Delphi temple = omphalos = penis = male hero who is sacrificed by the college of nymphs; the bees give up their nest, their inn, like the nymphs give up their king; but in the king is the sweet, golden vitality of life, which they consume and thus conserve. (In ancient Greece the pear tree as considered sacred to the Moon.) As for the golden shower, it certainly calls to mind the aforementioned urine-generation of Orion and likewise the story according to which Zeus fathered Perseus (alias St. George), savior of Andromeda, by descending on the imprisoned princess Danae as a shower of golden rain. Danae had been imprisoned in a bronze tower by her father Acrisius because a prophecy foretold that the initial son of Danae would kill Acrisius. Perseus eventually did kill Acrisius by accident, with a discus. Professor Mardan explained to Professor Buchmann that the golden showers referred to in the Malaysian honey hunting fable are actually mass defecations made by Apis dorsata during their crepuscular flights, when they rid themselves of feces and thus of unwanted heat. During the Vietnam War, Buchmann points outs, American soldiers had mistaken these showers for dreaded yellow rain, a biological weapon.
I mentioned that the highly symbolic use of cow shoulder bone knives by the traditional honey hunters of Malaysia calls to mind the myth of Pelops, conqueror of Apia and variously referred to as “muddy face” and, more importantly, “Cronian One” (as in Kronos/Saturn, son of Ouranos and Gaia, husband of Rhea/Ops, father of Zeus/Jupiter). Similarly the dismembered and resurrected prince in the story of Hitam Manis is remarkbly akin to Pelops. Indeed, the fundamental and epochal contrast and conflict between proto-mythology and the forces behind the Great Reversal seems to be the theme of both myths. Pelops is a beautiful boy dismembered by his father Tantalus — whose own father Tmolus is described as wreathed with oak — and presented by him to the Olympian gods as food, this supposedly to test the gods’ omniscience. According to the chief legend here, only the goddess Demeter (mother of the nymph-like Persephone) or else the sea-goddess (á la Aphrodite) Thetis partakes of the feast, consuming a piece of Pelops’ left shoulder. Zeus then damns Tantalus to Tartarus and resurrects Pelops, giving the young man a new, ivory shoulder. Poseidon counterpart to the sea goddess Aphrodite promptly whisks Pelops to Olympus to be his personal cup-bearer, as Zeus later does with the Trojan Ganymede (alias Aquarius). Said cups, of course, contain nectar. Eventually returned to Earth, Pelops becomes a champion charioteer, akin to and aided by Poseidon. (Auriga/Erichthonios/Hephaistos the Golden Apple in the celestial “Sea” is said to have invented the chariot to compensate for his lameness. He is likewise the aural one, the Earwicker or Eri-wicker, heather-wicker.) But to defeat King Oenomaus of Elis in a chariot race and thus win princess Hippodameia’s hand and with it the kingdom of Elis, Pelops needs to enlist the aid of Oenomaus’s chariot-keeper and sometimes charioteer Myrtilus, a son of Hermes. Hippodameia (“horse-tamer”) has indeed fallen in love with Pelops. Yet Myrtilus, too, has (bashfully) expressed love for Hippodameia. Therefore Pelops promises to Myrtilus both the sole company of Hippodameia on the night of victory and half the kingdom of Elis. Myrtilus goes along with the plan and therefore removes the lynch-pins from the axles of Oenomaus’s chariot, replacing them with replicas made of wax. Consequently as Oenomaus, who had given Pelops a head start, is about to catch him and, according to the rules of the (proto-mythological) contest, spear him in the back (that spear, along with Oenomaus’s pair of wind-begotten mares, old gifts from Ares, Oenomaus’s father), the wax axles finally fail and Oenomaus is dragged to death — but not before discerning the betrayal and cursing Myrtilus to a death at the hands of Pelops. (The Romans thought that the color red scares horses. They painted the curves of their hippodromes red, to encourage spectacular crashes and, I would say, to honor the Red/Dionysian essence of turning points, change, separation, severance quantumness.) The victorious Pelops, Hippodameia and Myrtilus celebrate with an evening drive across the sea, yet when Myrtilus attempts to claim his precious night with Hippodameia, Pelops casts him into the sea. As Myrtilus drowns, he lays a curse on Pelops and on the heirs thereof. Pelops drives on to the western stream of Oceanus, where Hephaistos, husband of Aphrodite, purifies him of guilt. Returning to Pisa in Elis and assuming there the throne of Oenomaus, Pelops proceedes to conquer the whole of Apia and renames it the Peloponnese, “Pelop’s Island.” Graves: “Descent remained matrilinear in the Peloponnese, which assured the goodwill of the conservative peasantry.” The curse leveled by Myrtilus upon the house of Pelops especially affects the house of Atreus, who is Pelops’ eldest son, father of Agamemnon and Menelaos, and said to be the first astronomer to correctly predict using mathematics an eclipse of the Sun by the Moon. Famously Agamemnon in his turn fails to honor the aid which the Myrmidon Achilles a sea god of sorts gives to him. This slight motivates Achilles to abstain from the fight against Troy.
In the present light note that the word apis means not only “bee” and “far off” (as in Apollo and apple) and “pear tree”; it is also (and likewise) the Greek name for Egypt's most divine, bull-like god: Hapi or Hap or Hp equivalent to their human-like god of the Nile, who goes by the same name but is pictured as an androgynous old man with pendulous breasts. Hapi is a water god like Poseidon and Odysseus and Achilles. The name Hapi seems cognate with Hephaistos and with Hebe the latter being a female and the original cup-bearer to the Greek gods. Note again in this connection that the Greek hepta, as in Hephaistos, means “7,” as in the 7 planets/wanderers. Hebe seems equivalent to the Hittite Hepatu, who has been equated with Hawwa, “Mother of all Living,” which name certainly smacks of Huwawa/Humbaba, i.e. the Tree ManWoman of the Gilgamesh epic. Here too, seemingly, is Hipta, the Earth-mother to whom Dionysus was given for safekeeping and who carried him in a winnowing basket. Hebe as cup-bearer was eventually supplanted Pelops and then, after Pelops returned to Earth (with the Great Reversal), by Ganymede, and was then married off to Hercules, poster boy of the Great Reversal.
By the way, here is the passage from Virgil’s Aeneid containing the famous reference to the golden bough:
A tree’s dark shade conceals a bough whose leaves
Later in the Aeneid we find the following passage involving a tree, a swarm of bees, spectacular fire, matrilinearity, a princess Lavinia (as in Joyce’s Livia), and her destined, proto-mythological marriage to an outsider: namely the Trojan Aeneas son of Aphrodite.
Hence, according to Virgil, we have the Romans. … Regarding the ominous torching of Lavinia’s hair and dress, consider Professor Buchmann’s account of the aforementioned fireworks used in the Malaysian honey hunt:
When Shukor passed the burning liana torch to his grandfather, we saw the glowing tip arc through the still night air. Soon a cascade of orange embers rained down like a meteor shower from the branches overhead. No Fourth of July fireworks display has ever been so memorable for me. It is a pyrotechnic spectacle that has kept me returning to the bee trees of Pedu Lake year after year.
The Greeks called the Pleiades the kometes, “long-haired”; hence the word comet. The Japanese likewise call the Pleiades the Subaru, “brush stars.” The Subaru automobile company is named after them. The company’s 6-star logo represents the constellation.
As I mentioned, the torches used by the traditional honey hunters seem akin to Roman fasces, which bundles of rods were carried by lictors a title curiously similar to the word light. Consider the following from Christian Meier’s outstanding biography of Julius Caesar:
Lictors were the official servants of the magistrates and accompanied them wherever they went, clearing a path and procuring respect for them. In the city they carried the symbol of executive authority, the fasces (bundles of rods); in the field they carried the fasces with an axe. The consul had twelve, the praetor six, and the dictator in the field twenty-four.
Julius Caesar held all these offices at one time or another. In 84 BCE the consul Cinna gave his daughter Cornelia in marriage to the young Caesar and moreover appointed him flamen dialis, high priest of Jupiter. The word flamen, meaning “priest,” is linked to the English flame; and dialis signifies Diovis in contrast to Mars and (Janus) Quirinus, the other prime gods of Rome and thus indicates brightness and sheep, i.e. a white sheep. Curiously Caesar’s prime assassins were Marcus Junius Brutus and Quintus Cassius Longinus. Similarly, the name tradition attributes to the soldier who pierced with spear the side of Jesus of Nazareth as Jesus hung on the Cross is Longinus. And the very name Caesar may be closely related to cedar and to the Middle Irish cess, “spear,” this latter from the P-I-E *kes-, as is castrate. Caesar’s assassination occurred on the Ides of March (i.e. 15 March) 44 BCE. From 222 BCE to 153 BCE the Ides of March had been the day when the Roman consuls were inaugurated; and precisely in this respect, as Duncan Steel emphasizes in his Marking Time: The Epic Quest to Invent the Perfect Calendar, it, like 1 March and 1 January respectively, was a New Year’s Day. Probably this is why the augur Spurinna had been warning Caesar to beware the Ides of March. Here’s Meier on the flamen dialis:
The flamen dialis was deemed to possess magical power that must be carefully guarded. At all times at least when he was out of doors he had to wear the apex, a fur cap with cheekguards tied under the chin and a special ornament on the top. [The ornament was a pointed piece of olive wood, with a lock of wool about its base.] He was forbidden to mount a horse, and he must not set eyes on armed troops; on holidays he must not see anyone working. His hair could be cut only by a freeman using a bronze knife, and had to be buried in a special place together with the parings from his nails. There must be no knot in his house.
Diovis corresponds to the White/Apollonian persona Caesar cultivated: bright, innocent, friendly, gay, magnanimous, generous, forgiving, superior yet popular. The “white-skinned,” “slim-limbed” Caesar was likewise extremely hygenic; he typically kept his face shaved and, he even removed his body hair. (When martial vengeance was required, however, he occasionally resolved to not have his hair or beard cut until the vengeance was completed.) His appointment as the rather White/Apollonian flamen dialis seems an affirmation of this persona, an attempt to bind him to it while honoring the bellicose, executive, priestly, generally Red/Dionysian personality that it served to contrast with if not mask. Again, Meier:
Plutarch reports that Cicero mistrusted Caesar’s friendliness as he mistrusted a calm sea. He felt it deceptive and feared “the monstrosity of Caesar’s nature concealed in his gay and friendly manner.” Plutarch uses the Greek word deinótes, which designates anything monstrous, awesome, and violent. The underlying adjective (deinon) is used by Sophocles in the famous chorus in the Antigone to describe the whole range of man’s potential, his huge capacity for good and evil. A fearful will, immensely compelling in its controlled strength, must have been discernible within not behind Caesar’s arrogantly superior gaity. It was not simply masked: here was a man who had trained himself to project an outward gaiety that derived from his aloof and disdainful inner self and to conceal the awful depths of his soul.
Caesar’s persona and personality met in his proto-mythological role and nature his capacity as challenger, outsider. He, the darling and descendant of Venus, exiled himself and then came at Rome as Aeneas came at Italy, as Paris at Helen, as Perseus at Andromeda, as Mars at Aphrodite, as Adam at Eve, as St. George at the princess, as Tristan at Iseult, as the hunter at the honey. His profound levity, his conservative radicalism, his complex, dynamic nature contrasted with the too simple, inert gravitas that had come to pass for the Roman legacy and constitution. Caesar by his very nature was the chief priest of Rome, priest not only of Diovis but also of Mars (i.e. Bel) and (Janus) Quirinus and likewise of the Black/Baroque, female nature of all. In other words, he was the 3-Man, the Tree Man, the Green Man. There were 15 flamines or pontifices and they constituted the highest religious authority in Rome. (Chief among their tasks was the regulation of the calendar, which calendar Julius Caesar eventually, in 45 BCE, the year before his death, changed from a chiefly White Apollonian, lunar basis to a chiefly Golden/Legal solar basis.) In 63 BCE Caesar won election to the office of pontifex maximus, supreme priest of Rome. He staked his entire career on that unlikely victory.
A groundling honey hunter in Nepal. Photo by Eric Valli.
See Valli’s article in the June 1998 National Geographic.
The fasces in the United States’ Chamber of the House of Representatives.
Extremists tend to point to these symbols anachronistically as evidencing
a “fascist” nature of the republic of the United States.
Returning, now, to Dublin and to the notion of a hurdle, consider that HCE’s bar is a hurdle of sorts. In regard to that hurdle note that wine, beer, whiskey (from the Irish uisce beathadh, literally “water of life”) and all forms of firewater derive physically from the ara, the garden, the original altar, i.e. Earthly paradise, the Latin lucus, meaning, as Vico points out, “land burned off within a wooded enclosure.” Here is the place of Lucifer, equivalent to Dublin’s Phoenix Park, which name is an Anglicization of the Irish finnischce pairc, literally “brightwaters garden” or “brightwaters enclosure,” the finn- prefix meaning “bright, shining, blonde, fair,” and the -ischce suffix meaning “waters,” as in whiskey. This primeval brightness attaches to the bartender Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker. In accord with the legends of Finn MacCool, King Arthur (note the Ar- prefix), and King Mark of the 1st Irish epic, and also in accord with the theories of Heinrich Zimmer, Joyce has characterized HCE a man of Scandinavian extraction, a man of the north, a Protestant, and blond at that. Ellmann reports that Joyce while visiting Copenhagen “was interested in the ancient Irish distinction between the dark and the light Scandinavians, the dubhghalls and fionnghalls, and kept looking to see which type the people [he] passed belonged to. … He liked the postmen with their red coats, the pillarboxes, the [bear-]fur-helmeted guards.”
Joyce’s birthplace, by the way, is Brighton Square, in Rathgar, just outside Dublin proper.
This brings me to Odysseus. Clearly this Greek name is a version of Dyeus. The Romans translated it Ulixes, which version seems largely a union of oulas, “wound,” and ischea, “thigh.” As such, the name means “wounded thigh,” “wounded waters,” and — especially since the verb “to burn” in Greek is euo and in Latin is uro — “burned waters,” as in finnischce pairc, “brightwaters garden.” The very name Europe — i.e. Euro–Pe — seems to mean “wounded-burned-park-rock-home-bird-waters-thigh,” i.e. fire-bird, Phoenix, riser–faller, upper–downer, (quantum) gravitational entity, outer–inner, vagina/womb, Hermes, Mars, Janus. In a fundamental sense, a male is female to the extent that he is wounded. This is a restatement of the immediate relationship Red/Dionysian-to-Black/Baroque, i.e. the priestly type as feminine in contrast to the warrior type as masculine.
Speaking of wounded thighs, you might recall that by some accounts Dionysus is reborn of his father Zeus’s thigh. The Hittite god of the winds was likewise born from the thigh of Kumbabi. The thigh seems to correspond to the constellation Ursa Major, which the Egyptians called “The (Bull’s) Thigh.” The name Dionysus is clearly yet another version of Dione and Dyeus (Zeus) and is thus closely linked to Odysseus. Dionysus is considered “twice born,” “a man with 2 mothers,” “the child of the double door.” These epithets recall the practice of circumcision, whereby a boy gains a new mother in terms of his initiation into the priestly class. Robert Graves reports that “ritual rebirth from a man was a well-known Jewish adoption ceremony, a Hittite borrowing.” The reborn Dionysus was raised as a girl, as was Achilles, a practice which recalls to Graves “the Cretan custom of keeping boys in `darknes' (scotioi), that is to say, in the women’s quarters, unit puberty.” The 2 mothers of Dionysus are Core/Demeter/Aphrodite (Core being the name of Persephone before Persephone is supposedly captured by Hades) and his resurrector, either Athena or Rhea or Zeus. The basic idea here is resurrection: birth, death, rebirth. But there is also a fundamental distinction made between Hera and the remarkably full cast of other Mother Goddess characters. It is Hera alone who instigates the death of Dionysus out of jealousy over Zeus’s affair with Core/Demeter/Aphrodite. Hera prompts Zeus's prime enemies the Red/Dionysian Titans to paint their faces white and tear the horned, serpent-crowned infant Dionysus to pieces.
Hera, you see, holds on to life — specifically her husband Zeus’s life — so strongly that she effectively causes only death. Extremes meet. Hera is so White that she is (merely) Black (in contrast to Black/Baroque). You might say she is death-in-life. Nevertheless, her name is cognate with the richly proto-mythological hara and is further linked to the Sanskrit hira, meaning “band,” and to the Norse Hel, goddess of the dead. But Hera is uniquely in complicity with White/Apollonian reversals, especially the Great Reversal. In the context of the Great Reversal, Hera dominates her complex (White–Red–Black) handmaiden Iris goddess of the rainbow, she who runs on wind, Zeus's messenger “of the Golden Wings” who is equivalent to Hermes, the Sun and to Anna Livia Plurabelle. This is a prime sense in which the powerful simpleton is “Hera’s Glory.”
The Romans called Hera/Juno iugalis, “goddess of the yoke.” Remarkably proto-mythological, the Romans depicted Hera/Juno — who is famously jealous of her husband Zeus/Jupiter’s many love affairs — as hanging in the air, her hands tied behind her back, 2 heavy stones tied to her feet, a rope around her neck. This image represents the result of a legendary coup d’etat against Zeus/Jupiter. A consensus had emerged on Olympians according to which Zeus was too proud, too petulant, too nearly tyrannical. Eventually Hera, the chief advocate of this consensus, compelled all the other Olympians — except Hestia — to bind the sleeping Zeus to his couch using rawhide cord and knotting it 100 times. Jeering at the now furious but helpless Zeus, the conspirators predictably fell into disputes as to who should succeed him. But the Nereid Thetis, fearing an Olympian civil war, summoned the 100-handed giant Briareus (“Strong”) — the initial child of Mother Earth, and specifically equivalent to Kronos and to Hercules — to untie all the knots at once (á la Alexander the Great and the Gordian knot). Thus freed, Zeus punished Hera by temporarily hanging her from the sky as described above; and he punished Poseidon and Apollo by forcing them to temporarily serve King Laomedon, for whom they consequently built the walls of Troy (Poseidon did the building, with a little help from Aeacus the Lelegian; while Apollo played the lyre and fed Laomedon’s flocks), which walls are equivalent to the walls of Paradise (from the Avestan pairi.daēza, pairi meaning “around,” and daēza meaning “to heap or pile up”). Zeus asleep on his couch is the sacrificed king dead on his bier, afloat on the river of death. But that king — like Finn, like Joyce’s Humphrey — is dreaming the entire story of humankind and is destined to wake. The river of death is but part of a cycle. The bonds of death are but an aspect of the general boundary, the essence, of all existence, of the Black/Baroque. The cord by which Hera reins in her husband and thus, after the fashion of the Great Reversal, secures his and her own supposedly singular power is the cord that generally signifies the true humility of that power in the literal face of the fractal multiplicity of existence.
But let’s return our attention to Odysseus. As a boy Odysseus/Ulysses is indeed wounded on the thigh by a boar’s “white tusk” during a hunt, which boar he does then kill. The boar is Red, the tusk White. As I will explain, the boar corresponds to Troy, the tusk to Paris. Odysseus/Ulysses is wounded as a child, and he is also wounded by the Trojan War. His famous entry into the wooden horse (a symbol of Poseidon) corresponds to a king’s entry into a tomb, i.e. into an ark, into Cepheus, and likewise into the Pegasus Square. Odysseus/Ulysses henceforth sails the Mediterranean as a sacrificed king.
Or as a keg of beer. An original form of gold, beer is intimately associated with the forest grove. In modern times beer has typically been produced near mills and transported in barrels called “kegs,” which hold 30 gallons. A barrel roughly twice that volume (i.e. approximately 60 gallons) is called a “hogshead.” This term especially recalls the Shaun the Post character — originally from Boucicault’s Arrah-na-Pogue — who features in Finnegans Wake, Book I Chapter VI, and Book III, the latter of which according to Joyce recovers the previous chapters in reverse, “like a postman traveling backwards through the night,” and corresponds as well to the perspective of a barrel — an ark of sorts — rolling down the river Liffey. This is the perspective of the sacrificed king, the self-sacrificed god, the scapegoat, the exile, Poseidon; for following his sacrifice on the World Tree (i.e. post) he is taken to a bog or lake or river or sea and thrown in, and all the “sins,” if you will, of the tribe — or all the demons/ills afflicting the tribe — are washed away with him, posted, as it were, to the netherworld and thus to the original sacrifice, Father Dis, i.e. to Zeus and his consort Dione. Shortly I will explain that the ultimate “river” in this respect is the Milky Way.
