Jack and the Beanstalk

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Re: Jack and the Beanstalk

Postby Iona » 6:24 pm

hvered wrote: The beanstalk could be also be a vine, the image of the vine is used in the New Testament to prove Jesus is related to the royal tree of David. Vines are more often pagan symbols, associated with Dionysus and our very own Green Men.

Typically green men have leaves, vine or other, issuing from their mouth rather than from their genitals so the symbology would seem to be about breath. It may be a celebration of fertility but in a spiritual sense; God breathed upon the clay that was to be Adam. In the Beginning was the Word which created order out of chaos.

The caduceus is usually seen as a sign of harmony, uniting the two snakes.
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Re: Jack and the Beanstalk

Postby Penny » 9:43 am

Marko wrote:Jack features prominently in folklore in various guises, sometimes as a giant-killer, often a seeming simpleton, who succeeds through guile and even gambling, always 'Jack the lad'. It could be he is a homegrown version of Hermes, the herald or messenger. The jury is still out on the question of when and where the Greeks got their Iacchus.

The game of jacks evolved from knuckle-bones. It's described thus in Wiki:

Knucklebones, or Jacks, is a game of very ancient origin, played with usually five small objects, originally the "knucklebones" (actually the astragalus: a bone in the ankle, or hock[1]) of a sheep, which are thrown up and caught in various ways.

Very Hermes-like!
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Re: Jack and the Beanstalk

Postby hvered » 2:17 pm

Marko wrote:Jack features prominently in folklore in various guises, sometimes as a giant-killer, often a seeming simpleton, who succeeds through guile and even gambling, always 'Jack the lad'. It could be he is a homegrown version of Hermes, the herald or messenger. The jury is still out on the question of when and where the Greeks got their Iacchus.

Jack in Spanish is Iago. As Santiago with all the cockle shell symbology, he appears to be the equivalent of Saint Jacques in France (coquilles are cockles in English).

Interesting that in Othello (Attila?) the Iago character is duplicitous, one could say a 'giant-killer'.

N.B. Iago is not James. James in Spanish has a perfectly serviceable name, Jaime.
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Re: Jack and the Beanstalk

Postby Rocky » 11:39 am

Oyster has an etymological connection with 'bone' too, perhaps fortuitously. The shells were crushed and used as building material apparently. The Romans were very into oysters as well as concrete.
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Re: Jack and the Beanstalk

Postby Rocky » 11:58 am

Marko wrote: Oedipus means 'swollen foot' and according to the Greek myth after the Oracle of Apollo prophesied he would kill his father and marry his mother, his parents bound his ankles together with a pin and abandoned him.

This has echoes of the story of Hephaestus the blacksmith and son of Zeus and Hera, who was thrown off a cliff and lamed.

A club foot seems to be a heroic trait, eg. Dionysus portrayed as limping in the 'crane dance'. There is a fairy tale, La Reine Pedauque or goose-footed queen, who was a spinner like Fates, moon goddesses and various Christian saints (especially Catherine). The English equivalent seems to be Sleeping Beauty who was guarded by an impenetrable thorn hedge. Orthodox folklorists claim the goose-foot is a deformity resulting from long hours using a spinning wheel! It is a form of pedestal on which a herm or statue is built.

In French goose is oie, similar to oui, or oca as in oc (langue d'oc). A very fundamental word.
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Re: Jack and the Beanstalk

Postby hvered » 2:31 pm

Rocky wrote: The English equivalent seems to be Sleeping Beauty who was guarded by an impenetrable thorn hedge. Orthodox folklorists claim the goose-foot is a deformity resulting from long hours using a spinning wheel! It is a form of pedestal on which a herm or statue is built.

In Vale on the island of Guernsey there's an ancient well called the Fontaine de Rouge Pre guarded by a hawthorn, or whitethorn, which has to be watered before water can be taken from the well. Folklorists say this is a fertility rite in order to ward off bad weather that might damage crops and sprinkling libations on the soil has very shamanic overtones but tending a hawthorn barrier is a practical affair no matter how mystical it might be seen by folklorists.

