[Chapter Eight: Adam and Atlas―Eden and the Fall of Atlantis]
Chapter Nine: Seth and Typhon―The Catastrophic Cosmos
(Drawings are ©1988 Stephen E Franklin)4
There is also a
shining white comet with silver "hair,"
shining in such a way that it can scarcely be looked at,
and of human appearance,
showing in itself the form of a god.
―Joannes Lydus, in De Ostentis
I suppose that
the comets may be the agents
which have already effected great changes in all the planets,
and that they may be destined to effect many others―
till, in defined periods, the planets, by means of these agents,
may be all reduced to a state of fusion or gas ....
―Godfrey Higgins, Anacalypsis, Volume II
Identifying the Agent of Destruction
Horus, who made an agreement with the Amazons to avoid a direct military confrontation, had a brother named Typhon. Typhon was known to Pliny and was identified by him with a king after whom was named a celestial body that appears to have been the agent behind the entire series of catastrophic events we unintentionally chronicled in the current work, an agent that appears in the bible as the Serpent in the Garden of Eden. It was in the writings of Immanuel Velikovsky that I first became aware, years ago, of the association between King Typhon and what Pliny believed to be a comet.
Now Velikovsky's Worlds in Collision is well written and is a good enough read to have made it onto the New York Times bestseller list. Though he is consistently wrong in many particulars and confuses similar events from different ages and manages to make a jumble of the available evidence, his broad concepts are insightful and worthy of consideration and his presentation of the historical, legendary, and mythological evidence for global cataclysms is extensive and serves as an ideal secondary source, saving us untold hours of primary research. Generally, the problems with Velikovsky can be summed up as follows. In the first place, Velikovsky has understood that there is a problem with how the Hebrew and Egyptian chronologies have been aligned while failing to apprehend that it is Hebrew history that has been artificially extended by a factor of two and, earlier, during the antediluvian period, by a factor of four rather than that of the Egyptians and the surrounding civilizations whose chronologies have been based upon that of the Egyptians. In the second place, Velikovsky has elaborated the evidence for the belief of the ancients in recurring, specifically cyclical cataclysmically determined world ages while attempting to explain them by positing encounters between Earth and various planets whose purported interactions with our own world are supposed to have been far from cyclical except on the shortest of historical scales. Hence, what the surviving works of the historians from the deep past claim to be cyclically repeating events become episodic and noncyclical in the mind of Dr. Velikovsky, which allows him to do all manner of injury to the integrity of the timeline. With these caveats in mind, we will see what there is, in the premier work of the good doctor, that may serve as clues to understanding the repeating fires and floods and famines that followed such a predictable cycle.
In the words of Pliny, as quoted by Velikovsky, "A terrible comet was seen by the people of Ethiopia and Egypt, to which Typhon, the king of that period, gave his name; it had a fiery appearance and was twisted like a coil, and it was very grim to behold: it was not really a star so much as what might be called a ball of fire." According to Lydus, in De Ostentis, as quoted by Clube and Napier in The Cosmic Serpent,
They say that the sixth comet is called 'Typhon' after the name of king Typhon, seeing that it was once seen in Egypt and which is said to be not a fiery but a blood-red colour. Its globe is said to be modest and swollen and it is said to have been for some time in the north. The Ethiopians and Persians are said to have seen this and to have endured the necessities of all evils and famine.
Now Velikovsky tries to identify this "ball of fire" or "blood-red" comet with the agent behind the events purported to have occurred at the time of the Exodus, and quotes other ancient historians to that effect, but Pliny himself fails to do so, and there is no conceivable reason to place the brother of Horus many hundreds of years after the Predynastic Period where he appears in Manetho. As Plutarch says, again as quoted by Velikovsky, "Those who relate that Typhon's flight from battle [with Horus] was made on the back of an ass and lasted seven days, and that after he had made his escape, he became the father of sons, Hierosolymus [Jerusalem] and Judaeus, are manifestly ... attempting to drag the Jewish traditions into the legend" [brackets in original].
So, already in the time of Plutarch (1st–2nd century) there were attempts to confuse predynastic occurrences with those of the time of the Exodus. Clearly, the memory of the cyclical nature of these events was repressed on a broad scale. Velikovsky continues the tradition in magnificent fashion. And once this cyclical nature of things is lost track of, it becomes easy to see them as a disjointed series of encounters between the Earth and a whole series of planetary bodies, necessitating such complex permutations of celestial mechanics that it becomes useful to throw in all manner of nongravitational and noninertial forces, particularly those of an electromagnetic and even electrical nature: hence one theory, from his followers, of the solar system as giant light bulb. The key here, of course, is that the planetary associations discovered and catalogued by Velikovsky do not indicate the perpetrators of the assaults he describes. Rather, they either indicate other victims of such attacks or they result from a confusion of this object with various planets. For the general theme of this 5-millennia-long drama is theomachy―wars of the gods―yet Velikovsky can only weakly suggest that those battles occurred between the head and tail of a single comet or between planets somehow mysteriously transported close to the Earth. One wonders what the psychoanalytic explanation of this kind of scotoma would be.
No, whatever caused these cyclical events was unitary and quite constant in its return. As Velikovsky suggests, whatever this object was, it was in an elliptical orbit, crossing those of not only the Earth but Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Along the way it may conceivably have been responsible for any number of anomalous properties of the Sol System. And it did not simply magically settle down into a circular orbit where it no longer posed a threat to poor Earth. It may very well have fought a final titanic battle with our planet, and lost, leaving its intended victim dazed but still living. The evidence for this interpretation is more substantial than one might expect, considering the size of its implications.
In the Beginning
[The Mandaeans'] nearest equivalent to the Devil
is the dark goddess Ruha,
who rules over the realm of darkness, but she is also regarded as the Holy Spirit.
—Picknett and Prince, The Templar Revelation
Early in my investigation it appeared that sometime shortly before the tree ring event of 3195 BC an object had entered the solar system from deep space. This object, called Typhon or Seth by the Egyptians and their neighbors, would normally have passed peacefully through its mostly empty space to the other side and continued on its journey with nothing more than an obscure reference in an ancient astronomical archive of little consequence to anyone but a confused scholar or two in some dimly lit university basement. Unfortunately, it seemed that the planet Jupiter had been at the wrong place at the wrong time, and the object was large enough to later affect Earth over one twelfth of its yearly orbit about the Sun. As I continued to ponder the matter I realized that in order to cause the havoc that it did this object must have been in an orbit in the same plane as the other objects of the solar system and that the probability of a foreign body falling precisely into this kind of ecliptical orbit was vanishingly small. The implication was that this object was something that had been here all along, from the time of the early solar system, but that until 3195 it hadn't been in a position to menace the earth. And then I learned of an earlier tree-ring event from 4375 BC that fit the pattern precisely, so that it became apparent that whatever the true details of what the ancients saw as a great battle between Zeus and Typhon, this object had been following its elliptical and quite lethal orbit from the very beginning of human civilization on this planet, perhaps as long as the entire 12,000 or so year long Holocene Period or longer.
