Our many MothersAge of Rituals
Shortly the idols were abstractions ofsteps in motherhood. When they began to cultivate land they used the same symbolism in nursing the plants. We need a sense for poetry to understand the ancient messages
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They may call me feminist since I have written very much about the female aspects in symbolism. Some are so macho that they cannot stand the scientific truth that in mankind is half of it female. Another fact is that if it should be true science we should tell what we see in the symbolism. Maybe we live in a too technical world to see that our food is made out of fertility in nature.
It is also a fact that we should talk about a Ritual Age from the creation of the Animal Round and ritual astronomy began ca 4200 BC and to about 2000 BC when the male league began to develop. History is a slow process and it is depending on the size of population and many more aspects.
Different cultures emanate in the pace of their own and interact with other cultures. We have still today nearly Stone Age cultures parallel with the most developed technical cultures. The fact is also that the natural culture is more stable than urban and technical cultures … and it is also more ecological of course.
I am not so sure that we can generalise the female aspect to only one Big Mother. On the night sky we have from the beginning at least 6 female idols and at the same time there were several on earth. Scientists of our time has given Christian bias to science of ideas and myth and are seeking for the great mother while the truth is there were many female idols. That is even if some local cultures put one idol in front as for instance Inanna in the town of Uruk. The latest people with ancient idols in Scandinavia were the Sames with one oldie and the three idols of birth-giving, i.e. midwives.
The first stage in civilisation was "Follow the leader" and it was a She, since they animated the natural culture with motherhood. That is why I begin my series of essays in history with "Our Many Mothers" … and it is also out of the same line as the early Sumerian texts, where "She who do not know the words gave the things name"
Our ancestors were more interested in the mother aspect than we are in our time. Motherhood and nursing is much in focus also when it comes to cultivating nature. In their poetry they humanised nature to understand it better.
In these chapters we look at ritual suites. Here we go in detail into the overall idea of suites. That is about how humankind learned to walk and work in a suite. That is as a member of an organised team. Of course we may only guess but before the human settled in larger settlements we have to speak about anarchy as the social behaviour of humankind.
The Sumerians talk about amargi that we may spell "to swim freely" or to be out of social order. In private families' life is almost a happening only ruled by outer request? We see it around us and it was surely the same in the past. That is because the love and affection between the family members. In a group dynamic way we may say the equality is natural and no one is king, as it seems.
When we grow up, we are during the first six years living in another world. The world is near our ancestors' outlook since they included all happenings and everything in their time and space concept. That is why I often use the word spacetime when writing about our ancestors.
The world of mysterious small people in their world of fairy beings that I name the Otherworld. The world is also used for the Celtic past world and the world of imagination Try to look at the normal world from a point half a metre above ground and you see a very big world. Ordinary people are the real giants you sometimes hear about in fairy tales too. However if you touch them, you know they are real.
Next step is also another world, that between seven and fourteen. It is almost a secret world where generation after generation of boys have their own language. They live in their own world of gags, jokes, stories then they pass these over whole the time to new coming youngsters. Adults believe they foster their children. In fact children take much of it from their own world. Equality is overall the request on all members. The secret tribe should be equal in all.
It is the same in the tribe of young girls. I remember that the girls picked a girl with a needle to see if she were alive. Her mother clothed her like an expensive doll in school and with the demand that she should always stay clean. So she was afraid every minute and would not dare to play and be within the team. It was the same among boys no one should try to be better than the others are. The rule was one for all and all for one. Yet sometimes some could not stay within the law.
I remember one boy who was beaten every Friday by his father and never got help or money to stay at our level. For a while we harassed him until we learned more about his life at home. The feeling about a team is never stronger than in those young days. In a way youngsters are a parallel world to the adults. We may say they are playing adults just to feel how it feels being in the different roles of adults. However, nothing is for real.
Then follows the period in which one has to be an individual and the differences between boys and girls become clearer. Other men are often a rival or a competitor and man has to show he is a man. He may be within his fellowship of course, however when he has to solve his own problems he perhaps goes into the woods. Girls on the other hand mainly solve their problems by talking with other girls.
The struggle between boy and girl is often that she wants to talk and talk until she is ready. But the boy wants to go straight on or have a tour in the woods if it goes wrong. All people demand for equality and want to be free with choices. It is for women natural to work together because it is their habit. Men have the urus, i.e. original animal within and want to be the best especially in front of women. It is a big step to get many people into working together for the best of community. We saw in the myth of Inanna that man has to be lured to work.
When one start thinking about it, time is a very abstract matter. That may explain the non-figurative stones from the first millennium of New Age. They did not catch what time is about. Non figurative art is often a sign of an age of confusion.
The Lady with the moon horn from the cave of Laussel in the colonial power France. She has a sister, the sleeping naked in the cave of Madeleine.
They are the real mothers of Europe. . The moon horn of plenty is also found at a golden horn. It is the moon man on the Gallehus horn Southern Jutland. Same motives are found on Rûgen on a stone in a church wall. However they are much younger and from a time when the old man wanted to be in charge.
Many people of our days think that time is a mystery. They cannot or do not want to se it only as virtual measurement. The target is flow of the units in Universe. Up to our methods we measure time as fragments of the rotation of the Earth. Nothing mysterious about that. But the abstract and invisible phenomena are difficult to sense and understand. We cannot expect that our ancestors wrote in plain English on a stone " we were making system of time". We may only let the symbols and configurations talk.
