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Re: [PIEreligion] PIE Cosmogony

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  • William P. Reaves
    Hi Homer, Welcome. To find the book on Amazon, type in the words Rydberg and Investigations or, here is the direct link:
    Message 1 of 16 , Mar 4, 2007
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      Hi Homer,

      Welcome.

      To find the book on Amazon, type in the words "Rydberg" and "Investigations"

      or, here is the direct link:

      http://www.amazon.com/Viktor-Rydbergs-Investigations-Germanic-Mythology/dp/0595420206/ref=sr_1_2/104-8288331-5266354?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1173018623&sr=8-2

      If you have any further trouble finding it, please contact me.

      Thanks,


      William

      Author of:

      Viktor Rydberg's Investigations into Germanic Mythology, Vol. II, Part 1: Indo-European Mythology
      Translated and Annotated by William P. Reaves
      (iUniverse, 2007)

      Viktor Rydberg's Investigations into Germanic Mythology, Vol. II, Part 2: Germanic Mythology
      Translated and Annotated by William P. Reaves (iUniverse, 2004)

      Our Fathers' Godsaga by Viktor Rydberg, Illustrated by John Bauer
      Translated by William P. Reaves (iUniverse, 2003)

      Available at bn.com and wherever books are sold.



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Homer Makedonski
      Dear William Many thanks for all your help. I have done the order and now I am waiting for delivering Sincerely Homer William P. Reaves
      Message 2 of 16 , Mar 5, 2007
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        Dear William
        Many thanks for all your help.
        I have done the order and now I am waiting for delivering

        Sincerely

        Homer

        "William P. Reaves" <wreaves@...> wrote: Hi Homer,

        Welcome.

        To find the book on Amazon, type in the words "Rydberg" and "Investigations"

        or, here is the direct link:

        http://www.amazon.com/Viktor-Rydbergs-Investigations-Germanic-Mythology/dp/0595420206/ref=sr_1_2/104-8288331-5266354?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1173018623&sr=8-2

        If you have any further trouble finding it, please contact me.

        Thanks,

        William

        Author of:

        Viktor Rydberg's Investigations into Germanic Mythology, Vol. II, Part 1: Indo-European Mythology
        Translated and Annotated by William P. Reaves
        (iUniverse, 2007)

        Viktor Rydberg's Investigations into Germanic Mythology, Vol. II, Part 2: Germanic Mythology
        Translated and Annotated by William P. Reaves (iUniverse, 2004)

        Our Fathers' Godsaga by Viktor Rydberg, Illustrated by John Bauer
        Translated by William P. Reaves (iUniverse, 2003)

        Available at bn.com and wherever books are sold.

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






        ---------------------------------
        Don't be flakey. Get Yahoo! Mail for Mobile and
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        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • A.
        ... of the PIE Cosmogony. ... among the Rigveda-Aryans has asked himself questions concerning the path from non-existence to existence. Agreed absolutely!
        Message 3 of 16 , Mar 5, 2007
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          --- In PIEreligion@yahoogroups.com, "William P. Reaves" <wreaves@...>
          wrote:
          >
          >
          > Here's what Viktor Rydberg has to say regarding the earliest stages
          of the PIE Cosmogony.
          >
          ((((( SNIP )))))

          > 2) How was it explained that the world arose out of nothing? A bard
          among the Rigveda-Aryans has asked himself questions concerning "the
          path from non-existence to existence."

          Agreed absolutely!

          > However, when the leap from non-existence to existence must be
          made, a concept of space is the first condition for a conception
          about the origin of the world, due to our mental organization.

          This is an amazing point made by Rydberg and certainly fits almost
          every IE cosmogony. I had never before realized that *space* or
          emptiness was such a pre-requisite, yet now it seems self evident!

          >
          > 3) Space, the first condition for the origin of a world, was thus
          provided. But space, in and of itself, cannot be depicted as a
          foundation for creation. One or many elements, by the power of
          imagination, must move into the empty space. Rigvedic and Germanic
          mythology are in agreement in assuming only one element, which they
          identify as water.

          Agreed and with you/Viktor 100%

          > So too in the Iranian documents. The reformation, with its strong
          trend toward monotheism and a decided moralistic purpose, that the
          Iranian nature-religion underwent and that was tied to the reformer
          Zarathustra's name, has of course caused a change even in its
          cosmology, at the same time as it changed the old gods, partially to
          heavenly heroes, partially to human patriarchs, and partially to
          demons. But that water was also regarded among the Iranians as the
          world's primordial material is not obliterated. The primeval sea
          Vourukasha, fed by three great source-streams, is still the womb of
          creation in the reformed doctrine. The Tree of Life, from whose crown
          the seeds of all vegetation spread over the earth, grew up out of
          Vourukasha's water,[3] and if this "child of the water" were
          banished, the world's life would cease. In the reformed religion,
          Athwja is the name of a mythic tribe originally of divine birth.
          Athwja means "water's offspring" and is the same word as the Vedic
          âptja.

          The Iranian myths are somewhat muddled and confusing and you can see
          this by the fact that the sea is INSIDE the stone egg of the world.

          ---

          William, I can only agree again and again. I have returned to the
          primary sources (in English translations) and put together a
          comparison which will follow in the next post.

          BTW, I tried to order the book last week through Waldenbooks without
          success (they couldn't find it) but I have now written down the ISBN
          and will be ordering it this weekend!

          Regards,
          Aydan
        • A.
          In the Beginning: Vedic: RV 10.72.3 – existence sprang from non-existence RV 10.121 – In the beginning, the Golden Embryo (Hiranyagarbha) arises and gives
          Message 4 of 16 , Mar 5, 2007
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            In the Beginning:

            Vedic:
            RV 10.72.3 – existence sprang from non-existence
            RV 10.121 – In the beginning, the Golden Embryo (Hiranyagarbha)
            arises and gives birth to Prajapati, the first God. Prajapati then
            props apart the earth and sky (halves of the egg shell?) and creates
            all else.
            RV 10.129 – Initially there is nothing, only a formless void which is
            sometimes translated as "unmanifested water" or "indiscriminated
            chaos". Via the process of tapas (heat, austerity, ascetic practice),
            the One comes into being. The One either experiences or is Desire
            (Eros/Phanes).
            RV 10.81 & 10.82 – These hymns state that Visvakarman is "the embryo
            born of the waters" (Prajapati). He is the first being, who creates
            laws & the world. Visvakarman also sacrifices himself akin to Purusa.
            RV 10.190 – Rta & satya (Order & Truth) arise from tapas (heat) as
            does the night. From night comes the ocean and from the ocean arises
            the Arranger (Dhatr – likely Visvakarman) who sets the world, sky,
            sun, & stars in place.

            Atharva Veda 10.7 , Hymn to the Skambha (support) – Being and Non-
            Being are only two limbs of the Skambha. Skambha grenerated/produced
            the Golden Embryo & the ancient One (Prajapati). Prajapati props up
            the worlds on the Skambha. The 33 Gods are fashioned from but one
            limb of the Skambha. In Skambha is Rta set down. Atharva Veda 10.8 ,
            repeats some of the same imagery, albeit to a lesser extent.

