Tuesday, March 26, 2019

George Smith, 1840 - 1876

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

March 26 is the birthday of early Assyriologist George Smith, born this day in 1840.

He would play an important role in the discovery of decisive evidence for the close relation between the world's ancient myths and scriptures, in stark contrast to the prevailing paradigm which taught (and continues to teach) that the scriptures of the Bible are in a category unto themselves, set apart from the myths of all the other cultures of the world.

Decades before, in the 1840s and early 1850s, Austen Henry Layard (1817 - 1894) and Hormuzd Rassam (1826 - 1910) had discovered the site of the library of Ashurbanipal, last king of the Assyrian Empire, who had reigned from 668 BC to 627 BC. The library contained hundreds of thousands of fragmented clay tablets, inscribed with the cuneiform writing of ancient Mesopotamian civilization -- undecipherable at the time of this discovery. At least a  hundred thousand fragments were sent back to England, where they would be housed in the British Museum.*

Over the next decade, a team of scholars would unlock the mystery of the cuneiform writing system, and begin the painstaking process of translating some of the tablets from the library.

Into this quest to rediscover the literature and culture of ancient Mesopotamia entered George Smith, in his early twenties. In his 2006 account The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh, Professor David Damrosch of Harvard University writes:
George Smith's parents had no such academic illusions for their son, who was born in 1840 in the London district of Chelsea, at that time a seedy area of grimy tenements and high unemployment. They belonged to London's large, anonymous pool of unskilled labor -- even after George became famous, no one ever bothered to record his parent's occupations, or even their names. When George turned fourteen, his father took the sensible route of apprenticing the boy to a skilled trade. Apparently George's literary and artistic interests were already becoming evident, and so his father did the best he could, articling his son to the printing firm of Messrs. Bradbury and Evans, where he was put to work learning to engrave banknotes. 14
As Professor Damrosch explains, this apprenticeship not only provided young George Smith with sills that "would later serve him well in his work with cuneiform tablets" (14), but the location of his employment was fortuitous in that it was roughly a mile away from the museum at Great Russell Street:
It was natural for Bradbury and Evans to have located their printing firm just off Fleet Street, the center of the London newspaper industry, and this location made all the difference in Smith's life. If Bradbury and Evans had situated themselves another mile away from the museum, then Smith wouldn't have had the time to get to it during business hours, and he never would have made the discoveries that led to his new career. 16 - 17.
As it was, at the age of twenty, George Smith "began to haunt the Near Eastern collections at the British Museum." As Professor Damrosch goes on to explain, the nascent field of Assyriology was at that time in need of talent, providing "a rare chink in the armor of the British class structure" -- one in which a brilliant mind such as that of George Smith could gain access without the usual need for credentials, introductions, or connections (16). And, as it turns out, George Smith was a true genius, who saved up his money to purchase all the books published by the early Assyriologists and pored over them late into the night. He would later reveal a unique talent not only for learning and then translating the cuneiform system, but also for reassembling the shattered tablets by fitting together fragments from the various tens of thousands of broken pieces that were assembled in the museum's collection. He began spending his lunch hours in the museum on the three days of the week that the museum was open to the public, working on the ancient texts.

The abilities of the young banknote engraver were noticed by the Director of the Department of Antiquities, Samuel Birch (1813 - 1885), who eventually brought George Smith to the attention of Henry Creswicke Rawlinson (1810 - 1895) -- one of the three men whose efforts over a period of nearly ten years had succeeded in unlocking the cuneiform system itself. Professor Damrosch explains that as he observed Smith's volunteer work over the course of time, Rawlinson "was strongly impressed by his ability to piece tablets together, a task requiring an exceptional visual memory and manual dexterity in creating 'joins' of tablet fragments. A given tablet might have been broken into a dozen or more pieces, now widely dispersed among the hundred thousand fragments in the museum's collection" (30).

Rawlinson persuaded the museum to hire George Smith, and in 1867 he left his "well-paid  trade and regular employment" as an engraver, as E. A. Wallis Budge would later write in Rise & Progress of Assyriology, "to follow his literary bent" -- which the partners of the banknote printing firm considered "an act of pure folly" (107). Had he remained at his previous occupation, Budge notes, Smith "would undoubtedly have become one of the master-engravers of the nineteenth century."

