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The Punic Grimoire: Visions, Dream Work, Tibetan Dream Yoga Intro, Divination and Healing

 

"Buriat shaman's mirror from Batshireet, Mongolia, 2007. The Tibetan letters read Om, ah, hum, hri, with the central letter tran, a tantric formula used by Buddhists, for example to transform the ten impure elements into ambrosia. (Photo 2007: Rebecca Empson.)... shamans' mirrors, and mirrors in general, have two quite different sides, one reflecting images and the other a dull blank or imagined as a teeming other world. It is argued that, for shamanists, the far side of themirror is conceived as the world of the dead, which is populated by spirits. Living people can, in certain circumstances such as divination, see `through' the mirror into that world, and shamans when interacting with spirits in trance place themselves inside it. Two different perspectives, of the living and of the souls/spirits, are thus produced." -https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Buriat-shamans-mirror-from-Batshireet-Mongolia-2007-The-Tibetan-letters-read-Om-ah_fig4_233572556


The idea of going to the right, or left, and basing your entire geographical person on your own visual field is not the same as Ancient people viewed their relativity to the Universe. People used the Sun and the Stars as a guide, they knew the Sun rose the direction we now call East and sets the direction we call West and they based their direction fields based on that universal perspective. This perspective was similarly how Dreaming was viewed, not as a personal field of inner vision formulated by yourself, but a shared realm which we all enter when we sleep.

The Dream World is synonymous with an aspect of the Spirit World with several other points of access available outside of Dreaming.


"Where was the evolutionary birthplace of modern humans? The East African Great Rift Valley has long been the favored contender – until today. Our new research has used DNA to trace humanity’s earliest footsteps to a prehistoric wetland called Makgadikgadi-Okavango, south of the Great Zambezi River. Our analysis, published in Nature, shows that the earliest population of modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) arose 200,000 years ago in an area that covers parts of modern-day Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe."
-https://qz.com/africa/1739319/scientists-say-the-birthplace-of-human-kind-was-in-botswana/
 
"The use of psychoactive plants by traditional healers in southern Africa appears to be a neglected area of ethnobotanical research. This article explores the healing dynamics involved in the use of popular psychoactive plant preparations known as ubulawu in the initiation rituals of Southern Bantu diviners. Research methods include a review of the literature, fieldwork interviews with Southern Bantu diviners, and an analysis of experiential accounts from diverse informants on their use of ubulawu. Findings reveal that there is widespread reliance on ubulawu as psychoactive spiritual medicines by the indigenous people of southern Africa to communicate with their ancestral spirits--so as to bring luck, and to treat mental disturbances. In the case of the Southern Bantu diviners, ubulawu used in a ritual initiation process acts as a mnemonic aid and medicine to familiarize the initiates with enhanced states of awareness and related psychospiritual phenomena such as enhanced intuition and dreams of the ancestral spirits, who teach the initiates how to find and use medicinal plants. The progression of the latter phenomena indicates the steady success of the initiates' own healing integration. Various factors such as psychological attitude and familiarization, correct plant combinations/synergy and a compatible healer-initiate relationship influence ubulawu responsiveness."
-https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23061321/


"The Yoruban [religion] divides the cosmos into Orun, the sky, and Aiye, the earth. In the sky dwells Olodumare, the High God, a number of associated deities (the Orishas), and the ancestors. Olodumare is seen as somewhat remote and difficult to approach; hence He is not the object of shrines, rituals or prayers. He is seen as the source of all and the creator of the first 16 human beings. However, in most creation narratives it is Orisha-Obatala who is credited with creating the earth and transferr-ing the first humans to their new home. It is also believed that Orisa-Obatala began his acts of creation at Ile Ife. Hence Ile Ife is the center of all religious and spiritual power ... Obatala and Oduduwa are two primary Orishas within Yoruban cosmology ... Also important to the Yoruban system are the Egun... The role of various religious Priests and Priestesses in Yoruban society is to mediate between the people and the Orishas and ancestors."
-https://research.auctr.edu/c.php?g=404402&p=2752855

 

Sacred Tales

"The first chapter presents the corpus and explains when, how and why, the Sacred Tales were written. They were written in the early 170s CE, based on Aristides’ memories along with precise notes he took about his dreams and the ensuing prescriptions. Covering two main periods (143-155 and 165-171), the narrative is not chronologic and does not display any narrative suspense. Describing his illness and how the god cured him, Aristides is adamant about the protection he received (and still receives) from Asclepius. While composing the Sacred Tales to praise and thank the god, but also to recount a specific experience (parallels of which can be found in aretalogical inscriptions), he follows his friends’ advice and demonstrates his ethos as a superior orator (because he has been saved by the god). Aristides’ redemption narrative has not always been well regarded, especially during the Byzantine period. This disrepute lasted at least until the beginning of the 20th century.

The second chapter analyses in detail the relation Aelius Aristides has with illness and with those who can cure him. Ido Israelowich studies Aristides’ treatments and the health-care providers he consulted, as well as the role dreams play in the recovery process. He also recounts the Sophist’s medical biography, and sheds light on how patients, disease and physicians are conceptualized in the Sacred Tales. This kind of research is particularly interesting because it brings to the fore the point of view of a patient who is familiar with medicine, albeit not a specialist. Drawing his inspiration from the work of Arthur Kleinman, Thomas Kuhn, and Tamsyn Barton, the author reconstructs the “Health-Care System” wherein Aristides evolves (a system where religion, philosophy and tradition are fundamental and in which the medical profession is quite well respected), to show that the orator shares the views of the people around him on medicine, and that the treatments he follows are not odd. It was normal to consult physicians, gymnastic trainers, and the Asclepieia’s staff, and also take into account the dreams sent by the divinity. As for the orator himself, he conceives of his condition as a collection of symptoms rather than the consequence of a particular ailment. And it appears that Aristides’ rhetorical career and his illness follow a very similar path.
 
The third chapter is more specifically devoted to the religious dimension of Aristides’ medical experiences. Comparing the theological ideas Aristides expresses in the Sacred Tales and in his other discourses (particularly in the hymn Regarding Zeus), Ido Israelowich has to concede that Aristides’ religiosity (acknowledging Zeus’ supremacy in the pantheon while at the same time preferring to turn to Asclepius for healing) is not eccentric for the period, and that it has literary precedents (Homer, Pindar, Plato, etc.). Evoking once more the role of dreams and oracles, the author finally analyses the importance of cults, celebrations and images, both in the universe of the Sacred Tales and in the 2 nd century Graeco-Roman world. Indeed, while his contemporaries share Aristides’ medical discourse, the religious experience described in the Sacred Tales turns out to be equally representative of the period. This does not mean, however, that there is nothing new or original in Aristides’ literary and rhetorical approach.

