Friday, September 16, 2011

The Jason Mysteries Part II

The epic of the Argo incorporates numerous elements of other legendary tales of the ancient world. In part one of this series we saw the immense importance the name Jason has to the Cryptocracy, in both past and present. Now we shall break down some of the key concepts of the ancient myth in an attempt to answer the question of why. One of the most obvious elements is the 'voyaging hero' concept, an archetype that appears time and again. The most well know is of course the Biblical patriarch Noah. An earlier version was the Sumerian deluge hero Utnapishtim. The Greeks had their own version of Noah, known as Deucalion. Another voyaging hero Jason closely resembles is the Sumerian hero Gilgamesh, of which more will be written on later. There is also a direct connection between the Greek Noah, Deucalion, and the Argo.
"The Greek are of Deukalion came to rest after the Flood at Dodona, from where the Argo received its guiding timber. The ark and the Argo apparently were related in other ways too."
(The Sirius Mystery, Robert Temple, pg. 135)

The final challenge for the Golden Fleece at Colchis is filled with highly symbolic imagery. Here a man and woman (Jason and Medea) confront a dragon that guards the Golden Fleece, which hangs from a tree. Obviously this bears striking similarities to the Biblical tale of Adam and Eve, and the serpent and the apple from the Tree of Knowledge present at the Fall of Man.

Finally there is Jason's return to Thessaly where Medea convinces Pelias' daughters to dismember his body so that he can be reborn younger. In this case I am reminded of the myths surrounding Osiris and Isis. Osiris is murdered by his brother Set, who later dismembers Osiris' body into 14 pieces. Eventually Isis is able to collect all of the pieces of her dead brother/husband except for the penis, and then revives him from the dead.
"... when Isis had found the corpse of her husband Osiris, she and her sister Nephthys sat down beside it and uttered a lament which in after ages became the type of all Egyptian lamentations for the dead...
"The lamentations of the two sisters were not in vain. In pity for her sorrow the sun-god Ra sent down from heaven the jackal-headed god Anubis, who, with the aid of Isis and Nephthys, of Thoth and Horus, pieced together the broken body of the murdered god, swathed it in linen bandages, and observed all the other rites which the Egyptians were wont to perform over the bodies of the departed. The Isis fanned the cold clay with her wings: Osiris revived, and thenceforth reigned as king over the dead in the other world."
(The Golden Bough, James Frazer, pg. 371)

The episode in the Argo epic is a kind of reverse of the Osiris/Isis myths as the section from Colchis reverses the Fall of Man legend. Osiris and Isis were of course hugely important to the religion of the ancient Egyptians, being the chief deities of the Egyptian Mystery schools. All of this overlap has led some scholars such as Robert Temple to surmise that various elements of the Argo epic are very old.
"In Sumer the 'fifty great gods' called the Anunnaki were anonymous as individuals, and only ever spoken of as 'the fifty great gods' with the emphasis on their number. They were literally restricted to the level of being a numerological cipher. They are continually invoked and are of importance -but they never did anything but sit on their thrones and 'be fifty.'
"In the early Sumerian tale of their epic hero Gilgamesh, we find him accompanied in his adventures by fifty heroes, reminiscent of the fifty Argonauts who accompanied Jason. 'His teeth are the teeth of a dragon', we are told -reminiscent of Jason sowing the dragon's teeth. And Gilgamesh also puts his teeth to the ground (that much we can gather, but the passage is obscure and he may really be sowing teeth). Each of his fifty heroic companions carries a specially felled tree for the journey -and the only reasonable purpose to go around carrying a tree seems to be that these trees were used as oars, especially as there is an association with a boat. This again is like the Argonauts. We thus seem to have found a Near Eastern tale from which the tale of the Argonauts was derived two thousand years or so later by the Greeks.
"Gilgamesh somehow derives strength from putting his teeth to the ground. In the Greek tale, Jason sows the teeth and they spring up as strong soldiers -another parallel...
"All the Greek Argonauts were related to one another and more or less anonymous as individuals -reminiscent of the earlier Sumerian 'fifty heroes' accompanying Gilgamesh and also the 'fifty great gods' known as Anunnaki.
"The 'fifty great gods' of Sumer, the Anunnaki, are invariably seated. Sacred oarsmen or Argonauts are all, of course, invariably seated while they are rowing. 'The fifty who sit' and 'the fifty who sit and row' seem to be a motif."
(The Sirius Mystery, pgs. 134-135)

