Trisected moon year
They think the Indus calendar to have begun 3100 BC and it has something in common with the Chinese symbolism. The calendars from the original America are maybe also from that date. However folk memory tells about 4200 BC as starting date
Indus calendar, ancient astronomy, animal round, zodiac, Time River, conventions, rough simplification, windmill, vasanta, varsha, sarad, sisiva, merged figures, triad, trisection, trinity, Brahmins, Sun Square, Month Wheel, World Corners, Siva, Vishnu, World Order, World Tree, old wise men, Seven Sages, Longleg, Rhinoceros, Ramadan symbolism, ZebuTrisected moon year | Indus 1 | Naked goddess | To Underworld | Indus symbols | sitemap | home |
Before looking at ancient astronomy of Indus, we have to point out that the starry sky and the moon do not look the same everywhere on earth. Since the great cultures are much on the same latitude that is not a big problem. But for us living in Scandinavia the difference is considerable
Also we can keep in mind that southern England is more than Stonehenge. They build many so-called cursus about 3500 BC long before Stone Henge. A cursus is establishment of rectangular shape with ditches around. They have surely used them for rituals, but perhaps even for observations since long alignments are fitted for watching the stars. Not to forget that the moon calendar is also important.
Initially we cannot say where the animal round/ zodiac was created. It is easier to say that the cultures from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean have all contributed. The river cultures of Mesopotamia and Egypt are surely behind the agriculture myth in the sky since it looks like cultivating along a river, i.e. Timer River.
This picture is from Ellegaard's article and shows how we see the stars if we stand in the middle of our world and observe.
The position suits the 55-degree latitude in England and also in Skaane near Jaerestad. However, 5000 years ago the marked stars were farther to the south. Capella was not visible the entire year and Sirius was not visible at all. The dotted lines are when it is invisible.
Our conventions are often rough simplification as for instance when we say that we have sunrise in east. That happens only twice a year when sunrise passes east between tropical circle of Cancer and Capricorn. Moon orbit is displaced 5 degrees from the ecliptic and it is at lowest in beginning of August. The natural measuring points are the extremes. In England are several places with a flat stone in water at a suitable place. They watch when the lowest August moon seems to roll over the stone.
In Scandinavia the ecliptic alternate between high and low and it is at lowest in end of July and the harvest moon. Then 11 of 12 asterisms are at a time visible around the horizon. Only Cancer is missing. In mythology that is the Lokasenna or the feast / gille of Aegir and only Hermod was at Hel asking for Balder. This Celtic gille was at the same time harvest feast and call to account for the collegium of seven after leading the season.
This picture shows how they see the stars at the equator. In Egypt the pole star is just around 30 degrees above the northern horizon.
Maybe they used a "windmill" like this to decide and follow the stars with the pole as centre. In the cultures at the subtropical belt their angle of latitude is around 30 degrees. Then the ecliptic alter 30 degrees minus and plus from vertical. Further we have to remember that the new and descending moons look different at the equator. They picture the moons different in Greece too, where the new moon "is lying".
Our European megalith establishments have several fixed directions that coincide with the extreme directions of sun and moon. It became convention to define east at spring equinox and sunrise, while the new moon was aligned opposite in west. That is why we see the Oxen and Scorpion at the calendars. This was used from ca 3100 to 1300 - 1159 BC.
In north above the seed limit three seasons are natural. In the Temperate Zone it is natural to divide in four seasons and in first step at after solstices and equinoxes. That is why we see so many circles with cross. The symbol was soon used for quarters and half years too. In end of Bronze Age we se the 8-spoked wheel and that is the Celtic division with turn point at Imbolic/Candlemas, Beltaine, Lugnasad and Samain/ Samek
In the Subtropical Zone and monsoon areas trisection of the year would be natural. In Indus culture they show the trisection with appropriate symbols but the main symbol is the 6-spoked wheel for six pairs of months. In Indus culture the year and season begins at spring equinox with first vasanta untill middle of May, then the hot period first varsha to middle of July, the rain period second varsha to middle of September, the autumn sarad to middle of November, then winter until middle of January and lastly sisiva the thaw observe the time words are tied to dialect are not the same everywhere.
This trio belongs to the heavenly sphere since Unicorn is the main animal
The forward pointing horns of the goat is surely due to the composition. On our Nordic rock carvings we have the longhorn goat that surely is Capricorn In south they have often goats in pair and sometimes standing on their back legs eating a tree that maybe is the Tree of Life. We see also a pair of goats under the footstool of Vishnu. The footstool became symbol of power above the people.
Merged figures were used in the southern cultures and often they were simplified in time. Our Sagittarius is often like the Centaur. The original is from Sumer and it was the merged asterisms from Leo to the Dog that was originally Sagittarius then picturing the season. In Dendera Egypt they used the same simplified a little. At that symbol Virgo has wing and now and then we see wings on the idols for the asterism but not always. In Sumer they always set a star in front of the name.
The Sumerian Goatfish carried originally Aries head and a symbol for the Pegasus square. In the end it was only a goat with fishtail and it lived until medieval times in Europe. From this we learn the way of symbolising things that belong to the same whole.
