If one studies the plan of an ancient Greek or Vedic home for example, there is a clear well-defined threshold marking out the Gynaeconitis and Andronitis:
+---------------------+ | | | GARDEN | | | +----+-----------+----+ Conjectural Plan for the House | Y | D | Y | of A Wealthy Athenian. | | | | +--+=+-----=-----+=+--+ A = Altar of Zeus Herkelos. | | | | B = Altar of Hestia. |Y = o o o o = Y| C = Entrance Hall. | | o o | | D = Kitchen. +--+ GYNAECONITIS +--+ T = Thalmos. | | o o | | T' = Anti-thalmos. |Y = o o o o = Y| X = Rooms for the Men. | | | | Y = Rooms for the Women. +--+=+-----=-+---+=+--+ | | |B o| | | T | +---+ T' | | | ANDRON | | +----+ +----+ | X | | X | +--+=+----' '----+=+--+ |X = o o o o = X| +--+ o A o +--+ |X = o O o = X| +--+ ANDRONITIS +--+ |X = o o o o = X| +--+=+-=-+ +-=-+=+--+ | | | | | | | X | X | C | X | X | | | | | | | +----+---+===+---+----+
"The court first entered will be the Andronitis (the Court of the Men), and may be even large enough to afford a considerable promenade for exercise. Around the whole of the open space run lines of simple columns, and above the opening swings an awning if the day is very hot. In the very center rises a small stone altar with a statue of Zeus the Protector (Zeus Herkeïos), where the father of the family will from time to time offer sacrifice, acting as the priest for the household. Probably already on the altar there has been laid a fresh garland; if not, the newcomers from the Agora have now fetched one. In the rear wall of the Andron facing the Andronitis is a solid door. We are privileged guests indeed if we pass it. Only the father, sons, or near male kinsmen of the family are allowed to go inside, for it leads into the Gynæconitis [gynaeconitis], the hall of the women. To thrust oneself into the Gynæconitis of even a fairly intimate friend is a studied insult at Athens, and sure to be resented by bodily chastisement, social ostracism, and a ruinous legal prosecution. The Gynæconitis is in short the Athenian's holy of holies. Their women are forbidden to participate in so much of public life that their own peculiar world is especially reserved to them. To invade this world is not bad breeding; it is social sacrilege." [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
In 'The Aryan Household', Hearn writes, how the 'Father' was not an "emotional" or "sentimental" role as it has declined to be today, but functioned as an Initiator under Roman Law; "The word father was , in its original sense, a title of divinity. It denotes not a physical relation, but an office. So clearly was this conception marked, even in the full development of the Roman law, that, as Ulpian* tells us, a childless man, or even a ward, might be a pater familias. The office of father implies the exercise of two leading functions. One of these functions was Spiritual; the other was temporal. One related to that portion of the affairs of the Household which concern ed the dead ; the other, to that which concerned the living. The House Father had, on the one hand, the charge of the sacra; on the other hand, the general administration and control of the corporate body of which the performance of these sacra was the object and the bond. The Father was responsible for the due performance of his sacra and for the purity of his ritual. He had, accordingly, full control over the property of the Household, and over the acts of all its members. He was charged with the duty of determining, subject to the customs of the Household, what persons should be admitted to membership, and so should be initiated into the sacra. He was bound to provide for the continuance of his office, and to give to the Household, other by birth, or, in default of birth, by adoption, or some other recognized means, a proper successor. Thus his authority in his own house was supreme; and all the subordinate members of the Household were, to use the expressive phrase that seems to have been common to most of the Aryan races, in his Hand. But the origin of the authority was, as I have already observed, religion, and not either natural affection or superiority of physical strength. A grown-up son, even after his own marriage, remained until his formal emancipation as subject to his father as if he were still a child. We can perceive the aspect in which the Roman regarded this power by the name potestas which they applied to it. This term means an office or delegated authority, and is rarely used to express independent or physical power. " [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
To Nietzsche, every decadence has its roots in a physiological decline. I believe the devolution in the very physiology and Body of a House-plan- its architectural design, reveals the natural impact on how Man is being Shaped today, as lectured in the above video. The dissolution of the demarcated space shows clear influence on the collapse of demarcated gender/socio-cultural roles.
Homes are extensions of our bodies, and when initiated with meaning, with ritual, they have a spirit of their own.
One of the oldest I.E. rituals is the laying of the "Kolam" among the Vedics, meaning "guise" in front of one's home to indicate separation of the sacred from the profane. In Japan, the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] extend a similar function, and etiquette demands one does not walk in the middle of the path facing the gates, but keeping to the sides as an acknowledgement and respect for the "lively" spirit and world demarcated by the gates.
David Shulman in his classic work 'The King and the Clown' explains Kolams, as mandalas or "geometric patterns in rice powder that are negotiations of light lines and dark ground at the entranceways of the houses, where street touches home... to keep the street from contaminating the home, to purify inner space and separate it from the outside."
"The kolam is also seen as a visual mapping of auspiciousness and ritual pollution. The Kōlam drawn daily also signifies a relationship to ritual space, mapping the contours of ritual purity, auspiciousness, inauspiciousness, and pollution."
While the labyrinth acts as a "trap" to invite in good luck and as a "toll gate" to keep the uncanny demarcated, the single line of continuity with which the labyrinth is drawn also acts as a portal of communication between the inside and the outside order. It is a thread of continuity like a Celtic Knot holding two worlds together that simultaneously also keeps them apart.
The Kolam is such a "nexus" between the world and our world; it Initiates a house into a Home, a spirit, a site of sacredness - as the reflection and extension of our own body.
This connection is made explicit in the book on knots and joints in the human body: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Following are brief remarks on the symbolism by Coomaraswamy based on Durer's art:
"In Baltic countries, the sacrifice took the form of a coin placed in a specific spot during the construction: beneath the threshold, the floor, between the stone foundation and the wooden wall, between certain beams, or between two logs. Once this coin has been placed in its proper spot, the house belonged to the peasant. In the cowshed, the stable, and the sauna, mercury, black wool, and a spoonful of butter were introduced into the construction. In France, substances with a reputation for turning bad influences aside and for driving evil spirits away were incorporated into the construction materials, and a coin bearing the date of the year the building was built was placed in its foundation. Even today, in Greece, one can see a cow’s head stuck on a piece of rebar protruding above the edge of the roof once the basic structure has been erected.
Various interpretations have been provided for these building sacrifices. It is first and foremost a purchase price, a compensation to the invisible owner of the site that has been taken and whose potential anger the new owner thereby seeks to appease. Next it is a means of obtaining the neutral or benevolent feelings of the place spirit; if the spirit’s disposition can be swayed, it will thus restore the balance that has been broken. Finally, it is the transmission of a soul into the new building, giving life to a new creation. Sacrifice is therefore a primordial act and should be compared to the major cosmogonic myths that evoke the dismemberment of a supernatural being, as was the case with the giant Ymir of the ancient Germans, whose body parts became those of the earth.
