29 June 2006

"Sacred Vessels" BENEATH Posts, Page Six

Above, l-r: Buddhist hand-bell; Schoolmarm's Bell c. 1930; bottle of Courvoisier; Capital Building, Denver, Colorado; Bodnath Stupa, Kathmandu

Now we turn our rancher's boot atop the fence post on its head, tip the wine glass upside down-

From Robert Beer, 1999 “The ritual hand-bell or vajra ghanta (Tib. rdo rje drilbu) ... [incorporate] the two main ritual [Buddhist] implements that symbolise the perfections of method or skilful means (vajra), and wisdom or emptiness (ghanta). As a sexual symbol, the hollow 'lotus' of the bell represents emptiness as the vagina, and the prongs of the vajra - symbolising the four nadi which emanate from the 'jewel-wheel chakra' at the tip of the male sexual organ- represent form or appearance. When paired [ed: separated], the vajra is held in the right hand, and the bell in the left, representing the inseparable union of method and wisdom. Their union is the coincidence of great bliss and compassion as pure emptiness and form.”

citation: Robert Beer, The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs, Shambhala (1999) ISBN: 157062416X, page 243

Symbolism for the stupa

18 June 2006

"Sacred Vessels" ATOP Posts, Page Five

From Linda O'Keeffe, 1996 "In 16th-century Venice, shoes called chopines (right above) placed women's feet on platforms that frequently rose to unprecedented heights of 30 inches or more. Venetian husbands reputedly introduced the heavy wooden chopines to prevent their wives from straying.

"Manchu women (left above, late 19th century) with unbound feet wore shoes on pedestals to imitate the mincing "Lotus foot" step admired by Chinese men. The stilt-like bases were made from sewn layers of starched cotton."

Citations: Words and photos from "Shoes - A Celebration of Pumps, Sandals, Slippers & More" by Linda O'Keeffe, Workman Publishing, New York 1996

"Sacred Vessels" ATOP Posts, Page Four

Above: "Roger Federer became the third player in the Open era to capture four successive Wimbledon tennis championships" -NYTimes.com, July 11, photo: Gerry Penny/European Pressphoto Agency

Below: Geoff Ogilvy kisses his "Loving Cup" trophy, US Open, June 18th, photo: Barton Silverman/NY Times

From Silver Gallery- "Loving Cup Trophy acquired its name from the English. In hopes of enhancing the chances of good crops or health, it was customary to sip spiced beverages from a bowl passed from person to person. Each would kiss the vessel which came to be known as the Loving Cup."

(In case, you thought I was making this stuff up.)

16 June 2006

Evening Koans

The flowered tree is not well hidden.
That shorn, stands between.

Avoid their noisy markings.
Our Paraclete, quiet Chaos.

14 June 2006

Speak! O! Sphinx!

It would be well if the males' compensations - for their lack of connection with Nature; for any obvious continuation beyond death (as women have through birth giving); and for fear of life itself - would simply stop with his invented symbols, written language, wars and religions - BUT he does not stop there - instead he immediately HIDES, whatever his latest invented compensation, inside a somewhat literal inversion of the “Pandora’s Box” mythos.

That is, the male hides that latest paradigm – enclosing all his evil inside the Box - and then he EXCLUDES Pandora and her sisters from seeing what new inventions are inside His SPECIAL box. If we apply the logic - "if smoke, then fire" – that is, if the evidence is first observed that there is now a blatant exclusion of women from the latest male construct, then we may conclude that there is a new paradigm defining one of man’s latest false compensations against death and his fear of living.

As possible examples-
If no female teachers; then education and alphanumeric systems are a false male compensation.
If no female priests; then religions, abstract belief systems are. . . .
If no female doctors; then study of medicine and life sciences are. . .
If no female vote; then government, borders, land boundaries are. .
If no female lawyers; then law systems, corporations, last wills and testaments
If no female soldiers; then wars and implements of war,
If no female inquisitors; then sin, guilt, evil, Devils
If no female competitors; then team sports, races, race cars
If no actresses (kabuki, Shakespeare, Greek); then theater, politics
If no female brotherhoods; then secret societies, fraternities
If no female name givers (nominclators); then naming names, patronyms (male surnames), sacred divine names (“in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost”); honorifics, titles, magic incantations– (cf: Egypt: Hekau below.)

