TABLE OF CONTENTS
The awaited return of the most obvious seasonal signal
The "brilliant" sectors of the sky
An assembly of sacred images
by stars in the night,
by nature "dramatic" figures
Why make reference to
Measuring time in "moons"
When lunar imagery is combined
with stellar imagery to compose
a "mythical cinema"
The human condition
and its development
A study of the names of the Milky Way reveals its eminent role in very ancient cultures and its probable roots in prehistory: the Nebula is considered as the spinning creative energy that gave birth to Life on Earth.
The Indian myth of "Churning the Sea of Milk", a sort of singular celestial opera, reveals an ancient and remarkable intuition on the situation of our planetary system and its creatures within the rotating nebula. The Milky Way appears to have been considered in numerous cultures as a spiral of energy radiating incarnations in earthly creatures, followed by disincarnation and return to the "stream of souls". This Concept inspires reflection on the Universe and Mankind’s place in that Universe, a recurring question in philosophical and religious currents from Plato to Cicero.
Its various names indicate that the Milky Way has suggested the following images:
- a stream surrounding the earth : The "River of the sky" (Greek: Potamos, Chinese: Tien He), a celestial sea often considered as the source (through rainfall) of the Earth’s rivers (myths of the "descent" of the Ganges or the Sarasvati),
This stream carries souls that are regenerated that have temporarily lost their earthly identity. This concept is the origin of sacrificial rites: for example, in India, un suicide in the sacred Sarasvati River, which emanates from celestial waters, restores ethereal purity to a soul
D'un flot entourant la terre : Le "Fleuve
du ciel" (grec : Potamos, chinois : Tien Hé), une mer
céleste souvent considérée comme source (par
l'intermédiaire de la pluie) des fleuves terrestres (mythes de
la "descente" du Gange ou de la Sarawati).
- a stream of milk: Greece, the "milk of Hera" (Hera, Sara, Svar : the celestial wave), India, the "Sea of Milk" vital primordial waters, source of all life, the Galaxy.
- a Cloud, Nebula, Greek: Nephele ( Ma or Na, Nè : Water + Pl nourishing fluid). The myth of Ixion is very clear on this subject: the Nebula is an appearance of Hera. Omphalos, the center from which emanates the vital wave, is found in Lydia (Asia Minor) at Delphi.
From the Nordic Niflheim come the first creatures
- a fluffy and luminous tail of the animal outlined by constellations of the brilliant sector of the sky. This tail is marked by points of fire, it is "on fire" and gives the signal for sacrificial deaths: Tail of the Fox (Palestine: myth of Samson, Rome: rite of "releasing foxes with flaming tails"), Tail of the Celestial Monkey (India: Myth of Hanuman flying in the night and using his flaming tail to set fire to the capital of the demons):
- a finely woven veil, carrier of Life: in Arabic Magjerrah, the "Marriage Veil", Greece: Hera’s veil. An image that can be related to the lunar theme of the "Weaver of the sky". Another, undoubtedly much more ancient image of weaving appears in the mythical sequences that show the Cradle of the newborn savoir-hero thrown into the current and fished out in a net (Perseus, Dionysus, Moses, etc.): the image of the Hunter or Fisherman’s Big Net where souls are caught. This net is found in the hands of Nin Ourta / Nin Girsou (Orion) on the Stele of Goudea (Lagash, Mesopotamia, towards 3000 BC, Louvre Museum) with souls that appear as little faces in the meshes. We have seen the mythical importance of this image in relation to the Gemini-Fishermen and the sacred iconography of Delphi.
This path rises towards the summit of the sky. It is the Ladder of Souls, Jacob’s Ladder. (This "ladder" coincides with the tail of Fox in Aztec glyphs)
- a "Way, a trail of brilliant lights", white pebbles or the glow of fires, the "Trail of Embers" (Arabic: Tarik al Tbn; Latin: Via staminis or Via perusta).
Image of great religious importance: the "Way of the Spirits", is a celestial path where souls purify themselves ("Camin d’Alis", "The The Road to Santiago", "Hadjiller Yuli" : Path of the Purified)
"From whence these souls came
they shall return"
Cicero, Scipio’s Dream
In this long-enduring belief souls descend by the door of incarnation-birth that opens in the sector of Gemini-Sirius at the intersection of the Milky Way with the Ecliptic. The door of return, the door of earthly disincarnation-death, opened in the sector of Scorpio-Sagittarius: a memory of the time when these constellations appeared with the arrival of Spring and Autumn.
- cortege of ascending souls, image at the origin of the preceding image: these souls "who observe us from on high" (term still used). The Milky Way, the Celestial Milk (Hera-Juno), is a Stream of Regards. This galactic current of regards has a luminous whiteness: ARG : Argos, Argus. Having become a mythical character, Argos, always associated with Hera, is reputed to be panoptès: "all eyes".
- image of the "Peacock’s Tail", the night-blue Celestial bird. The peacock’s feathers remain the symbol of the regards of souls and of the passage to the Great Beyond.
A great white serpent-dragon covered with eyes (each scale is a regard): Sakikatz, "White Serpent" for the Maya , the "Serpent of the Stars" dear to the French writer Giono. Alternately absorbing and rejecting souls, this ideographic image appears clearly in the Aztec Quetzalcoatl, in Chinese Opera and a bit less forcefully in Greece, always in connection with sacrificial rites and passage by death (see the Greek ceramic "Jason" in the Louvre Museum),
The wealth of this repertory of images shows the importance in ancient thought – if totally forgotten in the contemporary Western world – of our Galaxy, which is felt to be the cosmic power that transmits life.
- an immense Scorpion or Crayfish, whose mortal stinger (Sirius?) causes the « wounded heel » of an impressive number of remarkable mythical figures. This primitive image, which is not clearly confirmed to designate the Milky Way, takes form through the myth of Orion, Zi Pakna of the Maya (time of the Hunter-Gatherers), and the Greek myths of Orion and Heracles/ Hercules.