Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Thor's visit to Olaf Tryggvason

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Olaf Tryggvason lived from some time during the 960s until his death at the end of a battle in September of the year AD 1000, at an age less than forty (though there are some rumors that he survived for decades after that). 

By all accounts, he was responsible for forcibly converting those under his rule to Christianity, as well as many of those he defeated in battle, usually offering the choice of either conversion and baptism, or torture and death. 

In a saga about King Olaf which was probably written over a hundred years after his death, by a Christian monk in Iceland named Oddr Snorrason (Iceland, which had close connections with Norway, having mostly converted to Christianity around AD 1000 as well), many examples of Olaf's use of torture and the threat of death to force conversion to Christianity are offered, such as a Yule feast in which he assembled various chieftains and welcomed them in the most gracious manner, with much food and plentiful drink, and afterwards offered to kill the most renowned leaders among the guests, as well as a random selection of their followers, and send them to feast with the gods they followed -- either that or convert to Christianity if they were "not so eager for the companionship of the gods as many would suppose" (237).

While the Icelandic author of that saga takes a Christian perspective and generally depicts Olaf's endeavors to spread Christianity in an approving light, there remain nevertheless hints of recognition of what has been lost, here and there in the narrative of the saga, as well.

At one point, the author tells us, King Olaf was sailing in his great Viking longship, which he dubbed the Long Serpent, southwards along the coast of Norway. This ship is described as being built on the model of another ship named the Serpent, which had belonged to a local king named Raud the Strong, whom Olaf had defeated in battle and attempted to convert to Christianity -- but Raud refused and was put to death, reportedly by having a snake and a hot iron shoved down his throat. The Long Serpent had 34 sets of benches, for a total of 34 oars on either side of the ship, and would thus have been well over a hundred feet in length and probably very fast. Later, when Olaf himself was defeated in a sea battle, he would leap from this ship into the ocean and to his own death.

The Olafs Saga Tryggvasonar of Oddr Snorrason tells us:
One day as King Olaf was sailing south along the coast, under a fair, light wind, there was a man standing on a rock who shouted to them and begged the favour of a passage towards the south of the country. King Olaf therefore steered the Serpent to the rock where the man stood, and he climbed on board. He was a young-looking man of tall stature, handsome, and he had a red beard. As soon as he came on board the dragon-ship he began jesting and wrestling with the King's men, who found his play rough whenever they tried their strength against him. He afforded much merriment, and the men amused themselves in bantering him and laughing at him. He in return made fun of the King's men, and laughed at them as being poor and weakly creatures. "You are not worthy," he said, "to serve so renowned a King and so fair a ship. This dragon-ship was valiantly manned when Raud the Strong owned it. He scarcely required the aid of such men as I am for the sake of their strength, but only for amusement and counsel, and in comparison with me you are but a feeble set." The King's men asked if he had any stories to tell them, old or new; and he replied that there were few questions, in his opinion, which they could ask and he could not answer. They took him, therefore, to the King, saying that he was a man of much knowledge. The King said to him, "Tell us, if you can, so me tales of olden time." "I will begin, then, Sire," answered he, "with this land near where we are sailing. It was inhabited of yore by giants, who all chanced to come to a sudden end at one and the same time, except two, both women. Afterwards, when people came from the east to colonise the country, the two giant women lorded over them, and troubled them, straitening their condition. The evil lasted until the inhabitants resolved to call upon Redbeard for aid. So I grasped my Hammer, and slew both the giants. And the people have continued to call upon me for aid in time of need from that day, O King, until now that you have so greatly wasted all my friends in a way that merits vengeance." Having thus spoken, he looked over his shoulder at the King, and at the same instant, with a scornful grin, plunged overboard, swift as a bolt, and was never seen again. 332 - 333.
Although the twelfth-century author of this saga goes on to give Olaf a speech in which he counsels his men to always be on their guard against the wiles of the Enemy, and to tell them that they should always be ready to make the sign of the Cross in order to cause fiends such as these to flee, the episode is presented in such a way as to evince genuine recognition of, and even regret for, something true which has been lost. 

The visitor to Olaf's ship, who clearly reveals himself to be none other than the god Thor himself, criticizes Olaf's men as being unworthy to sail on the same Viking longship of Raud the Strong, who  had refused to reject the old gods, even if it meant his own torture and death -- and the god criticizes the king for mistreating the friends of the gods, and for taking actions that will end the protection provided by Thor over the people, Thor being the god who was always ready to appear whenever his name was called upon in need.

There is even a hint in the story that Thor and the other gods had been a bulwark against tyranny and mistreatment -- freeing the people from the giants who "lorded over them, and troubled them, and straitened their condition."

Previous posts have explored the idea that the rejection of the ancient wisdom given in previous ages to all the various cultures of humanity, on every inhabited continent around the globe and all the islands, and the deliberate replacement of the old gods with the literalistic interpretation of the Biblical scriptures, has led directly to the very conditions that the visiting Thor describes to Olaf and his men -- "lording over" the people, and troubling them and straitening their condition, by those who would seize the gifts which the ancient myths and scriptures describe as the gifts of the gods to all men and women.

For example, see previous posts such as:
The world's ancient myths teach very clearly that the gifts which the classical economists described as "the Commons" or the "public domain" are given by the gods for the benefit of all the people. These include the gifts of the sunshine, the air, the land, the water, the forests, and the minerals of the earth.

The straitening of the people (that is to say, the depriving of the people, the diminishment of the people, and the imposition of austerity and financial distress upon the people, all of which are contained in the definition of straitening) by those "giants" who would "lord over them" has been a direct consequence of the rejection of this ancient teaching by those who would seize and "privatize" these gifts for the use and benefit of a restricted or privileged group, rather than recognizing these gifts as belonging to all men and women -- the "public domain."

