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Mill Correlates?

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.astronomy,alt.archaeology,sci.archaeology,alt.pagan.magick,alt.magick
From: Seyfert-1 
Subject: Mill Correlates? (Hamlet/Xiwangmu/Who?)
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2003 05:33:57 GMT

Orig-To: (SL list)

50030614 viii

Archaeoastronomy: Mill Metaphors?

what other metaphors for Hamlet's Mill in myth
that relate to natural patterns (such as the 
planetary spin in coursing the stars and its
transit through precessional wobble, marking
changes of Age)?

here's a quote from "Hamlet's Mill" (the book) 
that serves to introduce the idea. I'll extend
this below with some suggestions of my own, 
and then challenge you to come up with some
contributions to the topic. :>

	"Amlodhi [from the Icelandic legend of the
	'Hamlet'] was identified, in the crude
	and vivid imagery of the Norse, by the
	ownership of a fabled mill which, in his
	own time, ground out peace and plenty.
	Later, in decaying times, it ground out
	salt; and now finally, having landed at
	the bottom of the sea, it is grinding
	rock and sand, creating a vast whirlpool,
	the Maelstrom (i.e., the grinding stream,
	from the verb *mala*, "to grind"), which
	is supposed to be a way to the land of
	the dead. This imagery stands, as the
	evidence develops, for an astronomical
	process, the secular shifting of the sun
	through the signs of the zodiac which
	determines world-ages, each numbering
	thousands of years. Each age brings a
	World Era, a Twilight of the Gods. Great
	structures collapse; pillars topple which
	supported the great fabric; floods and
	cataclysms herald the shaping of a new
	The image of the mill and its owner yielded
	elsewhere to more sophisticated ones, more
	adherent to celestial events. In Plato's
	powerful mind, the figure stood out as the
	Craftsman God, the Demiurge, who shaped
	the heavens; but even Plato did not escape
	the idea he had interited, of catastrophes
	and the periodic rebuilding of the world.
	Tradition will show that the measures of a
	new world had to be procured from the depths
	of the celestial ocean and tuned with the
	measures from above, dictated by the "Seven
	Sages," as they are often cryptically
	mentioned in India and elsewhere. They turn
	out to be the Seven Stars of Ursa, which
	are normative in all cosmological alignments
	on the starry sphere. These dominant stars of
	the Far North are peculiarly but systematically
	linked with those which are considered the
	operative powers of the cosmos, that is, the
	planets as they move in different placements
	and configurations along the zodiac. The
	ancient Pythagoreans, in their conventional
	language, called the two Bears the Hands of
	Rhea (the Lady of Turning Heaven), and called
	the planets the Hounds of Persephone, Queen
	of the Underworld. Far away to the south,
	the mysterious ship *Argo* with its Pilot star
	held the depths of the past; and the Galaxy
	was the Bridge out of Time. These notions
	appear to have been common doctrine in the age
	before history -- all over the belt of high
	civilizations around our globe. They also seem
	to have been born of the great intellectual
	and technological revolution of the late
	Neolitic period.
	Ancient historians would have been aghast had
	they been told that obvious things were to
	become unnoticeable. Aristotle was proud to
	state it as known that the gods were originally
	stars, even if popular fantasy had later
	obscured this truth. Little as he believed in
	progress, he felt this much had been secured
	for the future....
	...The theory about "how the world began" seems
	to involve the breaking asunder of a harmony,
	a kind of cosmogonic "original sin" whereby the
	circle of the ecliptic (with the zodiac) was
	tilted up at an angle with respect to the equator,
	and the cycles of change came into being.
	This is not to suggest that this archaic cosmology
	will show any great physical discoveries, although
	it required prodigious feats of concentration and
	computing. What it did was to mark out the unity
	of the universe, and of man's mind, reaching out
	to its farthest limits....

