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Words empty as the wind are best left unsaid.

~Homer

A picture is worth a thousand words.

~Napoleon Bonaparte

Monday, 2 September 2013

Giants: Cyclops, Book of Enoch, Blavatsky and Hinduism

Greek mythology

In Greek mythology the gigantes were (according to the poet Hesiod) the children of Uranus (Ουρανός) and Gaea (spirits of the sky and the earth). They were involved in a conflict with the Olympian gods called the Gigantomachy, which was eventually settled when the hero Heracles decided to help the Olympians. The Greeks believed some of them, like Enceladus, to lay buried from that time under the earth and that their tormented quivers resulted in earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_%28mythology%29

 Gigante from a mosaic depicting the death of the giants in their war against the gods. The serpent-footed monster is pierced by an arrow. ca 320 AD

 Gigante fighting against Artemis, Relief at Vatican

 Gigantomachy frieze of the Pergamon Altar

 Giulio Romano, The Fall of the Gigants

 Guido Reni, caduta dei giganti

In the Homeric poems the Cyclopes are a gigantic, insolent, and lawless race of shepherds, who lived in the south-western part of Sicily, and devoured human beings. They neglected agriculture, and the fruits of the field were reaped by them without labor. They had no laws or political institutions, and each lived with his wives and children in a cave of a mountain, and ruled over them with arbitrary power. (Hom. Od. vi. 5, ix. 106, &c., 190, &c., 240, &c., x. 200.) Homer does not distinctly state that all of the Cyclopes were one-eyed, but Polyphemus, the principal among them, is described as having only one eye on his forehead. (Od. i. 69, ix. 383, &c.) The Homeric Cyclopes are no longer the servants of Zeus, but they disregard him. (Od. ix. 275; comp. Virg. Aen. vi. 636 ; Callim. Hymn. in Dian. 53.)
http://www.theoi.com/Gigante/GigantePolyphemos.html

 Villa Romana del Casale


Annibale Carracci, The Cyclops Polyphemus

Johann Tischbein, Polyphemus



Polyphemus, Julio Romano

 Sebastian Münster, Illustrations of monstrous humans from Cosmographia (1544).An engraving showing (from left to right) a monopod or sciapod, a female cyclops, conjoined twins, a blemmye and a werewolf.

 Jacob Jordaens, Odysseus in the Cave of Polyphemus

 Villa Aldrobandini - Polyphemus

      Fountain Luxembourg

Gustave Moreau-Galatea and Polyphemus

 

ORION was a handsome giant gifted with the ability to walk on water by his father Poseidon.  He served King Oinopion of Khios (Chios) as huntsman for a time, but was blinded and exiled from the island after raping the king's daughter Merope. Orion then travelled across the sea to Lemnos and petitioned the god  Hepaistos (Vulcan) for help in recovering his sight. Lending him his assistant Cedalion, the god directed the giant travel to the rising place of the sun, where the sun-god would restore his vision. Upon returning to Greece, Orion sought out Oinopion, but the king hid himself in an underground bronze chamber to avoid retribution.

Homer, Iliad 22. 26 ff :
"That star [Sirius the dog-star] which comes on in the autumn and whose conspicuous brightness far outshines the stars that are numbered in the night's darkening, the star they give the name of Orion's Dog (kynos Orionos), which is brightest among the stars, and yet is wrought as a sign of evil and brings on the great fever for unfortunate mortals.

http://www.theoi.com/Gigante/GiganteOrion.html

 Nicolas Poussin, Landscape with Orion or Blind Orion Searching for the Rising Sun.


Daniel Seiter, Diana next to the corpse of Orion, Louvre
  A print of the copperplate engraving for  Johann Bayer's Uranometria (1661) showing the constellation  Orion.
Norse mythology

The first living being formed in the primeval chaos known as Ginnungagap was a giant of monumental size, called Ymir. When the icy mists of Niflheimr met with the heat of Muspellsheimr Ymir was born out of the joining of these two extreme forces from either world in the great void. Contained within  Snorri Sturluson's Gylfaginning, Ymir's creation is recounted:

Just as from Niflheim there arose coldness and all things grim, so what was facing close to Muspell was hot and bright, but Ginnungagap was as mild as a windless sky. And when the rime and the blowing of the warmth met so that it thawed and dripped, there was a quickening from these flowing drops due to the power of the source of the heat, and it became the form of a man, and he was given the name Ymir

When he slept a jötunn son and a jötunn daughter grew from his armpits, and his two feet procreated and gave birth to a son, a monster with six heads. These three beings gave rise to the race of hrímþursar (rime thurs, frost giants), who populated Niflheim. The gods instead claim their origin from a certain Búri. When the giant Ymir subsequently was slain by Odin, Vili, and  Ve (the grandsons of Búri), his blood (i.e. water) deluged Niflheim and killed all of the jötnar, apart from one known as Bergelmir and his spouse, who then repopulated their kind. It is mentioned in Vafþrúðnismál From Ymir's flesh the earth was formed, and the rocks from out of his bones; the sky from the skull of the ice-cold giant, and the sea from his blood
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%B6tunn



The creation myth according to Germanic mythology: Ymir, the first giant, suckles at the udder of Auðumbla, who licks Búri, the father of the gods, from the ice. Painting (1790) by Nicolai Abraham Abildgaard