We can see many examples in ancient myths and ancient texts which declare the gifts of sunshine, air, land, water, forests and mineral wealth of the earth to gifts belonging to the gods and given as a blessing for all mortal men and women. 

In the Orphic Hymns of ancient Greece, for example, we find a hymn to the goddess Persephone which calls upon her as the "blessed goddess" who sends forth "the fruits of the earth" (Hymn 29). 

We find a hymn addressed to wealth-giving Plouton, god of the underworld, calling him the "holder of the keys to the whole earth" (Hymn 18). 

We find a hymn addressed to Eleusinian Demeter, declaring her to be the "giver of prosperity and wealth," the one who nourishes the ears of all the corn, and who is "present at sowing, heaping and threshing" -- the "first to send up from below a rich, a lovely harvest for mortals" (Hymn 40). The same hymn says of Demeter, "You are an only daughter, but you have many children" -- implying that all mortals depend upon her for sustenance. 

We find a hymn to the god Pan, declaring him to be "Present in all growth, begetter of all, many-named divinity, light-bringing lord of the cosmos" (Hymn 11), and indeed the name of this divinity gives us our word for bread (a variation of his name, Pan, in many European languages) as well as our prefix which means "many" and "all."

And we find a hymn to the transcendent goddess Physis, "many-named," who is called "wise in all, giver of all, nurturing queen of all" and to whom the Orphic speaker declares: "you bring life and nourishment to all" (Hymn 10).

Many other examples could be offered, and indeed others have been cited in previous posts such as those linked above, which demonstrate abundantly that the ancient wisdom declares unequivocally that the gifts of the air and the water and the increase of the land and the minerals under the earth belong to the gods, and that they are given to all.

In the Norse tradition, too, we find evidence of an identical understanding. Even though we do not have as many surviving poems and hymns and verses from the cultures of northern Europe as we do for ancient Greece, there are passages in the surviving eddic texts which indicate the same understanding of our dependence upon the gods for the gifts which sustain life and which are given to all the children of the earth. In the Gylfaginning in the Younger Edda, for example, we find the god Freyr described as follows:
Freyr is the the most renowned of the Aesir [note that the text makes clear that Freyr was originally a Vanir god, but that he came over to the Aesir as part of a peace agreement between the Aesir and the Vanir]; he rules over the rain and the shining of the sun, and therewithal the fruit of the earth; and it is good to call on him for fruitful seasons and peace. He governs also the prosperity of men. 38.
Little wonder, then, that the world which was shaped by the explicit rejection of the ancient gods and the ancient wisdom is marked by the rejection of this view of the resources of the sun, air, water and earth as the gifts of the gods to all men and women, and by the incessant and accelerating drive to privatize these gifts (that is to say, to restrict their ownership to some rather than acknowledging them as gifts to all -- to deprive the majority of humanity of their blessing, the words "privatize" and "deprive" being descended from the same root, as pointed out by economist Michael Hudson in his 2017 book J is for Junk Economics, on page 181). 

The colonialism and imperialism practiced by the European cultures where literalist Christianity first overthrew the ancient ways is synonymous with the seizure by the few of the natural resources belonging to the public domain -- a pattern which continues in full force to this very day, but which could already be seen in practice during the middle ages during which Olaf Tryggvason was alive. 

Very often, that imperialism and its attendant seizure of the natural resources (the gifts of the gods) had as its first order of business in previous centuries (and even, in some cases, to this very day) the conversion of the populace to literalistic Christianity, and the rejection of the ancient wisdom they received from their ancestors, and the denigration and criticism of the gods which had previously been understood as the protectors of the people, and as the proper source and origin and owners of all the wealth and yield of the land and the water and the minerals below the surface. 

Those who wish to usurp the treasures belonging to the gods and given to all the people must first, it seems, make the people forget the ancient teachings.

The story of the visit of Thor to the Long Serpent, however, should serve as a reminder that this loss is not irretrievable, and that this amnesia need not be permanent.

More than a hundred years after Olaf's employment of methods which can only be described as murderous and even terroristic (in their employment of terror as a means of intimidating the populace, even among those not directly facing the edge of the sword themselves) in order coerce the people into conversion to Christianity, and to eradicate the faith in the old ways, a clear memory and recognition of what had been rejected by this ill treatment of Thor and his friends was preserved in a manuscript in Iceland -- and in a manuscript attributed to an Icelander who himself had become a Christian monk!

That story includes a recognition that in some important ways, the new life under Olaf was a diminishment of the previous path -- and that the ancient ways were the antidote to the straitened conditions from which Thor had saved the people before, when he slew the giants who were oppressing them.

As well, the story includes the words of Thor which declare that the people continued to call upon him in time of need, right up until the present day, when Olaf began his campaign of persecution of the friends of Thor, a campaign of ill-treatment which, the god declares, "merits vengeance."

The implication of this story is that the aid which was available in the past is still available to men and women in need. As mentioned before, Thor was well known for showing up whenever his name was called in time of great trouble -- an attribute which he shares with other gods described in the world's ancient wisdom, such as the divinities described in the sacred Sanskrit texts of ancient India, such as the Mahabharata.

The gods can show up in an instant, I would argue, because they are always present -- and because each and every man or woman has within an undeniable and inalienable connection to the Infinite.