Sticking precisely to the historical framework, Ido Israelowich rightly shows that the Sacred Tales are not the work of an egocentric and neurotic person: it is a salvation tale that attests to an authentic experience, which is both unique and typical of the elite’s religiosity in the second century CE. Despite a perhaps over-rigid general framework and a few repetitions, Israelowich offers wise thoughts on the situation of Graeco-Roman medicine during Aristides’ period, on key notions in the medical domain ( katharsis, pharmakon, etc.), on the apprehension of illness and the absence of a clear distinction between scientific and temple medicine."
-https://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2013/2013.07.40


The Ancient Chakras were not created by guessing. Human beings have been doing surgery and cutting open bodies for at least 5,000 years, and have made discoveries about how things are interconnected. This was then put in Correlation with Colors, Gemstones, Metals, Plants, Seasons, Constellations, etc.



You have been told that you are your Brain, but that is an extreme simplification.


"The Vitruvian Man was created by Leonardo da Vinci around the year 1487. It is accompanied by notes based on the work of the famed architect, Vitruvius Pollio. The drawing, which is in pen and ink on paper, depicts a male figure in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart and simultaneously inscribed in a circle and square. The drawing and text are sometimes called the Canon of Proportions or, less often, Proportions of Man. It is stored in the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice, Italy, and, like most works on paper, is displayed only occasionally. The proportional relationship of the parts reflects universal design. And a "medical" equilibrium of elements ensures a stable structure. These qualities are thus shared equally by God's creation of the human body and the human being's own production of a good building. In the late 1480s, this theme of the artistic microcosm emerged as one of the freat unifying principles of his thought. This architectural application is not the end of the matter, however; it only represents the beginning of a concepts which had a literally universal application." -https://www.leonardodavinci.net/the-vitruvian-man.jsp


"In the 1960s, American neuroscientist Paul MacLean formulated the 'Triune Brain' model, which is based on the division of the human brain into three distinct regions. MacLean's model suggests the human brain is organized into a hierarchy, which itself is based on an evolutionary view of brain development. The three regions are as follows:
Reptilian or Primal Brain (Basal Ganglia)
Paleomammalian or Emotional Brain (Limbic System)
Neomammalian or Rational Brain (Neocortex)
According to MacLean, the hierarchical organization of the human brain represents the gradual acquisition of the brain structures through evolution. The triune brain model suggests the basal ganglia was acquired first, which is thought to be in charge of our primal instincts, followed by the limbic system, which is in charge of our emotions or affective system, then the neocortex, which is thought to be responsible for rational or objective thought.
MacLean's model claims that activity in the three brain regions (basal ganglia, limbic system, and neocortex) is largely distinct when we are engaged in each of the mental activities outlined above. For example, when we are in danger and must respond quickly, as an act of self-preservation, the reptilian structure is aroused, preparing us for action by initiating the release of chemicals throughout the body. When we are watching a shocking news story or receive an upsetting message, the limbic system is stimulated and, again, chemicals are released, which create our experience of emotions. Finally, when we are making decisions, solving problems or reasoning, the neocortex is engaged, without the involvement of the other brain structures." -https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/the-concept-of-the-triune-brain


brain cell

noun

a cell in the tissue of the brain.


neu·ron

/ˈn(y)o͝orän/

noun

a specialized cell transmitting nerve impulses; a nerve cell.


gray mat·ter

/ˈɡrā ˈˌmadər/

noun

the darker tissue of the brain and spinal cord, consisting mainly of nerve cell bodies and branching dendrites.


den·drite

/ˈdendrīt/

noun

a short branched extension of a nerve cell, along which impulses received from other cells at synapses are transmitted to the cell body.


syn·apse

/ˈsinˌaps/

noun

a junction between two nerve cells, consisting of a minute gap across which impulses pass by diffusion of a neurotransmitter.


neu·ro·trans·mit·ter

/ˌn(y)o͝orōˈtranzmidər/

noun

a chemical substance that is released at the end of a nerve fiber by the arrival of a nerve impulse and, by diffusing across the synapse or junction, causes the transfer of the impulse to another nerve fiber, a muscle fiber, or some other structure.


neu·ro·gen·e·sis

/ˌn(y)o͝orōˈjenəsəs/

noun

the growth and development of nervous tissue.


syn·​ap·​to·​gen·​e·​sis

\ sə-ˌnap-tə-ˈjen-ə-səs  \

the formation of nerve synapses


glial cell

(GLEE-ul sel)

any of the cells that hold nerve cells in place and help them work the way they should. The types of glial cells include oligodendrocytes, astrocytes, microglia, and ependymal cells. Also called neuroglia.


as·tro·cyte

/ˈastrəˌsīt/

noun

a star-shaped glial cell of the central nervous system.


ol·i·go·den·dro·cyte

/ˌäləɡōˈdendrəsīt/

noun

a glial cell similar to an astrocyte but with fewer protuberances, concerned with the production of myelin in the central nervous system.


my·e·lin

/ˈmīələn/

noun

a mixture of proteins and phospholipids forming a whitish insulating sheath around many nerve fibers, increasing the speed at which impulses are conducted.


remyelination

noun

the regeneration of a nerve's myelin sheath.




"“Birds are more intelligent than you think, and they do clever things. So, the question is: What kind of brain circuitry are they using?” said Clifton Ragsdale, PhD, professor of neurobiology at UChicago and senior author of the study. “What this research shows is that they’re using the same cell types with the same kinds of connections we see in the neocortex, but with a very different kind of organization.” Both the mammalian neocortex and a structure in the bird brain called the dorsal ventricular ridge (DVR) develop from an embryonic region called the telencephalon. However, the two regions mature into very different shapes. The neocortex is made up of six distinct layers while the DVR contains large clusters of neurons called nuclei." -https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/biological-sciences-articles/why-birds-are-smarter-than-you-think


ver·te·bra

/ˈvərdəbrə/

noun

each of the series of small bones forming the backbone, having several projections for articulation and muscle attachment, and a hole through which the spinal cord passes.


spi·nal cord

/ˌspīnl ˈkôrd/

noun

the cylindrical bundle of nerve fibers and associated tissue which is enclosed in the spine and connects nearly all parts of the body to the brain, with which it forms the central nervous system.


gan·gli·on

/ˈɡaNGɡlēən/

a structure containing a number of nerve cell bodies, typically linked by synapses, and often forming a swelling on a nerve fiber.


