Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Undying Stars on Marty Leeds' Mathemagical Radio Hour!

Recently, it was my great pleasure to have a conversation with philosopher Marty Leeds, whose fascinating exploration of number, symbol, language, and sacred geometry (among other subjects) has led him to some incredible discoveries, which he shares through his writings, his videos, and his interviews.

Welcome to any new visitors who might be dropping by this site for the first time after hearing that conversation -- hope you'll visit often and explore some of the information that you can find here about topics that you may find to be interesting or helpful.

I really enjoyed our conversation, and I hope that you will also. We actually decided to extend the discussion beyond the first hour, so eventually you should be able to hear that as well, perhaps as part of a subscription model on Marty's site, or through a YouTube video or other method.

Even without that additional material, however, we managed to range over a wide spectrum of subjects. Below, I have put together a list of links to places where those interested can explore some of those subjects in greater depth:
  • The "Star Myth Index," which has links to discussions of the celestial foundations of many different sacred stories from around the world, including many from the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament of the Bible.
  • Further discussion of the ancient Greek myth in which the giants Ephialtes and Otus (two sons of Poseidon) imprison the war-god Ares in a brazen cauldron for thirteen months, until Ares is rescued by Hermes.
  • An extended meditation on the vital importance of Hermes, the "trickster god."
  • The "mental model" of the earth-sun model in your dining room
  • Another "mental model" -- which I call the "earth-ship metaphor" -- which helps explain why the angle of light from the sun changes throughout the year. Another post which tries to illustrate this concept can be found here.
  • The reason everyone should use the outline-system suggested by beloved children's author H. A. Rey when looking at the constellations -- and see also this post, which shows how the outlines suggested by Rey (in this case, for the zodiac constellation of Aquarius) can be critical to understanding the celestial foundations of myth -- in this case, in the Old Testament story of Shem, Ham and Japheth.
  • Further discussion of the ancient Greek myth regarding the illicit affair between Aphrodite and Ares and the time they were caught in a net woven by Aphrodite's aggrieved husband, Hephaestos -- mentioned briefly in this interview. 
  • The zodiac wheel, and how it forms the foundation for many mythical concepts, including the shining "upper half" of the wheel and its correspondence to heaven or paradise or a holy mountain, and the gloomy "lower half" of the wheel and its correspondence to hell or sheol or tartarus or hades or the underworld.
  • The zodiac in the human body -- and the related concept of macrocosm-microcosm (see here and here and here for even more!).
  • The teaching that the organs in our human body resonate with and are influenced by specific heavenly bodies.
  • A discussion of the way that different forms of architecture can make us feel very differently -- and the undeniable fact that buildings in which "education" is supposed to take place in the United States often have absolutely hideous architecture, architecture so hideous one cannot help but wonder if a form of "anti-feng-shui" is being deliberately employed.
  • Alvin Boyd Kuhn's exploration of the spiritual symbology surrounding Halloween and All Saints' Day, and the significance of the fact that this important dual-holiday falls forty days after autumnal equinox.
  • The amazing fact that Odin's horse, Sleipnir, has eight legs -- appropriate for the fact that Odin in Norse myth is related to Hermes and Thoth and Mercury in other mythologies, and that the planet Mercury (the swiftest in our solar system) orbits the sun in a mere 88 days! This post contains an extended discussion of the fact that all these Star Myths from around the world may in fact be trying to point us towards a worldview that is shamanic in nature.
It is my opinion that Marty truly embodies the ancient concept of "the philosopher" -- as I think you will agree if you listen to an excellent show he and Greg Carlwood recorded over at The Higherside Chats this past August (and which has been quoted in this previous post). Through his curiosity, analysis, insight, contemplation, and synthesis, he has found compelling evidence that number and language and geometry and symbol were all used by ancient sages to convey profound spiritual truths to humanity. In his interviews and teaching, he explains how important it is to learn from nature, and how the book of nature is the best teacher of philosophy.

The importance of the areas that Marty explores and teaches in his books and videos is attested to by the ancient tradition regarding the sign which was said to have been posted above the entry to the ancient Academy of philosophy founded by Plato, which supposedly read "Let none who is ignorant of geometry enter here."

What is perhaps most interesting is the fact that the deep teachings he finds encoded in the very letters and numbers and words themselves are also the same teachings which I believe can be found in the stories and scriptures and texts and traditions which are in turn made up of those words and numbers! In other words, the symbolism is taking place at the "microcosmic" level inside the words and letters at the same time that it is taking place at the "macrocosmic" level of the myths or stories which are built out of those words and letters! This fact very much parallels the teaching that individual men and women themselves seem to contain and embody and reflect the entire universe -- each person is a microcosm of the infinite macrocosm of the universe.

These metaphors -- whether they be metaphors which are formed in number or in gematria letter-symbolism, or whether they be metaphors which are found in the Star Myth stories that are based on the motions of the heavenly bodies whirling across the infinite reaches of space -- all seem to be "bringing down" the invisible and ethereal world into the physical and material world where we can perhaps "wrestle with them" more easily, and in doing they point us towards that world of spirit, and in a sense "drag our consciousness" back up with them into the invisible realms.

This is a concept I have written about in an essay entitled "Clothing spirit with matter and raising it up again: How metaphor transcends and transforms the material realm." Later, when I began to read Marty's book Peacock Tales: The Alchemical Writings of Claudia Pavonis (volume one), I was struck by this line towards the beginning of the book: "Like with any creative endeavor, the true goal is to bring the ethereal down to the material and thus lift the corporeal up to the ethereal" (19). Clearly, his book is here articulating the very same concept! 

You can see why I was so excited to have an opportunity to have a conversation with Marty on his show.

Finally, Marty ended this episode with some haunting music by Portland artist Whim. Appropriately enough for the microcosm-macrocosm theme, he chose a song called "Small Infinity," which you can listen to below. To hear more of her music, visit Whim's website here.