Saturday, 14 May 2022

Vinča bread

One of several similar cult models of a loaf of bread, from the Neolithic Vinča culture. This one was found at Banjica-Usek archaeological site in Belgrade, capital of Serbia, and was dated to 4500 BC. Length 18 cm, width 6 cm. Collection of Belgrade City Museum...

Here is another one...



Another Vinča culture votive bread...This one could have found its way to Ireland...




From this post ritual hiding behind giant breads and about Neolithic Newgrange temple from Ireland and a very strange similarity between its entrance stone and this votive bread...



Einkorn and emmer wheat were an important part of the diet of ancient Vinča-culture. Cereals were ground using small quern-stones and the flour was made into dough which was then baked in ovens found in every Vinča house...

Photograph of the excavation of the Vinča Belo Brdo site, showing archaeologist Miloje Vasić standing next to a clay oven "in situ" and local villagers employed as excavators standing in the background. Early 20th c.  

Are you an experimental archaeology fan? Do you want to know how to make Neolithic Vinča culture style bread oven? And Bake bread in it? If you are any of the above, then this paper entitled "Late Neolithic ovens in central Balkans region" is a must... 

This is Pločnik archaeological site in Toplica District, Serbia. The 120 hectare settlement was built by people of the Neolithic Vinča culture around 5500 BCE and was used for 800 years, until it was destroyed by fire in 4700 BC... 

Local archaeologists reconstructed several houses and created a small replica neolithic village... 

The houses are equipped with the replicas of furniture, figurines and bread ovens found during the excavation... 

Local archaeologists use the archaeo village to run educational programs for kids. During one of these programs kids were thought how to make bread "neolithic style"...

 

Kids absolutely love kneading dough and making flat bread patties...




These are then placed in clay ovens, baked and then eaten by children themselves...



BTW, Vinča culture guys inherited their obsession with bread from the ancestral Starčevo culture. These where the guys who adopted grain agriculture, originally developed in the climate of the fertile crescent, for the European climate...

I wrote and article about one of their sites, Blagotin, where a temple dedicated to grain was found with many votive clay grain seeds...

Alósaka

How the hell did I end up here? When I was at school, my two most hated subjects were history/archaeology and biology...And yet today I will talk about animal calendar markers in the Alósaka cult of the Arizona's Hopi tribe.  

Pic Binoche et Giquello

The above figurine is a rare representation of Alósaka/Muyingwa, two aspects of the (supreme?) being or deity of the Hopi Kachina pantheon: the God of Germination and God of Growth of Corn...

There is also possibility that Alosaka and Muyingwa were two brothers (soon to see why this is important) and not two aspects of the same god. In any case, he/they lived in the Underworld and was/were the one(s) who made the seeds sown by the Hopi germinate and grow...

This two-horned deity was associated with rain. The symbols on the cheeks and at the base of the two horns are rain clouds. The long black hair at the back of the mask symbolises the curtains of heavy rain that this spirit is supposed to bring to irrigate the fields...

Alósaka/Muyingwa was the main god of the Aaltu (Two-Horned Priests) sect or secret/sacred society...Photograph by H.R. Voth, from the "Book of the Hopi" by Frank Waters 

Pic H.R. Voth

During the religious ceremonies, these guys wore Headdress of Alósaka, like this one: Basket head cap with a twine and two imitation horns of rawhide leather. Previous S.N. Los Angeles collection (not further specified)...

Pic by unknown (to me) author...

These ceremonial headdresses with fake leather horns were supposed to help the priests to personify either the horned god Alósaka, or the animal from whom the god borrowed his horns: the Desert Big Horn sheep...

Pic by Andrew Barna

Some ceremonial headdresses of the Two-Horn priests of Alósaka were actually made with real Big Horn sheep horns, like this one kept in the College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum...


Pic by Tim Riley

Both Horn God Alósaka (or his Two-Horned priest wearing Desert Big Horn sheep horns headdress) and Desert Big Horn sheep were found depicted on petroglyphs from the Hopi area. 


Pic by Moki John

Danny Rodman

Soooo...What's all this about? Why do we have a horned god, a deified Desert Big Horn sheep, associated with rain and corn? 

