Discussion in 'Graeco-Roman' started by salishan, Nov 19, 2011.
juantoo3 . . . have you actually read through this thread?
Yes, I have, yet again. It doesn't change what I wrote.
The difference between my POV and the rest here presented being the symbolism layered by human mythos and superstition versus the anthropological history. The Genesis story specifically, and particularly how it relates as the traditional "apple and serpent" folklore, relates to the period of mental awakening derived directly from the agricultural revolution.
Carts and horses, and all that...
Then you probably concur with my previous post -> http://www.interfaith.org/forum/257879-post8.html
I don't disagree, but I would hardly say I concur.
Lycantropy...shapeshifting...is a time honored tradition among aboriginal peoples. Applying that symbolically seems to me a bit of a stretch, but I confess to not having intimate knowledge of how to shape shift.
"Humans," including proto-humans, have been and still are omnivores, as so many related species are. We've eaten meat and vegetables and fruit for quite some time, and no doubt occasionally got drunk on fermented fruit.
The threshold to a new era that awakened the mind, was when we began to eat *grain.* Our bodies are not equipped to eat grain, we are not ruminants. Yet, we do so because of the chemical stimulus to our brains. Add in the tendency to addiction, and we not only eat grain, we want more! We want more to the point of making "bread" the staple of first world diets across much of the globe, an irony not lost on me. The deleterious effects are shown in obesity and diabetes and grain allergies (one of the most common food allergies).
Pointing to humans eating meat as something to do with Genesis...by way of Lycantropy...doesn't resonate with me. We were already meat eaters, and had been for two hundred thousand years or more, since the harnessing of fire. Chimpanzees will eat meat, although they typically do not hunt in the sense we tend to think, and the meat they tend to eat is typically along the lines of insects and other easily caught prey.
Did it ever strike you as interesting the other Great Apes still have substantial canine teeth, typical of predatory animals like lions and wolves, yet modern humans have all but lost ours even though we presume ourselves to be the ultimate hunters? If we truly were the ultimate predatory species, wouldn't it make evolutionary sense to keep substantial canine teeth?
What association with shape shifting...or lycantropy...do you see here?
What association with shape shifting or lycantropy is there with any of the so-called "Venus" and fertility figures found in same and similar places as these kinds of paintings?
And are you suggesting that the Genesis threshold had to do with eating meat, and that humans did not eat meat prior?
I assume you are talking to me? And it would be Professor Carl Jung that was suggesting this to an overwhelmingly accepting audience of his peers. I am only agreeing with him.
You are showing what I believe to be an ancient cave drawing, what has this to do with Genesis aside of the fact that early Man was indeed hunter & gatherers, and later civilized Man became agricultural which gave birth to organized religion . . . hence my post stands.
Perhaps you are not understanding the post clearly . . . it explains Genesis as going forth 'from' hunter/gatherers/carnivores to gentler, more intelligent agricultural communities and the change from vicious predator to enlightened omnivore. The moral implement of Genesis is the statement that the "indiscriminate, even cannibalistic predatory aggression, culminating in the rape and sometimes even in the devouring of the females of the original peaceful fruit-eating bon sauvage remaining in the primeval virgin forests." is wrong and in the eyes of a Christian the Original Sin.
Not understanding is always a possibility.
I am familiar with a little Jung, enough that on the whole I like his work. I am not familiar with this particular passage. Is this a symbolic reference, an archetypal reference not to be taken quite literally?
I think the first thing throwing me is the implication that humans have not been omnivorous before Genesis, something already shown definitively incorrect. Implicit in the term "Hunter-Gatherer" is that of being an opportunistic eater. If fruit is in season and handy, it's a lot easier to eat than a Mammoth. Likewise, fish have been a staple for tribes around the globe...and some researchers count fish as "meat," some don't. Far more telling are the field weeds eaten in times past as pot-herbs and medicinals, the knowledge and comprehension of which is largely lost today.
