Kofun (古墳, from Sino-Japanese “ancient grave”) are megalithic tombs or tumuli in Northeast Asia. Kofun were mainly constructed in the Japanese archipelago between the middle of the 3rd century to the early 7th century CE. The term is the origin of the name of the Kofun period, which indicates the middle 3rd century to early–middle 6th century. Many kofun have distinctive keyhole-shaped mounds (zempō-kōen fun (前方後円墳)).” ref

“The kofun tumuli have assumed various shapes throughout history. The most common type of kofun is known as a zenpō-kōen-fun (前方後円墳), which is shaped like a keyhole, having one square end and one circular end, when viewed from above. There are also circular-type (empun [ja] (円墳)), “two conjoined rectangles” typed (zenpō-kōhō-fun [ja] (前方後方墳)), and square-type (hōfun [ja] (方墳)) kofun. Orientation of kofun is not specified. For example, in the Saki kofun group, all of the circular parts are facing north, but there is no such formation in the Yanagimoto kofun group. Haniwa, terracotta figures, were arrayed above and in the surroundings to delimit and protect the sacred areas.” ref

“Kofun range from several metres to over 400 m long. The largest, which has been attributed to Emperor Nintoku, is Daisen Kofun in Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture. The funeral chamber was located beneath the round part and comprised a group of megaliths. In 1972, the unlooted Takamatsuzuka Tomb was found in Asuka, and some details of the discovery were revealed. Inside the tightly assembled rocks, white lime plasters were pasted, and colored pictures depict the ‘Asuka Beauties’ of the court as well as constellations. A stone coffin was placed in the chamber, and accessories, swords, and bronze mirrors were laid both inside and outside the coffin. The wall paintings have been designated national treasures and the grave goods as important cultural property, while the tumulus is a special historic site.” ref

Kofun burial mounds and their remains have been found all over Japan, including remote islands such as Nishinoshima. A total of 161,560 kofun tomb sites have been found as of 2001. Hyōgo Prefecture has the most of all prefectures (16,577 sites), and Chiba Prefecture has the second most (13,112 sites).” ref

“A research group’s results on the orientation of ancient Japanese tombs—the so-called Kofun, show that these tombs are oriented towards the arc of the rising sun, the Goddess Amaterasu, whom the Japanese emperors linked to the mythical origin of their dynasty. The Japanese islands are dotted with hundreds of ancient burial mounds, the largest of which are in the typical shape of a keyhole and are called Kofun. Built between the third and the seventh centuries CE, the most imposing are attributed to the semi-legendary first emperors, while the smaller ones probably belong to court officers and to members of the royal family. Among these, the so-called Daisen Kofun is one of the largest monuments ever built on Earth: it measures 486 meters in length and about 36 in height. It is traditionally attributed to Emperor Nintoku, the sixteenth  of Japan.” ref

“There are no written sources on these tombs, and excavations are rare and limited to the smaller ones, since the largest are considered the tombs of the first semi-legendary emperors and, as such, are strictly protected by law. Protection also extends to the outside: many monuments are fenced, and it is not allowed to enter the perimeter. For these reasons, it is impossible to obtain accurate measurements of size, height, and orientation. Furthermore, their number discourages any on field investigation. It is, therefore natural, to study them using high-resolution satellite images, which furnish simple but very powerful tools for  investigations.” ref

“The aim of deepening the knowledge of the relationships between these fascinating monuments with the landscape and, in particular, with the sky. The team measured the orientation of more than 100 Kofuns and came to interesting conclusions. The results—just published in the  Remote Sensing” —indicate a strong connection of the Kofun entrance corridors with the arc in the sky where the Sun and the Moon are visible every day of the year, and show the orientation of the hugest keyhole-shaped Kofuns to the arc of the Sun rising/shining.ref

“In particular, the Daisen Kofun is oriented towards the Sun rising at the winter solstice. Orientation of the imperial  towards the Sun does not happen by chance: rather, it is in full agreement with the Japanese imperial tradition. Indeed, the mythical origin of the dynasty of the Japanese Emperors considers them as direct descendants of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu.ref

“During the Jomon Period (10,500 BCE – 300 BCE) nomadic groups across Japan began to farm crops, namely rice, and construct settlements. Agricultural surplus resulted in socio-political hierarchy. By the end of the 5th century, much of Japan — then called Wa (倭) — came under the rule of the Yamato Kingdom. Massive symbols of wealth and power, the burial mounds were likely inspired by the nearby cultures of China and Korea, built to legitimize the Yamato Kingdom both domestically and overseas, as they occupy rare and valuable plains on the mountainous island.” ref

“As the ancient empire’s main port, gateway to the world, Sakai was likely to have been the political and cultural center of Wa. The imposing Daisen Kofun would have been visible from Osaka Bay, a distance of one kilometer (.6 miles). Wa had not yet developed written language, so what little is known about this era is derived from surviving Chinese and Korean records, as well as limited excavations. The surviving burial mounds lend the mysterious era their name, the Kofun Period (200 – 600 CE).” ref

“Combining stone, mountain, and water, kofun design was likely influenced by the indigenous religion of Shinto (神道), in which all natural elements and phenomena are considered divine kami (神) [deities]. According to the 7th century Kojiki (古事記) [Records of Ancient Matters], Japan’s Yamato Clan are direct descendents of the most important kami, Amaterasu (天照), sun goddess and ruler of the heavens, vital to the island’s creation myth.” ref

“The Japanese imperial line claims to be the oldest continuous hereditary monarchy in the world, lead today by reigning Emperor Naruhito (今上天皇 徳仁). A team of researchers at the Politecnico di Milano (Polytechnic University of Milan), recently found that the kofun are oriented around patterns of the sun and moon, with their bases aligned for maximum exposure to light.” ref

“While many historians suggest the unique keyhole shape simply evolved from earlier kofun designs, the Italian team posits that the form is intended to resemble a sun and mountain, with most coffins entombed in the circular head. The burial mounds entomb coffins of varying complexity, accompanied by collections of armor, weapons, and jewelry. A chest-shaped coffin and various artifacts were discovered at Daisen Kofun amidst an 1872 storm and landslide. While the items were quickly returned, sketches were made by researchers, and replicas are on display at the Sakai City Museum.” ref

Yayoi period

“Most of the tombs of chiefs in the Yayoi period were square-shaped mounds surrounded by ditches. The most notable example in the late Yayoi period is Tatetsuki Mound Tomb in Kurashiki, Okayama. The mound is about 45 metres wide and 5 metres high and has a shaft chamber. Broken pieces of Tokushu-kidai, cylindrical earthenware, were excavated around the mound. Another prevalent type of Yayoi period tomb is the Yosumi tosshutsugata funkyūbo, a square mound with protruding corners. These tombs were built in the San’in region, a coastal area off the Sea of Japan. Unearthed articles indicate the existence of alliances between native tribes in the region.” ref

Early Kofun period

One of the first keyhole-shaped kofun was built in the Makimuku area, the southeastern part of the Nara Basin. Hashihaka Kofun, which was built in the middle of the 3rd century CE, is 280 meters long and 30 meters high. Its scale is obviously different from previous Yayoi tombs. During the next three decades, about 10 kofun were built in the area, which are now called as the Makimuku Kofun Group. A wooden coffin was placed on the bottom of a shaft, and the surrounding walls were built up by flat stones. Finally, megalithic stones formed the roof. Bronze mirrors, iron swords, magatama, clay vessels, and other artifacts were found in good condition in undisturbed tombs. Some scholars assume the buried person of Hashihaka kofun was the shadowy ancient Queen Himiko of Yamataikoku, mentioned in the Chinese historical texts. According to the books, Japan was called Wa, which was the confederation of numerous small tribes or countries. The construction of gigantic kofun is the result of the relatively centralized governmental structure in the Nara Basin, possibly the origin of the Yamato polity and the Imperial lineage of Japan.” ref

Mid-Kofun period

“During the 5th century CE, the construction of keyhole kofun began in Yamato Province; continued in Kawachi, where gigantic kofun, such as Daisen Kofun of the Emperor Nintoku, were built; and then throughout the country. The proliferation of keyhole kofun is generally assumed to be evidence of the Yamato court’s expansion in this age. However, some argue that it simply shows the spread of culture based on progress in distribution, and has little to do with a political breakthrough. A few tombs from the mid-Baekje era were excavated around the Yeongsan River basin in South Korea. The design of these tombs are notably different. The tombs that were discovered on the Korean peninsula were built between the 5th and 6th centuries CE. There remain questions about who were buried in these tombs such as nobility, aristocracy, warriors or mercenaries.ref

Late Kofun period

“Keyhole-shaped kofun disappeared in the late 6th century CE, probably due to the drastic reformation in the Yamato court, where Nihon Shoki records the introduction of Buddhism during this era.ref

Japanese Paleolithic

The Japanese Paleolithic period (旧石器時代kyūsekki jidai) is the period of human inhabitation in Japan predating the development of pottery, generally before 10,000 BCE. The starting dates commonly given to this period are from around 40,000 BCE; although any date of human presence before 35,000 BCE is controversial, with artifacts supporting a pre-35,000 BCE human presence on the archipelago being of questionable authenticity. The period extended to the beginning of the Mesolithic Jōmon period, or around 14,000 BCE. The earliest human bones were discovered in the city of Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture, which were determined by radiocarbon dating to date to around 18,000–14,000 years ago.” ref

Jōmon period

In Japanese history, the Jōmon period (縄文時代Jōmon jidai) is the time between c. 14,000 and 300 BCE, during which Japan was inhabited by a diverse hunter-gatherer and early agriculturalist population united through a common Jōmon culture, which reached a considerable degree of sedentism and cultural complexity. The name “cord-marked” was first applied by the American zoologist and orientalist Edward S. Morse, who discovered sherds of pottery in 1877 and subsequently translated it into Japanese as Jōmon. The pottery style characteristic of the first phases of Jōmon culture was decorated by impressing cords into the surface of wet clay and is generally accepted to be among the oldest in the world.” ref

“The Jōmon period was rich in tools and jewelry made from bone, stone, shell, and antler; pottery figurines and vessels; and lacquerware. It is often compared to pre-Columbian cultures of the North American Pacific Northwest and especially to the Valdivia culture in Ecuador because in these settings, cultural complexity developed within a primarily hunting-gathering context with limited use of horticulture. The approximately 14,000 year Jōmon period is conventionally divided into several phases, progressively shorter: Incipient (13,750–8,500 BCE), Initial (8,500–5,000 BCE), Early (5,000–3,520 BCE), Middle (3,520–2,470 BCE), Late (2,470–1,250 BCE), and Final (1,250–500 BCE). Recent findings have refined the final phase of the Jōmon period to 300 BCE. The Yayoi period started between 500 and 300 BCE according to radio-carbon evidence, while Yayoi styled pottery was found in a Jōmon site of northern Kyushu already in 800 BCE.” ref

Yayoi period

Most linguists and archaeologists agree that the Japonic language family was introduced to and spread through the archipelago during the Yayoi period.” ref

The Yayoi period (弥生時代Yayoi jidai) started in the late Neolithic period in Japan, continued through the Bronze Age, and towards its end crossed into the Iron Age.  Since the 1980s, scholars have argued that a period previously classified as a transition from the Jōmon period should be reclassified as Early Yayoi. The date of the beginning of this transition is controversial, with estimates ranging from the 10th to the 3rd centuries BCE. The period is named after the neighbourhood of Tokyo where archaeologists first uncovered artifacts and features from that era in the late 19th century. Distinguishing characteristics of the Yayoi period include the appearance of new Yayoi pottery styles, improved carpentry and architecture, and the start of an intensive rice agriculture in paddy fields. A hierarchical social class structure dates from this period and has its origin in China. Techniques in metallurgy based on the use of bronze and iron were also introduced from China via Korea to Japan in this period.ref

“The Yayoi followed the Jōmon period, and Yayoi culture flourished in a geographic area from southern Kyūshū to northern Honshū. Archaeological evidence supports the idea that during this time, an influx of farmers (Yayoi people) from the Korean Peninsula to Japan overwhelmed and mixed with the native predominantly hunter-gatherer population (Jōmon). The Yayoi period is, generally, accepted to date from circa 300 BCE to 300 CE. However, although highly controversial, radiocarbon evidence, from organic samples attached to pottery shards, may suggest a date up to 500 years earlier, between ca. 1000 BCE and 800 BCE. During this period, Japan largely transitioned to a more settled, agricultural society, adopting methods of farming and crop production that were introduced to the country (initially in the Kyūshū region) from Korea.ref

“The earliest archaeological evidence of the Yayoi Period is found on northern Kyūshū, though that is still debated. Yayoi culture quickly spread to the main island of Honshū, mixing with native Jōmon culture. The name Yayoi is borrowed from a location in Tokyo, where pottery of the Yayoi period was first found. Yayoi pottery was simply decorated and produced, using the same coiling technique previously used in Jōmon pottery. Yayoi craft specialists made bronze ceremonial bells (dōtaku), mirrors, and weapons. By the 1st century Ce, Yayoi people began using iron agricultural tools and weapons. As the Yayoi population increased, the society became more stratified and complex.ref

“They wove textiles, lived in permanent farming villages, and constructed buildings with wood and stone. They also accumulated wealth through land ownership and the storage of grain. Such factors promoted the development of distinct social classes. Contemporary Chinese sources described the people as having tattoos and other bodily markings which indicated differences in social status. Yayoi chiefs, in some parts of Kyūshū, appear to have sponsored, and politically manipulated, trade in bronze and other prestige objects. That was made possible by the introduction of an irrigated, wet-rice agriculture from the Yangtze estuary in southern China via the Ryukyu Islands or Korean Peninsula. Wet-rice agriculture led to the development and growth of a sedentary, agrarian society in Japan. Local political and social developments in Japan were more important than the activities of the central authority within a stratified society.ref

“Direct comparisons between Jōmon and Yayoi skeletons show that the two peoples are noticeably distinguishable. The Jōmon tended to be shorter, with relatively longer forearms and lower legs, more deep-set eyes, shorter and wider faces, and much more pronounced facial topography. They also have strikingly raised brow ridges, noses, and nose bridges. Yayoi people, on the other hand, averaged 2.5–5 cm (0.98–1.97 in) taller, with shallow-set eyes, high and narrow faces, and flat brow ridges and noses. By the Kofun period, almost all skeletons excavated in Japan except those of the Ainu are of the Yayoi type with some having small Jōmon admixture, resembling those of modern-day Japanese.ref

“The origin of Yayoi culture and the Yayoi people has long been debated. The earliest archaeological sites are Itazuke or Nabata in the northern part of Kyūshū. Contacts between fishing communities on this coast and the southern coast of Korea date from the Jōmon period, as witnessed by the exchange of trade items such as fishhooks and obsidian. During the Yayoi period, cultural features from Korea and China arrived in this area at various times over several centuries, and later spread to the south and east. This was a period of mixture between immigrants and the indigenous population, and between new cultural influences and existing practices.ref

“Chinese influence was obvious in the bronze and copper weapons, dōkyō, dōtaku, as well as irrigated paddy rice cultivation. Three major symbols of Yayoi culture are the bronze mirror, the bronze sword, and the royal seal stone. Yayoi remains found in Japan’s Yamaguchi and Fukuoka prefectures with those from China’s coastal Jiangsu province, and found many similarities between the Yayoi and the Jiangsu remains. Further links to the Korean Peninsula have been discovered, and several researchers have reported discoveries/evidence that strongly link the Yayoi culture to the southern part of the Korean Peninsula.ref 

“The archaeological evidence that included “bounded paddy fields, new types of polished stone tools, wooden farming implements, iron tools, weaving technology, ceramic storage jars, exterior bonding of clay coils in pottery fabrication, ditched settlements, domesticated pigs, and jawbone rituals.” The migrant transfusion from the Korean peninsula gains strength because Yayoi culture began on the north coast of Kyūshū, where Japan is closest to Korea. Yayoi pottery, burial mounds, and food preservation were discovered to be very similar to the pottery of southern Korea.ref

“According to several linguists, Japonic or proto-Japonic was present on large parts of the southern Korean peninsula. These Peninsular Japonic languages, now extinct, were eventually replaced by Koreanic languages. Similarly, Whitman suggests that the Yayoi are not related to the proto-Koreans but that they (the Yayoi) were present on the Korean peninsula during the Mumun pottery period. According to him and several other researchers, Japonic/proto-Japonic arrived in the Korean peninsula around 1500 BCE and was brought to the Japanese archipelago by Yayoi wet-rice farmers at some time between 700 and 300 BCE. Whitman and Miyamoto associate Japonic as the language family associated with both Mumun and Yayoi cultures. Several linguists believe that speakers of Koreanic/proto-Koreanic arrived in the Korean Peninsula at some time after the Japonic/proto-Japonic speakers and coexisted with these peoples (i.e. the descendants of both the Mumun and Yayoi cultures) and possibly assimilated them. Both Koreanic and Japonic had prolonged influence on each other and a later founder effect diminished the internal variety of both language families.ref

“Direct comparisons between Jōmon and Yayoi skeletons show that the two peoples are noticeably distinguishable. The Jōmon tended to be shorter, with relatively longer forearms and lower legs, more deep-set eyes, shorter and wider faces, and much more pronounced facial topography. They also have strikingly raised brow ridges, noses, and nose bridges. Yayoi people, on the other hand, averaged 2.5–5 cm (0.98–1.97 in) taller, with shallow-set eyes, high and narrow faces, and flat brow ridges and noses. By the Kofun period, almost all skeletons excavated in Japan except those of the Ainu are of the Yayoi type with some having small Jōmon admixture, resembling those of modern-day Japanese.” ref

Kofun period

The Kofun period (古墳時代Kofun jidai) is an era in the history of Japan from about 300 to 538 CE (the date of the introduction of Buddhism), following the Yayoi period. The Kofun and the subsequent Asuka periods are sometimes collectively called the Yamato period. This period is the earliest era of recorded history in Japan, but studies depend heavily on archaeology since the chronology of historical sources tends to be distorted. The word kofun is Japanese for the type of burial mound dating from this era. It was a period of cultural import. Continuing from the Yayoi period, the Kofun period is characterized by influence from China and the Korean Peninsula; archaeologists consider it a shared culture across the southern Korean Peninsula, Kyūshū, and Honshū.” ref

“On the other hand, the most prosperous keyhole-shaped burial mounds in Japan during this period were approximately 5,000 in Japan from the middle of the 3rd century in the Yayoi period to the 7th century in the Asuka period, and many of them had huge tombs, but in the southern Korean Peninsula there were only 13 from the 5th century to the 6th century, and the tombs were small. Wall decorations and Japanese-style armor, which are characteristic of older Japanese burial mounds, were excavated from 5th century burial mounds in the southern Korean Peninsula. This shows that Japan and the southern Korean Peninsula influenced each other.” ref

“According to the Nihon Shoki, Buddhism and the Chinese writing system were introduced near the end of the period from Baekje. The Kofun period recorded Japan’s earliest political centralization, when the Yamato clan rose to power in southwestern Japan, established the Imperial House, and helped control trade routes across the region. Kofun (from Middle Chinese  古 “ancient” + bjun 墳 “burial mound”) are burial mounds built for members of the ruling class from the 3rd to the 7th centuries in Japan, and the Kofun period takes its name from the distinctive earthen mounds. The mounds contained large stone burial chambers, and some are surrounded by moats.” ref

“Kofun have four basic shapes: round and square are the most common, followed by ‘scallop-shell’ and ‘keyhole.’ The keyhole tomb is a distinct style found only in Japan, with a square front and round back. Kofun range in size from several meters to over 400 meters long, and unglazed pottery figures (Haniwa) were often buried under a kofun’s circumference. The oldest Japanese kofun is reportedly Hokenoyama Kofun in Sakurai, Nara, which dates to the late 3rd century. In the Makimuku district of Sakurai, later keyhole kofuns (Hashihaka Kofun, Shibuya Mukaiyama Kofun) were built during the early 4th century. The keyhole kofun spread from Yamato to Kawachi—with giant kofun, such as Daisenryō Kofun—and then throughout the country during the 5th century.” ref

“Keyhole kofun disappeared later in the 6th century, probably because of the drastic reformation of the Yamato court; Nihon Shoki records the introduction of Buddhism at this time. The last two great kofun are the 190-metre-long (620 ft) Imashirozuka kofun in Osaka (currently believed by scholars to be the tomb of Emperor Keitai) and the 135-metre long (443 ft) Iwatoyama kofun in Fukuoka, recorded in Fudoki of Chikugo as the tomb of Iwai (political archrival of Emperor Keitai). Kofun burial mounds on the island of Tanegashima and two very old Shinto shrines on the island of Yakushima suggest that these islands were the southern boundary of the Yamato state; it extended north to Tainai in the present-day Niigata Prefecture, where excavated mounds have been associated with a person closely linked to the Yamato kingdom.” ref

Yamato rule is usually believed to have begun about 250 AD, and it is generally agreed that Yamato rulers had keyhole-kofun culture and hegemony in Yamato until the 4th century. Autonomy of local powers remained throughout the period, particularly in Kibi (the present-day Okayama Prefecture), Izumo (current Shimane Prefecture), Koshi (current Fukui and Niigata Prefecture), Kenu (northern Kantō), Chikushi (northern Kyūshū), and Hi (central Kyūshū). During the 6th century, the Yamato clans began to dominate the southern half of Japan. According to the Book of Song, Yamato relationships with China probably began in the late 4th century.ref

“The Yamato polity, which emerged by the late 5th century, was distinguished by powerful clans (豪族, gōzoku). Each clan was headed by a patriarch (氏上, Uji-no-kami), who performed sacred rituals to the clan’s kami (objects of worship) to ensure its long-term welfare. Clan members were the aristocracy, and the royal line which controlled the Yamato court was at its zenith. Clan leaders were awarded kabane, inherited titles denoting rank and political standing which replaced family names.ref 

“The Kofun period is called the Yamato period by some Western scholars, since this local chieftainship became the imperial dynasty at the end of the period. However, the Yamato clan ruled just one polity among others during the Kofun era. Japanese archaeologists emphasise that other regional chieftainships (such as Kibi) were in close contention for dominance in the first half of the Kofun period; Kibi’s Tsukuriyama Kofun is Japan’s fourth-largest.ref

The Yamato court exercised power over clans in Kyūshū and Honshū, bestowing titles (some hereditary) on clan chieftains. The Yamato name became synonymous with Japan as Yamato rulers suppressed other clans and acquired agricultural land. Based on Chinese models (including the adoption of the Chinese written language), they began to develop a central administration and an imperial court attended by subordinate clan chieftains with no permanent capital.” ref 

“Powerful clans were the SogaKatsuragiHeguri and Koze clans in the Yamato and Bizen Provinces and the Kibi clans in the Izumo Province. The Ōtomo and Mononobe clans were military leaders, and the Nakatomi and Inbe clans handled rituals. The Soga clan provided the government’s chief minister, the Ōtomo and Mononobe clans provided secondary ministers, and provincial leaders were called kuni no miyatsuko. Craftsmen were organized into guilds.” ref

“In addition to archaeological findings indicating a local monarchy in Kibi Province as an important rival, the legend of the 4th-century Prince Yamato Takeru alludes to the borders of the Yamato and battlegrounds in the region; a frontier was near the later Izumo Province (eastern present-day Shimane Prefecture). Another frontier, in Kyūshū, was apparently north of present-day Kumamoto Prefecture. According to the legend, there was an eastern land in Honshū “whose people disobeyed the imperial court” and against whom Yamato Takeru was sent to fight.[citation needed] It is unclear if the rival country was near the Yamato nucleus or further away. Kai Province is mentioned as a location where prince Yamato Takeru traveled on his military expedition.ref

“The period’s northern frontier was explained in Kojiki as the legend of Shido Shōgun’s (四道将軍, “Shōguns to four ways”) expedition. One of four shōguns, Ōbiko set out northward to Koshi and his son Take Nunakawawake left for the eastern states. The father moved east from northern Koshi, and the son moved north;[contradictory] they met at Aizu, in present-day western Fukushima Prefecture. Although the legend is probably not factual, Aizu is near southern Tōhoku (the northern extent of late-4th-century keyhole-kofun culture).ref

“During the Kofun period, an aristocratic society with militaristic rulers developed. The period was a critical stage in Japan’s evolution into a cohesive, recognized state. The society was most developed in the Kinai region and the eastern Setouchi region. Japan’s rulers petitioned the Chinese court for confirmation of royal titles. While the rulers’ title was officially “King”, they called themselves “Ōkimi” (大王, “Great King”) during this period. Inscriptions on two swords (the Inariyama and Eta Funayama Swords) read Amenoshita Shiroshimesu (治天下; “ruling Heaven and Earth”) and Ōkimi, indicating that the rulers invoked the Mandate of Heaven. The title Amenoshita Shiroshimesu Ōkimi was used until the 7th century, when it was replaced by Tennō.ref

“Many of the clans and local chieftains who made up the Yamato polity claimed descent from the imperial family or kami. Archaeological evidence for the clans is found on the Inariyama Sword, on which the bearer recorded the names of his ancestors to claim descent from Ōbiko (大彦, recorded in the Nihon Shoki as a son of Emperor Kōgen). A number of clans claimed origin in China or the Korean Peninsula.ref

“During the 5th century, the Katsuragi clan (葛城氏, descended from the legendary grandson of Emperor Kōgen) was the most prominent power in the court and intermarried with the imperial family. After the clan declined, late in the century, it was replaced by the Ōtomo clan. When Emperor Buretsu died with no apparent heir, Ōtomo no Kanamura recommended Emperor Keitai (a distant imperial relative in Koshi Province) as the new monarch. Kanamura resigned due to the failure of his diplomatic policies, and the court was controlled by the Mononobe and Soga clans at the beginning of the Asuka period.ref


mound is a heaped pile of earthgravelsandrocks, or debris. Most commonly, mounds are earthen formations such as hills and mountains, particularly if they appear artificial. A mound may be any rounded area of topographically higher elevation on any surface. Artificial mounds have been created for a variety of reasons throughout history, including habitation (see Tell and Terp), ceremonial (platform mound), burial (tumulus), and commemorative purposes (e.g. Kościuszko Mound). In the archaeology of the United States and Canada, a mound is a deliberately constructed elevated earthen structure or earthwork, intended for a range of potential uses. In European and Asian archaeology, the word “tumulus” may be used as a synonym for an artificial hill, particularly if the hill is related to particular burial customs.” ref

“While the term “mound” may be applied to historic constructions, most mounds in the United States are pre-Columbian earthworks, built by Native American peoples. Native Americans built a variety of mounds, including flat-topped pyramids or cones known as platform mounds, rounded cones, and ridge or loaf-shaped mounds. Some mounds took on unusual shapes, such as the outline of cosmologically significant animals. These are known as effigy mounds. Some mounds, such as a few in Wisconsin, have rock formations, or petroforms within them, on them, or near them.” ref

While these mounds are perhaps not as famous as burial mounds, like their European analogs, Native American mounds also have a variety of other uses. While some prehistoric cultures, like the Adena culture, used mounds preferentially for burial, others used mounds for other ritual and sacred acts, as well as for secular functions. The platform mounds of the Mississippian culture, for example, may have supported temples, the houses of chiefs, council houses, and may have also acted as a platform for public speaking. Other mounds would have been part of defensive walls to protect a certain area. The Hopewell culture used mounds as markers of complex astronomical alignments related to ceremonies.” ref

Mounds and related earthworks are the only significant monumental construction in pre-Columbian Eastern and Central North America. Mounds are given different names depending on which culture they strive from. They can be located all across the world in spots such as Asia, Europe and the Americas. “Mound builders” have more commonly been associated with the mounds in the Americas. They all have different meanings and sometimes are constructed as animals and can be clearly seen from aerial views. Kankali Tila is a famous mound located at Mathura in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. A Jain stupa was excavated here in 1890-91 by Dr. Fuhrer.” ref

Mound, as a technical term in archaeology, is not generally in favor in the rest of the world. More specific local terminology is preferred, and each of these terms has its own:


A tumulus (pl.: tumuli) is a mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves. Tumuli are also known as barrows, burial mounds, or (in Siberia and Central Asia) kurgans, and may be found throughout much of the world. A cairn, which is a mound of stones built for various purposes, may also originally have been a tumulus. Tumuli are often categorized according to their external apparent shape. In this respect, a long barrow is a long tumulus, usually constructed on top of several burials, such as passage graves. A round barrow is a round tumulus, also commonly constructed on top of burials. The internal structure and architecture of both long and round barrows have a broad range; the categorization only refers to the external apparent shape. The method of inhumation may involve a dolmen, a cist, a mortuary enclosure, a mortuary house, or a chamber tomb. Examples of barrows include Duggleby Howe and Maeshowe.” ref

