Archive for atonement

Jonah and the Whale Myth

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, Hebrew scripture, prehistory, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on October 1, 2011 by chouck017894

Storylines in biblical tales are utilized repeatedly, but are cunningly disguised.  The whale of a tale of Jonah, the 32nd book in the Old Testament production lineup, is another case in point.  The story of Jonah in the belly of the whale is presented in Judaism as a model of human ability to repent and the willingness of god to forgive.  The book of Jonah is regarded to be so profound by the Jews that the entire four chapter book is read in the synagogue each year on the Day of Atonement (10th of Tishrei).  Indeed, Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year for them, and atonement and repentance are the central theme.  This period of observance was mandated in the priest-written book of Leviticus 16:29, but there is only bleak  acknowledgement of its connection with the Autumnal Equinox.  A new year is calculated from this period, but, curiously, the Torah makes no mention that 1 Tishrei is to be regarded as marking the start of a new year.  Christianity puts its own spin on the Jonah myth, imagining that the alleged deliverance of Jonah from the belly of the “great fish” was a foretoken of the resurrection of Jesus.

A short synopsis: – Jonah was charged by god to go to the city of Nineveh to cry out against it.  But Jonah was not too thrilled at the idea of going to Nineveh and indulge himself in rabble-rousing, so he hopped the first available ship out of Joppa that was headed for Tarshish in attempt “to get away from the service of the Lord.”  Never considered in Judaism or Christian acceptance of the Jonah myth is the fact that in older Greek myth the demigod Herakles (Hercules) was also swallowed by a whale, and he too had departed from Joppa!  Add to this curious coincidence that it was at Joppa also where, in Greek myth, Andromeda was bound beside the sea as a sacrifice to a sea monster.  So where was Joppa located?  In Greek myth Joppa was located in Aethiopia.  No, this is not the same as the African nation of Ethiopia.  Aethiopia symbolized the dark, mysterious primordial energies out of which Creation is initiated.  Figuratively speaking Joppa was the capital of that region of primal energies, thus a seaport city.

This means that the  book of Jonah is another “holy” tale utilizing coded elements from prehistory wisdom which taught how elemental energies issue out of Source and begin involvement in their formation of matter.  Nineveh, therefore, represents energy involvement at the third pre-physical stage of development.  But Jonah is portrayed as longing to escape to Tarshish—which just happens to be identical with the Tarshish of the Solomon myth and identical with Tartarus in Greek myth.  So Jonah’s hoped for destination comes from the zodiacal sign of Taurus, in which the lessons of Creative Energy had been taught in prehistory time.  Thus Jonah, as he is meant to be, is fleeing  upon the waters (elementary energies) of Creation.  The chaos within the creative energies is accounted for by relating “…the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was threatened to break apart” (Jonah 1:4).  The sailors aboard the ship surmised that Jonah was somehow to blame for the tempest and so tossed him overboard.  He was, of course, supposed to be a part of the Creation energy-waters.  This, too, was in older Greek myth.

God cannot be outsmarted, and so the Lord had prearranged that a “great fish” would be stationed nearby to swallow Jonah, and the reluctant “prophet” wound up in the belly of the “great fish” for three days and three nights (echoing the first three days of Creation).  So the three days and three nights allegorize the first three dimensions out of quantum conditions, as had been taught in pre-history Creation lessons.

The greatest puzzle of this story for the theologians and biblical scholars is not the assertion that Jonah lived for three days and three nights in the guts of a “great fish,” but they puzzle over the prayer that Jonah allegedly recited while inside the belly of the “fish.”  Jonah did not repent his refusal of god’s command to go to Nineveh, he did not beg for forgiveness, and he did not beg for deliverance from his predicament.  Instead Jonah gives praise for being saved, and this baffles the biblical experts.  How, the devout wonder, could he say while in the fish’s belly, “For thou didst cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood was around about me, all thy waves and thy billows passed over me…Yet you didst bring up my life from the Pit…” (from out of the quantum conditions).