In all, one aweful Tool Box of futile and failed wonders.

Interestingly, one learns with little study that most or all of these constructs mentioned above are not even male inventions, but rather direct robberies from Pandora- as example, from RC Camphausen: “incantations or magic words = the Egyptian “hekau” (from Hekat - Egyptian toad-headed goddess of birth) comes from the Thracian Goddess Hecate (“older than Zeus and Osiris”) who is the archetypal high goddess of magic (her name means “Extending Her Will from Afar”). In this sense then, perhaps “Words of Power” (hekau/magic) do not necessarily/always have to be male-made.”

13 June 2006

More "Sacred Vessels" high ATOP Posts

There appear to be four coital motifs which meander in and out of popular and sacred culture - this oversimplification is somewhat new ground, so we are inventing language/names which will no doubt change as we blog along-

a] "trophy" - more or less equal parts male and female "attributes" which we see above, ie "shoe-in-post"; "Holy Grail"; "bell/ghanta",;

b] "holly wreath" - the vulvic circle made up of phallic parts, ie "crown of thorns"; "ring of keys"

c] "flowered rod" - the phallic wrapped with various female "attributes", probably our anathemic "asher'ah" object.

d] "axis mundi" - more a virtual "pole" around which dynamically turns the "feminine" aspect, ie female earth turning on its male axis or the ziggurat or "Tower of Babel" winding up vertically to the heavens

This post begins the first category- "trophy", then follow through the other three motifs.

From ARAS Online: "The ankh or crux ansata - the sign of life - has the form of a looped knotted cross. As a syllable, this hieroglyph is the root of no less than twenty four words. Of these, Brugsch (cited by Giedion) lists fourteen which retain the original sense of the root: to have existence, to renew existence, to will into existence. Other meanings include those of 'eye' and 'ear' which divert in meaning to that of opening. Winthius (cited by Giedion) observes that the picture of an opening or an eye is recognized by some ethnologists as a picture of the vulva."

"Giedion believes that the Egyptian sign of life may be related to the prehistoric fertility symbols of vulva and phallus, the upper part corresponding to the Aurignacian symbol for the vulva, combined with an abstraction of the phallus, yielding in combination a symbol of androgyny, of the eternal renewal of procreation, of the magic power inherent in the union of male and female."

"In early Christian times, the ankh was modified by Egyptian Christians into the Coptic cross."

credit: ARAS Online [online archive] Record No. 2Ac.008, New York: The Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism; available from www.aras.org; accessed 15 June 2006.

Citations mentioned by ARAS:
The Eternal Present: The Beginnings Of Art.
S.Giedion, Pantheon Books. Bollingen Series XXXX\V 6.1, 1962. pp.120,231,233.

The Eternal Present: The Beginnings of Architecture
Giedion, S. Pantheon Books, 1964., pp.89-93.

More about the related popular images of Christmas stocking /candy cane and wine glass - or do you already see where we are headed??

Who is Asher'ah? Part One: The Goddess

Photos above: left, Asher'ah, detail from an ivory box from Minat al-Bayda' near Ras Shamra, Syria, c. 1300bce; in the Louvre, Paris; right, Astarte, with Lotus blossum, Canaan, 3000-2000bce; Israel Museum(IDAM), Jerusalem - see John Singer Sargent's wonderful Astarte in Boston Library.

Against who did the Yahwist prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures rail (Judges 6.25-32; 1 Kings 16.32,33, Ezekiel 8.1-18)? And what was her wooden aniconic image which they repeatedly "broke, cut, hewed, burned and uprooted" (2 Kings 23; 2 Chron 31.1,34.4,7)? First, the goddess - Part Two: The Object.

Drawing from the several citations in the hopefully "neutral" Encyclopædia Britannica , here is what we can easily learn of Asherah (aka- Astarte of Phoenicia, Ishtar of Akkadia, Inanna of Sumeria, Aphrodite of Cyprus, Hathor/Isis of Eygpt, cf: Tara of present day Tibet ). (Why say "neutral"? - a] remember that history, as well as religions and law were written by yesterday's victors and that b] today's fundamentalist believers "of the Book[s]" still avoid any competitive mythos - then, it is best, if possible, to find neutral playing fields.)

