Sunday, January 29, 2017

No ban, no wall, no willful blindness to the "past"

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

The executive order signed at the Pentagon on January 27th (Friday) suspending the issuance of visas and other immigration benefits to all immigrants -- as well as green-card holders -- from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for ninety days, and suspending the entire refugee admissions program for one hundred twenty days, is of course reprehensible, and immediately drew outraged protests around the country today.

A judge in Brooklyn issued an emergency stay preventing enforcement of some of its provisions on January 28th (Saturday).

In his speech "But if not," the title of which is taken from Daniel 3: 18 concerning civil disobedience by the three youths to the order of Nebuchadnezzar, Martin Luther King, Jr. declared: 
Ultimately, you must do right because it's right to do right. You've got to say "But if not." You must love ultimately because it's lovely to love. You must be just because it's right to be just. You must be honest because it's right to be honest. [ . . .] You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be, and one day some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon to you to stand up for some great issue, some great principle, some great cause -- and you refuse to do it because you are afraid, you refuse to do it because your want to live longer, you're afraid that you will lose your job, or you're afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, you're afraid that someone will stab you or shoot at you or bomb your house, so you refuse to take the stand. Well, you may go on to live until you are 90, but you are just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90. And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of the earlier death of the spirit. You died when you refused to stand up for right. You died when you refused to stand up for truth. You died when you refused to stand up for justice.
And so it is of course right to stand up against the injustice of this executive order. But as heartening as the protests against it have been, and the publicity that opposition has received, the refugees and immigrants from those countries might be asking themselves where the outrage and the protests and media attention has been regarding the non-stop bombing, invasions, drone strikes, and "support for moderate rebels" over the past sixteen years. 

Those invasions, bombings, and drone strikes have killed and crippled multiple hundreds of thousands of innocent people (including women and children, infants and elderly alike) in Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Syria (all countries named in the above order), not to mention Afghanistan, Pakistan, and many others -- and the level of protest against those killings and maimings has been almost nonexistent (particularly in contrast to the level of protest among the citizenry during the years of the Vietnam War).  

The executive order suspending issuance of visas and suspending the refugee admissions program, the full text of which can be seen here, explicitly points to the heinous attacks of September 11, 2001 as its justification -- naming those attacks in the first paragraph of section 1, and then repeating that date again in reference to "numerous terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001" in the paragraph immediately following.

The same heinous attacks continue to be referenced as justification for the unending invasions, bombings, regime changes, and drone strikes which the federal government of the united states has launched since that date.

And yet there should at this point be grave doubts -- including among members of the military who were present at the Pentagon during the signing of this order -- regarding the veracity of the assertion that (as the order says) "19 foreign nationals" brought down three modern steel-framed skyscrapers at the World Trade Center complex in New York City, and punched a hole through the Pentagon itself. 

In the immediate aftermath of those dreadful attacks, and the massive loss of life that those attacks caused, one could perhaps be expected to uncritically accept that narrative regarding "19 foreign nationals" -- but now, sixteen years later, the amount of evidence and the amount of serious analysis by engineers, architects and scientists which has been produced should suffice to cause everyone on earth to have serious questions regarding the official narrative of the events of that terrible day. For two videos examining just a small sample of that evidence, see this previous post from this past September 11th.

If the massive death and destruction on September 11th, 2001 was not in fact wrought by "19 foreign nationals" as we have been told, and as we continue to be told, then not only is this executive order suspending refugees and immigrants from those war-torn countries outrageous and unjust (and it is in fact both outrageous and unjust, even if you do accept that conventional narrative regarding the mass-murders on September 11th), but the non-stop invasions, regime changes, bombing operations, and drone strikes which also continue to use September 11th as justification are also outrageous and unjust and in fact unlawful and criminal (a case can be made that they are all of these things, even if you do accept the conventional narrative regarding the mass-murders on September 11th).

We should be protesting the executive order which is disrupting and endangering the lives of refugees and immigrants -- but how much more should we be protesting the enormous death and destruction that has been inflicted upon, and that continues to be inflicted upon, the men and women living in six out of the seven countries named in that ban, as well as upon men and women living in many other countries in that part of the world which are not named in the ban?

This weekend's events provide a particularly stark example of one way in which control over the narrative of history can be used to subvert human rights and justice -- and how the ghosts of "past history" which has not been honestly faced and examined will continue to haunt us here in the present moment. Because it isn't actually "the past" in that case, is it?

In the ancient myths, when a horrible crime or an affront to the gods is covered-over, instead of being faced and rectified, the divine realm will continue to send disasters, monsters, signs, and omens until the cause of the disfavor of heaven is discovered and corrected.

It is well and good to be outraged over the injustice of this particular executive order. But until we honestly face and confront the even larger and more terrible outrages and atrocities taking place in non-stop wars of aggression following immediately after September 11, 2001 and continuing to this very moment -- and until we honestly face and confront the terrible events of that awful day -- that outrage will fall short. 

And we will have to ask ourselves, as we listen again to the words of Dr. King from 1967 -- fifty years ago this November -- whether we are refusing to stand up for right, whether we are refusing to stand up for truth, and whether we are refusing to stand up for justice.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Chinese New Year, 2017

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

This January New Moon marks the beginning of Chinese New Year, which this year is the Year of the  (the rooster or chicken-fowl in general, the tenth animal in the Chinese zodiac).

The observance of traditions tied to the cycles of the heavens and the alignment of our "motions" here on earth with the motions of the sun, moon, stars and planets is a way of acknowledging our connection with the cosmos around us and the truth of the dictum, "As above, so below."

And, because the heavens above (and the motions of the sun, moon, stars and planets) function as an analogue for the Invisible or Infinite Realm in virtually all of the ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories found in virtually every culture on our planet, the observance of traditions tied to the cycles of the heavens and the alignment of our motions here below with those cycles is a way of acknowledging our connection with -- and dependence upon -- that Invisible or Infinite Realm.