For now, let me comment that the name Poseidon, a.k.a. Pontus or Neptune or the P-I-E Neptno, is linked to the Latin pondus, “weight,” and pons, “bridge,” and hence to pontiff, “bridge-maker.” Poseidon, middle brother of Zeus and Hades, is he who commands the area between the sky and the underworld, i.e. the middle ground, the medium, the suspended. He is the self-sacrificing, immanent, monadic, real aspect of God. He is forever and all ways and everywhere being sacrificed, eaten and imbibed — and thrown into the river (or lake, bog, sea), the potamon, which word is related to the Latin potare, “to drink,” potens, “power,” and potis, “able,” as in potent, potential and possible, and to the Greek polis, “city, state,” and polus, “pivot, pole,” and to the Lithuanian pilis, “castle,” and to the Latin bos, “ox, cow,” and to the English post (with its extremely rich set of meanings). H was sometimes called Potidan perhaps a combination of pot and ida, “wooded mountain” and he is the male equivalent of the triple-Goddess, whom the Greeks called the Potniae, “powerful ones,” this trinity-in-unity being equivalent to the Latin Ops (as in Eur–Op, “red face,” “heather face,” “broad face,” “bovine face”), whose name means “power” and “plenty” and “face,” as in the face of Medusa, of Kolyo, of Kali, of Tara (“scarer”), of Humbaba, of the Green Woman–Man, etc. As I intimated earlier in this chapter, the name Poseidon is linked to bees via Apis, the Greek name for ancient Egypt’s most divine, bull-like god: Hapi or Hap or Hp, who is equivalent to their human-like god of the Nile. The actual bull representative of Hp was chosen as a youngster for its black color and for the white crescent mark on its neck; it was sacrificed when 25 years old, mummified with as much care as if it were a pharaoh, and entombed in a granite sarcophagus in the Serapeum at Saqqara. The name Hp coupled to the bovine and to the river god calls to mind the Greek word hippos, “horse.” Horses were considered both Poseidon’s and Hera’s sacred domestic animal. But our analysis here suggests that bovines, domesticated long before horses, likewise preceded horses in this symbolic respect. By the same line of reasoning we might say that sows and, earlier yet, dogs were the sacred domestic animal of such god, who represents the hero in general, specifically the Father aspect of the self-sacrificing entity. The same can be said of Poseidon’s female counterpart/aspect: the Lady of the Lake, Kolyo, Demeter, the Green Woman, etc.
Getting back to Joyce's barrel/kegs, note that kegs are these day made of metal but were of course originally made of wood, by coopers. The noun cooper comes from the Greek kypellon, “cup,” and from the Latin cupa, meaning “cup, tub.” These words are related to copper, which gets its name from the Mediterranean island Cyprus (Greek Kyprus, Assyrian Kipar), where copper was extremely abundant. Copper is the original metal used by humans and therefore it is Red/Dionysian relative to other metals. But likewise copper represents all metals. And metal in general is White/Apollonian relative to water, wood, earth, rock, etc. Now, cooper and copper are furthermore related to hive, for hive stems from the Old Norse hufr, meaning “ship’s hull” and which word is linked to the Old High German huf, “hip,” and huof, “hoof,” as in Hp and horse and Poseidon! (or horse and Tristan/Lancelot in boat/cup!) and from the Sanskrit, kupa, “cave.” (In the Iliad Homer describes certain troops as being “thick as bees that issue from a crevice in a rock face.” Again Delphi comes to mind.) Interestingly, the Arabic kufr means “unbelievers.” Insofar as this word kufr is cognate with hufr, we seem to have a distinction between the hull of a ship and the keel. For as we will learn, the keel corresponds to the Red/Dionysian stylus, spear, sword, saw, soul, etc., as well as to the Tree of Life, the cross, beetles (Coleoptera), the sternum, the archer’s bow, urine, and Orion. The hull, on the other hand, corresponds to the keg, cup, hive, hide, skin, cube, ribs, temple, home, and body. Husk-like, skin-like, shell-like entities are dominantly White/Apollonian, containers in contrast to contents, physical in contrast to real.
Copper is predominantly White/Appollonian and secondarily — but more importantly — dominantly Red/Dionysian, just like Father Dis, just like Hermes, just like Ares/Mars, just like Janus. And just like Cupid. The name Cupid is cognate with copper and links to the Sumerian ku, meaning — like the Sanskrit anna — “food” and “to base, found, build.” The name stems more directly from the ancient Egyption khu, meaning “a person’s numen, their soul or spirit,” or else “a celestial being who lives with the gods.” All of these meanings have both White/Apollonian and Red/Dionysian connotations.
Importantly, the Egyptians gave the name Khu to the Pleiades, which star cluster they associated with the goddess Nut. Clearly the Pleiades are characterized by the same resonance/suspension remarkable of Hermes, Mars, Janus, and Cupid; they are singular yet multiple. The Egyptians surely recognized Nut, too, as such an entity: below and above (i.e. “the coverer”), old and young, singular and multiple, Black and White (and altogether Black/Baroque), Persephone and Core, Red/Dionysian, Anna Livia Plurabelle.
The word khu also refers to the female genitalia and is cognate with our words cut, cutaneous (from the Latin cutis, “skin”), cuticle, cute, cube, quarry (from the Middle French cuir, “skin, hide,” and akin to the Old French quarre, “squared stone,” as in a cubic ark, the Ka’aba, and the Pegasus Square), concupiscence, concubine, cupidity, covet, cuneiform (meaning “wedge-shaped,” as in the letter A and the delta symbol), cubit and elbow (the Latin cubitum meaning “elbow,” as in the characteristically loose skin of an elbow).
Joyce in the Wake presents myriad references to elbows. He is more famous, however, for his scatological references. Indeed another word closely linked to the whole copper complex is the root copro- or copr-, from the Greek kopros, “dung, feces.” Anna is associated with the herm, the primal mound, the pile of dung, and with food. As such, the name Anna — stemming from the Greek ana, “up, back, again” — is a rather perfect contronym, especially since it is a palindrome (which word palindrome is closely linked to the Greak polos, “axis, pole”). Anna is Hermes. Anna is Cupid. Anna is Humphrey. Anna is Zeus, Anna is Demeter. Anna is Dione (Diana). Anna is Dana (Danann). Hera is Anna reduced from White–Red–Black (i.e. triple-Goddess) to a deathly Black (or White) singularity.
In this respect I’m reminded of an account offered by Roger Penrose in his Emperor’s New Mind. The account calls to mind both Hamilton’s aforementioned discovery of the quaternion equations and the Irish name of Dublin, Baile Átha Cliath, “Place of the Ford of the Hurdles.” Penrose:
In the autumn of 1964, I had been worrying about the problem of black hole singularities … A colleague (Ivor Robinson) had been visiting from the USA and he was engaging me in voluble conversation on a quite different topic as we walked down the street approaching my office in Birbeck College in London . The conversation stopped momentarily as we crossed a side road, and resumed again at the other side. Evidently, during those few moments, an idea occurred to me, but then the ensuing conversation blotted it from my mind!
Later in the day, after my colleague had left, I returned to my office. I remember having an odd feeling of elation that I could not account for. I began going through in my mind all the various things that had happened to me during the day, in an attempt to find what it was that had caused this elation. After eliminating numerous inadequate possibilities, I finally brought to mind the thought that I had had while crossing the street — a thought which had momentarily elated me by providing the solution to the problem that had been milling around at the back of my head! Apparently, it was the needed criterion — that I subsequently called a “trapped surface” — and then it did not take me long to form the outline of a proof of the theorem that I had been looking for (Penrose 1965). Even so, it was some while before the proof was formulated in a completely rigorous way, but the idea that I had had while crossing the street had been the key.
I wonder whether Penrose remembers the name of that side road….
And so we’ve cycled from Haran to Hera, from the tip of the pyramid to the (all too simple) notion of a black hole. Let’s now begin another such cycle by addressing the next appearance of Haran in biblical lore. We don’t have to search far in this regard, for Haran features in the aforementioned story of Abraham’s grandson Jacob.
Jacob is the youngest son of Isaac, who is the youngest son of Abraham. The name Isaac means “laughter” or “he who laughs.” He is the male equivalent of Joyce’s Issy; i.e. Joyce’s Shaun. In a word, Isaac is symbolic of the White/Apollonian — although he is of course destined to become Red/Dionysian. Abraham, after the fashion of the Great Reversal, is said to favor Isaac over Isaac’s elder half-brother Ishmael. Likewise Isaac effectively favors Jacob (Israel) over Jacob’s elder twin brother Esau. Similarly Perez (or Pharez; equivalent to Paris) is favored over Zerah (who has a scarlet thread on his hand); and Ephraim is favored over Manasseh.
Isaac and Ishmael are said to have different mothers from different classes, upper and lower, respectively. Sarai, mother of Isaac, pressures Abraham to cast out Ishmael and the boy’s mother, Hagar. Yahweh consoles the troubled Abraham in this respect: “Be not displeased because of the lad and because of your slave woman [Hagar]; whatever Sarai says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your descendents be named. And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.” Abraham reluctantly subscribes to the plan and escorts Hagar and Ishmael into the desert, where he leaves them to their fate. Mother and son are alone and near death in the wilderness when at last the voice of “the angel of the Lord” — supposedly Gabriel, a Hermes type — consoles them and leads Hagar to a nearby well. The “angel” then extends a promise from Yahweh: “I will make him [Ishmael] a great nation.” Yahweh in turn watches over the boy as he matures in the wilderness. Ishmael — whose name means “he who hears” or “he who heeds” — becomes in the wilderness an expert archer.
The motifs in the story of Ishmael — lowness of birth, life in the wilderness, hearing rather than seeing, archery (and hunting in general) — these, along with seniority, redness, hirsuteness, and life in hilly or mountainous country, are primary motifs attaching to the proto-mythological and likewise to the dominantly Red/Dionysian figure. The “great nation” that Yahweh promises of Ishmael is the nation the Arabs expect to fashion. And according to Islam, the well to which Gabriel/Hermes leads Hagar is the Well of Zamzam, located within Mecca’s Masjid al-Haram.
The discord between Jacob and Esau is rather more poignant, for the boys are twins maturing in the same kingly line. When these brothers are still in Rebekah’s womb, Yahweh says to her: “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples, born of you, shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the elder shall serve the younger.” Isaac is 60 years old when these twins were born. The eldest “came forth red, all his body like a hairy mantle; so they called his name Esau.” Esau becomes a great hunter. “Isaac loved Esau, for he ate of his game; but Rebekah loved Jacob.” The name Rebekah derives from the Hebrew ribbqáh, “noose,” which stems from rabak, “to bind, to tie.” Here is good old Kolyo, the Mother, “the coverer.” As I will repeatedly expound, Kolyo proto-mythologically favors the younger and more beautiful man over the aged and ugly.
Another name which Genesis gives to Esau is Edom. The name refers to the occasion when Esau sells his birthright to Jacob for a mere bowl of lentil stew, which stew Esau refers to as ha-adom, ha-adom, “that red stuff, that red stuff.” The Hebrew word adom is the masculine equivalent of the feminine adamah, “ruddy earth, ground, land, acre,” and is thus rather equivalent to the Pegasus Square. Here we have the basis of those first figures of Genesis: Adam and Eden. Adam and Eden are Red/Dionysian, Saturnian, fallen, complex, ana-logical, representative the Golden Age.
After Jacob convinces Esau to sell him the birthright, and after Isaac grows old and nearly blind, Rebekah schemes with Jacob to trick Isaac into giving the father’s most important blessing to Jacob rather than to Esau. Rebekah dresses Jacob in Esau’s clothes and attaches animal skins to his hands and to the smooth part of his neck. She then sends him in to Isaac bearing savory foods from the hunt. Isaac senses that the voice of this visitor is not Esau’s, but he allows himself to dismiss this concern and gives said blessing to the imposter.
Esau of course is infuriated at this transgression. Indeed, he now plans to kill Jacob. Rebekah therefore schemes to send Jacob temporarily to the safety of her brother Laban (or Leban, which name is significant of the proto-mythological, being cognate with ligature, legal, legacy, legend, left, etc.) in her home town of — you got it — Haran. (The word left, as I indicated, is from the Old English weak. It is akin to the Middle Low German lucht, “left,” which is akin to the Latin lucere, “to shine,” as well as lucus and the names Lucifer, Luna, Dyeus, etc.) Insofar as the Habiru in fact emerged out of the Hurrians rather than the Canaanites, Rebekah is sending Jacob to (or at least toward) the original homeland of the Hebrews. She complains to Isaac that the local Canaanite women are tiresome and that she cannot accept a marriage between Jacob and such a woman. Isaac is thus tricked again. He sends Jacob abroad to find a wife. When in turn Esau learns that the local women do not please Isaac, he too travels abroad to find a wife. Significantly, Esau goes to none other than Ishmael in this respect and succeeds in marrying Ishmael’s daughter Mahalath. Eventually Yahweh grants to Esau the hill country of Seir. (Note the Se- prefix.)
Meanwhile Jacob is on his lonely way to Haran. One night he sleeps under the stars , using a stone as a pillow. He dreams of a ladder (Greek klima) “set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it!” Yahweh stands atop the ladder and says to Jacob:
… the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your descendents; and your descendents shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and by you and your descendents shall all the families of the earth bless themselves. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land, for I will not leave you until I have done that which I have spoken to you.
Upon waking, Jacob takes the stone pillow, sets it up as a pillar, and pours oil over it. He then names the place Bethel, meaning “The House of God” — although the indigenous name of the place is Luz, which name smacks of lucus and likewise of Lucifer, Luna, Dyeus, Deus, Zeus, Dione, Demeter, Diana, Dana, Dionysus, Odysseus/Ulysses, Father Dis, and the Irish Finn. Here, then, we have a house, an enclosure — á la the Pegasus Square — referencing a native sacred place, a garden, an ara, a hara, a haram, a paradise. Bethel doubly underwrites the place and time of sacrifice: Haran. As such, Bethel moreover corresponds to the World Tree (ladder) that punctuates this quantum moment. The “angels” ascending and descending the ladder in Jacob’s dream are the limitless manifestations of the hero, all the Finns, Hercules–Cepheuses, all the Phoenixes, forever (and in every moment) rising and falling, forever (and in every moment) realizing the complex, Black/Baroque nature of gravity, of existence. Jacob, with his head on the stone, is a particular manifestation of the hero. He ascends the tree to Haran and he will descend again to Canaan — i.e. to the promised land, the land of destiny, the land of Father Dis. In the process Jacob will be transformed from White/Apollonian to Red/Dionysian.
Jacob (Jaakov in Hebrew; i.e. Jaa–Kov, Ja–Ov) is St. George (Ge–Org) is Gilgamesh (Gilga–Mesh) is James (Ja–Mes) is White–Red is multiple–singular is freedom–destiny. The Sumerian root gi —equivalent to ja, ya, ji, yi, ga, ge, je, jo, etc. — means not only “young man” but also “small and thin like a reed” and “to reject, dislike; to return, come back, send; to answer, restore.” The closely related Hebrew word gilgal is linked to the Hebrew galal, “to roll,” and refers to circles, springs, caves, eminences, and standing stones (especially circular constellations thereof). According to Joshua 4:3–24, Yahweh commands Joshua to take 12 stones from the river Jordan and stand them up at Gilgal. “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’” It is at Gilgal that the new Hebrew generation — the generation that emerged from the 40 years in the wilderness, which ordeal killed the previous generation entirely — is circumcised (Joshua 5:1–7). Saul, the initial king of the Hebrews, is crowned at this “high place” (1st Samuel 9–11). Gilgal is also where Samuel announces Saul’s fall from the kingship. Samuel thereupon anoints David — player of the lyre, á la Tristan — Saul’s successor, at which point “an evil spirit from the Lord” torments Saul. Gilgal is equivalent to Haran.
By the way, the title Finnegans Wake stems from an Irish ballad about a hod-carrier — i.e. a mason, for a hod is a tray or trough supported with a pole handle and borne on the shoulder to carry loads of brick and mortar — who falls from, yes, a ladder to what is presumed his death but is revived by the smell of the whiskey at his wake.
The marriage arrangements that confront Jacob in Haran are further symbols of proto-mythology. Jacob falls in love with Laban’s youngest daughter, Rachel (whom Jacob initially meets, and significantly so, at a great well outside Haran), rather than the eldest daughter, Leah (who like most dominantly Red/Dionysian figures is weak of eyesight). Jacob agrees to spend 7 years serving Laban in order to marry Rachel. He does his time. But at the end of it Laban insists that Jacob marry Leah (whose name, like Laban’s, is cognate with ligature, legal, etc.). Laban does allow that Jacob may marry Rachel, but only on condition: Jacob must agree to serve Laban for another 7 years; the marriage to Rachel may occur upon the end of that servitude. True to his dominantly Red/Dionysian, trickster nature, Laban has fooled Jacob. (Likewise Jacob had to embellish himself with Red/Dionysian motifs to fool Isaac.)
Jacob accepts said onerous condition, marries Leah, does his 7 years, and finally marries Rachel. Leah bears 4 sons to Jacob: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah. Rachel, on the other hand, is barren. Rachel therefore gives her maid Bilhah to Jacob as a wife. Bilhah bears 2 sons to Jacob: Dan and Naphtali. Likewise Leah gives her maid Zilpah to Jacob. Zilpah bears 2 sons to Jacob: Gad and Asher. Leah, herself, becomes pregnant 3 more times, giving birth to Jacob’s sons Issachar and Zebulum and to his daughter Dinah. Thus Leah bears 6 sons and 1 daughter to Jacob; and the maids altogether bear 4 sons to him. Finally Yahweh allows Rachel to become pregnant and she bears Jacob’s 11th son: Joseph. (Eventually, in Canaan, Rachel will give birth to Jacob’s 12th son: Benjamin, which name means “son of the right hand” and “son of the south.” These characteristics are symbolic of the White/Apollonian.)
Jacob finally expresses his strong desire to return home to Canaan. Laban resists: “I have learned by divination that the Lord has blessed me because of you; name your wages and I will give it.” Jacob therefore strikes a bargain with Laban. But again Laban cheats him. In turn Yahweh’s messenger angel visits Jacob in a dream and tells him to flee with his family to Canaan. Jacob heeds the admonition. Rachel, before leaving, steals Laban’s (proto-mythological) household gods. Laban, upon learning of Jacob’s flight, gives chase, catches up and confronts the family. But Yahweh has spoken to Laban, too, telling him to act peacefully toward Jacob. Therefore Laban suggests to Jacob that they make a covenant. Jacob agrees and again sets up a stone pillar to mark the occasion, moreover telling his kinsfolk to gather stones and to make of heap of them. Laban names this heap — i.e. this herm — Galeed, and the pillar he names Mizpah. “This heap is a witness, and the pillar is a witness,” he exclaims, “that I will not pass over this heap to you, and you will not pass over this heap to me, for harm.”
This Galeed is considered by many the source of the name Galahad. Escorted by an old hermit and wearing either a red robe or red armor, Galahad arrives at Arthur’s court and unwittingly sits in the perilous 13th seat of the Round Table, which seat corresponds to Judas Iscariot and has been reserved for the knight who will find the Holy Grail (“blood-red” Sangreal). Any other person who sits upon that seat will be immediately swallowed by the Earth. King Arthur is astounded at Galahad’s survival. The hermit explains that Galahad — being the son of Sir Lancelot du Lac and Elaine of Corbenic, daughter of King Pelles — is of King David’s line and is kin to Joseph of Arimathea. Arthur in turn tests Galahad’s capacity in regard to the Grail by commanding the young man to remove a certain sword stuck in a stone (á la Arthur and Excalibur). Galahad performs the task with utter facility, and Arthur therefore proclaims him the greatest knight in the world and officially asks him to join the Round Table. Thus the Grail Quest begins. Galahad’s unique capacity is attributed to his purity and especially to his humbleness.
