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THE MYTHIC ROOTS OF LANGUAGE
I do not believe that the languages familiar to us can be
[Excerpted from a discussion of etymology on the Kronia electronic discussion group]
Language points back to its source, and the source is unified. The first systematic, written languages are rooted in the urge of ancient peoples to restore and to re-live the original "wholeness" of the world. Language arose as an integral component of sacred activity. Our word "sacred" itself comes from the Latin "sacer", "holy", the core idea of which is "wholeness". To honor the wholeness of the First Time is to "remember". Written language emerged from ritual practices, as an instrument of remembering—of this principle I am highly confident.
The common assumption, however, is that the early languages reflect little more than separate fragments of human experience. And this is where we must confront the fundamental mistake of conventional etymology, I believe. The experts will see a thousand discrete objects and rudimentary human experiences associated with them. And they will assume that, from the primitive sounds linked to these experiential fragments, ancient cultures gradually forged the first systematic languages. Though this may be a reasonable assumption, given other assumptions about the nature of human origins, the Saturn model offers a radically different possibility—that the ancient languages arose with remarkable suddenness, as an effect of intensely experienced events, and with unified references in the sky.
Unified references can only mean a unified substratum of language, no less significant than the unified substratum of the rites, myths, and celestial symbols to which language is so indebted. Moreover, the myths, rites, and symbols preserve countless nuances of the original experience, and together they offer a useful guide for exposing the underpinnings of language itself. A range of seemingly DIFFERENT meanings, connected to similar or identical roots, will reflect the things which human imagination saw in celestial forms no longer present and events no longer occurring. In the cosmic pillar imagination will see a mountain AND a river, though in our world a mountain does not look like a river. In the spiraling Venus it will see a serpent AND the spiraling sidelock worn by the warrior-hero, though a serpent "down here" does not look like a lock of hair. In the polar enclosure it will see a circular serpent (uroborus) AND a cosmic city. In the four-fold "radiance" of Venus it will see four pillars of the sky AND four luminous "winds". But remove the celestial references, and the similar or identical words they inspired will have little or no common link, and attempts to relate them will appear far-fetched at best.
It is a fundamental mistake, I believe, to separate the study of language origins from the study of myth. The first languages speak for the "defining" events in the mythical age of the gods— the archetypes. But the true unity of these first expressions will remain unnoticed until the celestial references are fully acknowledged. The origins of written language take us back to the Golden Age of Saturn—the forms and aspects of the primeval Unity—and the more complex episodes which followed the Saturnian epoch. To remember does not just mean to recall; it means symbolically to re-live or recreate the organic whole, which was lost through catastrophe. In its original ritual contexts, this is a very "Saturnian" concept—to "re-MEMBER", to re-constitute symbolically the "limbs" or distinct aspects of the original Unity.
But wait! What is the basis for this not-so-subtle suggestion of an archaic linkage of words which, as far as I am aware, no self- respecting etymologist would countenance? Is there any ground for suspecting a connection between the Latin "membrum", the limbs or constituents of a whole, and "memor", remembering?
I do not mean to insult the experts. But the question deserves to be investigated from a new vantage point, one outside all familiar boundaries. A conceptual relationship is not only intimated by the root meaning of sacred activity, but by the earliest language relating to "words" (the instrument of remembering) and "limbs". Egyptian religious texts, for example, celebrate the VISIBLE words spoken by the creator-god, identifying these "words" with the forms and aspects of creation itself. This identity is embedded in both the Egyptian language and in the declarations of the religious texts. The "words" shouted by the creator, the Unity, meant nothing else than the god's radiant "limbs". Once such connections are noted, is it appropriate to treat the ideas (words/memory and limbs) as wholly disconnected? And if the ideas ARE clearly connected in the earliest expressions of language, is it reasonable to ignore the possibility that these very connections might have echoed into more recent languages as identical or similar roots, the nature of the original connections (celestial references) having been lost?
I am convinced that we are surrounded by the echoes of myth- making imagination, and that language (even modern English, despite the millennia separating our time from the roots of myth) offers unlimited opportunity to explore the connections. But to discuss this possibility one must suspend certain "rules" of etymology. Specifically, one must suspend any assumption which could not be correct if the hypothesized age of Saturn and the planetary gods actually occurred. Though giving this benefit of the doubt to the Saturn model asks a lot from the specialists, a new idea cannot be properly assessed without confronting its logical implications.
