Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Celestial Liberation

Above is a new video I just made entitled Celestial Liberation, exploring the "why?" of Astro-theology.

It briefly discusses some of the possible explanations that have been offered by those who have encountered the evidence showing that the world's ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories are built upon the celestial motions of the stars and planets.

The possible explanations are numerous -- and it may well be that the secret of the original purposes of the myths still lies buried beneath the sands of time.

However, several possibilities have been put forth (often in a very "declarative" tone, as if the one telling us the reason has somehow determined the only possible solution to the mystery).

Some which are commonly offered include the assertion that "early humans" from previous millennia held the mighty celestial bodies of the sun, moon, planets and stars in such awe that they just naturally worshipped them. A related assertion in the same category would be the notion that as humanity gained more sophisticated understanding of the seasonal cycles and other celestial patterns which impact life on our planet (particularly the growing of crops), they encoded the knowledge of these patterns into the myths, accompanied by a reverence for the powers which generate those patterns by their motions.

While the importance of such knowledge is undeniable, as is the dependence of all life on earth upon these heavenly cycles and upon the ongoing motion of the heavenly bodies which generate those cycles, there exist numerous clues in the writings of ancient philosophers and initiates including Plato, Ovid, Plutarch, Macrobius, and Lucian (among others) which indicate that the system was intended to convey knowledge of a world which goes far beyond the physical exigencies of this one.

The more we learn to listen to the celestial "language" that the myths are speaking, the more we will be able to appreciate their incredible message -- a message which may be badly distorted if we try to interpret the scriptures using a language that they are not speaking at all. As we gain in understanding of the code of their celestial correspondences, we will increase in our ability to perceive the subtle details of the spiritual metaphors which they employ, which are intended to impart truths relating to the Invisible Realm -- the realm of spirit; the realm of the gods.

For more on the system of celestial metaphor, through which the world's myths convey profound truths regarding the spiritual-material universe we inhabit, and regarding our own journey through it, please see this previous post, as well as the volumes in my latest series entitled Star Myths of the World, and how to interpret them.

I hope that you will enjoy my latest short video, Celestial Liberation: the "why?" of Astro-theology.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

You may have a Higher Self (at least, according to the ancient myths and scriptures), and He or She wants you to know it

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

If the world's ancient scriptures and myths are not literal but rather allegorical, then it is quite likely that attempts at literal interpretation risk serious mis-interpretation.

For instance, I have written previously that the dramatic encounter described in the Fourth Gospel, in which Thomas (often referred to as "Doubting Thomas") encounters the risen Lord, may well represent a teaching about the existence of a Higher Self, a Divine Twin -- and that the two figures portrayed as two different persons in that story may actually have been intended to convey to our understanding the true situation of each and every man or woman in this incarnate life (see for example extended discussions and illustrations here, here and here). 

They are not two separate persons: that is a mistaken interpretation which comes from reading the story literally.

In another example, previous posts have also explored the possibility that the Battle of Kurukshetra described in the ancient Sanskrit epic of the Mahabharata may be celestial allegory and not literal, terrestrial history (or even a "mythologized" or "supernaturally enhanced" version of literal, terrestrial history) -- meant to describe the experience of each and every human soul which descends into the "battlefield" of this incarnate life.

Some of those discussions have examined the possibility that the depiction of the semi-divine hero Arjuna with his divine charioteer being none other than the Lord Krishna himself may also be a dramatization of the proper relationship with what some translations of the teachings of that tradition have labeled the Higher Self or the Supreme Self: see for example this previous post entitled "Self, the senses, and the mind" in which quotations from the Katha Upanishad or Kathopanishad were cited which use the image of the chariot to illustrate the goal of bringing the senses and even the mind under the direction of the Higher Self.

The Kathopanishad says that the senses are like powerful horses, which if not properly guided by the mind (which acts as the reins) under the control of the Higher Self can run off after their desires, out of control.

In the illustration from the Bhagavad Gita (a portion of the Mahabharata detailing the discussion between the Lord Krishna and Arjuna just prior to the start of the great battle) shown below, we see that the Divine Charioteer (Lord Krishna) is between the horses and Arjuna, and we see Arjuna placing his palms together in recognition and acknowledgement of the divinity of Krishna:

image: Wikimedia commons (link); labels added, based partly on the Katha Upanishad, Part I chapter 3.

It is very easy for the "horses" to run away with us, so to speak, and we have all experienced this first-hand (probably later regretting what happened). For example, if in a discussion or a debate, if someone makes a pointed insult (as a deliberate tactic to incite emotion such as anger in the other person), all clear thinking can go out the window as the horses stampede (blood rises to our head, we might even begin to literally "see red," and what we say or do at that point may be more driven by anger or emotion than anything else -- that is, if we are holding the reins ourself, without the Higher Self in between). 