As it was, however, George Smith would leave a different mark on history. One day in November of 1872, five years into his employment at the British Museum and at the age of 32 years old, George Smith was reading a tablet and he came across a passage describing a great Flood, and a boat resting on a mountain, and the sending out of birds to search for land! As Wallis Budge describes the scene, 
Smith took the tablet and began to read over the lines which Ready had brought to light [Robert Ready, a former tobbaconist, had developed secret proprietary methods for removing mineral deposits from the tablets and otherwise cleaning the surfaces so that parts of the ancient text which were obscured could be read again after thousands of years of neglect]; and when he saw that they contained the portion of the legend he had hoped to find there, he said, "I am the first man to read that after more than two thousand years of oblivion." Setting the tablet on the table, he jumped up and rushed about the room in a great state of excitement, and, to the astonishment of those present, began to undress himself! 153
The impact of this discovery was enormous, as Smith's astonishing reaction would indicate. He had just read an account with close parallels to the description of the Flood in Genesis, from a tablet written many centuries before the accepted date of the composition of the Pentateuch, and from a different culture which worshiped gods and goddesses such as Marduk and Enki and Ishtar.

Smith's paper describing the text of this "Deluge Tablet" (now known to be Tablet XI of the Gilgamesh cycle) was presented by Smith on December 3rd, 1872 before the Society of Biblical Archaeology, "and his discovery made a profound impression upon his hearers," as Wallis Budge writes on page 113 of Rise & Progress of Assyriology. Several politicians, scholars, and theologians were present. 

The implications of these parallels between the mythology of ancient Mesopotamia and the events and characters described in the Bible are profound. In many ways, they shatter the conventions and historical paradigms which frame our present-day understanding of ancient myth and history every bit as much as they rocked the foundations of the paradigm that was dominant in 1872. In many ways, we have yet to come to grips with the implications of this discovery -- implications so shattering that they caused George Smith to "rush about the room in a great state of excitement, and, to the astonishment of those present, begin to undress himself!"

The parallels between the myths of ancient Mesopotamia and the accounts in the Biblical scriptures are far-reaching and profound. But there are other parallels from other cultures which similarly reveal the undeniable truth that the events and figures found in the Bible belong to a world-wide system of myth and are by no means separate from the sacred traditions of other lands and even other continents. 

For example, there are numerous parallels between the events of the Odyssey of ancient Greece and events described in the gospels of the (so-called) New Testament, despite the fact that the events described in the gospels are supposed to have taken place at least eight centuries after the likely date of composition of the Odyssey. There are equally many parallels to be found between the Norse myths and the characters and events described in the Biblical scriptures -- some of which I explore in Star Myths of the World, Volume Four (Norse mythology).

The parallels go even deeper than the similar patterns between characters and events, because (as can now be demonstrated in detail, backed up by abundant and compelling evidence) these characters and events are based upon specific constellations which were imbued with distinctive characteristics and significance in an ancient system of celestial metaphor -- an ancient system which was in use world-wide, from Mesopotamia and the Near East to the islands of the South Pacific; from the continents of Australia and Africa in the southern hemisphere to the farthest northern climes of Scandinavia; from ancient Egypt and ancient India to ancient China and even Japan.

Like the system of cuneiform, which was forgotten and unreadable for more than two thousand years, until it was rediscovered and deciphered during the nineteenth century, the world's ancient myths are speaking to us in an unrecognized language of celestial metaphor -- but this language can be deciphered. As we begin to do so, the astonishing message of the ancient myths can be heard once again, with life-changing and indeed civilization-changing impact. 

George Smith left the mortal world under somewhat mysterious circumstances at the age of 36, in the year 1876. As Professor Damrosch notes, "all modern scholarship on Babylonian literature stems from his pathbreaking work" (77). It is difficult to read his story and not see him as being uniquely gifted to carry out the work that he did, at the right place and moment in time, with the right talents and abilities and passions. He was the first to find undeniable proof of the close parallels between the Biblical scriptures and the ancient Mesopotamian texts -- Mesopotamian texts which may constitute the oldest surviving literary narratives known at this time. 

