Sunday, November 22, 2015

H. A. Rey outlines the ancient wisdom

My new book Star Myths of the World and how to interpret them: Volume One is the first installment in a series which attempts to provide a comprehensive and systematic guide to the celestial system of metaphor which underlies virtually all of the world's myths, scriptures and sacred traditions.

Understanding the way this system works -- learning the celestial language in which the sacred stories of humanity are composed, all around the globe -- allows us to see actual evidence to support the assertion that all the ancient traditions are actually closely related on a very fundamental level, and that the stories found in the Bible or in the ancient myths of Egypt, Greece, China, Japan, India or Sumer, and those found among the indigenous people of Australia, Africa, the Americas, or the islands of the Pacific, are all just different ways of allegorizing the same celestial actors and the same majestic heavenly cycles.

But this evidence would be very difficult to see, and the celestial language would be extremely difficult to learn, had it not been for the efforts of the well-known author and illustrator H. A. Rey, creator (along with his wife Margret Rey) of the Curious George series of stories, who shared his abundant love for the stars and constellations in two wonderful books which remain in print to this day: Find the Constellations (first published in 1954 according to the inscription in the edition I saw, and designed primarily for younger readers), and The Stars: A New Way to See Them (first published in 1952), which is simply the best introductory guide to the night sky imaginable, in my opinion.

The importance of these two books (particularly the second one) and of the system which Rey introduces in these books for envisioning the constellations of our night sky simply cannot be overstated.

Without Rey's outlines, unlocking the celestial metaphors which can be found in virtually every body of mythology and sacred tradition from around the world would be exponentially more difficult.

With his outlines, the celestial metaphors fairly leap out of the stories, once we become familiar with the constellations and their characteristics, and the ways that the various heavenly actors are usually employed in the different character roles of the world's sacred texts and stories.

To understand the significance of the H. A. Rey system for envisioning the stars, it is only necessary to contrast the section of sky shown above, in which I have outlined just a few constellations using a traditional ("non-H. A. Rey") method still used today in many available apps and diagrams and illustrations, with the exact same section of the sky below, in which I have outlined the very same constellations using the outlines suggested in Rey's books:

Look at the illustrations in the top image for a moment, and imagine yourself out on a walk through the night, looking at the sky and trying to find the constellations. The outlines provided are virtually useless: they are very difficult to remember, they bear almost no resemblance to the actual fish, animals, or people that the constellations purport to represent, and because of this they would be almost no help in actually seeing the constellation if you were out on a walk, no matter how hard you tried.

In fact, the typical non-Rey outlines are so atrocious that it makes one seriously wonder if whoever came up with the modern outlines was taking an almost perverse pleasure in seeing how unlike a fish or a whale or a charioteer or the hero Perseus they could make the lines connecting the stars of these constellations look: if they were deliberately distorting the outlines in order to avoid revealing the fish or the whale or the charioteer or the hero that the ancients must have seen when they named those constellations in the first place.

Because not only do the typical modern outlines make the constellations unnecessarily difficult to envision, remember, or actually locate on your own: they also (whether deliberately or not) leave out some of the most important mythological characteristics of the constellations -- the characteristics which help reveal which mythological character or event relates to which constellation in the sky.

For instance, in the outline of Perseus shown in the top diagram, the peaked cap of the hero is omitted altogether -- and yet this cap is a very important feature of the constellation, and one that helped Professor David Ulansey determine that the figure of Mithras found in the central "tauroctony" painting or bas-relief in every single surviving mithraeum is an allegorized representation of the celestial figure of Perseus, an argument which completely overturned much of the academic scholarship on Mithraism of previous decades going back nearly a hundred years, and which you can read about in Professor Ulansey's book Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries (1989).

Additionally, the standard "non-H. A. Rey" outline of Perseus in the top diagram does not even include the "right arm" of the outline of the hero (the one on the left as we look at the star chart). This arm ends in a very distinctive "curled" shape, which is featured in a great many different myths around the world -- including, I believe (following the pioneering analysis of the great "astronomico-theologist" Robert Taylor from the early 1800s) the story of Adam and Eve and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. 

As discussed very briefly in this video I made last year entitled "Star Myths: 1,000 times more precious . . .", when the serpent and Eve and Adam are successively expelled from Paradise into "the dust from whence they came" (when their constellations sink down out of the sky and disappear belowthe western horizon), the constellation of Perseus is rising up out of the eastern horizon: he is the angel (or the plural Cherubims: single constellations sometimes appear in myths in plural form) placed "at the east of Eden" spoken of in Genesis 3:24. 

The same verse describes "a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." Because it is very likely that the angel placed at the east of Eden is played by Perseus, and because Perseus has that distinctive almost-circular aspect to one of his two hands, I believe it is very likely that this characteristic of the constellation is connected to the description of the sword which "turns every way" in the Biblical text: the text is giving us an additional clue in order to help us to understand that it is talking about the constellation Perseus.

If you want additional evidence to support that connection, have a look at any of a number of representations of the actual hero Perseus which survive from the culture of ancient Greece, in which the hero is shown carrying a very curved sword in the same hand that curves in a crescent-shape in the celestial outline, such as the ancient hydria (water-pot) shown below:

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

But you would not have had an easy time discovering any of those connections if you were using the conventional and completely non-sensical constellation outlines presented for the constellation Perseus, instead of the inspired outlines presented by H. A. Rey in his books from the 1950s.

I happen to have grown up with the outlines of H. A. Rey, thanks to my father who bought both of the above-mentioned books for the family when I was so young that I don't remember ever not having access to Rey's system of finding the constellations, and his illustrations suggesting the most natural way to envision them.

The above examples could be multiplied many times over, using different constellations and different myths. For instance, a standard and typical outline of the extremely important constellation Bootes the Herdsman is shown below:

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Once again, it is almost useless for actually trying to envision a Herdsman (how does one get a Herdsman from that oddly-shaped kite-looking figure, one might wonder), and thus it is very difficult to remember or to use as an outline for actually locating this constellation in the night sky.

