David Mathisen is changing the way we think about Hercules |337|

On the question of consciousness research that used to be more of a focus for the show, I think the problem is we might have exhausted a lot of the introductory materials in mainstream philosophy and science as well as parapsychology?
maybe some of that, but also some "when you get the message hang up the phone" -- Alan Watts. I've concluded that most of the forward progress to be made requires pursuing spiritual questions... most of the "sciency stuff" is a smokescreen.

-The idea that academia is completely hostile to non-materialist ideas, or that every materialist is the same, isn't an accurate picture. Searle, as an anti-computationalist, is a far different materialist than your run of the mill "skeptic" waiting to upload his brain. I mean he's wrong, as all materialists are, but he also did say there are no materialist theories philosophers just fear dualism.
true, but I've concluded (as everyone has heard :)) this can only be understood thru a conspiratorial lens. as I mentioned in 328 (http://skeptiko.com/the-psych-files-darly-bem-parapsychology-psyop-328/) if you think Richard Wiseman opposes parapsychology on intellectual grounds then you're just chasing your tail... as I did for 5-6 years on Skeptiko :)[/QUOTE][/QUOTE]
 
Perhaps the original 12 labors of Herakles were all astrological, not just some of them, but when people made up other heroic adventures, the most entertaining ones became the standard 12. (This creative storytelling process is evident in Theseus’ 12 labors, which are like a one-upmanship of heroism to those of Herakles’ 12. This also parallels the one-upmanship in politics, of Athens (Theseus’ homeland) versus the Doric city-states (where Herakles was most popular).
great point... we could be looking at a lotta of reworking and reimagaining of the "orignail" teachings.


And if one looks for a paper trail about these elements of our polytheistic past (especially the surviving ones/the deepest ones(?), such as days of the week and planet names), we have almost NO evidence remaining. Why is this? How could this be? And to make matters worse, monotheists claim that THEY “saved” the ancient knowledge for us! (They just have to pretend that the following never happened: the destruction of ALL the collections of the Great Library of Alexandria, plus other libraries, plus the systematic iconoclasms, plus the murder of Hypatia and other polytheists who had knowledge of the collections, etc…)
great stuff. thx.
 
Point taken, and I think what you say is correct. And just because there are less myths about Kronos than Zeus, it doesn't mean Kronos is less anthropomorphic.

As I'm sure you know (so mainly for other readers), the ancients would typically trace the meaning(s) of divinities back to their etymology: e.g. "Ouranos" literally means "heaven" (and, leaving aside Velikovsky's theory, the planet Uranus was not visible without a telescope); "Kronos" literally means "time"; and "Zeus" in ancient Greek was pronounced "Zdeus", so one can see the closeness to the Latin word "deus", and also related words in other languages such as "deva" (Sanskrit), "Tivar" (Germanic), etc. which all have a meaning of something that shines.

David, I'm glad you keep referencing Gobekli Tepe, because that archaeological find isn't well known enough, and it blows out of the water the mainstream timeline on the "progress" of civilization.

Btw, I looked up at Orion yesterday evening, and your research really inspires one to appreciate the heavens more.

Thank you, and I'll keep in touch.

Nelson
Thank you Nelson -- and thanks for the "btw" about looking up at Orion! So dazzling this time of year.

Totally agree on the etymology point. And see also the name of Dionysos (the Dios or Zeus of Nysa -- some may enjoy the blog post here) and the name of the Dioscuri (the youths of Zeus) -- blog post here discusses their location in the sky and also some of their possible esoteric meaning.

I also believe (following some of the assertions of writers from previous centuries) that there may be a linguistic or etymological connection between the name of Jupiter (Zeus the Father, or Zu Pater or Iu Pater [that is an upper-case "i" at the front, even though in this font is might look like a lower-case "L," and we know that the Latin alphabet used "i" for what we in later centuries might designate with a "j"]) or Jove and the divine names we find recorded in the Biblical texts, as well as (potentially) to the Egyptian god Ptah which is probably related to Put / Fut / Buddha and also to Pythagoras and the Therapeutae and even potentially Manitou etc. Some discussion of these ideas can be found in a blog post here for those interested.

Hope everyone who is able to do so can spend time regularly to appreciate the heavens more! I've said elsewhere that it is a little like going to a bar or pub: if you start going regularly, the people who were initially strangers will become familiar, and eventually will become old friends!

Cheers,

David
 
I came across this article and thought this might be an appropriate place to post:

http://www.nbcnews.com/mach/space/here-s-what-it-will-take-reclaim-night-sky-n710766

Being an urban/suburban dweller my entire life, I have cherished the small amount of time I've spent away from ambient man-made light. The night sky, when unobstructed by the light we generate, is an amazing sight. It does make me think we have closed ourselves off to this wonder to some impact...?..?..?
 
I came across this article and thought this might be an appropriate place to post:

http://www.nbcnews.com/mach/space/here-s-what-it-will-take-reclaim-night-sky-n710766

Being an urban/suburban dweller my entire life, I have cherished the small amount of time I've spent away from ambient man-made light. The night sky, when unobstructed by the light we generate, is an amazing sight. It does make me think we have closed ourselves off to this wonder to some impact...?..?..?
It's important. When I was a child I could step outside our house and gaze in wonder at the stars. Nowadays, all that's visible is the very brightest objects, which means planets such as Jupiter, Mars and Venus. It's a great loss of our natural heritage.
 
A few questions/thoughts I had as I listened to the episode:

1. it seems to me that there is no need to be "inspired directly from the source" every time these concepts are expressed to pass on these stories in the proposed "language". In fact, I was imagining how I could incorporate this "language" into my art as I listened to the espisode. Once you grasp the core scenarios and interactions, it would be easy to reinterpret them from a new perspective. Even having them apply to pop culture if you see fit.

I may not know karate, but I can see the wax-on metaphor and make my own and apply it to my own re-telling. I don't think one needs any deep esoteric knowldge in order to express the "cover story" elements. Once the pattern is deduced ("include a kneeling warrior with a club", etc) you can mimic the pattern without any deeper understanding.

In fact, if there is a language/pattern/message, that might be part of the intention. Like a catchy melody, use a transmission system that itself will get passed along — hopefully dragging along some of the deeper stuff with it.

