Rare lightning storm over Chile’s VLT array (very large telescope) at 8,500ft Cerro Paranal, Atacama desert
Solstice, they say, should be a time of stillness. Ancient civilizations—however primitive our society views them—were aware of the sun’s influence on their lives and its ability apparently to ‘stand still’ twice each year, when it reaches its greatest distance from the celestial equator. Now, in the Enlightened Aquarian Age, we hold festival over winter to celebrate that time of change. What do we do in summer? Go on vacation? Study crop circles? Some continue to work right through this special time, not realizing our connection to its ancient traditions, rooted in the earth.
Some cultures continue to make offerings, like the Ayamara in Peru. English do Maypole dance, Cornish have their Green Man bonfires, Nevada its Burning Man Festival, August 26-September 2nd this year, and California its music. So perhaps the consciousness behind celebrating in the fields is not totally lost to urbanites, if we can drink in the stillness offered by nature and make an effort to incorporate calm communion with the Earth in our everyday lives.
Classical civilization certainly knew how to do that—and party. And if they didn’t have gods of their own to offer obeisance and reverence to, they imported others. Saturnalia was known throughout the Roman world as the epitome of winter revelry, debauchery, excess, as the only time the old rigid god Saturn let down his hair. Equally, in summertime, they pulled out all the stops, liberally borrowing gods and goddesses from other cultures as themes suited.
Cybele adopted as Mother-protectrix of Rome’s ‘city and fields’ wore the Phrygian helmet-crown of warrior goddess
Cybele, right, the original pre-classical (Bronze Age, c.8thC BC) Indo-European Earth Mother warrior goddess from Phrygia-Anatolia, Turkey—symbol of fertility, earth’s swelling summer cornucopia of growth and abundance—was converted for her ‘psychic powers’ to take a place in the Greek and Roman pantheon. The Sybil who issued prophetic knowledge, like the Delphic Oracle, was her Roman adaptation. She was guardian of Rome. Her Egyptian equivalent was revered as Earth Mother figure Hathor
; but the later Greeks, succumbing to male-dominant cultural needs, altered her concept of ‘love’ to one embodied by Aphrodite—losing the earth connection.
The Earth Mother of prehistoric cultures—whose neolithic carved dolls date to pre-Ice Age Europe—survives in vestigial worship of Inca Pachamama in Bolivia, but had turned volte-face in the Aegean by the time of the Trojan wars, when male physical prowess and warlike behavior on all fronts were supreme in Greek eyes. It is curious to note that hero of the Trojan wars, Paris, embodying male physical beauty, pure in mind, focused in war and manly pursuits like discus and javelin dexterity, was an imported ‘alien'(suppressed culture) superhero who wore the prehistoric Phrygian helmet (like Cybele), denoting his more ancient origins. The Roman army dedicated its legions’ souls to the care of Mithras—another import from Phrygia, complete with godly war-helmet.
Where the primeval mother-warrior had battled time and the elements for the good of the Earth, bringing fruits in season, male culture—in taking over the role of earth-caretaker—may have gone a little overboard on the warrior front.
Delphic Oracle—Eta Delphinids, Cetacean Commiunications
The locked grid for Solstice June 21st 2013 9pm EST, progressed chart, courtesy Astrotheme
In astrological circles this solstitial time is seen as one of huge change—in context of life, personal vision, and clearing away old debris, solstitial chart by Astrotheme, left.
Astronomically, NASA/NOAA’s solstitial prediction for ‘few’ aurorae over the midsummer period, includes a mention by the space agency of meteor showers, Eta Delphinids, M-class solar flares ongoing, with resulting storms hitting earth through June and July. Earth’s magnetosphere activity is listed as ‘unsettled’ during this period, see changes sidebar right. We are, after all, midway through solar maximum, 2013.
