Sunday, 21 April 2019

Apep

Today I would like to talk about snakes. And the sun. 

Apep or Apophis was the ancient Egyptian deity who embodied chaos. He was viewed as the greatest enemy of the solar deity Ra who as the bringer of light was seen as the upholder of order. This is why he was given the title Enemy of Ra.

Apep was seen as a giant snake or serpent leading to such titles as the Evil Dragon. Some elaborations said that he had a head made of flint.



The few descriptions of Apep's origin in myth usually demonstrate that it was born after Ra, usually from his umbilical cord. Combined with its absence from Egyptian creation myths, this has been interpreted as suggesting that Apep was not a primordial force in Egyptian theology, but a consequence of Ra's birth.

In his battles, Apep was thought to use a magical gaze to hypnotise Ra and his entourage, attempting to devour them whilst choking the river on which they travelled through the underworld with his coils.

But god Set, who always accompanied Ra on Atet (Solar barge) defended Ra and killed Apep with his spear.



The god Set was usually depicted as a man with a head resembling that of the sha, Set animal.

In ancient Egyptian art, the Set animal is usually depicted as a slender canid, resembling a greyhound or a jackal, usually with a long, slightly curved nose, and erect ears, squared at the tops, and a forked tail.


Set was often depicted carrying the so called "was" (Egyptian wꜣs "power, dominion") sceptre. It appears as a stylized animal head at the top of a long, straight staff with a forked end. Basically it was a stylised Set animal.


In one account, Ra himself defeats Apep in the form of a cat.



Egyptian believed that thunderstorms and earthquakes were caused by Apep managing to temporarily overwhelm Ra. They also believed that solar eclipses were caused by Apep managing to swallow Ra during the day. However Ra's defenders would quickly cut Apep's belly open and free Ra out, ending the eclipse within a few minutes.

Comparable hostile snakes as enemies of the sun god existed under other names (in the Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts) already before the name Apep occurred. The etymology of his name ('pp) is perhaps to be sought in some west-semitic language where a word root "pp meaning 'to slither' existed. A verb root 'pp does at any rate not exist elsewhere in Ancient Egyptian.

Soooo. That's the story of Apep. How are we to understand all this?

Maybe this will help:

In Slavic languages the word for dragon "zmaj" is the masculine form of the word for snake "zmija". In Slavic mythology dragon is believed to be an "old male snake"... 

Snake is in Slavic mythology described as "the enemy"of the sun. As the protector of the sun, who saves the sun from the snake, we often find swallow. In Serbia people believe that swallow saved the sun when snake tried to swallow it. In Bosnia people believe that the swallow hid one quarter of the sun under it's wing, to protect it from the snake. In Dalmatia people believe that once there were three or four suns in the sky and that the snake ate all but one, which swallow hid under its wing. Two "blind suns" which can sometimes be seen in the sky together with our normal sun are the ones which the snake ate. The one that heats us is the one that the swallow hid under its wing. There is also a story that once there were 9 rays on the sun, but that snake ate (sucked, drank) all but one. In Montenegro people believe that a huge dragon once sucked in two out of three suns which once existed. In Bulgaria people say that once snake bit the sun in the eyes when it bent down to drink water. Another version of this story says that the sun used to have two or more eyes, but that the snake "sucked" them all out.

Bulgarians believe that the sun celebrates the killing of snakes. because the snake sucked in one of sun's eyes. In Montenegro people say that every time a snake is killed, the sun happily exclaims "A dragon was killed".

Bulgarians believe that snakes eyes have magic affect on the sun. They say that the sun can't set unless the snake looks at it. In Poland people say that the sun would stop shining if the snake looked at it. This is because the snake's eyes can suck all sun's strength out. In Bosnia people believe that snake gets more poisonous if it often looks at the sun. The most poisonous are the snakes that look at the sun for nine days. God forbade snakes to look at the sun longer than nine days a year. A lot less poisonous are the snakes which look at the sun only six days a year. And even less poisonous are the ones which only look at the sun for three days a year.

