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Tree Nymphs and Tree-Hung Shamans

PART TWO: The Chthonian Romance

In time before the reckoning of time, in the long prelude to the prehistory of the human species, male shamans were born from women who were trees. Who were these shamans? They were the first men of the human race, for at the beginning of their time on this planet, all the male members of our species were shamans. They were accomplished hunters who came from elsewhere in the cosmos, yet they belonged to the earth in a way they could not at first understand. In effect, they came to their home planet without knowing it was their home planet.

A strange and bizarre situation, this. It sets the stage for the chthonian romance.

Chthonos, Greek "earth, ground, primary realm." Chthonian (THO-ni-un) or chthonic (THON-ic), referring to the underworld, the infernal regions.

Outrageous Divinity

From the moment she plunged from the galactic core to the moment she morphed into the earth, the Aeon Sophia underwent many throes of joy, grief, and confusion. During a good part of the incalculable time preceding her full terrestrial metamorphosis, the Goddess floundered in the elementary matter of the revolving limb of the galaxy, the third limb from the core. Her current of pearl-white Organic Light gradually became weighed down, loaded with the inorganic dross of the dema, the dense elementary matter arrays. The immense torrent that she was, was like a spray of liquescent magnetic streams, living quicksilver that gathered mass and inorganic matter to itself. Sophia became heavy in birth, her currents convoluted, finally spinning into the fetal shape of a planetary sphere.

But even as she underwent these immense changes, Sophia was keenly aware of her environment. All around her She perceived the swarm of the Archons like a plague of locusts arising from the dema. And she perceived as well the soft glow of the luminous template of the Anthropos, hung in the Orion Nebula like a net of jewelled dew in a spider's web. The template consisted of interlocking tetrahedrals of nucliec acid whose axes were defined by a tight group of young stars in the Trapezium formation. The template was deposited deep in the ruddy mauve of the Orion Nebula, a patch of colored breath on the obsidian mirror of cosmic night.

Trapezium: a cluster of four tightly grouped stars located between the smoky smudge (upper left) and the superbright region on the right.

To Sophia the glimmer of the Anthropos was deeply alluring. She kept her gaze fixed upon it as she underwent her metamorphosis into the earth. Before her plunge from the Pleroma, she and the Aeon Christos, witnessed by the entire company of Pleromic Gods, had configured the template into its multifaceted tetrahedral form. They predesigned the human species by the power of epinoia, divine imagination. In the chrism of nucleic acid they secreted its properties, the divine pattern of human potential, ecstatically imagined. They endowed the singularity of the Originator with a code of its own, a unique evolutional signature. Then, according to cosmic law, they released it into the cosmos as a deathless spore free to propagate itself in many worlds. And the Aeons withdrew to watch.

But Sophia took an inordinate interest in the human singularity. Moving to the bounding membrane of the Pleroma, she indulged her epinoia in Dreaming without a consort, and without deference to the Originator. Hence she same to be called Prunikos: daring, reckless, outrageous. Eventually, the force of her longing to realize a world for the human singularity drew her into the outer cosmos, and she became that world.

But at the crucial moment of Sophia's transformation, just before she ceased being a torrent and curled herself fetally into a planet, she did something else totally outrageous. At that moment, torn between two worlds, her anguish reached its apex. All she could do to keep her sanity was concentrate on the glimmer in the Trapezium, the jewelled net of nucleic threads hung in the bright molecular glow. Her currents were overwhelming her, her attraction to become the earth was close to terminal. Yet the longing that now churned her into a planetary globe had another object: the human singularity. The Aeon Sophia felt the living planet she was becoming pulled into the lifeless planetary carousel of the Archons, and she resisted ferociously. Yet her very emotions encumbered that resistence, making her more and more heavy, more and more convoluted. Her independence was fast declining, and soon she would be captured in that alien realm.

With all the divine force that remained in her, Sophia concentrated her passion on the Anthropos, holding that faint luminous image at the center of her heart like a precious yidam, a deity imagined. And when the crucial moment came, she did not let it go, did not falter one iota in her Dreaming of the human singularity. So vast was the force of her fidelity to that image that when she spun around one last time, before joining the planetary carousel, all the divine power left in her made her careen wildly across the galactic arm and through the nebular mist into the Trapezium, shearing the template in two before she spun back and collapsed into the gravitational clockworks of the Archontic world. Such was her final outrageous act of longing.

