HP Lovecraft’s Birthday

20 August 2012

and how his Horror wove Time into the mix.

Say what you will about HP Lovecraft’s  racism, nazism, and sometimes unmanageable prose, his work influenced a great many modern horror writers, and may even be the catalyst for 20th Century horror in general. HR Giger‘s design of the first Alien film are the most evident example. I have read most of his short stories, his novella the Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, and his long poem the Fungi from Yuggoth, but not his longest work, a walking guide to Quebec City, and having waded through the quagmire of his work, I was greatly impressed by his perspective on time. In no small part it has influenced my development of the Abyss in theAbysmal Calendar project.

the Cosmic Horror, the Cosmic Horror

On occasion, Lovecraft seemed to pick up on something that was far more prescient than one expects (see American Plutocracy), as if he were tapping into the darker aspects of the collective unconscious of the United States. His work combined themes of racial and genetic degeneration, ancient alien civilization, the dead, occult knowledge, and an inverse of enlightenment, which is best summarized in the opening lines of the Call of Cthulhu:

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

He wrote this in 1926, in the time between the two world wars, when he wrote the majority of his work. Despite attempts to enlist, he never served in the military. He only sets one story in the first world war, Herbert West – Reanimator, and then only one episode, part V. As isolated as he was, he nevertheless picked up on a deep undercurrent.

Azathoth

Lovecraft wrote about a number of alien-god beings, including Azathoth, which appears in a number of his tales. In the Dreams in the Witch-House, the protagonist, Gilman, remembers the entity in his dream as:

…the mindless entity Azathoth, which rules all time and space from a curiously environed black throne at the centre of Chaos…

Here, Lovecraft is describing the lord of matter, the centre of chaos, ruling all time and space (or dare I say spacetime). There is no doubt that Lovecraft had interest in the sciences, and was aware of Einstein’s remodeling of the universe. Mind you, the idea of chaos theory wouldn’t come along for some decades. Entropy would have to suffice as a working model based in thermodynamics.

Yog-Sothoth

Yog-Sothoth likewise shows up in a number of stories, including Through the Gates of the Silver Key where it is referred to as:

…an All-in-One and One-in-All of limitless being and self — not merely a thing of one Space-Time continuum, but allied to the ultimate animating essence of existence’s whole unbounded sweep — the last, utter sweep which has no confines and which outreaches fancy and mathematics alike. It was perhaps that which certain secret cults of earth have whispered of as YOG-SOTHOTH, and which has been a deity under other names…

and here from the Dunwich Horror:

Yog-Sothoth knows the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate. Past, present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth. He knows where the Old Ones broke through of old, and where They shall break through again. He knows where They have trod earth’s fields, and where They still tread them, and why no one can behold Them as They tread.

Here, Yog-Sothoth seems more to be an atemporal entity, representing a simultaneous model of time.

Although Lovecraft personified spacetime and time as divine entities, he gave them a dark character, a horrific one, which is in keeping with the classical deities with which he was familiar: Kronos and Saturn.

Furthermore, Lovecraft has written his mythology into history, or at least blended historical fact with mythological fiction. When the Stars are Right provides a timeline of dates from Lovecraft’s fiction and historical dates to which he refers.

Aliens among Us

This is one of the first instances I’ve encountered of the mythology of science which grew to prominence in 20th Century USAmerica. Superman, another divine alien in the pantheon of science, wouldn’t be born until 1932. Where other culture created mythologies using archetypal gods, spirits and deities, the sciences used speculation based in fact to create their mythology. We didn’t have angels and demons, but aliens and mad scientists. Our heroes and villains are mutants, either from radiation or more recently, genetic manipulation, the latter of which Lovecraft had already written about in works such as the Lurking Fear, and the Shadow over Innsmouth among others.

Although his prose is leaden enough to line a vault, the ideas contained therein are more valuable than often credited. His work was greatly influential, and if nothing else, coalesced the horror genre into the spawning narratives that continue to ask us to look deeper into the abyss. And as we do, it looks back into us.

