Animal Thealogy: Man-Machine? Animal Reason!

Io – Farangis G Yegane

Animal Thealogy:

Man-Machine? Animal Reason!

Palang LY

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The basic question about the categorical division into (nonhuman) “animals” and “humans” (Homo sapiens), brings up probably before the question of its moral implications, the question about what exactly hides beneath both these big generalized identities.

Why has the view about that what-animals-are and that what-humans-are finally lead to us only viewing animals under biological terms today?

Is it enough to attribute only an instinctual behaviour to nonhuman animals?

Is it thus the ‘fault’ of animals that humans won’t relate to them in any further way than how they are relating to them today?

What other options are there?

Animal = instinctual? Human = reasoning? Attributed identities in a human-centered narrative

If we don’t accept the view that nonhuman animals are those who have to stand below humans, within a frame given by e.g. a biological, philosophical or even divine hierarchy-of-being, then such a claim doesn’t have to be solely morally motivated. It can also mean that we question the way in which both identities („animal“ and „human“) are understood, that we question the separation and qualifications of these identities, even before the questions of our wrongdoings enter the floor of debate.

We can ask if the interpretation of the characteristics that are considered to make up the marking dividers within a human-animal hierarchy, are in reality a negation of the autonomous value of otherness in nonhuman animals.

We know that the single criterion that serves as our standard, is the human parameter, i.e. the human model counts as the ideal, as the standard, for creating norms.

So what happens if we put this standard of measurement into doubt?

It’s a question of perspective!

Conclusions deduced in the fields of biology and psychology, with those being the main academic sectors that deal with the explicability of animal identity, nail the perspectives:

  1. on relevant characteristics
  2. on how animal characteristics (in either, the case of humans or nonhuman animals) have to a.) express themselves and b.) in which exact correlation they have to become „measurable“, in order to reach a certain relevance or meaningfulness from a human point of perspective.

So the problem lies in the question why humans won’t accept nonhuman animal autonomy when it can’t be made fathomable through the perception of a value-defined comparison.

Why are own animal criterions and why is their independent meaningfulness (for the sake of themselves and for their situation within their natural and social inter- and co-specific contexts) rendered irrelevant, when they cross our perspectivical glance, and when these animal criteria could also be understood and accepted to fully lay outside of our hierarchical-framework?

Animal individuality

To be willing to accept an autonomous meaningfulness of nonhuman animals, means to question the deindividualization, that our views and explanations about nonhuman animals purport.

Those are the views that allow us to set nonhuman animals in comparison to us, as ‘the human group’ of identity, instead of seeing otherness in itself as a full value. And those are also the views that seek to sort out how the existential ‘meaning’ of nonhuman animals might relate to anything that matters to us “humans” as a closed group of identity.

The deindividualized view of nonhuman animals almost automatically goes along with the subtraction of value in terms of attributed meaningfulness, and so we land at the moral question now, as the question of identities, individual existence and deinidivdualisation pose some ethical conflicts.

Nonhuman animals, and the attributed identities in the fields of “animal” and “human” social contexts

If we can view nonhuman animals, apart from their localization in the realm of biology, for example also in a sociological context, then we could ask the question: „How do people act towards nonhumans animals?“

Can we explain the behaviour of humans towards nonhuman animals solely by referring to the common notion that one can’t really behave in any particular way towards nonhuman animals because they are supposedly ‘instinctively set’ and ‘communicatively restricted’ compared to us, and that thus our behaviour towards them can’t contain an own quality of a social dynamic?

Can we legitimate our typically human social misbehaviour towards nonhuman animals by referring to the „stupidity“ that we interpret into nonhuman animal behaviour?

(Such questions would of course only feed themselves on stereotypes of animal identity, no matter from where they stem.)

However we probably can’t ask any of such questions a sociologist, though it could fall into their scope to analyse these relationships. Sociologists likely would prefer to deal with the Animal Rights movement and not deal with the interaction between humans and nonhuman animals, since everyone seems to be with the fact that a natural science, biology, has already determined what the identity of nonhuman animals “factually” is. And it must be said that even the Animal Rights movement seems the place moral question somewhere almost out of reach by accepting the explanation of the identity of animals as something more or less strictly biological.


A geometrical image

Imagine two abstract groups. Group A consists of triangles and everything that surrounds them becomes mathematically relevant to their own triangular form. This happens as all that either resembles or does not resemble a triangle appears in a certain colour.

Group B are circles.

Now group A says that group B aren’t triangles (because A are triangles) and that B also weren’t squares or rectangles.

Does any reason follow from this that would mathematically legitimate for the circles to be excluded as equally valid geometrical figures?

The triangles are different compared to the circles, but both are geometrical figures and insofar of an equal value.

They can be correlated due to each of their geometrical qualities, even when the circles do not match the characteristics of the triangles!

Let’s take this as our metaphor

Sociology does not question the social interaction between humans and nonhuman animals. They don’t scrutinize that relation from their viewpoint, because the view held on the human relation towards animals is already set in its core by the natural sciences.

The hierarchical empire built by the natural sciences though [and along with it the humanistic knowledge on which the natural sciences base upon] rules every need for any further examination and consideration of this relationship out. We do not see the direct relation between humans and nonhuman animals.

