The Prophetic Tradition and the Immortal Feminine
Shamanism, Samadhi and the Tao
gathered for Educational purpose from http://www.dhushara.com/book/genesis2.htm by Sedna Joansi - 2001 – pgg.~ 375
Dedicated to the authors of “Genesis of Eden Diversity “ Web-site.
Members of the big Gaia-net community who is involved to produce and sharing knowledge for benefit of this our Planet Earth..
|à Genesis of Eden 2||.....||à Genesis of Eden 3||...................||Sommario (Index list)||...................||local home page|
As body is to mind,
so the immortal Garden is to the eternal Kingdom.
In Eden we were deprived of the Garden.
Through the Passion we were offered the Kingdom.
The Kingdom without the Garden is a violation of the Tao.
Now the time has come to get our feet on the ground
and give thanks to Eve for the immortal Garden of life.
Preface: This is a long chapter covering a wide sweep of ground including Old Testament, Christian, Islamic, Aztec, and 20th century ideas. Here is a brief contents so you don't get lost:
The world has come to an apocalyptic transition this century of all centuries, not just over the last four millennia, but over at least the 62 million years since the demise of the dinosaurs, for this is the century in which we have gained the knowledge and powers of ultimate destruction and inhertied by our very impact permanent responsibility for the survival and future evolution of our planet. Although much environmental damage was already wrought by primitive man, including catastrophic losses of great land animals such as the mastodon, the long transition from hunter-gatherer society to industrial civilization has seen an inexorable retreat from unity with nature. Although this was achieved through envronmental skills, particularly the development of agriculture and animal husbandry, the increased resources and the higher sustainable populations resulted in the development of cities and commercial economies. Although many ancient agrarian societies worshipped and respected the maintenance of fertility in the garden as the founding principle of cultural survival, the development of the great patriarchial civilizations has carried us ever further from natural harmony and ever closer to the domination and degradation of nature to fuel the needs of mankind. In some sense for all of us we know that we have fallen from unity with paradise in real terms both social and environmental. The fall from the garden has become an ever more apparent reality as the environmental crisis with its pollution and the threat of a devastating species extinction culminates millennia of development of civilization. To quote Karen Armstrong: "The curse of Adam and Eve has a relevance for us today. ... In our day when our greed for a fuller and more productive life has led to the selfish rape of the planet, childbearing and fertility have become a potential danger as we face a population explosion of fearful proportions. Like Adam, we are threatened with a new desert, a new sterility, a world in which human beings cannot easily live. Like Eve we have reached out eagerly for blessing refusing to accept the limitation of the environment and in the nature of things. Hence we have become a curse to the world" (Armstrong 1996 32).
There have always been times of tumult and war and times of disaster and famine, but this century stands as the pivotal one in all our three billion year history, the one humanity came of scientific and technological age in the cosmos, gained the power to alter the face of the planet and wilfully brought us right to the brink of nuclear Armageddon. We are now entering into a phase of cumulative destruction of the biosphere, upon which we and our offspring, and all the other species depend for their future and their evolutionary becoming. We are causing enough damage to destroy at least half the species which have taken up to 500 million years to evolve. We are causing a great extinction - a genetic holocaust - which is not the result of an astronomical accident or volcanic eruption, but the consequence of our own actions. Such a tragic passion has not occurred since the dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago and is unlikely to be repeated on the same scale ever again, for the Earth has been, until recently at its richest diversity of all time. In one century, we are removing most of the mineral resources which have accrued in up to 300 million years. We are destabilizing atmospheric cycles, felling the great tropical forests, and penetrating and disrupting just about every ecosystem. We are genetically altering the food plants replacing the free endowment of natural diversity with patented genetically-engineered varieties, reducing the natural diversity of the plants we depend on to near zero on a population basis, something which could leave future generations bereft of the means to survive under even a mild change of environment. We are causing infectious antibiotic resistance, cross-transferring invasive species and infectious genetic agents, and by and large reducing the fecund versatility of the biosphere to a fragile mechanistic shadow. While we now have all the keys of knowledge to a paradisiacal sustainable society, without a much greater degree of foresight, given our rapidly developing skills of genetic manipulation, we may even become the genetic monsters of our own materialistic fantasies. Individually, we are rational, but collectively we are driven by irrational biological, economic and developmental forces. Science has the analytic information, but humanity doesn't have the balancing wisdom to know what to do in the best interests of human society, the future of our descendents and the preservation of the biosphere. Armageddon is yet lurking in the shadows. The purpose of this account is to turn this tsunami of Armageddon.
While I applaud Karen Armstrong's Eden metaphor of the Fall, she is in fact being too kind to Adam and too hard on Eve. It is the male evolutionary prerogative which has caused us to refuse to accept the limitation of the environment. Women have always had to seek a sustainable world to bring up their small number of offspring, while the men have created any impact possible through spreading wild oats as gigolos, travelling musicians and great kings and despots and even rape. The use of controlled violence combined with reproductive competition has likewise led to war, atrocity and genocide as well as the development of industrial civilization. Despite being a male, I have to lay at Adam's feet, in the spermatogenic evolutionary strategy, responsibility for the population explosion, infinitely exacerbated by patriarchal religious leaders who insist on the male right to reproduce as well as man's dominion over nature, the endlessly exponentiating gross national product and its relentless industrializtion, environmental impacts which are never addressed until the damage is conclusive and possibly irreversible, and the devastation of a billion years of evolutionary diversity. For this reason it is necessary to abrogate and exorcise the doctrine of original sin which has cursed Eve throughout the history of patriarchal monotheism. The following is a mystery answerphone message under investigation by US Police 12 Apr 1997, but it could equally apply to mankind's treatment of Eve's genetic endowment:
I have no place to
I'm not sure, but I might have killed her.
I didn't mean to hurt her that bad.
I just wanted to show her who was on top
and who was the bigger person in the situation.
Genetic and environmental factors interpenetrate in non-relative homicide. Detroit has a 40 times higher murder rate than England and Wales. However men commit about 30 times as many murders as women. Genes and cultures are not mutually exclusive explanations, but the trend towards male violence is incontestable. Genetic and cultural factors of family disintegration may combine here. Limiting weapons is an obviously effective social misur
A feel for the difference between the reproductive strategies of the genders can be gleaned by comparing the Eves and Adams (the first common ancestor) of a given group with well-established geneaologies. Generally Adam is only about half as many generations back, because the much greater diversity of reproductive frequency among males quickly floods the population with a few successful genotypes. The mitochondrial Eve has been traced to Africa, with 80% of human diversity still present in African races, but the Y-chromosomes in Africa is particularly invariable, for similar reasons (Jones 94).
Adam and Eve in the Garden - Marc Chagall
While some may still believe the Biblical Creation and the Fall to have been an historical event, most now accept it as a Yahwist myth originating some ten or nine centuries before Christ, to explain the causes of the world, human separation from divine unity and social gender inequality. For nearly two thousand years, our founding cultural myth of man's origins was taken at face value. It was not until Charles Darwin, in the middle of the nineteenth century, that the theory of evolution acted inexorably to burst the bubble.
However, although the seven days of the sabbatical creation is merely a beautiful poetic allegory without any literal scientific credibility, the story of Adam and Eve and the serpent is of a different character altogether. This is an archetypal account of spiritual conflict, which is historical in an important sense, as it is a mythical account of changing social attitudes and interpretations of morality, mortality, which continues unresolved to this very day in our modern patriarchal industrial-technological society.
In reality it is both a Fall and a divorce, a fall from nature promoted by a fundamental schism between the genders as devastating as the that between mind and body, between the heavenly paradise of a male god and a flawed and sinful world of death instigated by the female, for in its very foundation, the myth describes the origin of human death through original sin, the carnal sin of sexuality itself, or as more ethereally put, the sin of disobedience, in eating the apple of knowledge of good and evil. The Fall from Eden thus stands as the founding and continuing archetypal myth of human culture, not just because it is the continuing allegory of our Fall, which far from ending is still building to a crescendo, but because it represents at its very core the existential dilemma of our meaning and existence. It is in this context, that I wish to examine closely the myth of Eden as the most powerful and far-reaching archetypal allegory ever to be told, which runs down human history like thunder, with a tumult of emotion and bloodshed. I will spin for you a visionary prophetic tale which, far from being inconsistent with the scientific reality may prove to be a very manifestation of the creative fertility principle in space-time.
Our purpose in discussing Genesis as discussed in the first chapter was to discover its archetypal significance to our current situation in terms of the Fall from unity with nature and to see in Genesis and its ultimate consummation in Requital a prophetic expression of nuclear and bio-apocalypse and the holocaust of nature. Isaac Hayutman with whom I am cooperating in conceiving the millenial climacteric has had a remarkably convergent vision with this, which gives expression to this very forward thinking for the scripture as a whole: "Our claim is that the same Torah which is with us for many generations will be discovered in our times as a new Torah which our forefathers have never imagined, and that this new understanding will be to a new creation, for which Man will be a full partner." And since we are now at the stage of the Creation of Adam, we must consider the case of the Trees of Knowledge and of Life, and the punishment which they may entail, not as a past event, but as a contemporary and real threat. In the following we shall discuss this very momentous possibility."
In describing the different versions of the Biblical Genesis, Isaac notes their division into one 'comedy' and three 'tragedies', a theme common to the tradition of Dionysian theatre, followed by a natural apocalypse (the flood).The ending of the first story is idyllic - "Thus the heavens and earth were finished, and all their host..... and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done". The second story - which contains three sub-narratives - also has three endings, all of which tragical. Adam and Eve are expelled from the garden of Eden, Ebel-Hevel is killed Cain is sentenced to wanderings, but in his end there is also hope: he builds the first city.The third story ends with the birth of Noah - the one who will survive while all his generation will be exterminated in the Flood. This future-directed vision leads to a reinterpretation of these phases as millennial epochs leading to the millennial messianic consummation. However this consummation is actually the reintegration or regeneration of the soul of humanity. "For indeed, even the story of our generation is inseparable from the story of the Creation. We are now within the third story of the creation, after the two thousand years of Tohu and two thousand years of Torah (the second half of which was the days of the two temples and the editing of the Torah), we are now within the two thousand years of the Messiah. The Fifth Day was the time of the formation of the Talmud and the Midrashim, and now - on the Sixth Day - 'Lets make Adam'." "The Bible heralds, no less that Nitzsche's Zaratustra, the appearance of a new human being, and that is the one called "Adam". This Adam is, in one aspect, all of humankind connected together as a single superorganism." "The mystery of Yahadut entailed in the word "Adam", which is both a primary cosmic principle and the human individual in utter uniquness, can perhaps be demonstrated visually in a mathematical pattern developed recently. This is the mathematics of fractals as pioneered by Benoit Mandelbrot."
"Psychologist A. Maslow, who studied human development to its peak, found that the most well developed humans (those who really merit the name 'Adam') and who have the most universal outlook are really the most individualized and unique."
"The paleontologist and mystical Christian Teilhard de Chardin tried in his own way to describe the future common brain of humankind, the pruduct of the whole planetary civilization, as a new sphere - the 'Noosphere' - which surrounds the Adamah-earth." "What is interesting for us at the present moment is the convergence between this world view and the Biblical world view. The precondition for any positive vision of the future is the stabilization of human population on earth to avoid total ecological disaster. The optimistic global demographic estimates are, as noted, that humankind will stabilize at about ten billion people and will reach that stable steady-state at about the middle of the twenty-second century C.E. The interesting fact is that this date is precisely the end of the six thousand years period of the Olam Haze accourding to the Jewish calendar. "
Of course, in biological terms, it is both a truth and a falsehood that sex was the origin of death. In the collecitve sense of our immortal germ-line, we can each say something more than Jesus said of Abraham, "Before Adam was, I am", because our living germ-line runs in an unbroken web of individual ancestors for 3500 million years all the way back to the earliest life forms on earth and in this sense we should all pay heed; true reverence and respect to our continuing immortality and cherish and guard its continued unfolding. However, in sex we do not transmit our genome intact but only half each in a merging. As a separate incarnated being, inevitably by degrees, with the optimization of the organism for complexity, a trade-off has resulted in the death of the organism and the loss of parthenogenetic capacity in all but the simpler multi-celled animals. However sex is not to blame for this. The truth is rather the reverse. It is through the vastly increased opportunities of novel recombination that sex has enabled the complexity of the organism to evolve, so that, while we experience a limited life-span, we owe our very existence as sentient humans, primarily, over all other factors, to sexuality itself. This comes despite its supposedly carnivorous origins (Margulis and Sagan ).
The concept of original sin and its relation to free-will leads to major questions of the origin of good and evil and social responsibility, which have wracked Christianity throught the centuries. With the advent of our understanding of genetics and the recent flowering of evolutionary anthropology, fundamental questions can also be asked about the impact of Darwinian ideas on our human heritage. Are we genetically endowed with the sins of competitive greed and the lust for domination and power?
Steve Jones (207) notes the so-called 'Agamemnon defense' after the character of the Iliad who excuses stealing the wife of Archilles, blaming "Zeus and the Fury that walks in darkness that blinded my judgement that day". A common defense of violent crimes, that one's judgement has been overcome by emotional factors, has recently been exteded to a whole new dimension with the allegation that some people, by their inheritance of so-called 'criminal genes', have become pathologically predisposed to commit crimes for which they cannot be held personally accountable, as it is part of their inheritance, something over which they had no control in their birth. Such arguments raise fundamental issues about human accountability, morality, free-will and any capacity to build a better world through human vision, social conscience and, although I hesitate to say it, the rule of law. The fundamental principles of justice and morality become unhinged and in a sense the very foundations of civilized society itself degenerate into a behaviourist and possibly a eugenic nightmare if we begin to compromise our own personal accountability to our genetic endowment. Although it is true that high testosterone may correlate with increased violence, with adequate education and understanding such variations can generally be accomodated. Jones (214) notes: "The law's basic assumption is that of autonomy: that everyone is liable for their deeds and is obliged to pay the price if they misbehave", based on the philosophy of the Greek Stoics of 300 BC who saw everyone as equally imbued with virtue and equally accountable for their misdemeanours. However the balance between nature and nurture is sensitive. This view must have exceptions when the culprit's soundness of mind is compromised. More recently a variety of other factors such as pre-menstrual tension have been invoked in some legislatures. An acid test is the ability to distinguish good from evil - to "know right from wrong". The rise of an understanding of the genetic impact on mental disease and the finding of genes for such conditions marks the final demise of the ancient idea that madness is due to possession by devils, who must be driven out by torture, or metaphorically by psychoanalysis. The question for the law is not whether to accept the idea for an inborn propensity, but how far it will go. "Is it a matter only of admitting the side-effects of some inherited disorders, most of whose carriers never transgress, or will the law allow as evidence genes that condemn all their carriers to offend?" (Jones 220). Such a mitigation has already been granted in law for a person suffering Huntington's disease. "By doing so it approached a question central not only to law, but to religion and philosophy. Why should there be evil? If man is born sinful, how should he be forgiven? How can he be blamed or judged? The issue strikes at the core of belief and of society." (Jones 221).
"Many of the thousands arrested for one crime or another carry genes that might alter their behaviour, giving them all a potential prospect of mitigation of the genetic defence is accepted. There is plenty of evidence for such a genetic impact. An identical twin of a criminal has a 50% higher risk of offending. A sibling twin only 20%. A similar statistic occurs for schizophrenia. A good example is the X-linked deficiency in monoamine oxidase, a gene effecting nerve transmitters, which causes some but not all carriers to become offenders. A similar case is a successful defense against fraud on account of genetic predisposition to alcoholism.(Jones 230-237). The genetic argument raises the question, "What is normal?", as everyone is genetically unique. There is in the general population a hundred-fold variation in the level of monoamine oxidase resulting in individuals who may vary from natural visionaries to depressive alcoholics. Thus to say real spiritual insight can only be gained without drugs may simply doom such vision to the select genetic few, the rest having to live by faith alone. The A1 variant of the dopamine D2 gene associated with alcoholism is carried by a fifth of the population. "Some hope to ... read the bookof life at birth, not after death. To do so is to risk the process of justice and to deny free will to everyone, good or evil. ... Society is not a product of genes, but of people, and what they do must be judged by the law and not by science (Jones 237, 242).
"Evolutionary psychology can provide an explanation for negative social traits in terms of natural selection. "Maybe people who faced [early social] rejection saw their chances of survival and reproduction plummet unless they became more socially vigilant neurotically attentive to nourishing their social ties. Thus genes that responded to rejection by instilling this neurotic vigilance, this insecurity, would have flourished. And eventually those genes could have spread through the species, becoming part of human nature. These two themes - universal human nature and the power of environment are related. It is belief in the power of environment of family milieu, cultural milieu, social happenstance that allows evolutionary psychologists to see great variation in human behavior, from person to person or from group to group, without reflexively concluding that the explanation lies in genetic variation". Even violence is eminently functional - something that people are designed to do. Especially men. From an evolutionary point of view, the leading cause of violence is maleness. "Men have evolved the morphological, physiological and psychological means to be effective users of violence" - Daly and Wilson. Females are the scarcer sexual resource. During evolution, males have competed over this resource ... as always with natural selection, we're left with the genes of the winners-in this case, genes inclining males toward fierce combat. The male yearning for status represents a legitimate expression of such evolutionary competition (Wright 1995). Evolutionary psychology depicts all kinds of things often thought to be "pathological" as "natural": unyielding hatred, mild depression, a tendency of men to treat women as their personal property. Some Darwinians even think that rape may in some sense be a 'natural' response to certain circumstances. Of course, to call these things "natural" isn't to call them beyond self-control, or beyond the influence of punishment. And it certainly isn't to call them good. If anything, evolutionary psychology might be invoked on behalf of the doctrine of Original Sin: we are in some respects born bad, and redemption entails struggle against our nature. However this idea of original sin is not one founded on theological doom, but rather an impetus to better understand our evolutionary biological heritage. It is only by men understanding the biological roots of their violence and tendency to dominion over nature that society can become whole and the environment can survive. The key to undoing the negative endowment of the Fall is thus understanding ourselves and adopting an ethical vision which induces the unity of purpose required to coexist in a closing circle of life.
By Darwinian lights, the classic sins, such as gluttony, lust, greed and envy, are the unchecked expression of impulses that arose by natural selection. More than a century ago, Thomas Huxley, Darwin's popularizer, lamented the fact that evolution has given all children "the instinct of unlimited self-assertion - their dose of original sin." However evolutionary psychologists say our "moral sentiments" likewise have an innate basis. Such impulses as compassion, empathy, generosity, gratitude and remorse are genetically based. Strange as it may sound, these impulses, with their checks on raw selfishness, helped our ancestors survive and pass their genes to future generations (Wright 1996). However these impulses did not give this boost to genetic proliferation by furthering the overall welfare of society nor the species. Humans don't naturally deploy our "moral" impulses diffusely - showering love and compassion on any needy Homo sapiens in the vicinity. We tend to reserve major doses of kindness either for close kin (the result of "kin selection") or for non-kin who show signs of someday retuming the favor ("reciprocal altruism'). Beneath familial love, for example, is malice toward our relatives' rivals. According to some evolutionary psychologists, we are "designed" by natural selection to conceal selfish motives from ourselves - indeed, to unconsciously build elaborate moral rationales for our selfish behavior (Wright 1996). Again the message is clear. When starving people are shown on television, the public do respond and are often moved with great emotion by their empathy with situations of human plight. Slavery became abolished. Throughout the world organizations like Amnesty International and Greenpeace receive their grass roots vitality from an emotional force to altruism which underlies the very will to survive in a world of light and life. It is clearly within the power of human communication to give a common sense of purpose to the human family, so that in reaching to the desire of humanity to live "creatively, intensively and successfully in the world" we all gain the blessing of fulfillment. It is within this framework that I say again "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you", but not to the extent that you hang accursed on a tree! George Williams, whose 1966 book Adaptation and Natural Selection laid the theoretical foundations of the Darwinian world view blanches at the view of human nature and of natural selection that he helped usher in: "Mother Nature," he says, "is a wicked old witch." (Wright 1996). However I do not eschew this primitive view which echoes the Christian delusion of the evil of primitive nature the rule of the jungle in a tooth and claw existence of fleeting life and shedding blood.
Cheetahs and Zebras coexist on the savannah. What seems like tooth and claw is a delicate population dynamic selective for both. Often stragglers are the victims and they may die quickly from suffocation or a neck bite. The crocodile guards its young in its mouth (Attenborough).
Underlying the competitive nature of evolution are other factors which link the populations of predators and prey, of plants and animals in a delicate and chaotic population dynamic, in which it is never the fittest, but the survivors in a surviving biosphere who are ultimately selected. The loss of the penis in birds is a stunning example. Such delicate population dynamics ensure that the predators cannot commit the genocide on their prey that we frequently witness in human warfare, because they would sign their own death warrant. Instances abound of symbiosis. Every cell in our bodies are symbionts. We could not breathe if it were not for the mitochondira we long ago inherited from respiring bacteria. Green plants could not exist without their chloroplasts. Lichen are fungi and algae in one, and the delicate dance of fertilization has produced flowers which copulate with insects and the entire biosphere depends on the cooperation between species to maintain plant diversity. Although the foundation of evolutionary diversity would appear to be opportunistic variation, certain themes emerge which hint at a deeper universality. The evolution of the mammalian brain provides a common set of structures from the limbic system to the cortex, which generate an emotional link between interacting mammals of many species, allowing for empathy, such as a hippo rescuing a gazelle from a crocodile, and even a responsiveness between predator and prey which can reduce the suffering of the victim. Virtually all animals share the same set of neurotransmitters and even insects and mammals share paralytic and deep phases of sleep. The biological basis of consciousness may lie more deeply in universal properties of quantum physics. The evolutionary development of humanity has optimized for central nervous plasticity to a such degree that one species alone, Homo sapiens has become in a sense a universal species and society has in turn become a second ecosystem, just as Teilard de Chardin (1951) has intuitively described, so that we stand wondering in awe at our place in the cosmic scheme of things. "Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods. One can fairly say that nature, far from rife with violence and seeting with competition, has been compassionate to humankind. We have been blessed with a life expectancy throughout our evolutionary period of 35-40 years and a life-style of diverse nutrition, with abundant time for leisure and social interaction. The concealed estrus likewise indicates a continuing significant evolutionary effect of female reproductive choice, consistent with a relatively egalitarian complementation between female gatherers and male hunter-scavengers. To understand the true meaning of deity, it is essential to understand the true meaning of nature, for it is in nature and in its crucible of the conscious mind that deity finds its most eloquent and enduring realization of the transcendant in the manifest. While it is essential that we see Eden "on the future horizon rather than in the rear-view mirror", we should not conclude that the evolutionary view is one in which "the evil in nature lies at its very roots."
Science and the Numinous
In another sense, the analytic knowledge of "good and evil", Occam's razor, in the very form of the objective scientific model of reality has cut its way through the visionary unity and purpose of human existence, reducing us to the image of chemical machines or cybernetic automata and the universe to Bertrand Russell's nightmare vision of oblivion "Such in outline, but even more purposeless, more devoid of meaning is the world which science presents for our belief. Amid such a world, if anywhere, our ideals henceforward must find a home. That man is the product of causes that had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave, that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspirations, all the noon-day brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of man's achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins - all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy that rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul's habitation henceforth be safely built. ... Brief and powerless is man's life, on him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark ... " This pessimism sums up the schizophrenia that science presents to us. By describing us reductionistically as a chemical machine, science reduces us to players in a mechanistic nightmare. The second law of thermodynamics is similarly pessimistic. All order will eventually disintegrate in increasing entropy. However the logic is missing the essential ingredients, life and consciousness. Life exists as an island of negative entropy in an increasing entropy universe. This is the way things have to be for life to exist. It is not a tragic error that entropy is increasing, it is a trade-off in which the existence of life becomes possible. Sex is another tradeoff in which parthenogenic immortality is traded away. Individual mortality results but the evolutionary scheme becomes grander in scope and is shared between the genders. Our life consists of a stream of consciousness from birth to death. This subjective level of experience is our only contact with reality. The physical world is a description of reality tying together our conscious experiences. Once consciousness enters into the description the picture changes enourmously. The ghost of free-will renters the machine in the form of uncertainty. The nature of subjective consciousness confounds the objective domain of conventional science - the so called 'hard problem' in consciousness research, because the subjective state is existentially distinct from any objective description of itself. The objective is a stability aspect of the subjective but not vice versa. Throughout the overwhelming time-span of human culture, probably the entire phase of our "primitive" origins, and still today over much of the planet, people believe in a transcendent meaning and reality to human conscious existence. Even with the advent of modern scientific discovery and analytic thought, a very substantial portion of the world population remain firm believers in this view, some believing in creator gods such as Yahweh and Allah, or diverse deities from Papa and Rangi the Maori Sky Father and Earth Mother through to more abstract representations of the cosmic mind through Buddha and the Tao and great abyss of shamanism. How is it possible to accomodate this visionary perspective with the scientific description of reality? The likely solution is as follows: In relation to the conscious realm, these descriptions are correctly capturing some real level of conscious experience which has something direct to do with human free-will, meaning, purpose and destiny, which is not inconsistent with the physical model, but is not recognised within the confines of its objective, reductionist framework. A Hermetic view of the universe.
The central fundamental enigma remaining in science is the apparently unfathomable mystery of subjective consciousness, which by its very nature stands outside the very frame of reference of objective enquiry, yet is the foundation of all our experience of existence. This is the so-called hard problem in consciousness research. Despite ever more elaborate studies of the parallels between brain scan images of the thinking brain and subjective mental states, no explanation is forthcoming. Moreover any explanation consistent with free-will must provide for indeterminacies in brain function, consistent with a description based on dynamical chaos and quantum uncertainty, suggesting the problem involves fundamental physics of a potentially cosmological sort. Conscious experience may in turn have a subtle and far-reaching effect on the affairs of the world and the unpredictability of circumstance, and which, when many people become aligned with a like intent, may effect the course of human history in unforeseen ways. Jung would have called this the relation between the collective subconscious and synchronicity, or as I would call it quantum non-locality. Although it is the stuff of "miracles", it does not contradict known physical laws. Because it works unpredictably on all scales of time and space, its effects, although never to be depended on for a demonstration, can nevertheless be devastating. It is in this sense of alignment of intent, that the great myths and the varied gods and goddesses of history have been effective guardians of human cultures, regardless of their beneficent or hideous forms and their bizarre practices or destructive sacrifices. Whatever moves the subterranean roots of human intent, can in some subtle way "move mountains". In this sense, many and possibly all entities which have been empowered with human alignment and intent throughout history have become a manifestation of the supernatural.
The Position of Carlos the Coyote
"Warriors know that the story of the Garden of Eden is an allegory for man's loss of silent knowledge, his knowledge of intent; at one time ancient man was close to the abstract, but then something happened that pulled him away from it and now he can't get back to it; the warrior's path represents a going back to the beginning, a return to paradise, a return to silent knowledge, a return to the abstract" (The Power of Silence).
The Garden of Eden: Naram-Sin (horned), and Consort ('Ningal') behold the seven-branched
Tree of Life beside wise serpent Nabu. Akkadian Cylinder Seal 2330-2150 BC (Wolkenstein)
In the above cylinder seal we are seeing the very sexual plot of the Garden of Eden that is going to have such impact on Jewish mythology from Genesis to the Crucifixion played out in front of our eyes. It is difficult to distinguish the genders of the two figures, but as things stand it is probably as described as above. However history records a reversal of ascendance in which the Queen becomes supreme and her consort a sacrificial king, Dumuzzi representing renewal of vegetation. On the right is now Inanna, the resurgent daughter of the Moon God Nannar, or Sin with the moon horns. The Tree of Life has distinctive seven branches - the menorah of nature. On the far right is an ascending snake. We thus inherit the two symbols of eternal life, the tree of life and the snake of wisdom who sheds his skin. The consort Dumuzzi becomes sacrificed seasonally as the mortal Adam for the sake of renewed life, but it could equally be Gilgamesh, who rejects the association to avoid the sacrifice in Babylonian myth. Subsequently, fired by a Zoroastrian prophetic eschatology, Jesus accepts the sacrifice but rejects the marriage, to perform the cosmic renovation of the sacrifical cycle in undoing the mortal sins of Eve. The original healing version of this story was celebrated in the times of Abraham, by Inanna's own father Nannar with his consort Ningal by remaining in love and nutruring the tree of life through their loving care, as portrayed in the Stele of Ur-Nammu 2300 BC. It is also characteristic of all societies which actively worshiped fertility, such as Egypt and Canaan.
Garden at Thebes: In Egypt fertility and abundance were
worshipped in the form of the Goddess Hathor (Ayensu et. al.).
Despite our growing suspicions concerning the decline and fall of the patriarchal age, we should recognise at the outset that the male gender as such is not wholly responsible for the downfall from nature, because it was the Goddess Inanna who cut down the Huluppu with the help of Gilgamesh. Although this tree was saved from the floodwaters of the Euphrates by Inanna, this was the single and only tree.
In the first days, in
the very first days,
In the first nights, in the very first nights,
In the first years, in the very first years, ...
When heaven had moved away from earth,
And earth had separated from heaven, ...
At that time, a tree,
a single tree, a hulluppu- tree
Was planted by the banks of the Euphrates.
The tree was nurtured by the waters of the Euphrates.
The whirling South Wind arose, pulling at its roots
And ripping at its branches
Until the waters of the Euphrates carried it away.
A woman who walked in
fear of .. the Sky God, An,
Who walked in fear of the word of the Air God, Enlil,
Plucked the tree from the river and spoke:
"I shall bring this tree to Uruk.
I shall plant this tree in my holy garden."
Inanna cared for the tree with her hand.
She settled the earth around the tree with her foot. ...
"How long will
it be until I have a shining throne to sit upon?
How long will it be until I have a shining bed to lie upon?"
The years passed; five years, then ten years.
The tree grew thick, but its bark did not split. ...
The Sacred Tree, Lilith of the Sumerians and a Jewish Lilith from Persia .
(Wolkenstein, Willis, Pritchard)
Gilgamesh the valiant
The hero of Uruk, stood by Inanna.
Gilgamesh fastened his armor of fifty minas around his chest.
The fifty minas weighed as little to him as fifty feathers.
He lifted his bronze ax, the ax of the road,
Weighing seven talents and seven minas, to his shoulder.
He entered Inanna's holy garden.
Gilgamesh struck the serpent who could not be charmed.
The Anzu - bird flew with his young to the mountains; -
And Lilith smashed her home and fled to the wild, uninhabited places.
loosened the roots of the huluppu-tree;
And the sons of the city, who accompanied him, cut off the branches.
From the trunk of the tree he carved a throne for his holy sister.
From the trunk of the tree Gilgamesh carved a bed for Inanna-
From the roots of the tree she fashioned a pukku for her brother.
From the crown of the tree Inanna fashioned a mikku
for Gilgamesh, the hero of Uruk
Lilith, who is also the second mythical wife who would not lie under the Biblical Adam, plays a similar wilderness role in this myth. She is portrayed in various near Eastern cultures as the child-slayer and re-emerges in later Jewish lore as the Queen of Sheba.
The First Adam and the Fall from the Garden
The Old Testament made significant changes to the Sumerian story of Adapa who was tricked out of immortality by the gods telling him the bread and waters of life were those of death, in a way which introduces key themes of conflict between the genders.
Adam ('adam man) is claimed to mean "man of blood" (Walker 8), but "dust" (Thompson 14) is consistent with 'adamah, earth (Armstrong 1996 20, Fox R 17)). There is however an ironic twist to Adam's very nature as pointed out by Miles (44). The Hebrew sopek dam ha'adam ba'adam damo yisapek - 'shed man's blood, by man your blood be shed' illustrates the close relationship between man adam and blood dam. Although Adam was originally made from menstrual blood and clay, in the Yahwistic Genesis 2 account dating from around 900 BC, Yahweh makes Eve out of the rib of Adam. We thus see the generative principle transferred from woman to man, consistent with the primacy of male Yahweh, and before him Enki, who through his fertility, brings abundance to all Sumer, and with the patriarchal view of man's sperm as the true seed, while woman is merely the receptacle:
After he had cast is
eye from that spot,
After the father Enki had lifted it over the Euphrates,
He stood up proudly like a rampant bull,
He lifts the penis, ejaculates,
Filled the Tigris with sparkling water ...
The wild cow mooing for its young in the pastures ...
The grain he brought, ... the people eat it ...
This is with some irony because in Sumeria there is a myth of Enki God of Wisdom and the primal Earth Goddess Ki. Enki eats the forbidden plants from her sacred garden and gets sick. The Goddess gathers eight nymphs to care for each of the diseased organs, and Ninti was Goddess of the Rib the Lady of Life who also fashioned babies bones out of their pregnent mothers' ribs (Walker 728). The Yahwistic myth seems to have intentionally reversed this much earlier one to 'turn the tables' on the female. There are further precedents in the myth of Utnapishtim and the plant of rejuvenation.
The creation of Adam - William Blake. Eve is not present here but the serpent is there from the beginning with God before both man and the animals. Although in the later Genesis 1 account, the serpent is part of God's good creation, with the animals, in the Eden myth the serpent lies outside God's frame of reference. Armstrong (1996) asks "Was the serpent part of the original tohu vo-vohu that survived the creative ordering?"
The Bible has two discordant creations accounts, Genesis 1 being a much later work of 6th century BC work by the priestly author and the Yahwist one of Genesis 2 and 3 being earlier, probably 8th century BC, although "some interpreters still look fondly back to an origin c 930-900" (Fox R 21). This is roughly contemporary with Hesiod's story of origins, through the Fall caused by Pandora releasing all the afflictions of the world (Fox R 21). There is also a brief Elohistic account of the Creation at Genesis 5. This is different again from the later priestly account of Genesis 1. In this account God, 'Elohim creates Adam alone male and female in our likeness. This suggests an almost androgynous origin. It confirms however a different idea of God existed, of the sort the priestly author has described:
This is the book of
the generations of Adam.
In the day that God created man,
in the likeness of God made he him;
Male and female created he them;
and blessed them, and called their name Adam,
in the day when they were created.
And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years,
and begat a son in his own likeness,
and after his image; and called his name Seth
This God or 'Elohim is different from the Lord or Yahveh-'elohim we see in the Eden myth. This God creates man in our image, male and female, but strangely both in the name of Adam and they begat a son. This account suggests we should look behind the priestly account to suggest that there too was an ancient 'Elohistic tradition in which God said be fruitful and multiply. This 'Elohistic Northern Kingdom aspect has been substantially over-written in the Bible because it is a compiled Judean account. By contrast the Yahwistic generations of Adam 4:1 stress the beginning of sexuality "Now Adam knew his wife Eve, and she conceived" The Kabbalah, which follows a strongly elhoist view of creation, sees Adam and Eve created by cleavage from a single androgynous being, whose male and female faces could not turn to look at one another until they became separated.
What is singular about the Eden creation myth is that Man is created first in archetype, then the plants and finally the animals. This is the eternal or spatial creation, which 'divides space' while Genesis 1 temporal creation 'divides time' into its seven epochs (Fox R 18). In Eden, it is as if the creation process has a divine destination of mankind and that hidden in the eternal aspect of space-time, despite the endless weaving of evolutionary change, a feature of the catastrophe landscape of the cosmos, pre-figured in the mind of God, is the anthropic archetype, the noosphere species - humankind. This creation is also distinctly psychic. God does not act to produce the heavenly bodies as in Genesis 1, but simply stoops to the ground and picks up some dust. His very breath becomes the spirit of conscious existence: Notice also that he is now YHVH 'elohim the 'LORD God', a Lord as distinct from the 'Elohim or plural God of Genesis 1 (Miles 30).
And the LORD God
formed man of the dust of the ground,
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;
and man became a living soul.
God then founds a garden, strangely not a cosmic one, but in an eastward locality. This suggests that Yahweh could have been a local deity. The garden is his female counterpart, his Asherah. Kaballists see the garden as both a physical mystery of sex and a mystery of transcendence of the "indwelling glory" or Shekhinah. All aspects of the garden are thus female (Waite 262).
And the LORD God planted
a garden eastward in Eden;
and there he put the man whom he had formed.
In Michelangelo's Creation of Adam in the Sistine chapel, ... Yahweh's right arm
stretches out, almost touching the outstretched hand of the beautiful-bodied
Adam into whom he is about to breathe life. That Eve is already present in
the Creator's mind, but as a secondary thought, is quite evident, as the Lord
God's left arm encircles an apprehensive-looking Eve who is also
on a smaller scale than the other two figures (Haskins 68).
The plant world is now created, after creating Homo sapiens. Notice here the duality between the Tree of Life and immortal wholeness is clearly declared as a counterpoint to the Tree of binary division Knowledge of Good and Evil:
And out of the ground
made the LORD God to grow every tree
that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food;
the tree of life also in the midst of the garden,
and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
The myth then describes the four waters, like the four directions:
"And a river
went out of Eden to water the garden;
and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. ...
Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel and Euphrates.
And then we see clearly the divine purpose of man revealed. As this is the eternal creation, this remains forever his eternal purpose. It is this purpose we should consider in this very era as our guardianship of nature in immortal continuity. And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
God then plays the classic Sumerian trick on Adam with a double irony. He honestly tells him not to eat the Tree of Division, but doesn't reveal the existence of the Tree of Life at all, so either way Adam loses. Unlike the simple command of Genesis 1 to be fruitful and multiply, we now have a prohibition ):
And the LORD God
commanded the man, saying,
Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,
thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof
thou shalt surely die.
God began to lose touch with Adam. He could see that Adam was lonely despite being close to himself. (Armstrong 1996 23). The LORD God is different from God. God has only a command "be fruitful and multiply" but the LORD God has a prohibition (Miles 30).
And the LORD God
It is not good that the man should be alone;
I will make him an help meet for him.
We finally reach the creation and naming of the animals by Adam, long after the creation of man. "Every thing that creepeth on the earth" is conspicuously absent. It was later said that this naming is what made Iblis jealous of Adam and led to the Heavenly Fall, so we have two Falls in one in this myth:
And out of the ground
the LORD God formed every beast of the field,
and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them:
and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
Eve generated from paternal Adam by the Father God
followed by the temptation (Willis)
Now the patriarchal imperative begins to bite. The female, even before original sin, is assigned the mere role of help meet, a domestic utility, although also a partner. Worse still, the female is a mere rib, an outgrowth of the male seed line, one step further from God's creation, which in the Malleus Maleficarum became the contrary twisted rib that symbolized woman's contrary evil nature:
but for Adam there
was not found an help meet for him.
And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam,
and he slept: and he took one of his ribs,
and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man,
made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
At this point, in the midst of the oneness of the flesh, which itself is a poetic expression of sexual union, we see the patriarchal imperative enshrined. She is flesh of 'his' flesh and the bearer of 'his' seed line. But notice that, unlike the woman, the man still leaves his family to cleave unto her suggesting a continuing matrilocal custom, despite the patriarchal rhetoric. Since they were "not ashamed" it would appear that they did have a sexual relationship and that sex is not the origin of death after all, but the knowledge of good and evil is, although the Kaballah marks "flesh of my flesh" as the origin point of original sin. Adam is delighted, but does not express gratitude or acknowledgement towards the YHVH 'elohim (Miles 31).
And Adam said this is
now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh:
She shall be called woman because she was taken out of man.
Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother
and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
And they were both naked ... and were not ashamed.
The serpent now asks the woman "Has God forbidden any fruit?" The woman also does not know of two trees but only the taboo on "the tree in the midst". She is thus even more subtly deceived than Adam by God's 'forked tongue'. Is the serpent's ability a reflection on God's power, (Miles 33) or are the serpent and YHVH 'elohim mutual deceivers in this interrogation? Hermes, the messenger of the caduceus serpent, was a known liar. When people fell into silence and communication was broken, Greeks said "Hermes is passing" (Willis 145). In noting that neither Eve, nor the Serpent were party to God's prohibition against Adam, for Eve was not then even created, Robin Lane Fox (26) quotes John Donne:
forbidden to the snake
Nor her who was not then made"
"If the serpent is a liar, YHVH gets a sympathetic treatment: By planting the tree of life in the garden and not prohibiting its use, God apparently intended to give man the option of immortality, but man missed his chance by electing to eat of the other tree, which God had warned him not to touch under pain of immediate death: "for in the day that thou eatest thou shalt surely die." This suggests that the forbidden tree was really a tree of death, not [merely] of knowledge. ... Humanity, misled by the serpent, ate of the wrong tree and so forfeited the immortality which [the] benevolent Creator had designed for him." (Tribble 1973, 1978, Christ and Plaskow). Karen Armstrong (1996) however highlights a different perspective, noting that the snake communicates well, suggesting in a sense he is humanity itself, questioning and rebelling, and suggesting hat Eve's unsolicited comment that they were "not even supposed to touch the tree" suggests she is developing her own creative interpretation of God's command. Certainly the serpent asks the archetypal question of natural inquiry "are any fruit forbidden?"
Hieronymous Bosch - Eden
Now the serpent was more subtil
than any beast of the field ...
and he said unto the woman "Hath God said
ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"
And the woman said unto the serpent,
We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it,
neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the woman said ... but the fruit of the tree
which is in the midst of the garden
God hath said ye shall not eat of it,
neither shall ye touch it lest ye die.
The wise serpent of course suggests Yahweh is hiding something from the pair and recommends they take the hidden fruit of knowledge which will make them even as gods. Eve is thus the "emblem of the human desire to embrace the world and ingest experience without restraint" (Armstrong 1996 29). This is the only way to affirm the ultimate relationship between the transcendent and the manifest And the serpent was wise and true for Adam, despite God's immediate death threat and his subsequent mortality, was to live for another thousand years (Gen 5:5). And the serpent is also true about this - at first Adam and Eve were allowed to eat all the other trees, including the Tree of Life. So in a completely fulfilling universe of the sort that Eve sought after Adam and Eve would have been able to have both knowledge and immortality, just as the cosmos has both substance and consciousness. What is the point of God denying immortality in exchange for knowledge? Thats a tragic dilemma. Why not make the creation complete?
And the serpent said
... ye shall not surely die,
For God doth know that in the day ye eat ...
your eyes shall be opened,
and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food,
and was pleasant to the eyes
and a tree to be desired to make one wise ...
"Armstrong (1996 29) poetically exclaims "The knowledge she sought was thus sensual as well as intellectual. Eve was striving to achieve blessing to gain a fuller experience of life in its entirety". The Kabbalah suggests these words are the first union: "She consented originally to union as a result of her reflections on the value of conjugal relations and by reason of that pure affection and tenderness which united her to Adam" (Waite 282). Fox (1992 18) notes wryly "The couple eat and are enhanced and God does indeed go back on his warning". Miles (35) invokes self-consciousness - awareness of their desire, which had already been previously consummated in innocence - the very hallmark of the human state! Oscar Wild comments "Disobedience: man's original virtue" (Fox R 25).
Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil as a mushroom,
entwined by the serpent - Christian Fresco (Allegro 1970)
Notice that Eve asks for wisdom, Sophia rather than the analytic "knowledge of good and evil". Poor Eve was sadly tricked because the knowledge of good and evil - the competitive spermatogenic principle is the male's strategy, hers was of the tree of life, synthesis sustainability and wisdom. The Kabbalah says "The tree of life is over the female principle in the state of sacramentum ineffable (Waite 269). However one could also say the male turned the Gatherer Queen's knowledge into the male combat myth of God and Satan in the final Armageddon.
It has been suggested (Rosenberg and Bloom, Fox R) that some aspects of the writings of the Yahwistic author J are consistent with this person being a female authoress, who was a member of David's court and may have had a critical view of Bathsheba's influence. Bloom sees her as miscivous, ironic and totally irreligious, becoming an even greater irony of historical fate at the hands of subsequent interpreters. There is potential substance in this idea for it is through J that many of our early myths of the strong matriarchs come down to us. We have to be grateful for J for these slants of protrayal which do give us insights which would otherside be impossible. There is thus another quite contrary view of the Yahwistic Eden as clipping satyrical commentary on the very gender issues it describes. If so, then perhaps Yahveh Adonai's character is truly ironic. Phyllis Tribble (Christ and Plaskow 1979 74) has consistently with this advanced an analysis which portrays the roles of Adan and Eve as far less sexist, claiming Eve's creation is as divine as Adam's because both required an act of God. She uses the Hebrew text to justify reference to adamah as the ground (androgyny) and 'flesh of my flesh' as sexuality. She questons the man naming woman as authority and sees them as 'equal in responsibility, judgement, shame and guilt'.
She furthermore sees Eve as the more powerful and resourceful: "Why does the serpent speak to the woman and not to the man? Let a female speculate. If the serpent is "more subtle" than its fellow creatures, the woman is more appealing than her husband. Throughout the myth, she is the more intelligent one, the more aggressive one, and the one with greater sensibilities." Perhaps the woman elevates the animal world by conversing theologically with the serpent. At any rate, she understands the hermeneutical task. In quoting God, she interprets the prohibition ("neither shall you touch it"). The woman is both theologian and translator. She contemplates the tree, taking into account all the possibilities. The tree is good for food; it satisfies the physical drives. It pleases the eyes; it is esthetically and emotionally desirable. Above all, it is coveted as the source of wisdom (haskil). Thus the woman is fully aware when she acts, her vision encompassing the gamut of life. She takes the fruit, and she eats. The initiative and the decision are hers alone. There is no consultation with her husband. She seeks neither his advice nor his permission. She acts independently. By contrast, the man is a silent, passive, and bland recipient."
Another Kabbalah tradition suggests the tree of knowledge was the vine and that, like Noah, Eve produced wine and through their inebriation they perceived the ills of the world (Waite 284,291). The mushroom has similarly been associated with the Tree of Knowledge as in the fresco (Fig 5.12:). Both apply more appropriately to the Tree of Life.
she took thereof and
gave also to her husband with her.
And the eyes of them both were opened
and they knew that they were naked.
Karen Armstrong (1996 26-7) comments: "Men and women want to live creatively, intensively and successfully in the world. They long to fulfill the potential of their nature ... What Adam and Eve sought from the tree of knowledge ... was the practical wisdom that would give them blessing and fulfillment". The LORD God also appears to be lonely for company, suggesting the sovreignty of his his perfection has been compromised .
And they heard the
voice of the LORD God
walking in the garden in the cool of the day:
and Adam and his wife hid themselves ...
amongst the trees of the garden.
And the LORD God
called unto Adam,
and said unto him, Where art thou?
And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden,
and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
And he said, Who told
thee that thou wast naked?
Hast thou eaten of the tree,
whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
Adam of course blames his own choice on the woman, and the woman in turn is portrayed as weak-willed, beguiled by lust and heresy:
And the man said, The
woman whom thou gavest to be with me,
she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
And the LORD God said
unto the woman,
What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said,
The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
And Yahweh, ever the patriarch, exerts his vengeful punishment. God doesn't make good his immediate threat of death but condemns them to mortality. Thus we see as in the Sumerian myth that the supposed fruit of knowledge is actually the fruit of eventual death:
And the Lord God said
to the serpent ...
I will put enmity between thee and the woman
and between thy seed and her seed;
it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
He is particularly harsh on the woman causing her whole life to be travail and subjugating her to the rule of the man for beguiling him:
"I will greatly
multiply thy sorrow and thy conception;
in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children,
thy desire shall be unto thy husband
and he shall rule over thee."
The death penalty, which has failed for all time to act as a deterrent (Fox R 18) is now communted to mortality and pronounced on the male, Adam. It is interesting that God does not pronounce this on Eve, recognizing that through child birth she is in fact immortal in phenotype, Adam's mortality perhaps also reflecting commentary on the dying and resurrected sacred king. However in other respects, Adam, who of course shares his mortality with Eve in real life, has a significantly lighter punishment, a pioneering life of physical endeavor to feed his family while struggling against the wilderness: the cursed ground of Adam.
Left: Leonardo Chiaiese Expulsion of Adam and Eve
St. Michaels church Anacapri.