The work of unlocking these parallels is not yet finished: indeed, it is only barely begun. My sense is that George Smith would want us to continue that effort.


* Note: It should go without saying that just because this post describes the historic achievements of George Smith and others with regards to the translation of ancient Mesopotamian texts, such commemoration does not mean that I condone the nineteenth century British imperial project in Mesopotamia (or other imperialist projects in that or other regions before and since) or the shipment of antiquities out of their country of origin to other countries: the entire worldview which supported (and continues to support) such long-standing structures of colonialism and imperialism is itself often based in large part upon the very Biblical literalism and exceptionalism which Smith's discovery above subverts and overturns.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The origin of mosquitos

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

The Tlingit are an Indigenous Native people of the Pacific northwest of the continent of North America, whose historic land stretches along the coast across the land today designated as Alaska and British Columbia.

In the book American Indian Myths and Legends (1984), edited by Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz, a Tlingit legend entitled "How Mosquitoes Came to Be" is recorded (pages 191 - 193). The story was originally written down in 1883 and the account in American Indian Myths and Legends is based on the 1883 record of the myth.

The account of the origin of mosquitos involves a giant:
Long ago there was a giant who loved to kill humans, eat their flesh, and drink their blood. He was especially fond of human hearts. "Unless we can get rid of this giant," people said, none of us will be left," and they called a council to discuss ways and means. 
One man said, "I think I know how to kill the monster," and he went to the place where the giant had last been seen. There he lay down and pretended to be dead. 
Soon the giant came along. Seeing the man lying there, he said: "These humans are making it easy for me. Now I don't even have to catch and kill them; they die right on my trail, probably from fear of me!"  
The giant touched the body. "Ah, good," he said, "this one is still warm and fresh. What a tasty meal he'll make; I can't waist to roast his heart." 
The giant flung the man over his shoulder, and the man let his head hang down as if he were dead. Carrying the man home, the giant dropped him in the middle of the floor right near the fireplace. Then he saw that there was no firewood and went to get some. 
As soon as the monster had left, the man got up and grabbed the giant's huge skinning knife. Just then the giant's son came in, bending low to enter. He was still small as giants go, and the man held the big knife to his throat. "Quick, tell me, where's your father's heart? Tell me or I'll slit your throat!" 
The giant's son was scared. He said: "My father's heart is in his left heel."  
Just then the giant's left foot appeared in the entrance, and the man swiftly plunged the knife into the heel. The monster screamed and fell down dead. 192
There are numerous details in this account which resonate with details in other myths and scriptures and sacred traditions from cultures found around the globe. For instance, it is notable that the man in the Tlingit story above takes the giant's own great knife and uses that to threaten the giant's son and eventually to slay the giant himself -- this detail would appear to parallel another story involving a man and a giant: the story of David and Goliath. In that account, found in the book of 1 Samuel in the scriptures of what are commonly called the "Old Testament," the text explicitly states that David uses the giant's own sword to slay him (1 Samuel 17: 51).

An even more telling parallel to a myth involving a giant, however, is the description of the giant's weakness, which in the Tlingit myth is found in the left heel of the giant (the location of the giant's heart). When the man in the Tlingit legend stabs the giant in the left heel, it is a mortal wound. This detail has very clear parallels to the story of the bronze giant Talos, from the myths of ancient Greece. 

As discussed in this previous post from June of 2017, in the Greek myth the weakness of the giant Talos is a screw in the heel of the bronze giant, which when unscrewed allowed the ichor which animated the marvelous mechanical man to flow out upon the ground, resulting in the demise of the giant. As explained in that post, I am convinced that this Greek myth of Talos is based upon a celestial foundation: the giant is seen in the form of Orion in the heavens, from whose forward foot the long and meandering constellation known as the River Eridanus flows out, representing the ichor of Talos which runs out and brings about the end of the bronze giant:

Note that the constellation Eridanus originates very close to the lead foot of the constellation Orion, such that the heavenly river could be envisioned as flowing out of the foot of the giant. Indeed, as the above star-chart illustrates, one need only imagine a small connecting line between the bright star in the forward foot of Orion (this is the bright star Rigel) and the Eridanus River nearby. Numerous Star Myths from around the world do indeed incorporate in some way this connection between Orion and Eridanus, and I am convinced that the myth of Talos the bronze giant of ancient Greece and the myth of the slaying of the man-eating giant in the Tlingit tradition are both examples of this celestial pairing.

