Friday, March 30, 2018

Parallels between the Odyssey and the Gospels

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

The first full moon following the March equinox is approaching. There will be a full moon on March 31 -- and since the previous full moon was on March 1, the full moon on March 31 will be the first full moon following this year's March equinox, which took place on March 20.

This combination of the heavenly cycles of the earth's annual cycle around the sun and the moon's monthly cycle around the earth signals the observance of Passover and Easter in the traditions of Judaism and Christianity (the calculations of the dates of Passover and Easter are rather complex, but the full moon and the March equinox are central factors in the calculations).

In the celestial "code" which underlies the ancient myths of the world, the point of spring equinox represents the passage through death and into life, as explained by Alvin Boyd Kuhn in an extended discussion found in his essay Easter: the Birthday of the Gods, quoted at length in this previous post (just beneath the zodiac wheel diagram in the middle of that blog post).

Similarly, the ancient sacred traditions found in cultures around the world used the cycle of the moon to figure the same spiritual journey undergone by each human soul, down through the realm of death (which Alvin Boyd Kuhn explains is a reference to this incarnate life) and then into light and life again -- and in his 1887 lecture entitled Luniolatry; Ancient and Modern, Gerald Massey argues that the descent into darkness of the waning moon represents death, and the rebirth at new moon and subsequent waxing towards full represents life, which would argue that the full moon following the point of spring equinox would be associated with fullness of life (indicated by the full moon) after crossing through the "valley of death" (indicated by the achievement of the point of spring equinox, following the toiling passage through the "lower realms" of the winter months, when darkness dominates, which precede that point of spring equinox).

Thus, the concepts which are celebrated at Passover and at Easter represent profound and important truths, with vital meaning to each and every man and woman, because these concepts have to do with the journey of each and every human soul, passing through this "lower realm" as if a prisoner in the house of bondage, but toiling through this lower passage with the ultimate purpose of transcending and elevating the spirit. In very much the same way, the heavenly cycles show us the stars sinking down into the western horizon only to rise back up again at the eastern horizon, or the sun's path sinking downwards throughout the year towards the winter solstice, only to turn back around and cross back up at the spring equinox, or the moon's progress throughout the month ebbing into darkness, only to be renewed and grow into greater and greater light. 

And while the Passover and Easter stories provide us with beautiful illustrations of these truths, truths which are imminently applicable to our lives in ways which are both practical and profound, they are by no means the only such illustrations of the successful passage through the lower realm and the triumph over the power of death to be found in the world's varied myths and sacred stories. There are countless others, from cultures found on literally every inhabited continent of our planet, and all the islands as well. And, not only are all these myths related thematically, but they can be conclusively shown to be based upon the very same system of celestial metaphor which underlies the stories in the scriptures of the so-called "Old" and "New" Testaments of the Bible which form the basis for the Passover and Easter traditions as well.

One particularly compelling example of a myth from a different culture which can be shown to have powerful celestial correspondences to stories found in the Biblical scripture is the myth of Odysseus, presented in memorable form in the text of the Odyssey, the date of composition of which is still hotly debated by scholars, but which scholar Robert Fagles, author of superlative modern translations of both the Iliad and the Odyssey, puts somewhere around 725 BC to 675 BC for the Iliad (perhaps slightly later for the Odyssey), but based upon a long tradition of oral poetry stretching back many centuries before that (see extended discussion in Fagles' introduction to the Odyssey, and particularly the assertions on pages 18 and 19 of that introduction).

In other words, according to the consensus of many scholars, and based upon an abundance of cultural, archaeological (including Greek pottery dating back to nearly 700 BC showing recognizable scenes from both the Iliad and the Odyssey), and textual evidence, the Odyssey was written down several hundred years before the canonical gospels, and is probably based on oral traditions stretching back several additional centuries into the past before it was written down -- and yet there are numerous striking parallels between the Odyssey and specific episodes in the gospel accounts, parallels which can be shown to be based on this common system of celestial metaphor which informs the sacred stories and myths from around the world.

For example, many of us who grew up in western cultures with centuries of Christian influence are aware that there is an important "foot-washing scene" in the ancient accounts of the Last Supper (it is actually found only in the gospel according to John, in John chapter 13, although there are episodes which contain strong parallels to the foot-washing scene found in Matthew chapter 26, Mark chapter 14, and Luke chapter 7). But how many of those who know of the foot-washing scene in the description of the Last Supper are aware that there is also a vitally-important "foot-washing scene" in the Odyssey as well, in Book 19 of the Odyssey, when Eurycleia, who once nursed and cared for Odysseus as an infant, when she herself was young and beautiful, and who is now very old, washes the feet of the disguised and travel-weary Odysseus, and instantly recognizes the returning king by the distinctive scar in his thigh.

Both of these foot-washing scenes can be shown to be based on the constellation Aquarius (as well as surrounding constellations which provide other details found in the respective texts), as I explain in Star Myths of the World, Volume Two (focusing on the Greek Myths) on pages 621 - 626 and in Star Myths of the World, Volume Three (Star Myths of the Bible) on pages 674 - 677. Additionally, paintings of the Last Supper down through the centuries invariably portray Jesus in a posture which corresponds to the outline of the constellation Aquarius itself:

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

The above depiction of the foot-washing episode from John 21 was painted in the early 1700s, but many others could be provided to demonstrate that artistic conventions consistently portray Jesus in this scene as having unmistakable characteristics of the constellation Aquarius (shown above the painting).

Another scene which provides strong parallels between the Odyssey and the gospel accounts is the episode early in the adventures of Odysseus, in Book 5, when Odysseus is escaping from the island of Ogygia upon a home-made raft, and Poseidon sends a tremendous storm over the seas. Odysseus is visited by a goddess who descends in the form of a bird, and directs him to remove all his clothing and instead tie a sash, which she provides him, around his waist before abandoning his raft and plunging into the water. 

As I argue in the above-linked books, as well as in this previous post from 2016, this scene from the beginning of the adventures of Odysseus contains very strong parallels to the scene at the beginning of the ministry of Jesus, in which he goes down into the river Jordan to be baptized by John the Baptist, and the Holy Spirit is described descending upon him in the form of a dove (see for example Matthew 3: 16). And note that in depictions of this baptism scene throughout the centuries, Jesus is invariably depicted as wearing only a sash of linen about his waist.

