Monday, August 30, 2010

Kenneth Smith: Phantasmagoria

In 1970 Kenneth Smith advertised a portfolio of fantasy art which would eventually be incorporated into his book/magazine PHANTASMAGORIA. Sales of that set of prints funded the first issue and inaugurated a modest venture in quality self-publishing unique in popular culture.
During its first phase of existence (until 1983), when it competed for his time as a professor of philosophy, Phantasmagoria yielded 7 books & over 20 portfolios. It was critically acclaimed for its rich concepts and renditions and excellence in production values, an idea too soon before its time: a creator/publisher developing a direct access to his public, to challenge ordinary notions of what was commercially publishable. Although comics would later see several creator-controlled publishing houses, few if any other thanPHANTASMAGORIA attempted to introduce ideas and material that transcended the conventional framework of mass-market commercial culture. The closest venture toPHANTASMAGORIA may have been Frank Zappa's Barking Pumpkin Records. PHANTASMAGORIA served also as a significant extension of an artist/author's creative vision into thetechnology of reproduction and printing.
PHANTASMAGORIA's every issue set higher standards of quality for reproduction--tinted inks, hand-finished negatives, glorious color printing. It was a limited-edition publication before its time, sold originally at prices to compete with newsstand-periodicals or other prozines of far less costly printing.
Over the years its art and stories were praised by dozens of comics and SF artists: ". . .To encounter the combination of excellences--in concept, writing, lettering, layout, draughtsmanship, rendering, and production--all in one person, is downright frightening! A really beautiful job" (Kelly Freas). "A pleasure from cover to cover" (Jaxon). "Again and again I find myself paging through your wonderful book about the fish. A truly fine work loaded with thought-provoking imagination-tripping detail, a marvelously inspired series of pictures" (Tom Sutton). "Thank you for caring enough about art and philosophy to produce a series of delightfully beautiful magazines" (Arnold Fenner). "I really don't think you're producing a 'comic book,' but something much beyond that--on the order of visual narrative, or narrative and pictorial poetry--you're upgrading the field, in another way, and I salute that" (Burne Hogarth). "My modest research into the world of zines is over. . .I've now seen the ultimate. Phantasmagoria is so very interesting in so very many ways. I thought Bode's stuff was the supreme visual-text catharsis in this medium. Your things have a similar quality. Heartbreaking, bewildering, mystical and honestly wonderful in so many ways" (Frank Thorne). "Excellent textural/design/tonal delights in B&W--and fine color pieces, too, by gosh! . . .Carry on the good fight in your own unique creations!" (Alex Toth).
PHANTASMAGORIA's second phase was initiated in 1998 when Smith issued Otherwise, a book of philosophical anecdotes, myths, and enigmas from Memnon Press--the first in a series of attempts to define and depose the vicious modern ideologies from the minds of thoughtful readers.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cartographied faces?

If someone knows these artists please let me know, they have sat in my files for a while and I've ramaged around, but can't seem to find em.

Steampunked Anatomy?

If anyone knows who this image belongs to? please let me know. I think the name is Caja?

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Divine Comedy

Someone has posted the whole book Divine Comedy on the web.


So there is the whole book on there, with illustrations plus a slide show!

The demons threaten Virgil

See also more.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


More notes from Rolleston



Enoch was considered by the ancient Hebrews, Persians, and Arabs as one of the originators of astronomy. The book now extant in his name was found by Bruce in Abyssinia. It has been translated by Abp. Lawrence, who remarks in his preface, that as the writer gives the length of the day as from eight to twelve hours, he must have lived between 45o and 49o N. Lat., and might therefore be one of the ten tribes located in Media. It is certain that in the second century there was such a book, as Tertullian spoke of it. He thought it inspired; but the more learned Origen rejected it. St. Jude had previously adopted the prophecy of Enoch, but not as a book: it might be received from tradition as spoken.
It has been observed that succeeding prophets frequently use the very words of those who preceded them. Moses, in Deuteronomy 33:2, has been supposed to refer to this prophecy of Enoch, as also Zechariah 14:5. St. Peter, in his Second Epistle (2:17,18), is considered to allude to the prophecy of Enoch, also Jude 12, 13, 15, where the ideas and even the expressions of the two Apostles remarkably coincide. The prophecy expressly quoted by Jude is to be found in the second chapter of the book translated by Lawrence. This passage, standing alone in its magnificence, luminous in the surrounding obscurity, seems to have been the only genuine record of the words of the patriarch that had reached the writer. There is nothing like it, nothing worthy of it in the rest of the volume, which may well have originated with a Jew into whose hands the Epistle of Jude had fallen. The imagery of the Apocalypse seems imitated in it, but not the prophecies. As the translator observes, none of its attempts at foretelling events after the Christian era correspond with history. The seal of inspiration is therefore wanting to the book, though the inspired Apostle has authenticated this one passage, apparently received by tradition as spoken by Enoch. Whether the book found in Abyssinia is that which Tertullian received but Origen rejected, is not known; but it is generally supposed not to be. Origen speaks of the book with which he was acquainted, as asserting that in the time of Enoch the constellations were already named and divided. The book now extant says, in c. 43, "The angel called the stars by their names, and they heard: they are the names of the righteous who dwell upon the earth." If the book seen by Origen said, "of the Righteous One who shall dwell upon the earth," it would agree with the names of the stars relating to the titles and attributes of the Messiah. There is an Indian tradition that the third from Adam, famous for his piety and the salutary precepts he gave to mankind, was translated to heaven, where he shines as the polar star. Enoch was named in tradition as the third with Adam and Seth in the invention of astronomy.
The positive assertion that Enoch was a prophet is founded on the Epistle of Jude. That Epistle, though doubtfully esteemed by some in the time of Eusebius (as it has been in ours), was received by the Council of Laodicea, which, with Origen and Athanasius, held the same books, and no others, to be inspired which are the Canonical Scriptures of the Anglican Church. In addition to this external evidence, the internal is supplied by the test often used as to the other Scriptures. A good man could not have said that he, the writer, was Jude the brother of James, unless he were really so: an evil man, capable of a sacrilegious forgery, could not have written other and highly spiritual parts of the same Epistle. The resemblance to 2 Peter 2:17,18, in verses 6 and 8, 12 and 13, has been explained by supposing both passages to have been taken from the book of Enoch; not that now extant, but that which was known to Origen. A book of Enoch is spoken of in the "Zohar," which was written about the time of the Christian era. It is asserted by many ancient writers that there was a book called the book of Enoch. What the two Apostles quoted as authoritative must have been inspired: but an inspired book would not have perished. Jude does not refer to a book, but to a saying. That prophecy of Enoch might have been traditionally preserved, and inserted in the book called of Enoch and recognized as prophetic by the inspired writers. The very ancient and widely prevalent tradition that Enoch did write a book, to which in some cases was added that it was preserved by Noah in the ark, is remarkable. May he not have written from the dictation of Adam the four first chapters of Genesis, under the guidance of that Spirit by which Moses might recognize and adopt them?