I loved the earlier post about the night sky being something that would transcend time, culture and damage.

2. While I've no doubt Mathisen is on to something here (and by his own admission, it's really not his insight), I'm not so sure the examples he's provided point to a coherent story. I think that is key.

Yes, the Hanuman pose and the Hecules poses are incredibly compelling correlations. But if in the context of the storyline for each, the same storyline isn't being presented, then I'm not so sure how one can point to some unified and codified language being expressed.

If in all cultures, the "Warrior With Club" character in myth performs similar actions and is also associated with the same stars in the night sky, then yes — that's quite interesting. But as far as I can gather from skimming Mathisen's site(s), that sort of coherence isn't to be found. I could be way off here, but if he does have these correlations they need to be brought to the forefront in his proposal of this concept.

From culture to culture, there should be a pretty predictable "story" in the night sky, told with similar characters and proceeding linearly in a similar fashion.

It seems to me that a multitude of characters and myths within even one culture (like the Greeks) are being projected on to a limited set of star formations. The "Warrior With Club" can't be Hercules and be the Gorgons, and be many other character from the Greek myths. Unless it is being argued that these overlaid stories are by later cultures? That's not the gist I got from his site.

It would seem the ecliptic provides a pretty fixed framework for the canvas on which to flesh out this story. The Zodiac being the A-list characters, with all the supporting roles filled by the lesser stars (pun intended).

In my mind, this would result in just one battle of Hercules with story elements related to the surrounding constellations. And that's it for Hercules' story in the "Big Picture" (as well as "using up" those sets of stars).

3. I suspect, at the very least, that the mythologies are a mnemonic device for learning to memorize the night sky. For what purpose, I've no idea. Navigation comes to mind. But the ancients had an obsession with the stars and planets that seems to go beyond functional. But I always look for the basics first: food/water production/preservation.

So I think memorizing the night sky had essential survival value, even if we do not know what that was.

I do think that he brings up some interesting parallels and correlations, but without an underlying narrative surfacing and expressing itself, I have a tough time accepting a deep unification behind it all.

Show me Hanuman and Hercules in similar roles, situations and outcomes and I'll need to give it all a second look.
 
thanks for your questions

I am sorry that one interview plus "skimming through" my website does not produce enough evidence to conclude that there is a deep unification behind it all.

that is why I have written the multi-volume series (at present, three volumes) Star Myths of the World, and how to interpret them. The purpose of that series is twofold: to provide an abundance of examples from around the world in order to establish that there is in fact deep unification behind it all, and secondly to impart the "grammar" and "logic" of the system so that the reader can understand how to see it for himself or herself.

it truly is like learning a new language -- and you cannot expect to be able to understand it until you spend some time learning its symbols. 道可道 非常道 名可名 非常名

however, I believe it is fairly easy to "show Hanuman and Hercules in similar roles."

In the ancient Sansrkit epic Mahabharata, there are five brothers known as the Pandavas: Yudhisthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva (the pronunciation of their names in Hindi typically leaves off the final "a" sound in each case). The second of these five, Bhima, is known for his tremendous strength, as well as for his weapon, a terrible mace of enormous size. Even from these two details alone we might suspect that he is a figure who resembles Hercules or Heracles -- and if you read the Mahabharata you will see that in temperament and in many of his adventures, he matches Heracles or Hercules quite well. When he is a child, for instance, there is an episode in which his resentful cousin tries to poison him, and Bhima falls senseless into a deep pool and is attacked by venomous serpents, but vanquishes them -- not an exact match for the episode in which Heracles as a child strangles two serpents sent to assassinate him in his bed, but similar enough to see that parallels can be drawn. Mahabharata I.123.

Now the interesting thing about the Pandavas is that they are not actually the literal sons of Pandu (it's a long story, involving a curse from a Rishi), but rather the sons of different gods called upon by their two mothers (because of the curse of the Rishi, which prevents Pandu from having sexual intercourse with anyone or he will die). The deity who is Bhima's actual father is Vayu -- the wind god. And, I have shown by my analysis in Volumes One, Two and Three that the constellation Hercules is closely associated with a wind or a whirlwind in many myths (if you look at the diagrams in my books of the stars themselves you will readily see why). I can show example after example to establish this.

Now, in the Mahabharata, there is actually an encounter between Bhima (the Herculean figure) and the god Hanuman. It is a delightful episode, and worth reading in the original text if possible (not being able to read Sanskrit, I use an English translation). You can find that encounter, beginning in Mahabharata 3.145 here (Ganguli translation). In 3.146, Hanuman reveals to Bhima that Hanuman is in fact a god, and the son of the same wind-god who is in fact the divine father of Bhima. Then, in 3.148, Bhima is described as being filled with affection for his brother, now that he knows Hanuman is his brother.

This clearly establishes a connection between Hanuman and Bhima -- they are the same constellation, and related to the wind-god because the constellation Hercules can be seen as both a divine wind and as a powerful figure with a great mace or club (and also as a figure with a monkey tail, which is why there is a Hanuman banner above the chariot of Arjuna and Krishna in the great battle of Kurukshetra -- but to understand that best, I recommend looking at the diagrams in Star Myths of the World, Volume One, or in some of the videos I have made about the Bhagavad Gita, or in the "Myths" section of my website Star Myth World, dot com).

Since we have already established a connection between Bhima and Heracles, I would argue that this establishes a very powerful connection between Hanuman and Heracles.

The ancient system uses the same constellation in many different "avatars" -- sometimes within the very same story.

I would argue that it is for much more than navigation, or for remembering the stars, or for procuring the means of survival. As you point out, the level of "obsession" goes far beyond anything necessary for that. In the span of time since I was posting some of the earlier replies on this forum, I have made another video to present some arguments on that subject, which you may or may not find convincing -- it is called "The Trinomial Cube and Humanity's Ancient Myths."

I hope that this reply will be helpful to you and / or to others who sense that "there is something here" but may be having difficulty with the assertion that an underlying system with very specific ways of characterizing specific constellations can be shown to be in operation literally around the globe. The level of specificity and (I would argue) "obscurity" in some of the specific correspondences, as well as the sheer number of the correspondences, argues strongly against the idea that these different cultures arrived at similar interpretations for constellations independently of one another. But in order to really see those correspondences, the only real way is to examine a great number of myths from a great number of different cultures.
 