Perhaps the clearest and most incontestable parallel between the accounts of the life of Jesus contained in the canonical gospels and the text of the adventures of Odysseus from ancient Greece many centuries earlier is the passage in Book 11 of the Odyssey, in which Odysseus goes down to the land of the dead and consults with the shade of Tiresias. Tiresias gives Odysseus precise directions for appeasing Poseidon and the other deathless gods, and central among his directives to Odysseus is the command for the long-suffering traveler, after he finally returns home, to take his own oar and carry it on his shoulder inland until he reaches a people who know nothing of the sea, and who do not even season their food with salt, and who will ask Odysseus about the "fan to winnow grain" across his shoulder (not knowing that it is an oar for a seafaring ship). 

As I have explored in numerous previous posts (such as this one) as well as in a video entitled "All the World's Myths are Written in the Stars," this important passage from the Odyssey has strong echoes in the gospel texts, when John the Baptist declares that "he that cometh after me is mightier than I," and is one "whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner" (Matthew 3: 11 - 12). The text of this passage clearly indicates that John in the episode is describing a winnowing fan, in a parallel to the directives of Tiresias to Odysseus in the Odyssey.

As explained in previous posts and in the video linked above, the similarities between these descriptions in the Odyssey and in the gospels can be understood when we realize that both are describing celestial figures and using metaphorical language to do so -- in this case, the constellation Orion, which does appear to be carrying a "winnowing fan" in the upraised arm of the constellation.

And these are just a few of the parallels between the Odyssey and the New Testament gospels. Many more parallels could also be offered, but the above parallels should be sufficient to establish the undeniable correspondences between the narratives. Indeed, there is even a stone which is too heavy for Odysseus and his men to move and which traps them inside a cave which threatens to become their tomb, before Odysseus devises an ingenious plan to make good his escape, which has clear parallels to yet another passage in the gospels, and one which I have shown to be based upon the very same constellations which provide the basis for the corresponding episode in the Odyssey.

Does all of this prove that the scriptures of the Bible are in some way "not true"? My answer to that question is: "It does not prove them to be 'not true' at all" -- although I would argue that these stories (like all the other myths of the world) are not based on literal or historical events. However, I absolutely believe the world's myths are intended to convey to us profound truths -- and to do so using powerful and spiritually eye-opening stories, characters, and episodes, all of them built upon a system of celestial metaphor which is rich and multi-layered in its meaning, and which can continue to reveal to us new insights every time we come back to them, year after year throughout our lives.

Like the stories which inform the observance of Passover and Easter, one theme of the Odyssey is the return from the dead, the escape from the land of bondage, the successful crossing of this "lower realm" -- which is figuratively the realm of water, one of the two "lower elements" and one of the elements out of which our bodies are made (we can be said to be traveling through this incarnate realm in a body which itself is mostly made of water, and hence like Odysseus we ourselves are "crossing the sea" at all times in this incarnate life).

The strong parallels between the Odyssey and the gospel stories should not lead us to denigrate the gospel stories -- quite the contrary, these parallels should cause us to evaluate them in an entirely new light, and realize that they have so much to show us, which we can perhaps best appreciate once we begin to understand the language that they are actually speaking.

However, the clear evidence that the Biblical texts are in no way "exclusively true" but rather that they are closely related to all the world's other Star Myths, preserved in different forms among all the different cultures of our planet, should conclusively demonstrate that there is no room for denigrating the myths or sacred traditions belonging to those other cultures, because they all appear to be closely related and built upon a common, worldwide system. I am convinced that all of these ancient myths, using this ancient system, are pointing us towards the same truths about the real nature of this simultaneously material-and-spiritual cosmos in which we find ourselves during this incarnate life -- the same truths about the existence of and importance of an Invisible Realm -- the same truths about ways we can and should be connecting with and harmonizing with that Invisible Realm and with our own Higher Self during this "lower passage" through this life.

I hope that you will have time to contemplate the powerful message embodied in the stories connected to this special point in the great heavenly cycles, when the earth has crossed through the point of the March equinox and light once again triumphs over darkness each day (in the northern hemisphere, where days are now longer than nights, and growing longer each day), and when the moon has reached its greatest fullness and resplendence -- and to recognize and appreciate the divine spark in each and every man, woman and child you see around you, and to recognize and appreciate it in yourself as well.

Ultimately, as Alvin Boyd Kuhn also said in a different lecture, these stories are not about ancient kings or queens or heroes -- they are about each and every human soul. They are about you.


For more on this subject, see also:


Sunday, March 25, 2018

Arachne and the world-wide web

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

In the world's ancient wisdom, preserved in the various cultures around our planet like a precious inheritance in the form of myths, scriptures and sacred stories handed down from a past so distant that its details have been forgotten, the various cultural "technologies" such as agriculture, music, medicine, building, weaving and the rest are explicitly taught to come from the gods, and to be given as gifts by specific deities.

Additionally, the ancient myths teach quite clearly that when mortals fail to acknowledge the gods who gave these gifts to humanity in the first place, disaster always ensues. That disaster usually involves the objectification and dehumanization of the one who attempts to invert the proper order of the universe by using the technology given by the gods in a way which attempts to depose or embarrass the god or goddess who presides over that technology, thus attempting to subvert the very god or goddess who gave that gift in order to elevate humanity. 

For example, readers of the blog may recall previous posts which investigated the notoriously bad judgment of King Midas in ancient Greek myth, who deigned to judge the music produced by a satyr to be superior to that of the god Apollo himself, who is the very god of music. For his folly, Midas was given ass's ears by the god. The same Midas is also famous for being given one request by the god Dionysus, and for asking to have everything he touched become gold -- a request he soon came to regret, when he realized he would be unable to eat or drink anything, and when he turned his own daughter into a golden statue.

An even more famous example, perhaps, is the well-known story of Arachne, whose skill at the art of weaving was famous throughout the land of Lydia, and whose wondrous grace and artistic genius (Ovid tells us) caused even the nymphs to leave their accustomed haunts in order to come watch Arachne working. However, the ancient myths record that her skill, beauty and artistic talent were not accompanied by appropriate gratitude to and acknowledgement of the gods as the source of her gifts, and that in particular she was willing to accept praise which placed her above the very goddess Athena who presides over skill at weaving and who gives that gift to mortals.

Indeed, Ovid emphasizes Arachne's failure to acknowledge the source of her gift by saying that anyone would have known by observing Arachne's skill that only Pallas Athena could have been her teacher, and yet:
Nevertheless, as though offended by
the very thought, the girl denied it, saying,
"Let her compete with me, and if she wins
I'll pay whatever penalty she sets!" Ovid Metamorphoses Book 6, lines 34-47, Charles Martin trans.
This arrogant boast brings the goddess herself to visit the girl (in disguise) to see if she can change Arachne's inappropriate failure to acknowledge the goddess, saying to her:
"Heed my advice: seek all the fame you wish
as the best of mortal weavers, but admit
the goddess as your superior in skill;
and beg her to pardon you for your presumption
in an appropriately humble manner --
forgiveness will be given, if you ask it." 6. 43 - 48.
Predictably, however, Arachne scorns this wise advice and insults the one who offers it, and concludes by asking why the goddess won't come challenge her in person -- at which Athena reveals herself in her glory. At this, all the nymphs and mortals present bow down before the goddess, but Arachne persists in her foolish desire to challenge Athena to a contest of artistic skill. 

