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A thought ruled by Time can be expressed only in myth. When mythical languages were universal and self-explanatory, thought was also self-sufficient. It could seek no explanation of itself in other terms, for it was reality expressed as living. Men today are trained to think in spatial terms, to localize objects. After childhood, the first question is "where and when did it happen?" As science and history invade the whole landscape of thought, the events of myth recede into mere fable. They appear as escape fantasies: unlocated, hardly serious, their space ubiquitous, their time circular. Yet some of those stories are so strong that they have lived on vividly. These are true myths. These personages are unmistakably identified, yet elusively fluid in outline. They tell of gigantic figures and superhuman events which seem to occupy the whole living space between heaven and earth. Those figures often lend their names to historical persons in passing and then vanish. Any attempt to tie them down to history, even to the tradition of great and catastrophic events, is invariably a sure way to a false trail. Historical happenings will never "explain" mythical events. Plutarch already knew as much. Instead, mythical figures have invaded history under counterfeit presentments, and subtly shaped it to their own ends. This is a working rule which was established long ago, and it has proved constantly valid if one is dealing with true myth and not with ordinary legends. To be sure, mythical figures are born and pass on, but not quite like mortals. There have to be characteristic styles for them like The Once and Future King. Were they once? Then they have been before, or will be again, in other names, under other aspects, even as the sky brings back forever its configurations. Surely, if one tried to pinpoint them as persons and things, they would melt before his eyes, like the products of sick fantasy. But if one respects their true nature, they will reveal that nature as functions. Functions of what? Of the general order of things as it could be conceived. These figures express the behavior of that vast complex of variables once called the cosmos. They combine in themselves variety, eternity, and recurrence, for such is the nature of the cosmos itself. (165)

There is nothing new under the sun, but all things come back in ever-varying recurrence. Even the hateful word "revolution" referred once only to those of the celestial orbs. The cosmos was one vast system full of gears within gears, enormously intricate in its connections, which could be likened to a many-dialed clock. Its functions appeared and disappeared all over the system, like strange cuckoos in the clock, and wonderful tales were woven around them to describe their behavior; but just as in an engine, one cannot understand each part until one has understood the way all the parts interconnect in the system. (165)

Our period may some day be called the Darwinian period, just as we talk of the Newtonian period of two centuries ago. The simple idea of evolution, which it is no longer thought necessary to examine, spreads like a tent over all those ages that lead from primitivism into civilization. Gradually, we are told, step by step, men produced the arts and crafts, this and that, until they emerged into the light of history. The lazy word "evolution" had blinded us to the real complexities of the past. Those key words (gradualness and evolution) come from the earth sciences in the first place, where they had a precise meaning. They provided the backdrop for Darwin's great scenario. When it comes to the evolution of life, the terms become less precise in meaning, though still acceptable. Genetics and natural selection stand for natural law, and events are determined by the rolling of the dice over long ages. But we cannot say much about the why and the how of this instead of that specific form, about where species, types, cultures branched off. Animal evolution remains an overall historical hypothesis supported by sufficient data--and by the lack of any alternative. In detail, it raises an appalling number of questions to which we have no answer. In later centuries historians may declare all of us insane, because this incredible blunder was not detected at once and was not refuted with adequate determination. Mistaking cultural history for a process of gradual evolution, we have deprived ourselves of every reasonable insight into the nature of culture. (165)

One should pay attention to the cosmological information contained in ancient myth, information of chaos, struggle and violence. They are not mere projections of a troubled consciousness: They are attempts to portray the forces which seem to have taken part in the shaping of the cosmos. Monsters, Titans, giants locked in battle with the gods and trying to scale Olympus are functions and components of the order that is finally established. A distinction is immediately clear. The fixed stars are the essence of Being, their assembly stands for the hidden counsels and the unspoken laws that rule the Whole. The planets, seen as gods, represent the Forces and the Will: all the forces there are, each of them seen as one aspect of heavenly power, each of them one aspect of the ruthless necessity and precision expressed by heaven. One might also say that while the fixed stars represent the kingly power, silent and unmoving, the planets are the executive power. ... the constellations were seen as the setting, or the dominating influences, or even only the garments at the appointed time by the Powers in various disguises on their way through their heavenly adventures. (165)

The engulfing whirlpool belongs to the stock-in-trade of ancient fable. It appears in the Odyssey as Charybdis in the straits of Messina--and again, in other cultures, in the Indian Ocean and in the Pacific. It is found there too, curiously enough, with the overhanging fig tree to whose boughs the hero can cling as the ship goes down, whether it be Satyavrata in India, or Kae in Tonga. Like Sindbad's magnetic mountain, it goes on in mariners' yarns through the centuries. But the persistence of detail rules out free invention. Such stories have belonged to the cosmographical literature since antiquity. Medieval writers, and after them Athanasius Kircher, located the gurges mirabilis, the wondrous eddy, somewhere off the coast of Norway, or of Great Britain. It was the Maelstrom, plus probably a memory of Pentland Firth. It was generally in the direction north-northwest, just as Saturn's island, Ogygia, had been vaguely placed "beyond" the British Isles by the Greeks. On further search this juxtaposition seems to be the result of the usual confusion between uranography and geography. There is frequently a "gap" in the northwest ("Nine-Yin" for the Chinese) of the heavens and inasmuch as the skeleton map of earth was derived from that of the sky, the gap was pinned down here as the Maelstrom, or Ogygia. Both notions are far from obvious, as are the localizations, and it is even more remarkable that they should be frequently joined. For the Norse the whirlpool came into being from the unhinging of the Grotte Mill: the Maelstrom comes of the hole in the sunken millstone. This comes from Snorri. The older verses by Snaebjorn which described Hamlet's Mill stated that the nine maids of the island mill who in past ages ground Amlodhi's meal now drive a "host-cruel skerry-quern."  (165)

One point still remains a problem. The way of the dead to the other world had been thought to be the Milky Way, and that since the oldest days of high civilization. There are three elements here, which combine into a curious tangle: (a) the whirlpool represents, or is, the connection of the world of the living with the world of the dead; (b) a tree grows close to it, frequently a life-giving or -saving tree; (c) the whirl came into being because a tree was chopped down or uprooted, or a mill's axle unhinged, and the like. This basic scheme works into many variants and features in many parts of the world, and it provides a very real paradox or conundrum: it is as if the particular waters hidden below tree, pillar, or mill's axle waited only for the moment when someone should remove that plug--tree, pillar, or mill's axle--to play tricks. We think that the whirlpool stands for the "ecliptical world" marked by the whirling planets, embracing everything which circles obliquely with respect to the polar axis and the equator--oblique by 23 1/2 degrees, more or less, each planet having its own obliquity with respect to the others and to the sun's path, that is, the ecliptic proper. (165)

Starting from the idea of the whirlpool as a way to the other world, one must look at the situation through the eyes of a soul meaning to go there. It has to move from the interior outwards, to "ascend" from the geocentric earth through the planetary spheres "up" to the fixed sphere, that is, right through the whole whirlpool, the ecliptical world. But in order to leave the ecliptical frame, there must be a station for changing trains at the equator. One would expect this station to be at the crossroads of ecliptical and equatorial coordinates at the equinoxes. All "change stations" are found invariably in two regions: one in the South between Scorpius and Sagittarius, the other in the North between Gemini and Taurus; and this is valid through time and space, from Babylon to Nicaragua. Why was it ever done in the first place? Because of the Galaxy, which has its crossroads with the ecliptic between Sagittarius and Scorpius in the South, and between Gemini and Taurus in the North. Considering the fact that the crossroads of ecliptic and Galaxy are crisis-resistant, that is, not concerned with the Precession, the reader may want to know why the Mangaians thought they could go to heaven only on the two solstitial days. Because, in order to "change trains" comfortably, the constellations that serve as "gates" to the Milky Way must "stand" upon the "earth," meaning that they must rise heliacally either at the equinoxes or at the solstices. The Galaxy is a very broad highway, but even so there must have been some bitter millennia when neither gate was directly available any longer, the one hanging in midair, the other having turned into a submarine entrance. Thus in whichever dialect the phenomenon is spelled out, the fallen ruler of the Golden Age is held to dwell nearest to the celestial South Pole, particularly in Canopus which marks the steering oar of Argo, Canopus at the "confluence of the rivers." This is true whether Varuna fastened the sky to the seat of the Rita (and his own seat), whether Enki-Ea-Enmesharra, dwelling in Eridu, held all the norms and measures (Rita, Sumerian me: Akka- dian: parsu)- Thorkild Jacobsen called him very appropriately the "Lord modus operandi"--or whether Kronos-Saturn kept giving "all the measures of the whole creation" to Zeus while he himself slept in Ogygia-the-primeval.  (165)

Slightly perplexing traditions have come down in cuneiform texts, but they clearly allude to the same "event." So, for instance, "The Elamitic chariot, without seat, carries the corpse of Enmesharra. The horses which are harnessed to it are the death-demon of Zu. The king who stands in the chariot is the hero-king the Lord Ninurta. Leaving aside the two last sentences which are in reality, not so pitch dark as they look at first glance, the translator, Erich Ebeling, leaves no doubt that the "Elarnitic chariot" is identical with the constellation "Chariot of Enmesharra," which the authorities on Babylonian astronomy have identified with beta and zeta Tauri. This Enmesharra now has a "telling" name: En.ME.SARRA is "Lord of all the me," that is, he is Lord of "norms and measures," also called "Lord of the World Order" "Lord of the Universe = Ea" and, this is important, "the weighty one in the underworld" and "the sovereign of the underworld." ...there can be little doubt that the tradition of Phaethon's fall was already a Sumerian myth. For example, when Marduk builds his "world" and receives fifty new names, his father Ea gives him his very own name, stating: "His name shall be Ea. All my combined rites he shall administer; all my instructions he shall carry out. And as concerns Ea under the name of Enmesharra, Edzard states: "An incantation of Neo-Assyrian times, using an epithet of Enmesharra 'Who transferred scepter and sovereignty to Anu and Enlil' possibly hints to the voluntary abdication of the god." What is haunting is the suspicion that "Uruk" stands for a "new" realm of the dead, and that Gilgamesh is the one who was destined to "open the way" to this abode and to become its king, and the judge of the dead, like Osiris, and also Yama, of whom the Rigveda states: (I) "Him, who followed the course of the great rivers, and who discovered the way for many, the Son of Vivasvat, the gatherer of peoples--King Yama we honor with sacrifice. (2) Yama is the one who first discovered the way; this trodden path is not to be taken away from us; on that way that our forefathers travelled when they left us, on that way the later born follow each his trail. That neither Yama's nor Gilgamesh's "way" was, originally, meant to last forever and ever, goes without saying. Again and again the me must be brought from Eridu, the Depth of the Sea must be measured respectively, and again and again the sky has to be "suspended" by means of the "Line of the Seven Rishis"--the huge precessional clock does not stop. What has been stopped, instead, is the understanding among the heirs of the mythical language who, out of ignorance, failed to adapt this idiom to "preceded" sitations. Without thinking, they changed a movie into a set of stills, projected a complex motion into conventional posters, and destroyed, by this measure, all the sense of a carefully considered system. (165)

The results have been astonishingly fruitful. For those forebears did not only build up time into a structure, cyclic time: along with it came their creative idea of Number as the secret of things. When they said "things are numbers," they swept in an immense arc over the whole field of ideas, astronomical and mathematical, from which real science was going to be born. Those unknown geniuses set modern thought on its way, foreshortened its evolution. But their ideas were at least as complicated as our own have come to be. Cosmological Time, the "dance of stars" as Plato called it, was not a mere angular measure, an empty container, as it has now become, the container of so-called history; that is, of frightful and meaningless surprises that people have resigned themselves to calling the fait accompli. It was felt to be potent enough to control events inflexibly, as it molded them to its sequences in a cosmic manifold in which past and future called to each other, deep calling to deep. The awesome Measure repeated and echoed the structure in many ways, gave Time the scansion, the inexorable decisions through which an instant "fell due." Those interlocking Measures were endowed with such a transcendent dignity as to give a foundation to reality that all of modern physics cannot achieve; for, unlike physics, they conveyed the first idea of "what it is to be," and what they focused on became by contrast almost a blend of past and future, so that Time tended to be essentially oracular. (165)

There is no escaping our dependence on myth. Without it, we cannot determine what things are, what to do with them, or how to be in relation to them. The fundamental structures of understanding that myths provide, even though in part dictated by matter and instinct, are nevertheless essentially arbitrary because they describe not just the "real" world of "fact" but our perception and experience of that world. (151)

Not only are creation myths the most comprehensive of mythic statements, addressing themselves to the widest range of questions of meaning, but they are also the most profound. They deal with first causes, the essences of what their cultures perceive reality to be. In them people set forth their primary understanding of man and the world, time and space. And in them cultures exressmost directly, before they become involved in the fine points of sophisticated dogma, their understanding of and awe before the absolute reality, the most basic fact of being. (151)

Thus, because of the way in which domestic myths are transmitted, people often never learn that they are myths; people become submerged in their viewpoints, prisoners of their own traditions. They readily confuse attitudes toward reality (proclamations of value) with reality itself (statements of fact). Failing to see their own myths as myths, they consider all other myths false. They do not understand that the truth of all myths is existential and not necessarily theoretical. That is, they forget that myths are true to the extent they are effective. (In a sense, myths are self-fulfilling prophecies: they create facts out of the values they propound. Thinking we are superior to other creatures, for instance, we set ourselves up as such and use them ruthlessly. Peoples that think of themselves as brothers to the beasts live with them in harmony and respect.) (151)

Creation myths attempt to reveal the absolute dimension of the relative world. They proclaim the Holy as the ground of being and, taking into account the human experience of alienation from this ground, proclaim it also as the goal of all being. They encourage people to understand themselves, physically, mentally, and spiritually, in the context of the cyclic flow of being and not-being and ultimately in the absolute union of these two. (151)

The epic poet might choose to sustain what was important to him, but he also had to satisfy his audience. Consequently, the poet needed a powerful poem, one whose survival through the ages was assured by the potency of its message. Such a poem was one that had a story line permeated by myth. Experts have argued that the myth was unavoidable. It was the most essential element to keep us listening attentively. The oral tradition was the constant repetition of these myths. The most fundamental value of oral poetry is the myth that it passes down through the generations. Even a song considered to be a retelling of times gone by has a myth at its core. The myth resuscitates the perishing history and keeps it breathing long after the legend has been declared a fantasy of the dead past. (131)

