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The Tribe of Dan

An analysis of the genealogies in the Bible is very illuminating. According to the book of Chronicles there is no genealogy for the tribe of Dan. It has been observed by numerous scholars that many of the names occurring in the genealogies themselves are either blatantly geographical or connected with place-names; while others are definitely personal names.[1] But the case of the Tribe of Dan is special, and holds a clue for us in this matter of the Temple and the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant. In II Chronicles 2:11-14 the D historian writes:

Then Hiram the king of Tyre answered in writing, which he sent to Solomon, Because the Lord hath loved his people, he has made you king over them. Hiram said moreover, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, that made heaven and earth, who has given to David the king a wise son, endued with prudence and understanding, who should build a house for the Lord, and a palace for his kingdom. And now I have sent a skilled man, endued with understanding, even Huram-abi, my trusted counselor, the son of a woman of the daughters of DAN; his father was a man of Tyre. He is a trained worker in gold, silver, brass, iron, stone, and wood, in purple, blue, and crimson colors, and in fine linen; also to engrave any manner of engraving, and to carry out any design which shall be given to him, with your skilled men, and with the skilled men of my lord David your father.

The above is supposed to be a letter from Hiram of Tyre to Solomon, discussing the attributes of a particular man, the trusted counselor of the great Hiram, who is being sent to help the son of David as a great favor. This man is presented as a great designer and architect. He is named, and his mother is designated as being of the tribe of Dan. He is going to be the architect of the Temple of Solomon. In other words, he is the model for the archetypal great architect Hiram Abiff of Masonic lore.

So, what is the problem?

Look at this next excerpt from Exodus 31:1-7:

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, To devise skilful works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in bronze, and in cutting of stones for setting, and in carving of wood, to work in all manner of craftsmanship. And behold, I have appointed with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of DAN; and to all who are wise hearted I have given wisdom and ability to make all that I have commanded you: The tent of meeting, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is on it, and all the furniture of the tent

The above description of the command to build the Tent of Meeting and the Ark sounds almost identical to the purported letter from Hiram to Solomon, even including strong similarities in the names of the principal worker: Huram-abi of the tribe of Dan has become Hur of the tribe of Judah:

And Bezalel the son Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made all that the LORD commanded Moses. And with him was Aholiab, son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan an engraver, and a skillful craftsman, and an embroiderer in blue, and in purple, and in scarlet, and fine linen.

The next problem arises when we find in I Kings, chapter 7:13-21, the following most confusing information about Hiram:

And King Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre. He was a widow s son of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass: and he was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and skill to work all works in brass.

And he came to king Solomon, and wrought all his work. For he cast two pillars of brass, of eighteen cubits high apiece: and a line of twelve cubits did compass either of them about. And he made two chapiters of molten brass, to set upon the tops of the pillars: the height of the one chapiter was five cubits, and the height of the other chapiter was five cubits: And nets of checker work, and wreaths of chain work, for the chapiters which were upon the top of the pillars; seven for the one chapiter, and seven for the other chapiter. And he made the pillars, and two rows round about upon the one network, to cover the chapiters that were upon the top, with pomegranates: and so did he for the other chapiter. And the chapiters that were upon the top of the pillars were of lily work in the porch, four cubits. And the chapiters upon the two pillars had pomegranates also above, over against the belly which was by the network: and the pomegranates were two hundred in rows round about upon the other chapiter. And he set up the pillars in the porch of the temple: and he set up the right pillar, and called the name thereof Jachin: and he set up the left pillar, and called the name thereof Boaz.

We see without too much difficulty that these passages are taken from the same source, though one refers to the building of a Temple and the other refers to the construction of a tent and an ark. One of the problems is, of course, that according to the Bible, the two events are separated by a very long period of time. We also note the curious name similarities between Huram-abi of the passage in II Chronicles, and Hur, the father of Bezalel, connected to Aholiab of the tribe of Dan. Also curious is the name of Bezalel, which is so similar to Jezebel, who we have tentatively identified as the Phoenician princess, daughter of Ethbaal, king of Tyre. More curious still is the claim of the Dan inscription that, in the destruction of the City of Dan, the House of David was destroyed. What was the connection of the Tribe of Dan to the House of the Beloved? Were they, as it seems from these clues, one and the same?

In the Exodus passage, we find an interesting substitution taking place: the tribe of Judah has been connected with the tribe of Dan, even taking precedence. The architect sent by Hiram whose mother was of the tribe of Dan, and whose father was a man of Tyre, is now relegated to a subservient position to Bezalel, of the tribe of Judah, who is now the son of Hur. Importantly, we see that a member of the tribe of Dan was the builder of the Ark! We are entitled to ask: is the tribe of Dan the true house of the beloved or Davidic line? And if so, who are they?

When we search for the source of this tribe, we find many interesting things as well as things that are conspicuous by their absence. In Genesis 30:1-6, we discover that Dan was the child of Rachel s maid, Bilhah:

And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. And Jacob s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb? And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her. And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her. And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son. And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan.

This story is remarkably similar to the story of Sarai and Hagar in Genesis 16:1-5

Now Sarai Abram s wife bare him no children: and she had a handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing: I ask you, have intercourse with my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram listened to Sarai. And Sarai Abram s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. And he had intercourse with Hagar and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the Lord judge between me and thee.

The last lines of both passages, dealing with judgment, indicate that they are, in fact, the same story.

Another interesting connection pops up when we consider the identification of Hiram as a member of the tribe of Naphtali in the passage describing the creation of the pillars Jachin and Boaz. From I Chronicles, chapter 7:13:

The sons of Naphtali; Jahziel, and Guni, and Jezer, and Shallum, the sons of Bilhah.

Keep the name Shallum in mind because we will encounter it again later in the chapter.

We next come to another clue. In Genesis 49, the patriarch Jacob has called all his children to gather around his deathbed so that he can pronounce their destiny upon them. When he gets to Dan, in verses16 -18, he says:

Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, a horned snake in the path, that bites at the horse s heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. I wait for thy salvation, O Lord.

This is said almost as though the activity of Dan that is negative toward Israel, is the salvation. In Deuteronomy 33:22, Moses blesses the tribe of Dan by saying, And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion s whelp: he shall leap from Bashan. But in the blessing of Jacob, in Genesis 49:8-9 the attribute of the Lion is given to Judah:

Judah, you are the one whom your brothers shall praise. Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father s sons shall bow down to you. Judah, a lion s cub! With the prey, my son, you have gone high up the mountain; he stooped down, he crouched as a lion, and as a lioness; who dares provoke and rouse him?

Let s compare that to two additional items: the destiny prescribed by God when he appears to Hagar at the well when she ran away after Sarai was cruel to her during her pregnancy, and the blessing given by Isaac to his beloved son Esau after Jacob had defrauded his father with the help of his mother, Rebekah. There are interesting resonances to the remarks made about Judah. The first event is recounted in Genesis 16:11-12, and the second in Genesis 27:39-40:

1) And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, you are with child and shall bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael, or God hears, because the Lord has heard and paid attention to your affliction. And [Ishmael] will be as a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man s hand against him; and he shall live to the east and on the borders of all his kinsmen.

2) And Isaac his father answered and said unto [Esau], Behold, Your dwelling shall all come from the fruitfulness of the earth, and from the dew of heaven from above; And by your sword shalt you live, and serve your brother. But the time will come when you will have the dominion, and you will break his yoke from off your neck.

