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."


The Art of Navigation

How do we navigate stormy oceans of our daily living? Is there any help, any advice from our religion?
     Of course there is possibility, for instance, to observe the flight of strange birds or to count the stars with God (a moon god if possible or at least a god with some astro-selenial attributes)! What other useless advice would you expect from a religion thousands of years old and similarly irrelevant?
     But wait a moment! Don’t  we all know the saying “As the crow flies”? But how does the crow fly? And why did this become a saying? Why does it matter?
     Crows are proverbially clever birds. They find and follow the shortest distance between two points. This trait came especially handy to old sailors and seafarers. Vikings are known to have taken caged crows for their open sea voyages. When they felt they were close to a land or when they got lost at sea, they released a crow. If the crow returned to their longboat they knew they were still far at sea (by the way that is why the top of the mast was called the crow’s nest). But if it took off and flew away, they followed its flight to the nearest firm land.
    Other ancient sailors used other birds. Polynesians sailors, for instance, used frigatebirds in a similar fashion; it is also a clever bird which cannot land on water. Thus these sayings “As the crow flies” and “crow’s nest” confirm that English was a language of seafarers. 
     Strangely, this same use of birds (a raven or a crow) is described in Genesis when Noah is looking for the dry land. It is indeed unexpected to find this ancient navigation practice described in as land-lubbing book as the Bible! It shows surprising curiosity and interest in the real world beyond the limits of everyday lives of the authors and their original audience. And after a raven, a dove was sent, returning with an olive shoot. It was destined to became a globally recognized emblem of peace.
      This arcane augury is not the only example of the ocean navigation in the Bible. This Sunday we will look at several other traces of biblical navigation, this time looking closely at and counting the stars of all different kinds. Traces of ancient astrological myth will help us orient our lives and provide bearings for the safe sailing through our stormy world. Wasn’t it, after all, Immanuel Kant, of blessed memory, who said something about an awe over the starry heavens above and the moral law within?

A drawing of an Iron Age scaraboid from Irbid
depicting a moon god seated on a heavenly barge
bringing out or counting stars.

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