Ev Cochrane says: I would offer the following thoughts from a trained linguist- Rens van der Slujis. Dr. van der Slujis is from the Netherlands and wrote to me from out of nowhere about how much he had benefited from his chance stumbling across the Saturn theory on my web site. Here are his comments:
Dr. van der Slujis:
You seem quite convinced that the Saturn theory will influence linguistic theory greatly. It is not altogether clear to me what you're pointing at with these words. In my view, language must already have arisen long before the celestial events began to happen, so that the impact of the Saturn theory on our speculations with respect to the origin of language might be negligible.
Dave Talbott responds: I do not believe that the languages familiar to us can be traced back to, or will point back to, any systematic language prior to the polar configuration. Myth, rites, pictographs, sacred architecture, and written language appear to have emerged simultaneously, and they appear to be so fully entwined as to preclude a primitive formulation of one in isolation from the others. This doesn't mean that certain building blocks of language couldn't have existed previously, but even on that question I suspect that we're in for some surprises.
In the Egyptian hieroglyphic system, for example, one finds numerous connections of rudimentary building blocks to aspects of the polar configuration, and I now believe that this includes the full range of hieroglyphs themselves. There are no terrestrial references. Though most (but not all) of the SYMBOLS are drawn from nature and from human activity, the THING SYMBOLIZED, when investigated, always turns out to be an attribute of the configuration, standing in a defined relationship to other aspects of the configuration. And in a sense, this shouldn't surprise us, considering that the entire focus of the earliest sources is religious. The sources celebrate only two things: 1) the forms and activities of the gods, and 2) a human connection to the gods, particularly through the person of the king, who is seen as the priest or servant of the universal sovereign.
The royal and priestly function of the sacred written language is, however, progressively extended, democratized, and specialized, and that appears to be part of a rapid process of fragmentation in the absence of the original celestial references. In fact, it is in the very nature of language that it will evolve more rapidly toward localization and specialization than the myths and symbols. And this is why the nuances of specific word roots did not contribute significantly to the development of the Saturn model. Recurring myths and symbols retained a more complete sense of context than would be easily noted in the anatomy of words. But once the larger patterns and the model accounting for them are clear, however, the anatomy of words always seemed to provide the specific link that was asked for (though in fact we have not explored one percent of the potential here).
It needs to be emphasized that if the model is correct, the groundrules for the investigation of language will need to change also. It has always been assumed that the original references in the development of language will be found "down here". And when two or more nuances of a word are present, the specialist will always look for the "true root" in a singular thing or quality, assuming that the additional nuances linked to the root came later. And if there is no reasonable way to account for different meanings attached to the same word, it is assumed that two DIFFERENT lineages are involved. They are not actually the same root at all. That two different meanings are expressed by the same word then becomes an accident.
The Saturn theory, however, permits us to believe that the most ancient core of language is unified because the original references are unified. Numerous, seemingly incompatible meanings will gather around the same root because the reference is a single thing or event in the sky, onto which human imagination projected a wide range of interpretations. Venus, the feminine "heart" of the sun, is also the radiant "soul", but also the eye, the nave of the sun wheel, the navel, the "breast" of the sky and much, much more. When we see ancient word-roots reflecting a range of meanings, in correspondence with the diverse mythical interpretations attached to a single form in the sky, we do not believe we are looking at an accidental convergence.
