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Saturday, 30 July 2011

Before Tertius...

Carthage, probably between 400-200 BCE, and this stone.

This stele comes from the Tophet in Carthage (today Tunisia) Such grave markers were set up over burial urns for small children and animals which had been sacrificed to the goddess Tanit and her consort Baal Hammon. 
Canaanite symbolism:  sun,crescent moon and triangle; the goddess below. It is at The British Museum.

First thing, it looks like a boundary stone to me because it was usual for Mesopotamian boundary stones to be decorated with a symbol representing the sun, the moon and Venus. The sun symbol -which looks like a section through an orange- and the moon, are easy to see.

The Goddess Tanit is represented by the triangle, and upright arms figure. Her original name had been Inanna (Via Akadian: Ishtar, to Astarte, to eventually Tanit). But by now she had become a Goddess in her own right, the stories concerning her had changed though remaining recognisable.

At a guess, the rectangle represents dominion over the land; a symbol meaning *all*, but that's a really weak guess and based entirely on intuition.

It was the Omega and the arrow symbol that really caught my eye.

At first I thought that the Omega on the top of the arrows, again from Akadian look a little like the symbol used to represent the birthing hut -and so represented rebirth.  Whilst the arrows may represent Meslemtea/ Nergal the consort of the Goddess of the underworld (Nergal had seven plague demons which, by the time of The Iliad, had become the plague arrows of Apollo).

The whole thing (in relation to the Tophet...) made me see a symbol as representing death as a pathway into a new life. If the Carthaginians did indeed sacrifice their own children in times of dire need, the arrow + Omega may make the poor parents feel a little better...


Hermes carries a similar symbol, the kerykeion, it is a heralds staff, which he carries in his left hand. This symbol is also known as the caduceus. The Iliad describes Hermes as using it to open and close the eyes of mortals, he makes us sleep and thus brings us to the borders of death.

Hermes as guider of souls, thus it is linked to death and the journey through the underworld.

Hermes, is a god of boundaries. The name for a boundary stone: a herm could be the origin of his name, and the sacred boundary-marker or road-altar, has been dedicated to Hermes since ancient times.


But a herm is also an upright stone surrounded at its base by a heap of smaller stones; not so different from Hursag meaning hill, and Ninhursag the queen of the stony ground (the Lady who gives birth to all the wild things) .

Her omega symbol is known to appear on some Mesopotamian boundary stones. The image here comes from a truly beautiful Kudurra, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kudurru for more information and full sized image.

The snake symbol in connection with the caduceus is all Greek. Serpents appear on Kassite (Mesopotamian) boundary stones, but mainly seem to represent the Kur, for they are at the bottom end of the stone, underground.

More as a force that will carry one away, than as a guardian.

Ideas spread, meet and create new symbols.Hermes and Ninhursag both have a heap of stones connection.
And so Ninhursag's omega becomes Hermes' snakes?

This Greek early 5th century B.C, upper part of caduceus (carried by Hermes) shows the snakes perfectly.

This one can be seen at the Dallas museum.

But what do the snakes mean?

There is a link in Greek mythological thinking, between the snake and the uncanny and fearful. The snake signifies death and life (not necessarily re-birth).

The daughters of Cecrops are killed when they open a kiste given to them by Athena. They see the snake child (Ericthonius) within and panic, falling to their deaths over the north face of the Acropolis.

The serpentine appearance of the spinal cord led to a semi-rational belief that this part of the dead could be transformed into a living snake (see Burkert, Greek Religion; page 195) .

The death-snake was a convenient and almost omnipresent motif in Greek, Bronze Age vessels according to Burkert. But its meaning is not explained, as Burkert points out, most of what we know about Greek funerary rites come from plays, from theater scenes, and it was taken for granted that people knew what was customary and so there was no need to write out specific meanings in detail.

Perhaps it was observed that after funeral libations had been made; the wine spilt and offerings left at the grave, a snake may come to lick at the left-overs and then vanish as quickly as it had come...

Hermes too has a connection to death and the Underworld, he was the god who led the soul to the river that separated life from death. In the play Alcestis (by Euripides) Death tells us that is his role simply to cut a piece of hair from the person destined to die.

Death is a servant of fate and Death carries a sword for this task. Then it is Hermes who leads the soul over the boundary between life and death. A role latter taken by Dionysos as a more Orphic version of the Mysteries becomes current.

It makes sense to interpret the river motif as the sensation of dying, of being carried away by the woeful river or the river of ordeals: Idkurra,  (in Sumerian myth). This contrasts with the calm and terrible image of the boatman in Greek myth...

So back to snakes- not forgetting that The Kur was sometimes portrayed as serpentine and able to control the flow of water.

The motif of serpents around a staff brings to mind Ningishzida.

Ningishzida is called (in this copy and paste of Google) "messenger" of the "Earth Mother".

It is the oldest image of snakes coiling around an axial pole and it is tempting to project meanings backward (Hermes is messenger to the gods, he has a stick with two snakes, so any other Babylonian deity with serpents around a pole  must be a messenger!) rather than to look at myths from that specific time period.


This image of the double serpent is said to represent Ningishazida. It came from the royal libation cup of King Gudea of Lagash (Sumer), 2000 BC. The temple of Ningishzida was located at Lagash. And the cup came with an inscription; it was meant as a long life gift. Thousands of years latter people put two and two together and see the double serpent as a symbol of healing, or rejuvenation.

Granted...that is what it meant in the Epic of Gilgamesh.



