or, The Constellations
by Frances Rolleston
Philologos Religious Online Books
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"Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season?"-Job 33:32
DAYS OF THE PLANETARY WEEK,
AS NAMED AFTER THE SUN, MOON, AND FIVE PLANETS
||English and Anglo-Saxon Names
||German and Scandinavian Names
||Scandinavian Names of Planets or Deities
||Texts where the word or its root is used in this sense in the Hebrew Bible
||Hebrew or Noetic roots
Day of the Sun
||Sonne, Arab. sense, shining
Day of the Moon
||Mone,* and Monath, companion, moon, &c.
Day of Mars
|Tyr, who tears
Tuisco, who delivers
2 Kings 19:19
Day of Mercury
Wodens- or Odinstag
or Odin ruling
Day of Jupiter
|Thor, giving light
Thor, who bruises
Day of Venus
|Freiya, fertile, bearing fruit
Day of Saturn
||Sater, hiding, sheltering
It appears from the most ancient records, that among all nations the period of seven days was used from time immemorial. It is traced in the account given of the Deluge in the book of Genesis (Gen 8:10,11), and in the scarcely less ancient book of Job (Job 1:6, and 2:1, where the Hebrew is the day). By the Hebrews, Arabs, and Persians the seven days were distinguished, as in the history of the creation, by numbers, as day one, &c. - a form considered to be of the highest antiquity. It may be seen in the Syriac calendar (Bp. Marsh, Michaelis), as used by the ancient Hebrews, the Syrians, Arabians, Persians, and Ethiopians: "one from the Sabbath, two from the Sabbath, &c., till the sixth, eve of the Sabbath; and the seventh the Sabbath, the rest ." The Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Chinese, and the nations of India, were acquainted with the seven-days' division of time, as were the Druids. It has been traced in the interior of Africa, and among the American nations of the west. The word week,* gx , a returning period, first occurs in Genesis 29:27: that it there meant the seven-days' week may be seen by a reference to Judges 14:12.
* In deriving Moon from x), m servile must be prefixed, and N postfixed, as frequently occurring, and exemplified in the English word mine, where the pronoun I takes both these additions, as also in the Greek mhnh
There is nothing in nature to account for this division of time by sevens. Those writers who refer it to the moon's motion round the earth seem never to have observed that the new moon always falls about one day later in the week in each lunation: there being twenty-nine days and a half between each new moon, it can never happen on that day four weeks, without which no such division could have been devised.
* Week, Woche, German, &c., from qx, an ordinance, Exodus 12:14, 17, and Day, Doeg, Daeg, Dies, from (dy, which appears and makes appear, makes known. Exodus 18:16.
The first man on the first day of his existence would see the sun, traditionally said to have been in Leo at his creation. He was divinely directed to give names to visible things, and he would name this most glorious object, probably calling it Chres (Hhres), the warm; for after its setting on his first evening the night would be cool, its return in the morning would bring warmth, and that name seems the most widely diffused among his posterity. Perhaps on that first morning's dawn, wholly engrossed in anticipating the return of the sun, he would not observe the moon, near its change, and lost in his increasing splendour, until the second day, when he might see it in Cancer, pale in the golden glow, and call it Lebana, the white.
It might not be long before he observed the movements of the planets among the fixed stars. If man was created when the sun was quitting Leo for Virgo, Mars if in Aries would be very bright, and its motion soonest perceptible, the first luminary discovered to be a planet. If Mercury were in Virgo, it would be perceptible for a while in the evening twilight, and then disappearing prove itself a planet. Jupiter in Sagittarius would be splendid in the midnight sky; Venus in Libra, towards the morning; and Saturn (Sabbatei, the star of rest), perhaps first observed near Jupiter in the midnight on the Sabbath, distinguished as a planet by its pale orb, its movement as yet imperceptible.
These signs are called in astrological tradition the houses of these planets. If they were first observed in them, a reason may be given for that apportionment, for which none other has ever been alleged. The succession of the planetary names in the week, as found in all ages and climates, may also be accounted for by the planets having been first recognized in that order. If by Adam, as here suggested, and from him made known to Noah, the wide diffusion of the traditional succession may be understood, which is otherwise unintelligible, neither according with magnitude, brightness, nor time of revolution.
In the arrangement of these planets so as to be discovered in this order, there might be foreshown the course of prophecy: the sun in daily return proclaiming that He who was to come, shall come, shall go, and shall return; the moon, that even in His absence His light shall illuminate the darkness of the earth; Mars, by all his equivalent names expressing that He should bruise the enemy, but Himself receive the wounds beheld by the prophet, with which He should be wounded in the house of His friends (Zech 13:6); in Mercury, the consoling prospect that He should return with intensified luster; in Jupiter, the reign of truth and righteousness; in Venus, the beauty of His sister-spouse (Song 4:9,10) the Church; in Saturn, the rest that shall remain for the people of God.
The two families, the children of Isaac and of Ishmael, immediate descendants of Abraham, to whom the transmission of astronomy is attributed, never gave these names to the seven days of their week, which they distinguished, according to the primitive pattern (in Genesis 1), by numbers; but among the Egyptians and the people of India this usage is of undefined antiquity. From the Egyptians the Romans are said to have adopted these appellations in the third century of our era, when their conquests had brought them into daily intercourse with the nations who divided their time by weeks, of which original institution the Romans had retained but a very faint tradition. The northern nations among whom we find it use the same names for planets and for deities, nearly resembling in mythological attributes those of the southern nations from whom they had early separated, taking their course through western India towards the North. The traditions and the roots of the language of these Semitic nations may be traced in those of the tribes who inundated Europe from the North, from the time of the shepherd kings in Egypt, till the downfall of the Western Empire. Since these nations have begun to cultivate letters, Olaus Rudbeck, one of their early writers, in his patriotic enthusiasm for the glories of his race, claimed for them the invention of astronomy during their sojourn in the frozen North, adapting the emblems of the zodiac to its climate. One specimen of this adaptation may suffice to show on what unsubstantial foundation it stood. Gemini, he says, was to show that now children may safely bathe in the thawing rivers. It is, however, amply proved that none of the descendants of Noah ever so completely forgot the science of their forefathers as to have the opportunity of re-inventing it. The very savages of Polynesia gave a better account of the two bright stars that mark the heads of the figures of Gemini, when they said that they were twin children, who, ill used on earth, had been translated to heaven. The name they gave these stars, Ainana, remarkably coincides with the Semitic Myx), brethren, and hn( afflicted.
As, however, the Arabs, through whom we receive the names of the stars, and the Hebrews, through whom we receive the prophecies with which they are shown to correspond, did not annex the names of the sun, moon, and five planets to the days of the week, that annexation might seem to be a contrivance of later days than those of the invention of the celestial emblems, of those days when, as in the time of Job, men had begun to pay undue reverence to the orbs of heaven "walking in their brightness." If, however, this application to the days of the week be of later origin and inferior authority, still the arrangement of the names in the order here shown to be accordant with prophecy, may have been part of the lesson of divine truth, intended by the early fathers of mankind for their posterity, to be nightly read in the golden characters of the starry heaven: an arrangement commemorating at once the order of their appearing to the eyes of man, and the development of those promises on which hang the hopes of his future destiny, solving the great enigma of the restoration of a ruined world.
"Assyrians, Arabians, Egyptians, Persians had the week." (Dict. Belles Lettr.)
The Brahmins, Singalese, and Siamese have the week, naming the days from the planets in the usual order, but beginning the week on Friday.
"The division of time into weeks extends from the Christian states of Europe to the remote shores of Hindostan, and has equally prevailed among the Hebrews, the Egyptians, Chinese, and northern barbarians—nations some of whom had little or no intercourse with the others." (Horne's Introduction.)
The division into years, months, and days depended on natural causes; but that into weeks is not so dependent, four weeks not being exactly equal to a lunar revolution; a tradition older than the dispersion of mankind can alone account for it, that tradition being of the seven days or periods of creation.
"This division of time was universally observed among the descendants of Noah."
The ancient Jews reckoned the month from the actual appearance of the moon, and continued so to do till their dispersion.
"The seven-days' cycle was not adopted from any thing in nature."
"Some writers, as Acosta and Humboldt, find its origin in the seven planets as known to the ancients, from the planetary names of the days of the week; but these were not used by the Hebrews."
"The division of time into weeks of seven days was not peculiar to the Jews, but was a universal custom, and much older than the time of Moses." "The planetary names of the days of the week were not so ancient or so universal as the week." (D. M'Donald, Creation and Fall.) He controverts the theory of Ideler, that the week was invented as the fourth of the lunar period, as the week is not the exact fourth, and consequently the new moon takes place on continually varying days of the week. This may be shown by any almanack.
"The ancient Persians, the nations of India, and the old German tribes regarded seven as a sacred number" (Winer, Bib. R. W.).
Hesiod, Homer, and Callimachus apply the epithet holy to the seventh day. Eusebius declares that almost all the philosophers and poets acknowledge the seventh day as holy; and Porphyry states that the Phoenicians consecrated one day in seven as holy (Cox, Bibl. Ant.): but these were after Moses.
The Egyptians were acquainted with the seven-days' cycle, so were the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Chinese, and the nations of India. Traces of the same usage have also been detected by Oldendorf among the tribes of the interior of Africa. It has also been met with among those of America.
Josephus affirms that there was scarcely any Greek or barbarian but in some degree acknowledged or conformed to a seventh-day's cessation from labour. Lucian says it was given to school-boys as a holiday.
Its antiquity and universality show beyond all question that the notion was not borrowed from a Jewish source or Mosaic institutions, but had an origin anterior to both.
A recent writer speaks of "the ancient and almost universal belief that the week of creation was in brief the type of the great week of the world; that is, that the six working days of the creation-week correspond to the six thousand working days of the world; and that as the former ended in the Sabbath day of rest, the latter will culminate in the Sabbath of a six thousand years,—what St. Paul calls sabbatismoV 'the rest that remaineth for the people of God." (School of the Prophets, Times, Nov. 3, 1859.)
