Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Aravah and The Arabot

The Aravah is a continuation of the Great Rift Valley beginning at the Gulf of Aqaba and extending to the Dead Sea depression. It was created during the Miocene epoch when the Arabian plate began moving northward against the African plate. The Aravah has been proven by climate and vegetation models to be the major dispersal route for hominid migrations out of Africa during the Neogene geologic period. Human remains as well as lithic and faunal assemblages have been found in Ubaidyia and Nahal Zihor south of the Dead Sea with a paleomagnetic date of ca 1.6-1.2 Ma.

The name Aravah has many different definitions in various Semitic languages and scholars debate its meaning. The root word is related to words meaning poplar tree, arid plain, mixing or crossing, and raven to name but a few.  The masculine noun erev is a cognate word meaning dusk as the sun moves into the sea. M'arev means west or westward. Arabia and Arab are derived from this word as well as Abarim, the mountain of Moses where the Ark of the Covenant was supposedly buried.  In Arabic, it can mean a rushing stream of clear water as well as arid plain. Aravah most likely means "watershed"; a system of drainage and water catchments. The valleys spaced among mountains east of the Jordan River are also called Aravah.  The plural of aravah is Aravot and denotes the entire hydrologic watershed of the Aravah Valley. Aravot is also the name of the Throne of God.

1 Enoch 18:5; "And I proceeded towards the south; and it burns day and night there where seven hills of precious stones are, three towards the east, three towards the south. But of those towards the east, one of the colored stone, one of pearls, and one of antimony; and those towards the south of red stone. But the middle one reach up to heaven, like the Throne of God, of alabaster, and the summit of the throne of sapphire." Enoch could be describing the heavenly mirror of the Aravah watershed. The topography is the same but with an awesome facade in keeping with God's glory. Enoch 26 describes the bottom of the heavenly watershed from which a deep valley descends. This accursed valley is where the souls of the wicked are tormented. Isaiah 14 corroborates Enoch by identifying Sheol at the base of the cosmic mountain.

The mirrored geography of heaven and earth are conjoined by a subterranean deep (tehom) where the water is common to both. Psalm 42:4-7 "I am on my way to the wonderful tent, to the house of God, among cries of joy and praise and an exultant throng. .. from the land of Jordan (Aravah watershed) and in Hermon (Canaanite Mountain of God), in Mount Misar deep is calling to deep as your cataracts roar." The reference to deep calling to deep is based on the notion that the cosmic Throne of God joins the watersheds of all mountain regions. The final destination for the cataracts of the Aravah is the Red Sea where a great rift splits the ocean floor to reveal the creation of the earth.

The line of demarcation between heaven and earth is the horizon line at dusk. The Hebrew word Erev (dusk) is cognate to Aravah.  At dusk, a bright crescent of refracted light and a dark shadow cast from the earth's own atmosphere can be seen together. The blending of these two phenomena creates an ombre effect called earth's umbra. The Glory of God (refracted light) and the darkness of the deep valley's (tehom) were seen as the mirror image of the Red Sea where deep calls to deep.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tablets of Stone

Upper Cretaceous Limestone is the chief constituent rock of Israel. Its fossiliferous strata are an abundant source of lime and building stone. Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed of calcium carbonate in the form of calcite. It is formed by the accumulation of shell, coral, and algal debris in the shallow, calm and warm waters of ancient seas. The soil created from its dust is fertile and was used by God to form the man Adam.The Cretaceous was a period with a warm climate resulting in high ocean levels and numerous shallow inland seas. These seas were populated with extinct marine reptiles, rudists and ammonites. Their waste products also contribute to the sediment mass.

One of these shallow inland seas covered the Negev desert during the Upper Cretaceous. It was an environment rich in cephalopoda including the now extinct ammonites and belemnites. When the sea receded, a geological feature called a Makhtesh formed from the erosion of soft limestone. An area especially rich in fossils is found in Makhtesh Ramon and was created by tsunami waves depositing cephalopods onto the shallow bank creating a fossil wall many feet thick. I have suggested that these relic specimens are the inspiration for the stories of the baetyls of Joshua, the python of Delphi, the horns Amon. If true, this ancient fossil hill was an important nexus in the development of symbolic thought. How ancient people viewed these god-houses (beit-El) can be gleaned from the comparison of the myths that surround them.

