The Origin of the Alphabet from Egyptian Hieroglyphs and the Lunar Zodiac


The Origin of the Alphabet from Egyptian Hieroglyphs and Zodiacs

By Ed Goble
Content copyright Edwin Goble 2016-2017, with the exception of some of the graphics/pictures used.

Acknowledgements:

I would like to thank Brian Colless for his feedback, and Rick Aschmann for his feedback.  Also, I want to give acknowledgements and credit where it is due, that the sign lists created by Colless, Aschmann and Douglas Petrovich were carefully studied while preparing this thesis.  Rick Aschmann's chart is especially comprehensive, and was especially critical in helping to get the big picture of what is going on here.  Also, Petrovich's 2016 volume The World's Oldest Alphabet, was very informative.  And Colless' numerous writings at http://cryptcracker.blogspot.co.nz were studied very carefully, especially Colless' article at
https://www.academia.edu/12894458/The_origin_of_the_alphabet entitled The Origin of the Alphabet: 
An Examination of the Goldwasser Hypothesis.  Ideas derived from or inspired by those works will be noted.

Zodiacs/Astronomical Calendars

Zodiacs are groupings or sign lists of constellations, basically used as astronomical calendars.  We are most familiar with the Solar Zodiac that we inherited from the Greeks.  Some have argued that this is very ancient.  However, that is a myth.  Independent researcher and astronomer Gary D. Thomson writes:
The myth of a prehistoric 12-constellation zodiac (of equal divisions) is not yet extinguished. The suggestion that the zodiac was originally established . . . some 6000 years ago (or even earlier) is untenable . . . The Assyriologist Peter Jensen was the first to show, in his book Die Kosmologie der Babylonier (1890), that the Greek zodiac (and zodiacal constellation names) was adapted (with few changes) from the (newly developed) zodiacal scheme of the Babylonians. 
The tide of claims up to the early 20th-century for the great antiquity of the zodiac (made by many historians, astronomers and Assyriologists) have been definitively discredited by archaeology and an understanding of relevant Mesopotamian cuneiform sources . . .
The pioneering work on Babylonian astronomy was the monumental Sternkunde und Sterndienst in Babel (1907-1935, 2 volumes and 3 supplements in 7 parts) by the Jesuit mathematician and Assyriologist Franz Kugler. (The idea that a 12-constellation equally divided Babylonian zodiac originated circa 6000 BCE . . . did not begin to be entirely discarded until the pioneering work of Franz Kugler began appearing . . . The later studies of the mathematicians Otto Neugebauer and Bartel van der Waerden on cuneiform astronomy have clearly shown that the zodiac originated in Mesopotamia and not earlier than the 1st millennium BCE. 
The zodiac is Babylonian (Mesopotamian) in origin and evolved slowly over the period 1300 BCE to 500 BCE (but perhaps circa 420 BCE). . . 
The zodiac we have inherited is from the Greeks. There is no solid evidence that the Greeks possessed a complete zodiac until the 5th-century BCE . . . (The Origin of the Zodiac, http://members.westnet.com.au/gary-david-thompson/page9a.html)
There may have been some original prototypical constellation list that had some kind of influence universally on calendars and alphabets all over the world.  However, this was not a necessarily a list that we typically think of as a "Zodiac" which either follows the the path of the Sun or the path of the Moon.

French researcher Chantal Jègues-Wolkiewiez, PhD, is an archaeoastronomer.  She has established that the Great Hall of the Bulls in the cave of Lascaux, France, is actually a sky map or "planetarium."  And so, the figures in the hall, rather than being literally pictures of animals, are actually constellations, and so, the idea of constellations being represented by animals and other figures is a very prehistoric phenomenon.  (See the following video from the National Geographic Channel:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWzSXy53xkg)


(The Oldest Lunar Calendars, NASA,
http://sservi.nasa.gov/articles/oldest-lunar-calendars/)

This is one of the oldest lunar Calendars in the world, belonging to the Aurignacian Culture of Europe, and dates to 32,000 B.C., and shows the positions of the moon in the sky over time.  Jègues-Wolkiewiez takes the position that "serpentine" marks like this show that a person was an observer of the sky in the same place over a long period of time (see the documentary Prehistoric Astronomers where Jègues-Wolkiewiez's work is featured).

Here are some screen shots from the documentary, documenting the ancient evidence for the path of the Moon taking this shape, and that this was known in extreme prehistoric times:






Here is the S-pattern, as it is played on the Senet board, once again:


Here are some more pictures of this very ancient Lunar Calendar:


Now, this is very important given the following.  Timothy Kendall is an Archaeologist of Northeastern University, and a Historian of Ancient Egypt and Sudan.  He wrote:
It is worth noting in this connection that in most of the New Kingdom representations of Mehen, he is shown not as a coiled serpent but as one in the pose of an ‘S’, turned sideways, with his body forming an arch over the standing figure of Re, and his forepart and head reared up again before the god. It can be no coincidence that this same S-shaped form is that of the track of play on the senet board! (Mehen: The Ancient Egyptian Game of the Serpent).
Now, compare this once again with the ancient game boards from Mesopotamia, especially the connections the holes:



Thomson also writes:
The formal scheme of Babylonian constellations was established early in the 2nd millennium BCE to mark 3 "equatorially-centred" stellar paths. These were the Paths of Anu, Enlil, and Ea. (It is doubtful that the Babylonians of the 2nd millennium had either actually identified the celestial equator or developed a formal concept of the celestial equator.) The dual purpose of the constellation scheme was calendrical and also to serve as sky markers. It was unrelated to the ecliptic (and to the zodiac which was not yet developed). Despite popular assertions to the contrary there is no mention of the zodiacal scheme in Babylonia, or elsewhere in the Occident, prior to the 1st millennium BCE. 
Some constellations that later formed part of the zodiac were established in Mesopotamia circa 2000 BCE or perhaps earlier, and some were perhaps originally used as seasonal markers. (The expression "Stars of Elam, Akkad, and Amurru" perhaps suggests that, even very early, at least in Mesopotamia, the constellations originated as independent formal schemes having a calendrical purpose.) However, in the early 2nd millennium BCE these constellations formed part of the Babylonian system of "three stars each" i.e., the Paths of Anu, Enlil, and Ea. (There is some ambiguous evidence of earlier Sumerian constellations. It is reasonable to hold that perhaps the Sumerians originated certain constellations and perhaps they had a formal scheme for such.) 
A significant change occurred (during the Assyrian Period) circa 1000 BCE with the astronomy of the Mul.Apin series. The astronomy of the Mul.Apin series established the preconditions for the establishment of the zodiac. (The Origin of the Zodiac, http://members.westnet.com.au/gary-david-thompson/page9a.html)
There is evidence, then, that the Zodiacs were not always lists of constellations that followed the ecliptic, but other "paths" through the heavens sometimes.

The paths of these gods split the sky in three sections, with different stars passing along different parts of the sky.  Thompson writes:
. . . [T]he Path of Sin (= the way of the Moon) . . . crossed the boundaries between the Paths of Anu, Enlil, and Ea . . . It was a fixed path in the sky . . . [T]he Path of Shamash (= the way of the Sun) . . . also crossed the boundaries between the Paths of Anu, Enlil, and Ea. The path of the Sun and Planets was identified with the Moon's path. Likewise, it was a fixed path in the sky.
So, this "path of Shamash" later came to be known as the ecliptic.


As the Solar Zodiac that we are most familiar with developed in Babylonia, it was formally adopted by the Greeks around 500 BC.  This list contains 12 constellations.  Then Thompson writes:
The zodiac is a product of a revision of the Old Babylonian system in later Neo-Babylonian astronomy in the 2nd-half of the 1st-millennium BCE.
The zodiac was a development from the Babylonian scheme of 17/18 constellations/stars marking the path of the moon . . . 
. . .[T]oward the Neo-Babylonian Period . . . the number of constellations/stars in the Path(s) of Sin/Shamash was limited from 17/18 to 12. Circa 700 BCE a "zodiac" comprising of 12 irregular sized constellations had been developed. Only those 12 constellations/stars nearest to the path of the ecliptic were used . . . 
The issue of reducing from 17/18 constellations/stars as marker's along the Moon's path was connected with the establishment of 12 (ideal) solar months of 30 days each . . . 
. . . [T]he system of 12 zodiacal constellations was invented mostly from existing constellations/named stars that originated largely during the 2nd millennium BCE for marking a different i.e., (roughly approximating an) "equatorially-centred", sky system . . .
So, two important points to all this are that certain Babylonian constellations and lists existed in the second millennium BC, but, our actual Solar Zodiac that we are used to, was not established until 500 BC.  It was adopted by the Greeks from the Babylonian system.  So, for the origin of certain calendars and sign lists, we are not necessarily looking to the Solar Zodiac as being the original.   However, since some of the signs/constellations of the Solar Zodiac were established long before the Solar Zodiac was established, it is not a bad plan to to research on certain Solar Zodiacal signs/constellations to see if they appear in older sign/constellation lists.

The Lunar Zodiac

We see that there seems to be a connection between Zodiacs and Calendars.  There is at least evidence for a Lunar Calendar among the Egyptians:
Egyptian calendar, dating system established several thousand years before the Christian era, the first calendar known to use a year of 365 days, approximately equal to the solar year. In addition to this civil calendar, the ancient Egyptians simultaneously maintained a second calendar based upon the phases of the moon.
The Egyptian lunar calendar, the older of the two systems, consisted of twelve months whose duration differed according to the length of a full lunar cycle (normally 28 or 29 days). Each lunar month began with the new moon—reckoned from the first morning after the waning crescent had become invisible—and was named after the major festival celebrated within it. Since the lunar calendar was 10 or 11 days shorter than the solar year, a 13th month (called Thoth) was intercalated every several years to keep the lunar calendar in rough correspondence with the agricultural seasons and their feasts. New Year’s Day was signaled by the annual heliacal rising of the star Sothis (Sirius), when it could be observed on the eastern horizon just before dawn in midsummer; the timing of this observation would determine whether or not the intercalary month would be employed. (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/180708/Egyptian-calendar)
So, it is possible, aligning with the Egyptian lunar calendar, perhaps that there was a list of 30 or so signs associated with each day of the Lunar cycle, as the Moon would move across the path of the moon.  And that this was a list of constellations (Lunar Constellations), which was entirely different from the classic constellations of the Solar Zodiac.

In other words, as we discussed before, along the ecliptic, there was a circle of 12 signs, making 12 classic constellations, which are the classic Zodiac we are used to, comprising the Solar Zodiac.  It is Solar, because these signs are associated with the movement of the Sun along the ecliptic, they are a Solar Zodiac or calendar.  Previously we have already discussed these classic constellations.

Now we are introducing a separate concept for the Lunar Zodiac along the path of the moon.  Along this path, there existed an entirely separate set of constellations.  These are separate constellations that existed independent of the Solar ones.  They were not necessarily associated with them.  And they either overlaid the other twelve constellations (ignoring the existence of the others entirely), or were somehow subsections of them.  So, rather than dividing the ecliptic into 12 subsections of stars, it was divided into anywhere from 28 to 30 subsections for each day of the month.

The best known Lunar Zodiacs or Calendars are the (1) Chinese Lunar Zodiac,  (2) the Indian Lunar Zodiac (the Lunar Mansions, called the Nakshatra), and (3) the Arabic Manzils.

The Earliest Alphabet

Many people have wondered where the alphabet originated from.  Tacitus, a Roman Senator and historian wrote:
It was the Egyptians who first symbolized ideas, and that by the figures of animals.  These records, the most ancient of all human history, are still seen engraved on stone.  The Egyptians also claim to have invented the alphabet, which the Phoenicians, they say, by means of their superior seamanship, introduced into Greece, and of which they appropriated the glory, giving out that they had discovered what they had really been taught.  (Annals of Tacitus, by Cornelius Tacitus, p.187).
This is an interesting statement, but in what form was the alphabet when it was invented?  The oldest alphabet, according to scholars, seems to be what has come to be called the Proto-Sinaitic (i.e. called "Sinaitic" because it may have come from the Sinai):
Proto-Sinaitic is a term for both a Middle Bronze Age (Middle Kingdom) script attested in a small corpus of inscriptions found at Serabit el-Khadim in the Sinai Peninsula, and the reconstructed common ancestor of the Paleo-Hebrew, Phoenician and South Arabian scripts, and by extension of most historical and modern alphabets. It is also referred to as Sinaitic, Paleo- or Proto-Hebraic, Proto-Canaanite, Old Canaanite, and Canaanite. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Sinaitic_script)
Some scholars at Yale discovered some of the Proto-Sinaitic type of writing at Wadi-El-Hol, in Egypt:
The Wadi el-Hol inscriptions (Arabic وادي الهول Wādī al-Hawl 'Ravine of Terror') were carved on the stone sides of an ancient high-desert military and trade road linking Thebes and Abydos, in the heart of literate Egypt. They are in a wadi in the Qena bend of the Nile, at approx. 25°57′N 32°25′E, among dozens of hieratic and hieroglyphic inscriptions. The inscriptions are graphically very similar to the Serabit inscriptions, but show a greater hieroglyphic influence, such as a glyph for a man that was apparently not read alphabetically. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Sinaitic_script#Wadi_el-Hol_inscriptions)
Dr. John Coleman Darnell is an Egyptologist at Yale University.  Here is what was reported about Dr. Darnell's discoveries at Wadi-El-Hol:
About 4,000 years ago, Egypt underwent a lengthy period of internal insurrection. In the course of reunifying his fragmented realm, the reigning pharaoh attempted to pacify and employ roving bands of mercenaries who had come from outside Egypt to fight in the civil wars. The Egyptians were the quintessential bureaucrats, and under Bebi’s command, there must have been a small army of scribes in the military whose job it was to keep track of these "Asiatics." There would also have been, says Darnell, a communications gap.
“There was no such thing as a POW camp in ancient Egypt," he explains. "When you were captured, you were simply put to work doing your old job, but for the other side, and so these 'Asiatic' troops, who were probably already quite Egyptianized, had to find a way to talk to their new comrades.”
They also had to deal with civil servants, all of whom could read and write hieratic. And somewhere out there in the desert, suggests Darnell, inventive scribes, to enable the captured troops to record their names and other basic information, apparently came up with a kind of easy-to-learn Egyptian shorthand.
“It makes sense that the alphabet originated in Egypt, a place that was highly literate and had already developed a system of pictorial writing, rather than in the illiterate Sinai area," says Darnell. In fact, given the timing, it now appears likely that the alphabet in fact did not originate in Palestine, but was imported to the area from Egypt, and took on such a vigorous life of its own that historians have been persuaded ever since that it was born there. (https://web.archive.org/web/20111226200802/http://yalealumnimagazine.com/issues/00_12/egypt.html)
Another report of Darnell's discoveries has this:
Surveying a few hundred yards from the site, the Darnells found an inscription in nonalphabetic Egyptian that started with the name of a certain Bebi, who called himself "general of the Asiatics." This was a term used for nearly all foreigners, most of whom were Semites, and many of them served as mercenary soldiers for Egyptian rulers at a time of raging civil strife or came as miners and merchants. Another reference to this Bebi has been found in papyrus records.
"This gives us 99.9 percent certainty," Dr. Darnell said of the conclusion that early alphabetic writing was developed by Semitic-speaking people in an Egyptian context. He surmised that scribes in the troops of mercenaries probably developed the simplified writing along the lines of a semicursive form of Egyptian commonly used in the Middle Kingdom in graffiti. Working with Semitic speakers, the scribes simplified the pictographs of formal writing and modified the symbols into an early form of alphabet.
"It was the accidental genius of these Semitic people who were at first illiterate, living in a very literate society," Dr. McCarter said, interpreting how the alphabet may have arisen. "Only a scribe trained over a lifetime could handle the many different types of signs in the formal writing. So these people adopted a crude system of writing within the Egyptian system, something they could learn in hours, instead of a lifetime. It was a utilitarian invention for soldiers, traders, merchants." (https://www.library.cornell.edu/colldev/mideast/alphorg.htm)
Below is a list of characters from this early Alphabet:


An alphabet, of course, is a sign or character list that is used for various purposes, but primarily to represent phonetic sounds.  Each one of these characters in this sign list is an Egyptian hieroglyphic.  Notice, that none of these characters is a vowel.  They are all consonants.  This type of an alphabet with only consonants is known as an abjad.  Iconotropy is the repurposing of characters or symbols in a manner different from their original intent or usages.  Well, here, with the first alphabet, we have one of the first major selections of a certain set of characters from among the hundreds of Egyptian hieroglyphics that exist to be used in some specialized way.

Here are some examples from this sign list of how acrophony works.  Bet represents the sound that is also represented by our letter B, Ras represents the sound that is represented by our letter R, etc.  If you notice, however, there is no letters here for vowels in this list.  Everything here represents a consonant.  And these signs seem to have been selected to represent a sound based on the name of the item represented.  For example, Bet is typically known to represent a house, Ras a head, and so forth.  And Bet is the Semitic word for house, and Ras (Rosh) is the Semitic word for head.  While the letters themselves are actually the Egyptian pictures for these things, they are not pronounced by using the Egyptian word for the item.  Instead, the first sound in the Semitic name for each item was selected for its sound that it would represent.  This is called acrophony (i.e. the sound represented by the sign is the first sound in the name of the thing of which the sign is a picture).
A major breakthrough came with the decipherment of the word b`lt, (B`alat) by Sir Alan Gardiner in 1916. Gardiner concluded that the Sinaitic signs were created by reforming Egyptian Hieroglyphic signs based upon their acrophonic value. His reasoning has been found to be sound and his work continues to be the foundation upon which progress continues to the present. (http://net.lib.byu.edu/imaging/negev/Origins.html)
Furthermore:
The origin of the Phoenician letters . . . in the Proto-Canaanite and Proto-Sinaitic scripts, and the borrowing of most, if not all, letter forms in the latter script from Egyptian hieroglyphics on the basis of acrophony are now seen as indubitable facts . . . (http://net.lib.byu.edu/imaging/negev/Origins.html)
This first alphabet seems to have many descendants, but it's immediate descendants were the Semitic alphabets.  Most of the modern alphabets (Latin, Greek, Cyrllic, Hebrew, Arabic, etc.) all have a traditional order, descending from what is called the "Northern Semitic Order."  Some are specifically abjads, meaning that they only represent consonantal sounds, and if there are any vowels specified at all, they are with other marks that were invented afterward that sort of resemble something more like punctuation, and are not necessarily required.  We read:
For all the adaptations and mutations, the alphabet's order of letters has been relatively stable. In the 1920s, archaeologists found a dozen stone tablets used in a school in Ugarit, a city in what is now Syria, that are from the fourteenth century BC and preserve two orders of the Ugaritic alphabet. One, the "Northern Semitic order" is related to the Phoenician and Hebrew alphabets and features bits and pieces of an order familiar to Modern English speakers: a, b…g, h…l, m…q,r. 
As the alphabet traveled around the world, those who adopted it did very little to change the basic order. Looking at this animation from the University of Maryland, you can see how things have remained largely the same between the Phoenicians and Latin. Long strings of letters, like abcdef, remain untouched for thousands of years.
So the order has ancient roots, but where does it come from? 
I hate to disappoint you, but we're really not sure. The practice of having the letters in an established order makes sense: It’s easier to teach and to learn. Why some ancient people put them in that specific order, though, is unknown. Whoever did it didn’t leave any record that we know of explaining why they lined the letters up like that.
But this isn’t to say we’re at a total loss. Scholars have plenty of hypotheses about the order, relating to everything from astrology, musical scales, numbers, and poetry. (http://mentalfloss.com/article/29011/why-are-letters-abc-order)
There is also the "Southern Semitic Order."  Here are these traditional orders of the characters:

North Semitic

ʾa b g ḫ d h w z ḥ ṭ y k š l m ḏ n ẓ s ʿ p ṣ q r ṯ ġ t ʾi ʾu s2


South Semitic

h l ḥ m q w š r t s k n ḫ b ś p ʾ ʿ ẓ g d ġ ṭ z ḏ y ṯ ṣ

(See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ugaritic_alphabet)

The order of the Latin and Greek alphabets are somewhat different, of course, but generally descend from the North Semitic order.  Other alphabets, such as the Geez alphabet in Ethiopia, use the South Semitic order.  The Proto-Sinaitic alphabet may or may not have used the North Semitic order.  There is no certainty there.  But ancient Abecedaria (alphabetic sign lists) from Ugarit are found in both traditional orders.

