Monday, October 20, 2014

Welcome to new visitors from Truth Warrior! (and returning friends)

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Welcome to all new visitors who are here because they heard this evening's show on Truth Warrior, and to returning friends! If you were able to listen live I hope you enjoyed the conversation, and for those who wish to listen to the archived show or download it to a mobile device or disc for listening on the move, the links below will help you to do that.

Special thanks to host David Whitehead, who expertly steered the discussion to some very interesting and important areas of investigation. 

To listen to the program, you can wait a bit for it to show up on YouTube (I will link to that when it is ready), or you can listen to the archived show below

You can also right-click (or control-click) on the show's title in yellow letters in the embedded player above and select "download linked file . . ."

In tonight's interview, we touched on these topics (among others) -- feel free to follow the links below to explore some of those subjects further!

Also, here is a link to check out my July conversation with David Whitehead (a video interview). 

Hope everyone enjoyed tonight's interview and hope you will come visit again soon!

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Coming up! LIVE! On Truth Frequency Radio

Live! This Monday night, October 20, 2014 at 10:00 pm Eastern, 9:00 pm Central, and 7:00 pm Pacific time, don't miss a conversation between host David Whitehead of Truth Frequency Radio and Undying Stars author David Mathisen!

Of course, the show will also be available on the web afterwards for listening at any time, downloading to a mobile device, etc. But, if you want to participate in the conversation with questions or comments, be sure to tune in live at or your local station if it carries the show. 

The call-in number for the program will be 1-866-378-7844.

David Whitehead and I had a pre-recorded video conversation back in July of this year, which you can find here. He is an accomplished martial artist, a 3rd degree black belt in jiu jitsu in fact, and teaches professionally at his Warrior Arts Academy in Toronto. He also runs The World Was Meant to Be Free and is a big contributor to Modern Knowledge.

I'm really looking forward to talking again with David -- I'm sure it will be a great time and hope you will join us!

Just one thing, though -- please don't ask about the celestial foundations of some specific myth or story and expect that I will be able to have an answer on the spot! As I wrote recently, it often takes some careful analysis, and I may need to actually "sleep on it"

Answers from the land of dreams

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

One very strong reason to suspect that the "Star Myth hypothesis" is correct is the predictive power of the model. If the world's mythologies and sacred traditions are in fact built upon a common system of celestial metaphor, then it should be possible to examine an unfamiliar or previously unexamined myth or sacred story and, based upon knowledge of the general system and familiarity with the types of clues that are typically present (plus familiarity with the general characteristics of the most important constellations and the characteristics of the zodiac signs) tease out the likely celestial correspondence upon which the story is built.

This is the process that I have followed in deconstructing several of the myths examined and discussed in previous posts, including the myth of Ares imprisoned in a brazen cauldron thirteen months (and rescued by Hermes), or the myth of the lustful Zeus pursuing Aphrodite unsuccessfully (and of Hermes successfully seducing Aphrodite), or the Biblical land flowing with milk and honey (heaven or paradise or the promised land).

In each of those cases, I did not know the connections when I first started looking for the celestial foundations. To my knowledge, these particular celestial connections in these particular myths have not been explicated before. When I began the analysis of the story in question, I had to look for the clues in the stories and then look in the most likely direction based upon those clues. In some of the posts linked above, I describe that process or at least indicate where the clues caused me to start looking. The post about the prophet Elisha and the two she-bears discusses the same process of analysis and discovery.

This process is not always instantaneous, and even if you have a lot of familiarity with the process and know the patterns and likely places to look based on the clues, the answer will not always be obvious at first. Sometimes, the answer may seem to elude your grasp. Sometimes, you may despair of ever unlocking the secret, and there may be some which will never divulge their secrets -- although the answer may eventually present itself in unexpected ways.

As an example, in the most recent discussion of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, I began thinking about their identity when I wrote an earlier post in which I wanted to demonstrate how the metaphorical or allegorical or celestial or gnostic understanding of the ancient sacred stories tends to unite humanity (because it teaches that these metaphors demonstrate a truth which applies to each incarnate man or woman), while the literal interpretation which has predominated exegesis of the ancient texts often tends to divide humanity (such as has historically happened with the story of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, with scholars trying to determine which sub-sets of humanity are descended from Shem, which from Ham, and which from Japheth, often using their conclusions to support institutionalized racism -- which would be impossible to do if it were recognized that these three characters are each groups of stars).

In that post showing that the sacred celestial metaphors actually refute racism and sexism, the celestial foundations of the story of Adam and Eve and the Serpent as well as the celestial identity of Noah (the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth) were presented as strong arguments that these stories cannot be used to support racist or sexist ideologies.