(The other side of this point is that, if the Saturn theory is correct, a systematic investigation should reveal hundreds of examples of this principle within the Indo-European languages alone, and the same kinds of convergence should be present in all other major language groups. But it will be essential that the investigator know the Saturn model like the back of his hand, or more actual connections will be missed than are identified)
Dr. van der Slujis continues:
The only linguistic traces certainly left by the Saturn phenomenon are the so called homonyms: identical roots with apparently different meanings. In many cases, it will appear that both meanings stem from one original meaning, which became fragmented after the polar configuration had been distorted, i.e., in like way as all divine epithets and stories became fragmented. Different phenomena which had formerly been seen as an organic unity from the vantage-point of the polar configuration now missed an obvious link, so that the formal identity was now felt as a mere coincidence. From Pokorny's etymological dictionary I collected a number of examples to illustrate this:
The root *g(w)er means 'mountain', while another root *g(w)er means 'heavy, mill' and still another root *g(w)er-u means 'rod, spear'. A palatalised velar is reconstructed in *gwer 'be hot, lighten up'. The latter form can in an earlier stage of Proto-Indo-European easily be connected with the former ones, for the difference between plain velars and palatalised velars seems a secondary innovation, perhaps involving the phonematisation of the labialisation. My point is clear: whereas no single natural object or phenomenon comprises the notions of 'mill, spear, enlightenment' and 'mountain' all in one, the polar configuration is exactly what we are looking for. It is stated elsewhere that the celestial pillar, supporting Saturn's heaven, was variously interpreted as a mountain, a sword and a glowing stream. The combination of pillar and wheel led in broad cycles to the metamorphic mill. [other examples provided] Further examples can easily be collected from the respective dictionaries.
Dave Talbott adds: This is a good summary of the reasoning process, using one of the equations we have mentioned frequently. I would add that there are probably more symbolic identities attached to the cosmic column than Dr. van der Slujis is aware (e.g., path of souls, bridge, phallus, erect serpent, wind of the below, boar, tusk, single leg, upraised arm, stem of the plant of life, trunk of the tree of life.) Also, the good doctor's point below may be answered quite convincingly as he is able to consider the larger imagery of the configuration to which the column was inseparably connected.
Dr. van der Slujis: Nevertheless, one must be aware that the argument only goes insofar as homonymous roots are restricted to ones that can be connected with help of the Saturn thesis. Consider a case of ten homonymous roots, three of which can be associated as shown above. The point is not convincing in such a case, because seven homonyms are not adequately explained.
Talbott: I think we can all accept this point with respect to homonyms, and I would imagine that with the full flowering of language in our own time, virtually all homonyms would represent accidental convergences. But the Saturn theory would predict that the farther back you look, the more a unified complex of meanings will be seen around the homonyms. (Also, many variations which would appear to involve separate distinct word-roots should turn out to reflect the different mythical nuances of the same celestial form.) In fact, certain unique and highly "incongruous" equations should be found more than once within the SAME language, but around DIFFERENT roots. The same "absurdity" evident in one root should also appear in connection with other roots. The Egyptian system will provide excellent examples of this, I believe. Here is just one: The model says that the sidelock of the warrior-hero is the spiraling serpent, and that both are an explicit form of the mother goddess. At least a half dozen instances could be given of this "absurd" equation in Egypt-where one word, such as "shen", means "hair", but is the name of a serpent as well. (Some time back I posted a listing, and could dig it up if anyone is interested.) It is the global imagery of the "hairy" serpent that will account for the seemingly ludicrous juxtaposition of words and symbols.
Dr. van der Slujis: On the other hand, the argument can be strengthened with the help of other language families. When a like nucleus of virtually unconnected homonyms can be shown to occur not only in the Indo- European area, but elsewhere, structural typology demands an explanation in terms of historical-genetic relationship. If that can be shown—and we have good reasons to assume that it can- linguistics has contributed its part to the establishment of the Saturn theory. Lots of work remains to be done here."
Talbott: No doubt about it. And we need some well-trained linguists to help us sift through the material. The wind-water-pillar- mountain would be a good principle to explore around the world, precisely because it's so incongruous in the absence of the celestial reference. Egyptian Shu is the nether wind (the wind below the central sun Re), the pillar supporting Re, the world mountain or primeval hill, and the "waterway." As Shu-Anhur, he is represented by the spear. (And that is only the beginning.) Sumerian Enlil is the "wind" but also the Great Mountain. Greek Boreas is the "North wind", the erect serpent (impregnating the goddess), and the primeval "bor" or mountain. (We also find around Boreas the boreal path of souls and other symbols of the column, perhaps even the boar, if the word doctors will permit it; that the boar is identified symbolically with Mars and the polar mountain is well established.) Hindu Indra is the wind or smoke rising along the world axis, but also a shining pillar. The same pillar is called the phallus of Shiva, but elsewhere it becomes the polar mountain of Meru. Aztec Ce Acatl is a heaven- supporting pillar, but also the "wind".