But even more problematic is the fact that the above method of outlining Bootes completely obscures his most important mythological characteristics: the fact that Bootes appears to be either patiently sitting or kneeling, with a very tranquil, almost distracted air, and the even more important fact that Bootes has a very distinctive "pipe" rising up from his mouth, ending in a kind of triangular shape. 

The H. A. Rey-suggested outline for Bootes -- and the one that was almost certainly envisioned by whoever it was who gave to humanity the profound ancient myths with their inexhaustible fountain of spiritual teaching -- conveys all of the above characteristics. It is shown below in an illustration I made for the discussion in this previous post about the Annunciation described in the New Testament (and painted by Leonardo da Vinci in remarkably "celestial" fashion):

That previous post discussing the celestial aspects of this episode from the New Testament showed evidence that the "pipe" of Bootes functions as the wand which is invariably depicted in paintings of the angel Gabriel going back for hundreds of years -- and functions as well as the flute carried by the Lord Krishna in the sacred scriptures of ancient India.

But once again, you would probably have a very hard time figuring any of that out using the conventional outline often presented for the constellation Bootes.

Thankfully, the constellation diagrams of H. A. Rey not only provide the most intuitive way to envision, remember, and find the constellations of our night sky: they also match up remarkably well with the characteristics that pop up again and again, across cultures and across the oceans and even across the millennia, in the myths and sacred traditions of the human race. 

In fact, the level of correspondence is absolutely uncanny, and causes one to wonder just how much Rey himself knew about the connection between the stars and the ancient myths.

We should all be thankful that, whatever his understanding of such a connection (if any), and however he came up with his system, H. A. Rey shared his system of outlining the constellations with the world.

It is abundantly clear that H. A. Rey also loved the constellations and wanted to share the gift of the heavens with as many others as possible. In the beginning of Find the Constellations, he said:
Few people can tell one star from another. Most of us can tell an oak from a maple or a jay from a woodpecker even though we don't see woodpeckers often, but the stars, which we see any clear night, remain a mystery to us.
Yet it is not difficult to know them. 3.
Becoming familiar with the stars does take some time and effort -- the best way to proceed in my opinion is to do so slowly, with the goal of learning just one or two new constellations a week and then going out to locate them on many successive nights. 

If at all possible, making a habit of going for a walk at a similar time each evening (or early morning, well before sunrise) in a location with a reasonably dark sky and a fairly unobstructed skyline will help you to begin to understand which constellations are in the sky during which times of the year, and to watch as they move further west at the same time each successive night, and new ones cycle into view from the east. 

If you can make this nightly walk follow a circuit that gives you a view of all the different directions (all the different "horizons" in all directions) during different parts of the walk, that will also be extremely beneficial and will help you slowly build up your "vocabulary" of constellations with which you are familiar, a little at a time.

But, thanks to H. A. Rey and the system he outlined, you can and will build up familiarity that will be absolutely invaluable to understanding the celestial language of the myths and sacred scriptures of the world.

That language will enable you to actually see the abundant evidence that supports what many have suspected regarding the fundamental connection of all the world's ancient wisdom, across the different cultures and continents of our planet.

Even more importantly, knowing their celestial language will enable you to converse with the myths for yourself, in order to learn what they may be wanting to tell you.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Remember the Maine: False Flag patterns, and a very significant date

Above is a video version of an astonishing interview on The Higherside Chats between host Greg Carlwood and researcher Ole Dammegard which was published on April 11 of this year (04/11/2015).

In light of recent events, it is worth going back and carefully listening to this interview, because many of the patterns of recent events that Ole and Greg explore during this conversation from seven months ago are shockingly similar to patterns we have seen over the past seven days.

The interview explores the abundant evidence which suggests that fear-inducing events may be deliberately employed in order to shock the emotions of a large number of people, in order to enable the pursuit of policies that the majority of the people would strongly oppose or vigorously protest had it not been for the emotionally-manipulative event that was staged in order to overcome that resistance (and in fact to change the popular opinion towards demanding an action that they would  have otherwise opposed).

Such deliberately provoked or artificially manufactured events, designed to arouse the populace to clamor for actions that they would previously have opposed, are often referred to as "false flags," a term from the days in which sailing ships flew their colors to show their nation of origin: if a ship falsely displayed the flag of an enemy, and then committed some kind of atrocity in order to blame that act on the enemy and arouse the anger of the population so that they would demand revenge or other violent action as a response, then that incident could be termed a "false flag" event.