In fact, the ancient myths can be seen to teach very clearly that everything in the material realm originates and flows from the Invisible Realm, the realm of the gods -- and that when we forget that fact or invert that order, disaster always ensues.

As I have written in previous posts, the Lakota holy man Black Elk, who grew up in a culture that was still connected with and patterned upon the ancient wisdom given to his people (before it was violently disrupted), explained that the immaterial realm was in fact "the real world that is behind this one, and everything we see here is something like a shadow from that world."

Hence, not only does Chinese New Year traditionally mark a tremendous movement of people returning to their family home to celebrate with relatives, it also has strong traditions associated with good fortune, with activities and symbols designed to invite good fortune, and with burning incense to honor one's ancestors.

This article describing some traditions associated with Chinese New Year even notes that it is considered inauspicious to cut one's hair during the fifteen days which begin at the lunar New Year (New Moon), or even for the entire month (just in case), which implies some perceived connection between hair and the spirit world as well (discussed in some previous posts such as this one, and made fairly explicit in some ancient myths such as those surrounding Samson in the Hebrew Scriptures and Dionysos in ancient Greece, among others, possibly including Rapunzel as well).

The observance of Chinese New Year traditionally lasts for fifteen days, culminating in the Lantern Festival. The fact that it culminates in the Lantern Festival, which has numerous symbols and traditions connecting it with the Full Moon, shows that the fifteen-day period in this case is almost certainly lunar in nature. Fifteen days after a New Moon will bring us to the night of Full Moon. For some discussion of the significance of the Lantern Festival -- and for a famous and beautiful poem involving the Lantern Festival -- see this previous post.

I would like to wish all who are reading this blog a very happy, prosperous, and healthy New Year: the Year of the Rooster!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Let's all do what we can to help John Anthony West

I recently saw the following notification from Graham Hancock about a health issue facing John Anthony West, the pioneering "rogue Egyptologist" whose work has been foundational to the ongoing paradigm shift in understanding of humanity's ancient past, and John's need for help in his pursuit of treatments not covered by insurance plans:
It has become increasingly obvious that the body of evidence supports a very different view of human history than that advanced by conventional academia and by the organs of political and economic power which support and reinforce the proponents of the conventional view. The decades-long work and brilliant insights of the indefatigable John West have been and continue to be absolutely essential in exposing the flaws in the conventional ways of looking at ancient Egypt and in opening up new perspectives on Egypt -- and on humanity's ancient past.

You can search through this blog using the internal "search" function to find many, many posts in which I have made reference to his insights and his work. One of my favorites is this one from 2013, entitled "John Anthony West on creativity, discipline, and consciousness."

Another is this more recent post tracing some of the outcomes of questions he began asking publicly in the 1970s, which have changed the way we view the timeline of ancient history, and which have continued to be vindicated by startling new discoveries in the decades since.

If you are able to do so, please consider making a donation to help pay for the treatment that he is pursuing at the John Anthony West Project.

And, you might also consider sending a note of encouragement, as well as seeking help from the Invisible Realm, through prayer, meditation, chanting, or drumming -- or whichever you prefer of the many other ways available to us to avail ourselves of the connection to the Infinite, to which we have access at all times, according to the message repeated over and over in all of the ancient wisdom preserved in the myths and sacred traditions around the globe.

Please also send some good vibrations directed to his wife Celesta, son Zeke and daughter Zoe.

Stay strong, John! Your friends are with you!

Monday, January 23, 2017

The incredible antiquity of Yoga and of forms of internal alchemy

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

In the volume containing his translation of the Tao Te Ching based on the Ma Wang Dui texts, Professor of Chinese Language and Literature at the University of Pennsylvania's Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations Victor H. Mair includes an Afterword and an Appendix which make that volume, in addition to its excellent and accessible translation of the Tao Te Ching itself, an essential addition to every home library of those interested in the ancient wisdom of humanity.

Both the Afterword and the Appendix contain fascinating and insightful discussions of the parallels between the themes and imagery and cosmological outlook found in the ancient Taoist texts and the texts and myths of ancient India, including the Bhagavad Gita in the Mahabharata, as well as early  texts from ancient India dealing specifically with the practice of Yoga (a subject which is also mentioned in the Gita, as Professor Mair points out). 

But the comparison and discussion offered by Professor Mair goes far beyond just an examination of textual evidence to discuss the fact that both Taoism and Yoga can be shown, from antiquity, to "also share a close association with internal and external alchemy" (147).

The internal alchemy, in particular, makes use of meditation, mantras and "sacred syllables," and certain specific postures and movements such as Yoga in ancient India and Taoist movements and postures in ancient China -- and Professor Mair catalogs some of the evidence we have which points to the conclusion that such practices were in use in both cultures from a very ancient period.

In China, Professor Mair points to inscriptions dated to about 380 BC, found on pieces of jade, describing breathing practices describing the movement and cultivation of the "vital breath," and the importance of following the path of this vital breath during our life. 

He also points to a passage dated to about 250 BC, found in the parables of Chuang Tzu (also spelled Zhuangzi) which concerns the cultivation of the vital breath in conjunction with physical movements named after the movements of animals -- in very much the same way that Yoga asanas are named after the movements of animals. 

The passage in question, from Chuang Tzu chapter 15, is part of a section in which the Master is being somewhat critical of different groups of sages and scholars who are trying to pursue the Way (in his summary of this chapter, Professor Mair writes, "Censuring all disciplines and dogmas, ascetic or otherwise, the author propounds instead mere quietude and clarity," page 144). The section containing the description in question reads, in part:
Retiring to bogs and marshes, dwelling in the vacant wilderness, fishing and living leisurely -- all this is merely indicative of non action. But it is favored by the scholars of rivers and lakes, men who flee from the world and wish to be idle. Blowing and breathing, exhaling and inhaling, expelling the old and taking in the new, bear strides and bird stretches -- all this is merely indicative of the desire for longevity. But it is favored by scholars who channel the vital breath and flex the muscles and joints, men who nourish the physical form so as to emulate the hoary age of Progenitor P'eng.
If someone could be lofty without having ingrained opinions, cultivate himself without humaneness and righteousness, govern without merit or fame, be idle without rivers or lakes, and live long without channeling and flexions, he would forget everything, yet he would possess everything. His tranquillity would be unlimited, yet a multitude of excellences would follow in his wake. This is the Way of heaven and earth, the integrity of the sage. 
Therefore it is said, "placidity, mildness, quietude, indifference, emptiness, nonbeing, and non action -- these are the root of heaven and earth, the substance of the Way and virtue." Thus the sage rests in them. Resting, he is peaceful and easeful; peaceful and easeful, he is placid and mild. Hence worries and troubles do not assail him, pernicious influences do not assault him. Consequently, his integrity is intact and his spirit is undiminished. (From Chuang Tzu, translated by Victor H. Mair in his 2000 volume entitled Wandering on the Way, page 145).
Much can be said about the path Chuang Tzu is recommending, which goes beyond and even eschews the use of "channeling and flexions," but the point to be noticed (and the point which Professor Mair is making when he quotes the "bear strides and bird stretches" section in his discussion in the Appendix to his 1990 translation of Tao Te Ching, is the evidence of an ancient tradition involving postures and movements named after (and possibly modeled upon) the movements of animals and birds, and associated with the channeling of the vital breath and the pursuit of health and longevity.

In the Appendix to his translation of Tao Te Ching, Professor Mair then goes on to cite evidence of parallel practices and disciplines in ancient India, including detailed discussions of the cultivation of the vital breath using various meditative practices as well as asanas, in the Vedas (dating to 900 BC or before) and in the Upanishads (700 BC to 300 BC) and in the Yoga Sutras and Yoga Upanishads, dated to not later than the second century BC (discussion found in the Appendix to Professor Mair's translation of Tao Te Ching, pages 156 - 159). 

He also notes that specific asanas and postures are mentioned in Mahabharata, including "the mandukayoga (frog yoga) and virasana (posture of a hero)" (158 - 159).

Finally, to crown the evidence that these disciplines must be extremely ancient indeed, Professor Mair notes that "asana (postures) have been found represented on seals and statuettes from Mohenjo Daro and Harappa, sites of the Indus Valley civilization that date back to 2500 BC" (158).

Mohenjo Daro is one of the most ancient known archaeological remnants of a city on planet Earth,  and one of the most advanced of ancient cities, famous for its large size relative to other ancient cities, its precise layout, its use of standardized brick sizes, and its sophisticated and extensive plumbing system which included numerous baths -- possibly attesting to the importance of daily ritual bathing such as that described frequently in the ancient Sanskrit epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana.

The seals to which Professor Mair is referring have been alleged by some scholars to represent gods or humans engaged in postures which closely resemble Yoga asanas. One of the most oft-cited and famous of these is certainly the much-debated seal known as the Pashupati Seal, shown above.

While some scholars have since cast doubts upon the assertion that the Pashupati Seal represents early evidence of Yogic activity, a fascinating article written by Yan Y. Dhyansky entitled "The Indus Valley Origin of a Yoga Practice" and published in the scholarly journal Artibus Asiae in 1987 examines many of the counterarguments and then notes that most of the critics seem unaware of the difficulty of sitting in a posture such as the one shown in that seal (also known as Seal #420) and other similar seals (such as Seal #222 and Seal #235, in which nearly identical postures are indicated). 

More importantly, he also demonstrates that the critics invariably misidentify the asana which appears to be nearly identical to that shown on the ancient seals from Mohenjo Daro -- which Yan Dhyansky identifies as Mulabandhasana. He points to a photograph taken in the 1930s of the famous Guru, T. Krishnamacharya (1888 - 1989), seated in this exact asana, and notes its striking resemblance to the posture depicted in the Mohenjo Daro seal (to see the photograph from the 1930s juxtaposed with Seal #420, see this website dedicated to the teachings of Sri Krishnamacharya). 

You can also look at the photographs in the landmark book Light On Yoga by B. K. S. Iyengar, who studied Yoga under Sri Krishnamacharya in Mysore, India, to whom Sri Iyengar dedicated the book itself. As Yan Dhyansky points out in the article cited above, B. K. S. Iyengar has photographs on page 344 and 345 of Light On Yoga illustrating Mulabandhasana. There is also discussion of the steps for getting into this very challenging asana, as well as discussion of its benefits:
This asana exercises Muladhara Chakra, the prostate gland and gonads. It also has the wonderful effect of controlling excessive sexual desire and helps to save energy. It therefore controls and stills the mind. 346.
It would appear from the above evidence that the knowledge of specific disciplines related to cultivating the "vital breath" as well as aspects of what is referred to as "internal alchemy" may be very ancient indeed -- as old or even older than the earliest known ancient mythological texts we have available to us at this time (such as the Pyramid Texts of ancient Egypt and the Gilgamesh and other mythical texts from ancient Mesopotamia, both of which sets of texts are roughly contemporary to the Mohenjo Daro excavations). 

In the Afterword to his translation of the Tao Te Ching, Professor Mair writes of the numerous parallels between the distinctive aspects of the ancient Yogic traditions and the ancient Taoist traditions that:
if Indian Yoga did not exert a shaping force upon Chinese Taoism, the only other logical explanation is that both were molded by a third source. Since no such source is known, we can only assume an Indian priority and wait for additional data from future archaeological discoveries. 146.
That passage was published in 1990; since then, the excavation of Gobekli Tepe, and the dating of the site's completion to the incredibly ancient date of 10,000 BC, has opened up a whole new perspective on humanity's ancient past (although its revolutionary impact has yet to fully ripple through and shake up all of the conventional narratives and scholarly structures built upon the older models of history). Although there are no signs (as yet) of asanas being depicted in the artwork found at Gobekli Tepe (as far as I know), the existence of this site certainly speaks to the possibility of an advanced ancient civilization (or civilizations) or ancient culture (or cultures) so far back in time that they might serve as the common ancestor for some of the parallels we see across different cultures that are otherwise difficult to explain.

