Archive for Ishtar

Heaven in Turmoil

Posted in agnoticism, Astronomy, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, faith, history, life, prehistory, random, religion, science, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2010 by chouck017894

Curiosities abound throughout the “authorized” accounts of humankind’s history.  Few, however, are as baffling as to why the celestial body we know as planet Venus suddenly became the object of worldwide attention around the general timeframe 1650-1600 BCE.  In this timeframe the Babylonians were well-schooled in mathematics, calculations, algebra, and quadratic equations, and they had become increasingly nervous about disturbances taking place in the heavens.  Astronomical records were being kept in the reign of Ammisaduga, and from these it is clear that astronomers were fully aware that the routine rotation of stars around Earth was an illusion that was caused by Earth revolving on it own axis.  The plotting of heavenly mechanics such as the equinoxes and solstices were routine to them. 

So it was a situation of uneasiness to witness the looming presence in the sky of an unknown celestial object—especially since its presence coincided with an alteration in Earth’s rotation and tilt.  And there was also the small matter of the volcanic mountain Stroggili on the Isle of Thera (Santorin) having erupted in the Mediterranean—one of the planet’s oversized volcanic eruptions.  It was in this period that the new celestial entity began being addressed as a deity—a goddess of awesome beauty and terrifying power—an awe and fear that would possess the people of the world for many generations.  Indeed, this period of frightening and dramatic celestial changes is attested to in later Roman literature, such as the book Of The Race of the Roman People by Marcus Varro.  In this book the author related that the planet we know as Venus had “…changed its color, size , form, course, which had not happened before nor since…”  Varro backed up his account saying that renowned astronomers affirmed that the event had indeed happened to the “Morning star,” and it had never happened before or  since.  Varro also noted, “…we read from the divine books that even the sun itself stood still when a holy man Joshua, the son of Nun, had begged this from God.”  Let us note here that even “saint”  Augustine quoted from this man’s book. 

The timeframe in question here, c. 1600s BCE, is another period that has often been accepted as the period-setting for the Exodus story—as well as being the “time of Agog,” who allegedly laid the foundation of Thebes (Egypt).  It can be understood how recollections of such chaotic events could be confused, condensed and intermingled by later historians.  There is, as example, a Samaritan chronicle that relates that during the time period in which Joshua supposedly led an invasion into Canaan a new star was born in the east.   If this star-birth event took place in the time allotted to Joshua, then it predates the timeframe for the Moses tale by centuries.  The Samaritan account of the new star said it held power “against which all magic is vain.”  That pretty much discredits the claim that Joshua had any influence over the heavenly bombardment that took place. 

Of interest  in connection with this are the findings unearthed by recent archeologists that confirm that events of the Joshua story were in reference to celestial conditions and activities that took place earlier than events that make up the Moses epic.  The later priest-historians at work  in Jerusalem (c. 800 BCE) found it more beneficial to their purpose to reinterpret past events to provide themselves with a history that supported their claim to authority. 

There are other scriptural stories that tell of these heavenly happening and the continuing threats from the heavens that went on for generations.  Approximately fifty-two years after c. 1600 BCE, or around 1548, the celestial body that had so traumatized Earth seems to have emerged out of decades of clouded skies to appear as a radiant new member of the solar family—that is to say it had attained a fairly orderly orbital pattern among the neighboring planets. The Assyrians called the new planet Ishtar: the Greeks called it Aphrodite: the ancient Mexican records name it Quetzalcoatl: and the Romans would call it Venus. 

