Ariadne appears in the story in two different guises. In so far as we can talk about historical characters, she is an historical character in the Athenian story of Theseus, whom the Athenians set up as a hero like Herakles, but she seems also to have the superhuman qualities of a goddess.
It may be that such confusion, which occurs regularly with heroes, is caused by the desire of monarchs and ambitious people to establish close relationships, or to persuade people that they have them, with divinities of sky or earth, in their search for sources of authority and the ability to impress ordinary people and subjects. The technical methods for obtaining divine ancestry will be discussed later.
Ariadne was a sister of Deucalion. She is also thought to have been a fertility goddess. Her names included Ariagne [very holy], Aridela [the very manifest one], and possibly Erigone.
It seems possible, if one looks at a statuette showing a girl with flounced dress, décolletée, holding in either hand a snake, which also looks like a bow or even a horn, that she, like Dionysus, was connected with electricity and the electrical aspects of fertility. Her name, Ariadne, could be 'hand of fire', since ar is Etruscan for divine fire, yad is Semitic for a hand, and -na occurs frequently as a suffix in Etruscan.
The Greek word bios means either a bow [as in bow and arrows], or life, depending on the intonation or accentuation of the word. In Sumerian, ti and til can mean either bow or life. Horn was used in the manufacture of the composite type of bow. A link with the bull appears.
Life, psyche, is associated with the power of self-initiated movement. Thales is reported to have said that the magnet contained psyche. The bow imparts movement, i. e. life, to the arrow, which, like the spear, is a symbol of the electrical fire.
In Hebrew, the spear is qayin, the ka eye. Zayin, the letter Z, the eye of Set, is a weapon, like the Egyptian sceptre, the tcham. The snake symbolises electricity, in the form of both a sky and an earth deity.
One form of the Cretan goddess is shown on hill tops. Hill tops were revered as places where the electrical god or goddess descended to earth. One of the names of the goddess is Piptuna. The Greek pipto means fall. The association of Dionysus with crags and mountain tops is a link between him and Ariadne, and the same may be true of Artemis.
The Cretan nature goddess has doves and double axe. In this she resembles Kybele, the eastern goddess whose name means axe. The doves remind one of Aphrodite. The electrical deity is associated with reproductive urges and with life, as well as with unpleasant shocks and death by electrocution.
The Mistress of the Animals is associated with snakes and lions. The Lion Gate at Mycenae has a pillar with a lion [or lioness] at each side. That a lion's mane had electrical or divine significance is made more likely by the net pattern shown on some eastern representations of lions, a pattern which appears also in Crete.
Babylon was a centre of the worship of the goddess Ishtar [Astarte]. She had a fierce and dangerous side to her nature, as had Aphrodite and Artemis. An avenue of lions led to the Ishtar Gate. The lion was symbolic of Ishtar. An avenue of lions can be seen today on the island of Delos. The prophet Isaiah refers to Jerusalem as Ariel. Ari is Hebrew for a lion; El, god, means the one above. In XXIX: 1 he foretells the siege of Jerusalem.
The snake can represent an electrical force in the sky -the tail of a comet, for example - and is also a symbol of the electrical deity, Gaia, in the earth. As in the case of Nechushtan, the brazen serpent set up by the Hebrews in the wilderness to cure those affected by snake bite, the snake is a symbol of both life and death. The bow or snake held by the goddess illustrates this point: the bow gives movement, therefore life, to the arrow, which, as a symbol of radiation, may bring either life or death.
Homer has the word kelethmos, magic, in Odyssey XI: 334. Plato has the verb keleo, to charm snakes, Republic 358 B. It is probable that ka is present in the Greek keleo.
The Cretan goddess also resembles Dictynna, a hunting goddess. This name suggests the Greek for a net, which had electrical significance. She is probably the same as the goddess Britomartis, who is associated with hunting. They and Artemis seem to be variations on an electrical theme.
Solinos sad that the name Britomartis meant Sweet Maiden. It is worth asking why she should be called sweet.
The Hungarian bor is wine. Albanian vere is wine. Hungarian ver is blood. Finnish veri is blood. Egyptian irp is wine. Lydian 'Breseus' is a name of Dionysus.
In the above examples the reversal of rp to vr or to br is noteworthy.
The Greek damart- is a wife or maiden. It is likely that Britomartis is Veredamartis, wine-wife or wine-maiden, and that she is a female version of Dionysus. Ancient deities were often grouped in pairs, male and female, and brother-sister incest occurred, as with Zeus and Hera. Dionysus and Ariadne are represented together under a vine.