Another common example might be our performance in a sporting event, in which we are about to take a crucial shot at the goal, and the mind is suddenly seized with doubt. Through training, we can actually learn to observe the impulse of the horses in a more dispassionate way, saying in effect, "I see these emotions arising -- that's interesting, but I am not going to let them take me wherever they want to go."

These are mundane examples (although quite important ones -- in which letting our doubts or our anger have full control can lead to various levels of disaster). The ancient myths of the world, however, demonstrate over and over that the existence of a Higher Self goes far beyond these examples (as helpful as those examples are for understanding the concept). The world's ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories appear to show us that integration with the Higher Self -- the divine or Supreme Self -- is one of the critical missions in this incarnate life, if not the critical mission (period). 

However, if we insist on trying to read the stories literally, we may well miss that message altogether. Because if we read the above episodes literally, we will mistakenly conclude that the duo of Thomas and the risen Lord, or the duo of Arjuna and Lord Krishna, are separate personages -- and that the human figures at least (Thomas in the gospel account and Arjuna in the Mahabharata) represent people who lived thousands of years ago, and who probably have little or nothing to do with us and our own personal situation, whatever that may happen to be.

The message is so important, in fact, that the myths of the world present it to us in hundreds or thousands of different ways. And, although many previous posts have cited illustrations which use "male" characters to illustrate the principle, that is by no means always the case either. Several important and dramatic illustrations employ female figures to illustrate very much the same message -- for example, the Sophia cycle, or the memorable myth of Psyche and her divine lover, Eros (or Cupid), relayed for us in written form in the Metamorphoses of Apuleius (most commonly called The Golden Tale of the Ass, or more simply, "The Golden Ass"), although earlier statues and mosaics and shorter references from earlier texts show us that the myth predates Apuleius himself by at least some centuries.

The story of Cupid and Psyche occupies a very prominent position in the tale of Apuleius, who himself appears to have been an initiate of the Mysteries of Isis, and whose Metamorphoses should be read very carefully, because it appears to be the work of someone who understood the deep truths which his seemingly "idle tales" were designed to convey. A 1924 edition is available online in its entirety here, which contains the original Latin text alongside the English translation, although I personally am partial to the 1960 translation by Jack Lindsay, which I believe is far superior, although it does not provide the Latin text for comparison, which is a definite advantage of the online version linked above. 

I would personally recommend obtaining a physical copy of the Lindsay translation for your own library, if possible, and then the Latin version can be seen online if desired for comparison (Latin scholars or Apuleius aficionados may want to obtain the original Latin in hardcopy as well).

The Psyche story deserves to be read as Apuleius tells it -- I will not spoil it by giving a summary here. I will say, however, that I believe the story is spiritual allegory, and that we should be extremely careful about forcing it into service to make modern points about supposed relationships between genders or sexes (the entire text of the Metamorphoses of Apuleius consists of stories within stories within stories, all related to us by a narrator who spends most of the book transformed into the outward appearance of an ass -- which itself can be seen as a metaphor relating to our incarnate experience in this material plane of existence).

However (and if you wish to stop here and read the story as told by Apuleius first, now would be a good time to do that), I will point out a few aspects of the story which clearly relate it to the discussion above. 

First, the story clearly has parallels to the story of "Doubting Thomas." In the story, Psyche lets her "doubts," so to speak, run away with her -- to her great sorrow, and temporary estrangement from her divine lover.

The reconciliation of that relationship between Psyche and Cupid (or Eros, as he is called in Greek myth, a name which Gerald Massey hints may well be related to the Egyptian deity Horus, and who may play the same role in the story that Horus plays in the myth-cycle of Isis, Osiris and Horus -- this observation is found in Massey's Ancient Egypt: the Light of the World, Volume One on page 223) takes up the majority of the tension in the memorable tale. 

In all of the mythical illustrations -- Thomas and the risen Christ, Arjuna and the divine Krishna, Psyche and Eros -- the proper relationship is seen when the divine and the human are in harmony, and  when "control" is turned over the divine twin in the relationship.

The story of Cupid and Psyche also contains two "awakenings" -- first, Psyche awakens Cupid (shown in the illustration above, as well as in numerous ancient and Renaissance depictions of the myth), when she lets the doubts and insinuations of her two sisters get the better of her. In the illustration, Psyche is about to accidentally spill burning oil from a small lamp or cruse onto the god's sleeping form.

Later, however, Cupid awakens Psyche, from a sleep that is described as a deathlike sleep. This precedes the ultimate union of the two in a divine marriage at which all of the assembled gods and goddesses are present. 

Alvin Boyd Kuhn, following and citing the arguments made earlier by Gerald Massey, says plainly in Lost Light that the story of Cupid and Psyche represents the "welding at last in blissful harmony of the mortal and immortal elements" (587).

