|<< Previous||When lunar imagery
is combined with stellar imagery
to compose sequences of « myth cinema »
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The curve of the Crescent
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:
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.
This Hare of the Moon is the first feature to appear when the Moon reappears after its disappearance.
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.
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.
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 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".