The steep walls of the Makhtesh cirque expose layers of ancient rock that are 200 million years old. Fossils from each geologic period are stacked in layers creating a stunning vista. From this vantage, it is easy to see how limestone is formed. Obviously, limestone was created from the bodies of mollusks. Some of the same type of mollusks that appear in the Makhtesh strata can be found nearby on the Red Sea reef. Cuttlefish, gastropods and many other helical (whelk) creatures still inhabit the marine environment of the Great Rift Valley. Here is another reason ancient peoples would come to the conclusion that eretz (earth) crust is the body of emma gadol Elah Yam. Moses was probably educated by the most knowledgeable tutors of Egypt. He had to have known, when he arrived at the Wilderness of Tsin that the earth's story was being revealed in stone.  Stone tablets is the perfect allegory for the Makhtesh strata. A split in the earth to lay open a book to reveal the past of the planet.  Here is where they were told not to eat mollusks. It was at this place they were instructed how to wear tzitzit as a coiled connection to the throne of God.

Queen Melusine
Melusine the queen mollusk has a split fluke. In her story, she leaves a text telling Raymondin to return to the laws that were written in stone. When she left, her footprint remained forever. The text she left behind; La fourme du pie tout escript translates to "the shape of the foot perfectly scribed". The mollusk fossils left behind are perfectly formed and even the collagen parts are distinct and visible. Makhtesh Ramon is a continuation of the Great Rift Valley not far north of the Red Sea and ancient port Eilat (Allat). In the story of Melusine, she returns to the sea each evening nearby.

The Latin word for limestone is kalx derived from the ancient Greek khaliks (pebble) and surely from the Hebrew keelik (limestone anchor). A pebble is a chip off a larger stone as is a limestone anchor. To Red Sea traders, the anchor was the heel that was always in helical opposition to the vessel. When the connection to the earth is withdrawn, the ship travels freely as a bird in the sky. A dhow skims the surface of the mirror using the breath of God much like a bird. Birds and fish do not have heels. They are not earthbound. Khaliks is also the Greek word for heel.
Souls on the Beach

The Jewish tradition of putting pebbles on graves is ancient and its origin has been lost to antiquity. El M'aleh Rahamim is a prayer written for martyrs of the Crusades and may provide a clue. The prayer asks God to provide the deceased with a good rest in Gan Eden (paradise).   The Hebrew phrase; teheye nishmato tsrurah b'tsror ha-chayyim is translated "May his soul be bound up in the bonds of eternal life". Mourners place a pebble onto the grave as they travel past. Every pebble is a testament to the deceased and every prayer a request. It is customary to place the pebble one at a time until a small pile is achieved. A story associated with this custom asks God to place the soul of the departed, represented by the pebble, in his "sling". Since it is hung by a cord, this bag of pebbles will always have a helical relationship to God. Jesus told Peter was to be called a chip of limestone. Peter was fated to become pebble of testimony - an earthbound heel with a connection to the divine. Greek petros;  "small stone, firestone, sling stone, moving boulder". 

Limestone, birdlime and loam are all cognate words that can be traced to the resources provided by Elah Yam. Birdlime is a product made from tree bast. After boiling it becomes sticky and can be used to trap birds when applied to roosting areas. Plant bast is also used to make fibers for weavings and coiling rope. Loam is fertile soil able to retain moisture and is the soil from which Adam was formed. Limestone is a soft stone that is easily cut and was used extensively in the ancient world for building material. Lime is derived from ilim which devolved from elohim. Elah yam became Elohim because of the pebbles of testimony. The council of twelve headed by El is a later derivation after the rise of the patriarchs.

Western scholars are of the consensus that polytheism evolved into monotheism. However, the Queen of Heaven, Elah Yam, meets the criteria for one-god worship. Understanding her morphology gives her adherents an edge over those who do not have an overall world view. Mariners would need an all-encompassing understanding of the earth's movement to travel the oceans. It appears they understood earth's helical orbit. Can the same be said for earthbound cultures?  It was the Red Sea traders that first understood the Tehom and how it was creating the earth anew. They were the sailors that knew how to transverse it. Tiamat is a silly anthropomorphized devolution that makes no sense and is no help to her adherents in understanding their environment.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Cord of Fate


In the sacral language of the Red Sea trade routes, pidginized dialects became nativized through new generations neglecting to learn the parent languages. Stories transmitted from parent to child relating ancestral knowledge were modified to accommodate new information. Key words were transmitted via stories relating the same sense. Hilazone, Achilles and kilim all are contained in stories concerning a heel and the cord of fate. The kilim carpet is woven with a cuttlebone shape shuttle guiding the cord as it weaves fate. The shuttle is pushed with the heel of the hand as the weaver summons beneficial spirits. Achilles was immortal except for his fateful heel attached to the calcaneal tendon. Once the cord of fate is cut, mortality is assured. The hilazone cuttlefish is used to make a string of tzitzit to be hooked to the edge of a garment. Its purpose is to remind the chosen people of their fate as examples to the world.

