Posts Tagged ‘Odin’

► “Tarot and Archetypes” /

“Collaboration with Resa McConaghy” 💢:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Introduction:

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time”.-
(T. S. Eliot. “Four Quartets”: Little Gidding).

This is the third post of a series on Tarot (See these two previous posts: Tarot: “Most Relevant Generalities / Major Arcana” and Tarot: “Minor Arcana”).

The following post was written in collaboration with my friend Resa McConaghy, from Graffiti Lux and Murals and Art Gowns. (See brief bio below).

Here, we´ll analyze how certain cards from both Major and Minor Arcana are “archetypes”, and could therefore be related to Greek Mythology. Our pivotal benchmark, as expected,  will be the Rider-Waite tarot deck.

We´ll then see how examples of Street Art (Murals and Graffiti) could have equivalents in certain Tarot Cards. We could say that such Symbolic images appear once and over  again as expressions of a common collective unconscious. We´ll talk further about this.

We´ll finally dig further into the Major Arcana and the so-called “Journey of The Fool”, which is a graphic expression of Joseph Campbell´s Hero´s Journey,  as it appears in his book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”. 

Although there is not such scheme in the Minor Arcana, we can also find certain schemes, involving recurrent narrative sequences. These archetypical patterns provide Minor Arcana with a sort of recurrent cyclic structure, as it happens with the “Journey of the Fool”.

 __________________________________________________________________________________________

About Resa McConaghy:

Resa is a canadian artist, costume designer and author. 
She hosts two blogs: Graffiti Lux and Murals and Art Gowns.
You can find her version of this post here. Furthermore, Resa has written a book, “Nine Black Lives, available on Amazon. Find Resa on Twitter, too!. 
(Disclaimer: All murals photographs were taken by Resa and/or featured on her blog Graffiti Lux and Murals. © Resa McConaghy. 2018). 

Check out Resa´s Blogs: •Art Gowns: http://artgowns.com/ •Graffiti Lux and Murals: http://graffitiluxandmurals.com/

__________________________________________________________________________________________

I. ►Tarot and Greek Mythology:

A. ►Major Arcana: The Magician:

The Magician is associated with the planet, Mercury and carries with it skill, logic, and intellect. The number of the Magician is one (1), the number of beginnings. The Magician is a psychopomp, a bridge between worlds: the World of the Living and the Underworld, a guide of souls.

In the Marseille French deck this character is called Le Bateleur, “the mountebank” and he is a practitioner of stage magic. 

In the Marseille deck, the table  has a square top and three legs. This is because the card represents, among many things, the Great Pyramid of Giza, in EgyptThe Pyramid has sides of three and a base of four. The Magician’s table has three legs and square top. The letter associated with the card is “B,” known in Hebrew as Beth. This term means “house” and connotes the “House of God.” In Egypt, the Pyramid was considered the House of God.

Infinity symbol.

The curves of the magician’s hat brim in the Marseilles image are similar to the esoteric deck’s mathematical sign of infinity (as we see in the Rider Waite deck). 

In the Rider Waite deck, this symbol also appears in the Strenght card, as well. 

Similarly, other symbols were added in the Rider Waite deck. The essentials are that the magician has set up a temporary table outdoors, to display items that represent the suits of the Minor Arcana: Cups, Coins, Swords. As to the fourth, the Wand, he holds it in his hands. These four suits represent the four elements. Water, Earth, Air and Fire, respectively.

The Magician. Table (Left: Rider Waite. Right: Marseille).

In the Magician’s right hand is a wand raised toward heaven, the sky or the element æther, while his left hand is pointing to the earth. This iconographic gesture has multiple meanings, but is endemic to the Mysteries and symbolizes divine immanence, the ability of the magician to bridge the gap between heaven and earth. The Magician’s robe is white, symbolising the purity and innocence found in the Fool but his cloak is red, representing worldly experience and knowledge. He is surrounded by flowers, symbol of fertility and possibilities.

This card entails feeling centered and committed and being creative. Reversed, the Magician can indicate greed, deceit, manipulation and using one’s skill for negative ends. It can reflect trickery and cunning and mental confusion. Plus, the Magician reversed often suggests that you may be out of touch with reality and struggling to bring yourself back down to earth.

 

The Magician reminds us of Hermes, the Messenger of Gods. Hermes had several attributes and represented many things. Hermes was the Olympian god of herds and flocks, travellers and hospitality, roads and trade, thievery and cunning, heralds and diplomacy, astronomy and astrology. Besides, he was the herald and personal messenger of Zeus. He was also a god of science and wisdom, art, speech, eloquence. And, most importantly: “the God of Writing”.

Hermes´ equivalents were: In Roman Mythology: Mercury. In Norse Mythology, Odin and for the Egyptians, Thoth (also known as Theuth). Hermes Trismegistus could be a representation of the syncretic combination of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth. Hermes, the Greek god of interpretive communication, was combined with Thoth, the Egyptian god of wisdom, to become the patron of astrology and alchemy. In addition, both gods were psychopomps, who guided Souls into the Afterlife.

 •~~~•~~~ •~~~•~~~•~~~•~~~•

B. Major Arcana: The High Priestess:

In the 18th century Marseilles Tarot, this figure is crowned with the Papal tiara and labelled La Papesse, the Popess, a possible reference to the legend of Pope Joan. 

