“In the beginning there was an empty darkness. The only thing in this void was Nyx, a bird with black wings. With the wind she laid a golden egg and for ages she sat upon this egg. Finally life began to stir in the egg and out of it rose Eros, the god of love. One half of the shell rose into the air and became the sky and the other became the Earth. Eros named the sky Uranus and the Earth he named Gaia. Then Eros made them fall in love. Uranus and Gaia had many children together and eventually they had grandchildren. Some of their children become afraid of the power of their children. Kronus, in an effort to protect himself, swallowed his children when they were still infants. However, his wife Rhea hid their youngest child. She gave him a rock wrapped in swaddling clothes, which he swallowed, thinking it was his son.
Once the child, Zeus, had reached manhood his mother instructed him on how to trick his father to give up his brothers and sisters. Once this was accomplished the children fought a mighty war against their father. After much fighting the younger generation won. With Zeus as their leader, they began to furnish Gaia with life and Uranus with stars.
Soon the Earth lacked only two things: man and animals. Zeus summoned his sons Prometheus (fore-thought) and Epimetheus (after-thought). He told them to go to Earth and create men and animals and give them each a gift.
Prometheus set to work forming men in the image of the gods and Epimetheus worked on the animals. As Epimetheus worked he gave each animal he created one of the gifts. After Epimetheus had completed his work Prometheus finally finished making men. However when he went to see what gift to give man Epimetheus shamefacedly informed him that he had foolishly used all the gifts.
Distressed, Prometheus decided he had to give man fire, even though gods were the only ones meant to have access to it. As the sun god rode out into the world the next morning Prometheus took some of the fire and brought it back to man. He taught his creation how to take care of it and then left them.
When Zeus discovered Prometheus’ deed he became furious. He ordered his son to be chained to a mountain and for a vulture to peck out his liver every day till eternity. Then he began to devise a punishment for mankind. Another of his sons created a woman of great beauty, Pandora. Each of the gods gave her a gift. Zeus’ present was curiosity and a box which he ordered her never to open. Then he presented her to Epimetheus as a wife.
Pandora’s life with Epimetheus was happy except for her intense longing to open the box. She was convinced that because the gods and goddesses had showered so many glorious gifts upon her that this one would also be wonderful. One day when Epimetheus was gone she opened the box.
Out of the box flew all of the horrors which plague the world today – pain, sickness, envy, greed. Upon hearing Pandora’s screams Epimetheus rushed home and fastened the lid shut, but all of the evils had already escaped.
Later that night they heard a voice coming from the box saying,
“Let me out. I am hope.”
Pandora and Epimetheus released her and she flew out into the world to give hope to humankind.”
“During the roughly 12 centuries of Ancient Roman civilisation, religion developed from a home-grown, pantheistic animism, which was incorporated into the early institutions of the city.
As the Republic and Empire moved forward, Roman religion absorbed the Greek pantheon, included foreign cults and adopted the practice of Emperor worship, before finally embracing Christianity in the final years of the Empire.
Though by some standards deeply religious, Ancient Romans approached spirituality and faith in a different manner to most modern believers.
Throughout its history, the concept of numen, an all pervasive divinity or spirituality, pervades Roman religious philosophy.
However, like many pagan faiths, success in life was equated with having a good relationship with the gods. Maintaining this incorporated both mystical prayer and business-like sacrifices in exchange for material benefit.
Roman gods fulfilled different functions corresponding to various aspects of life. There were many gods in Latium, the region in Italy where Rome was founded, some of which were Italic, Etruscan and Sabine.
In Roman belief, immortal gods ruled the heaven, Earth and the underworld.As Roman territory grew, its pantheon expanded to include the gods and cults of newly conquered and contacted peoples, so long as they fit in with Roman culture.
For instance, Roman exposure to Hellenic culture via Greek presence in Italy and the later Roman conquest of the city-states of Macedonia and Greece caused the Romans to adopt many Greek myths.
The Romans also combined Greek deities with its own corresponding gods.
Gods and goddesses were grouped in various ways. The Di Selecti were considered the 20 main gods, while the Di Consentes comprised the 12 principal deities at the heart of the Roman Pantheon.
Though taken from the Greeks, this grouping of 12 gods has pre Hellenic origins, probably in the religions of peoples from the Lycian and Hittite regions of Anatolia.
The three main Roman gods, known as the Capitoline Triad, are Jupiter, Juno and Minerva.
The Capitoline Triad replaced the Archaic Triad of Jupiter, Mars and earlier Roman god Quirinus, who originated in Sabine mythology.
The six gods and six goddesses were sometimes arranged in male-female couples: Jupiter-Juno, Neptune-Minerva, Mars-Venus, Apollo-Diana, Vulcan-Vesta and Mercury-Ceres.
Each of the following Di Consentes had a Greek counterpart, noted in parenthesis:
Jupiter (Zeus) Supreme King of the gods. God of the sky and thunder, and patron god of Rome.
Jupiter was a son of Saturn; brother to Neptune, Pluto and Juno, to whom he was also husband.
Saturn had been warned that one of his children would overthrow him and began swallowing his children.
On their release after a trick by Jupiter’s mother Opis; Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto and Juno overthrew their father. The three brothers divided control of the world, and Jupiter took control of the sky.
Juno (Hera) Queen of the gods. Saturn’s daughter Juno was the wife and sister of Jupiter, and sister of Neptune and Pluto. She was the mother of Juventas, Mars and Vulcan.
Juno was patron goddess of Rome, but was also attributed with several epithets; amongst them Juno Sospita, protector of those awaiting childbirth; Juno Lucina, goddess of childbirth; and Juno Moneta, protecting the funds of Rome.