Cursed is the ground
for thy sake;
In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee;
and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
in the sweat of thy face shall thou eat bread
till thou return unto the ground
for dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return...
Finally, almost in passing, as a concession by the mortal Adam who named the beasts, we discover that the earthly Eve has all along been the great Earth Goddess, the immortal Mother of all Living who has been denigrated to a mere "fair woman which is without discretion" (Proverbs 11:22):
And Adam called his
wife's name Eve;
because she was the mother of all living.
In paradoxical kindness, after his immature outburst of anger, the YHVH 'elohim, in addition to their fig-leaves, almost as a sin-offering for what he is about to do, and of course emphasizing the social taboo against nakedness, with his own 'handiwork':
"Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them."
Now we reach the nub of the plot, the jealous God, who could not tolerate his creation becoming truly divine, which Gnostics were later to identify with the demiurge rather than the creator. Why on earth steal the tree of life he had already given them just to prevent them having knowledge? What they needed was the balance. Why steal half of creation off the female? The blade has stolen the heritage of the chalice! This means the cup of blood!:
And the Lord God
said, Behold the man is become
as one of us one of us, to know good and evil;:
and now lest he put forth his hand
and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever:
therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden ...
and [placed] a flaming sword which turned every way,
to keep the way of the tree of life.
Mankind's ancestors usually appear being driven forth in their nakedness, their arms raised to protect themselves from the angel's sword ..., or hands clasped to their genitals and breasts, ... the loci of their misdeed. In their wake trail all the horrors and chaos of existence, sin and death, which will replace the primal innocence and felicity they enjoyed in the Garden (Haskins 69). Like the Sumerian myth, there are two trees in the garden, one of life and one of the "knowledge of good and evil". These two trees form a binary division between wisdom - the understanding of immortality and analytic knowledge - science, judgement and morality. In the Biblical myth, a falling out of balance occurs, the knowledge of good and evil without the wisdom of life leads to mortality, being cast out of the garden and the road to Armageddon, because the unity of the tree of life is overwhelmed by the divisive knowledge of opposing realites good and evil, light and dark - the male bifurcation principle. The Kaballah notes: "When Adam ate of the Tree of Good and Evil he provoked the separation of woman from man" (Waite 284).
Yahweh specifically instructs Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil just as Ea did, while the tree of life is distracted from their view. One could consider this the same trick of Ea. It certainly leads directly to a the binary division of tabu and mortal tragedy. Eve follows the advice of the serpent and she and Adam eat of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil. Their eyes become opened and they cover themselves - become civilized. A chauvinistic Yahweh then banishes them from the garden, lest they also eat the fruit of immortality, and become like him, setting fiery angels to guard the entrance thus condemning them to misery on earth, mortality and the sexual guilt of original sin. The fall from divine immortality to carnal knowledge, and the retreat of the Shekhinah and her spirit of matrimonial concord from imminent immediacy in this schism.
Right: Adam and Eve in the Garden - Cranach (Pagels)
There are here two intertwined themes : the schism of the genders and the downfall from nature. Instead of chaos or tohu vu-vohu complementing order in the unfolding of nature, this has set off a chain of events, where man is set against nature, light is set against dark, order against chaos, and Yahweh and his own "light-bearer", Satan are in endless opposition until the final catastrophic Christ-Antichrist Armageddon. The balance between intuition (wisdom) and analytic knowledge (good-evil) has become upset. The mindless application of order, the analytic knowledge of good and evil - the male bifurcation - at the expense of the female fertility principle - the enclosed chalice of unity - is at the centre of the downfall.
The midrashim tell a frankly phallic story of Eden, which also illustrates Muhammad's familiarity with Jewish texts, for Samael the archangel became jealous of Adam, who despite being made of dust surpassed the angel in wisdon and understanding. Adam pronounces the secret names of the animals. Samael refuses to pay gomage to Adam and leads the fall of the angels, as recounted also in the Qur'an. God in another midrash then makes Lilith from filth and sediment. Adam tries to force her but she will not lie under him and rises up uttering God's magic name (Thompson 16). The next creature made of blood guts and hair is too physical. Only after several attempts by God to construct a partner to satisfy Adam do we arrive at Eve who has been described as so beautiful that she could not be looked upon. After the fall another midrash relates Adam tried to abstain for 130 years and was tormented by the spirit of Lilith as a succubus at night (Thompson 19).
Eve is also identifiable with Maha-Kali the mother of time, the fearsome Aztec Lady of the Serpent Skirts and goddesses such as Cybele and the snake goddess of Crete. She is a sexual entity who relates to sexuality directly in the form of the snake and sacrificially in a fearsome manner which has included ritual castration. One can thus see a dark and fickle side of her which has caused the male gender consternation and paranoia. For her life and death are phases of one immortal cycle and not opposing principles. Another aspect of Eve's evil portrayal is in the guise of Pandora who was blamed by the Greeks for releasing disease into the world (Phillips).
The delicate relationship between the Moon God and the Queen of Heaven, his astral and fertility counterpart became a central theme of conflict throughout the Old Testament. While the astral Moon God as the Lord of Knowledge retained a complementary realtionship with the Great Goddess of fertility, in which the immortal fertility of the garden was preserved. Subsequently the resurgent descent of the Queen of Heaven and the lightweight role played by her sacrificial Adonai or Lord as resurrecting lover came to be an anathema to Yahweh when he rejected his cosmic lunar nature to become a male tribal patron deity.
The Queen of Heaven and her sacrificial role thus stands as the very mortality for which Adam suffered, the hieros gamos or sacred marriage and the ritual sexual licence which accompanied such fertility worship - the very act of sex leading to sacrificial death. It is this tortured historical episode of the Old Testament that we should turn to if we want to understand the true import of the sexual struggle portrayed in the Biblical Fall from Eden.
The fear of the serpent: Shakti as Serpent power, Woman Pregnant by an Anaconda
The reviled snake also figures in a multiplicity of ways. The snake was believed to be the sexual intruder who was the first cause of menstruation (Briffault v2 664) also associated with the moon (Briffault v2 572). However the phallic snake represents the essential male fertility principle which eternally regenerates as the primal male substance. It also has some parallels with the chaos monsters, such as Tiamat who opposed Marduk (Miles 32).
Christianity also inherited, and manipulated, other notions of the origins of evil found in later Jewish writings, many of them extra-biblical, written during the five centuries before Christ's birth. Of these, two concern Adam and Eve in that the source of evil is seen as the inherited sinfulness derived from the Fall; and the idea that mankind had also been corrupted by this sin came from folklore which told of Eve's physical pollution by the serpent or Satan (Samael). The serpent also represents both realms of structured knowledge and immortality. The "Hippocratic" snake represents at once the knowledge of science and medicine, as expressed on the one hand by the wise serpent Nabu and on the other by the immortality of the snake which sheds its skin and resurrects like the phoenix, with Hermes' caduceus somewhere in the middle. The serpent could thus be considered guardian of the two sacred trees. However the serpent's role in Eden is to retain the fruit of the tree of life. The first phase in this story comes from Gilgamesh. "He and his friend Enkidu seek immortality through fame, but when Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh finds fame hollow. Unable to accept the finality of death, he goes to Utnapishtim, the Babylonian counterpart of the biblical Noah, to learn the secret of his immortality. Utnapishtim explains that he received it due to the unique circumstances of the flood. After failing to stay awake for seven days to discover the secrets from the gods, he is granted as a consolation, the boon of miraculous plant of rejuvenation. But when he finds it and stops to bathe, from the bottom of the deep pool rises a serpent who seizes the plant and eats it first, thus becoming the snake who sheds his skin. He finally returns home, reluctantly accepting death as inevitable" (Grollier, Thompson 205).
James Frazer (v1 50) brings out this theme further in the biblical account, pointing out that we should look to the serpent to find the tree of life we have lost: "The story of the fall appears to be an attempt to explain man's mortality, to set forth how death came into the world. In this account everything hinges on the tree of knowledge of good and evil : it occupies, so to say, the centre of the stage in the great tragedy, ... but when we look closer we perceive a second tree standing side by side with the other in the midst of the garden. It is a very remarkable tree, for it is no less than the tree of life, whose fruit confers immortality on all who eat of it. Yet in the actual story of the fall this wonderful tree plays no part. Unlike the tree of knowledge, it is hedged about by no divine prohibition, yet no one thinks it worth while to taste of the luscious fruit and live for ever. "
Quetzalcoatl as the plumed serpent (Willis).
The tree of life is thus taken by the subtle serpent, ensuring his own immortal life through the resurrection of shedding his skin." The idea that the snake has the fruit of the tree of life has a prophetic significance in the context of Quetzalcoatl the bearer of Wasson's 'divine mushroom of immortality . The theft of the immortal skin is also hinted at in a tale that after eating the apple, Adam and Eve lost all their scales except for their fingernails. This tale has one final surprising twist to it. The trick Yahweh played is a two-fold one. Yahweh was also represented by the serpent. Yahweh is above all things the father god of Jewish male fertility and paternity. It is in their whoring that the Jews let Yahweh down the worst. We know that Moses carried Nehustan the serpent of brass. Just such a serpent was found at a Midianite shrine from 1100 BC at Timna near Aqaba, along with phallic teraphim. Nabo the wise serpent of Babylon is an ancient phallic deity also called Rimmini - pomegranate. He is thus 'the serpent of the pomegranate', about as close as you can get to 'the serpent of the fruit' of Eden. Nabo and Hermes both share the serpent, and along with Thoth, share the role of scribe of the Gods, bearer of the tablets of the law. Hermes is an ithyphallic primal sperm god consort of Hekate, worshipped at wayside Herms simple four-square stone shrines. Hermes represents the indestructible core principle of male fertility as the divine substance complementing the Goddess. Abram moved from Sin to Nabo in leaving Ur and Harran and fathering 'as the stars in the sky', calling on 'god' - El, who in his Canaanite grandfather aspect is the same deity. Moses similarly journeyed from Mt. Sin to Mt. Nabo. There are also parallels with the old Zoroastrian myth of the Garden of Yima with a perfect shepherd king and an epoch with no death or old age, in the mysterious Mountain of the North, a title reminiscent of the Myserty of the North at Harran. The four rivers and the avenue of jewel-lined trees are reminiscent of Ezekiel's vision: 28:13 "Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created." These are later echoed in the description of Muhammad's night flight to heaven.
The sabbatical creation in Genesis 1 in some senses reads much more realistically as a cosmic creation in time, followed by the animal species and finally man. Of significance is the plural nature of the Godhead in this version, as God in the plural - 'Elohim, which permits Adam and Eve to be made in "our" likeness, implicitly the likeness of both genders of the Heavenly Host. Although Elohim is male plural as "in the image of God he created he him", this is just the conventional male grammatical form "man and God", whose form is collectively male and female, as Adam and Eve are 'in the Elohim's likeness' and they are both 'male and female'. In one midrash they are in fact cleaved by God from an adrogynous unity so that they can turn and face one another (Thompson 23, Fox R 20).
And God (Elohim) said
"Lets us make man in our image, after our likeness,
and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea,
and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle,
and over all the earth and over every creeping thing
that creepeth upon the earth.
So God created man in
his own image,
in the image of God created he him;
male and female created he them.
The Elohim is even more ancient than Yahweh. The most ancient biblical passage, Jacob's blessing is with a fourfold Elohim: the God of thy fathers, the Almighty, the breasts and the womb (fecundity) and the deep (the abysmal), thus inferring two female entities (Gen 49:25). Now the Elohim appear to be giving a similar blessing here in "fruitfulness" and "multiplication". Sex would thus appear to be a central aspect of the creation, not the cause of the Fall:
And God blessed them,
and God said unto them,
Be fruitful and multiply;
and replenish the Earth and subdue it.
Note also that Yahweh gives man "dominion over" nature to "subdue it", terms which already imply domination and conquest, rather than complementary coexistence, unlike the original commandment of Eden to dress it and keep it. However one could note the fact that the Priestly author was a vegetarian:
And God said, Behold,
I have given you every herb bearing seed,
which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree,
in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
The rift between the father Sky God and Mother Nature deepens even further as we move further from the garden. "After the flood, God gave humans a renewed, but more oppressive authority over the animals. In Genesis 9:2 God says "The fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth on the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you" (Corballis). This position has become frighteningly prophetic. The father God thus, without regard to the needs of eternal nature to be preserved or protected from fallible or greedy human domination in mankinds own interests, commits nature to human domination., without even imposing the condition of responsible stewardship - simple slavery is all that is stated!
Proverb 3:18 grants wisdom as a tree of life. This is an important acknowledgement of the feminine nature of the tree lost to us all:
Wisdom is a tree of life to all who grasp her,
and whoever holds on to her is happy.
In fact wisdom has a concealed status as primal as that of God himself Proverb 8:23:
I was set up from everlasting, from the
beginning, or ever the earth was.
When there were no depths, I was brought forth;
The 'first' Isaiah wrote circa 740-700 BC, although additions by the 'second' Isaiah and possibly others 200 years later added materials to make a composite work. However one passage of the 'first', Isaiah chapter 11, makes a prophecy which will come to have major impact on history. The first part of the prophecy concerns a messiah of the line of David, more precisely his father Jesse:
Miniature of David, Mary and Jesus emerging from the rod out of the stem of Jesse
Isa 11:1 "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins."
Although he will presumably be a king like David, there is nothing to say this person will be a secular or military monarch, just a righteous person of spiritual insight and social justice, who is, perfecting Adam, 'righteous in his loins' and who is faithful, but a sharp speaker. However the really mysterious thing is that he doesn't just bring about a change in the social order, but a profound and very peculiar change in the natural order as well, a biologically impossible 'peaceable kingdom' of childlike innocence, in which the evoutionary roles of the fauna are abrogated, in a manner which later Christian theologians, and possibly Jewish prophets before them, were to associate with the pristine era before original sin caused the Fall:
Durer's Adam and Eve has below a cat about to pounce on a mouse, as Eve grasps the apple. The natural order is about to begin with the fall from innocence (Fedija).
Isa 11:7 "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."
It is also clear this man will be a signal who will attract the gentiles and become glorious in his death: "And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious." This is one of the older messianic prophecies, but it leads one way only and that is towards a messiah who will undo the Fall, however un-biological the vision of nature is.
2 Ecc 5:24 "From a woman sin had its beginning, and because of her we all die." From this passage in Ecclesiasticus, the wisdom of Jesus ben Sirach, we find the first returning references to the dilemma of Eden and the origins of death. The Book of Enoch similarly claims that God created death to punish humanity for Eve's sin. The theme continues: 33:10 "All men are from the ground, and Adam was created of the dust. In the fullness of his knowledge, the Lord distinguished them and appointed their different ways; ... As clay in the hand of the potter ... so men are in the hand of him who made them, to give them as he decides. Good is the opposite of evil, and life the opposite of death; ... Look upon all the works of the Most High; they likewise are in pairs, one the opposite of the other." The following reference to the mother of all living reflects Genesis 3:20 in a new way which suggests returning to the ancient mother in death, something which becomes pivotal to her subsequent overthrow in the Crucifixion:40:1 "Much labor was created for every man, and a heavy yoke is upon the sons of Adam, from the day they come forth from their mother's womb till the day they return to the mother of all." In Aramaic, the title Son of Man bar enas is 'one in human likeness'. In Hebrew, this is translated ben adam son of Adam or son of man (Spong 1994 152). The prophetic son of man of Ezekiel, and the later transcendental figure of Daniel and Enoch, who more closely resemble the Aramaic are thus both linked to the archetype of man - the Adam who has become transfigured to become a transcendental saviour.
Standing in the shadow of the myth of the Fall from the Garden, some apocalyptic Jewish thinkers became increasingly troubled by the conflict and misery that they believed had been caused by the sexual origin of death. They believed the life-span was shrinking (it was certainly a lot shorter than Adam's reputed nine hundred and thirty year span) and that malaise was rife. They blamed Adam for giving in to the physical wiles of Eve, who was regarded as the source of original sin and death itself. Over the centuries, as a result of interaction between Babylonian, Persian and Jewish ideas, a great anticipation began to build that this state of affairs could be reversed. The new "King David" of the Jews, who would regain the Jewish kingdom, evolved into a transcendental Messiah.
Following the tradition set on the return from exile, the Essenes expected two messiahs, followed a life of renunciation and regarded the female as, dangerous and potentially evil, to be related to only for producing offspring. They carried with them the spirit of renunciation and penitence stood in the imminence of the apocalyptic end of days and celebrated a meal of bread and wine officiated over by the messiahs. They renounced polygamy and believed in the Genesis 1 account as a description of marriage as we see later in Matthew. They also believed that this messiah would come in the form of 'the Man' the archetypal Adam figure of the collective sourcing from Daniel. The Teacher of Righteousness thus became identified with 'removing the threatening sword from Adam. The late apocalyptic prophets had inserted into Isaiah, Zechariah and Daniel passages that in combination with several of the Psalms foretold that this Messiah would return as the Suffering Servant or Foolish Shepherd. A Messiah, who unlike the kingly Davidic Messiah would be despised of men pierced and die as an offering to assuage sin. As a sacrificial Messiah, such a prophet not only fulfils the heritage of the Yahwistic prophets, but also in a very archaic way still carried in the Hebrew tradition becomes a sacrificial offering, himself dying to usher in the new eternal Kingdom of the Father. The Messiah had to be both a spiritual leader of his people and also suffer a death of atonement by becoming herem or taboo - coming too close to God, just as Moses who died on the mountain, or accursed for 'blaspheming' as the Foolish Shepherd. This figure became the Elchasaite 'secret Adam' a recurrent supernatural figure illuminating historical figures, such as Jesus. He was supposed to be ninety-six miles high. Little wonder John the Baptist could only stoop to his shoe lachet. This tradition continued with the Ebionite Christians closely linked with the first Jewish Christian tradition of James, Jesus' brother.
Eisenman (427) comments about the continuing 'standing Adam' tradition in early sects: "Hippolytus, in discussing the group he calls the 'Naassenes' ('Sebuaeans' in Epiphanius), also, ties the 'Gate' imagery to the 'Primal Adam' ideology. Saying that, like al-Biruni's 'Sabaeans' centuries later, the Naassenes pray towards 'the Dome of Heaven' (that is, the North), Hippolytus notes that, for the Naassenes, 'Adam is the Primal ['First'] Man' and Jesus, 'the True Gate', through whom the Perfect Man enters. As they appear to have believed, 'the Perfect Man is incapable of being saved unless he be born again'. So in all these presentations, 'the Gate to Jesus' is generally connected in some manner to 'the Perfect Man'. Not only do we have here the 'Great' or 'Hidden Power' ideology, but for him, anyhow, 'the Son of Man' is literally 'the Gate of Jesus' or 'Perfect Adam'. Before proceeding, however, it is important to grasp that in Hebrew 'Son of Man' literally is 'Son of Adam' (in Aramaic, 'Son of Enosh') and, therefore, what we have, the reference to the imminent 'coming of the Son of Man on the clouds of Heaven' - in the War Scroll, as we shall see, identified with 'the Heavenly Host' - is basically a more incendiary version of the 'Primal' or 'Perfect Adam' ideology."
The Annunciation of Mary shadowed by the plight of Adam and Eve - Fra Angelico (Morante)
Disruption of the fertility cult by the male deity. Note the dove of Aphrodite in the ray.
Through her chasteness, Mary is attributed to have corrected Eve's carnal sin.
The Second Adam and the Pangs of the Messiah
To quote Barbara Walker: "Take the snake, the fruit-tree, and the woman from the tableau and we have no fall, no frowning Judge, no Inferno, no everlasting punishment - hence no need of a saviour. Thus the bottom falls out of the whole of Christian theology".
I am Eve, great
'Tis I that outraged Jesus of old;
'Tis I that robbed my children of Heaven,
By rights 'tis I that should have gone upon the Cross ...
There would be no ice
in any place,
There would be no glistening windy winter,
There would be no hell, there would be no sorrow,
There would be no fear, if it were not for me.
Translated from the Celtic original by Kuno Meyer
from Come Hither, ed. W. de la Mare
Eventually these energies synchronistically culminated in the arrival of the Messiah, who duly and in quite a magical way fulfilled the prophecies. The trouble was that the story of sexual guilt was wrong in two ways:
(a) Sex is the origin of new life, not the source of death. Entering into mortal combat with original sin will not end death, and worse still, it will fulminate "knowledge of good and evil" into a final Armageddon.
(b) The expectation of the physical world ending and the advent of the kingdom of spirit without the evils of matter was unrealizable. The Kingdom of the Spirit is always there and always has been, lurking in the dream world and telling us we are the ancient spirits of creation, but to end the realm of matter - the mother completely is a fallacy. It just forces mortality in the flesh, because we are separated from the material unity, and can no longer enter into atonement with the immortal continuity of the life stream.
Jesus thus entered into a tragic alliance with mythical destiny, full of the dawn of new understanding but tortured and doomed because it was subject to the demiurge of the patriarchy:
But he himself was
Long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human
He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone
And you want to travel with him
And you want to travel blind
And you think maybe you'll trust him
For he's touched your perfect body with his mind.
Leonard Cohen - Suzanne
Although embraced in its most apocalyptic form by the entirely patriarchal and wholly Jewish Essene order, this sacrificial role inherits with it a collision course with the female, and with the physical, in which the ancient themes of sacrifice of the sacred king to the goddess re-emerge. The very gnostic light and darkness of the Essene view of the end of time, the transcendental role of the Messiahs, the Suffering Servant echoed in the haunting history of the Teacher of Righteousness lead to the notion of the doomed atonement Messiah. The mission of Jesus was to bring in the Kingdom of God. He solved the eschatological problem of the twin kingly and priestly Messiahs and the Suffering Servant by becoming a controversial prophet who assumed the burden of sacred king. In doing so he became the atonement sacrifice to undo the original sin of Eve. A death to end the realm of death, which becomes the central purpose of the Christian religion. The frequent sacrificial references to the Son of Man; Matt 8:20 "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head," the Bridegroom; Matt 9:15 "but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them" and finally the Sacred King of the Jews; Matt 27:29 "And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!" combine to cement a male sacrifice of the most ancient kind, and one which can only meaningfully be understood in relation to Eve the "Mother of all Living", although Yahweh, Abba, or the mysterious Father who demanded such sacrifice of his only-begotten Son is really the one whom we should hold to account. Already with the annunciation to Mary of the conception of Jesus, the myth of the undoing of the mortal sin of Eve is established, for by remaining "virgin", she has snared Satan into releasing Eve from her ancient bond of sexual union, through which offspring and death came into the world (she was even reputed to have been circumcised).
Hail! sinful Adam's
Hail! Eve's tears redeeming. ...
Hail! O Star that bore the Sun.
Hail! the womb of God enfleshed. ...
Hail! through whom things made are all new made.
Hail! Bride unbrided. ...
Hail! By whom was loosed our sin.
Hail! by whom was opened Paradise.
Hail! Key of Christ's Kingdom.
Hail! Bride unbrided.
The Akatheosis of Mary - Constantinople circa 646
The dead Adam hanging on his accursed tree before the twin aspects of Eve,
the 'virgin of purity' in the mother and the 'penitent sinner' in Magdalen Crucifixion
(Grunwald - Pevsner and Meier).
Jesus claimed to be the primal incarnation John 8:58 "Before Abraham was, I am." In Luke 3:38 his mythical genealogy is traced back to Adam. To bring in the Kingdom of the Father, Jesus had to challenge Eve to rejection and die a sacrificial death-to-end-death and to have his hands and feet pierced as foretold in the Psalms. This admittedly Essene attitude results in a religion in which women are evil, sex is carnal downfall, the physical world is flawed and full of death, suffering and evil, and the great vision quest is to die and thus leave the physical world for the pure and perfect spiritual realm. Mind in a war of dominion over body, just as Man is in dominion over nature. The Kingdom made anyone who could return to pristine innocence superior to the best who had walked since Adam. It was thus undoing the Fall : Thomas 46 Jesus said, "Among those born of women, from Adam until John the Baptist, there is no one so superior to John the Baptist that his eyes should not be lowered (before him). Yet I have said, whichever one of you comes to be a child will be acquainted with the kingdom and will become superior to John."
The saviour, Jesus, who came as the Adam - the Son of Man thus embarks on a visionary quest to fulfil the messianic prophecy and bring in the Zoroastrian age of cosmic renovation, the post-Essene "New Covenant" by ushering in the Kingdom of the Father, overthrowing the mortal sins of Eve. He is baptized by John and spends forty days in the wilderness Mark 1:13: "He was with the wild beasts and the angels waited on him" recapitulating Adam in the first era of Genesis. The Gospel of Thomas 18 declares "Tell us how our end will be." Jesus said, "Have you discovered, then, the beginning, that you look for the end? For where the beginning is, there will the end be. Blessed is he who will take his place in the beginning; he will know the end and will not experience death," confirmed again at Thomas 85: Jesus said, "Adam came into being from a great power and a great wealth, but he did not become worthy of you. For had he been worthy, [he would] not [have experienced] death."
Just as John the Baptist was himself mythically sacrificed by the Salome as her rejected consort in the dance of the seven veils, Jesus the lamed sacred king, titled Balaam the lame by the Jews, declines to consummate his sacred marriage, despite his ritual anointing on the feet in Luke and by Mary sister of Martha in John and on the head to his doom in Mark and Matthew. He has to escape the crowd the first time they would make him king and finally enters Jerusalem as Zechariah's fertility King. He curses the fig tree because it does not bear fruit and it withers. When faced with the sceptics in his final hours he could not, or would not, demonstrate his miraculous transcendence in the face of impending annihilation, just as was the case in his home town of Galilee, and was crucified in a ritual sacrifice, both to the goddess Mari-Anath as Mot the Lord of Death forsaken by El, and as sacred atonement King of the Jews, rolled into one ghastly passion, the Last Supper becoming the veritable flesh and blood feast of the Eucharist, a Dionysian delight reminiscent more of Edom than Israel.
The sacred king is passed from the Sanhedrin to Herod and to Pilate thus making a complete cultural circuit, including the traditional breaking of the phallic reed scepter - setting at nought. He is thus at once the sacred atonement king of the Jews, Dionysus and Tammuz, the bread and wine and the Saturnalia of the Romans metering justice to the underdog. The sacred king is passed from the Sanhedrin to Herod and to Pilate thus making a complete cultural circuit, including the traditional breaking of the phallic reed sceptre - setting at nought. He is thus at once the sacred attonement king of the Jews, Dionysus and Tammuz, the bread and wine of the Great Goddess and the Saturnalia of the Romans metering justice to the underdog.
Jesus' title in the Qur'an is Isa - Esau the 'red man' of Edom, such was his name spread in satire through Arabia by the Jews. Nabataean Edom bordered on Peraea, John the Baptist's territory. The god of Edom was Duchares, God of Gaia - a form of Dionysus, as echoed by the 'body and blood' of the Eucharist, the 'true vine', and Cana. He is watched over by three women in every gospel, sometimes the three Marys : "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother (Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses), and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene." How can two sisters both be called Mary? And there's more: Joanna and Salome; and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem." These women ministered unto him in Galilee "And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance." These are the ones who announce his resurrection on the third day.
He is watched over by three women in every gospel, sometimes the three Marys: "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother (Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses), and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene." And there's more: Joanna and Salome; and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem." These women ministered unto him in Galilee "Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance." These are the ones who announce his resurrection on the third day. We must be mindful also of Mary of Bethany "who hath chosen that good part".
In a particularly macabre way, the Cross itself became the Tree of Life. The Deuteronomic curse 21:22 "And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death ... thou hang him on a tree" became they very symbol of Jesus' bid to end death through death. This image became actualized in the Great Cross of the Lateran in Rome (Cook pl 46). Christ is betrayed in a garden, crucified in a garden and resurrected in a garden: Mark 14:32 "And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray." John 18:1 "When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples." John 19:41 "Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid."
Noli me tangere (Wilson I)
The recurring theme of Eden in Christ's rejection of Eve is paralleled in 'real life' in his relationship with Mary Magdalen. In John, the risen Christ is revealed to her in the garden and Christ makes just this admonishment "Noli me tangere" - do not touch me! 20:14 "And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father." In Greek this reads "Embrace me not" - the rejection of Adam for the sin of Eve is the key statement of Jesus mission to undo the curse of death of Ecclesiasticus 25:24.
Through this passage, we see Magdalen, the 'companion of the saviour', the new Eve who became the repentant sinner as the phycial and sexual complement of Christ's divinity, who remains in the physical world to witness the risen Christ of the heavenly kingdom.
Haskins (47) sees here the relationship between Yahweh Adonai and his lost consort Asherah or Anath as continuing traces which are resumed in the "Christian god who was slain and rose again from the dead and the goddess who found him again in the garden of Gethsemane", after searching for the dead LORD just as the women searched for Adonis. It is from this ecclectic foundation in both paganism and Jewish monotheism that Christianity became a global religion.
However, Magdalene, the physical heart and true bride of the Church as the feminine physical component of the sacred marriage was to become sidelined in another very troubling manifestation of the continuing schism between the genders.
Jesus and Gylany: A Partnership perspective - Riane Eisler )
Jesus had overturned traditional Jewish morality, which stressed the fertility of the male line, replacing it with a more Essene interpretation of non-polygamous pairing, without divorce based on genesis itself: Matt 19:4 "And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."
He furthermore regards divorce as a form of adultery: Matt 19:9 "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."
Although he admits this is a hard saying for Jews, he even extends this idea as far as suggesting that ritual castration might be a solution: Matt 19:12 "For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it."
The idea of the supreme male sexual principal of the Kingdom of the Father in Jesus' teaching is confirmed in the Gospel of Thomas (114), an early work dating from the first century, containing saying of Jesus in archaic form (Robinson 124):
Simon Peter said:
'Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of Life.'
Jesus said, 'I myself shall lead her, in order to make her male,
so that she too may become a living spirit, resembling you males.
For every woman who will make herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven'.
According to Clement of Alexandria in the Gospel to the Egyptians, Shelom asked the Lord: "How long shall death prevail?" He answered "So long as you women bear children" ... and when she enquired at what time these things would be known, He answered: "When you women have trampled the garment of shame, when the two become one, when the male with the female is neither male nor female". And in the same work the Lord said: "I have come to destroy the works of the female."
When describing the after-life Jesus is said to have portrayed a sexless heaven in which, in so many words, original sin is replaced by angelic immortality: Luke 20:34 "And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection."
This idea of the undoing of the original sin of sex in the Kingdom portrays it in effect as a return to the childlike innocence of Eden:
Thomas 22 echoes this return to innocence, stressing the androgynous state which the Jews associated with the epoch before Adam and Eve were cleaved: Jesus said to his disciples, "These infants being suckled are like those who enter the kingdom." They said to him, "Shall we then, as children, enter the kingdom?" Jesus said to them, "When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness, then will you enter [the kingdom]."
In Thomas 106, he adds to this a key quotation, which in Mark 11:12 occurred when he cursed the fig tree for not bearing fruit and it withered, another symbol of frustration of the female "When you make the two one, you will become the sons of man, and when you say, 'Mountain, move away', it will move away."
Christ leading Adam and Eve from the world of innocence into experience while God is above in the clouds.
The two tress are present. The serpent is reviled. - The Fall of Man William Blake (Cook)
A telling view female appears in Thomas 105 "He who knows the father and the mother will be called the son of a harlot." and 15 "When you see one who was not born of woman, prostrate yourselves on your faces and worship him. That one is your father."
The Dialogue of the Saviour, again originating in the first century, further conveys these sentiments, suggesting the oldest components of the gnostic gospels contain an original tradition: (91) The Lord said: "Pray in the place where there is no woman". Matthew said: "meaning Destroy the works of womanhood, not because there is any other [manner of birth] but because they will cease [giving birth]. Mary said "They will never be obliterated" The Lord said ..."Now a true word is coming forth from the Father [to the abyss] in silence with a [flash of lightning] giving birth (Robinson 254). This sounds both like Zeus begetting Dionysus and Thoth-Hermes logos.
Thomas further echoes the derogation of the flesh and the physical: 29 Jesus said, "If the flesh came into being because of spirit, it is a wonder. But if spirit came into being because of the body, it is a wonder of wonders. Indeed, I am amazed at how this great wealth has made its home in this poverty." 56 Jesus said, "Whoever has come to understand the world has found (only) a corpse, and whoever has found a corpse is superior to the world." 87 Jesus said, "Wretched is the body that is dependent upon a body, and wretched is the soul that is dependent on these two."
These sayings do clearly reflect sentiments attributed to Jesus against the flesh and consistent with a view of the female as sinful. This attitude of renunciation flows ever from Jesus' teachings, despite his close association with Mary Magdalen and the women of Galilee: Luke 23:28 "But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children". Nevertheless, Jesus was a great nature shaman who was also renowned for his message of love and forgiveness.
Between the death of the saviour and the immortal kingdom was to be a prophesied turbulent age called the Pangs of the Messiah. Although Revelation cast a twain millennial span, from Jesus' words this was meant to take no longer than one generation:
However Jesus himself claimed not to know when the Son of Man would arrive: Mark 13:32 "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. ... Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping."
This uncertainty of the time is echoed in Luke 12:40 and Matthew 24:44 as Christ coming as a thief in the night: "And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not."
The earliest Christian writing is 1 Thessalonians, dated circa AD 50. In it Paul's message is to wait and not slumber, for the son of man shall come at any time hence, in the Rapture in the air 1:10: "And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. 3:13 ... to stablish your hearts ... at the coming of Jesus Christ with all his saints ... 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. ... Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober."
This immediate urgency of the Kingdom remains central to Paul's teaching in 55 AD: 1 Corinth 7:25 "Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment ... that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be. ... But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away."
However the very existence of the Gospels arises from the failure of this Kingdom to arrive as expected: John Spong (1994 57-8) notes: "When we read Paul, we find almost no biographical details about the life of the Jesus of history. Few people seemed to care about this in Paul's time. Paul was specifically not interested, he said, in the knowledge of Jesus from a human point of view. One reason for his lack of interest surely lay in the sense among primitive Christians that they lived at the end of history, that the dawn of God's eschatological kingdom was about to occur. What mattered was that Jesus had been exalted to heaven, from whence he would come again as the inaugurator of that new kingdom. But, as the years passed and the New Jerusalem did not descend out of the heavens, questions began to be asked not just about that postponement but also about the life of Jesus. By the time Mark wrote, those questions demanded answers, and part of Mark's motive for writing was to address such concerns as who Jesus was, whence his power came, the reasons for his crucifixion, and what constituted the basis of the claim that God had raised him from the dead. It is fair to say that the tradition of writing Gospels evolved in direct response to the need to address these issues."
Renan (147) wrote: "Jesus imagined the end to be much nearer than it really was; he did not take into account the slowness of movements of humanity; he thought to realize in one day that which , eighteen centurys later has still to be accomplished." Maybe it will at last.
Despite his fierce opposition to the gnostic 'heresies' Irenaeus remained fully committed to the prophecies of Revelation and the belief in the end of days. However Origen threw a spanner in the works by claiming the eschatological condition was essentially in the mind - occurring only in the souls of believers. This fitted well with the Hellenistic imagination of "spiritual progress begun in this world and continued in the next". Once the Christian church became officially adopted with the conversion of Constantine in the fourth century, it became "a powerful and prosperous institution functioning to a well-established routine, and the men responsible for governing it had no wish to see Christians clinging to out-dated and inappropriate dreams of a new earthly paradise" (Cohn 1952 29). Early in the fifth century Augustine propounded in the City of God that Revelation was to be understood as a spiritual allegory, and as for the millennium, that had begun with the birth of Christianity and was fully realized in the church. Despite his warring against the gnostics, Irenaeus' belief in the millennium thus came to be as expurgated as his gnostic victims beliefs and it is only because of a single copy of his "Against Heresies" found in 1575 that we know he held the same end days beliefs of many protestants through to this century (Cohn 1952 29). This is itself fitting commentary on the position of the Catholic Church to this very day.
Early Christian interpretations of the Fall differed radically, and depended largely on whether they were of the eastern or western Church, although they ultimately all but concurred in their deliberations regarding sexuality and sin. In the eastern Church (and with them the gnostics), the myth was seen as an allegory of the evolution of man, whilst in the west, following Paul, it tended to be treated as an historical fact. The eastern view, influenced by Plato, and later Plotinus (d.270), viewed the world of matter darkly: Man and evil had evolved through the descent of the pre-existing spiritual substance, or soul, into matter. The Alexandrian school, saw the primeval Fall from the pristine in the sinful union of spirit (Adam, the male principle) and flesh (Eve, the female principle). Man's first nature was generally believed to have been spiritual and bodiless, without and incapable of sexual differentiation; he had become a physical being, and sexed, through his soul's sin, to desire the mundane (Haskins 73).
About two hundred BC the rabbis had propounded the idea of the yecer ha-ra' which roughly translates as the 'evil impulse'. Unlike the earlier Hebrews, who blamed themselves for their woes, the rabbis believed God had implanted in the 'heart', the Hebrew place of the unconscious of each individual, at his birth or conception. The yecer was not hereditary. It was intrinsically good and the source of creative energy, but had a strong potential for evil through appetite or greed. Only strict observance of the Law could keep the strong drives it engendered under control. To the commentators in the five centuries before Christ, Adam's death was due to his own sins, and not to any sin innate in the race of man. In Christian hands, the yecer would become the debilitating corrupting condition known as 'concupiscence', which each human being would inherit at birth, and which was transmitted through the sexual act, through the 'libid'' which accompanied it, and which infected his every action, and was commutable in part only through baptism. Christians were born into a sinful world, a fact which Christ himself constantly reiterated when he called for sinners to repent, but he never referred either to the Fall itself, except to say that mankind was fallen, or to original sin, and alluded only once to Adam and Eve when replying to the Pharisees' question concerning divorce.
The first intimation in the New Testament that Adam bequeathed sin to mankind is to be found in 1 Corinthians. This passage also makes two clear statements that Christ is the second Adam : 15:21 "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. ... And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven."
To Paul the two "becoming one flesh" when man cleaves unto his wife as ordained in Eden is a "great mystery" of Christ's marriage to the church (Eph 5:32). Paul sees Christ's death as the salvific act which made necessary a real sin by an historical Adam, in which all mankind, corrupted and lost as a result, were integrally involved Paul's act was to link Adam, the first father, and the rest of mankind in a hereditary manner. Adam's descendants became in Eph 2:2 the 'children of disobedience', who were 'by nature the children of wrath'. In Romans 5:12, Paul condemns mankind forever in Christian teaching: 'Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned'. However the original Greek says "in that all have sinned", not "for that all have sinned". Death thus comes from sin not from Adam. This mistranslation was to become the foundation stone of Augustine's doctrine of 'original sin' (Fox R 25).
But God in his mercy had offered up his own son to atone for Adam's sin, and it was through Christ and 'by grace [that] ye are saved' (Eph. 2:5). In Gal 5:17 we see the spirit and flesh at war: 'For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would' He notes the works of the flesh in a way which became of hideous significance during the inquisition "adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife seditions, heresies" (Haskins 72).
Although Paul admits Peter may have travelled with female company, despite leaving his home to follow Jesus - 1 Corinth 9:5 "Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?" These sister-wives adelphen gynaika may have been purely spiritual counterparts (Crossan 335). Paul took a very celibate view of sexuality, proclaiming many beatitudes of celibacy and virginity. 1 Corinth 7:29 "Blessed are they who have wives as if they had none, for they shall inherit God". 2 Corinth 6:16 "Blessed are they who have kept the flesh pure, for they shall become a temple of God."
Various passages suggest Paul may have castrated himself, just as Tertullian later said the heavenly gates were always thrown open to eunuchs, and that marriage was nothing but fornication (Briffault 3 372-3). In 2 Corinth 4:16 "but though or outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed ... for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory". Galatians 5:12 "I would they were even cut off which trouble you." Galatians 6:17 "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Romans 12:1 "I beseech you therefore brethren that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service". Whether this means celibacy or castration, the sentiment is definitely against sexual intercourse of any sort (Walker 776). Origen castrated himself. Numerous Christians adopted the same course; surgeons were besieged with requests to perform the operation (Briffault 3 372). Virginity can also be seen as a sacrifice of the body - a limited form of martyrdom. Ambrose said that man and woman were born in virginity and that to change it was to deface the work of the creator (Briffault 3 373). Both Ambrose and Tertullian declared that the extinction of the human race was preferable to its propagation by sexual intercourse (Briffault 3 374).
However Paul entreaties sexual union as an antidote to desire for fornication: 1 Corinth 7:1 "It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. ... Defraud [deprive] ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. ... For I would that all men were even as I myself. ... But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn" (Pagels). In Ephesians 5:28 he even says: "So ought men to love their wives even as their own bodies, for he that loveth his wife loveth himself" - flesh of my flesh. "As we learn from Acts and Paul's own epistles, women were able, like Phoebe and Junia to have important functions as bishops and deacons in the fledgling church, earning the admiration of Paul himself" (Haskins 53), not to forget Thecla (Pagels 1988 18). However we find in 1 Cor 14:34 women barred from public ministry: "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church."
Although these and other sayings of early Christian apostles, also including some of the early gnostics, illustrate how choosing celibacy to "undo the sin of Adam and Eve" may have disrupted traditional family life, other early Christians stressed however that Christians marry and have children but "do not destroy fetuses" (Pagels 1988 21). The deutero-Pauline letters thus constitute in part a reaction to celibacy, stressing instead family life. However these authors also stress the lowly nature of woman as the perpetrator of original sin: 1 Timothy 2:11 "I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent with all subjection; for Adam was first formed then Eve. Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor" (Pagels 1988 24).
By 200 AD Irenaeus ushers in the campaign of the orthodox church agains the gnostics, complaining in particular that women were celebrating the Eucharist with the gnostic teacher Marcus. Tertullian expresses similar outrage: "These heretical women - how audacious they are! They have no modesty; they are bold enough to teach, to engage in argument, to enact exorcisms, to undertake cures, and it may be, even to baptize!" Tertullian specified "It is not permitted for a woman to speak in church nor is it permitted for her to teach, nor to baptize, nor to offer [the eucharist], nor to claim for herself a share in any masculine function - not to mention any priestly office. Marcion had gone as far as to appoint women as priests and bishops (Pagels 80-81). This view is wedded into the orthodox literature in a way which denigrates the Montanists and assumes wisdom to male orthodoxy. The late nineteenth-century Dictionary of Christian Biography states "If Montanus had triumphed, Christian doctrine would have been developed not under the superintendance of the Christian teachers most esteemed for wisdom, but wild and excitable women" (Trevett 151). Occhigrosso (1996 302 ) even describes the consolidation of the synoptic canon as a reaction to gnosticism itself. "Marcion believed that Jesus was radically different from the Jewish tradition that preceded him and that the Gospels had been altered to conceal this. He rejected those Gospels along with the entire Old Testament and reedited the Epistles of Paul and the Gospel of Luke to prove that Jesus taught a God of love rather than fear, quite distinct from the Old Testament God, whom Marcion considered an inferior being. Marcion was denounced as a heretic, but the rapid growth of the Marcionites led the church to establish a canonical set of New Testament texts, consisting of four Gospels, 21 Epistles, the Acts of the Apostles, and Revelation."
Occhigrosso notes that despite his rhetoric, Tertullian actually crossed to the other side: "Montanus and two women named Prisca and Maximilla led a movement of charismatic prophecy in 2nd-century Phrygia in Asia Minor, claiming they were directly inspired by the Holy Spirit, or Paraclete. Many of Montanus's followers were women, who were allowed to teach, heal, and exorcise demons. Their most famous adherent was Tertullian of Carthage (c. 203), the great early Christian theologian, who first attacked the charismatic movement and then joined it. Although the New Prophecy (Trivett 1996) of the Montanists was a chaste movement of often celibate women they were portrayed as dangerously liberated. In fact their authority was closely associated with martyrdom for Montanist women were expected to make their apostolic faith known and those under sentence - the confessors - gained priestly status to 'bind' and 'loose' to forgive for any error. Perpetua of Carthage was closely associated with the Montanists. Perpetua is in the spirit of the Montanists in their escstasy in which baptism and martyrdom are two aspects of one 'exalted' reality. Regardless, the orthodox church, led by Irenaeus, the Greek bishop of Lyons, attacked Montanism, along with other Gnostic manifestations, as heresy. The evidence indicates that these and the Gnostic sects thrived alongside orthodox Christianity throughout the Mediterranean rim and that in the early centuries the Gnostics may have outnumbered the orthodox. The founding Egyptian Christians appear to be the predecessors of the Valentinian gnostic school (Pearson 194).
Iraenaeus fastened on Paul's connections between Adam and Christ to say God had used a virgin substance to mold Adam from the virgin mother earth, which had never been ploughed and Jesus from the virgin womb of Mary. Mary thus also became ascendent as the Eve who remained a virgin (Spong 1992 209). What this says about Jesus' brothers James and Joses and his sisters remains a source of paradox.
According to Tertullian, man was not merely weakened, but depraved as a consequence of Adam's sin, an idea which Calvin espoused heartily in the sixteenth century. Tertullian also coined the word concupiscence (from the Latin, concupiscere, to long for, to be desirous of, to covet), which signified Adam and Eve's fatal flaw and the loss of integrity which had resulted from their disobedience to God. Tertullian makes clear the scorn and prejudice of early Church fathers towards the 'immortal' sex: "And do you not know that you are [each] an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the devil's gateway: you are the unsealer of that [forbidden] tree: you are the first deserter of the divine law: you are she who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God's image, man. On account of your desert - that is, death - even the Son of God had to die" (Haskins 79). Tatian the Syrian specifically taught that the fruit of the tree of knowledge conveyed carnal knowledge, and that in Genesis they became sexually aware (Gen 3:7). The Hebrew word to know (yada) connotes sexual knowledge. Tatian blamed Adam for inventing marriage. Julius Cassianus, another ascetic Christian, blamed Satan instead for the same act by inducing Adam to do as the animals (Pagels 1988 27). Clement of Alexandria (150-215) rejects such associations and declares that sexual intercourse was not sinful but was part of God's original and 'good' creation - cooperation in God's act of creation as in fact many Jews had thought before him. Clement and Iraneus thus insist that it was hasty adolescent disobedience and not sexuality itself which was the primal break, although both would acknowledge this break did take a sexual form. Clement expressing an ambivalence sees procreation as the sole legitimate purpose in sexuality - a reverberating doctrine of the Christian church: "Our ideal is not to experience desire at all ... A man who marries for the sake of begetting children must practice continence so that it is not desire he feels for his wife ... not even at night or in the darkness is it fitting to carry on immodestly or indecently ... for even that union which is legitimate is still dangerous, except in so far as it is engaged in procreation of children" never to take place in the morning, daytime or after dinner, and never with menstruating, barren, or menopausal wives (Pagels 1988 28-9). This became a fundamental legacy for 2000 years. Clement said "Every woman ought to be filled with shame at the thought she is a woman".
To Irenaeus, Adam and Eve had been under age. Adam's lust had led them into preempting God's command, and their guilty reaction had been to cover themselves immediately in scratchy fig leaves, thus chastising those organs which had led therein to sin." But Irenaeus could also see that the Fall had not been entirely calamitous, for had mankind's ancestors not committed the misdeed, man himself would have had a less full and rich moral evolution;" this view came to be known as the doctrine of the 'Fortunate Fall' (Haskins 75). Despite this, both Jerome (347-420) and John Chrysostom (346-407) still associated the Fall with loss of virginity: In his letter to Eustochium St Jerome stated: 'it was only after she put on a garment of skins that her married life began ... That you may understand that virginity is natural and that marriage came after the Fall, remember that what is born of wedlock is virgin flesh and that by its fruit it renders what in its parent root it had lost.' John Chrysostom, bishop of Constantinople, an adherent of the Gnostic Christian eastern Church emphasizes this: "Scarcely had they [Adam and Eve] turned from obedience to God than they became earth and ashes and, all at once, they lost the happy life, beauty and the honour of virginity: thereupon God took virginal chastity from them ... they were ... made subject to death and every other form of imperfection; then did marriage make its appearance with the mortal and servile garment of human nature ... Do you see where marriage took its origin? How it had of necessity to be preceded by the breaking of the divine commandment, by malediction and death? For where there is death, there too is sexual coupling; and where there is no death, there is no sexual coupling either" (Haskins 79). Jerome poured scorn on motherhood "the tumefaction of the uterus, the care of yelling infants, all those fond feelings which death at last cuts short", and called sex prostituting the members of Christ (Briffault 3 373).