The answer is animal calendar markers...

Now, animal calendar markers are ancient calendar markers derived from the annual mating (most often) or birthing or migrating or hibernating habits of the animal in question...

In this case that animal is Desert Big Horn sheep...Their mating season is Jul–Oct. During that time, desert bighorn sheep, which normally live in separate ram and ewe bands, get together in big mixed herds to party baby!!! 🙂

Well every really good party with loads of horny guys all going for the best girl, eventually ends in fighting...Desert Big Horn rams are no exception. They charge at each other head-on crashing their massive horns together with tremendous impact...And bang...

Pic by Anthony Mercieca

Now this is not something you can miss if you lived anywhere near...Every year at the same time you would start hearing mighty crashing of ram's horns...And so this part of the year became known by Hopis as "the time of the Big Horn Rams"...

This would have been just a very very annoying time of the year, when everyone walked around with cheese in their ears (🙂) if something else very very very very important didn't happen at the same time...

To understand what I am talking about, let's first have a look at the climate in Arizona...That spike you see in Jul/Aug/Sep is the arrival of monsoon rains...Only the most important annual event, the one that makes corn agriculture (and life) possible in Arizona...


Soooo...The Big Horn rams start banging their horns and spilling their semen at the same time when the sky god starts banging his thunder drums and spilling his heavenly semen, rain...

Pic by mdesigner125

What do you think, how long did it take for Hopis to associate Big Horn Rams with the arrival of rain and to somehow magically correlate these two events? To turn Big Horn Ram into The Ram of Rain? And then to turn The Ram of Rain into The Ram Horned God of Rain?

BTW, you can see here why Alósaka/Muyingwa could have been one Big Horned God with two faces or two "brothers" Big Horned Gods...It takes two Big Horned Rams to produce the thundering sound that brings rain...🙂

So why would The Rain God also be The God of Germination and Growth of Corn? The Hopis relied on rains to grow corn, practicing dry farming in desert valleys that stretch between the mesas...No rain, no corn...

Pic by American Indian Magazine

Because of the temperatures in the area, the corn planting in Hopi country may some years start as early as April, but most corn goes into the ground in late May and early June...You can read more about Hopi corn agriculture here 

Pic David Wallace

Corn seeds germinate after about 2 week, and the new corn seeds (cob) start forming after about 10 weeks...Now in order for corn to develop cobs it needs water and sunshine...Which is exactly what The Big Horned God provides when Big Horned Rams start banging their heads...


Pic World Wheel Community

Soooo....There you have it...


I will finish this article with this ceremonial Alósaka screen. Just to add a cool plant calendar marker to the cool Animal calendar marker...

The pic is from "The Alósaka Cult of the Hopi Indians" by J. Walter Fewkes...

The entire middle screen is taken up by the depiction of the Horned God, Alósaka, holding in his right hand a cob of corn...A triple rain cloud symbol is depicted above god's head...So far so The Big Horned God of rain and corn...Nothing new...

In the lower left corner is the symbol of the sun...This guy minus feathers...

Pic Fred Kabotie

Why? Cause the sunniest, hottest time of the year is also the wettest, the rainiest time of the year...Hence the constant confusion whether the supreme Hopi god was sun or rain god...

On each side of the screens are attached four artificial flowers. And on the right side of the screen, is what??? Well, J. Walter Fewkes didn't know...Let me see if I can help identify this "mysterious" 🙂 object...

Ever heard of Saguaro cactus? Only the most recognisable thing from the Hopi land...Is the Horned God, Alósaka looking at a cactus? And if so, why would the God of Grain be looking at a cactus while holding a corn cob?

Pic by Learn more every day

Saguaro flowering begins around the last two weeks of April, and peak flowering occurs during the last week of May through the first week in June. 

Pic by unknown (to me) author

Pic by unknown (to me) author

Saguaro flowering is triggered by winter rain as well as the increased day length, and warmer temperatures of spring.

This is exactly when Hopis planted their corn...For corn to germinate, it needs soil soaked with water and warm temperature...Exactly what Saguaro cactus needs to start flowering...Hence Corn god looking at a cactus surrounded with flowers?