Somewhere between the two star camps there appears in the northern sky one of our least-known yet most massive constellations, only visible in summer: Ophiuchus. Both astro sides agree: this giant (dim) group of stars stretching from the head of Scorpio across Libra and Virgo, to touch the (upside-down) head of Hercules at zenith, brings into the summer sky images—and concepts from the ancient mind—most appropriate to this silly season. Because of the cosmic quirk of precession of the equinoxes—earth’s ‘wobble’ on its axis bringing it successively through each of the zodiac signs, backwards—we in the Aquarian Age in Earth’s subtropical, tropical and temperate zones are seeing—many for the first time—two gigantic constellations which were familiar to the Ancients, who anthropomorphized them as expressions of their own conflicting ideals.
backwards thru Zodiac~~ Aquarius: water-bearer, far-sighted visionary, troubled by burdens—symbol of the Age
Capricorn: seagoat, god of cardinal order, old (outworn? Saturnian) mechanisms, consistently appears at midsummer full moon to put cat among pigeons…
Sagittarius: archer, ruled by Jupiter: Jovian happy-spirited lover of nature, trying to hold balance between the above and…
Scorpio: scorpion, fixed water=ice symbolic of birth, death and rebirth, transfiguration; overcoming impediments, its sting-in-tail never allows others to relax
enter~~ Ophiuchus, serpent bearer holding both ends of constellation Serpens in his hands: Serpens Cauda, tail in his right; Serpens Caput, head in his left.
Constellation Ophiuchus, Flamsteed Celestial Atlas, 1776
: Ὀφιοῦχος “Serpent-bearer”, serpent-wielding handler of snakes, transitioned from his ancient image of enlightened Man wrestling-with-conscience through medieval image of unbridled male sexual power, to Georgian image of protective fatherly person-of-age and wisdom and healing, to Victorian preoccupation with—mostly male—medical profession—caduceus
, or *thyrsus
a symbol of healing derived from a rod (bamboo, fennel, or the male member) wrapped in a vine, ivy or flower garlands.
Unusually, both ‘scientific’ and ‘psychic’ astros agree, constellation Ophiuchus will dominate the July 2013 sky, rising higher than it has in the last two thousand years. Some extreme astrologers have suggested rearranging the traditional/tropical zodiac, to make room for another constellation (because his feet actually stand on the ecliptic, between Scorpio and Sagittarius). Current western astrology, however, is a convention developed from zodiac signs visible in Roman/Greek skies, using attributes associated with cultural gods/seasons/beliefs of that time, and these which would lose meaning if arbitrarily rearranged.
As Ophiuchus makes its first appearance since the “EndTimes of 2012″—brighter and more dominant than at any time in human memory—there may be another message for us in its new guise.
“Sumer is icumen in, Lhude sing cuccu!
Greco-Roman god Priapus, rescued fresco from Pompeii c.AD79, Archaeological Museum of Naples
PRIAPOS was the rustic god of the Ancient world, responsible through his unbridled fertility for the bounty of the vegetable garden. Later stylized as a dwarfish entity with a huge penis, which symbolized garden fertility, originally his head was crowned with a peaked Phrygian cap, belying his origin as a god, native to the Hellespont, ancient Phrygia. His cult was introduced into Greece and Italy, where his mythology was reinterpreted in Greek terms. Greeks naturally named him a son of one of their phallic gods: either Hermes/Mercury or, more often Dionysos. His mother was Aphrodite. They were accompanied by satyrs Orthanes and Tykhon.
Priapos/Priapus was honored by Greeks, Romans, Mysians, Hittites, Egyptians (their Apis, bull of fertility) as protector of sheep, goats, bees, the vine and of all garden produce. In formative cultures, the phallus was the ancient emblem of creation. It represented gods Bacchus, Priapus, Hermaphroditus, Hercules, Shiva, Osiris, Baal and Asher, who were all Phallic deities. Roman Priapus, a stylized symbol of Rome’s mastery of the then world, had odes written to him and poems pinned on patio phalluses in gardens of aristocratic ladies who wished to keep their arboreal spirits potent.
The most famous extant depiction of Priapus is the Pompeiian fresco, above. He is crowned with peaked Phrygian cap, shown weighing his enormous member on a set of scales against the produce of the fields. He wears Phrygian war-boots, and has a Bacchic, cone-tipped thyrsus* resting by his side.
