Re: Getting Geb's Goat
In Response To: Re: Getting Geb's Goat ()

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"It is, however, the Egyptian language itself which appears to provide conclusive evidence of the Eye's cometary nature. Thus we find that Uauti, one of several Egyptian words for "comet", was also an epithet of Hathor.(61) The same root -- "uat" -- also signifies the Eye.(62) But the most important revelation with respect to our hypothesis is that Sba uati -- written with the ideograms for star and hair-was also a name of Venus as the Morning Star! (63)
Returning to Mesoamerica, we are confronted with the fact that there, too, the planet Venus was known as the Eye. A Mayan name for Venus was Nohoch ich -- "great eye".(64) It is doubly intriguing to note that, in the Mayan codices, the same planet was frequently associated with the "death eye", a prominent Mayan symbol of death.(65) Likewise, in the Sumerian hymn entitled "The Descent of Inanna", the goddess seals the doom of Dumuzi by binding on him the "Eye of Death".
Mesoamericans also distinguished Venus as the "bearded planet", a striking parallel to the bearded Ishtar of Babylonian astronomical texts. The Mayans, for example, described Venus as being "very ugly with a heavy beard".(66) The Aztecs preserved a similar tradition. Of Ehecatl, a prominent god identified with Venus, it was said that "his beard was exceedingly long".(67)
In the face of such testimony, it is almost impossible to avoid the conclusion that something objective about the appearance of Venus was being described by the ancient skywatchers of Mesoamerica and Babylon. Given the acknowledged astronomical proficiency of those two cultures, this conclusion becomes all the more unavoidable.

Comets have been compared to bearded stars since time immemorial. Thus, traditions of a Venus with a long-flowing beard come to form a crucial link in the authors' hypothesis. Mesoamerican scholars, on the other hand, will be quick to point out that the Mayan hieroglyph of the Sun -- the Kin sign -- also features a long-flowing beard. Have we then been wrong all along concerning the cometary nature of the beard?
Of this Kin sign, Thompson has observed: "This Kin element has as post-fix a streamlike arrangement, which it has been suggested is the beard of the sun god and which is sometimes called a tail."(68) Now no matter what one interprets the Kin sign as having originally represented -- Thompson suggests a four petaled flower -- the fact remains that such a beard/tail does not adorn the present Sun. As Thompson intimates, however, such a beard was traditionally associated with the old sun god, in the New World as well as the Old.
The bearded sun god is a prominent deity of the ancient Americas. Witness the Mexican Quetzalcoatl and Incan Viracocha, each described as a great white father with a long-flowing beard. Frank Waters, surprised at the widespread popularity of this mythological figure among the dark-skinned natives of the New World, drew the conclusion that it was "so common throughout all of pre-Columbian America that we can regard it as arising from a concept in the unconscious ".(69)
Readers of our last essay will remember that an analogous beard/tail was a characteristic feature of the Egyptian sun god. Thus Ra was celebrated as "Lord of the Beard". His celestial home, the Aten, was recalled as "the Aten of the Great Beard".(70) We also pointed out that, in the Egyptian hieroglyphic texts, this Great Beard was depicted with a spiralling form and worshipped as a great goddess. Of this goddess, a Coffin Text states: "I worship her as the Great Beard."(71)
In that same essay, however, we withheld from our readers the crucial fact which, in all likelihood, provides the key to the mysterious symbolism of the sun god's beard. This clue is to be found in the Egyptian word for "Great Beard" -- "Tua ur" -- which was also a name of the Morning Star! (72) Thus, it appears that the long-flowing beard of the old sun god was directly associated with Venus. This fact, wholly inexplicable from a traditional astronomical perspective, accords perfectly with our hypothesis that Venus once orbited the ancient sun god in comet-like fashion. It was this comet's tail which presented the appearance of a long-flowing beard and which became associated with both Venus and the sun god.

