Re: The Black Madonna

Laura

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Regarding Black Goddesses, Tom Lethbridge writes in "GogMagog: The Buried Gods", about the great mother goddess, Magog:

... At one time there was nothing at Wandlebury but a smallish goddess and a peculiar horse. ... she was probably Epona, or whatever Epona was called in Britain at that time. Her title was Ma-Gog. ...

Epona was a Gaulish horse goddess, said by tradition to have been fathered by a mortal man on a mare goddess. ... The addition of the Moon symbol turned here into a much greater figure. Epona is probably the Greek goddess "hippa", the mother of Apollo, the sun god, and daughter of Pallas and the winged horse. The winged horse is a symbol frequently found on pre-Roman British coins. [...]

...some change had come over the religious or political situation in this part of England to cause the construction of additional figures on a grander scale. [...]

There appear to have been three immigrations. ... The second wave is sometimes spoken of as the Marnian Charioteers..... a Celtic mixture coming from Gaul, who by intermarriage with the earlier Bronze and Iron Age people living in the district before them, produced the great Celtic tribe of the Iceni. They were a tribe in which rule descended through the female line. ...

A generation before Caesar's conquest of Gaul, a third immigration began into Britain. This was a Belgic, that is, half Celtic and half German people.... Caesar describes them as the most warlike of the Gauls. ...

Wandlebury itself ... appears to have been made during the second immigration by the Marnian people. .... It is only a guess that they were the makers of the Horse Goddess. This seems all the more probable when we regard them as being Iceni. I take this name to have been something like Eachanaidh or Equidios, and to have meant "The Horse People."

With the Belgic invasion the area seems to have been occupied by the Catuvellauni, who may have been related to the Chatti from beyond the Rhine. ... Belgic farmers pressed back the Iceni further into East Anglia. The tribal boundary in this direction was probably the river Lark. ...

Gervase of Tilbury mentions the Wandali, or Vandals, in connection with Wandlebury and says that the place took its name from them. ...

The pressure of the Belgic tribes seems to have forced numbers of the older peoples to move far north into Scotland and overseas into Ireland. It is clear that this must have taken place, for the Belgic peoples came to occupy nearly the whole of southern Britain from Dorset to Cambridgeshire and large areas elsewhere. ...

It seemed reasonable to me to look for some settlement of Iceni elsewhere and I have little doubt that they are Ptolemy's Epidii of Kintyre. These are Horse people too. Their modern descendants call themselves Mac Eacherns, Mac Eachans, or MacEachrans. They claim to have been the great horse people and even that they are descended from a Horse Lord (or Lady?). ....

Two miles from Kilberry on the road to Tarbert ... in the west of Scotland, is a seat of the Cailleach... The Cailleach was one of the most important deities in the west of Scotland. Cailleach is not her name, of course, you must not mention that, it just means "old woman" and has sometimes become rather derogatory. It can be a witch. Nevertheless, the Cailleach was a goddess. Amongst other things she controlled the winds, seas, and seasons; she kept a beautiful maiden (Spring or the New Moon?) in a cave in Glencoe, who ran away with Diarmid, the Gaelic Adonis. Numerous rounded hills are named after the Cailleach. They are her breasts. She is the Great Earth Mother in her "old woman" phase. She is Black Annis of Leicestershire, with her dark face and horrid teeth; but I think she is also the Gruagach, the Fair-Haired One, who is the same goddess in her middle-life phase. ...

Two hundred yards from the Cailleach's seat is "Slochd na Chapuill", the hollow of the Mare, and just beyond this is "Glac na h'Imuilte", the hollow of the Struggle. ... Here in the hollow of the struggle, tradition tells of a most peculiar fight. Although it is now spoken of as a Clan battle, nobody knows what clans fought. One of the "clans" brought a wise woman, a Cailleach, to help them win. The struggle consisted in one side trying to pull the Cailleach off her horse and the other side trying to keep her on it.

Now, this is most important, for it is clearly an account of an ancient ritual ceremony. The Cailleach is the Earth Mother and a woman riding nude on a horse was widely believed to be a great bringer of Fertility. ... The Cailleach with her horse is the Celtic Artemis, or Diana if you like. She has a dark face in her phase as an old woman and, according to Pliny, the women of Britain used to blacken their nude bodies before attending some of Diana's Festivals. Black Dianas are known. They are the moon in her dark phase. ...
This then connects to the great white horse of Uffington and Lady Godiva:

Tom Lethbridge said:
The horses... three ancient ones, Bratton, Uffington and Tysoe... Dr. Margaret Murray has drawn our attention to the story of Lady Godiva and the probable connection between her white horse and the White Horse of Uffington. ...Uffa of Uffington is not derived from some unknown Anglo-Saxon landowner, but related to the Greek Ippos, a horse. Ippos itself is clearly related to the name of the north Gaulish horse goddess, Epona...

Lady Godiva was just taking the place of the goddess at some ritual procession at Coventry in honour of Epona

It was Gog-diva (not Godiva), the holy lady Gog. In other words the rider represented Ma Gog. ...

These ritual processions of nude women on white horses, riding out to confer benefits on the people, are closely related to the Kintyre tradition. There the struggle with the demon of darkness was actually portrayed in mimic conflict. Godiva at Coventry was veiled in her hair; at Southam she was painted black. The ceremony would have ended in an unveiling, when the New Moon was then revealed. At Banbury she had bells on her toes to scare off the demon. Demons hate noise. That is what the bells are for. ...
Then, he goes on to speculate about the meaning of the Black Faced woman, black painted women, and the related rituals.

Tom Lethbridge said:
{The ritual's performance} was regarded as necessary to ensure the continual progress of the seasons, which had to be carried out in face of the opposition of the Powers of Darkness. ...

In its simplest form, before the sun, as the male god, became of greater importance to the rulers of the land than the moon, the Great Earth Goddess, something had to be done to help the moon past the clutches of the Demon of Darkness, winter and scarcity.
Had Lethbridge been aware of cometary disasters, the literature exposed by Clube and Napier, etc, he might have put a different spin on this; that it was not to "save the moon" so much as it was to save the Earth itself from the darkness of the dust and destruction of comets...

Tom Lethbridge said:
That is why Godiva is veiled or blackened. At first she represented the old moon and then, after a struggle such as the traditional one at Kintyre, she reappeared as a new moon. ...

A woman painted black, or veiled (Veiled Isis?) in some way, used to ride in procession up that hill and was then revealed by the priests, after being washed or otherwise uncovered in some sacred grove or precinct on the top. ...

No invention in different localities could surely have produced such similar conceptions as Kali in India and the Cailleach and Black Annis in Britain. ...

The Celts of Britain always claimed that they were related to the Greeks and Trojans. A study of their gods certainly seems to show that this was true. What was the Wooden Horse of Troy but one of Magog's ceremonial figures? ...

Kali (meaning "black") or Kali Ma (black mother). Hindu, wife of Siva. She is black with matted hair, three red eyes, one in the middle of her forehead, red palms to her hands and projecting teeth. Girdled with snakes and necklaces of human skulls, she is the goddess of death and destruction in which capacity she carried a sacred pickaxe for digging graves. ... She is also, however, the goddess of fruitfulness, being identified with Maha-devi, Durga, Parvati and others. She appears to be the dark phase of the moon....

