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KRONOS Vol XI, No. 10
CHILD OF SATURN (PART VI)
Copyright (c) 1985 by Dwardu Cardona
28. Lux Divina
Our quest for the progenitor of Venus has led us to the conclusion that not only was the goddess considered to have been Saturn's daughter but also his sister, wife, and mother. The goddesses Anat and Tanit, whom we last examined,(1) are not the only examples of these conflicting familial ties. Those who have been following this serialization might remember that aspects of the Indic Mahadevi, whom Artur Isenberg had earlier identified as Venus,(2) were also mythologically related to Saturn. As Parvati, Kali, and Durgadevi, the goddess was, as she still is, venerated as the wife of Shiva/Saturn.(3) So, also, with Gauri, "the goddess who rules the planet Venus".(4) But what do these relationships mean when translated into astronomical terms? What does it mean that one planet was considered to have been the daughter, sister, wife, or mother of another? Or why, for that matter, should planets have been considered male or female?
In a recent article, David Talbott and Ev Cochrane anticipated me by asking a nearly identical question:
What these writers have divulged is that Venus once orbited Saturn as a comet and that it was the Venerian tail which actually formed the circular band around the Saturnian orb. This Saturnian band was viewed by ancient man as the "Great Mother". The implication is that this "Great Mother" was really Venus who was obviously feminine.(6) But this solution only raises another question: Why was Saturn's band considered feminine and a mother at that?
Talbott would be the first one to refer me to his earlier work in which he presented abundant evidence which indicates, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Saturn's band was also considered a womb within which the Saturnian orb nestled.(7) That evidence need not be repeated here: the iconography is explicit enough. A womb is obviously a mother by extension and implication. We thus end up with the equation: Band = womb = mother = cometary tail = Venus.
Now, while it is correct to say that goddess and womb were one and the same, the recognition of one must have preceded the other. Those primitive ancestors of ours who were still strangers to symbolism would not readily have seen a womb in a celestial orb and its encircling band of light. There must have been more in the Saturnian apparition to have made them first visualize it as female.
As promised in our last installment, the goddess Tanit presents us with one of the best graphic illustrations that will enable us to clarify this point. The symbol of this deity is depicted on various stelae and in mosaic designs as a truncated cone, or isosceles triangle, surmounted by a horizontal bar above which rests a disc. Additionally, the horizontal bar is often shown with its ends turned up at right angles. As far as conventional mythologists are concerned, the meaning of this sign "has not yet been determined".(8) And yet, despite the fact that the figure was never endowed with facial features or sartorial details, the resemblance of this effigy to a human figure with upraised arms is at once apparent.
The same sign should also be recognizable to those familiar with the Saturnian configuration as a stylized depiction of that unearthly apparition. Both Talbott and I have described what appeared to be an appendage emanating from the primeval Saturn. Taking the form of an enormous ray which perspectively tapered upward in an elongated cone of light, Frederic Jueneman has additionally explained this Axis Mundi as a colossal Rankine vortex.(9) As seen from terrestrial distance, the entire configuration gave the appearance of a gargantuan being poised immutably in the sky, with planetary orb as radiant head, the "midnight" position of its encircling ring(s)-in-crescent as uplifted arms, and the Axis as its skirt-encased body.(10) To those primitive humans who first sighted this appalling phantasm, it seemed as if a towering being of light had stationed itself permanently in the polar sector of heaven with its invisible feet planted firmly beyond Earth's northern horizon.
No earthly description will ever do this apparition justice. We, who did not see it, will never be able to fully appreciate the impact it must have had on the primitive psyche. Were it to reappear in modern skies, we would now view it with scientific eyes. Our primitive forefathers had no science capable of explaining that overpowering specter in the sky. All they had at their disposal was fear, reverence, and awe.
The Saturnian configuration, as described above, had not always existed in man's skies; nor did it appear out of nowhere and/or fully formed. It evolved slowly, over an unspecified period, from what appears to have been a much less conspicuous celestial body which, without warning, had suddenly flared up.(11) When the light of the flare died down, this agitated body stamped itself upon man's mind as a celestial monster - a cosmic serpent, as some saw it - in turmoil. It was evident that whatever was happening up there in the sky was happening violently. As time went by, however, it became apparent that this new entity - or, as some would have it, this new offspring of the older one - was slowly organizing its cosmos. The history of this cosmic "beginning" cannot here be documented; the source material is much too voluminous to be contained in one short article. Suffice it to say that the glorious apparition in the sky we have barely touched upon in the above description was the outcome of this cosmic "organization " .
