Monday, 28 November 2016

Worth



In English we have the word "worth" which means "having a value, deserving of". The official etymology of this word says that it comes from Middle English "worth", from Old English "weorþ", from Proto-Germanic "*werþaz" meaning "worthy, valuable". Etymology for the reconstructed Proto-Germanic root "werþaz" is unclear. Officially it comes from "Pre-Germanic" root "*wértos", probably derived from Proto-Indo-European "*wert-" ‎(to turn) through a meaning of "exchange", a development also seen in Celtic.

However I believe that the the original root of this word could be Slavic word "vredan". The word "vredan" means both "hardworking, industrious, diligent" and "valuable". I believe that originally it was applied to both cattle and people, family members, slaves, serfs, who in the past were both only valuable if they were hardworking....Otherwise they were not "worth", deserving of being fed and kept alive...They had no value. This is where the original meaning of "exchange" came from and was "hard work for life". Only later, when people started trading, the worth of people and cattle started to be expressed in "things you can get for hard working people and cattle" and only then the word "worth" started being used to mean "value" of anything that can be exchanged.

But, the most common opinion in linguistic circles is that Germanic and Slavic words are cognates and that the Slavic word is "and early, pre 8th century borrowing from Germanic languages". In this case the meaning of the Slavic word "vredan" would come from "verd" + "dan" = "worth" + "given" = "in exchange" + "given" = "value"...But this does not explain the meaning "hard working, industrious, diligent" which the word "vredan" also carries...

What do you think?

O yea, and how much are you "worth"? Unfortunately, not much has changed in the world since this word was coined. Except that today you are not kept alive by your owners by them giving you food and shelter. Today they give you money to buy food and shelter. If you are "vredan" (worthy - valuable because of being hardworking, industrious, diligent)... :)

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Fulacht fiadh - acorn leaching pit?

I finished my post in which I presented all the pros (none) and cons (many) on the subject "Fulacht fiadh - a cooking pit?" with this paragraph:

"So I think that we can safely say that fulachta fiadh were not used in the way the mainstream archaeology suggest they were used:  for cooking large amounts of meat in troughs full of water heated by hot stones. The Bronze Age people who built fulachta fiadh had much more efficient ways of cooking large quantities of meat at their disposal." 

But what about the troughs? Every fulachta fiadh had a trough, so they must have been used for something. But if not for cooking, what were they used for?

In my next few posts I will like to propose what the troughs could have been used for. 

In this post I would like to propose that one of the possible efficient (very important) uses of the Fulacht fiadh's troughs could have been acorn leaching. 


In my two posts about Irish bullaun stones: "bullaun stones" and "new material about bullaun stones" I presented my theory that Bullaun stones from Ireland and the similar stones with large deep cup marks, were made to be used as mortars for grinding probably originally acorns, and then wild grain, grain, tubers and even ore...

These articles are part of the series of articles about the human use of acorns as food through history, in which I presented the evidence that acorns were a staple human starch food since Paleolithic times. 

You can find these articles here:

"Oaks", "Acorns in archaeology", "How did oaks repopulate Europe", "Eating acorns", "Christmas trees from garden of Eden", "Acorns in ancient texts". 

But in order to eat acorns, they first have to be leached. 

So what is acorn leaching?

There were two distinct types of oaks and acorns:

The white oaks whose acorns mature in 6 months and taste sweet or slightly bitter; The inside of the acorn shell is hairless. The bark is light in colour, gray to light gray. The leaves mostly lack a bristle on their lobe tips, which are usually rounded.



The red and black oaks whose acorns mature in 18 months and taste bitter to very bitter. The inside of the acorn's shell can be hairless but is in most cases woolly. The bark darker in colour. Its leaves typically have sharp lobe tips, with bristles at the lobe tip.



The acorn bitterness is caused by tannin or tanic acid. The concentration of tannin varies from species to species. This is why acorns from some oaks can be eaten raw and some are so bitter that they are inedible unless the tannins are removed. This process of removing tannins from acorns is called leaching. The tannins leached out of the acorns "tan", color the water.  



These are the same tannins used in tanning leather...

Now there are many different ways in which you can leach acorns.  In my post about eating acorns I wrote about the discovery and development of the acorn processing techniques and tools. 

Most acorn leaching techniques involved soaking acorns in water as water dissolves tannin.

There are basically two main types of water leaching: active and passive. 