However, and at the time that I wrote that particular post, I had not yet reached a conclusion as to the possible celestial identities of Shem, Ham or Japheth! I knew that if Noah was a celestial figure and thus allegorical or metaphorical, then it stands to reason that Shem, Ham and Japheth are also metaphorical and cannot be used to argue for the actual literal origin of one subset of humanity versus another (well, they can and they have been used to argue that way, but if Shem, Ham and Japheth are celestial than it is pretty clear that such arguments are badly mistaken). But as of October 14th, I still did not know which constellations or groups of stars might correspond to Shem, Ham and Japheth. As far as I could tell, there were no discussions of their celestial identity from any of the previous researchers who have examined the celestial connections of the ancient myths.

When I went to sleep on the night of October 14th, I still had no idea what the connection might be.  But then a strange thing happened: I woke up in the morning of October 15th and knew exactly who they were. I had been awake for about fifteen minutes or so and the whole picture presented itself. My mind must have been working on the question through the night, and received the answer from the mysterious world of dreams (or the subconscious, as we usually refer to it today). That solution to the identities of Shem, Ham and Japheth is offered for the reader's consideration in the post entitled "Shem, Ham and Japheth" along with illustrations and reasons why I believe it is probably the celestial pattern for the story.

I have of course heard of other examples of this phenomenon, in which solutions to problems we cannot seem to solve in our waking hours present themselves almost miraculously in a dream, but this particular incident was the first time I have experienced it myself to such a degree that I could say for certain that I did not have the information when I went to sleep and I did have it when I woke up the next morning. Unlike some of the examples from history, I do not remember any actual dreams related to the question at all -- the answer was simply there in the morning, once the fog of sleep started to clear away.

Historical examples abound of people who were trying to solve various questions and report receiving the answer in dreams or in their sleep, or in day-dreams in which they "saw" the answer (suggesting that they were at least partially slipping into the dreamworld or a slightly different state of consciousness than the "alert problem-solving" state). The most famous of these is probably the discovery of the structure of the benzine ring, by August Kekule, who reported that he finally saw the solution to the elusive question of the chemical structure of benzine one day in 1865 when he slipped into a sort of reverie and received a vision of a snake seizing its own tail in its mouth (the famous ancient symbol of the ouroboros, which also has a clear celestial analog, as discussed in The Undying Stars).

Other examples which might be offered of this fairly well-known and accepted phenomenon include the work of the mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887 - 1920), who apparently credited some or even most of his numerous mathematical breakthroughs to visitations in dreams of a particular  manifestation of the goddess Lakshmi (a daughter of Durga or an aspect of Durga) who was his family's protective goddess, and who would appear to him in his sleep and would sometimes write formulas on a sort of "screen formed by flowing blood, as it were" -- formulas which he would remember in the morning and would then verify with his own analysis.

It is interesting to note as an aside that this particular aspect of the goddess Lakshmi has a husband who is a powerful lion-man deity (this is significant because Virgo follows Leo through the night sky, and Durga and many other goddesses who are almost certainly manifestations of the sign of Virgo ride on the backs of a lion or are pulled in a chariot by lions or sit on a throne flanked by one or more lions).

As unbelievable as it may sound that Ramanujan would receive information in his sleep which he would then set to work verifying in an "alert problem-solving" state of consciousness the next day, I can now say that this is very similar to the experience I recently had with the solution I received to the question of the identity of Shem, Ham and Japheth: the solution was there in the morning when I woke up, but I still had to take the time to verify that it made sense given the constellations and the scriptural passage in question (and I believe that it makes perfect sense, based on numerous additional points of confirmation that I discovered in my "waking" examination of the solution that had come to me in the night).

There are many, many more examples that could be offered of this same phenomenon, including musicians who report that memorable songs came to them in dreams, writers of fiction who report gaining inspiration for a novel in dreams, and inventors who report receiving a dream-vision that solved some knotty problem with an invention that they were working on.

I believe that this phenomenon can be clearly seen to be related to the subject of the shamanic worldview discussed in numerous previous posts -- a worldview, in fact, which I believe to lie at the heart of what the world's sacred celestial traditions were trying to convey to us. While it is possible to debate some of the finer points of the shamanic worldview, it is probably safe to assert that it includes the belief in a realm which is beyond the material realm, and the belief that it is sometimes necessary to make contact with the other realm in order to gain information which cannot be gained through other means, or to make changes which will impact the material realm and which cannot be effected through any other method.

It is quite possible that we all encounter some aspect of this other realm when we dream, and even when we "day-dream" or slip into a "reverie" or dream-like state while still technically "awake" (as with the incident reported by August Kekule and the vision of the serpent  biting its own tail). It is notable that the "other realm" of the shamanic worldview is described in many different ways in many different cultures, but that in the Aboriginal cultures of Australia it is most often described by the name of Dreamtime.

I believe that this discussion of solutions which arrive through contact with the non-material realm of dreams or waking reveries also relates directly to the essay on metaphor published over at the Selfless Self Help website (see link and discussion here), because in both cases there is a sort of "sudden crossing" of a barrier or a chasm between "not knowing" and "knowing" -- and what is more, the crossing of that gap depends upon the ability to transcend the strictly literal or material or physical realm. A metaphor requires the mind to "see beyond" the literal sense of the metaphor, to "break free" of the bounds of the literal thing being described by the metaphor. Going into a dream-state, of course, also involves letting go of the conscious grip on the literal or material world, and slipping off into a non-physical and decidedly non-literal world instead.