In the 10th century, the astronomer Donolo clearly understood the relationship between Typhon and the other celestial bodies in the ancient world. Clube and Napier quote him, by way of Bellamy, as follows: "When God created the two lights, the five stars, and the twelve signs, he also created the fiery dragon, that it might connect them all together, moving about like a weaver with his shuttle."
Moving on to Eliza Burt Gamble, who wrote The God-Idea of the Ancients a century after Godfrey Higgins wrote Anacalypsis, we have the following:
It would seem that Seth was appointed to represent the third person in the ancient Trinity―the Destroyer or Regenerator which had previously come to embody all the powers of the Creator and Preserver. The fact has been observed that the very ancient philosophers believed matter to be eternal, hence, seeming death, or destruction, was necessary to renewed life or regeneration. In other words, creation was but continuous change in the form of matter.
Of the doctrines of the Sethians extant at the beginning of Christianity, Hippolytus says that their system "is made up of tenets from natural philosophers. These tenets embrace a belief in the Eternal Logos―Darkness, Mist, and Tempest." These elements subsequently became identified with the Evil Principle, or the Devil. The cold of winter, the darkness of night, and water, were finally set forth as the Trinity. Regarding cold, darkness, and water, or darkness, mist, and tempest, Hippolytus observes:
"These the Sethian says are the three principles of our system; or when he states that three were born in paradise―Adam, Eve, the serpent ...."
The Sethians were a pre-Christian Gnostic sect. Further,
We have observed that through some process not thoroughly understood at the present time, the adherents of the older faith had succeeded in reinstating their Deity. The powers of Nature had come to be represented by Typhon Seth. It was the God of Death and of Life, of Destruction and Regeneration. The simoom of the desert and the cold of winter were Seth, as were also the genial powers of Spring. We are informed by various writers that Typhon Seth was feminine. She was the early God of the Jews. In other words, the Jews were formerly worshippers of a female Deity. Jehovah, Iav, was originally female.
Gamble here confuses Seth with his mortal enemy, Yahweh. Finally,
Seth or Typhon was for ages worshipped throughout Egypt, and as she comprehended the powers of Nature, or the creative energy residing in the sun and earth, little is heard of any other god. Strange it is, however, that Seth is worshipped more in her capacity as Destroyer than as Regenerator. So soon as we understand the origin and character of the Devil, and so soon as we divest ourselves of the false ideas which under a state of ignorance and gross sensuality came to prevail relative to the "powers of darkness,” we shall perceive that his (or her) Satanic majesty was once a very respectable personage and a powerful Divinity―a Divinity which was worshipped by a people whose superior intelligence can scarcely be questioned.
The ancient philosophical truth that matter is eternal, and that the destruction of vegetable life through the agency of cold was one of the necessary processes of re-generation, or the renewal of life, had evidently been lost sight of at the time when Seth was dethroned in Egypt. Wilkinson informs us that “both Seth and Osiris were adored until a change took place respecting Seth, brought about apparently by foreign influence.” Sethi or Sethos, a ruler whose reign represents the Augustan age of Egyptian splendor, received his name from this Deity. It is said that during the twentieth dynasty Seth is suddenly portrayed as the principle of evil “with which is associated sin.” Consequently all the effigies of this great Goddess were destroyed and all her names and inscriptions “which could be reached” were effaced.
Perhaps the return of Seth in 1159 BC reminded the Egyptians just how nasty she could be.
Plutarch, in de Iside et Osiride (from the translation given by Verbrugghe and Wickersham in their Berossos and Manetho), identifies Typhon with certain other negative properties including those of a distinctly astronomical nature:
But Typhon is the part of the soul that is like the Titans: passionate, impulsive, irrational, and unstable. He is the part of the body that is morbid and diseased and causes disturbances, such as storms, extremes of temperature, and eclipses of the sun and moon. These are like attacks and outbursts of Typhon. And the name "Seth," by which they call Typhon, means this: it means "that which overpowers and subdues by violence," and it often means "reversal" and also "outbreak." Some say that Bebon was one of the companions of Typhon, but Manetho says that Typhon himself was called Bebon; the name means "constraint" or "hindrance," meaning that the power of Typhon obstructs actions that are proceeding on their way and traveling toward the proper goal. Therefore, they assign to him the most stupid of domesticated animals, the ass, and the most savage of wild animals, the crocodile and the hippopotamus.
The Tree of Life
In the system of Pythagoras, the planets were arranged by how long it took them to (appear to) revolve around the earth. These "planets" included the sun and the moon. His metaphor was musical and his theory involved the music of the spheres, as he called it. I have gone into greater detail in the chapter "The Stairway to Heaven" in my Origins of the Tarot Deck. His order was as follows:
According to Paul Kriwaczek in his book In Search of Zarathustra, by the time of the historical Mithras (272–208 BC), this order, including the equivalent hierarchical positions occupied by the adherents of the Mithraic religion, had changed to:
Saturn = Father
Sun = Sun Runner
Moon = Persian
Jupiter = Lion
Mars = Soldier
Venus = Male Bride
Mercury = Raven
Caitlín Matthews, in her Sophia: Goddess of Wisdom, gives the following hierarchy including the sephiroth of the Tree of Life:
Monad = Kether
Logos = Chokmah
Saturn = Binah
Jupiter = Chesed
Mars = Geburah
Sun = Tiphareth
Venus = Netzach
Mercury = Hod
Moon = Yesod
Earth = Malkuth
Matthews sees the Logos as Sophia. This so-called Tree of Life is nothing more than the Pythagorean Tetraktys expressed in an alternate form that consists of ten points arranged into four dimensionally significant shapes―a point, a line, a plane (or triangle), and a solid (or tetrahedron). These four geometric shapes were identified with the Tetraktys as early as 1987 by David Fideler in his introduction to The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library. Their vertical stacking into a form that mimics an important kabbalistic symbol was noticed shortly after the completion of Origins of the Tarot Deck in 1988. A second variation of this diagram demonstrates visually why it is referred to in its Medieval Jewish incarnation as the Tree of Life. This second version is in fact a cross between the Egyptian hieroglyph ankh, or "life," and the symbol for Venus, the goddess of Love:
The Pythagorean Tetraktys and the Tree of Life
In the system due to Pythagoras, the upper sphere above Saturn is that of the fixed stars. In the kabala (or kabbala), it is the zodiac, so that, again, we are left with an extra object, the Logos or Chokmah. Clearly, there is another astronomical body here, no doubt Pliny's Typhon.
By the time the book of Revelation was written, according to Matthews,
The Woman Clothed with the Sun stands forth ... as a continual reminder of the struggle of Sophia to emerge from her embattled guise. Whether we see her as Isis or Mary, for this book has both images within it, the presence of Sophia is strongly upheld here.
