Monday, October 31, 2016

Welcome to new visitors from The Higherside Chats (and returning friends!)

Big thank you to Greg Carlwood & Co for having me back over to The Higherside Chats for a conversation about Star Myths and -- just in time for Halloween, or at least for All Soul's Day -- some of the accounts of paranormal encounters at the US Military Academy at West Point.

This interview was recorded on October 18th, 2016.

Here is the link to the free version of this new show -- but I would definitely recommend subscribing to the "THC Plus" option, which costs $5 per month (a variety of subscription options are available here).

THC+ enables you to hear the full version of all the interviews, instead of the slightly shorter-duration "free version," as well as to peruse the full archives of THC goodness, with archived full-length shows going back all the way to the start of THC+ (Greg makes all the back episodes of the "free version" for free, at the archive section of the original show).

There's even a "seven-days free trial" offer, where you can use the full Plus site for seven days and then choose whether to cancel or to subscribe.

Personally, I've said many times that I believe everyone should make a habit of listening to podcasts such as THC in order to try to piece together the big picture of what's going on in this world, because there is clear evidence of the manipulation and falsification of historical "narratives" of our ancient and recent history -- very similar to what we see portrayed in the classic 1968 version of Planet of the Apes, by Dr. Zaius (who is referenced in the THC theme song; Planet of the Apes is such an important movie on so many levels that it can probably accurately be described as a sort of "Matrix before The Matrix").

For a couple of previous posts I've published about the many-layered metaphors in the original Planet of the Apes, see "Paging Dr. Zaius," "Which role are you playing?" and "Wake up Gorillas! Don't perpetrate violence."

I had the pleasure of meeting Greg through the "coincidence" of having a table next to his, way back in 2014 at the Secret Space Program and Breakaway Civilizations conference in San Mateo, California. He was selling Conspiratees shirts and promoting the show (and drinking beers, starting around 10am), and I was promoting and signing copies of The Undying Stars, which had just been published the month before.

If you're interested in checking out the first interview I did with Greg on THC back in September of that year, you can find links to that show here.

For more discussion of some of the other topics we discussed during the show, you can also check out the following links to previous posts or videos, if interested:
  • This article in the West Point magazine describing the first-hand account of West Point cadet John Feeley (class of 1973), the upperclassman who encountered an apparition in Barracks 4714, when he decided to stay overnight in the room of some plebes from the company who were complaining about a paranormal visitor.
  • This YouTube video containing a first-hand account from Jim O'Connor, the plebe who was there in the room that same night, and who had been one of the plebes complaining about the ghostly visitor in the first place, prompting Cadet Feeley to stay overnight in the room in order to investigate.
  • A discussion of the importance of the constellation-outlining system proposed by H. A. Rey, and some illustrations of why it is so much better than the systems you often find on Wikipedia or smartphone apps.
  • A "Star Myth Index" that I put together some years ago, with links to numerous Star Myths that I have discussed and illustrated on the pages of this blog.
  • The "Myths" section of my newer website, which includes some additional Star Myth discussions and videos.
  • Some discussion of the evidence in fine art down through the centuries which points very strongly to the conclusion that the esoteric and celestial nature of the myths -- including the celestial nature of the Bible stories -- was known and passed down by at least some groups, even though this knowledge was kept secret. 
  • The discussions in "The Name of the Ankh" and "The Name of the Ankh, continued," which explore Alvin Boyd Kuhn's assertion that the "N-K" and related phonemes have to do with connecting -- and may be found in the words for both Cannabis and Ganja, among many other important words (such as Kundalini).
  • Some discussion of the fact that the world's Star Myths provide powerful evidence of a now-forgotten, extremely ancient culture of great spiritual sophistication and probably very advanced technological sophistication of a technology perhaps very different from what we know or understand -- in addition to all the archaeological evidence we find in the great celestially-aligned stone monuments around the world (with video here).
  • The "Resources" section of my website, where you can find links to online versions of important historical texts related to the Star Myths of the world (there is a "resources" link at the very bottom of every page on that Star Myth World website).
Remember, both the blog and the Star Myth World website are fully searchable, so you can search for various keywords or categories in order to find more about the topics that interest you.

I hope you will enjoy the show!


Errata (The following are some "verbal typos" that I committed during the interview, which are corrected here):

  • I remembered after the interview was over that the song referenced near the beginning of the interview is actually by the Exploited (link).
  • The paranormal encounters described in the 1970s were in the 47th Division, which is just around the corner from the "Lost Fifties," and in fact they are all part of the same building. However, the paranormal encounter that my friend described which happened to him during our plebe year did take place in the Lost Fifties themselves. While I was a cadet, the area that I heard described as being haunted was most commonly the Lost Fifties.
  • At one point in the interview while recounting that story from our plebe year, I said "boyfriend" when I meant to say "buddy." Duh.
  • Fort Leavenworth is actually in Kansas, but it is right next to the river, and Missouri is right across the bridge. I actually was there at Leavenworth, however, for part of one summer for an army school (it's been awhile). 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Welcome to new visitors from the Deekast podcast (and returning friends)

Thank you to Derek Veenhof for inviting me over to his podcast, The Deekast, for a conversation about myth, stars, celestial cycles, and Halloween!

This interview was recorded on October 29th, 2016.

Here is a link to the webpage where you can listen to (or download) that interview, which is also embedded above.

During our conversation, we touched on a variety of important subjects. Below are some links to previously-published blog posts discussing some of these subjects, for those interested in reading more:
  • The relationship of that Old Testament story to other Star Myths from around the world, including those of Hephaestus and King Midas from ancient Greece, as well as the Old Testament story of Balaam.
  • The importance of music, rhythm, and chanting (many previous posts -- see for instance here, here and here).
  • And, of course, the upcoming passage of earth through the important points on its orbit which we call All Hallow's Eve and (the next day) All Souls Day.
I hope you will enjoy our conversation, and wish Derek all the best with his new podcast! (This only was episode #12 for his show -- a significant number!)


No one has a right to bulldoze sacred heritage sites and sic dogs on men, women and children

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

The grievances of the Native Americans at Standing Rock,

over the callous disregard for their sacred heritage sites and for their federally-decreed right to be consulted over the construction of a commercial oil pipeline through land to which they have a recognized historical claim,

have not been getting the attention they deserve from many major media outlets --

with the result that the outrageous events that have been unfolding at Standing Rock as:

sacred Native sites have been bulldozed,

and as living men, women and children protesting the violation of their rights have been assaulted with dogs, mace, tasers, and other weapons of violence

have generated outrage --

but have not yet generated the level of outrage that they should be generating.

Today's New York Times (10/28/2016), for example, chooses to display exactly zero mention of the outrageous events taking place anywhere on the "front page" displayed on the web (a screenshot is presented at the end of this article, showing the headlines the Times chose to present to viewers instead of making any mention of the violations at Standing Rock, as of 6:17 pm).

