Fig. 1: Lusty Man Odin - Boa Island (Northern Island)
Understanding the Fastened Sculptures
Published by Lulu
© 2010 by Joannes Richter Published by Lulu www.lulu.com All Rights Reserved ISBN: xxx-x-xxxx-xxxx-x
1 Introduction............................................................................7 2 Etymology..............................................................................9 3 symbolic feasts in Christianity.............................................19 4 Fast-night.............................................................................21 5 Early Mock Kings................................................................27 6 A Shrove Tuesday in Germany............................................29 7 The Maypole........................................................................37 8 The Roman Calendar...........................................................41 9 Etymological fastenings.......................................................49 10 Conclusion.........................................................................51
List of Figures and Photographs
Fig. 1: Lusty Man Odin - Boa Island (Northern Island)............1 Fig. 2: Female figure at Boa Island (west side).........................9 Fig. 3: Male figure at Boa Island (east side)............................10 Fig. 4: The Zbruch idol ...........................................................13 Fig. 5: ZBruch Idol..................................................................14 Fig. 6: The sculpture of Holzgerlingen....................................16 Fig 7: LOUD Music at the Carnival........................................29 Fig. 8: Music at the Carnival....................................................30 Fig. 9: Cooling (or lost) Alcoholic Beverages.........................31 Fig. 10: Lost shoe at Shrove Tuesday......................................31 Fig. 11: Masked Witch.............................................................32 Fig. 12: Colours for Carnival costumes...................................33 Fig. 13: Extendible neck and cut-off tie...................................35 Fig. 14: German Maypole (2008)............................................37 Fig. 15: Bifaced Janus as a Coin..............................................46 5
Understanding religion may help us to survive in the turbulent years of our life. This document illuminates some of the ancient customs, which may be known to scholars but remain hidden in the old and worn out books, paintings and sculptures. The Lusty Man sculpture of Boa Island in Northern Ireland seems to consist of a woman and a man, fastened together back to back by a solid band. Although the leather band does not include the arms the hands of these persons do seem to be tightened by shackles and they may be unable to free themselves. Other fastened sculptures may be interpreted as shackled individuals according to similar rules. In fact shackles and ties seem to depict the essential idea of religion, fastening people in an ordered society. Law and order need to be renewed each year to protect society against disorder. The renewal procedures have been recorded from the very ancient eras up to modern times. A major contribution in disciplining the people has been delivered by the calendar system as invented by most advanced civilizations. The calendar always started as a religious project to be manipulated by the wise and mighty men. This manuscript will describe a number of illustrative symbols for rigid fastening and the corresponding but shorter periodical releases, which of course had been prescribed by the calendars. In fact each feast symbolizes a fettering or fastening of bands to the society respectively to the partner in a couple. Even a religious Confirmation symbolizes a fettering to society.
The most important and famous unfastening festival seems to be the modern Carnival, which succeeded the Roman Saturnalia. Originally the carnival prepared the people for the rigid fast-season, which is the most efficient way of disciplining the individuals. The fetters for Saturn, who also has been named Janus, at the end of the Saturnalia terminated the end of the turbulent behaviour and the beginning of the serious new year. Nowadays the religious effects are dwindling, but a number of etymological and religious symbols remain. This manuscripts documents the ties found in ancient sculptures and compares these shackles with the etymological symbols and other religious elements in social customs. Strictly spoken each fast and each feast are to be considered shackles to fasten the population in the confirmation of society in a shared peace by shared fetters.
The Lusty Man of Boa Island
The Celtic sculpture at Boa Island in Northern Ireland dated at the first century AD seems to consist of a woman and a man, fastened together back to back by a solid band. Although the leather band does not really include the arms the hands of both individuals do seem to be tightened by shackles and they are unable to free themselves.
Fig. 2: Female figure at Boa Island (west side)
We observe the male person is lusty and we wonder why he cannot turn around and mate with his partner. The male figure with a phallus underneath his crossed arms seems to be blind on one eye, which may refer to Odin, who was blind at the left eye as well. He gave his left eye to the giant Mimir who allowed him to drink from the source of wisdom...