The first Roman coins were said to be minted in the Temple of Juno Moneta.
Minerva (Athena) Goddess of wisdom, arts, trade and strategy.
Minerva was born of the head of Jupiter after he swallowed her mother Metis, having been told that the child he had impregnated her with could be more powerful than he.
Metis created commotion by making armour and weapons for her daughter inside of Jupiter, and the god demanded that his head be split open to end the noise.
Neptune (Poseidon) Brother of Jupiter, Pluto and Juno, Neptune was god of freshwater and the sea, along with earthquakes, hurricanes and horses.
Neptune is often depicted as an older man with a trident, sometimes being pulled across the sea in a horsedrawn chariot.
Venus (Aphrodite) Mother of the Roman people, Venus was the goddess of love, beauty, fertility, sex, desire and prosperity, equal to her Greek counterpart Aphrodite.
She was also, however, goddess of victory and even prostitution, and patron of wine.
Venus was born from the foam of the sea after Saturn castrated his father Uranus into it.
Venus is said to have had two main lovers; Vulcan, her husband and the god of fire, and Mars.
Fresco of Venus and Mars from which the House of Venus and Mars in Pompeii takes its name (Credit: Public Doman)
Mars (Ares) According to Ovid, Mars was son of Juno alone, as his mother sought to restore balance after Jupiter usurped her role as mother by giving birth to Minerva from his head.
Famously god of war, Mars was also guardian of agriculture and the embodiment of virility and aggression.
He was the Venus’ lover in adultery and the father of Romulus — founder of Rome and Remus.
Apollo (Apollo) The Archer. Son of Jupiter and Latona, twin of Diana. Apollo was god of music, healing, light and truth.
Apollo is one of only a few Roman gods who kept the same name as his Greek counterpart.
Emperor Constantine was said to have had a vision of Apollo. The Emperor used the god as one of his key symbols until his Christian conversion.
Diana (Artemis) Daughter of Jupiter and Latona and twin of Apollo.
Diana was goddess of the hunt, the moon and birth.
To some Diana was also considered to be goddess of lower classes, especially slaves, for whom her festival on the Ides of August in Rome and Aricia was also a holiday.
Vulcan (Hephaestus) God of fire, volcanoes, metal work and the forge; maker of the weapons of the gods.
In some mythology Vulcan is said to have been banished from the heavens as a child because of a physical defect. Hidden in the base of a volcano he learnt his trade.
When Vulcan built Juno, his mother, a trap as revenge for his banishment his father, Jupiter, offered him Venus as a wife, in exchange for Juno’s freedom.
It was said that Vulcan had a forge under Mount Etna, and that whenever his wife was unfaithful, the volcano became volatile.
Because of his position as deity of destructive fire, Vulcan’s temples were regularly located outside cities.
Depiction of the Punishment of Ixion. Mercury holds the caduceus in the centre, and on the right Juno sits on her throne in front of Iris. Vulcan stands on the left behind the wheel with Ixion tied to it. Nephele sits at Mercury’s feet. Roman fresco from the eastern wall of the triclinium in the House of the Vettii, Pompeii (60-79 AD). (Credit: Public Domain)
Vesta (Hestia) Goddess of hearth, home and domestic life.
Vesta was a daughter of Saturn and Ops and sister to Jupiter, Juno, Neptune and Pluto.
She was enshrined in the sacred and perpetually burning fire of the Vestal Virgins (all female and Rome’s only full-time priesthood).
Mercury (Hermes) Son of Maia and Jupiter; god of profit, trade, eloquence, communication, travel, trickery and thieves.
He is often depicted carrying a purse, a nod to his association with trade. He also often had wings, just as Hermes does in Greek mythology.
Mercury was a roman psychopomp, tasked with guiding the souls of the dead to the underworld.
When the nymph Larunda betrayed Jupiter’s trust by revealing one of his affairs to his wife, Mercury was to take her to the underworld. However, he fell in love with the nymph on route and she had two children by him.
Ceres (Demeter) The Eternal Mother. Ceres is the daughter of Saturn and Ops.
She was goddess of agriculture, grain, women, motherhood and marriage; and the lawgiver.
It was suggested that the cycle of seasons coincided with Ceres’ mood. The months of winter were the period in which her daughter, Proserpina, was obligated to live in the underworld with Pluto, having eaten pomegranate, the fruit of the underworld.
Ceres’ happiness at her daughters return allowed plants to grow through spring and summer, but in autumn she began to dread her daughter’s absence, and plants shed their crop.”
This document, compiled by a biologist living on Hawaii island, provides a list of references on publications about COVID, to empower community leaders to act with knowledge and discernment. Below is a summary of key points made in those articles and studies. References are listed after the summary. The references cited herein are intended to be representative, not comprehensive.
Risks of COVID are vastly overstated
Renowned doctors and epidemiologists criticize the COVID panic
SARS-CoV-2 has not been isolated, and RT-PCR tests are not appropriate diagnostic tools
“Flattening the curve” was unjustified
Lockdowns are entirely ineffective
Lockdowns are extremely harmful
Lockdowns were based on politics, not science
Mask-wearing is ineffective and harmful
The COVID computer models were extremely inaccurate
Media sources distorted and exaggerated information
The public substantially overestimate their risks from COVID
Nocebo effect: Fear as a cause of COVID symptoms
Non-viral causes of “COVID” symptoms
Effective treatments exist
Lockdowns have been legally challenged (US)
• Scientific evidence and statistics clearly demonstrate that masking, social distancing, and lockdowns are completely ineffective at decreasing infection and mortality and have dire adverse effects – severe psychological deterioration (especially in children), high suicide rates, economic collapse and destruction of small businesses, unprecedented expansion of government oppression, censorship, and enforced homogenity of thought.