Note that in the account of the Tlingit myth, which was recorded in 1883, we are specifically told that the heart of the giant is located in the giant's left heel. If you look at the constellation Orion in the heavens (and shown in the star-chart above), you will see that the forward foot of the giant Orion (closest to the River Eridanus) is indeed the left foot of the constellation, if the figure is envisioned as facing towards us. In other words, his upraised arm (on the left side of the constellation as we look at the star-chart above) is Orion's right arm, and the forward foot (marked by the bright star Rigel, on the right side of the constellation as we face the star-chart above) is the giant's left.

The inclusion of this specific detail (that the giant's heart is located in his left foot) provides added confirmation that the Tlingit myth reflects a celestial pattern found in the sky. The similarities between this story and the story of the demise of Talos are not simply coincidental: the undeniable similarities reflect the fact that the world's ancient myths and legends, from virtually every culture on our planet found on every inhabited continent and island, display evidence of being part of an extremely ancient worldwide system, a system built upon celestial metaphor. 

But how does this myth of the slaying of the giant explain the origin of mosquitos? The account of the legend continues, telling us what happened after the man stabbed the giant in the heel and the monster fell down dead:
Yet the giant still spoke. "Though I'm dead, though you killed me, I'm going to keep on eating you and all the other humans in the world forever!" 
"That's what you think!" said the man. "I'm about to make sure that you never eat anyone again." He cut the giant's body into pieces and burned each one in the fire. Then he took the ashes and threw them into the air for the winds to scatter. 
Instantly each of the particles turned into a mosquito. The cloud of ashes became a cloud of mosquitoes, and from their midst the man heard the giant's voice laughing, saying: "Yes, I'll eat you people until the end of time." 
And as the monster spoke, the man felt a sting, and a mosquito started sucking his blood, and then many mosquitoes stung him, and he began to scratch himself. 192 - 193
Thus ends the account in American Indian Myths and Legends.

Thus, anytime you encounter a mosquito from this day forward, it can serve to remind you of the powerful evidence which shows that all the world's ancient myths, scriptures and sacred traditions are in fact closely related -- contrary to what we have been told.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Renewed volcanic activity at Popocatepetl

On Monday night, March 18, at about 9:38pm (2138 hours), the volcano Popocatepetl produced a violent explosion which rattled windows and doors in towns and villages miles away, and shooting balls of fiery rock arcing into the air to crash down onto the slopes of the mountain, as well as sending up a towering plume of ash 2.5 miles high.

Above is a news report showing footage of the explosion captured on a security camera, as well as additional footage containing the view from nearby towns and reactions from residents.

This blog post from almost exactly three years ago describes a 2016 eruption of Popocatepetl, as well as the legend of the warrior Popocatepetl and his beloved Ixtaccihuatl, and possible celestial aspects of that legend (which I well remember learning at the age of 14 or 15 in my high school Spanish class, along with the pronunciation of the Nahuatl names Popocatepetl and Ixtaccihuatl, which are quite beautiful and delightful to say once you learn how to pronounce them).

As that post explains, Ixtaccihuatl is thought to be extinct, while Popocatepetl was dormant for decades, before reawakening in 1991 in a series of eruptions which continue to this day.

Both mountains are categorized as stratovolcanoes, explained here in a post from Oregon State University, and both Popocatepetl and Ixtaccihuatl rise to elevations over 17,000 feet above sea level. As that post explains, stratovolcanoes can be extremely dangerous, because they are like plugs over a pressure cooker, which can suddenly vent steam and gas, or even explode in a violent "Plinian eruption" such as the eruption of Vesuvius (also a stratovolcano) in AD 79, discussed at length in this previous post.