In Belarus people believe that snakes, while lying outside and sunbathing, actually sucking the sun's strength out, and that this is why the sun gets smaller and smaller as the summer progresses. The sun replenishes it's strength during the winter when snakes are under the ground. This is why one should always kill a snake, or they will multiply so much that they will completely destroy the sun. The dead snake should be buried or hid in the deep shade so that sun doesn't see it. If the snake is not buried the sun will start to shine weakly and will start hiding behind the clouds, because it can't look at it's dead earthly enemy. The sun won't shine on a man who doesn't kill a snake for three days. People in Ukraine also believe that a dead snake should be hidden in a shade or buried so that it doesn't harm the sun in some way. Polish people believe that a dead snake should always be buried so that the sun can't see it. If the sun sees a dead snake it might get extinguished. Also if the sun sees a dead snake it will get sick and turn red. The sun will get sick and start crying, because the snake is poisonous. The setting sun is red if it had seen a dead snake which wasn't buried. If a live snake comes out of its hole to sunbath, the sun will get sick and get pale. In Pomerania people believe that snakes actually don't like looking at the sun. If a snake is lying still, staring at the sun, has gone mad.

There is also a belief, which is found in all Slavic countries from Baltic to Balkans, that if you kill a snake, it will twitch and jump around, even if you chop it in bits, until the sun sets.

In Bulgaria people believe that the snake bite wound should be exposed to the sun. In Poland people believe that the person who was bitten by a snake should be outside, in the sun, or he will get sick.

People in Ukraine and Poland believe that snakes once had wings and flew in the sky. But the sun burned their wings and they fell on the ground. There is a Polish legend that says that the solar eclipse happens because a dragon covers the sun with its body. There is also a Polish fairytale which says that it is a twelve headed snake which causes solar eclipse. Ukrainians have a legend about a dragon which feeds on the sun, which is why the sun gets smaller and weaker as the year progresses. The motif of a dragon swallowing the sun can be found in all Slavic countries.

How should we understand all this? 

And why there are so many similarities between the Slavic and Egyptian stories about the sun and the snake?

The snake and the sun are intrinsically connected. 

Snakes come out of the underground when the air and soil get warm enough. They stay outside during the late spring, summer and early autumn and during that that time they are visible to people. 



This is why snake is the symbol of the sun's heat.  

In Egyptian mythology we find snakes wrapped around the sun disk on the head of the young Sun god Horus.



They are all around Amun-Ra



They have wings to symbolised their link with the supreme deity Ra 


And are called "the Uraei of goodness". You can read a lot more about the snakes in Egyptian mythology in the great book "The Serpent Myths of Ancient Egypt". 

But let me continue with the analysis of the snake-sun symbolic relationship based on Slavic mythology and see how it fits with the Egyptian one. 

The sun's heat is "young" week and beneficial at the end of spring, just before the summer starts. This is the good snake. The sun's heat is "old" strong and destructive at the end of summer, just before the autumn starts. This is the bad snake. Dragon, a heavenly being that breaths fire, the great old male snake, represents the burning heat of the Late Summer, Early Autumn, the "old sun", the sun which is threatening to turn everything into cinder. 


In Slavic Pre-Christian religion this dragon was Veles, the great horned snake, who "Stole heavenly cows from Perun". Basically he is the late summer heat which dries the land and the sky and causes draughts. You can read more about this in my post "Lion killing Snake" and my post "Two crosses".

Just enough sun is beneficial but too much sun is destructive. 
Just enough sun makes grain grow and creates order, but too much sun makes grain wither and burn and creates chaos. 

This is why Apep, the great snake, the dragon, the destructive sun, the creator of chaos is the enemy of Ra, the beneficial sun, the creator of Order. 

The great snake, the dragon, Apep, is the sun, is Ra in its destructive manifestation. This is why Apep is "a consequence of Ra".

The sun's heat increases all the way through the summer until we reach the hottest point of the summer, the 2nd of August. This point marks the end of the summer and the beginning of autumn, the end of the heating and the beginning of the cooling of the northern hemisphere. I talked about this in my post "Two crosses".


At that precise moment, The Great Snake, The Dragon, Veles (the summer heat) gets killed by Perun (autumn thunderstorms) whose weapon is lightning (spear). This day is celebrated in Serbia as Perun day. 

