As with many of my posts I am writing as I'm thinking.
I begin with guess work.
And leave with more questions than answers.
- Instant translocation.
Slipgates, so I was told by Paul Jaquays, were 'invented' by Sandy Petersen.
Instant transmission from here to the beyond
Is accomplished by instant death.
This is evidenced by a consummation in flame.
One theory of how to accomplish teleportation in real life requires two portals: the first copies and then disintegrates you, the second portal reassembles: weaves- or laser prints- you.
This idea embodies the modern view that you...are the emergent property of wet-ware brain, flesh and bone. 'You' is an interface between reality and perception.
Can't say that I like it..
What I'm after here is the point where and when instant death came to mean translocation to a better place. And such a sacrifice as beneficial to the whole community.
Along with Robertson Smith, I believe that a ritual is always older than any associated myth. But often, myth is all we have.
Did it coincide with an idea of an animating breath of life:
Before Ruarch became Pneuma became Spirit.
The myth of Enlil and Ninlil is Sumerian, the lil part of their names represents wind as an animating force. Perhaps it echoed the force of conception rather than the breath of life.
The lightning bolt of orgasm that causes, as Kramer puts it, to flow 'the water of the heart'.
I seem to remember Walter Burkert making a linguistic connection between the word for lightning and Eleusis, suggesting that to be struck by lightning was an instant transportation. Not to the amnesia-ridden underworld, but directly to the Elysian Fields.
[[Pure I come from the pure, Queen of those below the earth;
and Eukles and Eubouleus and the other gods and daimons; For I boast that I am of your blessed race.
I have paid the penalty on account of deeds not just; Either Fate mastered me or the Thunderer, striking with his lightening.
Now I come, a supplicant, to holy Phersephoneia,
that she, gracious, may send me to the seats of the blessed.]]
Again the metaphor of sudden, catastrophic destruction.
It doesn't go away...
Suicide bombings continue this core idea.
As with Moloch- the sacrifice is a rite of intensification- a terrible sacrifice erroneously justified as a legitimate means of helping one's society.
Year One of the French Revolutionary Calendar.
It cannot work...
Society creates rules to moderate and to utilize the impulse for total annihilation. The energy that ultimately fuels the furnace of 'Moloch' is dread and threat.
Continued as 'satanic panic' as desire for purification of society from the terrifying others...
The terrible sacrifice is placed in a functional context.
The purpose of the sacrifice is always altruistic.
The reality is hell on earth.
'To cause to ascend'
Translocation in smoke..from the alter to the unseen god.
The Greek ritual of ὁλοκαυτεῖν
An offering to the hero
Beyond the realm of the living
A concept intimately bound to Lugalirra/Nergal
Of human and god.
Two in one.
Yet kings were not cremated alive.
The breath of god
The breath of life causes the flame to consume..
By our time
Meanings begin to fracture...
We search Homer for clues:
Perimedes and Eurylochus restrained the sacrificial victims while I drew my sharp sword from its sheath, and with it dug a pit two foot square, then poured a libation all around to the dead, first of milk and honey, then of sweet wine, thirdly of water, sprinkled with white barley meal. Then I prayed devoutly to the powerless ghosts of the departed, swearing that when I reached Ithaca I would sacrifice a barren heifer in my palace, the best of the herd, and would heap the altar with rich spoils, and offer a ram, apart, to Teiresias, the finest jet-black ram in the flock. When, with prayers and vows, I had invoked the hosts of the dead, I led the sheep to the pit and cut their throats, so the dark blood flowed.
Then the ghosts of the dead swarmed out of Erebus – brides, and young men yet unwed, old men worn out with toil, girls once vibrant and still new to grief, and ranks of warriors slain in battle, showing their wounds from bronze-tipped spears, their armour stained with blood. Round the pit from every side the crowd thronged, with strange cries, and I turned pale with fear. Then I called to my comrades, and told them to flay and burn the sheep killed by the pitiless bronze, with prayers to the divinities, to mighty Hades and dread Persephone. I myself, drawing my sharp sword from its sheath, sat there preventing the powerless ghosts from drawing near to the blood, till I might question Teiresias.’ link...
The blood seeps into the ground to animate the dead.
What then is carried by the flame?