1) G. Santillana and H. Von Dechend. Hamlets mill. 1983. D. R. G. Press. 21)
There are theories that the pinecone must be related to the pineal gland or third eye as some form of enlightenment, yet I believe it has to do with the fruit of the evergreen tree of life symbolism and its encoded mathematics.
It is the pine we still use as Christmas tree, with its lights also a symbol of the starry night sky. Not for nothing is the pilgrimage to Santiago de campostella, which derives from campus stellare or starry sky.
The pinecone is Fibonacci, it is maths and Pi and a representation of the fruit of the evergreen pine, the tree of life. Not only that, it also displays the PI circle like the sunflower does. It encodes the very essence of maths of natures growing patterns and proportions.
For that reason and for the reason of an evergreen tree, the pine is symbolic for life/nature and related to “the tree of life”, the universe. This maths occurs in the whole of nature.
Classical representations of the pincecone are below. The esoteric symbolism is of great importance, including the peacocks and the lions.
It is important to see the surrounding symbolism. The two peacocks AND the lions at the bottom. It is a grouping of objects and the pine cone can not be seen as an individual object.
This is clear in the royal seal of the Kurdish empire and the Byzantine wall stone carving that clearly see an identical grouping as to the famous Pigna in the Vatican. We also see this symbolism of a pillar topped with a pinecone in the Thirsus of Bachus, staff of Moses, staff of Osiris or pillar of heaven / tree of life symbolism. Knowing this its easy to relate this specific symbolism to the worldly tree of life symbolism.
Besides the pine being the fruit of the evergreen tree of life, also the ivy vine surrounding the Thyrsus is an evergreen vine. Its symbolism can be found here:
Ivy, being an evergreen plant, represents eternity, fidelity, and strong affectionate attachment, such as wedded love and friendship. The ivy plant is also a strong plant which can grow in the hardest enviroment.
Quote: “Another association of Ivy as an evergreen, is perennial life and immortality. It also may represent dependence and attachment, which can be seen in the way it climbs trees and buildings to get sunlight. The ivy leaf is also phallic, depicting the male trinity, but it can also be a female symbol denoting a force in need of protection. Conversely, however, its malevolent, poison feature can cause it to be seen often as ingratitude.”
English Ivy Symbolism, Traditions, and Mythology
An Attractive and Symbolic Plant
English ivy is an attractive plant in the ginseng family. It’s a climbing, trailing, and creeping vine that forms dense coverings over trees and other supports. The plant is often admired for its beautiful appearance on the walls of buildings. In the past, English ivy was valued for more than its appearance, however. The plant had important symbolic meanings and was part of a rich mythology. Even today, some people appreciate the symbolism of the ivy plant.
English ivy, or Hedera helix, is native to Europe, western Asia, and North Africa. It has been introduced to many other parts of the world as an ornamental plant. Ivy has large leaves with interesting shapes, spreads rapidly over a wide variety of supports and is evergreen and perennial. These traits ensure that the plant is noticed.
It’s easy to imagine how ivy first drew attention to itself. It has lobed and often large leaves, grows in many different environments, and sometimes spreads aggressively. It can climb to great heights, using its aerial roots to create strong attachments to its support as it ascends. When an ivy plant is allowed to grow undisturbed, its older stems can become as thick as those of some trees.
Despite the fact that it adheres to tree trunks, English ivy isn’t a parasite. Only the roots attached to the ground penetrate their substrate to absorb nutrients. The function of the aerial roots is attachment to a support, not absorption.
Today, ivy is sometimes considered to be a nuisance rather than an asset. This is especially true where ivy is an introduced plant. In its native habitat it’s more likely to form a peaceful but assertive part of its environment.
The vegetative, climbing stage of English ivy is the most noticeable and the one that most people are familiar with. Its leaves are medium to dark green, shiny, and thick. The leaf veins are conspicuous and are light yellow or white in color. The leaves of the reproductive stage of the plant are oval with pointed tips and have no lobes. Ivy has clusters of greenish yellow flowers and produces clumps of blue-black berries.
The Ancient Deities of Wine
Dionysus was the Ancient Greek god of wine, agriculture, festivity, and theatre. The festivals related to Dionysus sometimes included drunken frenzy and ecstasy as an important component of the revelry. In Ancient Rome Dionysus was known as Bacchus.
In most versions of the ancient stories about Dionysus, his father is Zeus, the king of the gods, and his mother is the human Seleme. Both the grapevine and the ivy vine are his symbols.