The story of the biblical patriarchs can be mapped as follows:
And this map corresponds to the following map of the Arthur legend, which map depends especially on the simple and reasonable device of considering Lancelot and Guinevere a generation younger than Arthur, with Lancelot essentially in the role of Arthur's own son:
Note in this connection the following. The names Igraine, Guinevere and Columba all mean “white spirit.” The name Morgan is cognate with the Latin mors, “death.” The names Leah and Elaine are cognate. The epithet Pendragon (or Bendragon) means “head of the dragon.” Aided by Merlin, Uther disguises himself as Gorlois to sleep with Igraine. Here we see the proto-mythological notion according to which the younger, dashing man replaces the aging, elderly man, who in this respect has essentially already been sacrificed (by time itself) and inasmuch is considered a (Red/Dionysian) dragon. The name Gorlois is cognate with the Greek Gorgon (“ugly”), the Latin gurges (“whirlpool”), and the Old English gar (“spear,” as in the sacrificial weapon and the priestly staff). Proto-mythologically the woman is always (sexually) attracted to or merely favoring the (dominantly White/Apollonian) younger man/son. Thus Rebekah favors Isaac, Igraine is attracted to Uther Pendragon, Guinevere is attracted to Lancelot, and Iseult is attracted to Tristan. Contrastingly the likes of Isaac, Gorlois, Arthur, and Mark — i.e. the aged king — favor the eldest son and generally the priestly, womanly man; this because such dominantly Red/Dionysian type is not a threat to usurp the kingly power. The young son/man is sent abroad to usurp some other king’s power and inasmuch to extend the father’s power; or else such young man is sacrificed in the king’s stead…. The Lady of the Lake is Black/Baroque Kolyo, a.k.a. Kalypso, Callisto, Calliope, Kali (“The Black One”), Nut, etc.; she is “the coverer,” Woman in general. The word lake stems from the Greek lakkos, “pond,” i.e. pound, enclosure. Merlin and Kay (a.k.a. Cai, Cei) are both magicians, shape-shifters, Red/Dionysian, already sacrificed.
Merlin’s early life is especially interesting in this last regard. Recall the legend. During the Saxon invasion the Briton warlord Vortigern — a Pelagian who had originally invited the Saxons to Britain — retreated to mountainous North Wales and there in the shadow Snowdon tried to re-establish his power by building a castle. However, all the work which Vortigern’s workers performed each day collapsed mysteriously during each night. Vortigern consulted his wizards about the problem. They informed him that the curse would continue until the castle ground had received the sacrificial blood of a child who had no mortal father. The king therefore launched a search for such child. In Carmarthen, in South Wales, some members of the search overheard a youth taunt a boy named Merlin for having no father. Merlin, it turns out, was the son of the daughter of the king of South Wales. Merlin's father was said to be an incubus demon. This mysterious royal boy was brought northward to stand before Vortigern on the castle grounds. There the discoverers of Merlin shared with Vortigern the story of the boy’s birth. Facing imminent death, Merlin attempted to save himself by offering to show Vortigern the reason why the castle walls kept collapsing. Young Merlin straightaway led the warlord and company to a secret cave inside the mountain. The cave had a lake. Merlin advised Vortigern to drain the lake, for in its depths was to be found the cause of the castle's curse. Thus were discovered in the lake a white dragon and a red dragon, doing battle. The white dragon seemed about to win, then the red dragon, then the white, then the red, then the white, then finally the red drove away the white, making 3 times the red dragon overpowered the white. The king and his wizards stood in awe as the prophetic boy Merlin explained all this to them: The two dragons represented forces in fundamental dynamic conflict. Merlin elaborated: native Britain (Red/Dionysian) was presently suffering conquest at the hands of the Saxons (White/Apollonian), but Vortigern (White/Apollonian, a Pelagian and a traitor) would be killed by fellow native Ambrosius (a Catholic, Red/Dionysian); in turn the pseudo-native Uther Pendragon (White/Apollonian) would rise to power, followed by the great native Arthur (Red/Dionysian), and thanks to Arthur the natives would gain the upper hand over the Saxons; then the Saxons in Britain would be invaded by the Normans, and finally the native Britons would drive out all invaders.
Merlin loves the Lady of the Lake (a.k.a. Viviane, Eviene, Nimue, Nina, etc.), despite the fact that she is disinterested in him. In attempting to understand her, Merlin effectively disqualifies himself from her love. Thus he is bound in an enchanted wood by his own nature, i.e. by his own destiny. (Recall my adage: You can understand only what you cannot control, and you can control only what you cannot understand.) “I am the greatest fool,” Merlin comments. “For I love another more than I love myself, and I taught my beloved how to bind me to herself, and now no one can save me.”
The Lady of the Lake is existence in general. Perhaps only Galahad is capable of loving Her no more than himself; for She may be understood in terms of the Holy Grail only, i.e. the true absolute, the best symbol/container of the Black/Baroque; and only Galahad sees the Holy Grail distinctly. All who fall short of this absolute, Merlin included, are essentially overwhelmed by Kolyo.
I’m reminded of Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale.” Here’s an extremely famous and apt passage from that poem, tapped by Fitzgerald for the title Tender is the Night, which novel features the hero Dick Diver.
away! for I will fly to thee,
Cepheus is Isaac is Saul is King Arthur is King Mark is Finn Mac Cumhal; and these latter 5 correspond respectively to Jacob, David, Lancelot, Tristan, and Diarmuid. Cepheus is at once stone and sword and hero. He is the once and future king. The Galeed is the World Tree rising from the Pegasus Square to the tip of Cepheus. The pillar Mizpah is the Tree of Knowledge rising from the constellation Hercules — i.e. from the inchoate, incipient state of the hero — to Haran, i.e. to the finger, as it were, of Upuat and thus to the age/moment of sacrifice, which singularly prime mythological moment Michelangelo famously depicted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
The word inchoate is especially apt in the previous paragraph, for it stems from the Latin cohum, meaning “the part of a yoke to which the beam of a plow is fitted.” The yoke is the simplified, miserable, White–Black Hera, “goddess of the yoke,” and her glory Hercules. She contrasts with her proto-form, the White–Red–Black goddess, i.e. the triple-Goddess, the tree-Goddess, the Green Woman, which triune, singularly elemental character corresponds to yoke–cohum–beam and especially to the cohum, i.e. to the connection, i.e. to he or she who hangs on the (rising) tree whilst being bound to death (falling). Likewise the triple-GodGoddess corresponds to the famous knot which legend says was tied by the childless King Gordius. According to an oracle, whoever untied the knot would rule Asia. Gordium, the city purportedly founded by Gordius, was in fact the key to Asia Minor insofar as the city’s location uniquely mediated the singularly prime trade route between Antioch and Troy. The Macedonian Alexander the Great famously cut the Gordian knot on his way into the Middle East. That knot and that city correspond precisely to the Red/Dionysian and what’s more to the mystery of existence in general: the Black/Baroque. This recognition is the key to the Orient, i.e. the key to the East, to rebirth, indeed to the nature of God. Sure enough, Gordius adopted King Midas and made him heir to Gordium. Succeeding to that throne, Midas promoted the worship of Dionysus. Midas was the son of the Great Goddess of Ida (i.e. of the Mountain), by a satyr whose name is lost to us. Originally a pleasure-loving king of Macedonian Bromium, Midas had there planted marvelous rose gardens and ruled over the Brigians. One day the satyr Silenus was discovered in these rose gardens, sleeping off a hangover. Brought before Midas, Silenus enthralled the young king with tales about a lost continent which was home to a virtually utopian civilization that featured a marvelous legal system and about other wonders, including a terrible whirlpool no person can navigate beyond yet nearby which a pair of streams flow, each marked by a singular riparian tree, one of which bears fruit that causes premature aging and death and the other of which bears fruit that causes the reverse process: infantilization to the point of complete disappearance! Dionysus himself, thankful to Midas for recovering and hosting Silenus, asked the young king to name a reward. Midas famously asked that all he henceforth touch be turned to gold. On the instructions of Dionysus, Midas was able to purify himself of this blessed curse by bathing in the source of a certain river. Eventually Midas witnessed the famous musical contest between Marsyas and Apollo. The river-god Tmolus umpired that contest, naming Apollo the victor. When Midas true to his Red/Dionysian character and Golden/Legal philosophy objected to this ruling, Tmolus transformed Midas’s ears into those of an ass (such as characterize the Egyptian god Set).
According to my understanding the universe is not best determined by model, i.e. by an essentially unlimited configuration space nor by any concept, but rather by the best symbol of the principle of relativity. The best such symbol signifies an unlimited number of related souls; but this relativity is neither in space nor in time, i.e. it is in terms neither of space nor of time; it is outside space and time; or, better still, space and time are outside it; for it is the basis of space and time. Newton’s chief hypothesis is ultimately not correct; there is a certain absolute verticality to intelligence, a certain absolute hierarchy to the universe. If there were not, then we should expect, as Enrico Fermi famously said, that we would already be confronted by things significant of extraterrestrial intelligence. “If they [i.e., intelligent extraterrestrials] existed, they would be here,” Fermi said. This is Fermi’s Paradox. Indeed, according to proto-mythology we should expect the universe apart from Earth to be dead; Earth is the center of the universe; existence in general expresses itself in terms of this center. To be sure, the ladder does reach to heaven, and there are angels all along it; but the fundamental ladder is rooted on the Earth. The universe is extremely inchoate. Distance is hierarchical. Distance is the hydrogen atom. The hydrogen atom is both space and light. All (physical) being is light. And light is significant of all reality, i.e. it is significantly the set of monads, the matrix. This is the sense in which the aliens, the others, are already here. Again, the stars are but adumbrations.
Consider in this light the following conversation from Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream V, I:
(Queen of the Amazons):
I’ve strayed from the story of Jacob, and there remains a bit more of it to tell. Leaving Laban, the Galeed and the Mizpah, Jacob continues toward Canaan. He sends word ahead to his Red/Dionysian brother Esau in Seir, telling him about the sojourn in Haran, offering him a great gift of livestock and such, and saying that he, Jacob, is Esau’s servant and is looking to find favor in Esau’s eyes. In turn Jacob learns that Esau is indeed coming to meet him but that he is bringing 400 men. Afraid of Esau and this veritable army, Jacob divides his group into 2 companies and furthermore spends the night alone as a sort of diversion. That night a very odd thing happens to Jacob, yet it is described in a remarkably matter-of-fact way:
And Jacob was left alone; a man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and Jacob’s thigh was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
Jacob has been wounded by Yahweh, precisely as Ulysses (“Wounded Thigh”) was wounded on the thigh by a (Red/Dionysian) wild boar’s [W]hite tusk. Jacob has thus been completed, sacrificed, as it were; he has become dominantly Red/Dionysian, equivalent to Cepheus, Father Dis, Deus, Dyeus, Zeus — equivalent to Yahweh. The story honors this completion in terms of the name Israel: Isra-El, Is–Ra of El; male–female of God; male–female of Yahweh. Jacob — predominantly White/Apollonian, Moon-like— has become like the Sun: a feminine man, complex, Red/Dionysian.
When Esau arrives later that day, he runs to meet Jacob, embraces him, kisses him, and weeps. Thus the twin brothers are again united. Like a total eclipse of the Sun, the pair is a multeity-in-unity, a complex, quantum-gravitational singularity. The wrestling match which leads to this reunion corresponds to the relation between (the constellations and characters) Hercules and Bootes. Jacob’s completion as Israel corresponds to Ursa Major. Jacob’s union with Esau corresponds to Polaris.
In re-uniting with Esau, Jacob — Israel — also unites with Ishmael, Abraham, and Adam. The Pegasus Square corresponds to Golgotha (Latin Calvary), “Hill of the Skull,” legendary burial place of Adam. Hercules and the Ka’aba correspond to the Pegasus Square. Thus the Ka’aba, most holy place in the Muslim world, corresponds to Cross. Ironically, the pilgrim arriving at the Masjid al-Haram, circling the Ka’aba 7 times in the counter-clockwise direction, and performing the other rituals of the Hajj is akin to Jacob becoming Israel and to Jesus becoming Christ.
According to Islam, Adam originally built the Ka’aba as a replica of Allah’s house in Heaven. Abraham and his son Ishmael rebuilt the Ka’aba after it had been destroyed by the Great Flood (11 generations previous). In the process of this reconstruction the Ka’aba came to contain as its southeast cornerstone what is now called the Black Stone of Islam. The stone is reddish black with some red and yellow particles — although it is said to have been white when it fell there from the sky, a gift to Abraham from the angel Gabriel (again, “Yahweh’s messenger angel,” he who supposedly delivered the revelations to Mohammed).
Chances are the Black Stone is a tektite. Generally tektites are a special kind of glass — exceptionally pure in that it is largely free of water, crystallites and volatiles. Some tektites contain microscopic Ni–Fe spheroids; but even such iron-bearing tektites are virtually non-magnetic, owing to the fact that an object may have a macroscopic magnetic field only insofar as the object’s substance is crystalline. Tektites have a variously dark, greenish-brownish-olive-to-emerald-green-golden-amber-brown-to straw-yellow color. Most experts think that tektites are formed when large extraterrestrial objects slam into the Earth. Such collisions melt terrestrial rocks into this special type of glass. According to proto-mythology, tektites are magical tools akin to the priest’s sacrificial sword, to his stylus (pen), and likewise akin to the Tree and to the base from which it springs. In Sanskrit tektites are called agni Mani, “fire of Mani,” i.e. “fire of (P-I-E) Manu,” “fire of the high priest.” Tibetan lamas and monks think that tektites come from the Osiris–Orion constellation. This constellation represents the complex, proto-mythological, White–Red–Black hero. The early Semitic word for tektite is baetyl, which means “House of God.” The relation to the name Bethel is unmistakable.
According to this analysis Allah is White–Red–Black, a member — albeit the single greatest member — of the Black/Baroque. Insofar as we indulge in the mere metaphor according to which Allah is the Creator of the universe, we should consider Him a fallen god, a god of the world and underworld as well as the overworld.
The precise location of the Ka’aba is no mere chance (i.e. White/Apollonian) coincidence but a destined (Red/Dionysian) coincidence. “The Cube” sits precisely below Haran. It’s as if the Black Stone fell there from Haran. Haran is located at longitude 39° 5´ East while the Masjid al-Haram and the Ka’aba within it sits at 39° 49´ East. Furthermore, the Ark of the Covenant — another rectangular container, this one supposedly containing the priestly tool which is Yahweh’s law — is commonly believed stored in a Christian church in Aksum, Ethiopia, which is located at longitude 38° 72´ East, just across the Red Sea from Mecca.
There is yet another place in the Middle East that corresponds to the Pegasus Square: Phoenicia, and especially its oldest city, Byblos, founded by the great god El. The king of Byblos is Cepheus — whose name means “the gardener” as well as “the rock.” Located on the coast, Byblos is almost directly on the route from Canaan to Haran. The city was a center for the worship of Tammuz (Tâ-uz), which god is equivalent to Hermes, the Phoenix, Finn, Cupid, Jacob, Osiris, Odin, Adonis (“Lord”), Jesus, etc. The coast of Phoenicia is where Osiris’s sarcophagus washes ashore, a giant tamarisk tree immediately growing around it and raising it up toward the heavens. That tamarisk is the World Tree; it terminates in the constellation Cepheus, the tip of which marks the moment when the sacrificed king/hero enters the cube/tomb/ark/home/sleep and becomes dominantly Red/Dionysian. Cepheus is at once tomb and soul, body and mind, hull and keel. He is a ship of sorts, an ark, a ferry (Sanskrit yana). He is tree and man become one. He is the Green Man, the Wild Man. Ferry and man are identical. There is no yonder shore, no shore at all, save the mere concept of shore. And the Great Ferry, the Maha Yana, is not singular; it is a multeity-in-unity, the set of all monads, all heroes.
The Phoenicians were Canaanites. It was the Greeks who named the northern coastal Canaanites “Phoenicians,” which name means “red” or “purple.” The southern coastal Canaanites were called Philistines (as in the name Phyllis, “leafy”) or Purestati (“men of red”), this redness being related to the words estate, state, the Greek histasthai, “to stand, be standing,” and hence to (phallic) Hermes and to history (from the Greek istōr, “knowing, learned”). The word cana’ani in Hebrew means “merchant” — as in Hermes, god of merchants. The Akkadian word kinahhu refers to the red wool which was famously a prime export of Canaan in general. The Greek word cinyra and the Semitic kinnor, both meaning “lyre,” seem ironically cognate with kinahhu. The lyre, as we will learn, is symbolic of the White/Apollonian whereas the pipe (flute) is symbolic of the Red/Dionysian. But the lyre player eventually “pays the piper his due” and is thus transformed from White to Red. Another cognate in this respect is the name Cinyras. King Cinyras of Cyprus is father of Tammuz (Adonis), a.k.a. Osiris, Jacob, etc.; and as Frazer points out, this father and son are essentially equivalent. The flower of Tammuz/Adonis is the (red) anemone. Also called windflower, the anemone probably gets its name from the Semitic word naamen, “darling.” Here again is Noman: Odysseus/Ulysses, Everyman, HCE. Regarding the festival of Tammuz/Adonis, here’s Frazer (with my comments in brackets) from his Golden Bough:
This Phoenician festival appears to have been vernal, for its date was determined by the discoloration of the river Adonis, and this has been observed by modern travellers to occur in spring. At that season the red earth washed down from the mountains by the rain tinges the water of the river, and even the sea, for a great way with a blood-red hue, and the crimson stain was believed to be the blood of Adonis, or to have been stained by it; and as the anemone blooms in Syria about Easter, this may be thought to show that the festival of Adonis, or at least one of his festivals, was held in spring. The name of the flower is probably derived from Naamen (“darling”), which seems to have been an epithet of Adonis. The Arabs still call the anemone “wounds of the Naamen.” The red rose also was said to owe its hue to the same sad occasion; for Aphrodite, hastening to her wounded lover, trod on a bush of white roses; the cruel thorns tore her tender flesh, and her sacred blood dyed the white roses for ever red. …
It has been suggested by Father Lagrange that the mourning for Adonis was essentially a harvest rite designed to propitiate the corn-god [i.e. cereal god], who was then either perishing under the sickles of the reapers, or being trodden to death under the hoofs of the oxen on the threshing floor. [And, in turn, crushed under the stones of the miller. Bones were likewise ground into fertilizer. These bones were equated with the bones of Tammuz. Hence Robert Burns’s famous poem about John Barleycorn.] While the men slew him, the women wept crocodile tears at home to appease his natural indignation by a show of grief for his death. The theory fits well with the dates of the festivals, which fell in spring or summer; for spring and summer, not autumn, are the seasons of the barley and wheat harvests in the lands which worshipped Adonis.
Nevertheless, the festival of Adonis is proto-mythologically rooted in the autumn. In the natural cycles of wild plants and animals, maturity is overwhelming located upon the autumn. Moreover, the original domesticated animals were not genetically modified but merely environmentally modified. Which is to say, the most simple form of domestication is the rearing of very young wild animals. In antiquity these young were usually taken from the wild after their mother was killed by hunters. And hunting was most useful and facile — i.e. generally successful — in autumn and early winter. Frazer continues:
Thus interpreted the death of Adonis is not the natural decay of vegetation in general under the summer heat or the winter cold; it is the violent destruction of the corn by man, who cuts it down on the field, stamps it to pieces on the threshing-floor, and grinds it to powder in the mill. That this was indeed the principal aspect in which Adonis presented himself in later times to the agricultural peoples of the Levant, may be admitted; but whether from the beginning he had been the corn and nothing but the corn, may be doubted. At an earlier period he may have been to the herdsman [Bootes], above all, the tender herbage which sprouts after rain, offering rich pasture to the lean and hungry cattle. Earlier still he may have embodied the spirit of the nuts and berries which the autumn woods yield to the savage hunter … And year by year, when the trees were deciduous, every Adonis would seem to bleed to death with the red leaves of autumn and to come to life again with the fresh green of spring.
The chief god of the Canaanites was El, equivalent to Humphrey, Father Dis, Deus, Dyeus, Jupiter, etc., and, according to my thesis, equivalent to Yahweh and to Allah as well (which latter is certainly a cognate of El). The name El recrudesces in the name Elohim, which is the name whereby the northern, dominantly Red/Dionysian kingdom of Hebrews — the Kingdom of Israel — referred to its chief god. The name Yahweh is that by which the southern, relatively White/Apollonian kingdom of Hebrews, Judah, referred to its god, this perhaps to distinguish Him from the obviously Red/Dionysian El. The Red/Dionysian, preserver aspect of El is Baal — equivalent to Bel (as in the Celtic Beltane festival), Joyce, Upuat, Saturn, Hermes, Mars, Janus, Galahad, etc.). And Bel is equivalent to Belili, the Sumerian Mother Goddess.