Fig. 3: Male figure at Boa Island (east side)
Odin has been identified as an androgynous deity: Odin = the Raging One, initiated in Freya's mysteries and One-Eyed Androgyne. 10
The shackled man and woman may very well depict the general idea of fastening people by religion. The etymology of a number of relevant English and Latin words reveals a correlation between religion and fastening: • • • Religion probably derives from the Latin verb ligare, to shackle or fasten. Fas = The Divine Law in Latin Fasces = a bundle of twigs and an axt in the middle as the sign of the legal power to punish and to kill. The word “Fasces” refers to fascia = “band” or “tape” to “fasten” the bundle of twigs. Lictores = the 12 ushers, preceding the Roman consul, carrying the fasces as the sign of legal power Fast = from the old Anglo-Saxon word “Fæstan” = “to practice abstinence as a religious exercise”. Abstinence may as well refer to food, beverages, music, dancing, sexuality or any other pleasure. Fasti = the Roman Calendar, which in a separate chapter will be described as a religious tool for disciplining the people The unfettering at the beginning and the renewal of the wool-fetters at the end of the Saturnalia marked important events in the Roman calendar. A Tie is a self chosen shackle to demonstrate conformity and may be cut off by secretaries at the Carnival season. The Yoke as a symbol for joining forces in duality Each feast symbolizes a fastening or fettering to society respectively a binding in a dual couple.
Religious confirmation as well symbolizes a fastening to religious society.
These correlations place the Lusty Man in another light of religious symbolism. The sculpture probably depicts the general idea of mankind in a fastened position to organise and secure law and order. Of course these religious shackles are the most important elements to stabilize any society. They may even have been a fundamental idea to introduce and develop religion.
The Zbruch idol
The Zbruch idol1, on display in the National Museum in Kraków, Poland may reveal a “fastening” symbolism.From this viewpoint we may also analyse the Zbruch idol as a fastened group of people. In this case the Lusty Man and the Zbruch idol depict an equivalent symbol.
Fig. 4: The Zbruch idol
National Museum in Kraków, Poland (free photograph from Wikipedia)
The Zbruch Idol is a 9th century sculpture and one of the rarest monuments of pre-Christian Slavic beliefs. The pillar is commonly associated with the Slavic deity Svantevit, although opinions on the exact meaning of all the sculpting and their symbols differ. The Zbruch Idol is a four-sided pillar of grey limestone, 2.67 meters in height, and has three tiers of incisions at each of the four sides. The lower tier is 67 cm; the middle tier is 40 cm; and the top tier is 167 cm.
Fig. 5: ZBruch Idol
Soon after the discovery, Joachim Lelewel theorized the top tier represented two bearded males and two beardless females. Boris Rybakov in his work Paganism of Ancient Rus (1987) argued that four sides of the top tier represent four different Slavic gods, two female and two male, with their corresponding middle-tier entities always of the opposite gender. Rybakov also identified the side with the male figure holding a horn as the front of the idol, based on the bottom-tier figure, which is shown with legs as if seen from head-on, the two adjoining sides showing the legs from the side, and the fourth side left blank. Finally, Rybakov believes that the entire idol's phallic shape is meant to unite all of the smaller figures as a single larger deity “Rod”. In analogy to the Lusty Man the ZBruch sculpture may also be seen as a fastened bundle of men and women. Although the sculptor has been unable to draw exact parallel lines he managed and took care to close the circular lines depicting the fastening “tapes” across all four sides. In fact fastened people as a disciplined society may have been the main goal for religious symbolism. Let's investigate if there are other symbols to be found in the ancient and modern festivities.
The sculpture of Holzgerlingen
The Hermeslike statue found between 1838 and 1848 at Holzgerlingen2 is a double faced Herme or Janus, which may be compared to the Hermes of Roquepertuse. The horns (or ears ?) are special features, which may clearly be identified in this 230 cm high sculpture. One of the incomplete horns has been endorsed.
now exhibited at the Landesmuseum in Stuttgart - Germany
Obviously the belt has been applied to fasten both individual persons in their position. In fact the belt is the only elementary element in the lower part of the figure.