In the creation of the Rider-Waite tarot deck this card changed into The High Priestess, who appears sitting between the pillars of Boaz and Jachin (which has a particular meaning to Freemasonry).

Other variants that came after Rider-Waite are the Virgin Mary, Isis, the metaphorical Bride of Christ or Holy Mother Church.

In the The Rider Waite deck, the High Priestess is majorly associated with Persephone, Isis, and Artemis (previously: Selene).

Selene is the Greek Goddess of the Moon. She is the daughter of the Titans Hyperion and Theia. Besides, Selene is sister of the Sun-God Helios, and Eos, Goddess of the Dawn. In classical times, Selene was often identified with the Goddess of Hunting, Artemis, much as her brother (Helios), was identified with Apollo.

 

In the Rider Waite deck, the High Priestess sits at the gate before the great Mystery, as indicated by the Tree of Life in the background. She sits between the darkness and the light, represented by the pillars of Solomon’s temple, which suggests it is she who is the mediator of the passage into the depth of reality. The tapestry hung between the pillars keeps the casual onlookers out and allows only those initiated to enter.

The pomegranates on the tapestry are sacred to Persephone. They are a symbol of duty (because Persephone ate a pomegranate seed in the underworld which forced her to return every year).

The blue robe the Priestess is wearing is a symbol of knowledge.

She is also wearing a crown, symbolising the Triple Goddess.

The phases of the moon (Triple Goddess Moon).

The High Priestess is associated with the Moon. Like The High Priestess, the Moon is also feminine so it symbolises fertility, hormonal influences and the mysterious side of femininity.

As mentioned above, Selene and Artemis were Greek Goddesses related to the Moon as well.

The solar cross on her breast is a symbol of balance between male and female.

In her lap, she holds the half-revealed and half-concealed Torah, representative of the esoteric teachings and higher knowledge. The moon under her left foot shows her dominion over pure intuition. The palm indicates fertility of the mind and the cube on which she sits is the earth. The planet associated with the High Priestess is the Moon.

High Priestess. Rider Waite deck. Details: Pomegranate and Moon.

The High Priestess could also be identified with the Shekhinah, the female indwelling presence of the divine. She wears plain blue robes and sits with her hands in her lap.

She has a lunar crescent at her feet, a horned diadem on her head, with a globe in the middle place, similar to the crown of the ancient Egyptian goddess Hathor.

The scroll in her hands, partly covered by her mantle, bears the letters TORA (meaning “divine law”, for the jewish tradition). The High Priestess  conceals the last letter, “H”, beneath her cloak. The Torah contains Jewish laws in the form of the five books of Moses. Great spiritual knowledge and wisdom is to be found within the Torah. The fact that part of the name is hidden indicates mystery and concealment.

The High Priestess is a card of mystery, stillness and passivity.  This is not a time for action of moving forward.  Instead The High Priestess suggests that at present you should retreat from your situation. When The High Priestess shows up Reversed, it suggests inability to find your inner voice or to look beyond.

 •~~~•~~~ •~~~•~~~•~~~•~~~•

C. Major Arcana: The Chariot: 

In the Rider Waite version, there is a chariot standing in the middle and two sphinxes are at the bottom, on both sides.

The sphinxes´colors are reversed, pretty much like a Yin-Yang symbol. (See image 3).

The sphinxes highlight the idea of standing still. The man doesn´t move forward. And yet, there is a probable good outcome.

1.

2.

The sky is yellow representing hopes and prospect.

The stars on the curtain and the Sun in his forehead also stands for hope and trust.  He seems to follow his own intuition and light… His own star. (See image 1, above).

The latter is a recurrent symbol in the tarot deck, as we can see in the Hermit card (See image 1, below) and the Star card (See image 2).

This card represents power, and also it emphasizes the importance of balance within oneself.

3.

The driver has a Sun on his head. We can see rising and falling moons close to his neck. 

The complementary nature of these two opposite forces tend to echo the sphinxes … pointing out to Balance. 

The little red top below the wings ad in the middle of the chariot represents Lingam and Yoni, which entails the connection of two extremes (the “Golden mean”).

The card represents Victory, reaching goals. It entails self-control, balance and discipline. If the card is reversed, it means lack of determination or focus, low self-esteem, defeat or confusion.

This card can be related to Plato´s allegory of the Chariot, as it appears in his dialogue “Phaedrus”.

As he tries to explain the tripartite nature of the Soul, Plato uses an allegory.

He says that a chariot (representing the Soul) is pulled by two-winged horses, one black and mortal; and the other white and immortal.

The black mortal horse is obstinate and wild. The immortal, white horse, on the other hand, is noble, and a lover of honor and modesty and temperance.

In the driver’s seat is the charioteer. His destination is the ridge of heaven, beyond which he may behold the Forms, the absolute Knowledge.  This is a very turbulent ride, as the horses are led by opposite forces. The rider needs to keep the horse in balance. He represents the rational part of the Soul. The Black horse represents man’s appetites, meaning the part of the Soul linked with instincts. The white horse represents man’s spirit, the spirited part of the soul which seeks honor and victory.