	...The science of astrophysics reaches out on a
	grander and grander scale without losing its
	footing. Man as man cannot do this. In the depths
	of space he loses himself and all notion of his
	significance. He is unable to fit himself into
	the concepts of today's astrophysics short of
	schizophrenia. Modern man is facing the unconcei-
	vable. Archaic man, however, kept a firm grip on
	the conceivable by framing within his cosmos an
	order of time and eschatology that made sense to
	him and reserved a fate for his soul. Yet it was
	a prodigiously vast theory, with no concessions
	to merely human sentiments. It, too, dilated the
	mind beyond the bearable, although without
	destroying man's role in the cosmos. It was a
	ruthless metaphysics.
	Not a forgiving universe, not a world of mercy.
	That surely not. Inexorable as the stars in their
	courses, *miserationis parcissimae*, the Romans
	used to say. Yet it was a world somhow not
	unmindful of man, one in which there was an
	accepted place for everything, righfully and not
	only statistically, where no sparrow could fall
	unnoted, and where even what was rejected through
	its own error would not go down to eternal
	perdition; for the order of Number and Time was a
	total order preserving all, of which all were
	members, gods and men and animals, trees and
	crystals and even absurd errant stars, all subject
	to law and measure.
	This is what Plato knew, who could still speak the
	language of archaic myth. He made myth consonant
	with his thought, as he built the first modern
	philosophy. We have trusted his clues as landmarks
	even on occasions when he professes to speak "not
	quite seriously." He gave us a first rule of thumb;
	he knew what he was talking about.
	Behind Plato there stands the imposing body of
	doctrine attributed to Pythagoras, some of its
	formulation uncouth, but rich with the prodigious
	content of early mathematics, pregant with a
	science and a metaphysics that were to flower in
	Plato's time. From it come such words as "theorem,"
	"theory," and "philosophy." This in its turn rests
	on what might be called a proto-Pythagorean phase,
	spread over the East but with a focus on Susa. And
	then there was something else again, the stark
	numerical computing of Babylon. From it all came
	the strange principle: "Things are numbers."
	Once having grasped a thread going back in time,
	then the test of later doctrines with their own
	historical developments lies in their congruence
	with tradition preserved intact even if half
	understood. For there are seeds which propagate
	themselves along the jetstream of time.
	...the wilting away of classical studies, the
	abandonment of any living familiarity with
	Greek and Latin has cut the *omphalloessa*,
	the umbilical cord which connected our culture
	-- at least at its top level -- with Greece,
	in the same manner in which men of the Pytha-
	gorean and Orphic tradition were tied up through
	Plato and a few others with the most ancient
	Near East....
	 "Hamlet's Mill: An Essay on Myth and the
	  Frame of Time, aka "Hamlet's Mill: An Essay
          Investigating the Origins of Human Knowledge
          and its Transmission Through Myth' [Cover],
          by Giorgio de Santillana & Hertha von Deschend,
          Nonpareil Books, 1977; pp. 2-10.

Xiwangmu had a Grindstone and I looked it up:

	[Xiwangmu, Queen Mother of the West] is
	controller of the Grindstone and the Five
	Shards Constellations of Heavens.
	...Command of constellations indicates
	her power in maintaining cosmic balance
	and her membership in the group of high
	deities controlling human fate. In her
	wild hair she wears the ornament associated
	with her in iconography ever after.
	The *sheng* headdress remains one of the
	goddess's most fixed attributes, although
	its shape alters over time. The headdress
	has received various interpretations. One
	plausible theory identifies it with the
	brake mechanism of the loom, connecting
	the goddess with the creation and maintenance
	of the universe through literally weaving
	its fabric. The *sheng* also occurs'
	independently of the Queen Mother, as an
	auspicious symbol.... [and] resembles an
	axle with two wheels attached, one at either
	end. They were depicted in tombs and exchanged
	as gifts on festivals such as Double Seven,
	which also involved demonstrations of women's
	skill in weaving. The picture of the goddess
	as weaver or creator contrasts with her image
	as tiger or destroyer. Both seem essential
	parts of her identity.
	The *sheng* headdress may have been a crown
	of stars originally. ... The interpretation
	of her headdress as a star crown does not
	exclude its reading as part of a loom: the
	Queen Mother is connected with the Weaver
	Girl Star and with weaving in other contexts.
	"Transcendance and Divine Passion: The Queen
	 Mother of the West in Medieval China", by
	 Suzanne E. Cahill, Stanford Univ., 1997;
	 p. 16-7.

so Grindstone is right up there, and it seems
possible also to add *Headdress* to the Mill
metaphors. Looms?

here's a description of K'un-lun Mtn that ties
it into the above material from Hamlet's Mill.
notice the 'overturned basin' shape and the
focus on the Big Dipper:

	This mountain's height above level ground
	is thirty-six thousand *li*. At its summit
	are three corners. Its area is ten thousand
	*li*. Its shape is like an overturned basin....
	This is where the Queen Mother of the West
	reigns, where the realized officials and
	transcendent numina are revered. Above it
	penetrates through to the Dark Mechanism
	{double star in the Big Dipper}. Primal
	pneuma flow and spread out. The Jade Crossbar
	of the Five Constants {handle of the Big Dipper}
	governs the internal structure of the nine
	heavens and regulates yin and yang. As for
	categories and phenomena in their flocks being
	engendered, and rare and strange characteristics
	separately emerging: in all cases they depend
	on her.
	Ibid., Cahill; p. 38.

can you come up with any other Hamlet-gods? post
them here and dissect their relation to the topic
of archaeoastronomy. thanks!

extra credit:

is Hamlet someone who makes it all perfect by 
arighting the askew rotating object (Mill), or
throwing everything into disarray and knocking
the cosmos off it's old axis? or both?


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