The Hidden Meaning of Noah and the Ark; Pt. 2

Noah and company have now arrived on dry land. We now come to the part of the story that more than often gets overlooked. After the rainbow appears things aren’t necessarily so bright and sunny. Preston Harold continues his exploration…

The legend’s poetic revelation of embryonic and fetal life does not end with the arrival of man on terra firma. It deals with infant being of race and individual. It says Homo sapiens must deal with his imagination, “evil from his youth,” pointing to childish barbarism and man’s behavior in primeval times when he resorted to cannibalism…. The most important lesson primeval man had to learn was to substitute animal flesh for human flesh to maintain himself in life – the most important lesson the infant must learn is to make this substitution, for he cannot forever feed off his mother. The Noah story introduces the parallel to the Totem feast: Noah offers every clean beast and fowl upon an altar – man has begun to teach through ritual the realization that led him, finally, to relinquish cannibalism. Thus, this earliest religion represents enormous progress in the development of human consciousness: a foreswearing of embryonic, fetal, and infantile experience wherein one must partake of human substance in order to know life – man has become as child.

The legend says that God sets a rainbow in the sky as a reminder, implying the birth of consciousness with which the legend also deals, indicating that the process is more traumatic than physical birth. It is depicted as a laying down of one ego or life and the picking up of another in differentiated consciousness. ImageAs the legend describes it, Noah lies down naked in drunken stupor and is glimpsed briefly by Ham, who is thereby cursed with “knowledge of helplessness,” and reduced to servant status. His offspring becomes a mighty and cunning hunter. But Noah is covered quickly by Japeth and Shem who do not look upon the self-induced, naked helplessness of their father-consciousness. When Noah recovers, he says, “Blessed be the LORD GOD of Shem… God shall enlarge Japeth and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem,” through whom the line of legend continues, encompassing those who become Israel, a multitude outgrown from that which was within the ark.

Now that Ham, Shem, and Japeth have been introduced, in our next post we will look at how Harold understands their symbolic roles in the psyche. Until then, peace…

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