Comparative survey of moon symbols and beliefs, and the likely derivation of “tamashii” jewel or soul

The following article debunks the common perception that the crescent moon symbol has its origins in and is associated with the Islamic religion:

The Untold Story of Crescent Moon, Stars as Symbols, Logos and Tattoos

There are no crescent and stars on the doors or walls of two holy mosques, except you see a crescent shape on the minarets. Is there any basis for taking the crescent or star as a symbol of the Muslims in Sharee’ah?, questions Dr.Fiaz Fazili.

The star and crescent was not known at the time of the Prophet (pbuh)), or at the time of the Khulafa’ al-Raashidoon (the first four leaders of Islam after the departure of the Prophet (pbuh) from this earthly world, or during the time of the Umawis (Umayyad dynasty). It emerged some time after that, and historians differ as to when this symbol was first adopted and who was the first to adopt it. Some say it was the Persians, others say it was the Greeks, and that this symbol was somehow passed to the Muslims. (Al-Taraateeb al-Idaariyah by al-Kittaani). The crescent moon and star symbol actually pre-dates Islam by several thousand years, most sources agree that these ancient celestial symbols were in use by the peoples of Central Asia and Siberia in their worship. In fact, the star and crescent has actually acquired its association to the faith by association rather than intent, beginning / starting with the Ottoman Empire. Some historians, believe that the city of Byzantium (later known as Constantinople and Istanbul) adopted the crescent moon as its symbol. The symbol remained in near constant use, it wasn’t until the Ottoman Turks took over Constantinople (Istanbul), and they adopted the city’s existing flag and the symbol. Since the Ottomans were also ruling Dar al-Islam ,(political head of the faith ,the House of Islam, the community of believers,) and for hundreds of years, the Ottoman Empire ruled over the Muslim world, folks started adapting the crescent moon as a symbol for Islam in general, and began putting it on mosques, minarets, and anything else they wanted to decorate. But they didn’t ever use it for decoration on the holy book Quran, since the Quran was “dictated by the Angel of God to the Messenger of God” and so should not bear any symbol. After centuries of battle with Christian Europe, it is understandable how the symbols of this empire became linked in people’s minds with the faith of Islam as a whole. Based on this history, many Muslim scholars reject using the crescent moon as a symbol of Islam. The faith of Islam historically had no symbol, and many refuse to accept it. Christians, seeing the crescent moon displayed as a battle standard, assumed it was the symbol of Islam, analogous to the cross as the symbol of Christianity, but it’s not the first time that erroneous understandings have taken root.”

Notwithstanding the above conclusion rejecting the association of Islam with the crescent moon, a contrarian viewpoint, establishing not only an early pre-Islamic Middle Eastern lunar association, but also an Islamic one:

“The names of the moon g od in Arabia were Wadd, ‘Amm, Sin, Il mukah, Hubal and Allah:

The crescent moon symbol of Islam is a remnant of ancient pagan moon worship.

Muhammad grew up worshipping many pagan gods in the Kabah including the moon, either called Hubal and Allah. After his conversion to monotheism, through the influence of Christians, Muhammad stopped worshiping the moon. The same is true for all Muslims since, down to the present day. However, the crescent moon is the universal symbol of Islam. Muslims will argue that there is no archeological evidence for the crescent moon symbol being used in Islam for the first few centuries after Muhammad. 

Click to ViewSign of Sin, the moon god

Sin.—The moon-god [occupied the chief place in the astral triad. Its other two members, Shamash the sun and Ishtar the planet Venus, were his children. Thus it was, in effect, from the night that light had emerged….In his physical aspect Sin—who was venerated at Ur under the name of Nannar—was an old man with along beard the color of lapis-lazuli. He normally wore a turban. Every evening he got into his barque—which to mortals appeared in the form of a brilliant crescent moon—and navigated the vast spaces of the nocturnal sky. Some people, however, believed that the luminous crescent was Sin’s weapon. But one day the crescent gave way to a disk which stood out in the sky like a gleaming crown. There could be no doubt that this was the god’s own crown; and then Sin was called “Lord of the Diadem”. These successive and regular transformations lent Sin a certain mystery. For this reason he was considered to be ‘He whose deep heart no god can penetrate’… Sin was also full of wisdom. At the end of every month the gods came to consult them and he made decisions for them…His wife was Ningal, ‘the great Lady’. He was the father not only of Shamash and Ishtar but also of a son Nusku, the god fire.” (Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, 1960, p 54-56).