MYTHIC ROOTS OF LANGUAGE II
Roger Wescott says:
Dave Talbott responds:
Of course most etymologists would fall off their chair in seeing the "coma/comma" connection implied in my note above. But I suspect that a search through more archaic roots would reveal some surprising parallels between the Greek "kome" (hair, hair star, comet) and "kop" ("strike"). I would look for a complex of K-M and K-P roots with a range of meanings roughly paralleling the complex of meanings around the S-T-R root. One parallel would be that between "kop" and the S-T-R word "strike", including the related words "stroke" and "streak". In seeking out a specific bridge between "kome" and "kop" I'd consider the full complex of Great Star/Great comet motifs, but perhaps concentrate first on word roots around the concepts of the cap, cape, cloak, head, and hair. While I could give several reasons for this suggestion, much of the logic comes down to this: the "kome", "hair", of Venus is the "cap" of the warrior-hero, and the cap does seem to be connected to "comma", i.e., the root "kop".
The warrior-king dons the radiance or "hair" of the Great Star as his crown of glory (see, e.g., the Egyptian king's "wig" or "headdress", which turns out to be a form of the great goddess) Symbolically, the cap IS the radiance, the streaming hair of the goddess. Thus, among numerous cultures, the warrior's helmet or cap is inseparable from its "crest", a tuft of streaming hair or some symbolic variant thereof. The sacred sidelock or topknot of the warrior pertains to the same imagery, in which the hair of the head, or cap, IS the coma, the "radiance" of the goddess. (The spiraling sidelock of the warrior-king Horus is "Hensektet" a name of Isis and Hathor, for example.)
Verifiable symbolic connections can lead to a recognition of numerous morphological connections where the roots would otherwise be treated as unrelated. With respect to the subject at hand, I believe that the conjunction of symbols will trace back to the beginnings of language—and specifically to the conjunction of Mars and Venus in the model we have presented.
The role of Venus as headdress or cap cannot be understood apart from the relationship of Venus to the ONE WHO WEARS IT, the warrior-king. So I would expect to find a complex of meanings around the K-P root which will suggest SIMIULTANEOUSLY the cap, the top, the head, the crown or crown of the head, and hair (coma), as in the German "Kopf" It is by donning the radiance, the crown or cometary "hair" of Venus, that Mars becomes the king of the world, the legitimate "head", the cap-tain.
One connection I would explore is that to "copper" (German Kupfer, Latin cuprum, the metal of Cyprus, Greek Kypros), since the "radiance" of the Great Star took the color of copper ore, i.e., brilliant turquoise. Copper ore (such as malachite) was used to produce the turquoise color of the Venus-eye-goddess symbols in both Egypt and Mesopotamia. And Aphrodite was called the "copper" goddess, the Cyprian. Hence, that would be a connection of the Venus-coma to a K-P root worth considering.
Also, it's hard for me to imagine that root meanings around the word "comma" would not be related to its spiraling form, which IS the form of the Venus goddess as the spiraling lifebreath (exhaled heart-soul, displaced eye) The same form is represented by the apostrophe. Thus Aphrodite, the planet Venus, is called "Apostrophia". But she is also called "Comaetho"—the "long haired" (star), an epithet resonating with the global symbolism of the comet as the "long-haired star." Thus we find both the spiraling comma-form and the coma attached to one and the same planet goddess.
THE ACID TEST
We've noted on numerous occasions that one of the advantages of the Saturn model is that it can be subjected to numerous tests. Under many such tests, the implications of the model will be so far from anything anticipated under conventional assumptions that they can be regarded as ACID tests. And the most compelling acid tests will be those so specific and unusual that no false theory could consistently pass them.
When it comes to word associations, one could spend a lifetime applying various tests to the model. We've discussed the imagery of the polar column and the word associations predicted by that feature of the Saturn model. But there are many others. And why not look for the most extraordinary tests first, those in which the model would predict associations so unique one would not even dream of them in the absence of the hypothesized events? (Again, the force of the logic involved here will be lost on those who are not familiar with the details of the model. I will use as a reference the notebook "Symbols of an Alien Sky.")