123 Days to Dec 21st 2012


Garbage in Garbage out

28 June 2012

or, Garbage out of the factory, into the store, out to your house, and into the landfill.

I was asked to post this image after I posted The Story of Stuff in How Did All this Stuff get Here? I’ve heard tales of young activists following recycling trucks to the landfill because the city wasn’t prepared for the huge response to its recycling program. They have since cut back on the types of plastic they will process (and are currently making a mess of a centralized green bin “composting” program). Ottawa may be Canada’s political capital, but it lags behind in any kind of sensible urban development. Truly, it is run in short-sighted planning that has the next election cycle as its goal. Truly a pathetic spectacle.

Further, the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, are often reduced to one: Recycle. Reducing the amount we consume, and reusing what we have is often left behind for the disposability that comes along with consumption. A fourth R has been suggested: Refuse. Refuse plastic bags when offered. Refuse to shop at disreputable sites. Refuse to drive a car. Etc…

I’m moving, yet again (that’s 25 residences and counting), and am giving stuff away (books to the library, plants to friends, clothes to charity), selling stuff (furniture mostly), recycling electronics (through approved channels), and throwing out an awful lot of other stuff for which I cannot find a home, or have no use. Over all these moves, I have pared down my possessions with each move, and yet I never seem to keep on top of it. I’ve shredded all kinds of documents that I couldn’t simply recycle (sensitive information and all), and this alone has greatly reduced the weight I have to carry.

I think my ideal situation is living in a treehouse with enough comfort for myself, a few visitors, and foster pets or something. I’m growing a few trees, but it will be well over a decade until they are large enough to support a house. I suppose I should start scouting out the arboretum.

In any case, I think that any new product (and old ones, why not), cannot be put up for sale unless there is a sustainable plan for their lifespan, from material acquisition to disposal. I doubt plutonium would have been approved under such scrutiny.

Anway, here’s something about garbage.

Life of Garbage
image by: BusinessDegree.net

176 Days to Dec 21st 2012


Human Gestation, Time and the stages of becoming

26 November 2008

Gestation: counting by the calendar, daylight, moonlight

gestation-first-52-days

Chronobiology, the study of periodicity in living things, points towards human association with sunlight, and what is healthiest for the greatest majority of us. Sunlight is best at around dusk and dawn, and can be too harsh during the middle of the day (depends on where you live). Likewise, our bodies calibrate themselves to the seasons near the vernal equinox, in the twilight. Often there are festivals scheduled at this time, so that entire communities spend these hours outside together, synchonizing themselves not only with the seasons, but with one another. The Full Moon also sees its share of celebrants, and in days before electric lighting, it provided enough light for us to gather outside together.

In any case, our bodies are tied to the rhythm of the day, the moon (lunar month) and the seasons, regardless of where we live. These three characteristics define our understanding of time: the rotation of the Earth around its axis, the orbit of the Moon around the Earth: the orbit of the Earth~Moon around the Sun.

During our earliest moments of existence, just after the egg and sperm come together, we are under the influence of two different times: the time according to our mother’s body, which is tied to the day, moon and season, and; the time according to the development of ourselves from a single cell to an entire person in under 270 days.

The presumption is that midday, when the Sun is highest in the sky, and the Full Moon, and the Summer Solstice are all equivalent, in that they are the time at which we receive the most sunlight, and therefore the most energy from the Sun. In looking at the development in utero against the phases of the Moon, keep in mind that the waxing Moon is growing and getting brighter, therefore day~to~day, we receive more energy from it. Same as we approach the Summer Solstice and the Days grow longer.

Ideally, women menstruate at the New Moon, and ovulate at the Full Moon. Therefore, conception occurs at the Full Moon in all of the examples below. People are most fertile in the spring. The model pregnancy in this case takes place from the Full Moon at the Vernal Equinox (as occurred in 2008) to the birth just prior to the Winter Solstice.

3dayembryo

the Moon and Fertility:

from New Moon, when its gravitational pull is in the same direction as the Sun’s. It appears dark to us.

gestation-by-lunation

as First Quarter, the Moon’s gravity has now drawn away from the Sun’s so that it has become noticeably distinct. We see half of its surface illuminated by the Sun.

at the Full Moon, the draw of the Moon’s gravity is opposite that of the Sun’s. It’s entire face is illuminated.

at the Last Quarter, the Moon’s gravity returns towards that of the Sun, lessing. Half of its face is illuminated.

