Athena's Web Weekly Column

  Week of August 27th - September 2nd,  2010

The Korean Lords of Time

Columns Archive


  The mythological trail is a long one. It extends back, further than the eye can see into the dreamtime. It has mapped the motions of Heaven in Creation Myths across the ages, seeing its own reflection carved in the Earth far below.

The Sea

Look out across the Sea.
What do you see?

  These Time Lords are known to us as Gilgamesh, Perseus and Heracles. They are Dragon, Fish, Ram and Bull. Each holds their place, and has their appointed rounds. Each tells their tale, while keeping an observant eye on Heaven's markers and their place under the Sun.

  Most of the traditions we study are western. Greek and Egyptian, Babylonian (OK, the Middle East), Roman and Celtic, but the clues are similar. As we learn in the Book, North and East are the most important observational stations. The South Pole is out of sight, while the West marks the place of death and descent; not a cardinal point one would necessarily want to be drawn to.

  But the clues are found around the World. Here is a tale of the passage of the Age of Pisces, the sign of the Fish, authored by Neptune, Lord of the Sea. The Dragon commands the North Ecliptic Pole (yes, I said ecliptic pole), and we are watching for clues relating to the East, the celestial marker of Spring. This is an excellent Creation myth, using well established images also familiar to the West. See if you can follow along, observing the metaphors for a time that has grown soft and lost touch with the divine in life, who is afraid to look beyond what he can see, and what might lie there.

  The past has lost its faith. The future is uncertain, but between you and me we're on our way to Korea.


  I. The Land of Morning Calm

  Emperor Chiuai reclined in his summer pavilion, gazing over the jade-green sea.


The story of Emperor Chiuai


  His slender fingers drew from a silver lute strains of heart-rending melody. In all the world he knew but two delights, the art of music and his high-hearted bride.

  (Venus is exalted in Pisces. Both the 'art of music' and his 'bride' link to this lady. The 'high-hearted' qualifier is the Vernal Equinox, Spring's celestial indicator high overhead, which in this land (gazing over the jade-green sea) is located by water.)

  The Empress was an adept in manly sports, a fearless Amazon, a hardy huntress, and the clash of arms was as music in her ears.

  (Spring is alive, active, competitive and ever seeking to 'hone' her craft, whether through physical tone or development of her martial abilities.)

  Roundly she rated her spiritless spouse:

  'Art thou indeed the son of valiant Yamato?' she scoffed contemptuously.

  (The previous Age, Aries, had been a far more daring time, especially with regard to the martial arts. Pisces is content to recline and listen to the music.)

pearl of wisdom

The pearl of wisdom?

  'Verily,' rejoined the Emperor placidly (Pisces), 'for that my father hath subdued the country there remaineth for me naught but my queen, my kingdom, and my lute.'

  (Nowadays we call them couch-potatoes.)

  The brow of the Empress clouded:

  'Unworthy son of a glorious sire, I would have thee bear the sword of Yamato beyond the sea. (We have moved from a martial regency (Age of Aries) to a more 'pacific' regency under Pisces, to? Well, we haven't crossed the Piscean Sea yet. The sword of Yamato is the 'cut' that will have to be made across the Sea of Pisces (for the next two thousand years)). In a dream (Pisces) the Sun Goddess came to me (when the Sun lies on the equinoxes, it marks the first days of Spring and Fall, and the cardinal directions East and West) saying: 'Westward lieth the Land of Morning Calm wherein is hidden the Crystal of Heart's Desire; that jewel I now bestow upon thee.'

  'Put, not thy trust in dreams (Pisces),' admonished the Emperor pointing toward the sea. (Have no faith? Not a good injunction for a Pisces) 'Look! Seest thou aught save the great water? (Think there is nothing but the Sea beyond the Sea? Think again!) Even those who ascend the mountaintops discern no more. (There is no proof there is more out there. Pisces transcends the realm of the five physical senses, no matter how high, far, wide or deep you push them. They lie beyond the material universe). Think not to wield the sword, but content thyself with the distaff and needle. There is no land beyond the Western Sea!'



Amaterasu, Goddess of the Sun

  Of a sudden a blinding light flooded the chamber and, with a rustling of wings, Amaterasu descended, terrible in her anger.