Consider, for example, the remarkable image of Mars in relation to the discharging Venus. Here we have the small planet directly in front of a blast of light (Venus discharge), putting the Martian hemisphere facing the earth into a dark shadow. As we have illustrated this condition, Mars appears as a dark reddish brown object against the brilliant sphere of Venus and its discharge streamers. Add to this unique condition the centrality of the juxtaposed spheres in relation to the much larger sphere of Saturn and you have a highly unique set of relationships-and literally nothing in common with observed phenomena in our sky today.
Yet around the world we find ancient pictographs corresponding precisely to this condition-including the enigmatic small dark circle or sphere inside the central star and radiant streamers. (Symbols, pp. 73ff.) Conventional experts will call these images "sun" pictographs, though it is simply inconceivable that people, in both the Old World and the New, would draw the Sun in our sky that way. On the other hand, if you yourself were to represent this aspect of the Saturn model in line drawings, these are surely typical of the pictures you would draw.
Moreover, if ancient language arose as a direct reflection of these extraordinary events, how likely is it that words relating to the unique role of Mars would fail to provide us with some explicit confirmation of the implied associations, including the shadow-effect on Mars? A few weeks ago we talked briefly about ancient imagery of the Greek omphalos or navel, which neatly represents the conjunction of Mars and Venus in the model. The raised boss or knob of the omphalos will be the sphere of Mars, and the golden band around this boss will be the planet Venus (gold typically representing "brilliance" in the ancient world). The juxtaposed spheres of Venus and Mars do indeed look like the "navel" of Saturn—as many people viewing the illustration have observed. (Of course it takes the huge sphere of Saturn to create the "navel" affect. The concept of centrality, which is crucial to all such images, is meaningless apart from this relationship.)
The Greek omphalos is the Latin "umbilicus", meaning navel, middle, center. In honor of this numinous "middle"-point, a central district in Italy was named "Umbria". As we've noted previously, the umbilicus is presented on numerous ancient shields, and the depicted central boss or hemispheric protuberance of the shield can only represent the warrior-hero himself, the "navel-born" god, the celebrated axle of the Saturnian wheel (Symbols, p. 92). Thus, it is not surprising at all to find that the Latins called this central boss on the shield the "umbo.". And our own language has retained the connection to the darkly shadowed appearance of Mars: our word "umber", from the Latin "umbra", means "dark dusky brown or dark reddish brown". But where is the natural basis for the connection of a central hemisphere or boss to "dark reddish brown"? While nature today offers no connection, the Saturn model certainly does!
Indeed, the Latin "umbra" means "shadow" or "shade", which can hardly come as a surprise, since it is the distinctive shadow which produces the dark reddish "umber" of Mars. And of course, the language of astronomy has preserved the original idea intact: "umbra" means "the complete or perfect shadow of an opaque body, as a planet, where the direct light from the source of illumination is completely cut off". That is exactly the role of Mars in the model.
We might note also that archaically, our word "umbrage" (a very Martian expression), meant a "shadowy appearance". The archaic word "umbrose" meant "full of shade", and our word "umbrella", identical to the shade in ancient symbolism, comes from the same root. Also, since the umbilicus was frequently presented as the center of flower, it is significant that this center of inflorescence is called "umbella", a word equivalent to "umbra" the shadow.
We thus find a complex of words around an ancient root, in which a navel, or a central boss, or the center of flower reveals an enigmatic relationship to the concept of a "shadow" and "dark reddish brown". Though this qualifies as a unique prediction of the Saturn model it would hardly qualify as an EXPECTED connection under the common assumptions of etymologists. It thus exemplifies the kind of testing which the specialists must be challenged to conduct on their own, to determine if similar associations are present in other languages.
MYTHIC ROOTS OF LANGUAGE part III
More than once I've expressed the belief that the echoes of an original unity pervade our language. The patterns, however, will not be recognized until one sees the true source of the unity in a planetary configuration. My contention has been that this configuration was an obsessive focus of human attention in the crucial phase of language formulation.
To illustrate the point it may be useful to go back to the "first condition", the earliest-remembered time and the concepts which it inspired. These integrated concepts were reflected in written language at its inception and, as a whole, they cannot be understood apart from the Saturn model. Prior assumptions of historians, anthropologists, and etymologists cannot account for the complex of meanings attached to those ancient words describing the primeval condition, the age of Saturn.