Dorsal Root Ganglion: "The ganglion on the dorsal root of every spinal nerve. It is where the cell bodies of sensory neurons are located; hence, it is chiefly involved in the transmission of sensory information." -https://www.biologyonline.com/dictionary/dorsal-root-ganglion


ver·te·brate

/ˈvərdəbrət,ˈvərdəˌbrāt/

noun

an animal of a large group distinguished by the possession of a backbone or spinal column, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes.



parietal eye

noun

1: PINEAL GLAND —used especially for a pineal gland that possesses a photoreceptive function

2: a photoreceptive structure of some nonmammalian vertebrates (such as lizards) especially when eyelike in composition with a distinguishable lens and retina


con·science

/ˈkän(t)SHəns/

noun

an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one's behavior.


"The third eye is a representation of mystical intuition and insight—an inner vision and enlightenment beyond what the physical eyes can see. It is traditionally depicted as being located in the middle of the forehead." -https://www.dictionary.com/browse/third-eye


subconscious

noun

the mental activities just below the threshold of consciousness







"The first description of the pineal gland and the first speculations about its functions are to be found in the voluminous writings of Galen (ca. 130-ca. 210 CE), the Greek medical doctor and philosopher who spent the greatest part of his life in Rome and whose system dominated medical thinking until the seventeenth century.
 
Galen discussed the pineal gland in the eighth book of his anatomical work On the usefulness of the parts of the body. He explained that it owes its name (Greek: kônarion, Latin: glandula pinealis) to its resemblance in shape and size to the nuts found in the cones of the stone pine (Greek: kônos, Latin: pinus pinea). He called it a gland because of its appearance and said that it has the same function as all other glands of the body, namely to serve as a support for blood vessels.
In order to understand the rest of Galen’s exposition, the following two points should be kept in mind. First, his terminology was different from ours. He regarded the lateral ventricles of the brain as one paired ventricle and called it the anterior ventricle. He accordingly called the third ventricle the middle ventricle, and the fourth the posterior one. Second, he thought that these ventricles were filled with “psychic pneuma,” a fine, volatile, airy or vaporous substance which he described as “the first instrument of the soul.” (See Rocca 2003 for a detailed description of Galen’s views about the anatomy and physiology of the brain.)
In the beginning of the sixteenth century, anatomy made great progress and at least two developments took place that are important from our point of view. First, Niccolò Massa (1536, ch. 38) discovered that the ventricles are not filled with some airy or vaporous spirit but with fluid (the liquor cerebro-spinalis). Second, Andreas Vesalius (1543, book 7) rejected all ventricular localization theories and all theories according to which the choroid plexus, pineal gland or vermis of the cerebellum can regulate the flow of spirits in the ventricles of the brain.
In Descartes’ description of the role of the pineal gland, the pattern in which the animal spirits flow from the pineal gland was the crucial notion. He explained perception as follows. The nerves are hollow tubes filled with animal spirits. They also contain certain small fibers or threads which stretch from one end to the other. These fibers connect the sense organs with certain small valves in the walls of the ventricles of the brain. When the sensory organs are stimulated, parts of them are set in motion. These parts then begin to pull on the small fibers in the nerves, with the result that the valves with which these fibers are connected are pulled open, some of the animal spirits in the pressurized ventricles of the brain escape, and (because nature abhors a vacuum) a low-pressure image of the sensory stimulus appears on the surface of the pineal gland. It is this image which then “causes sensory perception” of whiteness, tickling, pain, and so on. “It is not [the figures] imprinted on the external sense organs, or on the internal surface of the brain, which should be taken to be ideas—but only those which are traced in the spirits on the surface of the gland H (where the seat of the imagination and the ‘common’ sense is located). That is to say, it is only the latter figures which should be taken to be the forms or images which the rational soul united to this machine will consider directly when it imagines some object or perceives it by the senses” (AT XI:176, CSM I:106). It is to be noted that the reference to the rational soul is a bit premature at this stage of Descartes’ story because he had announced that he would, to begin with, discuss only the functions of bodies without a soul.
Imagination arises in the same way as perception, except that it is not caused by external objects. Continuing the just-quoted passage, Descartes wrote: “And note that I say ‘imagines or perceives by the senses’. For I wish to apply the term ‘idea’ generally to all the impressions which the spirits can receive as they leave gland H. These are to be attributed to the ‘common’ sense when they depend on the presence of objects; but they may also proceed from many other causes (as I shall explain later), and they should then be attributed to the imagination” (AT XI:177, CSM I:106). Descartes’ materialistic interpretation of the term ‘idea’ in this context is striking. But this is not the only sense in which he used this term: when he was talking about real men instead of mechanical models of their bodies, he also referred to ‘ideas of the pure mind’ which do not involve the ‘corporeal imagination’.
 
Descartes’ mechanical explanation of memory was as follows. The pores or gaps lying between the tiny fibers of the substance of the brain may become wider as a result of the flow of animal spirits through them. This changes the pattern in which the spirits will later flow through the brain and in this way figures may be “preserved in such a way that the ideas which were previously on the gland can be formed again long afterwards without requiring the presence of the objects to which they correspond. And this is what memory consists in” (AT XI:177, CSM I:107).
 
Finally, Descartes presented an account of the origin of bodily movements. He thought that there are two types of bodily movement. First, there are movements which are caused by movements of the pineal gland. The pineal gland may be moved in three ways: (1) by “the force of the soul,” provided that there is a soul in the machine; (2) by the spirits randomly swirling about in the ventricles; and (3) as a result of stimulation of the sense organs. The role of the pineal gland is similar in all three cases: as a result of its movement, it may come close to some of the valves in the walls of the ventricles. The spirits which continuously flow from it may then push these valves open, with the result that some of the animal spirits in the pressurized ventricles can escape through these valves, flow to the muscles by means of the hollow, spirit-filled nerves, open or close certain valves in the muscles which control the tension in those muscles, and thus bring about contraction or relaxation of the muscles. As in perception, Descartes applied the term ‘idea’ again to the flow of animal spirits from the pineal gland: “And note that if we have an idea about moving a member, that idea—consisting of nothing but the way in which spirits flow from the gland—is the cause of the movement itself” (AT XI:181; Hall 1972, p. 92). Apart from the just-mentioned type of bodily motions, caused by motions of the pineal gland, there is also a second kind, namely reflexes. The pineal gland plays no role with respect to them. Reflexes are caused by direct exchanges of animal spirits between channels within the hemispheres of the brain. (Descartes did not know that there are “spinal reflexes”.) They do not necessarily give rise to ideas (in the sense of currents in the ventricles) and are not brought about by motions of the pineal gland." -https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pineal-gland/


soul

/sōl/

noun

the spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal.