Dionysus is often depicted wearing a crown of ivy and carrying a thyrsus. The thyrsus was a wand or staff made from a stalk of the giant fennel plant or the branch of a tree. Ivy was wrapped around the stalk or branch, which was topped with a pine cone. The thyrsus is believed to have been a fertility symbol. Dionysus sometimes carries a kantharos, or drinking cup, as well as a thyrsus.
Why did grapes and ivy become associated with Dionysus/Bacchus? Ancient people believed that Dionysus discovered how to make wine from grapes and taught the skill to humans. Therefore he became the god of wine. English ivy was said to grow abundantly over the mythical mountain of Nysa, the childhood home of Dionysus, which may explain the link between ivy and the god.
In the Middle Ages ivy was still associated with wine. A branch or bunch of ivy was often hung on a pole outside a tavern to indicate that the building sold wine or ale. The pole was known as an alepole or an alestake. The bunch of ivy was sometimes known as a bush. From this came the saying. “Good wine needs no bush”, meaning that something of merit doesn’t need to be advertised because the good news will travel by word of mouth.
Despite the plant’s association with wine and the fact that its fruits are the same color as some grapes, English ivy berries are poisonous and mustn’t be eaten.
The Binding Ability of Ivy and its Symbolism
English ivy travels along the ground and also climbs up vertical supports such as tree trunks, fence posts, and walls. If its growth is unchecked it can travel from one plant to another, binding the plants together. This ability sometimes has a symbolic meaning.
Some versions of the medieval legend of Tristan and Isolde, or Iseult, refer to ivy’s ability to bind. Tristan was a Cornish knight and Isolde was an Irish princess. Tristan went to Ireland to claim Isolde as a bride for King Mark. During the journey back to Cornwall, Tristan and Isolde fell in love after drinking a love potion.
Beyond this basic plot there are many variations in the story. In some versions, Tristan and Isolde die and are buried in separate graves by King Mark so that even in death they cannot be together. However, an ivy vine (or another vine or a tree) grows out of each grave towards the other one. The ivy vines meet and twine around each other, forming a connection. Even when the king cuts the vines they regrow and reconnect.
Ivy represented peace to the Druids of old, perhaps because of its ability to bind different plants or even different kinds of plants together. Today ivy is often used at weddings, where it symbolizes fidelity.
In the Middle Ages, holly represented the masculine element, perhaps because of its prickles and harder leaves, while ivy represented the female element. Both plants were appreciated as winter greenery at a time when many other plants were bare of leaves, especially as holly and ivy had attractive berries.
Old and Symbolic Christmas Carols
Edith Rickert (1871-1938) was an English professor at the University of Chicago. Even before she became a professor she was an active investigator in the area of English literature and carols.
Rickert’s book “Ancient English Christmas Carols:1400-1700” was published in 1910. In this book she says that many holly and ivy carols existed during the time period that she investigated and that they often involved a debate about the relative merits of men and women.
The first three verses of one of these carols is shown below. The words of the carol describe why holly is superior to ivy, or why males are better than females. They may also indicate that holly was brought indoors as a winter decoration while ivy wasn’t. The word “lybe” in the third verse refers to chapped skin or a chilblain. The carol is believed to date from the 1500s but the spelling has been updated to that of the 1800s. The newer version was published in 1868 in a book compiled by William Husk called Songs of the Nativity.
Another carol involving a competition between a male and a female and published in William Husk’s book is “Holly and Ivy Made a Great Party”. In the last verse of this carol, Ivy appears to have won the debate about who “will have the mastery” as Holly goes down on one knee in front of her. The carol is thought to date from the late 1400s.
The Contest of the Ivy and the Holly
Holly standeth in the hall fair to behold,
Ivy stands without the door; she is full sore a cold
Holly and his merry men, they dancen and they sing;
Ivy and her maidens, they weepen and they wring.
Ivy hath a lybe, she caught it with the cold,
So may they all have, that with Ivy hold.
Decorating for Christmas
Carols such as the ones shown above may have been sung in conjunction with the decorating of a house or a church hall for Christmas. A common story on carol websites is that good-natured singing contests were held during the time when the two carols were popular. In these contests, men (holly) sang songs disparaging women (ivy) and women sang songs disparaging men. The contest is a nice idea and may well have happened, but so far I haven’t found any reliable evidence to support it.