 Arthur Rackham, The giants seize Freya

Genesis 6:4

King James Version (KJV)
There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
Goliath known also as Goliath of  Gath (one of five city states of the Philistines) is a figure in the Hebrew Bible Described as a giant Phlilstine warrior, he is famous for his combat with the young David, the future king of  Israel.
 Caravaggio, David and Goliath

Guido Reni, David with the Head of Goliath


Osmar Schindler  David and Goliath, 1888

Old Testament Pseudepigrapha

Book of Enoch From-The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament R.H. Charles Oxford: The Clarendon Press

[Chapter 7]
1 And all the others together with them took unto themselves wives, and each chose for himself one, and they began to go in unto them and to defile themselves with them, and they taught them charms 2 and enchantments, and the cutting of roots, and made them acquainted with plants. And they 3 became pregnant, and they bare great giants, whose height was three thousand ells: Who consumed 4 all the acquisitions of men. And when men could no longer sustain them, the giants turned against 5 them and devoured mankind. And they began to sin against birds, and beasts, and reptiles, and 6 fish, and to devour one another's flesh, and drink the blood. Then the earth laid accusation against the lawless ones.
http://wesley.nnu.edu/index.php?id=2126

Definition of ELL

: a former English unit of length (as for cloth) equal to 45 inches (about 1.14 meters); also : any of various units of length used similarly
3000 ells x 1.14 = 3420
Robert Henry Charles (1855–1931) was an English biblical scholar and theologian. He is known particularly for English translations of apocryphal and pseudepigraphal  works, and editions including  Jubilees (1895), the Book of Enoch (1906), and the  Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs (1908) which have been widely used.
The Book of Enoch 
Translated from Ethiopic by Richard Laurence, London, 1883. 
Enoch 7:10 Then they took wives, each choosing for himself; whom they began to approach, and with whom they cohabited; teaching them sorcery, incantations, and the dividing of roots and trees.
Enoch 7:11 And the women conceiving brought forth giants, )
(7) The Greek texts vary considerably from the Ethiopic text here. One Greek manuscript adds to this section, "And they [the women] bore to them [the Watchers] three races–first, the great giants. The giants brought forth [some say "slew"] the Naphelim, and the Naphelim brought forth [or "slew"] the Elioud. And they existed, increasing in power according to their greatness." See the account in the Book of Jubilees.


Enoch 7:12 Whose stature was each three hundred cubits. These devoured all which the labor of men produced; until it became impossible to feed them;


1 cubit = 45.72 centimeters x 300=13 716 cm 137.16 m

Madame Blavatsky has her own version of history and giants.

The “Doctrine” explains the secret. These names, which belong by right only to the four   preceding races and the earliest beginning of the Fifth, allude very clearly to the first two Phantom (astral) races; to the fallen one — the Third; and to the race of the Atlantean Giants — the Fourth, after which “men began to decrease in stature.”
The Secret Doctrine, Vol II,  p.279

She has  further explained:
As to the ancient pagan writers — we have the evidence of Philostratus, who speaks of a giant skeleton twenty-two cubits long, as well as of another of twelve cubits, seen by himself at Sigeus. This skeleton may perhaps not have belonged, as believed by Protesilaus, to the giant killed by Apollo at the siege of Troy; nevertheless, it was that of a giant, as well as that other one discovered by Messecrates of Stire, at Lemnos — “horrible to behold,” according to Philostratus (Heroica, p. 35). Is it possible that prejudice would carry Science so far as to class all these men as either fools or liars?
The Secret Doctrine,  Vol II p. 278
Flavius Philostratus, On Heroes wrote:

]Indeed, if I were versed in legendary lore, I would describe the seven-cubit-long corpse of Orestes, which the Lacedaemonians found in Tegea,[208] as well as that corpse inside the bronze Lydian horse, which had been buried in Lydia before the time of Gyges.[209] When the earth was split by an earthquake, the marvel was observed by Lydian shepherds with whom Gyges then served. The corpse, appearing larger than human, had been laid in a hollow horse that had openings on either side. [§8.4]Even if such things can be doubted because of their antiquity, I do not know anything from our own time that you will deny. [§8.5]Not long ago, a bank of the river Orontes, when it was divided, revealed Aryadês—whom some called an Ethiopian, others an Indian—a thirty-cubit-long corpse lying in the land of Assyria.[210] [§8.6]Moreover, not more than fifty years ago, Sigeion—right over here—revealed the body of a giant on an outcropping of its promontory. Apollo himself asserts that he killed him while fighting on behalf of Troy. When sailing into Sigeion, my guest, I saw the very condition of the earth and how big the giant was. Many Hellespontians and Ionians and all the islanders and Aeolians sailed there as well. For two months the giant lay on the great promontory, giving rise to one tale after another since the oracle had not yet revealed the true story.Phoen.: [§8.7]Would you speak further, vinedresser, about his size, the structure of his bones, and the serpents, which are said to have grown together with the giants, and which the painters sketch below the torso of Enkelados and his companions?