While one might perhaps argue that "it's an election season, and there is a lot going on" which might explain the lack of mention -- until we see the stories that the newspaper did choose to highlight for attention on the web "front page," such as "How to run across the country faster than anyone" and "how do self-tanning products change the color of skin?" as well as a reminiscence on the 1968 version of Night of the Living Dead and an article entitled "Judging others by their e-mail tics: signoffs, the well-placed emoji, the use of exclamation points (or not). It's a minefield out there" -- certainly vital issues about which readers should be more concerned, rather than the use of weapons upon the bodies of protestors standing in the way of corporations who are proceeding in violation of explicit Native American rights.

The top several lines displaying tweets on the general "home page" of Twitter right now contain no mention either, although if you scroll way down in the feed there is a cartoon mentioning it with a sardonic comparison to the Malheur Refuge acquittal -- but not in a way that calls attention to the outrageous desecration of sacred Native heritage sites or the outrageous violence that has been and continues to be perpetrated upon the protestors at Standing Rock.

This front page cannot be said to be based on things that I tend to "follow" in my Twitter account or in my browsing habits, as nothing in those top several lines has anything to do with the kinds of things I look at on the web or on Twitter. These are obviously the stories Twitter has chosen to promote -- and the violation of the rights of the Standing Rock Sioux is obviously not high on Twitter's list.

The Wall Street Journal, which one might suspect to be a newspaper devoted to covering important issues having to do with corporations which trade on the financial exchanges (such as the companies which own major stakes in the entity responsible for the Dakota Access Pipeline) has a seemingly endless web "front page" that similarly fails to find any reason to mention the ongoing violence against those protesting, or the reasons for the protests.

The Journal does, however, find room today to feature on its long web "front page" oversized pictures relating to:

  • a story about taste-testing "candy corn," a sugary candy associated with  the Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays in North America -- ironically, candy which pays tribute to the corn or maize which is found in the Americas but not in the so-called "Old World," and which the Native Americans brought along with other bountiful foodstuffs to share with the starving Europeans at the "first Thanksgiving."
  • a story entitled "Thankfully unexpected pie recipes for the Thanksgiving table," featuring a photograph of a delicious-looking slice of "mint grasshopper pie" -- again, grimly ironic in that the Journal sees fit to feature a story about Thanksgiving pie recipes before we even reach Halloween, but does not see fit to feature a story involving a publicly-traded limited partnership, an oil pipeline, and the emotionally-charged conflict which is taking place right now at Standing Rock, when Thanksgiving itself commemorates the generosity of Native Americans in bringing the makings of a feast to hungry settlers from Europe (settlers who, by all accounts, would not have survived had the Natives compassionately shown them some techniques to aid their survival in the unfamiliar land).
So, the major corporate ad-driven media -- which is very good at stirring up outrage and directing attention to a story when it wants to (or when those who control it want to), by putting that story in your face twenty-four hours a day -- clearly do not want to provoke outrage over what clearly should be seen as outrageous (unless you believe that siccing dogs on men, women and children, ignoring the duty to consult Native Americans regarding sensitive heritage sites, and then brazenly bulldozing those sites and destroying them is not outrageous). 

While there are obviously many issues involved in this story, to a degree that some may think it is "too hard to figure out," I would argue that at its heart this story is so  clear-cut that there should be no room for debate. 

Although there are layers of the story that involve the question of the use of petroleum, the question of fracking, the question of environmentalism in general, the question of the cost of gasoline and other fuels and the impact of their prices on the economy at large (all important issues), the bottom line is that this is a conflict that centers on the violation of the rights of a community who has seen their rights violated to a degree that is almost impossible to comprehend, a community which can be said without  the least bit of exaggeration to have experienced the horrendous crime which deserves the label of genocide (even though that word was invented later), and a community who was supposed to have been consulted before any proposed pipelines were built through lands that contained sacred heritage sites -- and they were not consulted, their wishes were ignored, and a judge callously denied their injunction to halt construction so that their side of the discussion could be heard.

They were denied their mandated consultation, then they were denied their "day in court," and then when they protested they were set upon by dogs, mace (a general term for a form of painful chemical spray which uses either tear gas or pepper spray in most cases), military directed-sound weapons, beanbag guns, rubber bullets, police batons, and other violent means.

This story in the Atlantic (from September 9th) explains that the land upon which the corporations in question want to build the pipeline was given to the Sioux nations in the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868.

Like so many other treaties made by the federal government of the united states, that treaty was shamefully disregarded and broken -- in this case, not many years later when the desire to mine the gold in the Black Hills led to the provocation of the conflicts that resulted in the battle of the Little Bighorn, a resounding defeat of Custer's forces by the combined forces of several tribes and nations, and then the retaliation by the government's forces including the criminal massacre at Wounded Knee and the cowardly murder of both Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse after they had laid down their weapons and were in the custody of the army and the police.

In order to get access to food (once they were confined to reservations and basically unable to obtain food for themselves anymore), the tribes signed new treaties conceding the lands containing the gold that the settlers and their government wanted -- even though these included some of their most sacred places (see the discussion here, entitled "The Heart of Everything That Is").

But, as the Atlantic article points out, the Supreme Court in 1980 determined that the shameful way in which these lands were wrested from the Native nations in an illegal manner, and ordered compensation to be paid to the Sioux for the lands. But, as the article explains, "the Sioux declined the payment -- which still sits in US Treasury accounts, earning interest -- because they seek possession or co-ownership of the land itself."

This alone makes their cause worthy of stopping the pipeline and finding another way to move the desired commodities to the desired refineries. The shameful history of the seizure of these lands (which has been acknowledged by the Supreme Court) in the first place argues that in cases of disputed access, extra care should be taken to ensure that the rights of the Native Americans to whom that land was ceded in the Treaty of Fort Laramie (a concession for which, of course, the Native tribes had to make plenty of reciprocating concessions of their own). No one looking at the history of the making of treaties between the Native nations and the federal government of the united states of America can have any illusions regarding which side consistently failed to honor the provisions of those agreements in the ensuing years.

Above and beyond that, as the Atlantic article also points out, there is a written requirement for any federal agency planning a project in land with which a Native nation may have a cultural or historical connection to consult with the Native nations and to do so on a nation-to-nation basis. The Standing Rock Sioux argue that this requirement to consult was not observed by the federal agency granting access to the pipeline project (the federal agency in this case being the US Army Corps of Engineers). But when they filed an injunction to stop progress on the construction project over this very requirement, that injunction was denied in court.