The Cailleach has a blue-black face, one eye in the middle of her forehead and projecting teeth. The Gruagach is supposedly "the Fair Haired One", but is also a destroyer. The Cailleach carries a hammer and thunderbolts. ... She can turn herself into a standing stone. ... She is the dark of the moon and the Great Earth Mother. Like Kali in many particulars and even name, she was goddess both of destruction and fruitfulness. ...

Black Annis, Black Anni, or Cat Anna of Leicestershire. She had a blue face, was one-eyed and had projecting teeth. A goddess of destruction, she frequented a cave in the Dane Hills. The name of the hills may be derived from Danu, the Irish goddess, or from Diana. From the branches of an oak tree, Black Annis used to drop on the heads of passers-by and destroy them. Like the Cailleach, whom she resembles in other ways, she is therefore linked with trees and in particular with the oak, which was sacred among the Gauls of Galatia to the Goddess of Heaven. Later, with the change from the rule of women to that of men, the oak became sacred to Zeus. Black Annis can hardly be separated from the Cailleach. She also appears to be Danu, or Anu. ...

Ma-Gog .. The Earth Mother and Moon Goddess ... in all three phases.
Lethbridge goes into some detail, but it does seem that the Black Madonna is a survival of the worship of Ma-Gog.

And, there is this from the Cs:

Q: The legend was that the god, Phoebus Apollo, danced at Stonehenge every nineteen years. What does this relate to ?
A: Symbolic. Tides, moon eclipses, that sort of thing. Think of Wiccans entubed on the information superhighway!
See also this thread: http://www.cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php?topic=9338

and this one:

http://www.cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php?topic=8657.0

for some additional clues.
 

StrangeCaptain

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Laura said:
Lethbridge goes into some detail, but it does seem that the Black Madonna is a survival of the worship of Ma-Gog.
From the little I had read on the net, it did not seem like there was any particularly good or widespread theory about where these Black Madonnas came from, but that seems to be it if we can believe Lethbridge. Pretty fascinating... Now, I just wonder why there are so many survived in France compared to elsewhere. There seems to be in the whole country an interest in preserving the heritage of one's province. Maybe this attitude allowed so many Madonnas to be preserved.
 

Laura

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Patience said:
Laura said:
Lethbridge goes into some detail, but it does seem that the Black Madonna is a survival of the worship of Ma-Gog.
From the little I had read on the net, it did not seem like there was any particularly good or widespread theory about where these Black Madonnas came from, but that seems to be it if we can believe Lethbridge. Pretty fascinating... Now, I just wonder why there are so many survived in France compared to elsewhere. There seems to be in the whole country an interest in preserving the heritage of one's province. Maybe this attitude allowed so many Madonnas to be preserved.
I would speculate that the images survived in France with a HEAVY overlay of Christianity that pretty much wiped out any of the older meaning, while in that one spot in England, in Scotland and perhaps in Ireland, a bit of the meaning survived, though highly distorted. More of the "old ways" survived there than in France in general, it seems.

But yeah, when I read how Lethbridge worked his way through this one, I realized that he was definitely onto something. Put that together with his speculations about Baal as formerly being a goddess (The Shining One) and then the Baalzebul controversy in the New Testament, and it seems that there are traces of evidence that whoever was behind the "Jesus legend" was a worshipper of the goddess Ma-Gog - Baal. That then, comes back around in the Black Madonnas, so maybe it wasn't entirely lost - it was just Christianized.

But, with Lethbridge's input, combined with what we know about cometary interactions from Clube, et al, a rather more complete picture is forming.
 

Laura

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It's interesting that the feast of the "Ascension of the Virgin Mary" is on August 15th. That generally falls in line with the Perseid meteor shower. In fact, it was while watching the Perseids on August 16 of 1993 that my children and I saw the "Flying Black Boomerang." Eleven months later, to the day, the Cs appeared on the scene on July 16th.

Wikipedia said:
The Perseids are associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle. The Perseid meteor shower has been observed for about 2000 years, with the first known information on these meteors coming from the Far East.
Interesting that it has been around as long as Christianity... and there may have been something to see in the sky at that time of interest. Also interesting that the information came from "The East," like the Wise Men.

In early medieval Europe, the Perseids came to be known as the "tears of St. Lawrence."

Wikipedia said:
Saint Lawrence (c. 225 – 258) (Latin: Laurentius, meaning "laurelled") was one of the seven deacons of ancient Rome who were martyred during the persecution of Roman Emperor Valerian in the year 258.

Such early legends made Lawrence a native of Huesca (Roman Osca) in Hispania Tarraconensis who had received religious instruction from Archdeacon Sixtus in Rome. When Sixtus became Bishop of Rome in 257, Lawrence was ordained a deacon and was placed in charge of the administration of Church goods and care for the poor. For this duty, he is regarded as one of the first archivists and treasurers of the Church and was made the patron of librarians. {...}

Lawrence is said to have been martyred on a gridiron. During his torture Lawrence cried out "This side’s done, turn me over and have a bite." {"Assum est, inquit, versa et manduca."} {...}

According to lore, among the treasure of the Roman church entrusted to Lawrence for safe-keeping was the Holy Chalice, the cup from which Jesus and the Apostles drank at the Last Supper. Lawrence was able to spirit this away to Huesca with a letter and a supposed inventory, where it lay hidden and unregarded for centuries. {...}

According to Christian mythology, the Holy Grail is a relic that was sent by St. Lawrence to his parents in Spain. He entrusted this sacred chalice to a friend whom he knew would travel back to Spain, his home country. While the Holy Chalice's exact journey through the centuries is disputed, it is generally accepted by Catholics that the Chalice was sent by his family to a monastery for preservation and veneration.
None of the above suggests why the Perseids are referred to as the "Tears of St. Lawrence."

However, these things remind me of a few odds and ends said by the Cs that may or may not be relevant clues:

7 June 97

Q: In reading the Celtic legends, I discovered that
Cassiopaea was equated with Danu, or Don, as in Tuatha de
Danaan, or the court of the goddess Danu. So, in other
words, the supreme goddess of the [Northern Peoples] was Cassiopaea.
And, Cassiopaea is found in the zodiacal area of Aries,
the 'lamb,' where Cephus the 'rock' and 'king' is also
found, as well as Perseus, 'he who breaks' and
serpentarius. The image is of Perseus overcoming the
serpent, and the ancient Celtic engravings of the horned
god show him gripping two serpents by the throat. I would
like to understand the symbology here...
A: You are on the right track.
Q: What is the symbology of the 'breaking of rocks,' as in
the alchemical texts, as well as related to Perseus as 'he
who breaks?'
A: Occurs at a time when rocks break, as in the
electromagnetic impulses that emanate from earthbound
rocks when sheared by tectonic forces, and much more
importantly, the possible utilization of said forces
whether naturally or otherwise induced.
(Discussing Rennes-le-Chateau)
12 July 97
Q: ... in my perception of this arrangement on this stone, is it that the two sides need
to be united, is that correct? Or is the Arrow from the P-S pointing at the spider a divider
of two opposing groups?
A: Open for your discovery!
Q: Oh, you guys are BAD to me tonight!
A: No, we be berry berry goood to Lawra!
and