A most typical exemplification of that inability to relate on a basic and fundamental level of ‘common sense’ can be pinpointed in the difference between relating to nonhuman animals in terms of “joy” versus “love”: as in “animals equally feel joy” or “we can both love”, and “pain” versus “violence”: as in: “animals can equally feel pain” or “we can both experience violence”. Love is a intermittent sentiment, violence also basis on social interactivity (though in that negative sense), where as “joy” is located only in the subject we attribute the feeling to, and the same goes for “pain”.

We – nonhuman animals and humans – understand the questions of LOVE and VIOLENCE. Whereby “joy” and “pain” are reductionary names for the “same” thing.

Regarding the question whether animals can be regarded in any way as moral agents, one has to ask, does moral exist outside the human concept of morality?

When we discuss morality we presume that the substance matter which the term comprises came into life through our perceptions, and because we define what „moral“ means, we can claim a described phenomenon as solely ours.

What does morality consist of?

Does morality solely exist because of a theoretical framework? One can doubt that. Morality on the one side has something to do with basic social interaction, through that morality gains value.

On the other side are the superordinate agreements about morality, which are declared and decided upon by an elite or defining group/process, but through that the agreements about morality only contain a forced validity, which is disconnected from its own basis, that is: the meaning of social interaction between beings (i.e. the construct about morality excludes that what lays outside of its hierarchy, other forms of interaction that contain „social values“ ).

On the individual plane exists that what any “I” perceives and experiences in her lived interactions and experiences as „morally okay“. And that can be between nonhuman animals or humans in the whole environmental context – seen from a common sense point of view if we take the human view.

When we discard the human decorum that surrounds and sticks to the word morality, we can say that every action has a moral implication, non-anthropocentrically seen.

It’s always the same: otherness. We have to accept it.

Animals have a very different philosophy-of-living in a neutral comparison to our philosophy of life, and I believe one can use the term philosophy here to describe the yet unnamed phenomenon in nonhumans animals of how they structure and perceive their own lives.

I ask myself whether the human problem with nonhuman animals isn’t rather to be found in the differences of their philosophies-of-life when compared to our typically human ones.

The problems lie much more in this radical otherness from us, than in the reasons of gradual biological differences or in the often assumed moral impotence on this other one’s (the animal’s) behalf.

The problem thus seems to fluctuate around the scope of difference and coinciding similarity. In many aspects we equal nonhumans animals a lot, but in the aspect of our dominance claim finally, we see nonhuman animals as „the losers“, the bottom of the evolutionary or divinely ordained hierarchical order on which we can postulate our violent and hypocritical sense of power.

That nonhuman animals are the losers amongst the biological animals is even an attitude that some of their advocates purport. I often meet people who won’t reckon a unique, self-sufficient quality seen to be in the closeness and distance amongst the different animals (including human animals). In the forefront of every argumentation there is always: how are they in comparison to us. As if humans and nonhuman animals had to compete on an „equal” scale … and another related argumentation goes: how much of their „instinct“ could possibly entitle them to be granted rights; right that would protect them from humans (whereby it is highly questionable whether those who have prejudices against you, can really grant you your own rights.)

Human society, it seems, will always consider the „us“ and the „we“ as objectively more important, insofar as the „we“, the how „we are“, is the criterion, and nonhumans animals are measured against it.

The crucial point is to accept others and to accept the validity of otherness. For the others and maybe even for us!

Reaching far? Animal Thealogy – female animal deities, female human deities, on the terms of such angles.

Painting: Io by intersectional antispeciesist veg*AR artist Farangis G. Yegane – Lebensschutz!


Das Geheimnis der Liebe zum Leben. Religiöse Widerständler und heidnische Modernisten.

Das Geheimnis der Liebe zum Leben

Religiöse Widerständler und heidnische Modernisten

Von Thorm KePa

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Die Katharer waren eine christliche Splittergruppe des europäischen Hochmittelalters, die ihren Glauben an den Gut-Böse-Dualismus der aus Persien stammenden Manichäer des 3. Jahrunderts nach Christus anlehnte. Die Manichäer selbst verbanden unterschiedliche Elemente in ihrem Glauben und so findet man bei ihnen auch eine Anlehnung an das Christentum.

Beide Glaubensgruppen teilten die Vorstellung, dass Tiere nicht geopfert werden dürfen – weder für religöse Zwecke, noch zu Ernährungszwecken. Man geht allerdings davon aus, dass die Katharer Fische aus dieser Vorstellung des (gewollten oder indirekten, religiös verordenten) Lebensschutzes ausschlossen, weil sie meinten, dass sich Fische nicht geschlechtlich vermehren würden und aus dem Wasser entstünden.

Die Katharer glaubten, dass „Lichtteile“ von Engelsseelen ausversehen mit einem toten Tier mitverzehrt werden könnten, und die Manichäer meinten, dass Tiere-Essen hätte zur Folge, dass die „Lichtteile“ des Tieres durch den Verzehr nicht aus dem Tierkörper entweichen könnten. Beide Glaubensgruppen erwarteten eine strenge Befolgung ihrer asketischen Ideale aber nur von der Priesterschaft (bei den Katharern die Parfaits, bei den Manichäern die Electi).

Es gab eine Reihe von Schnittstellen beider Glaubenssysteme, eine davon scheint uns in die Gegenwart zu führen: die Hütung des Geheimnisses irdischer Existenz. Ein Stein bei den Manichäern, ein Gral bei den Katharern.