Passive techniques involve storing whole shelled or unshelled acorns in baskets which are either submerged in running water or in waterlogged pits. Water slowly leaches tannin and eventually after several days, weeks (running water) or months, years (waterlogged pits) the acorns become edible. This technique requires very little work but takes time and ties the people to the location of the leaching baskets or pits. 
Active leaching involves basically shelling and crushing acorns  and then washing them in cold or hot water. This technique requires a lot of human work but is much quicker. Acorns leached like this become edible after several days to several hours depending on the temperature of the water used for leaching. So you could store your acorns dry into baskets, which is good if you want to carry them around from place to place, and then leach them when you need them. 

It is this second type of water leaching, the active leaching, that I believe the fulacht fiadh's troughs could have been used for. 

So to do this type of quick leaching you need to first shell the acorns. You can then crush them, because the smaller the pieces, the larger the contact surface area between the acorns and water, and the faster extraction of tannins, but you don't have to. Sometimes is more practical to leach acorns whole, as it is easier to store whole leached acorns than acorn mush....

Anyway, once the acorns are shelled (and optionally crushed) they can be leached by getting them into contact with water. This is done by submerging the acorns into a container containing fresh water in proportion 1 part acorn 3 parts water or more water. The acorns will sink to the bottom and start leaching straight away turning the water dark. You wait for a while for tannin to dissolve in water and then you pour out or scoop out the tanned water. You then pour in new fresh water and repeat the procedure until the water stops turning dark or until acorns stop tasting biter. Simple. If you can get large enough watertight containers near running water... Like large pots, pits, sand beds, or wood or stone lined troughs. 

The cold water leaching process takes from from 8 hours to several days depending on the tannin content in acorns. You can speed up the leaching process by using hot water. Acorns submerged in hot water leach a lot faster, taking only two to three hours to lose their bitterness. What is interesting is that from the ethnographic data collected among the Native American tribes, we know that they used heated stones for heating water for acorn leaching. The stones used for water heating were carefully chosen so that they don't fracture during the continuous heating and cooling. The best stones for this purpose are basalt stones as the don't shatter under thermal pressure. 

There are couple of things that need to know when using water for acorn leaching:

You have to use either only cold water or only hot water for leaching. If you mix cold and hot water or if you put acorns into cold water and then heat the water, the tannin in the acorns will be bound to the acorn meat permanently and you will not be able to remove it. The temperature of water with which you leach the acorns is very important. Heating water over 73 degrees Celsius precooks the starch in the acorn. Cold processing and low temperatures under 65 degrees Celsius  does not cook the starch. Acorn meal that was leached in cold water thickens when cooked, hot-water leached acorn meal does not thicken when cooked.  Also, when you leach the acorns in very hot water you also boil off the oil with the tannins, reducing  acorn meal nutrition. So ideally you would want to leach acorns in water which is hot but not very hot. 

This brings me back to what I said about why I believed that pit meat boiling was extremely unlikely usage for fulacht fiadh. Fulacht fiadh have much larger surface area compared to their dept and "the heat loss due to evaporation of water from a surface of an open tank is totally dominant at higher water temperatures". What this means is that at boiling temperature, it becomes extremely difficult to keep the water in the shallow trough with the large surface boiling using heated stones for long enough to actually cook meat. But the heat loss trough the surface is much smaller on lower temperatures and these temperatures can be maintained relatively easily using heated stones. Which means that fulacht fiadh could be efficiently used for hot water acorn leaching. 

So how would the hot water acorn leaching be done in fulacht fiadh? First you would fill the trough with clean water. You would then heat the water using heated stones until it is hot but not boiling. You would then pour in whole or crashed acorns. You would occasionally add new heated stones to keep the water temperature high. You would also steer the water with a stick to help the leaching process. You would also from time to time scoop out some of the tanned hot water and replace it with some clean cold, followed by adding heated stones to keep the water hot. 

This leaching procedure is very efficient not just because we are using hot water, but also because we are using stones heated in ashes for heating the water. Every time we drop a heated stone into the trough, hot wood ash which was stuck to the surface of the stone gets washed off the stone and dissolved in water. And believe or not we know that in addition to using hot water to speed up the process of dissolving the tannin, some cultures also used wood ash to induce chemical reactions which transform tannic acid into harmless chemicals. Early ethnobotanist Huron Smith (1923, pg 66) documented the Menominee method of processing various oak acorn species: "The hulls were flailed off after parching, and the acorn was boiled till almost cooked. The water was then thrown away. Then to fresh water, two cups of wood ash were added. The acorns were put into a net and were pulled out of the water after boiling in this. The third time, they were simmered to clear them of lye water. Then they are ground into meal with mortar and pestle, then sifted in a birch-bark sifter."