Trisected moon year
If the three heads represents periods they could be Gemini, Libra and Waterman. But it could also a quarter of a year Goat, Oxen and Unicorn. Not all symbolism is intelligible. But when we find the three-sided seal with symbols for most of the year we can expect that it symbolise the trisected moon year synchronised with the four-parted sun year.
Three side of a seal
We do not get the exact date but we get three asterisms at equal distance at the animal round. In reality the new moon varies within the period and the weather varies from year to year so they were forced to make their own decisions. The ritual astronomy was just a guide for rural people. For citizens it was just the same as long as the year went on as usual. The Brahmins surely knew everything about time and ritual.
Triads and trisection is part of our culture. Sometimes we understand the meaning sometimes not. The founder of the Catholic Church emperor and first Pontifex Maximus Thedosius used the argument that the question of Trinity should not be intelligible. He wrote the decree about heresy meaning that his interpreting of Trinity was the only allowed and right. In that way virtual reality is created.
In the Celtic world were many triads but they usually were tied to the analyses of reality or three asterism / idols from the ritual astronomy. Mostly they were three at equal distance but other configurations are possible. Most known are of course the three midwives that originally were the months May, June and July.
At least when I read the Vedic and Hindu texts I am overwhelmed by the fantasy and all the possibilities to understanding and interpreting. It is not much better when I put in the original words with the real meaning. It is as we say, "it has no head no feet". It is like the panhuman mind that it is not consequent and there is no clear logic pattern. Modern people are not interested in boring rural explanations since they want mystery and soul. I can not furnish that since I am seeking the rational truth.
All this is natural since many cultures has influenced the message and it has been written by maybe 60 generations of Brahmins altering it after the times and changes. We cannot be sure they always practice the straight logic all generations have used. There are irrational people and forces among us.
Are these two goats or two unicorns on the world tree?
In this case the symbols looks like separate concepts in the shape of a rebus. Reading from left we see the Sun Square and the Month Wheel in it. The World Corners are marked. Next symbol means generally "equal or aligned with" and the fish stands for "star". Next is like an arrow and shows direction / flow but in Sumerian it is TI meaning "life". Lastly there is a sign for changing season "it is the other of two signs" and it is used between the second and first season in order.
According to Asko Parpola the "fish" symbolises star or planet. All heavenly bodies were in same category so they saw no difference between sun, moon, planet and the other stars and that is rational thinking of course.
We call it Animal Round as a descriptive term although not all the asterisms were animals. Nowadays we cannot see that the starry sky was a virtual model of their world. Only at some medieval calendars we se that they saw mountains, land, rivers and sea in that model. Most of the cultures in the world have some of their common order and idols in the sky.
We have the heavens in common and when we put it up there we can all share it but not own it however some people try. The organisation of the vault or cover is up to tradition in every specific culture. Most of them have the essentials in common and that is the road to peace all over the world. Then it is another thing that not all humans want peace and simplicity.
The world of the Indians was different from other early big cultures and some of their animals were never seen in the North of course.
Someone says this is an early Siva. But it does not fit, if we already have the Engender, Siva as the young man at spring. We can ask, do we see three of the four faces of The Brahma, the creator in the middle of universe? Around him is a part of early zodiac rhinoceros, elephant, tiger, water-buffalo, pair of goats and the man, that is found in many global Or is it Vishnu the World Order?
If it is possible it is good to gather all available examples and try to get some common denominator of an image. My conclusion is that it is the World Order represented by Vishnu with four faces. The goat below his footstool should associate to the World Tree and the goats eating on it. The tree could represent the later World Pole but even in Scandinavia we have the big Yggdrasil with a goat. On some seals we do not see the goats but his headgear is a mix of horns and a little tree
Poetry is not fashion anymore. Before TV I suppose many came together in the evening and sang popular songs as we did in my youth. Others read poetry, told tales and played game and card. Our word stock is decreasing and changing from nature to the stony world of cities and we lose the sense to understand metaphors, parables and riddles ... reading Snorre Sturlasson's advises to poets gives a picture of the ancient mind. He advises young poets to always write two versions of same motif into the poem. Then both brain halves get the story or so that those "against" and those "in favour" got it.
We cannot know the reasoning behind the ritual symbolising with all those animals representing abstractions and qualities in life. But we can see where it leads when they set themselves among animals somewhere in heaven and on earth. It is like the old saying from the nature man that "In nature everything is man".
In my childhood the separation from natural fertility began when we were told that the stork brings the children and he put in them through the chimney. Never mind on a farm nothing about natural fertility was secret, but still. Now the stork has disappeared from the countryside and there is not much of natural fertility either. Many couple never saw the naked body of each other but soon began the change after World War II and the bikini came.
