Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

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MrFlibble
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Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby MrFlibble » 12 Feb 2010 15:19

Some time ago there was a little discussion at FED2k concerning the Tleilaxu ritual phrases. I was particularly interested in the phrase "The magic of our God is our only bridge", which is mentioned both in Heretics and in Chapterhouse. Back then, I overlooked the fact that the image of the bridge is actually mentioned in Dune, where it comes directly from the Islamic tradition:
SIRAT: the passage in the O.C. Bible that describes human life as a journey across a narrow bridge (the Sirat) with "Paradise on my right. Hell on my left, and the Angel of Death behind."

Wikipedia article about the Sirat Bridge:
As-Sirāt (Arabic: الصراط‎), also called Sirat al-Jahim (English: The Bridge of Hell) is, in Islam, the hair-narrow bridge, which according to Muslim belief every person must pass on the Day of Judgement to enter Paradise. It is said that it is as thin as a hair and as sharp as a sword. Below this path are the fires of Hell, which burn the sinners to make them fall. People who performed acts of goodness in their lives are transported across the path in speeds according to their deeds leading them to the Hauzu'l-Kausar (the lake of abundance).

Interestingly enough, there is an analogous concept in Zoroastrianism, where it is called the Chinvat Bridge:
The Chinvat Bridge (Avestan Cinvatô Peretûm, "bridge of judgement" or "beam-shaped bridge"[1]) in Zoroastrianism is the bridge which separates the world of the living from the world of the dead. All souls must cross the bridge upon death.

I wonder which of them emerged first though...

Another noteworthy thing is that in Zoroastrian mythology, there is a story of a giant Worm that was worshiped by a king whose people opposed the Persians (read more here and here).
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Re: Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby SandChigger » 12 Feb 2010 20:41

Interesting. :)

Edit:

I got to thinking about the mention of the Sirat and how the quote from Dune above is from The Terminology appendix, and wondered how the term is used in the main text; found this:

Paul sped his steps, hearing the swish of robes behind. And he thought of the words of the sirat from Yueh's tiny 0.C. Bible.

"Paradise on my right, Hell on my left and the Angel of Death behind." He rolled the quotation in his mind.

I checked both my NEL paperback and file versions: the word is not capitalized in the main text in either. "The words of the sirat" almost makes it sound as if FH was using the term for a passage or section of a text, especially a well known one...

Just musing.

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Re: Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby SadisticCynic » 14 Feb 2010 18:59

The Terminology entry describes sirat as both a passage in the text of the O.C Bible and as the name of the bridge mentioned therein. Could be that the passage is well liked/used and sirat became a shorthand for referring to the entire passage.

A possible analogy is the oft-quoted Scripture "do unto others..." (before they do unto you! :wink: ) being referred to as the Golden Rule. (Although it's not a particularly good analogy).

In any case, just another level of depth Frank added to make his books that much more real.
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Re: Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby SandChigger » 14 Feb 2010 22:05

D'uh. You're right. Brain fart. :oops:

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Re: Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby MrFlibble » 16 Feb 2010 07:59

Since the O.C. Bible encompassed a variety of texts from different religions, it seems quite natural that the passages could be called after whatever was described in them.

Yueh also mentions a part of the O.C. Bible called Kalima (Kali ma? Could be also something Arabic as well.)
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Re: Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby SandChigger » 16 Feb 2010 10:55

Ahp, kalima is Arabic for "word".

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Re: Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby MrFlibble » 17 Feb 2010 12:35

SandChigger wrote:Ahp, kalima is Arabic for "word".

Does it have any religious connotations like Logos and all that kind of thing? Or maybe it is used to refer to religious scriptures, or parts thereof?
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Re: Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby SandChigger » 17 Feb 2010 21:54

Not quite like Logos, but it has some connotation, according to this (rather badly written, confusing) Wikipedia article.

(The "kalimah" transliteration, with a final 'h' isn't very good IMO. There's actually a 't' on the end that's only pronounced when you add an ending, ... like in kalimati Edit: "my word", not "my words" as I wrote earlier. I also had the plural wrong: it's actually kalimât, not kalimatân, and the 't' there is part of the plural ending. D'uh.)

My Qur'ans and the Arabic books are upstairs at the moment (where it's colder than blue blazes), so I'll have a look for more specific religious meanings later ... in the spring! :lol:

(Kidding! In the afternoon.)

Edit: Well, OK, in the evening. ;)

There's no actual sura entitled Kalima in the Qur'an. The word kalima, according to Wehr, means...
word; speech, address; utterance, remark, saying; aphorism, maxim; brief announcement, a few (introductory) words; short treatise; importance, weight, influence, authority, ascendancy, powerful position.

The only religious terms in the dictionary entry are
kalimat Allah, "The word of God, Holy Scriptures", and
al-Kalimât al-`ashr, "The Ten Commandments".

