Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Reindeer, Queens & Crowns, Part II

This is a carving of 2 swimming reindeer, in Ivory. It is 13,000 years old. It was found in a cave shelter in Montastruc, Tar et Garoone, France. It is currently in the British Museum.
Ont he British Museum's site, they speculate:
"Was the sculpture a group totem, a shaman’s wand or the focal point of a story based on a journey in or between real and supernatural worlds?"

It's been awhile since I posted Part I of this article. I have been very sick and it's been a  difficult struggle. I thought I knew exactly what Part II of this post would say, but I had an uplifting dream recently that changed everything:
                                    Larry (my husband) and I moved into a beautiful cabin, which we had purchased from the prior owner. The cabin was made of beautiful , highly polished wood, and was filled with luminous light. The master bed was on low wooded pedestal. I found little drawers all around the pedestal. I opened one, and discovered a wonderful secret: the women who lived here before was a gifted writer, and she had left me some tiny rolled scrolls. I pick one up, and I see that it has "Rennes-le-Chateau written on it. I unroll the scroll. The author tells a story about a very precious friend of hers, a female reindeer. I feel filled with joy when I read about this secret."   Then I awaken and write the dream down.

                         Rennes-le-Chateau is a notorious place in France, filled with many mysteries and surrounded by myriad legends. The name is very curious: it literally translates from French into English as "Castle of the Reindeer".  Historically, the Magdalenian Period (approximately 16,000-10,000 BC) was also refereed to as the "Reindeer Age". The land that later became France had  reindeer herders since before the Magdalenian Period. There have been ancient reindeer artifacts (reindeer bones, and art depicting reindeer) found throughout France.

    Rennes-le-Chateau was made famous in recent times by Holy Blood Holy Grail, and the Da Vinci Code , which both indicate a hidden Goddess tradition.  Near Rennes-le-Chateau is Rennes-les-Bains (the Baths of the Reindeer), known for it's healing hot springs and legends of appearances of the Goddess. Often Rennes-le-Chateau is called the "Queen's Castle" and Rennes-le-Bains is called the "Queens Bath". "Queen" in French is "La Reine". How did "le rennes" and "la reine" become interchangeable? And is it a coincidence that a modern mystery regarding the return of the sacred feminine involves a place called Rennes-le-Chateau-, or Castle of the Reindeer? Quoting Elisabeth Van Buren in her curious volume on Renne-le-Chateau, Refuge of the Apolcalypse (page 177) :
"Rennes is the Goddess. Why is she portrayed as a reindeer?"
Very good question, and one that is not directly answered in her book.

I find clues to the answer to this question in many sources regarding the presence of an old reindeer/deer cult in Old Europe:

"The relationship between Finn Mac Cumail, his family, and the Irish Fiana, with the cervidae (antlered animals) is yet more proof that this very old clan was heir to the prehistoric occupants of Ireland from the era of the reindeer hunters." (Markale/1995)
Markale also repeatedly points out that the Druids and the Merlin tales come from the same tradition of the reindeer hunters. (Markale/1999).

Clarissa Pinkola Estes points out that: "In the sacrifice of the doe we see more of the hem of the old religion. The sacrifice of the deer was as ancient rite meant to release the deer's gentle yet bounding energy." (Estes/1992)

The myths of the Calleach (wise old hag) in Scotland are also found to be connected to an old deer goddess tradition (O Crualoich/2007, McHardy/2003). One of the oldest cultures in Scotland is the Picts, and they have reindeer artifacts, both art and bones. Reindeer were herded in ancient Scotland as well.

I've already quoted the works of Esther Jacobson and Linda Scherise Leonard in prior posts showing the Siberian clan connection to the Reindeer Goddess. I also talked about the possible connections of the Scythian, the Pazyrk, and the Bonpo to the ancient reindeer/deer cults. (click here, here, here, &  here)

For me, the above mentioned dream confirms the path I'm on. Perhaps the writer who gifts me is my own ancestor. My genetic family has ties to the Scottish Tribe of Mar, Pictish descendants . My genetic family are also descendants of the French duchy of Anjou.
I have more work to do, more digging to do.... and more dreaming to do.

