- "The meteorite has always exerted a powerful influence over the imagination. What child, nay, what adult, has not marvelled under those graceful arcs of fire, so transient, so tantalizing, that are shooting stars? Is it any wonder that with our contemporary sense of the marvellous, the ancients took the shooting star for something even greater? A stone from the roof of the sky, perhaps even a piece of heaven itself?"
- --Elysius Dubord, The Origins of Mormo Worship in Chaldean Mythology (1932)
Throughout history mankind has worshipped the unknown and the dwelled in shadow, primitivistic urges little advanced beyond the endless sniffing of faeces so common among dogs and lesser species. The belief system built upon the imaginary will eventually collapse and the society to which it gave stucture will succumb to the forces of Associational entropy, drowning in failed belief, anatelic, crumbling evermore. But what of a God whose Will cracks across the sky in a startling display of atmospheric hullabulloo? What of the shooting star, sparkling like diamonds across the breast of Night, popping the dull cork of religions and landing it, once and for all, in the realm of the real, the Archimedic, beyond eternal Poobanism and like that.
Dubord associates Mormo with a minor Chaldean demigod called Mommo, a great warrior, but human. One day he set out to look for a stone which he had seen fall to earth and blinded by the sun invented the first denumbrator. He recovered the stone, which had fallen from the great vaults of the sky where Sirus soars -- from the very arches that support the heavens and separate the gods from the men of earth. When Mommo found the fallen boundary stone, he aquired great powers. He made of himself a king, so arrogant as to challenge the very gods. As powerful as he had become, however, he was no match for the gods; he was banished by Enlil and forced to roam the planet forever. To protect himself and the other gods, Enlil then hid the fallen stone inside the head of another wandering immortal. In his bitter state of earthbound immortality, Mommo sent his followers in search of the stone; when they found a likely candidate for the living hiding place, they naturally cut the person's head off to look inside for the stone. Dubord claims that Mormo, then, is merely Mommo by another name, and that the sacrifices associated with the former are the result of a misreading by Ankaran worshippers of Mommo's purpose: they knew nothing of a fallen stone but believed their god was demanding sacrifice to augment his power and satiate his thirst for death, as in the Mormo Death Cycle.
Dubord's theory, although far from widely accepted, still inspires provocative questions. An entire sub-genre of occult literature has grown up around his rather modest and rigorously scholarly book which has unfortunately caused many to look upon Dubord as some sort of crank who merits no attention whatsoever. But this is unfair to the mild-mannered professor, who in no way intended to posit what many have sought to ascribe to his writings.
That which was lost
One of Dubord's "wild step-children" is self-styled "investigative mythologist" William Henry, whose article "Shock ‘n Awe: We Will Rock You" (21 March 2003) contains quite a bit of clever word play linking the current war in Iraq with ancient Babylonian mythology.
As Elysuis points out, it is widely believed that during the period of Jewish history known as the Babylonian exile, Chaldean mythology had a great influence on the development of the mysticism found in the Kabbala. Starting with "Shock and Awe," the phrase used by the US military to describe the first phase of its Iraq invasion, Henry sees a reference to the Kabbalistic name of the feminine presence of God: "Shakina," who was exiled after the destruction of the Temple of Solomon. In her exile, she has variously been referred to as "the Widow" the "Stone of Exile" and the "Precious Stone." Arguably, her return from exile will precipitate the reconstruction of Solomon's Temple, which--according to the fundamentalist Christians George Bush associates himself with--is necessary before the Christ can make his encore performance.
According to an article in the Christian Science Monitor (6 August 2003), Iraqi folklore credited Saddam Hussein's occult powers to a "magic stone" he wore around his neck. What if the whole point of the Iraq war was to recover that stone? Shakina, the Precious Stone, was associated with the Ark of the Covenant, which makes any army who bears it invincible. Henry also points out that another element of the Shock and Awe campaign were the much-vaunted "decapitation strikes."
In Grail Romances, Percival is almost always, despite all other differences among their various authors, called the "Son of the Widow Lady." In Wolfram Von Eschenbach's version, the Templars are the Grail guardians, which is a stone called "lapsit exillis." This is bastard Latin which can be interpreted as "the stone, exiled." Whether the stone fell from heaven or was forced up by geomantic upheaval matters but little -- for Constantine himself, speaking from beyond Life in the vehicle of decapitation, blessed the Christian forces invading the Holy Land. What more does a sword need than the whetting stone of Christianity's true founder?
