Aleyin is the corn plant - son of Ba'al the god of rain. At harvest time, Aleyin has dried and shrivelled in the sun, which has nurtured his brother, Mot, (the seed). Aleyin sees Anat, (daughter of Ba'al and the virgin in charge of the cornfields), and admits that he killed his brother Mot, so that he himself should live. He says ...
of the death of his brother Mot. Anat then seizes Mot and ...
Then, when the seed was planted again in the ground, Ba'al let loose his rain and Aleyin came back to life. Thus the cycle can start again, and with the addition of drowning to the list of sacrifices we have the basis for John Barleycorn. Like John Barleycorn, Aleyin was seen as a villain.
'Does it not appear to you to be illiberal and sordid, and the part of a womanish and little mind to strip the dead body, and to deem the body of the deceased to be the enemy, when the enemy itself is fled off, and there is only left that with which he fought?'
Plato would never have said that if it wasn't as he saw it. Is it possible that in difficult evolutionary steps men are seen as expendable if things go wrong, and women hold the fail-safe foundation?
Dare we tread this hallowed ground? Is this marvellous poem at the very start of our capacity for creative thought? Was the faculty of thought really possible before words 'became flesh' and took root in the human brain? Adam is credited with giving names to everything, but why did he obey his wife instead of obeying God? Did he have a sense of his own identity? Was he capable of independent thought and reasoning?
Did reward and punishment and being told to obey the law create a sense of identity in people? By saying 'I must not steal' would the word 'I' create a spirit that was responsible for the person? Could the birth of this spirit be called a 'virgin' birth?
Would this spirit 'I' ever be able to reason? Was it not simply obeying the law? Did that entail monitoring the ancient drives of the body that had served humanity so well through the ages? And if it did might this result in separating the spirit from the flesh of its host? Would it begin to gain power over its host? And would this not divide a person into 'Good Spirit' & 'Bad Flesh'? Would the flesh become frustrated? And could it lead to a loss of soul?
The verses that have been left out of the prologue to St. John's Gospel link the poem to Christianity, and Christian teachings suggest that we obey the law, but that we then go beyond it: that we 'Go the extra mile'. Was this a way of strengthening the spirit? A way of gaining an independent identity? A way of furthering the development of the person?
But, if that is so, is our 'Good' independent spirit still only a guest in the 'Bad' body it inhabits? Are the original 'Bad' drives still in existence? Has the spirit buried them? Can they still influence the spirit? Have they provided the drives that have developed our intellect? If that is so, does the spirit have to present a 'Good' side to the world? Is this the basis of our new intelligence? And if the host is frustrated by this subjugation, how long will the guest be able to maintain a superior position?
Be that as it may the spirit with its brilliant mind today is triumphant. We are now able to understand the material world, and our ability to reason is so brilliant that we have begun to understand the universe. But, in gaining this ability, has the soul been lost? Indeed, what does the state of the world suggest? And what is the state of the person?
Are there further possibilities? Could the spirit, if it wants to, venture into the dark realms of the flesh and meet any primitive forces hidden therein? What are they like? What would they do? Do they want to break out of their dark kingdom? Would it be wise to let them express themselves? Would they swallow the spirit? Or possibly could such a venture lead to the marriage of spirit and soul?
If we are going to talk about such things as 'Spirit' and 'Soul' then we must make absolutely clear the meaning we give to these words. The Oxford Dictionary makes very little difference between them. In fact the main distinction seems to be that one is Latin in origin and the other is Germanic. Even delving into my Etymological Dictionary does nothing to differentiate between the two ...
This source defines 'Soul' as follows :---
'Life. Animate existence' ... now obsolete.
'Spiritual or emotional part of man', and 'Disembodied spirit of man'. These meanings come from old English sources. In the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries 'Soul' gave the ideas of 'Vital Principal' and 'Essential Part'. (More or less the same as 'spirit') Primitively this soul was seen as a fleeting thing: here one minute - gone the next.
For 'Spirit' we are given :---
'The breath of life', 'Vital principle', and from the twelfth century, 'Intelligent but incorporeal being'. In the thirteenth century two more meanings appeared, 'The immaterial element of a human being' and 'Vital power'. Christian usage encompasses 'Breathing, Air, Life, Soul, Pride, and Courage'.
