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STORM AT THE ORACLE - The Battle for Light


Approximately fifty years ago, Immanuel Velikovsky had a controversial theory that the planet Venus had once been a comet. He based his theory upon numerous mythical sources. They all supported his theory that the Earth had gone through numerous catastrophes and upheavals, many of which have been forgotten to humankind. Almost everyone has heard of the Biblical deluge; what many of us don’t realise is that there has also been a time of extended fire and one of extended night.  

Welcome to the mythology of the 21st century, to a new comparative mythology that transcends cultures in the quest for universal truths.  

None of this would have been possible without the research of Joseph Campbell, who dedicated his life to understanding mythology. While the main scope of the book is mythological and biblical, it also covers philosophy, religion, ancient history, astronomy and, to a lesser extent, science. If there is a message to be gained from Storm at the Oracle it is to question humanity’s past and what our roots are based upon. The amount of research in this book makes it an intrinsically academic work. However, you do not need a degree to ask your own questions of the material.

In Store Price: $32.00 
Online Price:   $31.00

ISBN: 978-1-921240-13-3
Format: A5 Paperback
Number of pages:441
Genre: Fiction/Speculative Fiction

 


Author: Justin Skarott  
Imprint: Poseidon
Publisher: Poseidon Books
Date Published:  2007
Language: English

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Foreword

Where did I get the name “The Battle for Light”? The choice of name is easily explained. In many different cultures the people have clear viewpoints on the creation of mankind. These include a belief in a universal darkness at the beginning of time. Nobody could explain when and how the darkness was overcome. Some students of mythology say the peoples living in early times thought that they were being persecuted by visitations of catastrophes through their Gods.

Should a common thread prevail throughout the spectrum of mythology, it would be discovered by focusing on catastrophic events. These included a world periodically punished by fire, ice, deluge or darkness. In the beginning was the phenomenon of a time of fire upon the earth. Men have looked to the heavens for explanations and solace through many ages. If this time of fire could be connected to the close passage of a comet, it would be seen as a calling down of judgement upon the people.

The symbolism of the comet came to be identified by the Morning Star, but it was also seen as being a serpent or dragon of fire, or even the lightning let loose after a term of imprisonment. Other depictions of the celestial body saw it as a sword or sickle, as the sun chariot or as a phoenix passing through the sky. However you might categorize it, for each culture it was the manifested terror of an end time equivalent to God and the devil, in a metaphorical final struggle between the righteous and the wicked, or the light and the darkness for creation.

In describing such a time, the people would play active or vital roles in explaining what they saw. Some saw the appearance of this fiery event as a high rider who in leaping from mountain to mountain lit the capstones in going forth, or as the Mahabhrata puts it, the friction of the trees started fire after fire, covering the mountain with flames. By comparison, Deuteronomy speaks of a malevolent God whose anger had kindled a fire that engulfed the earth, the crops and the mountains in flames.

Though you may question how many divergent texts or traditions can embody similar ideas when we look for explanations, no matter how much evidence is found there will always be an element of uncertainty. Both Plato and Genesis talk about a wickedness on earth evident among some of the oldest cultures. When I speak later of the dis-acknowledgement, I am alluding to a time when the world was seen to be without God. The rationale is that the people of this era ceased to call out to God but also that God ceased to believe in what the inhabitants of the earth were accomplishing.

Greek creation links the concept of a God blind to the people as being excessively evil, so much so that a love for heaven could not exist. God was seen to be the author of terrible retribution upon his people; in this instance, God was the father and the people were envisaged as his children. Or as a Delaware Indian chant admits, there came wickedness, crime and unhappiness followed by evil, distemper and death.

Even the Mesopotamians despised their Gods because they would not protect them and thus the people feared the forces being manifest around them. We are told when the Gods punished mankind it was because of our ignorance. The justice of the Gods was important to the Greeks though Epicurean belief was that the Gods were not interested in mankind and it may be tied in to divine law failing the people.

For the Apapocuva-Gurani Indians, after the coming of the great fire, a long night followed. Nobody could leave their homes, and they became prisons resulting in the extinction of the occupants. The Tale of Utanapisthim also records the era as a time when one person could not see another and the Gods looking down from heaven could not find the people either. In the Apocryphal Book of Adam and Eve, Adam says to God, `You cannot see me, neither can I see you,’ which is reminiscent of the time of darkness.