"The Separation of the Sexes"

(Episode 4, FGS 1.0)

When the Aeon Sophia careened into Orion and sheared the template, she took a part of the Anthropos template with her, and the tattered streamer of nucleic dew was absorbed into the soft globe of the mothering earth. By shearing the template, Sophia caused the separation of the sexes and precipitated the conditions for mitotic reproduction in the human species, not a feature of her original dreaming.

The tattered mesh drawn into the materialization of the earth was the female part of the Anthropos template, the Omega component. The male part, the Alpha component, was left behind in the Orion nebula. This is the origin of the gender rift. It is cosmic prelude to the chthonian romance between the otherworldly Alpha males and the native women of Gaia — dissevered halves of the same species. ["Alchemical Androgyne," a symbolic image of the dissevered genders in unity. From the Turba Philosophorum, an alchemical anthrology of the 17th Century.]

Strains of the Sidhe

When Sophia became Gaia, she brought half of the human race into terrestrial embodiment with her. The Gaian women came to be called the Sidhe in memory of the high keening sound that resonated from the earth during the long eons of their gestation in the telleric womb.

Sidhe, Celtic, "faery women, fees or fays." Pronounced ShEE. Equivalent to the Sanskrit stri, "woman, anatomical female."

Like Dreamtime Ancestors in Aboriginal songlines, the primordial earth women emerged from the inchoate torso of Gaian geography and gave form to the land. Rockborn goddesses were the most archaic forms of the Sidhe, remembered in rare words like Rhea, “flowing from rock,” Lakhamu, "earth serpent," and Louhi, "the heavy hag." And, of course, Gaia, the mother planet itself. The Sidhe only emerged into indepedent form when the planet became fully porous, Sophia having merged her high-porosity Light totally into the physical elements. Her surrender to being Gaia spontaneously generated the Sidhe from the sheared template, like mushrooms from a membrane of mycelium.

The original native women were organic productions of the Earth Dreaming. They were powerful dreamers who could produce from their bodies many species of animals, birds and insects. In their co-dreaming with the Goddess Sophia the first women manifested elaborate extrusions from the earth-torso. They contrived many-tiered palaces as ornate as Borobudur and Angkor, havens where the Gaian menagerie of sacred animals lived in hierarchal arrays. The women themselves lived naked in the open, retiring to deep barrows later known as “faery-mounds”. They reproduced asexually the vast mutations of exotic species in their charge, and, in a variation of the same asexual process, they reproduced themselves.

The mother lineage of the variant kinds of Sidhe was the Kerali strain. Over time this strain came to be considered as one among others, even though it is the genetic matrix of all the others. Also called the Parthenic or “virgin” strain, it is the root lineage of all the goddesses whom ancestral memory associates with male consorts, the “dying and resurrecting gods,” Dumuzi, Thammuz, Attis, Adonis and many others. The dying gods were the Orion men, enamored of the daughters of Gaia — but that is only the lovely, romantic part of the story.

But for eons of earth time, the men who would come to mate with the Gaian women had not yet arrived on the planet. They were occupied hunting in other worlds in closer proximity to Orion.

From the Kerali lineage, Gaia produced various strains of the Sidhe to express herself at the human level.

From the hairless pores of Gaia emerged the serpent race, the Nagas, snake-women endowed with wonderful healing powers.

From her hair-bearing pores came beauteous denizens of the tree-realm, glamorous arboreal nymphs, the dryads. For eons they were indistinguishable from the trees in which they lived: dryads changed trees as women change wardrobes, but eventually there were hybrids, nymphs who became attached to a single species of tree, like the laurel, cypress, and juniper.

From the body-fluids of Gaia emerged the race of seductive water-nymphs called undines. They exist in countless variants, from mermaids who sing in the ocean depths to shapeshifting phantoms who guard waterfalls, wells, springs, lakes, rivers, rain, mist.

From volcanic lava that lent her menstruation, Gaia produced the race of dakinis, tutelary witches gifted with terrifying magical power who brandish flaming daggers and drink blood that gushes from the bodies of the animals they dismember.

Dakinis from fire, nagas from earth, dryads from air, undines from water — these were the elemental variants of the Kerali strain. All the strains were originally virginal and parthenogenic, having no male-gendered counterparts. The Sidhe did not know what they were missing. To this day shamans muse on the illusion of fee-male primacy: “The first man was not a man, the first man was a woman...,” says Ino Moxo with a sly chuckle.

Yet the full story is anything but funny.