A few questions/thoughts I had as I listened to the episode:
thx for adding some very interesting ideas to this thread, George. Pls allow me to add a skeptiko angle to David's excellent response:

1. it seems to me that there is no need to be "inspired directly from the source" every time these concepts are expressed to pass on these stories in the proposed "language". In fact, I was imagining how I could incorporate this "language" into my art as I listened to the espisode. Once you grasp the core scenarios and interactions, it would be easy to reinterpret them from a new perspective. Even having them apply to pop culture if you see fit.
right, but it doesn't answer, why. Why are similar star myths culture cornerstones for many different groups of people.


3. I suspect, at the very least, that the mythologies are a mnemonic device for learning to memorize the night sky. For what purpose, I've no idea... So I think memorizing the night sky had essential survival value, even if we do not know what that was.
not sure I see yr point. explain how Pacific Islanders and Norseman, and landlocked native Americans could share myths about "food/water production/preservation."
 
thanks for your questions

I am sorry that one interview plus "skimming through" my website does not produce enough evidence to conclude that there is a deep unification behind it all.

that is why I have written the multi-volume series (at present, three volumes) Star Myths of the World, and how to interpret them. The purpose of that series is twofold: to provide an abundance of examples from around the world in order to establish that there is in fact deep unification behind it all, and secondly to impart the "grammar" and "logic" of the system so that the reader can understand how to see it for himself or herself.
As far as skimming your site and listing to the interview, I realize this can't offer the same depth of information that all your books provide, but I do not exhaustively research every new alternative theory I come across. In some part, it's up to the author to have a succinct way to get the core concepts across to someone coming to their material without any background.

The posts on this thread show that I am not the only one having trouble wrapping their minds around what exactly it is you're trying to get across. But I do appreciate you taking the time throughout this thread to try an make it all more clear.

As far as your comparisons between Hanuman and Hercules, you mention:

Now, in the Mahabharata, there is actually an encounter between Bhima (the Herculean figure) and the god Hanuman. It is a delightful episode, and worth reading in the original text if possible (not being able to read Sanskrit, I use an English translation). You can find that encounter, beginning in Mahabharata 3.145 here (Ganguli translation). In 3.146, Hanuman reveals to Bhima that Hanuman is in fact a god, and the son of the same wind-god who is in fact the divine father of Bhima. Then, in 3.148, Bhima is described as being filled with affection for his brother, now that he knows Hanuman is his brother.

This clearly establishes a connection between Hanuman and Bhima -- they are the same constellation
I do not see how this "clearly establishes" any connection besides them interacting in the same story.

I'm confused as to how Hanuman and Bhima can interact, yet be the same constellation. Many of your example show interactions as taking place between different (nearby) constellations. I'd argue that the fact that they are different characters precludes them from being the same constellation.

I was hoping for a more direct comparison, such as your excellent "jawbone weapon" example from the interview. If the Hanuman story had him using an object that could be equated to the same stars used as the "jawbone" (Samson) or club (Hercules), that would be very compelling coupled with the Hanuman poses you've presented (assuming of course those Hanuman poses are widespread and consistently implemented).

I find the Hercules-Hanuman association via Bhima a bit tenuous to be honest. The snake incident you mention in Bhima's story correlates to Hercules, but Bhima's interaction with Hanuman doesn't make them the same character, and I'm not sure how you can say that makes them the same constellation.

These sorts of vague correlations point more towards a "telephone game" origin for these stories (similar elements from a common source, jumbled up in various retellings from generation to generation or culture to culture) than some sort of coherent message being expressed across cultures.

Thank you for taking the time to explain. I'm doing my best to wrap my head around this, and true to the namesake of this forum, I always approach big claims with a skeptical perspective. My challenges don't necessarily imply disbelief — consider me a "Devils' Advocate".
 
thx for adding some very interesting ideas to this thread, George. Pls allow me to add a skeptiko angle to David's excellent response:

right, but it doesn't answer, why. Why are similar star myths culture cornerstones for many different groups of people.
I agree 100%. I do not have an answer for this. I listened to this episode because that very question has haunted me for decades.

I will say that I tend to try to first look for mundane explanations these days (having been burned by overzealously embracing alternative theories in the past), so I am a bit resistant to the jump to "divine inspiration". I am not opposed to the divine inspiration explanation, but I think the possibility a mundane explanation needs to be explored far more fully first.

Religious people today fervently believe, embrace and re-tell their myths, but without any direct experience to whatever events inspired those stories in the first place. This has been going on for thousands of years in some cases. So none of them are inspired from the original source, yet the beliefs and re-telling of the myths persists.

To me, this parallels what happened with the ancient star myth cultures and the proposed unknown core mother civilization that inspired them all, with each historical culture spinning off their version and mixing up the details a bit through the retelling.

Again, I realize this doesn't explain why the fixation on stars for the original culture. But seeing as how this purported "seed culture" (which I think existed) has yet to be conclusively proven to exist, I think just getting to the point where we can point to the origin of these star myths is a great step.

Since we don't even know "who" seeded these stories, it seems a misplaced effort to skip that and go to the "why".

not sure I see yr point. explain how Pacific Islanders and Norseman, and landlocked native Americans could share myths about "food/water production/preservation."
The myths would not be about food/water production/preservation, but the tools to provide those. I am (speculatively) suggesting that perhaps a core survival technique was the ability to travel long distances to procure food or water. Either by land or by sea. A robust and infallible navigation tool would be necessary, particularly if the journeys were long in distance and/or time.

I'm suggesting that maybe using the stars as navigation tools was an essential survival tool, thus the emphasis put upon it as a cultural cornerstone.

Again, this is just armchair speculation, looking for a more practical and mundane solution. I am not proposing this to solve the riddle of the star myths, nor as a refutation of Mathisen's work/theory. Just food for thought. More "Devil's Advocate" thinking.

I read an article years ago (and cannot find a link) about this so-called "primitive" culture who navigated a multitude of distant islands in the Pacific oceans, using only a method that employed an extensive mental catalog of the stars (it was quite ingenious). To survive, they had to know the stars and celestial mechanics intimately.