Even further, it should be noted that this entire subject seems to directly support some of the points that Graham Hancock made in his powerful TED talk entitled "The War on Consciousness," in which he argued that some states of consciousness are accepted and encouraged and "privileged" in modern western society, while others are rejected and ridiculed and marginalized -- and that there is a real danger and a real imbalance in this regrettable situation.

Finally, I must point out that I am not offering this recent experience regarding the receiving of a solution to the celestial identity of Shem, Ham and Japheth overnight in order to try to hold myself or my experience up as special: on the contrary, I find it somewhat embarrassing to have to admit that I was really pretty much stumped on the solution to the riddle and that the answer basically came to me from "somewhere else" with no "conscious effort" on my part. However, I am taking the risk of describing how this happened because I think the entire subject is actually a very important one, and after all if Kekule and Ramanujan (and many others) can admit that their discoveries came from the realm of dreams, we can all feel secure that this phenomenon is nothing that we need to be afraid to talk about.

Perhaps many or even most readers can think of a time in their own lives (or even multiple times) when something similar happened to them. It is a phenomenon which certainly seems to have many important ramifications, and one worth pondering very carefully.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Clothing spirit with matter and raising it up again

Jacob Karlins founded Selfless Self Help to teach meditation for everyone and to help them to integrate meditation into their daily lives, with an emphasis on reconnecting with the natural world around us by meditating in nature and exploring how nature can be part of their personal growth.

He reached out to me to ask if I wouldn't mind, since I've been writing about metaphor here on the blog, writing something about metaphor itself: its use and power, and the meaning of metaphor. It was a subject I was happy to consider more closely -- and the best way to consider something more closely, of course, is to write about it! So, I was happy that Jake had asked.

In response, I wrote the following essay -- the first couple paragraphs are here, and you can read the rest by heading over to Jake's blog to check it out.  Hope you enjoy! _/\_

Clothing spirit with matter and raising it up again:
How metaphor transcends and transforms the material realm

All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them . . .
Matthew 13:34

Although we have been taught to take them literally, or at least believe that they once were intended to be taken literally, the ancient sacred texts and traditions of humanity can be shown to be metaphor, metaphor of the highest order, metaphor on the grandest scale, and metaphor exquisitely designed to awaken us to the most profound spiritual truths about ourselves and our universe.

And there is a good and cogent reason that these sacred scriptures were built of metaphor from first to last, just as all great literature is built to some degree of metaphor: metaphor is the key which undoes the lock of mental prisons, the divine messenger which carries us instantly across the chasm from darkness to understanding, the elixir which transforms the earth-bound mortal into one who can walk through walls and even soar into heavenly realms.

Metaphor comes down from the realm of spirit, the realm of forms, the realm of the ideal, and inhabits gross matter, for the purpose of lifting it up again to the realm of heavenly glory, dragging us along in its train.

All metaphor, almost by definition, involves a "leap to the other side" -- a moment of lightning-like recognition of connection between two things, two concepts, two ideas which only a second before did not seem to be connected at all, in any way.

The poet blazes just such lightning-bolt pathways between two things which were not previously joined: the more unique and untrodden the pathway, the more the poetry affects us.

Click here to read the rest of the essay over at Sellfless Selfhelp!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Undying Stars on Alchemy Radio!

Welcome to new visitors from Alchemy Radio (and returning friends)! You're "most welcome" and I'm most happy to see you!

Special thanks to DJ John Gibbons for inviting me over to Alchemy Radio for a little chat, and for being such a gracious, patient, and insightful host!

Here is the interview (which can also be reached simply by clicking the image above):

Below, please find a table of links related to some of the topics we discussed in our conversation, which can serve as a launching point for those who wish to explore them further.

First, however, I must correct myself on one egregious error I made during the interview! Yes, it's true: although I wish I never said stupid things, it actually happens more often than I care to admit! In the interview above, I made a major gaffe by saying (more than once) that Virgo is ahead of Leo when of course she follows Leo across the sky each night.

Believe me when I say that I actually do know this on an almost-instinctual level (or at least I should, as many times as I've blogged about it, put together diagrams which show it, and looked at the two constellations in the night sky), but I was talking way faster than I was thinking, and what I was thinking about was the motion of the sun through the zodiac wheel, which is the motion which is most important when considering the Samson story that I was trying to explain (see below).

Of course, the rotation of the earth each day causes the constellations to move from east to west each night, just like the sun goes from east to west during the day. However, due to earth's progress around the sun throughout the year, the constellations actually rise a bit earlier each night (due to the "forward motion" of the earth), and that causes the sun to rise "in" an earlier zodiac constellation every month.