spir·it

/ˈspirit/

noun

the nonphysical part of a person which is the seat of emotions and character; the soul.


mind

/mīnd/

noun

the element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought.


thought

/THôt/

noun

the action or process of thinking.


think·ing

/ˈTHiNGkiNG/

noun

the process of using one's mind to consider or reason about something.


sixth sense

noun

a power of perception beyond the five senses


sense

/sens/

noun

a faculty by which the body perceives an external stimulus; one of the faculties of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch.


sen·so·ry

/ˈsensərē/

adjective

relating to sensation or the physical senses; transmitted or perceived by the senses.


"Thoth was the god of the moon, sacred texts, mathematics, the sciences, magic, messenger and recorder of the deities, master of knowledge, and patron of scribes. His Egyptian name was Djehuty, which means “He who is like the Ibis.” He was depicted as an ibis bird or a baboon.

According to one story, Thoth was born from the lips of Ra at the beginning of creation and was known as the “god without a mother.” In another story, Thoth is self-created at the beginning of time and, as an ibis, lays the cosmic egg that holds all of creation. He was always closely associated with Ra and the concept of divine order and justice.

Thoth was credited with creating the art of writing, inventing the calendar, and controlling space and time. Since he was the god of the moon, he had celestial functions and replaced the sun god, Ra, in the sky at night.

Thoth helped the funerary deities as a messenger and bookkeeper for them. He was responsible for recording the verdict of the heart-weighing ceremony that determined if the person was able to continue on to the Afterlife. If the person’s heart (spirit) balanced with Ma’at’s Feather of Truth, they passed. However, if the heart was heavier than the feather then the person did not pass. Thoth always provided guidance for the deities and regulated common everyday complaints and created new laws. Thoth suggested that if a problem couldn’t be solved, then a group should get together as an assembly and discuss it." -https://egyptianmuseum.org/deities-thoth

"Hermes, Greek god, son of Zeus and the Pleiad Maia; often identified with the Roman Mercury and with Casmilus or Cadmilus, one of the Cabeiri. His name is probably derived from herma (see herm), the Greek word for a heap of stones, such as was used in the country to indicate boundaries or as a landmark… Both in literature and cult Hermeswas constantly associated with the protection of cattle and sheep, and he was often closely connected with deities of vegetation, especially Panand the nymphs. In the Odyssey, however, he appears mainly as the messenger of the gods and the conductor of the dead to Hades. Hermes was also a dream god, and the Greeks offered to him the last libation before sleep. As a messenger, he may also have become the god of roads and doorways, and he was the protector of travellers. Treasure casually found was his gift, and any stroke of good luck was attributed to him; this conception and his function as a deity of gain, honest or dishonest, are natural derivatives of his character as a god of fertility. In many respects he was Apollo’s counterpart; like him, Hermes was a patron of music and was credited with the invention of the kithara and sometimes of music itself. He was also god of eloquence and presided over some kinds of popular divination." -https://www.britannica.com/topic/Hermes-Greek-mythology
 

Dream Work

The dream-work is the unconscious ciphering that transforms the latent content into the manifest content.

As such, the work of interpreting the dream follows the dream-work in reverse, from the manifest content to the latent content.

The dream-work is what allows the dream wishes to get past censorship. It is also what gives dreams their peculiar form.

Freud called the dream-work “the essence of dreaming.” He wrote:

“At bottom, dreams are nothing other than a particular form of thinking. It is the dream-work which creates that form.” -https://www.freud.org.uk/learn/discover-psychoanalysis/the-interpretation-of-dreams/the-dream-work/

 

Native American Visions

Vision quest, supernatural experience in which an individual seeks to interact with a guardian spirit, usually an anthropomorphized animal, to obtain advice or protection. Vision quests were most typically found among the native peoples of North and South America.

The specific techniques for attaining visions varied from tribe to tribe, as did the age at which the first quest was to be undertaken, its length and intensity, and the expected form of the guardian spirit’s presence or sign. In some tribes nearly all young people traditionally engaged in some form of vision quest, as participation in the experience was one of the rituals marking an individual’s transition from childhood to adulthood. In other groups vision questing was undertaken only by males, with menarche and childbirth as the analogous experiences for females. Some groups, notably in South America, limited vision quests and guardian spirits to shamans (religious personages with powers of healing and psychic transformation, see shamanism).

Usually an individual’s first vision quest was preceded by a period of preparation with a religious specialist. The quest itself typically involved going to an isolated location and engaging in prayer while forgoing food and drink for a period of up to several days; some cultures augmented fasting and prayer with hallucinogens. In some traditions the participant would watch for an animal that behaved in a significant or unusual way; in others the participant discovered an object (often a stone) that resembled some animal. In the predominant form, the initiate had a dream (the vision) in which a spirit-being appeared. Upon receiving a sign or vision, the participant returned home and sought help in interpreting the experience. Not all vision quests were successful; religious specialists generally advised individuals to abandon a given attempt if a vision was not received within a prescribed period of time.

The techniques of the vision quest were fundamental to every visionary experience in Native American culture, whether undertaken by ordinary people seeking contact with and advice from a guardian or by great prophets and shamans. It was not unusual for vision quests to be integral parts of more elaborate rituals such as the Sun Dance of the Plains Indians.
-https://www.britannica.com/topic/vision-quest

 

Vision Serpent

"The general procedure involved piercing one’s penis (usually the foreskin) with a sharp needle made out of stingray’s spine. A barbed cord would then be run through the wound, producing generous amounts of blood that would be wiped and collected with pieces of bark-paper and linen. These would then be placed in a bowl, presumably mixed with incense and opiate herbs, and lit on fire. Vision Serpent would then arise from the smoke, and from her mouth an ancestral spirit would appear, as depicted on these famous reliefs from Yaxchilan
below:
For the penis-deprived persons (or “women”, as our modern politically-correct terminology would call them), the same ritual would be performed by piercing one’s tongue, cheeks or ears - really any extremity rich with blood-vessels - then running a barbed cord through the wound and all other steps described above. Thus, summoning Vision Serpent was a fun for the whole (royal) family, giving equal opportunity to Mayan kings and queens for self-mutilation, in search for oracular wisdom from the netherworld.
But the idea that serpent-like visions can come about as result of severe pain and ruthless asceticism, seems to be a fairly universal spiritual experience. The founder of Jesuit Order, Ignatius Loyola, started his journey from soldier to saint in 1521, when a cannonball broke both of his legs and he was subjected to a series of excruciating surgeries. His bones had to be repeatedly broken and reset, which in the end left him with permanent limp, as one leg regrew shorter than other. It was in state of recovery from such shock that he underwent spiritual conversion, started to fast and pray zealously, and experience serpent-like visions

