Athena's Web Weekly Column

Week of June 8th, - June 14th, 2007

The Face of God

Columns Archive

  There is a notion that which cuts through the grain of various religions that there is one supreme being, and that we all reside within the body of that being. This theology is reinforced in Christianity every month for those who take communion, with the bread and the wine representing the body and the blood of Christ, and that we become 'one' with Him each time we partake of this ritual.



  The essence of this ritual is very old and can also be found in oriental and pagan religions. This 'body and blood of God' was determined by the changing face of the sky, with the position of Spring (the point where path of the Earth's equator is cut by the ecliptic or path of the Sun- astronomically known as the vernal equinox) marking creation (the world made new each year) or the 'Face of God,' and his personal appearance. Naturally, there are variations on this theme, but this essential and simple formula cuts across time, space and culture, working over and over again to describe why the people of a definitive period reverenced a particular deity because it was being 'highlighted' astronomically. Whether as farmers (for agricultural purposes), sailors (food and sailing seasons), or as hunters and gatherers (following the herds), having a calendar which would determine the correct season for the appropriate activity was important, and as civilizations began to form, determining 'Time' was one of unifying factors which fused societies together.

  Once this seemingly simple concept has been grasped, it becomes fairly easy to watch this pattern unfold, with civilizations leaving behind their chief myths as a celestial marker for their 'moment in time,' when they correctly marked their 'slice' of heaven, and the god or gods who lived there.

  History is generally thought of having started with the advent of writing. As history comes into focus, Spring is moving through the constellation of the Bull, and hence, the Bull is held in supreme reverence. But it has increasingly come to my attention that many of the stories about the period immediately prior to this also survived, being recorded later, once writing began to edge out the oral tradition and take its place.
Text of the Tale of Two Brothers

Partial text of the Tale of Two Brothers

Stories of Creation (Spring) which deal with the Twins are among these, as Spring moved through the constellation of the Twins from approximately 6300 to 4800 BC in a period generally thought of as being pre-historical. One such image from Greek myths is the story of Zeus seducing Leda in the form of a Swan, after which she gave birth to the Dioscuri (the Twins) from an egg. Birds and eggs stem from this sign/constellation being associated with the Air element.

  Another tale, this one from Egypt, describes the end of this period as Spring moves from the constellation Gemini into the constellation of the Bull, in a myth simply named, 'A Tale of Two Brothers.' It is a story which opens describing the daily life of two brothers, and of how their time is spent in repetitive agricultural concerns, of taking out and bringing back the cattle every day, of sowing the crops and obtaining the appropriate seed, etc. The tale ends with the death and metamorphosis of the younger brother into a beautiful bull. While this story line may make no sense to some, it perfectly describes what Spring was doing astronomically through the heavens between 5000 to 4000 BC.


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