 If those monstrous beings existed, my guest, and if they were joined with snakes, I do not know. But the one in Sigeion was twenty-two cubits long, and it was lying in a rocky cleft with its head toward the mainland and its feet even with the promontory. But we did not see any sign of serpents around it, nor is there anything different about its bones from those of a human being. [§8.9]Furthermore, Hymnaios of Peparêthos, who is on friendly terms with me, sent one of his sons here some four years ago to consult Protesilaos through me about a similar marvel. When Hymnaios happened to dig up vines on the island of Ikos (he alone owned the island), the earth sounded somewhat hollow to those who were digging. When they opened it up, they found a twelve-cubit corpse lying there with a serpent inhabiting its skull. [§8.10]The young man then came to ask us what should be done in his honor, and Protesilaos said, “Let us cover the stranger completely,” without doubt urging those who were willing to rebury the corpse and not to leave it exposed. He also said that the giant was one of those who were hurled down by the gods. [§8.11]But the corpse that came to light on Lemnos, which Menekratês of Steiria found, was very big, and I saw it a year ago when I sailed from Imbros, only a short distance from Lemnos, however, no longer appear in their proper order: the vertebrae lie separated from each other, tossed about by earthquakes, I suppose, and the ribs are wrenched out of the vertebrae. But if one imagines the bones together as a whole, the size seems to make one shudder and is not easily described. Certainly when we poured two Cretan amphoras[211] of wine into the skull, it was not filled. [§8.12]Now, there is a headland on Imbros” facing the south, under which a spring is found that turns male animals into eunuchs, and makes females so drunk that they fall asleep. At this spot, when a piece of land was severed from the mainland, the body of a very large giant was pulled out. If you disbelieve me, let us set sail. The corpse still lies exposed, and the sea journey to Naulokhos is short.

Phoen.: [§8.13]I would gladly go beyond Okeanos, vinedresser, if I could find such a marvel. My business, however, does not allow me to stray so far. Rather, I must be bound to my ship, just like Odysseus.[212] Otherwise, as they say, the things in the bow and the things in the stern will perish.Vinedr.: [§8.14]But do not yet regard as credible what I have said, my guest, until you sail to the island of Cos, where the bones of earthborn men lie, the first descendants of Merops, they say, and until you see the bones of Hyllos, son of Herakles, in Phrygia[213] and, by Zeus, those of the Alôadai in Thessaly, since they are really nine fathoms long and exactly as they are celebrated in song.[214] [§8.15]The Neapolitans living in Italy consider the bones of Alkyoneus a marvel. They say that many giants were thrown down there, and Mount Vesuvius smolders over them. [§8.16]Indeed in Pallênê, which the poets call “Phlegra,” the earth holds many such bodies of giants encamped there, and rainstorms and earthquakes uncover many others. Not even a shepherd ventures at midday to that place of clattering phantoms[215] which rage there. [§8.17]Disbelief in such things probably existed even at the time of Herakles. Hence, after he killed Geryon in Erytheia and was alleged to have encountered the most enormous creature, Herakles dedicated its bones at Olympia so that his contest would not be disbelieved
http://chs.harvard.edu/wa/pageR?tn=ArticleWrapper&bdc=12&mn..

So, how tall were those giants?

The cubit is a traditional  unit of lenght, based on the length of the foream: from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger. Cubits of various lengths were employed in many parts of the world in Antiquity, in the Middle Ages and into Early Modern Times.The Egyptian hieroglyph for the cubit shows the symbol of a longer than normal forearm. According to the Ancient Egyptian units of measurment, the Egyptian Royal cubit was subdivided into 7 palms of 4 fingers/digits each; surviving cubit rods are between 52.3 and 52.9 cm (20.6 to 20.8 inches) in length.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubit

52.3 multiply by 30( a thirty-cubit-long corpse) = 1569 ! 
'52.3 x 22 cubit = 1150,
652.3 x 12 cubit = 627.6!  

Philostratus or Lucius Flavius Philostratus  (ca. 170/172-247/250), called "the Athenian", was a Greek sophist of the Roman imperial period. His father was a minor sophist of the same name. He was born probably around 172, and is said by the Suda to have been living in the reign of emperor  Philip the Arab (244-249). His death possibly occurred in Tyre ca. 250 AD. 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philostratus

So, Philostratus saw it...and Blavatsky argues that," Is it possible that prejudice would carry Science so far as to class all these men as either fools or liars?"

It was not that long when he died. So, where are the skeletons?

Blavatsky provides a convenient explanation:
The Giants of old are all buried under the Oceans, and hundreds of thousands of years of constant friction by water would reduce to dust and pulverize a brazen, far more a human skeleton.
 The Secret Doctrine, vol II p. 277

 Blavatsky further elaborates about giants:
Pliny speaks of a giant in whom he thought he recognised Orion, the son of Ephialtes (Nat. Hist., vol. VII., ch. xvi.). Plutarch declares that Sertorius saw the tomb of Antaeus, the giant; and Pausanias vouches for the actual existence of the tombs of Asterius and of Geryon, or Hillus, son of Hercules — all giants,
The Secret Doctrine, vol.II 278
Let's look at Plini.
THE SEVENTH BOOKE OF
THE HISTORIE OF NATVRE,
WRITTEN BY C. PLINIVS
SECVNDVS.
Chap. XVI. 
In like manner, of births: and infants in the mothers womb.
In Crete, it chaunched that an hill clave asunder in an earthquake, and in the chinke thereof was found a bodie standing, 46 cubits high: some say it was the bodie of Orion: others, of Otus. We find in chronicles and records of good credit, that the bodie of Orestes being taken up, by direction from the Oracles, was seven cubits long. And verily that great and famous poët Homer, who lived almost a thousand yeeres agoe, complained and gave not over, That mens bodies were lesse of stature even then, than in old time. The Annales set not downe the stature and bignesse of Nævius Pollio; but that he was a mightie gyant, appeareth by this that is written of him, namely, That it was taken for a wonderfull straunge thing, that in a great rout and prease of people that came running togither upon him, he had like to have been killed. The tallest man that hath been seene in our age, was one named Gabbara, who in the daies of prince Claudiuslate Emperour, was brought out of Arabia; nine foot high was he, and as many inchesThere were in the time of Augustus Cæsar 2 others, named Pusio and Secu[n]dilla, higher than Gabbaraby halfe a foot, whose bodies were preserved and kept for a wonder in a charnell house or sepulchre within the gardens of the Salustians.
http://penelope.uchicago.edu/holland/pliny7.html
Blavatsky further argues that "Plutarch declares that Sertorius saw the tomb of Antaeus, the giant;"
Vol II p 278