So it seems that acorn leaching is one of the possible uses for fulchta fiadh. Well at least for those fulacha fiadh which were cut into bedrock or into a clay rich soil next to a clean streams. However, as I already said in my post "Fulacht fiadh - a cooking pit?", one of the key feature of the most fulacht fiadh sites is elevated soil acidity. Basically most fulacht fiadh were located in marshy boggy areas where a hole dug into the ground would quickly fill with water. Acidic marshy water. A very very bad water for cooking food. And a very very bad water for leaching (extracting acid from) acorns. So even though fulachta fiadh could functionally have been efficiently used for acorn leaching, only the ones not located in marshy pit bogs could in reality have been used for this purpose. 

I will continue exploring the possible uses of fulachta fiadh in my next few posts. 

Monday, 21 November 2016

Archangel Michael

This is Archangel Michael, my family saint. He is celebrated today on 21st of November. I wish all people who celebrate Archangel Michael (Srećna Slava) Happy Slava. 



But who is really Archangel Michael?

If we look at the Bible we find that it has this to say about Archangel Michael:

Genesis 3

"{3:24}And in front of the Paradise of enjoyment, he placed the Cherubim with a flaming sword, turning together, to guard the way to the tree of life."

1 Chronicles 21

"{21:16} And David lifting up his eyes, saw the angel of the Lord standing between heaven and earth, with a drawn sword in his hand, turned against Jerusalem: and both he and the ancients clothed in haircloth, fell down flat on the ground."

"{21:30} And David could not go to the altar there to pray to God: for he was seized with an exceeding great fear, seeing the sword of the angel of the Lord."

Who is Archangel Michael? The Archangel Michael is the closest to the Lord in the Jewish scriptures, for his very name means "Who is like God." As the eldest Archangel, he is given captaincy of all of God's natural phenomena, including rain, wind, fire, snow, thunder, lightning, and hail. Michael is believed by many Jews to have appeared to Moses as the fire in the burning bush and to have led Daniel from the lions' den. Additionally, because it is said in the Book of Revelations that Michael will lead God's troops against the dragon and his angels at the final battle, many people seek the aid of Michael against wrong-doers on Earth

The archangel who controls the rain, fire, thunder, lightning and who punished the wrong-doers. Is this a description of Perun? The Archangel with a flaming sword who stands between Heaven and Earth guarding the heaven and pointing his flaming sword towards the earth. Is this a description of lightning? Is the lightning the flaming sword of the lord?


In my post about "Ognjena Marija" I explained that in Slavic mythology, Ognjena Marija or the "Fiery Mary" is considered to be the sister of St Ilija, the thundering sun and (or) wife of the thunder god Perun, who is just another name for Ilija, Ilios, Sun god, another face of Sun god. She is also known as Perunika, Perena, Ljeljuja, Leluja, Ljelja, Gorka, Veronika. Later, under Christianity, her importance was degraded and she was regarded as an evil goddess, described as an evil and ugly woman named Irudika (who was in turn a daughter of Poganica).
She was the goddess of lightning, weddings, motherhood, and protector of marriage and justice on earth. Perunika wears a rainbow as her belt. In some parts of Croatian people still call rainbow "the mother of god" referring to Ognjena Marija. Onjena Marija, Perunika uses a heavy sledge hammer (a symbol of thunder deities) to punish people, and controls lightning. Gromovnik (God of Thunder) Perun, helped by his wife Perunika Ognjena Marija, ''loads'' the thunderbolts and shoots them at thieves, liars, and immoral people in general.

In Serbo Croatian flower Iris is also called Perunika, Ljeljuja, Leluja, Ljelja, Sabljarka, Bogiša. The name "bogiša", originates from the region around Dubrovnik town, southern Croatia and means God's flower. The flower is dedicated to the goddess Perunika. According to a legend, this flower grows at the place where Perun's spark, lightning, hits the fertile soil. In the same way, a place hit by lightning was considered sacred and objects, like a stone or tree, from such a place were consecrated. This represents a divine sexual act: Perun, the thunder giant, penetrates the earth with his penis (lightning),  inseminating the earth with heavenly semen, rain. In Serbian Perunika could mean the place where the seed of perun sprouted. Perunika = Perun + nika = Perun + sprouted.

Considering that Perunika, Ognjena Marija, is directly linked with fertility of the land, it sounds logical that Perun's female companion punishes immoral and dishonest women by the ''white plague'' (sterility).

