in our e-book
by H. Peter Aleff
Volume 1: its siblings Senet and Snake Game,
and its surviving sequel the Royal Game of the Goose
3. Heads on the Disk, bristled and bald
The only one of the four rosettes on the Disk which does not mark the end of a path shares its space with a bald head that occurs again in the nearby center field of that side in the same combination, but nowhere else. All the other heads on the Disk have a hedgehog hairdo of bristles radiating outwards, so the absence of hair sets these two bald rosette-companions apart.
3.1. The sun-rayed head and Samson
Absence of hair typically meant loss of strength or life, as in the biblical story of Samson fromJudges 13-16. The reason for this is clear from Samsonís name which meant "little sun". Long hair was a symbol of the sunís radiant power, and ancient sun gods as well as solar heroes from India to Ireland were usually portrayed with long hair34.
3.1.1. Hair as life-force of sun-heads
We find the same equation of hair with life-force as in the Samson story also in many other cultures. According to the Ugarit Tablets from around 1400 BCE, the Hittites hung the fleece or hair of a ram sacrificed to the sun-god on a pole to bring life, health, and fertility to the land35. The same meaning seems preserved in the Greek myth of Jason and his quest for the Golden Fleece, and the Classical Greek historian Herodotus (II, 43) relates that on the yearly renewal festival of the Egyptian Zeus, meaning the ram-headed sun god Amon, his priests hung the fleece of a ram sacrificed to him on his statue.
In Greek mythology, which preserves many traits from long before Samson's time, from Mycenae36, 37, and Bronze Age Crete38, the sun god Apollo had the surnames "Phoebus" = "the brilliant" and "Chrysocomes" = "of the golden locks", and this immortal never allowed his long hair to be touched by a razor. He and the other sun god Helios were both frequently pictured with a radiant crown of hair40-42, and the spikes on the crowns of mortal monarchs were meant to imitate these rays43.
The life and throne of King Nisus (= "brightness") depended on his bright lock of hair; he lost both when his daughter cut off this lock to offer it to King Minos of Crete44, 45, so establishing yet another connection of this belief with the Crete of the Disk.
Many centuries later, the loss of hair was still used to denote a passage through the underworld, and the path from Phaistos could still have served as a mnemonic aid for the progress of Herakles: this Greek solar hero/god entered the belly of the underworld monster Tiamat and re-emerged three days later from that death-like darkness without a hair left on his head46.
Likewise, Herodotus also reports that cutting off oneís hair was in many countries a sign of mourning and death (II, 37). One among many biblical examples of this custom comes from Jeremiah 16:6:
In Egypt, the scribes used "bald" as a synonym for "defective" or "missing"47, and a disproportionate number of the medical prescriptions for these wig-wearing people promised help to both genders in making their hair grow or in causing the hair of hated ones to fall out.
(To grow hair, donkey tooth crushed in honey "worked really well. Try it!" Making hair fall out was easy by boiling "an'art worms" in oil and then placing them on the rival's head48.)
Hair was also the best medicine for restoring the life-force: a lock of the sun-god Ra's hair healed an otherwise incurable wound of the earth god Geb49.
This mythological cure by a few rays of sunshine may well express the effects of the spring sun on the desolate winter earth, or the revitalizing power of the morning sun on a dark and cold world.
It also anticipates by thousands of years the modern medical discovery that sunshine can cure some otherwise intractable disorders, such as rickets resulting from deficiencies in vitamin D.
The healing method in this myth matches a growing body of photo- biological and medical literature about the manifold health benefits of sunshine and its full- spectrum imitations; such light is, for instance, the only known cure for the debilitating Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.
Similarly, the Incas represented the strong summer sun as a mature man with long hair and a beard and the weak winter sun as a child without either, and the contemporary highlanders in their area still hold that the rays of the sun are his beard52.
We find an echo of this in modern childrenís books where the rays of the sun are usually shown as its hair whenever it is pictured with a face.
The symbolism of cutting oneís hair as a sign of mourning and magic identification with the dead survives today, as illustrated by the reaction of the people in Nepal when their royal family was gunned down in 2001 by one of its members. A report from that country in The New Yorker describes the official mourning period:
"Civil servants were ordered to refrain from eating salt for three days and to shave their heads. Thousands of ordinary citizens followed suit; barbers offered their services free. Kathmandu began to look like a city of off-duty monks."53
With this widespread and persistent symbolism of hair as sign of life and strength and of baldness as the loss of these qualities, the bald head on the Disk fits the "death" meaning of the rosette exactly. It is also compatible with the "rebirth" meaning of that sign because the path to renewal in the afterlife went first through death, and only the dead could be reborn.
Our prep courses include the latest set of http://www.pass4sure.com/certification/network-plus-test.html and http://www.pass4sure.com/642-654.html exams with 100% guarantee for victory in http://www.actualtests.com/onlinetest/GRE.htm and http://www.actualtests.com/onlinetest/toefl-practice-test.htm. Our http://www.actualtests.com/exam-70-649.htm is simply the best in its quality.
Contact us at recoveredscience.com