Furthermore, the existence of undeniable parallels between ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories found around the world, and the evidence that they are virtually all based upon a shared system of celestial metaphor (a very sophisticated system, and a world-wide system, evidence for which is explored in my books and many blog posts), also points to the possibility of an ancient common predecessor or source-culture. 

The evidence that Gobekli Tepe was deliberately buried, a massive task, not later than 8,000 BC also points to the possibility that the extremely ancient culture (or cultures) might have been wiped out or at least severely disrupted by some sort of disaster, natural or man-made. Professor Robert Schoch has been pursuing the implications of this important piece of evidence in his own research and recent books, such as Forgotten Civilization.

Hypotheses such as those which Dr. Schoch has put forward, in which a sophisticated and extremely ancient predecessor civilization was forced to literally "go underground" for centuries or even millennia in order to survive, might explain the appearance of advanced spiritual traditions such as the Yogic tradition and its associated understanding of "inner alchemy" in some of the earliest cities known to scholars at this time, such as ancient Mohenjo Daro.

I would also posit that clear traditions within disciplines such as Yogic and Taoist meditation of associating various "meridians" and "energy points" in the human body (including the chakra system) with meridians on our planet and with celestial bodies such as the sun, moon, and visible planets points to a connection between these ancient disciplines and the ancient wisdom contained in the myths, and encoded in terms of metaphors which associate the Invisible Realm with the motions of the sun, moon, stars and visible planets in the heavens above.

Whatever the answer to this ancient mystery might be, it is clear that practices such as Yoga, Taoist meditation and internal alchemy, breath work, certain martial arts (especially the "internal" martial arts), and practices such as what is today called chi gung or qigong, may be extremely ancient -- stretching back at least to the time of Mohenjo Daro, more than 4,500 years ago, and perhaps several millennia before that.

This is something to contemplate as you perform your daily asanas (if you have a Yoga practice) or your daily meditation -- and something to consider, if you do not now practice any of those ancient disciplines, but have been thinking of giving one of them a try.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Birthday of Joseph Hill, January 22nd

image: YouTube.

January 22nd is the birthday of musician Joseph Hill, born this day in 1949. 

He was a powerful singer and artist, with a message that everyone can make music, and that music can be a force for peace and against oppression.

His music also carries strong spiritual themes, including the theme of awakening.

The song "So long Babylon a Fool I (and I)" from the 1978 album Baldhead Bridge (Culture's second album) forcefully and plaintively laments the exploitive world-system enforced by violence ("gun and bayonet") but also by world-wide deception -- connected to the description in Revelation 17 of the woman "arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls" symbolically named Babylon, and linked to captivity and enslavement in the stories found in what is called the Old Testament. 

The symbology is that of something which appears outwardly beautiful and desirable, but which actually enslaves, destroys, and even devours men and women.

The lyrics of the song can be heard on the internet here and here (among other places), although I would argue that all of the incredible music Joseph Hill created during his long and successful career  (along with his fellow artists) deserves a place in the vinyl section of your bookshelf, if possible, in order to hear the music in all its richness.

The lyrics to the song are not always easy to transcribe, but appear to also make a reference to a switching of versions of Biblical scriptures as part of the list of deceptions by which Babylon "has fooled I and I for so long," according to the artist.

Below is my best-effort suggestion as to the lyrics that I hear in the song:


So long Babylon a-fool I, so long

So long Babylon a-fool I, so long

For the enemies around I, trying to devour I

So long Bablyon just a-fool I, so long

So long Babylon just a-starve I, so long

So long Babylon just a-starve I, so long

For the rich man them them have it, them no-want give to Natty

So long Babylon just a-fool I, so long

JAH: Rasta

So long Babylon a-hide the truth from I, so long

JAH: Rastafari!

So long Babylon a-hide the truth from I, so long

For them tell him a Babby version, and left them King James Version

So long Babylon a-hide the truth from I, so long

A long time, Dread!    Yes, I . . .

So long . . . FIRE!

JAH: Rastafari!

So long them-a rule I with a-gun and bayonet, so long

So long them-a rule I with guns and bayonet, so long

For the enemies around I, trying to devour I

Them a-rule I long-time with gun and bayonet, Oh JAH, so long

Soon we gone go-a Africa, so long

(Them long time, Dread -- Yes I!)

So long, we want go a-Africa, so long

Nyabinghi, Nyabinghi!

For the Babylon them hold I, don't want for let I go

So long I a-want go a-Africa, so long

Long time, I!   Yes, I! Long time, Binghi!

So long Babylon, no want your rights

JAH: Rastafari!

So long Babylon, them no want your rights

Should be I majesty I!

JAH: Rastafari!

For the enemies around I, trying to devour I

So long, so long, so long-a long-a time

So long

A long, long time-a time

So long

Such a long, a-long-a I-wah

So long

Dong-a conga Natty Dread

So long

Dong-a Bong-a I-a I

So long

JAH-JAH a-Selassie, I

So long

I ah, I ah, Dreadlocks, I

So long

JAH-JAH children want go home

So long

Dong-a Long-a Long-a Bong-a Long-a Long

So long

Go long, Natty Dread, Along, Natty Dread, Along

So long

So long

So long

So long

Right Now!

So long


Joseph Hill was an inspired and talented artist whose music was a gift to the world.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Trinomial Cube and Humanity's Ancient Myths

The origins of the myths are shrouded in mystery.

As the new video above, entitled "The Trinomial Cube and Humanity's Ancient Myths," explains, the conventional explanations for the origins and purpose of ancient myth are often both inadequate and patronizing, viewing myth as an obsolete relic from a supposedly primitive and pre-scientific past.

There is, however, one view of the ancient myths which argues that they are neither obsolete nor primitive (nor are they necessarily "pre-scientific"): the theory that humanity's ancient myths are based upon a system of esoteric, celestial metaphor.