MAZZAROTH; or, the CONSTELLATIONS by Frances Rolleston

or, the
"Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season?"-Job 33:32



Who was Job?
It is said in the epilogue to the Greek translation of Job that Jobab is Job. Two of the name are mentioned in Genesis. The second is said to reign as a king in Edom (Gen 36:33); but there is no trace of the kingly office in the book of Job; the manners and language lead to supposing him an Arab Sheik or Emir.
When did he live?
The first Jobab, mentioned in Genesis 10, was fourth in descent from Shem, Abraham being the eighth. If this were Job, he was before Abraham probably more than a hundred yeas, and living in the lifetime of Shem. In the book are allusions to the Deluge, though none to any subsequent event, and Job uses the very words of Genesis relative to the creation of man in several places. That history, whether traditional or written, was evidently well known to him, but there is no allusion to any later events.
Many learned men have considered the book of Job as the most ancient in the world. Those who think that part of the book of Genesis was arranged by Moses, under the guidance of inspiration, from previous records, also inspired, and left by the Prophets Enoch and Noah, in the four first chapters, from the authority of Adam, written by Enoch, and the five following to the twenty-eighth verse of the ninth chapter by Noah, would place the book of Job after this part of Genesis in point of antiquity.
The subsequent chapters, beginning with chapter 10, may have been by Abraham, those from chapter 25 to 37 by Jacob: the remainder either by Joseph or Levi, the immediate ancestor of Moses, always, however, subject to the guidance of that Holy Spirit who spake by Moses, and who enabled and authorized him to authenticate these ancient records. They became the first book of Moses without ceasing to be the early Scriptures of mankind, with which Job was evidently acquainted.
The opinion of many great authorities is, and has been, that when Moses resided for forty years in Midian he was divinely directed to give his sanction to the writing left by Job himself, and to prefix to it, what only revelation could make known, the part which Satan had in his affliction, adding that account of his death which concludes it. It has been said by competent judges that the narrative style of Moses may be recognized in the two first chapters and conclusion of the last, and that the intermediate part is too unlike the poetical style of Moses to be attributed to him.
How is it known that the book of Job is to rank with the other Scriptures as the inspired word of God?
It was part of the Jewish canon when our Lord gave His sanction to that canon.
What is the purpose of this book?
To record and make known a most wonderful miracle, the Voice from heaven, that God had spoken, magnificently, solemnly, as He spake from Mount Sinai; and again at the baptism of our Lord, at His transfiguration, at His manifestation to the Greek strangers, at His final entry into Jerusalem. When the Lord had spoken to Adam and Even and to Abraham, it appears to have been to them alone. His voice out of the whirlwind was the first heard openly and with witnesses.
Was not this the great patriarchal revelation, as that at Sinai was the Mosaic?
By the mouth of Job came the clearest prophecy of the Redeemer's standing in the after time upon the earth, and by the Voice from Heaven the declaration of the unfathomableness of the wisdom of God, and the unsearchableness of his providence.
When from the depth of heaven shone forth splendour from God in terrible majesty, and those who beheld it feared before Him, the Creator of the universe spake of the mysteries of its unfathomable antiquity, of its progressive developments, so tasking, baffling human science to follow even afar off. That divine voice named Chima and Chesil, Ash and Mazzaroth, as things that are, but beyond the reach of man, subject to the Creator's will; these are not the astronomy of Job, they are the astronomy of revelation. The same voice speaks of the "ordinances of heaven," "the dominion thereof upon the earth." Was there not here implied gravitation and motion, the centripetal and centrifugal force? By these "ordinances" it is now known that Chima,* the Pleiades, has "dominion" not only over the earth, but over the sun round which that earth revolves; not only over the sun, but over the galaxy of suns to which he belongs, as their centre, ruling them as a circle.
* Dr. Hales, in his Chronology, would deduce the age in which Job lived from the supposition that by the sweet influences of the Pleiades, "Chima," the spring equinox was meant. So supposing, he deduces from the precession of the equinoxes, that BC 2337, which he holds to be about 187 years before the birth of Abraham, the spring equinox took place in or near the Pleiades.
In the word Chima, the accumulation, as of stars, there is no relation to the equinox. In those climates the abundance, the multitude of the spring did not wait for the equinox; the corn in the time of Moses was in the ear at the Passover. Before the age of Noah the equinox had not reached the Pleiades; it is now far beyond them. The Hebrew word maedanoth, translated in the English "sweet influences," in the Greek "bonds," in the Latin rays or brightnesses, may be from the same root as Eden, pleasure, sweetness, or by a Chaldee usage from Adun, ruling, influencing; the English has given both senses. That the Pleiades have any influence on the spring is merely a poetical fable of after times, when their helialical rising, seen in the sweet morning dawn, announced the spring to Greece. They have no influence on it, though they accompanied it in the days of Greek poetry. While it is true, according to modern science, that the Pleiades, graciously, for good, influence the motion of our whole astral system, it is not true that they influence earth's seasons, nor has that influence any reference to chronology. The Divine voice spoke truth, a wonderful long-hidden truth, it could speak only truth - therein could be no allusion to fiction.
