Legends of Europe

Europe

Greek philosophers and poets described these larger cycles as the Five Ages of Man, each of which ends with a great cataclysm. Hesiod lists the five in his Works and Days: the Age of Gold, the Age of Silver, the Age of Bronze, the Age of Heroes, and the Age of Iron. If we use his system of reckoning, we are still in the Age of Iron. (The Genesis Race)

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. (The Genesis Race)

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. (The Genesis Race)

While many traditional cultures had names for subordinates of major gods, they had no "good/evil" or "godly/satanic" dualism. Such theological or moralistic polarities as "angels" versus "demons" arose only recently in human traditions, and only in the history of the Indo-European culture. (Gods, Genes, and Consciousness)

...[with] the ancient Frisians of Northern Europe....a god-seer and philosopher named Minno helped start their civilization. Their Earth-mother Frya also gave them--as YHVH gave the Israelites--laws that would result in a good society. (Gods, Genes, and Consciousness)

That there were indeed differences, great or small, among the Atlantic kingdoms is further suggested in the Critias. The island continent is said to have been divided long ago into ten separate districts, which were distributed among the five sets of twin sons sired by Poseidon and a mortal woman. Of the first pair of twins, for example, the "biggest and best allocation" (the mother's home district and the land surrounding it) went to Atlas, the elder of the two, while Gadirus received the "furthest part of the island towards the Pillars of Heracles and facing the district now called Gadira" (Spanish Gades or Cadiz). Each lineage had then retained absolute power over its own territory for a presumably lengthy span of time and subsequent development; and as each is said to have developed differences in its military disposition, one suspects that these long-discrete and autonomous kingdoms would have acquired an individuality in social and economic spheres as well, an individuality which would have been reflected in the colonized territories of each. (Plato Prehistorian)

As the other weapon used by Zeus against Typhon was his thunderbolt, one notes with equal interest the appearance of a single polished greenstone axe at Mureybet III. Similar polished stone celts were known elsewhere in Syria and Palestine during this period; they were hereafter to enjoy a long and illustrious career in Old World archaeology. Ancient explanations show these implements to be universally designated as "thunderstones" and associated with the sky god (Zeus in Greece). (Plato Prehistorian)

A suggested etymology of the name Poseidon, "husband of earth" or "lord of earth" (Posis Das), has led scholars to conclude that the god may originally have possessed a universal sovereignty. If so, his omnipotence had been lost by the time Greek myth, as we know it, was formulated. When Poseidon is mentioned at all, he is usually portrayed as violent or quarrelsome, with only the sea as his unchallenged domain. As might be expected from the reports of Poseidon's flooding various parts of Greece, his epithets included Prokystios, the Flooder. He was also Enosichthon, the Earth-shaker, and all earthquakes were said to be his work. …his main epithet was Hippios, He of the Horses, and the god was seldom depicted without the trident, his three-pronged fish spear. (Plato Prehistorian)

Poseidon is also known in Greek myth for the gigantic or monstrous forms of his children and grandchildren, many of whom had homes at the "western edge of the world." The Cyclops Polyphemos, living on an island off the coast of Libya, was the son of Poseidon. Geryon, in whom the bodies of three men were joined, was Poseidon's grandson… Poseidon's offspring were also the frequent enemies of Greek heroes, particularly Herakles. After slaying the monstrous Geryon, Herakles felled Ialebion and Dereynus, sons of Poseidon, in Liguria… At Pylos he overcame the sons of Neleus, himself a son of Poseidon; in Libya he killed Antaeus, also a son of Poseidon. To another Greek hero, Perseus, fell the task of beheading Medusa, Poseidon's mistress. And in the Odyssey it is Poseidon himself who consistently plays the part of antagonist to the heroic Odysseus. In short, Poseidon was a rather unsympathetic figure in Greek mythology, his offspring and associates even more so. And yet, Poseidon is said to have fought on the side of the gods in the battle against the Giants… Classicists again find this ambivalence of the Athenians toward Poseidon suggestive of a final reconciliation of two cults that were often in conflict at first."(Plato Prehistorian)

The Iranian Yima…, who was celebrated as king of the Golden Age throughout Persian literary history, appears as Yama in Indian texts as early as the Rig Veda and as the Giant Ymir of Scandinavian myth. (All of these names are apparently derived from the Indo-European root yemo, "twin.") Typically, death and disease were unknown to the reign of this First King, and both people and herds throve and increased to the point that Yima was required to enlarge the world three times to accommodate their numbers. The fall from grace of this sunlike monarch is variously explained. In one Iranian text the evil material existence seems to have been at fault; another blames Yima for introducing falsehood to his mind. The oldest source accuses him of giving the flesh of cattle to people to eat (to make them immortal…), which some have taken to mean the instituting of ritual animal slaughter or sacrifice. But whatever his sin, or sins, Yima's punishment is generally described as the loss of the kingly Glory, which fled from him in the form of a bird. Caught up first by the god Mithra and then by the legendary Persian heroes, the Glory became, one Iraniologist interprets the text “the object of contest between Aryan and non-Aryan forces. (Plato Prehistorian)