Not only that, but when they filed the injunction, evidence was presented of sacred heritage sites in the path of the proposed pipeline project -- including standing stones arranged in the shape of constellations, specifically the Big Dipper (called IyoKaptan Tanka by the Lakota themselves). An effigy of a powerful figure known as Bear Spirit Healer (Mato Wapiya) was also found in the area. Below is an image  of stones arranged after the heavenly patterns of the stars, presented in the court filing by an archaeologist who himself is a member of the Lakota nation, as seen on this website:

As this article entitled "Grave Matters in Pipeline Controversy," from investigative journalism site WhoWhatWhy, explains, the discovery of stones dedicated to Bear Medicine Healer and stones arranged in the outline of IyoKaptan Tanka carries tremendous significance, and probably indicates that a very highly-repected individual (probably a chief) may have been placed in this location after he died (the nations of the Great Plains typically did not bury their dead, but rather placed them on elevated scaffolds exposed to Nature), and it may also have been used for contact with the Other World during life as well. Tim Mentz, Sr., the archaeologist who presented this evidence, recalls how as a young man, he and other young adults were always admonished not to speak or make any noise around sacred sites such as these, when visiting to pay respect and offer food to the spirits of those who had gone before.

Heartbreakingly, just after this evidence was presented to the court as part of the injunction to halt further construction until the required consultations were conducted and steps could be taken to ensure no destruction or desecration of any sacred heritage sites, the private companies hired by the owners of the pipeline project began to bulldoze the sacred sites in question -- using dogs against those who tried to stop them.

Again, there is absolutely no question that if such deliberate destruction of cultural heritage is alleged by witnesses, all further progress in the area should be immediately halted and investigation should commence into actions that must be regarded as constituting a serious crime.

These actions have not been receiving the front-page headlines, and the attention-generating media coverage, that violations of this magnitude should be receiving.

Additionally, the methods used against the protestors continue to escalate, with hundreds of arrests this week, the imposition of "no-fly zones" over the protest sites in order to prevent those friendly to the cause of the protestors from gathering aerial video footage using drones in order to document what is taking place, and the use of a variety of heavy-handed tactics including the use of tasers, rubber bullets, beanbag projectiles, and military vehicles equipped with new non-lethal weapons capable of directing high-volume sound and even microwave energy at protestors.

Not only is the use of such tactics incredibly offensive given the egregious record of abuse and exploitation in the past, but it should also give people around the world a wake-up call regarding the quite open disdain by a corporate entity of any need to even pretend to listen to the needs of a particular community.

In this case, the community in question happens to be one against whom there is an unending history of abuses and violations of rights going back centuries, which makes the situation even uglier and more egregious, but the very same pattern of disdain for the rights of communities to make decisions that corporations dislike can be seen in proposed "treaties" such as the TTP, TTIP, and others along the same pattern, which award corporations the supposed right to level fees on communities that decide to vote for laws that will impair profitability (giving a supposed right to level fees on communities which pass laws such as minimum wage requirements or labeling requirements on genetically-modified ingredients, for instance).

Therefore, the Standing Rock protests -- and the outrageous treatment of the protestors -- is alarming both on its own merits, and also as an example of a new level of open disregard by a for-profit corporate entity of even the pretense of observing the rights of nations.

In a way, every moral violation we encounter in this life can be seen as a test -- will we oppose the violation, or will we tolerate it? Our response may have some impact on our karma, or our spirit body, or our soul (at least according to the ancient wisdom that can be shown to have been given to humanity at some incredibly early date, which forms the basis for the myths, scriptures and sacred stories of cultures around the world).

In this particular case, however, it may well be that the test is also a test for humanity, given by those who want to see what level of high-handed behavior they can get away with, without provoking widespread outrage.

If such behavior can be displayed for anyone to see, without any widespread outrage, then what kind of message will that send to those who already display such open disdain for the rights of people as opposed to corporations?

Th Dakota Pipeline case is made exponentially more outrageous because of the history of abuses perpetrated against the Sioux in particular and the Native peoples of the Americas in general over the course of centuries.

If men and women around the country and around the world cannot see the reason for outrage in the violation of the rights of the Standing Rock Sioux in this particular case, then the boundary of what can be perpetrated without backlash will truly have been moved to a shocking new low.

The fact that much of the media has decided to give the issue only passing mention should also be a blaring wake-up call regarding the sorry state of the media, journalism, and "the press" in many of the biggest news organizations responsible for producing the mainstream news cycle on a daily basis.

There is also the unpleasant fact, so unpleasant that it is difficult for many people to even consider, that the deliberate desecration and destruction of sacred sites -- such as the bulldozing described in the articles linked above -- appears to be part of an ongoing pattern. In September of 2000, for example, the sacred central stone marker known as the Intihuatana or "hitching post of the sun" at Machu Picchu was damaged by a crane during the filming of a beer commercial, of all things. This article from the BBC explains that the company in question was expressly denied permission to take a crane up to the sacred site, and so they snuck the crane in at dawn anyway -- and when the crane experienced what was described as an accidental "mechanical failure," it broke the stone at the heart of the entire Machu Picchu complex.

Additional examples can be found in the deliberate destruction of the ancient paintings at the sacred stone enclosure of Painted Rock in modern-day California, paintings believed to have survived for thousands of years before being blasted by firearms at close range in the 1930s.

It is an undeniable fact of history that in previous centuries, sacred sites in the Americas (and elsewhere around the world) have been deliberately and systematically desecrated and destroyed -- primarily by organized institutions of literalist forms of Christianity. Examples of such programs of desecration and destruction stretch back to the chopping down of the Irminsul in parts of Europe, or the burning of Saami drums in the northern reaches of Scandinavia.

We tend to think that such systematic desecration and destruction is a thing of the past, confined to previous centuries. But, as the bulldozing of the sacred heritage sites last month demonstrate, such behavior still goes on -- and while there may be no connection between the use of bulldozers in North Dakota and a crane at Machu Picchu, it is also possible that there is a connection, and that some group  continues to deliberately target such sites, under the convenient "cover" of for-profit corporate activity.

As seen in the image above, and in the many videos available on the web showing the ongoing protests in the path of the pipeline, men and women are chaining themselves to drilling equipment and construction equipment -- but such gestures will only stop the construction for a short period of time. The only hope of the Standing Rock Sioux and their other allies in this situation is for their actions and their plight to arouse the slumbering conscience of those who can add their voices to the protest against the railroading of their rights in this case.

The case is clearcut -- and the violations of their rights are egregious.

But unless there is a deafening groundswell of other voices who demand that the deliberate destruction of sacred sites, the inhumane use of dogs and of weapons of violence against protestors, and the callous refusal to consult with the Native nations who have a federally-recognized right to be consulted all cease immediately, even the act of chaining oneself to a bulldozer or other heavy machinery will not bring the other party in this case to the discussion table.

They evidently feel no compunction to consult with the tribal nations, and the court system is backing up their disregard for the duty to consult.

The most effective protest, which would probably get their attention even more quickly than would inclusion in the twenty-four hour news cycle (which is happy to continue generating non-stop outrage over other matters, but not this one) would be the decision by large holders of the stock of the companies involved in the pipeline to sell those shares.