This allegory highlights the importance of balance, integration and self-control. The two horses and the charioteer totally echo the characters on the Chariot card. Instead of horses, there are sphinxes, though. But the general meaning is strikingly similar.

The Chariot card also remind us of Helios (later on Apollo), the God and personification of the Sun in Greek mythology. Helios was  portrayed as a mighty charioteer, driving his flaming chariot (or gleaming horses) from east to west across the sky each day. 

 •~~~•~~~ •~~~•~~~•~~~•~~~•

D. Minor Arcana: Three of Cups:

The Three of Cups is a card of celebration and accomplishment. Three young maidens dance in a circle with their golden goblets upraised in a toast of joy. Their arms reach out to each other and they connect through their emotions and their friendship with one another. The ground is covered with fruit and there is a general sense of abundance and happiness. Each woman in the Three of Cups has a laurel wreath on her head. Wreaths of this type have long been a symbol of victory and success.


At the women’s feet lie various flowers, symbolising joy, beauty.

The Three of Cups represents celebration, festivity and socializing. More broadly, the Three of Cups indicates the end or conclusion of any problems you have been experiencing, particularly those that relate to your interactions with others.

When the Three of Cups reverses it can suggest lack of emotional growth, losing touch with friends, over-indulgence, and gossiping.

This card seems to epitomize the Ancient Greek Charites (also known as “Three Graces”).

The Charites were reputed to be the essence of beauty, charm and grace. They were associated with the Nine Muses, who presided and inspired arts and sciences.

The Charites were three goddesses, who were sisters between them. From youngest to oldest: Aglaea (“Splendor”), Euphrosyne (“Mirth”), and Thalia (“Good Cheer”). Frequently, the Graces were taken as goddesses of charm or beauty in general and hence were associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love.

 •~~~•~~~ •~~~•~~~•~~~•~~~•

E. Minor Arcana: Nine of Swords:

The Nine of Swords shows a woman with her head in her hands, sitting up in her bed. She appears to have just woken up from a bad nightmare, and is obviously upset, fearful and anxious following her dream.

Nine swords hang on the wall behind her. The base of the bed is decorated with a carving of a duel in which one person is being defeated by another. All those Swords are weighing heavily on her as she sits in bed. These are all the Swords she has accumulated on her journey. The Figure in the Nine looks in despair and bereft of any logical thinking. She is in a terrible state of sorrow and feels she cannot share her problems or express them properly. 

The Nine of Swords is the card of fear and nightmares. However, the troubles alluded to in the Nine of Swords are primarily of a psychological nature and do not necessarily indicate suffering in your external reality. That is, it is what is inside your mind that is creating the fear and anxiety. The dreadful worry associated with the Nine of Swords may also come guilt, shame or your conscience eating you up. On the other hand, it may be you who is the victim.  

Reversed, the Nine of Swords indicates that you are working yourself up and becoming incredibly stressed and anxious when, really, this does not have to be a complicated issue. It is also possible that you have already worked through this period of worry and depression and are beginning to make a recovery.

The Nine of Swords somehow reminds us of the Erinyes (or Furies). According to the Greek poet Hesiod, they were the daughters of Gaia (Earth) and sprang from the blood of her mutilated spouse Uranus.

The Erinyes were mainly goddesses of vengeance.  They could be either the angry goddesses, or the goddesses who hunt up or search after the criminal. Hence they were associated with punishments, mainly in the shape of remorse, shame, regret, sorrow and guilty feelings. The wrath of the Erinyes could lead to disease, illness and dearth. This is mostly what happens in Aeschylus’ “Oresteia”. Euripides was the first to speak of them as three in number. Later authors named them Allecto (“Unceasing in Anger”), Tisiphone (“Avenger of Murder”), and Megaera (“Jealous”). They were depicted as ugly, winged women with hair, arms and waists entwined with serpents.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

II. ►Tarot and Graffiti:

According to Carl Jung, myth making is an inherent part of the unconscious psyche.  Myths typically have a number of rituals associated with it and secondary elaborations and expressions. Art is an example.

How about Street Art?. Well… Street art is usually created as a means to convey a message connected to artistic, political and social ideas.  In any case, Street Art could reveal and express archetypes. 

Archetypes consist of the mental representations of certain motifs that may vary a great deal in detail without losing their basic pattern. These archetypes manifest themselves in the form of symbolic images that appear throughout the world as expressions of a common collective unconscious. 

Tarot embodies archetypes behind which lie similar archetypical meanings. And the same applies to certain graffiti or murals. So let´s see how Tarot and Street Art get juxtaposed in an artistic way.

Resa McConaghy presents us some murals from her great blog “Graffiti Lux and Murals”, illustrating the theme of the Tarot. Let´s take a look…

 •~~~•~~~ •~~~•~~~•~~~•~~~•

 •~~~•~~~ •~~~•~~~•~~~•~~~•

_____________________________________________________________________________

III. The Journey of The Fool in The Major Arcana:

Joseph Campbell explores the theory that important myths from around the world which have survived for thousands of years  all share a fundamental structure which he calls the Monomyth.
In laying out the Monomyth, Campbell describes a number of stages along this journey.
The hero starts in the Ordinary World and receives a call to enter an unusual world. The hero ventures forth from a familiar world into strange and sometimes threatening lands.
If the hero accepts the call, he might have to face tasks and trials, alone or he could have assistance.
At its most intense, the hero must survive a severe challenge, often with the help earned along the journey. They may achieve a great gift or Boon which most times results in the discovery of self-knowledge.
The hero must then decide whether to return with this boon, often facing challenges on the return journey as well. If he is succesful in returning the ordinary world these  gifts may be used to improve the world. 
Campbell proposed we view this as symbolic of the individual’s departure from their conscious personality, into the unexplored regions of their unconscious in search of the “ultimate boon”,  the unrealized potentials hidden within.