From the EB: Asher'ah (or Ashtoreth) was an ancient West Semitic goddess and consort of the supreme god, El (cf: Beth-El). Her full name was probably "She Who Walks in the Sea," but she was also called "Holiness," and, occasionally, Elath, "the Goddess." According to the texts discovered at Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra, Syria) in 1929, by a French archaeological mission under the direction of Claude F.A. Schaeffer, Asher'ah was the mother of 70 gods by her consort, El. She is also called simply Qudshu, "Holiness." Asherah is associated with the sea and with serpents. As mother goddess she was widely worshiped throughout Syria and Palestine, although she was frequently paired with Baal, who often took the place of El in practical cult; as Baal's consort, Asherah was usually given the name Baalat.

Many Ugaritic texts reveal an older Canaanite mythology. A tablet names the Ugaritic pantheon with Babylonian equivalents; El, Asherah of the Sea, and Baal were the main deities. These texts not only constitute a literature of high standing and great originality but also have an important bearing on Old Testament studies. It is now evident that the patriarchal stories in the Old Testament were not merely transmitted orally but were based on written documents of Canaanite origin, the discovery of which at Ugarit has led to a new appraisal of the Old Testament.

According to the Hebrew Bible, Asherah and Astarte were both worshiped in Israel during the first half of the 1st millennium bce, and Hebrew inscriptions attest to a pairing of Yahweh and Asherah. Up to the time of King Josiah's reform (621 BC) there was a women's cult of Asherah (under qedeshim auspices [consecrated for fertility practices], according to 2 Kings 23:7) in the Jerusalem [ed: aka Solomon's] Temple. The qedsha was one of a class of sacred prostitutes found throughout the ancient Middle East, especially in the worship of the fertility goddess Astarte (Ashtoreth). These prostitutes, who often played an important part in official temple worship, could be either male or female. Although Israelite prophets and reformers repeatedly denounced sacred prostitution, the early Israelites seem to have adopted the local Canaanite rites, which they apparently practiced publicly until the reform of King Josiah about 622 BC.

Asherah's Hebrew devotees considered her the chief wife of Yahweh, even as she was the wife of El, head of the Canaanite pantheon, for in the Bible El is identified with Yahweh. But Josiah eliminated the cult of Asherah, and official Judaism has since then left no place for other gods, which meant the elimination of every goddess. Popular religion, to be sure, persisted in the female fertility principle until the destruction of the Temple in 586 BC. In Judaean excavations Astarte figurines were found in private homes down to that time. Further purification of the Hebrew religion, which was intensified by the catastrophe of 586, put an end to the practice of pagan fertility rites, including the use of goddess figurines. Without goddesses there could be no sexual activity in the pantheon, and thus Judaism has developed without a divine mother figure.

Copyright © 1994-2001 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

09 June 2006

Bush's "Marriage Amendment"

Mr. Bush, the good Christian leader of the free world is at it again this week, to get out the vote this fall among his Christian "core". For the second time, he uses the word "marriage" with the word "gay" - as such oxymorons brings out the lexic folks en masse. For us, dyslexics, "civil union" are the right words. Both sides should put down the word "marriage", especially Christians who rarely read their Book and have no idea of what their founding "father" has been said to have said about "marriage"- for your interest:

First, Christianity was to have been a high speed, short term, SINGLE generational (Matt. 24.15-21, 34) escape strategy from the tainted planet Earth for the “chosen” people - no marriage assembly required - we would be "as the angels" (Matt. 22.30). The shackles of family and earthly concerns were to be thrown down (Matt. 10.34-37, 1 John 1.15-17). St. Paul suggested celibacy (1 Cor. 7.1-7). Jesus recommended much, much worse (Matthew 19.11,12)- "Not all men can receive this precept, but. . .there are eunuchs, who have made themselves eunuchs, for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it." Ouch! John the Revelator allowed that the 144,000 saints who surround Christ “the Lamb” on the heavenly Mount Sion “were not defiled with women” (Revelation 14.4). Defiled by women?

"Christian marriage" is the oyxmoron.

04 June 2006

Why are the boots on fence posts? Answer:

We are considering symbols winding in and out of the sacred and mundane. What motivates the rancher to place boots on fence posts? Do you see any similarity between the boots atop the posts and two images that follow? - the shoe-WITH-a-post stiletto and the yonilingam - Shiva's "post" and Pavarti's "shoe"?