One of the more interesting things we discover when we dig into this subject is that Samson was of the tribe of Dan. Robert Graves remarks:

Hercules first appears in legend as a pastoral sacred king and, perhaps because shepherds welcome the birth of twin lambs, is a twin himself. His characteristics and history can be deduced from a mass of legends, folk-customs and megalithic monuments. He is the rainmaker of his tribe and a sort of human thunderstorm. Legends connect him with Libya and the Atlas Mountains; he may well have originated thereabouts in Paleolithic times. The priests of Egyptian Thebes, who called him Shu, dated his origin as 17,000 years before the reign of King Amasis. His symbols are the acorn; the rock dove, which nests in oaks as well as in clefts of rock; the mistletoe, and the serpent. All of these are sexual emblems. The dove was sacred to the Love-goddess of Greece and Syria the serpent was the most ancient of phallic totem-beasts; the cupped acorn stood for the glans penis in both Greek and Latin; the mistletoe was an all-heal and its names viscus and ixias are connected with vis and ischus (strength) probably because of the spermal viscosity of its berries, sperm being the vehicle of life.[ ]

The manner of his death can be reconstructed from a variety of legends, folk customs and other religious survivals. At mid-summer, at the end of a half-year reign, Hercules is made drunk with mead and led into the middle of a circle of twelve stones arranged around an oak, in front of which stands an altar-stone; the oak has been lopped until is it T-shaped. He is bound to it with willow thongs in the five-fold bond which joins wrists, neck, and ankles together, beaten by his comrades till he faints, then flayed, blinded, castrated, impaled with a mistletoe stake, and finally hacked into joints on the altar stone.[2] His blood is caught in a basin and used for sprinkling the whole tribe to make them vigorous and fruitful. The joints are roasted at twin fires of oak-loppings, kindled with sacred fire preserved from lightning blasted oak or made by twirling an alder or cornel-wood fire drill in an oak log. [ ]

The twelve merry men rush in a wild figure-of-eight dance around the fires, singing ecstatically and tearing at the flesh with their teeth. The bloody remains are burnt in the fire, all except the genitals and the head. These are put into an alder-wood boat and floated down a river to an islet; though the head is sometimes cured with smoke and preserved for oracular use. [ ]

To this type of Hercules belong such diverse characters as Hercules of Oeta, Orion the Hunter of Crete, Polyphemus the Cyclops, Samson the Danite, Cuchulain of Muirthemne the Irish Sun-Hero, Ision the Lapth – who is always depicted stretched in a five-fold bond around a Sun-wheel – Agag the Amalekite, Romulus of Rome, Zeus, Janus, Anchises, the Dagda and Hermes. [ ]

In the classical myth which authorized his sovereignty he is a miraculous child born in a shower of gold; strangles a serpent in his cradle, which is also a boat, and is credited with causing the spurt of milk that made the Milky Way; as a young man he is the undefeated monster-slayer of his age; kills and dismembers a monstrous boar; [ ] his other self succeeds him for the second half of the year; having acquired royal virtue by marriage with the queen, the representative of the White Goddess, and by eating some royal part of the dead man s body – heart, shoulder or thigh-flesh.[3]

We see in the above all the elements of the Jesus myth, realizing that Jesus was said to have been of the Davidic line, the house of Judah, the Tribe of Dan.

To finish off this little diversion, we find another curious remark about the tribe of Dan in Judges 5:17:

Gilead abode beyond Jordan: and why did Dan remain in ships?

That s a strange thing; an allusion to a sea-faring people? The prophet Amos seems to have some conviction that this tribe of Dan is a serious threat to Yahweh. He writes in 8:14-15:

They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, Thy god, Oh Dan, liveth; and, the manner of Beersheba liveth; even they shall fall, and never rise up again.

Amos seems to be suggesting that the sin of Samaria, is directly connected to the tribe of Dan. And we have some idea already that the sin of Samaria was also the sin of Ahab and Jezebel, the House of the Beloved. Which brings us back to the question: just what was the tribe of Dan, and why was it changed to the tribe of Judah? If the tribe of Judah is really the tribe of Dan, then that means that the House of David is the tribe of Dan. And following the clues, we discover that this lineage belonged to Ishmael and Esau, not to Isaac and Jacob. We further discover that the lineage is that of the architect of the temple of Solomon, the designer and builder of the Ark of the Covenant, the right hand man of the legendary King Hiram of Tyre.

The Festival of Tabernacles

This matter of the Tabernacle leads us into some additional interesting speculations. Many scholars believe that the psalms were literary creations for the central festival of the Canaanites: The Festival of Tabernacles, or booths. The Feast of Tabernacles is a week long autumn harvest festival. It is also known as the Feast of the Ingathering, Feast of the Booths, Sukkoth, Succoth, or Sukkot (variations in spellings occur because these words are transliterations of the Hebrew word pronounced Sue-coat ). The two days following the festival are separate holidays, Shemini Atzeret and Simkhat Torah, but are commonly thought of as part of the Feast of Tabernacles.

One of the more interesting references to what may have been an early celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles occurs in Genesis 33. We discover from our exegetes that verses 1 through 17 are from the E source of the northern kingdom. The incident in question follows a peculiar event in the previous chapter where Jacob sends his family away and remains alone to wrestle with a man all night. This man is later identified as an angel of God, and the angel wounds Jacob in the thigh.

What does it mean to say that Jacob was wounded in the thigh? According to some commentators, he apparently sustained an injury common to wrestlers, the inward displacement of the hip that is produced by forcing the legs too widely apart. The injured person finds his leg flexed, abducted and externally rotated. He can only walk with a lurching or swaggering gait, and on his toes. The affected leg is lengthened and this tightens the tendons in the thigh and the muscles go into spasm.

Since the story of Jacob comes to us from the age when women were the transmitters of the right to rule, and since Jacob won his sacred name and inheritance which could only be granted by a woman on this same occasion, it seems that something is wrong with this picture. The element that stands out is that of a transition from the hieros gamos to the ritual combat, with residual sexual overtones.

In the myth of combat between Set and Horus, Set tries to mate sexually with Horus. This is usually interpreted as being an insult, but there is something deeper here.

It was a formal principle of Greek myth and literature that love and death were two aspects of the same power. In Homer, there are as many ways to kill as to love, if not more. The language and images are disturbingly interchangeable.

The verb damazō (as also its equivalent damnēmi) spans a range of meanings from subjugation to slaughter to rape to seduction, and the “mingling” conveyed by meignymi may be that of lovers of that of warriors.

Both kinds of couples grapple and cling and know a desperate, intense intimacy with few if any parallels anywhere else in human experience. Furthermore, both the love-act and the death-act are accompanied by “small talk” and preceded by a form of play, a not-yet-violent contest soon to be raised to a higher power and decided or consummated on another plane.[4]

In his Poetics, Aristotle traced the origin of poetry to the pleasure human beings derive in mimesis, or “imaging” that which is delightful or disturbing. He tells us that, very early, poetry divided into two currents: a poetry of praise and a poetry of assault.

In the Greek war of wars and its subsequent Song of Songs, the Iliad, the violation of the city of Troy and the violation of its women became, in the minds of the Bronze Age thinkers, one. The metaphor is linguistically embedded in the word krēdemna which means both a city’s battlements and women’s veils. In the tale of the Trojan war, the shining object of desire was not gold or horses or jewels or even power: it was a woman, Helen.

Outside of the Greek tradition, in the cultural milieu of the Eastern Mediterranean world of the Bronze Age, there was the same convergence of eros and eris. The theme of violence or the threat of violence provoked by rivalry over a beautiful women which was absent from older literature of the ancient Near East, is evident in the story of Abram, the husband of a remarkably beautiful woman. Fearing that his wife’s beauty and desirability might put him at risk, he passes himself off as her brother. In the end, the Pharaoh who takes Abram’s wife to his bed is described as anxious to see her go since she brought nothing but plague and disaster to him and his house.

When we peer deeper into this connection between eros and eris, erotic love and deadly conflict, we find an even older layer preserved in the poetic tradition and enacted in rituals such as that of Jacob and the Angel. In ancient cities, it was the king in his priestly or divine capacity who, with his temple consort, reenacted the hieros gamos, the sacred mating of Heaven and Earth.

The story of Helen of Troy – her great beauty that provoked such grief – is a key to the shift in the perception of women in the ancient world. Hesiod explicated this shift in his story of the first woman, Pandora.

Supposedly Hesiod composed his Theogony and Works and Days sometime around the 8th or early 7th century BC. It is thought that the works of Hesiod, like the works of Homer, represented the terminus of a vast oral tradition of anonymous voices of uncertain origin and age.

