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"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to
  one who is striking at the root."
- Henry David Thoreau
Site Sections, Subject List, Reading Sequence, and Article Synopses

Ancient Myth Articles

   - General
Science of Comparative Myth
Myth Reconstruction Rules
Avoiding Reductionism
The Importance of Myth
Plausibility of Myth
Reliability of Myth as Witness
Myth as Foundation
The Meaning of Myth
From Myth to Model
Logic of Historical Evidence
Cosmic Symbol Development
Conjunction Themes
Memory of Planetary Upheaval
Natural References of Myth
Myth Memory Patterns
A case for Atlantis
   - Specific
Jupiter Worship Beginning
Saturn Worship Beginning
The Serpents of Creation
Mercury Mythology
The One Ancient Story
The Golden Age Myth
The Golden Age
Golden Age Interview
The Central Sun
Revolving Crescent on Saturn
The World Mountain
Variations on a Theme
Saturn-Venus Discussion
Localizing the Warrior-Hero
Heroes of the Iliad
Sacrifice & Amnesia
Labyrinth & Fortress Themes
Male Gods in Myth
Mars Rocks & Myth
Catastrophism Pioneers
Names of Suns & Planets
The White Crown
A Unified Mythology Theory
The Velikovsky Affair Journals
Thunderbolts-Myth & Symbol
The Polar Thunderbolt
Thundergods Celestial Marvels
Thunderbolts of the Gods

Saturn-Jupiter Myth

   Introductory Material
Ancient Saturn Worship

The Golden Age
The Saturn Myth
The Universal Monarch
   Velikovsky Articles
Jupiter Worship Beginning
Saturn Worship Beginning
   Central Polar Sun
The Central, Polar Sun I
The Central, Polar Sun II
The Central, Polar Sun III
The Central, Polar Sun IV
   Saturn Theory Series
The Saturn Theory I
The Saturn Theory II
The Saturn Theory III
The Saturn Theory IV
The Saturn Theory V
   Cardona Articles
Saturn Theory Demands
World with One Season-I
World with One Season-II
Saturn Capture Question
Reconstruct Saturn Model
Saturn in Genesis
Saturn, Sun of Night
Ultimate Polar Argument
By Jove

Venus-Mars Myth

The Star of Dawn
Velikovsky & Catastrophe
The Comet Venus
Velikovsky's Comet-1
Velikovsky's Comet-2
Velikovsky's Comet-3
Velikovsky's Comet-4
Velikovsky's Comet-5
Velikovsky's Comet-6
Velikovsky's Comet-7
Velikovsky's Comet-8
Velikovsky's Comet-9
Velikovsky's Comet-10
Velikovsky's Comet-11
Velikovsky's Comet-12
Velikovsky's Comet-13
Velikovsky's Comet-14
Terrifying Glory of Venus
The Warrior Athena

The Science of Comparative Method
By Ev Cochrane

The science of mythology, as I’ve come to practice it, has three primary components, each entirely dependent upon the comparative method: (1) the demonstration of parallels between the myths and mythical characters of different cultures; (2) the identification of various mythical characters with the respective planetary bodies (or in some cases, as in that of the Babylonian Sin, with some property of this or that planet); and (3) a reconstruction of the celestial scenario behind the respective myths–specifically, an analysis of the unique behavior or visual phenomena associated with the planets which gave rise to the particular myths/characters in question.

Although each of the three components should be considered necessary steps in a comprehensive analysis of myth, it is also true that each of the various stages of analysis may stand on their own. For example, our documentation of the numerous parallels which exist between Heracles, Nergal, and Indra remains valid whether or not one accepts our identification of these particular figures with the planet Mars. Similarly, even if one grants the possibility that Heracles and Indra are mythical twins, each modeled upon the planet Mars, it is always possible that some other explanation besides that of the polar configuration can be found to explain the red planet’s peculiar mythical prominence (that of Velikovsky or de Santillana and von Dechend, for example).

Although a satisfactory analysis of a particular myth necessarily involves completion of each of these three steps, in actual practice–as in psychoanalysis–one rarely achieves a complete or perfect analysis. As with all historical reconstructions, there are always pieces of the puzzle which remain elusive. There are several reasons for this situation, including the fragmentary nature of the myths themselves; the intrusion of foreign elements into a cult resulting in a modification or confusion of the original myth; problems caused by the faulty transmission and/or translation of a particular myth; gaps in our knowledge regarding the chronology of the events surrounding the formation, evolution, and eventual dissolution of the polar configuration, etc.

Fortunately, most of these difficulties can be factored into the methodological equation or overcome/compensated for by the comparative method. For example, the fragmentary nature of the cult of Latin goddess Venus can be compensated for by comparative analysis of the extensive materials provided by the cult of Inanna. The possibility of foreign influence on the Latin cult of Mars, likewise, can be controlled to some extent by comparison with the cults of Babylonian Nergal and Aztec Tezcatlipoca.

In actual practice one also finds that there is frequently a discrepancy in the degree of resolution of the respective steps of analysis. Typically step three lags far behind the other two steps as the details and chronology of the formation, evolution, and eventual dissolution of the polar configuration continue to be worked out. In a relatively new field of science this is only to be expected.

Comparative mythology, in addition to being the proper starting point of any successful exegesis of myth, is also the most crucial step in the analytic process. It must always take precedence over actual planetary identifications, whether anciently attested or not. Planetary identification, although relatively reliable in the hands of an expert, remains a tricky business in light of the contradictory testimony of the ancients themselves. Not only are the planetary identifications necessarily later than the myths themselves, many cultures never attained proficiency in astronomy and thus their statements–frequently made to modern-day anthropologists and folklorists themselves ignorant of astronomy and the comparative method–can often be misleading. Nor are the most ancient astronomies always to be trusted. Even at the outset of formal astronomy, as it is represented in ancient Babylon, for example, one finds an entirely artificial system whereby various gods are identified with this or that planet or constellation. It would be methodologically unsound to accept these statements at face value. Only by comparing the Babylonian identifications with those from cultures free of its sphere of influence, such as Mesoamerica, is it possible to arrive at reliable equations.

A corollary to the first rule: One should never attempt to construct a theory on the basis of a planetary identification. Rather, a planetary identification should only be attempted upon concluding a thorough and detailed comparative analysis of a particular myth, hero, or god. This would appear to be an ironclad rule of mythological exegesis.

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