According to Buxtorf the early Hebrews understood maedanoth as bonds.
By these ordinances also are the bands of Orion fixed on the multitudes of associated suns that form his robe of light, their mutual attraction, their bands to each other so recently divined by modern science, and thus indicated in this ancient revelation. Leaving the early celestial grandeurs of pre-existent creation, from which human intellect shrinks dismayed, the divine Monitor descends to the familiar earthly objects* with which Job was surrounded, and asks, shall he who knows not these below presume to question the decrees of Him who formed and governs those above?
* "Behemoth, whom I made with thee," one of the present creation, often understood to be the elephant. The Greek and Latin name, Elephas, exactly renders Job 40:19, "He is the chief of the ways of God," as it contains the Semitic root, Eleph, the chief, the leader. It has been difficult to apply to the elephant the expression "He moveth or setteth up his tail like the cedar"; Schultens renders it of the trunk, which moves majestically, as a cedar before the wind. The radical meaning of the word rendered tail is given as extremity, applying as well to the trunk as to the tail; and it may have a signification of enclosing or encompassing, also peculiarly suitable to the trunk.
Of the Leviathan* it is not said, "whom I made with thee." The description is too grand, too terrific for the crocodile as now existing. It has been thought to be of some extinct species: might it relate to one of those fossil monsters, the Ichthyosaurus for instance, to whom the description seems suitable? Might a knowledge of what these wonderful remains had been, form part of the science of those antediluvian sages whose astronomy astonishes their descendants?
The Lord had appealed to the marvels of creation above and around, the ordinances of heaven, the living inhabitants of earth, - did He now appeal to the stony relics of long-past ages to show what fearful creatures had preceded man on earth, and been swept away to give him dominion, asking, what could man have done had such been his contemporaries?
* A writer in Tait's Mag., May, 1857, on the Testimony of the Rocks, expresses the opinion that the Leviathan of Job "may have been one of those great formations of which happily only the bones remain."
The astronomy of Job may be traced in the twenty-sixth chapter. He knew what modern science shows, that the omnipotent Creator "hangeth the earth upon nothing," and acknowledges that He by His Spirit hath garnished the heavens, and "His hand hath formed the crooked serpent," as in the stars of Draco winding round the Pole, that "north which He stretcheth over the empty space," a part of the heavens now perceived by telescopic examination to be comparatively void of stars, beyond the congregated orbs that crowd the Galactic Circle. To Job and his friends, Chima and Chesil, Ash and Mazzaroth, needed no more identification than the Lion and the Raven, the Horse and the Eagle, with which they are contrasted. To them these constellations were evidently known by name and by sight, and as much of their "ordinances" as is conveyed by the names was probably known by tradition. From the book of Job it may be inferred that the science of antediluvian astronomy was familiar in the land of Idumea, where the light of antediluvian revelation shone so clearly, testified to not only by the Prophet himself, but by the friends his acquiescing auditors. There has been a frequent mistake as to the radical meaning of the word Goel,* Redeemer, used by Job in the great prophecy, chapter 19. It is thought to mean avenger. Avengers, as in Numbers 35:12, is a secondary sense of that word, its primary and general meaning being to restore, to bring back an original good condition. Job was not comforted by looking for vengeance on those who had destroyed his wealth; none came; but he knew and hoped in the great restoring Redeemer, who should stand upon the earth in the after time, fulfilling his hopes within his bosom.**
* See the use of it, as to redeem, in Leviticus 25:24, 25, and many places; also Leviticus 10:56.
** See "Immortality," &c.
An objection* has been made against the great antiquity of the book of Job, from the similarity of some of its sentiments and expressions to others in the Psalms and Proverbs; but if this book were most ancient, the writers of the subsequent books must have been well acquainted with it; their minds would have been imbued, as ours ought to be, with the Scripture. If Moses indeed brought the history of the trials, the patience, and the happy end of Job to the Israelites, on the verge of their long wanderings in the wilderness, how precious it must have been in their sight, a spiritual manna for their daily food!
* Another objection has been urged as to the naming of Satan. But in this book he is always called the Satan, or adversary, while in the later books, the 1st of Chronicles and the 109th Psalm, he is named Satan, without the article, as if by long use Satan, the adversary, had come to be understood as a proper name.
Having long been the Scripture of the Arabs, by the sanction of their lawgiver it became such to the Hebrews. By the sanction of our Lord Himself it is such to us.