The older deity - which is what it was finally thought as - had received but scant attention from primitive man. It had "sat" there in the sky, glowing feebly - spinning, it is true(12) - but doing nothing else. The transformation, on the other hand, was such a stupendous event it could not but have mesmerized the entire human race. The beautiful image that eventually took shape out of the cosmic chaos following the flare-up became the focus of man's very being. This new deity was something to behold - bigger, brighter, filling the entire northern sector of the sky. Moreover, unlike its predecessor - or unlike its former self it was a much more active deity. Even after its organization, it continued to go through a mysterious daily cycle of changes while evolving further into an even more resplendent being.
All this was the end result of the fiat lux of Genesis 1:3. It was the Lux Divina by which the Romans described, not Saturn, but Venus.(13) - Why Venus?
29. Mater Dei
One can picture our aboriginal ancestors, standing or squatting outside their primitive shelters, staring wide-eyed at this newly created glory and wondering what it was. The strange resemblance it bore to their own human form must have early impressed itself on those primigenous minds. And for that reason, primarily, the Saturnian configuration was easily anthropomorphized. In fact, the anthropomorphism of celestial bodies owes its origin, through extension, to this primordial human-like resemblance of Saturn. But that, in itself, did not explain the nature of this mysterious radiant thing. Human-like the image might have appeared; but human it obviously was not. It was obviously much more than human; much more beautiful; much more powerful; much, much more. And, in truth, the very concept of GOD can be traced to this singular protracted event and the radiant apparition it gave rise to.
Was it benign? Was it malign? Was it male? Was it female? - In their endeavor to understand, these must have been among the first questions to plague our forebears' newly acquired advertence. The ego of both sexes must have run rampant. To the men, the being of light was undoubtedly male; to the women, unmistakably female. That, after all, has always been the nature of humankind.
The social structure of the prehistoric world has recently been classified as having been predominantly matriarchal. Whatever may be said for or against this generality, there seems to be no doubt that matriarchy was the prevailing social system with many primordinate groups. One may therefore assume that the newly transformed Saturnian deity would have been accepted as feminine by such ruling matriarchies - unless, of course, matriarchies arose precisely in response to this goddess. Be that as it may, there is no doubt that the primigenial deity was presented as exclusively female in the mythologies of many races.
Thus, among the Iroquois nation of the North American Indians, it was told how the sky had parted, through the cleft of which "creator woman" had appeared, clad in nothing but divine light.(1) Likewise, half-way across the world, the Pelasgians believed in a Creatrix called Eurynome, the "Goddess of All Things", who rose naked from Chaos to organize the Cosmos.(2) Even in the ancient Near East, among the Sumerians, we meet with the goddess Nammu, "the mother who gave birth to heaven and earth", the "mother of all the gods".(3) In fact, we could go right around the world, investigating the mythologies of both hemispheres, only to make the surprising discovery that traces of an original Mother Goddess survive even among those civilizations known to have been based on strictly patriarchal autocracy.
This human-like resemblance which the Saturnian configuration bore did not escape Talbott. How could it have when it is so significantly obvious? Not only did Talbott compare the Saturnian image to the symbol of Tanit but also to various related effigies and pictographs from around the world.(4) Almost identical to the "sign of Tanit" - at least in its basic form - is the Egyptian hieroglyph for the "living Ra",(5) a deity whom we have already seen identified as Saturn. So also with the symbol of the ankh, another Saturnian emblem,(6) especially in those cases where this crux ansata was supplied with additional uplifted human arms.(7)
When John Gibson interviewed Talbott in 1977, he made it quite clear that this human-like appearance was, to him, the most noteworthy among the entire panoply of Saturnian symbols that Talbott had made available to him for comment. Gibson's words to Talbott were:
Yet, to this day, Talbott himself continues to stress the Saturnian ring(s), rather than the entire configuration, as the embodiment of the Goddess.(9) As we have seen, Tanit was not symbolized by a ring or a simple crescent but by an outline incorporating the Saturnian orb, crescent, and Axis, in a stylized representation of what can best be described as a female in skirts despite the fact that skirts, of one sort or another, were worn by both sexes at various times in various civilizations. This conception is abetted by the fact that the deity thus depicted happens to be female. The Cretan goddess was similarly depicted as a woman in a long flounced skirt.(10) The argument that these examples appear relatively late on the mythological scene would not hold much water. Phoenician goddesses are invariably depicted as bare breasted but wearing flounced skirts.(11) So also with the "fertility" statuettes, such as those found at Mari(12) and elsewhere in the Mesopotamian world. The so-called dancing figurines of the Egyptian predynastic period or Amratian culture are, likewise, clad in skirts and often portrayed with uplifted arms.(13) In fact, as far back as one wishes to go, even into the Stone Age, images of the Goddess will be found presented as fully rounded female figures, often with upraised or outstretched arms.(14) The wonder is that Tanit, perhaps more so than any other deity, managed to retain the basic Saturnian form, unadorned and unaltered, down to the Roman and early Christian eras.