Discerning readers might be wondering at this point, however, if we are supposed to understand all of the gods and goddesses found in the ancient myths as representative of our Higher Self, our divine invisible nature, our Christ within. 

The answer, I believe, is no

Psyche got into trouble, at the beginning of her story, when everyone for miles around began to pay more attention to her than to Venus herself, the actual goddess of love and beauty. So it would probably be a mistake to conclude that the myths are teaching us that the gods and goddesses (including Krishna) are always representative of our own Higher Self.

However, Kuhn does make the very important argument on page 550 of Lost Light, based on passages found in the Pyramid Texts (specifically some of the Pyramid Texts from Teta or Teti, which can be read in the Budge translation on page 139 of Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection) that:
man is to summarize in himself the qualities of the whole scale of being, denominated gods. All their powers and virtue have to be embodied in man's organic wholeness to make him, like the resuscitated Osiris, "Neb-er-ter, the god entire."
Obviously, although Kuhn (writing in 1940) uses the word "man" (as was common in previous generations to indicate "humanity in general"), he means men and women (and he says "men and women" and "male and female" explicitly in other parts of the same discussion, such as on pages 551 and 587). 

The point being made is absolutely critical, and worthy of deep consideration, as a guide to what we are supposed to be doing here in this life in the (seemingly) material world in which we find ourselves. But we are apt to miss this message altogether if we attempt to read the ancient myths and scriptures as if they were intended to be taken literally as opposed to esoterically. 

Note that the presence of all the gods and goddesses at the conclusion of the story of Psyche and Cupid can be seen as a visual dramatization of the very teaching which Kuhn articulates above.

Finally, it must be noted that the entire story of Psyche in The Golden Ass is presented with what I would argue to be very clear indicators of celestial allegory. Readers of the series Star Myths of the World, and how to interpret them (particularly Volumes Two and Three) will find extensive discussion (and illustration) of other myths and sacred stories which involve high cliffs and personified divine winds, such as are found in the tale related by Apuleius.

Note also that the critical moment in the story, in which Psyche spills hot oil upon the sleeping god (at a true low-point in the narrative, when she has succumbed to her all-too-human doubts), can be seen to have very specific celestial correspondences. The cruze of oil is found in many Biblical stories (discussed in Star Myths of the World, Volume Three) and it has powerful spiritual meaning, as well as clear connections to the outline of the important zodiac constellation of Sagittarius, as discussed in Volume Three.

I believe that the understanding of where certain scenes can be found on the Great Wheel of the zodiac gives us additional insight into the deeper meaning of the myths and sacred stories (see previous discussion here). The fact that this "low-point" (which is also a "turning point" in the story, and in the life of Psyche) takes place at Sagittarius -- at the bottom of the Wheel -- has deep spiritual significance (also outlined in depth by Alvin Boyd Kuhn, most notably in a 1936 lecture entitled Easter: the Birth-day of the Gods).

The absolutely profound importance of the fact that the ancient myths and scriptures of the world are in fact speaking to us in the language of celestial metaphor may sometimes be difficult to relate to our individual lives -- but I believe that the above discussion should help demonstrate the awe-inspiring and potentially life-changing (as well as exciting) message these ancient myths are telling us: they seem to be saying quite clearly that each and every man and woman does indeed have a Higher Self, and that he or she wants you to wake up to that fact.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What I describe in Star Myths of the Bible has already been proclaimed in art for centuries -- even millennia!

Image: The Finding of Moses, Giovanni Francesco Romanelli (1610 - 1662).

My new book, the third in the series entitled Star Myths of the World, and how to interpret them, explores the incredible abundance of evidence that the stories in the Bible are built upon the very same system of celestial metaphor which appears to form the foundation for virtually all of the world's ancient myths, scriptures, and sacred stories.

Because it deals with the stories in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, this third volume in the series is subtitled Star Myths of the Bible. Volume Two deals almost exclusively with the myths of ancient Greece, and Volume One explores a very small sampling of the myths, scriptures and sacred stories from a wide variety of cultures around the globe, including from Australia, Africa, the Malay Peninsula, the islands of the Pacific inhabited by the cultures of Polynesia, and the Americas, as well as from ancient Egypt, ancient Mesopotamia, ancient India, ancient China and ancient Japan. 

It would, of course, be beneficial to come back and explore in much greater depth the myths of each of the cultures surveyed very briefly in Volume One, with an entire volume (or series of volumes) on the myths of ancient India, and another on the myths of ancient Mesopotamia, and another on ancient Egypt, ancient Japan, the myths of the cultures of the Americas, and of Africa, and so on. The material is so vast and so rich that even an entire series of volumes can hardly begin to do justice to the myths of just a single cultural tradition. 

The main purpose of the series, however, is to provide evidence that this celestial system of metaphor is in fact present, and that it is in fact worldwide -- as well as to guide the reader through the system almost as if learning a new language, with its own grammar and its own vocabulary of symbols, and beginning with a few symbols and celestial "phrases" before building on those to gain greater and greater fluency.    