I thought if the Southwest kiva culture was Cretan, was associated with Hermes, then Hermes, as person, as myth, as culture hero, would have to play an important part in Hopi/Pueblo life. The first book I picked up on Pueblo culture was written by a learned anthropologist, Hamilton A. Tyler. And he'd already seen the similarity between the Hopi god Masau'u and Hermes. In fact they weren't just similar, they were identical. Masau'u and Hermes, in Hopi and Greek myth, were both guides of dead souls. They both had brought fire to their respective cultures. They both were symbolically related to votive/phallic stone heaps or cairns that served as (in both cases) both shrines and boundary stones. They are both the god of travelers; both are highly phallic and associated with fertility. Both are patrons of thieves, liars, and defrauders; both are "patron-deities" of song, gods of war, snake-gods. Tyler says it: "These points…provide the basis for a rather complete analogy between Masau'u and the Greek god Hermes."(Gods of the Cataclysm)

...the last of Izanami's children is the fire-god Kagu-tsuchi (Fire-Shining-Swift-Male). As he enters the world her uterus is burnt and soon afterwards she sickens, dies and her spirit travels to the Land of Yomi. Now, another scene from universal myth unfolds - here powerfully reminiscent of the Underworld quests of Orpheus for Eurydice and of Demeter for Persephone. The ancient Japanese recension of this mysteriously global story is given in the Kojiki and the Nihongi, where we read that Izanagi, mourning for his dead wife, followed after her to the Land of Yomi in an attempt to bring her back to the world of the living: Izanagi-no-Mikoto went after Izanami-no-Mikoto and entered the Land of Yomi ... So when from the palace she raised the door and came out to meet him, Izanagi spoke saying; 'My lovely younger sister! The lands that I and thou made are not yet finished making; so come back! Izanami is honoured by Izanagi's attention, and minded to return. But there is one problem. She has already eaten food prepared in the Land of Yomi and this binds her to the place, just as the consumption of a single pomegranate seed binds Persephone to hell in the Greek myth. (Underworld)

Is it an accident that ancient Indian myth also contains the same idea? In the Katha Upanishad a human, Nachiketas, succeeds in visiting the underworld realm of Yama, the Hindu god of Death (and, yes, scholars have noted and commented upon the weird resonance between the names and functions of Yama and Yomi). It is precisely to avoid detention in the realm of Yama that Nachiketas is warned: Three nights within Yama's mansion stay But taste not, though a guest, his food. So there's a common idea here - in Japan, in Greece, in India - about not eating food in the Underworld if you want to leave. The parallel idea of not looking or not looking back after a successful quest in the Underworld is strong in the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. In their case Eurydice, killed by a snakebite, is permitted to return to life after Orpheus has journeyed to the land of the dead to find her. But there is a condition: neither he nor she should look back as they depart the Underworld: 'The couple climbed up toward the opening into the land of the living, and Orpheus, seeing the sun again, turned back to share his delight with Eurydice. In that moment, she disappeared.' (Underworld)

The Neanderthal graves and bear sanctuaries, our earliest certain evidences of religious ritual, point to an attempt to cope with the imprint of death. But the mystery of the woman is no less a mystery than death. Childbirth is no less a mystery; nor the flow of the mother's milk; nor the menstrual cycle - in its accord with the moon. The creative magic of the female body is a thing of wonder in itself. And so it is that, whereas the men in their rites (as initiates, tribal dignitaries, shamans, or what not) are invariably invested with magical costumes, the most potent magic of the womanly body inheres in itself. In all her primary epiphanies, therefore, whether in the paleolithic figurines or in the neolithic, she is typically the naked goddess, with an iconographic accent on the symbolism of her own magical form. (Primitive Mythology)

So that the curious myth...of the young woman whose serpent husband gave fire to their children, is almost certainly a descendant of the same tradition that in the Mediterranean sphere produced the legends of Persephone and Eve. There is, in fact, a great mythological area east of the Rhine, where the myth of the moon brother and sun sister is told. Briefly, the tale is of a young woman who at night was visited by a lover whom she never saw. But one night, determining to learn his identity, she blackened her hands in the coals of the fire before he came and, embracing him, left the imprint on his back. In the morning she saw the marks of her own palms on her brother and, screaming with horror, ran away. She is the sun, he the moon. And he has been pursuing his sister ever since. One can see the hand marks on his back, and when he catches her there is an eclipse. This myth was known to the North American Indians, as well as to the northern Asian tribes, and may indeed be of immense age. (Primitive Mythology)

To the Greek Cretans, the sea-king Poseidon was a more important god than Zeus. (The God-Kings & the Titans)

Here is Homer's description of the palace of Phaeacian Alcinous: But Odysseus went to the glorious palace of Alcinous. There he stood, and his heart pondered much before he reached the threshold of bronze; for there was a gleam as of sun or moon over the high-roofed house of great-hearted Alcinous. Of bronze were the walls that stretched this way and that from the threshold to the innermost chamber, and around was a.cornice of cyanus. Golden were the doors that shut in the well-built house, and door-posts of silver were set in a threshold of bronze. Of silver was the lintel above, and of gold the handle. On either side of the door there stood gold and silver dogs, which Hephaestus had fashioned with cunning skill to guard the palace of great-hearted Alcinous; immortal were they and ageless all their days. Within, seats were fixed along the wall on either hand, from the threshold of the innermost chamber, and on them were thrown robes of soft fabric, cunning woven, the handiwork of women. (The God-Kings & the Titans)