For a long period the church separated mankind from the biosphere and that was especially in the upper class that should know better. It does not work every time when you stick to principles that are 3000 years old. From that followed much pseudo valuation in high and low culture and so on. In the 1970:ies I got engaged in the environment. Those upper classes and commercial interest told that engagement in environment is woolliness and blather and they ridiculed us of course. Do tell me that the human is "Homo sapiens sapiens", i.e. a being with rational reasoning
Because the yogi sit in that position someone has suggested that it is a yogi on the footstool. However I do not think that there was a sacred yogi in heaven with four faces. And I do not thin it was Siva since he was occupied with his consort. Many early cultures has the "old wise man" as idol as for instance Vaeinaemauinen in Kalevala and the "faithful Herd of Heaven" in Sumer. Authority increases normally with age and size of population and so do the court around.
In Indus texts they tell about Seven Sages, wise men and they connect them to Big Bear So before Ritual Age they maybe followed the circumpolar asterism all the year. Another thing is that we from early Ritual Age see the "suite of seven" that was in lead during the season.
The footstool became symbol of the rostrum of power since it lifted the idol / leader above the people instead of being an equal leader among the people. In first step it was natural since virtual idols and gods are above the ground. In our time archaeologist mostly look for power and aggression in the past. I do not think that our ancestors can compete with the aggression of regimes like, America, Great Britain, Serbia, Israel and many more.
Population was generally fairly small and they could afford to think a lot before decisions. It is far cheaper to rule with words and common agreements than with weapons. It is also wiser since violence create revenge and more violence. We simply do not have evidence of direct aggression, but we have evidence of ritual defence and many unused ritual weapons are among the artefacts.
A true sustainable World Order must build on caring for survival and fertility as the main issue weapon and aggression take resources from that and destroy so you have to rebuild. It is simply not wise to be aggressive. Our ancestors maybe seem naive but maybe that was just wisdom since kindness and peacefulness is the best defence.
Modern people are fooled by poetry in the past and maybe it is natural that we want to understand the world as the ideas/ words are spoken. We need a warning that we should look for some underlying meaning. It is always difficult to reason and interpret as soon as there are underlying meanings. It is easy to fly out in the blue or dig deep in the underground so to speak. Still the only possibility is that we look for the rational meaning behind the words and symbols. It starts with giving the ideas and concepts our language.
The big triad is Brahman, Vishnu and Siva but it is not normal logic when they tell Brahman was born out of a lotus from Vishnu's navel. It is like a circle. Vishnu has ten incarnations and is in the ninth now. One of the firsts is the Turtle and then it become complicated when we see the symbolism of the Elephant standing on the Turtle. In other symbolism Elephant is Leo and the Turtle is Cancer it is the end of line for logic and the religious mysticism begins.
This text is from one Unicorn seal
At right we have the month-wheel. Then follows the sun-square with the month-wheel in centre. Associating to the Stonehenge Square with this figure in centre is easy. Astronomers have checked that it could be used for deciding the important dates of the year. In this case it is just symbolic and the users have to know the methods behind.
There is a "Longleg" in western symbolism meaning that one leg is underground at Cancer - Hydra. The last symbol has the wings in two directions and there is the cross-section line in the middle. Then maybe it shows conjunction between two heavenly bodies and since we have the sun and moon symbols it should be them in Cancer.
When we realise that they followed sun and moon, we also understand that we should seek for methods and symbols for their calendar. Method could be hard to understand but at least the symbolism we should see and analyse. We can also think of the European megalith establishments for the same purpose. Most of the sun circles are oriented after spring equinox and only a smaller part after solstices. The moon circles are oriented after the extremes of the moon cycle. The main ritual is "going beneath".
Rhinoceros opposite to Unicorn
There is one seal with the Rhinoceros together with the normal ritual ship of Unicorn. That seal together with other signs make it feasible that they are opposites. This means that the Rhinoceros is at the place of Sagittarius and the normal Ramadan symbolism. We see the month wheel and the warped figure shows that this line is not in line with the cardinal direction.
The figure inside the oblong circle is also warped and checked indicating some measuring system. There are symbols of the same kind in Sumerian astro-symbolism. The last figure means "grip" and at that time of year they synchronised sun and moon year. Crossing the grip-figure is something like a small moon symbol. In Scandinavian symbolism they use a small or a bit of a snake to symbolise the 11 days that aligns the two time systems. So maybe this is just "a short month".
TheZebu is majestic and decorative
From the left we have a "moon" and the symbol is international. However in some cases the little tag in centre is interpret so that it means "sun or day". Next symbol is "equal or in line with". The two wings of the U are marked "second" and shows opposite positions and the last symbol means "half year" and it is opposite to the spring symbol. Some of the seals we can read in this way as a rebus telling the time. But mostly the symbols tell something else and that is the enigma of the Indus Script
Egbert Richter-Ushanas suggests that the symbols should be read as words. It could be in seals like this but it would imply that there were only around 450 words in the Indus Script. That is the number of different symbols they have found. Another thing is that we see the tight connections to Egypt and Sumer so it would be natural that the Indus Script is of the same kind as the neighbouring scripts, i.e. syllable script. Asko Parpola has shown the syllable script and the use of starry names.
If we compare to the neighbouring scripts and even look at the Scandinavian symbolism it would be natural that we should find a special vocabulary of symbols for time and calendar. In my analysis I have concentrated my interest on the calendar and ritual as far as I understand the Indus culture.