wanted to ALERT everyone to jason’s blog…he is writing a fascinating series on Critical Security.
also, an engaging selection of pacific poetry by women at the new issue of HOW2, so check that out!
finally, go to seth’s blog for the next section of his PODCAST novel
Now, onto HD…i forgot to highlight this passage from Mark 14:9, which was referenced in the last section re: alabaster. I want to imagine it as both a way in which HD located her project, and how i want to locate my own project on this blog:
“Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.”
Although i’ve located the references in Section 30 (they are all astronomical/mythological, so if you are into astronomy / astrology, this is the post for you), I DONT REALLY GET THIS SECTION…WHAT IS THE USE OF THE REFERENCES? HOW DO THEY CONNECT WITH “THE AGE OF THE NEW DIMENSION”? ANY COMMENTS ON HOW TO INTERPRET THIS SECTION WOULD BE GREATLY, GREATLY APPRECIATED. THANKS!!
I heard Scorpion whet his knife,
I feared Archer (taut his bow),
Goat’s horns were threat,
would climb high? then fall low;
across the abyss
the Waterman waited,
this is the age of the new dimension,
dare, seek, seek further, dare more,
here is the alchemist’s key,
it unlocks secret doors,
the present goes a step further
toward fine distillation of emotion,
the elixir of life, the philosopher’s stone
is yours if you surrender
sterile logic, trivial reason;
so mind dispersed, dared occult lore,
found secret doors unlocked,
floundered, was lost in sea-depth,
sub-conscious ocean where Fish
move two-ways, devour;
when identity in the depth,
would merge with the best,
octopus or shark rise
from the sea-floor:
illusion, reversion of old values,
oneness lost, madness.
Scorpius (Latin for scorpion, symbol ♏) is one of the constellations of the zodiac. It lies between Libra to the west and Sagittarius to the east. It is a large constellation located in the southern hemisphere near the center of the Milky Way.
According to Greek mythology, scorpio corresponds to the scorpion which was sent by Gaia (or possibly the goddess Hera) to kill the hunter Orion, the scorpion rising out of the ground at the goddess’ command to attack. Although the scorpion and Orion appear together in this myth, the constellation of Orion is almost opposite to Scorpius in the night sky. It has been suggested that this was a divine precaution to forestall the heavenly continuation of the feud.
In many versions, however, Apollo sent the scorpion after Orion, having grown jealous of Artemis’ attentions to the man. Later, to apologize for killing her friend, Apollo then helped Artemis hang Orion’s image in the night sky. However, the scorpion was also placed up there, and every time it appears on the horizon, Orion starts to sink into the other side of the sky, still running from the attacker.
Scorpius also appears in one version of the story of Phaethon, the mortal son of Helios, the sun. Phaeton asked to drive the sun-chariot for a day. Phaeton lost control of the chariot. The horses, already out of control, were scared by the great celestial scorpion with its sting raised to strike, and the inexperienced boy lost control of the chariot, as the sun wildly went about the sky.
Sagittarius (Latin for Archer, symbol ♐) is a constellation of the zodiac, commonly depicted as a centaur drawing a bow. Sagittarius lies between Scorpius to the west and Capricornus to the east.
Sagittarius has the rough appearance of a stick-figure archer drawing its bow, and when including the fainter stars, appears to have a horse-like body. The Greeks identified such a figure as a centaur, whereas earlier cultures, such as the Babylonians, identified it as the god Pabilsag (which also had wings and a lion’s head).
In Greek mythology, Sagittarius was sometimes identified as Chiron, aiming his bow at the Scorpion. Other early identifications include that of a rattle, which the constellation’s brightest stars considered together vaguely resemble. As such, together with other constellations in the Zodiac sign of Sagittarius (specifically, Cygnus, Lyra, and Aquila), may be a significant part of the origin of the myth of the Stymphalian Birds, one of The Twelve Labours of Herakles.
In Greek mythology, the Stymphalian Birds were birds with claws of brass and sharp metallic feathers they could launch at their victims, and also they were Ares’ pets. Furthermore, their dung was highly toxic. They had migrated to Lake Stymphalus in Arcadia to escape a pack of wolves, and bred quickly and took over the countryside, destroying local crops and fruit trees. Ridding the land of these birds was one of Heracles’ Twelve Labors, and some sources claim the Stymphalian birds were the same avians that attacked the Argonauts.
The forest around Lake Stymphalus was very dense, making it so dark as to impair vision. Athena and Hephaestus aided Heracles by forging for him huge bronze clappers, which scared the birds into flight. Heracles shot them down with his arrows, or according to other versions, a catapult. The birds that survived never returned to Greece.