In this book, John has a
vision of a woman "clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars," who was with child. A seven-headed dragon came to devour the child as it was born. War in heaven ensued, and Michael and his angels cast the dragon down to earth. The dragon still pursued the woman who was given two wings like those of an eagle to fly into the wilderness, there to abide for three and [a] half years [or seven half-year cycles].
Clearly, someone here understood the nature of the early biblical time scale, not to mention the otherness of the cosmic being who battled the sun, the moon, and even the twelve stars that represented the fixed stars of the zodiac. In later ages, the ancient story was adapted to the realities of the peaceful solar system. The Virgin of the zodiac took the role of the queen of heaven, and Hydra that of the serpent or Typhon. Saturn ruled the planetary realm―as well as his children, the Elohim―as the ecliptical star Regulus, the Little King. The role of the son was played by the ever dying and returning solar orb rather than his human incarnation, so that modern mythographers could confidently ascribe the ancient tales to the peaceful rotation of the seasons, free from any conception of the catastrophic nature of what went before. And the followers of that ancient son wait in vain for his return as his ancient nemesis fails to put in an appearance, having been murdered on the way to the theater by the earth itself, for, though the Serpent may be dead, the God for whom they wait will never be born again.
The Phoenician Cosmos
In some ways, the following is an extension of my study of the Tarot cards that appeared in 1988 under the title Origins of the Tarot Deck, in which I identified their inventors as the early Pythagoreans, probably including their founder, the Master himself―the philosopher, mathematician, astronomer, musical theorist, and expert in memorization, Pythagoras of Samos, who founded a school at Croton in what is now Southern Italy round about the year 509 BC. I will not reproduce here the entire logical process that led to that conclusion. Those who wish to study the foundations of the following presentation may consult the above mentioned work, which is out of print but still available on the used book market at a fair price. What I will do is present certain evidence found in that treatise that points directly to the identity of that object referred to by the Greeks as IAHUEH and in turn to the cosmic identity of that God of the Hebrews who grew so powerful, theologically, that he was merged with El, the god of Time himself, as the Elohim-Yahweh or Lord God of the bible.
We begin with the Phoenician alphabet, dealt with in "IAO, Iota, and the Origin of the Alphabet," the final chapter of my previous work. Despite the theories that derive this forerunner of the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin alphabets from hieroglyphic and cuneiform scripts, or from conglomerations of other ancient symbols of a more or less random nature, the invention of the phonetic alphabet used by the Phoenicians had nothing to do with any of these earlier symbol systems. The following is so obvious that it stands as an equal to that other example of a scholarly blind spot, the inability of biblical scholars to recognize the systematically inflated nature of the biblical timeline. Let me say that again, just in case anyone has failed to apprehend it: The phonetic alphabet was invented. It did not evolve. Its characters did not change over time from hieroglyphic pictographs to phonetic characters. How can I say that? Observe, the earliest characters of the Phoenician alphabet, spelled out from the stars that continue to make up the lunar zodiacs of India and Arabia, in alphabetical order, of course. The letters begin with aleph, the Hyades in Taurus, and follow the ecliptic toward the left, continuing on the second line (to save space) and then ending with taw in Aquarius to the bottom left. The modern constellations where these letters may be found appear in the following set of illustrations, along with the names of their constituent stars and their Phoenician equivalents, drawn as well as spelled out. Note that Heth, Zain, and Teth are simply variations on other letters with similar sounds and were added later [these images are all copyright 1988]:
Letters of the Phoenician Alphabet and Their Equivalent Asterisms
Letters of the Phoenician Alphabet and Their Constituent Stars
The sounds represented by the various letters are simply the first sounds of the Phoenician names of the objects that the asterisms were seen to resemble. The following is a compilation from The Alphabet: A Key to the History of Mankind, by David Diringer (1), and The Alphabet and the Ancient Calendar Signs, by Hugh A. Moran and David H. Kelley (2). As suggested by the title, Moran and Kelley came within a hair's breadth of solving the problem of the alphabet, but ultimately failed. The names of the letters used are from the derivative Hebrew alphabet rather than from the original Phoenician:
Aleph = ox1, bull2
Beth = house1, temple or daughter2
Gimel = camel1
Daleth = door1, bucket or to draw water2
He = dipper2
Waw = hook1, pin or peg2
[Zayin = weapon or balance1]
[Heth = fence or barrier1]
[Teth = ball of wool1]
Yod = hand1
Kaph = palm or open hand1
Lamed = rod of a teacher1, oxgoad2
Mem = waters2
Nun = fish1, serpent2
Samekh = fulcrum or support or fish1
Ayin = eye1, spring2
Pe = mouth1
Sadhe = step or nose or scythe or javelin1, arrow or justice2
Qoph = monkey1, surround or wound2
Resh = head1, chief2
Sin = tooth1, sheep or goat2
Taw = mark or sign1
My Origins of the Tarot Deck fails to present a side by side comparison of the various lunar zodiacs of the Old World with that part of the presumed Canaanite/Phoenician lunar zodiac expressed in the early alphabet, though one might extract such a comparison oneself with the expenditure of some effort. The following table remedies that situation, just to make it clear to the reader how closely the Canaanite/Phoenician system approximated that of the Arabians (17 out of 19 letters) and, to a significantly lesser extent, those of India (12 out of 19) and China (14 out of 19), though 16 out of 19 letters appear in either the Indian or Chinese systems. Only qoph is missing from all three. The constituent stars of the three old-world zodiacs are from Allen (1963) with additional data from the Burgess translation of the Sûrya Siddhânta (1978). This table has been added to strengthen the foundations of my translation of the Phaistos Disc in Chapter Fourteen. I have also added the names of the Indian asterisms (or nakshatras) to help align this table with the precessional chart in Chapter Twenty-One:
Direct Comparison of Alphabetical Asterisms with Three Major Lunar Zodiacs
|Position||Arabian||Indian (Name)||Chinese||Locations in the Odyssey¶||
η Tauri, etc.*
η Tauri, etc. (Krittikâ)‡
η Tauri, etc.
α,γ,δ,ε,θ Tauri (Rohinî)
λ,φ1,φ2 Orionis (Mrigaçiras)§
α Orionis (Ârdrá)
α,δ, Orionis, etc.
α,β Geminorum (Punarvasu)
γ,δ,ε,η,θ Cancri (Pushya)
ξ Cancri, λ Leonis
δ Hydrae, etc. (Âçleshâ)
δ Hydrae, etc.
|8||α Hydrae, etc.||11|
α,γ,ε,ζ,η,μ Leonis (Maghâ)
|Thrinacie||12 & 13|
δ,θ Leonis (Pûrva-Phalgunî)
κ Hydrae, etc.
β,93 Leonis (Uttara-Phalgunî)
α Crateris, etc.
|Kaph||β,γ,δ,ε,η Virginis||11||β,γ,δ,ε,η Virginis||16|
α,β,γ,δ,ε Corvi (Hasta)
α Virginis (Citrâ)
α Bootis (Svâtî/Nishtyâ)
|Scherie (Phaeacians)||19 & 20|
α,β,γ,ι Librae (Viçákhá)
β,δ,π Scorpii (Anurâdhâ)
α,σ,τ Scorpii (Jyeshthâ)
ε,ζ,η,θ,ι,κ,λ,μ,υ Scorpii (Mûla)
γ,δ,ε,η Sagittarii, etc.
δ,ε Sagittarii (Pûrva-Ashâdhâ)
γ,δ,ε,η Sagittarii, etc.
ζ,σ,τ,φ Sagittarii, etc.
ζ,σ,τ,φ Sagittarii (Uttara-Ashâdhâ)
|Qoph||ξ,ο,π,ρ Sagittarii, etc.||
α,β Capricorni, etc.
α,ε,ζ Lyrae (Abhijit)
α,β,γ Aquilae (Çravana)
ε,μ,ν Aquarii, etc.
β,ξ Aquarii, etc.
α,β,γ,δ Delphini (Çravishthâ/Dhanishtha)
λ Aquarii, etc. (Çatabhishaj)
α Aquarii, ε,θ Pegasi
α,β Pegasi (Pûrva-Bhâdrapadâ)
α,β Pegasi, etc.
γ Pegasi, α Andromedae
γ Pegasi, α Andro. (Uttara-Bhâdrapadâ)
γ Pegasi, α Andromedae
β Andromedae, etc.
ζ Piscium, etc. (Revatî)
β,ζ Andromedae, etc.
β,γ Arietis (Açvinî)
33,35,39,41 Arietis (Bharanî)║
* Except for non-alphabetical
asterisms, "etc." generally derives from the original source.
As I pointed out in my earlier work, the period when the Hyades―the letter aleph of the Phoenician alphabet―marked the vernal equinox centered approximately about the year 2400:
Taw, a "mark" or "sign," is the final letter of the original 19-letter Phoenician alphabet and the only one of the four corner markers, I, O, T, A, that does not appear in the holy name IAO. [Hugh Anderson] Moran attributes the gap between taw and aleph to a tabu against the fourth quarters of the month and year, and it is my contention that the same applied to the letter taw, identified with the winter solstice. Hence IAO would be the god of summer, spring and autumn, but not winter. The Roman failure to even name the months between December and March appears to be a related practice. According to [Joseph] Needham and [Colin A.] Ronan, the vernal equinox fell at the Hyades, or "A," sometime very near 2400 B.C. It is, therefore, not surprising that Alpha Hydrae "was observed passing the meridian at sunset on the day of the vernal equinox during the time of Emperor Yao, about 2350 B.C." Godfrey Higgins seems to have been the first to identify the Chinese Yao with the Western IAO.
Taking the ancient nominal value for the complete cycle of the precession of the equinoxes of 25,920 years, the period during which any given asterism of the 24-sign zodiac used to construct the alphabet would have intersected any of the four solstitial and equinoctial points would have equaled 1080 years, which places the latest point when the Hyades would have marked the first fortnight (actually, 15 days) of the year at somewhere near the year 1860 BC. The earliest surviving inscription in Phoenician was found at Byblos, dating from around 1000 BC, so that this zodiac must have been used for almost a millennium as a navigational aid, and possibly later as a method of encoding sensitive information, before it emerged onto the stage of history as an open means of communication. And the earliest point when this particular system would have aligned with the seasons was near the year 2940 BC, virtually identical to the time when the great river valley civilizations experienced what the Greeks called the Flood of Deucalion and the bible calls the Deluge.
There is another asterism (or small constellation) in Taurus, that appears in all of the 28-sign lunar zodiacs of the Old World, in Arabia, in India, and in China. This asterism is the Pleiades, home of Maia and the other daughters of Atlas whom we have already met in our study of Atlantis, that marked the vernal equinox for 1080 years after the period of the Hyades, between approximately 1860 and 780 BC. This sign is missing from the Phoenician alphabet (it is located to the right of aleph in the first chart above), though that alphabet was still in use in 1000 BC. As we shall see in a moment, a similar system that included the Pleiades remained in use as late as the early 5th century BC at the school of Pythagoras at Croton.
The conclusion of "The Cross and Circle," Chapter Two of my Origins of the Tarot Deck, was that the Tarot cards were derived from what was essentially an illustrated pachisi board used to play the game whose modern Western incarnation goes by the name of Parcheesi®. In its original form, however, this "game board" was not used for that purpose at all but must have served as a teaching and mnemonic aid among the early Pythagoreans. Again, the reader may consult that earlier work for the background that led to this conclusion. The following schematic representation illustrates the arrangement of the images behind the cards as they would have appeared in the 6th century BC and later, before the earlier form had evolved into a mere board game whose function was purely diversionary. The following illustration is from the aforementioned chapter:
Tarot Board, School of Pythagoras, Circa 510 BC (modernized representation)
In this system each square represented a half of a day, so that an entire counter-clockwise revolution about the board equaled 28 days and the distance from trump to trump after one revolution equaled 30 or 31 days, depending on the month. Though the first twelve trumps represented the twelve signs of the zodiac or twelve months of the year, their images were not based upon the twelve Babylonian constellations known to the modern world but appear to have been extracted from an earlier lunar system in which the months were often represented by individual stars rather than groups of stars. Reconstructing this system was difficult and only partially successful. The following are the stars that equate with the first twelve trumps, as far as they can be identified at present (trumps VIII and XI have been reversed):
|1.||The Magician or Juggler||The Pleiades or simply Maia = 20 Tauri (or Alcyone = η Tauri)|
|2.||The High Priestess or Juno||Sirius = α Canis Majoris|
|3.||The Emperor||Regulus = α Leonis|
|6.||The Lovers||A star in Boötes?|
|7.||The Chariot||Graffias = β Scorpii, The Four-horse Chariot of Heaven (Chinese)|
|9.||The Hermit||Altair = α Aquilae|
|10.||The Wheel of Fortune||Fortuna Fortunarum = β Aquarii|
|12.||The Hanged Man||The Cord = α Piscium|
The important point is that The Magician represents Maia in the Pleiades.
In 1988, I wrote:
Now Hermes is the son of Zeus and Maia, Greek goddess and eldest of the Pleiades, in whom the etymologists fail to see any connection with the Roman Maia, Goddess of spring, after whom the month of May was named. They are in fact traced to two different Indo-European roots, "ma" and "meg." There would appear to be even less of a connection with the Hindu "maya," whose origin cannot be traced. Unfortunately, the ancients, especially the Greeks, had the bad habit of generating false or folk etymologies when it suited their purposes. We will shortly discover that, as far as the Tarot is concerned, the three words are interchangeable. What is important at present is that chronologically Hermes somehow comes after Maia....