Photo of Pompeiian fresco, courtesy Andargor
Burning Man annual late summer festival in Black Rock Nevada desert
In festive summer frolics, Priapus was depicted accompanied by garden nymphs, dyads and maenads, each waving a flower-wreathed *thyrsus
—a wand made from fennel or bamboo, with a pierced pine-cone at its tip, which nymphs used as mini-phalluses to poke at the unitiated or to ward off satyrs and unwanted suitors.
In Celtic mythology he is the god of spring, Greenman, vestigial Druid prince-king-god who invoked fertility for his land through dance in sacred groves where tree and nature-spirits dwell.
Primitive statues of the god were traditionally set up in vegetable plots to promote fertility, with the added benefit of functioning as a type of scarecrow for scaring away birds. But when garden gnomes became a late 19thC fashion, their priapic member was eliminated in the mass-produced version, as Victorian sensibilities dictated that such garden gnomes NOT display their ‘private parts’, in case ladies in passing carriages should succumb to the ‘vapors’ and require medical assistance.
Priapic Preoccupation in Crop Circles
Victorian humor aside, Priapos was genuinely revered as patron of the garden, guardian of growth for all crops, and it is a relief to see this multi-faceted countryside god showing his (at least symbolic) head above ground—as a sign of bounty to come?—in the first two-phase crop circle appearance at Stanton St Bernard, Wiltshire, June 21st.
Solstitial crop circles have traditionally sent some of the clearest messages as the theme of a season; it is tempting to believe that the paucity of designs in Wiltshire—twelve during June; British total for season—is one of those. Meanwhile, crop circle anticipation remains high: manfully upheld by the Italian contingent, as the fields of Rome, Tuscany and northern Italy have had a relatively ‘normal’ growing season—that in itself may suggest we show a little deference to our classical heritage.
Stanton St Bernard dual-phase phallic crop circle points to ancestral Milk Hill, photo courtesy Paul Jacobs
So it is riveting to see that the season’s first ‘complex’ symbol should appear right on schedule—over solstice—in the Wiltshire ‘hub
‘, in the same fields which created all the uproar last year, see Siderealview
*Seen as a thyrsus, (typically, English has no translation for a wand wreathed in flowers sporting a bristle like a dildo), its pinecone-like business end pointed straight at Milk Hill—representative of ancient Earth Mother-milk-and-honey-bounty—the first meaningful crop circle of the season may once more be pulling at us with multiple strands. Targeting the Mother hill (the highest in Wiltshire) goes partway to awakening dormant English respect for ancient ways. By incorporating the dildo-pinecone in a sword- (or thyrsus-like) javelin cut straight through the barley and aimed at Milk Hill’s symbol of male strength—the horse riding the Mother—this crop design rekindles memories of pineal gland/third eye crop formations of summer 2011.
Messages then were that we/’Society’ release our male left-brain stranglehold on our fragile 21stC world, allow the female intuitive right-brain heart-centered side to come out of dormancy and express more freely. And that the pleasure zone: endorphins, melatonin and the pineal gland, function together as a means to synthesize and synchronize this new awareness in us humans by connecting our mind-body-spirit back to our terrestrial home.
Now, in post-Omega-Point reflection through a slow growing season, we are reminded to temper our left hemisphere destruction of habitat, and instead to devote time to more reverent and respectful treatment of our earthly environment.
To add to this summer madness, Ophiuchus rises to full stature in the northern July night, unseen until now in such grandeur by 21stC eyes. He stands diametrically opposite Orion, filling the southern arc of the night sky, his feet astride the ecliptic, between Sagittarius and Scorpio, his head grazed by the upside-down head of Hercules at zenith. Grasping with both hands he wields the Serpent: Serpens Caput in his left; Serpens Cauda in his right, the dual twisting constellation locked between his outstretched legs, as if caught in flagrante delicto, not a god, but a man wrestling his (inner and) outer demons.
Summer’s greatest blessing is that we northerners can relax, feel warm, surrounded by earth’s cornucopia of beauty, vegetative growth at its height—lulled into enjoying the brief season without thought to winter, responsibility, cold… the grasshopper and ant scenario. Or, with American Independence Day July 4th just around the corner, could consciousness of the ‘Silly Season’ already be taking hold? Celebrate now for tomorrow we die?
Te morituri salutamus!
We know our Earthmother’s answer.