The Theogony is an account of origins of those divine beings who created and preside over the cosmos. It is a Divine history, tracing a succession of regimes culminating in the reign of Olympian Zeus. The narratives are undoubtedly rooted in an array of succession myths that circulated throughout the ancient Near East, and which, due to the cosmopolitan nature of the Omride kingdom, were familiar to the nascent Jews. And this is where it becomes very interesting. The likeliest principal influence on Hesiod’s account would seem to be the Hittite versions of the Hurrian Kumarbi and Ullikummi myths as well as the Babylonian Enuma Elish. It is suggested that such Oriental material reached Hesiod via Crete and Delphi.

The Theogony – like the Bible – is not metaphysics; it is, plainly and simply, a political tool. In the Theogony, the regime of Zeus and the reign of Olympian justice are celebrated as the achievement of the aeons just as Yahweh is celebrated in the Torah. In the Theogony, Hesiod recounts his new version of the beginnings of Creation, making certain to regularly propagandize in favor of Zeus who is as “just as he is terrible.” Many passages in the Theogony can be compared to the hymns to Yahweh supposedly composed by David, or to the Enuma Elish which sings the praises of the warrior king, Marduk. In each case, there is a fusion of military might with absolute authority, glory and promised justice to the exiled and enslaved. And clearly, in each instance there is the complete subordination of the female to the male, presented as a philosophical achievement, an evolution from the old, savage, order to the new, glorious world of male theriomorphism.

In the Theogony, the first woman is the “kalon kakon.” Kalon means “beautiful” and kakon means “evil. In other words, the first woman is a living oxymoron. Now, of course, this term could mean either “beautiful evil” or “evil beauty.” That is to say, is woman essentially beautiful and qualifiedly evil, or essentially evil though qualifiedly beautiful, or both essentially evil and beautiful?

Hesiod doesn’t leave us in suspense because he clarifies this point for us by telling us that it is kakon that defines the substance, or essence or woman. Woman is revealed as unambiguously evil. “Thunderous Zeus made women to be a kakon for mortal men [ ] he fashioned this kakon for men to make them pay for the theft of fire.”

Prometheus was provoked by Zeus’ withdrawal of fire from mankind in retaliation for Prometheus’ earlier theft of the finest sacrificial portions. Prometheus had proven himself more clever than Zeus, outwitting the king of the gods. In the first instance, Prometheus wrapped the meat and fatty portions of the sacrificial ox in the victim’s inedible hide and stomach and then wrapped the bare bones in glistening fat, knowing that Zeus would mistakenly insist on the latter as his prerogative. In the second instance, Prometheus concealed living embers in a hollow fennel stalk, enabling him to elude Zeus’ embargo and to return fire to mankind.

The theme is “skill” or “craft” that is used to create a “ruse” or dolon. The words techne, dolie, and dolon occur repeatedly in Hesiod’s account of Prometheus’s offenses which lead up to Zeus’s retaliation in kind.

It is the word dolon that describes woman: once she is dressed, veiled and crowned, she is called a dolon, a trick, a baited trap. Woman, fashioned and dressed up by the gods is a fitting retort for the glistening bag of bones foisted on Zeus by Prometheus.

According to Hesiod, the difference between woman’s beauty and her evil is the difference between surface appearances and reality. Decked out in flowers and gold, woman is a thauma, a “wonder to behold”, and men and gods alike are filled with awe at the sight of her. However, it is only men who are defenseless against her charms. Woman is a “lure” and men have no “resistance” and it was designed that way by the gods. A man is unable to resist the irresistible bride who, after they get her home and exhaust her superficial charms, will find that they are stuck with a great misery, a bottomless pit into which they will pour all their goods and efforts and life force.

And so it is, the moment of woman’s creation is the moment of man’s destruction. In other words, the sacrifice to the gods that went wrong – a brief insubordination – ends in humanity’s endless misery with a vengeance.

However, what is not initially seen is that the issue is actually sovereignty. Prometheus has issued two stunning challenges to Zeus’ wit and rule in the name of humankind. The fact is, the four sons of Iapetus[5] and Clymene – Atlas, Menoetius, Prometheus, and Epimetheus – were trouble to Zeus from the start because they represent a rival line of descent from Ouranos and Gaia, which, if allied with unruly mankind, could mean trouble for the gods! The most troublesome of the four was Prometheus. His name means “forethought,” and his knowledge of what was to come is what inspired him to try to help mankind. He was an arch-rebel and champion of mankind who was determined to elevate the status of humanity by giving them creative imagination, defiant wit, and divine fire – all that is needed to make them like gods.

The story suggests to us a “contest” between humankind and the gods that was to be decided in the act of animal sacrifice.[6] The humiliation of Zeus prompted him to take the extreme measure of withholding fire from mankind, without which they would soon be little more than animals. Humiliated the second time, Zeus formulated the Final Solution: Woman.

In Hesiod’s Works and Days, Four ages of man have now come and gone, each one worse than the one before. Strife defines every relationship, virtue (as well as everything else) is rewarded with misery, and Hesiod recounts with great longing how men once lived without toil and without pain. Why so much pain and suffering? Hesiod’s account of the Fall of man answers that question with one word: Woman.

The “first woman” in Works and Days, Pandora, is again, bait set by the gods to trap men. She is given the appearance of a goddess, the character of a hyena, and the heart and mind of a jackal. Woman, adorned by the gods, brings to man all that is hideous and devouring. Woman, who takes all that is bright and beautiful from man, gives back only that which is dark and filthy. Her name, Pandora, means both “All Giver” and “All Gifted.” Hesiod tells us that she is called Pandora because “all those who dwell on Olympos gave each one to her a gift, a grief for men who strive and toil.” She has only one reason for her existence: to produce human misery.

The gifts Pandora receives from the gods – the contents of Pandora’s Jar – are intended to produce endless torment for man. It is only in later centuries that a “box” was substituted for a “jar.” This change of imagery was attributed to the sixteenth century monk Erasmus who mistranslated the original Greek word pithos with the Latin pyxis. A pithos is a jar that is womb-like in shape and is a symbol for the earth, the mother of all.

The implications of the pithos to the story of Pandora are obvious. Pandora’s gifts are released from her own womb. Her fault lies not in her curiosity, but in her being. She is constitutionally deceptive and lethal because she draws men into her pithos, and brings new men forth for a life of misery. She further perpetuates the misery of man by bringing forth female babies.

The image of Woman as a pithos is extremely ancient. In many ancient Helladic burials, the pithos was used as a coffin. The deceased was placed inside in a fetal position, covered with honey, and buried in the hope of new life and regeneration. Hesiod records for us ideas that were, apparently, spreading like wildfire in his time: the profound estrangement of one half of humanity from the other. We should like to know why?

In Hesiod’s re-writing of the ancient myths, man has somehow come into being without being born of woman and contrary to the most ancient depictions, it is woman who is derivative. Certainly, the emergence of the first human being presents a challenge to any thinking person; the existence of women before men is a mystery, but the existence of men before women is absurd.

Hesiod presents the view that woman is a disruption to nature. Because of woman, man can no longer appear and disappear by his own will. Because of woman, man must be born in suffering, and then man must die in suffering. What Hesiod fails to notice is that, if men were suffering in that time, women were suffering also – and probably a lot more.

Hesiod’s account of woman is a conscious denial and a deliberate misogynistic propaganda. We see Hesiod’s line of argument reflected in the J Document account of creation. In Genesis, man is created and lives in a deathless, god-like existence, and woman is the “second” creation, the “afterthought.” She soon brings death and destruction on mankind by “eating of the fruit of the tree of good and evil.”

In these accounts, we perceive a common thread of woman as an “interloper” into the original scheme of things, bringing sex, strife, misery and death. Hesiod works with the ancient images of the all-giving mother, twisting and disfiguring them until they reflect only shame and degradation of the creatress of life. Woman, created from clay according to Hesiod, is not only not semi-divine as is man, she is something less than human.

Zeus, with timely advice from Ouranos and Gaia, appropriates his own wife’s powers. He marries and swallows Metis and is thus able to give birth to his daughter, Athena. In swallowing Metis, reverses the succession and the primacy of female fecundity, and thus becomes sovereignty itself. Hesiod’s insistence that Zeus does so with the consent of both Ouranos and Gaia sounds like the ritual charade in which consent is elicited from sacrificial animals just prior to their deaths. This claim to the agreement of the older gods is designed to give this most radical of reversions a certain “legitimacy” and “continuity” with the past. With the parthenogenetic birth of Athena from the head of Zeus, history has a new beginning in which woman will play no role.