            Satapatha Brahmana 11.1.6 – The Cosmic waters produce the Golden
            Embryo, which in turn gives rise to Prajapati who then creates all
            things.


            Zoroastrian:

            In general, Zoroastrian creation is a muddled story. It is likely
            that the pre-Zoroastrian myths were almost identical to their Vedic
            counterparts. The Zoroastrian reform seems to have altered these
            myths into a more structered monotheistic view. Nonetheless, certain
            key elements remain. The cosmos is envisioned as a giant stone egg.
            Inside the egg is the world, surrounded by sea. The land mass has a
            central mountain (Mt Alburz/Hara) while in the middle of the sea can
            be found the Saena tree which bears all seeds.


            Other versions of the Zoroastrian creation have their own PIE
            elements. The following was taken from a later text known as the
            Greater Bundahishn (9th century AD):
            CHAPTER I
            2. The Light is the place and location of Ohrmazd; there is some one
            who calls it 'Endless Light'; and the omniscience and goodness are,
            forever, of Ohrmazd; there is someone who calls them 'Revelation';
            Revelation has the interpretation of both these; one, that of the
            eternal, of Infinite Time; just as were Ohrmazd, Space, Revelation,
            and Time of Ohrmazd; .................. --.
            3. Ahriman was, at the abysmal station, in darkness, owing to after
            wit and destructive desire.
            4. His destructive desire is raw; and that darkness is his location;
            there is someone who calls it 'Endless Darkness'.-
            5. Betwixt them was Void,- there are some who call it 'Ether'-,
            wherein was their joining.
            6. They both have finiteness and infinity.
            7. For, the utmost height is that which one calls 'Endless Light,'-
            and the abysmal station is the 'Endless Darkness',
            8. And owing to boundary, both are finite, -- that is, betwixt them
            is a Void, and they are not connected with each other.

            Here we see a duality akin to Norse mythology, where Ohrmazd & Light
            are at one extreme, and Ahriman & Darkness are at the other pole.
            Between the two is a void/ether.

            In the Zurvanite "heresy", Zurvan precedes Ohrmazd & Ahriman. Zurvan
            might be seen as an androgynous figure akin to Phanes/Eros, Ymir, and
            Prajapati. From Zurvan stem Ahura Mazda & the Spentas on one hand,
            and Angra Manyu, the Druj, & the Daevas on the other – just as the
            lines of both Aesir and Jotuns are produced from Ymir.
            Just as Prajapati produces both Devas and Asuras. While Asura most
            often has positive connotations in the RV, things are different in
            the Yajur and Atharva Vedas. By the time of the Brahmanas (and a full
            split from the Iranian-Zoroastrian branch) the Asuras are associated
            with darkness while the Devas with the light – the complete opposite
            stance of that held by the Zoroastrian reform.
            One might also consider whether in the Vedic view, the Devas & Asuras
            may both have initially been one lineage, while the Druhas (the
            deceivers, aka the Druj), Panis, & Raksasas were the
            original "demonic" line that was associated with darkness.


            Germano-Norse:

            Ginnungagap – Vast emptiness, yet somehow charged with potentiality
            by the two poles of Muspel (fire) and Niflheim (ice).



            Greek: (with major help from the Theoi.com site)

            We may perhaps assume that Hesiod's Khaos was likewise
            somehow "charged" so that it was able to generate Eros, Nyx, and the
            other first entities.
            In the Orphic version, it is not Khaos who comes first, but rather
            the potentiality that arises from the combination of Khronos (time) &
            Ananke (inevitability).
            In the version told by Aristophanes (the Birds 685), there are 4
            initial entities: Khaos, Nyx (night), Erebos (darkness), & Tartaros
            (hell). Nyx lays an egg within Erebos and from this egg hatches Eros.
            Eros then brings together the pre-existing materials (or entities)
            and from them spring Ouranos, Gaia, and eventually all other beings.


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


            The problem itself, of how everything began, may be unsolvable.
            However it may be possible to at least reconstruct what the ancient
            PIE people believed.

            The shared theme is that of a charged emptiness (perhaps with two
            poles) and from this void arises a hermaphroditic Proto-being (likely
            from an egg). This being then at least begins the process of creating
            the world. This Proto-being also produces the 2 separate families of
            Gods and Demons.
            Sometimes the world is fashioned from the very body of the Proto-
            being (Ymir and Purusa). The Orphic Phanes is not explicitly
            sacrificed, yet he passes on kingship to his child and is furthermore
            devoured by Zeus so that the Olympian may possess Phanes' power.
            Whether Vivakarman/Dhatr is likely to be the same the Proto-being,
            though it is possible that instead Visvakarman is the one who uses
            the material of the Proto-being, from which to build the world.

            -Aydan
          • William P. Reaves
            Hi Homer, Thanks. As one of the first readers, I d like to know what you think of it. The first few chapters (posted here) are intriguing, but, trust me,
            Message 5 of 16 , Mar 5, 2007
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              Hi Homer,

              Thanks. As one of the first readers, I'd like to know what you think of it.

              The first few chapters (posted here) are intriguing, but, trust me, Rydberg is just getting warmed up.

              Using a wide-reaching comparative method, Rydberg strives to uncover all common mythic inheritances from the PIE era. He casts a wide net, catching all things PIE. His sources are diverse and often obvious parallels. His primary findings are mirrored by the best modern scholarship. He does a remarkable job. How successful was he?You be the judge.

              The book also includes an essay entitled "Towards a Method of Mythology" where Rydberg explains his philosophy and methodology in great detail with examples. He compares and contrasts his method with that of the Nature-School, effectively dispelling it. Dutch scholar Jan De Vries gave Rydberg this credit. [I quote him in the opening of the book]

              The foreword of the book was written by a PhD student at the University of Lund. She provides a historical overview of the book and the historical criticism associated with it. It's an excellent piece of scholarship.


              I don't think you'll be disappointed.


              Wassail, William



              P.S. Aydan The book is ONLY available on Amazon.com right now. It's brand-new. Amazon is the first to carry it. It will roll out to the other sites as soon as they update their databases. Soon you can buy it through Walden's too... but for now only Amazon.



              Wassail, William


              Author of:

              Viktor Rydberg's Investigations into Germanic Mythology, Vol. II, Part 1: Indo-European Mythology
              Translated and Annotated by William P. Reaves
              (iUniverse, 2007)

              Viktor Rydberg's Investigations into Germanic Mythology, Vol. II, Part 2: Germanic Mythology
              Translated and Annotated by William P. Reaves (iUniverse, 2004)

              Our Fathers' Godsaga by Viktor Rydberg, Illustrated by John Bauer
              Translated by William P. Reaves (iUniverse, 2003)

              Available at bn.com and wherever books are sold.



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • William P. Reaves
              Now available on Amazon.com, and soon to be found elsewhere, the following is an exceprt from: Viktor Rydberg s Investigations into Germanic Mythology, Vol.
              Message 6 of 16 , Mar 7, 2007
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                Now available on Amazon.com, and soon to be found elsewhere, the following is an exceprt from:



                Viktor Rydberg's Investigations into Germanic Mythology, Vol. II, Part 1: Indo-European Mythology
                Translated and Annotated by William P. Reaves
                iUniverse, (c) 2007

                The Author is Swedish scholar Viktor Rydberg writting in 1889, translated into English now for the first time. This, the second volume of Rydberg's two-volume Teutonic Mythology, was previously unavailable in translation. This book is quite possibly the first "modern" book on comparative mythology.