The identification of Hermes with April verifies our earlier suspicion that the Magician represents maya and the month of May. We can even begin to understand why he is called the son of Maia since the precession of the equinoxes would have driven the vernal sun out of May, which we can now identify with Taurus, location of the Pleiades and the star Maia, and into April or Aries....
Though Maia is usually associated with one of the lesser stars of the Pleiades, "some have said that her star was the most luminous of the group (Alcyone).... The name also is written Mea and Maja, the feminine form of majus, an older version of magnus. Cicero had the word Majja ... familiarly known as Ma, or Maia Maiestas, the Bona Dea, or Great and Fruitful Mother, who gave name to the Roman month, our May.... The equivalent Maou, for the Pleiades in China, is singularly like the Latin word" [Allen (1963)]. Our previous identification of the magician with May would seem to be correct. The Pleiades or Kritika, the General of the Celestial Armies, is the first sign of the Hindu lunar zodiac, as it is in both the Chinese and Arabic systems....
Clearly, this device dates from the period when the Pleiades marked the vernal equinox. In 1988 I was still looking for a uniformitarian explanation for the symbolism embodied in the Tarot board, and saw Zeus as the vernal sun and the serpent as Scorpio setting in the west as Taurus rose in the east. But my reason for placing Zeus, or Yahweh, in the east in the first place remains instructive.
The Stairway to Heaven
Returning to my Origins, and the above illustration, it turns out that there is a cryptogram, in the Greek language, embedded in the Tarot. The road to this realization is long and arduous, but it is worth repeating here in some detail so that the reader may understand it without having to seek out a copy of the original work and in so doing artificially inflate its price on the used book market.
The most important three symbols of the entire Tarot deck ... are the three trumps The Sun, The Moon, and The Star. Not only can these three images be localized in space and time but they open up a realm of interpretation totally inaccessible until the present.
A series of kudurru or boundary stones, relatives of those that bore the name of Hermes on the shores of the Aegean, have been dug from the mounds that conceal the ruined cities of the Kassite Kingdom (ca 1600–1150 B.C.), which followed the First Babylonian Dynasty, in Mesopotamia. At the top of these stones, which resemble the linga found in India as well as the omphalos at Delphi, above a band that contains the constellations of the zodiac, are three prominent symbols. The first of these is a disk from which alternately radiate four points and four sets of wavy lines, forming the symbol for the Mesopotamian sun. The second is a crescent, oriented like the hull of a boat, which represents the moon. The third, a star, most often eight-pointed, stands for Ishtar, the planet Venus.
The first question we must ask ourselves is whether The Star of the Tarot is Venus. The answer is easily obtained. The creature on the trump, with her wings restored, may be seen hovering just above the ground in a picture from a Greek vase reproduced on page 438 of The American Heritage Dictionary under the heading "Eos," goddess of the dawn. The activity in which she is engaged, comprised of holding two jugs so that liquid pours from both, is of course the sprinkling of the dew that appears in early morn. I say "of course" despite the fact that no one has ever recognized the connection with playing cards, because the motif has long been familiar to mythologists. Venus is, of course, the Morning Star.
Why the sun, moon, and Venus? Prior to the discovery, or rediscovery, of the 19-year, 235-lunar month Metonic cycle, later adopted by the Jewish lunisolar calendar, by Meton in 432 B.C., the eight-year, 99-month octaeteris cycle was in wide use. The advantage of the eight-year solar cycle is that it not only contains a bare 1.6 days less than exactly 99 lunar months but it exceeds five complete morning star-evening star cycles of Venus by just 2.4 days. Hence the three cycles recur to within four days every eight years. This is just the sort of numerically significant astronomical fact we might expect to be of interest to the Pythagoreans, but what is the evidence that it actually reached Greece?
Perhaps some doubt might still remain, if we did not see at the same time some very peculiar beliefs of the sidereal religion of Babylon creeping into the doctrines of the philosophers. It is a well-known fact that this religion formed a triad, Sin, Shamash, and Ishtar. To the god of the Moon, regarded as the most powerful of the three, and to the Sun had been added Venus, the most brilliant of the planets. These are the three great rulers of the zodiac, and their symbols,―crescents, discs, containing a star of four or six points―appear on the top of the boundary pillars (kudurru) from the fourteenth century BC. Now the same association is found in an extract from Democritus, where the Sun, the Moon, and Venus are distinguished from the other planets. The echo of the same theory extended even to the Romans. Pliny, in a passage which owes its erudition to some Chaldean author of the Hellenistic period, remarks that Venus is 'the rival of the Sun and the Moon'... [Cumont, 1960].
Now return to the drawing of the reconstructed Tarot board and observe the positions of The Sun, Moon, and Star, 19, 18, and 17, and imagine the four arms of the Greek cross folded downward along the lines that separate them from the central three-by-three grid. One might, in fact, [print] a ... copy of the chart, trim off the area outside the cross, fold down the four arms and tape them together. Observe the new three-dimensional location of the astronomical trumps ... and imagine the entire tower, for a tower it certainly is, covered with the entire 77 numbered cards of the tarot deck....
The trumps from 14 through 19, from top to bottom, are as follows:
The tower formed by the previous manipulation has some interesting mathematical properties. The most obvious of these is the fact that it consists of 3 x 3 x 8 = 72 unit cubes. Godfrey Higgins refers to ...  groups of 72, or 70, the round number he claims was routinely substituted for the unround one.... Some of these items are simply echoes or afterimages that resulted from survival of the general consensus that there was something of mystical significance about the number 72 and do not bear directly on the present argument. There are, however, two items that appear to be integrally related to the origins of the Tarot. The first of these is the ark [11. The kinds of animals in the ark], which, despite protestations of seaworthiness, is nothing but a right-angles parallelepiped that could just as well be stood on its end. It is not surprising to find each of the cubes filled with a pair of animals when we learn, again from Higgins, of Pliny's division of the circle into 72 "constellations," which were named for "animals or other things."
Of primary importance to the development of the following discussion is the second significant item from Higgins' list, the Tower of Babel [7. The number of tongues at the confusion]. While the 19th century magistrate from Doncaster starkly informs us of the 72 languages generated by the destruction of the Tower, Robert Graves skillfully disinters certain closely related data concerning the actual use of "Nimrod's Tower." According to The Hearings of the Scholars, the tower was constructed from nine materials, identified by Graves as symbols for the following parts of speech: noun, pronoun, adjective, verb, adverb, participle, preposition, conjunction and interjection. It was used, again according to The Hearings, by one Feniusa Farsa, whom Graves identifies with the Greek Oeneus, and his 72 assistants to carry out language research. Twenty-five of Farsa's assistants, including one Babel, gave their names to the Ogham letters....
