jeudi 18 septembre 2008

Draco 4

Tiamat gained possession of the Tablets of Fate, which were supposed to confer upon their owner the power to rule the universe, and gave them to her husband for safekeeping. Then she challenged the authority of the newly risen gods and rose against them in rebellion, summoning forth out of the slimy depths all the most frightful creatures that her evil brain could conceive to help her in the struggle, monsters whose like has never been seen again: serpents whose fangs dripped poison, scorpion-men and fish-men and monster-dogs. So horrible were these creations that even the gods took fright and hid themselves safely away in their airy heaven and no one of them would go down to meet Tiamat. No one, that is, until at last Marduk of Babylon came forth from among them and offered to fight as their champion. He was equipped with special magic powers bestowed on him by each one of the other gods at a hurriedly summoned council of war and thus armed, he went down to face the sea serpent in battle. Even Marduk trembled and almost lost heart at the sight of the dragon and her monster brood. But Marduk had both strength and cunning. He had on his side the winds of heaven and, summoning all their strength together, he sent these on before him and they blew straight into the jaws of the unsuspecting Tiamat. They rushed through her open mouth in a surging current, with all the tearing force of those great hurricanes that sometimes sweep the sea, and blew so fiercely into the very bowels of her body that she was racked and split asunder; then Marduk finished off the helpless monster with a blow of his club. The serpents and the dogs and the scorpion men were useless without the power of their evil genius, and presumably they slunk away and vanished into that yet untamed sea from which they had come. Some say that they are still to be seen in the darkness of heaven, where they have taken on the shape of the twelve signs of the Zodiac. The north wind carried away the blood of Tiamat, and Marduk split her skull and tore her dragon skin into two pieces. With these he formed the heaven and earth, separating one from the other, and in the upper regions he set the homes of the gods, created the stars in the sky, and ordained the paths they should follow. He outlined the constellations, placing them so that they should serve as signs to indicate the day, the years and the seasons to mankind. he fixed the dome of heaven in place with a great bolt, and set a watchman there to guard it. He surveyed the skies, and built the Zodiac. Then he rested from his labors, hailed by gods and men alike as the dragon slayer.
During the battle, which lasted for ten long years, one the Titans hurled a fierce dragon at Athena. So great was her strength and so effective her magic shield that Athena was not frightened. She caught the dragon and, with one mighty heave, swung him high into the heavens. Up he soared, twisting and coiling this way and that until his long body had become tied in knots. He came to rest in the northern sky and became fixed to that region around which the northern stars circle. Today we see him forever asleep as the much-knotted, battered, and twisted Draco.

Today Polaris is the pole star but 4,000 years ago Thuban (a Dra) held this position. In ancient times the heavens appeared to revolve around this constellation.

The great Egyptian pyramids of Khufu, located at Gizeh, seem to have been planned and built with Thuban as a guide when Thuban was the Pole Star around 3000 B.C. The pyramid was built in such a way that Thuban was visible day and night from the bottom of one of the pyramid's deep air shafts. Other pyramids also seem to have been planned and built with the then Pole Star as a focal point.

The origin of the constellation, Draco, and of most dragon lore as well, was probably the Chaldean dragon Tiamat, the sea serpent who existed even before the sea and sky had been divided from each other, the dragon of chaos. Tiamat was a monster of primeval darkness, just such a monster as exists in almost every mythology and must be overcome by the powers of sunlight before the creation of the world can take place. The Sumerians and Babylonians, those early inhabitants of the Tigris and Euphrates Valley from whom we have inherited so much of our mythology and astronomy alike, envisioned the beginnings of creation as a hazy state of chaos, a gloom that was nothing in itself and yet contained the potentialities of all things. With the passing of time, the first gods arose from this primordial sea and come into conflict with the force that had given them birth, the deep, wild, creative but evil force of this ocean dragon Tiamat.

Early Greek myths tell of a great battle between the young gods and the older ones who had ruled for so very long. The new gods included Zeus and his brothers Poseidon and Hades. There were also Hera and Demeter along with Athena and others. Athena was the Goddess of Arts, Crafts and War. There were also terrifying figures cast up out of the volcanic fires that belched out of the bowels of Earth. These monsters, who represented the universal forces of evil, were known as the Titans, or the Giants.

The Persians have regarded Draco as a man-eating serpent called Azhdeha.

In early Hindu worship, Draco is given the form of an alligator known as Shi-shu-mara.

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