Ovid's description of the artwork created by the two contestants in this match of weaving underscores the theme: Athena depicts the episode in which she bestowed the gift of the olive tree upon the city of Athens, a gift of such inestimable value to humanity that with it Athena won the city as her own and became its benefactor. In addition to this central scene, Ovid tells us, the goddess adds in each of the four corners of her tapestry, the goddess weaves a scene illustrating the tragic results of others who audaciously attempted to invert the natural order by flaunting the will of the immortal gods: in one corner, two Thracians who lost their humanity and were turned into a pair of mountains because (Ovid tells us) "they assumed the names of Jove and Juno for their own" (6. 125 - 126); in another, a queen who was transformed into a crane and then made war upon her own people (6. 130 - 131); in another, Antigone daughter of Laomedon and sister of Priam of Troy, who boasted that her hair was more beautiful than that of the goddess Hera herself, and who was changed by Hera into a stork, "and now applauds herself with clacking beak" (6. 137); and finally a scene in which Cinyras of Cyprus is shown weeping over the steps of a temple, into which his daughters have been transformed, in an otherwise-unknown mythical episode (but one which fills the same pattern of "objectification" and loss of humanity when the primacy of the gods is questioned or denied)(6. 138 - 141).

In contrast, Ovid describes Arachne's choice of subject for her tapestry as being episodes embarrassing  or humiliating to the glory of the gods and goddesses, often involving illicit sexual liaisons in which they took on various forms or disguises. For this arrogance and refusal to turn from her mad desire to "drag down" that which should be elevated, Arachne herself loses her humanity and is transformed into a spider, endlessly spinning and weaving as she used to do, but reduced to the form of a tiny arachnid for all time.

The warnings in the ancient myths about the loss of humanity through the failure to acknowledge the divine realm and the gifts bestowed by the gods upon mankind apply equally well to the technologies of today, even the most "cutting-edge" of technology. If the ancient myths teach the existence of an Invisible Realm, and advise us to acknowledge its importance and even the fact that it is the actual source and fount of everything we see in the visible and material realm, as well as the source of all gifts and technologies given to humanity for our elevation (which I am convinced is exactly what they are teaching us), then we would seem to be justified in concluding that we should use those gifts and technologies in the service of uplifting ourselves and others, rather than for the purpose of debasing, dehumanizing, and brutalizing (or animalizing) men and women.

The lesson of the myth of Arachne is, appropriately enough, particularly applicable to the technology of the internet and the world-wide web, which can be and has been used in many cases in ways which elevate and uplift and which unmask lies and point towards suppressed truths -- and yet which can also be used for intrusive surveillance, for manipulation of social and political processes, and for attempts to reduce men and women to mere objects or to something less than human by those wanting to usurp the roles of the gods, thus ignoring or rejecting the teachings of the ancient wisdom preserved in the myths.

Indeed, although the internet and the world-wide web have undoubtedly been portrayed (and widely perceived) as a technology of liberation and elevation and empowerment, journalist and author Yasha Levine has uncovered the important forgotten history of the origins of this technology as having been designed from its very outset for the purpose of surveillance and the suppression of popular movements which could challenge the dominant power structures, and for the imposition of control which almost by definition would reduce or diminish the human agency of men and women instead of enlarging and uplifting them.

Yasha Levine's book Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet (2018), reveals that "the Internet we use today" was designed to be a "hybrid private-public system of surveillance and control" with roots in the counterinsurgency waged abroad by the military and intelligence agencies of the united states in Vietnam and many other countries around the world during the 1960s and in the surveillance and subversion of popular movements including the civil rights movement and the antiwar movement at home. In fact, a new agency of the Pentagon, the Advanced Research Projects Agency or ARPA, created in the late 1950s in response to Sputnik, was expressly tasked with developing new technologies which could be used to counter perceived threats both at home and abroad.

It was ARPA which came up with the technology to successfully link computers together in a network, dubbed the ARPANET, which became the Internet which was later privatized and which now plays such a central role in virtually every aspect of modern life.

In the interview below, from Media Roots Radio, author Yasha Levine explains that the popularly understood history of modern technology is basically an anodized fable which strips away and buries the real history -- and that the real history once understood will open a very different perspective on the internet's original and ongoing purpose:

During that conversation (beginning at about 0:19:43), Yasha describes attempts during the Vietnam war to "bug the battlefield" by blanketing the jungle with sensors dropped from aircraft, and then to monitor those sensors remotely and call in airstrikes when the data suggested large numbers of enemy troops or vehicles might be moving through a particular area. Later, beginning at around 0:25:50, Yasha says, "We live in a reality where that's actually true -- the battlefield has been bugged, and the battlefield is not just a military battlefield but it's, like, all society."

Unlike the early days of the war in Vietnam, when the united states government dropped sensors out of aircraft, today men and women carry around their own sensors, their own "bugs," with them at all times, and helpfully add enormous amounts of information about themselves into various corporate databases which can then use that data to build profiles on individual citizens with levels of detail that would have been astonishing to early military and intelligence planners in the 1960s. Just as in the early days of "bugging the battlefield," those with access to all of this data can monitor what is going on and then take action and exert influence in an attempt to shape the desired outcome.

Today, all of society has been blanketed with sensors that can recognize faces, read license plates,   record the contents of conversations, gather data on the movement of smartphones, make deductions based on the contents of email, or based on the titles of books purchased online, or based on web pages visited while browsing, and on a host of other activities which all leave traces of data which can be gathered and analyzed. And, the number of sensors is about to increase exponentially, as everything from televisions to refrigerators to washing machines to toothbrushes to automobiles to articles of clothing are embedded with antennas and transceivers and connected to the internet over the next several years to usher in the much-anticipated "Internet of Things."

