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Ancient Signs

Ancient Signs

The Alphabet & the Origins of Writing

My new print & ebook
shows that modern alphabets are based on ancient alphabets rooted in syllabic scripts of the ancient world (Sumer, Egypt, Iran, Anatolia, Crete, Cyprus)

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Hydra - See the figure inside?

Precession LexiLine? Logo of the Stars
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Fear of the Sky Falling
by F. Graham Millar
Halifax Centre, RASC (Royal Astronomical Society of Canada)
Website use with permission of the late copyright-holding author and based on the author's significant pioneer article which appeared in the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 89, No. 4, Aug. 1995, pp.141-154.

Precession of the Stars
The Earth acts as a huge Spinning Top

Millar Chart

The investigation of the David and Goliath story as a myth of the stars must begin with noting the effect of precession of the equinoxes. It is the slow conical swing of the axis of the Earth, acting as a huge spinning top. The result is that, in a period of 25,800 years, the pole of the heavens moves as a circle on the celestial sphere on a radius of 23°4. The locus of the pole among the stars is shown in the figure above.

Precession caused the ancients to fear that the sky was falling. As may be seen in the figure above, Vega was near the celestial pole of 11,000 BC, and may have been regarded in ancient times as the supreme god, who supported the apex of the universe. Its name is from the Sanskrit, weg, meaning "the wakeful" (Morris 1969). .

The Akkadians called it the Life of Heaven, and the Assyrians the Judge of Heaven (Allen 1963). By 8000 BC they must have noticed that it had "fallen" from its place, and it has continued to fall. The fall may be mentioned in the Bible (Isaiah 14:12). Today Vega is 51° from the pole.

The Celts were among those who feared the sky was falling, as a quotation from Mac Cana (1970) suggests: The Adriatic Celts, when they were asked by Alexander the Great what they feared most, are reported to have said - with disarming candour - that they feared no one, unless it were that the sky might fall upon them.

The concept of the sky falling helps us to interpret the rock carving of the first millennium from Camonica in northern Italy. (For a view of the copyrighted graphic, please see the original article.) The larger of two men (the Horned One) seems to depict the combined constellation of Hercules and Ophiucus. Some outlines of Ophiucus draw a rectangle that corresponds to the long skirt.

The combined asterisms possibly constituted the obsolete constellation of Menat (Allen 1963). Mac Cana pronounced the tall figure to be the antlered god Cernunnos. He observed the serpent in his left hand, which I see as the constellation Serpens Caput. He commented upon the torc (heavy circlet) on his right arm; Celtic figures have frequently been depicted as wearing the torc as an amulet. Further, as we may observe in the rock carving, the round mark at the upper right of the rock carving is in the right position for Corona Borealis.

The point I particularly wish to make is that the hands of Cernunnos are raised in the weight lifter's pose. Mythologists have called it the orans position. As I would argue, the god is holding up the sky.

Eliade (1964) has described how the Siberian shamans believed that the high branches of the sacred birch reached to the sphere of the fixed stars, and would erect birch pillars to support the sky. Like the pillars, the antlers of Cernunnos may perhaps be interpreted as supporting the sky.

The pole of the heavens was midway between the upraised arms of Hercules at 8000 BC. Hence, the idea that Cernunnos supported the sky is likely to have originated broadly near that date. As suggested here, when precession continued, the persona of the Horned One moved into the constellation of Boötes. There he was known as Lugh.

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