While following the mythic trail across the map of Heaven, a number of the celestial alignments have seemed to become exceedingly obvious.
Throughout the mythic period, the constellation Draco was the ‘guardian’ of the ‘North’, while the constellation cutting the Zodiacal Circle marked due East. This latter alignment has moved through the constellations Gemini, Taurus, Aries and Pisces in a little more than 8,000 years, and under each of these archetypes, we find themes related to the images being depicted in art, myth and spirituality by various cultures.
If we look back to the Time of the Twins (6300 to 4800 BC), we see themes of Duality and Sibling Creation born of the Universal Egg. Both Egyptian and Greek pantheons demonstrate patterns of incestuous matrimony through their early hierarchy. From the Dogon of western Africa to the artifacts of central Europe to the Egg splitting duality of the Asian Pan-Ku, images reflecting Heaven’s Will circumnavigate the globe. One of the Greek’s earliest mythic memories is of the Pelasgian Creation Myth (see above) where Eurynome…
…assumed the form of a Dove,
Brooding upon the Waves
and with time,
She laid the Universal Egg.
In a variation on this theme, we have the Goose who laid the Golden Egg, representative of the life you are given each day. At the time, as a part of this theme, it was thought that if you’re living, you belonged.
Ask the dead what they think of the gift of life. What are you going to do with this golden gem today?
Taurus the Bull (4300 to 2100 BC) was next in the celestial cue (precession seems to move ‘backwards’ when compared to the Sun’s annual seasonal passage), and motifs of the Bovine appear in Egyptian, Sumerian, Norse and Harappan cultures. The sacredness of the Bull in India stems from this epoch as Nandi, the celestial mount and companion of Shiva, while countries that preserve the bull fight also have roots that extend back to this time. One tradition honors the sacredness of life, while the other takes the life of the chosen one, but they both stem from the same celestial source.
During the passage of the Vernal Equinox through the constellation of the Bull, there was a marked focus on agricultural developments, of drainage, irrigation and the yoke, multiplying the volume of food grown, focusing in Egypt in part on its storage and preservation in granaries against times of scarcity.
Aries the Ram (1700 to the first century BC) pushes his way to the front of the line next, as Hebrew, Greek, Persian and Celtic cultures all vie for first place. (Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.) The New Kingdom of the Egyptians, the Hittites and Canaanites all fall under this category. Late in the game in the Americas we find evidence of the Olmec culture. One of the most obvious examples of this symbolism is the Ram with the Golden Fleece being hung in a tree protected by a great Dragon in Greek and Etruscan tales.
And finally, in the culture that we are currently leaving, Pisces swims beneath the Ram to surface as the new contender to the throne (4th century BC to present, Pisces astronomically begins before Aries ends in a fascinating overlap of the stars). The earliest incarnation of this new aquatic theme is Buddhism, a religion that spread through India, China, Japan and Indonesia, as Christianity a few centuries later expanded westward. But Islam and all the various Christian denominations that have come into being since then (from Greek Orthodox to Protestant, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Baptist, Church of Christ, Mormon and Christian Scientist among others) are also spiritual children of the ‘Age’ of Pisces.
Each of these religions build on the cornerstone of ‘surrender’ (to God).
In the Christian view, this archetype expresses itself in this new WATER orientation as walking on water, turning water into wine (expressing its spiritual dimension), of the feeding of the multitudes with two Fish and the role of Jesus as spiritual healer.
That’s the short list.
The celestial images used by the ancients were designed to help specifically locate and identify which of the stars of heaven you were interested in. The brighter stars were thought to be more important, the fainter stars less so. Identifying stars in this manner worked fairly well. There’s alpha Draconis as Thuban, the Heart of the Dragon; alpha Taurui as Aldebaran, the Right Eye of the Bull, one of the four Imperial Stars; and of course alpha and beta Geminorum, our Castor and Pollux. If you were interested in observing the stars, it wouldn’t take long to learn the location of these, and from there move on to the second and third brightest stars of each constellation, etc.
When spherical trigonometry developed under the Greeks, observational astronomy, from hilltop to temple, was no longer the way it was done. Currently, if you want to know precisely where Thuban is, you go to 14 hours, 4 minutes and 45 seconds of Right Ascension, and to 64 degrees, 18 minutes and 41 seconds of declination.
And if you understand where to look in the sky given those coordinates, then you’re an astronomer, whether amateur or professional. In order to obtain this accuracy, you need a calibrated instrument, a telescope or observatory, and sidereal clock. Either that or you’ve got a software program that will find the star’s location for you.
These are some of the obvious associations. But the observational system had its own set of problems as well.
As one leaves each of these archetypes behind, the traditions, patterns, and, well, habits of the previous two millennium have worked the synapses of society across the generations and made it difficult to segregate the old ways from the new, especially if there’s not an educated, guiding hand to help show the way.