Because of the history of the world over the past centuries, and because of the ongoing impact of the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments upon the lives of literally millions of men and women, the subject of exploring the celestial foundations for the Star Myths of the Bible may carry a greater potential for "strong emotional reaction" among many readers than, for instance, a similar discussion about the celestial foundations of the myths of ancient Greece. 

Very few people today have been raised to revere the gods and goddesses described in Hesiod's Theogony or to observe the practices for honoring them which are dramatized in many of the scenes of the Iliad and the Odyssey. But the stories described in the Hebrew Scriptures and the canonical New Testament have of course been absolutely central to the upbringing and experience of a great many men and women to this day, and form a central part of their identity in one way or another (for some people, a very positive experience, and for others a very negative or even oppressive experience).

I personally believe that a close relationship with the ancient myths and scriptures and sacred stories given to humanity (whether in the scriptures found in what we call the Bible or in the scriptures of ancient India or of ancient Japan or in the myths and sacred traditions of the Maya or other cultures in the Americas, the Pacific, Africa, Australia, or other parts of Asia or Europe) can and should be extremely positive, and that they can and should be a daily source of wisdom and inspiration in our lives. 

However, I also believe that their message is given to us in esoteric language, and that trying to interpret them as if they are speaking a literal message instead of a metaphorical language has led to very damaging misinterpretations, misunderstandings, and distortions of their intended message. That is why I believe that learning their celestial language will be of great value to all those who love the ancient scriptures and myths which were given to humanity, or who turn to them for guidance, wisdom, or assistance in their lives and personal situations.

In spite of this belief, I nevertheless realize that there will be those with a deep attachment to the literalistic approach to the scriptures (particularly the scriptures of the Old Testament and / or the New Testament) who will be most dismayed or disturbed at the demonstration of their celestial foundations, and at the presentation of hundreds of pages of evidence which points towards the conclusion that the  stories of the Bible are built on celestial metaphor. 

To them I would first say that I myself was very resistant to accepting this conclusion, even after I first began to encounter the evidence presented by sources such as the authors of Hamlet's Mill (such as in their discussion of the Samson story). 

Second, I would say that it is my experience that, once we begin to hear them in the language that the myths and sacred stories are actually speaking, we will be even more amazed and enthralled at the truth and beauty of their ancient message than we were before, when their "signal was distorted" by our attempts to hear their broadcast through a literalistic signal processor, so to speak. 

And, finally, I would argue that I am by no means the first person to point out the celestial foundations of the stories in the Bible (the authors of Hamlet's Mill did it in 1969, of course, but before that there were others who taught versions of the same argument, including the Reverend Robert Taylor in the first half of the 1800s, and there have been others who have hinted at the same doctrine, going all the way back to Macrobius and to Lucian of Samosata and even back to Plato himself -- and probably much further back beyond Plato).

In addition to those who have presented hints of the system of celestial metaphor in their writings or teachings, I have also grown more and more astonished at the incredible wealth of evidence that this ancient system of metaphor continued to be understood by someone down through the centuries, and even down through the millennia, in the visual media of the fine arts. 

As readers of the Star Myths of the World series (and readers of this blog) know, there is abundant visual evidence in sculpture and in pottery and especially in painting that the constellational characteristics associated with specific figures in the myths (specific gods, goddesses, and mortal personages described in the sacred stories) have been preserved in art down through the ages, to a startling degree. 

This fact does not necessarily mean that the artists themselves were privy to the system of constellational metaphor, or even to the fact that the characteristics they were told belong to this or that figure were celestial characteristics -- although the artists may have been privy to the system, for all we know. However, it is equally possible that they were simply taught, during their years of training in the approved schools and colleges of fine art, that "King Solomon must always have a hand extended in this manner," or that specific gods and goddesses must always carry this type of staff or spear or wand, and that certain figures carry their spear at one angle and others carry it at a different characteristic angle.

Whatever their level of understanding of the system, the fact remains that the fine art down through the centuries proclaims in staggering abundance the undeniable connection of the gods, goddesses, and other figures of myth and sacred story to the constellations of our night sky.

In other words, I am not expounding something that is not already staring millions of visitors in the face in the hallways and galleries of museums around the world, on a daily basis.

Above is one of many possible examples that could be offered from the various scenes depicting the discovery of baby Moses among the bulrushes. The positioning of the human figures, and even the positioning of the River Nile, directly evokes a very specific part of the night sky, and very specific and well-known constellations, along with their distinctive features (that painting, from the 1600s, is discussed in my new book, Star Myths of the Bible).