For Andrej Johansons, the sacrifice is purely apotropaic as its purpose is to obtain a tutelary deity for the new building, an assessment that Harald Sjövall clarifies more specifically as follows: “It does not so much involve taming the place spirit as it does changing his mood; if he is pleased with the sacrifice, he will accept his new role; the genius loci will transform into the protector of the house and even the entire farm.” Thanks to other accounts collected by Georg Sverdrup, the accuracy of these interpretations is confirmed. In Norway, the tomtegubbe, meaning the “Old Man of the construction site,” regularly transforms into the tunvord, the “Guardian of the farm.”" [The Tradition of Household Spirits]
"The trees that provided the basic construction material were chosen with care because it was believed that they were inhabited by spirits, which brings to mind the verses of the French poet, Pierre de Ronsard:
Stay woodman, stay thy hand awhile and hark— it is not trees that thou art lying low! Dost thou not see the dripping life-blood flow from Nymphs that lived beneath the rigid bark?
Ronsard is referring here to the traditions of Classical Antiquity, to the dryads, hamadryds, and other nymphs that Ovid depicted so wonderfully in his story about Erythichthon. When this individual struck an oak sacred to Deo (Demeter) with his ax, “red blood poured from the rent he made in its bark.” Ronsard was unaware, however, that this belief was widespread throughout all of Europe. A tree is a living being that is respected, to whom fate has alloted a certain lifespan; therefore, people refrained from chopping it down without rhyme or reason, as that could be dangerous. It is close to man and sometimes his personification; it sings, speaks, bleeds. A tree was planted at a birth, a veritable plant double of the child, and if it died, that individual would also perish. In Westphalia, the beech tree was known as the baby tree because it was believed they were taken out of its hollow. The same thing was believed about the ash in the Tyrol, and in both cases it signifies that trees are the “reservoirs of souls.” Furthermore, in Germano-Scandinavian mythology, the names of the first two human beings are Ask and Embla, meaning Ash and almost certainly Elm.
Near Vjaznikov, a tree taken from the forest (a birch or rowan) would be planted after the site of the future house had been determined, and the same was true for the stables. It was considered as the sacrificial tree in compensation for the trees that had been cut down for the construction. At the same time, this planting rite aimed to profit from the tree and its vitality in order to protect the people and animals living there. In the region of Vologda, a spruce tree was planted in the middle of a newly built stable, in the belief that it would protect the livestock from epidemics targeting animals. It is likely that the last remnants of these beliefs can be seen in the cérémonie du bouquet still practiced in modern France. As an indication that the construction of the house is finished, a small spruce or some branches from a tree are fixed to the roof ridge or chimney."
Eliade, who studied everything that relates to this sphere with great perspicacity, realized that every construction is a creation, a beginning, the reiteration of a mythical act, a cosmogony, and therefore requires precise rites so that it conforms to the archetype. The house is a new center of the world and possesses a religious value.
Without a roof, the house does not exist because it is open to all winds, which is a general sign it is uninhabited because evil spirits could take possession of it. This is why the Eskimos destroy the roofs of their igloos when the move away. Because a home has been anthropomorphized, the destruction of its roof is the equivalent of its death. The ancient rules governing the exile of criminals from the community attest to this with their instructions to remove the roofs from their houses, to seal off the door, cover the well, and to break the oven.
The covering of the house was regarded as an impassable border, as shown by numerous beliefs, and its strength was reinforced by sculptures, carvings, horse heads, or deer antlers. In Russia, the roof ridges were carved in the forms of birds and horses,14 and in Japan, the roof ridge of the castle tower was always adorned with two gold fish with tiger heads and dolphin bodies—called shachihoko—which were attributed with the power of protecting the house from fire. But it seems that such strength required constant renewal. In Bohemia, the roof of the house was watered at the first ringing of the bells, and in Germany the same was done at Easter, for protection against fires. Branches that had been blessed and other charms were also attached to the roof for the same purpose.
Bavarian law code Lex Baiuvariorum, the term uuinkil first designates the extreme border of the field or house, then the four corners, the whole, in cases of taking legal possession of property. We also know that in a new building, it was customary to place blessed branches and salt at the four corners of the home to protect it from evil spirits. The corner thus takes on a religious value in connection with a specific belief. The house was also afforded protection by the burial of objects such as nails (with the apotropaic virtue of iron) and plants (branches of hazel or mugwort) at its four corners.
Corners are ambivalent locations as they are the abode of benevolent or malevolent forces. Various liquids can be sprinkled in them, or this or that item will be placed in them. During the process of construction, one or more coins or a horseshoe would be buried beneath a corner of the house, or else mercury would be poured into the mortises of the corner beans in order to protect the dwelling from lightning and other misfortunes.10 During the nineteenth century in the Russian region of Kostroma, the head of a rooster would be cut off on the threshold of the drying house or the bath house and its blood would be spread in the corners in order to disperse any malevolent forces they might be sheltering. In order to evict an evil spirit, bear fur would be placed in the corners of the house, and in order to rid the house of fleas, the German farmer had to go to his field in spring, dig the first furrow using a plow without a cotter pin, and place the dirt from it in the four corners of the common room. We should note that these rites can be divided into two types of measures: some are apotropaic (defensive), while the others have a sacrificial value.
Zeus was the father and protector of the house; once the farm has been surrounded by an enclosure, he was named Herkeios and his altar stood in the yard inside that enclosed space. He was also called Ktesios, “the Acquirer,” because he gave out wealth and protected the reserves. As offerings he was given food-filled pitchers in a rite called panspermia, which indicates he was given seeds of all sorts. Zeus Melichios, which is to say the “Good, the Favorable One,” had a serpentine form. He brought riches and was depicted on a throne holding a horn of plenty. Zeus Soter, “the Savior” received the first and last offering at feasts.3 He was also nicknamed Agathos Daimon, “the good demon.” He was offered pure wine at the end of the meal and he, too, was a serpent. A meal was prepared for the Dioscuri, the sons of Zeus, and foods were offered them; they, too, were depicted as serpents that guarded the house. It is noteworthy how frequently reptiles appear as part of the beliefs concerning domestic gods.
We also encounter several deities among the Romans. First we have the Lar familiaris, who was not a domestic god originally and whose worship evolved from the rural cult of the compita in which the Lares were venerated as protectors and guardians of the lands (agri custodies) surrounding the house. The hearth became the site where they were worshipped, as opposed to the fields where they initially received their sacrifices. The Lar familiaris received a portion of the meals with which he was traditionally associated. At family feasts he was offered wreaths, wine, incense, fruits, cakes, and honey, and, when a death occurred, a lamb.4 This deity was connected to the entire family and its fate.5 The sanctuary of all the household gods was the Lararium that housed their effigies, and two snakes were often painted on its walls.
Next we have Hestia, the goddess of the hearth, to whom wine was offered at the beginning and end of the meal. She corresponds with Vesta,6 the personification of the hearth that is her headquarters; her altar is the centerpiece of the domestic cult overseen by the woman who prepares the offering (far pium) for her, which is cast into the fire.7 During the meal a plate with the food intended for her was set by the fire.8 Vesta was linked with the Penates, the generic name for all household gods worshipped near the hearth.9 They were offered foods that were tossed into the flames or set out on a plate;10 if a piece fell onto the floor, it was picked up, set on the table, then cast into the fire.11 All of these rites refer to a fire cult whose existence is clearly confirmed among the Indo-Europeans. Finally, we have the deities who watch over openings and the threshold: Limentinus and Limentina, Forculus, and Forcula.