When I first began to examine the trumps I found a repetition of symbols in Temperance and The Star rather annoying. there was something just vaguely familiar yet inaccessible about a repeating symbol among 22 otherwise nonrepeating images. When I recognized the goddess Eos I was further disturbed by her lack of wings in The Star. It was as if someone were trying to disguise the very repetition I had noticed. What were they trying to hide?
The answer lies in the way Eos links Temperance to The Sun, Moon and Star, despite the lack of any obvious connection between trumps 16, 15 and 14 and either Death or Judgment or the three astronomical trumps. Could it be that Temperance also represents Venus and that the astronomical sequence consists of all six trumps from Temperance through The Sun? I was now looking at a symbol that occurred twice, not in 22 trumps, but in a sequence of six. Even more annoying, the six-unit length of the sequence had itself been disguised.
This puzzle was clearly not meant to be deciphered by the dimwitted....
This is the point when it finally dawned on me:
The key word is "cipher" and the most useful tool in decrypting one, especially the most common "grandfather" variety, is an analysis of the repetitions that occur throughout the text. I had finally realized what had been bothering me about the doctored image of Eos. The six-letter astronomical sequence was a word and one of the letters was repeated! Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to decode such a short sequence using the standard techniques of cryptanalysis; unless of course one has a few other clues―
At one point or another Higgins touches upon virtually every astrological theme that has survived into modern times. Buried in the pages of a chapter that deals with one of them, the holy name IAO, is the key to deciphering the six-trump sequence Sun, Moon, Star, Tower, Devil, Temperance. Though I later found other references to what might be called "the planetary code," it was while studying the Anacalypsis that I first caught hold of the "thread of Ariadne" that would lead me to a clear understanding of the importance of the long lost proper pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton and the astrological and numerological reality behind the development of the religion of Yahweh, the transliteration of whose name will shortly be slightly altered....
There appears in the Anacalypsis a singular reference to one George Cedrenus, alias Georgius Cedrenus, alias George Cedrinus, alias George Kedrenos, supposed to have been a monk though no one knows for sure. Cedrenus wrote a history of the world to 1057 based largely upon earlier sources including the so-called pseudo-Simeon. It is Cedrenus' contention that the "Chaldeans," who seem to have been responsible for the entire three-dimensional aspect of the Tarot, worshipped the intellectual light. This light they represented by the letters alpha and omega, which referred to the two planetary extremes, the moon and Saturn. In the middle was the sun, represented by the letter iota. Whether this is the original meaning of the name IAO (another possibility is presented in the appendix), it is clear that at some point it was applied by these "Chaldeans" to the planetary bodies. Now this would appear to be a rather arbitrary and peculiar alignment until we realize that alpha is the first and omega the last letter of the modified alphabet adopted at Athens in 403 B.C. Iota is the fourth of the seven vowels of this alphabet. Graves, who places the revision of the Greek alphabet at the doorstep of Simonides, traces it to "some obscure religious theory." The moon, Saturn and the sun are the first, last and central planets in the order named for Claudius Ptolemy, which is based upon the time it takes the various bodies to travel through the zodiac:
|Saturn||30 Years||29 Years 166 Days|
|Jupiter||12 Years||11 Years 315 Days|
|Mars||2 Years||1 Year 322 Days|
|Sun||(1 Year)||1 Year|
|Venus||1 Year||1 Year|
|Mercury||1 Year||1 Year|
|Moon||(27 Days)||(27 Days)|
If this appears to be the reverse of the order of the vowels, the reader should remember that the values of the letters increase as one travels through the alphabet....
We begin with the sequence:
Filling in the gaps is fairly simple if we assume that the order of the vowels was meant to mirror the order of the planets. Hence:
|= Ω (long O)|
|Jupiter||= Υ (U)|
|Mars||= Ο (short O)|
|Sun||= Ι (I)|
|Venus||= Η (Long E, earlier H)|
|Mercury||= Ε (short E)|
|Moon||= Α (A)|
Lest the reader think that I have hallucinated this entire system of substitutions from a single sentence in the magnum opus of a less than well-known 19th century English country squire, I hasten to add that the preceding is a reconstruction of the process by which I originally recognized the astrological scheme behind the modern Greek alphabet. In fact, G. R. S. Mead presents the same system, this time in its entirety, in his study of Gnosticism. As part of the "number-symbolism of Marcus," a pupil of Valentinus sometime during the mid-second century A.D., it survives in the writings of Irenaeus, composed sometime around A.D. 185–195. Each of the seven "cosmic spheres" makes the sound of one of the seven vowels, alpha the first through omega the seventh. That these "sounds" were also meant to be musical notes may be surmised from the system of Pythagoras where the planets were arranged according to the following musical scale:
|Earth||to Moon||= 1 Tone|
|Moon||to Mercury||= ½ Tone|
|Mercury||to Venus||= ½ Tone|
|Venus||to Sun||= 1½ Tones|
|Sun||to Mars||= 1 Tone|
|Mars||to Jupiter||= ½ Tone|
|Jupiter||to Saturn||= ½ Tone|
|Saturn||to Fixed Stars||= ½ Tone|
This would appear to be the source of the idea of the music of the spheres.
Returning to the six-letter astronomical sequence we now have the following:
IAH――H? Could this be a variation of the name now commonly written "Yahweh," formerly "Jehovah"? If it is, The Tower must stand for Jupiter (upsilon) and The Devil for Mercury (epsilon), forming a strange but recognizable transformation of "Yahweh" that would then read vertically down the front of that larger tower whose faces are made up of the 77 numbered cards of the Tarot deck. Are these identifications defensible?
For the first half of the answer, whose ease of extraction is a sure sign that we have penetrated close to the true meaning of the Tarot, we must turn again to the followers of Pythagoras. Their presence at this crucial junction is a further indication of their importance to its development, for it is precisely these Pythagoreans who place "Zeus's watch-tower" at the absolute center of the universe. We should recall in this regard that the ziggurat was placed precisely at the center of the "sacred precinct of Jupiter Belus" at Babylon. This "watch-tower" is another name for that peculiarly Pythagorean notion, the central fire.
