History from the Closet

Do you searched your closet soon? There are many covered with dust books, antiques, scrolls. Let's open them. Let's see what we can find.

Location: Balkans, New Europe

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Revival versus Renaissance

My yesterday speculation about the taller than two meters (Hesychast?) monks didn't leave me all the morning at ease. Recurrently my thoughts returned to this Mediaeval epoch, to that troubled times. I thought about one essay I read long ago, which made indelible mark in my mind. Probably it's time to share something what impressed me deeply.

I'll translate two paragraphs from "Rev. Grigorius Sinait and his Spiritual Successors" by Father Peter (Pigol') - the original text is in Russian.

The XIV-th century in the human history is marked with extreme instability, social lability, sharp political and ideological struggle. Describing this period, G. M. Prohorov writes: "In the history of European social awareness, XIV-th century completes the millennia long kingdom of Mediaeval values. The Renaissance gained ground - the revival of the Pagan antiquity, as an internal awareness, is in fact the dialectical completion of European Middle Ages, following the internal logic of its progress. The Godlike Man as a supreme "regalian" social value was being displaced by the (only) Man, the State, the People." [91, p.3] The drive toward the Pagan antiquity restoration inevitably dragged along the ideological crisis, which fireplace in the East European Orthodox countries was Byzantium. "The ideological crisis, during which was revised the Byzantium culture, was in fact - sais G. M. Prohorov - a clash between two counteractive individualist trends: the Rationalistic Humanism and the Contemplative Hesychasm." [91, p.4]

This clash was expressed in the Hesychast disputes carried out at 30-60-ies of XIV-th century in Byzantium. The contemporary scientists make an conclusion, that these disputes laid the foundation of a new epoch in human history. This is the reason for the deepest interest on all the processes being performed at that time. According to the scientist's opinion, the new epoch can be characterized with the arising of two spiritually-cultural trends with their own notions about the human goals and purpose. The Hesychast disputes, as argues G. M. Prohorov, "were the key event for meeting and separation of the two European Revivals in the very beginning of their path." [91, p.8] Every trend have had its own direction: one of the trends went the exoteric way and became known in the history as the West European Renaissance; the other one - the Orthodox Revival - went the esoteric way.

Well, I have to add that the quoted reference is from: Prohorov G. M., "The Cultural Peculiarity of the Kulikov Battle Epoch", TODRL. L., 1979, Vol. 34, pp. 3-17. Unfortunately I'm unable to find this article on the Web or on paper, so probably I have to trust the reliability of Father Peter.

Anyway, this proposed clash made me feel uneasy when I first read the essay. There were a sticky question in my mind - which of the both ways (if any) was the "right" or truthful one ? After this I read many other articles, essays and books, and now I feel confident, I know my path, my direction in the search for truth. Do you ?

A quick follow-up: I'd like to apologize to all visitors for the extremely wrong misspelling of one key word in last two installments. I wrote "Isihasm" "Isihast" instead of "Hesychasm" and "Hesychast". Please, forgive my ignorrance. I already changed all the wrong spelled words. This unintentional mistake gave me a big lesson on the way of researching and writing the entries in this Blog.

Thank you.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Who is taller - we or our ancestors ?

Well, after the strong Goddess/feminine stuff, let me offer something for the males. You know males prefer to measure the things - who/what is bigger, longer, taller... Interesting, my account is returning again to the same area - Strandzha Mountain. To begin with one archaeological find.

In the fall of the previous year Novinite wrote:

Bulgarian archaeologists have discovered 3,000-year-old human skeletons, just weeks after Europe's oldest skeleton was unearthed in the country.

The skeletons, discovered near the village of Moguila in the district of Yambol, are about two meters tall, which is unusual for the people who inhabited the region in the Early Bronze era.

The skeletons are balled up in an embryo position, which, ancient peoples believed, immortalized the soul, archaeologists explained.

The people came to the region from the Black Sea steppe and after mixing with the locals gave birth to the Thracians.