This analogy has been thus further carried out. On the first day, and for the first thousand years, light shone upon the earth. On the second day the waters were divided from the waters, as in the second thousand years the servants of God were divided from those who served Him not, as at Babel, and as Abraham from the Canaanites. On the third day the earth brought forth trees and herbs, as in the third thousand years the world was peopled. On the fourth day the luminaries of heaven shone forth, as in the fourth thousand years, first the revelation by Moses, and then that of Christianity came forth, typified by the sun, as the Church by the moon. On the fifth day a higher and more abundant creation took place on the earth, as in the fifth thousand years the world was more widely inhabited and peopled. On the sixth day a still nobler creation took place, completed in man, as in the sixth thousand years more enlightened Christianity has prevailed, and, it is hoped, will be succeeded by a purer still, on which the rest of the millennial reign will descend, giving peace to the suffering and troubled earth. This glorious prospect may add hope and happiness even to the blessed institution weekly restoring the mind and body of wearied humanity, where its divine wisdom is duly appreciated.
"The week* was not in the calendar of the Greeks, who divided the month into three periods of ten days; and it was not adopted by the Romans until the time of Theodosius, in the latter part of the fourth century of our era. There is properly no word in the Latin classics equivalent to the term week. Hebdomada signified seven of any thing." (Lardner.)
"Pope Sylvester tried to change the planetary names of the days of the week to numerals; but even with his own people he could only succeed in calling the first day Dies Dominica, the Lord's day." (Polydore Virgil.)
* The explanation attempted by Dion Cassius is a failure, as is the astrological theory on the subject.
Some religious persons have had a great objection to speak of the days of the week by the names in common use. Many do not like to call the Lord's Day Sunday, but to those who have been brought up so to speak, it may be useful to remember that the Sun is the Scripture type or emblem of the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, the true light, as making Himself known to mankind, as it were shining on them. That Oriental name of the Sun, Shemish,* most used in Hebrew and Arabic for the Sun, means ministering, as the Sun ministers light, and as Christ's abode on earth is often called His ministry, giving light to the souls as the Sun to the bodies of men; but in other Eastern dialects names are used signifying who cometh, another attribute of the Sun peculiarly befitting him as the type of the great theme of prophecy, the Sun of righteousness who should arise with healing on His wings, "He who should come" (Matt 11:3; Luke 7:19,20).
In calling the next day Monday, or the Moon's day, we may also remember that the Moon is the Scriptural type of the visible Church of Christ. Every day of the week should be in some sort a day for the Lord, and the remaining five days bear traces in their names of those ancient prophecies of Christ, from which the Gentiles formed many of their idols. The third day some of the Northern nations named after their hero-god, Tuisco, who like Mars ( (#y ) was called the god of war, but the Oriental root of his name means, who saves; therefore in using our name of this day, Tuesday, He might be remembered to whom the name best applies, and from a traditional prophecy of whom it originated. Wednesday, called the day of Mercury, said by the Romans to be the son of Jupiter and to have power over the souls of the dead, in many other particulars showing that here too we have a tradition of ancient prophecy concerning Christ, by our Northern ancestors was named, as was their demigod or great hero, Woden or Odin, whose name means Judge or Lord, and is nearly the same word as that used in Psalm 110 of the Messiah; here again let us think of Him, rather than of the heathen hero. Thursday was called by the Northern nations the day of their god Thor, the god of heaven, and of thunder and lightning; one meaning of the name Thor is light, but it also means, who bruises or is bruised, as Christ the Seed of the woman in the original prophecy, concerning which they evidently had some tradition, but it was also by some understood as referring to light , whence he was considered as the god of the Sun and of lightning;* and was not Christ revealed as the true light? John 1.
* Hebrew #m#, also Arab., &c.
Friday the Northerns named after a goddess whose Roman name Venus means gracious, or beloved, and whose Greek name Aphrodite, and Northern name Freyga or Freya, means, bearing fruit, fruitful, as a branch, and from the Northern name of Freya we call this day Friday, on which Christ died upon the cross for His people, His Church, whose duty to Him and to each other we may remember in so naming the sixth day of the week.
* Of Thor, Verstegen says, "On his head he wore a crown of gold, round about and above the same were set twelve bright burnished stars, and in his right hand he held a kingly sceptre." "He caused lightning and thunder." "Of the weekly day that was dedicated to his service we yet retain the name of Thursday, which the Danes and Swedians do yet call Thor-day. In the Netherlands it is called Dundersdag, that is, Thunder's-day; and in some of our old Saxon books I find it to have been written Thunresdeag." Thus the German Donnerstag is accounted for. The hammer, the well-known attribute of Thor, which breaks, bruises, has been derived from the other possible sense of the name; and both interpretations would be borne out by the prophecy, that He who should give light to the world should be Himself the bruised, and should bruise the head of His enemy.
Saturday was called by the Northern nations the day of their god Sater, a name which means to hide, and it may remind us that on this day our Lord's body was hidden in the grave.
Surely those Christians who use these names should be glad to remember, that however corrupted to the service of idolatry, they had a foundation in the ancient prophecies still to be traced among all the children of Adam.
MEMORIAL LINES FOR THE PLANETARY WEEK, AS CONNECTED WITH PROPHECY.
Sunday, think of Him who rose,
Who comes again even as He goes;
Monday, think how in His light
His faithful Church is calm and bright;
Tuesday, of His pierced side,
Wounded for His sister-bride;
Wednesday, of His sure return,
Soon may we that day discern;
Thursday, of His truth and love
Shining on us from above;
Friday, of His hour of anguish,
Lest our love of Him should languish;
Saturday, His silent grave,
Dying those He loved to save.
NAMES OF THE DAYS OF THE PLANETARY WEEK OF THE BRAHMINS,*
AS GIVEN BY LE GENTIL
||Hebrew or Noetic roots
||Soucra Varam,^ Venus' day, morning twilight
||Sani Varam, Saturn's day, repose, sleep
||Aditta Varam, Sun's day, who cometh, passeth
||Soma, Moon's day, who accompanies
||Mangala, Mars' day, who wounds and is wounded
||Bouta,** Mercury's day, who comes and goes
||Brahaspati, Jupiter's day, bright,^ clear
Brahaspati, Jupiter's day, bright,^ regulated
||^ Varam, day, from rb***, clear, bright as above.
* Which is begun from Friday. Mahomet seems to have adopted his Friday's Sabbath from the Indian week.
** From )b, Lat. vado, Ital. and French va.
*** From this root rb the Latins would have veritas, and the European languages similar words for truth, as being clear. The English word truth was by H. Tooke explained as what man troweth or knows. Is it not rather what God troweth?
SINGALESE NAMES OF THE DAYS OF THE PLANETARY WEEK,
AS GIVEN BY GENTIL
||Hebrew or Noetic roots
||Sikoura-da, day of Venus, morning dawn
||Sani-soure-da, day of Saturn
||Iri-da, day of the Sun, who sends forth rays
||1 Sam 20:20
||Handou, day of the Moon, accompanying
Handou, day of the Moon, going forth
||Angarharoura, day of Mars, striking
||Bouda, day of Mercury, as Bouta
||Bragoura,* day of Jupiter
Da, like our word day, and the Scandinavian Dag, from (dy to appear, to come forth, to make known.
* In Bragoura may be traced the Scandinavian deity Braga.
As the Singalese names differ from the Brahminical, it may be inferred that these were in use before the Hindu conquest of Ceylon. But though differing in the roots from which the names are derived, the similarity of the meaning points to a common origin in the tradition of the names given by the first inventors of astronomy, transmitted by Noah to his descendants, and best preserved by the posterity of Shem, by whose chief dialect they are here interpreted.
SIAMESE NAMES OF THE DAYS OF THE PLANETARY WEEK,
ACCORDING TO LA LOUBERE
("Roy. de Siam.")
||Hebrew or Noetic roots
||Van Athit, day of the Sun, who comes
||Van Tchan, day of the Moon, who accompanies
||Van Angkoan, day of Mars, wounded or wounding
||Van Pout, day of Mercury, who comes and goes
||Van Prahaat, day of Jupiter, bright, clear, who comes
||Van Souc, day of Venus, twilight
||Van Saou, day of Saturn, reposing
La Loubere gives Pra as a Siamese name of God. He also says that they apply the epithets Bali, Pra, powerful and bright, to whatever they most honour; as, the sun, Pra Athit, the bright who cometh; the moon, Pra Tchan.
Van, going forth, from )b, as venit, Lat., &c.
MEMORIAL LINES FOR THE DAYS OF THE WEEK, IN ANALOGY WITH THOSE OF CREATION
Seven days the week for man
Measuring life's narrow span;
Seven were the periods named
In which earth and man were framed;
Number perfect and complete
Wherein earth and heaven meet.
On day One, shone forth the light,
Earth's first millennium saw heaven bright.
The Second day gave separation,
With Noah's, Abram's revelation.
Day the Third brought forth on earth
Plants, the type of human birth.
Day the Fourth, Sun, Moon appear,
Christ and His Church proclaiming clear.
Day the Fifth, the swarming floods
Show the Church's multitudes.
Sixth day beasts and man arose,
Man's high lot the Gospel shows.
Seventh day man's rest made known,
Earth's rest in coming times foreshown.
ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF THE SIGNS
[These "Lines" are not offered as poetry, but as aids to memory.]
||Early Prophecies in word or type
||Later Prophecies in the Old Testament
||References in the New Testament
|The ram, the Lamb, once slain, but reigning now;
1 Cor 15:25
|The bull, his ruling, twins united show
|The Son of God and man; the crab keeps fast;
|The lion rends apart, prevails at last;
Jude, or Enoch
1 Tim 2:6
|The virgin bears the seed; the balance buys;
1 Cor 6:20
|The scorpion wounds; sent forth, the arrow flies;
|The kid is pierced; the water rises, flows;
||Gen 4:4, 22:8
|The fishes multitudes redeemed disclose.
MEMORIAL LINES, ACCORDING TO THE COURSE OF PROPHECY
In lectures on astronomy, the speaker, even if undeceived as to the usual meanings attributed to the signs, may be disinclined to bring before a mixed audience the higher Scriptural bearing of the emblems, thinking it may be right not to hazard any unreverential use of sacred names. The alternatives afforded by parts of Scripture where the emblems are used as types may be usefully adopted. It should be made clear that the figures do not represent the person, but the actions, the coming and the sacrifice of the promised Redeemer.