Fig. 6: The sculpture of Holzgerlingen
The Yoke as a matrimonial symbolical
Another fastening element to symbolize the matrimonial bond between husband and wife has been reported in the Germania3: “Their marriage code, however, is strict, and indeed no part of their manners is more praiseworthy. Almost alone among barbarians they are content with one wife, except a very few among them, and these not from sensuality, but because their noble birth procures for them many offers of alliance. The wife does not bring a dower to the husband but the husband to the wife. The parents and relatives are present, and pass judgment on the marriage-gifts, gifts not meant to suit a woman's taste, nor such as a bride would deck herself with, but yoked oxen, a caparisoned4 steed5, a shield, a lance, and a sword. With these presents the wife is espoused, and she herself in her turn brings her husband a gift of arms. This they count their strongest bond of union, these their sacred mysteries, these their gods of marriage. Lest the woman should think herself to stand apart from aspirations after noble deeds and from the perils of war, she is reminded by the ceremony which inaugurates marriage that she is her husband's partner in toil and danger, destined to suffer and to dare with him alike both in peace and in war. The yoked oxen, the harnessed steed, the gift of arms, proclaim this fact. She must live and die with the feeling that she is receiving what she must hand down to her children neither tarnished nor depreciated, what future daughters-in-law may receive, and may be so passed on to her grand-children.”
The Origin and Situation of the Germans by Tacitus, Chapter XVIII an ornamental covering for a horse 5: a spirited horse
3 symbolic feasts in Christianity
In order to investigate the idea of fastening we will need an overview of the major traditional religious feasts in Northwest Europe: • • • • • • • Christmas as the winter's solstice King's Day (Epiphany) The Carnival The Fast Eastern The First of May festivities The harvest festivals Of course Christmas is an ancient feast marking the winter's solstice. Today the feast is a major familyoriented tradition. The Carnival used to be the initiating social festival for the Fast-period. Today the Fast however is an individual experience and often the Carnival may be enjoyed as a social festival without any trace of fasting. The Eastern festivities are major family-oriented or individual traditions. The First of May festivities is a social festival, which today mainly concentrates on labour, family and/or social traditions. The harvest festivals may be enjoyed as a social festivals in cities (Stuttgart, Munich) and rural environments.
Originally all festivities may have contributed to discipline the people to obey law and order. The discipline included a calendar responsible for the definition of the dates for holy days (holidays for the working people), for pay-days in taxpaying and wages and for common rules defining the restrictions in fasting and contributing to common activities. Of these feasts especially the Fast and the Carnival may be seen as antipodes in obeying rules and releasing the fastening stress. The calendar's structure has always been seen as a governmental service, which of course has been a religious item in ancient time. Although some of these dates may be considered as obsolete in an industrial environment some events are still to be respected. Especially the Carnival is to be feared in some big cities and areas centred in the Rhineland if you need professional services from companies or governmental institutions. The Carnival is a most peculiar festivity – intensely enjoyed in a locally restricted area, but ignored in surrounding counties. The following descriptions will be restricted to some specified local festivities.
Shrove Tuesday is a term associated in English-speaking countries for the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season of fasting and prayer called Lent. In Germany Shrove Tuesday is called Fast-night as the eve for the fastperiod between Ash Wednesday and Eastern. The word shrove is the past tense of the English verb shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one's sins by way of confession and doing penance. During the week before Lent, sometimes called Shrovetide in English, Christians were expected to go to confession in preparation for the penitential season of turning to God. Shrove Tuesday was the last day before the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday, and noted in histories dating back to 1000 AD.
Unfastening Saturn at the Saturnalia
In order to discipline the people for fasting a period of unfastening is to be preceding and succeeding6 the fast. This idea of a preceding unfastening feast may have been token from the Roman festival Saturnalia, one of the most popular public festivals in ancient Rome, organized around the time of the winter solstice. It originally lasted for only a single day, December 17, but was later extended over a whole week. The Saturnalia was the most popular holiday of the Roman year. Catullus (XIV) describes it as "the best of days," and Seneca complains that the "whole mob has let itself go in pleasures" (Epistles, XVIII.3).
Of course the Eastern festivities are terminating the Fast-period.
Pliny the Younger writes that he retired to his room while the rest of the household celebrated (Epistles, II.17.24). It was an occasion for celebration, visits to friends, and the presentation of gifts, particularly wax candles (cerei) and sigillaria. In the Roman calendar, the Saturnalia was designated a holy day, or holiday, on which religious rites were performed. Saturn, himself, was identified with Kronos, and sacrificed to according to Greek ritual, with the head uncovered. During this holiday, restrictions were relaxed and the social order inverted. In contrast to normal days gambling was allowed throughout Rome during Saturnalia, and dice games have been organized in the streets. A mock king was crowned from among the commoners by way of a dice-roll. At the Saturnalia this king possessed the power to demand all sorts of silliness from his subjects. Saturnalia also involved the exchange of gifts, with both the poor and the rich giving and receiving presents. Generally the holiday was marked by widespread merry-making and lechery. Slaves were permitted to play dice and enjoy a holiday. Instead of the toga, less formal dinner clothes (synthesis) were permitted, as was the pileus, a felt cap normally worn by the manumitted slave that symbolized the freedom of the season. Within the family, a Lord of Misrule was chosen. Slaves were treated as equals, allowed to wear their masters' clothing, and be waited on at meal time in remembrance of an earlier golden age thought to have been ushered in by the god.
