image: cuneiform tablet, Wikimedia commons (link).
I believe overwhelming evidence supports an astronomical and allegorical basis for nearly every myth from ancient cultures around the world. The myths describe the motions of the zodiac constellations, of other significant constellations near the zodiac band, and the motions of the sun, moon, and planets across the heavens (these heavenly bodies primarily move through the zodiac bands as well).
Previous blog posts have shown numerous examples of myths which first and foremost can be understood as relating directly to these heavenly phenomena. These include:
- Abraham's trip up the mountain to sacrifice Isaac (discussed on page 37 of my book, which can be read online as part of the free preview of the table of contents and first three chapters of The Undying Stars, here). Old Testament.
- The uplifted arms of Moses. Old Testament.
- The smile of Sarai/Sarah (wife of Abraham; see second half of the linked post). Old Testament.
- The smile of Skade, brought about by Loki. Norse mythology.
- The smile of Demeter, brought about by Iambe. Greek mythology.
- The laughter of the gods during the incident of Amaterasu and Uzume. The text of the Kojiki, Japan.
- Loki's theft of the necklace of Freya and the hair of Sif. Norse mythology.
- The myth of Odin and Gunnlod and the magical mead of poetry. Norse mythology.
- The illicit affair between Ares and Aphrodite. Greek mythology.
- The capture of Ares in a brazen jar by the giants Ephialtes and Otus. Greek mythology.
- The amorous and unsuccessful pursuit of Aphrodite by Zeus, and the seduction of Hermes by Aphrodite. Greek mythology.
- The emergence of locust-centaurs with scorpion-tails and crowns from the smoky abyss in Revelation 9. New Testament.
- The sacrifice or near-sacrifice of Iphigenia, and the substitution of a stag-sacrifice in her place (discussed on pages 34-37 of my book, which can be read online as part of the free preview of the table of contents and first three chapters of The Undying Stars, here). Greek mythology.
- The description of the Promised Land as a "land flowing with milk and honey." Old Testament.
- The adventures of Samson (discussed on pages 4-8 of my book, which can be read online as part of the free preview of the table of contents and first three chapters of The Undying Stars, here). Old Testament.
- The story of the Old Man and his Daughter and the origin of fire. North American Indian legend.
- The legend of the Pythia at the Temple at Delphi, and of the Python and the fumes. Greek mythology.
- The story of the Raven who watched over the princess Coronis when she was pregnant with Asclepius. Greek mythology.
- The ship and dove found in the stories of Noah's Ark in the Old Testament, Deucalion and the Flood in ancient Greece, and Jason and the Argonauts in ancient Greece.
- The sacrifice of Vishnu. Vedic ancient India.
- The murder of Osiris by Set and the usurpation of his throne. Egyptian mythology.
The list could go on and on (in fact, it does -- there are no doubt other posts which outline other "star-myths," and many more are discussed in detail in The Undying Stars itself).
The point of the above list is to highlight the absolutely overwhelming amount of evidence which supports the understanding of virtually all ancient myth as primarily describing events in the heavens acted out by the constellations and planets -- and not as literal events, whether supernatural or extraterrestrial.
If someone wants to argue that a myth which can clearly be shown to correspond to the motions of specific constellations is also describing a literal event that happened in earth history, then there would seem to be a pretty high hurdle to clear, given the superabundance of evidence just cited which argues that these myths were primarily describing the motions of heavenly bodies as viewed from earth.
If someone wants to argue that a myth should be primarily interpreted literally and not metaphorically and astronomically, then that would seem to require an even higher burden of proof, especially if it can be shown that the myth appears to have a satisfactory metaphorical explanation.
I go into all of this because, in my most-recent interview (as pointed out in this previous post), discussion of the allegorical aspect of these "star-myths" was consistently avoided and the conversation was instead steered back to the question of whether these myths could not also have been describing literal events, and specifically whether these myths could not also have been describing ancient alien activity such as that alleged by Zechariah Sitchin.
This aspect of the interview was somewhat frustrating, in that my entire book centers on the importance of this universal system of celestial metaphor, what it means and what happened to our understanding of it. It also caught me somewhat off-guard. However, I am grateful for the opportunity to think more precisely about this particular question, because I would now say that even the assertion that the myths could "also be literal" must be qualified rather heavily, and treated with great caution.