If a company were callously bulldozing orangutan habitat in Madagascar, and if enough outrage were generated to cause shareholders of that company to worry about owning the shares (or even to cause the conscience of those shareholders to awaken, and those shareholders to decide they did not want to support a company doing such bulldozing), you can believe that the company in question would rapidly take notice and alter their behavior -- and in fact, this very scenario did take place, just a few years ago, regarding habitat of orangutans in Madagascar.

If similar outrage cannot be generated over the refusal to consult with the Standing Rock Sioux and any other Native nations impacted by this pipeline, as well as the deliberate bulldozing of sacred heritage sites, as was generated over the bulldozing of orangutan habitat, then something is terribly wrong (and something has clearly been terribly wrong for centuries in this particular regard).

Would you want to own shares of a company that deliberately bulldozed sacred heritage sites?

Would you want your pension fund to own shares in such a company?

If major investment management companies and large pension funds, foundations, endowments, and mutual funds decided they did not want to own shares of those companies anymore, you can believe that the companies in question would get the message almost overnight.

The partnership that is behind this pipeline is a publicly-traded limited partnership, and a major stake in that entity is held by a publicly-traded oil company. The names and relationships and ticker symbols can all be found in this document, as well as in the public filings of those corporations.

Destroying sacred sites is not acceptable behavior by anyone.

Siccing dogs on men and women and children is not acceptable behavior by anyone.

Such behavior needs to be opposed by everyone of conscience, using peaceful methods and the firm refusal to accept such treatment of our fellow men and women on this planet, and the firm refusal to accept the destruction of sacred heritage sites.

Any organization that deliberately does these things should be legally disbanded, as well as forced to pay restitution.


Below are some examples of non-media outrage from "our" media, over the outrageous events that very much have continued to escalate over the past few days:

Above: The ongoing violence against protestors at Standing Rock rates nary a mention in the New York Times web front-page this weekend (this is from 10/29/2016).

Below: Ditto for the Wall Street Journal's web front-page, although it does feature stories about just about everything else (as well as a ton of ads for turntables, even though I already own one -- you can't search for turntables without the Wall Street Journal serving you interminable turntable ads afterwards).

Note that the image below is more readable on the new Star Myth World website than it is here on the "old format" blog. In either case, however, you will not find a single word on the entire web front-page that mentions the situation of the outrageous violations being committed against the Standing Rock Sioux and their sacred heritage sites by a publicly-traded pipeline company.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Descent unto Kurukshetra: this incarnate life

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

It has now been nearly forty days since our earth sped past the "crossing-downwards" point of the September equinox -- the fall equinox for our planet's northern hemisphere, where the ecliptic path traced out by the sun during the day falls below the line of the celestial equator, and the hours of darkness during each daily rotation become longer than the hours of daylight, with days growing shorter and shorter as we continue our "plunge" towards the very bottom of the year, at winter solstice.

This plunge out of the "upper half" of the year (the summer half, when days are longer than nights) down into the "lower half" (the winter half, when nights are longer than days) is depicted in ancient myth as the lower realm, the "underworld" in a sense. 

After much examination of the world's ancient myths, as well as of the arguments presented by Alvin Boyd Kuhn in writings such as Lost Light, I am convinced that the sacred stories found around the world employ this cycle of shifting from longer days (in the upper half) to longer nights (in the lower half) was seen as representative of the cycle of each mortal soul between the realm of spirit (the Spirit World, the Invisible Realm, the realm of the gods) and the realm of matter (the material realm, the mortal realm, where we find ourselves in this incarnate life).

From our perspective here in the incarnate body, we might logically assume that the "lower half" of the great cycle -- the winter half of the year, when hours of darkness dominate and days are shorter than nights -- must represent the "realm of the dead," the spirit realm, the disembodied realm where souls exist when they are not incarnate in a body.

But that assumption would be mistaken.

In fact, as Kuhn argues persuasively, and as the myths themselves confirm, the ancient system envisions the "upper half" of the year as the heavenly realm, the realm of the gods, the realm of spirit -- and they depict the "plunge" downwards across the line separating the upper half of the year from the lower half of the year, which takes place at the fall equinox during the great annual cycle, as representative of the plunge down from the spirit realm into the material realm, when we take on a human body and embark upon the difficult "lower crossing" of the underworld of this incarnate life.

This system of allegorization, Kuhn argues, also explains the ancient celebration of the festivals that take place forty days after the "crossing down" point of the fall equinox -- most commonly known as Halloween in the modern world, because of the name given to the day during the Christian era, but by many other names in many other traditions. Forty days after September 21st brings us to October 31st. Kuhn argues that the number 40 is often used as symbolic of the period of gestation (which is forty weeks), and that the celebration of Halloween thus represents an important "crossing point" of its own: the descent by spirits from the Other Realm into this incarnate realm which we now inhabit, and through which we often seem to stumble and grope as if in the darkness -- divine sparks temporarily embodied in animal forms, a unique combination of mortal and immortal. See this previous post from two years ago for more on that subject, and on Kuhn's illuminating treatise on the profound meaning of Halloween.

As we approach this special point on the calendar each year, it is not inappropriate to reflect upon the magnificent Mahabharata of ancient India, in which the entire epic descends inexorably towards the cataclysmic battle that will be fought upon the Plain of Kurukshetra, between the five heroic sons of Pandu and the massive army led by the the Kauravas, and particularly by the implacable Duryodhana, who wishes to rule over the entire world and who disregards the right order of the universe and the advice of all the gods and wise counselors who try to dissuade him from his disastrous course.

There are very good reasons for understanding this mighty conflict as representative of the very same struggle between light and darkness that takes place every year as we orbit the sun -- the progression through the equinoxes and solstices, and the interplay between days that are dominated by longer hours of darkness and days that are dominated by longer hours of daylight.

Immediately prior to the start of this awful conflict, the heroic Arjuna, pre-eminent among the five sons of Pandu (particularly because he has spent time among the celestial realms and obtained both instruction and celestial weapons from the gods and goddesses themselves), finds himself wracked by doubts, and instructs the Lord Krishna, who has volunteered to act as Arjuna's non-combatant charioteer throughout the battle, to take him to the field in between the two assembled armies, so that he can sit down on the ground and wait to be killed, rather than lifting up arms against his own beloved family-members.

This reluctance -- this overwhelming doubt -- actually mirrors very closely the doubt exhibited by Thomas in the gospel story of "Doubting Thomas" (found only in the gospel according to John in the canonical texts we call the New Testament), as well as that exhibited by the beautiful Psyche in the myth of Eros and Psyche (or Cupid and Psyche) described by various ancient sources including Apuleius.

And, just as the figure of Jesus in the gospel story encourages Thomas to trust him, the Lord Krishna in the Mahabharata encourages Arjuna, telling Arjuna to perform his duty upon the battlefield -- metaphorically, representative of this incarnate life, with its endless interplay or struggle between the spiritual and material natures. And he does so in the section of the Mahabharata known as the Bhagavad Gita, "the Song of the Lord," in which Sri Krishna not only encourages Arjuna to perform his duty, but also gives him the promise of eventual victory, and a description of the path -- indeed, the Yoga -- by which this eventual and inevitable victory will be achieved.