But the thing is, Perun and Veles are one and the same. This can be seen from the fact that on the 2nd of August (the end of summer beginning of autumn), the day when Serbs celebrate Perun's victory over Veles, Serbs celebrate the day of St Elijah the thunderer. St Elijah is the burning sun of the late summer, Helios. 

This is Helios



This is Elijah


Every year on his day he is about to burn the world to cinder. But he never does. Because  St Elijah is also the thunderer, the one who makes lightning and the one who rides on storm clouds. Which arrive right on time, to cool the earth down. You can read more about this in my post "Thundering sun god".

This what is represented by Set killing Apep. The sun Ra, its protector Set and sun's enemy Apep are one and the same...

Set scores a small victory over Apep every day when the evening kills the heat of the day. 
Set scores the big victory over Apep on the 2nd of August (the end of summer beginning of autumn) when he kills the heat of the summer and when the northern hemisphere starts cooling.

The 2nd of August,  (the end of summer beginning of autumn) falls in the middle of the zodiac sign Leo. This is why Ra kills Apep as great cat (Lion). 

This is also why we find the depiction of a lion headed deity (probably Pakhet or Pasht) killing great snake, dragon, on the above Set killing Apep scene.


Here is another depiction of Pakhet holding in one hand was staff (Set animal used to defeat Apep) and in the other hand two snakes. 

Pakhet was known as "She who opens the ways of the stormy rains" which is exactly what happens when the summer heat (represented by the Great Snake, Dragon) is "killed" in the middle of Leo (by a lion goddess)... Interestingly, in Serbian mythology, St Elijah doesn't burn the world down, because every year, in the middle of Leo, during the Dog days, he gets "calmed down" by his wife "Ognjena Marija" (Fiery Mary). I wrote about this in my post Ognjena Marija

I talked about the symbolism of the "Lion killing snake" image in my post Lion killing snake

The 2nd of August, (the end of summer beginning of autumn), the hottest part of the year, the time when the great snake, the dragon is killed is known as Dog days. This is when Dog Star Sirius, rises before sun in the sky. Which is very interesting considering that Set, the Egyptian dragon slayer, the god of storms, is a dog faced deity...Knowing this, I wonder if the Set animal (dog really) has a forked tail because it is itself the "animal that ends the great snake, the dragon"???

Just after the dog days and the slaughter of the great snake which choked the "river on which Ra's barge sailed", the Nile flooding begins. It is celebrated by Egyptians as an annual holiday for two weeks starting August 15, known as Wafaa El-Nil. Here is the The god Nilus or Hapimou encircled by the serpent...




What do you think about all this?

Monday, 15 April 2019

Four living creatures

This is quarter shekel from the British Museum. Struck before 333 BCE, it is considered to be the first Jewish coin. Following the description in Ezekiel of the flying throne of Yahveh with wheels and wings, the image is interpreted as the representation of Yahveh, The God...



Ezekiel is a Hebrew prophet and the central protagonist of the Book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible, which reveals prophecies regarding the destruction of Jerusalem and the first temple.

The author of the Book of Ezekiel presents himself as Ezekiel, the son of Buzzi, born into a priestly (Kohen) lineage. Apart from identifying himself, the author gives a date for the first divine encounter which he presents: "in the thirtieth year". If this is a reference to Ezekiel's age at the time, he was born around 622 BCE, about the time of Josiah's reforms. His "thirtieth year" is given as five years after the exile of Judah's king Jehoiachin by the Babylonians, which according to Josephus happened in 598 BCE.

The vision Ezekiel had "in his thirtieth year" and which turned him into a prophet was of Jahveh sitting on the throne carried by the "four living creatures".

As I looked, a stormy wind came out of the north: a great cloud with brightness around it and fire flashing forth continually, and in the middle of the fire, something like gleaming amber. In the middle of it was something like four living creatures. This was their appearance: they were of human form. Each had four faces, and each of them had four wings...As for the appearance of their faces: the four had the face of a human being, the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle; such were their faces...