It's not important for the purpose of this article where these people came from. Here I prefer to play around the stature issue. The fact is that the local archaeological community recently began to mention often, that our ancestors in that area were taller than expected...

I dug a bit for additional info. And found an interesting travel log - Top secret: Egypt Goddess Sanctuary in Strandzha (unfortunately in Bulgarian). So, I have to translate some excerpts to give you impression what is discussed inside:

On a first glance this is an usual old chapel, but inside there's an entry for ancient sanctuary. By the way the other two St. Marina sanctuaries are simply caves. This is the only sanctuary hidden under the chapel. The local people still honor this place. The scientists didn't examined the chapel / sanctuary, but the treasure-hunters are already here.

"No, the cave haven't been investigated. I can't answer why, but the cave is honored till today. From what we have seen from the treasure-hunter's ditches, this place can be dated around the early Iron age, i.e. the beginning of the first millennia BC" explained Prof. Valeria Fol. "There're clues, which permit us to assess whether this is a sepulcher or sanctuary. In this case we have a sanctuary. There isn't any grave, this isn't a sepulcher."

The local people connect the faith in this place with more recent times. With the story for burning down the monastery from Turks and an unusual rescue of five monks, buried under the debris.

"There were many sheep pens. There were shepherds and one of them heard, that something groaned from inside the ditch, but didn't contemplate there're people inside. While sleeping, he had a dream, there're people buried beneath there, gathered some friends from the village, came on the place and dug them out. The saved were 2 meters and higher tall. They weren't like the ordinary people and than the saved ordered another chapel and monastery to be build on the place." tells Donka Kostova from Gramatikovo village.

Hmmm, by the way, now I remember that this region, the Strandzha mountain area, was one of the places where the Mediaeval Hesychast heresy was wide spread. There was a famous Hesychast monastery - Paroria, founded and led by St. Grigorius Sinait. Are these extremely tall monks connected some way to the Hesychast heresy? Is there some "hidden" reason for their writings, which is believed to be the foundation and source for the Eastern Orthodox esoteric tradition as presented by Boris Mouravieff in his famous trilogy "Gnosis" ?

But let me continue with the excerpts:

"So, that's the legend - from the left side isn't permitted to enter, who enters from the left wouldn't be able to come out. From the right side is OK to enter. Years ago, we all came here at local fair time, entered the cave, from the stones above there was water strained, we smeared our foreheads for health," said further the woman.

There're another two caves, deified by recent days Christians. They both are connected with the St. Marina's name.

"St. Marina. I have long wondered why she's the most honored Saint in the town (Sozopol). She's the town's patron Saint. 13 years old girl - she's not frightful. She is terrible in the Sozopol citizen's minds. They don't fear St. Nikola - they're sailors, fishermen. They fear St. Marina, their honor is for her and they honor her with horror. She kills the youngsters if they don't obey and make some "forbidden" deeds. She was the Great Goddess-Mother. [Her sanctuary] is outside the town. In one hurst [with] spring," explained Bozhidar Dimitrov (Prof., Historian).

Well, well, well... Again St. Marina, again the Mother Goddess. What did I intended to write? Probably the local people beliefs are so deeply "imprinted" with this cult, that neither monotheistic Christianity, neither Communism can make something more than to "twist" a bit the ancient beliefs...

Anyway, my rant is near the end and I'm still unable to conclude. Who is taller - we or our ancestors?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The Rock Womb at Nenkovo

While I'm searching some books to support my claim that the Greek or Roman sources speak about Thracians as "wild, illiterate, skilled in wars Barbarians", let me continue with another interesting find from the same area - Eastern Rhodopes.

