<< Previous When lunar imagery is combined with stellar imagery
to compose sequences of « myth cinema »
Next >>


Home page

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 Moon, feminine fertility and survival of the species:
the Image of the Coquille Saint Jacques


Our study consistently shows that rites, beliefs, myths and legends throughout the ancient world depict the Moon as a magical figure (in constant metamorphosis), sent by Heavenly powers to control the rhythms of Life. This animistic vision of the world assumes that the immense compass of existence, ranging from sea creatures to the most highly evolved forms of minerals, plants and animals, all play out their earthly existences as part of life’s orchestra, under the baton of the master director… the Moon!

Nothing prevents us from interpreting this vision of the moon’s refraction and polarization of solar light (the Moon’s leftward travel) as an intuition about the role of basic elements of matter becoming transformed into carriers of life. We have not heard the last word from the sum of "lunar knowledge" contained in the oldest manifestations of human thought.

A place of choice in this "knowledge" concerns the appearance of womanly features that transforms the virgin into a potential mother: the very survival of the human race depends on these features and their involvement in sexuality and fertilization. Women’s "menstrual periods" are part of the domain of the flow of fluids and cyclic numbers, which are preeminent parts of the Moon’s province.

Image tantrique

In times of old when everything had value as a sign, nature offered a gift from the sea, an image easy to understand: the "corrugated" pattern of the Great Scallop (Saint James shell). This beautiful shellfish develops like life itself, by expanding. It ostentatiously displays 14 ridges and 14 groves - 28 markers – making it a veritable feminine calendar, a calendar of the lunar month. This "Concha Veneris" is naturally an accessory to images of sacramental femininity, from the Indian Durga-Chandra (Durga-Moon) to the Mediterranean Aphrodite-Venus, the symbol of a "calculated" divine intervention that saves the species from extinction through the apparition of the Newborn Child.

From the Middle East to Egypt, the same ideogram was used to mark the image of the very ancient Jacob (Iaw, Io: Moon + KwP: slice, Egypt: kopesh, the lunar sickle). According to Genesis, which makes much ado about all this in its legendary history, all the tribes of Israel owe their existence to this power of growth and reproduction. Later, we see the great, limping Nocturnal Battler Christianized as Saint James the "Son of Thunder" with the three stars of Orion depicting his Staff. He remains forever faithful to the Milky Way (his Way), and attached to "cycles of fluids" and to the beautiful shell so rich in meaning.

One of the episodes of his legend has him saving a drowning knight, whose horse resurfaces covered with white scallop shells. The famous Saint James Way – that sustained one of the most important religious and social events of the Middle Ages – drew crowds of pilgrims from every part of Europe to sacred Mont Libredon (Liberum Dunum), which became the city of Santiago de Compostela. The pilgrimage popularized a multitude of images of Saint James wearing the "Concha Venera", the "Viera" that would become the insignia of the pilgrim, the tangible proof of accomplishing the mystical adventure.

<< Previous  
About us