In the middle of the living creatures there was something that looked like burning coals of fire, like torches moving to and fro among the living creatures; the fire was bright, and lightning issued from the fire. The living creatures darted to and fro, like a flash of lightning...As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the four of them...When the living creatures moved, the wheels moved beside them; and when the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose.  Wherever the spirit would go, they went, and the wheels rose along with them; for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.  When they moved, the others moved; when they stopped, the others stopped; and when they rose from the earth, the wheels rose along with them; for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

In another part of his book, Ezekiel identifies the "living creatures" as cherubim, one of the unearthly beings who directly attend to God according to Abrahamic religions. The numerous depictions of cherubim assign to them many different roles; their original duty having been the protection of the Garden of Eden, and in particular the Tree of Life.

Interestingly the same vision appeared to the Christian prophet John, who described it in his Revelation:

In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings.


Day and night they never stop saying:

"Holy, holy, holy

is the Lord God Almighty

who was, and is, and is to come."

The four living creatures from Ezekiel's and John's visions gave birth to the Christian "tetramorph".

In Christian art, the tetramorph is the union of the symbols of the Four Evangelists, derived from the four living creatures in the Book of Ezekiel, into a single figure or, more commonly, a group of four figures.

In their earliest appearances, the Evangelists were depicted in their human forms each with a scroll or a book to represent the Gospels. By the 5th century, images of the Evangelists evolved into their respective tetramorphs, each of the four Evangelists is associated with one of the living creatures, usually shown with wings. The most common association, but not the original or only, is: Matthew the man, Mark the lion, Luke the ox, and John the eagle. Christ in Majesty is often shown surrounded by the four symbols.


By the later Middle Ages, the tetramorph in the form of creatures was used less frequently. Instead, the Evangelists were often shown in their human forms accompanied by their symbolic creatures, or as men with the heads of animals.

In images where the creatures surround Christ, the winged man and the eagle are often depicted at Christ’s sides, with the lion and the ox positioned lower by his feet, with the man on Christ's right, taking precedence over the eagle, and the lion to the left of the ox. These positions reflect the medieval great chain of being.

Now how are we to understand these strange creatures from Ezekiel's and John's visions? Well this has been bothering people for a long time.

In Judaism the four faces of the living creatures represent different creatures god created. The lion represents all wild animals, the ox represents domestic animals, the human represents humanity, and the eagle represents birds.

In the context of the Christian tetramorph, the winged man indicates Christ’s humanity and reason, as well as Matthew’s account of the Incarnation of Christ. The lion of St Mark represents courage, resurrection, and royalty, coinciding with the theme of Christ as king in Mark’s gospel. It is also interpreted as the Lion of Judah as a reference to Christ’s royal lineage. The ox, or bull, is an ancient Christian symbol of redemption and life through sacrifice, signifying Luke’s records of Christ as a priest and his ultimate sacrifice for the future of humanity. The eagle represents the sky, heavens, and the human spirit, paralleling the divine nature of Christ.

Some however have connected Ezekiel's and John's visions with strange zodiacs found in synagogues built in holy land during the first few centuries after Christ's birth.  Like this one from Beth Alpha, Israel:


The same type of zodiac wheel, with Helios or Sun in it's center, sitting in a chariot (throne) pulled by four horses (beings), just like in Ezekiel's and John's visions, is found in contemporaneous synagogues throughout Israel such as Naaran, Susiya, Hamat Tiberias, Huseifa, and Sepphoris.

Now when we look at the four faces of the "living creatures" and compare them with the zodiac symbols, we can see that these four faces match the four fixed points of the zodiac:

The man is Aquarius
The ox or cherub is Taurus,
The lion is Leo
The eagle is Scorpio (Few people know that Scorpio has another form, Eagle, sometimes Phoenix).

When we connect these four points we get a cross:


But why did Jews adorn their synagogues during early Christian Era with these strange zodiacs? And what is the reason that these exact four zodiac signs were chosen to be the faces of the "four living creatures"?

In my post "Boaz and Jachin" I talked about the significance of the fact that Solomon built his temple on a threshing floor. The reason why this is significant is because in the past threshing floors were not only used for threshing and winnowing, but were also used as solar observatories and for ceremonies which were part of a solar cult. At the end of that article I suggested that the First Temple, whose entrance was oriented towards true east, towards the area of the horizon where the sun rises, was a temple dedicated to the sun and built by sun worshipers. And I said that we actually have indications that this could in fact have been the case.