The Rock Womb at Nenkovo is amazing structure in a high mountain, in a wild, rocky area above the Borovitsa Chalet, some 14 miles from Kurdzali. Here we see again a link to the Goddess cult, practiced in this area. To quote some excerpts:

A surprise awaits the visitor at the very entrance as one realizes that it is shaped like the opening to a vagina. It leads into a 65 Ft cave, and expert analysis has shown that the original karstic cavern had only been 48 Ft deep. Undoubtedly, a human hand shaped it into a place of conception constantly washed by water seeping through the walls. At the deep far end of the cave, a carved altar symbolizes the womb itself. The real surprise, however, comes at midday: as the sun approaches its highest point in the sky, its light seeps into the cave through a special opening in the ceiling and projects a perfectly recognizable representation of a phallus onto the floor. As the sun progresses further, and the light slants across the interior of the cave, the phallus grows longer, reaching out to the womb altar. Only during some months of the year, however, January and February, when the sun is lowest on the horizon, the phallus becomes long enough to reach the altar and symbolically fecundate the womb.

The meaning of these orgies is archetypical. According to the Indo-Iranian tradition, the King died and was reborn again as a manifestation of the natural cosmic cycle. To do this, he had to climb high in the mountain and slaughter a sacrificial animal or another human, enacting his own death. He then entered into symbolic matrimony with the Mother Goddess, fecundated her and was thereby reborn. This is the ancient myth of the Lover Son, born by the Mother Goddess, who returns to her womb by the act of copulation.

Many details of the extinct Orphic rite apparently survived in the rather fantastic beliefs of some remote communities in the Strandzha Mountain. According to them, St. Marina lived in a cave with a stream pouring into it, which popular imagination likened to male fecundating fluid pouring into a womb. Marina was herself conceived after her mother had prayed to the Sun. Once a year, young unmarried men and women gather in the local caves to take part in the sacrament of conception. The parallel with Herodotus' account is obvious. (It was he who denounced the sexual wantonness of the Thracian ritual in the cave temple on Samothrace.)

I saw myself this place. And can assure you - it's for real and very impressive. I can not "trace" in the time the Herodotus' account. But I already know that sometimes the "official" history "mixes" the real places and events. You know who is writing the "official" history. If you still doubt, probably it's time to read Ancient Science Finis Gloria Mundi. There is much to read, not only history...

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Who are the Thracians?

One of the secrets from the nearby Balkans' closet are so called "Thracians". Why so called? Because the people living in this region millennia ago were known as Thracians by their Greek neighbors and by their Roman conquerors. Anyway, they themselves used their tribe names - Odrysai, Bessi, Moesi, to name some...

And if we have to trust the Greek or Roman sources, it seems Thracians were wild, illiterate, skilled in wars Barbarians. It seems also, that the treasures being unearthed regularly in this area, point to something different.

Let's take the recent news. Two Bulgarian sources presented a new discovery. Novinite told:

The Eastern Rhodopes revealed an old-times funeral site obviously pertaining to an ancient Crete-Micenae cult dating 3,500 years ago.


The artifacts from the late bronze epoch were found in the nearby Samara cave.

The find's pertainence to the epoch of legendary Mycenae derives from the found labris (short two-face ritual axe, characteristic of that civilization) and a silver amulet of the cult to Mother Earth, as well as pieces of surgery utensils.

We can find something more about this "Mother Earth cult". From Standart News:

A Thracian silver decoration, in the form of a female reproductive organ, was found in the Samara Cave, near Ribino village in the region of Krumovgrad town. The piece of jewelry supposedly belonged to the king-priest, buried 3,500 years ago, archeologist Nikolay Ovcharov reported. To him, the unique amulet bears out the then cult to the Goddess Mother. This is the first interment of a Thracian ruler in a cave, discovered in the territory of this country. The bronze Labyris (labyris - labris - labrus) is an ancient Minoan symbol that looks like a double-bladed axe and is also a unique find for this country. This was the scepter of the Thracian ruler.

OK, let me point out only that this Samara cave is located in the Rhodope mountain, not in Iraq or Russia. Last detail - the artifacts were found in a place 350 m under the ground level.

Hmmm, who were the Thracians?