Christianity fought these cults with all its might and in 392 a decree of Emperor Theodosius banned them, but they continued to live on, mainly in the rural areas of the Roman colonies. The names of the deities vanished but not their function, and it was these unspecified entities that henceforth stood guard over the hearth and the opening into the house. The offerings made to these supernatural beings endured, often in identical form, and we will encounter them repeatedly.
The Romans consecrated an altar to their spirit—an altar surrounded by a snake—and had reptiles in their room considered to be house spirits. “At one time,” people in Ångermanland say, “domestic serpents were kept in many places, the sauna, the corner between the stove and the wall, or beneath the floor, and men fed and worshipped them. . . . They caused no harm.” This snake is called kartanomato (farm serpent) and believed to be a manifestation of the house spirit. In 1592, Michael Herberer stopped at an inn where he saw children and snakes eating from the same bowl and, in 1777, August Wilhelm Hupel indicates in his description of Livonia and Estonia: “The ancient custom, introduced even into numerous German homes, of keeping domestic snakes, feeding them milk, and giving them a home in the stables so the livestock will be happier, appears, it seems, to have stopped.” Old beliefs die hard, and Ernst Jünger describes exactly the same thing in his 1939 novel On the Marble Cliffs. In Estonia, it was thought that snakes inhaled the “poison of the earth” (maa viha), protecting the house and its inhabitants, and encouraging farming. It was therefore called the “serpent of the master of the house” (maja-taadi uss).33 Among the Czechs, the domestic serpent is called hospodáricek. The Slavs long worshipped the ancestor of the race in the form of a snake that was placed beneath the hearth or the threshold, but on the right side. In the eighteenth century, the Montenegrins carefully avoided hurting serpents they called “hearth guardians.” In Belorussia and Poland, a viper was the object of worship and called the queen of snakes. If it settled in at the foot of the wall of a house, this was a good omen.
The house spirit therefore falls primarily under the jurisdiction of folk religion; he was part of our ancestors’ mental structures and embodied a transcendent element that people could turn to in need. It corrected adverse situations, redressed inequalities, and provided valuable assistance. In short, its existence offered reassurance because it gave physical expression to happiness and to the order without which nothing could prosper. Its religious dimension arises from its moralistic and conservative nature, and it was sometimes claimed that its behavior was only a reflection of that of the household. As people once said: “Good spirits come to nice people.”
Homes have sunk into anonymity; building rituals have almost entirely disappeared; prefabricated industrial materials have replaced the quest for and attentive selection of materials that were wrought with love; the meaning of ornaments are no longer known and moon, sun, stars, and crosses have disappeared from our facades; radiators have replaced the hearth and stove; our corners have become little more than dust collectors; and there is no longer anything concealed beneath our thresholds. We have been transformed into rootless wanderers with no fire or place to call our own. The individual no longer has any attachment to a house that has been passed down for generations. In losing all of this, we have lost a piece of ourselves, one of our most solid anchors, and like dead leaves carried by the wind, we settle one day here, and the next day there, driven by the whims of our professions, but we no longer bring the embers from our hearths with us, and the surviving spirits weep in abandoned houses." [The Tradition of Household Spirits]
"It is sometimes supposed that in the ethos of the classical Greek city-state the house is a wholly private space, and that apart from near relations only close friends normally had access to it. David Cohen remarks that "it is a constitutive feature of close friendship that one becomes an intimate of the family, sharing its secrets and being accepted into the house, including into the presence of its women." Cohen continues: "Philia embodies an idea of friendship where privacy barriers are relaxed, tempering the antagonistic social relations associated with honor and shame" (1991: 84, 85).
Cohen interprets the values of the classical city-state by analogy with modern Mediterranean villages, where public spaces are said to be arenas of struggle over masculine honor, whereas "the house is seen as sheltering the private sphere, including the sexual purity and reputation of the women on whom the honor of a family in significant part depends." Athenian texts, Cohen remarks, mostly "represent friends as belonging to the private sphere," although a "few passages treat friendship as a sort of third category, not part of public life, but not part of private life in the narrow sense either" (1991:80,83,79).
The Greek compiler Aelian (second-third century AD) quotes Xenocrates, a disciple of Plato's and contemporary with Demosthenes, as saying that "it makes no difference whether you thrust your feet or cast your eyes into the house of another, for he who looks upon places he should not sins in the same way as he who enters locations he should not" (Var. Hist. 14.42). This might appear to support Cohen's thesis about domestic seclusion, but access to the home, at least to the men's quarters (andron), where companions were entertained, was relatively free. Demosthenes does not suggest that Meidias was considered part of Aristarchus' family. Courtesy to a friend might, on the contrary, induce a certain reserve about personal matters.
In Euripides' Alcestis, Heracles, a xenos of the king Admetus, arrives during the public mourning for Alcestis, who has given up her life so that her husband's may be extended. Admetus puts Heracles up in the guest quarters of the palace but conceals his loss so as not to burden a guest with his private grief. When he learns the truth, Heracles reproaches Admetus for not having admitted a friend into his confidence. Both are behaving according to Aristotle's advice to come unbidden to the aid of friends but shrink from burdening them with one's own griefs. While tragedy is unreliable as evidence for everyday life, it seems safe to suppose that the boundary between home life and friends was normally negotiated with a measure of tact.
The division between the public and private domains did not take the form in Athens that comparison with Greek or Sicilian villages might suggest: "private" (idion) in the sense of individual was opposed to the political community (demos) or collective whole (koinori), not to outdoor social life (demos: Xen. Mem. 3.11.16; koinon: Thuc. 1.86.2; Lys. 12.83, 16.18; Demosth. 20.57, etc.). In these terms friendship is private but nothing is implied about integration into the domicile.
Just as Athenian friendship was not an objective and quasi-contractual relationship, neither was it assimilated to membership in the family." [Konstan, Friendship in the Classical World]
For religious man, space is not homogeneous; he experiences interruptions, breaks in it; some parts of space are qualitatively different from others.
There is, then, a sacred space, and hence a strong significant space; there are other spaces that are not sacred and so are without structure and consistency, amorphous. Nor is this all. For religious man, this spatial non-homogeneity finds expression in the experience of an opposition between space that is sacred - the only real and real-ly exisiting space - and all other space, the formless expanse surrounding it.
It must be said at once that the religious experience of the non-homogeneity of space is a primordial experience, homologizable to a founding of the world. It is not a matter of theoretical speculation, but of a primary religious experience that precedes all reflection on the world. For it is the break effected in space that allows the world to be constituted, because it reveals the fixed point, the central axis for all future orientation. When the sacred manifests itself in any hierophany, there is not only a break in the homogeneity of space; there is also revelation of an absolute reality, opposed to the nonreality of the vast surrounding expanse. The manifestation of the sacred ontologically founds the world. In the homogeneous and infinite expanse, in which no point of reference is possible and hence no orientation can be established, the hierophany reveals an absolute fixed point, a center.
