Athena's Web Weekly Column

  Week of November 26th - December 2nd,  2010

A Page from the Book

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  We pick up our mythological tale once again, having left behind the Time of the Twins.

  In a quick recap, Creation was reflected in the start of the New Year, usually designated as Spring. Spring is when life is reborn, the world made new. In Spring, the flowers and trees bloom.

  The pagan population believed that we live inside the body of One, great, All-Encompassing Being; but it's divine essence kept changing form with the changing face of the Sky. With this in mind, hear Hesiod's invocation to Zeus, the Sky God. If we translate the word 'Sky' for 'Zeus' each time it is invoked perhaps we might better grasp how it was perceived.

Bull stars

The Apis Bull had to be black...

  "Muses of Pieria who give glory through song, come hither, tell of Sky your Father and chant His Praise. Through Him mortal men are famed or unfamed, sung or unsung alike, as great Sky Wills. For easily He makes strong, and easily He brings the strong man low; easily He humbles the proud and raises the obscure, and easily He straightens the crooked and blasts the proud, Sky, who Thunders aloft and has His dwelling most high."

  Makes a little more sense, don't you think? In our story line, the Sky is about to put on the mask of a Bull; having just discarded that of the Twins, an earlier time when Two had been Numero Uno.

  Our oldest Greek myths speak of elemental powers ruling the Earth, when Titans married their Siblings. This tradition was passed to the Gods, as Zeus married His Sister. The pharaohs did it. For each it was Heaven's Will; but Heaven's Reflection from an earlier time.

  Those who monitored the stars saw Spring moving from these dual themes towards the Horns of the Bull. For almost 400 years, the Vernal Equinox left the 'feet' of Gemini and approached the Horns of the Celestial Bull. Anytime after 4300 BC the Vernal Equinox could arguably be said to be within the design of the Celestial Bovine (see Time Line).

  Although the archaeological evidence leads us to the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates, classical literature takes us in another direction; to the banks of the Nile.

  The story of Egypt stretches across several distinct periods. First, there is the prehistory, the time before Egypt's unification around 3200 BC, then there follow the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms of Egypt respectively.

The 'V' of the Hyades

...with an inverted triangle on his forehead...

  Various transitions take place through the final millennium, with the Ptolemy's of Cleopatra's time ruling in Egypt's twilight. Thereafter Egypt is absorbed by Rome.

  Various transitions take place through the final millennium, with the Ptolemy's of Cleopatra's time ruling in Egypt's twilight. Thereafter Egypt is absorbed by Rome.

  Both the Old Kingdom of Egypt on the Nile and the Sumerians within the Tigris/Euphrates river valleys bore witness to and leave evidence of this Bovine Spring. The Bull or Cow (gender is not as important as species, each would get their turn) had obvious agricultural associations, but this was bumped to a new level when, circa 4300 BC, the yoke and plow were devised and a new epoch in farm machinery literally transformed the landscape. This simple cultural evolution was to change the nature of food production forever.

  Invention of the yoke meant now the Ox could plough the fields.

  Cultivation was no longer limited to what might be turned by hand with the hoe, as had been the case until now. As a result the grain supply sharply increased. This agrarian bureaucracy applied their talents to other projects, such as work on the construction of the pyramids and temples.

  Like North America, Egypt is uniquely situated, protected on both eastern and western borders by natural impediments, in this case the arid deserts. A protected pocket was allowed the time it needed to cultivate the crafts of a more advanced civilization.

  Around 3150 BC, Egypt unified. Memphis became its capitol. The pre-dynastic Bull God known as Apis emerged as one of the most important deities during Egypt's Old Kingdom, just as Spring transitioned from 'between the Horns' to the 'Head' of the Bull.

Crescent on the flank

...and on his flanks the mark of the crescent Moon

  There are many things we know about Apis. There could only be one in the land, and this one was greatly honored. When he died, there was a huge search for a new Apis Bull 37 with special markings. These markings held great significance for the priests who searched to find this new Bull, and it is here that we find our first Heavenly hints of a Bovine Birth.

  First of all, he had to be black. This may represent the night sky. In addition, he had to have a white, inverted triangle on his forehead. This could be a reflection of the Hyades, a distinctive stellar "V" in Heaven marking the Head of the Celestial Bull. (Figs. 83 & 84)

  On his flanks, there was to be found the mark of a Crescent Moon. The oldest astronomical texts tell us that the Moon has dignity in Taurus, it is in its Exaltation; marking the first New Moon of Spring.

  Both the Bull and Moon are symbols linked to agriculture. This is a Celebration of Life, Nature, agriculture and the joy of a New Year, a New Spring; together with all its animated expectations.

  The Apis celebration was searching for a reflection of Heaven on Earth. To think in terms of the earlier mythology, it was looking to find it's 'Twin' on Earth. It was important the Apis markings must reflect what they now saw in the Sky. Once it had been divine Twins; now it was Holy Cow.

  We live in a time when science is slowly emerging as the new 'religion'. It has not yet fully integrated its spiritual side into its discipline, but it will. But we are looking at a time when art, and not calibrated accuracy, was what was striven for. We can convey Truth through either one, but each comes with a different set of rules for its application.

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