In addition to referencing elements of the Deluge, the Fall of Man, Gilgamesh, and the Mysteries of Isis and Osiris, Temple suggest an even more esoteric secret behind the Argo epic. In his now legendary The Sirius Mystery Temple asserts that amphibious extraterrestrial beings from (or near) the star Sirius visited Earth several thousand years and that traces of their visit were preserved in various myths and esoteric teachings. The prior sentence will of course cause many 'right-thinking' individuals to dismiss Temple out of hand. But the man does have a degree in Oriental studies and Sanskrit from the University of Pennsylvania in addition to being a member of the Royal Astronomical Society. Much of his other work, especially his studies on ancient China, are highly respected within academia. While I'm skeptical of Temple's extraterrestrial hypothesis, his speculation on ancient myths is mostly first rate.

The appearance of the number 50, for instance, in both the myths of the Anunnaki, Gilgamesh, and the Argonauts, is a reference to the time it takes Sirius B to orbit around Sirius A. The reappearance of a ship and epic voyage in so many myths is a reference to the aliens traveling to Earth in a spacecraft. Continual references to teeth are an allusion to how the Sirius ETs (who are amphibians in Temple's theory) communicate with each other, a la dolphins.
"The fact that the Dogon stress the pointed teeth of the Nommos, together with all the ancient tooth traditions this seems to support the view that the Nommos have teeth with special properties, probably sonar-receivers like the dolphins', and quite possibly with a bizarre anatomical aspect such as those of the dugongs. If a tooth is like a radio and not just something with which you chomp, then it is understandable that it would take on a special significance and be referred to in myth and legend."
(ibid, pg. 307-8)
Well, some of his speculations are first rate, anyway. One of the most compelling is his 'oracle octaves' hypothesis, which plays into ancient traditions of ley lines, alleged energy grids that run across the Earth. The concept of ley lines appear the world over in various traditions.
"In several other parts of the world, lines linking holy centres are not only mythological paths down which the gods representing the various heavenly bodies pass at regular seasons, but have further quality known only to native magicians. American Indians, particularly the Hopi of the Southwest, appear to use them as cables of mental communication. In China they are known as lung-mei, the paths of the dragon, and run between astronomical mounds and high mountains...
"The peculiar legend of unseen tracks running straight across country aroused the interest of J.D. Evans Wentz, who in the early part of the century travelled widely among the Celts of Britain and France, collecting fairy stories and other relics of the old mythology. In several parts of Ireland he heard about fairy paths. These paths, sometimes visible as old roads, sometimes preserved only in local memory, were said to be routes of seasonal processions. On a certain day the fairies passed through the land, and anyone who stood in their way might be struck dead or be taken off, never to return...
"The Chinese believed that lung-mei extended all over the world, and this belief is everywhere supported by the evidence of local tradition. In Australia and North America the dragon lines are creation paths, haunted by gods and by the great primeval serpent, the ancestral guardian of all living things. In Ireland they are roads of fairies."
(The New View Over Atlantis, John Michell, pgs. 37-8)
ley lines

Before returning to Temple's 'oracle octaves' theory, I'd like to draw the reader's attention to a few sections of the prior quote. For one, note that ley lines have commonly been associated with dragons or serpents in various cultures across the globe -There are even European traditions that associate them with dragons in addition to fairies. In the Argo epic Jason must overcome either a dragon or a serpent to achieve the Golden Fleece. That the Hopi and some other Southwestern Native Americans consider these paths to be for mental communication is also significant, as I shall address later. For more information on leys, check out a prior blog I wrote on this topic here.

