mikeh wrote:SteveM: Reading Forster, I was also struck by Cavafy, and how Forster's prose seemed to in part be an extension of his verses, with British irony thrown in. Your poems remind me of Cavafy, too.
mikeh wrote:When you say "judgement," in your last post, do you have in mind a particular event or group of events--
Perpetual waters through the grotto glide,
A lofty gate unfolds on either side;
That to the north is pervious to mankind:
The sacred south t'immortals is consign'd.
(http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pearse/morefat ... lation.htm)
..there are two extremities in the heavens, viz., the winter tropic, than which nothing is more southern, and the summer tropic, than which nothing is more northern. But the summer tropic is in Cancer, and the winter tropic in Capricorn. And since Cancer is nearest to us, it is very properly attributed to the Moon, which is the nearest of all the heavenly bodies to the earth. But as the southern pole by its great distance is invisible to us, hence Capricorn is attributed to Saturn, the highest and most remote of all the planets. Again, the signs from Cancer to Capricorn are situated in the following order: and the first of these is Leo, which is the house of the Sun; afterwards Virgo, which is the house of Mercury; Libra, the house of Venus; Scorpio, of Mars; Sagittarius, of Jupiter; and Capricorn, of Saturn. But from Capricorn in an inverse order Aquarius is attributed to Saturn; Pisces to Jupiter; Aries to Mars; Taurus to Venus; Gemini to Mercury; and in the last place Cancer to the Moon.
What is important for our purposes is that the gate for mortals, Cancer, is associated with the lowest of the planetary wanderers, the Moon, and the the one for immortals, Capricorn, is associated with the highest, Saturn.He likewise elsewhere speaks of the gates of the Sun, signifying by these Cancer and Capricorn, for the Sun proceeds as far as to these signs, when he descends from the north to the south, and from thence ascends again to the northern parts. But Capricorn and Cancer are situated about the galaxy, |33 being allotted the extremities of this circle; Cancer indeed the northern, but Capricorn the southern extremity of it.
Theologists therefore assert, that these two gates are Cancer and Capricorn; but Plato calls them entrances. And of these, theologists say, that Cancer is the gate through which souls descend; but Capricorn that through which they ascend. Cancer is indeed northern, and adapted to descent; but Capricorn is southern, and adapted to ascent. The northern parts, likewise, pertain to souls descending into generation. And the gates of the cavern which are turned to the north are rightly said to be pervious to the descent of men; but the southern gates are not the avenues of the Gods, but of souls ascending to the Gods. On this account, the poet does not say that they are the avenues of the Gods, but of immortals; this appellation being also common to our souls, which are per se, or essentially, immortal.
And some will have it that by the dogs are meant the tropics, which guard and watch the sun’s passage to the south and north.
Come, blessed power, thy mystic's mem'ry wake
to holy rites, and Lethe's fetters break.
In the composition of these three factors earth furnishes the body, the moon the soul, and the sun furnishes mind to man for the purpose of his generation331 even as it furnishes light to the moon herself. As to the death we die, one death reduces man from three factors to two and another reduces him from two to one;332 and the former takes place in the earth that belongs to Demeter (wherefore "to make an end" is called "to render one's life to her" and Athenians used in olden times to call the dead "Demetrians"),333 the latter in the moon that belongs to Phersephonê, and associated with the former is Hermes the terrestrial, with the latter Hermes the celestial.
334 While the goddess here335 dissociates the soul from the body swiftly and violently, Phersephonê gently and by slow degrees detaches the mind from the soul and has therefore been called "single-born" because the best part of man is "born single" when separated off by her.336 Each of the two separations naturally occurs in this p201fashion: All soul, whether without mind or with it,337 when it has issued from the body338 is destined to wander in the region between earth and moon but not for an equal time. Unjust and licentious souls pay penalties for their offences; but the good souls must in the gentlest part of the air, which they call "the meads of Hades,"339 pass a certain set time sufficient to purge and blow away the pollutions contracted from the body as from an evil odour.340 Then, as if brought home from banishment abroad, they savour joy most like that of initiates, which attended by glad expectation is mingled with confusion p203and excitement.341
...just as our earth contains gulfs that are deep and extensive,358 one here pouring in towards us through the Pillars of Heracles and outside the Caspian and the Red Sea with its gulfs,359 so those features are depths and hollows of the moon. The largest of them is called360 "Hecatê's Recess,"361 where the souls suffer and exact penalties for whatever they have endured or committed after having already become p211Spirits;362 and the two long ones are called "the Gates",363 for through them pass the souls now to the side of the moon that faces heaven and now back to the side that faces earth.364 The side of the moon towards heaven is named "Elysian plain,"365 the hither side "House of counter-terrestrial Phersephonê."
Yet not forever do the Spirits tarry upon the moon; they descend hither to take charge of oracles, they attend and participate in the highest of the mystic rituals, they act as warders against misdeeds and chastisers of them, and they flash forth as saviour a manifest in war and on the sea.367 For any act that they perform in these matters not fairly but inspired by wrath or for an unjust end or out of envy they are penalized, for they are cast out upon p213earth again confined in human bodies.
...their rites, honours, and titles persist but whose powers tended to another place as they achieved the ultimate alteration. They achieve it, some sooner and some later, once the mind has been separated from the soul.373 It is separated by love for the image in the sun through which shines forth manifest the desirable and fair and divine and blessed towards which all nature in one way or another yearns,374 for it must be out of love for the sun that the moon herself goes her rounds and gets into conjunction p215with him in her yearning to receive from him what is most fructifying...