The more genuine exponents of the doctrine describe as fire at the centre the creative force which from the centre imparts life to all the earth and warms afresh the part of it which has cooled. Hence some call this fire the Tower of Zeus, as Aristotle in his Pythagorean Philosophy, others the Watch-tower of Zeus, as Aristotle calls it here [De caelo ii. 13], and others again the Throne of Zeus, if we may credit different authorities... Philolaus calls the fire in the middle about the centre the Hearth of the universe, the House of Zeus, the Mother of the Gods, the Altar, Bond and Measure of Nature.3
By what authority do we identify the planet Mercury, progenitor of such high gods as Odin, Hermes, Thoth and Ganesha, with the Devil of that Western religion whose founder was foreshadowed by The Hanged Man and whose temporal leader eventually came to appear among the trumps? When the answer appears in Graves' White Goddess, we are provided with another example of how closely the charted, though unreached, goals of our various sources approach one another. Though they are all looking for the solution to the same astrological puzzle, they all lack that one element whose exegesis we have been pursuing throughout the previous chapters, i.e. the Tarot deck. According to Graves "the Devil was Nabu," represented as a winged goat, Cosmocrator and Babylonian god of Wednesday. The full Name, which appears on the front of the tower, is IAHUEH. That we have truly reached the correct solution to the cosmic cryptogram may be confirmed by appeal to that device whose application to the Tetragrammaton has until now never been determined, the numerical value of the word:
We now know that 432 is the value of the name of the Deity whose name appears on the front of the tower. A little arithmetic will confirm that it is also the number of faces on the 72 cubes that make up the tower. In short, IAHUEH, the unspeakable name, is a cryptographic representation of the very tower upon whose face his name appears. In fact it could be said that IAHUEH is the tower. Yet the tower itself is nothing more nor less than a representation of the world, as confirmed by its topmost trump. Yet if we are to conclude our quest satisfactorily we must identify IAHUEH more precisely than simply "the world."
Location of the Name IAHUEH on the Tarot Tower
In 1988 I suggested that 432 was the number of 10-day periods in 12 years, which is very roughly the period of Jupiter. At the time I was laboring under the misapprehension that IAHUEH, or Yahweh, was exclusively the Hebrew equivalent of the planet Jupiter. Upon further reflection, and having finally understood an obscure reference in the Anacalypsis of Godfrey Higgins, I realized that Yahweh had at one time been the sun, the entire system having been solar, and that the number 432 referred to the solar year. As Higgins says, "Jupiter is the king, Jupiter himself is the original source of all things; there is one power, one god, and one great ruler over all. But we have seen that Jupiter and all the other Gods were but names for the sun; therefore it follows that the sun, either as emblem or as God himself, was the object of universal adoration." Robert Graves confirms this identification in The White Goddess:
It is of the highest theological importance that Jehovah announced himself to Moses as 'I am that I am' ... from the acacia rather than from any other tree; because this constituted a definition of his godhead. Had he announced himself from the terebinth, as the earlier Jehovah had done at Hebron, this would have been to reveal himself as Bel, or Marduk, the god of Thursday and the seventh month, the Aramaean Juppiter [sic], the Paeonian Apollo. But from the acacia, the tree of the first day of the week [Sunday], he revealed himself as the God of the Menorah, the transcendental Celestial God ....
According to Graves the menorah in the sanctuary faced WSW, towards Heliopolis, where he tells us Moses was a priest of the Sun God.
Why this figure, 432, should have been substituted for the more common 360 has to do with the fact that the actual solar year is 365 days and a fraction and the units of this system are expressed as cubes and the faces of cubes. In order to bring the system up to the proper number of days it was necessary to add an extra cube, the one on which The Fool presumably appeared, the latter being the only card that fails to appear on the Tarot board itself. Certainly a system based on 60 cubes and 360 faces could have been constructed by someone with the abilities of Pythagoras, but in that case the addition of an extra cube would have raised the total number of faces to 366 rather than 365. The solution, obvious enough to a geometer on the intellectual level of Pythagoras, was to scale up the entire system by a factor of 6/5 and drop the constituent unit from a day (24 Hours) down to 20 hours. Thus the added cube represents 6 x 20 hours, or 5 days, and the entire tower plus single cube system represents 365 days.
It should be remembered that this Tower of Zeus, this geometrical representation of the sun and the number 432, was not simply an intellectual construct. It was a physical object, as physical as the Tarot deck is physical, as physical as the pachisi board is physical, and we are therefore justified in asking whether this physical object with its name cryptographically emblazoned upon its eastern face was not the same object―or rather an example of the same class of objects―as the one that sat upon the lid of the Ark of the Covenant between two cherubim, the Tetragrammaton of the Old Testament.
This may at first seem to be a peculiar question, the status of this Yahweh having survived undiminished in many circles since the ancient world. Yet it is a peculiarity that exists in the description itself of this Yahweh and his box, apparently not materially different from the cabinet and its enclosed god Bacchus captured like a theological football by the Greeks and their allies at the fall of Troy. This Ark was made of "acacia wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.... And there I will meet thee from above the ark-cover, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel." Thus, the Ark is normally interpreted as a destination where Yahweh arrived from elsewhere and appeared to his followers. Yet, if we take a hint from Bacchus, we would expect the Ark to be the place where Yahweh lived and not simply the repository for the Ten Commandments, and we would further expect the communications between Yahweh and his followers to have taken the form of the kind of divinatory pronouncements Confucius expected to receive from the I Ching as well as the kind of arithmetical, geometrical, chronological, and astronomical data the students of Pythagoras expected to receive from the Master's Tarot board. Though IAHUEH is the sun and the Tarot board can be used to represent the solar year, the planets and other objects can also be monitored using the same mechanism, and may have been as early as the sinking of the 56 Aubrey Holes at Stonehenge.
The Event at Tunguska
In The Book of the Damned of 1919, Charles Fort wrote,
About a hundred years ago, if anyone was so credulous as to think that stones had ever fallen from the sky, he was reasoned with:
In the first place there are no stones in the sky:
Therefore no stones can fall from the sky.
Or nothing more reasonable or scientific or logical than that could be said upon any subject. The only trouble is the universal trouble: that the major premise is not real, or is intermediate somewhere between realness and unrealness.
In 1772, a committee, of whom Lavoisier was a member, was appointed by the French Academy, to investigate a report that a stone had fallen from the sky at Luce, France. Of all attempts at positiveness, in its aspect of isolation, I don't know of anything that has been fought harder for than the notion of this earth's unrelatedness. Lavoisier analyzed the stone of Luce. The exclusionists' explanation at that time was that stones do not fall from the sky: that luminous objects may seem to fall, and that hot stones may be picked up where a luminous object seemingly had landed—only lightning striking a stone, heating, even melting it....
One may have the knowledge of a Lavoisier, and still not be able to analyze, not be able even to see, except conformably with the hypnoses, or the conventional reactions against hypnoses, of one's era.
This position was finally torpedoed (or rather, bombarded) once and for all on April 26, 1803, when 3000 meteorites fell at L'Aigle in Normandy, during the daytime, many of which were seen to fall from the sky by the good citizens of the town. Once again, a new intellectual age in the development of humanity had begun with the appearance, this time of the remnants, of the Comet of Typhon. By this time the core of the comet had settled into an orbit just over 21 years that brought it dangerously close to the earth every five orbits. The origin of these 3000 fragments, before it finally broke apart, may have been seen to cross the sun on October 10, 1802, by Fritsche, as reported by Charles Fort in The Book of the Damned. Later observations of what he thought to be the same object were used by Leverrier to calculate the orbit of what he thought to be a planet-sized object between Mercury and the sun. He called it Vulcan, and calculated that the planet would again cross the sun on March 22, 1877. On that date, the object failed to appear, perhaps so deteriorated that it was no longer visible from the earth.