In Mesoamerica, the planet Venus is associated with a mysterious lock of hair which itself serves as a sign of the Mother Goddess. This is the Caban curl noticed earlier as the glyph decorating the body of the serpentme enclosure. We suggested that the Caban curl resembled a comet. It is therefore interesting to find that this Caban appears as a crucial component of a glyph-name of Venus (see Figure 10).
Since the general meaning of the Caban sign is "earth" -- from cab = earth -- M. Closs has proposed the reading of "Earth-star" for this glyph. Closs has pointed out that several of the ancient names for Venus also feature the root "cab": Ahzah cab, Ah Ahzahcab, and Ah Ahzahcab Ek. The sense behind these names is "herald of the dawn" or "he who awakens the land", names applicable to Venus as the Morning Star.(73)
The question is: Why should Venus be called the Earth-star or associated with a presumed glyph of the Earth? Several possibilities suggest themselves. The first surrounds the fact that great mother goddesses the world over, most of whom are identifiable as the planet Venus, were also considered Earth goddesses. The Sumerian Inanna, for example, was equated with Ki -- "the Earth" -- a fact which came as a surprise to scholars.(74)

In Mesoamerica, the Earth goddess is also explicitly identified with a celestial body (usually interpreted as the Moon).(75) A prominent form of this goddess is called, by Thompson, Goddess I. She is recognizable by the Caban curl protruding from the top of her head (see Figure 11). As we will demonstrate in our next essay, this alleged Moon goddess is almost certainly Venusian in origin.
It is also important to note that, in Mesoamerican tradition, the primeval earth of the creation was represented in the form of a giant monster. A common form of this monster was the Mayan Imix dragon. According to Thompson, the Imix "symbolizes the earth and the abundance it brings forth".(76)
Strangely enough, the Imix dragon is usually decorated with celestial symbols, including that of the planet Venus.(77) That this juxtaposition of celestial and telluric elements was not unique to the Imix dragon is emphasized by Joralemon: "It is precisely this combination of sky and earth attributes that characterizes the Dragon throughout ancient Mexican religious history."(78)
A similar state of affairs confronts the mythographer in ancient Egypt. There the serpent-dragon par excellence was Set, whose celestial aspect is well-pronounced. Thus Set is described as the "Outflow" of the old sun god and associated with the god's dwelling in the sky.(79) The name Set, however, means "earth".(80) Another incredible fact is that Thebeh, one of Set's epithets, is cognate with "thebn" which means "lock of hair".(81)
The Egyptian mother goddesses share this same symbolism. Hathor, for example, whose serpentine nature has already drawn attention, was also considered to be an "earth goddess". Another name for Hathor was Hensektet, the meaning of which is "lock of hair".(82)
In light of these revelations, the possibility must be considered that the ancients' "Earth" was something different in nature than the terrestrial landscape. Similarly, in the Sumerian hymn quoted earlier, the "radiance" of Inanna was compared to that of Urash, the Earth Mother. This in itself should have cautioned commentators against hastily identifying the ancients' "Earth". In fact, it is our opinion that the goddess and dragon both trace to a comet-like Venus which once displayed the form of a giant spiral or "lock of hair", the very form depicted by the Caban curl.