Lost in the sacred language style of holy storytelling is the fact that genetic consciousness (personified as Jonah) must be immersed in primal creative energies and “swallowed” to become active as the Life Principle.  Once the third energy phase is accomplished, genetic consciousness then becomes active and is “vomited” forth upon the next dimension of creative energy to progress into and through the four energy planes that will involve as dense matter forms.  This is why Jonah, while in the guts of the “fish,” is portrayed as expressing praise rather than seeking forgiveness.

The Jonah myth continues with the “great fish” vomiting him upon “dry land”—the same “dry land” mentioned in the Genesis myth after the “firmament” had been accounted for.  And it is the same “dry land” attained by Noah at the 40th day.  At this point Jonah must then trudge his way to Nineveh to fulfill his duty.  In other words, it is not material-matter land as we think of it, but is the developing prototypal form of matter.  This is why Jonah is then totally content to follow god’s orders and proceeds to Nineveh, which represents the powerful primal energy stages through which the Life Principle is to manifest all life forms.  Ignored by the bewildered faithful who are distracted by Jonah’s prayer is the assertion that it took three days to cross the city of Nineveh: no manmade city takes three days to go across.  It does, however, take three cosmic “days” for the Life Principle to span the primordial energy stages to approach involvement as matter–just as the first three “days” in the Genesis account of Creation.  And this is why Nineveh must be saved, and Jonah then plays the “prophet” saying an eight word prophecy, “Yet forty days (the next four phases of energy development), and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” (Jonah 3:4)  This modest “prophecy” allegedly caused “…the greatest of them to the least of them…” to repent immediately, and they “perished not.”

All such biblical myths dramatize the fact that the Life Principle originates through the elementary planes of energy to manifest as diverse matter-life forms.  The most important revelation of these mythic accounts is that everything which is made manifest is refined in this way, and the very same energies go into all things living and inanimate, and are therefore equally honored by the Source.  This truth horrifies those who are puffed with spiritual pride.

In Christian myth Jesus personifies the Life Principle, so Jonah gets referred to in the book of Matthew 12:40: “For as Jonas was three days in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of Earth.”  Thus life rises triumphantly out of elemental circumstances.  This is nothing other than sacred language methodology which repeatedly rework a small selection of storylines throughout the entire collection of Old and New Testament books.

Autumnal Equinox and Religious Myth

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, culture, faith, humanity, life, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2010 by chouck017894

At the time of the Autumnal Equinox, September 22/23, when the days and nights are of equal length around planet Earth, the Sun is passing through part of the ecliptic corresponding to the dominance of constellation Libra, the symbol of balance.  The name by which constellation Libra was known among prehistory cultures reveal that the symbol of balance was associated with attaining favorable consideration from a higher source.  For example, the Coptic name for the constellation we know as Libra was Lambadia, which translates loosely as “station of propitiation,” implying the time to appease or resolve differences, to gain heaven’s good will.  The Arabic name for this constellation is Al Zubena, meaning “redemption” or “purchase,” implying that what one extracts from life must eventually be paid for.

The autumnal equinox occurring within the dominance of constellation Libra also carried a subtle reminder to the people of the ancient world regarding the double nature that is embodied in all life—the blend of spirit and matter, male and female, the positive and negative—the polarity that defines individuality.  The understanding that the constellation symbol offered was that life is most constructively lived by establishing a working balance between extremes.  To do otherwise was to bring with it a sinking of life’s ultimate purpose—the advancement into refined energy continuation. 

The widespread understanding associated with the group of stars which define constellation Libra was to live so the heavens would become favorably inclined.  This equinox period happens to be the general period of various religious commemorations.  In conjunction with the sign of the Balance the Jews celebrate Yom Kippur, day of atonement, the holiest Jewish holiday celebrated on the tenth day of Tishri; fasting and prayer for atonement of sins are prescribed.  Succoth (or Sukkoth),  which commemorates the alleged temporary shelter of the Israelites in the wilderness, is a harvest festival celebrated for nine days beginning on the eve of the 15th day of Tishri.  Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year that precedes these observances, is a solemn occasion celebrated on the first and second day of Tishri (a month in the Babylonian, Persian and Jewish calendars corresponding to late September/early October).