Of the three Fates too Atropos enthroned in the sun initiates generation, Clotho in motion on the moon mingles and binds together, and finally upon the earth Lachesis too puts her hand to the task, she who has the largest share in chance.
mikeh wrote:Plutarch at the end brings in the Fates:Of the three Fates too Atropos enthroned in the sun initiates generation, Clotho in motion on the moon mingles and binds together, and finally upon the earth Lachesis too puts her hand to the task, she who has the largest share in chance.
Atropos, the one who cuts the thread, for Plutarch is the one associated with the Sun and generation. For while in being taken back by the sun the soul dies in bliss, pure mind is born in the sun, and the sun generates new souls in the womb of the moon. Clotho, the one who spins the yarn, the stuff of soul, is associated with the Moon, the place of soul-substance. Finally, Lachesis, the one who measures the thread that determines the length of life, is for Plutarch the fate associated with the earth, for "she has the largest share in chance."
The early tarot cards, such as the "Charles VI" and "Beaux-Arts-Rothschild," had it differently: Clotho was on the Sun card, perhaps, among other things, by virtue of such verses as Ecclesiastes 1:3: "What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun?" But the Vieville of 1650 fits Plutarch's text.
Today I have spent some time trying to figure out how a woman with a distaff could be thought an appropriate vignette to illustrate the Sun. I learned someting from Lacroix and Kastner, that "la Parque" is a collective term for the three Fates. This reminded me that the person who discusses the Sun card in Berti and Vitali's 1987 book used the term "la Parca" for the spinster in the card. So a century and a half ago somebody also saw Clotho (standing for all three) in that card. The dictionary says that "la Parca" is also a term for "death", and if you check images under "la parca" you get mostly the Grim Reaper.
But that doesn't answer the question - why would the Fates illustrate the Sun? Diogenes and Alexander brings to mind the punchline of the Sun immediately. Why the two children in the Tarot de Marseille? And for some of the other vignettes on the Star, Moon and Sun...
Anyway, I have come up with four possible subjects, which might be recognizable to an early 15th century audience, given what I know so far -
Eve (helps explain the two children, if boys - but still doesn't explain why relevant to the Sun - unless "toil under the blazing sun" is implied)
Mary (unconvcing, since she might too sacred a subject, and there is no Annunciation indication - so it's far-fetched)
Clotho (seems to be favored by generations, but still I don't understand why it would be a way to illustrate the Sun)
A woman spinning = woman's work (thus back to the "toil under the blazing sun" notion... but it seems a bit ad hoc)
Apparently Plutarch says, "Atropos is situated in the invisible, Clotho in the sun, and Lachesis in the moon."
I got a good Bible quote for it - Proverbs 31:19 "She lays her hands to the spindle, and her hand holds the distaff." Since it is the last chapter, there might be a tradition of illuminating Proverbs with an image of such a woman (the whole last section is about the qualities of a righteous woman, who is worth more than anything in the world). So, it might tie in with the next book in the Bible, Ecclesiastes, which starts off about vanity and everything being the same under the Sun. I'm guessing about some such kind of association, but I haven't found any illumations yet. I haven't seen much really, to tell the truth.
According to plutarch, if the air between the earh and the moon were to be removed and withdrawn, the unity and connection of the universe would be broken up since there would be an empty and unbound space in the middle. Similarly, there are said to be four principles of all things, the principles of life, motion, generation, and decay which are bound together at the various levels of the cosmos. The monad at the invisible (the outer rim of the celestial sphere) binds the first principle together with the second, the second in turn is bound together with the third by the demiurgic mind at the sun, while the third is bound together with the fourth by nature at the moon. These bonds are taken charge of by Atropos, Clotho, and Lachesis respectively, the goddess of fate and daughters of necesity.
With the emphasis of the irrational soul and the mixture of forces in the sublunary realm, Plutarch's cosmology allows for the possibility of astrology. Plutarch also posits four principles (arkhê) in the cosmos, Life, Motion, Generation and Decay (De genio Socratis, 591b). Life is linked to Motion through the activity of the Invisible, through the Monad; Motion is linked to Generation through the Mind (Nous); and Generation is linked to Decay through the Soul. The three Fates (Moirai) are also linked to this cycle as Clotho seated in the Sun presided over the first process, Atropo, seated in the Moon, over the second, and Lachesis over the third on Earth (cf. De facie in orbe lunae, 945c-d). At death the soul of a person leaves the body and goes to Moon, the mind leaves the soul and goes to Sun. The reverse process happens at birth. Plutarch is not rigid with his use of planetary symbolism, for in another place, he associates the Sun with the demiurge, and the young gods with the Moon, emphasizing the rational and irrational souls.
In De Genio Socratis, 591B Atropos is situated in the invisible, Clotho in the sun, and Lachesis in the moon. The order there is the same as it is here and different from that in the De Fato (568E), where in interpretation of Republic, 617C Clotho is highest, Lachesis lowest, and Atropos intermediate. Both orders differ from that of Xenocrates (frag. 5 [Heinze]), which was Atropos (intelligible and supra-celestial), Lachesis (opinable and celestial), Clotho (sensible and sublunar). The order of De Facie and De Genio Socratis is that of Plato's Laws, 960C, where Lachesis, Clotho, and Atropos are named in ascending order as the epithet of Atropos, Τρίτη σώτειρα, shows; here in the De Facie it is the passage of the Republic, however, that Plutarch has in mind, for his συνεφάπτεται is an echo of Plato's ἐφαπτομένην and ἐφάπτεσθαι there. Cf. H. Dörrie, Hermes, LXXXII (1954), pp331‑342 (especially pp337‑339), who discusses the relation of these passages to the pre-history of the Neoplatonic doctrine of hypostases and argues that in writing them Plutarch was inspired by Xenocrates.
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