The worship of the Moon god “Sin” was widespread and common during the time of Abraham. Contrary to Muslim claims, Abraham was asked to leave Ur of the Chaldees where the moon god Sîn was worshipped and migrate to Canaan and worship Jehovah.

The Sumerians, in the first literate civilization, left thousands of clay tablets describing their religious beliefs. As demonstrated by Sjöberg and Hall, the ancient Sumerians worshipped a moon-god who was called by many different names. The most popular names were Nanna, Suen, and Asimbabbar” (Mark Hall, A Study of the Sumerian Moon-god, Sin, PhD., 1985, University of Pennsylvania).

At the Northernmost end of the Sumerian empire the city of Harran likewise had the Moon Deity as patron God, under the name of Sin. From about 2000 BC to 1200 AD Harran continued an evolving tradition of Moon God worship. Harran is the place of Abraham’s family and ancestors and the centre of many of the early events of genesis, including the naming of Israel. As described by Ezekiel 27:23, Harran along with Sheba and other cities were traders ‘in blue clothes and broidered work, in chests of rich apparel , bound with cords and made of cedar.’

550 BC, Nabonidus the last king of Babylon, who originated from Harran, rebuilt the temple of the Moon God, directed by a dream. His mother was high priestess at Harran and his daughter at Ur. ”  — Archaeological photo gallery of the Arabian moon god.

Furthermore, the lunar crescent is established to have been an emblem of the kings of Midian — whose swords were adorned with crescent moon ornaments, and who appear to have lived from the Sinaitic peninsula to the area of Medina from the following passages:

Judges 8:21 (AMP) | In Context | Whole Chapter
21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise yourself and fall on us; for as the man is, so is his strength. And Gideon arose and slew Zebah and Zalmunna and took the [crescent-shaped] ornaments that were on their camels’ necks.

at verse 5 it is made clear that Zebah and Zalmunna are “kings of Midian“. The crescents are ornaments commonly affixed to swords as ornaments.  Usually associated with semitic peoples as well as the Arabs, the Midians “denotes also the nation of the Midianites, the plural form, occurring only in Gen. xxxvii. 28, 36 (in the latter passage  seems to be a scribal error for ) and Num. xxv. 17, xxxi. 2. Their geographical situation is indicated as having been to the east of Palestine; Abraham sends the sons of his concubines, including Midian, eastward (Gen. xxv. 6). But from the statement that Moses led the flocks of Jethro, the priest of Midian, to Mount Horeb (Ex. iii. 1), it would appear that the Midianites dwelt in the Sinaitic Peninsula. Later, in the period of the Kings, Midian seems to have occupied a tract of land between Edom and Paran, on the way to Egypt (I Kings xi. 18). Midian is likewise described as in the vicinity of Moab: … It appears from the same account that the Midianites were rich in cattle and gold. The narrative shows that each of the five Midianite tribes was governed by its own king, but that all acted together against a common enemy; that while a part of each tribe dwelt in cities and fortresses in the vicinity of Moab, another part led a nomadic life, living in tents and apparently remote from the seat of the war. It may be noted that these five princes of Midian are called by Joshua (xiii. 21) the vassals of Sihon, the king of the Amorites. It is possible that Sihon had previously conquered Midian and made it a dependency, and that after his death the Midianites recovered their independence. The Israelitish soldiers set on fire all the cities and fortresses of the Midianites, carried the women and children into captivity, and seized their cattle and goods. The Israelites were afterward ordered by Moses to slay every Midianite male child and every woman, sparing only the female children (Num. xxxi. 2-18). It appears from the same account that the Midianites were rich in cattle and gold. The narrative shows that each of the five Midianite tribes was governed by its own king, but that all acted together against a common enemy; that while a part of each tribe dwelt in cities and fortresses in the vicinity of Moab, another part led a nomadic life, living in tents and apparently remote from the seat of the war.

