With a storm sweeping in tonight, bringing much rain and wind, it seems only apt to present the following. This is a slightly reworked excerpt from the Wolves of Rudra piece – one of many elements that, whilst they could not be fitted in to the final version, are nevertheless integrally linked to what we had discussed therein. That being the Sky Father having a Wolf Form, a Hunter – One Who Stalks Between The Stars. And, interestingly, closely correlated often with the Star of Sirius.
We have written several pieces which touch upon this as applies the Eastern (that is to say – the Indo-Iranian) Indo-European sphere. There we find these understandings preserved rather well. However of key interest to us is that these same elements, in identifiably coterminous arrangement and overt ritual saliency – are also found amidst the Hellenic (that is to say Ancient Greek) sphere.
In essence – what we find in the Indo-Iranic sphere as a Conflict featuring a most famous Archer that is also closely Sirius (i.e. Wolf) aligned, in order to bring forth the Rains ; amidst the Greeks we have a partial recording of the ritualine conceptry that would be an ‘active operationalization’ of same. Now, of course, there are likewise ritual propitiations for Tishya / Tishtrya that are found amidst the Indo-European East – yet it is indubitably handy for us to have this Hellenic recording as a further form of ‘triangulation’. Not least in terms of showing that this is truly the Indo-European Sky Father in Wolf Form Who is being prayed to and propitiated in order to Bring Forth The Storm.
Perhaps, hidden within the now-lost Hellenic mythology that must have been associated with the Rite, there may have been a similar Ritual Combat, Mythic Combat as to what we see viz. the Slaying of the Drought-Demon, Apaosa.
I have not – as yet – devoted the effort to fully exploring potential correlations for Iranic Apaosa replete with nomenclature for the Hindusphere. But an obvious parallel immediately suggests itself when considering the circumstance of the Constellations which resonate with the Demon’s Vanquisher in our (Hindu) terms. These being the situation of Pushya [derived from ‘Pusa’ ( पुष ), meaning ‘growth / nourishing’ which is a linguistic cognate for the ‘Paosa’ of Apaosa – ‘A-‘ here as a ‘negation’, so ‘Drought’, indeed, as ‘Lack of Growth’], along with that of Ardra [‘Moisture’] – with both of these being Rudra forms (Brihaspati in the case of the former); and with Punarvasu as the Nakshatra in between, identified with the Asvins and those ‘Wolf Sons’ of Rudra.
As applies Pusya – (Brihaspati) in particular, then, we observe His Fight against the Vala that is smited by Brihaspati at various points in the Vedas – thus enabling that necessity for life, the Cow, to be liberated from such demonic imprisonment. Indeed, RV X 68 rather directly invokes wind, fire and lightning for the Combat – perhaps recalling the ‘hot winds’ of Sirius found so frequently within the Hellenic literary corpus.
“5 Forth from mid air with light He drave the Darkness, as the gale blows a lily from the fiver.
Like the wind grasping at the cloud of Vala, Bṛhaspati gathered to Himself the cattle,
6 Bṛhaspati, when He with fiery lightnings cleft through the weapon of reviling Vala,
Consumed him as tongues eat what teeth have compassed: He threw the prisons of the red cows open.”
We would also observe the situation in line 10 wherein the demon Vala is directly spoken of in relation to the situation of unfavourable climactic conditions robbing the trees of green. And there are other elements, too, that might point toward Brihaspati’s storm-laden successful overcoming the demon-dragon Vala as being a logical correlate for the vanquishing of Apaosa.
Yet given what also occurs within the Hellenic (and subsequent Classical) texts pertaining to Sirius – wherein there is association with ‘fever’, disease … it should seem that another understanding is also possible. Namely, the propitiation of the wrathful form of the Sky Father deific that may bring disease.
An intriguing further line of speculation would consider whether one of the tellings of the Orion mythology, wherein the reason for Orion’s killing is due to that figure’s impending denuding the world of animal life might prove pertinent (an event that could certainly be related to the impacts of a drought). After all, the figure of Orion – whilst drawing in from several archaic IE mythemes visible in the Vedas (including that of Rudra Himself, in some tellings and in certain ways) – is directly stellarly equivalent to the Prey of Sirius slain by Rudra (Ardra) within our reckoning.
It is a complex matter, and we do not intend to fully untangle it at this time.
We can also speculate as to a lineage of ‘Wolf Priests’ Who come forth to carry out just such Rites – but more upon Them, perhaps, some other time …
But let us commence the excerpt:
A final occurrence we wish to draw attention to (for now) in terms of the Wolf as supporting civilization comes to us from the work of Apollonius of Rhodes, in his famed ‘Argonautica’. We shall let him speak upon the matter:
“And here to Phoebus she bore Aristaeus whom the Haemonians, rich in corn-land, call “Hunter” and “Shepherd”. Her, of his love, the god made a nymph there, of long life and a huntress, and his son he brought while still an infant to be nurtured in the cave of Cheiron. And to him when he grew to manhood the Muses gave a bride, and taught him the arts of healing and of prophecy; and they made him the keeper of their sheep, of all that grazed on the Athamantian plain of Phthia and round steep Othrys and the sacred stream of the river Apidanus. But when from heaven Sirius scorched the Minoan Isles, and for long there was no respite for the inhabitants, then by the injunction of the Far-Darter they summoned Aristaeus to ward off the pestilence. And by his father’s command he left Phthia and made his home in Ceos, and gathered together the Parrhasian people who are of the lineage of Lycaon, and he built a great altar to Zeus Icmaeus, and duly offered sacrifices upon the mountains to that star Sirius, and to Zeus son of Cronos himself. And on this account it is that Etesian winds from Zeus cool the land for forty days, and in Ceos even now the priests offer sacrifices before the rising of the Dog-star.”