This theme of original sin finally became fully elaborated by St. Augustine (396-430) giving Eve the dubious titles of the 'devil's gateway' and the 'desirable calamity', limiting freedom of will through the taint of original sin, which makes all humanity mortally fallible. Augustine took up Tertullian's idea of concupiscence with all the enthusiasm of 'twice-born'. He at first rejected the Christianity of his childhood and lived for fifteen years with the first of his two concubines, by whom he had a son and from whom he felt a 'sharp and searing pain' when he had to reject her in order, on his mother's insistence to make a proper (but unfulfilled) marriage. He first espoused Manichaeism, which saw light and dark, locked in permanent conflict and the soul, a spark of light, seeking to escape the darkness of the physical world. Later Ambrose introduced him to Christian Neoplatonism and the writings of St Paul, leading to his conversion in 387. Ambrose, a champion of orthodoxy, an ardent advocate of the Virgin Mary, taught that Adam and Eve had fallen from a state of 'original perfection' and adopting this thesis, Augustine wrote in glowing terms of the life that Adam had originally had in Paradise, exempt from all physical evils or sickness, endowed with immortal youth, and with the possibility of immortality, through eating of the tree of life. Adam's intellect and moral character had been equally elevated. He had, however, misused the free will given him by his Creator, and succumbed to temptation. As a punishment, he had acquired a moral debility, concupiscence, which was transmuted through physical heredity to his descendents, who were thus rendered a massa damnata. To Augustine, death had come upon all human beings by their union with Adam, and they also shared in the responsibility for the Fall; he thereby denied that humanity had a free moral choice. 'For we were all in that one man ... who fell into sin through the woman who was made from him' (Haskins 76, Jones 222).
The devout British Catholic monk Pelagius also held that the Fall had come about through God's gift of free will, but denied that the sin of Adam and Eve had been passed on to their descendants - it had been theirs alone - and thus rejected St Paul's pronouncement in his letter to the Romans. God's grace was thus helpful rather than necessary. Pelagius argued that man had free-will and was liable for all his deeds, whether good or evil. Augustine disputed with Pelagius and claimed that humanity had no free will, but was doomed to transgress because original sin - estrangement from God - was congenital and universal. To allow man freedom to decide minimized the role of God and the power of the Church. Pelagius was twice accused of heresy, and vanished from history in 418. The politics of this process are very telling. Two councils of bishops in Palestine had declared Pelagius orthodox but two in Africa, led by Augustine opposed them and persuaded Pope Innocent to support them in 415. The next pope first declared Pelagius orthodox and then after 'vehement protests from Augustine and the Africans' excommunicated him. Augustine openly courted the emperor's support, using Nubian stallions as bribes. The emperor Honorees condemned him ordered him fined, expelled from office and exiled along with his supporters. Pelagius died soon after (Pagels 1988 129-30). To Augustine, the sin of Adam and Eve had not been sexual intercourse but their presumption, in their desire for knowledge, to rival their Creator. Concupiscence affected the whole being, as man in his fallen state no longer had control over himself, and was prey to agitations of the flesh. Adam and Eve's sin lay not in the sexual act, but the lust accompanying a procreative process, which would otherwise have occurred with angelic apathy. Concupiscence was now needed for mankind to survive, but within it there was evil. The redeemed licentiate, who as a Manichaean prayed: 'O Lord bring me chastity only not yet', thus enabled sexuality to be associated with original sin through lust, whilst still allowing the creation to be essentially good - a point denied by the Gnostics. In City of God (413-26) he notes that it would be "a manifest absurdity to deny that the sexual differences were created for begetting children. But marriage would have taken place in Paradise without the accompanying - 'lust'." Augustine tells us that before the Fall, Adam had been capable of moving his sexual member with as much control as fallen man might exercise over a finger. But now, infected by the stain of original sin, the sexual organs functioned with no regard to their owner, in retribution for their sin of disobedience. 'Without the allurement of passion goading him on, the husband would have relaxed on his wife's bosom in tranquillity of mind and with no impairment of his body's integrity'. After their sin our first parents covered their parts of in shame of their pudenda (Latin, pudendus shameful). Eve's formation from Adam's rib rendered her the weaker part of the couple, and she compounded her subordinate role as helper by tempting Adam to fall. Adam's culpability lay merely in his desire please his spouse.
In response to Augustine's destruction of Pelagius, one of his followers, Julian of Eclanum challenged Augustine back. Augustine summoning all his eloquence and fury argued for a view of nature utterly antithetical to scientific naturalism. Augustine's error Julian believed, was to regard the present state of nature as punishment, for Augustine went further than those Jews and Christians who agreed that Adam's sin brought death upon the human race. He insisted that Adam's sin also brought upon us universal moral corruption. Julian responded that 'natural sin' does not exist. No physically transmitted, hereditary condition infects human nature, much less nature in general. We must begin by distinguishing what is natural from what is voluntary. By contrast Augustine traces most free-will to Adam and his error: "Nature which the first human being harmed is miserable ... now fertility operates under this burden" (Pagels 1988 132-3). In reply, Augustine releases the Pandora's box of entropy: "If nothing deserving punishment passes from parents to infants, who could bear to see the image of God sometimes born retarded, since this afflicts the soul itself. You must explain why such innocence is sometimes born blind or deaf." citing even children's suffering and of course mortality as original sin. Augustine took things to other impossible lengths, claiming that before the Fall there were no weeds, an age of innocence which defies all biological realities, by denying the very evolutionary purpose of each animal, just as in the un-biological prophecy of Isaiah 11 which came to be a foretelling of Christ's mission. Pagels (1988 134) comments that Augustine denies nature, the existence of nature per se ... for he cannot think of the natural world except as a reflection of human desire and will.
Julian rejected the notion of natural sin and accused Augustine of retaining his Manichaean heresy, insisting the church was founded on the praise of creation, marriage, law, saints and will. In counter to Augustine's reading of pain in childbirth he pointed out naturally that [pagan] village women with good childbirth practice had easy deliveries. Julian sees childbirth pains, death, being ruled by a husband and living by the sweat of labor as conditions of nature, not punishment, noting that sweat is a beneficial, not sinful, response to exertion and that Adam anyway had to "dress and keep" the garden before the Fall. Julian's greatest feat however was to correctly realize that the fall is the existential situation that arises when we fall into the sin of separation from the whole and make the world harsh through our selfishness (Pagels 1988 136-8). Augustine saw Julian's "vital fire" of the natural 'appetite' of sexual desire as that "which does not obey the soul's decision, but for the most part, rises up against the soul's desire in disorderly and ugly movements. The ultimate punishment - to be tormented by 'natural' sexual arousal. And by Julian, who continued to reject his arguments until Augustine's death. Augustine's theory of original sin not only proved politically expedient since it persuaded many of his contemporaries that human beings universally need external government ... but also offered an analysis of human nature that became, for better or worse, the heritage of all subsequent generations of western Christians (Pagels 1988 xxvi). Such was Augustine's later reputation that his views were to permanently color the Christian view of sin, sexuality and the female. Augustine's doctrine was austere. As children were born full of sin they were damned if they died before baptism. Hell, he said, was paved with infants. He could not understand why God had chosen the sexual option, and the opportunity it gave for sin, for the Garden of Eden: 'If it was good company and conversation that Adam needed, it would have been much better arranged to have two men together as friends, not a man and a woman' (Jones 222).
Augustine's Pandora argument raises a fundamental issue about the so-called flawed nature of the physical world. It is true that all of us in different ways are subject to the second law of thermodynamics: that entropy (disorder) is increasing. Life stands mysteriously in the universe, an open thermodynamic system, defying this trend, but the laws of nature which permit life also are subject to entropy - accident, disease and misfortune. This is the essence of the so-called flaw in nature. However a deeper understanding tells us that without mutation there can be no evolution, without chaos there can be no regeneration of order. It is not a question of nature being evil but of nature depending on diversity of condition. There is both joy and pain. It is true that each of us experience unique life situations in which some of us are in pain, some in mental confusion and some in terminal conditions. Some also receive hideous injuries. There is pain and suffering in the world, as Buddha noted. The key to human suffering is in all being one at heart and sharing in the ongoing immortal flow of life for together we are immortal but apart we die. There are many things which can be done to alleviate suffering. In extreme cases, some may wish to choose the right to die humanely in dignity, rather than in pain and confusion.
However what is truly awesome is that for many of us, particularly when we avoid war or famine, we can live in years of pleasure, even the majority of our lives, not in pain, but "creatively, intensively and successfully" - "to embrace the world and ingest experience without restraint" (Armstrong 1996 29).
Although we are mortal as individuals, the sense of wholeness we can achieve in two ways, psychic and physical through both experiencing gnosis with the eternal mind, and participating with love in sustaining the immortal flow of life, gives us a meaning in existence which is both eternal and immortal. A creative meaning, in which every act of free-will participates in the becoming as we experience it. By merging our 'kin altruism', we live as one spirit in wholeness and become immortalized in the creative process.
"No one, saint
or sinner, escapes suffering, which remains unavoidable in nature.
Yet each of us holds in our hands our spiritual destiny" - Julian of Eclanum.
As Paul and Julian noted in 1 Corinth 15:54 "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?", noting also that it is when we loose this oneness in selfishness that "The sting of death is sin". Julian declared: "God created fully innocent creatures, capable of virtue according to their will" (Pagels 1988 139).
In the balance, the experience of life is an eternal mystery of mysteries and participating in the cosmic unfolding is a joy beyond ecstasies. Life has purpose beyond meaning, which can only be realized in creative choice. We can only truly care for one another, achieve political liberty and justice, and protect the diversity of the living planet, if we are prepared to make real personal and financial sacrifices for the common and altruistic good. Love needs body as well as spirit, brains, muscle and stomach as well as heart. John has Jesus make a stunning answer to the pandora argument, used by Julian, which affirms the live nature of synchronicity elicited by gnosis: 9:2 "And his disciples asked him, saying, 'Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?' Jesus answered, 'Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.'" It is not past sin but future gnosis and its synchronicity that give the event its meaning, a meaning beyond the immediate physical cause of the blindness: congenital, accidental or pathological. It is not what caused the event but why did it happen just at that moment? (Pagels 1988 134, 147).
Luke's parable about karma and sin likewise denies that the confusion of sin has real power over circumstance, but that the sinful attitude of division will get you in the end: 13:4 "Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."
The Gnostic Eden (Source Gnosticism The Gospel of Thomas , ecc.)
The gnostics claimed to possess the inner teachings of the Christ, a tradition that was not told in the public parables and possibly even to the disciples, but only to a select few. Some aspects of gnostic teaching predate Jesus and are shared by Hermetic doctrines. As we have seen, by about 200 AD the orthodox church had identified the gnostic path as a heresy, and proceded to stamp it out. It is only with the discovery of the Nag Hamadi texts that a true appreciation has come of the major role gnosticism played in the life of the early church. Part of the reasons for the repression of the gnostics were political. The orthodox church identified as a social movement ruled by bishops. The gnostics' inner path involved instead self-realization, a realization of the elect, which had many diverse forms. The orthodox bishops found such clandestine diversity threatening to their agenda of moral authority. While the gnostics often rejected sex as physical ensnarement they also often accepted women as equals. By contrast, the orthodox Christians had come to accept family life, but gave the key roles of worship and church authority only to men. The gnostics displayed a variety of responses to the gender dilemma posed by Jesus. Many took a view similar to the Manichaeans and rejected sex and marriage and viewed the physical world as flawed and transitory and yearned to escape the mortal coils of the flesh for the eternal realm of the spirit.
The Gnostic interpretation of the genesis myth is that it is a spiritual allegory rather than a history with a moral, a term Elaine Pagels' (1979, 1988) calls allegorical exegis. "One of the reasons [Gnostic Gospels] was a blockbuster was that it shattered the entire premise of the ecumenical movement." The Devil Problem New Yorker 3 Apr 1995
Other gnostics, such as the Valentinians, who borrowed the mother-goddess myth from the Ophite (5.15.27) (Gk. ophis snake) (Haskins 45), took a very liberated view, seeking the divine in the union of psyche and cosmos in gnosis itself and accepted the complementation of the genders in both their priesthood and their vision of the spiritual theogeny. Some took the position that Yahweh, in forbidding one fruit, had already caused the binary division of the descent, and that to correct the imbalance, Sophia, wisdom will have to "call off Samael", regain the fruit of the tree of life through the helpful guidance of the snake of knowledge and return life to the garden of immortality. Well this is what is going to happen, but it is a long and tortured story. Whilst both sexes seem to have been allowed to play an equal part in religious practice and discussion the ultimate aim of the Gnostic was to achieve a state which eliminated sexual difference - which in effect meant that the women had to lose their femaleness in order to be subsumed into the larger 'male' group, whose actual sex was no longer significant The Gnostic's use of the terms male and female to describe the division between spirit and matter, and their further equation of the these terms with good and evil inevitably leads to the association of women and sexuality with evil. If woman and femaleness represented human nature and sexuality, then by rejecting these, and in particular sexual intercourse and procreation, Gnostic, as well as certain orthodox Christians influenced by this dualistic outlook, believed they could reach the spiritual heights (Haskins 42).
In the Gnostic cosmology, a huge chasm divides heaven from the world of matter, and the opposites of light and dark are reflected in the concepts of a divine realm of light and a world or cosmos, the realm of darkness. According to many Gnostic sects, God is neither creator nor governor of the world, from which he is separated by a vast abyss, and remains always alien and unknowable to man, unless man should become the recipient of supernatural revelation. The supreme being and God of love could never have created a universe of chaos and evil; but a lesser, imperfect, deity, the 'Demiurge'. Man was also an imperfect creation of the Demiurge, and formed of flesh, soul and spirit; his ignorance and sin had been responsible for the corruption of the world. (The soul is seen by Gnostics rather as the force which motivates and gives appetite to his body.) However, imprisoned within the soul of some 'elect' men was the divine spark, the pneuma or spirit. Salvation took place when the pneuma came to know the Supreme Being, and to understand itself, its divine origins and its ultimate destiny - reunion with the supreme deity in the realm of light. In many Gnostic writings, the Redeemer, or Saviour as he is often described, is sent by the Supreme God as an emissary to give gnosis, which is in itself redemption, to those capable of salvation. A central feature of Gnostic myths, this derived from the orthodox Pauline argument that Christ was sent by God the Father to save the world (Haskins 37). Because of the significance of the gnostic view and Elaine Pagels' outstanding contribution to the healing of Eden in the Gnostic Gospels, I include a summary of her description of a variety of ways gnostic writers have portrayed the creation as dyadic and in a way which shows no immediate parallel with the worship of the pagan Goddess:
"Some saw creation as dyadic in reality, some only in metaphor and others allowed it either nature. They generally take their viewpoint from the first genesis account in which male and female are created together in the likeness of the Elohim, in which "the divine is understood in terms of a harmonious, dynamic relationship of opposites - a concept that may be akin to the Eastern view of yin and yang, but remains alien to orthodox Judaism and Christianity" (Pagels 1979 74).
Yahweh is a god of male epithets, 'king, lord, master, judge, and father', who unlike his Near Eastern contemporaries acknowledges no consort. While Mary is the mother of the Son, she is not 'god the mother'. The trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost would closely resemble the Mother with her resurrecting Father/Son except that the Greek word for holy Ghost (pneuma) is a neuter entity, although its Hebrew counterpart (ruah) is feminine (Pagels 1979 71). In the Apocryphon of John we see the Holy Ghost become again the mother in a post-crucifixion vision of the totality "He said to me, 'John, ... why do you doubt, and why are you afraid? ... I am the one who [is with you] always. I [am the Father]; I am the Mother; I am the Son.' ...The Secret Book goes on to describe the divine Mother:' ... (She is) ... the image of the invisible, virginal, perfect spirit... She became the Mother of everything, for she existed before them all, the mother-father [matropater]" (Pagels 1979 74). "The Apocalypse of Adam, discovered at Nag Hammadi, tells of a feminine power who wanted to conceive by herself: '... from the nine Muses, one separated away. She came to a high mountain and spent time seated there, so that she desired herself alone in order to become androgynous. She fulfilled her desire, and became pregnant from her desire..." (Pagels 1979 76). Valentinus attributes the paradox of the creation of the imperfect world to Wisdom: "Desiring to conceive by herself, apart from her masculine counterpart, .. she became the 'great creative power from whom all things originate', often called Eve, 'Mother of all living'. But since her desire violated the harmonious union of opposites intrinsic in the nature of created being, what she produced was ... defective; [causing] the terror and grief that mar human existence. To author her creation, Wisdom brought forth the demiurge, the creator-God of Israel, as her agent. ... Besides being the 'first universal creator', who brings forth all creatures, [wisdom] also enlightens human beings. Followers of Valentinus and Marcus therefore prayed to her as the 'mystical, etemal Silence' and to 'Grace, She who is before all things', and as 'incorruptible Wisdom' for insight (gnosis). Valentinus reasons that Silence is the appropriate complement of the Father, designating the former as feminine and the latter as masculine .... He goes on to describe how Silence receives, as in a womb, the seed of the Ineffable Source; from this she brings forth all the emanations of divine being, ranged in harmonious pairs of masculine and feminine energies. Followers of Valentinus prayed to her for protection as the Mother, and as 'the mystical, etemal Silence' ." (Pagels 1979 76). The Great Announcement ... explains the origin of the universe as follows: From the power of Silence appeared 'a great power, the Mind (nous) of the Universe, which manages all things, and is a male ... the other ... a great Intelligence (epinoia) ... is a female which produces all things.' ... This is one power divided above and below; generating itself, making itself grow, seeking itself, finding itself, being mother of itself, father of itself, sister of itself, spouse of itself, daughter of itself, son of itself - mother, father, unity, being a source of the entire circle of existence" (Pagels 1979 73).
"A work attributed to Simon Magus suggests a mystical meaning for Paradise, the place where human life began: Grant Paradise to be the womb; ... 'I am He that formed thee in thy mother's womb' (Isaiah 44:2) ... Moses ... using allegory had declared Paradise to be the womb ... and Eden, the placenta ... " (Pagels 1979 75). The divine mother is portrayed by gnostics as mystical silence, Holy Spirit, the image of thought (ennoia) and wisdom Sophia . Other gnostics attributed to Sophia the nourishment and self-awareness that Adam and Eve received in Paradise ... When the creator became angry with the human race because they did not worship or honor him as Father and God, he sent forth a flood upon them, that he might destroy them. But Wisdom opposed him ... "and Noah and his family were saved in the ark by means of the sprinkling of the light that proceeded from her, and through it the world was again filled with humankind" (Pagels 1979 76). Yet others point out that for Adam to produce Eve he must have been androgynous, as is suggested by the first Genesis account.
"Some concluded that the God of Israel ...was merely instrumental power whom the Mother had created. ... They say that he believed that he had made everything by himself, but that, in reality, he had created the world because Wisdom, his Mother, 'infused him with energy' and implanted into him her own ideas. ... 'It was because he was foolish and ignorant of his Mother that he said, 'I am God; there is none beside me'. According to another account, the creator caused his Mother to grieve by creating inferior beings, so she left him alone and withdrew into the upper regions of the heavens" (Pagels 1979 79).
The Secret Book of John notes the paradox of a sole and jealous god: " he said: 'I am a jealous God, and there is no other God beside me.' But by announcing this he indicated to the angels ... that another God does exist; for if there were no other one, of whom would he be jealous? ... Then the mother began to be distressed" (Pagels 1979 79). "Others declared that his Mother refused to tolerate such presumption: [The creator], becoming arrogant in spirit, boasted himself over all those things that were below him, and exclaimed, 'I am father, and God, and above me there is no one.' But his mother, hearing him speak thus, cried out against him, 'Do not lie, Ialdabaoth' " (Pagels 1979 79). "According to the Hypostasis of the Archons, ... both the mother and her daughter objected when he [said], 'It is I who am God, and there is no other apart from me.'. . . And a voice came forth from above the realm of absolute power, saying, 'You are wrong, Samael' [which means, 'god of the blind']. And he said, 'If any other thing exists before me, let it appear to me!' And immediately, Sophia ('Wisdom') stretched forth her finger, and introduced light into matter, and she followed it down into the region of Chaos.... And he again said to his offspring, 'It is I who am the God of All.' And Life, the daughter of Wisdom, cried out; she said to him, 'You are wrong, Saklas!' " (Pagels 1979 79). In the Apocalypse of Adam, it is revealed to Seth that God struck Adam and Eve apart in wrath for Eve's vision: "When God created me out of the earth along with Eve your mother, I went about with her in a glory which she had seen in the aeon from which we had come forth. She taught me a word of knowledge of the eternal god. And we resembled the great eternal angels, for we were higher than the god who had created us and the powers with him whom we did not know. Then god, the ruler of the aeons and the powers divided us in wrath. Then we became two aeons. And the glory of our hearts left us, me and your mother Eve, along with the first knowledge that breathed within us ... and went into the great aeons. ... Then we recognised the god that had created us ... and we served him in fear and slavery" (Robinson 277).
The gnostic teacher Justinus describes the Lord's shock, terror, and anxiety when he discovered that he was not the God of the universe. Gradually his shock gave way to wonder, and finally he came to welcome what wisdom had taught him. The teacher [ironically] concludes: "This is the meaning of the saying 'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom' " (Pagels 1979 79).
Trimorphic Protennoia (literally, the 'Triple-formed Primal Thought'), celebrates the feminine powers of Thought, Intelligence, and Foresight: 'I am Thought that [dwells in the Light]. [She who exists] before the All ... I move in every creature. ... I am the Invisible One within the All. I am perception and knowledge, uttering a Voice by means of Thought. I am the real voice. I cry out in everyone, and they know that a seed dwells within. ... Now I have come a second time in the likeness of a female ... I have revealed myself in the Thought of the likeness of my masculinity. ... I am androgynous. [I am both Mother and] Father, since I [copulate] with myself ... [and with those who love] me ... I am the Womb [that gives shape] to the All ... I am ... the glory of the Mother' (Pagels 1979 77) 'Thunder, Perfect Mind' extends this revelation into a metaphysical koan abrogating all authority except gnosis itself, and a female (or androgynous) gnosis of the valley. The awareness of the paradox of the nature of deity in this work is mysterious and profound (Pagels 1988 67):
'Look upon me you who
reflect upon me
and you hearers hear me
You who are waiting for me take me to yourselves.
For I am the first
and the last.
I am the honored one and the scorned one.
I am the whore, and the holy one.
I am the wife and the virgin.
I am (the mother) and the daughter....
I am the barren one, and many are her sons
I am she whose wedding is great,
and I have not taken a husband....
I am knowledge, and ignorance....
I am shameless; I am ashamed.
I am strength, and I am fear....
I am senseless, and I am wise. ...
I am the silence that is incomprehensible
and the idea whose rememberance is frequent.
I am the one whom
they call Life
and you have called death [Eve]
I am the one you have
I am the one you have seized
I am the one you have scattered
and you have gathered me together [Christos].
I am the one before
whom you have been ashamed
and you have been shameless to me.
I am godless, and I am one whose God is great.
I am the union and
I am the judgement and the acquittal.
I am the sinless
and the root of sin derives from me
I am lust in (outward) appearance
and interior self-control exists within me
For many are the
forms ... and fleeting pleasures
which men embrace until they become sober
and go up to their resting place.
And they will find me there
and they will live
and they will not die again.'
In Pistis Sophia, a later work of the 4th century AD forming the central myth of the Valentinian system, Sophia becomes lost to the lower Aeons of darkness when she follows a light which she thinks will take her to the Treasure House of greatness. Jesus travels through the complex abyss to banish the evil powers of fate magic and astrology (Haskins 49) saving Sophia in the process, while confirming his mission in a dialogue with Mary Magdalen. Jesus was worshipped by the early Ophites as Christ-Ophion, the serpent of Eden, and the serpent of Moses: John 3:15 "And as Modes lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up". According to the Pistis Sophia Jesus was the serpent who "spoke fron the three of knowledge and the tree of life, which were in the paradise of Adam" (Walker 907-9).
The Death of Adam- Gaddi : Seth planting the Branch of Good and Evil (Lavin)
The link between Adam and Jesus became woven with the Jewish myths of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba to become many centuries later the Legend of the True Cross. In this apocryphal story from the time of the crusades, Adam before he died pursuaded Seth to return to the garden and plead for the oil of mercy. Gabriel gave Seth the branch of the original tree from which Adam and Eve ate. This tree had blackened and withered away when they had committed their "happy sin" or Felix culpa, but had burst forth anew when Michael promised man's future salvation.
The Queen of Sheba discovers the wood of the True Cross - Francesca (Lavin)
But Adam had died when Seth returned, so he planted the branch on Adam's grave, where it lasted until Solomon's time as a mighty tree. Solomon cut it down to build, but it always changed shape and was thrown down as a bridge. When the Queen came to cross the water, she knelt in adoration at the sacred wood and prophesied that it would be used to nail a world saviour who would defile and end the Jewish heritage. Solomon thus buried the tree where it remained until it was used for the cross of Jesus, only to be rediscovered after the crucifixion, near a temple erected by Hadrian to Venus, by Helene the mother of Constantine!
Hendrick Goltzius, Christ on the Tree of Life 1610
The Verdant Cross
The Bible is suspended between the Fall from Eden and the Tree of Life of the Apocalypse. Jesus at the centre represent the arrow of death and violence God in collision with Satan. At either end of the wooden bow we find the axes of the verdant tree of new life nature and the garden. This deep underlying relationship with fertility and the garden seeps out of the scriptures and echoes in Christian art from the first centuries of the Christian era down to the present. The confluence of Christ hanging in the Tree is all too clearly a reflection of many sacrificial rites of the wounded hero from Attis to Absolom. In restoring our relationship with fertility, it is thus necessary to accomodate the verdant cross and the implications it bears for the healing of diversity. One should also in passing note the Christmas tree originates from Attis in Rome (Walker).
"Woman is to be preferred to man to wit, in material: Adam was made from clay and Eve from the side of man; in place: Adam was made outside paradise and Eve within; in conception; a woman conceived God which man did not do; in apparition: Christ appeared to a woman after the Resurrection" - Humbert (Haskins 156)
The Reformation: Luther's Genesis and Calvin's Genetic Sin
Martin Luther (1483-1546) illustrates a protestant attitude of biological sexuality which emphasizes the naturalness of gender and the female genetic identity long before the discovery of the ovum. He married at the age of 42 to a nun and was adamant about marriage for the Protestant clergy. He also recognises an important sociobiological change in the loss of a distinct female esterous in humans. On Genesis (Young 85): "Just as Adam was created in accordance with a well-considercd counsel, so here, too, we perceive that Eve is being created according to a definite plan. For man is a more excellent creature than heaven and earth and everything that is in them. But Moses wanted to point out in a special way that the other part of humanity, the woman, was created by a unique counsel of God in order to show that this sex, too, is suited for the kind of life which Adam was expecting and that this sex was to be useful for procreation. Hence it follows that if the woman had not been deceived by the serpent and had not sinned, she would have been the equal of Adam in all respects. For the punishment, that she is now subjected to the man, was imposed on her after sin and because of sin, just as the other hardships and dangers were: travail, pain, and countless other vexations. Therefore Eve was not like the woman of today; her state was far better and more excellent.... When God says: 'It is not good that man should be alone': of what good could He be speaking, since Adam was righteous and had no need of a woman as we have, whose flesh is leprous through sin?"
My answer is that God is speaking of the common good or that of the species, not of personal good. The personal good is the fact that Adam had innocence. But he was not yet in possession of the common good which the rest of the living beings who propagated their kind through procreation had. For so far Adam was alone; he still had no partner for that magrifcent work of begetting and preserving his kind. ... In this way, although Adam was innocent and righteous, he did not yet have that good for which he was created, namely, immortality, into which he would have been translated in duc time if he had remained in innocence. Hence the meaning is that Adam as the most beautiful creature is well provided for so far as his own person is concerned but still lacks something, namely, the gift of the increase and the blessing - bccause he is alone. ...
In addition - and this is lamentable - woman is also necessary as an antidote against sin. And so, in the case of the woman, we must think not only of the managing of the household which she does, but also of the medicine which she is. In this respect Paul says (1 Cor. 7:2): "Because of fornication let each one havc his own wife." And the Master of the Sentences declares learnedly that matrimony was established in Paradise as a duty, but after sin also as an antidote. Therefore we are compelled to make use of this sex in order to avoid sin. It is almost shameful to say this, but nevertheless it is true. For there are very few who marry solely as a matter of duty. But the rest of the animals do not have this need. Consequently, for the most part they copulate only once a year and then are satisfied with this as if by duty. But the conduct of human beings is different. They are compelled to make use of intercourse withtheir wives in order to avoid sin. ... If Adam has persisted in the state of innocence, this intimate relationship would have been most delightful. The very work of procreation would have been most sacred and would have been held in esteem. ... Therefore was this fall not a terrible thing? For truly in all nature there was no activity more excellent and more admirable than procreation. ... Moreover these are the highest praises of sex, that the male is the father in procreation, but the woman is the mother in procreation.and the helper of her husband. When we look back to the state of innocence, procreation was too better, more delightful, more sacred in countless ways."
The consequences of being able to recognise those programmed to sin were first appreciated not by biologists or lawyers but by the followers of John Calvin, the ultimate genetic determinist. A destiny fixed at birth was, he argued, everything. God alone determines fate. Everyone is born a sinner and all deserve punishment, but God, in his mercy, has admitted some, the elect, to eternal life through predestination: 'by which God admits some to hope of life and sentences others to eternal death. We cannot know with the certainty of faith who is chosen.' Although Calvin himself thought initially that it was not within mortal power to identify the saved or the damned, his attention was soon drawn to the beguiling possibility that - perhaps - some of the elect could be recognized while still on earth (Jones 225).
The Birth Pangs of the Kingdom are Delayed
But Christ did not return in the first generation as expected. Nor the next. The Pangs burned on down the annals of history for two thousand years of martyrdoms, executions for heresy and witchcraft and religious wars, everyone as before expecting that the new Kingdom of Immortality, in which no one would have sex and everyone would live forever, was about to arrive: "Christ died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again!"
The Roman empire had risen and fallen. The dark ages were followed by the renaissance and finally the industrial revolution began, world population exploded, the pangs of the patriarchy began to become global. The world was wracked by two world wars, and death on a new scale, in battlefields in Russia, the Jewish holocaust and the first atomic bombs. The very same sense of anticipation, which set off the Pangs of the Messiah, now focused itself on our collective mortality. Finally we came right up to the nuclear Armageddon - the true end of the world! Hidden in everyone's subconscious was the feeling it was all too crazy to destroy our children, our children's children and all the manifold life-forms on the planet after millions of years of history. But we nevertheless installed even more milliles at very close hair-trigger range all across Europe. The Earth's fate came close to depending on a software malfunction. We held off Armageddon and the Soviet transition occurred, along with a tentative process of disarmament, which is still in its infancy. The sense of anticipation now could shift back to the central issue of the long-term survival of the biosphere and our Fall from the Garden of Life.
Muhammad on his night flight down the Axis Mundi at the jeweled tree (Cook pl 26).
7: The Paradise of Muhammad and the Mahdi
On his night travel to heaven on the Axis Mundi, Muhammad came close to the Garden of the Refuge. This is believed to be portrayed in Sura 53:
Indeed he saw him
by the Lote-Tree of the Boundary
nigh which is the Garden of Refuge ...
Indeed he saw one of the greatest signs of his Lord.
Although the unfaithful again taste hell, Muhammad promises the garden of Eden back to the faithful, complete with luxurious adornments and beautiful immortal houris. There is even prophesied a compulsory sacramental drink, which may be idendifiable with isfand, Muhammad's sacred plant with echoes of Soma itself. Sura 13.23 "The gardens of perpetual abode which they will enter along with those who do good from among their parents and their spouses and their offspring; and the angels will enter in upon them from every gate: Surely those who guard (against evil) shall be in the midst of gardens and fountains: Enter them in peace, secure." 19.61 "The gardens of perpetuity which the Beneficent God has promised to His servants while unseen; surely His promise shall come to pass."22.23 "Surely Allah will make those who believe and do good deeds enter gardens beneath which rivers flow."
Sura 76.12 "And reward them, because they were patient, with garden and silk, reclining therein on raised couches, they shall find therein neither (the severe heat of) the sun nor intense cold. And close down upon them (shall be) its shadows, and its fruits shall be made near (to them), being easy to reach. ... And they shall be made to drink therein a cup the admixture of which shall be ginger, [of] a fountain therein which is named Salsabil."
Sura 76.21 "And round about them shall go youths never altering in age; when you see them you will think them to be scattered pearls. Upon them shall be garments of fine green silk and thick silk interwoven with gold, and they shall be adorned with bracelets of silver, and their Lord shall make them drink a pure drink."
The following quotations outline the relationship between Genesis, the earthly Adam and the culmination of destiny in the Islamic Mahdi of the mystical Shi'ite tradition.
Zahir is the meaning of scriptural law that changes with each prophet, while batin is that truth that is concealed in the scriptures and the law of a given prophet. From this perspective, the outward meaning of the Qur'an is merely a covering meant for the uninitiated, but hidden beneath the surface of the text is an interior reality, accessible only through the "secret interpretation of the secret interpretation" (Green 140).
"The true history of the world is contained within the gradual revelation of batin to those who can comprehend it; the reality is that the cosmos is multi-dimensional, that man is the microcosm of the macrocosm, and that perfection is contained within a totally spiritual world of light, the pleroma, wherein dwell the ten emanations, or hypostases, of the First Cause. ... But a disturbance arises in the pleroma, and in order to restore harmony, this agitation and its ensuing emotional products are made material and cast out, resulting in the material, visible universe, at the center of which is earth, its first inhabitant the [first] earthly Adam" (Green 140).
"There are to be seven cycles of human history, each one inaugurated by the appearance of a "Speaker", who brings a revealed message "abrogating the law of the predecessor" (Green 141). The final speaker is the Mahdi, the "Imam of the Resurrection". Thus far, there have been six Speakers - the (second) Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad - and each has been followed by a "Silent One" or "Foundation," whose role it is to uncover the batin within the message" (Green 140).
"Although such a cosmic history recalls gnostic imagery and in fact the Isma'ilis have been broadly characterized as gnostic, the intellectual and spiritual sources of such teachings are many and diverse; and the gradual transformation of the figure of the Imam from political leader to the repository of divine revelation probably owed as much to the model of Hermes Trismegistus as it did to that form of Islamic theological speculation that drew upon a variety of gnostic systems" (Green 140).
The return of the Mahdi is linked with the second coming of Christ (Isa). The Qur'an states:
There is no mention of the Mahdi in the Qur'an and the return of Jesus is firmly established in the signs of the Hour (the judgement). Shiites and Sunnis alike consider that Isa will play a significant role in the qiyama (resurrection) and in particular that during the rule of the Mahdi, Isa will make the Hour known, that he will break the cross, destroy al-Dajjal the anti-Christ and will form one single umma of the Jews and Christians, establish justice and rule for 40 years after which he will die (Sachedina 171).
Isa is also assigned the task of killing all the Christians who do not believe in him. This is a misunderstanding of the ultimate Tao, in which believer and infidel are complements, even as particle and wave within the totality. It is also unjust, for even Satan himself is given a reprieve in Sura 7.11: "We said to the angels: Make obeisance to Adam. So they did obeisance except Iblis; he was not of those who did obeisance. ... Iblis said: 'Respite me until the day when they are raised up.' The Prophet's answer: 'Surely you are of the respited ones.' "
Certain Sunnis quote a tradition attributed to the prophet "There is no Mahdi save Isa son of Marium." Some early Sufis identified Jesus gnostically as the prophet of the interior life and even amended the Shahadah to say "There is no God but al-Llah and Jesus is his messenger" (Armstrong 1993 260). Shiites however have a differing tradition. They believe the Mahdi will come from the line of Fatima the Prophet's daughter and that Isa will stand behind the Mahdi, whom they believe to be a re-incarnation of either the son of the sixth or the twelfth Imam, claiming another saying of the Prophet: "Even if the entire duration of the world's existence has already been exhausted and only one day is left before Doomsday, Allah will expand that day to such a length of time, as to accommodate the kingdom of a person out of my Ahlul-Bayt who will be called by my name. He will then fill out the earth with peace and justice as it will have been full of injustice and tyranny before then."
"According to one hadith, Muhammad said, "There is no Mahdi save Jesus son of Mary." The Prophet also proclaimed that one sign of this impending end of days is the excessive height of buildings that humanity would construct, as in the biblical story of the Tower of Babel. By the 16th century, Twelver doctrine became the state religion of Persia, and under the Safavids (1502-1736), two horses were kept saddled and ready at all times, pending the return of the Mahdi and Jesus." (Occhigrosso 1996 432)
Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "The Hour will not be established until the son of Mary (i.e. Jesus) descends amongst you as a just ruler". No Islamic prophet can unilaterally pronounce the Mahdi, because 'knowledge of the hour' is the prerogative of Isa alone in the Qur'an excepting for Allah himself :31.34 "Surely Allah is He with Whom is the knowledge of the hour."
On November 20 1979, 350 religious zealots invaded the Mosque at Mecca trapping 50,000 worshippers celebrating the start of the 1400 th year of Islam inside. The resulting battle took two weeks and extensively damaged the mosque. All of the attackers were killed or captured. 63 were beheaded. (National Geographic Sept 1980). Theirs was not the knowledge of the hour.
The 'line of Fatima' could equally be the female line of Islam. Jesus prophesied in Matt 12:42 "The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it." There is only one shullamite 'Queen of the South' in this decade. By casting the fatwah of death on the poet of the South she was also made the 'shulamite of darkness'. Her fatwa was cast precisely because she declared the need to 'abrogate the law of the predecessor' - shariat.
8: The Downfall of Tula and the Third Adam
Unbeknown to all but a few, the Snake had been weaving a path of regeneration for centuries, winding its way through human culture, from the same old eve, the Toltec Lady of the Serpent Skirts. Her head is composed of blood serpents pouring from her severed throat, her pendulous breasts are are partly obscured behind a grizzly necklace of severed hearts and hands. Although the Aztec myth might seem to be a cultural antipodes to the Christian faith, both have human sacrifice as their central motif. It is thus natural that in the undoing of the grizzly Aztec tradition of blood sacrifice may come the solution to the dilemma faced by the frozen violence of the Christian flesh and blood Eucharist in the living sacrament of Maria.
The Dream of Mary: Christoforo Simone dei Crocefissi c AD 1350. (Campbell 1988)
Sacrificial blood streams from her tree of Calvary -The Place of the Skull.
Tree of the Middle Place: The Blood Mother of the Corn from Place of Skulls.
The Tree of the Middle Place illustrates the synchronistic parallel between Christianity and Aztec myth. Just as Mary has the tree of Calvary (L. calvaria - skull Golgotha - place of the skull) with Jesus emerging as the blood sacrifice surmounted by the pelican feeding its young from its blood, so two streams of blood pour into the Earth Goddess who is also associated with the Place of the Skull, and from her springs the maize tree of life, surmounted by the quetzal bird of resurrection. Suspended on either side are Quetzalcoatl and Macuil-xochiti the lord of dance music and play - as Xochipilli he is the Lord of Flowers and altered states - the Aztec Dionysus.
In the Mayan Blood Girl myth, the powerful image of the tree of skulls which give new life - death and fertility, is prophetic, as the end to mortal human sacrifice is the blood-fruit of the tree, which replaces the beating heart.
The tree of skulls has strong resemblences to the Kabbalah Tree of Knowledge ... "in its branches the birds lodge and build their nests, the souls and the angels have their place" (Kabbala unveiled).
And Blood Girl was
the name of the maiden.
When she heard the story of the fruit of the tree
When it was retold by her father,
Then she marvelled when it was told.
'Can't I know and see this tree
That is talked about? ...
So she went all by
herself and came there
Under the standing tree ...
'Aha! What is the fruit of this tree?
Isn't it something delicious that this tree bears?
They mustn't die; They must not be lost.
What if I should just cut one?"
Said the maiden then.
And then spoke the
skull that was thare in the tree,
'What do you want with what are just skulls
That have been made round on the branches of trees?" ...
'You don't want them!' She was told.
'I do want them!' Said the maiden then.
"All right, you must reach out your right hand.
Do you see now?" said the skull.
"Yes!", Said the maiden then.
She reached right out
With her right hand before the skull.
And so the skull spat forth its spittle,
Which came to rest then on the maiden's hand. ...
And immediatcly she conceived a child in her womb
just from the spittle,
And thus were created Hunter and jaguar Deer. ...
And so he[r father]
asked his daughter,
"Who is the owner of the children who are in your
womb, my daughter?" he said then.
"I have no children, oh my father.
I have not known the face of a man" she said then.
"All right, it is true then that you are a fornicator.
Take her and sacrifice her, you councillor warriors
Bring here her heart in a jar. "...
But the blood maiden persuades the messengers to take the blood fruit as she is innocent:
"Take the fruit
of the tree" said the maiden then,
For red was the sap of the tree
That she went and gathered in the jar,
And then it swelled up and became round
And so then it became an imitation heart ...
So then the woman
came to the grandmother,
And the woman said to the grandmother,
'I have come' ...
She finally becomes one of the sages and magicians who assume the destiny of the living gods.
[After Blood Girl had
miraculously harvested the corn
the grandmother said] to the maiden
"Actually there is a sign there;
It must be true that you are my daughter-in-law.
I shall watch whatever You do".
"Together with these who are my grandchildren.
They are already magicians" the maiden was told.
[From the Book of Counsel Popul Vuh, pp. 75-84.] (Young 239)
It is to Quetzalcoatl - Serpent Feather (the plumed serpent) that we must turn to discover the mythological source of the living sacrament. Although this was used by the Aztecs in bloody sacrifice, in its mythical origin, it springs from the blood of the feet of Quetzalcoatl, the Plumed Serpent, as he runs through the world as an Adam of resurrection in his mission to recover the bones of mortal beings and give them to the Mother to breathe new life into them. The living sacrament is also conceived of as resulting from the lightning of Tlaloc, the rain god - the fertilizing hieros-gamos of heaven and earth, who occupied paired temples with Quetzalcoatl at Teotihuacan.
Quetzalcoatl in combat with Tezcatlipoca (Gruzinski)
The Toltec priest Tolpitzin-Quetzalcoatl figures in Mexican history as a spiritual reincarnation of Jesus. He was fair, had eyes the colour of Jade and a beard. Tolpitzin wished to end the sacrificial cycle and replace it with self-sacrifice and the sacrifice of jade, birds, snakes and butterflies. He was humiliated by warrior priests of Tezcatlipoca who give him a spiked potion which makes him intoxicated and incestuous with his sister and break his vows. He is overthrown from Tula, and leaves forthe coast where he immolates himself.
"Where now is
My sister, my Quetzalpetiatl?
Oh it's here, where you tipple!
Ayn ya, ynya yn, ye an!"
themselves intoxicated, no more did they say,
"We are fasting."
And then they went down to the river no more.
No more did they puncture themselves with thorns.
Nothing more did they do at the break of day.
And at dawn they were
filled with remorse
Thereupon Quetzalcoatl raised the lament
he'd composed for his going away.
And he sang: "No more.
The days will be counted no more in my house
and it shall be empty."
Then his pages
"No more we delight in him,
Him our noble one, Him Quetzalcoatl
No more thy precious crown!
The bleeding thorns are broken.
We mourn for him, We weep alas." ...
In Tollan stood the house of beams,
where still the serpent columns stand deserted.
Gone away is Nacxitl Topiltzin.
Departing, he is wept
for by our princes.
He goes away; goes to where he rests, in Tlapallan.
Nacxitl Topiltzin! Never can your name be lost,
for your people will be weeping.
The turquoise house, the serpent house, you built
them here in Tollan where you came to rule.
Nacxitl Topiltzin! Never can your name be lost, for
your people will be weeping.'
The serendipitous immolation of Tolpitzin occurred around 987 AD, close enough to the millenium to make a captivating mythological episode. He is believed to have been resurrected as the planet Venus, also Ishtar-Mari's star. The forced departure of Tolpitzin from Tula led to the downfall of the so-called theocratic age and the rise of the militaristic one characterized by the Aztecs.
Moctezuma sights the comet: A premonition of the return of Quetzalcoatl (Gruzinski)
This event continued to be regarded as a source of spiritual instability during each succeeding century, and in a sense the entire meso-American society continued to be overshadowed by the continuing prophecy of Quetzalcoatl's return, just as Christian society has been overshadowed by the prophesied return of Jesus. For Moctezuma it culminated in eight foreboding signs and the fatal prophesy of the chief of Texcoco. The arrival of Cortez and the incorrect belief that he was the resurrected Quetzalcoatl returning from the East thus spelt the end for Moctezuma, the spiritual and military downfall of the Aztecs, and the prophesied end of their civilization.
The living sacrement was suppressed and became a secret for five hundred years. Maria Sabina's son was killed in venegance and her house was burned down when she made the prophesied spiritual transmission to Gordon Wasson. The Catholic rite of the Eucharist, the flesh of God as mere wafer, may have originated in pre-Christian initiation ceremonies involving the ingestion of hallucinogenic fungi. Investment banker Gordon Wasson (1898- 1986) even suggested that the "apple" Eve plucks from the Tree of Knowledge in the biblical Garden of Eden is actually a mistranslation of the word for an hallucinogenic fungus (Margulis and Sagan). "I hold that the fruit of the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil was Soma, was the kakulj , was Amanita muscaria , was the Nameless Mushroom of the English-speaking people. The Tree was probably a conifer, in Mesopotamia. The serpent being underground, was the faithful attendant of the fruit" - Gordon Wasson (1972).
9: The Twin Kettle Drums of Leucothea and the Fourth Adam
The restoration of the Garden of Eden has been a utopian dream underlying the entire sweep of the modern Western industrial revolution, but it is likely to bring only an end of days ecocrisis:
Teilard de Chardin prophesies an evolutionary Christogenesis.
Leucothea, the White Goddess of the subconscious mind begins her return. William Rivers, treating Robert Graves for the shock of the First World War battlefield, transmits the consciousness of the ancient Goddess, showing him Frazer's work. Graves beats his 'twin kettle drums' of "King Jesus" and "The White Goddess", prophesying the last days of the Christian church and the return of the Goddess in January 1945 (Oprey 1982 327-8) :
Graves subsequently sends Gordon Wasson on his quest to find teonanacatl - the "living sacrament" on behalf of the goddess and suggests the Eleusinian mysteries and Dionysian rites are associated with mushroom taking (Graves 1960). Allegro (1971) in a very cryptic study links a similar cult with Jesus. "Gordon Wasson has suggested that the "apple" Eve plucks from the Tree of Knowledge in the biblical Garden of Eden is actually a mistranslation of the word for an hallucinogenic fungus" (Margulis and Sagan).
After 500 years of repression of the "living sacrament", the fruit of the snake winds its way back to Christianity, to close the cycle of the Fall. Gordon Wasson arrives in Oaxaca and receives the living sacrament from Maria Sabina in 1955, according to her prophecy, having been collected by virgins before sunrise and duly blessed in the Church before being consumed in an all-night sacred healing velada in which the curandera called on the Christian and Mazatac deities - singing (Estrada 107):
"I am a woman who
I am a woman who reanimates
I have the heart of Christ, say
I have the heart of the Virgin"
Maria Sabina, the mother of the living sacrament had visions on the "little saints" that Gordon was coming and would take the tradition to the world after 500 years of secrecy under the Spanish. As a result, her son was killed and her house burned to the ground. She survived to 91, but lamenting that "the power of the sacrament had now been lost in the clouds" and was speaking English, instead of the Mazatec language. Wasson was however to describe the event as Holy Communion and to see in it the equivalent of the episode of Pentecost.