And, as Yasha Levine explains in his book, once we understand the hidden history of the internet and related technologies, it is not unreasonable to deduce that technologies developed for military purposes in other countries would be employed against the civilian populace (even though this is expressly unconstitutional and illegal). In fact, as he explains on page 8 and goes on to demonstrate using abundant historical evidence later in the book:
In 1972, almost as soon as the ARPANET was rolled out on a national level, the network was used to help the CIA, the NSA, and the US Army spy on tens of thousands of antiwar and civil rights activists. It was a big scandal at the time, and the ARPANET's role in it was discussed at length on American television, including NBC Evening News.
One of the ways this military technology can be employed domestically is to try to shape the outcomes of popular elections. Although the above-linked interview was recorded nearly a month ago, just last week stunning new evidence of the ways in which military-style psychological warfare techniques are now being deployed to influence popular opinion at home, especially in order to influence voting in  democratic elections, broke regarding the private firm Cambridge Analytica and data gathered on Facebook. See for example this article in the New York Times, this interview with an alleged "whistleblower" from Cambridge Analytica, and this video showing purported undercover footage of executives from Cambridge Analytica explaining how they mine data in order to create videos specifically designed to manipulate people's fears and then serve those videos to those most likely to be emotionally moved by the fears highlighted in those videos.

Setting aside the fact that the timing of this sudden exposure of Cambridge Analytica should probably itself raise suspicions, it should be fairly clear from the above videos that the technologies and tactics described are designed to try to play upon base fears, reducing men and women to the level of reacting rather than reasoning, like animals or even like musical instruments which can be "played" rather than acknowledging that each and every man and woman is much more than their external physical form and their more animalistic fears and emotional drives, and that each man or woman contains a divine spark, an internal connection to the infinite, which makes them intrinsically worthy of being treated with dignity and respect.

Interestingly enough, even though the above-linked interview with Yasha Levine was recorded well before the startling evidence regarding Cambridge Analytica surfaced last weekend, his interview (and his book) discuss these types of applications of military technology to the domestic political landscape (because the evidence shows that this kind of anti-democratic behavior has obviously been going on for quite some time).

Beginning at about 0:23:42 in the above interview, Yasha says:
The technology that was developed in Vietnam with input from ARPA -- you can draw a straight line from that cybernetic system that "bugged the battlefield" to data systems that are powering elections today.
It is also extremely revealing to note that in the late 1960s, when the earliest versions of the ARPANET were being tested by linking computers located on the university campuses of MIT, Harvard, Stanford, University of Utah, and several UCs (including UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, and UCLA), people back then immediately perceived the potentially anti-democratic applications of such technologies and students organized protests against this forerunner of the internet, calling it "computerized people-manipulation" and a "blatant prostitution of social science for the aims of the war machine" (Surveillance Valley, 63).  

Strangely enough, a joint project run by ARPA in the year 1969, in conjunction with Harvard and MIT, which intended to gather and analyze data from opinion surveys, welfare roles, criminal records, financial transactions, and other similar sources and then run simulations to predict human behavior was dubbed "the Cambridge Project" (63). Is it only a coincidence that the modern company recently in the news for using Facebook data to profile voters and send targeted propaganda attempting to exploit fears and prejudices would share a name with this pioneering predictive project funded by the Department of Defense?

The concerns voiced by student protestors in 1969 regarding Project Cambridge (also known as "Project CAM") are worthy of careful consideration today, nearly 50 years later. You can read some of them on pages 62 through 64 in Surveillance Valley, and you can hear Yasha Levine reading from those pages in a recent episode of Town Hall Seattle published on February 13, 2018, here (and in the embedded player below):

Some of the concerns voiced by those students of MIT and Harvard back in the fall of 1969 included:
The whole computer set-up and the ARPA computer network will enable the government, for the first time, to consult relevant survey data rapidly enough to be used in policy decisions. The net result of this will be to make Washington's international policeman more effective in suppressing popular movements around the world. The so-called basic research to be supported by Project CAM will deal with questions like why do peasant movements or student groups become revolutionary. The results of this research will similarly be used to suppress progressive movements. 64.
Until the military-social complex is eliminated, social scientists will aid the enslavement, rather than the liberation, of mankind. 63.
Longtime anti-fascist researcher and broadcaster Dave Emory (mentioned in this previous post) has been highlighting the potential for the anti-democratic abuse of social media tools such as Facebook, the potential for modern networking technology to be employed as a tool of repression and tyranny, and the evidence the Cambridge Analytica in particular might be an example of the employment of military psychological warfare technologies against domestic populations since well before the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke in the "mainstream news" last week. 

For example, he published an in-depth discussion of problematic aspects of Cambridge Analytica in a program entitled "Summoning the Demon: Technocratic Fascism and Artificial Intelligence" dated August 8th, 2017 (available for listening or download here). And he has been warning about the potential negative aspects of Facebook since at least 2010, when he broadcast a two-part program entitled "In Your Facebook: A Virtual Panopticon?" (available for listening or downloading here: part one and part two).

More recently, Dave Emory highlighted an article published in the New York Times in February of this year (2018) entitled "Track hands of workers? Amazon has patents for it," written by Ceylan Yeginsu. The article describes a patent filed by Amazon for a wristband device which could (in the words of the article's author) "emit ultrasonic sound pulses and radio transmissions to track where an employee's hands were in relation to inventory bins, and provide 'haptic feedback' to steer the worker toward the correct bin." You can see more detail of the original patents, filed in 2016 and granted  by the patent office on January 30 of 2018, here.

The February New York Times article linked above notes: "Critics say such wristbands raise concerns about privacy and would add a new layer of surveillance to the workplace, and that the use of the devices could result in employees being treated more like robots than human beings." 

It also cites a former warehouse worker for the company saying he would not be surprised at such treatment, because: "After a year on the floor, I felt like I had become a version of the robots I was working with."

And note that these concerns are being raised over a patent for a proposed device that "only" tracks the location of your hands: new "smart glasses" are now being designed by other companies which could conceivably be used to give visual cues similar to the haptic (or tactile) clues described in the wristband patent -- and which could conceivably track where you are looking throughout the workday, at every single moment of the day.

Although companies involved in developing such technologies (including Amazon) deny that they would be used in an oppressive way, but only in a helpful way, it does not take much consideration to see that such technologies could (theoretically) be used in very dehumanizing ways, to give stimulation and feedback and correction in much the same way that a shock collar can be used to give stimulation and feedback and correction to a dog, and to "program" desired behavior and then monitor compliance in a way that makes a man or woman feel more like a robot than a human being (as the actual worker quoted in the story above in fact said that he felt before he quit).

This unpleasant possibility thus brings us back full circle to the topic discussed at the beginning of this post -- the warning from the world's ancient wisdom of the potential for being reduced to something less than human if we ignore the will of the gods themselves, who are in fact depicted in the myths as the ultimate source of the gifts of technology. When mortals refuse to acknowledge the primacy of the divine realm, then they are denying their connection to and dependence upon that divine source and fountain of all gifts and blessings, and risk cutting themselves off from that realm -- and in doing so, risk being reduced to something less than human, merely animal, or even merely object. 