In this city the Libyans say that Antaeus is buried; and Sertorius had his tomb dug open, the great size of which made him disbelieve the Barbarians. But when he came upon the body and found it to be sixty cubits long, as they tell us, he was dumbfounded, and after performing a sacrifice filled up the tomb again, and joined in magnifying its traditions and honours. 4 Now, the people of Tingis have a myth that after the death of Antaeus, his wife, Tinga, consorted with Heracles, and that Sophax was the fruit of this union, who became king of the country and named a city which he founded after his mother; also that Sophax had a son, Diodorus, to whom many of the Libyan peoples became subject, since he had a Greek army composed of the Olbians and Mycenaeans who were settled in those parts by Heracles. 5 But this tale must be ascribed to a desire to gratify Juba, of all kings the most devoted to historical enquiry; for his ancestors are said to have been descendants of Sophax and Diodorus.

Plutarch, The Parallel Lives The Life of Sertoriushttp://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Plutarch/Lives/Se...*.html

Hinduism
In Hinduism the giants are called Daityas. The Daityas (दैत्‍य) were the children of Diti and the sage Kashyapa who fought against the gods or Devas because they were jealous of their Deva half-brothers. Since Daityas were a power-seeking race, they sometimes allied with other races having similar ideology namely Danavas and Asuras . Daityas along with Danavas and Asuras are sometimes called Rakshasa, the generic term for a demon in Hindu mythology. Some known Daityas include Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaksha. The main antagonist of the Hindu epic RamayanaRavana, was a Brahmin from his father's side and a Daitya from his mother's side. His younger brother Kumbhakarna was said to be as tall as a mountain and was quite good natured.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_%28mythology%29


Narasimha killing Hiranyakashipu on his lap, as Prahlada watches at the left.

The boar avatar Varaha, the third incarnation of Viṣṇu, stands in front of the decapitated body of the demon Hiranyaksha

 RAVANA, indian god – Demon-King of Lanka (Sri Lanka)

The demons try to rouse Ravanas' brother, the giant Kumbhakarna, by hitting him with weapons and clubs and shouting in his ear

Tales of combat with giants were a common feature in the folklore of Wales, Scotland, and Ireland  Celtic giants also figure in  Breton and Arthurian romances perhaps as a reflection of the Nordic and Slavic mythology that arrived on the boats, and from this source they spread into the heroic tales of Torquato TassoLudovico Ariosto, and their follower Edmund Spenser.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_%28mythology%29

 Walter Crane, King Arthur faces a giant in this engraving

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Iris - Rainbow goddess, rainbow symbolism


Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 8 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"The Titans had children. Those of Oceanus and Tethys were called Oceanides: Asia, Styx, Electra, Doris, Eurynome, Amphitrite, and Metis."


ELECTRA, i. e. the bright or brilliant one. A daughter of Oceanus and Tethys, and the wife of Thaumas, by whom she became the mother of Iris and the Harpies, Aëllo and Ocypete. (Hom. Hymn. in Cer. 419; Hes. Theog. 266; Apollod. i. 2. §§ 2, 6; Paus. iv. 33. § 6 ; Serv. ad Aen. iii. 212.)
http://www.theoi.com/Nymphe/NympheElektra1.html

The  Harpies were the spirits of sudden, sharp gusts of wind.

Virgil, Aeneid 6. 287 ff (Roman epic C1st B.C.) :
"Many monstrous forms besides of various beasts are stalled at the doors [of the Underworld], Centaurs and double-shaped Scylla, and the hundredfold Briareus, and the beast of Lerna, hissing horribly, and the Chimera armed with flame, Gorgons and Harpies, and the shape of the three-bodied shade [Geryon]."

http://www.theoi.com/Pontios/Harpyiai.html

 Gustave Dore, Harpies in the wood of the suicides

Homer, Odyssey 1. 241 & 14. 371 (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"But no, the Harpies, Storm-Spirits have snatched him [Odysseys] ingloriously away."


 Elliott Dangerfield - The Spirit of the Storm

Iris

Plato, Theaetetus 155d (Greek philosopher C4th B.C.) :
"Socrates: He who said that Iris (Rainbow or Messenger) was the child of Thaumas (Wonder) made a good genealogy."


In the Homeric poems she appears as the minister of the Olympian gods, who carries messages from Ida to Olympus, from gods to gods, and from gods to men. (Il. xv. 144, xxiv. 78, 95, ii. 787, xviii. 168, Hymn. in Apoll. Del. 102, &c.) In accordance with these functions of Iris, her name is commonly derived from erô eirô; so that Iris would mean "the speaker or messenger.