As I have said before (and asserted in my book on this subject), it is a possibility that some of these myths also reflect some history. However, although it is certainly possible that some of these myths incorporate the names of historical figures (maybe), the actions in the myths can be shown to be describing the motions of celestial bodies. This is similar to the way that the plays of Shakespeare (whoever he or she was) incorporate the names and some of the outward trappings of historical figures, but the action in the plays serves a different purpose and is not intended to be taken as literal history.
And, while I was somewhat familiar with the work of Zechariah Sitchin, enough to know that I did not agree with his conclusions while at the same time admitting that anyone who tries to show that the conventional timeline of history has serious flaws is to that extent pointing out something that is true, I had not made a serious study of his work (primarily because I have found so much evidence that the ancient mythologies of the world are allegorical and esoteric that I did not need to see too much of his work to realize that it is taking a literal approach and ignoring the esoteric and allegorical nature of ancient myth).
Now, however, having thought more carefully about the corpus of Sitchin's work (as a result of that recent interview), I have reached the conclusion that his literalistic approach may be just as misleading as that forced upon the western world by the imposition of a rigidly literalistic Christianity during the centuries following AD 70. If the purpose of all the star-myths described above is to point humankind towards a shamanic view of the universe and of human existence (and I believe this can also be demonstrated quite conclusively, as discussed in The Undying Stars and as touched on in previous posts such as this one and this one), then believing that these exquisitely-crafted esoteric metaphors are all describing the arrival of ancient aliens on earth in spaceships (and their physical manipulation of the human race) may in fact keep you from seeing the liberating truths that those sacred stories were designed to convey, and will do it just as effectively as will believing that the stories are all about the earthly actions of historical literal figures such as Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Moses, or Jesus and twelve literal disciples.
In other words, in the immortal expression of Bruce Lee, the literalistic scriptural interpretation of Zechariah Sitchin is one more way to get you to "concentrate on the finger, and miss all that heavenly glory!"
In light of this, it is worth asking where the literal interpretations offered by Sitchin actually come from. In a 2010 Red Ice interview of ancient Near Eastern languages scholar Michael S. Heiser (a well-known critic of Zechariah Sitchin), recorded while Sitchin was still alive, Dr. Heiser gives several reasons to conclude that Sitchin's theoretical timeline of ancient human history did not come from the texts themselves. (Note: mention of Dr. Heiser's expertise-based analysis of Sitchin's theories is not intended to imply that he endorses or subscribes to any of my own theories presented above regarding the primarily esoteric nature of all ancient scripture: it appears from material on his own websites that he probably does not believe that the Bible is primarily esoteric).
That interview (like all archived interviews going back to the inception of Red Ice Radio) is available to Red Ice members, but for those who are not able to listen to it, here are some pertinent quotations:
- "I think I should just be honest with people and point out, you know, what the problems are, and hopefully they'll decide on the basis of evidence not on emotion." 0:07:00, part one/first hour of the interview.
- "There are some things where you could look at what Sitchin's doing and say, 'Well, you know, that's kind of an odd interpretation and no one else is really going to look at it that way.' But, there are a lot of things that the issue just goes beyond that, to Sitchin staking out positions and making claims, saying that the Sumerian tablets say this or that, when it's just not there, it just doesn't exist in any tablet. I'll give a few examples here. For instance there are a lot of references to the Annunaki: the Annunaki were an important sub-group in the Sumerian pantheon. But it's a complete fabrication to say that there are texts that describe the Annunaki coming from a place called Nibiru, and having Nibiru being a planet beyond Pluto that circulates through our solar system every 3,600 years. There isn't a single text, a single line of any text that says that." 0:09:20 part one/first hour of the interview.
- "One of the things I'm trying to do is to get people to primary text material, so that they don't have to take my word for it: so they can check up on me, and in the process check up on Sitchin." 0:10:45 part one/first hour of the interview.
- "So those are three examples of things where I say, 'He's just making it up.' It's not about interpretation, it's about whether these statements in the text actually exist. And I'm saying that they don't." 0:14:42 part one/first hour of the interview.
- "There's quite a disconnect between what Sitchin is trying to say . . . you know, he has every right to say it. What he doesn't have a right to do, in my mind, is to say, 'Hey, it's in these tablets.'" 0:28:00 part one/first hour of the interview.