Since all we have are lists of the descendant forms of the proto-alphabet, and more than one traditional ordering exists, it doesn't mean that a prototypical/original list had these same orderings.  Since the testimony exists that more than one ordering exists from ancient times, it ought not to be surprising that other orderings will manifest themselves, perhaps even older ones, that differ from the ordering of North and South Semitic, for other reasons.  Therefore, the judgment ought not to be passed on a new ordering of letters that manifests itself, only because it doesn't strictly adhere to heretofore-known orderings.  The readers ought to prepare themselves for the eventuality of a newer set of data, and newer evidences than they are used to.  For example, if a new ordering manifests itself, it is because it may follow the particular ordering of constellations.  Other derived lists from the constellation list may have been arranged in a more poetic or structured order that was different from an original astronomical order.  Another possibility is that a pre-existing list of proto-letters were imposed on the constellations after some other list already existed.

For example, Brian Colless notes the possibility that the original uni-literal (single consonantal), non-syllabic alphabet list may have been derived from a more ancient Canaanite Syllabary, which Colless believes contains many other characters derived from yet other Egyptian hieroglyphics.  Because, the fact of the matter is, Proto-Canaanite forms of these same letters form a part of the ancient Canaanite Syllabary, and nobody would deny this fact.  The questions remain:  Did the list of proto-letters of the alphabet exist independent of this Canaanite Syllabary, prior to the invention of this syllabary?  Or was the syllabary something that existed prior to the list of proto-letters.  These questions have direct implications on whether the Alphabet pre-existed before the Lunar Zodiacal symbols, or whether it is the other way around.  Either way, it is iconotropy, where symbols were used in a different way from the way they were used originally.  So, either the Lunar Zodiac arrangement of symbols was heavily influenced by the Proto-Alphabet and partially 0rderived from it.  Or the Proto-Alphabet was heavily influence and partially derived from the Lunar Zodiac.  The reader can take his or her pick, because, it doesn't affect the ultimate outcome of this thesis.  A number of varying and plausible conclusions could be made here, but the data itself manifests clear interdependence between the lists.  Which list ought to be considered the parent of the other, or the primary one, is not really a point that we necessarily need to take a hard line on.  One objection that has been raised is that there ought not to be more than one letter for one phoneme here.  But the problem with that is, this prototypical sign list may have not started out with the idea of a list of phonemes.  It may have started out as a list of constellations that was adapted as a list of convenient characters for use as phonemes.  So we aren't necessarily dealing with something that started out as an alphabet/abjad, but that was adapted later to be used as an alphabet.  And the same issue exists if the reverse is true.  What if somebody took a sign list that had fewer letters to begin with and adapted it to constellations, and they had to come up with more characters than they had on hand from the original sign list?  Therefore, they may have added characters that resulted in a list with more than one character for certain phonemes.  The factors at work here may be more complex, and do not necessarily lend themselves to be subjected to shotgun-style or drive-by-shooting-style criticisms, but require a deeper and more open thought process.

Below is a sign list that shows some of the relationships between the Proto-Sinaitic and later forms.  Not all Proto-Sinaitic scholars will agree with all details of this chart, but the point is, this gives a general idea (this is the chart of H. Grimme:





A Remnant of an Ancient Truth in Hebrew Tradition

Even though the Hebrew and other Semitic Alphabets are not in the same state as the Proto-Sinaitic, and have been heavily modified (where they dropped a number of the original letters), the tradition of their origin from a very early Zodiac lives on.  From the Sefer Yetzirah: The Book of Creation, the following is very interesting.  (The following was translated by Aryeh Kaplan):
Twenty-two foundation letters: He engraved them, He carved them, He permuted them, He weighed them, He transformed them, And with them, He depicted all that was formed and all that would be formed…. Twenty-two foundation Letters: He placed them in a circle like a wall with 231 gates. The circle oscillates back and forth…. He formed substance out of chaos and made nonexistence into existence. He carved great pillars from air that cannot be grasped. This is a sign [Alef with them all, and all of them with Alef]. He foresees, transforms and makes all that is formed and all that is spoken: one Name. A sign for this thing: Twenty-two objects in a single body…. a rule of twelve and seven and three: He set them in the Teli, the Cycle, and the Heart…. He bound the twenty-two letters of the Torah to his tongue and He revealed to him His mystery. He drew them in water, He flamed them with fire, He agitated them with Breath, He burned them with the seven [planets], He directed them with the twelve constellations (http://sino-platonic.org/complete/spp196_alphabet.pdf, On the Origins of the Alphabet, by Brian R. Pellar, SINO-PLATONIC PAPERS, Number 196 December, 2009, as quoted by Pellar)
Indeed, in the cycle or circle of the Zodiac of the sky wans imagined anciently to exist an Alphabet.

Professor Hugh Moran, Professor David Kelley, Professor Cyrus Gordon and the Ugaritic Alphabet-Lunar-Zodiac Theory

But what evidence is there that these original alphabet signs employing Egyptian Hieroglyphs in a new way were selected as part of a Zodiac before they became "letters"?  Or, what evidence is there that perhaps a Zodiac was one of the primary reasons in the beginning for their selection besides using them for phonetics?  Some of the evidence comes from the Ugaritic alphabet, which is an early descendant of the Proto-Sinaitic.



Here is the Ugarit Abecedarium discovered in 1948:



Note the similarities to the pictures of the Lunar Calendars and Game Boards above, which are also of the Lunar calendar tradition.  The Ugaritic alphabet is a Semitic alphabet that uses cuneiform (wedge-shaped) writing, just like the Babylonian writing.  But the origin of these characters come ultimately from the pictograph-letters or proto-letters of the Proto-Sinaitic taken from Egyptian.  Notice that there are thirty letters.  Though it is not universally accepted, Professor Cyrus Gordon, who received his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania, believed that the Ugaritic Alphabet was also a lunar calendar, or a zodiac, based on ancient constellations that are along the stations of the moon along the ecliptic.  Some ancient people called these stations "mansions."  Richard Flavin, reports the following:
Prof. Gordon’s alphabet article proposed a lunar-based calendar technology and narrative mnemonic attached to the Ugaritic cuneiform alphabet, and argued that the acrophonic principle and a mathematical calendar ultimately combined to directly inspire our abc’s.  This model arose from an appreciation of the groundbreaking work of Hugh Moran and Prof. David H. Kelley (The Alphabet and the Ancient Calendar Signs, by Hugh A. Moran and David H. Kelley, with an introduction by David Diringer, second edition, Palo Alto, CA: Daily Press, 1969), which put forth a basic hypothesis of a profound relationship between writing and the calendar.  Moran regarded the alphabet as a means to convey tradition, myth, and establish a lunar-based calendar, and received the support of the day’s (1952, for the first edition)) leading alphabetologist, Dr. David Diringer.  Kelley added his knowledge of Mayan “day names,” as well as improved upon many of Moran’s proposed Old World correspondences.  Prof. Gordon suggested the 30 cuneiform characters of the Ugaritic alphabet could function as a lunar-based calendar, with the last three “letters” being adjustable, due to the inherent difficulties of poor weather viewing and being unable to establish a sighting with absolute surety. (http://www.flavinscorner.com/4-6-01.htm)
Moran's theory postulated that there is a connection between the Chinese Lunar Zodiac and the western alphabets.  And Kelley expanded upon Moran's proposal, adding to it, showing possible relationships also to a Mesoamerican calendar.  So, following Moran's and Kelly's original theories, Cyrus Gordon proposed that the Ugaritic Alphabet was also a lunar calendar, as found on the Abecedarium above, and that each letter stands for one of the constellations of the "Lunar Mansions," or the constellations of the Lunar Zodiac.

Interestingly, Cyrus Gordon in an article wrote:
The alphabet was not simply a means of spelling words, making it possible to record speech graphically with very few signs.  Each letter had a numerical value . . .
So deepseated are the numerical values that the Arabic alphabet, which deviates radically from the Hebrew-Phoenician order of the letters, nevertheless retains the old numerical values tenaciously . . .
In an important article, David H. Kelley points out that in the New as well as the Old world there are names for the days of the month.  Moreover, these names are linked with the alphabet.  For example, the series k-l-m (in Hebrew kaf "hand," lamed, mem "water"; in Greek, kappalambdamu) is reflected under the successive Yucatec Maya day-names Manik (which is written with the glyph depicting a "hand"), Lamat (the same name as Hebrew lamed, because Lamat has no general meaning in the Mayan languages) and Muluc (cf. Ixil mu) (the equivalent of the Aztec "water" day).  Kelley goes on to show that half the names of the Aztec days recur in Eurasia in the correct sequence as constellation names.  It is generally agreed that the alphabet was spread by traders and merchants; but Kelley goes on to propose that the merchants were mariners who used a set of guidling stars, and then adjusted the symbols for these stars into an alphabet . . .
Let us approach a specific problem within this framework.  The oldest form of the alphabet that has come down to us in its fixed traditional order is the Ugaritic ABC [Abecedarium/Alphabet] of about 1400 B. C.  It consists of thirty letters . . . [T]he alpahbetic principle is adhered to strictly (i.e., one and only one sign for each distinctive sound in the language) throughout the first twenty-nine letters, but the thirtieth was appended as an optional letter.  To state things differently:  twenty-nine letters take care of the phonetic needs of Ugaritic; the thirtieth is there for some non-phonetic reason.  Everything makes sense if we correlate the letters of the Ugaritic alphabet with the days of the lunar month.  A lunar month is always longer than twenty-nine days but shorter than thirty. Consequently in a lunar calendar (such as the Neo-Babylonian calendar still used by the Jews), a month has twenty-nine or thirty days (with months of twenty-nine and thirty days usually alternating.)  In the Ugaritic alphabet, each of the necessary twenty-nine letters could stand for the minimal twenty-nine days of the month, with the extra s available for that extra thirtieth day in the long months.  (Cyrus H. Gordon, "Toward a History of Ancient America," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Summer 1969, pp. 64-71)
In another article, Gordon writes:
Mr. Robert Stieglitz calls my attention to bone boards with 20 holes for keeping track of the days of the month, presumably by a peg that was advanced from one hole to the next each day (Olga Tufnell, Lachish Ill (Plates) (London: Osfort University Press, 1953), P. 37, Nos. 3 and 17).  A calendar board like No. 3 has also been found at Tell el-Far'a. ("The Accidental Invention of the Phonemic Alphabet," Cyrus H. Gordon, Journal of Near Eastern Studies Vol. 29, No. 3 (Jul., 1970), pp. 193-197, note 7).
Now, it is interesting that certain "game boards" such as those used in the Egyptian games of Senet and Mehen tie in to this, and how the Senet boards also seem to have a structure of an ancient lunar calendar, and how the Ugaritic Abecedarium may be structured after the same design or structure as these boards.  Gordon noticed the connection.  Gordon goes on to say:
Kelley's view that our alphabet is related to the list of day-names is confirmed by the oldest Semitic alphabet, all of whose letters are now known in their fixed order; namely the Ugaritic alphabet . . . 
The Ugaritic alphabet presupposes an earlier 27-letter alphabet from which the 22-letter Phoenecian alphabet is derived.  The five extra letters are original rather than added because they appear in an order that cannot be explained graphically or phonetically as additions.  The three final letters of the Ugaritic alphabet are additions to make it conform with the number of days (29/20) in a lunar month . . . ("The Accidental Invention of the Phonemic Alphabet," Cyrus H. Gordon, Journal of Near Eastern Studies Vol. 29, No. 3 (Jul., 1970), pp. 193-197).
Gordon's and Kelley's emphasis was on how the day-names in the Lunar Calendars relate to the alphabet character-names.  That is clear enough from Kelley's evidence, that there is a connection of that sort, especially with the linkage that he makes in the Mesoamerican Calendar evidence.  The bigger problem is how to re-construct something that aligns an actual entire Lunar Zodiac (i.e. an actual list with ancient constellations) that aligns precisely with the ancient proto-alphabet, so that we can identify which letter goes with which ancient constellation.  And this must be comprehensive, not just something here and there that is suggestive.  As I already mentioned, the ancient Lunar Zodiac is a constellation ring in the sky like the Solar Zodiac, but would not be identical constellations to it.  Rather, it is a list or ring of different constellations formed by essentially the same stars used in other ancient constellations, and in this way, it would overlay the regular constellations.  And there is the possibility that there are linkages between some of the constellations of the Solar Zodiac and the Lunar one in some ways that requires research to discover.  The problem is, the Solar Zodiac of the Greeks is not as ancient as the Alphabet.  If there is a linkage between Lunar Zodiacal constellations and other constellations along the Ecliptic, it will be because the constellations themselves go back very anciently, or have roots in even more ancient constellations.  It is not because the Greek Solar Zodiac itself is all that ancient.

A Methological Basis for a Partial Proto-Sinaitic Lunar Alphabet-Zodiac Reconstruction

You see, it is the author's opinion that Moran's deductions have some merit and some foundational truth, but that the details of his theory are severely flawed.  And so, the problem is in the details of his theory, not in the foundational hypothesis of it.  Therefore, we must carefully separate out what has merit, and build on that, and add to it.  Some of the primary problem's of Morans theory are:

(1) Moran rejects the idea of an Egyptian origin for the symbols of the Alphabet, and rejects all evidence for the Proto-Sinaitic, even though a lot of the evidence for this was available in his day.  Contrary to that, in this present article article, the idea that Proto-Sinaitic is the earliest Alphabet (or at least, one of the earliest) is taken as a foundational truth by the present author.  It is taken as a foundational truth that the pictographs in the original Alphabet are very closely related to Egyptian Hieroglyphs, if not directly derived from or identical to them.

(2) Moran doesn't seem to be aware of any of the evidence that the Solar Zodiac was a more recent invention of the Babylonians in 500 BC, as we have seen in this article.  But with the evidence from the Mul-Alpin list from Babylon, it is a foundational conclusion that the Solar Zodiac is a later invention that is not directly linked to the Alphabet.  At best, the Solar Zodiac shares some patterns and foundational attributes that Zodiacs in general, and we can learn from it.  There are however ancient constellations that link up with some of the Solar Zodiacal ones.

Another problem with Moran's work is that he assumes that each character in each Lunar Zodiac across the planet can be linked up in every case.  While Zodiacs share a common pattern and a common origin (where one can describe what makes up a Zodiac, and that common attributes are shared among them), one simply cannot match up or map correspondences to each symbol in each Zodiac to a modern constellation necessarily the way Moran was trying to do.  At best, one will be able to find some historic remnants of perhaps a prototypical list left over in multiple lists, where certain correspondences may still exist.  Furthermore, the Solar Zodiac simply does not have all that much to do with the Lunar Zodiac.  The constellations of a prototypical Lunar Zodiac (assuming a prototypical original did exist), as I said, will overlay any Solar Zodiacal Constellations and may relate to them somewhat, but a relation is not necessarily required.  I will show some linkages that I believe are significant.  In other cases, there may not be a direct link.

And there is no telling what the original list looked like for sure in the prototypical Lunar Zodiac, or what the exact constellations were in that list (i.e. what they stood for).  Can it be assumed that the alphabet preserves the original list?  Or is it just yet another list that has been changed from the original content of the prototypical Lunar Zodiac.  Will the actual, original ordering of the letters in the proto-alphabet emerge because of the order they will be found in a prototypical Lunar Zodiac?  In other words, some things align between the Mesoamerican list, the Chinese list and the Hindu list, but there are quite a number of differences.  If we are lucky, we can find some of the most ancient constellations in all the lists that have been preserved that stand out as being common to all of them, or that seem to have a lot in common with alphabetic characters.  So, to demonstrate a number of correspondences is the best that can be done to demonstrate the plausibility of the theory.  But if only a partial list can be made and not a comprehensive or complete one, because of all the changes, at least certain patterns may be demonstrated or made plausible.

So, at its core, a Zodiac is a sign list that maps to constellations and/or asterisms that has calendrical significance.  And a sign list such as that may have been used anciently for more than one purpose.  And one of those purposes may have been to assign phonetic sounds to each symbol, and use them to spell out a word.

Kelley does better than Moran.  Kelley gives Morans work some criticism noting that Moran's attempts to link up the Solar Zodiac with the Lunar ones simply do not work.  Kelley's work is foundational as well for different reasons than Moran's.  But like Moran, Keller doesn't go far enough.  But Kelley's marshaling of the Mesoamerican calendric evidence of how the Mesoamerican calendar aligns with the Eurasian Lunar Calendars is critical to the puzzle.  Kelley shores up Moran's theory to where the basis of the hypothesis can at least be built upon and mature into an actual, workable theory.  Left alone, Moran fails miserably in the presentation of his hypothesis.

But beyond Moran and Kelley, Cyrus Gordon's deductions are even more critical about the evidence for the Ugarit Abecedarium as a Lunar Calendar, which places the ancient Lunar Zodiac in Canaan, among the Canaanites (since they were theoretically the people that invented the Proto-Sinaitic, according to some theories).  Whether it was the Egyptians that invented it for the Canaanites, or the Canaanites who had lots of interaction with Egyptians that invented it, is really neither here nor there for our present concerns.  That the Proto-Sinaitic was invented for Canaanitic/Semitic use rather than for Egyptian use (at least as a phonetic system of writing) is pretty much a given.  Either way, the phonetics associated with these characters are critical and fundational.

So, in summary, make true progress on the front pioneered by both Moran, Kelley and Gordon, one would need to come up with a better methodology than Moran's.  One would need to (1) start with the foundational hypothesis that Moran had, but (2) dispense with the details of Moran's attempts at deductions, and (3) start over again with more correct understandings, building on both Kelley's and Gordon's successes.  These correct understandings are that we must somehow map constellations over the ecliptic that resemble the alphabet (perhaps the Proto-Sinaitic or Proto-Canaanite hieroglyphs), and somehow map all this with core things in the Lunar Mansion systems.