As for "Original Sin," that is better addressed by theologians. In my own feeble understanding, I believe it is more to do with the direct disobedience of G-d by Adam and Eve. There is usually in my experience the attached inference of sex, as if somehow sex is "dirty" and "sinful." If what you attribute to Dr. Jung is indeed symbolic and allegorical, then I can see the possibility of saying something similar to Genesis, although it reads backwards and is confusing due to that. Perhaps in context it makes more sense. Taken literally it is simply not in agreement with anthropological finds, at least not in the strictest sense, and certainly not in the extreme sense.
*This deserves qualification: yes, there are known examples of cannibalism, but that is not normative. In dire circumstances *any* person can conceivably become cannibalistic. Any tribe that routinely cannibalises their own faces a serious pro-creative challenge by the numbers, no?
Further, the idyllic image of "the females of the original peaceful fruit-eating bon sauvage remaining in the primeval virgin forests" is romantic but hardly accurate, as such didn't exist. Likewise, the polar extreme of red in tooth and claw is not fully accurate either, as demonstrable compassionate acts have been discovered even among Neandertals, and across a wide swath of Cro-Magnon burial sites. The brush being used to paint is quite wide, but understandable for Jung's time, as most of the anthropological finds (and resultant clarifications) came after he passed away.
And I still don't see what Lycantropy has to do with any of this.
Again romantic, but hardly realistic. We are only "gentler" in our own minds. If anything, war and the propensity to war *increased* in breadth and scope with the advent of agriculture (walled cities, advanced weaponry, development of battlefield tactics). Even in the Abrahamic context, there is a great deal of war and bloodletting following the banishment from the garden, and especially after Noahic times.
Elevating religion to an exalted political state ("organized religion" as you said earlier) provided a means of justifying wars and acts of aggression, as it does to this day. (Religion itself already existed in an informal sense well back into prehistory.)
I'm certain there was no reason "not" for early man to munch on a fruit whenever they came across a grove, but this scarce eating would never have sustained them.
Hunter/Gather man was nomadic and spent most of his waking hours hunting for a high protein meal, their diet was what we would the Paleo-Diet (high protein/low carb).
When agricultural man went into business, there became community and much more time for reflection on existence and the mysteries of the Cosmos.
As for Lycanthropy, what is your understanding of it?
I've already stated, plainly, multiple times.
How about since you brought it up, why don't you state, plainly, what it is you mean by "lycantropy?" Seems only fair. No sense in me pointing out my understanding yet again only to be told "oh see, there's the problem, you don't understand!" Enlighten me, please, what it is you mean by the term?
Also, would you be so kind as to let me know who Robert Eisler is? I thought the piece you pointed to was by Karl Jung, is Robert Eisler a pseudonym for Dr. Jung?
Man into Wolf - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Seems I hit the proverbial nail on the head.
You do realize this is patently Euro centric and fails to account for lycantropy...(once again) shape shifting...in other cultures?
Silly, silly little juantoo . . ."turning" into Werewolves DOESN'T exist This IS the scholarly understanding and mine. The manifestation of Being, such as the Were-Being is another name for the Transference of Animal presence in all of us, it was most effectively used by the Norse Berserkers who first gave the archetypal image of the powerful and blood-thirsty image to our Mind.
See...this is precisely the type of petty feeble minded belittlement that makes any scholarly discussion around here impossible.
YOU are the one who broached "werewolves," as I knew you would, as if I were some child enamored of some old Lon Chaney movie.
YOU still don't get it...I never said werewolf.
I *DID* say, multiple times...shape shifter. BIG difference. And whether you believe or not, this is a real phenomenon within many cultures besides Celtic Europe. The difference being, the Euro version is a boogie man, where other versions I am aware of are not.
But that just demonstrates to me decisively your pettiness. So be it. Clearly an intelligent discussion is impossible.
Any better than the mindless mental cud strewn about by someone that hasn't a clue about the etymology, history, or neurological aspects of what they vomit forth? I think not.
You wouldn't have to if you made the effort to clarify in the first place, which only led me to believe you were/are lack in Lycanthropic knowledge.
More utter nonsense . . . try comprehending the origin of the Word and its ancient form with its current/modern form.
You're a Sheeple, I forgive you.
You are the one trying...desperately...to connect lycantropy with the Eden story. THAT is nonsense.
I don't need, or want, your forgiveness.
