ZYGOMNESIS
Pre-Islamic Hajj
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Zygomnesis as Liturgy

hajj-pilgrims-touch-wall-of-kaaba.jpg

The Hajj Before Mohammed...
was only subtly different from the Hajj as reconstituted by the Founder of Islam. Why did he keep it at all?  Why did he save it?  Where did it come from?  What motivated millions of pre-Islamic Arabs to face this cube-shaped building in Mecca containing various idols, to travel to it in mass-pilgrimage for the purpose of gathering around it in huge circumambulations, to touch the embedded stone in its wall and to return to village and farm renewed and restored? 

Zygomnesis is a clever gate crasher.  It will arrive at the culture's doorstep in whatever form and in whatever attire will gain it admittance to the party where it will inhabit a large corner and attract many unsuspecting guests.  Its favorite disguise is as either a harmless story (Medusa) or as sacred text (Genesis/Noah).  In pre-literate societies, however, it may just as readily adopt a more active, kinetic approach.  It may come as liturgy. 

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Zygomnesis is the psychic urge to proclaim that the incipient moment of life is the most important moment of life.  In the fertile crescent, the proclamation came in the form of a pilgrimage for millions of Arabs from a time before Mohammed, indeed, before history itself.

THE RACE FOR LIFE

The goal of the Hajj before Mohammed (and to this very day) is to reach the Kaaba and, if truly fortunate, to touch the Hajar Aswad or Black Stone which was placed in the wall by the Master himself.  The goal of every one of the 150 to 350 million male sex cells ejaculated into the female reproductive tract is to reach the egg and, if fortune smiles, to be the single sperm to breach the wall and fuse with the nucleus of the now mature ovum. 

And so the egg is recreated, writ large, by the unmistakeable circle of worshipers we see in the picture. 

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If the faithful themselves recreate the egg in the formation of massive concentric circles about the central site, what is the meaning of the cube?

With the stone placed in its wall by the last of the Prophets himself, it is the moment of absolute being, the creation point, the origin of life itself.

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Pre-Islamic Hajj (continued)