  (Amaterasu is their Sun God. It may be Spring (or Fall) as she has now arrived.)

  'Faithless craven!' (no faith) she flashed, 'for that thou doubtest (Pisces, more no faith) my celestial prophecy (this message is heaven sent) thy Queen shall subdue this land, and thou shalt die!'

  (The Vernal Equinox shall move through the Age of Pisces, cross the sea, and leave behind this realm and it's time. It must pass before the new era can dawn.)

  The Emperor went white; his eyeballs rolled in their sockets.

  'My Heavenly Sovereign,' besought the Empress, 'in pity (Pisces) look upon thy wife!'

  Lifting his trembling fingers she placed them upon the lute.

  'August Lord,' she pleaded, 'be pleased to wake again thy silvery strains.'

  'Let us set sail, set sail to the Land of Morning Calm,' he sang softly.

  (Pisces is fading, but it can be a very peaceful sign, of peace framed by music, beauty and an inner peace.)

  Slowly his lips froze to immobility. The lute fell from his nerveless fingers, the music lingering still upon the vibrant strings.

  (The exaltation of Venus in Pisces produced some melodious strains and beautiful art in its time.)

  Seizing a taper from the shrine, the Empress tremblingly held it before his lips. But the flame did not flicker. The gentle monarch had passed to the Land of Morning Calm.


  Now it was the custom in Yamato that no woman might rule save in the name of her consort. Therefore the Prime Minister, Takeuchi, adroitly concealed the death of his sovereign, asserting that he had delegated to the Empress the command of the expedition to the Western Land.

  To this end he assembled munitions and built a goodly fleet.

  Empress Jingu, erstwhile so belligerent, timorously besought an omen of the gods:

  'My departed lord was pleased to commend to me the distaff and needle. Vouchsafe a sign, gracious Sun Goddess. Grant that with a fragile thread I may draw to land a great fish.'

  (This is the mythological needle and thread, the weave and WEB of Heaven, the lines of azimuth and altitude or longititude and latitude.)

  Ravelling from her obi a silken thread and bending her needle into a hook, she baited it with a cherry bloom* (Spring) and cast it into the sea. Scarce had the blossom sunk when the waters boiled in sudden fury and, with terrific lashing of its mighty tail, she drew to land a monstrous shark. Wherefore the spot is called to this day Matsura, the Wonderful.

  (Crossing the waters of darkness and the unknown is full of many different fears.)

  Again the doubting Empress implored:

  'Wide-shining Amaterasu, goddess of Ever-Glorious-Light! If I am destined to subdue the Land of Morning Calm vouchsafe, I pray, another omen. By thy miraculous might, arm thou my body for this enterprise.

  (She prays (Pisces) to subdue the Land of Morning Calm, to overcome the passage of Pisces. Give me a vision!)



  Thus beseeching she plunged into the deep.


  Slowly the fateful moments lagged while the throng waited with bated breath.

  Meanwhile, beneath the billows, unseen tire-maidens ministered unto the mazed woman. Uncoiling her jewelled headdress, they knotted her hair in manly guise. On her head they placed a dragon-crested helmet and upon her bosom a breastplate of golden-lacquered steel; in her hand a spear of eight arms length, and girded round her waist, the Sacred Sword.

  (She is becoming the new 'Time Lord'. The Dragon-creasted helmet is Draco once again at the summit of Heaven. He commands the North Ecliptic Pole forever!)

  A mighty shout greeted the Empress as she emerged from the sea transformed into a gleaming warrior.

  (Aquarius is standing at the threshold.)

  'Sons of Yamato,' she cried triumphantly, 'behold the sign! The Sun Goddess hath armed me for victory!'


Modest mermaid

  (The time for the New Age has come. There is a new sign, a great sign, in Heaven, as in 'sign of the zodiac'.)

  Whereat their hearts were filled with joy and, gathering the fleet, they embarked upon the unknown adventure.

  Escorting them upon their way all manner of sea-monsters issued from the depths. Tritons blew favorable winds, mermaids pushed the sterns, and sea-dragons seized the cables, flying onward until the prows leaped through the foam-flowered waves.

  The Dragon's 'stand' where all the cables of Heaven (the WEB) come together.

  Sailing by the pavilion of the Emperor, they heard his voice still singing:

  'Sail on Beloved, to the Land of Morning Calm!'