By Woman borne, the Branch, the seed;
The Balance shows redemption's need;
The Scorpion wounds He must endure;
The Archer tells His coming sure;
The Goat, His death in sacrifice;
The Water, that He shall arise;
The Fish, His Church in union bound;
The Lamb, once slain, but now enthroned;
The Bull the victory shall gain;
The Twins, Divine and human reign;
The Crab His sure possession tells;
His foes then Judah's Lion quells.
||The ram, or lamb of Abel's offering and of Abraham's sacrifice
||Gen 4:4, 22:13
||The bull of the sin-offering and consecration of Aaron
||The figures being sometimes twin kids, the two goats of the great day of Atonement
||The multitudes of the Jewish and Christian Church, figured in the great nebula, or cloud of stars, visible to the unassisted eye
||The lion of the tribe of Judah, their well-known standard
||The woman of prophecy, bearing the promised seed
||The scales of righteousness
||The enemy trodden under foot
||The sending forth of the Gospel
||The goat of sacrifice, the sin-offering, sinking down as slain
||The pouring forth of the water of purification
||The two fishes, the Church before and after the going forth of the Gospel; the fish being an ancient emblem of the Church
Matt 4:19, 13:47
The pious and learned Dr. Watts has not disdained to put the names of the signs into memorial rhymes, but without annexing any explanation to them.
MEMORIAL LINES FOR THE CONSTELLATIONS
Who would look upon the sky,
When the stars of night are high,
Glorious in their sun-bright glance,
And deem that they were named by chance?
O who would with incurious eyes
Gaze on the splendour of those skies,
Or look to earth as those may do,
The beasts who perish, to whose view
The midnight stars were never given,
Death doom'd, nor form'd to gaze on heaven?
It was not so in man's first day;
Time-honour'd records all convey
The one tradition; Man, the same
To beasts below who gave their name,
Found names instructive for each light
That pours its beauty to the night,
And, Eden lost below, would raise
The soul to heaven, and there would trace
Promise of paradise regain'd,
City of God, by sin unstain'd;
Reclined in peace 'mid Eden's bowers,
Its cedar-shades, its streams and flowers,
But forty days, if 'tis received
As Abraham's offspring long believed,
To God's command His creatures cleaved.
Those days, past o'er, begun when shone
Midsummer's sun with silent Moon,
Once man beheld her lovely light
Increase and lessen from his sight;
But ere full orb'd it rose once more,
Eden was lost and bliss was o'er.
All else was changed, without, within,
Earth felt the curse for human sin,
But not the everlasting Stars,
They gleam'd 'mid elemental wars,
The same as when on Eden shone
Each radiant orb from azure throne.
To them look'd up repentant man,
And soon in memory began
To treasure by their changeless orbs
The promise that his soul absorbs,
Of Him, the coming One, to rise
Even as those stars in darkening skies,
Calling the brightest by that name,
"He who shall come," whom all proclaim.
The glorious Sun he deem'd must show
His glory who should come even so.—
The changing Moon fit emblem seem'd
Of fallen man, and man redeem'd,
Enlighten'd by the living Lord,
Dark when unmindful of His word,
And ever in her loved return,
Bidding new hope within us burn.
In heaven the Sun's sure path he traced,
And in its stars twelve emblems placed,
Dividing them to human sight
By the full Moon supreme in light.
Through these twelve emblems should he go,
The Sun that lightens all below.
He the true light one earth to shine,
Is figured in each mystic sign.
And first, the Branch, seed to be born, [Virgo]
The woman and the spike of corn;
The ransom next, His loss, our gain; [Libra]
The wound foretold, in conflict ta'en; [Scorpio]
The coming forth as arrow sure; [Sagittarius]
The death the Conqueror must endure; [Capricornus]
The rising water pour'd from high; [Aquarius]
And multitudes in unity; [Pisces]
The Lamb enthroned that had been slain, [Aries]
But comes again o'er all to reign;
The Prince and Ruler over Earth; [Taurus]
The Son of God, in human birth; [Gemini]
The purchased people, countless crowd; [Cancer]
The overthrow of rebels proud; [Leo]
When final separation comes
Of good and evil's endless dooms.
When contemplated as connected, the constellations form four magnificent groups of significant and consistent meaning. That group which spreads over the darkening skies of autumn may be thus explained as presenting the types of prophecy. Ophiuchus, the serpent-bearer or holder, whose foot is on the enemy, whose head is united to the head of another human figure (sometimes called Hercules) above, represented kneeling on one knee, as from the predicted wound in the heel. The crown which is yet to be worn is before him, the altar of sacrifice beneath his feet; one foot is on the head of the scorpion, the other held up as wounded; the two eagles, the falling and the ascending, follow him; and above is the swan, the bird of passage, who goes away to return again. Here then we behold the conflict with the serpent-enemy, the wound received, the suffering, the wrestling of Him who was to come, at His first coming, who at His second is to return in triumph.
Stars above and stars below
Every sign, the heavens do show;
There are placed with mother mild, [Constellations with]
Coma, the desired, the child,
Then beneath, the Centaur, known [Virgo]
As King man shall despise, disown.
Bootes, coming; rising high,
Arcturus, diamond of the sky.
The Cross beneath, the Crown above, [Libra]
The Victim tells redeeming love.
The serpent in the Conqueror's grasp, [Scorpio]
And He who kneels as stung by asp,
With Ophiuchus join'd below,
His foot upon the reptile foe.
The Dragon round the pole entwines, [Sagittarius]
The Victim's altar faintly shines,
Above the Eagle rising bright,
Bearing the harp in victor flight.
The Arrow sent to give to death [Capricornus]
The falling Eagle seen beneath.
The Dolphin swift, fit type to be
Of the sure course of prophecy.
The Swan returning from afar [Aquarius]
With hastening wing, unsetting star,
And Pegasus, poetic name,
The flying horse, alike proclaim
In clouds He went, He comes the same.
The Southern Fish, the Church, drinks in
The living stream that heals from sin.
The Band the fishes to unite, [Pisces]
Of old revered, though faint to sight,
Each night, returning shadows bring
Cepheus, the branch, the crowned king,
Andromeda, the chained bride,
Soon to be raised her Lord beside.
What he has promised he will do,
Although the Serpent-foe pursue.
Then Cassiopeia, Queen so fair, [Aries]
Setting free her braided hair.
Next Medusa's snake-wreath'd head,
When Algol's changeful beam is shed,
By Perseus held, who breaks the chain
And frees his bride from grief and pain.
Orion, splendid, comes in light, [Taurus]
The swift, the mighty, and the bright;
Eridanus in winding fold,
The River of the Lord, behold!
Auriga, the good shepherd there,
Makes His following flock His care.
Lepus, the lurking serpent-foe, [Gemini]
Beneath Orion's foot lies low,
Procyon, Branch, Redeemer, see,
Oft second Sirius said to be.
Sirius, the prince of heavenly host,
Brightest of stars, revered the most.
On high the lesser sheepfold dim, [Cancer]
Yet ever centred upon Him.
And next the greater flock and fold
Around the steadfast pole are roll'd.
Argo, the company below
Of travelers to Heaven who go.
At the Lion's foot are view'd, [Leo]
Hydra, enemy subdued,
The cup of wrath, the bird of prey,
Fix'd on the foe, at that great day
When Heaven and Earth shall pass away.
In the clear nights of winter the brilliant group that fills the sky is yet more magnificent, even as it should be, representing the second coming in glory, without sin unto salvation, of Him who had been slain. The group that thus embodies its wordless prophecy, has for its centre Orion, the splendid, who cometh swiftly as the light, as his name imports; the enemy being under one foot, the other raised as if from the wounded heel. With him are his attendant stars, Sirius, the coming of the prince, the brightest of the starry host; below, Procyon, the Redeemer; above, the two stars of Gemini called Castor and Pollux, the archer and the judge united, one bearing a dart to signify he shall come forth, and the other a branch, the earliest symbol of Him who should come: the bright star of Taurus, Aldebaran, the ruler or the ruling; the Pleiades, centre of our system, on one side; Cancer, the multitude of the purchased flock, on the other; Argo, the company of Him who cometh, below, each showing the multitudes of His people; and there too are the stars of Aries, the ram, the Lamb as it had been slain, whose foot is on His bounden enemy, shown in the Leviathan or sea-monster, Cetus, towards the west.
The balmy evenings of spring are illuminated by Leo, the victorious Lion of the tribe of Judah, with his foot on the head of the finally subdued serpent-enemy, on whom abides the cup of wrath and the devouring bird of prey. Then also shine the stars of Virgo, the seed-bearing woman, with Spica, the seed, almost rivaling Sirius in brilliancy; the Northern Crown above, the Centaur, the king who cometh, below, under whose feet was visible in the early ages of mankind the splendid Southern Cross, remembered in tradition after it had disappeared from view.
At each and every season, but especially in summer twilight, turn to the north, and it is occupied with another group equally significant and expressive. The crowned King, whose branch or sceptre touches the throned woman, who in one hand also holds a branch, as a token of her union with the king her liberator, and with her other hand sets free the tresses of her hair;* the Greater Bear, or sheepfold, with the sheep as coming forth and following their shepherd and their king, he who is their keeper, as expressed in the name of the bright star Arcturus, in Bootes. The javelin in the hand of this figure equally denotes that He who cometh shall be sent forth, and that He shall be pierced. Bootes also holds a branch, denoting that this, as the other branch-bearing figures, is a representation of Him so often called in the prophets "the Branch."
Persons who are learning to distinguish the stars are generally told that those forming the curve, so strangely called the tail of the Bear, always point to and seem to follow Arcturus, and that two in the square or body of the same constellation, called the pointers, in their rotation still always point to the immutable polar star, round which they revolve. The polar star thus seems to belong peculiarly to that group of which the Great Bear, or sheepfold, forms the most remarkable portion. This star is called by the Greeks Cynosure,* meaning, in the Oriental dialects, the established, the centre of the constellations. This star is still called by the Arabs the kid, the sacrificial emblem of Him "by whom all things consist." The whole constellation is called Kochab, the waiting on Him who cometh, in His sacrificial character, while His kingly dignity is expressed in Bootes, whose hand is extended as to the Northern Crown. The polar constellation Draco again shows forth the serpent-enemy, whose head is under the foot of the kneeling Hercules below. Auriga, the shepherd, holding in his bosom Capella, the she-goat, and followed by the kids typifying His people, touches the foot of Perseus,** the breaker of the bonds of Andromeda, the chained woman, representing the Church. Perseus holds in his hand a head, called of Medusa, a word signifying the trodden under foot. This head is surrounded by serpents, and was named by the ancient Hebrews the head of Satan, and Al One, the subdued (Aben Ezra): by the Arabs it is called Al Ghoul, the evil spirit. This constellation is remarkable less for its splendour than for its significance: Algol, the chief star in the head of Medusa, being changeable, the most visibly so of any in the heavens, and consequently an expressive emblem of the adversary, the fallen, who kept not his first estate. This group may be seen in summer nights, while the three birds, the exalted*** and the falling eagles, and the swan, form a large triangle overhead.