When El was young he went to sea and met 2 women who became his wives: Rohmaya and Asherah (Joyce’s Belle and Issy, Red and White). This pair of wives somehow together gave birth to the twins Shalim and Shachar (Joyce’s Shem and Shaun): god of dusk and god of dawn, respectively. (The name Shalim recrudesces in the name Jerusalem and in the names of David’s sons: Solomon and Absalom.) This family built a sanctuary in the desert and lived there 8 years. El is grey-haired, bearded and wears bull horns upon his helmet. He resides upon Mount Lel, at “the Source of 2 Rivers.” This residence is equivalent to Haran. Below Haran is Mesopotamia, literally (the land) “between rivers,” these being the Euphrates and the Tigris. In Hebrew lore this land is called “Aram of the 2 Rivers.” These 2 Earthly rivers correspond to 2 celestial rivers, to the top and middle levels of the universe (the celestial and the planetary), and to the 2 kinds of planets (the Red/Dionysian kind of the ecliptic and the White/Apollonian kind consisting of comets and meteors).
Phoenicia especially is equivalent to Dublin’s Phoenix Park, finnischce pairc, “brightwaters enclosure,” paradise, the Pegasus Square, as well as Cepheus, Cygnus, Lyra, Hercules — indeed the entire heroic cycle, the cycle of the Phoenix. Consider the following from Finnegans Wake:
Big Maester Finnykin with Phenicia Parkes, lame of his ear and gape of her leg, most correctingly, we beseech you, down their laddercase of nightwatch service and bring them at suntime flush with the nethermost gangrung of their stepchildren, guide them though the labyrinth of their samilikes and the alteregoases of their pseudoselves, hedge them bothways from all roamers, whose names are ligious, from loss of bearings deliver them; so they may keep to their rights and be ware of duty frees, neolific smith and magdalenian jinnyjones, mandragon mor and weak wiffeyducky, Morionmale and Thrydacianmad, basilisk glorious with his weeniequeenie, tigernack and swansgrace, he as hale as his ardouries, she as verve as her veines; this prime white arsenic with bissemate alloyed, martial sin with peccadily, …
And later, near the very end of the book:
… temtem tamtam, the Phoenician wakes.
Passing. One. We are passing. Two. From sleep we are passing. Three. Into the wikeawades warld from sleep we are passing. Four. Come, hours, be ours!
Generally the proto-mythological hero’s path is equivalent to the counter-clockwise northern face of the universal clock. Yet Jacob’s journey is more a south–north journey, vertical, as if he were climbing a ladder. Likewise the line from the Ka’aba to Haran is almost perfectly south–north. As such, we should expect there to be an essentially vertical celestial movement that nevertheless corresponds to said clock face. Sure enough, this movement is remarkably — indeed, extremely — easy to find. Of course it describes an ellipse, but the ellipse has a long axis in the south–north direction and a short axis so tiny in comparison that the movement is altogether rather simply south–north. This movement is an aspect of the universal clock and therefore has the same period as that clock: some 25,776 years — 25,920 years or 26,352 years as the proto-mythologists figured it. I’m referring to the so-called precessional movement of the constellation Osiris–Orion. In the year 2070 this constellation will reach its highest elevation relative to the southern horizon as seen from the northern hemisphere. Over the course of the subsequent 12,888 years (12,960 years or 13,176 years as the proto-mythologists computed) it will return to its lowest such elevation. And so on, over and over, presumably forever.
The Osiris–Orion constellation is a prime celestial equivalent of the Phoenix. Osiris is the “fair-faced one of the Nile.” Orion is a giant who can walk through the sea (á la Neptune, *Neptno, Poseidon) with his head above the water (and his body covered with barnacles). Osiris is dismembered by Set. Orion is blinded in a quarrel, but the Sun heals his eyes. In India the Osiris–Orion constellation is known as Kal Purush, the “Time Man.”
The vertical precessional movement of the Osiris–Orion constellation determines the location of the 4 proto-mythological directions — North, South, East, and West — upon the faces of the universal clock. North on the northern face is located at the tip of Ursa Minor, i.e. at Polaris, which corresponds to the precessional high point of Osiris–Orion, the beginning of the Zodiacal age of Aquarius, and Haran. This is to say, North on the northern face of the universal clock is the point on that face seemingly farthest from the geographical north pole. South on said clock face is the location of the celestial north pole when Osiris–Orion is at his precessional low point. As such, South on the northern face of the universal clock is located near the constellation Hercules, at the point on that clock face seemingly farthest from the geographical south pole. Proto-mythological East corresponds to the midway point of Osiris–Orion’s ascent and to the point on said clock face nearest to geographical east, which point is shadowed by Ursa Major. Proto-mythological West corresponds to the midway point of Osiris–Orion’s descent and to the point on said clock face nearest to geographical west, which point is presided over by Cygnus. This directionality — related to but underdetermined by the fact that the Sun sets in the west — is why the mythological island to which a dead king is supposed to travel (Ogygia or Erytheia, for instance, the former from the Greek ogugios, “primeval,” and the latter from the Greek erythros, “red,” likewise the Latin rufus and rubber, as in rubric, ruby, rudimentary and ruddy) is located to the west and south.
It’s fair to say that there are 2 primary celestial movements according to proto-mythology: that of the celestial north pole and that of Osiris–Orion. Joyce in the Wake refers to this pair in reverse order when he writes: “Which route are they going? Why? Angell sitter or Amen Corner, Norwood’s Southwalk or Euston Waste?” Richard Ellmann on Joyce:
He and his wife stayed at the Euston Hotel, which, because it is patronized by people taking the morning boat-train from Euston Station to Holyhead, calls itself ‘The Gateway to Ireland.’ ‘I feel that I am near Number Thirteen platform — the Irish Mail (absit omen!),’ Joyce told a friend. By special permission of the management he was allowed to remain at this hotel, which is intended for transients, indefinitely. Its advantages, he later described to Miss Weaver as ‘732 rooms [the number of pages in the 1st edition of his Ulysses], 2 wings, liveried porters, chatty meteorologist in the lift, whispering lounge, English breakfast, videlicet, Danish bacon, Irish eggs, American sugar, French milk, Canadian marmalade, Scotch porridge, New Zealand butter, Dutch toast. Mr. E. H. Knight, manager. I met him every morning and wished him good kday, Mr. Knight. He is a very knice man.’
Amen, you see, is the Egyptian equivalent of Father Dis, Jupiter, Zeus, etc.
On the 2nd page of the Wake Joyce writes:
Haroun Childeric Eggeberth he would caligulate by multiplicables the alltitude and malltitude until he seesaw by neatlight of the liquor wheretwin ‘twas born, his roundhead staple of other days to rise in undress maisonry upstanded (joygrantit!), a waalworth of a skyerscape of most eyeful hoyth entowerly, erigenating from next to nothing and celescalating the himals and all, hierarchitectitiptitoploftical, with a burning bush abob off its baubletop and with larrons o’toolers clittering up and tumbles a’buckets clottering down.
The Time Man’s high tide is upon us: 2070, the beginning of the Zodiacal age of Aquarius, the age of multeity-in-unity, of quantum gravity. This high tide corresponds to the autumn of the year. Haran likewise corresponds to the autumn, to the proto-mythological New Year.
In this respect consider the following extended and extremely important outtake from near the end of Frazer’s Golden Bough:
From the foregoing survey we may infer that among the heathen forefathers of the European peoples the most popular and widespread fire-festival of the year was the great celebration of Midsummer Eve or Midsummer Day. The coincidence of the festival with the summer solstice can hardly be accidental. Rather we must suppose that our pagan ancestors purposely timed the ceremony of fire on earth to coincide with the arrival of the sun at the highest point of his course in the sky. If that was so, it follows that the old founders of the midsummer rites had observed the solstices or turning-points of the sun’s apparent path in the sky, and that they accordingly regulated their festal calendar to some extent by astronomical considerations.
But while this may be regarded as fairly certain for what we may call the aborigines throughout a large part of the continent, it appears not to have been true of the Celtic peoples who inhabited the Land’s End of Europe, the islands and promontories that stretch out into the Atlantic Ocean on the North-West. The principal fire-festivals of the Celts, which have survived, though in a restricted area and with diminished pomp, to modern times and even to our own day, were seemingly timed without any reference to the position of the sun in the heaven. They were two in number, and fell at an interval of six months, one being celebrated on the eve of May Day and the other on Allhallow Even or Hallowe’en, as it is now commonly called, that is, on the thirty-first of October, the day preceding All Saints’ or Allhallows’ Day. These dates coincide with none of the four great hinges on which the solar year revolves, to wit, the solstices and the equinoxes. Nor do they agree with the principal seasons of the agricultural year, the sowing in spring and the reaping in autumn. For when May Day comes, the seed has long been committed to the earth; and when November opens, the harvest has long been reaped and garnered, the fields lie bare, the fruit-trees are stripped, and even the yellow leaves are fast fluttering to the ground. Yet the first of May and the first of November mark turning-points of the year in Europe; the one ushers in the genial heat and the rich vegetation of summer, the other heralds, if it does not share, the cold and barrenness of winter. Now these particular points of the year, as has been well pointed out by a learned and ingenious writer, while they are of comparatively little moment to the European husbandman, do deeply concern the European herdsman; for it is on the approach of summer that he drives his cattle out into the open to crop the fresh grass, and it is on the approach of winter that he leads them back to the safety and shelter of the stall. Accordingly it seems not improbable that the Celtic bisection of the year into two halves at the beginning of May and the beginning of November dates from a time when the Celts were mainly a pastoral people, dependent for their subsistence on their herds, and when accordingly the great epochs of the year for them were the days on which the cattle went forth from the homestead in early summer and returned to it again in early winter. Even in Central Europe, remote from the region now occupied by the Celts, a similar bisection of the year may be clearly traced in the great popularity, on the one hand, of May Day and its Eve (Walpurgis Night), and, on the other hand, of the Feast of All Souls at the beginning of November, which under a thin Christian cloak conceals an ancient pagan festival of the dead. Hence we may conjecture that everywhere throughout Europe the celestial division of the year according to the solstices was preceded by what we may call a terrestrial division of the year according to the beginning of summer and the beginning of winter.
Be that as it may, the two great Celtic festivals of May Day and the first of November or, to be more accurate, the Eves of these two days, closely resemble each other in the manner of their celebration and in the superstitions associated with them, and alike, by the antique character impressed upon both, betray a remote and purely pagan origin. The festival of May Day or Beltane, as the Celts called it, which ushered in summer, has already been described; it remains to give some account of the corresponding festival of Hallowe’en, which announced the arrival of winter.
Of the two feasts Hallowe’en was perhaps of old the more important, since the Celts would seem to have dated the beginning of the year from it rather than from Beltane. In the Isle of Man, one of the fortresses in which the Celtic language and lore longest held out against the siege of the Saxon invaders, the first of November, Old Style, has been regarded as New Year’s day down to recent times. Thus Manx mummers used to go round on Hallowe’en (Old Style), singing, in the Manx language, a sort of Hogmanay song which began “To-night is New Year’s Night, Hogunnaa!” [Note the seeming cognacy between this title Hogunnaa and the names Anna and, especially, Humbaba/Huwawa, the monster with the “face of intestines” in the Epic of Gilgamesh. We will later address this monster in great detail. For now consider that a face of intestines is remarkably similar to the face of the Green Man, especially insofar as myriad representations of the Green Man portray vegetation issuing from his mouth and, in fewer cases, from his eyes.] In ancient Ireland, a new fire used to be kindled every year on Hallowe’en or the Eve of Samhain, and from this sacred flame all the fires in Ireland were rekindled. Such a custom points strongly to Samhain or All Saints’ Day (the first of November) as New Year’s Day; since the annual kindling of a new fire takes place most naturally at the beginning of the year, in order that the blessed influence of the fresh fire may last throughout the whole period of twelve months. Another confirmation of the view that the Celts dated their year from the first of November is furnished by the manifold modes of divination which were commonly resorted to by Celtic peoples on Hallowe’en for the purpose of ascertaining their destiny, especially their fortune in the coming year; for when could these devices for prying into the future be more reasonably put in practice than at the beginning of the year? As a season of omens and auguries Hallowe’en seems to have far surpassed Beltane in the imagination of the Celts; from which we may with some probability infer that they reckoned their year from Hallowe’en rather than Beltane. Another circumstance of great moment which points to the same conclusion is the association of the dead with Hallowe’en. Not only among the Celts but throughout Europe, Hallowe’en, the night which marks the transition from autumn to winter, seems to have been of old the time of year when the souls of the departed were supposed to revisit their old homes in order to warm themselves by the fire and to comfort themselves with the good cheer provided for them in the kitchen or the parlour by their affectionate kinsfolk. It was, perhaps, a natural thought that the approach of winter should drive the poor shivering hungry ghosts from the bare fields and the leafless woodlands to the shelter of the cottage with its familiar fireside. Did not the lowing kine then troop back from the summer pastures in the forests and on the hills to be fed and cared for in the stalls, while the bleak winds whistled among the swaying boughs and the snow-drifts deepened in the hollows? and could the good-man and the good-wife deny to the spirits of their dead the welcome which they gave to the cows?
According to the (White/Apollonian) Zodiac, the autumnal season of sacrifice, the season of se, of unity (sem, sim), of separation, September, is precisely the 7th 30-day duration since the time of year corresponding to Osiris–Orion’s precessional low point, which low point corresponds to our 21 March. This relation, recall, is why the number 7 is named “seven.” Hence, too, we have “October,” “November,” and “December”: 8, 9, and 10, respectively. On the proto-mythological view, a month is 40 days long. The duration from (but not including) 21 September through 31 October consists of precisely 40 days.
Yes, in accord with the Great Reversal the month was reduced in length from 40 days to 30 days and the New Year was moved from autumn to spring, i.e. from dusk to dawn, from night to day, from mature to virginal, from Red/Dionysian to White/Apollonian, from the prime universal clock faces to the Zodiac. This is why Joyce refers to Ireland as “this two easter island.”
The proto-mythological importance of the root se- calls to mind the Mass of St. Sécaire, as described by Frazer in the Golden Bough.
… Gascon peasants believe that to revenge themselves on their enemies bad men will sometimes induce a priest to say a mass called the Mass of Saint Sécaire. Very few priests know this mass, and three-fourths of those who do know it would not say it for love or money. None but the wicked priests dare to perform the gruesome ceremony, and you may be quite sure that they will have a very heavy account to render for it at the last day. No curate or bishop, not even the archbishop of Auch can pardon them; that right belongs to the pope of Rome alone. The Mass of Saint Sécaire may be said only in a ruined or deserted church, where owls mope and hoot, where bats flit in the gloaming, where gypsies lodge of nights, and where toads squat under the desecrated altar. Thither the bad priest comes by night with his light o’ love, and at the first stroke of eleven he begins to mumble the mass backwards, and ends just as the clocks are knelling the midnight hour. His leman acts as clerk. The host he blesses is black and has three points; he consecrates no wine, but instead he drinks the water of a well into which the body of an unbaptized infant has been flung. He makes the sign of the cross, but it is on the ground and with his left foot. And many other things he does which no Good Christian could look upon without being struck blind and deaf and dumb for the rest of his life. But the man for whom the mass is said withers away little by little, and nobody can say what is the matter with him; even the doctors can make nothing of it. They do not know that he is slowly dying of the Mass of Saint Sécaire.
Exodus chapter 12 describes the Passover and begins by recounting God’s initial command that the New Year should be moved to the month of Nisan a.k.a. Aviv, Abib, as in our April: “And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, ‘This month [Nisan] shall be for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you.’” (Exodus 12:1:) What is now called the civil or secular calendar — effective from Genesis 1:1 through Exodus 11 — is the old, proto-mythological calendar; it contrasts with the newer, so-called religious calendar, the calendar of the Great Reversal. The 1st month in the secular calendar is Tishri, which starts in the autumn, in our September. The Jewish Passover festival was initially celebrated in the epochal year 621 BCE, the year when a certain priest of the temple, the father of the future prophet Jeremiah, produced a book which purported to be the book of the laws of Moses. The festival occurs in conjunction with the annual celebration of the resurrection of Adonis, Tammuz, Osiris, etc.
The Golden/Legal tension between proto-mythological 6-ness (with its autumnal New Year) and White/Apollonian 12-ness (with its March New Year) is captured in the 6-pointed, 12-sided sign of Solomon, the star of David, a symbol of rising–falling, White–Red, and, especially in terms of its delta shapes, of the Black/Baroque. This same primal tension exists between the numbers 9 and 12; in fact it inheres in the number 9, which is the average of 6 and 12. Likewise this tension inheres in the number 4, which is 2/3 of 6 and 1/3 of 12. As I showed, both 9 and 4 are associated in terms of the sexagesimal numbering system with the square. A cube is composed of 6 square faces (9 x 6 = 54, a very important number mythologically, as I will later explain; and 4 x 6 = 24) and as such it has 12 edges. Thus the Star of David corresponds to the Ka’aba and likewise to Hercules, the Tree of Knowledge, the Pegasus Square, the Tree of Life — and precisely thus to the case of Golgotha and the crucified Jesus.
