In the previous post, we saw evidence that the ancients knew well the influences of the relative positions of the sun, moon, and planets upon human actions, as well as those of plants and animals.
"Modern science" continues to corroborate this ancient knowledge (just as John Anthony West reported back in 1979 in his indispensable Serpent in the Sky-- see the first page in the third chapter, "Science and Art in Ancient Egypt," in the first section subtitled "Astronomy"). He also notes (just as R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz pointed out in the quotation from Sacred Science cited in yesterday's post) that although this knowledge appears to have been generally suppressed, marginalized or forgotten in "the West," it was preserved in other parts of the world, as evidenced by the knowledge handed down and still maintained in Chinese acupuncture.
Another important ancient work preserves evidence of this same sort of knowledge regarding the influence of the celestial motions upon man and beast: the Metamorphoses of Apuleius (c. AD 125 - c. AD 180) better known as The Golden Ass (or "The Golden Tale of the Ass").
It is no ordinary tale, for it conveys profound teachings through fabulous events, in a sort of extended parable (parables within parables within a larger parable, in fact) -- teachings of the ancient "Mystery Religions." Indeed, it is generally believed that Apuleius was an initiate into more than one of the ancient Mysteries, including the Dionysian Mysteries and the worship of Isis, and the text of his Metamorphoses appears to bear this out -- particularly the culminating Eleventh Book.
At the beginning of that all-important Book Eleven of the Metamorphoses of Apuleius, the protagonist and first-person narrator Lucius (who has spent most of the tale transformed ignominously into an ass, undergoing many adventures), he comes to a moment of despair, in which he has reached the end of his own ingenuity and can only fling himself upon divine mercy. Fleeing to the seashore from his final humiliating adventure, and collapsing exhausted upon the beach, he awakens in the night to the rising Moon, and addresses a prayer which becomes the turning point of the novel (and his life).
Here, in the superlative 1962 translation of Jack Lindsay, is that episode, complete with acknowledgement of the Moon's waxing and waning over men, beasts, and "even inorganic objects" --
About the first watch of the night I was aroused by sudden panic. Looking up I saw the full orb of the Moon shining with peculiar lustre and that very moment emerging from the waves of the sea. Then the thought came to me that this was the hour of silence and loneliness when my prayers might avail. For I knew that the Moon was the primal Goddess of supreme sway; that all human beings are creatures of her providence; that not only cattle and wild beasts but even inorganic objects are vitalized by the divine influence of her light; that all the bodies which are on earth, or in the heavens, or in the sea, increase when she waxes, and decline when she wanes. Considering this, therefore, and feeling that Fate was now satiated with my endless miseries and at last licensed a hope of salvation, I determined to implore the august image of the risen Goddess.
So, shaking off my tiredness, I scrambled to my feet and walked straight into the sea in order to purify myself. I immersed my head seven times because (according to the divine Pythagoras) that number is specially suited for all ritual acts; and then, speaking with lively joy, I lifted my tear-wet face in supplication to the irresistible Goddess:'Queen of Heaven, whether you are fostering Ceres the motherly nurse of all growth,m who (gladdened at the discovery of your lost daughter) abolished the brutish nutriment of the primitive acorn and pointed the way to gentler food (as is yet shown in the tilling of the fields of Eleusis); or whether you are celestial Venus who in the first moment of Creation mingled the opposing sexes in the generation of mutual desires, and who (after sowing in humanity the seeds of indestructible continuing life) are now worshipped in the wave-washed shrine of Paphos; or whether you are the sister of Phoebus, who by relieving the pangs of childbirth travail with soothing remedies have brought safe into the world lives innumerable, and who are now venerated in the thronged sanctuary of Ephesus; or whether you are Proserpine, terrible with the howls of midnight, whose triple face has power to ward off all the assaults of ghosts and to close the cracks in the earth, and who wander through many a grove, propitiated in divers manners, illuminating the walls of all cities with beams of female light, nurturing the glad seed sin the earth with your damp heat, and dispensing abroad your dim radiance when the sun has abandoned us -- O by whatever name, and by whatever rites, and in whatever form, it is permitted to invoke you, come now and succour me in the hour of my calamity. Support my broken life, and give me rest and peace after the tribulations of my lot. Let there be an end to the toils that weary me, and an end to the snares that beset me. Remove from me the hateful shape of a beast, and restore me to the sight of those that love me. Restore me to Lucius, my lost self. But if an offended god pursues me implacably, then grant me death at least since life is denied me.' 235-236.
Clearly, the author here seeks to here convey a profound teaching about the human condition. For more on the celestial Goddess who takes many names in the ancient world, see also this previous post.