                5.



                The World-Tree.



                5) The Rigveda passage mentioned above (X, 129, 4) says that when warmth made its power felt in the primal waters, it brought forth the spirit's original seed. One finds that the concept of the origin of the life of the spirit takes its form from the organic world. Life develops from a seed found in the primal waters fructified by warmth. Is this concept merely a whim of the bard himself, a poetic image used for the occasion, or does it occur in other hymns of the Rigveda and bear the characteristics of one espoused among the Indian bards and sacrificial priests?

                The latter is the case. The myth of a seed, born in the beginning in the warm primal waters, is found in other hymns and was preserved into the Brahmanic era where it, although changed by time, was transformed into the myth of Brahma's birth. It is this Vedic myth about Hiranyagarbha, the golden seed in Chaos, that forms the basis of the later myth about Brahma, who in Chaos deposits a shining embryo from which he himself and with him the world comes forth. The difference between the Vedic concepts and the Brahmanic is that in the former the seed becomes the world-tree, the oldest Indo-European symbol of the universe, while in the latter it becomes a world-egg in which Brahma himself develops and of whose shell he forms the heavens and the earth.

                Rigveda X, 82, 5-7: "Which was the original seed that was begotten in the water, further back (in time) than the gods lived—the seed, in which all the gods were produced? It was the seed in which all the gods were united, that the water received, the primeval seed that lay alone on the unborn's navel and in which all the world rests."

                Rigveda X, 121, 1: The first born is Hiranyagarbha (the golden seed); v. 7: "when came the great water, which contained all fertility within it, then the gods came to life, from it alone (namely Hiranyagarbha)."

                The idea of the organic world residing inside a seed and developing from it was inevitably united with the idea that the world had grown out of a seed into an enormous, all-bearing, all-overshadowing, all-fostering and nourishing tree. There are strong reasons to assume that the development of language gave the imagination the first basis to shape this ingenious and beautiful myth.

                From the Indo-European root word bhu, "to be," "to become" has specifically formed bháman, which at the same time means "life, being and growth" and which returns in Sanskrit in the meaning "life, beings, and the existing world." Here, the expressions for growth and world have sprung from the same root.

                May I also point out that the Greek hylä on one hand has the meanings "growing tree," "felled tree," "timber," "wood," and on the other hand the related meaning "substance," "matter," from which the physical world is built.

                Thus, one of Rigveda's bards can ask: "of which wood, of which tree" is the world created.

                Rigv. X, 81, 4: "Which is the wood, which is the tree whereby earth and heaven are constructed? Ye wise, search in your souls thereafter, on what stood he, who created the worlds!"

                6) The world-tree, "the tree of life," grows, according to the Rigveda verse cited above, in the midst of the space that the world occupies. This seed lies, as we see, "on the unborn's navel." From there, it shot up, and from there its stem rose vertically through space.

                Rigv. I, 24, 7: "In the bottomless, Varuna the king with holy power placed the tree's stem upright; downward, its rays (roots) are directed. Among us (mankind), they must be unseen."[1]

                Varuna, which many philologists consider to be the same word as Ούρανς,[2] means "the the vault of heaven over our heads, but of the space that in all directions —below and enveloper" and is the divine personification of the heavens, not only in its later meaning of above, under the earth and over the earth— surrounds Creation and also exists between earth and the subterranean worlds, which also have their heavens (see below). In Germanic mythology, himmel (heaven) has the same extensive meaning. Thus it becomes clear that, to distinguish them from other heavens, the heaven above our heads was called upper heaven (upphiminn, ûfhimil, upheofon). Also by degrees, Varuna especially came to be interpreted as a god of heaven present in the underworld, while during the Brahmanic period he was exclusively regarded as a god of the underworld, the king of the realm of death.

                It is thus in the "bottomless" underworld space and into its midst that the Vedic world-tree extends its roots. From there, it grows both upward and downward, in the same degree as Creation is arranged and completed, in order to bear the worlds on its green branches.[3]

                In all points, this idea also belongs to Germanic cosmology. The world-tree, Yggdrasil, in the beginning of time, had lain as a seed fyr mold neðan (Völuspá 2).[4] The Tree has three roots, which shoot down in three directions (Grímnismál 31).

                Its middlemost root stands over Mimir's well which is located "where Ginnungagap once was" (þar er forðum var Ginnungagap, Gylfaginning 15),[5] that is to say, in the middle of the primeval space, with Niflheim on one side and the warm region on the other.

                7) The Vedic world-tree's roots are likened to radiance or rays. Alfred Ludwig, translator of the Rigveda, who in the previously cited passage recognizes a description of the world-tree, has observed this seemingly strange similarity in his commentary.[6] The Norse description of Yggdrasil explains and confirms the expression. Gylfaginning has preserved a tradition according to which everything that comes into Urd's well, therefore even the roots of Yggdrasil extending downward, has the whitest color, "like the membrane inside an eggshell,” and Saxo (see Investigations into Germanic Mythology, Vol. I, no. 49) likens the world-tree's roots to silver. An Iranian document says that the whole tree was white (see below).[7]

                8) The Vedic world-tree bears fruit. The Maruts, a distinct division of the Rigvedic mythology's elves, its wind-elves, beautiful gold-forging youths who travel forth within the air-cleansing storms, shake down its mature fruit (Rigv. V, 54, 6, 12).

                The Germanic world-tree also bears fruits, aldin (Fjölsvinnsmál 22).

                The purpose of the fruits shaken down by the Maruts is made clear by places such as Rigv. II, 41, 15; V, 58, 4; I, 23, 8.[8] There the Maruts are described as assisting in childbirth. The embryo that one of the artisans of nature, Tvashtar or Vibhvan, formed in the mother's womb, is brought into daylight with the Maruts’ assistance. In Germanic mythology, the fruits of the world-tree have the same purpose.



                Fjölsvinnsmál 22: Út af hans aldni

                skal á eld bera

                fyr kelisjúkar konur;

                utar hverfa

                þess þær innar skýli;

                sá er hann með mönnum mjötuður.[9]



                (Compare Investigations into Germanic Mythology, Vol. I, nos. 95 and 35.)



                9) Once the world-order and the world itself were depicted in the form of an enormous tree, it is so natural that the imagination would place birds in its crown symbolizing one or another of the ideas applicable to the life of the world, that one could reasonably expect such a thing in Vedic as well as in Germanic mythology.