The Seasons and Fertility

gestation-by-season

The Seasons and Lunations

Here we have Year 8~XIV (dec 21st 2007 to dec 20th 2008) with the 12 lunations and when they occur relative to the months of the year. Following, we have the lunar cycle according to gestation beginning with the Full Moon at the Vernal Equinox.

year-8xiv-months-and-moonsYear 8~XIV, Months & Moons

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

gestation-by-months-and-moonsGestation from Vernal Equinox to Winter Solstice by the Moon

Gestation, Time and Becoming

The duration from conception to birth varies from person to person, however, it tends to falls within range of 9 months. 9 Lunar Months comes to 266 Days. The Maya tzolkin Calendar counts 260 Days, which also stands for the duration of gestation. The Lunar 266 Days lasts from Full Moon to Full Moon, the tzolkin follows its own metre based on 13 numbers and 20 glyphs.

Here is a breakdown of some of the occurrences in the first 60 days of gestation, which is about 2 lunar months, from full moon to fulll moon. 13 x 5 = 65 days, which is close to this on the 13~XX Calendar

Day

Development

0

Conception
1 1 cell (zygote) fetilisation – polar bodies form
2 2 cells (blastomeres) (30 hours), 4 cells (40 hours).
3 16-32 cells (morula) – morula passes out of fallopian
tubes
4 64 cells (blastocyst) – inner cavity (blastocele)cell mass inside blastocele (embryoblast)
5-6 the blastocyst implants itself in the blood-rich uteran wallcirculation between mother & blastocyst begins
7-12 trophoblast cells begin to form placenta with uterine wallembryoblast differentiates into upper, dark blue (epiblast –
becomes embryo) & lower, yellow layers of cells (hypoblast –
becomes yolk sac)
13 embryo anchored to the uterus via placentaembryo anchored to placenta by precursor to umbilical cord

yolk sac produces blood cells (without nuclei)

14 (gastrula) 2-layer embryonic disc forms the primitive streakthe outer layer of cells folds into the primitive streak
15 Mesoderm – middle layer – muscles, bones,
lymphatic tissue, spleen, blood cells, heart, lungs, reproductive
& excratory systems
16 Ectoderm – top layer – skin, hair, lenses of eyes,
lining of internal & external ear, nose, sinuses, mouth,
anus, tooth enamel, pituitary and mammary glands & all parts
of the nervous systemneural crest cells differentiate into neurons, glial cells,
epidermis pigment cells, various skeletal & connective
tissues of the head

Endoderm – inner layer – lining of lungs, tongue,
tonsils, urethra & associated glands, bladder & digestive
tract

17-19 ectoderm thickens to form neural plateconcave groove forms in neural plate (neural groove –

precursor to nervous system – one of the first organs to
develop)

blood cells develop & forming channels along epithelial
cells

19-21 mesoderm forms somites on either side of the neural groovefirst 3-pair somites appear at tail, forming towards head

head fold rises on either side of primitive streak

secondary blood vessels in placenta & chorion (2-layer
membrane)

muscle cells begin to fuse forming into 2 heart tubes

21-23 4-12-pair somiteseye & ear cells appear beside neural fold

2 heart tubes fuse together into an S-shape, and cardiac
muscle contraction begins

23-25 13-20 pairs somitesprimitive heart beating, major vessels along neural system

peristalsis begins

with 20 somites, the forebrain is completely closed

25-27 face & neck arches evident under developing forebrainblood system develops on surface of yolk sac, move to maternal
blood system

valves & septa appear in heart

liver cells appear (beginning of digestive system)