Campbell´s scheme echoes the Journey of the Fool, as displayed in The Major Arcana. 

People interpret the Journey of the Fool in various ways. It represents the process of the life cycle (childhood to middle age to old age). More often it is used to illustrate the process of spiritual development of the individual.

Following the Major Arcana´s cards and stages, people begin in a state of innocent ignorance represented by the Fool (card 0),  as he begins the journey, and pass into a final state of enlightenment reflected by the World (card XXI)After the World (perhaps paradoxically, maybe logically), comes the Fool again, as in many versions one is thought to be beginning the journey again, simply at another stage of knowledge. 

Well get  into the stages of the Hero´s Journey, as proposed by Joseph Campbell in his book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”. And, simultaneously, we´ll present certain different Major Arcana cards exemplifying the particular phases of the journey. (Note that not all the stages are covered. But most of them, are).

 •~~~•~~~ •~~~•~~~•~~~•~~~•

Joseph Campbell´s Journey of the Hero.

 •~~~•~~~ •~~~•~~~•~~~•~~~•

References Jouney of the Hero/Journey of the Fool (Major Arcana): 

  1. Call to Adventure: The Fool.
  2. Meeting the Mentor: The Hierophant.
  3.  Test and Trials: The Chariot.
  4. Approaching the Innermost Cave: The Hermit.
  5. Meeting the Shadow Self: The Devil.
  6. Ordeal: The Tower.
  7. Boon: The Star.
  8. Refusal to Return to the Ordinary World: The Moon.
  9. Dark Night of the Soul: Death.
  10. Resurrection: Judgement.
  11. Third Threshold: The Hanged Man.
  12. Mastery of the Two Worlds: The World.

 •~~~•~~~ •~~~•~~~•~~~•~~~•

 •~~~•~~~ •~~~•~~~•~~~•~~~•

_____________________________________________________________________________

IV.  Is there a “Journey” in the Minor Arcana?.

How does archetypal interactions might work in Minor Arcana?:

The Minor Arcana does not typically have an overall story or narrative to connect them that is specific to the Tarot alone.

However, one thing we can notice is that Minor Arcana cards also follow a “narrative progression”.

And that this seems to apply to all suits. We´ll provide examples. In order to methodize this, we´ll bring up a book that Colleen Chesebro kindly provided to us. The book in question is “The Writer and the Hero´s Journey”, by Rob Parnell.

In page 43, the author says:

“When telling a story, your overriding concern is to provide a platform from which you can derive conflict. Conflict is drama is story. But in order for drama to be compelling, you must create believable characters first”. He then states that the best way to create good characters is “by providing scenarios in which your characters are tested and can interact convincingly with other characters”.

We´ll use Parnell´s tips to demarcate certain progressions in certain implicit narrative sequences. These interactions could be subtle, but they are arranged in a systematic way, as stages. Hence they provide Minor Arcana with  a coherent and recurrent cyclic structure in the form of implicit narrative sequence. Pretty much like the Journey of the Fool in Major Arcana.

Parnell mentions the following “archetypal characters” (not necessarily people, they could be ideas, institutions, etc) who often interact with the main character:

  1. The Hero’s Sidekick, sometimes called “the Reflection” because they represent the hero’ s inner self as he was before the challenge.
  2. The Hero’s Nemesis: A bad person, sometimes a situation or an institution the character is fighting against.
  3. The Hero’s Love Interest, (not always necessary to a story though).
  4. The Hero’s Mentor: The person who the character/”Hero” goes to for advice or guidance.

Here are some examples of archetypal correspondences:

1 Sidekick: The Five of Wands, considered from the Ten of Cups. The latter represents Harmony and alignment; while the Five Of Wands represents disagreement, tension, conflict.

2. Nemesis: The Three of Swords, considered from the perspective of the character included in the Nine of Swords. The first card represents heartbreak ad rejection; whilst the Nine of Swords depicts someone who is depressed or concerned about certain things. We could say he is somehow  fighting against the ideas the Three of Swords represents.

3. Love Interest: Clearly this card: The Two of Cups. Representing: Love and partnership, and considered from any other card (“character”).

4. Mentor: King of Swords and Queen of Cups. Plus King and Queen of Pentacles seem to be characters that could well fulfill this role. King of Swords provides organization and quick thinking. Queen of Cups, emotional safety, calm and compassion. King and Queen of Pentacles represent discipline; and nourishing security, respectively.

 •~~~•~~~ •~~~•~~~•~~~•~~~•

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Conclusion:

Symbolic images have appeared throughout time, and all over the world. Whether they be myths, motifs, images in dreams or ritual, they are all manifestations of the unconscious psyche.