According to some proponents of this view (myself included), the ancient system provides an elegant and awe-inspiring means of conveying to our understanding profound truths regarding an invisible realm.

And, as Alvin Boyd Kuhn has insightfully argued, such an incredible system of using the Visible World to convey truths about the Invisible could not have been conceived when only one realm (the Visible) was known.

In this way, the ancient myths of humanity may be very much akin to the ingenious Montessori teaching experience known as the "trinomial cube," which beautifully models in a three-dimensional wooden cube the abstract and much less tangible concept of a cubed polynomial of three terms.

In order to have conceived of this model in the first place, its brilliant designer had to already possess a deep understanding of the concept of a trinomial, and of the outcome of cubing a trinomial.

Please enjoy the new video, "The Trinomial Cube and Humanity's Ancient Myths," and please feel free to share it with anyone who may benefit from its message.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Martin Luther King's urgent message to us today

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

January 15 is the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., born this day in 1929.

Rather than listening to what others say about him, it might be best to listen to what he himself said in his own powerful voice.

This is especially true because there are certain forces at work which seek to contain his message within boundaries of their own definition, and for their own purposes -- just as there were during his own lifetime.

But Dr. King's message defies such boundaries and flows far beyond them.

One of his most powerful speeches is Beyond Vietnam, delivered on April 4, 1967. 

The injustices and issues he addresses in this speech have only accelerated since the day he spoke against them on that day, nearly 50 years ago.

Below are some quotations from that speech -- but the entire speech deserves to be studied carefully, and if possible heard in Dr. King's own voice, as do all his other messages (here is a link to text versions of many of his addresses). 

Here is a link to the text of the speech.

Here is a link to the original typewritten text of the speech showing annotations.

Here is a link to a video containing audio of much of the speech.

Here is a link to a box set of original recordings of Dr. King's speeches, including Beyond Vietnam.

That speech addresses the military and political actions of the United States government in Vietnam -- but as Dr. King makes abundantly clear, the issues that he is addressing go beyond Vietnam.

The speech addresses a situation that existed in 1967 -- but as we hear his words today we see that the injustices he is addressing go beyond the 1960s.

Here are some particularly hard-hitting quotations from that speech of fifty years ago which each one of us to would do well to consider carefully today.

There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I and others have been waging in America.
[ . . . ]
And I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in the rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic, destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.
[ . . . ]
Now it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read "Vietnam." It can never be saved so long as it destroyed the hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that "America will be" are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.
[ . . . ]
We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation, for those it calls "enemy," for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.
[ . . . ]
What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and tortures in the concentration camps of Europe?
[ . . . ]
At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried to give a voice to the voiceless in Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called "enemy," I am as deeply concerned about our own troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated must surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy, and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor. 
Surely this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor in America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home, and dealt death and destruction in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as one who loves America, to the leaders of our own nation: The great initiative in this war is ours -- the initiative to stop it must be ours.
This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words, and I quote: 
"Each day the war goes on the hatred increased in the hearts of the Vietnamese and the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and of militarism."
[ . . . ]
The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit [ . . . ].
[ . . . ]
In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. [ . . . ] I am convinced that if we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin -- we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
[ . . . ]
Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism and militarism.
[ . . . ]
That is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message -- of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was treacherously murdered exactly one year to the day after giving this speech. 

Abundant evidence has proven that he was not murdered by the person on whom the blame for his murder was placed but by a powerful cabal composed of men with deep connections, including segments within the US government. 

This fact argues that the decision to murder him on the anniversary of this particular speech was intended as a message, that he had gone beyond the boundaries within which certain forces sought to contain his powerful work (and within which they still seek to contain it). 

But Dr. King's message will not and cannot be contained within those boundaries, and it cannot be stopped by those methods. It can only be delayed by our own apathy.

And his message is more urgent and more pertinent today than ever.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A celestial exposition of Revelation chapter 12

If you haven't been following some of the lively conversations in the Skeptiko forum since my conversation with Alex Tsakiris which was published last week in podcast form, you may wish to have a look if you're interested.

I have enjoyed engaging in some of the discussion, and answering a few questions to help clarify some of the assertions that I made during the interview and that I make in my writing and publications.

One of the conversations in the forum involved a question regarding an interpretation of Revelation chapter 12 which has been presented in a public video on YouTube and which employs some awareness of the celestial content in that chapter, but turns the analysis of that celestial content into a declaration that the passage is describing events which will happen in literal history and which will involve a literal "rapture of the church" -- going so far as to suggest a specific possible date for the beginning of those events in September of this year.

I believe that the interpretation which is being given in that video is mistaken, and that the analysis in the video arrives at a series of very highly charged conclusions which could easily mislead people who don't have a very thorough understanding of the language of celestial metaphor which the ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories of the world use to convey their message.

In fact, this ancient language of celestial metaphor is not at all widely understood. Based on what I've seen in the video, the author of the video itself has a very incomplete understanding of the system of celestial metaphor, which is not surprising since there is plentiful evidence to argue that very existence of that system of metaphor was deliberately obscured during the rise of literalist interpretation of the Biblical scriptures (and during the period when decisions regarding which texts would be allowed into the Biblical "canon" were being made).

I use the terms "literalism" and "literalist interpretation" very broadly here, to refer to interpretation which argues that the scriptures of the Bible should be understood as describing literal events and people in terrestrial history, rather than as presenting profound esoteric metaphor which is not describing historical personages or events, nor intended to be understood literally in order to convey its message.

Because the video in question is coming from within a hermeneutic which I would say can definitely be described as "literalist," it tries to force the celestial metaphors which the author perceives in the Revelation 12 text into a literalist paradigm, and thus arrives at some conclusions which I believe to be extremely dubious.

Therefore, I offered my interpretation of some of the events and metaphors in Revelation 12 which I believe are being overlooked by those offering these types of very literalistic interpretations of the ancient scriptures. This video is by no means alone in offering these types of emotionally-charged pronouncements and "calls to action" based on what I believe to be a lack of understanding of the worldwide system of metaphor which operates in the ancient myths.