In Josephus, God testifies that it was not he who called down destruction on a polluted world. But if not God then who? The Arawaks had the myth of the Great Spirit who scourged the world with fire causing the community to take shelter underground. Afterwards came the Deluge. In the Book of Revelation, the Queen of Heaven says to herself, `I will see or know no sorrow’, perhaps meaning that there will be no responsibility amongst the Gods during a time of catastrophe and ruin.

The idea was that a time of darkness had passed in which there was generalized confusion and a night of prolonged seasons. The time of darkness however could be seen to be the direct offshoot of that of a volcano though there is no disputation that the eruptions were connected to stellar conflagrations. Sometimes in time of fire, deluge traditions coincided – looking at it thousands of years later makes it seem less credible, because we have to look at it rationally and we cannot relate to a world in chaos.

In the book of Psalms was the claim that we have been through both fire and flood. Tupii-Gurani myth has Monan the creator being vexed with mankind and resorting to destroying the world by fire, but there is a second powerful magician who extinguishes the conflagration through a rain storm. This is similar to another legend of Egypt in which an Ethiopian creates a fire in the palace; the God Hor reacts to this by pronouncing a spell so that the rain douses the fire.

Part of this story has the Ethiopian causing a darkness among men, though light is eventually restored. My way of looking at the biblical Deluge is tied in to a subsidence event, which acts as a catalyst for widespread global migrations. This is what I see as causing a division or separation between cultures and faiths or religions.

In many unique places, rulers claim direct descent through a celestial entrance. Perhaps one of the best passages that shows the coincidence of these times is part of the Deluge tradition: in the Akkadian Gilgamesh is the dream of the mountain falling when darkness beckons, then there’s lightning and fire and ashes. In the story of Kurma, the people stir the oceans using the golden mountain as a rod and the serpent as a rope.

While undergoing this process the mountain sinks and becomes a part of the ocean floor. Cherokee legend tells that the earth floats on the waters like a great island held by four ropes – if they ever break, the world will fall down and there will be widespread annihilation. Herodotus has Isis saving her son Apollo from Typhon the serpent by placing him on the island or ship of change.

On the transition from the Kali Yuga to the Maha Yuga, or in this case from the last age to the first age, resurrection would occur and drought would prevail until the oceans were empty. And there would be fires upon the lands then elephant clouds would bring the flood. In the Satiable Stonemason of Chinese origin, the stonemason kept sending among them scorching flames, a cloud that blackens the sun and great winds when the rock is moved aside.

Huai-Nan Tzu says that the earth could not bear all things at once; fires raged that could not be dampened and waters accumulated in vast floods. Montigy spoke about Indian traditions of the moon’s descent in the skies and of its appearance as a fiery serpent. What followed was earthquake, a permanent night and great flood. Even though our forefathers knew times of difficulty, none was seen as being as formidable as when the lord of heaven brought them these perils.

Perhaps the reason we turn to myths is that we can relate to the story no matter when it was set or why it was written. We find in these stories something about ourselves, maybe a solution to our way of life – the reality that though we all live and die that something lives on around us and that we can find something more profound than our own perception of the world and how it changes.

About the Author

JUSTIN SKAROTT was born in Darwin , Australia and calls Cairns home above any other place. He is currently single.

The author has an academic background and has specialised in comparative mythology for over five years. For several years, he studied archaeology and ancient history at the University of New England .

He has been writing fiction for over ten years and has produced several titles including Shadows Recollecting, also published by Poseidon Books. He is currently working on a sequel to Shadows Recollecting, titled The Reflections of Light.

Storm at the Oracle: the Battle for Light is the culmination of four years’ mythological research. 

Chapter 1 - On Culture, Language and Legend

If you are looking for a universal truth, everything in the world and all that lives has a song or a story. It is said those who have the same voices call to one another. Because they are alike they have identical opinions and might have the same destination. Consider the universe as being a performance in which each star plays its part; as long as the music continues the stars and constellations keep their places.

Everywhere there is a rhythm, in every action from the smallest creature to the entire universe. Qabbalah believes the power of the human sacred music has an effect in the celestial realms.

Our most profound theories and thoughts could be like tunes which seem familiar to us even if we have never heard them before or know them, even if they are directions in which life takes us with fate and destiny acting as notes in the song of life. Another way of saying it is as the sound of thunder or a collective cry calling for attention, or it might be said the blood surging through your body also surges through the harmony of the world itself.