Therefore, Virgo follows Leo as they cross the sky each night due to the rotation of the earth, but the sun goes through the sign of Leo first as we go through the year (Leo in that way "leads" Virgo). This is the motion that I was envisioning in my head as I was talking in the interview, but I kept talking about Virgo being ahead of Leo when "crossing the sky," which is totally incorrect and very confusing to first-time listeners who might be unfamiliar with this whole system!

So sorry for any confusion, but I hope everyone will forgive that and enjoy the interview!

For help in undoing any confusion I almost certainly must have caused, check out the links below:

Thanks for listening and for visiting, and hope to see you back again soon!

special music: David Bowie, "Starman"

Shem, Ham and Japheth

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

In The Undying Stars, I explain that I employ a very broad understanding of the terms "literalist" or "literalism" in categorizing approaches to ancient scriptures. 

On page ii of the preface, for instance, I write that: 
For the purposes of the discussions in this book, all those teachings which assert that these scriptures are primarily intended to be understood as describing literal historical figures are grouped under the term 'literalist," while recognizing that there still exists a wide range within literalism regarding hermeneutics and doctrine.
In other words, in this very broad application of the term, interpreters using a "literalist" hermeneutic may also acknowledge many deep layers of additional metaphorical, typological, and even esoteric meaning in addition to the literal interpretation of what is being described. But if those interpreters are of the opinion that one cannot jettison the literal and historical event while holding on to the additional metaphorical layers (and this position characterizes most of what has been considered "orthodox" doctrine in the west for the past seventeen centuries), then that is what I call a literalist hermeneutic.

Saying an interpretation is broadly "literalist" is not intended to imply that those using that interpretation are unaware or resistant to additional layers of meaning -- but it does imply that they would be most uncomfortable, or even vehemently opposed, to the suggestion that a passage is entirely metaphorical and that it did not also take place in literal history largely as described. 

As I further explain in a recent interview on Gnostic Warrior Radio, I also believe that everyone is entitled to examine the evidence and reach his or her own conclusion regarding the degree to which the ancient sacred mythologies of humanity should be taken literally. 

However, I qualified that statement by saying that when a literalist hermeneutic is used to support systematic violation of the inherent human rights of other men and women, then it should be clear that some kind of serious mistake has been made, and the connection between the literalist understanding and the violation of natural universal law should be closely examined and the points being used to falsely condone such violations should be exposed and argued against (while at the same time, of course, the criminal behavior that they are being used to support should be stopped and restitution made as appropriate to those whose rights have been violated).

Unfortunately, it can be clearly demonstrated that there have been many historical examples of the use of literalist interpretations of the scriptures to support massive, institutionalized, systemic violations of natural universal law, including atrocities which can be seen to fit the modern definitions of genocide, including the forced conversions to Christianity at the point of a sword by the armies of Charlemagne in northern Europe and the brutal destruction of previous forms of worship and culture, the horrific atrocities visited upon the Native American peoples of Central, South, and North America and the deliberate and systematic destruction of their way of life, and the longstanding system of racist intergenerational slavery instituted with the trans-Atlantic slave trade to the Americas following their "discovery" by Columbus and his companions. 

If all of the examples of literalist interpretation of ancient scriptures in the previous paragraph happen to involve the literal interpretation of the Biblical scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, I believe that is because the virulent literalist version of Christianity which was successively instituted in the western Roman Empire during the decades stretching from the reign of the emperor Commodus through to the emperor Constantine and finally to the emperor Theodosius was created to impose literalism in place of the esoteric, shamanic, and (using the term broadly) gnostic understanding of sacred myth which had been present before and which the literalists set out to suppress and even destroy.

As the previous post entitled "The sacred celestial metaphors refute racism and sexism" argues, literalist approaches to the scripture, which must by definition assert that the stories describe literal historical events enacted by literal historical human beings (and sometimes divine or semi-divine beings) on earth, often end up teaching the exact opposite of the message that would be reached through a metaphorical, allegorical, or esoteric approach to the text.

For example, in that previous post, it was alleged that the literal understanding of the Genesis 9 episode involving Shem, Ham (or Ham's son Canaan) and Japheth and the inebriated Noah (their father) has been used to divide humanity in the past, because the literal approach sees Shem, Ham (and Canaan) and Japheth as literal, historical individuals (or at least literal, historical nations of people), and then tries to trace the lineage of descent to various groups living today.

If, however, Shem, Ham (and Canaan) and Japheth -- along with their father Noah -- are all seen to be metaphorical representation of events depicted in the stars and constellations, then a very different conclusion can be reached . . . because it is much more unlikely that lineages and genealogies of living groups of men and women will be traced back to constellations, since constellations are not normally thought of as being capable of procreating and bearing children. 

The metaphorical understanding can actually lead to a message that unites humanity, rather than dividing humanity the way the literalist interpretations can often tend to do. This is because the assertion that we are "descended" in some way from the celestial figures of Shem, Ham and Japheth can only be seen metaphorically, and thus it is teaching us something about the human condition -- something that applies to all mankind (after all, we all share the same stars over our heads: the stars are global in scope and do not belong to one specific group of people living in one specific point on the planet).