* Shedar, who sets free, or is set free, being the name of her chief star; a word in Arabic specially applied to a woman casting loose her hair.
It is to be remarked that one foot of the figure of the promised deliverer mostly contains in the foot, as in Hercules, Ophiuchus, Orion, Auriga, Aquarius, Cepheus, a peculiarly bright star, generally with a name meaning bruised; and it is drawn up as if wounded. By the foot also, as has been already shown, the emblems are most frequently connected, so evidently calling to mind the prediction, "Thou shalt bruise his heel." A tradition of this primeval prophecy was preserved by the Greeks in the stories of Hercules and Orion, and in that of the lameness of Vulcan (son of Juno without a father) and of Erichthonius, one name of Auriga; another, Heniochus, being wounded in the heel . It is also remarkable that those groups of stars which comprise changeable ones have been chosen to represent the enemy, as Medusa's head and Cetus. Those which contain nebulae, or multitudinous groups of stars visible to the unassisted eye, were also chosen to represent the Church, or congregated multitudes of the redeemed, as Cancer and Andromeda.
* Some later Greek authorities have supposed that this word, which might in their language convey the strange and incongruous idea of a dog's tail, was derived from a hill so called, over which mariners approaching the Athenian Piraeus saw the pole star: but no doubt the hill was so named from that circumstance the Cynosure hill, the name being (as a much higher authority, Plato himself, informs us that many foreign words were) perverted by the Greeks into what the sound might suggest in their own language.
** The same star being reckoned in both.
*** This constellation (properly, as anciently figured, an eagle) bears the lyre, a figure added to it apparently by the Greeks.
Are there not here marks of design as exquisitely complex in execution as sublimely simple in intention? He cometh, to suffer and to reign, is the sole end and aim of all these beautifully arranged coincidences in the emblems attributed to the luminaries vivifying the skies of night with glimpses of a coming day, to whose intensity of splendour those rays will be but darkness—even the great, the final Day of the Messiah, which afar off Abraham saw and was glad, and which was ever present to the minds of those earlier prophets who named and grouped those stars of heaven to which Abraham was divinely directed to look for prophetic consolation.
MEMORIAL LINES FOR THE NAMES OF STARS
It will be observed that the succession in which the names are given is that of the signs in the primeval year, following the course of prophecy from the first coming of the promised Seed to His final victory. The words in Italics give the meaning of the ancient names that precede them.
To the brightest stars of heaven
Ever the same names were given:
Still preserved by Ishmael's race,
These the desert-dwellers trace,
And from them to us they came,
Self-interpreting each name.
In the dialect they speak,
There the hidden sense we seek;
Yet a few the Greeks retain,
Or from Egypt's lore we gain—
All transmitting, none explain.
To God's glory all were named,
Him they rightly have proclaim'd,
Since from Eden newly driven,
Adam look'd in faith to heaven,
And sought the promise to record
Of Him to come, his Son and Lord,
There to read, in starry lines,
Message that their beam outshines,
Consolation to his sorrow
In that splendid coming morrow.
There he traced Messiah's day,
There inscribed Messiah's sway;
From the guardian Cherubim
Framed appear these signs, by him
Who those mystic forms had seen;
Faces four, where placed between
The Lion, who the prey will rend,
And Bull in sacrifice to bend,
The second Adam, to be slain,
But eagle-like come down again.
In their names that tongue divine
We trace, as in the patriarch line,
In which Eve named her progeny,
Ere confusion, from on high,
Scattering Babel-builders far,
Yet spared the name of many a star,
And sent abroad, like shiver'd rock,
Splinter'd in convulsive shock,
Fragments with each wandering race,
That all their common source may trace.
Spica, the SEED the woman bears, [Virgo]
Arcturus, he shall come declares,
Almurredin, comes to reign,
The branch, the seed, we find again
In Al Zimach. Of yore has been
In Coma, star, no longer seen,
Once vertical o'er Bethlehem;
Al Phecca too, the crown's bright gem, [Libra]
Centred o'er Jerusalem.
Al Merga, the bruised, Ramih, sent,
As arrow forth, the dart so meant.
Zuben Akrabi tells the gain
Purchased by the conflict's pain.
Antares marks the wounded heel; [Scorpio]
The reptile's head the bruise shall fell.
Vega of triumph tells on high, [Sagittarius]
With eagle rising in the sky.
Ethanin is the dragon foe,
Al Tair eagle slain doth show, [Capricornus]
Al Gedi, victim-kid below;
In Fom al haut the fish is found, [Aquarius]
The church as moved Gospel's sound.
Al Pheras shows the winged horse,
Scheat, returning from his course.
Markab, the comer from afar, [Pisces]
Al Deramim, arctic star,
Who comes again; Mizar, the bound;
Al Maach, the sad, with chain around.
Al Natik, pierced, bruised means, [Aries]
Showing Calvary's dread scenes:
Passover star when Israel slew
The Lamb of God they little knew.
Mesartim, from the bound ones named;
Al Sheratan, the slain proclaim'd;
Shedar, which from bonds is freed;
And Shalisha, Deltoton's head.
Mira, the rebel, changeful star,
At Aries' foot lies bound afar; [Taurus]
Aldebaran, red and bright,
Lawgiver, ruler marks to sight.
Pleiades, the multitude,
Where still Alcyone has stood,
Central point of stars that crowd
The milky way, for 'tis allow'd
That gravitation's law is given
To every orb in depths of heaven.
Hyades, assembled cluster,
Shining with a fainter lustre.
Capella is the victim kid
In the shepherd's bosom hid;
Achernar, the river, where
Its after-part is seen, and there
Phaet in the utmost south,
Marks the river's end or mouth.
Betelguez, who cometh fast,
Saiph, the bruise, to bruise at last;
Rigol, Bellatrix, shall tread,
Coming swift, the serpent's head.
Castor, archer swift to come; [Gemini]
And Pollux, wonderful, the judge of doom.
Procyon, the Redeemer, then
Sirius, Prince of stars and men.
The multitude, in Praesepe; [Cancer]
Canopus, o'er the southern sea,
Possession of the Prince to come.
Then, above in heaven's high dome,
Dubhe, flock, and Mizar, fold,
Al Cor, the Lamb, and, famed of old,
Benetnash, assembled daughters
Of the flock, by quiet waters,
Pastures of rest, for ever led
By the good shepherd at their head.
Kochab, the mighty coming one,
The Cynosure which long has shone
The Central star, the pole far famed,
The victim-kid by Arabs named.
Then Regulus, upon the head [Leo]
Of serpent-foe who comes to tread;
Al Phard, who lies in separation;
Al Ches, the cup of desolation.
Al Gorab, devouring bird,
Fulfilling the prophetic word;
Wrath pour'd out while death shall prey
On rebel foe at judgment-day.
There are some among these names which may appear to be Greek or Latin, but which are here explained by their Oriental roots, because other names, evidently either Hebrew or Arabic, are attached to the same figures of similar meaning. The science of astronomy has been preserved and transmitted chiefly by the Arabians. The Greek and Latin authorities, Aratus, Hipparchus, Ptolemy, Macrobius, &c., give no reason for, nor explanation of, the names and figures they record; while Ulugh Beigh, transmitter of the Arabic names of the stars, sometimes does so; and Aben Ezra, from whom we chiefly derive the little that is known of the ancient Hebrew nomenclature, gives some explanations that may authorize the corresponding interpretation of the rest; as Rosh Satan, the head of Satan, and Al Oneh, the evil one, in the head of Medusa Auriga, the shepherd, called by the Romans the charioteer.
It is said on the high authority of Plato, that the Greeks, if they met with a foreign word (as Melech, king) rendered it by the word in their own language corresponding in sound, as Melikos, sweet, and immediately invented some legend about bees and honey. Thus we are led to the solution of many of the dark histories with which Greek and Latin writers abound. Scriptural explanations, instead of the idle tales usually resorted to, will thus be substituted for the legends of ancient mythology, so unworthy of connexion with these sublime objects, and so incongruous in the usage of Christian students of the grandest of human sciences.
NOTE.—"When He who is to come shall come" is a common expression in the Talmud concerning the Messiah; and "He cometh" is the constant theme of the starry emblems and their names.
NOTE ON THE NAMES OF THE STARS
Some of these names have been referred to Syriac and Chaldee: they are, however, mostly Arabic, but from the similarity of these dialects with the Hebrew, their meaning is evident to the Hebrew scholar. Changes of vowels are frequent, such as occur in the names of the letters of the alphabet, where Gimel, confessedly a camel, represents the Hebrew Gamal; and the z is sometimes changed for d, and s or sh for t and th.
The names of things are not mere arbitrary combinations of letters; in every language they are more or less easily traceable to their root, the noun or verb, whose signification they convey. In derived languages this root is sometimes not to be found without referring to the more ancient ones whence their words were taken: for instance, in Latin the enclitic ve, having the signification of and and but, cannot be accounted for till it is shown to be the Hebrew conjunction vau, meaning and or but. In English, words from a variety of languages are in constant use, conveying to the English ear no meaning: these are, however, easily to be referred to other languages, in which they have a meaning. Persons speak familiarly of panoramas, polytechnics, and photographs: the reasons for which these expressive names were given are not the less certain, for not being always borne in mind by the speaker. By constant use we may cease to think of the original meaning, but it is not the less to be found there. Ox-ford and Cam-bridge are obvious instances. Battle Abbey may still bring to mind the fall of the Saxon rule in England; but the earlier memorial of Battle Bridge is dimmed by the mist of ages. Who now thinks of Boadicea there? Magna Charta Island, names in a foreign tongue to record the memory of an event of vital importance to England, and perpetuating to all posterity its salutary remembrance, bears, perhaps, the closest analogy to those traditional names of the stars, whose corroboration of the meanings here claimed for the emblems is so important. In the Holy Scriptures the significations of many names, and the reason why they are so applied, is given; and in Concordances all, or nearly all, are explained from their Hebrew roots. The names of the stars, Syriac, Chaldee, or Arabic, are all equally explicable from the corresponding Hebrew roots, as Yorkshire and Kentish names of places and persons (Scarbro' and Folkestone, Constable and Oxenden) are equally to be explained from the English or its mother tongue, the Anglo-Saxon. These names of stars, having these ascertainable meanings, could not be given without a reason. No such reason can be assigned from the appearances of the starry heavens. Among those scattered orbs of varying brilliancy, it seems as if any other stars might as well be reckoned to represent the woman, or the serpent; but the reason of their being so reckoned may be sought and found in the correspondence of the names with the emblems to which they are annexed, when explained from the Hebrew roots, and when those emblems are explained by the Scripture prophecies in which their figures occur as types.