26-30 digestive epithelium layer differentiates into locations for
liver, lung, stomach & pancreas
31-35 mandibular & hyoid arches evident in headspinal cord wall in 3 zones (ventricular, mantle &
marginal)

ventricular – neurons, glial, & ependymal cells

mantle – neuron clusters

marginal – processes of neurons

pituitary precusor defined

lens vesicle nestled in optic cup opens to surface

nasal plate evident

digestive tube differentiates into esophagus & trachea

semilunar valves form in heart – 4 major subdivisions

right & left lung sacs lie on either side of esophagus

ureteric bud appears

metanephros – precursor to kidney, develops

upper limbs elongate & innervation begins

35-38 stomodeum (ectodermic precursor to mouth & oral cavity)swelling of external ear begin

lens pit has closed, retinal pigment may appear, lens fibres
form

depressions in nasal disc form into nasal pits

esophagus lengthens

blood flows through left & right streams

lobar buds appear in bronchial tree

intestines lengthen (in umbilicus)

ureteric bud lengthens, tip lengthening towards kidney

lower limb buds lengthen & innervate

37-42 cerebral hemispheres evidenthindbrain develops (responsible for heart, breath &
muscle)

future mandible visible

nasal pits rotate to face ventrally

cardiac tube divides into aortic & pulmonary channels

mammary tissues begin to mature

mesentery defined

hand region differentiates

lower limb sections evident

42-44 jaw & facial muscles developingolfactory bulb forms

teeth buds begin forms

pituitary forms

trachea, larynx & bronchi system forms

heart separates into 4 chambers

diaphragm forms

intestines develop in umbilical cord

primitive germ cells forms at genital area

hand region forming digital plate

digital rays appear in foot plates

44-48 intersections of nerve networks (plexuses) develop in scalp
regioneyes pigmented

eyelids developing

trunk of pulmonary artery separates from trunk of aorta

nipples appear

kidneys produce first urine

urogenital & anal membranes appear

arms at proper location, hand plates finish in another 2 days.

ossification of the skeleton begins

48-51 first detectable brain wavessemicircular canals form in inner ear

septum primum fuses with septum intermedium in the heart

gonads form

legs now at proper location, toes almost completed

bone cartilage solidifies

muscles develop & strengthen

51-53 Brain connected by nerves & muscles – spontaneous
movementnasal openings & tip of nose fully formed

anal membrane perforated

urogenital membranes differentiate

skin folds between future toes

53-54 tongue development finishesintestines migrate from umbilical cord to embryo
54-56 upper lip fully formedbrain can move muscles

clitoris begins to form

primary ossification in long bones (upper limbs first)

56-60 External ear completely developedeyes cosed, retina fully pigmented

taste buds form

primary teeth at cap stage

bones of palate fuse

scalp plexus reaches head vertex

intestines migrate into body cavity

toes no longer webbed all digits fully distinct

thin precursor to skin covers ectoderm of embryo

tail has disappeared

B0003308 6 day old human embryo implanting - coloured

that’s a human embryo folks.


The Nine Lords of Xibalba

24 February 2007

Part II Chapter 1 of the Popol Vuh

All of them held a council. Those called Hun-Camé and Vucub-Camé were the supreme judges. All the lords had been assigned their duties. Each one was given his own authority by Hun-Camé and Vucub-Camé.

They were, then, Xiquiripat and Cuchumaquic lords of these names. They were the two who caused the shedding of blood of the men.

Others were called Ahalpuh and Ahalganá, also lords. And their work was to make men swell and make pus gush forth from their legs and stain their faces yellow, what is called Chuganal. Such was the work of Ahalpuh and Ahalganá.

Others were Lord Chamiabac and Lord Chamiaholom, constables of Xibalba whose staffs were of bone. Their work was to make men waste away until they were nothing but skin and bone and they died, and they carried them With their stomach and bones stretched out. This was the work of Chamiabac and Chamiaholom, as they were called.

Others were called Lord Ahalmez and Lord Ahaltocob; their work was to bring disaster upon men, as they were going home, or in front of it, and they would be found wounded, stretched out, face up, on the ground, dead. This was the work of Ahalmez and Ahaltocob, as they were called.