4 April 98

Q: Okay, I get the connection. In the studies of the Triple
Goddess, I came across some interesting things. You
suggested that I should research the Third Man Theme. I
have discovered that the origin of the word 'man' meant a
female - the goddess. The oldest word for the male of the
species was 'wer' as in 'werewolf.' So, the Third Man
Theme could mean actually, the Triple Goddess. Am I
correct?
A: Close, if viewed through "sheets of rain."
Q: Okay. Tracking the Triple Goddess back to the oldest
references, we get to KaliMa. There are all kinds of
derivations of this name, but the thing that strikes me is
the relationship to the goddess Kell, or Kella, as well as
to the word kell, Celts, and how this might be transformed
into the word 'Cassiopaea.' Can you comment on this?
A: Do not the Celts like "kelly" green?!?
Q: Yes. So. What does 'green' have to do with it?
A: Keep searching... learning is accomplished thusly, and
learning is fun!
and

2 Jan 99

Q: So, we are back to something else. I once asked about the Third Man Theme and that perhaps you meant that the imagery was that of the Triple Goddess relating to the Isle of Man... and you said 'if viewed through sheets of rain.' So, in this book that I am reading, it talks about the fact that the Celts of Gaul worshipped the Rain as the manifestation of the Goddess, and the Celts of Scotland worshipped the Sun... the male God. Does this relate in any way to this remark you made about sheets of rain?
A: In an offhand way.
Q: Anything further you can tell me in terms of a clue about 'sheets of rain?'
A: Not for now, when you get there, you will find the chalice.
Q: Where and WHAT chalice?
A: Wait and see!
and

17 August 2003

Q: (L) I don't think that was one of your options. (A) well, someone on the physics newsgroups was discussing this, so maybe it is a confirmation. (L) Look! It's raining. (After months of extraordinary heat and many deaths, rain was significant.)
Q: (A) So we can ask then about this weather breakthrough yesterday, is it a sign of a break through in our own situation?
A: One day there will be sheets of rain.
Getting back to the origin of the Perseids,

Wikipedia said:
Comet Swift-Tuttle was discovered by Lewis Swift on July 16, 1862 and by Horace Parnell Tuttle on July 19, 1862, independently. The comet made a return appearance in 1992, when it was rediscovered by Japanese astronomer Tsuruhiko Kiuchi.

The comet is on an orbit which will almost certainly eventually hit either the Earth or the Moon, though not within this millennium. Upon its 1992 rediscovery, the comet's date of perihelion passage was off from the then-current prediction by 17 days. It was then noticed that, if its next perihelion passage (August 14, 2126) was also off by another 15 days, the comet would very likely strike the Earth or Moon. However, the orbit was improved by the identification of earlier passages, dating as far back as 69 BC, and the new orbit's stability turned out to be greater than expected, making the threat disappear.
Can anybody else find anything out about the "tears" and the comet?
 

Alana

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Laura said:
Can anybody else find anything out about the "tears" and the comet?
Well, there's this article from 2006, in the Canadian

-http://enews.coloradomtn.edu/index.cfm?method=c.artDetail&artID=1804

Historians tell us that the Romans martyred a Christian deacon named Laurentius on August 10 in the year 258 AD by cooking him alive on an outdoor iron stove called a gridiron. It was during this torture that Laurentius reportedly cried out, "I am already roasted on one side and, if thou wouldst have me well cooked, it is time to turn me on the other." That night, as Laurnetius’ family and friends carried away his body, they noticed a number of bright streaks falling through the sky. They marveled at the miracle and believed that the streaks were the fiery tears of Laurentius falling from heaven. For centuries after that August night, people all over the world have continued to marvel at the sight of St. Lawrence’s tears every August.

We now know that the streaks of light are caused by tiny bits of space dust shed long ago by a comet named Swift-Tuttle. As they enter the Earth’s atmosphere at 60 km/sec, the dust particles burn up as meteors about 60 miles over our heads. The August meteors seem to fan out from a point in the northeastern sky within our constellation Perseus, so the meteor shower is formally called the Perseid meteor shower. Over the centuries, the time of peak activity has shifted from the night of August 10 to August 11, but some Perseid meteors can be seen for about a week on either side of that date.
I also found here

-http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/7905/lorenzo.html

that St Lawrence was also a librarian and archivist:

A patron saint of libraries and librarians is Saint Lawrence the Librarian. He is a third century saint and martyr (died 258 AD) who had responsibility for the written archives and records of the early church.

...

As librarian and archivist, Lawrence was thought to have a list of all the members of the early church, and the locations of all the mythical hidden hoards of gold belonging to the Vatican. Captured by the soldiers of the Emperor Valerian a few days later, on August 8, 258 AD, he was told to produce all the wealth of the church. He was given only two days to bring all the treasures to the imperial palace. Particularly desired were the names of all the Christians who were also Roman nobles, since they could be ransomed for gold by the emperor, or executed and their wealth confiscated by the emperor for the state.

Lawrence gathered up the all the diseased, orphaned or crippled Christians on the appointed day, brought them to the palace, and told the startled emperor that "These are the treasures of the church!"

According to tradition, for his presumed impudence, Lawrence was then slowly roasted on a grill on the site of the Basilica di San Lorenzo in Rome, in the hope that he would publicly renounce his religion and reveal the names of the wealthy Christians. He is often represented holding a gridiron to memorialize this grisly manner of martyrdom. Although St. Lawrence was most certainly beheaded and not roasted, the traditions of his being cooked are somewhat stronger than actual fact. As a result, St Lawrence is also considered a patron saint for cooks.

....

His feast day is August 10th, and is usually celebrated by librarians and archivists (in honor of his traditional method of death) with cold cuts.
Sounds like a decent man.

I also found that black Madonnas are found in 3 places in Greece, connected to mythical places/events, and blood, rape and the underworld. Probably the Greeks took dark literally :/ :

-http://gogreece.about.com/od/specialinterests1/tp/blackmadonna.htm



1. The Black Madonna of the Nekromanteion [seen in picture above]
An example of trompe l'oeil painting, the chapel that is built on top of an alleged ancient entrance to the underworld once ruled over by Persephone and Pluto conceals an unexpected image of a Black Madonna, invisible until you approach it closely.

2. Lesvos - Taxiarchis Monastery
A sculptured image of Mary is displayed here at this monastery on the island of Lesvos just outside the village of Mandamathos (Mandamadhos). This sacred image is partially encased in silver. The "clay" from which it is formed is said to be made from the blood of slaughtered monks which stained the earth.

3. Crete - St. Titus' Basilica, Gortyn
This very early Christian basilica contains an icon of a Black Madonna in the ruined church, which is still used for services. The site is also by the sacred tree where Europa is said to have mated with Zeus and conceived their sons Minos, Rhadamanthys, and Sarpedon.
 

Laura

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Hmmm... the grilling references bring something else to mind:

20 June 98

Q: First question: okay, this book, The Key, by Cohane,
is talking about a rock drawing in the Hoggar region of
the Sahara; there is a figure of this man on these rock
drawings surrounded by these various other figures;
the man is pictured without a face.