Also, the motif of a serpent or a dragon disgorging a human from its mouth is well-known in old world art as well. Such scenes are often part of the hero’s journey, which in itself might represent the shaman’s journey to another world and back again." -https://www.quora.com/How-did-the-ancient-Maya-arrange-to-see-the-Vision-Serpent

 

"The story runs that whilst halting there he saw in a dream a youth of god-like appearance who said that he had been sent by Jupiter to act as guide to Hannibal on his march to Italy. He was accordingly to follow him and not to lose sight of him or let his eyes wander. At first, filled with awe, he followed him without glancing round him or looking back, but as instinctive curiosity impelled him to wonder what it was that he was forbidden to gaze at behind him, he could no longer command his eyes. He saw behind him a serpent of vast and marvellous bulk, and as it moved along trees and bushes crashed down everywhere before it, whilst in its wake there rolled a thunder-storm. He asked what the monstrous portent meant, and was told that it was the devastation of Italy; he was to go forward without further question and allow his destiny to remain hidden." -http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/txt/ah/Livy/Livy21.html


Piltzintecuhtli

The young sun god who was a manifestation of Tonatiuh, the supreme sun god of Mesoamerica. His most frequent manifestation was Xochipilli, god of summer and flowers. He is the 3rd of the nine Lords of the Night.

Tzitzimime

Fierce female star demons who roamed during particular calendar and celestial events such as eclipses (when they could be seen in the sky). They devoured the unwary and, for the Aztecs, if the sun did not rise after the 52-year cycle and New Fire Ceremony, then the Tzitzimime would destroy the world.

Tonalteuctin

The 13 Lords of the Day and their associated 'bird':
  1. Xiuhtecuhtli / Huehueteotl (blue hummingbird)
  2. Tlaltecuhtli (green hummingbird)
  3. Chalchiutlicue (hawk)
  4. Tonatiuh (quail)
  5. Tlazolteotl (eagle)
  6. Teoyaomiqui / Mictlantecuhtli (screech owl)
  7. Centeotl-Xochipilli (butterfly)
  8. Tlaloc (eagle)
  9. Quetzalcoatl (turkey)
  10. Tezcatlipoca (horned owl)
  11. Mictlantecuhtli / Chalmecatecuhtli (macaw)
  12. Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli (quetzal)
  13. Ilamatecuhtli (parrot)

Yohualteuctin

The nine Lords of the Night and their associated augury:
  1. Xiuhtecuhtli / Huehueteotl (unfavourable)
  2. Itztli (unfavourable)
  3. Piltzintecuhtli-Tonatiuh (excellent)
  4. Centeotl (excellent)
  5. Mictlantecuhtli (favourable)
  6. Chalchiutlicue (favourable)
  7. Tlazolteotl (unfavourable)
  8. Tepeyolohtli-Tezcatlipoca (favourable)
  9. Tlaloc (favourable)
-https://www.ancient.eu/article/1034/aztec-pantheon/


Viracocha is Piltzintecuhtli who is also the American Shiva


Shiva is the creator of the Universe, and God of destruction which is not so evil as it sounds. Creation, Destruction and Preservation are a Cycle. When we see fires, we see lost homes, but the Earth sees fertilizer, and after a flood we see ruin, but the Earth sees sediment brought to the surface which replenishes the topsoil. To create anything, you have to use something else. To make a painting you have to destroy natural materials to make paint, maybe trees or animals for a canvas, and then you create the Art. So was the Creation of this Universe. And it is in a perpetual state of shifting between Creation, Destruction and Preservation. Which are all Creation. 

 

Shiva is the God of Dance, the Lord of Marijuana, his Third Eye opened because if he is not watching the Universe it falls into chaos. In Chemistry, things form New things; that is what Chemistry is. Shiva is a form of a more Ancient God called Pashupati, Pashupati was the Lord of the Animals in the Ancient Indus Valley Civilization. Pashupati later became the Greek God Pan, and the Hindu God Shiva; but in Hinduism, Pashupati is still acknowledged as an existent form of Shiva. But before Shiva, there was Rudra. Rudra is the “Roarer”, the “Shining One”, or the “Red One”, also “The God Who Plays With Poisons and Cures”. Rudra is the God who brings Sickness when it comes, but he is also the God you pray to in order to remove the Sickness. If you are killed by a Wild Animal while Hiking on a Mountain, Rudra killed you. This is similar to the Christian and Muslim God, the God of the Desert and Mountain, the Unforgiving Terrain, where you must follow “The Code” or you will be taken by Nature. Jesus came to give this God the Quality of Forgiveness, but he is a Jealous and Wrathful God. This is Rudra. Shiva came later, and is Rudra when he is Kind. Shiva is Rudra when he is Removing Illness or when a Cure is being Created for the Illness, Shiva is Rudra when the Animals are not Killing you, Shiva is Rudra when he is being Kind.

Corona Virus is giving us a perfect opportunity to all understand Shiva. Some people learn he is the Destroyer, and equate that with Evil, or even Satan. Shiva is not Evil, in fact Shiva is Rudra when he is being kind, and a Christian or Atheist may hear that, and instantly their confirmation bias kicks in "SEE Rudra is the God who brings Diseases and Viruses, he kills people, he is Evil". But if you allow yourself to think through that, Shiva is Rudra when he is being KIND. The Christian God, Jehovah or Yaweh, or "I AM", is a Jealous God, a Wrathful God, a God known for Destroying cities, Flooding the Earth, and a whole series of Incest and Family members killing each other.
 