Anyway, back to Temple's 'oracle octaves.' The oracles Temple is referring to are oracle centers, such as the legendary Delphi, that were spread across the ancient world. These oracle centers were great holy places, whose alignment may have been intentional.
"These centres in the Middle East seem at a casual glance to be dotted around apparently at random. However, there is actually a pattern in their distribution which we will find bears some relation to our subject, and which indicates a highly advanced science of geography and related disciplines in the ancient world. Examination of the oracle centres will be seen to have a connection with the ship Argo and will help us to fill in some of the missing background to the entire system of the ancient religious mysteries. The oracle centres were the main places where religion was practiced in the ancient world."
(The Sirius Mystery, Robert Temple, pg. 161)
Here we find yet another connection between the various Sirius myths and the Argo, in this case specifically the constellation. And the connection is no minor one, as Temple essentially argues that these oracle centers dedicated to Sirius were laid according to the project of the constellation Argo upon the Earth.
"The other Arabian star named 'Weight' was in the constellation Argo. But we see the Argo was associated with Sirius, as was the first star named 'Weight' which was in the Great Dog constellation and a visible companion of Sirius.
"If an Argo is projected on the globe with its helm near the ancient Egyptian city Canopus on the coast of the Mediterranean (the star Canopus forms the helm of the Argo in the sky) and with its prow at Dodona (from where the oak came which was placed in the Argo's prow), if we hold the stern firmly on Canopus but swing the ship eastwards at the top, so that the prow points towards Mount Ararat, where Noah's ark was supposed to have landed, we find that the arc thus described is a right-angle of 90º.
"Instead of Canopus we must really use the neighbouring site of the now entirely vanished city of Behdet, which was the capital of pre-dynastic Egypt prior to the foundation of Memphis.
"Dodona is exactly 8º of latitude north of Behdet. Delphi is exactly 7º north of Behdet. Delos (another important early oracle centre, vanished by classical Greek times) is exactly 6º north of Behdet. Behdet was the Greenwich of the ancient world prior to 3200 BC and was used as a geodetic headquarters.
"Associated with near-by Mount Ararat as a mystery-centre was the now little-known site of Metsamor. Mt Ararat is 8º north of Behdet and on the same parallel as Dodona.
"A site on Kythera is known to have connections with early dynastic Egypt as a religious centre and is about 5º north of Behdet. The island of Thera may, however, have been an oracle centre. It was destroyed by a famous volcanic eruption in Minoan times.
"All these sites were revealed as a pattern now termed a 'geodetic octave' by the projection on the globe of the Argo, which is connected with Sirius. Sirius was not only the element of the most sacred traditions of the Dogon and the ancient Egyptians, but apparently of the entire civilized and cosmopolitan Mediterranean world prior at least to 3000 BC and probably well before 3200 BC."
(ibid, pg. 201)

Jason was also clearly a major element, given the strong link between the Argo epic and Sirius, which was at the heart of the religion of ancient Egypt and many of the Mystery school spread across the Mediterranean. In addition to the Argo epic incorporating some of the major religious traditions of the ancient world, the constellation named after it may have influenced the location of several of the major religious centers of that era. This also plays into the traditions of ley lines which appear the world over. Serpents and/or dragons play a crucial role in the traditions of both ley lines and the Argo.

Another possible link between Jason and Sirius are the letters in the Jason name itself. Earlier I noted that one of the explanations (denied by the group) for the adoption of JASON for the name of the scientific research group was to allude to months in which the group met, which was between July and November. The months July, August, and possibly September are extremely important to the various Sirius traditions as these are the commonly excepted dates for the Dog Days, the principal holiday for Sirius, and one of the main observations of the ancient world. The month of November is when the star Sirius becomes most visible in the Northern hemisphere. Of the five months referenced in the JASON acronym, October is the only one I have yet to uncover a link to Sirius. Thus, the name Jason may be an allusion to the chief months associated with Sirius.