The entire theme of Theogony is – as Hesiod would have it – a triumphal ascent from the female womb of Gaia to the male womb of Zeus, from savage nature, to Olympian civilization. These were the ideas making their way around the Eastern Mediterranean during the time in which the Bible was being written. It’s difficult to even suggest the source. Yahweh, like Marduk and Zeus sweeps the field of rivals, making his power incontestable. This brings us back to the Theophany of Jacob, wrestling with the Angel, during which incident he apparently sustained an injury common to wrestlers, the inward displacement of the hip that is produced by forcing the legs too widely apart.

The dream of a purely paternal heredity never ceased to haunt the Greek imagination. Greek poetry is resonant with the voices of men who long for a world exorcised of women, a world in which men by themselves are capable of producing their own sons. [ ]

Here, Mysogyny may be seen to conspire with the love of men for men; for when men make love to men, their seed often finds its way to the head and to the thighs, the would-be wombs of Zeus.[7]

The fact is that there was organized sodomy in many temples of the late Bronze Age where male devotees sought to “become women.” We note that circumcision is a symbolic castration, and many male devotees attempted to become a woman, to receive the seed of the god directly.

Immediately after this wrestling match, the angel then changed Jacob s name from Jacob, meaning supplanter, schemer, trickster and swindler, to Israel. This certainly mirrors Hesiod’s depiction of woman as schemers and tricksters. In fact, Jacob was noted as being “feminine” and completely unlike his brother, the rough and ready Esau, so much so that his father disdained him.

The name changing incident after a meeting with a divine being reminds us of the name-changing incident of Abraham which followed an appearance of Yahweh and the making of the famous “covenant” which was immediately followed by the circumcision of both Abraham and Ishmael[8], which leads to another odd doublet in terms of essential events: Moses. Immediately after the burning bush incident in which God talked to Moses telling him to go back to Egypt and free his people, the following happens:

4:24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.

4:25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me.

4:26 So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.

This incident is like a connecting link between the story of Abraham and the covenant of circumcision, the story of Jacob wrestling with the Angel, and the story of Moses. We begin to suspect that, at the root of all the Bible stories is a single story that was mythicized in different tribal groups, and then later the different stories were reassembled and historicized. Names were changed within each tribe by assimilating their own ancestors to the primary story, so it was only necessary to insert genealogies to make the different variations on the same story look vertical in time, when in fact, they were horizontal in time.

Getting back to the story of Jacob, while he was still in the womb, Jacob supplanted his twin, Esau, by catching hold of his heel, draining him of royal virtue. The Greek word pternizein, used by the Septuagint in this context, means to trip up someone s heel. This brings us around again to the issue of Dan. To review, we recall that Dan was the child of Rachel s maid, Bilhah:

Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son. And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan.

which is similar to the story of Sarai and Hagar in Genesis 16:1-5

And he had intercourse with Hagar and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the Lord judge between me and thee.

compared to Genesis 49, where the patriarch Jacob has called all his children to gather around his deathbed so that he can pronounce their destiny upon them. When he gets to Dan, in verses16 -18, he says:

Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, a horned snake in the path, that bites at the horse s heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. I wait for thy salvation, O Lord.

compared to Deuteronomy 33:22, where Moses blesses the tribe of Dan by saying, And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion s whelp: But in the blessing of Jacob, in Genesis 49:8-9 the attribute of the Lion is given to Judah:

Judah, you are the one whom your brothers shall praise. Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father s sons shall bow down to you. Judah, a lion s cub!

compared to the destiny prescribed by God when he appears to Hagar at the well when she ran away after Sarai was cruel to her during her pregnancy, and finally, the blessing given by Isaac to his beloved son Esau after Jacob had defrauded his father with the help of his mother, Rebekah.

There are interesting resonances to the remarks made about Judah. The first event is recounted in Genesis 16:11-12, and the second in Genesis 27:39-40:

1) And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, you are with child and shall bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael, or God hears, because the Lord has heard and paid attention to your affliction. And [Ishmael] will be as a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man s hand against him; and he shall live to the east and on the borders of all his kinsmen.

2) And Isaac his father answered and said unto [Esau], Behold, Your dwelling shall all come from the fruitfulness of the earth, and from the dew of heaven from above; And by your sword shalt you live, and serve your brother. But the time will come when you will have the dominion, and you will break his yoke from off your neck.

To look at this a bit more deeply, let’s see the story of Jacob’s birth from Genesis:

25:21 And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.

25:22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.

25:23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

25:24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.

25:25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.

25:26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.

Again we have a barren wife, only in this case, instead of having a maid to give birth to the “other brother,” Rebekah has twins, and one of them is “red.” The story that connects this back to Judah and Dan is the story of Tamar.

38:6 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar.

38:7 And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him.

38:8 And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.

38:9 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.

38:10 And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.

38:11 Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, Remain a widow at thy father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown: for he said, Lest peradventure he die also, as his brethren did. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house.

38:12 And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah’s wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.

38:13 And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold thy father in law goeth up to Timnath to shear his sheep.

38:14 And she put her widow’s garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife.

38:15 When Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face.

38:16 And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee; (for he knew not that she was his daughter in law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me?

38:17 And he said, I will send thee a kid from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it?

38:18 And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that is in thine hand. And he gave it her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him.

38:19 And she arose, and went away, and laid by her vail from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood.

38:20 And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman’s hand: but he found her not.

38:21 Then he asked the men of that place, saying, Where is the harlot, that was openly by the way side? And they said, There was no harlot in this place.

38:22 And he returned to Judah, and said, I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said, that there was no harlot in this place.

38:23 And Judah said, Let her take it to her, lest we be shamed: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her.

38:24 And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.

38:25 When she was brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff.

38:26 And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.

38:27 And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb.

38:28 And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out his hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first.

38:29 And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How hast thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee: therefore his name was called Pharez.

38:30 And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah.

Notice that the story of the birth is told in identical terms except that instead of a “red man,” we have a “scarlet thread.” The important thing about Pharez is that he was the purported ancestor of King David. Pharez had another son, Hezron about whom it was said:

2:18 And Caleb the son of Hezron begat [ ] took unto him Ephrath, which bare him Hur.

2:20 And Hur begat Uri, and Uri begat Bezaleel.

Remember Hur and Uri and Bezaleel who were supposed to have lived at the time of Moses? We found a descriptive hint of them in the story about the architect sent by Hiram of Tyre. In II Kings we find this:

4:7 And Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel, which provided victuals for the king and his household: each man his month in a year made provision.

4:8 And these are their names: The son of Hur, in mount Ephraim:

This Hur is a most mysterious individual. He appears at Moses’ side:

17:10 So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.

17:11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.

17:12 But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.

It all becomes even more mysterious when we consider the names of Terah’s other sons: Nahor, and Haran which remind us homophonically of Hur and Aaron

Getting back to Jacob, after his wrestling match, he becomes the sacred king in a new way: instead of marrying the representative of the goddess, he has usurped that role and has succeeded to his office by becoming like a woman. In I Kings, 18:26, where the priests of Baal dance at the altar and cry out Baal, hear us! they leaped up and down, according to the Authorized Version. The original Hebrew word is formed from the root psch, which means to dance with a limp, and from which Pesach, the name of the Passover Feast, is derived.

The Passover seems to have been a Canaanite Spring festival which the creators of the Bible adapted to their own use as commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt. At Carmel, the dance with a limp may have been a form of sympathetic magic to encourage the appearance of the God with a bull s foot who was armed, like Dionysus, with a torch. The writer of the Bible refrains from mentioning his real name,; but since those particular priests of Baal, (and Baal merely means lord ) were Israelites, it is likely to have been Jah Aceb of Jacob, the Heel God. Jah Aceb seems to have been also worshipped at Beth-Hoglah, the Shrine of the Hobbler, between Jericho and the Jordan south of Gilgal. This has been identified as the threshing floor of Atad where Joseph mourned for Jacob.