The main story concerning Ningishzida (whose name, translated by Thorkild Jacobsen is Lord of the Good Tree) was to accomplish the death of the daylight.

In the Adapa myth he is one of two guardians, guarding the gates of Heaven.

He, like his fellow gatekeeper Dumuzi were originally mortal, but by facing the ordeal of the underworld, both would attain a godly status. He reminds me a little of Zalmoxis, a Thracian deity described by Herodotus.

Most people, or Google anyway- but not me -prefer to place Ningishzida guarding the gates of the underworld.




If the snakes are not about rejuvenation, how about Ningishazida's snakes as lightning? 

Lord of the Good tree,
Lord of the lightning struck tree?

Adad, or the Canaanite Hadad are regarded as the lightning gods and it is possible that Ningishazida's serpents are closer to the Kur, dangerous primordial forces.

Lightning begins to fit...

But that Central image of a pole, serpents and perhaps the world tree is hard to read.

All I can think of is Norse myth...






The ash Yggdrasil..

Bears more than man can know.
A hart nibbles at its side
Whilst Nithog devours from below..





Meanwhile on earth, a pair of bronze serpents flanked each of the four doorways of the temple of E.sagila ( a temple dedicated to Marduk), the serpents could represent trophies and relics of the primeval battle between Marduk and Tiamat because the shrine Esagil and the city Babylon were situated at the middle of the world created from the corpse of Tiamat, a serpentine dragon, by Marduk.Again the dominion over primordial forces...

Moving on a thousand years, the coin in this picture was minted on Skiathos in the 4th century BC. On one side there was a picture of the god Hermes, and on the other his staff of snakes.

Now I see where the alchemical symbol for Mercury comes from!





The link between the caduceus and doctors.
The god of healing is Asclepius, latter famed and then punished by Zeus, for restoring life to the almost dead.

As someone once said,
'the staff of Hermes would be better placed on a hearse than on a doctors car.'
The only connection between Hermes and the original good doctor comes from Pausanias, in his 
Description of Greece:

[2.26.6] There is also another tradition concerning him (Asclepius). Coronis, they say, when with child with Asclepius (fathered by Apollo) had intercourse with Ischys, son of Elatus. She was killed by Artemis to punish her for the insult done to Apollo, but when the pyre was already lighted Hermes is said to have snatched the child from the flames.




The serpent is a reminder that Asclepius himself escaped death. Hermes rescued the god of healing from his mother's womb as she lay on the funeral pyre, because it was his role to lead the soul. Hermes chose not to lead her away...

Asclepius has the stick, he has the snake; but he has only one snake not two.

The idea of the serpent as a symbol for rejuvenation is found in The Epic of Gilgamesh, but the symbol doesn't seem to be used in art that way then or now (except for in medicine). Lucius Annaeus Cornutus, a Stoic philosopher, 60 AD described the serpent as a symbol for Asclepius and medicine in general because the serpent sheds its skin
"those who avail themselves of medical science undergo a process similar to the serpent in that they, as it were, grow young again after illnesses and slough off old age; also because the serpent is a sign of attention, much of which is required in medical treatments. The staff also seems to be a symbol of some similar thing."
Oddly enough, Asclepius was killed with a thunderbolt launched by Zeus. Asclepius had taken to preventing any death at all....the natural order was under threat.

And there I stop.
Time to return to John Dee, and the last of his three diaries (well the last of what I've been able to find of his diaries.).

Monday, 25 July 2011

Secondus.

I began to read the second of John Dee's diarys Secondus. By midway through, and half way into the book on Dee by Charlotte Fell-Smith I had made up my mind. I know what I think about John Dee and Enochian. I do not have any certainty, but I have come to the conclusion that Enochian is a game within a game.

Nevertheless it is one of the most fascinating stories I have ever read. A contemporary version would be Brian Cox staring into the read-outs from the Large Hadron collider and working together with someone who could see more in the numbers and fuzzy fields of static, than he.

Together they see that the messages add up into systems  describing forces creating this universe, and provide clues on how to shift and change those forces to create new systems.

So there you go: Enochian for beginners!

Notes on Secondus:
Begins with a prayer and then conversation with the arch-angel Micheal. Though it seems that Dee and the angel speak directly, the communication is via the man charged with the duty to be John Dee's scryer.

The angel tells Dee that what will be spoken of here and now, should never be revealed to anyone, ever...

The angel tells both John and his scyer that they are blessed and asks Dee what he wishes for. John Dee asks for 'Correct/right wisdom and intellegence'.

The top quarter of the next page is lost....

When the text begins again, the angel is instructing Dee on how to use something, the angel tells Dee to: 'Divide this outer circle into 40 equal parts: whose greatest numbers are four: and then every of them into ten...

The angel Semile appears and asks Dee what he wishes to know concerning the tables.

There then occurs many angels issuing from one angel; the angel that 'contains' all the other angels inveriable has a single letter on his chest. There is much falling down of angels, recitations of prayer, rainbows and flames.

One after another, visions of angels appear. Each angel acts out a charade of symbolic gestures such as: Then stepped out one in bloody clothing, all his body full of serpents heads and a b on his forehead and the number 10 over it.

He went away.

After the scrying session was over, Mr Talbot (another name for Edward Kelley?) had supper and then went upstairs to pray. A little latter, Talbot knocks on John Dee's door and tells John that Uriel had appeared to him and told him that there is a mistake in the seal (or tables). John Dee gives Mr Talbot the seal, and a little latter Talbot returns with the corrections made. John Dee cannot believe that he made any mistake when he made the original seal, indeed he gives me the impression that he believes the angel Micheal to have been at fault, rather than himself. Whereupon Dee and Talbot decide to ask Micheal.