The term "Plinian" for a catastrophic eruption comes in fact from the accomplished Roman lawyer and public figure Pliny the Younger, who wrote two letters to the historian Tacitus about twenty-five years after the event, describing the devastating eruption of Vesuvius that year.

This article, by lead investigator Dr. Chiara Maria Petrone, discusses the risks posed by Popocatepetl, which is ranked most dangerous of all volcanoes in Mexico and North America by "explosive activity and population threat." As that article explains, Popocatepetl and Ixtaccihuatl are located near one of the most densely-populated cities in the world, Mexico City, along with other surrounding towns and villages, some of them much closer to the slopes of the Popo volcano.

As the article explains, there are approximately 30 million people living within a 70 kilometer (43.5 mile) radius of Popocatepetl. To put that into perspective, New York City is the most populous city in the united states, with a population of about 8.6 million (Los Angeles is second, with a population of about 4 million). The entire state of Texas, the second-most populous state in the united states, has an estimated population of approximately 28 million. The entire state of Florida, the third most-populous, has a population of approximately 21.3 million and the entire state of New York, the fourth most-populous, has a population of approximately 19.5 million.

In other words, the population living within 43-and-a-half miles of Popocatepetl is greater than the entire population of any single u.s. state other than California (which has an estimated population of about 39.5 million), and the population living that close to the volcano is nearly as large as the population of the entire state of California!

Below is a screen-shot of a topo map of the region of Mexico City, showing the volcanoes Popocatepetl and Ixtaccihuatl, as well as surrounding towns, some of them much closer to the slopes of the mountains:

In the above map, I have drawn a blue circle centered on the peak of the volcano Popocatepetl. This circle is 15 miles in radius (or 30 miles in diameter), or about 24 kilometers in all directions from the central cone of the volcano. There is also a smaller red circle inside the larger blue circle: this small red circle is only 2.5 miles in radius or 5 miles in diameter. The horizontal line running across the middle of the circle is blue for 10 miles on either side of the central cone of the volcano, then red for the final five miles of each side.

As this rather frightening scholarly article published in 2010 and examining the lethal effects of the Vesuvius eruption in AD 79 on human beings living in the towns of Herculaneum, Oplontis and Pompeii explains, the impact and lethal range of the pyroclastic density flows (PDCs) from the Plinian eruption of that year are still "widely debated." That article describes in some detail the conclusion of the authors that the lethal effects of the Vesuvius eruption resulted from intense heat rather than from the layers of ash and debris which later buried the residents and their cities under 50 to 60 feet of volcanic material.

The paper explains that the upper temperature bound for human survival is no higher than 200 degrees C (which is 392 degrees F), and that the people of  Oplontis were subjected by the fast-moving PDCs pouring down from Vesuvius to temperatures of around 600 degrees C (which is 1,112 degrees F), the people of Herculaneum were exposed to temperatures of around 500 degrees C (which is 932 degrees F), and the people of Pompeii were exposed to temperatures between 250 and 300 degrees C (which is 482 to 572 degrees F), all temperatures well above the survival boundary for human beings.

The paper goes on to note that the most powerful of the pyroclastic flows or PDCs of the AD 79 eruption of Vesuvius "reached distances exceeding 20 kilometers from the vent." While I am not a volcano expert, this would suggest to me that (at the very least) anyone living within the boundaries of the circle drawn above (which is 15 miles in diameter, or approximately 24 kilometers in all directions from the central cone of the volcano) should be evacuated if scientists believe there is any possibility of a Plinian eruption of Popocatepetl.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

March equinox 2019

Today is the March equinox for 2019, when the earth will hurtle past the point of being exactly "broadsides" to the sun, if imagined as an old sailing ship with the prow at the north pole and the stern at the south pole.

At that moment, the ecliptic path of the sun will cross the celestial equator (the projection of earth's equator into the heavens) on the way "back up" for those in the northern hemisphere, marking the beginning of the "upper half" of the year after which daylight hours will be longer than darkness hours (on the way to the longest day of the year, the summer solstice).

The equinox days were obviously very important to ancient cultures around the world, which incorporated equinox features into monuments which still stand today, such as the so-called "El Castillo" pyramid or Pyramid of Kukulkan at the Maya site of Chichen Itza in the Yucatan Peninsula of modern Mexico, shown above, which is precisely oriented to produce the famous "descent of the god Kukulcan" in the form of a serpent of light on the two equinoctial days each year.