The rejection of the ancient wisdom given to the world's various cultures, and the teaching that the Biblical texts are somehow qualitatively different (and superior) to the other myths of the world, is itself based upon a grievous misunderstanding (or deliberate obfuscation) of the undeniable fact that all the world's ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories can be shown to be based on the very same worldwide system of celestial metaphor. This same system forms the foundation for all of the stories in the Bible, as well as for the Greek myths and the Norse myths, and the myths and sacred stories of virtually every other human culture as well, no matter how far they seem to be removed by geographical space or historical time.

That worldwide ancient wisdom teaches clearly and unequivocally that the gifts of the sun, air, rain, water, forests, lands, soil, and mineral resources are given to all. They belong to Demeter, and to Plouton, and to Freyr, and to Persephone, and to Pan -- who bestow them as gifts to all, not as privileges for some to seize and to privatize. The seizure and privatization of these gifts of the gods -- which are also termed in more recent language "the Commons" or the "public domain" -- is based upon a disastrous rejection of the ancient wisdom given to all humanity in the most ancient times.

And yet, as the story of Thor and his visit to Olaf Tryggvason makes clear, the gods are willing to drop by to remind us that we have chosen the wrong path, and that we are behaving very badly -- but that they were always ready in time past to help those who sought their aid, and to hint that they may indeed do so again.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

What are we doing down here?

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

My research over the past several years has uncovered overwhelming evidence that virtually all of the world's ancient myths, scriptures, and sacred stories are based on celestial metaphor -- and that they are using a common system of celestial metaphor which makes all of the world's myths related to one another.

It would be a serious mistake, however, to conclude that because the ancient myths -- from virtually every culture -- are based upon celestial metaphor they are somehow "not true" or that they represent "primitive" or "pre-scientific" time-tracking almanacs for keeping track of the calendar or for knowing when to plant and harvest crops or even for giving reverence to the forces of nature upon which all life on earth is dependent (such as the sun and the rain and the seasons and the soil). 

All of those functions (tracking the months and years, and planting and harvest, and giving reverence to the gifts from the sun and the earth and the rain) are of course vitally important -- and on one level the ancient myths and sacred traditions perform all of those functions. But they probably would not need the level of metaphor that they exhibit in order to perform those functions -- and I believe that they operate on many levels at the same time, such that they can do all of those things and much more.

I am convinced that the ancient myths given to humanity remain profoundly important to our lives, even if we have other ways of tracking the months, for example. As I have explained previously in many other places on this blog and in published books and videos, I am convinced that one of the reasons that the ancient myths employ their amazing esoteric celestial metaphor is that they are picturing for us the truths of an Invisible Realm which we cannot see, but which is very real -- a realm of spirit, a realm of the gods -- and that the stars in their motions depict for us the interplay between spirit and matter, soaring across the sky but also plunging down into the sea or into the earth, and toiling for a time through the "lower realm" before they pop back up on the eastern horizon and soar into the infinite heavens once again.

In doing so, they are picturing for us the experience of each and every human soul. Here in this incarnate life, we are toiling through that same "lower realm" of matter -- and yet the myths and scriptures point us towards the truth that the material realm is not all there is, and that it is in fact intertwined with and interpenetrated by the Other Realm at every point.

We ourselves, and everyone we will ever meet, are also intertwined with that Invisible Realm at all times, even as we are also enmeshed in the physical, material, visible realm. And, one of the messages of the world's Star Myths would clearly seem to be that when we disappear from this realm, we enter again that Invisible Realm from whence we came into this incarnate life, as well as the possibility that we have done that before, and that from that Other Realm we may again return to this one, even as the stars can be seen to cycle in between the two domains in their nightly motions and in their annual motions as well.

Thus, I am convinced that the ancient myths and scriptures have crucially important things to teach us about what we are doing here in this incarnate life, and answers to guide us during this journey. I will not presume to speak for them by declaring definitively what those messages might be -- I believe it is far better for each of us to consult the ancient wisdom itself, and that the ancient myths and stories, of any of the world's incredible tapestry of cultures and places, will richly reward any effort made to delve into their timeless wisdom.

Having said that, I can offer a few general concepts that the ancient myths appear to be putting forth, regarding our journey through this simultaneously material and spiritual realm in which we find ourselves. These are just a few thoughts -- the ancient wisdom has much deeper teachings to offer and again should be consulted directly -- and they are obviously subject to the limitations of my own experience and capabilities and thus should not be considered in any way definitive or authoritative, but having spent some years exploring the myths and sacred stories of many different cultures and traditions, a few broad outlines do seem to suggest themselves and might be helpful to consider.

First, it seems to make sense to suggest that, if the ancient myths depict the heavenly cycles and the "plunging down" and "soaring aloft" of the heavenly actors, which point us towards the endless unfolding and refolding of the "myriad things" out of the Infinite Realm and back into it again, over and over, then our sojourn through the material realm, in a physical body, must be for the purpose of interaction with matter itself. In other words, it seems to be that there are lessons to learn or experiences to encounter which cannot be learned in the realm of pure spirit, which involve matter and the interaction with the material world.

There are certainly numerous myths or scriptural passages which seem to support this general conclusion, including the passage in the first epistle of Peter which declares that the mystery of the incarnation is something into which even the angels (beings of spirit and not of matter) desire to look into (1 Peter 1: 12), but also the many myths from cultures around the world involving "twinning," in which a divine twin is paired with a mortal twin (such as in the myth of Polydeuces or Pollux and his mortal brother Castor, in ancient Greece, or in the story of Gilgamesh who is two-thirds divine and who must be given a companion who is wild, a child of nature -- Enkidu -- in order to work together to complete various missions and quests).