Some Observations and a Pathway Forward

Foundational and basic to Moran's deductions was the observation that ancient alphabetic analogies and parallels in myth, and so forth to Zodiacs is the mention two bulls in relation to Zodiacs and the Alphabet.  For example, as Moran repeatedly tells us, there are the traditions such as, Alam and Alad, the two bulls of the Sumerians.  This is similar to the Eurasian Nagas (Guardian Dragons) and the "Foo-dogs" that guard temple entrances.  It is also similar to Lion statues in front of libraries, and so forth.  And foundational to my research, has been to expand on this using the observation that many times, two bulls is associated with the Egyptian god Khonsu, who was called the "Chronographer" (i.e. the god of time and calendars) who was closely associated with, and sometimes considered identical to, the Egyptian God Thoth, the god of writing.  And so, foundational to this connection is the idea that a sign list that is either calendrical or alphabetic would start with a bull and end with a bull in some cases, or at the very least, these two bulls would be an important part of a list.  In the Alphabet, the aleph is a bull, and the tav is a bull.  Even the Solar Zodiac has this pattern, starting with Aries as a bull, and ending with Taurus as a bull.  Furthermore, both Khonsu and Thoth are Lunar gods.  This seems to suggest even further evidence of a prototypical Lunar Zodiac which is at the base for the origins of the Alphabetic traditions and the Proto-Sinaitic in particular.  It is not critical for a Lunar list to begin and end with the bull, but they must be prominent.

In the opinion of the author, there seems to be good reason to believe that Gordon's theory is essentially correct about the Ugaritic Abecedarium as a Zodiac.  Gordon did sense some sort of truth in Moran's and Kelley's theory about the alphabet's originating in a Zodiacal/Calendrical context.  But, as we have seen, the Ugaritic Alphabet, as well as all others, is a descendant of the Proto-Sinaitic.  The implication, therefore, would be that the Proto-Siniatic is also a Zodiac/Calendar that aligns somehow with celestial constellations and/or asterisms, just like the Ugaritic.  In other words, the Ugaritic and Proto-Sinaitic are lists that are system of Lunar "Mansions" (somewhere in the neighborhood of 28 to 30 symbols) which are constellations also along the ecliptic that basically overlap the Solar Zodiacal constellations, but that are to be considered separate from them.  The Hindus had a system like this (the Nakshatra system), as did the Chinese, as we have seen.  Some have suggested that the Babylonians had such a system, and that both the Chinese and Hindu versions may have originated with them.  The Arabs had a set of Lunar Mansions as well.  Will an etymological study reveal links that show a common origin for all of these lists?  I believe it will.

If we assume a Semitic/Canaanite original for the Lunar Zodiac comprising the symbols of the Proto-Sinaitic, with names for these symbols that perhaps are the names of the Proto-Sinaitic proto-letters, we need therefore to have a methodology for linking up names and meanings of Lunar Mansions with the names of proto-letters.  This means that one of the primary assumptions we have is that, since the Hindu, Arab, and Chinese lists are derivatives of the Semitic/Canaanite original, therefore, the names and attributes and symbols related to the Hindu, Arab and Chinese lists will be etymologically related to the names and attributes of the Proto-Sinaitic list.  This means that we must assume that we can back-translate between languages.  For example, in some cases the name of a Lunar Mansion in the Hindu List or the Arab list may actually directly translate into something etymologically related to the Semitic reconstructed name of a proto-letter in the Proto-Sinaitic.  Or, a symbol used for a Lunar Mansion may relate somehow, when it is back-translated into Semitic.  This will be a foundational assumption.

The Problems with Brian Pellar's Theory on the Link between the Solar Zodiac and the Alphabet

I can't really go forward without at least making mention of Brian Pellar's theory on linking up the Solar Zodiac and the Alphabet.  I think that Pellar had some interesting observations.  And it is interesting that his theory essentially comes up with an arrangement that aligns the 22 letters of the Phoenician/Hebrew Alphabet with the Solar Zodiac.  But it is forced, and it suffers from the same fundamental flaws as Moran's attempts to link up the Solar Zodiac with the Lunar ones.  And so, because Pellar's theory is based on a foundational flaw, we can't really build on it or use it.  It is unfortunately not right.  Some of Pellar's observations here and there are of value, but the basic proposal is wrong.  And so, it is a fundamental flaw, in my view, that Pellar decided to use the 22 letters of the Phoenician/Hebrew instead of going all the way back to the Proto-Sinaitic.

The original proposal for Brian Pellar's theory is found at this address:

http://sino-platonic.org/complete/spp196_alphabet.pdf

And an update to his original paper is found here:

http://sino-platonic.org/complete/spp246_alphabet_origins.pdf

Pellar's work also follows Moran's, Kelly's and Gordon's theories to a degree, as one would expect.  But, instead of trying to link up the Chinese Lunar Zodiac and the Hindu one directly with the Alphabet, or trying to establish that the Ugaritic Alphabet is also a Lunar Zodiac as Gordon did, Pellar does something different.  Instead, he tries to link up the Solar Zodiac with the letters of the Paleo-Hebrew or Proto-Siniatic alphabets by concatenating two letters of the alphabet together for each sign of the Zodiac in a "couplet."  And to do so, sometimes he shifts certain letters 45 or 90 degrees.

Similarly, Pellar's proposal does not marshal Moran's observation about the two bulls, starting with Aries and ending with Taurus in the Solar Zodiac.  Instead, he has a the combination of Aleph and Beth as Taurus is at the beginning, and the combination of Sin and Tav as Capricorn is at the end.  And so, in Pellar's arrangement, Aries comes as the sign right after Taurus.  Visually, Pellar's theory is intriguing.  But, in the end, it seems to go off in a direction that violates some of the important foundational observations made by Moran, Kelley and Gordon (at least things that I consider foundational).  This is not to discount Pellar's theory entirely, because it may turn out to be correct, and so, we must keep it as an option (but admittedly, my less-favorite option).

Also, Pellar himself notes that his special pleading for shifting the direction of the signs where the cross or Tav occurs in the list is a lot to ask of his audience, along with having to shift the letters in special ways to get them to fit.  It is just too complex of an arrangement for my taste.  Too many special rules.

And so, my proposal certainly differs from Pellar's.  It's to be expected that in many respects, the Hindu, Chinese, Arabic and Coptic lists of lunar mansions will differ from an original that they are all descended from.  And it is also to be expected that the Proto-Sinaitic and Ugaritic lists may differ also from an original.  But it is plausible that we will find a number of core, plausible patterns and examples as linkages that will demonstrate that overall, the basic theory is correct.   If a few of my correlations are flawed, then the overall number of proposed correlations will contain enough plausibility to overcome any possible flaws to at least construct a plausible set of anchors for some of the letters.  I have succeeded in linking all Proto-Sinaitic letters with all Mansions.  When I started this project, I didn't know I would succeed in entirely doing that.  and so, the sheer number of associations and the completeness thereof, ought to establish plausibility.  And over time, through successive revisioning of this article, the potential flaws will be weeded out.

Proposals For the Alphabet Constellations

(1) Ashwini as Aleph (Greek Alpha- א Α α Latin - A)

At the beginning of the Hindu Lunar Mansion list we have Ashvini or Ashwini.  It has a Horse head for its associated icon or picture.  This is the graphic provided by Kelley:


And it corresponds to the head of the Solar Zodiacal constellation Aries.  It is significant that it is an animal head, or work animal, that corresponds to the head of the ram in the Solar Zodiac.  And not just any animal in the Zodiac.  It is the first sign in the list that corresponds with one of the Two Bulls.  And so, instead of a horse, then, perhaps the original was the head of the ram, ox, other animal.

The stars that Ashwini precisely correspond to are β (beta) and γ (gamma) Arietis.  Beta Aries is also named Sheratan or Sharatan, and is found in the left horn of the Aries.  This is derived from the Arabic terms Al Sharatain or Al Sharat, meaning a sign.  This refers to the sign of the opening of the year, since it used to mark the vernal equinox.

Moran, Kelly and Flavin argue for the Ox constellation in the Chinese and Hindu Zodiac as the first one, that ought to correspond to Aleph, the first character of the Proto-Siniatic.  To me, for a number of reasons, this is wrong.  Instead, it is clear to me that this is the best candidate based on its alignment with Aries, because of what my research shows in the article linked above on Aries and Alpha.

Rather, this author has evidence that Proto-Sinaitic Aleph (the first letter/character) actually may correspond to the Aries constellation.


Here is the symbol for Aries:

In Hebrew, the word for Aries is Taleh, meaning Lamb.  In the book The Alphabet and the Ancient Calendar Signs, Second Edition, by Hugh A. Moran and David H. Kelley, Moran wrote:
It would seem to be of some significance and worthy of further investigation, therefore, that the first letter of the alphabet is the Greek alpha, the Hebrew aleph 'a bull'--not the ordinary word for bull, but a special ancient word used for sacred cattle, corresponding to the Assyrian word alpu 'a bull'.   (p. 14)
This quotation shows the derivation of the word Aleph:
Hebrew אלף 'aleph is the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet and and originally this letter represented an ox head and was similarly portrayed in Phoenician and Ancient Greek as well as Ancient Hebrew.
The name for the first letter, אלף 'aleph is the same as the Hebrew word אלף 'eleph (Strong's #504) which signifies an ox (e.g., Psalm 8:8; Proverbs 14:4). This probably derives from two ideas, firstly from אל 'êl (Strong's #410) [i.e. meaning GOD, as in the words Eloah or Elohim] - which itself derives from איל 'ayil 'a ram, or door post, mighty man or tree, e.g., oak' (Strong's #352) and that this comes from the root verb אול 'ûl or איל 'îyl 'to twist or roll, be strong, preeminent' (Strong's #193) and as such is used of God, hence of the ox because of its strength.
Secondly, in derivation from אלף 'âleph (Strong's #502) which is a primary verbal root meaning to 'associate with', 'be familiar with', 'be accustomed to' and as such was used of friendship, taming, joining together - see also אלוּף 'âlûwph (Strong's #441) - hence as a numeral, '1000', and a 'family' (Strong's #505) and of learning by association . . . (http://www.studylight.org/ls/ht/index.cgi?a=535)
There is a relation to the Greek word eriphos (Strongs Greek 2056) (meaning goat or kid), which is derived from the word erion (Strongs Greek 2053) (meaning wool).  As is immediately apparent, we have the shift from the L to the R, where in the Semitic we had 'LP or ALP, but in the Indo-European here, we have ERPh or, if transcribed into a Semitic alphabet, we would have 'RP.  In other words, we have a consonantal match/association, which is indicative of related roots in different language families.  There is also a connection with the Greek elephas, (ivory or elephant).  The word Aries derives from the old English word aires, meaning "ram."  Interestingly, the Greek word amnos (Strongs Greek 286), means a sacrificial lamb.  In Syria, the constellation Aries is called Amru.  Indeed, Aries in Egypt was associated with the god Amon-Ra, sometimes depicted with a ram's head.  In the Egyptian Hypocephalus, the god Khum-Ra, another form of Amon-Ra, is the central figure, depicted with multiple rams heads.

(2) Bharani as Beth (Greek Beta - ב Β β Latin - B)

The next in the Hiindu list is named Bharani, or the Bearer.  The stars that go along with this Lunar Mansion are 35, 39, and 41 Arietis.

The Jain icon or picture that goes with this constellation is Yoni, or the Vulva, the female reproductive organ.  Here again is the Proto-Sinaitic version of the beth Hieroglyph:


Here is a stone Yoni from Vietnam:


As you can see, this is the same hieroglyph, and has a hole in the middle in which to place a lingam, the symbol of Shiva.

The name of this sign in the Hindu Lunar Zodiac starts with a B, and is the second Lunar Mansion.  And of course, in the alphabet, the second character is Beth, meaning house, woman or daughter.

(3) Krittika / Khima (Pleiades) as Gimel (Greek Gamma - ג Γ γ Latin - G)

The next in the series of the Hindu Lunar Zodiac is Krittika, associated with the war-god Kartikeya (also known as Murugan or Skanda). In the sky, this aligns with the Pleiades, which is in Taurus.  The Hebrew name for these stars are the Khima.  A Babylonian-Assyrian name for Pleiades was Kimmatu, meaning the family, (coming from the verb Kamuto tie together).  The icon/picture/symbol that goes along with this in some lists is a knife or spear.  The third letter in the Semitic Alphabet is Gimel or Gaml, meaning throwstick or But of course, this sounds just like Khima.




In Akkadian, Gaml means scimitar (sickle sword).  As for Gaml, it doesn't really correspond good to anything on the Solar Zodiac.  Even the word scimitar "scim" seems to derive from some cognate to the root from which this derives.  Some authorities say scimitar comes from old Italian scimitarra, which may be derived from some Persian word.

Moran tried to link Gaml up to Gemini, which wasn't a very good fit, but entirely based on the "GM" consonants in the names.  It simply doesn't work.  A better fit  than Gemini is actually from the Mul-Alpin list from the Babylonians, which contains a Babylonian constellation named, interestingly enough, Gamlu.  And not only does it sound the same.  It is the same symbol:  a throwstick or scimitar.

(4) Rhohini (Aldebaran) as Daleth (Greek Delta - ד Δ δ Latin - D)

Next in the Hindu list is Rohini.  This means Red Roe or Deer.  The Hindu symbols that go along with this is a chariot, a temple, and a banyan tree.  It corresponds with the star named Aldebaran.  Aldebaran or in Arabic, Al Dabaran (the source of the word) is Arabic for "the follower."  This is because the Pleiades rises in the sky right before Aldebaran. Of course, "al" in Arabic means "the."  So, the word is actually Dabaran for the constellation, a word that starts with a D.  In some languages, like Japanese, the R sound is similar to a d sound.  The symbol Rohini is associated with, according to the Jain people is a wagon tongue (going along with the theme of a wagon or chariot.  This is the Jain picture provided by Kelley that goes along with Rohini.


Notice the triangular shape.  Here is the Proto-Sinaitic Daleth Hieroglyphic:


And here is the Phoenician version of it:

In Hebrew, generally, the word Daleth means "door," as in the door of a tent.  Most people think this is derived from the "door" hieroglyphic in Egyptian which is probably at least partially true.  That hieroglyphic is Gardiner's sign list O31:
But now, if we take one of the Proto-Sinaitic/Proto-Canaanite forms with the line sticking out, and we rotate the form of it with the line sticking out in this way, we can demonstrate yet another association with a different hieroglyph:
Now here is the other Egyptian hieroglyph determinative for Chariot, pronounced uurt (wrrt) in Egyptian, which is number T17 in Gardiner's list:


Immediately, a similarity in form is apparent.  Notice that both consonants in the Egyptian pronunciation for this, (RT) are consonants similar to a D sound.  In India, temple cars (basically a temple on wheels) are chariots that carry around the representations of Hindu gods.  Apollo and Helios (sometimes identified as the same god) had a chariot that would fly across the heaven.  Elijah was taken up into heaven by a Chariot of Fire.

Chariot in Hebrew is Merkabah (Strongs 4818) in the feminine form, and Merkab in the masculine form (Strongs 4817), which also means seat, as in a vehicle.  Many people may have heard of "Merkabah Mysticism" or "Chariot Mysticism" which was a Jewish esotericism between 100 BC and the early middle ages, based on visions like in Ezekiel, chapter 1, that involved an ascent to the presence of God to his throne.  Some of the literature involved in this is known as the Hekhalot ("palaces") literature, referring to the heavenly palaces.  In Hebrew, Heykal (Strongs 1964), is a palace or temple.  This is derived from the root Yakol (Strongs 3201), to be able.  And Yekel (Strongs 3202), derived from that, means to be able, to prevail, to enable.  It was in the temple of Peniel that Jacob prevailed with God, when they were in ritual embrace ("wrestling").

Anyhow, Merkabah is derived from Rekab (Strongs 7392), which is the root word meaning to ride, as in a vehicle or on an animal.  And derived from this word also is Rekeb (Strongs 7393), which is a team or cavalry or rider or wagon.  Rekab or Rakkab (Strongs 7394 and 7395) is rider or charioteer or horseman.  And of course, the word Dabaran, the name of the star, means "to follow," and the chariot or the horseman follows the horse.

Ribqah (Strongs 7259) means a fettering, from a root meaning to clog (i.e. fasten/obstruct from moving), by tying up the fetlock (i.e. the joint between the hoof and the knee on the leg of an animal such as a horse).  Figuratively, this means to be fettered or struck by beauty (so one is "stuck" on it).  This is the Hebrew version of the derived English name Rebecca or Rebeka or Rebekah (i.e. the wife of Isaac, son of Abraham).  I will make clear why I bring this word up in a moment, but as one can see, it is a related root, with two of the consonants transposed (i.e. instead of the form KB, it has BK).

Most of the forms of the words derived from the roots with the consonants RKB and RBQ above also start with an R, with the exception of the two that started with an M, just like Rhohini starts with an R.  And remember that we brought up the fact that R and T are similar sounds to D.

Also, notice the name Dabaran, for the star Aldebaran.  It has the BR in it, and starts with a D.  Related roots to this are probably Dabar (Strongs 1696), meaning to arrange, to speak and to subdue.  From this root is derived the word Debir (Strongs 1697), meaning shrine or inner sanctuary, from the idea of an oracle, or that which is spoken.  Once again, this has a close association to the fact that a chariot is also a temple.  And there is the root Dabaq (Strongs 1692), meaning to impinge, or in other words, to cling or to adhere or to catch.  This brings to mind the ideas in the word Ribqah.  Debeq (Strongs 1694), derived from Dabaq, is a joint, or a soldier, and so, this may have association to the idea of the charioteer or horseman.

(5) Mrigashira as the Twisted Rope (Alternate Proto-Sinaitic Heth/Chut/Ha) - Hebrew Heth

Mrgashira corresponds to the stars λ, φ Orionis in the Solar Zodiacal constellation Orion (the head of Orion).  λ Orionis is also known as Meissa.  Meissa is bad or misleading name for it, that has been commonly applied to the star for a very long time.  This is because the name Al Maisan, the actual title of gamma Gemini, was applied to this star in the 14th century by mistake.  Therefore, we won't use the name Meissa in our explorations for trying to understand the background of this Lunar mansion.

The symbol that it Mrgashira is associated with is a stag head, or deer head.  The god that it is associated with is the Hindu god Soma.  The name of this god and the Avestan version of him, Haoma, both derive from a root in  Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-.  In the text of the Avesta, Soma was a plant.  Some say that the word may be derived from an Indo-Iranian root *sav-, meaning "to press", and so, *sau-ma- is a drink created by pressing the stalks of some kind of plant.

The term Mrgashira is a compound word, made of two Sanskrit words, mrga meaning animal or beast, perhaps a stag (male deer).  And also, there is shira, which means head, or top of the head.  It is true that these stars correspond to parts of the head of Orion.

Margashira, is a  similar and associated term, but not exactly the same as Mrgashira.  Margashira is the name of the month in which the moon will be in conjunction with the Lunar Mansion or constellation Mrgashira.  In the Malayalam dialect of India, it is called Makayeeram (Makayiram).  The Rig Veda refers to Orion as the Deer constellation (Mriga).