Another example is found on the island of Malta, with the mysterious and extremely ancient stone structures at Mnajdra, aligned to produce sunrise light effects on the morning of each equinox, as well as different effects on the mornings of the summer and winter solstices, shown in the video embedded below, and in a video below that showing a model of the complex as it is illuminated on those important days:

Many other ancient structures around the globe incorporate equinoctial and solstitial alignments (as well as alignments marking other significant days of the year), including the passage mounds of the Boyne River Valley in Ireland, the famous megalithic circles of Stonehenge, certain of the designs at Nazca created by the Nazca Lines, some of the mounds found in North America including the Great Serpent Mound in Ohio, and others too numerous to list here.

The world's ancient myths also encode references to the solstices and equinoxes as part of an esoteric "language" intended to convey profound truths for our benefit and blessing. Previous posts discussing the esoteric significance with which the annual cycle of the year was imbued in this ancient worldwide system include:
(among many others)

The worldwide network of aligned structures speaks to the likelihood of the existence of an extremely ancient culture, now unknown to the conventional paradigm of human history, which may have been fragmented in a catastrophe of some sort, prior to any of the most ancient civilizations known to us today. 

The worldwide system of myth, based upon celestial metaphor and employing a common system of envisioning the constellations, speaking the "same language," as it were, provides very powerful additional confirmatory evidence that our understanding of our own ancient past is gravely flawed and in need of radical revision.

I am convinced that these ancient myths present for our deeper understanding a message we desperately need to this very day. It is a message which involves reconnecting with our own divided mind, and with the wider realm with which what we often refer to as our "subconscious" appears to be intimately connected, as discussed in previous posts such as this one and this one.

I hope that on this day, when the great heavenly cycles bring the ecliptic path back above the celestial equator (for the northern hemisphere), you will have time to reflect upon and reconnect with your own deeper part of your mind, and through it your own unbreakable inner connection to the Infinite realm.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Who was Saint Patrick? Better to ask "Who IS Saint Patrick"!

Today is March 17, associated with the figure of Saint Patrick.

Who was Saint Patrick? Perhaps it is more appropriate to ask, "Who is Saint Patrick!"

Above is a new video just published, entitled "Who was Saint Patrick? (Sagittarius? or Ophiuchus?)"

In it, I reconsider my argument published last year at this time, in which I argued that Patrick is associated with the figure of Sagittarius in the heavens.

Based on new research published by Melissa Campbell on her website Mercurial Pathways, I began to wonder if the figure of Saint Patrick might be associated with the important constellation of Ophiuchus rather than with Sagittarius.

Special thanks to Melissa for sharing her work with me and alerting me to the presence of sacred-site alignments stretching from the British Isles across the continent of Europe and all the way to the Levant at the eastern side of the Mediterranean, and to her suspicions of a connection between the figures of Saint Patrick and Saint Michael.

As the above video explains, I initially dismissed the possibility of a connection between the two, based on my earlier analysis which strongly suggests that Michael the Archangel who vanquishes the dragon as described in Revelation 12: 7 and following can be identified with Ophiuchus, standing above Scorpio in the heavens. Because I had previously concluded that Patrick was probably associated with Sagittarius, I did not believe that Patrick and Michael could be closely associated with one another, or even the same heavenly figure.

However, upon further reflection, I suddenly realized that Saint Patrick might actually be identified with Ophiuchus as well, an identification which supports the possibility that Patrick and Michael are closely related after all. 

I strongly recommend carefully reading through the arguments presented in Melissa Campbell's five blog posts at the site linked above. One of the most intriguing details she discovered is the importance of "phi days" at specific sites, defined as those days during the year upon which the twenty-four hour day of the earth's rotation is broken into two unequal periods of daylight and darkness, such that the ratio between the longer period and the full day is the same as the ratio between the shorter period and the longer period. 