Since I went ahead and answered that question on the forum over at Skeptiko, I decided to also reproduce that answer here for the benefit of those who might not have seen it over there.

I also decided to create a short video (15:00 minutes) in order to illustrate the concepts a little more clearly.


Below is the written explanation (with diagrams) which I included in my reply on the forum:

Just as with the previous material on the star of Bethlehem by someone who wants to use it to support literalist teachings, I believe this video is deeply mistaken.

The events of Revelation are "fulfilled in the heavens" all the time, not just in September of 2017. That's because they are based on celestial metaphor. There is a chapter in my most-recent book, Star Myths of the Bible, which discusses Revelation in some depth and provides some specific explanation of a few of the Revelation episodes and events (if I were to cover all of Revelation it would be another multi-volume series of its own).

Let me specifically address the interpretations offered in the above video.

1. The author of the video has made some correct connections to specific constellations. The woman about to give birth described in the scriptural passage does indeed correspond to Virgo, in my analysis (this is almost indisputable, given the number of times and places around the globe that Virgo plays a role in myth as a woman about to give birth or who has just given birth). However, when the author begins to confidently match this constellation up with political states in existence today, and then relate it to geopolitical events, he is engaging in very misleading (dangerously misleading) exegesis. The fact that you have large numbers of people being told what to believe about politics, and where to send their money, based on misguided interpretation of "Biblical prophecy" is very dangerous. There are specific Biblical passages, including words attributed to Jesus, which pronounce dire warnings against teachers who mislead their followers.

2. The author of the video makes a couple of correct connections, and then completely misses many other important connections. I will explain some of them below. But let me say at the outset that if literalists who find these connections in the sky compelling would learn the rest of the system, then they would see that virtually every event described in the Bible can be seen in the constellations, including the crucifixion and the events described at the first Pentecost in Acts (I have a blog post which gives extended explication of the Pentecost event in Acts, which interprets that event celestially as well as showing some connections to similar episodes and symbology in the myths of ancient Greece, here). So, those literalists who start down this road of seeing connections between the stars and the events and episodes described in their ancient texts should be cautious, because they may discover that everything in those texts is based on the same system. This video even makes an allusion to the way Eve was taken from the side of Adam and notes how interesting parallels exist to the woman in travail in the Revelation text -- which is because they are both based on the same region of the sky (you can see the "rib" being taken from the side of the woman in my diagram below -- I believe it to be Coma Berenices, a faint constellation known as Berenice's Hair in English, which actually plays a role in a wide array of myths from around the globe).

3. The author of the video states that understanding this passage "requires a working knowledge of ancient Greek." I would respond by suggesting that "a working knowledge of the language of celestial metaphor" would be helpful as well. This author has encountered a small taste of that language -- if he were to learn more of it, he could (I believe) hear the message of the ancient texts of the Bible (as well as the message of the world's other related myths) more accurately.

4. Below is my diagram of the region of the sky containing my interpretation of the celestial referents for the events discussed in the video, so that I can illustrate some of the parts the author of that video has missed:

5. Here is my explication of the passage:
a) Woman in Travail (ie, in labor, about to give birth) -- VIRGO.
b) Great red dragon with seven heads (described as a "wonder in heaven" by the way) -- SCORPIO
c) The man child she brought forth who is snatched up to God and his throne -- CORONA BOREALIS, the Northern Crown (labeled "N. Crown" above). This is a very obscure connection, but it is borne out across the myths. If you want to see it in operation in the famous Old Testament story of the Judgment of Solomon, see my discussion of it in my blog post here and in a video here). 
d) God and his throne correspond to -- HERCULES (his throne is most likely Ophiucus, not drawn-in with an outline in my diagram above).
e) Angels blowing trumpets in the Revelation visions are most likely associated with BOOTES.
f) The description of the Woman being saved by Wings of Eagles likely refers to AQUILA, the Eagle (and note that this constellation looks much larger in the sky in real life than it does in my star diagram above, as does Scorpio when you see it in person -- this star-chart utilizes Stellarium, an outstanding free open-source planetarium app, which distorts the size of the constellations in order to simulate constellations to your left and right, such that those on either edge of the screen appear larger and those in the center appear smaller, as if projected on the curved walls of a planetarium, or as if you are seeing constellations on a flat page that you would have to turn to the left and the right to see if you were outside).
g) The "water as a flood" which is cast out of the mouth of the serpent (and which the author of the above video does not really know what to do with, so he makes the extremely dubious assertion that it represents an invading army on the world stage of geopolitical events) corresponds to the constellation HYDRA (which itself is a serpent, but which has in its name a reference to water). This flood is intended by the serpent to "carry away" the woman, which as you can see it appears to be doing in the sky.

6. Below is another star-chart showing HYDRA and VIRGO more completely:

7. Note that in the above image, I have also drawn the outline for LEO the Lion, using the outline suggested by H. A. Rey (which is far superior to the outline used in most modern planetarium apps, smartphone apps, and Wikipedia entries). Note that Leo has MORE STARS than the nine that the author of the above video counts for Leo. The number of stars in a constellation is of course a very subjective matter, and depends on which outlining system you choose to use. The author of this video puts a huge amount of weight upon his count of stars in Leo, requiring THREE MORE to fit the prophecy (as he interprets it), which he then declares to be PLANETS (this allows him to declare this date of 23 September 2017 for the fulfillment of the prophecy). I would submit that this is an extremely dubious interpretation. You could count a different number of stars for Leo and then find another date where there are only two planets needed to fulfill the "twelve" number. It also goes without saying that planets are not stars -- and the ancients did not think they were either. In fact they seem to have known quite a lot about the planets.

8. In other words, the "child snatched up" is celestial in nature, and does not necessarily represent a "raptured church" AT ALL.

9. The most problematic part of the video, of course, is the fact that in spite of his evident ignorance of the celestial language of the scriptures (and the rest of the world's myths), the author of the video feels perfectly comfortable making confident declarations that "this means the raptured church" and "this means an invading army and an occupation" etc. 