According to the hypothesis outlined in this series of essays, it was this comet which first appeared in close proximity to the old sun god, as if born of the sun god himself. After an indeterminate amount of time, the spiral-shaped form (lock of hair, beard, etc.) moved away from the immediate vicinity of the god, eventually settling in an orbit around him. It was during this latter period that the tail of the comet appeared as a giant celestial band enclosing the central sun, as depicted in the Aten sign.*
[*Cf. L. M. Greenberg, "Aten, Akhnaten, and Venus Reconsidered," Pensee IVR I (May 1972), pp. 4 1 42. - LMG]
In complete accordance with this hypothesis, we find that an alternative name for the Aten was Sesheta Circle, derived from "seshet", an early Egyptian word for "comet".(83) Thus a literal interpretation of the god's celestial dwelling would be "Circle of the Comet". "Seshet" itself, however, also means "lock of hair".(84)
Further support for this hypothesis comes from the fact that, in Egyptian hieroglyphs, the band of the Aten means "serpent-dragon", "goddess", as well as "earth".(85) One therefore finds that the Egyptian sun god resided within an enclosure that is variously described as the "coils of the dragon", the "body of the Mother Goddess", or the "bowels of the earth". That these are the very same symbols of the enclosure which present themselves in Mesoamerica strongly suggests that there was a common celestial reference for this symbolism. In short: The celestial "Earth" which has long troubled commentators appears to be nothing more than the comet like band which once enclosed the ancient sun god.
We have seen that Inanna-Venus was described as torch-like. A curious feature of Mesoamerican symbolism parallels this description. Like many of their Mesoamerican neighbors, the Mayans commonly compared the planet Venus to a dog, referring to it as the "dog running ahead of the sun".(86) Yet, in the Mayan codices, as Thompson points out, the dog is frequently depicted as "carrying a torch, perhaps a reference to the Maya tradition that the dog brought fire to mankind".(87)
Why, of all animals, it should be a dog that is linked to the origin of fire will probably also trace to Venus, especially since a different Mesoamerican belief had the planet Venus associated with the first bringing of light or fire.(88)
Venus was also represented in the form of a dog by the Aztecs. Xolotl, yet another deity identified with Venus, was typically depicted in canine form.(89) As Thompson points out, Xolotl's name traces to the root "xol", an Aztec word for "dog".(90) Thompson also alludes to the possibility that Xulab, a Kekchi name for Venus, derives from the analogous root "xul", also an early word for "dog" (or "animal").(91)
Xul also appears as the name of one of the Mayan months. In Mayan tradition, each of the months was associated with a patron god. As Thompson points out, it is probable that the month of Xul was dedicated to the canine god who led the sun to the underworld, i.e., Xolotl.(92) The latter motif is also traditionally associated in Mesoamerican thought with the planet Venus.
Xul's glyph is of some interest. It depicts a dog's head with a peculiar beard-like appendage postfixed to it, the same beard/tail, in fact, that characterizes the Kin sign.
Finally, as the dog is represented bearing a torch, so also is it pictured with the very same double-flare infix as God K.(93) Here, again, the association of the dog with the sign for smoke and/or fire makes no sense whatever from a biological standpoint. Given the possibility that the dog gave reference to a comet-like Venus, it would, however, make good sense from a mythological standpoint. The smoke infix would then form a symbolic parallel to the dog's association with the torch and beard, each alike an ancient sign of the comet: "Smoking star", "bearded star", and "torch star". (See also the mysterious spiral exuding from the dog's mouth in Figure 12.)