Homer’s Odyssey resonates with the tension between 6 and 12 and likewise — and even more so — with the tension between 9 and 12. The emergence of Odysseus (a.k.a. Ulysses) from the Trojan War seems to mark the reformulation of the heroic type in general relative to the Great Reversal. Not only that; it marks the emergence of a new, White/Apollonian type of art: the original stream of consciousness. Robert Fitzgerald: “Homer’s greatest display of virtuosity, it may well be, lay in handing over to his hero his own job, his art as aoidos or singer of tales, for 2,232 lines, a good sixth of The Odyssey, Books IX through XII of the twenty-four.” Books 9 through 12, in which Odysseus tells the Phaiakians (who lived on the island now called Corfu) about his journey from Troy; note the 2232 lines, a number surely not lost on Joyce. After the famous 9-year stalemate in the Trojan War, Odysseus enters the wooden horse (i.e. Cepheus, the tomb, the ark, the cave, the grotto, the cathedral, etc.) and thus brings the war to an end. Hence he sails westward, to Ismaros on the far shore, the coast of the Kikones. I believe this location corresponds to the constellation Hercules. The Kikones kill many of his men, 6 from each of the 12 ships. The party sails away but a storm comes up and forces them to wait it out for a few days. And when they finally come around Malea, the southern point of Greece, the current takes them out to sea — and a wind from the north sends them drifting 9 days to the land of the Lotus Eaters. I believe that Malea and the land of the Lotus Eaters correspond to Polaris, and that likewise the 9 days correspond to a full cosmic cycle. Another such cycle brings them to the land of the Cyclopes, particularly to the cave of Polyphemos, cannibal son of Poseidon. Odysseus blinds Polyphemous with a 6-foot pole, thus earning the hatred of Poseidon. Book 9 ends with Odysseus and his remaining crew escaping from Polyphemos. Next up is the floating island Aiolia (a.k.a. Lipara, among the 7 Aeolian Islands), home to the wind king Aiolos Hippotades and his 6 sons and 6 daughters. Here again, I believe, is Polaris — or more generally the celestial north pole. Aiolos keeps Odysseus a full month to hear the tale of Troy. He then uses a wind to facilitate Odysseus’s return to Ithaca. After 9 days the crew spots the cost of Ithaca, but when they greedily open the leathern bag which Aiolos had given Odysseus, the winds therein escape and blow the travelers back to Aiolia. For 6 days and nights the crew rows away, until they come to Laistrygonia, “that land where daybreak follows dusk,” where they enter “a curious bay with mountain walls of stone to left and right, and reaching far inland” and where they encounter a “stalwart young girl taking her pail to Artakia, the fountain where these people go for water.” This is to say, they arrive on (or in) the west coast of Norway, which is yet another symbol of Polaris. Fleeing the cannibal Viking king, Ulysses and his crew next make landfall on Aeaea, “island of Circe, dire beauty and divine, sister of baleful Aeetes, like him fathered by Helios the light of mortals on Perse, child of the Ocean stream.” Again, we are at Polaris. A 22-man expedition absent Odysseus goes to explore the center of the island. “In the wild wood they found an open glade, around a smooth stone house — the hall of Circe — and wolves and mountain lions lay there, mild in her soft spell, fed on her drug of evil.” Circe transforms all the 22 men but Eurylokhos into swine. We may infer that the wolves and mountains lions are likewise transformed men. In this sense Circe has sacrificed these men. Eurylokhos escapes to inform Odysseus, who then sets out to rescue his men. But Hermes intercepts him and provides him with the magic plant he needs to protect himself against Circe’s magic. Circe recognizes the hero by this antidote. “Odysseus then you are, O great contender, of whom the glittering god with golden wand spoke to me ever, and foretold the black swift ship would carry you from Troy.” Circe returns the men to their human form. The whole gang hangs out with Circe for a bit too long. Eventually Odysseus’s crew reminds their captain of his intent to return home. He therefore asks Circe for his leave, to which request she responds: “Odysseus, master mariner and soldier, you shall not stay here longer against your will; but home you may not go unless you take a strange way round and come to the cold homes of Death and pale Persephone.” Odysseus wakes his men to begin the strange journey via the land of death, which land I believe corresponds to the constellation Hercules. “Among [the men] the youngest was Elpenor — no mainstay in a fight nor very clever — and this one, having climbed on Circe’s roof to taste the cool night, fell asleep with wine. Waked by our morning voices, and the tramp of men below, he started up, but missed his footing on the long steep backward ladder and fell that height headlong.” This death plunge from the ladder corresponds to the river Oceanus running from Polaris to Hercules. Odysseus upon reaching the land of the dead is initially met by none other than Elpenor. “How is this, Elpenor, how could you journey to the western gloom swifter afoot than I in the black lugger?” Elpenor describes his fall from the ladder and makes this request: “When you make sail and put these lodgings of dim Death behind, you will moor ship, I know, upon Aeaea Island; there, O my lord, remember me, I pray, do not abandon me unwept, unburied, to tempt the gods’ wrath, while you sail for home; but fire my corpse, and all the gear I had, and build a cairn for me above the breakers — an unknown sailor’s mark for men to come. Heap up the mound there, and implant upon it the oar I pulled in life with my companions.” Among the many other ghosts Odysseus encounters during this visit is Tityos: “And I saw Tityos, the son of Gaia, lying abandoned over nine square rods of plain. Vultures, hunched above him, left and right, rifling his belly, stabbed into the liver, and he could never push them off.” The last ghost Odysseus encounters is Hercules. “[And then] the ship went leaping toward the stream of Ocean first under oars, then with a following wind.” Thus the party returns to Aeaea and Circe. They bury Elpenor as he had asked. Circe warns them of their next peril: “Square in your ship’s path are Sirens, crying beauty to bewitch men passing by; woe to the innocent who hears that sound! He will not see his lady nor his children in joy, crowding about him, home from sea; the Sirens will sing his mind away on their sweet meadow lolling. There are bones of dead men rotting in a pile beside them and flayed skins shrivel around the spot. Steer wide; keep well to seaward; plug your oarsmen’s ears with beeswax kneaded soft; none of the rest should hear that song. But if you wish to listen, let the men tie you in the lugger, hand and foot, back to the mast, lashed to the mast. The Sirens correspond to the Pegasus Square, with the World Tree/Mast stemming between it and the constellation Cepheus, i.e. Odysseus’s boat. “What then? One of two courses you may take and you yourself must weigh them.” The initial of these courses runs between the Symplegades, the twin, “prowling” rocks. “Only one ocean-going craft, the far-famed Argo, made it [through], sailing from Aeaea; but she, too, would have crashed on the big rocks if Hera had not pulled her through, for love of Jason, her captain.” These rocks correspond to the constellation Hercules. The other course “lies between headlands.” One of these headlands “is a sharp mountain piercing the sky, with stormcloud round the peak.” This is Polaris. “Midway that height, a cavern full of mist opens toward Erebos and evening …; [this] is the den of Scylla.” The serpent Scylla has 6 legs and 12 heads. On the other headland, opposite, grows a great wild fig tree. Charybdis the maelstrom lurks just off shore. This headland corresponds to the constellation Hercules. The course between the headlands corresponds to the straight stretch from Hercules to Polaris, i.e. the ladder Elpenor fell from, Draco, Oceanus. Odysseus chooses the course past Scylla. He loses 6 crew members to the monster but the ship otherwise passes safely onward to the island of the Sun, of Helios, where they put in to a grotto, a sea cave. Here again is Polaris. The crew slaughters several of Helios’s choice cattle, angering the god and prompting Odysseus and crew to sail away. At Helios’s request Zeus blasts the ship with a lightning bolt. All are killed by Odysseus, who drifts toward Charybdis. He leaps for the great fig tree and hangs from it like a bat. Finally he lets go, falls into the flotsam of his ship, and paddles hard to pass Scylla. “Never could I have passed her had not the Father of gods and men, this time, kept me from her eyes. Once through the strait, nine days I drifted in the open sea before I made shore, buoyed up by the gods, upon Ogygia Isle. The dangerous nymph Kalypso lives and sings there, in her beauty, and she received me, loved me.” So ends chapter 12, once again at Polaris. Athena eventually intervenes to free Odysseus. Zeus sends his favorite son Hermes to Kalypso to secure the hero’s release. “But let him have no company,” says Zeus, “gods or men, only a raft that he must lash together, and after twenty days, worn out at sea, he shall make land upon the garden isle, Scheria, of our kinsmen, the Phaiakians. “[A]nd now her ladyship [Kalypso], having given heed to Zeus’s mandate, went to find Odysseus in his stone seat to seaward — tear on tear brimming his eyes.” She sets Odysseus adrift and he eventually reaches the isle of the Phaiakians, where he is cared for by princess Nausikaa. Once again we are at Polaris. Thus the story of Odysseus involves 9 equivalents of Polaris: Troy, the land of the Lotus Eaters, the land of the Cyclopes, Aiolia, Norway, Circe’s isle Aeaea, the island of the Sun, Kalypso’s island Ogygia, and the isle of the Phaiakians. Adding Ismaros, the land of the dead, and the great wild fig tree — all equivalent to the constellation Hercules —makes a total of 12 landfalls prior to Ithaca. Counting Malea as an equivalent of Polaris, and counting Aiolia and Aeaea twice, we have 12 Polaris equivalents before Ithaca.
Curiously, 12 rue de l’Odeon, Paris, was the address of Sylvia Beach’s now famous bookstore Shakespeare & Co. Ms. Beach was the original publisher of Joyce’s Ulysses — his White/Apollonian, daytime book, which he based on the Odyssey — and she initially presented it to the world in the front window of her shop. Joyce, no doubt, considered said address — as well as Ms. Beach’s name and the name of her bookstore — tremendous synchronicities relative to his work.
We’ve discussed the significance attaching to Haran’s longtitude. Now we are ready to understand the significance of its latitude. That latitude is approximately 37° (36° 51') north — almost exactly the latitude at which the star Canopus is no longer visible on the southern horizon (depending somewhat, of course, on the observer’s altitude) when the Osiris–Orion constellation is at its highest point of the precessional cycle. Canopus, you see, is counterpart to Sirius. Located at the right foot of Osiris–Orion, Sirius is brightest of all stars. Canopus is second brightest. The Egyptian names for Sirius are Sothis, Septet, and Sept — as in September, the season of sacrifice, the proto-mythological New Year. Sirius is likewise considered the god of circumcision. Clearly Sirius represents the high tide of Osiris–Orion’s south–north journey; it corresponds to Polaris and Haran. Canopus named after the pilot of Menelaos’s ship to Troy represents the low tide. For ancient residents of the northern hemisphere who could see it, Canopus served as the south pole star. As such, Canopus corresponds to the Hercules constellation, the Ka’aba, and moreover to the Pegasus Square, the Trojan Horse, and Phoenicia. Which is to say, Canopus corresponds to the tomb and the womb, the fallen, complex hero/god. In a word, Canopus is Red/Dionysian relative to Sirius. And in fact the low position Canopus occupies relative to the horizon of the northern hemisphere involves Canopus in the phenomenon of atmospheric extinction, which causes it to appear increasingly golden reddish as one travels north. In ancient Egypt a “canopic jar” preserved the viscera of a dead person, for burial with the mummy. The chief ancient Egyptian port town was called Canopus by the Greeks, which name resonates perhaps significantly with the ancient Egyptian Kah Nub, “golden floor.” Homer claims the town arose around a shore-side monument built by Menelaos to the memory of his pilot Canopus, who died there from a serpent bite. The Egyptians called the town Pikuat or Peguat as in Pegasus, and in apparent contrast to Upuat. The town stood on the western bank of the westernmost branch of the Nile delta, the so-called Canopic or Heracleotic branch, in the seventh sepat (province) of Lower Egypt, which word sepat itself signifies the number seven, as in sepulcher, from the Latin word meaning “bury,” this from the P-I-E sep, whence the Greek hépein, “perform, work,” as in Hephaistos, and likewise whence the Sanskrit sápati, “he courts, cares for” as in the Pegasus-borne/born Perseus/George/Ulysses, and as in Hephaistos’s love for Aphrodite, and as in Menelaos’s love for Helen. Menelaos’s caring for and monument to Canopus corresponds to his love for Helen and to the Trojan Horse and to Troy itself. After leaving Troy, Menelaos’s ship was blown by (Poseidon’s) storms to Crete and Egypt delineating, I say, the historical sources of the Trojan people and culture and there becalmed. Menelaos had to take counsel from the shape-shifting sea god Proteus in order to secure winds for passage back to Sparta. Proteus informed Menelaos that Elyisum was Menelaos’s destiny. The name of the seventh sepat meant “West Harpoon,” as if the Nile delta was considered a set of harpoons, a sort of trident. Poseidon, recall, is considered the builder of the walls of Troy. The major deity of the West Harpoon was Ha, who was god of the sea-like western deserts the Deshret, “Red” and was associated with the underworld, the Duat. In Chinese, let me add, the star Canopus is called “Star of the Old.”
Frazer presents the following germane account written in 1881 by a Christian missionary among the Yorubas in West Africa: “When a son is born to the king of Oyo, they make a model of the infant’s right foot in clay and keep it in the house of the elders (ogboni). If the king fails to observe the customs of the country, a messenger, without speaking a word, shows him his child’s foot. The king knows what that means. He takes poison and goes to sleep.”
Sirius and Canopus are considered “dog stars.” The name Canopus, cognate with canine, is significant of this relation. Upuat — a.k.a. Wepwawet, the Greek Anoubis, from the Egyptian Anpu, which name stems from the word inpw, which word is related to the English word emperor, which word derives from the Latin in + parare, “to prepare, order” — who guides souls through the mysterious Duat, has the head of a jackal. As the Red/Dionysian planets are the “dogs of Persephone” (i.e. of Aphrodite/Persephone, the Sun), Sirius and Canopus are the dogs of Osiris–Orion. Likewise it’s fair to say that Polaris is the mysterious “fox star” alluded to in many legends. Polaris indeed corresponds to the Norse Fenrir, wolf-son of Loki. When Fenrir breaks his bonds, Ragnarök begins. Dogs are rather generally associated with death, especially with sacrifice. On the Indonesian island of Sumba I witnessed the ritual autumnal sacrifice of a horse and an ox. The horse was slowly strangled with a long rope, but ox's jugular vein was severed and his neck was then hacked through with machetes. Almost as soon as his blood hit the dirt ground, several local dogs rushed in and lapped it up.
Regarding Persephone, I should point out that her name/title consists of phero + phonos, meaning “she who brings destruction.” The Romans called her Proserpina, “fearful one,” which name is closely linked to the Etruscan phersu and to the Greek prosopon, both meaning “mask.” She is Kolyo/Kali. True to Kolyo's richness as complete, triple-Goddess (MaidenNymphCrone), the Athenians also gave to Persephone the title Persephatta, from ptersis + ephapto, “she who mends destruction.” She is the singular yet complex Fate, equivalent to AphroditeHermes. Persephone was originally the maiden Core, daughter of the Mother Goddess Demeter. According to the account which Helios (the Sun, who sees all and is proto-mythologically equivalent to the Mother Goddess) gave to Demeter (i.e. to herself, for Helios is Hel is Helen is Sel is Sol is Swel is Sunna is Sonne is soul is, according to proto-mythology, chiefly female; this in contrast to Sem, Set, Sin, Man, Men, Mond, Mont, Lucifer, Lugos, Lycos, Ulysses, who is chiefly male), Core was picking (red) poppies amongst a herd of swine when the Earth there opened up, swallowed the swine, and then immediately admitted into its depths an onrushing chariot pulled by 4 black horses and commanded by a driver whose face was hidden but who clutched a shrieking Core. That charioteer was supposedly Hades, brother of Zeus. Demeter was so furious that she traveled all over the Earth, everywhere forbidding the plants to yield fruits, vegetables and herbs. Humanity thus came to the brink of extinction. After much negotiation the 12 Olympian gods agreed that Core should be returned to Demeter, who was presently waiting at Eleusis. However, it was soon proven that whilst in Tartarus Core picked a (red) pomegranate and ate 7 of its seeds. (In autumn the ripe fruit of the pomegranate tree splits open, like a wound, and thus reveals its red seeds. The pomegranate tree represents Tammuz/Adonis. Likewise a pomegranate tree sprouts from the spilled blood of Dionysus.)
According to eternal law, nobody who eats the food of the dead can return to the world of the living. But a compromise was reached according to which Core would spend 1/3 of the year — or ½ or ¼ of the year — with Hades; the rest of the year she would spend with Demeter. It was then that Demeter instituted the Eleusian Mysteries. Now, that pomegranate corresponds to Eve’s apple. The 7 seeds correspond not only to the 7 planets but also to the 7 constellations immediate to the center of the northern face of the universal clock. The difference between Core spending 1/3 of the year and ½ or ¼ of the year in Tartarus corresponds to the patriarchal reduction of the triple-Goddess to a merely dual Maiden–Mother (White–Black), i.e. to the suppression of the Nymph (again, note the ny-/ne- prefix of this word, as in Neptno, Neptune, Nehushtan) and thus the reduction of the hero in general (as Hercules was reduced), and likewise to the switch from a year having 9 “suns” and 3 major seasons to a year having 12 moons/months and 4 major seasons. Which is to say, the abduction of Core is symbolic of the Great Reversal. Recognizing this significance, and recalling that the category “planets” includes comets and meteors, and noting the worldwide famine the myth attributes to Demeter’s fury, I am led to suggest that the speeding 4-horse chariot (the horse being a symbol of both Demeter, goddess of the Earth, and of Poseidon, god of earthquakes) bearing Hades and Core/Persephone — god and goddess of destruction — represents the giant comet(s) and/or meteor(s) that impacted the Earth c. 3200 BCE. Regardless, that chariot and its driver proto-mythologically represent the (female) Sun. Core, in other words, is not the abducted but the abductor: Hel, Helen, Swel, and so on. Likewise Hades — alias Menelaos, Man, Moon, Lucifer, Lug, Kronos, Hercules, etc. — is in truth the sacrificed hero/king. Eve’s apple and Helen’s apple are the original passport to death, given by the Nymph to her lover/hero/king, whom she effectively sacrifices when he is, say, 33 years old. Conversely, Hercules (i.e. Hades, Aïdes, Aï–Deus), upon completing his 12 Labors against proto-mythology, returns to Thebes and promptly divorces his wife Megara — who is precisely 33 years old — in order to obtain a younger, more auspicious wife. Yet the essentially proto-mythological heroes Alexander the Great and Jesus of Nazareth both died aged 33 years.
As the Delphic Oracle severely commented, “Hercules of Tiryns is a very different man from his Caopic namesake.” Regarding Canopus, we will learn more about him in relation to the Argo, which ark of sorts — like all mythological arks — is equivalent to Cepheus, the Pegasus Square, the sanctuary of El, the vault below Solomon’s Temple, the city, the inn, Hercules, the Ka’aba, and generally to both body and soul, tomb and hero.
According to proto-mythology, the whole Middle Eastern geography around Haran should map to the universal clock. We’ve seen that Haran corresponds to Polaris, that Phoenicia corresponds to the Pegasus Square, and that the king of Byblos corresponds to the constellation Cepheus. Likewise the Euphrates corresponds to the so-called Milky Way, with Cygnus afloat on it. The Tigris corresponds to Oceanus, the river which flows from proto-mythological North on the northern face of the universal clock to proto-mythological South thereon. Likewise Oceanus, the Tigris, and the precessional journey of Osiris–Orion each correspond to the constellation Eridanus, which celestial river meanders southward from the foot of Osiris–Orion to the southern face of the universal clock, terminating at the star Achernar, 9th brightest of all stars and nearly coincident with the point on that southern clock face which corresponds to 3200 BCE, the beginning of the Great Reversal. Sumeria’s Ur, with its famous bulls-head harps, corresponds to Lyra. Sumeria’s Eridu corresponds to the far South, i.e. to the constellation Hercules, the Ka’aba, to Columba, and to Achernar, the end of Eridanus. Ophiuchus, the serpent bearer, at once representing the Absent Father (Ouranos) and the Fallen Father (Kronos, Father Dis, Neptune, Poseidon, etc.) stands in the Persian Gulf.
The river Euphrates — the “Milky Way” — is especially interesting in this mytho-astro-geological-archaeological respect. The name Euphrates is a Greek version of the native Ufratu. The upper Euphrates is still termed the “Frat” by locals. This epithet recalls the English word freight, which word stems from the Old High German Vracht or Vrecht. The river’s freight is the dead, sacrificed king. Sure enough, the epithet “Hera’s Glory,” i.e. Herakles or Hercules, stems from the name of the Greek river Heracleius. The youthful Hercules — prior to performing his 12 Labors, and when he was still called Palaemon or Alcaeus and had not yet gained his more famous and considerably ironic epithet from the oracle of Delphi — vanquished king Pyraechmus of the Euboeans and had the king’s body torn in half by horses and exposed unburied on the banks of the Heracleius. Hera, as she has come down to us, is goddess of simple, White/Black death-in-life; Hercules is the corresponding hero. Both are reduced versions of the proto-mythological triple-Goddess–God. They represent the Great Reversal’s severance of cyclical time, of quantum time, the reduction of the Black/Baroque fractal to a space–time linear continuum. They represent the devaluation of the real, of the existential, of the medium, of Red/Dionysian complexity, and the overvaluation of the simply ideal, of the singular, of the point where extremes meet. They deny the river its freeing nature, its essence as boundary, which essence signifies the principle of fractal multiplicity and the corollary notion that there is real albeit ana-logical rebirth. Proto-mythologically, the Euphrates corresponds to the river of death. Plato calls this river the Without Memory River, the Amēleta Potamon, as well as the Forgetfulness River, the Lēthē Potamon. Amlethus (i.e. Hamlet in Saxo Grammaticus’s version of the Hamlet story, c. 1200; books III and IV of Gesta Danorum, a history of Denmark) is, like Plato’s hero Er, remarkably lacking memory of what he should be, of what he must be. Nevertheless he is charged with a sense of his destiny, which destiny is precisely equivalent to the destiny of his father. The Amēleta Potamon, i.e. the proto-Heracleius, corresponds to the boundary, the nothingness (as Sartre referred to it), between so-called monads; i.e. it corresponds to the ultimate freedom of monads, to the multiplicity-in-unity of monads, to the beauty of reality, of existence, of the Black/Baroque, which is not to be denied by the Hera-style, Zoroastrian-style idealism concomitant of the Great Reversal.
The Proto-Indo-Europeans associated death with a goddess: Kolyo “the coverer.” She is equivalent to the Russian Kupalo, to the Greek Kalypso (cognate with eclipse), to the Jain Kali, to Anna, to Merlin’s love Viviane (a.k.a. Nimu, etc.), and, in a reduced sense, to Hera, to the Vedic Śarva, to the Avestan Saurva, to Abraham’s Sarai. The Sanskrit verbal root vr present in these latter names (as -rv or simply -r) does in fact mean “to cover.” The river Euphrates is equivalent to Kolyo; it is not a “milky way” but a muddy way, brown or, hyperbolically, black. The brown goddess is the complete goddess: Black, White and Red, i.e. Black/Baroque.
Saint Sarah, in the basement crypt of the church at Saints-Maries-de-la-Mar, on the south coat of France. She is the patron saint of gypsies, who refer to her as Sarah-la-Kali, “Sarah the Black.” According to legend, shortly after the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, 3 Marys were set to “sail” although without sail and without oars from Palestine: Mary Salome (mother of apostles James and John), Mary Jacobe (sister of Jesus’s mother Mary), and Mary Magdalene. But Sarah, the black Egyptian servant of Mary Salome and Mary Jacobe, wept so in watching the Marys depart that Mary Salome unfurled her cloak from the boat to Sarah, who was able to walk on it across the water and thus join the Marys. Ultimately their boat landed at what is now the town of Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mar, in the Camargue region of France (which region is famed for its wild, white horses and its black bulls). There the Marys built an oratory.