Limestone Anchor
Elah Yam, the gorgonian tree goddess of the sea, rides the mirror of heaven and earth in her cellulose boat. The "kel" phoneme at the center of these stories is keel; the heel of a boat. Either envisioned as papyrus sheaves or wooden planks, pidginized words retain knowledge of ancient boat building.  Hebrew cognates of hilazon are keelaib (baste together), keelail (pierced), keelkail (perforate) and kilick (anchor). The anchor is a type of heel, lying amongst the reef creatures, cleaved to the boat via the flexible cord of fate.

In the Siberian wilderness, fur trappers make cellulose skis to ride the surface of the deep snow. A hunter will search for hours through the forest to find the right tree. Knowing what to look for requires generational knowledge and a skill set evolved through intimate knowledge of woodworking. Watching a pair of skis coaxed from the heart of a tree looks effortless when accomplished by a skilled craftsman. Intimate knowledge of trees would also be required to choose the keel of a boat.

Laying the keel for the USS H.W. Bush
Shipbuilding traditions cross many cultures and began in pre-history. Laying the keel at the beginning of construction is still a celebratory event. It marks the beginning of the life of the boat or its birth.  A gold coin is placed on the oak block, the keel is laid over and construction begins. The purpose of these ceremonial formalities is to influence the fate of the ship. Choosing the wood for the keel would be the first fateful event in the life of a boat. Such a decision would need to be accompanied by many rituals that enhance conditions for good luck.

Clinker built
The Viking style of boat construction is called clinker.This word is surely related to kilick cognates through the boat building skill of perforations sewn with tendons. Clinker built style lays the keel as the beginning course with each plank overlapping and cleaving to the previous course. The cleaving is accomplished by birch wood tendons sewn through the perforations. The tendons become saturated with moisture and swell up to fill the gap. The earliest known sewn boat was found in Egypt and dates to 2,600 B.C.

Dhow, a type of sewn boat, have been used in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean since antiquity. However, western scholars credit the Chinese with its invention. Yemeni sailors come to Kerala to have their dhows constructed by boatbuilders called Beramis who are also culturally Yemenite. Kerala is a wonderful source of hardwood but more importantly coconut trees. Coir from the coconut tree is essential for larger boats. Coir is strong but also absorbs moisture to swell up and fill the basting holes. Credit is not given to the Hadhramati craftsmen, but they are surely the inventors of the sewn boat. In 1920, western explorers identified, El Hudaydah, on the Yemen coast, as the epicenter of dhow boat building. The dhows built here were made of acacia and much smaller. However, it was perfect for transporting goods along the Red Sea coastline never needing to cross open sea,

Cleave is a word that contains its own opposite. Its definition is to bring together and its definition means to separate. In German, the attested root word also has an oppositional meaning. Perhaps cleave is from Hebrew keelaib (baste together) and was transmitted via boat building guilds. The concept of binding together desperate parts so they act and operate as one would satisfy both definitions. The separate threads of the kilim cleave together to form a carpet. Some stories attest to their flying ability. The achilles tendon cleaves to the heel bone for the purpose of locomotion. Once basted together, the fate of all the separate parts become one.

The hilazon could be considered the queen of cleaving creatures. All cephalopods have flexible limbs extending around their beaks which function as muscular hydrostats. These appendages use helical collagen fibres in opposition - much like a heel and tendon. Cuttlefish also have two tentacles with suckers that cleave using chitinous muscles. These suckers are used for locomotion as well as capturing prey.
Foundation Stone

The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem contains a limestone karst that was perforated in pre-history for unknown reasons. This karst is the most holy spot in Judaism and traditionally is said to be the Foundation Stone from which the earth was created. It is also credited with being the sacrificial alter of Noah and Abraham. This is where Isaac was almost sacrificed and also where Mohammed was transported to heaven. The Pierced Rock is where earth cleaves to heaven through the invisible cord of fate. At times in antiquity, the rock may have been thought of as both anchor and heel. Perhaps writing a message on a piece of cellulose and cleaving it to the remnants of the temple wall is an attempt to bind one's fate together with that of the deity.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Elah Yam