Fig. 12
When considering Mesoamerican myths and glyphic language, it is important to keep in mind the aura of uncertainty which still surrounds the findings of modern scholarship. Very few of the myths have been preserved in enough detail to gather more than a glimpse of their original character, and only a small percentage of the glyphs (some 10%) have been read with a degree of certainty. As an illustration of this point, consider the reading of the Venus glyph known as "ek".
Due to its frequent appearance on pages 46-50 of the Dresden Codex, which is the section identified by Forstemann as devoted to the Venus cycle, the Venus glyph became one of the earliest non-calendrical Mayan glyphs to be deciphered. Figure 13 shows the five principal variants of this glyph, of which the first four contain the prefix known to read "chac", meaning "great" or "red". Since Great Star was a common designation for Venus in several Mesoamerican languages, the reading of the glyph as Venus seemed certain. It is important to note, however, that even when the "ek" glyph appears alone, it can still mean "Venus", as evidenced by the fifth glyph in the figure.

Questions began to surface when the "ek" glyph appeared in contexts that showed no apparent relationship with the planet Venus. In an attempt to correlate the Venus glyphs in the Mayan inscriptions with significant moments of the Venus cycle, Thompson, for example, concluded: "If one takes all the Venus glyphs in the inscriptions and computes the positions of the planet, no pattern will emerge whatever correlation is used."(94)
With such problems in mind, David Kelley put forward the hypothesis that "ek" meant "star" in general as well as "Venus" in particular; and when it appeared with prefixes other than known prefixes of Venus, the reference could be to some other planet or constellation. Of Thompson's inability to find astronomical correlates for many of the supposed Venus glyphs, Kelley replied: "This seems easily understandable if glyphs which do not refer to Venus at all, but refer to other planets or constellations, have been included in the calculations."(95)
Kelley's point is well-taken; and Mayan dictionaries from the last century seem to support the idea that "ek" could mean "star" as well as "Venus".(96) Building on this hypothesis, Kelley has offered several interpretations of the various "ek" glyphs, one of which, as we have seen, raised the possibility that, together with the smoke prefix, meant "smoking star", a common Mesoamerican term for comets (see Figure 3). It is apparent however that "smoking ek" could just as easily be read "smoking Venus". That such a reading is plausible is suggested by a passage in the Codex Telleriano-Remensis, cited by Aveni, in which a comet-like picture carries the caption "the star Venus is smoking".(97) (One might make the same point in connection with the term "Kak noh ek" -- "Great Comet" -- where "kak" = "fire" and "Noh ek" being a well-known Manche Chol name for Venus.(98))
If nothing else, the Codex Telleriano-Remensis provides conclusive proof that "smoking star" was indeed a term applied to Venus. Since "smoking star" was a frequent term for comets throughout Mesoamerica, further support is provided for the thesis that the Mesoamericans represented Venus with comet-like characteristics.
It should be apparent, to those who have followed the argument thus far, that the ancient sources pose challenging problems to the archaeoastronomer. The planet Venus does not today resemble a fire breathing dragon or a smoking star. Neither does it move in such a manner with respect to the solar orb that it would be likely to give rise to such vivid images as those of an enclosure, eye, beard, or dog associated with the sun god.
Similarly, the present Sun does not appear to be encircled by a giant serpentine band; neither does it appear to possess a long-flowing beard. To these problems there is a simple solution: The bearded sun god associated with the dawn of civilization was not the present solar orb but, rather, the planet Saturn.
The hypothesis concerning Saturn's role as ruler of a former age should be familiar to the readers of this journal.(99) But we have only begun to explore the fascinating relationship between the planets Saturn and Venus. In our next essay, we will discuss the death of the old sun god, truly one of the world's great mythological motifs, and one in which the comet Venus played a ubiquitous role. Velikovsky's theory of a cometary Venus, thought impossible in 1950, appears more promising with each passing day.

"Take the anomalous beard or dragon-like form ascribed to the planet Venus. This report might easily be dismissed as imaginary or metaphorical were it not so widespread as to be universal. Ditto for literally hundreds of other motives associated with Venus, Mars and the other planets, many of which are impossible to reconcile with the current appearance and/or behavior of those planets. An archetypal motive like that of the Venus-beard or Mars' association with pestilence (see the following short summary), far from being an isolated or rare phenomenon, is actually distinguished by its pervasive influence upon ancient thought. These planets were, after all, the ancient' s gods, and as such, they were watched and described very carefully.

The Babylonian practice, in turn, is known to have had a significant influence upon the religion of the ancient Greeks. Given Plato' s identification of Aphrodite with the planet Venus, for example, one might compare the Greek traditions surrounding that goddess with Babylonian and/or Mesoamerican traditions associated with the planet Venus. Surprising correspondences crop up even under the most cursory investigation of this sort. Thus Aphrodite was represented as "bearded", as was the planet Venus in early Babylonian omen-literature. Inasmuch as Aphrodite symbolized the very epitome of beauty and womanhood for the ancient Greeks it is difficult to explain her anomalous beard apart from the attested identification with the "bearded" planet. Aphrodite' s "beard", apparently, represents a vestige of archaeoastronomical tradition and raises a host of intriguing questions, not the least of which is what other motives associated with the great Venusian goddesses have reference to the appearance and/or behavior of the Cytherean planet?
THE SERPENT-DRAGON HAS A BEARD. The Greek Typhon was bearded, and even the universal sovereign Zeus was said to have taken the form of a "bearded serpent." Numerous Egyptian serpent-powers displayed flowing beards. The Chinese dragon typically displays long whiskers and tufted beards. So also the Maya "Great Bearded dragon," the Maya serpent god Itzamna, the Aztec bearded dragon Xiuhcoatl, and the most famous Aztec serpent god, Quetzalcoatl, with his "long-flowing beard."

