Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Bright Morning Star

From ancient times people have noticed the beautiful bright morning star, planet Venus, when it appears in the east before dawn.

The Morgenstar is the one who carries dawn (Eos) or light (Phos), so ancient Greeks called it Ἑωσφόρος  (Eosphorus) and Φωσφόρος (Phosphorus).

Morning Star ceremony
Human sacrifice to the Morning Star was still in the 19th century in use by the Pawnee tribe of Native Americans living on the Great Plains along tributaries of the Missouri River.  Note that Pawnee ancients considered planet Mars male and Venus female - like in so many other cultures including classical Greece and Rome. Also the new Moslem rulers of Egypt established the city of Cairo when the winning soldier, al-qahira, Mars, was high.

"The Morning Star ceremony was a ritual sacrifice of a young girl in the spring. It was connected to the Creation story, in which the mating of the male Morning Star with the female Evening Star created the first human being, a girl.

The ceremony was not held in full every year, but only when a man of the village dreamed that the Morning Star had come to him and told him to perform the ceremony. He then consulted with the Morning Star priest, who has been reading the sky. Together they determined whether the Morning Star was demanding only the more common yearly symbolic ceremony, or requiring that the ceremony be carried out in full. When the Pawnee priests would identify certain celestial bodies on the horizon, they would know that the Morning Star needed to be appeased with the sacrifice of a young girl.

Returning to the village, the people treated the girl with respect, but they kept her isolated from the rest of the camp. If it was spring and time for the sacrifice, she was ritually cleansed. What was a five-day ceremony was begun around her. The Morning Star priest would sing songs and the girl was symbolically transformed from human form to be among the celestial bodies. Here the girl became the ritual representation of the Evening Star; she was not impersonating the deity, but instead had become an earthly embodiment. On the final day of the ceremony, a procession of men, boys and even male infants accompanied the girl outside the village to where the men had raised a scaffold. They had used sacred woods and skins, and the scaffold represented “Evening Star’s garden in the west, the source of all animal and plant life.

The priests removed her clothing and The procession was timed so that she would be left alone on the scaffold at the moment the morning star rose. When the morning star appeared, two men came from the east with flaming brands and touched her lightly in the arm pits and groins. Four other men then touched her with war clubs. The man who had captured her then ran forward with the bow from the Skull bundle and a sacred arrow and shot her through the heart while another man struck her on the head with the war club from the Morning Star bundle. The officiating priest then opened her breast with a flint knife and smeared his face with the blood while her captor caught the falling blood on dried meat. All the male members of the tribe then pressed forward and shot arrows into the body. They then circled the scaffold four times and dispersed"

The last sacrifice was of Haxti, a 14-year-old Oglala girl on April 22, 1838.
For more about this extreme form of star worship see the article on Pawnee mythology in wikipedia.

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