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Modern Myth Articles
"Literature, myth, history, and ritual come veiled from the gods."
The One Story Told Around the World
Ancient peoples narrated and re-enacted the story in a thousand ways, but when the core is exposed, it comes down to this—
"Once the world was quite a different place. In the beginning, we were ruled by the central luminary of the sky—creator, primeval sun-god, and father of kings—presiding over an age of natural abundance and cosmic harmony. This was the exemplary epoch, the Golden Age, a standard of justice and prosperity invoked by all later generations.
"But the ancient order fell into confusion when the king of the world tumbled from his celebrated station. Then the hordes of chaos were set loose and all creation slipped into a cosmic night, the gods themselves battling furiously in the heavens.
"And yet, from this descent into chaos a new and reconfigured world emerged, and the universal sovereign, rejuvenated and transformed, assumed his rightful place in heaven."
A few notes:
This is the most elementary statement I can construct with respect to the totality of world mythology. Obviously, it can not stand on its own, however.
The reference to the sovereign power as creator, for example, introduces a vast field of myth and symbol.
The first "snapshot" of the polar configuration and the related "sun" pictographs depict the condition of the unified power, the subject of the One Story, just prior to displacement of Mars and Venus. Differentiation has already begun. Mars and Venus have emerged visually from the embryonic cloud—the "golden seed" in which they were jointly enshrouded in the visual center of Saturn. Venus is discharging violently, putting Mars in shadow. Thus, in this phase, Mars appears as a darker innermost sphere, what the Egyptian language calls the "heart of the heart."
What follows this phase is the displacement, departure, or "spitting out" of Mars and Venus as the first forms of the hero and goddess, who now become quasi-independent, highly active figures in the creation events. Though this activity grows complex, I have two animations in preparation which will illustrate the definitive motions: 1) the visual descent of Mars and (in vital connection to this descent) the appearance of a stream of luminous material stretching along the polar axis, 2) the displacement of Venus from its axial position in the center of Saturn, leading (via a more complex path) to the spiraling cometary form of Venus.
It is from the spiraling form of Venus that the enclosure of the gods—the primeval "earth" of the creation legend—is constituted. The axial column arising with the descent of Mars is, of course, the world mountain on which the celestial land comes to rest. (According to the global tradition, the land of the gods takes form on the summit of the world mountain: the Egyptian Mount of Glory, Greek Olympos, Hebrew Zion, Hindu Meru, Chinese Kwenlun, and innumerable variants.)
Hence, the components depicted in the "sun" pictographs have very direct roles to play in more specific chapters of the One Story.
A sidebar: the One Story, as I've stated it, does not really conclude the age of the gods, since (obviously!) the rejuvenated sovereign is no longer present in our sky today. This is, however, the common framework commemorated in the creation stories and in ritual commemorations of creation and renewal associated with the New Year celebrations. The farther back you go to examine variations of the story, the closer you will get to the root idea.
The final events in the age of the gods tend not to focus on the fading of the rejuvenated sovereign but rather on the departure of the hero and/or the goddess, these two figures having become the prime characters in the stories. The ascension of the hero or goddess by way of a terraced mountain or tower, a whirling cloud, ladder, or steps to the sky, their sailing off, and/or their translation into distant stars (planets) is the final chapter in the age of the gods. Also, of course, the collapse of great palaces (Samson removes the pillar, etc.), or the sinking of lost kingdoms into the abyss, or the disbursement of ancestral "tribes" are common ways in which the final dismemberment of the planetary configuration found expression in the myths.