Immediately after them were other lords named Xic and Patán whose work it was to cause men to die on the road, which is called sudden death, making blood to rush to their mouths until they died vomiting blood. The work of each one of these lords was to seize upon them, squeeze their throats and chests, so that the men died on the road, making the blood rush to their throats when they were walking. This was the work of Xic and Patán.


Zoroastrian Cosmology

24 September 2006

Calendar Reform – Symbolism and Mythology

from Oriental Mythology by Joseph Campbell

“The earliest prophet of this mythology of cosmic restoration was, apparently, the Persian Zoroaster, whose dates, however, have not been securely established. They have been variously placed between 1200 and 550 BC, so that, like Homer, he should perhaps be regarded rather as symbolic of a tradition than as specifically, or solely, one man. The system associated with his name is based on the idea of a conflict between the wise lord, Ahura Mazda, “first father of the Righteous Order, who gave to the sun and stars their path,” and an independent evil principle, Angra Mainyu, the Deceiver, principle of the lie, who, when all had been excellently made, entered into it in every particle. The world, consequently, is a compound wherein good and evil, light and dark, wisdom and violence, are contending for a victory. And the privilege and duty of each man – who, himself, as a part of creation, is a compound of good and evil – is to elect, voluntarily, to engage in the battle in the interest of the light. It is supposed that with the birth of Zoroaster, twelve thousand years following the creation of the world, a decisive turn was given the conflict in favor of the good, and that when he returns, after another twelve millenia, in the person of the messiah Saoshyant, there will take place a final battle and cosmic conflagration, through which the lie will be undone. Whereafter, all will be light, there will be no further history, and the Kingdom of God (Ahura Mazda) will have been established in its pristine form forever.”

“The ultimate background of both the oriental and the occidental storied heavens and pits of hell, with the world mountain between, is the Mesopotamian concept of the architecture of the universe, where, as we have found, there is an axial cosmic mountain symbolized by the ziggurat oriented with its sides to the quarters, above which, in the highest heaven, sits a supreme god, An, amidst a brilliant company of deities. The Plant of Birth and the Bread and Water of Immortality are in that lofty sphere, below which, in the middle sky, is the divine archetype and lord of royal rule, whose role, in the long course of Mesopotamian history with its fluctuation of empire, was played by a number of incumbents: first, apparently, Enlil (the patron deity of Sumerian Nippur), then Bel Marduk (of Hammurabi’s Babylon), Assur (of Assyria), and, among numerous others, Yahweh (of the early Hebrews). In his court of many shining gods (or angels) the Tablets of Fate were annually indited. And the seen heavens of the planets revolved below, in stages, which in the period of Assyria (c. 1100 – 630 bc) were represented by seven terraced stories on the mountainside of the ziggurat, while beneath the earth, in the abyss, the terrible goddess Ereshkigal, of the Land of No Return, was approached through seven gates. In her domain of darkness, called Arallu, a horde of monsters and of unfortunate souls deprived at death of the last rites of burial wandered horribly in the forms of unsightly birds.”


Popol Vuh

24 September 2006

Quiche Maya Creation Tale

Popol VuhPart I: Chapter 1

THIS IS THE ACCOUNT OF HOW ALL WAS in suspense, all calm, in silence; all motionless, still, and the expanse of the sky was empty.

This is the first account, the first narrative. There was neither man, nor animal, birds, fishes, crabs, trees, stones, caves, ravines, grasses, nor forests; there was only the sky.

The surface of the earth had not appeared. There was only the calm sea and the great expanse of the sky.

There was nothing brought together, nothing which could make a noise, nor anything which might move, or tremble, or could make noise in the sky.

There was nothing standing; only the calm water, the placid sea, alone and tranquil. Nothing existed.

There was only immobility and silence in the darkness,

in the night. Only the creator, the Maker, Tepeu, Gucumatz, the Forefathers, were in the water surrounded with light.  They were hidden under green and blue feathers, and were therefore called Gucumatz.  By nature they were great sages and great thinkers.  In this manner the sky existed and also the Heart of Heaven, which is the name of God and thus He is called.

Then came the word. Tepeu and Gucumatz came together in the darkness, in the night, and Tepeu and Gucumatz talked together.  They talked then, discussing and deliberating; they agreed, they united their words and their thoughts.