  (Pisces is still kicking. Aquarius isn't quite here yet.)

  After days of fruitless questing at last they sighted land. Lofty mountains and emerald plains loomed through the sapphire haze. Rounding a rugged promontory they entered a tranquil bay, in whose shelter nestled a white-walled city; but a massive chain was stretched across its goodly harbor, forbidding entrance.


Puffer Fish

  (There is still a Sea of Tranquility in Pisces, and they (she) stand at the very gates of the New Age, the white-walled city, the New Jerusalem of the Bible.)

  Standing at the prow of the foremost galley, the Empress held aloft the Tide-flowing Jewel of Prince Fire-Fade.

  (The Vernal Equinox is what 'breaks the ice'.)

  Suddenly the waters gathered in a mighty tidal-wave which swept over the flooded city and bore the fleet to the very temple gate.

  (Damn; those waters can be dangerous! Many world myths I have come across speak of this 'flood' or cataclysm which occurs just prior to the entry of Aquarius, or in this case, to the city.)

  Deeming this prodigy the fulfilment of an ancient prophecy (1) the panic-stricken King came forth waving a white banner and knelt before the Empress in token of subjection.

  (The old way gives over to the new.)

  Far into the interior, inundating plains, villages, and cities, swept the tidal wave.

  (The Age is going to end with a bang. Check out the Heracles labor and the cleaning out of the stables. How does he do it?)


Parrot Fish

  Believing their country was being swallowed by the ocean, the Koreans swore:

  'Until pines of the mountains descend in long procession, and stars of heaven rain upon the sea, so long shall we remain thy loyal subjects.' (2)


  (1) Of old an oracle had foretold: 'When ships shall walk upon the dry land and a woman lead an army into the temple then shall Korea fall.'

  (2) This prophecy was recalled during the Russo-Japanese war, when the Russians set up in the valley of the Yalu telegraph poles, cut from mountain pines, and their rockets showered the sea with falling stars.]

  2. The Quest for the Jewel

  In token of their submission the Koreans presented the Empress with the Jewel of Heart's Desire, a wondrous crystal ball flawless in contour and of such exquisite limpidity that its presence could be discerned by touch alone.

  In time of peril it emitted fires like the lightning bolt; in peace a radiance as the moon, conferring upon its possessor his heart's desire.

  The Empress entrusted the crystal to Takeuchi, who hung it at the masthead, that its kindly rays might guide the helmsman on their homeward course.


Empress Jingu setting food in the promised land.
Legend has her living from c. AD 169–269
just at the start of the Age of Pisces.

  (The stars have always been used as a guide; for the ships at night riding a wine-dark sea or for souls attempting to chart their way through the shoals of life.)

  Scarce had the army set forth upon its voyage when the jewel flashed its warning flame, as Futen, the Wind God, unloosed a great typhoon and darkness covered the face of the deep.

  (When the stars are struck and their influences released, there is a wide pallet of ways in which it may manifest.)


Benten and (or as) the Dragon

  Now Benten, the dragon's daughter, longed with keen desire to possess the crystal ball. Mounting to the masthead, she tore the jewel from its fastenings and bore it to the depths of the sea.

  (The Asian Dragon has always had a yen for mystical pearls and chases them, round and around, for years without end.)

  Terrible was the wrath of the Empress at the loss of the precious treasure. Angrily she commanded that the Prime Minister be denied audience until he should restore the lost talisman.

  (This jewel is the key to the arch. Having obtained the North Ecliptic Pole, all of the other stars can begin to fall into place. The center commands the circle.)

  The journey ended, ruined and disgraced, Takeuchi retired from court. Resolved on self-destruction, he climbed one night to the summit of a cliff.

  (Pisces is sad.)

  A fisher-maid, the gentle Tamatori, followed him unseen as he wandered thus, deeming himself alone. Long and silently had she loved the great minister, locking the secret in her woeful heart for well she knew that only a princess might hope to wed the famous daimio.

  (A fisher-maid is Pisces. She loves long and silently. No surprises here. Note that she is filled with hope, and therefore, faith.)

  Marking his distraught mien, her loving heart boded his fatal purpose:

  (Pisces likes loving the losers. They have faith that they can save them.)