So it is clear to what a degree the discovery - that is, the revelation - of a sacred space possesses existential value for religious man; for nothing can begin, nothing can be done, without a previous orientation - and any orientation implies acquiring a fixed point. It is for this reason that religious man has always sought to fix his abode at the "center of the world". If the world is to be lived in, it must be founded - and no world can come to birth in the chaos of the homogeneity and relativity of profane space.
All this appears very clearly from the Vedic ritual for taking possession of a territory; possession becomes legally valid through the erection of a fire altar consecrated to Agni. "One says that one is installed when one has built a fire altar [gãrhapatya] and all those who build the fire altar are legally established" (Shatapatha Brãhmana VII, 1, 1, 1-4). By the erection of a fire altar Agni is made present, and communication with the world of the gods is ensured; the space of the altar becomes a sacred space. But the meaning of the ritual is far more complex, and if we consider all of its ramifications we shall understand why consecrating a territory is equivalent to making it a cosmos, to cosmicizing it. For, in fact, the erection of an altar to Agni is nothing but the reproduction - on the microcosmic scale - of the Creation. The water in which the clay is mixed is assimilated to the primordial water; the clay that forms the base of the altar symbolizes the earth; the lateral walls represent the atmosphere, and so on. And the building of the altar is accompanied by songs that proclaim which cosmic region has just been created (Shatapatha Brãhmana I, 9, 2, 29, etc). Hence the erection of a fire altar - which alone validates taking possession of a new territory - is equivalent to a cosmogony.
An unknown, foreign, and unoccupied territory (which oftern means, "unoccupied by our people") still shares in the fluid and larval modality of chaos. By occupying it and, above all, by settling in it, man symbolically transforms it into a cosmos through a ritual repetition of the cosmogonoy. What is to become "our world" must first be "created", and every creation has a paradigmatic model - the creation of the universe by the gods. When the Scandinavian colonists took possession of Iceland (land-náma) and cleared it, they regarded the enterprise neither as an original undertaking nor as a human and profane work. For them, their labor was only repetition of a primordial act, the transformation of chaos into cosmos by the divine act of creation. When they tilled the desert soil, they were in fact repeating act of the gods who had organized chaos by giving it a structure, forms, and norms." [The Sacred and the Profane]
"These barren and tedious eccentricities are all that the air-tight stove can bestow in exchange for the invaluable moral influences which we have lost by our desertion of the open fireplace. Alas! is this world so very bright that we can afford to choke up such a domestic fountain of gladsomeness, and sit down by its darkened source without being conscious of a gloom?
It is my belief that social intercourse cannot long continue what it has been, now that we have subtracted from it so important and vivifying an element as firelight. The effects will be more perceptible on our children and the generations that shall succeed them than on ourselves, the mechanism of whose life may remain unchanged, though its spirit be far other than it was. The sacred trust of the household fire has been transmitted in unbroken succession from the earliest ages, and faithfully cherished in spite of every discouragement such as the curfew law of the Norman conquerors, until in these evil days physical science has nearly succeeded in extinguishing it. But we at least have our youthful recollections tinged with the glow of the hearth, and our life-long habits and associations arranged on the principle of a mutual bond in the domestic fire. Therefore, though the sociable friend be forever departed, yet in a degree he will be spiritually present with us; and still more will the empty forms which were once full of his rejoicing presence continue to rule our manners. We shall draw our chairs together as we and our forefathers have been wont for thousands of years back, and sit around some blank and empty corner of the room, babbling with unreal cheerfulness of topics suitable to the homely fireside. A warmth from the past--from the ashes of bygone years and the raked-up embers of long ago--will sometimes thaw the ice about our hearts; but it must be otherwise with our successors. On the most favorable supposition, they will be acquainted with the fireside in no better shape than that of the sullen stove; and more probably they will have grown up amid furnace heat in houses which might be fancied to have their foundation over the infernal pit, whence sulphurous steams and unbreathable exhalations ascend through the apertures of the floor. There will be nothing to attract these poor children to one centre. They will never behold one another through that peculiar medium of vision the ruddy gleam of blazing wood or bituminous coal---which gives the human spirit so deep an insight into its fellows and melts all humanity into one cordial heart of hearts. Domestic life, if it may still be termed domestic, will seek its separate corners, and never gather itself into groups. The easy gossip; the merry yet unambitious Jest; the life-like, practical discussion of real matters in a casual way; the soul of truth which is so often incarnated in a simple fireside word,--will disappear from earth. Conversation will contract the air of debate, and all mortal intercourse be chilled with a fatal frost.
In classic times, the exhortation to fight "pro axis et focis," for the altars and the hearths, was considered the strongest appeal that could be made to patriotism. And it seemed an immortal utterance; for all subsequent ages and people have acknowledged its force and responded to it with the full portion of manhood that nature had assigned to each. Wisely were the altar and the hearth conjoined in one mighty sentence; for the hearth, too, had its kindred sanctity.
Religion sat down beside it, not in the priestly robes which decorated and perhaps disguised her at the altar, but arrayed in a simple matron's garb, and uttering her lessons with the tenderness of a mother's voice and heart. The holy hearth! If any earthly and material thing, or rather a divine idea embodied in brick and mortar, might be supposed to possess the permanence of moral truth, it was this. All revered it. The man who did not put off his shoes upon this holy ground would have deemed it pastime to trample upon the altar. It has been our task to uproot the hearth. What further reform is left for our children to achieve, unless they overthrow the altar too? And by what appeal hereafter, when the breath of hostile armies may mingle with the pure, cold breezes of our country, shall we attempt to rouse up native valor? Fight for your hearths? There will be none throughout the land.
FIGHT FOR YOUR STOVES! Not I, in faith. If in such a cause I strike a blow, it shall be on the invader's part; and Heaven grant that it may shatter the abomination all to pieces!" [Hawthorne]
I still remember in childhood how the house smelled differently from weekday to weekend, from normal day to holiday (sacred-day). The smells of those rare treats, the warmth from a stove burning for hours, the sounds of pots and pans, and me stretching in my bed over fresh linen from the day before. It felt like home. I remember visiting my grandparents in Greece, when I was seven or eight. They still lived in primitive, for us conditions, having only just received their electrical connections, living on the outskirts of civilization. The first thing they purchased was a refrigerator, and then, years later, had to be convinced to buy a television ands feen my grandfather's insatiable appetite for news, for information. Later, in my teens, he used to ask me my opinion on things, which was surprising to me - he a 70+ year-old man, who had experienced wars, and hardships, and I this Canadian kid, new to the rustic life.
The thing I remember about that small space they both lived in is the fireplace. More than decorative, it was for cooking and warming. I used to sit there for hours watching it crackling...feeding it, and being reprimanded for wasting precious fuel.
I remember the smell of my grandmother's apron, flour and wood.
_________________ γνῶθι σεαυτόν μηδέν άγαν
Lyssa Har Har Harr
Gender : Posts : 9031 Join date : 2012-03-01 Location : The Cockpit
My home is made of cedar, stone floors, lots of windows, verandahs back and front, a corrugated iron roof. I never tire of the sound of the rain on the roof, (when it does rain). In springtime, the ornamental pear trees blossom, the cherry trees are a mass of pink and red flowers, the daffodils, the roses, the daphne's perfume are the very reason to live. Most of the year, the fire inside is burning, except in summer time, when all fires are banned. The white sheets, towels and pillow cases, flap in the breeze and the harsh sun and at night, the bed linen smells faintly of smoke from the coonara.
Birds are plentiful here and come each day to the house. I know each one by its features, they are all unique and I recognise their calls and know when a new species arrives, looking for a mate. The cockatoos travel in flocks of about 20-30, pure white and when they land, cover the dark green of the gum trees. The climate, the summer, can be brutal here, but one becomes accustomed to it and begins to see the beauty of the land, the rich red soil. I marvel at the greens in Britain, Scotland, Ireland, such jewelled beauty, I have lived in these countries and I swore, I would never live anywhere else again, but here. I do love it so.
She has escaped from modernity in a home that she has sheltered herself within, a replica of her idyllic Eden; the sensualities fill her with the notion the world is a paradise and nature is bountiful...
The only thing missing is a Man... you know a "real" Man... another sensual Ornament among her ornamental flowers...
"In the ancient Roman religion, Æstía is called Vesta and there was strong veneration to the Goddess. The Roman King, Numa the Pythagorean, constructed a temple with an eternal fire in her honor.
"It is said, also, that Numa built the temple of Vesta (ed. Æstía), which was intended for a repository of the holy fire, of a circular form, not to represent the figure of the earth, as if that were the same as Vesta, but that of the general universe, in the centre of which the Pythagoreans place the element of fire, and give it the name of Vesta and the unit; and do not hold that the earth is immovable, or that it is situated in the centre of the globe, but that it keeps a circular motion about the seat of fire, and is not in the number of the primary elements; in this agreeing with the opinion of Plato (Gr. Ρλάτων), who, they say, in his later life, conceived that the earth held a lateral position, and that the central and sovereign space was reserved for some nobler body." [Plutarch, The essay on Numa Pompilius, 11]
The custom of having an eternal fire in temples was not only a Roman custom, but Greek also. Where did they obtain the fire to originally light the lamp? The ancient method is described here by Plutarch (Gr. Πλούταρχος);
"In Greece, wherever a perpetual holy fire is kept, as at Delphi and Athens the charge of it is committed, not to virgins (ed. as in Rome), but widows past the time of marriage. And in case by any accident it should happen that this fire became extinct, as the holy lamp was at Athens under the tyranny of Aristion, and at Delphi, when that temple was burnt by the Medes, as also in the time of the Mithridatic and Roman civil war, when not only the fire was extinguished, but the altar demolished, then, afterwards, in kindling this fire again, it was esteemed an impiety to light it from common sparks or flame, or from anything but the pure and unpolluted rays of the sun, which they usually effect by concave mirrors, of a figure formed by the revolution of an isosceles rectangular triangle, all the lines from the circumference of which meeting in a centre, by holding it in the light of the sun they can collect and concentrate all its rays at this one point of convergence; where the air will now become rarefied, and any light, dry, combustible matter will kindle as soon as applied, under the effect of the rays, which here acquired the substance and active force of fire." [Plutarch, The essay on Numa Pompilius, 9]
Thomas Taylor comments on the majesty Æstía in a note to her Orphic hymn, in which he talks of Æstía as the fire not only of home and city, but as a great fire at the center of the Earth and the Kósmos (Cosmos; Gr. Κόσμος):
"Vesta (ed. Æstía) is celebrated in this hymn as the earth, and is the same with the Mother of the Gods  (ed. Mítir Thæóhn; Gr. Μήτηρ Θεῶν); as is evident from the Hymn to that divinity, in which she is expressly called Vesta. Now this perfectly agrees with the fragment of Philolaus (ed. Philόlaos; Gr. Φιλόλαος) the Pythagorean, preserved by Stobæus (ed. Stovaios; Gr. Στοβαῖος) in Eclog. Phys. p. 51. 'Philolaus (says he) places fire in the middle at the centre, which he calls Vesta of the universe, the house of Jupiter (ed. Zefs, i.e. Zeus), the Mother of the Gods, and the basis, coherence, and measure of nature.' From whence it appears, that they are greatly mistaken who suppose the Pythagoreans meant the sun, by the fire at the centre: and this is still more evident, from the following words of Simplicius (ed. Simplíkios; Gr. Σιμπλίκιος) de Cælo, lib. ii.... 'But those who more clearly perceive these affairs, call the fire in the middle a demiurgic (ed. creative) power, nourishing the whole earth from the midst, and exciting and enlivening whatever it contains of a frigid nature: on which account some call it the tower of Jupiter (ed. Zefs), as he (i.e. Aristotǽlis = Aristotle; Gr. Ἀριστοτέλης) relates in his Pythagorics. But others, the keeper or guardian of Jove (ed. Zefs); as he relates in these (i.e. his book de Cælo). But according to others, it is the throne of Jupiter. But they called the earth a centre, as being itself an organ or instrument of time: for it is the cause of day and night.' " [Thomas Taylor, Hymns of Orpheus, p. 220-21]
"Aristonoos’ Hymn to Hestia [third quarter 4th c. BCE]
"Holy Queen of Sanctity, we hymn you, Hestia, whose abiding realm is Olympus and the middle point of earth and the Delphic laurel tree! You dance around Apollo’s towering temple rejoicing both in the tripod’s mantic voices and when Apollo sounds the seven strings of his golden phorminx and, with you, sings the praises of the feasting gods. We salute you, daughter of Kronos and Rhea, who alone brings firelight to the sacred altars of the gods; Hestia, reward our prayer, grant wealth obtained in honesty: then we shall always dance around your glistening throne." [In Furley and Bremer; Greek Hymns: Volume I]
Orphic Hymn To Hestia [The Fumigation from Aromatics.]