The concept of the goddess as a mother derived from the additional bodies this celestial prodigy was seen to spawn in the early period of its evolutionary process. The connection would have been made later, when the luminary had resolved itself into its human-like shape. The memory of the event would have served to reaffirm the deity's nature as female since, it would have been reasoned, only females gave birth.
In time, these additional bodies developed into nine satellites which orbited Saturn, seven of which were definitely within the confines of its encircling ring(s).(15) In the past, I had registered my disagreement with Talbott who had vouched for only seven,(16) but with the inclusion of Venus and Mars into the Saturnian scheme,(17) the number of satellites in his model now also number nine.
Whether these bodies were actually expelled by Saturn or not, they visually appeared to have been generated by the deity; and it is this which seems to have been the original impetus behind the goddess' epithet as "Mother of the Gods".
30. Sacra Familia
If paternity was already recognized among these early worshippers of the Mother Goddess, it would have been assumed that a mother needed a spouse. If paternity was still unknown, the implication would have registered later. The Mother's consort would have been sought and, not being found as an independent entity, it would have been reasoned that perhaps the central orb was he.
The fact that the orb also acted as the Mother's head would have appeared incongruous, and one can imagine lengthy debates ensuing among our ancient forebears as to what exactly was what. But, that the orb was eventually accepted as a multi-faceted component of the deity can be ascertained from the universal content of myth.
Thus the deity was believed to possess attributes which no human could duplicate or lay claim to. The Mother's arms could rotate and leave her body, perch themselves atop her head, then slowly descend to their "normal" position only to repeat the process. While her arms were above her, acting as a canopy, the goddess lost her lustre, while two shadowy wings, caliginous replicas of her arms, barely visible in the light of day, settled upon her shoulders. No one had yet connected these cyclical changes with the reflected light of the rising and setting Sun. To those primitives who gazed at the sky with raptured awe, these motions and transformations represented the mysterious antics of a supreme being.
We shall never know precisely the sequence of reasoning these ancestors of ours went through in their mental efforts to understand this most mysterious of portents. - Was the goddess one? Was she many? Was she and her consort one and the same? Was the central orb really her spouse or was he her child? Did he not rest within the circle of her arms as did her other divine children? Were her arms really uplifted or were they cradled as she held her son?(1)
Were those really her arms or was the entire circle of light and shadow actually her womb? Was she holding her infant or was he still unborn within her?(2)
If the circle was the Mother's yoni, could not the Axis be the lingam? There was the god impregnating the goddess! Was not Shiva/Saturn's sexual organ described as "a glorious shining lingam, a pillar flaming with the light of a hundred fires . . . without beginning, without middle, without end, incomparable, indescribable"?(3) What a magnificent member that was, stretching all the way from Earth's horizon to the Mother's vulva in the sky! No wonder man was later to fashion and erect oversized phalli of stone, and worship them in memory of what once had been.(4)
31. Pater Noster
Marija Gimbutas is of the opinion that the masculine oriented world developed among the Indo-Europeans and only later was it superimposed upon the prehistoric societies of Old Europe.(1) But whether patriarchies had developed independently in some parts of the world, or whether they arose as the assertion of male authority within ruling matriarchies, the result was eventually the same. It was finally reasoned by some, as it might have been from the beginning by other groups, that the male deity could not have been the woman's child. The very opposite was argued to have been the case. She, the goddess, must be his daughter - for if the central orb was male, then the older deity, who had also been a sphere, must also have been male. He was the father of the goddess for it was she who had come out of him.
The older deity, it was remembered, had had no spouse; the original body had not been surrounded by rings; no effulgent tapering ray of light had emanated from him. So how could he have fathered a daughter without a mate?
