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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Nabonidus: Moon, Sun and Venus.
I've hidden almost all of my Sanctuary pages because I decided to study GCE archaeology and in the second year I'm supposed to do a project.

It would be the inner pattern of The Sanctuary...so I don't want to be accused of plagiarism if I copy and paste my own words from my own blog and someone checks the Internet and says, "You copied those words from a blog!"

Another word problem: I'm going to have to start using words such as materiality and virtuality.

Those words really do make my heart sink.

I see no need what so ever to add ity to a word.
Even actuality gets on my nerves now.

Meanwhile the costiality of a GCE is horrendous!

This morning I was on the vergiality of asking for my course fees back.
It isn't the course I find too expensive.
It is the exam fees.

£150 per exam = £600.

So why come in from the cold, why submit myself to a world in which Nabonidus is described as 'The first archaeologist'?

Simply digging something up does not make an archaeologist?
But he recorded digging it up!

OK, but there is a crucial difference between Nabonidus and modern archaelogists:  Nabonidus acted in accord with the tradition of the people whose structure he was disassembling!

The original intentions,  the offerings and prayers and possibly curses too- would have been disregarded by Nabonides if he had been an archaeologist.

Sounds harsh but archaeologists don't always take what we tend to dismiss as the mythology of a culture, especially the mythology associated with a site, seriously enough. Hard to do in Britain, but not so hard in Egypt...or Mesopotamia.

Basically Nabonidus was told in a dream that he should restore three temples. In doing so he got his work team to dig out the foundations. When they reached the foundation stone Nabonidus treated it with respect; anointing it with oil and wine, jewels and gold...and then adding his own foundation cylinder...that's what you did in those days!

If he had been the first archaeologist he would have put the foundation stone in a glass cabinet, with other foundation stones (arranged in chronological order of course). Got someone to write details of where the stone was found and briefly what the inscription says...and there it would remain.

Safe and pretty and basically dead.

Students would come to see it
Visitors would pass by....

He could write a paper or two.
Bet it would have been preferable to being ousted by Cyrus the Great though...

But me, why am I doing this?

I'm not sure.
Something about being able to speak the language?
Which means that I'm going to have to get over my ity problem pretty soon.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Midsummer full moon. The Sanctuary- Wessex.


There are two full moons in June this year:
June 2nd (or better still, June 3) and then 28 days latter June 30th., or July 1st.

The June 3rd moon rises around 20:30.
The June 30th moon at 18:30.



So I plan to be at The Sanctuary to see where the South East midsummer moon actually is, and to find out if it bears any correspondence what so ever to my so called 'solar-paths'.

First thing, I have to find the paths!

The south-east direction of the sky as seen from the center is I think, blocked by that hedge. But I'm hoping I'm wrong about that.

I'm also bringing lots of string in the best Knossos/Ariadne tradition- to use as lines to mark out the pathways.

to tell the truth I honestly believe that this task will defeat me...one thing I know for sure the concrete posts at the Sanctuary have very little similarity to the Cunnington's plans when I'm actually there..



I found an ariel photo of The Sanctuary...



.. and could just about see the 6 marker posts that create the heart of the structure...so, I may be able to work it out on the ground.

Hope so.




Here is the real thing .
I'm standing just in front of the burial marker, looking west towards the center.



In theory from where I'm standing in this photo, the post closest should be the east cardinal marker, and two 'solar paths' to my left and right.

Not easy to see!

And that central post marker doesn't look central.

Why is there such a discrepancy between the drawn plan and the concrete markers on the ground?

One more thing that is troubling me. The SW quarter of The Sanctuary has more post 'markers' than any other quarter. This marks the setting of the solstice winter sun and of course the midsummer moon set.

The sun is pretty regular, only the moon changes its position over a 19 year cycle.
So the sun wouldn't need lots of posts.
So the SW multi-posts were to mark the moon's alignment?

The midsummer moon sets there 4: 20 in the morning...
I really do not want to be there at that time!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Thaleia and The Palikoi.

Before Persephone-  in Ovid's retelling her name is Proserpine- other girls accidentally or purposefully, found their way into The Underworld. Some are goddesses such as cool and clever Inanna, who 'turned her ear to The Great Below' and followed the road that leads one way to offer comfort to her sister the Queen of the dead/ or to try and claim the throne of the Underworld for her self.

And selfless Geshtinanna (Lady of the grape vine) who chooses to spend half the year in hell so that her brother may not spend all his time down there.

Some who take the path of no-return are human, such as Alcestis, who out of either love or despair of her husband, chose to die in his place. Latter she was restored to life, but what she made of the other-place is not recorded. In the Tibetan tradition, someone who dies and then 'comes back' is called a delog and their stories are told as warnings to the living about the importance of a good life, whilst Alcestis's story is more about this life than the next, how a man who lets someone die in his place suffers more than if he had faced death himself.

And then there is the tale of Thaleia.

In Ovid's story we are given something of a travel guide to Sicily. The story begins in the center of the island, at lake Pergusa, site of a necropolis and temples to Demeter.

It ends in Syrakousa (SE Sicily).

On their journey, Pluto and Persepina pass over the deep lakes and sulphurous pools of Palici and it is here that I find another story of one more lost girl, called Thália. Her story preserved in Aeschylus' lost tragedy the Women of Aetna or Aetnaeae.

Her name Thaleia is in meaning similar to Proserpine: "proserpere" to emerge, in respect to the growing of grain. Thaleia means spring-time - "the Joyous, the Flourishing", from  thállein , to flourish, to be green, or from thalo- to bloom, so it is reasonable to guess that both Proserpine and Thaleia are the invisible,  underground force that makes plants grow.

