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The awaited return of the most obvious seasonal signal
The "brilliant" sectors of the sky
An assembly of sacred images

Figures portrayed
by stars in the night,
by nature "dramatic" figures

Why make reference to
seasonal stars.
Measuring time in "moons"

When lunar imagery is combined
with stellar imagery to compose a "mythical cinema"

The human condition
and its development
in the collective memory


French version


The curve of the Crescent

Masque vénitien

First we see a fine sliver of the crescent "like the eyelash of a young girl" (Arabic poetry), which gradually fills out, bringing to mind the images of sacred art of ideograms that predated writing: as always, these images are inspired initially by nature, then are subject to human inventions. 

The most evident portray:
An ivory-colored fang, canine tooth, tusk, (Greece: the Graeae, India: myth of Ganesh, after his decapitation, the elephant-headed god who engenders all prosperity. The triangle of Hyades, interpreted as an elephant, meets the Moon, who "laughingly" (reference to the celebration) gives him his handsome ivory tusk;

a horn, an image of considerable ideographic and ritual importance: a human face with two horns can symbolise the religious lunar month and the festivities that this month announces, (the 50 "cows" that Hermes stole from Apollo; the cycle of 50 moons). Oral tradition is a convenient source of speculation on the origins of these ideograms: from Greece to Egypt, "Iô" (Egypt, Ioh = Moon) is both the human princess elected by the thunderous celestial power, the errant heifer and mother of the Ox Api, the sacred animal of elaborate celebrations.

A head-dress of two horns makes its wearer a divine messenger, like the lunar power (image of MwS, Moses, and all horned helmets).

When the lunar horn "fills up", it presents the same set of symbolic meanings as the full moon. It is the rhyton, a ritual vessel in the shape of drinking horn, dispenser of the wave of vital energy, the sacred liquid and it is the "cornucopia" with unforgettably celestial origins.

A curved cutting blade, initially made of flint or obsidian, then of metal, always "brilliant" and "stainless", because always renewed. This would be the instrument of lunar decapitation (Greece: the harpè, Swar-P, Serpe (bush hook), Saber, one of the weapons that Hermes gave to Perseus so he could decapitate the two-fanged Gorgon, Egypt: the Kopesh, KwP) in the hands of the "Handsome Tem", child of Ptah).

An Arc, reminder of the time of the hunters: the image nearly definitively imposed itself as the obligatory accessory in Mediterranean representations of lunar powers: Artemis-Diane, in India: Rama-Chandra (Moon), etc. It should be mentioned that the church of Volvic in central France has a statue of the Virgin Mary with an "arc" rather than with the customary moon. Image that inspires a series of legendary events: it is an object that can be drawn tight. This "silver" arc has arrows that pass through the twelve rings of the year without missing one? Diane, the Huntress, of course (Myth of Artemis aiming at Orion on the advice of Apollo), or the nocturnal power that reveals itself in storms: in India Indra, in China the Grand Yi, in the Mediterranean, Odusseus/Volsie/Ulixes, Ulysses.

The shuttle of the loom (Greek: kerkis, Krk: lunar cycle and curve), in the hands of the heavenly Weaver, who weaves the course of Time and accomplishes his great task of weaving the celestial veil of the Milky Way (panelos, from which Pénel-Ope is derived). The great Herakles made sure to use this shuttle at the feet of Omphale (cosmic feminine and matrix-engendering entity who covers herself with the Net of the Nebula, and who is honored at Delphi). The image of this pointy-ended shuttle appears in a large number of folk tales throughout the Northern Hemisphere. When it inspires a sacrificial rite, it can become a deadly dagger, as in the Boeotian celebration of the sacrifice of "Orion’s weaver daughters", a spectacle that had been transformed into attractive folklore festivities by the time of Ovid.

A singular if forgotten image: The Hare and the Moon

People saw all sorts of forms and figures on the surface of the Moon, in particular those related to or attracted by liquids, egg clusters of frogs and toads and the image of a Toad (Batrax). The most significant figure, found in both China and on Greek ceramics, is the lunar feature that is commonly considered the eye on the right hand side of the lunar face: it can be interpreted as a running animal, legs stretched out.

This Hare of the Moon is the first feature to appear when the Moon reappears after its disappearance.
Its initial position gives it both ideographic importance (sign of the number "1", the beginning of the month) and mythical importance. The Egyptian city consecrated to the science of numbers and speculations on the origins of the Universe derives its name from this feature: Unut (WN), "City of the Hare" (the nome of Hermopolite). This center of studies placed under the sign of the god Thoth (power of lunar resurrection, image of the fine crescent-shaped beak) became for the Greeks the city of Hermes "Trismegistus", dear to those with esoteric interests. It takes no far stretch of the imagination to see this WN, Unut, as a parent of the number "One" (En, Ein, Enos, Unos, Un) in its most ancient form.

It is also possible that this hare, which signals the new month appearing, appears in the petroglyphs in the Lascaux-era Gabillou Cave in the Dordogne region of France. It would be the form on the right, emerging from a hatched area that could represent the part of the Moon still in obscurity. Besides lunar calendars, the image is linked to ceremonies initiated when Orion rises, and is indicated on our sky charts under the bust of Orion.

The Moon as the "leftward" star

Turning in the same direction as the Earth, but at different speed, the Moon advances to a different point in the Zodiac each night, completing its course in its monthly cycle. If you see it one night on the head of Taurus, the next night it will be over the shoulders of Orion. It crosses the brilliant Sector of Taurus-Gemini in four nights, encountering the figures of the Zodiac.
This progress is the opposite of appears to be happening, because each night it seems to be carried along like the stars and planets in the same east-to-west rotation, Orient to Occident.

Subject of reflection and element in the construction of myths: the theme of the wandering search of the lunar Power, spectacularly illustrated nearly everywhere (Egypt: Isis looking for the body of Osiris, etc).
The very name of the lunar Power brings to mind this movement towards the observer’s left: the name of Cadmos, the Phoenician, is built on KTM, which is the movement towards the "Orient" (cf the cup of "Cadmos and the Serpent" in the Louvre Museum).

Sin, the Mesopotamian, honored in the Sinai and one of the most ancient "moon gods", transmitted his leftward leanings (senestre) to the Mediterranean through the Latin language (by the Etruscans). This movement can be felt to be "sinister" because it evokes the voyage of the souls through death.

The Dance "looking backwards"

The symbolic image of the ceremonial moment of the "Moon of Orion" has to respect the opposing movement of its two constituent elements: the Moon-Face looks in the direction it is going, the east, while Orion, the body that supports the face moves towards the west. This explains the origin of the silhouette of the head looking backwards, which is a recurring feature of sacred art.

This very particular way of advancing with the body going right and the head looking to the left, copies the lunar power as it conducts souls to the Great Beyond. This pattern is found in myths and legends relating to the voyage through death, illustrated in Egypt by the image of Se-Orion, which was consistently used to decorate coffins; in Thrace and throughout the Mediterranean it exists through the enduringly famous image of "Orpheus in Hell".

Le voyage des âmes

The human rite copies this image during the trance-dances of autumn, the season of the Passage of Souls: this is the typical choreography of Dionysus and his Maenads (the daughters of Men: the Moon) on Greek ceramics.


Dionysos dansant


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