When we reject the blessed gods (whose gifts are in fact designed for the blessing of mankind), and insist on declaring ourselves their equals or even their superiors (an error we see repeated over and over in the ancient myths), then we are in jeopardy of incurring their wrath, and at the same time of reducing ourselves and others to something debased and dehumanized. 

It should be fairly self-evident that modern neoliberal society is very much characterized by the rejection of the dignity and divine spark present in every single mortal man and woman, by many forces which seek to treat men and women like objects, datasets, or instruments to be played like a piano (or like a slot machine or a computer terminal), and by those who believe that technology gives them the right and the ability to act like the gods themselves, watching the every move of other men and women and seeking to manipulate and control them. In doing so, they are in danger of repeating the error of Arachne, who failed to acknowledge that the "technology" of weaving came from the goddess Athena herself, and that Arachne's own talent at that art could never make Arachne superior to the goddess who gave Arachne that talent in the first place.

Ovid described Athena during the weaving contest as still laboring (even after the mortal woman's insults and arrogance) to correct Arachne's self-destructive course. The subjects Athena selected for her own tapestry were intended as lessons to the headstrong mortal: a central scene showing Athena's gift of the blessed olive tree (and its fruit and oil) to humanity, showing that the gifts of the gods are indeed intended for our benefit and blessing, as well as surrounding scenes in each corner of the tapestry showing the dehumanizing and objectifying consequences of refusing to acknowledge the will of the gods and instead trying to usurp the place of the gods themselves.

We can imagine our modern society in the place of Arachne, having insulted and rejected (over and over) the will of the gods and the ancient wisdom given to humanity -- and marked by many instances of claiming to be equal to or above the gods themselves -- and yet still in the position to "beg their pardon for our presumption in an appropriately humble manner" (in the words of the goddess Athena in the passage from Ovid cited above). As the goddess says, "forgiveness will be given, if you ask it."

It is also important to point out that in none of the ancient myths are the technologies or arts themselves described as being intrinsically bad or evil. On the contrary, the arts of music, or weaving, or bringing forth crops from the soil of the earth are all described explicitly as the gifts of the divine gods. Athena even tells Arachne that Arachne is well advised to revel in her skill, and to seek recognition as the greatest of all mortal weavers. Being the best weaver that Arachne can possibly be is not at all something to be shunned, but rather a worthy goal, according to the goddess. It is only when Arachne forgets or denies or devalues the proper order of the universe, and the primacy of the divine source of that gift, that Arachne makes a fatal mistake.

Similarly, we can conclude from this myth (as well as from other stories found in other myths from ancient Greece and from around the globe) that technology itself is not intrinsically bad -- even including computer networking and sensor technology and many of the other amazing technological developments and innovations which men and women have brought out of the realm of the possible into the realm of the actual in the past several decades. But when we (or others) use that technology in ways that subvert the will of the gods, by debasing or devaluing or denying the divine spark in ourselves or others, and by using that technology to treat them (or get them to treat themselves) like animals, objects, robots, or instruments, then we (like Arachne) are using a good technology in a bad and self-destructive manner -- and we can expect to reap extremely unpleasant consequences.

Recent stories such as those cited above show that we have in fact already traveled very far down the road in the wrong direction. The potential for ubiquitous, networked, wireless devices and sensors to be used in ways which demean, oppress, diminish, and debase men and women on a wide scale, is enormous. As Yasha Levine emphasizes in his book and in all of his interviews and lectures, the solution is not a technology solution: it must be a moral solution, a social solution, and a political solution. 

Like Arachne, our society has thumbed its nose at the immortal gods for centuries, and has already experienced some of the severe objectification and dehumanization that results from such wrong-headed behavior. But, as the goddess Athena explains to Arachne, it is still possible to realize the error of our ways and reverse course. 

But at some point, as Arachne herself also learned, it will be too late.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Spring Equinox 2018

The earth will pass through the point of March equinox, which is spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, today at 0915 Pacific, or 1215 Eastern, which is 1615 GMT / UTC.

I have made the above video in order to help us to visualize the sun's path through the zodiac throughout the year (which is a function of the changing line-of-sight between earth and sun as we orbit around the sun in our annual cycle), and also the sun's path higher and lower through the sky throughout the year (which is a function of the tilt of earth's axis, which causes the path of the sun through the sky to be higher or lower for us based on where we are in the orbit and the orientation of the axis relative to the sun).

The video gives a "time-lapse" style animation of the sun's position from the perspective of a viewer on earth in the northern hemisphere, seen at noon each day (to help illustrate the change in elevation of the sun's arc across the sky as we go through the seasons).

The background of stars (which is obviously not visible at noon under normal conditions) has been revealed using the planetarium app ( in order to show the sun's position relative to the zodiac constellations.

The sun's elevation will grow higher and higher after we pass winter solstice and progress towards summer solstice, where it reaches maximum elevation, and then it will stop getting higher and begin to get lower in the sky as we progress from summer solstice to winter solstice.

The point of equinox occurs twice a year when the sun's path crosses through the celestial equator, once on the way "down" from the summer solstice on the way to the winter solstice (when we pass the point of fall equinox) and then once again on the way back up from winter solstice towards summer solstice (the spring equinox, which we will pass through today).

This short video may help you to visualize what is taking place. In the video, you can see all the way down to the south celestial pole, because the earth has been rendered "transparent" or invisible, even though the perspective shown is still that of an observer in the northern hemisphere. The sun at noon each day will move through the constellations of the zodiac as earth progresses day-by-day throughout the year (moving through them at a rate of about one per month). This changing of the background constellation is a function of the "line-of-sight" between earth and sun changing as we make our orbital circle (ellipse) around the sun.

Numerous previous posts have used various diagrams and metaphors to explain the mechanics of the solstices and equinoxes -- you can find those by using the search function of this blog and looking for the words "equinox" and "solstice."

Also, my most recently-published book, Ancient Myths, Ancient Wisdom, which preserves in physical book format a selection of blog posts from the first one thousand posts of this blog, begins with a section of essays discussing celestial mechanics, and some of the connections of these heavenly cycles to the world's ancient myths.

The spring equinox is an extremely important point on the cycle of the earth's annual dance with the sun, incorporated into many memorable myths and sacred stories around the world, as well as into many of the alignments of ancient monuments which survive to this day.

It also marked the beginning of many (though not all) of the sacred calendars of ancient cultures.