The word tumulus is Latin for ‘mound’ or ‘small hill’, which is derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *teuh2 with extended zero grade *tum-, ‘to bulge, swell’ also found in tombtumortumescentthumbthigh, and thousandThe funeral of Patroclus is described in book 23 of Homer‘s Iliad. Patroclus is burned on a pyre, and his bones are collected into a golden urn in two layers of fat. The barrow is built on the location of the pyre. Achilles then sponsors funeral games, consisting of a chariot race, boxing, wrestling, running, a duel between two champions to the first blood, discus throwing, archery, and spear throwing.” ref

Beowulf‘s body in the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf is taken to Hronesness, where it is burned on a funeral pyre. During cremation, the Geats lament the death of their lord, a widow’s lament being mentioned in particular, singing dirges as they circumambulate the barrow. Afterwards, a mound is built on top of a hill, overlooking the sea, and filled with treasure. A band of twelve of the best warriors ride around the barrow, singing dirges in praise of their lord. Parallels have also been drawn to the account of Attila‘s burial in Jordanes Getica. Jordanes tells that as Attila’s body was lying in state, the best horsemen of the Huns circled it, as in circus games. An Old Irish Life of Columcille reports that every funeral procession “halted at a mound called Eala, whereupon the corpse was laid, and the mourners marched thrice solemnly round the spot.” ref

Archaeologists often classify tumuli according to their location, form, and date of construction (see also mound). Some British types are listed below:

  • Bank barrow
  • Bell barrow
  • Bowl barrow
  • D-shaped barrow – round barrow with a purposely flat edge at one side often defined by stone slabs.
  • Disc barrow
  • Fancy barrow – generic term for any Bronze Age barrows more elaborate than a simple hemispherical shape.
  • Long barrow
  • Oval barrow – a Neolithic long barrow consisting of an elliptical, rather than rectangular or trapezoidal mound.
  • Platform barrow – The least common of the recognised types of round barrow, consisting of a flat, wide circular mound that may be surrounded by a ditch. They occur widely across southern England with a marked concentration in East and West Sussex.
  • Pond barrow – a barrow consisting of a shallow circular depression, surrounded by a bank running around the rim of the depression, from the Bronze Age.
  • Ring barrow – a bank that encircles a number of burials.
  • Round barrow – a circular feature created by the Bronze Age peoples of Britain and also the later Romans, Vikings, and Saxons. Divided into subclasses such as saucer and bell barrow – the Six Hills are a rare Roman example.
  • Saucer barrow – a circular Bronze Age barrow that features a low, wide mound surrounded by a ditch that may have an external bank.
  • Square barrow – burial site, usually of Iron Age date, consisting of a small, square, ditched enclosure surrounding a central burial, which may also have been covered by a mound.” ref


A kurgan is a type of tumulus constructed over a grave, often characterized by containing a single human body along with grave vessels, weapons, and horses. Originally in use on the Pontic–Caspian steppe, kurgans spread into much of Central Asia and Eastern, Southeast, Western, and Northern Europe during the 3rd millennium BCE. The earliest kurgans date to the 4th millennium BCE in the Caucasus, and some researchers associate these with the Indo-Europeans. Kurgans were built in the Eneolithic, Bronze, Iron, Antiquity, and Middle Ages, with ancient traditions still active in Southern Siberia and Central Asia.” ref

“According to the Etymological dictionary of the Ukrainian language, the word “kurhan” is borrowed directly from the “Polovtsian” language (Kipchak, part of the Turkic languages) and means: fortress, embankment, high grave. The word has two possible etymologies, either from the Old Turkic root qori- “to close, to block, to guard, to protect,” or qur- “to build, to erect, furnish or stur.” According to Vasily Radlov it may be a cognate to qorγan, meaning “fortification, fortress or a castle.” The Russian noun, already attested in Old East Slavic, comes from an unidentified Turkic language. Kurgans are mounds of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves. Popularised by its use in Soviet archaeology, the word is now widely used for tumuli in the context of Eastern European and Central Asian archaeology.” ref

Some sceptre graves could have been covered with a tumulus, placing the first kurgans as early as the 5th millennium BC in eastern Europe. However, this hypothesis is not unanimous. Kurgans were used in Ukrainian and Russian steppes, their use spreading with migration into southern, central, and northern Europe in the 3rd millennium BCE. Later, Kurgan barrows became characteristic of Bronze Age peoples, and have been found from Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria (ThraciansGetae, etc) Romania (Getae, Dacians), the Caucasus, Russia, to Kazakhstan, Mongolia and the Altay Mountains.” ref

“The Kurgan hypothesis is that Proto-Indo-Europeans were the bearers of the Kurgan culture of the Black Sea and the Caucasus and west of the Urals. Introduced by Marija Gimbutas in 1956, it combines kurgan archaeology with linguistics to locate the origins of the peoples who spoke the Proto-Indo-European language. She tentatively named the culture “Kurgan” after its distinctive burial mounds and traced its diffusion into Europe. The hypothesis has had a significant impact on Indo-European studies.” ref

“Scholars who follow Gimbutas identify a “Kurgan culture” as reflecting an early Proto-Indo-European ethnicity that existed in the steppes and in southeastern Europe from the 5th millennium to the 3rd millennium BCE. In Kurgan cultures, most burials were in kurgans, either clan or individual. Most prominent leaders were buried in individual kurgans, now called “royal kurgans.” More elaborate than clan kurgans and containing grave goods, royal kurgans have attracted the most attention and publicity. Burial mounds are complex structures with internal chambers. Within the burial chamber at the heart of the kurgan, elite individuals were buried with grave goods and sacrificial offerings, sometimes including horses and chariots. The structures of the earlier Neolithic period from the 4th to the 3rd millenniums BC, and Bronze Age until the 1st millennium BCE, display continuity of the archaic forming methods. They were inspired by common ritual-mythological ideas.” ref

“The monuments of these cultures coincide with the Scytho-Siberian world (Saka) monuments. Scytho-Siberian monuments have common features, and sometimes common genetic roots. Also associated with these spectacular burial mounds are the Pazyryk, an ancient people who lived in the Altai Mountains lying in Siberian Russia on the Ukok Plateau, near the borders with China, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia. Scytho-Siberian classification includes monuments from the 8th to the 3rd century BCE. This period is called the Early or Ancient Nomads epoch. “Hunnic” monuments date from the 3rd century BCE to the 6th century CE, and Turkic ones from the 6th century CE to the 13th century CE, leading up to the Mongolian epoch.” ref

Ziggurats of Mesopotamia (like temple mounds/pyramids) 

ziggurat (/ˈzɪɡʊˌræt/Cuneiform: 𒅆𒂍𒉪, Akkadianziqqurratum, D-stem of zaqārum ‘to protrude, to build high’, cognate with other Semitic languages like Hebrew zaqar (זָקַר) ‘protrude’) is a type of massive structure built in ancient Mesopotamia. It has the form of a terraced compound of successively receding storeys or levels. Notable ziggurats include the Great Ziggurat of Ur near Nasiriyah, the Ziggurat of Aqar Quf near Baghdad, the now-destroyed Etemenanki in BabylonChogha Zanbil in Khūzestān and Sialk. The Sumerians believed that the gods lived in the temple at the top of the ziggurats, so only priests and other highly-respected individuals could enter. Sumerian society offered these individuals such gifts as music, harvested produce, and the creation of devotional statues to entice them to live in the temple.” ref

The word ziggurat comes from ziqqurratum (height, pinnacle), in ancient Assyrian. From zaqārum, to be high up. The Ziggurat of Ur is a Neo-Sumerian ziggurat built by King Ur-Nammu, who dedicated it in honor of Nanna/Sîn in approximately the 21st century BC during the Third Dynasty of Ur. Ziggurats were built by ancient SumeriansAkkadiansElamitesEblaites, and Babylonians for local religions. Each ziggurat was part of a temple complex that included other buildings. The precursors of the ziggurat were raised platforms that date from the Ubaid period during the sixth millennium BCE. The ziggurats began as platforms (usually oval, rectangular or square). The ziggurat was a mastaba-like structure with a flat top. The sun-baked bricks made up the core of the ziggurat with facings of fired bricks on the outside. Each step was slightly smaller than the step below it. The facings were often glazed in different colors and may have had astrological significance. Kings sometimes had their names engraved on these glazed bricks. The number of floors ranged from two to seven.” ref

“The Mesopotamian ziggurats were not places for public worship or ceremonies. They were believed to be dwelling places for the gods, and each city had its own patron god. Only priests were permitted on the ziggurat or in the rooms at its base, and it was their responsibility to care for the gods and attend to their needs. The priests were very powerful members of Sumerian and Assyro-Babylonian society. One of the best-preserved ziggurats is Chogha Zanbil in western Iran. The Sialk ziggurat, in Kashan, Iran, is one of the oldest known ziggurats, dating to the early 3rd millennium BCE. Ziggurat designs ranged from simple bases upon which a temple sat, to marvels of mathematics and construction which spanned several terraced stories and were topped with a temple.ref

“An example of a simple ziggurat is the White Temple of Uruk, in ancient Sumer. The ziggurat itself is the base on which the White Temple is set. Its purpose is to get the temple closer to the heavens, and provide access from the ground to it via steps. The Mesopotamians believed that these pyramid temples connected heaven and earth. In fact, the ziggurat at Babylon was known as Etemenanki, which means “House of the foundation of heaven and earth” in Sumerian.ref

“The date of its original construction is unknown, with suggested dates ranging from the fourteenth to the ninth century BC, with textual evidence suggesting it existed in the second millennium. Unfortunately, not much of even the base is left of this massive structure, yet archeological findings and historical accounts put this tower at seven multicolored tiers, topped with a temple of exquisite proportions. The temple is thought to have been painted and maintained an indigo color, matching the tops of the tiers. It is known that there were three staircases leading to the temple, two of which (side flanked) were thought to have only ascended half the ziggurat’s height.ref

“According to some historians the design of Egyptian pyramids, especially the stepped designs of the oldest pyramids (Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara, 2600 BCE), may have been an evolution from the ziggurats built in Mesopotamia. Others say the Pyramid of Zoser and the earliest Egyptian pyramids may have been derived locally from the bench-shaped mastaba tomb.ref 

Egyptian pyramids (like burial mounds/mounds of creation) 

The Egyptian pyramids are ancient masonry structures located in Egypt. Sources cite at least 118 identified “Egyptian” pyramids. Approximately 80 pyramids were built within the Kingdom of Kush, now located in the modern country of Sudan. Of those located in modern Egypt, most were built as tombs for the country’s pharaohs and their consorts during the Old and Middle Kingdom periods.” ref

“The earliest known Egyptian pyramids are found at Saqqara, northwest of Memphis, although at least one step-pyramid-like structure has been found at Saqqara, dating to the First Dynasty: Mastaba 3808, which has been attributed to the reign of Pharaoh Anedjib, with inscriptions, and other archaeological remains of the period, suggesting there may have been others. The otherwise earliest among these is the Pyramid of Djoser built c. 2630–2610 BCE during the Third Dynasty. This pyramid and its surrounding complex are generally considered to be the world’s oldest monumental structures constructed of dressed masonry.ref

“The most famous Egyptian pyramids are those found at Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo. Several of the Giza pyramids are counted among the largest structures ever built. The Pyramid of Khufu is the largest Egyptian pyramid and the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still in existence, despite being the oldest by about 2,000 years. The name for a pyramid in Egyptian is myr, written with the symbol 𓉴 (O24 in the Gardner Sign List). Myr is preceded by three other signs used as phonetics. The meaning of myr is unclear, as it only self-references the built object itself. By comparison, some similar architectural terms become compound words, such as the word for ‘temple’ (per-ka) becoming a compound of the words for ‘house’ and ‘soul’. It has been speculated myr belongs to a class of words like djed and ankh, which refer to objects already in existence when the Egyptian language split off from afroasiatic. A typical translation of myr is given as ‘high place’. By graphical analysis, myr uses the same sign, O24, as benben. The benben is the mound of existence that arose out of the abyss, known as nun in the Egyptian creation myth. The relationship between myr and benben is further linked by the capstone architectural element of pyramids and obelisks, which was named benbenet, the feminine form of benben.ref

“From the time of the Early Dynastic Period (c. 3150–2686 BCE), Egyptians with sufficient means were buried in bench-like structures known as mastabas. At Saqqara, Mastaba 3808, dating from the latter part of the 1st Dynasty, was discovered to contain a large, independently built step-pyramid-like structure enclosed within the outer palace facade mastaba. Archaeological remains and inscriptions suggest there may have been other similar structures dating to this period.ref

“The first historically documented Egyptian pyramid is attributed by Egyptologists to the 3rd Dynasty pharaoh Djoser. Although Egyptologists often credit his vizier Imhotep as its architect, the dynastic Egyptians themselves, contemporaneously or in numerous later dynastic writings about the character, did not credit him with either designing Djoser’s pyramid or the invention of stone architecture. The Pyramid of Djoser was first built as a square mastaba-like structure, which as a rule were known to otherwise be rectangular, and was expanded several times by way of a series of accretion layers, to produce the stepped pyramid structure we see today. Egyptologists believe this design served as a gigantic stairway by which the soul of the deceased pharaoh could ascend to the heavens.ref

“Though other pyramids were attempted in the 3rd Dynasty after Djoser, it was the 4th Dynasty, transitioning from the step pyramid to true pyramid shape, which gave rise to the great pyramids of Meidum, Dahshur, and Giza. The last pharaoh of the 4th Dynasty, Shepseskaf, did not build a pyramid and beginning in the 5th Dynasty; for various reasons, the massive scale and precision of construction decreased significantly leaving these later pyramids smaller, less well-built, and often hastily constructed. By the end of the 6th Dynasty, pyramid building had largely ended and it was not until the Middle Kingdom that large pyramids were built again, though instead of stone, mudbrick was the main construction material.ref

“Long after the end of Egypt’s own pyramid-building period, a burst of pyramid-building occurred in what is present-day Sudan, after much of Egypt came under the rule of the Kingdom of Kush, which was then based at Napata. Napatan rule, known as the 25th Dynasty, lasted from 750 BCE to 664 BCE. The Meroitic period of Kushite history, when the kingdom was centered on Meroë, (approximately in the period between 300 BCE and 300 CE), experienced a full-blown pyramid-building revival, which saw about 180 Egyptian-inspired indigenous royal pyramid-tombs constructed in the vicinity of the kingdom’s capital cities.ref

“The shape of Egyptian pyramids is thought to represent the primordial mound from which the Egyptians believed the earth was created. The shape of a pyramid is also thought to be representative of the descending rays of the sun, and most pyramids were faced with polished, highly reflective white limestone, in order to give them a brilliant appearance when viewed from a distance. Pyramids were often also named in ways that referred to solar luminescence. For example, the formal name of the Bent Pyramid at Dahshur was The Southern Shining Pyramid, and that of Senusret II at El Lahun was Senusret Shines.ref

“While it is generally agreed that pyramids were burial monuments, there is continued disagreement on the particular theological principles that might have given rise to them. One suggestion is that they were designed as a type of “resurrection machine.” The Egyptians believed the dark area of the night sky around which the stars appear to revolve was the physical gateway into the heavens. One of the narrow shafts that extend from the main burial chamber through the entire body of the Great Pyramid points directly towards the center of this part of the sky. This suggests the pyramid may have been designed to serve as a means to magically launch the deceased pharaoh’s soul directly into the abode of the gods. All Egyptian pyramids were built on the west bank of the Nile, which, as the site of the setting sun, was associated with the realm of the dead in Egyptian mythology.ref

“The shape of Egyptian pyramids is thought to represent the primordial mound from which the Egyptians believed the earth was created.” ref

Benben (the primordial mound of Earth in Egyptian mythology)

“In the creation myth of the Heliopolitan form of ancient Egyptian religionBenben was the mound that arose from the primordial waters Nu upon which the creator deity Atum settled. The Benben stone (also known as a pyramidion) is the top stone of the pyramid. It is also related to the obelisk. In the Pyramid Texts, e.g. Utterances 587 and 600, Atum himself is at times referred to as “mound”. It was said to have turned into a small pyramid, located in Heliopolis (EgyptianAnnu or Iunu), within which Atum was said to dwell. Other cities developed their own myths of the primeval mound. At Memphis, the god Tatenen, an earth god and the origin of “all things in the shape of food and viands, divine offers, all good things”, was the personification of the primeval mound.” ref

“The Benben stone, named after the mound, was a sacred stone in the temple of Ra at Heliopolis (EgyptianAnnu or Iunu). It was the location on which the first rays of the sun fell. It is thought to have been the prototype for later obelisks, and the capstones of the great pyramids were based on its design. The capstone (the tip of the pyramid) is also called a pyramidion. In ancient Egypt, these were probably gilded so they shone in sunlight. Many Benben stones, often carved with images and inscriptions, are found in museums around the world. The bird deity Bennu, which was probably the inspiration for the phoenix, was venerated at Heliopolis, where it was said to be living on the Benben stone or on the holy willow tree. According to Barry Kemp, the connection between the benben, the phoenix, and the sun may well have been based on alliteration: the rising, weben, of the sun sending its rays towards the benben, on which the bennu bird lives. Utterance 600, § 1652 of the Pyramid Texts speaks of Atum as you rose up, as the benben, in the Mansion of the Bennu in Heliopolis.ref

“Much of Egyptian mythology consists of origin myths, explaining the beginnings of various elements of the world, including human institutions and natural phenomena. Kingship arises among the gods at the beginning of time and later passed to the human pharaohs; warfare originates when humans begin fighting each other after the sun god’s withdrawal into the sky.” ref

Mounds of Creation

“Mounds of Creation were one of were many kinds of temples in the Age of the Pyramids. Some, such as the sanctuary of Khnum at Elephantine, or the Sacred Precinct at Nekhen, were ancient places where rocks and stones marked out a sacred site. In several towns, a special Mound of Creation marked the place where the local deity had brought land out of chaos and begun the work of creation. The existence of many of these Mounds of Creations shows that local gods and goddesses had originally been credited with the work of creation. When Egypt was united under one king, the world of gods and goddesses was also united under the sun god, Re, but older temples and stories were not destroyed. Students may ask – “Well, who did create the Universe? Re, or Atum? Neith, or Ptah?” The right answer would depend on which city you were in. Different stories of creation emphasized different ways of looking at the universe. Ancient peoples thought it perfectly appropriate that people from different parts of the country gave precedence to their own god or goddess.” ref

To me, Indigenous people built pyramids, and one main reason they did this, was religious beliefs in mounds of creation/Earth-Diver mythology or similar related myths.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref

“The earth-diver is a common character in various traditional creation myths. In these stories, a supreme being usually sends an animal (most often a type of bird, but also crustaceans, insects, and fish in some narratives) into the primal waters to find bits of sand or mud with which to build habitable land.” ref 

Axis Mundi Mythology– cosmic axis, world axis, world pillar, center of the world, mound/mountain of creation, or “World/Cosmic tree,” or “Eagle and Serpent tree.” ref, ref

“The World Turtle, also called the Cosmic Turtle or the World-bearing Turtle, is a mytheme of a giant turtle (or tortoise) supporting or containing the world. It occurs in Hindu mythology, Chinese mythology, and the mythologies of some of the indigenous peoples of the Americas.” ref

“Chucalissa, Mississippian culture Mounds in Memphis, art shows all the elements involved in the Path of Souls death journey, a widely held belief system among the mound builders of America.” ref

“Interpretation of southeastern Native cosmology, showing the tripartite division of the world. The axis mundi is depicted as a tree or post connecting the fire symbol of this world, the sun symbol of the upper world, and the ‘swastika’ symbol of the lower world.” ref

“It should be remembered that the Mississippian culture that built Cahokia may have considered a cedar tree or a striped cedar pole to be a symbol of the Axis Mundi (also called the cosmic axis, world axis, world pillar, the center of the world, or world tree – has been greatly extended to refer to any mythological concept representing “the connection between Heaven and Earth” or the “higher and lower realms), the pillar connecting the above, middle, & below worlds, & around which the cosmos turns An American Yggdrasil (Norse tree of life). Some work has gone into reconstructing the woodhenge, and it is one of the sites around Cahokia that you can visit today. (The Solar Calendar of Woodhenge in Cahokia | Native America: Cities of the Sky).” – Vulpine Outlaw @Rad_Sherwoodism

“Items adduced as examples of the axis mundi by comparative mythologists include plants (notably a tree but also other types of plants such as a vine or stalk), a mountain, a column of smoke or fire, or a product of human manufacture (such as a staff, a tower, a ladder, a staircase, a maypole, a cross, a steeple, a rope, a totem pole, a pillar, a spire). Its proximity to heaven may carry implications that are chiefly religious (pagodatemple mountminaretchurch) or secular (obelisklighthouserocketskyscraper). The image appears in religious and secular contexts. The axis mundi symbol may be found in cultures utilizing shamanic practices or animist belief systems, in major world religions, and in technologically advanced “urban centers.” ref

Do we know what the symbols represent?

 “Yes. It’s a bit more than I’d want to post on TwiX right now. It’s showing the 3-part universe, an upper, lower, and middle world, & the Milky Way is shown as well as Orion the Hand Constellation, Scorpius the ruler of the underworld, and Cygnus, the Judge. Also the main powers of the upper & lower worlds.” – Gregory L Little, Ed.D. @DrGregLittle2

Gregory L Little, Ed.D. BA/MS Psychology, Ed.D. Counseling/Ed. Psych Author since ’84 (70+ books/workbooks). Mound Builder Society: Be Kind; Respect Everything; Honor the Ancient Ones.




“According to the myth about the origin of man recorded among the people of Eastern Europe and Siberia, the creator set a dog to guard the half-made human figures, but the antagonist bribed the guard and spoiled the creation, making humans vulnerable to disease. The creator told the dog to become the servant of man. Texts recorded in India (mostly among the Munda-speaking groups), the Dards of the Hindu Kush and the Abkhasians, though partly similar to the Northern Eurasian ones, do not share some important details: the antagonist is a horse, it tried to destroy man but a dog drove it away. In the Mongolian (more precisely, the Oirat) version, a cow acts instead of a horse, but in other respects, this variant is similar to the Abkhasian ones. Negative associations related to the horse are rather widespread
in Europe and Central Asia. Stories about the creation of man recorded in northern and southern Eurasia stemmed from the anthropogenic myth that was known to the Indo-Europeans of the Bronze Age. South Asia and the European–Siberian zone also share other tales, in particular the Earth-diver myth. Their analysis opens possibilities for reconstructing the early mythology of the inhabitants of the Eurasian steppe.” ref

Comparative Mythology

Since the term ‘Ancient North Eurasian’ refers to a genetic bridge of connected mating networks, scholars of comparative mythology have argued that they probably shared myths and beliefs that could be reconstructed via the comparison of stories attested within cultures that were not in contact for millennia and stretched from the Pontic–Caspian steppe to the American continent. The mytheme of the dog guarding the Otherworld possibly stems from an older Ancient North Eurasian belief, as suggested by similar motifs found in Indo-European, Native American and Siberian mythology. In Siouan, Algonquian, Iroquoian, and in Central and South American beliefs, a fierce guard dog was located in the Milky Way, perceived as the path of souls in the afterlife, and getting past it was a test.” ref

“The Siberian Chukchi and Tungus believed in a guardian-of-the-afterlife dog and a spirit dog that would absorb the dead man’s soul and act as a guide in the afterlife. In Indo-European myths, the figure of the dog is embodied by Cerberus, Sarvarā, and Garmr. In Zoroastrianism, two four-eyed dogs guard the bridge to the afterlife called Chinvat Bridge. Anthony and Brown note that it might be one of the oldest mythemes recoverable through comparative mythology.” ref

“A second canid-related series of beliefs, myths and rituals connected dogs with healing rather than death. For instance, Ancient Near Eastern and TurkicKipchaq myths are prone to associate dogs with healing and generally categorised dogs as impure. A similar myth-pattern is assumed for the Eneolithic site of Botai in Kazakhstan, dated to 3500 BC, which might represent the dog as absorber of illness and guardian of the household against disease and evil. In Mesopotamia, the goddess Nintinugga, associated with healing, was accompanied or symbolized by dogs. Similar absorbent-puppy healing and sacrifice rituals were practiced in Greece and Italy, among the Hittites, again possibly influenced by Near Eastern traditions.” ref

Earth-diver myth

(creation myth or cosmogonic myth, which is a type of cosmogony, 

symbolic narrative of how the world began and how people first came to inhabit it.)

“The earth-diver is a common character in various traditional creation myths. In these stories, a supreme being usually sends an animal (most often a type of bird, but also crustaceans, insects, and fish in some narratives) into the primal waters to find bits of sand or mud with which to build habitable land. Some scholars interpret these myths psychologically while others interpret them cosmogonically. In both cases, emphasis is placed on beginnings emanating from the depths.” ref

According to Gudmund Hatt and Tristram P. Coffin, Earth-diver myths are common in Native American folklore, among the following populations: ShoshoneMeskwakiBlackfootChipewyanNewetteeYokuts of California, MandanHidatsaCheyenneArapahoOjibweYuchi, and Cherokee. American anthropologist Gladys Reichard located the distribution of the motif across “all parts of North America”, save for “the extreme north, northeast, and southwest.” ref 

“In a 1977 study, anthropologist Victor Barnouw surmised that the earth-diver motif appeared in “hunting-gathering societies“, mainly among northerly groups such as the HareDogribKaskaBeaverCarrierChipewyanSarsiCree, and Montagnais. Similar tales are also found among the Chukchi and Yukaghir, the Tatars, and many Finno-Ugric traditions, as well as among the Buryat and the Samoyed. In addition, the earth-diver motif also exists in narratives from Eastern Europe, namely Romani, Romanian, Slavic (namely, Bulgarian, Polish, Ukrainian, and Belarusian), and Lithuanian mythological traditions.” ref

“The pattern of distribution of these stories suggest they have a common origin in the eastern Asiatic coastal region, spreading as peoples migrated west into Siberia and east to the North American continent. However, there are examples of this mytheme found well outside of this boreal distribution pattern, for example the West African Yoruba creation myth of Ọbatala and OduduwaCharacteristic of many Native American myths, earth-diver creation stories begin as beings and potential forms linger asleep or suspended in the primordial realm. The earth-diver is among the first of them to awaken and lay the necessary groundwork by building suitable lands where the coming creation will be able to live. In many cases, these stories will describe a series of failed attempts to make land before the solution is found.” ref

“Among the indigenous peoples of the Americas, the earth-diver cosmogony is attested in Iroquois mythology: a female sky deity falls from the heavens, and certain animals, the beaver, the otter, the duck, and the muskrat dive in the waters to fetch mud to construct an island. In a similar story from the Seneca, people lived in a sky realm. One day, the chief’s daughter was afflicted with a mysterious illness, and the only cure recommended for her (revealed in a dream) was to lie beside a tree and to have it be dug up. The people do so, but a man complains that the tree was their livelihood, and kicks the girl through the hole. She ends up falling from the sky to a world of only water, but is rescued by waterfowl.” ref

“A turtle offers to bear her on its shell, but asked where would be a definitive dwelling place for her. They decide to create land, and the toad dives into the depths of the primal sea to get pieces of soil. The toad puts it on the turtle’s back, which grows larger with every deposit of soil. In another version from the Wyandot, the Wyandot lived in heaven. The daughter of the Big Chief (or Mighty Ruler) was sick, so the medicine man recommends that they dig up the wild apple tree that stands next to the Lodge of the Mighty Ruler, because the remedy is to be found on its roots.” ref

“However, as the tree has been dug out, the ground begins to sink away, and the treetops catch and carry down the sick daughter with it. As the girl falls from the skies, two swans rescue her on their backs. The birds decide to summon all the Swimmers and the Water Tribes. Many volunteer to dive into the Great Water to fetch bits of earth from the bottom of the sea, but only the toad (female, in the story) is the one successful.” ref


Earth-Diver is one of the most widely-distributed and well-studied cosmological myths. Found in mostly Uralic-speaking Eastern Europe, in Siberia, in Munda-speaking Northeast India and North America, its action is set in post-diluvial times when a demiurge sends various creatures to bring a piece of mud from the bottom of the ocean. The first creature fails, but the second one succeeds. Importantly, it’s the least likely creature that succeeds, while the more obvious favorite fails. A loon is a much better diver than a duck but it’s the duck that succeeds. In the end, the demiurge blows the earth out of the tiny piece of mud and restores life on it. Depending on the region, the diving creatures are different – in Eurasia it’s waterfowl birds – loon and duck, in North America it’s amphibians such as turtle or frog, animals such as otter or beaver or waterbirds, in Northeast India and the American Southwest – it’s arthropods.” ref

The Initial Stages of Evolution of Uralic-Speakers: Evidence from a Mythological Reconstruction (Proto-Uralic Cosmogonic Myth) have suggested that the Earth-Diver motif is the folkloric manifestation of a more comprehensive system of beliefs related to the experiences of a shamanic flight in Northern Eurasian and Amerindian cultures. Siberian shamans liken themselves to waterfowl birds flying between worlds in search of the soul of their patient and they manipulate waterfowl figurines during their shamanic seances. Remarkably, very similar figurines are found at the 24,000-year-old Mal’ta archaeological site in South Siberia (see one on the left made out of a mammoth tusk), and Napol’skikh, in his 1991 book as well as in a recent talk (see video in Russian, roughly from 11:40 on) proposed that the Mal’ta people possessed the “cult of a waterfowl” and told the Earth-Diver myth. This means that the Earth-Diver motif may go back to pre-LGM times.” ref