In the palette of Narmer, carved about half way through the Vernal Equinoxes passage through the constellation Taurus, the heads of two bulls overlook the scene as if from above, reflecting the now outdated duality of Gemini mixed with the divine sign of the astronomical Bovine.
Another myth that seems to recall an earlier Age was the Sumerian Creation myth, wherein Tiamat stood her ground in the center of her army. This myth’s culmination was with Thuban’s closest approach to the North Celestial Pole in 2788 BC, while the Vernal Equinox was passing through the constellation of the Bull. But the battle itself seems to recall an even earlier time when, as Marduk approaches Tiamat, he arms himself with a great wind or two. Also, note the importance of Creation as commander of speech. Say it is so, and it happens. Say it is not so, and it is undone, fully representative of the vocal themes born of the constellation Gemini.
. . . they said to Marduk, the first-born son,
‘Lord, your word among the gods arbitrates, destroys, creates: then speak and this apparition will disappear. Speak again, again it will appear.’
He spoke and the apparition disappeared. Again he spoke and it appeared again. When the gods had proved his word they blessed him and cried, ‘Marduk is King!’ They robed him in robes of a king, the scepter and the throne they gave him, and matchless war-weapons as a shield against the adversary.
‘Be off. Slit life from Tiamat, and may the winds carry her blood to the world’s secret ends.’
The old gods had assigned to Bel what he would be and what he should do, always conquering, always succeeding;
Then Marduk made a bow and strung it to be his own weapon, he set the arrow against the bow-string, in his right hand he grasped the mace and lifted it up, bow and quiver hung at his side, lightnings played in front of him, he was altogether an incandescence.
He netted a net, a snare for Tiamat; the winds from their quarters held it, south wind, north, east wind, west, and no part of Tiamat could escape. With the net, the gift of Anu, held close to his side, he himself raised up Imhullu, the atrocious wind, the tempest, the whirlwind, the hurricane, the wind of four and the wind of seven, the tumid (swollen) wind worst of all.
All seven winds were created and released to savage the guts of Tiamat, they towered behind him. Then the tornado Abuba his last great ally, the signal for assault, he lifted up. . .
With a great wind signaling the assault, Marduk then uses the net and the four winds to overcome Tiamat, splitting her body in two, with the upper half becoming the Skies above.
The lord shot his net to entangle Tiamat, and the pursuing tumid wind, Imhullu, came from behind and beat in her face. When the mouth gaped open to suck him down he drove Imhullu in, so that the mouth would not shut but wind raged through her belly; her carcass blown up, tumescent. She gaped-
And now he shot the arrow that split the belly, that pierced the gut and cut the womb. . .
He turned back to where Tiamat lay bound, he straddled the legs and smashed her skull (for the mace was merciless), he severed the arteries and the blood streamed down the north wind to the unknown ends of the world.
The lord rested; he gazed at the huge body, pondering how to use it, what to create from the dead carcass. He split it apart like a cockle-shell; with the upper half he constructed the arc of sky, he pulled down the bar and set a watch on the waters, so they should never escape.
He crossed the sky to survey the infinite distance; he stationed himself above apsu, that apsu built by Nudimmud over the old abyss which now he surveyed, measuring out and marking in.
He stretched the immensity of the firmament, he made Esharra, the Great Palace, to be its earthly image, and Anu and Enlil and Ea had each their right stations.
http://people.bethel.edu/~pferris/ot101/enumaelish.html. From Tablet 4:
While the Sumerian Creation myth may have culminated with Marduk shooting his arrow in the Heart of the Dragon in 2788 BC, it’s beginning, given the literary evidence, may have been much earlier, when the AIR sign Gemini determined the constellation marked by the Vernal Equinox and remembered in the windy details of the myth. Between the visual and literary imagery, it would suggest that this myth was part of civilizations heritage from perhaps 5000 BC down to the centuries following 2788 BC, as it still looked as though it were very close to the North Celestial Pole.
To repeat from the myth:
He split it apart like a cockle-shell; with the upper half he constructed the arc of sky, he pulled down the bar and set a watch on the waters, so they should never escape.
This is our Cosmic Egg being split in half. The ‘bar’ that Marduk pulls down is the equinoxes, used to monitor the Heavenly Waters so that they would never catch us unaware. His net, of course, represents the grid system with which Marduk was able, not only to defeat Tiamat, but also her entourage as well.
As Time changed, so did the Creation stories that went along with them. It has become clear to me that our civilization sees Creation as something that happened once, a long, long time ago, and currently runs under the moniker of the ‘Big Bang’.
Who had the M-80 that generated this Big Bang?
Pagan civilization did not see Creation as something that happens once, long ago. For our ancestors, Creation began with the start of a New Year, and on a smaller scale, a new day. Yes, the Lord made the world in six days and rested on the seventh.
And that cycle repeats over and over again, ad infinitum.
What made you think we were done with Creation? Every day is the World made new. It’s a big job, and we all share in the work and rewards of what comes with it.
World without end,