All that being said, the previous post did not actually trace out the celestial origins of Shem, Ham and Japheth, but merely noted that Noah can be shown to be closely connected to the zodiac constellation of Aquarius (this is detailed in The Undying Stars, pages 47 - 50), and that if their father is a constellation, then Shem, Ham and Japheth cannot be literal human beings but must be metaphorical as well.

But, can we find any celestial connections for Shem, Ham and Japheth, based on the clues which are provided in the ancient Hebrew scriptures?

Indeed, I believe we can! And, as far as I know, these connections that I am about to articulate have not been argued previously. This is my interpretation of the text, and its relationship to the stars, based on my understanding of the celestial system of metaphor which can be seen to be operating in the sacred myths and traditions of cultures around the globe and across the millennia.

I believe that the critical clues regarding the identity of Shem, Ham and Japheth can be found in the events related in Genesis 9:20-27 (the same verses which have been used in the past to argue that "Hamitic" people or those deemed to be descended from Ham have been "cursed" and can be made to serve those claiming to be the descendants of Ham's two brothers).

There, we read:
20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.
24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him.
25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
26 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
This incident can be seen depicted in art, above in an image from 1493, and also in the image below from around 1360 -- in the second image, the action of Shem and Japheth to suspend a sheet between the two of them and walk backwards to cover up their inebriated father's nakedness without seeing it (as they would if they walked the sheet forward) is perhaps more clearly illustrated:

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

In both pictures, Ham is labeled (on the far left in the image just above, and in the center of the two brothers in the image at the top of this post, where he is labeled as Cham, since an /h/ can be a "pharyngeal fricative" in non-English languages, particularly Hebrew, which means that Ham is very probably related to Khem, which is the ancient name of the land of Egypt).

Now, if our identification of Noah with Aquarius is accurate, we must ask ourselves if there are any constellations nearby which might resemble a "sheet," and in particular a sheet which is "held up in between" two other figures, so to speak.

Below is a screenshot of the region of the night sky surrounding the constellation Aquarius, taken from the helpful and user-friendly Neave Planetarium online browser-based application. The constellations are not outlined with the user-friendly outlines suggested by H. A. Rey (whose system I wholly endorse for visualizing the constellations). Those outlines will be supplied in the chart which will follow, but the screenshot below is provided so that you can see what the region looks like without all the labels, and so that you can see that there is indeed a great square "sheet" which is suspended in between two other celestial figures: it is the Great Square of Pegasus (labeled in the next diagram) and it is suspended between the two fish of Pisces (who are tied together by a long, V-shaped "band"): 

I believe that Shem and Japheth are the two "fishes" of Pisces, and the "sheet" which they lay upon their shoulders and carry backwards in order to cover their inebriated father's nakedness (he being the constellation Aquarius) is in fact the Great Square of Pegasus.

If the two "good brothers" are the two carrying the sheet (that is, carrying the Great Square), then who is playing the role of the third brother, Ham? Who is the one who angers Noah by seeing his nakedness, and who is subsequently "cursed"?

Look again at the diagram above (and the chart below in which I have outlined all the pertinent constellation-actors in the story, with labels), and you will see that Ham is almost certainly the zodiac constellation Capricorn, who can be seen to be "staring" almost straight at the "nakedness" of the drunken Aquarius (that is to say, at the part of Aquarius which could be interpreted as referring to a specific and distinctive part of the male anatomy, which feature of the constellation Aquarius gave rise to the story's reference to the "nakedness" of Noah in the first place):

In the above diagram, all the players upon the celestial stage are labeled. We have Noah, who has become inebriated and passed out (spilling his wine out of his wine-jug). We have Ham, in the figure of Capricorn, seeing his father's nakedness (Genesis 9:22). And we have the "sheet," in the figure of the Great Square of Pegasus, being born upon the shoulders of Shem and Japheth, who in this instance are the two fishes of the zodiac constellation of Pisces. 

Note additionally that Ham (the son who receives the "curse" in Genesis 9) is associated with one of the two signs that are found at the very bottom of the zodiac wheel (Capricorn the Goat, who shares the position at the very Pit of the year alongside Sagittarius). This position is consistent with Capricorn's association with the "cloven-hoofed" devil figure, and also with the concept of the "scape-goat" (who receives the curse -- exactly as Ham is seen to do, in this passage).

Note also that this identification of Ham with Capricorn at the bottom of the lower half of the zodiac wheel is consistent with the arguments presented in the post entitled "No hell below us . . ." that stories in the Old Testament about going "down to Egypt" or being imprisoned in Egypt refer to the lower half of the zodiac wheel. Remember that the name Ham when pronounced with a "hard 'h'" or "fricative h" can be seen to be closely related to the name Khem, or Egypt. Because the Old Testament system of allegory uses "the Promised Land" for their "upper half of the wheel," they use Egypt as the lower half of the wheel, whereas in the Iliad of ancient Greece, Troy and the Trojans play the role of the lower half of the wheel, and Achaea and the Achaeans or Danaans play the role of the upper half.