It was then that male chauvinism rose to its highest pinnacle, for it was then decided that god - being supreme - had needed no wife for him to produce his offspring. The goddess, as well as the minor gods, had literally sprung out of him. Thus we find in many mythologies that the primeval god created the lesser deities out of his own body, sometimes by simply masturbating.(2)
Moreover, if both the resultant male orb and the goddess were the children of the same previous deity, they must then have been brother and sister. Their union as husband and wife would have sanctioned, if not originated, the custom of brother-sister marriages.
Chauvinism knows no bounds; in fact it is often bellicose. The triumph of the male over the female, ignoble as it might have been, eventually resulted in the suppression of Mother worship. The goddess, it is true, was never abandoned; she was, however, relegated - at least in most places - to a secondary position. In time, it was not merely the Saturnian orb per se that was represented as the male deity, but the entire Saturnian configuration. In those societies which had once been ruled by the aged and wise-old matriarch, the goddess actually became the god.
As a female, the deity's lower limbs had been envisioned as being encased within the folds of her Axis-skirt. The transition, or concession, of the female to the male might have given rise to the wearing of skirts - kilts and/or robes if one wills - by the menfolk of various societies. Others, however, did not necessarily see the god as wearing a skirt. To some, the deity was a heaven-kissing giant who possessed but one lofty leg - the Axis - to stand on.(3) But when the bolus flow came into effect around Saturn's central Axis,(4) there were those who thought that god really had two legs, even if these were entwined about each other like a pair of coupling snakes.(5)
It was, then, this apparition that was first the goddess represented by the figure of Tanit and similar effigies. This - and not merely Saturn's band - was the original "Great Mother", the spouse of the very god who was herself. This was also GOD, the Creator, the originator and organizer of the Cosmos. And in this image can we best understand the androgynous nature of the Saturnian deity - male to some, female to others, but eventually hermaphrodite to all.
Unaware of these, and other, Saturnian phenomena, conventional mythologists, as well as archaeologists, can still recognize that such a transition had taken place. Thus, for instance, Gimbutas could write:
This, however, only holds true within individual groups and societies, and then not even among them all. When the universal content of myth is taken as a whole, a picture emerges in which most contradictions fall apart. In time, Saturn became many things to many people and, one might venture to say, many things to one and all. Even so, what at first sight seems ambiguous can often be clarified once the Saturnian key is applied to the mythological lock. Talbott has already given various instances of this.(2)
Thus, for instance, the upraised arms of the goddess became also the horns of the celestial bull which were, at the same time, the barque within which the god was seen to sail around his heaven.(3) Similarly, the celestial enclosure formed by the encircling ring(s) was seen as the eye of the god which was, at the same time, his crown but also the throne upon which he sat and from which he ruled.(4) And it is precisely here that Talbott's cognition predominates for, as he has shown, and as we have seen, the same enclosure was also visualized as the Mother's womb which, in time, did become the embodiment of the goddess herself.(5) In that much, obviously, Talbott is quite correct.
Gimbutas, on the other hand, went slightly astray in a few instances - which is more than understandable since she had no knowledge of the Saturnian phenomena that could have guided her. These images did, as she stated, overlap but they did not replace one another. She was correct in her statement that some of the original symbolic meaning was eventually lost; but we, who can now compare the myths of various races, and who have rediscovered what the ancients themselves had lost, can solve this cosmological puzzle by replacing the missing symbolism of one myth with the imagery borrowed from another.
It can, therefore, be seen that the fusing of ideas did not really create "chaos in the former harmony". This chaos, it is now being recognized, exists only in the minds of mythologists who, unaware of the Saturnian key at their disposal, have striven to explain myth and its related symbolism through what can best be described as uniformitarian eyes.
The mystery of the goddess' strangely conflicting familial ties with the god can now be said to be solved. We can now understand how a deity like Anat could pose as the mother, daughter, sister, and/or wife of the same Saturnian Baal and/or El. We can also understand although this is only part of the answer - why the Saturnian deity was believed to have been his own son and/or father.