In Medjimurje (northern Croatia), one greeting used on the feast day of St. Stephen (Dec. 26) mentions God with lelulja (ljeljuja), i.e. perunika, in his hand. This is the most probable origin of the alternative Perunika's name Ljelja. But also this could indicate that the true meaning of Perunika is actually lightning, electricity, the spark of life. Perunika, the wife of Perun, symbolized by flower Perunika, is the essence of his power, Electricity, Lightning. 





In the same way Indrani is the wife and essence of the power of Indra, and Shakti is wife and essence of the power of Shiva. 

Perun holding Perunika is Shiva holding Trishula, Lightning. 

And guess what? Iris (Perunika) has the petals of the same color as lightning, blue - purple laced with lightning like golden pattern. It also has three main petals.




Just like trishula has three spikes: 



This Russian "Christian" icon depicts Ognjena Marija or the "Fiery Mary" surrounded with fiery wheels of Perun, inside the burning flame.



The fiery wheels of Perun, the Thunder god, are actually burning sun wheels of Svetovid, the Sun god. In South Slavic folk tradition the day of Perun is the 2nd of August, the Crom Dubh day in Ireland. But this day is also the day of St Ilija the Thunderer. St Ilija the Thunderer is Ilios, the thundering sun, the sun at its hottest, the sun that burns with its fiery eye. In Serbian tradition the rolling thunders which can be heard around the 2nd of August are said to be made by the fiery wheels of St Ilia's chariots thundering over the tops of the clouds, and the lightning that is seen flashing in the clouds are the sparks created by those same fiery chariot wheels.


This basically means that the sun wheel of Svetovid is thunder wheel of Perun. Sun creates, gives power to lightning, which is exactly what the latest scientific data is telling us: Solar radiation and lightning are intrinsically linked.  

Now remember, Michael "is like God". And so is Perun. Perun is like Svetovid. Perun is Ilija the Thunderer, who is Thundering sun Ilios. In my post about Triglav, Trimurti I wrote that 

The book of Veles has this riddle:
Jer tajna je velika, kako to Svarog biva u isto vreme i Perun i Svetovid.
Translated into English this means: 
Because it is a great secret how come Svarog (hevenly and earthly fire) is at the same time Perun (thunder) and Svetovid (Sun).
And the answer to this riddle is Triglav, Trimurti. Svetovid (sun), Perun (thunder and lightning) and Svarog (Jarilo, fire) are three faces of one and only god Triglav. 



Perun is "like" Svetovid and this is depicted through the symbols of Svetovid and Perun: their wheels. The wheel of Perun is "like" the wheel of Svetovid. It is actually the fiery version of the wheel of Svetovid. Sun creating fire through lightning. 


Now if Michael is "Like El", is Michael actually Perun, who is "Like Svetovid"? 

In Indian mythology, Trimurti consists of Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma. In Serbian mythology, Triglav (Svetovid, Perun, Svarog (Jarilo)) consists of Višnji, Živa, Branjanj.

In Serbian the meanings of the names of the holy trinity (Trimurti, Triglav) members (Višnji, Živa, Branjanj) actually correspond to their role in Serbian Trinity:

Vishnji (meaning "one who is up high", from vis "high"), the sun (Svetovid).
Branjanj (meaning the protector, supporter, from bran "protection", braniti "to protect"), the fire (Svarog, Jarilo).
Živa (meaning alive, living from Živ "alive, life"), the giver and taker of life (Perun).

In Serbian the word "Živ" means Alive and the word "Život" means Life. The tree of Life in Serbian is "Drvo Života". And Michael is guarding the access to the tree of Life (Život). Is this just a coincidence or is this a hint that Michael is Živa - Perun, the electricity part of the holy trinity? And as we know now, electricity is what powers all the life in the universe....


The references to the "captain of the host of the Lord" encountered by Joshua in the early days of his campaigns in the Promised Land (Joshua 5:13-15) have at times been interpreted as Michael the Archangel, but there is no theological basis for that assumption, given that Joshua then worshiped this figure, and angels are not to be worshiped. Some scholars also point that the figure may refer to God himself. In the book of Joshua's account of the fall of Jericho, Joshua "looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand". When the still unaware Joshua asks which side of the fight the Archangel is on, the response was, "neither...but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come".

So Joshua worshiped Michael (the fiery sword of god) like God. Michael who is "Like God, Closest to God". Serbs worshiped Perun (the lightning which causes fire and destruction) like God, the god of warriors. 

