(12) Why the Sun is Feminine and the Moon Masculine
In many religions there are male sun gods, but they actually appeared quite late on the scene, when male priesthoods became dominant over the older priestesshoods of the Sun Goddess. They tried to downgrade the power of the feminine by assigning it to the Moon of lesser light, claiming the power and brightness of the Sun for themselves. That is why later Sanskrit-related languages (e.g. Latin, Greek, French, Italian and Portuguese), assign a masculine gender to the Sun and a feminine to the Moon. Whereas in older languages of the same Indo-European family (e.g. Sanskrit, German and old Goidelic) the Moon is masculine and the Sun feminine. Similarly, in the very ancient, pre-Babylonian Sumerian tongue, the word for moon is explicitly masculine, as it is in Arabic, in which the word for "sun" is feminine.
Thus, underneath the surface of later male-dominant cults, there is a worldwide wealth of evidence of a much older and puissant Sun Goddess, as well as of a Moon God. The Tuvan shamans agree, as witness the following two excerpts from the rich manuscript collection of Mongush Kenin-Lopsan, the shaman scholar of Tuva, who single-handedly revived shamanism there after it had almost been persecuted to death in the Stalinist era. The excerpts were related respectively by Kertek Okaan and Mongush Senden in 1990 and recorded by Kenin-Lopsan:
My Mother the Sun
This story is from ancient times. The Sun is my Mother, one says. If there is no sun, then there will be nothing on earth [and] if there is no mother, there will be no children. As the sun and mother have the same duties, they began calling the Sun "My Mother".
There is reason why Tuvans of ancient times used to call the moon Father. The sun is called Mother because as soon as dawn breaks the sun rises in the east, and likewise a Tuvan mother is always the mistress of her yurt for she takes care of the children. The moon is called Father because a father is always away and does not stay long in the yurt. Likewise, the moon does not appear in the sky every day too: it either appears or disappears.
The Sun resembles the Ovum, the Moon resembles the Sperm. Modern observations support assigning the Sun to the feminine and the Moon to the masculine. Under the microscope the non-mobile ovum (propelled through the fallopian tubes but not by its own motion) looks like a sun with its many rays of living protoplasm emanating from its spherical surface. The motile sperm reflects the swift motion of the Moon as it propels itself in successive crescent-shaped waves. Also, under the micro-scope, the ovum appears more red and the sperm more white, confirming the old tradi-tions of tantric Hinduism as these are the two colours of the solar Kali and the lunar Shiva. They are also the colours of their pair of yogic channels pingala and ida, not to mention the pair of red and white tinctures in the central doctrine of the transformation of the soul in alchemy.
Affirming the assignation of the Moon to the male, it is the impregnation cycle in the human female which is controlled by the Moon, the directing of impregnation being a male function. That not obvious but straightforward relation of the male lunar power with the female menstrual cycle often led to the understandable error of taking the Moon to be female. That error is further pointed up by the fact that in cultures like those of the Buriats of Western Mongolia, the Greenlanders, Maori and Nigerians, it is believed that the Moon could impregnate women. Thus women of the Greenlanders had the custom that they would not sleep outside under the moonlight unless they had rubbed spittle on their bellies beforehand to prevent the Moon's impregnation. The Maori held that the Moon was the true and permanent husband of all women, more important than the mortal spouse.
The Moon is the initiating or fertilizing power of impregnation. It thus directs the tides of women's menstrual or monthly (the latin mens means "month") cycle because the lunar force determines the peaks of fertility - the crests of most likely impregnation and the troughs of its least likelihood. Thus the lunar power of impregnation orbits around the solar egg. These ancient truths reappeared in the age of chivalry, when the entire adventurous journeying of a knight revolved around his fealty to his lady.
Sacred Caves and Mirrors in Sun-Goddess Religions
Features that occur over and over again in the context of sun-goddess religions are sacred caves where the sun hides and is rejuvenated, often by a divine mirror power. Mirrors as ritual objects, sometimes in the form of bowls that were filled with water, have been found in ancient Sun-Goddess sites in Britain and Ireland, Egypt, Korea and Siberia. They were associated with shamanic or theurgic religion and hence also with the healing arts. Why was this so?