In regard to the New Year being observed in autumn by orthodox Jews, the tradition is due to Canaanite influence.   Geography and climate conditions in the Canaanite region were such that summers were long and dry.  When autumn approached, the move toward rainy conditions was signaled by morning mists that drifted in from the valleys.  In Genesis 2, these regional autumn conditions are mirrored as circumstances in which Creation was initiated.  Hence, the first of Tishri is observed as the true New Year’s day by orthodox Jews.

In Christian belief Jesus serves in the capacity as conciliator, meaning the one who reconciles humankind’s sins so that the necessary balance  for evolutionary realization may be restored.  Unfortunately this interpretation has been presented in such a way that the evolved factor that is to be striven for (personified as Christ) is said to assume responsibility for everyone’s failure to seek balance, which only encourages the notion that individuals can sidestep personal responsibility for their actions. 

The Christian storyline was fashioned upon extremely ancient zodiac representations (figures associated with constellations, which are known to us through the zodiac, can be traced back at least 12,000 years).  There are three near-by constellations to Libra that provided interrelated inspiration for story elements in the alleged life events of the key characters in the myths of several  pre-Christian religions.  These story elements are also suspiciously prominent in Christian literature and they were drawn from constellations Crux (Cross), Lupus (the Victim-beast), and Corona Borealis (the Crown).   In the Romanized passion-play account based this ancient wisdom Christianity received its most dramatic illustration of spiritual triumph over physical dominance.  The representation of Libra as the Scales of Balance—the only inanimate figure in zodiac representation–depicts  what is basically a cross-form in itself.  It should be noted that in ancient cultures the cross symbol represented this plane of matter upon which spirit is temporarily nailed.  The event of the autumnal equinox during Libra dominance was consequently interpreted in Pagan cultures to correspond to man’s spirit-in-matter incarnation which is in search of necessary stability. 

Throughout the much maligned Pagan cultures, physical life was understood to position man at the threshold of higher potential where he is to take up the higher transformational powers of love, compassion, truth, mercy and justice.  The ancient ones believed that these transformational powers exist only potentially in this material-matter dimension of energy, and they develop only in accordance to one’s personal pursuit and reverence of wisdom earned in this matter-life experience.   The ancient Pagans understood that it is the regard that one experiences in this matter plane for those transformational powers that brings balance to spirit so it may proceed into elevated existence.  This is echoed in modern religious practice. 

The connection of the autumnal equinox with Muslim tradition is not as transparently associated to celestial movements as in Judaic-Christian traditions.  Nevertheless, the stipulation of atonement was, one might say, recycled from Jewish and Christian influence and incorporated as a period for Muslim  penitence.  Due to the more equatorial location in which Mohammad lived the seasons were not strongly pronounced, and for that reason the observance of Ramadan is not recognized as having been based on a noticeable seasonal change.  But Mohammad is said to have fled from Mecca at the height of summer, and arrived at Yathrib (present day Medina) on September 20—time of the autumnal equinox—which coincided with the Jewish day of atonement.  The word Ramadan is derived from an Arabic root, rhm, or “ar-ramad,” which denoted intense heat—an autumnal condition.  There were three Jewish tribes at the Yathrib oasis, and it was during the association with these tribes that Mohammad fine-tuned most of his faith’s concepts—there is but one God, for example.

Because yearly dates are constructed on a lunar calendar, Muslim religious observances come earlier each year by about eleven days, so the observance is not recognized as having been influenced by the event that in the past took place at the time of the autumnal equinox.  Ramadan is the period in which Muslims fast for the sake of Allah, and ask for forgiveness for past sins and attempt  to purify themselves through good deeds and self-restraint. The professed reason for the atonement observance is given as in honor of the time in which the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed to Mohammad.

Related posts:

  • Spring Equinox and Religious Myths, March 2010
  • Summer Solstice and Religious Myths, May 2010
  • Myths Built Around Winter Solstice, November 2009