Where his face should be there are parallel brownish black
lines that look like two things, the slats of a bed or the
grill of a barbeque. Then, it says that "in the West
Indies, and throughout North America, the indians had, as
one of their most vital implements, a device that served
as both bed and as a cooking utensil. It consisted of an
oblong metal frame, three feet high, with slats or bars
across the framework much like the slats of a modern bed.
The indians cooked their meat on this grill over an open
fire, and then, when the fire had died down, they wrapped
themselves in their blankets and slept on the grill above
the embers. To nomadic people, this object was the very
center of their life. On this device, they not only
cooked and slept, but also begot children. Out of this
simple invention came what we today call a barbeque."

Anyway, the thought that came to my mind as I read that
was the idea of the magnetite in the brain and the
representation of the darkened bars across the face of
this god figure as being symbolic of iron magnetite, and
some kind of energy transition going on in the head. Can
you comment on this idea?
A: We need you to be more specific, if you please.
Q: Well, do the dark lines represent a)iron or b)the
magnetite of the iron?
A: Seldom are answers so readily obtainable as in the "key"
book.
Q: You got that right! It blew me away! So, in other words,
the answer was very close to the description of the
barbeque?
A: Interesting that they should mention "barbeque," as the
lines described could very well denote the effects of the
"grill" after one's face had been pressed upon it, while
the fires burned underneath!
Q: What would be the source of such fires? The nature of the
fires?
A: Firewalkers could tell you that.
Q: What is the nature of the grill? Is it an external iron
object, or an internal effect of iron?
A: Both.
Q: Why would this be represented as dark lines across the
face?
A: When one is shamed, one is no longer seen, only sees...
Q: Are you saying that this is a representation of hiding
one's face in shame?
A: More like being hidden.
Q: What figure did this god represent that had these lines
drawn across the face?
A: The figure was more collective than individual.
Q: So, it was a collective rather than an individual god...
(C) How do you know it was a god? (L) Because it was...
well, we don't. It was just that the size was so huge.
Was it one of the Nephilim?
A: When it comes to the Nephalim, references all point to a
unified legend.
Q: Was this figure the fertility god of the Hoggar region?
A: Better study more material relating to Mediterranean
region, particularly Malta.
Q: Okay, that is at least the third time you have brought up
Malta. I will look for something on Malta.
So, I searched to see if there were any black madonnas on Malta.

Wikipedia said:
In Malta a medieval painting of a Black Madonna rests in a small church in Hamrun, with the church being possibly the oldest one in the area, originally built in honor of St. Nicholas. Brought to Malta by a merchant in the year 1630, the painting is of a statue found in Atocha, a parish in Madrid, Spain, and is widely known as Il-Madonna tas-Samra. (This can mean 'tanned Madonna', 'brown Madonna', or 'Madonna of Samaria'). She may also be called Madonna ta' Atoċja, corresponding to the Spanish Nuestra Señora de Atocha. There were celebrations in 2005, the painting's 375th year in Malta.
That was about the only thing of interest about black Madonna's on Malta.

Of course, it is well-known that there was an extraordinary goddess worship on Malta:

http://www.infohub.com/Articles/20010219.html (There are some images at the site)

Malta: Ancient Home to Goddesses and Fertility Cults

Nowhere on earth did a Goddess ever reign as she did in Malta. Architect Richard England explains the Maltese temples themselves as the personification of the Earth Mother, with floor plans which echo abundant maternal curves. One can easily imagine the concept of entering the "womb" of the temple for communion with the Goddess, and emerging "re-born" into the sunlight. Amazingly, visitors can still walk in several of these prehistoric temples. They are UNESCO World Heritage sites and the oldest free-standing buildings on the planet. But what about the advanced civilization which they represent?

Two terms seem to go hand-in-hand when the temples of Malta are discussed. Fertility Cult is often used to describe pre-patriarchal societies of the Neolithic period, which in most of the world some 4,500 years ago worshipped a Goddess. The concept is universal and shows up at one time or another in virtually every culture on the planet. Mention the words Fertility Cult and you really capture "civilized" people’s attention: wild abandon and sexual frenzy, sweaty bodies and wicked native drums. Put all that in the context of a torch-lit megalithic temple and the active imagine could run hog wild.

Not much survived of the early matrifocal people of Europe once they were overrun and assimilated by aggressive tribes identified by archaeologist Marija Gimbutas in "The Language of the Goddess" (1989, San Francisco: Harper and Row.) With mobility of mounted horses and the authority of metal weapons the invaders made relatively quick work of establishing a new order in the old world. A successful takeover would have demanded the smashing and widescale eradication of any existing goddess spirituality. With a few exceptions myths and legends were all that remained to carry memory of the ancient times, and over subsequent millennia recorded history managed to distort or destroy most of that as well. The one clear remnant that comes down to us today is the use of such terms as Mother Nature and Mother Earth.

As hunter-gatherer humankind came out of the caves of Europe and western Asia, people soon learned something about agriculture, animal husbandry and the production of a continuous food supply. They already knew that females, both in the fields and at home, carried young within their bodies and gave birth. There was no great mystery about it. That was just how things happened. It’s extremely difficult to believe that they didn’t also understand a need for the male of the species in reproduction, although some anthropologists argue this point. At least in the Maltese Temple Period material, there is more than a little suggestion of duality and a healthy respect for gender differences. Gimbutas referred to sculpture and carvings of plumply rounded devotional figures as clearly representing, above all else, the concept of regeneration. When early people witnessed the earth bringing forth fruits and grains, they identified it with the same feminine characteristics of creation and nurturing. It was, after all, the mother who fed the young, and the earth that fed the people. In this way, the concept of a feminine deity of fertility and abundance would have been entirely natural.

When we talk about Neolithic Malta, we are considering a time period long before Buddha and Mohammed, before Jesus and Moses and even Abraham. Sometimes it’s difficult to put aside those later influences and remain totally objective about the existence of a civilization which is neither recorded in the Bible nor described in the hieroglyphics of an Egyptian tomb. How is it that the Maltese Fertility Cults have been such a secret? It’s likely that the early people who had written language never knew about them.

As if by destiny, the megalithic temples of Malta were overlooked or ignored for many thousands of years. Abandoned for some reason at around 2500 BC, they sat in isolated silence for centuries. The roofs fell in. Weeds grew between the stones. Through a long and complicated history of foreign occupation and resettlement of the Maltese archipelago, the debris of ages continued to collect in the temples.

Although there is evidence of trade and communication with other regions, the "temple culture" of Malta developed their unique artistic expression and iconography along lines which are totally unlike anything seen elsewhere from the same time period. For more than a thousand years they successfully existed in peace and harmony with themselves and their environment. No evidence of weapons, warfare or defensive architecture exists in the ruins.

The debate continues over the "fertility" and "Goddess" idols which have been discovered inside the temples and in the prehistoric underground burial chambers. Some of the excavated figures are clearly feminine images, skillfully represented down to the pleats in their cloth garments, the carefully braided hair hanging down their backs and the woven cane of their furniture. The carved heads in another group of stylized ritual objects strongly suggest male features with long noses and wide jaws. The bodies of these are straight and angular, clearly clothed. Other representational pieces are phallic in nature and leave no room for doubt.

