30 January 2007

Local Pagans, Church Goin' Folk

No one questions a wreathed vertical lamp post or wrapped VERTICAL STOP sign, or a wreath on a picket fence (Ménage à many) and wishful thinking, but wrapping a (horizontal) bridge with evergreen and ribbons? I had never seen this before. Perhaps a hint: In an article about a Neolithic village near Stonehenge in today's New York Times--

"In a teleconference conducted by the National Geographic Society, Dr. Parker Pearson said a circle of ditches and earthen banks at Durrington Walls enclosed concentric rings of huge timber posts — “basically a wooden version of Stonehenge,” he said.

"The excavations exposed not only the timber circle but also a roadway paved with stone leading to the Avon River, about 500 feet away, which was similar to a river road from Stonehenge. The evidence, Dr. Parker Pearson said, “shows us these two monuments were complementary” and that “Stonehenge was just one-half of a larger complex.”

"They said the road was paved with flint and led straight from the Durrington enclosure to the (River) Avon. A similar road at Stonehenge, discovered in the 18th century, is aligned on the midsummer solstice sunrise, the archaeologists noted, while the one at Durrington lines up with the midsummer solstice sunset. Similarly, the Durrington timber circle was aligned with midwinter solstice sunrise, while a giant stone monument at Stonehenge frames the midwinter solstice sunset.

"Venturing into the bumpy field of Stonehenge interpretation, Dr. Parker Pearson suggested that the durable stones of the better-known site were a memorial and final resting place for the dead, and the wood architecture at Durrington Walls symbolized the transience of life. People from all over the region, he said, probably came there to celebrate life and deposit the dead in the river for transport to the afterlife."

Hmmm? a paved flint road leading from a circle of stones to a river? seems like our "post with vessel". Does it equals a bridge from the stone circle to the river of the Afterlife/HereAfter? Do wrapped bridges over a river equal a wrapped (vulvic) Phallus (Bridge) over a rebirthing (vulvic) River? I can only tell you that this Land's mundane folk will (unconsciously) always be streaming wrappings about phalli to their last breath - OK, perhaps too large a cognitive leap - here's a related but even greater reach, good luck! - does no one discern our (USAs) famous "star-spangled banner" with its streaming "broad stripes and bright stars"?--

thank you, Francis Scott Key-
"Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?"

07 January 2007

"Sacred vessels" ATOP Posts, Page 14

In my hurry to change subjects to the "crown of thorns" motif, my transitional wreath/tires atop post page reminded me that I had skipped an important wreath/post category above - the flowery captial atop the column (meaning that we will probably skip the newer Antebellum phallic columns that line the vulvic entrance porches of the Southern United States, but may not skip the more esoteric Boaz and Jachin of Solomon's Temple)-

from our trusty Encyclopædia Britannica - "CAPTIAL, in architecture, the crowning member of a column or other columnar form, providing a structural support for the horizontal member (entablature) or arch above.

"Two kinds of simple stone capital have been found in the stepped-pyramid complex at Saqqārah (c. 2890–c. 2686 BC). One, a saddlelike shape, suggests bent reeds or leaves; the other, an upturned bell, derives from the papyrus plant. Later Egyptian architecture used capitals derived from such plant forms as the palm and lotus,

"Three widely used forms of the capital were created by the Greeks. The Doric capital consists of a square abacus surmounting a round form with an egg-shaped profile called the echinus, below which are several narrow, ridgelike moldings linking the capital with the column. The Ionic capital—probably related to the volute capitals of western Asia—has a tripartite design consisting of a pair of horizontally connected volutes inserted between the abacus and echinus - its echinus is carved with an egg-and-dart motif. The Corinthian capital is basically an abacus supported on an inverted bell surrounded by rows of stylized acanthus leaves.