Thus, I believe that our engagement with matter in this world is part of the reason why we are here, and that we are participating in a very important mission or purpose when we engage in all kinds of actions or pursuits which involve interaction with the physical material of the universe -- whether performing tasks of engineering such as building a bridge or designing a heart-valve, or pursuing excellence in sports such as making a jump-shot in basketball or a slap-shot in hockey, or practicing disciplines such as Yoga and the martial arts, or playing an instrument or singing or cultivating a garden or harvesting a crop or cleaning a floor or preparing a meal or any of an endless number of examples which could be offered. 

Running through the world's myths and ancient texts, however, we also encounter the idea of the elevation of matter and the material -- Enkidu, for example, must transcend his original condition and become something different because of his interaction with Gilgamesh. The "divine twin" helps to elevate and uplift the "mortal twin" -- just as Castor is rescued from the underworld by his brother Pollux. 

Thus, one of the dominant themes we see running through the myths and scriptures of many cultures is the idea of blessing and not cursing. In many previous explorations of this subject, I have voiced the opinion that the idea of "blessing" involves the elevation of the spirit in oneself and in others and in the world around us, the assertion of the truth that there is more to ourselves and everyone we meet than simply our physical or material form, and the integration of that spiritual nature in order to elevate the physical and transform it into something that is more than material alone -- while "cursing" generally involves the suppression or denial of the spiritual, the attempt to reduce ourselves or others to that which is only material and physical, debasement rather than uplift.

The presence of this theme throughout the world's myths and scriptures is undeniable and abundant. We see it in passages of ancient scriptures which exhort us to bless and "curse not" (such as in Romans 12: 14) but also in stories such as the episode in which Noah becomes drunk and his three sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth react to his situation very differently (see this video discussion, for example), or the story of the "blessing mother and the cursing mother" in the episode known as the Judgment of Solomon (see here and here), or in the Greek myths where the denial of the primacy of the gods and the divine realm always results in disaster.

Additionally, as readers of some of my books such as Star Myths of the World, Volume Two might be aware, some of the ancient epics (such as the Odyssey, one of my personal favorites) appear to demonstrate through the "motion" of the epic through the stars of the heavens this same concept of the importance of the elevation of the spirit as being central to our mission during this "arduous journey" through the lower realm (the realm of Poseidon, for Odysseus in that work -- and we see that Noah and Atrahasis are also require to pass through a similar watery flood).

Thus, as we all probably realize intuitively, while working to gain skill at engineering or martial arts or surfing or rock climbing or agriculture or music or sculpting or are all valuable, we would be very disappointed if we met someone who demonstrated great mastery in any of those but who was constantly "cursing" and treating others with demeaning words and actions. We instinctively expect great accomplishment in these kinds of endeavors should (and usually does) make men and women more likely to be uplifting and elevating in their words and actions. And, even if we ourselves have not reached such levels of accomplishment, we can try to act and speak in ways that are uplifting and positive and accord others the dignity and respect that they deserve, even as we continue to work on our own skillful interaction with the material universe in our own engineering projects, or artistic pursuits, or Yoga practices.

We can conclude from this emphasis on blessing versus cursing that one of most important things we should be doing as we travel through this incarnate life involves acting and speaking in ways that uplift ourselves and others -- as well as opposing oppression and violence and impoverishment and everything which tends to brutalize or debase or demean others or deny the divine spark which is present in every man, woman or child no matter where they are or where they come from.

These general concepts seem to be important aspects of what we are doing "down here," according to my reading of what the world's ancient wisdom is trying to tell us. Perhaps these general thoughts will be helpful to you in your own exploration of the riches of the world's ancient myths and scriptures, and in your own contemplation of our purpose in descending from the spiritual realm into this one -- bridging spirit and matter. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

An ancient inversion and its modern consequences

The heavenly city can be seen in the section of sky shown above. Image:

Virtually every story in the ancient scriptures that we call the Bible can be shown to be based upon celestial metaphor.

The stories do not describe literal, terrestrial history. The events described in these ancient texts take place in the heavens above -- and can be seen there to this very day. 

When we look into the heavens, we are gazing into infinity. Therefore, it is quite appropriate that the world's ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories use the motions of the stars and the heavenly realms to give visual form to truths regarding the Infinite Realm. 

This Infinite Realm -- the Invisible Realm, the Other World, the realm of spirit, the realm of the gods -- is very real. It is in fact the source and fountain of everything we see here in this seemingly material realm which we traverse during this incarnate life. The ancient text of the Tao Te Ching, for instance, describes the unfolding of the "myriad things" (or the "myriad creatures," or "myriad forms") in the section traditionally numbered as the first section: 
The ways that can be walked are not the eternal Way;
The names that can be named are not the eternal name.
The nameless is the origin of the myriad creatures;
The named is the mother of the myriad creatures.
(Translation by Victor H. Mair, page 59).

Similarly, in Black Elk Speaks, the Lakota Holy Man Hehaka Sapa (Black Elk) says that the spirit realm is the source and origin of everything we see in this realm. When Black Elk's father, who was cousins with the father of the famous warrior and leader Tashunke Witko (Crazy Horse), explained the vision of Crazy Horse, he told Black Elk that:
Crazy Horse dreamed and went into the world where there is nothing but the spirits of all things. That is the real world that is behind this one, and everything we see here is something like a shadow from that world.
This is very similar to the worldview found in the Tao Te Ching, in which the myriad forms or myriad things we see in this world arise out of the infinite realm, which cannot even be expressed or contained within a name.

Similarly, in the text known as the epistle of Paul to the Galatians, the author describes Abraham's two sons, one by a bondmaid and one by a freewoman, and then states directly and plainly: "Which things are an allegory" (in other words, declaring that these stories and characters are allegorical -- Galatians 4: 24).