• Lockdowns were initially justified by the claimed need to “flatten the curve” to prevent overloading of ICU ventilator capacity, but ICUs were not overloaded. Ventilators were largely inappropriate and caused extreme levels of unnecessary deaths compared to milder treatments. The justification for the lockdowns has since shifted to “reducing new cases”, with no regard for the actual danger they represent, or harmful effects of these measures.
• Unlimited lockdowns and compulsory masking mandates which bypass existing legal structures are historically unprecedented. To avoid cognitive dissonance, the general public assumes that the threat of COVID must be proportional to the extreme nature of these measures.
• Implementation of lockdowns was motivated by political posturing and misinformation, not evidence and public health. The word “science” has been taken to mean “government mandate”, and has been used to slander and suppress evidence-based narratives. The general public has neither the means nor the motivation to evaluate the scientific evidence, and must accept the declarations of non-scientist politicians and politicized scientists, whose voices are amplified by media outlets.
• Media outlets manipulated and distorted information to support a narrative of fear, dependency, and self-righteousness. As a result, polls show that people enormously overestimate their risk of dying from COVID.
• Numerous top experts (medical doctors, professors) have publicly spoken out against the dominant COVID narratives and the government responses to it. Even by conservative estimates, lockdowns caused more deaths than were attributed to COVID.
• COVID RT-PCR tests do not actually test against viral isolates, and despite their widespread use are not diagnostic tests, but laboratory tools for amplifying DNA fragments. Many scientists have severely criticized their use.
• COVID is, at most, a minor threat to the world population – and at least, a statistical abstraction. Unprecedented and politically influenced rules for recording COVID-positive deaths artificially inflated death rates. More than half of COVID deaths occurred in nursing homes, and nearly all COVID deaths occurred in people with several other major comorbidities. Healthy people are not at risk. The age distribution of COVID deaths is the same as the normal age distribution of deaths; most COVID deaths occurred in people over 65 years old.
• Actual causes of respiratory death in “COVID hotspots”, most significantly air pollution, have been extensively recorded in the scientific literature but are completely absent from media narratives and political consideration.
• Safe and highly effective treatments, including natural non-pharmaceutical interventions which have been published in scientific journals, have not been widely utilized.
• The “pandemic” is a combination of pre-existing conditions relabeled as COVID, recent increases in environmental causes of respiratory disease, excess deaths due to inappropriate treatments, and fear and expectation producing or intensifying the actual symptoms of “COVID”.
• Constantly reading, hearing about, and internalizing the dominant disempowering fear-based narrative has been demonstrated to produce the actual expected symptoms of the disease through the nocebo effect.
• Dispelling the fear and questioning the narrative actually saves lives, while masking, social distancing, and lockdowns do not, and contribute to the deterioration of physical, psychological, and economic health.
• If we are to actually promote health and regeneration in our communities and the world, we must promote narratives that are based in evidence and wisdom, and focus on creative solutions that address all of the interconnected challenges we face today.
Risks of COVID are vastly overstated
• ** Wodarg, Bhakdi & Ionnadis calculated true Infection Fatality Rates (IFR) from COVID to be 0.01% – much less than seasonal flu. The widely-repeated WHO statistic of 3.4% was inappropriately based on Case Fatality Rates (CFR), which do not reflect disease risk.
• Head of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergency Program estimates that 750 million people have been infected by SARS-CoV-2 – for a worst-case-scenario Infection Fatality Rate of 0.13%, similar to seasonal flu. The true Infection Fatality Rate is much lower.
• Study: “Population-level COVID-19 mortality risk for non-elderly individuals overall and for nonelderly individuals without underlying diseases in pandemic epicenters”. “People <65 years old without underlying predisposing conditions accounted for only 0.7-2.6% of all COVID-19 deaths.“
• Anthony Fauci in January 2020: “In all the history of respiratory viruses of any type asymptomatic transmission has never been the driver of outbreaks. The driver of outbreaks is always a symptomatic person. Even if there is a rare symptomatic transmission that may transmit, an epidemic is not driven by asymptomatic carriers.”
• NYC funeral directors: “They’re putting everything as COVID-19, so they’re padding the numbers… If you don’t have a private doctor and you weren’t under any medical care, they’re automatically putting down on the death certificate COVID-19.”
• Open letter from Belgian doctors: “After the initial panic surrounding covid-19, the objective facts now show a completely different picture – there is no medical justification for any emergency policy anymore. The current crisis management has become totally disproportionate and causes more damage than it does any good.”
• UK government scientific adviser: “Lockdown was a panic measure and I believe history will say trying to control Covid-19 through lockdown was a monumental mistake on a global scale… It was always a temporary measure that simply delayed the stage of the epidemic we see now…. “I believe the harm lockdown is doing to our education, health care access, and broader aspects of our economy and society will turn out to be at least as great as the harm done by Covid-19.”
• SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR tests do not test against actual viral isolates; according to the FDA, “no quantified virus isolates of the 2019-nCoV are currently available”. The tests use selected sequences of RNA which are assumed to be viral. The FDA also states that “This test cannot rule out diseases caused by other bacterial or viral pathogens.”
• Paper: “how likely is a second wave”? by former Chief Scientific Officer of Pfizer: nearly all positive PCR tests are false positives; apparent “second wave” in some countries is due to increased testing.
• Study: “Risk-benefit and cost-utility analysis for COVID-19 lockdown in Belgium: the impact on mental health and wellbeing”. Compared to Sweden (no lockdown, similar demographics) Belgian lockdown increased COVID deaths, non-COVID deaths, and psychological morbidity.
• Nicaragua did not instute lockdowns, curfews, or orders to mask and social distance – and had much lower COVID death rates than all other countries in central america. Life has continued almost completely unchanged.