No temples have been found in Crete but a room was set aside as a shrine in many of the houses. Cretans worshipped the Earth Mother. A chief part in religion was taken by priestesses. The serpent and the bull were sacred to the earth-mother. She, the earth-mother was goddess of the air and as such was represented with doves; she was goddess of the underworld where she was associated with snakes and she is often represented between two lions as goddess of wild animals; she was looked upon as a figure of beneficence and a giver of every good and perfect gift. (The God-Kings & the Titans)

The mythology of the Greeks, which their oldest writers do not pretend to have invented, was no more than a light air, which had passed from a more ancient people into the flutes of the Greeks, which they modulated to such descants as best suited their fancies. (Francis Bacon, New Atlantis.) The story of Hercules, as we know, was a Greek tale, the equivalent of the stories woven around the Phoenician god Melkharth. This Phoenician story-cycle was founded on the Babylonian Gilgamesh epic, which itself had a Sumerian predecessor. (The God-Kings & the Titans)

This is Robert Graves' account of the eleventh labour of Hercules, the Apples of the Hesperides:

Heracles had performed these Ten Labours in the space of eight years and one month; but Eurystheus, discounting the Second and the Fifth, set him two more. The Eleventh Labour was to fetch fruit from the golden appletree, Mother Earth's wedding gift to Hera, with which she had been so delighted that she planted it in her own divine garden. This garden lay on the slopes of Mount Atlas, where the panting chariot-horses of the Sun complete their journey, and where Atlas's sheep and cattle, one thousand herds of each, wander over their undisputed pastures. When Hera found, one day, that Atlas's daughters, the Hesperides, to whom she had entrusted the tree, were pilfering the apples, she set the ever-watchful dragon Ladon to coil around the tree as its guardian.

Heracles, not knowing in what direction the Garden of the Hesperides lay, marched through Illyria to the river Po, the home of the oracular sea-god Nereus.

When at last Heracles came to the Po, the river-nymphs, daughters of Zeus and Themis, showed him Nereus asleep. He seized the hoary old sea-god and, clinging to him despite his many Protean changes, forced him to prophesy how the golden apples could be won.

Nereus had advised Heracles not to pluck the apples himself, but to employ Atlas as his agent, meanwhile relieving him of his fantastic burden; therefore, on arriving at the Garden of the Hesperides, he asked Atlas to do him this favour. Atlas would have undertaken almost any task for the sake of an hour's respite, but he feared Ladon, whom Heracles thereupon killed with an arrow shot over the garden wall. Heracles now bent his back to receive the weight of the celestial globe, and Atlas walked away, returning presently with three apples plucked by his daughters. He found the sense of freedom delicious, 'I will take these apples to Eurystheus myself without fail,' he said, 'if you hold up the heavens for a few months longer.' Heracles pretended to agree but having been warned by Nereus not to accept any such offer, begged Atlas to support the globe for only one moment more,while he put a pad on his head. Atlas easily deceived, laid the apples on the ground and resumed his burden, whereupon Heracles picked them up and went away with an ironical farewell.

Heracles did not return to Mycenae by direct route. He first traversed Libya, whose King Antaeus, son of Poseidon and Mother Earth, was in the habit of forcing strangers to wrestle with him until they were exhausted, whereupon he killed them; for not only was he a strong and skilful athlete, but whenever he touched the earth, his strength revived. Some say that this conflict took place at Lixus, a small Mauretanian city some fifty miles from Tangier, near the sea, where a hillock is shown as Antaeus's tomb. (The God-Kings & the Titans)

After a guess as to how the universe commenced, in Hesiod's story Earth comes as the first god, thus giving primacy to the earth-worshipping people of our period. She has two sons, Heaven and Sea, whom she also marries; these are the heaven-worshipping and sea-god worshipping peoples, who as a small elite combine with the earth worshipping masses to form independent states. Hesiod's Theogony, therefore, says Uranus married Gaia. In other words, Heaven wed Earth. Kronos, in the Oxford Classical Dictionary, as if in Debrett, is described as 'youngest son of Heaven and Earth and leader of his brethren, the Titans'. He is brother to Atlas. He is written up as having castrated his father. He married his sister, Rhea, to whom the Earth is sacred and among the children born to them were Hera, Poseidon and Zeus. All the male children he is said to have swallowed except Zeus who was hidden away in a cave on Mount Ida, in Crete. Zeus and his brethren, who had been regurgitated, had a desperate struggle with Kronos before overcoming him. (The God-Kings & the Titans)

The Titans end their story in a great war of the Titans called the Titanomachia in which Zeus successfully defended himself against his relatives. After fearful fighting, the God-kings are defeated, retiring to a remote country after which they trouble Hellas no more. This surely is a legendary description of the defeat eventually inflicted by Athens and Egypt on the Peoples of the Sea, recorded by the Germans in the Gotterdammerung. The Baltic recollection of the Titanomachia, recorded in the Germanic tale of the Twilight of the Gods, records how in a vast conflict they slaughtered each other and there was for four hundred years a great silence upon the earth until civilisation could spring again. (The God-Kings & the Titans)

The Greek theogony can be given in more detail. Worshippers of the earth-mother provided the earliest civilised society. Out of that world developed the sky-worshippers, the core of whose theology would seem to survive in astrology. They give place to those who worship the sun or the sea. Sun-worship is quite a late and aristocratic development but the most common religion towards the end of the Bronze Age is some sort of synthesis of sun and earth-worship, the religion of the aristocracy and the religion of the plebs combined: The genealogy of the Titans, therefore, records the successive ideals or illusions in pursuit of which men have ultimately achieved a different and not expected form of greatness. It records the range and variety of the illusions for which they have in multitudes fought each other and died. These illusions may be looked upon by some as so many spectres, by some as differing aspects of one divinity. (The God-Kings & the Titans)