The Temple of Saturn, the oldest temple recorded by the pontiffs, had been dedicated on the Saturnalia, and the woolen bonds which fettered the feet of the ivory cult statue within were loosened on that day to symbolize the liberation of the god. Obviously unfastening a sculpture must have been a major religious symbol in Roman religion. It also was a festival day. After sacrifice at the temple, there was a public banquet, which Livy says was introduced in 217 BC. Afterwards, according to Macrobius (I.10.18), the celebrants shouted "Io, Saturnalia!" at a riotous feast in the temple. Although Saturn changed greatly over time due to the influence of Greek mythology, he was also one of the few distinct Roman deities to pre-date and retain elements of his original function. As Thomas Paine wrote: “It is impossible for us now to know at what time the heathen mythology began; but it is certain, from the internal evidence that it carries, that it did not begin in the same state of condition in which it ended. All the gods of that mythology, except Saturn, were of modern invention. The supposed reign of Saturn was prior to that which is called the heathen mythology, and was so far a species of theism that it admitted the belief of only one God. Saturn is supposed to have abdicated the government in favour of his three sons and one daughter, Jupiter, Pluto, Neptune, and Juno; after this, thousands of other gods and demigods were imaginarily created, and the calendar of gods increased as fast as the calendar of saints and the calendar of courts have increased since.”
At the end of the first century AD, Statius still could proclaim: "For how many years shall this festival abide! Never shall age destroy so holy a day! While the hills of Latium remain and father Tiber, while thy Rome stands and the Capitol thou hast restored to the world, it shall continue" (Silvae, I.6.98ff). And the Saturnalia did continue to be celebrated as Brumalia (from bruma, "the shortest day," winter solstice) down to the Christian era, when, by the middle of the fourth century AD, its festivities had become absorbed in the celebration of Christmas, Epiphany and Carnival. Saturn has had a lasting impact upon Western culture. Most notably, he is the namesake of Saturday (dies Saturni), which was originally referred to in Latin as Dies Saturni or the "Day of Saturn," and was in turn adapted and became the source of the English and Dutch word. This stands as the only day of the week to retain its Roman name in English. In astronomy, the name of Saturn has been given to the sixth planet from the sun. In classical antiquity, the planet Saturn was considered the furthest planet of the seven heavenly objects that is visible to the naked eye, and was thereby corresponded to the seventh day of the week. When the festival ended, the tax collectors appeared and all money owed out to government, landlords, or debtors had to be accounted for. This is another side to Saturn and it's ruling sign, Capricorn: the settling of accounts. Having handed out all money to the innkeepers and tax-collectors the citizen may now wash his empty purse at the local fountain. Washing purses at the fountains may be observed at the early mornings of Ash-Wednesday.
Christian holidays derived from Saturnalia
The Saturnalia may have influenced a number of popular Christian holidays: • • Christmas, as well located at the late December and involving the exchange of gifts. King's Day (Epiphany or Theophany)7, at which Western Christians commemorate principally the visitation of the Biblical Magi to the Baby Jesus. Some countries still respect a bean's feast in which the person who finds the bean in a special cake is allowed to rule like a king for this day. The Carnival, Shrove Tuesday or Fast-eve, which traditionally unfasten social standards, allowing people to behave in opposite social positions, reversing the relations between rulers and subjects. As during the Saturnalia all sorts of silliness are allowed at the Carnival.
These three festivals still form the most important festivities in social context in most western countries. Some of these activities may even be respected by atheists. In fact these festivals may still be considered as concatenated by a mythical legend of the Child born at Christmas and to be presented at King's Day. The Carnival season however begins on King's Day (Epiphany), and there are many traditions associated with that day. In Spain, France and Louisiana the family serve a king-cake with a trinket (usually a porcelain figurine of a king) or a bean hidden inside.
from Greek (ἡ) ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia "appearance", "manifestation"
The person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket or bean becomes "king" for a day, but he or she may be obliged to organize a masked festivity. The elements of the bean's feast however have been inherited form the Saturnalia. The interval between Epiphany and Mardi Gras is sometimes known as "king cake season."