Ancient Enmity

Enmity between man and woman first arose when male-type entities from the Orion Nebula arrived on earth, then a terrestrial paradise inhabited only by wild women, and hunted to near extinction the magical animals of the Goddess Gaia.

For eons before the arrival of the Alpha males, the Sidhe proceeded in their womb-like faery-mounds, fully independent of sexual intercourse. As they absorbed the massive heat-floes of the planet, their bellies swelled to dome-like magnitude and the menageries of animals, birds and insects emerged from the underground havens in a sequence of pulsing extrusions. Gaian parthenogenesis occurred spontaneously when the Sidhe retreated to the mounds during certain seasons, under certain configurations of stars. The myriad species emerged in plasmatic strands like jointed tubular balloons extruding from the navel-stars of the entranced women. Each species assumed the form and traits of the celestial configuration to which it was timed. (These natal patterns were later preserved in zodiacal/animal correspondences.)

The men from Orion were not natives of the earthworld, but the Gaian women were grown from the very substance of the mother planet. For countless aeons, the Sidhe inhabited the earth all by themselves, oblivious to the fact that they comprised one half of a gender-polarized species. That neither the Orion Men nor the Sidhe recognized they were matching components of the same species template, yet sexually distinct ab origine, turned out to the primary cause of massive grief and confusion. But it was also the occasion for a long adventure of love and transformation. This is the chthonian romance.

The Orion-based entities arrived on turbo-charged plasmic currents that brought odd turbulence to the serene skies over the white-domed animal pavilions. Their male-type bodies condensed slowly from the cloudlike magma of the Trapezium world, but they remained for eons gigantesque in stature and monstrous in their facultative endowment. They were driven by a roaring in their heads (later to be reproduced by the bull-roarer), a sound that engrossed them in the spell of hunting magic. The hunt was not a mere thrill-seeking adventure, however. At first, it was neither a mystical quest for unity with the prey, nor a mindless lust for trophies. The O-men were guided by a primary impulsion to seek totemic indicators that would reveal to them their roles in the cosmic order.

The O-men were primordially endowed with diverse skills for stalking. Their blind intent produced a range of hunting skills, rites and guises.

At their first encounter with the Sidhe, the O-men were inconscient channels of transdimensional intent, a force so pure, so newly forged, that it carried no marks of identification, no self-evolved signatures. They constructed an identity by accumulation of totemic indicators, yet they remained ignorant of their original cosmic identity, their inborn genetic signature, the Anthropos. Accumulating totemic signs in their rather mindless way, the Alpha males did not suspect they might find their true counterpart in the Sidhe. They did not realize that their original human identity depended upon the harmonization of genders.

Nor do we.

While Gaian mitosis prevailed the Sidhe experienced unimpeded empathic bonding with their myriad offspring. The Gaian women were fiercely protective of their broods. The hunting parties from Orion did not at first pose a threat to the miracle of Gaian symbiosis. Predation produced only slight variations in the increase or decrease of species.

Quota Exceeded

But over many eons the tempo changed, the frenzy deepened. As the men absorbed totemic marks from the vast range of Gaian species they also acquired mana, a surcharge of telluric vital force. Grounded in the earth, mana was a new and fascinating power, quite unlike the plasmic turbulence in the nebular world in Orion. Excess, male surfeit, was their inborn weakness. Now it became the signature of their outborn expression. Through excess of mana, they began to hunt more and more animals, more and more frequently, more and more blindly and indiscriminately.

The Sidhe observed this shift with keen concern. Instinctively they longed to protect the symbiotic balance of the planet and preserve its unique role as a transdimensional cradle for epigenetic mutations. Baffled by the spectacle of male excess, they were nevertheless patient with the intruders. At a crucial moment, the Gaian women made a fateful overture. They offered the hunters a totem animal for tenderness, a quality the males were conspicuously lacking. They chose a long-eared rabbit, but the totemic indicator did not appeal to the men, and the offering was rejected. The Alpha males did not want to become bunnymen. Thereafter the species dwindled pitifully, and dropped out of the Dreaming (i.e., went extinct).

Eons later Orion the Hunter came to be visualized with Lepus the Hare trailing at his heel, an archaic memory of the failed overture.

Due to communication problems, the Gaian women were unable to keep the hunting obsession of the O-men within limits. They simply did not know how to foster rapport with these male-type entities who appeared to them like bloated dieties descended from heaven. Eventually Gaian priestesses responsible for the Animal Dreaming became distressed. Having observed that the Orion entities exhibited a peculiar form of mental activity based on counting and geometrical patterns, they responded with a complementary action: they set a quota on the hunt. The proposal was largely ignored, as if the hunters, who clearly could not set their own limits, were loathe to accept limits set by anyone else.