The foreword to Robert Graves' work on Greek mythology ends with the following two paragraphs, which suggest that there may be more to follow, He writes: I have myself eaten the hallucinogenic mushroom, Psilocybe, a divine ambrosia in immemorial use among the Masatec Indians of Oaxaca Province, Mexico; heard the priestess invoke Tlaloc, the Mushroom-god, and seen transcendental visions. Thus I whole­heartedly agree with R. Gordon Wasson, the American discoverer of this ancient rite, that Europeans' ideas of heaven and hell may well have derived from similar mysteries. Tlaloc was engendered by lightning; so was Dionysus; and in Greek folklore, as in Masatec, so are all mushrooms proverbially called 'food of the gods' in both languages. Tlaloc wore a serpent crown; so did Dionysus. Tlaloc had an underwater retreat; so had Dionysus. The Maenads' savage custom of tearing off their victims' heads may refer allegorically to tearing off the sacred mushroom's head - since in Mexico its stalk is never eaten. We read that Perseus, a sacred king of Argos, converted to Dionysus worship, named Mycenae after a toad-stool which he found growing on the site, and which gave forth a stream of water. Tlaloc's emblem was a toad, so was that of Argos; and from the mouth of Tlaloc's toad in the Tepentitla fresco issued a stream of water. Yet at what epoch were the European and Central American cultures in contact? (The God-Kings & the Titans)

Manannan was the mighty Irish god of the sea. The Irish called him the 'Outer High King of Ireland' because he lived in his palace far across the sea to the east but also used the Isle of Man as a base. He is described as the 'Best pilot in the West of Europe' and as a 'renowned trader'. Manannan's brother is Bron. Bron sails westwards, according to Irish legend, to the Land of the Beyond and to the mysterious regions beyond the Atlantic. (The God-Kings & the Titans)

From the Isles of the West came the Tuatha de Danann, the children of the goddess Dana. They fought for living space and were bested, and so were compelled to retire beyond the Western Seas to Mag Mell, the Plain of Joy or Tir na n'Og, Land of Youth. They took refuge in magnificent underground dwellings-like the mound graves of the south-eastern parts of the United States which make such a striking archaeological feature today, near the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. (The God-Kings & the Titans)

The hero Cuchulainn, who was also given the name of Setanta - which was the name for one of the early British tribes - had for his father, Lug, the sun-god. He sailed in a magic barque to the Land of the Beyond, the Plain of Joy, Mag Mell. He then returned and died fighting in Ireland. His name interestingly resembles the later white culture-bringer of the Maya, Kukulcan. The difference is a hard c and a soft one. Kukulcan arrived from the east, Maya legend states, and later sailed back westwards over the Atlantic. (The God-Kings & the Titans)

Odin, according to ancient traditional belief, with eight sons and four companions, twelve in all, was an earthly king with priests of a sacerdotal caste who arrived from Asia, perhaps from Troy, and conquered parts of Scandinavia and North Germany. In later centuries they came to be looked upon as gods. A strange reality has been given to this belief. At Mora, near Uppsala, Sweden, is the ancient stone throne on which the kings were crowned and it is surrounded by twelve lesser ones. (The God-Kings & the Titans)

The word 'havoc', he says, started life as the names of two gods, beloved of the ancient British, the male god of fertility, a sky-god Ock or Og or Ogma and the earth-mother, Hawwa or Awa, not dissimilar to the Greek name of the earth-mother, Hera and the biblical name Hawa or Eve. These two names, he says are found regularly in association, sometimes Ock preceding, sometimes Awa. Their conjunction records the marriage of heaven and earth. In Irish mythology, Og becomes the supreme ruler of the universe and through Ogma, with whom his character is intertwined, the especial guardian of the Tuatha De Danaan, one of the mining and seafaring groups of Ireland. It is Og who gives to the Irish the only prehistoric script the British Isles have used, Ogham, a script formed of dots and dashes like a visual morse code. The parish of Aughaval, Og-awa, contains the holiest site of Christian or pagan Ireland. (The God-Kings & the Titans)

Some memory of how the sun-worshippers, coming apparently from the north, took over and conquered the shrines of the earth-worshippers can be found in Greek legend. Delphi had first been a shrine for earth-worship, the priestess of the shrine, the Pythia, having a snake in attendance. In one account, Apollo, the sun-god, took over the shrine at Delphi by reasonableness, in another by destroying a dragon, suggesting that force was used. The two traditions of sun- and earth-worship were never quite reconciled. (The God-Kings & the Titans)

The Mysteries came to an end as public institutions in the sixth century, when from political considerations they and the teaching of the secret doctrine and philosophy became prohibited by the Roman Government, under Justinian, who aimed at inaugurating an official uniform state-religion throughout its Empire. Subsequently, as the Roman Empire declined and broke up, the Roman Catholic Church emerged from it, which, as we know, has resolutely discountenanced any authority in religion and philosophy as a rival to her own and at the same time claimed supremacy and an over-riding jurisdiction in temporal matters also. For the Freemason the result of that Church's conduct is instructive. For when an authority upon matters wholly spiritual and belonging to a kingdom which is not of this world, lays claim to temporal power and secular possessions, as the Roman Church has done and still does, it at once vitiates and neutralizes its own spiritual qualifications. It becomes infected with the virus of "worldly possessions." It loads itself with the "money and metals" from which it is essential to keep divested. The result has been that what might have been, and was designed to be, the greatest spiritually educative force in the world's history, has become a materialized institution, exercising an intellectual tyranny which has estranged the minds of millions from religion altogether. (The Meaning of Masonry)