Mythology - and therefore civilization - is a poetic, supernormal image, conceived, like all poetry, in depth, but susceptible of interpretation on various levels. The shallowest minds see in it the local scenery; the deepest, the foreground of the void; and between are all the stages of the Way from the ethnic to the elementary idea, the local to the universal being, which is Everyman, as he both knows and is afraid to know. For the human mind in its polarity of the male and female modes of experience, in its passages from infancy to adulthood and old age, in its toughness and tenderness, and in its continuing dialogue with the world, is the ultimate mythogenetic zone - the creator and destroyer, the slave and yet the master, of all the gods. (128)

Whenever the ancient world lost its bearings (and we shall find that our present situation is not entirely without precedent), men presumably turned first to the myths for clarification. Modern man may feel that he lost that option when myth came to be defined in western culture as that which was untrue, that which was opposed to history. But for ancient man, some part of what we call mythology was history, the history of men as well as gods, of concrete as well as abstract events. And it was from the myths that his own place in time derived its meaning. (115)

Some of the commonalities in ideology that Trigger finds in early civilizations seem obviously understandable in functional terms. Most placed their own civilization in the center of a world that had four quarters corresponding to the cardinal directions; political competition was cast in terms of religious struggles; and the universe was once--or regularly--threatened with extinction and could only be saved by the intercession of gods, who had to be placated by human activities and earthly wealth. (45)

Far from undermining my faith in a materialist analysis of human behavior, the discovery that early civilizations with differing economic and sociopolitical systems had evolved a fundamentally similar set of religious beliefs confirms this faith. Religious beliefs are linked, both in general and also in specific terms, to the central economic institutions of early civilizations--the tributary relationship. (45)

The national religious cults at all early states developed, for example, seem so transparrently a device for social control. Montaigne said that "Man is certainly stark mad. He cannot make a worm, and yet he will be making gods by the dozen." But for an early state few things are as useful as gods in whom everyone believes. Then one can despise and kill (and take possession of the property of) all non-believers, foreign and domestic, without qualms; one is willing to sacrifice oneself in battles, or participate in pyramid building, or accept a social hierarchy, simply because the gods have so decreed. And the best part is that one does all these things without much cost to the state--people fight in wars, work for the common good, or accept life as a disenfranchised slave often on the premise that in the afterlife things will be greatly immproved. (45)

Wherever we find civilizations with pyramids and the beginnings of irrigation agriculture, we find accounts of "gods" descending to Earth to teach humans how to live a civilized life. (68)

In fact, none of the ancient peoples who are given credit by scientists for the development of modern crops and domesticated dogs left any records of how they accomplished these feats in such a short period of time--other than to acknowledge the gifts of the intervening gods who had presented them with this knowledge. It is a logical conclusion, given the sophistication of the processes necessary to achieve these genetic feats, that our ancestors received this information from those who already possessed it. (69)

The modern human population is very homogeneous. As individuals our genes differ by only one tenth of 1 percent, regardless of race, gender, or ethnic ancestry. We are all virtually the same at the DNA level. According to a Discover magazine article: "Some anthropologists believe that this genetic homogeneity is the result of a 'population bottleneck'--that at some time in the past our ancestors went through an event that greatly reduced our numbers and thus our genetic variation." Nearly every culture has a myth detailing one or more such events or cataclysms that reduced the world's population to a remnant. The Bible's "population bottleneck," for instance, is the Flood of which Noah and his wife and family are the only survivors. (69)

According to Dr. Gimbutas: The earliest civilizations of the world were all matristic. The Goddess worship was there. In China, in the Near East, in Europe, in Americas, so we can say that this is a universal Goddess in the very beginning. And perhaps I should add that the sovereignty of motherhood has decided the earliest development of social structures and religion. During the 1960s, new dating methods gave her a better perspective on just how long-lasting this culture really was. Symbols and sculptures suggest that it was in existence as long ago as thirty-five thousand years, and existed until 3000 BC. Parts of the female body, specifically the creative or life-giving parts, are typical in ice age art. (70)

The Greeks say the Silver Age was when humans invented agriculture and began to work for food. Humans of this age were powerful yet deceitful and were lacking in fortitude, resolve, and character. Hardship, suffering, and decay were introduced to humankind until, as Greek legend tells it, Zeus got fed up with the constant complaining and bickering of Silver Age humans and decided to destroy them. We can align this to the events in the second and third chapters of Genesis, when the first period in the Garden ends and the gods drive Adam out of Eden, commanding him to toil in the fields to earn his bread. The comparable Hindu Silver Age, Treta Yuga, is characterized by a one-third reduction of the good qualities and virtues of the Golden Age. It was the time when humans invented early religious rites, animal sacrifices, and ceremonies. (69)

 


The people of the Greek Age of Heroes were hybrids--half human and half god. They performed amazing feats and lived honorable, fruitful lives. We are reminded of the biblical "sons of God" who mated with the "daughters of men" and produced extraordinary offspring--the giants, or Nephilim, of Genesis. (69)

The odds that descriptions of the god-human interactions could have arisen accidentally in local tribes across widely separated regions of the world are minuscule. Several alternative explanations (a pre-human world culture; a genetic basis for such visions; past-life memories from another planet; mass delusion induced by environmental stress; god-implanted memories) also appear incredible and lack supporting evidence. Another explanation that at first glance appears equally incredible--that such things actually happened--is nonetheless supported by a cross-cultural content analysis of the myths. In the statistical logic used by most physical and social scientists, such a degree of congruence among apparently independent sources would indicate a high level of internal reliability. In recent decades, scientific and historical research has made it possible to validate much historical information in the Bible and other ancient texts or artifacts. For instance, we now know the Hebrew Pentateuch and the Hindu Rig Veda accurately describe geographical details (mountains, deserts, and rivers) of the Middle East and India respectively. They name kingdoms, rulers, and battles that can be corroborated by other sources. They describe cultures that can be verified through archaeology and anthropology. They contain authenticated facts about astronomy, agriculture, social practices, and institutions. Therefore, that they speak of gods' involvement in human origins should be taken seriously. (113)

Genesis and Sumerian texts appear to speak of two stages in human creation. First, they describe the forming of one creature at a time before several were created simultaneously. Then, the Sumerians specifically reported the use of 14 Anunnaki females to carry to term additional hybrid zygotes comprised of human ova fertilized by Anunnaki sperm. These stages are corroborated by the calculation of dates for "Adam and Eve" and the DNA family tree suggesting a "spontaneous" emergence from a few females of a new species in genus Homo. (113)

Various Judaic sources provide details describing the progeny of intercourse between angels and humans which may offer further insight into some of the advanced being characteristics added to the human DNA pool. A fragment of the Book of Noah discovered with the oldest known version of the Book of Enoch (an Ethiopian text) tells about a son (Noah) born to the wife of Lamech (son of Methuselah) who was thought to be fathered by an advanced being. In this version of the story, Enoch, who was Methuselah's father, was asked his opinion about whether Noah had an advanced being parent. Lamech had suspicions that his wife had been impregnated by one of the "watchers" and wanted his father to check with Enoch, who was now living among the advanced beings. The exchange between the two gives prima facie evidence that Noah was a hybrid. Methuselah told Enoch that Lamech had said his son was "unlike man, and resembling the sons of the God of heaven." Enoch responded by saying that in the time of his father Jared "some of the angels of heaven ... united themselves with women ... [and] have begotten children by them." The implication was that this family line carried with it the DNA of those angels. So, even if Lamech was the immediate biological father, he would have passed on the genes of the angels. What are some of those genes, or what features did they express? Lamech described his wife's son as having skin "white as snow," yet "red as the blooming of a rose." His hair was long, woolly, and white. His eyes were beautiful and bright; they "lighted up the whole house." Enoch predicted Lamech's son Noah would be one of the "giants on earth." Other texts underscore the advanced being lineage Enoch described for Noah (known as Zuisudra in Sumerian, Atrahasis in Babylonian, and Utnapishtim in the Epic of Gilgamesh). All these sources agree he was a demigod. (113)

The Sumerians admitted that the gods they knew as the Anunnaki gave them all the sophisticated knowledge (described in their clay tablet libraries) that current historians call "human firsts": mathematics, astronomy, medicine, agriculture, business, engineering, law, and music, among others. Gods common to Mesopotamia/Egypt and India have been identified with teaching humans advanced information: Sarasvati, the teacher of science and writing (like Ninki and Venus); and Ganesa, the giver of learning (like Thoth). Other gods are described who fit the Anunnaki pantheon: Kali of thunder and destruction, Vishnu the preserver (like Enki), and Shiva the destroyer and regenerator (like Enlil, who wanted the Cataclysm to destroy humans but was then convinced to give the survivors seeds and tools to revive civilization). (113)

In an extensive review of documented world myths, I have not discovered a single story that portrays the founding of its civilization as resulting from the unaided efforts of humans. They never say "this or that human did that," or even discovered it. Advance Beings get the credit for the seminal turning points of all these societies. Such a universal practice, given the tendency of human egos to claim credit wherever possible, gives credibility to a surprising theme: Human societies benefited from advanced teachers at various times and places within our collective memory. A careful rereading of myths and legends and classical literature reveals this history of knowledge transfer has been in plain sight. (113)

Over the last few millennia we have lost much of the detailed understanding of both the science and techniques of divination and now use partial and distorted versions of them. I believe the primary reason they have been excluded in the development of Western science is the fear that their use would undermine Christian cosmology. A religion that depends on keeping communications with other beings under its control must discredit nonphysical human powers as evil. Thus, anyone who used such techniques (shamans, medicine women, psychics, esoteric scientists) were labeled pagan or heretical and subjected to sanctions. (113)

We must try to transcend our own Western cultural conditioning, steeped in the notion of an anthropomorphic God, which assumes artifacts found at a burial site represent god-worship. There is no evidence that early humans shared the anthropomorphic idea of God that permeates all our current patriarchal and authoritarian religions. In fact, there is no reason to believe that the thinking of early humans would have naturally arrived at the notion of "gods" or "a God" as we define those terms today. (113)

Not only did the creation of supernaturalism split a part of human consciousness from its natural whole, but supernaturalism split itself into the false dichotomy of good versus evil, and with deleterious effect. When the religious came to believe in two separate realms (natural and supernatural) that could not be bridged by humans, they became susceptible to believing in other absolute polarities. The acceptance of such labels to distinguish gods (God versus Satan, etc.) in the divine realm made it easy to categorize human events in the same manner. Humans could be tagged with the label "evil" and become associated with God's opponent Satan. Under this logic, any self-labeled "god's people" could feel justified in carrying out their interpretation of their god's justice against anyone they labeled evil. (113)

Aspects of this natural perspective can be found in the Vedanta materials, parts of Hebrew prophecy, the Tao Te Ching, the Platonic dialogues, some of the apocryphal Gospels, the Mahayana theology, the works of Plotinus and the Areopagite, Sufi sayings, writings of some Christian mystics, and various scientist-philosophers of the Renaissance and later. (113)

This body of insights regarding the multidimensional nature of the universe and universal consciousness, to our knowledge, first appeared in the historical record in the Vedic literature. The following represents what appears to be the deepest level of understanding humans (and perhaps the gods who taught us what they knew) have been able to fathom about the nature of our universe:
• All aspects of the phenomenal universe--the world of things and all beings, even the gods--are a manifestation of one Source.
• The human mind is of the same substance as the Source and is a local manifestation of that universal consciousness.
• Human beings are capable of directly accessing knowledge of the multidimensional universe through physical and inner senses.
• Conscious life must increase its knowledge of the whole and develop new skills to grow in harmony with nature. (113)


Journeys into the underworld for the purpose of healing, guiding, or retrieving a lost soul were undertaken by the heroes of high civilizations as well as shamanic societies. Both Herakles and Theseus made such descents in Greek mythology; the efforts of Orpheus to retrieve the lost Eurydice are well known. Orpheus was also a great healer, incidentally, and Eliade has observed that in fact Orpheus combined exactly those functions--physician, bard, civilizing hero--that fall to the shaman in primitive society. As he further remarked, however, these similarities do not imply that Orpheus was a shaman, but rather that "the mystical experience appears to generate similar heroic or superhuman capacities which are apparently universal and timeless." (115)

…The belief in a spiritual creation which precedes and informs the material one…is found not only in Plato and Orphism but also in the doctrines of Egypt and India. In Iranian religion as well, every terrestrial phenomenon has an invisible transcendent prototype, not unlike a Platonic Idea. (115)

In Plato's Phaedo an "old legend" states that the souls of men exist in another world after they leave this one, and then "come back here again and are born from the dead." Herodotus (II.l12) claimed that the Greeks borrowed the idea of metempsychosis from Egypt, that the Egyptians were the first to assert that the soul of man was immortal, born and reborn in a series of incarnations. But aside from the distances involved, any borrowing on the subject could as easily have come from India, where the motif of the fall of the spirit into the circle of existences, the "revolving wheel," is well-documented in Brahmanic texts. In the Upanishads, for example, those seeking release from the cycle of lives are advised: “He who tears up the snare of greed, cuts down delusion, and disparages anger, transcending the elemental powers and their objects, may enter Brahma's palace, whence he can look down upon the revolving wheel as may the charioteer upon the turning wheels of his vehicle.” (115)

The Orphic too recognized a god of Eternal Time--Aion or Chronos Ageratos, Undecaying Time--and it is particularly here, in the Orphic divinization of Time, that we meet many of the specific parallels to Iranian religion that have led scholars to suspect that the Orphics, and Plato, borrowed their religious ideas from the Chaldean Magi. (115)

...we know that the destruction of the world by fire, as by flood, is a common mythological theme; and while some of these conflagration myths may pertain to the ultimate fate of the earth, others seem more descriptive of historical catastrophes, comparable perhaps to the periodic cleansing of the earth described by the Egyptian priest in the Timaeus. Second, the M.I.T. archaeo-astronomers tell us that for the ancients, the "end of the world" actually meant the end of a world-age, in terms of the Precession of the Equinoxes: What actually comes to an end is a world, in the sense of a world-age. The catastrophe cleans out the past, which is replaced by a "new heaven and a new earth." In this light one cannot help but be struck by the fact that the late seventh millennium date given by the Greeks for the time of Zarathustra very nearly coincides with astronomers' estimates for the end of the age of Cancer and the dawn of Gemini, c. 6480 BC. M.I.T. reckoning begins our present age of Pisces with a superior conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in 6 BC. Allowing the conventional 2,160 years for each preceding age, the beginning of the age of Aries would have been around 2160 BC, that of the age of Taurus c. 4320 BC, of Gemini around 6480 BC, the beginning of the age of Cancer around 8640 BC and so on. (115)