An Exemplary Construct
Freemasons are also referred to as "Widow's Sons," and a lost stone plays an important part in their mythology. A lost keystone, for example, is the whole point of the highest degree of the Royal Arch. Hiram Ibiff, the Freemason's martyred hero, is finally killed by a wound to the head while in charge of building Solomon's Temple.
Decapitated heads are often associated with the grail legends as well as the Templars. Richard the Lion-Hearted is said to have decapitated thousands of prisoners during the Third Crusade. The Templars were said to worship before heads and to hold something which guaranteed fertility and protection, much as decapitated heads have figured in Celtic and Welsh mythology (one of Shakina's places of exile is rumored to be Ireland). This could be the Grail or the Ark, both of which were said to hold these powers.
The biggest problem with piecing this history together is that after legend placed the stone in the head of an immortal, it was never retrieved. The historical record lacks any explicit connection, but this has not stopped people from searching. Texts this ancient are few, so many scholars have looked to Biblical references, including chapter 4 of Joshua, where God commanded Joshua to place twelve stones with the Ark of the Covenant. While it takes an extreme leap of faith to accept that these stones were somehow related to the fallen stone, several interesting facts fall into place once you make the jump.
The Ark, and it's accompaniment of stones, was later placed in Solomon’s Temple. The inner sanctum of the Temple, which held the Ark, was demarcated by encircled stones that separated the Profane from the Sacred. It seems likely that these were the same stones brought to the Ark by Joshua. As in Chaldean mythology, the stones demarked the separation of gods and men.
The treasures of the Temple were later stolen by Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar’s name in Akkadian translates to “Nebo, protector the boundary-stone.”1 No mention of the Ark or the stones is made when the treasures were returned to the Israelites. Interestingly, the Kaaba, the holiest of Islamic shrines, contains a similar arrangement to the Temple, wherein a Holy area is set off from the world of sinners. Is it possible that the stones left the Chaldeans, entered the hands of the Israelites, only to be wrestled away by the Muslims who keep it hidden away?
Another possibility has been posited. Nebuchadnezzar also conquered the Phoenician city of Tyre. Curiously, Hiram I, the King of Tyre, had provided vital assistance with the construction of the Solomon’s Temple. Tyre was later conquered by Alexander the Great, and eventually fell under an early Christian influence. Later still, it was absorbed into the Islamic tradition, only to be conquered during the First Crusade. Legend has it the Holy Grail was recovered from Tyre by the Templars. Did they actually take the stone, which as since been misrepresented as the Holy Grail?
Much of the speculation surrounding the stone and Tyre rests on etymology. The Hebrew and Arabic names for the city (Zor and Sour or Sor, respectively) both translate to "rock" or "stone" in an apparent reference to the rocky island where the city is situated. But the word "Tyre" traces back to Indo-European word "Dyeus", which meant “sky”.2
It's not a great leap to see that this was a town alternatively named for the Heavens and the Earth -- perhaps a strong magnet for a stone fallen from the arches separating Heaven and Earth.
Still Crazy After All These Years
If we assemble these references together, a pattern emerges; are the Holy Grail, the Ark of the Covenant, an exiled widow, a fallen stone and a decapitated head one and the same? It is no wonder that much has been made of Dubord's theory. If Mommo went around cutting off heads in order to "get his groove back," the Gnomic, Mormo-infested US government might do the same. Plastic Tub believes that if true, the US didn't find what they were looking for when they pulled a gaunt Saddam Hussein from his hole in the ground. Decapitations are still in fashion all over Iraq as so-called "insurgents," most likely CIA operatives hunting for the fallen stone, make their gruesome home movies in a rather clumsy revelation of their search.
Agents haven't met with much sucess in regard to Bin Laden either. Days after 9-11, a small CIA hit squad led by Gary Schroen was sent to Afghanistan to "Capture Bin Laden, kill him and bring his head back in a box on dry ice." As for his cohorts? Shroen was told to put their heads on pikes. Four years after the attacks he masterminded on 9-11, Bin Laden remains at large. Perhaps his head holds the fallen stone....