Keeping to the most fundamental concepts, here are some of the archetypal themes one might explore in relation to the language of the First Time: Chaos, Water, Seed, Sky, Formlessness, One, All, Unity, Conjunction, Rest, Peace, Whole, Holy, Universe, Wheel, Cycle, Becoming, Turning, Time, Heaven, High, Hollow, Void, Chasm, Yawning.
This may look like a rather long list, and yet the underlying principles are both simple and unified.
The age of Saturn means the transition from primeval chaos to order, from non-differentiation to diversity, from formlessness to form, from inactivity to activity, from no-time to time, from a pre-dawn glow to a cycle of day and night. That is what the archetypal "creation" myth is about, and Saturn is the creator- king. But the meanings of the ancient words need to be clarified. What does "formless" mean, for example? What does "chaos", or its "yawning" aspect, mean? Present experience offers no basis for visualizing any of these concepts in terms of the archaic STORY itself.
As interpreted by the Saturn model, these concepts are vitally connected, and it is only to be expected that the concepts would be embedded in the meanings of ancient words—even the building blocks of language itself—and carried forward to retain at least some of the archaic nuances even into modern times. Where this has occurred the observed patterns will appear anomalous.
That doesn't mean that you can decipher the connections by simply tracking down the roots of the English words. In fact, some of the root meanings behind the English words listed here would immediately mislead you. Our words "heaven" and "high", for example, will trace to more archaic words relating to the "heaping up" of a "hill" or "mountain", and that could be confusing if you are not already quite familiar with the model. So too, our word "sky" will trace to ancient concepts of a watery "cloud" which is extremely significant to the model but can leave one confused if the model is not clear.
Instead of taking on the whole list in one shot, I'll start with a few of the basics.
CHAOS AND THE RISE OF NEGATIVES.
The earliest-remembered condition is the state of "not". That is the most fundamental meaning behind the words that are translated as "chaos", and it provides the first tier in an evolving ancient language of negatives. It means the condition out of which an exemplary order, the model for all sacred order, arose. The negative state of chaos must be interpreted specifically in terms of the contrast between that state and what followed. It is the condition before motion, activity, differentiation, time, order, form. The Saturn model defines this as an EXPERIENCED condition of the world, not a primitive speculation on "how it all began". Hence, if language arose from these experiences in the direct and literal sense we are claiming, the root meanings of negatives should reveal the remarkable nuances of this earliest condition- though we certainly would not expect these embedded meanings under the normal theories of language formation.
There is no malice, evil, or suffering implied by this original state of chaos, just an "absence of", in contrast to the distinct attributes of the revered order emerging from chaos. In the Egyptian creation accounts, this negative condition is applied to both the creator and the primeval "waters" of chaos. The god emerges from the waters, and the waters from which he appears are his own essence. The creator (Atum, Re, Khepera) recalls his original "state of inactivity" and the "inert watery mass" of his "father" Nu (with which he himself was closely identified). He was "alone" in these cosmic waters. He "had no companion" to work with him. And in this state of "not" he had "no resting place". There is a great deal of meaning in these images of the cosmic waters, and perhaps we can return to certain details later. The relationship of Atum to this original state of "not" is emphasized by the fact that the hieroglyphs used for his name, "tem" mean (among other things) "not".
You see this relationship most prominently in the use of the n- sound (secondarily, the m-sound) in the hieroglyphic system. The essence of the formless god is "water", which appears in both a singular and a plural sense. The waters are the undifferentiated "plurality" of the unified state, the primeval condition of "not". These are, in fact, the core meanings of the hieroglyph for the n-sound, which is a simple wavy line. The meanings are expressed explicitly through all of the common n-roots in the hieroglyphic system-n, ni, an, nu, nun, na, enen, nini, and a large number of variants: primeval waters, undifferentiated plurality, negative state prior to "creation"..
PRIMAL UNITY: THE "ONE" AND THE "ALL".