To read more about ancient animal and plant calendar markers, start here…then check the rest of the blog posts related to animal calendar markers I still didn't add to this page, and finally check my twitter threads I still didn't convert to blog post...I am 9 months behind now...

But you can start here, with "The Goat of Rain" from Iran...Why goat of rain? Cause: 

Ibex goats...

Pic by unknown (to me) author

in Iran start banging their heads in Oct/Nov...

Pic by Cheryl Ann Quigley

at exactly the same time when rain (god) arrives in that part of the world...

Which is why Ibex goat is the most depicted animal in Iran...

Pic by Bradshaw foundation

And we find dudes walking around Iran with caps with Ibex horns...

Pic by Met Museum

But before someone start talking about "Ancient Trans-Oceanic connections" and such stuff, I don't think that these two examples of Big Horned gods is a result of any such connection...It is an inevitable product of the hunter gatherers turning into farmers...

And farming needs some kind of calendar to tell you when to plough, when to sow, when to reap...A calendar which is in tune with the local climatic and vegetative cycle...

Now these hunter gatherers didn't know stars and such stuff to create stellar calendars...What they knew were plants and animals...And if you have animals that do the same thing every year, at the same time, then you can use them as calendar markers...

As agriculture become more and more important, and people start depending on it more and more, the animals related to the most important annual agricultural events become more and more important. To the point where they become deified...

And turned into gods...With characteristics of the original animal calendar markers animal...Or with the original calendar markers animal as their sacred animal...And this seems to have happen everywhere...And I believe totally independently...

It is just the way our brains work...It seems...

The return of Apollo to Delos

Large Cycladic krater. On the body of the vase the return of Apollo to Delos from the land of the Hyperboreans. Apollo is welcomed by his sister Artemis, who is holding a deer. 640 BC. National Archaeological Museum in Athens, inv. no. 911...

Pic by Ismoon

Here is the drawing of the complete main scene, which I believe is a complex calendar marker for the end of winter...Well the triumphant arrival of Apollo is a dead giveaway 🙂 He comes back from the "Hyperborea" in the spring...


The pile of birds on the top freeze probably depict migratory birds...So that is another hint...

But I am wandering if the fact that Artemis is offering a deer to Apollo, which she is holding by his antlers, is another symbol for the end of winter...Why? Because of this...


Red deer and Fallow deer bucks, usually depicted with Artemis, shed their antlers in late spring...At the moment of the arrival of Apollo...Is this why Artemis is holding the deer stag she is giving to Apollo by his antlers?


A deer with fully developed antlers can only be seen during late autumn, winter and early spring...

Pic by Peter Thompson

Which makes deer antlers symbol of winter...And their shedding symbol of the end of winter...


This definitely opens some interesting questions about the nature of Artemis and her link with deer...And sun...

Just in case you wondered why it is horses that pull Apollo's chariot...Check this post about Pegasus and Chimera...

Pic by Met Museum

To read more about ancient animal and plant calendar markers, start here…then check the rest of the blog posts related to animal calendar markers I still didn't add to this page, and finally check my twitter threads I still didn't convert to blog post...I am 9 months behind now...


Sunday, 8 May 2022

Suovetaurilia

On this picture you see "badnjak", Serbian Yule log, a young oak sapling which was ritually cut on Christmas Eve and "pečenica", Serbian Yule roast, a pig on a spit, which was ritually slaughtered and roasted on Christmas Eve...

I talked about Serbian Yule log and the rituals surrounding its cutting, bringing into the house and burning in the heath in my posts "Badnjak" and "First footer"

And I talked about the Serbian Christmas roast in my post "Sacrificial animals", which is about the sacrificial animals (boar, ram, bull) in Serbian tradition and their Indo-European root... 

Serbs were not the only people who had this triple animal sacrifice:

Lusitanians sacrificed a sheep, a pig and a bull to some local gods. Indians sacrificed a ram, a bull and a goat to Indra. Iranians sacrificed sheep, cattle and stallions to Anahita.

Greeks sacrificed ram, bull, and boar to Poseidon. And the Umbrians ram, bull, and boar to their main Grabovian Triad of gods...And Romans sacrificed boar, ram and bull to Mars...