„Wolfram’s Grail/Stone bears a great resemblance to the Manichaean jewel, the Buddhist padma mani, the jewel found in the heart of the lotus that is the solar symbol of the Great Liberation and which can also be found in the Indian traditions concerning the Tree of Life.” Jean Markale, The Grail: The Celtic Origins of the Sacred Icon, 1999, S. 134.

Beim christlichen Ritter Wolfram von Eschenbach in seinem Parzival taucht der „heilige Gral“, der in der Mystik des Mittelalters für so viele Ritterorden von solch großer Bedeutung war, in der Form des „lapsit excillis / Lapis excilis“ auf:

„Die wehrliche Ritterschaft,
höret, was ihr Nahrung schafft:
Sie leben von einem Stein,
dessen Art muss edel sein.
Ist euch der noch unbekannt,
Sein Name wird euch hier genannt:
Er heißet Lapis exilis.
Von seiner Kraft der Phönix
Verbrennt, dass er zu Asche wird
Und dann der Gluth verjüngt entschwirrt.
Der Phönix schüttelt sein Gefieder
Und gewinnt so lichten Schimmer wieder,
Das er schöner wird als eh.
Wär einem Menschen noch so weh,
Doch stirbt er nich denselben Tag,
Da er den Stein erschauen mag,
Und noch die nächste Woche nicht;
Auch enthellt sich nicht sein Angesicht:
Die Farbe bleibt ihm klar und rein,
Wenn er täglich schaut den Stein,
Wie in seiner besten Zeit
Einst als Jüngling oder Maid.
Säh er den Stein zweihundert Jahr,
Ergrauen würd ihm nicht sein Haar.
Solche Kraft dem Menschen gibt der Stein,
Daß ihm Fleisch und Gebein
Wieder jung wird gleich zur Hand:
Dieser Stein ist Gral genannt.“

Parzival und Titurel: Rittergedichte von Wolfram von Eschenbach, Hrsg. Karl Simrock, Tübingen, 1842, S. 40-41.

Parzival and Titurel. By Wolfram von Eschenbach.

Siehe auch:

Wolfram von Eschenbach: Parzival. Mittelhochdeutscher Text. Hrsg. Karl Lachmann 1833, Berlin

Die Sicht auf den heiligen Gral eröffnet ein Spektrum in dem Inhalte mythischer und religiöser Natur gemeinsam im Universalen zu entdecken sind. Anerkannte „Religionen“ und heidnische „Mythen“ und „Legenden“ lassen sich nicht hundertprozentig voneinander trennen.

Eine andere Parallele, die diese beiden Brückenreligionen, die der Manichäer und die der Katharer, aufwiesen, war ihr Widerstandsgeist der sich gehen die Hauptkirche richtete, der sie sich jeweils entlehnten und durch die sie letzendlich auch vernichtet wurden. Die Manichäer wurden in ihrem Urspungsland Persien vom Zoroastrismus bekämpft, Mani in den Kerker gesteckt, wo er bald starb. Ein Zeungis der zoroastrischen Verachtung des Manichäismus finden wir in diesem Beispiel:

Studia Manichaica edited by Ronald E. Emmerick, Werner Sundermann, Peter Zieme

Die Katharer wurden im qualvoll lang andauernden Albigenserkreuzzug durch die Katholiken final ausgelöscht, nachdem auch die letzten friedlichen Verhandlungen zwischen ihnen und den Katholiken gescheitert waren. Der katharischen Priesterin Esclarmonde de Foix wurde bei diesen Verhandlungen vom später heiligen Dominikus der Mund verboten, sie sei eine Frau, daher stehe es ihr nicht zu sich in einen theologischen Disput einzumischen.

(Vergleiche: Gottfried Koch, Frauenfrage und Ketzertum im Mittelalter: die Frauenbewegung im Rahmen des Katharismus und des Waldensertums und ihre sozialen Wurzeln [12.-14. Jahrhundert], 1962, S. 52 und Giovanni Chiantore, Studi medievali, 1964, S. 748)

Auf dieser Seite befindet sich eine praktische Übersicht über den Verlauf des Albigenserkreuzzugs:

Warum sich ausgerechtnet ein christlicher Ritter aus Franken, nämlich Wolfram von Eschenbach, mit einem Geheimnis befasste, dass auch diese beiden Widerstandsreligionen beschäftige, muss mit der geheimnisvollen Popularität des Mythos um den heiligen Gral gelegen haben, der in Europa besonders durch die Arthus-Legende bekannt gewesen ist.

Die Suche und zugleich die Festlegung dessen, worum es eigentlich in dieser Suche nach dem Gral geht (was nun das Abendland und das Mittelalter anbetrifft), ist bis in die deutsche Romantik hineingetragen worden, bedeutungsvoll und mit tiefem Pathos. So band Richard Wagner in seinem Parsifal neue Ideale an die Legende, die bis heute Fragen aufwirft, die für immer unbeantwortbar bleiben müssen.

Richard Wagner, der seinen Parsifal an den Eschenbachs anlehnte, befasste sich zu der Zeit als er dieses, sein letztes Werk schrieb, mit der buddhistischen Lehre der Gewaltsoligkeit gegenüber dem Leben und war fasziniert von der Möglichkeit der „Erlösung“ durch die menschliche Anerkennung der Verantwortung gegenüber dem Leid der Tiere. Er lag damit ganz im Geiste der europäischen vegetarischen Bewegung seiner Zeit.