                A Vedic mystery-hymn (Rigv. I, 164) that is a chain of metaphors and circumlocutions speaks of two birds, "united friends," in the world-tree's crown who celebrate their share of immortality and unceasingly praise "the holy assemblies" (of divine powers). "They say that sweet is the fruit in the tree's top—the tree on which all honey-eating birds go to sleep and wake; but the fruit will never be attained by those that know no father." In verse 11, the birds are called eagles.[10]

                High in the world-tree's crown the Norse skalds have placed the gold-glittering cock Viðófnir (Fjölsvinnsmál 24), an eagle (Grímnismál 32, Gylfaginning 16) and a hawk, Veðrfölnir, sitting between the eagle's eyes (Gylfaginning 16). In addition to birds, four-footed animals are also found: four harts (Grímnismál 33), a squirrel and the goat Heidrun (Grímnismál 25). Many of these animals are demonstrably symbolic, like Dain and Dvalin (who represent death and slumber), Eikthrynir (who represents the water reservoir high up in the world-tree, see Investigations into Germanic Mythology, Vol. I, no. 36) and Heidrun (who represents the mead, pressed from the world-tree's leaves, and drunk by the Einherjar in Valhall.) The skald of the Rigveda hymn allows cows to suck milk out of "the beautiful bird’s" head and, clad in the "form of the established district of the birds (the world-tree)," they drink water with their feet.[11] By these "cows," earthly trees are obviously meant, earthly vegetation that drink the juices of the world-tree with their feet (roots). "Foot-drinker" is a Vedic epithet for tree.

                Of the world-tree's origin, the same skald sings: "Who has seen him that was first born? Who has seen how the one without bones supports the one with bones (i.e. how the empty space bears the world-tree that has branches)?"[12]

                While the Rigveda bard lets honey-eating birds go to sleep and wake in the world-tree, Norse mythology tells us that a dew which "falls into dales" from the world-tree, is "that which men call honeydew and from which bees find nourishment." (Gylfaginning 16).

                The lowest branches of the Vedic world-tree spread themselves, like Yggdrasil's, over the fields of bliss in the underworld that belong to King Yama's realm. King Yama is a being of divine birth, who walked death's path first and subsequently found the way to the fields of bliss (Rigv. X, 14). There "in the beautifully praised tree, in which Yama drinks together with the gods, there, as the kind master of the house, he cares for our ancient forefathers." (Rigv. X, 135, 1). Yggdrasil's lowest branches shade Urd's well where the gods judge and Mimir's realm where Baldur, the ásmegir, and the blessed dead have their abodes, where the mead of the underworld is their drink and the morning dew their ambrosia (See Investigations into Germanic Mythology, Vol. I, no. 52).

                In two Rigveda hymns, X, 81 and X, 82, the world-tree personified is celebrated under the name "the All-worker" (viçvakarman). The All-worker is said to be the water's first embryo that which was born in the beginning, a reference to the golden-seed spoken of above which is the water's first embryo, and the bard inquires upon what he who supports the worlds stands. The world-tree is also personified in Rigv. X, 121, which celebrates the golden seed. For the bards, the world-tree represents an unknown god, the god Who? (Ka), whose arms are the four points of the compass and who overshadows the snow-capped mountains and the ocean. He is "the vast, by which the heavens remain secure and the earth steadfast, and who standing in the midst of creation, from there measures space."

                When one considers that the world-tree is a symbol of the ordered universe and that even the divine powers lie hidden in its golden seed, one already sees how close this bard, when he thus personifies it, stands to the pantheism that later develops during the Brahmanic period and which receives a kind of dogmatic stamp.[13]

                10) The myth of the world-tree is the same for the Iranian and the Rigveda Aryans. They possessed it fully formed while they still were a single people, and the information that the Iranian documents leave us concerning it complement that which is reported in Rigveda. The Iranian world-tree is called Gaokerena and Homa. The latter designation, when applied to a tree, can best be translated as mead-tree (see below). It grew up out of the middle of the underworld sea Vourukasha ("the broad-beached") and occupies the center of the created world.[14] It is white in color (Pahlavi Vendidad XX); as is its mead-juice. What the Rigveda and Norse mythology relate about the color of its roots is applicable to the entire tree and its juice and fits well with the common conception that the world-tree, in the form of a tree, is colorless and invisible to mortal eyes. It is alone in its class. "I, Ahuramazda, bring forth healing herbs in many myriads and of its kind only Gaokerena, Homa is white." (Pahlavi Vendidad XX). A hundred thousand kinds of plants have arisen from the world-tree's seed and it bears all types of fruits simultaneously.[15] Its juice is white mead–juice, the heavenly type of Homa-juice, which grants immortality to him who receives it. (Compare the birds in the Vedic world-tree that eat of its fruits and with another bird placed there that celebrates his share of immortality). For this reason, the dead, when they enter into new life should receive a drink of the world-tree's sap.

                The myth of the world-tree's immortalizing mead is rediscovered in Germanic mythology. From the mead that is pressed out of the world-tree's leaves and is symbolized by the milk of the goat, Heidrun, that grazes on the world-tree, the Einherjar in Valhall gather the strength of immortal life. The ásmegir, Lif and Lifthrasir, survive on Yggdrasil's morning dew during the ages of the world.[16] Baldur, when he descends into the underworld, is greeted there with the drink of "clear strengths."[17] In the underworld, the blessed dead receive a new and higher life through the same "clear strengths" collected from the well, out of which the world-tree sucks its life's juices. (See Investigations into Germanic Mythology, Vol. I, no. 72).[18]

                11) The Iranian world-tree is threatened by enemies, as is the Germanic, and in the Iranian myth, as in the Germanic, it is the tree's roots that are vulnerable to constant attack. The greatest and the worst monster that Ahriman, "the demons' demon," created is a lizard-shaped poisonous dragon that is found "in the water's abyss" by the foot of the tree and during the course of centuries unceasingly seeks to attack its roots, which nevertheless are defended by fish-shaped beings that Ahuramazda created.[19] From time to time another demon, Apaosha, in the form of a black horse comes down into Vourukasha to diminish the water and cause the tree to wither.[20] In Germanic mythology, it is the dragon Nidhögg, hostile to life, and besides him other monsters that attack Yggdrasil's roots, among them one Móinn, whose name also designates a horse (Grímnismál 34, 35; Snorra Edda II, 487, 571).[21]

                12) Among the Iranians, as among the Germanic and the Rigveda Indo-Europeans, the world-tree had significance for the production of new human generations. Above its crown, Gaokerena-Homa, which stands with its roots in the source-sea Vourukasha, has a heavenly reservoir, Anhita, whose fluid cleanses man's seed and woman's womb, as it pours through the tree's branches, and makes them fertile with fresh, well-formed embryos, and provides milk to their newborn, (Frawardin Yasht I, 4-8).

                The Islamic writer Shahrastani[22] tells of a Persian tradition that obviously stands in connection with this. God, says the tradition, placed the religion's founder Zarathustra's soul inside a tree that he allowed to grow up to heaven's highest heights. The juice of this tree contains sperm that Zarathustra's father received to drink, after which Zarathustra became a fetus inside his mother. —Another Persian tradition also says that the mead-juice in the world-tree gave origin to him. A Norse tale related in Völsungasaga 2 says that a queen could not bear children until she ate an apple that Frigg sent her from Valhall, over which the world-tree of course spreads its fruit-laden branches (Fjölsvinnsmál 22).





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


                Footnotes appear in the published edition.


                I'm very interested to hear what you think of this materiel. Is it dated? Are the conclusions still valid? What do you think?