The Greeks described their gods as anthropomorphic, as physically similar to mortal men and women, and human in character: They could be happy and angry and jealous; they made love, quarreled, fought; and they procreated like humans, bringing forth offspring through sexual intercourse--with each other or with humans. They were unreachable, and yet they were constantly mixed up in human affairs. They could travel at immense speeds, appear and disappear; they had weapons of immense and unusual power. Each had specific functions, and, as a result, a specific human activity could suffer or benefit by the attitude of the god in charge of that particular activity; therefore, rituals of worship and offerings to the gods were supposed to gain their favor. (The 12th Planet)

The principal deity of the Greeks during their Hellenic civilization was Zeus, "Father of Gods and Men," "Master of the Celestial Fire." His chief weapon and symbol was the thunderbolt. He was a "king" upon earth who had descended from the heavens; a decision maker and the dispenser of good and evil to mortals, yet one whose original domain was in the skies. He was neither the first god upon Earth nor the first deity to have been in the heavens. Mixing theology with cosmology to come up with what scholars treat as mythology, the Greeks believed that first there was Chaos; then Gaea (Earth) and her consort Uranus (the heavens) appeared. Gaea and Uranus brought forth the twelve Titans, six males and six females. Though their legendary deeds took place on Earth, it is assumed that they had astral counterparts. (The 12th Planet)

Cronus, the youngest male Titan, emerged as the principal figure in Olympian mythology. He rose to supremacy among the Titans through usurpation; after castrating his father Uranus. Fearful of the other Titans, Cronus imprisoned and banished them. For that, he was cursed by his mother: He would suffer the same fate as his father, and be dethroned by one of his own sons. Cronus consorted with his own sister Rhea, who bore him three sons and three daughters; Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus; Hestia, Demeter, and Hera. Once again, it was fated that the youngest son would be the one to depose his father, and the curse of Gaea came true when Zeus overthrew Cronus, his father. (The 12th Planet)

The overthrow, it would seem, did not go smoothly. For many years battles between the gods and a host of monstrous beings ensued. The decisive battle was between Zeus and Typhon, a serpent-like deity. The fighting ranged over wide areas, on Earth and in the skies. The final battle took place at Mount Casius, near the boundary between Egypt and Arabia--apparently somewhere in the Sinai Peninsula. (The 12th Planet)

Having won the struggle, Zeus was recognized as the supreme deity. Nevertheless, he had to share control with his brothers. By choice (or, according to one version, through the throwing of lots), Zeus was given control of the skies, the eldest brother Hades was accorded the Lower World, and the middle brother Poseidon was given mastery of the seas. Though in time Hades and his region became a synonym for Hell, his original domain was a territory somewhere "far below," encompassing marshlands, desolate areas, and lands watered by mighty rivers. Hades was depicted as "the unseen"--aloof, forbidding, stern; unmoved by prayer or sacrifice. Poseidon, on the other hand, was frequently seen holding up his symbol (the trident). Though ruler of the seas, he was also master of the arts of metallurgy and sculpting, as well as a crafty magician or conjurer. While Zeus was depicted in Greek tradition and legend as strict with Mankind--even as one who at one point schemed to annihilate Mankind--Poseidon was considered a friend of Mankind and a god who went to great lengths to gain the praise of mortals. (The 12th Planet)

The three brothers and their three sisters, all children of Cronus by his sister Rhea, made up the older part of the Olympian Circle, the group of Twelve Great Gods. The other six were all offspring of Zeus, and the Greek tales dealt mostly with their genealogies and relationships. The male and female deities fathered by Zeus were mothered by different goddesses. Consorting at first with a goddess named Metis, Zeus had born to him a daughter, the great goddess Athena. She was in charge of common sense and handiwork, and was thus the Goddess of Wisdom. But as the only major deity to have stayed with Zeus during his combat with Typhon (all the other gods had fled), Athena acquired martial qualities and was also the Goddess of War. She was the "perfect maiden" and became no one's wife; but some tales link her frequently with her uncle Poseidon, and though his official consort was the goddess who was the Lady of the Labyrinth from the island of Crete, his niece Athena was his mistress. (The 12th Planet)

Zeus then consorted with other goddesses, but their children did not qualify for the Olympian Circle. When Zeus got around to the serious business of producing a male heir, he turned to one of his own sisters. The eldest was Hestia. She was, by all accounts, a recluse--perhaps too old or too sick to be the object of matrimonial activities­-and Zeus needed little excuse to turn his attentions to Demeter, the middle sister, the Goddess of Fruitfulness. But, instead of a son, she bore him a daughter, Persephone, who became wife to her uncle Hades and shared his dominion over the Lower World. Disappointed that no son was born, Zeus turned to other goddesses for comfort and love. Of Harmonia he had nine daughters. Then Leto bore him a daughter and a son, Artemis and Apollo, who were at once drawn into the group of major deities. (The 12th Planet)