• Scientific study: Explaining the homogeneous diffusion of COVID-19 nonpharmaceutical interventions across heterogeneous countries. “Our findings show that, in times of severe crisis, governments follow the lead of others and base their decisions on what other countries do.” 80% of developed countries went into lockdown within 2 weeks of each other.
The COVID computer models were extremely inaccurate
• Neil Ferguson’s computer model, referred to as the ICR model, predicted hundreds of thousands of deaths. It was the stated justification for the UK and US lockdowns, and as a result many of the other lockdowns around the world. It is now seen to have been highly unrealistic and inaccurate, based on false assumptions.
• Study: “Forecasting for COVID-19 has failed”: “When major decisions (e.g. draconian lockdowns) are based on forecasts, the harms (in terms of health, economy, and society at large) and the asymmetry of risks need to be approached in a holistic fashion, considering the totality of the evidence.”
• The nocebo effect (meaning “will harm”) is the opposite of the placebo effect (meaning “will please”). Study participants receiving an inert drug commonly experience adverse effects, sometimes severe and life-threatening, entirely due to their expectation. Mental state influences all aspects of physiology, biochemistry, and health.
• Non-viral causes are scientifically demonstrated yet overlooked in public discourse – for example, Air pollution
• All of the “hotspots” of covid deaths are areas of extreme pollution; air pollution is extremely strongly correlated with covid-positive death rate, especially particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide levels
• Review: Low Vitamin D Worsens COVID-19 Risk: “The data available so far is consistent with the possibility that a large fraction or even majority of severe cases (especially in the young) would not have been severe if vitamin D levels had been adequate.”
• Study: Low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) levels in patients hospitalised with COVID-19 are associated with greater disease severity: results of a local audit of practice. “patients requiring ITU admission were more frequently vitamin D deficient than those managed on medical wards, despite being significantly younger”.
• Study: Calcitriol, the active form of vitamin D, is a promising candidate for COVID-19 prophylaxis’. “We show for the first time that the active form of Vitamin D, calcitriol, exhibits significant potent activity against SARS-CoV-2.”
• September 15: US federal judge rules lockdowns unconstitutional: “There is no question that this Country has faced, and will face, emergencies of every sort. .. The Constitution cannot accept the concept of a “new normal” where the basic liberties of the people can be subordinated to open-ended emergency mitigation measures.”
P.S. COVID is an acronym for CoronaVIrus Disease – however, as it is now being spoken as a word, its etymology is illuminating: Co (from latin kom, “together”) + Vid (imperative form of latin videre, “see”) = Together, see! May we see (the truth) together!
“Mythology (the spoken story of a people) is the study and interpretation of often sacred tales or fables of a culture known as myths or the collection of such stories which deal with various aspects of the human condition: good and evil; the meaning of suffering; human origins; the origin of place-names, animals, cultural values, and traditions; the meaning of life and death; the afterlife; and the gods or a god. Myths express the beliefs and values about these subjects held by a certain culture.
Myths tell the stories of ancestors and the origin of humans and the world, the gods, supernatural beings (satyrs, nymphs, mermaids) and heroes with super-human, usually god-given, powers (as in the case of Heracles or Perseus of the Greeks). Myths also describe origins or nuances of long-held customs or explain natural events such as the sunrise and sunset, the cycle of the moon and the seasons, or thunder and lightning storms. Scholars Maria Leach and Jerome Fried define mythology along these lines:
[A myth is] a story, presented as having actually occurred in a previous age, explaining the cosmological and supernatural traditions of a people, their gods, heroes, cultural traits, religious beliefs, etc. The purpose of myth is to explain, and, as Sir G.L. Gomme said, myths explain matters in “the science of a pre-scientific age.” Thus myths tell of the creation of man, of animals, of landmarks; they tell why a certain animal has its characteristics (e.g. why the bat is blind or flies only at night), why or how certain natural phenomena came to be (e.g. why the rainbow appears or how the constellation Orion got into the sky), how and why rituals and ceremonies began and why they continue. (778)
ACCORDING TO PSYCHIATRIST CARL JUNG, MYTH IS A NECESSARY ASPECT OF THE HUMAN PSYCHE WHICH NEEDS TO FIND MEANING & ORDER IN THE WORLD. Mythology has played an integral part in every civilization throughout the world. Pre-historic cave paintings, etchings in stone, tombs, and monuments all suggest that, long before human beings set down their myths in words, they had already developed a belief structure corresponding to the definition of `myth’ provided by Leach and Fried. According to psychiatrist Carl Jung, myth is a necessary aspect of the human psyche which needs to find meaning and order in a world which often presents itself as chaotic and meaningless. Jung writes:
The psyche, as a reflection of the world and man, is a thing of such infinite complexity that it can be observed and studied from a great many sides. It faces us with the same problem that the world does: because a systematic study of the world is beyond our powers, we have to content ourselves with mere rules of thumb and with aspects that particularly interest us. Everyone makes for himself his own segment of world and constructs his own private system, often with air-tight compartments, so that after a time it seems to him that he has grasped the meaning and structure of the whole. But the finite will never be able to grasp the infinite. (23-24)
The infinite Jung references is the numinous quality of the mysterious, holy, and powerful which provides the underlying allure of mythological tales and themes because it gives a final meaning to human existence. The concept of something greater and more powerful than one’s self gives one the hope of direction and protection in an uncertain world. According to Leach and Fried, the mysterious, holy, and powerful is “a concept of the human mind from earliest times: the basic psychological reaction to the universe and environment which underlies all religion” (777).