the interconnected comet glyphs attached to the chaos monsters range far beyond these instances. A symbolic counterpart of this streaming "hair" is the enigmatic, but frequently depicted beard of the Mesoamerican serpent- dragon. The Aztec Plumed Serpent, the Mayan Great Bearded Dragon and numerous counterparts of these celestial monsters are distinguished by flowing beards that are every bit as preposterous, on the face of it, as their streaming "manes". The reader will recall the celestial beard or bearded star in our short list of comet symbols, as a logical extension of the "long-haired star". (Thus the Greek _pogonias_, the beard-star, means "comet".) While a bearded serpent is a biological absurdity, the anomalous beard is immediately explained if the Venusian serpent is a long-haired star or comet. If the celestial beard did not mirror a comet-like form in the sky, then the bearded serpent is one more anomaly left unanswered, despite a consistent pattern that seems to cry out for recognition. To keep all of this in perspective it needs to be remembered that Quetzalcoatl--whose heart-soul became the plumed serpent--was himself the white and bearded god, with many counterparts spread across pre-Columbian America--one more anomaly to add to the equation. Thus Frank Waters, surprised at the prevalence of this unusual figure among the dark-skinned natives of the New World (typified by Quetzalcoatl and the Incan Viracocha), assures us the myth was "so common throughout all of pre-Columbian America that we can regard it as arising from a concept in the unconscious." A relationship with the planet Venus is clear, though not without wide-ranging interpretations by the specialists. According to Thompson, the Maya described Venus as being "very ugly with a heavy beard," and the Aztecs preserved a similar tradition: of Ehecatl, whom most authorities identify with Venus, it was said that "his beard was exceedingly long." Lastly, on the matter of the flowing hair, mane, or beard of the celestial serpent or dragon, I should like to register an opinion on one additional oddity--that of the Mesoamerican feline dragon. Here, too, we are dealing with an image begging for a comparative study, since the "outlandish" merging of cat, lion, jaguar, tiger, or lynx with a celestial serpent seems to have occurred in all major cultures. Since noticing the oddity in Mesoamerica, I have noted as well the general disinterest of the specialists in accounting for such an incongruous monster. A cat and a serpent? Here, nature itself provides not a clue as to how anyone (much less skywatchers around the world) could think of the one when confronted with the other. But an analysis of this mythic creature can be advanced dramatically by the Velikovskian methodology. What one looks for is an underlying shared attribute (not of the terrestrial symbols, which offer no shared attribute, but of the celestial reference inspiring the symbols), and in this instance there can be no doubt that it is the mane of the celestial feline figure and the twisting body or tail of the celestial serpent.

Here is another way of looking at the issue logically: Around the world there are only a small number of pre- astronomical hieroglyphs for the "comet." You could, in fact, count the primary glyphs on the fingers of one hand: heart-soul of a deceased god-king or great leader rising in the sky. long-haired star (star with flowing locks, mane, tresses, disheveled hair, beard, hairy tail); torch-star (ember, flame, smoke, smoking star, train of fire, spark, or train of sparks); celestial feather (winged star, soul-bird, bright feathers, feathered headdress, shining bird's tail); cosmic serpent, dragon, or similar monster. The remaining general hieroglyphs for the comet could be counted on the fingers of your second hand! They include: a sword, a bundle of grass or straw (whisk, broom), or a spiraling rope (cord, tie, or knot). At what point, then, does a "coincidence" or seemingly irrational use of language (comet-words or glyphs attached to Venus) become an anomaly worth pursuing? Forrest not only sidesteps the implications of parallel cometary images of Venus in other lands, he ignores the convergence of such images in Mexico. As a methodology, the approach is disastrous, because there is much, much more.
In rites deeply rooted in Egyptian cosmology, each new king symbolically ascended the throne of Ra, took as spouse Ra's own mistress, the mother goddess, wielded Ra's scepter, built temples and cities modeled after Ra's temple or city in the sky, adorned himself with the beard of the god, wore the crown of Ra as his own, and defeated neighboring enemies in just the way that Ra had defeated the hordes of darkness or chaos in the Tep Zepi. Identification of local king and celestial prototype was absolute. Such is the universal tradition: every king was, in a magical way, the Universal Monarch reborn. And this is why, among all ancient nations, the chroniclers of kingship took such pains to establish the unbroken line of kings: Only by proclaiming that the local king carried the blood of his predecessor, the Universal Monarch, could they certify his suitability for the prescribed function of kings. "

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