Archive for Mount Zion

Background of Holy Mountain Myths

Posted in Astronomy, Atheist, belief, Christianity, faith, freethought, Hebrew scripture, prehistory, religion with tags , , , , , , on September 23, 2013 by chouck017894

In planet Earth’s distant past, which we casually dismiss as prehistory, the heavens presented a constant awe-inspiring panorama for our ancestors. Prehistory lessons of Creation and life were once given using imagined figures across the skies and these are known to us today primarily from the zodiac. In those ancient lessons the North Pole Star was considered to hold the summary position from which all lessons of cosmology and life-meaning could be observed in their entirety. This gave rise to later notions which linked the Pole Star with the tip of “holy mountains.” Ancient Sumerian inscriptions spoke of a great peak in the north as “the mountain of the word,” which was thought to be the home of the gods and which was regarded as the supporting pillar of heaven. As noted in the book The Celestial Scriptures, the man-made temple “mountains” of Sumer and Babylonia (ziggurats), the pyramids of Egypt, the pyramid temples of Central America, and the “cosmic mountain” temples of India, to mention a few, all have intimate connection to the Pole Star. The Canaanite god, Baal, as another example, was said to have his palace in the “farthest north,” meaning the Pole Star. The Hebrew “God” could not be allowed to have anything less, and so the same was claimed for him.

The North Pole Star was referred to in ancient China as “The Cosmic Mountain,” and as “The Axis of the Universe.” In eastern cultures of the ancient world this concept inspired the understanding of the “Wheel of Life” and the “Wheel of Law.” And this observable rotation of Earth upon the apparent celestial hub inspired belief in karma. The Pole Star thus epitomized the center of creative action from which birth and death was initiated. Because of the Pole Star’s position as a “fixed star,” meaning that it is constant in one fixed point, it has to be ranked as one of the most celebrated stars in our skies. It is the permanence and dependability that the Pole Star presented to travelers that it came to represent to them a divine love that never misleads—if you pay attention.

In every populated region of the world seekers and believers always regarded the loftiest mountain within their locality to be the symbol of God’s abode. Since the North Pole Star seemed to seekers to be the highest advantage, it was regarded in many cultures as being “the throne of the most high.” Thus all the “sacred mountains” of various cultures such as Mt. Parnassus of the Greeks; Mt. Meru (or Sumeru) of Hindu and Buddhist lore; the heavenly mountain of Tien Shan; the Paradise of Taoist immortals; or the Mount Zion of the Hebrews symbolized the throne of God. Consequently all “holy mountains” signified the highest purpose of Creation. Thus in the book of Isaiah 14:13 it refers to “…the mount of congregation, in the uttermost North.” It was also understood by these ancient ones that these sacred “mounts” also symbolized mental acuity, which awakens scholarly seekers to a far deeper meaning as to why scriptural characters such as Moses had to go climb a mountain to receive laws and instruction from God.

There is only one constellation which seems to pivot around the North Pole Star (Polaris) and keeps a tight revolving motion around it–the constellation Ursa Minor, which is erroneously known as the Little Bear. (No bears have ever had long tails.) Only this constellation revolves around the North Pole Star without any apparent shift in its relative position to that star. In addition, there is the curious positioning of constellation Cepheus in connection with the Pole Star. Cepheus has been pictured since extremely ancient times as the Crowned King, and in the star outline of this figure he is shown as standing with his left foot poised above the Pole Star. The brightest star in constellation Cepheus is known to us today as Alderamin, meaning “the right forearm,” and it is this arm which holds aloft the royal scepter. This star is distinguished by its unusually rapid rotation, and it also holds the distinction of being located near the path which is followed by the Earth’s axis in space throughout the precession of the equinox cycles through 25,800 years. There is thus a strong correlation with the Hebrew verses, for the right arm is held toward the grand orbit of Earth’s movement through the universe!

In the New Testament book of Hebrews 12:22 (which was written after Revelation c. 137-140 CE) it states: “But ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable host of angels..” (a reference to the star cluster of Ursa Minor). This is a sly connection to a verse in Psalms (48:2) which reads, “Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole Earth is Mount Zion (North Pole Star), on the sides of the north, the city of the great King (as King Cepheus). The mention of Mount Zion in both these accounts, like all other mount myths, represents the highest point from which all activity concerning Earth-life may be viewed by Creation powers (God).

The “heavenly Jerusalem” of the Revelation text is a play upon the meaning of that troublesome city’s name–which means light and peace–but has absolutely nothing to do with the earthly city by that name. As noted, the “innumerable host of angels” of the quoted verse actually refers to the stars of Ursa Minor around the North Pole Star, which to prehistory cultures symbolized the innumerable emanations of Creative Consciousness made manifest with matter-life consciousness. This brushes admirably close to possible spiritual instruction: sadly, however, this was quickly negated in the final chapter 13 where there is then listed various things that concern only the church, and offers nothing for personal enlightenment of seekers. Instead, in the closing verses we are treated with an admonishment about listening to “strange doctrines,” the designated way of worship for Christians, the obedience and sacrifice for the church, and concludes with an uninspiring benediction.

