Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Dreadlocks: 4 euphemisms.

The first of the four is from Tibet.
Ching bu.

In the Milarepa puja, Mila's hair (in English) is described as ..
"Matted hair hangs down his back..."
"U tra ching bu ku gyab drol/"

 The Tibetan term is ching bu. Lama Lodi would describe long sausages of the oat and water mix we used for 'butter sculptures' as ching bu when making tormas..

So matted hair is not exactly what was meant.

Second euphemism this time from Akkad.

The kurgarra and the galatur heeded Enki's words.

They set out for the underworld.
Like flies, they slipped through the cracks of the gates.
They entered the throne room of the Queen of the Underworld.

The queen of the underworld, Ereshkigal's hair is described as leeks...

Her hair swirled around her like leeks.
Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer translation

etcsl gives me:
"The hair on her head was bunched up as if it were leeks."
[siki]-ni ga-racsar-gin7 saj-[ja2-na mu-un-ur4-ur4]

My Teach Yourself Complete Babylonian and my lackadaisical approach to teaching myself, isn't up to the task of translating each word.

Jean Bottero translated Mesopotamian recipes, and leeks and garlic were included in many dishes, so it is likely that leeks were a metaphor for Ereshkigal's ching bu...

There does seem something a little odd about the leek:

‘Tis dangerous here to violate an onion, or to stain
The sanctity of leeks with tooth profane;
Oh, Holy nation! sacro-sancte abodes!
Where every garden propagates its gods.

But I'm not sure that Juvenal helps.

Mila Repa (repa refers to the simple cotton cloth he wore as a sign that he had accomplished tumo) would not have eaten leeks, not even the most tender cooked in butter. No onions, leeks or garlic because they affect the subtle energy systems (I was told). I believe it has more to do with sulphur and the use of mercury, alchemy being a part of the esoteric tradition- when I was given 'long life' pills rinchen rilpo and dutsi, I always assumed that they contained mercury...

I swallowed them anyway.

Which brings me to...Greece.
The snake.

Medusa of course and Angelina Joli in Alexander, because Pleutarch described Alexander's mother Olympias, as someone who practised the 'Orphic rites and the orgies of Dionysus' :

Olympias... affected these divine possessions more zealously than other women, and carried out these divine inspirations in wilder fashion, used to provide the revelling companies with great tame serpents, which would often lift their heads from out the ivy and the mystic winnowing baskets, or coil themselves about the wands and garlands of the women, thus terrifying the men. 

In the Epic of Gilgamesh the snake is neshu sha qaqqari: a lion of the earth. Lions are dangerous and so are snakes...It is the snake who prevents Gilgamesh eating the perfect little flower he had dived down so far, so deep to reach, that would have given him rejuvenation.

After all the trouble the gods had had before about humans becoming too many, they did not wish to see the whole sorry story of plagues, famine and finally the flood (drastic culling of the human race) have to happen again!

The  final euphemism:

Connection to the earth, the Net', to the power source..

The long-haired one endures fire, the long-haired one endures poison, the long-haired one endures both worlds. The long-haired one is said to gaze full on heaven, the long-haired one is said to be that light ... Of us, you mortals, only our bodies do you behold. ...For him has the Lord of life churned and pounded the unbendable, when the long-haired one, in Rudra’s company, drank from the poison cup (The Keshin Hymn, Rig-veda 10.136) Link...