The Day of Judgement - Fra Angelico: Finally after falling from the garden, those
who worship the Father get the Garden back. The rest suffer ecocrisis and damnation.
In the heavenly Kingdom there is supposed to be immortality, but no more sex.
It is more beneficial to save earth whole for all the living and for the cosmic heritage.
Space-time is eternal. We gain our meaning in enriching the immortal web of life.
The Caveat: This is where the humble author enters into the myth. I will explain my predicament: I am one of 5,700 million people living in the pivotal century of earth's history in terms of human impact. There has never been such a numerically great genetic holocaust before and it is unlikely that there will be again for some 100 million years. I have paid my dues. I've brought up my children under the shadow of the nuclear winter. I even spent a winter with them on the East German border in 1984 when the Pershing's were being installed, listening to practice explosions in the night. I've wandered as a Sadhu and a Sufi in the East and made a sacred journey to the Sachamama and the power plants of the West. I have understood the super-causal nature of consciousness. Ultimately, I will take the way of the valley and retreat into the wilderness as Lao Tsu did.
Born Chris King on the Epiphany, just as the twin kettle drums sounded, I have inherited the curse of the Christ of the White Goddess - to perform a passion drama in the ancient mold to stem the holocaust of diversity, like some quantum-mechanical echo of Adam, Moses and Jesus, a mortal figure, caught in a primal and recurring incarnation of 'the redeemer' - the 'saviour of the world', the herald of the Renewal, the prophecied immortal age, hinted at by the Essenes and imminently expected by Jesus. As a birth cup, this should be the wine of life, not the vinegar of death.
I am a herald with a difference, because this time the Messianic age is a democracy. "Ye are also gods to whom the word came." We all become gnostic illuminati by having the vision and responsibility to love one another and save the immortal genetic endowment of the planet together. I have but two gifts - The word and the flesh. The word is the Tao, the way of the valley, and the flesh is the living sacrament, teonanactl, a select mystery, the "transcendental embodied in the manifest", to ensure "they who seek shall find" as Jesus promised. This situation is incredible. A cubic centimetre of chance against all probability to 'stop the world' when 500 million years of evolution are about to go up in a genetic holocaust, all because some religious patriarchs a few millennia ago taught humanity that the natural world, of which we are an inextricable part, is here for us to dominate into submission - a violation of the Tao, which could bring us to a bitter end.
What would you do if in your birth, your very incarnation, in the way the wind blows, you are cast sacred lot from the Shekhnah to consummate our founding ancient myth of renewal - the 'sooty lot' with the dust from the temple floor, the Buskins of Tragedy worn by Dionysus and Jesus too? Would you ignore the nagual of the apocalypse? Would you return to the Mother of all Living of Ecclesiasticus on the day you die and say, "Sorry, I couldn't hack the redeemer brief, even though it was not just for the millennium, but for the entire evolutionary history of the world?"
Some are going contend I am a blasphemous pretender to the sacred throne - that is the accursed share. The leaders of established religions are likely to see this as a threat, just as Jesus' ideas were perceived as shocking, sacriligeous and deviant. Some might even want to kill me just for saying this, like they mocked and killed Jesus for blasphemy. But I am just one piece of mortal human flesh and there are a million species expiring before our eyes!
So - Ecce Homo! The millennia of waiting is over! I am here to end the Pangs of the Messiah for the sake of life - to bring Jesus down from the Cross as prophesied by Uta Ranke-Heinmann: "As far as it lies in our power we should make Jesus climb down from the cross and go on living", to end the ceremony of the blood, to stop dominion over nature, to exorcise and abrogate original sin, and bring back the balance of the ultimate Tao - the sacred marriage between God and Goddess - to usher in the golden age of genetic immortality.
To all men I would say this. By devoting our love to immortal Eve, we are not handing the initiative to the White Goddess on a plate. We are not selling mankind into slavery to the 'goddess who holds no quarter'. We are just carefully moving the arena back to the centre ground, where chaos can fertilize order - inviting the goddess of fertility back, just as Moses set out to do by the waters of Qadesh - to entice the Shekina back down into the world of the living - not as some new-age movement, but as the ancient way - the ultimate Tao - the natural path, the Torah, the Gnostic Gospel, the Umma, the Kingdom and the Garden. This is above all a scientific revolution, a manifestation of quantum non-locality, a real confirmation, not a religious movement. It is a synchronous happening among equals in the vision of how to "live creatively, intensively and successfully in the world - to fulfill the potential of out nature" as Karen Armstrong (1996 26) said. Most women and a lot of men too, know in their bones the human destruction of the living planet is wrong. Nuclear angst is the acid test. We are all part of the eternal cosmic web. We are all partners in synchronicity. This is how the biosphere protects itself. The Shekina is showing us how to respect our own immortality instead of abusing it - to correct 'incarnate error' perpetrated in the name of the sky father - by rekindling the love of immortal Eve in whom all our genes flow on, from generation to generation, as do those of our fellow species on this planet, upon whom we are committing an unparallelled holocaust of genocide - the "Last Extinction of mankind". Weep no longer O ye daughters of Jerusalem for the hour of the redeemed is come.
The consummation depends critically on the energy and empowerment of women, but it depends equally on the emancipation of men to understand and modify their evolutionary character. It is not up to me to play party tricks with synchronicity to prove myself as the Messiah, when it is the Shekina to whom we all owe the miracle. By performing this role as the 'liberator', the transition can be gracefully accomplished as a giving - from male Godhead back to the Goddess - to acknowledge Tori Amos's kind offer:
you just don't come through,
do you need a woman to look after you? ...
There is only one Shulamite 'Queen of the South' in this century. It is the role of each Speaker to abrogate the law of the predecessor (Green 141). The Mahdi of the Resurrection is the seventh such speaker. Taslima Nasrin has been the only person, let alone the only woman, to publically advocate the abrogation of shariat. By casting the fatwah of death on her, she has been made holy - the 'shulamite of darkness' - the fugitive of shadows. Neglect not your sacred woman! She is the key to the freedom of the womb.
"The queen of
the south shall rise up in the judgment
with the men of this generation, and condemn them." - Luke 11:31
And please - I want to live! Islamic prophecy grants Isa 40 years. I want to see this prophecy respected. Without this respect there can be no Mahdi ever because according to the holy Qur'an 'Isa's is surely the knowledge of the hour', and there will be no Christian second coming either - the patriarchy will be doomed by its own murderous intent. As Petra Kelly said:
revolutions ... have often been about dying for a cause.
Feminist-conceived transformation is all the more about daring to live for a cause".
Lets us live! Here goes the myth of Renewal of the immortal age:
In the beginning
everything was in relationship,
and in the end everything will be in relationship again.
In the meantime, we live by hope
Jean Lanier - The Second Coming
The Dionysian Christ of Leucothea, Epiphany of the "twin kettle drums", ends the Pangs of the Messiah and returns the fruit of the tree of life to immortal genetic Eve to renew Eden in the Path of the Seed, as the fourth Adam, thus realizing in mythical sacred drama the love song of immortality in both spirit and flesh - reuniting the Yaveh-Shekinah into the Elhoistic Tao. One could think of this as an atomement offering from Adonai the Lord to Lilith the unrestrained natural principle to welcome her back from demonization in the outer wilderness to return the lost feminine psyche tothe world. Just as the Fall was both a downfall from nature and a rift between the genders, so the Consummation is both a sacred marriage between the genders and a remerging with nature, which ends the dominance of and revulsion towards bestial nature of the Father. The fruit is the sacrament of this remerging.
Just as Hathor returns from searing the desert to complement the wisdom of Thoth with fertility, spontaneity and creative elan, so verdant immortal Eve takes her place alongside El, the "god behind God", as the dual manifestations of cosmic order and fertile chaos - the immortal evolving biosphere. The "Ancient of Days" is realized in the original dual fertility principles emerging from the paleolithic as the Moon Bull and Great Mother, the mind and body of nature. However this is both an ancient and modern development. It is as much good science as it is good sense. The two-gender nature of the totality is the nature of the eternal all-knowing ultimate Tao - the unity composed of endless complements, the hieros-gamos of mind and body, wave and particle, chaos and order, female and male, space and time. It is we humans who evoke the deities as spiritual or shamanic expressions of the ultimate Tao . It is a spermatogenic violation of the Tao for the male deity to be the supreme cosmic ruler. It is like sperm without egg, or particle without wave. It results in competition without cooperation, growth without sustainability. Male monotheism has led to a false conception of a "god of order", creating a flawed universe of sin and suffering at the beginning of time, which has no further creative potential and from which we will all escape to a purely mental heaven in the "Day of Judgement" - Armageddon - the ultimate battle between dark and light. This model of reality is false and a mortal danger to our survival. We have lost sight of the very immortality that brought each of us here to this very day in an endless chain from the ancient past 3500 million years ago, when life first emerged on Earth. As Jesus said John 10:34: "Ye are the gods". It is now time for us to assume cosmic responsibility for our actions, because, like it or not, we will be shaping the great epochs to our undoing or to our unfolding. The universe is a continuing evolutionary creation. As conscious beings, we play a visionary role in its unfolding. By aligning with the Kingdom, El, the Buddha mind, Allah, Abba, we experience cosmic consciousness permeating throughout space-time - the eternal in this incarnation, so that, in the great unfolding of conscious evolution throughout the universe and even in its eventual heat death and resurrection, we know and are known, are at one with, and at peace with, the ultimate Tao. By merging with the Garden, our genetic Eve, we become immortal in the flesh - the immortal Garden completing and complementing the eternal nature of the Kingdom. The biosphere can then unfold through our vision in a great becoming - the flowering of evolutionary uncertainty through the nurturing guardianship of human consciousness, for like it or not, we have now come of age as the the stewards of evolution. We have 100 million years ahead of us to fully open the portals of eternity. Hallelu-Yah! A shalom Asherah! Amen.
In ancient Samaritan eschatology Sinai is directly compared to the day of judgement: "All the signs and wonders which happened at Mt. Sinai will be repeated on the Day of Requital, namely, a day of turmoil and lightnings and heavy cloud ... and a great fear and a mighty sound of a trumpet ... the Lord will cover his faithful servants with the cloud of the Garden of Eden, while the wicked will be in deep darkness and anguish of soul ... then the bodies will revive and come out of the earth" (Schonfield 274). This both places the Garden of Eden back into the Day of Judgement and explains how the second coming in clouds is an allegory for Moses ascent of the mountain.
In 1 Enoch 24:4 the ancient 'immortal' ancestor Enoch stands on the seventh jeweled mountain and spies fragrant trees "and there was among them a tree with a fragrance such as I have never ... smelt and no tree among them nor any other flourished like it, and its leaves and flowers and wood never wither; its fruit is beautiful .. and I said "How beautiful this tree ... and how fair its flowers" and Michael said "Enoch, Why do you ask and why do you marvel at the fragrance of this tree, and why do you desire to learn the truth? ... This high mountain is like a throne for the Lord ... And as for this fragrant tree, no flesh shall be allowed to touch it until the great judgement, then there will be a recompense for all and a consummation for ever. Then to the righteous and pious, its fruit shall be given for food ; and it shall be transplanted to a place beside the Temple of the Lord, the everlasting King. Then will they be glad exceedingly and enter the holy place; and they shall bring an offering into it its sweet-smelling odours in their very bones; and they shall live a longer life on earth because of it; just as your fathers did." This passage of Enoch illustrates how the tree of life will make people holy and will practically lengthen their lives, just as the living sacrament makes holy and just as the diverse anti-cancer agents recently discovered in plants are doing today.
The Return of the Tree of Life in the Apocalypse (Cook)
The closing climax in the Bible, the last chapter of Revelation completes the entire cycle of Eden in a captivating way, which should stand as a warning to all mechanists to take note of the powers of quantum non-locality - a profoundly relieving passage after all the violence, which prophesies the final return of the tree of life, embracing the abysmal waters flowing from the throne. It is the source of immortality and the healing of the nations in the new Jerusalem:
And [the angel]
shewed me a pure river of water of life,
clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river,
was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits,
and yielded her fruit every month:
and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
And there shall be no more curse:
but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it.
And this tree is to be the source to the blessed:
Blessed are they that do his commandments,
that they may have right to the tree of life.
The lunar monthly yielding of fruit reflects more closely the living sacrament than the annual fruits of flowering plants. The twelve sacred fruit are the other great spiritual sacraments of the tree, extending to the diverse and powerful life-prolonging and anti-cancer properties of a diversity of plants.
This prophecy is of double significance in that it is heralded by an earlier Old Testament vision in Ezekiel 47. "Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward ... And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river. Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. ... And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. ... And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine".
It is further parallelled in the Essene prophesies of the priestly Messiah: "And he shall open the gates of paradise, And shall remove the threatening sword against Adam. And he shall give to the saints to eat from the tree of life, And the spirit of holiness shall be on them" (Steinmann 45). The prophesied age of the Renewal. It is this spirit of holiness that the living sacrament gives.
Tree of Life Rachel Clearfield (video)
Proverbs (3:11). The mark of Homo sapiens is Sapientia, the 666 of 1 Kings 10:13.
Happy is the man that
findeth wisdom, ...
Length of days is in her right hand;
and in her left hand riches and honour.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her:
and happy is every one that retaineth her.
"When the world ends, it will be like when the names of things are changed during the peyote hunt. All will be different, the opposite of what it is now. Now there are two eyes in the heavens, Dios Sol and Dios Fuego. Then, the moon will open his eye and become brighter. The sun will become dimmer. There will be no more differences. No more men and women. No child and no adult. All will change places..."
Jesus said the kingdom would come: "when the two become one, when the male with the female is neither male nor female" - Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of the Egyptians
Peyote, the divine cactus Lophophora williamsii, is the sacred medicine of the Huichols of Mexico and the Native American Church of the U.S. and Canada. There is a continuing mythology among tribes with a Christian heritage, claiming that peyote is the sacred food provided by Christ in the second coming in the second millennium:
"Just as soon as he - I suppose his soul - came to, he see somebody coming on clouds. There's a cloud; something coming. That's a man coming this way, with a buckskin suit on; he got long hair. He come right straight for him; it's Jesus himself. So he told this boy, 'Well, one time you was crying, and your prayers were answered that time. So I come here. I'm not supposed to come; I said I wasn't going to come before two thousand years,' he said. 'But I come for you, to come tell you' ... So they went up a hill there. There's a tipi there, all ready. So Christ, before he went in it, offered a prayer. So they went in there. Then he showed him the [ritual] ways; the medicine, how to use it, he gave him the songs ... 'Whoever takes this medicine, he will do it in my name.' So that's how it represents almost the first beginning" (Anderson 23).
said to Jesus,
'Tell us what the kingdom of heaven is like.'
He said to them, 'It is like a mustard seed.
It is the smallest of all seeds.
But when it falls on tilled soil,
it produces a great plant
and becomes a shelter for birds of the sky.'"
(Thomas 20 )
10: Sachamama and the Matryr
A Four-square Herm to Chico Mendez: May the 'sperm' of his wisdom infect all mankind.
Sachamama - Pablo Amaringo. The great anaconda symbolizes the winding Mother Amazon.
Chico Mendez, a rubber tapper who promoted sustainable use of the Amazon's natural resources and actively opposed the devastation being wrought by clearfelling ranchers was murdered for his opposition to the wholesale destruction of the forest for non-sustainable uses. It is up to us who live on to ensure his mission is accomplished.
40,000 Gold-miners leave devastation and mercury pollution (Amazon, Revkin).
Amazon flood-plain. Clear felling by ranchers irreversibly bakes the earth.
Exorcising Bitter-Sweet Hystery
Homo sapiens, despite evolving some 100,000 years ago, spent some 70,000 years leaving only flaked tools with only minor changes of design. Although so-called "primitive" cultures are diverse and parallels, between modern hunter-gatherers and our ancestral origins remain speculative, among the very few primitive hunter-gatherers still existant, the !Kung of the Kalahari provide a somewhat unique perspective on our possible hunter-gatherer origins: "Here in a society of ancient traditions, men and women live together in a non-exploitive manner, displaying a striking equality between the sexes ... Other contemporary gathering and hunting societies have a similar high level of equality - higher at least than that of most agricultural or herding societies. This observation has led to the suggestion that the relations between the sexes that prevailed during the majority of human prehistory were comparable to those seen in the !Kung today." Nisa
When the gods gave
they gave us a wonderful thing.
Sex is food:
just as people cannot survive without eating,
hunger for sex can cause people to die.
!Kung saying - Nisa.
About 35,000 years ago, there appears suddenly an explosion of representational art. It is as if the birth of culture has occurred from the primal continuum of the paleolithic. Prominent among these first and most artistic creations are diverse representations of the creatrix goddess of fertility, complemented by sculpures and wall paintings of animals and the hunt of a more shamanic content. The consistency and the careful beauty of these figurines is consistent with the worship of the female as generator of the continued line of living existence. While primitive men were wandering hunters who had to remain silent in the shamanic meditation of the hunt, the women were collecting and recognising a wide variety of plants, talking more and socializing, forming the foundation skills that underpinned the birth of civilization. The myths of diverse tribal cultures hint at a previous era when women were the founding influence in this way.
The "venuses" of Dolni Vestonice, Willendorff, Lespugue (2), and Laussel date from inter-Gravitean Solutrean 20000-18000 B.C. Note the horn carried by the goddess of Laussel.
Despite her manifold names and forms, the creatrix goddess is one goddess of all, who provides one world in a unified view of the life cycle. As the earth mother, she is ever closer than the remote sky father and nurtures all living things. However, in the world view of the goddess, creation and destruction are integral components of the cyclic round from birth to death, from full season to lean season, represented in particular in the lunar phases which are coupled with the menstrual cycle, as illustrated in the Venus of Laussel. There is no division of the universe between good and evil, dark and light, as both are incorporated into the cosmic cycle in a state of timeless unity. With this interminable cycle comes a relentless, crushing reality, in which destructive nature of death is actively accentuated in acts of animal and particularly human sacrifice. Thus the triple goddess is a creature of three faces the nubile virgin lover, the sustaining mother of the harvest and the all-consuming crone of death.
Although the spiritual quest also seeks answers to life after death and the illumination of the cosmic mind, it is in fertility that the true raw energy of spirituality reaches it's zenith, and it is through fertility that each of us has come into being in a continuous line of evolution from the first life on earth, some 3,000 million years ago, to wonder at existence and ponder our fate, and it is in fertility that both our offspring and the environment in which we live will continue into the future. Fertility is thus also intimately connected with the continued survival of the people through seasonal changes and the quirks of fortune in the fertility of earth itself. Fertility thus delves into those far more ancient realities of the conscious universe that far pre-date the gods and goddesses of early human civilization. On a more sinister note, sexuality has been recognised from all quarters to be mystically connected to the origin of death, and thus responsible for death itself. Sex is thus steeped in sacrificial attonement in death.
Mammoth Vogelherd 32000 B.C. (Leakey 1994)
Bison Lascaux early Magdelanian 15000-13000 B.C. (Powell)
The Sorceror Middle Magdelanian 13000-11000 B.C. (Powell)
These developments are parallelled in a significant way by the evolution of animal art associated also with shamanic identification with animal familiars as in the "sorceror" on the right. These pictures illustrate the equally ancient case for nature shamanism of a different kind associated with the hunt and the psychic descent down the Axis Mundi to the roots of conscious existence, a journey of temporary death, or near death experience in which the shaman returns empowered as a medicine man and prophet.
Of course sex is ultimately responsible for death, because in sexuality, biology has discovered a trade off. Sexuality has provided a tremendous new source of variation, which forever mixes the gene pool in new creative ways, making it possible for higher plants and animals to evolve. However, in sex came the death of the organism, because each individual contributes only half their genes to the offspring, which instead of being the phoenix clone of the parent, has only half the identity of each parent and is thus a new individual. As evolution of higher organisms proceeds there is an ever-diminishing capacity for the organism to regenerate from parts. It can no longer reproduce itself and with the passage of time falls to the very mutational changes that permitted its evolution into being. Upon the death of the organism, its unique identity is now lost into fragments in the gene pool. But this loss comes at great gain. It makes it possible for us to evolve further into being, through the altruistic sharing of genetic identities between male and female in partnership. By the sacrifice of eventual death, which we all face, we gain the privilege of living in this extraordinary universe, and sharing in the ongoing continuity of life. This is a quest whose consumation is a golden age of unforseen splendour, if we do not destroy it through our own ignorance first.
Hieros gamos, c 10,000 BC Europe, Negev Desert (Campbell 1988, Avi-Yonah)
Old godesses such as Anath fertilized themselves with the blood of men and bulls, Cybele is noted for her castrations and the ancient myth of human origin is from clay and menstrual blood. However the domestication and breeding of animals depends on an understanding of the complementary role of the sexes in reproduction. Nevertheless, the sexual behaviour of the herding animals came to have a huge impact on human culture and sexuality. It was abundantly clear that the male was required only for the fleeting process of fertilization, while both birth and the long years of family-rearing depends centrally on motherhood.
This male role is accentuated in herding animals such as the bull, but even in human populations to this day with nominal nuclaer family units, the Y chromosome shows little genetic variation because some males fertilize a disproportionate proportion of females. Although the great godess is also prominent among the mammoth hunters, the development of agriculture and its complementation by herding appears to have led to a cosmic struggle for power between the sexes which is only now coming to a resolution.
Of course, once the patriarchal attitude began to hold sway, the lack of a visible ovum led to a belief that the woman was a mere receptacle for gorwing the man's seed, as in the Aristotelian view of biology and in Mary's 'virgin birth' of Jesus from God alone. It is only with the discovery of the ovum in 1827 that the genetic role of the female in reproduction has become confirmed (Ranke-Heinemann 1992 43). This makes it natural in a way to think of Eve as coming out of the rib of Adam. However it is also clear that many offspring resemble both parents, or at least frequently resemble the mother as much as the father, so the credibility of historical patriarchal propaganda of the Aristotelian view that woman was a mere receptacle for male seed should be taken with substantial reservation. It is after all quite clear that the Jews, perhaps the archetype of all patriarchal traditions always traced Jewish descent through the mother, something which is meaningless if she contributes no transferrable genetic identity to her offspring.
Hieros gamos, creatrix goddess, shrine with bulls heads and pregnant Goddess.
Catal Huyuk Anatolia 7,500 B.C. - 5,500 B.C. goddess (Melaart).
Catal Huyuk 6,500 B.C. illustrates the transition from hunter-gatherer society to agricultural centres in which trade (e.g. in obsidian) and the complementation between male pursuits of hunting, herding and animal husbandry and the planting, harvesting and seed selection of the agricultural domain of the women. The environmental confluence of natural grain-producing areas with pasture and forest made certain areas of the Near East, as exemplified by old Jericho circa 10,000 B.C. and Catal Huyuk, provided an ideal backdrop for this complementation. The central place of the generative goddess and the counterpoint between the horned male bull and the pregnant goddess is again reflected in the hieros gamos, sacred marriage, or ritual consummation, clearly portrayed as being consequentially linked to birth.
Temple with bulls heads, skulls and vultures picking headless men (Melaart).
There are some skulls present in the temples, and death vultures are depicted pecking headless men. The central and sacred place of the woman's family bed in house design contrasts with the variable and satellite position of the male sleeping arrangements and burial places.
A recent study (New Scientist 18 Jan 97 p9) even suggests that the association of women's breasts with weasel skulls, fox teeth, boar tusks and vulture beaks and the vultures picking at headless corpses in the temples, the scattered skulls with marks of beheading after death, indicate a "safety valve" to relesae the new tensions of urban living "to vent frustration of living at close quarters through symbolic ritual killings". however a definitive interpretation may never be arrived at.
(Minoan Crete and the snake Goddesds, Wolkenstain)
Inanna, whom we may also identify with Ishtar, Ashtoreth, Aphrodite, Astarte, to a certain extent Asherah, and Oestre, Ostara, the sea goddess Mari, or Miriam and many others, is the evening star, the Sumerian Queen of Heaven. She was the creatrix, the mother of all men. She was Queen of Heaven astronomically as well as theologically. She was horned, and was brought up out of the foam by water-gods, like Aphrodite, thus explaining her close connection with Mari goddess of the sea. Her journey to the earth and then to the underworld cements relationship between the shepherd kings and hieratic planter queens which formed the basis of the flowering of the cities of Sumer from 3500 B.C., the centre of catalysis of successive civilations to the present day.
Several authors, including Barbara Walker and William Irwin Thompson (163) comment that the Sumerian era now represents the fall of the Great Goddess to the phallic onslaught of the male Godhead represented by the trinity An, Enki and Nannar who may have been introduced by the first Indo-Aryan incursions, and that the order of reproductive power has changed to that of erotic power to become the Goddess of live and battle and of the seasonal abundance and regress. Although male gods, such as Enki certainly have have entered the pantheon, the young Goddess is nevertheless mighty and resurgent with her youthful power:
"Proud Queen of
the Earth Gods, Supreme Among the Heaven Gods,
Loud Thundering Storm, you pour your rain over all the lands and all the people.
You make the heavens tremble and the earth quake.
Great Priestess, who can soothe your troubled heart?
You flash like
lightning over the highlands; you throw your firebrands across the earth.
Your deafening command, whistling like the South Wind, splits apart great mountains.
You trample the disobedient like a wild bull; heaven and earth tremble.
Holy Priestess, who can soothe your troubled heart?
Your frightful cry
descending from the heavens devours its victims.
Your quivering hand causes the midday heat to hover over the sea.
Your nighttime stalking of the heavens chills the land with its dark breeze.
Holy Inanna, the riverbanks overflow with the flood-waves of your heart...."
(Wolkenstein and Kramer 95)
The seasonal cycle of the goddess is represented unabated in the passage from new life in the burgeoning fertility period and death in the lean season. The first phase is the ritual marriage of Inanna to the shepherd king Dumuzi in the hieros gamos, the high point of the Sumerian sacred cycle. Dumuzu ( the Shepherd King ) is actually mentioned as the fifth king on the king lists of Sumer. He is also referred to as Dumuzzi-Absu of the abyss, god of freshets and running waters. He is also the heavenly shepherd of the stars.
O Wanderer, Wanderer,
my brother Wanderer,
In the fields of Arallu, Wanderer, my brother Wanderer.
(Briffault v3 95)
Dumuzi at first has to pursuade Inanna to marry a shepherd king. She is also encouraged by her mother Ningal, the Moon Goddess of Ur. The encounter then runs hot with the young Inanna's passion for young shepherd king Dumuzzi and their consummation, and with the echoing fullness of pastoral fecundity. It is the very love song of creation, which fills the earth with the burgeoning splendour of life.
the door for him.
Inside the house she shone before him
Like the light of the moon.
Dumuzi looked at her joyously.
He pressed his neck close against hers. He kissed her.
"What I tell you, Let the singer weave into song.
What I tell you, Let it flow from ear to mouth,
Let it pass from old to young:
My vulva, the horn,
The Boat of Heaven,
Is full of eagerness like the young moon.
My untilled land lies fallow.
As for me, Inanna,
Who will plow my vulva?
Who will plow my high field?
Who will plow my wet ground?...
"Great Lady, the king will plow your vulva.
I Dumuzi the King, will plow your vulva."
"Then plow my vulva, man of my heart!
Plow my vulva!"
At the king's lap
stood the rising cedar.
Plants grew high by their side.
Grains grew high by their side.
Gardens flourished luxuriantly....
"O Lady, your
breast is your field.
Inanna, your breast is your field.
Your broad field pours out plants.
Your broad field pours out grain.
Water flows from on high for your servant.
Bread flows from on high for your servant.
Pour it out for me, Inanna.
I will drink all you offer."
"Make your milk sweet and thick, my bridegroom.
My shepherd, I will drink your fresh milk.
Wild bull, Dumuzi, make your milk sweet and thick.
I will drink your fresh milk....
"My sister, I would go with you to my garden.
Inanna, I would go with you to my garden.
I would go with you to my orchard.
I would go with you to my apple tree.
There I would plant the sweet, honey-covered seed."
"He brought me into his garden.
My brother, Dumuzi, brought me into his garden.
I strolled with him among the standing trees,
I stood with him among the fallen trees,
By an apple tree I knelt as is proper....
Before my lord
I poured out plants from my womb.
I placed plants before him,
I poured out plants before him.
I placed grain before him,
I poured out grain before him.
I poured out grain from my womb."
"Last night as I, the queen, was shining bright,
Last night as I, the Queen of Heaven, was shining bright,
As I was shining bright and dancing,
Singing praises at the coming of the night-
He met me - he met
My lord Dumuzi met me.
He put his hand into my hand.
He pressed his neck close against mine.
My high priest is ready for the holy loins.
My lord Dumuzi is ready for the holy loins.
The plants and herbs in his field are ripe.
O Dumuzi! Your fullness is my delight!"...
"Let the bed
that rejoices the heart be prepared!
Let the bed that sweetens the loins be prepared!...
He put his hand in
He put his hand to her heart.
Sweet is the sleep of hand-to-hand.
Sweeter still the sleep of heart-to-heart.
"I bathed for the wild bull,
I bathed for the shepherd Dumuzi,
I perfumed my sides with ointment,
I coated my mouth with sweet-smelling amber,
I painted my eyes with kohl.
He shaped my loins
with his fair hands,
The shepherd Dumuzi filled my lap with cream and milk,
He stroked my pubic hair,
He watered my womb.
He laid his hands on my holy vulva,
He smoothed my black boat with cream,
He quickened my narrow boat with milk,
He caressed me on the bed.
Now I will caress my
high priest on the bed,
I will caress the faithful shepherd Dumuzi,
I will caress his loins, the shepherdship of the land,
I will decree a sweet fate for him."
The Queen of Heaven,
The heroic woman, greater than her mother,
Who was presented the me by Enki,
Inanna, the First Daughter of the Moon,
Decreed the fate of Dumuzi:
In battle, I am your
In combat I am your armor-bearer,
In the assembly I am your advocate,
On the campaign I am your inspiration....
In all ways you are
May your heart enjoy long days....
As the farmer, let
him make the fields fertile,
As the shepherd, let him make the sheepfolds multiply,
Under his reign let there be vegetation,
Under his reign let there be rich grain.
The king went with
lifted head to the holy loins.
He went with lifted head to the loins of Inanna.
He went to the queen with lifted head.
He opened wide his arms to the holy priestess of heaven....
My blossom-bearer in
the apple orchard,
My bearer of fruit in the apple orchard, ...
My fearless one, My holy statue,...
How sweet was your allure. . . ."
(Wolkenstein and Kramer 30)
The descent of the seven veils, the curse of Dumuzi (Wolkenstein and Kramer 57, 72).
The onset of the lean season after the harvest, however brings out the fierce dark side of the goddess of death and destruction. It is celebrated by the entry of Inanna to the underworld, where she dances the dance of the seven veils as her worldly attire and then her life is reduced to nought. Inanna decides to experience the dark side her elder sister Ereshkigal knows as Queen of the Underworld in the death rites of the Sacred Bull of Heaven, Gugalanna, thus disguising her formal purpose of discovery in the formal act of witnessing the death rites of another.
Returning from the underworld, accompanied by demons who must have a mortal in compensation, she fixes the eye of death on her absent-minded partner who is engrossed in affairs of state, and he is chased by the demons of hell, losing his possessions, his genitals and his life. Inanna afterwards laments her actions and searches for him and ensures his resurrection so that he can be brought back for six months of the year to ensure the fertility of both the womb and the soil. Seasonal male sacrifice of the "king" reverberates through the goddesses from Greece to India and over much of Africa including Cybele, Hecate and Kali. In the Sumerian view, the purpose of human life was merely to provide sustenance for the deities.
"From the Great
Above she opened her ear to the Great Below.
From the Great Above the goddess opened her ear to the Great Below.
From the Great Above Inanna opened her ear to the Great Below.
My Lady abandoned
heaven and earth to descend to the underworld.
Inanna abandoned heaven and earth to descend to the underworld.
She abandoned her office of holy priestess to descend to the underworld....
If I do not return,
Set up a lament for me by the ruins.
Beat the drum for me in the assembly places.
Circle the houses of the gods.
Tear at your eyes, at your mouth, at your thighs. ...
Go to Eridu, to the
temple of Enki.
Weep before Father Enki.
Father Enki, the God of Wisdom, knows the food of life,
He knows the water of life; He knows the secrets.
Surely he will not let me die." ...
(Wolkenstein and Kramer 52)
When Inanna arrived
at the outer gates of the underworld, She knocked loudly.
She cried out in a fierce voice: "Open the door, gatekeeper! Open the door, Neti!
I alone would enter!" ...
When she entered the
the shugurra, the crown of the steppe was removed.
When she entered the second gate,
From her neck the small lapis beads were removed.
When she entered the third gate,
From her breast the double strand of beads was removed.
When she entered the fourth gate,
From her chest the breastplate called "Come, man, come!" was removed.
When she entered the fifth gate,
From her wrist the gold ring was removed.
When she entered the sixth gate,
From her hand the lapis measuring rod and line was removed.
When she entered the seventh gate,
From her body the royal robe was removed. ...
Naked and bowed low,
Inanna entered the throne room.
Ereshkigal rose from her throne.
Inanna started toward the throne.
The Annuna, the judges of the underworld, surrounded her.
They passed judgment against her.
Then Ereshkigal fastened on Inanna the eye of death.
She spoke against her the word of wrath.
She uttered against her the cry of guilt.
She struck her.
Inanna was turned into a corpse,
A piece of rotting meat,
And was hung from a hook on the wall....
Then, after three
days and three nights, Inanna had not returned,
Ninshubur set up a lament for her by the ruins.
She beat the drum for her in the assembly places.
(Wolkenstein and Kramer 52)
Neither Enlil nor Inanna's father Nannar, the Moon God of Ur, will help her because she has craved the below, and because those who choose the underworld do not return. Ninshubur succeeds in getting Enki to secure her release:
Inanna was about to
ascend from the underworld
When the Annuna, the judges of the underworld, seized her. They said:
"No one ascends from the underworld unmarked.
If Inanna wishes to return from the underworld,
She must provide someone in her place."...
As Inanna ascended
from the underworld,
The galla, the demons of the underworld, clung to her side.
The galla were demons who know no food, who know no drink,
Who eat no offerings, who drink no libations,
Who accept no gifts.
They enjoy no lovemaking-
They have no sweet children to kiss.
They tear the wife from the husband's arms,
They tear the child from the father's knees,
They steal the bride from her marriage home....
The galla said:
"Walk on, Inanna,
We will take Ninshubur in your place."
Inanna cried: "No! Ninshubur is my constant support....
"Walk on to your city, Inanna, We will take Shara in your place."
Inanna cried: "No! Not Shara! He is my son who sings hymns to me. ...
"Walk on to your city, Inanna, We will take Lulal in your place."
"Not Lulal! He is my son. He is a leader among men. ...
"Walk on to your city, Inanna.
We will go with you to the big apple tree in Uruk."
In Uruk, by the big apple tree,
Dumuzi, the husband
of Inanna, was dressed in his shining me-garments.
He sat on his magnificent throne; (he did not move).
The galla seized him by his thighs.
They poured milk out of his seven churns.
They broke the reed pipe which the shepherd was playing.
Inanna fastened on
Dumuzi the eye of death.
She spoke against him the word of wrath.
She uttered against him the cry of guilt:
"Take bim! Take Dumuzi away!"
The galla, who know
no food, who know no drink,
Who eat no offerings, who drink no libations,
Who accept no gifts, seized Dumuzi.
They made him stand up; they made him sit down.
They beat the husband of Inanna.
They gashed him with axes."
(Wolkenstein and Kramer 71)
There follows a famous episode: the lament of Damuzzi - the lament for all lost life:
At his vanishing away
she lifts up a lament, "Oh my child!"
At his vanishing away she lifts up a lament, "My Damu!"
At his vanishing away she lifts up a lament, "My enchanter and priest!"
Like the lament that a house lifts up for its master,
Like the lament that a city lifts up for its lord,
Her lament is the lament for a herb that grows not in the bed.
Her lament is the lament for the corn that grows not in the ear.
Her chamber is a possession that brings not forth a possession.
A weary woman, a weary child forespent.
Her lament is for a great river where no willow grows.
Her lament is for a field where wheat and herbs grow not.
Her lament is for a lifeless pool with no fish.
Her lament is for a thicket with no reeds.
Her lament is for a wood with no tamarisks.
For a wilderness with no Cypresses.
For a garden without honey or wine.
For meadows with no pasture.
For a palace where long life is gone.
(Frazer v4/1 10)
Inanna and Dumuzzi's sister Geshtinanna go searching to the edges of the steppe for Dumuzzi. Dumuzzi is finally given a partial reprieve, of tragic irony for his sacred kings. He is allowed back in the full season, while his sister Geshtinana, playing a role like unto Persephone, takes his place. This means that Dumuzzi's death and resurrection become instituted ritual - as the renowned "women weeping for Tammuz" in the Old Testament, as well as those of Ta'uz at Harran make clear. They weep and lament. The king dies. They grind his bones in the mill and scatter them to the winds. People beat their breasts and searched for the dead and resurrected God among the straw as far away as Samarkand (Briffault v3/100).
Such a viewpoint still arises in its essence from a great Mother Goddess, the personification of all the reproductive energies of nature, and associated with her a series of lovers, each the divine bridegroom, a mortal yet resurrected god, with whom she mated year by year, their sexual consummation expressed physically between priestess and priest-king, and that of their worshippers at the sanctuary ensuring the fruitfulness of the ground and the increase of man and beast (Frazer 1890 v5/ 39). Such an idea of deity is consistent with an inheritance down the female line in which kings held power only by virtue of their association with a continuing female line, which is thus immortal both by childbirth and by genealogy, while the male remains transient and mortal likewise on both counts Traditions of transient sacred kingships interrupted by human sacrifice are an exprassion of this motif.
The same dying male vegetation god theme is common to Tammuz, Osiris, Adonis, Attis, Shiva and even Dionysus, who from very early times have been worshipped in magical rites designed to ensure the clement passage of the seasons, the return of fertilizing rains, and the verdant growth of spring. In their death and resurrection was believed to be the mystic catharsis for the decay and revival of the life and fertility upon which food and the welfare of whole societies depended.
Osiris is either shut in his coffin or felled by the river and drowned. Adonis is gored, Attis is persuaded to castrate himself and bleeds to death, Dionysus is torn to pieces and Virbus is dragged to his death. Frequently this death is precipitated by the conflict between the twin aspects of the goddess of life and death, sometimes in the form of a jealousy or slight. Thus Hippolytus offends Aphrodite by his faith towards Artemis and Adonis lover of Aphrodite offends Artemis. The rites of Tammuz and Dionysus, who later evolved in myth into a paternal deity, both appear to have originated from exclusive womens' mystery cults (Briffault v3 105).
The flesh of Mot was similarly torn asunder in Canaanite myth once every seven years in a way which is closely linked to the crucifixion. Anath calls to Shapash the sun goddess for the victor Ba'al to kill Mot and reprieve the lean season. Ba'al smites the sons of Athirat.
In the seventh year,
then lo! Mot son of El
lifted up his voice unto the victor Ba'al and cried:
By reason of thee I have suffered shame,
by reason of thee I have suffered disgrace.
I have suffered winnowing by the sieve,
I have suffered with the sword and
burning by fire by reason of thee.
Grinding between two millstones.
I have suffered sowing on the day,
by reason of thee. (Driver 113)
All the grain gods were ritually ground up. Osiris was scattered over all Egypt. The lament is not just the lament for the dying Autumn but it is the lament of the grinding of the corn of the reaper.
They wasted o'er a
The marrow of his bones;
But a miller us'd him worst of all -
For he crushed him between two stones. - Robert Burns
The sacrificial cycle caused some herioc kings in history to refuse the advances of the Goddess. In Babylonian myth, Gilgamesh, the hero who helped Inanna cut down the Hulluppu tree is tempted by Ishtar (Inanna). She offers Gilgamesh her hand in marriage. In refusing the marriage, Gilgamesh repels Ishtar's offer with a mix of contempt and apprehension.
Fig 11.10: The new King dispatches the old in the presence of the Goddess Sumer 2300 BC (Campbell 1962 or 42)
"Tammuz, the spouse of thy youth, thou hast condemned him to weep from year to year. Allala the spotted sparrow hawk, thou lovest him, afterwards thou didst strike him and break his wing: he continues in the wood and cries 'O my wings!' Thou didst afterwards love a lion of mature strength, and didst then cause him to be rent by blows, seven at a time. Thou lovest also a stallion magnificent in battle; thou didst devote him to death by the goad and the whip; thou didst compel him to gallop for ten leagues, thou didst devote him to exhaustion and thirst. Thou didst love Ishullanu thy fathers gardener, who ceaselessly brought thee presents of fruit and decorated every day thy table ... thou didst strike him, thou didst transform him into a dwarf. ... Thou lovest me now, afterwards thou wilt strike me as thou didst these". (The Dawn of Civilization 580)
He subsequently has to protect Uruk from the vengeful ravages of the Bull of Heaven she sends in vengeance. This myth was enacted in Babylon annually, but the Temples of Ishtar remained. Women had rights of divorce and had to prostitute themselves in the temple once during their lives.
Theseus similarly rejects Ariadne, resulting in the death of his father because he forgets to remove the black sails signalling his own death on his return to Athens, and also the downfall of the Cretan Goddess, despite becoming the celestial betrothed of none less than Dionysus. Greek myth reverberates with the overthrow of the Goddess from her earlier position of relative power.
The king was either regularly sacrificed after a fixed term of say seven years, or might live on as long as his fertility lasted, as in Israel with David. The sacred king of Nemi lived only so long as no other male could take him inmortal combat, upon snapping the sacred branch. Barbara Walker points notes that Kingship throughout Mesopotamia was realized only through hieros-gamos with the earthly representative o fthe Goddess. "The length of a king's reign was often predetermined, because people thought the Goddess needed the refreshment of a new lover at stated intervals." "Ashurbanipal said he ruled by the grace of Ishtar." "The goddess queen's choice largely depended on the candidate's sex-appeal. If she tired of the king's lovemaking, he could be deposed or killed, for the queen's sexual acceptance of him determined the fertility of the land. In many early societies the old king was killed by a new king, usually called a "son" although he was no blood relative." "Hence the unbroken chain of Oedipal murders..." "Kings of Thebes and Caanan ruled for seven years." "Kings of Zimbabwe were strangled by their wives every four years until 1810 AD. Sacrifice of Kings extended from Africa to Greece and Early Rome."
Barbara Walker (877) perceptively comments: "Human or animal, the sacrificial victims of ancient cultures were almost invariably male. Worshippers of Shiva sacrificed only male animals; the god himself ordered that female animals must never be slain.' Males were expendable, for there were always too many for a proper breeding stock. The same was true even of human sacrifices, which were men, not women. "The fertility of a group is determined by the number of its adult women, rather than by its adult men." Therefore male blood only was poured out on the earliest altars, in imitation of the female blood that gave "life." That is why totemic animal-ancestors were more often paternal than maternal. The animals'blood and flesh, ingested by women, was thought to beget human offspring; and the rule was "Whatever is killed becomes father." The victim was also god, and king."
As time went by, ritual substitutes were used who became king for a day and were then sacrificed, as was the case in Babylon. "Amazonian Sacae or Scythians founded the Sacaea festivals of Babylon, where condemned criminals died as sacrificial surrogates for the king, to mitigate the earlier custom of king-killing. The chosen victim was a sacred king, identified with the real king in every possible way. He wore the king's robes, sat on the king's throne, lay with the royal concubines, wielded the scepter. After five days he was stripped, scourged, then hanged or impaled "between heaven and earth," in a prototype of the crucifixion ceremony later extended to sacred kings of the Jews. The object of scourging and piercing was to make the pseudo-king shed tears and blood for fertility magic.' Babylonian scriptures said, "if the king does not weep when struck, the omen is bad for the year." The king or pseudo-king "became God" as soon as he was dead. He ascended into heaven and united himself with the Heavenly Father, i.e., the original totem father, or first victim ... When ritual murder of kings or human king-surrogates came to be considered crude and uncivilized, then animal victims took their place. ... The Jews retained a custom of human sacrifice, for special occasions, longer than any other people in the sphere of influence of the Roman empire. Out of this tradition arose the figure of the dying Christos in Jerusalem." (Walker 877)
Adonis the Semitic god whose name was simply Lord, just as Yahweh was referred to as Adonai - Lord, was originally represented as Tammuz of Babylon and Dumuzzi of Sumeria who appears as Damuzi, a king of Eridu who reigned for 100 years (Briffault v3 99), then as the youthful shepherd king who is the lover of the Inanna, Queen of Heaven, a divine icon of the mortal sacred king who was the temporary consort of the Goddess. As we see from the descent of Inanna, Dumuzzi was doomed to spend part of the year in the underworld as the dying god, doomed by the Goddess, "A tamarisk that in the garden has drunk no water ... A willow whose roots were torn up", who later regenerates to become again the adolescent lover, symbolic of male fertility in the spring season. He is Dumuzzi of the abyss, "true son of the seep water" (Frazer 1890 v5/ 246), the god of freshets and running water that drives all vegetative life.
Ezekiel 8:14 "Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD's house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz."
His death was annually mourned to the shrill music of flutes, by men and women in the month of Tammuz. Dirges were chanted over an effigy of the dead god, which was washed with pure water, anointed with oil, and clad in a red robe, suffused with incense to wake him from the sleep of death.
The Greeks speak a similar story of the God Adonis they adopted from the Semites around the 8th century BC. As a child beloved of Aphrodite, he was given to the charge of Persephone in a chest. But when Persephone opened the box and saw his beauty, she would not release him. Finally Zeus mediated his return to Aphrodite for part of the year. In myth he was killed by a wild boar (Frazer 1890 5/11).
The cult of Adonis was localized in Syria at Byblos and at Paphos on Cyprus. Both were great seats of the worship of Aphrodite as Astarte or in her sea aspect as Mari. Byblos has a history dating back as far as 3000 BC. The rites of Adonis were celebrated in the court of her temple surmounted by a great conical obelisk symbolic of the Goddess. The whole city was sacred to him and the river bore his name. There was a sacred grove and temple to the Goddess in the vale of Adonis at the source of the river, surmounted by astature in which heawaits the attack of a bear and beside him Aphrodite sits in sorrow, just as he was wounded to death in the montains and mourned annually while his red anemone bloomed in the cedars and the river ran red to the sea (Frazer 1890 v5/30). This is the beautiful and in essence tragic theme of the marriage of the flower queen and Salmah the summer king in the Song of Songs (Graves 1948 261).
At the festivals of Adonis in Western Asia and the Greek Islands, the death of the god was annually mourned with bitter wailing, chiefly by women; images of him, dressed to resemble corpses, were carried out as to burial and then thrown in the seaor intl springs. His revival was sometimes celebrated next day. At Alexandria images of Aphrodite and Adonis were displayed on two couches; beside them were wet ripe fruits of all kinds, cakes, potted plants and green vines twined with anise. The marriage of the lovers was celebrated one day and the next women attired as mourners with streaming hair and bared breasts, bore the image of the dead Adonis to the sea-shore and committed it to the waves, singing that he would come back again. At Byblos he was mourned in the vernal discolouration of the river Adonis with red earth washed from his mythical goring on Mt. Lebanon to shrill wailing of the flute and weeping lamentation and beating of the breast. The next day was believed to come to life again and ascend to heaven in the presence of his worshippers. The anemone whose name is derived from Naaman - darling, which celebrates his blood, blooms in Syria about Easter (Frazer 1890 v5/224-6). Spring and summer, not autumn, are the seasons for his festivals and likewise for the barley and wheat harvests in the Near East.