[Book II, Seaton translation]
Straightaway we can perceive some rather important points of direct resonancy. This Aristaeus is a Son of Apollo (and Cyrene – and we intend to write upon this figure more in the future). He is sent by Blessed Apollo (here spoken of as Hekatos – hence ‘Far-Darter’ (‘Far-Working’)… ‘Archer’, indeed, is not too far removed) to the place of those descended from Lykaon (remember him?), and he is sent thusly in order, it should seem, to carry out a most significant rite: that of the propitiation of Sirius in order that a drought may be ended and waters flow again. Hence the invocation of Zeus Icmaeus – in order to bring about that emphatically needed moisturization. We would suggest that in reality there may not be much difference between the prayer to Sirius and the prayer to Zeus in terms of ultimate destination.
Well, for a start, it’s interesting to note that Apollodorus only mentions the one Altar – specifically to Zeus Ikmaois – being constructed in order to enable the necessary rites to be performed to overcome the Drought. Yet we can go further.
Consider the figure of Vedic Tishya (in Avestan – Tishtrya; and, in Armenian, Tir … a figure interestingly co-identified with Apollo (and/or Hermes) within the Interpretatio Graeca framework for the Armenian deific).
[for more detail – consult my earlier ‘Sirius In Central Asia – Soma, Tisya, Tishtrya, Rudra‘]
The Indo-Iranian deific in question is most definitely identified with the Star that is Sirius … and fights (using arrows – which the Zoroastrians seem to identify with Sirius Itself) to bring about an end to a drought. Personified in the Zoroastrian end of things as ‘Apaosa’ – ‘Drought’ (or, rather, ‘Absence of Nourishment’).
We would know Tishya to be a form of Rudra – and, indeed, the surrounding contextual mythology, theology, and astrology all serve to constellarly confirm this. Although it should, perhaps be noted that the precise astrogationary reckonings have ‘broadened out’ in the ensuing millennia – so Ardra (‘Moist One’ – and yes, once again, Rudra … and Rudra as a wrathful Huntsman, immediately following His Prey, the Deer-aspected Mrgashira) is joined by Pushya (directly cognate with the ‘Paosa’ of ‘A-Paosa’) that is also hailed as Tishya as another Nakshatra (and under the rulership of Brihaspati – another Rudra form … this time in a more ‘priestly’ aspect).
However in between Ardra and Tishya, we find Punarvasu … which is characterized via the Gemini – that is to say, the Asvins, those famed Sons of Rudra / Sons of Dyaus (but, then, we repeat ourselves twice over don’t we). We mention this, as the sage Manasataramgini has interestingly argued that those two Sons of Rudra, the Horse-Twins, are in fact the same as that Bhava and Sarva pairing invoked in the Shankhayana Shrauta Sutra verse we had opened this article with as “The Two Who like Wolves with Jaws Wide Opened , roam in the forest”. It is an interesting contention – and would therefore ‘position’ the Hunter and His Two Hounds so familiar to us in the Western astro-perception as Orion and His Two Hunting Dogs (Canis Major & Minor) … as, well, Ardra and the Gemini Stars. With some identifying Ardra with Betelgeuse in Orion (rather than simply and more directly with Sirius), it is not so much of a (spatial) ‘shift’ nor ‘departure’ as one might so happen to think. The zones of sky in question do significantly overlap.
And, via the utilization of a Hindu Jyotisha perspective, we are able to see just what was likely going on in that account of Apollodorus.
In essence, the worship of two ‘Forms’ of the Indo-European Sky Father Deific: The Wolf Who Stalks Amidst The Stars (Sirius) – and Zeus as Zeus Ikmaios (ἰκμᾰ́ς (Ikmas) being, just as with ‘Ardra’, ‘Moisture’).
And therefore, just as Sirius (Rudra – Ardra) is both Hunter (Wolf, yet also Archer) and Bringer of Moisture for us here in the Hindusphere … well, so too should it seem that the Sky Father amidst the Greeks could fulfil both portfolio roles too. Perhaps in a fashion similar to the ‘Rudra-Shiva’ distinction of Terrific and Beatific ‘Facings’ to He that we are so familiar with in our own theological home territory.
We intend to say more about all of this at some point in the future (in particular, just why it is that ‘Descendants of Lykaon’ are said to be in such a far-flung location and brought together in order to carry out such a rite – as well as commenting upon a certain other suite of Lykaon’s descendants in relation to an … ill-starred son of Aristeaus), but for now it is enough, I think. And then some.
This Wolf Form of the Sky Father might fairly state:
“Après Moi, Le Déluge”
Jai Sri Rudra !
ॐ नमः शिवाय