This triple coincidence of the name, the emblem, and the prophecy, did it occur but once, might be regarded as a possible chance; but when every emblem is found to be used as a type in corresponding prophecies, and to contain names sometimes more appropriate to the prophecy than to the emblem, and sometimes equally applicable to both, how can we fail to admit the proof of design from the evidence of adaptation?
The names, emblems, and prophecies are known to have existed before the event to which they refer; and fables were even then connected with them so similar in import to those prophecies, as might leave it dubious whether the constellation or the prophecy originated the fable. Those sceptics who would try to account for the prophecy from the constellation, have not attempted to show why certain stars should, from the beginning of the world's history, have been called by the names of objects to which their groups have no sort of resemblance; and why the woman, the seed, and the serpent should thus have been selected for commemoration, unless the prophecy, as all tradition indicates and Scripture declares, had preceded the application of these names and emblems, which so remarkably express it, to those vaguely dispersed and irregularly assembled brilliant points in the heavens, with which they have no sort of analogy, but with which tradition so uniformly connects them.
Those names transmitted to us through the Hebrew appear to have been the most ancient, the original; other nations varying the sounds, but preserving the ideas. Tradition long retained the number seven, which has been supposed to exclude the earth, and include the sun and moon; but among the Assyrian remains, the sun, moon, and seven stars are found together; and the Egyptian divinities of the third order were seven. The planets that can be recognized by the human eye are seven; the seventh having been occasionally seen since its modern discovery, may well have been visible to eyes that were to last 1000 years. The Planetoids and the eighth planet recently discovered being beyond all human sight, and even beyond the probable power of such aids to it as the glass found in the Assyrian remains, or the "tube" spoken of in the Chinese annals, make no part of ancient astronomy.
ON THE MANSIONS OF THE MOON,
OR LUNAR ZODIAC
The same unity of purpose which connects the Decans or other constellations with the twelve signs, pervades also the names of the Mansions of the Moon, or lunar zodiac. These names are given to spaces in or between the signs. Emblems are assigned to them in the astronomy of India, but none by the Arabians and those nations who seem to have derived these names from the same source. Those modern writers who mention the mansions of the moon, speak of them as remains of most ancient astronomy, wholly disused by the Greeks and Romans, and apparently by the Egyptians. They have, however, been the continued theme of Arabian and Indian study, and incorporated not only with the mythology of India, but with the habits of domestic life. Children are still named according to the mansion of the moon in which they were born. In India the names have been much changed, and various emblems attached to them. In one of them it is to be observed, that the Pleiades are figured as seven, whilst the fable relating to them makes them but six, thus tending to prove the antiquity of the figure to be greater than that of the fable, as it said that the seventh Pleiad disappeared about the time of the Trojan war, going off like a comet towards the north pole. The Arabic names are intelligible by their Hebrew roots agreeing with the meanings attributed to the signs in which they are found. Thus is afforded another line of evidence that those meanings are the original ones. The interpretations attached to these names in modern Arabic lexicons are generally vague and doubtful, but in a few places corroborated those here given, thus authenticating some and giving a strong presumption in favour of the rest; for if some certainly alluded to the import of the sign in which they are placed, under the aspect here presented, it is probable that all should do so. Their great antiquity is ascertained by the record that the Emperor Yn introduced them into the astronomy of China in the twenty-third century before the Christian era. They have been in use their ever since, differing indeed in names, but agreeing in situation with those of the Arabs. In one name, however, Mao, the Pleiades, we trace Maia, the multitude, preserved by the ancient Greeks as that of one of the stars in the cluster. Perhaps from this name we have that connected with the sweet influences of the month of May.
The Chinese series commences in Virgo, thus coinciding with the beginning of the year of the ancient Hebrews, the anniversary of the creation. The Chinese solar year began from the middle of Aquarius, where the winter solstice took place, about the time usually reckoned as that of the Deluge. The selection of spaces* where no bright stars occur, as at the foot of Gemini, in Sagittarius, &c., being perfectly arbitrary and found in both the Arabic and the Chinese, points to a common source for the differently named series: the agreement of meaning in the appellations of the Arabian lunar mansions with those of the solar zodiac, authorizes us to consider the intelligible and consistent system of the Arabians as the original, rather than that of the Chinese astronomy, and it also affords an indication of both the solar and lunar having emanated from the same mind.
The Sethites having originally arranged the lunar as well as the solar zodiac, the first lunar mansion was probably placed, as the Arabian, in Aries. The Chinese astronomy must have been transmitted through Noah, whose posterity had far to migrate ere they reached China, while the elder branch, through whom was to come the Messiah, the theme of prophecy, remained in the countries where the Arabian arrangement has been preserved. There also the language is still radically the same with that in which they are named, probably the dialect of Noah and the primitive language of mankind. Commencing in Aries, the intention in so doing must not be sought for in any natural epoch, solstice, or equinox; for of these, in the earliest time assigned to the invention of astronomy, none there occurred.
* The moon passes frequently much above, frequently much below these particular spots.
If we follow the guidance of prophecy, we find that as the sun was the type of the Messiah, so was the moon of His Church, enlightened by His light, bright when looking full upon Him, dark when turning away to gaze as it were upon the earth. Where, then, could be more suitably fixed the first mansion or place of the type of the Church, than over the head of the Lamb as it had been slain, in whose book of life the names of those who belong to it are written? Here, therefore, we find the first mansion of the moon, called by the Arabian astronomers Al Sheratan,* the wounded or pierced, or slain in sacrifice.
The yet extant names, with their meanings given in the Hebrew root of the word, in some places corroborated by the Arabic interpretation, are presented in the foregoing table (Part II, Lunar Zodiac) according to the traditional correspondence with the sign. Scripture texts in which the root is used in this sense are there given.
* The name Al Sheratan is also applied to the star b in the head of Aries. A list of the names of 23 Chinese "constellations," apparently the Mansions of the Moon, is given by Duttalda.
In some cases, where the roots contained in these names are not commonly used in Arabic, they are in Hebrew; though in a few instances a root used in Arabic is scarcely traceable in Hebrew: however, it seems probable that these names were given when both nations spoke the same dialect, that of Noah. The Sanscrit name Ahiliam, in Gemini, containing the Hebrew roots Ah, x), brother, and Am, M(, joined, while no figure of twins occurs here in those of the Indian lunar zodiacs, indicates a similar origin for the Brahmin astronomy. The Sanscrit names of the Mansions of the Moon are given by Le Gentil, "Voyage dans les Mers de l'Inde."
In India and Arabia, from time immemorial, the signs of the zodiac and the lunar mansions have been interwoven with all their science and their poetry, with their public worship and their private economy; the figures embodied in the forms of their idols, and the appellations transmitted in the names of their children. In Scandinavia the signs have been claimed by Olaus Rudbeck as having there originated. In Mexico they are still to be traced. The Burmese have preserved them well: the Polynesians have not totally forgotten them. Wherever the posterity of Noah, the children of Seth, are found, there are recognized some vestiges of this their ancestral science. During the dark ages of Europe, when the study of astronomy was merged in that of astrology, it however flourished in the East: Al Fergani at the court of the caliph of Bagdad, Haroun Alraschid, and Albumazer at that of the Moors in Spain, in the ninth century, whose works were commented on and elucidated by Aben Ezra in the eleventh, restored it in the West. Thus has been transmitted to us some account of the ancient Persian, Indian, and Egyptian sphere. Ulugh Beigh, the Tartar prince and astronomer, grandson of Tamerlane, has preserved the ancient Coptic names of the signs, supposed to be used by the ancient Egyptians, and also many names of the fixed stars, which appear to have come through the Arabs. The lunar mansions, and the division into decans, or thirty-six constellations beyond the zodiac, which seem scarcely even remembered by modern European astronomers, were by him enumerated and described. As the Jews have guarded for us in their precious integrity the Hebrew Scriptures, so Mahometan or rather patriarchal Arabs have transmitted to us in wonderful precision the names which so remarkably correspond with the language of those Scriptures, each setting forth the glory of Him not as yet revealed to either of those nations, children of Abraham according to the flesh, who will one day hail their long unrecognized kinsman Redeemer, when the flocks of Kedar and the rams of Nebaioth shall be gathered unto the Lord, and His glory shall have arisen upon Zion.
These are some of the leading ancient astronomers, who have preserved and transmitted to us such important evidence of the antiquity of these emblems, and of the unity of design in the ancient division and nomenclature of the starry heavens. The interpretations here given are assimilated as closely as possible to their concurring testimony: separated by ages of time, by distance of habitation, by language, and by religion, where they agree surely it must be in the truth.
Another chain of evidence has descended to us through the Greeks. Hesiod, about 1000 years BC, treats of the rising and setting of the constellations, whose names and emblems he transmits as from immemorial antiquity. So speaks Homer of those which he mentions. Aratus, a Greek at the court of Antigonus, king of Macedonia, about 277 BC, in his poem on astronomy describes much more particularly the constellations, in number, name, and figure nearly as now represented. Hipparchus, the celebrated Greek astronomer, who died 125 BC, enumerated and is said to have given names to the stars; but Hesiod, Homer, and Aratus having previously recorded them by name, this can only mean that he made of them a regular enrollment. Hyginus, a freedman of Augustus, gives the names and figures as his predecessors, and relates of them the various fables in his time vaguely attached to the constellations, of the uncertainty of which he frequently speaks, thus making more remarkable the invariable certainty of the appellations and symbols.
Ptolemy of Alexandria, in the time of Antoninus, made the celebrated catalogue of the fixed stars, describing the constellations as we now have them, particularizing the remarkable union of some with others, by reckoning the same star in each, as the foot of Aries on the band of Pisces, the foot of Auriga with the horn of Taurus, the Cup and Raven with the serpent Hydra. From him we have derived them without variation, till the English astronomer and unlucky adversary of Newton, Flamstead, in the reign of Queen Anne, unfortunately took it into his head, in attempting to give names to the stars not reckoned in the ancient constellations, to mingle with these sacred and significant emblems such senseless figures as the fox and goose, or such unimportant ones as the shield of Sobieski and bull of Poniatowski, which now disfigure the modern sphere. He did not even suspect they had any meaning, therefore it is evident that this great astronomer had not in the course of his studies met with any account of their possible signification which appeared to him worthy of notice. It is in Jewish antiquity alone that we find any vestige of a received meaning being attached to them. But neither among the ancient Hebrews, nor the Greeks or Romans, are any allusions to be traced to the mansions of the moon, so influential in India, and so venerated by the Arabs, in which, as is here shown, a similar development of the course of prophecy is consistently pursued.