Beginning at about 0:06:10 in the interview as time-stamped in the YouTube version embedded above (and linked here), the conversation between Greg -- who is an excellent interviewer and prepares pages of questions before an interview -- and Ole proceeds as follows:
GREG: That is tragic and strange enough, but let's get into some of these shootings, these -- quite possibly staged events, I mean: we've seen several here in the United States, but now it seems like they're on a world tour -- just going all over the place. Just in the past six or seven months we have events in Paris [referring to the Charlie Hebdo shootings of January 2015, since this interview was published in April 2015], Copenhagen, Sydney and Ottawa and a couple of others -- and they all seem to fit a pretty predictable pattern, which is one of the first clues someone can look at to see if these events really are random, or if they're part of a larger agenda, but -- you know -- you've been looking into these pretty heavily: what are you finding, man?
OLE: I've spent some thirty years of my life looking into these things, and learning how they think, and how very strict they are: they are not very flexible, I would say, they haven't got a lot of imagination either when they carry these things out. They are all based on the old Roman tactic: Problem -- Reaction -- Solution. 
I know we've talked about that before -- I'm just going to repeat it because it's so essential to understand what's going on. The people in power -- in so-called "power" -- they secretly create a problem. The reason for that is to get the reaction, from the population: we're talking globally, now. The reaction is always fear-based, like: "Oh my GOD! Something needs to be done!" Where, it's an emotional reaction they're looking for, so we do not use our skills of observation or good-thinking -- we just freak out, and say "Oh my GOD! We are under attack -- something needs to be done!" and then we turn towards these people, that we are not aware of secretly created the problem, that will then serve us the solution -- and we will welcome it; we will even see them as heroes, you know. 
And the solution is every single time something we would never ever have accepted, had it not been for the problem: Problem -- Reaction -- Solution. And every single time as well, you will see the solution -- if it's a "false flag" or if they are the ones behind it -- the solution is the same, every single time: "You  have to pay." You have to  give up your civil rights, your human rights, you have to accept more and more militarized police, robo-cops, military vehicles in the streets, martial law -- give up the rights for privacy, for your computers, for the surveillance cameras, for scanners, for you-name-it [. . .]
So this is the signs to look out for. When you see them, before you even start looking into the details of what's going on: see what happens straight after these things [. . .]
Much later in the interview -- actually during the "Plus" part of the show which is for subscribers to Greg's THC+ program (which enables Greg to pursue this valuable radio-podcast format without any commercials and thus without having to worry about leverage or pressure being applied on him to change his show by those paying for the commercials) -- Ole and Greg explore the possible significance of dates upon which suspicious events (which may have been false flag events designed to arouse the anger of the populace) have taken place, and the locations where they happen:
OLE (beginning at around 1:18:00 of the "Plus" version of the interview): [. . .] OK, so, we look at the date -- and if you remember right it [. . .] was also Valentine's Day, which they use that for Satanic rituals as well -- and the name of the place was Khoten, which in Danish means "the Gunpowder Keg," and if you look at one of the most famous false flags ever, it was the Guy Fawkes thing, the "Gunpowder Plot," you know when he was about to blow up the Parliament and so on. I'm just pointing these out -- I'm not saying it is totally sure -- I'm just pointing them out, OK? 
And the second part of this happened on the 15th of February. And many of these false flags happen on the same dates but different years. And the 15th of February was when they -- another false flag -- when they blew up the USS Maine in the harbor of Havana, on Cuba, in 1898 I think. This was -- it's been proven now to have been an inside job, either an accident or an inside job. But, Spain was blamed for it -- that they had blown up this American ship -- and it gave the US an excuse to start a war with Spain, and the result was that Spain had to give up the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam. I mean, those were stolen, and that was the first part of the American Empire, that was started on a false flag, and that was exactly on the 15th. [. . .]
The fact that the explosion on the Maine (the masts of which I'm told have been claimed to serve as the flagpoles at two different military service academies in the US -- West Point and Annapolis -- as well as at Arlington national cemetery, which is ironic because the ship itself only had two masts) was used as justification to launch a war when in fact the ship was not destroyed by enemy action would appear to indicate that the Spanish-American War was thus an illegal war of aggression launched under false pretenses, either deliberately or mistakenly.

The same can be said for the infamous Gulf of Tonkin incident from the 1960s which led to a massive buildup of troops and combat action in Vietnam, which would probably have been much more strongly opposed had the extremely suspicious supposed attacks in the Gulf of Tonkin (which turned out not to have been attacks at all) not been exploited in much the same manner as the USS Maine incident had been exploited nearly seven decades earlier.

These historical precedents, in which an incident which in hindsight can now be seen to have been presented to the people in a completely misleading manner in order to effect a profound change in popular opinion, and in fact to start wars under false pretenses, should be examined very carefully today, in light of the events of the past week and in light of the evidence which Ole Dammegard presented in his April interview based on the patterns he has found in studying possible false flag events from the recent past.

Most concerning is the pattern he points out regarding the importance of looking closely at what happens after the event in question. In the case of the horrible events in Paris last week, we are told that the crime was solved in an amazingly short amount of time, so quickly that the movements of all the perpetrators and their origins could be definitively determined, and then large-scale military actions could be planned and actually carried out, less than forty-eight hours after the Paris event took place.

So, given the patterns described by Ole and Greg in their interview from April of this year, and based upon details which can be seen surfacing again and again in suspicious "public-opinion altering events" going back all the way to the USS Maine, are there any significant patterns present in the date and location of the horrendous public-opinion altering event that took place in Paris last week?

In fact, it is possible to find some extremely significant correspondences.

The attacks took place on Friday, November 13th (just as the financial markets in the US were closing, which amazingly is yet another pattern that Ole brings up in his interview with Greg from April of this year, in which Ole points out how many suspicious, shocking, public-opinion altering events take place late on a Friday, as the markets in the US are closing).

November 13 happens to be a date of tremendous significance in the tremendously important myth of Isis and Osiris, as related by the ancient philosopher (and initiated priest of the ancient mysteries, including possibly those of Isis) Plutarch or Plutarchus (AD 46 - AD 120).

In his very important account of the Isis and Osiris myth, entitled De Iside et Osiride in Latin, Plutarch writes that the murder of Osiris (the husband of Isis) by his treacherous brother Set (or Typhon, as Plutarch calls Set, based on Greek mythology) took place at a big party amidst much revelry -- and Plutarch relates:
They say also that the date on which this deed was done was the seventeenth day of Athyr, when the sun passes through the Scorpion [. . .].
This is significant, because according to the footnote in the Loeb classical edition of 1936, the seventeenth day of Athyr on which Osiris was said to have been slain corresponds to November the 13th.

If you want to look that up for yourself, see footnote number 72 (a very significant number, oddly enough, and one that corresponds to the number of henchmen who helped Set kill his brother Osiris, according to Plutarch's account) in the web page linked above containing a translation of Plutarch's text.

So much for the significance of the date.

The significance of the place is fairly obvious -- many authors and analysts down through the years  including the insightful Robert Taylor (one of the pioneers of what today is sometimes called "aztrotheology") have opined that Paris is the city especially dedicated to the goddess Isis (Par-Isis). And indeed, the fact that the city's most famous cathedral is dedicated to Notre Dame -- our Lady, the Queen of Heaven -- who can be shown to correspond to the goddess Isis in the celestial system underlying all the world's mythology (including the stories in the New Testament) seems to be evidence supporting such an identification of Paris and the goddess Isis.

It is also significant that the initial bombing by the US of the terrorist group which the western media chooses to refer to as "ISIS" commenced on September 22, 2014 -- a date of tremendous significance on the zodiac calendar, associated with the fall equinox, and presided over by the zodiac sign of Virgo the Virgin, who can be shown to relate to both the goddess Isis and the Virgin Mary (see for instance the analysis presented in this video).