                Wassail, William


                Author of:

                Viktor Rydberg's Investigations into Germanic Mythology, Vol. II, Part 1: Indo-European Mythology
                Translated and Annotated by William P. Reaves
                (iUniverse, 2007)

                Viktor Rydberg's Investigations into Germanic Mythology, Vol. II, Part 2: Germanic Mythology
                Translated and Annotated by William P. Reaves (iUniverse, 2004)

                Our Fathers' Godsaga by Viktor Rydberg, Illustrated by John Bauer
                Translated by William P. Reaves (iUniverse, 2003)

                Available at bn.com and wherever books are sold.



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • A.
                ... dated? Are the conclusions still valid? What do you think? ... William, I have a ton of thoughts, going back and forth over the passage and ideas cited.
                Message 7 of 16 , Mar 9, 2007
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                  --- In PIEreligion@yahoogroups.com, "William P. Reaves" <wreaves@...>
                  wrote:
                  > ((( A GREAT POST )))
                  >

                  > Footnotes appear in the published edition.
                  >
                  >
                  > I'm very interested to hear what you think of this materiel. Is it
                  dated? Are the conclusions still valid? What do you think?
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Wassail, William


                  William, I have a ton of thoughts, going back and forth over the
                  passage and ideas cited.
                  I'm hoping to get your book ASAP and review the footnotes, as well as
                  am in the process of getting copies of the other Vedas (Yajur, Sama,
                  and Atharva)...
                  It'll likely take me a week to get the first real response ready as I
                  will be away from the computer this weekend.

                  But I have a few opening thoughts:
                  1) Most RV hymns speak of the one who comes from the embryo as being
                  personal... akin to Purusa, Prajapati, Ymir, Phanes - rather than an
                  impersonal tree.
                  Though I am reading translations, which are thus potentially biased
                  by the translator.
                  2) Still, Rydberg offers some compelling thoughts and evidence
                  3) There is the Skambha in the Atharva Veda, which seems greater than
                  Purusa.
                  4) A Greek correlate of all this seems to be a jumbled myth
                  involving.... Atlas upholding the world and Herakles retrieving the
                  golden apples of the Hesperides ...The island itself is Erytheia and
                  lies far to the west, off in the sea and at the edge of the
                  world..... Here we have 3 sisters, daughters of Nyx or Atlas himself.
                  And a tree guarded by a dragon, which is slain by Herakles, and a
                  spring near the foot of the tree!

                  5) It'll be interesting to see what comes first; tree or proto-
                  God.... Yggdrasil or Ymir ... and how we can reconcile the matter.

                  Sincerely,
                  Aydan
                • William P. Reaves
                  Hej Aydan, Thanks for your response. I look forward to hearing your thoughts in greater detail whenever you are ready. Briefly, as I translated and annotated
                  Message 8 of 16 , Mar 9, 2007
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                    Hej Aydan,

                    Thanks for your response. I look forward to hearing your thoughts in greater detail whenever you are ready.

                    Briefly, as I translated and annotated this over the last year and a half, I have been reading a lot of IE scholarship.

                    Most notably, Rydberg (in 1889) touches on all of the main PIE themes recognized by scholars today including the creation of the world from a giant's body, the battle between two groups of divine beings and their assimilation with one another, and the final battle between good and evil, as well as all of the major PIE divine figures scholarship recognizes: the Sky-father, Earth-mother(?), Thunder-god, Dawn goddess, and the Divine Twins.

                    I think he has a tendency to take certain trains of thought too far, but in the overall outlines and many of the details, he is surprisingly modern. I am eager to hear what others think of this.


                    Wassail, William


                    Author of:

                    Viktor Rydberg's Investigations into Germanic Mythology, Vol. II, Part 1: Indo-European Mythology
                    Translated and Annotated by William P. Reaves
                    (iUniverse, 2007)

                    Viktor Rydberg's Investigations into Germanic Mythology, Vol. II, Part 2: Germanic Mythology
                    Translated and Annotated by William P. Reaves (iUniverse, 2004)

                    Our Fathers' Godsaga by Viktor Rydberg, Illustrated by John Bauer
                    Translated by William P. Reaves (iUniverse, 2003)

                    Available at bn.com and wherever books are sold.



                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • A.
                    Sooooo...finally getting back to the topic =s= ... Part 1: Indo-European Mythology ... in the former the seed becomes the world-tree, the oldest Indo- European
                    Message 9 of 16 , Mar 17, 2007
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                      Sooooo...finally getting back to the topic =s=

                      --- In PIEreligion@yahoogroups.com, "William P. Reaves" <wreaves@...>
                      wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > the following is an exceprt from:
                      > Viktor Rydberg's Investigations into Germanic Mythology, Vol. II,
                      Part 1: Indo-European Mythology
                      > Translated and Annotated by William P. Reaves


                      > The difference between the Vedic concepts and the Brahmanic is that
                      in the former the seed becomes the world-tree, the oldest Indo-
                      European symbol of the universe, while in the latter it becomes a
                      world-egg in which Brahma himself develops and of whose shell he
                      forms the heavens and the earth.

                      At this time, I'd have to say Rydberg was leaping to conclusions. I
                      have read a handful of different translations of the creation hymns
                      and most do *not* mention a tree.
                      Yes, there is the embryo, but the most common perspective is that the
                      embryo gives rise to a proto-God --- Prajapati, akin to Ymir and
                      Phanes. Likewise Pajapati is equated with other *personal* entities
                      such as Tvastr, Visvakarman, Purusa, Savitar, and later Brahma.
                      So as a whole... I'd have to disagree that any reference to the
                      seed/embryo implies a tree. Most *seem* to imply a living being.
                      The following two passage Rydberg mentions, could jast as easily
                      apply to a Ymir/Phanes-like entity.

                      > Rigveda X, 82, 5-7: "Which was the original seed that was begotten
                      in the water, further back (in time) than the gods livedâ€"the seed,
                      in which all the gods were produced? It was the seed in which all the
                      gods were united, that the water received, the primeval seed that lay
                      alone on the unborn's navel and in which all the world rests."
                      >
                      > Rigveda X, 121, 1: The first born is Hiranyagarbha (the golden
                      seed); v. 7: "when came the great water, which contained all
                      fertility within it, then the gods came to life, from it alone
                      (namely Hiranyagarbha)."



                      > Thus, one of Rigveda's bards can ask: "of which wood, of which
                      tree" is the world created.
                      > Rigv. X, 81, 4: "Which is the wood, which is the tree whereby earth
                      and heaven are constructed? Ye wise, search in your souls thereafter,
                      on what stood he, who created the worlds!"

                      Agreed, this passage does suggest a tree may have come first!
                      10.72.3 can be interpreted (by Wilson) to state an "upward growing
                      tree" is the source from which the regions/world arises. The
                      preceding verse mentions Brahmanaspati as creating all beings. - So
                      we cannot be absolutely certain the tree came first.
                      Likewise 10.31.7 mentions wood to form the world from, but not
                      whether the wood or Gods come first.
                      The Taittiriya Brahmana 2.8.9 mentions "Brahma is the wood"



                      > 6) The world-tree, "the tree of life," grows, according to the
                      Rigveda verse cited above, in the midst of the space that the world
                      occupies. This seed lies, as we see, "on the unborn's navel." From
                      there, it shot up, and from there its stem rose vertically through
                      space.