In the Homeric poems, it is true, Iris does not appear as the goddess of the rainbow, but the rainbow itself is called iris (Il xi. 27, xvii. 547)


IRIS
Date: ca 480 BC
SUMMARY
Detail of Iris from a painting depicting her in the attendance of Hera. Iris appears as a winged goddess, whose hair is wrapped in a sakkos scarf. She holds an oinochoe jug and kerykeion (herald's wand) in her hands.




IRIS AT ALTAR
Museum Collection: (last known) Sotheby's, London, UK
SUMMARY
Iris, the winged messenger of the gods, stands at an altar holding her kerykeion or herald's wand.


In the earlier poets, and even in Theocritus (xvii. 134) and Virgil (Aen. v. 610) Iris appears as a virgin goddess; but according to later writers, she was married to Zephyrus, and became by him the mother of Eros. (Eustath. ad Hom. pp. 391, 555; Plut. Amat. 20.)

With regard to her functions, which we have above briefly described, we may further observe, that the Odyssey never mentions Iris, but only Hermes as the messenger of the gods: in the Iliad, on the other hand, she appears most frequently, and on the most different occasions. She is principally engaged in the service of Zeus, but also in that of Hera, and even serves Achilles in calling the winds to his assistance. (Il. xxiii. 199.)

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 12. 189 ff  (Greek epic C4th A.D.) :
"Zeus . . . charioted upon the Anemoi (Winds), Euros (the East), Boreas (the North), Zephyrus (the West-wind), and Notos (the South) [the four-wind gods in the shape of horses]: for Iris rainbow-plumed led 'neath the yoke of his eternal ear that stormy team."


Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 1. 10 (Greek rhetorician C3rd A.D.) :
"And the chlamys he [Amphion] wears, perhaps that also came from Hermes; for its color does not remain the same but changes and takes on all the hues of the rainbow." [N.B. Here Hermes, the messenger of the gods, is closely connected with rainbow.]


 IRIS & THE INFANT HERMES
Date: ca 500 - 450 BC
SUMMARY
The winged goddess Iris, messenger of the gods, nurses the infant Hermes on her breast. She is depicted with a tiara-crown and a kerykeion (herald's wand) in her hand.


 Spranger, Bartholomäus, Hermes and Athena

Punishment of Ixion: in the center Mercury holding the caduceus, on the right the throning Juno, behind her Iris. On the left Vulcanus with Ixion already tied to the wheel. At Mercuries feet sitting Nephele. Roman fresco from the eastern wall of the triclinium in the Casa dei Vettii (VI 15,1) in Pompeii.
 
Virgil, Aeneid 5. 655 ff (Roman epic C1st B.C.) :
"Spreading her wings, the goddess [Iris] took off from earth, describing a rainbow arc under the clouds as she flew."


Cicero, De Natura Deorum 3. 20 (Roman rhetorician C1st B.C.) :
"[Cicero's critical essay on the nature of the gods:] Why should not the glorious Rainbow be included among the gods? It is beautiful enough, and its marvellous loveliness has given rise to the legend that Iris is the daughter of Thaumas (Wonder). And if the Arcus [Iris the Rainbow] is a divinity, what will you do about the Nubes [Nephelai, Clouds])? The rainbow itself is caused by some coloration of the clouds."


Statius, Silvae 3. 3. 80 ff  (Roman poetry C1st A.D.) :
"The winged Arcadian [Hermes] is the messenger of supreme Jove [Zeus]; Juno [Hera] hath power over the rain-bringing Thaumantian [Iris the rainbow]."



 Wenzel Hollar


Venus, supported by Iris, complaining to Mars, exhibited in 1820 at the RA "to acclaim" (in the Ceiling of the Ante Library Chatsworth House) – Winner of the Royal Academy Painting of the Year in 1823


Iris and Jupiter, Michel Corneille the Younger, Palace of Versailles, Versailles

 Morpheus and Iris, Baron Pierre-Narcisse Guérin


Dante Gabriel Rossetti - The Rainbow

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 31. 103 ff (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Hera made her way brooding to the waters of Khremetes [Chremetes, a river of North Africa] in the west . . . and she sought out the wife of jealous Zephyrus (West-Wind), Iris (Rainbow), the messenger of Zeus when he is in a hurry--for she wished to send her swift as the wind from heaven with a message for shadowy Hypnos (Sleep). She called Iris then, and coaxed her with friendly words: ‘Iris, goldenwing bride of plantnourishing Zephyrus, happy mother of Eros (Love) [i.e. Pothos]! Hasten with stormshod foot to the home of gloomy Hypnos in the west. Seek also about seagirt Lemnos, and if you find him tell him to charm the eyes of Zeus uncharmable for one day, that I may help the Indians. But change your shape, take the ugly form of Hypnos' mother the blackgirdled goddess Nyx (Night); take a false name and become darkness . . . Promise him Pasithea for his bride, and let him do my need from desire of her beauty. I need not tell you that one lovesick will do anything for hope.’