He then goes on to explain that there is a Jerusalem which is above, in Galatians 4: 26, where he writes:
But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
I would argue that this verse is expressing an identical teaching to that proclaimed in the Tao Te Ching and in the sacred traditions preserved in the record of Black Elk's words: we all unfold into this world from the Infinite Realm, which is pictured for us in the infinite heavens, and which is made comprehensible to us in the sacred myths which use the heavens to convey to us the reality of that Infinite Realm (which is invisible and cannot be seen with our physical sight). 

This realm is "the mother of us all." Everything and everyone in this material realm has its origin and genesis in that Infinite Realm.

Those ancient Biblical texts do not have to do with a terrestrial landscape. All of the episodes in those ancient scriptures can be shown to take place in the heavens. They picture for us spiritual truths -- one of the most fundamental of which being the truth that everything and everyone in this material realm is in fact connected to that spiritual realm which is our fount and origin, "the mother of us all." It should be obvious that this truth connects all of us to one another as well, and teaches us that we must recognize that each and every person we meet is a spiritual being and not merely a physical being -- and that to debase or degrade another, and to deny that they are anything more than their physical being, is a lie. 

It is a denial of a fundamental truth -- and when we deny that someone else is connected to and originated in the spiritual realm, we are (consciously or not) denying the truth which  also informs our own connection to that realm, and the truth that we ourselves are more than just our physical being (a truth which we all know deep inside, no matter how much others try to convince us otherwise).

To use those very scriptures to try to falsely excuse or justify the taking away of the innate rights of others is thus a gross inversion of the actual teaching of those ancient texts and their ancient wisdom. To use them to try to falsely excuse or justify the taking away of the innate rights of others based on their ethnicity or outward physical form is obviously an even more heinous inversion of those ancient texts and their ancient wisdom. 

The ancient texts are not describing literal lines of descent from a "bondmaid" and a "freewoman" -- as Galatians 4: 24 tells us quite plainly, "these things are an allegory -- they are allegorical."

Likewise, they are describing a Jerusalem which is above. To use those texts to try to justify the denial of the rights of men and women here in the terrestrial sphere is a misappropriation of those texts and their teachings. Like the texts of the Tao Te Ching, they are describing the endless unfolding of spirit into this realm and its folding back into spirit again from matter, and folding and unfolding again and again in a constant interplay. 

Tragically, the texts of the ancient scriptures we call the Bible were deliberately re-interpreted as being primarily literal during a crucial watershed in history, probably about 1700 years ago -- despite the overwhelming evidence that they are actually esoteric celestial metaphor, as are virtually all of the other ancient myths and sacred traditions around the world. When that happened, their teachings were  inverted -- an inversion which led to centuries of oppression and the violation of the rights of men and women on a horrific scale.

Literalistic mis-interpretation continues to be employed in an attempt to falsely "justify" terrible injustice, right up to this very moment. Until it is realized that what is taking place today is a direct continuation of that deliberate inversion, the roots of the present trauma will not be properly understood.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Astrotheology against Mind Control

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

As discussed in the previous post (and video), I am convinced that overwhelming evidence demonstrates that the world's ancient myths and scriptures were designed to uplift, to empower, and to enlighten -- but that when these same ancient myths and scriptures have been forced into a literalistic interpretation, history shows that their message is often inverted and used to down-press instead of uplift, to enslave instead of to empower, and to benight instead of to enlighten.

Many examples could be offered to prove beyond debate that the literalistic mis-interpretation of the world's precious ancient myths and scriptures has often been used in previous centuries to try to falsely "justify" or "excuse" the oppression and degradation of other men and women through various forms of racism, feudalism, colonialism, and imperialism -- and that literalistic mis-interpretation continues to play that role to this very day.

I personally believe that men and women naturally and innately know that oppression and degradation of other men and women is wrong -- which is why various forms of powerful conditioning, including propaganda and (very often) arguments which attempt to use literalistic mis-interpretations of ancient myths and scriptures, will almost always be employed in support of unjust violation of the rights of other men and women, as a way of "numbing" the conscience and judgement of those who might otherwise voice their outrage at such injustices.

For example, most people are aware of the employment of the concept of "Manifest Destiny," which was used to falsely "excuse" or "justify" actions which actually cannot be justified: the deliberate slaughter of millions of Native American men, women and children, the systematic attempt to eradicate their culture and way of life, the seizure of the land and natural resources given to them by the gods (or, if you prefer, by nature and the universe itself), and their subsequent impoverishment which was (and in many ways continues to be) falsely "excused" or "justified" with arguments based on racism. The phrase "Manifest Destiny" itself clearly indicates that an appeal to a specific interpretation (or, rather, mis-interpretation) of ancient scripture played an absolutely central role in the campaign to keep the populace at large from waking up to the injustices and outright atrocities they were enabling and supporting.

History also shows that the same appeal to "Manifest Destiny" did not end at the coastlines of the North American continent but continued across the Pacific Ocean, and that this same mis-interpretation of ancient scriptures was used to falsely justify similar slaughter, eradication of culture, seizure of land and resources, and impoverishment of survivors in the Hawaiian Islands and the Philippine Islands right into the twentieth century. And similar arguments were used to support the inexcusable institution of slavery and (after the abolition of slavery) of institutionalized forms of racism throughout the nineteenth century and into the twentieth, and right up into the twenty-first.