Auf der Seite der International Vegetarian Union findet man zahlreiche detailierte Biographien von Menschen, die in der vegetarischen Bewegung damals eine Rolle spielten:

Wagner, der es selbst nicht ganz konsequent bis zum praktiziernden Vegetarier schaffte, schrieb über seine Gefühle der Gewalt Tieren gegenüber:

Richard Wagner an Mathilde Wesendonk (Timokrates Verlag), S. 53

Seine oft zitierte Ablehnung des „Urfalls“ der Gewalt gegenüber Tieren – der biblischen Geschichte über Kain, den Ackerbauenden, der aus Neid seinen Bruder Abel, den Hirten, erschlug, als Gott das Fleischopfer der pflanzlichen Opfergabe vorzog – erinnert intuitiv an die Ablehnung des Alten Testament der Katharer und der Manichäer.

Der Kritik an der jüdischen Tradition seitens Wagners mag damit zusammenhängen. Man will ein Übel an einem vermeintlichen Schuldigen festmachen, an einer bestimmten Lehre, damit man „der Sache“ habhaft werden kann – dabei ist jedes Übel immer an die Fehlerhaftigkeit individueller Menschen gebunden. Wagner wird sich kaum über die Tragweite seiner Kritik bewusst gewesen sein.

Aus Cosima Wagners Aufzeichnungen lässt sich einiges Wichtiges ableiten über das, was ihn zuletzt am meisten beschäftigt haben muss:

Jost Hermand, Freundschaft: Zur Geschichte einer sozialen Bindung , 2006, S. 100.

Wichtig ist es festzuhalten, dass die Suche nach dem heiligen Wahrheitskern auf diesem Pfad, wenn wir ihn denn so verfolgen, so scheint, dass der Lebensschutz bewusst, direkt und unbewusst und indirekt darin zu finden ist. Im Libretto Wagners erfahren wir, dass seine Gestalten im Parsifal von der Heiligkeit des Lebens sprechen:

KUNDRY: Sind die Tiere hier nicht heilig?


(Vom See her vernimmt man Geschrei und das Rufen der Ritter und Knappen.)

RITTER UND KNAPPEN: Weh’! – Weh’! Hoho! Auf! Wer ist der Frevler?

(Gurnemanz und die vier Knappen fahren auf und wenden sich erschrocken um. – Ein wilder Schwan flattert matten Fluges vom See daher; er ist verwundet, die Knappen und Ritter folgen ihm nach auf die Szene. Der Schwan sinkt, nach mühsamem Fluge, inatt zu Boden; der zweite Ritter zieht ihm den Pfeil aus der Brust. – Währenddem)

GURNEMANZ: Was gibt’s?




VIERTER KNAPPE: Ein Wilder Schwan!

DRITTER KNAPPE: Er ist verwundet!


GURNEMANZ: Wer schoss den Schwan?

DER ERSTE RITTER (hervorkommend): Der König grüsste ihn als gutes Zeichen, als überm See kreiste der Schwan, da flog ein Pfeil…

KNAPPEN UND RITTER (Parsifal hereinführend, auf Parsifals Bogen weisend): Der war’s! Der schoss! Dies der Bogen! Hier der Pfeil, den seinen gleich.

GURNEMANZ (zu Parsifal): Bist du’s, der diesen Schwan erlegte?

PARSIFAL: Gewiss! Im Fluge treff’ ich, was fliegt!

GURNEMANZ: Du tatest das? Und bangt’ es dich nicht vor der Tat?

DIE KNAPPEN UND RITTER: Strafe dem Frevler!

GURNEMANZ : Unerhörtes Werk! Du konntest morden, – hier im heil’gen Walde, des’ Stiller Friede dich umfing? Des Haines Tiere nahten dir nicht zahm, – Grüssten dich freundlich und fromm? Aus den Zweigen, was sangen die Vöglein dir? Was tat dir der treue Schwan? Sein Weibchen zu suchen, flog er auf, mit ihm zu kreisen über dem See, den so er herrlich weihte zum Bad. – Dem stauntest du nicht? Dich lockt’ es nur zu wild kindischem Bogengeschoss?

Er war uns hold: was ist er nun dir? Hier, schau her! – hier trafst du ihn: da starrt noch das Blut, – matt hängen die Fluegel; das Schneegefieder dunkel befleckt, – gebrochen das Aug’, – siehst du den Blick? (Parsifal hat Gurnemanz mit wachsender Ergriffenheit zugehört; jetzt zerbricht er seinen Bogen und schleudert die Pfeile von sich.) Wirst deiner Sündentat du inne? (Parsifal führt die Hand über die Augen.) Sag’, Knab’, erkennst du deine grosse Schuld? Wie konntest du sie begehn?

PARSIFAL: Ich wusste sie nicht.

So fast auch der Kulturgeschichtler Jost Hermand diesbezüglich zusammen:


Jost Hermand, Glanz und Elend der deutschen Oper, 2008, S. 139.

Es wird einen Grund haben, warum die Katharer und die Manichäer bis heute dafür bekannt sind, dass sie es als eine Vollendung ihrer Glaubensmission betrachteten in der Askese zu leben, die Gewalt gegen Tiere vermeidet. Und es wird einen Grund haben, warum wir das Motif des Lebensschutzes in anderer Form, aber gebunden an den Mythos der Gralslehre, wieder finden in der deutschen Romantik.