10. The most objectionable part of the video, of course, is the author's warning that you'd better come to the same "faith" that he represents, or else you will be in grave danger for your immortal soul. This represents ignorance of the fact that ALL the world's ancient myths and sacred traditions can be shown to be using THE SAME system of celestial metaphor that underlies the scriptures which he believes to contain the ONLY truth that matters to anyone.

11. All that being said, I do not discount the possibility that there are actually powerful persons in positions to wield a lot of money and political influence who either actually believe these passages represent "end-times prophecy" that will play out on the world stage, or who are willing to cynically use people's belief in said prophecy to their own ends. If geopolitical events are manipulated in order to try to make it look like such prophecies are being fulfilled right before our eyes, then many could well be deceived by such erroneous misinterpretation of ancient texts.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Kojiki of ancient Japan

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

The Kojiki (is the oldest surviving chronicle of ancient Japan. 

It contains three sections or books, the first of which recounts the age of spirit-deities (more properly known by the name, Kami) of ancient Japan, including a creation account and the adventures of the first and succeeding generations of gods and goddesses (such as Izanagi and Izanami, shown in the background of the center panel above, and Amaterasu shown at the top of the right panel above). 

The second volume recounts adventures in a heroic age in which legendary warriors, as well as warrior-kings and warrior-queens, battled one another as well as spirits and deities (beginning with the exploits of the first emperor Jinmu, the son of the goddess Amaterasu, who is depicted on the far right of the right-hand panel above, holding a tall bow with an eagle on top). The third book describes successive rulers, lineages, wars and feuds.

The ancient myths of Japan contained in the Kojiki can be conclusively demonstrated to share the same foundation of celestial metaphor which can also be seen at the foundation of all the world's other ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories, on every populated continent on our planet (as well as the islands scattered across the vast Pacific). 

For example, there is an episode in which a baby is cast adrift by his parents (who are the creator god and goddess Izanagi and Izanami), a story which most closely parallels the story of baby Maui in the myths and sacred stories of Aotearoa and the other Polynesian cultures across the Pacific islands. This story of the baby being cast adrift also of course parallels the story of baby Moses in the book of Genesis in the ancient Hebrew scriptures, as well as ancient legends surrounding the birth of the ancient king Sargon of Akkad, and the story of the birth of Karna (or Karnataka) in the Sanskrit texts of ancient India. All of these stories can be shown to be related to celestial figures, and set adrift in the band of the Milky Way in the sky.

There is also an episode in the Kojiki in which the Kami known as Great Deity has his hair tied to the rafters while he is asleep, by the Kami known as Great-Name-Possessor (see Kojiki volume one, section 23). When Great Deity's heavenly musical stringed-instrument is being carried away by Great-Name-Possessor, the instrument brushes against a tree and lets out a sound so resonant that the entire earth vibrates, awakening Great Deity, who shakes himself with his great strength and brings down the entire house, rafters and all. 

As the authors of Hamlet's Mill point out, there is a direct parallel here to the Old Testament story of Samson, during the contending with Delilah in chapter 16 of Judges, when she is trying to coax Samson into telling her the secret of his great strength. Samson at first tells Delilah various false methods of robbing him of his power (which she immediately tries upon him: if this were actually a literal and historical story, you would think that after two or three examples of her treachery, Samson would learn not to tell Delilah the real secret to robbing him of his strength). 

One of the false methods Samson tells Delilah involves weaving his hair into the web of her loom, which she promptly proceeds to do as soon as he is asleep -- and when he awakens, the ancient text tells us that Samson "went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web" (Judges 16: 14), in a direct parallel to the ancient myth recorded in the Kojiki from half a world away. The authors of Hamlet's Mill point out these parallels regarding pulling down buildings with one's hair on page 172, in the chapter entitled "Samson Under Many Skies."

All of these parallels are very unlikely to have simply popped-up independently of one another in the myths around the world -- the more so because they can all be shown to be connected to very specific constellations in very specific regions of the sky, constellations with features which manifest themselves in the Star Myths of the world by taking on the same familiar patterns over and over again. 

And yet, these constellational features are by no means obvious -- in many cases they are very obscure -- and therefore it is very difficult to argue that very different cultures around the world all decided to settle on the same way of incorporating these constellational features into their myths. It is far more likely that they all belong to some extremely ancient system which lies back of the different cultures of the world, some ancient system belonging to a culture or civilization in extreme antiquity, predating even the earliest Pyramid Texts of ancient Egypt and the earliest cuneiform tablets of ancient Mesopotamia (which can also be shown to be using the same system right from the outset) -- some forgotten ancient origin situated so far back in time that today we have no record of its existence.

Another ancient myth of Japan which is recorded in the Kojiki is an example of the "failed rescue from the land of the dead," which is also a familiar myth-pattern which shows up in many other cultures in lands very far removed around the globe and separated by vast oceans from the islands of Japan. The great goddess Izanami is burned to death while giving birth to the Swift-Burning-Flame-Child, and Izanagi buries her atop a mountain (he also grasps his awesome sword and cuts off the head of the Burning-Flame-Child). 

Later, Izanagi cannot bear to be without her, so he goes down to the underworld to ask her to come again and help him in the unfinished work of the lands of the world that they were creating together, but she laments and tells him that he is too late -- she has eaten of the food of the underworld and can no longer return (this is a clear parallel to the story of Persephone in the myths of ancient Greece: its celestial import is addressed in Star Myths of the World, Volume Two, which is all about the myths of ancient Greece).  

Then, Izanami tells Izanagi that she still desires to go with him, but that she must go discuss the matter with the deities of the underworld -- and warns him sternly that he must not look back at her if she is allowed to follow him. As in so many other manifestations of this pattern around the world, of course, Izanagi fails to heed her warning, and he breaks off one of the end-teeth of his comb which he carries in in his piled-up topknot of hair and lights this broken-off tooth as a torch. He is horrified to find that Izanagi is rotting and swarming with maggots -- and he flees in fear, as she sends out beings of the underworld to pursue him (the episode is described in the Kojiki, volume 1 and section 9).

