Friday, February 22, 2013

Astrolatry: The Night Sky As A Cosmic Mirror

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"Astrolatry is the worship of stars and other heavenly bodies as deities, or the association of deities with heavenly bodies. The most common instances of this are sun gods and moon gods in polytheistic systems worldwide. Also notable is the association of the planets with deities in Babylonian, and hence in Greco-Roman religion, viz. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.....The term astro-theology is used in the context of 18th to 19th century scholarship aiming at the discovery of the original religion, particularly primitive monotheism. Unlike astrolatry, which usually implies polytheism, frowned upon as idolatrous by Christian authors since Eusebius, astrotheology is any "religious system founded upon the observation of the heavens"...Astrology in the Hellenistic period grew out of Near Eastern and Egyptian practices of astrolatry. Mithraism was a Roman era mystery religion which incorporated many aspects of arcane astral lore derived from Hellenistic astrology.....Astrotheology is the study of the astronomical origins of religion; how gods, goddesses, and demons are personifications of astronomical phenomena such as lunar elipses, planetary alignments, and apparent interactions of planetary bodies with stars."....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrolatry

There is a Tibetan proverb which says: "Even if you've got eyes to see other people, you need a mirror to see yourself!....For the ancients, the night sky was a cosmic mirror."

"Babylonian astrology was the first organized system of astrology, arising in the second millennium B.C. There is speculation that astrology of some form appeared in the Sumerian period in the 3rd millennium BC, but the isolated references to ancient celestial omens dated to this period are not considered sufficient evidence to demonstrate an integrated theory of astrology. By the 16th century B.C. the extensive employment of omen-based astrology can be evidenced in the compilation of a comprehensive reference work known as Enuma Anu Enlil. Its contents consisted of 70 cunieform tablets comprising 7,000 celestial omens."....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylonian_astrology

"A solar deity (also sun god/dess) is a sky deity who represents the Sun, or an aspect of it, usually by its perceived power and strength. Solar deities and sun worship can be found throughout most of recorded history in various forms.....Mesopotamian Shamash plays an important role during the Bronze Age, and "my Sun" is eventually used as an address to royalty. Similarly, South American cultures have a tradition of Sun worship, as with the Incan Inti. Svarog is the Slavic god sun and spirit of fire....In Aztec mythology, Tonatiuh (Nahuatl: Ollin Tonatiuh, "Movement of the Sun") was the sun god......Sun worship was prevalent in ancient Egyptian religion. The earliest deities associated with the sun are all goddesses: Wadjet, Sekhmet, Hathor, Nut, Bast, Bat, and Menhit.....The Ādityas are one of the principal deities of the Vedic classical Hinduism belonging to Solar class. In the Vedas, numerous hymns are dedicated to Mitra, Varuna, Savitr etc."....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_worship

"White horses have a special significance in the mythologies of cultures around the world. They are often associated with the sun chariot, with warrior-heroes, with fertility....a white horse typically bears the hero- or god-figure in ceremonial roles or in triumph over negative forces. Herodotus reported that white horses were held as sacred animals in the Achaemenid court of Xerxes the Great (ruled 486-465 BC)....In Zoroastrianism, one of the three representations of Tishtrya, the hypostasis of the star Sirius, is that of a white stallion...White horses are also said to draw divine chariots, such as that of Aredvi Sura Anahita, who is the Avesta's divinity of the waters. Representing various forms of water, her four horses are named "wind", "rain", "clouds" and "sleet" (Yasht 5.120)....Kanthaka was a white horse that was a royal servant and favourite horse of Prince Siddhartha, who later became Gautama Buddha. Siddhartha used Kanthaka in all major events described in Buddhist texts prior to his renunciation of the world. Following the departure of Siddhartha, it was said that Kanthaka died of a broken heart."....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_horse_(mythology)

"The Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array (ALMA, Spanish for "soul") is an array of radio telescopes in the Atacama desert of northern Chile..... ALMA is expected to provide insight on star birth during the early universe and detailed imaging of local star and planet formation..... In northern Chile, it is far from big cities, with little light pollution. Its arid climate prevents radio signals from being absorbed by water droplets. The altitude, as high as the Himalaya base camps for climbers preparing to scale Mount Everest, places astronomers closer to the heavens......With ALMA, astronomers hope to see where the first galaxies were formed, and perhaps even detect solar systems with the conditions to support life, like water-bearing planets."....http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/08/world/americas/high-in-chilean-desert-a-huge-astronomy-project.html?_r=0