Ra Travelling Through the Underworld Ra Travelling Through the Underworld by Unknown Artist (Public Domain) What one calls “mythology” in the present day, it should be remembered, was the religion of the ancient past. The stories which make up the corpus of ancient mythology served the same purpose for the people of the time as the stories from accepted scripture do for people today: they explained, comforted, and directed an audience and, further, provided a sense of unity, cohesion, and protection to a community of like-minded believers.
Types of Myth Scholar Joseph Campbell notes how mythology is the underlying form of every civilization and the underpinning of each individual’s consciousness. In his seminal work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, he discusses what he calls the “monomyth”, the similarities in theme, characters, purpose, and narrative progression of myths from different cultures, at different times, around the world and throughout history. Campbell writes:
What is the secret of the timeless vision? From what profundity of the mind does it derive? Why is mythology everywhere the same, beneath its varieties of costume? And what does it teach? (4)
Campbell’s answer, ultimately, is that myths teach meaning. Mythology explains, empowers, stabilizes, and elevates the life of a believer from a mundane existence to one imbued with eternal meaning. On the most basic level, a myth explains a phenomenon, tradition, place-name, or geological formation but it can also elevate a past event to epic and even supernatural significance and, most importantly, provide a role model for one’s individual journey through life.
There are many different types of myth but, essentially, they can be grouped into three: Etiological myths (from the Greek aetion meaning `reason’) explain why a certain thing is the way it is or how it came to be. For example, in Egyptian mythology the sycamore tree looks the way it does because it is home to the goddess Hathor, the Lady of the Sycamore. Etiological myths can offer explanations for why the world is the way it is – as in the story from Greek mythology of Pandora’s Box which explains how evil and suffering was released into the world – or how a certain institution came to be – as in the Chinese myth of the goddess Nuwa who kept creating human beings over and over and over until she grew tired and instituted the practice of marriage so humans could reproduce themselves.Historical myths retell an event from the past but elevate it with greater meaning than the actual event (if it even happened). One example of this is the story of the Battle of Kurukshetra as described in the Indian epic Mahabharata in which the Pandava brothers symbolize different values and provide role models, even if they are occasionally flawed. Kurukshetra is then presented in microcosm in the Bhagavad Gita where one of the Pandavas, Arjuna, is visited on the battlefield by the god Krishna, avatar of Vishnu, to explain one’s purpose in life. Whether the Battle of Kurukshetra ever took place is immaterial to the power of these two stories on a mythological level. The same can be said for the Siege of Troy and its fall as described in Homer’s Iliad or Odysseus’ journey home in the Odyssey or Aeneas’ adventures in the work of Virgil.
Psychological myths present one with a journey from the known to the unknown which, according to both Jung and Campbell, represents a psychological need to balance the external world with one’s internal consciousness of it. However that may be, the story of the myth itself usually involves a hero or heroine on a journey in which they discover their true identity or fate and, in so doing, resolve a crisis while also providing an audience with some important cultural value.
Probably the best-known myth of this type is that of Oedipus the prince who, seeking to avoid the prediction that he would grow up to kill his father, leaves his life behind to travel to another region where he unknowingly winds up killing the man who was his actual father who had abandoned him at birth in an attempt to circumvent that same prediction.
Oedipus & the Sphinx of Thebes Oedipus & the Sphinx of Thebes by Carole Raddato (CC BY-SA) The Oedipus tale would have impressed on an ancient Greek audience the futility in trying to escape or change one’s fate as decreed by the gods and would have inspired fear and awe of those gods in the people, thus instilling a desirable cultural value. On a personal level, the story could also encourage a hearer to accept whatever trials he or she was enduring at the time since even a royal personage like Oedipus suffered and, further, whatever one was dealing with was probably not as bad as killing one’s father and inadvertently marrying one’s mother.
TO THE ANCIENTS THE MEANING OF THE STORY WAS MOST IMPORTANT, NOT THE LITERAL TRUTH OF THE DETAILS OF A CERTAIN VERSION OF A TALE. Famous Myths of These Types One of the best-known etiological myths comes from Greece in the form of the tale of Demeter, goddess of grain and the harvest, and her daughter Persephone who became Queen of the Dead. In this story, Persephone is kidnapped by Hades, god of the underworld, and brought down to his dark realm. Demeter searches desperately everywhere for the maiden but cannot find her. During this time of Demeter’s sorrow, the crops fail and people starve and the gods are not given their due. Zeus, king of the gods, orders Hades to restore Persephone to her mother and Hades obliges but, because Persephone has eaten a certain number of pomegranate seeds while in the underworld, she has to spend half the year below the earth but could enjoy the other half with her mother in the world above.
This story explained the changes of the seasons in Greece. When it was warm and the fields were bountiful, Persephone was with her mother and Demeter was happy and causes the world to bloom; in the cold and rainy season, when Persephone was below the earth with Hades as his queen, Demeter mourned and the land was barren. Since, in the course of the tale, Demeter teaches the people of Eleusis the secrets of agriculture, the myth would also serve to explain how people first learned to cultivate the earth and, further, as she also teaches them the correct way of recognizing and worshiping her, proper veneration of the gods.The most famous historical myth in the west is Homer’s epic 8th century BCE tale of the Iliad which tells the story of the siege and fall of the city of Troy. Helen, the wife of the Achaean king Menelaus, runs off with the Trojan prince Paris and Menelaus, swearing to bring her back home, enlists the aid of his brother Agamemnon who then calls on the kings and princes of the various city-states for aid and they sail off to attack Troy. The great Achaean hero Achilles, who is invincible in battle, feels insulted by Agamemnon and refuses to fight any longer resulting in the death of his beloved Patroclus and many others of the Achaean host. Although there are many different stories told in the Iliad, this central theme of the dangers of pride is emphasized as a cultural value. A certain amount of pride in one’s self was considered a virtue but too much brought disaster.
