9/9/98 10:40PM

 

 

4.6 billion years=age of the earth: surface is the heat of fusion & radioactive

3.9 billion: the crust has cooled, mantel resting on magma and molten core

3.5 billion: first unicellular fossils, although earliest life forms may date from 3.8
note that this is remarkably early and rapid in terms of the hypothesis of a chance encounter of the proper chemical agents of "life."

3.5-1.5 billion years: only anaerobic bacteria. eventual development of the use of oxygen.
followed by a very rapid (and again surprisingly rapid) transition from bacteria to cells with a nucleus (which are much larger, and oxygen users). There are no real explanations for this rapid development
From this primitive cells with a nucleus: life as we know it, algies, etc.

pre-cambrian: earliest known ice age

cambrian: 600 million years ago (trilobites, jawless fish. ice age)

.5 billion: atmospheric oxygen has increased to 21% which is a "fixed" level. There is an explosion of pluricellular life forms with no signs of the existence of prior forms.

ordovician: 480 million (shelled animals and coral. algae)

silurian: 435 (fish get jaws. land plants)

devonian: 405 (fish. insects and amphibians appear)

Mississippian: 345 (shelled animals, fish, amphibians. reptiles appear, huge swamp forests with giant insects)

Pennsylvanian: 310 ( same)

permian: 275 (seed plants appear. ice age)

Triassic: 225 (turtles, crocodiles, dinosaurs, sea reptiles, flying reptiles and mammals appear.
the huge supercontinent starts to break up into separate continents)

Jurassic: 180 (first birds, dinosaurs' maximum size, insects. a few small mammals live on land)

cretaceous: 130 (horned and armored dinosaurs. flowering plants develop. dionsauers, flying reptiles and giant sea turtles die out at end of period)

paleocene: 65: (mammal expansion)

eocene: 55: (first camels, horses)

oligocene: 40 (spread of grasslands, appearance primitive apes)

miocene: 26 (mammals reach greatest variety)
-20.6 =Morotopitheque, common ancestor great apes and man
-20= Proconsul

pliocene: 14 (appearance of humans, many mammals take current form)
5= separation ancestors gorillas, chimps & man
3.2 million=Lucy, Australopitheques
2= Homo Habilis: uses tools & speaks

pleistocene: 1.75 million 125,000 to 25,000: some extraordinary change in the hominid situation: dramatic explosion in the human brain size. no comparable evolutionary development of a major organ: Lumholtz: "the most dramatic transformation of a major organ of a higher animal in the entire fossil record." no one knows why. (McKenna: ingestion psychedelics! psilocybin, or more exactly DIET in general)

1.7 million: extinction of SABER-TOOTH CATS. Perhaps a turning point in hominid evolution? Hominids based in forest as was this cat: they could no longer scavenge there and were obliged to go out into the savannah. Increased danger of predation: selective pressure for larger body, etc.
1.6=homo erectus: fire
600,000=neanderthal takes separate evolutionary branch

(modern human beings develop: 100,000-30,000=Neandertal; 100,000=Cro-Magnon): carves, paints caves, eventually lascaux. find traces in europe 40,000 years ago. 30,000=homo sapiens in europe, coming from western asia by 2 routes, one north of the mediterranean, and south of med. across the straits of gibralter: carried along hunting reindeer, mammoths, horses. perhaps they exterminated neanderthal ice age begins. term "ice age" usually refers to this period. possibly 6-20 glaciation cycles during this period. typical glaciation lasted 40,000-60,000 years; interglacial about 40,000. modern horse & camel & elephant develop. horse and camel develop north america, cross the bering straits to asia. elephants, bison, deer and bear evolved in europe and asia, came to north america. in the interglacials the grasslands shrunk and the herds moved north, hunters following them.)

Paleolithic "venus figures" across Europe to Siberia. These figures, often (falsely) recuperated by matriarchy-theorists, are roughly 20,000 years before the establishment of agriculture.

holocene: 25,000-10,000 (humans hunted and tamed many animals. last glacial retreat began around -20,000 it is around this time (-25,000) that the transition from prey-to-predator is complete

PALEOLITHIC (-3,000,000 TO 9,000)
Bear Skull Sanctuaries of the circumpolar Bear Cults of the paleolithic, are the "earliest evidence anywhere on earth of the veneration of a divine being."
fire, handaxes, chopping tools: -1,500,000
spears: 400,00
flake tools: 250,000
humans enter north america: -20,000 (another dating, -10.000-7,000--for the arrival of humans in the western hemisphere, and there was NOBODY there before, unlike Europe and Neaderthal predecessor
-15,000: first evidence FIRE. A pyrites ball gouged from striking for sparks in Belgium
-15,000: effective-at-distance weapons, bow
-12,000: Tassaili Plateau southern Algeria, rock-chipping: shamans, mushrooms sprouting out of bodies and holding fistfuls.

-10,000:burial of the dead, cave paintings, spear-thrower, bow & arrow, sewing, blade tools: (grotte des Trois Freres, Ariege-Montesquieu- Sorcier ou Dieu des Trois Freres, calque de l'abbe Breuil)

-10,000-6,000: the arms/weapons revolution: bows and everything else

domestication of plants: 9,000
farming: 8,000

MESOLITHIC & NEOLITHIC (-9,000 TO 3,000)
domestication of plants: -9,000
farming: -8,000

mesolithic (-8,000-4,500): arrival new populations from the east, they bring: bowls, arrows, domesticated dogs, fish nets. paleolithic/mesolithic man already "master of nature" in sense of being most adaptable predator. next great step is discovering means of altering the natural environment for advantage=domestication of plants and animals, make fields from forests=agriculture. agriculture in the middle east hill tops from -6,500 on.

agricultural tide out of fertile crescent into europe (4500-4000): comes from the north ("danubian cultivators") & by the southern route across gibralter

reconsider MAN THE HUNTER in relation to human-as-prey theory (evidence for this other view in Ehrenreich's book BLOOD RITES), and a different alottment of balance between men and women. Important difference of paradigm.

man the hunter yields to woman the grower (that work of tremendous importance that man refuses and woman can do), and she in turn yields to man the plower (traction plow is invented around 3,000 in tigris-euphrates and Egypt) who installs definitively patrilinear organization, etc.

The HUNTER adapts poorly to FARMING but alright to transition as HERDSMAN. PASTORALISM is a transitory mix of movement and fixity, of the practice of hunting and agriculture. The conflict between the PEASANT & the HERDSMEN is encoded in the story of Abel and Cain.

agriculture: anarchist tendency, matrilinear, village, few heriarchies pastoral: warlike tendencies, military organization, chiefs, clans, patrilinear

-2000: Gilgamesh Epic

ANIMISM:
The land itself is sacred, alive: a living body.
This vision is associated with nomads, hunter-gatherers during the paleolithic/mesolithic.

TOTEMISM:
is an evolved strand of ANIMISM. Specific animal species are related to a clan. "An immemorial covenant" between the clan and that species (Campbell)
Totemism is associated with tribal societies.

SHAMANISM:
Emerges out of animism/totemism
"samen"= Tungus of Siberia word: "one who is excited, moved, raised."
Also related to ancient Indian word? meaning "to heat oneself, or practise austerity." Tungus verb, "To Know."
Shaman is the intermediary between spirit world (of nature) and the tribe. (definition from Harner: "a man or woman who enters an altered state of consciousness--at will--to contact and utilize an ordinarily hidden reality in order to acquire knowledge, power, and to help other persons.")

Shamanism is the precursor of Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrinism and Tantricism. ("Religions extend beyond Shamanism in every direction, just as any religion extends beyond the mystical experience of its privileged adherents."

In those situations where Shaman role taken on for the tribe by a single individual: origin of the PRIEST and PRIEST CASTE. Shamanism corresponds to TRIBE. Priest to STATE FORMATIONS. Shaman works in TRANCE. Priest dispenses "THE ROUTINE PROPITIATORY ACTS OF ADORATION, PRAYER AND OFFERINGS." The shift from Shaman to Priest = "a concomitant shift from possession to solicitation, from spirit to god, from hut to temple."