“Mal’ta has recently made headlines thanks to the sequencing of the genome of a 4-year-old boy found at this site. The DNA sample fell in-between West Eurasians and Amerindians, without any special connection to East Asians, and showed typical West Eurasian mtDNA and Y-DNA haplogroups, namely U and R, respectively. They are sister lineages of widely distributed in the Americas hg B (mtDNA) and hg Q (Y-DNA). It appears that, in pre-LGM times, Amerindians and West Eurasians formed a genetic continuum and that modern East Asians did not yet emerge as a distinct population. This finding may put the distribution of the Earth-Diver myth into a new perspective. Per Davidski’s request  adduce the map of the distribution of the Earth-Diver motif in Eurasia and North America (see the shaded areas on the left).” ref

“One should not expect a perfect fit between the distribution of myths and genes but the Earth-Diver distribution is rather clearly demarcated on a worldwide scale and does show continuity between West Eurasia and North America. The motif is notably absent from Western Europe – precisely the area that was covered with the glacier from 25,000 to 14,000 years ago – and from Beringia (Paleoasiatic peoples such as Chukchees and Koryaks as well as Eskimos don’t tell earth-diver stories), which may have been blocked by ice as well. Its presence in the Balkans is a due to relatively recent events such as Turkic and Avar migrations across the southern European steppe.” ref

“According to Napol’skikh’s motif phylogeny (on the left), the Earth-Diver myth has gone through 3 evolutionary stages – MNP-0, MNP-1 and MNP-2. At MNP-0, any creature (and any number of creatures) could become the demiurge’s helper as long as the least likely creature succeeded. At MNP-1, the plot crystallized around a pair of waterfowls in Siberia and Western North America and a pair of animals in Eastern North America. At MNP-3, one of the creatures dropped off and the demiurge used the help of only one helper. The “cladistics” of the myth is, therefore, rather simple: the dynamic and variable ancestral forms crystallize into progressively fewer characters.” ref

“As the detailed maps of motif and submotif distribution show, North America and Northern Eurasia share MNP-2 but then the rest of the variation is continent-specific. Eurasia has a number of clearly derived variants that are missing from the Americas, while America has a number variants not seen in Eurasia.  Napol’skikh observes that stage MNP-0 is better represented in North America – the region that tends to have more archaic versions of the motif and more basal motif diversity (not just waterfowls, but animals, too; not just two creatures but many, etc.). Remarkably, the use of arthropods by the demiurge is a trait shared by Munda-speaking Northeast Indians (see the Berezkin map of Eurasia above) and the Muskogean-speaking Amerindians from the Southeast, both areas being the southernmost extremes of the Earth-Diver distribution. As the Mal’ta boy is re-writing the prehistory of Eurasia, opportunities are growing for cross-disciplinary integration that would tie together genes and culture into a coherent story.” ref

Folklore Parallels Between Siberia And South Asia And The Mythology Of The Eurasian Steppes

According to the myth about the origin of man recorded among the people of Eastern Europe and Siberia, the creator set a dog to guard the half-made human figures, but the antagonist bribed the guard and spoiled the creation, making humans vulnerable to disease. The creator told the dog to become the servant of man. Texts recorded in India (mostly among the Munda-speaking groups), the Dards of the Hindu Kush and the Abkhasians, though partly similar to the Northern Eurasian ones, do not share some important details: the antagonist is a horse, it tried to destroy man but a dog drove it away. In the Mongolian (more precisely, the Oirat) version, a cow acts instead of a horse, but in other respects this variant is similar to the Abkhasian ones. Negative associations related to the horse are rather widespread in Europe and Central Asia. Stories about the creation of man recorded in northern and southern Eurasia stemmed from the anthropogenic myth that was known to the Indo-Europeans of the Bronze Age. South Asia and the European–Siberian zone also share other tales, in particular the Earth-diver myth. Their analysis opens possibilities for reconstructing the early mythology of the inhabitants of the Eurasian steppe.” ref


“Scientific evidence has shown that at one point parts of the earth that are now dry were covered by water. Many myths allude to this fact by imagining a world once covered by water. Many myths, called diver-myths (Long 188), consisted of a being diving into the water that covers the earth to retrieve some earth. The earth brought to the surface became the land we know today. Other stories had the mud brought to the surface in a different way, but many had the common element of some earth being brought to the surface of the water and growing until it became the Earth.” ref

“According to the Iroquois Native Americans water animals inhabited the Earth before there was land. When a Sky Woman fell from her home above they caught her and dove into the seas to bring up mud. This mud they spread onto the back of Big Turtle. There it began to grow until it became North America.” ref

“The Japanese creation myth painted a picture of a muddy ocean which covered the world at the beginning of time. A god and goddess, Izanagi and Izanami, became curious about what was beneath the ocean. Izanagi took his staff and threw it into the ocean. As he lifted it back up some lumps of earth fell off into the water. These became the islands of Japan. No being dove beneath the waters to find mud, but the element of earth being covered by water and a being bringing the earth up is there.” ref

“The creation myth of Christians and Jews does not tell of God diving into the water to bring up mud, but Genesis 1:2 says Òthe Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.Ó Therefore according to the Torah and Bible the Earth was once covered entirely by water.” ref

Power of Myths

“The most obvious function of myths is the explanation of facts, whether natural or cultural. One North American Indian (Abenaki) myth, for example, explains the origin of corn (maize): a lonely man meets a beautiful woman with long, fair hair; she promises to remain with him if he follows her instructions; she tells him in detail how to make a fire and, after he has done so, she orders him to drag her over the burned ground; as a result of these actions, he will see her silken hair (viz., the cornstalk) reappear, and thereafter he will have corn seeds for his use. Henceforth, whenever Abenaki Indians see corn (the woman’s hair), they know that she remembers them.” ref

“Obviously, a myth such as this one functions as an explanation, but the narrative form distinguishes it from a straightforward answer to an intellectual question about causes. The function of explanation and the narrative form go together, since the imaginative power of the myth lends credibility to the explanation and crystallizes it into a memorable and enduring form. Hence myths play an important part in many traditional systems of education. Many myths explain ritual and cultic customs. According to myths from the island of Ceram (in Indonesia), in the beginning life was not complete, or not yet “human”: vegetation and animals did not exist, and there was neither death nor sexuality. In a mysterious manner Hainuwele, a girl with extraordinary gift-bestowing powers, appeared.” ref

“The people killed her at the end of their great annual celebration, and her dismembered body was planted in the earth. Among the species that sprang up after this act of planting were tubers—the staple diet of the people telling the myth. With a certain circularity frequent in mythology, the myth validates the very cultic celebration mentioned in the myth. The cult can be understood as a commemoration of those first events. Hence, the myth can be said to validate life itself together with the cultic celebration. Comparable myths are told in a number of societies where the main means of food production is the cultivation of root crops; the myths reflect the fact that tubers must be cut up and buried in the earth for propagation to take place.” ref

“Ritual sacrifices are typical of traditional peasant cultures. In most cases such customs are related to mythical events. Among important themes are the necessity of death (e.g., the grain “dies” and is buried, only to yield a subsequent harvest), a society’s cyclic renewal of itself (e.g., New Year’s celebrations), and the significance of women and sexuality. New Year’s celebrations, often accompanied by a temporary abandonment of all rules, may be related to or justified by mythical themes concerning a return to chaos and a return of the dead.” ref

“In every mythological tradition one myth or cluster of myths tends to be central. The subject of the central mythology is often cosmogony (origin of the cosmos). In many of those ceremonies that each society has developed as a symbol of what is necessary to its well-being, references are made to the beginning of the world. Examples include the enthronements of kings, which in some traditions (as in Fiji or ancient India) are associated with a creation or re-creation of the world. Analogously, in ancient Mesopotamia the creation epic Enuma elish, which was read each New Year at Babylon, celebrated the progress of the cosmos from initial anarchy to government by the kingship of Marduk; hence the authority of earthly rulers, and of earthly monarchy in general, was implicitly supported and justified.” ref

“Ruling families in ancient civilizations frequently justified their position by invoking myths—for example, that they had divine origins. Examples are known from imperial China, pharaonic Egypt, the Hittite empire, Polynesia, the Inca empire, and India. Elites have also based their claims to privilege on myths. The French historian of ancient religion Georges Dumézil was the pioneer in suggesting that the priestly, warrior, and producing classes in ancient Indo-European societies regarded themselves as having been ordained to particular tasks by virtue of their mythological origins. And in every known cultural tradition there exists some mythological foundation that is referred to when defending marriage and funerary customs.” ref

“Creation myths play a significant role in healing the sick; they are recited (e.g., among the Navajo people of North America) when an individual’s world—that is to say, the person’s life—is in jeopardy. Thus, healing through recitation of a cosmogony is one example of the use of myth as a magical incantation. Another example is the case of Icelandic poets, who, in the singing of the episode in Old Norse mythology in which the god Odin wins for gods and humans the “mead of song” (a drink containing the power of poetic inspiration), can be said to be celebrating the origins of their own art and, hence, renewing it.” ref

“Modern science did not evolve in its entirety as a rebellion against myth, nor at its birth did it suddenly throw off the shackles of myth. In ancient Greece the naturalists of Ionia (western Asia Minor), long regarded as the originators of science, developed views of the universe that were in fact very close to the creation myths of their time. Those who laid the foundations of modern science, such as Nicholas of CusaJohannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, and Gottfried Leibniz, were absorbed by metaphysical problems of which the traditional, indeed mythological, character is evident. Among these problems were the nature of infinity and the question of the omnipotence of God. The influence of mythological views is seen in the English physician William Harvey’s association of the circulation of the blood with the planetary movements and Charles Darwin’s explanation of woman’s menstrual cycles by the tides of the ocean.” ref

People reached Lake Baikal Siberia around 25,000 years ago. They (to Damien) were likely Animistic Shamanists who were also heavily totemistic as well. Being animistic thinkers they likely viewed amazing things in nature as a part of or related to something supernatural/spiritual (not just natural as explained by science): spirit-filled, a sprit-being relates to or with it, it is a sprit-being, it is a supernatural/spiritual creature, or it is a great spirit/tutelary deity/goddess-god. From there comes mythology and faith in things not seen but are believed to somehow relate or interact with this “real world” we know exists.

Both areas of Lake Baikal, one on the west side with Ancient North Eurasian culture and one on the east side with Ancient Northern East Asian culture (later to become: Ancient Northeast Asian culture) areas are the connected areas that (to Damien) are the origin ancestry religion area for many mythologies and religious ideas of the world by means of a few main migrations and many smaller ones leading to a distribution of religious ideas that even though are vast in distance are commonly related to and centering on Lake Baikal and its surrounding areas like the Amur region and Altai Mountains region.

To an Animistic Thinker: “Things are not just as they seem, they may have a spirit, or spirit energy relates to them”
To a Totemistic Thinker: “Things are not just as they seem, they may have a spirit, or spirit energy relates to them; they may have religio-cultural importance.”

“Lakes are often mysterious bodies of water, especially if they are very deep or surrounded by mountains. No wonder legends and mysteries thrive about them, including monsters that supposedly lurk in their bottomless depths.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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Axis Mundi

In astronomy, axis mundi is the Latin term for the axis of Earth between the celestial poles. In a geocentric coordinate system, this is the axis of rotation of the celestial sphere. Consequently, in ancient Greco-Roman astronomy, the axis mundi is the axis of rotation of the planetary spheres within the classical geocentric model of the cosmos. In 20th-century comparative mythology, the term axis mundi – also called the cosmic axis, world axis, world pillar, the center of the world, or world tree – has been greatly extended to refer to any mythological concept representing “the connection between Heaven and Earth” or the “higher and lower realms.” ref

Mircea Eliade introduced the concept in the 1950s. Axis mundi closely relates to the mythological concept of the omphalos (navel) of the world or cosmos. Items adduced as examples of the axis mundi by comparative mythologists include plants (notably a tree but also other types of plants such as a vine or stalk), a mountain, a column of smoke or fire, or a product of human manufacture (such as a staff, a tower, a ladder, a staircase, a maypole, a cross, a steeple, a rope, a totem pole, a pillar, a spire). Its proximity to heaven may carry implications that are chiefly religious (pagoda, temple mount, minaret, church) or secular (obelisk, lighthouse, rocket, skyscraper). The image appears in religious and secular contexts. The axis mundi symbol may be found in cultures utilizing shamanic practices or animist belief systems, in major world religions, and in technologically advanced “urban centers”. In Mircea Eliade‘s opinion: “Every Microcosm, every inhabited region, has a Centre; that is to say, a place that is sacred above all.” ref

“There are multiple interpretations about the origin of the concept of the axis mundi. One psychological and sociological interpretation suggests that the symbol originates in a natural and universal psychological perception – i.e., that the particular spot that one occupies stands at “the center of the world”. This space serves as a microcosm of order because it is known and settled. Outside the boundaries of the microcosm lie foreign realms that – because they are unfamiliar or not ordered – represent chaos, death, or night. From the center, one may still venture in any of the four cardinal directions, make discoveries, and establish new centers as new realms become known and settled. The name of China — meaning “Middle Nation” (中国 pinyin: Zhōngguó) – is often interpreted as an expression of an ancient perception that the Chinese polity (or group of polities) occupied the center of the world, with other lands lying in various directions relative to it.” ref

“A second interpretation suggests that ancient symbols such as the axis mundi lie in a particular philosophical or metaphysical representation of a common and culturally shared philosophical concept, which is that of a natural reflection of the macrocosm (or existence at grand scale) in the microcosm (which consists of either an individual, community, or local environment that shares the same principles and structures as the macrocosm). In this metaphysical representation of the universe, mankind is placed into an existence that serves as a microcosm of the universe or the entire cosmic existence, and who – in order to achieve higher states of existence or liberation into the macrocosm – must gain necessary insights into universal principles that can be represented by his life or environment in the microcosm. In many religious and philosophical traditions around the world, mankind is seen as a sort of bridge between either: two worlds, the earthly and the heavenly (as in Hindu, and Taoist philosophical and theological systems); or three worlds, namely the earthly, heavenly, and the “sub-earthly” or “infra-earthly” (e.g., the underworld, as in the Ancient Greek, Incan, Mayan, and Ancient Egyptian religious systems). Spanning these philosophical systems is the belief that man traverses a sort of axis, or path, which can lead from man’s current central position in the intermediate realms into heavenly or sub-earthly realms. Thus, in this view, symbolic representations of a vertical axis represent a path of “ascent” or “descent” into other spiritual or material realms, and often capture a philosophy that considers human life to be a quest in which one develops insights or perfections in order to move beyond this current microcosmic realm and to engage with the grand macrocosmic order.” ref

“In other interpretations, an axis mundi is more broadly defined as a place of connection between heavenly and the earthly realms – often a mountain or other elevated site. Tall mountains are often regarded as sacred and some have shrines erected at the summit or base. Mount Kunlun fills a similar role in China. Mount Kailash is holy to Hinduism and several religions in Tibet. The Pitjantjatjara people in central Australia consider Uluru to be central to both their world and culture. The Teide volcano was for the Canarian aborigines (Guanches) a kind of axis mundi. In ancient Mesopotamia, the cultures of ancient Sumer and Babylon built tall platforms, or ziggurats, to elevate temples on the flat river plain. Hindu temples in India are often situated on high mountains – e.g., Amarnath, Tirupati, Vaishno Devi, etc. The pre-Columbian residents of Teotihuacán in Mexico erected huge pyramids, featuring staircases leading to heaven. These Amerindian temples were often placed on top of caves or subterranean springs, which were thought to be openings to the underworld. Jacob’s Ladder is an axis mundi image, as is the Temple Mount. For Christians, the Cross on Mount Calvary expresses this symbol. The Middle Kingdom, China, had a central mountain, Kunlun, known in Taoist literature as “the mountain at the middle of the world”. To “go into the mountains” meant to dedicate oneself to a spiritual life.” ref

“As the abstract concept of axis mundi is present in many cultural traditions and religious beliefs, it can be thought to exist in any number of locales at once. Mount Hermon was regarded as the axis mundi in Canaanite tradition, from where the sons of God are introduced descending in 1 Enoch 6:6. The ancient Armenians had a number of holy sites, the most important of which was Mount Ararat, which was thought to be the home of the gods as well as the center of the universe. Likewise, the ancient Greeks regarded several sites as places of Earth’s omphalos (navel) stone, notably the oracle at Delphi, while still maintaining a belief in a cosmic world tree and in Mount Olympus as the abode of the gods. Judaism has the Temple Mount; Christianity has the Mount of Olives and Calvary; and Islam has the Ka’aba (said to be the first building on Earth), as well as the Temple Mount (Dome of the Rock). In Hinduism, Mount Kailash is identified with the mythical Mount Meru and regarded as the home of Shiva; in Vajrayana Buddhism, Mount Kailash is recognized as the most sacred place where all the dragon currents converge and is regarded as the gateway to Shambhala. In Shinto, the Ise Shrine is the omphalos.” ref

“Sacred places can constitute world centers (omphaloi), with an altar or place of prayer as the axis. Altars, incense sticks, candles, and torches form the axis by sending a column of smoke, and prayer, toward heaven. It has been suggested by Romanian religious historian Mircea Eliade that architecture of sacred places often reflects this role: “Every temple or palace – and by extension, every sacred city or royal residence – is a Sacred Mountain, thus becoming a Centre.” Pagoda structures in Asian temples take the form of a stairway linking earth and heaven. A steeple in a church or a minaret in a mosque also serve as connections of earth and heaven. Structures such as the maypole, derived from the Saxons Irminsul, and the totem pole among indigenous peoples of the Americas also represent world axes. The calumet, or sacred pipe, represents a column of smoke (the soul) rising from a world center. A mandala creates a world center within the boundaries of its two-dimensional space analogous to that created in three-dimensional space by a shrine. In the classical elements and the Vedic Pancha Bhoota, the axis mundi corresponds to Aether, the quintessence.” ref

“A common shamanic concept, and a universally told story, is that of the healer traversing the axis mundi to bring back knowledge from the other world. It may be seen in the stories from Odin and the World Ash Tree to the Garden of Eden and Jacob’s Ladder to Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel. It is the essence of the journey described in The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. The epic poem relates its hero’s descent and ascent through a series of spiral structures that take him through the core of the earth, from the depths of hell to celestial paradise. It is also a central tenet in the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex. Anyone or anything suspended on the axis between heaven and earth becomes a repository of potential knowledge. A special status accrues to the thing suspended: a serpent, a rod, a fruit, mistletoe. Derivations of this idea find form in the Rod of Asclepius, an emblem of the medical profession, and in the caduceus, an emblem of correspondence and commercial professions. The staff in these emblems represents the axis mundi, while the serpents act as guardians of, or guides to, knowledge.” ref

“Secular structures can also function as axes mundi. In Navajo culture, the hogan acts as a symbolic cosmic center. In some Asian cultures, houses were traditionally laid out in the form of a square oriented toward the four compass directions. A traditional home was oriented toward the sky through feng shui, a system of geomancy, just as a palace would be. Traditional Arab houses are also laid out as a square surrounding a central fountain that evokes a primordial garden paradise. Mircea Eliade noted that “the symbolism of the pillar in [European] peasant houses likewise derives from the ‘symbolic field’ of the axis mundi. In many archaic dwellings, the central pillar does in fact serve as a means of communication with the heavens, with the sky.” The nomadic peoples of Mongolia and the Americas more often lived in circular structures. The central pole of the tent still operated as an axis, but a fixed reference to the four compass points was avoided.” ref

“Plants often serve as images of the axis mundi. The image of the Cosmic Tree provides an axis symbol that unites three planes: sky (branches), earth (trunk), and underworld (roots). In some Pacific Island cultures, the banyan tree – of which the Bodhi tree is of the Sacred Fig variety – is the abode of ancestor spirits. In the Hindu religion, the banyan tree is considered sacred and is called ashwath vriksha (“Of all trees I am the banyan tree” – Bhagavad Gita). It represents eternal life because of its seemingly ever-expanding branches. The Bodhi tree is also the name given to the tree under which Gautama Siddhartha, the historical Buddha, sat on the night he attained enlightenment.” ref

“The Mesoamerican world tree connects the planes of the underworld and the sky with that of the terrestrial realm. The Yggdrasil, or World Ash, functions in much the same way in Norse mythology; it is the site where Odin found enlightenment. Other examples include Jievaras in Lithuanian mythology and Thor’s Oak in the myths of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples. The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in Genesis present two aspects of the same image. Each is said to stand at the center of the paradise garden from which four rivers flow to nourish the whole world. Each tree confers a boon. Bamboo, the plant from which Asian calligraphy pens are made, represents knowledge and is regularly found on Asian college campuses. The Christmas tree, which can be traced in its origins back to pre-Christian European beliefs, represents an axis mundi. In Yoruba religionoil palm is the axis mundi (though not necessarily a “world tree”) that Ọrunmila climbs to alternate between heaven and earth.” ref

“The human body can express the symbol of the world axis. Some of the more abstract Tree of Life representations, such as the sefirot in Kabbalism and the chakra system recognized by Hinduism and Buddhism, merge with the concept of the human body as a pillar between heaven and earth. Disciplines such as yoga and tai chi begin from the premise of the human body as axis mundi. The Buddha represents a world center in human form. Large statues of a meditating figure unite the human form with the symbolism of the temple and tower. Astrology in all its forms assumes a connection between human health and affairs and celestial-body orientation. World religions regard the body itself as a temple and prayer as a column uniting earth and heaven. The ancient Colossus of Rhodes combined the role of the human figure with those of portal and skyscraper. The Renaissance image known as the Vitruvian Man represented a symbolic and mathematical exploration of the human form as world axis.” ref

The Center of the World “Axis Mundi” and/or “Sacred Mountains” Mythology Could Relate to the Altai Mountains, Heart of the Steppe

“Golden Mountains of Altai is the name of the Altai and Katun Natural Reserves, Lake Teletskoye, Belukha Mountain, and the Ukok Plateau. The region represents the most complete sequence of altitudinal vegetation zones in central Siberia, from steppe, forest-steppe, mixed forest, subalpine vegetation to alpine vegetation”. The Altai region is made up of four primary sites and landscapes: Mount Belukha, the Ukok Plateau, the Katun River, and the Karakol Valley. Mount Beluka is regarded as a sacred site to Buddhists and the Burkhanist. Their myths surrounding this portion of the mountain range lent credence to their claim that it was the location of Shangri-la (Shambala). The Ukok Plateau is an ancient burial site of the early Siberian people. Moreover, a number of myths are connected to this portion of the Golden Mountains. For example, the plateau was thought to have been the Elysian fields. The Katun River is an important religious location to the Altaians where they (during celebrations) utilize ancient ecological knowledge to restore and maintain the river. The Karakol Valley is home of three indigenous villages where tourism is greatly managed. While the Golden Mountains of Altai are listed on the World Heritage List under natural criteria, it holds information about the nomadic Scythian culture. The permafrost in these mountains has preserved Scythian burial mounds. These frozen tombs, or kurgans, hold metal objects, pieces of gold, mummified bodies, tattooed bodies, sacrificed horses, wood/leather objects, clothes, textiles, etc. However, the Ukok Plateau (in the Altai Mountains) is a sacred site to the Altai people, so archeologists and scholars who are looking to excavate the site for human remains raise controversy.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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Lenticular Clouds

“Lenticular clouds (Latin: Lenticularis lentil-shaped, from lenticula lentil) are stationary clouds that form mostly in the troposphere, typically in parallel alignment to the wind direction. They are often comparable in appearance to a lens or saucer. Nacreous clouds that form in the lower stratosphere sometimes have lenticular shapes.” ref 

“There are three main types of lenticular clouds: altocumulus standing lenticular (ACSL), stratocumulus standing lenticular (SCSL), and cirrocumulus standing lenticular (CCSL), varying in altitude above the ground. Because of their unique appearance, they have been suggested as an explanation for some unidentified flying object (UFO) sightings.” ref

Formation and appearance

As air travels along the surface of the Earth, obstructions are often encountered. These include both natural features of the Earth, such as mountains or hills, and artificial structures, such as buildings and other structures. These disrupt the flow of air into “eddies”, or areas of turbulence influenced by these obstructions.” ref

“When moist, stable air flows over a larger eddy, such as those caused by mountains, a series of large-scale standing waves form on the leeward side of the mountain. If the temperature at the crest of the wave drops below the local dew point, moisture in the air may condense to form lenticular clouds. Under certain conditions, long strings of lenticular clouds may form near the crest of each successive wave, creating a formation known as a “wave cloud“. These wave systems can produce large updrafts, occasionally enough for water vapour to condense and produce precipitation.” ref

“Lenticular clouds have been said to be mistaken for UFOs; as many of these clouds have the shape of a “flying saucer”, with a characteristic “lens” or smooth, “saucer-like” shape. Because lenticular clouds generally do not form over low-lying or flat terrain, many people may have never seen one before and don’t know that they can exist. Bright colors (called iridescence) are sometimes seen along the edge of lenticular clouds.” ref

“Lenticular clouds have continuously mystified, more than “mystified” since clouds typically high above the ground are the most creative and artistic forms of water that never failed to launch human thoughts and imagination to other dimensions of creativity and this is particularly so cloud formation, the lenticular clouds, has a more profound effect on the human mind. More often they are viewed in the extraterrestrial context. They, more often, represent or are seen as the majestic but mythic flying saucer.” ref 

“Lenticular clouds (Altocumulus lenticularis, meaning “shaped like a lentil” in Latin) mostly develop among the crests and valleys of mountainous terrain. They are associated with waves in the atmosphere that form when moist air flow is forced up, over, and partway down a mountaintop. The moist air cools, causing it to condense into a disk-shaped cloud.” ref 

“Often a lenticular cloud resembles a spaceship hovering near a mountain’s summit. Sometimes, however, multiple clouds will pile on top of each other like a stack of pancakes. Not only do lenticulars look unique but they also behave differently than other clouds by not moving with the wind flow. By reforming over and over again in the crest of the mountain wave, they can stay in one location for several hours.” ref

“Atmospheric waves generate turbulence, so pilots avoid flying near lenticular clouds. Also, because they’re a sign that rain or snow is on the way, one glance offers an instant and visually spectacular weather forecast. Mount Rainier, located southeast of Seattle, is a magnet for this type of cloud. Numerous news stories tell of lenticulars hovering atop the mountain.” ref

“Although the clouds seem unearthly, most onlookers recognize them for what they are. Even so, a sighting by a pilot in 1947 launched a flying saucer craze, according to the book “Meteorology Today” by C. Ahrens and R. Henson. Thanks to studies of the atmosphere, lenticular clouds may look mysterious, but the way they’re formed is far from a mystery.” ref

Evidence of an alien invasion? No – the rare phenomenon of eerily beautiful lenticular clouds captured by a Russian photographer

“Russian photographer Denis Budkov, 33, captured formations the over the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia. The rare phenomenon occurs when strong winds are blocked by large geographical features such as mountains. The clouds are often mistaken for flying saucers or cover for UFOS because of their unusual shape. Hovering high above the mountains these unusual, saucer-like white masses resemble a creature or vehicle from another world – but they are in fact clouds.” ref 

“The natural phenomenon, known as lenticular clouds, tends to form at high altitudes, such as above mountains. The lens-shaped formations are scientifically known as ‘altocumulus lenticularis’ and are the result of moist air that has condensed at a high altitude. They are formed when the air temperature drops and moisture droplets are pushed up a steep slope by high winds.” ref

“This unique atmospheric condition creates the interesting lens-shaped form that defines a lenticular cloud. Mountains act as natural barriers forcing clouds to condense quickly as they are pushed to cooler altitudes. This is why a large or particularly tall mountain range will experience a moist climate on one side but an arid one on the other.” ref

“He said: ‘These clouds are very special as they do not move, they stay in one place and it’s only their shape that changes. ‘There needs to be at least two factors for these clouds to appear, a very strong wind and a very high object, so Klyuchevskaya Sopka is a perfect place to find lenticular clouds.” ref

“Kamchatka is a very special and beautiful land. ‘With every new day, I seem to discover more areas of natural beauty that I didn’t even know existed. ‘I was born and raised in Kamchatka, the so-called ‘land of fire breathing mountains’ and there is nowhere else like it on Earth. You can walk to the top of a volcano, find the Pacific Ocean by following the mountain rivers and see the first sunrise over all of Russia.” ref 