After his “wounding in the thigh” incident, Jacob travels on to meet his estranged brother, Esau, whom he swindled many years before, and being afraid of Esau s wrath, he put his children and wives in the front of the cavalcade in hopes that they would soften his brother s heart so Esau wouldn’t kill him.[9]

But Esau was long past any rancor, and he embraced Jacob and accepted his gifts of livestock and possibly even slaves. The story then takes a truly bizarre twist. Apparently Esau thought that Jacob/Israel was going to travel with him to Seir. But Jacob hemmed and hawed and finally told Esau to go on ahead. Then, after Esau had left, Jacob went in a completely different direction where it is said he built himself a house, and made booths or places of shelter for his livestock; so the name of the place is called Succoth. (v. 17)

When we investigate this word, we discover that the archaic meaning of it was that of a small cubicle set up by a temple prostitute along the side of the road as in the story of Judah and Tamar in Genesis 38:14, from the J document!

This brings up back to the question of what was the Canaanite Festival of Tabernacles?

The ancient Greek civilization dedicated one of their harvest festivals to the goddess of the earth and all grain, Demeter. The festival, known as the Thesmosphoria, was celebrated for three days and featured the building of shelters by married women, fasting and offerings to Demeter. The connection between married women and the festival may point to a belief that childbearing and healthy crops were interconnected. The word Mete is, of course, related to mother, and De is the delta, or triangle, a female genital sign. This letter in the ancient alphabets originally represented the Door of birth, death, or sexual paradise. Thus, the booth or Tabernacle, was little more than a structure set up to manifest a doorway. Doorways in general were considered sacred to the Goddesses, and in Sumeria they were painted red to represent the female blood of life. In Egypt, doorways were smeared with real blood for the religious rites of the goddess. Where have we heard of that before?

The cult of Demeter which celebrated the Eleusinian rites was well established in Mycenae in the 13th century BC, and it is more than likely that the Feast of Tabernacles in Canaan was an offshoot of this activity. Our sources of information regarding the Eleusinian Mysteries include the ruins of the sanctuary there, numerous statues, bas reliefs, and pottery. We also have reports from ancient writers such as Aeschylos, Sophocles, Herodotus, Aristophanes, Plutarch, and Pausanias – all of whom were initiates – as well as the accounts of Christian commentators like Clement of Alexandria, Hippolytus, Tertullian, and Astorias, who were critics and not initiates. Yet for all this evidence, the true nature of the Mysteries remains shrouded in uncertainty because the participants were remarkably steadfast in honoring their pledge not to reveal what took place in the Telesterion, or inner sanctum of the Temple of Demeter. To violate that oath of secrecy was a capital offense.[10] For these reasons, scholars today must make use of circumstantial evidence and inferences, with the result that there is still no consensus as to what did or did not take place.

Foucart and his followers concluded that the Mysteries at Eleusis originally must have come from Egypt. The fact is, the sanctuary ruins in Eleusis evidently go back centuries earlier than the Egyptian Hymn to Demeter recited by Homer that is often cited as the proof that the origin was Egyptian. What is more, the excavations have unearthed no Egyptian artifacts there from that period.

Many scholars today favor the view that the cult of Demeter probably derived from Thessaly or Thrace. They base this conclusion partly on references in Homer and other ancient authors to some evidently pre-Dorian temples to Demeter in the Thessalian towns of Thermopylae, Pyrasos, and Pherai; partly on certain etymological links connecting key words in the rites of Demeter to pre-Hellenic dialects from the north. Other scholars point out that Demeter may be the same as a goddess Dameter, who is mentioned briefly in Linear B tablets from Pylos dating from approximately 1200 BC. This evidence suggests that the cult of Demeter may after all have originated in the southern Peleponnesus.

In any case, whether the specific cult of Demeter at Eleusis originated in northern or southern Greece, the undeniable parallels with worship of grain goddesses in other parts of the eastern Mediterranean region point to frequent contacts and the cross-fertilization of religious ideas. And while we certainly think that the Canaanite Feast of Tabernacles was a corrupted version of some more ancient form, we also think that there is something very mysterious going on behind this deliberate establishing of the Tabernacle as the place where the laws of Yahweh were kept, so as to convert it from some other, prior function.

As it happens, the term Thesmophoria is derived from thesmoi, meaning, laws, and phoria, carrying, in reference to the goddess as law-bearer. But the symbolism of the ark of the covenant with Yahweh as the law bearer in the tent of meeting, or the Mother-Delta, the doorway to the higher realms, replaced the original meaning and the role of women in the process.

Entire books are written that are full of speculations about the Eleusinian rites. I may write one some day myself, but, let me cut to the chase here: The closest we can come to understanding the goal of these rites is to suggest that they had to do with ascent or descent to other realms in order to perform the archetypal act of creation of the New Year.

We already have some idea what these rites and celebrations represented since they show clear parallels to the Grail ensemble we examined briefly in the earlier chapters of this book. The New Year festivals of the ancients included rites that symbolized the cyclical nature of time, the exhaustion of cosmic resources resulting in chaos, followed by the hieros gamos, or sacred marriage. This was, effectively, the planting of the seed into the new universe, or the passage through the waters of the flood, in an ark, into the new world. It may also represent, in its most original form, a utilization of the knowledge of Time Loops – a Time Machine.

In this sense, it seems only reasonable to suggest that the ascent or descent may have been the function or goal of the hieros gamos itself and that perhaps the sacred intercourse that symbolized union with the Goddess, also indicated in act, if not in fact, the meeting of man with the divinity, and the receiving of the laws or destinies for the entire group during the coming year. Taking this imagery even further into the past – the hypothesized ancient science – it may be that the hieros gamos was only another symbol of the dissolving into time of a Time Machine.

It was during the hieros gamos that the lights were extinguished, the hierogamy took place under the direction of the hierophant, in a tent erected for privacy, and when the lights were re-lit, it was a symbol that the old year had died, and the seed had been planted for the new year to be born. It is said that the ultimate mystery was revealed at Eleusis in the words an ear of corn reaped in silence – a sacred fetish that the Jews called shibboleth. [11]

This business of the shibboleth is an interesting clue here. The word itself is derived from an unused Hebrew root, shebel, which means, to flow as a lady s train, or something that trails after a woman or flows out of her. Thus, the ear of corn is seen as something that grows out of a woman, or that grain flows from her, as grain is the gift of the goddess. We have here an image of just exactly what bio-electronic energy may have been required to transduce cosmic energy to bring down the cars full of baskets of grain as described in the Rg Veda:

The adorable Maruts, armed with bright lances and cuirassed with golden breastplates, enjoy vigorous existence; may the cars of the quick-moving Maruts arrive for our good. Bringers of rain and fertility, shedding water, augmenting food. Givers of abundant food. Your milchkine are never dry. We invoke the food-laden chariots of the Maruts. [12]

The word shibboleth occurs only one place in the Bible, in a truly tragic story in the book of Judges, chapters 11 and 12. It seems that there was a man named Jephthah who was the son of a harlot. He was kicked out of the family home by the legitimate sons of his father, Gilead, and went off and became a sort of leader of other dispossessed persons. Sounds rather like Robin Hood so far. Also sounds like David during his outlaw days.

As it happened, his brothers who had kicked him out, the elders of Gilead, were being attacked by the children of Ammon. They desperately needed help, and they knew that Jephthah had a reputation as a fierce warrior with a well-trained band of merry men. So, they went to ask Jephthah for help.

Jephthah pointed out that they had a lot of nerve asking him to help them fight their battles, but they persuaded him by saying if you help us now, we will make you head of the family. That was more than Jephthah could resist, so he agreed. Not only that, but he swore a public oath to Yahweh that if Yahweh made him successful in this enterprise, he would give as a burnt offering “whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return”. I m sure the reader sees what is coming now. Jephthah was, indeed, successful in his battle.

And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.

And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back.

And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the Lord, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the Lord hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon.

And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows. And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains.

And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel, That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.

