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Flood myths and wine

 
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Tami Whitehead
poet


Joined: 28 Sep 2002
Posts: 41
Location: Southeast Texas

PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2002 5:22 am    Post subject: Flood myths and wine Reply with quote

Hi everyone,
I will start out with the new forum here, hope someone jumps in Very Happy .

In his telling of Deucalion's Flood, Graves points out the 'stick born by a white bitch' and planted by the son of Deucalion, and was the first vine. In Hebrew myths, Graves points out that Noah is also known as the first man to plant a vine, though the KJV mentions it only paranthetically.

Also, Utnapishtim or Parnapishtimwere pouring wine for the ark. I only throw this out as a possibility, but there seems to be a connection or common theme of wine or vines and Flood patriarchs. Graves does not elaborate, but I wonder...

Ideas anyone?

Tami
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Mark Mayer
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Joined: 20 Feb 2003
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Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2003 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting subject.

There are quite a few approaches to this idea of yours.

A typical historical/pre-historical/Gravesian approach: A flood or some calamity involving lots of water destroyed all of or most of the common ur-society. A surviving group (perhaps a family) that practiced viticulture restarted society. Thus the primacy of Dionysian cults?

If we delve into the mythic associations of water we might begin to connect the triple vine goddess with the triple moon goddess. Check out 160.u and 160.7. Here is the pertinent section of 160.7:

<blockquote>Rhoeo, daughter of Staphylus . . .('Pomegranate, daughter of Bunch of Grapes . . .) came to Delos in a chest and is the familiar fertility-goddess with her new-moon boat. She also appears in triad as her grand-daughters the Winegrowers, whose names mean 'olive oil', 'grain', and 'wine'. Their mother is Dorippe, or 'gift mare', which suggests that Rhoeo was the mare-headed Demeter.</blockquote>

In 160.u we find a side bar to the Troy story. When Agamemnon kidnaps the three Winegrowers to provision the Greek fleet they ultimately escape when Dionysus turns them into doves. Now were back at Noah, the flood, and the dove! Where is the rainbow?

Graves characteristically suggests connections without elaborating on them all. Perhaps that is in his nature as a poet; perhaps he felt that elaborating on ALL the connections was the job of Levi-Strauss. Razz

Mark
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Tami Whitehead
poet


Joined: 28 Sep 2002
Posts: 41
Location: Southeast Texas

PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2003 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah. Very interesting. I admit that in all my combings and gleenings in GM, I had missed the Winegrowers...one of the many many things I am sure is there right in front of me, yet irritatingly unfound!

So, a triad of goddesses/priestesses...and presumably a much older thing than the Cult(s) of Dionsyus itself. I remember (I think) that the addition of Dionsysus to the Eleusian rites was rather late, though what you propose rings true. As an interesting sidebar, that whole phenomena, the blending of Orphic/Dionsysian strains with the cult of Demeter would bear much discussion (that's my way of inviting you to 'jump on it').

I am struck by the 'grand-daughters' of Rhoeo as Olive oil, Grain, and Wine, which on the surface certainly represents the bounty of Demeter, and more than just 'Cereal Mother.' Could this point to an earlier belief, where it was taken for granted that 'all' fruits of the (surface) of the Earth were Hers...I am just rambling, but the whole Athene as daughter of Zeus and giver of olives and their oil, is assumed to be a rather late Hellene suppression of earlier Goddess functions.

In response to your suggestion about the widespread influence of the Dionsysus cult, again, I think it has merit, particularly with the later glosses on this and other myths where he has a hand. I do wish you would elaborate on the Water motif. I think you may be onto something, and would like to hear your thoughts on it.

My original query/point of confusion/idle wondering was that there may be just some such Water connection...you know, Water of Life, Flooding, rebuilding of some society or other...I thought there may be a connection between a Righteous man (Unapishtim, Noah, or even Lot...) with being presented with, gifted or made husbandman of Wine or vinestock, and the Water of Life...now that you have shown a connection between the Demeter cult, I feel a little more justified in my idle wondering.