Then while they meditated, it became clear to them that when dawn would break, man must appear. Then they planned the creation, and the growth of the trees and the thickets and the birth of life and the creation of man. Thus it was arranged in the darkness and in the night by the Heart of Heaven who is called Huracán.

The first is called Caculhá Huracán. The second is Chipi-Caculhá. The third is Raxa-Caculhá. And these three are the Heart of Heaven.

Then Tepeu and Gucumatz came together; then they conferred about life and light, what they would do so that there would be light and dawn, who it would be who would provide food and sustenance.

Thus let it be done! Let the emptiness be filled! Let the water recede and make a void, let the earth appear and become solid; let it be done. Thus they spoke. Let there be light, let there be dawn in the sky and on the earth! There shall be neither glory nor grandeur in our creation and formation until the human being is made, man is formed. So they spoke.

Then the earth was created by them. So it was, in truth, that they created the earth. Earth! they said, and instantly it was made.

Like the mist, like a cloud, and like a cloud of dust was the creation, when the mountains appeared from the water; and instantly the mountains grew.

Only by a miracle, only by magic art were the mountains and valleys formed; and instantly the groves of cypresses and pines put forth shoots together on the surface of the earth.

And thus Gucumatz was filled with joy, and exclaimed: “Your coming has been fruitful, Heart of Heaven; and you, Huracán, and you, Chipi-Caculhá, Raxa-Caculhá!”

“Our work, our creation shall be finished,” they answered.

First the earth was formed, the mountains and the valleys; the currents of water were divided, the rivulets were running freely between the hills, and the water was separated when the high mountains appeared.

Thus was the earth created, when it was formed by the Heart of Heaven, the Heart of Earth, as they are called who first made it fruitful, when the sky was in suspense, and the earth was submerged in the water.

So it was that they made perfect the work, when they did it after thinking and meditating upon it.

Part I: Chapter 4

IT WAS CLOUDY AND TWILIGHT THEN ON the face of the earth. There was no sun yet. Nevertheless, there was a being called Vucub-Caquix [Seven Macaw], who was very proud of himself.

The sky and the earth existed, but the faces of the sun and the moon were covered.

And he [Vucub-Caquix] said: “Truly, they are clear examples of those people who were drowned, and their nature is that of supernatural beings.

“I shall now be great above all the beings created and formed. I am the sun, the light, the moon,” he exclaimed. “Great is my splendor. Because of me men shall walk and conquer. For my eyes are of silver, bright, resplendent as precious stones, as emeralds; my teeth shine like perfect stones, like the face of the sky. My nose shines afar like the moon, my throne is of silver, and the face of the earth is lighted when I pass before my throne.

“So, then, I am the sun, I am the moon, for all mankind. So shall it be, because I can see very far.”

So Vucub-Caquix spoke. But he was not really the sun; he was only vainglorious of his feathers and his riches. And he could see only as far as the horizon, and he could not see over all the world.

The face of the sun had not yet appeared, nor that of the moon, nor the stars, and it had not dawned. Therefore, Vucub-Caquix became as vain as though he were the sun and the moon, because the light of the sun and the moon had not yet shown itself His only ambition was to exalt himself and to dominate. And all this happened when the flood came because of the wooden-people.

Now we shall tell how Vucub-Caquix was overthrown and died, and how man was made by the Creator and the Maker.


Jain Cosmic Being

24 September 2006

Calendar Reform, Symbolism and Mythology

from Oriental Mythology by Joseph Campbell

Humanity’s World, trapped within the torturous karmic wheel of rebirth, encircle’s the Cosmic Being’s waist.