Legends are significant if they apply to our own verse in life and make sense on a personal level. If there was a story of a hero it could be set to song and it would then be an inspiration for those who followed. Many people make the mistake of thinking that all language is spoken; in some societies, whistle, bell and drum languages co-existed with the spoken language. The reason archaeology exists is that people are searching beneath the earth to illuminate past events. Some might even believe that the creation of the earth was a conspiracy in which the world was set up to conceal God’s reality from us.

Entering a forest you might find lost ruins. Why would anyone believe that someone had once lived there. Perhaps the abandoned city would be regarded as just as lost as the probability of stumbling across it. Such discoveries would be like a blind man taking a jewel from a rubbish heap. He would not be able to attach value to it and would think nothing of it. Individuals who think they know where they are going could be seen to be walking in forests or travelling through paths built by other generations of which they have no knowledge and are yet dependent on.

It seems the rediscovery of the past through archaeology has occurred in comparatively little more than a few centuries foresight. Whether we like it or not we will approach our work with a bias and discrimination that has been determined by our own view of history. Today we imagine the past in terms of foundations which have been built over. We do not imagine history is concerned with present events or said to be happening around us. Geologists recognised earthquakes and volcanoes could be truly catastrophic in nature. Grabau, a Neocatastrophist, believed the history of the earth could be understood through the cyclical changes in sea level.

If you thought you had a message which seemed clear cut, through all the turmoils of history, then the aim was to have an idea which went beyond what anyone else had said. You had to believe that there was something fascinating or aesthetic to the story so that it would continue to captivate through successive generations. In a sense, ancestral beliefs were as dangerous as propaganda; the messages that they created would be manipulating the view of the masses if the propositions were accepted. In a sense, the legends and myths of religion were more risky than leadership, because the politician or orator could be substituted while a system of beliefs transcended culture. African legend has a taboo against the trading of cultural ideals. By comparison Lucretius spoke of terror tales as being common knowledge; they caused a rift between storytellers.

Comparative mythology was conceived in 1856 by Max Muller who at the time was working with the Indo European language idea. Modern scholars do not accept a universal interpretation of mythology, because when you asked why virtually the same myths are found in different corners of the earth and you begin to ask more than what could be coherently explained. The implications of a common system of myths evident among all peoples raised the issue of how widely separated peoples could develop stories that were the same. Could the myths of certain societies be disguised as modern stories transformed into less familiar forms not so readily perceptible or meaningful to us today due to a lack of recognition of the contexts in which they emerged.

By always choosing how to classify myths, you decided whether they should be treated as events or if they had been modelled on such diverse subjects as containing the defects of culture. The African people label Western culture as being essentially blind, and that our belief is that we take nothing for granted unless we can see it happening before our eyes.

Even the Popul Vuh holds similar sentiments. When the vision of individuals is limited and our foresight is dim we can only see what is directly before us and not what is around us. What complicates myth is our acceptance of them based upon utterances of reality and the fact that they have left behind the structures or contexts that initiated them. To some these traditions were revered as being more reliable than history. Perhaps our biggest failing is that we perceive ourselves as grasping the truth more clearly or as solving all the problems that had been faced by our ancestors.

For some people to have their sacred stories downgraded to myths would be insulting. If identity was calculated through myth then their meaning or purpose revealed something to us long before they became the communal voice. Sometimes there were no boundaries between people’s stories and the environments in which they lived. As long as people had stories to fall back on they had some rules or ethics to guide them but if they had no tales to tell, it appeared that they would not know how to act. Often the storyteller was a translator between forgotten worlds. If their message was overlooked who knew what would be the ramifications? In The Ghost Dance cultural heroes and the ancestors of the past were no longer regarded as being gods, but only men like ourselves.

Tradition as the Imperfect Translation

It is remarkable that anyone could tailor the legends of the world to their own purposes when so few know them well; it would be akin to describing a nation that no one remembers. Joseph Campbell in Myths to Live By states that without mankind’s ability to fall back on myth and religion there would be no law and that people need illusions or symbols. Disequilibrium follows in the absence of direction and the world becomes a thief. The problem with legends is that they come to us indirectly. When we see or hear them we don’t know how much. One interpretation of these traditions suggests that they may be moulded together or that the contents of these stories can be described as psychology and politics. Ancient legends are compared to a horse race in which it isn’t always the most popular stories that endure or the ones that can go the distance. Along the way anything can happen.