If your life literally depended on this knowledge, it would take primacy in your culture. Perhaps the stories are as I suggested a mnemonic device to help people learn these methods. I think there is plenty of evidence that ancient cultures were traveling across vast oceanic distances, and this could account for the dissemination of the star myths to these remote cultures. The star myths both enabled the sea travel and resulted in the dissemination.

Once arriving at the remote location, through retelling these myths take on the local flavors and idiosyncrasies that keep these myths as being literally the same story — rather, the incorporate elements that hint at a common source.

If there were a non-mundane, direct inspiration to these myths, I would expect to see far more concordance between cultures. Instead, we see echoes, innuendo and correlations. This to me points to an indirect handed-down transmission.

Again, I still think the preoccupation with the stars probably transcends the mundane explanation (even my own). But that doesn't mean the next step is to assume divine inspiration.

My aim here is to see if Mathisen is correct by dismantling possible alternatives and objections.
 
I agree 100%. I do not have an answer for this. I listened to this episode because that very question has haunted me for decades.

I will say that I tend to try to first look for mundane explanations these days (having been burned by overzealously embracing alternative theories in the past), so I am a bit resistant to the jump to "divine inspiration". I am not opposed to the divine inspiration explanation, but I think the possibility a mundane explanation needs to be explored far more fully first.

Religious people today fervently believe, embrace and re-tell their myths, but without any direct experience to whatever events inspired those stories in the first place. This has been going on for thousands of years in some cases. So none of them are inspired from the original source, yet the beliefs and re-telling of the myths persists.

To me, this parallels what happened with the ancient star myth cultures and the proposed unknown core mother civilization that inspired them all, with each historical culture spinning off their version and mixing up the details a bit through the retelling.

Again, I realize this doesn't explain why the fixation on stars for the original culture. But seeing as how this purported "seed culture" (which I think existed) has yet to be conclusively proven to exist, I think just getting to the point where we can point to the origin of these star myths is a great step.

Since we don't even know "who" seeded these stories, it seems a misplaced effort to skip that and go to the "why".



The myths would not be about food/water production/preservation, but the tools to provide those. I am (speculatively) suggesting that perhaps a core survival technique was the ability to travel long distances to procure food or water. Either by land or by sea. A robust and infallible navigation tool would be necessary, particularly if the journeys were long in distance and/or time.

I'm suggesting that maybe using the stars as navigation tools was an essential survival tool, thus the emphasis put upon it as a cultural cornerstone.

Again, this is just armchair speculation, looking for a more practical and mundane solution. I am not proposing this to solve the riddle of the star myths, nor as a refutation of Mathisen's work/theory. Just food for thought. More "Devil's Advocate" thinking.

I read an article years ago (and cannot find a link) about this so-called "primitive" culture who navigated a multitude of distant islands in the Pacific oceans, using only a method that employed an extensive mental catalog of the stars (it was quite ingenious). To survive, they had to know the stars and celestial mechanics intimately.

If your life literally depended on this knowledge, it would take primacy in your culture. Perhaps the stories are as I suggested a mnemonic device to help people learn these methods. I think there is plenty of evidence that ancient cultures were traveling across vast oceanic distances, and this could account for the dissemination of the star myths to these remote cultures. The star myths both enabled the sea travel and resulted in the dissemination.

Once arriving at the remote location, through retelling these myths take on the local flavors and idiosyncrasies that keep these myths as being literally the same story — rather, the incorporate elements that hint at a common source.

If there were a non-mundane, direct inspiration to these myths, I would expect to see far more concordance between cultures. Instead, we see echoes, innuendo and correlations. This to me points to an indirect handed-down transmission.

Again, I still think the preoccupation with the stars probably transcends the mundane explanation (even my own). But that doesn't mean the next step is to assume divine inspiration.

My aim here is to see if Mathisen is correct by dismantling possible alternatives and objections.
Thanks for these replies (mainly to points raised by Alex, but I will jump in also since these are also topics in which I am very interested and about which I have spent some time pondering).

First, to answer the very final point / objection raised in your reply that is numbered #191, I certainly agree that we must look at all possible explanations (as well as admitting that there may be explanations we have yet to imagine, one of which may also be the actual explanation), rather than "jump to" or "assume" any single explanation and assert it dogmatically.

I myself certainly do not "assume divine inspiration" or assert that dogmatically as the solution, although I also do not rule it out as a possibility.

I also do not "assume alien intervention," although there are many who will assert that possibility as the only explanation (and they can be quite dogmatic about it). On the other hand, I do not categorically rule it out as a possibility, although as I said in the interview, I do not believe it is a necessary conclusion at all.

I personally believe that the evidence we have at hand is beginning to paint a more and more compelling picture that argues for an extremely ancient civilization. This evidence is actually fairly extensive. Authors and researchers such as Graham Hancock, John Anthony West, Robert Bauval, Robert Schoch, and many others have written about this evidence for decades, much of it focused on monuments at Giza including the Sphinx and the giant pyramids (far larger and using much larger stones, as well as different types of stones, than the later pyramids), underwater ruins, Central American pyramids and monuments and artwork, mysterious South Pacific megalithic construction, Nazca lines, acoustics at sites such as Stonehenge and the Malta megalithic chambers, etc. I have written many blog posts about various aspects of this evidence, such as evidence found at Nabta Playa, evidence in the apparent location of ancient sites on "great circle lines" evincing understanding of the size and shape of the globe (not to mention the evidence in the Great Pyramid at Giza and at other sites which appear to evince understanding of the size and shape of the globe), mummies and human remains found in various parts of the world which appear to defy conventional paradigms of ancient human history, etc.

While people like Graham Hancock, Robert Schoch and John West (and their predecessors) have been writing about this evidence for many decades, their arguments have been (I believe) given a serious boost of support in the past two decades by the excavations at Gobekli Tepe, which are positively paradigm-busting in their importance, showing evidence of extensive and advanced stoneworking at incredibly remote dates (apparently completed by 10,000 BC or thereabouts). I believe that this site provides one of the strongest new pieces of evidence supporting the "extremely ancient, and at present pretty-much mysterious-and-unknown" culture (cultures) or civilization (civilizations), and have a lengthy blog post discussing its significance -- and potential significance in light of the evidence of worldwide dispersion of what appears to be a common system of celestial metaphor (again, I would emphasize that the common elements and details in this system are quite "obscure" and also specific, not to mention incredibly widespread and numerous, arguing against "coincident" development in isolation across many different cultures acting without knowledge of one another).