The angel duly appeared to Mr Talbot and told them that the error had been with the scryer, Mr Talbot, that he had omitted to pass on the information correctly. latter, Uriel had told him of his mistake.

The visions begin again, Micheal tells them that the original form of the world, before it vanished away was as concentric circles.

The angel begins to explain in more detail now, the use of the seal. There are seven Principal names: names of angels and these names, broken apart and in combination give us the Enochian calls. Some names are significant in themselves. No letters but double number are the name of god. Confusingly the angels explains that when there are two Aa together, the first in not to be placed within the name, but rather 'left with his inward power'.

John Dee asks the angel about Hebrew, 'I have read in Cabala that the Name of God has forty-two letters....and ends, 'I am not good in the Hebrew tongue, but you know my meaning.

Micheal, via Talbot does not say much on the subject.

Tuesday, 20th March 1582.
The conversation begins again: 'Are you Uriel'? And Uriel apologises, saying that they cannot be contacted right now, please try again at the twelfth hour.

At the twelfth hour, Mr Talbot was busy in other affairs until latter in the afternoon. At 2 o'clock Mr Talbot found Micheal and Uriel, but Micheal went out and then returned carrying on his right shoulder seven baskets of gold. Micheal tells Dee to shut the door of the study and then the vision continues...

Micheal asks Dee 'what would you have'?

and Dee replies: 'sapientiam'

Wisdom.

The angel asks Dee to read the seven names the angels gave him previously. The angel corrects any errors and then shows him a great number of sigils.

More visions about how to arrange the sigils, names and numbers.

Dee struggles to understand...

Finally the account of that day's work ends with the angel telling Dee that Edward Talbot must go for the books; meaning books belonging to Lord Monteagle, Lord of Lancaster.

There after, all in the diary is about how to use Enochian, or rather how to compose...

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Primus.

Primus is the first of three notebooks written by John Dee and it tells of the beginnings of John Dee's six year adventure, following the angels. The Latin is difficult, it is probably better to look for several translations before attempting to work out what the account actually says. I have read through and got the gist of the thing, so to speak, but don't take my account as accurate.

Also I stopped making notes after Uriel made his appearance. Uriel showed John an image of a chair, he told John of a demon or two that was going to cause trouble to his family, the angel dealt with the malevolent entities, Uriel instructed John on how to create the Sigillium Dei and how to use it. But I restricted myself to the initial scrying session mainly because I was fascinated by what it told me about John Dee.

Here is my account of how John Dee began to talk with angels.

The notebook known as Primus begins thus:
"A faithful declaration to Almighty God for the perpetual memory of the events, written in the year 1582".

It starts with heartfelt prayer; a request by John Dee for wisdom, goodness and power to be bestowed upon him for the honour and glory of all people.

Dee explains that in all the books he has so far read and in all the conversations with all the wise people he could find, he had not yet discovered true wisdom. But he has read in god's books and records how Enoch spoke with god, and that Moses too was given that favour. An almost peeved sounding John Dee goes on to list Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, Gedeon, Esdras, Daniel and Tobias as all given instructions by the angels, and that secrets were handed out by angels.

Next, Dee mentions the 'Shew-stone' which 'the high priests used. Again, rather peeved, John Dee says that god did not refuse to instruct his prophets when they were asked for instructions even by the common people, even for things of a decidedly worldly (aeconomicall -economical) nature. For instance when Samuel asked Saul where he could find his father's lost asses, Saul was able to help. This was a completely mundane use of magic.

Dee continues, in a somewhat perplexed manor to try to persuade god that he is in fact more worthy than many, to receive such revelations.

Next Dee mentions a man called Barnabas Saul (not by name at first) and how he trusts that Saul was sent by god to help him in his work. But he finds a great difference between the way Saul appeared to be in everyday life, compared with Saul as seer.

Dee reproved Saul for his bad behaviours and it sounds as if Saul was none too pleased at that.

Dee persuaded him to behave better by explaining that the angels will not talk through Saul unless he gave up his 'naughtyness', unless he improved he would be 'barred from the mysteries'.

Time to get to work:
1581 December 22.
Dee, after fervent prayer to god asks Saul to use the 'great crystalline globe'.

It sounds as if Dee asked Saul if he could see the angel Aneal there. Why Aneal I have to ask? Saul said that he could see one that answered to that name, but there was also another one there, very beautiful: dressed in yellow that glittered like gold; star beams radiating from its head and fair eyes. The angel wrote on the stone in Hebrew letters of transparent gold. Saul could not read them, so Dee wrote 'after his voice'.

In the crystal was seen a bright star that seemed to rise up and down beside the angel and there was a white dog with a long head; and many other visions appeared as the angel faded whilst the star and dog persisted.

Next there is another angel in the vision. Dee asks 'in the name of god, who are you?

The angle answers 'all power is upon me' meaning I suppose that 'all power is mine'.

Dee asks 'What?' and the angel replies 'bona et mala' which means 'good and bad' but then malevolent is more like it.

More letters appear in the stone.

The next question Dee asks surprised me- 'about the hidden treasure'? and the angel replies (literally): 'have no passion: for these are trifles' . There are by the angels left hand a great pile of dead men's skulls.

The angel asks Dee: 'when is your power'? and Dee replies 'Why ask me about my power'?