Gold ring found in Minoan Pillar Temple
Elah Yam, the Great Mother of the ancient Red Sea and Mediterranean trade routes. Holy trees with dragon sap and a ladder for her descent from heaven is shown on this gold ring as she rides the surface of the celestial sea.  Marija Gimbutas identified her as Gorgoneion; a terrible face with snakes as hair. This artifact, probably cast in a cuttlebone mold, was found at the pillar temple in Potnia.  The name of the goddess, Elah Yam, is translated Holy Tree (Elah) Sea (Yam). She is the "spirit" of Genesis; the original creator before the story was modified by incoming Abrahamic shepherds.  In Hebrew, Elohim אֱלֹהִים could be read as Elah Yam אֱלֹהִ ים  as no spaces existed to designate words. The most ancient verses of Genesis describe the process of  creation by Elah Yam. It is a credit to the scribes that the original name of God has been retained even with later interpolations. Using a plural noun to describe a monotheistic deity is plausible now.

Genesis 1-3 In the beginning, Elah Yam (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form and void and darkness was on the face of the deep and the spirit of Elah Yam (Elohim) moved upon the face of the waters. Elah Yam said let there be light and there was light... And Elah Yam said, let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree whose seed is in itself and it was so... And Elah Yam said, let the earth bring forth the nephesh chayah after his kind, cattle and creeping thing, and beast after its kind; and it was so.

Tree of Life 
The holy tree would be compared to the respiratory system of the Great Mother. The trachea connects  the pharynx and larynx to the lungs allowing for the passage of air. The trachea along with the esophagus is a nephesh and is responsible for maintaining chayim. The bronchial tubes must be kept moist with mucus. The Hebrew word mashah is to anoint and is mucus for the deity. Moses is attributed as the source for many of the Elah Yam to YHWH myth transmutations. He was responsible for maintaining chayim in the wilderness. Moses, moshe, masheh, messiah. are anointing words of the Great Mother. Also mucus and muscle.

The esophagus is a muscular tube that passes food to the stomach. It is aided by peristaltic contractions to push the food through, much like the snake. In the digestive tract, muscle tissue contracts in sequence to produce a wave which propels food along the passageway. Peristaltic movement is comprised of relaxation of circular smooth muscles, then their contraction behind the food to keep it from moving backward. Snakes and earthworms move food through their systems, likewise, in a slow wave. Another peristaltic function is childbirth. The fetus moves through the birth canal in waves of contractions. A later depiction of the nephesh is two snakes on a pole; the second representing childbirth

Coating the nephesh of the deity with oil was a good deed performed for a favor in return. "Elah yam" also means to make a request.  Moses was making a request when he fashioned a type of nephesh while in the Tsin wilderness to protect the people against snakebite. Moses was an interloper trying to make sense of the ancient goddess religion and thereby exploit regional resources. The snake in a tree is the three branches of the bronchial tube for breathing and the esophagus for consuming food.


Genesis 12:6 And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Shechem, unto the terebinth of Moreh. 

The Terebinth tree produced a multitude of products that would be easily transportable
Triple Pillar Moon Deity
commodities. Tannic acid made from the pods is used to fix animal hide. Astringent, postassium carbonate, turpentine, medicines and other tinctures are made from the bark and myrrh gum (sap). Exploiting the terebinth tree requires knowledge of alchemy and of the night sky. The phases of the moon are connected to the lunar milk cycle of the tree. This milk can be harvested for those that posses the ritual knowledge. It has long been understood that the phases of the moon and the
 tides of the sea are interdependent. Moreh, myrrh, marrow, Mary.

Abram and Moses were immigrants to this region and so the alchemical myths would have sounded strange. Their translation of the indigenous goddess to our ears sounds bizarre. A dragon mother providing bounty from her lair under the twin mountains, at the confluence of two rivers, in the midst of the celestial double-deep. Her lunar milk sap of Oak and Terebinths provided perfumes, dyes and other tinctures. The same skill set used to manufacture products from the cuttlefish could be used to process tree sap. Myrrh from the terebinth and myrrh from the processed cuttlefish were used interchangeably. It is not surprising that the sea goddess would be imagined as a cuttlefish.