The nature of the instruction which Krishna imparts to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita makes it very clear that this encouragement is for each and every one of us in this incarnate life: for each and every soul which incarnates in this material realm, this "Plain of Kurukshetra." It is not advice given exclusively to an ancient semi-divine warrior named Arjuna, about to embark upon a literal battle upon a literal battlefield -- not at all (in fact, much of the advice seems to have little to do with situations one might encounter upon the battlefield).

Upon this momentous occasion, during which we who are presently living on our earth as it approach esthe end of the forty days' "gestation" following the great crossing-point of September equinox, here are some of the verses from the poetic song of Lord Krishna as he encourages Arjuna at the similarly "pregnant pause" before the mighty battle of Kurukshetra:
He that abstains
To help the rolling wheels of this great world,
Glutting his idle sense, lives a lost life,
Shameful and vain.  (Bhagavad Gita chapter 3, verse 16).*
Therefore, thy task prescribed 
With spirit unattached gladly perform,
Since in performance of plain duty man
Mounts to his highest bliss. (Bhagavad Gita chapter 3, verse 19).
To cease from works 
Is well, and to do works in holiness
Is well; and both conduct to bliss supreme [translated elsewhere as "Union with Ultimate Consciousness"];
But of these twain the better way is his
Who working piously refraineth not.
That is the true Renouncer, firm and fixed, 
Who -- seeking nought, rejecting nought -- dwells proof
Against the "opposites." O valiant Prince!
In doing, such breaks lightly from all deed:
'Tis the new scholar talks as they were two,
This Sankhya and this Yoga: wise men know
Who husbands on plucks golden fruit of both!
The region of high rest which Sankhyans reach 
Yogins attain. Who sees these twain as one
Sees with clear eyes! (Bhagavad Gita chapter 5, verses 2 - 5).

[in other words -- the paths of action and inaction are actually the same: the goal is right action without attachment, and this can be attained through the path of renunciation and meditation, or through the cultivation of right action without attachment to the results; pursuing either of these paths yields the same benefit, and if you see it properly, you will realize that both are in fact the same path].
Because the perfect Yogin acts -- but acts
Unmoved by passions and unbound by deeds,
Setting result aside. (Bhagavad Gita chapter 6, verse 4).
When the man,
So living, centers on his soul the though
Straitly restrained -- untouched internally 
By stress of sense -- then is he Yukta. See!
Steadfast a lamp burns sheltered from the wind;
Such is the likeness of the Yogi's mind
Shut from sense-storms and burning bright to Heaven. (Bhagavad Gita chapter 6, verses 18 - 19).
[in the next passage, Lord Krishna promises Arjuna that once one has started on the path, the ultimate achievement of victory is assured, even if it takes multiple incarnations; this is in answer to Arjuna's urgent question regarding "What road goeth he who, having faith, fails? In the striving, falling back from holiness, missing the perfect rule? Is he not lost, straying from Bhrama's light, like the vain cloud, which floats twixt earth and heaven when lightning splits it, and it vanisheth?"] Krishna answers:
He is not lost, thou Son of Pritha! No!
Nor earth, nor heaven is forfeit, even for him,
Because no heart that holds one right desire
Treadeth the road of loss! He who should fail,
Desiring righteousness, cometh at death
Unto the Region of the Just; dwells there
Measureless years, and being born anew,
Beginneth life again in some fair home [. . .]. (Bhagavad Gita chapter 6, verses 40 - 41).
[As has been asserted in previous discussions of the Bhagavad Gita, and based upon some of the revealing insights offered by Professor Victor H. Mair in the appendix discussions included in his 1990 translation of the Tao Te Ching, the overarching injunction given to Arjuna by Krishna is to do what is right, without attachment to the outcome: and Krishna is careful to reiterate several times throughout the discourse that "action without attachment" must be right action, not action that harms others. In the following verses, Krishna makes this very explicit]:
I am not known
To evil-doers, nor to foolish ones,
Nor to the base and churlish; nor to those
Whose mind is cheated by the show of things,
Nor to those that take the way of Asuras. (Bhagavad Gita chapter 7, verse 15).
By "the way of Asuras," the Lord Krishna appears to be indicating the way of powerful evil and malevolent beings of the spirit realm known as the Asuras in the Sanskrit epics Mahabharata and Ramayana.  Remember that the assertion I am making is that the Bhagavad Gita provides advice, direction and encouragement to the soul descending to this "battlefield" of incarnate life; Lord Krishna argues that the path to transcendence and integration with the divine Ultimate involves a discipline or a path of right action, performed with the same mind as if not taking action at all (performed without attachment, performed as if by one not acting).

This path at many points in the Gita seems to be described using the word Yoga, implying that it is a discipline, a practice -- and the word Yoga itself has been argued by Alvin Boyd Kuhn to involve connection or linking (linguistically related to the words junction and also union): perhaps the linking or integration of our material nature with our spiritual nature, and perhaps also the linking of our mortal nature with our divine nature and ultimately with the Universal Divine as well.

And yet here we have a clear warning that the path does not involve "the way of the Asuras."

I do not believe the Bhagavad Gita threw in this divine injunction for no reason at all.

As we have seen, there are two paths that are described which lead to the same positive outcome (and which actually turn out to be the same path): the path of action, and the path of inaction, both of which are the same if we understand that we are enjoined to pursue right action but without attachment, as if not even acting. And we are admonished that we are not to take the path or the way of the Asuras.

Further, if we take the path Krishna is describing, then the ultimate positive outcome is assured, even if it takes multiple incarnations.

Just prior to the assembly of the opposing forces in their battle lines, and immediately prior to the chapters containing the Bhagavad Gita, the Mahabharata describes a scene in which Krishna urges Arjuna to call upon the goddess Durga. Arjuna does so, and the goddess appears -- and she too promises Arjuna that his eventual victory is assured: in her words, he is literally "incapable of being defeated" in his endeavor. Again, if we understand the battle of Kurukshetra to be representative of the cycles undergone by the soul itself, then this encouraging blessing from the goddess Durga is in fact addressed to each and every man and woman who comes down into this incarnation and whose heart holds (as Lord Krishna says) "one right desire."

The manifestation of the goddess Durga immediately prior to the battle, as discussed in previous posts such as this one, must be seen as powerful confirmation that these scenes are indeed celestial allegory, for the plunge below the line at fall equinox is traditionally presided over by the sign of Virgo (see the zodiac wheel diagram below) -- and indeed, Durga herself can be shown to be associated with the celestial figure of Virgo.

One of the ways we can be sure that Durga is associated with Virgo is the fact that she rides a lion or is often depicted with a lion by her side -- and the zodiac constellation Virgo follows immediately behind the zodiac constellation Leo in the sky.