                      Certainly the navel suggests the omphalos, but again it is not clear
                      that it is not a personal being, like Ymir/Phanes/Eros, appearing in
                      the middle of the vast emptiness (gap).


                      > Rigv. I, 24, 7: "In the bottomless, Varuna the king with holy power
                      placed the tree's stem upright; downward, its rays (roots) are
                      directed. Among us (mankind), they must be unseen."[1]

                      This quote suggests the tree comes *after* the Gods.



                      > 8) The Vedic world-tree bears fruit. The Maruts, a distinct
                      division of the Rigvedic mythology's elves, its wind-elves, beautiful
                      gold-forging youths who travel forth within the air-cleansing storms,
                      shake down its mature fruit (Rigv. V, 54, 6, 12).

                      I have tried to follow this, but sadly I think Rydberg is clutching
                      here. RV 5.54.6&12 , and 5.58.4 both mention the Maruts shaking
                      trees, but as wind/storm beings this is not unusual.

                      NONE of the passages (Rigv. II, 41, 15; V, 58, 4; I, 23, 8) suggest
                      any real connection to childbirth in Griffith's translation.
                      On the other hand, I thought I had once read something about souls
                      being in the fruit of trees, and think maybe Endymion might have
                      written it.... ENDYMION???
                      Additionally Hillebrandt (vol 2 pgs 177-183) discusses the
                      possibility of the Maruts = the Manes. And mentions RV 1.135.8 where
                      the Maruts are implied to rest in an Asvatta/Pippala tree (aka sacred
                      fig or Bodhi tree). From this tree is the some vessel made by Tvastr.


                      > Of the world-tree's origin, the same skald sings: "Who has seen him
                      that was first born? Who has seen how the one without bones supports
                      the one with bones (i.e. how the empty space bears the world-tree
                      that has branches)?"[12]

                      This comes from RV 1.164.4 and in the Griffith trans there is NO
                      mention of a tree. Again I think Rydberg is interpreting everything
                      to support his views.
                      The boneless supporting the one with bones may mean the waters
                      supporting Prajapati..or the Embryo... or the embryo supporting
                      Prajapati... or the tree supporting Prajapati... or non-existence
                      giving rise to existence....sadly we don't know.


                      > In two Rigveda hymns, X, 81 and X, 82, the world-tree personified
                      is celebrated under the name "the All-worker" (viçvakarman). The All-
                      worker is said to be the water's first embryo that which was born in
                      the beginning, a reference to the golden-seed spoken of above which
                      is the water's first embryo, and the bard inquires upon what he who
                      supports the worlds stands. The world-tree is also personified in
                      Rigv. X, 121, which celebrates the golden seed. For the bards, the
                      world-tree represents an unknown god, the god Who? (Ka), whose arms
                      are the four points of the compass and who overshadows the snow-
                      capped mountains and the ocean. He is "the vast, by which the heavens
                      remain secure and the earth steadfast, and who standing in the midst
                      of creation, from there measures space."

                      The problem is Rydberg again states 'the world-tree is personified'
                      as if the tree were the primary concept... this is a claim which is
                      unsubstantiated. In 10.82.2 Visvakarman is equated with Dhatar (from
                      Dha- 'to make, to support' and -tr 'the acting agent') Dhatar also
                      figures in 7.35.3 and 10.190.

                      Visvakarman is described as having eyes, face, arms, & feet on every
                      side..as well as being winged (rather like the Orphic Phanes)

                      Tvastr meaning 'fashioner/maker/creator' - is the ancestor of mankind
                      (through his children) and is described as the "first born" in
                      1.13.10 and 9.5.9.
                      This suggests he might have sprang from the embryo. The Kausika Sutra
                      equates him with Prajapati while the Markandeya Purana equates him
                      with both Prajapati and Visvakarman. The RV also seems to suggest
                      Tvastr is the original source of Savitr (who later became an
                      independent deity). Tvastr is "pre-eminent over all things"... he is
                      the father of Indra, Agni 1.95.2), Brhaspati (2.23.17) ... he
                      fashions Indra's bolt, Brahmanaspati's axe, and the cup of soma
                      (maybe he fashioned it out of the world tree?)
                      Tvastr made heaven and earth (RV 1.160.2&4 , and 10.110.9) and in the
                      Vajasaneyi Samhita (29.9) he creates the world.

                      Purusa is a cosmic proto-God/giant akin to Ymir. Purusa'a main hymn
                      is RV 10.90, in which the unmanifested Purusa creates the egg which
                      then gives rise to his manifested personified form. Purusa is equated
                      with Prajapati in 10.121.4


                      Anyway, I again state my point that while there is evidence for a
                      World Tree... it is unclear WHEN it appears in the mythologic cycle.
                      With the exception of the later equation of Brahma with the wood, it
                      is also not stated whether the Tree is the same as any of the above
                      beings.


                      Is Yggdrasil the same as Ymir?
                      The Vedic tree the same as Prajapati/Purusa/Tvastr/Dhatar/Visvakarman?
                      Indeed, are all those Vedic gods truly just epithets for one another
                      or were they originally different beings and so we need to figure out
                      which came first?!?


                      The elements that DO seem clear are these:
                      Emptiness/cosmic waters -> to an egg/embryo/seed -> Some THING rises
                      from the embryo.. a Ymir like being, or a tree....
                      Somewhere a Proto-being does arise which creates the other gods.
                      Somewhere a World Tree develops.

                      I'll post more on the World Tree in a few hours or sometime tomorrow.

                      Oh and I have ordered Rydberg's book as well as some other Vedic
                      material (the other Vedas) to try and flesh things out further.

                      Regards,
                      Aydan
                    • A.
                      ... Part 1: Indo-European Mythology ... Trying to focus solely on the PIE concept of a World Tree, regardless of when it develops within the mythic cycle....
                      Message 10 of 16 , Mar 17, 2007
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                        Continuing onward:

                        --- In PIEreligion@yahoogroups.com, "William P. Reaves" <wreaves@...>
                        wrote:
                        >from:
                        > Viktor Rydberg's Investigations into Germanic Mythology, Vol. II,
                        Part 1: Indo-European Mythology
                        > Translated and Annotated by William P. Reaves


                        Trying to focus solely on the PIE concept of a World Tree, regardless
                        of when it develops within the mythic cycle....


                        >
                        > 10) The myth of the world-tree is the same for the Iranian and the
                        Rigveda Aryans. They possessed it fully formed while they still were
                        a single people, and the information that the Iranian documents leave
                        us concerning it complement that which is reported in Rigveda. The
                        Iranian world-tree is called Gaokerena and Homa. The latter
                        designation, when applied to a tree, can best be translated as mead-
                        tree (see below). It grew up out of the middle of the underworld sea
                        Vourukasha ("the broad-beached") and occupies the center of the
                        created world.[14] It is white in color (Pahlavi Vendidad XX); as is
                        its mead-juice. What the Rigveda and Norse mythology relate about the
                        color of its roots is applicable to the entire tree and its juice and
                        fits well with the common conception that the world-tree, in the form
                        of a tree, is colorless and invisible to mortal eyes.
                        > A hundred thousand kinds of plants have arisen from the world-
                        tree's seed and it bears all types of fruits simultaneously.[15] Its
                        juice is white meadâ€"juice, the heavenly type of Homa-juice, which
                        grants immortality to him who receives it. (Compare the birds in the
                        Vedic world-tree that eat of its fruits and with another bird placed
                        there that celebrates his share of immortality). For this reason, the
                        dead, when they enter into new life should receive a drink of the
                        world-tree's sap.