In China, this theme was explored in another way through the tale of Fuxi (foo-shee), the god of fire. As a god, Fuxi had many responsibilities but when his friend, the goddess Nuwa, asked for his help, he did not refuse. Nuwa had created human beings but found they did not know how to do anything and she did not have the patience to teach them. Fuxi brought humans fire, taught them to control it, and how to use it to cook food and warm themselves. He then taught them how to weave fishing nets and draw food from the sea and, afterwards, gave them the arts of divination, music, and writing. Fuxi is thought to be based on an actual historical king who lived c.2953-2736 BCE and possibly provided the order necessary for the rise of the Xia Dynasty (c. 2070-1600 BCE), the first historical dynasty in China. In this story, Fuxi sets aside his pride as a god and humbles himself to the service of his friend Nuwa and humanity.
The oldest myth in the world is, not surprisingly, a psychological myth relating to the inevitability of death and the individual’s attempt to find meaning in life. The Epic of Gilgamesh (written c. 2150-c.1400 BCE) developed in Mesopotamia from Sumerian poems relating to the historical Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, who was later elevated to the status of a demi-god. In the story, Gilgamesh is a proud king who is so haughty that the gods feel he needs a lesson in humility. They groom the wild man Enkidu as a worthy opponent to the king and the two fight but, when neither can get the best of the other, they become best friends. Enkidu is later killed by the gods for affronting them and Gilgamesh, grief-stricken, embarks on a quest for the meaning of life embodied in the concept of immortality. Although he fails to win eternal life, his journey enriches him and he returns to his kingdom a wiser and better man and king.
Flood Tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh Flood Tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA) Joseph Campbell has famously called the best-known psychological myth type “the Hero’s Journey” in which the story begins with a hero or heroine, usually of royal birth, separated from their true identity and living in a chaotic world or kingdom. The hero goes through various stages in the story, which usually takes the form of a journey, until they find out who they really are and are able to right some great wrong which re-establishes order. This narrative progression is best known in the modern-day as the plot of Star Wars and the overwhelming success of that film franchise attests to the enduring power of mythological themes and symbols.
Conclusion Every culture in the world has had, and still has, some type of mythology. The classical mythology of the ancient Greeks and Romans is the most familiar to people in the west but the motifs found in those stories are echoed in others around the world. The Greek tale of Prometheus the fire-bringer and teacher of humanity is echoed in the Chinese tale of Fuxi. The story of Nuwa and her creation of human beings in China resonates with another from the other side of the world: the story of creation from the Popol-Vuh of the Maya in which humans are created who can do nothing and prove useless but, in the Maya story, are destroyed and the gods then try again. This same motif appears in the mythology of Mesopotamia where the gods struggle in creating humans who keep coming out poorly.
THE PURPOSE OF A MYTH WAS TO PROVIDE THE HEARER WITH A TRUTH WHICH THE AUDIENCE THEN INTERPRETED FOR THEMSELVES WITHIN THE VALUE SYSTEM OF THEIR CULTURE.
The same types of stories, and often the very same story, can be found in myths from different parts of the world. The creation story as related in the biblical Book of Genesis, for example, where a great god speaks existence into creation is quite similar to creation stories from ancient Sumeria, Egypt, Phoenicia and China. The story of the Great Flood can be found in the mythology of virtually every culture on earth but takes its biblical form from the Atrahasis myth of Mesopotamia. The figure of the Dying and Reviving God (a deity who dies for the good of, or to redeem the sins of, his people, goes down into the earth, and rises again to life) can be traced back to ancient Sumeria in the tales of Gilgamesh, the poem The Descent of Inanna and others and to the Egyptian myth of Osiris, the Greek stories of Dionysus, of Adonis, and of Persephone, the Phoenician Baal Cycle, and the Hindu Krishna (among many others) down to the most famous of these figures, Jesus Christ. The biblical Book of Ecclesiastes 1:9 claims that “there is no new thing under the sun” and this is as true of religious-mythological systems, symbols, and characters as of anything else. Joseph Campbell notes:
Throughout the inhabited world, in all times and under every circumstance, the myths of men have flourished; and they have been the living inspiration of whatever else may have appeared out of the activities of the human body and mind. It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation. Religions, philosophies, arts, the social forms of primitive and historic man, prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep, boil up from the basic, magic ring of myth. (3)
Mythology tries to answer the most difficult and the most basic questions of human existence: Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? To the ancients, the meaning of the story was most important, not the literal truth of the details of a certain version of a tale. There are many variations on the birth and life of the goddess Hathor of Egypt, for example, and no ancient Egyptian would have rejected one of these as ‘false’ and chosen another as ‘true’. The message of the myth contained the truth, not the specific details of the story, which is evident in the genre known as Mesopotamian Naru Literature in which historical figures are featured out of their historical context.
It was understood in the ancient world that the purpose of a myth was to provide the hearer with a truth which the audience then interpreted for themselves within the value system of their culture. Apprehension of reality was left up to the interpretation of the individual encountering the values expressed in the myths instead of having that reality interpreted for them by an authority figure.
This remains the essential difference between a sermon and an individual experience with religious mythology; within one’s cultural belief system a sermon can only encourage or reinforce common belief while a myth, though it might do the same, has the potential to elevate and transform individual understanding through the potency of symbolic landscape, character, image, and theme. The ancient myths still resonate with a modern audience precisely because the ancient writers crafted them toward individual interpretation, leaving each person who heard the story to recognize the meaning in the tale for themselves and respond to it accordingly.”