Der Wert solcher Botschaften ist ein fragiler. Der sensible Sinn entweicht schnell denen, die zweifeln an der Möglichkeit des Menschen als transspezies-empathisches Wesen. Aber gerade an dieser Zerbrechlichkeit mag das Geheimnis einer Erkenntnissuche liegen – an dem zu halten, was kaum zu greifen ist, was aber tief in das Herz führt. Weder Religion noch wahre Kunst ist ohne Sensibilität und Reverenz für das Leben denkbar und wenn sie diese nicht aufweisen, werden sie zu Zerstörern.

Es geht hier nicht darum, ob ein Mensch, der durch sein Talent und sein Schaffen besonders hervorragt, nun mit gutem Beispiel voranging und wie genau. Wagner schaffte es selbst nicht ganz hin zum zumindest dauerhaft gelebten Vegetarismus, aber er bemühte sich um eine Botschaft des All-Lebensschutzes, die die Forderung beinhaltete, dass Tiere nicht gejagt, gegessen, getötet werden dürften. Worum es geht ist, dass die Erinnerung und das Bewusstsein über Zeit und Geschichte hinweg erhalten bleiben. Das besondere ist, von welchen Seiten her Fragen aufgeworfen wurden am menschlicher Töten von Tieren für den Fleischverzehr und für das Opfern, gleichwohl wir Zeugnisse dieser Art in den Irrgärten menschlicher Überlieferung nur wie Fragmente zusammentragen können.

So existierte der Manichäismus beispielsweise in einer Zeit, in der er als ‚Lichtreligion’ schon durch eine innere menschliche Spaltung zwischen einem absolut Guten und einem absolut Bösen belastet war. Hier konnte man die Sinnlosigkeit und die ethische Verwerflichkeit der Verursachung von Leid durch den Menschen als eine eigene Verantwortlichkeit, der im menschlichen Handeln Rechnung getragen werden muss, nicht mehr ohne Weiteres thematisieren, denn sowohl die Macht des Bösen, als auch die des Guten waren so gewaltig, dass das eigene Handeln nicht mehr als ein dienen oder gehorchen (der einen oder der anderen Seite) sein konnte.

Dort wo Mensch und Tier in ihrer Problematik und in ihrer Heiligkeit ihres Lebens als Eins genommen werden, wird es für uns aber immer schwierig bleiben das anhand der weltanschaulichen Hinterlassenschaften solcher kulturellen Begebenheiten nachweisen zu können. Zum einen wird man hier keine direkte Hervorhebung der Tierproblematik finden, zum anderen, gehen wir zu stark davon aus, dass alle menschlichen Lebensvorstellungen im Bezug auf die Mitwelt eigentlich ähnlich gewesen sein müssten wie unserer heute.

St. Augustinus , der erst begeistert vom Manichäismus war, wendete sich später von ihm ab in Empörung und überlieferte uns in seiner Kritik viel über die Gründe, warum die Manichäer Tiere nicht töten, opfern oder essen wollten:, +

Im persischen Mythos gibt es den Humaay / Homa, den Phönix, der im Schahnameh und im iranischen Schöpfungsmythos auch Simorgh genannt wird, in prominenter Weise. Dieser mythische Vogel trug im gesamten Kulturraum zahlreiche, fast unzählige Nahmen, denn er stand für ein Seins-Prinzip.

Abbildung, Miniatur eines unbekannten Künstlers aus dem Schahnameh von Firdausi: Simorgh trägt das Kind Zal zu seinem Nest um es vor dem Tode zu retten.

Die bekanntesten Erzählungen über diese Vogelgestalt ist die von Farīd ad-Dīn ʻAṭṭār: The Conference of the Birds und die des im Gebirge nistenden Vogels Simorgh, der das ausgestzte Kind Zal rettet und aufzieht, im Schahnameh von Firdausi.

Nach der Vorstellung im iranischen Mythos teilte sich das Sein in drei Bereiche auf:

1. Die verletzliche Leiblichkeit auf dieser Erde, die „Tankard“; der Raum der Sichtbarkeit und Greifbarkeit.

2. Gab es den Bereich des Sichtbaren aber Ungreifbaren, der durch Simorgh dargestellt wurde. Simorgh konnte nur auf der Erde verletzt werden, aber auch niemals ‚getötet’ werden, sie war der Vogel der Wiedererstehung. Sobald sie vom Boden abhob, konnte man sie auch nicht mehr verletzen.

3. Und es gab den Bereich des Unsichtbaren und Ungreifbaren, den Bereich der Gottheit Vohuman, in der das Sein überging, wenn es auf der Erde verletzt wird und sich nicht mehr schützen kann.

Diese drei Bereiche waren untrennbar Verbunden. In dem Buch: Das Denken beginnt mit dem Lachen: die unsterbliche Kultur der Iran von M. Jamali und G. Y. Arani-May wird der Mythos des Simorgh in seinem Kontext erörtert. Das Buch ist hier abrufbar.


Jost Hermand zu Richard Wagner und dem Vegetarismus als Motiv in seiner letzten Oper Parsifal


Aus: Jost Hermand, Glanz und Elend: der deutschen Oper, 2008, S. 139.
Richard Wagner: Parsifal (1882), Die vegetarische Botschaft seiner letzten Bekenntnisoper, “Ich schreibe Misik mit einem Ausrufezeichen!” – Richard Wagner

Dieser Eintrag ist u.a. getagged mit VEGAN PEDAGOGY, warum?