But most of the "cult statuettes" are a mystery; posed both standing and comfortably seated in various positions. Although headless, many are equipped with a socket between the shoulders and tiny holes for manipulating a cord. Several were found with separate heads nearby. They may have been designed to fulfill the function of some sort of oracle. The important locations in which they were found unmistakably point to ritual use. It has been argued that these graceful statuettes with their corpulent nude bodies can't possibly be female because they don't have well-defined breasts. Neither does any of them have a penis to make it unarguably male. There can be no denying that they are curved in the way that a woman usually curves when she lets nature take over. One modem Maltese gentleman proposes that the fat arms, thighs and calves on these figures are styled to signify strength. Mr. Joseph S. Ellul, whose father was for many years caretaker at the Hagar-Qim site, theorizes that this is the power which would have been required to move the massive stone slabs which make up the temples. ("Malta's Prediluvian Culture", 1988, Malta: Printwell Ltd.) The sculptures may simply be androgynous figures of abundance. Perhaps, in a society where gender was not the issue that we make it today, they were designed to serve equally with the modeled head of either priest or priestess, depending on who was officiating at the time. We may never know for sure.

One thing is certain: whether or not they ever accommodated wild orgies, the megalithic limestone temples of Malta were and continue to be places of immense importance in human history. They are remarkable evidence of a people who have been described by cultural anthropologists as among the purest and most impressive cultures that ever existed. Personally, I have to wonder what our world might be like if the knowledge were widespread that once upon a time, God looked just like my mother!
Malta, of course, is not too far from Algeria, being due east of Sousse, Tunisia, right next door. The Hoggar Mountains are in Southern Algeria. They are also known as the Ahaggar Mountains. This strikes me as interesting in relation to the name of "Hagar the Egyptian" in the story of Abraham. This is interesting in light of this thread: http://www.cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php?topic=9383.msg67669#msg67669

Wikipedia said:
The Ahaggar massif is the land of the Tuaregs or Kel Ahaggar. The tomb of Tin Hinan, the god believed to be the ancestor of the Tuareg is located at Abalessa, an oasis near Tamanghasset. According to legend, the origins of Tim Lam are from Tafilalt region in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains.
The Taureg people are descended from the Berbers.

Some of ya'll may recall from Secret History the following:

The Afro-Asiatic language phylum has six distinct branches including Ancient Egyptian, which was known in its last years as Coptic, and which became extinct in the seventeenth century. The other five branches are Berber, Chadic, Cushitic, and Omotic. The Semitic language group is subdivided into an extinct Eastern branch, Akkadian, spoken by Sargon, and a Western branch with two sub-branches, Central and South. The Central group consists of Aramaic, Canaanite, and Arabic. The Southern group consists of South Arabian and Ethiopic. And here is the curiosity: one of the other branches of the Afro-Asiatic language tree is Berber, with sub-branches of Guanche - spoken by the original Canary Islanders; East Numidian, which is Old Libyan, and Berber proper. {...}

Some experts tell us that the Guanches must have come from the neighboring African coast long ages before the Black and Arab “invaders” overran it. We are sagely informed that Mauritania was formerly inhabited by the, “same ancient Iberian race which once covered all Western Europe: a people tall, fair and strong”. Spain invaded, and most of the Guanches were wiped out by diseases to which they had no resistance due to their long isolation. It was over a hundred years before anyone attempted to record their language, customs, and what could be remembered of their history. Friar Alonso de Espinosa of the Augustine Order of Preachers, writing in 1580, tells us:

…It is generally believed that these are the Elysian Fields of which Homer sings. The poet Virgil, in the 4th book of the Aeneid, mentions the great peak of this island, when he makes Mercury, sent by Jupiter, go to Carthage to undeceive Aeneas, and to encourage him so that he might not abandon the voyage to Italy which he had undertaken.

It has not been possible to ascertain the origin of the Guanches, or whence they came, for as the natives had no letters, they had no account of their origin or descent, although some tradition may have come down from father to son. […]

The old Guanches say that they have an immemorial tradition that sixty people came to this island, but they know not whence they came. They gave their settlement the name, “The place of union of the son of the great one”.

Although they knew of God, and called Him by various names, they had no rites nor ceremonies nor words with which they might venerate Him. […] When the rains failed, they got together the sheep in certain places, where it was the custom to invoke the guardian of the sheep. Here they stuck a wand or lance in the ground, then they separated the lambs from the sheep, and placed the mothers round the lance, where they bleated. They believed that God was appeased by this ceremony, that he heard the bleating of the sheep and would send down the rain.

…They knew that there was a hell, and they held that it was in the peak of Teyde [the volcanic mountain}, and the devil was Guayota.

They were accustomed when a child was born, to call a woman whose duty it was, and she poured water over its head; and this woman thus contracted a relationship with the child’s parents, so that it was not lawful to marry her, or to treat her dishonestly. They know not whence they derived this custom or ceremony, only that it existed. It could not be a sacrament, for it was not performed as one, nor had the evangelic law been preached to them.[…]

The inviolable law was that if a warrior meeting a woman by chance in the road, or in any solitary place, who spoke to her or looked at her, unless she spoke first and asked for something, or who, in an inhabited place, used any dishonest words which could be proved, he should suffer death for it without appeal. Such was their discipline. […]

This people had very good and perfect features, and well-shaped bodies. They were of tall stature, with proportionate limbs. There were giants among them of incredible size…

They only possessed and sowed barley and beans. … If they once had wheat, the seed had been lost… They also ate the flesh of sheep, goats, and pigs, and they fed on it by itself, without any other relish whatever… The flesh had to be half roasted because, as they said, it contained more substance in that way than if it was well roasted.

They counted the year by lunations… The lord did not marry with anyone of the lower orders, and if there was no one he could marry without staining the lineage, brothers were married to sisters.

They were wonderfully clever with counting. Although a flock was very numerous and came out of the yard or fold at a rush, they counted the sheep without opening their mouths or noting with their hands, and never made a mistake.
{...} the clues seem to indicate that what we call the “Semitic language” may actually have been a northern tongue, an Aryan language, adopted by peoples we think of as ethnically “Semitic” in modern terms but who, in ancient terms, were not Semitic at all.
Now, notice the excerpt from Wikipedia quoted above:

The tomb of Tin Hinan, the god believed to be the ancestor of the Tuareg is located at Abalessa,
However, when we go to find out something about Tin Hinan we find:

Wikipedia said:
Tin Hinan was the first leader to unite the Tuareg world and establish a kingdom in the Ahaggar mountains. She was both heroine and matriarch and is believed to have come from Tafilalt oasis in the Atlas Mountains in the area of the modern Morocco.

In Abalessa, the ancient capital of the Ahaggar or Hoggar region, there is the tomb of the famous Tuareg queen Tin Hinan. About this famous ancestress of the Tuaregs following story is told: Tin Hinan came in the company of her maid-servant Takamat from Tafilalet in the Atlas Mountains Morocco to the Hoggar Algeria. There she became the first Tamenokalt (= Queen) of the Tuaregs and her fame was so great, that even today the Tuaregs call her "Mother of Us All"

Her sepulchre was a place of pilgrimage and worship, so there were found hints that inside this tomb healing sleep was practiced.

The corpse of the famous Tin Hinan was found when the grave was excavated by archaeologists. She was lying on a finely carved wooden bed and was covered all over by jewels. She had seven silver bracelets on her right forearm and on her left forearm seven gold bracelets.

