About this blog

This Blog is named after an ancient gnoseological riddle which hints hidden, disseminated, omnipresent wisdom.
I invite you to search, listen and observe with me for "the word of tree, whisper of stone, and humming together of the abyss and stars."


Obstetric Ornithology

On three Wednesdays in Advent (December 3rd, 10th and 17th) we will gather again in the chancel of our sanctuary to observe Advent Vespers. In the pre-Christmas rush time, seek with us a spiritual safe haven in these quiet, contemplative, candle-lit prayer and meditation times.
After about half an hour long vesper worship, you can join us in a small circle around cookies with warm chocolate. This year we will talk about babies, children, parenthood, our own and their shapes around the world and across ages. Isn’t Christmas about the newborn baby?
And for those who read this far here is a little bit of Obstetric Ornithology.
     In European folklore, babies are closely associated with storks. We all know how babies are delivered, by stork-mail, right? But before you dismiss it as an old wives' tale think about its nice symbolism and deep insight. Storks are migratory birds yearly traveling thousands of miles, yet they return faithfully to the same nest year after year. Storks are also predominantly monogamous. And the stork vernal migration comes when great number of the babies used to be born, about ten lunar months after Midsummer Night (All over Europe in rustic times, the summer solstice was an amorous season).
    Ancient Near Eastern people didn’t look for storks, they revered swallows, also migratory birds, also known for forming life-long bonds and also faithfully returning to one home or barn. In pre-biblical times Semitic people worshiped Seven Swallow-Daughters, goddesses of marital bliss whom they called in translation Skillful-Ones - each had a name (again in translation): Wedding-Gift, Dowry, Flame-of-Love, Womb-Opener, First-Baby-Cry, Perpetually-Fruitful, and Benefactress. I know about them because as my hobby and for my doctorate I translated a three thousand year old cuneiform clay tablet (KTU 1.24 - this link leads to a translation by my Edinburgh teacher Professor Nicolas Wyatt, he opted for a different translation, not Swallow Daughters, but mentions it in the footnote no.7) where they are thus named and petitioned to be of assistance at a divine wedding as well as later.
    And I suspect, that these goddesses might also be a deep and ancient part of our own Judeo-Christian faith tradition. In the Bible, they are present in the disguise of Hebrew midwives in Egypt. In Exodus 1, they are called Shiphrah and Puah, but with a little bit of Ancient Near Eastern linguistics, their names can be translated as Fruitful-One and One-of-Parturition. The Bible is trying to disguise their true nature, and while YHWH does not deliver babies (certainly not in arch-patriarchal times), God could commission old-known and well-tried and trusted agents. Does anyone wonder why Hebrew women could not be stopped? How could they?! With such divine assistance! We do not know if they still envision them as swallows (the Bible does not mention it, but outside of the Bible it might be possible) they were certainly swift like swallows.

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