These details should help cement the argument being presented for the identity of Ham and his father and brothers in the constellations, and to help us see that none of this is literal: we don't have to be sad for a literal Ham who received this curse from a literal Noah, and we can immediately see that any racist ideologies which try to support their ideas with the story of Shem, Ham and Japheth are gravely mistaken.

The color-coding used in the star-chart above (with Shem in red, Japheth in green and Ham in blue) is consistent with that used in some of the many maps which have been prepared throughout the centuries to identify actual groups of people who are supposedly descended from these scriptural characters (based on a literalist interpretation, of course, since it would be difficult to argue that any actual people-groups on earth are physically descended from a group of stars). 

In the map below from 1839 by Charles Monin, for instance, people deemed to be descendants of Shem are underlined in red (as is the broad label across the middle of the map designating the extended family of Shem), people deemed to be descendants of Japheth are underlined in green, and people deemed to be descendants of Ham are underlined in blue. The three brothers can even be seen to be wearing those colors (red for Shem, green for Japheth in his headband, and blue for Ham) in the 1493 artwork depicting the scene at the top of this post.

You can go to the actual map at its address on Wikimedia commons here, and click on the map and enlarge it, and then click on it again to enlarge still further in order to read the many labels on this fascinating map (based as it is upon what I believe to be a misguided literalist hermeneutic). 

Much more could be said about the significance of the fact that Shem, Ham and Japheth are actually celestial figures and not literal historical human beings who walked the earth, but some of the most important points perhaps are those that have been made many times previously, one of which is that if the scriptures are saying that we are all descended from the stars, then this teaching implies that we are connected to the stars ("as above, so below") and by extension that we are connected to all the universe and to all of nature as well. 

This also means that every human being you ever meet is a "little universe," containing the entire universe and thus a wondrous creation worthy of respect and dignity, which can be expressed in the greeting or the mudra for "Namaste" as well as the ancient word and hand-gesture for "Amen."

Additionally, if the scriptures are telling us that we are all descended from the stars or from the realm of the stars, this can metaphorically be understood as teaching us something about the cosmology of the universe and about human existence itself -- and can be interpreted as teaching the existence of a spirit world from which we and in fact everything in this material world are somehow "projected," and which we and every other person we meet and all of nature around us somehow contain as well (the "divine spark" buried in each incarnate human being, and pulsing below the surface of every rock, leaf, tree, bird, and beast and so forth).

Once again, the metaphorical and celestial understanding of the mythical story can be seen to be a unifying and uplifting message (as well as a shamanic message) -- which is very different from the way this story has often been used to divide and to oppress based upon a literalistic understanding of the passage. Now that you understand its celestial foundations, you can take this unifying and uplifting message into your own life, and -- if appropriate -- share it with others.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The sacred celestial metaphors refute racism and sexism

If the sacred scriptures of humanity are not intended to be understood literally, then trying to read and understand them literally might be expected to lead to some terrible errors, distortions, and even reversals of their actual intended message. 

There is simply mountainous evidence which strongly suggests that the world's sacred traditions and ancient scriptures were actually not intended to be understood literally. This statement includes the scriptures which are included in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

Saying that they were not intended to be understood literally should not be understood to imply that they do not contain profound teachings: on the contrary, the myths of the world (including those in the Bible) do indeed contain profound teachings -- but these teachings can actually be completely reversed if they are taken literally. 

As Alvin Boyd Kuhn wrote in Lost Light in 1940, "the sacred scriptures of the world are a thousand times more precious as myths than as alleged history" (24, italics in original).

An example of the way that the actual message can be turned around to mean the opposite by literal misinterpretation can be seen in what has happened to the message, which can be clearly shown to proceed from an allegorical and esoteric understanding of the world's "star myths,"  that each and every man and woman contains a divine spiritual element, which has been plunged into and nearly buried (or drowned) inside our physical, material body (please see discussions here and here). 

This message is still taught in India, for example, and can be seen in the greeting "Namaste" or "Namaskaram," as discussed in the previous post entitled "Namaste and Amen." There, we explored the fairly indisputable teaching that the greeting "Namaste" conveys a meaning which can be expressed as "I bow to the divinity in you" or "the divine in me recognizes the divine in you." 

In that post, we also explored the fascinating evidence which suggests that this concept was anciently present in the Biblical scriptures as well, for instance in the New Testament utterance of "Amen" or "Amen and Amen," a word which is strongly associated with the exact same hand gesture as that associated with "Namaste," and a word which can be demonstrated to relate to the ancient Egyptian concept of the hidden deity (Amun or Amen). We also saw that the ancient Greek author and philosopher Plutarch, who  lived from about AD 45 to AD 120 in the Roman Empire, describes the same word "Amen" or "Amoun" as expressing the desire to make manifest the hidden God, and at the same time as being a common greeting for anyone: both of which concepts together can be seen to imply that greeting someone with "Amen" was at one time understood to mean much the same thing as greeting them with "Namaste" -- and understood as such in "the west."