The accusation that a nation or entity is using a false flag event in order to deliberately inflame the people to clamor for military action that they would otherwise not support is very serious, and it is of course too soon to draw any conclusions about the very recent events of November 13, 2015.

However, the shocking number of significant points of correspondence with the patterns that Ole Dammegard has found in his examination of serious and suspicious events from the past, and which he described in an interview with Greg Carlwood which aired back in April of this year, should cause everyone to pay very close attention to what Ole and Greg are talking about in that interview, and also to think very carefully about the implications of events such as the sinking of the USS Maine in 1898 and the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964.

Those incidents caused massive changes of public opinion in support of wars which in hindsight may well have been illegal in nature, not wars of self-defense but something else altogether.

I would even go so far as to suggest that every single human being has a responsibility to consider these matters very carefully -- and to peacefully but vigorously oppose the escalation of military force, physical violence, and the massive violations of human rights which are predicated upon the wide-spread fear-based responses to events whose full significance and origin are still not completely clear.

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Ahimsa, blessing, and the coils of the Python

image: Wikimedia commons (link). 

In an important episode in the Mahabharata, we see the most physically-powerful and menacing of the five Pandava brothers -- Bhima whose might is equal to that of ten thousand elephants -- exulting in his strength as he plows through the woods, frightening the animals with his loud whoops and shouts, and pursuing even the mighty snakes into their lairs.

Then he encounters a serpent who turns out to be more than his match.

We find this episode related in Book 3 of the Mahabharata, beginning in section 177:
Then the mighty Bhimasena, like unto the Lord of the Celestials, saw a serpent of colossal proportions, living in one of the mountain fastnesses and covering the cave with its body and causing one's hair to stand on end. It had its huge body stretched like a hillock, and it possessed gigantic strength, and its body was speckled with spots and it had a turmeric-like color and a deep copper-colored mouth of the form of a cave supplied with four teeth; and with glaring eyes it was constantly licking the corners of its mouth. And it was the terror or all animated beings and it looked like the very image of the Destroyer Yama; and with the hissing noise of its breath it lay as if rebuking. And seeing Bhima draw so near to him, the serpent, all on a sudden, became greatly enraged, and that goat-devouring snake violently seized Bhimasena in his grip. Then by virtue of the boon that had been received by the serpent, Bhimasena with his body in the serpent's grip, instantly lost all consciousness. Unrivalled by that of others, the might of Bhimasena's arms equalled the might of ten thousand elephants combined. But Bhima, of great prowess, being thus vanquished by the snake, trembled slowly, and was unable to exert himself. And that one of mighty arms and of leonine shoulders, though possessed of the strength of ten thousand elephants, yet seized by the snake, and overpowered by virtue of the boon, lost all strength. He struggled furiously to extricate himself, but did not succeed in any wise baffling this [snake].
Bhima was, as Everett McGill might say, "in a tight spot."

The serpent informs Bhima that he was once a respected sage, in fact Bhima's distant ancestor Nahusha, but was being punished for his pride by being changed into a serpent.

He also informs Bhima that he must devour him.

For those who wish to read the entire Mahabharata before they find out whether or not the snake has Bhima for dinner, stop here and come back in a few months when you've finished.

For the rest of the readers (or for those who have read the Mahabharata already and know the outcome), turning to section 178 and 179 we learn that Bhima's brother Yudhisthira the just, noticing the absence of Bhima and experiencing a series of omens that warn Yudhistira that Bhima is in grave danger, comes looking for him and finds the mighty one coiled in the grip of the great serpent.

Realizing that this can be no ordinary snake, Yudhistira addresses it respectfully, to learn how it can possibly hold the invincible Bhima helpless in its grasp. Nahusha informs Yudhistira of his true identity as their distant ancestor, the fifth in descent from the moon in fact, and tells the eldest Pandava that he can only be released from his serpent-form by one who can correctly answer questions regarding the nature of the incarnation of the soul and its release.

Yudhistira, who has spent his life in careful contemplation of just such questions, and who has moreover spent much time in discussion with the forest ascetics who have chosen a life in pursuit of spiritual matters, says to Nahusha, "Ask away!"

What follows perhaps is best to read in the Mahabharata itself (following the links above, and if you are able to read Sanskrit you can also find this passage in the original language, beginning here in section 178). 

In summary, however, the mighty serpent asks Yudhistira how one may achieve transcendence from the cycle of incarnation (he firsts asks Yudhistira who is a true Brahmana, and receives the answer that it is not in fact determined by birth or by caste but rather by purity and virtuous conduct, which is an important subject for another discussion).

Yudhistira answers Nahusha, in section 180 that the one who achieves the transcendent state is the one who "bestows alms on proper objects, speaks kind words and tells the truth, and abstains from doing injury to any creature."

Thus we see that the ancient wisdom teaches us that acts and words which can be categorized as blessing are critical to our purpose here in this incarnate life, as is the principle of doing no injury to others.

The word used for doing no harm is ahimsa.

Hearing this answer, and having finally found one who can put it into words, Nahusha is released from his long millennia of bondage in the form of a serpent, and ascends into the higher realms. Bhima is freed from the enervating coils of the enchanted python, after he had already resigned himself to being devoured for his carelessness and pride.

This episode, like nearly all the others in the Mahabharata (and in all the world's ancient myths, scriptures and sacred traditions) can definitely be found to have its origin in the celestial pattern of the stars and constellations. In this particular case, Bhima is almost certainly played by the important constellation Ophiucus, whom we have encountered previously in our examinations of the story of Jonah and the gourd, as well as the story of Mukasa in Africa and indeed in the events of the life of the Buddha.

Note the details of the serpent's initial description, how he is said to have its huge body shaped into the form of a hillock, and indeed to cover the entire mouth of a cave -- both of which can be seen as clues regarding his celestial identity. He also is described as having four teeth, which almost certainly refers to the four stars in the head of the serpent held by Ophiucus in the sky. Additionally, the great snake is described as looking like the very image of Yama the Destroyer, who can also by this and other clues from the scriptures of ancient India be identified with Ophiucus.

