THE HORSE SACRIFICE
Om! Blessed be the animal,
With its horns and members.
Om! Tie it to the somber pillar,
That sunders Life from Death
Om! Tie this animal very well,
For it represents the universe.
In Vedic India, the greatest of sacrifices was the Ashvamedha (or Horse Sacrifice). Kings spent fortunes in the elaborate rituals, which sometimes required hundreds of officiating priests and lasted for several weeks at a time. The sacrifice of the horse was often associated with the sacrifice of the goat, as we discuss further below. Both these sacrifices were often associated with Tantric practices, and even today this ritual is often accompanied by the goat sacrifice.
The objective of the present essay is to discuss the esoteric meaning of these strange rituals, which date from Vedic times in India, from where they passed into the rest of the world. Hindu myths are particularly profound and, hence, extremely difficult to penetrate in their esoteric contents. This is due to the fact that the holy tongues in which they were originally composed mainly Sanskrit and Dravida are polysemic languages, where words may have several entirely different meanings, depending on the context.
Myths, symbols and rituals work at several different levels, simultaneously, according to the 48 Fundamental Sciences: Philosophy, Metaphysics, Ethics, Theology, Religion, History, Geography, Astronomy, etc.. In other words, myths work not according to so-called Aristotelian logic, but to “fuzzy logic”, where concepts and ideas are somewhat diffuse and vague, as in Quantum Mechanics.
We Westerners are not used to this kind of logic, in contrast to the ancients and to the Orientals, and the Hindus in particular. Our difficulty in understanding myths and their hidden truths derives above all from the essence of our monosemic tongues, which accustom our minds to reason literally, rather than “diffusedly”.
We hope that the present essay will shed some light on the way myths work, in order to embody the important revelations concerning Atlantis. The story of Atlantis is never told, except under the disguise of the Evangels and the religious symbols and rituals, or in the initiatic sagas and romances or, even, in the trivial anecdotes, fables and fairy tales that came to us from antiquity.
The Hindus who composed the ancient myths which later diffused to the other nations of the world never speak, except to the Initiates, being bound by a most sacred oath that has never been violated. So, we must all learn to understand their sacred myths by our own effort if we indeed want to understand the secrets of humanity’s past and, perhaps, the future as well. The wisdom of the ancient Atlanteans is ours for free, as a heritage, if only we have the fortitude required to rescue it from within the often foolish arcanes where it is has been hidden for so many millennia.
The passage of the Markandeya Purana quoted above discloses the secret. The sacrifice of the animal represents that of the Universe. And the association with Tantric practices is symbolic of the Cosmogonic Hierogamy, another image of the Primordial Sacrifice of the World. Tantra with its emphasis on sex is far more than the ritualized orgy that Westerners associate with this peculiar form of worship.
Tantric practices are a ritual enactment of the Cosmogonic Hierogamy. Far more than a fertility ritual, such hierogamies are a symbolic representation of the dissolution of the World in the Marriage of Fire and Water, the two incongruals. The maithuna the mystic union of the worshippers is not an invention of modern Tantrism. The ritual dates back to Vedic times and probably to pre-Vedic, Dravidian epochs. Indeed, Tantrism is spurned by the Aryan castes in India, and is only popular in Southern India, where the Dravidian races prevail.
However, the Vedic cults often tolerated an erotic union, though disguisedly. As related by the Taitiriya Samhita (V:5:9) and by the Apastamba Shrauta Sutra (21:17:18, etc.), in certain Vedic rituals a young brahman priest mated with a pumchali (hierodule) hidden inside the altar of the temple.
The ritual closely recalls the one celebrated in Sumer and Babylon on the occasion of the New Year Festival (Akitu). In this ritual, the king would ritually mate with a sacred prostitute (hierodule) inside a shrine on top of the ziggurat. This building, a sort of stepped pyramid, represented the Cosmic Mountain, itself a replica of the Cosmos. Hence, the couple united inside the temple or the altar represented the Primordial Couple buried inside the Cosmic Mountain, in Paradise.
Very likely, the Heb Sed festival of the Egyptians, as well as the secret ceremonies celebrated inside the Egyptian temples and pyramids, were also ritual enactments of the Cosmogonic Hierogamy, the Sacred Marriage of the King and the Sacred Prostitute, the Hierodule of Bastit or of some other similar goddess, as we shall see further below.
In the ashvamedha, the wife of the officiating priest the mahishi simulated a ritual mating with the sacrificial horse. The mahishi (lit. “the Great Cow”) represented the Earth, much as the horse symbolized the Sun. Indeed, she also stood for the queen as the Primordial Whore, just as her husband (the mahisha) was an alias of the Horse, the Sun, the Primordial Male (or buffalo). The couple stood for Heaven and Earth and, more exactly, for Yama and Yami, the Primordial Couple of paradisial times.1
After the horse sacrifice was performed, the mahisha mated with the mahishi. And so did the other four couples of priests, representing the Four Guardians of the World (Lokapalas) and placed around the royal couple.