"Daughter of Kronos, venerable dame, The seat containing of unweary’d flame; In sacred rites these ministers are thine, Mystics much-blessed, holy, and divine. In thee, the Gods have fix’d their dwelling place, Strong, stable basis of the mortal race: Eternal, much-form’d, ever florid queen, Laughing and blessed, and of lovely mien; Accept these rites, accord each just desire, And gentle health, and needful good inspire." [Tr. Thomas Taylor]
Just as every home had its central hearth-fire, likewise most cities had a civic hearth in their [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], or City-Hall, which served as the seat of the city’s government. Just as the domestic hearth-fire represented the warmth and life of the home and family, the civic hearth-fire represented the sacred light that united the community. Detienne in [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], focuses on “the political Hestia” and her relation to the notion of autonomy:
"“The figure known to the Greeks as Hestia provided the city with one means of exercising and building up its own autonomy. Her name was commonly understood to mean “fire,” the fire in the hearth or the fire on the altar, which was connected both with eating and with sacrifice: with sacrifice because it marked out the fixed center of a cult, rooted in the earth yet at the same time a human construction, the work of an architect. But for this hearth or altar to become the Common Fire, Hestia Koinē, it was necessary for it to absorb the values developed from the idea of the equidistant center and focal point of fair distribution. Various practices and new liturgies, creating a whole new ceremonial, were evolved to proclaim the special powers of Hestia.” [The Writing of Orpheus: Greek Myth in Cultural Context, p. 62]
The idea of the hearth-fire as “a fixed center, rooted in the earth and yet at the same time a human construction, the work of an architect” reminds a euhemeristic line in Diodorus Siculus (Historical Library, 5.68), in which Hestia was the woman who first “discovered how to construct dwellings, and for this benefit she has a consecrated place in every home among practically all peoples and receive honors and sacrifices.” As for the political Hestia, Detienne continues:
“For those who took part in public affairs, the politeumenoi, the sight of Hestia as herself and as represented by her statues, her agalmata, meant the city council, the Boulē, and also the place where the city’s wealth was stored, the public treasury. For ordinary individuals, idiotai, Hestia represented the fact of living, life itself. And for a king, basileus, or a governor, archon, she was power, the dunamis of his own power, his own archē. The symbolism extended from the individual life of each separate household’s hearth to the collective and public power personified by Hestia in the three manifestations of her single being: the city council, the public treasury, and the power of authority itself. The political Hestia, who was linked through her power to the life of each individual, established around her a space for the exercise of her autonomy, a space that took the material form of not only the Prytaneion, the home of the magistrates in power, but also her altar and her particular attributes. The “first” Greek democracies were set up under the sign of Hestia.” [The Writing of Orpheus: Greek Myth in Cultural Context, p. 63]
And while Elizabeth I was often compared to Artemis/Diana or Athena/Minerva, there is one portrait representing her as the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]:
In E. M. W. Tillyard’s The Elizabethan World Picture, in which he describes how all of Shakespeare’s major tragedies display four levels of being that are thrown into violent disorder in the course of each play: The Individual, The Family, The State or Community, and The Cosmos. This reflects the psychological crises and breakdowns experienced by the individual tragic hero (madness, paranoia, nervous breakdown), turmoil within the (now dysfunctional) family unit (husbands vs. wives, parents vs. children, siblings vs. siblings), political chaos and uprisings impacting the state (usually a war, coup, or invasion), and even signs that something is wrong in the fabric of the cosmos itself (an eclipse, strange omens, uncanny weather patterns or strange behavior in the animal kingdom).
Hestia represents the divine spark or light within us, the immortal and unchanging part of ourselves, the Higher Self (the Atman of the Upanishads). In terms of the Family, Hestia represents the warmth and light provided by the central fire and the shared meal. For the State, Hestia is the public hearth which embodies the ideals of the community. At the Cosmic level, she is the central fire within the Earth’s core, the Sun’s fire at the center of our solar system, and she tends the sacred hearth at the center of Olympos. I will go so far as to associate Hestia with Plato’s form of the Good itself.
When we carefully tend to Hestia’s hearth at each of these levels, we are rewarded with warmth and light, harmony and illumination. We find unity in ourselves, our homes, our communities, and our relationship to the cosmos."
Hestia and the Pythagoreans: The Fire in the Middle
“The Pythagoreans offered significant cosmological observations . . . It is also noteworthy that the early Pythagoreans denied the geocentric and geostatic model of the universe. According to the testimony of Aristotle (De caelo 293.18), they placed *fire* and not earth at the centre of the universe. The earth became a celestial body, which creates day and night by its circular motion around Hestia (hestia meaning ‘hearth’). Ten divine celestial bodies – ten being the perfect number, which encompasses the whole nature of numbers – rotate rhythmically around Hestia in the following order: the dark counter-earth (antichthon), the earth, the moon, the sun, the five planets (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury) and the sphere of the fixed stars (aristotle, Metaphysics 986). This new cosmological model is usually attributed to Philolaus (B7 and A16) and explained through the importance of the Monad in Pythagorean metaphysics. Since the Monad is the divine source of all numbers and is identified with, or represented by, the purity of the fire, the source of the celestial bodies should be a divine fire in the centre of the cosmos (Aristotle, Metaphysics 986).” [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Pythagorean Fragments of Philolaus:
“10. (Stob. Eclogl.1:5:7:p.360) The world is single; it began to form from the centre outwards. Starting from this centre, the top is entirely identical to the base; still you might say that what is above the centre is opposed to what is below it; for, for the base, lowest point would be the centre, as for the top, the highest point would still be the centre; and likewise for the other parts; in fact, in respect to the centre, each one of the opposite points is identical, unless the whole be moved. b.(Stob.Ecl.l:2l:3:p.468) The prime composite, the One placed in the centre of the sphere is called Hestia.”
“11. a. (Stob.Ecl.l:22:l:p.488) Philolaus has located the fire in the middle, the centre; he calls it Hestia, of the All, the house [policeipest] of Jupiter, and the mother of the Gods, the altar, the link, the measure of nature. Besides, he locates a second fire, quite at the top, surrounding the world. The centre, says he, is by its nature the first; around it, the ten different bodies carry out their choric dance; these are, the heaven, the planets, lower the sun, and below it the moon ; lower the earth, and beneath this, the anti-earth (a body invented by the Pythagoreans, says Aristotle, Met i: 5) then beneath these bodies the fire of Hestia, in the centre, where it maintains order. The highest part of the Covering, in which he asserts that the elements exist in a perfectly pure condition, is called Olympus, the space beneath the revolutionary circle of Olympus, and where in order are disposed the five planets, the sun and moon, forms the Cosmos world; finally, beneath the latter is the sublunar region, which surrounds the earth, where are the generative things susceptible to change; that is the heaven. The order which manifests in the celestial phenomena is the object of science; the disorder which manifests in the things of becoming, is the object of virtue; the former is perfect, the latter is imperfect. b. (Plut. Plac.Phil.3:ll). The Pythagorean Philolaus located the fire in the centre, it is the Hestia of the All, then the Anti-earth, then the earth we inhabit, placed opposite the other, and moving circularly; which is the cause that its inhabitants are not visible to ours. (Stob.Ecl.l:21:6:p.452). The directing fire, [of] Philolaus, is in the entirely central fire; which the demiurge has placed as a sort of keel [to] serve as foundation to the sphere of the All.”
Hestia and Plato, Part I: The Essence of Things
"Socrates: “What may we suppose him to have meant who gave the name Hestia?…….that which we term οὐσἰα (ed. ousia) is by some called ἐσἰα (ed. esia), and by others again ὠσἰα (ed. osia). Now that the essence of things should be called ἑστἰα (ed. estia), which is akin to the first of these (ἐσἰα=ἑστἰα), is rational enough. And there is reason in the Athenians calling that ἑστἰα which participates in οὐσἰα. For in ancient times we too seem to have said ἐσἰα for οὐσἰα, and this you may note to have been the idea of those who appointed that sacrifices should be first offered to Ἑστἰα (ed. Hestia), which was natural enough if they meant that ἑστἰα was the essence of things. Those again who read ὠσἰα seem to have inclined to the opinion of Heracleitus, that all things flow and nothing stands; with them the pushing principle (ὠθουν; ed. othoun) is the cause and ruling power of all things, and is therefore rightly called ὠσἰα.”" [Plato’s Cratylus, 401]
Socrates’ convoluted etymology of Hestia = Ousia, (aka Hestia = Essence, Being Itself, the Essence of All Things) is an important idea that the later Neoplatonists will pick up and run forward with into intricate realms of cosmological speculation, with Hestia as one of the principle or essential components of the cosmos itself.