Let's see if I can form a coherent 'what if'...
OK, the Tree of Life is the Goddess's, with the Apples or Fruits of Immortality the promised reward of the Sacrad King who is the Husband-man of the Grove (Vinyard).
Gilgamesh searched for the Plant of Immortality, and was guided/counseled by Unapishtim (a Righteous Man, and Flood Survivor), and the plant itself was in the Ocean (which of course was originally the domain of the Goddess, even Themis, which leads back to your Chrysothemis point).
Noah was purported to be the planter of the first vinestock in Hebrew Myth, and was again a Righteous Man, and the survivor of a flood.
I'll go ahead and throw Lot in, more as an aside than anything else, but he *was* a Righteous Man, survived a Divine Genocide-type judgement thing, and had to do with wine and 2 daughters(the third may have been his wife that turned to salt...hmm, didn't one of the daughters flee in a different direction?) No Water that springs to mind with Lot, but the other elements are there, sorta...
So, a husband-man, a tender of the Grove of the Goddess or Her Vinyard, a sacred king, torn, makes or consumes wine, is judged righteous, survivor of some Divine Destruction, and daughters are involved...

I am thinking that perhaps the Tree of Life, etc. could have the Vinestock, perhaps earlier than or along with the Apple tree. That the Water of Life could have been wine, which was sometimes spoken of as bringing wisdom or inspiration of some kind. Forgive me, I know this is probably "common sense" to everyone else, but I find it striking. Dionsysus, as the torn and consumed Father of Wine shares much with Christ, in that they both were 'the Fruit of the Vine' and had something to do with drinking wine.

The Pomegranite, Rhoeo, is an old symbol of the Goddess and/or the blood of Tammuz/Attis, an early form of this torn god whose blood fructifies the lands or otherwise brings Life...

Thanks again for the references. I'd like to hear any thoughts you or others have on this...

Tami
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Mark Mayer
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Joined: 20 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2003 8:41 am    Post subject: Water Reply with quote

I hesitated to get into water because. . .because. . I don't want to sound like a Jungian! Razz Well Jung and the Jungians are sort of like my take on the Grateful Dead. Love the band, hate the Deadheads.

I've got a somewhat Lacanian view of Jung anyway. How so? Lacan thesis is that language is an ever shifting chain of signifiers, an ocean of associations. There is no underlying signifier, as in de Saussure. Instead, these signifiers orbit the ultimate signifier, which he calls the Name of the Father. The salient quality of this signifier is it's absence. Art, religion, culture all represent a longing for this missing linguistic father.

So I look at Jung and at Graves and I see associations at play, and I cannot help but mix the two as I please. Yet I cannot, will not, claim to be an alchemist involved in a great work, for while there are many clues, there is no solving the mystery. In Focault's Pendulum Umberto Eco seems to suggest that there isn't even a mystery behind the mysterious, that the true mystery of meaning is to be found in the everyday. So now we're back at Cambell. Heh.

So. Water. I was going to free associate anyway, but now I'll blame it on not having any books in front of me at the moment. I'm a water bearer. An air sign that contains water? The air impregnating the earth with water is rain. Isn't the earth originally the progeny of the ocean-goddess and the sky-god? Moon and sun? I'm avoiding all the Jungian associations here. They don't need to be spelled out. Water, air, earth, sky, ocean, sun, moon. . . loaded with meaningful associations.

Jung was a scientist. Graves was a poet. I am a reader. A tired reader. =) I just wanted to post this while the madness was upon me. It probably won't make sense if I read it tomorrow.

Mark
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Roy
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2003 12:06 am    Post subject: Deadheads Reply with quote

Interesting comment about Jung and the Jungians.

I feel somewhat the same.

My question to you here who probably know more about Graves than me has to do with a claim that Graves made up the Triple-Moon goddess concept out of thin air and that Ronald Hutton's Triumph of the Moon is the book to read for this?

Anyway, the discussion arose in the context of Wicca.