  'Stay, my Lord,' she screamed as he ungirded his swords, 'relinquish thy resolve, I beseech thee.'


  In vain he strove to unlock her clinging arms. 'Let me die,' he commanded, 'I am disgraced.' Then he told her of the lost crystal and the wrath of the Empress.

  (So sad, but at the same time, entangled.)


A jewel of Heart's Desire?

  'Behold!' she cried, 'yonder gleams a wondrous light. Can it be that some great star hath fallen into the sea?'

  (The pearl lies in the cosmic Sea, the Heavenly Sea of Pisces.)

  Thunderstruck Takeuchi gazed into the darkling water.

  (He's starting to form his own vision.)

  In its unfathomable depths loomed a coral pagoda of an hundred stories, and, upon its topmost pinnacle, like a lustrous star, glittered the Jewel of Heart's Desire!

  (Now here's a surprise! (Not!). The star is located upon the topmost pinnacle, just where we would want our central star, our cornerstone of heaven.)

  'Tis the palace of Benten' he exclaimed wonderingly.

  (It's the Heavenly City, destined to be reanimated at the beginning of Aquaius and the reason the chain would not yet let them pass.)

  'Be of good cheer,' laughed the fisher-maid. 'Like a fish can I dive; wait thou here. I shall attain my heart's desire for I shall give thee thine!'

  (Water sign children do have their advantages, some of which are listed here.)

  Girding on his swords she leaped into the sea. Down through the emerald water she plunged, until she reached the spire where gleamed the wonder-jewel.

  (She's going to check it out.)

great round eye

The Center of Heaven, veiwed from a fish's persepective

  Strange, loathly fish leered at her with great round eyes, as she seized the magic crystal.

  (Oh boy! She's found the center!)

  Then suddenly the waters were lashed into furious commotion and the vile sea-dragon crawled from his hidden lair. On every side sea-monsters hurried to his call: sharks opened their terrible jaws, swordfish darted at her, cuttlefish blinded her eyes with their inky spittle, and devilfish entangled her limbs with clinging tentacles; while the dragon stood apart and smiled upon her with his evil smile.

  (We're back to our demons of the deep, and the struggle it takes to overcome them. Note that the Dragon comes out now that the 'summit' (the magic crystal) has been reached.)

  Then Tamatori feared that her hour had come. Knowing that a dragon will not touch a corpse, she plunged her sword into her bosom and thrust the jewel within the gaping wound.

  (It promises to be a poweful transition point as Pisces abutts Aquarius. The 'cut' in heaven, marking the precise celestial location of this 'gem' of heaven, now properly marked and aligned. The 'cut' is also a powerful celestial indicator of many western myths. The old vibration MUST pass away before the new vibration may enter.)

  Impotent with wrath the foiled monster slunk slowly away and the waters were calmed.

  (Great angers and passions will be released; not all of them satisfied. If you have successfully marked the cornerstones of heaven, there's not much even the Dragon can do about it.)

  Long and anxiously had Takeuchi waited; and bitter was his remorse when the lifeless form of the maiden drifted to his feet. Her cold hands, crossed upon her breast, still guarded the coveted treasure, and the smile upon her pallid face was wondrous to behold.

  (Some of the great beauty of the powers of Pisces will be missed as we move into Aquarius.)

  Takeuchi caused her to be placed upon a lordly catafalque and conveyed with all honor to the capital.

  (All parts of the Heavenly path are sacred, and we will remember that upon reflection.)


Heavenly Surf and Turf

  The fame of her noble deed outran the cortege. From every village came maidens bearing garlands; from the temples priests with incense, from the citadel samurai with drums and dirges, even as they would have honored a general after a great victory.

  (More of the same. The 'death' of the old vibration is complete, and with it comes the energy and vibration of a New Dawn.)

  As they passed through the city gates crowds swarmed about her in wonder. From the palace floated mystic strains of the Emperor's lute.

  The Empress knelt at the fisher-maiden's bier. Reverently she placed within the maiden's lifeless hand a patent of nobility, creating her, all too late, Princess of Heart's Desire.

  Overjoyed at the recovery of the crystal she elevated to the regency her devoted minister.

  (Aquarius has arrived and its new Lords are being appointed.)

  By the hills of jade-green water where stood Suminoye old.




  (Do you believe me?)


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