Above is the image provided by Kelley, which is the Jain symbol or picture associated with this Lunar Mansion.  It is the Gazelle or Stag Head.  Remember that the word mrga means male deer or stag.  Some have noted that the Sanscrit word mrga refers to the idea of spots on the moon which resemble an antelope or hare.  And therefore, some have interpreted this (mrga) to mean the spots (stars) on the head (shira) of Orion. (Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, Volume 17, 1895, p.299)

The Persian word for this is Avecr, the Coronet (small crown).  In Avestan, the word is avisar (or uva-sara).  According to some, there is an idea of how a crown is somewhat shiny, corresponding to the Arabic name for it as Al Hak'ah, meaning a white spot.  This is also related to the idea in the Coptic name for this Lunar mansion is Klusos, meaning watery.  This may be derived from the Greek words klusos or kataklusmos, meaning flood or rise in water.  These names allude to the idea that is put forth by the term that Ptolemy used for them, which is O Nepheloeides, meaning the Nebulous One.  The asterism seems to appear nebulous or blurry or cloudlike to the observer.  According to some, the idea of the small crown being on both sides of the head brings forth the idea of duality.  And so, this explains the existence of the duality idea other names, such as the Euphratean asterism Mas-tab-ba-tur-tur, or the Little Twins and in the Iranian/Persian names Marezana, the two companions, or Ikhma, the the Brethren.  These twins are the little twins, not to be confused with the Twins in Gemini.  (Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, Volume 17, 1895, p.299-300).  Interestingly, the star λ Orionis was also known to some Arabs as Ras al Jauzah, the Head of the Walnut.  To some Arabs, Orion was Al Jauzah, or The Walnut.  This was also a name used for a black sheep with a white spot on the middle of the body.  (William Tyler Olcott, Star Lore: Myths, Legends, and Facts, p. 281).  Yet again, this brings us back to the idea in the name Al Hak'ah, the white spot.

Another very interesting term is that of the Persian JikaPlume or Royal Plume.  In Chinese, Orion was known as the White Tiger.  (William Tyler Olcott, Star Lore: Myths, Legends, and Facts, p. 282).  And the stars of this Lunar Mansion, the stars were known as Si ma ts'ien, the Head of the Tiger.  But the Chinese Lunar Mansion was known as Tsee, or Tsuy He, the Beak, or Pouting Lips, which according to some was anciently Tsok, meaning "spike of feathers on the head." (Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, Volume 17, 1895, p .299-300)

We can look up the Hebrew here and start comparisons.  Deer in Hebrew is Ayal (Strongs 354).  It comes from Ayil (Stongs 352), meaning strength, anything that is strong, or a ram (because of its strength).  It means a pilaster (a strong support or column).  It also means an oak tree, because of its strength, or some other strong tree.  Ayil comes from Uwl (Strongs 193), a root word, meaning to twist, or by implication, to be strong, and the body, when rolled together, is strong.

We note that in the Chinese and in the Persian names for the asterism, there is this notion of a projection from the head like a plume, like a feather or feathers something.  This is no regular plume, but is a royal plume of sorts, perhaps coming off of a headdress or a crown of some kind.  But also there is the notion of two items or people.  There is also the notion of something shiny.  In Hebrew, most of the words for tassels or projections coming from the hair have associations with the idea of twisting.

For example, with tsitsith (Strongs 6734), it meas a tassel or lock, or a floral or winglike projection.  Interestingly, this derives from tsiyts (Strongs 6731), meaning a blossom, a flower, a glistening plate (bright colored), or a wing (as gleaming in the air).  This derives from tsuwts (Strongs 6692), a primitive root word meaning to twinkle, or to bloom.  It is unsurprising that these ideas would show up together in one word.

Next, we have pathil (Strongs 6616), meaning cord or threadwire, etc.  It derives from pathal (Strong's 6617), a primitive root, meaning meaning to twist, to twine, to struggle, to wrestle, etc.

A synonym to this is chuwt (Strongs 2338 and 2339), both a Hebrew and Aramaic root (unused), meaning to sew, to string together, to repair; a measuring tape, cord, line, thread, etc.

In the Proto-Sinaitic reconstructions, many authorities give the vocalization of chuwt or chet (khut or heth) to the Proto-Sinaitic hieroglyph of rope or twine being twisted together.  This hieroglyph is yet another repurposed Egyptian hieroglyph (Gardiner's sign list V28).


Interestingly, the character has the same consonantal vocalization in Egyptian as well.
This is the same vocalization as the other Heth character meaning "mansion or fence," etc.  While these letters may have been two different letters at first with virtually the same consonantal pronunciation, and were used interchangeably in Semitic languages like Hebrew, after a time it didn't make sense to have separate letters, so it appears that this letter was dropped from the alphabet in favor of the other Heth character.

(6) Arda / Rudra (Betelgeuse) as Rosh (Greek Rho - ר Ρ ρ  Latin - R)

Going down the rest of the Hindu list, we have Ardra, which is symbolized by a human head, or a drop of blood, or moisture.  This lunar mansion aligns with the star Betelgeuse in Orion.  Betelgeuse is a corruption of the Arabic term Yad Al-Jawza, meaning "Central Hand (of Orion)."  This is the bright-red star (red giant) in Orion.  The Hindu god associated with this is Rudra, the red storm god.  In English, ruddy means reddish.  Of course, in Hebrew, the word Adam means red, or red earth.  It seems that this corresponds with the letter Rosh, meaning Head, and in the Proto-Sinaitic, and other Semitic Alphabets, it is a picture of a human head.  Once again, it doesn't fall in Alphabetic order, but it is indeed a strong correspondence.

(7) Punarvasu as Yod/Yad (Greek Iota - י Ι ι  Upsilon - Υ υ  Latin - I, Y, J)

Punarvasu aligns with the stars Castor (α Geminorum) and Pollux (β Geminorum), the two twins, or two stars famously from the Solar Zodiacal constellation Gemini.  Punarvasu means (punar) the return of or the restoration of (vasu) light or goods.  It is also known by the name Yamakau (Yama Kau), meaning the (kau) Little (yama) Twin.  This of course refers to Gemini as the twins.

The symbol that is associated with this Lunar Mansion is a bow and quiver.  However, the Jain symbol that is associated with this is a picture of scales  (the following picture was provided by Kelley):


There is a little bit of a resemblance between scales and a bow.

In Hindu Mythology, Yama was the first man, and god of the Underworld, and his consort and twin sister was Yami.  They are the Hindu version of Adam and Eve, or Osiris and Isis, or Fu Xi and Nu Gua.  The Indian yamah and the Avestan yemo both mean "twin."  These words, including Gemini, derive from the Indo-European root *gem or *yem, meaning to pair, to tie together, to join, to marry, to copulate, to compel or to press.

Related is the Old Indian yamah means to restrain.  And the word yamati, meaning to sustain, to hold, to hold together.  Yama means to rein, to curb, to bridle.  It also refers to a driver or charioteer. or a chariot.  A yantra is something used for holdingrestraining or fastening.

Also we see the very-closely related Indo-European root *gen.  This means to give birth, beget.

The Celtic root *gem- means to get hold of.  And so, in Irish, the word géibhinn means bond, fetter; bondage, captivity or difficulty.  All of these have association for covenant-making through handclasping, just like how handfasting is a custom during marriage ceremonies, and how people “shake on it” when there is an agreement.  Indeed, interestingly enough, the Freemasons call one of their handclasps the Lion’s Paw.  In Hebrew, yaman (Strongs 3231) means to choose the right or to use the right hand.  The word yamin (Strongs 3225) means the right hand.

The Arabic name for this Lunar Mansion is Al Dhirathe forearm (also being the forearm of the ancient Arab Lion constellation (“Lion’s Paw”), which stretched/overlaid many other constellations).  The Coptic Egyptian name for this is Pi-Mahi or Pi-Meh, meaning the cubit. (the length of a forearm).  The other Coptic name for it was Pimainte-Keon the forearm of the Nile, because the word Keon is a form of the Biblical word Gihon, an ancient name for the Nile.  Of course, the cubit is the measure of the forearm, from the tip of the fingers to the elbow, and the Latin word cubitus means elbow. as  In Hebrew, the word for cubit is ammah (Strongs 520) meaning mother, the forearm, or a cubit.  It is also a door base (as the bond of the entrance).  It is also a word used for the number one hundred sometimes, because it is associated with the Hebrew word me'ah (Strongs 3967), a primitive number meaning one hundred.  Ammah is derived from the Hebrew word 'em (Strongs 517), a primitive word meaning mother (as the bond of the family).  As you can see, all of these words are etymologically  associated with the other words associated with Gemini, through the idea of a bond, as also through the idea of a mother, which is the person to give birth.


The author’s proposal here is that this constellation corresponds to the Proto-Sinaitic yod, which is a picture of an arm, perhaps reaching out to give a handshake, or make covenant.  Here is the Proto-Sinaitic Hieroglyph for this letter, showing that it is also an arm in a squared position:


This corresponds to the Chinese Lunar Mansion, Tsing, means a well, or pit, anciently called Tiam.  The ancient Chinese symbol for this mansion resembles a pound or hash or number symbol: #.  This would seem to relate with the idea of a mother, or giving birth, through the Hebrew word tachtiy (Strongs 8482), meaning lowermost or the depths, or figuratively,  a pit or the womb.


This is the symbol for Gemini:


It looks a lot like this from the Chinese for this mansion that looks like the Hash/Pound/Number symbol: #

(8) Pushya/Tishya/Sidhya as Tsade (Greek Psi - Ψ ψ ?)

Going further down the list, we have Pushya, or Tishya, or Sidhya, meaning flower, or the nourisher.  This constellation aligns with the stars γ, δ and θ Cancri in Cancer and part of Leo (belly of the Crab).  The symbols associated with it are a cow's udder, a lotus flower, and an arrow and a circle.  This is clearly the corresponding match to Tsade (sad or sadu or tzemach), meaning plant, sprout, or to hunt.

All of the corresponding symbols from the Hindu are reflected in these meanings.  The words from the Hindu list, all have Ps or TSh or SD in them, clearly corresponding to the name Tsade.

(9) Ashlesha as Nahasu (Nun) (Greek Nu - נן Ν ν Latin - N)

Ashlesha means "The Embracer," or "The Embracing," or "The Entwiner."  These words clearly describe actions of a snake, when coiled.  It is known also as the Clinging Star.  The Rigvedic names are the Sarpas or the Nagas (celestial serpents).  This one is more straight-forward than some of the others.  This constellation is made up of δ, ε, η, ρ, and σ Hydrae (the head of Hydra).  The symbol for this Lunar Mansion is a serpent.

The word Naga seems to be a cognate to the word Nahasu, meaning snake in Semitic, where the h is interchangeable with the g.  This is similar to how in some languages "great" is Maga, whereas with others it is Maha, but they are still cognates.

This Lunar Mansion clearly corresponds to Nahasu in the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet.  Here are the symbols for Nahasu in Proto-Sinaitic:


In later alphabets, the name of the letter was changed to Nun, which means either fish or eel.

(10) Magha as Heth (Het/Hasir) (Greek Eta - ח Η η)

Magha means "The Bountiful" or "The Generous".  It is depicted generally as a house, a wall, a beak, a royal throne, or a broken outer wall.  Here is the Jain picture representation:


This corresponds to Regulus (which is in the Solar Zodiacal constellation Leo), otherwise known as Alpha Leo or Alpha Leonis.  To the Arabians, it was Kalb Al Asad (heart of the Lion), and in Rome Cor Leonis (with the same meaning).

In the Arabic Lunar Mansion list, it is a prominent part of Al Jabhah (the "Forehead"), but also part of another asterism called the "sickle" comprising the back of the Lion's head.  This is *NOT* to be confused with the similarly named asterism in Scorpio, so immense care must be taken in our analysis.

The Rigvedic name of Magha is Pitrs, meaning 'The Fathers," or in other words, the familial, ancestral dead.  Of course, the idea of ones ancestors, being a part of one's family, is a part of one's "house" or family.  This corresponds to Proto-Sinaitic Het/Heth/Hasir, which means "Courtyard" or "Mansion" or "Fence."  Here are some Proto-Sinaitic and Proto-Canaanite versions of this letter:


And here are the Egyptian Hieroglyphs that this is derived from, with the numbers from Gardiner's sign list for each:


(11) Purva Phalguni as Proto-Sinaitic Ziq(Diqq)/Zanaq/Zeah/Barzel(Zubra)

This means "The First Bad (Red) One".  Phalguni literally means "Red", also referring to someone born in the Hindu month of Falgun.  The Jain picture for this mansion/constellation, is the front part of a bed:


The symbols associated with this are the two front legs of a bed, a hammock, and a fig tree.

The stars that correspond to this constellation/mansion are δ and θ Leonis.  Theta Leonis is Coxa or Chort or Chertan. Coxa is Latin for "hip."  This star marks is the hip of the Solar Zodiacal Leo (Lion) constellation.  Chertan is derived from the Arabic al-kharatan ("two small ribs"), originally referring to both Delta Leonis and Theta Leonis.  Chort is from Arabic al-kharat or al-khurt ("small rib").

One word meaning thigh or loin or rib or side is yarek (Strongs 3409), which is also euphemistic for procreative activity or the generative parts (phallus).  This seems fitting since the two stars here are represented as two legs of a bed, where procreative activity takes place.

Interestingly, the name of this lunar mansion from the Coptic list is Pi Khorion, and this is derived from the Greek.  In Greek, Khorion is skin or membrane.  This answers well to the Hebrew word basar (Strongs, 1320) which is used in the sense of flesh, skin, and also the pudenda/generative parts.

And interestingly enough, the word for rib in the case of the creation of Eve is tsela (Strongs 6763).  This is pretty much substitutable for the word yarek above, because it means almost exactly the same thing in every sense.  However, it seems clear that in the Book of Genesis, it is used in the creation story of Eve because it is actually a word play on the Hebrew word zera (Strongs 2233), meaning seed, because the words are practically homonyms, where the consonants sound extremely similar.

Similarly, as a direct cognate to the Arabic words al-karatan, al-karat and al-kurt above, we find that, in Aramaic the word meaning "hip" or "loin" is charats (Strongs 2783).  This is derived from the root corresponding to the Hebrew charats (Strongs 2782), which is a root meaning to point sharply, or to wound, or to be alert or to decide.  And so, the Aramaic word is derived from this in the sense of vigor, since the loin is the seat of strength.  Another word deriving from the same root is charuts (Strongs 2742), meaning incisedincisivepointed or sharp things, a trenchgold (having been mined), and a threshing-sledge (from the sharpness of the teeth in the tool), and determination, and eagerness.  Similarly, charuwz (Strongs 2737) means to perforatepierced, or a bead of a pearl, gems or jewels (as strung).

Delta Leonis is named Zosma.  Zozma is a Persian word meaning "the Girdle", "Enzonement" (i.e. an encircling) or "Loincloth".

One word for girdle in Hebrew is chesheb (Strongs 2805), specifically, a belt or strap.  This is derived from cheshab (Strongs 2803), meaning to plait or interpenetrate, to weave or to fabricate, to plot or to contrive (i.e. creative activity).

Another is chagorah  (Strongs 2291), meaning a belt for the waist.  This is from chagar (Strongs 2296), a root meaning to gird.

The name "Subra" or Zubra was mostly applied to Zosma and Chertan (Delta and Theta Leonis), even though it was confused with Omicron Leo, which was called this by some because it was in the position of the mane of the ancient Arab Lion constellation.  In Arabic, zubrazubr or zib are terms for the phallus.  Zubra (ZBR) also means a piece of iron or an anvil.  In Hebrew, there is the close cognate, barzel (BRZl) (Strongs 1270), meaning iron, or fetters.  As you can see, in this word, the consonants are transposed from ZBR.


In Aramaic, the word for iron is parzel (PRZl) (Strongs 6523), corresponding to barzel in Hebrew.  Interestingly, as we saw above, the Hebrew word basar (BSR) is associated with the phallus, and it phonetically sounds like barzel/parzel, with the consonants a little transposed again.

In Hebrew is the primitive root zanaq (Strongs 2187).  This means to draw together the feet (as an animal when darting upon its prey), i.e. to spring forward.  Another related root is zanach (Strongs 2186), meaning to push aside.  However, derived from zanaq are the words ziyqahziq or zeq (Strongs 2131), meaning that which leaps forth (i.e.a flash of fire), or a burning arrow, or a bond or fetter.

Some Proto-Sinaitic scholars have identified the early Proto-Sinaitic letter Ziq as fetters.  There seems to be two forms of this letter.  This is the first:


And this is the second:


Interestingly, to the author, this glyph looks like two ribs.  Some like Brian Colless have tried to match this glyph that looks like a modern-day equals sign (=) up with the Egyptian hieroglyphic for eyebrows, which it does look like (Gardiner's sign list, number D13).  However, Colless believes this glyph was pronounced dayp ("eyebrow").  Petrovich says that it may match up with the Hebrew word for "sweat" (ze'ah, Strongs 2188) as there is no Biblical Hebrew word for eyebrow, which would still be a word starting with Z.

(12) Uttara Phalguni as Proto-Sinaitic Zayin/Zanab/Zil (Greek Zeta - ז Ζ ζ Latin - Z)

The Hindus make this Lunar mansion out to be the second part of the asterism of a bed.  Here is the Jain symbol provided by Kelly for it:


The symbols associated with this lunar mansion are four legs of bed and a hammock.

The Arabic Lunar mansion that corresponds to this is Al Sarfa, meaning the changer.  Sarfa can also mean a vicissitude, a turning away or a deterrence.  Another apparent form is the name Al Dafira, meaning the tuft of hair (at the end of the tail), so Sarfa may be a corruption.  Also, the word for "bed" in Arabic is sarir.  This starts with "sar" like the word sarfa.  Is that meaningful, or is it coincidence?  Its difficult to tell.  The Coptic/Greek name is Asphulia, perhaps in Greek as Asphaleia, meaning securityfirmness or stability.  There is also Ashphalios, meaning the Securer.  Some have reportedly referred to it as Azyalthe tail.  Daifra can mean to smell or to stink.  It may be related to the Hebrew place name Ziphron (Strongs 2202), which comes from a root meaning to be fragrant, or to smell.

The name Uttara Phalguni means "The Latter Bad (Red) One".  The major star for this constellation is Denebola (β Leonis or Beta Leonis).  This name is the shortened version of the term Deneb Alased, from the Arabic phrase Danab Al-Asad ("tail of the lion").  It has been shortened sometimes to Deneb or Danab.  This name corresponds to the cognate Hebrew word zanab (Strongs 2180), meaning the tail.  This derives from the root, also similarly pronounced zanab (Strongs 2179), which is a root meaning to wag, but it also means to curtail or to cut off the rear.  Zanab has similar consonants to 

The ancient name of this letter seems to be unknown, because Zayin is probably a corruption.  The problem with the word Zayin in Hebrew is this, as Rassmussen writes:
The Hebrew letter name Zayin means weapon in post-biblical Hebrew. This word is not found in Biblical Hebrew and not in Ugaritic either. ("Early Letter Names").
Zayin may be a corruption that emerged through the influence of similar-sounding names from other letters, like ghain/ayin.  Yet the "Zay" form for this letter is clearly attested in the name for it in the Geez/Ethiopic alphabet which has scored a lot of points with Proto-Sinaitic scholars for having preserved other ancient names such as nahas for snake, etc.  The word zanab is significantly similar to the Hebrew name of the letter, Zayin, and the Geez name Zay, because it has both the Z and the N in the word, that it seems to be related somehow.  It seems to give a clue about the emergence or etymology of the name of the letter, since the name Zayin is probably not original, and so, some other similar form may be.  Zanab/Danab would seem be it.

