Last night, my husband watched the Indiana Jones movie where Sean Connery plays the father. The little bit I saw showed Indiana Jones in the catacombs of Venice. I’ve seen this movie perhaps a half dozen times or more. For the first time it hit me — there were no catacombs in Venice. How could there be ancient tunnels? It’s a city built on marsh and flooding is a constant problem. I guess if you need a boat chase scene for your movie, the canals there will do it up nicely. Never mind the resultant churning water undermines the city. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Before I go off on a historic preservation tear, I’ll leave that thought hang.
Anyway…I noticed the symbols on the catacomb walls and crypts. It occurred to me that any one symbol can have multiple associations. That’s very true. There are symbols around the world whose meanings we understand today but those same symbols held far different meanings in centuries past. Take the Greek letter Γ. Known as the gamma, this letter of the Greek alphabet is the main construction piece in the symbol known as the gammadion. It’s thought the gammadion represents the auspicious fours — the four winds, the two solstices/two equinox, the four elements, the four divine guardians of the world.
The gammadion has a long assorted history as a religious emblem around the world. It first shows up around 10,000 BCE. As one of the most widely distributed sacred signs attributed to goddess ornamentation, it shows up in Ancient Rome, Troy, Crete, Cyprus, Rhodes, and Greece. It graces the coins of Macedon, Lycia, Corinth, Crete, and the Etruscans, as well as appears across Italy in various forms.
It was a popular motif in central Europe, especially to the Gauls and Ancient Britains. To the Gauls, this was a tetrascele, the L-shaped arms presented as the curving bodies of animals. Often seen with four horse heads, it represents the four fiery steeds of the sun god Helios. It has also been found embedded in the earth square, the design on the shield often held to the chest of the Celtic nature deity known as Cernunnos the Horned God. It’s seen all across Asia from Libya to China, from India to Japan. It frequently shows up on ancient Buddha figures. It even shows up on ancient Christian catacombs and tombs.
On ancient Scandinavian graves, there are runic versions of the gammadion used to symbolize man’s re-absorption into the mother earth — part of a magical regeneration. From burial mounds of the ancient Native American Mississippian culture a version depicts the heads of the Sunbird to form the Γ. In gnostic teachings, this symbol is presented on end to suggest movement as an emblem of the inexorable passage of time.
In the Vehmic courts, those medieval courts of Austria and Germany, the gammadion doubled its gammas and became associated with the Inquisition. From there, it was stripped of its extra gamma’s and reversed. Today this symbol, once revered by so many and steeped in auspicious nods to good fortune, is instantly recognized as a symbol of hatred. We call it the swastika.
Here’s one for today:
Cagastric (adjective 1662-1753)
of diseases, originating under an ill star
Oh writer’s block, thou art a wretched thing. Where is spring when you need it? In an attempt to keep writing beyond the blogging, I’ve been dabbling in flash fiction with word limits. It doesn’t come easy to the Wordie I am, but it’s very good practice for my future plan of writing a book of short stories.
A week or so ago, I stumbled across a great group of writers on Facebook and they have weekly memes to write for. Today is Flasher Fiction Friday.
Today is Author Marianne Stephens’ blog day.
The February contest is on Romance Books ‘4’ Us and it’s all about Cupid. Find the little cherub hidden all across the site to win. This month’s contest will have 2 winners who’ll each receive a $50 gift card for Amazon/B&N, then split the remaining prizes (randomly chosen by RB4U). Be sure to check all our pages for news about authors and their books, publishers and their books, and industry representatives. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/
Several promotional opportunities for romance authors can be found on my Exquisite Quills group blogs. Meet the founding authors and our guests. http://exquisitequills.blogspot.com/
Free to join in each week
Wash Line Monday ~ share your descriptions of clothing in your novel.
Tickle Us Tuesday ~ Share fun and funny snippets from your novel.
First Kiss Wednesday ~ share your best 300 word kiss.
Set the Scene in Six~ share your backdrop or lead-up on Sundays.
Book a spot
The Genesis of a Book ~ share the spark that ignited your novel.
Author Interviews ~ We’re booking late spring now.
Love Waits in Unexpected Places – Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories
Sample my love stories for free!