"Design of capitals in medieval Europe usually stemmed from Roman sources. Cubiform, or cushion, capitals, square on top and rounded at the bottom, served as transitional forms between the angular springing of the arches and the round columns supporting them. Grotesque animals, birds, and other figurative motifs characterize capitals of the Romanesque period. At the beginning of the Gothic period, exotic features tended to disappear in favour of simple stylized foliage, crockets, and geometric moldings, particularly in France and England." from "capital." Encyclopædia Britannica 2006

Notes on motifs used on captials atop columns above - generally, feminine; all - of regeneration and immortality:
reeds - Wilkinson, 1992 - the "emblematic" reeds or "sekhet" is "a symbol of 'that which is produced by the fields'. . .the sekhet is thus sometimes personified as a goddess bearing offerings" such as "ducks, goslings, eggs" and other "'food and provisions' for the god."
papyrus - Posener, 1962 - "the papyrus became the vigorous symbol of the world in gestation;"
palm - Chevalier, 1969 - "palms. . are regarded univerally as symbols of. . . regeneration and immortality". - Walker, 1983 - "the palm branch signified the virility of the god, Osiris, in union with his mother-sister-wife, Isis. . . or Tammuz, united with his mother-bride, Ishtar". Wilkinson, 1992 - "the palm branch was the symbol of the Egyptian god, Heh, the personification of eternity."
lotus - Walker, 1983 - "Before creation, the Hindus said, all the world was golden lotus, 'Matripadma', the Mother Lotus, womb of nature. In Egypt, the great goddess was called the lotus from whom the sun was born at his first rising." Chevalier, 1969 - "the lotus is pre-eminently the archetypal sexual organ or vulva, a pledge of the continuity of birth and rebirth." Wilkinson, 1992 - "as a symbol of rebirth, the lotus was closely associated with the imagery of the [Egyptian] funerary cults."
eggs and darts - Walker, 1983 "its original meaning was an endless line or circle of men (darts) and women (eggs). . .the ancient sexual connotations are even more clearly portrayed in the Egyptian versions which alternated downward-pointing phallic symbols with narrow oval slits each topped by a diamond-shaped 'clitoris'."
inverted bell - we have discussed the vulvic bell in earlier blog.
acanthus leaves - Chevalier, 1969 - "the acanthus motif was used extensively in funerary architecture to designate the trumphant conquest of the trial of life and death, symbolised by the thorns on the leaf of the plant. As with thorns in general, the acanthus is the symbol of . . .virginity - and that too implies another sort of triumph."

References above:
Jean Chevalier et al, Penguin Dictionary of Symbols, 1969 London isbn 0140512543
Barbara Walker, Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects, 1988, Harper Collins San Francisco isbn 0062509233
Richard Wilkinson, Reading Egyptian Art, 1992, Thames & Hudson London isbn 0500277516

06 January 2007

Storied Monkey Riding Subconscious Tiger

I am more and more puzzled about how deeply we unquestioningly act out the drama within the archetypal, especially, per this blog, within the coital archetypal, while on the face of it, the act of sex, as only one example, in judeo- christian- islamic Abramic Yahweh- Jesus- Allah culture of the present patriarchal, always warring paradigm, is "sehr forbotten". But it is the sex, not a killing war, that is forbidden. Yet no one seems to have a problem hanging the symbolic vulvic wreath on the phallic door; nor a cowboy boot, tire or bottle atop a fence post - but strangely, this is done for no conscious reason whatsoever, just somehow makes "them" feel better. Perhaps, it's the "them" that's the rub. Here's a hint for the New Year from the NY Times - click to the full article:

from Dennis Overbye Free Will: Now You Have It, Now You Don’t New York Times, January 2, 2007

"Having just lived through another New Year’s Eve, many of you have just resolved to be better, wiser, stronger and richer in the coming months and years. After all, we’re free humans, not slaves, robots or animals doomed to repeat the same boring mistakes over and over again. As William James wrote in 1890, the whole “sting and excitement” of life comes from “our sense that in it things are really being decided from one moment to another, and that it is not the dull rattling off of a chain that was forged innumerable ages ago.” Get over it, Dr. James. Go get yourself fitted for a new chain-mail vest. A bevy of experiments in recent years suggest that the conscious mind is like a monkey riding a tiger of subconscious decisions and actions in progress, frantically making up stories about being in control."