According to Greek mythology the father of Palaemon (i.e. of Alcaeus, of Hercules) is Zeus, and the mother is the mortal Alcmene, “strong in wrath.” Alcmene is the last mortal with whom Zeus mates. He intends to produce by her a hero who will save both humanity and the gods. Therefore he takes the form of her husband Amphitryon (note the try- root) and lays with her for 3 full nights while tricking her (note the tri- root of the word trick, which word stems from the Latin tricae, “complication, trifle,” and is closely related to tribe) into thinking that but a single night has passed. Alcmene is equivalent to the triple-Goddess; and true to form she in turn gives birth to twins: Iphicles and Palaemon, elder and younger, respectively. (The fundamental role of Iphicles is suppressed in the legend, but his name resonates with Phyllis, “leafy,” and with the red Philistines, and with the Latin felis, “cat,” and filial, “son,” and filum, “thread,” and felare, “to suck,” and with Palaemon’s eventual friend Phylius, who is friends/lovers with Cycnus, a son of Apollo by Hyria, he who leaps into a lake and is transformed into a swan. Another Cycnus is son of Ares and Pyrene and challenges Paleamon/Hercules to a duel which Zeus in turn prevents.) Alcmene fears Hera’s jealousy and therefore abandons the infant Palaemon/Alcaeus in a Theban field — precisely as Gaia abandons Erichthonios, and precisely as the Levite woman abandons Moses along the Nile. (Supposedly Alcmene retains the far weaker Iphicles, claiming him to be a son of Amphitryon, who in fact mated with her the night after Zeus finished doing so.) Consequently Zeus has Athena take Hera for a walk through that field. Hera of course finds the babe and puts him to her breast, but he sucks so hard that she shrieks in pain and flings him to the ground — calling him a “young monster” as a spurt of her milk arcs across the sky. This is how the Milky Way was formed.
Remember my odd suggestion that the dragon in the St. George myth is equivalent to a baby? In the Greek myth of the Galaxy we have a direct expression of that connection. (Like many parents, I laughingly call my infant son a “little devil.” Indeed my wife and I were initially taken aback by the virtual ferocity with which he, like any infant, all but attacks her breast when feeding.) Recall as well that St. George is equivalent to Perseus, and that the constellation, as it were, which is the Galaxy, along with the constellations Perseus, Andromeda, Cetus, the Pegasus Square, Cassiopeia, and Cepheus represent the prime players in the most central of all myths: that which expresses the stability and instability — the dynamics — of the sacred family unit. In accord with the Great Reversal, that central myth has Zeus committing the infidelities against Hera: fathering Palaemon (Hercules) with Alceme, fathering Perseus with Danae, raping Europa, and so on. Proto-mythologicially, however, the myth of the sacred family emphasizes the cuckolding/sacrifice of the husband/father figure. We see this proto-mythology re-emerge in terms of the legend of Troy, the legend of Merlin’s conception, the legend of Merowig’s conception, and the legend of Tristan and Iseult — all of which point to the Grail legend. The baby lying between the parents is akin to a sword; it is Tristan’s sword lying between he and Iseult, which sword King Mark replaces with his own; indeed it is the very Tree of Life springing especially from the dead father’s body, from the Pegasus Square, from the rock, from Peter, from Pater. The baby and the sword are the dashing outsider — the Perseus, the George, the Paris, the sea monster, the Tristan, the incubus, the Arthur, the Lancelot, the Galahad — who proto-mythologically arrive from afar as a prime player in the dynamic of the sacred family. They and the World Tree and the sacred family and the whole cosmos, they are the stone which fell from Heaven, the lapsit exillis, the Holy Grail.
Hera leaves the baby Palaemon (Hercules) for dead, but her milk has rendered him immortal — precisely as immortal as the Milky Way — which is a constellation of sorts, the most complex constellation, at that. Athena finds the babe and returns him to Alcmene. Similarly Erichthonios was abandoned by Gaia and found by Athena, who gave him to Aglauros for nursing and later took him back and reared him under her own aegis, literally. Likewise the pharaoh’s daughter found Moses by the Nile and gave him back to his Hebrew mother (of the priestly, Red/Dionysian tribe Levi, as was the boy’s father) for nursing, who eventually gave him back to the princess, who then named him Moses, “Because I drew him out of the water.” Thus the name Moses corresponds to the name Hercules — i.e. to the river Heracleius, the river of death, the river of forgetfulness, of freedom, of fractally quantum multiplicity-in-unity and thus of rebirth, of beauty, of the Black/Baroque — and Athena corresponds to the pharaoh’s daughter and to Apollo’s (rather than Gaia’s) oracle at Delphi. Perseus, too. His mother Danae had been imprisoned by her father Acrisius in a bronze tower, for according to prophecy the initial son of Danae would kill Acrisius. Zeus, however, visited the imprisoned Danae as a shower of golden rain and thus fathered Perseus. Danae spirits away Perseus away to sea in the cubic chest Acrisius shuts Danae and the baby Perseus in a cubic wooden chest and tosses it into the sea. The pair wash ashore on the island of Seriphos, where Perseus grows up among the fisher folk. Eventually Perseus does kill Acrisius — by accident, with a discus throw. Similarly, Aphrodite hides the infant Tammuz/Adonis in a chest.
The Thebans yet point to the place where Zeus and Athena tricked Hera; they call it the Plain of Hercules; and it corresponds to the northern face of the universal clock and especially to the most complex and the most central constellations thereof: respectively, the Milky Way and the sea–serpent Draco (a.k.a. Typhon, Python, etc.) and thus to Delphi as well. Erichthonios, Moses, Hercules, and, for that matter, the aforementioned Briareus (as in briar patch, i.e. heather, the Greek ereikē; and bier and bear): they are all equivalent to that sea serpent, to Zeus sleeping on his couch. Gaia is clearly proto-Hera is clearly Alcmene is clearly the Levite mother: the full triple-Goddess rather than the reduced, relatively White/Black goddess of the Great Reversal. Yet said reduction is never complete. The Hera of the Great Reversal still has a foot in the Golden Age, she is still the triple-Goddess, still the killer of her husband. She’s now a housewife, to be sure; but she’s a desperate housewife, a nymph as well as a virgin and crone.
Hera’s hatred of Hercules is overstated by the Greek mythographers. Insofar as Hera is proto-Hera (eg. Gaia) she (a) hates Hercules inasmuch as he is the new hero, poster boy of the Great Reversal, yet (b) loves him inasmuch as he is the proto-mythological hero; and insofar as she is the new Hera, the ultimate wife and mother of the Great Reversal, she (c) loves Hercules inasmuch as he is the hero of the Great Reversal, and (d) hates him inasmuch as he is the proto-mythological hero. Naturally the Greek mythographers appealed to the peoples’ (i.e. to the Black/Baroque’s) eternally proto-mythological heartstrings. In this chief respect these mythographers, being of course advocates of the Great Reversal, painted Hera the bad cop, the character trying to suppress the emergence of the appropriate hero; concomitantly they painted Zeus the good cop, the promoter of this hero. Therefore Hera tricks (i.e. trifles) Zeus into nominating the relatively weakly Eurytheus to the throne (throne being another tro/try/tre/tri word) which Zeus had otherwise destined Hercules for. Bad Hera! Yet Eurytheus is profoundly weak: his name means “red Zeus” and he is said to be a “7-months child,” this redness symbolizing his priestly, pre-sacrificed, aboriginal, Kronos-like, senescent nature, and the reference to premature birth likewise at once indicating Eurytheus’s relative weakness and his antiquity, for in the Golden Age the year was divided into 9 months of 40 days and therefore all healthy gestations lasted about 7 of these months (9 x 30 = 270, 7 x 40 = 280). Zeus responds by tricking Hera: he suggests that Hercules humble himself by performing 12 labors to be stipulated by her lame king, if you will, but that Hercules should also be immortal. Hera agrees to the deal. Although Eurytheus is equivalent (though not identical) to Kronos as Hercules is equivalent to Zeus, Zeus is moreover equivalent to Kronos, having replaced him as the chief god; and in this sense Eurystheus is equivalent to Zeus and is thus bound to act out Zeus’s overarching program, the program of the Great Reversal. It follows that all the 12 labors which Eurystheus forces upon Hercules are attacks upon proto-mythological symbols. Yet the story paints Hera the aggressor in this respect, for Eurytheus is her man, so to speak. Again the (Black/Baroque) chorus (of satyrs; i.e. the People) is meant to yell, “Bad Hera!” Nevertheless the immortality of Hercules expresses the immortality which Zeus intends for the Great Reversal (i.e. for himself); and the proto-mythological river of forgetfulness, of sacrifice, of death-and-fractally-quantum-rebirth, of multeity-in-unity, of beauty, of the triune Black/Baroque (White–Red–Black), the canopy of the World Tree, is painted a literal galaxy of merely White (i.e. White/Black) milk, a symbol of the Mother’s woundedness, of her fall, and of the supposed Heaven/Hell beyond and more final than the material world. Thus the yo-yo between White and Red, simplicity and complexity, goes on; and although a fundamental aspect of Hera is indeed in complicity with the merely White, the account of the conversation (as it were) — which account tends to be constructed by the supposed victors, i.e. by the advocates of the merely White, of the Great Reversal — naturally paints Hera as being petty if not too trivial (as in the Latin “Diana of the Crossroads,” a.k.a. Trivia) relative to a more even-handed, reasonable, straightforward Zeus. (All you trivia buffs out there are at least inasmuch Red/Dionysian advocates to the Golden/Legal philosophy.)
In this light consider the following from Robert Graves’ Greek Myths:
Olympianism had been formed as a religion of compromise between the pre-Hellenic matriarchal principle and the Hellenic patriarchal principle; the divine family consisting, at first, of six gods and six goddesses. An uneasy balance of power was kept until Athene was reborn from Zeus’s head, and Dionysus, reborn from his thigh, took Hestia’s seat at the divine Council; thereafter male preponderance in any divine debate was assured — a situation reflected on earth — and the goddess’s ancient prerogatives could now be successfully challenged.
Hestia abdicates to live among the mortals (i.e. the People, the Black/Baroque). Dionysus, her replacement, is naturally a Red male, i.e. a female male. Likewise Demeter absents Olympus during part of each year, to visit her daughter Core (a.k.a. Persephone) in the under-underworld (Tartarus) ruled by Hades (who has abducted Core but by compromise with Zeus and Demeter keeps her for this part of the year only); and in this sense Hades is admitted to Olympos. Which is to say, insofar as Hestia and Demeter remain (rather proto-mythologically) on Olympus, Dionysus and Hades are not admitted — Dionysus being proto-mythologically of the real, material realm, the Earthly realm, the medium, and Hades being proto-mythologically of the merely ideal, Black realm which in its extremity meets (White) Olympus. Moreover with the Great Reversal we get the aforementioned denigration/masculinization of Hera, the virginalization of Artemis, the maligning of Ares, etc. The original 12 Olympians are Zeus, Poseidon, Ares, Hephaistos, Hermes, Apollo, Hera, Aphrodite, Demeter, Hestia, Athena, and Artemis, listed here in no special order although Zeus above all represents the grand compromise Graves refers to in the passage above.
A traditional painting of Kali, recently created by a woman villager
near Madhubni in the Mithila province of far northeastern India.
Incredibly beautiful to behold from her front, the primeval, triple-Goddes Kolyo — proto-Hera, Kali, Aphrodite, etc. — is incredibly hideous from her back, which writhes of snakes and worms. Every creature is ultimately bound to Kolyo by a snare about a foot or a noose about the neck — or simply by their very guts. Thereby she pulls every hero to his death, swallows them, renders them the Green Man, the Green Knight, the Wild Man, “the gardener” and “the rock” (i.e. the base). Thus every Arthurian knight except Galahad is swallowed by the Earth when he attempts to sit in the Round Table’s 12th chair. (The association between Kolyo’s writhing posterior and the Green Man’s verdurous face lends further credence to the notion that the aforementioned monster Humbaba/Huwawa in the Epic of Gilgamesh is essentially identical to the Green Man, i.e. to Humphrey, Humpty, Jupiter, Zeus, Odin, etc. As such, the Green Man motif is considerably euphemistic.) Sacrifice by drowning or live burial, or by strangulation or hanging or, for that matter, by drawing and quartering, is a direct reference to Kolyo, i.e. to the very nature of existence. A prime domain of Kolyo is the underwater, the underground, the intensive, the intrinsic, the tomb, the night, symbolized especially by muddy water, by mud, by the mound of earth, by the pond, the enclosure, the cube, the tomb. She never sleeps, for she involves sleep. She never dies, for she involves death. Which is to say, Kolyo covers in terms of the stars and planets (especially the Sun) as well as the Earth. This is the sense in which the ancient Egyptians considered Nut goddess of the heavens.
Generally speaking, the proto-mythological river is the whole universal clock. This complex river’s otherwise singular freight is Cygnus (or Sigmund), Zeus, Finn, Draco, Erichthonios, Moses, Hercules, Briareus, the Phoenix — i.e. a feathered serpent (flyer–crawler, riser–faller, White–Red). In Cygnus-upon-the-Euphrates we have an image of the Indian river “burial” and of the Viking sea burial: the dead leader placed on a barque, set aflame, and set afloat. Such ritual is still re-enacted in Europe in terms of the Green Man or Wild Man, whose fatal commitment to the river, pond, lake or ocean marks the end/beginning of a prime if not chief annual cycle. Cygnus is equivalent to the original sacrifice, the penis of Ouranos, from which Aphrodite emerges — she whose name means “foam-born,” a reference to the foam of the sea.
Like the Tigris, the river Jordan corresponds to the celestial river Oceanus. The Jordan flows straight south from the Sea of Galilee into the Dead Sea, i.e. into the constellation Hercules, and inasmuch into the land (or house) of the dead (the Welsh Annwn), the Pegasus Square, Phoenicia, from which rises the World Tree. According to this understanding the constellation Cepheus corresponds to Har Megiddo, i.e. Armageddon.
Likewise the Jordan corresponds to Ireland’s river Boyne (An Bhóinn), the Sea of Galilee being equivalent to the source of the Boyne, i.e. to the Well of Knowledge (lake, pond, pounde, enclosure) wherein lives the salmon Finntan. The Boyne and with it the Oceanus, the Tigris, and the Jordan are trees of sorts but they are not identical to the World Tree. Whereas the World Tree (i.e. the Tree of Life and Death) springs from the Pegasus Square (corresponding to Phoenicia) and rises to the constellation Cepheus where it aborts into the canopy which is the entire Milky Way galaxy, the Tree of Knowledge (“of Good and Evil,” i.e. of White and Red) springs from the square trunk of Hercules (corresponding to the Ka’aba) and rises to Polaris where it aborts into the invisible canopy which is the northern face of the universal clock. Wrapped around the Tree of Knowledge is Draco, Tityos. Both of these trees rise toward Haran. But the World Tree is far the more obvious of the pair and as such it was discovered very early in pre-history. The Tree of Knowledge is precisely as subtle as the universal clock, i.e. as physics itself — and as such it was discovered very late in pre-history.
The Dublin area’s more southerly river, the remarkably dark brown Liffey, which unlike the clear Boyne flows directly through Dublin, corresponds to the Euphrates and to the Milky Way portions of the universal clock. Of the Liffey Joyce writes, “The stream is quite brown, rich in salmon, very devious, shallow. The splitting up towards the end (seven dams) is the city abuilding.” Dublin corresponds to Jerusalem and to Uruk and to Cairo (with its Giza plateau) — and each corresponds to the constellation Cygnus. Likewise London is the Euston Hotel is the Euphrates is Dublin. Which is to say, the city is equivalent to its hometown hero, the once and future king, the sacrificed Father Dis. Dublin is the Devil’s Inn is Phoenix Park is HCE is every city, every town, every home, every mind.
Cepheus/Cygnus appears in Mesoamerica as Quetzalcoatl: “Feathered Serpent” or “Admirable Twin,” fair of face and white of beard, teacher of the arts, originator of the calendar, and giver of maize. Indeed, the prefix Quetzal-, “feathered,” seems cognate with the name Cepheus (especially the Aramaic Qepha) and with the word castle. Another cognate is castrate, as in the story of Kronos castrating his father Ouranos. Frazer:
At the festival of the winter solstice in December the Aztecs killed their god Huitzilopochtli in effigy first and ate him afterwards. As a preparation for this solemn ceremony an image of the deity in the likeness of a man was fashioned out of seeds of various sorts, which were kneaded into a dough with the blood of children. The bones of the god were represented by pieces of acacia wood. This image was placed on the chief altar of the temple, and on the day of the festival the king offered incense to it. Early next day it was taken down and set on its feet in a great hall. Then a priest, who bore the name and acted the part of the god Quetzalcoatl, took a flint-tipped dart and hurled it into the breast of the dough-image, piercing it through and through. This was called “killing the god Huitzilopochtli so that his body might be eaten.” One of the priests cut out the heart of the image and gave it to the king to eat. The rest of the image was divided into minute pieces, of which every man great and small, down to the male children in the cradle, receive one to eat. But no woman might taste a morsel. The ceremony was called teoqualo, that is, “god is eaten.”
As Frazer later notes: “For the strongest of all oaths is that which is accompanied with the eating of a sacred substance, since the perjured person cannot possibly escape the avenging god whom he has taken into his body and assimilated.” The implication here is almost incredibly strong and in fact it will resonate throughout the rest of this volume: According to proto-mythology the king is sacrificed and his body is then eaten by his tribe — this cannibalism being the ultimate consecration of the moment of multeity-in-unity.
In Mayan myth, the winter solstice Sun corresponds to the deity Hun-Hunahpu, also known as First Father, equivalent to the Greek Ophiuchus (the Serpent Bearer). Hun-Hunaphu is father of the Hero Twins: Hunahpu (the elder of the pair) and Xbalanque. The name Hunahpu is better written Hun-Aphu or Jun-Aphu, where hun/jun means “one” and Aphu means “blowgunner.” Hun/Jun is consonant with Jupiter/Iupiter/Dyeus/Zeus/Tiwaz. Likewise Aphu is consonant with Apollo, especially if we recall that Apollo was god of archery. Hun-Hunaphu was defeated in the ballgame by the lords of the Underworld (Xibalba) and hence sacrificed. His severed head was then suspended in a tree and changed into a calabash. The juice of the calabash impregnated Ixquic (also called “Blood Girl” and “Blood Moon,” goddess of the waning Moon; equivalent to Demeter/Ceres’ daughter Core/Persephone/Proserpina, i.e. Andromeda), one of the daughters of the Underworld lord Cuchumaquic. She then fled back to the Underworld, where the Twins gestated inside her. Eventually the Twins defeated the lords of the Underworld, recovered Hun-Hunaphu’s body, and tried to resurrect him. In a literal sense they failed to perform this miracle. Yet in more general, legendary terms they succeeded inasmuch as Hun-Hunahpu became identified as the god of maize. Hun-Hunahpu’s head as said calabash clearly resonates with Kali, Cepheus, and Aquarius/Polaris. And Hun-Hunapahu depicted as maize rising from a turtle carapace resonates with the Tree of Life and with the Tree of Knowledge, the carapace being at once the Pegasus Square and the constellation Lyra (with its “Goat,” “Witch” or “Wiki” star, Vega, i.e. Vika). In Celtic lore, Lyra is considered a harp, called a cruit in Irish, this latter word signifying a sharp, high breast, such as of a goose, heron, or curlew, as well as the bones of a pike, whale, tortoise or turtle. The famous sarcophagus of Mayan king Pakal, king of Palenque, depicts the king as the maize god, the maize/tree emerging from his body like an umbilical cord. This is the carving oft presented, by the likes of Erich von Däniken, as depicting an ancient astronaut operating a spaceship.
Sarcophagus of Mayan king Pakal, king of Palenque, depicts the king as the maize god, the maize/tree emerging from his body like an umbilical cord.
Ancient depiction of Dionysus’s seizure of the pirate ship on which he had been taken captive. Note the 7 bunches of grapes, corresponding perhaps to prime circumpolar constellations. The 7 dolphins — “pigs of the sea” — correspond to the 7 planets. Dionysus corresponds to the Earth (including the sea) and likewise to the Pegasus Square (tomb/womb) and the Tree of Life (vine), including its canopy the Milky Way. Recall that Julius Caesar was captured and held hostage by pirates as a youth.