The first recorded instance of a Midianite tribe surrendering its identity by attaching itself to another people appears in Judges i. 16. In this instance, which occurred in the period of the Judges, the Kenites, descendants of Jethro the Midianite, attached themselves to the Israelites in the wilderness of Judah, south of Arad. Later, in the time of Tiglath-pileser (745-727 B.C.), a tribe, called in the cuneiform inscriptions “Ḥayapa” and identified by Friedrich Delitzsch (“Wo Lag das Paradies?” p. 304) with the tribe of Ephah, is said to have dwelt in the northern part of the Hejaz. Isaiah (lx. 6) speaks of Midian and Ephah as of two distinct peoples. The second son of Midian, Epher, is identified by Knobel with the Ghifar, an Arabic tribe which, in the time of Mohammed, had encampments near Medina. Traces of the Midianites existed in post-Biblical times. Ptolemy (“Geography,” vi. 7) mentions a place called Modiana, on the coast of Arabia; according to his statement of its position, this place may be identified with the Madyan of the Arabic geographers, in the neighborhood of ‘Ain ‘Una, opposite the extremity of the Sinaitic Peninsula, and now known under the name of “Magha ‘ir Shu’aib” (= “the caves of Shu’aib” [“Jethro”]).

What exactly does the crescent moon symbolize? Wikianswers has an answer:

“The Crescent Moon and Star (Sun during the Ottoman Empire) are ancient Turkish celestial symbols of power originating from the Turkish, ancestoral lands of Siberia and Central Asia.

Its origins are not Arabic or Persian and it can not be Islamic due to the strict, religious doctrines forbidding the usage of any symbols or the painting/drawing/sculpting of human faces… these very important religious facts are disregarded today by those trying to claim the Moon & Star as their own today.

Needless to say, the origins of the Crescent & Sun/star are in fact Turkish from ancient times, pre-Islamic. The Turks believed in Shamanism and more importantly the one supreme Sky God (Tanri) along side others gods like that of the Moon & Sun, when they roamed nomadically on horseback in the steppes of Siberia & central Asia.

In the 10th century, the Turks accepted Islam on their own will and conquered the Middle East. Within a few centuries, the Turks became extremely powerful and stretched an empire from the gates of Vienna, Austria, Russia all the way to Spain in the west. They brought into Islam their own free spirit, dynamism, Turkish culture, superstitions and serious beliefs as well. This is the origin of how the Crescent Moon & Star came into the Islamic world.

The importance of the celestial bodies can be seen in many Turk epics, poems, songs, names etc… One quick example is that of the legendary leader of the Western Turks, Oguz Khan, named his first 3 born Sun, Moon, & Star emphasizing the importance of the celestial objects to Turks. The founder of the Ottoman Turkish empire, Osman, had a dream in which he envisioned a Crescent Moon stretching over the Earth, he took it as a good sign and made it the symbol of his dynasty. Where ever a Turkish army met with a Euro-Christian one, of course it would be seen that the Turks used a Moon and Europeans assumed that this was the symbol of Islam used by Muslim people…”

The crescent moon is without ambiguity a Turkish symbol, and the Turkish connection is established in the article “Burying the crescent moon / moon god nonsense once and for all..” article which is also useful for its gallery photo montage of moon and star iconography across many cultures.

“When the Turks conquered Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1453, they adopted the city’s existing flag and symbol. Legend holds that the founder of the Ottoman Empire, Osman, had a dream in which the crescent moon stretched from one end of the earth to the other. Taking this as a good omen, he chose to keep the crescent and make it the symbol of his dynasty. There is speculation that the five points on the star represent the five pillars of Islam, but this is pure conjecture. The five points were not standard on the Ottoman flags, and as you will see on the following page, it is still not standard on flags used in the Muslim world today. “

MOTHER UMAY’s moon associations

[Note: Umay for the Turks was associated with the Moon due to the strong core of Anatolian and Mesopotamian moon goddess myths, while for the Mongols and Altai Turks, Umai represented the sun]

Mother Umay or Mother Moon was the greatest goddess to the Turks shaman after the sky-god. The Mongols called her as Uma Khatun.

In their matriarchal period, she was the goddess who depicted all good habits and helpfulness, protected babies, pregnant women and animals as the symbol of fertility and abundance. Her origins come from the Moon goddess belief, so her Icon is the moon, and she was also known as mother moon.

Umay helped mothers during the birth and she protected the babies. The people believed that Mother Umay protected every baby, for the first three days after birth.

Whenever a child began to cry, it was considered that Umay has left them. To protect babies from evil spirits families attached magical objects on the cradles.