In order to make our own meaning as clear as possible we will use the following terms :---
The soul is a part of the person from the start. It witnesses birth. The spirit does not. The spirit is not formed until some time after the 'talking goes inside'.
There are stories about the end of the world from most corners of the earth, and ours tells us that Jesus will return and vanquish Satan and throw him into a bottomless pit. But after a thousand years Satan escapes and enlists the aid of Gog & Magog. With their vast armies they surround the Holy Ones and Jerusalem. All is lost until God showers them with fire and brimstone, defeats Satan, Death and Hell and throws them into a boiling lake that swallows them up forever. Maybe this is where the graves of the good open up and release their occupants. Might be worth sticking around for.
Anyway all this is supposed to happen when the flesh & blood Jesus makes his second coming. But, his spirit is as alive today as ever it was. His sayings are as well-known today as when they issued from his being, even although he never wrote down a single word. And they give us a different message.
Uniting these two opposites is the most difficult concept facing mankind. Especially since we have been told to battle with Satan until he is vanquished.
By this time common sense should tell us that after battling for thousands of years with Satan he seems to be stronger than ever. Also he's not choosy on whose back he sits, is he?
Augustine of Hippo concluded that his own badness came from nowhere but himself and that Satan was not an independent force in the universe. That is where he drew the battle lines. But it hasn't really worked, has it?
So where does Satan reside? Freud and Jung concluded that he can be found in the unconscious part of every man & woman on the planet, and if buried will fester and influence the decisions they make. And they won't know it's happening.
Moreover this state of affairs has worsened whilst our brilliant new mind was being evolved, because because because --- that was the only way it could be done.
What remains now is for each person's spirit to venture into its unconscious foundations and release the frustrations, and that can only happen if the person wants to make the journey.
As we humans changed gradually from hunter/gathering to farming, so a dictionary of words was being fashioned, molecule by molecule,in our human brains. This was a time of myths when words were used to describe life in terms of what was known by experience*. Thus as some tumours of cancer look like crabs, both emerged into the Greek Zodiac as 'Karkinos'. And when Zeus as a shower of golden corn visits Danae deep in the earth she gives birth to Perseus, a divine child who sets about trying to bring order to the chaotic ideas of those days.
So it was step by step and word by word that the dictionary gave birth to a centre of consciousness that could use it, and our modern mind was conceived.
In 600BC, on the island of Lesbos, Sappho used the word 'I' referring to her predicament. A thousand years later Augustine of Hippo used it, as we do today, to describe his hopes and fears. He was one amongst very few other people.
Then by forcibly rejecting everything not conforming to their format of Dogma, Belief and Faith, and whether by design or accident, the Catholic Church nurtured the new mind to where we are today. And pity help us all if we think that is the end of the story.
* May we recommend a book called 'The Other Side of Eden' for modern examples of hunter/gatherers still faced with the same difficulties. Also of course Julian Jaynes' book 'The Bicameral Brain', and to round off, perhaps Richard Dawkins' comments on it.
So? Did Apollo win the day when Orpheus threw away
his one and only chance?
For what they did the Maenads were turned to trees,
but still occasionally they dance,
between the Moon and Pleiades.
And when Apollo supplanted them with milksop maids,
did Dionysus die? Or did he modify his role?
So now is all our art the plaintive cry,
Of naked, lost and long forgotten soul?
Orphism was a cult based on the later writing's of Orpheus, about entering Hades whilst still living and returning with some esoteric benefit. It originated around the 4th or 5thC BC and incorporated eastern ideas about the spirit being separate from the body and therefor able to transmigrate through several lives until (if those lives had been pure) it could live without a material host. UM. Greek myths are never that simple.
Orpheus, having tried with his art to bamboozle the gods into granting his request gained nothing but an awful fate. Having borne the grief of losing his soul through his lack of faith he became a hermit who lived in a cave. These were his later years, when he preached and wrote against women and love and advocated a rejection of all such carnal pleasures as a way to salvation. This antagonised the Maenads who tore off his head and floated it down the river to fetch up eventually on the island of Lesbos, where it spouted incomprehensible rubbish. The Maenads then tore his body apart and buried it next to Mount Olympus where the birds 'still sing more sweetly than anywhere else in Greece'.