- "I heard that Saddam Hussein, in solitary confinement, was spending his time writing poetry, reading the Koran, eating cookies and muffins, and taking care of some bushes and shrubs. I heard that he had placed a circle of white stones around a small plum tree."
- Eliot Weinberger, What I Heard about Iraq (2005)
The fallen stone has made its way into other mythical traditions as well. At Islam's holiest site, there is a shrine called the Kaaba, or Kaba. One of the cornerstones is a meteorite 50 cm in diameter, surrounded by a silver band that holds it together due to damage sustained while being returned 22 years after it was stolen by Ismaeli raiders in 930 CE. The stone is believed to have fallen during Adamic times and that it was originally a dazzling pure white, having turned black after absorbing the sins of true believers. This stone is called Al-Hajaral Aswad.
(Many have speculated that the Ismaelis were to have some important contact with the Templars. Interesting in this story is that the Templars in their turn are said to have influenced the Freemasons, who place a great deal of importance on symbolic cornerstones. The White House and the Capitol Building, for example, have Freemasonic cornerstones.)
In Matthew 13:45-46, Jesus tells a parable known as the "Pearl of Great Price." In this parable a merchant finds a pearl so alluring he sells all of his belongings to buy it, ending up wealthier than ever. In this parable Jesus is commonly believed to be illustrating that the pearl, or the Kingdon of Heaven, is worth sacrificing everything for; it is the ultimate treasure.
In the Acts of Thomas, a Gnostic text from ca. 200 CE, one also finds the "Hymn of the Pearl" (aka "Hymn of the Robe of Glory") as a metaphor for the exile and redemption of the soul. In the Hymn, a noble youth is sent to Egypt to recover a precious pearl guarded by a serpent. Once there, he loses his identity, forgetting not only his family and where he comes from, but who he is as well. After a series of encounters he comes back to himself, lulls the serpent to sleep and snatches the pearl, recovering the splendid, glittering robe which had ben made for him by his parents and which during his "exile" he had removed and forgotten. In a bit of Jungian synchronicity, ancient Chinese lore relates that pearls were formed in the brains of dragons, and guarded between their teeth. The dragon had to be slain before the pearl could be retrieved. Pearls were said to fall from the clouds when dragons fought. The black pearl, in particular, was a symbol of wisdom.
Some of these themes are repeated in the Pearl, a 14th century poem believed to be by the author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a Grail Romance. In this poem, a young man falls asleep and dreams that he has lost his precious pearl. Perceiving a maiden, he asks if she is his lost pearl. She says that his pearl is not lost, but a rose which has withered. The youth wonders if the maiden has replaced Mary as the Queen of Heaven. Later, wearing the pearl, she instructs him on sin and redemption and exhorts him to forsake all he has to buy the pearl. He asks of the New Jerusalem, and she says he may not enter but can see it. He is led up a river to a spot where he sees the Blessed entering the Kingom of God and plunges into the river to join them; he awakes from his dream at this point, resolved to fulfill the wishes of God. Is this maiden--associated with the lost stone-- Shakinah, guide to the reconstructed Temple?
In Polynesia, the black pearl was called "the pearl of queens" or the "queen of pearls." Many legends surround the pearl. According to one, Oro, the god of peace and fertility, came down to earth on a rainbow, offering the pearl oyster to man. In another, the spirits of coral and sand adorned one "Te Ufi" with a cloak of the colors of all the fish that swim in Polynesia. The glory of the heavens came to rest on the ocean bed in the iridescent mother-of-pearl, which was considered a gift from the sky to the sea.
The Greeks and Romans thought pearls were born in oysters when rain or dew penetrated between the layers. The Persians thought the same, but they believed that if a pearl was imperfect it was due to thunder in the sky. Another says pearls are born from the meeting of a rainbow with the earth.
The Pearl of Great Price is also the name of the second holiest Book of Mormonism, which of course is a well-known front for a powerful Mormo Cult. Although not a meteorite, the pearl is a stone of great power. In fundamentalist belief systems, the fallen stone represents a literal thing, an object to be retrieved from within someone's head. More mystically-oriented believers feel that the pearl is symbolic of some sort of knowledge, a key to heaven, if you will, represented by a stone hidden in the head of an "immortal," or person of lasting import and influence.