Hestia and Plato, Part II: She Who Abides
"Zeus, the mighty lord, holding the reins of a winged chariot, leads the way in heaven, ordering all and taking care of all; and there follows him the array of gods and demigods, marshalled in eleven bands; Hestia alone abides at home in the house of heaven; of the rest they who are reckoned among the princely twelve march in their appointed order." [Plato, Phaedrus 246]
This description of Hestia as the goddess who abides at home on Olympus (while Zeus leads a procession of the other Olympians in their chariots) will later become the key image and the cornerstone for later Neoplatonist interpretations of Hestia. If there’s one image from Plato most relevant to Hestia, it is this one: Hestia, She Who Abides.
Hestia and Porphyry: Essence, the Source of All Being
"Hestia, existing within the Father as a source and cause of all being, equals ontotes [Being itself]." [Lydus, Mens. 4.94, referencing a treastise attributed to Porphyry, quoted in Porphyry and the Gnostics]
Hestia and Proclus, Part II: The Fixed Hearth – Permanency and Stability
"But if as some say, the assertion that “Hestia alone abides in the dwellings of the Gods” (p. 848, quoting Plato’s Phaedrus 274a), is spoken of this earth, Plato will be very far from giving motion to the Earth. If however we do not admit that the Hestia there mentioned is the Earth, yet it must be granted, that there is a guardian power in the Earth of the nature of Hestia. For as we say, that in the Heavens, the poles are connectedly contained by Hestia, thus also among the elements, the Earth. And as the supermundane Hestia, is to the great leader of the twelve Gods, so in mundane natures is the Earth to the Heavens." [Proclus, Commentary on the Timaeus of Plato, Book III, p. 848-849]
"And Vesta indeed, imparts to the mundane Gods an undefiled establishment in themselves; but Jupiter imparts to them an elevating motion to first natures. For Vesta belongs to the undefiled, but Jupiter to the paternal series; but they are divided by a subsistence in self, and a subsistence in another, as we have before observed. It must be said therefore, that every thing stable and immutable, and which possesses an invariable sameness of subsistence, arrives to all mundane natures from the supercelestial Vesta, and that on this account all the poles are immoveable, and the axes about which the circulations of the spheres convolve themselves. It must also be said, that the wholenesses of the circulations are firmly established, that the earth abides immoveably in the middle, and that the centres have an unshaken permanency [from this supercelestial Vesta]." [Proclus, Platonic Theology of Plato: Book VI, Chapter 21]
"Essence, as we have said, has the first order in the genera, because it is as it were, the Vesta of being. [ibid, p. 581 – cf. Philolaus fr. 7d]
For essence itself is the summit of all beings, and is as it were the monad of the whole of things. In all things therefore, essence is the first. And in each thing that which is essential is the most ancient, as deriving its subsistence from the Hestia of beings. –" [Proclus, Platonic Theology, Book III, Chapter 9]
"Vesta abides in herself, possessing an undefiled virginity, and being the cause of sameness to all things. That Vesta does not manifest essence, but the abiding and firm establishment of essence in itself; and hence this Goddess proceeds into light after the mighty Saturn. For the divinities prior to Saturn have not a subsistence in themselves and in another, but this originates from Saturn. And a subsistence in self is the peculiarity of Vesta, but in another of Juno." [An extract from the Manuscript Scolia of Proclus On the Cratylus of Plato, found in The Theology of Plato: Proclus, Vol. VIII of The Thomas Taylor Series, pp. 680-682]
Hestia and Theosophy
"Vesta is the Goddess of the Earth. Thus it is that Philolaus (apud Stobæum, Eclog. Phys., p. 51) says: ‘That there is a fire in the middle at the centre, which is the Vesta [Hearth] of the Universe, the House of Jupiter, the Mother of the Gods, and the basis, coherence, and measure of nature.’ All of which puts us in mind of gravity, the god of modern science. . . .
Microcosmically, again, Vesta is the ‘ether in the heart’ of the Upanishads, the ‘flame’ of life; and he who knows the mysteries of Tapas, that practice which calls to its aid the creative, preservative, and regenerative powers of the universe, as Shankarâchârya explains in his Bhâshya on the Mundakopanishad (i), will easily comprehend the importance of Vesta both macrocosmically and microcosmically. . . ." [G.R.S.Mead, Orpheus]
To "see" the open is the distinction of human beings. The animal is animal precisely on account of its not seeing the open, as understood in thus way, which is also why it is unable to say the "is" or being, that is, is altogether unable to say. The animal is a logos - without the word.
In the Greek tragedy the "heroes" and "heroines" if we may use these terms at all, are neither "silent sufferers" nor "martyrs" in the Christian sense, nor those "masters" who set out amid a great din and extravaganza in the modern dramatic artwork. "The tragic" is not to be measured, as modern human beings think, according to the passion of which we can have a psychological "lived experience" and that belongs to the person of the genius, but rather according to the truth of being as a whole and in keeping with the simplicity in which it appears. This is why in the Greek tragedy virtually nothing occurs. The uncanny is nothing other than this: the fact that she takes as her all-determinative point of departure that against which nothing can avail, because it is that appearing that is destined for her, and of which no one knows whence it has arisen. in fittingly accommodating herself to this, Antigone comes to be removed from all human possibilities and placed into direct conflict over the site of all beings and into a sublation of the subsistence of her own life. She is utterly unhomely.
The hearth is the site of being-homely. Parhestios (from para and hestia): hestia is the hearth of the house, the locale at which there stand the gods of the hearth. What is essential to the hearth, however, is the fire in the manifoldness of its essence, which essentially prevails as lighting, illuminating, warming, nourishing, purifying, refining, glowing. The word hestia is derived from a root meaning "to radiate" and "to burn". In all the temples of the gods and in all sites of human habitation, this fire has its secure locale and, as this locale, gathers around it all that properly occurs and is bestowed. Through this fire, the hearth is the enduring ground and determinative middle - the side of all sires, as it were, the homestead pure and simple, toward which everything presences alongside and together with everything else and thus first is. Latin Vesta is the Roman name for the goddess of the hearth fire. Her priestesses are called "vestal virgins". Para: alongside - beside, or more precisely, in the sphere of the same presence; parhestios, the one who is present within the sphere of protection and intimacy belonging to the homestead and who belongs to the radiance and warmth and glow of this fire.
The very ones who expel the most unhomely one from the hearth indeed appeal, in the same words to a knowledge of theirs that they distinguish from that of others:
"nor share their delusion with my knowing."