The angel continues...and it looks to me as if it says, 'Why? It signifies nothing to me'.

Dee places his crystal ball on top of a frame, and the dialogue is very hard to translate (my version is no doubt wrong! but it looks as if the dialogue is: Dee says to the angel, 'Is someone good assigned to this mirror'

The angel replies 'certainly' and Dee asks 'who'?

The angel writes a name in Hebrew

Dee replies (and I can't untangle this: 'good that not he angel, about from upon to write fit mind?' I assume that Dee is asking if the angel is good...? and the angel replies, 'Maxime' meaning 'to the highest degree'.

Dee goes on, 'what does this signify?'

The angel says, 'Another angel with a different charactor'

Dee asks again, 'why show me now?' and the angel says: 'For a great cause.'

The angel has told Dee that another angel is to come, a bigger and better angel. for this to happen, Dee must prepare with prayer and fasting. Dee is told that the next angel will appear after New years day, but not on the Saboath. The angel instructs Dee to get up as soon as he wakes and to fast and pray, both kneeling and sitting.

The stone is to be placed in sunlight.

Dee concludes his narrative by saying that the angel was ruler (prepositus) of the circle of Venus and chief Governor of this period (of time?)

The date this account was written was 1582, November 20th, a year after the event.

The next entry is made concerning one Mr Edward Talbot who turns up at Mortlake in 1882, a Saturday at 10 AM. John Dee tells Mr Talbot that he needs someone who can help him communicate with angels, and goes to fetch the stone in its frame (given to him by a friend). Dee said that he had been reliably informed that it could be used to contact some good angels to appear in the stone.

Dee asked Talbot to call the angels Anchor, Anachor and Anilos.

Mr Talbot got down on his knees at Dee's desk with the stone placed before him, and started to pray and entreat the angels to come. Dee went to his Oratory and prayed to god for the angels to be sent.

After fifteen minutes Talbot saw one angel and Dee welcomed the angel and asked its name. In his account, Dee says that the angel spoke clearly (to the hearing of Talbot) and said that its name was Uriel...

Uriel tells him that he will give him the instructions on how to read the Tablets of Sogya. Dee exclaims that he has been told that he will live for only two years longer, should he read the tablets, but Uriel tells him that instead he will live one 'hundered and odd' years.

Uriel tells Dee that he must ask for the angel Michael and create the Sigillum Dei which is already shown in a book in Dee's library...

What am I to conclude from this? It seems that there are a sufficiency of people willing to scy for John Dee and it seems that John Dee cannot see anything in the crystal or stone himself, nor actually hear what the angels say. Dee is concerned that evil rather than good angels may start speaking to him and I suppose talking about 'hidden treasure' was a test.

The Book of Enoch was rediscovered in Ethiopia around about 1773, so John Dee did not read that version but he must have read a version.

The next question is: does the bible mention Enoch?
According to Google- Genesis 5:24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God tooke him. But John Dee knew that god spoke to Enoch.

Hebrews 11:5 (1611 King James Bible)
By faith Enoch was translated, that he should not see death, and was not found, because God had translated him: For before his translation he had this testimonie, that he pleased God.

Jude 1:14 (1611 King James Bible)
And Enoch also, the seuenth from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord commeth with ten thousands of his Saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

So, if The Book of Enoch was not a part of the King James bible, was it a part of a previous version of the bible or is it a part of Jewish Torah? Otherwise how did John Dee know that Enoch had talked with god if all the bible says about Enoch is that he was raptured?

I can't be the only person asking this.

Solution (I think) Book of Jubilees.

OK, next question: Uriel said that John Dee had a book in his collection that showed the Sigillium Dei.

What was that book?

Trithemius's The Steganographia, probably!

Where did Trithemius get his lists and names, astral connections and starry charts from? Ramon Lull is one name, Solomon (Key of Solomon) the Lemegeton is most likely the book that inspired Trithemius...

Well this takes me back to the Babylonians; true it is a long way between 1800 BC and the sixteenth century. But I'm not so interested in filling out the missing links, others have already done this I'm sure.

I like to see the different spins added to the original themes. The fundamental notions link back to the first cities, and still so much a part of 'our' culture.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Steganographia...

Steganography is the art of concealing messages; often by presenting the message obscured by something extraneous to the *real* message.

The chosen method leads one to take the message on face value; the message may appear totally ordinary; benign, anodyneinnocuous, so boring and ordinary that no one bothers to look between the words to find the true meaning concealed within.

The mind loves this kind of thing, and the love of it fuels conspiracy theories and fears..On the other hand, conspiracy theories and fear lead to an increased use of  Steganography...

The internet is a prime source for examples of such fears and truths...
Among the more bizarre, one may read about orders to terrorists hidden in jpgs of cats. Sorry but I can't remember how that was supposed to work!

And the theory that Satan-worshiping rock stars, concealed message in their music that may only be consciously heard when a recording is played backwards.

This was not an easy thing to do in the days of record players and vinyl discs; therefore how could we find out if the warning was true or not...It was hardly efficient, either way.

Much easier to check for messages in an mp3?
Seems not.




Johannes Trithemius wrote three books in 1499  (published in 1508)

The first two were ostensibly spells, indicating that 'the occult' wasn't regarded by everyone as outright evil.
Instead of concealing instructions on how to access and use the aethyric realms, no doubt teeming with angels and demons, Johannes Trithemius put the angels and demons on the outside and concealed within a few innocuous messages such as:

*"The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" in Latin.
*"The bearer of this letter is a rogue and a thief. Guard yourself against him. He wants to do something to you."