Conjectural as some of the above might be - for who can ascertain the exact sequence of the primitive reasoning we have been attempting to follow? - universal myth leaves no doubt that some such process took place. It must not, however, be presumed that these connections were arrived at overnight, or even within one generation, or in one place. It is obvious that evolution progressed in its usual slow and sporadic pace in all of this. The multifarious symbolism associated with Saturn was the result of long painstaking reasoning over the ages in an effort to comprehend the incomprehensible. As stated above, primitive man would not easily have seen images in the Saturnian configuration which were not at once manifest. Reasoning must have proceeded from the obvious to the logical; from what was readily apparent to what could be deduced. And the most obvious of all Saturnian attributes was the uncanny resemblance the luminary bore to the human form. All other symbolism seems to have been derived from this and from the resultant symbolism in a continuing chain reaction. Thus the image of the Mother must have preceded that of the womb; the configuration, in its entirety, must have embodied the Goddess long before the enclosure of the ring(s) separately took on that role. Iconography, if nothing else, confirms it. While this may seem like an academic indulgence in hair splitting, the subtle difference becomes of crucial importance when the planet Venus is made to enter the picture.
. . . to be continued.
28. Lux Divina
1. D. Cardona, "Child of Saturn," Part V, KRONOS X:3 (1985), pp. 59-60, 63-65.
29. Mater Dei1. H. Hirnschall, The Song of Creation (West Vancouver, 1979), myth 3.
2. R. Graves, The Greek Myths (Harmondsworth, 1964), Vol. I, p. 27.
3 M. Vieyra, "Empires of the Ancient Near East: The Hymns of Creation," Larousse World Mythology (London 1972), p. 58.
4. D. N. Talbott, The Saturn Myth (N. Y., 1980), pp. 286 ff.
5. Ibid, p. 294.
6. D. Cardona, "The Ankh," KRONOS VII:3 (Spring 1982), pp 28-29.
7. B. van de Walle, "Egypt: Syncretism and State Religion," Larousse World Mythology (London, 1972), facing p. 52.
8. J. Gibson, "Saturn's Age," Research Communications Network, Newsletter No. 3 (Oct. 15, 1977), p. 6 (emphasis added).
9. D. Talbott & E. Cochrane, "The Origin of Velikovsky's Comet," KRONOS X: 1 (Fall 1984), pp. 30-31.
10. M. A. Edey, Lost World of the Aegean (N. Y., 1975), pp. 70-71.
11. A. Caquot, "Western Semitic Lands: The Idea of the Supreme God," Larousse World Mythology (London, 1972), p. 84.
12. J. Gray, Near Eastern Mythology (London, 1969), p. 30.
13. S. Lloyd, The Art of the Ancient Near East (N. Y., 1965), p. 29.
14. M. Gimbutas, The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe (London, 1982), pp. 40, 42, 45, 48,139,141,154,155, and especially 187 where other related Saturnian symbols, although not so identified by the author, are included.
15. D. Cardona, "Saturn: In Myth and Religion," KRONOS X: 1 (Fall 1984), p. 8.
16. Ibid.; D. N. Talbott, "Saturn: Universal Monarch and Dying God," Research Communications Network (1977 special publication), p. 8.
17. D. Talbott & E. Cochrane, op. cit., pp. 37 ff.; D. N. Talbott, "Guidelines to the Saturn Myth," Part 1, KRONOS X:3, pp. 50-51. (NOTE: To be sure, the inclusion of Mars in the Saturnian configuration had already been proposed by Talbott in 1977 - "Saturn: Universal Monarch and Dying God," p. 6.)
30. Sacra Familia1. Ancient images of the goddess holding her infant in her arms or on her lap are well known.
2. Pregnant goddesses are also known. See M Gimbutas, The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe (London, 1982), pp. 201-235, 236.
3. P. Masson-Oursel & L. Morin, "Indian Mythology," New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology (London, 1972), p. 378.
4. C. A. Burland, Myths of Life and Death (N. Y., 1974), pp. 72-73.
31. Pater Noster1. M. Gimbutas, The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe (London, 1982), p. 238.
2. M. Stone, The Paradise Papers (London, 1977), p. 237.
3. D. N. Talbott, The Saturn Myth (N. Y., 1980), pp. 210-213.
4. D. Cardona, "Saturn: In Myth and Religion," KRONOS X:1 (Fall 1984), p. 11; F. B. Jueneman, "The Polar Column," forthcoming in KRONOS.
5. W. W. Tarn, The Greeks in Bactria and India (Cambridge, 1966), p. 333.
32. Mythos1. M. Gimbutas, The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe (London, 1982), p. 238.
2. D. N. Talbott, The Saturn Myth (N. Y., 1980), pp. 328 ff.
3. Idem, "Guidelines to the Saturn Myth," Part II, forthcoming in KRONOS.