The ancient Maya noticed that the winter-solstice Sun is slowly moving towards the Milky Way — specifically towards the dark rift therein (which rift happens to correspond to the center of the galaxy as recognized by modern astronomers). That dark rift coincides with the left arm of the constellation Ophiuchus, the actual center of the galaxy being just off the left shoulder of Ophiuchus, seemingly in the constellation Sagittarius. To the Maya, the dark rift had many mythic identities: the Black Road; the Xibalba Be, Road to the Underworld; a crevice in the branches of the Cosmic Tree; the mouth of the Cosmic Monster (often portrayed as a frog, jaguar or snake with tree-like features); and the birth canal of the Cosmic Mother. The rift corresponds at once to the mouth of a uroborus (a snake eating its own tail) and to a sort of omphalos. Similarly this abyss corresponds to the Dark Moon, i.e. the seeming absence of the Moon for roughly 1.53.5 days prior to a New Moon. The New Moon is the thinnest lunar crescent, which always re-presents itself just above the western horizon soon after sunset. The Roman, Hebrew and Islamic calenders all consider the New Moon as marking the first day of a month rebirth, as it were. A Dark Moon occurs when the Moon is so close to the imaginary line from Earth to Sun that the sunlight striking the Moon cannot be seen on Earth. The seeming absence is rather negligibly related to the observer’s location on Earth. Of course eclipses of the Sun by the Moon, which are remarkably dependent on the observer’s Earthly location, can occur only during a Dark Moon. Therefore the precessional entrance of the Sun into the dark rift of the galaxy is a sort of grandest eclipse of the Sun, a sort of grandest Meeting of the Sun and the Moon. The galactic rift also corresponds to the goal or hoop featured in Maya’s famous ballgame, whereas the ball corresponds to the Sun and likewise to cosmic energy, soul. In putting the ball in the goal, a player became strikingly analogous to the winter-solstice Sun arriving at the center of the Underworld, the center of the galaxy, of the dark rift. This is a prime reason to believe the winners of the game were sacrificed at least annually in conjunction with the winter solstice; they were the Hero Twins becoming the elder Hero Twin, Hunaphu, becoming the Hun-Hunaphu and in turn becoming the maize. A human hero could win ultimate glory by winning the ball game and hence personally suffering the descent into Hell which is necessary to ensure that the maize and moreover the hero’s people and indeed the Earth and the whole cosmos as well are reborn as robust as possible in the spring. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it.
Clearly the dark rift of the Milky Way corresponds to Greece’s Delphi. Likewise the rift corresponds to Ireland’s Newgrange, one of the passage tombs of the Brú na Bóinne complex in County Meath; built c. 3200 BCE. Every year the rising winter-solstice Sun shines down the Newgrange structure’s one passage and thus into the central chamber for about 17 minutes.
Some 10 miles southeast of Newgrange is the long, low ridge known as Tara or Téa perhaps as in the Cretan word deai, “barley,” seeming basis of the name Demeter and the word day or Téa’s Wall, the reputed political capital (hill) of ancient Ireland. This hill was considered sacred to the goddess Mebd (“she who intoxicates,” from the Welsh meddw, “drunk”) the most vigorous and perhaps libidinous figure in all of Irish mythology or to her döppelganger (and likely antecedent) Medb Lethberg (“red side” or “half-red”). Mebd boasted that 32 men were required to satsify her sexually, “each man in another man’s shadow.” Similarly Mebd Lethberg was considered wife to 9 successive kings of Ireland. On Tara is a passage mound, called the Mound of the Hostages (built c. 30002500 BCE), whose passage receives the dawn rays on 8 November, the day precisely halfway between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice. That day is may be the original Samhain Day, the Celtic New Year Day now considered to be 1 November. Indeed, 8 November is All Saints Day of Wales, and Saints and Martyrs Day of England. The name Samhain generally means November, though, and the name November is closely related to the words new and nine. The Old English name for November was Blotmonath, “sacrifice month” or “sacred month” or “secret month.” The fact that early November was the most important time of year to the Celts is yet another indication that they originally divided the year into 9 “months,” the scare-quotes here signifying that such segments were not simply related to the Moon (the word month being a derivative of the word moon) but also to the Sun. Perhaps these 9 segments were a Pythagorean-like attempt to quantumly, i.e. commensurately, redress the solar year and the so-called lunar year, the solar year consisting of roughly yet almost invariously 365.25 days, the lunar year consisting of roughly and more variously 354.37 of these days. Indeed, the reconciliation of solar and lunar changes is the central thrust of any calendar, as Professor Duncan Steel emphasizes in his Marking Time: The Epic Quest to Invent the Perfect Calendar: “Let us pause for breath, and remind ourselves of the central question we are considering: how many months should be in a year? In any calendar the days are quantized: each month and each year contain an integral number of days. Despite the fact that one might adjust the relative number of twenty-nine and thirty-day months, attempting to get the lunar month to rhyme with the year is like trying to find a rhyme for orange, purple and silver ....”
The Pythagoreans used a trick to achieve such commensuration with respect to the hypotenuse of a right triangle whose perpendicular sides are of equal (essentially unit) length and which hypotenuse is therefore equal to the square-root-of-2 times said length i.e. the hypotenuse is incommensurate with said length. The Pythagoreans were bent on describing the universe as essentially quantum. They were therefore rather horrified to discover the seeming reality of incommensurate (i.e. non-quantum, irrational) lengths. To accommodate such lengths in a generally quantum cosmos the Pythagoreans cleverly and quantumly expanded their cosmos: they considered said hypotenuse as being the perpendicular side of another right triangle in another, next-higher dimension of the cosmos. In other words, the Pythagoreans at least implied the following: essential to any single dimension of the cosmos is a unique length. Such singular, quantum length is of course strikingly analogous to orthodox physics’ quantum of action. Yet the Pythagorean approach suggests that a truly general physics should involve an infinite number of dimensions and likewise an infinite number of quanta. It also suggests that quanta should, in some quantum degree, be present in each other. In a word, the Pythagorean cosmos is holographic.
The Roman convention called inclusive counting is an expression of this same paradigm. Calendar-wise, for instance, a particular Roman month’s days following a Full Moon which according the oldest Roman calendqr system always occured on the 13th day of a month, called the Ides, the initial day being marked by the New Moon were counted down and this counting included the initial day of the next month (i.e. the next New Moon). We might fairly say that the soothsayer famously warned Julius Caesar to “Beware the Ides of March” because the Full (i.e. Fat) Moon is proto-mythologically associated with the fattened-calf alias Fat Mars (i.e. Fat Tiwaz, as in Fat Tuesday) who is then sacrificed. The sacrifice of Fat Mars, i.e. the King, proto-mythologically marks the New Year. March which name derives from the name Mars was the initial year of Caesar's Rome, corresponding as such to the Celtic November/Samhain. Just as a Roman week, due to the deep, complex convention of inclusive counting, consisted not of 7 but of 8 days, a prehistoric Italian year (i.e. a Saturnian year, a Golden year) likely consisted not of 8 (simply solar) segments but of 9 segments (hence the year was complex, not simple), and the 9th segment likely coincided with the Celtic November. That 9th, intercalary, holy, New Year segment, could be used annually if its length were varied, because to the Moon xxxxxx
The principle at bottom of inclusive counting is the same principle at bottom of Leibniz’s philosophy and in turn at bottom of his (discrete, quantum) mathematics: to describe things as being related is to describe them as being the same kind of thing paradoxically, miraculously, mysteriously including them all (i.e. a multiplicity) in a single set. In a word, this is the truly general principle of relativity. Perhaps the greatest corollary of this principle is that God exists but only as a member of the set of irreducible, essentially quantum things that includes human beings. In other words the great implication is that God is of the same kind as you and me, and thus, in this rarefied sense, God is not only complex but also incarnate.
Now, calendars deriving from the attempt to reconcile the solar and lunar cycles must involve intercalary months. In light of the above paragraph, a year is clearly analogous to a cosmic dimension and to a soul, and an intercalary month is clearly analogous to an incommensurate hypotenuse and to a next-higher cosmic dimension and to an other soul including God. Intercalary months have usually taken the form of a 13-month year occuring every 2 or 3 years; but a more careful determination might succeed in associating a varying intercalary segment with the end of every year; and we've seen that 13-ness is closely and deeply linked to 9-ness, which link suggests that a more complete prehistoric calendar would have employed a year always divided into 9 segments, the 9th being intercalary. Such success would be like finding a physics that consisted of an infinite number of quanta of action instead of just a single quantum of action. Precisely such approach might have resulted in the association of November with 9 and with newness; it might also have resulted in the fact that the Indo European word for 8 has supposedly dual form: okto(u). The use of dual numbers/words contrasts with the use of simple numbers and with the grammatical opposition of singular and plural. Dual numbers/words signify things that can properly exist in a pair only, things such as eyes, hands, human legs, complex numbers, particlewaves. Odin’s horse, though, had 9 legs. So there can be things which call for nonal numbers. Perhaps the uniquely dual form of 8 signifies not only the duality of a chiefly solar year (divided into 8 segments) and coupled to another, fundamentally more complex, more sacred segment, but also 9-ness in particular, such that the duality is also a nonality. By traditions, 13-month years survived in the practices of European peasants for more than a millenium after their governments adopted the Julian Calendar.
A sacred, intercalary month is moreover equivalent to the 5 holy days associated with the planets other than the Sun and Moon. The ancient Egyptians popularly explained the incommensurability of the solar and lunar years in terms of an originally simple, 360-day year marked by precisely 12 lunations (30 days each) that eventually gave birth to the 5 other (visible) planets, these being born on 5 days stolen from the Moon by the incipient Mercury. Such explanation points up the fact that the attempt at commensuration extends itself logically to these other planets and to the movements of the universe in general, especially to the movements associated with precession and likewise, nowadays, to the subatomic scale as well.
A clock, a calendar, a computer: these are but models or catalogues of the universe. Ineluctably, the attempt to reconcile the movements observed of the heavens has become the modern attempt to develop a truly general quantum theory of physics, i.e. a theory of quantum gravity. The sacred 5-ness, 8-ness, 9-ness, and 13-ness referred to above resonates with this modern attempt. All determined prehistoric and ancient attempts at such calendar/cosmology/physics were relativistic in the Leibnizian sense and likewise essentially quantum, holographic and fractal. We should expect the modern attempt at quantum gravity truly general relativity to have the same character.
Similarly, we might expect most notable prehistoric edifices to correspond principally if not chiefly to the vernal equinox, the winter solstice, and/or the halfway point between the two and to moreover render commensurate the general movements of the Sun and Moon.
In accord with the current, rather orthodox understanding about Stonehenge, and especially in light of recent theories put forward separately by professors John North and Lionel Sims, a radically conservative consideration of that edifice seems to look more and more identical to an attempt at precisley such commensuration. According to said recent theories, Stonehenge was meant to be viewed chiefly from the Heel Stone, looking southwest — directly down the axis which eventually served as axis of the horseshoe of trilithons, and thus into that horsehoe — to the point on the horizon where sets the winter-solstice Sun. In this sense the viewer would be identified with that setting Sun. Professor North shows that the completed, intact monument appeared from this viewpoint to be an almost solid block of stone — save especially for the winter-solstice sunlight punching through and being amplified by this screen, as it were. Another typically unrecognized property of the Stonehenge site is that the edifice is built on the side of a slight hill which rises to the southwest. Hence the observer’s eye at the Heel Stone is at the level of the center of the monument, such that the southwestern horizon from this viewpoint seems extremely sharp — facilitating observation of the sky above it (Bender 1998, 70). In this respect the person at the Heel Stone would be identified not only with the setting Sun but also with the center of the monument and thus, perhaps, with the center of the galaxy’s dark rift and the beginning of a new, greatest cosmic cycle.
I'm reminded of the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), center/end-point of the world’s breadbasket. The historic CBOT building stands at the southern end of Lasalle Street, which street is commonly referred to as a canyon. A statue of Demeter/Ceres stands atop the building, facing north. An impressive clock graced by a pair of ancient farmers adorns the entrance.
The Maya understood that the winter-solstice/galactic convergence occurs, according to their system, every 25,625 years, i.e. once every Great Year. Hence the convergence marks the end/beginning of the greatest cosmic cycle. The Maya computed that this convergence/death/birth is best said to next occur on what according to the European calendar is 21 December 2012. However, the precise alignment of the winter-solstice Sun with the galactic equator has already occurred: in the year 1998. (Jean Meeus, Mathematical Astronomy Morsels, 1997.) The time of day, e.g. the rising versus setting of the Sun, has negligible relation to said alignment, because the chief movement involved is so extremely slow. Moreover, the Sun occupies almost exactly ½ of a degree of the sky, and therefore the complete passage of the Sun across the galactic equator takes almost exactly 36 years. Thus the present galactic alignment duration is 1998 +/- 18 years = 1980–2016. Nevertheless, the alignment lends itself as a prime — if not the chief — marker of the beginning of the Zodiacal Age of Aquarius. Nearly coincident with this alignment is the precessional high-point of Osiris’s virtually south–north cycle, which zenith occurs in 2070.
In the dualites Hun-Hunaphu–Hunaphu, Hunaphu–Xbalanque, Quetzalcoatl–Huitzilopochtli, Dionysus–Apollo, Red–White, Cepheus–Hercules we have good old Orion–Osiris, good old Finn, again. In Greek myth Zeus is Quetzalcoatl in the form of a swan. As a swan Zeus mates with the human Leda, wife of Tyndareus, beside the river Eurotas (seemingly cognate with Euphrates). She in turn gives birth to 2 swan eggs: an egg containing the twins Castor (“beaver” — i.e. sawyer, serpent-tailed, mound-builder — a “‘tamer of horses,” i.e. a partner of horses as well as of cows/aurochs, sows/boars, dogs/wolves, and lions, all of these being symbols of the triple-Goddess) and Clytemnestra (she who becomes the cuckolding/murderous/proto-mythological wife of Agamemnon), these twins being offspring of Tyndareus or of Zeus; and another egg containing Polydeuces (“many Deuses,” “much sweet wine,” “best in the boxing ring”; a.k.a. Pollux) and Helen (who becomes the cuckolding/proto-mythological wife of Menelaos), this pair being sired by Zeus or Tyndareus. Some say Helen alone as sired by Zeus. Castor and Polydeuces are inseparable; they become known as the Dioscuri and are eventually deified and their image set among the stars as the constellation Gemini. In another version of the myth, Zeus in the form of a beaver pursues the goddess Nemesis in the form of a fish. During the chase the pair transform into various beasts. As a goose Nemesis takes flight, but as a swan Zeus finally overtakes her and mates with her. Nemesis proceeds to Sparta, where Queen Leda presently discovers a hyacinth-colored (i.e. purplish) egg lying in a marsh. Leda brings the egg home and hides it in a chest. “But some say the egg dropped from the moon,” writes Robert Graves,” like the egg that, in ancient times, plunged into the river Euphrates and, being towed ashore by fishes and hatched by doves, broke open to reveal the Syrian Goddess of Love.” The goddess hatched of said purple egg is Helen. This egg, comments Graves, recalls the blood-red egg, the glain, that the Druids hunted for by the seashore every spring and which in Celtic myth was laid by the goddess as sea–serpent.
The 1st of each of these twins is a dominantly Red/Dionysian character, and the 2nd is predominantly White/Apollonian. Likewise, “red-haired, great-lunged, clarion-in-battle” Menelaos, “dear to Ares,” and whose shield (according to Polygnotus’s famous painting at Delphi) is adorned with a serpent badge/apotropaion, is Red/Dionysian while his power-hungry twin brother Agamemnon, so offensive to the gods and to Achilles, is White/Apollonian. Note in this respect that the god Apollo is best understood as representing the White aspect within proto-mythology. Agamemnon and the Greeks altogether are offensive to Apollo in the sense that Apollo chiefly identifies himself relative to proto-mythology. Thus Apollo and likewise Zeus, Ares, Artemis, Leto, Xanthos/Skamander (the mighty, eddying river) and Aphrodite side with the Trojans (note the tro- prefix, a variety of the White/Apollonian tri-, tre-, and dru-) while Poseidon (insofar as he is considered Zeus’s younger brother), Athena, Hera, Hermes and Hephaistos (all being watered-down versions of earlier goddesses and gods) side with the Greeks. Pointedly refusing to subject himself to proto-mythology, Agamemnon inasmuch frees himself to take his White/Apollonianism to the extreme, i.e. to maximize his power, to unify Greece, to impose an ostensible Redness which is nevertheless best understood as a Whiteness, a mere unity rather than a truly Red/Dionysian multeity-in-unity. In contrast, the Trojan prince Paris/Alexandros acts relative to Menelaos and Helen as Aigisthos acts relative to Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, as Ares acts relative to Hephaistos (the “bow-legged, crippled” god of fire) and Aphrodite, as Tristan acts relative to Mark and Iseult, as Lancelot acts relative to Arthur and Guinevere. Apollo, “lord of the distant,” is Paris, Aigisthos, Tristan, and Lancelot. Helen and likewise the yet more proto-mythological Clytemnestra essentially sacrifice their husband-kings. As such, these female characters stand in contrast to the extremely faithful Penelope, wife of Athena’s favorite, Odysseus, i.e. of he who is the best hero possible in relation to the Great Reversal. Of Clytemnestra Agamemnon’s ghost says to Odysseus: “But that woman, plotting a thing so low, defiled herself and all her sex, all women yet to come, even those who may be virtuous.” The emergence of Odysseus from the Trojan War marks the emergence of the new, markedly less proto-mythological heroic type; i.e. it marks the emergence of the Great Reversal, the virtual demise of proto-mythological sacrifice. In the final pages of the Odyessey Zeus proclaims: “There is one proper way, if I may say so: Odysseus’ honor being satisfied, let him be king by a sworn pact forever ....” The god most resonant, most confused, in this emergence is Poseidon, god of earthquakes as well as god of the sea: Poseidon favors the Greeks over the Trojans; yet he saves the Trojan Aeneas so that the great line of Dardanos–Erichthonios–Tros (Dardanos being a son of Zeus) may continue (as the Roman line of kings; Julius Caesar considered himself a descendant of Aeneas); he develops a severe grudge against Odysseus, who near the end of his life must trek to a distant land “where men have lived with meat unsalted, never known the sea, nor seen seagoing ships” and there plant his oar (as if it were a tree) and make sacrifices to Poseidon, this before returning home to make appropriate sacrifices to all the gods. The blind ghost Teiresias is he who prophecies this destiny to Odysseus. Teiresias says that the precise place and time at which to plant the oar will be marked where and when a passerby asks the hero, “What winnowing fan is that on your shoulder?” Winnowing fans are used to separate grain from chaff. When Maia gave birth to Hermes in the cave on Mount Cyllene, she wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him on a winnowing fan. Likewise the hierophants performing the Eleusinian mysteries entered the murky place dressed as shepherds and emerged carrying a winnowing fan on which rested the infant Brimos, whom the celebrants preferred to call Iacchus, after the raucous hymn by the same name, which was sung during a torchlight procession from Demeter’s temple on the 6th day of the Mysteries. These Mysteries occurred from the 15th through the 21st days of the month Boedromion (“running for help”), the initial month of the lunar-solar Attic calendar, the New Year's Day of which approximated the autumnal equinox. Jane Harrison notes that in early Greek vase paintings Dionysus carries a winnowing fan rather than a grape-basket. Indeed, the Latin word for winnowing fan is vannus, similar to the Latin name for Dionysus, Faunus. The words winnow and wine are closely linked, probably because beer antedated wine. Dionysus was god of grain and god of beer (i.e. he was equivalent to Brimos and to the Phrygian Sabazius) before he was god of wine. What’s more, recognizing the cognate relationship of winnow and wine with wind, and recalling that wind is the original masculine mythological character/seed, we see that Dionysus is most fundamentally the god of masculine fertility. He is equivalent to Aeolus, Hermes, Polaris, Boreas. Curiously Indian Brahmin (the priestly Hindu caste) wear a cord of cotton on their left shoulder and consider sailing a sin. The Aryan tribes which formed the Hindu caste system arrived in India from the former P-I-E homeland in central Eurasia, i.e. from an extremely landlocked region. Perhaps Odysseus’s final journey to such land recalls early contact between that land and the Mediterraean cultures. Perhaps the like of Odysseus upon encountering a Brahmin for the first time asked him, “What is that cord on your shoulder?” The end of the Odyssey would thus point to the font, if you will, of the very language of Greece, not to mention the various languages characterizing the huge Indo-European domain. Such hypothesis is supported by the following information from Frazer:
The form of communion in which the sacred animal is taken from house to house [as on Halloween custumed children go from house to house], that all may enjoy a share of its divine influence, has been exemplified by the Gilyak custom of promenading the bear through the village before it is slain. A similar form of communion with the sacred snake is observed by a Snake tribe in the Punjaub. Once a year in the month of September the snake is worshipped by all castes and religions for nine days only. At the end of August the Mirasans, especially those of the Snake tribe, make a snake of dough which they paint black and red, and place on a winnowing basket. This basket they carry round the village, and on entering any house they say: “God be with you all! May every ill be far! May our patron’s (Gugga’s) word thrive!” Then they present the basket with the snake, saying: “A small cake of flour: a little bit of butter: if you obey the snake, you and yours shall thrive!” Strictly speaking, a cake and butter should be given, but it is seldom done. Every one, however, gives something, generally a handful of dough or some corn. In houses where there is a new bride or whence a bride has gone, or where a son has been born, it is usual to give a rupee and a quarter, or some cloth. Sometimes the bearers of the snake also sing: “Give the snake a piece of cloth, and he will send a lively bride!” When every house has been thus visited, the dough snake is buried and a small grave is erected over it. Thither during the nine days of September the women come to worship. They bring a basin of curds, a small portion of which they offer at the snake’s grave, kneeling on the ground and touching the earth with their foreheads. Then they go home and divide the rest of the curds among the children. Here the dough snake is clearly a substitute for a real snake. Indeed, in districts where snakes abound the worship is offered, not at the grave of the dough snake, but in the jungles where snakes are known to be. Besides this yearly worship, performed by all the people, the members of the Snake tribe worship in the same way every morning after a new moon.