Fig 11.11: The Birth of Adonis from a Myrrh Tree (Cook)
His link with vegetations is clear from his birth in a Myrrh tree, myrrh being traditionally used as incense at the festival, his descent to the underworld for a third of the year and the offerings of fruit, and plants in his festivals, the grinding of his bones and their scattering to the winds, as Mot in Canaan and Ta'uz at Harran (Briffault v3 101) and his revival as reaped and sprouting grain, and in the gardens of Adonis, baskets or pots filled with earth in which wheat, barley, lettuces, fennel and various kinds of flowers were sown and tended for eight days, chiefly or exclusively by women. These shot up rapidly only to wilt and be flung at the end of eight days with his images into the water, thus also invoking the fertilizing rains. (Frazer 1890 v5/236).
Byblos was ruled by sacred kings whose names such as that of Yehaw-melech or Yaveh-melech bear the same title melech king. The first name is also suggestive of Yahweh (Frazer 1890 v5/16). Kings of Byblos and Tyre were often also priests of Astarte (Frazer 1890 v5 26), who were required to celebrate the hieros gamos with the Goddess to ensure the fertility of the land and flocks and verdant weather free of plague and pestilence (Frazer 1890 v5 28).
There is evidence of various forms of sacrifice associated with the dying and resurrected god. Melcarth of Tyre, identified by the Greeks with Hercules, was annually burned as an effigy, and originally in human sacrifice, on a great pyre and believed to ascend to heaven in a cloud and real of thunder, to be revived by a sacrificed quail (Frazer 1890 v5 111) in the "Feast of the Resurrection" and is the source of the Phoenix (Briffault v3 103).
It is said in Ezekiel that the king of Tyre impersonated the god and that he walked on hot coals as a substitute for his own immolation: 28:2 "Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus ... and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God: ... Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire." It is possible that when all went well in the commonwealth, the children doomed to the furnace of Molech may also have been spared (Frazer 1890 v5 115).
Sacrificial immolation was a fate also shared by the Talmudic Abraham. In Thrace, Dionysus was similarly immolated in a great flame which presaged the quality of the coming harvest. In Florence a Christian fireworks festival on the Saturday before Easter is commemorated in the same way (Briffault v3 104).
Carthage also records the immolation of the goddess queen Dido on such a pyre, which appears to have become the trditional site of later child sacrifice, in which boys were rolled into a flaming pit (Frazer 1890 5/114 Smith 1888 374,377). Although this is much rarer than male sacrifice, it is recorded at Hierapolis, and in the legend of the death of Astarte at Aphaca that the goddess cast herself as a star falling into the water at the annual feast. Aphrodite likewise was said to cast herself from a promontory after the death of Adonis (Smith 1888 375).
Across the Mediterranean the mountains of Cyprus can bee seen distant from the shore, one days sail, and at Paphos was another seat of worship of Astarte and Adonis. The coinage shows doves with shrines showing pillars with horns, the cone and a star and crescent symbolic of the Queen of Heaven. The sanctuary is of great antiquity and may run back to the original Great Goddess. Holy stones were still anointed at the turn of the century in the name of the "Maid of Bethlehem", sometimes still referred to as Aphrodite, to remove the curse of barrennes or increase the virility (Frazer 1890 v5 36).
"Every fourteen days we make a sacrifice of our hair and then sweep the clippings together" A Carthusian monk (Ranke-Heinmann 1992 294). The cult of Astarte and Adonis took place under the auspices of the god of the new moon. It included the building of a Temple of Astarte, a procession through the streets of the city, singing and lighting a fire for the Queen of Heaven, sacrifice, baking bread for Astarte and cakes for the participants of the festival, shaving and the construction of pillars for Adonis. It was familiar to Jeremiah in Jerusalem (7:17). The children collected wood, their fathers lit the fire for Astarte, the women made bread for the Queen of Heaven, they burned incense and offered libations, and they offered sacrifice and cut their hair in mourning. The ritual coincided with astral and seasonal phenomena and it purpose was to celebrate the simple satisfactions of life and to appease the power of evil and death.
These strands of hair he trimmed as he entreated Astarte. Tamassos presented himself and made a complete offering, "May this rouse the weepers to look for their beloved". This passage is reminiscent of the Song of Songs and the offering of hair in fulfillment of the Nazirite vow, but its association with mourning for the dead was expressly forbidden by the Deuteronomic historian. The cult of Astarte included a complex of rites in which the dead were honoured to invoke the expectation of enduring life in succeeding generations. (Peckam) Similar rites were performed at Mari. (Malamat)
The followers of Astarte have always been noted for their ceremonies for the dead and for the dying and resurrecting god of fertility, in which the hair was cut off. "At Byblos people shaved their heads in the annual mourning for Adonis. Women who refused to sacrifice their hair had to give themselves up to strangers on a certain day of the festival, and the money which they earned was devoted to the Goddess. This custom may have been the mitigation of an older rule which at Byblus as elsewhere formerly compelled every woman without exception to sacrifice her virtue in the service of religion." (Frazer v4 38). This substitution of hair applied also to the ritual prostitution required of each woman before marriage. "At later times at Byblos, it was the custom to be able to commute the period of ritual prostitution required by the Goddess by the cutting off of her hair, as is done at the present day by Catholic nuns when becoming mystically married to the divine bridegroom". (Briffault v3 220)
Fig 11.12: Mary Magdalene Cutting off her Hair - Livre de la Passion 14th cent
"In ancient Israel mourners were accustomed to testify their sorrow for the death of friends by cutting their own bodies and shearing part of their hair so as to make bald patches on their heads." (Frazer Folk v1 270) "Both the great and small shall die in this land: they shall not be buried, neither shall men lament for them, nor cut themselves nor make themselves bald for them." (Jer 16:6) Amos (8:10) likewise noted "I shall turn you feasts into mourning ... and baldness upon every head". Micah goes further "Make thee bald, poll thee for the children of thy delight, enlarge thy baldness as an eagle." "Yet in time these observances, long practised without offense by the Israelites came to be viewed as barbarous or heathenish" so that in Deuteronomy 14:1 we find "Ye shall not cut yourselves not make any baldness between your eyes for the dead". This is later repeated in Leviticus 19:27, and picturesquely in 21:1-5 it is attributed to Moses himself "And the Lord said to Moses ... they shall not make baldness on their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh".
Robinson-Smith notes furthermore "Among the Hebrews and the Arabs, and indeed among many other peoples both ancient and modern, the laceration of the flesh in mourning is associated with the practice of shaving the head or cutting off part of the hair and depositing it on the tomb or funeral pyre." (Smith 323) Among the Arabs this rite was exclusive to women who wrapped it in a cloth stained with their own blood, having scratched their cheeks and upper parts. The Hebrews by contrast shaved the front part of the head only. "Now among the Semites and other ancient peoples the hair-offering is common, not only in mourning but in the worship of the gods, and the ritual in the two cases are so exactly similar that we cannot doubt that a single principle was involved in both. ... Arab women laid their hair in the tomb of the dead [wrapped in blood scratched from their face and breasts" (Frazer OT 4/273)], young men and maidens in Syria cut off their flowing tresses and deposited them in caskets of gold in the temples. The Hebrews shaved the fore part of their head in mourning; the Arabs of Herodotus habitually adopted the like tonsure of their god Orotal [Du Sara].
Mary Magdalen was reputed to have long tresses which she is likewise described as cutting in mourning. According to the Jewish midrash, Jesus mother's name was Mary M'gadd'la -the hairdresser, an unclean profession. Cuttings from dead people were often made into wigs by unscrupulous hairdressers.
Briffault (v3 110) notes the tension between Yahweh-Adonai and the Adonai who was Lord consort of the Canaanite Astarte. As the Hebrew shepherds settled in the lands around Canaan, they found their own race and their own religion modified by the effects of agricultural civilization. Their lunar deity was now eclipsed, taking a subservient role to the Queen of Heaven in the land of milk and honey - an abomination to their more conservative elements.
It is notable that David, who donned the crown of Milcom God of the Ammonites chose the ancient city of Salem as his royal capital, stands as a sacred king in this ancient tradition. In life the Hebrew king was regularly addressed as Adoni-ham-melech "My Lord the King" and after death he was lamented with cries of Hoi! ahi! Hoi Adon! "Alas my brother! Alas Lord!" "These exclamations of grief for the death of a king of Judah were we can hardly doubt, the very same cries which the weeping women of Jerusalem uttered in the north porch of the Temple for the dead Lord Tammuz." (Frazer 1890 v5 20) Although Adon simply means Lord secular or religious, it is nevertheless true that Jewish Kings were sacred sons of God, embodying Yahweh on earth. Their throne, and the anointing with oil as which was believed to impart holy spirit,
The significance of the king as sacred is stressed in David's cutting of Saul's garment 1 Sam 24:5: "And it came to pass that David's heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul's skirt. And he said unto his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD's anointed [Adoni Messiah Yahweh]."
The term Molech, the deity associated in the old testament with child sacrifice in Israel 2 Kings 23:10 "And he defiled Topheth ... that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech", is simply an intonation of 'king' suggesting that such sacrifices were to renew the vitality of a sacred king, whose responsibility it was to maintain fertility and clement weather as well as the strength and welfare of his subjects. Such child sacrifices were slain before they were burned Ezek 16:21 "That thou hast slain my children, and delivered them to cause them to pass through the fire for them?"
Isaiah records that this was a pyre to the king in the name of Yahweh 30:33 "For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it." "However the Hebrews did not burn their dead except in rare circumstances" (Smith 1888 372). The kings of Damascus, Moab and Israel all adopted sacred kingship in various forms. The ancient Canaanite kings Adoni-bezek and Adoni-zedek clearly had names identifiable with Adonis as Lord. The latter is identifiable with Melchizedek the 'king of righteousness' of Salem of Genesis 14:18. Such ancient kingship rites would link to Ezekiel's reference to Tammuz. The Kings of Israel were also accountable for pestilence and famine. When the rains failed David as king upon an oracle sacrificed seven of Saul's offspring to the barley harvest (2 Sam 21:1). In a very specific sense the king was the son of God who was promised a perpetual throne for his germ line: 1 Chron 17:11 "And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son:"
Matt 21:28 "Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you."
Canaanite Anath was accursed by Abba the Father because she was the Goddess who called for the destruction of El's son Mot, the Lord of Death, who cried to his Father in vain, as Ba'al replaced him to become the verdant season. Anath was a consort of Yahweh at Elephantine as late as the 5th century BC.
As with many other parts of Western Asia, women were required before marriage to prostitute themselves to strangers at the sanctuary. "It was a law of the Amorites that she who was about to marry should sit in fornication seven days by the gate." - Testaments ofthe Twelve Patriarchs. At Byblos people shaved their heads in mourning for Adonis. Women who refused had to give themselves up to a stranger on a certain day and give the proceeds to the Goddess. Matrons as well as maids testified their devotion to in the same manner (Frazer 1890 v5 37) to cure barrenness or to propitiate the Goddess and win her favour. Such prostitution involved no stigma in later marriage. Frazer (Frazer 1890 v5 79) suggests that the term 'son of God', which still exists to this century in association with the hajira, can be traced to the divine offspring of such sacred unions, which extended to many deities including the divine physician Aesculapius through whose serpent barren women were believed to conceive in his sanctuary (Frazer 1890 v5 80). Augustus was born in this way (Ranke-Heinmann 1992 24). This title is however also shared by Israeli kings. Hosea speaks similarly that young married women prostituted themselves at sanctuaries on the hilltops under the oaks and terebinths Hosea 4:13 "They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under oaks and poplars and elms, because the shadow thereof is good: therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your spouses shall commit adultery."
Hosea's dilemma goes to the heart of the biological reality of the conflict between Yahweh and the Queen of Heaven. Sacred prostitution had a chaotic effect on paternal inheritance lines, but kept maternal lines intact. It also furthered to link women in a matriarchal bond of independence from their partners. The patriarchs no longer know whether children of their wives are their own, and can never really know where the germ line has gone. Hence the fire and brinstone rhetoric from the Father God. Walker (820) notes: "Such laws were supposed to appease the Goddess, who disapproved of monogamy in the ear when there was no formal marriage and children didn't know their fathers."
Sacred women were associated with the temple who wove hangings for the asherim, the poles standing beside the altar as embodiments of Astarte until the time of Josiah 2 Kings 23:7 "And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove." The term sodomites is usually taken to refer also to 'sacred men', but Walker (822) claims the original meaning of sodomite was a holy harlot - a bride of God, which she also suggests were set apart to give birth to Sons of God, prophets or sometimes sacrificial victims. The Holy Harlot was also a Virgin because she remained unmarried. Ishtar-Asherah-Mari-Anath was both the Great Whore and the Great Virgin Mother (Walker 822). Mary Magalen was the penitent Holy Whore and Mary Mother of James and Joses and Jesus was the Virgin. Ishtar the Great Whore of Babylon announced "A prostitute compassionate am I" (Walker 820).
The author of Revelation had other ideas. He clearly saw in her the sacrifice of Christ: 17:4 "And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration." Unique in the Bible for capitalization.
Temple prostitutes were also healers, sorceresses, prophetesses and seers. Zonah in Hebrew means both prostitute and prophetess. The major temples of Aphrodite has several thousand apiece. (Wakler 820). Time itself is a sacred whore. The hour comes from houri Gk horae, Pers houri, who kept the hours of the night by dances - the "ladies of the hour". In a sense Maya or illusion is the same sacred whore of the physical world complete with its law of entropy. However, this whore is our very own life-blood. Even as late as Augustine we hear "It is better that women should picke wool or spinne upon the Sabbaoth day, than they should dance impudently and filthily all day long upon the daye of the full moon".
The canticle of canticles gives perhaps the most eloquent description of the hieros gamos of all time. Foolishly discounted as a simple piece of secular love poetry, it is the true nature of the hieros gamos revealed. The thorns of sacrifice of the vegetation god among the anenomes are ever present: "As a lilly among thorns, so is my love among the daughters. As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. " So is the traditional search for the lost Tammuz "I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer."
Esther is a fictitious literary account written anonymously by someone living probably in Susa around 250-180 BC of a threat of genocide to the Jewish population of the Persian empire. The names Esther and Mordecai are thinly disguised references to Ishtar and Marduk the patron god of Babylon who slays the chaos mother monster Tiamat. The entire episode is a portrayal of the Babylonian rite of Sacaea in terms of an allegory of Jewish history. In it God is not mentioned. It is as if the omission is a profound silence. Something omnipresent but forbidden to be spoken. By contrast Esther and Mordecai become "very nearly God's redemptive action incarnate" (Miles 361). The effects of even handling the book became later an issue of debate (Fox R 110). After a seven day festival, King Ahasuerus of Persia, calls on his chamberlain, who has made a feast for the women to dance the descent 1:11 "To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on. But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment". The princes consider the matter a contempt "For this deed of the queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes".
The most beautiful maids ofthe realm are brought to Shushan his capital. Esther pleases him most and becomes his queen. Mordecai, her cousin, who has recently saved the king from an assasination plot by telling Esther, declines to bow to Haman the new Prime Minister "He explained to them that he was a Jew". Now comes the lot that will cause Purim to precede the Passover: 3:7 "In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman."
Haman now offers silver to the king to issue an edict to destroy the Jews. Mordecai and the Jews tear their garments and don sackcloth and ashes in mourning the crisis. There is however no call to God. When Esther fears to enter the court unsummoned, a capital offense unless the king holds out the golden sceptre, Mordecai says "Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews. ... and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" inferring the synchronous reason fer her position is to save the Jews.
Ester commands Mordecai to fast three days and does likewise "I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish." Now on the third day, Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court and when the king saw Esther, she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre and touched the top."
Now comes the quote which will echo dowm to John the Baptist 5:3: "Then said the king unto her, What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what is thy request? it shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom." - a ritual acclamation to the Queen of Heaven on the third day after the descent, to avoid the mistake of Dumuzzi's forgetfulness. The queen then claims Haman 5:4: "And Esther answered, If it seem good unto the king, let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared for him." At the banquet she says she will give her decision at the second banquet on the morrow with Haman and the king. Haman is at first delighted, but when Mordecai again does not bow, "Zeresh his wife and all his friends [say], Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and to morrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon." But in the night the king discovers Mordecai has saved his life and not been rewarded. Haman appears and the king asks "what should be done to whom the man the king delighteth to honour?" Haman thinking it is himself says to bring the king's royal apparel, his horse and crown and lead the man in glory through the streets.
The king now says to give this favour to Mordecai. Haman immediately knows he is doomed and covers his head and goes to his house in mourning. He is then summoned to the second banquet where Esther reveals his plot of genocide 7:6: "The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman." Haman now pleads for his life to Esther, but ends caught in fatal consummation as the king returns from the garden: "Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther was. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before me in the house? As the word went out of king's mouth, they covered Haman's face." Haman is then hanged on the gallows he has prepared. Worse is yet to come, because the king orders a reverse warrant to allow the Jews to commit retributive genocide "to destroy, to slay and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey". "Thus the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them.", but did not take the spoil. When they slaughter 500 in Shushan, Esther asks the King for more and to hang Haman's ten sons who have been slaughtered on the gallows. In all 5000 people are killed. "Wherefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur." The March feast of Purim on the 14th of Adar became a kind of Bacchanal at which there was drinking, farcial theatre and the effigy of Haman was hanged on the gallows - a notable source of consternation to early Christians and a precursor to the passover.
The rites to mourn Hussain, the martyred son of Ali and Fatima are similarly celebrated by great weeping mourning, the devout muslim striking his head to express his grief so the blood runs, after which the representations of the tomb, 'ta'ziya' or lamentations, a possible corruption of Ta'uz, are deposited in special cemetries, or like the effigies of Tammuz, thown into a body of water (Briffault 3/98).
"The most vivid example on record of an 'immolation' of the sacred king is probably that in Duarte Barbosa's Description of the Coasts of East Africa and Malabar in the Beginning of the Sixteenth Century. The god-king of the south Indian province of Quilacare in Malabar (an area having a strongly matriarchal tradition to this day) had to sacrifice himself at the end of the length of time required by the planet Jupiter for a circuit of the zodiac and return to its moment of retrograde motion in the sign of Cancer-which is to say, twelve years. When his time came, the king had a wooden scaffolding constructed and spread over with hangings of silk. And when he had ritually bathed in a tank, with great ceremonies and to the sound of music, he proceeded to the temple, where he paid worship to the divinity. Then he mounted the scaffolding and, before the people, took some very sharp knives and began to cut off parts of his body - nose, ears, lips, and all his members, and as much of his flesh as he was able - throwing them away and round about, until so much of his blood was spilled that he began to faint, whereupon he slit his throat." (Campbell 1959 165).
Fig 11.29: The Dance of Maya represents the Universe of Mind and Body as the Fall from the Cosmic Hieros Gamos. As the withdrawal from union occurs the female (objective) perfroms the dance of illusion making the male (subjective) belief they are many and generating from her uterus the material diversity of the physical world
(Rawson 1973 19).
A parallel to the Fall from Eden is the dance of Shiva, Lord of Death and Shakti the divine sexual aspect of Kali-ma the Dark Goddess of Destruction and Creation. A central meditative climax of the tantric method is awakening the kundalini, the psycho-sexual force of illumination which ascends the chakras of the spine. In Tantric cosmology, existence is a fall from unity between the genders, where subject and object, mind and body are at first in intimate and divine unity and then begin to separate from their wholeness to become the dance of Maya the physical world and sensory experience which draws us into the world of suffering and mortality, away from the still point of the eternal cosmic mind.
Fig 11.30: Shiva-Shakti Tantric Hieros Gamos - Khajuraho.
The great hope and joy of the tantric path is that by reversing this process, by a unification of the genders into their full complementation, the Tao of existence will again be fulfilled. Tibetan Buddhist meditation similarly approaches the sacred union of female and male energies in total illumination in the rite of Yab-Yum - father-mother. Tantric sexual meditation involves prolonged coitus reservatus aimed at elevating the psycho-sexual energy.
The polynesian Maui who fished up Aotearoa and is also a hero of Hawaii had the biggest and most powerful penis in creation. "Hina was originally the wife of Monster Eel, Te Tuna [Phallus]. Hina leaves Te Tuna and goes to forage for a new lover. Calling out "I am the first woman to come utterly without shame seeking the eel-shapes rod of love. I am the dark pubic patch, pursuing the assuagement of desire. I have come to you by way of unnumbersed shores - along sandy beaches. O detumescent staff, be plunged in the consummation of love. I am this woman from afar, desiring you ardently." No one will take her. Maui's mother says "Take that woman for yourself". Te Tuna arrives to challenge him, with four spirits accompanying him, one called 'clitoris continuously suffused'. Maui is assailed by a Tsunami, but his mother shouts "Be quick, let your phallus be seen". They enter into a phallic duel in which Maui enters Te Tuna and tears him apart (Campbell).
"But fatally, Maui decided to crawl into the vagina of Hine nui te Po, Hine of the darkness, lying flashing where the cold mountains meet the sunset, with eyes of greenstone and hair of kelp, planning to vanquish her and come out her mouth so that death would have no power over men. But as he crawled into the cosmic vagina, the fantail burst out laughing, waking Hine who strangled Maui in rebirth." The song of the fantail thus has an aura of death .
New Scientist 21 September 1996 13
WOMEN do not avoid fighting because they are dainty or scared, but because they have a greater stake than men in staying alive to rear their offspring. Women compete with each other just as tenaciously as men, but with a stealth and subtlety that reduces their chances of being killed or injured, says Anne Campbell of the department of psychology at the University of Durham. Across almost all cultures and nationalities, men have a much smaller role than women in rearing children. "Males go for quantity of children rather than quality of care for offspring, which means that the parental investment of women is much greater," says Campbell. And unlike men, who can't be sure that their children have not been fathered on the sly by other men, women can always be certain that half an offspring's genes are theirs. Women have therefore evolved a stronger impulse than men to see their children grow up into adults. Men's psychological approach is geared to fathering as many children as possible. To make this strategy work and to attract partners, men need to establish and advertise their dominance over rival males. Throughout evolution this has translated into displays of male aggression, ranging in scale from playground fights to world wars. Men can afford to take more risks because as parents they are more expendable. Women, meanwhile, can only ensure reproductive success by overseeing the development of their children, which means avoiding death. "The scale of parental investment drives everything," says Campbell. "It's not that women are too scared to fight," she says. "It's more to do with the positive value of staying alive, and women have an awfully big stake not just in offspring themselves but in offspring they might have in the future," she says. This means that if women do need to compete-perhaps for a partner-they choose low-risk rules of engagement. They use indirect tactics, such as discrediting rivals by spreading malicious rumours. And unlike men who glory in feats of dominance, women do better by concealing their actions and their "victories". But there is no doubt, says Campbell, that the universal domination of culture by males has exaggerated these differences in attitudes to physical aggression. "The story we've always been told is that females are not aggressive," says Campbell. And when they are aggressive, women are told that their behaviour is "odd or abnormal". Andy Coghlan
Despots put it about New Scientist Feb 22 1997
THROUGHOUT most of recorded history, a few powerful men have wielded despotic power and consumed most of society's wealth. But their tyranny had a sexual dimension too, which historians have largely overlooked, says Laura Betzig, an anthropologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Almost without exception, despots have hoarded hundreds if not thousands of young women, Betzig told the AAAS. And infamous tyrants, she argues, are just extreme examples of a human mating system that for most of history has been "polygynous". Like elephant seals on breeding beaches, dominant men have historically mated with huge numbers of women, while those on the bottom rungs of the ladder hardly got a look in. According to Betzig's analysis, monogamy became the rule only with the rise of a more egalitarian economy and parliamentary democracy. Behavioural ecologists predict that animals will evolve a polygynous mating system whenever important resources - such as food or shelter-are distributed patchily. When this is the case, a few males can monopolise most of the resources, and with them the majority of the females. "Hominids are polygynous, when they can be," agrees Robert Foley, a palaeoanthropologist at the University of Cambridge. Things became really extreme when people began to grow crops and live together in towns and villages. The leaders of these early societies ruled by terror, and were able to procure vast numbers of sexual partners. "These guys had sexual licence," says Betzig. The record holder, she notes, was Udayama, who reigned in India around 500 BC and had a harem of 16 000. Historians accept that the rulers of some societies kept huge harems. But Betzig claims that they have made a big mistake in assuming that others-such as the Romans-were basically monogamous.
Powerful Romans often purchased female slaves for breeding. Historians assume that the fathers of home-bred slaves, or vernae, were other slaves. But Betzig argues that the treatment of vernae only makes sense if they were the sons and daughters of the master himself. They were often educated with the master's children, shared the same wet nurses, and could even inherit his estate. "It screams out at you," she says. In Europe, little changed for centuries, claims Betzig. She argues that the huge domestic staffs of the English landed gentry, for instance, were primarily there to satisfy the master's sexual appetites, rather than to cook and clean. But in England, at least, Betzig says that everything changed abruptly in the 17th century, when the downtrodden poor no longer had to put up with the tyranny of their rulers. "Suddenly there were big ships, and lower-status Britons were free to get on one of those ships and go to New England." The ships also brought an upsurge in international trade, which meant that wealth was no longer concentrated in the hands of a few landowners. As power and wealth began to spread more evenly, polygyny quickly died out. Historical records show that, within half a century, houses that had boasted domestic staffs of 100 or more downsized to a few tens of servants-a number more consistent with the task of housekeeping. Betzig is now looking at the changes happening today in China, which is experiencing an economic revolution similar to the changes that transformed 17th-century England. Mao Tse-tung was a typically promiscuous despot, Betzig notes. "He had girls in his bed all the time. He had girls waiting at train stations." Tomorrow's Chinese rulers, she suggests, may have to curb their sexual appetites
Adam and Eve never Met extract from In the Blood by Steve Jones 92-3.
The French began to populate Quebec in 1608. The explorer Samuel de Champlain - who once suggested to the King of France the idea of a canal across the Isthmus of Panama - set up his new colony at Stadaconda (later Quebec City). In its first twenty years it attracted only seventy- eight immigrants. Soon, though, Cardinal Richelieu got involved and set up a commercial operation to found large farms or'seigneuries', for those rich enough to buy them, along the St Lawrence River. About thirty thousand French people emigrated, but the harsh climate and the hereditary estates already established on the best land meant that only ten thousand stayed, many moving on to inore remote parts of the province such as the valley of the Saguenay. In 1760, when the English took control, migration stopped. The Saguenay has one of the best collections of family records in the world. It gives an insight into the fate of asexually transmitted genes. Only a quarter of the twenty thousand women who moved there before 1950 (most long before then) have contributed mitochondria to today's population. Just like the feudal knighthoods in the Domesday Book the other mitochondrial lineages that entered over the past three hundred years - only around fifteen generations - are extinct. Some of the original mothers have, purely by the accident of founding a lineage with lots of daughters, been very successful in passing on their mitochondrial genes. One has five hundred descendants down the female line - in spite of the fact that three-quarters of her female contemporaries left none.
The same is certainly true for many of the Y chromosomes of the men who moved there. In fact, even fewer are likely to have survived. The variation in the number of children left by men is much greater than that of women. Some males are promiscuous and others do not find a partner at all. A few of the founding men in Saguenay left very many descendants, which means that many more left none at all and their Y chromosomes have disappeared.
All this happened in a mere three centuries. In time, should the process go on and should Saguenay stay isolated, more and more of those asexual lineages will disappear. Sooner or later, inevitably, 'ust one mitochondrial and one Y chromosome line will survive. Everyone in the area would then trace their own ancestry to a single woman and a single father some time in the Saguenay past. This is the process that, on a global scale, gave rise to the ideas of the ultimate aristocrats, mitochondrial Eve and her supposed partner Y-chromosome Adam. They are the woman and the man from whom we all descend. In some statistical sense, they certainly existed. There is no reason, though, to suppose that Adam ever met Eve; that the individuals upon whom mitochondrial or Y-chromosome lineages converge lived in the same place or even at the same time. In fact, Eve almost certainly died long before Adam. Simply because so many males fail to find a mate, Y chromosomes go extinct more quickly than do mitochondria. What is more, whenever (and wherever) Eve and Adam lived they were, just as in seventeenth-century Saguenay, surrounded by other men and women. They are distinct merely in that - like the Bassetts with their much-proclaimed male descent from William the Conqueror - their lineages survived while those of their fellows did not. Their descendants' genes also suggest that Adam and Eve never had the chance to fall from grace by indulging in the first, and least original, of all sins. The Y chromosomes of the world are remarkably similar, with only about one hundredth as much variation as on the other chromosomes. Mitochondria, in contrast, are quite variable. This lack of divergence among male lineages suggests that their common ancestor lived so recently that there has not been time for his descendants' Y chromosomes to accumulate differences. One estimate is of only twenty-seven thousand years before the present. The last shared mitochondrial ancestor - Eve - may have lived tens of thousands of years before Adam, the last universal forefather. Oddly enough, African Y chromosomes are particularly invariable [despite most human diversity as a whole arising from our ancient origins there]. Perhaps only a small number of men monopolized most of the females and succeeded in passing on their genes. The genetic legacy of the others has disappeared. Financial and social legacies that pass down the male line face the same fate.
Adam and Eve in Human Origins
Mitochonrial DNA is transmitted only through the female and thus can be used to look for the earliest common female ancestor. The divergence diagram at the left shows a distinct group all from Africa (bottom-right) fanning off from the hypothetical common mitochondrial ancestor. This has led to the out-of-Africa hypothesis being more strongly supported.
The study of the Y-chromosome DNA is much more recent.
Every man has a direct gene link to 'Adam' NZ Herald Nov 97
All men can trace their ancestry back to one man who lived 150,000 years ago and whose closest living relatives are a small tribe in South Africa, according to scientists who have spent a decade searching for the original Adam. Research into the human Y chromosome has pinpointed the time and place where just one man gave rise to the male genetic ingredients of modem man, the London Sunday Times reports. The geneticists have also located the oldest direct descendants of this Adam, w.ho they say lived alongside an Eve and was identified in studies 10 years ago. The Khoisan people of South Africa share most of the genetic ingredients that arose when Adam hunted game and collected berries in his African Garden of Eden. The Khoisans, better known as Bushmen or Hottentots, have a hunter-gatherer tradition stretching back thousands of years. Two independent investigations of minute mutations on the Y chromosome pinpointed the Khoisan people as the orly ethnic group to possess so many ancient remnants of the original Adam. Michael Hammer, of the Urdversity of Arizona, found a line descending from the African Adam to present-day Khoisans. His work is supported by Dr Peter Oefner, of Stanford University, California. The Khoisans' ancestors probably migrated from the Rift Valley of east Afhea, where Homo sapiens is believed to have evolved.
Sperm Wars Robin Baker Fourth Estate New Scientist 96
Tim Birkhead teaches behavioural ecology at the University of Sheffield.
AS Robin Baker probes the innermost recesses of human space in Sperm Wars, revealing our carnal genetic legacy in graphic and sometimes startling detail, a fantasy unfolds. Like all good fantasies it contains enough of the truth to make it convincing, but we must still remember where we are. Baker is a sociobiological zealot and uses his book to argue that every facet of procreation, from our behaviour to our anatomy and physiology, is adaptive. As with all other life forms, we are programmed to reproduce. What makes us unique is the ability to decide when and when not to. For Baker, however, consciousness merely gives us the illusion of control. In reality, we are the victims of our genes: our brains tell us one thing, but our bodies are definitely in charge of running their own race to maximise the number and quality of offspring. Achieving this often results in a conflict of interests between the sexes. Women seek a combination of good genes and good resources for their offspring and problems arise when they cannot find a man who can provide both. One solution is a long-term partner with resources and a carefully timed extra-pair affair with Mr Genetically Right. Males, on the other hand, with less control, are continually making the best of a bad job, preoccupied with acquiring paternity wherever and whenever and, for those in a long-tenn relationship, protecting their patemity. An extra-pair mating may or may not be a conscious decision. But, as Baker describes in a lengthy series of explicit scenarios, the physiological processes that occur immediately prior to, during and after coitus are unconsciously controlled by bodies designed to increase each participant's reproductive success. These processes include the production of different sperm types: killers, egg-getters and blockers. The problem is that this is presented as fact. While there is no doubt that Baker's explanations are ingenious and sometimes convincing, the truth is that these are ideas, not facts. Much of what he writes is based on research, mainly his own. Most of these ideas have not been subjected to rigorous scrutiny and those that have, failed to hold up. His "killer sperm", for example, have been repeatedly squashed. Baker knows he is on dangerous ground: 'There are people ... who will consider this whole book a fiction". He attempts to cover himself by saying that his book is a personal point of view, and he includes the usual caution thatiust because something evolved doesn't mean it's morally right. My guess is that the subtlety of these statements will be lost on many readers who will treat this book for what it is, a rough guide to infidelity.
Snake Goddess Knossos 1600 BC (Alexiou)
Before contemplating bring back the ancient genetic mother, we should all stop to consider what it is we do want to bring back, lest we make the same mistake made in ancient times and confuse the blood of male sacrifice with the essential fertility principal necessary for our own survival. Lets us bring back the Eve of the eternal germ-line and the synchronistic goddess Leucothea of the sub-conscious mind as a shekhinah of visionary reflection, without the primitive gore of self-mutilation. These passages thus stand as a shrine to the spilled blood of the past and as a warning to those who would seek to bring back the goddess without due caution.
EVE the "Mother of all Living" has many faces spread through diverse cultures. Barbara Walker notes that "She is Adita Eve - the very beginning. Babylonians referred to her as the Divine Lady of Eden or Goddess of the Tree of Life. ... She is Kali-ma as Jaganmata the Creatress of all manifested forms. ... The original Eve had no spouse except the serpent, a living phallus she created for her own sexual pleasure." She is thus also the fearsome Toltec Lady of the Serpent Skirts. Since the old neolithic Goddess fertilized herself with the blood of men and bulls, the sacrificial aspect of her relations with men, in addition to her coquetish lack of regard for paternity, can be singled out as a causative influence on rise of the paternalistic views of the Old Testament.
The Goddess of Crete: One of the more creative archetypes of EVE is the Snake Goddess of Crete. Although she is doubtless the coquettish Goddess of love who worships sexuality, freely walks among her attendant lovers, and never allows her kings to grow old, she has given life to a peaceful, abundant and long-lived society.
"Minoan arts crafts and poetry were unparalleled in the ancient world for their beauty and refinement. ... The artistic tradition of Crete was unique in the Mediterranean world, expressing a sensitivity and delight in all that was alive. ... Hessiod, the eight century Greek poet, sang of Crete, the golden land where 'the earth poured forth its fruits unbidden in boundless plenty" In peaceful ease they kept their lands with good abundance, rich in flocks and ... did not worship the gods of war.' ... Protected by the sea from invasion, the islanders were able to seek trade, rather than make war to hold on to their wealth."
It was first settled around 7000 BC from a culture commensurate with the of Catal Huyuk. The Minoan culture circa 3500 BC emerged from further interaction with populations from Anatolia and Libya, and peaking around 2500 BC, continued until the Mycenians invaded around 1500 BC.
The Goddess of the slit Poppies indicates opium was used as a religious sacrament.
The priestess is paid homage by her male attendants.
The bull has a central role both in bull leaping, in the counterpoint between the
pregnant hill and the bull's horns, and bull sacrifice, as a principle of virility (Gadon).
"The Cretans saw the supreme divine power in terms of the feminine principle, and incarnate in a woman they portrayed as exactly like one of themselves ... comfortable with her beauty and her power." "This dedication to a goddess involved also a glorification of the meaning of sex. Fertility and abundance were the purpose and desire, sex was the instrument. ... Women were the central subjects, and those portrayed most frequently were shown in the public sphere. ... A number of scholars are convinced that Crete was a matriarchy, a theocracy ruled by a queen priestess. No single representation of a king or dominant male god has yet been found. ... In miniature scenes not only is the goddess always the central figure, she is sometimes sitting on a throne. ... For rituals, men and women often dressed alike, implying that their roles [may have been] interchangeable" (Gadon 87).
Women alone figure as priestesses. "There are numerous representations of men in Minoan art, but they are al engaged in subordinate occupations: cup bearers, pages, musicians, harvesters, soldiers and sailors. Not once odes it depict a king, prince or hero, or show a man in a position of domination. The female figures on the other hand invariably exhibit an attitude of self-possessed independence" (Gadon 90).
"The mother's brother occupies an important position and is responsible for bringing up the children." Women had ritual sexual licence. This of course meant that few men knew who their own children were, nor had anything to do with fostering their well-being, as was the case in Athens until the time of Eumenides. (Briffault v1 251).
Despite its cultural maturity, Crete appears to have followed the Mesopotamian tradition of ritual sacrifice of kings. Barbara Walker comments "Myths suggest a similar seven year period for each king of Crete. Cretan king were never allowed to grow old; they always died in the full bloom of youth." The Labrys, or double headed axe, cannot conceal its sacrificial implications.
Riane Eisler, despite extolling Crete as a founding 'partnership society "In Crete for the last time in recorded history, a spirit of harmony between woman and men as joyful and equal participants in life appears to pervade" and quoting Reynold Higgins "Religion for Cretans was a happy affair ... closely bound up with their recreation.", nevertheless concedes "it is important to stress that Crete was not an ideal society , or utopia, but a real human society, complete with problems and imperfections ... we know for instance that Cretans hasd weapons." (Eisler 1987 29-36)
Seal 1500 BC shows a group of priestesses gathering in a grove,
the double-headed axe, the poppy, lily , iris and crocus.
The poppy was used for both religious and medicinal purposes (Gadon).
The Legend of the Minotaur is a tangled tale seen through the lenses of cultural conflict. Bulls were sacrificed to the lunar goddess in Crete from a very early date. In a reversal of destiny, Europa the Full Moon Goddess of the Continent, rather than sacrificing the bull, is taken by Zeus as a bull and raped. Because of the greed of her son King Minos, his wife Passiphae became infatuated with a bull, producing the Minotaur as offspring. A tribute of seven youths and seven maidens every ninth year was demanded from Athens. Although King Minos represents a Crete already transformed by Mycenian invasion, the voyage of Theseus follower of Apollo, his defeat of the Minotaur, and the abdication of Ariadne spelt the mythological death blow for the way of the Cretan Moon Goddess. Klidemos, by contrast said that Ariadne negotiated a peace treaty with Athens. She also becomes the mythical consort of Dionysus.
Cybele: One of the most exotic deities introduced into Rome was the Great Mother (Magna Mater), borrowed from Asia Minor (modern Turkey) in 204BC.
The following passages marked in quotes come from Frazer (1890 v4/1 263). "Her divine consort is Attis. He was to Phrygia what Adonis was to Syria. Like Adonis, he appears to have been a god of vegetation, and his death and resurrection were annually mourned and rejoiced over at a festival in spring.' The legends and rites of the two gods were so much alike that the ancients themselves sometimes identified them. Attis was said to have been a fair young shepherd or herdsman beloved by Cybele, the Mother of the Gods, a great Asiatic goddess of fertility, who had her chief home in Phrygia.' Some held that Attis was her son.' His birth, like that of many other heroes, is said to have been miraculous. His mother, Nana, was a virgin, who conceived by putting a ripe almond or a pomegranate in her bosom. Indeed in the Phrygian cosmogony an almond figured as the father of all things, perhaps because its delicate lilac blossom is one of the first heralds of the spring, appearing on the bare boughs before the leaves have opened. Such tales of virgin mothers are relics of an age of when men had not yet recognized the intercourse of the sexes as the true cause of offspring."
"Even in later times, when people are better acquainted with the laws of nature, they sometimes imagined that these laws may be subject to exceptions, and that miraculous beings may be born in miraculous ways by women who have never known a man. In Palestine to this day it is believed that a woman may conceive by a jinn or by the spirit of her dead husband."
"Two different accounts death of the death of Attis were current. According to the one he was killed by a boar, like Adonis. According to the other he unmanned himself under a pine - tree, and bled to death on the spot. The legend of which the story forms a part is stamped with a character of rudeness and savagery that speaks strongly for its antiquity. In like manner the worshippers of Adonis abstained from pork, because a boar had killed their god.' After his death Attis is said to have been changed into a pine-tree."
The sacred tree of Attis (Henderson & Oakes).
"On the twenty-second day of March, a pine-tree was cut in the woods and brought into the sanctuary of Cybele, where it was treated as a great divinity. The duty of carrying the sacred tree was entrusted to a guild of Tree-bearers. The trunk was swathed like a corpse with woollen bands and decked with wreaths of violets, for violets were said to have sprung from the blood of Attis, as roses and anemones from the blood of Adonis and the effigy of a young man, doubtless Attis himself, was tied to the middle of the stem. The second day was marked by a blast of trumpets."
"The third day, the twenty-fourth of March, was known as the Day of Blood: the Archigallus or high-priest drew blood from his arms and presented it as an offering.' Nor was he alone in making this bloody sacrifice. Stirred by the wild barbaric music of clashing cymbals, rumbling drums, droning horns, and screaming flutes, the inferior clergy whirled about in the dance with waggling heads and streaming hair, until, rapt into a frenzy of excitement and insensible to pain, they gashed their bodies with potsherds or slashed them with knives in order to bespatter the altar and the sacred tree with their flowing blood.' The ghastly rite probably formed part of the mourning for Attis and may have been intended to strengthen him for the resurrection. Wrought up to the highest pitch of religious excitement they dashed the severed portions of themselves against the image of the cruel goddess."
"These broken instruments of fertility were afterwards reverently wrapped up and buried in the earth or in subterranean chambers sacred to Cybele, where, like the offering of blood, they may have been deemed instrumental in recalling Attis to life and hastening the general resurrection of nature, which was then bursting into leaf and blossom in the vernal sunshine. Some confirmation of this conjecture ,is furnished by the savage story that the mother of Attis conceived by putting in her bosom a pomegranate sprung from the severed genitals of a man-monster named Agdestis, a sort of double of Attis."
"Other Asiatic goddesses of fertility were served in like manner by eunuch priests. These feminine deities required to receive from their male ministers, who personated the divine lovers, the means of discharging their beneficent functions: they had themselves to be impregnated by the life-giving energy before they could transmit it to the world. Goddesses thus ministered to by eunuch priests were the great Artemis of Ephesus and the great Syrian Astarte of Hierapolis. The unsexed priests of this Syrian goddess resembled those of Cybele so closely that some people took them to be the same."
"The greatest festival of the year at Hierapolis fell at the beginning of spring, when multitudes thronged to the sanctuary from Syria and the regions round about. While the flutes played, the drums beat, and the eunuch priests slashed themselves with knives, the religious excitement gradually spread like a wave among the crowd of onlookers, and many a one did that which he little thought to do when he came as a holiday spectator to the festival. For man after man, his veins throbbing with the music, his eyes fascinated by the sight of the streaming blood, flung his garments from him, leaped forth with a shout, and seizing one of the swords which stood ready for the purpose, castrated himself on the spot."
"Then he ran through the city holding the bloody pieces in his hand, till he threw them into one of the houses which he passed in his mad career. The household thus honoured had to furnish him with a suit of female attire and female ornaments which he wore for the rest of his life. When the tumult of emotion had subsided, and the man had come to himself again, the irrevocable sacrifice must often have been followed by passionate sorrow and lifelong regret."
"The parallel of these Syrian devotees confirms the view that in the similar ' worship of Cybele the sacrifice of virility virility took place on the Day of Blood at the vernal rites of the goddess, when the violets, supposed to spring from the red drops of her wounded lover, were in bloom among the pines. Indeed the story that Attis unmanned himself under a pine- tree was clearly devised to explain why his priests did the same beside the sacred violet-wreathed tree at his festival."
"At all events, we can hardly doubt that the Day of Blood witnessed the mourning for Attis over an effigy of him which was afterwards buried.' Throughout the period of mourning the worshippers fasted from bread, nominally because Cybele had done so in her grief for the death of Attis,' but really perhaps for the same reason which induced the women of Harran to abstain from eating anything ground in a mill while they wept for Tammuz. To partake of bread or flour at such a season might have been deemed a wanton profanation of the bruised and broken body of the god. Or the fast may possibly have been a preparation for a sacramental meal."
"But when night had fallen, the sorrow of the worshippers was turned to joy. For suddenly a light shone in the darkness: the tomb was opened: the Lord had risen from the dead; and as the priest touched the lips of the weeping mourners with balm, he softly whispered in their cars the glad tidings of salvation. The resurrection of the god was hailed by his disciples as a promise that they too would issue triumphant from the corruption of the grave."
"On the morrow, the twenty-fifth day of March, which was reckoned the vernal equinox, the divine resurrection was celebrated with a wild outburst of glee. At Rome, and probably elsewhere, the celebration took the form of a carnival. It was the Festival of joy (Hilaria). A universal licence prevailed. Every man might say and do what he pleased. People went about the streets in disguise. No dignity was too high or too sacred for the humblest citizen to assume with impunity."
"The next day, the twenty-sixth of March, was given to repose, which must have been much needed after the varied excitements and fatigues of the preceding days.' Finally, the Roman festival closed on the twenty-seventh of March with a procession to the brook Almo. The silver image of the goddess, with its face of jagged black stone, sat in a wagon drawn by oxen. Preceded by the nobles walking barefoot, it moved slowly, to the loud music of pipes and tambourines, out by the Porta Capena, and so down to the banks of the Almo, which flows into the Tiber just below the walls of Rome. There the high-priest, robed in purple, washed the wagon, the image, and the other sacred objects in the water of the stream. On returning from their bath, the wain and the oxen were strewn with fresh spring flowers. All was mirth and gaiety. No one thought of the blood that had flowed so lately" (Frazer 1890 v4/1 263).
Cybele and an image of her procession through Rome (Willis).
Many Roman writers described Cybele's arrival in Rome and the fantastic events that surrounded it. The following account is drawn largely from the poet Ovid, writing in the 1 st century BC (Willis 171). Hoping for victory in their war against the Carthaginians under Hannibal, the Romans consulted a local oracle, which gave a strange response: "The mother is absent: seek the mother. When she comes, she must be received by chaste hands." Puzzled, they applied to the Greek oracle at Delphi for a second opinion, and the oracle advised that they should "fetch the Mother of the Gods, who is to be found on Mount Ida". So they sent an embassy to King Attalus, in whose territory Mount Ida stood, and asked if they might remove the cult image of the Great Mother to Rome. Attalus refused permission, but then the goddess herself miraculously spoke, saying that it was her own wish to go. Awed by these words, the king gave his consent and a boat was then built to carry the precious cargo. The long voyage across the Mediterranean ended at Ostia, Rome's port at the mouth of the Tiber, where all the citizens came to meet the goddess. Men tried to pull the boat to shore, but it was grounded on a mudbank and could not be shifted. The Romans were afraid they would not be able to fulfil the terms of the oracle. But then Claudia Quinta came forward - a noblewoman who was wrongly accused of being unchaste, on the grounds that dressed too elegantly and had too ready tongue in arguments with men. Knowing herself to be innocent she stepped into the river mouth and held up her hands in prayer to the Great Mother. "If I am innocent of all charges," she exclaimed, "yield, goddess, to my chaste hands." She then drew in the boat effortlessly, and the cult image was escorted to its new temple.
The Romans always had mixed feelings about the Great Mother. On the one hand, her ecstatic cult, with its self-castrated Priests, wild music and dancing, seemed foreign in character. On the other hand, because her homeland near Troy was the ultimate origin of th Roman race (according to the Aeneas I end), she was seen as a "native" deity.
The Renewal celebrates the return of the Sacred Marriage fulfilling the restoration of the Feminine to her natural divinity. If you wish to restore the hieros gamos to its original fertility and empower the Goddess, join in the Renewal. You will thereby join in saving biodiversity for all time. It is her natural empowerment in her apocalyptic 'unveiling'.