For more on the spiritual significance with which this point on the annual cycle may have been invested or imbued by the world's ancient myths and teachings, see for example this previous post from 2015 entitled "Easter: the Birth-Day of the Gods" (after the title of a lecture by Alvin Boyd Kuhn).

I hope that you will have the opportunity to contemplate some of the meaning with which this day was perceived by our ancient ancestors (from virtually every culture on every inhabited continent and island on our planet). And in doing so, we connect ourselves to those who contemplated this day and that meaning in equinoxes past, stretching back through the millennia into the mists of prehistory.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

An invigorating meet-up with Greg Carlwood and friends

With Greg Carlwood (on the right when facing the picture) in San Diego, city lights of Encinitas in the background; 13 March 2018. 
Photograph by Mark Devlin.

Posting has been slow of late because I have been traveling all over California. 

This past week, while visiting San Diego, I had the opportunity to meet up with Greg Carlwood, creator of the outstanding podcast The Higherside Chats. I'd previously met Greg in my hometown of San Mateo, California some years ago while I was promoting my second book, The Undying Stars (2014), and Greg has been gracious enough to invite me over for a conversation on his show a couple times (see the podcast section of my website for those).

Of course, while doing all this traveling I had some time to catch up on recent podcasts, including episodes on The Higherside Chats as well as episodes from the Grimerica Show and others. I believe it is very important to tune in to independent media sources as much as possible, because it should now be patently obvious that the mass corporate media is blatently lying about certain critical events in order to control public opinion.

On one of the shows I listened to while traveling, Greg Carlwood of THC was interviewing John  W. Brisson of Fix Your Gut (dot com), and during the "plus" portion of the conversation, Greg and John delved into some very important subjects, including the co-optation and subversion of popular movements -- something which can be proven to have taken place in the past, through government programs exposed during the 1970s which deliberately targeted, subverted, and co-opted popular movements during the 1960s, including the antiwar movement, the civil rights movement, the American Indian Movement, and many others. Please look up the history of COINTELPRO if you are unfamiliar with this important subject (and see for instance some of the links in this previous post).

During that "plus" portion of the show, Greg Carlwood made this very insightful observation, beginning at approximately 2:23:10 in the full interview timeline:
I don't see left-leaning conspiracy media all that often. I used to be -- I grew up liberal, so I used to really think about that when I was getting into this material. Why does it always take you to the right?
There is much more to that part of the exchange, but I would recommend listening for yourself (I do recommend supporting shows such as THC and others by subscribing or donating, and in order to listen to that portion of the John Brisson interview on THC you must be a "plus" subscriber, although there is a "free preview" offer which you can use in order to check out the benefits of THC+).

Even with just the very abbreviated quotation cited above, however, you can get the point that Greg is driving towards with his observation, and it is a significant point. Today, a very high percentage of information outlets (including podcasts) willing to examine the extensive evidence of organized illegal activity by entities able to effectively operate "above the law" (in other words, what are dismissively labeled as "conspiracy theories" using a term which was deliberately employed during the 1970s in order to attempt to marginalize the growing number of researchers in the united states who saw that the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and others appeared to have been carried out by criminal elements able to operate "above the law" with impunity, and able to have the truth about those events completely covered up by the mainstream media for decades on end, continuing to this day) do so from a generally right-leaning perspective -- and especially from a libertarian or even anarchist perspective.

As Greg points out, this is extremely puzzling, especially (I would add) because it should be fairly obvious that the intended purpose (and outcome) of most of the so-called "conspiracies" of the past hundred years has been to move policy and public opinion towards what can be safely labeled "the right" -- including false-flag events such as the Gulf of Tonkin incident (used as an excuse to accelerate the massive deployment of united states military forces into Vietnam), or the numerous criminal bombings and other murders which were staged throughout Europe and blamed on socialists or communists during the 1970s and 1980s (see this video for example, among many others examining the incontrovertible evidence of this widespread and very deliberate campaign).

In fact, most of the events which have come to light over the past seventy years which clearly reveal the deliberate, long-term, calculating use of criminal and violent "conspiracy" on a massive scale -- such as the assassination of President Kennedy, the deliberate and illegal targeting of unsuspecting citizens by the military and by intelligence agencies in operations such as MK Ultra and its multitudinous spin-offs and related programs beginning in the early 1950s, the absolutely despicable war crimes perpetrated on a massive scale over a period of many years under Operation Phoenix in Vietnam and Laos and many other parts of the world, the use of certain parts of the military and of intelligence organizations to transport and sell narcotics worldwide in order to fund the violent suppression of popular uprisings against tyrannical client regimes in under-developed nations (which was exposed by the late investigative journalist Gary Webb in the "Dark Alliance" series of articles in the San Jose Mercury News), the Iran-Contra scandal which should have awakened the world to the scope of what was going on but which was somehow contained and obfuscated by the sham investigations in congress and by the complicity of the controlled media, the events of 11 September 2001 which were used to launch a series of illegal military actions which have led to the deaths of literally millions of people around the world and which have also been used as an excuse to implement levels of domestic surveillance and intrusion that would never have been tolerated in previous decades, and many more examples of the same connected pattern -- are very obviously the product of hard-right elements and not "the left."

Lest any object to the terms "left" and "right" as being deemed too compromised and too easily applied to so many different agendas that they have effectively lost their usefulness, I would argue that one could instead use the somewhat unwieldy (but more precise) term "neoliberalism" to describe the agenda supported by the violent and criminal conspiracies listed above, if we use the definition of neoliberalism provided by economist and professor emeritus Michael Hudson in his numerous books, including in his indispensable book J is for Junk Economics, in which he defines neoliberalism as a form of "grabitization" which seeks "to privatize public infrastructure"(168). In contrast to classical liberals of previous centuries, Professor Hudson explains, "today's neoliberals want to deregulate monopoly income and free markets for rent seeking" (167).

The somewhat harmless-sounding term "neoliberalism" is not harmless at all, however, in that it really translates into what Professor Hudson calls in another book a virulent form of parasitic "super-imperialism" which will ultimately destroy everything it touches -- and which has numerous methods for violently suppressing any resistance to its progress (for previous posts on this topic, see also here, here, here, here, here and here).

One reason why so many listeners to independent media sources such as The Higherside Chats have become convinced that the "left-right paradigm" is a ruse consisting of "two puppets on the same hand" is that political discourse in the united states (and I suspect many other western countries) has now devolved down to two barely-differentiated versions of neoliberalism. I would argue that this fact may explain the lack of what Greg Carlwood in the quotation cited above describes as "left-leaning conspiracy media" -- because both sides are basically espousing one form of neoliberalism or another (sometimes it is neoliberalism with identity politics thrown in, and sometimes not), and their media outlets are therefore in many cases beholden to the very same forces which are working to suppress opposition to neoliberal doctrine.