This pattern, of the failed underworld rescue, repeats itself around the world, such as in the story of Orpheus and Eurydice in ancient Greece and in the story of Balder in the Norse myths of ancient Scandinavia. There is also a Lakota myth about an encounter with a powerful spirit-being named White Buffalo Woman which contains some parallels to the episode in the Kojiki. 

Just like all these other patterns found in the myths of ancient Japan which appear in the myths of other cultures around the globe, this one too can be shown to be based on the stars. In this particular version of the "failed underworld rescue," Izanagi is almost certainly associated with the figure of Hercules in the heavens. The details of the comb, and the torch which he makes from one of the teeth of his comb, are clues to that (as is the fact that the constellations Hercules and Virgo are sometimes paired in ancient myth, and probably represent Izanagi and Izanami, the first two Kami, while Izanami is still alive and before her descent to the underworld):

Another major clue regarding the celestial identity of Izanagi, of course, is his irresistible "ten-grasp sword," which is a weapon that strongly suggests a correspondence with the constellation Hercules in the sky. We have seen in our examination of numerous other Star Myths that Hercules-figures in the world's myths often carry a powerful club, mace, sword, or even thunderbolt. 

In this episode from the Kojiki, Izanagi draws his ten-grasp sword to cut off the head of the final child he has with Izanami, Swift-Burning-Flame-Child (who is so fiery that Izanami dies after giving birth to him). In the star-chart above, we see that Bootes is almost certainly the Burning Boy to whom Izanami gives birth, and we see the menacing figure of Hercules just behind Bootes, preparing to cut off his head with his massive sword. This detail from the story pretty much confirms beyond doubt that Izanagi is associated with the powerful constellation Hercules.

After Izanami goes down to the underworld, however, she rots and becomes covered with maggots. There are many Star Myths from around the world in which the multi-headed, serpentine form of the constellation Scorpio is described as a worm or a mass of worms (including in the Popol Vuh of the Maya of Central America, as discussed in Star Myths of the World, Volume One). In this particular version of the "failed rescue from the land of the dead" as it appears in the Kojiki, Scorpio almost certainly plays the form of Izanami, after she has descended to the underworld.

The detail about "not looking back" which is found in virtually all of the "failed rescue from the underworld" myths around the world is also connected to a specific constellation -- the constellation Sagittarius. As can be seen from the outline in the star-chart above (the outline suggested by H. A. Rey in his indispensable system of outlining the constellations), Sagittarius very clearly appears to be "looking back" over its shoulder (towards the right, as we face the diagram above) while walking the other way (towards the left, as we face the diagram above).

This is why, in the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, Orpheus is said to look back, and Eurydice disappears back into the realm of Hades when Orpheus looks. Note that Orpheus is renowned for his divine skill in playing the lyre and singing -- and the constellation Lyra the Lyre is located just beside the form of Hercules. Orpheus is almost certainly associated with the constellation Hercules (and with the Lyre), except when he descends to the underworld in order to try to rescue his beloved Eurydice, at which point he takes on the role of Sagittarius, looking back when he should not.

It should be abundantly evident that these myths did not pop up independently of one another all over the world -- they are part of a shared ancient system, based on the stars.

One of the most important of the sacred stories in the Kojiki, the account of the sun goddess Amaterasu retreating into a mountain after being offended by her impetuous brother Susanowo (or Susa-no-o), and having to be coaxed back out by the assembled gods and spirits, is also treated at some length in Star Myths of the World, Volume One

That story, too, can be shown to be based upon the constellations in the heavens -- and it too has its parallels around the world. Not only does the story of Amaterasu have parallels in the solar figure who withdraws for a time and has to be coaxed back (see Achilles in the Iliad, for example), but also in the "obscene dance that makes a female figure smile," which is again found in the myths of ancient Greece (in one of the stories surrounding the myth of Demeter and Persephone, when Baubo causes Demeter to laugh with an obscene dance) and in the Norse myths (in the story of Skade or Skadi, when Loki causes her to laugh with an obscene performance). Some discussion of the celestial elements of that story can be found in a previous blog post here.

There are actually many other episodes in the Kojiki which can be shown to be based upon the same world-wide system of celestial metaphor -- and to have parallels to other Star Myths around the world (including episodes described in the Bible). 

In fact, I would argue that it would be very difficult to properly interpret the Kojiki at all, without some understanding of its foundation in the system of celestial metaphor. There are episodes and events in the Kojiki which are extremely confusing and even nonsensical without the understanding that they are actually allegorizing specific constellational features. Some of the episodes in the Kojiki are so obscure or unusual that I myself have no idea of their celestial interpretation, even though I have now become very familiar with these patterns and have looked at a great many myths from around the world. 

Nevertheless, there is obviously plenty of evidence that the myths of ancient Japan related in the Kojiki and other sources share the same ancient system of celestial metaphor which underlies the other myths and sacred stories found around the world.

It is very unlikely that the myths related in the Kojiki were influenced by the stories in the Bible, or in the Greek myths, or in the Norse myths. As we have seen, the parallels are not just with one culture but with many cultures, all of them very remote and separated from Japan by great distances (we've just witnessed evidence that some of the Kojiki episodes discussed above include parallels to the Bible, to the myths of ancient Greece, to the myths of ancient India, to the myths found among the Polynesian cultures stretched across the vast Pacific, to specific episodes in the Popol Vuh of the Maya, to events in the Norse myths, and to a sacred story from the Lakota of North America). I believe it is far more likely that the ancient myths of Japan, as with all the other world's ancient myths, have very deep roots, stretching back to some now-forgotten source of incredible antiquity.

As such, they are part of the precious inheritance of ancient wisdom which was given to mankind by some now-unknown benefactor to whom we should be extremely grateful -- and they form another very important body of evidence that should be seen as uniting us all.