Weil es Menschen ermutigt wenn sie von anderen Menschen hören, die vor sich, chronologisch gesehen bereits in einer Zeit vor ihnen, über ähnliche Themenkomplxe Gedanken gemacht haben … . Vor allem, wenn so ein Thema ein ethisch so wichtiges aber auch so schwierig zu behandelndes ist, wie das tierethischen Denkens.

Manuchehr Jamali and Gita Yegane Arani-May, Mithraic backgrounds and its Iranian roots: What’s the symbolism of the bull’s raised tail with the three ears of grain? Why do ears of grain grow out of the raised bull’s tail?

This text can be downloaded as a PDF, if you click here: Mithraic backgrounds

Manuchehr Jamali and Gita Yegane Arani-May

Mithraic backgrounds and their Iranian roots:

What’s the symbolism of the bull’s raised tail with the three ears of grain?

Why do ears of grain grow out of the raised bull’s tail?

No bull raises his tail straight up, nor does one or three ears of grain grow at the tip of any bull’s tail. What type of worldview do we see in this symbolism that merges animal with plant life? The image of the “ear of grain” and the early philosophical conceptions tied to this symbol, held a central meaning in the early Iranian civilisation and their religious ideas. A basic concept they held was represented in their equation of growth (as pertaining to plants) and birth (in animal life).

The Persian word Tokhm means “plant seed” and “sperm”. Kashtan, “the sowing out of plants” also means to “impregnate”. The term Tokhm (seed) was equated with the term ‘fire’. Though meant was not the burning fire, rather: the seed would contain a nonburning fire (a warmth = the creative dynamic and Mithra = Love) hidden in its depth inside. ‘Life’ (Djaan = Gi = Gaya = Gi + Yaan) itself was also called Tokhme Atesh = “Fireseed”.

The term waksh “to grow” refers both to the ‘growth’ and to the ‘blazing fire’ both equally. The central deity of the early Iranians was symbolized in the image of an array of flammable cubes (or firelighters), and “the ear of grain” – the image that mainly depicted this deity – was also seen as equal with “fire cubes” in an oven.


Each “seed” (the ‘fire-of-life’ of each plant life, animal life and human life: “Atashe Jaan”) holds within itself a hidden fire, through which a drive to raise itself and the desire to give itself an outer appearance and shape is triggered – from the darkness within to the outer visibility.

Each seed that falls down onto the soil raises itself, pushes upwards by a means of such a “wind” (air = breath = fire-creating-agent = ‘that, what sets something ablaze’ = Azar Forouz) of a motivated movement and lifts and raises itself (it thus “becomes”). Something “is” when it raises itself. The hidden fire-of-life itself though, comes into being through the wind = Waaz = Waay.


The Iranian deity had also carried the title Waaye beh = “good wind” and Naaye beh = “good flute”. The good flute is the source of the wind of life, the breath of life and the fire of life. The good wind, which is at the same time a melody or music, was identified with the good flute, which again also carried the title of “the virgin”.

Trumpets and the other big musical wind instruments which were used by the ancient Iranians when they went to war, were called Gaw dum = “cow’s tail”. A good horse was also called a “bamboo-“ or “reed’s-“ tail (Khayzaran dum = literally “bamboo tail”).

The horse, Asb in Persian, is called Bad-e Djaan = “wind of life” in the classical Iranian literature. Bad is the wind = Waay, and Waay again is the “Naaye Be” (the good flute). The term Bad-e Djaan discloses the relation of the “bamboo tail” with a creative feature: the wind, Bad, is “Waaye Be” and at the same time its also the title of the Iranian deitiy. The tail stood for the place of resurrection (the re-creation).

But what does the tail of a cattle has to do with a trumpet? The word Dum = “tail” did not only mean “end” in the sense of a point closing or that it ends something, it also meant the location where a re-surrection or re-creation takes place. Dombale means both “tail” and also, “dombale chizi raftan” means to pursue something. The word dombale also means ‘continuation’ in the sense of a spearhead.

The feathers of the peacock were walled Dume Tavoos = “tail of the peacock”. The peacock was considered to be the bird of resurrection and renewal (Frash-Murw) because of his colourful tail.

In the Persian language wheat is called Gan-Dum = Gund-Dum which means as much as “life at its tail” oder “ear (Gund) at its tip” and it stood as a symbol of resurrection. Since often there is a bunch of hair at the end of an animal’s tail and since a bird’s tail has a fan of feathers and since hair held a special and important meaning in this ancient world view, we can understand this type of equation so far.

In the Pahlavi texts hair is often identified with plants, but “hair” (Muy = Mu = Giss) originally carried the connotation of “flute” in the Persian language. The word “music” itself, that consists of the morphemes Mu-Se (Muse = Musi) means “three flutes” = “flute” – from this context an explanation can be seen as of how the word “music” originated.


The bird (Mare-gha = Tan-guria) stands as the embodiment of the source of the worlds (self-) renewal, and the earth goddess herself, who is called Gawe Barmaye (cow of Barmayun) in the Shahnameh myth, is there described as the one “with a (male) peacocks hair as her tail”.

The tail was also depicted as fire, as a flame and as an ear of grain. The word Dum = “tail” does mean in Persian also fire and flame.