On these special days at specific sites (often sites explicitly linked to Saint Michael), when the relationship between daylight and darkness closely approximates the Golden Ratio phi, the azimuth of the sun's rising leads to the discovery of alignment lines which point to chains of other sacred sites, which again are often explicitly linked to Saint Michael. In addition, the distances between three sites in a line will sometimes closely approximate phi as well. 

See Melissa Campbell's explanation of how she discovered this exciting principle of following phi day azimuths, when she noticed that the ratio of daylight to darkness approximates phi on the feast day of Saint Michael at the site of the famous cathedral of Mont Saint-Michel (which in English would again be Saint Michael), in her fourth post "Gold: Michaelmas, Phi Days and the Milky Way." You may want to read the previous three posts leading up to that one to get the bigger picture.

The existence of these ancient sacred site alignments stretching across great distances and including in their patterns the locations of very ancient monuments such as Stonehenge and the Giza Plateau has tremendous implications for our understanding of humanity's ancient past, and suggests that the conventional paradigm of ancient history is gravely flawed and in need of radical revision. The evidence that the world's ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories from virtually every culture on the globe are built on a common system of celestial metaphor also suggests that our understanding of our past stands convicted of gross error at best.

The traditional legend that says that Saint Patrick chased the serpents out of Ireland can be shown to be linked to ancient myths involving the defeat of serpent- or dragon-figures, including those between Apollo and Python, Zeus and Typhon, Marduk and Tiamat, Maui and Tuna, Heracles and the Lernaean Hydra, Krishna and Kaliyah Naga, Thor and the Midgard Serpent, and many others. These myths can be shown to be patterned upon specific constellations in the night sky -- and they obviously predate the rise of literalist Christianity by thousands of years. 

Like the "ley lines" explored by Alfred Watkins (1855 - 1935) and Melissa Campbell, these myths stretch across continents and over seas and oceans, connecting us to distant cultures and to the most distant past. I am convinced they have a profound message for us today, one which we greatly need to hear, and one which can lead to great benefit and blessing on an individual and a worldwide level -- but only if we keep an open mind and are willing to admit errors and even change our entire paradigm, when the evidence points to the possibility that we have been wrong.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Our subconscious is capable of far more than we give it credit for

Last week I had to take a trip to Los Angeles for a day, and that required waking up earlier than usual. Interestingly, as is often the case on days where I have an important reason to be up at a specific time, I awoke on my own a few minutes before the alarm, which I had set the night before to awaken me at the earlier time.

As I wrote in a blog post back in 2015 about "The eight pieces of brocade 八段錦," I purchased a book when I was in my early twenties, entitled The Kung Fu Exercise Book by Michael Minick (1974) which alleges that one of the indications of a healthy sleep pattern is the ability "to awaken at a present time simply by visualizing the hour to get up immediately before going to sleep" (19).

This assertion always surprised me, because it seems so unlikely. How can anyone assert that such an ability, which does not even really seem possible, should be considered a basic indicator of good health, while the inability to wake up at a preset time envisioned before going to bed "indicates a basic health problem that needs attention," as the text goes on to assert?

And yet, as I related in the first blog post linked above, shortly after adding the "Silk Reeling Exercises" contained in that book to my daily routine, I was surprised to wake up exactly two minutes before my alarm went off very early in the morning, before dawn, while out in the field for a protracted period of time as part of a "Robin Sage" detail during my days as a lieutenant in the 82nd Airborne Division.

The ability to wake oneself up at a preset time indicates that the subconscious mind remains active even when our conscious mind goes to sleep (and we become "unconscious"). I believe that our subconscious mind has levels of awareness and ability that we would find incredible: literally unbelievable. The ability to wake oneself up is only a tiny example of the awareness and capability that the subconscious has but which we, caught up primarily in our conscious mind and limiting ourselves to its awareness and ability, do not believe that it can do.

The fact that incorporating disciplines such as the ancient "Silk Reeling Exercises" into one's daily routine can enable us to be able to awaken without an alarm at a specific time indicates that such ancient disciplines are designed to help us become more in tune and in harmony with our subconscious, and to help us unleash its amazing capabilities.