An illustration of the full force of the sacrificial cycle of EVE surviving unchanged to modern times is seen in Kali the black mother, and the meriahs of modern tribal sacrificial cults of the great mother. The Indus Valley civilizations which preceded the Aryan conquests and the introduction of the Rig Veda and it's brahmanic warrior cultures from the north demonstrate the same themes we have seen in Sumeria. We see the counterpoint between the sacrificial goddess of the "bodhi" tree, and the King of the Beasts, who already displays the yogic posture, so central to Eastern mysticism.
The goddess of the sacred grove, the king of the beasts, the sacrifice.
Indus Valley 2000 BC (Campbell 1962 166-9)).
The complementation of female and male becomes the central Tantric theme of creation, as it is in many earth mother - sky father myths, except here the eternal unity of the cosmos in embracing sexual union retreats so that the female objective reality separates from the male subjective, and in her dance of illusion, her womb generates the divided world of objects in space and time.
Kali, along with Kan, Durge "difficult of approach" the terrible one of many names, is a manifestation of the dark mother of the Deccan, whose stomach is a void which can never be filled and gorges blood and death and from whose womb life ever springs anew demonstrates the full force of destruction possessed by the ancient mother. "A river of blood has been pouring continuously for millennia, from beheaded offerings, through channels carved to return it, still living, to its divine source." Not content with destroying the demons which threaten the cosmic order, she becomes so drunk with blood on the battlefield that she begins to destroy the world. She holds the severed head of Shiva, from whose neck run the waters of new life. She is pictured copulating with him as the corpse, or standing on his prostrate body (Campbell 1962 171, Mookerjee61).
Hungry pregnant Kali (Wosien).
" It is she alone who is known as Maha-Kali (Mighty Time), Nitya-Kali (Endless Time), Shmashana-Kali (Kali of the Buming-ground), Raksha-Kali (Guardian Kali), and Shyama- Kali (the Black One). ... When there were neither the creation, nor the sun, the moon, the planets, and the earth, and when darkness was enveloped in darkness, then the Mother, the Formless One, Maha-Kali, the Great Power, was one with Maha-Kala, the Absolute. Shyama-Kali has a somewhat tender aspect. ... the Dispenser of boons and the Dispeller of fear. People worship Raksha-Kali, the Protectress, in times of epidemic, famine, earthquake, drought, and flood. Shmashana-Kali is the embodiment of the power of destruction. She resides in the cremation ground, surrounded by corpses, jackals, and terrible female spirits. From her mouth flows a stream of blood, from her neck hangs a garland of human heads, and around her waist is a girdle made of human hands. After the destruction of the universe, at the end of the great cycle, the Divine Mother garners the seeds for the next creation." In her disciple, Ramakrishna's words "Oh she plays in different ways. ... Bondage and liberation are both of her making. ... She is called the Saviour, and the Remover of the bondage that binds one to the world. ... She is self-willed and must always have her own way. She is full of bliss." It is no irony that Ramakrishna entered into his three-day maha-samadhi while contemplating destroying himself with her sword, because the cosmic mother is a perfectly powerful agent for death realization (Campbell 1962 165).
Kali copulating with Shiva's corpse, Yoni-lingam, Kali-ghat statue showing the goddess with blood covered tongue trampling on Shiva's corpse, holding a severed head and wearing a necklace of skulls (Rawson, Mookerjee).
"To this day seven or eight hundred goats are slaughtered in three days in the Kalighat, the principal temple of the goddess in Calcutta, during her autumn festival, the Durga Puja. The heads are piled before the image, and the bodies go to the devotees, to be consumed in contemplative communion. Before the prohibition of human sacrifice in 1835, she received from every part of the land even richer fare. In the towering Shiva temple of Tanjore a male child was beheaded before the altar of the goddess every Friday at the holy hour of twilight. In the year 1830, a petty monarch of Bastar, desiring her grace, offered on one occasion twenty-five men at her altar in Dantesh-vari and in the-sixteenth century a king of Cooch Behar immolated a hundred and fifty in that place" (Campbell 1962 5).
"In Assam it was the custom of a certain royal house to offer one human victim at the Durga Puja every year. After having bathed and purified himself, the sacrifice was dressed in new attire, daubed with red sandalwood and vermilion, arrayed with garlands, and, thus bedecked, installed upon a raised dais before the image, where he spent some time in meditation, repeating sacred sounds, and, when ready, made a sign with his finger. The executioner, likewise pronouncing sacred syllables, ... struck off the man's head, which was immediately presented to the Goddess on a golden plate. The lungs, being cooked, were consumed by yogis, and the royal family partook of a small quantity of rice steeped in the sacrificial blood." (Campbell 1962 5)
"A vivid typical lesson is supplied, for example, by the Khonds ... who had victims known as meriah, set apart and often kept for years, who were offered to the Earth Goddess, Tara, to ensure good crops and immunity from disease. To be acceptable, such a figure had to have been either purchased or else born as the child of a meriah. The Khonds, according to report, occasionally sold their own children for this sacrifice, supposing that in death their souls would be singularly blessed. ... They were regarded as consecrated beings and treated with extreme affection and respect, and were available for sacrifice either on extraordinary occasions or at the periodic feasts, before the sowing; so that each family in the village might procure at least once a year a shred of flesh to plant in its field for the boosting of its crop" (Campbell 1962 160).
Shrine of the Earth Mother, Bolhai Megalith, Madhya Pradesh (Mookerjee 12)
"Ten or twelve days before the offering, the victim was dedicated, shorn of his hair, and anointed with oil, butter, and turmeric. A season of wild revelry and debauchery followed, at the end of which the meriah was conducted with music and dancing to the meriah grove, a little way from the village, a stand of mighty trees untouched by the axe. Tied there to a post and once more anointed with oil, butter, and turmeric, the victim was garlanded with flowers, while the crowd danced around him, chanting, to the earth: 'O Goddess, we offer to thee this sacrifice; give to us good seasons, crops, and health'; and to the victim: 'We bought thee ,with a price, we did not seize thee, and now, according to custom, we sacrifice thee: no sin rests upon us.' A great struggle to secure magical relics from the decorations of his person flowers or turmeric-or a drop of his spittle, ensued, and the orgy continued until about noon the following day, when the time came, at last, for the consummation of the rite" (Campbell 1962 160).
"The victim was again anointed with oil ... and each person touched the anointed part, and wiped the oil on his own head. In some places they took the victim in procession round the village, from door to door, where some plucked hair from his head, and others begged for a drop of his spittle, with which they anointed their heads. As the victim might not be bound nor make any show of resistance, the bones of his arms and, if necessary, his legs were broken; but often this precaution was rendered unnecessary by stupefying him with opium. The mode of putting him to death varied in different places. One of the commonest modes seems to have been strangulation, or squeezing to death. The branch of a green tree was cleft several feet down the middle; the victim's neck (in other places, his chest) was inserted in the cleft, which the priest, aided by his assistants, strove with all his force to close. Then he wounded the victim slightly with his ax, whereupon the crowd rushed at the wretch and hewed the flesh from the bones, leaving the head and bowels untouched. Sometimes he was cut up alive. In Chinna Kimedy he was dragged along the fields, surrounded by the crowd, who, avoiding his head and intestines, hacked the flesh from his body with their knives till he died" (Campbell 1962 160).
A Gond ring used as a ritual object in fertilizing the new crops
and to ensure the furute fertility of a bride on her marriage.
It includes the yoni-lingam, buffalo, well and grain sheaf (Art Collection).
Another very common mode of sacrifice in the same district was to fasten the victim to the proboscis of a wooden elephant, which revolved on a stout post, and, as it whirled round, the crowd cut the flesh from the victim while life remained. ... In one district the victim was put to death slowly by fire. A low stage was formed sloping on either side like a roof; upon it they laid the victim, his limbs wound round with cords to confine his struggles. Fires were then lighted and hot brands applied, to make him roll up and down the slopes of the stage as long as possible; for the more tears he shed the more abundant would be the supply of ram. Next day the body was cut to pieces. ... Each head of a house rolled his shred of flesh in leaves, and buried it in his favourite field, placing it in the earth behind his back without looking (Campbell 1962 160).
Girl sacrificed 31-1-1997
Indian police say a couple sacrificed a neighbour's six- year-old daughter to the goddess Kali in the hope it would give them a child of their own. A village witch who told them it was the only way for them to have children was also arrested.
The warrior Aztecs likewise are supported ultimately by the destructive forces of the great mother. The lust for human sacrifice was again based on the cosmic cycle, indeed was necessary for the cosmos to continue in its course. "As Earth and as Woman her appearances and her effects were excessively concrete and simple. She did not invite thought or tease the creative fancy. She was the epitome of both terror and bounty and her worshippers experienced her as a whole being, one basically beyond definition. It is true that, because she included so many aspects of the divine, she could and did evolve a multitude of epithetical variations and trans-figurations. But she easily resumed her unique identity and was always all-inclusive. She was Tlalteuctli, Earth Lady, the palpable rock and soil and slime upon which men moved and into which they were lowered at death. But her impact on the Aztecs was a religious seizure and terror ... she was depicted as a gargantuan toad slavering blood with clashing jaws at every joint. She represented chaos. The nurse and nourishing goddesses as well as flower feather, the virgin goddess of spring and sex were of a lighter more fond nature" (Brundage 166).
Coatlique Lady of the Serpent [penis] Skirts, the mother of the Aztec war god Huitzilopochtli who sprung from her womb at the moment of her murder. Her head is composed of blood serpents pouring from her severed throat, her pendulous breasts are are partly obscured behind a grizly neclace of severed hearts and hands. Xipe-totec the flayed god illustrates how human life in the sacrificial cycle became a skin easily shed and renewed. Sacrificial victims were flayed and a priest would don the skin as part of the ritual (Miller & Taube, Willis).
"There is a group of goddesses bound together by their common hideousness and thirst for blood. ... The semicivilized cultures of the northern steppe delineated these goddesses with truly' monumental power. The later Aztecs were to refine upon these attributes but they did not substantially change them. These goddesses are Coatlicue, Serpent Skirt; Cihuacoatl, Snake Woman; and Itzpapalotl, Obsidian Knife Butterfly. Serpent Skirt ... is described as black, dirty, dishevelled, and of shocking ugliness, as befits a creature of the underground. In the myth she is the mountain itself, the Earth Mother who conceives all the celestial beings out of her cavernous womb: Huitzilopochtli, the sun; Coyolxauhqui, the moon; and the Huitznahua, the host of stars. We conclude that in the myth Serpent Skirt is a locus rather than a power, being the dark world from which all beings spring and within whose body the terrible conflict takes place. Serpent Skirt is associated with Tula and in the Annales de Cuauhtitlan is brought into connection with the fateful confrontation there between Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca" (Brundage 166).
Snake Woman has some claim to be considered the most feared and effective of all the goddesses. She was there to trigger those wars over which her son, as the god of war, presided. He was the doer and the victory bringer, she the inciter. This goddess is presented to us as a being almost as horrifying as her alter ego, Coatlicue. The lower part of her face is shown as a crude bare jawbone, and the grisly mouth is stretched wide to indicate her hunger for victims. Her hair is long and stringy, and two knives form a kind of diadem on her forehead. She is clothed and painted in chalky white. She was referred to as a horror and a devourer: she brought nothing but misery and toil and death. Sacrificial death, symbolized by the knife, was her issue - not the issue of some god of war, as we might logically have expected. As if to nail this down with finality, when the Aztecs told the story of a once perfect happiness, it was the goddess, not the male god and deceiver Tezcatlipoca, who lost paradise. And in her role as Tlazolteotl she became outright carnality with all its attendant disasters. No male god, not even Tezcatlipoca, stood for the sensual with such an emphasis. This bias in the Aztecs' understanding of the Great Mother was not at variance, however, with their understanding of her as a totality, an integrity. Certainly no peoples have so richly elaborated the culture of death as have the Aztecs and, if death held such an influence over their creative efforts, who else but the Mother should patronize that point of view?
(a) Pyramids of the Moon and Sun: Teotihuacan. The sun and moon were believed to be created there in the dawning of the current era (Berrin et. al.). (b)The dismembered Coyolxauhqui
(The Moon) at the foot of the stairway leading to Huitzilopochtli's Templo Mayor shrine at Tenochtitlan. Huitzilopochtli as the sun defeats Coyolxauhqui the moon, and his four hundred brothers the stars, thereby creating the fifth "sun" or world era." (Willis)
"At Coatepec (the Serpent Hill) near Tula, the sacrificing Aztec war god Huitzilopochtli was magically conceived by Coatlicue, who was impregnated by a ball of down which descended from heaven. Forewarned of an attempt to kill his mother by his sister Coyolxauhqui and his four hundred brothers, Huitzilopochtli sprang from the womb fully formed and painted blue, wielding his flaming fire-serpent, or xiubcoatl. Cutting off Coyolxauhqui, the Moon's head, and hurling her body down the mountainside, Huitzilopochtli, then routed his brothers, the stars, thereby creating the fifth "sun" or world era" (Willis 242). We thus like the Fall from Eden have the ascendant Sun defeating the Moon Goddess. In a sense, Aztec culture, despite the looming figure of Coatlicue, has made the same paternalistic warrior god mistake of subjugating the knowledge of life to the knowledge of good and evil. The consequence, a desperate cycle of continued sacrifice to keep the sun in its orbit, a failing cosmos, is the Aztec's eventual nemesis. The fact that the Aztec's actually slaughtered the Moon Goddess should be borne very carefully in mind.
By contrast, at the ancient founding centre of Teotihuacan, which lasted from around 200 BC to 700 AD and in 600 was the worlds sixth largest city, the sun and moon were celebrated together with two great pyramids in addition to that of Quetzalcoatl, illustrating an original balance between sun and moon. They were believed to have been created by two warriors who sacrificed themselves, thus setting the stage for eternal sacrifice to keep the sun in its course. Quetzalcoatl as the god of the calendar was influential on all the meso-American cultures including the Maya. The founding of the Quetzalcoatl temple was accompanied by an elaborate ritual sacrifice of an apparently calendric nature involving patterns of 9 richly decorated warriors and four plainer maidens totalling in all some 260. Although life was possible more militaristic than the epithet theocratic age would suggest, this pattern of sacrifice is limited to this one founding incident at Teotihuacan (Berrin 141))
Among the Classic Maya, a young beautiful woman was Moon Goddess and she frequently sits on the crescent of the Maya glyph for moon, bearing the "rabbit in the moon" in her arms. However the Maya also describe the idea that the moon is dimmer because it was wounded by the sun.
The Aztecs had a special type of idol which differed radically in that it was animate and incarnate. This was the ixiptla,"image" or "representative," a person who wore the regalia, acted out the part of the god, and then was sacrificed. In the understanding of the Aztecs the gods moved of their own volition among men. In other words their presences were not conjured up by men. Rather the world was a stage common to both men and gods and therefore, once the gods had assumed their masks and had taken concrete forms, they were at home on earth. Men and gods, however disparate in qualities, lived together in territorial symbiosis. The gods could and did inject themselves into static idols in order to maintain a constant presence and a daily cult of service. Among men, however, they moved dynamically as ixiptla, entering homes on ceremonial occasions, ascending and descending the temple stairs, dancing in public, receiving the liberality of their worshippers and blessing them, cohabiting with young women reserved for them, feasting, etc. In every case the chosen humans wore all or a sufficient part of the regalia of the god in question to be able to dispose of his powers. The ixiptla was considered to be the god in person. ... The extra confidence given them by the living presence of the gods was of incalculable support to them in their piety. Every major god or goddess had his or her ixiptla (Valliant 176).
In the Feast of the Flaying of Men, for instance, each ward in the city of Mexico dressed a slave as the ixiptla of the particular deity of that ward. Before the sun had set each one had been sacrificed. On the other hand, the famous ixiptla of Tezcatlipoca acted out his part for an entire year, at the end of which, universally honoured, he was destroyed, just like the tanist substitutes for the Mesopotamian Sacred Kings. Even the god of death on his special feast day was impersonated by an ixiptla who was duly sacrificed.
The Ixiptla of Tezcatlipoca: Hero and Sacrifice (Valliant, Gruzinski)
"The ceremony in honour of the god Tezcatlipoca was strikingly dramatic, tinged with the pathos with which we view the taking of a life. The handsomest and bravest prisoner of war was selected a year before his execution. Priests taught him the manners of a ruler, and as he walked about, playing divine melodies upon his flute, he received the homage due Tezcatlipoca himself. A month before the day of sacrifice four lovely girls, dressed as goddesses, became his companions and attended to his every want. On the day of his death he took leave of his weeping consorts to lead a procession in his honour, marked by jubilation and feasting. Then he bade farewell to the glittering cortege and left for a small temple, accompanied by the eight priests who had attended him throughout the year. The priests preceded him up the steps of the temple, and he followed, breaking at each step a flute which he had played in the happy hours of his incarnation. At the top of the platform the priests turned him over the sacrificial block and wrenched out his heart. In deference to his former godhood his body was carried, not ignominiously flung, down the steps; but his head joined the other skulls spitted on the rack beside the temple”.
Like the tears of the year King, "the Aztecs performed a hideous ceremony in honour of the Fire God, Huchueteotl. Prisoners of war and their captors took part in a dance in honour of the god, and the next day the captives ascended to the top of a platform, where a powder, yauhtli (Indian hemp), was cast in their faces to anaesthetize them against their ghastly fate. After preparing a great fire, each priest seized a captive and, binding him hand and foot, lifted him on to his back. A macabre dance took place around the burning coals, and one by one they dumped their burdens into the flames. Before death could intervene to put an end to their suffering the priests fished out the captives with large hooks and wrenched the hearts from their blistered bodies" (Valliant 191)
Lest we forget that maidens were also sacrificed, although less often than men, consider the ixiptla of the corn goddess: "At a great festival in September, which was preceded by a strict fast of seven days, they sanctified a young slave girl of twelve or thirteen years, the prettiest they could find, to represent the Maize Goddess Chicomecohuatl. They invested her with the ornaments of the goddess, putting a mitre on her head and maize-cobs round her neck and in her hands, and fastening a green feather upright on the crown of her head to imitate an ear of maize. This they did, we are told, in order to signify that the maize was almost ripe at the time of the festival, but because it was still tender they chose a girl of tender years to play the part of the Maize Goddess" (Campbell 1959).
"The whole long day they led the poor child in all her finery, with the green plume nodding on her head, from house to house dancing merrily to cheer people after the dullness and privations of the fast. In the evening all the people assembled at the temple, the courts of which they lit up by a multitude of lanterns and candles. There they passed the night without sleeping, and at midnight, while the trumpets, flutes, and horns discoursed solemn music, a portable framework or palanquin was brought forth, bedecked with festoons of maize-cobs and peppers and rifled with seeds of all sorts. This the bearers set down at the door of the chamber in which the wooden image of the goddess stood. Now the chamber was adorned and wreathed, both outside and inside, with wreaths of maize-cobs, peppers, pumpkins, roses, and seeds of every kind, a wonder to behold; the whole floor was covered deep with these verdant offerings of the pious. When the music ceased, a solemn procession came forth of priests and dignitaries, with flaring lights and smoking censers, leading in their midst the girl who played the part of the goddess." (Campbell 1959 222).
"Then they made her mount the framework, where she stood upright on the maize and peppers and pumpkins with which it was strewed, her hands resting on two banisters to keep her from falling. Then the priests swung the smoking censers round her; the music struck up again, and while it played, a great dignitary of the temple suddenly stepped up to her with a razor in his hand and adroitly shore off the green feather she wore on her head, together with the hair in which it was fastened, snipping the lock off by the root. The feather and the hair he then presented to the wooden image of the goddess with great solemnity and elaborate ceremonies, weeping and giving her thanks for the fruits of the earth and the abundant crops which she had bestowed on the people that year; and as he wept and prayed, all the people, standing in the courts of the temple, wept and prayed with him. When that ceremony was over, the girl descended from the framework and was escorted to the place where she was to spend the rest of the night" (Campbell 1959 222).
"But all the people kept watch in the courts of the temple by the light of torches till break of day. The morning being come, and the courts of the temple being still crowded by the multitude, who would have deemed it sacrilege to quit the precincts, the priests again brought forth the damsel attired in the costume of the goddess, with the mitre on her head and the cobs of maize about her neck. Again she mounted the portable framework or palanquin and stood on it, supporting herself by her hands on the banisters. Then the elders of the temple lifted it on their shoulders, and while some swung burning censers and others played on instruments or sang, they carried it in procession through the great courtyard to the hall of the god Huitzilopochtli and then back to the chamber, where stood the wooden image of the Maize Goddess, whom the girl personated. There they caused the damsel to descend from the palanquin and to stand on the heaps of corn and vegetables that had been spread in profusion on the floor of the sacred chamber" (Campbell 1959 222).
"While she stood there all the elders and nobles came in a line, one behind the other, carrying saucers full of dry and clotted blood which they had drawn from their ears by way of penance during the seven days' fast. One by one they squatted on their haunches before her, which was the equivalent of falling on their knees with us, and scraping the crust of blood from the saucer cast it down before her as an offering in return for the benefits which she, as the embodiment of the Maize Goddess, had conferred upon them. When the men had thus humbly offered their blood to the human representative of the goddess, the women, forming a long line, did so likewise, each of them dropping on her hams before the girl and scraping her blood from the saucer" (Campbell 1959 222).
"The ceremony lasted a long time, for great and small, young and old, all without exception had to pass before the incarnate deity and make their offering. When it was over, the people returned home with glad hearts to feast on flesh and viands of every sort as merrily, we are told, as good Christians at Easter partake of meat and other carnal mercies after the long abstinence of Lent. And when they had eaten and drunk their fill and rested after the night watch, they returned quite refreshed to the temple to see the end of the festival. And the end of the festival was this" (Campbell 1959 222).
"The multitude being assembled, the priests solemnly incensed the girl who personated the goddess; then they threw her on her back on the heap of corn and seeds, cut off her head, caught the gushing blood in a tub, and sprinkled the blood on the wooden image of the goddess, the wags of the chamber, and the offerings of corn, peppers, pumpkins, seeds, and vegetables which cumbered the floor. After that they flayed the headless trunk, and one of the priests made shift to squeeze himself into the bloody skin. Having done so they clad him in all the robes which the girl had worn; they put the mitre on his head, the necklace of golden maize-cobs about his neck, the maize-cobs of feathers and gold in his hands; and thus arrayed they led him forth in public, all of them dancing to the tuck of drum, while he acted as fugleman, skipping and posturing at the head of the procession as briskly as he could be expected to do, incommoded as he was by the tight and clammy skin of the girl and by her clothes, which must have been much too small for a grown man" (Campbell 1959 222).
Of course, as time itself, Kali is just the crone we have described. In a sense, every living soul in history has been devoured by her. It is her who is at work when we look in the mirror and see grey hairs appearing overnight. It is also her at work when disease or accident, those manifestations of entropy, strike and sometimes carry us away. But this does not mean that we should slaughter in her name. She will take those who she chooses in her time. It is our duty to placate her as much as possible through harmonious living with nature and through preserving a healing world, not through intentional killing. Neither do we need to offer up our firstborn like many ancient cultures, kill 20,000 people at a time like the Aztecs did to keep the universe in its ordered path, or suffer martyrdom like the Christian and Islamic zealots, to enter directly into heaven.
The limits determined on our part for human sacrifice consist however of the same rites of passage of birth and death, brought more closely into scientific focus: when to allow termination of pregnancy, and when to allow the terminally, or seriously ill, to depart, how to determine which species and which individual organisms to save and protect in a finite, evolving world. These decisions need to be taken carefully by society in full awareness of the circumstances. They cannot be determined by fundamentalistic beliefs and require ethical insight, because in the preservation of the quality of life, all factors need to be accounted with wisdom and foresight.
In the ancient past, sacrifice had many rationales. One was the notion that human beings were merely the servants, surrogates, or even the food of hungry gods. Another deeper one is to maintain fertility and good fortune for the people. It is true that sacrifice, particularly human, can act as a uniquely powerful force to center and align the psychic energy of a people, but there are equally powerful non-destructive ways of doing this. The idea that karma is, or needs to be, driven by destructive acts of sacrifice is false. Good luck is more than equally likely to emerge from healing energy. What is pivotal is the alignment of intent and depth of awareness emerging from the encounter. The most empowering act conceivable is that which celebrates our participation in the Great Becoming - the future golden evolutionary age.
Sex is the origin of mortality, because rather than reproducing clonally as bacteria do, we only transmit half our genes to our offspring, and they will never naturally exist in the same combination again. But sex is also the enchanted loom of all living animals, plants and fungi for the recombining of sexuality has brought endless new successful combinations of genes into existence, without which complex organisms could never have evolved. The few higher species which do reproduce by parthenogenesis generally also rely on sexuality to restore such variation. Before there was gender there was sex. In many fungi today, any two strains of a species can fertilize one another through conjugation - sex but no gender. Many primitive single-celled protoctists still use identical isogametes (Margulis and Schwartz). All multi-celled animals however depend on the cytoplasm of the egg to differentiate into the tissue layers of the developing embryo, and its organs. Egg and sperm have become yin and yang, as wave and particle are to physics and chaos and order are to complex systems (King 1996).
Here 'sex' means the differentiation of cells into two mating types, which most commonly fuse half their genes again through the fertilization of haploid sex cells each containing half of the chromosomes found in the diploid form of the organism. By 'gender' is meant the differentiation of sex cells (and the organisms bearing them) into complementary 'male' and 'female' morphologies.
However, before the earliest multi-celled organisms evolved, the 'original sin' of Adam, sexual exploitation of the female, had already begun: "In some respects a big isogamete would have an advantage ... because it would get its embryo off to a good start. ... But there was a catch. The evolution of isogametes which were larger then were strictly necessary would have opened the door to selfish exploitation. Individuals who produced smaller than average gametes could cash in provided they could ensure that their smaller than average gametes fused with extra-big ones. ... There was a large-investment, or honest strategy. This automatically opened the way for a small-investment exploitive or 'sneaky' strategy. Each honest one would prefer to fuse with an honest one ... [but] the sneaky one's had more to lose, and they therefore won the evolutionary battle. The honest ones became eggs and the sneaky ones became sperms" (Dawkins 1976). There is an irony here because this very differentiation may have been the result of killer genes in the female cytoplasm resulting from the selfishness of our symbiotic organelles, not the male.
Pertinent to the later question of female reproductive choice is the fact that it is the ovum which actively 'decides' through membrane excitation and a coordinated amoebic response which of the many 'competing' sperms is assimilated. (King 1978 95, Sci. Am. Nov 77 134). Seventeen years later Riane Eisler (1995 289) makes the same point. 'Female choice' is essential to ensure only one sperm enters the egg. This is also a poetic commentary on when I first 'conceived' the millennial Renewal - almost exactly 20 years before.
"Sperms and eggs too contribute equal numbers of genes, but eggs contribute far more in the way of food reserves: indeed sperms make no contribution at all, and are simply concerned with transporting their genes as fast as possible to an egg. At the moment of conception therefore, the father has invested less than his fair share (i.e. 50 per cent) of resources in the offspring. Since each sperm is so tiny, a male can afford to make many millions of them every day. This means he is potentially able to beget a very large number of children in a very short period of time, using different females. This is only possible because each new embryo is endowed with adequate food by the mother in each case. This therefore places a limit on the number of children a female can have, but the number of children a male can have is virtually unlimited. Female exploitation begins here" (Dawkins 1976). While it is clearly facile to blame the male gender for what has now become a biological necessity for the organism, this 'disparity of complementation' has clearly also continued to have a significant impact on the evolutionary life of all organisms and reaches its 'long arm' into human socio-biology, for while the investment of the human female in the egg itself is small, her investment in the fertilized ovum is immense and pivotal to both her own survival and the survival of her offspring, and continues through some ten to seventeen years of child-rearing. Although the male often does play a major and sometimes even pivotal share of this work, being 'left holding the baby' is not a figure of speech without reason. This very ancient biological motif has thus become a theme we must respect in our very 'conception' of evolving human society and fail to do so at our peril. I would not call the argument anthropocentric, but rather note that in evolution humanity has become conjugo-centric - an evolutionary reflection of the Tao. Musical Score: Aria to "The Queen of the Night" Mozart (M. Weimer)
2: The Mozart Paradox: Why why, the X and the Y?
The evolution of mammals has chosen a profound trick to line up with the honest egg and the cheating sperm. The female has XX and the male has XY. This means that the male is haploid X and the female diploid XX. The haploid state provides for maximal selective advantage because there is just one 'pure' copy of each gene, not two 'confused' interacting copies. When the female embryo reaches the million cell stage, in each cell apart from the sex cells, one or other X randomly collapses. So a female brain is single X, like the male, but with a difference - it is a mosaic of cells of two genetic X-identities, those of her father and mother. The male by contrast is endowed with one pure maternal X-dose. When he is good he is very very good - but when he is bad he is retarded. There are at least 8 forms of X-linked male mental retardation because the X chromosome, the only haploid human chromosome is carrying several key genes for brain development at the spearhead of human evolution .
Women have on the mean, comparable (or even superior) intelligence to men. Women are generally superior in language development, although some men have the edge in mathematical mechanics (Kimura). There are very intelligent women, however the occasional man gets the pure benefit of a fortuitous pure X in complementing his other (good) brain genes on the diploid chromosomes to become an extra-gifted genius. The irony is this. The male never can transmit this heritage to his sons. It is always the maternal X that goes to the son, because to be a son he must have got the paternal Y. The females are thus the progenitors of the prodigies, but the males are doomed ducks. This is the ancient sacrificial saga of the gene. The only hope for a male genius is to have daughters! By contrast, females can fortuitously give direct birth to geniuses. The situation is actually worse for the male than this. New research suggests that the non-sex chromosomes (autosomes) are imprinted in a way which gives the mothers genes a key developmental role in the cortex and the fathers only in the mid-brain emotional centres. It is common to animal species that the reproductive potential of females is relatively equivalent, because of their limited number of eggs and rate-limiting reproductive commitment. That of the males varies widely depending on opportunity and reproductive fitness. Mammalian evolution has thus put the haploid X purity into the 'sneaky gender' which carries the sacrificial doom - to be the victim of the grim reaper of strong reproductive selection by the female. This is however ideal, for it has put the haploid X just where the evolutionary selection can have the greatest effect. I am not taking any position here concerning the relative biological potentialities of males or females as individuals to display creative genius, nor in the nature/nurture debate on intelligence. I personally believe in the qualitative complementation of nature and nurture and in the capacity of culture and education to mediate natural differences. The thrust is simply that human evolution is pivoting naturally around gender paradox in a way which capitalizes on the XY arrangement to facilitate male sexual selection through this process. However differences are noted between the genders in the statistical distribution of cognitive skills, in a way which supports the 'Mozart X' concept of Turner
The entire world owes a profound debt to the Eastern tradition of philosophy and its radiant and awesomely penetrating apex in the Indian spiritual heritage. It is a tradaition which has delved into the void of the self to a depth of personal experience and sheer concentration that makes the Judeo-Christian tradition amateurish and petulant by comparison. Pervading this ancient heritage is an appreciation for the transient nature of mortality and subjective experience and the deep creative far within the soul, which is at once the very motivating force, not only for this universe, but for ages and epochs on a scale which stands beyond and before time in the eternal existential condition for which the very universe comes into being. It has spawned many other great religions such as Buddhism and Jainism, which despite being centuries older than Christianity, stand as relative newcomers. t has withstood the Aryan invasions and the Mogul conquests of Islam. It is perhaps the only remaining fully-fledged ancient religion of many Gods and Goddesses which contains within its gambit all the extremes from the pinnacle of chauvanistic male aristocracy burning their wives on their funeral pyres to the unrestrained Goddess at her most bloodthirsty and destructive. Yet within these extremes lies a path of meditative renunciation from worldly attachments which carries philosophy of mind self and consciousness to its deepest and most profound. This tradition has a risen from a cultural dissonance as great as any imaginable, the repression of the ancient cultures of the Indus valley with their planter Goddess queen and her rustic sacrifical consort and Lord of the animals by a warrior caste of Aryans with a new and different breed of warrior Gods casting bolts of lightning upon their defeated opponents. However, instead of obliterating these traditions they have superimposed as ripples and eddies to create a cultural martix perhaps more complex than that of any other society, riddled with extremities and inconsistencies but echoing with rich mythopoetic imagery in which human life passes on the great yugas of time like a spring sunshower passing on a breat of breeze.
Woven into the lives of the Gods and the the Mahadevi is the mighty Ganges, that ancient river from which time and culture itself springs, herself a Goddess and the life of her people from her tumbling Himalayan cataracts to her sultry and treacherous deltas as she finally flows like the snake Ananta in a hudred mouths to the ocean an eternal cycle of death and rebirth. Closely associated with her is a sacred herb, the province of the Lord of death and of altered states Shivai, a tradition as ancient as the river which bears its name and central to the spiritual life of many of the sadhus or holy men who wander the continent in saffron robes in the name of God, from the mountain caves to the alleyways and burning ghats of the river's ancient city Varanasi. The meditative tradition did not begin with the Aryans and their Brahmin descendents, because already at Mojendaro, we can see the image of Shiva with trident, Lord of the Beasts sitting in yogic posture. An image that comes out of the mists of time on the mirages that shimmer in the hot seasons preceding the monsoon. I shall always hold a deep affection for India and for its gift to humanity. I have travelled the continent from end to end, always as a man of God in the tradition of the sadhu. I have found divine wisdom, friendship and grace emanating not from gurus or famous spiritual men, but from beggars, from hotel proprietors from street hoodlums and little wayside baba's sitting covered in ashes in all sincerity. Somehow the river of the Ganga is and always has been the source and the destination of all things, as life flows to itself and the great ages come and go. This lesson to us all is one we should cherish for all time.
The Five-fold Nub of Indian Philosophy
Five key points emerge from Indian philosophy which we should all be cogniscant of:
The first is that matter is a grosser accumulation of substance than the subjective mind. Mind is finer. This is central to the dilemma of the hard problem in consciousness research and is not at all comprehended by the Western scientific description of reality. Physical reality constitutes the stabilitiy states of conscious subjectivity. The conscious consensus. The reverse materialistic description is incomplete. Physical reality is objective and cannot describe the subjective state within its parameters.
The second is that the ultimate nature of reality lies in the abyss of the subject. The entire creative force of the universe somehow resides in the nature of Self and this Self in turn creates world. Thus, rather than submitting all responsibility to an external deity, we practice meditative realization of the divine nature realized in the impersonal divine within. This is a path of renunciation from attachment but it is also a path of wisdom and personal empowerment.
The third is that there are synchronistic connections which go beyond the gross mechanical level to form all the curcumstances and accidents of fate in which our lives are embedded. This is the so-called law of karma, which is much more ancient than Buddhism. While this law may not be one of moral determinism and may not involve literal cyclic reincarnation, it may well be a manifestation of quantum non-locality which modern western science is only beginning to come to grips with.
Vishnu resting between dreaming the epochs attended by Shri with Brahma emerging from his navel in the lotus creating objective and subjective manifestation of the epochs [inset]. (Willis)
The fourth is the image of the yugas of the universe as a whole created and possibly coming to an eventual heat death in the very process of the Self dreaming. The image of Vishnu the sustainer dreaming the epochs while the lotus coming out of his navel contains Brahma producing Brahman, the entire universe of objective and subjective manifestation, is as true for the inflationary universe as it was in India centuries ago. The universe is both, in its becoming and in its passing, entirely inhospitable to life. It is thus a gesture in space-time whose mid-point is a supreme biological manifestation of awareness of the deepest Self coming to recognise itself in meditative reflection.
The Tantric creation myth - emergence of the opposites of male and female,
subject and object from the transcendent unified totality to become the dance of Maya (Rawson).
The fifth is the Tantric creation of subject and object as dualities emerging fromthe totality in the dance of form, of wave and particle, of male and female coming to recognise itself through its very fragmentation. This Tantric creation is at once the Fall seen in its proper light with the knowlege of good and evil, the very knowledge of opposites. By contrast, the Eden myth forces the separation without the vision of unity which provides the coherence of the Tree of Life. This is the tragedy of dominion.
In deference to this ancient tradition I leave you just the following two fragments, one from the Upanishads and the other from the Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali. However short and fragmentary, these at least provide a window into the tradition as it evolved in the history of the culture.
Sadhus walking in the alleyways of Kedar Ghat Varanasi (CK)
From the Ten Principal Upanishads (Quotations from Purohit and Yeats)
The earliest Upanishads date from 900 to 600 BC. The fundamental concern of the Upanishads is the nature of reality. They teach the identity of the individual soul (atman) with the universal essence soul (Brahman). Because they are the final portions of the Vedas, they are also known as Vedanta, "the end of the Vedas," and their thought, as interpreted in succeeding centuries, is likewise known as Vedanta.
Death said: "The word the Wedas extol, austerities proclaim, sanctities approach - that word is Öm. That word is eternal Spirit, eternal distance, who knows it attains to his desire. That word is the ultimate foundation. Who finds it is adored among the saints. The Self knows all, is not born, does not die, is not the effect of any cause, is eternal, self-existent, imperishable, ancient. How can the killing of the body kill Him? He who thinks that He kills, he who thinks that He is killed, is ignorant. He does not kill nor is He killed. The Self is lesser than the least, greater than the greatest. He lives in all hearts. When senses are at rest, free from desire, man finds Him and mounts beyond sorrow. Though sitting, He travels; though sleeping is everywhere. Who but I Death can understand that God is beyond joy and sorrow. Who knows the Self, bodiless among the embodied, unchanging among the changing, prevalent everywhere, goes beyond sorrow. The Self is not known through discourse, splitting of hairs, learning however great; He comes to the man He loves; takes that man's body for His own. The wicked man is restless, without concentration without peace how can he find Him, whatever his learning?"
"The individual self and the universal Self, living in the heart, like shade and light, though beyond enjoyment, enjoy the result of action. All say this, all who know Spirit, whether householder or ascetic."
"Eternal creation is a tree, with roots above, branches on the ground, pure eternal Spirit, living in all things and beyond whom none can go; that is Self. Everything owes life and movement to Spirit. Spirit strikes terror, hangs like a thunderbolt overhead; find it, find immortality."
"Through terror of God fire burns, sun shines, rain pours, wind blows, death speeds. Man, if he fail to find Him before the body falls, must take another body. Man, looking into the mirror of himself may know Spirit there as he knows light from shade; but in the world of spirits. It is known distorted as in a dream, in the choir of angels as though reflected on troubled water. He who knows that the senses belong not to Spirit but to the elements, that they are born and die, grieves no more. Mind is above sense, intellect above mind, nature above intellect, the unmanifest above nature. Above the unmanifest is God, unconditioned, filling all things. He who finds Him enters immortal life, becomes free. No eye can see Him, nor has He a face tliat can be seen, yet through meditation and through discipline He can be found in the heart. He that finds Him enters immortal life. When mind and sense are at rest, when the discrimination of intellect is finished, man comes to his final condition."
"From Him, gods, angels, men, cattle, birds, living fires, rice, barley, austerity, faith, truth, continence, law. From Him seven senses like ritual fires, seven desires like flames, seven objects like oblations, seven pleasures like sacrifices, seven nerves like habitations, seven centres in the heart like hollows in the cavern. From Him, seas, rivers, mountains, herbs and their properties: in the middle of the elements the inmost Self. My son! There is nothing in this world, that is not God. He is action, purity; everlasting Spirit. Find Him in the cavern; knaw the knot of ignorance."
Tantric sexual rites. Shiva temple Khajuraho (CK).
"Shining, yet hidden, Spirit lives in the cavern. Everything that sways, breathes, opens, closes, lives in Spirit, beyond learning, beyond everything, better than anything; living, unliving. It is the undying blazing Spirit, that seed of all seeds, wherein lay hidden the world and all its creatures. It is life, speech, mind, reality, immortality. It is there to be struck. Strike it, my son! Take the bow of our sacred knowledge, lay against it the arrow of devotion, pull the string of concentration, strike the target. Öm is the bow, the personal self the arrow, impersonal Self the target. Aim accurately, sink therein. Into His cloak are woven earth, mind, life, the canopy, the Kingdom of Heaven. He is alone and sole; man's bridge to immortality."
"Welcome to the Lord! The word Öm is the Imperishable; all this its manifestation. Past, present, future-everything is Öm. Whatever transcends the three divisions of time, that too is Öm. There is nothing that is not Spirit. The personal self is the impersonal Spirit. It has four conditions.
God thought: "I would be many I will procreate." And in the heat of his meditation created everything. Creating everything He entered into everything. Entering into everything He took shape yet remained shapeless, took limits yet remained limitless, made his home, yet remained homeless; created knowledge and ignorance; reality, unreality; became everything; therefore everything is reality. Here is my authority: "In the beginning there was no creation; then creation came. He created Himself, out of himself. Hence He is called Self-Creator." Everything is Self-created. He is that essence. Drinking that essence, man rejoices. If man did not lose himself in that joy, he could not breathe; he could not live. Self is the sole giver of joy.
The trimurti reveals itself in several forms. Shiva the three-headed, the triplet of Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva creator, sustainer, destroyer unfairly pictured as entirely male, and the unity of the transcendent with the field of opposites emerging as male-female and dark-light (Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth TV).
Selected quotations from the "Aphorisms of
Yoga" of Patanjali
Patanjali is supposed to have lived sometime between the 2nd century BC and the fifth century AD.
Sampradnyata Samadhi is that condition of conscious illumination, where mind is mixed up with consciousness of sentiment, or consciousness of discrimination, or consciousness of joy, or consciousness of personality.
Meditation on nature begins with meditation on Her form, meditation on God begins with meditation on His form.Meditation on nature or God without form, though not impossible, is extremely difficult., for we meditate with the help of mind, which Indian philosophy considers material, though the object of our meditation be immaterial. When the yogi goes beyond attachment to form he becomes free. Ultimately he finds the material root is perishable. This discrimination goes on until he attains self, the real root of nature.
Asampradnyata samadhi is that unmixed condition of conscious illumination, where, by constant renunciation of all knowledge, mind retains past impressions only. They who have lost attachment to body or have merged in nature, attain this condition when they are born again, but others have to attain it through faith, effort, recollection, concentration, or discrimination. Illumination is also attained by devotion to God.
Mind attains peace when meditation produces extra-ordinary sense perceptions. Or by meditation on the inner light that leads beyond sorrow. Or by meditation on the knowledge gained through dream or sleep. Illumination with seed may be with or above sentiment with or above discrimination. Illumination above discrimination, being pure, brings spiritual contentment. When even this has been suppressed, seedles Samadhi is attained.
Austerity, study, devotion to God, constitute practical yoga. The aim is to attain illumination and to destroy afflictions. Ignorance, egoism, desire, aversion, fear are afflictions. The finer afflictions disappear as mind disappears in illumination. The grosser afflications dissappear through meditation. Karma, whether fulfilled in present or future life, has its root in afflictions. Asana (posture) implies steadiness and comfort. The next step is Prajnayama (breath control) the cessation of exhalation and inhalation. Then the cloud that obscures light melts away. Pratyahra is the restoration of sense to the original purity of mind by renouncing its objects. Then follows complete subjugation of sense.
Attention, union and illumination form concentration.
Finally by renouncing even these powers, the seed of bondage being destroyed,the yogi attains liberation.
Powers are either revealed at birth, or acquired by medicinal herbs, or by repetition of sacred words, or through austerity, or through illumination.
He who sees clearly refuses to identify mind with Self. Intent on discrimination, the mind longs for liberation. When the yogi attains final discrimination, renounces even that , he attains the condition called "Rain Cloud of Divinity". Mind without impurity and impediment attains infinite knowledge, what is worth knowing in this world becomes negligible. The dissolution of Qulaities in their source, when nothing remains to be achieved, is liberation; the revelation of the power of Self, the foundation of the beauty of Self.
Shiva and Parvati - the ascetic in family pose in his ice cave.
Bengali myth portrays Shiva as a cannabis-smoking layabout
and Parvati as a grumbling, if long-suffering wife (Willis).
Of all the Gods, Shivai is the lord of death and the Lord of deep transcendental meditation. He is traditionally the shaman in leopard skin with the crescent moon at his brow. He is the Lord of altered states, traditionally associated with Ganga the sacred herb of the Ganges and its ritual consumption by sadhus.
He is also the ancient trident-bearing yogic sacred king, Lord of the cattle of Mojendaro and the Indus valley civilizations, who also worshipped the agricultural fertility Goddess in her unrestrianed form. This is why to this day Kali remains the dark Goddess of the Dravidians, who still bears all the marks of sacrifice in her demeanour and who dances over the lifeless body of Shiva in consummation of the sacrifical sacred marriage.
Left: Shiva is the Lord of the dance the source of all movement in the universe. In his right hand he carries the drum which sounds creation and in his left hand the flame of destruction. On his head is the skull of impermanence. Right: Devi dances on the body of Shiva (Willis).
For this reason Shiva is again the only God in the Indian pantheon who really associates with the Goddess in her undiminished power, whose name is simply Devi or Maha-devi - "Great Goddess" just as was al-Lat. He is variously associated with Kali the Goddess in her fierce aspect, with Sati his first wife who immolated herself in shame at his exclusion from her father's sacrifice, and her reincarnation, Parvati who is peaceful and domesticates the ascetic Shiva. Her anger manifests in succession as Durga the warrior Goddess and finally Kali herself.
Shiva in passive copulation with the Goddess. The lingam yoni of Shivaic fertility. Kali.(Mookerjee)
Both Shiva and Indra as male hero Gods were said to have been emasculated in a sacrificial misadventure in the tradition of the sacred kings. Indra was given the balls of a ram. Shiva's emasculation turns the world dark, cold and impotent and he has to be propitiated by the worship of the lingam. When Shiva and Parvati first made love, the Gods interrupted them, fearing the birth of one with excessive powers. Shiva's sperm was so hot however that none of them could handle it and it passed to the Ganges to be incubated. Shiva sometimes acts as destroyer. His third eye of illuminationis also destruction. From theangry sweat of his brow came disease. But he is also the sustainer and savior of life. He swallowed the poison from the churning of the cosmic ocean and broke the fall of Ganga when she crashed down from heaven to cleanse the world.
The Implicit Chauvanism of India's High Gods
Vishnu and Shri-Lakshmi (Willis)
All the other Gods are by comparison male chauvanists. Although Vishnu and Shri Lakshmi are associated with sustain the epochs and with fertility, Shri became symbolic of the loyalty of the model Hindu wife, loyal and submissive to ther husband. Such male dominion became in turn a travesty of the Goddesses descent in the rite of Suttee, although as we have just seen suttee actually comes for Sati.
Krishna and Radha with the birds and the flowers (Willis).
By the same token, Krishna, who represents much more closely the male fertility deity surrounded by devoted cowgirls, nevertheless is represented as a supreme transcendent Lord encumbered with mere mortals. Even Krishna's affair with Radha, which is a motif not unlike the Song of Songs for the splendour of pastoral fertility, is merely an allegory for the intimacy of deity and devotee - "Christ and his Church".
When I began to write the Genesis a Hare-Krishna girl tried to turn me on to Krsna. I said "The feminine is returning. This is the epoch of wave and particle. This is the epoch of the Bride, we have neglected the natural and the physical to our folly." She said "But that's just the material plane. God is transcendent. This world is just a husk." I said "Without nature we are the destroyers of ourselves. Only when the two become one will we have a living future." As I walked down the road she called after me "Who do you think you are! Krsna?"
This is a deep parallel. Krsna and Christ are one. Both are the Bridegroom, Jesus with Salome, Mary and the five good virgins, Krsna with Radha and the cow girls. Both are defenders of the transcendent father, despite courting the female as Lord. For both the relationship is a marriage to their church.. This presents a dangerous mix. There is a deep and very powerful and truthful vision in transcendence. The Gita puts it perhaps the best way it has ever been expressed. In this vision, nuclear holocaust is but a shadow alongside the almighty eternal Self:.