The ear of grain, which consists of connected grains or seeds, has also been equated with lightable fire cubes in the Iranian mythology. The deity who is the source of all being (existence) and who is the first element of all life = Artha, is the goddess of fire and seeds (“fireseeds”). All primordial elements of living existence are understood as fireseeds, through an understood equation of “fire” and “seed”. So the ear of grain was depicted as a flame or as a burning torch. The word Soak, that also means ear of wheat, does similarly carry the meaning ”fireflame”.

Within this context we can also find the reason why Cautes = Rashn, and Cautopates = Suroush – Rashn and Soroush mythologically parallel the figures of Cautes and Cautopates in mithraism in their role and function – carry a torch in their hand, and why Soroush (Cautopates) in the Shahnameh epic has hair that grows so long that it reaches down to the ground. The hair on the head where equated with the symbol of three ears of grain.

Soroush and Rashn were both fire-lighteners, they where those who would set the fire ablaze. The lighting of the fire represented the rebirth and the newly created (German: Neuschöpfung). The term of “lighting a fire” (Azar Forouz) meant “bringing something into life” and “rebirth”.

Soroush, Rashn and Artha were for this reason all called with the attribute name Kavat: the one, who opens something anew”. The goddess Artha had been called Kavat in the Region of Sijistan (Sistan). In Persian literature Kavat is the “doorsill”. The deity Artha is being symbolized by the 1. month of the year (Farvardin). She opens the year. The doorsill (Kavat) represents the idea of the initiation and opening of that what is new. Cautes and Cautopates open the gate to the day, they stand for the sill between night and day.

Rashn and Soroush carry like midwifes the Sunseeds, which cyclically comes into being at every midnight, and they help this seedling to be born. Cautes (Caut-es) is similar to the word Kavat, which, as we already mentioned, means the one who starts, who creates new, opens something anew and threshhold. Cautopates (Caut-o-pat-es) means the partner (the other half of a pair or twin) and he is the coworker of Cautes. These two have the task of bringing about the rebirth or the resurrection (Frashgart = the ‘becoming afresh’). In a relief from Carnuntum (Austria) Cautes is depicted with a raised torch (flame) in his right hand and an ear of grain in his left.

The Iranian deity was called Arta-Xusht, “Artha the ear”

The central deity in ancient Iran was depicted as an ear of grain. Her seeds or fireseeds (Artha = Axv = Praan = Fran) were the first elements of all life on earth. These fireseeds are in every body (Tan, which also means womb and fireplace or oven) safely kept and one, with the body itself. This was seen as the love (Mithras = Maetha) and unification of the divine being with the worldly matter.

The creation (A-fri-dan) was a turning-into-all-that-lives (fri = love) and a binding-with-everything. Maetha, from which the word Mithra later derived, meant 1. pair and 2. unification.

This deity was also called Artha-vahisht, And-o-hesht and Artkusht. And means “seed” in Sanskrit. Artha and Ard were the “primordial element” of all that lives, all living entities. The word heshtan (va-hesthan) and vaheshtan meant “planting the seeds into the soil” or also the sexual conception in the womb. The term Va-hisht is translated as “the best” by the Zoroastrians and understood as “yonder paradise”. Behesht, which has an equal meaning as the word Vahisht, means in Persian until today “paradise”.

The image or the concept of the “ear” (of grain) stood on one hand for 1. the connection and the unification of all existence (of all being), and of all that lives (love), and 2. on the other hand it stood for the richness in all the existent variations, in all manifoldness, in the distinctness of things. The image of the ear of grain does not depict the repetition of similar parts; the grains, that are the seeds, were seen as the very first element of all the different, separate, diverse, heterogeneous beings.

The ear didn’t have any identical grains, but was the initial point for diversity. The deity was the origin of all differences and all colours. The seeds of the god (Artha) turned or morphed in the process of creation into all the manifold forms and revealed itself in diverseness. The initial condition (Tokhm means in its form “Tum” also “darkness”) itself though stayed dark, ungraspable and invisible. That means that when the deity became visible, it only became visible in plurality or manifoldness. Her invisibleness was the condition of the darkness. Such an “ear” (of grain) this god had been.


The quality of the being (German: Wesen) or nature of this deity, which laid equally in each of her seeds, consisted of the compound of two principles or powers, energies. The image of the god or its concept was therefore also called “Hu-vis = good two-ness (however, not a duality in the sense of a dichotomy)”.

On one hand the deity was an ear of grain (as in the image of the connected seed “the compounded fire”) and on the other hand she was the water of life (all liquids, the essence of the plants and the blood or the milk of the nonhuman animals and humans, were called “water” = Ape = Awe). Because of the interconnected or compounded ‘two-ness’ the nature of the deity was understood as a trinity that was depicted in different forms like the threefoiledness, the threeseededness, the thee-eyedness, the three-feetedness, consisting of three ears of grain, three flutes, etc.

The sort of a bondedness (German: Gebundenheit) of two feet or of a pair of wings or also that of how water and seed or the body and the fire of life are connected, was a binding through an “invisible third”. This form of a bond was that, what was understood as “Mithras”, Maetha = pair and unification.

The word “ear (of grain)” Xushe (Xushu = Ukushu) means in Sogdian the number six. The contemporary word “six”: Shesh in Persian, sets itself together of She + She = Se + Se = 3 +3. The image and the symbolism of the “Khushe” itself is that of three pairs = 3 x 2. Art-xusht is an ear that carries three pair of seeds. The “ear” (of grain) yet was also equated with the star cluster of the Pleiades, which again were also called “sixling” in Persian.