We noted earlier the universality of this concept of an encompassing moral order (asa, rta, tao, maat) that governed the conduct of men as well as the rhythms of the cosmos. The extent to which it occurs in the traditions of ancient and primitive peoples is well documented; indeed, it is Eliade's conviction that the main difference between the man of traditional society and the man of modern society lies in the fact that "the former feels himself indissolubly connected with the Cosmos and cosmic rhythms, whereas the latter insists that he is connected only with History." (115)

It is this widespread initiatory tradition, centered on man's potential divinity, that has seemed indispensable here to the interpretation of prehistoric art and symbolism. Its immense antiquity has been suggested at several points; its source remains a mystery. Either or both of Plato's superior races could have been instrumental in developing the techniques of transcendence. It might also be argued that if human beings do possess the capacity to alter radically their mode of being, to become god (or god-like) is a potentiality which, as Huxley maintained, "man, as man, has always had it in his power to realize." Indisputable in any event would seem to be the number of reaffirmations of man's latent divinity across time and space by exceptional individuals who apparently spoke from their own experience, and whose influence on the course of history has been profound. (115)

The writings of the alchemists say only that they built on what went before, on a divinely inspired tradition of great age. Reminiscent as well of Zervanite principles is the alchemist's belief that the planets and constellations are bound up with earthly events: "nothing occurs below which does not have its correspondence above, and conversely." The idea of correspondences is basic to alchemical thought; not only the heavens but the elements and kingdoms of earth find analogues in the various parts of the human body, the identity of macrocosm and microcosm that we earlier saw reflected in Indo-European cosmologies. From the alchemical point of view, he can “lift the world from its hinges, at first to be sure only the world in himself, but does this not correspond to the world outside? Thus alchemy becomes a universal potentiality. Its aims extend to every sphere of being; ultimately transcending the possibilities in nature. Its final goal is a transcendent perfection.” (115)

In ancient texts it was "Ostanes the Magus" who taught Democritus the art of alchemy, possibly the same Ostanes that King Xerxes supposedly sent to teach alchemy to the priests of Egypt. And in cuneiform tablets from seventh century BC Nineveh, a prescription for the ritual construction of a furnace for minerals refers to the ores as "embryos," a favorite alchemical analogy based on the idea that the fire of the furnace assists in the perfecting, or the maturing, of mineral substance. A comparable document from Egypt in the Hellenistic Age has convinced some investigators that Egyptian alchemy was connected to Babylonian practices of far greater age. (115)

A remarkable passage from Eliade's The Forge and the Crucible, the most accessible contemporary work on alchemy, deserves quoting in full: We must not believe that the triumph of experimental science reduced to nought the dreams and ideals of the alchemist. On the contrary, the ideology of the new epoch, crystallized around the myth of infinite progress and boosted by the experimental sciences and the progress of industrialization which dominated and inspired the whole of the nineteenth century, takes up and carries forward--despite its radical secularization--the millennary dream of the alchemist. It is in the specific dogma of the nineteenth century, according to which man's true mission is to transform and improve upon Nature and become her master, that we must look for the authentic continuation of the alchemist's dream. The visionary's myth of the perfection, or more accurately, of the redemption of Nature, survives, in camouflaged form, in the pathetic program of the industrial societies whose aim is the total transmutation of Nature, its transformation into "energy."(115)

The ancient Mayan authors of the Popal Vuh considered monkeys to be the product of the last botched experiment conducted by the gods before they finally got it right and managed to create us. The gods meant well, but they were fallible, imperfect artisans. Humans are hard to make. Many peoples in Africa, Central and South America, and the Indian subcontinent thought of apes and monkeys as beings with some deep connection to humans--aspirant humans, perhaps, or failed humans, demoted for some grave transgression against divine law, or voluntary exiles from the self-discipline demanded by civilization. (119)

But one thing I did learn in Peru and Bolivia: No matter what "story" you hear, no matter what "legend," there's always a reality behind it bigger than the story/legend itself. (120)

…there are a number of definite landings of "strangers" in the New World. These landings are often connected with the beginnings of whole civilizations: the Aztecs, Olmec-Mayas, Tiahuanaco-Chavin-Incas. The visitors bring with them a definite heritage, and they fuse this heritage with the passive barbarousness of the Indians to form new hybrid civilizations in which the traits of the parent culture are very evident in the traits of the offspring. By studying building techniques, languages, number systems, calendar systems, clothes, religious patterns, ship-building techniques, and social and economic organization, we can show what cultures came from where and so create a whole new perspective on the origins of the great Indian civilizations of the New World. (120)

Osiris, Dionysus, Orpheus, Baal Haman or--among the Aztecs--Xipe Totec, all these phallic, male generation gods that represent the circling round of the year, all demand blood sacrifice. (120)


Zeus Ammon: Zeus as snake.

There had been human sacrifice to Zeus! In one of the rituals connected with ox flaying (and Zeus!), little barley and wheat cakes had been made that sounded not only like the dough image of Huitzilopochtli and the little cakes associated with his festival, but also just like the Eucharist in which the Godhead is intimately and essentially connected with bread. I opened up my Bible to Leviticus: And he shall immolate the calf before the Lord; and the priests the sons of Aaron shall offer the blood thereof, pouring it round about the altar, which is before the door of the tabernacle. And when they have flayed the victim, they shall cut the joints into pieces… I had been tracing the idea of flaying halfway across the world, from the Aztecs to the Carthaginians, to the Greeks, and now suddenly I walk into the world of the ancient Jews, and they're offering flayed victims to God! How? Why? What was the connection? Canaan. The Phoenicians were Canaanites, the Land of Canaan was the Promised Land. If we go back far enough, through the bloodless and, in fact, antiblood rabbinical overlays of later Judaism that made it antithetical to any blood sacrifice, if we move into primitive, archaic, tribal Judaism, Judaism as it emerges from its Middle Eastern tribal origins, we find that "in many early rites worshippers were clad in the skins of the animals sacrificed." (120)

All the earliest extant Mediterranean/Near-Eastern myths are very much involved with an angry goddess. Earlier, in neolithic times, the goddess, the Cave Venus, didn't seem to be angry at all. She was the principal object of veneration; the world was matriarchal. The Female was the sociological and theological center of everything. And then a change had taken place. The benign, all-containing Great Mother had become angry, had become a destructive, antilife force, a Kali. Somehow, I felt, the benign balance had been destroyed; the Female and Male began to war with each other. It was almost as if the balance had been lost since the beginnings of history. (120)

If I went back far enough, I would be in a world without male gods at all. In Neolithic times, there was no conception of a male anthropomorphic divinity! If I went back to the caves, I would be in the world of the all-encompassing, benign, all-powerful Magna Mater, the Great Mother. Between the time of the caves and the time of the Ras Shamra tablets and the invention of the Lilith legends, what had happened to cause the degradation of the goddess, her transformation from goddess to demon? (120)

At Ras Shamra, Anat was Venus, and Venus was the celestial visitor that had come careening (as a comet?) into our solar system and throwing our world into disarray. Expanded, this Venus-fertility goddess association meant that the Great Mother, the Magna Mater, had betrayed the children of Earth. After ages of associating the Female with the cosmos/cosmic order, when this order suddenly became disorderly, the Female was held to account for it--benign Mother Nature had become demonic. She was to be feared, destroyed, replaced, controlled, so the male gods stepped forth and, as the solar system established a new equilibrium, these male gods were held responsible for it. (120)

There was so much implicit here! Going back to the Phoenician Ras Shamra tablets, I could see why Anat had to fight against her father, El, in order to reassume her function as fertility goddess. El was still in league with the sea. The sea had to be "destroyed" or tamed. Her anger was directed at the establishment of "normality." The cosmos had conspired against life, and grain (Mot) had to be controlled. The alliance between El, ocean (flood), and fire (meteorites?) was an alliance against Anat and Baal, the incarnations of the fertility principle. Tiamat was Mother Nature gone wild! Lilith, the real Eve, was a demon who lived in the middle of the sea (Flood). (120)

In the ancient precataclysm world, the whole idea of Mother Nature/Mother Earth had had an enormous effect on the social orbit of woman. Ancient, pre-Cataclysm societies were female-dominated; the woman was, quite simply, in charge. But in order to grasp that reality, I had to move into societies that flourished in 2500-3000 BC and earlier. Like ancient Crete, where women went bare-breasted and were not closeted away as they were among the later Greeks. This was the primordial state of human society. The Great Mother was the center of the universe. The male was her "priest," her "servant." The ascent of the sky-gods had been accompanied by the sociological ascendance of the male. The goddesses changed into concretizations of the cataclysm itself. The benign, stable cosmos had turned capriciously malignant and in the train of this cosmological happening, the whole iconography of woman changed. (120)

In the ancient Sicilian Greek historian-mythologist, Diodoms Siculus, I began to read about the Amazons in Libya in ancient, ancient times, before the other Amazons (the Scythian ones) had even appeared: …there was once in the western parts of Libya, on the bounds of the inhabited world, a race which was ruled by women and followed a manner of life unlike that which prevails among us. For it was the custom among them that the women should practice the arts of war and be required to serve in the army for a fixed time ...and if it happened that a girl was born, its breasts were seared that they might not develop at the time of maturity; for they thought that the breasts, as they stood out from the body, were no small hindrance in warfare. Then Diodorus Siculus describes how these Amazons, setting out from Chersonesus, "embarked upon great ventures, a longing having come over them to invade many parts of the inhabited world." They set out across the Atlantic and: ...the first people against whom they advanced, according to the tale, was the Atlantians, the most civilized men among the inhabitants of regions, who dwelt in a prosperous country and possessed great cities; it was among them, we are told, that mythology places the birth of the gods, in the regions which lie along the shore of the ocean... …Diodorus Siculus stresses the point that this interpretation was the one commonly accepted by "those among the Greeks who relate legends." It was a kind of professional mythologist's standard tradition: The gods were born in the New World. (120)

Before getting into Atlantian myth, Diodorus describes where the Atlantians live: "in the regions on the edge of the ocean." He quotes Homer: For I go to see the ends of the bountiful earth, Oceanus source of the gods and Tethys divine Their mother. He also describes the home of the Atlantians, and their extreme religiosity. They inhabit a "fertile territory" and are "reputed far to excel their neighbours in reverence towards the gods and the humanity they showed in their dealings with strangers." Then he repeats again: "…and the gods, they say, were born among them." (120)

At any rate, the first king among the Atlantians was Uranus, who is described as someone who civilized his subjects, "discovering for them the uses of cultivated fruits." He was an explorer and conqueror who "subdued the larger part of the inhabited earth, in particular the regions to the west and the north." And, to top off his abilities, he was an astronomer and calendar-maker who "introduced the year on the basis of the sun and the months on that of the moon." In a word, he was the Great Bringer of Culture, the Great Civilizer. He married Titaea, and, following the rules of matrilinear descent, his sons were called the Titans. He had three daughters: Pandora, Rhea, and Basileia. Basileia, the oldest, reared all her brothers and consequently was called the Great Mother. She married one of her brothers, Hyperion, and had two children, Helius and Selene. Her other brothers, fearing a concentration of royal power in Hyperion and Basileia and their children, killed Hyperion and Helius; Selene, finding out about their deaths, committed suicide. The sun was named after Helius and the moon after Selene. After the death of Hyperion, the kingdom was divided among the Titans, the sons of Uranus, the most famous of them being Atlas and Cronus. Atlas received "as his part the regions on the coast of the ocean, and he not only gave the name of Atlantians to his people but likewise called the greatest mountain in the land Atlas." He was an astrologer, perfected astronomy, and had seven daughters--the Atlantides. One of these daughters, Maea, "lay with Zeus and bore Hermes." (120)

Who was Zeus in this context? Well, there were two Zeuses, Diodorus Siculus says, one was the brother of Uranus, a king of Crete. The other was Zeus the Olympian. He was the son of Atlas's brother, Cronus (who had married his sister Rhea). (120)

When Diodorus Siculus talks about Atlas being the "first to publish to mankind the doctrine of the sphere," he is talking about not merely spherical geometry or astronomy, but a spherical world view. The Americas were not merely a part of the pre-Greek, pre-Great Cataclysm world, they were an integral part of it, at the other end of Ocean, but attainable, able to be visited--either across the Pacific or the Atlantic. I began to see it now: The "symbol belt" that stretched out from the Mediterranean through the Americas, across the Pacific, and into India was a trail of "bases," stopover points, repeated contacts over an immense span of time. The ancients had circumnavigated the globe-regularly! If there were a winged disk in Mexico, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and India, it meant that contact and interchange had taken place, and the study of symbols could serve to study the migrations of peoples instead of being used to substantiate their isolation. (120)

The isolationist world view had come later, after the Great Cataclysm. The Europe that was moving toward a restatement of the unitary, spherical nature of physical (and, by extension, psychological) reality was barbarian. Civilization had come, developed, flowered, extended itself over the globe, and had then been destroyed. And even now, 500 years after Columbus, with all our technology of transportation, we are only beginning to move to recapture the vision that the ancients lived and dreamed in at the end of Neolithic times! (120)

Quetzalcoatl has an alter ego, a dog named Xolotl. Hermes' "Egyptian statues [represent] him with the head of a dog. The Egyptian equivalent of Hermes is dog-headed Anubis, and by the time the image/myth gets down to the Romans, they create a synthetic god-image Hermanubis." I already knew that both Hermes and Masau'u were "Psychopomposes"--guides of the dead. What is the function of Xolotl/Anubis? The answer came most readily by way of India: Yama, the Indian dog-god is Judge of the Dead, Lord of Heaven and God of Justice. Anubis, the Greek rendering of Anpu, was identified with Hermes, Conductor of Souls. It was Anubis who opened for the dead the roads to the other world. It turned out that on All Souls' Day all the highways and streets are closed in Hopi villages so that Masau'u, the Conductor of Souls, can open up the roads for the dead to come from the other world. After all, Circe does say to Odysseus: "The Afterworld lies at the extremity of the earth, beyond the vast Ocean." (120)

I was in a Minoan maze, and the only way to get out was to go further in. At the core of the maze, I found the Minotaur, the man-bull, and it was the same man-bull that I'd found at Chavin. It was Siva, whose emblem was the bull. It was the Babylonian Bull of Anu, "Oh divine Bull, shining light who dost illumine the darkness, Burning Bull of Anu..." It was Apis, the divine bull of Memphis in ancient Egypt; it was a nightmare journey to the underground burial chamber of embalmed sacred bulls at Saqqara, the huge embalmed bodies, each one in its separate sarcophagus. It was Zeus, the Bull; Baal-Haman, the Bull; the Bull-Roarer among the Bororo Indians in Brazil. I was back at the tribal source, the totem/clan origins. The Minas tribe was the tribe that had left India, moved into Mesopotamia, Iran, Anatolia. It was the tribe which had left the Indus Valley and come around up the Persian Gulf, entered Egypt in predynastic times, and founded the Upper Kingdom. The city of Naga in Upper Egypt was a Minas city. (120)

The Nagas were a subtribe of the Minas. It is still there in the South Libyan desert today, the proof--the four-armed, three-headed lion: three-headed lion-god from Naga (Sudan) (above) . It was the same Minas that settled in Lower Egypt and founded the ancient Gerzean culture. It was the Minas who had built the megalithic tombs on Sardinia and Malta, the "kivas" in North Africa, Brittany, England, and the American Southwest. They had founded Tiahuanaco and (later) Teotihuacan. Chavin had been a Minas city. So had Cocle in Panama. Their descendents were the proto-Hopis, the proto-Mayas, the proto-Incas, the proto-Aztecs/Toltecs. And it had all begun in India. (120)

By 3000 BC the expansion, the explosion out, of India had been completed, and you could, as the scholars do, equate tombs in the Northwest Caucasus and North Central Anatolia with those of Troy II and early Dynastic III in Mesopotamia. You could also do the same for Egypt, North Africa, Spain,...the arrows continued out through the Pacific and the Atlantic, encircling the globe. The world was a unitary culture, and the carriers of this culture had begun to come out of India one thousand, two thousand years before, perhaps a little earlier. Because if I went in search of Siva the Bull, I found him at Catal Huyuk in Anatolia (Turkey) as far back as circa 6150 BC! In Sumer Enil is the bull god, god of storms and fertility, and his "mate," Ninlil, is a mother/goddess/cow. There is a Sumerian statue in the Louvre of a human-headed bull that dates back to about 3000 BC. So my Chavin bull-man had orthodox precedents! (120)

Ancient Mesopotamian kings, as embodiments of power/fertility, as incarnations of the collective mystique of the people, began to use bull horns on their helmets, which is the prototype for the Viking horned helmet, just as the deer-masked paleolithic cave sorcerer/priest is the prototype for the Amerindian horned shaman. In Mohenjo-Daro, perhaps the real "home port" of the Minas, there are bulls on practically every seal. It is the "hometown-totem" of the whole Indus Valley. Moving to North American Indians, I found the same proto-Indo-Mediterranean bull cult among the Plains Indians.

