Issue 37 – 3 August 2017 – rattuos
In looking at what temples are and what they are supposed to do it makes sense to look at the first of them, as far as we know. This is on the Turkish side of the border with Syria on a small hill top and mysterious site used over around 2000 years and predating the first Egyptian megalithic building by 7000 years. Stonehenge may date back to 3500BC. Around 8000BC the entire site was buried in rubble, flint arrow heads and animal bones for reasons that are unclear. It is called Gobekli Tepe .
We might not expect much from our ancestors of 12000 years ago but should be stunned at what they achieved here. There were in the first stage around 200 T shaped pillars with various animals and pictograms magnificently carved in relief. Each pillar it is thought represents a human as some have loin cloths carved on them and arms. Although surrounded by a desolate stone landscape now, back then it was in a forest. In fact it was in a place where the first cultivated wheat strain emerged and the land around the site has been continuously cultivated ever since.
There seem to be 20 circles with thick walls and these pillars, and in the centre 2 larger pillars facing each other. The floor was composed of burned limestone, possibly polished. There may have been roofing over these circles. You may need to have a look:
And an article with photographs here:
Carving in relief is difficult. So is moving 20 ton boulders, smoothing them down and carefully inserting them in holes cut out of bedrock. (I have had enough trouble setting up two wooden posts I bought to hold my new garden gate and they are not straight). There are stone benches in the circles for seating. These were not houses. If there are graves they have not been found but there does seem some link with either ancestor worship or ’sky burial’ as many of the carvings show vultures. One curious fact is that over the years the older pillars were buried and new ones were inserted.
I will not go much further into speculating about this place but it seems to be our oldest temple by thousands of years. Just a across the border there is a full scale war taking place. Who knows how many other temples were buried from that time? Or why there is no rush to excavate the first found. Stonehenge is quite crude by comparison, the stones are not carved in relief with any symbols. At the time Gobekli was constructed there were no metal tools. They used flints on the hard limestone. At least the Egyptians had copper chisels. The next oldest finely carved temple may be the underground complex:
But this is from 3600BC.
Then we have an explosion of temple building in Egypt and across the Middle East to India. Some of these temples were built for the dead, some for deities. Here you can see a winged lion in a temple in Syria dating around 900BC
I have put that here because this is the time we are told that the first Temple of Solomon was built somewhere in Jerusalem on what appears to be a Phoenician design and which by all accounts had winged ‘Cherubims’ in its sanctuary. There is some doubt whether there was a temple built then, it is yet to be found and no archaeology is allowed where they think it may be. But it is this temple that has inspired so many others and is now so important, and it is this temple I wish to discuss – or at least the spiritual temple on which it is based.
“According to the Hebrew Bible, Solomon’s Temple, also known as the First Temple, was the Holy Temple (Hebrew: בֵּית־הַמִּקְדָּשׁ: Beit HaMikdash) in ancient Jerusalem before its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BCE and its subsequent replacement with the Second Temple in the 6th century BCE.
The Hebrew Bible states that the temple was constructed under Solomon, king of the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah and that during the Kingdom of Judah, the temple was dedicated to Yahweh, and is said to have housed the Ark of the Covenant. Jewish historian Josephus says that “the temple was burnt four hundred and seventy years, six months, and ten days after it was built”, although rabbinic sources state that the First Temple stood for 410 years and, based on the 2nd-century work Seder Olam Rabbah, place construction in 832 BCE and destruction in 422 BCE, 165 years later than secular estimates.
Because of the religious sensitivities involved, and the politically volatile situation in Jerusalem, only limited archaeological surveys of the Temple Mount have been conducted. No archaeological excavations have been allowed on the Temple Mount during modern times. Therefore, there are very few pieces of archaeological evidence for the existence of Solomon’s Temple. An Ivory pomegranate which mentions priests in the house “of —h”, and an inscription recording the Temple’s restoration under Jehoash have both appeared on the antiquities market, but their authenticity has been challenged and they are the subject of controversy.” Wikipedia
It does not matter which temple we look at really. They all served a spiritual purpose whether it was a cult of the dead or for some god or goddess. At its most basic level these great architectural works were designed as a home for spirits, and I would say were intended to allow a spiritual place to meet up with a physical one. In them you will find water, even sacred pools or lakes. You may find fires tended, or lamps or candles burning. There may be clouds on incense, statues that are considered to hold spirits, symbols, texts, stained glass, gold and silver implements. Not to mention the unfortunate human habit of sacrificing animals and people in some of them and pouring or sprinkling their blood around them. Some are vast, almost mountains and some are tiny little caves with sacred artwork on the walls from the earliest times (up to 40000 years ago).