Lenticular Clouds

“Lenticular clouds form due to the wind blowing across the top of a mountain at a pretty good speed.  The wind on the windward side is pushed up and then pulled back down on the downwind side.  This process results in a slight drop in pressure on the downwind side of the mountain.  This drop in pressure results in a drop in temperature (thanks Bernouli).  The slight drop in temperature forces moisture in the air to condense and form a cloud.  Given that the air quickly returns back to normal pressure and temperature in a short distance, the water then goes back to vapor and you do not see the cloud continuing on the downwind side of the mountain.  This is different from normal clouds as we generally think of a cloud as a single parcel of air.  In this case, the “cloud” we see actually has tons of air rushing through it.  It is not one stationary parcel of air, but rather a stationary zone of low pressure and low temperature causing moisture to become visible momentarily before it flows on by. It typically takes very stable air blowing at 40 knots or more to generate these type of clouds.” ref 

Rotor Clouds

“Rotor clouds are caused by the same weather pattern as lenticular clouds, stable air blowing perpendicularly across a mountain range.  A rotor cloud will contain severe turbulence and is generally found just below the lenticular clouds, at or below the top altitude of the mountain tops.  Rotor clouds form down here as a result of the surface friction with the wind blowing over the mountain. Take a look at the two pictures below to get a better understanding.” ref

Mountain Wave Turbulence

“So it seems obvious with all this air circulating around very quickly we can expect some pretty good turbulence.  We refer to this as mountain wave turbulence and it can be even nastier than the regular bumps that bang you around.  The trouble with mountain wave turbulence is, when air is flowing perpendicular to a mountain range, it is going to be creating updrafts as it flows up one side and downdrafts down the other.  These vertical air currents are so strong in fact some aircraft could shut down their engine and still not be able to descend on the upwind side of the mountain as they get “picked up” in the updrafts.  The same is true and much worse on the other side of the mountains.  You NEVER want to approach a mountain range on the downwind side of it!  Especially if you are flying low and in a smaller airplane without a whole lot of excess power (basically if you don’t have the ability to climb at 4,000+ fpm you should rethink your approach).” ref  

“As you see in the diagram below, as you approach the mountain from the downwind side, you are going to get pushed down towards the ground, and despite your best efforts, it is doubtful your airplane will have enough power to climb up faster than the downdraft is pushing you down.  Pilots who are unwise and unlucky enough to find themselves in such a situation generally either wind up flying right into the side of the mountain or stalling trying to climb more than the airplane can and falling into the side of the mountain.  Either is a very bad option.  Don’t try to cross a mountain range with a headwind of any strength, if you do encounter unexpected downdrafts, hopefully, you will have enough margin of error with the altitude you are flying at to execute a 180-degree turn and use that tailwind to help you get back to where you came from extra fast!” ref


The Mythology of Clouds


“What could be more whimsical and imagination-stirring than a cloud? These transient puffs of air laced with water particles take on mysterious shapes we naturally recognize as children. In recent months alone I’ve watched in awe as clouds morphed into giraffes, turtles, Coke bottles, and top hats. With their infinite changeability and frustratingly untouchable height, it’s no wonder clouds have been imbued with mythological and folkloric qualities by many cultures, for hundreds of years.” ref

“We’ll start in Ancient Greece. According to myth, clouds were not clouds at all but a group of young nymphs called Nephelai, the daughters of two titans, Oceanus and Tethys. These cloud spirits, depicted as beautiful and transparent, spent their days collecting water from the rivers in cloudy pitchers, then floating up to the heavens. When these pitchers were full, they poured water down from the sky, nourishing the earth and feeding the streams of their brothers, the Potamoi (river gods). Nephelai were thought to sail through the sky in billowing white robes, much like the way that clouds drift across the heavens.” ref 

“An ancient Hindu tradition said that elephants brought the rain, and that clouds themselves were the celestial relatives of the white elephants that roamed the earth. An elephant’s body was thought to be representative of a cloud, and they would use their trunks to shower the earth with rain.” ref

“Native Americans also created myths and folklore around clouds. According to the Skidi Pawnee tribe, who lived in Nebraska, clouds were the clothing of the gods of heaven. A god spreading its arms would cause the clouds to stretch across the entire sky. And the early Navajo people believed that clouds were formed when a great white swan flapped its wings.” ref

“Even today, cloud myths endure. The Pueblo of Southwest America worship the Cloud People, supernatural beings from the Underworld who bring rain and moisture to the earth. These Cloud People are the spirits of the deceased who lived a good life, thereby taking on the form of clouds in the afterlife. By properly honoring the dead, the Pueblo – an agricultural people – believe that the Cloud People will grant them rain, thereby nourishing their land.” ref

“Since we’re into etymology (and when I see ‘we’, I mean ‘me’) – ‘cloud’ comes from the old English ‘clud’ or ‘clod,’ meaning a hill or a mass of rock. In the beginning of the 13th century, the word came to be used to refer to clouds in the sky. And in other news, the official scientific definition of a cloud is ‘a visible accumulation of water droplets or solid ice crystals that floats in the Earth’s troposphere’.” ref

“There’s no doubt about it – there’s just something about clouds that is utterly magical seeming. And it’s not just you and I that have that feeling – it’s a universal phenomenon throughout history. In fact, a Cloud Appreciation Society formed in 2005 now has more than 35,000 members worldwide. The society quite romantically calls clouds ‘Nature’s poetry’ in its manifesto.” ref

Nephele: Cloud Goddess of hospitality and Member of the Athamantian Royal House

“In Greek mythology, Nephele was a cloud nymph who figured prominently in the story of Phrixus and Helle. Greek myth has it that Nephele is the cloud whom Zeus created in the image of Hera to trick Ixion to test his integrity after displaying his lust for Hera during a feast as a guest of Zeus. Ixion’s restraint failed him, and he coupled with Nephele, eventually fathering the Centaurs (through Imbros or Centauros).” ref 

“Nephele married Athamas, and had twins, a son, Phrixus, and a daughter, Helle. Athamas then divorced her for Ino, who hatched a devious plot to get rid of the twins, roasting all the town’s crop seeds so they would not grow. The local farmers, frightened of famine, asked a nearby oracle for assistance. Inobribed the men sent to the oracle to lie and tell the others that the oracle required the sacrifice of Phrixus. Before he was killed though, Phrixus and Helle were rescued by a flying golden ram sent by their natural mother Nephele.” ref

“Phrixus and Helle were instructed to not look down to Earth for the duration of their flight. Helle, though, did look down, and fell off the ram into the Hellespont (which was named after her, meaning Sea of Helle) and drowned. Phrixus survived all the way to Colchis, where King Aeetes took him in and treated him kindly, giving Phrixus his daughter, Chalciope, in marriage. In gratitude, Phrixus gave the king the Golden Fleece of the Golden Ram, which Aeetes hung in a tree in his kingdom. The Golden Fleece would later be taken by Jason and his Argonauts.” ref




Hera (/ˈhɛrə, ˈhɪərə/; Greek: Ἥρα, translit. Hḗrā; Ἥρη, Hḗrē in Ionic and Homeric Greek) is the goddess of women, marriage, family, and childbirth in ancient Greek religion and mythology, one of the twelve Olympians and the sister and wife of Zeus. She is the daughter of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. Hera rules over Mount Olympus as queen of the gods. A matronly figure, Hera served as both the patroness and protectress of married women, presiding over weddings and blessing marital unions. One of Hera’s defining characteristics is her jealous and vengeful nature against Zeus’ numerous lovers and illegitimate offspring, as well as the mortals who cross her.” ref 

“Hera is commonly seen with the animals she considers sacred, including the cow, lion, and the peacock. Portrayed as majestic and solemn, often enthroned, and crowned with the polos (a high cylindrical crown worn by several of the Great Goddesses), Hera may hold a pomegranate in her hand, emblem of fertile blood and death and a substitute for the narcotic capsule of the opium poppy. Her Roman counterpart is Juno.” ref

“The name of Hera has several possible and mutually exclusive etymologies; one possibility is to connect it with Greek ὥρα hōra, season, and to interpret it as ripe for marriage and according to Plato ἐρατή eratē, “beloved” as Zeus is said to have married her for love. According to Plutarch, Hera was an allegorical name and an anagram of aēr (ἀήρ, “air”). So begins the section on Hera in Walter Burkert‘s Greek Religion. In a note, he records other scholars’ arguments “for the meaning Mistress as a feminine to Heros, Master.” ref 

John Chadwick, a decipherer of Linear B, remarks “her name may be connected with hērōs, ἥρως, ‘hero’, but that is no help since it too is etymologically obscure.” A. J. van Windekens, offers “young cow, heifer”, which is consonant with Hera’s common epithet βοῶπις (boōpis, “cow-eyed”). R. S. P. Beekes has suggested a Pre-Greek origin. Her name is attested in Mycenaean Greek written in the Linear B syllabic script as e-ra, appearing on tablets found in Pylos and Thebes, as well in the Cypriotic dialect in the dative e-ra-i.” ref

Hera may have been the first deity to whom the Greeks dedicated an enclosed roofed temple sanctuary, at Samos about 800 BCE. It was replaced later by the Heraion of Samos, one of the largest of all Greek temples (altars were in front of the temples under the open sky). There were many temples built on this site so evidence is somewhat confusing and archaeological dates are uncertain.” ref

“The temple created by the Rhoecus sculptors and architects was destroyed between 570–560 BCE. This was replaced by the Polycratean temple of 540–530 BCE. In one of these temples we see a forest of 155 columns. There is also no evidence of tiles on this temple suggesting either the temple was never finished or that the temple was open to the sky.” ref

“Earlier sanctuaries, whose dedication to Hera is less certain, were of the Mycenaean type called “house sanctuaries”. Samos excavations have revealed votive offerings, many of them late 8th and 7th centuries BCE, which show that Hera at Samos was not merely a local Greek goddess of the Aegean: the museum there contains figures of gods and suppliants and other votive offerings from Armenia, Babylon, Iran, Assyria, Egypt, testimony to the reputation which this sanctuary of Hera enjoyed and to the large influx of pilgrims. Compared to this mighty goddess, who also possessed the earliest temple at Olympia and two of the great fifth and sixth century temples of Paestum, the termagant of Homer and the myths is an “almost… comic figure”, according to Burkert.” ref

“Though greatest and earliest free-standing temple to Hera was the Heraion of Samos, in the Greek mainland Hera was especially worshipped as “Argive Hera” (Hera Argeia) at her sanctuary that stood between the former Mycenaean city-states of Argos and Mycenae, where the festivals in her honor called Heraia were celebrated. “The three cities I love best,” the ox-eyed Queen of Heaven declares in the Iliad, book iv, “are Argos, Sparta, and Mycenae of the broad streets.” There were also temples to Hera in Olympia, Corinth, Tiryns, Perachora, and the sacred island of Delos. In Magna Graecia, two Doric temples to Hera were constructed at Paestum, about 550 BCE and about 450 BCE. One of them, long called the Temple of Poseidon was identified in the 1950s as a second temple there of Hera.” ref

“In Euboea, the festival of the Great Daedala, sacred to Hera, was celebrated on a sixty-year cycle. Hera’s importance in the early archaic period is attested by the large building projects undertaken in her honor. The temples of Hera in the two main centers of her cult, the Heraion of Samos and the Heraion of Argos in the Argolis, were the very earliest monumental Greek temples constructed, in the 8th century BCE.” ref


Importance of Hera

“According to Walter Burkert, both Hera and Demeter have many characteristic attributes of Pre-Greek Great Goddesses. In the same vein, British scholar Charles Francis Keary suggests that Hera had some sort of “Earth Goddess” worship in ancient times, connected to her possible origin as a Pelasgian goddess (as mentioned by Herodotus).” ref

“According to Homeric Hymn III to Delian Apollo, Hera detained Eileithyia to prevent Leto from going into labor with Artemis and Apollo, since the father was Zeus. The other goddesses present at the birthing on Delos sent Iris to bring her. As she stepped upon the island, the divine birth began. In the myth of the birth of Heracles, it is Hera herself who sits at the door, delaying the birth of Heracles until her protégé, Eurystheus, had been born first.” ref

“The Homeric Hymn to Pythian Apollo makes the monster Typhaon the offspring of archaic Hera in her Minoan form, produced out of herself, like a monstrous version of Hephaestus, and whelped in a cave in Cilicia. She gave the creature to Python to raise.” ref

“In the Temple of Hera, Olympia, Hera’s seated cult figure was older than the warrior figure of Zeus that accompanied it. Homer expressed her relationship with Zeus delicately in the Iliad, in which she declares to Zeus, “I am Cronus‘ eldest daughter, and am honorable not on this ground only, but also because I am your wife, and you are king of the gods.” ref

Hera and Matriarchy

“There has been considerable scholarship, reaching back to Johann Jakob Bachofen in the mid-nineteenth century, about the possibility that Hera, whose early importance in Greek religion is firmly established, was originally the goddess of a matriarchal people, presumably inhabiting Greece before the Hellenes. In this view, her activity as goddess of marriage established the patriarchal bond of her own subordination: her resistance to the conquests of Zeus is rendered as Hera’s “jealousy”, the main theme of literary anecdotes that undercut her ancient cult.” ref

“However, it remains a controversial claim that an ancient matriarchy or a cultural focus on a monotheistic Great Goddess existed among the ancient Greeks or elsewhere. The claim is generally rejected by modern scholars as insufficiently evidenced.” ref

Youth and Hera

“Hera was most known as the matron goddess, Hera Teleia; but she presided over weddings as well. In myth and cult, fragmentary references and archaic practices remain of the sacred marriage of Hera and Zeus. At Plataea, there was a sculpture of Hera seated as a bride by Callimachus, as well as the matronly standing Hera.” ref

“Hera was also worshipped as a virgin: there was a tradition in Stymphalia in Arcadia that there had been a triple shrine to Hera the Girl (Παις [Pais]), the Adult Woman (Τελεια [Teleia]), and the Separated (Χήρη [Chḗrē] ‘Widowed’ or ‘Divorced’). In the region around Argos, the temple of Hera in Hermione near Argos was to Hera the Virgin. At the spring of Kanathos, close to Nauplia, Hera renewed her virginity annually, in rites that were not to be spoken of (arrheton). The Female figure, showing her “Moon” over the lake is also appropriate, as Hebe, Hera, and Hecate; new moon, full moon, and old moon in that order and otherwise personified as the Virgin of Spring, The Mother of Summer, and the destroying Crone of Autumn.” ref

Emblems of Hera

“In Hellenistic imagery, Hera’s chariot was pulled by peacocks, birds not known to Greeks before the conquests of Alexander. Alexander’s tutor, Aristotle, refers to it as “the Persian bird.” The peacock motif was revived in the Renaissance iconography that unified Hera and Juno, and which European painters focused on. A bird that had been associated with Hera on an archaic level, where most of the Aegean goddesses were associated with “their” bird, was the cuckoo, which appears in mythic fragments concerning the first wooing of a virginal Hera by Zeus.” ref

“Her archaic association was primarily with cattle, as a Cow Goddess, who was especially venerated in “cattle-rich” Euboea. On Cyprus, very early archaeological sites contain bull skulls that have been adapted for use as masks (see Bull (mythology)). Her familiar Homeric epithet Boôpis, is always translated “cow-eyed”. In this respect, Hera bears some resemblance to the Ancient Egyptian deity Hathor, a maternal goddess associated with cattle. Scholar of Greek mythology Walter Burkert writes in Greek Religion, “Nevertheless, there are memories of an earlier aniconic representation, as a pillar in Argos and as a plank in Samos.” ref

Hera Epithets

“Hera bore several epithets in the mythological tradition, including:

  • Ἀλέξανδρος (Alexandros) ‘Protector of Men’ (Alexandros) (among the Sicyonians)
  • Αἰγοφάγος (Aigophágos) ‘Goat-Eater’ (among the Lacedaemonians)
  • Ἀκραῖα (Akráia) ‘(She) of the Heights’
  • Ἀμμωνία (Ammonia)
  • Ἄνθεια (Antheia), meaning flowery
  • Ἀργεία (Argéia) ‘(She) of Argos
  • Βασίλεια (Basíleia) ‘Queen’
  • Βουναία (Bounáia) ‘(She) of the Mound’ (in Corinth)
  • Βοῶπις (Boṓpis) ‘Cow-Eyed’ or ‘Cow-Faced’
  • Λευκώλενος (Leukṓlenos) ‘White-Armed’
  • Παῖς (Pais) ‘Child’ (in her role as virgin)
  • Παρθένος (Parthénos) ‘Virgin’
  • Τελεία (Teléia) (as goddess of marriage)
  • Χήρη (Chḗrē) ‘Widowed’
  • Τελχινία (Telchinia), Diodorus Siculus write that she was worshiped by the Ialysians and the Cameirans (both were on the island of Rhodes). She was named liked that because according to a legend, Telchines (Τελχῖνες) were the first inhabitants of the island and also the first who created statues of gods.” ref

Hera Mythology

Hera’s Birth

“Hera is the daughter of the youngest Titan Cronus and his wife, and sister, Rhea. Cronus was fated to be overthrown by one of his children; to prevent this, he swallowed all of his newborn children whole until Rhea tricked him into swallowing a stone instead of her youngest child, Zeus. Zeus grew up in secret and when he grew up he tricked his father into regurgitating his siblings, including Hera. Zeus then led the revolt against the Titans, banished them, and divided the dominion over the world with his brothers Poseidon and Hades.” ref

Hera’s Marriage with Zeus

“Hera is the goddess of marriage and childbirth rather more than of motherhood, and much of her mythology revolves around her marriage with her brother Zeus. She is charmed by him and she seduces him; he cheats on her and has many children by other goddesses and mortal women; she is intensely jealous and vindictive towards his children and their mothers; he is threatening and violent to her.” ref

“In the Iliad, Zeus implies their marriage was some sort of elopement, as they lay secretly from their parents. Pausanias records a tale of how they came to be married in which Zeus transformed into a cuckoo bird to woo Hera. She caught the bird and kept it as her pet; this is why the cuckoo is seated on her scepter. According to a scholion on Theocritus Idylls, when Hera was heading toward Mount Thornax alone, Zeus created a terrible storm and transformed himself into a cuckoo bird who flew down and sat on her lap.” ref

“When Hera saw him, she covered him with her cloak. Zeus then transformed back and took hold of her; because she was refusing to sleep with him due to their mother, he promised to marry her. In one account Hera refused to marry Zeus and hid in a cave to avoid him; an earthborn man named Achilles convinced her to give him a chance, and thus the two had their first sexual intercourse. According to Callimachus, their wedding feast lasted three thousand years. The Apples of the Hesperides that Heracles was tasked by Eurystheus to take were a wedding gift by Gaia to the couple.” ref

Heracles and Hera

“Hera is the stepmother and enemy of Heracles. The name Heracles means “Glory of Hera”. In Homer’s Iliad, when Alcmene was about to give birth to Heracles, Zeus announced to all the gods that on that day a child by Zeus himself, would be born and rule all those around him. Hera, after requesting Zeus to swear an oath to that effect, descended from Olympus to Argos and made the wife of Sthenelus (son of Perseus) give birth to Eurystheus after only seven months, while at the same time preventing Alcmene from delivering Heracles. This resulted in the fulfilment of Zeus’s oath in that it was Eurystheus rather than Heracles.” ref

“In Pausanias’ recounting, Hera sent witches (as they were called by the Thebans) to hinder Alcmene’s delivery of Heracles. The witches were successful in preventing the birth until Historis, daughter of Tiresias, thought of a trick to deceive the witches. Like Galanthis, Historis announced that Alcmene had delivered her child; having been deceived, the witches went away, allowing Alcmene to give birth. Hera’s wrath against Zeus’ son continues and while Heracles is still an infant, Hera sends two serpents to kill him as he lies in his cot. Heracles throttles the snakes with his bare hands and is found by his nurse playing with their limp bodies as if they were a child’s toy.” ref

“One account of the origin of the Milky Way is that Zeus had tricked Hera into nursing the infant Heracles: discovering who he was, she pulled him from her breast, and a spurt of her milk formed the smear across the sky that can be seen to this day. Unlike any Greeks, the Etruscans instead pictured a full-grown bearded Heracles at Hera’s breast: this may refer to his adoption by her when he became an Immortal. He had previously wounded her severely in the breast.” ref

“When Heracles reached adulthood, Hera drove him mad, which led him to murder his family and this later led to him undertaking his famous labors. Hera assigned Heracles to labor for King Eurystheus at Mycenae. She attempted to make almost all of Heracles’ twelve labors more difficult. When he fought the Lernaean Hydra, she sent a crab to bite at his feet in the hopes of distracting him. Later Hera stirred up the Amazons against him when he was on one of his quests. When Heracles took the cattle of Geryon, he shot Hera in the right breast with a triple-barbed arrow: the wound was incurable and left her in constant pain, as Dione tells Aphrodite in the Iliad, Book V. Afterwards, Hera sent a gadfly to bite the cattle, irritate them and scatter them.” ref 

“Hera then sent a flood which raised the water level of a river so much that Heracles could not ford the river with the cattle. He piled stones into the river to make the water shallower. When he finally reached the court of Eurystheus, the cattle were sacrificed to Hera. Eurystheus also wanted to sacrifice the Cretan Bull to Hera. She refused the sacrifice because it reflected glory on Heracles. The bull was released and wandered to Marathon, becoming known as the Marathonian Bull.” ref

“Some myths state that in the end, Heracles befriended Hera by saving her from Porphyrion, a giant who tried to rape her during the Gigantomachy, and that she even gave her daughter Hebe as his bride. Whatever myth-making served to account for an archaic representation of Heracles as “Hera’s man” it was thought suitable for the builders of the Heraion at Paestum to depict the exploits of Heracles in bas-reliefs.” ref

Leto and the Twins: Apollo and Artemis

“When Hera discovered that Leto was pregnant and that Zeus was the father, she convinced the nature spirits to prevent Leto from giving birth on terra-firma, the mainland, any island at sea, or any place under the sun. Poseidon gave pity to Leto and guided her to the floating island of Delos, which was neither mainland nor a real island where Leto was able to give birth to her children. Afterward, Zeus secured Delos to the bottom of the ocean. The island later became sacred to Apollo. Alternatively, Hera kidnapped Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth, to prevent Leto from going into labor. The other gods bribed Hera with a beautiful necklace nobody could resist and she finally gave in.” ref

“Either way, Artemis was born first and then assisted with the birth of Apollo. Some versions say Artemis helped her mother give birth to Apollo for nine days. Another variation states that Artemis was born one day before Apollo, on the island of Ortygia and that she helped Leto cross the sea to Delos the next day to give birth to Apollo. Later, Tityos attempted to rape Leto at the behest of Hera. He was slain by Artemis and Apollo. This account of the birth of Apollo and Artemis is contradicted by Hesiod in Theogony, as the twins are born prior to Zeus’ marriage to Hera.” ref

Io and Argus

“The myth of Io has many forms and embellishments. Generally, Io was a priestess of Hera at the Heraion of Argos. Zeus lusted after her and either Hera turned Io into a heifer to hide her from Zeus, or Zeus did so to hide her from Hera but was discovered. Hera had Io tethered to an olive-tree and set Argus Panoptes (lit. ‘all-seeing’) to watch over her, but Zeus sent Hermes to kill him. Infuriated, Hera then sent a gadfly (Greek oistros, compare oestrus) to pursue and constantly sting Io, who fled into Asia and eventually reached Egypt. There Zeus restored her to human form and she gave birth to his son Epaphus.” ref

Judgment of Paris

“A prophecy stated that a son of the sea-nymph Thetis, with whom Zeus fell in love after gazing upon her in the oceans off the Greek coast, would become greater than his father. Possibly for this reasons, Thetis was betrothed to an elderly human king, Peleus son of Aeacus, either upon Zeus’ orders, or because she wished to please Hera, who had raised her. All the gods and goddesses as well as various mortals were invited to the marriage of Peleus and Thetis (the eventual parents of Achilles) and brought many gifts. Only Eris, goddess of discord, was not invited and was stopped at the door by Hermes, on Zeus’ order. She was annoyed at this, so she threw from the door a gift of her own: a golden apple inscribed with the word καλλίστῃ (kallistēi, “To the fairest”). Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena all claimed to be the fairest, and thus the rightful owner of the apple.” ref

“The goddesses quarreled bitterly over it, and none of the other gods would venture an opinion favoring one, for fear of earning the enmity of the other two. They chose to place the matter before Zeus, who, not wanting to favor one of the goddesses, put the choice into the hands of Paris, a Trojan prince. After bathing in the spring of Mount Ida where Troy was situated, they appeared before Paris to have him choose. The goddesses undressed before him, either at his request or for the sake of winning. Still, Paris could not decide, as all three were ideally beautiful, so they resorted to bribes. Hera offered Paris political power and control of all of Asia, while Athena offered wisdom, fame, and glory in battle, and Aphrodite offered the most beautiful mortal woman in the world as a wife, and he accordingly chose her. This woman was Helen, who was, unfortunately for Paris, already married to King Menelaus of Sparta. The other two goddesses were enraged by this and through Helen’s abduction by Paris, they brought about the Trojan War.” ref

The Iliad

“Hera plays a substantial role in The Iliad, appearing in a number of books throughout the epic poem. She hates the Trojans because of Paris’ decision that Aphrodite was the most beautiful goddess, and so supports the Greeks during the war. Throughout the epic, Hera makes many attempts to thwart the Trojan army. In books 1 and 2, Hera declares that the Trojans must be destroyed. Hera persuades Athena to aid the Achaeans in battle and she agrees to assist with interfering on their behalf.” ref

“In book 5, Hera and Athena plot to harm Ares, who had been seen by Diomedes in assisting the Trojans. Diomedes called for his soldiers to fall back slowly. Hera, Ares’ mother, saw Ares’ interference and asked Zeus, Ares’ father, for permission to drive Ares away from the battlefield. Hera encouraged Diomedes to attack Ares and he threw his spear at the god. Athena drove the spear into Ares’ body, and he bellowed in pain and fled to Mount Olympus, forcing the Trojans to fall back.” ref

“In book 8, Hera tries to persuade Poseidon to disobey Zeus and help the Achaean army. He refuses, saying he doesn’t want to go against Zeus. Determined to intervene in the war, Hera and Athena head to the battlefield. However, seeing the two flee, Zeus sent Iris to intercept them and make them return to Mount Olympus or face grave consequences. After prolonged fighting, Hera sees Poseidon aiding the Greeks and giving them the motivation to keep fighting.” ref

“In book 14 Hera devises a plan to deceive Zeus. Zeus set a decree that the gods were not allowed to interfere in the mortal war. Hera is on the side of the Achaeans, so she plans a Deception of Zeus where she seduces him, with help from Aphrodite, and tricks him into a deep sleep, with the help of Hypnos, so that the Gods could interfere without the fear of Zeus.” ref

“In book 21, Hera continues her interference with the battle as she tells Hephaestus to prevent the river from harming Achilles. Hephaestus sets the battlefield ablaze, causing the river to plead with Hera, promising her he will not help the Trojans if Hephaestus stops his attack. Hephaestus stops his assault and Hera returns to the battlefield where the gods begin to fight amongst themselves.” ref

Minor stories

Semele and Dionysus

“When Hera learned that Semele, daughter of Cadmus King of Thebes, was pregnant by Zeus, she disguised herself as Semele’s nurse and persuaded the princess to insist that Zeus show himself to her in his true form. When he was compelled to do so, having sworn by Styx, his thunder and lightning destroyed Semele. Zeus took Semele’s unborn child, Dionysus, and completed its gestation sewn into his own thigh.” ref

“In another version, Dionysus was originally the son of Zeus by either Demeter or Persephone. Hera sent her Titans to rip the baby apart, from which he was called Zagreus (“Torn in Pieces”). Zeus rescued the heart; or, the heart was saved, variously, by Athena, Rhea, or Demeter.[74] Zeus used the heart to recreate Dionysus and implant him in the womb of Semele—hence Dionysus became known as “the twice-born”. Certain versions imply that Zeus gave Semele the heart to eat to impregnate her. Hera tricked Semele into asking Zeus to reveal his true form, which killed her. Dionysus later managed to rescue his mother from the underworld and have her live on Mount Olympus.” ref


Lamia was a lovely queen of Libya, whom Zeus loved and slept with. Hera in jealousy, caused Lamia to kill her own children; out of grief for her actions, Lamia was turned into a misshapen creature that would therefore snatch and murder other people’s children.” ref


Gerana was a queen of the Pygmies who boasted she was more beautiful than Hera. The wrathful goddess turned her into a crane and proclaimed that her bird descendants should wage eternal war on the Pygmy folk.” ref


Cydippe, a priestess of Hera, was on her way to a festival in the goddess’ honor. The oxen which were to pull her cart were overdue and her sons, Biton and Cleobis, pulled the cart the entire way (45 stadia, 8 kilometers). Cydippe was impressed with their devotion to her and Hera so asked Hera to give her children the best gift a god could give a person. Hera ordained that the brothers would die in their sleep. This honor bestowed upon the children was later used by Solon, as a proof while trying to convince Croesus that it is impossible to judge a person’s happiness until they have died a fruitful death after a joyous life.” ref