5 Early Mock Kings
There is ample historical evidence of other mock kings and the Romans probably just copied the idea from predecessors. Right at the very introduction of his book The Golden Bough James Frazer8 lists a number of details towards the mock kingconcept, which seems to be very old and relatively modern simultaneously: Africa, again, has supplied several fresh examples of a similar practice of regicide9. Among them the most notable perhaps is the custom formerly observed in Bunyoro of choosing every year from a particular clan a mock king, who was supposed to incarnate the late king, cohabited with his widows at his temple-tomb, and after reigning for a week was strangled. The custom presents a close parallel to the ancient Babylonian festival of the Sacaea, at which a mock king was dressed in the royal robes, allowed to enjoy the real king's concubines, and after reigning for five days was stripped, scourged, and put to death. That festival in its turn has lately received fresh light from certain Assyrian inscriptions,which seem to confirm the interpretation which I formerly gave of the festival as a New Year celebration and the parent of the Jewish festival of Purim.”
Frazer, James George, Sir, 1854-1941 obviously: the ritual killing of kings
In chapter XXIV of this book Frazer further suggests: “It seems worth suggesting that the mock king who was annually killed at the Babylonian festival of the Sacaea on the sixteenth day of the month Lous may have represented Tammuz himself. For the historian Berosus, who records the festival and its date, probably used the Macedonian calendar, since he dedicated his history to Antiochus Soter; and in his day the Macedonian month Lous appears to have corresponded to the Babylonian month Tammuz. If this conjecture is right, the view that the mock king at the Sacaea was slain in the character of a god would be established.” Regicides of course are initial phases of regulations which have been refined in the course of time. In due time even the mock kings may have found ways to protect themselves from being killed by looking for an alternative. The basic idea however has been the unfastening phase needed preceding (or succeeding) the Fast. These ancient ideas reveal a basic concept in religion: stabilizing society by regular, short periods of unfastening and long periods of fastening, sometimes aggravated by really serious fasts. The Christian fasts lasted 40 working days, excluding the liberated Sundays, between Ash-Wednesday and Eastern. Although the tradition of Fast may still be practised it is not a common social, but an individual event in Christianity. In contrast the unfastening periods are social and economically structured events, which have isolated themselves from the Fasts. We may even identify a profitable industry making a living from Carnival activities...
6 A Shrove Tuesday in Germany
The 16th of February 2010 seemed to be a nice and sunny day to visit the Shrove Tuesday at Sulzbach, a small village near Stuttgart in Germany. I took the bus, but traffic congestions caused me to arrive a little late. I found a sheltered location at the churchyard, which protected me from too much missiles and contact to the gay and active witches. The strange, masked procession lasted about an hour and included a Roman combat chariot drawn by 4 horses, groups of merry children in beautiful costumes, a great number of ugly witches and lots of very loud musicians.
Fig 7: LOUD Music at the Carnival
Some gun machinery shooting confetti and chicken feathers completed the procession, to be completed by a prince's wagon spreading sweets into the public.
Fig. 8: Music at the Carnival The majority of the visitors had also chosen for strange and funny masquerades. Witches hurried to and fro in order to spend liquor, sweets and marmalade. Of course I tried to keep away from these things, which I have been enjoying some years ago.
Fig. 9: Cooling (or lost) Alcoholic Beverages The music is loud and sometimes atonal. Youngsters may drink too much alcohol and loose their temper or their shoes and some girls may loose their innocence. I also found a lost shoe, which may belong to a 17-years old youngster who had been found last Saturday with his bare feet resting in a cold creek. As a case of hypothermia he had to be brought to the hospital...
Fig. 10: Lost shoe at Shrove Tuesday 31
Fig. 11: Masked Witch
Other symbolism in the Carnival
In Germany the current tradition of Carnival seems to be rather new. Wars and other calamities swept away all medieval carnival-like traditions and left a blank society. Reformatory eliminated the rest of these pagan and ancient festivities. In its current form the Carnival has been imported to the German, catholic areas from Venice and France. The first carnival procession in Cologne has been recorded 1823. In Venice the medieval carnival of the eleventh century lasted two months from the 26th of December till Shrove Tuesday. This Carnival culminated in the 18th century, in which men behaved like women and some of the women behaved like whores. Although the religious context may have vanished there is still some fundamental symbolism left. One of these symbols are the words Fast, fastening, Fasti, etcetera.
