Monday, 22 October 2007

Jacob's Ladder

There was a comment here on this site that named Jacob's Ladder and I thought I would share some stuff (probably known by most of you here). Anyways, DNA resembles, in form, two serpents that are entwined, much like the Caduceus of Hermes, and is referred to as the double-helix. Jeremy Narby’s book The Cosmic Serpent - DNA and the origins of knowledge centres around this theme and delivers and interesting theory that explains how ancient people knew of the hidden secrets to life, DNA, and correctly represented its shape and form as that of two entwined serpents or a ladder. I quote Genesis 28:12:
“And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.”
In alchemy the Caduceus of Hermes symbolise the Above and the Below, the Visible and the Invisible, and the serpent crawling and twirling around it represents the movement in and out, up and down, these two realities.

I once wrote a dream (part of a story) and I will quote it here as I think it shows what I mean:
There is a ladder with a rung at the bottom and a rung at the top, but none in-between, and it stands of its own accord in the middle of a vast barren wilderness. I know I’m supposed to climb it but the two rungs are too far apart. I look around and there is nothing that can aid me. For some reason a depression overpowers me and I fall to my knees sobbing.

A weird blinking cube of glass turns up from out of nowhere. I pick it up and hold it in my hand. Inside lights, colors and shapes morph and transform to my delight. It keeps me occupied for a long time and I don’t even notice that the quilt of night covers the world…

A bright white full moon appears in the black sky completely devoid of stars, and it asks:
“Why are you playing with the cube and not climbing the ladder?”
“I can’t reach the other rung, and the cube was so alluring…”
Then the moon began to laugh so loud that the ground shook causing the ladder to fall stirring up the sand all around it. I then discover to my amazement that the grains of sand revealed all the other rungs. They were there all along only invisible and I looked back up at the moon.
“I didn’t know,” I say and the moon still laughing looks back down at me and replies with mock in its voice:
“No, you didn’t try!”
Jacob's Ladder is a symbol and it can be spotted not only in the shape of DNA, but in Freemasonry, in Alchemy, in Christianity, in Yoga (chakras and kundalini), in Norse mythology where it is Nidhogg and not a serpent ascending and descending, Personally I see the ladder as the spine and the serpent the inner fire, the prana, that needs to be awakened and moved up into the pineal gland where great things can happen once it is awakened.

© deviadah


Hurlyburly said...

This reminds me of a film...

Just kidding. Very interesting stuff there and i agree.

Anthony Peake said...

Over the years I have been fascinated by allegorical symbolism.I guess it all started way back in the early 1970's when I was at University. I did a course on 14th and 15th Century Florentine art (indeed I was planning to do a PhD in the art of Piero della Francesca but at the time I could only get a grant to do post-grad in management not art history - and so a life changes).

Anyway I was really interested in the Neo-platonist symbolism found in the art of many painters of the time.

Matt Janovic said...

My introduction to this kind of thought began with exposure to Blake and Platonic and Neo-platonic thought, but specifically the Allegory of the Cave. There's an allegorical quality to the Gnostic Gospels as well--the term "Archons," used to describe the rulers of the Demiurge was a Hellenistic term for earthly authorities, just as we use the word "politician" today. What I think you have is our genetic materials talking to us. Modern life has made this difficult due to obvious distractions. Good article.

Anthony Peake said...

Welcome Matt, I am sure that you are going to make some interesting contributions.

The allegory of the cave has always fascinated me. In so many ways it defines the whole Gnostic vision with regard to the absolute 'knowability' of the external world as presented to consciousness by the senses - somewhat similar to my 'Bohmian IMAX.

deviadah said...

Well the Cave is nothing but the Mind (in my opinion). When Mohammed went to a cave to pray for instance this, to me, is an allegory that he went into the deep of his mind!

Matt Janovic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt Janovic said...

Thank you Tony, and thanks again for the invitation. Yes, I must agree with this assertion that the Cave is the human mind. Note Shakespeare's (whomever he really was)quote: "All the world's a stage." It strikes me that since our senses first filter reality, we are constantly experiencing a construct, a mediated reality.