George Catlin, the artist, when he went on his nineteenth-century Indian visiting trip, sketched a Blackfoot warrior in full horned regalia (above) He has this to say about him: This custom of wearing horns beautifully polished and surmounting the head-dress, is a very curious one, being worn only by the bravest of the brave; by the most extraordinary men of the nation.

One form of the bull-god among the Hopi is a horned Kachina (doll-idol). The various Hu (Zeus?) Kachinas are bull-god variants: Tungwup Ta-amu green-faced Hu Kachina (left); Pachavu Hu Kachina (right). (120)

Maya Snake god (left); snake god from Babylonia/Assyria (right) (120)

Maya feathered serpent from Copan (above left); Makara from Chandi Kalasan (right). (120)

God becomes incarnate in the very shape of the tomb. The dead are committed to the divine. They serve as intermediaries between the living and the divine. To surround tombs with divine symbols, to make the tomb itself in the shape of a divine attribute, links the dead and divinity. So the dead have special access to divine favor, and divine favor means, it always means, fertility, both personal and communal. (120)

In Alabama you can open a mound and again find Quetzalcoatl, the flying serpent. In the same mound, you can also find a circular, four-headed, eagle-disc: the sun-disc-eagle controls the Four Directions (above). Quetzalcoatl from Alabama mound. (120)

Here in India, where the archaic hangs on the longest, the serpent, even today, retains its divine, benevolent character. As with the Hopis. The serpent isn't demoniacal, but antidemoniacal, the special embodiment of divine phallic power. You kiss the ground in front of the serpent shrine, which is also often an elephant shrine, often a lingam shrine liabove East Indian twined-snake stelae. (120)

But god isn't always benevolent, especially in the East of Eden world after the Great Cataclysm. Christianity, portraying the Devil as serpent, echoes an ancient tradition whereby the Earth Mother (Tiamat in Babylonian myth) is associated with demons/serpents, and the whole balance of Nature goes awry. This is the world of the contemporary South American Indian. He mirrors the ontological value shift in the proto-Indo-Mediterranean-Amerindian mystique since the Great Cataclysm, just as contemporary India or the ancient Maya or the ancient Aztec or contemporary Hopi mirror the original, snake-as-god pattern. Among the Jibaros (Ecuador), the anaconda "is the principal and most feared of all the demons...he is the father of witchcraft." (120)

Perhaps the primordial image of the Tree of Life is that of the Divine Lotus, a lotus with cosmic dimensions. It is the symbol of cosmic fertility, and like the Celestial Fig-Tree, another basic image, it unites heaven and earth, the upper and lower worlds, with all life, human, divine, vegetative, and animal. It is no less fundamental in Mesopotamia. In one Mesopotamian sculpture, a winged disk with a representation of the king on it hovers above a sacred tree. The symbolism becomes almost redundant. Sun = god = king = tree = scepter. The Mesopotamian sun disk hovering over Sacred Tree. (120)

In Egypt, the symbolism is identical. When Osiris, the Egyptian Adonis/Christ, rises from the dead, the great royal resurrection myth reads: O you whose life-giving tree becomes green, who is over his field; O opener of flowers, he who is on his sycamore; O you whose riverbanks glisten with verdure, who is over his tree of charm! (120)

Among the Aztecs, on the Feast of Tlaloc, the Rain God, a forest was set up in front of his temple: There were placed many bushes, little hills, branches, and rocks, all of which seemed the work of nature, yet [were] not arranged in imitation of nature. In the midst of this forest was set a tall tree of luxuriant foliage, and around it were four smaller ones. Again the Tree of Heaven, the sacred tree, surrounded by the four smaller trees that support the sky! The tree = phallus = king = fertility = rain. And our turning the Tree of Life into a cross and crucifying our Adonis (Christ) on it would have been a curious perversion too, if he, too, hadn't been allowed to resurrect. (120)

The symbolic patterning turned back in on itself, becoming circular, a symbological maze. It was all the same thing. There was one god behind all the masks, and the masks themselves represented all the forces and expressions of this god, and the god behind all these forces and expressions was really just one force, one power--fertility. All the idols, rites, rituals, prayers, and chants were one single plea: let me be born, let me give birth, let me survive now and forever, and may my world be in order, amen. (120)

These ancient peoples, unaware that precession arises from a mere wobble on the axis, regarded the precession of the equinoxes as of tremendous religious significance, largely because they believed that the end of each age brings some immense catastrophe. (123)

Several authors had speculated upon the mythological connection between the Egyptian god, Osiris, and the god, Viracocha, of the people of the central Andes. Osiris was believed to have traveled around the globe bringing civilization to many nations. (123)

Indeed, the chronicle of our species, from its earliest page, has been not simply an account of the progress of man the tool-maker, but - more tragically - a history of the pouring of blazing visions into the minds of seers and the efforts of earthly communities to incarnate unearthly covenants. Every people has received its own seal and sign of supernatural designation, communicated to its heroes and daily proved in the lives and experience of its folk. And though many who bow with closed eyes in the sanctuaries of their own tradition rationally scrutinize and disqualify the sacraments of others, an honest comparison immediately reveals that all have been built from one fund of mythological motifs - variously selected, organized, interpreted, and ritualized, according to local need, but revered by every people on earth. (128)

And so, in mythology and rite, as well as in the psychology of the infant, we find the imagery of the mother associated almost equally with beatitude and danger, birth and death, the inexhaustible nourishing breast and the tearing claws of the ogress. The heavenly realm, where the paradisial meal is served forever, and Olympus, the mountain of the gods, where ambrosia flows - these, certainly, are but versions fit for adult saints and heroes of the bliss of the well-nursed child. And the primary imprint of which the fury and fright of the disemboweling maw of hell is the adult amplification is no less certainly the child's own fantasies of its raging body - its whole universe--torn apart. (128)

And it may be noted further, in this connection, that in practically every primitive society ever studied the smearing of paint and clay on the body is thought to give magical protection as well as beauty; that in India, where cowdung is revered as sacred and the ritual distinction between the left hand (used at the toilet) and the right (putting food into the mouth) is an issue of capital moment, a ritual smearing of the forehead and body with colored clays and ash is a prominently developed religious exercise; and, finally, that among many advanced as well as primitive peoples the sacred clowns - who in religious ceremonies are permitted to break taboos and always enact obscene pantomimes ­ are initiated into their orders by way of a ritual eating of filth. (128)

The sense, then, of this world as an undifferentiated continuum of simultaneously subjective and objective experience (participation), which is all alive (animism), and which was produced by some superior being (artificialism), may be said to constitute the axiomatic, spontaneously supposed frame of reference of all childhood experience, no matter what the local details of this experience may happen to be. And these three principles, it is no less apparent, are precisely those most generally represented in the mythologies and religious systems of the whole world. (128)

In fact, the notion of participation - or indissociation between the subjective and objective aspects of experience - goes so far in the usual thinking both of infants and of the archaic philosophical systems that the names of things (which are certainly subjective, simply within the mind, and differ greatly from culture to culture) are thought by all children and by most archaic thinkers to be intrinsic to things, as their audible aspect. (128)

The mystery the of the universe and the wonder of the temple of the world are what speak to us through all myths and rites - as well as the great effort of man to bring his individual life into concord with the whole. And the imagery by which this mystery, wonder, and effort have been rendered in the recorded traditions of mankind is so marvelously constant - in spite of all the varieties of local life and culture - that we well may wonder whether it may not simply be coeval with the human mind. (128)

...in any rite, or system of rites, of initiation the same three stages are to be distinguished as in the rituals of Australia, namely: separation from the community, transformation (usually physical as well as psychological), and return to the community in the new role. The ritual of tossing in the air represented the crisis of separation. The rites of circumcision and subincision effected, irreversibly, the transformation. And the ritual of the double tjurunga marked the return. (128)

Throughout the world the rituals of transformation from infancy to manhood are attended with, and effected by, excruciating ordeals. Scourgings, fastings, the knocking out of teeth, scarifications, finger sacrifices, the removal a testicle, cicatrization, circumcision, subincision, bitings, and burnings are the general rule. These, indeed, make brutally actual a general infantile fantasy of Oedipal aggression; but there is an additional aspect of the situation to be considered, inasmuch as the natural body is transformed by the ordeals into an ever-present sign of a new spiritual state. For even in the gentler, higher societies, where the body is no longer naked and mutilated, new clothes and ornaments are assumed, following initiations, to symbolize and support the new spiritual state (128)

Pleasure, power, and duty: these are the systems of reference of all experience on the natural level of the primitive societies. And when such societies are in form, the first two are subordinated to the last, which, in turn, is mythologically supported and ritually enforced. Ritual is mythology made alive, and its effect is to convert men into angels. For archaic man was not a man at all, in the modern, individualistic sense of the term, but the incarnation of a socially determined archetype. And it was precisely in the rites of initiation that his apotheosis was effected - with what cruel imprint of hermetic art we have now seen. (128)

Jung has here simply said that in the afternoon of life the symbolism of King Death does in fact conduce to a progressive inclination of the energies of the psyche, and hence to maturity. Nor does he think it necessary, or even possible, to "understand" the ultimate secret of the force of such symbolic forms. For, as he asks, "Do we ever understand what we think? We understand only such thinking as is a mere equation and from which nothing comes out but what we have put in. That is the manner of working of the intellect. But beyond that there is a thinking in primordial images - in symbols that are older than historical man; which have been ingrained in him from earliest times, and, eternally living, outlasting all generations, still make up the groundwork of the human psyche. It is possible to live the fullest life only when we are in harmony with these symbols; wisdom is a return to them. It is a question neither of belief nor knowledge, but of the agreement of our thinking with the primordial images of the unconscious. They are the source of all our conscious thoughts, and one of these primordial images is the idea of life after death. (128)

We may say, then, that the interdependence of death and sex, their import as the complementary aspects of a single state of being, and the necessity of killing - killing and eating - for the continuance of this state of being, which is that of man on earth, and of all things on earth, the animals, birds, and fish, as well as man - this deeply moving, emotionally disturbing glimpse of death as the life of the living is the fundamental motivation supporting the rites around which the social structure of the early planting villages was composed. ...the festival is an extension into the present of the world-creating mythological event through which the force of the ancestors (those eternal ones of the dream) became discharged into the rolling run of time, and where what then was ever present in the form of a holy being without change now dies and reappears, dies and reappears - like the moon, like the yam, like our animal food, or like the race. Among the primitive hunting societies the way was to deny death, the reality of death, and to go on killing as willing victims the animals that one required and revered. But in the planting societies a new insight or solution was opened by the lesson of the plant world itself, which is linked somehow to the moon, which also dies and is resurrected and moreover influences, in some mysterious way still unknown, the lunar cycle of the womb. Mythology, we may conclude, therefore, is a verification and validation of the well-known - as monstrous. It is conceived, finally, not as a reference either to history or to the world-texture analyzed by science, but as an epiphany of the monstrosity and wonnder of these; so that both they and therewith ourselves may be experienced in depth. (128)

In a mythologically oriented primitive society, such as those of the Marind-anim and West Ceramese, every aspect of life and of the world is linked organically to the pivotal insight rendered in the mythology and rituals of the age of the Dema. Those pre-sexual, pre-mortal ancestral beings of the mythological narrative lived the idyl of the beginning, an age when all things were innocent of the destiny of life in time. But there occurred in that age an event, the "mythological event" par excellence, which brought to an end its timeless way of being and effected a transformation of all things. Whereupon death and sex came into the world as the basic correlates of temporality. Furthermore - and in contrast to our contemporary evolutionary view of the unfolding of forms in time - the mythological notion was of a single, unique, and critical moment of definitive precipitation at the close of the paradisial age and opening of the present, when all things were given precisely the forms in which we see them today: the animals, the fish, the birds, and the plants in their various species, as well as the spirits and the ritual customs of the group. In the Book of Genesis we find much the same idea. But in the primitive version of the mythological event (which is represented in the Book of Genesis in inverted order, Cain's murder of Abel following, instead of preceding, our first parents' eating of the fruit) one does not feel that mankind was cut off as a result of the killing of the Dema Hainuwele. On the contrary, the Dema, through man's act of violence, was made the very substance of his life. (128)