Furthermore, the constellation Ophiucus -- while usually envisioned as holding a serpent -- can also be envisioned as having a serpent wrapped around his body, just as Bhima does once Nahusha coils himself about the great hero and takes away his strength.

Of course, you probably won't be able to figure any of that out for yourself if you use one of the many "standard" diagrams for the constellation Ophiucus (which are usually terrible -- see for example this outline).

However, if you use the outstanding system first published by H. A. Rey in 1952, then you can begin to speak "the language of the ancient myths." Below is the outline of Ophiucus as envisioned by H. A. Rey (and superimposed upon the stars as seen in the open-source planetarium app

Having determined (just in case it was not clearly evident from the presence of a talking serpent) that this episode from the Mahabharata is not intended to be understood as literal history but that it is a celestial allegory, we can then begin to ask ourselves what it might mean -- why was it given to us, and what knowledge is it intended to convey?

Without going into too much depth (the reader is invited to contemplate all the profound implications of this story for himself or herself, as with all the other sacred wisdom given to humanity in the form of the ancient myths), it seems clear enough that this story depicts our human condition, bound within the coils of incarnation.

Both Nahusha, who has been turned into a serpent, and Bhima, who is trapped within the coils of the serpent and finds himself deprived of his accustomed celestial strength, can be seen as depicting the condition of the soul when it comes down from the realm of pure spirit and is bound in a body made of the lower elements of earth and water (clay) -- "this mortal coil," as Shakespeare calls it in Hamlet.

The serpent, of course, is a perfect symbol of the cycles of incarnation, because it sheds its skin as if sliding into a new form and leaving the old one behind, over and over again.

It is also a perfect symbol of our incarnate condition in that it binds and constricts its prey (Nahusha is described as a mighty python or constrictor), just as this material existence seeks to wrap its charms about us and cause us to become entangled in the exigencies of the physical life and its charms, robbing us of our memory of our celestial or spiritual nature (and note that Bhima is held more by the charms of the mystical serpent than by its actual strength, and that when he falls into its clutches he is in fact described as losing consciousness for a period of time before recovering his wits).

Fans of The Matrix (a movie which came up during my recent Grimerica interview) might envision Neo when he is still in the grip of "The Matrix" itself -- penetrated and held fast by its many hideous serpentine coils.

In this episode from the Mahabharata, of course, the most important aspect of the entire encounter is the question of how one can overcome the coils of the great serpent -- how one escapes the curse (both for Bhima and for Nahusha, who has been made to crawl on the ground as a python in order to learn something for his own benefit and eventual transcendence).

The answer is given quite plainly in the question-and-answer between Nahusha and Yudhistira. Clearly, the ancient text seems to imply that the twin concepts of blessing and ahimsa are absolutely critical to our escape from the coils of the python, and from the danger of its eventually devouring us.

But note also that the serpent is a powerful symbol of wisdom around the world (including in the texts of ancient India, as well as in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, where we are admonished to be as wise or cunning as serpents), and that the concept of raising the serpent is central in Yogic and other spiritual practice (see previous discussion here for example), in the deity Okeanos and Acheloos (also spelled Achelous) in ancient Greece -- who echoes a similar divine force found in ancient Egypt and related to the divinity of the Nile River itself but also to the heavenly river of the Milky Way and to the internal kundalini within the "microcosm" of each and every human being -- and also in the episode of the serpent on the pole described in the book of Numbers and referenced again in the New Testament (and many more examples can be found around the world).

Thus the idea of being "cast down" into this world -- either as a serpent or "unconscious within the coils of the serpent" -- and then overcoming and "raising the serpent" through right conduct that involves being a blessing, invoking blessing, and not doing violence, is a vital central theme throughout the world's ancient wisdom . . . and therefore was seen as being vital and central to our own acquisition of the gnosis or understanding or transformation which is our soul's purpose in coming into the material world in the first place.

Ultimately, I believe that this concept is identical to that which is stressed throughout the Bhagavad Gita (which is part of the Mahabharata, and can be found in book 6 of the epic), regarding the admonition -- constantly presented to Arjuna by the Lord Krishna -- to do what is right without attachment.

This is worth contemplating deeply.

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Armistice Day 2015

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Those who lived through the unspeakable devastation of World War I set aside the date of November 11 as a day to promote peace and "friendly relations with all other peoples."

The day was commemorated as Armistice Day, the word "armistice" being composed of two Latin words meaning "weapons" and "to stop" -- thus, the cessation of armed hostilities.

The word solstice derives from the same Latin word: sistere, "to stop." Solstice refers to the two points of the year at which the sun's progress northward or southward along the eastern and western horizons as it rises and sets can be seen to stop and pause prior to turning back around and going the other direction.

The ancient wisdom contained in the collective myths, scriptures, and sacred stories of the human race all use the cycles of sun between the solstices as part of a deep metaphor relating to the human soul and the experience of incarnation, and the goal of calling forth and elevating the invisible divine aspect in ourselves and others (blessing) as opposed to denying it and debasing it and reducing ourselves or others to objects and ultimately to mere matter (cursing).

Their metaphorical portrayal of the players from the heavenly sphere in the form of human men and women works to convey, among other profound messages, that each and every person reflects and embodies the infinite heavens, that each one is in fact a little universe -- a microcosm -- of infinite value and dignity, and that the act of debasing or destroying another human being through violence will ultimately damage the one who engages in it.

Simone Weil made this exact argument, based upon her inspired reading of the ancient text of the Iliad, in her famous essay "The Iliad, or 'The Poem of Force'" (1940).

In the United States, following the "cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far-reaching war in human annals" (World War I), both houses of Congress declared that "it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations."

Unfortunately, if you look up the word "armistice" in the dictionary you will see that it is usually used to mean a temporary truce of some sort, which is what the end of World War I turned out to be. 