Apollo, as firstborn son of Zeus, was one of the greatest gods of the Hellenic pantheon, feared by men and gods alike. He was the interpreter to mortals of the will of his father Zeus, and thus the authority in matters of religious law and temple worship. Representing moral and divine laws, he stood for purification and perfection, both spiritual and physical. Zeus's second son, born of the goddess Maia, was Hermes, patron of shepherds, guardian of the flocks and herds. Less important and powerful than his brother Apollo, he was closer to human affairs; any stroke of good luck was attributed to him. As Giver of Good Things, he was the deity in charge of commerce, patron of merchants and travelers. But his main role in myth and epic was as herald of Zeus, Messenger of the Gods. (The 12th Planet)

Impelled by certain dynastic traditions, Zeus still required a son by one of his sisters--and he turned to the youngest, Hera. Marrying her in the rites of a Sacred Marriage, Zeus proclaimed her Queen of the Gods, the Mother Goddess. Their marriage was blessed by a son, Ares, and two daughters, but rocked by constant infidelities on the part of Zeus, as well as a rumored infidelity on the part of Hera, which cast doubt on the true parentage of another son, Hephaestus. Ares was at once incorporated into the Olympian Circle of twelve major gods and was made Zeus's chief lieutenant, a God of War. He was depicted as the Spirit of Carnage; yet he was far from being invincible--fighting at the battle of Troy, on the side of the Trojans, he suffered a wound which only Zeus could heal. (The 12th Planet)

Hephaestus, on the other hand, had to fight his way into the Olympian summit. He was a God of Creativity; to him was attributed the fire of the forge and the art of metallurgy. He was a divine artificer, maker of both practical and magical objects for men and gods. The legends say that he was born lame and was therefore cast away in anger by his mother Hera. Another and more believable version has it that it was Zeus who banished Hephaestus--because of the doubt regarding his parentage--but Hephaestus used his magically creative powers to force Zeus to give him a seat among the Great Gods. The legends also relate that Hephaestus once made an invisible net that would close over his wife's bed if it were warmed by an intruding lover. He may have needed such protection, for his wife and consort was Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty. It was only natural that many tales of love affairs would build up around her; in many of these the seducer was Ares, brother of Hephaestus. (One of the offspring of that illicit love affair was Eros, the God of Love.) (The 12th Planet)

Aphrodite was included in the Olympian Circle of Twelve, and the circumstances of her inclusion shed light on our subject. She was neither a sister of Zeus nor his daughter, yet she could not be ignored. She had come from the Asian shores of the Mediterranean facing Greece (according to the Greek poet Hesiod, she arrived by way of Cyprus); and, claiming great antiquity, she ascribed her origin to the genitals of Uranus. She was thus genealogically one generation ahead of Zeus, being (so to say) a sister of his father, and the embodiment of the castrated Forefather of the Gods. Aphrodite, then, had to be included among the Olympian gods. But their total number, twelve, apparently could not be exceeded. The solution was ingenious: Add one by dropping one. Since Hades was given domain over the Lower World and did not remain among the Great Gods on Mount Olympus, a vacancy was created, admirably handy for seating Aphrodite in the exclusive Circle of Twelve. (The 12th Planet)

It also appears that the number twelve was a requirement that worked both ways: There could be no more than twelve Olympians, but no fewer than twelve, either. This becomes evident through the circumstances that led to the inclusion of Dionysus in the Olympian Circle. He was a son of Zeus, born when Zeus impregnated his own daughter, Semele. Dionysus, who had to be hidden from Hera's wrath, was sent to far-off lands (reaching even India), introducing vinegrowing and winemaking wherever he went. In the meantime, a vacancy became available on Olympus. Hestia, the oldest sister of Zeus, weaker and older, was dropped entirely from the Circle of Twelve. Dionysus then returned to Greece and was allowed to fill the vacancy. Once again, there were twelve Olympians. (The 12th Planet)

Though Greek mythology was not clear regarding the origins of mankind, the legends and traditions claimed descent from the gods for heroes and kings. These semi­gods formed the link between the human destiny--daily toil, dependence on the elements, plagues, illness, death­-and a golden past, when only the gods roamed Earth. And although so many of the gods were born on Earth, the select Circle of Twelve Olympians represented the celestial aspect of the gods. The original Olympus was described by the Odyssey as lying in the "pure upper air." The original Twelve Great Gods were Gods of Heaven who had come down to Earth; and they represented the twelve celestial bodies in the "vault of Heaven." The Latin names of the Great Gods, given them when the Romans adopted. the Greek pantheon, clarify their astral associations: Gaea was Earth; Hermes, Mercury; Aphrodite, Venus; Ares, Mars; Cronus, Saturn; and Zeus, Jupiter. Continuing the Greek tradition, the Romans envisaged Jupiter as a thundering god whose weapon was the lightning bolt; like the Greeks, the Romans associated him with the bull. (The 12th Planet)

There is no doubt that the Greek traditions and religion arrived on the Greek mainland from the Near East, via Asia Minor and the Mediterranean islands. It is there that their pantheon had its roots; it is there that we should look for the origins of the Greek gods, and their astral relationship with the number twelve. (The 12th Planet)