The third book appeared to be a *real* book on how to practice magic. Outwardly it gave instruction on how to communicate with astral forces. As noted before, it seems remarkable now, that Johannes Trithemius was not burnt at the stake for witchcraft, yet the purging of society, and the destruction of people accused of threatening 'the state': witches and Catholics...seems to be primarily an effect of the Protestant Reformation.

This accounts to some extent for the inverted Christian symbolism supposedly used by witches. The Protestants were keen to remove all iconography, and symbols used in Catholic Christianity, witches apparently used the same symbol set, which kind of indicates to me that witches were, as far as the gullible were concerned, regarded as a type of Catholic.

There is no need to use Christian symbols in a non-Christian religion. In fact it makes no sense what so ever for a witch to use anything from the church, either Christian symbols of Christian forms of ritual.

Nevertheless lots people, now- 21st century- still regard Trithemius's book as about magic.

The origin of the word magic is in fact Magi, meaning 'Persians'.

Persians is one of those indistinct words that I find impossible to define, but the Mesopotamians (Iran and Iraq) had a long history of watching the stars, and in effect invented astrology. Following this logic it is correct to call a horoscope printed in a local newspaper, magic...

Johannes Trithemius'  third book reveals a complicated system of astrological magic that uses numerology, incantations and esoteric alphabets to interface with astral intelligence.

Trithemius describes how images of cosmic forces can be etched into wax to capture and communicate with these otherworldly beings; the aim being the acquisition of knowledge.

Looking at the dates, I see that I must have been wrong in thinking that John Dee was inspired by The Book of Enoch alone. The method of using images of cosmic forces etched into wax to communicate with angels probebly came from the Steganographia.

In 1581 John Dee had realised that the only way he could learn the other stuff, the hidden -or the occult if you prefer-, was to beg the angels for enlightenment.

Book three gave John Dee the method.

Was John Dee using his angelic quest as a cover story for creating a code to conceal important messages, or was he really looking for knowledge?

I find the question impossible to answer.

The third book was undecipherd until 1998 by Dr Reeds. Solved: The Ciphers in Book iii of Trithemius's Steganographia


If the Steganographia were written today Johannes Trithemius would have a six character long, online, screen name, and be king of hackers.

As a thirty seven year old he would write a book that convinced people for at least five hundred years to come, that he had found the way to communicate with the dead and the future unborn via an ultimate computer program; but in truth (when deciphered ) the book would provide nothing more than a handful of bad World of War craft haiku.

I may well be wrong, but at this moment in time I'm judging the Steganographia as a work of intellectual superiority, a grand joke that only 'insiders' would understand.

I simply can't tell what he was up to.

One name that comes back, as I try to see where The Book of Enoch fits in with anything (!), is Athanasius Kircher: the guy who was lowered into Vesuvius to see the inner workings of the earth and who wrote a strangely compelling, but erroneous book on Egyptian mythology The Oedipus Aegyptiacus.

Of the three: Trithemius, Dee and Kircher, I cannot say which one was more misleading, unable to distinguish within their own minds between what they wanted to see and what they saw...an art continued by Stukeley.

They remind me that there are two ways to apprehend reality: first, to stay aloof and to dissect appearances, or secondly to enter into the illusion and believe. The third way is a combination, to experience and to question at the same time.

I know that this going off the subject massively, but perhaps it is in this third place that I'd put Philip K Dick.

I'm not in the least bit interested in the 'original language' be it Hebrew (Stukeley's time) or Sanskrit (1900's to at least the 1970's). Call it Adamic (the language Adam spoke) communicated with god, or Enochian. But the Black Iron Prison concept, and VALIS as the organisational, force seems to bring the concepts struggled for by Dee and Trithemius back into the 20th century. The myth of information being all....and knowledge as power.

The Persephone myth is so much easier!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Black mirror..

The subject of The Book of Enoch, keeps returning to me, hence the title: black mirror. I've given in, I'm following the links and realising yet again that empirical information is blurred by time and by language even.

Basically my desire for straight answers isn't making me a happy bunny.

John Dee's black mirror is on display in the British museum, I have a photo somewhere, but it is rather blurred, possibly that is the way it always looks..anyway, this particular obsidian mirror was brought to Britain from 'The New World' some time after Cortés brought plague and misery to the people of that land, between 1527 and 1530.

If John Dee had known more would he have dared look into it?

Yes, pushing the boundaries of knowledge was for him worth everything.



John Dee's obsidian mirror was, according to Sir Horace Walpole 'The Black Stone into which Dr Dee used to call his spirits'.

But what did Dr Dee learn from the angels?
And why make the Calls?

My usable copy of John Dee's Enochian magic is the tarot pack designed by Alister Crowley. Fascinating how the original is like pure code, whilst the Crowley edition is a GUI (graphic user interface).

But back to the original, the metaphysical owner of the obsidian mirror is Smoking Mirror, Tezcatlipoca. I would classify him (from a safe distance) as the Lord of rulers, a black-sun, Vril-drenched edition of Apollo, and Apollo is a god of divination because the sun sees all...So John Dee got that bit right.

But how did John Dee's book of Enochian magic become a part of the twentieth century? Alister Crowley published in a 1912 edition of The Equinox, a description of Enochian magic. There was also, a Golden Dawn Enochian Magic.

How these two versions differ I've yet to find out.

