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general course and intendment. This mis-begotten Beast is naturally enemy to the Lyon, and finding his own defect of courage to encounter the Lyon in fair fight, he observeth when the Lyon makes his walk near to his Den, which (in policy) he hath purposely wrought spacious and wide in the double entrance thereof, and narrow in the midst, so as himself being much more slender than the Lyon, may easily pass. When he seeth the Lyon, he maketh towards him hastily, as if he would bid him battell in the open fields; and when he seeth the Lyon prepared to encounter him, he betaketh him to his heeles, and maketh towards his Den with all celerity, whom the Lyon eagerly pursueth with full course, dreaming of no danger by reason of the large entrance into the Den. At length through the vehemency of his swift course, he becometh so straitned in the narrow passage in the midst of the Den that he can go neither forwards nor backwards. The Lyon being thus distressed, his enemy passeth through his Den, and cometh behind him, and gnaweth him to death.'1
This very singular and ancient account is evidently founded on some actual fact, but certainly on no fact connected with the habits of the animals. The simple interpretation of the occult legend is that the Lion, type of the hunting, radiate, diurnal Sun,? speeds across heaven towards his fate and death in the Den of the Two Entrances, the nocturnal cave tenanted by the starry, spotted Leopard of night, and where the
1 Guillim, D. H. 255. ? Vide sec. XII. subsec. 1. * noble beast is caught whilst going down the dark passages,'' and perishes, although only to be reborn in triumph at the eastern gate. The two animals, as protagonists of night and day, are thus naturally hostile. There is a wide entrance to the Underworld, • facilis descensus Averni ;' the darkness flies from the light, and the Vedic poet says that the stars slink away, like thieves ’2 from the presence of Surya, even as the cowardly leopard of the myth betakes him to his heels. The noble Samas ’4 pursues with all “the vehemency of his swift course,' whilst his enemy passing through the Den, appears in heaven behind the hidden Sun, whom he thus slays; and, according to a wild-beast simile, and one, moreover, applied to an ignoble beast, gnaws to death.
Another phase of this spotted Leopard is Argos Panoptes, “the Bright All-seeing-one,' who possessed a hundred eyes, and who was appointed by the jealous Hêrê guardian of the lunar, horned Iô, the beloved of Zeus. Amongst other exploits Argos had slain in her sleep the terrible, drakontic, black-eyed, maidenserpent, Echidna,6 • the Strangler,' whose dark folds were wrapped around the extinguished day, but who whilst in the heavy repose of profound gloom was
1 'Eupbevta Kemevda (Od. xxiv. 10), through which Hermes Psychopompos guides ghosts.
2 Rig-Veda, 1. 1. 2. 3 Helios-Sol. 4 Heb. Shemesh. 5 Apollod. II. i. 2. So Medousa was slain in her sleep.
6 Vedic Ahi, Gk. Echis, Lat. Anguis. In Echidna we have the very name of the throttling snake Ahi' (Sir G. W. Cox, M. A. N. ji. 334). Anger, anguish and anxiety are similarly all derived from the root agh, nasalised form angh, 'to choke.'
suddenly annihilated by the myriad bright eyes of Tistar-Seirios and his fellows. But Hermes, the Wind-power upon the Clouds, the breeze of morning, puts out the starry eyes and thus becomes Argeiphontês, “the-Slayer-of-Argos,' an ancient epithet familiar to Homer. On a gem, representing the myth, Hermes, as in the case of Perseus the assistant of the diurnal-power, has just decapitated Argos, an act the exact equivalent of the Gorgotomy, and his body covered with spots, the starry eyes, has fallen on the ground; behind is the Peacock, the bird of Hêrê, with its spotted, starry-eyed tail. As Mr. Ruskin notes, “We know that this interpretation is right, from a passage in which Euripides describes the shield of Hippomedon, which bore for its sign “Argus the all-seeing, covered with eyes ; open towards the rising of the stars, and closed towards their setting.” The starry eyes of Argos become mediaevally the eleven thousand virgins 4 who accompany S. Ursula, • Little-bright-one,' i.e., the moon as opposed to the sun. Riksha-arktos-ursus (ursa, dim. ursula) in the sense of bright, has become the name of the bear, so called either from his bright eyes or from his brilliant tawny fur' suggests Prof. Max Müller. Be this as it may, the root ark • to be bright,' is the sire of a whole tribe of words which have made myths, such as Arkas, Argo, Argos, Arjunî-Argynnis, etc.; and in the
1 Aura-Aurora. ? Ap. Creuzer, Symbolik, vol. ii. pl. viii. 3 Q. A. i. 28. 4 Vide R. B. Jr., G.D. M. ii. 86, and authorities cited. * L. S, L. ü. 396.
story of the Arkadian nymph Kallistô, changed into a she-bear, “we have precisely that same confusion of thought which in India converted the seven shiners [Arkshas) into seven sages [Rishis], and in the West changed them into bears. The root, in short, furnished a name for stars, bears, and poets alike.'1 As the Moon is Ursa-Ursula, so two famous constellations are Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.
Thus in their kosmic signification Spots denote the star-spangled heaven, Polos Ouranios, and so of the fully-attired Orphik worshipper we read ;• From above the head, the all-variegated skin of a wild fawn
Thickly spotted shonld hang down from the right shoulder;
of heaven.' ?
Such is the nocturnal Peacock-Leopard, slayer of darkness, slain by mightier light.
1 Sir G. W. Cox, M. A. N. i. 231. Cf. the names Horselberg and Ercildoune. In each case we have the berg, hill or doun of the moongoddess Ursel, or Ursula' (Ibid. Introd. 160, note 4).
? Orphik Fragments, vii. Diodoros (i. 11), also, states that the spotted fawn-skin signified the starry-vault. Dionysos Nebridepeplos = . Herakles Astrochitôn.
Subsection 1. The Solar Lion. That the Lion is a symbol of the Sun, and more particularly of the diurnal Sun, is a fact familiar to the mythologist, and one which has already been illustrated in the preceding pages; 1 but a few further instances may suitably here be added.
In the Kamic Hymn to Ra-Har-em-akhu, the diurnal sun on the horizon, we read ; - Thou roarest in smiting thy foes,'3 the terrible roaring of flame being a link between the sun and the lion, as an Akkadian Hymn-writer says of Nindara, 'Lord-of-thedarkness,' i.e., the Nocturnal-sun, “Thou, during thy action, roarest,'4 and as a Vedic Hymn-writer says of Agni (Ignis) that he 'roars like a lion.'5
In the Inscription of Daryavush I. at El-Khargeh, the oasis of Ammon in the Libyan desert, the great god Amen-Ra, the Invisible-god revealed in the Sungod, is addressed as the Lion of the double lions.'
1 Vide sec. III. Nos. XXIII. XXV.; sec. XI. 2 Gk. Harmachis.
3 Ap. Prof. Lushington in R. P. viii. 134. So the Sun is said to give blasts of flame from his mouth' (F. R. cap. xvii).
4 Ap. Lenormant, Chaldean Magic, 176. 5 Rig-Veda, III. ii. 11.