Below are several more scenes from the stories found in Biblical scripture -- all of them with very strong constellational elements in their artistic composition, and all of them discussed in Star Myths of the Bible. First is a scene from the Judgment of Solomon, which has been discussed in detail in previous posts (see here, for example):

image: The Judgment of Solomon, Peter Paul Rubens (1577 - 1640).

And here is another by the same artist (and thus also from the first half of the 1600s) showing David about to slay Goliath:

image: David Slaying Goliath, Peter Paul Rubens (1577 - 1640).

Here is an image from the selling of Joseph to a caravan of merchants by Joseph's brothers, which is one of several depictions of this scene that is discussed in Star Myths of the Bible:

image: Joseph sold by his Brothers (Jose Vendido), by Antonio del Castillo y Saavedra (1616 - 1668).

And, one from a different part of Biblical scripture, and from an artist in a different century, here is an image of the famous scene of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples at the Last Supper:

image: Christ Washing the Disciples' Feet, Bernhard Strigel (1465 - 1528).

All of the above images can be seen as proclaiming quite loudly that the scenes have celestial originals, in which constellations play the various figures in the story. And literally hundreds more could be offered in addition to these.

But, as readers of previous volumes in the series (and readers of this blog) will know, the sacred art from relatively recent centuries in Europe are by no means the only examples of art which exhibits  the distinctive celestial characteristics of various constellational characters. Recent posts have presented some images from the fine art of ancient Greek pottery displaying constellational references, such as this hydria (water jug) from this previous post:

And also this beautiful bell-krater depicting Artemis and Actaeon, discussed in this previous post:

Both of the above artistic treasures depict mythological episodes using figures whose constellational correspondences are undeniable, once the observer begins to develop a certain level of fluency in the world-wide celestial system and in the characteristics and body-postures unique to each important constellation. These works of art are from hundreds of years BC.

But the system goes back still further, and can be shown to be at work in the artwork of ancient Mesopotamia and of ancient Egypt, artwork of incredible antiquity from even a thousand years earlier than the Greek masterpieces above. For example, the scene below comes from a temple at Abydos attributed to the time of Seti I (thought to have lived until the year 1279 BC, nearly 3,300 years ago) shows the goddess Isis receiving the tree-trunk pillar containing the body of the slain Osiris (the pillar itself has "Djed-column" characteristics):

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

I believe that certain very distinctive features which are attributable to specific constellations can be detected in the outline of the goddess herself, and certainly in the outline of the smaller figure kneeling at the base of the Djed-column as it is removed from its recent location. 

Again, the above images constitute just a very small sampling of the artwork down through the centuries which proclaim the celestial connection of the world's ancient myths. Thousands more could undoubtedly be provided. Serious students and scholars of art history and theory may wish to devote some research and exploration of this incredible evidence, in order to formulate hypotheses regarding the transmission of this ancient knowledge down through the millennia.

In other words, the work of those who have testified to a connection between the myths and the stars of heaven is all around us, piling up over the centuries, impossible to deny. My latest book is by no means the first such proclamation of this undeniable connection -- not by many thousands of years!

It is my sincere hope that greater understanding of the language of celestial metaphor will open new perspectives for you, new perspectives not only upon the beautiful masterpieces of art from previous centuries and millennia, but new perspectives and new insights from the myths themselves, when you are able to go to them and hear them speaking to you in their original tongue.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Introducing STAR MYTHS VOLUME THREE: Star Myths of the Bible

Introducing the third volume in the series Star Myths of the World, and how to interpret them, which is just now hitting the "bookstands" and focuses on the

For a complete table of contents and several pages of selected preview content, please follow this link (pdf file will open in a new browser tab or window).

Note that this volume has 766 pages, including hundreds of full-color images and star-charts, as well as nearly 200 end-notes, and contains detailed exploration of the evidence for the celestial foundations of the sacred stories involving:
Adam and Eve and the Serpent
The Garden of Eden
The Flood
Shem, Ham & Japheth
Abraham and Sarah
The Children of Israel
The Vision of Ezekiel
The Angel Gabriel and the Annunciation
The Visit of the Magi
John the Baptist
Selected Miracles
The Triumphal Entry
The Scourging of the Temple
The Last Supper
The Crucifixion
The Resurrection
Apocalyptic Visions
Michael the Archangel
"Doubting Thomas,"
. . . among others.

Barnes & Noble is presently offering free shipping to some geographic destinations and says they can have it in your hands by Thursday (see link here).

Amazon is presently also offering free shipping to some geographic destinations (see link here).

You can also support your favorite local bookseller by asking them to order it for you, or support your favorite library by asking if they can add it to the collection for you and others who are interested in these subjects.

It is my belief that the evidence overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that the myths and sacred stories of the world are based upon a common, world-wide system of celestial metaphor -- and that the evidence in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments supports the same conclusion regarding the sacred stories in the Bible.

I am not the first person in history to reach this conclusion; versions of this argument can be found as early as the writings of Plato, in varying degrees of directness. 