The Amesha Spentas of Iranian lore are undoubtedly to be equated, not just with the seven archangels, but also with the seven adityas, or suryas, found in the Hindu Rig Veda; one of whom, the sun god, is named as Surya. Ancient Indian myth and legend records that the suryas' evil enemies were the ahuras (spelt asuras), who were giants, skilled in the magical arts. Like the Watchers of the Book of Enoch, the Vedic ahuras were condemned for having misused the secret wisdom of the gods - casting them in the role of malevolent spirits comparable with the fallen angels of Judaeo-Christian tradition. (From the Ashes of Angels)

In prehistoric Susa it was the Watchers' goat-like aspects that would appear to have been best preserved in visual art, but elsewhere in the ancient world it would seem to have been their connection with the vulture that became the mainstay of early religious iconography. In Yezidi and Yaresan tradition they were personified as the Ancient One, the Peacock Angel, and as the black serpent Azhi Dahaka or Sultan Sahak. In Sumeria they were mythologized as bird-men and serpent gods such as Ningiszida, while elsewhere in the Near East the vulture attributes of the Watchers became the ultimate symbol of the Great Mother, particularly in her aspect as the goddess of death and transformation. Constantly archaeologists have unearthed stylized goddess figurines from the neolithic age with abstract bird-like qualities, such as long beaks, short wing-like arms and wedge-shaped tails. These have been found in such far-flung places as Crete, Cyprus, Syria, mainland Greece, in the Balkans and Danube basin of eastern Europe, at Mohenjo-Daro in the Indus Valley and as far east as Baluchistan in central Asia. Many also possess strange, slit-like eyes, like those of the serpentine clay heads found by Robert Braidwood and his team at Jarmo in Upper Iraq. (From the Ashes of Angels)

The inferences, as I read the facts, seem to be that Druidism in its essential features was imposed upon the imaginative and sensitive nature of the Celt by the earlier population of Western Europe, the Megalithic People. The historical tradition taught that Ireland was infested by a race of giants, as well as the Tuatha de Danann, before the coming of the Gael. The former were known as the Formori and they were the enemies of the Tuatha de Danann. The gods were no longer all-powerful, they took their places in the far past, as an ancient race, before the 'present Ireland'. But they moved about on the soil of Ireland sometimes as a race apart, sometimes having intercourse with normal human beings. They were known as the Tuatha de Danann. (Uriel's Machine)

Caesar very clearly describes the Druids as priests, judges and astronomers. They practised the art of memory and had developed a verbal tradition for recording their rituals and secrets, and were as obsessed with their genealogies as any Jewish priest. They believed in rebirth of the soul, and we found that a modern sect of Druids still practises a resurrection ritual which involves the initiate in being reborn anew from a grave of stones. The line of David which Irish legend says married into the line of the High Kings of Tara, established the tradition of a king-making stone which survives to this day. The Irish legends also tell of resurrection beliefs associated with Newgrange. The Druids collected and retold these stories, absorbing the Enochian Jewish beliefs. (Uriel's Machine)

In the case of that neglected tragedy...a tragedy coming from absentmindedness, the final blow was dealt to the tradition that had established "us," mankind, as a unity. And if we did not have Plato's Timaeus, it would be a hopeless task altogether to understand the reason which made it obligatory in those "archaic" times to watch the immense cosmic clock most carefully. What counts is this: When the Timaean Demiurge had constructed the "frame," skambba, ruled by equator and ecliptic--called by Plato "the Same" and "the Diferent"--which represent an X (spell it Khi, write it X) and when he had regulated the orbits of the planets according to harrnonic proportions, he made "souls." In manufacturing them, he used the same ingredients that he used when he had made the Soul of the Universe, the ingredients however, being "not so pure as before." The Demiurge made "souls in equal number with the stars (psychas isarithmous tois astrois), and distributed them, each soul to its several star." In any event, the faultless Demiurge sowed the souls, equal in number to the fixed stars, in the "instruments of time" (i.e., the planets), among which Timaeus counts the earth; he sowed, actually, "each one into that which was meet for it." What does that mean? Timaeus alludes here to an old system of connecting the fixed and the wandering members of the starry community--and not only the zodiacal "houses" and "exaltations" of the planets are meant, but fixed stars in general. One knows this - approach from astrological cuneiform tablets which contain a considerable number of statements on fixed representatives of a planet, and vice versa. The soul of man is not only reincarnated again and again, but it is subdivided further and further, since mankind multiplies, as does the grain to which man is so frequently compared. This simile--misinterpreted time and again by the fertility addicts--ought to be taken very seriously, and literally. The Demiurge did not create the individual souls of every man to be born in all future, he created the first ancestors of peoples, dynasties, etc., the "seed of mankind" that multiplies and is ground to mealy dust in the Mill of Time. The idea of "Fixed Star Souls" from which mortal life started, and to which exceptionally virtuous "souls once released" may return anytime, whereas the average "flour" from the mill has to wait patiently for the "last day" when it hopes to do the same--this idea is not only a vital part of the archaic system of the world, it explains to a certain degree the almost obsessive interest in the celestial goings-on that ruled former millennia. ...every scheme which occurs in myths from Iceland via China to pre-Columbian America, to which we have Platonic allusions, is "tottering with age," and can be accepted for genuine currency. (Hamlet's Mill)