p 228
“Below, in the seven hells, are figures terrible to behold, like immense birds deprived of feathers, sexless, and having bodies of a type known as “changeable” (vaikriyika); for they are without bones or tendons and very loosely put together. In the lowest hell they are 1000 yards tall; in the next, 500; the fifth, 250; in the fourth, 125; next 62 1/2; the second, 31 1/4; and in the first or uppermost hell, 46 feet, 10 1/2 inches. Those of the lowest three hells are black, the next two, dark blue, and the upper two, the gray of smoke. All being subject to the four cardinal passions of pride, wrath, delusion, and desire, they torment and mangle one another horribly with arrows, javelins and tridents, clubs and axes, knives and razors, tossing one another to beasts and birds endowed with claws and beaks of iron or into rivers of corrosive liquid or of fire; some are hung head downward into boiling vats of blood and filth, others are being roasted alive; more, pinned through the head to great moaning trees, are having their bodies sliced to ribbons. And the food of this company is poison, sizzling grease and ordure, while for drink they have molten metal. The upper three hells are blazing, the next two, mixed of hot and cold, and the deepest, freezing – as in Dante’s view.

“Furthermore, to the upper hells, fifteen deities of a coarse and lusty ilk known as asuras are assigned, who are not miserable at all in this domain, but, on the contrary, take fiendish delight in administering pain.

“But deities, in the Jain view, whether fiends in hell or celestial beings, are themselves merely monads caught in the vortex of rebirth, happy for a time, but destined to pass to other forms. And they are of four chief but finely subdivided categories:

I. Gods supporting the earthly order
1. fiends of the upper hells (asuras)
2. divine serpents
3. lightning deities
4. golden-feathered sun-birds
5. fire deities
6. wind deities
7. thunder gods
8. water gods
9. gods of the continents
10. gods of the quarters

II. Wilderness or Jungle Sprits
1. Kinnaras – “what sort of man?” – birdlike musicians having human heads
2. Kimpurushas – “what sort of man?” – human forms with horse heads
3. Mahoragas – great serpents
4. Gandharvas – celestial manlike musicians
5. Yakshas – powerful earth demons, usually benign
6. Rakshasas – malignant & very dangerous cannibal demons
7. Bhutas – cemetery vampires
8. Pishachas – malignant, mighty imps

III. Heavenly bodies
1. Suns – numbering, in the worlds inhabited by man, 132
2. Moons – likewise 132
3. Constellations – for each sun and for each moon 28
4. Planets – for each sun and for each moon 88
5. Stars – for each sun and for each moon 6, 697, 500, 000, 000

IV. Dwellers in the Mansions of the Storied Heavens, of two orders
1. Those within the Temporal Sphere
A. Masters of the True Law
B. The Lordly Powers
C. The Ever-Youthful
D. The Great Kings
E. Dwellers in the Causal World
F. Lords of the Mystical Sound Va
G. The Greatly Brilliant
H. Those of a Thousand Rays
I. The Pacific
J. The Revered
K. Those Delighting in the Abyss
L. The Imperishable (acyutas “not dripping”)
2. Those beyond the Temporal Sphere, of two classes
A. Those residing in the Cosmic Neck
i. Delightful to See
ii. Of Noble Achievement
iii. Delighting the Mind
iv. Universally Benign
v. Illustrious
vi. Well Disposed
vii. Auspicious
viii. Giving Joy
ix. Giving Bliss
B. Those residing in the Cosmic Head
i. The Victorious
ii. The Carriers of Banners
iii. The Conquerors
iv. The Invincibles
v. The Fully Realized

“Each of these forty-nine sub-orders of divine being is organized, like an Indian kingdom, in ten grades:

1. kings (indras)
2. princes
3. thirty-three high functionaries
4. Court Nobles
5. Bodyguards
6. Palace Guards
7. Soldiers
8. Citizens
9. Slaves
10. Criminal Classes

“All deities dwelling below the sphere of the neck delight in sexual play, and, as in the hells, so here, the life monads are of colors according to kind: those of ctegories I, II, and III are black, dark blue, and the gray of smoke; those of IV, sub-orders 1. A and B, flame red; C to E, yellow; and the rest, increasingly white. Gods of orders I, II, and III, furthermore, and of IV. 1. A and B are ten feet six inches tall. Contrast the beings in the lowest hell, with a stature of one thousand yards!

“And so, above the earth, as well as beneath, there is imagined only a manifold of monads – no God, nor even god, either in the usual Occidental sense of these terms or in the early Vedic sense.”