Tannin from the Tannyn, and marrow from Miryam were some of the raw products Elah Yam provided the populace. The Great Mother of Heaven required sustenance and so she devoured flesh of the dead. Later, she was worshiped by many supplicants whose main duty was to ritually feed her. There certainly was much enterprise generated by her needs. Craftsmen, myrrh harvesters, fishermen had much to gain from veneration of Elah Yam. She was worshiped in groves on high places where both harvesting and processing must have taken place. In her later Ugaritic persona, she was known as Elat Athirat of the Sea. During King Josiah's reformation, her groves were cut down to eliminate worship. Afterward, he wanted to know, "are we to give up the balms and unguents as well?" 

Tannins have teeth to work hides into suppleness. The teeth of the tannin is the bite in the wine. Tine and tan the jackyl with fangs. Also, a tongue to deliver saliva or phlegm. Sinus is another tan word.  Than is also Tonne as in leviathan; cargo of oil.  Tain sufix is a tan word meaning containment. Sperm whales are swimming oil tanks (also a tan word). Related words are dentine, tsin (wilderness) sin (moon) and tincture. But the word transmitted from Potnia was stein which became stone. The pillars of stone were indeed replicating aspects of a deity and feeding and anointing the pillar of stone was salvation saliva for the tongue, tan, stone. It could well be that the cuttlebone was mistaken for a tooth. Early legends of the world serpent had a single tooth. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014


Moses commanded his company of former Hebrew slaves to wear a single blue thread on the corners of their prayer shawls to remind them of the throne of God's glory. This thread was colored blue by dye created with the blood of the cuttlefish. The Hebrew Tosefta describes the animal that YHWH commands to be used in the manufacturing process. It is a fish that is the color of the sea and sky called "hilazon". Although it is a mollusk with an internal shell, the cuttlefish has a mantle of fins on each side that maneuvers through the water like a fish. Famous and infamous, the cuttlefish is renowned in the ancient myths of the Red Sea and Mediterranean regions. Mollusk and Mellusine are cognates of Malakh; the original ancient word transmitted and transmuted through trade routes. Malakh was royalty and trade in the color royal blue was reserved for the family of King and Queen. They were the blue bloods.

Techelet dye, manufactured with hilazon blood, would be made kosher for the separated Israelites. The recipe
Murex Trunculus
for dye was well known by every ancient kingdom. Ingredients for blue, purple and red dye making were traded along with finished products. It was expensive, but readily available. Purple dye made from the sea snail Murex Trunculus was mass produced by Phoenicians. The Murex has an outer shell and cannot be considered for the hilazon as it would never be mistaken for a fish. Anyway, it seems all that is needed to make blue dye is protein from sublittoral mollusks. A variation in color from pure blue to purple red depended on the local specie available. 

Myths inspired by the cuttlefish may include the legend of Medusa one of the three Gorgon sisters all with snakes growing from their heads in place of hair. Medusa was able to turn men into stone by her gaze. Cuttlefish have strange pupils shaped like a "W" that seem to hypnotize their prey by their camouflage display rendering them immobile. The ten tentacles are imagined as snakes. Each tentacle working separately but in unison as the inspiration for hair of snakes, In her book Language of the Goddess, Marija Gimbuta identifies the Gorgon in Neolithic art motifs, especially in anthropomorphic vases inlaid with gold.

Apotropaic depictions of Gorgons in ancient Greece were placed on shields, coins, and above doors; influenced by the myth of Perseus placing the severed head of Medusa on the golden shield of Athena. A 
Minoan Sea Goddess
Minoan gold ring from the island Mochlos in Crete, dated to 1,600 b.c., depicts a sea goddess with a monstrous head. She is sitting in a boat with a sacred tree and a symbol that looks like a ladder. These same motifs are found throughout the ancient world and are associated with goddess worship. Gold coins, made with the cuttlebone mold, would have transmitted the skill of casting as well as the myths of mollusks. 

         Cuttlebone Metal Casting
Cuttlefish are cephalopods that have a unique internal shell called a cuttlebone that functions as a bladder. It regulates buoyancy by changing the gas-to-liquid ratio in porous chambers made of aragonite. Since antiquity, jewelers have used the cuttlebone as a mold to cast precious metals. It can be precisely carved and can withstand extreme temperatures from the crucible. The shape of the cuttlebone is the inspiration for the Vesica Pisces, famously depicted in early Christian religious art personifying transfiguration. Two cuttlebones are fitted hermetically together creating the mold to be filled with molten metal. The alchemical skill of casting metal was transmitted along with the myths of the Vesica Pisces translated as "fish bladder". Afterall, the blood of the hilazon was the magical ingredient in the blue of the celestial sea.