Something of the sort can be felt in the Christian myth of the killed, buried, resurrected, and eaten Jesus, whose mystery is the ritual of the altar and communion rail. But here the ultimate monstrosity of the divine drama is not stressed so much as the guilt of man in having brought it about; and we are asked to look forward to a last day, when the run of this cosmic tragedy of crime and punishment will be terminated and the kingdom of God realized on earth, as it is now in heaven. The Greek rendition of the mythology, on the other hand, remains closer to the primitive view, according to which there is to be no end, or even essential improvement, for this tragedy (as it will seem to some) or play (as it appears to the gods). The sense of it all - or rather, nonsense of it all - is to be made evident forever in the festivals and monstrous customs of the community itself; but is evident also ­ and forever - in every part and moment of the universe, for those who have been taught by way of the rites to see and to know the world as it truly is. The number of details shared by the Greek mythology of Demeter, Hekate, and Persephone with the Indonesian myths and rites of Satene, Rabia, and Hainuwele is too great to have been the consequence either of chance or of what Sir James G. Frazer has plausibly called "the effect of similar causes acting on the similar constitution of the human mind in different countries and under different skies." (128)

At the heart of both mythologies there is a trinity of goddesses identified with the local food plants, the pig, the underworld, and the moon, whose rites insure both a growth of the plants and a passage of the soul to the land of the dead. In both the marriage of the maiden goddess or Dema is equivalent to her death, which is imaged as a descent into the earth and is followed, after a time, by her metamorphosis into food: in the primitive cycle, the yam; in the classical, the grain. The women of the Greek Thesmophoria, furthermore, placed figures of flour and wheat, representing snakes and human beings, in the megara, together with the pigs; the pigs being left until the flesh rotted, when their bones were brought up and revered as relics, while the figures of wheat were consumed by snakes. And a clatter of noise, rationalized as a ruse to drive away the serpents, accompanied the placement of the pigs and cakes underground. Frazer, in The Golden Bough, supplies many instances of substitutions of just this kind, and shows, moreover, that cakes in human form have been sacramentally consumed at planting and harvest festivals wherever grain has been ground into flour and baked." So that, in addition to the rest, it would now appear that the sacramental cannibalistic meal must have been, at one time, still another element common to the two cycles. (128)

We all know well enough the classical motif of the two serpents intertwined, which has become the symbol of the medical profession, the priesthood of the well-being that is the boon of the waters of the abyss, which waters flow as sap in the health-giving herbs and as the blood of life in our own healthy bodies. ...the Greek and Indonesian myths examined have revealed not only a shared body of ritualized motifs but also signs of a shared past, an earlier stratum of their common story, in which a snake and not a pig played the animal part. And the fact that (one way or another) the two cycles were not merely linked remotely by a long, tenuous thread, but established on a broad, common base is made evident by a baffling series of further likenesses. The argument is not yet closed; nor is all the evidence in. For the present, we can note simply that a continuum has been established, with its earliest firmly dated marker in the basal-neolithic stratum (c. 5500-4500 BC) in the Near East; a second field in the myths and rituals of the planting tribes of South and East Africa - and the Sudan; a third (possibly) in Hadramaut; a fourth (certainly) in Malabar; and still another in Indonesia and, as we have seen, Melanesia and Australia. We must now range even farther and measure the reach of this mythological zone into the Pacific - and even, perhaps, the New World beyond. (128)

East of Indonesia, Melanesia, and Australia, throughout the island-studded triangle of Polynesia - which has Hawaii at its apex, New Zealand at one angle, and Easter Island at the other­ the mythological image of the murdered divine being whose body became a food plant has been adjusted to the natural elements of an oceanic environment. Snakes, for example, are unknown in the islands. The role of the serpent has to be played, therefore, by the closest possible' counterpart of the serpent, a monster eel. And the force of the role has been greatly increased - or rather, there is further evidence that in the myths of Hainuwele and Persephone the force of the role must have been greatly reduced. Paradoxically, then, it would appear that although we are moving eastward into the Pacific we are also coming closer to the biblical version of the mythological event through which death came into the world; and something rather startling is beginning to appear, furthermore, concerning the relationship of Mother Eve to the serpent, and of the serpent to the food tree in the Garden. The volumptuous atmosphere of the lush Polymesian adventure will be different, indeed, from the grim holiness of the rabbinical Torah; nevertheless, we are certainly in the same old book - of which, so to say, all the earliest editions have been lost. (128)

...one of the most important as well as illuminating aspects of the prehistoric perspective opened by a comparative study of myth rests in the problem of the pig's taking on the role of the serpent as the sacred animal of the labyrinth - and after the pig the bull, and after the bull the horse. An important system of such myths and rites, folktales and folk customs, deriving from a nuclear concept of the reciprocities of death and life (both in the way of killing and consuming and in that of propagating and dying) has been identified throughout the broad belt of the tropical equatorial zone, from the West African Sudan, across the Indian Ocean, deep into Polynesia ­ indeed, all the way to Easter Island, where the concept is rendered in the image of a caught and eaten fish. (128)

What I am now suggesting, therefore, is that in this Apache legend of the creation of the bird we have a remote cognate of the Indian forms, which must have proceeded from the same neolithic stock; and that in both cases the symbol of the swastika represents a process of transformation: the conjuring up (in the case of the Hactcin), or conjuring away (in the case of the Buddha), of a universe that because of the fleeting nature of its forms may indeed be compared to the substance of a mirage, or of a dream. (128)

The situation in Arizona and New Mexico at the period of the discovery of America was, culturally, much like that which must have prevailed in the Near and Middle East and in Europe from the fourth to second millenniums BC, when the rigid patterns proper to an orderly settlement were being imposed on peoples used to the freedom and vicissitudes of the hunt. And if we turn our eyes to the mythologies of the Hindus, Persians, Greeks, Celts, and Germans, we immediately recognize, in the well-known, oft-recited tales of the conquest of the titans by the gods, analogies to this legend of the subjugation of the shamans by the Hactcin. The titans, dwarfs, and giants are represented as the powers of an earlier mythological age - crude and loutish, egoistic and lawless, in contrast to the comely gods, whose reign of heavenly order harmoniously governs the worlds of nature and man. The giants were overthrown, pinned beneath mountains, exiled to the rugged regions at the bounds of the earth, and as long as the power of the gods can keep them there the people, the animals, the birds, and all living things will know the blessings of a world ruled by law. (128)

This, then, is to be our first distinction between the mythologies of the hunters and those of the planters. The accent of the planting rites is on the group; that of the hunters, rather, on the individual ­ though even here, of course, the group does not disappear. Even among the hunters we have the people - the dear people - who bow to one another politely, like brothers-in-law, but have comparatively little personal power. Nevertheless, in the main it can be said that in the world of the hunt the shamanistic principle preponderates and that consequently the mythological and ritual life is far less richly developed than among the planters. It has a lighter, more whimsical character, and most of its functioning deities are rather in the nature of personal familiars than of profoundly developed gods. And yet, as we have also seen, there have been depths of insight reached by the mind in the solitude of the tundras that are hardly to be matched in the great group ecstasies of the bull-roarers, borne on the air, heavy with dread. (128)

Spirits initiate the shamans of Australia in a cave; those of Seberia in a tree. Yet do we doubt that the sense of the two experiences is the same? In Siberia the shaman's flesh is eaten and restored; in Australia his intestines are removed and replaced by Quartz crystals. But are these not two versions of the same event? We note that in both cases two inductions are required: one by the spirits; one by living masters. But these two are characteristic of shamanism wherever it appears. In the various provinces the visions differ, likewise the techniques of ecstasy and magic traditionally taught; for the cultural patterns through which the shamanistic crisis moves and is realized have local histories and are locally conditioned. Yet the morphology of the crisis (it can no longer be doubted) remains the same wherever the shamanistic vocation has been experienced and cultivated. (128)

The main point that has here been so vividly illustrated is that in the phenomenology of mythology and religion two factors are to be distinguished: the non-historical and the historical. In the religious lives of the "tough minded," too busy, or simply untalented majority of mankind, the historical factor preponderates. The whole reach of their experience is in the local, public domain and can be historically studied. In the spiritual crises and realizations of the "tender minded" personalities with mystical proclivities, however, it is the non-historical factor that preponderates, and for them the imagery of the local tradition - no matter how highly developed it may be - is merely a vehicle, more or less adequate, to render an experience sprung from beyond its reach, as an immediate impact. For, in the final analysis, the religious experience is psychological and in the deepest sense spontaneous; it moves within, and is helped, or hindered, by historical circumstance, but is to such a degree constant for mankind that we may jump from Hudson Bay to Australia, Tierra del Fuego to Lake Baikal, and find ourselves well at home. (128)

"Every shaman," said another informant, Pavlov Kapiton, "must have an animal-mother or origin-animal. It is usually pictured in the form of an elk, less often as a bear. This animal lives independently, separated from the shaman. Perhaps it can best be imagined as the fiery force of the shaman that flies over the earth." "It is the embodiment of the prophetic gift of the shaman," adds G. V. Ksenofontov; "it is the shaman's visionary power, which is able to penetrate both the past and the future." (128)

These two traditions are mixed in the inheritance not only of the West but of all civilizations and represent the poles of man's spiritual tension: that of the priestly representation of the power that shaped the universe as a force beyond human criticism or challenge, the power that made the sun and moon, the seas, Leviathan, Behemoth, and the mountains, before whom man's proper attitude is awe; and, on the other hand, that of the intransigency of the self-sufficient magician, the titan power of the shaman, the builder of Babel, careless of God's wrath, who knows that he is older, greater, and stronger than the gods. For indeed, it is man that has created the gods, whereas the power that created the universe is none other than the will that operates in man himself and in man alone has achieved the consciousness of its kingdom, power, and glory. (128)

On the walls of many of the paleolithic caves, furthermore, the silhouetted handprints of participants in the rites have been discovered, and many of these show the same loss of finger joints that we have already remarked among the Indians of the plains. These are the maimed hands, then, of the "honest hunters," not the shamans; for the shamans' bodies are indestructible and their great offerings are of the spirit, not the flesh. We are on the trail of the popular rites and myths of the earliest periods of human society of which we have record-myths and rites of an age far greater, apparently, than that of the sacrifice of the maiden, and no less great, surely, in their reach across the barriers of space. We have already remarked the vast span of the shamanistic tradition from pole to pole of the Americas, from Tierra del Fuego to the Yenisei, and from Australia to Hudson Bay. We must now begin to follow the forms of the general, exoteric hunting rites of the paleolithic sanctuaries, down into the dimmest, darkest reaches of the well of the past. The clues become fewer and more widely spaced as we proceed; and yet, throughout, we may readily recognize those that remain as suggesting at least the possibility, or even probability, of such rites as those of the buffalo dance, on back to the very beginnings of the race. (128)

One thing more: The crucial point of the Pygmy ceremony was that the rite should take place at dawn, the arrow flying into the antelope precisely when it was struck by a ray of the sun. For the sun is in all hunting mythologies a great hunter. He is the lion whose roar scatters the herds, whose pounce at the neck of the antelope slays it; the great eagle whose plunge traps the lamb; he is the luminous orb whose rays at dawn scatter the herds of the night sky, the stars. One sees the evidence of this primitive hunting myth in the motif, so common in paleolithic art, of the lion pouncing on the neck of the antelope that has just turned its head to look behind it, as well as in that other motif, which is one of the first to appear in ancient Sumerian art, of the solar eagle, clutching an antelope in each claw. The lesson reads, by analogy: The sun is the hunter, the sun's ray is the arrow, the antelope is one of the herd of the stars; ergo, as tomorrow night will see the star return, so will tomorrow the antelope. Nor has the hunter killed the beast as a personal, willful act, but according to the provisions of the Great Spirit. And in this way "nothing is lost." (128)

...no less than fifty-five figures of the kind have been identified among the teeming herds and grazing beasts of the various caves. These make it practically certain that in that remote period of our species the arts of the wizard, shaman, or magician were already well developed. In fact, the paintings themselves clearly were an adjunct of those arts, perhaps even the central sacrament; for it is certain that they were associated with the magic of the hunt, and that, in the spirit of that dreamlike principle of mystic participation - or, to use Piaget's term, "indissociation" - their appearance on the walls amounted to a conjuration of the timeless principle, essence, noumenal image, or idea of the herd into the sanctuary, where it might be acted upon by a rite. (128)

The mythological apologia offered by the men of the Ona tribe for their outrageous lodge was marvelously close, to that attributed to Adam by the patriarchal Hebrews in their Book of Genesis; namely, that, if he had sinned, it was the woman who had done so first. And the angry Lord of Israel - conceived in a purely masculine form - is supposed to have allowed a certain value to this excuse; for he then promptly made the whole race of woman subject to the male. "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing," the Lord God is declared to have announced; "in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." (128)

This curious mythological idea, and the still more curious fact that for nearly two thousand years it was accepted throughout the Western World as the absolutely dependable account of an event supposed to have taken place about a fortnight after the creation of the universe, poses forcefully the highly interesting question of the influence of consciously contrived, counterfeit mythologies and inflections of mythology upon the structure of human belief and the consequent course of civilization. We have already noted the role of chicanery in shamanism. It may well be that a good deal of what has been advertised as representing the will of "Old Man" actually is but the heritage of a lot of old men, and that the main idea has been not so much to honor God as to simplify life by keeping woman in the kitchen. But whether by some milder process of cultural transformation, or by such violence as the Ona legend of the massacre that broke up the age of women's magic would suggest, the fact remains that at the western pole of the broad paleolithic domain of the Great Hunt, which stretched from the Cantabrian hills of northern Spain to Lake Baikal in southeast Siberia, the earliest races of the species Homo sapiens of which we have any record made a shift from the vagina to the phallus in their magic, and therewith, perhaps too, from an essentially plant-oriented to a purely animal-oriented mythology. (128)

We are clearly in a paleolithic province where the serpent, labyrinth, and rebirth themes already constitute a symbolic constellation, joined to the imagery of the sunbird and the shaman flight, with the goddess in her classic role of protectress of the hearth, mother of man's second birth, and lady of the wild things and of the food supply. She is here a patroness of the hunt, just as among planters she is the patroness of fields and crops. But what is surely clear is that a firm continuum has been established from Lake Baikal to the Pyrenees of a mythology of the mammoth-hunters in which the paramount image was the naked goddess. (128)

In Drachenloch and Wildermannlisloch little walls of stone, up to 32 inches high, formed a kind of bin, within which a number of cave-bear skulls had been carefully arranged. Some of these skulls had little stones arranged around them; others were set on slabs; one, very carefuly placed, had the long bones of a cave bear (no doubt its own) placed beneath its snout; another had the long bones pushed through the orbits of its eyes. All of these works make use of a great fund of factual material from the contemporary hunting peoples of the northern hemisphere. And it becomes evident therewith that the usages and customs of the Interglacial Period have been retained up to the very present in these peripheral regions of the earth, where the same living conditions exist to this day, and where man to this day remains only a hunter and collector on the simplest level. The economic pattern has not greatly altered in these parts, nor the way of thinking; man has remained inwardly the same, even though millenniums, indeed perhaps centuries of millenniums, lie between the hunters of those earlier days and now. The same offering is still made today. The bear skulls still are flayed and preserved in sacred places, offering places. They are covered and set round with slabs of stone, even today. Special ceremonies still are celebrated at the offering places. (128)