The heavens were not yet peaceful, however, and Earth had more to endure.  The awe and fear that the new planet still inspired is shown in it being addressed as beautiful but fearsome celestial deity.  Even some 750 years later(c. 800 BCE) the new planet still exerted strong influence upon planet Earth to trigger exogenous disturbances in Earth’s rotation, which coincided with a  reverse in Earth’s magnetic field.  And this is the timeframe of the “prophet” Isaiah who had this to say about the adjustment of the new-neighbor planet: “How art thou fallen from heaven O Lucifer (Venus), son of the morning!  How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12-13)

Even as late as c. 606 BCE, the timeframe of the “prophet” Jeremiah, the inhabitants of Earth were still apprehensive of the orbital irregularities of planets Venus and Mars—for the Venus intrusion had serious effect on the orbit of the once peaceful Mars.  In this period, even in spite of the recent Babylonian invasion and destruction of Jerusalem, the Jews still gave Venus devotion as “queen of heaven” and burned incense and offered wine to her on the roofs of buildings.  Jeremiah was an astronomer, and was portrayed as a “prophet” simply because he could chart the likely times of violent planetary interactions.  Thus in the book of Jeremiah, chapter 44, the account says all the men knew that their wives had burnt incense unto other gods (meaning to Venus).  And the women adamantly continued to “burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our father, our kings, and our  princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem…”

Reference to the heavens once being in disarray can be found in many ancient records and texts.  And even when they are part of accounts deemed sacred there is a peculiar self-inflicted blindness that such planetary caroming through the skies could have once taken place.  Even today’s science denies it.  And the heavens remain indifferent at mankind’s lack of curiosity.

Surge of Spirit c. 1000 BCE

Posted in Astronomy, Atheist, belief, Bible, faith, history, prehistory, random, religion with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2009 by chouck017894

The first millennium BCE, mainly the first half, was an oddly productive period in which there was being produced across the world insightful expressions and explanations of spiritual nature in the affairs of man.  Little acknowledged in history, religion, or the science of astronomy, this particular period of time was overshadowed by the planet Mars.  The skies were troubled in those days, and during times of conjuctions the atmosphere of Mars stretched into a shape that appeared like a sword.  The ancients tended to classify comets according to their appearance, and in their ancient astrological texts the comets that were said to take the shape of a sword were acknowledged as related to the planet Mars.  This celestial turmoil undoubtedly played a part in the worldwide longing for a modicum of understanding.

In this era  the Vedas and Upanishads, ancient sacred literature of India, were among the earliest texts on spiritual linking with our cosmic environment, dating back perhaps even earlier than 1200 BCE.  And there was already in existence in Egypt in this general time a book known as The Wisdom of Amenhotep, mentioned here for its influence on texts that would be written later in Jerusalem.  Zoroastrianism was forming in Persia; Buddhism and Taoism began unfolding in the east; and the classical age of Greece was beginning to set its mark on history.  This flurry of philosophical and theological conjectures, emerging in the later part of the Age of Aries (c.2208-60 BCE), all of which labored with notorious inconsistencies, set down the foundation upon which would arise the burgeoning faith systems that were to dominate our Age of Pisces (c.60 BCE-2100CE).

There is a bounty of evidence that planet Earth experienced considerable buffeting through many centuries from interaction caused by the passage of a large object into the solar system.  The threat in the heavens would continue up to the seventh century BCE, and served as the basis for the “prophets” in that period who prophesied from study of the skies (astronomy).  This is disguised in O.T. accounts in which Isaiah, Hosea, Ezra and Ezekiel are featured.

In Greece c. 1000 BCE, the classic Olympian gods (Zeus, et al) were attaining dominance.  Ionians were driven from their homeland in Greece and founded twelve cities on the west coast of Asia Minor.  In Egypt the 20th dynasty was in decline, about the time of Rameses XI: civil war and leprosy raged in Egypt.  Leprosy was also rampant in India.  In India, Brahmanism and Atmanism developed.  We should note that the Indian lunar-year calendar of 360 days was adjusted in this general time to coincide with the solar year.  In China the height of the sun was measured in relation to the incline of Earth’s polar axis; events in the heavens made it urgent to keep track of Earth’s motion and relationship with neighboring planets.

This time frame, c. 1000 BCE, marks the beginning  of the true Iron Age in Palestine and Syria.  In the north mass migrations of Germanic peoples were taking place.  The Assyrian empire was fortifying against migrating people from the north, and moved to capture Babylon.  In Nineveh, capital of ancient Assyria, the Ishtar temple (to Venus) and the royal palace was being rebuilt after planet-wide earthquakes.  A winged celestial object—commonly and erroneously interpreted as the sun—was revered in most eastern Mediterranean cultures.

