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Sunday, 1 September 2013

The Celtic lion, images of nobility.

The past is a puzzle.

The word Nationality, contains the notion that we are of a certain disposition and quality as a result of our place of birth.

The Greek myth of the first king of Athens, makes this manifestly clear; King Erichthonius was born of the soil (autochthonous) and raised by the goddess Athena.

Not just some guy...

Not a bald headed bully with a bigger army than you!
Nor was he good at politics, networking and publicity able to get sufficient funds and backing...

King Eric had divine authority.
A theme that has followed many kings.

It was once believed that the first king of Britain was Brutus the Trojan.
Nationality, what ever it is
Matters.

The first thing I noticed as a non-historian reading history, and as a non-archaeologist studying archaeology, was that 'Persia' has gone missing..from our 'Western' accounts of 'Western' life.

It gets worse.
Europe does not exist in 'our' narratives about the past.

The word 'Indo-European' is just about as good as it gets for any kind of recognition that people lived and loved, worshiped and traded in that land mass above Greece, and Egypt..

And the word Celt, the name for those barbarians above the river Po is another kind of problem..Some people don't beleive in the 'Celts' at all.

Besides which, the word is too convenient.

Celt is supposed to mean axe.

These Jade axes on the left were made in the 5th and 4th millennium BC and found in Mainz Gonsenhiem.
The term "celt" came about from what was very probably a copyist's error in many medieval manuscript copies of Job 19:24 in the Latin Vulgate Bible, which became enshrined in the authoritative Sixto-Clementine printed edition of 1592; however the Codex Amiatinus, for example, does not contain the mistake. In the passage: Stylo ferreo, et plumbi lamina, vel certe sculpantur in silice (from Job 19:24, "Let it indeed be carved with an iron pen on a plate of lead or in stone"), the certe ("indeed") was spelled as celte by mistake, which would have to be the ablative of a non-existent third declension noun celtes or celtis, the ablative case giving the sense "with/by a celt".From Wiki.
The reason why the Celts are so called, goes back to  Hecataeus of Miletus, the Greek geographer, in 517 BC. writing about a people living near "Massilia" (Marseille) in France.
According to the testimony of Julius Caesar and Strabo, the Latin name Celtus (pl. Celti or Celtae) and the Greek Κέλτης (pl. Κέλται) or Κελτός (pl. Κελτοί) were borrowed from a native Celtic tribal name.Wiki.
The imperative to gather tax creates countries, and a language creates a national identity.But the truth is, people trade, mix, share, love and fight with one another. Ideas and artifacts do not respect nationality or borders.

This bowl, probably from Athens, was found in a German grave ( Ludwigsburg) dated 500 BC. It pre-dates the famous attack by 'Celts' on the shrine at Delphi by about 200 years.


It was precious to who ever owned it, for it had been repaired with bronze and gold leaf.

Contemporary with, and also much older than the bowl, wooden figures such as these were carved and possibly painted and dressed


An Irminsul (Old Saxon, probably "great/mighty pillar" or "arising pillar") was a kind of pillar which is attested as playing an important role in the Germanic paganism of the Saxon people...
Read The Road To Hell.
These figures were made of oak and found at Ostholstein. The male figure is 2.75 m in height, the female 2.3 meters. The trees felled to make them, 400 BC.

To go back much, much further:
The lion-man found in the Hohlenstein-Stadel cave and beleived to be 32,000 years old


So similar to the Guennol Lioness, a 5000-year-old limestone statue found in Iraq.


Why is it a female lion and not a male?
All those muscles, it doesn't look feminine.

Well...perhaps not, but the omega symbol is used on Elamite boundary stones to represent the Goddess of birth; the omega as the symbol of the womb.



The omega is on this lion's back.





In exactly the same way as the Goddes Hathor has the omega.



Hathor was once Sekmet the lioness (who was stopped from destroying all humanity by being tricked into drinking red beer, and getting so drunk that she couldn't be bothered). ~Link.

After that she took a cow form and stopped being quite so fierce.

The Goddess and the lion.
In this picture, Inanna controls the lion, which seems to be an emblem of destruction. The jaws of death, and the inevitable destruction of everything by time....



The same image of a woman subduing a lion, with Inanna now portrayed as either a saint, or the Virgin Mary at Chartres cathedral, becomes La Force in the tarot.



The lion, in Mesopotamian iconography, started out as the lion-bird (lightning bird) Imdagud.

Here is is portrayed attacking the Bull of Heaven..
The heat of summer kills everything, is one interpretation.
Leo as a summer constellation and Taurus rising at the equinox (no longer the case due to the precession of the equinox, but you get the picture).



The Bull of Heaven is more an underworld entity really, but our culture is convinced that people in the past believed in a triple world, so the paradox of the Bull of Heaven as husband to the Queen of the Underworld is usually glossed over.

Here is a Hittite image of bull-men and lion-men from The Herald's Wall relief Carchemish.



Do the bull men protect us from the lion men?
The lion man may be described as an Ugallu (big deamon) in the Akkadian/Old Babylonian language.





But via mystery religions, the lion man becomes something more,  Zurvan (time). Link. Zervan is the Plenum void, the space of creation and also the ultimate destroyer

Kali.


Who seems to become Mahakala (maha means great, and kala is time.
Mahakala is an 'oath bound protector', once a terrible blood drinking monster, now subdued by Padmasambhava.






The lion-person changes sex and meaning during its 32, 000 years history as a symbol. That is to be expected. But that a symbol can last so long and maintain so much meaning, is truly amazing.

Symbols gather other symbols around them as they travel.
And they travel far and wide.
The core symbol references the experience of lion.

Uniting the lion and human body is practically a magic spell...or one of the oldest words we can recognise.