Another way we can know that Durga is associated with Virgo is the fact that Durga is very closely identified with her action of defeating a powerful Asura named Mahish Asura, who is a mighty bull-headed or buffalo-headed demon or malevolent spirit-being.

It happens that Virgo and Taurus are located at opposite ends of the sky, such that when Virgo is rising in the east, Taurus is sinking down below the horizon in the west. Thus, the approach of Durga causes Mahishasura to flee in terror.

In fact, Durga is often described as actually beheading the powerful Mahish Asura -- and we can see in the sky that the "head" of Taurus is located a short distance away from the unmistakeable figure of Orion, an outline that resembles a powerful striding figure, carrying weapons . . . but without a head (to speak of). As Virgo rises with her arm outstretched, Orion sinks down in the west, with his "bull head" severed from his body (if we envision him, for purposes of the Durga mythology, as a great buffalo-headed or bull-headed Asura):

And below is a famous panel sculpted in relief, showing the goddess riding on her lion, with bow-arm outstretched, as Mahish leans away from her (notice that one leg of the striding figure of Orion is bent at the knee, just as is one leg of Mahish Asura):

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

From all of the above evidence, we can confidently conclude that the episodes at the beginning of the Mahabharata -- including the Bhagavad Gita -- are celestial and esoteric in nature, designed not to be understood as literal accounts of a terrestrial and historical battle, but rather to convey to our heart's understanding deep truths about the Invisible Realm, and our place and purpose here in this material-spiritual universe.

As we approach that fortieth day from the September equinox, we approach the point of the year associated with the descent of the soul into the body, and the point of embarkation upon the arduous struggle upon the great battlefield of Kurukshetra.

But we do so armed with the encouragement of the Lord Krishna, to act in accordance with what is right, without attachment (as if not even acting at all) -- and also armed with the promise, from both Krishna and from the goddess Durga, that we are actually incapable of being defeated.

Do not take the way of the Asuras.


* Verses above from the Bhagavad Gita are from the Edwin Arnold translation of 1885, available here. The same website contains the entire Ganguli translation of 1883 - 1896 as well; the sections containing the Gita can be found here. At the end of each quoted section is a link to another site that contains the Sanskrit text as well as another translation, plus a transliteration of the Sanskrit along with a literal word-for-word English translation of each specific Sanskrit word. That site also contains files with an audio reading of the verses in Sanskrit (as well as in other languages).

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The goddess Seshat

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

The goddess Seshat of ancient Egypt is a divinity of tremendous importance.

In a volume entitled The Archaeology of Measurement: Comprehending Heaven, Earth and Time in Ancient Societies, edited by Iain Morley and Colin Renfrew and published in 2010 by Cambridge University Press, one of the chapters in this collection by various scholars, "Establishing direction in early Egyptian burials and monumental architecture: Measurement and the spatial link with the 'other,'" by Kate Spence, contains this discussion of the vital role of the goddess Seshat:
The link between the measurement of space and the measurement of time is also clear from early periods in the activities of the goddess Seshat, the goddess associated with the foundation ceremony, during which the orientation of buildings was established.
Seshat was a divinity of some importance at the beginning of the historical era in Egypt, as is clear from a record of a First Dynasty ceremony involving one of her priests inscribed on the Palermo Stone (a set of annals for Egypt's earliest kings) as well as the creation of a statue of the goddess during the same reign (Wilkinson 2000, 111-112, 118; see also Wainwright 1940, 32). After the Old Kingdom there is no evidence that a cult was maintained although Seshat herself appears in royal images and inscriptions with a limited set of roles. Foremost of these roles is that of recording the king's reign length: "her chief mission was to mark the king's life-period on the palm-stick. To cut notches, or to make marks, on a stick is the earliest of all forms of keeping a count or tally, and of itself would suggest an origin in the time before writing proper had been invented" (Wainwright 1940, 32); she is frequently depicted with a notched central rib of a palm frond. [. . .] During the Fifth Dynasty her symbol is found in images of the royal jubilee, she is described as "Before the House of the Books of the Royal Offspring" and she records booty brought from abroad (Wainwright 1940, 32).
Seshat's second important role was associated with the foundation ceremony for buildings (see Weinstein 1973 for discussion of the ceremony with references): she is repeatedly depicted performing the 'stretching of the cord' ritual in the company of the king. The first reference to this ritual is found on the Palermo stone, where it is said to have been conducted by a priest of Seshat (Wilkinson 2000, 111-112). [. . .] Seshat's role in the measurement of space and time is therefore clear. The Pyramid Texts describe Seshat as 'Lady of Builders' (Faulkner 1969, 119).
The act of aligning a building must also have been part of the foundation ceremony (see Weinstein 1973). Ptolemaic texts are explicitly in linking the 'stretching of the cord' ceremony with the stars (specifically with Ursa Major) and with the measurement of time. 176 - 177.
The recording of measure and of time, and the aligning of temples and monuments is clearly a role of tremendous importance, associated with proper alignment with the heavenly realm and thus (if the heavenly realm is, as can be established with great confidence, a visible manifestation of the Invisible World) with the realm of the gods. 

Her role can thus be very clearly seen as assisting society in establishing a proper relationship with the divine realm, bringing it into harmony with the order of the universe. Her role in actively assisting the king in the "stretching of the cord" ritual when establishing the foundation of important buildings clearly dramatizes the fact that the pattern for human society comes from, and must be aligned in appropriate harmony with, the realm of spirit: the Invisible Realm, the realm of the gods.

The previous two posts dealt with the Greek myth of King Midas, who dramatizes the disastrous consequences of inverting the proper order: pursuing the material object of gold or physical wealth without proper respect for the divine spark of life (and thus becoming unable to sustain his own life through eating or drinking, as well as destroying his own daughter by turning her -- temporarily -- into a lifeless statue of solid gold), and judging the music of the satyr Marsyas or of the god Pan as more accomplished than the music made by Apollo himself, who is in fact the god of music and thus the divine source of it (another example of Midas' failure to appreciate the supremacy of the divine realm or to "give the divine source" its due).

The second of the two posts discussing Midas examined this failure of Midas even further, noting the economic folly of (like King Midas) pursuing wealth without giving the gods their due. Midas, as king, should have been trying to put his society in harmony with the divine pattern (as are the kings of Egypt who are shown following the lead of the goddess Seshat in establishing the measure and alignment of the foundations of their society) -- but instead he focused only on the physical trappings of wealth, ignoring the divine source of all blessing, failing to acknowledge the divine source and "give the gods their due," so to speak.

Note that the description of the roles of Seshat cited above points out that she is described in some ancient texts as counting out the wealth brought from abroad -- and some have suggested that implicit in this role was the admonition to the nation to be sure to give the gods their due part of all the increase, in recognition that the divine realm is the first source from which all increase flows. 