Our long-ago ancestors knew the night skies much more intimately than most of us do today. If we think of the visible heavens at all, it is most likely in terms of science fiction or religiosity, not from any personal familiarity with the awe-inspiring celestial grandeur of which our world is merely a speck of dust. In our pursuit of taking dominion over all Earth life, as is encouraged in priest-written sacred texts, we now dominate the planet through human indulgence in over breeding and industrial pollution. Today, eight billion persons strong, we humans congregate mainly in cities and suck the vital essences of nature into them and exercise our “dominion” through the habit of commercial greed. Unfortunately, greed always pollutes. We rarely see any holy mountains clearly anymore through the heavy veils of greenhouse gasses. And within the cities we have obscured the night skies with heavy pollution of artificial light. So there are few persons any longer who could find the North Pole Star even if they tried. They might, however, know the “revealed truth” about some perfect Heavenly “kingdom” from their faith system texts, but their only awareness with the actual patterns of the dimly seen stars of the heavens is from glancing at their horoscope.

What Marked Jerusalem as Holy

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, faith, history, prehistory, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2010 by chouck017894

What was it about the location that became Jerusalem that inflamed Yahweh priests with the obsession that a temple must be built upon one certain mount in Judaea?  Even before the priests of Yahweh arrived at the mount, the site had been regarded as sacred by inhabitants of the region.  The earliest known name for the site was Ur-Shalem (or Yeru-Shalem), and from as far back as can be traced the hub area of Ur-Shalem encompassed three particular mounts.  The most ancient names of the mounts seem to point to some singular association that is yet to be discovered.  The southernmost mount had the name of “Mount of the Signal” in antiquity; the northernmost peak is said to have been known as “Mount of the Observers.”  The central mount, however, seems to have been central in more ways than one, for it bore the name “Mount of Directing.”  This is the mount which is claimed to have been seen by Abraham from a distance; he is alleged to have  witnessed a heavy cloud over this mount in which the glory of god was seen.  The word Ur translates roughly as fire or light, but the word Shalem is remarkably similar to the Hebrew shalom, the greeting or farewell meaning peace.  Jerusalem has thus been said, rather ironically considering its history of discord, to mean light and peace.  Another speculation is that shalem means something like the perfect place.

Curiously the barren mountain site that would become Jerusalem lacked the basic needs for a center of religious or political pursuits.  There was neither water nor food sources near the site, nor even any trade or military routes anywhere near.  One might be inclined to call it a god-forsaken place!  Around c. 2000-1800 BCE there was little in the region but small sparsely inhabited highland areas.  When the Yahweh priests arrived they were already determined that one particular spot there was marked out as a center that god favored.  What was the supposed special indicator that the place was blessed by heaven?  It was a massive artificially cut rock.  The priests were divinely certain that despite the stone’s antiquity it had all been fashioned just for them.

The sacred rock was  known in Hebrew as Eben Sheti-yah, and translates as the “Stone from which the world was woven.”  This reference seems to hold an intricate relationship to the more ancient names for the three mounts mentioned earlier upon which Jerusalem evolved.  The sacred rock can be deduced as once having served as a kind of platform that was put in place atop artificially cut massive stone blocks—in pre-diluvial times.  The sacred rock at the Jerusalem location has a startling similarity in age and structure to the more massive stone platform located at Baalbeck, in today’s Lebanon.  This sacred rock, therefore, existed for millennia before c 1000 BCE—which is the timeframe when David is alleged to have captured the sparse area (today’s Mount Zion) from the Jebusites (an early tribal league).

Tradition says that the sacred rock was cube-like, with its corners precisely facing the four directions of the compass.  In addition, it is said that two tube-like funnels had been bored out of the rock, and these connected to a subterranean tunnel.  How these feats could have been accomplished in prehistory times, or the purpose they served is unknown.  Tradition has it also that the construction plans for the temple that was erected later had been provided directly by an unnamed source which holy myth, of course, credits to “the Lord.”

We should also note that ancient names of the valleys in the area carried special implication as well.  For example, Isaiah spoke of one of them as the Valley of Hizzayon, which loosely translates as Valley of Vision.  Ugaritic texts tell of divine healers in a valley they called Valley of Repha’im (the healers).  Legends from prehistory times also tell of a subterranean region in “the Valley of Hinnom,” where the entrance could be discerned by a column of smoke that rose between two palm trees. 

Archeological research has shown that the biblical accounts of Canaan-Israel-Judah history are far from reliable.  A brief example: the character of Saul (c. 1025-1005 BCE), the alleged first king of Israel, was supposedly installed by the eleventh century BCE judge and “prophet” Samuel.  This places it in the Iron Age I period.  Nothing has ever been unearthed in archeological digs that even suggests that a prosperous united monarchy existed then.  And no archeological evidence has ever been found of David’s alleged kingdom, and no indication of the conquests attributed to David have been unearthed either.  In fact, evidence reveals that settlements in the Jerusalem region in this Iron Age I timeframe experienced no interruption of Canaanite culture.  Likewise, in regard to David’s alleged son Solomon (time setting c. 970-931 BCE), nothing has ever been brought to light of any monumental architecture in Jerusalem, Megiddo or Hazor in this timeframe as has been attributed to Solomon. 

The holy truth is that precious little reliable priestly accounting of Israel or Judah surfaces until around 800 BCE.  Even then much of the priest-written “history” has been freely embroidered upon.  It is wise to remember that Jews are never mentioned until the Maccabees (Hasmonaeans), a Jewish dynasty of “patriots,” high priests and kings of the 2nd and 1st century BCE who sought to rouse the Jews against their Seleucid ruler.

  •  See related posts, The David Saga, parts 1 and 2; and  Solomon’s Majesty, August 2009.