To see Part I of this post, click here.

Women Who Run With the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes: page 443 
The Quest for the Nine Maidens, by Stuart McHardy, page153
Merlin, Priest of Nature, by Jean Markale, page 162
Women of the Celts, by Jean Markale, pages 103-111
The Book of the Cailleach , by Gearoid O Crualaoich, pages 124-125
Refuge of the Apocalypse: Doorway to Other Dimensions, Rennes-les-Chateau, The Key, by Elizabeth Van Buren , page 177



Friday, July 2, 2010

Reindeer, Queens & Crowns: Part 1

This crown is in Russia's State Hermitage Museum.  (click to view the page about it.)

           This crown is a beautiful 1st Century BCE artifact from Khokhlach Burial Mound, near Novocherkassk. The web page (see above) states that it was ritual piece used for fertility rites.
             In my search for information about the Reindeer Goddess after my personal experiences (See links below) with the image of a Reindeer Woman, I came across many beautiful images from archeology and art of Siberia, Mongolia, and Europe. This crown is one of the most stunning pieces I have seen yet. It contains many symbols of an ancient tradition.

        The crowned queen/goddess has a tree growing from her crown chakra. The tree represents Cosmic Tree/Axis Mundi the gives the empowered  shamaness/priestess access to the other realms and dimensions. This same cosmic tree is found even today on the Evenk shaman's drum. Jacobson/1992) The Evenk rhythmic drumming mimics the sound of the running reindeer. The reindeer is the Evnek magical steed that flies the shaman/shamanka to other dimensions (Leonard/1995). The Saami also believe that the female reindeer antlers (the largest of the herd) are one with the Cosmic Tree's branches (Leonard/1995).  Here, we see the correlation of the reindeer antlers with the cosmic Tree and Otherworld journeys.  The Cosmic Tree is also a symbol for subtle body anatomy: the spine is the trunk of the tree with the branches symbolizing the brain.

        A gold crown is symbolic of the luminosity of illumination. In the old religions, the "Illumined Ones" were the "Wise Ones", or the "Ones Who Knew". In art history we see a golden orb painted around the head of the Enlightened Ones to represent their spiritual attainment- also called their "glory".  The first physical crown created by man has been speculated to be a crown of antlers to represent the sage's illumination and access to the Cosmic World Tree. After mankind developed metallurgy, the crown was made of gold.  We see similar symbolism in the Kabbalah. After the destruction of Solomon's Temple, the "glory" no longer illuminated inner sanctum of the temple. Gradually, the Ark of the Covenant became dark, no longer communicating with the people. In the Kabbalistic teachings, the Sheckinah is the Glory. The Sacred Feminine, or the Shekinah Glory is in exile from the people and the land. Illumined living cannot return until the temple is rebuilt. The people MUST reconnect with the heart of wisdom (communicate with the Imaginal Realm).  The ruler of the people cannot truly wear the Crown of Glory (Wisdom) until the Shekinah Glory returns.

Part II with show us the connection between the sacred feminine, the queen (reine) and reindeer (renne).

*Synchronicity: As I was writing this blog post, my mail arrived. There was a package from  my paperback swap book order, containing 2 books.  Witness to the Fire: Creativity & the Veil of Addiction by Linda Schierese Leonard, whom I quote in the above blog post. In this book is the original purchase receipt from Moe's Bookstore on Telegraph in Berkeley for 4-30-1992. I was working in Berkeley in 1992 for a professor who lived just above Telegraph, and I was often in Moe's Bookstore.  The second book is , Six Myths of Our Time, Little Angels, Little Monsters, Beautiful Beasts and More by Marina Warner. I had never seen a copy of the book before. On the cover is a woman laying on the ground in a forest with antlers coming from her head.

Links to my other pasts on this subject:

Reindeer Goddess, Axis Mundi & Axis Shifts

Following Reindeer Goddess: an Inner Journey

Incubating Reindeer Goddess & Baby Blue

Reindeer Goddess & the Imaginal Realm