The reason why Mithras cuts the vein of the primeval bull with a short sword can be explained in the following way: three leafs grow from the blood that streams out of the vein. In the Iranian myth in the book Bundashishn the vein and the blood both (together) are identified with the deity Arthakhusht. This means the veins were identified with this deity and the main artery, that comes from the heart and divides into two parts, was called “Aorta” after her. The deity Artha was also called Urt (Urt-vahisht).


The word which later only remained to be Xushe = “ear (of grain)” originally consisted of Axv + she (Axv + 3) and was originally the word Axushe = Ukhushe. This word meant “three primordial seeds”. Axu is the “primordial element of being”. It is the basic element of existence and of life, and it is also the “the state of being itself” (“self”). The suffix She correlates to to “Se”, that is, the number three. Akhushe is the (threefold) primordial element consisting of three parts in the Persian myth – the primordial seed (Axv = Xva = Uva).

The Axv makes up the center of the quintuple substance of life of the human being. The human entity consists of the five elements: 1. Axv + 2. Buy + 3. Urva + 4. Daena + 5. Fravashi, and from the Avx four powers develop (four wings, four leafs).


Art-khusht (Artha, the ear) is seen in the sky as the Pleiades, which are called Khushe Parvin, and also Palm, Sheshak, Pirou, etc. in the Persian languages and Sorayya ( = Thriyya = 3) in Arabic. From this ear (the Xushe Parvin = the Pleiades) at the firmament, the six parts of the earthly creation evolve: 1. the cloudy sky, 2. the water, 3 soil, the earth, 4. the flora, 5. the fauna (especially also the Gaospenta = the “beneficent cow”, which is equal in meaning to the “small domestic animals”), and 6. the world of the human beings. It was also for this reason why the Iranians counted six seasons, which corresponded with this evolutionary circle.

The Pleiades were seen as six seedlings or seeds that would come together in a “womb”, which was the half moon. Following the ancient conceptualization, the full moon set itself together from the Pleiades and the half moon. The full moon showed the state of their unification. Pleiades and half moon make up a pair that represented the “seeds and the womb” and they were understood as the creative beginning. From the coming together of these two celestial parts the world was born.

The pairing of the half moon with the Pleiades was called Vinas (Ghunas), which originally meant “love” and stood for the primordial, the initial love. In the Zoroastrian theology the change from the term Vinas to Gonah, the sin, namely the primordial sin, came about. This term also correlates to the Arabic Jonah = sin.


The half moon, the celestial womb, played the role of a sort of a garden, since there all seedlings of live would sprout (the primordial cow, that comes into being in the half moon, in the Mithras cult). Then all the seedlings are laid (distributed, sewn, kashtan) into the Tan = the body, namely the bodies of all earthly (sentient) living beings and plant bodies. The body is equal in its meaning and function with the “womb”. In the Kurdish language the moon is also called Mang, this is the same name the mythological earth-cow is called. Both, moon and earth-cow stood identically with the “ear (of grain)” (Khushe Parvin, the Pleiades). According to the Zoroastrian text sources, different plants grow from the different organs of the primordial cow.

As we already mentioned the nature of the “Art-khusht” was the connected or bound two-ness. This also implied that the male and the female belonged together (primordial cow = cow and bull) and along with that stood the symbolism of the unification of the seed with the womb. The title for an honorary man was the Khajeh (Khava-ye) over centuries in Persia, and it literally meant hermaphrodite. Also the current day honorific title Djenab has just that meaning. The great Iranian heroes of the Shahnameh: Rostam, was called Tahm-tan (Tokhm-tan = seed-womb), which also entails the meaning hermaphrodite. The compounded two-ness (trinity) had the sense of being the creative agent (of the movement, the light, the measure, the happiness).


The difference between the Zoroastrian and the Mithraic primeval bull is the following:

The Zoroastrian primeval bull is fatally injured by Angra Mainyu (Ahriman). The goal of Ahriman is to destroy life on earth. The “Artha”-Seeds though are always victorious (Pirooz), since they have the power to constantly renew themselves on their own. So all efforts by Angra Mainyu are in vain. From all the parts of the cow (which is set as equal with Parvins ear (of grain) / پروين خوشه ), new growth develops from the absorption of the water that runs in the river flowing next to the river Veh Daiti where the bull lies. The primeval bull experiences a new “becoming afresh” = Frashgart.

In Mithraism Mithras is the creator with his dagger, by cutting the vein of the primeval bull. Here the depiction of the river is missing. In place of the process of a resurrection stands the act of the cutting of the live giving veins of the all-live (All-Leben) through the god with his short sword. With the cut in the veins of blood, Mithras effectuates the putative rebirth of live (Frashgart). Water can’t be cut up or dismembered, but the veins, through which the blood is running – the blood which was also understood as a “river” – could be severed.

The vein was identical with the deity Artha. Through the sacrifice the renewal takes place in Mithraism, and with the brutal disconnection of the vein of life, the idea of the contract (Mitre) takes over the place of love (Mehr).

The seeds and the unification of the seeds with the water represented love, the contract though came about through severance.

Copyright © 2012 Edition Farangis. All rights reserved.

The German text is accessible here:

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For our English readers: Mithras in the Taunus – Mithras at the Saalburg

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