Friday, 30 March 2012
Adrian Bailey: The Caves of the Sun
This is one of my favourite books on my book shelf, Caves of the Sun is full of fragmented stories and ideas, and is a fascinating read. It tells a story that is difficult to reduce to a simple narrative. Perhaps the only problem with it is enthusiasm, perhaps Adrian Bailey tries to pull in too many sets of similar myths and images to prove his theory; interpreting all and every myth in the light of his one myth
Perhaps he is over genenerous.
I think he just tries too hard.
Which is not a bad thing at all.
Reading The Caves of the Sun is like learning a new tarot pack.
Decapitated heads buried to create a spring
Midwinter sun entering tombs.
The bull, the lion, the snake and the boar.
The lame man-the wounded hero.
The smith forges the new sun.
Cave bear and honey/ sun rebirth from a cave.
Zig-zag horses and meandering bison flowing like water.
First the fire and then the flood.
Golden shoes- following in the footsteps of the sun.
In castration, the 'seed' spills onto the ground and is quickened by fire.
The goddess causes the hero to become lame.
The lion of the goddess brings the bull of the sun, to its knees.
Rain, in boars and the October horse, quenches the sun.
Medusa is the sun of the summer.
The sun changes sex, as it passes through water. Male and then castrated to female.
Day of Blood- March.
The black goddess of the waste land and the golden apple.
The Holy fire breaks out of the cave.
*Hot springs mean that the sun goes underground.
*Red oxide/ iron/ blood/ means healing. Blood+clay+sun = life.
*The sun goes underground at winter to rejuvenate within the cavern of the seven chambers.
*The fire is late summer heat.
*The flood is the rain that may extinguish the sun.
*7 represents the seven months when the sun's influence underground is female.
*The twins are the sun (in the sky, not underground) at summer and winter.
*'Lameness' is a euphemism for castration.
*The dragon-serpent rises when Cancer is in the sky and causes fierce heat and drought.
*The hero who will be wounded by the sun, rises in April- month of ripening corn.
*The plough drawn by a serpent means that the ground should be ploughed in the season of rain.
*The lion bull combat represents the sky in February in 4000 BC when Taurus was setting and Leo in its zenith.
*Life pours out from the thighs, from bone marrow of the femurs, synovial fluid of the knees. Both are 'semen'.
*The sun 'breaks' out of the ground, hence long barrows...chambers of regeneration.
The bull (symbol of the sun) buried in a cave (the underground) creates life (bees). The red bull of the sun began to die in winter, its death would bring the rain, its underground body would bring life out of the ground...
K. B. Stark in 1869 noted that this image of Mithras is "an image of the cosmos" or "great cave" of the sky.
Roger Beck (1984 and 1988) and David Ulansey (1989) agreed with this theory and went on to say that: the bull is the constellation of Taurus, the snake the constellation Hydra, the dog Canis Major or Minor; the crow is Corvus, the goblet is Crater, the lion Leo, and the wheat-blood for the star Spica, the name of which means "spike of wheat" two torch-bearers represent the two equinoxes, and that their crossed legs represent the two intersection points of the zodiac and the celestial equator that define the equinoxes.
Ulansey argues that the tauroctony is an astronomical code symbolizing the precession of the equinoxes: the movement of the cosmic sphere, discovered by the Greek astronomer Hipparchus, which caused the spring equinox to move out of the constellation of Taurus (thus ending the "Age of the Bull"). Adrian Bailey sees it as an image of the solar year; Mithras is the solar lion killing the bull, the bull is also solar- a version of Mithras himself.
I want to believe Adrian Bailey, mainly I suppose because what he says does not conflict with any other interpretations. Adrian takes myths that are thousands of years apart, when Adrian is talking about 3700 BC (time of long barrows) , this is almost a thousand years before anyone was writing things down (3000 BC) and they didn't write them down here unfortunatly! Some of the Greek myths (in the form he quotes them) are, comparatively speaking, fairly recent.
But no matter, his theory is this:
Water is a gift of the sun. Rock and wood, the stones are products of the earth through the power of the underground sun.
The cave is the nucleus of life, anything buried inside a cave is worked on by the heat of the sun- in the womb-forge of the Underworld.
Standing stones and trilithons are gateways to encourage the sun to enter and to do its work.
Building a long barrow is creating a workshop for the sun, the ground close by would benefit. The solar water would flow in the rivers (almost always close to Neolithic structures), the stones and trees become more powerful.
All enclosures, Woodhenge, The Sanctuary and Stonehenge in particular become caves of the sun; sources of life...