Tiresias was a priest of Zeus, and as a young man, he encountered two snakes mating and hit them with a stick. He was then transformed into a woman. As a woman, Tiresias became a priestess of Hera, married, and had children, including Manto. After seven years as a woman, Tiresias again found mating snakes; depending on the myth, either she made sure to leave the snakes alone this time, or, according to Hyginus, trampled on them and became a man once more.” ref

“As a result of his experiences, Zeus and Hera asked him to settle the question of which sex, male or female, experienced more pleasure during intercourse. Zeus claimed it was women; Hera claimed it was men. When Tiresias sided with Zeus, Hera struck him blind. Since Zeus could not undo what she had done, he gave him the gift of prophecy.” ref

“An alternative and less commonly told story has it that Tiresias was blinded by Athena after he stumbled onto her bathing naked. His mother, Chariclo, begged her to undo her curse, but Athena could not; she gave him prophecy instead.” ref


“At the marriage of Zeus and Hera, a nymph named Chelone was disrespectful or refused to attend the wedding. Zeus thus, turned her into a tortoise.” ref

The Golden Fleece

“Hera hated Pelias because he had killed Sidero, his step-grandmother, in one of the goddess’s temples. She later convinced Jason and Medea to kill Pelias. The Golden Fleece was the item that Jason needed to get his mother freed.” ref


“When Zeus had pity on Ixion and brought him to Olympus and introduced him to the gods, instead of being grateful, Ixion grew lustful for Hera. Zeus found out about his intentions and made a cloud in the shape of Hera, who was later named Nephele, and tricked Ixion into coupling with it, and from their union came Centaurus. So Ixion was expelled from Olympus and Zeus ordered Hermes to bind Ixion to a winged fiery wheel that was always spinning. Therefore, Ixion was bound to a burning solar wheel for all eternity, at first spinning across the heavens, but in later myth transferred to Tartarus.” ref 

Mount Olympus

Mount Olympus (/oʊˈlɪmpəs, əˈlɪm-/;[6] Greek: Όλυμπος, romanizedÓlympos, also Ólimbos, IPA: [ˈoli(m)bos]) is the highest mountain in Greece. It is part of the Olympus massif near the Thermaic Gulf of the Aegean Sea, located in the Olympus Range on the border between Thessaly and Macedonia, between the regional units of Larissa and Pieria, about 80 km (50 mi) southwest from Thessaloniki. Mount Olympus has 52 peaks and deep gorges. The highest peak, Mytikas (Μύτικας Mýtikas), meaning “nose”, rises to 2,917 metres (9,570 ft). It is one of the highest peaks in Europe in terms of topographic prominence.” ref 

“Olympus is notable in Greek mythology as the home of the Greek gods, on Mytikas peak. It is also noted for its exceptional biodiversity and rich flora. It has been a National Park, the first in Greece, since 1938. It is also a World Biosphere Reserve. Every year, thousands of visitors admire its fauna and flora, tour its slopes, and climb its peaks. Organized mountain refuges and various mountaineering and climbing routes are available. The usual starting point for climbing Olympus is the town of Litochoro, on the eastern foothills of the mountain, 100 km (62 mi) from Thessaloniki.” ref

“The shape of Olympus was formed by rain and wind, which produced an isolated tower almost 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) above the sea, which is only 18 kilometers (11 mi) away at Litochoro. Olympus has many peaks and an almost circular shape. The mountain has a circumference of 150 kilometers (93 mi), an average diameter of 26 kilometers (16 mi), and 500 square kilometers (190 sq mi) of area. To the northwest lies the Aromanian village of Kokkinopilos. The Makryrema stream separates Olympus from the massif of Voulgara. The villages Petra, Vrontou, and Dion lie to the northwest, while on the eastern side there is the town of Litochoro, where Enipeas bisects the massif of Olympus.” ref 

“On its southeastern side, the Ziliana gorge divides Mount Olympus from Kato Olympos (Lower Olympus), while on its southwestern foothills, there are the villages Sykaminea and Karya. The Agia Triada Sparmou Monastery and the village Pythion lie to the west. Olympus’s dry foothills, known as the Xirokampi, are covered in chaparral and provides habitat for animals such as wild boar. Further east, the plain of Dion is fertile and watered by the streams which originate on Olympus.” ref

“The origin of the name Όλυμπος (Olympos) is unknown. One theory suggests that it’s compounded of lyma (λύμα) and pous (πούς), meaning “pure foot”, conforming to Hesiod‘s description of the earth as a sort of footstool for heaven up from which rise the “Blessed Gods”. According to Robert S.P. Beekes the word is of pre-Greek origin and he speculates that it originally meant “mountain”. It is worth noting that the word is also probably cognate with the Mycenean Greek word (u-ru-pi-ja-jo) which is, most likely, a term used to describe people, or possibly an ethnic group. In Homeric Greek (Odyssey 6.42), the variant Οὔλυμπος Oulumpos occurs, conceived of as the seat of the gods (and not identified with any specific peak). Homer (Iliad 5.754, Odyssey 20.103) also appears to be using οὔλυμπος as a common noun, as a synonym of οὐρανός ouranos “sky”. Mount Olympus was historically also known as Mount Belus,] after Iliad 1.591, where the seat of the gods is referred to as βηλ[ός] θεσπεσίο[ς] “heavenly threshold”.” ref

“In Ancient Greek religion and mythology, “Olympus” was the name of the home of the Twelve Olympian gods. This was conceived of as a lofty mountaintop, and in all regions settled by Greek tribes, the highest local elevation tended to be so named; among the numerous peaks called Olumpos in antiquity are mountains in Mysia, Laconia, Lycia, Cyprus, Attica, Euboea, Ionia and Lesbos, and others. Thessalian Olympus is the highest peak in any territory with Greek settlement and came to be seen as the “Pan-Hellenic” representative of the mythological seat of the gods, by at least the 5th century BC, as Herodotus (1.56) identifies Olympus as the peak in Thessaly. In Pieria, at Olympus’s northern foot, the mythological tradition had placed the nine Muses, patrons of the Fine Arts, daughters of Zeus, and the Titanide Mnemosyne.” ref

Mount Olympus History

“In antiquity, the Olympus massif formed the border between Thessaly and Macedon. The history of the surrounding area is consequently of interest in the context of the Rise of Macedon, the Chremonidean War, and the Macedonian Wars during the 4th to 2nd centuries BCE. In the period of the Ottoman Empire the mountain was a hiding place and base of operations for klephts and armatoloi. It was known as Semavatevi in Turkish during the nearly 400 years of Ottoman rule.” ref

“In Olympus, the second armatoliki was founded, led by Kara Michalis in 1489. The action of the klephts in Olympus led the Turks to visit their outrage on the klephts’ ally-village of Milia (in the late 17th century), which they destroyed. In that period Livadi in Olympus became the seat of the armatoliki of Olympus and Western Macedonia, with their first renowned commander Panos Zidros. In the 18th century the Turks had to replace the armatoloi (who very often joined the klephts) with Muslim Albanian armatoloi who ravaged the countryside of Macedonia.” ref 

“However, Olympus’s armatoloi, even after their capitulation to Ali Pasha, never ceased fighting on land and at sea. Among them who were active there and in nearby regions were Nikotsaras, Giorgakis Olympios, and the legendary family of Lazaioi. In the early 20th century, even for some time after the liberation from the Ottoman Empire (1912), robbers were active in the region – the best known of them the notorious Giagoulas, while during the German invasion in 1941 the Royal Hellenic Army fought significant battles along with units of New Zealanders and Australians. During the German Occupation (1941–1944) the mountain was one of the centers of the Greek Resistance, while a little later the Greek Civil War (1946–49) started there, in Litochoro.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref

My Speculations are in Comparative Mythologies?

For instance, the mytheme of an ancient belief that is seemingly shared though changed and adapted, a fundamental generic unit of narrative structure seems to be shared a common relation with mountains/ancestors/gods or sacred animals with Sacred Mounds, Mountains, Kurgans, and Pyramids

Ancient DNA from the Schild site in Illinois: Implications for the Mississippian transition in the Lower Illinois River Valley


“Archaeologists have long debated whether rapid cultural change in the archaeological record is due to in situ developments, migration of a new group into the region, or the spread of new cultural practices into an area through existing social networks, with the local peoples adopting and adapting practices from elsewhere as they see fit (acculturation). Researchers have suggested each of these explanations for the major cultural transition that occurred at the beginning of the Mississippian period (AD 1050) across eastern North America. In this study, we used ancient DNA to test competing hypotheses of migration and acculturation for the culture change that occurred between the Late Woodland (AD 400–1050) and Mississippian (AD 1050–1500) periods in the Lower Illinois River Valley. We obtained sequences of the first hypervariable segment of the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) from 39 individuals (17 Late Woodland, 22 Mississippian) interred in the Schild cemetery in western Illinois, and compared these lineages to ancient mtDNA lineages present at other sites in the region. Computer simulations were used to test a null hypothesis of population continuity from Late Woodland to Mississippian times at the Schild site and to investigate the possibility of gene flow from elsewhere in the region. Our results suggest that the Late Woodland to Mississippian cultural transition at Schild was not due to an influx of people from elsewhere. Instead, it is more likely that the transition to Mississippian cultural practices at this site was due to a process of acculturation.” ref 

The genetic prehistory of the lower Illinois River valley: An ancient DNA analysis of Yokem Mounds 1-5

“Yokem Mounds and its neighboring lower Illinois River valley sites were part of a dramatic cultural shift that occurred during the transition from the Late Woodland period (CE 400-1050) to the Mississippian period (CE 1050-1400) of Illinois prehistory. Evident changes in diet, burial treatment, and material culture accompanied this transition at Yokem Mounds. What remains unknown is whether the transition cooccurred with a population displacement by originators of the Mississippian culture, the Cahokians, or other Mississippian immigrants. My ancient DNA analysis of Yokem Mounds 1-5 tackled this question, as well as described other cultural behaviors in order to identify additional impacts of the Mississippian culture.” ref 

“Conclusion: Tuberculosis was present during the Middle Woodland period in Illinois well before CE 900, which is when the most apparent skeletal cases in North America begin to be identified. The Middle Woodland individual Yo 3-11A possessed the MTBC specific IS1081 element and a possible MTBC gyrase B sequence and this individual dates to BCE 0 to CE 80. Another Yokem individual with an older radiocarbon date,  BCE 240 to 160, possessed the same gyrase B sequence as Yo 3-11A, but the IS1081 element could not be amplified. Tuberculosis is present amongst an additional nine individuals associated with the Late Woodland and Mississippian periods at Yokem Mounds and Schild Cemetery. Two strains of ancient tuberculosis were identified amongst the Yokem Mounds Mississippian individuals. These strains predate the zoonotic transfer of an ancient tuberculosis species most closely related to M. pinnipedii, which were identified in Peru. Therefore, the trans-continental spread of the ancient Peruvian species is an unlikely source of the Yokem Mounds species, unless the former is older than has been currently identified and the species became human adapted. Many researchers caution against destructive ancient DNA research of tuberculosis to diagnosis specific cases because of the financial and labor commitment required. But, if an ancient DNA analysis of an individual or sample population is already being undertaken to answer additional cultural and population genetic questions, then I would recommend that all samples be screened for the presence of ancient MTBC DNA. As discussed previously, tuberculosis has a long history of human infection, but there are very few cases identified before A.D. 1000 in the Americas. Therefore, there should be many unidentified cases of the disease that have yet to be found. I recommend testing all individuals in a population study because ancient MTBC DNA can be amplified from individuals that possess unspecific lesions or even lack any skeletal evidence of the disease.” ref 

An Ancient DNA Perspective on Mound 72, Cahokia

“Although the principle coordinates analysis (PCoA) showed a remarkably similar relationship (see Figures 4 and 5) between the mitochondrial haplogroup frequency genetic distances and the biodistances derived from the female subset of the dental metric values, the Mantel test rm-value of -0.4051 with a p-value of 0.875 did not show results similar to previously reported correlations of genetic and dental metrics or traits (Hubbard et al. 2015; Rathmann et al. 2017; Irish et al. 2020) in terms of the strength of the affinity or direction of association. The Mantel 0.00 0.05 0.10 -0.10 -0.05 0.00 0.05 0.10 Mitochondrial FST Residuals, Dental Metric FST Residuals from Females Only, Figure 8. Mantel Correlation between Mitochondrial Haplogroup Frequency and Dental Metric Biodistance of Females R2=0.02596 146 test tests for association between two matrices under the null hypothesis that there is no association between the two sets of values, so we must conclude that any association between the biodistance and genetic measurements is not strong enough to be statistically significant. Additionally, the negative association between the values is difficult to interpret. Irish and colleagues (2020) reported the rm-value of the correlation between 36 dental non-metric trait MMD values and the Hudson Fst distances derived from >350,000 SNPs across the genome of 0.720 with a p-value of 0.000. Hubbard et al. 2015 reported a rm-value of 0.50 with a p-value of 0.21 when comparing 42 STRs to dental traits in a paired sample. Rathmann et al. 2017 reported a rm-values of .55 (p < 0.001) and 0.64 (p < 0.001) when comparing STRs and SNPs to crown measurements.” ref

“This difference results from a few factors that distinguish this study from other comparisons in the literature. First, most of the samples from the previous analyses were from living humans (with the exception of Rathmann and colleagues (2017)), so populations included were contemporaneous and without the confounding factors that using multigenerational cemeteries can introduce. Skeletal collections include individuals who would not have lived at the same time and also may only contain a subgroup of the community. Second, the mitochondrial haplogroup frequency comparisons do not carry the same genetic resolution as autosomal STR or SNP data. Finally, this analysis includes fewer populations from a much smaller region than any previous analysis. Previous haplogroup frequency and biometric analyses in the American Midwest region have shown little genetic distinction between any burial groups assessed. This may indicate that the given size and level of genetic diversity in my data set might not provide the power needed to show statistically significant results. It also may indicate that the smaller regional analysis of largely genetically indistinguishable populations are not well suited for research using dental data in the same way that geographically larger studies are. Comparisons of results using more genetic markers such as autosomal SNPs or STRs would be necessary to distinguish between these conclusions. However, from the available literature, it is apparent that studies largely focused on broad relationships between long-isolated populations can rely on dental data from these populations. Because of this, the use of destructive analysis necessary in aDNA work within large skeletal collection is unnecessary if the research questions are centered around these broad regional relationship. Even in studies using ‘minimally’ or ‘non-destructive’ extraction methods, some degree of destruction or chemical alteration occurs, making any procedure a potential loss of ability for future analyses. In cases where broad regional relationships are being tested, dental data can be used as a less destructive, expensive approach to reach the same conclusions.” ref 

The Genetic Legacy of the Mississippians


“In this study, we examine the maternal relationships between Mississippian peoples and potential living Native American descendants in Eastern North America. First, we present new ancient DNA results from American Bottom and Illinois River valley Mississippians buried at the East St. Louis, Janey B. Goode, and Yokem sites in Illinois. Our results increase the sample size of Mississippian mitochondrial DNA to facilitate population comparisons with ancient and extant groups. Our results show that Mississippians were genetically diverse, with all five major Native American haplogroups represented (A, B, C, D, and X). We show that within-hap-logroup diversity was maintained across an 800-year time span except in the case of haplogroup D, in which ancient lineages were more diverse. Finally, we show that Native American genetic diversity appears to have been structured geographically, as Midwestern groups from all time periods are more similar to one another than those from outlying regions.” ref

I think god beliefs (great spirit/shy father god) came into the Americas from North Asia from 7,000 to 5,000 years ago. I think it likely relates to the Na-Dene languages migrations as all of the Na-Dene languages have “great spirit” beliefs and some have shy father god/creator beliefs as well.

  1. Medicine Wheel
  2. Serpent Mound
  3. Mesa Verde
  4. Chaco Canyon
  5. Casas Grandes/Paquime
  6. Ciudad Perdida “lost city”; Teyuna
  7. Ingapirca “Inca”
  8. Chavín de Huántar “pre-Inca”
  9. Sacred City of Caral-Supe *Caral culture developed between 3000 – 1800 BCE*
  10. Machu Picchu
  11. Nazca Lines
  12. Sacsayhuamán
  13. Tiwanaku/Tiahuanaco
  14. Atacama Giant/Lines
  15. Pucará de Tilcara “pre-Inca”

Eighth Millennium Pottery from a Prehistoric Shell Midden in the Brazilian Amazon

9,000 years ago in the coastal city of Sao Luis, northeastern Brazil: stone tools, ceramic shards, decorated shells, and bones

“The top layer was left by the Tupinamba people, who inhabited the region when European colonizers founded Sao Luis in 1612. Then comes a layer of artifacts typical of Amazon rainforest peoples, followed by a “sambaqui”: a mound of pottery, shells and bones used by some Indigenous groups to build their homes or bury their dead. Beneath that, about 6.5 feet below the surface, lies another layer, left by a group that made rudimentary ceramics and lived around 8,000 to 9,000 years ago, based on the depth of the find. Far older than the oldest documented “pre-sambaqui” settlement found so far in the region, which dates to 6,600 years ago.” ref

Sambaqui (Shell Mound) Societies of Coastal Brazil

“Sambaquis (the Brazilian term for shell mounds, derived from the Tupi language) are widely distributed along the shoreline of Brazil and were noted in European accounts as early as the sixteenth century. They typically occur in highly productive bay and lagoon ecotones where the mingling of salt and fresh waters supports mangrove vegetation and abundant shellfish, fish, and aquatic birds. More than one thousand sambaqui locations are recorded in Brazil’s national register of archaeological sites, but represent a fraction of the original number because colonial through modern settlements coincide with these favorable environments. Although sambaquis are of variable scale overall, massive shell mounds are characteristic of Brazil’s southern coast.” ref

“The term “sambaqui” is applied to cultural deposits of varying size and stratigraphy in which shell is a major constituent, undoubtedly encompassing accumulations with a range of functions and origins. Proportions of soil, sand, shell, and the kinds of cultural inclusions and features in sambaquis also are variable. Small sambaquis often consist of shell layers over sandy substrates or sequences of shell and sand layers, with or without signs of burning or significant numbers of artifacts. Larger shell mounds typically have horizontally and vertically complex stratigraphy, including alternating sequences of shell deposits, narrower and darker layers of charcoal and burned bone that mark occupation surfaces, and clusters of burials, hearths, and postholes descending from these surfaces.” ref

The Chronology and Relationships of the Earliest Ceramic Complexes in the New World, 6000-1500 BCE. by John W Hoopes

Mound cultures are some of the most amazing things in North America and so-called “Americans” don’t care, think it’s Aliens, or believe some mythical white people from the minds of bigots. All Americans should have to learn about Indigenous American history.

“Many pre-Columbian cultures in North America were collectively termed “Mound Builders” ref

Bleera Kaanu-Shell Mound Nicaragua 5,900 years ago human-made shell mound

Watson Brake Louisiana 5,500 years ago human-made mounds

Caral culture 5,000 years ago pyramids, large earthwork platform mounds, and sunken circular plazas

“Archaeological evidence suggests use of textile technology and, possibly, the worship of common deity symbols, both of which recur in pre-Columbian Andean cultures. A sophisticated government is presumed to have been required to manage the ancient Caral.” ref, ref

“The alternative name, Caral–Supe, is derived from the city of Caral in the Supe Valley, a large and well-studied Caral–Supe civilization site. Complex society in the Caral–Supe arose a millennium after Sumer in Mesopotamia, was contemporaneous with the Egyptian pyramids, and predated the Mesoamerican Olmec by nearly two millennia. In archaeological nomenclature, Caral–Supe is a pre-ceramic culture of the pre-Columbian Late Archaic; it completely lacked ceramics and no evidence of visual art has survived. The most impressive achievement of the civilization was its monumental architecture, including large earthwork platform mounds and sunken circular plazas.” ref

Poverty Point  Louisiana 3,700 years ago human-made mounds 

Olmec La Venta Great pyramid 2,394 years ago human-made earth and clay mound

“Olmecs can be divided into the Early Formative (1800-900 BCE), Middle Formative (900-400 BCE), and Late Formative (400 BCE-200 CE). Olmecs are known as the “mother culture” of Mesoamerica, meaning that the Olmec civilization was the first culture that spread and influenced Mesoamerica. The spread of Olmec culture eventually led to cultural features found throughout all Mesoamerican societies. Rising from the sedentary agriculturalists of the Gulf Lowlands as early as 1600 BCE in the Early Formative period, the Olmecs held sway in the Olmec heartland, an area on the southern Gulf of Mexico coastal plain, in Veracruz and Tabasco. Prior to the site of La Venta, the first Olmec site of San Lorenzo dominated the modern day state of Veracruz (1200-900 BCE).” ref

“Unlike later Maya or Aztec cities, La Venta was built from earth and clay—there was little locally abundant stone for the construction. Large basalt stones were brought in from the Tuxtla Mountains, but these were used nearly exclusively for monuments including the colossal heads, the “altars” (actually thrones), and various stelae. For example, the basalt columns that surround Complex A were quarried from Punta Roca Partida, on the Gulf coast north of the San Andres Tuxtla volcano. “Little more than half of the ancient city survived modern disturbances enough to map accurately.” Today, the entire southern end of the site is covered by a petroleum refinery and has been largely demolished, making excavations difficult or impossible. Many of the site’s monuments are now on display in the archaeological museum and park in the city of Villahermosa, Tabasco.” ref

“Complex C, “The Great Pyramid,” is the central building in the city layout, is constructed almost entirely out of clay, and is visible from a distance. The structure is built on top of a closed-in platform—this is where Blom and La Farge discovered Altars 2 and 3, thereby discovering La Venta and the Olmec civilization. A carbon sample from a burned area of the Structure C-1’s surface resulted in the date of 394 ± 30 BCE.” ref

“One of the earliest pyramids known in Mesoamerica, the Great Pyramid is 110 ft (34 m) high and contains an estimated 100,000 cubic meters of earth fill. The current conical shape of the pyramid was once thought to represent nearby volcanoes or mountains, but recent work by Rebecca Gonzalez Lauck has shown that the pyramid was in fact a rectangular pyramid with stepped sides and inset corners, and the current shape is most likely due to 2,500 years of erosion. The pyramid itself has never been excavated, but a magnetometer survey in 1967 found an anomaly high on the south side of the pyramid. Speculation ranges from a section of burned clay to a cache of buried offerings to a tomb.” ref

“Complex A is a mound and plaza group located just to the north of the Great Pyramid (Complex C). The centerline of Complex A originally oriented to Polaris (true north) which indicates the Olmec had some knowledge of astronomy. Surrounded by a series of basalt columns, which likely restricted access to the elite, it was erected in a period of four construction phases that span over four centuries (1000 – 600 BCE). Beneath the mounds and plazas were found a vast array of offerings and other buried objects, more than 50 separate caches by one count, including buried jade, polished mirrors made of iron-ores, and five large “Massive Offerings” of serpentine blocks. It is estimated that Massive Offering 3 contains 50 tons of carefully finished serpentine blocks, covered by 4,000 tons of clay fill.” ref

“Also unearthed in Complex A were three rectangular mosaics (also known as “Pavements”) each roughly 4.5 by 6 metres (15 by 20 feet) and each consisting of up to 485 blocks of serpentine. These blocks were arranged horizontally to form what has been variously interpreted as an ornate Olmec bar-and-four-dots motif, the Olmec Dragon, a very abstract jaguar mask, a cosmogram, or a symbolic map of La Venta and environs. Not intended for display, soon after completion these pavements were covered over with colored clay and then many feet of earth.” ref

“Five formal tombs were discovered within Complex A, one with a sandstone sarcophagus carved with what seemed to be an crocodilian earth monster. Diehl states that these tombs “are so elaborate and so integrated to the architecture that it seems clear that Complex A really was a mortuary complex dedicated to the spirits of deceased rulers. ref

Maya 3,000 years ago mounds, raised platforms, pyramids

“The Maya are a people of southern Mexico and northern Central America (GuatemalaBelize, western Honduras, and El Salvador(1000 BCE, approximately 3,000 years ago) they were building pyramidal-plaza ceremonial architecture. The earliest monuments consisted of simple burial mounds, the precursors to the spectacular stepped pyramids from the Terminal Pre-classic period and beyond. These pyramids relied on intricate carved stone in order to create a stair-stepped design. Many of these structures featured a top platform upon which a smaller dedicatory building was constructed, associated with a particular Maya deity. Maya pyramid-like structures were also erected to serve as a place of interment for powerful rulers. Maya pyramidal structures occur in a great variety of forms and functions, bounded by regional and periodical differences.” ref

Hopewell mtDNA, showed clear links between Adena culture, and earlier Glacial Kame culture, confirming Hopewell culture as the descendants of Adena culture (circa 800 BCE to CE 1) who were, in turn, descended from Archaic cultures (circa 3000-500 BCE).” ref

“The Glacial Kame culture was a culture of Archaic people in North America that occupied southern OntarioMichiganOhio, and Indiana from around 8000 to 1000 BCE. The name of this culture derives from its members’ practice of burying their dead atop glacier-deposited gravel hills. Among the most common types of artifacts found at Glacial Kame sites are shells of marine animals and goods manufactured from a copper ore, known as float copperOther regional cultures include the Maple Creek Culture of southwestern Ohio, Red Ocher Culture and Old Copper Culture of Wisconsin.” ref

“Glacial Kame culture produced ceramics, as seen in the discovery of basic pottery at the Zimmerman site near Roundhead, Ohio. Excavation of Glacial Kame sites frequently yields few projectile points — some of the most important sites have yielded no projectile points at all — and their few points that have been found are of diverse styles. For this reason, it appears that different groups of Glacial Kame peoples independently developed different methods of manufacturing their projectile points. This diversity appears even in the culture’s heartland in Champaign, Hardin, and Logan counties in western Ohio; one large Logan County site yielded just three points, each of which was significantly different from the other two.” ref

“Glacial Kame Culture, Late Archaic cultural grouping found around Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and southern Ontario in the period c.1500–1000 BCE. Characterized by mortuary rituals which involved interring the dead in natural hills of glacial gravel. Grave goods of copper ornaments and marine shells were sometimes included and attested to long‐distance trade links.” ref

“The Adena “mound-building” culture was a Pre-Columbian Native American culture that existed from 500 BCE to 100 CE, in a time known as the Early Woodland period. The Adena culture refers to what were probably a number of related Native American societies sharing a burial complex and ceremonial system. The Adena culture was centered on the location of the modern state of Ohio, but also extended into contiguous areas of northern Kentucky, eastern IndianaWest Virginia, and parts of extreme western Pennsylvania. The culture is the most prominently known of a number of similar cultures in eastern North America that began mound building ceremonialism at the end of the Archaic period.” ref

Amazonian Earthworks

“More than 1,100 ancient Amazonian earthworks, with over 1,050 geoglyphs and zanjas plus over 50 mound villages documented in both the Excel file and the KML placemarks file linked above. Almost all earthworks are outlined, along with highlighting of 1,000 lines, visible ancient roads and embankments. Hundreds of Geoglyphs Discovered in the Amazon.” ref

“Cahokia Mounds were involved in the largest and most influential urban settlement of the Mississippian culture, which developed advanced societies across much of what is now the Central and the Southeastern United States, beginning more than 1,000 years before European contact.” ref

In response to my art above John Hoopes @KUHoopes Archaeologist said, Nice! Since you have the Ohio mound groups, you need to start adding the ones in Amazonia. Hundreds of Geoglyphs Discovered in the Amazon

My response, I was not aware of the Amazonia mounds, thanks. The shell mound erected above the woman’s grave buried in what is now Nicaragua nearly 6,000 years ago. I thought this was cool.

John Hoopes @KUHoopes Archaeologist – “Yes, it is! The revelation of thousands of mounds and ditch-and-embankment structures (unfortunately named “geoglyphs”) is radically changing our understanding of ancient South America.”

My response, I totally agree, great stuff, made by the indigenous, and why I get upset when people like Graham Hancock or Ancient Aliens, say it was someone else.

John Hoopes @KUHoopes Archaeologist – “James Q. Jacobs’ work in Google Earth is amazing. If you don’t know it, you really should check it out.”

My response, I will check it out. Thanks for your help.

John Hoopes @KUHoopes Archaeologist – “Sure thing! Thanks for YOUR help in getting correct and accurate information out to a wide audience!”

My response, I appreciate your support.

Your Shell Mound blog post, “looks good, I did want to make one clarification. The Caddo people don’t see themselves (or their ancestors) as being a “Mississippian” culture. I see on the drawn map that a few sites (particularly Spiro) are shown for “Mississippian cultures”. I assume that is from the H. Roe’s map from 2010. That map was done before Caddo Nation worked with archaeologists to re-classify the social systems/traditions of their ancestors during that time and found that the “Mississippian” label didn’t align with the cultural systems of their ancestors. It is not a big deal but just something to be aware of in the future. I only know because I work with Caddo Nation now and rather knowledge about the latest research of the Caddo.” – Jeffrey (JT) Lewis @jtlewis_arch Southeastern archaeologist. MA, RPA. PhD Grad Student at OU.