While I think Hellenistic mysticism in the Gnostic Gospels is spiritual, I also believe it was political allegory. There is an implicit rebellion against the entire world in those writings, and they have a strong revolutionary tinge to them. To my mind, a great deal of the material dealing with "the Archons" is coded writing about Rome.

This leads me to PKD's "3-4-74" experiences and visions, and his statement in "VALIS" and elsewhere that "the Empire never ended." This is almost literally true when referring to American civilization as the founding fathers were very impressed with Roman civilization and copied many elements of it. It's well established that there is a direct-line from our current Western civilization with Rome. Interestingly, American Christianity is very similar in some areas to Gnosticism, though allied with worldly, empowered elements of human society.

I'm meandering, but the point is that America is a good case for mass false-consciousness, namely American-style capitalism and our own peculiar form of Manicheanism. Look at the overemphasis on the Old Testament and the Gospel of John (considered very Gnostic), and you're headed towards some of the core of the problem of American wrongheadedness.

The Gnostic Gospels were not exoteric writings, but were meant for those who could understand on an intellectual level very complicated spiritual systems of thinking, often through allegory. They weren't meant for everyone, and I stand behind this assertion even now: not everyone should read the Gnostic Gospels if they're intellectually lacking. This is why I mentioned the Gospel of John: it has caused a lot of trouble because it's taken literally by people who aren't up to understanding allegory and symbolism, so they take it literally.

This, of course, is a measure of their ignorance and a warning that not all of these texts should be widespread, or in the wrong hands and incorporated into orthodoxy by fools. There is a tendency towards the Apocalyptic in the new sense in American Christianity because of this, and as a result of texts like John being in the canon, it has contributed to a number of millenarian mass suicides. It could be guiding the fatalistic Bush administration right now.

I think it was best that the world didn't know the texts from Nag Hammadi (the Tree of Life) until after 1945, especially considering Hiroshima and Nagasaki occurred that same year (the Tree of Death). Freud said that civilization is repression. I would posit that Gnosticism is the opposite trend, the desire of human beings to be dynamic, creative, and to breath free. As to an afterlife, I'm agnostic...

Anonymous said...

Here's some info regarding the 'master gland' of the physical body, along with the coresponding energy centers.

Enjoy : )


ra from ca said...

I would like to thank Deviadah for his contribution about Jacob's Ladder. I would guess that Bruce Joe Rubin who wrote the film screenplay of Jacob's Ladder and who is a Kundaline Yoga teacher would agree that the ladder rungs are analagous to the chakras

I have had an experience in which I painted a death scene that came to fruition fourteen years after the painting was completed. At the time I thought the painting was symbolic not pre-cognitive and I knew it was inspired by the film "Jacob's Ladder." I in fact forgot that I had painted the event until several days after the death occurred. Numb from my loss, I prayed to the supreme source/God/Goddess/entity/ I said looking at a cloud -- "Ok - you have to give me a sign." Surprisingly - a voice (Anthony's daemon?) which seemed other than my own responded and it said rather calmly "you painted this" At that moment the memory came to me that I had indeed painted the death as it happened. Several days later I found the painting.

Since that moment only about a year ago, I have been wrestling with the grief and loss and knowledge that somehow I was being warned that the death was going to happen, but despite these warnings did not/could not accept them as viable. How did I know it was going to happen fourteen years prior, but not know at the same time? This questions inspired me to purchase Anthony's book.

I thought some meaning might lie in the concept of Jacob's Ladder. Despite seeing the film, I am not a bible reader and only read the passage after this experience.

When I read the passage about Jacob's ladder in the bible, I was thrilled about the idea of the angels coming up and down. That's it I thought. My angel has gone back to heaven. I was not so thrilled about the territorial imperative it seemed to inspire in Jacob.

As you might imagine Jacob's Ladder or the ladder concept has some significance to me, and I have been meditating on it quite a bit. The other day I was reading Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers "The Power of Myth" and found this passage:
"There is another theme, in which man is thought of a having come not from above but from the womb of mother earth. Often, in these stories, there is a great ladder or rope up which people climb. The last people to want to get out are two great big fat heavy people. They grab the rope, and snap! --it breaks. So we are separated from our source. In a sense because of our minds, we actually are separated, and the problem is to reunite that broken cord."