In fact, sources of analysis which many mistakenly believe to be "left-leaning" (and which should in theory be opposed to neoliberalism, neocolonialism, and neo-imperialism) including seemingly-progressive media outlets as well as the vast majority of academia have pointedly refused to address any of the "conspiracies" listed above with meaningful analysis. University professors who publicly challenge the consensus view of the events of September 11, 2001 (for example) are extremely rare, and those who do may lose their job, even if tenured (as happened to Professor James Tracy in January 2016, as discussed here). Supposedly "liberal" media outlets including National Public Radio [neoliberal public radio] or even Democracy Now! [democracy not-so-fast] likewise publish nothing that would get them fired if they were part of neoliberal academia.

Unfortunately, the (somewhat understandable) response by many in the "truth movement" to the predictable refusal of those in any of the two main neoliberal camps to address the obvious criminal activities which are designed to support the spread of crushing neoliberalism around the globe and to suppress (by violence if necessary) any opposition to neoliberal "grabitization" has been to embrace various forms of libertarianism, often extreme libertarianism or outright anarchism.

I believe that very often this retreat to libertarianism is well-intended -- in fact, I myself have in the past been sympathetic to such views (see several previous posts from years ago regarding the philosophy of Lysander Spooner, for example, whose arguments can probably be accurately described as anarchist in many respects).

However, as Professor Hudson explains in his numerous books and lectures, including in J is for Junk Economics, rejecting neoliberalism and replacing it with some form of libertarianism actually accelerates all the negative aspects of neoliberalism, which at its heart seeks to privatize that which properly belongs to the public (including things like water, natural resources, public infrastructure and other public assets), and which seeks to remove all obstacles to rent-seeking. Professor Hudson's J is for Junk Economics defines libertarianism as advocating:
deregulation to disable the public ability to tax and govern finance, real estate and other rent-seeking. The effect is to centralize planning in the hands of the financial sector -- Wall Street and its satellites in the City of London, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB). The aim of libertarian planning is privatization, leading to economic polarization, oligarchy, debt peonage and neofeudalism.
What the libertarian (that is, financialization) argument leaves out of account is that taxing land rent and other unearned rentier income requires a strong enough government to rein in the vested interests. Opposing government has the effect of blocking such public power. Libertarianism thus serves as a handmaiden to oligarchy as opposed to democracy. 142.
In other words, we might say that "libertarianism (and its more extreme cousin, anarchism) is neoliberalism's poodle." If the majority of those who recognize the true extent of the institutionalized criminality that is going on outside of any mention by the controlled media, and outside of any accountability from the legislative and judicial branches of the government, can be safely herded into the dead-end sheep-pens of libertarianism and anarchism (which pose little or no threat to neoliberalism and super-imperialism), then the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity probably have little to fear.

As Michael Hudson explains in the definition above, the only thing strong enough to put a stop to such crimes is a government strong enough to do something about it (ideally, a truly democratic government which is entirely accountable to the people, from whom alone it derives its right to govern).

Fortunately, however, Greg Carlwood's observation above is not entirely correct, in that there is in fact a long tradition of exposing conspiracies which is opposed to neoliberalism and which can probably be safely described as left-leaning (unlike NPR, which came up in the above-quoted exchange on THC, and which is completely neoliberal in its perspective and which is not at all left-leaning in the true sense of the word).

For example, the late Mae Brussell was a fearless pioneer of this field of analysis and one of the first to regularly broadcast a weekly conspiracy analysis show (beginning with Dialogue: Conspiracy in 1971). Some of those shows can be heard online at this website, where you can also order discs containing her enormous body of work.

Likewise, researcher and radio broadcaster David Emory often collaborated with Mae Brussell during the 1970s and 1980s, and is still broadcasting regularly today, with a body of work spanning nearly 40 years. His entire archive of shows can be found online at this website.

Additionally, the website of Professor Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research (dot ca, because based in Canada), publishes a host of articles every day many of which are not afraid to investigate the evidence of conspiracy.

And there are others which the interested reader or researcher can find with a little looking.

I would strongly recommend donating to all of the above-named sites, if at all possible, in order to help support their research and help maintain their independence. All of them have a "donate" button on their home page which you can easily locate and use to make a contribution if you are moved to do so.

During the same above-mentioned visit with Greg Carlwood, I also had the opportunity to meet up with Mark Devlin, author of Musical Truth (2016) and the newly-released Musical Truth 2, and host of the Good Vibrations podcast as well as the Musical Truth blog here. Mark's area of research explores the evidence that the musical cultures of the 1960s and decades following have been shaped as part of a deliberate agenda, in ways which (in my opinion) clearly may fit in with some of the themes of the active and ongoing suppression of meaningful organized opposition to war, imperialism, and neoliberalism discussed in the other examples given above.

I believe we should all do what we can to support the work of those who are trying to expose the truth, including those who do research, those who host podcasts which can help that research reach a wider audience, those who make documentaries and videos, and others. This support includes telling others about them, and would ideally also include supporting with donations or subscriptions if at all possible.

Meeting up in person with others who are investigating these topics is also extremely important (and invigorating), and can help stimulate new insights and courses of action.

I am convinced that these subjects are of the utmost importance, and are perhaps more important now than ever, because so many possible turns in the road have already been missed.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Saint Patrick's Day 2018

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

March 17 is traditionally the day ascribed to the legendary Saint Patrick, associated with the country of Ireland (where, according to the story, Patrick was taken by pirates as a child), and with driving all the snakes out of that island (as seen in many depictions of Saint Patrick, including that found on the greeting card from 1909, shown above).

However, as I explain in a video I posted last July, entitled "The Twelve Disciples of the Zodiac: Philip," there are very good reasons to conclude that -- even if a man named Patrick actually existed as an historical figure -- the story of his chasing the snakes out of Ireland, as well as much of the iconography associated with the figure of Saint Patrick (including his distinctive hand mudra which is seen in the iconography shown here, as well as his association with the three-lobed shamrock) are based on celestial associations which have nothing to do with literal, terrestrial history.

In fact, the very association of Saint Patrick with the point on the earth's orbit which we reach at this time of year, March 17, is almost certainly due to the association of this legendary saint with the constellation Sagittarius. If you make a habit of rising very early in the morning and looking at the glorious stars visible in the sky before the dawn each day, then you are probably already aware that the dazzling constellation of the Scorpion has been rising further and further above the eastern horizon in the pre-dawn sky for the past couple of months (preceded at this particular arrangement of the solar system planets by the planet Jupiter). 