At these words, Iris goldenwing flew away peering through the air . . . seeking the wandering track of vagrant Hypnos (Sleep). She found him on the slopes of nuptial Orkhomenos . . . Then Iris changed her shape, and all unseen she put on the look of dark Nyx unrecognizable. She came near to Hypnos, weaving guile; and in his mother’s guise uttered her deceitful speech in cajoling whispers . . . Iris begged him to fasten Kronion with slumber for the course of one day only . . . Then goddess Iris returned flying at speed and hastened to deliver her welcome message to her queen."
http://www.theoi.com/Pontios/Iris.html

Iris visits the Sleep. Engraving by Virgil Solis for Ovid's Metamorphoses Book XI,
Iris (the Rainbow) and Zephyrus (the West-Wind) were occasionally called the parents of Pothos (passion): the imagery of the rainbow and the west wind corresponding to the variegated brilliance of passion.
 
POTHOS (or Pothus) was the god of sexual longing, yearning and desire. He was one of the winged love-gods known as Erotes.
The three Erotes--Pothos, Himeros, and Eros--were often depicted together in Greek vase painting.

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 31. 103 ff (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"[Iris] he wife of jealous Zephyrus (the West-Wind), Iris (the Rainbow), the messenger of Zeus when he is in a hurry . . . Iris, goldenwing bride of plantnourishing Zephyrus, happy mother of Eros [i.e. the eros Pothos]!"

http://www.theoi.com/Ouranios/ErosPothos.html

Hesiod, Theogony 780 ff (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"And seldom does the daughter of Thaumas, fleet-footed Iris, come her [Styx's] way with a message across the sea's wide ridges, those times when dispute and quarreling start among the immortals, and some one of those who have their homes on Olympus is lying, and Zeus sends Iris to carry the many-storied water [of the Styx] that the gods swear their great oath on, thence, in a golden pitcher."

MESSENGER IRIS & THE EXILE OF DEMETER

Zeus sent Iris to call Demeter back to Olympos when she went into self-imposed exile following the abduction of Persephone. But the goddess refused to heed the call.

Homeric Hymn 2 to Demeter 315 ff (Greek epic C7th or 6th B.C.) :
"First he [Zeus] sent golden-winged Iris to call rich-haired Demeter, lovely in form [to return to the gods on Olympus]. So he commanded. And she obeyed the dark-clouded son of Cronus, and sped with swift feet across the space between. She came to . . . Eleusis, and there finding dark-cloaked Demeter in her temple spake to her and uttered winged words: ‘Demeter, father Zeus, whose wisdom is everlasting, calls you to come join the tribes of the eternal gods: come therefore, and let not the message I bring from Zeus pass unobeyed.’ Thus said Iris imploring her."

MESSENGER IRIS & THE VOYAGE OF THE ARGONAUTS

Hesiod, Catalogues of Women Fragment 42 from Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius 2.297)  (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :

"Hesiod also says that those with Zetes [the Argonauts] turned and prayed to Zeus: ‘There they prayed to the lord of Ainos (Aenus) who reigns on high.’ Apollonios indeed says it was Iris who made Zetes and his following turn away, but Hesiod says Hermes."


Hesiod, Theogony 775 ff Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"And there [in Hades] is housed a goddess loathed even by the immortals: dreaded Styx, eldest daughter of Oceanus, who flows back on himself, and apart from the gods she lives in her famous palace which is overroofed with towering rocks, and the whole circuit is undergirded with silver columns, and pushes heaven; and seldom does . . . Iris (the Rainbow), come her way with a message across the sea's wide ridges, those times when dispute and quarreling start among the immortals, and some one of those who have their homes on Olympus is lying, and Zeus sends Iris to carry the many-storied water that the gods swear their great oath on . . . Such an oath did the gods make of the imperishable, primevil water of Styx; and it jets down through jagged country."

http://www.theoi.com/Khthonios/PotamosStyx.html

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 2. 286 ff (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"Yet even with Heaven against them [the Boreades], the long chase would certainly have ended with their tearing the Harpyai (Harpies) to pieces when they overtook them at the Ekhinades (Echidnades), but for Iris of the swift feet, who when she saw them leapt down from Olympus through the sky and checked them with these words: ‘Sons of Boreas, you may not touch the Harpies with your swords: they are the hounds of almighty Zeus. But I myself will undertake an oath that never again shall they come near to Phineus.’


And she went on to swear by the waters of Styx, the most portentous and inviolable oath that any god can take, that the Harpyai should never visit Phineus' house again, such being Fate's decree . . . The Harpyai and Iris went their different ways . . . Iris soared up to Olympos, cleaving the air with her unflagging wings."


STYX was the  goddess of the underworld  River Styx, one of the Titan generation of Oceanides. Styx was also the personified Daimon (Spirit) of hatred (stygos).

STYX, connected with the verb stugeô, to hate or abhor, is the name of the principal river in the nether world, around which it flows seven times. (Hom. Il. ii. 755, viii. 369. xiv. 271; Virg. Georg. iv. 480, Aen. vi. 439.) Styx is described as a daughter of Oceanus and Tethys (Hes. Theog. 361 ; Apollod. i. 2. § 2; Callim. Hymn. in Jov. 36), and as a nymph she dwelt at the entrance of Hades, in a lofty grotto which was supported by silver columns.

 Gustave Dore, Virgil pushes Filippo Argenti back into the River Styx.  Dante, The Divine Comedy, Inferno

 Gustave Dore, Wrathful trying to emerge from the River Styx. Dante, The Divine Comedy, Inferno

Styx was sometimes identified with several other chthonian goddesses, including Demeter, Erinys the wrathful earth, the oath-protecting Eumenides and Nyx (Night) the darkness of night.
http://www.theoi.com/Khthonios/PotamosStyx.html

Eumenides,  Greek term for the Erinyes (Furies). three netherworld goddesses ,sometimes referred to as "infernal goddesses".