Well, aside from the fact that if we are to take the Bible literally, we have here a definite indication that Yahweh was originally a God who may have demanded human sacrifice, we most definitely have an indication that Yahweh at least accepted human sacrifice upon occasion! But, in another sense, this is merely another version of the story where Abraham almost sacrificed his son Isaac, which is almost identical to a Vedic story of Manu. These acts were based on what was called sraddha which is related to the words fides, credo, faith, believe and so on.[13]

The word sraddha was, according to Dumezil and Levi, too hastily understood as faith in the Christian sense. Correctly understood, it means something like the trust a workman has in his tools and techniques as acts of magic! It is, therefore, part of a covenant wherein the sacrificer knows how to perform a prescribed sacrifice correctly, and who also knows that if he performs the sacrifice correctly, it must produce its effect.

In short, it is an act that is designed to gain control over the forces of life that reside in the god with whom one has made the covenant. Such gods as make covenants are not literary ornaments or abstractions. They are active partners with intelligence, strength, passion, and a tendency to get out of control if the sacrifices are not performed correctly. In this sense, the sacrifice is simply magic.

In another sense, the ascetic or self-sacrificer, is a person who is striving for release from the bondage and order of nature by the act of attempting to mortify the self, the flesh; testing and increasing the will for the purpose of winning tyrannical powers while still in the world. He seeks mastery of himself, other men, and even the gods themselves.

In the story of Manu from India, we find that he has a mania for sacrifice just as the ascetics and saints have a mania for self-sacrifice. The most famous of the stories depicts Manu, enslaved to his sraddha, giving up everything of value in his life to the demonic Asura brahmans, Trsta and Varutri. To get something from Manu, all these demons need to do is say Manu, you are a sacrificer, your god is sraddha. So, one thing after another is demanded of him, and finally even his wife, Manavi. Indra, however, intervenes at this point to save Manavi and appears to Manu and uses the same words: Manu, you are a sacrificer, your god is sraddha. To foil the plot of the demonic Brahmins who have produced in Manu the state of sraddha, or the belief in the necessity of sacrifice, Indra demands the sacrifice of the two demonic Brahmins themselves! Manu, being a devotee of sraddha, hands them over without any difficulty, and Indra beheads them with the water of the sacrifice.

Acts of sacrifice are, effectively, acts of trade – an execution of a contract of exchange between man and divinity. I give that you may give. In the story in the Bible where Cain s sacrifice of grain was rejected, we find a reflection of the idea that a god evaluates the greater or lesser worth of a proposed offering.

Manu, deprived of his victim by the merciful intervention of Indra, did not like his rights to be infringed. Finish my sacrifice! he said to Indra. Indra gives him a pledge: The desire you had in taking your wife for your victim, let that desire be granted you; but let that woman be! [14]

In the story of Abraham s sacrifice of his son, Isaac, and the appearance of the ram in the thicket, we have a most interesting variation on this theme. Agni is equated with Vasishtha, lotus born, or of the goddess.

In the story of Jephthah s daughter, we find that the editor of the biblical texts felt that the story could not be removed, but had to disguise the true nature of the sacrifice. The matter becomes clearer with the following:

Llew Llaw Gyffes (the Lion with the Steady Hand), a type of Dionysus or Celestial Hercules worshipped in ancient Britain, is generally identified with Lugh, the Goidelic Sun-god Would that it were no more than the Sun! It is the glowing face of Lugh the Long-handed – which nobody could gaze upon without being dazzled.

His death on the first Sunday in August – called Lugh nasadh, later altered to Lugh-mass or Lammas – was until recently observed in Ireland with Good Friday-like mourning and kept as a feast of dead kinsfolk, the mourning procession being always led by a young man carrying a hooped wreath. Lammas was also observed as a mourning feast in most parts of England in mediaeval times

In some parts of Wales Lammas is still kept as a fair. Sir John Rhys records that in the 1850 s the hills of Fan Fach and South Barrule in Carmarthenshire were crowded with mourners for Llew Llaw on the first Sunday in August, their excuse being that they were going up to bewail Jephthah s daughter on the mountain. This, oddly enough, was the very same excuse that the post-Exilic Jewish girls had used, after the Deuteronomic reforms, to disguise their mourning for Tammuz, Llew Llaw s Palestianian counterpart.[15]

The sacrifice of Jephthah’s daughter is, thus, another instance where the new view of women as explicated by Hesiod and his Bible writing counterparts was being imposed on the Eastern Mediterranean world. It’s interesting to think about Pandora’s “pithoi” from which troubles flowed with the clue of the shibboleth that is included in the story of Jephthah:

12:4 Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim: and the men of Gilead smote Ephraim, because they said, Ye Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim among the Ephraimites, and among the Manassites.

12:5 And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay;

12:6 Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand.

Another clue to the Eleusinian rites is that they were said to be celebrated by women only throughout all Greece in the month of Pyanepsion (late October), their characteristic feature being a pig sacrifice, the usual sacrifice to chthonic[16] deities.

The Greeks attributed special powers to pigs on account of their fertility, the potency and abundance of their blood, and perhaps because of their uncanny ability to unearth underground tubers and shoots. Experts suggest that it was believed that mingling pig flesh with the seeds of grain would increase the abundance of next year s harvest. The scholars also tell us that the ceremonies comprised fasting and purification, a ritualized descent into the underworld, and the use of sympathetic magic to bring renewed life back out of the jaws of death.

Thus we see that the participants in the Themosphoria revered swine, and their rituals featured the washing and sacrificing of young pigs sacred to Demeter (although this took place on the beaches at Pireas near Athens rather than at Eleusis itself). And somehow we find this to be a Canaanite practice that is now very strangely juxtaposed against a religion that is known for its ban on pork. Was that because the sacred animal of the rival religion was the pig, or was it because, in some deep inner core of the founding of the religion of Judaism, the pig is actually protected from being eaten because of reverence? And if so, why would that be the case? Was the pig ever an embodiment of a god? Well, let s look at this for a moment. In Genesis 12:6-7 we find Abraham making a covenant with God.

And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh And the Canaanite was then in the land. And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

Next we find God telling Abraham in Genesis 22:2-3

And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.

And in II Chronicles 3:1 we find:

Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.

Another name for Moriah is Mount Zion. Isaiah tells us that Mount Zion is the Throne of the Lord of Hosts who scatters distributes and treads underfoot. The Temple was built on the threshing floor of Ornan (Araunah in another version), symbolic of the harvest god Tammuz, who demanded the first fruits of the grain. However, Jehovah wasn t terribly interested in grain. He wanted blood:

Exodus 34:19 All that openeth the womb is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male. 34:20 But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. All the firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty. 34:21 Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in plowing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.

Jehovah s claim to the Seventh day as sacred to himself identifies him with Cronos or Saturn. The Phrygian Adonis is said to have been metamorphosed into a fir by the Goddess Cybele who loved him, when he lay dying from a wound dealt him by a boar sent by Zeus.

Set, the Egyptian Sun-god, disguised as a boar, killed Osiris. Apollo the Greek Sun-god, disguised as a boar, killed Adonis, or Tammuz, the Syrian, the lover of the Goddess Aphrodite. Finn Mac Cool, disguised as a boar, killed Diarmuid, the lover of the Irish Goddess Grainne. An unknown god disguised as a boar killed Ancaeus the Arcadian King, a devotee of Artemis, in his vineyard at Tegea, and according to the Nestorian Gannat Busame, Cretan Zeus was similarly killed. October was the boar-hunting season, as it was also the revelry season of the ivy-wreathed Bassarids. The boar is the beast of death and the fall of the year begins in the month of the boar.

In Egypt, the year was counted as 360 days divided into three 120-day seasons each containing five periods of equal length, 24 days, with five days left over. The Egyptians said that the five days were those which the God Thoth (Hermes) won at draughts from the Moon goddess Isis, composed of the seventy-second parts of every day in the year. The birthdays of Osiris, Horus, Set, Isis and Nephthys were celebrated on them in that order. It seems that, based on the myth, a change in religion necessitated a change in the calendar. The old year of 364 days with one day left over was succeeded by a year of 360 days with five left over. Under later Assyrian influence, the three seasons were divided into four periods of thirty days each rather than five periods of 24 each. The 72 day season occurs in the Egypto-Byblian myth that the Goddess Isis hid her child Horus, or Harpocrates, from the rage of the ass-eared Sun-god Set during the 72 hottest days of the year, that third of the five seasons ruled by the Dog star Sirius and the two Asses.