- "He's essentially created an alternative mythology, and married it to an extraterrestrial idea." 0:07:11, part two/second hour of the interview.
Now, if what Zechariah Sitchin describes about ancient human history does not come from the ancient Sumerian texts which he claims form the basis for his (literal) interpretation of ancient myth, then where does it come from? It does not necessarily follow that what he is saying is necessarily wrong just because it does not come from the ancient scriptures -- maybe ancient human history did include alien contact (I have not concluded this myself, but I do not rule it out as a possibility). However, it is fairly clear from Dr. Heiser's arguments that Sitchin's purported literal histories are not found in the texts (nor do I believe that we would expect to find literal history there, since I believe the ancient myths can be conclusively shown to be about something other than literal history).
It is still possible that Sitchin is telling us information that comes from some source other than ancient scripture, of course. It could all just be something he made up deliberately, in order to deceive for some reason. It could all be something he truly believed, based on his own misinterpretation of texts which were intended to be allegorical and not literal. But it could also be information that he received from some tradition which preserved it from somewhere, or received it from somewhere. If so, however, he deceived his followers as to the source of his information, since in that case it came from somewhere other than the texts that he said he formed the source for his theories.
Michael Heiser also raises in his interview the disturbing possibility that some people could deliberately misinterpret ancient scriptures as describing literal alien activities in order to promote tyranny in the future based on a fabricated arrival or disclosure of an "alien presence." He does not accuse Sitchin of deliberately furthering such an agenda, but discusses with interviewer Henrik Palmgren the possibility that deliberate literal-alien-scriptural-misinterpretation could be used that way in the future by a group of "elites" who want to claim superiority either by virtue of being selected by the alien visitors as their representative ruling body, or by virtue of being genetically superior due to biological manipulation by the aliens themselves at some time in the past:
I'm actually gonna lay this out, how I think this could work. It actually can be a very comprehensive sort of alternative worldview that could make sense to anybody regardless of who they are and everybody can go away feeling like they were right -- feeling like their religious texts were real, feeling like their religious texts weren't just gibberish. So I really feel like the idea could be quite useful to completely altering, again, traditional worldviews, and propping up something in its place that would be a displacement of traditional religious beliefs. The thing that troubles me about that, is, at the same time -- and here's why I think it would appeal to globalist-elitists, if we want to use terms like that -- along with that idea comes the idea that "the gods" did select certain individuals, certain human lines -- bloodlines -- to rule. And that's what the globalist-elitist thinks of themselves. 0:42:00 part one/first hour of the interview.
This line of discussion is certainly noteworthy, and very chilling, as both Dr. Heiser and host Henrik Palmgren agree during the interview. They also point out news items from the time of the interview (2010) in which powerful religious or political institutions made very public statements regarding "extraterrestrials," should they ever be found. And, here in July 2014, we know that just last week, NASA publicly declared that humanity will encounter alien life "within twenty years," and then went on to say that twenty years is probably a conservative estimate.
In light of all of this, it is useful to come back to what I strongly believe that these ancient esoteric myths are all about in the first place: they are all about telling us that the reality that we think we perceive is in many very real ways illusory and indeed holographic, and that we have the ability as poets, artists, and even shamans to transcend the illusory "realities" that are created for us and then to create our own (again, see the post discussing the powerful speech of Jon Rappoport last month). This message, I believe, was intended to promote human freedom and to promote human consciousness.
But, those who understand this esoteric message of the ancient mythologies have not always been on the side of human freedom or human consciousness -- quite the contrary, as it turns out. Some of those who understand it best have wanted to use it for their own advancement, while keeping it from everyone else (part III of The Undying Stars is all about this aspect of history).
Given the fact that he "created a reality" which has been "bought into" by a huge number of people, it is very possible that Zechariah Sitchin was in the service of this second category. I have not necessarily concluded that this was the case, but it is a possibility that one should at least entertain and investigate, especially since he promoted an interpretation of ancient scriptures (including those of the Old Testament) that is literalistic and thus obscures the shamanic esoteric message that I believe is actually at the core of ancient myth.
However, that is only one possibility. Sitchin could be entirely innocent of any such designs, even if (as I believe) his theories were mistaken. Even if he was completely innocent, I believe that the possibility that some evil actors could try to use a false "literal-alien" misinterpretation of ancient scriptures at some point in the future should be considered very carefully, and guarded against.