Filtered for myths and archetypes
17.48, Tuesday 24 Feb 2015 Link to this post
Currently, Russian and Finnish researchers are studying “palaeoacoustic” ringing rock sites on the shores of Lake Onega in Russia. They have found that the sound these natural stone “drums” make when struck is amplified by the surface of the lake, causing it to carry for kilometres around. The features are surrounded by concentrations of rock art.
So what gets me here is that the marks - the visual human intervention - the art - is a sign that there is something here that we can’t see: In this case, a natural megaphone for rhythm.
From the same article:
The Native American tribes of the Great Lake region believed that a spirit world existed behind rock surfaces, which were conceived of as being like “membranes” between that world and this. … their shamans could penetrate through cracks and crevices in the rock-face into the spirit world beyond, and also that spirits could pass through from behind it into the human world.
Sipapu is a Hopi word
which refers to a small hole or indentation in the floor of kivas used by the ancient Pueblo peoples and modern-day Puebloans. It symbolizes the portal through which their ancient ancestors first emerged to enter the present world.
I saw these when I visited Mesa Verde a year or two back… funny having grown up in the west and seeing crucifixes everywhere as the dominant symbol: also the x-y axes of Cartesian space, that in the west we measure and situate our [world, values, selves] inside a shared and objective universe; also in Riddley Walker the Christ figure is conflated with Adam-the-first-man and Atom-which-is-split, arms out wide, being torn apart. Then to see an alternative symbol, an indentation, sipapu.
For the ancient Pueblo peoples, the sipapu - the place of emergence - is somewhere near the Grand Canyon:
their ancestors emerged from the Third World through a crack, into this, the Fourth World, in a place known as Sipapu.
Tales from Ovid: 24 Passages from the Metamorphoses, the magical translation by Ted Hughes.
I mean, read this.
Last comes the Age of Iron.
And the day of Evil dawns.
Go up like a mist - a morning sigh off a graveyard.
Snares, tricks, plots come hurrying
Out of their dens in the atom.
Violence is an extrapolation
Of the cutting edge
Into the orbit of the smile.
Now comes the love of gain - a new god
Made out of the shadow
Of all the others. A god who peers
Grinning from the roots of the eye-teeth.
Now sails bulged and the cordage cracked
In winds that still bewildered the pilots.
And the long trucks of trees
That had never shifted in their lives
From some mountain fastness
Leapt in their coffins
From wavetop to wavetop,
Them out over the rim of the unknown.
Now I am ready to tell how bodies are changed/ Into different bodies.
But why straight lines? Dobkin de Rios suspected that they derived from the entoptic patterning that occurs in the human cortex early in trance states as a result of poorly-understood neurophysiological mechanisms. These entoptic (“within vision”) images are universal to the whole human race in all periods of time, and adhere to a specific range of “form constants” - grids, dots, webs, spirals and tunnel forms, arabesques, nested curves, lines, and so on.
And from Michael Witzel’s origins and dispersal of our first mythologies,
Archetypes are those psychic contents that have not yet been submitted to conscious elaboration. Myth is the secondary elaboration of archetypes. Their images are embedded in a comprehensive system of thought that ascribes an order to the world. Common archetypes include the (great) Mother, the Father, the Hero, the Miraculous Child, the Wise woman, the Shadow. Since they are generally human, they can turn up everywhere and anytime in dreams, visions and myths.
This Laurasian approach suggests that there is
a coherent mythology (with a common story line) for much of Eurasia, North Africa and the Americas.
the ultimate of origins of the universe and the world, subsequent generations of the gods, an age of semi-divine heroes, the emergence of humans, and the origins of “royal” lineages. It frequently includes a violent end to our present world, sometimes with the hope for a new world emerging out of the ashes. Ultimately, the universe is seen as a living body, in analogy to the human one: it is born from primordial incest, grows, develops, comes of age, and has to undergo decay and death