Timeline c. 4000 BCE Earliest Egyptian Myths Recorded. c. 3000 BCE Hathor, known as Mistress of Dendera, cult center flourishes in the city of Dendera. c. 2500 BCE Osiris as Dying and Reviving God and God of the Dead appears in Pyramid Texts. 2285 BCE – 2250 BCE Life of Enheduanna, daughter of Sargon of Akkad, and world’s first author known by name. c. 2150 BCE – c. 1400 BCE The Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh written on clay tablets. c. 1640 BCE – c. 1700 BCE Written form of the Atrahasis Myth of the Great Flood. c. 1300 BCE The Myth of Adapa appears in written form. c. 1120 BCE Extant copy of the Sumerian Enuma Elish (creation story) is made from much older text. c. 826 BCE – c. 823 BCE Mahabharata likely composed. c. 800 BCE – c. 700 BCE Homer of Greece writes his Iliad and Odyssey. 753 BCE The legendary founding date of Rome. c. 700 BCE Greek poet Hesiod writes his Theogony and Works and Days. c. 515 BCE – 70 CE Biblical Book of Genesis revised, along with other Hebrew scripture, during the Second Temple Period. c. 400 BCE Roman tale of mythical twins Romulus and Remus first recorded. c. 400 BCE – c. 200 CE Bhagavad Gita likely written down from earlier oral tradition. c. 30 BCE – c. 19 BCE Roman poet Virgil writes his Aeneid. c. 65 CE – c. 100 CE The tales of the life and work of Jesus (gospels) composed.i 712 CE The Kojiki is written, a collection of oral myths forming the basis of the Shinto religion. 720 CE The Nihon Shoki is written, a collection of oral myths forming the basis of the Shinto religion. c. 807 CE Imibe-no-Hironari writes the Kogoshui, a collection of oral myths forming the basis of the Shinto religion.
“IT says in the Bible “add to your faith knowledge.” I say when you have knowledge, add faith to it. You cannot have all knowledge. You are human, restricted in your capacity, for your reception is of necessity limited.
The foundation of knowledge should be your base to enable you to withstand all the storms and tempests of earthly life, to be unshaken no matter what happens. Let your faith help you where your knowledge cannot take you.” – The Silver Birch Book Of Questions & Answers
“The word, “occult,” is difficult to define. The reason for this is that almost everyone has a different view of what the word means. To some, it represents a fascinating sphere of paranormal activity and mystery. To others, it implies sorcery and dark intentions. Very few people call themselves occultists, yet many are, perhaps without knowing it. Those who do know it, rarely use the term due to an abundance of negativity surrounding the whole concept.
It’s unfortunate that occultism has come to be cast in such dark shadows, because it truly is a place of wonder and offers opportunities to enrich and embrace life in many ways. The key to understanding the realm of the occult is to approach it without fear, bias or a desire to use it for unscrupulous reasons. It is a world of multi-faceted possibilities, like a beautiful gemstone that reveals a different view of the world at every angle.
What Does “Occult” Mean? In decades past, the word occult dealt with anything that was outside of “natural” thinking. It was a generic term that incorporated almost everything that we now view to be part of the nontraditional spiritual frontier. When I was a kid, my first stop in our public library was always to the books shelved in the 130 section, as defined by the Dewey Decimal System. It was the paranormal and occult category.
130 Section: Paranormal and Occult There were books on astrology, divination, which included Tarot, the I Ching, cartomancy, or telling fortunes with regular playing cards, palmistry, numerology, phrenology, crystal gazing, clairvoyance, clairaudience, automatic writing and tea leaf reading. Also in the occult section were books on séances, astral projection, Ouija boards, mind-reading, auras, ghosts, haunted houses, vampirism, lycanthropy, fairies, brownies and sprites, herbalism, numerology, communicating with elemental forces, reincarnation, past lives, trances, spirit boxes, witchcraft, sorcerers and their familiars, and ritual magic. In addition, there were books on demonology, angelic communication, the dark arts, mind control, ESP for fun and profit and a personal favorite of mine, a book on how to hypnotize chickens. Every single one of these books was in the occult section.
A Shadow is Cast Exactly when the word “occult” began to connote something dark and sinister is a mystery to me. I noticed the beginnings of it in the mid-1970s, when the whole spiritual movement seemed to take on a different tone, one of the necessity of having to choose sides. This may have, in part, arisen due to the rise in popularity of Satanic organizations, as well as the rapid growth of new religions and cults that spread like wildfire across the culture. Many of these were established religions, commonly worshiped in other nations, some were new religious groups, while others were revivals of ancient religions, long thought to be dormant.
Hidden Magic: What it the Purpose of Occultism? People began to view many of the tools of divination with an almost religious fervor, attributing a sacredness to Tarot, or other tools of the trade. This is a trend that still exists today. These people are missing the point that the magic is within us and that the tools are simply a means to an end.
As time progressed, factions splintered, many trying to abandon uncomfortable thoughts, embracing only love and light and thus negating reality. In the beginning, some called them “La La’s,” but eventually, these gentle souls became more the norm than the exception. I was once kicked out of a bookstore filled with statues of angels because I asked for a copy of the Aleister Crowley Tarot. I was sternly informed, “We don’t carry that type of filth here.”
So why does the word occult carry such weight? Why was the word ever used at all?
The word simply means hidden. Astronomers use the word, occult, to describe what happens when an object, such as the Moon or Venus, crosses in front of another object in the sky.
Occultations caused by the Moon passing in front of stars are common. If you’ve never seen Jupiter or Venus blot out a bright star in the night sky, you should seek it out.