The Maenads then suffered their fate. Orpheus' lyre was given to Apollo who played it whilst the old Great Year was catching up with the New, 'between the setting of the Moon and the Pleiades', and the nine Maenads could only dance to this music. They had been turned into a circle of oak trees.
Apollo replaced them with his nine Muses and everything has been awfully nice ever since, has it not? And people are so pure that they are turning into bodiless spirits by the cartload, are they not?
But wait. Remember this was a time when the inner voice of reason was being formed, and in those days they likened words to corn seed, and reckoned seed carried the spirit through death. So a number of people have achieved an immortal spirit with their words. Jesus for a start. Also Beethoven with his music, Picasso, Burns, Shakespeare, Henry Moore, Einstein and on and on as far as you can see.
And each was as pure as the driven snow, were they not?
These mysteries were based on the relationship between Demeter ( the Barley Mother) and her virgin daughter Kore, who in a way dies and is reborn as Persephone. A masculine element was added to the mysteries when Persephone's son Zagreus entered the death and rebirth story, and as such it flourished from around 1500BC to 500AD.
There is so much on the internet about these mysteries that there is no need for us to add to it, but we would recommend the book written by the Greek archeologist Geotge Mylonas. He tells us that whilst there was widespread worship of the two goddesses throughout the Indo European territories, the form of the temple at Eleusis was Greek, and designed to accommodate Demeter's story of berevement and grief, her succour and eventual joyful re-union. The inference from this is that the form of worship was also Greek in origin.
He mentions that at the height of the long Eleusis history envoys were sent to Egypt, Syria, Antioch and the islands, and 'they in turn sent tithes and delegations in recognition of the great benefits received from the two goddesses: civilized nourishment, which is the reason that men do not live like animals'. (worship of the earth = col - terra = culture)
The book is called 'Eleusis' and is mainly concerned with the remains of the buildings at Eleusis. Mylonas was able to identify foundations of the earliest temple a few metres in size dated about 1500BC, and follows, the development into a complex large enough to cope with the thousands of initiates of later years. All the temples followed the same style having a space for the public separated from the private space that originated as Demeter's sanctuary, and he points out that that basic plan has followed through to the present day in Christian churches. He was also able to show that Christian Liturgy owes much to these ancient mysteries.
But, these mysteries were secret so we know very little about what happened during their ceremonies, but we do know that Zagreus and his twin Iaccus, (the ejaculatory shouts of joy from initiates), appear in Orphism and may herald the next stage along our pathway.
They took a plough and ploughed him down
Put a sod upon his head,
And they ha'e sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn was dead.
But cheerful spring came kindly on,
And showers began to fall
John Barleycorn got up again,
And sore surprised them all.
The sultry suns of summer came,
And he grew thick and strong,
His head well armed wi' pointed spears
That none should do him wrong
entered Then sober Autumn enteredmild,
When he grew wan and pale,
His bending joints and drooping head,
Showed he began to fail.
His colour sickened more and more,
He faded into age,
And then his enemies began,
To show their deadly rage.
They took a weapon long and sharp,
And cut him by the knee,
They tied him fast upon a cart,
Like a rogue for forgerie.
They filled up a darksome pit,
With water to the brim,
And in they heaved John Barleycorn,
There let him sink or swim.
They laid him out upon the floor,
To work him further woe,
And still as signs of life appeared,
They tossed him to and fro.
They wasted o'er a scorching flame,
The marrow of his bones,
But a miller used him worst of all,
Crushed him between two stones.
And they ha'e ta'an his very hearts blood
And drank it round and round
And still the more and more they drank,
Their joy did more abound.
John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
Of noble enterprise,
For if you do but taste his blood,
Twill make your courage rise.
Twill make a man forget his woe,
Twill heighten all his joy,
'Twill make the widows heart to sing,
Though the tear be in her eye.