The online version of The Book of Enoch (1917) starts with this introduction:
The Book of Enoch, written during the second century B.C.E., is one of the most important non-canonical apocryphal works, and probably had a huge influence on early Christian, particularly Gnostic, beliefs. Filled with hallucinatory visions of heaven and hell, angels and devils, Enoch introduced concepts such as fallen angels, the appearance of a Messiah, Resurrection, a Final Judgement, and a Heavenly Kingdom on Earth. Interspersed with this material are quasi-scientific digressions on calendrical systems, geography, cosmology, astronomy, and meteorology.
So, let's start at the beginning; Enoch was the prophet of Genesis. Enoch's eyes are opened by god and he is able to see and hear the angels.

The angels show him the end of the world.

In chapter VI the angels tell Enoch how they lusted after the daughter's of men, and went down to Mt Hermon- Gilgamesh passes near Mount Hermon in the Epic of Gilgamesh, where it was called Saria by Sumerians, "Saria and Lebanon tremble at the felling of the cedars". In Deuteronomy it is Mt Sion, and for the Canaanites it was  Mount Ba'al-Hermon.
and they called it Mount Hermon, because they had sworn and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it. And these are the names of their leaders: Sêmîazâz, their leader, Arâkîba, Râmêêl, Kôkabîêl, Tâmîêl, Râmîêl, Dânêl, Êzêqêêl, Barâqîjâl, Asâêl, Armârôs, Batârêl, Anânêl, Zaqîêl, Samsâpêêl, Satarêl, Tûrêl, Jômjâêl, Sariêl.
The result is a race of monsters, and misery and bloodshed. But the angels also taught mankind metalwork, astrology, magic (in Sumerian terms, the angels gave mankind the Me; in Dawkin's language: memes). These angels are known as The Watchers (confusing because in The Book of Daniel, the Watchers are the obedient angels).

The souls of the dead arise to heaven where the good angels hear reports of what is happening on earth.
And then Michael, Uriel, Raphael, and Gabriel looked down from heaven and saw much blood being shed upon the earth, and all lawlessness being wrought upon the earth
The good angels seem more angry that men now have 'The Holy Me' than about the problems on earth to be honest.

God sends Uriel to tell Noah to prepare for the flood and sends the other angels to heal the corruption of earth, and to seal the Watchers under the earth (like Zeus throwing the Titans down into Tartarus). The good angels are also to kill the half-human, half-angel offspring and then to restore the ground by planting olive trees and vines and fruit trees.

In Chapter XII The Watchers call Enoch, and Enoch having a massive attack of deja vu tells the angels what is going to happen -how there will be war between angels and how the renegade angels are to be sealed under the earth and their children, murdered:
Then I went and spoke to them all together, and they were all afraid, and fear and trembling seized them. And they besought me to draw up a petition for them that they might find forgiveness, and to read their petition in the presence of the Lord of heaven. For from thenceforward they could not speak (with Him) nor lift up their eyes to heaven for shame of their sins for which they had been condemned. Then I wrote out their petition, and the prayer in regard to their spirits and their deeds individually and in regard to their requests that they should have forgiveness and length of days. And I went off and sat down at the waters of Dan, in the land of Dan, to the south of the west of Hermon: I read their petition till I fell asleep.
Enoch has a dream
I saw visions of chastisement, ⌈and a voice came bidding (me)⌉ I to tell it to the sons of heaven, and reprimand them. And when I awaked, I came unto them, and they were all sitting gathered together, weeping in ’Abelsjâîl, which is between Lebanon and Sênêsêr, with their faces covered. And I recounted before them all the visions which I had seen in sleep, and I began to speak the words of righteousness, and to reprimand the Watchers.

Chapter XIV Enoch goes in to see god. I think the text says that the Watchers are to be as demons and evil spirits on the earth, deprived of their physical form...the text then goes on to be a travel journal describing many portals for winds and stars and different kinds of hells for different kinds of beings.

There is also mention of a beautiful tree
And the seventh mountain was in the midst of these, and it excelled them in height, resembling the seat of a throne: and fragrant trees encircled the throne. And amongst them was a tree such as I had never yet smelt, neither was any amongst them nor were others like it: it had a fragrance beyond all fragrance, and its leaves and blooms and wood wither not for ever: and its fruit ⌈⌈is beautiful, and its fruit⌉⌉ resembles the dates of a palm
which reminds me of the 'beautiful tree' in the Tibetan map of the universe, and the 'Wishing trees',  the Kiskanu tree -in the temple of Enki in Eridu there was 'planted upon Absu' a Holy tree, the kiskanu [Garden of the gods (Sumerian paradise)] Enoch travels further into a forest of beautiful trees and the text rambles and repeats itself, its tenses are mixed up, it needs to be read very slowly and carefully.

John Dee's notebooks were preserved through the centuries and found their way to Elias Ashmole, the first (documented) Freemason. Elias tried to create some kind of magical system from them.

The diaries are now in the British Museum.

Alister Crowley was the first to publish notes on Enochian magic in the Eqinox (1912). A Golden Dawn version was published in 1937/40 and again in 1969.

"You must use a four square table, two cubits square,whereon must be set the Sigillum Dei, which is already per-fected in a book of thine: Blessed be God in all his mysteries and Holy in all his work.  


This Seal must not be looked upon-without great reverence and devotion. This Seal is to be made of perfect wax:


I mean wax that is purified; we have no respect of colors. 


This Seal must be nine inches in diameter, the roundness must be twenty-seven inches or somewhere more; the thickness of it must be an inch and half a quarter, and the figure of a cross must be on the back side of it."