Jeffrey (JT) Lewis is a southeastern archaeologist and Ph.D. Grad Student who makes archaeology YouTube videos

In my prehistory art in this blog, I offer my speculations relating to art with possible religious/supernatural thinking which I think are justified or reasoned speculations/conjectures.

My thoughts on speculations/conjectures:

Unreasoned speculations/conjectures

Wild speculations/conjectures

Loose speculations/conjectures

Justified speculations/conjectures

Reasoned speculations/conjectures

Sound/proven speculations/conjectures

“My speculation is that Sacred Mountain Mythology all may relate to beliefs relating to the Altai Mountains.”

“The Altai Mountains, also spelled Altay Mountains, are a mountain range in Central and East Asia, where Russia, China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan converge. The Altai Mountains have been identified as being the point of origin of a cultural enigma termed the Seima-Turbino Phenomenon which arose during the Bronze Age around the start of the 2nd millennium BCE and led to a rapid and massive migration of peoples from the region into distant parts of Europe and Asia. The Altaic language family takes its name from this mountain range. Altaic (also called Transeurasian) may include Turkic languages, Mongolic languages, Tungusic languages, Koreanic languagesJaponic languages, and Ainu languages. The research on their supposedly common linguistics origin has inspired various comparative studies on the folklore and mythology among the TurksProto-Mongols and Tungus people.” refref

The Seima-Turbino phenomenon is a pattern of burial sites with similar bronze artifacts dated to ca. 2300-1700 BCE (2017 dated from 2100 BCE to 1900 BCE, 2007 dated to 1650 BCE onwards) found across northern Eurasia, particularly Siberia and Central Asia, maybe from Fennoscandia to MongoliaNortheast ChinaRussian Far EastKorea, and Japan. The homeland is considered to be the Altai Mountains. These findings have suggested a common point of cultural origin, possession of advanced metalworking technology, and unexplained rapid migration. The buried were nomadic warriors and metal-workers, traveling on horseback or two-wheeled carts. ref

“Phylogenetic analyses of STR variation within haplogroups C and Q traced both lineages to a probable ancestral homeland in the vicinity of the Altai Mountains in Southwest Siberia. Divergence dates between the Altai plus North Asians versus the Native American population system ranged from 10,100 to 17,200 years for all lineages, precluding a very early entry into the Americas. The geographic source of Native American Y chromosomes, shown as a circle that included the following territory: Lake Baikal (eastward to the Trans-Baikal and southward into northern Mongolia), the Lena River headwaters, the Angara and Yenisey river basins, the Altai Mountain foothills, and the region south of the Sayan Mountains (including Tuva and western Mongolia). The Native American sample, included 588 individuals from 18 populations allocated three major Native American language families as follows: 342 Amerind speakers, 186 Na-Dene speakers, and 60 Aleut-Eskimo speakers. Native American linguistic affiliations, C lineage network for Asia and the Americas, noting the position of the C-P39 ancestral node leading to C-P39 has haplotype (15–13–13–29–24–9–11–13–11–11) and was present in 2 Altai. This ancestral node is also connected to a one-step neighbor (DYS19 = 16) below it in the network that was found in 11 Altai. The first node after the C-P39 mutation differs from the ancestral node only at DYS390 (23 versus 24 repeats) and was found in a single Cheyenne individual. The one-step neighbor (DYS393 = 12) to the left of this node leads to a mixed Amerind and Na-Dene lineage, whereas the two-step neighbor (DYS389II = 28; DYS391 = 10) below it leads to an exclusively southwestern Na-Dene branch present in 14 Apache and 1 Navajo. The haplotype for the 2 Wayu (15–13–13–30–25–10–11–13–11–11) exhibited 6 mutational step differences from the C-P39 modal haplotype (15–13–13–28–23–9–11–12–11–11), reflecting its marked divergence from the predominant Native American C-haplogroup. Haplogroup C has a much more patchy distribution, with most of the C-P39 chromosomes in our sample concentrated in the three Na-Dene populations. Both Native American founder haplogroups are present at moderately high frequencies in our sample of 98 southern Altai (Q = 17%; C = 22%); however, it is the STR data that proved to be of critical import for narrowing down the presumptive Asian source region. The ancestral nodes leading to both Q-M3 and C-P39, the two Native American–specific haplogroups, were present in the southern Altai individuals. Although the Kets and Sekups currently inhabit the eastern part of Western Siberia and the Yenisey River Valley, according to Russian ethnographers, their ancient homelands are thought to lie farther south, on the slopes of the Sayan and Altai mountains. Thus, our present data support the hypothesis that the Altai Mountain region is the principal candidate for the geographic source of the founding Native American Y chromosomes. As far as we are aware, only the Altai region possesses all of the major Native American Y chromosome and mtDNA founding haplogroups, thereby making it the best available candidate for the ancestral source region for the Native American population system.” https://academic.oup.com/mbe/article/21/1/164/1114763

High mobility of ancient hunter-gatherers 7,500 years ago,

 Indicated by genetic data from the Altai


“Research has identified a previously unknown hunter-gatherer population in the Altai some 7,500 years ago which illustrates the high mobility between populations in Siberia and elsewhere in North Asia. Furthermore, the Altai hunter-gatherer group contributed genetically to many contemporaneous and subsequent populations across North Asia, showing how great the mobility of those foraging communities was. The Altai region (Altai Mountainsis widely known as the place where an archaic hominin group, the Denisovans, was first discovered. Yet this region is also highly important for the demographic history of our own species, says Cosimo Posth. “Its geographic location makes the Altai an important crossroads for population movements between northern Siberia, Central Asia, and East Asia over millennia.” ref

“The genetic data from the Altai show that East Eurasia harbor highly connected gene pools since at least the Early Holocene, some 10,000 years ago. “Such connection across long geographic distances is remarkable. This suggests that human migrations and admixtures were the norm and not the exception also for ancient hunter-gatherer societies. Moreover, a burial in the region in the same period as the other Altai hunter-gatherers had a completely different genetic profile, carrying genetic affinities to populations located in the Russian Far East. This man, known as the Nizhnetytkesken individual, was found in a cave containing rich burial goods and with a costume and objects interpreted as a possible representation of shamanism.” ref

“These 6,500-year-old remains discovered in Nizhnetytkesken Cave in the Altai Mountains had genetic ties to a group living about 900 miles away. “This implies that individuals with very different [genetic] profiles were living in the same region, and with belongings indicate that this person may have been a shaman. His ancestral group may have inhabited a larger area than previously thought, or he may have been a traveling healer. Therefore, it seems that mixing between ancient hunter-gatherer groups probably occurred more frequently than previously believed.” ref

“This shows that people with very different genetic profiles were living in the area. It is not clear if the Nizhnetytkesken individual came from far away or the population from which he originated was living close by. “However, his grave goods appear different from other archeological sites, implying movements of both culturally and genetically diverse individuals into the Altai region,” says Wang. This study also reports data from a 7,000-year-old individual from the Russian Far East which show genetic links with hunter-gatherer groups from the Japanese Archipelago.” ref

“Furthermore, newly generated ancient genomes from the Kamchatka Peninsula reveal multiple phases of North America-related gene flow to northeastern Asia over the last multiple millennia. These results raise the question to what extend genetic profiles and archaeological cultures were correlated in Siberian forager groups. There are still large temporal gaps across this huge geographic region to fill with more interdisciplinary archeological and ancient DNA research, according to Posth. “We need more archaeogenetic studies focusing on North Asia to find out which demographic processes were involved in the formation of distinct hunter-gatherer gene-pools, and how these were possibly linked with different cultural practices,” he says.” ref

And the study of 10 sets of human remains in North Asia dating back as many as 7,500 years ago suggests that hunter-gatherers traveled far and wide, including back and forth across the Bering Land Bridge, according to a Live Science report. Genes from groups in North America were also detected in remains in central Siberia and on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. The researchers suggest that genes flowed back and forth between North America and Asia for about 5,000 years.” ref

Genetics Reveal Movements of Ancient Siberians


“DNA reveals the previously unknown degree of mixture between Japan, North America, and the Eurasian mainland. Ancient DNA preserved in the icy climate of Siberia has revealed new insights about how ancient humans migrated five to seven thousand years ago.” ref

“In a study published recently in Current Biology, the researchers examined the DNA from 10 different ancient humans, which is quite a lot considering most of them date from 5,500 to 7,500 years old. These remains came from three locations in Siberia — the Altai Mountains, the Kamchatka Peninsula, and the Russian Far East.” ref

Altai Mountains meetings and Shamanism?

“Researchers were surprised to discover a previously unknown population with mixed genetics in the Altai Mountains in southern Siberia. At some point during the last Ice Age, a group of ancient north Eurasians mixed with a population from northeastern Siberia. The corresponding mixture is one that researchers haven’t seen before, the head researcher explained. It’s also not clear where these two groups first met and intermingled since the people were mostly nomadic at the time. It’s possible they met in the region where the remains are found, though, which may have provided a good passage between mountains to the north and the desert to the south. “It’s a perfect meeting point for groups, geographically speaking,” the head researcher explained.” ref

“Five of the Altai Mountains remains — all males — had very similar DNA, despite dating from different times between 7,500 and 5,500 years ago. But the sixth male, which dates to about 6,500 years ago, comes from farther east. The DNA shows this, but so does the archaeological context. The individual was buried with rich burial goods and a costume that the head researcher explained could indicate some sort of shamanism. Moreover, the head researcher explained it’s unclear whether this man is representative of a larger migration between the Altai Mountains and people farther east. But it shows that a degree of movement was occurring between different people at the time.” ref

Japanese Connection?

“Nest, one of the analyzed individuals was found in the Russian Far East. This male isn’t that remarkable at first glance, for the DNA resembles that of other similarly aged people that have been previously analyzed. Or at least three-quarters of the DNA is similar. The other quarter of this man’s genome appears to be Japanese. This discovery is surprising. This man dates back to about 7,000 years ago, but Japan was settled much earlier — possibly 30,000 years ago. This means that people from Japan were traveling back to the mainland and mixing with other humans there. “These hunter-gatherers were also able to cross bodies of water and interact among each other,” the head researcher explained. Overall, these results show how fluid ancient people were in Eurasia and even North America. “These foraging communities were in close contact with each other, they were highly mobile with each other and were admixing,” the head researcher also explained. “We are really talking about large-distance mobility.” ref

Crossing the water to and from the Americas?

“Two males and one female from Kamchatka lived relatively recently — only 500 years ago. The reason it’s interesting is that researchers haven’t previously published any ancient genome information from this region. All three of the remains the head researcher and his colleagues analyzed contained small portions of ancestry from Indigenous Americans. The presence of these markers suggests that Indigenous Americans were also crossing back to Russia prior to the period these individuals were alive. “This probably happened over a long period of time,” the head researcher explained. While researchers had previously known there was gene flow back and forth across the Bering Sea — perhaps for 5,000 years — this finding stretches that area of gene flow further south into the Kamchatka Peninsula.” ref

Here are other supporting articles:

“Volcanos and Mountains in the Mesoamerican Highlands’ Mythology” by Juan Carlos Barrientos-García

*Volcanos and Mountains in Mesoamerican Mythology*
They had witnessed the frightening miracle of the earth bleeding stone in slow, molten sheets from the craters on top of the great cones. Volcanoes were, in their experience, the clearest example of the world being born out of the Otherworld below. No people who have seen the sky turn black in billowing clouds of eruption and then rain stony fire and desolation onto the fertile, surrounding countryside could doubt that mountains contain spiritual forces capable of dispensing prosperity or disaster in human lives.” Freidel, D. et al. (1993) ‘Maya Cosmos: Three Thousand Years On The Shaman’s Path’ Quill William Morrow: New York.” ref
“The author of the previous lines managed to capture the essence of the sacramental appreciation the Mesoamericans held for the powerful elements that molded their environment while living under the presence of these fuming mountains. It has been noted by scholars that the Maya made little distinction between volcanoes and mountains in the sense of ranking their importance, and usually, in the written evidence the terms of mountain and volcano are used interchangeably (Beek, 2008). In the Mesoamerican conceptual vision of the universe, the mountains represented a sacred space elevated from the chaotic primeval waters, where they could be in communion with the spiritual realm. These spaces were regarded as sacred portals to this other world, and had to be respected and even feared because of the capricious spirits that dwelled there.” ref
Volcanoes were the most perfect of these formations and became the symbol of the most noble or powerful of these beings which the Mayas called “Witz’’ (De Salvo, 2008). Volcanoes and high peaks rise above the horizon and they naturally became sacred altars because of their proximity to “the heart of heaven” The summits were a privileged location for the study of the stars. However, the hot fire at the mouth of volcanoes was also considered to be a window into the warm “heart of the earth”. In Mesoamerican beliefs, fire was the purest of the elements since fire cannot be polluted, unlike air, earth, or water. They believed that fire, therefore, was the manifestation of life itself, and that the gods had lit a sparkle of fire in the chests of the first maize-fashioned humans to bring them to life. Volcanic eruptions hence were not seen as the destructive forces of enraged gods like Kabracán the Mayan deity of earthquakes and mountains, but actually as an event of new earth being brought to life by the primordial fire inside the mountain (Christenson, 2003). In the mythology shared throughout Mesoamerica, Mountains were thought to be depositaries of wealth. They were “impregnated” with riches jealously guarded by the spirits of the underworld (De Salvo, 2008). It was from inside a mountain full of the gods’ bounty that a small ant managed to bring a stolen kernel of corn to be given to humans, so that the Mesoamerican man could plant the maize that became their staple crop, a vital force with which they strongly identify.” ref

“The Mesoamericans are the hombres delmaízthe “Men of corn”  (Christenson, 2003). Mountains were also regarded as the depositaries of water, therefore becoming sanctuaries of water worship. Evidence of the mountains being considered as natural temple structures where the water gods were venerated remains in the name of several locations throughout modern Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Many mountain places bear the name Azacualpa, which literally means the “water-worshipping place”, from the Nahuatl atl-“water”, -zacualli “temple pyramid” and  pa “place” (Incer, 1985)It is interesting to mention that Nahuatl (the language of the Mexica) had become before the arrival of the Spanish, the lingua franca spoken by the Mesoamericans due to the sway of powerful polities in Mexico which culturally and economically influenced the greater Mesoamerican area. Several place names in the region have their origins in this language (Carmack, 1981).In essence, volcanoes and mountains represented for ancient Mesoamericans portal to the spiritual world. The imposition of their massive presence in the scenery made them into natural temples enclosing riches and the vital waters people needed for sustenance. Volcanoes were producers of life and holders of the primordial fire of life, home to powerful spirits, and were also high altars for worshipping the heavens. They were unequivocally the backdrop for the myths and the materialization of the powers of the spirits that inhabited within their midst.” ref

Mountains in the ancient Mesoamerican Mythology
“The mountains in ancient Mesoamerican mythology embody the link between heaven, earth, and the underworld. In the Popol-Vuh, the book of the sacred Mayan stories, the underworld was the abode of the gods of Xibalba where the spirits were ruled by powerful lords. This was a place of mystical darkness accessed by caves; a place of water and of heat (volcanoes). Just as the horizon in Central America is dominated by the imposing figures of large massifs and volcanoes, so did the peoples who inhabited this land ascribe corresponding associations of power to these geological features. Because of their proximity to the essence of their environment and to their gods who inhabited both the heavens and the underworld, mountains were perceived as natural temples. The violence of volcanic activity was viewed by the ancients as a manifestation not only of their gods’ prowess but also of the birth of life and renewal. Mountains were the sacred spaces of communion with the realm of the spiritual. Modern-day Mesoamericans revere their mountains, while they coexist with and respect their volcanos. They understand them to be venerable characters, sometimes with personalities of their own. In present-day Guatemala, where the volcano Fuego that inspired this essay recently unleashed flows of devastation, volcanos are still regarded as sentient beings with temperaments as well as protective qualities in spite of their rate of eruptions. Such is their nature, and they have learned that they can’t be contended.” ref

Animism in Altai Mountain Area?

“Worship of nature, the three worlds in Altai mythology, Altai shamanism, Altai epic myths, Altai annual communal ceremonies marking the season cycles, sacred fire mythology, Prayers/Blessings, Altai magic (tarmalga), afterlife/soul belief, and Shamanistic Healing.”

“The Republic of Altai,  (the mountainous Altai), is a republic of Russia located in southern Siberia, and is part of the Russian Federation.  The Republic is located about 500km South of Novosibirsk, bordering China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan. The Altai people, in total, number 76,000, and are made of 6 different groups; Telengit, Altai Kizhi, Tubular, Kumandin, Shor, and Chalkan. This research paper will focus on the 65,000 Altai (Telengit and Altai Kizhi) people who speak Southern Altai fluently. The language is used in arts, media, in education and in everyday life. The majority of the Altai are also fairly fluent in Russian, with the exception of those living in remote villages. I am interested in researching their animistic and shamanistic worldview and practices more thoroughly in order to have increased insight into their culture.” ref

Worship of nature?

“The Altai religious beliefs are based on animism. The Altai worship gods in nature, in trees, rivers, and mountains. In Altai, a wise person is one who knows and observes the laws of nature and who respects and lives in harmony with the forces of nature, which are all dependent on the energy from the sky, fire, and water spirits. There is a higher power (Ulgen), angels, spirits of the mountains, rivers, and springs, spirits of the home, and the ruler of the lower earth (Erlik). Altai’s mountains are sacred places to the clans of the Altai people. Mountains protect clans from evil spirits and facilitate prosperity and well-being. Each clan (seok) has a sacred mountain (yiyk tuu). Each valley, each mountain peak, and each spring has its own spirits, or masters, known in Altai as ‘eezi’.” ref

“The Altai tradition of worshipping mountain, river, and mountain-pass spirits has deep roots and still plays a significant role in the people’s worldview. Mountain spirits often occur in epics, myths, legends, and stories. There are specific rituals undertaken today, through which a particular clan worships at their mountain. The Altai try to pacify nature by bringing presents for the mountains, such as bright-colored ribbons to attach to trees and the sprinkling of alcohol and milk on the top of mountain passes to thank the gods for safe passage. The mountains in turn help people in trouble, and each mountain has its own name and legend. Previously, each traveler, knowing where he was going, and which mountain passes he would cross, would prepare his ribbons and take them with him. Through the tying of the ribbons, the traveler is asking a blessing, but also promising to keep the local traditions and preserve the Altai nature. The tying of the ribbons shows love and loyalty to the Altai spirit. The ribbons are normally white, but yellow ribbons symbolize the sun, blue the sky, red is fire and green symbolizes grass. This tradition is continued today.” ref

Three Worlds?

“There are three worlds in Altai mythology, with the ‘eternal poplar’ which symbolizes a world tree marking the center of the world. The road to the higher and lower levels of the world runs up and down this tree, which unites all the worlds by passing through the middle world where humans dwell. Good white substances rise up to the sky in blessings, and heavy black substances flow down towards the lower world, the realm of Erlik, and his evil forces. The middle world where humans dwell is divided into two; visible and invisible. The flat territory, such as plains and valleys, is the visible realm of man, and the mountains and rivers are the domains of the spirits, where man is a guest and must observe certain rules. These three worlds are interconnected and express the Altai understanding of God through nature.” ref 


“Shamans are the link between the world of the living and that of the spirits. In Altai today, there are no official shamans who still use the dark force and worship Erlik. However, shamanistic rituals have played a large role in the history and the culture of the Altai people, and so these still play a large part in making up people’s worldview. Unofficially there are prophets (jarlikchi) who operate privately and use white energies in their rituals. There is a movement within Altai to revive the animistic and shamanist beliefs and practices.” ref

“Altai shamanism is oral in nature and there is no written statement of rules and regulations. The function of the shaman is healing, controlling the weather, exorcism, searching for lost objects and the sending of the spirits of the dead into the next world. The shaman in Altai is called the ‘kam’, who is a mediator between the world of the dead and humans. The shaman communicates with the spirits, using a drum, and is able to send his ‘double’ to different places in the universe. The shaman can also ask the spirits of nature to assist him.  The ‘kam’ ability is inherited, and the man predestined to become a shaman, will fall ill in childhood and into a frenzy or trance. Black shamanism involves the worship of Erlik (the demonic Lord of the underworld) and travels to the spirit underworld.” ref

“The drum or tambourine is a special gift given by the gods to the shaman, as evidence that he is qualified. The ceremony of manufacturing and presenting the tambourine goes on for several days watched by a large crowd. The tambourine is played with a special rhythm while the shaman appeals to the gods. If the tambourine skin breaks during the ritual, it means spirits have come to punish the shaman and he will die soon. Other than the tambourine, the other sacred Altai object of worship is the shaman costume. When the shaman strikes the tambourine, the spirits rush towards him, and some settle in his garments and some in the tambourine. The most important spirits go into the shaman himself, with a large intake of breath from the shaman. The shaman clothes include braids, pendants, tissue, animal skins, and parts, as well as images of snakes and monsters.” ref

White Shamanism?

“White shamanism experienced a revival in the early 20th century and a movement was founded called the ‘White Faith’ (‘Ak Jang’). The followers of the ‘White Faith’ excluded contact with the dark spirits and underworld, and only worshipped the white guardians. The highest deity was called ‘Altai-Kudai’ in place of Ulgen. The ‘spirits of place’ were re-named ‘burkhans’ and that is why the ‘White Faith’ is also called ‘Burkhanism’ today. Blood sacrifice to the spirits using cattle was stopped, and so was the use of wine and tobacco in rituals. Their spirit messengers were re-named ‘jarlikchi’. The ‘White Faith’ movement is waiting for the return of the Oirot-khan as a national hero and Saviour. The White Faith group only communicates with the good white spirits and attempts to maintain harmony with nature and to bring blessing through their practices.” ref

Altai epic myths?

“The oral epic story tradition is of great importance to the Altai people, and traditionally these myths and legends were re-told through the medium of throat singing on the two-stringed lute (topshur). Originally, these throat singers were considered to have unusual abilities, as a result of their special relationship to the spirits. The ancient Altai epic myths show the life and history of the Altai people. They are oral masterpieces which been passed down from generation to generation. The epic “Altai Baatyrlar” (Altaian Bogatyrs or heroic warriors) was published in nine volumes (approximately 100,000 lines of poetry), and there are many other unpublished epic tales. The Altai myths also contain plots, heroes and characteristics from other people’s legends, such as the Kyrgyz or the Buryat. These epic stories are told through throat-singing (kay) and it can take a week to sing an epic of 7,000 lines.” ref

“The most famous Altai epic is called ‘Maadai-Kara’ by Elbek Kalkin. Khan Maadai-Kara is an old hero who has already lost his power. He sleeps for sixty days, but when he wakes up, he realizes that a hostile ruler is approaching to seize him, his property, and his people. When his wife gives birth to a son, Khan Maadai-Kara hides his son in the black mountain under the protection of the birch trees. This son is raised by the spirit-owner of Altai in the forests. When his parents are captured by Erlik, he eventually rescues them, and he returns the golden era to Altai. The epic stories are very similar in themes: wars with lords who attack Altai land and property; wars for brides when there are many candidates; or wars for stolen herds of animals. The characteristic of Altai legends is that all the heroes possess magic powers: the hero’s horse knows and sees everything; the wife of the hero can predict all things in advance; and the young girl knows beforehand whom she will marry.” ref

“The Altai also have legends which explain the creation of the world. According to these legends, there were three brothers in heaven who jointly created the world: Ulgen, Tayashi, and Erlik. However, after creating the world they argued amongst themselves about who had put the most effort into creating, and as a result of this argument they split the world into three parts: Ulgen stayed in the heavens, Tayashi came down to earth, and the youngest brother Erlik went to the under-world. From heaven, Ulgen rained down on earth cold, lightning, thunder, snow, and rain, and using this, Tayashi created on earth lakes and rivers, forests, and animals, and all the animals and birds that live in them. Under the earth, Erlik became angry and offended with his brothers, and decided to bring evil on all earth’s inhabitants, resulting in conflict and suffering to this day.” ref 


“The Altai perform four major communal annual ceremonies, marking the season cycles of the year. They are Altai New Year in March (the ‘year-melt’), the rituals of spring (‘green leaves’), the rituals of autumn (‘yellow leaves’), and the New Year festival (‘white feast’). At the start of the summer, those conducting the ritual ask the higher powers for more livestock, a good harvest, and prosperity. In the autumn, they ask for the protection of livestock over the winter and a good end to a difficult period. These ceremonies are undergoing a period of revival in some Altai villages today.” ref

“During these festivals, milk and white food are cast into the fire, and white ribbons are hung on trees, in dedication to the local spirits and gods. The Altai are trying to gain the approval of the spirits and their blessing on the time ahead, and especially on the livestock, the hunting, and the harvest. There are also games, meals, and competitions organized along with these rituals. Once every two years, all of the Altai Republic gathers for the festival of El-Oyin, (‘nationwide games’) with the aim to maintain the customs and traditions of the Altai people, including sports, competitions, throat singing, and theatrical shows. I was present at the opening ceremony of this festival in 2017, when one of the epic Altai legends was acted out and sung.” ref

“Other ceremonies in Altai include the visitation of healing springs (arzhan) which involves a broad range of religious and healing rituals and procedures, including fasting and abstinence from smoking and alcohol. In order to visit the arzhan, one doesn’t have to be sick. On the contrary, it is considered best to conduct these rituals in order to support one’s life force.” ref


“The Altai have a special relationship of respect to fire, and they call fire the ‘head of the family’. The home fire is sacred, so rubbish should not be thrown into it, it should never be extinguished, and gifts are made to the fire. The shaman will begin the ‘kam’ ritual celebrating and turning to the god of mother fire, and she can be asked for assistance in upcoming travels. If the Altai people do not fear fire, the fire will cause destructive fires in the home and in the village. During wedding preparations, while the bride’s hair is plaited, the groom lights a fire which represents the fire of their family life. If the fire burns well, they will have success as a family, and if the fire wanes or goes out, so will their family life. Every family must feed their own fire daily with food and milk offerings, and if a guest arrives with food, that food must first be offered also to the fire. If a family member becomes ill, they are placed on their back and cooled cinders from the hearth are placed on their stomach and rubbed in, while the house owner declares a blessing.” ref


“Traditionally the Altai people lived in ails, which are hexagonal constructions made of timber with a conical roof. The door must be orientated towards the east, which is where the sun rises. It is only possible to move counterclockwise round the ail, and the honored guests are always seated in the place of honor near the fireplace. Today Altai families live in Russian houses, but they still use their ails as a summer house.” ref 

Prayers and Blessings?

“A lot of the ancient Altai mythology is found in their prayers and blessing (alkysh). Communication with the good spirits of nature of the ‘excluded middle’ in the Altai spiritual worldview takes place by their prayers (ailatkysh) and blessings (alkysh). To read a blessing one needs to specify a certain intention or goal. Here is an example of an Altai blessing:

“Lord God Altai! Spirit of Altai! Precious elements! Give your blessing! May no dark substance curse my path with obstacles. Help me to fulfill my purpose. White substance, give your strength, pure substance, give the consciousness necessary in order to… (personal intention follows). May the spirit of kindness fill our hearts, God Altai, Spirit of Altai! Chok!” ref

“‘Chok’ means, ‘I worship, revere, and bow before you’. When making a blessing, the person should turn towards the East where the sun rises, and then to the peak of a sacred mountain and make a small bow. Men remove their hats and stroke their head several times from the crown to the forehead, and women stroke their hair forwards or push it behind their ears with both hands bending their head. Blessings are normally made at group gatherings, usually held at the new moon before mid-day in the morning sunlight. These blessings strengthen the energy of the soul and provide a way to influence one’s destiny for the better. They always take place outside and provide a link with nature, channeling the good energy of nature towards the person. Such blessings help to strengthen the energy of the soul.” ref


“Altai magic (tarmalga) has existed for a very long time, and includes sorcery, wizardry, witchcraft, magic, superstitions, prediction, signs, omens, and incantations. Originally white and black magic existed together. The symbol for white magic in Altai is a leather milk vessel used for holding milk that is sprinkled during prayer. The sign for black magic is a mask, probably explained by the fact that the person loses their true identity when they practice black magic. There are various ritual objects now held in the National Museum in Altai that are covered in symbols and help explain some of the ancient magical practices. Cult signs can be found on flint stones. On the flint stones used in white magic, the morning star was shown, and on those used in black magic, either the evening star or two masks were depicted.” ref

“One of the most important actions of a sorcerer is the banishment of the spirit of illness or demons from a person’s soul. A demon may live in the center of a soul, and an illness can cause a person to be cruel and unkind, causing harm to those around him. Such a person has become a victim of dark energy which has come to live in his soul, banishing the white energy of kindness. If the sorcerer is not able to exorcise the illness, he may ask the assistance of the white shaman or prophet (jarlikchi). The healing rituals take place between the 8th and 15th day of the month when there is the whitest substance in the atmosphere. During the ritual the sorcerer or prophet will say a blessing or an incantation. The sick person may be given a protective amulet made by the prophet to be carried on his person for further protection from dark energies and influences.” ref

“During the ritual, the shaman uses a drum or tambourine, and a ritual object symbolizing images of the shaman’s ancestors on the maternal and paternal life for six generations. This would protect the shaman and his family from accidents, ill-spoken words, and the evil eye, and these objects were also used in divination. Every ritual object would have its own sphere of influence – over hunting, over sick people, over the health of children, over the cattle etc. There are currently no shamans in Altai serving the dark force as in the past. There are prophets (jarlikchi) who use white energies in the rituals and burn heather and juniper. The function of this interaction with the spirit world is protection over the evil dark forces, through incantations, amulets, and other ritual objects.” ref 


In the very ancient Altai culture, death was considered a passage into another life, and a man’s possessions were buried with him. It was believed that a person goes into this life with a horse and goes out with it, so horses were buried with the rich. Nowadays, sometimes a ritual after death may be carried out by a spirit-seer in Altai, who makes offerings to the soul of the deceased. A spirit-seer is invited to the home of the deceased, and he is able to see the soul of the deceased. The soul communicates with the seer, expressing its last wishes before departing. On the seventh day the soul returns home to collect personal belongings needed in the next world and to have refreshments. The seer carries out a ritual to make offerings to the soul of the deceased, which takes place in the evening, with offerings made from an earthenware bowl. Food is placed in the bowl, alcohol is sprinkled on the ground and crockery is smashed.” ref

?On the seventh day the spirit of milk leaves the human body. The door should be kept ajar, and the home should be quiet and unlit. After the fortieth day the spirit of the deceased will never again return to the family home or pursue loved ones. The soul of the deceased may be sent to the underworld to be cleansed if the person has broken the laws of nature during their life. If the deceased appears in a relative’s dream, the prophet may be called to conduct another ritual, aiming to separate the deceased’s soul from the relative’s consciousness. The fire cleansing ritual is carried out in the relatives’ house and words of an incantation are spoken. The purpose of this communication with the soul of the dead is to provide protection for the living, and to allow the soul of the deceased to leave the body in a peaceful way.” ref 


“Healing has a special significance in the context of traditional Altai Shamanism. Every sickness is perceived as the work of evil, and so the need for healing by supernatural means is one of the crucial needs of the Altai people. An important part of the shaman’s work was healing, as the shamans would banish the spirit of illness or demons from the person’s soul. Now, despite the lack of official shamans, local folk doctors are sometimes preferred over medical doctors. Rituals for healing the sick are still carried out and the sick person may be given an amulet for protection from dark influences. Water is also believed by the Altai people to be a source of strength and healing. They believe that there are spirits who live in the rivers and lakes who are able to heal illness and give long-life.” ref 

Blessing and Harmony?