However, the teaching that we must each search for and reawaken the divine in ourselves, while at the same time desiring to see the hidden divine in others shine forth as well, would be viewed very suspiciously by most representatives of literal Christianity, even to this day. In other words, those who interpret the scriptures literally have arrived at a conclusion which is almost the opposite conclusion as that articulated above and supported by a celestial, esoteric, and allegorical interpretation of the same scriptures: so opposite, in fact, that the teaching of the "hidden divinity within each man and woman" might be strongly condemned or even declared as heretical (even to the point of carrying severe sanctions in previous centuries).

Another example of the terrible misinterpretations which can arise from seeing the stories in the Old and New Testaments as literal history rather than as celestial metaphors designed to convey profound esoteric truths is the way that characters in the stories have been claimed to be the ancestors of historical peoples or groups -- and the way that this literalizing of the stories has been used to create divisions between the different supposed races or tribes or families of mankind. 

There are many clear examples in the history of widespread teaching that some descendants of one or another scriptural character are either specially blessed or terribly cursed, and the use of these literal misinterpretations to support institutionalized racism or wars or enslavement or other criminal oppressions of one sort or another.

Fortunately, most of these overtly racist misinterpretations took place in previous centuries and are much less common today, and are even condemned by contemporary teachers who still believe the scriptures should primarily be understood and interpreted literally. But the fact remains that interpretations which see actual groups of living human beings as being descended from characters who may in fact be completely allegorical -- who may in fact be constellations in the night sky or planets in our solar system -- invite huge errors and conclusions which may in fact be completely the opposite from the intended allegorical message.

For example, even to this day, depictions of Adam and Eve might make some who look at those pictures wonder if Adam and Eve were members of one single "race" -- and in the past, some have taught that Adam and Eve were originally of one racial type but that God then cursed some of their descendants due to transgressions, based on literal readings of the stories of Cain and Abel (in which a curse or a "mark" is put onto Cain, in Genesis 4), or the story of Noah's sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth (in which a curse and a state of servitude is uttered against Ham's son Canaan, who is told he will be a "servant of servants" to Shem and Japheth, in Genesis 9).  

These types of racist doctrines stemming from literalist misinterpretation can be demonstrated to have been used to garner support or suppress opposition to the establishment and continuation of racist forms of slavery and later segregation, for instance. And, while some proponents of literalist interpretations might argue that this type of racist teaching is a thing of the past, the literalist interpretation of the Adam and Eve story is still used to this day in some quarters to support the suppression of women's rights in relation to those of men. 

I have also in my own lifetime heard some Bible teachers argue that Adam and Eve were probably "reddish" in skin tone, based upon the fact that the name Adam indicates the color red, and thus probably indicates that reddish clay was used in Adam's original creation -- and that based upon this, all the variations of skin color seen around the world probably stemmed from that original reddish hue.

But the stories in the sacred scriptures or traditions (whether they are scriptures preserved in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, or any of the other sacred traditions or writings of humanity from around the globe) should never be used to support or to excuse the violation of the inherent and inalienable rights of women versus men, or the inherent and inalienable rights of one group of the human family versus those of another, based upon the actions of some supposed progenitor such as Eve or Cain or Ham or Shem or Japheth or Canaan or Cush or any of the others.

As explained in The Undying Stars and in numerous previous blog posts on this subject, the ancient sacred stories of humanity are almost entirely built upon a common system of celestial metaphor, and they describe the motions of the sun, moon, stars, and visible planets -- not the actions of literal men and women on earth who then had offspring whom we can find on earth today.

As the image above declares, Adam and Eve can be shown to be personifications of the constellations Bootes and Virgo -- and the Serpent who deceives them in the Garden is Hydra, a celestial serpent nearby to Eve (Virgo). I explain the clear celestial connections in more detail in these "amateur videos" here and here which go into the Adam and Eve story (I'm just experimenting with those videos right now, and will work on creating videos of better quality and tempo in the future). I also discuss this particular scripture text in my recent interview on Gnostic Warrior Radio.

If Adam and Eve (and the Serpent) are actually in the stars, then the ancient texts which declare that we are all somehow "children" of Adam and Eve must be speaking in a metaphorical sense, and not a literal sense. It could be the metaphorical sense that we are all made up of elements which were once part of stars, as some cosmological models teach -- although I do not believe that this interpretation is actually the principle and most profound message that this story was intended to convey. 

The teaching that all men and women are the children of stars who were "cast out" of the realm of Paradise -- just as the constellations Virgo and then Bootes are "cast out" of the starry sky when they sink down into the western horizon due to the rotation of the earth on its axis -- conveys the same message as that described above in the discussion of "Namaste and Amen." It is the message that every single man and woman in some sense came down here from the spirit realm, the realm of fire and air, the realm of the stars -- and is now temporarily plunged into a body of earth and water (the "clay" of which the texts tell us Adam was fashioned). 