Even today two vertebrae of the neck are allowed to remain attached to the skull, just as then. And even today we often find that the large molar of the bear has been ground down, precisely as Zotz found the case to be in the course of an excavation of a series of caves in the glacial mountain heights of Silesia. Such details among the contemporary Asiatic hunters as the grinding down of the teeth of the bear and leaving of two vertebrae attached to the skull, just as in the European Inter­glacial period, proves that the continuity has actually remained unbroken for tens of thousands of years. In short, then, a prodigious continuum has been identified, deriving in time at least from the period of the Riss-Wurm inter­glacial, about 200,000 BC. It is represented in its earliest known forms in the high-mountain Neanderthal caves of Germany and Switzerland, but then also, milenniums later, in the caves of Homo sapiens of southern France. Its range in space extends, on the one hand, northeastward throughout the circumpolar sphere of the primitive arctic hunters and collectors, where its ritual of the Master Bear is continued to the present day, and, on the other hand, southward into Africa, where the great felines - lion, leopard, panther, etc. - are in the role that is played by the bear in the north. (128)

The main idea would seem to be that there is no such thing as death, but simply a passing back and forth of an immortal individual through a veil. The idea was well expressed in the words of the Caribou Eskimo shaman Igjugarjuk: "Life is endless. Only we do not know in what form we shall reappear after death." The grave gear and sacrificed animals found in the graves in the Dordogne, at La Ferrassie, Le Moustier, and La Chapelle­aux-Saints, surely indicate something of the kind for the period of Neanderthal. And though we do not know whether burials of such a type were usual or unusual at that time, the fact remains that in these cases, at least, a life beyond death was envisioned. It has been suggested that the daily task and serious concern of dealing death, spilling blood, in order to live, created a situation of anxiety that had to be resolved, on the one hand by a system of defenses against revenge, and on the other by a diminishment of the importance of death. Immediately available, furthermore, was that primary, spontaneous notion of the child that death is not an end, nor birth a beginning. "Mamma, where did you find me?" These may not be "inherited ideas," precisely, but they are certainly general, spontaneous ideas, and the raw materials of myth. ...furthermore, they have been organized in a distinctive system, which has served primitive hunting societies for a period of some two hundred thousand years, both to alleviate the fear of blood revenge and to carry the mind across the ultimate threshold. (128)

The [Isis] myth [of Egypt] is clearly of the family of Damuzi-absu and Inanna. However, the symbolic animal involved - at least in this version of the great adventure - was not the moon-bull, as in the Mesopotamian myths and rites of the royal tombs of Ur, but the pig, as in the Greek rituals of Persephone and Melanesian of Hainuwele. For Set, as we have just seen, was hunting the boar on the night of the full moon when he found and dismembered the body of Osiris. Comparably, according to Ovid, the young Adonis, beloved of Venus-Aphrodite (the classical counterpart of both Isis and Inanna), was killed by a wild boar when out hunting. And the Phrygian ever-dying and resurrected divinity, Attis, following one version of his legend, was likewise gored by a boar - but, according to another, was himself a pig. Apparently, therefore, we have here the evidence either of two periods or of two provinces of the same essential myth; one associating the bull, but the other a boar, with the force of the abyss. (128)

According to Layard the Malekulans attribute their own megalithic tradition of the pig sacrifice to a mythical family of five culture-bringers, who were brothers and "white men" with aquiline noses. Their chief, the creator and giver of all good things, is represented constantly, Layard declares, "as sailing in a canoe, and in almost all, if not in all, areas where he is known, he is represented as having finally sailed away over the horizon to an unknown destination. In his heavenly aspect he is invariably associated with light and, in one way or another, with the sun and moon." But he is also said to have been buried sitting on a stone seat within a stone chamber covered by a mound of earth and loose stones - "in other words," as Layard points out, "what we in Europe would call a chambered round-barrow"; and his body and that of his wife are said to be incorruptible. The alleged undecayed bodies of this culture-bringer and his wife are ritually washed at certain festival times for the purpose of ensuring the continuance of the human race. And after the killing, the new Lord of the Underworld remains for thirty days on the stone platform, eating only yams. His limbs are covered with armlets of the most valuable shell beads, and he has pigs' tusks as bangles from elbow to wrist. He is a very picture of that immortal person for whom death has no sting. (128)

And with this, I believe, we have our final clue to the ritual sacrifice of the royal tombs of Ur, as well as to the "fury for sacrifice" that beset, at one time or another, every part of the archaic world in the various high periods of its numerous cultures. A magical power is gained according to the measure of one's sacrifice. The ultimate sacrifice is, of course, one's self; yet the value even of this self is to be measured according to the orders of sacrifice accomplished during life and made by one's survivors at one's mortuary feast. The most potent supporting offering of this sort is another human being - one's son, one's slave, one's prisoner of war. But the next in order is some beast that one has raised oneself and cared for as one's own. Moreover, wherever such animal offerings are rendered, the beast is of a species mythologically associated with deity. We have mentioned the Capsian petroglyphs in North Africa, showing a ram with the sun between its horns and the figure of the moon-bull on the sacred harps of Ur, as well as the bulls' heads on the high neolithic pottery of the Halaf style. Let us add, now, the rites of the Minotaur in the bull rings of Crete, whence the imagery was carried with the megalithic culture complex to Spain, where, even today, we may see the brave moon-bull with its crescent horns slain by the solar blade of the sparkling matador, just as the paleolithic bulls in the deep temple caves of the neighboring Cantabrian hills and Pyrenees are slain by the solar power of the shamans. And in Malekula, at the other end of the line, the same symbolism is rendered in the megalithic rites of the sacrifice of the lunar boar. (128)

"Tuned to the tone of Heaven and Earth," we learn from another text of the second century BC, "the vital spirits of men express all the tremors of Heaven and Earth, just as several cithars, all tuned on Kung, vibrate when the note Kung resounds. The fact of harmony between Heaven, Earth, and Man does not come from a physical union, from a direct action; it comes from a tuning on the same note producing vibrations in unison...In the Universe there is no hazard, there is no spontaneity; all is influence and harmony, accord answering accord." But this, precisely, was the view of the Greek Pythagoras (582-c. 507 BC), an echo of whose lore we have already heard in Plato's words concerning the pristine accord of man's nature with "the harmonies and revolutions of the world." And the concept of musical accord in India is the same, where it is said that "all this universe is but the result of sound." The coming of this concept of the hieratic city state to China is to be dated from the period of the black ware of the Lungshan culture (c. 1900-1523 BC), which now appears to have stemmed from the same centers of northern Iran and southern Turkestan (Tepe Hissar, Turang Tepe, Shah Tepe, Namazgah Tepe, Anau, etc.) that sent the concept into India for the formation of the Harappa style. The characteristic fortress-city of this Chinese stratum is perfectly quadrangular in form, bounded by a powerful wall of pounded earth, and of considerable size. Sheep and horses have been added to the earlier barnyard stock of cattle, pigs, and dogs, and two of the pottery shards discovered show that writing was now known - in two scripts that have not yet been deciphered. (128)

From Crete to India stretched the cult of the goddess-mother and of the serpent, a beneficial spirit, associated with her. The bull was sacred across this area and bull games were found from northern Indian to Spain. All the worshippers of the serpent in India, from the extreme north to the south, looked on themselves as belonging to 'the same church'. (135)

The Olympians are normally described as anthropomorphic, or gods made in the likeness of man. This is false. They are men made in the likeness of god, their dalliance marking them off from the abstract god of the Old Testament. Culture-heroes became known as gods not simply because the peasants were all that superstitious, but because the culture-heroes deliberately presented themselves as gods incarnate upon earth - a style which made it the more easy to impose themselves upon alien cultures and revolutionise them - to the glory of God and the relief of the culture­hero's estate. (135)

Atlas, I suggest, at this time actually lived in Tiahuanaco, which itself stands on Lake Titicaca at an elevation of 12,008 feet and was thus the highest capital city of the world. Not far-distant, rose the white peaks of the Andes, up to 23,000 feet, glistening perpetually with snow. The Andes are thus in fact the original Atlas mountains. For Homer, the Atlas, as we have seen, acquired his title of holding up the sky partly because of the picturesque and unusual altitude of his capital city. It is to be noted that the Egyptians of early dynasties said that the mountain which held up the sky in the far west was called Manu. Manu was the name of the traditional leader of the Aryans, the people who had early explored the Atlantic and who perhaps planted the first colony on Titicaca. Holding up the sky was probably a colourful description applied to whatever dynasty was esconced on the Andes, those mighty mountains. Atlas also had the reputation, given him in the Odyssey, of knowing the sea in all its depths. (135)

And there are Atlas figures in Peru used on architectural columns to hold up the roof, figures of unmistakable European appearance: the style is that of Old Peru, the story is that of the Old Mediterranean. Atlas is thus both a Mexican name and a Mediterranean name. Atlas takes part in all the Greek stories of the remote west. We have seen that the Supreme Culture-bringer in Mexico was called Quetzalcoatl, the feathered sea-serpent. The feathered headdress was a Cretan style, the serpent was the insignia of royalty both in Egypt and America. Hera herself, daughter of Atlas, is associated with the remote west. (135)

The dioskouri, the twin gods, were the patron saints of sailors and, it is said, sons of Zeus. They were twins, perhaps representing the twin metals that went to make up bronze. Certainly they were called Anakes as well as Dioscuri, their festival was called the Anakeia and their temple, the Anakeion: all words to do with Anak, the Sumerian and Akkadian word for tin or bronze. In fact, Castor may be a corruption of the Greek Cassiteros, Pollux of Kalkos. (135)

The people retained the memory of the former ruling classes by keeping a list of the gods they served. Some of the lists therefore are of the first importance. The Phoenician genealogy can be given in detail (above). (135)

One may understand the liveliness of these memories, the degree to which the recollection of these men became engrained upon the Indian mind not in Peru and Bolivia alone, nor in Central America as well, but right across both American continents, only if one considers the savage condition of these essentially talented Indian peoples, cut off, as they had largely been, in the isolation of America. By the Indians' own account, when the white gods arrived they were living in caves, or in holes in the ground, in twos and threes, without the arts of life. Soon they were brought, and taught, agriculture, astronomy, mathematics, the building of fine towns, temples and palaces, the development of vast irrigation works, the uses of pottery and metallurgy. They were brought into close contact with the sophistication of the Indus Valley and of Ur, of Egypt and of the Aegean world at a time when the Old World was enjoying one of its high peaks in civility. No wonder then that the natives worshipped the sun too, and the priest of the sun and the children of the sun. (135)

I think that the sun-kings used the word 'God' at one time or another in three senses: first, the mind within the Universe; second, the symbol of that mind, the Sun; third of the king, the child of the Sun: this is God the Holy Spirit, God the Father and God the Son, but yet one God. In many countries, a small sun-worshipping elite provided the ruling class for the earth-worshipping masses. The political tension between the two continued throughout most of this period. Hence the hybrid animals, winged bulls and lions and plumed serpents; they provided symbols to the nation of the synthesis of these two religions. (135)

We have already touched upon the story of Adam and Eve. Knowledge and technical skills, just as Plato describes in the Republic were reserved jealously for the sun-worshipping ruling class, who are seemingly referred to among the Indus people as God; or as angels or cherubim if they are minor scions of the ruling families. Those who are referred to as 'Man' are the laity, the colonised. The sons of God looked upon the daughters of man and saw that they were fair describes the beginning of the breakdown of the caste system and the mixed marriages act. The story of Adam and Eve is the narrative of an actual working-class revolt, subsequently described by churchmen, characteristically, as Original Sin. Adam and Eve become refugees because they refuse to accept the hierarchy and the discipline that accompanied these most successful irrigation states. (135)

In the Stone Age, men were the hunters, women the collectors of plant foods. Women domesticated plants c. 10,000 BC before men domesticated animals, c. 7000 BC. The cultivation of fruit trees, vegetables and grains revolutionised life, gave greater social security and the conditions for a much increased population. Women thus were the main economic force in society and so they came to be the main political and religious force. God was a woman, the earth-mother, served by priestesses and property was passed down in a family through the female side. Women bore arms and became Amazons. (135)

But earth-worship, the religion in most cases of the underdog, continued, not only in all the far-flung corners of the earth where it had first been established but in its homeland around the Mediterranean and in India. This religious rivalry, systems stamped upon the minds of man over millennia, conditions our thinking today: Catholicism, with its worship of Our Lady; Protestantism with its paternalistic society and its male sky-god. (135)

The political tension among states of this early period sprang from a small, elite sky-worshipping group taking over states whose people were earth-worshippers and proselytising them. To control this tension the annual feast of the hierogamy was held on top of the ziggurat, in which Sky and Earth were cermoniously married and the populace looked upon themselves as children of Sky and Earth. Sun-worship became the principal form of sky-worship. It possessed, as we have seen, a sophisticated and elaborate theology much of which has come through in Christianity with little change. In truth, Christianity might preferably be looked upon, not as a separate religion brought down to man by God but as an episode in the great central religion of sun-worship. (135)

The evidence for a widespread Sumerian diaspora with its language, writing, symbols, customs, celestial knowledge, beliefs, and gods comes in many forms. Beside the generalities­-a religion based on a pantheon of gods who have come from the heavens, a divine hierarchy, god epithet-names that mean the same in the different languages, astronomical knowledge that included a home planet of the gods, a zodiac with its twelve houses, virtually identical creation tales, and memories of gods and demigods that scholars treat as "myths"--there are a host of astounding specific similarities that cannot be explained other than by an actual presence of Sumerians. It was expressed in the spread in Europe of Ninurta's Double-Eagle symbol; the fact that three European languages­-Hungarian, Finnish, and Basque--are akin only to Sumerian; and the widespread depiction throughout the world--even in South America--of Gilgamesh fighting off with bare hands two ferocious lions. (137)

In the Far East, there is the clear similarity between the Sumerian cuneiform writing and the scripts of China, Korea, and Japan. The similarity is not only in the script: many similar glyphs are identically pronounced and also have the same meanings. In Japan, civilization has beeen attributed to an enigmatic forefather-tribe called AINU. The emperor's family has been deemed to be a line of demigods descended from the Sun-god, and the investiture ceremonies of a new king include a secret solitary nightly stay with the Sun goddess--a ritual ceremony that uncannily emulates the Sacred Marriage rites in ancient Sumer, when the new king spent a night with Inanna/Ishtar. (137)