In my post Sun god from the first temple I continued talking about this. Interestingly it was Ezekiel who told us explicitly that the First Temple was solar temple.

In Ezekiel 8:16 we read this:

"In the sixth year, in the sixth month on the fifth day, while I was sitting in my house and the elders of Judah were sitting before me, the hand of the Sovereign Lord came on me there. I looked, and I saw a figure like that of a man. From what appeared to be his waist down he was like fire, and from there up his appearance was as bright as glowing metal. He stretched out what looked like a hand and took me by the hair of my head. The Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and in visions of God he took me to Jerusalem...He then brought me into the inner court of the house of the Lord, and there at the entrance to the temple, between the portico and the altar, were about twenty-five men. With their backs toward the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east, they were bowing down to the sun in the east."

Interesting right?

The fact that people still prayed to the sun during the time of Ezekiel is very interesting, because it shows how strong this solar cult was among the people of Judah. Ezekiel was born during the reign of Josiah (649–609 BCE). And it was Josiah, who according to the Hebrew Bible, instituted major religious changes aimed at eradicating the solar cult which flourished in Judah before and during his time. How strong the solar cult was in Judah just before the time of Josiah can be seen from the royal seal of the Kingdom of Judah from the time of the King Hezekiah (739 - 687 BC).



This means that the solar cult was not a minor religious curiosity. It was a state religion whose main temple was the First temple. A state religion supported by at least a significant part of the Judah's population.

So when Josiah started his religious reforms, not everyone was pleased. A lot of people saw these changes as sacrilege and continued to practice the old solar religion.

As part of his crusade, Josiah did the major cleanup of the First temmple. In 2 Kings 23:11 we read:

"He (Josiah) removed from the entrance of the LORD's Temple the horse statues that the former kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun... He also burned the chariots dedicated to the sun..."

This is most peculiar. We have a temple, build on a threshing floor (ancient solar observatory). The temple was oriented towards the east, and in the temple people prayed to the rising sun as if it was a god. And the temple housed a chariot and horses dedicated to the sun god???

Who was this sun god to whom ancient kings of Judah dedicated horses and chariot?

Well Helios of course.


Here is a depiction of Helios, the old titan (Old European) sun god. He is mostly depicted as a youth with sun ray halo driving the chariot pulled by winged horses across the sky, from east to west.



Official story is that Ezekiel really hated the solar worshipers...But now I am wondering...Is it possible that he was actually one of them? Is it possible that he saw Josiah's reforms as totally sacrilegious and that when he prophesied the destruction of of Jerusalem and the first temple, he did so because he believed that that was the fitting punishment for the Jews turning their backs to the Sun, their God? And is it because of this that he was hated by the same Jews? And is it because of that that his vision of god is basically Sun god sitting in a chariot pulled by four horses??? 

As I already mentioned, Ezekiel sees priests in the First Temple worshiping the sun. Interestingly, historian Josephus, who lived during the 1st century AD, records an Essene practice that he says was handed down to them by the forefathers where it appears that they were praying to the rising sun (War 2.8.5).

Qumran scrolls, which are attributed to the Essens, seem to confirm that Josephus was telling the truth. In the Hodayom, there are several references to prayer at dawn. 1QH 4:5 states: "I thank thee, O Lord, for Thou hast illuminated my face by Thy covenant, and I seek Thee, and sure as the dawn Thou hast appeared to me as perfect light."

And at the same time someone built synagogues with depictions of Helios surrounded by the Zodiac??? Like this one from the Hammat Tiberias Synagogue, dated to 286 and 337 CE, when Tiberias was the seat of the Sanhedrin. The mosaic floor is made up of three panels featuring the zodiac, and Helios, the sun god. Women who symbolise the four seasons of nature appear in each corner.





So were the synagogues with Helios built by Essenes? Essenes who wanted to "restore the first temple", the "temple of the sun god who rides in a chariot pulled by four horses"???

Well we don't know, but what we know is that the early Christian churches which were also oriented towards the east i.d. toward the Rising Sun, the same orientation found in the First temple. 

And, at the same time when the helios synagogues were being built, the vision of a god in a chariot appeared to John who described it in Revelation:

In the centre, around the throne (chariot with four wheels), were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings.