The priestesses now took an extraordinary measure of control: they demanded the sacrifice of a male hunter to reciprocate an exceeded quota. The exchange of one hunter’s life for the lives of just-so-many magical animals was a fair act in the eyes of the Gaian women, but it fostered a seed of enmity between them and the Orion Men. Women of the Artemis clan, whose special role was protection of the Animal Dreaming, imposed the penalty of death. An old myth says that Artemis sent the scorpion to sting Orion the Hunter, who died from its poison, suffering the ultimate penalty because he had exceeded the limits of the kill.

These events were seminal to all later incidents of cross-gender antagonism in the human species.

Love Among the Trees

But all was not lost, because other relations were developing between the O-men and the Sidhe. The unresolved issue of male sacrifice set up a perennial pattern of mutual wariness, but rapport between the dissevered genders did eventually arise. A certain number of the hunters were deeply attracted to the Gaian women, without even knowing what a woman was! The attraction suited their hunting instincts, for they saw that the women were wise in the ways of the animals they produced.

The O-men were hunters, adept at hiding and stalking, but the Sidhe were dreamers who worked in quite different ways. Dreaming and stalking present the true and salubrious reflections of sexual polarity within the human species, but the boundaries are flexible and playful exchanges occur. There are cross-gender dreamings and stalkings...

Over many eons, some hunters became fascinated by the dreaming powers of the Gaian women. This was the primal attraction, the first groping movement toward mutual recognition between the genders. The various strains of the Sidhe used their native wiles to lure the men into their dreaming operations. The lilting twilight tongue of the Sidhe was openly applied to seduce Orion males. In riddles and enigmas like “when the tortoise is milked, it cannot be preserved in a pot,” and “the tamarind of the tree is eaten by the crocodile,” dryads lured the hunters into intricate feats of dreaming by which the men learned secrets of the myriad species and the biosphere.

Their attraction to what the women knew by dreaming led some men to want to know the women more intimately.

Nothing like sexual intercourse occurred for eons, however, because the nebula-bodies of the men were too volatile, and not sufficiently solidified. The bodies of the hunters were not somatically grounded in Gaia. Initial congress of the two genders consisted of the mingling of the nebula-bodies of the men with the dream-bodies (the labile reproductive sheathes) of the women. Then it changed to a mixed conjugation, the intermingling of plasmatic and somatic bodies. Then it devolved into a wild array of orgiastic permutations. Finally intercourse was performed in a purely physical way, in “carnal knowledge.”

But the chthonian romance was not fulfilled in biological union of the dissevered genders. Far from it, for the originally pure trans-gender connection, the reciprocity of dreaming and stalking, wrecked itself in biological enmeshment. The glory of that romance was not the birth of human progeny from the two genders — a development that came extremely late in the evolutional process — but the birth of the shamans from Orion as a full-fledged, earthbound creatures, rather than as intruders who viewed earth as an exotic nature reserve they could plunder and abandon.

Nymphs, nagas, and dakinis of all the strains engaged in seductive games with the Alpha males, but it was the dryads who decided the men's fate. This is the more gentle, more beautiful part of the story about the Sidhe and the O-men, an adventure that took eons to unfold. In some cases instruction by the luscious arboreal nymphs led to love, so there to this day is a cognitive factor in love. The pathos of the chthonian romance climaxed when some of the hunters who were fated to die under the penalty of Artemis escaped the imposed death by climbing into the trees to expire ecstatically in the arms of dryads whose beauty had seduced them.

Their death was only to their previous identity, however. They ceased to be men from Orion and became earthbound males. The seductive dryads gave birth to the shamans by luring them into a permanent cognitive bond with the earth. In the embrace of the tree-nymphs, the plasmatic bodies of the hunters took on the imprint of a tree, the chordated nervous system. The Phlyum of humankind, the bioanatomical plan of all later generations, was the final outgrowth of the chthonian embrace.

Originally, all men of the human species were shamans born from women who were trees.

jll: Flanders January 2006

Ahead to PART THREE: The Consciousness of Nature

Return to PART ONE: The Myth of Adonis



Material by John Lash and Lydia Dzumardjin: Copyright 2002 - 2018 by John L. Lash.