Many have also argued that the original intent of the day that was set aside -- by those who had endured the loss of so many beloved friends and family members during World War I -- with the hope that people everywhere would use the day to promote peace, good will, mutual understanding, and friendly relations has (at least in the United States) been somewhat forgotten. 

When, following the cease-fire in Korea, the name of the day was changed from "Armistice Day" to "Veteran's Day" in the US, based on the argument that "Armistice" seemed to refer only to the end of World War I, a subtle difference was introduced. 

The original declarations said nothing about honoring the veterans of World War I: the original statements declaring the importance of remembering November 11 were entirely focused on making the day about furthering peace, good will, and mutual understanding, based upon the unspeakable carnage which they referred to right in their opening line. 

This does not mean those people who had lived through World War I were being disrespectful to veterans -- but the focus was on something completely different than what has come to be the focus today.

Here is a link to a page from a group called Veterans for Peace calling for a return to the original focus of Armistice Day as a day on which to promote peace, good will, mutual understanding, and "friendly relations with all other peoples."

Monday, November 9, 2015

Welcome new friends from Grimerica!

Big welcome to all new visitors -- and returning friends -- from the wonderful land of Grimerica!

It was an honor as always to be welcomed into The Igloo and to have an opportunity to discuss matters mysterious and mythological with Darren and Graham, who are always fantastic hosts as well as expert and experienced interviewers -- and to get a spontaneous on-show The-Matrix-synchronicity rated at 9.5 on the Grimerica Scale (which is unheard-of and may have been an aberrant data-point, but definitely a new league record for me).

It was the first live-and-on-the-air announcement of the publication of my new book, Star Myths of the World and how to interpret them: Volume One, as well as the first on-the-air debut for my dog, Zephyr, who wanted to interject comments at all the most-important points of the show and finally had to be unceremoniously kicked out of The Igloo into the cold (poor guy).

It was also an honor to meet James from Wasted Nation and his friend Nadz, who were also at The Igloo during the visit. They were fresh from a Halloween show during which it was revealed that they look suspiciously like the same bunch who kept giving Daniel-san a hard time on Halloween some years ago (see Wasted Nation photo here), which made me a little nervous at first, until I remembered that I had Mr. Miyagi on my side and also that they all became friendly at the end and wished Daniel all the best after he defeated their leader in the tournament (hopefully that wasn't a spoiler for anyone).

Be sure to check out their music and invite them to perform gigs in your town if you have any connections in that department.

During the course of this visit to Grimerica, we touched on a host of important subjects -- below are some links to help anyone who might want to explore some of them further:
  • The Star Myths section of my page, which contains links to a "Star Myth Index" that can direct you to most of the Star Myth discussions that have been published on this blog over the years.
  • The discussion of the famous story of the Judgment of Solomon found in the ancient Hebrew Scriptures (often referred to as the Old Testament of the Bible), and analysis of its celestial connections and possible meanings. I also made a video about this important episode from ancient scripture.
  • The two-part discussion of some of the important stories from the 1,001 Nights (also known as "The Arabian Nights") which was the first Star Myth analysis to use the format which is used in the new book, in which the myth itself is presented first and then the analysis is presented after you have the chance to think about the celestial correspondences for yourself. Here are the links to "Part One" and "Part Two" of that discussion of the 1,001 Nights.
  • The discussion of the episode in which Ares (Mars) confronts the two giants Otus and Ephialtes, and finds himself unceremoniously shoved into a brazen jug for his efforts. That discussion also mentions the important star Fomalhaut in the Southern Fish, and has a link to a previous post which talks you through some tips on locating Fomalhaut in the sky (this happens to be a good time of year for finding Fomalhaut, but because it is located fairly far to the south on the celestial sphere it is not visible from some of the more northerly latitudes).
  • Some discussion on the importance of Orion. Orion is such an important figure in the Star Myths of the world that his significance has been mentioned in too many posts to link-up here, but this link will take you to some discussion of Orion in conjunction with the vital concept of "raising the Djed column," which is also discussed in other posts here, here and here as well as in videos here and here (among others).
  • The story of Samson, which was really the one that started my journey of seeing that the stories in what we today call the Bible are almost entirely celestial, from first to last. Also, here is a video about the importance of the Samson-cycle, entitled "The Samson Myth is all about YOU."
  • The assertion that the Bible is essentially shamanic in nature.
  • The assertion that all the myths of the ancient world are essentially shamanic in nature.
  • The assertion that human beings appear to be designed to be able to access and make contact with the Invisible World.
  • The incredible work of Dr. Peter Kingsley.
  • The seminal 1969 book Hamlet's Mill, which was one of the first to offer a comprehensive argument that the myths of the world appear to be connected by some kind of ancient celestial system. This kind of argument had been made before, often with regards to specific myths or sets of myth (the Reverend Robert Taylor made an extensive analysis of the celestial foundations of the stories in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible during the early 1800s), but Hamlet's Mill is important for its examination of evidence that all of these celestial references appear to be "fragments of a lost whole" whose origin and purpose is now largely forgotten to history.
  • The discussion in the dialogues of Plato in which the philosopher has Socrates presenting some extremely important perspectives on the right and wrong way to approach the myths and sacred stories.
  • A recent post with details on the dazzling planets Jupiter and Venus in the pre-dawn sky, appearing along with Mars in the region of Leo the Lion and in an early-morning sky that includes some of the biggest and brightest constellations visible from the earth (and yes, Graham was exactly right during the show when he said he thinks he sees Orion off to the south and west in the pre-dawn sky this time of year).
  • Some discussion of what these ancient Star Myths could have been intended to convey, which I believe involves many layers (possibly endless layers) of profound knowledge, but which certainly points towards "raising the Djed column" in ourselves and others, blessing and not cursing, and the knowledge that we have a divine component or a Higher Self and knowledge of how to rectify our internal relationship with our "divine twin."
We wrapped up the discussion with some thoughts on the importance of music as both a pathway to and a sort of "messenger from" the Invisible Realm. For some previous discussions on the incredibly central importance of music, see for example:
Once again, it was a pleasure to discuss these important topics -- which concern us all -- with Graham, Darren, and the rest of Grimerica! Thanks for having me!