The date for the creation of the world, the year 9657 BC according to Zoroaster, is very close to the year 9564 BC, the year when Atlantis was destroyed, according to the Tibetans. After that we arrive at more recent dates like the Mayan date of 8,307 BC, and the start of the Mahabharata, the great epic of ancient India, in 7,116 BC. Then there are the calendars of the Byzantines, Scandinavians, and Hebrews, which started in 5508, 4713, and 3761 BC, respectively. (141)

The era in which we are living can be defined by the star constellation that is rising above the eastern horizon with the Sun, each morning, during the spring equinox. Currently we are in the twilight zone, between the end of the era of Pisces and the dawn of the age of Aquarius. Pisces, which will have been dominant from AD 00 to AD 2600, is the era that has been clearly identified with the relatively recent Christian religion; Jesus often being identified with the sign of the fish. Before this, the Egyptians had cults of the ram (Aries), which was the rising sign from 1850 Be to AD 00, and also an era of the sacred Apis bulls (Taurus), which was the rising sign from about 4500 BC to 1850 BC. (147)

The fall of mankind was obviously compared by religious scholars with the angels' fall through lust and pride, while the Serpent of Temptation was commonly believed by theologians to have been the form taken by Satan to corrupt mankind. Satan's chosen guise as a serpent to beguile Eve was thought to have been because of its sly and cunning ability to hypnotize its prey into submission. The snake's loathsome and frightful appearance also made it an ideal totem of the darkness, and thus of the Devil himself. All these explanations are, however, somewhat naive, for the snake is a very ancient symbol that represented the conveyance of sexual desires, hidden wisdom and secret knowledge in many different Middle Eastern faiths and religions. The serpent makes an appearance in a great number of creation myths featuring the first humans and is often portrayed as a wise benevolent spirit, not a beguiling messenger of temptation and evil. Moreover, the serpent has an intrinsic association with the first woman in these myths, a fact confirmed in the knowledge that the name Eve is synonymous with both the word for 'life' and 'snake'. For instance, in Hebrew hawwah, i.e. Eve, means 'she who makes live'. It is also related to the word heoia, signifying a female serpent. Furthermore, in Arabic 'serpent' is hayya, which is itself cognate with hayat, meaning 'life'; the Arabic for Eve being hawwa. In other accounts from Jewish lore, Eve is actually seen as the ancestral mother of the Nephilim, who were themselves described in Hebrew myth as awwim, meaning 'devastators' or 'serpents'. Angels, too, are integrally linked with the form of the serpent: one of the principal classes of angelic being in Hebrew lore is the Seraphim, or 'fiery serpents', who are 'sent by God as his instruments to inflict on the people the righteous penalty of sin'. (149)

More than 500 deluge legends are known around the world and, in a survey of 86 of these (20 Asiatic, 3 European, 7 African, 46 American and 10 from Australia and the Pacific), the specialist researcher Dr. Richard Andree concluded that 62 were entirely independent of the Mesopotamian and Hebrew accounts. The Bible...envisages two ages of the world, our own being the second and last. Elsewhere, in other cultures, different numbers of creations and destructions are recorded. In China, for instance, the perished ages are called kis, ten of which are said to have elapsed from the beginning of time until Confucius. At the end of each kis, 'in a general convulsion of nature, the sea is carried out of its bed, mountains spring up out of the ground, rivers change their course, human beings and everything are ruined, and the ancient traces effaced ... Buddhist scriptures speak of 'Seven Suns', each brought to an end by water, fire or wind. At the end of the Seventh Sun, the current 'world cycle', it is expected that the 'earth will break into flames'. Aboriginal traditions of Sarawak and Sabah recall that the sky was once 'low' and tell us that 'six Suns perished ... at present the world is illuminated by the seventh Sun'. Similarly, the Sibylline Books speak of 'nine Suns that are nine ages' and prophesy two ages yet to come - those of the eighth and the ninth Sun.' On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, the Hopi Indians of Arizona (who are distant relatives of the Aztecs') record three previous Suns, each culminating in a great annihilation followed by the gradual re-emergence of mankind. In Aztec cosmology, of course, there were four Suns prior to our own. Such minor differences concerning the precise number of destructions and creations envisaged in this or that mythology should not distract us from the remarkable convergence of ancient traditions evident here. Quite frequently, also, at least two different kinds of disaster may be portrayed as having occurred simultaneously (most frequently floods and earthquakes, but sometimes fire and a terrifying darkness). (152)

In Tierra del Fuego...it was said that the sun and the moon 'fell from the sky' and in China that 'the planets altered their courses. The sun, moon and stars changed their motions. The Incas believed that 'in ancient times the Andes were split apart when the sky made war on the earth. The Tarahumara of northern Mexico have preserved world destruction legends based on a change in the sun's path. An African myth from the lower Congo states that 'long ago the sun met the moon and threw mud at it, which made it less bright. When this meeting happened there was a great flood...' The Cahto Indians of California say simply that 'the sky fell'. And ancient Graeco- Roman myths tell that the flood of Deucalion was immediately preceded by awesome celestial events. These events are graphically symbolized in the story of how Phaeton, child of the sun, harnessed his father's chariot but was unable to guide it along his father's course: Soon the fiery horses felt how their reins were in an unpractised hand. Rearing and swerving aside, they left their wonted way; then all the earth was amazed to see that the glorious Sun, instead of holding his stately, beneficent course across the sky, seemed to speed crookedly overhead and to rush down in wrath like a meteor.' (152)

Volcanism and earthquakes are also mentioned frequently in association with the flood, particularly in the Americas. The Araucanians of Chile say quite explicitly that 'the flood was the result of volcanic eruptions accompanied by violent earthquakes. The Mam Maya of Santiago Chimaltenango in the western highlands of Guatemala retain memories of 'a flood of burning pitch' which, they say, was one of the instruments of world destruction. And in the Gran Chaco of Argentina, the Mataco Indians tell of 'a black cloud that came from the south at the time of the flood and covered the whole sky. Lightning struck and thunder was heard. Yet the drops that fell were not like rain. They were like fire ... (152)

It turns out that the word 'Sampo' has its origins in the Sanskrit skambha, meaning 'pillar or pole'. And in the Atharvaveda, one of the most ancient pieces of north Indian literature, we find an entire hymn dedicated to the Skambha: In whom earth, atmosphere, in whom sky is set, where fire, moon, sun, wind stand fixed...The Skambha sustains both heaven and earth; the Skambha sustains the wide atmosphere; the Skambha sustains the six wide directions; into the Skambha entered all existence. Whitney, the translator (Atharvaveda 10:7) comments in some perplexity: 'Skambha, lit, prop, support, pillar, strangely used in this hymn as frame of the universe'. Yet with an awareness of the complex of ideas linking cosmic mills, and whirlpools and world trees and so on, the archaic Vedic usage should not seem so strange. What is being signalled here, as in all the other allegories, is the frame of a world age - that same heavenly mechanism that turns for more than 2000 years with the sun rising always in the same four cardinal points and then slowly shifts those celestial coordinates four new constellations for the next couple of thousand years. This is why the mill always breaks, why the huge props always fly off the bin in one way or another, why the iron rivets burst, why the shaft-tree shivers. Precession of the equinoxes merits such imagery because, at widely separated intervals of time it does indeed change, or break, the stabilizing coordinates of the entire celestial sphere. (152)

What is remarkable about all this is the way that the mill (which continues to serve as an allegory for cosmic processes) stubbornly keeps on resurfacing, all over the world, even where the context has been jumbled or lost. Indeed, in Santillana and von Dechend's argument, it doesn't really matter if the context is lost. 'The particular merit of mythical terminology,' they say, 'is that it can be used as a vehicle for handing down solid knowledge independently from the degree of insight of the people who do the actual telling of stories, fables, etc. What matters, in other words, is that certain central imagery should survive and continue to be passed on in retellings, however far these may drift from the original storyline. The precessional numbers highlighted by Sellers in the Osiris myth are 360,72,30 and 12. Most of them are found in a section of the myth which provides us with biographical details of the various characters. These, Sellers believes, constitute the basic ingredients of a precessional code which appears again and again, with eerie persistence, in ancient myths and sacred architecture. The pre-eminent number in the code is 72. To this is frequently added 36, making 108, and it is permissible to multiply 108 by 100 to get 10,800 or to divide it by 2 to get 54, which may then be multiplied by 10 and expressed as 540 (or as 54,000. or as 540,000, or as 5,400,000, and so on). Also highly significant is 2160 (the number of years required for the equinoctial point to transit one zodiacal constellation), If they are indeed about precession, the numbers are out of place in time. The science they contain is too advanced for them to have been calculated by any known civilization of antiquity. Let us not forget that they occur in a myth which is present at the very dawn of writing in Egypt (indeed elements of the Osiris story are to be found in the Pyramid Texts dating back to around 2450 BC, in a context which suggests that they were exceedingly old even then"). (152)

The Osiris myth is not the only one to incorporate the calculus for precession. The relevant numbers keep surfacing in various forms, multiples and combinations, all over the ancient world. What we can say, however, is that the relevant numbers do turn up, in relative profusion, in the Mayan Long Count calendar. The numerals necessary for calculating precession are found there in these formulae: I Katun = 7200 days; I Tun = 360 days; 2 Tuns= 720 days; 5 Baktuns = 720, days; 5 Katuns = 36,000 days; 6 Katuns = 43,200 days; 6 Tuns = 2160 days; 15 Katuns = 2,160,000 days. The whole of Angkor 'thus turns out to be a colossal model set up with true Hindu fantasy and incongruousness' to express the idea of precession. The same may be true of Java's famous temple of Borobudur, with its 72 bell- shaped stupas... There are, for instance, 10,800 bricks in Agnicayana, the Indian fire altar. There are 10,800 stanzas in the Rigveda the most ancient of the Vedic texts and a rich repository of Indian mythology. Each stanza is made up of 40 syllables with the result that the entire composition consists of 432,000 syllables...In the Hebrew Cabala there are 72 angels through whom the Sephiro (divine powers) may be approached, or invoked, by those who know their names and numbers. Rosicrucian tradition speaks of cycles of 108 years (72 plus 36) according to which the secret brotherhood makes its influence felt. Similarly the number 72 and its permutations and subdivisions of great significance to the Chinese secret societies known as Triads. An ancient ritual requires that each candidate for initiation pay a fee including '360 cash for "making clothes", 108 cash "for the purse", 72 cash for instruction, and 36 cash for decapitating the "traiterous subject". (152)

Finally, returning to India, let us note the content of the sacred scriptures known as the Puranas. These speak of four 'ages of the earth', called Yugas, which together are said to extend to 12,000 'divine years'. The respective durations of these epochs, in 'divine years', are Krita Yuga = 4800; Treta Yuga = 3600; Davpara Yuga = 2400; Kali Yuga = 1200.25 The Puranas also tell us that 'one year of the mortals is equal to one day of the gods'. Furthermore, and exactly as in the Osiris myth, we discover that the number of days in the years of both gods and mortals has been artificially set at 360, so one year of the gods is equivalent to 360 mortal years. The Kali Yuga, therefore, at 1200 years of the gods, turns out to have a duration of 432,000 mortal years. One Mahayuga, or Great Age (made up of the 12,000 divine years contained in the four lesser Yugas) is equivalent to 4,320,000 years of mortals. A thousand such Mahayugas (which constitute a Kalpa, or Day of Brahma) extend over 4,320,000,000 ordinary years, again supplying the digits for basic precessional calculations. The Kali Yuga, with a duration of 432,000 mortal years, is, by the way, our own. 'In the Kali Age,' the scriptures say, 'shall decay flourish, until the human race approaches annihilation.' ...we can be certain that the creation and dissemination of the common heritage of precessional myths on both sides of the Atlantic did not take place in historic times. On the contrary the evidence suggests that all these myths were 'tottering with age' when what we call history began about 5000 years ago. The great strength of the ancient stories was this: as well as being for ever available for use and adaptation free of copyright, like intellectual chameleons, subtle and ambiguous, they had the capacity to change their colour according to their surroundings. At different times, in different continents, the ancient tales could be retold in a variety of ways, but would always retain their essential symbolism and always continue to transmit the coded precessional data they had been programmed with at the outset. (152)

Since I have learned to respect those long-forgotten and still only hazily identified Newtons and Shakespeares and Einsteins of the last Ice Age, I think it would be foolish to disregard what they seem to be saying. And what they seem to be saying to us is this: that cyclical, recurrent and near- total destructions of mankind are part and parcel of life on this planet, that such destructions have occurred many times before and that they will certainly occur again. (152)

Freemasonry records an ancient tradition that says that a man called Enoch foresaw a worldwide Flood and tried to preserve civilization. An ancient Jewish text known as the Book of Enoch, which had been lost around the second century AD, but which was found by an 18th-century Freemason, does contain such an account. This book provides detailed information about the movements of the sun, moon and the stars, taught to Enoch by an angel called Uriel, and, also tells about a strange group of beings called the Watchers, who bred with local women to produce giants as their children. (160

The word 'Nephilim' is of uncertain origin, but it has been observed by specialist scholars that the root Aramaic word nephild is the name of the constellation Orion, and therefore, Nephilim would seem to mean 'those that are of Orion'. ...the Australian Aborigines identified that their own version of the Watchers (the Nurrumbunguttias) had come to earth from Orion. (160)

Human development is not to be plotted as some relentless upwards curve along which we progress from ignorance to knowledge, for there must be much that we have forgotten. There was once a time when priests were scientists who understood why God had made the universe, and they built their theology around knowledge. But over the last 2,000 years, religion has forgotten science to become an empty husk of mantra and baseless superstition. The priesthood once led humankind's search for the hidden mysteries of nature and science, but today clings to a remote relevance trying to be guardians of an assumed social morality in a changing world. (160)

What we are suggesting therefore is that Easter Island might originally have been settled in order to serve as a sort of geodetic beacon, or marker - fulfilling some as yet unguessed at function in an ancient global system of sky-ground co-ordinates that linked many so-called 'world navels'. We have encountered elements of this system in Egypt and in Angkor. One of its great mysteries is the way in which it constantly mingles the most esoteric forms of spiritual inquiry, and the quest for life after death, with a highly scientific approach to observational astronomy and to earth-measuring. Another mystery is its extraordinary extension, not only geographically but also through time, arising phoenix-like in many different cultures and epochs. (161)