Umay was a goddess who could transfer private and divine powers to people. She lived in the sky and spread her power from the sky to the world.
Her light would penetrate people and remain inside them until death as a spark.
The people took the power of life from this spark and when this power began to fade it was understood, that it was the waning of the light of the spark and approach of death.
When the Turks adopted Islam, they combined the traditions of Shamanism into Islam, so that the old traditions would be kept.

The most powerful shamans were called the khatuns, who were female. They would treat the wounded soldiers in war and were the healers of the Turks.

This old tradition continued as the Turkmens and Yuruks adopted Islam by converting the concept and doctrines of Mother Umay into Mother Fatima for compatibility with Islam.


When the Turks settled in Anatolia with their combined Islamic and mother goddess beliefs it was easy for them to understand the local beliefs, which had been bestowed on the Virgin Mary and adapt all three into their local religion and faith. So that now Fatima has been adopted as a loved and respected mother goddess in Anatolia. Where Turkish women continue to associate healing with the hand of Fatima.
This universal format of faith and understanding has inspired the great thinkers of Anatolian Islam.

Rumi (who was under the influence of this approach) said that ‘’come whoever you are come’’ and Haci Bektas Veli said,’’ we have seventy-two languages’’

In Tahtaci Turkmen Villages midwifes begins the birth with prays. Saying, ‘that it is not my hand but the hand of Fatima”

The goddess gene in mothers shows itself in their behavior. When treating children on the one hand, they croon sacred words on the other hand and say that it is not my hand; it is the hand of Fatima.

The same magic words are repeated before working or preparing a meal so that the work may be fertile and easy or the meals will be delicious in the hope that her divinity will eliminate our defects and our mortality.

Healing and the blessed hand of Fatima are always in the minds and hearts of women in Anatolia as Hazard Fatima is the architect of their beliefs.

Therefore, Anatolian Muslims respect and love the Virgin Mary just as Christians do, due to this very strong historical and cultural heritage. Hazard Fatima has the same status with the Virgin Mary for the Muslims of Anatolia.

The goddess culture, which comes from the matriarchal period, has been continued through to today, by evolving and blending its existence into the more modern religions of today.

There is a formula of belief in Anatolia, which states:-

Cybele = Artemis = Virgin Mary = Hazard Fatima

Indeed the Virgin Mary’s house in Ephesus, which is the place of pilgrimage for Christians, was established on a hill overlooking to the temple of Artemis, which was not a coincidence.

The Virgin Mary’s house is also a sacred place for the Muslims of Anatolia. Muslims visit the house, to worship, make votive offerings, make wishes and ask for healing.

Fatima is a model for women. Therefore, Anatolian women appreciate Hamsa. Hamsa is hand of all the women of Anatolia…

The Book of Talisman suggests that the crescent moon was a near-universal symbol of the ancient civilizations, that was incorporated in the horn, tusk and tooth amulets and charms, their similar crescent forms, suggestive of the worship of Isis, or a cognate moon goddess, such as UmayUmay; Umai; Mai; Omai:

“According to Pliny, the tooth of a Wolf was thought by the Romans to be a powerful Talisman for children, it being hung horizontally or suspended round the neck. It assisted them in cutting their teeth, and preserved them from maladies in connection with dentition.”

“The Single Horn, or Tusk, both singly, or as p. 82 a pendant to another Talisman, as Illustration No. 106, Plate VIII, in all probability had its origin in the double horns, or Crescent, of Isis. It was worn to protect from harm, danger, and the evil influences of enemies, and also as a powerful charm to attract good fortune and success.

It is frequently mentioned in the Old and New Testaments, and in 2 Samuel xxii, 3, and Psalm xviii, 2 the Almighty is described as the “Horn of my Salvation”; and St. Luke in the first chapter, 69th and 71st verses, writes:

“Hath raised up an horn of Salvation.” “That we should be saved from our enemies and from the hands of all that hate us.”

The Horn, being a symbol of Isis, was considered a powerful charm to which to attach the keys of stables and cowsheds, ensuring the safety of the cattle and their protection from the evil spirits of the night, a practice that has been followed from remote ages to the present day, although its origin is not generally known amongst its modern users.

In India it is also a common belief amongst the natives that a Tiger’s tooth will ensure protection from the ghosts of men and animals, making its wearer formidable to his foes and respected by his friends.”