Even the first Friday the 13th film seems to allude to the Jason/Sirius connection. Annie, the film's first victim after the opening sequence, encounters a dog at a gas station while hiking toward Camp Crystal Lake. Naturally dogs are sacred to the Dog Star, and the inclusion of the dog sequence seems pointless outside the Sirius context. Later she is dropped off at three-way crossroads, which were sacred to the goddess Hecate. Temple argues that Hecate (who was often depicted with 50 hell hounds at her side) was closely linked to Sirius.
"The name of the Greek goddess Hekate (Hecate) literally means 'one hundred'. She was involved with the Argo tale and specifically identified by Robert Graves with Isis, and in other ways linked to Sirius as an 'underworld version'. Since both Sirius B and Sirius C may share a fifty-year orbit around Sirius A, we can possibly understand the 'twice-fifty years' as an esoteric reference to that."
(ibid, pg. 159)

Curiously, Hecate's appearance in the Argonautica occurs when Jason offers a sacrifice to her at a cemetery in Colchis at the urging of Medea. This will be important later, but for now back to Friday the 13th. Even the name of the film itself may be such a reference. As noted previously, the date Friday the 13th is closely linked to the Knights Templar, whom Temple believed were in possession of some of the ancient Sirius traditions. Clearly, the link between Jason and Sirius is one that appears time and again in the zeitgeist of the times, what ever they may be.

Now that the connections to Sirius are out of the way, there is one final aspect of the Jason mystery that I would like to address: Namely, its connection to drugs. This connection is overt in the figure of Medea, the sorceress who helps Jason complete his tasks in Colchis on condition that he marry her. Virtually all of Medea's help revolves around the use of 'potions' and 'herbs' that she concocts for Jason. Initially she anoints Jason with a magical oil that helps him yoke fire-breathing oxes. Later she gives Jason a narcotic herb that puts the great serpent/dragon that guards the Golden Fleece to sleep. Eventually she convinces Pelias' daughters that she resurrects a dismembered sheep with a drugged brew.

Researchers Carl Ruck, Blaise Staples, and Clark Heinrich argue in their The Apples of Apollo that the entire Argo myth is a metaphor for entheogens.
"In the case of Jason, the Golden Fleece was ultimately Amanita muscaria. In such a quest, the hero is a shaman whose identity... becomes consubstantial with the drug of his shamanism so that many of his characteristics have ethnobotanical referents and some of the events are not only his experience, but that of the entheogen itself, that is his analogue. Hence, Jason was trained as a shaman and displayed symbolic features such as his single, muddy foot, his non-birth, and his name as a drug man. Amongst those who sailed with him on the quest were the Dioskouroi and their cousins, the Moliones, whose identities also are ethnobotanical, as Pillar, St. Elmo's Fire, Cap, Lotus, and hermaphroditic Sphere. Similarly, the Fleece has metaphoric characteristics of the quested entheogen, such as the Golden Apple, the fleecy Hide, the Shield, the tiny Man, the Egg, the Serpent, the horned Bull, the Bird, and the Ball of Eros. To initiate him for his heroic ordeal of consubstantiality, Medea anoints him wit the herb of Prometheus, whose theft of Fire was ultimately that of Vision and the sacred plant. The theme of the Fleece persisted in alchemical occult knowledge, becoming ostensibly the parchment on which was written the secret formula of chrysopoeia, although it, too, recalls the ethnobotanical original."
(The Apples of Apollo, Ruck, Staples & Heinrich, pg. 87)
the Golden Fleece?