The usual idea about the origin of these glyphs is that they evolved between astrologers over the years and only settled into their modern form when they started to be printed. Up to a point that is surely true but we must question why they chose the letter M for the Virgin. Did they actually want to be burned alive for heresy? Dammit that's why the glyphs were banned in the first place. They were called the work of Satan by Pope Gregory XII as soon as they appeared on the clock in Prague.
There is only one virgin whose name begins with M and that is Mary the mother of Jesus. To put her in that slot allies her to Demeter, the ‘Mother of the Barley', and to all the old corn religions. That was heresy most foul to Rome.
By 1410, when the astrological clock in Prague was completed, the Cathars had been exterminated and the Knights Templar disbanded. Many ex-Knights Templar were Bohemian and it seems possible that they made their revulsion of the Church manifest by blatantly putting the heretical glyphs on the astrological dial. They started preparing for war when Antipope John XXIII started trying to collect money for indulgences.
Their chance of overcoming any retaliation was not impossible. The Church's crusading force, (the Teutonic Knights), had just been defeated and impoverished by the war of Grunwald, and the papacy, (which had three Popes) was in disarray.
In 1415 Pope Gregory and Antipope John had to resign, and Pope Benedict in Amiens was excommunicated. The new pope was Martin V. In that year Jan Hus was found guilty of heresies and burned at the stake.
Pope Martin V preached a crusading bull to exterminate the Hussites and followers of John Wycliffe, but every one of his five crusades failed.
The Astrological Clock, still with its original dial of heretical glyphs, is there to this day for all to see in the Prague Town Square.
We rest our case.
Our thanks are due to the Bodleian Library for their help with the 12thC. manuscript - DIGBY 83
We thought the glyph for Libra on Fol.56r (Scorpio) was too modern and were told that the ink used for it 'was certainly darker than the rest of the original, and it presumably belongs with the glyphs added similarly alongside a few of the drawings on other pages'.
Our conclusion is that whilst Libra appears modern, and another two, (Gemini and Cancer), are approaching their modern form, those remaining contrast strongly with those seen on the 1410 Astrological Clock in Prague
To see the original 12thC drawings of the glyphs shown opposite, Google DIGBY 83 and scroll to Fol.53.
The problem facing our ancestors was knowing when to plant, when to reap, and what procedures to follow in order to get the bread they wanted. They found answers in the stars. Aquarius, Old Thunderguts himself, was sitting across the Winter Solstice, with 'Mr Sunshine' opposite over the Summer Solstice. Taurus the Bull, the sower of Celestial Seed occupied the Spring Equinox, and opposite him who else but the virgin in charge of the cornfields, the daughter of, Earth. Thus the year was quartered (See 'Betley Window) and the Spring Festival celebrating the marriage of Heaven and Earth was fixed on April Fool's Day, along with others for different times of the year. (See Aphrodite's Hymn).
But then things went wrong. Slowly but surely the Ram pushed the Bull off his seat, and by the year 2400BC had taken his place. However the Ram made a good sower, so the astrologers made a few adjustments and, except that the Bull took the Spring Festival with him to Mayday, things trundled along as before for another 2200 years. But then catastrophe. Slowly but surely the Fishes pushed the Ram off his seat. By the year 200 BC they had taken his place, and fishes are useless at sowing corn. So the astrologers ignored the backsliding Zodiac and kept things as they were.
Although we still keep Aries in the Spring Equinox station, his age passed on some time ago, the Age of the Fishes quite recently, and now Old Thunderguts has, with songs and hullabaloo, got his bahookie into the Equinoctial Driving Seat.
And there's absolutely nothing we can do about it.
Top left is the 'Greater Fool' flanked on his right by a Spaniard and a Moorish 'Morisco'. Below the Fool are the Gentleman and Peasant with the 'Lesser Fool' in the bottom left hand corner.
Below the Maypole is the King of the May himself, and bottom centre we see Maid Marian, and she is the Queen of the May. To the right of the Maypole is the musician who has a pipe and tabor. With his hair having been grown long to support a helmet is the May King's rival for the hand of the Maid, and in the bottom right hand corner Friar Tuck completes the troupe.