"Sotuknang, the Hopi Heart of the Sky God.....This Anasazi swastika symbolizing the land also mirrors the sky, specifically the constellation Orion. The oblique line forming a plumed serpent corresponds to the Little Colorado River, which flows into the Grand Canyon.... the spiral glyph signifies the gate through which Masau’u descends to his house located just north of the two great rivers’ convergence. This is the grand Sipapu, whence the people emerged onto the Fourth World where they now live. On a personal level this is also the passage way through which the spirit will descend on its afterlife journey. Equidistant between the plumed serpent and the spiral is an image we have not yet discussed. A V-shaped artifact points downward, enigmatically radiating its numinous power. If we look at a sky chart in the region of Orion, we notice that the V-shaped Hyades of the constellation Taurus lies adjacent to Orion in the same relative positioning that we find on the petroglyph. The relationship between Taurus, in particular the fiery red star Aldebaran, and Sotuknang, the Heart of the Sky God, is an enduring theme in Hopi mythology....Hence, on this one petroglyph panel at Homol’ovi we unequivocally find elements that iconographically link both the celestial and the terrestrial. On a balance between these two forces, the forces of the sky (or the Above) represented by Sho’tukünuñwa [Sotuknang], and those of the Below represented by Pa’lülükoñ [Palulukang], the Hopi universe rests. Symbolically, the two elements are brought into contact in the making of medicine water [during the Snake Ceremony in August], where the ray of sunlight flashed into the bowl signifies the Above, and the water itself, the Below.” .....http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/esp_orionzone_13.htm

"Tibetan astrologers practice both the Indian/Greek/Persian sidereal astrology, mapping the passage of the sun through constellations of stars, and Central Asian lunar astrology (best known in its Chinese version)......The great synthesis of astrology for Tibetans is based on the Kalachakra ("Cycles of Time") Tantra, an enormous and relatively late (tenth century) tantric treatise that also contains microcosmic and macrocosmic "supreme yoga" instructions for meditation, and the revelation of the kings of Shambhala, probably located in present-day northern Afghanistan, who will defeat materialists in an apocalyptic battle."....http://www.tibetanastrology.com/

"In Zoroastrian cosmology, finite space and time were preceded by unlimited time and endless light. Zoroastrian astrology of the world is measured in ages and 'millennia' - the twelve ages being defined by the position of the Sun in a particular sector of the ecliptic and the specific constellation of the zodiac occupying the sector at that particular point in time. The duration of time when the Sun 'rules' or 'resides' in one of the twelve sectors is called an 'age' and at times erroneously a 'millenium' (Greater Bundahishn chapter 36). "......http://zoroastrianastrology.blogspot.com/p/astronomy.html

"The seven Rishis .....According to the epic Mahabharata, composed in about 500 B.C., the stars of the Big Dipper were the seven sages called Rishis. These seven sages are said to be those who made the Sun rise and shine. They were happily married to seven sisters named Krttika. They originally all lived together in the northern sky.....The Saptarishi (from saptarṣi, a Sanskrit dvigu meaning "seven sages") are the seven rishis who are extolled at many places in the Vedas and Hindu literature. The Vedic Samhitas never enumerate these rishis by name, though later Vedic texts such as the Brahmanas and Upanisads do so. They are regarded in the Vedas as the patriarchs of the Vedic religion.".....http://www.windows2universe.org/mythology/rishis_bigdipper.html

"Some cosmological concepts are present in the Vedas, as are notions of the movement of heavenly bodies and the course of the year. As in other traditions, there is a close association of astronomy and religion during the early history of the science, astronomical observation being necessitated by spacial and temporal requirements of correct performance of religious ritual. Thus, the Shulba Sutras, texts dedicated to altar construction, discusses advanced mathematics and basic astronomy.[9] Jyotiṣa Vedānga as the science of observing the heavens in order to correctly perform Vedic sacrifice arises after the end of the Vedic period, during ca. the 6th to 4th centuries BC....Greek astronomical ideas began to enter India in the 4th century BCE following the conquests of Alexander the Great.By the early centuries of the Common Era, Indo-Greek influence on the Vedanga tradition is visible, with texts such as the Yavanajataka and Romaka Siddhanta. Later astronomers mention the existence of various siddhantas during this period, among them a text known as the Surya Siddhanta. But these weren't fixed texts but rather an oral tradition of knowledge, and their content is not extant. The text today known as Surya Siddhanta dates to the Gupta period and was received by Aryabhata.....The classical era of Indian astronomy begins in the late Gupta era, in the 5th to 6th centuries."

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Email....okarresearch@gmail.com

John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….February 2013

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