But, Jesus gave him the qualities of Compassion, Forgiveness, the Lion looking over the Lamb. Shiva is like this, but more Ancient. He is the Destroyer, but he is also the Law of Nature, he is Age and Wisdom, he is Industry (a very destructive force), he is Humanity, he is the Good and the Bad. And Shiva is Rudra when he Cures Disease, Rudra is the God of Poisons are Cures. They are 1 field of study, 1 force. Poisons and Cures are like Light and Darkness. Does Darkness even exist in a World with no Light or Shadows? Would we know Light existed if there were no Shadows, and would that even be good for us? Shiva is the Destroyer of Obstacles.
And Ganesha, the the Elephant headed God, is his son.

 

Rudra in Hebrew

רֶשֶׁף

Reshep

“Andrew Collins speaks of “the prominence of serpentine art” at Karahan Tepe, a prehistoric site close to Göbekli Tepe in both time and space (only 23 miles away and with the same T-formed pillars with a snake ascending along the shaft). Recently (2002) Robert Steiner (Early Northwest Semitic Serpent Spells in the Pyramid Texts,2011) discovered that some of the spells from the Pyramid Texts are in a Semitic “Protocanaanite” Language. They ask a “mother snake” and some female snakes to prevent poisonous male snakes from invading the room of the dead king and they are asked to prevent this by offering them their mouths and genitals. (The symbolism of the snake kiss and the copulating double snake.) The snakes have to be addressed in the Canaanite language which seems a bit odd, because the old Egyptian population did not have high thoughts about their more uncivilized neighbors. But the Osiris myth has some very old connections to the Byblos area and the god Adonis as proved by Pierre Montet, James G. Frazer and Wolfgang Helck2. Both are sought for by the goddess and found (in Greek: Zetesisand Heuresis). This theory has been criticized by some, because Adonis is neither king like Osiris, nor does he become ruler in the underworld. But the scholars have not noticed what I have called the Egyptian “summersault”: Seth is the man of wild nature and Osiris is Orion (and his wife Isis, the dog star, Sirius). But the rising of Sirius brings about the flooding of the Nile whereas in the rest of the Middle East it brings about the dry period. In Byblos Resheph-El Kronos-Saturn is king of the gods and surrounded by the stelai,the resting place for the dead kings and noblemen. He is the god who is able to grant eternal life to those who have followed the course of the sun to the mountain of the gods and he is closely connected to the lion-like Horus. The symbol seen everywhere of a lion killing the bull or stag is the god of life being killed by the god of fire, war and summer heat, Amiet p.24, fig.16; p.34, fig.63; p.61, fig 185; p.68, fig.216; p.99, fig.65; p.134, fig 201; p.137, fig. 213 & 214; p.139, fig.224: p.154, fig.26; p.164, fig.77 - this is only the examples found in the first third of AAW. The shepherd Geryon is the bull-god killed by Melqart, and on his grave in Gades two trees were growing and blood dripped from their bark, Vita ApollV,5. In Gades was also shown the girdle of Teucer: The great hunter is often shown stark naked with only a girdle around his waist . His facial characteristics are often made rather grotesque, he is a man of chaos. In Tyre we find him as Pygmalion, who became king of the city already while still a child and in greed killed his sisters Elissa’s husband Acerbas, who was the high priest of Melqart and very rich in gold. He stabbed him during a hunt while the other hunters were pursuing a great boar (Justin).

In Macrobius Saturn.1.17.66f. we find the following description of a statue of Apollo in the great temple in Mabbugh: “His face is shown with a long tapering beard, a calathusrising above his head. The statue is equipped with a breast-plate; in its right hand it holds an upraised lance topped with a small image of a Victory, and in its left it extends what looks like a flower. From the top of its shoulders a covering with a gorgon-face, bound with serpents, protects its shoulder-blades. Eagles placed alongside look as if they were flying. Before its feet is a female image, on whose right and left sides are statues of women which are encompassed in the sinuous curves of a snake” (trans. Lightfoot). Already Robert duMesnil duBuisson3has drawn attention to the striking similarity between this description and a statue found at Hatra, and Andreas Kropp (The Iconography of Nabu of Hatra, www.academia.edu) proves that the statue from Hatra is indeed a copy of the statue once standing in the great temple. The two ascending snakes are here changed into another symbol of ecstasy, two eagles. The woman is kneeling on the earth lifting the male god up on her covered hands, cf. the old statues of a female, Besit, carrying Bes on her shoulders. The god with the calathosis the god as the world pillar and as the symbol of ascension the world pillar is made androgynous and even flanked with symbols of ascending female snake-power. The back of the statue is covered with snake-skin with a small gorgo-face.

The snakes passing through her loins is a very important symbol, the symbol of sexual power raised as ecstatic energy, symbol of the female kundalini power. On the famous Qdsh-steles from Egypt the goddess is seen standing on a leopard with Resheph on her left side and Min on her right. With her left hand she holds a double snake towards Resheph and lotusflowers towards Min. Both are a symbol of ecstasy and mystic vision, either the many-colored vision of divine light or the vision won by raising the snakepower.

The birth of Athena (the Greek version of `Anat) by cleaving the forehead of Zeus is the typical tantric creation story, creation from mystic primordial consciousness to duality by separating male and female power, the female power falling from union with the male power at the top of the brain. Religion in the primitive state is feelings of ecstasy and means to reaching the ecstatic state. In left hand tantra this state is reached in a very odd way by transgressing any normal order to rouse the sexual energy.
The caducheus is an old symbol of male and female snake ascending by coiling around each other in sexual union, and the ecstasy is some times symbolized by wings lifting the caducheus. Mystic vision is reached by uniting male and female, creation is the splitting up of this union. The picture below is a god with a rather primitive version of the snake coil (Mactar, Punic stele). The ascending snakes are part of the image of the naked goddess. The ecstacy indicated is not a kind one, the figure of the hunter and the scorpion indicates that it is a wild and dangerous and derwish-like ecstacy.

“Surely I smote the beloved of El, Yam…I smote the writhing serpent. Encircler with 7 heads” KTU1,3:3,38-41. The same monster is called “Lotan” KTU1,5:1:1-4. In Ps 74,13-14 it is told that God “crushed the heads of Liviathan (notice plural “heads”)… You have prepared the light, the sun, established all the boundaries”.

L. is the symbol of primordial amorphous massiveness. By crushing the snake God makes way for the light to shine, and borders are set in a borderless primordial unity. Isa 27,1 the snake is called

“the twisted serpent, the dragon who lives in the sea”. The word characterizing the serpent is the same in the Ugarit texts and in O.Test. (Ugarit brhand `qltn, O.T.: bariah = “fleeing” & `aqalaton= “twisting”). The crushing of the dragon with 7 heads is also mentioned in the Odes of Solomon. In Rev 17,3 it has the color of fire and a woman is sitting on its back.