It is clear that it eventually merged with the letter Ziq/Diqq, and the hieroglyphic that corresponds to that letter looks like the modern day equals sign (=).

Here is Colless' picture from his chart of a letter he calls "Zil" (shade), which other people transliterate as tsel (Strongs 6738):


This form on the right is a Proto-Sinaitic letter that looks like a lollipop.  Colless links this to the "shade" hieroglyph in Gardiner's Sign List, S35 ("sun-shade"), which is possible:


This is not a bad correlation.  In my view, a good candidate is this (Gardiner's sign list F27 and F28:


It is a cowhide with the tail hanging low.  The regular Egyptian hieroglyphic for tail is a picture that is basically straight line (F33), that sort of looks like a modern magic wand, as one would expect.  But this above (F27 and F28) is a good alternate as well that manifests a tail.  This hieroglyph could answer to the word Zanab, and would be consistent with the evidence for this constellation.  What is probably going on here is what is suggested by Brian Colless, who writes:
Two different hieroglyphs may be used as prototypes for a single letter . . . Rather than demonstrating ignorance of the Egyptian system, this evidence indicates knowledge of its contents on the part of the Semitic users of the protoalphabet. (http://cryptcracker.blogspot.co.nz/2014/09/goldwasser-alphabet.html)

(13) Hasta as Kaf or Kap (Greek Kappa - כ ך Κ κ Latin - K)

Hasta means "the hand."  It's symbol is a hand or fist.  This is a direct and simple correspondence with either the Semitic Kaf or Kap or Yod and it is difficult to discern based on this letter alone.  But because of the evidence for Chitra specifically as Kaf or Kap that we will see momentarily, then through a process of elimination, this is clearly Yod.  The stars in this constellation are α, β, γ, δ and ε Corvi (Corvus). Here is the Jain symbol for Hasta, as provided by Kelley:



In Hebrew, Kaf or Kap is the hand, or even more specifically, the palm or hollow of the hand, which derives from Kaphaph (to be bent).  Clearly there is a conceptual relation between the root meaning to be convex and the root meaning to be bent.  So, we can see how this is also a cupping of the hand, as we can see specifically in a moment from the picture below.

These are the Proto-Sinaitic hieroglyph for this letter, and of course, this also looks like a flower:




(14) Chitra as Vav (Waw) (Greek Digamma - ו Ϝ ϝ Latin - F, V, W, U)

Chitra is a little more difficult to discern than Hasta, but with enough work, in the end, it becomes clear.  The name Chitra means "the bright one."  Here is Kelley's picture of the Jain symbol for Chitra, which is a picture of a flower in bloom.


The reason that this is a symbol for this Lunar mansion is interesting.  The star that corresponds to this is Spica or Alpha (α) Virgo.  Spica means "ear of grain" in Latin.  And certain Greeks associated the phrase "in her hands" with this star.  This is because, this star marks the ear of wheat in the right hand of the woman of the Solar-Zodiacal constellation Virgo.  So already we are seeing the where the association of the flower or fruit of the plant comes from.

Other symbols for this lunar mansion among the Hindus are a bright jewel or pearl.  In Hebrew, the word for pearl is Gabish (Strongs 1378), which means either crystal (coming from a root seemingly meaning to freeze, and so, crystal has a resemblance to ice).  And another meaning of the word is pearl.  Chitra means bright one, specifically because it is the translation of the idea of a shimmering crystal, it seems.  Sounding very similar to this is the Hebrew word Gebia or Gabia (Strongs 1375), from a root meaning to be convex.  This word means a goblet, a cup, or a pot, or by analogy, the calyx of a flower (i.e. the enclosure of the petals of a flower).  It is quite clear in the Semitic how all these ideas are intertwined, and these associations and sounds make the most sense as coming not originally from a Semitic or Middle-Eastern origin, rather than from a Hindu or Vedic origin, because the word Chitra is just a straight-across translation of the ideas in Gabish and Gebia.  It is in these two Semitic words that all of the ideas here combine.

Interestingly, the consonants in the word Spica (or consonantal sounds) are SPK.  The consonants in the word Gabish are GBSh.  K is interchangeable sometimes with the G, and B is interchangeable sometimes with the P.  So to illustrate the pattern, we will use colors to make it more plain showing the letters that are interchangeable with the same color:  (1) SPK  (2) GBSh
As you can see, the consonantal roots of these words are related, but reversed in order.  It also makes sense why this is closely associated with Kaf/Kap, coming right after it in the constellation order, because these words sound similar.


Here is the hieroglyph for Proto-Sinaitic Vav, the tent peg or pin, which is the best candidate for this constellation:


(15) Swati as as Proto-Sinaitic Pinah (Pe/Pasu), and Greek Pi - פ ף Π π (Latin - P)

Swati means "very good."  It's Rigvedic name: Vayu, the Wind god.  Its symbols are the shoot of a plant, or coral, or a spike or wedge.  In Hebrew, the word coral is Peninim or Pani ("Pawni") (Strongs 6443), which also means ruby.  From the ATS Bible Dictionary comes this observation about coral:
A hard calcareous, marine production . . . often resembling in figure the stem of a plant, divided into branches. (http://biblehub.com/topical/c/coral.htm)
This is from Pen (Strongs 6434), a corner, from a root meaning to turn, as also Pinnah (Strongs 6438), the feminine version of Pen, also meaning corner.  A related root is Panan, to branch or to separate or to divide up.  And some authorities claim that Peninim comes from this root instead.  Corals are red like rubies, and were said to be valued by the Indians of India.  In Smith's Bible Dictionary, it says:
Pliny says that the Indians valued coral as the Romans valued pearls.  (http://biblehub.com/topical/c/coral.htm)
Swati is the constellation Arcturus.  Here is a picture of the Jain picture for Swati:


When a wedge is driven into wood, it divides and separates it.  It may be tempting at first to actually associate this with Vav in the Hebrew Alphabet, which is a tent peg or pin.  However, it is certainly associated with Spica above, being right next to it.  Furthermore, were it not for this other evidence, it actually overwhelmingly corresponds to Pinah or Peh.  Pasu is another suggested name for the corner Hieroglyph by some authorities.  Here are some of the versions of the Hieroglyph:

In some lists of Proto-Sinaitic, the "corner" or Pinah hieroglyph has the form of two bent lines.  In other forms, it is two bent lines joined with a curve:

Though these words start with P sound, let's not forget about the Rigvedic name"Vayu", where the V is not too far off from a B or P sound.  Here are Proto-Canaanite/Phoenician versions of the letter:

Interestingly, in the Greek Alphabet, the letter for Pi is two horizontal lines joined by a line at the top, like the Proto-Canaanite version of the letter, and some of the Proto-Sinaitic versions.  The Greek letter, of course, is a very common character in American culture for a number of reasons, but mostly because it is associated with the numerical value assigned to it in mathematics.  Here is the letter:


(16) Visakha as Proto-Sinaitic Ayin - Greek Omicron-  ע Ο ο - Latin O

Visakha means "forked" or "having branches."  It is also known as radha, meaning "the gift."   It is made up of the stars α, β, γ and ι Librae (of the constellation Libra or Scales).  The symbols sometimes associated with this lunar mansion are Triumphal arch (a decorated gateway) or a potter's wheel.  The Jain symbol associated with this is a decorative chain (garland or wreath):


In Hebrew, zebed (Strongs 2065) means gift, which is similar-sounding to the following terms in Arabic.  Alpha Libre is called Zuben Elgenubi, which in Arabic is actually Al Zuban al Janubiyyah (southern scale).  Beta Libre is called Zuben Elschemali or Zuben el Chamali, which in Arabic is actually Al Zuban al Shamaliyyah (northern scale). The Arabic name of this lunar mansion is Al Zubana or Zaban, which, according to some sources, in Arabic means to push.   Zaban in Arabic means to sell the fruit of a tree in a lump, or to push.  The Aramaic cognate is zeban (Strongs 2084), a primitive root meaning to buy or to gain.  The word zabanitu in Assyrian means scales.  

Even though these stars are technically part of Libra, anciently, they were considered by some to be in the claws of Scorpio.  Some have translated zaban in Arabic as pincer or claw.  However, with the evidence above, this seems suspect.  It doesn't mean that the concept that these "scales" were anciently thought of claws is suspect.  However, the word zuban/zaban/zeban doesn't seem to translate literally that way.

The Egyptian Coptic name for this Lunar Mansion is Pritithi, meaning the two claws.  To the Greeks it was the Chelae, the Claws of the Scorpion.   In Hebrew, the word for claw is parsah (Strongs 6541).  This is derived from peres (Strongs 6538), also meaning claw or a kind of eagle.  That is derived from paras (Strongs 6536), meaning to break in piecesto splitto distribute.  This is consistent with the meaning of the name visakha.  In Hebrew, the word peret (Strongs 6528) means a stray or single berry, or grape.  This is from the word parat (Strongs 6527), a primitive root, meaning to scatter words, i.e. prate (or hum), or chant.  A related root to this is parad (Strongs 6504), a primitive root meaning to break through, i.e. to spread or to separate.

Now, the connection with grape or berry is interesting and important, because in Hebrew, another word for grape is 'enab (Strongs 6025), (a word which starts with the Hebrew letter ayin).  This word 'enab means a grape or wine, and is from root apparently meaning to bear fruit.  The root 'NB seems to be cognate to the Arabic root ZBN (Zaban).  'avan (Strongs 5770), means to eye, or to watch (with jealousy).  The V closely corresponds to the B, and so, this is yet another cognate.  This term is the denominative form from 'ayin (Strongs 5869) a primitive word, meaning the eye, a fountain (as the eye of a landscape).  This is letter in the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet of this name is the picture of an eye:


As you saw above, one of the symbols for this Lunar mansion was the potter's wheel, which in Hebrew is 'oben (Strongs 70).  This phonetically resembles very closely the words 'avan and zaban.  'abnet (Strongs 73) means a girdle.  This is close enough to the idea of a wreath or garland, something that wraps around something else.  The point is, this is also phonetically similar enough to all of these words to qualify as what was referred to above in the Jain picture.  All of these evidences show that the names for these symbols associated with this Lunar mansion, when back-translated to the likely Semitic versions of the names, all deliberately sounded similar to the name of the proto-letter.

The coincidence of zanab and 'enab with the term El-Genubi (Janubiyya), or "Southern," which sounds very similar, is interesting to say the least, especially in light of the fact that Visakha corresponds to the Chinese Lunar Mansion, Ti, meaning bottom or root, anciently known as Dsi and I shi.  The north, of course, is the top, or head, of a compass, but south is at the bottom or root.

(17) Anuradha as Ga / Ghain?

Anuradha means "following radha" (i.e. radha was one of the names of the previous Lunar Mansion).   Anuradha is the name of a Hindu Goddess of Fortune.  The stars that make up this constellation are β, δ and π Scorpionis.  The symbols associated with this Lunar Mansion are a Row or a Ridge, a Triumphal Archway or a Lotus.   The line of component stars for this Lunar Mansion seem to visually indicate this row or ridge.  The Rigvedic name of this is Mitra ("crown"?).  In Latin, mitra is crown or headdress or turban.  The Jain picture associated with this is a string of pearls.


In English, a mitre (miter) is a crown.  The Indo-Iranian common noun *mitra means "that which causes to bind."  In Sanskrit mitram means "covenant", "contract," or "oath."

Delta (δ) ScorpiusDschubba, or Dzuba, is a star on the forehead of the Scorpion constellation.  Dschubba is believed to be a corruption of the Arabic words Al Jabhah, or Al Jabhat, meaning the "front" or "forehead."  The Arabic name of this Lunar Mansion is Iklil al Jabhab, the Crown of the Forehead of the Scorpion.  This is not to be confused with the other Lunar Mansion of a similar name in the Lion constellation that includes Regulus.  So immense care must be taken here to make sure that the analysis is correct.  This is specifically the crown of the forehead, while the other mansion is a different forehead of a different beast.  Anyhow, another title for Dschubba was Iclarkrav derived from the Arabic Iklil al 'Akrab, the "Crown of the Scorpion", or sometimes referred to as just Iklil.  Iklil is the Arabic word for 'jewel'.  The Coptic name for this was Stephani, derived from the Greek Stephane, meaning Crown.

Related to Iklil may be the Hebrew word kalal (Strongs 3634), a primitive root meaning to complete or to perfect.  Then there is a derived word kelal (Strongs 3635), to complete or finish.  Another derived word is kallah (Strongs 3618), meaning daughter-in-law or bride.  The word kelilut means wedding.  The word kelil means crown.

The Hebrew cognate to Jabhah seems to be gibbeach (Strongs 1371), meaning bald forehead, from a root meaning to be high (in the forehead).  Another derived word is gabbachath (Strongs 1372), meaning, again, bald forehead, or front, but also, a bare spot on the right side of cloth.  Remember that the Jain picture was a string of pearls.  The Hebrew word for pearl is gabiysh (Strongs 1378), similar sounding to these other words, which shows that there was something deliberate in the selection of that symbol for the Jain picture.  The word for queen or mistress is gebiyrah (Strongs 1377).  This is derived from gebiyr (Strongs 1376), meaning lord or master.  These coincide with the idea of a crown.  They derive from gabar (Strongs 1396), a primitive root, meaning, to be strong or powerful.  Gebul (Strongs 1396), is a cord (as twisted),  or a boundary, or the territory enclosed by the boundary.  Here is one form of Proto-Sinaitic Ga/Ghain:

Indeed, this looks sort of like an area within a boundary of rope.  Some scholars of Proto-Sinaitic have ascertained that this letter may have had a vocalization of ga.  The Ugaritic letter corresponding to that is the letter that some have labeled "ghain," perhaps based on the name of the letter from the Ethiopic (Geez) alphabet.  Some have tried to give it a name of ginab, which some suggest has the meaning of grape.  This is a Proto-Sinaitic re-construction (by Brian Colless https://www.academia.edu/12894458/The_origin_of_the_alphabet), since this word doesn't exist in Hebrew.  But the Hebrew cognate 'enab (as we saw above), would certainly link this to the preceding letter Ayin, which is why it ultimately merged with it.  But the two clearly started out as separate.  Furthermore, to the Egyptians, the moon is the wedjat eye.  And Janib in Arabic means "side," linked to the moon as Yarek/Yarikh (meaning side).  As we saw above, this letter is associated with gabar/gabul indicating a boundary or side.  (See the proposed proto-Sinaitic letter Sahrah/Saphah below for more in-depth discussion on this.) Therefore by this logic, perhaps the proper alternate name are indeed ginab/ghain.  Colless links this to Gardiner's sign list number M43, a picture of grapes propped up/wine production:


So, the question is obviously going to come up.  With the similarities between the words Zaban, Zanab, etc., how can one discern which Lunar constellation is the correct one to match up with which letter, because of the similarities between Zayin/Zanab, 'Ayin/Zuben, etc., when the roots/derivations are so similar and seemingly somewhat overlapping.  Well, there are clues here that enable us to discern what these letter-names "sound" like, even though there is overlap.  In the case of 'Ayin, there were a clues given, such as potter's wheel ('oben) and girdle ('abnet).  In these cases, these are fortunate things that show that the letter name here *sounds like* these words (i.e. avan), which is a form of 'ayin.  Therefore, we can see that it is discernable that the proper name of that letter is 'ayin.  In the case here with this present letter, ginab, we see that the symbol of a pearl was given again, which is gabyish.  Therefore, we know that this *sounds* kind of like that, starting with a G, and that it has a B in it.  Next, in the case of Zayin, it is clear that Zanab belongs with it, not just by process of elimination because of the other two, but because of similarity of sound and shared consonants between Zayin and Zanab.  Also, Zayin properly falls in line after Vav in this list almost in the same order as it does with the North Semitic order at the first part of this list.  But the further you get down this list, the less like the North Semitic order it is.  Anyhow, the point is, there is fortunately enough information and data here that exists to give us enough discernment to put things in proper order.

(18) Jyeshtha as Proto-Sinaitic Mem/Qalb/Khalal/Leb (Greek Mu - מ ם Μ μ Latin - M) 

Jyeshtha translates to "chief star," "the original," "the eldest," "the first" or "the most excellent."  Its symbols are: circular amulet, umbrella, or earring.  The Jain picture for this mansion/constellation is an Elephant's tusk.


Interestingly, the tusk of an Elephant in Egyptian is this hieroglyphic, from Gardiner’s Sign List F18:


In Egyptian, this character is used as ideogram as a determinative in the Egyptian word for “tooth,” which is vocalized as ibh, meaning Elephant in Egyptian.  Interesting too, is the fact that a word in Sanskrit for Elephant is Ibha.  Of course, the Egyptian word for heart is ib, and the hieroglyphic determinative in that word is this (Gardiner’s F34), the sign for heart:


This is the form that the circular amulet sometimes takes:


This association is a deliberate wordplay or pun in Egyptian, meaning that the person that associated the elephant-tusk symbol with this Lunar Mansion seems to have known the Egyptian language. It appears above that the elephant tusk is a piece of this symbol, with the three lines in it.  Some suggest that this is to be identified with the disk of Vishnu, a powerful weapon that he used.  It is called the the Sudarshana Chakra, usually held in the right rear hand of Vishnu in representations of him:


This may bring to mind an Egyptian Hypocephalus, symbolizes the sun, and in the center is Khnum-Ra, the God of Creation, and in other contexts a solar deity, as also, the polestar.

The Rigvedic name of the Jyeshtha Lunar Mansion is Indra (chief of the gods), or Sakra ("powerful"), an epithet of Indra.  The stars in this mansion/constellation are α, σ, and τ Scorpionis, which make up the constellation "the heart of the scorpion" or Scorpio's heart (i.e. the Solar Zodiacal Scorpio constellation).  Antares is the heart of the Scorpion (Kalb al Akrab in Arabic), or Alpha Scorpii, the brightest star in that constellation.

In the Arabic list of lunar mansions, the name of this mansion is Al-Kalb, or just Kalb, or the heart.  In the Coptic list of lunar mansions, its name is given as Karthian.  This is a derivation from the Greek word Kardia, meaning heart.  In the Chinese list of lunar mansions, the mansion of the same stars has the name of Xin, also meaning heart.  And like the Ox constellation in the lunar mansions, this is one of the meanings that is consistent in more than one ancient list.  It is unlikely that the Arabs got the name of "heart" from the Chinese, but that it actually points to something far more ancient.

The word qerob (Strongs 7138), meaning to be near.  It resembles closely the word aqrab (Strongs 6137) meaning scorpion.  Aqrab derives from eqer (Strongs 6133) meaning offshoot or member.  This derives from aqar (Strongs 6131), meaning to pluck or root out, or to dig down.