These symbols vary in detail, but like the many different decks of Tarot cards, meanings remain the same. They are archetypal. 
These archetypes are experienced by all. The “collective unconscious”, as proposed by Jung in his theories relating to psychology and myth, shares an innate psychic language.

 A.E. Waite had put it in different words, but in the end aligns with the thought that “secret doctrine” is interred in “the consciousness of all”. We may expose our intellect to many creative ideas and philosophical practices, as life and time relentlessly progresses. Not just our bodies mature, but our ideas, ideologies, purpose and direction are called to conscience. This is referred to by some as “Rites of Passage”.

In Tarot, the Major Arcana, presents”Rites of Passage” through the “Fool’s Journey”. Wisely, it presents not just a path of life, but cycles of life. The Minor Arcana purposes cycles of daily life, and therein, leads us to the larger picture. 
Guided by Astrology, Numerology, I Ching (or Book of Changes), Kabbala, Chinese Zodiac and/ or other related mystic arts, we proceed through the stages of life with an ability to live filled with comprehension through creativity. Be it intellectual and/or physical, this creativity includes all arts and sciences including alchemy.
With understanding of the archetypes and symbols representing them, we progress inventively. We become original. Therefore we can aid ourselves in the understanding of our unique path/ cycle through the physical sphere. It also assists in expressing to others, should one be a reader of Tarot, interpreter of Astrological charts, a giver of guidance via numerology religion or portrayal of relevance via mythology, a deeper meaning.
Tarot is special in that it combines most of the archetypes gone before it. Tarot uses its own imagery that contains symbols and ideology from numerology, astrology, religion, history and more. Thereby, Tarot is a powerful guiding force.
Whichever deck of Tarot one chooses to read from, it was illustrated and painted by an artist. Art has depicted Mankind spiritually, intellectually and physically from cave drawings through to Graffiti art. Artists have executed their thoughts, visions and ideas with paint, clay, writing, music, dance, myth and more.
Mythology, Greek or Roman and otherwise, has guided man with culturally relevant imagined tales. Greek myths contain many archetypal characters that are reflected in the Tarot: such as: the hero’s sidekick (The Fool), the hero’s nemesis (The Devil), love interest (The Lovers) and mentor (The Hierophant).
These stories provide a metaphor to individuals’ personal lives involving political and ethical ideals, thereby yielding emotional reactions. Mythology, as many legends, has been represented in many art forms from: sculpture, paintings and drawings, to dance, costumes and music.
In these modern times, even tattoos express the archetypes of “the collective unconscious”.
Pythagoras, a Greek mathematician who created the theorem for right-angled triangles, was also a philosopher. His creative mind was not relegated to mathematics, and he created the Pythagorean Tarot. His creativity was deeply rooted in the art of imagery through mythology and ancient Greek Mysteries. His was a pre-christian world, and his Tarot reflects that. Nonetheless, it is filled with many archetypes of his time’s philosophies. These archetypes prevail today.
In conclusion: All of the arts and archetypes are in the Tarot. The Tarot, through “the consciousness of all” is in all of the arts and archetypes. 
 •~~~•~~~ •~~~•~~~•~~~•~~~•

A few cards from The Rider- Waite Tarot deck.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

⇒Links Post:
http://www.michaeltsarion.com/inner-zodiac.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpV40oP8QEI
http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/pythagorean/
https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/361902/jewish/The-Four-Worlds.htm
https://soa.illinoisstate.edu/downloads/anthro_theses/caldwell_sara.pdfh
https://es.scribd.com/document/311979264/Rob-Parnell-The-Writer-and-the-Hero-s-Journey
https://teachmetarot.com/part-iii-major-arcana/lesson-2/the-high-priestess-ii-upright/
https://teachmetarot.com/part-1-minor-arcana/lesson-2/the-collective-unconscious-archetypes-and-symbols/

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

► “Hermes & Writing in Ancient Greece”: “Collaboration with Alan Severs”✍️:

Statue of Hermes/Mercury. Roman copy. 200 AD.


Summary:

“Hermes”, by W. B. Richmond. From “The magazine of art” vol. 9, 1886.

♠Divided into three sections, this article revolves around three main themes: Hermes, as The Greek God of Writing and his equivalents in other cultures; Plato´s derogatory ideas of writing, amidst the prevailing Oral Tradition; and how this eventually would change, as writing became a most accepted form, when the Greeks adopted the Phoenician Alphabet.

Greek God Hermes was the equivalent of the egyptian God Thoth, and from both of them resulted a Hybrid God: Hermes Trismegistus.

Hermes´roman counterpart was Mercury

In Norse Mythology, his Homologous figure was Odin.

Hermes and his associated figures are described in the first section.

♠The second section refers to Plato´s dialogue “Phaedrus”, emphasizing Socrates´quite negative statements concerning writing in that dialogue.

In “Phaedrus”Plato denies the legitimacy of the written word in favour of the oral tradition. With that purpose, Socrates tells us a myth, featuring Thoth (also known as Theuth and Hermes´egyptian equivalent).

Greece’s transition to literacy, was slow, and it augmented and transformed the traditions of oral culture which had for centuries been instrumental in the handing down of certain forms of cultural knowledge.