 Gustave Dore, Virgil pointing out the Erinyes. Dante, The Divine Comedy, Inferno

And Gustave Moreau's version of Furies

 Gustave Moreau, Orestes and the Furies

 Arnold Böcklin - The night

Virgil, Aeneid 12. 816 ff (Roman epic C1st B.C.) :
"This I [Jove, Zeus] swear by the source of the inexorable river, Styx--the one dreadful and binding oath for us heaven-dwellers."


 Franz von Stuck, The angel of the court

 Angelica Kauffmann, Hope

The rainbow, a natural phenomenon noted for its beauty and inapplicability, has been a favorite component of mythology throughout history.
Whether as bridge, messenger, archer’s bow, or serpent, the rainbow has been pressed into symbolic service for millennia.


In Judeo-Christian traditions signs it as a covenant with God not to destroy the world by means of floodwater.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbows_in_mythology

 Noah's Thanks offering by Joseph Anton Koch. Noah builds an altar to the Lord after being delivered from the Flood; God sends the rainbow as a sign of his covenant (Genesis 8-9).

In Norse mythology, Bifröst or Bilröst is a burning rainbow bridge that reaches between Midgard (the world) and Asgard, the realm of the gods. The bridge is attested as Bilröst in the Poetic Edda; compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and as Bifröst in the Prose Edda; written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, and in the poetry of skalds. Both the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda alternately refer to the bridge as Asbrú (Old Norse "Æsir's bridge").
John Lindow points to a parallel between Bifröst, which he notes is "a bridge between earth and heaven, or earth and the world of the gods", and the bridge Gjallarbrú, "a bridge between earth and the underworld, or earth and the world of the dead." Several scholars have proposed that Bifröst may represent the Milky Way. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bifrost


The god Heimdallr stands before the rainbow bridge while blowing a horn by Emil Doepler.


In 1866, Constantino Brumidi's oil on canvas Apotheosis of George Washington "America’s founding father wears a [calm] expression… as he is propelled heavenward on a rainbow... Surrounded by thirteen maidens, Washington serenely supervises an armed Lady Liberty beneath him as she tramples out the powers of kings and tyrants." The Victorians of Brumidi’s age were merely "inheritors of a long tradition of exploiting the rainbow’s powerful visual symbolism," perpetuated by thousands of years of human communication. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbows_in_mythology

Constantino Brumidi, Apotheosis of Washington


Details of Apotheosis of Washington.
 "Agriculture": Ceres, the goddess of agriculture, is shown with a wreath of wheat and a cornucopia, seated on a McCormick reaper. Young America in a liberty cap holds the reins of the horses, while Flora gathers flowers in the foreground.
 "Commerce": Mercury, god of commerce, with his winged cap and sandals and caduceus, hands a bag of gold to en:Robert Morris, financier of the Revolutionary War. On the left, men move a box on a dolly; on the right, the anchor and sailors lead into the next scene, "Marine."

"Marine": Neptune, god of the sea, holding his trident and crowned with seaweed, rides in a shell chariot drawn by sea horses. Venus, goddess of love born from the sea, helps lay the transatlantic cable. In the background is a form of iron-clad ship with smokestacks.

"Mechanics": Vulcan, god of the forge, stands at his anvil with his foot on a cannon, near a pile of cannon balls and with a steam engine in the background. The man at the forge is thought to represent Charles Thomas, who was in charge of the ironwork of the Capitol dome.

"War": Armored Freedom, sword raised and cape flying, with a helmet and shield reminiscent of those on the Statue of Freedom, tramples Tyranny and Kingly Power; she is assisted by a fierce eagle carrying arrows and a thunderbolt.

Sumerian mythology
 
The Epic of Gilgamesh, who was an ancient Sumerian king (ca.3000 BC), is our first detailed written evidence of human civilization. In a Victorian translation of a Gilgamesh variant, Leonidas Le Cenci Hamilton's Epic of Ishtar and Izdubar, King Izdubar sees "a mass of colors like the rainbow’s hues" that are "linked to divine sanction for war." Later in the epic, Izdubar sees the "glistening colors of the rainbow rise" in the fountain of life next to Elam’s Tree of Immortality.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbows_in_mythology

In Australian Aboriginal mythology, the rainbow snake is the Creator (Kurreah, Andrenjinyi, Yingarna, Ngalyod and others) in the Dreaming, which is the infinite period of time that "began with the world's creation and that has no end. People, animals, and Eternal Beings like the Rainbow Serpent are all part of the Dreaming, and everyday life is affected by the Dreaming's immortals," in almost every Australian Aborigine tribe. In these tribes, of which there are over 50, actual rainbows are gigantic, often malevolent, serpents who inhabit the sky or ground. This snake has different names in different tribes, and has both different and similar traits from tribe to tribe. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbows_in_mythology

iris
late 14c., flowering plant (Iris germanica), also "prismatic rock crystal," from L. iris (pl. irides) "iris of the eye, iris plant, rainbow," from Gk. iris (gen. iridos) "a rainbow; the lily; iris of the eye," originally "messenger of the gods," personified as the rainbow. The eye region was so called (early 15c. in English) for being the colored part; the Greek word was used of any brightly colored circle, "as that round the eyes of a peacock's tail" [Liddell and Scott].
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=iris