04 January 2007

Missing Index for Walker's "Myths"

As a pilgrim intent on peeling back the layers of obfuscation (look it up!), one begins to discover Graves' "White Goddess", Briffault's "Mothers", Camphausen's "Yoni" and Barbara Walker's 1120 page opus, "Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets" isbn006250925X oft quoted in this blog. Yes, OK sometimes Barbara is "over the top", I know her motivation too, too well - but she, unlike many other writers' over heavy agendas, does in fact well cite her source material - extensively, and page by page - her book's genius. All the more strange then that her 1120 page book fails to offer any index whatsoever. Shame! shame! on the cheap editors of HarperCollins. No index until now- a free PDFd 40+ page index to Walker's amazing work by two amazing altruists, Cheryl Brooks and Beedy Parker -

In Beedy Parker's own words: "A comprehensive (40 page, 6400 entries) index to The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barabara G Walker, is available, by e-mail or as print copy (at cost of copying and postage), from Beedy Parker at beedyparker@gwi.net , (207) 236-8732, or 68 Washington St., Camden, ME, 04843. We view this as an ongoing project, subject to correction if errors are found or more entries should be made.

"The index was produced by Cheryl Brooks, a professional indexer, in 2003, at the instigation of B. Parker who was frustrated by not being able to retrieve many of the fascinating references in the Encyclopedia which do not have their own alphabetic entries. Barbara Walker herself, who was contacted, said that the publisher did not feel that an enormous index, added to an already large book (1124 pages) would make sense. So we undertook to do it ourselves and are now making it available to others.

"Barbara Walker's The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets (HarperCollins, 1983) is an extremely valuable reference, based on the author's wide reading in folklore and mythology. It documents, entry by entry, the fate and historic distortion of matriarchal religion by triumphant patriarchy in the last few thousand years. Reading it, slowly and methodically over the course of several years, was a revelation to me and put into place many of the seemingly senseless customs and rationalizations of creeds and beliefs of our major religions and our folkloric traditions. A recurring theme is the metamorphosis of feminine deities into masculine form, especially within the Christian and Judaic traditions.

"I understand that the WEMS, as we have come to call it, is not entirely respected in all academic circles. Barbara herself sees this as largely patriarchal backlash. It is also based on scholarly doubts about some of her sources (a marvelous bibliography of some 385 books), within the context of a battle for academic high ground in the shifting world of history of religion since the arrival of Women's Studies. Barbara Walker has the advantage and disadvantage of not being an academic, free to read as she pleases and judge for herself, as does the reader, but not held to scholarly proof and peer approval. She also has written on more esoteric subjects, tarot, sacred stones, women's rituals, and is a gifted and well known designer of graphic knitting patterns, all rather suspect to serious students. Her book The Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects (HarperCollins, 1988) provides an iconic adjunct to the WEMS, and it would appear that her work in researching women's religious history stems from her fascination with pattern and symbol, which are often keys to a hidden and repressed past, seemingly innocent.

"The book was welcomed with accolades in the 80's and has been on course reading lists and many bibliographies. The essays at particular entries are excellent, well written and often stand by themselves as thoughtful critiques of cryptic subjects. I hope that an index will make it even more useful as a reference to information which is not readily available to people, particularly women, who wonder how we got to where we are.

"My purpose in making the index available is actually as an environmentalist, because I see, as does Barbara Walker, our treatment of women, socially and within the great religions, as part and parcel of our destructive treatment of the "environment", as "Other", and disposable, by the dominant mind set. Feminine and Nature are often seen as similar and even the same, now and in the past, whether worshipped or abused. I do not think we can survive our abusive views and behavior. Shaking this domineering foundation at its historic and prehistoric roots could help bring us round to the respect, care and love of the natural world we are a part of, to true awe. I see this reference as a revolutionary resource."

from Beedy Parker, 02 January 2007

Again, the link to Barbara Walker's WEMS Index.


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