Saturday, December 25, 2004

Twin and Triple Peaked Mountain

The earliest shell mound people did not apparently have any special usage for the mounds they built. As time goes by, we see they eventually use the artifices as religious platforms and burial sites.

Possibly the religious nature of the mounds is linked directly with the worship of mountains. The first Sumerian ziggurats were constructed upon large mounds and they were models of the sacred mountain.

The idea of the dueling volcanoes is often contained in a hybrid motif. These types of motifs were quite common among the ancients. The dragon in Chinese art, for example, can contain features of the snake, crocodile, fish, bird, goat and bull. Each part of the hybrid motif might have very important symbolic significance. Unfortunately, in many cases this significance is lost.

The twin-peaked mountain could represent both a single volcano with its caldera, and two closely positioned volcanoes, at the same time. Mandara, the mountain involved in the Milky Ocean story, is described in the Ramayana as having two peaks.

There are a number of symbols of a three-peaked mountain showing either the middle peak collapsed or with the Sun representing the third peak and, at the same time, a volcanic eruption. In the image below we see the Sumerian cuneiform representation of "mountain," the Chinese character Shan with the same meaning and possibly the higher middle peak also representing a volcanic dome, and the Egyptian hieroglyph Akhet representing the twin-peaked mountain in which the Sun resides and from where it arises. The lower part of the image shows the sun god Shamash standing between the twin peaks of Mashu.

Similar types of symbols can also be found among the Moche of Peru and at Teotihuacan in Mexico.

The Chinese geographer Chau Ju-Kua states that in Sanfotsi a "Buddha" known as the "Hill of Gold and Silver" was worshipped. This may be a symbolic reference to the double volcano. Gold often represents the Sun and Yang polarity, while silver represents the Moon and Yin polarity, although sometimes this order is reversed.

In Southeast Asia, the names of two early kingdoms, the Sailendra and probably Funan, both translate to "King of the Mountain." Similar titles are found throughout the region.

These titles derive ultimately from the priest-king of the clan confederacies.

Paul Kekai Manansala

Abgal or Counselors

Sumerian tradition states that Enki sent seven abgal to Sumer to instruct humanity. The number seven matches the number of archangels in Hebrew tradition. One can also find instances of seven messengers/instructors in many other cultures.

Some researchers believe the number seven may relate more to the date of an event more than anything else. The seven sages are often compared directly to seven stars -- the Pleiades or the Great Bear.

The heliacal rising of the Pleiades was recognized very widely in Austronesian and other cultures as the beginning of the new year and the agricultural season. This might indicate that the sending of the abgal took place at a time when the heliacal rising of the Pleiades coincided with or was very close to the spring equinox, a logical date to begin planting.

At the same time, the heliacal rising of Sirius, the dog star, would have been close to the summer solstice. Indeed, if the great volcanic eruptions took place during a Venus transit sometime around the middle of the 4th millennium BC, these transits would have occured close to June and inferior conjunctions would occur in that month.

There are various historical traditions of an ancient "conjunction" of Venus and Sirius although these celestial bodies have such differing declinations that this would be astronomically impossible.

Could such a conjunction instead refer to the coincidence of a Venus transit/inferior conjunction and the heliacal rising of Sirius?

If so, the eruptions would have taken place during the typhoon and rainy season in June. Volcanoes, all by themselves, can generate their own storms through heat convection and other factors. Combine this with a natural weather system or typhoon and the effect can be even more cataclysmic.

A recent example of this would be the June 1991 eruption of Pinatubu that coincided with the impact of Typhoon Yunya.

The image of a smouldering volcano shrouded in the clouds of Heaven with flashing lightning and thunder presents the idea of Heaven and Earth in battle. The Underworld and Heaven appear linked through the volcano.

If the number seven and the star connection does indicate a timing of events, then we have further evidence to place the great eruptions in the 4th millennium BC.

I have mentioned that in many cultures Venus and Sirius are closely related. For example, both are associated with the goddesses Innana and Isis. In Austronesia the word tala and its cognates can mean either Venus, as the Morning Star, or Sirius, as the brightest star in the heavens.

The abgal helped set up a system of priest-kings who ruled specific geographic areas each under a patron/matron god. These priest-kings were linked with a ziggurat temple that represented the holy mountain/volcano.

In the same sense, the priest-king leader of the clan confederacies was the leader of the families of ritual officials of that same holy mountain/volcano. Even today in the region, the tradition of mountain guardians has persisted.

The mountain guardians live or camp on or near the sacred mountain. Their job is to prevent profanation of the area or to set up special sacred spots. These are taboo regions were one must not engage in activity that will anger the mountain spirits.

The idea of taboo locations or activities on sacred mountains is very widespread. In ancient times, these taboos were instituted by the local ritual officials.

The abgal might also have introduced the shell money system (PAN *huwaN) to Sumer. Shell money in Sumer was of the string type.

In Austronesia today, string shell money is valued depending on the quality of the shell and the length of the string. The size of the coin-like shell discs is regulated.

In the western Pacific, the shell color is of importance in judging value. The general scheme would have a descending order of value of pink, orange, brown, white and black.

In Yap, the giant stone rai appear to have originated from string shell money. They even still have the hole in the center. Here both the quality and size of the stones is important. The rai are so big that they traditionally were not moved. Instead rai were collected in "banks" and the ownership of the rai was recognized through an honor system.

Anybody could make money, but of course they had to find the right shells or stones and finish them to the correct standards.

The abgal also acted as personal counselors to the king. This may have been the start of the tradition of the royal vizier.

The sending of the abgal demonstrates again that there was some agenda involved. And the number of the abgal along with their association with stars may encode the timing of the event.

Paul Kekai Manansala