Fig. 12: Colours for Carnival costumes
Other symbolism may be found in the Carnival of the big cities Mainz and Cologne. In Mainz the colours red, blue and yellow prevail in the uniforms and the other costumes. Traditionally it is believed these colours red and blue have been derived from the French flags and several red and blue uniforms of local or foreign armies. The relatively recent introduction of these costumes in the 19th century does not allow us to refer these colours to purposely chosen religious symbolism. If we however accept the idea if religious symbolism10 in the national French colours red, blue and white the the colours red, blue and gold (yellow) may be considered as derived or secondary religious elements.
Cutting off ties
Authorities may be fooled in ridiculing their decorations. The officer with an extendible neck is also supplied with a cut-off tie. The tradition of cutting off ties has been introduced in Cologne 1945 and is a reserved right for the women at Women’s Carnival Day 11. Some say it may be considered as a symbolic castration, but in modern society the tie is a common symbol for conformity to standards. Cutting of ties symbolizes disrespect for conformity. The word tie already symbolizes the self-chosen fastening shackle, by which someone signifies conformity.
as published in The Sky-God Dyaeus Thursday before Shrove Tuesday
Fig. 13: Extendible neck and cutoff tie The main symbol in the follow-up festivities for the Carnival however may be the Maypole, which as a symbol for social engagement and cooperation is to be raised before May in the rural villages.
7 The Maypole
Fig. 14: German Maypole (2008) The maypole is a tall wooden pole, traditionally of maple, hawthorn or birch, sometimes erected with several long coloured ribbons suspended from the top, festooned with flowers, draped in greenery and strapped with large circular wreaths, depending on local and regional variances12.
Information from Wikipedia
One of the earliest illustrations of a maypole was made in 1590. It can be seen on a fresco by Hans Donauer in the Antiquarium of the "Münchner Residenz”. Erecting a maypole occurred in nearly all other European countries. The tradition reaches from erecting the Maien to May-dances around a decorated pole which was put up in a village square. Erecting a maypole must follow certain rules and is accompanied by traditional customs. Work is traditionally divided between the men and women. Men take care of choosing, cutting down and transporting the tree pole, while young women are responsible for the garlands, collecting donations and other decorations. With roots in Germanic paganism, the maypole traditionally appears in most Germanic countries. In Greece people do the maypole dance. Maypole is referred as Mayoksylo ( Μαγιόξυλο) and it also has a phallic symbolism. Generally the Maypole must be considered an androgynous symbol. To may (German: maien) originally indicates to make love and the maypole is an ancient marriage-symbol for joining a male/female-couple. The erected and towering pole symbolizes the male element in this union. The large circular wreaths represent the female element, which must be considered to be the stabilizing and passive pole (the O-rings, respectively the "You" in the union). Most maypoles reveal an upper half-pole (male symbol) completely hidden inside a covering yoni (female symbol), which may be considered as a perfect symbol for a unified couple. The Germans called the night-time following the first May the "Freinacht" / "mai-night", or the "lover's night".
At a distance modern maypoles may often be dominated by the ego-"centred" male element, but if you are able to read the story you will be able to identify the truly androgynous religious symbolism, which in Germany may have been devoted to the androgynous creator God Tuisco. In ancient manuscripts bishops complain the barbaric scenes of pagan people and report how they are trying to replace these rites by Christian habits. Each year the cults are still being activated as the so-called Walpurgis-rites in which young people are having fun in the night-time. Potential other meanings include symbolism relating to the Yggdrasil, a symbolic axis linking the underworld, the world of the living, the heavens and numerous other realms. Also likely related, reverence for sacred trees can be found in surviving accounts of Germanic tribes, for example, Thor's Oak, Adam of Bremen's account of Sacred groves and the Irminsul. The present day tradition of maypoles coincides geographically with the area of influence of the Germanic mythos.