                        Excellent points!
                        I think Rydberg is on the money here, the Iranian Gaokerena Tree is
                        very likely the same as Yggdrasil. If this is so, then it would be a
                        hold over from the shared PIE ancestry, and thus the Vedic branch
                        should also have a correlate. It is likely to be the Asvattha /
                        Pippala sacred fig Tree, or it may be the Skambha mention in the
                        Atharva Veda. I'll keep looking for more details to shore up this
                        relationship.


                        Additionally, the fact that the Gaokerena seems to be the Tree of All
                        seeds, suggests it might be the same as the branch of Fintan, which a
                        giant bears to Tara and from it arise the 5 sacred trees which stand
                        at the 4 corners and center of the Isle [the Tree of Tortu (Bile
                        Tortan), the Yew of Ross (Eó Ruis), the Yew of Mugna (Eó Mugna),
                        Dathi's Branch (Craeb Daithi) and the Tree of Uisnech (Bile Uisneg)]
                        This branch bears all sorts of fruits on it, not just from one type
                        of tree.


                        >
                        > 11) The Iranian world-tree is threatened by enemies, as is the
                        Germanic, and in the Iranian myth, as in the Germanic, it is the
                        tree's roots that are vulnerable to constant attack. The greatest and
                        the worst monster that Ahriman, "the demons' demon," created is a
                        lizard-shaped poisonous dragon that is found "in the water's abyss"
                        by the foot of the tree and during the course of centuries
                        unceasingly seeks to attack its roots, which nevertheless are
                        defended by fish-shaped beings that Ahuramazda created.[19] From time
                        to time another demon, Apaosha, in the form of a black horse comes
                        down into Vourukasha to diminish the water and cause the tree to
                        wither.[20] In Germanic mythology, it is the dragon Nidhögg, hostile
                        to life, and besides him other monsters that attack Yggdrasil's
                        roots, among them one Móinn, whose name also designates a horse (Grí
                        mnismál 34, 35; Snorra Edda II, 487, 571).[21]


                        Obviously I need to do some searching on Vrtra and other Vedic
                        dragons and see if I can find a correlate. I'm not sure Vrtra fits,
                        as he is the correlate of Jormungandr and is slain by Thor/Indra.
                        The only other Vedic dragon I am aware of is Ahi Budhnya, the 'dragon
                        of the deep'.. I will do more searching on that. Hmm.. also a serpent
                        of some sort when the gods churn the ambrosia...again more searching
                        to do.


                        Likewise there is an Iranian Azi Dahaka.
                        Wikipedia states:
                        "Besides Aži Dahāka, several other dragons and dragon-like creatures
                        are mentioned in Zoroastrian scripture:
                        a)Aži Sruvara - the 'horned dragon', also called Aži Zairita -
                        the 'yellow dragon', that is killed by the hero Kərəsāspa, Middle
                        Persian Kirsāsp. (Yasna 9.1, 9.30; Yasht 19.19)
                        b) Aži Raoiδita - the 'red dragon' conceived by Angra Mainyu's to
                        bring about the 'daeva-induced winter' that is the reaction to Ahura
                        Mazda's creation of the Airyanem Vaejah. (Vendidad 1.2)
                        c) Aži Višāpa - the 'dragon of poisonous slaver' that consumes
                        offerings to Aban if they are made between sunset and sunrise
                        (Nirangistan 48).
                        d) Gandarəβa - the 'yellow-heeled' monster of the sea 'Vourukasha'
                        that can swallow twelve provinces at once. On emerging to destroy the
                        entire creation of Asha, it too is slain by the hero Kərəsāspa.
                        (Yasht 5.38, 15.28, 19.41)

                        Hopefully we can get more details to determine which Iranian dragon
                        equates to which Vedic version... and then to a PIE version.



                        > 12) Among the Iranians, as among the Germanic and the Rigveda Indo-
                        Europeans, the world-tree had significance for the production of new
                        human generations. Above its crown, Gaokerena-Homa, which stands with
                        its roots in the source-sea Vourukasha, has a heavenly reservoir,
                        Anhita, whose fluid cleanses man's seed and woman's womb, as it pours
                        through the tree's branches, and makes them fertile with fresh, well-
                        formed embryos, and provides milk to their newborn, (Frawardin Yasht
                        I, 4-8).


                        I can't say much about this, my Iranian and Avestan sources are quite
                        limited. Again, it reminds me of that myth about souls in trees or
                        fruit ...which for some reason I associate with Endymion.
                        It would also fit with the previous post where I mentioned
                        Hillebrandt's equation of the Manes = the Maruts.


                        Going back to the Tree concept, there is the apparent Greek correlate
                        of the Tree of Golden Apples of the Hesperides. It exists on the
                        island of Erytheia and lies far to the west, off in the sea and at
                        the edge of the world. The Hesperides are 3 sisters, daughters of Nyx
                        or Atlas himself. The tree is guarded by a dragon (Ladon), which is
                        slain by Herakles, and there is a spring near the foot of the tree
                        which might equate to the well of the Norns and the well near the
                        tree of Tara.
                        Not sure what the apples do exactly, but they were produced by Gaia
                        for the marriage of Zeus and Hera.
                        Further confirmation of the myth can be seen in that the dragon
                        Ladon, after being killed by Herakles, is placed in the heaves where
                        (as the constellation Draco) he circles the North Pole - aka the tree
                        of the Hesperides and thus equating the Tree with the Axis Mundi.
                        Theoi.com states:
                        "In Hesiod, the parents and siblings of Ladon represented the dangers
                        of the sea. Accordingly this hundred-headed serpent, whose name
                        means 'the strong flowing one' (although Hesiod does not use the
                        name), might have represented dangerous sea currents."
                        This might well = the Vedic Ahi Budhnya.

                        (thanks to theoi.com for the Greek info! more Greek dragons can be
                        found at www.theoi.com/Cat_Drakones.html )


                        Oh well, I think we have shown there is good evidence for a PIE World
                        Tree. We can work on the details of determining which dragon guards
                        it..and this may in turn help us pick out more myths about the
                        tree... until we are finally able to gather all the details (and
                        determine when during Creation, It arises)

                        Yours in Faith,
                        Aydan
                      • William P. Reaves
                        Hej Aydan, Thanks for taking the time to critique the material. I agree with you, there are passages in the Rydberg text which go too far in their
                        Message 11 of 16 , Mar 17, 2007
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                          Hej Aydan,

                          Thanks for taking the time to critique the material. I agree with you, there are passages in the Rydberg text which go too far in their interpretation, and sometimes the source material is ambiguous or can be interpreted in other ways than Rydberg does. But overall, I think he makes some excellent points. A good example is the World-Tree. While we clearly find eastern and western analogs, I don't recall other scholars acknowledging this. Fore example, it's not mentioned in the latest book by Mallory and Adams.