However, Star Myths of the Bible seeks to present a very thorough examination of the evidence that this system of metaphor is operating in the Biblical scriptures, as well as a systematic explanation of the principles underlying this celestial "language" in order to enable readers to become fluent in the system so that they can converse with the myths directly and hear for themselves their ancient wisdom and the profound truths that they contain for our benefit and blessing.

It is my hope that as we gain greater understanding of and fluency in the celestial language of humanity's ancient myths, we will gain a new and deeper appreciation and reverence for all of the world's sacred stories, to include those found in the scriptures of the Bible, and that as we do so, the Star Myths which form a precious inheritance for the human race will have a vital and positive impact on our daily lives . . . and on the world in which we find ourselves.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Welcome to new visitors from Earth Ancients! (and returning friends)

Special thanks to Cliff Dunning for inviting me to join him for a conversation discussing Star Myths on his Earth Ancients radio show and podcast. 

Welcome to anyone visiting the Star Myths blog and website for the first time after hearing that interview!

Apologies to anyone who tried to tune-in live and found that we were experiencing unusual "radio interference" with the signal. After a few minutes of trying to figure out the problem, we disconnected from the "live feed" and re-booted the audio. That's why the YouTube video above, containing our interview, seems to start off somewhat abruptly, with Cliff and I joking about the audio problems. 

If you weren't listening live, below is a short sample of the audio problems we were having. After a few minutes of that, we disconnected so that Cliff could work with the system to try to fix it:

While we were disconnected and Cliff was tracking down a solution to the problem, there wasn't much for me to do, so I decided to turn to the Ganesh (Ganapati) mantra, because Sri Ganesha is known as the Remover of Obstacles (and at that point we were certainly experiencing some obstacles to communication! I had no idea whether or not we could get them fixed in time to continue the conversation). You can see more about Lord Ganesha, and what I believe to be the celestial foundations of the sacred tradition regarding his iconography here.

Perhaps with the assistance of Sri Ganapati, the obstacles were almost immediately removed, and the interview continued after that! But if you are wondering why the YouTube video above containing the full interview seems to start in a somewhat unorthodox manner, that's the back-story!

We covered a lot of ground -- hopefully some material that provides some new insights or perspectives that have not been covered as much in other previous interviews. Below are some links to additional material on some of the subjects we touched on during the conversation:

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Gaining fluency in the language of the myths

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

I have said many times, in interviews and in published materials (written and video), that the concept of "speaking in different languages" provides a very helpful metaphor regarding the interpretation of ancient myths, scriptures, and sacred stories.

If the myths arrive in our village speaking a language we don't understand (perhaps a language our ancestors understood, but a language we have long forgotten), and someone offers to interpret what they say for us -- but they don't actually speak the language either -- they could offer all kinds of misinterpretations which could lead to all kinds of confusion and chaos.

There have probably been scenes in movies or plays in which just such a scene is acted out for humorous effect -- perhaps with the visitor saying (in his or her own language), "This food is delicious -- I am honored that you are sharing it with me," and the deceptive translator telling the anxious listeners, "He said your food is disgusting, and he is extremely insulted that you have offered him such disgraceful refuse."

The point of this metaphor is my assertion (which has been made by others in the past -- stretching back at least to Plato) that the myths, scriptures, and sacred stories of humanity are not speaking to us in a literal language, but rather in the language of celestial metaphor. Therefore, if we try to interpret them as if they are speaking a literal language, we are almost certain to introduce mis-interpretations, mis-translations, and mis-understanding (with potentially disastrous results).

The fact that the myths of humanity, from virtually every culture in virtually every inhabited corner of the globe, can be shown to be built upon a common system of celestial metaphor is astonishing, and has incredible implications for our ancient history. Setting aside the question of how this situation came about (because there are numerous possible hypotheses which could be offered, each of which deserves careful investigation -- the question is by no means settled and the solution is by no means obvious or self-evident), the fact that this same system can be seen to underlie the myths and scriptures and sacred stories of peoples around the world, from Africa to Scandinavia to Australia to the Americas and all points in between, argues that someone in the distant past believed their message to be incredibly valuable and worth safeguarding and preserving with the utmost reverence. 

If we wish to understand this ancient message, preserved in the sacred myths which are the precious inheritance of the human race, then it would behoove us to try to listen to them in the language that they are speaking, and not in some other language that we wish that they were speaking, or that someone else tells us that they are speaking. 

(That last category includes me, myself: don't simply take my word for it when I assert that they are speaking in the language of celestial metaphor -- examine the evidence for yourself; I offer hundreds of examples from around the world which I believe point to the conclusion that the myths and scriptures, including those in what has for centuries been called "the Bible," are built upon a foundation of celestial metaphor).

If one examines the evidence and concludes that the myths are indeed speaking a celestial metaphor, then the next question might be to ask how we understand this language. It is a very good question. 