Very interesting right? But the best part is yet to come.

Why Man, Bull, Lion and Eagle? Why are these four zodiac signs chosen to be the faces of the living creatures?

These four zodiac signs cover these four periods of the solar year:

Aquarius  21 January – 19 February
Taurus  21 April – 21 May
Leo 23 July – 22 August
Eagle (Scorpio) 24 October – 22 November

In my post "Two crosses" I talked about Earth's cross, whose hands point to the so called "cross quarter days" which mark the transitional points of the climatic, vegetative cycle in the northern hemisphere, more precisely Europe:

The four points of this solar cross are at the core of the Celtic calendar:

1. Imbolc- the beginning of the spring
2. Bealtaine - the beginning of the summer
3. Lughnasa - the beginning of the autumn
4. Samhain - the beginning of the winter





And the Serbian calendar:

1. St Sava - the beginning of the spring
2. St George - the beginning of the summer
3. St Ilija - the beginning of the autumn
4. St Mitar - the beginning of the winter




The sun cross (Solstices and Equinoxes) and earth cross (Cross quarter days) are out of sync. The earth cross is rotated forward by 45 degrees and the earth circle cardinal points fall right in between the sun circle cardinal points. This is because the earth climatic, vegetative cycle lags behind the solar cycle. 

Winter solstice (21st of December) is the the shortest day. So we would expect that this is also the coldest day. We would also expect that from that day on, as the days start getting longer, the days also start getting warmer. But as we all know, this is not the case. The days do get longer, but the earth continues to cool. It is only at the beginning of February that we start seeing the first signs of the earth warming up. This is why the beginning of spring is at the beginning of February (Imbolc, St Sava (27th of January, but probably a replacement for the old Imbolc which is celebrated on the 1st of February)). The actual mid point is 4th of February. Which falls right in the middle of Aquarius (21 January – 19 February).

Spring equinox (21st of March) is the moment when the day is as long as night. From that day the days are longer than nights. We would expect that this would mark the beginning of the summer. But the real heat does not start until the beginning of May. This is why the beginning of summer is at the beginning of May (Bealtaine, which is today celebrated on the 1st of May, but there are indications that it was once celebrated on the 6th of May just like St George's day). The actual mid point is 6th of May. Which falls right in the middle of Taurus (21 April – 21 May).

Summer solstice (21st of June) is the longest day of the year. We would expect that this would also be the hottest day of the year. We would also expect that from that day on, as the days get shorter, the days also get colder. But again as we all know, that is not the case. The days do get shorter, but earth continues to warm. It is only at the beginning of August that we start seeing first sings of earth cooling down. This is why the beginning of autumn is at the beginning of August (Lughnasa which is today celebrated on the 1st of August but was once probably celebrated on the, 2nd of August, just like , St Ilija's day). The actual mid point is 2nd of August. Which falls right in the middle of Leo (23 July – 22 August).

Autumn equinox (21st of September) is the moment when the day is as long as night. From that day the days are shorter than nights. We would expect that this would mark the beginning of the winter. But the real cold does not start until the beginning of Novermber. This is why the beginning of winter is at the beginning of November (Samhain, St Mitar (8th of November, but probably the replacement for the old Samhain which is celebrated on the 31st of October)). The actual mid point is 5th of November. Which falls right in the middle of Eagle (Scorpio) (24 October – 22 November).

This is indeed incredible. The four points of the vegetative cross define climate, which is created during the continuous interplay between the Father Sun and Mother Earth. I talked about this in my post Yin and Yang. Interestingly these four points fall into four zodiac signs which are the four faces of the four living creatures described by Ezekiel. The four living creatures whom he identifies as cherubim, the guardians of the "Garden of Eden" and particularly "The Tree of Life". Garden of Eden is this earth and the Tree of Life is the life it produces. The life which can be only produced because the Father Sun and Mother Earth produce the ever changing climate whose change is marked by the four points of the Climatic cross Aquarius = Spring, Taurus = Summer, Leo = Autumn, Eagle = Winter...

The problem with his vision is that this climatic cross only corresponds with the climate in Europe. Not with the climate in Middle East and definitely not with the climate in Babylon...