Gobekli Tepe (and the other evidence for an ancient culture / civilization predating ancient Egypt and ancient Mesopotamia etc) is very important, because despite the evidence of ancient ability to navigate across the oceans (which is denied by most conventional academic paradigms but, as you point out, supported by extensive evidence), I do not believe that a good explanation for the commonalities in the myths would include dispersion during periods of recorded history -- I believe the evidence argues that the origin stretches back prior to recorded history, prior to the first texts and artwork we find in ancient Egypt or ancient Mesopotamia, prior to the mysterious (and very important to this question) Indus and Saraswati River civilization (Mohenjo Daro etc), prior to the Vedas, etc. The fact that Gobekli Tepe appears to have been deliberately buried (a massive task) argues that there may have been some catastrophe which devastated that ancient now-forgotten civilization (or civilizations).

But some aspects of their knowledge appears to have survived, to resurface thousands of years later in Egypt and Mesopotamia and elsewhere, and I believe the common system underlying the ancient myths may also be potentially attributable to ancient knowledge from before that catastrophe. Some understanding of what it was for also seems to have survived, although perhaps imperfect -- and distortions obviously began to creep in, as well as intentional efforts to subvert or suppress it.

I absolutely do not deny the evidence of incredible ancient seafaring technologies based upon the stars, which appear to have been in practice around the globe during the "post-catastrophe" period, including among the peoples of the Pacific who populated islands covering the most incredibly vast amount of space covered by any culture on earth, as well as among other places (certain ancient Mediterranean cultures, the Norse, east Asia, etc). The book you may be thinking about is a book called Wayfinders, by Wade Davis. The techniques for navigating across great distances in the open ocean described in that book (and on the website of the Polynesian Voyaging Society) are incredible.

But, I don't believe these ancient myths were "brought" to the various cultures around the world by outsiders -- rather, I believe it is much more likely that they are all "original instructions" preserved by the various cultures around the world from remote antiquity, probably from before whatever catastrophe it was that caused people to decide to bury Gobekli Tepe.
 
But, I don't believe these ancient myths were "brought" to the various cultures around the world by outsiders -- rather, I believe it is much more likely that they are all "original instructions" preserved by the various cultures around the world from remote antiquity, probably from before whatever catastrophe it was that caused people to decide to bury Gobekli Tepe.
sure it's all speculation, but it's kinda fun... especially coming from someone who's studied it so extensively. Allow me a couple of pot shots:

1. I keep hearing that Gobekli Tepe was buried in order to preserve it from some natural calamity, but do we really know this? did they bury it, or does it look like they intentionally buried it? Did they bury it to protect it for a natural disaster or for some other reason?

2. "brought to" versus "sent out" seems problematic. are you suggesting that a group was given the "original instructions" and then told to go forth and multiply? Doesn't that fly in the face of some of the DNA evidence we have? (real question, IDK)
 
sure it's all speculation, but it's kinda fun... especially coming from someone who's studied it so extensively. Allow me a couple of pot shots:

1. I keep hearing that Gobekli Tepe was buried in order to preserve it from some natural calamity, but do we really know this? did they bury it, or does it look like they intentionally buried it? Did they bury it to protect it for a natural disaster or for some other reason?

2. "brought to" versus "sent out" seems problematic. are you suggesting that a group was given the "original instructions" and then told to go forth and multiply? Doesn't that fly in the face of some of the DNA evidence we have? (real question, IDK)
thanks Alex.

1. I am relying on the work of Professor Robert Schoch (a geologist and tenured faculty member at Boston University) in making those assertions regarding the deliberate burial of Gobekli Tepe etc.

a) He writes on page 42 of Forgotten Civilization (2012):

I discussed the dating of Gobekli Tepe on-site with Professor Schmidt. It is based not only on calibrated radiocarbon dates of circa 9000 BCE or earlier taken on organic remains found in the material used to fill the site (these dates could be later than the actual occupation of the site), but also dates of circa 8000 BCE to 7500 BCE on pedogenic (formed within the soil) carbonate coatings and micro stalactites on wall stones (see Peters and Schmidt 2004, 182). These carbonate coatings and micro stalactites would have formed only after the burial of the site and after soil formation began, thus indicating that the site itself was buried by circa 8000 BCE (Batuman 2011, 72, cites a date of 8200 BCE for the burial). Taken together, I am convinced that the evidence indicates that the site was actively used in the tenth and ninth millennia BCE and was intentionally buried (as indicated by the systematic layers of the fill material and the material the fill contains, including flint and obsidian tools and waste, and animal and plant remains) circa 8000 BCE. Why it was purposefully buried is a major mystery, one that we will return to. Arguably as much or more energy was expended burying the site as was used to originally carve and erect the stone pillars and walls. 42.​

Based on other evidence he cites, Professor Schoch believes the site was used for about 2000 years prior to being buried intentionally c. 8000 BCE.

b) Based on a variety of other evidence (including beryllium-10 and carbon-14 isotope data from ice cores, sediment cores, and tree rings, as well as nitrate spikes in the geological record which could be associated with increased atmospheric nitrate production in response to solar outbursts and coronal mass ejections), Professor Schoch argues that there appears to have been a solar plasma event around 9700 BCE, which may have led to a rapid end to the last ice age, catastrophic conditions on the planet, and the eventual decline or disintegration of whatever previous advanced civilizations were responsible for Gobekli Tepe (this is my interpretation of his arguments -- in case I am mis-stating or mis-interpreting, I recommend everyone consult his original arguments in published articles and books).

2. That's a good question about the DNA evidence. It's not my primary area of focus, especially because I think most of the conclusions being asserted are based on conventional models of ancient human history which appear to need revision -- although I certainly agree that mitochondrial DNA is an important clue or tool in the toolbox for us trying to untangle the mystery. My assertion that you're asking about in your point 2 is primarily an argument that it does not appear likely to me that the myths were spread all over the world by seafaring peoples in "more recent" times (post-Egypt, for example), because we find the same system of celestial metaphor in evidence in myths from Australia, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Malaysia, Mesopotamia, the Mediterranean, Europe, northern Europe, the Americas, the Pacific islands -- not only crossing vast distances but (more difficult to explain) vast gulfs of time. The cultures of Australia, for example, are commonly held to have been developing in isolation for thousands of years. The cultures of the Pacific seem to have spread to some of the islands a long time after the end of the civilizations of the ancient Egyptians or the ancient Mesopotamians (and yet there are clear parallel features in some of their myths and sacred traditions). The fact that the Australian myths can be shown to have commonalities with the same system we find in the ancient Mediteranean, for example, would suggest to me that we may be looking at a common origina in the very remote past, perhaps thousands of years before dynastic Egypt.