Some conventional scholars, detecting some of the solar and celestial and "seasonal" components in the myths (by "seasonal" I mean having to do with summer or winter or spring or fall, usually by the incorporation of metaphors or observations centered on the equinoxes and solstices, obvious examples being the celebrations of Christmas and Easter / Passover around the time of the December solstice and March equinox, respectively) assert that these elements in the myths and sacred traditions of the world are simply remnants of a time when humanity was working out the civilizational tools of agriculture and keeping a calendar, both of which do in fact involve complex sets of knowledge which would be helpful to preserve and pass on, once people have figured them out.

However, although that knowledge may certainly be part of the story (and while I certainly do not deny that the skills of keeping a calendar and successfully growing crops in order to keep a civilization alive are critically important skills, whose knowledge ancient peoples would want to preserve), I believe that there is more than sufficient evidence to argue that the myths are speaking a celestial language which can actually be described as a spiritual language (and even a shamanic language, as I have argued extensively in previous books and previous posts on this blog).

So, how does understanding their celestial foundation help us to hear the ancient myths in the language that they are in fact speaking? By understanding the way that the myths of the world use the heavenly realms, and the cycles of the heavenly bodies which move through those realms, as a way of describing a worldview or cosmology which includes both the Visible Realm and the Invisible Realm -- the second being the realm of spirit, the realm of infinite potentiality, the realm of the gods. 

This Other World is very real, but because it is invisible to us (most of the time), the myths and scriptures use figures and metaphors in order to convey teaching about it to our understanding. And the figures and metaphors they use to convey that knowledge are drawn from the heavens above -- the heavens which are in fact infinite in their own right, and which thus form a perfect vehicle for conveying to us truths about the infinite realm.

Alvin Boyd Kuhn, who was in my opinion one of the most articulate and insightful teachers regarding the way that the myths use the heavenly cycles as a language for conveying spiritual truths, gives an outstanding (and essential) translation of the spiritual meaning of the annual cycle which forms the Great Wheel of the year, divided into four different parts by the great stations of the two equinoxes and two solstices. He published thousands of pages of explication of the myths and their spiritual language, and the clearest and most concise explanation of the spiritual "code" in the annual cycle is perhaps found in a little volume entitled Easter: The Birthday of the Gods (based on a lecture he delivered in 1936).

It is my belief, after some years of study on this subject, that in addition to the references to the solstices and equinoxes found in the myths, we can also perceive references to specific constellations in the myths and sacred stories themselves -- constellations which point us towards specific places within that larger framework, and which thus act as pointers to help us understand what specific themes and teachings that particular myth may be expounding for our understanding and our benefit.

This fact may be the key to understanding the language which the myths and sacred stories of humanity are speaking to us -- and the more we understand this "language," and the more time we spend "conversing" with the myths using that language (which is a spiritual language, and even a shamanic language, as most traditional peoples on earth already understand, but as the proponents of a literal approach to the Biblical texts wish to deny), the more we will gain "fluency" in hearing their message.

Below is a video I made about a year and half ago which explains some of these concepts, along with some visual aids to try to make the points more clear and understandable (Thank you to everyone who has provided positive feedback on it!):

Friday, August 12, 2016

Please join me for a conversation with Cliff Dunning on Earth Ancients

Join me approximately 10 hours from now for a conversation with Cliff Dunning of Earth Ancients.

The broadcast will take place at 10am Pacific time (California) on Saturday, August 13.

To listen to the show live, follow this link (call-in details are available there).

If you're not able to listen live, the replay will be available on various web channels including the Earth Ancients websites and affiliated webcasts and web TV, and I will also post links once those replays are available as I usually do for all podcast interviews.

Hope you can join us and I look forward to talking with Cliff and the listeners at Earth Ancients!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

New video: "You aren't supposed to take them literally"

I've just published a new video, entitled "You aren't supposed to take them literally," which explains that literalism can cause men and women to miss out on the message of the myths in two different ways:
  • One way is for those who are able to convince themselves that the stories are actually describing literal events: if the myths are actually speaking a metaphorical and esoteric language, then interpreting them as if they are speaking a completely different, literal language is almost certain to lead to major misunderstandings and misinterpretations;
  • The other way, however, can be almost as bad (perhaps even worse in some ways -- maybe we should just say "equally disastrous"), and that is to assume that because one is unable to take them literally, they must not "be true" and their message can be ignored: this conclusion is extremely widespread today and in recent centuries.
However, if the sacred myths given to humanity are not in fact speaking a literal language, then rejecting them because you can't take them literally is a big mistake.

The video presents visual examples of numerous Star Myths from various cultures, showing beyond doubt that they are built upon celestial metaphor. Many of the star-charts and ancient images shown in the video will be familiar to long-time readers of this blog, although some will probably be new.