A statuette of the Cretan goddess holding snakes or bows has her wearing a flounced dress. She looks almost like a telescopic column or caryatid. The effect is like that of the djed column or tree in Egyptian art, as seen at Dendera and elsewhere.
The significance of the column is electrical. Temple columns led up to the sky, where deities were shown high up on the temple. The Parthenon frieze may be an example, especially if it is the scene of the arrival in Olympus of the soldiers who fell at Marathon.
The column of light mentioned by Plato towards the end of the Republic is a road from earth to the stars, along which souls travel after death before reincarnation. In Norse myth the world tree has a snake at the bottom and an eagle at the top, each an electrical symbol. This is the most likely explanation of the poros, passage, mentioned by the Greek poet Alkman in a cosmological context. It could well be the "marvellous road to the Hyperboreans" mentioned by the poet Pindar, and photographs, take from space, of light phenomena over the earth's north pole, show what may be what is left of the poros or column.
Such a theory is supported by links between the far north and Crete, or at any rate Greece. We have already seen evidence of shared vocabulary.
Priestesses of the winds are mentioned in Cretan Linear B texts, and Oreithuia was carried off by Boreas, who is the Kassite god Buriash. Ash, or esh, is fire. Buriash, or Boreas, is likely to be 'fire of Bor', the fire being the electrical glow.
The first fruits of the Hyperboreans, wrapped in straw, were taken by relay to Prasiae, then on to Delos, the birthplace of Apollo.
Reversal of the consonants of Prasiae gives srp, which could be the Hebrew saraph, burn.
There was a Cretan festival, the Hellotia, celebrated in Ariadne's honour. This festival constitutes a link between Ariadne and Athene.
There was a tradition that Athene was born in Crete. Athene Hellotis was worshipped in Corinth, a city which had strong oriental links, and the -ot of Hellotis recalls the Semitic oth, sign, which appears in the Greek ototoi, signs. This word is uttered by Cassandra just before she prophesies at the gate of Mycenae, in the Agamemnon of Aeschylus, line 1072.
Two daughters of the Athenian king Kekrops were given by Athene a chest, with orders to guard it but not to open it. They disobeyed and opened the chest. The stories, which vary slightly, agree on one thing: a snake was in the chest. When the girls saw it they went mad, jumped over the Acropolis wall and were killed.
There is evidence from elsewhere, e. g. from Egypt, that arks or chests contained snakes. Such a statement probably means that there was a dangerous electrical god who was caught and stored in a container based on the principle of the Leyden jar. Chests were frequently decorated with a picture of a snake, probably to have an apotropaic effect.
Snakes, as well as being shown in the hands of the Cretan goddess, were encouraged in Crete as guardians of the house. Snake tubes are found which encouraged snakes to emerge from the earth. Putting out food for a snake would win the favour of a creature representing a powerful and dangerous force. Not only could they catch mice; the procedure might also be thought to encourage an epiphany of the earth goddess.
The words Hellas and Hellene call for comment. Different groups of inhabitants of Greece and associated areas in Asia Minor went under various names at different times, such as Achaeans, Ionians, Pelasgians, Hellenes, Dorians. The general picture is of waves of immigrants from areas mostly north and east of mainland Greece. There are similarities between the languages of Greece, Etruria, the Danube area, Poland, Lithuania, Finland, Palestine and Egypt. The preoccupation with fire, light and radiation generally, suggests that there is a connection between Pelasgians, the cave experts, and the Hellenes. The German word hell means bright, and may even point to the Selli, priests who shared with the Agnihotris or fire priests of the Brahmins the practice of keeping their feet dirty - a practice which may be explained by the need to establish good earth contact. Were the Hellenes named after an expert in the study of light and radiation? Were they the 'bright'people?
It may be useful to review some of the material involving Ariadne. There are references to the 'strong goddess'. Egyptian necht [man holding a rod], strength, is a reversal of the Greek techne, skill, art.
Ariadne's skill with snakes recalls Moses and Aaron, Jannes and Jambres, Exodus VII: 10f.
The name Ariadne could mean 'hand of fire'. Names of the goddess were: Eleuthia, Kerasia, Piptuna, Ardoro, Pade.
Greek doron is a gift; Ardoro may be 'she who gives fire' or 'gift of fire'. Pade may be 'light from the earth', but Slavonic padatj means 'to fall'. The Isopata ring shows four priestesses dancing, and a descending goddess.
Ariadne, as wife of Dionysus, is Britomartis. The couple are
portrayed under a vine. Her multiple personality is shown by
the four goddess figurines in a temple at Kannia near Gortyn.
All have snakes in their crowns; one also has a dove on her
cheek and snakes on her arms.