There's the problem for you ... what people are discussing here is not Scripture, but their imported understandings they're over-laying on Scripture. Because serpents or eagles or trees or whatever mean things in different cultural contexts, the assumption seems to be 'the one I know about applies to all universally', rather than trying to find out what the text says.
That seems a rather arbitrary moment in time against which to read the Genesis story? There is evidence of religious worship, for example, that pre-dates the agrarian revolution, and man must have been able to reason before he turned to agriculture.
And it's implicit in the story that man could reason prior to eating the fruit. If you assume otherwise, you miss the whole point of the story.
To say that the snake stands for wisdom is to gloss over many of the meaning attributed to the serpent in the world's mythopoeia — the serpent is dual-aspected, and can stand either for good, or for evil, depending on the cultural context.
Context, as ever, is everything. To assume a 'one-definition-fits-all' is mistaken.
There is the serpent/tree relation in Scripture, in Greek mythology, in Norse mythology, in Mayan mythology ...
The Buddha sat beneath a tree, and when a storm arose, the serpent Mucalinda rose up from his place beneath the earth and enveloped the Buddha in seven coils for seven days, not to break his ecstatic state.
What is relevant however is that it is not the serpent who imparts knowledge — the serpent protects the tree at which knowledge can be found.
Mentioned above is the psychoactive element (derived from the effects of snakebite) such as the 'Vision Serpent' of the Mayans. But the use of entheogens belong to the Rites of Eros, where the self is overthrown or carried away in some other way possessed — the story of Eden happens 'in the cold light of day'.
Common to many systems, 'the tree in the midst' or the 'world tree' indicates the vertical axis, whereas the serpent then signifies movement on the horizontal plane, a serpent being the nearest thing to a 2D entity.
Thus there is a link in many cultures where the tree/serpent configuration represents communication between the spiritual and the earthly worlds or planes.
Often there are two serpents. The Sumerian deity Ningizzida, is accompanied by two gryphons Mushussu, the oldest known image of two snakes coiling around an axial rod, dating from before 2000 BCE. The coiled snakes of the caduceus of Hermes, for example, or the Rod of Asclepius, the staff of Moses ...
An interesting correlate is the Flood — Ningizzida was the ancestor of Gilgamesh, who according to the epic dived to the bottom of the waters to retrieve the plant of life. But while he rested, a serpent came and ate the plant. The snake became immortal, and Gilgamesh was destined to die.
The Hindu concept of Kundalini (Sanskrit: "coiled up" or "coiling like a snake") refers to the intellect and spiritual maturation. Joseph Campbell has suggested that the symbol of snakes coiled around a staff is an ancient representation of Kundalini physiology — the staff represents the spinal column with the snake(s) being energy channels. In the case of two coiled snakes they usually cross each other seven times, a possible reference to the seven energy centers called chakras.
In a more 'esoteric' reading from the Hermetic Tradition, the two serpents represent the dual-aspected movement around the vertical axis or Principle. This goes on to the imagery of the eagle clutching the serpent ...
In Ancient Egypt the serpent appears from the beginning to the end of their mythology. Nehebkau was the two headed serpent deity who guarded the entrance to the underworld. The primal snake goddess Wadjet was the patron and protector of the country, all other deities, and the pharaohs. Hers is the first known oracle.
The Basilisk, the "king of serpents" with the glance that kills, was hatched by a serpent.
Typhon was the enemy of the Olympian gods is described as a vast grisly monster with a hundred heads and a hundred serpents issuing from his thighs, who was conquered and cast into Tartarus by Zeus, or confined beneath volcanic regions, where he is the cause of eruptions.
Python was the earth-dragon of Delphi, she always was represented in the vase-paintings and by sculptors as a serpent. The enemy of Apollo, who slew her and remade her former home his own oracle, the most famous in Classical Greece.
Not to mention the Gorgons, who wore a belt of two intertwined serpents in the same configuration of the caduceus. Gorgon blood had magical properties: if taken from the left side of the Gorgon, it was a fatal poison; from the right side, the blood was capable of bringing the dead back to life.
And Ouroborus ... which signifies constant cyclic movement on a single plane, although that plane can be, for Plato, a kind of meta-plane containing all planes ...
Separate names with a comma.