The fleur-de-lis or fleur-de-lys is a stylized lily (in French, fleur means flower, and lis means lily) or iris that is used as a decorative design or symbol. It may be "at one and the same time, political, dynastic, artistic, emblematic, and symbolic", especially in heraldry. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleur-de-lis

Cathédrale Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul de Troyes

The White Lily or the Lotus is a symbolic flower of ancient Egypt.
The goddess Isis is said to have pointed out that the rhizomes were edible, and its flowers, buds and leaves are often depicted on ancient monuments, in murals, on pottery and on furniture. The blooms were in great demand for religious festivals, offerings of the flowers being made to the dead or to the gods, as well as for gifts to visiting noblemen as a gesture of friendship and goodwill.
The blue lily or Nymphaea Caerulea (blue lotus) was represented in ancient Egyptian art. Its common name is Blue Lotus, Egyptian Lotus, Blue Water Lily, Sacred Narcotic Lily of the Nile. 
The blue lotus was found scattered over Tutankhamen's body when the Pharaoh's tomb was opened in 1922. ”. In wall paintings on Egyptian ruins you can see they really loved this flower. It's fragrant with a nice fruity scent. There are wall frescoes with Egyptians smelling the blossoms. It's even thought to be narcotic. They even infused their wine with the blossoms.
Many historians thought it was a purely symbolic flower, but there may be some reason to believe that ancient Egyptians used it to induce an ecstatic state, stimulation, and/or hallucinations, as well as being widely used as a general remedy against illness, old age disease and to this day is used as a tonic for good health. For some, it may act as an aphrodisiac.http://www.kingtutshop.com/Egyptian-...ptian-Lily.htm
 Ancient Egyptian funerary stele showing a dead man, named Ba, seated in the center, sniffing a sacred lily.
 
Blue lotus symbol (Nymphaea caerulea) among other ancient Egyptian symbols on an 18th Dynasty jar. Found at Amarna in the 19th century.
Ceramic jar decorated with the ankh, djed pillar, was-sceptre, and blue lotus on display at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, California.

 Queen Elizabeth The Rainbow Portrait  We see eyes, ears on her coat, and of course, a serpent.


Inca State, founded in the twelfth century , was expanded in a vast empire in less than 200 years before the discovery of America by Europeans. State of the Incas, the Kingdom of the Incas, the Inca Empire ( Empire of the Four Parts, Part Four States - see the map of administrative division) - the historical state in the western part of South America , during its heyday covering the areas of present-day Peru , Ecuador and part of Bolivia , Chile , Colombia and Argentina.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inca_Empire

The Wizard of Oz - Somewhere Over the Rainbow


Let’s look at L. Frank Baum, the author of Wizard of Oz.

Later, he and his wife, encouraged by Matilda Joslyn Gage, became Theosophists, in 1897. He wrote 17 of Oz books. One is titled The Emerld city of Oz.

In 1900, Baum and Denslow (with whom he shared the copyright) published The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to much critical acclaim and financial success.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L._Frank_Baum

It reminds me The Emerald tablets of Hermes.

The Emerald Tablet, also known as Smaragdine Table, Tabula Smaragdina, or The Secret of Hermes, is a text purporting to reveal the secret of the primordial substance and its transmutations. It claims to be the work of Hermes Trismegistus ("Hermes the Thrice-Greatest"), a legendary Hellenistic[1] combination of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emerald_Tablet

We also have Order of the Rainbow Girls.

Order of the Rainbow Girls - Founded in 1922 , the American organization associated with Freemasonry . It brings together girls aged 11-20 years that are usually daughters of Freemasons. Local groups were generally supported and sponsored by local Masonic lodge . The symbol of the Order is a rainbow

The order came into existence in 1922,[1] when the Reverend W. Mark Sexson, a Freemason, was asked to make an address before South McAlester Chapter #149, Order of the Eastern Star, in McAlester, Oklahoma. As the Order of DeMolay had come under his close study during his Masonic activities, he suggested that a similar order for girls would be beneficial. The first Initiation consisted of a class of 171 girls on April 6, 1922, in the auditorium of the Scottish Rite Temple in McAlester. The original name was "Order of the Rainbow for Girls".[2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interna...nbow_for_Girls

And we see rainbow in Sweet Dreems.



In Tibetan Buddhism  Dzogchenrainbow body is a level of realization. This may or may not be accompanied by the 'rainbow body phenomenon'. The rainbow body phenomenon has been noted for centuries, including the modern era. Other Vajrayana teachings also mention rainbow body phenomena.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow_body

David G. White, professor o religious studies at University of California has explained that in tenth-century Kubjikamata, the hexagonal configuration of Yoginis is a thinly veiled reference to penis (vajra) engaged in vulva (padma).

White further explains that “having entered into forbidden forest, one uses one’s one blood to trace fearsome diagram (mandala), at those six corners one situates a series of terrifying goddesses. One worship thee goddesses with mantras, and then places them in the midst of one’s own body. They are worshipped with pieces of own flesh as well as an offering of blood. Then having pierced his eight body parts and having mixed blood and flesh together with urine, feces, and some liquor, the practitioner places the mixture in the offering bowl. Having thus offered his own bodily constituents, he then worships these goddesses with food offerings, incense and so on. (White, 2003 p. 71)

White D. 20003.  Kiss of the Yoginis.  Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.