What is amazing is that when asked whose side he is on, Michael answers "neither". This is exact description of the nature of lightning. It is not on the side of heaven nor it is on the side of the earth. It is in between connected to both heaven and earth.


The Book of Revelation (12:7-9) describes a war in heaven in which Michael, being stronger, defeats Satan:

"...there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.

Slaying the dragon is a job of Thuner gods though out Evroasia. In Slavic religion, Veles is said to live in the roots of the Tree of Life in the shape of a serpent and is constantly trying to destroy the tree of life by eating its roots. He is killed by Perun in the shape of an eagle who lives in the branches of the Tree of Life. Perun the defender of the Tree of Life kills Veles the dragon, the great snake. This is another proof that Michael is actually Perun, Shiva, Thor, the thunder god, the lightning sword of the Lord God, the Sun.  


A reference to an "archangel" also appears in the First Epistle to the Thessalonians 4:16

"...the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God...".

This archangel who heralds the second coming of Christ is not named, but is probably Michael, the lightning which descends from heaven to earth with the sound of thunder, the voice of Archangel, the trumpet of God.

Do you think this is all a bit strange? It gets even Stranger.

The earliest and most famous sanctuary to Saint Michael was the Michaelion built in the early 4th century by Emperor Constantine at Chalcedon, on the site of an earlier Temple called Sosthenion. A painting of the Archangel slaying a serpent became a major art piece at the Michaelion after Constantine defeated Licinius near there in 324, eventually leading to the standard iconography of Archangel Michael as a warrior saint slaying a dragon. The Michaelion was a magnificent church and in time became a model for hundreds of other churches in Eastern Christianity which spread devotions to the Archangel.

A temple called Leosthenion (Greek: Λεωσθένιον) or Sosthenion (Greek: Σωσθένιον) had existed at the location prior to the 4th century. The site corresponds to modern Istinye.

According to a widespread tradition, current already since the 6th century, the Church of St. Michael at Sosthenion was founded by Constantine the Great, who visited the temple, erected by the Argonauts and dedicated to Zeus Sosthenios or a winged deity. Constantine interpreted the winged statue of the temple as a Christian angel. After sleeping the night in the temple, Constantine reported a vision that the angel was the Archangel Michael, and converted the building into a church to honor him.

Winged Zeus, Winged thunder god, was "interpreted" by Constantine as "Archangel Michael" who we have seen has all attributes of Perun, the thunder god. 

Constantine was the first Roman Emperor to become a Christian and in 313 AD along with his co-Emperor Licinius signed the Edict of Milan, allowing Christians to worship freely and build public churches, rather than worshiping in secret. However, Constantine and Licinius later fought each other and in 324 AD Constantine defeated Licinius at the Battle of Adrianople, not far from the Michaelion - attributing the victory to Archangel Michael.

"Constantine felt that both Licinius and Arius were agents of Satan, and associated them with the serpent described in the Book of Revelation (12:9). Constantine represented Licenius as a snake on his coins. After the victory, Constantine commissioned a depiction of himself and his sons slaying Licinius represented as a serpent - a symbolism borrowed from the Christian teachings on the Archangel to whom he attributed the victory. A similar painting, this time with the Archangel Michael himself slaying a serpent then became a major art piece at the Michaelion and eventually lead to the standard iconography of Archangel Michael as a warrior saint."

Archangel Michael was the warrior saint because Perun was a warrior God. And Archangel Michael slaying the Dragon is Perun (Eagle) slaying Veles (snake), Sun. Light overpowering Water, Darkness...

Did Constanin turn Perun into Archangel Michael? 

Well I don't know, but have a look at these two pictures. 

The labarum (Greek: λάβαρον) was a vexillum (military standard) that displayed the "Chi-Rho" symbol ☧, formed from the first two Greek letters of the word "Christ" (Greek: ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ, or Χριστός) — Chi (χ) and Rho (ρ). It was first used by the Roman emperor Constantine I. Since the vexillum consisted of a flag suspended from the crossbar of a cross, it was ideally suited to symbolize the crucifixion of Christ.


According to Lactantius, a Latin historian of North African origins saved from poverty by the Emperor Constantine I (r. 306–337), who made him tutor to his son Crispus, Constantine had dreamt of being ordered to put a "heavenly divine symbol" (Latin: coeleste signum dei) on the shields of his soldiers. The description of the actual symbol chosen by Emperor Constantine the next morning, as reported by Lactantius, is not very clear: it closely resembles a Chi-Rho or a staurogram, a similar Christian symbol. That very day Constantine's army fought the forces of Maxentius and won the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312), outside Rome.