Contents of Witness of the Stars

Here below is the contents of this book so you can see how they researched the names of the stars, etc to build a narrative.

The First Book
The Redeemer

(His First Coming)
"The sufferings of Christ"

Chapter I
The Prophecy of the Promised Seed of the Woman
VIRGO (The Virgin. A woman bearing a branch in her right hand and an ear of corn in her left). The Promised Seed of the woman.
1. COMA (The Desired. The woman and child). The Desired of all nations.
2. CENTAURUS (The Centaur with two natures, holding a spear piercing a victim). The despised sin offering.
3. BOOTES (a man walking bearing a branch called ARCTURUS, meaning the same). He cometh.
Chapter II
The Redeemer's Atoning Work
LIBRA (The Scales). The price deficient balanced by the price which covers.
1. CRUX, The Cross endured.
2. LUPUS, or VICTIMA, The Victim slain.
3. CORONA, The Crown bestowed.
Chapter III
The Redeemer's Conflict
SCORPIO (The Scorpion) seeking to wound, but itself trodden under foot.
1. SERPENS (The Serpent struggling with the man).
2. O-PHI-U-CHUS (The man grasping the serpent). The struggle with the enemy.
3. HERCULES (The mighty man. A man kneeling on one knee, humbled in the conflict, but holding aloft the tokens of victory, with his foot on the head of the Dragon). The mighty Vanquisher seeming to sink in the conflict.
Chapter IV
The Redeemer's Triumph
SAGITTARIUS (The Archer). The two-natured Conqueror going forth "Conquering and to conquer."
1. LYRA (The Harp). Praise prepared for the Conqueror.
2. ARA (The Altar). Consuming fire prepared for His enemies.
3. DRACO (The Dragon). The Old Serpent— Devil, cast down from heaven.

The Second Book
The Redeemed

"The result of the Redeemer's sufferings"

Chapter I
Their Blessings Procured
CAPRICORNUS (The fish-goat). The goat of Atonement slain for the Redeemed.
1. SAGITTA (The Arrow). The arrow of God sent forth.
2. AQUILA (The Eagle). The smitten One falling.
3. DELPHINUS (The Dolphin). The dead One rising again.
Chapter II
Their Blessings Ensured
AQUARIUS (The Water-Bearer). The living waters of blessing poured forth for the Redeemed.
1. PISCIS AUSTRALIS (The Southern Fish). The blessings bestowed.
2. PEGASUS (The Winged Horse). The blessings quickly coming.
3. CYGNUS (The Swan). The Blesser surely returning.
Chapter III
Their Blessings in Abeyance
PISCES (The Fishes). The Redeemed blessed though bound.
1. THE BAND—, but binding their great enemy Cetus, the sea monster.
2. ANDROMEDA (The Chained Woman). The Redeemed in their bondage and affliction.
3. CEPHEUS (The King). Their Redeemer coming to rule.
Chapter IV
Their Blessings Consummated and Enjoyed
ARIES (The Ram or Lamb). The Lamb that was slain, prepared for the victory.
1. CASSIOPEIA (The Enthroned Woman). The captive delivered, and preparing for her husband, the Redeemer.
2. CETUS (The Sea Monster). The great enemy bound.
3. PERSEUS (The Breaker). Delivering His redeemed.

The Third Book
The Redeemer

(His Second Coming)
"The glory that should follow"

Chapter I
Messiah, The Coming Judge of All the Earth
TAURUS (The Bull). Messiah coming to rule.
1. ORION, Light breaking forth in the person of the Redeemer.
2. ERIDANUS (The River of the Judge). Wrath breaking forth for His enemies.
3. AURIGA (The Shepherd). Safety for the Redeemed in the day of that wrath.
Chapter II
Messiah's Reign as Prince of Peace
GEMINI (The Twins). The twofold nature of the King.
1. LEPUS (The Hare), or THE ENEMY trodden under foot.
2. CANIS MAJOR (The Dog), or SIRIUS, the coming glorious Prince of Princes.
3. CANIS MINOR (The Second Dog), or PROCYON, the exalted Redeemer.
Chapter III
Messiah's Redeemed Possessions
CANCER (The Crab). The possession held fast.
1. URSA MINOR (The Lesser Bear). The lesser sheepfold.
2. URSA MAJOR (The Great Bear). The fold and the flock.
3. ARGO (The Ship). The redeemed pilgrims safe at home.
Chapter IV
Messiah's Consummated Triumph
LEO (The Lion). The Lion of the Tribe of Judah aroused for the rending of the Enemy.
1. HYDRA (The Serpent). That old Serpent— Devil, destroyed.
2. CRATER (The Cup). The cup of Divine wrath poured out upon him.
3. CORVUS (The Crow, or Raven). Birds of prey devouring him.