The role of "religion" in keeping men and women from perceiving and then standing up against the perpetration of such injustices should not be underestimated. I would suggest that the institutions we refer to when we use the term "religion" are almost invariably based upon literalistic mis-interpretation of ancient myths or (more commonly) scriptures, and that a clear distinction should be maintained between these "religions" and the ancient myths or scriptures themselves. To the extent that religion provides a way of falsely "excusing away" or falsely "justifying" the violation of the innate rights of other men and women, it serves as a form of propaganda or mind control, and an inversion of the actual purpose of the world's ancient wisdom, which is properly to uplift, empower and enlighten.

While many may not perceive it to be a religion, or consider it to be as dangerous in this regard as religions which in previous centuries (and up to the present day) have been used to promote or to excuse oppression, feudalism, colonialism, or imperialism, I would also suggest that the modern-day "UFO religion" can in some cases be shown to be built upon a very explicit literalistic interpretation (or, rather, mis-interpretation) of ancient scriptures, and that because of this literalistic mis-interpretation, it too invites the inversion of the message of the world's ancient wisdom. For this reason, the literalistic mis-interpretations of ancient scripture upon which much of the modern-day "UFO religion" has its foundation should be challenged, because they can be shown to be false.

I personally do not deny the possibility of extra-terrestrial life in our universe, or the possibility of extra-terrestrial craft -- although I do not insist on these as certainties, either, or make their existence a point of faith or a test of whether or not I am willing to converse with someone or listen to what he or she has to say. What I am talking about here is not the possibility of extra-terrestrial life but rather the dogmatic insistence that ancient myth describes literal ancient alien visitors to this planet, who created humanity to be their servants -- a storyline which has grown into an entire religion of its own, and one whose teachings are by now fairly familiar to most people who have a television or an internet connection.

The tenets of this "ancient alien" or "ancient astronaut" religion were popularized most widely successfully, perhaps, by the writings of Zecharia Sitchin (1920 - 2010). Although he was not the first to propagate the idea that the ancient myths were describing ancient extraterrestrial visitors, he was certainly the most well-known and most prolific proselytizer of this interpretation of the ancient texts. He based most of his interpretations of the Hebrew Scriptures (aka the "Old" Testament), and of the myths of ancient Mesopotamia (including Sumer, Babylon, and Akkad). 

Here is a sample of the kind of declarative proclamation which characterizes Sitchin's writings about ancient myth, from the prologue to his first book, The 12th Planet (1976):
Using the Old Testament as our anchor, and submitting as evidence nothing but the texts, drawings, and artifacts left us by the ancient peoples of the Near East, we will go beyond the intriguing questions and the provocative suggestions. We will prove that Earth was indeed visited in its past by astronauts from another planet. 
We will identify the planet from which these astronauts came.
We will decipher a sophisticated ancient cosmology that explains better than our present sciences how Earth and other parts of the solar system came into being.
We will lay bare ancient reports of a celestial collision, as a result of which an intruding planet was captured into the Sun's orbit and show that all the ancient religions were based on the knowledge and veneration of this twelfth member of our solar system.
We will prove that this Twelfth Planet was the home planet of the ancient visitors to Earth.
We will submit texts and celestial maps dealing with the space flights to Earth, and will establish when and why they came to Earth.
We will describe them, and show how they looked and dressed and ate, glimpse their craft and weapons, follow their activities upon Earth, their loves and jealousies, achievements and struggles. We will unravel the secret of their "immortality." 
We will trace the dramatic events which led to the "Creation" of Man, and show the advanced methods by which this was accomplished. We will then follow the tangled relationship of Man and his deities, and throw light on the true meaning of the events passed to us in the tales of the Garden of Eden, the Tower of Babel, the Deluge, the rise of civilization, the three branches of Mankind. We will show how Man -- endowed by his makers biologically and materially -- ended up crowding his gods off Earth. 8 - 9.
If you read through this first book and the several more which followed it, you will see that Sitchin interprets the stories in the Bible and the myths of ancient Mesopotamia as literal descriptions of technologically advanced aliens from a "twelfth planet," who arrive on earth using "rocketships" in order to obtain gold which is needed to support the atmosphere on their home planet (an idea perhaps inspired by the "Mars books" of Edgar Rice Burroughs, in which the atmosphere of Barsoom is generated by an atmosphere machine that must be maintained at all costs, or else all life on the planet will perish). These aliens from the twelfth planet mine the gold themselves for a while, but tiring of that, they create mankind using genetic engineering in order to do the work instead.

As we will see, the idea that the various families of humanity were created by alien visitors was put forward long before the publication by Sitchin in 1976 of his first book in the "Earth Chronicles" series -- and has a long history of racist application, going back to the end of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth. Indeed, we can see from just the small portion of Sitchin's writings quoted above that he adopted the literalistic doctrine of the "three branches of Mankind" which was used to falsely "justify" outright racism for centuries against men and women supposedly descended from the family of Ham. For more on the literalistic mis-interpretation of the story of Shem, Ham and Japheth in the book of Genesis, and the way this literalistic mis-interpretation was used to falsely "justify" institutionalized racism for centuries, see this previous post, as well as this more recent post and video.

Elsewhere, Sitchin takes a predictably literalistic interpretation of the story of Cain and Abel and speculates that the "mark of Cain" described in Genesis 4: 15 might apply to Native Americans. On pages 30 and 31 of his book Divine Encounters (1995), Sitchin proposes that the "mark of Cain" was a genetic modification inflicted by the supposed astronaut-visitors of the twelfth planet upon the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, saying:
Our own guess (in The Lost Realms) was that the mark might have been a genetic change, such as depriving the line of Cain of facial hair -- a mark that would be immediately obvious to whoever shall find them. Since this is a mark of recognition of Amerindians, we have suggested that since Cain "went away from the presence of Yahweh and resided in the Land of Nod, east of Eden," his wanderings took him and his offspring farther into Asia and the Far East, in time crossing the Pacific to settle in Mesoamerica.
These sorts of literalistic interpretations of stories such as the Cain and Abel story or the Shem, Ham and Japheth story have been wrongly used for centuries in extremely racist ways -- to argue that those who are supposedly descended from "cursed" characters in a mythical story (such as Cain and Ham) can be justly deprived of their rights -- or even their lives -- by those supposedly descended from different characters.