                          Another passage which may relate to a world-tree is:

                          Rigveda 135 (Griffith tr.)
                          1. In the Tree clothed with goodly leaves where Yama drinketh with the Gods,
                          The Father, Master of the house, tendeth with love our ancient Sires.
                          2 I looked reluctantly on him who cherishes those men of old,
                          On him who treads that evil path, and then I yearned for this again.


                          Rydberg identifies Yama with the Old Norse Mimir and the "tree with goodly leaves" as "Mimir's Tree" (i.e. Yggdrassil). The chapter on Mimir is fascinating. Rydberg even produces a Greek analog!


                          For now, the book can only be obtained through Amazon.com. Within a few weeks, it will be available through other booksellers. It's available in hardcover for $29.95 and in softcover for $19.95.

                          As you read the work, keep in mind that it was written in 1889 in Swedish. It has never been translated before, which means most scholars are unfamilar with it. A few German-language scholars such as Jan de Vries have commented on it over the years. It's one of the earliest works on comparative mythology that does NOT rely on the nature-myth (or meterological) interpretation.

                          Rydberg draws many conclusions. Some of them hold true today (and are reflected in the works of modern scholars such as Adams and Mallory), some of them do not, and some of them open up "new" material that should be examined in light of modern research.

                          If you are interested, I'll post other excerpts from the book for discussion.


                          Wassail, William

                          Author of:

                          Viktor Rydberg's Investigations into Germanic Mythology, Vol. II, Part 1: Indo-European Mythology
                          Translated and Annotated by William P. Reaves
                          (iUniverse, 2007)

                          Viktor Rydberg's Investigations into Germanic Mythology, Vol. II, Part 2: Germanic Mythology
                          Translated and Annotated by William P. Reaves (iUniverse, 2004)

                          Our Fathers' Godsaga by Viktor Rydberg, Illustrated by John Bauer
                          Translated by William P. Reaves (iUniverse, 2003)

                          Available at bn.com and wherever books are sold.



                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Endymion
                          Posted by: A. xthanex@yahoo.com ... I can t say much about this, my Iranian and Avestan sources are quite limited. Again, it reminds me of that myth about
                          Message 12 of 16 , Mar 18, 2007
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                            Posted by: "A." xthanex@...
                            >
                            >
                            I can't say much about this, my Iranian and Avestan sources are quite
                            limited. Again, it reminds me of that myth about souls in trees or
                            fruit ...which for some reason I associate with Endymion.
                            >
                            >

                            It's good to know that I'm getting into people's subconsciousness :o)
                            Seriously now, I can't remember the context of the example you're
                            reffering to. If you could dig out some reference, I'll try to find
                            the exact place where it occurs.

                            e.
                          • A.
                            Continuing onward with the thread that started discussing Rydberg s IE connections to the World Tree: We ve already discussed the Iranian Gaokerena, Yggdrasil,
                            Message 13 of 16 , Apr 8, 2007
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                              Continuing onward with the thread that started discussing Rydberg's
                              IE connections to the World Tree:

                              We've already discussed the Iranian Gaokerena, Yggdrasil, the Vedic
                              Asvattha, and the Greek Tree of the Hesperides.
                              It was interesting that in most cases the tree is associated with a
                              serpent either attacking or guarding it (in the Greek case).

                              Originally I said:

                              --- In PIEreligion@yahoogroups.com, "A." <xthanex@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Going back to the Tree concept, there is the apparent Greek
                              correlate
                              > of the Tree of Golden Apples of the Hesperides. It exists on the
                              > island of Erytheia and lies far to the west, off in the sea and at
                              > the edge of the world. The Hesperides are 3 sisters, daughters of
                              Nyx
                              > or Atlas himself. The tree is guarded by a dragon (Ladon), which is
                              > slain by Herakles, and there is a spring near the foot of the tree
                              > which might equate to the well of the Norns and the well near the
                              > tree of Tara.
                              > Not sure what the apples do exactly, but they were produced by Gaia
                              > for the marriage of Zeus and Hera.
                              > Further confirmation of the myth can be seen in that the dragon
                              > Ladon, after being killed by Herakles, is placed in the heaves
                              where (as the constellation Draco) he circles the North Pole - aka
                              the tree of the Hesperides and thus equating the Tree with the Axis
                              Mundi.
                              >
                              >


                              Since then I have done a bit more exploring.....


                              Info from Wikipedia states:
                              "In earlier times, Greek mythology did not consider Ursa Major a
                              bear, and instead its 3 bright stars (situated in the tail) were seen
                              as apples growing on a tree (sometimes represented by the fainter
                              stars in the remainder of the constellation). At the same time, the
                              stars of Ursa Minor were associated with the Hesperides.
                              Between Ursa Minor and Ursa Major is the constellation Draco, the
                              dragon, which appears to be protecting both the tail stars, the
                              apples, of Ursa Major"

                              The 3 stars that would have been viewed as apples were thus likely to
                              have been Alioth, Alkaid, and Mizar; although I can find no clear
                              history of this during my rudimentary searching.
                              It seems that in earlier days due to the phenomenon of the precession
                              of Earth's rotational axis; the pole star was either Thuban (from
                              4000 BC until 1700 BC) which is actually part of the Draco
                              constellation; or Kochab (from 1700 B.C. until 500 A.D, when it
                              finally became Polaris). Regardless, the constellation Draco either
                              included the pole star or else circled around this region and that
                              the stars of Ursa Major (and Minor?) may have been envisioned as
                              comprising some form of polar tree. This then equates tree of the
                              Hesperides with the Axis Mundi.
                              A bit more info (both useful and otherwise) can be found at:
                              www.ufrsd.net/staffwww/stefanl/myths/draco.htm
                              www.dibonsmith.com/dra_con.htm
                              langlab.uta.edu/german/personal/rings/skygoddess/draco.htm
                              users.winshop.com.au/annew/Draco.html


                              I have seen it posted on the web, that the ancient Persians knew the
                              constellation of Draco by the name of the serpent Azi Dahaka (Azi
                              Dahag). If this is true, it clearly reveals a shared PIE ancestry.
                              But even if the constellation was not known by that name, still the
                              myth of Azi Dahak provides vital information to this discussion.
                              Azi Dahak was an evil dragon who was defeated by Thraetaona (aka
                              Fereydun) and then chained within the mountain known as Mount
                              Damavand (Demavand).
                              Mt. Demavand is the highest peak within the Alburz mountain range,
                              and is located in the central region of that range. This becomes
                              crucial when we see that in Zoroastrian mythology, a mythical Mt
                              Alburz (also known as Mount Hara / Harburz , Mount Tera, or Mount
                              Hukairya / Hukar) is seen as the Axis Mundi which arises from the
                              center of the Alburz range. By this mountain are the heavens
                              supported, and the stars rotate around it.
                              Now there is no real Mount Hara, but there is Damavand, the highest
                              peak in the Alburz range and located rather centrally within said
                              range.

                              Thus we see Azi Dahak chained to Mt Damavand as it is the axis mundi,
                              much like Draco circling the pole star, Lado circling the Tree of the
                              Hesperides, and Nidhogg or Jormungandr circling Yggdrasil.


                              In faith,
                              -Aydan
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