Note also that DNA evidence for the movement of peoples in ancient times does not necessrily tell us anything about the origin of the myths. For example, one might suggest a scenario in which:
a) human beings spread out over the earth in millennia long before Gobekli Tepe (i.e., 70,000 years BP, or 50,000 years BP, or even 20,000 years BP).
b) at some point in the very distant past (long before Gobekli Tepe, but after the migrations posited in point "a" above), advanced civilizations flourish in many parts of the earth -- with people in different areas having differing mitochondrial DNA -- but somehow share a worldwide system of spiritual understanding, perhaps with many regional differences. These ancient cultures / civilizations that share this general system may be in regular contact with one another through travel across the oceans, mutual trade, etc.
c) around 9700 BC some sort of massive catastrophe (possibly a coronal mass ejection / severe solar outburst) wreaks havoc with the climate of earth, potentially causing radioactivity on large areas of the surface of the earth, and the survivors have to literally go underground or resort to other extreme measures just to stay alive.
d) eventually, solar activity becomes more stable, and humanity re-emerges. Remnants of the ancient knowledge remain, all around the world.

In other words, spread of people as deduced based on DNA does not necessarily correspond to spread of the myth-system. Therefore, I have not focused that much energy on getting into the various theories related to that line of study, although I don't deny that this line of study is important and valuable.
 
As far as skimming your site and listing to the interview, I realize this can't offer the same depth of information that all your books provide, but I do not exhaustively research every new alternative theory I come across. In some part, it's up to the author to have a succinct way to get the core concepts across to someone coming to their material without any background.

The posts on this thread show that I am not the only one having trouble wrapping their minds around what exactly it is you're trying to get across. But I do appreciate you taking the time throughout this thread to try an make it all more clear.

As far as your comparisons between Hanuman and Hercules, you mention:



I do not see how this "clearly establishes" any connection besides them interacting in the same story.

I'm confused as to how Hanuman and Bhima can interact, yet be the same constellation. Many of your example show interactions as taking place between different (nearby) constellations. I'd argue that the fact that they are different characters precludes them from being the same constellation.

I was hoping for a more direct comparison, such as your excellent "jawbone weapon" example from the interview. If the Hanuman story had him using an object that could be equated to the same stars used as the "jawbone" (Samson) or club (Hercules), that would be very compelling coupled with the Hanuman poses you've presented (assuming of course those Hanuman poses are widespread and consistently implemented).

I find the Hercules-Hanuman association via Bhima a bit tenuous to be honest. The snake incident you mention in Bhima's story correlates to Hercules, but Bhima's interaction with Hanuman doesn't make them the same character, and I'm not sure how you can say that makes them the same constellation.

These sorts of vague correlations point more towards a "telephone game" origin for these stories (similar elements from a common source, jumbled up in various retellings from generation to generation or culture to culture) than some sort of coherent message being expressed across cultures.

Thank you for taking the time to explain. I'm doing my best to wrap my head around this, and true to the namesake of this forum, I always approach big claims with a skeptical perspective. My challenges don't necessarily imply disbelief — consider me a "Devils' Advocate".
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No problem -- happy to answer honest questions and challenges to my hypothesis.

In the above-quoted response, you wrote:

"I was hoping for a more direct comparison, such as your excellent "jawbone weapon" example from the interview. If the Hanuman story had him using an object that could be equated to the same stars used as the "jawbone" (Samson) or club (Hercules), that would be very compelling coupled with the Hanuman poses you've presented (assuming of course those Hanuman poses are widespread and consistently implemented)."

Here are some illustrations in response to your request:






Hanuman's weapon is a tremendous mace.
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shri_Hanuman_(Anjeneya).svg

---------------------------------------------------------



Bhima's weapon is a tremendous mace . . .
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bhima_hurled_his_mace_with_fury.jpg

-----------------------------------------------------

Although at times Bhima is described as simply ripping up a tree-trunk and using that as his chosen weapon:



https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bhima_fighting_with_Bakasura.jpg

--------------------------------------------

Hercules / Heracles, of course, is famous for his use of a massive club:



https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:13-05-24-wien-RalfR-137.jpg

---------------------------------------

And here is the constellation Hercules in the sky:



http://mathisencorollary.blogspot.com/2016/07/now-for-your-benefit-and-blessing-some.html

-----------------------------------
 
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No problem -- happy to answer honest questions and challenges to my hypothesis.

In the above-quoted response, you wrote:

"I was hoping for a more direct comparison, such as your excellent "jawbone weapon" example from the interview. If the Hanuman story had him using an object that could be equated to the same stars used as the "jawbone" (Samson) or club (Hercules), that would be very compelling coupled with the Hanuman poses you've presented (assuming of course those Hanuman poses are widespread and consistently implemented)."

Here are some illustrations in response to your request:






Hanuman's weapon is a tremendous mace.
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shri_Hanuman_(Anjeneya).svg

---------------------------------------------------------



Bhima's weapon is a tremendous mace . . .
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bhima_hurled_his_mace_with_fury.jpg

-----------------------------------------------------

Although at times Bhima is described as simply ripping up a tree-trunk and using that as his chosen weapon:



https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bhima_fighting_with_Bakasura.jpg

--------------------------------------------

Hercules / Heracles, of course, is famous for his use of a massive club:



https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:13-05-24-wien-RalfR-137.jpg

---------------------------------------

And here is the constellation Hercules in the sky:



http://mathisencorollary.blogspot.com/2016/07/now-for-your-benefit-and-blessing-some.html

-----------------------------------
Awesome! :)