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Re: Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby MrFlibble » 19 Feb 2010 07:02

word; speech, address; utterance, remark, saying; aphorism, maxim; brief announcement, a few (introductory) words; short treatise; importance, weight, influence, authority, ascendancy, powerful position.

Sounds like a pretty standard path of semantic development for a word meaning 'word' :)

SandChigger wrote:The only religious terms in the dictionary entry are
kalimat Allah, "The word of God, Holy Scriptures", and
al-Kalimât al-`ashr, "The Ten Commandments".

The first one is what was probably used to denote a part of the O.C. Bible. BTW, does "From water does all life begin" have any analogies in any real-world religious texts?
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Re: Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby SandChigger » 20 Feb 2010 00:49

Not that I know of, and I assume you've googled. ;)

The phrase "the water of life" occurs in the Bible, of course. Maybe FH got happy with it? (And a touch of actual biology?)

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Re: Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby inhuien » 20 Feb 2010 05:58

SandChigger wrote:The phrase "the water of life" occurs in the Bible, of course. Maybe FH got happy with it? (And a touch of actual biology?)

You really think that's where he got it from? I'm of the opinion that his inspiration came from the word usquebaugh, the Gaelic meaning Water of Life. He enjoyed a tipple, no. :)
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Re: Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby SandChigger » 20 Feb 2010 09:37

Oh, but that's an ugly brute of an orthographic monster, what? Alba weeps with Sweet Jesus! Spell it uisge beatha, man!

But why would they have come to call alcohol the "Water of Life", if not to hide the reality behind a religious allusion? ;)

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Re: Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby inhuien » 20 Feb 2010 11:29

If a man can figure his ancestors then he can tell the future...





edit to add: and I can do neither.
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Re: Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby MrFlibble » 21 Feb 2010 10:39

Suddenly I remembered Thales who stated that everything in this world started from water.
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Re: Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby SandChigger » 21 Feb 2010 11:02

And an axolotl is a atl "water" + xolotl "servant". ;)

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Re: Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby MrFlibble » 21 Feb 2010 13:23

"Water" is no wonder regarding their natural habitat - but why "servant"? There's got to be some myth behind there I guess...
WHAT IF YOU NO LONGER HEAR THE MUSIC OF LIFE?
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Re: Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby SandChigger » 21 Feb 2010 17:13

Know any Aztecs we could ask? ;)

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Re: Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby SandRider » 21 Feb 2010 22:36

I gotta kid who works for me out here now & again that thinks he's an Aztec ....
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Re: Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby Aquila ka-Hecate » 22 Feb 2010 00:33

Also, Xolotl was Quetzlcoatal's twin brother:

Xolotl accompanied Quetzalcoatl to Mictlan, Land of the Death or the underworld, to retrieve the bones from those who inhabited the previous world (Nahui Atl) to create new life for the present world, Nahui Ollin, the sun of movement. In a sense, this re-creation of life is reacted every night when Xolotl guides the sun through the underworld.
(emph. mine)

Got that from here: http://www.azteccalendar.com/god/Xolotl.html, although I was reading about it in a book just yesterday.(err..one of the Gurdjieff follow-ons, I think).
Anyway, I found that interesting.

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Re: Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby SandChigger » 22 Feb 2010 03:25

Ah, thanks!

That linked site is fun & interesting, too. Love the page on all the gods. :)

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Re: Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby SadisticCynic » 22 Feb 2010 12:03

I always thought axolotl was a reference to these guys:

Wikipedia wrote:The axolotl (pronounced /ˈæksəlɒtəl/), Ambystoma mexicanum, is the best known of the Mexican neotenic mole salamanders belonging to the Tiger Salamander complex. Larvae of this species fail to undergo metamorphosis, so the adults remain aquatic and gilled. The species originates from the lake underlying Mexico City and is also called ajolote (which is also the common name for the Mexican Mole Lizard). Axolotls are used extensively in scientific research due to their ability to regenerate most body parts, ease of breeding, and large embryos. They are commonly kept as pets in the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Japan (sold under the name wooper looper (ウーパールーパー, Ūpā Rūpā?)) and other countries.



(Cool thing about these things is if you inject them with iodine they metamorph into the salamander adult form!)
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Re: Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby SandChigger » 22 Feb 2010 12:20

SadisticCynic wrote:I always thought axolotl was a reference to these guys

It is. :)

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Re: Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby Omphalos » 22 Feb 2010 13:13

SandRider wrote:I gotta kid who works for me out here now & again that thinks he's an Aztec ....


Is that Arnoldo? :D

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Re: Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby inhuien » 22 Feb 2010 13:25

Didn't he think he was human? *.*
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Re: Religious symbolism in Tleilaxu rituals

Postby SandChigger » 22 Feb 2010 17:22

Omphalos wrote:
SandRider wrote:I gotta kid who works for me out here now & again that thinks he's an Aztec ....

Is that Arnoldo? :D

I don't think he works...

Or maybe he finally found something? :think:

All I remember is some of his comments on my blog came from the computers at his local unemployment agency. :roll:


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