Before the advent of writing, Greek citizens’ knowledge of their history, the ways of their gods, and the attitudes, mores, and taboos of their society were orally transmitted. This occurred not only through parent-to-child communication and transmission within a community, but also through the poetry of the bards, most notably Homer and Hesiod.

The third section  delves into this issue, taking into account how writing effectively evolved in Ancient Greece.

As a matter of fact, Writing went through different phases, summed up as follows:

>Linear A Script: It was the written language of the Minoans of Crete, remains undecipherable.

>Linear B Script: It consists of the Mycenaean Civilization and the only partially decipherable Linear B script of Crete. 

>Phoenician Alphabet: It was the alphabet of ancient Phoenicia, which first came to Greece sometime before the 8th century BCE, from whence it spread.

•~~~•~~~ •~~~•~~~•~~~•~~~•

Section I. Hermes, Thoth, Hermes Trismegistus, Mercury and Odin:

Hermes was son of Zeus and one of the Pleiades, Maia

Hermes, Greek God. 540 BC

The name Hermes appears to have originated in the word for “stone heap.”

Probably since prehistoric times there existed in Crete and in other Greek regions a custom or erecting a herma, consisting of an upright stone surrounded at its base by a heap of smaller stones. Such monuments were used to serve as boundaries or as landmarks for wayfarers. A connection existed between these simple monuments and the deity named Hermes.

Hermes had many attributes and represented many things. Hermes was the Olympian god of herds and flocks, travellers and hospitality, roads and trade, thievery and cunning, heralds and diplomacy, astronomy and astrology. Besides, he was the herald and personal messenger of Zeus, and also the guide of the dead who led souls down into the underworld. 

He was also a god of science and wisdom, art, speech, eloquence. And, most importantly: “the God of Writing”. 

The Greek God Hermes, as God of Writing, finds his analogue in Egypt as the ancient Wisdom God Thoth (sometimes spelled Thouth, Theuth or Tahuti). 

Thoth, Egyptian God of Writing.

Thoth was important in many myths of Pharaonic Egypt: he played a role in the creation myth, he was recorder of the gods, and the principal pleader for the soul at the judgment of the dead. It was he who invented writing. According to relevant sources, he wrote all the ancient texts, including the most esoteric ones, including “The Book of Breathings”, which taught humans how to become gods.

In ancient Egypt,  Thoth created script. Besides, he was connected with the moon and thus considered the ruler of the night.

Furthermore, Thoth acted as an emissary between the contending armies of Horus (Egyptian God of the sky and kingship) and Seth (god of the desert, storms, disorder and violence in ancient Egyptian). Thoth eventually came to negotiate the peace treaty between these two gods. His role as a mediator between the opposites is thus made evident, perhaps prefiguring the role of the alchemical Mercury as the “medium of the conjunction.”

Both Hermes and Thoth were gods of writing and of magic in their respective cultures.

Hermes, the Greek god of interpretive communication, was combined with Thoth, the Egyptian god of wisdom, to become the patron of astrology and alchemy. In addition, both gods were psychopomps, guiding souls to the afterlife. Hermes Trismegistus may be a representation of the syncretic combination of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth.

As Alan Severs says in his post “The Grammar of Magic”:

“Writing and magic have always been closely associated. The Egyptian God Thoth was thought to be  the inventor of writing and the patron of every magical art. The considerable cultural contact and resulting overlap over the centuries because of conquest and trade between Egypt, Greece and Rome led to the deities Hermes and Mercury who shared many of the same attributes as Thoth before they all further blended together, creating the composite figure that was to later an immeasurable influence in the history of ideas, Hermes Trismegistus”.

Last, but not least: there is still another Egyptian parallel. Specifically, in the figure of Anubis. In classical mythology, Hermanubis was a god who combined Hermes with Anubis (given that they were both conductors of souls).

Hermes Trismegistus, floor mosaic in the Cathedral of Siena. 1480s.

Hermes´roman equivalent, Mercury had essentially the same aspects as Hermes. He also wore winged shoes and a winged hat, and carried the caduceus, a herald’s staff with two entwined snakes that was Apollo‘s gift to Hermes. He was often accompanied by a cockerel, herald of the new day, a ram or goat, symbolizing fertility, and a tortoise, referring to Mercury’s legendary invention of the lyre from a tortoise-shell.

Like Hermes, he was also a god of messages, eloquence and of trade, particularly of the grain trade. He was also, like Hermes, the Romans’ psychopomp, whose ability was to lead the newly deceased souls to the afterlife.

Thoth. Hermes Trismegistus and Mercury.

Another related God, given his attributes, is Odin.

Odin is a prominently mentioned god throughout the recorded history of the Germanic people, from the Roman occupation of regions of Germania through the tribal expansions of the Migration Period and the Viking Age. In the major mythological Old Norse texts, the Poetic and Prose Eddas, Odin is depicted as one-eyed and long-bearded, frequently wielding a spear named Gungnir, and wearing a cloak and a broad hat. He is often accompanied by his animal companions: two wolves and two ravens named Huginn and Muninn (Thought and Memory). As well as being the Germanic equivalent of Hermes, Odin appears to have marked shamanistic tendencies as he frequently has ecstatic visions in other realms after undergoing various trials and ordeals.