There is a symbol, a "heavenly divine symbol" which closely resembles ChiRho. It is the heavenly wheel of Perun, the warrior deity of Slavs who is like Svetovid:


Constantin, the first Christian Roman emperor, was born in the Balkans, in what is today the south eastern part of Serbia, in the town which is today called Niš, but which was known as Naisus during Roman times. What was Constantin's tribal origin? I don't know. But if he was fighting in the Civil War, he must have turned to his countrymen, to his compatriots, to his tribesmen for support. And what if they believed in Perun, the thunder god, being the protector of the warriors? What would be the best way Constantin could appease them? What was the best way for Constantin to get their support? Well he could have told them that he did not forget the "old faith" of their forefathers. And that if his compatriots joined him, they would be fighting as "us" against "them". And that they would be fighting under the protection of their old warrior god. And how would he show that? By placing the symbol of their old warrior god, the wheel of Perun, the heavenly divine symbol, which closely resembles ChiRho, onto their standards and shields. 

Under this sigh you will conquer!




And they did. 

Is this why, when eventually Constantin won the war, he built the temple dedicated to "Archangel Michael", who is Like God, the commander of the heavenly army, the slayer of dragons, the guardian of the Gates of Heaven and the Tree of Life, the one who is between the Heaven and Earth?

What do you think, who is really Archangel Michael?

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Fishes

In my post "Ram and Bull" i asked this question:

"Have you ever wondered why Aries (Ram) and Taurus (Bull) astrological signs are where they are on a solar circle?

Most people would answer this question by: "Because the constellations in the sky at that time look like ram and bull"!

But it turned out that these two astrological signs mark the lambing season of wild European sheep and the calving season of wild European cattle. These were extremely important events which occurred every year at the same time. 

Our henge building Central European ancestors developed lunisolar calendar (at some stage before 5th millennium BC). This calendar has a static starting point (winter solstice) and can be used to mark repetitive events on the climatic yearly solar circle. Once our ancestors had this calendar they were able to mark these important events of the solar year on the solar circle, and "predict" or "know" when these events are going to happen next year. They marked lambing season with the symbol of a sheep and probably called it "lamb" but it came to us as Ram. They then marked the calving seasons and probably called it "calf" but it came to us as Bull. 

After I published my post about Ram and Bull, my friend Tim Walker posted this comment: "Makes sense of course. But then it begs the question: Can we account for all the other zodiac signs in terms of old agricultural/season practices?".

Thank you Tim for asking the right questions. And, you gonna like this, I think I might have found another zodiac sign which was originally used to mark another extremely important seasonal practice. This sign is Pisces (fishes).

Pisces (♓) (fishes) - from February the 19th to March the 20th. 


The official explanation of the zodiac symbol of pisces says that: 

"...the symbol of Pisces shows the two fishes captured by a string, typically by the mouth or the tails. The fish are usually portrayed swimming in opposite directions; this represents the duality within the Piscean nature....Pisces is the Latin word for Fishes. It is one of the earliest zodiac signs on record, with the two fish appearing as far back as c. 2300 BC on an Egyptian coffin lid."

I believe that this is another zodiac sign which marks a very important natural event, which occurs every year at the same time. 

So what do you think, which natural event, which occurs every year at the same time, and which is so important that needed to be marked on the solar circle, would our ancestors mark with a fish? Actually two caught fishes swimming in opposite directions.

Any guesses?

This is Atlantic Salmon.



Atlantic Salmon is a native fish of the North Atlantic and once used to live in all the rivers which empty into the north Atlantic, North Sea, Baltic sea and Barents sea. Basically all the rivers in the area above the red line.



But today in Europe salmon is a rare sight. Over-fishing, pollution, dredging, building of dams, all of this contributed to quite sudden decrease in salmon population and disappearance of this magnificent fish from European rivers. Even in rivers which still have salmon, the numbers are so small that you would be forgiven to ask what is all the fuss about. But in the past, this is what salmon rivers used to look like during the migration of the adult salmon upstream. 




This is a picture of an upstream run of Coho salmon, a type of Pacific salmon which lives in the Alaskan rivers. But once this is what Atlantic salmon runs in European rivers used to look like too. 