Focusing on the concept of one thing hiding another, we gain a glimpse into the metaphysical meaning of the word occult. At one time, those who thought in ways that ran contrary to the norm were held in contempt, suspicion, were imprisoned, or worse. There was little tolerance for freedom of thought and even less for freedom of speech, or religion. Conformity and unity were the ideal and anyone who dared to present an ulterior philosophy, endangered themselves and their families. Galileo got off comparatively light, with house arrest, for teaching his heretical belief that the earth was not the center of the solar system. Hundreds of thousands of others were not as fortunate and found themselves the victims of inquisitional punishment, mob justice and torture.
As human beings, we’re designed to think and look below the surface. We are meant to question the nature of deity and attempt to discover why terrible things happen to good people, and why brutal individuals thrive. Our natural tendencies are to question authority and to entertain the prospects of the illegitimacy of claims to power. These sorts of thoughts gave rise to rebellion, sometimes leading to a new world order, other times to despotic tyranny. The key throughout it all, is that a certain level of secrecy was necessary in order to organize, mobilize and maintain the movements of change.
Protection for the Open Minded The same desire to remain safe and to survive gave rise to the idea of the occult as we know it today. The wish to think freely and to practice arts that were claimed to foretell the future, communicate with those from the past, or find the truth in any situation, were considered heretical, blasphemous and had to be practiced in secrecy. These included alternative religious thoughts, such as Wicca, Voodoo, Santeria and even such religions as Buddhism and Hinduism. In order to remain safe, it was necessary to go underground and stay hidden, thus one of the meanings and purposes of the occult.
Dissemination of Knowledge There is also a natural layering of information in anything that exists. For example, let’s say you go to the store to buy a deck of cards with which to play Cribbage. Directly behind you is a person also buying a deck of cards. You probably wouldn’t question how those cards were going to be used. You will go home, open the pack and play your game. The person in back of you will go home, open the deck, peer into the future and uncover secrets of the past. It doesn’t mean that the person involved has special powers; it implies that they know how to read the cards. You can do it, too; all you have to do is learn the meanings. Once upon a time, that was the issue. The dissemination of knowledge was kept secret as part of a greater tradition that needed to be maintained as pure, sometimes out of habit, sometimes because of very real dangers. Occultists became masters of hiding powerful knowledge in plain sight.
Remembering that Tarot started as a game, it’s easy to see that a lot of meaning got stuffed into the card images as time progressed. I’m fascinated by the fact that the hidden meanings of the cards have become commonly known, whereas some of the actual meanings of the iconography, as designed by the original Tarot designers, have now become occult, hidden, more by atrophy than by design. Just because something is concealed, it doesn’t mean that it has a good reason for being so.
Occultism: A Path to Your Own Worldview In college, I became good friends with astronomy grad students. They liked me fine, but thought that my interest in astrology was an exercise in complete idiocy. Their disdain for the subject became more pronounced after a few beers and I felt the sting of being ridiculed for something I believed strongly in. I learned to keep my mouth shut about my interests, at least for a while, and adhered to the precepts of the occult, the hidden. It simply made things easier. Eventually, however, I became annoyed and turned against that mindset, daring anyone and everyone to challenge my point of view. In the beginning, I was adamantly argumentative, but thankfully, over the years, I’ve learned to shrug it off and realize that my worldview fits me, even if it doesn’t fit others.
I find it completely ironic that we live in a society where we are expected to accept the religious views of others, as long as they are traditionally held, regardless of how unusual their dogma may seem to us and how blatantly steeped in controversy their history may be. Yet, if I discuss a conversation I had with a Holly bush, or Spruce tree in my front yard, I’m considered to be on the fringe and a devotee of the occult. So be it.
Have there been abuses in the occult? Of course. Such actions skulk in every nook and cranny of humanity.
I call myself an occultist and have for a long time. I’ve owned a Tarot deck since I was 10 years old. I’ve been studying it all my life and have developed my own theories and techniques, both for understanding and reading the cards. I have forged new pathways into the study of Elemental Forces and have connected them to my work in Tarot. I have studied Vedic Astrology and have worked with it for decades. I’ve counseled thousands of people over the years, many of them keeping me a secret from the world around them, for fear of ridicule. It’s quite possible that you are an occultist as well. It doesn’t mean that you practice dangerous rituals, portend doom or delve into the belly of the beast. It simply means the you are practicing or experimenting with something that doesn’t jive with the norm. Whatever you call yourself is irrelevant and completely up to you.
There is one more reason why the term occult makes sense. Our predecessors understood that as human beings, we have a tendency to abuse power and advantage. There is no doubt that there is power to be had and numerous advantages in the arts we practice. Even the simple act of casting an astrological chart can give a leg up to anyone seeking to understand how a situation will unfold. Likewise, in the right hands, a deck of cards can be remarkably accurate in laying out an exact sequence of events, and ways of preventing them from occurring. There are numerous stories about men and women who discovered hidden rules and regulations about playing the stock market, using astrology, or other means. They always kept them closely to themselves, sometimes in order to keep others from abusing this knowledge, or sometimes in order to sell it to the highest bidder. Whatever the case, whether it be a Grove of Druids or a lodge of Freemasons, they all have symbols that you will not understand and are not meant to be intuitive. Within those symbols are hidden greater meanings that eventually will be passed on to others. Yes, they’re delving into the occult, such as it is.
Occultism is nothing more than a belief (or experimentation) in alternative ways of viewing the world, views that may not necessarily be welcomed, nor understood, by the culture in which an individual lives. The occult is a pliable, ever-changing philosophy. By delving into the occult, we learn truths and discover lies. We find lines of thought and methods of illuminating the darkness that are as personal as our DNA. Just as it’s unusual for people to define the word occult in the same way, so no two individuals can ever experience it exactly alike. The occult is a personal and unique experience well worth the adventure. Don’t fear it; embrace the mystery.
Botany, also called plant science(s), plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field.