Just as I provide abundant evidence that the brothers Shem, Ham and Japheth are based upon specific constellations in the night sky (as is their father, Noah), I also provide convincing evidence that Cain and Abel can be shown to be based upon specific constellations as well, in my 2016 book Star Myths of the World, and how to interpret them, Volume Three (Star Myths of the Bible). The story thus cannot be interpreted as describing various groups of humanity who are physically descended from either Cain or Abel (since the constellations themselves are made up of stars which are incredibly far apart from one another in three-dimensional space, and thus no one can be descended from any constellation), but can -- like all the other ancient myths entrusted to our distant ancestors -- be interpreted as teaching profound spiritual truths which apply to each and every one of us, regardless of our physical characteristics.

Indeed, it should be readily apparent to anyone who takes time to think about it that the "ancient aliens" narrative propagated by Sitchin (and turned into its own kind of "religion" in subsequent decades) invites racist interpretations, by implying that certain groups have "more" or "less" of the genetic material of the godlike visitors from the twelfth planet.

Fortunately, the literalistic mis-interpretations of ancient myths and scriptures propagated by Zecharia Sitchin and his followers can be definitively proven to be completely incorrect and untenable.

Dr. Michael Heiser, a scholar of ancient Semitic languages, whose main website is here, has provided extensive evidence demonstrating that Sitchin's supposed translations and interpretations of ancient Mesopotamian texts are not only wrong but in some cases completely fabricated and lacking in any textual support whatsoever (see his numerous arguments here and in his videos and podcast appearances, in which he explains how to use modern text-searching capabilities to peruse the corpus of ancient near-eastern texts for yourself).

In addition to the textual arguments put forward by Dr. Heiser, however, I would argue that we can also see that Sitchin's interpretations are based on literal readings of texts which can be conclusively shown to be describing constellations and heavenly cycles, and not literal figures whose actions took place in terrestrial history.

For example, the story of the creation of Adam and Eve, which Sitchin discusses at great length, arguing that it represents a literal description of creating "test tube babies" (as Sitchin says using those exact words on page 14 of Divine Encounters) can be shown to be describing the constellations Virgo, Bootes, and the serpent of Hydra -- and their expulsion from Eden represents the sinking of these constellations into the west due to the turning of the earth on its axis, which causes the man to return to the "dust" from whence he first came (he came up from the "dust" of the eastern horizon, and he returns to the "dust" of the western horizon after crossing the starry sky).

The "paradise" which they lost was the heavenly realm -- a fact which takes on spiritual significance when we realize that the ancient myths and ancient texts are describing our own condition in this present incarnate life, when our soul is "cast down from Eden" into the lower realm of this material universe, where we are given a physical body made out of the "lower two elements" of earth and water (that is to say, "of clay"), just as the stars each night can be seen to sink down from the heavenly realm of the upper elements and plunge into the lower realm of earth and water when they meet the western horizon. The motion of the stars illustrates profound truths about our human condition, and describes the journey of each and every human soul -- not the literal history of two distant figures who were bio-engineered by alien visitors.

Numerous previous posts and videos have gone into the celestial details of the Adam and Eve story, for example this one. The Biblical texts and their celestial foundations and possible esoteric interpretations are also explored at greater length in the previously-mentioned Star Myths of the Bible.

Many of the ancient Mesopotamian and ancient Egyptian artifacts and artworks that Sitchin uses to support his literalistic narratives can also be shown to be based on constellations, further undermining his arguments. For instance, in Figures 3 and 4 on page 13 of Divine Encounters, Sitchin presents illustrations which he claims represent the ancient alien visitors creating the first Homo sapiens "through genetic engineering" by modifying an existing species of hominids which they found "roaming wildly as, and with, other beasts" (see text on page 11). The upper illustration is from ancient Mesopotamia, and the lower illustration is from ancient Egypt. In each case, the divine figure is depicted in the specific posture of the constellation Virgo, seated as if on a throne (as the outline of the constellation itself suggests), and holding the child upon her lap (in the upper illustration) or creating the figure of the man upon the potter's wheel (in the lower figure, depicting the ancient Egyptian god Khnum).

Below I have added the stars of the region of the constellation Virgo to show the constellation's distinctive "outstretched arm" -- which is marked by the star Vindemiatrix and which was anciently associated with the divine child held by the goddess Isis in ancient Egypt, and by the Virgin Mary in the scriptures of the "New" Testament:

The evidence connecting the constellation Virgo to seated figures in this specific posture and with an outstretched arm is quite abundant across the Star Myths of the world. It is also possible, and perhaps even likely, that the small figure of the human on the potter's wheel (lower image), or the child with the forelock on one side of the head (upper image), corresponds to the constellation Bootes, which can be envisioned as sitting almost upon the "lap" of the constellation Virgo. Note that the long "pipe" protruding from one side of the head of the constellation Bootes could possibly be seen as providing the celestial foundation for the "forelock" of hair depicted on only one side of the head of many of these "divine child" images from ancient mythology (across more than one ancient culture), although again this is not definitive.