For example, Geraldine Pinch in her Handbook of Egyptian Mythology (2002) writes:
As goddess of writing, Seshat was the keeper of royal annals and genealogies. She was shown recording the booty gained by kings in battle, perhaps as a reminder that a share was due to the gods. Seshat was even said to descend into the underworld to record everything in the realm of the dead. 190.
It stands to reason that a society which fails to acknowledge the realm of the gods, in which those in power try to seize the blessings from the gods for themselves alone, is dishonoring the goddess Seshat, and embarking upon the disastrous path of Midas instead.

Seshat exhorts us to acknowledge the realm of the gods and to give the Invisible Realm its proper due, and to align ourselves with that Invisible Realm, to establish harmonious integration between the material and spiritual aspects of our own nature and of the dual material-spiritual universe in which we find ourselves in this incarnate life.

Note that her role as keeper of the measure of both time and space, and her specific association with the "stretching of the cord" ritual, also imply a connection to the harmonious waves and frequencies that become sound and light at different wavelengths and frequencies (wavelength relating to distance, and frequency relating to time). A stretched cord, vibrated, will produce a certain frequency and a specific wavelength: if the length of that cord is changed (as by a finger pressing down on a guitar fret or a violin string), then the frequency and the wavelength will change.

As the brilliant John Anthony West observes in Spirit in the Sky: The High Wisdom of Ancient Egypt, the name and symbology of the goddess directly implies her connection to wavelength and to harmonious music. He writes:
Seshat, also called Sefhet, which means seven, is the female counterpart of Thoth, therefore mistress of measure, and always attends the foundation ceremonies of the temples. Her emblem is the seven-petaled flower. Seshat is found on the earliest inscriptions. Thus it is clear that the correspondence between seven (harmony) and measure was known to Egypt from the onset. [. . .]
Phenomena tend to completion in seven stages, or are complete within their specific stage. There are seven tones in the harmonic scale. It is the harmonic scale, and the human function of hearing, that give us direct access into the process of growth, of creativity manifesting itself. It is for this reason -- not chance or superstition -- that led the Pythagoreans explicitly, and the Egyptians implicitly, to employ the harmonic scale as the perfect instrument for teaching and demonstrating the workings of the cosmos.
Consider a string of a given length as unity. Set it vibrating; it produces a sound. Stop the string at its midpoint and set it vibrating. It produces a sound one octave higher. Division in two results in an analogue of the original unity. [ . . .]
Between the original note and its octave there are seven intervals, seven unequal stages which, despite their inequality, the ear interprets as 'harmonious.' 60 - 61.
The goddess Seshat, as the goddess of measure, celestial alignment, and harmony between the realm of the material and the divine, thus is represented with a distinctive plant of seven leaves above her head, even in the very earliest First Dynasty portrayals of the goddess.

This symbology can be observed in the image at top, from a throne of a seated statue of Rameses II.

In that image, we see the goddess -- who is characteristically depicted as tall and slender and very beautiful -- wearing the leopard-skin that denotes priestly function (and which is also associated with the symbology of Dionysus and of the sadhus of India, as discussed in this previous post); the two flaring lines at the bottom of her dress are probably stylized representations of the two legs of the leopard-skin, and this iconography is characteristic of depictions of the goddess Seshat.

In the imagery above, we see Seshat holding two linear implements, which are both indicative of her role as divine goddess of measure and record, and also (as we shall see) clues to her probable celestial identity -- a celestial identity which has gone unremarked-upon in any of the literature which I have examined, but which will become fairly obvious in a moment. 

She is carrying a tall notched staff, usually identified as the stripped central rib of a palm frond, notched with sixty-four notches (and with a sacred shen symbol beneath it, which is pointed-out and discussed on pages 38 - 39 of Ancient Egypt: the Primal Age of Divine Revelation, Volume I, by Mostafa Elshamy, in images which you can see online here). She is also in the act of writing, apparently upon the notched palm-rib, with a reed.

As noted in some of the passages cited above, Seshat is the counterpart and in some sense the consort of the god Thoth or Djehuty (Dhwty), the god of records and of scribes and also a god associated with the Moon and with wisdom and with imparting hermetic wisdom to mankind. Both Seshat and Thoth are characteristically depicted with the writing-reed, in the act of writing or recording.

Seshat in particular is also associated with the holy Tree of Life of ancient Egypt, the Ished tree, sometimes identified with the persea tree although not all scholars agree on this identification. She is often depicted or described inscribing upon the leaves of this sacred tree, particularly in her role as the determiner of the lifespan of the kings of Egypt, but to record other divine records upon the holy tree as well.

All of the above information helps us to identify the celestial figure with which Seshat is (I believe) almost certainly associated. The most important clues to her celestial identity include:
  • the fact that she is tall, slender and beautiful
  • the fact that she carries not one but two long, narrow implements simultaneously 
  • the fact that she is a consort of Thoth, god of writing and records
  • the fact that she writes upon a heavenly Tree
  • the fact that she is involved in the "stretching of the cord" ceremony
  • the fact that she is also associated with the foundation of temples
  • the fact that she is described as being "Before the House of the Books of the Royal Offering" and in other texts is described as building the mansions of the gods in the divine realm 
A visual clue which will help those who are very familiar with the common system of celestial metaphor which forms the foundation for the ancient myths and sacred stories of virtually every culture around the world may be seen in a depiction of Seshat together with Thoth on the walls of the Ramesseum of Rameses II, in Upper Egypt:

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

In the above image, the most visible three figures from left to right are Rameses II (seated, facing towards the right), Seshat (facing towards the king and in fact writing upon a leaf of the holy Ished tree which can be seen behind both her and the seated form of the king), and finally Thoth on the far right, also writing upon a leaf of the Holy Tree and in this case also holding a notched palm-rib just as Seshat does.

The illustration below of the above relief does not do it full artistic justice (in the illustrator's defense, the level of artistic quality in these ancient depictions of the gods is extraordinary), but it does serve to help us to observe some important details -- specifically, I would call attention to the location of the reed stylus held by Thoth in his upraised right hand (see how close it gets to the shoulder of the goddess). This reed is barely visible in the photograph above (although it is visible), but it is much easier to see in the drawing below -- and the fact that the writing implement of the god is located where it is above the shoulder of the goddess may be a clue to the celestial identities of both Thoth and Seshat:

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

I believe that the multiple clues cited above regarding the celestial identity of Seshat (and Thoth) , as well as similar celestial patterns which I have observed in other Star Myths from around the world, strongly support the following interpretation:

Note that, at the outset of this explanation, it is very important to point out that I do not believe that the constellations are the gods and goddesses themselves -- I believe the stars were used in the system of ancient wisdom found around the world as a way of conveying to us actual truths about the Invisible Realm itself. 

The god Thoth and the goddess Seshat inhabit the Invisible Realm, the Divine Realm, the Spirit World, the realm of the gods. The esoteric Star Myths of ancient Egypt convey to us truths about the Invisible Realm, including all the assertions about harmony, measure, and aligning with the pattern of the divine realm in our dealings "here below" -- including the importance of acknowledging that this material realm actually has its source in the realm of the gods, and therefore we must always remember that "a share is due to the gods."