When the sun is in the sign of Sagittarius, the constellations Lyra, Aquila the Eagle, and Cygnus the Swan, rise. (Lyra is now considered a lyre, but originally it was a vulture; eventually the vulture was imagined as holding a lyre, and eventually it became just a lyre). At this time of year (i.e. during Sagittarius) the evenings darken and the rain season in Greece starts, creating swampland from previously drier areas. Thus the bird constellations gained negative connotations. Sagittarius (the constellation) had various interpretations, especially as an archer but also as a rattle. In the later story, Heracles scared off the Stymphalian Birds (who lived in a swamp) with noise, and firing an arrow at them (the constellation Sagitta, an arrow, is aiming towards Aquila). The noise, archery, and sinister birds associated with the constellations may reflect the origin of the myth.
During WW2, the British had a tank they called Archer:
Capricornus (♑), a name meaning “Horned Goat” or “That which has horns like a goat’s” in Latin, is one of the constellations of the zodiac. It is commonly called Capricorn in astrology, and is also called the sea-goat, as it is in an area of the sky known as the Sea. Under its modern boundaries it is bordered by Aquila, Sagittarius, Microscopium, Piscis Austrinus and Aquarius.
According to legend Capricornus, the goat, was placed among the constellations to commemorate the adventure of the god Pan. In a fight with a monster, Typhon, everybody ran away in panic. But Pan along with others jumped into a river and were transformed into two fishes and sea goat. This sea goat is Capricornus and the two fish formed the constellation Pisces.
There is another version of the legend. When Greek nymphs and goddesses were bathing in river, Pan wanted to make fun of the them. He became a goat and jumped into a river. When he did this, the part of the body submerged in water took the shape of the fish while the upper half remained that of the goat.
This constellation is sometimes identified as Amalthea, the goat that suckled the infant Zeus after his mother Rhea saved him from being devoured by his father Cronos in Greek mythology. The goat’s broken horn was transformed into the cornucopia or horn of plenty. Some ancient sources claim that this derives from the sun “taking nourishment” while in the constellation, in preparation for its climb back northward.
Depictions of a goat or goat-fish have been found on Babylonian tablets dating back three thousand years. The constellation may owe its antiquity to the fact that at that time, the northern hemisphere’s Winter Solstice occurred while the sun was in Capricorn. The concern for the sun’s rebirth might have rendered astronomical and astrological observation of this region of space very important.
For the same reason, the sun’s most southerly position, which is attained at the northern hemisphere’s winter solstice, is now called the Tropic of Capricorn, a term which also applies to the line on earth where the sun is directly overhead at noon on that solstice.
The constellation, together with its early Greek name, associated ideas about sin, and the constellation of Aquarius, who was said to have poured out a river, may represent the origin of the myth of the Augean Stable, which forms one of The Twelve Labours of Herakles.
Heracles’ Fifth labour
In Greek mythology, Augeas (or Augeias), whose name means “bright”, was King of Elis and husband of Epicaste. He is best known for his stables, which housed the single greatest number of cattle in the country and had never been cleaned until the great hero Heracles came along.
The fifth of the Twelve Labours set to Heracles was to clean the Augean stables in a single day. The reasoning behind this being set was twofold: firstly, all the previous labours only exalted Heracles in the eyes of the people so this one would surely degrade him; secondly, the livestock were a divine gift to Augeas and were immune from disease and thus the amount of dirt and filth amassed in the uncleaned stables made the task surely impossible. However, Heracles succeeded by rerouting the rivers Alpheus and Peneus to wash the filth out.
Augeas was irate because he had promised Heracles one-tenth of his cattle if the job was finished in one day. He refused to honour the agreement, and Heracles killed him after having completed the tasks and gave his kingdom to Augeas’ son, Phyleus, who had been exiled for supporting Heracles against his father.
The Romans gave the constellation of Capricorn its name, taking it from part of a myth also concerning Pisces. To the Greeks, it was called the Augean Stable, since the sun (brightness – the meaning of the name Augeas) appears goes to rest (i.e. stable) there during the winter solstice.
Since this time was so dark, early Greek religious ideas were that the darkness of the sky was due to the accumulation of sin throughout the year, thus the stable is extremely dirty and never cleaned before that year. These sins were said to be washed away as the sun arose again, and the next sign of the Zodiac is Aquarius, who is implicated in Greek mythology as causing a great flood. The, factual, river Alphaeus drains the mountains, but runs mostly underground, thus was seen as having been diverted.
Aquarius (Latin for the Water-bearer or Cup-bearer, symbol ♒) is the eleventh sign of the zodiac, situated between Capricornus and Pisces. Its symbol represents part of a stream of water.
Aquarius is one of the oldest recognized constellations along the zodiac, the sun’s apparent path. It is found in a region often called the Sea due to its profusion of watery constellations such as Cetus, Pisces, Eridanus, etc. Sometimes, the river Eridanus is depicted spilling from Aquarius’ watering pot.
The best-known myth identifies Aquarius with Ganymede, a beautiful youth with whom Zeus fell in love, and whom he (in the guise of an eagle, represented as the constellation Aquila) carried off to Olympus to be cupbearer to the gods. Crater is sometimes identified as his cup.