The ancient polestar cult was very widespread.  The ancients perceived the pole star as having a special significance over any other star.  The pole star was regarded as the “nail of heaven” in many ancient cultures, not just in the Hebrew culture.   Some refer to it as the “World Nail.”   And to some, it is the “North Nail,” as it is called in Lappish, the word being bohinavlle.  Other names are veralden tšuold “World Pillar” or almetšuolda, meaning“heaven pillar,” or tjuold, meaning “pole or axis of the world.” In Estonian, it is called “nail of the north” or põhja nael.  It is also noted that the Lappish believe that if this nail didn't hold, then the sky would collapse. We see this same thing from Siberia where the Samoyeds called it “nail of heaven,” and the Koryak name for it is then “nail star.”  And the Chukchi even call it the “nail star” or “pole stuck star.” (“Oswald’s Tree,” I, ed. T. Hofstra, L. A. J. R. Houwen and A. A. MacDonald. Germania, Latina II. Groningen: Egbert Forsten, 1995, pp. 149–73, http://www.wordandpage.co.uk/Oswald.pdf).  Some perceived it as a great celestial pole, cosmic pillar, or a tree, the point in the sky where the earth connects with the heavens.  This axis, in many traditions, was a pole that went through the three realms of heaven, earth, and the underworld.  Some called it the “navel” of the sky.  An omphalos, or umbilical, meaning “navel” is a center place, and the ancients used stone markers to denote an omphalos.  The pole star is a celestial omphalos, but it is not just a “navel.”  It also is considered a phallic symbol.

The Greeks called the pole star Kynosoura, making its way into the English language as Cynosure, meaning something in a central position that attracts attention.  It was also known as the Lonestar or guiding star.  In its mythological and symbolical terms, the archaeo-astronomical meaning of “the nail in the sure place” (Isaiah 22:23) is the polestar is the nail of heaven, and is certainly associated with the asterism of the “Throne of God” in the “Father's House,” or Temple in Heaven.

It was on the heavenly or cosmic mountain that the throne of God was set on.  In ancient traditions throughout the world, frequently, reference is made to a mountain located in the North of the Heaven as the seat and dwelling place of the Gods.  This was known by various names among the ancients depending on the culture.  To the Hindus it was Mount Meru.  To the Buddhists, it was Mount Sumeru.  To the Greeks, it was Mount Olympus.  To the Hebrews, it was Mount Zion.  Every culture seems to have some equivalent.  Joseph Campbell refers to it as the World Mountain.  (Primitive Mythology: The Masks of God, p. 239).  We read:
The Trāyastriṃśa heaven Śakra rules is located on the top of Mount Meru, imagined to be the polar center of the physical world, around which the Sun and Moon revolve. Trāyastriṃśa is the highest of the heavens in direct contact with Earth. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Śakra_(Buddhism), emphasis added)
This is indicative of an omphalos, just as the center of the hypocephalus, being the polestar, is an omphalos.  It is the center, or heart, as indicated by the Hebrew root KRB (similar to Kalb), meaning to be near a center.  This center, or omphalos in the heaven, is the polestar.

The ancient temples of Buddhists and Hindus were built as representations of this mountain.  Its summit was considered to be the pole star.  In some accounts, Meru has a temple built on it, and the Pole Star is the golden spire of this temple.  Meru, according to some, was said to be made of gold, and was the archetype of all center places.  In fact, there is an intimate connection here between the concept of Meru and Zion, as we read here in Psalms:  “Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.” (Psalm 48:2)   Note that this city was in the North, at the North Star, the polestar.  Mount Zion was clearly the Cosmic Mount to the Hebrews.

Joseph Campbell describes a Syro-Hittite representation of the hero Gilgamesh, and on this same representation, he describes this:
. . . [I]t is a column made of serpent-circles, bearing on its top a symbol of the sun.  Such a pole or perch is symbolic of the pivotal point around which all things turn (the axis mundi), and so is a counterpart of the Buddhist Tree of Enlightenment in the “Immovable Spot” at the center of the world. (Occidental Mythology:  The Masks of God, p. 12)
Campbell also connects this to the tree in the Garden of Eden, and the “four rivers that flow to the quarters of the world.”

The people of the earth in ancient times were clearly searching for the “midst of all things” that is found in their mythologies.  The obvious place for it in a geocentric cosmology is the place in the geocentric heaven that is a stationary center around which a lot of other stars appear to rotate. This is what caught the attention of the ancients.  Again, in the Book of Job, we read about the same place, paying attention to the fact that the surface reading of this scripture is referring to the geocentric pole star as the throne:
He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.  He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them.  He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it.  He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end. (Job 26:7-10)
In the geocentric description of the North Star as the nail in the sure place in Isaiah 22, in Hebrew the word sure here is aman (Strongs 539), which is a root meaning to build up, or to support, that which is sure or faithful as an adjective, and the term omenah (Strongs 547) is a column or pillar.  And not surprisingly, amanah (Strongs 548), from the same root is “covenant,” or “something fixed.”  Once again, this brings to mind the fact that Khnum-Re at the center of a Hypocephalus, which is the polestar, is also Amen (Amon).

In the myth of the battle between Marduk and Tiamat from Babylonia, after Marduk had slain Tiamat, “he split her, like a shellfish, in two halves; set one above, as a heavenly roof, fixed with a crossbar; and assigned guards to watch that her waters above should not escape.”  (Joseph Campbell, Occidental Mythology, p. 83, emphasis added.  See also Frederick H. Stitt, Adam to Ahab:  Myth and History in the Bible, p. 42).  Furthermore, Campbell points out that the name Tiamat of this Babylonian monster goddess is “related etymologically to the Hebrew term tehom, 'the deep,' of the second verse of Genesis . . .”  And he refers to the account of the waters above divided from the waters below (Genesis 1:7) as being the direct Biblical parallel to the dividing of the body of Tiamat.   So this dividing of the waters from the waters in Genesis seems to referring to the celestial sea above, or the Milky Way.  Again, in Job, we read:
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding.  Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? Or who hath stretched the line upon it?  Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? Or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?  Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed? Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place . . . (Job 38:4-11)
Which sea is this referring to?  The sea on the earth, or the sea in the heavens?  Thick darkness is its swaddling-band.  Another parallel scripture to the one in Job 38 is found in Proverbs:
The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.  I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.  When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.  Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:  While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.  When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:  When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:  When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:  Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men. (Proverbs 8:22-31)
Clement, the disciple of Peter, and Bishop of Rome, who was very knowledgeable about the teachings of the Apostles, also quotes and comments on the scripture in Job.  I think Clement here seems to have in mind the idea of other worlds across the sea of space here:
And the conflux of the vast sea, being brought together by his order into its several collections, passes not the bounds that he has set to it; But as he appointed it, so it remains.  For he said, “Hitherto shalt thou come, and thy floods shall be broken within thee.”  The ocean, unpassable to mankind, and the worlds that are beyond it, are governed by the same commands of their great master. (1 Clement 9:10-12, The Lost Books of the Bible and the Forgotten Books of Eden, p. 122)
The etymology of the word galaxy is interesting.  To the Greeks, it was a giant milk spill, with streams of milk branching off into different parts of the sky.  It was called the galaxias kyklos, the milky circle, from whence we get the name Milk way.  The Hebrew word Khalab, meaning "milk", is probably etymologically related to (cognate to) the word gala.  It seems clear that it is also connected to qlb, or heart, associated with the polestar.  The Hebrew word for heart is leb (Strongs 3820).

As for the Egyptians, the water hieroglyph translated as “Nu” or “Nun” (Gardiner's Sign List, N35) (from whence the Proto-Sinaitic Mem was derived), represents both the Primordial Ocean of Nun, and also the Milky Way. 

The same is so with the similarly-shaped hieroglyph for “sky,” (Gardiner’s N1):



This shape is derived from the goddess of the sky, called Nut, who is the Milky Way, with its crescent contour:




The Egyptians, considered the the Milky Way to be the Celestial Nile.  And the Egyptians believed that the this primordial ocean was in the shape of a cosmic egg.  This resembles the shape of the circle of the Milky Way.  And now back to the circular amulet pictured above that is associated with the Sudarshana Chakra.  It resembles the circular streams of the Milky Way, called Khalab or Gala.

The proposal here is that the Proto-Sinaitic Mem represents the Milky Way.  Anyhow, now for some more analysis of Hebrew words:

Mayim (Strongs 4325) is a dual form of a primitive noun Mah (but used in a singular sense), meaning water.  Now, interestingly, yam (Strongs 3220) is the word for sea, or large body of water, from a root meaning to roar, as in the idea of a breaking of the waves in noisy surf.  As you can see, the word yam has the same consonants (YM) as may in mayim (MY), just reversed.

This lunar mansion is clearly the letter Mem.  Mem is a shortened version of Mayim.  Here is the Proto-Sinaitic hieroglyph for Mem, which is essentially identical to Gardiner's sign list N35:



(19) Mula as Proto-Sinaitic Lamed (Greek Lambda - ל Λ λ Latin - L)

Mula means "the root."  The symbol for this lunar mansion is a bunch of roots tied together or an elephant goad.  The Jain picture for this, as supplied by Kelley is a scorpion:


The stars in this mansion are ε, ζ, η, θ, ι, κ, λ, μ and ν Scorpionis.

Analyzing one of the symbols, we see that in Hebrew, goad is malmad (Strongs 4451), meaning a goad for oxen.  It is from lamad (Strongs 3925), which is a root word, meaning to goad, or to teach.  Is immediately apparent from just this evidence alone that this corresponds to the Proto-Sinaitic letter Lamed.  Mula, of course, sounds like Malmad.  Interestingly, the tail of the scorpion of the Solar Zodiacal constellation Scorpio looks like the shape of the goad or shepherds crook of this Proto-Sinaitic letter.


Arabic name of mansion is Shawla or Shaula, meaning a rising tail.  Another form of the name is Mushalah, meaning "raised."  The Coptic Egyptian name of mansion is Aggia, which derived from Greek Alkaia, meaning tail, specifically, the tail of a lion.  The Chinese version of this lunar mansion is known as Wei, also meaning tail. Lambda (λ) Scorpius, known as Shaula, is a star on the raised tail of the scorpion constellation.

Now, if we explore the idea of "root," which is one of the symbols associated with this lunar mansion, we see that the Hebrew word sheresh (Strongs 8328), means a root.  It is from sharash, (Strongs 8327), a root word meaning to root, or in other words, to strike into soil, or to pluck from it.  Interestingly, the word parash, (Strongs 6567), a root word, means to separate (to disperse or to specify), and by implication, to wound or to string.

Along with Upsilon Scorpius, Shaula is listed in the Babylonian constellation list MUL.APIN as Sharur and Shargaz.  This is very close to sheresh and parash.  Sharur is the mythological weapon of the Babylonian god Ninurta.

(20) Purva Ashadha as Shin/Tananu (Greek Sigma - ש  Σ σ/ς, Latin S)

Purva Ashadha means "first of the ashadha", and ashadha means "the invincible one."  The stars of this constellation are δ and ε Sagittarii.  The symbols associated with this are elephant tuskfan and winnowing basket.
The Jain picture for this constellation is an elephant (as provided by Kelley):


δ Sagittarii or Delta Sagittarii as the names of names Kaus MediaKaus Meridionalis, and Media, which derive from the Arabic qaws ("bow"), which correspond with parts of the bow of the archer of the Solar Zodiacal constellation Sagittarius.

In Chinese astronomy, similarly, the Ji constellation of the lunar mansion in the same area in the sky, means Winnowing Basket (just as one of the Hindu symbols), and is a constellation also including Delta Sagittarii.

Doing the analysis on these words, we find that ivory or elephant tusk is Shenhabbiym (Strongs 8143), deriving from shen (Strongs 8127), meaning a tooth, as sharp, but figuratively a cliff.

Shin in Semitic also means "bow."

Here is the Egyptian Hieroglyph variants for the Compound Bow from Gardiner's sign list, numbers T9, T9a and T10:


And it is easy to see why the shape of the Proto-Sinaitic letter and the constellation that goes with it was variously interpreted as a bow or a scale, as it is clear that it corresponds to the Proto-Sinaitic Shin, which definitely derives from the compound bow Hieroglyphs T9 and T10:


Other names that have been suggested for this letter by Proto-Sinaitic scholars are Tananu, Sha-na-nu-ma, or Simdu, all in various Middle-Eastern languages representing the idea of a bow and arrow or a Charioteer.

(21) Uttara Ashadha as Proto-Sinaitic Tab (Teth) (Greek Theta - ט Θ θ) (English Th sound)

This is called the "second of the ashadha." The stars that make up this constellation are ζ and σ Sagittarii.

The symbols for this constellation are an elephant tusk and a small bed.  The Jain picture for it is a lion that is laying down (as provided by Kelley):


Zeta (ζ) Sagittarius, Ascella, is a star under the left armpit of the Archer of Sagittarus.  Ascella is a Latin word for armpit.  Axilla is another form of the word.  The corresponding Chinese Lunar Mansion named Dǒu, known as the Dipper (i.e. the southern dipper, not to be confused with other dippers), and its determinant was Phi Sagittarii (φ Sgr).

Interestingly, the Hebrew word for armpit, or a joining place, is atstsil (Strongs 679), from the same as etsel (Strongs 681), which means at, beside, nearby, toward, etc.  Clearly, these words are cognate to the Latin Ascella.

Sigma (σ) Sagittarius, known as Nunki or Pelagus, is a star on the vane of the arrow in the archer's hand.  The word Pelagus is a Latin word meaning "Sea."  Nunki is a Babylonian word used for this star in the Euphratean Tablet of the Thirty Stars, and there it is known as "the Star of the Proclamation of the Sea."  The sea referred to is this quarter of the sky including such sea-themed constellations as Aquarius, Capricornus, Delphinus, Pisces, and Piscis Australis. It is the same space in the sky that a Greek astronomer named Aratus, called "the Water."  And as you can see, the same place in the sky for the Chinese was associated with a dipper which is their Lunar Mansion, another water-related constellation.  So, the association with water in this part of the sky is very ancient and wide-spread.

The name Nunki is interesting (even though Nunki is Euphratean/Babylonian), because the Egyptian word for the primordial waters is Nun, and the god Nu is the deification of those waters.  Nunki may have been part of the constellation named in Akkadian "Gu-shi-rab-ba," the Yoke of the Sea.  Interestingly, the other Ashada (i.e. the other Lunar Mansion that this is paired with, as the bow of Saggitarus), is associated with water as well, because the Rigvedic name for that one is Apahthe god of Water.  Could that word be related to the Sumerian word Absu, meaning the deep?

Even though these stars seem to point to the idea of water, this is only generally reflective of the area of the sky all of this is found in.  it is not all that helpful in determining the identity of the Proto-Sinaitic letter that all of this corresponds to.  The determinant stars of the corresponding Arabic Mansion, as an outlier here, do not match precisely in this case, so we are relying on the stars that make up the Hindu and Chinese mansions mostly for the major determinants for the this theoretical, reconstructed, original Canaanite mansion.  However, the Arabic Mansion, called Al Balda or Al Bulda, seems to actually provide a critical key to the identity of this Lunar Mansion as far as the Proto-Sinaitic Alphabet goes.  This name (Albalda) is also the name of the star Pi (π) Sagittarius.  Al Balda in Arabic means city or district.  The corresponding Coptic/Greek Mansion is Polis, meaning town.  This corresponds to the Egyptian character for city, town or ground, called Niwit, (Gardiner’s sign list O49):




This sign is identical to the Proto-Canaanite letter Teth.  In Phoenician, the word Teth means wheel.  According to some Proto-Sinaitic scholars, this character for Teth is actually derived from an earlier form of this letter, called Tab.  Interestingly, Finn Rasmussen, a scholar from Denmark, in the article Early Letter Names, writes that the word Teth probably derives from a Semitic root tit, meaning clay or mud, an interpretation also put forward by Hugh Moran.  This interpretation actually corresponds with the idea that a city, district or town is a geographic area, like the idea of a “land.”  And clay or mud in Hebrew is also the Adamah or ground or land (Strongs 127).  This is derived from the word Adam, (Strongs 120), the name of the Biblical first man, meaning “red dirt.”


According to some Proto-Sinaitic scholars, the character Teth is derived from the character they call Tab, which they argue is actually the original Proto-Sinaitic form of this letter.  The letter is actually the Egyptian Hieroglyph pronounced NFR (Nefer), the symbol for heart and windpipe, (Gardiner's sign list F35):


It means good or beautiful.  The corresponding Hebrew word is towb (Strongs 2896), meaning beautifulgoodbountiful, etc.  Also there is tob (Strongs 2895), a primitive root meaning to be pleasing or good.  The word taba (Strongs 2883) means to sink or to sink down.  Interestingly, Phoenician, the word taba means coin.  This is interesting, because it is actually descriptive of the round Teth/Niwit form of the letter.

So, which symbol for this is to be considered the original for this Lunar Mansion?  The Teth form mostly appears in the later Proto-Canaanite/Phoenician forms, yet we can see that the Arabic name for the Mansion clearly points to the very ancient Niwit Egyptian Hieroglyph.


Strangely, we find even more evidence for how ancient the association of the Nefer character is with this Lunar Mansion.  Remember, above, there is a lot of association in this area of the sky with the idea of water.  As we saw, the Chinese name for this (Dou) means “dipper” or “cup.”  The extremely ancient version of the Chinese Character for Dou () is this:

And scholars argue that it is a picture of a ladle-shaped object held by a hand.  This is virtually identical to the Egyptian Nefer symbol, except that it is turned upside down.  This Chinese evidence is absolutely clear, however, that there may be some sort of Egyptian or Canaanite influence on Chinese characters.  Or is it the other way around?  We cannot know for sure, but we can only know that there is some sort of interdependence.


Anyhow, it is clear that both of these Egyptian Hieroglyphics were used for this Lunar Mansion at a very early time.

(22) Abhijit (actually S'ad Al-Dhabi) as Tav (Greek Tau - ת  Τ τ  Latin - T)

Abhijit means "victorious" or "invincible." This constellation is α, ε and ζ Lyrae (Vega).  Abhijit is the Sanskrit name for the star Vega.  It seems that the Hindu's may have decided to pick Vega and the stars around it for this Lunar mansion because they are among the brightest in this area of the sky.  However it isn't really as close to the ecliptic as the Lunar Mansion of the Arabs and the Chinese.  Therefore, the Arabic and the Chinese ones are probably more representative of a Semitic original.

Interestingly, the Jain symbol for Abhijit is the ox head, as this picture provided by Kelley shows:


However there is no constellation with the head of an animal like this in the area of Vega.  As for the Chinese constellation that corresponds to Abhijit, though, it is also relevant, as we shall see, because it is called Chen-Nieou, meaning, "Leading an Ox to Sacrifice."

Interestingly, the parallel Lunar Mansion of the Arabs in this area of the sky, it is S'ad Al-Dhabi.  It is possible that the term Abhijit is a corruption of Al-Dhabi, since the term sound similar.  The S'ad Al-Dhabi mansion is made up of the stars Alpha (α) and Beta (β) Capricornus (in the Solar Zodiacal constellation Capricorn, the "goat-fish").  These stars make up one of the horns of the head of the goat.  Similarly, the Chinese Lunar Mansion that corresponds to this, with the same stars, is Niu, or the ox.  It is interesting that the Jain symbol corresponds to the Chinese, that they are both an ox.  Since Alpha and Beta Capricornus correspond to that part of the head of the goat, it is clear that perhaps the head of Capricorn corresponds to an ancient ox constellation or some other similar sort of animal.  The fact that the Chinese and the Arabic constellation corresponds with these stars, and that they are on the ecliptic as expected argues for this being the original constellation.  And it may be that the Hindu one having Vega as the primary star of the constellation is not the original for this lunar mansion, but a later change.  Therefore, we will proceed with our analysis based mostly on the assumption that the Arabic and Chinese mansions are correct or original.  As to the relationship between the "ox" constellation and the "ox being led to sacrifice" constellation, we read:
It is most probable that in ancient times, the Chinese, like the Hindus, also used α Alquilae and α Lyrae as leading stars in their 28 Mansions instead of ε Aquarii and ß Capricorni, which are comparatively inconspicuous stars.  (Chu, Coching, The Origin of Twenty-Eight Mansions in Astronomy, p. 63)
The one constellation may have "led" to the other, or in other words, pointed the way, perhaps.

