Sunday, April 11, 2010

7 And 7 Is

Long before the rise of Christianity, the cycle of the moon was associated with fertility and goddess worship. Our word moon is a remote cognate of the Latin mensis, for month. Mensis is also the root of the word menstrual, as in the female menstrual cycle. The four quarters of the moon (first, new, third, and full) each consist of seven days, the number seven in the book of Genesis representing the process of creation. Significantly, the seven-sided shape is the only one that cannot be constructed out of a mother circle, and hence is considered the “virgin” number because it can never be “born” as other shapes. Nature refuses to employ the physical structure of seven because it is inefficient, in contrast to the hexagon, a very efficient structure found, for instance, in honeycombs, snowflakes, and in human-made objects such as faucet handles and buckyballs. There are seven colors in a rainbow, Seven Wonders of the World, and the Pleiades were the seven daughters of Atlas. There are seven continents and seven seas, the diatonic musical scale has seven tones, and in many world religions seven is a holy number. In Roman mythology, Diana was known as the virgin goddess, looking after virgins and women, and in some accounts, perhaps not surprisingly, she is the goddess of the moon. Interestingly, in the ancient world the Temple of Diana was long known by its reputation as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the beautiful Rosaline is sworn to chastity, and is said to have “Dian’s wit.” When Romeo says, famously, “It is the East, and Juliet is the sun. Arise fair sun, and kill the envious moon,” he’s praising Juliet’s decision to spend the night with him and hence surrender her virginity, while also condemning Rosaline’s decision to remain chaste. Unlike Diana, the goddess Venus, the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, was associated with love and fertility, and was widely worshiped in Roman religious festivals. Christianity supposedly suppressed Venus worship, although she remains a durable goddess in our popular music.

A Few Venusian Anthems, And Other Goddess Worship:
Frankie Avalon – Venus
Ash - Aphrodite
Jimmy Clanton – Venus In Blue Jeans
Cream – Tales of Brave Ulysses
Miles Davis – Venus de Milo
Fleetwood Mac – Rhiannon
Mike Oldfield – Hymn To Diana
The Shocking Blue – Venus
The Velvet Underground & Nico – Venus In Furs
Wings – Venus And Mars

No comments: