Monday, February 28, 2005

Recapping the Timeline V

The conflict of the Nusantao trading clans appears in an interlaced series of motifs, the complexity of which would alone argue against independent evolution. The set of motifs are not identical though because as they drift apart, some motifs get lost and news ones are borrowed or invented. In some cases, motifs are converted to fit local viewpoints.

However, it is still possible to see the underlying elements that link a dualistic conflict with what can be interpreted as a volcanic catastrophe. In many cases, these stories also offer geographical directions to the scene and, less frequently, the timing of the events, which agree also with archaeological and other evidence.

I believe the Chinese recorded the alliance of the dragon and bird clans in the story of the marriage of Fu Hsi and Nu Gua. This union involved the Dong Yi peoples of the eastern coast, whom archaeologists have connected with the neolithic Dawenkou culture. In turn, the Dawenkou is thought by researchers such as Solheim and Ling to indicate Nusantao or Austronesian presence.

Indian literature speaks of the wars of Devas (gods) and Asuras (demons) during the Churning of the Milky Ocean in the East. From the churned sea arise a number of important cultural items including the conch trumpet, the long bow and the pot of elixir. These can be interpreted as representing influences dispersed by people migrating from this natural disaster.

In Sumer, the same information would come flowing from the people of the shell mounds. The conflicts of the Annunaki appear to have been absorbed into Hebrew myth as the war of the good and fallen angels.

These and stories from other mythologies give us ideas such as "paradise lost" and the Promethean fall which so many have tried to explain as common psychological devices to conceive worldviews. However, too often the details fit to well with the actual hard evidence to accept such speculation.

Thus, following the clan marriage of Fu Hsi and Nu Gua, tradition tells of wars between clan and tribal chieftans such as Yandi, Yao, Shun, Huangdi and Chiyou. Indeed, the archaeological evidence supports the idea of conflict with the growing presence of heavily-fortified settlements. We also see certain clan emblems begin to spread over wide distances.

The trade conflict coincides also with the appearance of economic systems often based, at least in part, on the use of shells as a form of currency.

In some cases, even some details on the inner organization of the clans seems apparent. There is suggested in several instances the division into groups of nine and/or seven. The first classification, I would suggest was based on the actual geographic divisions found in the area around the central mountain. This was divided into 8 parts like the eight provinces of Shambhala, which together with the central capital formed nine regions.

The seven-fold division, on the other hand, appears based on the levels of the mountain itself, which was used as a spiritual model for the whole cosmos.

Mythology and history were not separated. Ancestors, for example, were promoted to deity status as is still the case among some peoples to this day. The worldview of the Nusantao clearly interlaced the spiritual and mundane worlds in a way that matched their overall dual vision of the cosmos.

Paul Kekai Manansala