Capricorn in Arabic is also known as Giedi, (actually best transliterated as Al Jady), meaning the Goat.  In Hebrew, the cognate is gedi (Strongs 1423), meaning a kid goat (young goat) (from the idea of browsing, or in other words, feeding on leaves, etc.).  This is derived from gadah (Strongs 1415), meaning a river bank or border of a river, derived from a root meaning to be cut off.  Alpha Capricornus is also known as Giedi Prima or "Giedi Prime," a name that was famously used for a planet in the scifi book Dune.

As was mentioned before, the Arabic name of this Lunar Mansion is called Al Sa'd al Dhabih or Sa'd adh-Dhabih, meaning the Lucky One (i.e. lucky star) of the Slaughterer.  One of the corruptions of the this term is Dahib.  So it is immediately apparent that this is also probably the inspiration for the term "Muad'Dib" from Dune as well.  It can't be a coincidence that it is from the same constellation from which is derived the term Giedi Prime.

Anyhow, we will focus on the word Dhabih.  This means "slaughterer," because according to some, it refers to the fact that a sacrifice was performed by Arabs at the heliacal rising of the constellation Capricorn.  A cognate to dhabih in Aramaic is debach (Strongs 1685), meaning a sacrifice.  This corresponds to the verb debach (Strongs 1684), meaning to sacrifice.  These are cognates to the Hebrew zebach (Strongs 2077), meaning a slaughter (i.e. the flesh of an animal), or the offering.  This corresponds to zabach (Strongs 2076), a primitive root meaning to slaughter for sacrifice.

One can see that in both Arabic and Aramaic, these words have a D and a B in them.  These are very similar and related etymologically to certain words that start with T, and have a V in them.  For example, tav (Strongs 8420) which is also the name of the Hebrew letter, means a mark or signature, that was used as an identifying mark similar to how we use cattle brands today, or the dye mark that shepherds use for their flocks.  So it is identified with cattle.  This is derived from tavah (Strongs 8427), a primitive root, meaning to mark out or scratch or imprint.

Finn Rasmussen, a scholar from Denmark, in his article Early Letter Names, notes that the Ugaritic letter corresponding with the Hebrew letter Tav seems to have had the name twr (tawru), meaning to turn.  This corresponds to the Hebrew tuwr (Strongs 8446), a primitive root meaning to meander about or to guide.  The Aramaic term towr (Strongs 8450), means a bull or ox, and it corresponds to showr (Strongs 7794), meaning a bull (as a traveler).  This is the symbol for Proto-Sinaitic Tav:


This clearly corresponds to the ox head.  Interestingly, in the book Alphabet and the Ancient Calendar Signs, Second Edition, by Hugh A. Moran and David H. Kelley, Moran wrote:
. . . [T]he last of all in the Hebrew [alphabet] is taw 'a mark', 'a sacred symbol'; the Aramaic tor 'oryx' or 'ox'; the Arabic thaur; the Greek tauros; the Latin taurus; and the Germanic thor 'the thunderer'. (pp. 14-15)
As Hugh Moran pointed out, alphabets are denoted by the two bulls, Aleph and Tav.

Douglas Petrovich, another scholar of the earliest Alphabet, writes that he believes an early name of tav was actually tayis (yet another word meaning goat in Hebrew, specifically a male goat) (See The World's Oldest Alphabet, p. 224-225).  This is unsurprising seeing that the overlaid Solar Zodiacal constellation here is indeed the goat, as we saw above, and the Tav constellation (Abhijit) is its head.  This is yet another independently emerging evidence of the correctness of this information.  Petrovich also notes what I believe is the correct derivation for the Proto-Sinaitic Tav hieroglyph.  Petrovich links it to Gardiner's sign list number M42, which looks like a modern plus-sign which he says is "a hieroglyph that is called 'unknown' in most grammars and sign lists."  He goes on to note that in Middle Egyptian word for "goats" which is wndw, "begins with this non-picturesque glyph, a word that ends with three goat-determinatives (E31)."  And then he notes that in a number of inscriptions, the M42 hieroglyph was written almost as a shorthand for words beginning with it, where the rest of the signs for the word were left out.  Clearly this was a sign associated closely with goats in Egyptian.

Now for what seems like a clincher.  Here is the ancient symbol for the Chinese constellation Niu (Ox):


Note the cross symbol in it just like the Tav.

(23) Shravana (or actually Al Bula) as Proto-Sinaitic Peh/Pu (Mouth)

Like Abhijit, Shravana has the same problem where the constellation for the Hindu Lunar Mansion that was picked for this area of the sky by the Hindus doesn't match the ones picked for the Arabic and Chinese Lunar mansions.  Again, this is may be because the stars of Shravana are brighter.  The Arabic and Chinese ones seem to adhere closer to the ecliptic, and therefore, are probably more representative of the Semitic originals.

Shravana means "ear," or "the siezer" (i.e. "that which siezes").  The stars for this are α, β and γ Aquilae.  The symbols associated with this Lunar mansion are an Ear or Three Footprints, or a Trident.  The Rigvedic name of this is Vishnu.  The three footprints and the trident are representative of the mythological story of where Vishnu was striding through the sky, and made footprints.  Vishnu would traverse the sky every day in three strides, one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and on at night.  The name Vishnu means "the one who is always present (everywhere)," (i.e. "all-pervading").  Or it is said to mean "the one who who does work everywhere."

The Jain picture that goes with this Lunar Mansion is a picture of a yoke with buckets:



As for the parallel Lunar Mansions for this one, the Arabic one is Al Sa'd al Bula. The stars in this mansion include Mu (μ) and Nu (ν) and Epsilon (ε) Aquarius.  Epsilon (ε) Aquarius is known as Albali and is said to be the brightest star in this Lunar Mansion.  Mu and Nu Aquarius are together known as Al Bulaan.

Al Sa'd al Bula means The Lucky One (Lucky Star) of the Devourer (Swallower/Glutton).  The Coptic Egyptian name is Upeuritos, said by some to mean the Discoverer.  However, Upeu, like Sa'd, means "luck," and so, that leaves the particle "ritos" on its own.  Therefore, the translation "discoverer" seems to be in doubt.

The Chinese Lunar Mansion that corresponds to Al Sa'd al Bula is called Nu, meaning a Woman, anciently pronounced Nok.  Similar to the Ox constellation, this one has a "leading" constellation associated with it as well, which is Tse Nu, or the Winnowing Woman, which corresponds directly to Shravana.  The ancientness and wide-spread nature of both of these constellations (where they may have originally been considered originally part of he same constellation or perhaps one was "leading" or pointing to the other).  These facts seem to be evident from the widespread nature of these constellations:
In "Uranographie Chinoise," Gustav Schlegel stated that in the planisphere of Denderah in the temple of Hother [Hathor], Egypt, both the "woman" and "a man accompanied by a cow" were represented in the zodiac of Capricornus and in the 3rd decan of the Hindu sphere of Aben-Ezra, a fish and a woman weaving cloth were depicted.  (Chu, Coching, The Origin of Twenty-Eight Mansions in Astronomy, p. 64)
In Hebrew, the cognate with bula is bela (Strongs 1105), meaning that which is swallowed.  Then there is bala (Strongs 1104), a primitive root, meaning to make away with (by swallowing); to destroy, to cover.

This may be related to the root barar (Strongs 1305), a primitive root, meaning to clarify or brighten, to examine or to select, to make clean.  Then, from this, there is the derived word bar (Strongs 1250), meaning cornwheat or grain of any kind.  It is derived from barar in the sense of winnowing.  This seems to be related to the root barah (Strongs 1262), a primitive root meaning to select, to feed, to render clear.  These are directly connected to the Assyrian cognates bararu, and birbirruto shine.  Clearly, this is one related root we are looking for, because it shows the connection/association to winnowing.  The fact that the Winnowing Woman is one of the Chinese constellations associated with this Lunar Mansion demonstrates that we are on the right track. The Hebrew word zarah (Strongs 2219) is a primitive root, meaning to toss about, to scatter, to fan, or to winnow.

In Proto-Sinaitic, there is an alternate letter for P, which, according to some Proto-Sinaitic scholars, is vocalized as pu, meaning mouth.  This sounds like bula.  And of course, the mouth is a swallower.  In Aramaic, the cognate is pum (Strongs 6433) , with the same meaning.  The Hebrew cognate is peh (Strongs 6310), also meaning mouth, which sounds like bela.  This is derived from pa'ah (Strongs 6284), a primitive root meaning to cleave in pieces, or to puff, or to blow away.  This meaning coincides nicely with the idea of winnowing or scattering.  Here is the Proto-Sinaitic symbol for pu, or mouth:


(24) Dhanishta as He (Hillel) - ה  Ε ε   -  Greek Epsilon, Latin E

Dhanishta means "most famous", and another name is Shravishtha, meaning the "swiftest."  The stars making up this constellation are α to δ (Alpha to Delta) Delphini (from the classic constellation Delphinus).  The symbols associated with this are either a drum or a flute.  The Jain picture for this is a birdcage (as supplied by Kelley):



Alpha Delphini (α Del, α Delphini) is a multiple star in the constellation Delphinus.  The words Delphinus and Dolphin both are from Greek delphisdelphinos ("dolphin").  It closely relates to the word delphus ("womb").  This is also cognate to the Sanskrit word garbha, meaning ("womb").  Latin galba means "womb or belly." The Indo-European root *dhelbh means "to dig, excavate."  These words are all cognate with the Hebrew kelub (Strongs 3619), meaning a bird-trap, basket or cage.

In Chinese, the Hu Gua asterism, meaning "Good Gourd," consists of the stars of Delphini. In Hebrew, the word for gourd is qiyqayown (Strongs 7021), which may derive from qayah (Strongs 7006), meaning vomit or to spew.  But directly related, and relevant, seems to be the almost-homonym qiyqalown (Strongs 7022), meaning intense disgraceshameful or spewing.  This word is derived from qalown (Strongs 7036), meaning disgrace or reproachshame or a pudenda.  This is, in turn, derived from qalah (Strongs 7034), meaning to be light (i.e. like in rapid motion), or to be in or to hold in contempt, or to be base or vile.

Closely related and relevant also is chalil (Strongs 2485), meaning flute or pipe (because flutes are perforated).  This is derived from the word chalal (Strongs 2490), meaning to pierce or to boreto wound or to dissolve, or to profaneto break one's wordto begin, etc. And again, challah (Strongs 2471), means a cake (because they are punctured), also derives from chalal.

Closely related to this is chalah (Strongs 2470), a root word, meaning to be rubbed or worn, or to beseech, entreat, to be diseased, to put to grief, to be grieved, to be grievous, infirm, infirmity, or a woman in travail.

Another closely related word is qal (Strongs 7031) meaning light or rapid.  This is derived from qalal (Strongs 7043), to be or to make light, or swiftsmall or sharp, or easytrifling or vile, etc.

Closely related as well is hillel (Strongs 1985), meaning to praise (God).  This is derived from halal (Strongs 1984), a root word meaning to be clear (originally clarity of sound, but usually clarity of color), to make show, to boast, to be foolish, to rave, to celebrate.  It also means renown or fame.

These words all make clear that this constellation is the Proto-Sinaitic letter variously called HeHaw or Hillel, meaning praise or jubilation.  The Proto-Sinaitic hieroglyphic for this is the following:



(25) Shatabhisha as Qoph - ק  Ϙ  Greek Qoppa - Latin Q

Shatabhisha or Satabhishaj means "Comprising a hundred physicians," which is not a real meaning of interest.  Because that is not a really a word from the Hindi language to begin with, so that is basically gibberish trying to translate it that way.  This word is word is actually a transliteration from the traditional name Sadachbia for γ Aquarii (Gamma Aquarii), the key star in the classic Solar Zodiacal constellation of Aquarius that corresponds to this Lunar Mansion.  And Sadachbia or Sadalachbia is actually from an Arabic expression:  sad al-achbiyah meaning luck of the homes (tents).

The symbols that are associated with this Lunar Mansion is either an empty circle or 1000 flowers or stars.  The Rigvedic name for it is Varuna, god of celestial waters.  The Jain picture that goes along with it is flower seeds:


It is not surprising that seeds would be used as a symbol for stars, or vice versa, because in the Hebrew Bible, stars are used as a symbol for seed.  In some Egyptian temples, the ceiling is covered in stars to show that it is sort of a planetarium, showing the stars in the heaven, and this picture of a "seed bed" above seems reminiscent of this idea.  The temple at Dendera, for example, is a big picture of a Zodiac, with all of the constellations.  Of course, the Hebrew tabernacle, being a tent, was a mobile temple in the wilderness.  Hugh Nibley writes:

 . . . For the Asiatics as well as the Romans, the Royal Tent is a templum or tabernaculum.”  The word tabernaculum is the Roman name for a quickly made booth . . . something thrown up very quickly of brush, boards, blankets or anything you might have . . .

It's a sort of sacred observatory, like the tabernacle or the camp of Israel, and at the same time, a kind of planetarium, a model of the cosmos.

The central pole of the tent . . . is identified with the pole (the polestar) of the heavens.  “The tent itself is . . . the expanse of the firmament . . . (Temple and Cosmos, pp. 144-145)

In Latin, the sad al-achbiyah constellation was called the Prima Tabernaculorum, meaning the first of the homes (tents).  The other stars Pi Aquarii, Zeta Aquarii and Eta Aquarii (Hydria) made up this constellation of Aḣbiyah, "the Tent."

In Chinese, the word Fen Mu, meaning a Tomb, refers to the Chinese version of essentially the same constellation, though at first it may not seem so, this is very related.

In Arabic, this word Ahbiyah is actually the plural of the word Hiba.  This is cognate to the Hebrew word qubbah (Strongs 6898), meaning pavilion or tent (a domed cavity).  This is from qabab (Strongs 6895), a root word meaning to scoop out, to malign or execrate (i.e. to stab with words).  Closely related to these is qebuwrah (Strongs 6900), meaning a sepulchre.  That is derived from qabar (Strongs 6912) a root word meaning to inter or bury.

Interestingly, Finn Rasmussen, a scholar from Denmark, in his article Early Letter Names, establishes that qbr is likely to be the name for the corresponding letter to the Hebrew qoph in the Ugaritic alphabet.  And he translates it as "burial."

Also the word qaba' (Strongs 6906) is closely related, a root word meaning to cover, to defraud or to spoil.

If you recall, sometimes root words are related if the consonants are switched in them.  Well, Q/K is interchangeable sometimes with Ch/Kh, and P is sometimes interchangeable with B.  And so, we see that perach (Strongs 6525), means a calyx, or a bloom of a flower.  This is derived from perach (Strongs 6524), which means to break forth as a bud (bloom), or to spread, to fly or to flourish.  And a similar sounding word, periy (Strongs 6529), means fruit.

Anyway, the point of all this is that these qp/pk words point to the letter Qoph in the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet.  Many people assign this letter to mean "monkey," because qoph is the Hebrew word for monkey.  The problem is, that doesn't really fit with the rest of the evidence here, and that word for monkey is of a foreign derivation from Hebrew, while the rest of our evidence shows all of these close associations between all of these associated Hebrew roots and words, even to the point of clearly showing Hebrew or Aramaic derivation for the Chinese tomb constellation.  So, a better translation is tent (not monkey), to go along with the tent constellation, and to realize that the origin of the letter is not "monkey."  So, the Chinese, Arabic and Hebrew evidence all point to the "tent" constellation as the origin of this Proto-Sinaitic letter.

In Douglas Petrovich's book, The World's Oldest Alphabet, he chooses to use the word quwr for this letter (Strongs 6980), meaning as he translates it, a spun-fiber.  But it also means trenches (as dug), or a web.  Interestingly, this derives from qur (Strongs 6979), a primitive root meaning to bore or to dig a trench or to wall up.  As you can see, this fits very well with the related words above that we have shown like qubbahqabar, and qebuwrah above that all have the idea of either a tent, or digging or an interment, etc.  Brian Colless shows that this Proto-Sinaitic letter derives from the spun cord or cord on a stick hieroglyphics (Gardiner's Sign List V24 and V25).  The Proto-Sinaitic forms of this letter are identical to these:

The attempts that other scholars have made to identify the "bag/sack" hieroglyphic as qoph are flawed.

(26) Purva Bhadrapada as Proto-Sinaitic Sims (Shemesh/Shin), the Sun

Purva Bhadrapada translates to "the first of the blessed feet."

The symbols for this lunar mansion are swordsthe two front legs of funeral cot,  or a man with two faces.
The Jain Symbol for this Lunar Mansion is the left half of a pool or font with steps:


The two principal stars of this lunar mansion are α and β Pegasi.

Alpha Pegasi (α Pegasi)  is a white star on the wing of the constellation Pegasus.  It has an Arabic name of Markab (or Marchab). Markab means saddleship, or vehicle.  And so, in this case, it is the "the saddle of the horse."  It has also been transliterated incorrectly as Mankib, taken from the incorrect phrase Mankib al-Faras "the Shoulder of the Horse," a phrase used for Beta Pegasi.  It is also called Matn al Faras, the highest part of horse's back or shoulder.

As we reviewed in the discussion about another letter, Chariot in Hebrew is merkabah (Strongs 4818) in the feminine form, and merkab in the masculine form (Strongs 4817), which also means seat, as in a vehicle.  Merkabah is derived from rekab (Strongs 7392), which is the root word meaning to ride, as in a vehicle or on an animal.  The word ragal (Strongs 7270) is a primitive root meaning to walk along, to reconnoiter, to be a tale-bearer (slander).  Derived from this is regel (Strongs 7272), meaning foot.  There is a similarity in sound between rekab and regel.

Beta Pegasi (ß Pegasi) is also known as Scheat, a name derived either from the Arabic words Al Sa'id ("the upper arm"), or from Sa'd ("luck").  It is possible that it is derived from the word for "luck," because several of the names of these lunar mansions in Arabic start with Al Sa'd, meaning "lucky star" or "fortune."

The Arabic names for this Lunar Mansion are Al Fargh al Mukdim, the Fore-spout.  In other words, it is the fore-spout of the "water-bucket."  Also, it is known as Al Fargh al Awwal, the upper spout.  The "bucket" is sometimes called Al Dalw.  In Hebrew, the cognate to this is dali (Strongs 1805), meaning bucket or jar.  Interestingly, a word for arm in Hebrew is dera (Strongs 2872).

The Coptic Egyptian name for this mansion is Artulos, derived from Greek Arthron, meaning socket.

The rigvedic name for this mansion is Ajoikapada (or Aja Ekapad), known as an ancient fire dragon, or the one-footed goat.

