25 April 2016

Membrum virile, membrum muliebre

"To the primitive, all straight lines signify the membrum virile, the phallus; whatever is circular or sickle-shaped is the membrum muliebre, the vagina.  However unlikely this statement may appear, it is our only way of gaining insight into primitive thought; indeed into the basic meaning of the whole spiritual culture, their legends, songs, cults, arts, and magic." citation: J. Winthuis' Das Zweigeschlechterwesen bei den Zentralaustraliern and anderen Völkern, Leipzig (1928), page 12.

Though we would expand on J. Winthuis' "lines" - to include posts, poles and every pointing is a Penis ["thumbs up", especially, counts];  that every point (dot, spot, star, bindi) is a Penis.  And on J. Winthuis'  "circular or sickle-shaped" - that every encircling wrapping, binding and shroud is a Vulva; and every wrap (strap, strip, scroll, rope and ribbon) is a Vulva.  [including their alphabetic shapes, of course: the downward "P" and the double entendre "V"] 

To this we would remind the modern - "the unconscious sees a penis in every convex object and a vagina or anus in every concave one." [Oxford University Press, Companion to the Body "Genital Symbolism"]

from S. Giedion, The Eternal Present, Bollingen, Random House, 1962, pages 226, 227, 230 - "Although [prehistory's] symbols of the sex organs are wide spread and easily recognizable, the symbol for continuing procreation, for the two-in-one. . .is wrapped in obscurity." "The symbol of the two-in-one can be expressed by a conjunction of male and female symbols, even by a juxtaposition of the two symbols." "M. C. Burkett, for instance, shows a short series of representations of the human figure as developed in eastern Spanish [rock] art which become similar to the letter of the Greek alphabet. But what do they actually mean? What is the meaning of the strongly defined circular form corssed by a vertical line which comes so close to the form of the letter ϕ?  Is it really only an abstract human figure? Can it not just as well be [*a coital] symbol?  Other signs point to the possibility of this as the highest fertility symbol: generator of life, with life endowed." (Ed: *Giedion uses "androgynous" rather than "coital", but the current meaning of "androgyny" is not consistent with his conjunctive use of "generator of life".)

To the concept of this conjunction of male and female symbols, there is an indispensable correlate of a phenomena described by Rudulf Otto and Carl Jung refered to as "numinosum" - "a dynamic agency or effect not caused by an arbitrary act of will. On the contrary, it seizes and controls the human subject, who is always rather its victim than its creator.  The numinosum - whatever its cause may be - is an experience of the subject independent of his will." Carl Jung, Collected Works, Vol 11, Bollingen, Princeton University Press, 1958, page 6, [cf: Latin numen - divine command or a nod.]

More concerning this dynamic interactions of ancient archetypes, the collective unconscious and the unrational grip of numinosum in a subsequent post.  On this interaction, we can decode a great amount of human symbolization and such activities as religion, politics, language and writ.

01 April 2016

Early (5000+bce) Binary Symbolism

Full circle- we appear to have begun our "before 2100 century BC" info tech with "1s" and "0s" and we find ourselves today with "forward into the 2100 century AD" info tech based on the same two symbols - all digital is "0s" and "1s".  

Two maquettes for your consideration:

a: From Carl Liungman Symbols, isbn 91-972705-0-4 "This is our planet's ideogram, the sign for the earth, or the planet called Tellus. It has been found on a Cyprian coin from around 500 B.C. It is similar to the so-called orb, used by rulers during the Middle Ages to symbolize their control over a part of the earth's surface." From the Encyclopædia Britannica, 2006, "Tellus, also called TERRA MATER, ancient Roman earth goddess. Probably of great antiquity, she was concerned with the productivity of the earth and was later identified with the mother-goddess Cybele. Her temple on the Esquiline Hill dated from about 268 BC. Though she had no special priest, she was honoured in the Fordicidia and Sementivae festivals, both of which centred on fertility and good crops."

 b:  drawing of the three "nefers" from the neck of a "nefer" shaped vase, tomb of Kha, Deir el-Medina, 18th Dynasty (1550-1307 bce), page 78, "Reading Egyptian Art" by Richard Wilkinson, 1992, Thames & Hudson, isbn 0500277516

 c: From Symbols above, entry "41b:22" - "A sign engraved in a rock face in Galicia in northern Spain about 3000 B.C." More on this petroglyph and "J", "K", "L" (below) of the so-called Spanish Art Groups, II and III, in the books: "Prehistory", M.C. Burkitt, 1925, Cambridge Press; "Rock Paintings of Southern Andalusia" by M.C. Burkitt and H. Breuil, 1929, Oxford Press; "Eternal Present" by S. Giedion, 1962, Pantheon Books.

 d: "An ideogram engraved in neolithic times in a rock wall in Val Camonica near Brescia in Italy." from Symbol above. The Valley Camonica has unnumbered tens of thousands of petroglyphs from 5000 bce down to medieval times - see rupestre.net

 e: "This ideogram was found carved into a rock wall in Galicia in northern Spain. It was engraved about 5,000 years ago." from Symbol above - see notes following "c".

f: Clonfinlough, Ireland: Neolithic rock engravings. Drawing after Burkitt from page 234,"Eternal Present" Sigfried Giedion, 1962, Pantheon Books. This glyph seems to be tied to a large number of mythic ideas from the runic "split year god" to the Christogram of Constantine. It features in the works of Hermann Felix Wirth, especially, "Die Heilige Urschrift der Menschheit", 1936, Leipzig. The Nazi SS leader Himmler sponsored Wirth at this point of his studies (1935-38). Locals recall that Abbe Breuil deciphered (c. 1929) the image and concluded that it represented a fight to a finish between the Old Irish and the Milesians in pre-Christian times, 1300BC. The cross-men were charging at the loop-men who in return were retreating from the attack.

g: 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.  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. . . 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 1 May 2016.   Citations mentioned by ARAS:  The Eternal Present: The Beginnings Of Art. S.Giedion, Pantheon Books. Bollingen Series XXXX\V 6.1, 1962. pp. 231, 233

h: from signary pebble, Mas d'Azil, Ariege, France, c. 12,000 bce

Regarding the petroglyphs "i", "j", "k" and "l" above - following from their intermediate source (page 234), in S. Giedion's Eternal Present, the Beginnings of Art, Pantheon Books, Random House, NYC, 1962, page 230 : "It is astonishing that the innumerable ideograms of eastern Spanish art - those last notes of prehistory from the iron and bronze ages - are still deprived of any precise interpretation, as are also those similar northern symbols, related to them in type and time, from [Clonfinlough,] Ireland [previous post] and the high western Alps. But the expression of male and female qualities has been definitely brought out in a number of different figurations. What, for instance, is the meaning of the strongly definely circular form crossed by a vertical line which comes so close to the form of the Greek letter phi? Is it really only an abstract human figure? Can it not just as well be an androgynous symbol (edit: perfer "coitial symbol"]? Other signs point to the possibility of this as the highest fertility symbol: generator of life, with life endowed." citation: S. Giedion, Eternal Present, , 1962

m and n: per Symbols above: sign of Aphrodite, Venus and by alchemists for copper.

Compare above marquette with Aurea Catena Homeri.


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