Ruck, Staples, and Heinrich offer a most interesting explanation of Jason's name.
"Jason is the Latin name for the leader of the band of heroes known as the Argonauts in Greek myth who sailed in the ship Argo on the famous expedition to the eastern shore of the Black Sea to fetch back the Golden Fleece; in his own language, Jason's name was written as Iason. This was not his original name. His parents had called him Diomedes, a good name meaning that he was lord in the tradition of the god Zeus. But to protect the child from his enemies when he was born, his mother had pretended that he had died, and she sent him secretly up onto Mount Pelion, above the town of Iolchos in Thessaly, to be raised by the centaur Cheiron. It was he who named him Iason, which means 'drug man' or doctor, because he taught the child all he knew about botanical pharmacology. Iason wasn't the only young hero to receive this tutelage on Mount Pelion: Achilleus (Latin Achilles), the hero of the Iliad, was educated there, as was Aktaion (Latin Actaeon), and Herakles (Hercules), and Aristaios, and Asklepios, the patron of medicine, and his own two sons, Podaleirios and Machaon, and even Iason's son by Medea, Medeios. The god Dionysos himself was said to have learned his sacred rites from the good centaur. Since this education also involved the 'intoxicating' art of archery, for which arrows poisoned with botanic drugs were employed, the list of Cheiron's ethnopharmacological disciples could be expanded, according to an ancient scholar, to include the hunter Kephalos (the beloved of the Dawn who accidentally killed his jealous wife), Melanion (who racved with Atalanta), the wise old Nestor, the Theban seer Amphiaraos, Achilleus's father Peleus, and Aias's (Latin Ajax's) father Telamon, Atalanta's brother Meleagros (who died in the Calydonian Boar Hunt), Theseus (the Athenian hero), and his son Hippolytos, Palamedes (the enemy of Odysseus at Troy), and Odysseus himself, Menestheus (the vice-regent of Athens while Theseus was absent in the underworld), Diomedes (the one with the carnivorous mares that were the labors of Herakles), the Dioskouroi or twin sons of Zeus: Kastor and Polydeukes, Antilochos (the eldest son of Nestor and best friend of Achilleus and Patroklos), and even Aineias (Latin Aeneas), who would be the hero pf Virgil's epic. There were probably more, but that is all he could find -and remember, this was before the age of the computer search."
(ibid, pgs. 89-91)
Cheiron, the shaman centaur and his pupil Iason, the drug man

Earlier I noted that Temple believed many, if not all, of the ancient heroes described as Argonauts were later additions added for their 'box office' draw. Jason is the only Argonaut mentioned by name in the earliest references to the Argo. It seems likely Temple is correct in arguing that the ancient heroes described as Argonauts were later additions, but they seemingly were added for more than their box office appeal. As the prior sections note, many of the heroic Argonauts such as Hercules and Orpheus were also associated with entheogens and shamanism. Rather than being added for their box office draw, they were added to reinforce the entheogenic symbolism.

Of course, with sections like the duel with the dragon/serpent that guards the Golden Fleece in Colchis, not much reinforcement is needed. The interpretation by Ruck, Staples, Heinrich in this section is quite striking.
"The serpent is, of course, consubstantial with the mushroom, itself. Its 'poison,' via its effects, reputation, and taboos, is what guards the fleece. You eat it, but it 'eats' you back, swallowing you into its world and vomiting you back out, just as you may vomit it back out...
"In these traditions, Iason won the Fleece by descending into Death at the Cosmic Axis of the Tree of the Fleece, and returning. In Apollonius's telling, Medea and Iason entered the Garden together, where the Fleece hung from the branches of an oak tree, and in color, it was 'like a cloud growing red with the fiery rays of the rising sun.' Others placed it in the mouth of the Serpent who guarded it, or spread it on a rock around which coils the Serpent. And Medea enchanted the monster itself to sleep, singing and sprinkling it with drugged potion (or kykeon, like the drink of the Eleusinian Mystery), aspersing it with a branch of freshly cut juniper."
(ibid, pgs. 103-104)
the serpent eating Jason

