Tiered temple

The Temple shares the symbolism of the mountain as Centre and axis of the world. Many ancient temple forms represent the mountain with its stages of ascent — Babylonian and Sumerian ziggurats, the tiered, pyramidial Indian temple and the multiple-roofed pagoda are examples. All these forms go back to matriarchal times. This is an image of the cosmos, ascending through higher and higher levels of reality to the pure and absolute Reality. Often there would be seven levels, ruled by the seven planetary principles or the seven colours of the spectrum, and therefore by the seven great Janyati.

The ritual founding of a Temple re-enacts the Sacrifice of the Daughter, for the spiritual fruits of the Temple, like the the apples of the Tree of Life, have their roots in this Act. An image of the hanged Inanna was sometimes built into the altar itself. In patriarchal times, this degenerated into an actual blood-sacrifice — either human or animal — at the founding of a temple. This symbolism is also important when the Temple or Mountain is seen as a microcosm of the universe, for it is the Daughter’s sacrifice which makes possible the existence of the world in separation from the Absolute; and also opens the Way by which we may transcend it.

See also

The Sacred Mountain and the Apple