I already said that this climatic cross is at the base of the Serbian and Celtic calendar. Ezekiel (allegedly) had his vision in the 6th century BC. Solomon who built the solar temple on David's threshing floor (allegedly) built it in the 10th century BC. 

There is no mention of anything like it in Hebrew Scriptures or Tradition. So why would Ezekiel "see" it in his vision?

The thing is this climatic cross was already known and was already sacred during the early Bronze Age. In Ireland. The same place where we found the so called "Celtic calendar" based on the above four cross quarter days. How do we know this? Well because we have stone circles aligned with these cross quarter days.


This is Grange stone circle. It is located on Lough Gur in County Limerick, Ireland. Composed of 113 standing stones, the Grange Stone Circle is the largest and finest in Ireland. Seán P. Ó Ríordáin excavated the Grange Stone Circle in 1939. During the excavations he found more than 4,000 shards of pottery, dating from the Early Neolithic to the Late Bronze Age, spanning a period of some 2,600 years. 




This is the ceremonial entrance. It is lined with stones in the same way as the Grange circle itself. The very entrance of the circle is marked with two large stones.



This ceremonial entrance is aligned with the sunrise on the first or second of August, the Day of Crom Dubh, Lughnassa, the day of Perun, Thundering sun Ilios. 

This is Beltany stone circle. It is located at Beltany, Co. Donegal. The name Beltany is an anglicised version of the Irish Beltaine, Beltane. The stone circle dates from around 1400-800 BC. Some reports are even saying that the actual building date is 2000 BC. The complex comprises a stone circle of 64 stones around a low earth platform or tumulus, situated at the summit of Beltany Hill. 


The stone circle has several alignments:

1. Alignment with the sunrise on the day of Bealltaine (6th May, middle of Taurus), the Beginning of Summer. 
2. Alignment with the sunrise on the day of the Winter Solstice (21st of December).
3. Alignment with the sunrise on the day of Samhain (1st of November, middle of Eagle, Scorpio), the Beginning of Winter. 
4. Alignment with the sunrise on the day of the Equinoxes (21st March and 21st September).

So Bronze Age Irish were already aligning their solar circles with the climatic cross at least a thousand years before Ezekiel had his vision of the "four living creatures pulling the throne of god". How did these symbols which make no sense in Middle East find their way there? Who brought them, when? 

A million dolars question :)

Thursday, 4 April 2019

St Austell font

This is Holy Trinity Church, St Austell is a parish church in the Church of England in St Austell, Cornwall.



The church was originally dedicated to St Austol, a Breton saint associated with St Meven, but is now dedicated to the Holy Trinity. By 1150 it had been appropriated to the Priory of Tywardreath by the Cardinhams: this continued until 1535. There was originally a Norman church here, of which some remains may be seen. The present church is of the 15th century. The church was restored in 1872 by George Edmund Street.

One of the the remains from the original Norman church is this baptismal font. It is richly decorated with four faces one at each corner, a tree of life, dragons, lions and birds.




I would like to thank Dr Helen Wilson for drawing my attention to this exceptionally beautiful and exceptionally strange object.

‏The reason why this font is so strange is that none of the symbols carved into it makes no sense from the Christian point of view.

This is because these are not Christian symbols 🙂

What is very interesting is that ALL the symbols have a very specific meaning in Slavic mythology.

Dragon

In my post "Three suns" I talked about the symbolic link between Snakes and the light and heat of the sun. This link was clearly preserved in Slavic mythology. Snakes come out of hibernation just before the the Spring Equinox. Snakes go back to hibernation just after the Autumn Equinox. So snakes are out during the period between Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, during the brightest and hottest part of the year. Slavs believed that once out, snakes constantly "suck the heat out of the sun" and that this is why sun eventually looses it's light and heat and days get shorter and shorter and colder and colder. 



In Slavic languages the word for dragon "zmaj" is the masculine form of the word for snake "zmija". In Slavic mythology dragon is believed to be an "old male snake"... 

The sun's heat is "young" week and beneficial at the end of spring, just before the summer starts. The sun's heat is "old" strong and destructive at the end of summer, just before the autumn starts. This is why Dragon, a heavenly being that breaths fire, the old male snake, represents the burning heat of the Late Summer, Early Autumn, the "old sun", the sun which is threatening to turn everything into cinder. 