Witness of the Stars by E. W. Bullinger

Again this information is to gain insight on why the astrologers read the stars for the birth of Jesus.

 The heavens are telling the glory of God:
 and the work of his hands is setting forth 
 the firmament.
 Day after day utters speech,
 And night after night shows knowledge.

 There is no speech (what is articulate)
 and there are no words; (what is audible)
 and without being audible, (what is audible).
 is their voice (what is articulate).

 Into all the earth (as created)
 is their line gone forth;
 And into the ends of the world (as inhabited) their sayings.

 For the sun He has set a tent (an abode) in them;
 and he as a bridegroom (comparison)
 is going forth from his canopy, (motion: its rising)
 he rejoices as a mighty one (comparison)
 to run his course. (Motion: its rapid course.)
 From the end of the heavens 
 is his going forth, 
 and his revolution 
 unto their ends: 
 and there is nothing hid from his head 

We are told that the heavens contain a revelation from God; they prophesy, they show knowledge, they tell of God's glory, and set forth His purposes and counsels.
It is a remarkable fact that it is in the Book of Job, which is generally allowed to be the oldest book in the Bible, * if not in the world, that we have references to this Stellar Revelation. This would be at least 2,000 years before Christ. In that book the signs of the Zodiac and the names of several stars and constellations are mentioned, as being ancient and well-known.
* Job is thought by some to be the Jobab mentioned in Genesis 10:29, the third in descent from Eber.
In Isaiah 40:26 (RV) we read:--
"Lift up your eyes on high,
And see who hath created these,
That bringeth out their host by number:
He calleth them all by name;
By the greatness of His might,
And for that He is strong in power,
Not one is lacking."
We have the same evidence in Psalm 147:4 (RV).
"He telleth the number of the stars;
He giveth them all their names."
Here is a distinct and Divine declaration that the great Creator both numbered as well as named the stars of Heaven.
The question is, Has he revealed any of these names? Have any of them been handed down to us?
The answer is Yes; and that in the Bible itself we have the names (so ancient that their meaning is a little obscure) of Ash (a name still connected with the Great Bear), Cesil, and Cimah.
They occur in Job 9:9: "Which maketh Arcturus (RV the Bear), Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south." (Marg., Heb., Ash, Cesil, and Cimah.)
Job 38:31,32: "Canst thou bind the sweet influences (RV cluster) of the Pleiades (marg., the seven stars, Heb. Cimah), or loose the bands of Orion (marg. Heb. Cesil)? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth (marg., the twelve signs. RV, "the twelve signs": and marg., the signs of the Zodiac) in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons (RV, the Bear with her train; and marg., Heb., sons)."*
* Note the structure of this verse:

     A. The seven stars,
        B. Orion,
     A. The twelve signs,
        B. Arcturus.
Isaiah 13:10: ..."the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof"...
Amos 5:8: "Seek him that maketh the seven stars (RV, the Pleiades) and Orion."
Then we have the term "Mazzaroth," Job 38:32, and "Mazzaloth," 2 Kings 23:5. The former in both versions is referred to the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac, while the latter is rendered "planets," and in margin, the twelve signs or constellations.
Others are referred to by name. The sign of "Gemini," or the Twins, is given as the name of a ship: Acts 28:11, Castor & Pollux.
Most commentators agree that the constellation of "Draco," or the Dragon (between the Great and Little Bear), is referred to in Job 26:13: "By His Spirit He hath garnished the heavens; His hand hath formed the crooked serpent (RV swift. Marg. fleeing or gliding. See Isaiah 27:1, 43:14)." This word "garnished" is peculiar. The RV puts in the margin, beauty. In Psalm 16:6, it is rendered goodly. "I have a goodly heritage." In Daniel 4:2, it is rendered, "I thought it good to show," referring to "the signs and wonders" with which God had visited Nebuchadnezzar. It appears from this that God "thought it good to show" by these signs written in the heavens the wonders of His purposes and counsels, and it was by His Spirit that He made it known; it was His hand that coiled the crooked serpent among the stars of heaven.
Thus we see that the Scriptures are not silent as to the great antiquity of the signs and constellations.
If we turn to history and tradition, we are at once met with the fact that the Twelve Signs are the same, both as to the meaning of their names and as to their order in all the ancient nations of the world. The Chinese, Chaldean, and Egyptian records go back to more than 2,000 years BC. Indeed, the Zodiacs in the Temples of Denderah and Esneh, in Egypt, are doubtless copies of Zodiacs still more ancient, which, from internal evidence, must be placed nearly 4,000 BC, when the summer solstice was in Leo.
Josephus hands down to us what he gives as the traditions of his own nation, corroborated by his reference to eight ancient Gentile authorities, whose works are lost. He says that they all assert that "God gave the antediluvians such long life that they might perfect those things which they had invented in astronomy." Cassini commences his History of Astronomy by saying "It is impossible to doubt that astronomy was invented from the beginning of the world; history, profane as well as sacred, testifies to this truth." Nouet, a French astronomer, infers that the Egyptian Astronomy must have arisen 5,400 BC!
Ancient Persian and Arabian traditions ascribe its invention to Adam, Seth, and Enoch. Josephus asserts that it originated in the family of Seth; and he says that the children of Seth, and especially Adam, Seth, and Enoch, that their revelation might not be lost as to the two coming judgments of Water and Fire, made two pillars (one of brick, the other of stone), describing the whole of the predictions of the stars upon them, and in case the brick pillar should be destroyed by the flood, the stone would preserve the revelation (Book 1, chapters 1-3).
This is what is doubtless meant by Genesis 11:4, "And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven." The words "may reach" are in italics. There is nothing in the verse which relates to the height of this tower. It merely says, and his top with the heavens, i.e. with the pictures and the stars, just as we find them in the ancient temples of Denderah and Esneh in Egypt. This tower, with its planisphere and pictures of the signs and constellations, was to be erected like those temples were afterwards, in order to preserve the revelation, "lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth."
This is corroborated by Lieut.-Gen. Chesney, well known for his learned researches and excavations among the ruins of Babylon, who, after describing his various discoveries, says, "About five miles S.W. of Hillah, the most remarkable of all the ruins, the Birs Nimroud of the Arabs, rises to a height of 153 feet above the plain from a base covering a square of 400 feet, or almost four acres. It was constructed of kiln-dried bricks in seven stages to correspond with the planets to which they were dedicated: the lowermost black, the colour of Saturn; the next orange, for Jupiter; the third red, for Mars; and so on. * These stages were surmounted by a lofty tower, on the summit of which, we are told, were the signs of the Zodiac and other astronomical figures; thus having (as it should have been translated) a representation of the heavens, instead of 'a top which reached unto heaven.'"
* Fragments of these coloured glazed bricks are to be seen in the British Museum.
This Biblical evidence carries us at once right back to the Flood, or about 2,500 years BC.
This tower or temple, or both, was also called "The Seven Spheres," according to some; and "The Seven Lights," according to others. It is thus clear that the popular idea of its height and purpose must be abandoned, and its astronomical reference to revelation must be admitted. The tower was an attempt to preserve and hand down the antediluvian traditions; their sin was in keeping together instead of scattering themselves over the earth.
Another important statement is made by Dr. Budge, of the British Museum (Babylonian Life and History, p. 36). He says, "It must never be forgotten that the Babylonians were a nation of stargazers, and that they kept a body of men to do nothing else but report eclipses, appearances of the moon, sunspots, etc., etc."
"Astronomy, mixed with astrology, occupied a large number of tablets in the Babylonian libraries, and Isaiah 47:13 refers to this when he says to Babylon, 'Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now thy astrologers (marg. viewers of the heavens), the star-gazers, the monthly prognosticators stand up.' The largest astrological work of the Babylonians contained seventy tablets, and was compiled by the command of Sargon of Agade thirty-eight hundred years before Christ! It was called the 'Illumination of Bel.'"
"Their observations were made in towers called 'ziggurats'" (p. 106).
"They built observatories in all the great cities, and reports like the above [which Dr. Budge gives in full] were regularly sent to the King" (p. 110).
"They were able to calculate eclipses, and had long lists of them." "They found out that the sun was spotted, and they knew of comets." "They were the inventors of the Zodiac." (?) There are fragments of two (ancient Babylonian) planispheres in the British Museum with figures and calculations inscribed upon them. "The months were called after the signs of the Zodiac" (p. 109).
We may form some idea of what this "representation of the heavens" was from the fifth "Creation Tablet," now in the British Museum. It reads as follows:
"Anu [the Creator] made excellent the mansions [i.e. the celestial houses] of the great gods [twelve] in number [i.e. the twelve signs or mansions of the sun].
The stars he placed in them. The lumasi [i.e. groups of stars or figures] he fixed.