Perhaps some background is helpful - Freud suggests that the shoe is the symbol of female genitalia ("Symbolism in Dreams", in Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Tr. and Ed. James Strachey, Hogarth Press, London 1963, vol.XV, p.158 ). And that the foot is a penis substitute (Freud, "Symbolism in Dreams", in op.cit., pp.155-6). So, does the rancher, consciously or unconsciously, create a coital symbol - vagina atop penis - down miles of country lanes?

But to my growing right-wing Protestant "family", physicians that went on to become psychiatrists were Anathema, little better than the Devil Incarnate. Very well.  Let's turn to 3000 year old Holy Writ - where the feet, legs and thighs are also used as equivalent phallic "euphemisms" to avoid mentioning the extra frightening name of the male reproductive organ itself (just as the Hebrews avoided the name of their monodeity) - as example - after Moses received his divine commission at the Burning Bush to go before the Pharaoh seeking the release the Hebrews, the same all-knowing "Lord" tries to kill Moses because he turns out to be uncircumcised (Ex. 4.24ff). But his quick thinking wife, Zipporah, cuts off the foreskin of her son and touches Mose's "feet" with the bloody foreskin, saying "Truly you are a bridegroom of blood by circumcision to me!" So the Lord spares Moses' life. Commentary says (NRSV 3rd ed), "'Feet', a euphemism for the genitals (see Isa 7.20)". (Never heard this story, I'll bet.)

OK, Isaiah 7.20 reads "On that day the Lord will shave. . .the head and the hair of the feet, and will take off the beard as well" refering to shaming of prisoners. Shave the "hair of the feet"? Or Jacob (Israel) tells son, Joseph, to make an oath by putting "your hand under my thigh and promise to deal loyally and truly with me" (Genesis 47.29). Similar "euphemisms" are used in Greek myths of a birth-giving male Gods, such as Kumarbi begats the the West Wind from his "thigh" or Zeus who gives birth to Dionysus from his "thigh" / aka penis.

The words, "testament" and "testify" come from the same root meaning as "testicle" - that is, one made an oath by placing your hand over something more precious than your mother's grave! From the knee (penis??) or "genu" comes "genuflect" - to bend the knee in worship. YHWH's covenant with Abraham, father of the Hebrews and Arabs, needed something more than a flexible penis, it required an oath signed with the blood of circumcision (Gen. 17.9-14) - 99 year old Abraham, his 13 year old son, Ishmael and all his male slaves were so "covenanted" on the same day. (Menstrual envy is here suspected by some scholars.)

So, if foot = penis, then boot = vagina. Atop a country fence post?

Still not convinced? Freud and Holy Writ not enough? On the back cover of Barbara Walker's book "The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets" isbn 006250925x, she asks "Why was Cinderella's glass slipper so important to the Prince?" Her answer, pg 168- "Beautified with her new riches, Cinderella won the Prince . . . Their union was symbolized by fitting her foot into a shoe, a common sexual allegory." Need more? From Robert Graves, "Greek Myths: 1" paper isbn 0140010262, pg 94 "Demeter's ecstatic initiates [celebrating the Eleusinian ('advent') Mysteries - 1500bce to 396ad] symbolically consummated Demeter's love afair with Zeus in an inner recess of the shrine by working a phallic object up and down a woman's top-boot;" this being "the temple of she who rages in a lurking place." Yet more? Charles Panati's Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things, Harper 1987, isbn 0060960930, pgs 26,27 "Today old shoes are tied to newlyweds' car and no one asks why. Originally, shoes were only one of many objects tossed at a bride to wish her a bounty of children. In fact, shoes were prefered over the equally traditional rice and wheat because from ancient times the foot was a powerfully phallic symbol [Ed: Panati fails to state the obvious converse - that the shoe was therefore a powerful vulvic symbol]. In several cultures, particularly among the Eskimos, a woman experiencing difficulty in conceiving was instructed to carry a piece of an old shoe with her at all times."

Does a fence post within a boot then equals "hard core xxx" farmer symbolism? Makes certain fetishes easier to understand. More comments to come on other "sacred vessels" high atop (or beneath) poles in this obsession to discover the proletariat's "Asher'ah".


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