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Malta - 07 The Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni

Identifier

022489

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

 

 Wikipedia

The Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni is a subterranean structure dating to the Saflieni phase (3300-3000 BC) in Maltese prehistory, located in Paola, Malta. It is often simply referred to as the Hypogeum (Maltese: Ipoġew), literally meaning "underground" in Greek. The Hypogeum is thought to have been originally a sanctuary, but it became a necropolis in prehistoric times, and in fact, the remains of more than 7,000 individuals have been found. It is the only known prehistoric underground temple in the world.

  • Main Chamber: This chamber is roughly circular and carved out from rock. A number of trilithon entrances are represented, some blind, and others leading to another chamber. Most of the wall surface has received a red wash of ochre. It was from this room that the statuettes of the sleeping lady were recovered. These figurines are currently held in the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta.

 

  • Oracle Room: This is roughly rectangular and one of the smallest side chambers. It has the peculiarity of producing a powerful acoustic resonance from any vocalization made inside it. This room has an elaborately painted ceiling, consisting of spirals in red ochre with circular blobs.
  • Decorated Room: Out of the Oracle's Room, through the hammer dressed chamber, on the right is another spacious hall, circular, with inward slanting smooth walls, richly decorated in a geometrical pattern of spirals. On the right side wall of the entrance is a petrosomatoglyph of a human hand carved into the rock (Agius).
  • Snake Pit: The second level contains a 2 metres deep pit which could have been used for either keeping snakes or collecting alms.
  • Holy of Holies: The focal point of this room is a porthole within a trilithon, or structure consisting of two large vertical stones, which is in turn framed within a larger trilithon and yet another large trilithon. The corbelled ceiling has been taken as a hint that Malta's surface temples, now uncovered, could have been roofed similarly.

 

A description of the experience

Alain Danielou – Gods of Love and Ecstasy: The traditions of Shiva and Dionysus

The vestiges of Shivaism in Malta are more ancient than those of Crete.

"At Malta, there is a grotto, the subterranean complex of Hal Saflieni. . . Three floors, reaching a depth of more than ten metres, a series of halls, caverns, inter-communicating niches, an inextricable confusion of passages, which unwind in a double spiral, first turning to the left and then to the right. . . The ceilings are decorated with red spirals. . , Sacred axes, ceramics, statuettes of women and of animals, and many human bones have been found there, as well as the statue of a 'sleeping woman', probably representing a priestess in a state of incubation before giving an oracle, dressed in a costume which is identical to that of the Cretan priestesses." (P. Santarcangeli, op. cit., p. 120.)

 

 

Alain Danielou – Gods of Love and Ecstasy: The traditions of Shiva and Dionysus

Initiation is the passing from one state of being to another. It is a sort of death, an "active death", from which a new person is born. Thus, a burial rite is always part of the rites of initiation, and has even survived in the ordination ceremonies of Catholic priests.

 

The source of the experience

Shaivism

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Egg
Rebirth
Trimurti

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Overloads

Stimulation via resonance

Suppressions

Sensory deprivation

Commonsteps

References