Choir of Kings College Cambridge Sings The Holly and the Ivy
A Traditional Carol
Pagan customs such as bringing evergreens into the house during the winter solstice continued even after Christianity became dominant in Britain. Many of these customs are still popular during today’s Christmas celebrations. The old carols about holly and ivy have been replaced by a Christian version, however. This song is known as “The Holly and the Ivy”.
For those not family with the words of today’s carol, they can be heard in the video above. The lyrics are somewhat puzzling. The first line is “The Holly and the Ivy”, yet ivy is mentioned nowhere else in the carol except in the last verse, which is a repeat of the first verse. Holly is given the starring role in the song and ivy is ignored, so it seems strange that ivy is even mentioned.
The explanation that is often given is that the first line in the carol is a remnant of the old custom of linking holly and ivy together. In the rest of the carol ivy isn’t needed. The “holly” in the carol refers to Christ and the theme of the carol is his life.
The Ivy League
The Ivy League is a group of eight private and prestigious universities in the northeastern United States. The universities were established in the 1600s to 1800s and have a long tradition. The oldest of the group is Harvard, which was founded in 1636. Yale, Pennsylvania, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, and Dartmouth were founded in the 1700s and Cornell was founded in 1865.
The term “Ivy League” at first referred to the athletic league to which all eight universities belonged. Now it refers to the universities themselves. Some of the university buildings are covered with ivy, and in the 1800s the students at some of the institutions planted ivy as an annual tradition. These factors aren’t believed to be directly responsible for the term Ivy League, however. The explanation that is considered to be most likely for the origin of the term is its mention by a newspaper reporter named Caswell Adams.
In the early 1930s, a writer at the New York Tribune named Stanley Woodward referred to the northeastern universities as “ivy colleges”. This was perhaps the start of the tradition of using the word ivy in the group name for the universities.
Caswell Adams also worked at the New York Tribune. In 1937 Adams was assigned to write a report of a football game between two universities belonging to today’s Ivy League. This assignment reportedly prevented him from covering a game involving his alma mater—Fordham University—which was doing very well in football at that time. Apparently, Adams complained about having to cover a game between either two “ivy covered” or two “ivy league” universities. When the report appeared in the newspaper it referred to the universities as Ivy League institutions.
The Plant Today
English ivy is an interesting and tenacious plant that can be a useful part of its environment or an annoying interloper. Some people value ivy as an ornamental plant or as a part of nature. Ivy’s nectar and pollen can be important for bees and butterflies. Other people dislike the plant for its rapid growth and its ability to cover other plants and block sunlight. Whether we are an ivy supporter or a detractor, however, the plant is hard to ignore. Just as in the past, English ivy can make its presence felt.
Monarch Butterflies Feeding on English Ivy Nectar
© 2014 Linda Crampton
The following article explains this symbolism in more details.
|Four images of the thyrsus, the first being a spear (or pinecone topped) with leopard skin hanging off (representation of the starry sky), bound by a fillet (generally shown next to Osiris); the second, being a topped with a lotus plant, wrapped in ivy or some plant; the third being topped with a pinecone, wrapped in a blow (oft held by Bacchus); the forth being a pinecone topped staff wrapped in some type of ivy.|
Some of the earliest depictions of Osiris show him standing next to a thyrsus; the following, e.g., shows Osiris in the Judgment Hall, during the Judgment of Amenti, with the “thyrsus” shown shown with a fillet, to which the spotted skin of a leopard is suspended:
The spotting on the skin, supposedly, was thought to be representative of the constellations:
“The spotted skin of the leopard, which serves him for a mantle, represented the heavens filled with stars and constellations.”
Robert Brown (2002), citing Gardner Wilkinson (1836), comments on this diagram: 
“It is the same that the high-priest, clad in the leopard-skin dress, carries the processions, and which gave rise to the ‘nebrus’ and ‘thyrsus’ of Bacchus, to whom Osiris corresponds in Greek mythology (Wilkinson, 1836). The lotus flower, the emblem of a new birth, is represented just before the thyrsus.”
|Osiris standing with a “thyrsus” pole shown on each side; below left (Ѻ) is from the tomb of Sennedjem (c.1250BC) (Ѻ) at Luxor; below right (Ѻ) is of similar period:|
In 1875, John Wilkinson, in footnotes to Herodotus’ History, gives the following account of the thyrsus:
“The thyrsus is shown by Plutarch to be the staff (fig. 1), often bound by a fillet, to which the spotted skin of a leopard is suspended near the figure of Osiris; for it is the same that the high priest, clad in the leopard skin dress, carries in the processions (Plut. de Is… s.35). Another form of it is the head of a water-plant (similar to that in fig. 3), to which Athenaeus (Deipn. v. p. 196) evidently alludes when he speaks of some columns having the form of palm-trees, and others of the thyrsus.”