In Norse Mythology he was associated with healing, death, royalty, the gallows, knowledge, battle, sorcery, poetry and the runic alphabet. In the long Eddic, gnomic poem Havamal (The Words of Odin the High One) Odin sacrifices himself to himself by hanging from a tree (presumably Yggdrasil, the World Tree) for nine days and nine nights in order to obtain knowledge of the runes, which is suggested throughout Norse mythology as being a symbolic alphabet used for magical purposes. 

 •~~~•~~~ •~~~•~~~•~~~•~~~•

 •~~~•~~~ •~~~•~~~•~~~•~~~•

►Section II. Plato´s dialogue “Phaedrus”, in which Socrates pronounced himself in favour of the prevailing Oral Tradition and, thus, against writing:

In his dialogue “Phaedrus”; Plato denies the legitimacy of the written word as capable of conveying knowledge in any truly significant way.

In this dialogue, Socrates puts the case against writing into the mouth of  Thamus, the Egyptian equivalent of Zeus.

When Thamus is presented by the god Theuth (Thoth) with the invention of writing, Thoth claims it “will make the Egyptians wiser and will improve their memories, for it is an elixir of memory and wisdom that I have discovered”. But Thamus replies:

‘Most ingenious Theuth, one man has the ability to beget arts, but the ability to judge of their usefulness or harmfulness to their users belongs to another; and now you who are the father of letters, have been led by your affection to ascribe to them a power the opposite of that which they really possess. For this invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice their memory. Their trust in writing, produced by external characters which are no part of themselves, will discourage the use of their own memory within them. You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding; and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom, for they will read many things without instruction and will therefore seem to know many things, when they are for the most part ignorant and hard to get along with, since they are not wise, but only appear wise’. (Plato´s “Phaedrus”. Line 140 and following).
Socrates adds his own conviction that written words are inhuman, unresponsive to questioning, and indiscriminate as to whom they address themselves. At best, they can only “remind him who knows the matter about which they are written” (Plato´s “Phaedrus”. Line 278).

Walter Ong points out in his book “Orality and Literacy” [*Click here to read book] that these denunciations can by the modern reader as the same ones levelled by many against computers. This analogy is instructive because it allows us to understand in some small way the nature of the enormous change that was taking place in early Greek culture at the time of Socrates and Plato: the transition from a dominantly oral mode of transmitting knowledge to a slowly emerging literate one.

The Egyptian god Thoth, or Tehuti, in the form of an ibis. With him is his associate, the ape, proferring the Eye of Horus.

•~~~•~~~ •~~~•~~~•~~~•~~~•

►Section III. Towards a Literate Society: Writing in Ancient Greece:

1) >Linear A and Linear B Scripts:

Linear A (1700 BC)  was the written language of the Minoans of Crete. It consists of 60 phonetic symbols representing syllables and 60 symbols representing sounds and concrete objects or abstract ideas. There is no consensus on how to translate the Linear A symbols

Linear B (1450 BC) was first studied by Sir Arthur Evans, but it was not until 1952 that it was deciphered by Michael Ventris.

Linear B  is generally seen as a more simplified and less pictorial version of the earlier scripts . It is also far more cursive in its shape. The script consists of about 87 symbols, which each represent a syllable, as well as some ideograms which represent an entire word or idea. It seems that the Myceneans used writing not to keep historical records but strictly as a device to register the flow of goods and produce into the palaces from a complex, highly centralized economy featuring regional networks of collection and distribution. [To see examples of  decipherments of Linear A and Linear B Minoans tablets, please visit this guest post at “The Shield of Achilles”].

2) >The Phoenician Alphabet in Greece:

The alphabet of most modern languages was originated in ancient Phoenicia (11oo BC) and first came to Greece sometime before the 8th century BC, from whence it spread. Homer’s “Illiad” and “Odyssey”, written around 800 BC, are early examples of the Greek use of the Phoenician alphabet, as are the classics “Theogony” and “Works and Days”, by Hesiod.  Homer’s poems appear to have been recorded shortly after the script’s invention: an inscription from Ischia in the Bay of Naples, dated 740 BC, appears to refer to a text of the “Iliad”; and illustrations inspired by the Polyphemus episode in the “Odyssey” were found in Mykonos in 715 BC.

Herodotus claimed that the Phoenician alphabet was brought by Cadmus to Boeotia where he founded the city of Thebes.

The early Greek alphabet, based on the alphabet of the Phoenicians, was different from the linear and hieroglyphic scripts preceding it in that each symbol represents a single consonant as opposed to a syllable.

The Phoenician alphabet consisted of 22 characters with vowel sounds built into the symbols. The Greeks modified the Phoenician alphabet by changing some of the symbols as well as creating separate vowels.  They also made their alphabet more phonetically correct.

By using individual symbols to represent vowels and consonants, the Greeks created a writing system that could, for the first time, represent speech in an unambiguous manner. Furthermore, while Linear B seems to have only been used for inventories and lists, the Greek alphabet was used for literary purposes. Writing became not simply a means of recording events, but also an art form in itself.

⇒Writing from right to left. Bidirectional writing. Writing from left to right:

In the earliest versions of the alphabet, the Greeks complied with the Phoenician practice of writing from right to left and the letters had a left-facing orientation.