He arranged the year according to the bounds [i.e. the twelve signs] which he defined.
For each of the twelve months three rows of stars [i.e. constellations] he fixed.
From the day when the year issues forth unto the close, he marked the mansions [i.e. the Zodiacal Signs] of the wandering stars [i.e. planets] to know their courses that they might not err or deflect at all."
Coming down to less ancient records: Eudoxos, an astronomer of Cnidus (403 to 350 BC), wrote a work on Astronomy which he called Phainomena. Antigonus Gonatas, King of Macedonia (273-239 BC), requested the Poet Aratus to put the work of Eudoxus into the form of a poem, which he did about the year 270 BC. Aratus called his work Diosemeia (the Divine Signs). He was a native of Tarsus, and it is interesting for us to note that his poem was known to, and, indeed, must have been read by, the Apostle Paul, for he quotes it in his address at Athens on Mars's Hill. He says (Acts 17:28) "For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring." Several translations of this poem have been made, both by Cicero and others, into Latin, and in recent times into English by E. Poste, J. Lamb, and others. The following is the opening from the translation of Robert Brown, jun.:
"From Zeus we lead the strain; he whom mankind
Ne'er leave unhymned: of Zeus all public ways,
All haunts of men, are full; and full the sea,
And harbours; and of Zeus all stand in need.
We are his offspring: and he, ever good and mild to man,
Gives favouring signs, and rouses us to toil.
Calling to mind life's wants: when clods are best
For plough and mattock: when the time is ripe
For planting vines and sowing seeds, he tells,
Since he himself hath fixed in heaven these signs,
The stars dividing: and throughout the year
Stars he provides to indicate to man
The seasons' course, that all things duly grow," etc., etc.
Then Aratus proceeds to describe and explain all the Signs and Constellations as the Greeks in his day understood, or rather misunderstood, them, after their true meaning and testimony had been forgotten.
Moreover, Aratus describes them, not as they were seen in his day, but as they were seen some 4,000 years before. The stars were not seen from Tarsus as he describes them, and he must therefore have written from a then ancient Zodiac. For notwithstanding that we speak of "fixed stars," there is a constant, though slow, change taking place amongst them. There is also another change taking place owing to the slow recession of the pole of the heavens (about 50" in the year); so that while Alpha in the constellation of Draco was the Polar Star when the Zodiac was first formed, the Polar Star is now Alpha in what is called Ursa Minor. This change alone carries us back at least 5,000 years. The same movement which has changed the relative position of these two stars has also caused the constellation of the Southern Cross to become invisible in northern latitudes. When the constellations were formed the Southern Cross was visible in N. latitude 40o, and was included in their number. But, though known by tradition, it had not been seen in that latitude for some twenty centuries, until voyages to the Cape of Good Hope were made. Then was seen again The Southern Cross depicted by the Patriarchs. Here is another indisputable proof as to the antiquity of the formation of the Zodiac.
Ptolemy (150 AD) transmits them from Hipparchus (130 BC) "as of unquestioned authority, unknown origin, and unsearchable antiquity."
Sir William Drummond says that "the traditions of the Chaldean Astronomy seem the fragments of a mighty system fallen into ruins."
The word Zodiac itself is from the Greek zoidiakos, which is not from zoe, to live, but from a primitive root through the Hebrew Sodi, which in Sanscrit means a way. Its etymology has no connection with living creatures, but denotes a way, or step, and is used of the way or path in which the sun appears to move amongst the stars in the course of the year.
To an observer on the earth the whole firmament, together with the sun, appears to revolve in a circle once in twenty-four hours. But the time occupied by the stars in going round, differs from the time occupied by the sun. This difference amounts to about one-twelfth part of the whole circle in each month, so that when the circle of the heavens is divided up into twelve parts, the sun appears to move each month through one of them. This path which the sun thus makes amongst the stars is called the Ecliptic. *
* Besides this monthly difference, there is an annual difference; for at the end of twelve months the sun does not come back to exactly the same point in the sign which commenced the year, but is a little behind it. But this difference, though it occurs every year, is so small that it will take 25,579 years for the sun to complete this vast cycle, which is called The precession of the Equinoxes; i.e., about one degree in every 71 years. If the sun came back to the precise point at which it began the year, each sign would correspond, always and regularly, exactly with a particular month; but, owing to this constant regression, the sun (while it goes through the whole twelve signs every year) commences the year in one sign for only about 2,131 years. In point of fact, since the Creation the commencement of the year has changed to the extent of nearly three of the signs. When Virgil sings--
"The White Bull with golden horns opens the year,"
he does not record what took place in his own day. This is another proof of the antiquity of these signs.
The Ecliptic, or path of the sun, if it could be viewed from immediately beneath the Polar Star, would form a complete and perfect circle, would be concentric with the Equator, and all the stars and the sun would appear to move in this circle, never rising or setting. To a person north or south of the Equator the stars therefore rise and set obliquely; while to a person on the Equator they rise and set perpendicularly, each star being twelve hours above and twelve below the horizon.
The points where the two circles (the Ecliptic and the Equator) intersect each other are called the Equinoctial points. It is the movement of these points (which are now moving from Aries to Pisces) which gives rise to the term, "the precession of the Equinoxes."
Each of these twelve parts (consisting each of about 30 degrees) is distinguished, not by numbers or by letters, but by pictures and names, and this, as we have seen, from the very earliest times. They are preserved to the present day in our almanacs, and we are taught their order in the familiar rhymes:--
"The Ram, the Bull, the heavenly Twins,
And next the Crab, the Lion shines,
The Virgin and the Scales;
The Scorpion, Archer, and Sea-Goat,
The Man that carries the Water-pot,
And Fish with glittering scales."
These signs have always and everywhere been preserved in this order, and have begun with Aries. They have been known amongst all nations, and in all ages, thus proving their common origin from one source.