Indeed, I also believe that the very reason these exercises are called "Silk Reeling Exercises" has to do with the "reeling-in" or "winding and tightening" of our body's amazing self-aware fascia network, which we can actually learn to do -- even though, once again, our conscious mind is not generally  even aware of the existence of our fascia network or of our ability to actually control it. Our subconscious mind, however, is most definitely aware of information received by our incredible body systems and is absorbing all that information, even if our conscious mind does not avail itself of this awareness.

Practices such as the "Silk Reeling Exercises" and other ancient disciplines (including meditation, certain internal arts, Yoga, and other arts passed down through the millennia in some cultures) can enable us to become more attuned to and integrated with this aspect of our nature, which too often is sadly neglected.

Above is a video showing one version of the "Eight Pieces of Brocade" exercises, similar to those related in that now out-of-print 1974 book that first introduced me to this type of exercise. There are many other variations which you can find in books and videos. The Kung Fu Exercise Book recommends performing these movements either in the morning before to eating breakfast, or in the afternoon or early evening prior to eating dinner (46 - 47).

Having now studied the ancient myths for several years with regard to the evidence that they are based on the stars and are thus not about someone else who lived thousands of years ago but rather about each and every man and woman, I am convinced that one of the messages they are trying to impart to us has to do with the power of the subconscious, which has a level of awareness which goes far beyond anything that the conventional paradigm of "science" and "physics" would say is possible (see for instance some of the examples discussed in this recent blog post).

Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the ancient myths depict the gods as speaking to us through the subconscious, and thus teaching that this aspect of our mind is in fact connected to the Infinite Realm in some way.

Every single one of us has a subconscious. Of that, at least, there is no doubt; on that point there is no controversy. I would highly recommend exploring some of the ancient practices that are designed (in part) to help us to reconnect with it, such as daily meditation, or daily exercises such as the "Eight Pieces of Brocade."

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Happy "Pi Day" 2019

Today is March 14, which is of course often abbreviated as 03/14 or 03.14 and thus has come to be colloquially known as "Pi Day" (probably a fairly recent designation, although I haven't looked into the history of this phrase).

Pi relates the diameter of a circle to its circumference, and as an irrational number cannot be completely expressed as a fraction or as a numeral form, and its digits never end and never repeat when expressed in decimal form. Thus, pi evokes the Infinite. 

Above is an image of your author attempting to cut a circular pie into an even number of slices, probably taken during the winter of 1987 - 1988. The photograph is unstaged and completely extemporaneous -- I had no idea someone was taking my picture at that moment and don't even remember who took it. The image gives some idea of the way the complex set of rules and norms of West Point are imprinted upon the mind of those who enter into that particular institutional culture (or were imprinted during that period of history: things may have changed slightly since then).

This image was used in a blog post about "Pi Day" four years ago on 03.14.15 which you can find here.

The upperclassman who is giving me some gentle coaching as I cut the pie is a perfectly reasonable person who was simply acting out the same kind of indoctrination that was the norm at that time and which I would later act out as an upperclassman (as shown in an image in this recent previous post). 

The fact is that we are all indoctrinated into various social norms and behavior patterns in society, beginning even before we can talk and reinforced as we grow up, and these rules and norms are necessary even if there are undoubtedly better or worse ways to pass them on within a society. If you never learn the rules and norms that govern the complex task of driving a car in traffic among other cars and trucks and motorcycles and railroad crossings and freeway entrances, then you cannot really drive safely in a society that includes other drivers, for example. 

However, as discussed in the above-linked post entitled "What lies beneath the scurrying of the superficial mind?" there is great value in disciplines which enable us to get in touch with the enormous part of our consciousness which "lies beneath" the mental dialogue of our conscious mind and its endless calculations of what "should" and "could" and "would" and "might" be done in any situation (or "could have" or "should have" or "might have" been done in a past situation). 

This part of ourselves, which is often called the "unconscious" and which actually seems to be in touch (in some way not fully understood at this time, and in a way which is definitely outside of the conventional paradigms with which we are generally indoctrinated in society and academia), actually appears to be in contact with the Infinite, as discussed in this recent post.

Pi Day is a perfect opportunity to contemplate the Infinite, and our own internal and unbreakable connection with the Infinite, to which we have access all the time, although we often fail to realize it.