Aquarius generally resembles the figure of a man, and when considering fainter humanly visible stars, it takes on the image of a man with a bucket from which is pouring a stream. Aquarius was also identified as the pourer of the waters which flooded the earth in the Great Flood, in the ancient Greek version of the myth. As such, the constellation Eridanus was sometimes identified as being a river poured out by Aquarius.
It may also, together with the constellation Pegasus, be part of the origin of the myth of the Mares of Diomedes, which forms one of The Twelve Labours of Heracles. Its association with pouring out rivers, and the nearby constellation of Capricornus, may be the source of the myth of the Augean stable, which forms another of the labours.
The Mares of Diomedes
The Mares of Diomedes were four magnificent, wild, uncontrollable, man-eating horses. They belonged to the giant Diomedes, King of Thrace, a son of Ares and Cyrene who lived on the shores of the Black Sea. Bucephalus, Alexander the Great’s horse, was said to be descended from these mares.
One labour of Heracles was to steal them. In one version of the story, Heracles brought Abderus, one of his many male beloveds, and some other youths to help him. They took the mares and were chased by Diomedes and his men.
Heracles was not aware that the horses were kept tethered to a bronze manger because they were wild, and Heracles left Abderus in charge of the horses while he fought Diomedes, but Abderus was eaten. In revenge, Heracles fed Diomedes to his own horses, then founded Abdera next to the boy’s tomb.
In another version, Heracles stayed awake so that he didn’t have his throat cut by Diomedes in the night, and cut the chains binding the horses. Having scared the horses onto the high ground of a peninsula, Heracles quickly dug a trench through the peninsula, filling it with water and thus rendering it an island. When Diomedes arrived, Heracles killed him with an axe (the one used to dig the trench), and fed the body to the horses.
When the sun is in the constellation of Aquarius, the constellation Pegasus rises. Pegasus in early Greece was considered to contain 4 very bright stars, making a square, it was only in later times that the 4th star (Alpheratz) was considered part of Andromeda. By reassigning the 4th star, Pegasus changed from being a horse with a square body, into being a horse with a wing (the square body changing into a triangular wing), giving rise to the winged horse myth.
Bright stars were considered to be malevolent and wild, thus leading to the earlier pegasus square being considered 4 evil horses (the animals being horses due to the overall shape assigned to the constellation). Pegasus, as a whole, appears to be feeding, in particular, it aims its head towards Aquarius, a man, suggesting a man-eating nature. Since the horses are above the ecliptic, they cannot be said to have died, and thus must have been caught, since the sun is able to pass them.
Aquarius itself was said to represent the god who flooded the earth; the water it seems to pour, which sometimes includes the constellation of Eridanus as a river, was said to depict this by the Greeks. Some versions of the myth of the Mares of Diomedes hold that Herakles created a river around the stable of the mares.
Pisces (Latin for fish (plural), symbol ♓) is a zodiac constellation which lies between Aquarius to the west and Aries to the east.
According to one version in Greek mythology, this constellation represents fish into which Aphrodite and her son Eros transformed in order to escape the monstrous Typhon. The two fishes are often depicted tied together with a cord (or their tails), to make sure they do not lose one another.
According to another version, since the binding point is below the ecliptic, and thus considered to represent being in the underworld, and that one of the figures (the one on the left) appears to escape, but the other (on the right) seems to head back toward the ecliptic, then, together with Cetus (another constellation in the Zodiac sign of Pisces), this may have formed the basis of the myth of the capture of Cerberus, one of The Twelve Labours of Herakles.
Heracles’ capturing of Cerberus
Heracles’ final labour was to capture Cerberus. After having been set the task, Heracles went to Eleusis to be initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries so that he could learn how to enter and exit the underworld alive, and in passing absolve himself for killing centaurs. He found the entrance to the underworld at Tanaerum, and Athena and Hermes helped him to traverse the entrance in each direction. He passed Charon thanks to Hermes’ insistence, and his own heavy and fierce frowning.
While in the underworld, Heracles freed Theseus but the earth shook when he attempted to liberate Pirithous, so he had to leave him behind. They had been imprisoned by Hades, by magically binding them to a bench, because they had attempted to kidnap Persephone. The magic was so strong that when Heracles pulled Theseus free, part of Theseus’ thighs remained on the bench, explaining why his descendants had notably lean thighs.
In some versions, Heracles merely asks Hades for permission to take Cerberus, to which Hades agrees as long as Heracles does not harm the hound, though in other versions Heracles shot Hades with an arrow. In some versions, Heracles wrestles the dog into submission and drags it out of Hades, passing through the cavern Acherusia, but in other versions, Heracles treats the vicious dog with the first kindness it has seen, and easily walks out with it. When he returned with Cerberus to the palace of his uncle Euristheus, the man who had assigned the task to Heracles, Euristheus was so afraid of the fearsome beast that he jumped into a big jar in order to hide.