MEMORIAL LINES FOR THE MANSIONS OF THE MOON
Zodiac tells the path, the way,
Which the Sun measures day by day.
The Moon has her own zodiac given,
Traced by stars in midnight heaven,
Those eight and twenty mansions known
To Arabs still, by names here shown.
Messiah's reign the signs begun, [Aries]
Which tell the progress of the Sun;
The Moon, the Church to glory led,
Begins her course in Christ her Head,
Ordain'd to end in union blest
With Him above in endless rest.
The lunar mansions still began,
The slain, the bruised, Al Sheratan;
That name too tells the princely reign,
The Lamb shall rule that has been slain.
Not to one purpose do we find
God's word or works alone confined;
These starry records early made
More than one meaning oft convey'd.
Botein, the trodden on, below, [Taurus]
Thuraiya multitudes to show.
The ruler, Aldebaran red;
Heka, He comes, Orion's head
Al Hena, wounded, at the feet [Gemini]
Of the bright twins, and placed as meet,
Dira, the seed, their heads upon,
Al Nithra, gain, possession won.
Terpha, the prey, the separation [Cancer, Leo]
Al Gieba, highest exaltation,
Of ancient solstice was the measure.
Al Zubra, gather'd as a treasure.
Serpha, the branch; He, the desired, [Virgo]
Awa, the Babe the Wise admired.
Simak al Azal, she who holds
The Branch, the seed her arm enfolds.
Caphir below, atonement made [Libra]
Al Zubena, the price He paid.
Iclil, completion, Kalb, the cleaving [Scorpio]
In conflict with the reptile heaving
Shaula, the dart sent forth Al Naim, [Sagittarius]
The gracious One, to bless, who came.
Beldah, sent forth with speed; beneath [Capricornus]
Dabih, the victim, sinks in death.
Bulaa, the drinking in, Al Su'ud, [Aquarius]
Out-pouring of life-giving flood.
Achbiya, vase, in which ascends
The water ere its stream descends.
Al Pherg-Muchaddem, multitude [Pisces]
Of former times, in union view'd
With later gain'd, Muacchar named,
Both as His own their Lord has claim'd.
Al Risha, band, wherein to hold
United thus the crowds untold,
The multitudes redeem'd by Him
Whom all these types foreshadow'd dim.
THE MYTHOLOGY OF INDIA,
IN CONNEXION WITH ANCIENT ASTRONOMY
||Hebrew or Noetic Roots
|India,* and Hindu, the glorious; India
India,* and Hindu, the glorious; glory
|THE THREE CHIEF GODS, OR POWERS, OF THE HINDOOS.
|Brahma, the great Creator, Brah, he creates
Brahma, the great Creator, Ma, Sanscrit, great, multitude, many
|Vishnu, he who saves
|Sivah, he who does justice, avenging, destroying rewarding
Sivah, justice, Arab. sense
Above these it is believed that there is a supreme deity, too holy to be invoked. It is said his incommunicable name was Brahm, the great Creator, as Brahma; but by these personified attributes he governed the world and was to be worshiped.* To these no allusion is made in any sign, emblem, or constellation.
* The insertion of n frequently represents the guttural sounds in Hebrew roots.
The close resemblance between the yet extant astronomy of India, corrupted and perverted as it is, with the more perfectly preserved astronomy of the Arabs, needs only to be examined to be recognized.
* Dr. Max Muller says that Brahma means originally force, will, wish, and the propulsive force of creation.
Some of the constellations are still called by nearly the same names, as, for instance, those of Cepheus and Cassiopea. The correspondence of the Indian Mansions of the Moon with those of the Arabs has been pointed out, and the identity of the figures of the twelve signs under names of similar import. The message of all these is "He cometh," the name Budh, or Budhu, containing it, as does the word Avatar, applied to ten incarnations and comings of a divine person, Vishnu, who comes to save, to deliver. Of these, nine are said to be past, the tenth to come.
Krishna—whose name has been derived from Chres, the sun, the type of Him who should come born of a virgin, conqueror of the serpent, and bitten by it in the heel—seems to have followed the sun among the signs in some of the actions attributed to him. He is often represented as painfully wrestling with the serpent, who bites his foot; and again, with kingly crown and royal ornaments, as crushing the serpent's head,* so personifying the constellations Ophiuchus and Hercules. In the Bhagavad Gita, or divine song, the divine Krishna, in describing his own nature and the relation of man to him, is made to say, "I am the sacrifice," thus connecting himself with the signs Capricorn and Aries. This "divine song," which is very ancient, is a conversation between Krishna and Arjuna on divine things, so resembling that between Odin and Vafthrudni, as to lead to the supposition that they had a common origin.
* As figured in one of the publications of the Religious Tract Society. In the Sanscrit dictionary, compiled two thousand years ago, Krishna is said to be born of a woman. He is said to have slain in his boyhood the serpent Caliya, the destroyer, slaying and slain, llx, or hlx. Job 24:12; Gen 34:27, &c.
The Brahminical creed teaches, "That matter has no existence independent of mental perception, that external sensation would vanish into nothing if the Divine energy for a moment subsided. That the soul is a particle from the creative spirit, and will be finally absorbed. That nothing has a pure and separate existence but spirit, and that an exclusive love of God is the only feeling that offers no illusion to the soul, and secures its eternal felicity." And yet on this sublime creed they have overlaid the absurdities of the vulgar belief.*
About the year AD 64 the Chinese Emperor sent messengers into India to inquire if the long predicted Holy One of Confucius was born, Confucius about 550 BC having said the Holy One must be sought in the West; it is said they took back Buddhism. Du Halde's China.
* See Charles Grant's (Lord Glenelg's) prize poem on the subject, where "Maya" is fully developed. The coincidence of the Brahminical metaphysics, so called, with the system of Bishop Berkeley, is there developed and is otherwise recognized.
"The Divine name in the Hebrew religion is found in a Chinese book written 600 BC." Finn's Jews in China.
Fohi, or Buddha, like Krishna, was said to be born of a virgin.
The late Abbe Huc in his last work, "Christianity in China, Tartary, and Thibet," comes to the conclusion that "the philosophy of Confucius, the traditions of Buddha, the legends of the Vedas, and the dogmas of Mahomet are all destined shortly to wane before the Gospel of Christ."
This distinguished missionary seems to have given the fullest account yet obtained of the present state of religion in China. In the lapse of four thousand years, the simple truths which the children of Noah carried every where with them, have been overlaid by such a multitude of human inventions, as to be difficult to trace out, but two remarkable coincidences with the religion indicated by ancient astronomy are to be recognized. The Jesuits, who first made China known to Europeans, were struck with amazement on seeing in so many temples the figure of a woman with an infant in her arms, called the Queen of Heaven. They tried to connect this worship with their own of the Blessed Virgin and her holy Child, but failed to recognize the connecting link between the two, which may be found in the sign Virgo, the woman and infant of the ancient zodiac. The well-known cognizance of China, the national emblem of the dragon, is again astronomical, and must have been adopted by the first founders of the empire, as that of the enemy to be subdued, when after bruising the heel of the coming Messiah his own head should receive the final bruise; thus recording what may have been the saving faith of those who first adopted that well-inown symbol, but too soon corrupted by manifold inventions.
Ting-hae (China). In the principal temple of worship in that city, "the Queen of Heaven" is the most conspicuous object of admiration, robed in silk and rich embroidery. She appears emerging from the sea, the right foot resting on the head of an enormous fish,* and bearing a child on her left arm. Above and below this towering divinity are attendant angels or demi-gods, the white dove; and on the altar beneath, massive candlesticks with burning tapers occupy the foreground. The illusion is startling, and forcibly reminds me of its near resemblance to the Virgin and Child in Roman Catholic chapels.—Letter from Chusan, July, 1840.
A small temple of Boodha, or Budh, was brought from Ceylon some years ago, and exhibited in London, as here described. The name Boodh, or Budha, referred to primitive roots, signifies "He who cometh," or "He who should come." Matthew 11:3; Hebrews 9:14-22.
* The fish, the emblem of the Church.
Buddhism holds that at intervals of vast ages a Buddha (t)b, who cometh) is developed, who, though born of earthly parents, becomes omniscient. This religion teaches, that as pain and instability characterize all existence, the aim of all should be to pass with the next Buddha into the golden region of Nigban,* or annihilation. This is granted to all that attend to certain moral precepts and acts of worship. By such deep darkness has the light of primitive revelation been overclouded; yet it may be traced in the name Buddha, which in the Semitic dialects would mean He who cometh, and in the blood-stained hands held up, typifying the atonement by sacrifice. By this name, Buddhism is connected again with the sign Virgo, one of whose Decans is Bootes, He who cometh.
The first Buddha, whose coming is recorded to have been in the seventh century BC, appears to have taken to himself the promises of the great One who should come, known to the heathen by the prophecy of Noah, "He shall dwell in the tents of Shem," Job 19, and by that of Balaam, in whose widely circulated prediction of the "Star" this expectation was diffused among all nations.
* Nigban, bgn, dried up, exhausted.
Ceylon had been earlier conquered by the Hindoos, whose acquaintance with the prophecies has been often recognized, especially the one great prophecy, "He shall come, the Desire of all nations." Haggai 2:7.—Tennent's Ceylon. The Poli, or sacred dialect of the Boodhists, is said by Dr. Leyden to be a dialect of the Sanscrit.
BC 850, Meni says, "God created to give happiness"; yet he speaks of catastrophes and renewals of the surface of the earth and of its creatures. The traditions of patriarchal religion were still in existence, and less obscured by human inventions than they afterwards became. Long after the time of Meni, Zoroaster predicted to the Magi, or chiefs of Persia, the future appearance of a star announcing the birth of a mysterious child, the Almighty Word which created the heavens, whom he commanded them to adore. So affirms Abulfaragius, a well-known Arabian writer.—Hyde de Vet. Rel. Pers.