Needless to say, Ruck, Staples, and Heinrich have a much more plausible explanation of the whole dragon's teeth episode than Temple as well.
"But to return to Iason's heroic task: as he plowed the furrows with the 'bellowing or mooing' bulls, roaring with the thunder of quaking earth and the bluster of winds, and as he plants the teeth, behind him sprouted suddenly like mushrooms the crop of hostile men, the 'Sown Men' or Spartoi, as they were called at Thebes (and probably Sparta), here the Kaulomyketes, whom he 'mowed' down, some when they were still just emerging, others, fully above the ground, until he employed the same ruse that had worked with Kadmos, a stone thrown in their midst, so that they would turn upon each other in the fighting. And when it was over, the harvest was done; and safely, for he had been anointed with the chrism that protected him, initiating the shaman as consubstantial with the earth-born creatures that were his entheogen."
(ibid, pg. 101)
the 'crop' of dragon's teeth...

... or the crop of dragon's teeth?

Temple freely acknowledges that he is not interested in 'drug culture' early in The Sirius Mystery, yet he cannot help but mention the close links between drug use and the oracle centers in his oracle octaves theory. Consider this description of how the seer at Delphi achieved her 'messages' from the god Apollo:
"...the mantic bowl into which the priestess... will gaze as she goes into trance. A female attendant stands with a jug of water to refill the bowl as it becomes necessary. The bowl was filled with a hot steaming liquid containing powerful decoctions of narcotic herbs such as henbane, thorn apple and black and white hellebore, which helped induce a prophetic frenzy in the self-hypnotized priestess. The terrible smell was explained away to the public as 'fumes from the rotting corpse of the monster Python', supposedly oozing up through a chasm under the temple (although modern excavators have proved that there was no chasm)."
(The Sirius Mystery, pg. 172)

The oracle at Delphi is the only one I have found where there is concrete evidence of ritualistic drug use. However, if the various oracle centers of antiquity were all linked as Temple suggests, it seems reasonable that similar rites would have been used at all of them. The Jason mysteries seemingly allude to this. Here again a serpent, in this case Python, is associated with drugs just as the serpent/dragon guarding the Golden Fleece was.

Now, remember back to earlier in this piece where I noted the similarities between Temple's concept of 'oracle octaves' and ley lines. I also remarked that ley lines have often been associated with dragons or serpents the world over -In China they were known as 'dragon paths' while in South America they were haunted by the cosmic serpent. Further, the Hopi had a tradition that the ley lines could be used as cables of mental communication.

cosmic serpents

If Temple's theory of 'oracle octaves' is correct, and that the ancient oracle centers were built upon specific lines of latitude, then seemingly this tradition was also present in the ancient Near East for these oracle centers claimed that their priests were in direct contact with various gods. And at least at Delphi, this contact was induced by drugs. This type of 'mental communication' would easily constitute a psychic voyage, which would provide a seemingly more plausible explanation for the recurrence of ships and epic voyages in mythology that Temple's spaceship interpretation.

And so we come full circle dear reader. I became fascinated by the Jason mysteries due to an obscure hand gesture made in The Simpsons Movie which the Honourable DJ Hives and/or Nemesis described as the 'signal of a Jason.' This led me back to William Cooper who described both the JASON group (which exists beyond a doubt) and the JASON Society as among the highest grades of the Cryptocracy. From there, I began to note the remarkable persistence of Jason in pop culture from the modern Friday the 13th films all the way back to the ancient Argo epic. Upon examining this legend, I found it ripe with all manor of symbolism -hints of the Fall of Man, the Deluge, and the Mysteries of Isis and Osiris, in addition to traces of Sirius and drug cults.

What does it all mean? Is the myth of Jason, as Cooper suggested, simply symbolic of the quest toward illumination? Does it hint at something more profound, such as telepathic contact with nonhuman beings (or perhaps super advanced human beings in the furthest regions of space, as DJ Hives/Nemesis' interpretation of 2001: A Space Odyssey concludes) through the use of ley lines and ritualistic drug use? Or is it simply a veiled account of ancient PSYOPS in which the Cryptocracy used drugs and rituals of terror to induce religious experiences (which could explain why key elements of various world religions are incorporated into the Argo)?

Clearly, only Jason knows for sure.

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