The two fools in this group perhaps stand for the April Fool and the Christmas Fool, and the story of the dance is that both the King and his Rival woo the Maid at the Spring Festival, but she always marries the Fool. The festival was first held in April, which meant that, depending on the moon, their child would be born at Christmas, thus conceived under the sign of the Ram and born under the sign of the Goat. With the Precession of Equinoxes around the year 0, the festival was moved to May Day, and the resulting birth would be on January 25th.
But there's more. The King is usually identified as Robin Hood and his Rival of course is Little John. The Maid is Maid Marian but who the Fools are we don't know. Also both the Morris Dancers and Robin Hood's 'Merry Men' have been named 'Mary's Dancers', or 'Mary's Men', but that is open to question.
But we're still not finished. Notice how well these dancers fit the playing-cards we have today. We have the King and his Queen, followed by Jack, his rival, with Aces High and Low for the Fools. If each card stands for one week we have a thirteen-month year divided into four quarters of thirteen weeks each, plus a Joker for Midwinter's day, and another for Midsummer's day in leap-years. But all that of course might be no more than co-incidence.
These pictures originated in a book of antiquities called 'Old England', edited and published by Charles Knight in the year 1845. Google Betley Window.
DIGBY'S UNDERWORLD JOURNEY - MYSTERIUM CONJUNCTUS
Do you wonder why the world is in such a mess? Why is it when we have a brain that can figure out everything in the universe do we spend most of our time finding better ways of killing each other? Why? My tentative reason is rather complicated.
When First Man arrived on Earth the forests gave us everything we needed. It was like heaven. But when they dwindled our cousins drove us out. Some of us survived but some of us did not.
Through the millennia, as memory took root, things improved. Slowly at first the development of speech brought about big advances, and we humans survived better than ever. Eventually, as words multiplied, a centre of consciousness began to grow in a few people. It enabled them to think. It was called 'I', (Ego), and they were the first 'wise men'. They added farming to our hunter-gathering lives, introduced the modern world, and Ego ruled their behaviour. The rest of the tribe followed.
The upshot is that today we have a well-developed brain with a prehistoric soul, and a new absolutely brilliant mind that can use it. Wow. The universe is ours. So why are we such imbeciles? Why do we spend so much energy killing each other? And polluting our dear green Earth? So moronic we have brought our planet to the brink of destruction? Why, why, why?
Could it be that whilst our jolly brains seem to be more or less fully developed, our arrogant minds are not. Could it be that our minds scorn the deep roots that our old brains have with the Earth? Could it be that they scorn our ancient soul? Could it be that our ancient souls speak with an ancient voice that even the best-educated mind doesn't understand?
Over the last few thousand years, our Ego-minds have created kings and war-lords, individual wealth, slavery, land ownership and all that. They use brute force and ignorance backed by the tribe to get what they want. And if that is the way we are at this stage in the game, we would do well to change our ways. The question is 'How?' If we are to develop further I think we need independent minds. Properly independent minds for properly independent people that is, not brilliant zombies. Achieving such minds could be difficult.
The 'Giftie' cannot just create 'The man o' independent mind'. A person so created would not be independent, would he? The independent mind perhaps has to be earned - bought, paid for and valued if it is to be possessed by the person who is going to use it. So how is this to be done?
As it happens Mother Nature has left us a mysterious slot between our new minds and our old prehistoric brain. Very hard to explain, but here goes. Can you remember anything that happened to you before your memory was formed? In the gap between your being born and your first realisation that you had a name? The memories stored beyond that doorway into your ancient past are unique to you, but very difficult to obtain. You have to journey down into your own dark and sometimes frightening underworld. You will not be able to do that unless you want to. A guide is necessary.
Digby said this difficult journey changed his attitudes to the world. He became more creative in his work, and started writing his 'Black Book for Deep Thoughts', which is the basis for all this. He reckoned that now we have achieved the marvellous modern mind, we have no need for the revolting 'civilised' behaviour that was necessary for it's growth, and going backwards to the attitudes of the Trobriand Islanders, (Malinowski), and Piraha Indians, (Ogilvie and Everett), was perhaps the answer. But what gave him most joy was 'Imagine', the hymn by John Lennon, who wrote it after making his own similar journey.
So Good Luck. Enjoy journeying to your old land. There's no other place like it on Earth.
'Mysterium Conjunctus' is now available world wide as a Kindle e/book.