I truly hope to have another opportunity to return to that unique land in the future (see Grimerica passport, below).

Please support their efforts through their "value-for-value" system, which enables them to keep all of their broadcasts completely open to the world, with no "paid section" and no advertisements or sponsorships that could limit their freedom to discuss any and all topics and to pursue the evidence in whatever direction that it leads!

Here are the links to this episode's page (#142 -- big thank-you to Napoleon for the show-art). To watch as a YouTube video, click here. To download the audio file to listen at your convenience, right-click (or control-click) here and select "save as" or "download." To go back and refresh your memory of my previous trip to Grimerica (show #99 I believe), click here.

original image: Wikimedia commons (link). Modified.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Scott Onstott reveals the profound message of Leonardo da Vinci and his art

Scott Onstott has two new books out relating to the divine proportion, one entitled The Divine Proportion and one exploring Leonardo da Vinci's incredible encoding of the divine proportion into his paintings entitled Secrets in Plain Sight: Leonardo da Vinci.

Scott's amazing work includes his analysis of the significant and esoteric proportions, patterns, and geometries found around the world in the location and design of cities, parks, monuments, and buildings, which he has detailed in his extremely popular video presentations entitled Secrets in Plain Sight, Volume 1 and Volume 2. 

Scott also analyzes sacred geometries, proportions and patterns present in the natural world, including in the relationships of the earth, moon, sun, and the planets of our solar system.

His work has been discussed on this blog previously here: "Scott Onstott and the metaphor of form."

I have been working my way through Secrets in Plain Sight: Leonardo da Vinci and highly recommend it for your own careful consideration. 

It is worth pondering long and deeply.

Scott begins with a brief but powerful summary of the incredible achievements and ongoing importance of Leonardo himself (1452 - 1519).

He then explains the concept of the divine proportion (the golden ratio, the proportion of which is designated by the Greek letter phi) and its mysterious qualities -- with accompanying diagrams and labeled illustrations that should make its properties more understandable than perhaps any discussion of the golden ratio that you have encountered before (Scott is a trained architect and a teacher and author on the subject of architectural visualization software and techniques).

The discussion reveals the mysterious, unchanging, infinite, and self-contained properties of the divine proportion, and why and how it conveys aspects of what we might call the Infinite Realm, the Divine Realm, the Invisible Realm. 

As you open your eyes to what is being presented, you will realize that phi does not just point us towards the Infinite: in many ways it actually manifests the Infinite Realm in itself, and impresses it upon our deeper understanding.

Scott then presents stunning evidence that demonstrates convincingly, beyond any doubt, that Leonardo da Vinci incorporated this divine ratio -- and its unfolding in the infinitely self-generating golden rectangles and the golden spiral that they create (the book shows how this spiral generates) -- into his art, over and over again, and with a degree of precision that indicates he knew exactly what he was doing.

But why?

Clearly, the golden ratio resonates powerfully with us -- our own bodies, and many aspects of the universe around us (perhaps every aspect of the universe around us), exhibit the golden ratio or phi on nearly every level. Scott even visually illustrates the way that DNA, the basic code of all known life, unfolds according to the golden ratio at its most fundamental level.

The golden ratio is aesthetically pleasing and attractive, even if we do not consciously recognize its presence.

But as Scott shows the golden rectangles and spirals present in the art of Leonardo da Vinci, he uncovers evidence that da Vinci was incorporating this divine proportion to convey and even more powerful message. As Scott says in the description of Secrets in Plain Sight: Leonardo da Vinci on his website here:
Leonardo's secret pointing to the divine proportion's divisions to physical and illuminated third eyes suggests he saw the divine not just in a transcendent heaven, but immanently in the human body and in the world.
That sentence is worth reading a few times for full effect.

What Scott's illustrations in the book, in which he overlays golden spirals upon the artwork of da Vinci, reveals quite clearly is that the spirals almost inevitably concentrate upon one eye of a human subject in the painting, or (even more frequently) upon the point of the "third eye" in the center of the forehead.

The implication, as Scott makes plain in the quoted sentence above, is that Leonardo da Vinci was conveying the message, using phi as the representative of the Divine and the Infinite, that the very same Infinite which unfolds in every aspect of the physical universe around us (and which shows that the Invisible Realm is present at every point in the seemingly-material cosmos) is also present in each and every man and woman: the divine in us.

And, as has already been said above, when da Vinci "drops phi" into his artwork, he is not just placing a symbol of the Divine or the Infinite into the art: he is putting an actual unfolding of Infinity right onto the canvas! The golden proportion actually is infinite, in and of itself, and it actually does begin to generate infinite spirals and an infinite rectangle-series, the moment you place it onto the page!

Note carefully what Scott Onstott is saying in that sentence above about the presence of this Infinity in both the heavens and the human: da Vinci recognized that it was present everywhere, both on the incredible scale of the heavens, and in the proportions of the human body, and that it "spirals inwards" to our eye (the "window to the soul") to suggest that the divine is there as well.

The divine ratio is present in every strand of DNA, and in the astronomical distances and scales with which our infinite universe is framed. It is operating everywhere and at all times, effortlessly unfolding and contracting, outward to the most distant galaxies and inward to the secret universe of our interior world.

The illustrations in Scott's book must be seen to be fully appreciated. I would suggest that a physical copy belongs on the shelf of every library, public or private, home or university.

But that's not all.

Because there appear to be even more "secrets in plain sight" hidden in the artwork of Leonardo da Vinci (and conveying the very same message of the inner connection to the Infinite, the inner connection to the Divine), because I would argue that some of the artwork that Scott examines also reveals da Vinci's understanding of the esoteric celestial system of metaphor operating at the foundation of the sacred stories and scriptures of the human race.

The very first painting by Leonardo that Scott presents in his book (the paintings are presented and discussed in chronological progression) clearly reveals da Vinci's awareness of the celestial metaphor underlying his subject, which is The Anunciation by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, depicted in Annunciazione by da Vinci, 1472:

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Not only does this painting show that the twenty-year-old Leonardo was already masterfully incorporating phi proportions and spirals in the composition of his art (as Scott Onstott's diagrams demonstrate), but it also appears to indicate that the artist was very familiar with the esoteric connection between the Biblical personages and the constellations of the heavens.