Her corpse is in the National Museum of BARDO in Algiers Algeria.
"Healing sleep." That has been suggested as the true activity that was going on in the womb like temples of Malta, too. And so, we get the idea that the "god" that Cohane was talking about in his discussion of the "grill" may have actually been a goddess and these words begin to make a bit more sense:

When one is shamed, one is no longer seen, only sees...
That pretty much describes the condition of women for the past several millennia. And women represent the goddess, the earth, the creative power, etc.

One wonders, of course, about the name "Tin Hinan" and the story that is somewhat similar to the story of Mary Magdalene traveling to France. One also wonders if the name of Tin Hinan might originally have been similar to the name of the mountains - Hagar?

We notice that Tin Hinan supposedly came from Morocco and that reminds me of something else the Cs said:

2 May 98

Q: Did Jesus have a wife?
A: Yes.
Q: Who was his wife?
A: Anatylenia.
Q: Who was this person?
A: The wife of Jesus.
Q: What was her background, her nationality?
A: Nazarene.
Q: Does that mean that she was from the east?
A: Possibly, if viewed that way.
Q: Did they have any children?
A: Yes.
Q: How many?
A: Three.
Q: What was the family name?
A: Marnohk.
Q: What did his wife do when he ascended into the stat of
hyperconsciousness which you have previously described?
A: Awaited her turn to transition.
Q: Did she continue to live in the same general area, or did
she move to Europe.
A: Same.
Q: So, all these stories being made up about all these people
and dramatic scenarios...
A: It is not the people but the message, the artifacts hold
the key.
Q: What artifacts? Where are these artifacts?
A: France, Spain, Canary Islands and Morocco.
Q: What kind of artifacts are they? Things that still exist?
A: Yes.
Q: Is there any possibility that I am going to be able to
find out about, or even actually FIND these artifacts?
A: Of course!!
Q: Does anyone else know about these artifacts?
A: Others are "on the trail."
It does get complicated, doesn't it? We started in Wandlebury and now we are in Morocco.
 

mamadrama

The Living Force
There is a dialogue between Hedsel and a woman he met at Chartres about the Black Madonna:

"Why are you in Chartres, Latona?"
"I'm here to see the Black Virgin..."
"The smell of the grave..." She was quoting from Fulcanelli. (Morien, quoted by Fulcanelli in a brief mention of La Clef du Cabinet hermetique, says of the black matter used in the alchemical process of refinement that it must show some acidity and have a 'certain smell of the grave.')
Hesel asks, "Do you think the Virgin was an Isis? Or was she something else?"
"I don't know. It is enough for me that the cathedral protects a pagan goddess - and that she is black...Do you know anything about the Black Virgins?"
"Fulcanelli says they bear the inscription, "To the Virgin about to give birth."
"Fulcanelli is right. Some do have those words inscribed on the socles." ( the inscription is Virgini pariturae)
"Fulcanelli said that the Black Virgin was also called the Mother of God, the great idea."
"Matri deum, magnae ideae. Difficult to translate, as idea is a play on the feminine for goddess, dea."
 

mamadrama

The Living Force
One interesting thing I find in regard to tears is this:

Hedsel said:
The alchemical texts will assure you that the liquid which squirts fro the breasts of Magnesia is not milk. It is the lac Virginis, or Virgin's milk, which is asexual and watery, and as white as salt. (it is the Etheric) This is the hermetic water which, as Fulcanelli reminds us, does not wet human hands. This milk of Magnesia is perhaps somewhat like the metallic mercury, in that it does not wet hands, yet it is something altogether more ethereal. It is the priceless water which spurts from the fountain of Holmat. It is the precious liquid which spurts from the sides of the crucified Christ, to the touch of the lance of Longinus. It is probably also the precious liquid in the fountain of the Garden of Eden. This sacred liquid was never milk, even when it spurted from the breasts of (Magnesia). It was the life-saving water of the alchemical fountain, the ever-running sacrifice of those initiates who pool their saltless tears for the good of the world.
In alchemy, the salt tears are merely the sign that the brain is frustrated: the flames of desire have reduced matter to its constituent salt. Our mortal tears are signal that the mind cannot understand. This is why it is said that the true initiate has no tears - not because he or she cannot suffer, but because he or she understands everything, and such a mind will have no frustration, no need for tears. In this simple truth lies the first secret of initiation.
It seems that in our end is our beginning. We come into the world material in blood and tears, and we are born into the Spiritual world in red blood and white tears. Yet, the end is always different from the beginning. At this ending, we do not take with us the encumbrances of the Earth, dross matter, but those Spiritual things which we have made our own, those invisible things we have attracted, magnet-like, to ourselves. Thus, the same words disguise different things, and the liquids which mark the beginning are not those which mark the ending. The manuscripts and books of the alchemists tell us that the blood and water of the virgin matter are purified, and that one of the names for this purified alchemical woman is Magnesia. She is the maget-woman who draws to her for nourishment those Sons of Man who do not find the world material sufficient, and wish to become the Sons of God, or initiates
 

Johnno

The Living Force
Laura said:
Hmmm... the grilling references bring something else to mind:

20 June 98

Q: First question: okay, this book, The Key, by Cohane,
is talking about a rock drawing in the Hoggar region of
the Sahara; there is a figure of this man on these rock
drawings surrounded by these various other figures;
the man is pictured without a face.

Where his face should be there are parallel brownish black
lines that look like two things, the slats of a bed or the
grill of a barbeque. Then, it says that "in the West
Indies, and throughout North America, the indians had, as
one of their most vital implements, a device that served
as both bed and as a cooking utensil. It consisted of an
oblong metal frame, three feet high, with slats or bars
across the framework much like the slats of a modern bed.
The indians cooked their meat on this grill over an open
fire, and then, when the fire had died down, they wrapped
themselves in their blankets and slept on the grill above
the embers. To nomadic people, this object was the very
center of their life. On this device, they not only
cooked and slept, but also begot children. Out of this
simple invention came what we today call a barbeque."

Anyway, the thought that came to my mind as I read that
was the idea of the magnetite in the brain and the
representation of the darkened bars across the face of
this god figure as being symbolic of iron magnetite, and
some kind of energy transition going on in the head. Can
you comment on this idea?
A: We need you to be more specific, if you please.
Q: Well, do the dark lines represent a)iron or b)the
magnetite of the iron?
A: Seldom are answers so readily obtainable as in the "key"
book.
Q: You got that right! It blew me away! So, in other words,
the answer was very close to the description of the
barbeque?
A: Interesting that they should mention "barbeque," as the
lines described could very well denote the effects of the
"grill" after one's face had been pressed upon it, while
the fires burned underneath!
Q: What would be the source of such fires? The nature of the
fires?
A: Firewalkers could tell you that.
Q: What is the nature of the grill? Is it an external iron
object, or an internal effect of iron?
A: Both.
Q: Why would this be represented as dark lines across the
face?
A: When one is shamed, one is no longer seen, only sees...
Q: Are you saying that this is a representation of hiding
one's face in shame?
A: More like being hidden.
Q: What figure did this god represent that had these lines
drawn across the face?
A: The figure was more collective than individual.
Q: So, it was a collective rather than an individual god...
(C) How do you know it was a god? (L) Because it was...
well, we don't. It was just that the size was so huge.
Was it one of the Nephilim?
A: When it comes to the Nephalim, references all point to a
unified legend.
Q: Was this figure the fertility god of the Hoggar region?
A: Better study more material relating to Mediterranean
region, particularly Malta.
Q: Okay, that is at least the third time you have brought up
Malta. I will look for something on Malta.
<snip>

Now, notice the excerpt from Wikipedia quoted above:

The tomb of Tin Hinan, the god believed to be the ancestor of the Tuareg is located at Abalessa,
However, when we go to find out something about Tin Hinan we find:

Wikipedia said:
Tin Hinan was the first leader to unite the Tuareg world and establish a kingdom in the Ahaggar mountains. She was both heroine and matriarch and is believed to have come from Tafilalt oasis in the Atlas Mountains in the area of the modern Morocco.