Thaleia is the child of a god, of Hephaestus (god of black smiths), her mother isn't mentioned.

One bright day Thaleia was by the banks of the river Symethe (The Simeto: Sicilian: Simetu, Latin: Symaethus) which flows around the volcano Etna when she was spotted by Zeus who 'made love' to her in the form of an eagle...

In another story it is the god Andanus (of a thousand dogs) solar fire who gives her sons...other say it was her father,  Hephaestus.

Thaleia was so terrified of Hera, the wife of Zeus she begged  the ground to open up and swallow her.

She got her wish, but nine months latter, as she gave birth, the earth once more opened and twin boys emerged:  The Palikoi.

Some call them demons, the Greeks called them The Dioscori, another name is the Kabiri (of Samothrace).

Nothing else is said of poor Thaleia, but all volcanic soils are enriched by her...Her story stops there whilst her sons are another subject all together.

Thaleia's children lived under a lake that reeks of naphtha described by Aeschylus as 'the boiling lake'. The lake may well have dried up, but about seventy years ago there were, at its center, twin Geysers. The naturalist Francesco Ferrara described there being right in the middle of the lake two big jets, which blow the water more than two feet in height. Birds did not come close to Lake Palici ¸even the animals refuse to drink its water. But some animals too thirsty to ignore the water are found dead on the shores of the lake.

Rather like Lake Avernus once described by Virgil in The Aeneid as the entrance to the underworld. Birds were said to avoid it for fear of its noxious fumes, hence its name.

Strabo, Geography 6. 2. 9 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) wrote :
"The territory of the Palikoi (Palici) [in Sicily] has craters that spout up water in a dome-like jet and receive it back again into the same recess."
It is shame if it is no longer there, but I think it has gone.

The sanctuary of The Palikoi is at the Rocchicella Hill, in the Caltagirone River valley south of the Plain of Catania in Sicily, close by is another temple to The Dioscuri.

I'm always going to be stuck with this quote from Eusebius  about a connection between Samothrace and Britain...I truly doubt that I'll ever work it out!


Worse Strabo says that in an island near Britain, Ceres and Proserpina were worshipped with the same rites as at Samothrace.
Naptu.
The curious thing is this lake (this long gone lake...). was linked to a different, non-volcanic fire.
Naft. Old Persian.
There is no trace of Old Persian or Akkadian in the name of the lake or area as far as I can see, but the qualities of Naphtha- like a mixture of petrol and gas- were well known to the 'Persians' .

Mysterious water that could burst into flame.
Sacred fire to purify.

The boat building Phoenicians had more than a little in common with the Persians, and the Phoenicians it is said, believed the Kabiri to be present in St Elmo's fire. Sicily has more than a passing connection to the Carthaginians.

In this story of Thaleia, the The Palikoi/ Dioscori are earth born fire-spirits. Diodorus Siculus believed that the water thrown up by the twins under the lake was boiling hot:
"Now the water that is thrown up gives the impression of being boiling hot, but this is not known for certain because of the fact that no man dares touch it"
But, other than being sorry that the geysers have gone, this story leaves me with many questions...at the moment my mind keeps returning to the odd tale about Nergal and Erra- how they are one and the same person- twins? And the famous Erra and Ishum story, where Ishum is a fire god. Then there is the connection between Nergal and Mars and Nergal and Apollo.

Finally Apollo's connection with noxious gasses and oracles...

To be continued..

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Internal structure of Woodhenge.

Woodhenge may well be based on the lozenge pattern not just a cross-shaped solar pattern.

 Found at Bush Barrow.

My first attempt to work out a structure was based on the solar pattern alone.

I'm pretty sure that there is more going on.

Playing 'join the dots' with Woodhenge is bound to be deceptive though.
There are so many post holes.

And the way they appear to be at the actual site, is no longer how they were. I mean the concrete posts are no longer correctly positioned.

Use the Cunnington's original plan of the site.
Photographs taken to show post positions will not be accurate.

Possibly two post-holes represent just one post in some places, same with The Sanctuary. Both sites were used for a long time, with old posts being replaced and new holes close to the older ones, may have been dug.

I started by drawing lines, hoping to find a pattern.





Woodhenge 'pathways' based on lozenge. and 'solar cross'  design.
The four solar paths are still there, and as at The Sanctuary something happens at the edges to make the structure more complex. At The Sanctuary it only seems to happen in the SW quadrant. The pattern becomes more complex, it branches out, one post between two.

Found at South Lowestoft, Suffolk.
What else, other than sun and moon?
The Pleiades are just one of the favorite contenders for an alignment within timber-circles..as is Deneb (the north pole of 3000 BC?) and a part of Cygnus...but I don't have a sky map for 3000 BC.

So how would this 'lozenge' pattern work?
Some people think that the Bush Barrow artifact may have been used as a sky-map, a logical extension of the cross (based on solar and lunar positions).

I don't recall much of a sense of circular paths when standing at Woodhenge. Is it not possible that the posts were linked by screens woven between the posts to make corridors, entrances and exits?

There is evidence for 'exclusion' at The Sanctuary and Avebury, for hiding the monuments from view until the last moment ( a bend in the avenue, or the use of hills). Hiding and making secret are as likely themes as the lozenge and solar-paths.

Having spent quite a few hours looking at Maud Cunnington's plan of Woodhenge I am now permanently cross eyed!

But in the end I found a pattern.