The Spirit kills not, nor is it killed. 'It was not born; It will never die: nor once having been, can It ever cease to be: Unborn, Eternal, Ever-ensuring, yet Most Ancient, the Spirit dies not when the body is dead. 'He who knows the Spirit as Indestructible, Immortal, Unborn, Always-the-Same, how should he kill or cause to be killed? 'As a man discards his threadbare robes and puts on new, so the Spirit throws off Its worn-out bodies and takes fresh ones. 'Weapons cleave It not, fire burns It not, water drenches It not and wind dries It not.'It is impenetrable; It can be neither drowned nor scorched nor dried. It is Eternal, All-pervading, Unchanging, Im- movable and Most Ancient. 'It is named the Unmanifest, the Unthinkable, the Immutable. Wherefore, knowing the Spirit as such, thou hast no cause to grieve (Purohit 1935)
'Even if thou thinkest of It as constantly being born, constantly dying; even then, 0 Mighty Man! thou still hast no cause to grieve. 'For death is as sure for that which is born, as birth is for that which is dead. Therefore grieve not for what is inevitable. 'The end and beginning of beings are unknown. We see only the intervening formations. Then what cause is there for grief? 'One hears of the Spirit with surprise, another thinks It marvellous, the third listens without comprehending. Thus, though many are told about It, scarcely is there one who knows It (Purohit 1935)
Now that is a truth which is immutable. But look what happens next, we are suddenly into Armageddon here, the male combat myth is unleashed with full fury:
'Be not anxious about these armies. The Spirit in man is imperishable. 'Thou must look at thy duty. Nothing can be more welcome to a soldier than a righteous war. Therefore to waver in thy resolve is unworthy, 0 Arjuna!
'Blessed are the soldiers who find their opportunity. This opportunity has opened for thee the gates of heaven. 'Refuse to fight in this righteow cause, and thou wilt be a traitor, lost to fame, incurring only sin. 'Men will talk forever of thy disgracer and to the noble, dishonour is worse than death. 'Great generals will think that thou hast fled from the battlefield through cowardice, though once honoured thou wilt seem despicable. 'Thine enemies will spread scandal, and mock at thy cour- age. Can anything be more humiliating? 'If killed, thou shalt attain Heaven; if victorious, enjoy the kingdom of earth. Therefore arise, 0 son of Kunti! and fight. 'Look upon pleasure and pain, victory and defeat, with an equal eye. Make ready for the combat, and thou shalt commit no sin (Purohit 1935).
Here we have unrolled all that is dangerous and violent in male dominion. Herein lies crusade and jihad. Herein lies violent martyrdom. Herein lies the will to violent conflict. Herein lies the morality which curses with shame. Here we have a lesson, for Jesus overthrew this order of violence by saying to turn the other cheek and to love your enemies. To live in a finite planet we have to learn ways of coexisting that do not lead to full-on confronataion again. We will anihilate ourselves if we don't. This doesn't mean to take everything lying down - love is tough too, but love is the key. The feminine, nature and the physical are all demoted to the inferior gross realm. The fallacy is that the physical is inferior rather than complementary. The fallacy is that the female is inferior to the male.
Nevertheless there is one sense in which the entire following dialogue on action is true and that is that birth and death are our reality and action is our fulfillment. Because in the physical we live in space-time, we need to accept that we are here to participate fearlessly in the course of history. In this sense the Krsna girl was absolutely right. In writing the Genesis of Eden I am also writing the Gita because there is a living battle involved to free the mind of Homo sapiens before he destroys nature and the physical. Unfortunately this battle is against the male combat myth and Armageddon. It is a battle but it is a battle of love. It is not an easy one to fight, precipitous and dangerous but it is a path of reconciliation. Whose side am I on? On the side of Immortal Wisdom! Is that Krsna's side? Well yes because it is my side too as a male wishing to see life go on. Hence this voila.
'He who wherever he goes is attached to no person and to no place by ties of flesh; who accepts good and evil alike, neither welcoming the one nor shrinking from the other-take him to be one who is merged in the Infinite.
We stand refreshingly beyond good and evil, accepting the mutuality in all natural encounter. The impersonal nature of the Self is stressed by disengagement.
Memorial stellae on a former widow-burning ground at Kiken near Mysore, India. The symbolic rosette and lifted hand carry into the modern period motifs originally associated with Inanna and her descent into the underworld to witness the funeral rites of the bull of heaven thestar Taurus, where she hung on a nail as a rotting corpse, before ascending into heaven.
A Shrine to Sati and the wives burned to their husbands memory
The architectural records of Ur include a whole kingly court apparently buried alive after the death of a king (Wooley 1954). This practise was widespread across the ancient and neolithic world (Campbell 1962). We have also seen how sacred kings often suffered the same fate and the priestess of the Goddess was likewise regularly flung off a precipice to her doom, as Inanna descended to the underworld to rot on a peg. However the practice of suttee in India became a unique cultural expression of male dominion unparalleled in quite the same way anywhere else. In this twist, the myth of the Goddesses descent has become woven into that of Shiva's wife Sati and held up as a social necessity, a gruesomely enforced ideal whose horrors match the witch burnings of Europe and are scarcely mitigated by the equally gruesome sacrifices to the bloodthirsty Kali as fertility Goddess in rural India through to last century.
Indra and Mortal Kingship
(Illustrations from Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth - TV) At Puri, the site of the dreaded Juggernaut of, the religious procession to the great Jaganath Temple, which devotees used to throw themselves under the wheels of, the proprietor of the little Santana hotel on the beach looked at me and said "Have you been given a name as a Baba?" I said "No". He then looked at me very carefully and said "Yogindra Baba".
Indra typifies the Aryan warrior god-king, who descended on the Indus valley civilizations with their culture of the planter Goddess and yogic trident-bearing Shivaic consort. This twin-layer typifies the deepest mysteries and torments of the Eastern tradition, the most sublime expression of spirituality and the most abhorrent human practices of caste untouchability and blood sacrifice.
Indra, like Christ, sets out to conquer the devil in the tradition of male combat myth and like Zeus brandishes a thunderbolt to achieve the task. When he succeeds, he settles down to build a palace. However, being the proud young tyrant, he is never satisfied and asks the archtiect to build and rebuild the palace in ever more indulgent splendour.
The exhausted architect entreaties Vishnu the sustainer, who is lying in deep trance on the snake Ananta, resting between cycles of emanation and reabsorbtion of the epochs to come to his aid.
Out of his navel springs a lotus upon which sits Brahma the creator, emanating both the material elements of the universe and the mental concepts through which we perceive and understand them.
The next day a beautiful Krishna-like blue boy appears at the palace, surrounded by cheering and drumming children. [Krishna and Buddha are described as the last two incarnations of Vishnu.]
He enters and says to Indra I have come because I hear you have become a great new Indra and have built a most ostentatious palace for yourself. Indra says "What do you nean an Indra, don't you know I am king of the Gods?" The boy just laughs and says "There are Indras more than can be counted and each have come and gone just like yourself, come look."
And he leads him outside the palace where there is a long line of ants, and he says "Indras one and all, each in their time". Indra is dismayed at his worldly ignorance and vows to become an ascetic, to reject the hubris of the ego and achieve the cosmic at-one-ment of Vishnu. His beautiful wife realizes that this will not do, for he will forsake the natural order and fail to attend to his family duties, so she in turn entreaties the sage of the Gods.
Through his good office, Indra comes to realize that, as a mortal hero it is his role to live in space and time. To sit with his beloved on the shoreline of eternity and care for the world and the ongoing process of life. In doing so, he is every bit as much participating in the ultimate reality as are Brahma and Vishnu in their roles eternally spawning the epochs. So it is with each of us today. Öm.
The title White Goddess is identified with the ancient European Moon Goddess, who comes in a diversity of identities. Just as the Great Goddess frequently comes in a trinity of phases, the virgin of sexual love, the mother of nurturing and the crone of death, so the Moon Goddess is identified with a variety of trinitarian aspects which sometimes identify the aspects of the mother and her divine child with the waxing and waning moon. Among these are Hecate as the triple moon goddess Selene (Heaven), Artemis (Earth) and Persephone (Underworld), and the Queen of Heaven identified as Hebe (virgin) Rhea (mother) and Hecate (crone). In many places the Moon Goddess has inherited the more general title of Queen of Heaven encompassing the night sky along with its stars and planets, particularly Venus, stemming from Sumerian Inanna and continuing with Ishtar of Babylon, Hathor of Egypt. In Britain she gave her name to Albion. Porphyry noted : "The moon is Hecate, the symbol of her varying phases ... her power appears in three forms, having as symbol of the new moon, the figure in the white robe and the golden sandals, and torches lighted; the basket which she wears when she is mounted high is the symbol of the cultivation of the crops which she made to grow up according to the increase of her light".
The name Hekate came originally from Heqit, the Goddess of Parturition amalgamating the seven Hathors of the birth-chamber - heq being tribal matriarch in command of the hekau or mothers words of wisdom (Walker 378).
Diana is both Moon Goddess - Queen of Heaven and Goddess of the Wilderness and Wildlife. James Frazer's study of the glade Nemi of Diana and its forlorn sacred king was the motivating principle for his renowned 12 volume work on religion and magic "The Golden Bough". It is the centrepiece of the introduction and the last paragraph in its completion. In his preface, he notes: "When I originally conceived the idea of the work, of which the first part is now laid before the public in a third and enlarged edition, my intention merely was to explain the strange rule of the priesthood or sacred kingship of Nemi and with it the legend of the Golden Bough, immortalised by Virgil, which the voice of antiquity associated with the priesthood. The explanation was suggested to me by some similar rules formerly imposed on kings in Southern India, and at first I thought that it might be adequately set forth within the compass of a small volume. But I soon found that in attempting to settle one question I had raised many more: wider and wider prospects opened out before me; and thus step by step I was lured on into far-spreading fields of primitive thought which had been but little explored by my predecessors".
The King of the Wood
The still glassy lake
Beneath Arica's trees -
Those trees in whose dim shadow
The ghastly priest doth reign
The priest who slew the slayer
And shall himself be slain
"Who does not know Turner's picture of the Golden Bough? The lake of Nemi. The scene, suffused with the golden glow of imagination ... is a dream-like vision of the little woodland Lake of Nemi - "Diana's Mirror," as it was called by the ancients. No one who has seen that calm water, lapped in a green hollow of the Alban hills, can ever forget it. ... In antiquity this sylvan landscape was the scene of a strange and recurring tragedy. In order to understand it aright we must try to form in our minds an accurate picture the place where it happened ; for, as we shall see later on, subtle link subsisted between the natural beauty of the spot and the dark crimes which under the mask of religion were often perpetrated there, crimes which after the lapse of many ages still lend a touch of melancholy to these quiet woods and waters, like a chill breath of autumn on one of those bright September days while not a leaf seems faded."
"The Alban hills are group of volcanoes extending from the Apennines in view of Rome Two of the extinct craters are now filled by two beautiful waters, the Alban lake and its lesser sister the lake of Nemi. ... On all sides but one the banks, thickly mantled with luxuriant vegetation, descend steeply to the water's edge. Only on the north a stretch of flat ground intervenes between the lake and the foot of the hills. This was the scene of the tragedy. Here, in the very heart of the wooded hills, under the abrupt declivity now crested by the village of Nemi, the sylvan goddess Diana had an old and famous sanctuary, the resort of pilgrims from all parts of Latium. It was known as the sacred grove of Diana Nemorensis, ... Diana of the Woodland Glade". The great wealth and popularity of the sanctuary in antiquity are attested by ancient writers as well as by the remains which have come to light in modern times. Despite its treasures being drained to pay for the civil war, two hundred years later it was reputed to be one of the richest sanctuaries in Italy. Within the precinct also stood shrines of the Egyptian goddesses Isis and Bubastis.
"Such, then, was the sanctuary of Diana at Nemi, a fitting home for the 'mistress of mountains, and forests, green, and lonely glades, and sounding rivers,' ... Multitudes of her statuettes, appropriately clad in the short tunic and high buskins of a huntress, with the quiver slung over her shoulder, have been found on the spot" (Frazer 1890 v1a 1). The buskin is a symbol of both Mari and Isis, and was worn by Dionysius. Graves has suggested that sacred kings, including Jesus, were lamed and wore high-heeled buskins so their heel would not touch the ground (Graves.
"Down to the decline of Rome a custom was observed there which seems to transport us at once from civilisation to savagery. In the sacred grove there grew a certain tree round which at any time of the day, and probably far into the night, a grim figure might be seen to prowl. In his hand he carried a drawn sword, and he kept peering warily about him as if at every instant he expected to be set upon by an enemy., He was a priest and a murderer; and the man for whom he looked was sooner or later to murder him and hold the priesthood in his stead. Such was the rule of the sanctuary.
A candidate for the priesthood could only succeed to office by slaying the priest, and having slain him, he retained office till he was himself slain by a stronger or a craftier. The post which he held by this precarious tenure carried with it the title of king ; but surely no crowned head ever lay uneasier, or was visited by more evil dreams, than his. For year in year out, in summer and winter, ill fair weather and in foul, he had to keep his lonely watch, and whenever he snatched a troubled slumber it was at the peril of his life. The least relaxation of his vigilance, the smallest abatement of his strength of limb or skill of fence, put him in jeopardy grey hairs might seal his death-warrant. It is a sombre picture, set to melancholy music - the background of forest showing black and jagged against a lowering and stormy sky, the sighing of the wind in the branches, the rustle of the withered leaves under foot, the lapping of the cold water on the shore, and in the foreground, pacing to and fro, now in twilight and now in gloom, a dark figure with a glitter of steel at the shoulder whenever the pale moon, riding clear of the cloud-rack, peers down at him through the matted boughs" (Frazer 1890 v1a 1).
It is said that Orestes came here with his sister bearing the hidden statue of Diana after killing King Thoas of Taurus. Herodotus noted that the Tauric Diana (Artemis) was said to sacrifice every man who landed on the shore to her altar, nailing the head of each victim to a cross (Walker 58). In Hierapolis the victims were hung on artificial trees in her temple. Within the sanctuary grew a certain tree of which no branch might be broken, except by a runaway slave, who if he succeeded could challenge the priest to single combat and if he slew him to gain his kingly title. According to myth this branch was the Golden Bough which Aeneas plucked at the Sibyl's bidding before he descended to the underworld. The flight of the slave was said to represent the flight of Orestes. Until the end of the first century AD, it was said that the priesthood was still the prize of victory in single combat.
Diana was conceived as a huntress, blessing men and women with with offspring and granting expectant mothers an easy delivery. On the 13th of August she was worshipped with fire and lamps which lit up the lake and in hearths throughout the country. At Nemi she also bore the title Vesta indicating the role of her sacred fire. Her statues show her holding a burning torch. Women came to make offerings crowned with wreaths and with torches. The Vestal Virgins in Rome were renowned for their vows of chastity.
Diana at her bath sacrificing Actaeon with Moon Crown suspended - de Troy (Bailey)
"Ah! How one
avoids love's languors,
When one disdains his ardours."
Diana's chaste attitude towards sex is illustrated in two myths. Achteon spied on her in her bath with her nymphs. Drawn to their beauty, he is changed into a stag and devoured by his own hunting dogs.
Ah if the severe
Had been all alone in the bath
She would not have treated him
in such a cruel way.
When Jupiter seduced Callisto by appearing as the amourous double of Diana herself, Diana when she discovers she is pregnant turns her into a bear and banishes her to the constellations. One can sense a similarity to Christian reinforcement of conservative morals in these myths of punishment for sexual misadventure. The same considerations apply to Artemis who had her paramour Orion stung to death by scorpions for touching her fortuitously. De Bernieres notes laconically (6) "she was such a fastidious stickler for etiquite and summary chastisement that entire dynasties could be disposed of for one word out of placeor an oblation five minutes late".
The pre-Christian feast of the Mother Goddess Diana, or Vesta, was once celebrated with cyder, a roasted kid spitted on hazel- twigs and apples hanging in clusters from a bough. Another name of this Goddess was Nemesis (from the Greek nemos, 'grove') which in Classical Greek connotes divine vengeance for breaches of taboo. In her statues she carries an apple-bough in one hand, and the fifth-century Christian poet Commodianus identifies her with Diana Nemorensis ('of the grove') whose followers 'worship a cut branch and call a log Diana'. Nemesis and Diana Nemorensis are associated with the deer ... Nemesis carries a wheel in her other hand to show that she is the goddess of the turning year, like Egyptian Isis and Latin Fortune, but this has been generally understood as meaning that the wheel will one day come full circle and vengeance be exacted on the sinner. In Gaul she was Diana Nemetona, nemeton being a sacred grove" (Graves 1948 255).
"Diana ruled the wild forests of Europe through the medieval period. As patron of the forest of Ardennes she was Dea Arduenna; as patron of the Black Forest she was Dea Abnoba. Serbians, Czechs, and Poles knew her as the woodland Moon - goddess Diiwica, Devana, or Dziewona. She remained the Goddess of wild woodlands and hunting, all the way up to the 18th century in England, celebrated in the procession into the church of the head of a deer". She dwelt with two lesser deities, Egeria a water nymph and Virbius who was also Hippolytus, the young chaste hero who hunted with the virgin Artemis. Aphrodite in revenge for his chastity causes his step mother to become infatuated with him and to jealously betray him to his father Theseus. Poseidon causes his chariot horses to bolt and he is dragged to his death.
But Diana, for the love she bore Hippolytus persuaded the leech Aesculapius to make him whole, just as Egyptian Thoth made the Horus moon eye whole. She bore him away to the dells at Nemi to be looked after by Egeria unknown and solitary in the depth of the Italian forest. These tables are turned in the case of Adonis who is consigned to a third part of the year with each of Aphrodite and Persephone and keep a third to himself (which he gladly gave to Aphrodite) just as Tammuz had to spend part of the season in the underworld, but having offended Artemis, he was torn by a wild boar and died (Henderson 118).
Diana later became associated with Artemis the Greek woodland goddess of Ephesus, whose name means "Cutter" or "Butcher" (Walker 58). "Now we hear of vineyards and plantations dedicated to Artemis, fruits offered to her, and her temple standing in an orchard. Hence we may conjecture that her Italian sister Diana was also revered as a patroness of vines and fruit-trees" (Frazer 1890 a).
In Northern Greece, he has a similar ancient history beside a lake, taking as consort Hermes the messenger, who is also the sperminal essence of male fertility and the mind as male principal. Properz unites the two "by the holy waters of lake Boibeis has Brimo lain her maidenly body at Hermes side" (Kerenyi 63). Brimo the great goddess of Northern Greece named Phersia at Thesalonian Phera can be equated either with Demeter/Persephone or Artemis-Hekate. The lake's name in local dialect means "owned by Phoebe" and it is therefore the possession of just this "first" Artemis.
"Hippolytus had a temple at Troezen on a beautiful bay before the Island of Poseidon, and was worshipped by weeping unwedded maids who dedicated locks of their hair to him. Young men dedicated their first beard. Hippolytus had mounds dedicated to him by beside temples of both Artemis and Aphrodite, so both goddesses appear to have been his two lovers, as the tragic tale actually indicates. Orestes is supposed to have washed away his guilt at his mother's murder at Troezen, providing him another link with the goddess (Frazer 1890 v1a 24).
The giving of hair appears to be giving forth of first fertility and is parallelled by the practice in the cult of Astarte at Byblos of shaving of a young woman's hair, or losing her virginity by prostituting herself to a stranger. But how, it may be asked, does all this apply to Hippolytus who appeared so chaste? (Frazer 1890 v1a 28)
Diana reconciles Cephalus and Procris - Claude. Their hands are about to touch again
after she has run to the hills over his affair with the Goddess of the Dawn (Hendy).
"To the ancients, on the contrary, Artemis was the ideal embodiment of the wild life of nature - the life of plants, of animals, and of men - in all its exuberant fertility and profusion. ... The truth is, that the word parthenos applied to Artemis, which we commonly translate virgin, means no more than an unmarried woman, and in early days the two things were by no means the same. ... In regard to Artemis, even the ambiguous parthenos seems to have been merely a popular epithet, not an official title. She was, like Diana in Italy, specially concerned with the loss of virginity and with child-bearing, and that she not only assisted but encouraged women to be fruitful and multiply ; indeed, if we may take Euripides's word for it, in her capacity of midwife she would not even speak to childless women" (Bailey 73).
Further, it is highly significant that while her titles and the allusions to her functions mark her out clearly as the patroness of childbirth, we find none that recognise her distinctly as a deity of marriage.' Nothing, however, sets the true character of Artemis as a goddess of fecundity, though not of wedlock, in a clearer light than her constant identification with the unmarried, but not chaste, Asiatic goddesses of love and fertility, who were worshipped with rites of notorious profligacy at their popular sanctuaries.'
"From of old a great goddess of nature was everywhere worshipped in Greece. She was revered on the mountain heights as in the swampy lowlands, in the rustling woods and by the murmuring spring. To the Greek her hand was everywhere apparent. They saw her gracious blessing in the sprouting meadow, in the ripening corn, in the healthful vigour of all living things on earth, whether the wild creatures of the wood and the fell, or the cattle which man has tamed to his service, or man's own offspring from the cradle upward. Her destroying anger he perceived in the blight of vegetation, in the inroads of wild beasts on his fields and orchards, as well as in the last mysterious end of life, in death. ... She was an all-embracing power of nature, everywhere the object of a similar faith, however her names differed with the place in which she was believed to abide, with the emphasis laid on her gloomy or kindly aspect, or with the particular side of her energy which was specially revered. And as the Greek divided everything in animated nature into male and female, he could not imagine this female power of nature without her male counterpart" (Bailey 73).
Artemis of Ephesus (Internet)
"At Ephesus, the most celebrated of all the seats of her worship, her universal motherhood was set forth unmistakably in her sacred image. Copies of it have come down to us which agree in their main features, though they differ from each other in some details. They represent the goddess with a multitude of protruding breasts [sometimes also referred to as 'eggs']; the heads of animals of many kinds, both wild and tame, spring from the front of her body in a series of bands that extend from the breasts to the feet ; bees, roses, and sometimes butterflies, decorate her sides from the hips downward. The animals that thus appear to issue from her person include lions, bulls, stags, horses, goats, and rams. Moreover, lions rest on her upper arms; in at least one copy, serpents twine round her lower arms ; her bosom is festooned with a wreath of blossoms, and she wears a necklace of acorns. In one of the statues the breast of her robe is decorated with two winged male figures, who hold sheaves in both hands.' It would be hard to devise a more expressive symbol of exuberant fertility, of prolific maternity, than these remarkable images" (Bailey 73).
No doubt the Ephesian Artemis, with her eunuch priests and virgin priestess was an Oriental, whose worship the Greek colonists took over. Her title as "Lady of the Clamours" is also reminiscent of Dionysius - the Lord of Pandemonium and Silence.
Another sinister sacrificial legend at Ephesus was the legend quoted by Petronius of the Widow of Ephesus who was supposed to have hung her husband on one of the three crosses outside the Temple of Diana, replacing the body of a crucified thief, and then lain with her lover at the foot of the cross.
"We can now perhaps understand why the ancients identified Hippolytus, the consort of Artemis, with Virbius, who, according to Servius, stood to Diana as Adonis to Venus, or Attis to the Mother of the Gods. For Diana, like Artemis, was a goddess of fertility in general, and of childbirth in particular. As such she, like her Greek counterpart, needed a male partner. That partner, if Servius is right, was Virbius. In his character of the founder of the sacred grove and first king of Nemi, Virbius is clearly the mythical predecessor or archetype of the line of priests who served Diana under the title of Kings of the Wood, and who came, like him, one after the other, to a violent end.' It is natural, therefore, to conjecture that they stood to the goddess of the grove in the same relation in which Virbius stood to her; in short, that the mortal King of the Wood had for his queen the wood land Diana herself.' If the sacred tree which he guarded with his life was supposed, as seems probable, to be her special embodiment, her priest may not only have worshipped it as his goddess but embraced it as his wife" (Frazer 1890 v1a 20).
The Golden Bough is mistletoe as it appears after hanging dried. "Virgil tells how two doves, guiding Aeneas to the gloomy vale in whose depth grew the Golden Bough, alighted upon a tree, "whence shone a flickering gleam of gold. As in the woods in winter cold the mistletoe - a plant not native to its tree - is green with fresh leaves and twines its yellow berries about the boles ; such seemed upon the shady holm-oak the leafy gold, so rustled in the gentle breeze the golden leaf." Here Virgil definitely describes the Golden Bough as growing on a holm-oak, and compares it with the mistletoe. Now grounds have been shewn for believing that the if the priest of the Arician grove - the King of the Wood personified the tree on which grew the Golden Bough.' Hence if that tree was the oak, the King of the Wood must have been a personification of the oak-spirit. It is, therefore easy to understand why, before he could be slain, it was m necessary to break the Golden Bough. As an oak-spirit, his life or death was in the mistletoe on the oak, and so long as the mistletoe remained intact, he, like Balder, could not die. To slay him, therefore, it was necessary to break the mistletoe, and probably, as in the case of Balder, to throw it at him. And to complete the parallel, it is only necessary to suppose that the King of the Wood was formerly burned, dead or alive, at the midsummer fire festival which, as we have seen, was annually celebrated in the Arician grove. The priest of Diana may have personated in flesh and blood the great Italian god of the sky, Jupiter,' who had kindly come down from heaven in the lightning flash to dwell among men in the mistletoe-the thunder-besom - the Golden Bough - growing on the sacred oak beside the still waters of the lake of Nemi" (Frazer 1890 v7 303).
Frazer completes his last paragraph finally evoking the identity between Diana and the Moon Goddess. "If that was so, we need not wonder that the priest guarded with drawn sword the mystic bough which contained the god's life and his own. The goddess whom he served and married was herself, if I am right, no other than the Queen of Heaven, the true wife of the sky-god. For she, too, loved the solitude of the woods and the lonely hills, and sailing overhead on clear nights in the likeness of the silver moon she looked down with pleasure on her own fair image reflected on the calm, the burnished surface of the lake, Diana's Mirror" (Frazer 1890 v7 303).
The Goddesses give the shepherd of Ida an apple (Graves 1948).
"The theme, briefly, is the antique story ... of the birth, life, death and resurrection of the God of the Waxing Year; the central chapters concern the God's losing battle with the God of the Waning Year for love of the capricious and all - powerful Threefold Goddess, their mother, bride and layer-out. The poet identifies himself with the God of the Waxing Year and his Muse with the Goddess; the rival is his blood-brother, his other self, his weird. All true poetry - true by Housman's practical test celebrates some incident or scene in this very ancient story, and the three main characters are so much a part of our racial inheritance that they not only assert themselves in poetry but recur on occasions of emotional stress in the form of dreams, paranoiac visions and delusions. The weird, or rival, often appears in night as the lean, dark-faced bed-side spectre, or Prince of the Air, who tries to drag the dreamer out through the window, so that he looks back and sees his body still lying rigid in bed; but he takes countless other malevolent or diabolic or serpent-like forms" (Graves 1948 24)
"The Goddess is a lovely, slender woman with a hooked nose, deathly pale face, lips red as rowan-berries, startlingly blue eyes and long fair hair; she will suddenly transform herself into sow, mare, bitch, she-ass, weasel, serpent, owl, she-wolf, tigress, mermaid or loathsome hag. Her names and tides are innumerable. In ghost stories she often figures as 'The White Lady', and in ancient religions, from the British Isles to the Caucasus, as the 'White Goddess'. I cannot think of any true poet from Homer onwards who has not independently recorded his experience of her. The test of a poet's vision, one might say, is the accuracy of his portrayal of the White Goddess and of the island over which she rules. The reason why the hairs stand on end, the eyes water, the throat is constricted, the skin crawls and a shiver runs down the spine when one writes or reads a true poem is that a true poem is necessarily an invocation of the White Goddess, or Muse, the Mother of All Living, the ancient power of fright and lust - the female spider or the queen-bee whose embrace is death. Housman offered a secondary test of true poetry: whether it matches a phrase of Keats's, 'everything that reminds me of her goes through me like a spear'." (Gaves 1948 24)
A Fantasy of St. Petersburg - Chagall
"The Night Mare is one of the cruellest aspects of the White Goddess. Her nests, when one comes across them in dreams, lodged in rock-clefts or the branches of enormous hollow yews, are built of carefully chosen twigs, lined with white horse-hair and the plumage of prophetic birds and littered with the jaw-bones and entrails of poets. The prophet Job said of her.- 'She dwelleth and abideth upon the rock. Her young ones also suck up blood" (Graves 1948 26)
All saints revile
her, and all sober men
Ruled by the God Apollo's golden mean-
In scom of which I sailed to find her
In distant regions likeliest to hold her
Whom I desired above all things to know,
Sister of the mirage and echo.
It was a virtue not
To go my headstrong and heroic way
Seeking her out at the volcano's head,
Among pack ice, or where the track had faded
Beyond the cavern of the seven sleepers:
Whose broad high brow was white as any leper's,
Whose eyes were blue, with rowan-berry lips,
With hair curled honey-coloured to white hips.
Green sap of Spring
in the young wood a-stir
Will celebrate the Mountain Mother,
And every song-bird shout awhile for her;
But I am gifted, even in November
Rawest of seasons, with so huge a sense
Of her nakedly worn magnificence
I forget cruelty and past betrayal,
Careless of where. the next bright bolt may fall.
Robert Graves (1948)
Mary surrounded by the fruit, as was Artemis - Mantegna (Hendy 60)
The people of Ephesus did not convert easily to the Christian message. Acts notes "... throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. ... But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians."
To the Christians Diana became the "Queen of Witches" (Walker 233). However the legend that Mary had gone to Ephesus and died there in her old age resulted in Ephesus and the festival of Diana becoming the Assumption of Mary. This is an ironic twist of fate because the Christians are here using the moral prudishness of Artemis to purvey a very pure virginal image of the feminine even to the extent of Mary have been circumcised. Thus the forefathers repressed the more promiscuous aspect of the Goddess manifested in Magdalen.
In Roman Catholic doctrine, the Assumption means that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was taken (assumed) bodily into heavenly glory when she died. In the Orthodox church, the koimesis, or dormition ("falling asleep"), of the Virgin began to be commemorated on August 15 in the 6th century. The observance gradually spread to the West, where it became known as the feast of the Assumption (Grollier . The Virgin is believed to have died on August 13th, to have risen again and ascended to Heaven on the third day. Since the Virgin was closely associated by the early Church with Wisdom - with the Saint 'Sophia', or Holy Wisdom, of the Cathedral Church at Constantinople- the choice of this feast for the passing of Wisdom into Immortality was a happy one (Graves 1948 255). When Diana's temple was finally pulled down, as the Gospels ordered, its magnificent porphyry pillars were carried to Constantinople and built into the church of Holy Sophia (Walker 234).
The Assumption: Mary the Moon Goddess ascendent - El Greco (Benard)
The Litany of the Blessed Virgin contains the prayer Sedes sapientae ora pro nobis, 'Seat of Wisdom, pray for us!' For St. Peter Chrysologos in his Sermon on the Annunciation had represented the Virgin as the seven - pillared temple which Wisdom (according to Proverbs 9) had built for herself. So the meaning of the mediaeval allegory about the milk-white unicorn which could be captured only with the assistance of a pure virgin is now easily read. The Unicorn is the Roe in the Thicket. It lodges under an apple-tree, the tree of immortality-through-wisdom. It can be captured only by a pure virgin - Wisdom herself. The purity of the virgin stands for spiritual integrity. (Graves )
"The Christian Church appears to have sanctified this great festival of the virgin goddess by adroitly converting it into the festival of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin on the fifteenth of August. ... a passage in the Syriac text of The Departure of My Lady Mary from this World, ... runs thus: "And the apostles also ordered that there should be a commemoration of the blessed one on the 13 th (also 15 th) of Ab (August), on account of the vines bearing bunches (of grapes), and on account of the trees bearing fruit, that clouds of hail, bearing stones of, wrath, might not come, and the trees be broken, and their fruits, and the vines with their clusters" (Frazer 1890 a). "Similarly in the Arabic text of the apocryphal work 'On the Passing of the Blessed Virgin Mary', which is attributed to the an Apostle John, there occurs the following passage 'Also a festival in her honour was instituted on the fifteenth day of the month Ab [that is, August], which is the day of her passing from this world, the day on which the miracles were performed, and the time when the fruits of trees are ripening' " (Frazer 1890 v1a).
My mother was formed from Papatuanuku by the hands of Tane. I was formed in the womb of my mother when Tane entered her, combining both male and female elements. But I did not know at first that Tane was my father. I was their firstborn, named Hine-titama, being the Dawn, and being therefore the daughter who bound earthly night to earthly day. I later became the wife of Tane, not knowing that he was my father, and we parented several daughters.
One day I asked Tane who my father was. He would not answer me directly saying only, "Put your question to the posts of the house." lt was then that I knew that Tane, my husband, was also my father. I was bone of his bone and yet I was wife to him. I was angry and shamed because of this, and decided that I could not continue either to be wife to Tane or earthly mother to our children. So I left the world of light, telling Tane not to follow me. I told him to remain with our children and to care for them in the world of light. " I will go on to the dark world," I said, "where I will welcome our children when their earthly life is ended. I will go in order to prepare an after life for them, where once again I can be a loving mother. I will be known from now on as Hine-nui-te-Po."
It was because of shame that I left the world of light for the dark world and promised to await my children and their descendants to welcome them here in Rarohenga. Now the time is near. Now, at last, this Maui comes towards me, coming in the hope that he will conquer me, and that the children of hard-won light will never know death.
When I have defeated Maui, I will thereafter welcome my descendants in death. But I do not cause death, and did not ordain it. Human death was ordained when human life was ordained. And we - my father-husband Tane; Taranga who gave special birth to Maul; Makea-tutara, speaker of the tohi rites; Maui-potiki, and I, Hine-nui-te-Po, are merely the instruments, the practicalities, and the sequence of death. See Maui now. In the world of light he has achieved all he can achieve. He comes now to challenge me in the world of no-light, seeking to achieve what cannot be achieved. To defeat death he will need to gain living entry to my womb, and living exit, but this he cannot do. Now he stands at the edge of light, exuberant, changing from one disguise to another while the little birds watch, excited and trembling. My vagina, where he must enter, is set with teeth of obsidian, and is a gateway through which only those who have already achieved death may freely pass.
He will attempt to enter in life, hoping that I am asleep, but he will be cut in two, meeting his death. Only then can he be made welcome. (Maui is depicted in the background image) Come Maui-tikitiki-a-Taranga. Your bird companions chuckle and flutter at the strange sight of you, but they are not your undoing. There is one purpose only for these obsidian teeth. In this your last journey, you will give your final gift to those of earth, the gift not of immortality, but of homecoming, following death. Come survivor of seas, lengthener of day, obtainer of fire, fisher of land, keeper of the magical jawbone of Muriranga-whenua.
Death is yours, your chosen, death is yours. Your deeds will be spoken of in the world of light, but you will never be seen there again. I will wait at this side of death for those who follow, because I am the mother who welcomes and cares for those children whose earthly life has ended.
The writings in the New Testament attributed to disciples who had ostensibly known Jesus, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are generally considered the best source on the "real" Jesus. Although they too were written years after Jesus died, and were undoubtedly heavily edited, they are probably still a more accurate reflection of Jesus' teachings than other portions, such as Acts or Corinthians. Here we find that the cornerstone of dominator ideology, the masculine-superior/feminine-inferior species model is, but for a few exceptions, conspicuous by its absence. Instead, permeating these writings is Jesus' message of spiritual equality. Even more striking-and all-pervasive-are Jesus' teachings that we must elevate "feminine virtues" from a secondary or supportive to a primary and central position. We must not be violent but instead turn the other cheek; we must do unto others as we would have them do unto us; we must love our neighbors and even our enemies. Instead of the "masculine virtues" of toughness, aggressiveness, and dominance, what we must value above all else are mutual responsibility, compassion, gentleness, and love. When we look closely, not only at what Jesus taught but at how he went about disseminating his message, time and time again we find that what he was preaching was the gospel of a partnership society. He rejected the dogma that high-ranking men-in Jesus' day, priests, nobles, rich men, and kings-ate the favorites of God. He mingled freely with women, thus openly rejecting the male-supremacist norms of his time. And in sharp contrast to the views of later Christian sages, who actually debated whether woman has an immortal soul, Jesus did not preach the ultimate dominator message: that women are spiritually inferior to men.
Whether Jesus ever actually existed has long been debated. The argument (very well documented) is that there is absolutely no corroborating evidence of his existence in documents other than highly suspect Christian sources. Analysts also note that practically all the events of Jesus' life, as well as many of his teachings, appear in the lives and utterances of mythical figures of other religions. This would indicate that Jesus was manufactured from borrowings from elsewhere to serve the purposes of early church leaders. Curiously, perhaps the most compelling argument for the historicity of Jesus is his feminist and gylanic thought and actions. For, as we have seen, the overriding requirement of the system has been the manufacture of gods and heroes that support rather than reject androcratic values. It is thus hard to see why a figure would have been invented who, as we read in John 4:7-27, violated the androcratic customs of his time by talking openly with women. Or whose disciples "marveled" that he should talk at all with women, and then at such great length. Or who would not condone the customary stoning to death of women who, in the opinion of their male overlords, were guilty of the heinous sin of having sexual relations with a man who was not their master. In Luke 10:38-42, we read how Jesus openly included women among his companions-and even encouraged them to transcend their servile roles and participate actively in public life. He praises the activist Mary over her domestic sister Martha. And in every one of the official Gospels we read about Mary Magdalene and how he treated her-a prostitute-with respect and caring. Even more astonishing, we learn from the Gospels that it is to Mary Magdalene that the risen Christ first appears. Weeping in his empty sepulchre after his death, it is Mary Magdalene who guards his grave. There she has a vision in which Jesus appears to her before he appears in visions to any of his much-publicized twelve male disciples. And it is Mary Magdalene whom the risen Jesus asks to tell the others that he is about to ascend .2 it is not surprising that in his time the teachings of Jesus had-as they still have-great appeal to women. Although Christian historians rarely refer to this, even in the official scriptures or New Testament, we find women who are Christian leaders. For example, in Acts 9:36 we read of a disciple of Jesus called Tabitha or Dorcas, conspicuous for her absence from the well-known, official count of twelve. In Romans 16:7 we find Paul respectfully greeting a woman apostle named Junia, whom he describes as senior to himself in the movement. "Greet Mary, who bestowed labor on us," we read. "Salute Andronicus and junia, my kin and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me" (emphasis added). Some scholars believe that the New Testament epistle Hebrews may actually have been written by a woman named Priscilla. The wife of Aquila, she is described in the New Testament as working with Paul, with her name usually mentioned before that of her husband. And as the historical theologian Constance Parvey points out, in Acts 2:17 we find the explicit designation of women as prophets. Here we read, "I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy" (emphases added). So, clearly, despite the very strong social pressures of that time for rigid male dominance, women took leading roles in the first Christian communities. As the theologian Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza points out, this is further confirmed by the fact that so many meetings of early Christians mentioned in the New Testament were in women's houses. In Colossians 4:15, for example, we read of the church in the house of Nympha. In 1 Corinthians 1:11 we read of the church in the household of Chloe. In Acts 15:14, 15 and 40 we read that the church in Philippa began with the conversion of the businesswoman Lydia. And so on and on .4 As already noted, in this same New Testament we keep reading about Mary Magdalene. This woman who, as a prostitute, has violated that most fundamental androcratic law that she should be the sexual chattel of her husband or master is clearly an important member of the early Christian movement. In fact, as we shall see, there is compelling evidence that Mary Magdalene was a leader of the early Christian movement after Jesus died. Indeed, she is portrayed in one suppressed document as sharply resisting the reimposition within some Christian sects themselves of the kinds of rankings Jesus challenged-evidence that would obviously not be included in the scriptures the leaders of these sects were to put together as the New Testament. To the androcratic mind the idea that Jesus was involved in a gylanic counter-revolution is inconceivable. To paraphrase the parable, it would seem easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for such a notion to enter the minds of fundamentalists whose cars today bear bumper stickers exhorting others to "get right with Jesus." To begin with, why would Jesus have concerned himself with the elevation of women and feminine values from their subservient place? To them it would seem obvious that, being who he was, Jesus would have been consumed by far more important concerns-which, by conventional definition, rules out anything that could be called women's issues. It is, in fact, remarkable that Jesus taught what he did. For Jesus was himself an androcratic product, a Jew born into a time when Judaism was still rigidly male dominant. This was a time when, as we read in John 8:3-11, women were still regularly stoned to death for adultery, in other words, for violating their husband's or master's sexual property rights. It is in this instance most revealing that Jesus not only prevented such a stoning but in so doing defied the scribibs and Pharisees who deliberately set up this situation to trap him into revealing himself as a dangerous rebel. There is, however, a way in which Jesus' gylanic teachings are not so remarkable. Jesus has long been recognized as one of the greatest spiritual figures of all time. By any criterion of excellence, the figure portrayed in the Bible displays an exceptionally high level of sensitivity and intelligence as well as the courage to stand up to established authority and, even at the risk of his life, speak out against cruelty, oppression, and greed. So it is not surprising that Jesus should have been aware that the "masculine" values of dominance, inequality, and conquest he could see all around him debasing and distorting human life must be replaced by a softer, more 'feminine" set of values based on compassion, responsibility, and love. Jesus' recognition that our spiritual evolution has been stunted by a way of structuring human relations based on violence-backed rankings could have led to a fundamental social transformation. It could have freed us from the androcratic system. But as in other times of gylanic resurgence, the system's resistance was too strong. And in the end the church fathers left us a New Testament in which this perception is often smothered by the superimposition of the completely contradictory dogmas required to justify the Church's later androcratic structure and goals.
The Suppressed Scriptures
The reality of old masterpieces has often been revealed by art restorers, who must scrape away layer upon layer of distorting overpainting, grime, and old shellac. In the same way, the gylanic Jesus is now being revealed by the new scholarship of theologians and religious historians probing beneath and beyond the New Testament. To gain a better understanding of the real nature of early Christianity, we have to go outside the official scriptures contained in the New Testament to other ancient Christian documents, some of which have only recently been found. Of these, the most important-and revealing-are the fifty-two Gnostic gospels unearthed in 1945 in Nag Hammadi, an outlying province of Upper Egypt.-I Elaine Pagels, a professor of religious studies at Princeton, writes in her book The Gnostic Gospels, that "those who wrote and circulated these texts did not regard themselves as 'heretics.' "I Nonetheless, much of what has been previously known about such "heretic" scriptures came from the men who attacked them-which would hardly be calculated to give us an objective view. In fact, the men who starting about 200 C.E. took control of what later was called the 'orthodox," or only true, church ordered all copies of such texts destroyed. But, as Pagels writes, "Someone, possibly a monk from the nearby monastery at St. Pachomius, took the banned books and hid them from destruction-in the jar where they remained buried for almost 1600 years."I And duefo a series of events that read like a detective story, it took another thirty-four years after the discovery of these suppressed Gnostic gospels before scholars completed their study and Pagels's.book at last brought them to public attention in 1979. According to Professor Helmut Koester of Harvard University, some of these recently discovered sacred Christian writings are older than the Gospels of the New Testament. He writes that they date to "possibly as early as the second half of the first century (50-100)-as early as, or earlier, than Mark, Matthew, Luke, and john."I The Gnostic gospels were thus written at a time when androcracy had already been the Westem norm for a very long time. They are not gylanic documents. And yet, what we find in them is a powerful challenge to the norms of a dominator society. The term gnostic derives from the Greek word gnosis, or knowledge. This is in contrast to the still widely used term agnostic, for one who believes such knowledge cannot be known with certainty, or is unknowable. Like other mystical Westem and Eastern religious traditions, Gnostic Christianity held the seeming unheretical view that the mystery of higher or divine truth is knowable to all of us through religious discipline and moral living. What then was so heretical about Gnosticism that it had to be banned? Specifically, what we find in these Gnostic gospels is the same idea that caused the Hebrew priesthood to revile and seek to do away with Jesus. This is that access to the deity need not go through a religious hierarchy headed by a chief rabbi, high bishop, or pope. It is, rather, available directly through gnosis, or divine knowledge-without having to pay homage or tithes to an authoritarian priesthood. What we also find in these scriptures that were suppressed by the "orthodox" Christian priesthoods is the confirmation of something long suspected both from a reading of the official scriptures and from Gnostic fragments discovered earlier. This is that Mary Magdalene was one of the most important figures in the early Christian movement. In the Gospel of Mary we again read that she was the first to see the risen Christ (as is also recorded in passing in the official Gospels of Mark and John).' Here we also read that Christ loved Mary Magdalene more than all the rest of the disciples,,,as is also confirmed in the Gnostic Gospel of Philip." But just how important a part Mary may have played in the history of early Christianity only comes to light in these suppressed scriptures. What we read in the Gospel of Mary is that after the death of Jesus Mary Magdalene was the Christian leader who had the courage to challenge the authority of Peter as the head of a new religious hierarchy based on the claim that only he and his priests and bishops had a direct line to the godhead." 'Consider the political implications of the Gospel of Mary," comments Pagels"As Mary stands up to Peter, so the gnostics who take her as their prototype challenge the authority of those priests and bishops who claim to be Peter's successors."" There were other related, and equally fundamental, doctrinal differences between the emerging and increasingly hierarchic church headed by Peter and other early Christian communities, such as most Gnostics and sects hke the Montanists and Marcionites. Not only did these sects, in contrast to the men now described as the fathers of the church, honor women as disciples, as prophets, and as founders of Chrisfianity; as part of their finn commitment to Jesus' teachings of spiritual equality, they also included women in their leadership. To even further emphasize the basic gylanic principle of linking and to avoid permanent rankings some Gnostic sects chose their leadership at each meeting by lot. This we actually know from the writings of such enemies of Gnosticism as Bishop Irenaeus, who supervised the church in Lyons circa 180 C.E." 'At a time when the orthodox Christians increasingly discriminate between clergy and laity," writes Pagels, "this group of gnostic Christans demonstrated that, among themselves, they refused to acknowledge such distincfion. Instead of ranking their members into superior and inferior 'orders' within a hierarchy, they followed the principle of strict equality. All initiates, men and women alike, participated equally in the drawing: anyone might be selected to serve as priest, bishop, or prophet. Furthermore, because they cast lots at each meeting, even the distinctions established by lot could never become permanent ranks.' For the androcratic Christians who were everywhere seizing power on the basis of rank, such practices were horrible abominations. For example, Tertullian, who wrote circa 190 C.E. for the "orthodox" position, was outraged that "they all have access equally, they listen equally, they pray equally-even pagans if they happen to come." He was similarly outraged that "they also share the kiss of peace with all who come."" But what outraged Tertullian most-as ell it might, since it threatened the very foundation of the hierarchic infrastructure he and his fellow bishops were trying to impose in the church-was the equal position of women. "Tertullian protests especially the participation of 'those women among the heretics' who shared with men positions of authority," notes Pagels. " 'They teach, they engage in discussion; they exorcise; they cure'-he suspects that they might even baptize, which meant that they also acted as bishops!' " To men like Tertullian only one "heresy" was even greater than the idea of men and women as spiritual equals. This was the idea that most fundamentally threatened the growing power of the men who were now setting themselves up as the new "princes of the church": the idea of the divine as female. And this-as we can still read in the Gnostic gospels and other sacred Christian documents not included in the official or New Testament scriptures-was precisely what some of the early followers of Jesus preached. Following the earlier, and apparently still remembered, tradition in which the Goddess was seen as the Mother and Giver of All, the followers of Valentinus and Marcus prayed to the Mother as the "mystical and eternal Silence," as "Grace, She who is before all things," and as "incorruptible Wisdom.""I In another text, the Trimorphic Protennoia (literally translated, the Triple-Formed Primal Thought) we find a celebrafion of such powers as thought, intelligence, and foresight as feminine-again following the earlier tradition in which these powers were seen as attributes of the Goddess. The text opens as a divine figure speaks: "I am Protennoia the Thought that dwells in the Light ... She who exists before the All.... I move in every creature.... I am the Invisible One within the All.... I am perception and Knowledge, uttering a Voice by means of Thought. I am the real Voice." '
In another text, attributed to the Gnostic teacher Simon Magus, par adise itself-the place where life began-is described as the Mother's womb.11 And in teachings attributed to Marcus or Theodotus (circa 160 C.E.), we read that "the male and female elements together constitute the finest production of the Mother, Wisdom."Il Whatever form these "heresies" took, they clearly derived from the earlier religious tradition when the Goddess was worshiped and priest esses were her earthly representatives. Accordingly, almost uniformly divine wisdom was personified as female-as it still is in such feminine words as the Hebrew hokma and the Greek sophia, both meaning "wisdom" or 'divine knowledge," as well as in other ancient mystical traditions, both Eastem and Western. Another form these heresies took was the "unorthodox" way they depicted the holy family. "One group of gnostic sources claims to have received a secret tradition from Jesus through James and through Mary Magdalene," reports Pagels. "Members of this group prayed to both the divine Father and Mother: 'From Thee, Father, and through Thee, Mother, the two immortal names, Parents of the divine being, and thou, dweller in heaven, humanity, of the mighty name.' " Similarly, the teacher and poet Valentinus taught that although the deity is essentially indescribable, the divine can be imaged as a dyad consisting of both the female and the male principles. Others were more literal, insisting that the divine is to be considered androgynous. Or they described the holy spirit as feminine, so that in conventional Catholic Trinity terms, out of the union of the Father with the Holy Spirit or Divine Mother, came their Son, the Messiah Christ.