In Slavic Pre-Christian religion this dragon was Veles, the great horned snake, who "Stole heavenly cows from Perun". Basically he is the late summer heat which dries the land and the sky and causes draughts. You can read more about this in my post "Lion killing Snake" and my post "Two crosses".

Lions

Veles (the summer heat) gets killed by Perun (autumn thunderstorms) at the moment when he is the most powerful: on the 2nd of August (the end of summer, beginning of autumn according to Serbian calendar). The day is celebrated in Serbia as Perun day or St Elijah the thunderer day. This happens in the middle of Leo zodiac sign. hence  two lions facing each other to symbolise "the middle of Leo". You can read more about this in my post "Thundering sun god".

Birds

The two birds, although they might look like owls, are just birds, not owls in particular. 

Every year, during spring, which is in Serbian called "proleće", which can mean both "before summer" and "flying by, migrating", migratory birds arrive back home, signalling the end of the cold part of the year and the beginning of the warm part of the year. 


Equally the end of the warm period of the year, which normally coincides with the end of October, the end of the climatic end of autumn, is signaled by the flight of the migratory birds, this time in the opposite direction, flying away to their wintering sites.


In the old Serbian calendar, year only had two parts: the warm, white part, summer (6th of May to 5th of November), and cold, dark part, winter (6th of November, 5th of May).

So the period between these two "let" (flights) of migratory birds, between their arrival and their departure, is "leto" (summer). This beginning of the new "summer" is the beginning of the new period of vegetative growth and abundance, the "important" part of the year. I believe that this is why Serbian word for "summer" and "year" is the same: "leto"...

Hence two birds facing each other, to symbolise the summer, the period between arrival and departure of the migrating birds.  

Four heads facing opposite directions

The Slavic sun god was Svetovid, who was represented with four heads looking in opposite directions. Svetovid (the all seeing, or the one who gives sight, who allows us to see the world). It is Svetovid (The Sun) who rules during the white (hot) part of the year. Hence four heads. 

This is one of four Svetovid wood figures with four faces from 9th or 10th century used for home worship, Wolin, Pomerania (today Poland). 


I talked about the meaning of his name in my post "The horseman".

Tree of life

The tree of life represents the fertile part of the year which corresponds to the hot part of the year which is symbolised by all the above symbols...This is broadly the period spanning summer and autumn, the so called "white part of the year" in Serbian calendar. 


In my post "Two crosses" I talked about the division of the solar year using solar cross (solstices and equinoxes) and earth cross (quarter days). The second solar year devision is at the core of the Celtic and Serbian calendar. 

In Celtic calendar the year is divided into two main parts (white and dark part of the year) by Bealtaine - the beginning of the summer and Samhain - the beginning of the winter.







In Serbian calendar the year is divided into two main parts (white and dark part of the year) by St George's day - the beginning of the summer and St Mitar's day - the beginning of the winter.



All together the symbols on the St Austell font create the full representation of a very specific point on the solar year: Lughnasadh, St Elijah the Thunderer day, Perun's day. The beginning of Autumn (Harvest). It is the moment when Dragon gets killed in the middle of Leo, in the middle of the period between the arrival and the departure of the migrating birds.... 

Not something you would expect 🙂 to find on a Norman font...

But then, Normans were eventual product of Danish, Norse and Slavic mix. So who knows, maybe this is how all of this somehow ended up in the Norman churches...Who knows...

O and just so you don't think that I am over-interpreting random bunch of decorative motifs  only present on one isolated Norman font made by a stoned stone mason 🙂

Here is another font with the same decorations, this one from the St Sampson church at South Hill, Cornwall





And here is another one which is even better. This is the font form the St Cyriacus and St Julitta church at Luxulyan Cornwall




The court heads, tree of life, dragons and lions are still there. But now we have dogs instead of birds. The point on the solar year that both of these fonts represent: 2nd of August, Lughnasadh, St Elijah the Thunderer day, Perun day,  The beginning of Autumn (Harvest), the period of the maximum sun's heat, is also known as dog days...

Interesting right?