At any stage of its existence, a myth might face extinction. If a culture was in transition both their knowledge and stories might be lost or corrupted. Sometimes legends were spoken of in alehouses and any member of the community could relate to them, though they could be limited to the education or wisdom of the storyteller.

Almost anyone can tell a cheap story but few can base them on facts and deliver it as if their life depended upon the telling. A common belief was that you couldn’t walk away from a story unless you knew every aspect of it. There was always the danger that a myth would change each time it was told, but because these instructions were believed to be sacred truths, they might seem more like rehearsals or imitations being passed on instead of real events.

In the past because the earth appeared untamed and unresolved, its size created a lasting impression upon the minds of its inhabitants, nations sprang up distant from one another but communications between neighbouring states were often obscure relations that seemed little more than alienated tales. The problem with fables is that they could create entire events which could not readily be proved or disproved.

You could always condemn a myth because it did not distinguish the difference between the object the myth portrayed and the idea which was being posited.

If the truth of a myth could not be answered or believed in, then these accounts were like riddles which would eventually die out regardless of cultural integrity. There was always a connection of myths to primitive peoples which suggested the stories lacked truthfulness. You could alternatively explain myths as being the remnants of the powerful chants of the shamans. By dreaming of the Gods or ancestors you could receive shamanic powers, myths or learn songs. It is said that the same oral tales are found in Europe, the Middle East and India making these tales all related despite the fact that there is no simple explanation for why they seem alike. One of the explanations for their motives or plots is to say that the legends took their origins from rapturous journeys which involved the shamans’ travels in the spirit world.

What people sought in myths was a moral or a message, something by which they could measure themselves and which would either guide or mislead their society.

The paradox of classic storytelling is that those who told the tales often presented more questions than answers. One view is that in the future we will need a stronger story or message than any of our ancestors gave us. Mythical motifs could be dubbed ‘collective’ elements or even seen as ‘memory deposits’ so that we have a criticism of our ancestors’ minds.

One view of mythology is that the events represented sprang up out of nature as if nature was a language so that all mankind had to do was to listen. The purpose of these stories was that they were an interpretation of the world but also a way of living a balanced life. Among the questions that remain with myth was what happened if the stories vanished but you didn’t know where the customs had come from. Henrich Schliemann should always be mentioned as someone who utilised myths as being historical and turned them into reality. By doing so he applied archaeology in an unconventional manner that few would have expected.

Arguments in Myths

There is the comparison of myth to being a ‘mighty weapon’ which could overcome any threats that come along the way. That myths were taken across the oceans and continents is not entirely strange; that different peoples could hold the same ideologies and at the same time could not understand one another and yet see myth as being a gateway. The storytellers who were proficient at telling their stories could unfold one story within another. At times having a story was a bit like having a claim to existence. As long as your children had their own legend of who they were, their lives and what they could achieve were reinforced as an unlimited frontier.

The setting in which storytelling took place was usually at night by a fire or at meal times. What carried the legend was that it could strike upon a common experience and be retold thousands of times so that it would never be forgotten. Sometimes the power of a message could be carried for a thousand miles and all that it would take was one word. In the modern world rumours are like wildfire. Information is so readily available that it is no longer the privilege of a few unique individuals as it was in the earliest epochs.

One rationalization of myth is that at its core there is a universal life or mystical gateway and that in life we are living by reflections and impressions of it. If there are sceptics of myth it was that they appeared untrue or not serious and that they are based on illusions or falsehoods. You could call myth a misaligned version of history in which the figures are elevated to being gods. What we remember of the past were situations which only lasted as long as we could remember. Beyond that were the legends which remained as timeless as the stars.

Often the boundary between myth and religion is indistinguishable; myth in a sense was a channel through which the sources of the universe passed. These sources were outlets in which all truths were put under the microscope before they expanded out into the macrocosm. Overall it was surprising that oral traditions withstood the test of time. They usually revolved around descriptions of the world as being a test or ordeal but also had the world’s character magnified in power.

These stories weathered the testimonies of time and those who told them were seen as being the focal points of the past and future. They were guides in human endeavours as well as the health and well-being of the community. In order to find reality or claim an identity by having a personal myth something larger than life echoed in the profundity of your soul. Similar explanations were made of heroes; those who died with a story lived on as an immortal. It is also said that it would be pointless trying to understand myths if you didn’t have your own ability to create them. Aristotle had seen myths as comprising knowledge because they would fascinate those who heard them.