Together with other facts from other parts of civilisation we see that man was obviously inventing measurement of time as a part of the agricultural civilisation. This was developed further in the stony civilisations of the early cities and temples. The institutions had to keep memory of the achievements of man. With that follows of course the development of written languages as a memory. Then they continued the deadlocked rituals in the same way year after year without anarchy.
But let us take some steps back and look at the early mythic symbols in use until the new age. They are still used as symbol of the main things in mans world. We have to stay near the family and see that the mother and her diddies are the targets for small children as well as for men although in different ways. In the academic tongue we would say she is a symbol of fertility, while normal people understand symbols like motherhood. It has different aspects such as be the lover, be pregnant, give birth, be wet-nursing, be wife and mistress of the house. Then they use the same vocabulary on nature.
I call her the Old Lady Baby this carving from a stone in a passage grave near Carnac.
She has wrinkles between the eyes like a wondering baby and the eyes are alert like an old lady. The mouth could be both of them and the artist wants to make us think. They have transferred much of this knowledge from generation to generation of children as the first knowledge of how the world works. The analogy to other animals is easy but using the myths also on vegetation is not too difficult.
To our day's knowledge were tongue-born in simple myths too childish for modern people. Although modern people would not live even a month in the nature or in our ancestors' conditions. Still, a single comet could whip our modern technology out. Piety is not a prestige word anymore. Yet, let us have a look at our mothers.
The good mother
When she tried to foresee the flow of future, they named it Valaspa and when she foresaw the dangers they named it Voluspa. They then called her Valan with the good words and Vaulvan when her words were evil. She was now the popular woman, then the misery hag. People often shoot the messenger when the message is bad.
That is why we have the gods at them you may haul as much as you like. She used to say: "The child gives our word ... when we learn to speak we go back to our ur-roots." No-power was the mother of invention. Long time ago she invented the digging stick with a weight ... a real digger. It becomes easier to dig for roots or other eatable things. Since then she has figured out many more tricks to get food on the table.
Her sister Ha-exa seems to have a stomach of steel, because she was the one who tried out how they should treat poison. She tried and tried again and now we now many more eatable things than before if we handle with care. The third sister Not-how-say gave names to all things. The little child pointed at the thing and said "de". Then Not-how-say imagined a suitable word. Since when the things and matters have a name "My world is the words with which I may picture it." ... otherwise it is only what we see, hear, smell, feel but cannot tell it to others or ask how they feel.
An amulet used at childbirth by tjukter. Finds also in Finland and France of figurines of the small Kim, Germ and many other names given to the miracle.
Our cousins called the nameless thing "Thi thing". Then they play with it, turn it around, turn up and down and try to figure out what it can be used for and how it works. They give it a name and then it is not in the world of unknown, but in the world of man. The old man, we call him The- first- to- give use to say "everything is man". But then Not-how-say replies "You do not know what the Mights can, You". Yet he is the best to decide what should be "me" that is what we must have with us in the boat to future.
How is it; shall one see forward when we flow on the Time River ... or should one look back? No-power knows how to give out power and then wait for the "in-give" as she says. She says if you dig a whole it would be filled, so if you sow you will be given harvest. Not-how-say thought that if one thinks, "nothing is" then the word will come and make the word of things. Then the things become another real world and the world of words becomes Otherworld much alike the real world.
Although very few really understood but somehow it worked. It is difficult to know "how all things began?" How find the words to describe the step from mans world to that of the gods and ideas. They decided that all life began in the ocean. Then the beginning of all things was the ur-hill when she in the ocean raised her head above the surface. Her name was Nammu that means "take power and give out" Her first born son is unfortunately the sleeping one and the first to give named Oannes. Her grandson Enki was the first to step on Earth and he becomes Ensi that means "the first" or the leader.
"She who gives birth" flank by two leopards Catal Hüyük ca 7000 BC the oldest known city and trade centre.
The gods learned fast that saying the word is easy, but how to get work done? When the first word was created, the quest was how to get food or get "those with power" to search for food. The male gods blamed the female gods and they nag back that now the words must get food on the table. The females went to Ensi but he was asleep and they turned to Nammu who sang:
Oh, my son get up from your bed,
from your bull dreams,
do the wise thing.
Create the servants for gods
may they breed their copies. '
Breasts as amulets Dolni Vestonice, Maehren 25000 years ago.
The First starts as precursor for his followers that will reproduce them selves in an everlasting cycle. He leads all "good and superior craftsmen" and say to his mother Nammu who nursed him:
Oh my mother,
you named a being and spoke the word,
the being you asked for exist.
Set on him the image of gods,
form the heart of the clay
from above the underworld.
The good and superior craftsmen
shall make the clay thicken.
... You, make the limbs alive.
No-power, the mother of earth
shall work above you.
... goddesses of birth will be at your side,
when you mould the image of gods.
Oh, my mother,
decide a destiny for the new-born.
No-power may fasten on it the image of gods.
That is a humankind.
The old mother Nammu became the serpent or womb of earth and her granddaughter Ereshkigal was the special force to give birth in agriculture.
"The Nurse" Aegean area ca 6000 BC.
Sometimes the gods are without head and sometimes with a bird head. Who knows what a goddess looks like? Perhaps a bird that can fly like the thoughts? However the truth is that Not-how-say and Enki had tried before. But the result was unsuccessful beings as eunuchs and prostitutes for the gods. Nevertheless, the gods never give up. They invented tools and taught humankind to be their feet. So it is forever that men are the feet of gods.