The work began on March 8, 1581. Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelley worked together, Edward Kelley looked into the obsidian mirror and Dr Dee recorded what Edward Kelley saw. The information was decoded using a large tablet of 49 one-inch squares which constituted the four Watchtower Tablets and the Tablet of Union.

The forty-eight Enochian Calls were also worked out using the same method.

The language was called Enochian because the dictating angel, Ave, was said to have originally given the tablets to Enoch. This is puzzling, did John Dee have the Tablet of Union before commencing his work with Kelley, or was the tablet the first thing the angels gave to them?

I remember hearing that John Dee had a book called something like 'Steneographia' which I guess was about codes? Enochian is puzzling, nevertheless.

The Golden Dawn took Dee's work and heavily modified it into a workable system of magic. It included ceremonial ritual, skrying and astral projection. It also included a four-handed chess game with divination as a subsystem. The basis for the Golden Dawn's Enochian system were the Four Great Watchtowers which were subdivided into the Four Elemental Tablets' and a smaller one called the Tablet of Union which is associated with the fifth element, Spirit.

And that is just about as far as I can go with this for now!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Ashkelon.

I thought I'd got this whole thing worked out. I even thought that I was just about ready to give the bible a read (as it the easiest to find Bronze Age text)

Then I realized that I hadn't a clue about who the Philistines were.

OK, well for me history starts with the Sumerians "The black-headed people", their culture became via a close cultural symbiosis with their neighbours, Akkadian.

 (2800 BC is the oldest, Akkadian text).

At the beginning of the second millennium BC, West Semitic people created kingdoms including and around the city of Mari. They 'take over' but still use Akkadian for writing. They compose the Enûma Eliš, they have the king Hammurabi -and plenty more!

The Akkadian word for them is Amurru, via the Old Testament we call them Amorites.

At the same time, related tribes invaded what is now Palestine.

Amorites who stayed up in the hills stayed as 'Amorites' whilst those who lived closer to the sea were called Canaanites from Akkadian Kinahhu (meaning: purple dye).

The North coast Canaanites were called Phoenicians by the Greeks and their cities were Tyre, Sidon and Byblos.

They had many colonies, including Cyprus.


All of these are Ugarit culture...I think.

The Romans called the Phoenicians at Carthage Poeni.

So any thing Ugarit found in Italy, Sicily or North Africa, gets labelled, Punic.

From the east of the Canaanites (or Phoenicians, or Kinahhu which ever name you fancy) territory there is another set of tribes known as Aramaeans, probably semi-nomadic pastoralists from northern Syria and northern Mesopotamia and around for a long time before 1200 BC. Naram-Sin of Akkad mentioned Aram as a place name, and a people or place of Aram was mentioned by in texts found in Mari written 1900 BC, and Ugarit in about 1300 BC.

From 1000 BC, Damascus was their central city and their language became the language of the Jews, of government and, for want of a better word, eclipsed Akkadian.

The Aramaic religion was considered to be 'heavily Hellenised' how or why, is another question.

But who are the Philistines?
The word may mean- migrant or invader...The Bible describes them as Israel's enemy.

I'm not going to get an answer.

The Philistines had five cities. Gaza, Askelon, Ashdod, Ekron and Gath, from the Wadi Gaza in the south to the Yarqon River in the north. Ashkelon was called Hieropolis or Bambyce.

Ashkelon was once:
...one of the five cities of the Philistines (Josh. 13:3; 1 Sam. 6:17). It stood on the shore of the Mediterranean, 12 miles north of Gaza. It is mentioned on an inscription at Karnak in Egypt as having been taken by king Rameses II., the oppressor of the Hebrews. In the time of the judges (Judg. 1:18) it fell into the possession of the tribe of Judah; but it was soon after retaken by the Philistines (2 Sam. 1:20), who were not finally dispossessed till the time of Alexander the Great. Samson went down to this place from Timnath, and slew thirty men and took their spoil. The prophets foretold its destruction (Jer. 25:20; 47:5, 7). It became a noted place in the Middle Ages, having been the scene of many a bloody battle between the Saracens and the Crusaders. It was beseiged and taken by Richard the Lion-hearted, and "within its walls and towers now standing he held his court." Among the Tell Amarna tablets are found letters or official despatches from Yadaya, "captain of horse and dust of the king's feet," to the "great king" of Egypt, dated from Ascalon. It is now called 'Askalan. [LINK]


.

Herodotus describes a temple at Ashkelon as the oldest temple to Aphrodite (Atargatis) in the world.

Another such temple as described by Herodotus 'is to be found in Cyprus'.

The god Hadad (Akkadian Adad) all fury, thunder and wind was Atargatis's consort.

Lucian (whose book I've yet to find) and who died in AD 180 described the temple of Atargatis. Fortunately, other people have copied and pasted so I can add to the copy and paste fest:
It was richly decorated, with a golden ceiling and doors, and inside it, the statue of Atargatis was also made of gold and displayed with Hadad's. While He was enthroned on two bulls, She sat on two lions (like Astarte), holding in one hand a scepter, in the other a distaff; around Her waist was a girdle that Lucian identifies with the cestus of Aphrodite, the magic belt that made Her irresistible when worn. Her crown was in the form of a tower (the mural crown, signifying possession or rule over a city) and rays were depicted behind Her head. This statue was covered with gems and jewels from all over, and in Her crown was a great red jewel that lit up the room. Lucian also says that no matter where you were in the room the statue's eyes always looked directly at you.
So much of this is confusing; I haven't got the picture yet.