John Wilkinson next surmises incorrectly on the symbolism of the pinecone as follows:
“The adoption of the pinecone to the head of the spear of Bacchus originated in the use of the resinous matter put into wine-skins, and afterwards into amphorae; but the thyrsus was also represented as a spear having its point ‘concealed in ivy leaves’, or: pampineis agitat velatam frondibus hastam (Ovid, Metamorphosis, iii. 667; comp. xi. 27, &c. Diodorus, iii, 64. Athen. Dipn. Xiv. 631 A.) Thus the poets generally describe it, as well as the paintings on Greek vases: and if the pinecone was preferred for statues of Bacchus, that was probably from its being better suited to sculpture. The resemblance of the nebris, and the Semitic name of the leopard, nimr, is striking, the car of bacchus being drawn by leopards; and the Bochart points to the analogy between Nebrodes, a title of Bacchus and Nimrod, who is called the Philo-Judaeus ‘Nebrod’. The pinecone was adopted by the Arabs as an ornament in architecture at an early time, and passed thence to cashmere shawls and embroidery.”
This conjecture that the pinecone originated because of its use in “using resinous matter put into wineskins” per reason that Osiris, in the great tale of the Passion of Osiris, was reborn as an “evergreen tree”, hence the pinecone is symbolic of this.
Dionysus, Bacchus, and Moses
In c.800BC, the model of Osiris, and his thyrsus, was imported into Greece, via either migration and or Greeks studying abroad, into the guise of Dionysus and his thyrsus; in 200BC the Greek model of Dionysus and his thyrsus was imported into Rome into the guise of Bacchus and his thyrsus; in 200AD to 1000AD this general Osiris turned Dionysus-Bacchus model, according to the so-called Vossius-Huet conjecture (c.1680), was monotheized into the mold of Moses and his “magical staff” that parts the Red Sea and smites water from rocks, such as shown below right:
14.1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea.
3 For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in.
4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. And they did so.
5 And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?
6 And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him:
7 And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them.
8 And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.
9 But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon.
10 And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord.
11 And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?
12 Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.
13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
14 The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
A c.1000AD depiction of Moses with his magical “rod”, which, by the power of god, he used to part the red sea; as did the god Bacchus with his “thyrsus” before him.
15 And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:
16 But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.
17 And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.
18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.
19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.
21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,
25 And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians.
26 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.
27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.
29 But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
30 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.
31 And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.
Actual depictions of Moses with a thyrsus-like rod or staff, e.g. as shown adjacent, to note, supposedly, did begin to be seen until (Ѻ) the 10th century
1. Herodotus. (c.435). (1875). History of Herodotus, Volume Two (editors: Henry Rawlinson and John Wilkinson) (pg. 87). Publisher.
2. (a) Wilkinson, Gardner. (1836). Ancient Egyptians. Routledge, 2013..
(b) Brown, Robert H. (2002). Stellar Theology and Masonic Astronomy (pgs. 102-3). Publisher.
The Cosmic Mysteries of Mithras
NOTE THE RED COLOUR AND BLUE COLOUR:
The colour blue is thought to represent God in the heavens (sky), whereas scarlet/red represents man (the name for “Adam” in Hebrew can be translated “man” or “red”) and purple (the combination of red and blue) is prophetic of the coming Messiah who would be both God and man. Red and Blue (and white/purple) are symbolic colours also seen in flags and governments alike. Hence during easter, priest wear purple and white, the colour you get when you mix the two.
The following is by David Ulansey
author of The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries
(Oxford University Press, 1991)
The following essay is adapted from my article,
“Solving the Mithraic Mysteries”
Biblical Archaeology Review
(vol. 20, #5 [September/October 1994] pp. 40-53)
This article is a summary of my book on Mithraism,
The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries
(Oxford University Press, revised paperback, 1991)
[To order this book click here.]
The Cosmic Mysteries of Mithras
(Note: complete documentation for the following essay can be found
in my book on Mithraism, The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries,
and in my articles listed at the bottom of this page.)