In Abalessa, the ancient capital of the Ahaggar or Hoggar region, there is the tomb of the famous Tuareg queen Tin Hinan. About this famous ancestress of the Tuaregs following story is told: Tin Hinan came in the company of her maid-servant Takamat from Tafilalet in the Atlas Mountains Morocco to the Hoggar Algeria. There she became the first Tamenokalt (= Queen) of the Tuaregs and her fame was so great, that even today the Tuaregs call her "Mother of Us All"

Her sepulchre was a place of pilgrimage and worship, so there were found hints that inside this tomb healing sleep was practiced.

The corpse of the famous Tin Hinan was found when the grave was excavated by archaeologists. She was lying on a finely carved wooden bed and was covered all over by jewels. She had seven silver bracelets on her right forearm and on her left forearm seven gold bracelets.

Her corpse is in the National Museum of BARDO in Algiers Algeria.
"Healing sleep." That has been suggested as the true activity that was going on in the womb like temples of Malta, too. And so, we get the idea that the "god" that Cohane was talking about in his discussion of the "grill" may have actually been a goddess and these words begin to make a bit more sense:

When one is shamed, one is no longer seen, only sees...
That pretty much describes the condition of women for the past several millennia. And women represent the goddess, the earth, the creative power, etc.
I just had a look at the picture of the figure with the grill on page 123 in the Key and the figure is male with a phallus and phallic like protrusions coming from his elbows. As an aside, this may point to all the allusions of the knees in symbology being female.

Nevertheless, there are women in the same picture. They almost look as if they are begging or pleading in front of the figure. It could be a depiction of "the simultaneous and mutually reinforcing actions of subordination and objectification of the female" perhaps. I'm not sure if the correct term for this is subjectification or subjectation......subjection??????

Cohane attributed the Giant figure as Og "Last of the Giants". He seems more like a Hawa figure with the women being of the Og group. Interesting that the women are many and the male is one, there's the depiction of the collectivity and networking of the female vs the "individuality" of the male.
 
Johnno said:
I scanned the image from Cohane's book.

What a strange picture. When I enlarge it, it kind of looks like the arms are kind of cut off and the part you mention "phallic like protrusions coming from his elbows" makes them look like pincers.
 

Alana

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Laura said:
Hmmm... the grilling references bring something else to mind:

[...]

"Healing sleep." That has been suggested as the true activity that was going on in the womb like temples of Malta, too. And so, we get the idea that the "god" that Cohane was talking about in his discussion of the "grill" may have actually been a goddess and these words begin to make a bit more sense:

When one is shamed, one is no longer seen, only sees...
That pretty much describes the condition of women for the past several millennia. And women represent the goddess, the earth, the creative power, etc.
When reading the C's quote and before reading your interpretation Laura, i had st Lawrence in mind and his grilled face, and i took the quote to mean:

grilled faced = somebody who "lost face", as in someone shamed from seeing his/her true nature and thus became humble. A humble person is not pompous, so not getting attention to him/herself (no longer seen), but yet for having seen inside him/herself, able to see inside others. As in symbolism of initiation process. Which in my mind fit with the meteor showers period, as in a time when some people are forced, due to genetic predisposition and external conditions, to face both internally and externally in objectivity.

My 2 - non Black Madonna related - cents :halo:
 

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
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FOTCM Member
Smaragde said:
When reading the C's quote and before reading your interpretation Laura, i had st Lawrence in mind and his grilled face, and i took the quote to mean:

grilled faced = somebody who "lost face", as in someone shamed from seeing his/her true nature and thus became humble. A humble person is not pompous, so not getting attention to him/herself (no longer seen), but yet for having seen inside him/herself, able to see inside others. As in symbolism of initiation process. Which in my mind fit with the meteor showers period, as in a time when some people are forced, due to genetic predisposition and external conditions, to face both internally and externally in objectivity.
Another example of why it is important to have the context of what I am thinking and researching when reading transcripts. It is so easy for others to read just the raw material, with no context, and put their own interpretations on it. Very often, when comments come through, I also get "impressions" that are like whole thought complexes. And then, when I return and re-read some of the material, or find elements that connect together, more of these thought complexes come along, or expand, or whatever.

I guess that, in order to get the same impressions and connections that I get, you would have to be me. And I guess if you were me, you would be having dialogs with the Cs yourself! So, obviously, I really need to get on with the task of getting all the material out there and explained in context.
 

Laura

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Found a bit more on comet Swift-Tuttle:
_http://everything2.com/index.pl?node=Comet%20Swift-Tuttle
Comet Swift-Tuttle, also known as Comet 109P, is a pretty old comet. It is the largest object known to make repeated passes near the Earth. It is also one of the oldest known "periodic comets" with sightings spanning two millennia. The best estimate of when it will pass by the sun is July 11, 2126. It was originally forecast that it COULD possibly strike the Earth on August 14, 2126. Scientists figured it had a 1 in 10,000 chance of hitting the Earth and wiping out all of mankind. It's also responsible for the Perseid meteor shower.

Discovery
Lewis Swift (Marathon, New York) discovered this comet in Camelopardalis (a constellation) on July 16, 1862 while examining the northern sky with his 11.4-cm Fitz refractor. He described the comet as a somewhat bright telescopic object, but did not report it since he thought he was observing the comet Schmidt had found two weeks earlier. Without knowledge of Swift's observation, Horace Parnell Tuttle (Harvard College Observatory, Cambridge, Massachusetts) independently discovered this comet on July 19 and noted it was heading northward. Tuttle then made an official announcement. When Swift heard of Tuttle's find, he immediately realized the comet seen on July 16 was not Schmidt's and made his announcement to get credit for his first comet discovery. As a result, they share the name of the comet.

When it was seen in 1862, its parabolic orbit was calculated to have a period of about 120 years. In 1982, astronomers waited for it but couldn't see it anywhere, leading them to conclude that it had disintegrated. As the comet approaches the sun, pieces of it begin to break off, leaving a trail of debris behind it in its trail. As the earth orbits through it, the pieces burn up in the Earth's atmosphere, causing a meteor shower. Since this comet was responsible for one of the biggest showers, it was assumed that it had completely broken up.

Comet Swift-Tuttle was rediscovered in September 1992, almost 10 years away from its expected position. The reason for this large discrepancy wasn't due to inaccuracy or miscalculation, but due to the fact that when a comet passes near to the Sun, some of its matter is evaporated by the Sun's radiation. This evaporation does not necessarily happen symmetrically, but the imbalance can distort its orbit in an unpredictable way. Even taking that into account, it was thought impossible to predict the orbit due to the evaporation.