I have written about Solomon elsewhere here. For a wealthy and powerful king in the Middle East around 950BC there is a complete absence of evidence. The other kings in that area were recorded in contemporary records in the surrounding countries but there is no mention of a Solomon in the many records available, only in the bible scripture written centuries later. I will try to explain why.
The name Solomon is an anglicised one anyway but so is what it is based upon – a character called the Son of Man by us (Binadam in the scripture) and found in a book, or collection of scripts called the Book of Enoch. This book of prophecy was at one time kept with the New Testament although it is older. It was written between 300BC and 100BC, that is at least 100 years before Jesus who is said to have used the term and is considered by many to be the ‘Son of Man’. A careful look in the New Testament will show that not to be the case or at least that is not what he is recorded as having said.
In the spirit world time is very different. Our time now is well attested and always has been. We are in the ‘latter days’. And the prophecy about this Son of Man is for this time. It is the basis of many messiah cults, maitreyas, mahdis etc. Some call him the second Adam as the name Binadam suggests. We could call him the ‘spirit of mankind’ which is much closer to the real interpretation. Anyway you will find portrayals of this spirit in many temples where they are allowed. Many have claimed to be him, often we have thought we were in the latter days (‘the end is nigh’ is an ancient slogan). In India he is Shiva. In other places the second coming. He is also ‘Solomon’.
The Gobekli temple is just one that offered a home to the spirits of the dead and also this mysterious character that spirits have always spoken about to those who can communicate with them. If the role of a temple or sacred space is to offer a home, or temporary one, to a spiritual place then the role of a priest or priestess is to offer a temporary physical body to a spirit. Any number of people have offered this to the one we call the Son of Man, encouraging possession. Probably many more have pretended to be him for more political reasons. But those who were sincere mediums and were temporary homes are sometimes called the ‘league of Hermes’. There is a very long line of them going so far back it is impossible to see the end. And through this line comes prophecy, even communication with our own time.
Mediums are not perfect and clairvoyance is not a perfect art. But both do allow some communication with the spiritual world. So does sleep and meditation. However we are plagued with illusion in our material world and for every genuine medium there are many more who range from well meaning but deluded people to outright charlatans. What we can do though is look ourselves at our history, and our spiritual history and places, and grab a sense of what is behind all of this. Why we have religions, why we honour the dead. The danger is always obsession, and asserting that one particular thread is the whole carpet, all other threads are not.
Most of our churches offer space to the spiritual temple of Solomon. So do the Freemason squares, so do many magicians’ rituals. Pagan gatherings are just as likely to be doing this as the most ornate cathedrals. It is why I maintain that a summer solstice festival in Somerset in 1971 succeeded where many others have failed. But all of those that succeed are linked to a timeless entity. They are visited by spirits that existed long ago and are yet to come. This is the hidden dimension in all of us if we develop it and seek it. But you need clairvoyance to see it, hear it or feel it. And that is why I encourage all to develop that art rather than perhaps only to develop muscles for more physical exertions. Never become obsessed and only allow this state which has to be deemed ‘possession’ on your own terms. Stay in charge, do not take orders from those you invite into your house. Never, ever behave in an anti-social way because of this. You do not know the spirits. Sacrifice of any kind is abhorrent to those we would want to meet. Murder of any kind is against our law. They are gentle beings attracted to gentle beings. The ‘angra mainyu’ as some angry spirits are called are attracted by and to warmongers and threaten us all. So be intelligent and be careful. Enlightenment is possible in every life but any obsession makes it impossible to see the whole which is what it is.
I have encountered this temple in many places in my life. It comes and it goes. There is no need to try to hold onto it. We do not eat all day and all night. What will make you special as a human is the ability to house and communicate with the spiritual. But it comes slowly and can end abruptly. It loves innocence and loathes those that seek to use it. I put bird food out every day. The birds love it and visit my garden. I do not have nets to catch them. It is freely given for the moments we come together. If they do not come they do not come. I will still try the next day. It is not a duty or a chore. It is not to impress others, nor even to impress the birds. I wonder how long humans have put out food and water for our other wonderful species, to befriend and to meet them, not to eat them. I wonder how long they have done this with the spirits. I am in my latter days but these are the things that mean the most to me. I have had to work to keep myself and my family. I have had struggles like everyone else. I have had delusions like everyone else too. But without my spiritual life I would feel half the man. It often seems to me that I have more friends there than here, and it is a sentiment that many older people have confided to me over the years. Our balance shifts and one day we are all over there and just a memory remains fleetingly of us over here, sometimes preserved by those we leave behind.