8 The Roman Calendar
Some 200 fragments of Roman calendars have been found so far, and they are collectively known as Fasti. Obviously the Romans designed the calendar as a tool to impose religious and other juristic restrictions. The calendar is the main instrument in organizing society. In Western Europe the tool must have been developed in the Stone Age. Numerous calendar circles have been identified, most of which reveal a similarity to the famous Stonehenge circle. They may have been used to define the exact dates for harvesting and other rural activities. Of course the exact dating procedure has been a major responsibility reserved for the royal court and the highest priests, who derived their authority from religious knowledge. Most of the details have been kept secret and a first impression of the sacred wisdom of calendar-definition may be found in Roman documents. The earliest Roman calendar originated as a local calendar in the city of Rome, supposedly drawn up by king Romulus some seven or eight centuries before the Christian Era. The year began at the 1th of March and consisted of 10 months, six of 30 days and four of 31 days, making a total of 304 days: it ended in December, to be followed by what seems to have been an uncounted winter gap.
The calendar of Numa Pompilius
According to the legends the calendar has been by Numa Pompilius. Numa Pompilius, according to tradition the second king of Rome (715-673 BCE), is supposed to have added two extra months, January and February, to fill the winter gap and to have increased the total number of the annual days to 355. The calendar now required some extra 22 or 23 days (mensis intercalaris) to be inserted after the 24th of February every two years. This insertion compensated the loss of days for the solar year.
The calendar of Numa Pompilius
Initially the year started at in March at which the Roman magistrates started their one-year office. From 153 BC the offices started at the 1th of January. The names for the months Quinctilis (fifth) up to December (tenth) remained unaltered. In 46 BC the Pontifex maximus C. Julius Caesar13 realised the calendar's errors might be compensated by a new type of calendar, which basically has been valid up to today. Originally the month and the markers were based on the moon. At the time of their early kings, Roman months were of a length identical to the lunar cycle. Each month was divided into sections that ended on the day of one of the first three phases of the moon: new, first quarter or full. All days were referred to in terms of one of these three moon phase names, Kalends, Nones or Ides.
with the help of the mathematician and astronomer Sosigenes 42
At that time a pontifex (priest) was assigned to observe the sky. When he first sighted a thin lunar crescent he called out that there was a new moon and declared the next month had started. For centuries afterwards, Romans referred to the first day of each month as Kalendae or Kalends from the Latin word calare (to announce solemnly, to call out). The word calendar was derived from this custom. In the calendar14 of the ancient Romans, the month was based on three primary markers: • the Calendae – the first day of the month, as “called15 out” by the Pontifex minor16 who was assigned to observe the sky. In coding dates the archaic letter K, for Kalends, was used to identify the month. the Nones, the 5th or the 7th day, as calculated after the Pontifex initially saw the lunar crescent. The Pontifex noted its width and calculated the number of days that were expected to elapse between then and the first quarter moon. the Ides dividing the month in two identical halves. Dedicated to Jupiter, the Ides was the time of the full moon. The Latin word Idus has been derived from an Etruscan word translated to "divide".
After Ides, the next new moon was expected to appear in from 15 to 17 days. Variations in the length of time before another new moon can be sighted is due to constantly changing positions of moon and earth relative to the sun.
http://www.webexhibits.org/calendars/calendar-roman.html from calo = to convoke, to call together, respectively calare (to announce solemnly, to call out) 16: subordinated to the Pontifex maximus
All the days after the Ides were numbered by counting down towards the next month’s Calends. The holidays were generally bunched together to form continuous celebrations, and the remaining days of the month were usually nondescript workdays. The first letter in a date code was called the Nundinae ("nine day") , or the Nundinal letter, and it represented the market day. Every 9th day (counting inclusively) was a market day, but as it shifted every year, a designated letter between A and H would represent the market day for that year. The final letter identifies the type of day for purposes of religious observance or legal business. Some days designated by letters were reserved for committees of citizens to vote on political or criminal matters. Additionally the Romans identified the following special designations: 1. F stands for dies fasti, days on which legal action is permitted. 2. N stands for dies nefasti, which meant that no legal action or public voting could take place on this day. 3. EN stands for endotercisus, or intercisus, which were "in-between" F or C days in which mornings and afternoons had different designations. 4. NP, the combination of N and P, represented some important type of religious observance of which all records have disappeared. However, they all seem to be directly associated with major holidays. 5. FP also represented some religious holiday, but no definition survives for this abbreviation.
This simplified overview of a very complicated system may reveal an impression of the significance of the calendar, which also refers to the fastening procedures and religious symbolism.