This is not a message that divides humanity: it should be a message that unites humanity. It should not be used to elevate any one group at the expense of another, including women or men (since both are equally shown to be -- metaphorically speaking -- stars who have plunged into the earth). In fact, it also includes the teaching that Adam and Eve's "eyes were opened" due to the action of the woman, which can be seen to be a shamanic message in that her action gave them a kind of spiritual sight, an ability to see beyond what can be seen with the natural senses -- an opening of the eyes beyond the physical act of seeing which they already possessed in the story, but which was then augmented by a spiritual "second sight."

However, the specific details of the story can be seen to derive directly from the actual organization of the constellations in the night sky: it is the Serpent who leads the Woman, and the Woman who leads the Man, due to the fact that the Serpent is to the west of (and thus crosses the sky ahead of) the Woman, and the Woman is to the west of the Man and so "leads him" as well due to the earth's rotation towards the east (causing all the celestial objects, including the stars but also the sun, to rise in the east and set in the west).

The Woman is the one who "plucks" the fruit, because she is the one with the outstretched arm (see the diagram above), and she is the one who then offers it to her husband by reason of the same outstretched arm.

No one is literally descended from Adam and Eve, if they are constellations in the sky. Thus, all the racist interpretations of past centuries, which posited that some members of the human family continue to resemble a literal Adam and Eve, while others have been "marked" or "cursed" or somehow made to look different because of sin or divine sanction, can be seen to be completely wrong and without a shred of textual support.

Similarly, it can be shown with abundant evidence that the Old Testament figure of Noah is closely connected with the zodiac figure of Aquarius (see the diagram below). The correspondences have been detailed at length by other researchers, and some of them are outlined in my book. The diagram below shows the stars of Aquarius, as outlined by the ever-helpful methodology of H. A. Rey

One can immediately grasp that Noah, the character most closely associated with the Flood, might be related to the zodiac sign of the Water-Bearer. But there is also the idea that the constellation is pouring out water . . . or wine, and Noah is described in the Old Testament scriptures as the first to cultivate the grape for the purpose of making wine (see Genesis 9). If Noah is not a literal person but rather a constellation in the zodiac, then his three sons Shem, Ham and Japheth are presumably not intended to be understood as literal either -- and families of mankind cannot be said to descend directly (and literally) from any of them, any more than they can be said to descend directly and literally from Noah, or from Adam and Eve.

The ugly racist doctrines of previous centuries regarding a "Hamitic curse" or the identification of some men and women living on earth as members of the family of Ham (whose son was cursed by Noah and told he would serve Shem and Japheth) can thus be shown to be equally without support. Interpreting the ninth chapter of Genesis in a literal manner opens the door to all kinds of misinterpretations, but if Noah is seen to be Aquarius and the story seen to be a celestial allegory with a profound esoteric message that has nothing to do with a literal interpretation, then this enormous pitfall is avoided altogether.

The story upon which the curse of Ham is based, in Genesis 9 verses 20 through the end, involves Noah becoming drunk upon the wine that came from his cultivation of a vineyard after the Flood, and the somewhat mysterious verses that declare that "Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two bretheren without" (verse 22).

The scripture text itself does not tell us exactly what this might mean, but if we understand that it is celestial and metaphorical, one might look at the diagram below and suddenly perceive what this text is all about.

Once again, if the text is describing the details of the constellation Aquarius, then the entire literalist interpretation of the "curse of Ham" which has tragically been employed in past decades and past centuries to excuse, justify or condone all sorts of violations of human freedom and inherent rights, is shown to be without standing.

Once again, the argument that these scriptures are not intended to be understood literally does not mean that these scriptures were not intended to convey profound spiritual truths. The story that depicts all humanity as descending from figures who are actually in the stars, and who must "pass through" a watery Flood which surrounds them on all sides, contains many esoteric teachings regarding the nature of human existence in our incarnate bodies (which, we are often reminded, are seven-eigths water). The teachings we can extract from these scriptures apply to all incarnate men and women, and should be seen as unifying and ultimately as uplifting. Sadly, because it is based on a major error, the literalist approach has often extracted the exact opposite message from this particular chapter of Genesis: a message that divides the human family, and which has been used to oppress and to enslave, rather than to uplift and to liberate.

If the scriptures left to humanity, and which around the globe can all be shown to be based upon a common system of celestial metaphor, are not intended to be taken literally, then trying to interpret them literally can lead to some very grave mistakes. Some passages are perhaps more prone to yield heinous misinterpretations than others. However, when we see these scriptures for what they truly are, we can see that they often teach exactly the opposite of what they have in some cases been made to teach during previous centuries -- and that these teachings should unite the human family, refute racism and sexism, and point the way to greater consciousness and the recognition of the inner divinity in all men and women.

Namaste _/\_