And just to back up what was posted (David, I know you're very familiar with a lot of this, yet I'll flesh it out more for others)... by typing "Hanuman" into Google Images, one can see how many images appear with Hanuman holding a mace, especially if one scrolls down more...
https://www.google.com/search?site=&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1366&bih=594&q=hanuman&oq=hanuman&gs_l=img.3..0l10.1272.3397.0.3638.10.9.1.0.0.0.231.914.4j3j1.8.0.foo,cfro=1,nso-enfk=1,nso-usnt=1,nso-qnt-npqp=0-21,nso-qnt-npdq=0-57,nso-qnt-npt=0-16,nso-qnt-ndc=800,cspa-dspm-nm-mnp=0-085,cspa-dspm-nm-mxp=0-2125,nso-unt-npqp=0-21,nso-unt-npdq=0-35,nso-unt-npt=0-1,nso-unt-ndc=400,cspa-uipm-nm-mnp=0-0125,cspa-uipm-nm-mxp=0-0875...0...1.1.64.img..1.9.917.0..0i10k1.V6avRbiwYNA

Note that two of the types of images are generic poses. The first posture, for example, with the right palm held up, is a sign of blessing, which is common to many characters. Another type of image, of Hanuman with many different heads and arms, is also common to many characters -- it signifies a character's different incarnations.

Those generic images aside, a very common and specific type of image related to Hanuman is with the mace... And it looks like Hanuman carrying the mountain is also representative of the constellation... Both mountain and mace fit the bill, and both are important icons of Hanuman: e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanuman#Mountain_lifting
And also here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanara#Notable_Vanaras

One image not well represented by the Google Image search is the classic pose of Hanuman kneeling before his master, Rama, in which Hanuman is the ideal servant. And just a hunch, because I don't know the "Ramayana" as well as I do the other great epic of India (the "Mahabharata"), it seems that there is a psy-op element in the "Ramayana" too, as follows:

Parallels include:
-- both epics were extensively edited (above all by the Brahmana/priest class)
-- In the "Ramayana", warriors follow Rama (avatar of Vishnu)
-- In the "Mahabharata", warriors follow Krishna (avatar of Vishnu)
-- The Vanara/ape warriors are like a substitute identity for the Kshatriya/warrior class. (E.g., the father of Hanuman, Kesari, was a king/chief, which corresponds to the Kshatriya/warrior/ruler class in the historical/non-mythicized world.)
-- Hanuman is a faithful ape, which is paralleled by the Dharma of Yudhishthira in the "Mahabharata" who is a faithful dog...
-- Cui bono? Who benefits from turning the Kshatriya/warrior class into a faithful creature? The obvious answer is the Brahmana/priest class, who were the Kshatriya's main rival, and it was the Brahmana who had control over the learning and recitation of the sacred literature...

So there is both motive and means for a psy-op... -- the injection of a slave-morality into another group: faithful ape, faithful dog, and one can see a parallel in the Near East to the faithful Christian sheep...

One can see more of this fleshed out re the Mahabharata and New Testament in the first four posts on this page:
http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threa...icism-more-relevant-than-ever-338.3599/page-2

Note also with the posts in the link above, that it is not my original idea that Krishna is intent on decimating the Kshatriya class. Others have come to that self-evident conclusion, and it is a normal perspective of Western Indologists. The original work of mine (as far as I'm aware) is taking this observation further, and saying that it fits a psy-op (regarding what the text's message is, and the issues of motive and means), then paralleling it with other texts.

PS: The more I think about this, the more parallels one can find, for example regarding the Mahabharata and New Testament:
-- Both Krishna and Khristos/Christ (even the names sound similar) predict the end of the world as we know it. The Jesus character incorrectly predicts the end of the world to be within a generation (yet centuries later, with the rule of the Catholic Church, a "Dark Age" does indeed begin). Compare this to Krishna, who brings about Kali Yuga (Dark Age).
-- Both Krishna and Khristos are more-or-less avatars of a god.
-- Both Krishna and Khristos bring strife within families: Krishna insists that his followers destroy the rest of their family, whereas Jesus proclaims that he brought a sword so that family members would be against each other (Mathew 10:34-35)...

So a psy-op consisting of slave-morality, plus divide and conquer against the age-old, natural connection of family ties... and if everything goes to hell (pardon the pun) because of this, then this was predicted/prophesied as cosmically ordained by the sacred text anyway. Thus the psy-op washes its hands of any blame......
 
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"brought to" versus "sent out" seems problematic. are you suggesting that a group was given the "original instructions" and then told to go forth and multiply? Doesn't that fly in the face of some of the DNA evidence we have? (real question, IDK)
This puzzles me too, and it reminds me of the email I sent you, about you possibly interviewing the Indologist Michael Witzel.

And as I'm an impatient person and professor Witzel isn't getting any younger, I'd like to hear David's take on this ;)

So here's part of the email and some extra links too:

Witzel is a specialist on ancient India, and he's most known for his work on the oldest known Sanskrit text, the Rig Veda. By following the evidence, he found that the Rig Veda must have been written to the west of modern India. Witzel painstakingly analyzed the linguistics and archaeology, plus geographic references in the Rig Veda, and even the flora, such as the plant to make the famous Soma drink, which doesn't grow in modern India. Witzel became controversial for this study, as it upset many Indians who wanted the Rig Veda to be set in what is now the country of India.

But on top of this interesting backdrop, Witzel wrote a book that hasn't had enough attention: It is a study of myths from right around the world, finding similarities and differences between them, and according to him there are two main branches of myths in the world.

It's fascinating stuff and it would be interesting to compare it to David Mathisen's work.

And amazingly, despite Witzel's credentials and the amazing claims he makes about mythology, there's only one interview with him on youtube (begins around the 6 minute mark):


...

PS: An extra couple of links that I didn't send in the email:
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-e...how-did-our-legends-really-begin-9634148.html
And this review on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/review/R111KUJFMZXJH4
 
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I'm suggesting that maybe using the stars as navigation tools was an essential survival tool, thus the emphasis put upon it as a cultural cornerstone.

Again, this is just armchair speculation, looking for a more practical and mundane solution. I am not proposing this to solve the riddle of the star myths, nor as a refutation of Mathisen's work/theory. Just food for thought. More "Devil's Advocate" thinking.
Really appreciated your line of questioning. When I came to David Mathisen's theory, it was to analyze what he said in the interview about Herakles. And as you might have read previously in the thread, I was very critical of the visual evidence presented. However, as I looked at other evidence David provided, especially the literary evidence, the more difficult it became to refute the connections.