Few animals have attracted as much attention through the ages as has the Atlantic salmon. This is because Atlantic salmon has been one of the most important seasonal food sources for the people living along the rivers which empty into the North Atlantic. They were caught in large numbers during their migration upstream into the upper reaches of their spawning rivers and streams. Their meat was a steady source of protein during the salmon season. And later on when people invented the way to cure fish using salting and smoking the surplus of fishes from the last autumn run was preserved and used during the winter. 

Salmon bones were found in the debris from the French caves dated to Paleolithic times. And twenty five thousand years ago Paleolithic man carved a life-size salmon into the ceiling of a cave in southern France near the Vézère River. This is the oldest known artistic representation of a salmon in the world and proof that even in Paleolithic salmon was a well known and important food source.  



Salmon has a very interesting life cycle



It spawns naturally in freshwater. Spawning typically occurs in the headwater and tributary streams of rivers, though it can happen anywhere in a river if the substrate is suitable. Atlantic salmon lay their eggs in October-November and hatch in February-March-April, depending on temperature. When they are 1-3 years old, in March-April-May, salmon leave rivers to migrate along the North Atlantic Drift, and into the rich feeding grounds of the Norwegian Sea and the greater expanse of the North Atlantic Ocean. After spending 1 to 3 years in the sea, mature salmon begin migration back to the same rivers and streams in which they had spawned. This return into the rivers and the swim upstream is called "salmon run". 

Now how do you catch salmon. Well in the past, during the large runs, there were so many fishes swimming slowly upstream and they were so tightly packed, that you could laterally pick salmons up out of the river using your bare hands. Locals in Alaska still do that during the Pacific salmon runs, as you can see in this video and this video. If you were a hunter gatherer, catching a lunch this easily will quickly make start paying attention to salmon and its migration patterns. 

But even though salmon is so easy to catch, if you want to catch a lot of salmon there are other easier way to do it. 

Our ancestors mostly caught salmon using fish traps called fish weirs like this one which were built on rivers and streams used by salmon:



The fish could then be picked out either by hand or by using fishing spears like this one: 



The fishing weirs were also used with basket traps. The fish would be funneled directly into a trap where it would get stuck. 



We know that these types of fish traps have been used in Europe for millenniums. The oldest fish traps found in Europe were found in Ireland and were used for catching salmon 8000 years ago. And they have been used until the beginning of the 20th century

Now every year a lot of preparatory work needs to be done in order to get ready for the arrival of salmon. 

Fish weirs need to be repaired and rebuilt. The winter floods could have dislodged the weir barrier or blocked the entrance into the weir. Fish baskets would also need to be repaired or made anew as the old ones probably fully or partially rotted away. New fish spears would need to be made too. 

And all this has to be done before the salmon run season starts. And when does the Salmon run season start? 

Salmon fishing in the Spring tends to be limited to the lower river unless a series of floods have encouraged them to progress beyond Durham. 

Well that depends on where you are in the Europe. The migrations of both smalts and adult salmon are triggered by the river water temperature and the river water volume. The migration normally starts after the first spring floods. 

In "The Baltic salmon (Salmo salar L.): its history, present situation and future" by Lars Karlsson’ & Östen Karlstrårn we can read that: "Salmon leave the southern Baltic in April-June, and set towards their home rivers in the Gulf of Bothnia (the northernmost arm of the Baltic Sea). Once they reach the river mouth they stay there for some time and gradually enter a new migration phase adapted to fresh water. Thereafter, they ascend the river in June-August."

In Finland and Northwestern Russia spring run starts in May or June.

In Sweden spring run starts in May. 

In Denmark spring run starts in April. 

According to "The Rhine: An Eco-Biography, 1815-2000" By Mark Cioc we can read that: "In Rhine river in Germany, which was once the main salmon river in Europe, spring run started as a winter run but peaked in March."

In the "Decline and fall of the salmon fisheries in the Netherlands: is restocking the Rhine a reality" we read that: "In the Netherlands, the most important months for the salmon fishermen on river Rhine were March to August."

According to "Atlantic Salmon: An Illustrated Natural History" By Rod Sutterby, Malcolm Greenhalgh. we can read that: "In river Loire, the river water temperature in the lowlands is too high during the summer so salmon start their run in the winter and finish their upstream swim in the spring, spring run peaking in March."

In "France’s implementation plan in line with NASCO’s recommendations concerning the protection, management and enhancement of the Atlantic salmon and its habitat" we can read that "The season for river salmon fishing generally runs from March to July."