105 years after the event of 1803, on June the 30th of 1908, a much more dangerous piece of this object would fall in Siberia near the Stony Tunguska River. A few hours later and it would have taken out St. Petersburg. This core, shorn of its cometary disguise, may have been seen on the 28th. Charles Fort reports, in New Lands,
A great luminous object, or a meteor, that was seen at the time of the eclipse of June 28, 1908—"as if to make the date of the eclipse more memorable," says W. F. Denning (Observatory, 31-288).
William Frederick Denning was, though an amateur, an expert on meteoric astronomy and author of various books on astronomy. He was living at Bristol in England at the time of the observation.
Peasants who witnessed the fall of the object stated that it was shaped like a pipe. Compare the illustration at the very beginning of this chapter from the Bayeux Tapestry. Note the cylindrical or rectangular element of this representation of what is supposed to have been Halley's Comet, but more likely was the same object responsible for the meteorite fall in Normandy and the event near the Tunguska River. The Bayeux image is also in line with the ancient belief that the celestial bodies, especially the sun, were carried along in their journeys by horse-drawn chariots. These chariots were part of a cosmological model described by Franz Cumont in his Mysteries of Mithra:
The Supreme God drives a chariot drawn by four steeds which turn ceaselessly round in a fixed circle. The first, which bears on its shining coat the signs of the planets and constellations, is sturdy and agile and traverses the circumference of the fixed circle with extreme velocity; the second, less vigorous and less rapid in its movements, wears a sombre robe, of which one side only is illuminated by the rays of the sun; the third proceeds more slowly still; and the fourth turns slowly in the same spot, champing restlessly its steel bit, whilst its companions move round it as round a stationary column in the center.... The first horse is the incarnation of fire or ether, the second of air, the third of water, and the fourth of the earth.
Cumont then describes the catastrophic end of this world, an end later echoed in the book of Revelation:
The quadriga turns slowly and unimpeded, regularly completing its eternal course. But at a certain moment the fiery breath of the first horse falling upon the fourth ignites its mane, and its neighbor, exhausted by its efforts, inundates it with torrents of perspiration.... The accidents which befall the last-mentioned horse, the earth, represent the conflagrations and inundations which have desolated and will in the future desolate our world; and the victory of the first horse is the symbolic image of the final conflict that shall destroy the existing order of all things.
We already know that the central horse, the fourth, represents the earth. And we have been told that the outer horse, the first, represents the stars and planets, among the latter of which the ancients numbered the sun, the source of the cosmic fire (or sometimes thought to be a reflector of the Central Fire). The second horse is the moon, illuminated on one side only. Here we have an early understanding of the relationship between the radiant sun and the illuminated moon. But what is the third horse? Is it possible that a cosmic object could have interposed itself between the moon and the earth, which are less than 400,000 kilometers apart, and that that object was the one responsible for the flooding of the earth?
The most widely held and strongly supported explanation of the fireball on the Tunguska is that it was a stony asteroid that exploded and vaporized before it could hit the ground. This is in line with the meteorites that fell at L'Aigle in 1803. Those objects were chondrites or stony meteorites. The other major theory is that the Tunguska blast resulted from the explosion of a comet. Though the actual object exhibited traits more easily explained by a rock-like projectile—if the current thesis is correct, it was part of the terminal phase of what was originally a comet-like object. If neither of these categories fits perfectly, it is because the object responsible for the blast was unique, both in its composition and its long term relationship to the earth. At its core were meteor- and asteroid-like fragments covered, originally, by an exceedingly polluting comet-like sheath, the totality of which must have been massive on a scale never seen in modern observations of comets in the present solar system.
An explanation of the almost complete disappearance of the Tunguska object was given in 1983 by Zdenek Sekanina. According to Sekanina, as noted by Surendra Verma in his Tunguska Fireball, the asteroid was "90 to 190 metres across." It exploded "about 8 kilometres above the ground," while traveling at a speed of "about 108,000 kilometres per hour." It "completely disintegrated in the atmosphere" with an energy of 12 megatons, was reduced to fine particles that have been found as far away as Antarctica, and produced several nights of glowing skies and perpetual twilight in Europe. Verma continues, "Sekanina rejected the notion that the Tunguska fireball was a comet.... The fireball ... must have been a denser, stony object to survive its journey to the Siberian sky. It was probably a small member of the Apollo asteroids, believed to be nuclei of comets that have lost their volatile components." Sometime after AD 1066, that is.
Less than five hours after the Tunguska object exploded at 7:14 AM local time in Siberia, another fireball was seen over Kagarlyk near Kiev in what is now Ukraine (then part of the Russian Empire) at around 7:00 AM local time followed by the impact of a 1.912 kg stony meteorite. The meteorite is described as an L5 olivine-hypersthene chondrite. The objects that fell at L'Aigle are closely related and are L6 olivine-hypersthene chondrites. L5 and L6 differ only by the degree to which they have been transformed by heating.
A description of the original form of these objects while they were still part of a comet appears in the bas-reliefs of the followers of Mithra, with whom we will deal in detail in Chapter 12. Cumont interprets the story of the first appearance of Mithra as follows:
The light bursting from the heavens, which were conceived as a solid vault, became, in the mythology of the Magi, Mithra born from the rock. The tradition ran that the "Generative Rock," of which a standing image was worshipped in the temples, had given birth to Mithra on the banks of a river, under the shade of a sacred tree, and that shepherds alone, ensconced in a neighboring mountain, had witnessed the miracle of his entrance into the world. They had seen him issue forth from the rocky mass, his head adorned with a Phrygian cap, armed with a knife, and carrying a torch that had illuminated the sombre depths below.
The story of Mithra contains a pastiche of comet-related events that run from the purported creation of the world through the creation of man, the Deluge, and finally his own birth, in a decidedly illogical order, at least as presented by Cumont. Throughout the ages during which all of these events transpired, Mithra carried out his duties as mediator:
Mithra is the creator to whom Jupiter-Ormazd committed the task of establishing and maintaining order in nature. He is, to speak in the philosophical language of the time, the Logos that emanated from God and shared His omnipotence ....
Here we have the final closing of the circle, the comet having descended from the sphere of the Logos just below the fixed stars to a position between the moon and the earth where, in the guise of the bull-slaying Mithra, he presided over the Deluge, the incineration of the Sahara, and later events before temporarily ending his mission to earth in 208 BC with a last supper with Helios and his return to the heavens until the next cycle.
1 Diringer (1978). 2 Moran
3 Thomas Heath, Aristarchus of
4 These may be reproduced if the author is given credit or a link is provided to this website.
[Chapter Ten: Noah and Menes―The Ark at Thebes]
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