What I believe can be definitely established, however, is the celestial correspondence of the figure immediately behind the seated "Virgo" figure in each of the illustrations selected by Sitchin -- a branching tree in the upper image (from ancient Mesopotamia) and the god Thoth with his stylus in the lower image (from ancient Egypt). Both of these figures correspond to the same constellation -- one which is sometimes envisioned as a branching tree, and other times as an anthropomorphic figure writing with a writing instrument (this specific constellation is discussed at length in Star Myths of the Bible, particularly in the chapters discussing the Biblical character of David, whose name corresponds to the name of the Egyptian god Thoth or Dhwty). The constellation in question is not far from Virgo or Bootes in the night sky -- and the scenes above (one from ancient Mesopotamia and one from ancient Egypt) can thus be conclusively understood to be depictions of events which are seen in the heavens, using celestial allegory, and not literal events from terrestrial history (as Sitchin would have us believe).

Many more such examples could be offered in order to show the celestial allegory at the foundation of myths which Sitchin argues represent literal descriptions of actual historical events. For example, he spends some time discussing the events in the Gilgamesh epic (or Gilgamesh cycle), arguing for literal interpretations of everything in the story (including "skyrockets" taking off from Uruk, and amorous encounters with goddesses -- who of course are actually alien beings -- in spaceships).

Once again, the entire Gilgamesh cycle can be shown to be based upon celestial metaphor, as I discuss in both Star Myths of the World, Volume One and even to some extent in my first book, The Mathisen Corollary. The pattern of the semi-divine Gilgamesh (whose mother is immortal) mourning over the death of Enkidu can be conclusively demonstrated to match the same pattern found in ancient Greek myth when the semi-divine Achilles (whose mother is also immortal) mourns the death of Patroclus -- which is also repeated in the so-called "New" Testament when Jesus mourns the death of Lazarus (see John chapters 11 and 12).

The celestial and esoteric importance of the Achilles-Patroclus, and Jesus-Lazarus, patterns are discussed in Star Myths of the World, Volume Two (which focuses almost exclusively on the mythology of ancient Greece) and in Star Myths of the World, Volume Three (Star Myths of the Bible).

See also this previous post and video about the famous Vision of Ezekiel, interpreted by Sitchin (and others before him) as a literal Biblical description of an encounter with a UFO, but which can be shown to be based upon a detailed description of the motions of the heavens and the heavenly cycles.

Literalistic mis-interpretation of ancient myth has historically been used as a form of mind control, as discussed earlier, in order to invert the uplifting message of the ancient wisdom, and to further the oppression and subjugation of some men and women by others (usually the oppression of the many by the very few). Because of this undeniable historical fact, I believe we should be very alert to the potential for misuse created by the relatively new literalistic misinterpretation of ancient myth and scripture to propagate a kind of "ancient aliens" religion.

During the first half of the year 1992, the extraordinarily insightful researcher and radio host Dave Emory (website here, and also mentioned in this previous post) delivered a remarkable lecture on the subject of UFO mania, and its potential for misuse and exploitation -- a lecture which I believe to be just as important, and just as interesting, today as when it was first given, so many years ago now. The entire lecture, entitled "The Political Implications of the UFO Phenomenon and the 'ET' Myth," is available in its entirety online, under the "Lectures" section of Dave Emory's enormous body of archived material.  You can download each of the audio files, just like a podcast, by "right-clicking" (or "control-clicking") on the links on that page for Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the lecture (as well as Part 4, which is Q&A).

During that lecture, among other dangers, Dave Emory highlights the history of connections between theories that humanity was "engineered" by aliens and odious racist theories going back to the first decades of the twentieth century (and even perhaps before that). He also highlights the potential for misuse of the widespread belief in the UFO "religion" for purposes of mind control and even the potential for the simulation of a return of the ancient alien gods using modern technologies such as projections and holograms and exotic (albeit human) craft.

These warnings should be taken extremely seriously, especially in light of the fact that other forms of mind control and deception, which may have worked in previous centuries and even in previous decades, are now having less impact due to the large numbers of men and women who in recent years have started waking up to the use of false flags and other deceptive practices.

Among those who are in fact waking up to such criminal deceptions, talking about false flags (such as the Gulf of Tonkin incident, or the USS Maine incident, or even the horrific mass-murders of September 11, 2001) is no longer taboo -- at least in some circles, if not in others. However, even among those circles where such talk is not taboo, questioning of the "UFO religion" (the "ancient alien" religion) would be a pretty sensitive and divisive subject. Therefore, it is safe to say that this widely-accepted narrative, based (as we have seen) upon an admittedly literalistic interpretation of the ancient scriptures, can still be a very potent tool (potentially) for mind control and for deception.

I am convinced that, once you begin to understand the celestial codes which the ancient myths (all around the world) are using, you will not be easily fooled by arguments such as the arguments of Sitchin in his books. It will be very obvious that many of the episodes that he is telling us represent literal visits by aliens are actually Star Myths which can be shown to be based on the motions of the celestial actors of the stars and constellations -- and which are describing truths pertaining to the Invisible Realm, the realm of the gods.

Ultimately, the gods are not technologically-advanced human-like astronauts visiting our planet using "skyrockets" from another planet in our solar system: they represent something much more incredible, and much more important to our lives here and now. And this fact points to perhaps the worst aspect of literalistic interpretations, including the literalistic interpretations of the "ancient astronaut" mis-reading of the ancient myths and scriptures: they can keep us from connecting with the Other World which is not found only in the infinite realm of the heavens above, but which is immediately accessible to us at all times, and which some would rather we learn nothing about at all.

But if we learn to listen to the ancient myths, in the language that they are actually speaking, they will tell us everything we need to know about it.