THE MYTHOLOGY OF THE SCANDINAVIAN NATIONS,
AS CONNECTED WITH THE ANCIENT ASTRONOMY
||Hebrew or Noetic Roots
|Scandinavia, the dwelling
Scandinavia, of the lords or rulers
|Odin, the lord or ruler
|Thor, who gives light (Orion)
|Thor, who gives lightning
|Thor, who gives or who wounds, bruises, as Tyr
|Bel, or Baal, the lord
||1 Kings 18:19
|Balder, the lord who dwells, or returns, Arab. sense
|Tyr, who wounds and is wounded, tear, tore, Arab. sense
|Tuisco, who saves, delivers
|Sater, who hides, gives shelter
|Lok, the scorner, the mocker
The Scandinavian tribes are considered by Biblical scholars to be descended from Japhet. The three sons of Noah must have spoken the same language, at least till the confusion at Babel; that confusion being of the lip, the pronunciation only, the roots of words, their characteristic letters remained unchanged, and among the recognized descendants of them may be called Semitic, but among those of the other two sons of Noah, Noetic seems the preferable designation.
The Scandinavian mythology, like the emblems of the constellations, has no reference to the one great Creator, the All-father of the northern nations, the one God of whom the wise among ancient Greeks and Romans spake, as above the personifications of traditional prophecy by the names of which they called the gods. Inferior to Him, the Supreme Creator, were Odin, the lord, the ruler; Thor, armed with a hammer, like the evil demons of the Etrurian remains, the implement of breaking or bruising, agreeing with one sense of his name Thor, r(t, the breaker, or he who shall bruise; Tyr, who returns, also called Tuisco, who saves, delivers; Freya, who brings forth; Sater, who shelters, gives rest. These were personifications of the ancestral prophecies of a promised Deliverer, interposed for objects of worship. Those concerning the Messiah are most peculiarly to be traced in the character and history of Balder, the God who shall return, the Beloved of all creation, "the Desire of nations."
The mythology of the Northern nations affords abundant traces of the worship of the host of heaven, the first corruption of the patriarchal faith. Into this corruption the human mind easily declined, from paying undue reverence to the symbols of the objects set before them by divine revelation for the exercise of their faith.
The Sun, the ruler of the visible heaven, typifying the true light of the world, and passing through the twelve signs, denoting the progressive manifestation of his great prototype, the promised "Sun of righteousness," was substituted for Him under the names of Bel and Baal, the lord, and Odin, the ruler, as the object of veneration along with, and at length in the place of, the great Coming One, whom he represented. The virgin mother of the zodiac, Virgo, who bringeth forth, is fruitful, by the equivalent names of Freya* or Fregga, was, as the memory of the prophecy became obscured, called his wife, and in the infant in her arms their son. This divine offspring, the mild, the merciful, the beloved of all creation except the evil one, Lok, the enemy of God and man—this god, who was born to die, was called Balder,** the Lord who comes again. After a while imagination prevailing, as usual in tradition, over memory, the twelve zodiacal emblems of the course of prophecy were interpreted as the twelve companions of the sun. They were called the twelve Aser,*** or princes, who attended on the supreme divinity, called Odin, the ruler, or he who cometh.^ These mythological personages were objects of veneration, if not of worship, before the appearance of the second Odin, the great human conqueror, whose era and whose acts are alike involved in the mists of remote antiquity. He took, as the Roman emperors and others have since done, the appellation of the god the nation worshiped, an appellation which he might borrow as the human ruler from him who was worshiped as the divine. Following up the analogy, he chose twelve companions from among his adherents, called Aser, the princes. His time has been supposed to be the seventh century before the Christian era, or the sixth when he is by some authorities said to have fled with a colony of Goths before the victorious arms of Darius Hystaspes. Again, at a much later period, supposed to be the last century before the Christian era, we meet with the third Odin, the conqueror and lawgiver, acknowledged to be a real historical personage. He is considered to have been the leader of a tribe dwelling between the Euxine and the Caspian seas, and driven from thence by the Roman conquests under Pompey, in the Mithridatic war. He also bore the name of office, Odin: whether he took it to ally himself with the god and the worshiped hero, or whether he brought it with him from the East, where it long existed as a title of sovereignty, may be rather matter of conjecture than of certainty.
The Scalds or Bards, as had been done by the poets of Greece with the name and history of Hercules, frequently applied the name and praises, attributes and actions of the Divine One to the hero, and of both to the lawgiver. The well-known poem of the Descent of Odin seems to combine the two first characters; that of the Victory of Odin over the giant Vafthrudni* gives the divine alone. The wild and melancholy catastrophe predicted to the hero-race and their warrior deities Odin and Thor, when the scorner Lok let loose, should prevail, and the twilight of the gods obscure the face of earth and sky, is well known in poetry and tradition; but it is less remembered that above all this terrific creed, dark and storm-boding as their wintry sky, shone a sun of better augury. After that twilight of the gods, in which all these worshiped demons were to perish, Scandinavian Bard and prophetic vaca looked for the final reign of the one true God, "as the light of the morning when the sun ariseth, a morning without clouds," when a new and better race of men should spring up "as the tender grass out of the earth, by clear shining after rain." Then they believed that the unseen All-father should reign over a renewed heaven and a renewed earth, but not without the risen and restored Balder the beloved, then rescued from the power of Hela, to whom below "his head was given."**
* hrp, to be fruitful.
** l)b, the lord; rd, to return, go round.
*** r#, prince.
^ Nyd()), or d(.
* The Vafthrudnis mal, is a dialogue between one of the giant race and Odin in disguise, concerning the gods and the universe.
** Gray's "Descent of Odin."
NOTE ON HELA
Hela, the dweller in darkness, the Scandinavian goddess of hell, so named from her, has had her name from the primitive root Hel, lx, to which Aeschylus appears to allude in the Agamemnon, where he says of Helen,—
Helen is here referred to the primitive root lx , to destroy , but it is more likely that she had been named from lh , to shine , whence HlioV , the sun.
"Who was it that gave the name
In all ways truthfully?
One whom we see not,
Foreknowing thus the coming fates,
Speaking with happy tongue,
Of that bride of spears and raging,
Helen, for most fitly she so called,
Destroying vessels and destroying men,
Destroying also states."
Scandinavia, Nd Nk#, the dwelling-place of Odin or the lord, chief, or judge, or of the lords of men, a title still claimed by the Danes.
The celebrated Danish writer Ingeman, in common with many of the leading minds of the present time, has been led to reject the ordinary explanations of the starry emblems, and to look in them for some reference to revelation. He says, "As from the oldest time the suns of other worlds have been distributed into groups, is it not allowable to inquire whether there were not a unity of purpose and connected meaning in them, though these grotesque figures are represented as hieroglyphs which we trace to the Chaldeans and Phoenicians?" ("Symbolism of the Constellations," a poetical sketch, by Ingeman.) He considers the serpent held by Ophiuchus, with Hydra and Draco, as representing "the demoniacal agent in the world." Again, "the world-snake Midgard" he traces in these figures, "reminding us of the Northern myths." "These things are divided into three large groups, each of which contains its own principle." Ophiuchus, herald of light and warmth, fills the north; Orion, magnificent in the winter nights, the south, accompanied by Sirius, the brightest of the starry throng. "Orion holds the same place among the starry heroes that Odin accompanied by Thor does among the Asers." Perseus he likens to Braga; "Hercules, in his mediatoriness, takes part in the struggle with the demoniacal principle, setting his mighty foot on Draco, leaning his head on Ophiuchus. This figure is one of the deepest import in the symbols of the world, the head figure of the grotesque figures of the paintings of the heavens." "Ophiuchus, the starry hero of summer, as Orion of winter." He finds Odin and Balder in Ophiuchus and Hercules, and says the raven is Odin's bird, and with the cup belongs to the great destroyer of the serpent.*
The root Or, Aur, "light," being in both names, Orion and Thor, the Scandinavian deity of light and thunderstorm, the northern tribes connected the constellations with the names of their gods and their heroes; these would be assimilated. While the Southern nations named their heavens coelum , blue,* and ouranos , light, those of the North spoke of it as sky,** dark, cloudy; did the cloudy heavens of Scandinavia obscure to their eyes the emblematic constellations, though traditions remained of the planets and the planetary week?
* "In Egyptian remains Hours is frequently represented as piercing the head of the serpent" (Wilkinson). Rather bruising.
* Coelum, blue, hlk (t). Exodus 25:4, as covering, completing the sky.
** Sky, dark, skia, overshadowing, Ks Job 40:22.
NOTE ON NOETIC
The roots, radical or characteristic letters, which are to be found in the names of the signs and other constellations, pervade all ancient languages in the senses here attributed to them. They may also be traced in modern dialects derived from the ancient, and even, but more rarely, in modern barbarous tongues. For instance, the root Kan, in Cancer, appears in ancient Sanscrit and modern Australian, as she who gains offspring, as Eve, Cain, Kana, being in Sanscrit, a female, and Gin in Australia; G and C or K being well known as interchangeable letters. In these dialects the roots are Noetic, even when also found in the Semitic languages.
FOR THE NAMES OF INDIAN MYTHOLOGY AS CONNECTED WITH ANCIENT ASTRONOMY
In the seventh century, before the incarnation of Christ, Buddha was assumed to have been born of a woman without a human father; so, even earlier, was it written of Krishna.
India, glorious land, long shrouded
In mysterious veil, o'er-clouded
Thy rich realms with mists of error,
Demon-worship, shapes of terror.
Yet these idols dire above
Thou hast own'd a God of love;
Nameless, formless, yet supreme,
In light o'ershining evil dream
Of blood-stain'd horror's midnight gleam.
Beneath this Great One, Brahma, known
Creating God, thy millions own;
Vishnu, who comes to save, returning;
Siva in wrath to sinners burning;
The mighty Three, who send on earth
Krishna divine, of wondrous birth,
The Virgiin-born, by serpent foe
Bruised in the heel for mortal woe;
Virgin and branch, so shown on high,
Scorpion and dragon of the sky.
Buddha, who comes, goes, comes again,
Leaving his heaven, on earth to reign,
Whose image oft is framed to be
Past, present, future, One in Three.
As Krishna, virgin-born, thus told
Of the same origin, of old.
The starry Virgin, babe divine,
Were view'd as orbs of evening shine.
In furthest China too is seen
The child, and she, of Heaven the Queen,
The Virgin-mother, and the dove
That rested on the Son of love;
The dragon-foe, as trophy worn,
On temple and on standard borne.
All these the world-wide influence show
Of starry lore on man below;
In lines of light on heaven's high dome
They told of Him who was to come.
He came, He went, to come once more,
Heaven's peace begun, earth's sorrows o'er.