From revised calculations made using the observations made in 1992 and those of 1862, it has been shown that the comet is identical with Comet Kegler observed in 1737. The comet was last seen on 1995 March 29.48, by observers at Siding Spring Observatory (Australia).

Collision course?
Using the best availible calculations of the comet's orbit, the best estimate for the time of closest passage to the Sun during its next approach was 2126 July 11. An error of +15 days would mean that the comet could collide with the Earth on August 14 of that year. Scientists initially feared that it might hit the Earth. Even though the odds were slim, the Earth does pass through the orbit of the comet. If the comet adjusted its speed by about 15 days, according to the calculations of the time, it could collide with the planet, wrecking havoc. Relative to the Earth's speed, the comet is traveling at 60 kilometers per second. Going that fast, there is a window of only a few minutes for both paths to cross, and the comet must be at a specific spot in its trajectory for it to be a possibility.

Later observations have allowed a better orbit for the comet to be determined, and it is now clear that it will not hit the Earth. It will still pass by relatively close, making an impressive sky show similiar to comet Hyakutake or the comet Hale-Bopp. The revised orbit has allowed the identification of comet Swift-Tuttle with observations going back 2,000 years.

The comet has a diameter of 10 kilometers, and if it did hit the Earth going 60km/sec, it would be catastrophic. The collision would be 1 Billion times as powerful as the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Such an impact is theorized to have caused the dinosaurs to become extinct. An impact would hypothetically cause a cloud of dust to block out the sun, killing all plants and causing an ice age.

What are the chances it will hit? It's difficult to estimate. If we take the known velocity of the comet relative to the Earth, then we can work out that the comet will only collide with the Earth if it is within a three and a half minute time-slot in its orbit. This means, for instance, that an error of only one hour in the timing of the comet will result in it missing the Earth by about 100,000 kilometers. Considering that the last calculations were off by 10 years, you can see how unpredictable it is.

In mid-1993 it was 3 AU away, and in 1998 it was 15 AU away

A list of its sightings is availible at http://www.aerith.net/comet/catalog/0109P/

Picture availible at http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap960219.html and at http://star.pst.qub.ac.uk/~af/swift.html

Sources
http://cometography.com/pcomets/109p.html
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap960219.html
http://www.oarval.org/section3_16.htm
They don't explain how they can be so sure of things relating to this comet when it is clear that outgassing has repeatedly changed its orbit and speed - by up to ten years!!! Also, where was it and what was it doing when it "gave birth" to the Perseids? And, is this related, in some way, to legends of Black Madonnas? Or is it just a coincidence that it occurs in August?

This is supposed to be a list of the sightings and theorized returns of this comet:

2126 July 12
1992 Dec. 12
1862 Aug. 23
1737 June 15
1610 Feb. 6
1479 Oct. 18
1348 May 2
1212 Nov. 5
1079 Sept.17
950 Apr. 20
826 Apr. 20
698 Sept. 6
569 Mar. 1
441 Nov. 3
316 Oct. 27
188 July 10
59 May 18
-68 Aug. 27
 

Laura

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Found a bit more:

_http://www.as.wvu.edu/~jel/skywatch/swfttle.html

by Sally Stephens, Astronomical Society of the Pacific

(c) 1993 Astronomical Society of the Pacific

A primer on asteroid collisions with Earth

What about the comet that's supposed to hit the Earth in 130 years?
Recent news reports have mentioned a possible collision between the Earth and Comet Swift-Tuttle on August 14, 2126. Comet Swift-Tuttle was first seen in July 1862 (when Abraham Lincoln was President) by two American astronomers (Lewis Swift and Horace Tuttle, hence the name Comet Swift-Tuttle). Three months later it was too faint to be seen. Based on observations during those months, astronomers calculated that the comet had a highly elongated orbit with a period of about 120 years. Thus it was expected to return to the area near the Sun in the early 1980s.

Shortly after its discovery appearance, Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli noticed that the orbit of Comet Swift-Tuttle was remarkably similar to the orbit of the dust particles responsible for the Perseid meteor shower each August. During the peak of meteor showers, upwards of hundreds (and occasionally thousands) of meteors an hour can be seen (as compared to a few per hour visible on a normal night from a dark location). Schiaparelli's connection established comets as the originators of meteor showers -- as comets move close to the Sun, solar heat turns their ice to gas, which explodes away from the surface of the comet in ``jets'' of gas that pull some of the comet's dust out with them. The dust is left behind in the comet's orbit. When the Earth crosses the orbit, at the same time each year, it plows through the dust, unleashing a meteor shower.

During the 1970s, the number of meteors seen each year in the Perseid meteor shower increased. It seemed that Comet Swift-Tuttle was about to reappear. But it failed to show, and soon afterward, Perseid meteor activity dropped sharply. Astronomers wondered if the comet had somehow come and gone unnoticed. After all, its orbit was based on only three months of observations a century ago, and there was plenty of room for error.

In 1973, astronomer Brian Marsden, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, suggested that the comet seen in 1862 might be the same comet reported in 1737 by a Jesuit missionary, Ignatius Kegler, in Beijing, China. The connection was possible if ``jets'' on the comet, caused by ice turning into gas because of the Sun's heat, exploding away from the comet's surface and acting like rocket exhaust, slightly altered its orbit. Marsden predicted that Comet Swift-Tuttle, with a newly calculated period of 130 years, would return at the end of 1992. Increased numbers of Perseid meteors the past few years indicated the comet might be near.

On September 26, 1992, Japanese amateur astronomer Tsuruhiko Kiuchi, using six-inch binoculars, noticed a comet moving through the Big Dipper in an area where scientists had calculated Comet Swift-Tuttle should be, if it was indeed reappearing. Other astronomers confirmed that the lost comet had been found. Marsden's 1973 prediction was confirmed, although the date of the comet's closest approach to the Sun (its perihelion) was off by 17 days from his prediction. On November 7, 1992, the comet passed 177 million kilometers (110 million miles) from Earth (its closest approach) on its way to a December 12th perihelion.

Armed with new observations of the comet's motion, Marsden went to work revising his calculations of its orbit. He predicted the next perihelion would occur on August 14, 2126. But if the actual date of perihelion was off by 15 days from his prediction (as the 1992 perihelion had been off by 17 days), the comet and the Earth might be in the same place in space at the same time. Since Comet Swift-Tuttle is thought to be about six-miles across, about the same size of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs, a possible collision looked ominous.

Marsden continued to refine his calculations, and discovered that he could trace Comet Swift- Tuttle's orbit back almost two thousand years, to match comets observed in 188 AD and possibly even 69 BC. The orbit turned out to be more stable than he had originally thought, with the effects of the comet's jets less pronounced. Marsden concluded that it is highly unlikely the comet will be 15 days off in 2126, and he called off his warning of a possible collision. His new calculations show Comet Swift-Tuttle will pass a comfortable 15 million miles from Earth on its next trip to the inner solar system. However, when Marsden ran his orbital calculations further into the future, he found that, in 3044, Comet Swift-Tuttle may pass within a million miles of Earth, a true cosmic ``near miss.''

Marsden's prediction, and later retraction, of a possible collision between the Earth and the comet highlight that fact that we will most likely have century-long warnings of any potential collision, based on calculations of orbits of known and newly discovered asteroids and comets. Plenty of time to decide what to do.
 
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