In Mesoamerica the Olmecs were actively at work on Teotihuacan, and had developed hieroglyphs, a calendar, and a system of religious and societal leadership that would endure through all succeeding Mesoamerican cultures.

And in the Near-East, c. 1000 BCE, writings were being collected by migrant Hebrews that would eventually be edited in Jerusalem c. 850 BCE—in which there would be included almost verbatim portions of the aforementioned Egyptian book The Wisdom of Amenhotep.  The plagiarized portions are known to us as Proverbs 22:17 through 23:11, and are attributed to Solomon by the priest-authors.  In this  time frame, c. 1000 BCE, spiritual texts (composed and edited c. 850 BCE) assert that the principal characters of Jewish faith—the alleged “historical” characters Saul, David and Solomon—had founded the kingdom of Israel.  These scriptural characters would become firmly installed as testimony of a Hebrew cult’s alleged especial link with god.  Unfortunately, archaeological research does not support such persons or events.  But the Age of Judges is said to have followed, and the earliest Hebrew sky-watching “prophets” would come upon the scene c. 900 BCE.

Manufacturing a Miracle

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, Bible, Christianity, culture, history, humanity, life, logic, random, religion, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2009 by chouck017894

In December 1854, as Pope Pius IX ruled over the Vatican, the bishops from all parts of Catholic dominance were called to Rome to establish a new twist in devotion to Jesus as Christ the Savior.  In an elective process of collected bishops it was decided, with only four dissenting votes, that when Mary had died she had been raised bodily from the dead and “ascended into heaven.”   With this set in place as official church declaration Mary would henceforth be addressed and worshiped as the “Immaculate Conception.”   All this was made official despite the fact that there is not one line in original scriptures that ever implied that Mary was “immaculately” conceived—or, for that matter, that she could make atonement for sin because she was at the foot of the cross at her son’s crucifixion—“her heart pierced with grief.”  With this allegation made official, the terms “Sacred Heart” and “Queen of Heaven” became ingredients of the church’s religious phraseology.

Although nothing in any original writings of the early Christian movement had ever presented any such storyline, Pope Pius IX proclaimed that the Immaculate Conception must “be believed firmly and constantly by all,” and that any dissenter is “condemned” and “separated” from true Christianity!  (Pope Pius XII would echo the same declaration of the Assumption in 1950.)

The faithful today are not troubled that this declaration of “assumption” simply reinstated much older Pagan concepts.  The Greek grammarian Apollodorus (flourished 2nd century BCE) stated in his history of Greek religions, On the Gods, that Bacchus (symbolizing the reproductive force of Nature) carried his mother to heaven.  And according to the Roman poet Ovid (43 BCE-17 CE), Bacchus addressed his mother as Thuone, the feminine of Bacchus’ Latin name Thyoneus, meaning “the lamented one.”  Thus Thuone was the Pagan lamenting goddess–the role reinstated with Mary’s 1854 papal promotion—a role complete with all the attributes and honors once given to the Babylonian/Assyrian goddess Ishtar and the Roman goddess Juno (and other similar Pagan goddesses).

Only a mere four years after Mary’s promotion, in 1856, a fourteen year old peasant girl, Marie Bernadette Soubiroux, declared that she had eighteen visions of the Virgin in a grotto at Lourdes, France, which occurred from February 11 through July 16.  One of the more peculiar aspects of this miracle is that the Virgin is said to have repeatedly referred to herself as the Immaculate Conception—a precept initiated by the church only four years before!  The Lourdes grotto quickly became a shrine, and by 1862 the faithful were assured that they were justified in believing in the reality of the apparitions.  A basilica was built upon the rock of Massabielle where the visions were said to have occurred.  Twenty-one years after the spate of apppartitions, 1876, the basilica was consecrated and a statue of the Virgin was solemnly crowned.

The Catholic Encyclopedia thus assures the faithful that devotion at Lourdes was “…founded on the apparitions of the “blessed Virgin” to a poor 14 year old girl, Bernadette Soubiroux.”  It does not mention that the timing of these apparitions could not have been better for the politics of the church.