The Greek legend that the God Dionysus placed the Asses in the Sign of Cancer suggests that the Dionysus who visited Egypt and was entertained by Proteus, King of Pharos, was Osiris, brother of the Hyksos god Typhon, alias Set.

According to the Homeric legend of King Proteus, the earliest settlers in the Delta used Pharos, the lighthouse island off what later became Alexandria, as their sacred oracular island. Proteus, king of Pharos, lived in a cave where Menelaus consulted him. He had the power of changing his shape. Apuleius connects the sistrum of Osiris, used to frighten away the god Set, with Pharos. This suggests that Proteus and Osiris were regarded there as the same person. Another Proteus, or Proetus, was an Arcadian.

The wide landing-quay at the entrance to the port of Pharos consisted of rough blocks, some of them sixteen feet long, deeply grooved with a checkerboard pattern of pentagons. Since pentagons are inconvenient figures for such constructions, some researchers think that the number five must have had some important religious significance. Robert Graves asks: Was Pharos the center of a five-season calendar system?

The island had been otherwise oddly connected to the numbers five and seventy-two at the beginning of the Christian era. The Jews of Alexandria used to visit the island for an annual festival, the excuse for which was that the Five Books of Moses had been miraculously translated there into Greek by seventy-two doctors of the Law who had worked for seventy-two days each.

What is behind this story?

Festivals in ancient times generally commemorated some sort of treaty or act of unification. What happened here?

Aeschylus calls the Nile Ogygian, and Eustathius the Byzantine grammarian said that Ogygia was the earliest name for Egypt. When the Byblians first brought their Syrian Tempest-god to Egypt, the one who, disguised as a boar, yearly killed his brother Adonis, the god always born under a fir-tree, they identified him with Set, the ancient Egyptian god of the desert whose sacred beast was the wild ass, and who yearly destroyed his brother Osiris, the god of the Nile vegetation. Sanchthoniatho the Phoenician, quoted by Philo, says, the mysteries of Phoenicia were brought to Egypt. He said that the two first inventors of the human race, Upsouranios and his brother Ousous consecrated two pillars, one to fire and one to wind. These are the earliest form of the Jachin and Boaz pillars representing Adonis, god of the waxing year and the newborn sun, and Typhon, god of the waning year and of destructive winds. The Hyksos Kings under Byblian influence similarly converted their Tempest-god into Set.

In pre-dynastic times, Set may have been the chief of all the gods of Egypt, since the sign of royalty which all the dynastic gods carried was Set s ass-eared reed scepter. The Egyptians also identified him with the long-eared constellation Orion, Lord of the Chambers of the South, and the breath of Set was the South wind from the deserts which, then as now, causes a wave of criminal violence in Egypt, Libya and Southern Europe whenever it blows. The ass appears in many of the anecdotes of Genesis and the early historical books of the Bible.

Egyptian texts and pictorial records are notorious for their suppression or distortion of fact. It seems that the aristocratic priests of the Establishment Church of Egypt had begun to tamper with the popular stories as early as 2800 BC. For example: in the Book of the Dead, at the Twelfth Hour of Darkness, when Osiris sun-boat approaches the last gateway of the Other world before his reemergence into the light of day, he is pictured bent backwards in the form of a hoop with his hands raised and his toes touching the back of his head. This is explained as Osiris whose circuit is the other world. It is supposed to suggest that by adopting this absurd acrobatic posture, Osiris is defining the other world as a circular region thus making the Twelve Hours analogous with the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac. It is clear that a priestly corruption has been imposed on a more archaic understanding. This posture represents Osiris who has been captured by Set, and has been tied, like Ixion or Cuchulain, in the five-fold bond that joined wrists, neck and ankles together. In other words, Osiris in this posture is an economical way of describing the effects on him by the activity of the god of the underworld, the serpent, Set who also appears as a Boar and an Ass.

We now have many more clues about the early formation of the religion of Yahweh, including the description of the construction of the Pillars Jachin and Boaz, historicized myths of the Bible, attributed to Solomon. We also see a connection to the Peribsen rebellion followed by the emergence of the Cretan civilization which was later linked to Judaism.

In the present day, the Jews celebrate their New Year in September of the year around the time of the harvest. This is followed by the Feast of Tabernacles, which is supposed to commemorate the fact that the children of Israel built temporary shelters while wandering in the desert, the domain of Set. It is said that it was in the tent that God first tabernacled with man during the Exodus. The Tabernacle was a place for the meeting of God with man. The comparisons are so obvious I don t even need to point them out.

Now, returning to our most peculiar story of Jacob wrestling with the man, following which he went south and did the whole Tabernacles thing, it is clear that the an ancient ritual drama has been historicized.

Certain ancient myths tell us that a battle takes place either between two brothers, or between father and son. The battle ends when the elder king is wounded in the thigh, or ritually castrated to symbolize his loss of potency. The kingdom, represented by the queen, is then given over to the winning brother, or from father to son because the queen symbolizes the land. It is interesting that this was drama was enacted between Jacob,and an angel of Yahweh, playing the role of Set. In this way, the people understood that the kingship had been handed to Yahweh personally because he “Tabernacled with Jacob” playing the role of the goddess. Yahweh, the Boar god.

We need to understand here that these ritual combats, dying kings, cannibalistic and sacrificial activities are only the extreme corruptions of an original, core idea that can be seen to represent an ancient technology. Indeed, the technology aspect emerges from time to time, but is often so disguised that it is difficult to sort out the many twists and turns in the threads of transmission. Among the most archaic representations of these ideas – even though we can consider it to still be a corruption of the truly ancient knowledge – are the rites of the Shamans of central Asia.

When we look to the function of the shaman, we discover: the shaman either descends to the underworld to save man, or he ascends to the heavens to intercede with the gods on behalf of his people. He is, in effect, the divinely chosen knight who has the right stuff to be able to make this journey. The symbolism of the stairs on which the shaman ascends and descends are typically shamanic. The Tree of Life, the symbol of the birth goddess, is a symbol of the shamanic ascent to the celestial spheres to receive the communication from god concerning the fate of the tribe. In this sense, the cosmic axis and the heavenly book have become joined in terms of symbolism. One can clearly see these elements in the story of Jacob’s ladder and his wrestling with the angel. Unfortunately, Jacob lost the match.

What is most fascinating in terms of shamanic studies is a mysterious female sickness that male shamans often suffered. One of the reported (and variable) symptoms of becoming a shaman is that the individual begins to dress as a woman, to act as a woman, and to generally begin a process of feminization. We see a hint of this factor in Jacob s journey south to build booths which was a strictly female activity!

This feminization of the shaman directs us to consider the fact that the original shamanic/grail function was most likely fulfilled by women only, and at some point, men attempted to dispense with the function of the female and to acquire her attributes and natural shamanic capabilities. It seems that, at the same point in time, the place of the woman in the rites, who was present to embody the goddess in the sacred marriage, was replaced by other items, including stairs, celestial trees, and even horses. The rhythmic function of ritual intercourse, which was merely a corruption of the act of dissolving into space/time, was replaced by drumming and other trance inducing methods.

The clues to these transitions are held in the very words themselves: knight and mare. Knight is derived from the same root as yogi, or juga, which means to join together, and the word mare for mer or Sea of the mother is obvious. In order to get us a bit closer to some idea of how the transitions occur, Eliade remarks on the shamanic role in funerary rites, which have been described and observed. It is thought that these sorts of rites are very similar to the secret rites or functions that are hidden by vows of secrecy.

Herodotus has left us a good description of the funerary customs of the Scythians. The funeral was followed by purifications. Hemp was thrown on heated stones and all inhaled the smoke; the Scythians howl in joy for the vapour-bath. [ ] The howls compose a specific religious ensemble, the purpose of which could only be ecstasy. In this connection Meuli cites the Altaic s ance described by Radlov, in which the shaman guided to the underworld the soul of a woman who had been dead forty days. The shaman-psychopomp is not found in Herodotus description; he speaks only of the purifications following a funeral. But among a number of Turko-Tatar peoples such purifications coincide with the shaman s escorting the deceased to his new home, the nether regions.[ ]

The use of hemp for ecstatic purposes is also attested among the Iranians, and it is the Iranian word for hemp that is employed to designate mystical intoxication in Central and North Asia.