I have already published an extensive analysis of the celestial correspondences in the critically-important New Testament story of the Annunciation, in which the angelic messenger declares the coming of the Divine to Mary -- the Divine made to dwell in the flesh. 

That analysis shows that Gabriel is almost certainly associated with Mercury or Hermes -- the messenger of the gods in ancient Latin and Greek mythology -- and the closest planet to the sun (which is why Gabriel explains that he "stands in the presence of God" in Luke 1:19). Gabriel, like Mercury, is always depicted carrying a wand (often in the form of certain long-stemmed flowers, in the artwork depicting Gabriel).

But although Gabriel is almost certainly associated with the actual planet Mercury (which of all the planets can most accurately be said to "stand in the presence" of our blazing sun), he can also be identified with a specific constellation in our night sky, and one who appears above the constellation who almost certainly corresponds to the Virgin Mary.

Leonardo da Vinci seems to have been well aware of these celestial correspondences, simply from the way he depicts his subjects in The Annunciation, with Gabriel kneeling and extending his hand in a distinctive gesture (while also holding the flower-wand in his other hand), and Mary seated in a distinctive posture herself, while extending one arm towards Gabriel (and turning her head "just so," in a way highly reminiscent of her celestial counterpart).

Take a look at this portion of the sky, containing the important constellations Virgo the Virgin, and her constant companion Bootes the Herdsman:

Can you see da Vinci's Annunciazione in the stars depicted above?

How about now:

The angel Gabriel is almost certainly played by the constellation Bootes, who appears to be in a seated position in the sky but who is often depicted as kneeling in Star Myths from around the world, such as when he plays the role of the Buddha in Asia and Mukasa in Africa (analyzed in this previous post) or the role of Bodhidharma (also known as Da Mo or Daruma, analyzed in this previous post).

The angel is clearly depicted as kneeling in Leonardo's 1472 painting of the Annunciation.

The angel is also holding a wand, which corresponds to the long "pipe" of the constellation of the Herdsman shown above. This wand is the same feature which appears as the flute of the god Krishna in the scriptures of ancient India, as discussed in this previous post.

You can also find depictions of Krishna (including statues and icons) in which the outstretched hand of the Lord Krishna makes a hand gesture which is very similar to the distinctive hand-gesture that the angel Gabriel is making in this artwork by Leonardo da Vinci (and which is seen in many, many other depictions of the angel Gabriel and the Annunciation down through the centuries). Here's one, from a statue of Krishna with one upraised hand:

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Note that if you look carefully, you can also see that Krishna is holding a flute in a hand on the other side from his upraised hand. 

[All of these connections between Gabriel, Hermes/Mercury, Buddha, Da Mo (or Daruma) and other Bootes-figures from the Star Myths of the world should show quite convincingly that all these sacred texts and mythologies are united in their foundation and their esoteric message (contrary to what has often been taught, especially by those who wish to take the ancient myths and scriptures literally, instead of esoterically).]

Behind the seated (or kneeling) form of Bootes in the night sky is the distinctive arc of the Northern Crown, or Corona Borealis. At first, I thought that this arc-shaped constellation might show up in the painting by da Vinci of the angel as the arc in the angel's wings, but after further consideration I decided that Leonardo might actually be envisioning the wings to be formed by an interesting and somewhat unique way of connecting the stars along the front edge of the constellation Hercules. If so, then I believe that the Northern Crown is probably functioning as the halo of the angel.

Turning now to the figure of Mary herself, it is fairly intuitive to connect her with the stars of Virgo the Virgin. Previous posts have discussed the importance of the connection inherent in her name with the word for "sea" or "ocean," and how the celestial Virgin stands at the edge of the metaphorical "sea" in the heavenly cycle of the zodiac (see the discussion here for example). 

But Leonardo includes enough clues in his painting to demonstrate beyond a doubt that he is referring to the outline of Virgo in the heavens. 

If you look at the seated posture of the constellation Virgo, and then look at the angle at which da Vinci has chosen to depict his Virgin Mary in Annunciazione, you will see that one would be hard-pressed to paint a more accurately depiction of the constellation than he has in his work. Her legs are apart and parallel, her body bends at approximately the same angle, and her outstretched arm points towards Gabriel just as the outstretched arm of Virgo points towards Bootes in the sky.

Below is a detail of Mary from da Vinci's painting, with the outline of Virgo superimposed. Note that even the angle of Mary's head in the painting and the way in which she has it slightly turned evokes the  form of the zodiac Virgin:

I would thus argue that Scott Onstott's title accurately describes this aspect of Leonardo's work as well: da Vinci is "hiding" these incredible secrets in plain sight!

I would also argue that by incorporating these celestial patterns, Leonardo is reinforcing the very same message that Scott argues Leonardo is conveying through his incorporation of the divine proportion in his paintings:

Just like the ancient myths and sacred texts themselves, Leonardo is bringing down the denizens of the celestial realm and incarnating them in the human form!

He is declaring that the Infinite and the Divine dwell in human flesh. The stars above evoke the Infinite, and we ourselves reflect the stars (as above, so below).

Just as the universe unfolds on the proportions of phi on planetary and galactic scales, and just as we ourselves reflect this same proportion in our bodies and even our strands of DNA, the Infinite and Divine realm that interpenetrates the material cosmos also unfolds like a spiral inside our inner universe (converging on the window of our soul, our physical eye or our spiritual "third eye").

I am extremely grateful to Scott Onstott for writing Secrets in Plain Sight: Leonardo da Vinci, and for bringing home in such a visual and understandable way the genius and the ongoing importance of Leonardo and his work, and most importantly his message -- the same message, ultimately, as that brought by the angel Gabriel: the message of the divine coming down to earth, and dwelling in men and women.


In addition to ordering them from Scott's own website (linked above), you can also find Scott's books on Barnes & Noble and on Amazon.