The Gylanic Heresies
These early Christians not only threatened the growing power of the "fathers of the church"; their ideas were also a direct challenge to the male-dominated family. Such views undermined the divinely or dained authority of male over female on which the patriarchal family is based. Biblical scholars have frequently noted that early Christianity was perceived as a threat by both Hebrew and Roman authorities. This was not just because of the Christians' unwillingness to worship the em peror and give loyalty to the state. Professor S. Scott Bartchy, former director of the Institute for the Study of Christian Origins at Tiibingen, West Germany, points out that an even more compelling reason the chings of Jesus and his followers were perceived as dangerously radical was that they called into question existing family traditions. They considered women persons in their own right. Their fundamental threat, Bartchy concludes, was that the original Christians "disrespected" both the Roman and the Jewish family structures of their day, both of which subordinated women.1' If we look at the family as a microcosm of the larger world-and as the only world a small and pliable child knows-this "disrespect" for the male-dominated family, in which father's word is law, can be seen as a m@jor threat to a syst,em based on force-backed ranking. It explains why those who in our time would force us back to the "good old days" when women and 'lesser men" still knew their place make a return to the "traditional" family their top priority. It also sheds new light on the struggle that tore apart the world two thousand years ago when Jesus preached his gospel of compassion, nonviolence, and love. There are many interesting similarities between our time and those turbulent years when the mighty Roman Empire-one of the most powerful dominator societies of all time-began to break down. Both are periods of what "chaos" theorists call states of increasing systems disequilibrium, times when unprecedented and unpredictable systems changes can come about. If we look at the years immediately before and after the death of Jesus from the perspective of an ongoing conflict between androcracy and gylany, we find that, like our own time, this was a period of strong gylanic resurgence. This is no great surprise, for it is during such periods of great social disruption that, as the Nobel-Prize-winning thermodynamicist Ilya Prigogine writes, initially small "fluctuations" can lead to systems transformation .27 If we look at early Christianity as an initially small fluctuation that first appeared on the fringes of the Roman Empire (in the little province of judaea), its potential for our cultural evolution acquires new meaning and its failure an even greater poignancy. Moreover, if we look at early Christianity within this larger framework, which views what happens in all systems as interconnected, we may also see there were other manifestations of gylanic resurgence, even within Rome itself. In Rome, for example, educafion was changing so that aristocratic girls and boys were sometimes offered the same curriculum. As the historical theologian Constance Parvey writes, "within the Roman Empire in the first century A.D. many women were educated, and some were highly influenfial and exercised great freedom in public life."I There were still legal restricfions. Roman women had to have male guardians and were never given the right to vote. But, parficularly in the upper classes, women increasingly entered public life. Some took up the arts. Others went into professions such as medicine. Sill others took part in business, court, and social Iffe, engaged in athlefics, went to theaters, sporing events, and concerts, and traveled without being required to have male escorts. In other words, as both Parvey and Pagels note, there was during this period a movement toward the "emancipafion" of women. There were other challenges to the androcratic system, such as slave rebellions and rebellions of outlying provinces. There was the Jewish uprising under Bar Kokhba (132-135 C.E.) that was to mark the end of Judaea.1 But as androcracy's force-based rankings were challenged, as early Chrisfians espoused nonviolence and spoke of compassion and peace, Rome became even more despofic and violent. As the excesses of its emperors (including the Chrisfian Constanfine) and the famous circuses of the Roman Empire all too hideously reveal, the gylanic challenge to this bloody dominator society failed. Indeed, even within Chrisfianity itself, gylany was not to succeed.
Frazer (1890) was one of the first to enunciate the deep relation between Christian worship and the pagan celebration of the dying and resurrected god. At the turn of the century Reitzenstein and Bousset again pointed out the remarkable similarity of this motif, which was still prevalent in the first century AD and still an undercurrent in Galilee, which had always held the Northern tradition of Joseph (Schonfield), and had only in the last 200 years been forcibly converted to Judaism by the Maccabean revolt and the Hasmoneans.
However many modern scholars have difficulty comprehending the way in which the crop cycle became reinterpreted by Jewish thought into the apocalyptic historicity of the Suffering Servant. Wilson (I 141) for example claims that "on closer inspection the parallels are unimpressive" and suggests that, despite the universal gospel claims that Jesus expected to return, "the women's fear and astonishment" indicates that no one was expecting his resurrection. This illustrates a condition at the heart of Christianity, in which, despite its manifold pagan influences, accentuated particularly in relation to Jewish belief and expressed centrally in the eucharist, Christian thought is committed to the concept of paganism as an opposite anathema.
Jesus the Christos is described as a Son of God of a Virgin mother. He is sacrificed in the season of the Festival of Adonis. He is the 'bread of heaven' who brake bread to feed 5000 and left the bread as his body in rememberance of him. He is the resurrected saviour who is witnessed, particularly by women, ascending into heaven. He peformed the descent of Inanna with Mary Magdalen the 'prostitute' out of whom seven devils were cast. He has a specific following of women of Galilee who ministered unto him. He describes himself as the bridegroom in citing the messiah reading of Isaiah 61 at Nazareth:
The Spirit of the
Lord God is upon me;
because the Lord hath anointed me ...
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
He hath clothed me
with the garments of salvation
as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments
and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels
Often this image of the Bridegroom and bride is likened to Christ and his church and the Cross itself is identified with the 'marriage bed'. This sacred marriage sybmolism carries Christianity dangerously into the kingly sacrifice of Anath - the bridegroom cometh. The motivating vision for this relationship would however seem to come from Ezekiel 16 rather than Isaiah, in which Yahweh describes himself as a bridegroom and Israel as the (unfaithful) bride:
Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine. Then washed I thee with water; yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil. ... I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. ... But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications on every one that passed by; his it was. Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them, And tookest thy broidered garments, and coveredst them: and thou hast set mine oil and mine incense before them. This image of the whoredom of Israel against Yahweh and his covenant is then carried over to the love of Christ for his Church. However this sense of Christ as Bridegroon is exceedingly blasphemous because he is then claiming to be Yahweh . It is true that by coming to undo original sin, he is addressing the 'whordom' of Israel - the feminine sociobiological initiative - at its root source Eve. But this is not the sense Jesus became Bridegroom in Isaiah 61 at all. There the poetic marriage imagery is both more balanced between bridegroom and bride and verdant in its appreciation of nature as the "planting of the Lors", "trees of righteousness" "as the earth bringeth forth her bud". When we come to the 'last analysis' the male sheep were scattered and it was the women who were his only support in his hour of need, and who pronounced the exaltation. Here follows the tale of the Bridegroom:
Mark 2:19 "And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days."
In Mark the bridegroom marries the virgins 25:1 "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.... While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the five foolish said unto the five wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut."
In Luke we are reminded to wait on the Lord as a returning bridegroom12:35: "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately."
Jesus however turns the sacred redeemer into an end-of-days Messiah of cosmic renovation - the Bridegroom to end all bridegrooms. His demeanour is somewhat macho towards the virgins who aren't up to the mark. "Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." The bride has now become the eschatological church in a similar sense to Ezekiel.
In John the bridegroom is pronounced by John the Baptist, suggesting a sacred marriage as part of a secret rite of coronation. 3:28: "Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled."
The Gospel of Thomas further elaborates the nature of the sacred marriage:
Both Thomas and the synoptic gospels declare in many parables Jesus as the fertility Christ of seed, Tree and harvest:
Jesus is anointed on the head by a woman, not a prophet as with Saul and David, is sacrified being watched over by three women including Magdalene other Marys, Salome, and a company of women from Galilee, and it is Magdalene the whore who witnesses his resurrection three days later. After which he ascends into heaven.These diverse references are widespread and consistent throughout the gnostic and synoptic gospels.
Adonis was the Lord and Bridegroom, Tammuz the good shepherd, Dionysus King of Kings, God of Gods, Mot the Lamb of God, Hermes the Logos, Mithra the Light of the World (Walker 465).
The Assumption: Velasquez (Benard)
Rev 12:1 "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered."
The 'Virgin' is by tradition the Queen of Heaven. Just as Semele the mortal mother of Dionysus was originally a goddess, so was Mari, or Miriam:
Mari was the name of the goddess on whose account the Egyptians of 1000 BC called Cyprus Ay-mari and is associated with Mari on the Euphrates and at Amari in Crete. The name of the Goddess Mari of Cyprus is written with a 'buckled post' which stands for a reed hut, meaning 'dwelling in' and a buskin, so she was resident in a buskin, like the goddess Isis, who in Egypt bore her name 'Asht' on her head, together with a buskin - suggestive of the lame sacred king. Mari means fruitful mother (ama mother sum, rim to bear child). Marienna is the 'fruitful mother of heaven', hence Miriam, Marian, and Mariamne: a word of triple power. (Graves 1948 326, 371, Walker 584).
"Is the Moon named Miriam among you?" "The moon has many names among our poets. She is Lilith and Eve and Asharoth and Rahab and Tamar and Leah and Rachel and Michal and Anatha; but she is Miriam when her star rises in love from the salt sea at evening" (Graves 1946 22).
Her blue robe and pearly necklace were classic symbols of Maria "the Seas" , edged with pearly foam. Another manifestation in Jesus' time was the dolphin Goddess of Edom. The virgin was called "the gathering together of the waters" (Walker 584). She appears prophetically as the "water of life" in Revelation 22:1. Like the galla of Inanna, Mari is associated with seven nether spirits of the ocean. One of the three towers of the Jerusalem Temple bore the name of the queen Mariamne (Walker 614). Miriam in parting the reed sea is her manifestation: Exod 5:19 "For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the Lord brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea. And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances."
She is a 'virgin' only in the sense that she is not subject to the male fertility taboos of the Father God. Although identified with Diana and Artemis, by the Christians, partly to advance moral correctness, Mari the 'fruitful mother' is a manifestation of fecundity and maternal love, not prudishness.
As Madonna and child, in image and apocrypha, she is fashioned by Christianity in the archetype of Isis and Horus: "Out of Egypt have I called my son" (Matt 2:15). Here are three images of the Goddess, the last in her death twin Nephthys: O Thou holy and eternal Saviour of the human race ... Thou bestowest a mother's tender affections on the misfortunes of unhappy mortals, ... Thou dispellest the storms of life and stratchest forth thy right hand of salvation, by which Thou unravellest even the inextricably tangled web of Fate ... Thou treadest death underfoot. To thee the satrs are responsive; by Thee the seasons turn ... and the elements are in subjection (Walker 453).
"I am nature, the Parent of things, the sovereign if the elements, the primary progeny of time, the most exhalted of the deities, the first of the heavenly gods and goddesses, the queen of the dead, manifested alone and under one form, ... my divinity is adored throughout the world" (Walker 453).
"Terrible one, lady of the rain storm, destroyer of the souls of men, devourer of the bodies of men, orderer, producer, and maker of slaughter, ... Hewer in pieces of blood... fire lover ... cutter-of of heads, devoted one, Lady of the Great House, hider of her creations" (Walker 454).
She was worshipped by the Semites as Mari-Anath in consort as an Elohim Mari-El. Anath was the death twin of Mari, Lady of Birth. "Anath annually cast her death-curse anathema maranatha - 'bridegroom come' sacer - 'holy' and 'accursed' - on the Canaanite god", fulfilling Mot's slaying of Ba'al and his destruction in turn by her. Mot stood for the barren season that slew its own fertile twin Aleyin, the son of Ba'al. "Mot-Aleyin was the son of the virgin Anath and also the bridegroom of his own mother. Like Jesus the Lamb of God, Aleyin said 'I am the lamb which is made ready with pure wheat to be sacrificed in expiation.' " (Larousse) "After Aleyin's death, Anath resurrects him and sacrifices Mot, telling him he has been forsaken by his heavenly father El." Mot cries - El, El why hast thou forsaken me? "The sacred drama included a moment when Anath broke Mot's reed scepter, to signify his castration, again foreshadowing a detail of the Christian Gospels. ... Naturally the god-killing Anath was much diabolized in patriarchial legends. Abyssinian Christians called her Aynat "the evil eye of earth". They said she was an old witch destroyed by Jesus, who commanded that she must be burned and her ashes scattered on the wind" (Walker 30). This is precisely what happened to women all over Europe as a result of Paul's reverse curse : 1 Corinth 16:22 "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha."
Maranatha (Syriac, the Lord
will come- i.e. to execute judgment). A form of anathematising among the Jews.
The Romans called a curse or imprecation a devotion- i.e. given up to some one
of the gods:
Ana-tithenai: to set up, dedicate [a curse], maranatha: Our Lord [bridegroom], come.
The Magi at the Grotto of Aphrodite (Peschio)
Bethlehem means "the House of Bread" (Frazer 1890 5/257), St. Jerome stated "Bethlehem ... lay formerly under the shadow of a grove dedicated to Tammuz, that is to say Adonis, and the very grotto where the infant Christ uttered his first cries resounded formerly with the lamentations over the lover of Aphrodite" (Briffault 3/97). Mary was described as a Virgin who in the Annunciation conceived a child, begotten of god.
Fig 11.15: Van Eyck's Annunciation emphasizes two aspects of Aphrodite, the lillies and the dove (Benard)..
It is quite clear that Jesus parentage was a source of conern to early Christians and of satirical derision from the Rabbis. Matthew 1:19 confesses that Joseph was concerned not to make Mary "a publick example". The Talmud claims that Jesus was Yeshua ben Pantera the illegitimate son of Mary M'gadd'la (the braider or hairdresser) by a Roman (Graves 1953 98, Wilson I 62) and that she was 'descended from princes and rulers but consorted with carpenters' (Graves 1946 6). Was it Mary who had the royal line?
John 8:39 also expresses the Pharisaic allegations: "They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. ... We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God". Luke 3:8 appears to respond to this with a diatribe from the Baptist on divine birth "begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham."
The penalty for an engaged woman becoming pregnant was death, although changes to the law had made this a rare event. Jewish law, based on a polygamous male line has no concept of adoption . Holders of priestly office had to have a full-blooded genealogy (Ranke-Heinmann 1992 35, 65). John 8:7 also embeds a political whitewash in the form of the poetic episode of the woman taken in adultery, climaxing with "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her", however this is an obvious interpolation missing from the Codex Sinaiticus (Wilson .
With John's and Jesus' Essene influence in mind, it is worth noting that Essene men were "convinced that no woman remains faithful to one man" and associated with women only for the specific aim of achieving pregnancy and had "nothing more to do with them" once they became pregnant. It is also worth noting that John had an independent 'immaculate' conception from Elizabeth, who, despite having a spouse, was menopausal, like Sarah and several other 'barren' matriarchs, particularly Hannah, who also offers a song (1 Sam 2:1-10). It has been suggested that the magnificat originally applied to Elizabeth for this reason (Ranke-Heinmann 1992 47). Elizabeth's tradition was independently preserved by the Mandaeans, suggesting the divine birth was a tradition, which had a matriarchal component following down from Sarah.
The two genealogies of Matt 1:1 and Luke 3:23, which in mythical vein goes all the way to Adam, are inconsistent with one another and are both broken at Joseph. Jesus' genetic claim to Davidic messiahship is thus invalid as portrayed and replaced with a divine claim as the virgin son of God, a claim shared only by such gods as Adonis, Dionysus, Horus, Attis, Mithra, Krishna and a few legendary heroes such as Buddha and Zoroaster (Spong 1992 56) who are likewise products of religious mythology. Even if one genealogy is attributed to Mary, as suggested both by Catholics and significantly by the Talmud, and by Graves (1946) as a twin genealogy of the sacred king to the land, the lack of a paternity link to Joseph portrays Christ's claim to being Messiah entirely in the same category as Dionysus, the son of Zeus and mortal Semele.
Matthew's mythic genealogy conspicuously notes four women: Tamar, Rachab, Ruth and Baathsheba (mentioned only as 'her that head been the wife of Urias'). Each, by their promiscuity, redeems the royal line of Israel. Tamar and Rahab were Canaanites. In Genesis 38:14 Tamar covers her head and sits by the wayside as a prostitute to secure the seed of her father-in-law to conceive. In Joshua 2:1 Rahab, the friendly prostitute, secretes the spies who precipitate the fall of Jericho in her whorehouse. Ruth is a Moabite widow who returns with her mother-in-law to Bethlehem, gleans the favour of Boaz in the cornfield and offers herself to him on the threshing floor. Baathsheba is the adultress for whose troth David had his general, Uriah killed, to God's curse (2 Sam 19:9), who ensured by her personal influence that her son Solomon became king. Is this intended to infer the same fate upon Mary?
The famous virgin birth quote of Isaiah 7:14 "Behold a 'virgin' shall conceive and bear a son - Immanuel" cited by Matthew 1:23 in midrash prophecy is in Hebrew 'almah young woman and in Greek parthenos virgin, which also means 'unwed' priestess of a Goddess (Briffault 3/169). Neither term suggests a non-biological virgin birth, which would be inconsistent with a Jewish messiah (Ranke-Heinmann 1992 40) despite later Christian misconceptions. The term 'almah is used in Song of Songs 6:8 in a context which is obviously consort.
Paul echoes this perspective in his founding statement in Galatians 4:4 (49-55 AD)
But when the time had
God sent forth his son,
born of a woman, born under the law,
to redeem those who were under the law,
so that we might receive adoption as sons.
Many people accuse Paul the Pharisee of gentile heresy against Jesus' Jewish teachings, but here Paul acknowledges Jesus is born of a woman to redeem those under the law - the Jews, and also is born legitimately.
Paul at Romans 1:3 has another pertinent comment about Jesus' paternity, which again suggests a legitimate link to David in either the paternal or maternal line:
Concerning his Son
Jesus Christ our Lord,
which was made of the seed of David
according to the flesh.
According to Eusebius, close relations of Jesus were arrested by the Roman authorities for their descent from David for up to a century after the crucifixion (Wilson I 71).
Fig 11.16: The dove descending on Mary in the annunciation, by a Dionysian angel.
Mary has a particularly astute look of the woman about to be 'taken' in sexual union.
Notice the sceptre of kingship similar to the one which Esther touched. - Grunwald (Pevsner and Meier).
In "True Faith and the Virgin Birth", David Holloway (The Times 20 Dec 1986) cites the tradition that Joseph 'personally' told Matthew and Mary 'personally' told Luke. While this may be specuous, it highlights a theme notable in the two gospels. The tradition of Jesus ben Joseph who is not the physical son of Joseph, but his spiritual descendent indicates in the gospels the tradition of the blood-stained Josephic messiah.
While Matthew 1:20 has Joseph announcing the virgin birth,though merely have a dream visitation , in the case of Luke 1:28 it is a male angel, Gabriel 'hero of God', who personally "came in unto her" saying "Fear not Mary, thou hast found favour with God". This is the frank language of a sexual liaison and continues even more specifically "The holy-begotten one will be called the son of God". 'Begotten' is usually amended (Ranke-Heinmann 1992 42). "And Mary said, 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word'." And the angel departed from her.
Mary is referred to in the gnostic Protoevangelium of James (150 AD) as a 'kadesha' - or temple hierodule, (Walker 1049) whose name originates from Qadesh, the Queen of Heaven of Sinai, after whose waters Moses' doom was sealed (Num 20:11). She was portrayed, like John the Baptist, as the miraculous child of an old couple, Joachim and Anna, who was dedicated to God and raised in the temple by holy men and when she reached puberty entrusted to an elderly widower, Joseph (Spong 1992 212). Note that in the oldest references, Jesus was "born under the law" Gal 4:4 "made of the seed of David according to the flesh" Rom 1:3 who "sprang out of Juda" Heb 7:14. It is thus likely Jesus' father was chosen by a religious protocol and explains Joseph's subsequent acquiesance to her pregnancy.
Several authors have noted that the stories of the virgin birth in Luke and Matthew do not make historical sense and are as much in conflict as the two accounts of Genesis (Fox R 27; Ranke-Heinmann 1992 5, 20; Spong 1992 43; Wilson I 55). The best interpretation that can be put on them is that they are later constructions of midrash designed to verify Christ's divine coming and his to authenticate his claim to being the Davidic messiah descended from David (by God) and born in Bethlehem like David according to the prophecy of Micah 5:2.
Matthew has the family livingin Bethlehem while Luke situates them in Nazareth. The census of Luke 2:1 would not have taken Joseph to Bethlehem, because it was based on property ownership not genealogy. There is no substance to Matthew's tale of the slaughter of the innocents by Herod 2:13, and no possibility that the two accounts could have taken place together because King Herod King of Judea quoted by both Luke and Matthew could not have been alive for Quirinus's census, which was in 6 AD to institute direct rule of Judea (Fox R 28, Ranke-Heinmann 1992 9). There is also frank discord between the flight into Egypt of Matthew 2:14, and Luke's quiet sojurn as Jesus is offered at the temple 2:22. Matthews passage is obvious midrash on Jesus as a new Moses, slaughter of the innocents in Egypt (Ranke-Heinmann 1992 29), and other episodes (Exod 4:19 = Matt 2:20 etc.).
Luke's passage bears careful attention. First Jesus is a 'firsborn of the matrix' claimed as an offering by God, and secondly there is a formal offering of doves: "And when the days of her purification were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the LORD, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice: A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons." The lamb also required by Lev 12:6 is mysteriously absent. The rite occurs specifically in the presence of a very ancient prophetess, also by the name of Anna, who had lived with an husband for a symbolic seven years from her virginity, and for 84 years after his death. Anna appears to leave a long and two-fold matriarchal shadow.
The reaction of most sceptics is to relegate much of Luke's writing to the status of Greek fantasy along the lines of mystery cults, elevating a simple Jewish hero to the status of a divine redeemer. This is a mistaken point of view for several reasons. Israel was, despite its nationalism, a crossroads of all Near Eastern cultures and had been subjected to the successive influence of every major civilization. The divine saviour was as much a Semitic motif as it was Greek. Jesus' teachings in all four gospels abound with references to the sacred marriage, the bread of heaven, and the women followers who anoint him, minister unto him, witness his death and announce his resurrection. To try to eliminate all these features would wash the messiah out with the anointing oil, leaving only a minor Jewish trouble maker with a few Essene slogans.
Thus an alternative interpretation to the idea that the accounts of the virgin birth were simply later inventions of midrash is that Mary went to Bethlehem to consecrate Jesus as a 'son of God' in a more ancient rite in the grotto at the 'House of Bread', David's birthplace, and later completed this dedication by an offering of doves with Anna at the Temple in Jerusalem. This would appear to give a simple answer to why a heavily pregnant woman, whose partner did not own land in Bethlehem made a difficult journey there right on the point of birth.
One of the earliest seats of the Christian church was at Antioch. This was where Paul first announced his ministry and where the term Christian was first coined. When the emperor Julian arived at Antioch at the time of the Adonis festival, he was welcomed as if he had been a god by a crowd who cried that the "Star of Salvation had dawned upon them in the East". Astarte as the "morning star" of the East (Frazer 1890 5/259), which can be seen in daytime, "may have guided the 'wise men of the East' to Astarte's grotto in Bethlehem, the hallowed spot which heard the weeping of the infant Christ and the lament for Adonis": Matt 2:2 "Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him."
Astarte as Queen of Heaven, whose girdle was the Zodiac, was also worshipped in respect of other phenomena such as meteor strikes and probably also comets, such as the appearance of Halley's in 12 BC (Fox R 34) which would coincide with John's older Jesus (8:57).
The star of Bethlehem has a variety of other ingenious explanations which confuse the nativity date further. Kepler himself noted a striking conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in 7 BC noting this conjunction in Pisces occurs in a Rabbinical reference to the Messiah's appearance. There was also a nova reported by the Chinese in 5 BC (Wilson I 56).
Fig 11.17: The Baptism, overlooked by women, with Aphrodite's dove descending - Francesca (Lavin).
All accounts of John's meeting with Jesus, in the accounts of his baptism, specify Aphrodite's dove of peace descending Mark 1:10: "And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him".
According to the historian Josephus, Salome (shalom - peace) was the name of the daughter of Herodias and Herod Philip, whom Herodias divorced in order to marry his brother Herod Antipas. When John spoke against the marriage of Herod Antipas to Herodias, his brother's wife, Herod imprisoned John. Salome danced before Herod Antipas [the descent of Inanna - the seven veils] Mark 6:22 "And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist."
One could conclude that John intentionally arranged to have himself immolated as a substitute sacred king in the public celebration of Herod's incestuous and adulterous marriage to Herodias (Walker 470).
John had already made a prophetic statement of his own sexual immolation 3:10 "And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire."
Salome - Beardsley: Jochanan and Salome, The Belly Dance, The Sacrifice (Wilde)
Salome: "Jokanaan, I am amorous of thy body. ... Neither the roses in the garden of the Queen of Arabia, nor the feet of the dawn when they light on the leaves, nor the breast of the moon when she lies on the breast of the sea ... there is nothing in the world so white as thy body. Let me touch thy body." "Back daughter of Babylon! By woman evil came into the world." "They body is hideous ... it is horrible." "It is of thy hair I am enamoured, ... like the black grapes that hang from the vine trees in the land of the Edomites." ... ."I am waiting for my slaves to bring me perfumes and the seven veils and to take off my sandals." Herod: "The moon has a strange look tonight. ... She is like a mad woman who is seeking everywhere for lovers. The clouds are seeking to clother her nakedness. ... She reels through the clouds like a drunken woman" (Wilde 2-64)
Magdalen: In the Jewish writings, Miriam M'gadd'la - Mary the Braider is identified as Jesus' mother. " The braider of women is usually taken to mean women's hairdresser, since the notice is hostile and hairdressing for women was a despised and unclean profession; this was a period of elaborate coiffures and the chief purveyors of hair for wigs were professional grave robbers who also supplied witches with corpse flesh. A women's hairdresser will have been suspected of being a dealer in charms and philtres. ... But 'braider of the women' could also refer to Mary's particular task among the temple women who made the veil of the sactuary" (Graves 1953 99). Mark 15:37 notes the temple veil was rent on Christ's death, another clear symbol of the involvement of women in the passion. This could refer to the mother during her time as kadesha however it could also refer as a satyrical Jewish pun to Magdalen as a spiritual adoptee.
In Christian writings, Mary Magdalen is a different person from Mary the mother of Jesus, James and Joses, and distinguishable again from Mary of Bethany.
By comparison with the other women in Jesus' following, Mary Magdalen "alone stands out undefined by a designation attaching her to some male as wife, mother, or daughter and she is the only one to be identifiable by her place of birth". Magdalini in Greek signified her belonging to el Mejdel (Migdal = tower) a prosperous fishing village on Galilee. It was destroyed in 75 AD because of its infamy and the licentious behaviour of its inhabitants (Haskins 15). A tiny desolate domen shrine marks the site. The name has also been identified with Magdal-eder of Micah 4:8 "the stronghold of the Daughter of Zion" to whom it shall come in passages fulfilling reunion with the feminine assembling her that limps and gathering her that is driven out in peace under the vine and fig (Starbird 50).
Magdalen the Holy Whore (New Yorker 3 Oct 1994): "Not only are we compassionate of ourselves, but we are compassionate of all the race of mankind" (Malvern 49).
Her ... whose fair
inheritance Bethina was and jointure Magdalo:
An active faith so highly did advance,
That she once knew, more than the Church did know,
The Resurrection so much good there is deliver'd of her,
that some Fathers be loth to believe one woman could do this.
But, think these Magdalens were two or three. John Donne (Haskins 3)
The Copts identified all three Mary's as one, but the Greeks regarded Magdalene as a member of Jesus' 'womenfolk'. At the end of the sixth century, the Pope Gregory the Great made the identification of the sinner, Mary of Bethany and Magdalene a dogma (Haskins 16). The eastern Church by contrast kept these separate (Haskins 26). Pagan ideas of the trinitarian goddess would seek three distinct Maris: the bride (Magalen or Bethany), the Virgin Mary, and she who anoints for the burial (unnamed or Magalen).
Luke 8:1: "And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance." The Greek version says "them" inferring the 12 were also supported by the women (Walker). They are also referred to in Mark (15:40) "There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem.
Magdalene is often identified with the woman who anoints Jesus head to his doom: Mark 14:3 "And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. ... And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. ... She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her." Matthew parallels Mark's discourse.
The foot anointing in Luke is in a lighter vein and is contrasted by Jesus himself with the head anointing which dooms him. The person who anoints Jesus' feet is a 'sinner' reminiscent of the 'seven devils' of Magdalene whom some people have associated with 'sacred' prostitution and of course the descent of Inanna: 7:37 "And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment." Jesus defends these physical advances and contrasts her anointing with that of the head, indicating a separate event: "Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little." This person could be Mary Magdalene but it is not for Jesus' burial.
A woman letting her hair loose in itself symbolizes impropriety in Jewish society. A good Jewess allowed none but her spouse to see her heai unbound, and by loosening it in public, she gave grounds for mandatory divorce (Haskins 18).
The 'sinner ' anoints Christ's feet while seven galla emerge Giovanni de Milano (Haskins 198).
In John, Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus is portrayed in a different light. She lives in Bethany of Judea and she calls on Jesus to return there to save her brother: 11:1 "Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha."saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus."
Jesus delays ceremonially for two days. Lazarus dies and is 'stinking'. Martha goes out to meet him. In almost ritual style Jesus has Martha declare 11:27 "Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world." Mary then appears as Jesus' sacred Mistress: "And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him." This term is used again by Magdalene at the burial - Rabboni.
When Martha had complained for serving help Jesus indicates she has a pivotal role to play Luke 10:41: " Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." This could be interest in his teachings, but sounds more like the role of partner.
When Jesus Calls on Lazarus, he groans. This very act of 'miracle work' with well-known associates, sets the stage for his own demise, a life for a life, because the priests plot because of this miracle, that he should become the atonement king "Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not."
John then tells a story in which the foot anointing leads to Jesus' demise: 12:2 "There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then saith ... Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? ... Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this." Mary is thus acclaimed by Jesus as the only one who has foreknowledge of the inner mystery that is about to take place, unlike his disciples.
This role of Judas is ritual. He is the accursed sacrifice, just as Jesus is the atonment sacrifice. He is the ram in the thicket. He is the dark one who commends Jesus to his fate by treachery and is then in his turn later sacrificed by spilling his guts in the field of blood. There is scarcely a more Canaanite image than this!
Fig 11.21: The Ritual Sequence: Sacred birth in the grotto of Aphrodite, the baptism crowned by Aphrodite's dove, the ritual of the atonement king, the lament of the 'companion' Mary, the dying god hanging in his tree (Internet).
The spiritual tradition of Galilee continued ancient forms of Israelite worship of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. There were influential populations of Essenes and Rechabites in the eastern deserts stretching to Damascus, where the New Covenant was made. The northern tribe of Joseph had always celebrated the Day of Atonement in memory of Joseph's bloodied coat of many colours, assimilating certain aspects of Tammuz into the prophecy of a dying messiah in the tradition of the Suffering Servant (Schonfield 207). Jesus thus knew he was prophesied die in Jerusalem in the style of Tammuz and indeed came to Jerusalem with a weeping party of women from Galilee. Aspects of Pauline Christianity often believed to be a non-Jewish pagan heresy against the first Nazorean Christians are derived from his journeys to Damascus and Arabia where the Tammuz or Dhu Shara aspect of Jesus was more srongly felt.
Jesus declares himself to be grain of Tammuz in John 12:23 "The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal."
The manifestation of the Bridegroom as Tammuz, fertility god of spring, becomes clearer in the journey on the ass into Jerusalem: John 12:13 "They took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: And Jesus said 'Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt'." Although this is quoting Zecchariah 9:9 exactly, it is clear that the sacred fertility king Salmah, the Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6) - shalom, after whom Jeru-salem was named, and to whom the Song of Songs was of course dedicated, arriving greeted with palm leaves in the spring festival to greet the 'daughter of Zion', Jerusalem herself, has all the sexual overtones of the 'bridegroom of fertility.' Jesus had already escaped being taken by force and made king previously in John 6:15, so it is clear that sacred kingship was a fluent tradition in Israel at the time.
It is said in Hebrews 6:20 "Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec", fulfilling Ps 110, "king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him" (Gen 14:18) "first being ... King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace." This appears to have been a continuity of an existing Essene tradition (Wilson Edmund 193).
The fig is symbolic of female sexuality. Dionysus is born with a phallus and a fig. Jesus first says to tend the fig for three years to see if will bear fruit before cutting it down (Luke 13:6). He has three passovers in his mission in John. In his last day in Jerusalem, he curses the fig tree for not bearing fruit and it withers (Mark 11:12).
Matthew clearly describes ritual humiliation of the sexual sacred king in his scarlet robe with the traditional breaking of his 'phallic' reed-sceptre also reflective of the humiliation of the king in the Saturnalia and more specifically the Sacaea festival in Babylon (Frazer 1890 v7 412) 27:28: "And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head." Luke is even more specifc that he is castrated, and by Herod's Jewish soldiers 23:11: "And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate."
The release of Bar-abbas 'son of the father' in a paired scapegoating noted in all four gospels is consistent with a ritual sacrifice in the manner of Mot and Ba'al and of course Haman and Mordecai Mark 15:6: "Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired. (Luke 23:16 notes: For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.) ... But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? ... But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them" and they said 'Crucify him, crucify him' . Ironically Barabbas may have been a respected Zealot, whom the priests rescued.
This is consistent both with Pilate's hand washing and the blood being upon the Jews: Mark 27:24 "When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children."
This theme is again consistent with the ceremonial title given Jesus somewhat determinedly by Pilate in John 19:19" And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. ... Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. ... Pilate answered, What I have written I have written."
The hypothesis that the Crucifixion ... was merely the annual fate that befell the malefactor who played Haman appears to go some way towards relieving the gospel narrative of some difficulties which otherwise beset it. Pilate's reluctant acquiescence to the rabble becomes easier to understand if we assume that the custom obliged him annually at this season to give up some prisoner on whom they might play their cruel pranks. ... the most he could do is choose the victim (Frazer 1890 v7 416). While millions of Jews have been hounded to death for two millennia by Christians for the blood of Christ and twentieth century religious historians instead turn their blame on Pilate, who was after all a brutal Roman Procurator (Pagels 1995 28), the truth lies not in blame on either side but in a cruel and ancient celebration of the hieros gamos of the sacred king.
It is noted by Philo that when Agrippa, Herod's grandson, passed through Alexandria after his coronation in Rome in 38 AD, the people, in satirical celebration, rounded on a helpless lunatic entitled 'Carabas', put a paper crown on his head, thrust a broken reed into his hand by way of a sceptre, and chanting 'Lord, Lord!' surrounded him with bludgeon men and demanded his opinion in mockery on questions of law and policy. This suggests the rite was known of the Jews and that 'Barabbas' was the title of the scapegoat, who instead of meeting his fate as a condemmned criminal, was paraded in indignity. "Son of the father" could derive from the ancient practice of sacred kings who sacrificed their sons in ther stead. (Frazer 1890 7/418-9).
Fig 11.22: The Three Marys at the crucifixion - Francesca
These resemblances with the Sacaea and its Jewish manifestation in the Purim can be explained as occurring on the Passover in several ways. It appears that the Babylonain Sacaea "did fall in Nisan at or very near the time of the Passover" (Frazer 1890 7/415). Purim, which was a month earlier, would likely have originally been on this date, as the lot of Pur was cast from Nisan. Provoked by the messianic spectacle of the sacred king arriving on an ass during the Passover, an enactment of the Sacaea appears to taken place. It is also notable that the king of the Saturnalia was allowed a period of licence of thirty days before he was put to death, precisely the interval between Purim and Passover.
We know that the disciples "all forsook him, and fled" and that even Paul denied Christ three times, however the women made it all the way to the Crucifixion, and three 'Marys' waited lamenting until the end. As the December 1996 issue of Life comments (54) "Where were the Apostles?" Faithfully following Zechariah 13:7?
In his last moments in Luke, Jesus in effect curses the female in Essene end-of-time rhetoric, while clearly being lamented in the traditional style of Adonis: 23:27 "And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus [Salmah] turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck".
His last cry "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" - 'El, El, why have you forsaken me?' is the cry of Mot for El when Anath has pronounced the Anathema maranatha condemning Mot to death in favour of the victor Ba'al. "and some said 'Behold he calleth for Elias' and one ran and filled a sponge with vinegar and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink saying, 'Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down'. And Jesus cried with a loud voice and gave up the ghost." Mark 15:34. Johns requiem 19:30 "It is finished" - 'it is consumated' is the final marriage of the cross.
In the Ugarit slaying of Mot, Shapash says (Driver 115):
"How of a truth
shall the bull El, thy father hear thee? ...
verily he will overturn the throne of thy kingdom,
verily he will break the sceptre of thy rule"
Jesus in fact has four Mot/Aleyin twins. The first is Didymos Judas Thomas (Tammuz) the 'doubting' one of John and the gnostic 'twin'. The second is Judas Iscariot the 'traitor', who in Matthew hung himself accursed and in Acts was rended in the 'field of blood', also named after the 'potter' who, despite Zechariah, is also the maternal Creatrix-slayer. One can see clearly in Jesus and Judas (another traditional sacred king title) Aleyin the 'lamb' and the black traitor of chaos and the devil. Both die by hanging. Only the 'white king' is resurrected. The third is Bar-Abbas - a traditional Sacer hero. The fourth is Simon the Cyrene, possibly the last player.
Mark 15:37 "And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom" - the marriage is consummated and the hymen is rent.
Luke 23:48 And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned. This is originally a cry "Woe unto our sins; for the judgement and end of Jerusalem is drawn nigh" (Schonfield 274).
There are in each gospel three women attending the crucifixion the consistency, despite variation of the characters, suggests that the three women are part of the sacred drama: Mark 15:40 has them as follows: "There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem." These same three figure in an apocryphal insert into Mark as having been snubbed by Jesus as he came through Jericho "And they came to Jericho: ... and the sister of the youth whom Jesus loved and his mother and Salome were there and Jesus did not receive them; ... and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging." Matthew 27:55 has: "And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedees children." Luke 23:49 is less specific at the Crucifixion "And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.", but reverts to the three-fold pattern at the tomb. John 19:25 has a slightly different set of muses: "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene." The only satisfactory explanation of two 'sisters' being Mary is that they are sisters in law, but this idea was developed later (Wilson I 151). It is extremely unlikely these repeated motifs concerning the Marys and the women would have been included in all four gospels, given the already established patriarchal heritage that followed Paul, had not it had a pivotal basis in history.
Fig 11.23: Three Marys are also present to anoint him at the empty sepulchre (Hendy 31).
There were three who
always walked with the Lord:
Mary his mother and her sister and Magdalene,
the one who was called his companion. Gospel of Philip
From his controversial sermon at Galilee, we note that mother Mary is 'the mother of James and Joses': Mark 6:3 "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him."
And in each of the gospels it was the women, and particularly Mary Magdelene who were first to see the risen Christ, for which she receives the title Apostola Apostolorum - apostle of apostles: Mark 16:9 "Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils." Now unfortunately this section of Mark is missing from the Codex Sinaiticus recovered from St. Catherine's monastery and is thus beilived to be a later addition, however Luke 24:10 confirms "It was Mary Magdalene and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles." and of course they are not believed "And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not." Matthew is very difficult to believe after all souls emerging in the crucifixion, and ceratinly again there is an earthquake and angels everywhere. Discounting the angel and the earthquake, we still however have these two female participants. 27:61 "And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre." out the sepulchre when the others left. A little later we find then back: 28:1 "In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow."
Fig 11.24: Noli me tangere (Titian Hendy 103)
In John 20:1 it is Mary Magdalene who calls [the risen] Jesus 'Rabboni' and who afterwards utters the exhaltation to the others: "The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
When she goes to get Peter the disciples did not understand the Resurrection of the dying god: John 20:8 "Then cometh Simon Peter ... then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw [the empty napkins] and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead." They depart but Mary waits.
Mary then utters the searching cry for Tammuz: 20:13 "And they say unto her, 'Woman, why weepest thou?' She saith unto them, 'Because they have taken away my LORD, and I know not where they have laid him'." Compare with the Song of Songs "I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself and was gone: my soul failed when he spake : I sought him, but I could not find him". Significantly the Syrian expression Maran atha "Our Lord Cometh"! became a sort of password which the believers used among themselves to strengthen their faith and hope (Renan 147).
Immediately she turns and he is there! 20:15: "Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father:" In Greek this reads 'Do not embrace me'." The gardener of course is Adam.
Gnosticism, Orthodoxy and the Creed
"There is still the question of why it was to her Christ appeared after his resurrection, and why, if a fundamental part of the Christian kerygma (preaching) is based on the witness of Mary Magdalene and other women, its importance and meaning has been played down in the Christian tradition" (Haskins 31).
As the first and only human to witness the resurrection of Christ, Mary Magdalene clearly occupies the pivotal position at the very origin of Christianity. Just as Jesus was the Bridegroom, Magdalene is the true bride of the Church - the feminine physical principle which complements the transcendental Christ. It is to her if anyone that the chruch should turn as a physical embodiment of the Shekina in history. Her time of penitence is ended.
Renan (1853) cmments: The cry "He is risen!" quickly spread among the disciples. Love caused it to find ready credence everywhere. ... Had his body been taken away, or did enthusiasm ... create afterwards the group of narratives by which it was sought to establish faith in the resurrection? ... Let us say however that the strong imagination of Mary Magdalen played an imortant part in this circumstance. Divine power of love! Sacred moments in which the passion of one possessed gave the world a resuscitated God! (Renan 215)
Fig 11.25: Magdalen - Apostola Apostolorum announcing the Resurrection to the Apostles Albani Psalter b 1123 (Haskins facing).
This role of Mary is akin to that of Miriam in relation to Moses (Haskins 47). The Jews identified her as Jesus' mother, but she appears more as the witness of the risen Christ, second-born, just as Moses was in the bullrushes. This role, which parallels that of Isis, raises serious questions concerning the anointings.
Easter is of course the European festival of Astarte, who is named Eostre.
Matthew notes concern that Jesus disappearance and resurrection might be staged by his followers. The Jews entreaty Pilate: 27:63 "Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first." This fear was clearly realized.
Some gnostic texts followed a docetic belief that Jesus was not fully human - a spiritual emanation which neither blinked nor left footprints, who appeared to John in a vision while being crucified, and to Peter: "Who is the one above the cross who is glad and laughing?" "He ... is the living Jesus, but he into whose hands and feet they are driving the nails is his fleshy part, the substitute (Pagels 1979 91). Others saw in the passion a paradoxical Christ of two natures, a physical person who suffered, and a transcendental Logos of gentleness who in his incarnation transcended human nature so that he could prevail over death by divine power (Pagels 1979 109).
One gnostic Christian text even reverses the doom that fell on Jesus in exchange for Barabbas. It is noted in Matt 27:32 that immediately after the humiliation "as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross." The "Second Treatise ofthe Great Seth", a revelation dialogue allegedly delivered by Jesus, says "It was another, their father who drank the gall and vinegar; it was not I. They struck me with the reed; it was another, Simon, who bore the cross on his shoulder. It was another on whom they placed the crown of thorns,. But I was rejoicing in the height ... and I was laughing at their ignorance." (Robinson 365, Pagels 1979 91).
Given four 'twins', a large following of women, and centuries of the Dionysian heritage of enacting tragic drama, it is by no means 'beyond all reasonable doubt' that it was Jesus who was crucified, nor that the person crucified really died. Jesus declined to partake of myrrh, (Mark 15:23) and died so quickly that "Pilate marvelled if he were already dead" and called the centurion to affirm it (Mark 15:43). Only one gospel reports he was pierced with a sword (John 19:33), and then only for midrash to satisfy Zechariah 12:10 and John 7:38. His bones were not broken like the others (John 19:33), a practice common with Jewish victims because bodies should not hang after sundown (Deut 21:22, Wilson I 130), it also fulfils the requirements for a Paschal Aleyin (Exod 12:46) and (Psalm 34:20). Although death often follows by suffocation, there are contemporary records of crucified people having been rescued (Wilson I 126). He was taken away as quickly as possible (Mark 15:43) 'ointments and spices were prepared' (Luke 23:56). The disciples were 'scattered' and the women, including Magdalen and the second Mary (Mark 15:47) were present and 'saw how his body was laid' (Luke 23:56). A three-day 'burial' has been proposed as part of the baptismal initiation rite (Wilson I 131). The only shred of credibility to the bizarre doctrine of the 'resurrection of the body' is the direct biological one - that the Passion was precisely what it represents - a Dionysian sacred passion play.
Various authors have suggested that Jesus may have survived the crucifixion. With varying degrees of credibility, Hugh Schonfield (1965) and Barbara Thiering (1993) have suggested that he recovered. Certain metabolic toxins are known to induce a death-like state as exemplified by the Zombies and it has been suggested the Essenes drugged him into a death-like coma. It is true that both the heritage of Joseph's bloodstained coat and many of the Psalms of David which from Crucifixion prophecies are tales of men who suffered persecution and mortal danger, but survived. But in both these cases they clearly lived on in their greatness and strength physically. Jesus' resurrected visitations are so brief as to be easily consistent with transient visionary experiences of his aggrieved followers, fish-eating and wound-touching included.
Graves and Podro (1957) note two oblique references to the possibility that Jesus survived the Crucifixion. One is Suetonius's statement "The Jews, who were raising constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus ['simple or good man', rather than 'anointed one'] he [Claudius] drove from Rome." (38). However this name stands of behalf of one of many groups of Jewish Zealots who sought support from the Jews of the Diaspora (Schonfield 197). Another is a comment in the Talmud (Sanhedrin 98a) to the effect that the messiah sat at the gate of the 'Great city' (Rome) with the poor and sick (52). There is also an apocryphal tomb of Yus Asaf in Kashmir also associated with Yeshua (68).
The Qur'an also suggests the same thing 4.157 "And their saying: Surely we have killed the Messiah, Isa son of Marium, the apostle of Allah; and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so (like Isa) and most surely those who differ therein are only in a doubt about it; they have no knowledge respecting it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for sure."
Magdalen is also associated with the Easter egg There
is a story that after the death of Jesus, Magdalene traveled to Rome
to complain to Tiberius about how Jesus' trial was conducted. She was admitted and sat at his table. As she told him the story of Jesus, he blurted out something like, "Jesus could no more be risen from the dead than that egg you are holding could turn red!" Of course, she held up the egg and it promptly turned red.