[Another formulation of this same idea from Walsh: "Shamanic practices appear primarily in simple, nomadic hunting and gathering societies. These people rely very little on agriculture and have almost no social classes or political organization. Within these tribes the shaman plays many roles, both sacred and mundane: medicine man, healer, ritualistic keeper of the cultural myths, medium, and master of spirits. With their many roles and the power vacuum offered by a classless society, shamans exert a major influence on their tribe and people....As societies become fixed rather than nomadic, agricultural rather than foraging, and socially and politically stratified rather than classless, shamanism as such seems to disappear. In its place appear a variety of specialists, each of whom focuses on one of the shaman's many roles. Thus, instead of shamans we find healers, priests, mediums, and sorcerers/witches. These specialize respectively in medical, ritual, spirit possession, and malevolent magic practices. A contemporary Western parallel is the disappearance of the old medical general practitioner, the G.P., and the appearance of diverse specialists." (The one shaman role not absorbed: JOURNEYING/VOYAGING/TRAVELLING. Why? Suppression of Shamanic practices by organized religions? Witches? During 19th century, in parts of Europe, it was a criminal offense to own a drum.) Strong Shaman aspect of "returning to Paradise times," when we were not separated from animal-natural-spirit world: return to the Garden, before the historical rupture.]

HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT:

In the more structured and hierarchical societies, religious rule appears: THEOCRACIES, combining priesthood and government.
Out of this comes : "THE CHIEF IS DIVINE," he has a celestial lineage: THE DIVINE KING. The first king of Tibet (Gna-K'ri-bstan-po) was said to have come down a rope from heaven, and could go back that way (clear transposing of shaman's Tree of Life, and all the ropes, chains, bridges imagery)

INDO-EUROPEAN LANGUAGE GROUPINGS: linguistic ancestry stretching back to India. By the 1st century AD in Europe, a language is spoken that goes back to EurAsia of 6000BC. A geographic base? West to East, just North of the Black and Caspian Seas, stretching as far East as the Ural River: this is what is called "PONTIC-CASPIAN REGION."
Marija Gimbutas' work (strong, matrilinear, agricultural, Neolithic societies, overrun by patriarchal nomad hordes from the east.): expansion of Kurgan people, attested by spread of Kurgan-type burial mounds)= INDO-EUROPEAN REVOLUTION. Nomad hoardes from steppes--horses, war chariots--swamping and cutting short this peaceful development. (Among others, see CHALICE & BLADE, riane eisler)
Most profound Indo-European element = Horse. Was major social and religious element. Male-dominated. Patrilinear descent. Clans. Warrior class. Have recognizable divisions into Priest/Warriors/Herder-Cultivators. (Much earlier, the SHAMAN DRUM called "HORSE," the steed that takes you to another world.)

A resonance of SHAMANISM in Indo-European civilization = "the figure of terrifying SOVEREIGN" = master of magic, the great binder. The Priest Class embraced functions of sovereignty, combing legal order and magico-religious roles. Voyaging in the Indo-Euro language complex, find curious groupings around the root "REG":
Priest and King: Reg words
King = Sanskrit RAI, Latin REX, gaulis RIX, Old Irish RI. Which means "ruler" = straight and sovereign. Ruler is a ruler, a straight-edge, but also righteous, direct. Further resonances of meaning: "Reaching Out," which is the formal activity of a King, "one who determines what is right," Stretching out--straightening-laying out = boundaries, territory, and the basis of National Forms.
"REG": physical, linear, spatial associations become "analogue of honesty, justice, government and social order." And between the physical and abstract senses of this complex-REG, are a small group of cognates which signify "Ruler" or "King." (French "ROI" = king, and is imbedded in "droit," rights/straight.) "the king rules the land."
A nice nexus: straightness/linear order & linear movement/boundaries/kingship/order/government. Partridge: core meaning of Proto-Indo-European REG = "To set straight, to lead or guide straight, hence, as a noun, a true guide, hence a powerful one, hence a chief, a king; perhaps the basic sense of REG is 'straight line,' or better, 'a movement straight from one point to another, hence a movement along a straight line.'"

All this present in the ARTHUR LEGENDS. The Grail is in the Castle in a Waste Land inhabited by the Fisher King who is "wounded through the thighs" (a genital injury, or impotent). Restoration of the King, and renewal of the land, depends on asking the Grail the right question. THE KING AND THE LAND ARE ONE.

The subtext about "Britain" in the legend is about Sovereignty: who holds the land and by what right? In an ancient Irish Bardic tale Echach Muigmedoin: the hero Niall is tested for accession to the throne, what the Celtic Irish called "the right to rule." An ancient and ugly woman guards the well. She propositions Niall, who agrees to kiss her, fuck her: and in so doing she becomes beautiful and tells Niall, "Lordship is mine, O king of Tara, I am Sovereignty...and your seed shall be over every clan."

Perhaps ARTHUR comes from ARTH FAWR, THE GREAT BEAR. Great Bear Constellation is also known as "Arthur's Wain or Wagon"--the vehicle Arthur uses to circle the pole. Echo hear, back to the circumpolar BEAR CULTS at the end of the last ice age.

Fate of the king and of the land are inseparable.
The king is responsible for fertility.
The king is married to the land: union with EARTH GODDESS SOVERIGNTY

The mystical union of the monarch and the land symbolized by the king sitting or standing on a sacred stone during the crowning ceremony. (Symbolism of Excalibur in the Stone or Anvil.) The most sacred kingly site in Ireland: Hill of Tara, which is also a Neolithic site, "The Mound of Hostages" = location of the Lis Fal, a stone said to cry out when the correct king is crowned.

SUMERIAN CULTURE: TIGRIS-EUPHRATES VALLEY:
-4,000: irrigation permitted expansion of agriculture. Sufficient grain surplus to finance a management class. need + population expansion + social organization works the eclipse of the "utopian" neolithic village practice where low-production, individual units, no organization and control provide one of the basic "memories" of Eden. rapid development sumerian civilization (before "protoliterate period, -3,000): includes irrigation, wheeled vehicles, sailing ships, metallurgy, oven baked and wheel-turned pottery. The logic of this development has to do with the growth of these agglomerations, their interaction, differentiation of classes (management, trade, merchant, etc.) and conflict among the cities and/or city-states.
-4000: Mediterranean seafaring starts off, carrying Sumer civilization everywhere
-3000: writing, traction plow

EGYPT: NILE VALLEY
2,650: 4th Dynasty = mature period, dating a little behind Sumerian Civ.
2,200: three "classic" literary responses to social disorder that marks the period:
(1)blank despair
(2)crass hedonism
(3)social regeneration through personal righteousness
(fundamentalism, entre autre!)

INDUS VALLEY:
-2500-1500: Harappa & Mohenjo-Jaro (2 of the large cities)

MINOAN MIDDLE I: HIGH CIVILIZATION: -2100
-1400: Konossos burned

-2000: Barbarian attacks increase on all these centers of civilization. HILLSMEN rival PASTORAL/NOMAD PEOPLE as predator-raiders-conquers of plains civilizations. This dynamic, of civilization=sedentary=agricultural surplus+comforts+softness+trade (which spreads the news of riches and comforts and softness to the less developed), and stimulates the movement of less-developed toward the centers, etc., is crucial throughout this period.

-1800-1000BC = Bronze Age in Europe. "High Barbarism," which incorporates many detachable elements of the River Valley Civilizations

-1856: great BON spiritual master Xenrab Miwo. reformed and synthesized the various Bon traditions, replaced animal sacrifice with the use of ritual statuettes, and introducing the earliest known form of Dzogchen teachings (Yandagbai Sembon,) a form less sophisticated than the 3 Series of Garab Dorje (55AD).

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