I see significant points of departure between Jung, Graves, and Campbell, which, if I were really scholarly, I might take the time to articulate here, but as to a wholesale dismissal of Graves' Triple Moon Goddess?

Sounds absurd to me.

Roy
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jamemerritt614
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 9:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Deadheads Reply with quote

Roy wrote:
Interesting comment about Jung and the Jungians.

I feel somewhat the same.

My question to you here who probably know more about Graves than me has to do with a claim that Graves made up the Triple-Moon goddess concept out of thin air and that Ronald Hutton's Triumph of the Moon is the book to read for this?

Anyway, the discussion arose in the context of Wicca.

I see significant points of departure between Jung, Graves, and Campbell, which, if I were really scholarly, I might take the time to articulate here, but as to a wholesale dismissal of Graves' Triple Moon Goddess?

Sounds absurd to me.

Roy


If the author of the book you mentioned had bothered to look at the much of the Classical literature of the period, particularly that classed as "The Myth and Ritual School" he would have seen that far from inventing the theme of the Triple Goddess connected to the moon phases, Graves was expressing a theme which was almost taken as read by many Classical scholars of the time.

I cite the works of Jane Ellen Harrison as a case in point and a good place to start for further study. Some of Harrison's works also influence Kerenyi who worked closely with Jung and whose interpretation of Greek myth has real depth and insight.

I always find it sad that publishers seem to welcome badly researched books written while more recent in-depth scholarship is largely ignored.

As for the professional detractors, let them be seen off with a quote from Graves poem, "Lyceia", that sums them up neatly in four sharpened words ...

"They learn only envy ... "
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jamemerritt614
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 9:59 pm    Post subject: Olive, Grain and Vine Reply with quote

Tami Whitehead wrote:

I am struck by the 'grand-daughters' of Rhoeo as Olive oil, Grain, and Wine ...
Tami


This triad also expresses the ancient practice (still very much alive today in the Mediterranean) of under-planting olive groves with grain and vines. If you ever visit the island of Crete you will find that these groves, particularly at the times of sunrise and sunset, seem to pulsate with a life that is missing from the factory farms of modern agriculture.

This is not an isolated cultural phenomenon.

Many of the tribes of the Iroquois nation also revered a triad of goddesses who were granddaughters of from the Iroquois Creatrix and who were named after Maize, Bean and Squash.

Like the ancient Mediterranean tradition, the Iroquois nation also group planted their maize, beans and squash in the same field. As far as maize was concerned not only made good poetic sense but had a sound practical reason. Maize needs to be grown in blocks as an aid to pollenation. Underplanting with beans would ensure that nitrogen was fixed in the soil and the tendrils of the squash would keep the earth open and friable.

When you study the works of Robert Graves remember that he stressed the importance of finding the relationship between symbolic themes and cultural and technological innovations. This is much more than simply attaching a sacred meaning to the commonplace. Far from rejecting science, pre-industrial cultures tended to give new discoveries an almost spiritual dimension in order to integrate them into a coherent worldview.

This is a phenomenon which is well-known among anthropologists who have witnessed the introduction (and subsequent integration) of new crops or agricultural practices into an area where agricultural ritual still played a role in traditional religion.
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jamemerritt614
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 6:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Olive, Grain and Vine Reply with quote

vives wrote:

This triad also expresses the ancient practice (still very much alive today in the Mediterranean) of under-planting olive groves with grain and vines. If you ever visit the island of Crete you will find that these groves, particularly at the times of sunrise and sunset, seem to pulsate with a life that is missing from the factory farms of modern agriculture.


I had forgotten to mention that Robert Graves himself pointed out that this tradition continues to the present day in Greek Orthodox churches where a kernos of three cups (of a shape recognisable from Minoan times) is used for the offering of oil, grain and wine (for the Trinity!) ...

It was so easy for ancient practices to continue in the Eastern Church. All you had to do is to put "Hagia" ("Saint") in front of a name of a God and rework their myth as their hagiography and as they say in the UK "Robert becomes your mother's brother!" ...

Very Happy
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