I believe that the truths in the ancient myths, scriptures, and sacred stories of the world contain absolutely vital truths that we need today. 

It is tragic to miss the message they have to offer, and I believe that literalism causes a huge percentage of men and women to miss their message in one of the two ways described above, and in the new video.

August 11: Made a couple of small changes to the original video, in order to make it slightly more engaging and understandable.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Celestial Foundations: Greek Myths and Biblical Scriptures

Here is a new video I made exploring evidence of close parallels between some of the myths of ancient Greece and specific stories in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

Please feel free to add feedback -- 

It is my hope that this information will be a blessing to you and beneficial in your voyages across the watery oceans of the material-spiritual realms of this incarnate life.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Artemis and Actaeon on the name-vase of the Pan Painter

Artemis slaying Actaeon, on the name vase of the Pan Painter, early fifth century BC.

I hope you have had the opportunity, if at all possible, to observe the breathtaking panoply of constellations now turning across the night sky along the band of the ecliptic plane. 

The previous post explained that now is one of the best times of year for seeing the complete constellation of Scorpio for viewers in more northerly latitudes of the northern hemisphere, as well as stunning views of Sagittarius, Ophiucus, Hercules and the Milky Way (among many others).

Another earlier post also mentioned my visit last month to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the countless pieces of ancient art which attest to the ancient awareness of the system of celestial metaphor which forms the foundation for the myths, scriptures and sacred stories of virtually every culture on our planet.

The main piece of ancient art I wanted to see at the MFA (which I had never visited before) was the bell krater pictured above, which is the "name vase" of an ancient artist known as "the Pan Painter."

The image above shows Artemis in the act of slaying Actaeon, who is barely visible around the curve of the krater, in the act of being devoured by his own hunting dogs.

This artwork, and its astonishing and self-evident celestial correspondences, is discussed at some length in Star Myths of the World, Volume Two (Greek mythology), and the chapters about the goddess Artemis.

The modern scholar, John Davidson Beazley, who gave the so-called "Pan Painter" the name by which this artist is known to scholars of ancient Greece says of the above painting and bell krater in a text published in 1918
There is no finer vase in Boston, there is no finer vase anywhere, than the bell-krater with Pan pursuing a shepherd on one side, and Artemis killing Acteon on the other, published by Hauser in F. R., pl. 115.
The technique is admirable: the Artemis and Acteon is perhaps the most finished group in all vase-painting: the lean, surprising, devilishly elegant figures carry the mind far away from Greece to some Renaissance bronze worker, to Jean Goujon or Giovanni Bologna. In JHS. 32, pp. 354 - 369, I collected forty works by this artist and named him, after the Boston vase, the Pan Painter. 113.
The reader may agree or disagree with some of the sentiments J. D. Beazley offers above -- he certainly means the comparisons and descriptions as a compliment, and it is clear that he regarded this particular painting on this particular bell-krater as one of the superlative pieces of red-figure art produced by the entire corpus of ancient Greek pottery painting. 
I agree that the artwork by this unknown ancient artist is amazing and moving. What I find most "surprising" about the images in this particular bell-krater, however, in addition to its high artistic quality and the mastery of the artist's conception of the scene and the force of the drama, is the incredible evocation of the stars of the night sky in this depiction of the encounter between Artemis and Actaeon on the name vase of the Pan Painter.

Can you see the zodiac constellations at play in the artwork above? If not, you may want to go outside and spend some time marveling at the glorious drama playing out right now in the zodiac constellations of the infinite night sky, while keeping the images from the ancient bell-krater above in mind as you do so.

(Note that it is, once again, imperative to keep the outlines which were suggested by H. A. Rey in mind as you look at the stars, or the bell-krater -- whether H. A. Rey was privy to some extremely ancient knowledge that was handed down to him in some way, or whether he just in his own genius came up with the system which also happened to have been used by the ancient system of celestial metaphor underlying the scriptures, myths and sacred stories of the world as well as the ancient artwork which depicts some of those myths and stories, is unknown to me and must be considered a very important question and a fascinating mystery; to my knowledge, he never made specific reference to the  precise correspondence between his constellations as outlined and certain pieces of fine art such as the bell-krater above).

I highly recommend that anyone who has the ability to do so make the effort to visit the Boston Museum of Fine Art. It is truly worth spending weeks within its walls and chambers -- I would recommend planning for more than one day at the museum if at all possible.

If you are not able to make the visit to Boston at this time, however, you can see the goddess Artemis in the sky this very evening. In fact, the ancient wisdom contained in the world's myths tells us very clearly that we have access to the divine realm at all times (see for instance this previous post).

One thing that surprised me about this bell-krater of the Pan Painter when I finally had the opportunity to see it in person is the sheer size of the vase. It was much larger than I expected!

Below is your humble author, standing next to this ancient treasure, for purposes of scale.