Cybele was not only mother of the gods, but also mother of humanity. In some versions, as Rhea, she mated with her father, Kronos, and begat the Titans, from whom came both the Olympian gods and mankind. The images that have survived show her on a throne, which resembles the Egyptian glyph for Isis (a throne), flanked by a pair of lions, an echo of the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet. In some images she is shown in a chariot drawn by a pair of lions. In her hands she holds a circular drum or tambourine and a chalice full of the elixir of life. On her head is, usually, a tower or castlelike crown from which hangs a veil. As Demeter, or as her daughter, Persephone, she descended into the underworld and her return was accomplished with the aid of a clan of Titans, shamans and smiths who dwelt in caves. For their help, Cybele descended to earth as a cubic stone, which she gave into their keeping as the mysterieon, or objective focus for the mystery of the cult. As the guardians of the stone, they were called Kabiri, or Kabiroi, the people of the kaba, the stone, as well as the kabirim, the "mighty ones" in Aramaic and Hebrew. In some myths, these Kabiri are referred to as the children of Aphrodite and Hephaistos, the god of the forge and volcanoes, the latter from the Latin form of his name, Vulcan. (The Mysteries of the Great Cross of Hendaye)

As both Strabo and Herodotus noted, the story of the Kabiri is very close to that of the Egyptian Heru Shemsu, another group of shamansmiths with ties to pre-catastrophe knowledge and the guardianship, at Heliopolis, of another stone from heaven, the ben-ben or phoenix stone of the sun god Re. Indeed, the relationship between Re and his "Eye," the goddess Sekhmet or Hathor, pictured as that of father and daughter, is similar to that of Rhea and Kronos or Cybele and Zeus. Like the ben-ben at Heliopolis, the stone of the Mother Goddess was seen as the petrified sperm of the sky god. (The Mysteries of the Great Cross of Hendaye)

The temple was called the Matreum, and the worship of the new civic goddess, the Magna Mater or simply Matrona, spread rapidly throughout the Empire, blending along the way all the older forms of the Great Goddess. The stone remained in its domed temple until at least the mid- fourth century, when Julian the Apostate wrote a hymn dedicated to it and the goddess. "Who is then the Mother of the Gods? She is the source of the intellectual and creative gods, who in their turn guide the visible gods: she is both the mother and the spouse of mighty Zeus; She came into being next to and together with the great Creator; She is in control of every form of life, and the Cause of all generation; She easily brings to perfection all things that are made. Without pain She brings to birth ... She is the Motherless Maiden, enthroned at the very side of Zeus, and in very truth is the Mother of All the Gods..." Compare this to the anonymous fifth-century hymn to Mary: "And we will write now the praises of Our Lady, and Mother of God, the Virgin Mary . . . Thou shalt be named the Beloved . . . Thou art the pure chest of gold in which was laid up the manna, that bread that comes down from heaven, and the Giver of Life to all the world .... Thou art the treasure which Joseph purchased, and found therein the precious Pearl. Thou hast become the throne of the King whom the Cherubim do bear ... All the kings of the earth shall come to thy light, and the people to thy brightness, 0 Virgin Mary. " Should we, then, consider the veneration of Mary as the Mother of God to be an extension of the cult of Cybele, the Great Mother? If we consider that, like Cybele and her stone, the Grail and the Grail Queen, and the Shekhinah, are identical, then the vessel of Our Lady, which contains the vital spirit, is the mountaintop temple, cave, or grotto. This container acts as a "house" that allows the ethereal spirit to coalesce into the physical form of the goddess. We find this in the Bahir, where in verses 4 and 5 we are told that the "house" is built by wisdom and filled with understanding, out of which flows the stream of gnosis. This is the supernal temple, and the bayit, or house, of Joseph where the Virgin dwells before giving birth to the Christ. It is formed of the sefirot Chokmah, Wisdom, and Binah, Understanding, which in turn creates the non-sefirah of Daat, or knowledge. Daat is a void or a vessel in which, when filled by mind, the animating spirit of matter, is the reflection of Kether, the Godhead, which cannot be approached while still in the body. Gnosis, knowledge, or Sophia, the light-filled void of the Buddhists, is as close to the divine as we can come. Understanding this allows us to grasp the meaning of the ending of Wolfram and Walter von Scharffenberg's Tituriel. The Grail, as the essence of the Goddess, must be housed in a vessel or temple before Sophia, Gnosis, can become tangible enough to communicate her blessings, or the Christ Emmanuel, the christos within us, can be born. The Tituriel's vision of the castle of the Grail on the Mountain of Salvation is the esoteric and inner spiritual motive behind the cathedral-building explosion. The Gothic cathedrals, it seems, were designed to house the spirit of the Great Goddess, making them living Grails that heal and transform all who enter their portals. (The Mysteries of the Great Cross of Hendaye)

Oannes and the brotherhood of Apkallu sages are depicted as tutoring mankind for many thousands of years. It is during this long passage of time that the five antediluvian cities arise, the centers of a great civilization, and that kingship is “lowered from heaven.” Prior to the first appearance of Oannes, Berossos says, the people of Mesopotamia “lived in a lawless manner, like the beasts of the field.” (Magicians of the Gods)

The Greco-Roman Mithraic tradition held the belief that their god Mithras was in fact a second, unseen or oohypercosmic" sun, responsible for driving precession and the cycle of ages through the zodiac. In addition to the constant presence of zodiac iconography, Mithras is almost always portrayed slaying the bull, Taurus, commonly thought to symbolize his power over precession by killing the age of Taurus. Also, in many of the tauroctony bas-reliefs scattered throughout the museums of Europe, we find the constellation of the Pleiades on or near the Bull's shoulder. (Lost Star of Myth and Time