The Baal of Byblos, Resheph, becomes Apollo in the Hellenistic period. Already in Ebla he is quite prominent, and acc. to the lists and texts found he receives both several gold axes and oxen with their horns plaited1. He is the enemy of the god of vegetation and therefore like Gilgamesh a woodcutter and he kills the god of vegetation in the form of the sacrificial ox with guilded horns symbolizing the high heaven with the shining moon as its horns. A text from Ebla also mentions the gate of Resheph, cf. that Resheph acc. to a text from Ugarit (KTU1,78) is the “gate keeper of the sun goddess”. In Ebla Resheph has a wife Adamma, goddess of the earth.“ -https://www.academia.edu/10599557/Syro_Phoenician_Religion_Bad_snakes_and_good_Riders


These were collected Religiously

Belemnitida 





These are still collected in India today

Shaligram 


  

Endymion was a handsome shepherd, hunter or king in ancient Greek mythology, who lived in the region of Elis. He was the son of Zeus, and had legendary beauty. Selene, the Titan goddess of the moon, fell in love with him, and asked Zeus to give him eternal youth. Zeus accepted her prayer and he made Endymion fall into an eternal sleep. Selene and Endymion had fifty daughters. According to another source, he was considered to have married Asterodia or Chromia, and had a number of sons and a daughter. He told his sons that they should run a race and the winner would get the throne; Epeius won and became the ruler of the region; one of his brothers, Aetolus, remained at home, while Paeon angry that he had lost went into self-exile. -https://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Mortals/Endymion/endymion.html


from the same root as the Lat. pastor and panis]. Originally an Arcadian god of hills and woods, the protecting deity of flocks, herdsmen, and hunters; the son either of Hermes and a daughter of Dryops, or of Zeus and the Arcadian Nymph Callisto. The ancients represented him with a puck-nose and bearded, with shaggy hair, two horns, and goat's feet. They imagined him as wandering by day through hill and dale with the Nymphs, guarding the flocks, especially the goats, and chasing wild animals [Homeric Hymn, xix]. In the heat of noonday he sleeps, and is then very sensitive to any disturbance; therefore at this time no shepherd blows his pipe [Theocr. i 16]. In the evening, sitting in front of his grotto,he plays on the syrinx, or Pan's pipe, which he himself invented. He is even said to have formed it from the reed into which a Nymph named Syrinx was changed while fleeing from his love [Ovid,Met. i 705]. There are many other tales of his love adventures with the Nymphs. As he excites the sudden ("panic") terror which attacks the wanderer in forest solitudes, so he was also said to have caused the panic which put to flight the Persians at Marathon; and on this account a grotto in the Acropolis of Athens was dedicated to him, and he was honoured with an annual sacrifice and torch procession [Herod., vi 105]. As a spirit of the woodland, he is also a god of prophecy, and hence there were oracles of Pan Like the similar figures of Silenus and the Satyrs, he was brought into connexion with Dionysus, in whose train he proved himself useful on his Indian expedition by means of the terror he inspired. As one of the gods of nature, he was one of the companions of Cybele; and by reason of his amorousness, he is associated with Aphrodite. In later times, owing to a misinterpretation of his name (as though it stood for pan, "the universe"), he was made a symbol of the universe. His cult was chiefly confined to the country. He was either worshipped with the Nymphs in grottoes, or his image was set up under the trees, where his worshippers brought it simple offerings such as milk, honey, must, rams, or lambs. Mountains, caves, old oaks, and pine trees, and the tortoise, were sacred to him; his attributes are the syrinx, a shepherd's crook, a garland of pine leaves or a twig of the pine tree. The fancy of later times invented as his companions young Pans, or Panisci, a species of imps of the forest, who were fabled to torment mankind by all sorts of apparitions, nightmares, and evil dreams. The Romans identified Pan with the Italian Faunus (q.v.).-http://www.classics.upenn.edu/myth/php/tools/dictionary.php?regexp=PAN&method=standard



The ancient Greeks identified their god Hermes with the Egyptian Thoth and gave him the epithet Trismegistus, or “Thrice-Greatest,” for he had given the Egyptians their vaunted arts and sciences. A vast literature in Greek was ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus; the cited number of works ranges from 20,000 (Seleucus) to 36,525 (Manetho).
Clement of Alexandria knew of forty-two “indispensable” books. of these, ten dealt with the Egyptian priests and gods; ten with sacrifices, rites, and festivals; ten with paraphernalia of the sacred rites; and two were hymns to the gods and rules for the king. Four books dealt with astronomy and astrology, and six were medical in nature, concerning the body, diseases, medicines, instruments, the eyes, and women. Lactantius in the third century and Augustine in the fourth refer to the Hermetic writings and accept the legend of Hermes Trismegistus without question. Hermetic works on alchemy are cited by Zosimus, Stephanus, and Olympiodorus.
The so-called Corpus Hermeticum, a collection of religious and philosophical works, is best known and has received considerable attention from scholars and those interested in the occult. Most of its seventeen or eighteen works were probably written in the second century. While some Egyptian influence may be present in the pious spirit and words of the writers, the bulk of the philosophy expressed is Greek, largely Platonism modified by Neoplatonism and Stoicism. Christian thought is not evident; indeed, Augustine condemned “Hermes the Egyptian, called Trismegistus” for the idolatry and magic found in some of the writings.