The situation is the same in Pomeranian rivers, like Vistula, according to "The restoration of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) in Poland". In "Historical occurrence and extinction of Atlantic salmon in the River Elbe from the fourteenth to the twentieth centuries" by Jan Andreska, Lubomír Hanel we can read that: "George Handsch von Limus (1529-1578) wrote in his unfinished writings Historia animalis that in Litoměřice, Bohemia, salmon are mostly caught in the river Elbe, mainly in March, April and May, when their taste is the most delicious...According to the inventory from 1588 for the village of Nelahozeves (in German Mühlhausen an der Moldau) located on the Moldau River near Prague, the largest salmon migrated to this location in March and April. A frequency of migration increased until May...The first migrating salmon were recorded in Prague in 1875, 1893, 1908 in March. These were fish about 1 m long weighing 7.5-15 kg, silver in color with bluish backs and small black stars...". River Elbe (original Slavic Laba) used to be one of the longest salmon rivers in Europe. 

In "Recollections of fly fishing for salmon, trout, and grayling, with notes on their haunts, habits, and history" by Hamilton, Edward, M. D Published 1891, we read that: "Salmon begin ascending all the larger rivers in England, as early as February, but chiefly in March..." and "Thomas Faulkner ("Historical and Topographical Description of Chelsea," 1829), says that salmon fishing on the Thames begins on the 25th of March above London Bridge, and ends the 4th of September...".

In Scotland the spring run starts in mid February to mid March depending on the river. In "Status of exploitation of Atlantic salmon in Scotland" by Williamson R.B. we can read that: "Before 1950’s the catch of spring fish in February-April was sometimes more than 50% of the whole annual catch."

In Wales the spring run also starts mid February to mid March, depending on the river. 

In Ireland, a very small number of Spring Salmon start returning to rivers in January, but the proper salmon run doesn't start until February. The Fresh salmon, (Spring salmon, also known as Springers) will arrive into most of the rivers by mid February and start swimming upstream towards their spawning grounds. At the same time a lot of Spent salmon (Last Seasons Spawning Salmon, also known as Kelts), are making their way down stream and back into the sea and their feeding grounds. The main Fresh salmon season starts mid-March. From the middle of March the number of Springers entering the river and swimming up stream increases, while there is still a large number of Kelts going downstream. Saint Patricks Day “March 17th” is a traditional starting day of the proper Springer angling season. 

This is very interesting. It seems that the proper beginning of the salmon fishing season across all major European Atlantic salmon rivers used to begin somewhere between the middle of February and the middle of March. This is almost identical to the Pisces period which falls between February the 19th and March the 20th. 

So if you wanted to be ready for this amazingly important event, you had to know when it will arrive next time, so that you can repair the fishing and curing equipment and get ready. How would you do it? You would mark the event on your circular lunisolar calendar with an appropriate self explanatory symbol. And what symbol would be appropriate?

Every year salmon undertakes two huge migrations along the same river in two opposite directions. 

Smalt salmons migrate from rivers into the sea swimming downstream.



Adult salmons migrate from the sea into rivers swimming upstream.



And right during the period of Pisces, we have both Fresh Springer salmons entering the river and swimming up stream and the last years Spent Kelts salmons leaving the river swimming downstream.

Does this remind you of something?




Salmon the fish that swims in two opposite directions along the same river and that we start catching during the period of...Pisces.

Sooooo

Is it in any way possible that people would mark the beginning of the spring run of the Atlantic salmon, the fish which swims along the same river in two opposite direction, with two fishes swimming in two opposite directions? What do you think. 

O yea, the constellation. 

Here is the Pices constellation:


This is a typical salmon trap from central Europe:


Do you see any similarity?

And finally. Does anyone realize how important this is, from the point of view of the determining the origin of the Zodiac? The official line is that 

"The division of the ecliptic into the zodiacal signs originates in Babylonian ("Chaldean") astronomy during the first half of the 1st millennium BC. "

Yet here we have three consecutive zodiac signs, Pisces, Aries and Taurus marking three extremely important cyclical natural events which occur in Central and North Western Europe: 

Pisces - Fishes - the beginning of the spring run of the European Atlantic salmon
Aries -  Ram - The beginning of the wild European sheep lambing period
Taurus - Bull - The beginning of the wild European cattle calving period

These zodiac signs could only have been invented in Europe where they have self explanatory meaning. The meaning which was completely lost when zodiac was brought out of Europe to the places where natural cycle is very much or completely different. 

So was zodiac invented in Europe? And more importantly when was it invented? And what about the other zodiac signs?