Athena's Web Weekly Column

Week of Mar 17th - Mar 23rd, 2006

Enter the Egg

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  The egg is one our most ancient and mysterious of symbols. It's use is tied up in various mythologies and their creation myths.
Vishnu Cosmic Egg

Vishnu Cosmic Egg

The notorious Dogon tribe (of Sirius B fame) of Africa spoke of Amma (God) creating the world from the form of an egg. Odin in Scandinavian tradition was also thought to have done the same, with the upper half of the egg becoming the sky, and the lower half the Earth. Even Vishnu from the Hindu religion was known to have slept on the back of a serpent contained within the cosmic egg. Each of these are very old myths, but since it is impossible to radiocarbon date them, it is difficult to ascertain just when they came into existence as part of an oral tradition, and how many generations may in fact have told these story around forgotten fires beneath the starry sky.

  But while we cannot date the myths themselves, there is archaeological evidence of the egg once being a mainstream artistic theme. In central Europe it was a predominate image for a period of culture which extended as far back as 6,000 BC, but reached a peak of artistic expression circa 5,000 BC. This was when the Vernal Equinox, the celestial marker of Spring, was moving through the constellation of the twins. Gemini was linked to the element air by the oldest astronomical writers. Air represents obvious associations to the wind, power of storms and the air we breathe, but it is also the creatures of the air, the birds and their offspring.

Bird carrying egg

Bird carrying egg

  It has been my observation that creation myths are related to Spring and its position among the stars. Creation is when the world is made new, when life starts over, when the vitality of the land is re-awakened in an eagerness to live, love and experience. Lambs, colts and calves frolic in the meadows, the birds sing and the bees bless each new flower with a time honored pilgrimage to each colorful shrine. For those that felt as though heaven watched over the events here on Earth and even authored them (and most indigenous peoples did believe this), a careful observation of what was going on in the skies was held in great reverence and importance.

Bird carrying egg

Bird carrying egg

  This coming Monday at 1:25 PM EST, the Sun once again marks the first moment of Spring as it stands over the Earth's equator, dividing day and night in half. This can happen at any time of the day, but this is the measure which is being sought; when it is right over the middle of the Earth's terrestrial belt. With twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of darkness our metaphorical egg is also split in half, with the upper half representing the skies above us, culminating in the 'dome of the egg' as the North Celestial Pole, the position in heaven currently marked by Polaris (within a half degree), our North Star.

  The egg is the embryonic symbol of life starting over, beginning again and recreating itself. Mother Nature looks out after her offspring, as they scurry for the safety of her skirts, protected by the shelter of her bushes, trees and burrows. We find ourselves focusing on the enthusiasm, initiative and warmth of a Sun which has now triumphed over darkness, growing increasingly stronger as the season presses on, confident in its own power and strength. At this time, each of us has the opportunity to recreate our own lives anew, nurtured by the warming rays of the reborn Sun.

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