The figures themselves are perfectly arbitrary. There is nothing in the groups of stars to even suggest the figures. This is the first thing which is noticed by every one who looks at the constellations. Take for example the sign of Virgo, and look at the stars. There is nothing whatever to suggest a human form; still less is there anything to show whether that form is a man or a woman. And so with all the others.
The picture, therefore, is the original, and must have been drawn around or connected with certain stars, simply in order that it might be identified and associated with them; and that it might thus be remembered and handed down to posterity.
There can be no doubt, as the learned Authoress of Mazzaroth conclusively proves, that these signs were afterwards identified with the twelve sons of Jacob. Joseph sees the sun and moon and eleven stars bowing down to him, he himself being the twelfth (Gen 37:9). The blessing of Jacob (Gen 49) and the blessing of Moses (Deut 33) both bear witness to the existence of these signs in their day. And it is more than probable that each of the Twelve Tribes bore one of them on its standard. We read in Numbers 2:2, "Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own STANDARD, with the ENSIGN of their father's house" (RV "with the ensigns of their fathers' houses"). This "Standard" was the Degel on which the "Sign" (oth) was depicted. Hence it was called the "En-sign." Ancient Jewish authorities declare that each tribe had one of the signs as its own, and it is highly probable, even from Scripture, that four of the tribes carried its "Sign"; and that these four were placed at the four sides of the camp.
If the Lion were appropriated to Judah, then the other three would be thus fixed, and would be the same four that equally divide the Zodiac at its four cardinal points. According to Numbers 2 the camp was thus formed:--
  Dan-The Scorpion (Scorpio)
  Asher (Sagittarius)
  Naphtali (Capricorn)
West East
Ephraim-The Bull (Taurus) Levi (Libra) Judah-The Lion (Leo)
Manasseh-The Bull (Taurus) The Scales Issachar (Cancer)
Benjamin (Gemini)   Zebulun (Virgo)
  Reuben-The Man (Aquarius)
  Simeon (Pisces)
  Gad (Aries)
If the reader compares the above with the blessings of Israel and Moses, and compares the meanings and descriptions given below with those blessings, the connection will be clearly seen. Levi, for example, had no standard, and he needed none, for he kept "the balance of the Sanctuary," and had the charge of that brazen altar on which the atoning blood outweighed the nation's sins.
The four great signs which thus marked the four sides of the camp, and the four quarters of the Zodiac, are the same four which form the Cherubim (the Eagle, the Scorpion's enemy, being substituted for the Scorpion). The Cherubim thus form a compendious expression of the hope of Creation, which, from the very first, has been bound up with the Coming One, who alone should cause its groanings to cease.
But this brings us to the Signs themselves and their interpretation.
These pictures were designed to preserve, expound, and perpetuate the one first great promise and prophecy of Genesis 3:15, that all hope for Man, all hope for Creation, was bound up in a coming Redeemer; One who should be born of a woman; who should first suffer, and afterwards gloriously triumph; One who should first be wounded by that great enemy who was the cause of all sin and sorrow and death, but who should finally crush the head of "that Old Serpent the Devil."
These ancient star-pictures reveal this Coming One. They set forth "the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow." Altogether there are forty-eight of them, made up of twelve SIGNS, each sign containing three CONSTELLATIONS.
These may be divided into three great books, each book containing four chapters (or Signs); and each chapter containing three sections (or Constellations).
Each book (like the four Gospels) sets forth its peculiar aspect of the Coming One; beginning with the promise of His coming, and ending with the destruction of the enemy.
But where are we to begin to read this wondrous Heavenly Scroll? A circle has proverbially neither beginning nor end. In what order then are we to consider these signs? In the heavens they form a never-ending circle. Where is the beginning and where is the end of this circle through which the sun is constantly moving? Where are we to break into this circle? and say, This is the commencement. It is clear that unless we can determine this original starting point we can never read this wondrous book aright.
As I have said, the popular beginning today is with Aries, the Ram. But comparing this Revelation with that which was afterwards written "in the Volume of the Book," Virgo is the only point where we can intelligently begin, and Leo is the only point where we can logically conclude. Is not this what is spoken of as the unknown and insoluble mystery--"The riddle of the Sphinx"? The word "Sphinx" is from to bind closely together. It was therefore designed to show where the two ends of the Zodiac were to be joined together, and where the great circle of the heavens begins and ends.
The Sphinx is a figure with the head of a woman and the body of a lion! What is this but a never-ceasing monitor, telling us to begin with Virgo and to end with Leo! In the Zodiac in the Temple of Esneh, in Egypt, a Sphinx is actually placed between the Signs of Virgo and Leo...
Beginning, then, with Virgo, let us now spread out the contents of this Heavenly Volume, so that the eye can take them in at a glance. Of course we are greatly hindered in this, in having to use the modern Latin names which the Constellations bear today. * Some of these names are mistakes, others are gross perversions of the truth, as proved by the pictures themselves, which are far more ancient, and have come down to us from primitive times.
* It is exactly the same with the books of the Bible. Their order and their names, as we have them in the English Bible, are those which man has given them, copied from the Septuagint and Vulgate, and in many cases are not the Divine names according to the Hebrew Canon. See The Names and Order of the Books of the Old Testament, by the same author.
After the Revelation came to be written down in the Scriptures, there was not the same need for the preservation of the Heavenly Volume. And after the nations had lost the original meaning of the pictures, they invented a meaning out of the vain imagination of the thoughts of their hearts. The Greek Mythology is an interpretation of (only some of) the signs and constellations after their true meaning had been forgotten. It is popularly believed that Bible truth is an evolution from, or development of, the ancient religions of the world. But the fact is that they themselves are a corruption and perversion of primitive truth!" From E. W. Bullinger

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Grand Apology by John Cleese

This was never considered fan art.
I made this in an attempt to bridge a divide. However, if I want to make off the hand remarks I will continue to do so. If you send out offensive material expect maybe some offense to come back on you; to fail to perceive this marks you as a fool.

Monday, August 9, 2010