Historically, in the West, the stewardship of Earth has been considered a godly gift for the benefit of man, the chosen creature. Evolutionarily, provisioning for our life is explained under the rubric of adaptationism: Our ancestors were adapted to similar environments in the past. If the Earth is alive, however, we are surrounded not only by an environment rich in just those foodstuffs we need to survive, but also by a being or Being in our midst, of which, in the last analysis, we are living parts. Despite our intelligence, we need no more know what this colossal asexual but reproductive giant is up to than a brain cell--which may experience some sort of sensation on its own--knows of the giant human colossus that is, say, driving her Ford to work. It may be that the time has come, from a biospheric vantage point, for us to glimpse a new role for ourselves: no longer isolationists, selfishly rearing technology for our own ends, but integrationists--connectors and vectors of disparate parts of the biosphere--no longer murderers but intermediaries and matchmakers among the millions of species participating in the life of the biosphere. In such an altered outlook, technology, language, and science would be seen to belong not to the ephemeral species of humans, but to the biosphere. (166)

Then along came evolution. As presented by Darwin, the historical change of forms on Earth's surface was a progressive process, flying in the face of both the thermodynamic view of inevitable dissolution and the religious teaching of original sin. The fossil evidence, rather, showed a development, over hundreds of millions of years, of ever-more-advanced and impressive forms, arguably culminating in Englishmen like Darwin. The universal story looked more like a rise than a fall. Evolution, although it acknowledged our embarassing, apish roots, gave a new sort of centrality to the human being, who could now be viewed as the most evolved being upon a planet clearly destined for higher things. Like the thermodynamic view, whose thunder it stole, Darwinian evolution presented a scientific alternative to eschatology, the religious direction of story defined by the Bible. Evolution, like the Bible, was temporally linear, telling a story with a reasonable beginning and probable end. But evolution, unlike thermodynamics, seemed not only off to a reasonable start but headed toward a happy end, as well. Now even the scientifically minded and unsaved could garner hopes for better times ahead. In contrast to thermodynamics' view of a heat death, evolutionists could exult that, in the words of a banner I saw at a science-fiction convention, THE FUTURE AIN'T WHAT IT USED TO BE.  (166)

Perhaps the most important contribution of Hamlet's Mill is its explication of the conventions of the technical language whereby myth transmits information concerning precessional motion. There are three simple rules. First, animals are stars, (Our word zodiac comes from the Greek meaning "dial of animals,") Second, gods are planets, and finally, topographic references are metaphors for locations--usually of the sun--on the celestial sphere. And all the millennia of myths from around the world recounting the destruction of that world by flood, fire, earthquake, and so on--far from representing an ignorance of geological processes--"re-count" the solar year in terms of the "destruction" (via the passage of precessional time) of the old stars marking the solstices and equinoxes and the "creation" of a new "world" whose parameters are determined by the new stars, or "pillars," now upholding the "earth" at the solstices and equinoxes. This "earth," of course, is "flat," again, not as a matter of ignorance, but of terminology, a means of describing the ideal plane, the ecliptic, "supported" by the four "pillars." And all the "animals" in Noah's Ark did survive the "flood" when they landed on Ararat, the "highest mountain on earth," itself a term describing a particular position of the sun on the celestial sphere. (167

Over and over again, I found that apparently illogical elements in the myths seem to have been placed specifically for the purpose of arousing further questions. Each new difficulty of understanding that the myths presented had the uncanny habit of turning into a doorway.  (167)

...with you and other peoples again and again life has only lately been enriched with letters and all the other necessaries of clvilisation when once more, after the usual period of years, the torrents of heaven sweep down like a pestilence leaving only the rude and unlettered among you. And so you start again like children, knowing nothing of what existed in ancient times, here or in your own country. -PLATO TIMAEUS (167)

It is from the limitations of human memory that myth derives its authority, since there is no room for chitchat aboard the vessel of oral transmission. Space is limited to that information on whose safe transport into the future the welfare of unborn generations depends. Myth, by definition, is important. (167)

According to Cuarnan Poma, the people of the First Age lived in caves, contended with wild animals and "wandered lost in an unknown land, leading a nomadic life." Those of the Second Age lived in crude round houses, wore animal skins, broke "virgin earth," and lived in fixed settlements. The people of the Third Age multiplied "like the sands of the sea," knew weaving, built houses like those built to this day, had marriage customs, lived by agriculture, had weights and measures, shared a tradition of emergence from caves, springs, and so on, and lived harmoniously together. War was unknown throughout the first three Ages. The Fourth Age, "auca pacha runa," or the "Age of Warriors," began with "internal conflicts" that spread rapidly, giving way to the distinctive house type of the age, the hill fortress. Warriors left field and family behind; bridges were cut and human sacrifice undertaken. A second source attesting to a tradition of Five Worlds was the chronicler Martin de Murda: ...since the creation of the world until this time, there have passed four suns without [counting] the one which presently illumines us. The first was lost by water, the second by the falling of the sky on the earth ...the third sun they say failed by fire. The fourth by air: they take this fifth sun greatly into account and have it painted and symbolized in the temple Curicancha [the Inca Temple of the Sun in Cuzco] and placed in their quipus. (167)

From the stepped pyramids of Babylon to those of Palenque, and from the Dendera zodiac to the celestial Llama, one finds evidence not of some feeble set of "beliefs" about the beyond, but of a ubiquitous and highly structured language mirroring an equally sophisticated grasp of celestial mechanics, all in aid of probing the nature of humankind's ultimate destiny. The best minds and the public treasure of the archaic world were lavished on this pursuit. Should it come, then, as such as a shock that people--serious people-- might be willing to risk journeys to "the edge of the known world" in search of kindred spirits? Anyone who has studied Polynesian navigation knows that archaic technology was equal to the task, and Polynesian mariners equal to the adventure. The history of such transactions has yet to be written, nor will it ever be written so long as we contemporary people remain unaware that the quest has a history, which is myth. (167)

As long as the modern study of human prehistory has existed, it has been founded on the bedrock assumption that the intricate, repeating pattern of the world's early civilizations--with their temple-mountains, their navel- stones, their underworlds, their strange "pillars" and "millers"--arose out of human nature, and not from the disseminated results of individual human insight. In this view, the early history of the world's peoples represents nothing less than the unconscious manifestation of the structures of the human mind. My own research was leading me toward a different conclusion. Civilizations based upon the authority of myth were engaged in an active quest to shed the limitations of ordinary human consciousness by courting the precincts of a greater Consciousness, written in the sky. In this enterprise, the one indubitably disposable commodity was outworn manifestations of human nature--the "heartlessness," for example, of the jaguar people. This endeavor was anything but "natural" and "unconscious." Myth, it seemed, sought to establish a dialogue with the celestial pattern in order to ask the Big Questions about the nature and extent of human responsibility. Myth was conscious. The first appearance of the apparatus of this quest, the great holographic thought-form wedding heaven to earth, was more than a historical event; for millennia it remained the historical event, the moment when Time itself began. Its appearance in the Andes, apparently sometime in the first millennium BC, raised, as far as I could tell, basic questions about the range, daring, and motivation of long-distance travelers in the distant past. To walk the earth apprised of this hologram was to carry in one's consciousness the seeds of civilization. All that was required was to find fertile ground. (167)

It has long been understood that, in Andean thought, lightning represents the male generative principle, and that the god Wiraqocha is implicated in the mix. The only problem with this description is that it manages to evade virtually every historical question raised by Andean notions concerning the symbolism of lightning. The center of gravity of this problem is the concordance between Old World and New concerning a complex thought-form involving lightning and fire, the planet Saturn, Twins, and the Milky Way, These correspordences are not a simple matter of coincidental similarities, but rather are products of the logic of the technical language of myth. (167)

The archaic perspective on the natural world was that it was a carrier of patterns that operated simultaneously on different scales, and that those patterns represented a manifestation of a higher order of intelligence at work. By observing the celestial dance, one might catch a glimpse of the Choreographer's intentions. By understanding the "message" of pattern, unfolding through time, humankind might find its proper role in the dance. (167)

What, then, was so compelling in this worldview that it motivated so many of the earth's people at one time to align their destiny with the stars and their fate with the wanderings of planetary deities, each with the same assigned powers and characteristics? If there was not something about this system of thought that carried a genuine spiritual perception of the phenomenal world, then why, even after its demise, do we find respectful reference to it in all later religious traditions from Judaism to Buddhism, and from Christianity to Islam to Hinduism? (167)

It remains an article of faith of scientific positivism that consciousness arises from matter, a by-product of innumerable synaptic arcings, refined into a survival strategy by Our Lady of Natural Selection. It is under this myth, and in this world, that the word myth has become a synonym for misconception, and wisdom is understood as the codification of material laws. This worldview is dangerous in a time of crisis, because it suggests to ordinary people that our own inner resources, our consciousness, is a hall of mirrors. For this reason the question of whether our common mythical heritage represents human perception or human projection is of more than antiquarian interest. For this question goes directly to the heart of the matter: Who are we, and what are we here for? This is a question that science not only does not ask, but also maintains is intrinsically pointless. At that moment, as the living of this century know in their bones, the powers of darkness are very near indeed. Myth, on the other hand, using the language of nature, seeks to establish a dialogue with consciousness in order to ask the Big Questions about the nature and extent of human responsibility. (167)

"Original sin" arose not because, through disobedience, we inhabit our essential creative nature, but because we are--and this is the unrelenting lesson of the last six thousand years of human history--terribly drawn to use our powers wrongly, powers that blossomed in Eden when Time began. At least that is the message of myth. We are an ancient race. We have contrived, in the face of the darker angels of our own nature, not only to survive, but to outwit time itself by preserving at least parts of the epic story. It is not always easy to remembebr this story, and often harder still to believe it. Yet it has survived, perhaps because we people cannot survive without our stories. (167)

The secret at the core of alchemy is an ineffable experience of the real workings of our local cosmological neighborhood.   (168)

Almost every culture has some kind of catastrophe myth. Tracing these myths and stories, one finds similar motifs of cataclysm in such different cultures as Inuit Siberia, Aboriginal Australia, Druid Ireland, and the Shumash tribes in North America. In many traditions, the disaster represents the fall from a Golden Age; in a few, the disaster represents the punishment by God for mankind's evil ways. Gnosticism's peculiar blend of Persian Zoroastrianism, Hebrew eschatology, and Egyptian cosmology with Greek philosophical methods can be seen as an attempt to synthesize all the ancient catastrophe perspectives into an apocalyptic unity. According to the Gnostic myth, at the creation of the world the spirit of Light was imprisoned by the powers of Darkness. This light, the essence of God, was trapped in human bodies as separate sparks of light, our souls. Gnostic sects held that the goal of human existence was to travel the path of return, the journey of the individual sparks back to union with the original Light through the process of redemption. (168)

Knowledge of the backward march of the precession caused by the earth's tilt constituted the great secret of many ancient cultures as different as Greece and the Maya of Mexico. (168)

The Bahir suggests, in many subtle references, that the Tree of Knowledge forms itself around the axis of the Celestial Pole, whose Teli or dragon-axis would be the backward-spiraling axis of the precession of the equinoxes. The North Celestial Pole, as it circles around the fixed point of the ecliptic pole, first leans in toward the angle of the galactic axis - that is, toward the center of the galaxy. It then moves away from this point in a large precessional cycle. The Fall occurs when the Tree is tilted away from the galactic axis. The Resurrection and Redemption, the arrival of the kingdom of heaven, happens when the Tree tilts toward the galactic axis. The four great ages, then, are the tilting of the pole in toward the center of the galaxy, which translates into the Golden and Silver Ages, and the tilting of the pole away from the center of the galaxy, which brings on the Bronze Age and the current Iron Age. (168)

Because of the fragmentation caused by time, cultures, and languages, we risk losing the larger pattern if we focus too closely on any one goddess figure or regional mystery teachings. Only by looking at all the versions of the myths and legends can we piece together anything resembling a complete picture. (168)

With the first sentence of his preface, Hewitt informs us: "The Myth-making Age, the history of which I have sketched in this book comprises the whole period from the first dawn of civilization ... down to the time when the sun entered Taurus at the Vernal Equinox between 4000 and 5000 B.C." He tells us that this was the closing event in the myth- making age, and that after this point, "it ceased to be a universally observed national custom to record history in the form of historical myths, and ... national history began to pass out of the mythic stage into that of the annalistic chronicles recording the events of the reigns of kings and the deeds of individual heroes, statesmen and law-givers. (168)

Perhaps the stories of the birth of a savior are symbolic references to a transformative time. Horus is born to avenge his father Osiris's death at the hands of his uncle Seth. This strange familial motif is carried through in literature and legends such as Shakespeare's Hamlet, the Greek Oedipus tragedies, the myths of Jason, and dozens more. What if these myths reflect the conditions in the sky thousands of years ago, at the time of the last catastrophe? And what if these myths are about to reappear in the skies of our time? (168)

...one crucial quality distinguished Christianity from classical paganism. Polytheists, as we have seen, were not inclined to dictate to others how and to whom prayer and sacrifice should be offered. They were perfectly willing to mix: and match gods and goddesses, rituals and be- liefs, and they sought the divine favor of many different deities at once. A conquered people might embrace the gods of their conqueror - and the conqueror might return the favor. Nowhere in the ancient world was the open-mindedness more apparent than in imperial Rome. Indeed, Roman paganism was not a religion in the same sense that we use the word to describe Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Rather, what we call "paganism" was, as historian Ramsay MacMullen puts it, "no more than a spongy mass of tolerance and tradition." Monotheism... cruelly punishes the sin of "heresy;' but polytheism does not recognize it as a sin at all. Significantly, "heresy" is derived from the Greek word for "choice;' and the fundamental theology of polytheism honors the worshipper's freedom to choose among the many gods and goddesses who are believed to exist. Monotheism, by contrast, regards freedom of choice as nothing more than an opportunity for error, and the fundamental theology of monotheism as we find it in the Bible threatens divine punishment for anyworshipper who makes the wrong choice. Against the openmindedness of the pagan Symmachus, who allows that there are many roads to enlightenment and salvation, Bishop Fulgentius (468-533) insists that only a single narrow path leads to the Only True God. Here is the flash point of the war of God against the gods. The deity who is worshopped in Judaism, Christianity and Islam is described in the Bible as a "jealous" and "wrathful" god, and he is believed to regard the worship of any god other than himself as an "abomination." The deities who populate the crowded pantheon of classical paganism, by contrast, were believed to be capable of thoroughly human emotions, including envy and anger, but they were never shown to deny one another's existence or demand the death of someone who worshipped a rival god or goddess. (171)

Myth may be the earliest known means of communicating information related to the nature of the cosmos, but it is also the most precise, the most complete, and perhaps the best. Myth dramatises cosmic laws, principles, processes, relationships and functions, which in turn may be defined and described by number and the interplay between numbers. (172)

Some Tenents of Masonry