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The Grove of the Underworld. 89
Oriental influence, says;—' Zas [Zeus] makes a veil large and beautiful, and works on it Earth and Ogen,1 and the palace of Og&n;'2 and this veil which is identical with the starry peplos of Harmonia, the bride of Kadraos ' the Easterner,' i.e., the Sun,3 whose marriage with stellar space completes kosmic order, the god hangs on a winged oak (17 vnoirrepos Spv<s). M. Maury well observes on the myth, 'C'est la evidemment une image de la voute du firmament, souvent figuree par un voile, et auquel un arbre est donne pour support. II y a Ik une conception toute semblable a celle de l'arbre Yggdrasil de la mythor logie scandinave, dont les racines s'etendent jusqu'au Niflheim et dont la tige s'eleve dans lescieux.'4 At Eagnarok 'The-Twilight-of-the-gods,' the conclusion of the present state of things, the gigantic kosmic ashtree Yggdrasil groans, trembles, and is set on fire; but a man and woman Lifthrasir (' Life-raiser '), and Lif (' Life') are preserved amid the general destruction in a sacred grove called Hoddmimir's Holt,6 which M. Darmesteter calls the 'bois Hoddmimir equivalent du frene Yggdrasil,'6 a statement that is correct in a certain sense but not absolutely. Hoddmimir signifies 'Circle-Mimir' or ' Sphere Mimir,' that is to say, the physical Mimir1 or ocean like the Midhgardhsormr (Great-sea-serpent), encircles the earth, and when the latter is consumed Lifthrasir and Lif are safely conveyed across ocean to the far ocean-grove, which we find in Homer;—' When thou hast sailed in the ship across the stream Okeanos [Hoddmimir], where are groves of Persephoneia [the Queen of the Underworld], poplars and willows.'2 Stesichoros,8 B.C. 632-552, tells how Halios (Eelios, Helios), Hyperi6n's son, i.e., son of the Climbing Sun of morning, like the Yedic Yama found out the way to the happy world which is in the west; and sailed in his golden boatcup, which he afterwards lent to his 'dedoublement' Herakles, o'er ocean to see his dear ones in the sacred laurel4 grove; and Mr. Buskin, following Pindar,6 tells us that the Greeks ' had sometimes a prophet to tell them of a land "where there is sun alike by day and alike by night, where they shall need no more to trouble the earth by strength of hands for daily bread, but the ocean breezes blow around the blessed islands, and golden flowers burn on their bright trees for evermore."'6 These abodes form the western Garden of the Hesperides, where are the golden solar apples of life that resemble the fruit shown on the Conventional Tree, and were guarded in the unseen The Grove of tlie Underworld. 91
1 Cf. Ogyges, Ogre, and the Norse Oegir, ' the Dread.'
* Ap. Clem. Alex. Stromata, vi. 2.
* Kadmos of course also represents Semitic colonisation (vide O. D. M., cap. X. sec. ii., Kadmos and Thebai).
* JfMoire des Religions de la Grtce Antique, iii. 253. "Vide also Lenormant, Let Originet, i. 668.
* For an account and explanation of the Ragnarok-my th, vide K. B. Jr. 11. M. A„ 35 et seq. • O et A, 299.
1 The mental Mimir is 'memory, ' wisdom; cf. Sk. root mi, to measure, judge, observe; Lat. manor, Ang.-Sax, meomer.
i Od. x. 608. s Ap. Atlienaios, li. 4.
4 Is.,' bright' grove. 'The dawn was called bdfyvt), the burning, so was the laurel as wood that burns easily' (Prof. M. Miiller, L. S. L., ii. 549, note. Cf. Pbilodaphnos as an epithet of Apollou and Dionysos).
4 Olymp., ii. u Q. A. i. 50.
world by the • monster serpent or dragon ' of darkness which, like the Norse Nidhoggr ('Gnawing serpent') coils around the roots of the Sacred Tree. These sacred trees appear rudely marked on many of the whorls found by Dr. Schliemann on the site of Troy,1 and the solar Dionysos as the renewer of the life and growth of the earth, is Dendrites,2 • Lord-of-thc-Trcc,' in accordance with the imagery of the Hebrew poetprophet, • As the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.'8 Palm trees grew around the sacred 'square enclosure' of Perseus at Khemi 'in the Thebaic canton;' 4 and the circumstance connects this Perseus with the Semitic and Persian East.5 The Sacred Grove with poplaresque trees appeared in reality within the temenos of many Kamic temples. It is unnecessary to add further instances.
The myth is not either specially Aryan or specially Semitic, and the Tree represents the principle of life, whilst the whole Kosmos is regarded as a mighty tree; but life is constantly being renewed from sources secret and invisible to us, especially from the Underworld, which not only represents 'the fatness of the earth beneath,' but is the 'highly mysterious cavern' where the great solar-light-bringer and lifestimulator perpetually returns. Hence, in this unknown region which the living tread not and where the sources of life are treasured up, there must by analogy be a Tree (the earthly symbol of life), trees, a grove, a happy garden, a paradise,1 'where souls do couch on flowers,' for roan ends not at death; and in this Tree the expiring Crescent-moon, caught by her horn, pales and dies before the Sun as he goeth forth in his strength. All discord is ' harmony not understood;' the apparent contest of nature is in reality but the tranquil course of nature.
1 Troy and its Remains, pl. xxxiv.
2 Pindar, Frag. exxx.; Plout. Peri Is. xxxv. * Isaiah, lxv. 12. 4 Herod, ii. 01. * Vide sec. VH.
'Aye keeping their eternal track,
The sun is established for ever, the moon is 'a faithful witness in heaven,' the dragon-darkness is trampled under the feet of light;3 nay, the scorpion of night, subdued to peacefulness, guards the hidden sun through the hours of gloom; and man, recognising his covenant-keeping Creator, thanks God and takes courage.
For, as is the world without, so is the world within; and the storms and splendours of nature find Conclusion. 93
1 The Iranian pairidaeza,' enclosure.'
3 Gerald Massey, A Book of the Beginnings, i. 310.
5 Vide Olermont-Ganneau, Horus et Saint Georges: Baring-Gould, Curious Myths of the Middle Ages, S. George. So in this year's Royal Academy, apropos of Sir J. Gilbert's picture Fair St. George, we read;— 'Smiting the dragon with his [solar] spear [of light], he was sorely wounded and thrown down. Then St. George called to the Princess [his love and bride the Dawn] to hind her girdle [cf. the Kredemnon of I no, sec. VIII.] about the dragon's neck and not to be afeared. The dragon followed as it had been a meek beast and debonayre.' Day and night, light and darkness, contended no longer; kosmic order was restored, and 'the raven-down of darkness' was 'smoothed'' till it smiled.'
apt parallels in the conflicts and glories of the Soul, 'greatest of things created.' 1 Individual circumstances, if either distinctly happy or the reverse, tend somewhat to confuse the mental vision; we can get but one view of a particular prospect from one place, and we can be but in one place at a time. Yet however we may bend and reel beneath the blast of circumstance, nay, may ' falter where we firmly trod,' still, to use the noble words of a living sage, 'in health the mind is presently seen again—its overarching vault bright with galaxies of immutable lights, and the warm loves and fears that swept over us as clouds, must lose their finite character and blend with God, to attain their own perfection. But we need not fear that we can lose anything by the progress of the [noble] soul. That which is so beautiful [alike in nature and in man] must be succeeded and supplanted only by what is more beautiful, and so on for ever.'
1 F. It. lxxiii.