The first and chief work of the Corpus is entitled Poimandres. It gives an account of the creation of the world by a luminous Word, who is the Son of God. A mystical hymn in this work was often recited by alchemists. Other works in the Corpus deal with the ascent of the soul to the divine when, for a chosen few, it has freed itself from the material world and become endowed with divine powers. The astrological control of man through the seven planets and the twelve signs of the zodiac is prominent.
Besides the works of the Corpus, a work entitled Asclepius exists in a Latin translation. The work, a dialogue between Asclepius and Hermes Trismegistus, is of interest for its purported description of the ancient Egyptian religion. The work was attributed, probably incorrectly, in the ninth century to Lucius Apuleius of Madauros. The original Greek title was “The Perfect Word.” The Asclepius describes how the Egyptian idols were made animate by magic and contains a lament that the ancient religion of Egypt is to come to an end. There is also a reference to the “Son of God,” a fact made much of by Lactantius.
A strong Hermetic tradition persisted in the Middle Ages. Stobaeus the anthologist (late fifth century) preserved twenty-nine excerpts of Hermetica. Michael Psellus in the eleventh century knew of the Corpus Hermeticum, but in the medieval mind the name of Hermes Trismegistus was usually associated with alchemy and magical talismans. Albertus Magnus condemned the diabolical magic in some Hermetic works, but Roger Bacon referred to Hermes Trismegistus as the “Father of Philosophers.” Medieval chemistry was often called the “hermetic science.”
The magical and philosophical literature attributed to Hermes Trismegistus received widespread currency in the Renaissance. Traditional Hermetism was erroneously considered to be of ancient Egyptian origin and thus much older than the esteemed Greek philosophers who had been influenced by Egyptian beliefs. In the fifteenth century Georgius Gemistus (Plethon) and the Platonic Academy of Florence spread the view that Hermes, a contemporary of Moses, had founded theology. The Latin Asclepius was printed in 1469, and Marsilio Ficino published his influential Latin translation of the first fourteen books of the Corpus in 1471. The Greek text of the Corpus was published by Adrianus Turnebus at Paris in 1554. -https://www.encyclopedia.com/people/philosophy-and-religion/ancient-religion-biographies/hermes-trismegistus


Pashupati





Lord of the Animals

The concept of a special type of deity or spirit that reigns over the animal kingdom is common among many Old and New World peoples. The universality of this conception suggests that formerly some form of cultural contact existed that bridged the continents. As a fundamental element in the life of the human as hunter, a lord of the animals is a familiar figure among hunting cultures, but he also occurs, in modified forms, in many agrarian and pastoral societies. In the latter instance the concept is often associated with a spiritual herdsman of wild game, a spirit analogue to human domesticators of animals. But the idea of an animal lord or spirit can be traced even further back than the development of herding—indeed, as concrete evidence shows, into the Old Stone Age.
The lord of the animals often appears as a lord of the forest, mountain, or sea—natural areas that may possibly have been inhabited by individual spiritual sovereigns that eventually blended together to form a lord of animals. For many cultures, the forest (or tree), the mountain, and the cave are the preferred residence of the animal lord, though for hunters of sea mammals and fish, the sea floor and the deep sea are conceived as his abode. Occasionally the lord is associated with the sun, the moon, a star, or a constel-lation.
The lord of the animals is often a helper of mankind. He guides the animals to the hunter or helps him discover the trail of his prey. In addition, he often provides a magical weapon or a mystical spell that assures success in finding game. Such assistance, however, often assumes that certain conditions are fulfilled or specific regulations observed: the lord of the animals punishes the malicious, those who wantonly kill more game than is needed and those who are disrespectful of the dead game, especially in handling the bones, which must be meticulously saved, for from the bones, the same type of animal will be re-created (with or without the intervention of the lord of the animals). It is most often assumed that the soul of the dead animal returns to its spiritual master, from whom it will receive another body. Frequently, the lord of the animals is held to be the creator of the game and is therefore often named "Father" or "Mother." At the very least, he gives the animals their names or other distinguishing features. In cases of misbehavior on the part of the hunter, the animal lord either retains the game (which is often believed to reside with him) or strikes the guilty hunter down with sickness, or punishes him by withdrawing his luck in the hunt. To win his favor, the lord of the animals must be called upon before the hunt with a plea to release some of the game, and afterwards must be given thanks. Frequently a small offering is also made before the expedition, some tobacco for example, while after the hunt a portion of the game might be left behind as an offering.
-https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/lord-animals


Potnia Theron

The Mistress of the Wild Animals (Potnia theron) or Queen of the Wild Bees appears under many names. Her Minoan name was Britomartis or Sweet Virgin and she was related to Dictynna. The name Potnia is known from the Linear script B tablets and was used for the principal Mycenaean female deity. The type of goddess who — in iconography — was surrounded by animals, and who appeared in archaic Greek art, was usually called Potnia theron, or sometimes Artemis.
During the fifteenth century BCE, the Mycenaeans, heavy influenced by Minoan culture, presented the Mistress of Animals in a Minoan manner and with her usual sacred symbols. However, by the Late Mycenaean period, the old type of deity flanked by animals was forgotten. On wall paintings the goddess is sometimes accompanied by a griffin, but generally new iconographical religious themes and types were applied.
 
The Mistress of Animals, a counterpart of the Master of Animals, is usually described as a hunting deity, but some authors associate her not only with wild animals, snakes, and birds, but further with a sacred tree and pillar, with poppy and some lily, and eventually she looked like a Mistress of Trees and Mountains. M.P. Nilsson believed that she was an earlier form of the Minoan Mother of Mountains. The Mycenaeans adopted the iconographical type of the Mistress of Animals and applied it the goddess of nature, who was represented with vegetation — mainly palms and papyrus flowers. The archaic Greeks, following the tradition, used the old iconographical scheme with their own aesthetic program, but over time the name of Potnia theron and her attributes and functions were integrated into Artemis. -https://pantheon.org/articles/m/mistress_of_wild_animals.html


Pythia 

The imposing archaeological site of Delphi sits over 1800 feet up on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus, about 6 miles inland from the Corinthian Gulf, central Greece. The ancient temple complex of Delphi, which dates back at least 2700 years, was known throughout ancient Greece and beyond as the home of the celebrated oracle of Apollo, the Greek god of prophecy, music, healing, and light.

Temple of Apollo, Delphi
Temple of Apollo, Delphi
by Mark Cartwright (CC BY-NC-SA)

One aspect of the ancient Oracle at Delphi which has fascinated scholars, scientists and laymen alike, is the nature and cause of the trance state attained by the sanctuary’s priestess (or Pythia). Could it have been caused by the laurel leaves which the priestess is supposed to have chewed? The waters of the nearby Castalian Spring? Or the vapours rising up from an underground cavern?

It is widely known that laurel leaves are not hallucinogenic, and until recently it was thought that the Pythia’s supposed frenzied state could not have been induced by toxic gases rising from cracks in the ground because excavations had found no traces of such fissures.

However, in 2001 CE an interdisciplinary research team of scientists, led by geologist  Jelle Z. de Boer of Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Connecticut, discovered evidence of the presence of ethylene, a potential hallucinogen, in the ancient temple’s local geology and nearby springs. Thus the team have argued that ethylene intoxication was probably the cause of the Pythia’s divinatory trances. Whilst this new research presents fascinating possibilities for the origin of the Pythia’s trance state it also leaves a few questions unanswered. -https://www.ancient.eu/article/205/the-pythia---priestess-of-ancient-delphi/


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