Thorney is the eyot or island on which the Palace of Westminster and its Abbey were built, and home to our lawmakers and spin doctors.
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Re: Jack and the Beanstalk

Postby Stuart » 7:55 pm

The 'wound' in the Sleeping Beauty story is a pricked finger, so unusual (unique?) in a fairy tale that one suspects the real meaning is hidden, or Hermetic as Boreades says. It reminds me of blood brotherhoods and oaths, generally associated with secret and underground societies.

Pedauque is an architectural term, French obviously so presumably familiar to master masons, most of whom seem to have been French. The symbols in this fairy tale, especially the death that isn't dying, could be pointing to a masonic allegory a la Magic Flute.
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Re: Jack and the Beanstalk

Postby Marko » 4:50 pm

hvered wrote: ...sprinkling libations on the soil has very shamanic overtones but tending a hawthorn barrier is a practical affair no matter how mystical it might be seen by folklorists.

and
Rocky wrote: This has echoes of the story of Hephaestus the blacksmith and son of Zeus and Hera, who was thrown off a cliff and lamed.

There are stories of heroes and giants, crossed lovers and criminals, thrown off or jumping from cliffs into the sea or being stoned, burnt or chained to rocks. The general assumption is that the stories describe rituals to purge the community of its sins, heaping each and every misdemeanour onto a pharmakos or scapegoat. This curative aspect is said to be the origin of the word pharmacology. Shamen are traditionally credited with healing powers probably because healing is associated with wisdom, just as doctor refers equally to medicine or learning. Christianity in the same tradition claims the hero's death also washes away sins.

Scapegoat seems to be 'sheep-goat'. Goats and sheep, though virtually indistinguishable, got characterised as passive victim and evil beast; perhaps by eating valuable thorn trees goats really were a nuisance but something else must be going on to account for goats being linked to sin and the Devil. It may go all the way back to the divide between nomadic pastoralists and settled farmers.
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Re: Jack and the Beanstalk

Postby Boreades » 11:35 pm

Stuart wrote:The 'wound' in the Sleeping Beauty story is a pricked finger, so unusual (unique?) in a fairy tale that one suspects the real meaning is hidden, or Hermetic as Boreades says. It reminds me of blood brotherhoods and oaths, generally associated with secret and underground societies.

Pedauque is an architectural term, French obviously so presumably familiar to master masons, most of whom seem to have been French. The symbols in this fairy tale, especially the death that isn't dying, could be pointing to a masonic allegory a la Magic Flute.


Umm, sounds interesting. Sadly I'm not familiar with French masonic symbology. Perhaps it has some crucial differences from the English version? I have to confess I've got a book on the masonic symbology of The Magic Flute but have struggled to get past the opening chapter.

Also, I never knew (until know) that Sleeping Beauty is just the name of the Disney version of Grimm's story of Briar Rose. Reading that version, ( e.g. here http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2591/259 ... k2H_4_0008 ) it reads much more like a tale of resurrection and transformation. The emphasis that Grimm puts on 12 usurping 13 feels significant as well. Lunar calendar (old knowledge) being replaced by a Roman calendar perhaps?

The Sweet Briar Rose (Rosa rubiginosa) - "Its dense, prickly habit of growth makes it a good impenetrable country garden hedge".
http://www.britishhardwood.co.uk/rosa-r ... -rose/163/ - lots of pricked fingers there!

In Macbeth, the second witch says "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes." - so is pricking of fingers a route to insight as well as resurrection?

And roses are full of symbology as well. Anyone for a Rosicrucian connection?
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Re: Jack and the Beanstalk

Postby hvered » 10:37 am

Pedauque or goose-foot was a measuring instrument used by the cathedral builders. Not just a tool of the trade but an instant sign of recognition like a doctor's stethoscope, lawyer's wig etc.
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