“The gaining of favor and blessing from the good spirits in nature as a family and as a society is a key felt need of the Altai people. There are several important Altai festivals during the year, one of which is Chaga-Bairam, the Altai New Year. This is celebrated in February at the beginning of the new moon. It is an ancient festival which is designed to bring about the development of the Altai people and country, peace and favor to society, fullness and blessing in the family, and health to the cattle and crops to be planted later in the year. The festival begins early in the morning with a ritual to worship the sun of Altai. Sacrifices of milk products are brought on a special altar, ribbons are tied to trees and a fire is lit and fed. Later in the day there is a celebration, including skating on skates and furs, eating national food, and cultural and sport competitions. The Altai are celebrating the soon arrival of spring and the new cycle of the calendar year.” ref

“In June, while a full moon can be seen in the sky, the Altai people celebrated the holiday which was a symbol of the beginning of summer, called ‘Green leaves’. This was the time when the first leaves came out and everything was in blossom, so that people could graze their cattle again. During the holiday they thanked the spirits for a good winter. In autumn they celebrated ‘Yellow leaves’. This holiday is devoted to the master of Altai taiga forest. During this holiday people asked him for warm and ‘full of food’ winters. The Altai people need harmony with nature, good weather, and success in hunting, and these two festivals answered these felt needs. These Altai festivals have not been celebrated during the Soviet era, but currently, there is a revitalization of these rituals and in some places now in Altai these festivals are celebrated.” ref 


?The Altai people are searching for security and an ability to control basic life issues. They are looking for protection from potential dangers which are perceived to be linked to the spiritual world. One category of protection is from physical dangers: wild animals, weather conditions, road accidents, drowning, getting lost, and so on. These remain very important issues for hunters and professional drivers whose everyday life is endangered by harsh Siberian conditions. Another important category is protection from the influence of evil spirits. In the following paragraphs there is a description of different ways in which the Altai religion provides this protection, which is so eagerly sought.” ref 

“In their houses, the Altai hang a protector of their house called a ‘jaik’. In order to set up the ‘jaik’ in the house, an unofficial shaman is invited. Then, each month, at the new moon, the spirit ‘jaik’ is presented with offerings of food. The ‘jaik’ is the defender and protector of the house and the heart of the family. The Altai also burn juniper and the smoke is considered a very valuable smell practically to kill bacteria, but also to cleanse the house and area around from evil spirits. It burns away black substance and strengthens the soul. The fire is also the heart of the family, providing protection, and traditionally was regularly fed to pacify and please the spirits. Moreover, any storm, illness or misfortune which occurs after the failure to observe the fire-feeding ritual may be interpreted as judgement from the spirits. The fire feeding is a way to influence everyday reality and avoid problems. Due to the high esteem shown to fire, the Altai people will never throw rubbish on a fire, spit on it or cross over it.” ref

“Another method to ward off unclean spirits, is the hanging of a bear’s paw over the door of the house. People believe that this paw can ward off unclean spirits. If a cow stops giving milk, it is believed that someone has given the cow the Evil Eye and that bad energy has affected the cow. At this point the owner of the house will take the paw of the bear and do a massage of the cow’s teats. The cow is relieved from stress and the milk will return. Whips are also hung over doors, connected to the belief that unclean spirits are afraid of the whip’s handle, since it is made from a thorny bush. Such a whip can also be used to exorcise unclean spirits from people.” ref

“After eating fatty food in the evening and before going outside, an Altai person will cleanse their mouth with a lit match or a hot branch from the fire.  This is believed to stop an evil spirit licking the person’s lips. If they go to bed in an unknown house, they lie down with their head towards the door. Then, when an unclean spirit comes, it will fall on their legs instead of on their heads. In order to be protected from bad dreams at night, the Altai put a knife or match underneath their pillows.” ref

“Mothers also keep the umbilical cord of their children and make a guardian key-ring from it to protect their children. Previously this was sewn into the women’s Altai costume. The key-ring is four-cornered for a boy, and three-cornered for a girl. Above a newborn baby’s cot, Altai people also hang the claws of a wild beast and these will also protect the baby from unclean spirits. If someone kills a duck, above his tail there is a special part containing fat protected by the flapping of the duck’s wings. The hunter cuts off this fatty part and sews it into the clothes of a child, to ward off evil spirits. If some of the feathers, still attached to this fatty part of the duck, start to become fluffy like a dandelion, it is held that the child will grow up healthy.” ref

“A mother may sew small buttons and the claw of a rat into the fur coat of a child to protect it from the evil eye. These charms in Altai are connected often to animals and nature, and many can be obtained through hunting, which is an important part of Altai life and culture. The Altai hunters also have a special amulet that is the patron of their weapons. If the amulet is placed in a special pipe, tobacco is placed over it and it is smoked, then an unclean spirit cannot harm his hunter.” ref

Shamanism in Siberia?

A large minority of people in North Asia, particularly in Siberia, follow the religio-cultural practices of shamanism. Some researchers regard Siberia as the heartland of shamanism. The people of Siberia comprise a variety of ethnic groups, many of whom continue to observe shamanistic practices in modern times. Many classical ethnographers recorded the sources of the idea of “shamanism” among Siberian peoples.” ref

Terminology in Siberian languages:

  • ‘shaman’: saman (Nedigal, Nanay, Ulcha, Orok), sama (Manchu). The variant /šaman/ (i.e., pronounced “shaman”) is Evenk (whence it was borrowed into Russian).
  • ‘shaman’: alman, olman, wolmen (Yukagir)
  • ‘shaman’: [qam] (Tatar, Shor, Oyrat), [xam] (Tuva, Tofalar)
  • The Buryat word for shaman is бөө (böö) [bøː], from early Mongolian böge. Itself borrowed from Proto-Turkic *bögü (“sage, wizard”)
  • ‘shaman’: ńajt (Khanty, Mansi), from Proto-Uralic *nojta (c.f. Sámi noaidi)
  • ‘shamaness’: [iduɣan] (Mongol), [udaɣan] (Yakut), udagan (Buryat), udugan (Evenki, Lamut), odogan (Nedigal). Related forms found in various Siberian languages include utagan, ubakan, utygan, utügun, iduan, or duana. All these are related to the Mongolian name of Etügen, the hearth goddess, and Etügen Eke ‘Mother Earth’. Maria Czaplicka points out that Siberian languages use words for male shamans from diverse roots, but the words for female shaman are almost all from the same root. She connects this with the theory that women’s practice of shamanism was established earlier than men’s, that “shamans were originally female.” ref

Siberian shamans’ spirit-journeys (reenacting their dreams wherein they had rescued the soul of the client, “Living with gods: Siberian spirit of the hunt: The British Museum“) were conducted in, e.g., Oroch peopleAltai people, and Nganasan people healing séances. Shamanistic practice shows great diversity, even if restricted to Siberia. In some cultures, the music or song related to shamanistic practice may mimic natural sounds, sometimes with onomatopoeia.” ref

This holds true for the practices of the noaidi among Sami groups. Although the Sami people live outside of Siberia, many of their shamanistic beliefs and practice shared important features with those of some Siberian cultures. The joiks of the Sami were sung on shamanistic rites. Recently, joiks are sung in two different styles: one of these is sung only by young people; the traditional one may be the other, the “mumbling” style, which resembles magic spells. Several surprising characteristics of joiks can be explained by comparing the music ideals, as observed in joiks and contrasted to music ideals of other cultures. Some joiks intend to mimic natural sounds. This can be contrasted to bel canto, which intends to exploit human speech organs on the highest level to achieve an almost “superhuman” sound.” ref

“The intention to mimic natural sounds is present in some Siberian cultures as well: overtone singing, and also shamanic songs of some cultures can be examples.

  • In a Soyot shamanic song, sounds of bird and wolf are imitated to represent helping spirits of the shaman.
  • The seances of Nganasan shamans were accompanied by women imitating the sounds of the reindeer calf, (thought to provide fertility for those women). In 1931, A. Popov observed the Nganasan shaman Dyukhade Kosterkin imitating the sound of polar bear: the shaman was believed to have transformed into a polar bear.” ref

Sound mimesis is not restricted to Siberian cultures and is not necessarily linked to shamanistic beliefs or practices. See, for example, Inuit throat singing, a game played by women, an example of Inuit music that employs overtone singing, and, in some cases, the imitation of natural sounds (mostly those of animals, e.g. geese). The imitation of animal sounds can also serve such practical reasons as luring game in hunt.” ref

Grouped by linguistic relatedness?



“Among several Samoyedic peoples shamanism was a living tradition also in modern times, especially at groups living in isolation until recent times (Nganasans). There were distinguished several types of shamans among Nenets, Enets, and Selkup people. (The Nganasan shaman used three different crowns, according to the situation: one for upper world, one for underneath word, one for occasion of childbirth.) Nenets people, Enets people, Nganasan people speak Northern Samoyedic languages. They live in North Siberia (Nenets live also in European parts), they provide classical examples. Selkups are the only ones who speak Southern Samoyedic languages nowadays. They live more to the south, and shamanism was in decline also at the beginning of the 20th century, although folklore memories could be recorded even in the 1960s. Other Southern Samoyedic languages were spoken by some peoples living in the Sayan Mountains, but language shift has taken place, making all these languages extinct.” ref


“There were several types of shamans distinguishing ones contacting upper world, ones contacting underneath world, ones contacting the dead.” ref


“The isolated location of Nganasan people enabled that shamanism was a living phenomenon among them even in the beginning of the 20th century, the last notable Nganasan shaman’s seances could be recorded on film in the 1970s. One of the occasions in which the shaman partook was the clean tent rite, held after the polar night, which included sacrifices.” ref

Sayan Samoyedic?

“Some peoples of the Sayan Mountains spoke once Southern Samoyedic languages. Most of them underwent a language shift in the beginning and middle of the 19th century, borrowing the language of neighboring Turkic peoples. The Kamassian language survived longer: 14 old people spoke it yet in 1914. In the late 20th century, some old people had passive or uncertain knowledge of the language, but collecting reliable scientific data was no longer possible. Today Kamassian is regarded as extinct. The shamanism of Samoyedic peoples in the Sayan Mountains survived longer (if we regard Karagas as a Samoyedic people, although such approaches have been refined: the problem of their origin may be more complex). Diószegi Vilmos could record not only folklore memories in the late 1950s, but he managed also to talk personally to (no longer practicing) shamans, record their personal memories, songs, some of their paraphernalia.” ref

“Whether this shamanism is borrowed entirely from neighboring Turkic peoples, or whether it has some ethnic features, maybe remnants of Samoyedic origin, is unresolved. Comparative considerations suggest, that

  • Karagas shamanism is affected by Abakan-Turkic and Buryat influence. Among the various Soyot cultures, the central Soyot groups, keeping cattle and horses, show Khalkha Mongol phenomena in their shamanism, the shamanism of Western Soyots, living on the steppe, is similar to that of Altai Turkic peoples. A shaman story narrates contacts between Soyots and Abakan Turkic peoples in a mythical form.
  • Karagas and Eastern (reindeer-breeding, mountain-inhabiting) Soyots. have many similarities in their culture and shamanism. It was these two cultures who presented some ethnic features, phenomena lacking among neighboring Turkic peoples. E.g., the structure of their shamanic drum showed such peculiarity: it had two transoms. It was also these two cultures who showed some features, which could be possibly of Samoyedic origin: the shaman’s headdress, dress, and boots has the effigies symbolizing human organs, mostly bones; in the case of headdress, representation of human face. Also the dress-initiating song of the Karagas shaman Kokuyev contained the expression “my shamanic dress with seven vertebrae”. Hoppál interprets the skeleton-like overlay of the Karagas shaman-dress as symbol of shamanic rebirth, similar remark applies for the skeleton-like iron ornamentation of the (not Samoyedic, but genealogically unclassified, Paleosiberian) Ket shamanic dress, although it may symbolize also the bones of the loon (the helper animal of the shaman). (The theory of Ket origin of the Karagas has already been mentioned above.) The skeleton-like overlay symbolized shamanic rebirth also among some other Siberian cultures.” ref


“Starting from the late 9th century onwards, the ancestors of the Hungarian people migrated from their Proto-Uralic homeland in Siberia to the Pannonian Basin, an area that includes present-day Hungary. Today, shamanism is no longer widely practiced by Hungarians, but elements of shamanism have been preserved in their folklore. Comparative methods reveal that some motifs used in folktales, fragments of songs, and folk rhymes retain aspects of the ancient belief system. In an effort to prove that shamanistic remnants existed within Hungarian folklore ethnographer, Diószegi Vilmos, compared ethnographic records of Hungarian and neighboring peoples, and works about various shamanic traditions of some Siberian peoples. Mihály Hoppál continued Diószegi Vilmos’s work comparing shamanic beliefs of speakers of Uralic languages with those of several non-Uralic Siberian peoples. Although Ugrian folklore preserves many traces of shamanism, shamanism itself was a dying practice among the Khanty and Mansi people by the 1930s. Shamanism is still practiced by many indigenous peoples, but, among the modern Ugrians, shamanism is largely practiced by the Khanty.” ref


“Traditional culture of Ket people was researched by Matthias Castrén, Vasiliy Ivanovich Anuchin, Kai Donner, Hans Findeisen, Yevgeniya Alekseyevna Alekseyenko. Shamanism was a living practice in the 1930s yet, but by the 1960s almost no authentic shaman could be found. Ket shamanism shared features with those of Turkic and Mongolic peoples. Besides that, there were several types of shamans, differing in function (sacral rites, curing), power, and associated animal (deer, bear). Also among Kets (like at several other Siberian peoples, e.g. Karagas), there are examples of using skeleton symbolics, Hoppál interprets it as a symbol of shamanic rebirth, although it may symbolize also the bones of the loon (the helper animal of the shaman, joining air and underwater world, just like the shaman who traveled both to the sky and the underworld as well). The skeleton-like overlay represented shamanic rebirth also among some other Siberian cultures.” ref


Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

People don’t commonly teach religious history, even that of their own claimed religion. No, rather they teach a limited “pro their religion” history of their religion from a religious perspective favorable to the religion of choice. 

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

Do you truly think “Religious Belief” is only a matter of some personal choice?

Do you not see how coercive one’s world of choice is limited to the obvious hereditary belief, in most religious choices available to the child of religious parents or caregivers? Religion is more commonly like a family, culture, society, etc. available belief that limits the belief choices of the child and that is when “Religious Belief” is not only a matter of some personal choice and when it becomes hereditary faith, not because of the quality of its alleged facts or proposed truths but because everyone else important to the child believes similarly so they do as well simply mimicking authority beliefs handed to them. Because children are raised in religion rather than being presented all possible choices but rather one limited dogmatic brand of “Religious Belief” where children only have a choice of following the belief as instructed, and then personally claim the faith hereditary belief seen in the confirming to the belief they have held themselves all their lives. This is obvious in statements asked and answered by children claiming a faith they barely understand but they do understand that their family believes “this or that” faith, so they feel obligated to believe it too. While I do agree that “Religious Belief” should only be a matter of some personal choice, it rarely is… End Hereditary Religion!

Opposition to Imposed Hereditary Religion

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


Animism: Respecting the Living World by Graham Harvey 

“How have human cultures engaged with and thought about animals, plants, rocks, clouds, and other elements in their natural surroundings? Do animals and other natural objects have a spirit or soul? What is their relationship to humans? In this new study, Graham Harvey explores current and past animistic beliefs and practices of Native Americans, Maori, Aboriginal Australians, and eco-pagans. He considers the varieties of animism found in these cultures as well as their shared desire to live respectfully within larger natural communities. Drawing on his extensive casework, Harvey also considers the linguistic, performative, ecological, and activist implications of these different animisms.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

We are like believing machines we vacuum up ideas, like Velcro sticks to almost everything. We accumulate beliefs that we allow to negatively influence our lives, often without realizing it. Our willingness must be to alter skewed beliefs that impend our balance or reason, which allows us to achieve new positive thinking and accurate outcomes.

My thoughts on Religion Evolution with external links for more info:

“Religion is an Evolved Product” and Yes, Religion is Like Fear Given Wings…

Atheists talk about gods and religions for the same reason doctors talk about cancer, they are looking for a cure, or a firefighter talks about fires because they burn people and they care to stop them. We atheists too often feel a need to help the victims of mental slavery, held in the bondage that is the false beliefs of gods and the conspiracy theories of reality found in religions.

“Understanding Religion Evolution: Animism, Totemism, Shamanism, Paganism & Progressed organized religion”

Understanding Religion Evolution:

“An Archaeological/Anthropological Understanding of Religion Evolution”

It seems ancient peoples had to survived amazing threats in a “dangerous universe (by superstition perceived as good and evil),” and human “immorality or imperfection of the soul” which was thought to affect the still living, leading to ancestor worship. This ancestor worship presumably led to the belief in supernatural beings, and then some of these were turned into the belief in gods. This feeble myth called gods were just a human conceived “made from nothing into something over and over, changing, again and again, taking on more as they evolve, all the while they are thought to be special,” but it is just supernatural animistic spirit-belief perceived as sacred.


Quick Evolution of Religion?

Pre-Animism (at least 300,000 years ago) pre-religion is a beginning that evolves into later Animism. So, Religion as we think of it, to me, all starts in a general way with Animism (Africa: 100,000 years ago) (theoretical belief in supernatural powers/spirits), then this is physically expressed in or with Totemism (Europe: 50,000 years ago) (theoretical belief in mythical relationship with powers/spirits through a totem item), which then enlists a full-time specific person to do this worship and believed interacting Shamanism (Siberia/Russia: 30,000 years ago) (theoretical belief in access and influence with spirits through ritual), and then there is the further employment of myths and gods added to all the above giving you Paganism (Turkey: 12,000 years ago) (often a lot more nature-based than most current top world religions, thus hinting to their close link to more ancient religious thinking it stems from). My hypothesis is expressed with an explanation of the building of a theatrical house (modern religions development). Progressed organized religion (Egypt: 5,000 years ago)  with CURRENT “World” RELIGIONS (after 4,000 years ago).

Historically, in large city-state societies (such as Egypt or Iraq) starting around 5,000 years ago culminated to make religion something kind of new, a sociocultural-governmental-religious monarchy, where all or at least many of the people of such large city-state societies seem familiar with and committed to the existence of “religion” as the integrated life identity package of control dynamics with a fixed closed magical doctrine, but this juggernaut integrated religion identity package of Dogmatic-Propaganda certainly did not exist or if developed to an extent it was highly limited in most smaller prehistoric societies as they seem to lack most of the strong control dynamics with a fixed closed magical doctrine (magical beliefs could be at times be added or removed). Many people just want to see developed religious dynamics everywhere even if it is not. Instead, all that is found is largely fragments until the domestication of religion.

Religions, as we think of them today, are a new fad, even if they go back to around 6,000 years in the timeline of human existence, this amounts to almost nothing when seen in the long slow evolution of religion at least around 70,000 years ago with one of the oldest ritual worship. Stone Snake of South Africa: “first human worship” 70,000 years ago. This message of how religion and gods among them are clearly a man-made thing that was developed slowly as it was invented and then implemented peace by peace discrediting them all. Which seems to be a simple point some are just not grasping how devastating to any claims of truth when we can see the lie clearly in the archeological sites.

I wish people fought as hard for the actual values as they fight for the group/clan names political or otherwise they think support values. Every amount spent on war is theft to children in need of food or the homeless kept from shelter.

Here are several of my blog posts on history:

I am not an academic. I am a revolutionary that teaches in public, in places like social media, and in the streets. I am not a leader by some title given but from my commanding leadership style of simply to start teaching everywhere to everyone, all manner of positive education. 

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

To me, Animism starts in Southern Africa, then to West Europe, and becomes Totemism. Another split goes near the Russia and Siberia border becoming Shamanism, which heads into Central Europe meeting up with Totemism, which also had moved there, mixing the two which then heads to Lake Baikal in Siberia. From there this Shamanism-Totemism heads to Turkey where it becomes Paganism.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


Not all “Religions” or “Religious Persuasions” have a god(s) but

All can be said to believe in some imaginary beings or imaginary things like spirits, afterlives, etc.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref

Low Gods “Earth” or Tutelary deity and High Gods “Sky” or Supreme deity

“An Earth goddess is a deification of the Earth. Earth goddesses are often associated with the “chthonic” deities of the underworldKi and Ninhursag are Mesopotamian earth goddesses. In Greek mythology, the Earth is personified as Gaia, corresponding to Roman Terra, Indic Prithvi/Bhūmi, etc. traced to an “Earth Mother” complementary to the “Sky Father” in Proto-Indo-European religionEgyptian mythology exceptionally has a sky goddess and an Earth god.” ref

“A mother goddess is a goddess who represents or is a personification of naturemotherhoodfertilitycreationdestruction or who embodies the bounty of the Earth. When equated with the Earth or the natural world, such goddesses are sometimes referred to as Mother Earth or as the Earth Mother. In some religious traditions or movements, Heavenly Mother (also referred to as Mother in Heaven or Sky Mother) is the wife or feminine counterpart of the Sky father or God the Father.” ref

Any masculine sky god is often also king of the gods, taking the position of patriarch within a pantheon. Such king gods are collectively categorized as “sky father” deities, with a polarity between sky and earth often being expressed by pairing a “sky father” god with an “earth mother” goddess (pairings of a sky mother with an earth father are less frequent). A main sky goddess is often the queen of the gods and may be an air/sky goddess in her own right, though she usually has other functions as well with “sky” not being her main. In antiquity, several sky goddesses in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Near East were called Queen of Heaven. Neopagans often apply it with impunity to sky goddesses from other regions who were never associated with the term historically. The sky often has important religious significance. Many religions, both polytheistic and monotheistic, have deities associated with the sky.” ref

“In comparative mythology, sky father is a term for a recurring concept in polytheistic religions of a sky god who is addressed as a “father”, often the father of a pantheon and is often either a reigning or former King of the Gods. The concept of “sky father” may also be taken to include Sun gods with similar characteristics, such as Ra. The concept is complementary to an “earth mother“. “Sky Father” is a direct translation of the Vedic Dyaus Pita, etymologically descended from the same Proto-Indo-European deity name as the Greek Zeûs Pater and Roman Jupiter and Germanic Týr, Tir or Tiwaz, all of which are reflexes of the same Proto-Indo-European deity’s name, *Dyēus Ph₂tḗr. While there are numerous parallels adduced from outside of Indo-European mythology, there are exceptions (e.g. In Egyptian mythology, Nut is the sky mother and Geb is the earth father).” ref

Tutelary deity

“A tutelary (also tutelar) is a deity or spirit who is a guardian, patron, or protector of a particular place, geographic feature, person, lineage, nation, culture, or occupation. The etymology of “tutelary” expresses the concept of safety and thus of guardianship. In late Greek and Roman religion, one type of tutelary deity, the genius, functions as the personal deity or daimon of an individual from birth to death. Another form of personal tutelary spirit is the familiar spirit of European folklore.” ref

“A tutelary (also tutelar) iKorean shamanismjangseung and sotdae were placed at the edge of villages to frighten off demons. They were also worshiped as deities. Seonangshin is the patron deity of the village in Korean tradition and was believed to embody the SeonangdangIn Philippine animism, Diwata or Lambana are deities or spirits that inhabit sacred places like mountains and mounds and serve as guardians. Such as: Maria Makiling is the deity who guards Mt. Makiling and Maria Cacao and Maria Sinukuan. In Shinto, the spirits, or kami, which give life to human bodies come from nature and return to it after death. Ancestors are therefore themselves tutelaries to be worshiped. And similarly, Native American beliefs such as Tonás, tutelary animal spirit among the Zapotec and Totems, familial or clan spirits among the Ojibwe, can be animals.” ref

“A tutelary (also tutelar) in Austronesian beliefs such as: Atua (gods and spirits of the Polynesian peoples such as the Māori or the Hawaiians), Hanitu (Bunun of Taiwan‘s term for spirit), Hyang (KawiSundaneseJavanese, and Balinese Supreme Being, in ancient Java and Bali mythology and this spiritual entity, can be either divine or ancestral), Kaitiaki (New Zealand Māori term used for the concept of guardianship, for the sky, the sea, and the land), Kawas (mythology) (divided into 6 groups: gods, ancestors, souls of the living, spirits of living things, spirits of lifeless objects, and ghosts), Tiki (Māori mythologyTiki is the first man created by either Tūmatauenga or Tāne and represents deified ancestors found in most Polynesian cultures). ” ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref

Mesopotamian Tutelary Deities can be seen as ones related to City-States 

“Historical city-states included Sumerian cities such as Uruk and UrAncient Egyptian city-states, such as Thebes and Memphis; the Phoenician cities (such as Tyre and Sidon); the five Philistine city-states; the Berber city-states of the Garamantes; the city-states of ancient Greece (the poleis such as AthensSpartaThebes, and Corinth); the Roman Republic (which grew from a city-state into a vast empire); the Italian city-states from the Middle Ages to the early modern period, such as FlorenceSienaFerraraMilan (which as they grew in power began to dominate neighboring cities) and Genoa and Venice, which became powerful thalassocracies; the Mayan and other cultures of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica (including cities such as Chichen ItzaTikalCopán and Monte Albán); the central Asian cities along the Silk Road; the city-states of the Swahili coastRagusa; states of the medieval Russian lands such as Novgorod and Pskov; and many others.” ref

“The Uruk period (ca. 4000 to 3100 BCE; also known as Protoliterate period) of Mesopotamia, named after the Sumerian city of Uruk, this period saw the emergence of urban life in Mesopotamia and the Sumerian civilization. City-States like Uruk and others had a patron tutelary City Deity along with a Priest-King.” ref

Chinese folk religion, both past, and present, includes myriad tutelary deities. Exceptional individuals, highly cultivated sages, and prominent ancestors can be deified and honored after death. Lord Guan is the patron of military personnel and police, while Mazu is the patron of fishermen and sailors. Such as Tu Di Gong (Earth Deity) is the tutelary deity of a locality, and each individual locality has its own Earth Deity and Cheng Huang Gong (City God) is the guardian deity of an individual city, worshipped by local officials and locals since imperial times.” ref

“A tutelary (also tutelar) in Hinduism, personal tutelary deities are known as ishta-devata, while family tutelary deities are known as Kuladevata. Gramadevata are guardian deities of villages. Devas can also be seen as tutelary. Shiva is the patron of yogis and renunciants. City goddesses include: Mumbadevi (Mumbai), Sachchika (Osian); Kuladevis include: Ambika (Porwad), and Mahalakshmi. In NorthEast India Meitei mythology and religion (Sanamahism) of Manipur, there are various types of tutelary deities, among which Lam Lais are the most predominant ones. Tibetan Buddhism has Yidam as a tutelary deity. Dakini is the patron of those who seek knowledge.” ref