The word aja in the name Aja Ekapad can mean goatdiver or unborn.  In Indic myth, Aja is also a name of the sun.  Ekapad (one-footed) is also a name of Vishnu, who is also identified as the sun.  Aja Ekapad, as the sun in this myth, had a golden pillar (or dark ray in some cases) that would hold it up in the sky and support it, that moves with it through the sky.  Also, this support is a deliverer of water.  The word Markab in Arabic, being a ship or vehicle is certainly emblematic of the movement of the sun in the sky.

According to Finn Rasmussen, a scholar from Denmark, in his article Early Letter Names, he notes, regarding an early form of the Semitic letter shin in the Ugaritic alphabet:
In Ugaritic, whe have *sn="tooth" . . . corresponding to Arabic *sinn.  But this Ugaritic word can also have the meaning "shine." . . . The Arabic *sana means "to shine" and Ethiopic *senn = "beauty" . . . The pronunciation [of the Ugaritic letter] could be *sennu.
While it is true that in this article we have the other letter that is a candidate for the ancestor of the Hebrew shin, it seems that there is yet another letter identified by scholars of the Proto-Sinaitic that was also an ancestor to shin.  Some transliterate it as sims, which means "sun", and here is the Proto-Sinaitic symbol for it:

Compare the Old North Arabian version of this letter that is a picture of the sun:


And the South Semitic version of the letter:

The cognate in Hebrew for this is the word shemesh (Strongs 8121), meaning sun. This symbol is an alternate letter corresponding to shin, since the letters over time merged into the Semitic letter shin.

(27) Uttara Bhadrapada as Proto-Siniatic Tsirar/Sirar/Saphah, The Moon

Uttara Hadrapada means "the second of the blessed feet."  The two stars for this constellation are γ (Gamma) Pegasi and α (Alpha) Andromedae.  The symbols associated with this are twinsback legs of funeral cotsnake in the water.  The rigvedic name is Ahirbradhna (Ahi Budhya), which is serpent or dragon of the deep, the counterpart and associate of Aja Ekapad.  The Jain symbol for this is one half (the right side) of a poolwell or font with steps:


The Coptic name for this lunar mansion is Artulosia, a transliteration of the Greek word Arthron, meaning "socket."  The Arabic name for it is Al Fargh al Thani, meaning the back socket or lower spout (of a water container).

The name of Gamma (γ) Pegasus is Algenib or Algemo, which is derived from the Arabic al-janb or al-janib, "the flank or side," a white star marking the tip of the Winged Horse Pegasus' wing.

Alpha Andromedae (α Andromedae) is named either AlpheratzAlpherat, or Sirrah.  These names are derived from a phrase in Arabic which is "Al Surrat al Faras" or "the Horse's Navel."  This is umbilicus in Latin.

The Hebrew word ta'owm or ta'om (Strongs 8380) means a twin.  It is derived from ta'am (Strongs 8382), a root word meaning to be completeto be twinnedduplicatejointed, or coupled together.

An associated word is tehom (Strongs 8415), an abyss, the deep, or the main sea.  The words tanniyn or tanniym (Strongs 8577) means a marine or land monster, i.e. sea-serpent or jackal or dragon or monster.  It is derived from tan (Strongs 8565) which is from a root apparently meaning to elongate.  This is similar in form to the Arabic word Thani, that we saw above, meaning lower.  Yet another associated word may be tsinnuwr (Strongs 6794) meaning to be hollowa culvertgutter and water spout.

It is clear from structural evidence here that this is paired with the previous letter, through the association of Ahi Budhya and Aja Ekapad.  It is also clear from these derivations/etymological connections that there is a close association, with the other letter for S/T above which is named tannanu or tann.  Just as the previous letter is an S/SH sound related to the letter shin, since tann is another name for shin, it is also unsurprising that this letter also has an association to words related to or sounding like tann.  However, this letter is NOT named tann.  There is only a close association with tann.  But that close associaion probably led to this letter's eventual absorption into shin, just as in the case of the above letter sims/shemesh.

Interestingly, the Hebrew word tanah (Strongs 8566), is a primitive root meaning to present (a mercenary inducement), or in other words to bargain with (a harlot), or to hire.  This will become more important in a moment, as we shall see.  But also, we saw that the words sirrah and surrat, were associated with this, through the Arabic name of Alpha Adromedae, meaning the navel of the horse.  This is also especially important in these associations.  In Hebrew, the word primitive root sharar (Strongs 8324), meaning to be hostile, or an opponent.  The word shorer (Strongs 8326), means navel, and is derived from sharar in the sense of twisting.  Another derived word is sherah (Strongs 8285), meaning a wristband (as it is compact or clasping), from sharar in the sense of pressing.

Now, in his article "Early Letter Names," Finn Rasmussen, argues that the last Ugaritic letter that was an alternate form of S ought to be named shr or vocalized as sahari, meaning "Moon."  I propose a similar cognate name for this letter.  As Rasmussen notes, sakar (Strongs 7936) is to hire in Hebrew, and shr in Ugaritic is also to hire.  As you can see, this has a clear etymological connection to tanah, in that it means to hire.  However in Arabic, Rasmussen points out that sahrah is new moon. In Hebrew, sahar (Strongs 5469), means to be round.  Saharon (Strongs 7720), which derives from sahar, means a crescent ornament (like the moon).  

Interestingly, the Chinese Lunar Mansion that corresponds to this mansion is Fang, meaning wall or partition.  And coinciding with this, the word sharah (Strongs 8284) meaning fortification, or wall, derived from shuwr (Strongs 7791), also meaning wall.  And this is derived in turn from suwr (Strongs 7788), meaning to turn.  We saw this same relation to this word with the letter Tav, showing some overlap there too.  And again, this is related to showr (Strongs 7794), meaning a bull (as a traveler).  The Egyptian word kenes is to travel.  The Egyptian Khonsu (whose name derives from kenes), is one of the Egyptian gods of the Moon.  It appears that he ought to be associated with the Vedic Ahi Budhya.  He is a traveler as he traverses the sky, and he is a bull, just like how the Sun is a bull, in the phenomenon called Sensen, by the Egyptians, the meeting of the two bulls in the sky.  Knonsu is called the vanquisher of his enemies, and we see this in the Hebrew word suwr (Strongs 7786), a primitive root meaning to vanquish.

A very ancient letter attested in Ethiopic (Geez) is Dappa/Sappa (depending on how one transliterates it).  It seems to good a candidate for a match to this letter.  It is attested in old Yemeni with the name Dhadhe, and in Arabic as Dad.  Here is the Geez form of the letter:

In this form, this letter from Geez resembles the Greek letter Theta.  Though tempting to connect the two, it cannot be confused with it, because the Greek Theta has a separate and unrelated derivation from the Phoenician/Proto-Canaanite Teth, and therefore it cannot be confused with it.

Scholars seem to be unsure of the meaning of Dappa/Sappa.  A Hebrew root  to consider is shaphah ("shafaw") (Strongs 8192), a primitive root meaning to scrape or wear away something so it is bare, to be high, or to stick out.  The derived word shephiy (Strongs 8205), means bareness, or a bare hill or plain, or high place sticking out.  And then there is the derived word from shaphah that makes the most sense to me which is saphah (Strongs 8193), meaning bordersidelip (as a boundary), edgetermination, etc.  This clearly corresponds to the Arabic Al Janib as we saw above (the flank or side), as also the Hebrew yerekah (Strongs 3411), meaning flanksideextreme parts, etc.  This is from yarek (Strongs 3409), meaning loinssidethigh, etc.  This is related to the name of the Canaanite god of the MoonYarikh.  As also the Hebrew word yeriah (Strongs 3407), meaning a curtain, which is clearly a boundary.

What the Proto-Sinaitic version of this letter would have looked like is uncertain.  Here is the Old Yemeni form:


Some may be guessing that the Proto-Sinaitic form for this character (Dappa/Sappa) may be similar to the Old Yemeni square/rectangular form for it.  It is true that one of the forms of it may have been like that.  From another point of view, though, Teth (which is also has a rectangular form in Old Yemeni), as it exists in the Proto-Canaanite/Phoenician, is a circle with a cross in it, as we saw above.  Therefore, it seems logical, that in the case of Dappa/Sappa, that another Proto-Sinaitic theoretical form for it may be something every similar to the Geez form, which would be a circular form with a vertical line through it.  

This is logical from the Egyptian evidence of the derivation of these letters.  Teth seems to be partially derived from the Egyptian Niwit (circle with a cross through it), and some believe that Teth means earth or soil.  Perhaps then, the Dappa/Sappa Proto-Letter from Proto Sinaitic similarly derives from the Egyptian symbol for the Moon:


This Heiroglyphic character is N9 on Gardiner's sign list, and the vocalization for it in Egyptian is Psd, meaning in Egyptian "to shine."  Notice the same consonants in the names for the Sappa letter SDP/DDP, except the order is reversed, as we see sometimes in these roots.  

The Egyptian term for a group of nine deities is psdt (the "Pesedjets"), which means the number nine.  The classic group of nine gods were Atum, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys.  They were worshiped at Heliopolis.  The Greek word for this is Ennead (group of nine) and was imported into English.  The Greek word ennea (Strongs Greek 1767) means nine.

So, the Chinese Lunar Mansion is an attestation/testimony to this confusion between the two letters/mansions (this one and Cheth/Heth), but is yet another evidence for the Semitic origin of the Lunar Mansions Constellation/Zodiac system, and its direct correlation to the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet.  The Old Yemeni version of the letter does indeed look like some forms of the letter Cheth/Heth.  We saw that Cheth/Heth/Hasir means mansion, fence, etc.  This is not surprising that there is some overlap between these two, almost to the point of confusion between them, yet they are definitely to be considered two separate mansions/letters.

Anyhow, in summary, the main name of this letter is most likely was what Rasmussen theorized for it:  something like sahari or sahrah, or some other related form.  And it is the Moon, as opposed to the letter it is structurally connected with (sims/shemesh), which is the Sun.

The ultimate, actual Proto-Sinaitic form of this letter is probably the hieroglyph that some like Brian Colless identifies as the "bag" hieroglyph, which he claims that others have misidentified as qoph/monkey (such as W. F. Albright).  Brian Colless says that this has an S-type sound which some vocalize as sirar, but the Hebrew cognate is tseror (Strongs 6872), which means "sack" or "bag":


This is derived from tsarar (Strongs 6887), a primitive root meaning to cramp or to be adversarial or to bind.Most certainly, the form of the root (TsRR), is linked mentally and phonetically and structurally to the roots discussed above (SRR/Sharar/Sarar), meaning to be hostile, or to dominate, associated with the navel, etc.

Petrovich links it with the letter tsade, and this form of the letter certainly may have merged with that over time.  However, Petrovich, being overly Hebrew-philic, seems to be biased too much in that direction.  In the earliest form of this alphabet, it is certainly a separate letter.  Colless identifies this as the hieroglyphic in Gardiner's sign list identified as V33 (or V34, which is a variant).  V34 especially looks a lot like the moon hieroglyphic, with the circle with the line through the middle:

Interestingly, V33 in Egyptian is vocalized as SSR.

In summary, it was probably derived both from "bag" glyph as well as the moon hieroglyph.  There are clear visual affinities between N9 and V34, and was used for more than one sound like S/D sound and had various alternate names applied to it such as Sirar, Saphah/Dappa.  And it may have evolved and merged into more than one letter in various derived alphabets.

(28) Revati as Samekh/Samicha/Samaku (Greek Xi - Ξ ξ)

Revati means "prosperous," "wealthy" or "rich."  The star that corresponds to this lunar mansion is ζ (Zeta) Piscium in the Classic Solar Zodiacal constellation Pisces.  The symbol for this Lunar Mansion is the symbol fish or a pair of fish, or drum.

The associated Rigvedic name is Pushan or Pusan, meaning nourisher, the protective deity, or the prosperercharioteer of the sun.  It is interesting that this name sounds somewhat like Piscium.

In Coptic, the name of this Lunar mansion is Kuton, which is a transliteration of Greek Kutos, meaning body or belly.  In Arabic, it is batn al hut, meaning fish belly.  The Jain picture that represents this is a boat:


The picture looks also like a fish.  The associated idea of prosperity or richness may come from the coincidence that Indo-Eurpoean-derived Latin words pecus, meaning cattle or food or flocks, and pecunia, meaning wealth, are related to the Pisces.  Interestingly, also is the related word pedica meaning fetter.

In Arabic, the southern fish of the two fish of Pices is Al SamakahAlsemchaAl SamakatainSameh and Al Hut, the Fish, since in some Semitic languages the word samak or samk means fish.

In Chinese, the constellation Wa Ping, meaning the Outer Fence, refers to an asterism that includes Zeta Piscium.

Related to the idea of the fetters or restraint is the word "fenced" in Job 10:11, which is suwk (Strongs 7753), a root word meaning to entwine, i.e. shut in (for formation, protection or restraint), fencehedge up.  Also, there is suwg (Strongs 7734), a root word meaning to hedge in.  These words sound similar and are related to these ideas, and explain the Semitic origin of the Chinese name of the constellation.

Also, there is the word, samach (Strongs 8055), a root word meaning to brighten up, or to make gleesome.  Derived from that is the word sameach (Strongs 8056) meaning blithegleefuljoyful or merry.  Derived from that word is simchah (Strongs 8057) blithesomeness or glee, in a religious or festival context.

Also, there is the classically ascribed derivation of samekh, which is samech (5564), a root word meaning to prop, or literally or figuratively to lean upon, or take hold ofto bear up or sustain.  This doesn't seem to be wrong, because it is still related through the idea of taking hold, which is related to the idea of enclosing or fettering or fencing in.

And so, the hieroglyphs for Samekh is the same as the djed pillar from Egypt, for one.  And another, that is similar-looking, is a hieroglyph for fish, which has sometimes been interpreted as the letter dag, but at other times samekh, especially when pointing upward, looking like a pillar.  Here are the various forms of the letter Samekh.  At the left is the actual Egyptian hieroglyph.  And to the left of that are various other versions the ways the letter has been drawn:


Some Observations and a Summary

Now that we are done with our study on the Lunar Zodiac/Proto-Sinaitic alignment reconstruction, we can make some observations.  Indeed, we found that a lot of the Lunar Zodiacal constellations link up with very ancient versions of some of the constellations in the Solar Zodiac.  For example, we saw that some of these symbols were heads, hands, hearts, foreheads and so forth and so on of such and such constellation.  Scholars have wondered why body parts were so common in the Alphabet before.  Well, this is why, because some Lunar Mansions constitute sections of such and such pre-existing constellation.  It doesn't mean that Aries or Leo or Scorpio are the original versions of these constellations, but rather, something like the Mul-Alpin among the Babylonians existed previously at the time of the creation of the original Proto-Sinaitic Lunar Mansion system among the Canaanites/Shemites, in which older versions of these constellations existed, and portions of them, such as their heads, their hands, or foreheads or whatever were selected, because those parts happened to correspond with the part of the constellation on the ecliptic.

I had some personal correspondence with Brian Colless, an expert in Proto-Sinaitic (or what he would rather call formally either the Proto-Alphabet informally or the West Semitic Proto-Consonantary formally).  He seems to feel that the term Proto-Sinaitic is outdated.  Other scholars still seem to be ok with that term.  He has expressed to me that he believes that any association with the alphabet was imposed on constellations after the development of the alphabet.  Everyone is certainly entitled to an opinion, and expert opinion is always very appreciated.  The correspondence with Dr. Colless led me to discover some mistakes in the information above and correct it, even though he will not agree with all of it.  But let me state that effectively, it doesn't matter that much whether the Canaanite Lunar Zodiac came first, or the alphabet came first.  Because there is mutual dependence one way or the other, and the effect is still the same, whichever way one chooses to view it.  Dr. Colless gave a very-appreciated critique of this article saying that I had built on his information AND the information of others.  Essentially, he was saying that my work was flawed because I had done so for full effect or to get the most mileage that I could, as he put it.  Or seemingly, in other words, he means to say that I conveniently cherry-picked among options.  Actually, this is not a flaw, but is actually a strength.  What it really means that it reveals my independence and eclecticism, demonstrating that in my view is that Dr. Colless is right about some things, and other individuals are right about others, and where the information of various scholars harmonize with the evidence, there it is more likely to be correct.  In my view, I can't be tied down to any one particular expert opinion, especially when certain identifications of letters are in dispute between scholars of the Proto-Sinaitic.  There would be no dispute among experts if there were crystal clarity.  And so, the evidence in the Lunar Zodiac actually stands as a testimony giving data points that either uphold or contradict the speculations and eruditions of various scholars in this area to know who is actually right about this or that.  It has now, in my view, become something that they ought to pay attention to, because it is yet another ancient testament to the development of the alphabet, and is a check on them.

The Early Hebrew Zodiacal and Cabbalistic Zodiacal Constellation/Letter Correspondence Theories

So, now that we have reconstructed the Lunar Zodiac and Proto-Sinaitic alphabet correspondences through back-translating and philological/etymological evidences, it has been demonstrated overwhelmingly, following the lead of Moran, Kelley and Gordon, that their hypothesis was correct.  Now, however, we will move on to other systems.

It is difficult to tell when it happened, but it seems that over time, the original, precise Lunar Zodiac correspondences to the Semitic Abjad/Alphabet over time were forgotten.  The Lunar Zodiac was mostly forgotten in the Middle East, but preserved further east in India and China and IndoChina, and then may have made it back to Arabia later.  Or perhaps elements of it were preserved in Arabia from the beginning.  But as we have observed from the quotation that we gave from the Sefer Yetzirah previously, a tradition still existed that preserved the tale of the origin of the alphabet in the constellations.  I quote a part of it again here:
Twenty-two foundation Letters: He placed them in a circle like a wall with 231 gates. The circle oscillates back and forth….  He drew them in water, He flamed them with fire, He agitated them with Breath, He burned them with the seven [planets], He directed them with the twelve constellations (http://sino-platonic.org/complete/spp196_alphabet.pdf, On the Origins of the Alphabet, by Brian R. Pellar, SINO-PLATONIC PAPERS, Number 196 December, 2009, as quoted by Pellar)
And so, it was only natural for the esotericists among the Jews to try to reconstruct the system with some sort of rationality.   They matched up some of the Classic Solar Zodiacal Constellations with letters of the Alphabet.  In the early Hebrew Solar Zodiac, Aleph was matched with Taurus, because both are pictures of an ox or bull.

In a Cabalistic system, instead, some matched up Vav with Taurus.  Some matched up Aries with the letter He.  Zayin with Gemini, Cheth/Heth with Cancer, Teth with Leo, Yod with Virgo, Lamed with Libra, Nun with Scorpio, Samekh with Sagittarius, Ayin with Capricorn, Tsade with Aquarius and Qoph with Pices.  Others matched up vav with Aquila.

Suffice it to say, though, in summary that a tradition was preserved, but the original correspondences lost, and separate systems developed to try to explain or re-constitute that tradition.  It's not that each system of correspondence is not legitimate in its own way.  It's just that the original seems to have been that the Semitic Alphabet itself was derived from the original Lunar Zodiac (or in other words, an assignment of one Egyptian Hieroglyphic was assigned per Lunar Zodiacal Constellation that went along with its theme), and that was where the first correspondences originated from.  So, at the very basis of the alphabetic tradition is the re-appropriation of Egyptian Hieroglyphs outside of their original context in order to have them stand for symbols for the Lunar Zodiac, and also, they were found to be convenient to spell out sounds because of the acrophonic principle.