In Norse mythology, a Mani(=moon)-Sol(=sun)-Mundifari(=time)-triad is seen in the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning and Mani, the Moon gets eaten by one of the wolves:

…  Máni and his sister Sól are the children of a man by the name of Mundilfari. The children were so fair that Mundilfari named them “moon” and “sun”, which was perceived as arrogance by the gods, and it so angered the gods that they placed the brother and sister in the heavens. There, Máni “guides the path of the moon and controls its waxing and waning.”[9]

Additionally, Máni is followed through the heavens by the brother and sister children Hjúki and Bil “as can be seen from the earth”, whom he took from the earth while they fetched water from a well.[9] In chapter 51, High foretells the events of Ragnarök, including that Máni will be consumed by one of two wolves chasing the heavenly bodies.[10]

In the Prose Edda book Skáldskaparmál, Sól is referred to in chapter 26 as “sister of Máni”.

In India, the moon is a deity and part of the Siva triad, comprising Siva (=destroyer of creation & regeneration), a.k.a. Chandrasekar (=moon-crested) and Ishana (=ruler); the Goddess Uma, consort of Siva; Rudra (the brilliant one, without beginning, middle or end, as brilliant as the sun), and cognate with Agni (=Fire)  —  Lord of the lunar stations — see The Triadic Heart of Śiva: Kaula Tantricism of Abhinavagupta in the Non-dual (by Paul Eduardo Muller-Ortega)

Out of India, astrological knowledge of the system of 28 lunar stations (28 Lunar Mansions) filtered through to China, and was transmitted to Japan during the mid-6th century AD. See Mark Schumacher,

An astrological grouping from ancient India that refers to 27 or 28 points that the moon passes through in one month and the associated star constellations found in the cosmic background. Each of these points (constellations) is associated with a deity, although the point-deity association varies among nations and sects. A similar grouping of 28 was developed independently in China. The Chinese merged their system with that from India following the introduction of Buddhism to China around the 1st and 2nd centuries CE. Unlike India, the grouping in China was always 28. It is the Chinese system that was imported by the Japanese. Says Derek Walters (2009): “The inclusion of the 28 moon lodges allowed great precision in regulating the calendar. Virtually all early civilizations worldwide were aware of the occasional need to add an intercalary month to make the seasons align with each particular year. But the Chinese lunar calendar, based on the 28 lunar mansions, was more precise than those of other nations — it allowed the Chinese to determine in advance and greater precision when a 13th month was needed.” <end quote> 

The 28 Moon Lodges or 28 Lunar Mansions (as they are often called in English) are divided into four clusters, with each cluster made up of seven constellations. The four clusters represent the four cardinal directions (north, south, east, west). Each cluster is associated with one of China’s Four Celestial Emblems Guarding the Four Cardinal Directions (black turtle, red bird, blue dragon, white tiger), a Buddhist guardian deity (the Four Heavenly Kings Guarding the Four Compass Directions), a season, a color, and numerous other attributes. These associations and attributes are presented below. In Japan, the 28 deities of the 28 moon lodges are often represented in the Big Dipper Mandala (Hokuto Mandara 北斗曼荼羅) and Star Mandala (Hoshi Mandara 星曼荼羅) of Japan’s esoteric sects.

However, prior to the development of this sophisticated system of astrological knowledge, it is suggested here that the earlier above-mentioned astrological lore and symbolism of the crescent moon of the in Middle-Eastern, the Indian subcontinent, and Scythian-Turk-Siberian-Mongols had in fact also filtered into Japan along with the waves of migrations of peoples from North, Northeast Asia as well as India. The Indo-Saka/Wusun/Ashina wolf-totem-associated clans and their descendants may have been responsible for introducing these moon-related beliefs into Japan. Crescent symbolism is perhaps obvious in the jade or jasper tamashi-bead amulet crescent-comma-or-claw-shaped ornaments and offerings to deities that were seen in graves or tombs from Jomon through the Kofun periods. The tama (jewel /gemstone***) or tamashii are believed to be a soul depository or soul, and there is a proverb “Kagami onna to tamashii” … “A mirror is the soul of a woman” (see Yasuna’s Legend in Japanese Art) which presumably suggests why mirrors were frequently the grave goods of shamanic rulers.

The entry in the Encyclopedia of Shinto defines tama thus:

A general term for spirit or soul in ancient times. In addition to human spirit, it also refers to spirit or spiritual force in nature. A human soul is considered a spiritual entity that comes from outside and dwells in the body, endowing the individual with energy and personality. The word tamashii (spirit, soul) presumably had an original meaning of the “function of tama.” Mitama (御魂、御霊) is an honorific term of tama. When it is written with the characters 神霊 (mitama), it refers to a spirit of a kami. Later on, the spelling of 御霊 came to be used exclusively for goryō, a spirit that brings hazards to a human society.”

Since the magatama pendant ornaments and amulets originate during Jomon era, the origin of the practice must lie with the earliest waves of migratory peoples into Japan. Y-DNA haplogroup C and D are believed to have been the earliest colonizers of South East Asia and East Asia (Wang and Li 2013).

Magatama on display at the Tokyo National Museum (Photo: Heritage of Japan)

James George Frazer in his book The Golden Bough wrote of the ubiquity of the idea and belief among many ancient tribes all over the world, that one’s soul could be hidden in an object, totem animal, plant or tree, outside of one’s own body. He mentions the tamaniu concept of the Melanesians:

 “Among the Melanesians of Mota, one of the New Hebrides islands, the conception of an external soul is carried out in the practice of daily life. In the Mota language the word tamaniu signifies “something animate or inanimate which a man has come to believe to have an existence intimately connected with his own… . It was not every one in Mota who had his tamaniu; only some men fancied that they had this relation to a lizard, a snake, or it might be a stone; sometimes the thing was sought for and found by drinking the infusion of certain leaves and heaping together the dregs; then whatever living thing was first seen in or upon the heap was the tamaniu. It was watched but not fed or worshipped; the natives believed that it came at call, and that the life of the man was bound up with the life of his tamaniu, if a living thing, or with its safety; should it die, or if not living get broken or be lost, the man would die. Hence in case of sickness they would send to see if the tamaniu was safe and well.”

The “tamaniu” is not only similar sounding to the cognate mi-tama, magatamatamashi concepts of the Japanese, but the Melanesians are also upstream in the ancestral or phylogenetic tree of the haplogroup C (Y-DNA)-bearing migrants who went northwards to Japan and to East Asia (Mongolians, Siberians, Koreans) after passing through the Indian subcontinent and Melanesian Island Southeast Asia (see p. 4, map A, Wang and Li paper). There is a further belief in the dual composition of the tama soul called “konpaku”:

A Sinic term that refers to the soul. In ancient China kon was related to yang (of yin-yang dualism) and to the dimension of mental activity, while haku was related to yin and the somatic, physiological dimension. Thus, the soul had a two-layered structure. Accordingly, when a person died it was believed that these two components returned respectively to the heavens and the earth. Concerning their relationship to the Japanese conception of soul (tama), the kon (tamashii) of konpaku was indicated as corresponding to it. This was according to an interpretation of chinkon (pacifying spirits, see chinkonsai) found in the regulations dealing with personnel (shokuinryō) in the article for Shintō administration (jingikan jō) of the ritsuryō legal code, which was revised in the first half of the eighth century. On the other hand, konpaku was used as another term for mitama in a tenth century work called the Wamyōruijūshō. Subsequently, other interpretations were also offered, such as konpaku being the combined spirit of blessing (sakimitama) and the spirit of auspiciousness (kushimitama).

Alternatively or in addition to the above,  the Japanese tamashi might also be cognate with the also similar-sounding Indian Brahma Kumaris(origin: India) and Sikkh word, atma for soul, believed to be life-sustaining spiritual light or “spiritual spark”, and in the former, to reside in the forehead of the occupied bodies (see Wikipedia article).

Readings and references:

The Book of Talismans

Midian and Midianites (the Jewish Encyclopedia)

Archaeological photo gallery of the Arabian moon god.”

Sin of crescent moon observation

Archaeological photo gallery of the Arabian moon god.

The Triadic Heart of Śiva: Kaula Tantricism of Abhinavagupta in the Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir by Paul Eduardo Muller-Ortega

The Tamaniu, History of Melanesian Society

Crescent moon symbol

The Golden Bough by James George Frazer, Chapter 67

Twenty Eight Constellations; 28 Moon Lodges; 28 Moon Stations by Mark Shumacher, retrieved from

Zhong H, Shi H, Qi XB, et al. (July 2010). “Global distribution of Y-chromosome haplogroup C-M130 reveals the prehistoric migration routes of African exodus and early settlement in East Asia“. J. Hum. Genet. 55 (7): 428–35. doi:10.1038/jhg.2010.40PMID 20448651.

Shi H, et al. PLOS ONE: Genetic Evidence of an East Asian Origin and Paleolithic Northward Migation of Y-chromosome Haplogroup N. (2013) Genetic Evidence of an East Asian Origin and Paleolithic Northward Migration of Y-chromosome Haplogroup N. PLoS ONE 8(6): e66102. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066102

***According to  “Legend in Japanese art“:

“TAMA -R. Jewel ; also designed as Gioku[Korean], and represented in the form of a pearl tapering to a pointed apex, and scored with several rings. It corresponds to the Mani of the Indian Buddhists, and is symbolic of purity ; as such, it is the special attribute of Jizo Bosatsu and of many of the Arhats, but more especially of Panthaka. It is one of the treasures of the Takaramono. It receives amongst other names that LEGEND IN JAPANESE ART. of Nio-i-Hojiu, and more rarely of Shinshi, the latter word being used for the spherical jewel, one of the three relics left to Ninigi no Mikoto by his grandmother, Amaterasu. The necklace of Shinshi, mentioned in the traditions, was lost, and in its place a large crystal ball, some three to four inches in diameter is kept, and carried by an aide-de-camp of the Emperor on State occasions. The Tama is associated not only with the Bosatsu and other Buddhistic Deities or Saints, but also with the Gods of Luck and the purely Shintoist legends of HOHODEMI, OJIN (Jingo), etc. It plays an important role in the legend of Raijin, and it is an attribute of the dragons, on the forehead of which it is usually shown; it is also found sometimes on the head of the Karyobinga, or in the hands of Tennin, or Ningyo. See the story of TAISHOKWAN KAMATARI and the MUGE HO-JIU JEWEL. See also the Minogame of the three jewels (San gioku no kame). Tama are often shown in groups, on Chinese stands, called Tai. They are an attribute of Kishimojin, and sometimes Daikoku is shown juggling with Tama and his hammer. They appear in the breath of a clam, or are themselves endowed with an emanation Foxes are also shown holding the Tama, and the ball associated with the Shishi has probably the same origin. The question whether the globe held under their talons by the heraldic lions has a similar meaning or a common origin with that ball might prove an interesting one to investigate. The Jade Stone found by BENWA (PiEN Ho) is also called Tama, and it plays a part in the wars between the Chinese Kingdoms of Wu and Yueh, which is set forth in the Goyetsu gun dan (443, et seq.). In the eighth century B.C. Pien Ho found an eagle standing upon a large block of jade; he took the stone to the ruler of Ts’u, whose advisers pronounced it to be valueless, and gave it back to the man, but first of all they cut off his right foot. Benwa returned to the King Shan mountains and put the stone back in its proper place, when the same eagle came again to perch upon it. In the meantime the King had died, and the man went again to Court with his stone to present it to the new ruler, and this time his left foot was cut off. A third King came to the throne, and on seeing Benwa weeping by the gate of the Palace, he 355 LEGEND IN JAPANESE ART. inquired into the cause of his grief, and had the stone tested, when it was found to be a perfect gem.*” This stone was at last carved and made into a jewel called the Ho SHI CHI PIH, which finally passed into the hands of the King of Chao, Bun O 😉 3E (298-266 B.C.). This King had a devoted counsellor in the person of LIN SIANG Ju (Rinshojo)  and when the envious ruler of Ts’in offered fifteen cities in exchange for the stone, this crafty person advised Bun O to surrender the stone and accept the land in exchange. But soon after he went to the Court of Ts’in and requested that the jewel be sent back to Chao. Ts’in hesitated, but Rinshojo took the stone, saying: “Do you fail to see its defects?” walking the while away from the King until he came to the end of the hall. He then dropped his cap and exclaimed: “Unless you return this stone to my master I shall break it to pieces; not only have we jewels, but also courageous men, such as none could be found in Ts’in!” The King of Ts’in yielded to his demands. In some versions, he is said to have invaded Chao, and requested the stone as a ransom for the fifteen cities, but to have given way before Rinshojo’s boldness”…

One thought on “Comparative survey of moon symbols and beliefs, and the likely derivation of “tamashii” jewel or soul

  1. rashid37009 says:

    good article. a lot of information. thanks for sharing

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