The creator-god personifies the state of undifferentiated "chaos", but emerges from that state in an event called "creation". Originally, he appears as a solitary god, called "the god One" in the Egyptian texts. He is the "all-containing" god, though other powers are clearly present within him as latent potential. "I came into being of myself in the midst of the Primeval Waters", states the god in the Book of the Dead. More than once the Coffin Texts recall the time when Atum "was alone, before he had repeated himself" (referring to the process of subsequent differentiation). He "was alone in the Primeval Waters", the texts say. "I was the Primeval Waters, he who had no companion when my name came into existence". (As I will note in a subsequent post, the "name" coming into existence is nothing else than the gods created "form", and only this celebrated form will make sense of the statement that the god was previously "without form" and without a visible "name".)
Atum can thus be translated (and IS often translated) as "the All" in the fundamental sense of the original Unity holding all that was later differentiated in the creation. The Greek Ouranos is "all-containing heaven", as is his counterpart, the Hindu Varuna. The name of the Sumerian creator An (Akkadian Anu) is translated "heaven", but An contains within himself the divine male and female powers which are subsequently highly active as independent powers.
It would be absurd, therefore, to separate the Egyptian concept of the "god One" from the related idea of "the All", and we should expect any language tracing to these concepts to reflect the underlying equation. The original condition of "heaven" (when "heaven was close to the earth") means literally the visible sphere of the universal sovereign in the beginning. The Saturn model interprets this as the gas giant looming huge in the sky, extremely close to the Earth. The planetary system moved through a gaseous, highly electrified environment, viewed imaginatively as cosmic "waters". Insofar as this environment reflected ambient light of the Sun, it was experienced only as a diffuse and benign glow—a shimmering, water-like cloud from which the gas giant appeared to emerge.
All myths relating to what arose from chaos are "creation" myths, perhaps the most misunderstood concept in all of world mythology. It is the creation that produces the First Time or "beginning" of time, form, and motion—events which occur in direct relationship to the emergence of secondary powers from the unified god.
Atum, the All, spits out or exhales the female power Tefnut and the masculine power Shu—"and from one god I became three", he says. (This is the specific meaning of the reference above to when the god "repeated himself".) The "three" are Atum-Re (the archaic "sun" god, whom we now know to be Saturn), the god Shu (first form of the warrior-hero, identifiable astronomically with Mars) and the goddess Tefnut (first form of the divine mother, the planet Venus).
For the concepts listed above to begin to make sense, we only need to understand the idea which underlies Saturn's identity as the primeval "Unity"—
Here again we have a fundamental concept that is either misunderstood or completely overlooked in common treatments of the creation legend. The "unity" of the creator- king cannot be separated from the principle of conjunction. In his original unified state Atum has a single, central eye, which means the goddess prior to differentiation. The eye has a "pupil" which is the unborn warrior hero. But the experts have not considered the principle of conjunction because they are seeing neither the ancient concepts nor the language in the concrete terms explicitly given by the ancient texts themselves.
The primeval conjunction means first and foremost the visible alignment of celestial powers (Saturn, Venus, Mars, extremely close to the earth) producing the image of a unified, "all- containing" power in the sky, a god standing "alone" in the cosmic waters. Even after differentiation of these powers, they continue to stand in conjunction, though the alignment is then more dynamic, the activity of goddess and hero revealing a marked contrast to the more passive, "resting" quality of the sovereign himself. The primary powers, together with a company of lesser lights, "gather" or stand "together" in the sky—a "congregation" of gods, or divine "assembly". As such they are attributes or aspects of the unified creator-king, remembered as his own radiant "limbs". Apart from the principle of conjunction or "standing together", the concepts are entirely meaningless.
Since there are so many lines of potential linguistic inquiry we might pursue, I'll limit my initial comments to the five core ideas listed below, which I believe are still evident in our language today: Before we take up some of the related words, it will be helpful to be sure that the archaic concepts we claim to be still reflected in modern language are clear:
1. ONE. Original relationship of the number one to the concept "the whole" rather than to the counting of separate items or units of anything.
2. ALL. Relationship of the root concept "all" to "one" and "unity".
3. NO, NOT. Foundation of the negative in the original unity.
4. CONJUNCTION. Relationship of the original unity to "gathered" or "joined" powers, subsequently differentiated. (Again, the mythical "Great Conjunction" of Saturn's golden age IS the unity of the sovereign god.)