We can see that this "triple" animal sacrifice was quite widespread...

But I don't think it was well understood...Even by me 🙂 at the time when I wrote my article about the Serbian sacrificial animals...

In that post I mentioned that the order in which animals are sacrificed in Serbian tradition was identical to the order of animals in suovetaurilia, one of the most sacred and traditional rites of Roman religion: the sacrifice of a pig (sus), a sheep (ovis) and a bull (taurus)...

This ceremony was performed "to purify and protect the land". The first step was to lead the three animals, in precise order, boar, ram, bull, around the boundaries of the land, and then sacrifice them to the god...

During public, state sacrifices, which could be held at any time of the year, the animals were dedicated to the god Mars...But during private, family sacrifices, which were held in May, the animals were dedicated to the Goddess Ceres...Goddess of grain harvest...

The significance of this completely escaped me at the time when I wrote my original post, cause at that time I was only beginning to discover animal calendar markers and still didn't understand their significance and their link with grain agricultural calendar...

I did notice the strange correlation between the order in which animal were sacrificed by the Romans (boar, ram, bull) and the order of months in which the same animals were sacrificed by the Serbs:

Boar - Dec

Ram - Apr

Bull - August

I also noticed that if you replace Serbian and Roman sacrificial animals (boar, ram, bull) with Indian sacrificial animals (goat, ram, bull), and if you place them on the zodiac circle you get this...

I thought this was interesting, not known how interesting...

Cause, for instance, at that time I didn't know that there was such a thing as animal symbols for seasons...

Goat - winter, followed by Ram - spring, followed by Bull - summer

I also didn't know that these animal calendar markers were derived from the mating and birthing seasons of depicted animals.

Goat - Oct/Nov - mating season of wild goats

Ram - Mar/Apr - lambing season of wild sheep

Bull - Apr/May - calving season of wild cattle

My main problem was with the fact that our European Zodiac uses animal calendar markers derived from the behaviour of animals in Europe...I talked about this in the articles lined to this page about Zodiac...

In Europe, Alpine ibex goats mate later than everywhere else...Hence Goat in the middle of winter...Not beginning...

So when I was looking at goat as the sacrificial animal, I made the same mistake interpreting this animal symbol, which lead me to misinterpret the meaning of Chimera

This is wrong...

I corrected my interpretation of Chimera in my post about Pegasus and Chimera...

The correct interpretation of Chimera is that it is a complex animal calendar marker for the hot, dry half of the year in Eastern Mediterranean, Levant and Mesopotamia...

Knowing what I know now, I would like in this post to correct my interpretation of the triple animal sacrifice...

First, goat and boar are mutually interchangeable as animal calendar markers. Both point to Oct/Nov, beginning of the mating season of wild goats and wild pigs...



Second, ram is an animal calendar marker for Mar/Apr, which is when the Eurasian wild sheep lambing season took place...


Third, bull and horse are mutually interchangeable as animal calendar markers. Both point to Apr/May, beginning of the mating season of wild horses and beginning of calving season of wild cattle...


Third Boar-Ram-Bull as animal calendar markers mark the period between Oct/Nov and Apr/May...

Very important period in grain agricultural calendar:

Oct/Nov - beginning of the grain planting season

Apr/May - beginning of the grain harvest season

Which becomes very important for understanding of this sacrifice when we realise that Roman peasants performed Suovetaurilia dedicated it to Ceres, Goddess of grain harvest in May, at the beginning of the grain harvest...

The meaning of Suovetaurilia then becomes: We will harvest when boar (Oct/Nov), ram (Mar/Apr) and bull (Apr/May) have passed (remember they are taken around the fields in that order)...

That's it...Most people think that Roman mythology is just recycled dumbed down Greek mythology...But actually, Roman peasants have preserved in their village rituals some very very ancient stuff indeed...

To read more about ancient animal and plant calendar markers, start here…then check the rest of the blog posts related to animal calendar markers I still didn't add to this page, and finally check my twitter threads I still didn't convert to blog post...I am 9 months behind now...

That's it...I hope you enjoyed this...Have a nice evening...