Gods and rugs

In my understanding the majority of scholars view the tradition of making carpets as a necessity for obtaining and retaining heat in a harsh environment. They view later evolution of the carpet weaving traditions as the logical next step in the life of the nomadic man settling in farming in villages and rural areas; with the development of the designs being further influenced by socio-economic changes, such as: groups forming villages and settlements, marriage between villages or tribes, immigration to other areas (voluntarily or forced), formation of urban centres, improved trade between places and the movement of carpets for making profit and business. This is probably the most traditional way of studying carpets which goes alongside textiles, anthropology, archaeology, history, geography, design and art in general.

But what I see is completely different than this logical well established documented way of looking into Persian carpets. From my perspective, with all this knowledge there is still an element that is either missing or is so big and in your face that you are unable to see it. Although I do not deny the importance of this traditional academic way of studying carpets, I am suggesting that there is more to it than meets the eye. This article is aimed at finding the balance between studying the carpets in an academic manner (that cannot produce all the answers required) and the alchemical/philosophical/magical way (that is not complete or rewarding without knowledge of the academic data). It is aiming to look at it from a point of balance between the brain and heart, as much as I am able to contribute.

For a start I need to challenge the academic way of studying carpets by suggesting that Persian carpets were not initially woven by the nomadic man to serve as protection from harsh, cold environments. There are plenty places with an ancient carpet weaving history that do not have cold and hostile climates. What I am suggesting is that the carpets might have found its way to areas with cold and harsh climates to be used as forms of heat, but the primary reason for making them is beyond climates, places or providing a solution to a need. The scholars have found a very nice way to transform the purpose of making these carpets from a necessity item to a luxurious item, through the ups and downs of the linear way of viewing history. What I see is that the carpets, from day 1 of making and creating it, was a luxurious item that found other purposes along the way, but what was the purpose then of this luxury item? To answer that I need to take you on a journey to the gods and their relationship with man.

The concept of gods as we know today has gone through many challenges, ups and downs, name changes and ritual changes. In my study I found that our concept of the gods initially placed them very far away from Earth, but over time they came closer to the point of living on Earth. With all these changes in the human psyche the patterns and the techniques of making carpets adapted and changed. As mentioned earlier, the first gods (or rather mother goddesses) existed very far away from the early man, as far away as the Sirius star, etc. The distance made them appear distant, cold, independent, wild, untamed and they hardly ever “checked in” on mankind. Man was left here alone and lonely, on a lonely planet in a lonely solar system in a lonely galaxy. The lonely man on Earth needed these goddesses but at the same time, he was weary of them and their powers in their day to day life on Earth. The goddesses of those men taught them to be like them: cold, distant, independent and wild and to never be seduced by the magic of Earth, so as to ensure that they retain their connection with their place of origin, which is not the Earth. This tough love was represented in the animals that have those qualities. They are wild, untamed, and independent with water as the main element. The best example I can give is the wolf. Surprisingly, many designs in carpets and kilims are related to the wolf in general. I call this category or timing or stage of consciousness: the Mother Goddess/wolf. The man of that stage made carpets to pay tribute to the Mother Goddesses not as an act of necessity but as an act of pure love. He made carpets from the best materials he had and sacrificed his own needs to create something for his heavenly mother far, far, far away.

If you have studied the pyramid of Maslow, in psychology, the man that lives for self-actualization has passed all his physiological necessities (safety, belonging, esteem in life) to get to the phase of utmost fulfillment and talent pursuing, which is creativity like creating carpets. In this case making the carpets is like building the tower of Babel or the pyramids of Giza. This man not only did not make them out of necessity, but he was willing to sacrifice his own needs to create them as devotion to the gods. That craze or wildness later moved to the second stage as the gods moved closer to Earth. The meeting point of the gods and men moved from the Sirius star to the gateway of Saturn. Here we are dealing with the untamed, cold, fatherly gods who have the element of fire instead of water like the mother goddess. These fatherly gods taught man the magical process of fermentation. These gods found a way to spoil man with yeast and wine without giving them knowledge of fire as the obvious tool, just yet. The man on Earth of that era could eat and drink something that they never had before and that made him break free from his loneliness on planet Earth. He was discovering how to be untamed, wild and independent, but with the luxury of time for himself while eating the bread and drinking the wine. The closest animals on the planet representing this stage of consciousness is the snake and dragon. The carpets that were woven in this stage has lots of patterns related to dragons and snakes. The fire of the dragon, the same as the poison of the snake, was the golden key to learn the magical process of fermentation.

The third stage of making carpets out of luxury to fulfil the self-actualization of man is the meeting point of the gods and men, when the gods came closer to Earth and became more obvious in the daily lives of man. The new meeting point moved from Saturn to the fiery ball of the Sun. This man found the god that has fire elements but in the most tamed and dependent way than had ever existed before. Now he knew fire as representative of the sun on Earth and this fire did not need the long process of fermentation. He could dye the wool in any colour that he wanted and the animals that had the qualities of those gods, fatherly and tamed and dependent, were the bull, goat and sheep. These are the carpets that are colourful and has lots of elements of horns, sheep or elements related to bulls and goats.

My conclusion is that the making of Persian carpets was an act of love and devotion of man to their different concepts of gods, and thus a pure act of luxurious items dedicated to the gods. These luxury items of devotion changed according to man’s consciousness of the gods and with the influence of the godly representatives on Earth, such as the kings, queen, priests and priestesses. Reading a carpet is reading the consciousness of the man who created them and the relationship he experienced with his god, which in the end is he himself. The closer the gods come to the Earth, the further the man moves from his devotion and prayer and creativity to the gods that he worshiped. The pureness of this act of luxury to the gods became less, as the source of the “self” came closer from millions of light years away to live side by side with man on Earth.