Leda is a manifestation of the Titan Leto, daughter of the Titans Phoebe and Coeus and mother by Zeus of Artemis and Apollo. The names Leda and Leto are cognate with Kolyo “the coverer,” for they mean “to gather earth or water” or “earth or water gathered.” Note especially the obvious relations: Kolyo, Leo (symbol of the Sun), Kalypso, lips (and lisp), eclipse, Leto, Leda, Hippolyta, Leah, Elaine. The Kol- prefix means “earth” or “water” and is akin to the English coal, which derives from the Old Norse kol, “burning ember.” Interesting cognates include the Latin word for beetle, coleoptera (“shiny black coverer lion that flies”), and the English colon. Kol- is further cognate with co- and with the German ge-, both meaning “with.” In Latin and French cul means “anus” — the word anus deriving from the Latin anus, “ring,” and annus, “year” (as in annual), and akin to our annul and to the Old Irish ánne, “ring,” the Greek ana, “up, back, again,” and the Russian name Anastasia, meaning “resurrection.” Here is Anna Livia Plurabelle. In terms of the planets, She is the Sun. The lion and the scarab (i.e. beetle, coleoptera) are prime symbols for Her. The name Phoebe is Greek for “clear, bright, pure”; it is cognate with Finn and therefore with Zeus, Cepheus, Quetzalcoatl, Cygnus, and the P-I-E Dyeus (again, from the *deywo-s, “celestial, luminous, radiant”) and hence with Dione, Demeter, Diana, i.e. complete Woman. As we might expect, the name Coeus (or Co-ius), said to mean “intelligence,” is cognate with Kolyo. The suffix -eus (or -ius) means “to gather” and “the thing gathered”; the suffix -yo seems to be equivalent.
The very name of the Latin people and language derives from the covering, secretive, nature of Kolyo: Latin, from latere, “to hide.” Virgil says the name Latium owes to the fact that Saturn/Kronos concealed himself from Jupiter/Zeus in this countryside, á la the Green Man. Virgil, from his Aenied:
These woodland places The Latin word latices, “waters,” is another cognate, as are the English latitude
and ladder. Vico reports that latere was invariably modified by
the epithet puri, “pure,” specifically referring to springs of water,
i.e. to Tigrises/Boynes in contrast to Euphrateses/Liffeys. Likewise we have
the English word latent.
note, is the antithesis of apocalypse. The prefix apo- (as in the
name Apollo) means “un” or “dis” or “off.” An apocalypse is not a covering but
an uncovering. In this connection recall the kerf cut made by the
sawyer. That cut is akin to the mouth — and especially the lips — of the
Pharaoh. Indeed, the word kerf (as in kerchief) stems from the
Old French covrir, “to cover.” The Opening of the Mouth ceremony
performed upon the deceased Pharaoh references both his sacrifice and his
resurrection, his covering and his uncovering, his collapse and his rise.
light of Leda and Leto, let’s take a further look at the le- prefix. Recall
its presence in the words legal, legacy, legend, left and ligature, and
in the names Levi, Leah, Galeed, and hence Elaine and Galahad.
The English word lea or ley means “grassland.” It is related to
the German lied, “song,” the Old English leah, “thicket,”
and the Latin words lucus, “grove,” lux, “light,” ludr,
“mill,” and hence to the name Luther. These relations indicate the
richness of my term Golden/Legal.
near universality of the Golden/Legal mythology in even its most precise form
is especially evident in the aforementioned myth of Quetzalcoatl. In this
respect consider the following from Campbell
’s Primitive Mythology:
virgin mother, Chimalman — the legend tells — had been one of three sisters
whom God, the All-Father, had appeared to one day under his form of
Citlallatonac, “the morning.” The other two had been struck by fright, but upon
Chimalman God breathed and she conceived. She died, however, giving birth, and
is now in heaven, where she is revered under the honorable name of “the
Precious Stone of Sacrifice,” Chalchihuitzli [note the Chal- prefix,
cognate with Kol-?].
Quetzalcoatl, her child, who is known both as the Son
of the Lord of the High Heavens and as the Son of the Lord of the Seven Caves,
was endowed at birth with speech, all knowledge, and all wisdom, and in later
life, as priest-king, was of such purity of character that his realm flourished
gloriously throughout the period of his reign. His temple palace was composed
of four radiant apartments: one toward the east, yellow with gold; one toward
the west, blue with turquoise and jade; one toward the south, white with pearls
and shells; one toward the north, red with bloodstones … And it was set
wonderfully above a mighty river that passed through the midst of the city of
Tula; so that every night, precisely at midnight, the king descended into the
river to bathe; and the place of his bath was called “In the Painted Vase,” or
“In the Precious Waters.” But the time of his predestined defeat by the dark
brother, Tezcatlipoca, was ever approaching; and, knowing perfectly the rhythm
of his own destiny, Quetzalcoatl would make no move to stave it.
The dark brother Tezcatlipoca
(note the Te- prefix, equivalent to Ti-, Se-, Si-, Ve-, Vi-,
We-, Wi-, De-, Di-) holds a mirror to Quetzalcoatl, who is horrified by his
now elderly and loathesome visage. Tezcatlipoca causes Quetzalcoatl and their
sister, Quetzalpetlat — who resides on Mount Nonoalco
— to become drunk. The inebriated pair of siblings
engage in sexual intercourse with each other that night.
… And in the morning Quetzalcoatl said in shame, “I
have sinned; the stain of my name cannot be erased. I am not fit to rule this
people. Let them build a habitation for me deep under ground; let them bury my
bright treasures in the earth; let them throw the glowing gold and shining
stones in the Precious Waters where I take my nightly bath.”
And all was done. The king remained four days in his
underground tomb, and when he came forth he wept and told his people that the
time had come for his departure to the Red Land, the Dark Land, the Land
… Quetzalcoatl, in great sorrow departed. Resting at a
certain place along the way and looking back in the direction of Tula, his City
of the Sun, he wept, and his tears went through a rock; he left in that place
the mark of his sitting and the impress of his palms. Farther along, he was met
and challenged by a company of necromancers, who prevented him from proceeding
until he had left with them the arts of working silver, wood, and feathers, and
the art of painting. As he crossed the mountains, many of his attendants, who
were dwarfs and humpbacks, died of cold. At another place he met his dark
antagonist, Tezcatlipoca, who defeated him at a game of ball. At still another
he aimed with an arrow at a large pochotl tree; and the arrow too was a pochotl
tree, so that when he shot it through the first they formed a cross. And so he
passed along, leaving many signs and place-names behind him, until, coming at
last to where the sky, land and water come together, he departed.
Tula is tomb is Cygnus is Quetzalcoatl is
Jerusalem is Dublin is London is Uruk is Cairo is Sun is son. Said entry into the tomb is the spear/knife/head/tomb/ark/home/castle
of Cepheus. The 4 days in the tomb are the 4 Zodiacal ages between that tomb
and the constellation Hercules, these being Sagittarius, Scorpio, Libra, and
Virgo. Recall Joyce: “Passing. One. We
are passing. Two. From sleep we are passing. Three. Into the wikeawades warld
from sleep we are passing. Four. Come, hours, be ours!” These 4 Zodiacal ages
correspond to the 4/12 = 1/3 of the 24-hour day
— i.e. the 8
hours — that a human typically spends sleeping at night. This 8-ness
corresponds to the 8 years that the Phoenician god El lives with his twin wives
and twin sons in the sanctuary in the desert. It also corresponds to the famous
8-ness of the planet Venus, to be described later on.
resting place following his resurrection corresponds to the constellation
Bootes. The necromancers correspond to the constellation Ursa Major, which
constellation, as I will later explain, is associated with the Greek Prometheus,
son of the Titans Themis and Iapetus. Mount Nonoalco
and the defeat by the dark, priestly brother
corresponds to Polaris. The large pochotl is the World Tree, rising from the
place of the tomb. The World Tree marks the beginning of the Zodiacal age of Sagittarius,
which name stems from the Latin sagitta, meaning “archer.” The cross
formed by the arrow through a tree is the constellation Cygnus.
the sea at last, where the sky, land and water meet, Quetzalcoatl departs on a
raft of serpents. He is expected to return to
Tula from the east, with a
fair-faced retinue. Campbell:
priests and astrologers did not know in what cycle he was to appear; however,
the name of the year within the cycle had been predicted, of old, by
Quetzalcoatl himself. Its sign was “One Reed” (Ce Acatl) [note that Ce
is akin to Se], which, in the Mexican calendar, is a year that occurs
only once in every cycle of fifty-two. But the year when Cortez arrived, with
his company of fair-faced companions and his standard, the cross, was precisely
the year “One Reed.”
referring to the year One Reed this myth seems to be referring as well to the day
One Reed, i.e. to New Year’s Day, for there are 52 weeks of 7 days each in a
year; and as such the myth is also referring to the age One Reed. Recall
in this connection that the Sumerian root gi — prefix of the name
Gilgamesh and of the Hebrew’s high sanctuary Gilgal — means not only “young man”
but also “small and thin like a reed” and “to reject, dislike; to return, come
back, send; to answer, restore.” Later we will interpret the Epic of
Gilgamesh in terms of the universal clock. In this same respect we will address
other classic legends, including the Argonautica, the Iliad, the
Odyssey, and the Aeneid.
The Latin word latices, “waters,” is another cognate, as are the English latitude and ladder. Vico reports that latere was invariably modified by the epithet puri, “pure,” specifically referring to springs of water, i.e. to Tigrises/Boynes in contrast to Euphrateses/Liffeys. Likewise we have the English word latent.
Kalypso, note, is the antithesis of apocalypse. The prefix apo- (as in the name Apollo) means “un” or “dis” or “off.” An apocalypse is not a covering but an uncovering. In this connection recall the kerf cut made by the sawyer. That cut is akin to the mouth — and especially the lips — of the Pharaoh. Indeed, the word kerf (as in kerchief) stems from the Old French covrir, “to cover.” The Opening of the Mouth ceremony performed upon the deceased Pharaoh references both his sacrifice and his resurrection, his covering and his uncovering, his collapse and his rise.
In light of Leda and Leto, let’s take a further look at the le- prefix. Recall its presence in the words legal, legacy, legend, left and ligature, and in the names Levi, Leah, Galeed, and hence Elaine and Galahad. The English word lea or ley means “grassland.” It is related to the German lied, “song,” the Old English leah, “thicket,” and the Latin words lucus, “grove,” lux, “light,” ludr, “mill,” and hence to the name Luther. These relations indicate the richness of my term Golden/Legal.
The near universality of the Golden/Legal mythology in even its most precise form is especially evident in the aforementioned myth of Quetzalcoatl. In this respect consider the following from Campbell ’s Primitive Mythology:
[Quetzalcoatl’s] virgin mother, Chimalman — the legend tells — had been one of three sisters whom God, the All-Father, had appeared to one day under his form of Citlallatonac, “the morning.” The other two had been struck by fright, but upon Chimalman God breathed and she conceived. She died, however, giving birth, and is now in heaven, where she is revered under the honorable name of “the Precious Stone of Sacrifice,” Chalchihuitzli [note the Chal- prefix, cognate with Kol-?].
Quetzalcoatl, her child, who is known both as the Son of the Lord of the High Heavens and as the Son of the Lord of the Seven Caves, was endowed at birth with speech, all knowledge, and all wisdom, and in later life, as priest-king, was of such purity of character that his realm flourished gloriously throughout the period of his reign. His temple palace was composed of four radiant apartments: one toward the east, yellow with gold; one toward the west, blue with turquoise and jade; one toward the south, white with pearls and shells; one toward the north, red with bloodstones … And it was set wonderfully above a mighty river that passed through the midst of the city of Tula; so that every night, precisely at midnight, the king descended into the river to bathe; and the place of his bath was called “In the Painted Vase,” or “In the Precious Waters.” But the time of his predestined defeat by the dark brother, Tezcatlipoca, was ever approaching; and, knowing perfectly the rhythm of his own destiny, Quetzalcoatl would make no move to stave it.
The dark brother Tezcatlipoca (note the Te- prefix, equivalent to Ti-, Se-, Si-, Ve-, Vi-, We-, Wi-, De-, Di-) holds a mirror to Quetzalcoatl, who is horrified by his now elderly and loathesome visage. Tezcatlipoca causes Quetzalcoatl and their sister, Quetzalpetlat — who resides on Mount Nonoalco — to become drunk. The inebriated pair of siblings engage in sexual intercourse with each other that night.
… And in the morning Quetzalcoatl said in shame, “I have sinned; the stain of my name cannot be erased. I am not fit to rule this people. Let them build a habitation for me deep under ground; let them bury my bright treasures in the earth; let them throw the glowing gold and shining stones in the Precious Waters where I take my nightly bath.”
And all was done. The king remained four days in his underground tomb, and when he came forth he wept and told his people that the time had come for his departure to the Red Land, the Dark Land, the Land of Fire.
… Quetzalcoatl, in great sorrow departed. Resting at a certain place along the way and looking back in the direction of Tula, his City of the Sun, he wept, and his tears went through a rock; he left in that place the mark of his sitting and the impress of his palms. Farther along, he was met and challenged by a company of necromancers, who prevented him from proceeding until he had left with them the arts of working silver, wood, and feathers, and the art of painting. As he crossed the mountains, many of his attendants, who were dwarfs and humpbacks, died of cold. At another place he met his dark antagonist, Tezcatlipoca, who defeated him at a game of ball. At still another he aimed with an arrow at a large pochotl tree; and the arrow too was a pochotl tree, so that when he shot it through the first they formed a cross. And so he passed along, leaving many signs and place-names behind him, until, coming at last to where the sky, land and water come together, he departed.
Tula is tomb is Cygnus is Quetzalcoatl is Jerusalem is Dublin is London is Uruk is Cairo is Sun is son. Said entry into the tomb is the spear/knife/head/tomb/ark/home/castle of Cepheus. The 4 days in the tomb are the 4 Zodiacal ages between that tomb and the constellation Hercules, these being Sagittarius, Scorpio, Libra, and Virgo. Recall Joyce: “Passing. One. We are passing. Two. From sleep we are passing. Three. Into the wikeawades warld from sleep we are passing. Four. Come, hours, be ours!” These 4 Zodiacal ages correspond to the 4/12 = 1/3 of the 24-hour day — i.e. the 8 hours — that a human typically spends sleeping at night. This 8-ness corresponds to the 8 years that the Phoenician god El lives with his twin wives and twin sons in the sanctuary in the desert. It also corresponds to the famous 8-ness of the planet Venus, to be described later on.
Quetzalcoatl’s resting place following his resurrection corresponds to the constellation Bootes. The necromancers correspond to the constellation Ursa Major, which constellation, as I will later explain, is associated with the Greek Prometheus, son of the Titans Themis and Iapetus. Mount Nonoalco and the defeat by the dark, priestly brother corresponds to Polaris. The large pochotl is the World Tree, rising from the place of the tomb. The World Tree marks the beginning of the Zodiacal age of Sagittarius, which name stems from the Latin sagitta, meaning “archer.” The cross formed by the arrow through a tree is the constellation Cygnus.
Reaching the sea at last, where the sky, land and water meet, Quetzalcoatl departs on a raft of serpents. He is expected to return to Tula from the east, with a fair-faced retinue. Campbell:
The priests and astrologers did not know in what cycle he was to appear; however, the name of the year within the cycle had been predicted, of old, by Quetzalcoatl himself. Its sign was “One Reed” (Ce Acatl) [note that Ce is akin to Se], which, in the Mexican calendar, is a year that occurs only once in every cycle of fifty-two. But the year when Cortez arrived, with his company of fair-faced companions and his standard, the cross, was precisely the year “One Reed.”
In referring to the year One Reed this myth seems to be referring as well to the day One Reed, i.e. to New Year’s Day, for there are 52 weeks of 7 days each in a year; and as such the myth is also referring to the age One Reed. Recall in this connection that the Sumerian root gi — prefix of the name Gilgamesh and of the Hebrew’s high sanctuary Gilgal — means not only “young man” but also “small and thin like a reed” and “to reject, dislike; to return, come back, send; to answer, restore.” Later we will interpret the Epic of Gilgamesh in terms of the universal clock. In this same respect we will address other classic legends, including the Argonautica, the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Aeneid.
In further regard to the universality of the feathered serpent — i.e. the god of the underworld, Father Dis, Deus, the Devil, Zeus, Finn, etc. — consider the following from Frazer:
Some of the native tribes of Central Queensland believe in a noxious being called the Molonga, who prowls unseen and would kill men and violate women if certain ceremonies were not performed. These ceremonies last for five nights and consist of dances, in which only the men, fantastically painted and adorned, take part. On the fifth night Molonga himself, personified by a man tricked out with red ochre and feathers and carrying a long feather-tipped spear, rushes forth from the darkness at the spectators and makes as if he would run them through.
In the valley of the Mississippi River south of my hometown — and not far from Mark Twain’s Hannibal, Missouri — lives a Molonga-like creature. The 7 men of the famous Mississippi River expedition led by Jesuit missionary Jacques Marquette and fur trader Louis Joliet — which expedition had begun at the Mission of St. Ignace, in what is now far northern Michigan — encountered this creature in 1673 as they paddled their 2 canoes down the Mississippi just north of present-day Alton, Illinois. Painted in red, yellow, green and black on a limestone bluff rising from the eastern side of the river were several images which the explorers described as follows:
They are as large as a calf, with head and horns like a deer or goat; their eyes red; beard like a tiger; and a face somewhat like a man. Their bodies are covered with scales. Their tails are so long that they pass over their heads and between their forelegs, under their belly, and end like a fish tail.
The natives called this creature Piasa, “the bird that eats men.” The Piasa was said to live in a cave in the bluff. Whenever a person approached the bluff, the monster swooped down and carried the victim to the cave. Eventually a chief named Quatonga prayed to the Great Manitou for help. The Great Manitou (note the Mani prefix) told Quatonga that only he, Quatonga, could defeat the Piasa. Quatonga therefore concealed 20 of his warriors near the entrance of said cave and approached it to draw the serpent-bird into the trap. The Piasa swooped down, and Quatonga’s warriors killed it with poison arrows. The paintings on the bluff were made to commemorate this victory.
It’s St. George — as well as Uther Pendragon, Arthur, Lancelot, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Mark, Tristan, Finn, Diarmuid, etc. — all over again. The little red dragon in Altdorfer’s painting represents not only the priestly class but also (and likewise) the king who has overstayed his natural welcome, who, like both Quetzalcoatl and Gorlois, has become aged and ugly, and who in the process of prolonging his senescence has required many others be sacrificed in his stead. Such king must be removed by a new, pure, vital incarnation of the hero.
Mention of Marquette and Joliet, the Mississippi River, and the Piasa bird brings me to the following exercise which you might try yourself. See if you can match the Pegasus Square, the World Tree, Polaris, the Milky Way (Euphrates), Cygnus (Dublin, London, Jerusalem, Uruk), Hercules, and Oceanus (Tree of Knowledge, Draco, the Tigris, the Boyne) to your local geography. If you’ve read my little biography, you know that I grew up a Protestant in the very Roman Catholic and relatively old town of Dubuque, Iowa, USA, beside the Mississippi River. You know, too, that Antonin Dvorák composed his From the New World (Symphony No. 9) in Spillville, a Czech enclave about 60 miles to the northwest; that Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin (“Shining Brow” in Welsh) lies about the same distance away to the northeast (just outside Spring Green, Wisconsin); that Galena (home of Ulysses S. Grant) is slightly east of Dubuque, on a Mississippi tributary; and that the whole area was famous for its “Copperheads” (named after the poisonous snake) during the United States’ Civil War. I might add that I was born in Dubuque’s (Protestant) Finley Hospital.