The secrecy of the calendar's maintenance
The insertion of a leap17 day, week or month into the calendar years was the duty of the Pontifices, a board that assisted the chief magistrate in his sacrificial functions. The reasons for their decisions were kept secret, but, because of some negligence and a measure of ignorance and corruption, the intercalations were irregular, and seasonal chaos resulted. In spite of this and the fact that it was over a day too long compared with the tropical year, much of the modified Roman republican calendar was carried over into the Gregorian calendar now in general use. Plutarch said that months at the time of Rome’s founding were of varying lengths, some as short as twenty days and others with thirty-five or more in what early Romans believed was a year of three hundred and sixty days. Romulus, the legendary first king, was said to have made extensive changes to those month lengths, assigning twenty-nine days to some and thirtyone to others. Most of the Roman citizens however had no idea of the detailed secret procedures in manipulating the calendar.
to make the calendar follow the seasons or moon phases
January was named after Janus, a sky-god who was ancient even at the time of Rome’s founding.
Fig. 15: Bifaced Janus as a Coin Ovid quoted Janus as saying: "The ancients called me chaos, for a being from of old am I."
After describing the world’s creation, he again quoted Janus: "It was then that I, till that time a mere ball, a shapeless lump, assumed the face and members of a god." A Lydian named Joannes identified Janus as a planet Saturn when he wrote: "Our own Philadelphia still preserves a trace of the ancient belief. On the first day of the month there goes in procession no less a personage than Janus himself, dressed up in a two-faced mask, and people call him Saturnus, identifying him with Kronos." Early Romans believed that the beginning of each day, month and year were sacred to Janus. They thought he opened the gates of heaven at dawn to let out the morning, and that he closed them at dusk. This eventually led to his worship as the god of all doors, gates, and entrances. The fettering of Saturn may eventually symbolize the former fettering of both individuals in the Janus-sculpture at the beginning of the new year.
9 Etymological fastenings
If religion is to be understood as a fundamental process of fastening people to a society there should be some elementary symbolism for these shackles. The basic elements in the principal divine names has been identified as the letters U and I, symbolizing the female respectively male elements. These letters may identified in e.g. the Roman deity IU-piter, in YHVH and in the German creatorGod Tuisco. Although the most important Greek & Roman deities symbolizing these ties have been identified as Chronos & Saturn one of their children Zeus, respectively Jupiter. In Roman mythology when Jupiter (Zeus) ascended the throne, Saturn (Cronus) fled to Rome and established the Golden Age, a time of perfect peace and harmony, which lasted as long as he reigned. In memory of the Golden Age, the Feast of Saturnalia was held every year in the winter at the Winter Solstice.
Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter
Strange as it may be Saturn's children IU-piter and Zeus (Dios) are carrying the Indo-European names with the androgynous symbols. I found a possible theory for these discrepancies: There is a symbolic connection between the Trinity of the New Testament and Ouranos (Uranus) Saturn (Cronus) and Jupiter (Zeus).
Ouranos, the first father figure, was the Greek version of Varuna, the Vedic creator god. Then Saturn castrated Ouranos, ending his generative power. Finally, came Jupiter, who, like a Jesus figure, was perceived as a saviour, so that future generations would not be tyrannized by an obsessed deity18. Saturn has a somewhat polarized role against Jupiter in astrology. Saturn gets the blame for all the things sad, unfortunate, and terrible while Jupiter gets the credit for all things positive, good and however, as in real life, this unfair and untrue. The idea of including two individual symbols I and U in a single divine name IU-piter with a good reputation may eventually symbolize the fettering element in the name Jupiter and Jehovah.
found in http://avalon100.tripod.com/Saturn.html
The main purpose for religious restrictions and festivities is the stabilisation of society. Law and order started as religious elements. A major role in organizing society is to be seen in the calendar's definition. In ancient times the calendar's wisdom and technology has been kept as a secret, which guaranteed power and authority. Although religious ideas may have been spread freely the calendar's details probably remained hidden as the private property of the priests. The common key to religious symbols is the fastening shackle binding a couple or more individual people, which may be identified in a number of ancient sculptures. The fastening elements are based on restrictions with respect to food, beverages, dancing, singing, sexual intercourse, etcetera. Basically modern society does not really need these restrictions as they have been superseded by several laws regulating the taxes, registrations, social contracts and an overwhelming documentation system. These fastening shackles may easily be recognized if we meet someone who is not protected by social systems. Most of the ancient symbolism has been lost, but some details may be identified as soon as the principles have been recognized. In retrospect the Fast-period, the Fasces, the yoke, the tie and the Fasti may easily be recognized as religious, fastening symbols. Although law and order may also be defined and organized in an atheistic society stability probably may still be improved by religious elements.