In the diagram above, I argue that Thoth the god of writing is associated with the figure of the constellation Hercules in the heavens. Hercules actually appears to be reaching down to write -- I have outlined the portion of his "downward-reaching" arm in red, to indicate what I believe represents the reed stylus always carried by the god Thoth.

Note that Thoth's name in ancient Egyptian writing was actually conveyed by symbols specifying the sounds Dhwty or Djehuty (Wallis Budge spells it TEHUTY in a footnote on this page of his Legends of the Gods, from 1912). As has been argued elsewhere, this formulation actually relates to the name DAVID or DAOUD. This fact is actually very strong confirmatory evidence for the argument that Thoth is associated with the constellation Hercules, for as I establish beyond (I believe) reasonable doubt in Star Myths of the Bible, the figure of David in the Old Testament is absolutely associated with the figure of the constellation Hercules as well, in almost every episode of the David-cycle of sacred stories.

Close by the celestial figure of Thoth is the constellation Ophiucus, who actually plays the role of a goddess in other Star Myths as well (including in many of the myths of ancient Greece). Ophiucus is in fact a very tall and narrow constellation when viewed in the night sky. Furthermore, Ophiucus carries the two "halves" of a line of stars usually envisioned as a serpent (hence the constellation's name, Ophiucus or "Serpent-holder"). In some myths, this long linear figure that Ophicus is holding can be envisioned as two spears -- and in the iconography of the goddess Seshat, I would argue that the two sides of the serpent give rise to her two implements of recording: the notched palm-rib and the reed stylus. 

Note that I have outlined in red the part of the constellation which probably corresponds to the reed stylus held by Seshat, just as I have with the reed belonging to Thoth. Look back up at the drawing of the scene from the walls of the Ramesseum to see how well the position of the reed held by the goddess in the artwork aligns with the position of the reed held by Ophiucus in the sky.

Nearby to Ophiucus rises the glorious column of the Milky Way galaxy, which I believe is almost certainly the figure of the holy Tree of Life, upon which Seshat is seen to be writing. You can see that Ophiucus (and the red stylus as outlined) appears to be writing on the Milky Way "tree" as well -- and that in fact the outline of Ophiucus protrudes into the shining column of the galaxy in the sky.

Once again, look back and forth between the star-chart shown above, with its outlines and labels, and the drawing of the scene from the wall of the Ramesseum, in order to truly appreciate the correspondence.

Note also that the constellations Hercules and Ophiucus are very close together in the sky -- as befits the god and goddess of writing, who are heavenly companions. And note also that the stylus of Hercules as depicted reaches down towards the shoulder of Ophiucus, just as the stylus of Thoth in the scene from the Ramesseum also appears to be pointing towards the shoulder of the goddess!

Again, I believe that when we look into the heavens at night, we are actually looking out into Infinity -- and that the ancients saw the specific figures they saw in the infinite celestial realm above their heads to as giving them a way of conveying to our understanding very real truths about very real goings-on in the divine realm, which we cannot see with our eyes (under ordinary circumstances).

The goddess Seshat demonstrates to us that we are to align ourselves (and indeed, align the society we build) with the divine pattern -- a pattern that is intended to bless and uplift us, because it is the very harmony which informs everything else in the material realm, and the very foundation upon which everything in the universe is in fact built.

The fact that she assists the king in the "stretching of the cord" ceremony dramatizes this truth, and the necessity of harmonizing and aligning everything we do with the true measures given to us by the powers of the Invisible Realm (in this case, given to the king by Seshat).

We can even envision Seshat assisting the king in the "stretching of the cord" ritual, when we look up to the heavens: if the constellation Hercules also plays the role of the pharaoh or king of Egypt (as indeed this constellation can be shown to do in many episodes in the Old Testament or Hebrew Scriptures), then we can see the "western side" of the serpent held by Ophiucus as the "cord being stretched" by the king, assisted by the goddess.

Everything about Seshat symbolizes the vital task of integrating and harmonizing and "tying together" the divine realm and the material realm.

And the seven-petaled or seven-leafed plant depicted over the head of the goddess is no exception to this. As John Anthony West points out in his discussion of the Pythagorean symbolism in the sacred number Seven, this number joins together Three and Four: Three is symbolic of the divine realm, while Four is symbolic of the material and earthy realm (see page 62 in Serpent in the Sky, as well as the discussions of Three and Four which precede the discussion of Seven).

Of course, it cannot be ignored that the distinctive symbol above the head of the goddess Seshat appears to be strongly suggestive of the outline of a cannabis leaf.

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Is it possible that the cannabis plant was also seen as symbolic of uniting the infinite realm (Three) with the mortal realm (Four)?

The possibility cannot be simply dismissed out of hand. 

For one thing, as Alvin Boyd Kuhn has convincingly argued, the very sound "K - N" appears to have anciently symbolized "linking" or "connecting" (and note the presence of the "K - N" phoneme in both of those words, linking and connecting). Kuhn argues that this sound-pattern also forms the basis for the Egyptian word ANKH, the symbol of life which also can be seen as linking or connecting the infinite realm with the material realm. Much discussion on this topic can be found, along with numerous examples, at my previous posts entitled "The Name of the Ankh" and "The Name of the Ankh, continued."

It hardly needs pointing out that the name cannabis also contains this same sound, as does the word Ganja, which is also used to refer to this plant. 

And, as Mircea Eliade documents at length in his encyclopedic examination of the techniques used in shamanic cultures around the world to achieve states of ecstasy, cannabis is sometimes used in shamanic practice -- thereby explicitly linking the infinite realm and the ordinary realm yet again. Some aspects of this discussion can be found in "How many ways are there to contact the hidden realm?"

Furthermore, and even more difficult to dismiss, the very mummy of Rameses II himself contains traces of cannabis (as well as traces of tobacco and coca). See the previous discussion in this post from all the way back in 2011.

In other words, the very king whose Ramesseum and whose statue together feature the images of the goddess Seshat shown in the images above actually still has cannabis on his person! This fact also supports the strong possibility that the seven-part leaf depicted above the goddess may be suggestive of sacred Ganja.

And, it may not be remiss to point out that there is in fact a connection between the tradition of Rastafari in the Caribbean islands and the sadhus of India, which may explain the use of the term Ganja among Rastafari for this sacred plant (a name which connects to the sacred river Ganga in India).

The larger point is that the goddess Seshat is profoundly and powerfully associated with the integration of heaven and earth, material and spiritual.  Her vital role must not be overlooked, ignored, or forgotten.

In fact, our civilization in many ways can be seen to have grievously ignored the powerful message of this ancient goddess, and the importance of her role to our own harmony and well-being and integration.

And yet, ancient records going all the way back to the First Dynasty of ancient Egypt continue to patiently proclaim her timeless message, and patiently invite us to rediscover the wisdom that was imparted to humanity, which we can still hear today -- if we will listen.