An incredible rendition from H.C. for Arya Akasha.
Now, to explain what is going on in the scene:
I had told him of one of my favourite Vedic myths – and its tangible, practical applications via the principle of Eliadian Eternal Return. That is to say – how the myth is weaponized in order to be actively utilized. Not merely told – strategically ‘re-enacted’ in order to (re-)secure the similar benefits to what the Gods attained via its initial, Mythic performance.
That Myth is, of course, the one where Brihaspati (Rudra) – the Lord of the Songs of Prayer [in Old Norse, we should say Galdrafǫðr – Galdra-Father] – utilizes the Power of Prayer, the Sacred High Speech and its accompanying ritual engagement … to bring forth a Vajra.
This Vajra, interestingly, takes the form of a Meteor (I suppose more properly a Meteorite – as it makes quite explosive contact with the Earth’s surface) : and is utilized as an Orbital Bombardment ‘gainst the Demon-Dragon ‘Vala’ – ‘Coverer’, ‘Obscurer’, ‘Encloser’ – who had stolen the sacred wealth of some very special Cow(s) and hidden these deep behind the earthen ramparts of a mountain-fortress which he, himself, was also hiding at. And, given the etymological nature of his name, potentially as also into the bargain.
Now that is the Myth – however where it becomes particularly interesting for us is the ‘Mythic Recurrence’. The vital understanding wherein the Myth is not merely a cool story to be eloquently told around a campfire (a sacral fire is another matter) – but rather, something to be actively emulated in certain ways, that its benefits, its boons, are to be made available to the Wielder thereof same.
Hence, in the Ritual understanding, Brahmin Priests take up the role of Brihaspati and His coterie of priestly co-combatants. They carry out the recitation of the relevant mantras as liturgy and other associated ritual actions in emulation of the great Priest God.
And whereas the serpentine demon dragon that was Vala may directly have been vanquished long afore (and yet, at the same time, always ‘about to happen’ – for such is the nature of ‘Mythic Time’ and the ‘Mythic Sphere’ relative to us ‘down here’ in ‘Sidereal’) – other, perhaps more ‘metaphorical’ (yet no less real for it) obstacles are envisaged as standing within the way of the Ritualists in question.
Those obstacle are soon to wish they weren’t!
H.C. has done a marvelous job here. I did not provide him with much in the way of specific direction – the manner for the execution just came to him following our conversation upon the concept earlier.
The dark and shadowy presence at the top of the image at once is ‘obscuring’ in a sense recalling its Latinate roots – [‘Obscuras’, indeed, one may also translate, as a 3rd form Latin master of mine had observed, as ‘Spooky’], yet also we see the gleaming red-lit Serpentine eyes (and nostrils which must surely flare with empyreal fire) up there in the dark.
Instead of a mountain in the distance – we are treated to ramparts of rock which have been fitted together and battlements crenellated atop. It is the same concept (and, indeed, we find ‘Vala’ to mean an ‘enclosed city’ or a ‘fort’ elsewhere in the Indo-Iranic linguistic sphere); which must surely hold the Precious Treasure, the Objectives of the Brahmin’s invocatory mission behind it, and (for now) under Vala’s dark and misty spell.
The Myth is ‘spelled out’, illustrated (within the illustration) in the colour that has been applied to the fixed facing of this Wall. The Fate of the Wall, as we may say, is the ‘Drawing upon the Wall’, and tells it in no uncertain terms that the Vajra-Meteor shall soon be Upon it.
The hoped-for ‘transitions’ as the result of the Rite are also extolled – the crescent moon of the horns to the Cow to the left of the image-within-an-image stands at the opposite side diagonally from the Crescent Moon in the Sky. An iconographic shorthand referencing a less-common Indo-Iranic form of the myth in which the Sun and Moon are what has been imprisoned, flying up into the sky upon Their blessed Liberation.
The Vajra itself is depicted not only as a Bolt from the Heavens, illuminating the Earth’s Dark Night as it attains forceful velocity through our skies and our minds – but also as a multi-pronged weapon, the three points pointedly resonating with what we find as that other major Roudran siege-weapon, spoken of also in the context of the Upasads [‘Siege’] rites of the Shatapatha Brahmana (effectively, an ‘Arrow of Three Points’, and very good for the destruction of otherwise implacable strongpoints – congealed, once again, in ‘sidereal’ terms via the Vedic Priests carrying out a Rite which ‘resonates’ down here to us (and thence ‘back up again’) the Myth at its irreducible core).
To pick up further upon this point, we also note the Orion asterism in the sky immediately to the left of the Image-Within-An-Image – something eminently fitting as, after all, in the Vedic understanding a prominent part of this constellation is, in fact, the Three-Pointed Arrow of Rudra (Ardra), utilized to slay another ‘interloper’ that had sought to co-opt something (indeed, SomeOne) precious to Him (also represented as a rather reddish Cow, inter alia).
So, this Brahmin warrior-artiste stands there, afore the Fires yet also confronting the Wall :
He explicates, He expounds the Concept – He Foretells the Demonic Obstructor’s DOOM !
And in so doing – via this sacred act of Empowered Extolling, He causes it to re-happen all over again !
As was foretold !
Recently, I said that : –
“ultimately, the effective metaphysical purpose of many ritual actions is to Tell A Story so Convincingly that Reality Itself goes along with it. “
I, for one, most certainly believe that evocative illustration of the concepts ‘in motion’ should surely strongly avail the ‘Telling Convincingly’ of Same !
Thank you, once again, to H.C. for this inspired element of art toward that blessed purpose !
To close with – the second portion of RV VI 61 7 is, of course, dedicated to Devi as Saraswati:
वर्त्रघ्नी वष्टि सुष्टुतिम
Vrtraghni Vasti Sustutim
I personally quite enjoy the Griffith rendering:
‘Foe-Slayer Claims Our Eulogy’
‘Vrtra’, of course, also has a meaning-field rather coterminous with that of his brother ‘Vala’. ‘Vrtraghni’ has, therefore, not without reason also been approached as ‘Smasher of the Enclosure’ and the like. (Although that would, of course, be ‘Vrtraghna’ for the male form of the epithet – ‘Ghna’ standing for a ‘sacred killing’, a ‘sundering’, and also being from the same root as our modern English ‘Gun’ – PIE *gʷʰen- . We may, however, keep the feminine form here as, after all, it is Vak Devi Who empowers such a deed – and, not least as Wife of Brihaspati, is actively prominent within this Telling)
‘Stuti’, more usually, it is a vocalized praise, a eulogy and exaltation of honouring – however, I do not think there is any insurmountable barrier to the notion of a picture painting a thousand words being utilized to such a purpose.
Especially when, ultimately, these are all (a-priori-to)thought-forms which are given vocal as well as more (meta)physically ‘enacted’ active expression as part of Their ongoing Immanentization out here into this globe, this sidereal plane of ours.
If a sacred act of Dramateurgy may, perhaps, be spoken of in such terms – I see no reason for an image which is, ultimately, the same effective concept condensed down to a single, two dimensional moment, is irreconcilable with this notion.
All that is required to ‘bring it to life’ is the mental engagement (and thence other such ‘enactions’) on the part of the reader / viewer. Itself ‘echoing’ the acts of creation, interpretation, immanentization undertaken by the artist himself to produce the rendering in the first instance.
Or, rather, something rather subsequent to the true ‘first instance’ – which belongs, after all, to the supernal realms of Myth.
‘Tis our job to Draw From It – indeed, as we are able, to evidently more literally Draw It – as our world shall require.