Now, as we progress further towards the springtime in the northern hemisphere, the zodiac constellation of Sagittarius, which follows Scorpio in the sky, is becoming fully visible above the horizon in the pre-dawn hours:

Above is a star-chart showing the pre-dawn sky on March 17 from the point-of-view of an observer in the northern hemisphere at about latitude 35 north, looking towards the south such that east is to the left and west is to the right (so that the stars are rising from the left side of the image as we face it, and crossing the sky from left to right, where they will sink down into the western horizon). The color-scheme has been inverted for greater ease of visibility on a screen, and the outlines of some of the major constellations have been drawn in, using the essential constellation-outlining system published by author H. A. Rey in 1952.

Can you see the outline of the constellation Sagittarius, the Archer, clearing the horizon (which has been drawn-in using a heavy wiggly line for ease of identification)? The form of Sagittarius as envisioned in Rey's system includes a rather long "skirt" or dress-like garment, a large bow which points towards the center of the Milky Way Galaxy and to the sinuous form of the Scorpion just beyond the Galactic Core from Sagittarius, and a triangular head with a line rising up from it which can be envisioned as a "plume" or "feather," created by three stars rising in a bent line just above one corner of the constellation's head. 

As I explain in the video linked above, my research supported by overwhelming evidence strongly suggests that all of the world's ancient myths, scriptures, and sacred traditions employ a system of celestial metaphor in which specific characters and episodes can be shown to correspond to specific constellations in the heavens above, informed by the distinctive characteristics of those constellations. This common, world-wide system can be shown to form the basis for the stories in the Bible (in both the so-called "Old" and "New" Testaments), as well as the stories in the myths of virtually every culture on our planet.

The constellation Sagittarius appears in some of those ancient stories as a child who is kidnapped and sold into slavery, as in the story of Joseph in the text of the scroll of Genesis, as well as in the story of Saint Patrick of Ireland. As I demonstrate in my 2016 book Star Myths of the World Volume Three (Star Myths of the Bible), this is because the stars in the "bow" of Sagittarius can be envisioned as the hands of the figure of the constellation, crossed and bound, rather than as a bow. 

See for example the artwork below of Joseph sold into slavery by his brothers, by Damiano Mascagni from 1602, in which Joseph is depicted with many of the distinctive characteristics of the constellation Sagittarius (including crossed hands and a head turned to "look back" over the shoulder), and in which some of the other characters in the scene are clearly depicted with postures or hand mudras indicating other zodiac constellations, including the goat-horns of Capricorn in the hand just above Joseph's head, or the two hands holding the shirt-front or skirt-front between them (to receive coins from the purchase price) which are indicative of the two Fishes of Pisces with the Great Square of Pegasus in between them:

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Many other examples could also be offered.

Turning again to the stars themselves, we can easily see how a figure associated with the constellation Sagittarius could be found in a story which involves driving out snakes, because the outline of Scorpio is often envisioned in myth as a serpent with multiple heads, or as a many-headed dragon of some sort (as well as playing the role of the "generation of vipers" referred to by Jesus in the New Testament gospel accounts, as discussed in a post about John the Baptist from 2014, here).

As the earth rotates on its axis towards the east, the stars we see appear to rotate towards the west, which is why Scorpio (located to the west of Sagittarius) appears to be "driven out" by Sagittarius as the earth turns throughout each night -- and why Scorpio will eventually sink out of sight into the western horizon before Sagittarius follows later on. 

In the star-chart below, which is identical to the one presented earlier, the figures of Sagittarius and Scorpio have been highlighted and labeled for ease of identification with the story of Saint Patrick:

Note that in the traditional iconography, Saint Patrick is typically depicted wearing a very long robe or cassock. I would even argue that the three-lobed shamrock associated with Saint Patrick may have a celestial correspondence to the bow of the constellation in the sky. Note that the bow is formed in the sky by three "prongs" which branch off of the outstretched arm of the constellation: one in the middle, one going upwards, and one going downwards. These may suggest that the constellation is holding a three-leaf shamrock:

The hand-gesture or "mudra" associated with Saint Patrick is also the same hand-gesture associated with Sagittarius-figures in other stories and myths, as I show in the video from last year. I believe that this particular Sagittarius-mudra comes from the stars which form the distinctive "plume" or "feather" which is visible protruding above the head of the constellation in the sky. You can see the same distinctive hand gesture in other depictions of Saint Patrick, such as those shown below:

images: Wikimedia commons. Left image link and right image link.

Lest anyone object that the outlining-system published by H. A. Rey in 1952 cannot possibly be used in order to analyze celestial connections in ancient myth, it should be pointed out that I have discovered countless examples in ancient art and in the ancient myths themselves which indicate that this ancient world-wide system used a system of envisioning the constellations which corresponds closely to that published by H. A. Rey, whether H. A. Rey was privy to some inherited knowledge passed down through the millennia or not (he himself never discussed this connection to the ancient myths and ancient artwork, to my knowledge). 

For example, in the artwork on the bell-krater from the early fifth century BC which constitutes the "name vase" of an artist from ancient Greece known to scholars as the "Pan Painter," the goddess Artemis is depicted slaying the unfortunate youth Actaeon, in outlines which clearly indicate that the ancients were using a very similar way of envisioning the constellation Sagittarius as the method shown in H. A. Rey's books:

Other myths from around the world which involve the figure of Sagittarius chasing away a monster associated with the figure of Scorpio include the god Apollo (the twin of the goddess Artemis) defeating the great dragon or serpent Python.

While literal interpretations of the ancient myths (particularly those contained in the texts we call "the Bible") have been used for centuries to divide humanity (and to excuse the forcible "conversion" of countless cultures to the acceptance of literalistic interpretations of the Bible, as well as the destruction of their own inherited sacred traditions), the overwhelming evidence shows that all the world's ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories are built upon a common system of celestial metaphor. This fact should actually unite us, rather than dividing us -- and should instantly controvert any arguments of exceptionalism which are used to try to support or excuse such acts of imperialism, colonialism, and conquest.

I hope that on this March 17, 2018, you will have the opportunity to go out and marvel at the glorious constellations in the infinite night sky, if it is at all possible for you to do so. And, if you can, you may want to try rising early to enjoy the dazzling constellations now visible in the pre-dawn sky, and contemplate the cycles which are now bringing Sagittarius that eternal Archer into view, following the enormous figure of Scorpio, in accord with the endless rhythm of the universe.