A clue lies in the legend of Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess of Shinto, the oldest religion of Japan. When outraged by the attacks and insults of Her evil brother Susano-o, She retreated into a cave, taking with Her the source of light for the whole world, whereupon it turned into a place of darkness. The smith-goddess and shamaness, Ishikoredome, then fashioned a mirror in which Amaterasu's refulgent beauty could be fully beheld. This magical mirror reflecting Her glory encouraged Amaterasu to emerge from her cave and restore light to the world.
The ostensible reason given in the legend for the Sun Goddess coming forth is that She was attracted by the beauteous image in the mirror, which seems trivial. The shamanic reality runs deeper. All shamanic journeys beyond this world depend on the powers of the inner sun and moon in the shaman (the two caduceal strands of the self) being brought together, forming the basis of a higher non-molecular body. Thus the magical mirror is clearly a ritual and symbolic representation of the full Moon, when the Sun's radiance fully illuminates it and the two are joined harmoniously in a divine marriage or hieros gamos. Thus when Amaterasu's mirror, symbol of the Lunar-Self strand reunited with the Solar Strand, is shown to Her, She emerges from the cave of darkness and heals the world.
The power of reflection is linked with an interdimensional transfer and journey. We have pointed out elsewhere that reflection in a mirror embodies not simply a 180-degree rotation through three-dimensional space, but actually goes through a four-dimensional space and back into our 3D-space. This fact has not even been noticed in some mathematical treatises because they were simply concerned with the end result in our three-dimensional space, the reflected image that we see, and so overlooked the subtle interdimensional process causing that image.
All this suggests that the ancient bowls associated with Sun-Goddess sites (e.g. Newgrange near Loughcrew, Ireland) were filled with water, and then, like mirrors, used to symbolize the Moon's power to reflect the solar effulgence. However, lunar mirrors were not only reflectors, since they could also re-direct and focus rays from the solar source. Re-directing and focusing power are male functions, explaining further why in the most ancient traditions the Sun was female and the Moon male.
The Sun as the Right Eye and the Moon as the Left
Also in widespread traditions the sun was believed to be a wondrous bright eye, and many people with bad eyesight were cured at certain sacred solar healing wells. In astral lore, the right eye is assigned to the sun and the left to the moon. At this point one cannot help recalling one of the chief tenets of sacred doctrine in Ancient Egypt: the wounded or left eye of Horus had to be healed and restored so that the egg of the higher body could function and hatch it.
Note that because the nerve paths cross as they pass through the cervical region, the left or heart side of the body corresponds to the right or solar eye, and to the right brain; while the right side of the body corresponds to the left eye and to the left hemisphere of the brain. So the left hand and right eye go together, as do the right hand and the left or lunar eye. According to the most ancient teaching, the Sun pertains to the left (heart) or female side of the body, and the Moon to the right, male and physically stronger side. Thus the sun rules the left side of the body and the moon the right side.
This is confirmed in one of the oldest shamanic ceremonies of the Na-khi people of Western China. There in the ritual of Wua-bpa T'su (from the book Dzu Wua-bpo), as the ancient Na-khi cosmology is recounted, two lines specifically say:
When the Sun came forth on the left, it was hot.
On the right, when the Moon rose, it was bright.
Reconnecting the Inner Sun and the Moon
It is by following the shamanic path that we can bring the sun and moon within us back into partnership and harmony. Then the light of the sun or higher self can pour down into us and illuminate all our actions even whilst we remain in molecular bodies. There is still more to be said here. Since it is the function of the lunar strand of the self to seek out and rejoin the solar strand, even if the other strand be in a higher dimension not subject to mortality, it is hence necessary for the male or lunar strand to be able to move interdimensionally and so be able to join in the vibrant unity of the now reconstituted higher self. Some years ago a poem came to me (Musaios) that I did not fully understand but which is germane now. I called it The Song of One to One. It is the wedding song of the two interwoven strands of the self:
You are in the root of me
I am in the root of you
You are in the blossoming of me
I am in the blossoming of you
The you that is in me
The I that is in you
is the sacred one
Our Ever-Living Heart
that gave and gives
and ever gives us Life.
For the you that is in me
is the I that is in you -
Twin flowers, each the other's root