Vesica Pisces

Gulf of Aden
The Pharaoh cuttlefish is native to the Red Sea, Persian Gulf and western Indian Ocean inhabiting the sublittoral region above the drop off of the continental shelf. It is a nocturnal hunter migrating to more shallow waters to feast on fish, crabs and other smaller cuttlefish. The Pharaoh cuttlefish has survived in the Gulf of Aden from Bab Al Mandab to Bir Ali because the narrow continental shelf is not suitable for Japanese trawlers. The Pharaoh cuttlefish is the most likely candidate for hilazon as it is locally sourced in the Red Sea as well as Suez sublittoral regions.

Other species of cuttlefish native to the sublittoral zones of the
Khamsa Hand
Persian Gulf may have been the inspiration for the Khamsa hand. Khamsa means "five" in semitic languages as if the ten tentacles of the cuttlefish were fetishized hands.The right hand is always holier on the Arabian Peninsula and palm open is a sign of protection. The mesmerizing eye in the center wards off the evil eye performing the same apotropaic function as the shining shield of Athena. It has been transmuted to" hand of Fatima" or "hand of Miryam" depending on which wife of Abraham is referenced. Miryam is translated as "myrrh of the sea"; an aromatic oil created from cuttlefish processed through the upper digestion system of whales. The  leviathans that pass by the Gulf of Aden and southern Arabia engorge themselves on the abundant mollusks inhabiting plentiful reefs. They must then disgorge the beak of the cuttlefish as it is indigestible. Bile builds up on the beaks to form protective layers around the sharp edges. It is interesting that the "Jonah" spit out from the whale is from the same source word as "Yoni" the Vesica Pisces. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Star of the Sea

Our Lady Star of The Sea
The Aramaic name of the mother of Jesus, Maryam, was translated by St. Jerome into Stilla Maris which means 'drop of the sea'. At some later stage, a scribe made a slight transcription error and mistakenly created Stella Maris which means 'star of the sea'. An entire corpus of myth grew around this mistake and the error became widespread.  Jerome knew that the name was created using two South Semitic words; myrrh (tree resin) and yam (sea). Myrrh is harvested by slashing through the bark into the sapwood to bleed the resin. The resulting exudation hardens quickly into a waxy gum known as teardropsSt. Jerome must have been familiar with the belief that myrrh was thought to be tears from a wound to a sacred tree. 

The Myrrh tree is native to the Red Sea coastal regions of Yemen, Somalia, Eritrea and eastern Ethiopia where trade in gum resins created a robust economy in the ancient world. Myrrh was used in medicines, wine and Jerusalem temple worship for shemen (anointing oil) and incense. Myrrh created an olfactory link to the divine aroma of the Ruach Hachodesh or Holy Spirit. Aroma has the ability to bypass the brain's thalamus by traveling dedicated pathways to the olfactory cortex for instant processing. The olfactory cortex is embedded within the brain's limbic system and amygdala where emotions are stored. That is why a particular aroma can become intimately entangled with memory and trigger instantaneous emotions.

Myrrh of the Sea, must be what is known today as ambergris. Ambergris was also harvested in the Red Sea region by
ancient people and is formed in the digestive system of sperm whales. It was collected along the coastal region of Djibuti and is considered to be worth its weight in gold. Because the beaks of cuttle fish and squid have been found embedded within the lumps, scientists have theorized that the substance is produced by the whales' gastrointestinal tract to ease the passage of hard, sharp objects. Freshly produced ambergris has a briny, fecal odor. However, as it ages, it acquires a sweet earthy fragrance. Ambergris is highly valued by perfumers as a fixative but has been largely replaced by modern synthetics. It was also added to wine enhancing the nose of the tannin.

Fossil Amber

Linguists have determined that the word Ambergris is derived from the Arabic word anbar which means granaries. In the 13th century, the suffix gris  (grey in the romance languages) was added to distinguish the product from fossil amber.  Fossil amber is tree resin recovered from ancient forests either by simple collection or mining. It can also be found washed up onto beaches and may be the reason it became associated or confused with Myrrh of the Sea. Fossil amber is also used in perfumes and unguents. It can be cut and polished to become a beautiful a gemstone.

Electrum was the classical name for fossil amber and has an etymological connection to the word for sunbeam. According to myth when Phaeton, son of Helios, was killed his sisters became mourning poplar trees and their tear drops fell into the ocean to become electrum. Pliny the Elder in The Natural History cites sources well aware of its true origin; "Amber is produced from a marrow discharged by trees belonging to the pine genus... is the fact that it emits a pine-like smell when rubbed, and that it burns, when ignited, with the odor and appearance of torch-pine wood."

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Great Fish of The Southern Seas

The extinction list of mega fauna may soon include the Great Fish of the Red Sea; the whale shark. Whale sharks are filter feeders that passively strain nutrient-rich water. The active seafloor vents along the Afar rift attract these great fish as they circle the southern seas following the Mid Oceanic Ridge. Most likely, the whale shark is long-lived with a slow reproduction rate which makes populations particularly vulnerable to exploitation. Its undulated locomotion is reminiscent of the snake but is slow moving and has been hunted almost to extinction. Whale shark patterns of migration are not well documented and so it is hard to mitigate their demise.The whale shark  filters milt and has been observed frequenting spawning grounds of migratory fish.

Like the Maakah of  the Olympic Peninsula and the Yamana of Tierra Del Fuego, the prehistoric people of Aden were advantageously located to harvest the great fish as they enter the narrow mouth of the Red Sea . Ancient habitation of the coastal region of Aden, as well as the opposite coast of Djibouti, may have become established on the economy of the Great Fish. Hunters of mega fauna would have recognized the location advantage next to a rich food source.  The meat of the whale shark and oil from the liver must have been a valuable commodity in the ancient world and is still highly prized in Asia.  The Red Sea has the unique advantage of pelagic ecosystem necessary for its survival. Along the Tihamah, these fish can be spotted from shore as they follow the water column upward filtering milt. The shoals of the tehom are vertical.  

The monsoons of the southern seas are quite regular and provide moisture for rivers and downstream kikkur irrigation farming; aquifers fill and the Nile rises.The regular arrival of the royal star Fomalhaut heralds the breaking of the monsoons and the appearance of migratory animals spawning and foraging for food. Fomalhaut swallows the moisture of the monsoons and so is named for the mouth of the Great Fish of the Southern Seas. Al Hwt is the South Semitic word for the whale fish that appears to be swallowing the seawater as it swims. The importance of this fish to the original people of Aden is evident because it was the first to be assigned to the stars in the night sky. The mapping of the stars may have
begun on the Yemeni coastline by hunters watching and waiting for whale sharks. Hwt is also used to describe the divisions of the night sky that create the zodiac.
The origin of the Hebrew letter het or khet is describing these divisions and are called "Mansions of the Moon" in South Semitic. Ancient people deified the whale shark by placing it in the heavens upside down so that mortal men could see the stars on its skin. This constellation is now known by its Greek name Piscis Austrinus; Fish of the Southern Sea. The heavenly waters of the night sky were described as the Land of Hwt (Tehut) and credit for mapping the stars was given to a deity named Tehuti.

Stars and bars of Al Hwt the skin of  whale shark
Hwt is also the South Semitic word for animal hide as the night sky was, first, the skin of the whale shark. Hunters of mega fauna have been known to establish auxiliary outposts along migratory routes of prey. Hut is a small structure made of materials close at hand. Perhaps the most readily available material to these hunters was whale shark hide . Hide huts may have been the original temples established at intervals along the overland route from the Yemen to Petra. Tents made of skins were likely the first protection early people had from the outside elements of weather and wild animals. In the Talmud it is told that the Leviathan will be slain and its flesh served as a feast to the righteous and its skin used to cover the tent where the banquet will take place.  A sukkah is a temporary temple that must be constructed to replicate the stars and bars of the skin of the great fish Al Hwt. The South Semitic letter khet appears to replicate the cross poles of the sukkah. The Israelites are commanded to leave space between each bar to reveal the stars of the night sky. Ge'ez uses hwt as personal pronoun (my skin; myself) but the languages of pastoral people (Amharic, Harari, Tigrina) do not. 

