Ishtar wrote:Seeker, why do you think Anu is fickle? In the account I read, Anu's motivation is not at all clear (mainly, I think because that bit of the tablet was missing!).
I also think that if the purpose of these stories was to teach wisdom, which I believe it was, it wouldn't be very wise to teach that Nature is fickle. It would be more wise to teach these adepts how to read the laws of Nature, how to read the signs, which we know they did certainly from parts of the Vedas.
Nature has its cycles, its seasons, its rhymes and its reasons. It's just a question of us understanding them.
There's an old gardener lives down the road from me, and he always knows when it's going to rain. He told me that when the North Downs look really clear and near during the day, that means it's going to rain in the evening. I checked it out, and he's right. That's what I call wisdom.
So, a broad category of myths, although far from all, were meant to be repeated on ritual and ceremonial occasions, and their repetition was part of their purpose, often to preserve the continuity of nature and society. Seasonal and fertility festivals fall into this category—the rituals to reverse the decline of the sun at the winter solstice, and to bring the rains to fertilize the earth required some sort of imitative action to bring it about that the myth explained and justified by showing how and why it was instituted for the first time. Retelling the mythical origin was essential to the continual repetition of the ritual which itself was a type of sympathetic magic to compel the event or to remind a deity of its obligation. The Egyptians had a ceremony each year to remind the Nile of its obligation to rise and inundate the valley!
seeker wrote:You misunderstood the source. They weren't trying to stop the sun declining, only to make sure it ascended at the appropriate time (which it always did).
You must have just skimmed the source I posted.
Ishtar wrote:seeker wrote:You misunderstood the source. They weren't trying to stop the sun declining, only to make sure it ascended at the appropriate time (which it always did).
You must have just skimmed the source I posted.
It reads "to reverse the sun declining at the winter solstice" not to make sure the sun ascended again after the winter solstice.
I didn't skim it ....
Look Seeker, if you think you know best about what these people were doing after Googling and coming up with an AskWhy.com reference, then please carry on. It's a waste of my time to tell you what they're really doing, because you don't think I know what I'm talking about and so whatever I tell you, you'll disagree and go off Googling again to find anything that disagrees with me.
How can I argue with a Google.com PhD? I find this kind of debate very boring.
Reversing the sun's decline is the same as making ascend.
seeker wrote:All I'm saying is that the scholarly understanding, or maybe a better word would be the secular understanding, is different from the one you've espoused. As to your implication that I only googled and found that source I'll just assume you are frustrated. We have differing views and I tend to research my views. The fact is that I have a lot of sites I keep track of because I do read frequently on the subject of religion and religious beliefs.
No it's not. To people who understand astronomy, as these people did, reversing the sun's decline is impossible, and not just because they didn't have the power to do it. When the sun ascends, it's not a reverse of anything - it doesn't go backwards. It's an onward, forward ascension as it passes through a cycle, just like when the hands of a clock reach six o'clock, they can then begin their ascent to eight o'clock. This is not empty semantics. Your extract from your academics had these people trying to reverse a decline at the winter solstice, which is typical of the ignorance with which academics viewed, and still do, these ritual events and the thinking behind them.
Ishtar wrote:You can read as many "scholarly sites" as you like, but it stil won't help you understand shamanism. Nobody in academia even began to understand what shamans were actually doing until Mircea Eliade, the Professor of Relgion at Harvard, published his book in 1951. Until then, although anthropologists had reported on these rites, they had not understood that something real was going, and came up with terms like "sympathetic magic" to try to explain them. On top of that, ancient man was considered to be pretty stupid. But none of these academics had actually experienced what they were talking about, and so really they were just making it up as they went along.
That's why, even today, you cannot train to be a shaman in a university, because there's no-one there qualified to teach it. If you want to be a shaman, you have to go and find a shaman to learn from. Becomng a shaman means going beyond the intellect, gonig beyond reason, going beyond the rational - and this type of pursuit would be anathema to most universities anyway.
So you can go to 'scholarly sites' (although one would hardly include AskWhy.com under that heading), but you still won't understand shamanism. At best, it is like the difference between reading the recipe for a chocolate cake, and eating a chocolate cake.
I know which I'd prefer.
Ishtar wrote:Well, I think we're going to have to do our usual, here, and agree to differ.
Except I will just say that shamanism isn't a belief system. There is no belief system attached to it.
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