“A tutelary (also tutelar) The Greeks also thought deities guarded specific places: for instance, Athena was the patron goddess of the city of Athens. Socrates spoke of hearing the voice of his personal spirit or daimonion:

You have often heard me speak of an oracle or sign which comes to me … . This sign I have had ever since I was a child. The sign is a voice which comes to me and always forbids me to do something which I am going to do, but never commands me to do anything, and this is what stands in the way of my being a politician.” ref

“Tutelary deities who guard and preserve a place or a person are fundamental to ancient Roman religion. The tutelary deity of a man was his Genius, that of a woman her Juno. In the Imperial era, the Genius of the Emperor was a focus of Imperial cult. An emperor might also adopt a major deity as his personal patron or tutelary, as Augustus did Apollo. Precedents for claiming the personal protection of a deity were established in the Republican era, when for instance the Roman dictator Sulla advertised the goddess Victory as his tutelary by holding public games (ludi) in her honor.” ref

“Each town or city had one or more tutelary deities, whose protection was considered particularly vital in time of war and siege. Rome itself was protected by a goddess whose name was to be kept ritually secret on pain of death (for a supposed case, see Quintus Valerius Soranus). The Capitoline Triad of Juno, Jupiter, and Minerva were also tutelaries of Rome. The Italic towns had their own tutelary deities. Juno often had this function, as at the Latin town of Lanuvium and the Etruscan city of Veii, and was often housed in an especially grand temple on the arx (citadel) or other prominent or central location. The tutelary deity of Praeneste was Fortuna, whose oracle was renowned.” ref

“The Roman ritual of evocatio was premised on the belief that a town could be made vulnerable to military defeat if the power of its tutelary deity were diverted outside the city, perhaps by the offer of superior cult at Rome. The depiction of some goddesses such as the Magna Mater (Great Mother, or Cybele) as “tower-crowned” represents their capacity to preserve the city. A town in the provinces might adopt a deity from within the Roman religious sphere to serve as its guardian, or syncretize its own tutelary with such; for instance, a community within the civitas of the Remi in Gaul adopted Apollo as its tutelary, and at the capital of the Remi (present-day Rheims), the tutelary was Mars Camulus.” ref 

Household deity (a kind of or related to a Tutelary deity)

“A household deity is a deity or spirit that protects the home, looking after the entire household or certain key members. It has been a common belief in paganism as well as in folklore across many parts of the world. Household deities fit into two types; firstly, a specific deity – typically a goddess – often referred to as a hearth goddess or domestic goddess who is associated with the home and hearth, such as the ancient Greek Hestia.” ref

“The second type of household deities are those that are not one singular deity, but a type, or species of animistic deity, who usually have lesser powers than major deities. This type was common in the religions of antiquity, such as the Lares of ancient Roman religion, the Gashin of Korean shamanism, and Cofgodas of Anglo-Saxon paganism. These survived Christianisation as fairy-like creatures existing in folklore, such as the Anglo-Scottish Brownie and Slavic Domovoy.” ref

“Household deities were usually worshipped not in temples but in the home, where they would be represented by small idols (such as the teraphim of the Bible, often translated as “household gods” in Genesis 31:19 for example), amulets, paintings, or reliefs. They could also be found on domestic objects, such as cosmetic articles in the case of Tawaret. The more prosperous houses might have a small shrine to the household god(s); the lararium served this purpose in the case of the Romans. The gods would be treated as members of the family and invited to join in meals, or be given offerings of food and drink.” ref

“In many religions, both ancient and modern, a god would preside over the home. Certain species, or types, of household deities, existed. An example of this was the Roman Lares. Many European cultures retained house spirits into the modern period. Some examples of these include:

“Although the cosmic status of household deities was not as lofty as that of the Twelve Olympians or the Aesir, they were also jealous of their dignity and also had to be appeased with shrines and offerings, however humble. Because of their immediacy they had arguably more influence on the day-to-day affairs of men than the remote gods did. Vestiges of their worship persisted long after Christianity and other major religions extirpated nearly every trace of the major pagan pantheons. Elements of the practice can be seen even today, with Christian accretions, where statues to various saints (such as St. Francis) protect gardens and grottos. Even the gargoyles found on older churches, could be viewed as guardians partitioning a sacred space.” ref

“For centuries, Christianity fought a mop-up war against these lingering minor pagan deities, but they proved tenacious. For example, Martin Luther‘s Tischreden have numerous – quite serious – references to dealing with kobolds. Eventually, rationalism and the Industrial Revolution threatened to erase most of these minor deities, until the advent of romantic nationalism rehabilitated them and embellished them into objects of literary curiosity in the 19th century. Since the 20th century this literature has been mined for characters for role-playing games, video games, and other fantasy personae, not infrequently invested with invented traits and hierarchies somewhat different from their mythological and folkloric roots.” ref

“In contradistinction to both Herbert Spencer and Edward Burnett Tylor, who defended theories of animistic origins of ancestor worship, Émile Durkheim saw its origin in totemism. In reality, this distinction is somewhat academic, since totemism may be regarded as a particularized manifestation of animism, and something of a synthesis of the two positions was attempted by Sigmund Freud. In Freud’s Totem and Taboo, both totem and taboo are outward expressions or manifestations of the same psychological tendency, a concept which is complementary to, or which rather reconciles, the apparent conflict. Freud preferred to emphasize the psychoanalytic implications of the reification of metaphysical forces, but with particular emphasis on its familial nature. This emphasis underscores, rather than weakens, the ancestral component.” ref

William Edward Hearn, a noted classicist, and jurist, traced the origin of domestic deities from the earliest stages as an expression of animism, a belief system thought to have existed also in the neolithic, and the forerunner of Indo-European religion. In his analysis of the Indo-European household, in Chapter II “The House Spirit”, Section 1, he states:

The belief which guided the conduct of our forefathers was … the spirit rule of dead ancestors.” ref

“In Section 2 he proceeds to elaborate:

It is thus certain that the worship of deceased ancestors is a vera causa, and not a mere hypothesis. …

In the other European nations, the Slavs, the Teutons, and the Kelts, the House Spirit appears with no less distinctness. … [T]he existence of that worship does not admit of doubt. … The House Spirits had a multitude of other names which it is needless here to enumerate, but all of which are more or less expressive of their friendly relations with man. … In [England] … [h]e is the Brownie. … In Scotland this same Brownie is well known. He is usually described as attached to particular families, with whom he has been known to reside for centuries, threshing the corn, cleaning the house, and performing similar household tasks. His favorite gratification was milk and honey.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


“These ideas are my speculations from the evidence.”

I am still researching the “god‘s origins” all over the world. So you know, it is very complicated but I am smart and willing to look, DEEP, if necessary, which going very deep does seem to be needed here, when trying to actually understand the evolution of gods and goddesses. I am sure of a few things and less sure of others, but even in stuff I am not fully grasping I still am slowly figuring it out, to explain it to others. But as I research more I am understanding things a little better, though I am still working on understanding it all or something close and thus always figuring out more. 

Sky Father/Sky God?

“Egyptian: (Nut) Sky Mother and (Geb) Earth Father” (Egypt is different but similar)

Turkic/Mongolic: (Tengri/Tenger Etseg) Sky Father and (Eje/Gazar Eej) Earth Mother *Transeurasian*

Hawaiian: (Wākea) Sky Father and (Papahānaumoku) Earth Mother *Austronesian*

New Zealand/ Māori: (Ranginui) Sky Father and (Papatūānuku) Earth Mother *Austronesian*

Proto-Indo-European: (Dyus/Dyus phtr) Sky Father and (Dʰéǵʰōm/Plethwih) Earth Mother

Indo-Aryan: (Dyaus Pita) Sky Father and (Prithvi Mata) Earth Mother *Indo-European*

Italic: (Jupiter) Sky Father and (Juno) Sky Mother *Indo-European*

Etruscan: (Tinia) Sky Father and (Uni) Sky Mother *Tyrsenian/Italy Pre–Indo-European*

Hellenic/Greek: (Zeus) Sky Father and (Hera) Sky Mother who started as an “Earth Goddess” *Indo-European*

Nordic: (Dagr) Sky Father and (Nótt) Sky Mother *Indo-European*

Slavic: (Perun) Sky Father and (Mokosh) Earth Mother *Indo-European*

Illyrian: (Deipaturos) Sky Father and (Messapic Damatura’s “earth-mother” maybe) Earth Mother *Indo-European*

Albanian: (Zojz) Sky Father and (?) *Indo-European*

Baltic: (Perkūnas) Sky Father and (Saulė) Sky Mother *Indo-European*

Germanic: (Týr) Sky Father and (?) *Indo-European*

Colombian-Muisca: (Bochica) Sky Father and (Huythaca) Sky Mother *Chibchan*

Aztec: (Quetzalcoatl) Sky Father and (Xochiquetzal) Sky Mother *Uto-Aztecan*

Incan: (Viracocha) Sky Father and (Mama Runtucaya) Sky Mother *Quechuan*

China: (Tian/Shangdi) Sky Father and (Dì) Earth Mother *Sino-Tibetan*

Sumerian, Assyrian and Babylonian: (An/Anu) Sky Father and (Ki) Earth Mother

Finnish: (Ukko) Sky Father and (Akka) Earth Mother *Finno-Ugric*

Sami: (Horagalles) Sky Father and (Ravdna) Earth Mother *Finno-Ugric*

Puebloan-Zuni: (Ápoyan Ta’chu) Sky Father and (Áwitelin Tsíta) Earth Mother

Puebloan-Hopi: (Tawa) Sky Father and (Kokyangwuti/Spider Woman/Grandmother) Earth Mother *Uto-Aztecan*

Puebloan-Navajo: (Tsohanoai) Sky Father and (Estsanatlehi) Earth Mother *Na-Dene*



Sky Father/Sky Mother “High Gods” or similar gods/goddesses of the sky more loosely connected, seeming arcane mythology across the earth seen in Siberia, China, Europe, Native Americans/First Nations People and Mesopotamia, etc.

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ref, ref

Hinduism around 3,700 to 3,500 years old. ref

 Judaism around 3,450 or 3,250 years old. (The first writing in the bible was “Paleo-Hebrew” dated to around 3,000 years ago Khirbet Qeiyafa is the site of an ancient fortress city overlooking the Elah Valley. And many believe the religious Jewish texts were completed around 2,500) ref, ref

Judaism is around 3,450 or 3,250 years old. (“Paleo-Hebrew” 3,000 years ago and Torah 2,500 years ago)

“Judaism is an Abrahamic, its roots as an organized religion in the Middle East during the Bronze Age. Some scholars argue that modern Judaism evolved from Yahwism, the religion of ancient Israel and Judah, by the late 6th century BCE, and is thus considered to be one of the oldest monotheistic religions.” ref

“Yahwism is the name given by modern scholars to the religion of ancient Israel, essentially polytheistic, with a plethora of gods and goddesses. Heading the pantheon was Yahweh, the national god of the Israelite kingdoms of Israel and Judah, with his consort, the goddess Asherah; below them were second-tier gods and goddesses such as Baal, Shamash, Yarikh, Mot, and Astarte, all of whom had their own priests and prophets and numbered royalty among their devotees, and a third and fourth tier of minor divine beings, including the mal’ak, the messengers of the higher gods, who in later times became the angels of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Yahweh, however, was not the ‘original’ god of Israel “Isra-El”; it is El, the head of the Canaanite pantheon, whose name forms the basis of the name “Israel”, and none of the Old Testament patriarchs, the tribes of Israel, the Judges, or the earliest monarchs, have a Yahwistic theophoric name (i.e., one incorporating the name of Yahweh).” ref

“El is a Northwest Semitic word meaning “god” or “deity“, or referring (as a proper name) to any one of multiple major ancient Near Eastern deities. A rarer form, ‘ila, represents the predicate form in Old Akkadian and in Amorite. The word is derived from the Proto-Semitic *ʔil-, meaning “god”. Specific deities known as ‘El or ‘Il include the supreme god of the ancient Canaanite religion and the supreme god of East Semitic speakers in Mesopotamia’s Early Dynastic Period. ʼĒl is listed at the head of many pantheons. In some Canaanite and Ugaritic sources, ʼĒl played a role as father of the gods, of creation, or both. For example, in the Ugaritic texts, ʾil mlk is understood to mean “ʼĒl the King” but ʾil hd as “the god Hadad“. The Semitic root ʾlh (Arabic ʾilāh, Aramaic ʾAlāh, ʾElāh, Hebrew ʾelōah) may be ʾl with a parasitic h, and ʾl may be an abbreviated form of ʾlh. In Ugaritic the plural form meaning “gods” is ʾilhm, equivalent to Hebrew ʾelōhîm “powers”. In the Hebrew texts this word is interpreted as being semantically singular for “god” by biblical commentators. However the documentary hypothesis for the Old Testament (corresponds to the Jewish Torah) developed originally in the 1870s, identifies these that different authors – the Jahwist, Elohist, Deuteronomist, and the Priestly source – were responsible for editing stories from a polytheistic religion into those of a monotheistic religion. Inconsistencies that arise between monotheism and polytheism in the texts are reflective of this hypothesis.” ref


Jainism around 2,599 – 2,527 years old. ref

Confucianism around 2,600 – 2,551 years old. ref

Buddhism around 2,563/2,480 – 2,483/2,400 years old. ref

Christianity around 2,o00 years old. ref

Shinto around 1,305 years old. ref

Islam around 1407–1385 years old. ref

Sikhism around 548–478 years old. ref

Bahá’í around 200–125 years old. ref

Knowledge to Ponder: 


  • Possibly, around 30,000 years ago (in simpler form) to 6,000 years ago, Stars/Astrology are connected to Ancestors, Spirit Animals, and Deities.
  • The star also seems to be a possible proto-star for Star of Ishtar, Star of Inanna, or Star of Venus.
  • Around 7,000 to 6,000 years ago, Star Constellations/Astrology have connections to the “Kurgan phenomenon” of below-ground “mound” stone/wood burial structures and “Dolmen phenomenon” of above-ground stone burial structures.
  • Around 6,500–5,800 years ago, The Northern Levant migrations into Jordon and Israel in the Southern Levant brought new cultural and religious transfer from Turkey and Iran.
  • “The Ghassulian Star,” a mysterious 6,000-year-old mural from Jordan may have connections to the European paganstic kurgan/dolmens phenomenon.

“Astrology is a range of divinatory practices, recognized as pseudoscientific since the 18th century, that claim to discern information about human affairs and terrestrial events by studying the apparent positions of celestial objects. Different cultures have employed forms of astrology since at least the 2nd millennium BCE, these practices having originated in calendrical systems used to predict seasonal shifts and to interpret celestial cycles as signs of divine communications. Most, if not all, cultures have attached importance to what they observed in the sky, and some—such as the HindusChinese, and the Maya—developed elaborate systems for predicting terrestrial events from celestial observations. Western astrology, one of the oldest astrological systems still in use, can trace its roots to 19th–17th century BCE Mesopotamia, from where it spread to Ancient GreeceRome, the Islamicate world and eventually Central and Western Europe. Contemporary Western astrology is often associated with systems of horoscopes that purport to explain aspects of a person’s personality and predict significant events in their lives based on the positions of celestial objects; the majority of professional astrologers rely on such systems.” ref 

Around 5,500 years ago, Science evolves, The first evidence of science was 5,500 years ago and was demonstrated by a body of empirical, theoretical, and practical knowledge about the natural world. ref

Around 5,000 years ago, Origin of Logics is a Naturalistic Observation (principles of valid reasoning, inference, & demonstration) ref

Around 4,150 to 4,000 years ago: The earliest surviving versions of the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, which was originally titled “He who Saw the Deep” (Sha naqba īmuru) or “Surpassing All Other Kings” (Shūtur eli sharrī) were written. ref


  • 3,700 years ago or so, the oldest of the Hindu Vedas (scriptures), the Rig Veda was composed.
  • 3,500 years ago or so, the Vedic Age began in India after the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilization.


  • around 3,000 years ago, the first writing in the bible was “Paleo-Hebrew”
  • around 2,500 years ago, many believe the religious Jewish texts were completed

Myths: The bible inspired religion is not just one religion or one myth but a grouping of several religions and myths

  • Around 3,450 or 3,250 years ago, according to legend, is the traditionally accepted period in which the Israelite lawgiver, Moses, provided the Ten Commandments.
  • Around 2,500 to 2,400 years ago, a collection of ancient religious writings by the Israelites based primarily upon the Hebrew Bible, Tanakh, or Old Testament is the first part of Christianity’s bible.
  • Around 2,400 years ago, the most accepted hypothesis is that the canon was formed in stages, first the Pentateuch (Torah).
  • Around 2,140 to 2,116 years ago, the Prophets was written during the Hasmonean dynasty, and finally the remaining books.
  • Christians traditionally divide the Old Testament into four sections:
  • The first five books or Pentateuch (Torah).
  • The proposed history books telling the history of the Israelites from their conquest of Canaan to their defeat and exile in Babylon.
  • The poetic and proposed “Wisdom books” dealing, in various forms, with questions of good and evil in the world.
  • The books of the biblical prophets, warning of the consequences of turning away from God:
  • Henotheism:
  • Exodus 20:23 “You shall not make other gods besides Me (not saying there are no other gods just not to worship them); gods of silver or gods of gold, you shall not make for yourselves.”
  • Polytheism:
  • Judges 10:6 “Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the sons of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; thus they forsook the LORD and did not serve Him.”
  • 1 Corinthians 8:5 “For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords.”
  • Monotheism:
  • Isaiah 43:10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.

Around 2,570 to 2,270 Years Ago, there is a confirmation of atheistic doubting as well as atheistic thinking, mainly by Greek philosophers. However, doubting gods is likely as old as the invention of gods and should destroy the thinking that belief in god(s) is the “default belief”. The Greek word is apistos (a “not” and pistos “faithful,”), thus not faithful or faithless because one is unpersuaded and unconvinced by a god(s) claim. Short Definition: unbelieving, unbeliever, or unbelief.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

Expressions of Atheistic Thinking:

  • Around 2,600 years ago, Ajita Kesakambali, ancient Indian philosopher, who is the first known proponent of Indian materialism. ref
  • Around 2,535 to 2,475 years ago, Heraclitus, Greek pre-Socratic philosopher, a native of the Greek city Ephesus, Ionia, on the coast of Anatolia, also known as Asia Minor or modern Turkey. ref
  • Around 2,500 to 2,400 years ago, according to The Story of Civilization book series certain African pygmy tribes have no identifiable gods, spirits, or religious beliefs or rituals, and even what burials accrue are without ceremony. ref
  • Around 2,490 to 2,430 years ago, Empedocles, Greek pre-Socratic philosopher and a citizen of Agrigentum, a Greek city in Sicily. ref
  • Around 2,460 to 2,370 years ago, Democritus, Greek pre-Socratic philosopher considered to be the “father of modern science” possibly had some disbelief amounting to atheism. ref
  • Around 2,399 years ago or so, Socrates, a famous Greek philosopher was tried for sinfulness by teaching doubt of state gods. ref
  • Around 2,341 to 2,270 years ago, Epicurus, a Greek philosopher known for composing atheistic critics and famously stated, “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him god?” ref

This last expression by Epicurus, seems to be an expression of Axiological Atheism. To understand and utilize value or actually possess “Value Conscious/Consciousness” to both give a strong moral “axiological” argument (the problem of evil) as well as use it to fortify humanism and positive ethical persuasion of human helping and care responsibilities. Because value-blindness gives rise to sociopathic/psychopathic evil.

“Theists, there has to be a god, as something can not come from nothing.”

Well, thus something (unknown) happened and then there was something. This does not tell us what the something that may have been involved with something coming from nothing. A supposed first cause, thus something (unknown) happened and then there was something is not an open invitation to claim it as known, neither is it justified to call or label such an unknown as anything, especially an unsubstantiated magical thinking belief born of mythology and religious storytelling.

How do they even know if there was nothing as a start outside our universe, could there not be other universes outside our own?
For all, we know there may have always been something past the supposed Big Bang we can’t see beyond, like our universe as one part of a mega system.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

While hallucinogens are associated with shamanism, it is alcohol that is associated with paganism.

The Atheist-Humanist-Leftist Revolutionaries Shows in the prehistory series:

Show one: Prehistory: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” the division of labor, power, rights, and recourses.

Show two: Pre-animism 300,000 years old and animism 100,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”

Show tree: Totemism 50,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”

Show four: Shamanism 30,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”

Show five: Paganism 12,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”

Show six: Emergence of hierarchy, sexism, slavery, and the new male god dominance: Paganism 7,000-5,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Capitalism) (World War 0) Elite and their slaves!

Show seven: Paganism 5,000 years old: progressed organized religion and the state: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Kings and the Rise of the State)

Show eight: Paganism 4,000 years old: Moralistic gods after the rise of Statism and often support Statism/Kings: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (First Moralistic gods, then the Origin time of Monotheism)

Prehistory: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” the division of labor, power, rights, and recourses: VIDEO

Pre-animism 300,000 years old and animism 100,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”: VIDEO

Totemism 50,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”: VIDEO

Shamanism 30,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”: VIDEO

Paganism 12,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Pre-Capitalism): VIDEO

Paganism 7,000-5,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Capitalism) (World War 0) Elite and their slaves: VIEDO

Paganism 5,000 years old: progressed organized religion and the state: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Kings and the Rise of the State): VIEDO

Paganism 4,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (First Moralistic gods, then the Origin time of Monotheism): VIEDO

I do not hate simply because I challenge and expose myths or lies any more than others being thought of as loving simply because of the protection and hiding from challenge their favored myths or lies.

The truth is best championed in the sunlight of challenge.

An archaeologist once said to me “Damien religion and culture are very different”

My response, So are you saying that was always that way, such as would you say Native Americans’ cultures are separate from their religions? And do you think it always was the way you believe?

I had said that religion was a cultural product. That is still how I see it and there are other archaeologists that think close to me as well. Gods too are the myths of cultures that did not understand science or the world around them, seeing magic/supernatural everywhere.

I personally think there is a goddess and not enough evidence to support a male god at Çatalhöyük but if there was both a male and female god and goddess then I know the kind of gods they were like Proto-Indo-European mythology.

This series idea was addressed in, Anarchist Teaching as Free Public Education or Free Education in the Public: VIDEO

Our 12 video series: Organized Oppression: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of power (9,000-4,000 years ago), is adapted from: The Complete and Concise History of the Sumerians and Early Bronze Age Mesopotamia (7000-2000 BC): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szFjxmY7jQA by “History with Cy

Show #1: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Samarra, Halaf, Ubaid)

Show #2: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Eridu: First City of Power)

Show #3: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Uruk and the First Cities)

Show #4: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (First Kings)

Show #5: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Early Dynastic Period)

Show #6: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (King Lugalzagesi and the First Empire)

Show #7: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Sargon and Akkadian Rule)

Show #8: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Naram-Sin, Post-Akkadian Rule, and the Gutians)

Show #9: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Gudea of Lagash and Utu-hegal)

Show #10: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Third Dynasty of Ur / Neo-Sumerian Empire)

Show #11: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Amorites, Elamites, and the End of an Era)

Show #12: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Aftermath and Legacy of Sumer)

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

The “Atheist-Humanist-Leftist Revolutionaries”

Cory Johnston ☭ Ⓐ Atheist Leftist @Skepticallefty & I (Damien Marie AtHope) @AthopeMarie (my YouTube & related blog) are working jointly in atheist, antitheist, antireligionist, antifascist, anarchist, socialist, and humanist endeavors in our videos together, generally, every other Saturday.

Why Does Power Bring Responsibility?

Think, how often is it the powerless that start wars, oppress others, or commit genocide? So, I guess the question is to us all, to ask, how can power not carry responsibility in a humanity concept? I know I see the deep ethical responsibility that if there is power their must be a humanistic responsibility of ethical and empathic stewardship of that power. Will I be brave enough to be kind? Will I possess enough courage to be compassionate? Will my valor reach its height of empathy? I as everyone, earns our justified respect by our actions, that are good, ethical, just, protecting, and kind. Do I have enough self-respect to put my love for humanity’s flushing, over being brought down by some of its bad actors? May we all be the ones doing good actions in the world, to help human flourishing.

I create the world I want to live in, striving for flourishing. Which is not a place but a positive potential involvement and promotion; a life of humanist goal precision. To master oneself, also means mastering positive prosocial behaviors needed for human flourishing. I may have lost a god myth as an atheist, but I am happy to tell you, my friend, it is exactly because of that, leaving the mental terrorizer, god belief, that I truly regained my connected ethical as well as kind humanity.

Cory and I will talk about prehistory and theism, addressing the relevance to atheism, anarchism, and socialism.

At the same time as the rise of the male god, 7,000 years ago, there was also the very time there was the rise of violence, war, and clans to kingdoms, then empires, then states. It is all connected back to 7,000 years ago, and it moved across the world.

Cory Johnston: https://damienmarieathope.com/2021/04/cory-johnston-mind-of-a-skeptical-leftist/?v=32aec8db952d  

The Mind of a Skeptical Leftist (YouTube)

Cory Johnston: Mind of a Skeptical Leftist @Skepticallefty

The Mind of a Skeptical Leftist By Cory Johnston: “Promoting critical thinking, social justice, and left-wing politics by covering current events and talking to a variety of people. Cory Johnston has been thoughtfully talking to people and attempting to promote critical thinking, social justice, and left-wing politics.” http://anchor.fm/skepticalleft

Cory needs our support. We rise by helping each other.

Cory Johnston ☭ Ⓐ @Skepticallefty Evidence-based atheist leftist (he/him) Producer, host, and co-host of 4 podcasts @skeptarchy @skpoliticspod and @AthopeMarie

Damien Marie AtHope (“At Hope”) Axiological Atheist, Anti-theist, Anti-religionist, Secular Humanist. Rationalist, Writer, Artist, Poet, Philosopher, Advocate, Activist, Psychology, and Armchair Archaeology/Anthropology/Historian.

Damien is interested in: Freedom, Liberty, Justice, Equality, Ethics, Humanism, Science, Atheism, Antiteism, Antireligionism, Ignosticism, Left-Libertarianism, Anarchism, Socialism, Mutualism, Axiology, Metaphysics, LGBTQI, Philosophy, Advocacy, Activism, Mental Health, Psychology, Archaeology, Social Work, Sexual Rights, Marriage Rights, Woman’s Rights, Gender Rights, Child Rights, Secular Rights, Race Equality, Ageism/Disability Equality, Etc. And a far-leftist, “Anarcho-Humanist.”

I am not a good fit in the atheist movement that is mostly pro-capitalist, I am anti-capitalist. Mostly pro-skeptic, I am a rationalist not valuing skepticism. Mostly pro-agnostic, I am anti-agnostic. Mostly limited to anti-Abrahamic religions, I am an anti-religionist.

To me, the “male god” seems to have either emerged or become prominent around 7,000 years ago, whereas the now favored monotheism “male god” is more like 4,000 years ago or so. To me, the “female goddess” seems to have either emerged or become prominent around 11,000-10,000 years ago or so, losing the majority of its once prominence around 2,000 years ago due largely to the now favored monotheism “male god” that grow in prominence after 4,000 years ago or so.

My Thought on the Evolution of Gods?

Animal protector deities from old totems/spirit animal beliefs come first to me, 13,000/12,000 years ago, then women as deities 11,000/10,000 years ago, then male gods around 7,000/8,000 years ago. Moralistic gods around 5,000/4,000 years ago, and monotheistic gods around 4,000/3,000 years ago. 

To me, animal gods were likely first related to totemism animals around 13,000 to 12,000 years ago or older. Female as goddesses was next to me, 11,000 to 10,000 years ago or so with the emergence of agriculture. Then male gods come about 8,000 to 7,000 years ago with clan wars. Many monotheism-themed religions started in henotheism, emerging out of polytheism/paganism.

“Animism” is needed to begin supernatural thinking.
“Totemism” is needed for supernatural thinking connecting human actions & related to clan/tribe.
“Shamanism” is needed for supernatural thinking to be controllable/changeable by special persons.
Together = Gods/paganism

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

Damien Marie AtHope (Said as “At” “Hope”)/(Autodidact Polymath but not good at math):

Axiological Atheist, Anti-theist, Anti-religionist, Secular Humanist, Rationalist, Writer, Artist, Jeweler, Poet, “autodidact” Philosopher, schooled in Psychology, and “autodidact” Armchair Archaeology/Anthropology/Pre-Historian (Knowledgeable in the range of: 1 million to 5,000/4,000 years ago). I am an anarchist socialist politically. Reasons for or Types of Atheism

My Website, My Blog, & Short-writing or QuotesMy YouTube, Twitter: @AthopeMarie, and My Email: damien.marie.athope@gmail.com

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