Psalm 74:14 "Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to
Whale Shark Meat
the people inhabiting 
the wilderness". This could be an ethnographic description of an actual butchering. A picture of people rushing down to the site of a dying fish that had been killed with blows to the head. With such a large fish, a generous hunter could provide food for a large group of people. Anthropologist Jill Katz concluded in a recent BAR article that tribal culture in Iron Age Israel best fits the paradigm of a Big Man society. An enormous fish would provide a hunter with much prestige. Using the conclusions of Katz, a parallel can be drawn between those tribes that ritually consumed the god-body of the whale shark and other aboriginal whaling societies.The Maakah people of Olympic Peninsula were much concerned with gift giving and status. They hunted the grey whale by attaching a seal buoy to the animal and then sewing the mouth shut to keep it from sinking. A whale shark would be much easier to harvest in the warm waters of the Red Sea than a grey whale in the frigid waters of the Northern Pacific. Whalers have used the term "swimming oil tanks" to describe their prey. Leviathan may have originally meant the same thing; liwya (liver as in organ fat) than (tonne/tonnage or container). The liver of the whale shark contained the oil used to light the lamps of Aden and probably anoint.the priestly class as well.

Palm 74:15 T"hou didst cleave the fountain and the flood; thou driedst up mighty rivers". The
Great Fish of the Southern Seas was responsible, in mythology, for swallowing the waters  of the deluge. The Piscis Austrinus constellation is swallowing the waters from Aquarius. Aquarius is a Latin word which means 'the water pourer', and may be from the South Semitic word qaw (qav)  that has the meaning of 'water level'. The level of the water table is typically measured as the elevation that the water rises in a well. The well swallows the water from the surrounding aquifer until an equilibrium is reached. An Egyptian myth says the setting of the Aquarius constellation causes the Nile to rise by drawing water into the urn and filling it. Al Biruni depicted this urn in his astrological charts as a two-handled amphora or wine jar. Arabic word qawa (coffee) is probably derived from qaw or qav (kava?). The pot for Arabic coffee has a large belly and narrow mouth. The water level of the pot rises and falls during the process of boiling the coffee and carmelizing the foam. Qaw and/or Qav is also used to construct Chavah (Chawah) the Hebrew word for Eve.  Eve had the original meaning  'leveling of water table'. It is not a coincidence that leviathan and libation share the same trilateral root.

Psalm 74:17  "Thou hast set all the borders of the earth; thou hast made summer and winter". By mapping the night sky, humans could predict seasonal change and agriculture was possible. The Maakah people hunted whales but were also agriculturalists. The original people of the Yemen and Djibouti were perhaps the first agriculturalists with the cultivation of coffee beans. Dams constructed in the uplands captured the waters of the seasonal monsoons and Arabia Felix was born. The ordered society of agriculturalists was governed by the Law of Tehuti. The Law of Tehuti tied the deeds of men to their thoughts and their thoughts to the divine.  In Genesis, tehom is the mirror image of tehut and compares their toponymic representatives of Tihamha and Djibouti. The region of Tihamha is not sodden and cannot retain water but Djibouti is the mouth that swallows the waters of the southern seas. Impermeable versus permeable as a hide bladder able to contain liquids.

The shape of the Horn of Africa creates natural oceanic currents that deposit flotsam on the shores of Djibouti. A most valuable prize that regularly washes up is ambergris. Coincidentally (or not) the region known from antiquity for ambergris is roughly the same area as ancient Djibouti. It was collected from Djibouti and then sent overland from Sa'ana to Petra. Ambergris is essentially a gall stone from the sperm whale that is worth its weight in gold. It has the unique property of aroma. Small quantities were added to food, incense and especially wine to make it better tasting. It is used as the base ingredient in perfumes and makes floral tones stronger and longer lasting . Ambergris could be melted at a low temperature and stored in amphora jars for shipment. This treasure of waxy grease is essentially a fatty coating to aid in the digestion of the sperm whales' primary food source; cuttle fish. The hard beaks of cuttlefish may be difficult for sperm whales to expel and become an irritant so that it is coated with bile. Bile is a complex fluid containing water, electrolytes and a battery of organic molecules including bile acids, cholesterol, phospholipids and bilirubin that flows through the biliary tract into the small intestine. It somehow enhances the olfactory senses in the way of the inflorescence of the bloom.

Use sperma Cete ana with red wine when ye wax old. Sir George Ripley, "The Compound of Alchemy," recommends sperm oil with medicinal qualities to be used as a wine additive. However, it was not the oil from the head but the bile from the liver that has been used since antiquity as a medicinal wine additive. The nose of the wine was greatly enhanced with tang from ambergris. No evidence exists to conclude sperm oil has ever been added to wine but mountains of textual evidence exists that the wine additive ambergris was more valuable than gold. Perhaps the confusion exists because of the hidden knowledge of priests. The alchemy of anointing oil would contain both the ambergris and whale oil as the shemen poured onto the beards of the representatives of Aron. But the misconception about the origin of sperm oil exists unto this day.