Because myths were based on symbols they were based on two separate realities – the structure of the tale and the messages hidden from the reader or audience. In native American tradition we are told of the talking stone which said, stories are eternal like the stars that shine forever but never fade. It was also said that all the wisdom we have comes from the stars and that each tale is a gift of life though more precious than life itself. The second Peter talks about the ‘cunningly devised fables’ as being in themselves centres for the ‘power and coming of the lord.’

Carl Jung refers to the myth as being found through the inner vision of first sight, but also through the external sight of eternal images. Euhemerus the Macedonian suggested that all myth and legend did not merely contain the reflection of truth but that they all to a certain extent stem in manner, shape or form from historical events. Myth was also the coded indication of the central values of a society, but if a society coexisted with other societies in witnessing common events then we have an overlap of cataclysmic events. These seem to predominate through the entire spectrum of cultural myths.

With the passage of time the secret and sacred primitive beliefs diminish. As they become common and no longer sacred there is what we call a progressive diminishment and the out-phasing of traditions. If you were to view legends as being the keepers of lost secrets then there would be no difference between a legend and revelation. One version of the oral or Bardic tale admits to the memory of the stories as being a subconscious process which gives us only the skeleton of the original so that each oral stage becomes tainted by the creativity of the storyteller.

Plato hypothesizes myth as being the direct offspring of time and successive ages in which cities have had the recreation to reflect upon where they have been thereby creating philosophical tales. A view of similarities in language or in this case story assimilation is that prolonged contact between cultures comes only with extreme intermixing and the absence of isolation. There was one view that it was only after mankind had achieved a certain level of abundance that the people also found peace or tranquillity, after which the people became alienated to the concepts of wars and bloodshed.

At times, the influence of culture has been regarded as more dangerous than flood or fire or drought. Native peoples could withstand all of these but they could not withstand civilisation. Typically, myths represented a common connection within a group through which everyone knew themselves; foremost in their mind were conflagrations. One goal of the progression into language was that historians might hope to learn how we had evolved out of barbarism. Fundamental to this was the connection between primitive peoples and deities of the sky. For the continuance of any culture, the backbone was power, the power to influence another race and the ability to be included in numerous places at the one time.

Symbols, Language and the Logos

You can recollect within a word or phrase memories of the past, the oldest words having three or four different meanings. Language could always be seen as a determinant of thought, of our customs or attitudes to life. One of the mystical capabilities of language was the belief that symbols contained energies. If these energies were reproduced they would be a ramification. Another way of saying this was that when you spoke words each word contained a vibration. Words represented the beginning of life and creation as occurring by the most sacred and powerful of languages. Buddhist philosophy was that because words and ideas make no sense on their own they are reliant on other words and ideas and are merely constructs of consciousness. The word or logos was seen to be a bridge between the hidden world and our own manifest world. For Egypt and Mesopotamia , creation occurs through the power of the holy name. Even the Zohar regarded particular expressions as putting divine elements into action. We have similar renderings of some deities, whose names could not be said without far-reaching ramifications.

They might be at times songs and echoes of thoughts mirrored on a people’s memory of immense events. If there is a contradiction in symbolism it is not in how people interpret their world, because a majority of people have essentially the same instinct. The older languages were, the more they were supported by and relied upon metaphors. No matter how we look at language, it is only because of philosophy that we give meaning to language. Where language has dimensions it is because man created them.

In China , the afterlife was conceived as a perpetuation of mortal life. For this culture, not to respect one’s ancestors meant earthly disaster. Star worship is an extension of ancestor worship; rulers could claim an ultimate initiation to kingship though this is emphasized by the great house or heavenly dwelling.

A people might take part in star dances in order for their lives to be like those in heaven. Urbanisation has always been treated as an alienating factor which results in the dissonance of traditional culture. There is the view of Ed Sapir’s that mankind is a prisoner of language. Names could always be misleading because the material with which they dealt remained the same but the names themselves would change over time.

If I ask you what the Summit is all about, the Summit is all about how I found my own myth, a myth about initiation and about how people live for the stories that somehow are more important then their own lives. It’s about taking risks and sacrificing everything you’ve got to a higher cause. It’s about people like you and me and living up to your destiny and holding nothing back.

   

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