In a Review of Muller's "Ancient Sanscrit Literature, so far as it relates to the primitive religion of the Brahmins," (Times, Nov. 8, 1859,) it is said,—
"Who are these Aryans, of whom we now hear so much? The answer is, we are all Aryans. All the nations that have made our world what it is are of the great Aryan stock. The word in Sanscrit is used as well-born, or lord.* This term has taken the place of those awkward compounds, Indo-Germanic and Indo-European."**
Is not Aries, primarily the head or chief, #)r ( ) ), belonging to the same train of ideas as Aryan?
* It is used in Heb. and Arab., &c., as a lion-like man, brave, invincible. Isaiah 21, &c. Thence the conquering invaders in every land have been called Aryans.
** Noetic, through Abraham, whence the Hebrew roots allowed to exist in the Sanscrit, as well as the idea of but One Triune God, and an offspring virgin-born, partaking of both natures, Divine and human, as Krishna and Buddha. The Reviewer says, "Philology is taking a higher place in the examinations at Oxford and Cambridge." "Roots are examined about."
"The Brahmin philosophers believed in a real externally existing eternal Divine Being, all else only seeming to exist." "Their life was a yearning after eternity." "Their existence on earth a problem, their eternal life a certainty."
"The Vedas presuppose and imply a long period of anterior development: to them the idea of God is old and familiar."*
442 BC there is a record of "the Council of Palibuttra protesting against the corruption of the religion of India."
* The Reviewer also says, "the idea of God is no part of natural religion"—revealed to the first man. In Africa alone missionaries have found tribes who had no idea of God. They were not Aryans, of which noble is another possible sense, whence derived, the epithet hero, heroic, high, dignified, from the primitive root her, rh, whence we also trace the German "Herr."
There is a remarkable analogy between the twelve signs of the zodiac and the Avatars, or successive comings to earth, to save and to deliver, of Vishnu, he who saves, the second person in the Indian Trinity, called Tricourtee in the sacred books of the Brahmins, the syllable tri, three, pervading most languages, as Persian, Greek, Latin and its dialects, as well as English, German, &c., in modern Europe. The word Avatar combines three ancient words for "to come," ab, or av, from ba, to come, at, from atha, to come,* and ar, or arah, to come. The Avatars are his comings to save, to deliver, interpositions whenever the earth and man were in peculiar danger. Nine are past, the tenth is yet to come.
In the first Avatar he assumed the form of a fish, as the sign Pisces, to destroy an evil giant, to which perhaps the human figure in Aquarius may have given occasion.
* Job 3:25,26. )b, )t).
In the second Avatar, Vishnu took the form of the boar, in Capricornus, the swine being the natural enemy of the serpent, and as such appears in the Egyptian planisphere and other monuments.
In the third, as a man holding the amreeta, the cup of immortality, the urn of Aquarius.
In the others, as Krishna, the divine and human offspring of the great God.
The human nature being traceable,
In Aries,* as Perseus.
* According to Le Gentil, the Brahminical year begins at the sun's entrance into Aries, and their names of the signs are nearly similar to ours, but the constellations differ. Dr. Hyde says that Perseus, Andromeda, and Cepheus, are Indian constellations, thus preserving the traditional prophecies of the Deliverer, the Church in affliction, and the Beloved, He who cometh and cometh again, the King. See Part II, Aries and Pisces.
- In Taurus, Orion.
- In Gemini, the twins, divine and human.
- In Cancer, Soheil, the desired.
- In Leo, half man, half lion.
- In Virgo, Bootes, Arcturus, the guardian, the keeper.
- In Libra, where the ancient Persians placed a man as in wrath.
- In Scorpio, Ophiuchus bruising the serpent's head, and Hercules wounded in the heel, in both which aspects Krishna may be seen represented.
In Sagittarius, the rider, the archer, where, in the tenth Avatar, he is yet to come, on a white horse, overthrowing his enemies,* to root out evil from the earth.
* Campbell's Pleasures of Hope. "The tenth Avatar comes."
- In the fifth Avatar, Vishnu, in human form, is said to have measured the earth with one step, the heavens with another. In the ninth he assumed the form of Boodh, or Buddha.
It has been observed that "1000 years BC there existed amid the Indian systems of philosophy, so profound and so complex, alternately scaling the sublimest heights of metaphysical speculation and sinking into the lowest depths of folly and degradation, the great doctrine of divine communion."
The Brahmin philosophy teaches that nothing has a pure and separate existence but spirit, and that a deep and exclusive love of the Divine being is the only feeling bringing no illusion to the soul, and securing its eternal felicity. These sublime views shine amid the darkness of idolatry as the stars of heaven are brightest in deepest midnight: doubtless they descended with their astronomy and their appellation from their divinely illuminated ancestor, Abraham.
The wide-spread traditions* of the early world have been compared to the aurora borealis of the northern regions; are they not rather like to the long abiding twilight of the polar night, telling of the sun, set indeed to actual vision, but leaving a gleam of glory in the sky, still illuminating the horizon, and foreshowing his return in the brightening east? Mythologies were not inventions, but the traditions of the first revelation, and the ancient prophecies added to and disguised. In the Northern, in the partly human character of Odin, there is the exaltation of man; in the Oriental, as in the Avatars, "the glorious humiliation of the Godhead." Traces of the first revelation, teaching the whole human race to cling to the One man, the second Adam, "He who should come," the seed of the woman, the conqueror of the serpent, survived among all nations, an imperishable tradition, the ivy clinging to "the Rock of ages" (Isa 26:4, marg.), having everlasting strength.
That the "seed" should be virgin-born seems to have been revealed to Eve after the birth of Cain, for no such mistake as hers with regard to her first-born is recorded in the whole Jewish history. No Jewish woman ever again presumed to say, "I have gotten a man, the Lord," though so many among the surrounding nations claimed for their offspring a divine father. The prophecies of the Messiah, scattered among the nations, were kept in memory by their connexion with the emblems of the constellations, like the ivy, never so vigorous as when it cleaves to the rock. Tradition might be perverted, but the starry skies changed not, the rock to which it clung.
* "The miraculous conception of the Great Deliverer was widely known long before the Christian Era, as is shown in the Asiatic Researches, Vol. xi., &c." Edinburgh Review on Huc's Travels.
It has long been observed that "the system of Pagan religion being the same in all parts of the world is a strong confirmation of the Mosaic history." Vallancey's Anted. Astron.
MEMORIAL LINES FOR THE NAMES OF SCANDINAVIAN MYTHOLOGY
(1) As in some parts of the East and in Egypt the Triune Deity was corrupted into a triad of divinities, of which one was a woman, so Thor, Odin, and Freya, wife of Odin, and mother of Balder, were the Scandinavian triad. Freya was identified with, or represented by the moon, and Venus, like those, an emblem of the Church of the faithful under all dispensations, antediluvian, Mosaic, Christian. Lok, the adversary of gods and men, was beautiful (as an angel of light), his wife Angerbode the prophetess of evil* or wrath, according to her name. They had for offspring the wolf Fenris, of evil aspect, the serpent Midgard, and Hela, whose table for those who feared to die in battle was hunger, whose bed was sickness.
Scandinavia, dwelling high
Of lords of men 'neath arctic sky,
Iron and man, warrior and sword,
Those regions stern, nor gold to hoard,
Nor grape juice to allure, afford.
The great All-father fear'd above,
Too high for worship or for love,
Dwelling beyond the freezing sky,
Revered and thought of silently.
Odin, deem'd ruler of the world,
And Thor, the thunder-bolt who hurl'd;
Bel, lord of all, they own'd, whose name
To eastern climes was curse and shame,
These three ancestral worship claim.
Tuisco saving, wounding, Tyr,
Freya,(1) who loves, all loving her;
Balder, her son, who shall return,
Beloved of all, yet must he learn
Malice of Lok, the serpent-foe,
And to the realms of Hela go.
Odin shall free, Sater give rest,
Freya in him again be blest.
Yet "twilight of the gods" must fall
On blood-stain'd earth, and perish all
The warrior gods, Lok rage no more,
And Hela's dreary reign be o'er.
So Scald and Vala's prophet-lay
Tell of returning light and day,
When war and slaughter never more
Shall bathe the shrinking earth in gore;
Odin and Thor, names of the past,
Balder beloved, reign at last.
Olaus Rudbeck* traces the Asiatic origin of the Scandinavian tribes by the oriental roots he finds in their dialects, chiefly in the words connected with their mythology and astronomy. He thus relates the story of the death of Balder. Balder had evil dreams; Frigga, or Freya, his mother, demanded an oath of all created things that they would do him no harm; but when she saw the musteltein (or mistletoe) she passed it by, as too young, too weak. Lok made an arrow of it, and placing it in the hand of the blind Hoder, bade him shoot; he did so, and killed Balder.**
* See Gray's Descent of Odin. Fenris. #rnp.
The Nornas,* the veiled virgins, whom Odin saw, when he was recognized by the prophetess were the past, present, and future, invisible to mortal eye, each alike mourning for Balder, the beloved of all creation, the divine son of Odin, doomed to an inevitable death, to be avenged by his brother Veli,** who shall arise. There, as in so many other similar traditions, may be traced the prophecies of the second coming in glory, as well as of the first coming to suffer and to die of "the Desire of Nations."
* He gives a print of Thor on a throne, with twelve stars round his head. In Danish and Icelandic the Wain (Ursa Major) was anciently called the Chariot of Thor. The name of Thor, sometimes sharing the divine honours of Odin, and sometimes even superseding them, may be derived from the same root as that of Orion,* to come forth, as light, or who wounds, bruises. Both sense appear to have been followed out; that of bruising by his attribute of the hammer, and the names which he has in common with the evil demons of Etruria, thus indicating the same origin to both superstitions, and being an instance of the affinity of all languages, indicating their common origin from that divinely imparted to Adam at his creation, and traceable in all the dialects of his descendants.
* If as Orion, from r), the Th are only servile letters; if they are radical, it is from to wound or bruise, r(t.
** Atlantica (Brit. Mus.).
* (Nr) singers, as Runes, &c. The sixteen Runic characters are said to be named after constellations.
** Veli, hl(, who comes or arises.
MEMORIAL LINES FOR THE PLANETS, AS CONNECTED WITH ANCIENT ASTRONOMY
||The Sun, the Moon, have told the praise
||Of Him whose glory dims their rays,
||And stars along their glittering road
||His suffering and His reigning show'd.
||But what to those the message given,
||Bright wanderers o'er the arch of heaven,