But it is quite clear that in the Bible the Queen of Heaven, is erased in an effort to create a new religion based on a distant sky-god, and, to achieve this everything possible is done to appear not-Canaanite, and not Philistine.

For instance The rite of seething a calf in its mother's milk becomes never mix meat with dairy.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

The little dark house...


Bryn Celli Ddu is old, older than it looks. The post holes at Bryn Celli Ddu were dated from remains of pine charcoal as belonging to 4000 BC. So Bryn Celli Ddu was in use before the Neolithic period. Wooden posts (or stones) placed in line seem to be a Mesolithic feature.

But 4000 BC is usually considered to be the beginning of the Neolithic, a time of cattle, bread, barley and stew...farming and settlements.

The post holes are located some five yards beyond the entrance, and archaeologist Julian Thomas (1991) made the logical connection between them and the 'A' holes at Stonehenge:
"It seems likely that (they) record a series of observations upon the rising of some heavenly body in order to ascertain its standstill position."
Considering the moon, Clive Ruggles wrote:
"The only possibility is the northern minor limit of the moon, and while the adjacent posts are ranged on the correct side to record the position, say, of the midwinter full moonrise in years before and after the minor standstill, many other interpretations of these posts are doubtless possible."
Posts are difficult, one would like to know how tall they were and to know what else was contemporary with them. I'm reminded of the Mesolithic post holes covered over by Stonehenge car park.

During the Neolithic, a stone circle and henge were added; at the time when the ring of Stenness, and Maes Howe, and Newgrange (Meas Howe aligned to the midwinter setting sun, Newgrange aligned to rising sun of midwinter) were being constructed (around 3,000 B.C.) a henge was built, consisting of a circular array of 14 standing stones, surrounded by a ditch about 30 metres in diameter and 5 metres broad. There may have been a causeway across the henge to where the burial chamber now stands. The 1928 excavation revealed a pit at the centre of the henge in which a fire had been set. This had been covered over with a stone slab and a human ear-bone was found.


Bryn Celli Ddu also has a carved stone:


So a midsummer alignment is odd...

Lets turn the diagram around:

The entrance is north-east (as usual).
What are the differences and similarities between the sun's positions at midsummer, and midwinter?


Midsummer sunrise: 21 Jun 2011 4:55 am. Azimuth 47° degrees.
Midsummer sunset: 21:33 pm. Azimuth  311° degrees.

Midwinter sunrise: 21 December 2011. 08:16 am. Azimuth 128° degrees.
Midwinter sunset: 16:06 pm. Azimuth 232° degrees.

This means that the midwinter sun sets directly opposite to its sunrise.
The midsummer sun rise is in the north-east.
But there is no midwinter sun set or sun rise is within the north-east.

For the equinox:
Spring -21 Mar 2011.
Sunrise at 06:14 am. Azimuth 89°.
Sunset 18:27 pm. Azimuth 272°.

Autumn -22 September 2011.
Sunrise at 06:58 am. Azimuth 88°
Sunset at 19:12 pm. Azimuth 271°

So the equinox sun (which rises and sets in more or less the same place twice a year) may well shine into the tomb. I personally find the equinox time more interesting as far as sun and moon are concerned, especially the equinox full moon. The equinox full moon is always in the east, this year, the September full moon and sunrise are both in the north east, at practically the same azimuth -so, is it true to say, as a rule of thumb when the full moon rises in the same place as the sun, that marks the Autumn equinox?

And then there is Venus...with its eight year cycle.
When Venus is a morning star it rises in the east.

Using the chart for this year's autumn equinox, at the time of sunrise -about 7 am, I see that Venus morning star, is located at an azimuth of −83.325° (!). The chart says:
Azimuth in the above table follows the astronomical convention: zero degrees is South with positive angles toward the West and negative angles toward the East.
So that means an azimuth (when north =0) must be 97° degrees. One hour before, Venus is in the north east at 85° degrees. Each transition from an evening, to a morning star takes nine months, but it isn't very easy to find out where Venus actually is! Other than to say that Venus is in the same place once every eight years, possibly there are four out of eight years when Venus may shine through a light box.... and the chart I'm using doesn't make much sense to me.

As ever, the only way to really know is to be there and see.

And then there is the Venus transit, this takes place next year in June and wont happen again 121.5 years have passed, definitely a last chance to see.

But finally, regards the idea that a child conceived or born (I'm not sure which?) under the light of the morning star (or better still, of Venus and Mercury) will be super bright -like the star- comes I think from a mistaken understanding of how the Akkadians understood the connection between kingship and Venus. A king had to be the beloved of Ishtar to reign; everyone has a personal god, but kingship was more than the fate of an individual, it was the fate of the city. Hence the hieros gamos, the sacred wedding between the king and the goddess's representative, be it symbolic (a statue) or with a priestess. The rite continued in Carthage, where the king became Melqart and married Tanit. The idea of the fortunate star is played out in the story of the three kings following a star...

In Akkadian understanding, it is quite possible that the god may leave you bereft and at the mercy of ill winds and demons. A god is responsible for all good things that happen to one, for your good reputation, and personal power and health. But I don't see any record of the stars in the sky affecting which god chooses you, or the positions of the stars changing your intelligence or personality.

As I said before, the stars show the god's will. Celestial events can be predicted, sacrifices made, crisis averted. But the notion of celestial events affecting personality or what happened to an individual, via gravity of flux, didn't seem to be there...

I may well be very wrong about that, but astrology as we know it, seems to be born of a scientific age.