5. PRIMEVAL CONDITION. The subject is a former world. The universally-remembered condition no longer exists.
We also need to put an exclamation point to the contrast between the principles suggested here and all conventional suppositions. It is commonly assumed, for example, that one of the primary catalysts for language development was the act of counting. In contrast, I will suggest that the language of numbers possesses such a direct relationship to imagery of an evolving planetary configuration as to entirely discredit the common view.
Moreover, once discerned, the original pattern will leap out from our own language today, despite the millennia of evolution and fragmentation which preceded it. Consider these English words and roots, and the five-fold pattern suggested above should become quite obvious to you—
The English indefinite article "a" is a phonetic variant of "an" derived from the Old English "an" meaning "one", German "ein", Latin "unus", Greek "oine"
Our word "unity" comes from the Latin "un(us)", "one", "together", "joined". As a general rule the language of the number "one" appears to be derived from the language of "the all" or the whole, not from the counting of separate "things". Our word "unit" is said to be a back formation from "unity"; "integer" comes from the Latin word meaning "whole" (as seen in our word "integral", "belonging to the whole"). I am also quite confident that our words "single" and "number" both trace back to concepts relating to the undifferentiated "all" rather than to any primitive idea of counting—"one of this and two of that", etc. The word "alone" is derived from Middle English "al one", "all (whole) one". (I'll take up our word "sole" shortly and suggest a similar relationship. The archaic reference, I believe, will be the primeval, unified power who "stands alone".)
The English prefix "an-" is borrowed from Latin and means "not", "without", "lacking". Our prefix "un", is akin to Latin "in" Greek "an" meaning "not". "Un" is also a prefix meaning to reverse, remove, or deprive, akin to the Old English "and", Latin "ante", Greek "anti", and Sanskrit "anti", "opposite of", "against". Thus, the meanings include both a negative condition and a "return" to a negative condition from something that is "ordered", as in "un-do" (As I said above, the original state of formlessness, prior to the emergence of the created "order", is negative, but with no sense of violence or catastrophe. The un- doing of creation, the "return to chaos", is invariably catastrophic. But we'll get to that.)
The roots "anti" and "ante" also mean "before", "prior".
The word "conjunction", Latin "conjunctus", from the root "jungere", means "to unite", "to be joined or yoked as one".
We use the Latin word "ana" for information placed "together", items constituting a coherent whole (as in Americana), i.e., the "conjunction" principle.
Our word "and" is the German "und", the Sanskrit "anti". We call the word a "conjunction", and the word itself MEANS "together with", or the conjunction of two or more parts of a whole. (Other words called "conjunctions"—but, or, nor, for, so, yet, while—do indeed join thoughts in a sentence, but the words themselves do not MEAN a joining in the more direct sense of "and".)
For the time being, at least, I do not propose to follow the various lineages backward to establish a more complete and definitive profile. It should be sufficient to note that there is simply no way to separate the meanings of these words and roots from the listed five principles relating to the "original condition".
Obviously this fact does not require one to believe that the roots are all connected (though some of the connections would be beyond dispute, such as the kinship of our words "one" and "unity"). What about the relationship of our word "one" to the Latin roots "an" and "in", with the meaning "not"? Of the original kinship I am highly confident, but if anyone knows of verifiable facts which would discredit the proposed relationship I'd like to hear from them. The fact that the Sanskrit "anti" mean "and", but also the negative, certainly provides a clue, The relationship to the Latin "anti", "ante", in reference to PRIOR conditions or events, or an undoing to return to a prior condition, should also be investigated.
The point here is that patterns which will appear meaningless in the absence of the Saturn model may become highly meaningful as one explores the implications of the model. And if exploration lends support to common lineages, two crucial questions arise:
1) can you see anything in the familiar natural world which might have prompted the full complex of relationships?
2) if you grant the Saturn model, would you EXPECT such relationships?
Also there are the variations of the negation prefix for words "un" "in" "an" "a-" that mostly relate to the "N" sound which is demonstrated in NO, NOT, NON, NIL, NEIN, NAH, NAY, NIN, NIX, NEG-, NE-, NEVER. Also NEO, NEW, NEE probably are related to negation or replacement of the old.