It is known that the Caucasian peoples, and especially the Osset, have preserved a number of the mythological and religious traditions of the Scythians.

Now, the conceptions of the afterlife held by certain Caucasian peoples are close to those of the Iranians, particularly in regard to the deceased crossing a bridge as narrow as a hair, the myth of a Cosmic Tree whose top touches the sky and at whose root there is a miraculous spring, and so on. Then, too, diviners, seers, and necromancer-psychopomps play a certain role among the mountain Georgian tribes. The most important of these sorcerers are the messulethe; their ranks are filled for the most part from among the women and girls. Their chief office is to escort the dead to the other world, but they can also incarnate them. [ ] The messulethe performs her task by falling into trance.[17]

At this point, allow me to interject the comment that we see a curious parallel to the fact that the Themosphoria was celebrated only by women. In other words, it was very likely an archaic custom of what has been called sacred prostitution but the sacred prostitution was clearly derived from archaic techniques of ecstasy which we have surmised were actually disjecta membra of an ancient technology that effectively modified DNA. Over millennia of transmission, the terminology describing this DNA factor was corrupted to refer to sexual elements. We shall also later see that what was once a spiritual idea was given a literal, physical meaning. The role and participation of women is indeed important, but not at all the way many occultists have interpreted it.

What is clear is that the very ancient idea of women as priestesses, or as so-called temple prostitutes, was merely derived from the fact of the natural role of the woman as true shaman. When women were extirpated from their role as natural psychopomp for their tribes, a host of other items had to be invented to take their place: trees, bridges (which is a word strikingly similar to bride and bridle as is used for a horse!), ladders, stairs, drums, rattles, chants, dances, and so on; and most especially ritual combat instead of unification.

We have observed the striking resemblance between the other world ideas of the Caucasians and of the Iranians. For one thing, the Cinvat bridge plays an essential role in Iranian funerary mythology; crossing it largely determines the destiny of the soul; and the crossing is a difficult ordeal, equivalent in structure, to initiatory ordeals. [ ]

The Cinvat bridge is at the Center, at the middle of the world and the height of a hundred men. [ ] The bridge connects earth and heaven at the Center. Under the Cinvat bridge is the pit of hell.

Here we find a classic cosmological schema of the three cosmic regions connected by a central axis (pillar, tree, bridge, etc.) The shamans travel freely among the three zones; the dead must cross a bridge on their journey to the beyond. [ ] The important feature of the Iranian tradition is (at least as it survived after Zarathustra s reform) is that, at the crossing of the bridge, there is a sort of struggle between the demons, who try to cast the soul down to hell, and the tutelary spirits who resist them.

The Gathas[18] make three references to this crossing of the Cinvat bridge. In the first two passages Zarathustra, according to H.S. Nyberg s interpretation, refers to himself as a psychopomp. Those who have been united to him in ecstasy will cross the bridge with ease.[19] [ ]

The bridge, then, is not only the way for the dead; it is the road of ecstatics. [ ] The Gathic term maga is proof that Zarathustra and his disciples induced an ecstatic experience by ritual songs intoned in chorus in a closed, consecrated space. In this sacred space (maga) communication between heaven and earth became possible. [ ] The sacred space became a Center. [ ]

Shamanic ecstasy induced by hemp smoke was known in ancient Iran. [ ] In the Videvdat hemp is demonized. This seems to us to prove complete hostility to shamanic intoxication. [ ] The imagery of the Central Asian shamans would seem to have undergone the influence of Oriental, and principally Iranian, ideas. But this does not mean that the shamanic descent to the underworld derives from an exotic influence. The Oriental contribution only amplified and added color to the dramatic scenarios of punishments; it was the narratives of ecstatic journeys to the underworld that were enriched under Oriental influences; the ecstasy long preceded them. [ .]

We have found the technique of ecstasy in archaic cultures where it is impossible to suspect any influence from the ancient East. [ ]

The magico-religious value of intoxication for achieving ecstasy is of Iranian origin. [ ]

Concerning the original shamanic experience narcotics are only a vulgar substitute for pure trance.

The use of intoxicants is a recent innovation and points to a decadence in shamanic technique. Narcotic intoxication is called on to provide an imitation of a state that the shaman is no longer capable of attaining otherwise. Decadence or vulgarization of a mystical technique – in ancient and modern India, and indeed all through the East, we constantly find this strange mixture of difficult ways and easy ways of realizing mystical ecstasy or some other decisive experience.[20]

With this very small series of hints, we can deduce that Jacob s dream of the ladder and his ritual combat with the man who was an angel of Yahweh, are simply glosses of the true activities of Jacob as a shaman. Whether or not there was ever a historical Jacob, we can t say. What does seem to be true is that somebody did something at that point in time and was assimilated to the myth of the Heel God. We think again of the encounters between Abraham and God, and Moses and God, resulting in circumcision. In any event, the three events: wrestling with the angel, the name changing, the circumcision of Abraham and the son of Moses, were very likely originally a single event, separated in time and context by the redactor of the Bible who we will soon encounter.

Nevertheless, Jacob lost the battle, failing to fulfill the function of the shaman, and the following day, met his brother, knowing that he had been mortally wounded, and transferred to him the blessing or kingship. My own question is this: was this meeting also a record of the transferring of some vital item to Esau as a result of his shamanic failure?

Here, of course, is a stupendously key element that I must explain. As it happens, there is one significant story in the Bible that is claimed as history that DOES have external verification in the records of Egypt in the form of the rest of the story. This story is that of Abram and Sarai in Egypt. And in fact, this is one of the very problematical triplets. The story goes:

12:10 And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.

12:11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon:

12:12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive.

12:13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.

12:14 And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair.

12:15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh s house.

12:16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.

12:17 And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram s wife.

12:18 And Pharaoh called Abram and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?

12:19 Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.

12:20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.

13:1 And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.

13:2 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.


[1] De Geus, Cornelis, “Of Tribes and Towns: The Historical Development of the Isaelite City.” Eretz-Israel 24, 1993.
[2] The five-fold bond was reported from China by the Arab merchant Suleyman in 851 AD. He writes that when the man condemned to death has been trussed up in this fashion, and beaten with a fixed number of blows, his body, still faintly breathing, is given over to those who must devour it.”
[3] Graves, Robert, The White Goddess, (New York: The Noonday Press 1948) pp. 125-6,.
[4] Meagher, Robert Emmet, Helen: Myth, Legend and the Culture of Misogyny, 1995, Continuum, New York, chapter 3.
[5] A Titan, son of Gaia and Uranus. Clymene, and Ocianid, bore him the Titans Prometheus, Epimetheus, Atlas, and Menoetius. In the war between gods and Titans, he was imprisoned by Zeus in Tartarus.
[6] There are curious reflections in this story of the sacrifice challenge of Prometheus to the story of the challenge made by Elisha against the priests of Baal, following which fire came down from heaven to consume Elisha’s sacrifice.
[7] Meagher, Robert Emmet, Helen: Myth, Legend and the Culture of Misogyny, 1995, Continuum, New York, chapter 3.
[8] The Bible, Genesis 17:22-26.
[9] In other words, he was hiding behind the womens skirts.
[10] Aeschylos, for example, once had to fear for his life on account of coming too close to revealing forbidden truths.
[11] D Alviella, Count Goblet, The Migration of Symbols, (New York: University Books 1956).
[12] Rg-Veda, Vol III.
[13] Meillet, Antoine, Memoires de la Society de Linguistique de Paris, XXII, 1992.
[14] Sylvain Levi, quoted by Dumezil, Georges, Mitra-Varuna: An Essay on Two Indo-European Representations of Sovereignty (Zone Books; reprint edition 1988) p. 63.
[15] Robert Graves, The White Goddess, (New York: Noonday Press 1948) pp. 302, 303.
[16] Dark, primitive and mysterious.”
[17] Eliade, Shamanism, Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, pp. 394-6.
[18] Zarathustra s hymns.
[19] Here I will comment that that the influence of Zoroastrianism on the creation of the Bible may have been profound.
[20] Eliade, Shamanism, Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, pp. 396-401.