You and I, and others here, have found David Mathisen's theory problematic at first, and I think this has to do with how it is presented. It seems David has displayed in his youtube videos, for instance, his best evidence, which appears to him as especially fascinating and ingenious, but which is actually relatively tenuous and high-level.

If we could relate it to a building under construction, then the foundation and supporting beams near the bottom should be very solid, and (from a skeptical point of view) these should be focused on to make sure the rest is on solid supports.

The way I see it, David Mathisen's theory is on extremely solid foundations. Even ACCORDING TO THE MYTHS THEMSELVES, such as about Orion, Herakles, and others, these sacred stories are about a respective constellation in the sky.

Going further up the structure, one can see parallels between mythical figures, such as Odysseus and Herakles in Greek sacred stories, and Bhima and Hanuman in Sanskrit sacred stories, and how these relate to the same constellation. This is fascinating (and I think Mathisen makes ingenious arguments) but even so they are more tenuous than the previous sets of evidence.

Then going still higher in the structure, on the upper storeys (no pun intended), one can say that there is contained an 'original teaching', and that it goes far into the depths of prehistory... This then becomes even more tenuous of course. And albeit these aspects are possibly an original purpose of myths, and therefore extremely important, for newcomers to the theory I think it's counterproductive to move to this more speculative aspect too quickly, especially for a skeptical audience (as we are). :)

It may sound less entertaining, but I think it would be more convincing to have heard an intro (say in a short youtube video) about the mundane and undeniable foundations being hammered out again and again: that in many myths, ACCORDING TO THE MYTHS THEMSELVES, the characters are constellations in the sky, and then move on methodically from there in a presentation, with more speculative aspects left till later.

PS: I think one compelling aspect of Mathisen's theory is that other theories have such weaknesses. For example, I've read countless academic books on Greek mythology, and virtually all of them skim over the obvious star-connection. But this is to neglect many of the myths as they overtly are, and even possibly very many more myths on a non-explicit level. And on reflection it's no wonder that modern people don't get it, because the mainstream constellation models are such unrecognizable blobs, in contrast to the models of constellations based on H.A. Rey's work that Mathisen uses.

So to have someone with Mathisen's extremely broad knowledge of myths PLUS a background of how the constellations more likely appear was one in a billion (and even that's an understatement, because as far as I can tell Mathisen is really unique in history, because before this time not so many of the myths had been compiled to even check this)...
 
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PPS: Just to continue the critique:
Like David Mathisen, I taught/tutored the Odyssey at university level. So when I saw one of David's videos featuring parallels between the New Testament and the Odyssey, that is something I focused on. One of the examples was of a woman in the NT anointing Jesus' feet, and this was paralleled with the scene in the Odyssey of the old nurse washing Odysseus' feet. At first I thought this seemed extremely tenuous. After all, bathing is often described in the Odyssey (some memorable scenes), and there were foot baths in the material culture of ancient Greece, so bathing was frequent and important to them. So maybe this is random, as if you could look at anything and see connections between them.

But then on reflection, there are significant similarities: both stories feature a woman who washes the feet of a man (the main character), and the interaction involves the woman recognizing who the man really is according to the story.

But overall I'd say this is a tenuous plank in the structure of the theory. By itself and with a few other examples it appears flimsy. But with the number of planks increasing, and especially with the undeniable foundations and massive beams underneath, namely that there are myths that ACCORDING TO THE MYTHS THEMSELVES correspond to constellations, then one is more open to high-level but tenuous connections, such as between aspects of the Odyssey and the New Testament.

[Edit: Final note: In saying that, even if there are aspects of star-myths in the New Testament, this doesn't make the New Testament any less a psy-op. After all, it helps to have some honey to make a trap.

And in a wider perspective, to various degrees I can see psy-ops in some other myths, which is to be expected based on how people can be, trying to manipulate things for themselves; and I can see other creative processes in the myth-telling; there is entertainment value; there can be reflections of rituals and vice versa; recollections of historical events; aetiology/explanations of how things came to be; connections to heavenly bodies (stars, comets and planets), and connections to the earth, forests, and the waters, and practically everything in nature.

A myth could be many of these things at once: a ritual, a recollection with a kernel of historical truth, a connection to the heavens, the earth, and something that imparts some moral lesson, such as that we are part of nature. So it can be a multi-leveled and beautiful thing.]
 
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...was intentionally buried (as indicated by the systematic layers of the fill material and the material the fill contains, including flint and obsidian tools and waste, and animal and plant remains) circa 8000 BCE. Why it was purposefully buried is a major mystery, one that we will return to. Arguably as much or more energy was expended burying the site as was used to originally carve and erect the stone pillars and walls. 42.
great data point. thanks for sharing this. I still gotta wonder about Schoch's dot connecting. consider:

So, I'm an ancient in Gobekli Tepe, this almost certainly means I'm constantly seeking (and receiving) guidance from the gods/spirits. this is not only a given, but central/cirtial to understanding their decision making. of course, it's also way, way under-explored/appreciated because you can't acknowledge this kinda stuff (even though it's super obvious) within academia.

At the same time, we know that this kind of communication is problematical. The Greeks at the Oracle of Delphi, the Romans, the Chinese, all tell stories of good guidance, but also of colossal mistakes. the trickster is in play... Montezuma's death cult comes to mind. So, while I understand why Shcoch and others want to add a little back-door materialism to this process and pretend we understand the mind/intentions of the ancients, I think we need to reign in this kind of speculation. How many angels fit on the head of a pin? :)

Note also that DNA evidence for the movement of peoples in ancient times does not necessrily tell us anything about the origin of the myths.
I get yr very excellent point. pls allow me to contradict my earlier post (part of the fun) and propose another scenario:

The gods are real (i.e. different than how we think about them). there was a time in our history when beings in these extended realms of consciousness communicated with us in a different way than we can presently understand. remnants of this can be found in fairy-lore, paranormal accounts, contact with star people and modern ET contact. we can't sort this out, and given our human form and capabilities, may never be able to understand how these different beings/entitles/spirits interact with our world. Star myths were created and spread by one particular group within these extended consciousness realms.
 
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