|Part Two - The Cult of Ankou - Page 1|
In Scythian Warfare the mounted warriors had one or several amongst their number who rode backwards and naked, painted black from head to foot. He or they would carry a pigs bladder on a pole. These men would ride headlong, so to speak, into the opposing ranks and select individuals whom they would beat across the head with the bladder.
As they rode back to their own ranks they grimaced at the enemy and poked out their tongues. The enemy often viewed this behaviour with a degree of considerable alarm, borne in response to a belief system which was commonly held by both sides, even when one side was Roman. This practice has been named "counting the Kou" (possibly also related to the Persian kuh: Mountain, perhaps as a sacred hill, place of the gods and hence ka; the spirit, double etc.) and was a method employed to select the most useful spirits for captivation after death, which must have been a terrifying prospect.
Not only was it likely that one would die horribly anyway, that being the nature of classical warfare, especially against the Lords of Death, the vampiric, cannibalistic Scythians, but if one were selected (Valkyrie comes from the word 'to select') ones soul, post mortem, was destined to become either the food of savage gods or the slave of foreign chieftains.
The poking of the tongue, also seen in medieval pictures of demons (probably inspired by these Dragon Warriors) who select capture and condemn the souls of the damned, is related directly to the symbol of the tongue as the lingham, the utterer of the Word of Law, Fate and the Pneuma or Spirit, the Ka.
These black warriors were probably the counterparts of the black Morrighans or Bruidhinas, the female judge-bards whose word was law, whose "spells' were 'Fatal' in the proper sense. To be struck by one of these meant certain damnation after life with no chance of avoiding the inevitable.
In a sense these warriors were male Valkyries, the dark Repha'im who, like the Morganas, did a bit of moonlighting (literally!) and doubled up as Swan Knights on their days off. The tongue pointed at one intimated that the act of ones selection was inevitable and irreversible, and meant also that your enemy, by doing this and thus "revealing his spirit" his Kou or Ka, after taking your own, considered you to be no threat at all. Is it any wonder that the church drew upon such images to populate their demonologies?
It seems entirely appropriate to model the fiends of the pit (OFr. Kou) of Hell upon such terrifying characters who claimed to be able to take the fallen warrior's very soul, having first tortured the body briefly but nevertheless unspeakably in life, on a field of battle that must have seemed to the observer to be the opening up of Hades itself.
It was in such battle conditions that the entire Roman Ninth Legion, after crossing the Antonine Wall were utterly defeated, eaten and one suspects, spiritually enslaved by the Pictish Scythians of Caledonia. Not one Roman escaped the carnage.
Related to the word Ankh are; Anjou, Angouleme, Anschau, Ankou. The cult of the Ankou or Ankh: Consonant migration - This can take place with the change in phonetic accentuation, regional pronunciation, changes in fashion, the vocalisation of the words by non-native speakers and the copying of manuscripts by foreign scholars or the scibes of subsequent generation.
In this case it appears that the original word Ankh has developed into Anjou via a linguistic path influenced by Goidelic. Spelt 'Ankh' the H in Gaelic would have become aspirant which would have been pronounced Ank-Huh or Ankuh. Verbally the K became mistaken for a hard G, giving Anguh. In due course the G became non-Goidelic and soft, as in 'germ' and, with the emergence of the letter J as a softer variant of the soft G, the Word Ankh, via Ankhu, Ankou and Angou (as in Angouleme) became Anjou.
The cult of the Ankou in Brittany and Anjou, the cult of the Spirit of the An, derivatively therefore the cult of the Dragon's Breath, prior to its introduction to the continent, is asserted to have been of immediate British origin, although it was strongly represented in the Island now known as Ireland in pre-christian times, where it was probably originally introduced first by the Egyptian Princess Scota, the wife of the governor (or king) of the Red Sea nome, Niall of Scythia (see charts).
It is said that it was introduced into Brittany during one of the migrations from Albany in the first millenium a.d. Described as a cult of the dead, the rites and symbols associated with the characters who were claimed or appear to be its royal priests and priestesses reveal that it was also a cult of blood and death, as well as ancestor veneration. In lowland Scotland the spoken tongue was Northern Cymric and in this language 'angev', it is said, is one of the words used to describe death, possibly suggesting 'going to the Dragon', the Church's 'Devil'.
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