This translation is intended to emphasize more clearly for us the fact that whoever is expelled does not and cannot have proper knowledge of the hearth. Their knowing must remain a delusion [Wahnen] that readily descends into and becomes set in mere madness [Wahn]. Yet what this proper knowing is from which the most uncanny one is excluded, these words do not tell us. By intimation, however, we are by no means to understand only the first mere glimmer of knowledge. This would be permitted only if "proper knowing" consisted in an unconditional "theoretical" certainty such as mathematical knowledge and proof. Yet that knowing that pertains to genuine intimation is other in essence, and bears no comparison with a form of knowing that pays for its profit of certainty with the loss of everything essential, although it can pay this price and readily does so, because such knowing is merely a calculating and knows how to proceed with numbers. (Calculation as a kind of genuine madness.)
The knowledge of the hearth is not directly enunciated. It does, however, call itself a phronein, a pondering and meditating that comes from the phren, that is, from the "heart", from the innermost middle of the human essence itself. And what is this knowledge pertaining to the middle directed toward? If this "hearty" knowing is an intimating, the we must never regard such intimating as an opining that floats around in unclarity. It has its own lucidity and decisiveness and yet remains fundamentally different from the self-assuredness of calculate understanding.
"We have a word that has been passed down to us from Philolaos, a thinker from the Pythagorean school (fifth or fourth century), that reads Fragment 7; in Diels):
"Das als der anfängliche Einklang Wesende, das einigende Eine, in der Mitte der Kugel wird "Herd" genannt.
"What essentially prevails as harmonious commencement, the unifying One in the middle of the sphere, is called "hearth"."
The hearth is accordingly the middle of beings to which all beings, because and insofar as they are beings, are drawn in the commencement. This hearth of the middle of beings is being. Being is the hearth. For the essence of being for the Greeks is phusis - that illumination that emerges of its own accord and is mediated by nothing else, but is itself the middle. This middle is that which remains as commencement, that which gathers everything around it - that wherein all beings have their sire and are at home as beings.
Hestia and being in Plato
The description of the "life" of the gods begins as follows:
"Yet the great ruler in the heavens, Zeus, driving a winged chariot, proceeds first, arranging all things and thoughtfully caring for all things, but he is followed by an army of gods and fair yet fiendish spirits arrayed in eleven squadrons. There are eleven only. Hestia alone always remains steadfastly behind in the homestead of the gods." (Phaedrus, 246ff)
Here in Plato's recollection of the poetizing telling of beings as a whole and the way they are governed and constituted, the following essential point is clearly brought to light: If the gods, dwelling in an inaccessible location beyond the heavens, are indeed those who remain, then among them the one who most remains and is most steadfast is Hestia. She is the middle of all steadfast constancy and presence - that which essentially prevails in being, that which the Greeks experience in the sense of constant presence.
The hearth, the homestead of the homely, is being itself, in whose light and radiance, glow and warmth, all beings have in each case already gathered. Parestios is the one who, tarrying in the sphere of the hearth, belongs to those who are entrusted [vertraut] with the hearth, so that everyone who belongs to the hearth is someone entrusted [ein Trauter], whether they are "living" or dead.
Becoming homely in being unhomely.
The closing words of the choral ode in Antigone point toward the homestead in which everything homely is grounded. It is through this that the inner essence of being properly unhomely is first determined. Taken directly, the closing words indeed sound like a mere expulsion of the unhomely one. In truth, however, the expulsion from the sphere of the hearth merely impels us to be attentive to the homely and to risk belonging to it. The unhomely one shall not be someone homely, so long as they stick merely and solely to their being unhomely and thus let themselves be driven about amid beings, without any constancy. The closing words reject whoever is unhomely in this way, and at the same time call in the direction of a knowledge of the proper essence of the unhomely one.
What determines Antigone is that which first bestows ground and necessity upon the distinction of the dead and the priority of blood. "Death" and "blood" in each case name different and extreme realms of human being, and such being is neither fulfilled in one nor exhausted in the other. That belonging to death and to blood that is proper to human beings and to them alone is itself first determined by the relation of human beings to being itself.
Being is not some thing that is actual, but that which determines what is actual in its potential for being, and determines especially, the potential for human beings to be; that potentiality for being in which the being of humans is fulfilled: being unhomely in becoming homely. Such is our belonging to being itself. What essentially prevails as being, and is never a being or something actual and therefore always appears to be nothing, can be said only in poetizing or thought in thinking.
"Manifold is the uncanny, yet nothing more uncanny looms or stirs beyond the human being."
The uncanny one has an essential relation to the hearth, but it is that of forgetting and blindness, as a result of which he or she is unable to have being in view or in thoughtful remembrance [Andenken]. Through their expulsion we are first told in all harshness where the uncanny one belongs - namely to being, which determines all beings, preserves them in such determination, and keeps them protected." [Ister]
I've recently read some parts of a book by Floyd Toole, it describes rooms and loudspeakers and effects they have, sound in rooms in general.
It made me think how architecture and interior design is not just for the aesthetics or for practical purposes but it also establishes how the room sounds. Echoey or lifeless(no reflections/echoes). It also affects how people behave. Is it enjoyable to talk and listen in a room, is it invigorating or tiresome. Annoying or engaging.
Modern rooms and their reflective surfaces and echoey quality for example is not just depressing aesthetically but if you are not crude and shrill nor boomy, echoey, nor enjoy those sounds then you will rather be quiet in such rooms. The rooms affect us and our behaviour and unlike as some excerpt claimed which I've recently read, I think it's not really about the economic necessity to construct such garbage. It's that the ugly who inverted his ugliness into good-ness is self-consistent with living in ugly places.
Gender : Posts : 21890 Join date : 2009-08-24 Age : 53 Location : Flux
Round rooms are more comforting. Like a womb. Sound bounces away form the source, due to the curvature. At once all is heard and your own voice does not echo back as harshly. Your voice reverberates internally and then externally as a background of every other sound.
Domes also imitate an organism's field of view. Square rooms imitate the noetic internal space with distinctive angles and lines, implying an absolute whole. The curve implies a falling away into continuity, with the centre taking the place of the observer.
Mammals have a dome-like field of vision - an event-horizon. curving away the further away it is. A dome above and an inverted one below.
Sphere is the near-'perfect' shape. Life would have evolved to be spherical if not for chaos and the functionality necessity, forcing the evolution of non-proportional forms adapting to organic specialization - sacrifice to necessity and mortality.
_________________ γνῶθι σεαυτόν μηδέν άγαν
Gender : Posts : 3477 Join date : 2013-01-23 Age : 36 Location : CET
Acoustically a square room is worse than a rectangular room, too many resonances, leading to extremes (minimizing/maximizing a distribution, certain areas have too much of one thing while lacking in others and vice versa). I don't know (yet) about spherical rooms but they could have a similar effect. What makes for good rooms acoustically is as far as I've surmised an arrangement of spherical and straight surfaces. Like a rectangular room with half of a column sticking out of the wall at the sides at periodic distances. Classical architecture of certain proportions.
This keeps the room alive with reflections but enough diffusion to keep it from becoming uneven and creating extremes of loudness at certain frequencies at certain places in the room.