A good example of writing from right to left is shown in the inscription on the so-called Nestor’s Cup, a clay drinking vessel of the 8th century BC, which bears a famous inscription.

The text of the inscription runs:

Nestor’s cup, good to drink from.
Whoever drinks from this cup, him straightaway
the desire of beautiful-crowned Aphrodite will seize.

The so-called Nestor’s cup from Pithekoussai, Ischia and its inscription.

This was followed by a period of bidirectional writing, which means that the direction of the writing was in one direction on one line but in the opposite direction on the next, a practice known as boustrophedon.

During the 5th century BCE, however, the direction of Greek writing was standardized as left to right, and all the letters adopted a fixed right-facing orientation. 


Conclusion:

So far, we have seen that there are clear and effective similarities, when it comes to certain Gods.

Gods Hermes, Thoth (and the hybrid resulting of both: Hermes Trismegistus); as well as Mercury and Odin, they all represent similar ideas.

They all seem to be fused in an eclectic space of cultural juxtaposition, despite the cultural differences.

This could prove Carl Jung´s thesis of the Collective Unconscious. According to him, the human collective unconscious is populated by archetypes and universal symbols, shared among beings of the same species.

Worth noting that Hermes and his equivalents were mainly considered here keeping in mind their specific roles as “Gods of Writing”.

Plato was a keen defender of Oral tradition, against writing. This is evident particularly in his dialogue “Phaedrus”, in which Socrates (by retelling an Egyptian myth), states that Writing will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice their memory.

Pisistratus (6th century BC/ 527 BC) was tyrant of Athens whose unification of Attica and consolidation and rapid improvement of the city’s prosperity helped to make possible it’s later preeminence in Greece.

Pisistratus clearly supported Oral tradition. And he did so, by specifically encouraging Dramatic Arts and TheatreIndeed, theatre was a key technological factor of specialization in Greek culture. The choral poetry offered a fissure through which the choir was first sung until the actors took over in order to visually stage the oral poetry.

Probably, this was the most evident symptom of the transition from an Oral culture to a hybrid, semi-oral or audiovisual Culture, which dominated the fifth century BC and classicism. At last, by the end of the century, Writing prevailed.

When introducing writing, (Linear A, Linear B, and especially alphabetic writing), the Ancient Greeks privileged the visual sense against other senses such as seeing or hearing. Alongside this change, their conception of space and time was also altered, going from discontinuous to a linear, homogeneous conception. Hence, the chronological narrative and History itself arose as new types of discourses.

By objectifying words and making meaning accessible to a much longer and more intense meaning of what is orally possible, writing fostered private thought and increased awareness of individual differences.

Thus, Writing led to free initiative and creativity of the Ancient Greek society as a plural “whole”, while preserving the value of the individual forms. Such a tendency could be also considered a “call for democracy”, as a political correlate of literacy, expressivity, abstraction and individualization.



♠About Alan Severs: Alan defines himself as an occasional writer of fiction, poetry; and essays on modernism, mysticism, mythology, magic and mystery. His blog, Cakeordeathsite covers many of these and other interesting subjects. Please check it out hereThank you, Alan! 🐬

•~~~•~~~ •~~~•~~~•~~~•~~

Click to visit Alan´s blog.-

_________________________________________________________________________________________
Links Post:
https://http://www.ancient.eu/script/
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/lineara.htm
http://www.ancient.eu/timeline/writing/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nestor%27s_Cup
https://cakeordeathsite.wordpress.com/2017/03/24/the-grammaire-of-magic/
http://www.ancient.eu/Greek_Alphabet/
http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Hermes.html
http://www.john-uebersax.com/plato/myths/phaedrus.htm
http://www.csuchico.edu/phil/sdobra_mat/platopaper.html

__________________________________________________________________________________

Read Full Post »

Charming villages!

The Region of Valencia is more than just sun and beach. Rural tourism has increased over the last years, particularly among domestic visitors. My intention is to let you known about amazing inland villages that are alternative to mass tourism.

The77snake - Born in 1977 under the sign of the fire snake

My inner world does revolve around another star.

Non Solo Campagna - Il blog di Elena

Immagini, pensieri e racconti

The Alchemist's Studio

Raku pottery, vases, and gifts

Adolfo's Blog

Nature Lover, Gardening Enthusiast, Traveller, Photography

A Pondering Mind

The Mind Works Best With Coffee

Somewhat Damaged

No one ever seems to be afraid of losing me.

FOTOGRAFIE

Fotografia - lubię to

JustCallMeTaco

Anxiety, Self-Harm, Addiction, Equality, Activism, and Pain

Moda-Creative thinking

Moda-Creative thinking

NORBERT WEBER (GERMANY)

PERSONALTRAINING

Erwin Wensley

Fiction, thoughts and essays.

I LIVE IN FANTASY

#Pure emotions

Ancient Echoes Blog

Exploring the Mysteries of Creativity with Art, Mythos & Nature

Beer Half Full

The Secret to an Optimistic Lifestyle

Astro Orientamenti

Ri Orientarsi, alla ricerca del nostro baricentro interiore

(Metanoia)

Fan of GOD - WordPress.com

Newtan

Think future

TUZLA

Together for Equality

Raiplant SL

Producción de plantas Hortícolas y Ornamentales

%d bloggers like this: