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glossary

Although the word ark does not appear in the Hebrew scriptures (Tanakh or Torah), it does appear in Latin as arca, but translated from two very different words.

  1. In relation to Noah's Ark (ship) and the ark of Moses (Moshe's cradle), in Hebrew these are תבת, tebah, which means "box, chest, case, casket, crate."

  2. In relation to the container (the Ark of the Covenant) built by Betzalel for Moshe, in Hebrew it is ארון, Aron, spelled Aleph-Resh-Vav-Nun.

The Aron Kodesh (Holy Container) is contracted to Ar-K orally. These two very different words (boat and container) are translated to Latin as arca, meaning chest, both as a box and the trunk of the human body, and also as a coffin, as that which Joseph was placed within when he died. Thus, for centuries people have conflated several very different things, although they are closely related in the Kabbalistic tradition.

In fact, in the Judeo-Christian scriptures there are many "arks," but to find them one must know the Hebrew letters. Yet, it is not exclusively a Western symbol, as variations of the sacred vessel occur in every religion.

"The Ark is the sacred Argha of the Hindus, and thus the relation in which it stands to Noah's ark may be easily inferred when we learn that the Argha was an oblong vessel, used by the high priests as a sacrificial chalice in the worship of Isis, Astarte, and Venus-Aphrodite, all of whom were goddesses of the generative powers of nature, or of matter -- hence representing symbolically the Ark containing the germs of all living things." ("Isis Unveiled," Vol. II., p. 444.)" —H.P. Blavatsky

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