The ancient Roman religion known as the Mithraic mysteries has captivated the imaginations of scholars for generations. There are two reasons for this fascination. First, like the other ancient “mystery religions,” such as the Eleusinian mysteries and the mysteries of Isis, Mithraism maintained strict secrecy about its teachings and practices, revealing them only to initiates. As a result, reconstructing the beliefs of the Mithraic devotees has posed an enormously intriguing challenge to scholarly ingenuity. Second, Mithraism arose in the Mediterranean world at exactly the same time as did Christianity, and thus the study of the cult holds the promise of shedding vital light on the cultural dynamics that led to the rise of Christianity.
Owing to the cult’s secrecy, we possess almost no literary evidence about the beliefs of Mithraism. The few texts that do refer to the cult come not from Mithraic devotees themselves, but rather from outsiders such as early Church fathers, who mentioned Mithraism in order to attack it, and Platonic philosophers, who attempted to find support in Mithraic symbolism for their own philosophical ideas. However, although our literary sources for Mithraism are extremely sparse, an abundance of material evidence for the cult exists in the many Mithraic temples and artifacts that archaeologists have found scattered throughout the Roman empire, from England in the north and west to Palestine in the south and east. The temples, called mithraea by scholars, were usually built underground in imitation of caves. These subterranean temples were filled with an extremely elaborate iconography: carved reliefs, statues, and paintings, depicting a variety of enigmatic figures and scenes. This iconography is our primary source of knowledge about Mithraic beliefs, but because we do not have any written accounts of its meaning the ideas that it expresses have proven extraordinarily difficult to decipher.
Underground Mithraic temple in Rome
The typical mithraeum was a small rectangular subterranean chamber, on the order of 75 feet by 30 feet with a vaulted ceiling. An aisle usually ran lengthwise down the center of the temple, with a stone bench on either side two or three feet high on which the cult’s members would recline during their meetings. On average a mithraeum could hold perhaps twenty to thirty people at a time. At the back of the mithraeum at the end of the aisle was always found a representation– usually a carved relief but sometimes a statue or painting– of the central icon of Mithraism: the so-called tauroctony or “bull-slaying scene” in which the god of the cult, Mithras, accompanied by a dog, a snake, a raven, and a scorpion, is shown in the act of killing a bull. Other parts of the temple were decorated with various scenes and figures. There were many hundreds– perhaps thousands– of Mithraic temples in the Roman empire. The greatest concentrations have been found in the city of Rome itself, and in those places in the empire (often in the most distant frontiers) where Roman soldiers– who made up a major segment of the cult’s membership– were stationed.
Mithraeum in Capua, Italy
Our earliest evidence for the Mithraic mysteries places their appearance in the middle of the first century B.C.: the historian Plutarch says that in 67 B.C. a large band of pirates based in Cilicia (a province on the southeastern coast of Asia Minor) were practicing “secret rites” of Mithras. The earliest physical remains of the cult date from around the end of the first century A.D., and Mithraism reached its height of popularity in the third century. In addition to soldiers, the cult’s membership included significant numbers of bureaucrats and merchants. Women were excluded. Mithraism declined with the rise to power of Christianity, until the beginning of the fifth century, when Christianity became strong enough to exterminate by force rival religions such as Mithraism.
For most of the twentieth century it has been assumed that Mithraism was imported from Iran, and that Mithraic iconography must therefore represent ideas drawn from ancient Iranian mythology. The reason for this is that the name of the god worshipped in the cult, Mithras, is a Greek and Latin form of the name of an ancient Iranian god, Mithra; in addition, Roman authors themselves expressed a belief that the cult was Iranian in origin. At the end of the nineteenth century Franz Cumont, the great Belgian historian of ancient religion, published a magisterial two- volume work on the Mithraic mysteries based on the assumption of the Iranian origins of the cult. Cumont’s work immediately became accepted as the definitive study of the cult, and remained virtually unchallenged for over seventy years.
There were, however, a number of serious problems with Cumont’s assumption that the Mithraic mysteries derived from ancient Iranian religion. Most significant among these is that there is no parallel in ancient Iran to the iconography which is the primary fact of the Roman Mithraic cult. For example, as already mentioned, by far the most important icon in the Roman cult was the tauroctony. This scene shows Mithras in the act of killing a bull, accompanied by a dog, a snake, a raven, and a scorpion; the scene is depicted as taking place inside a cave like the mithraeum itself. This icon was located in the most important place in every mithraeum, and therefore must have been an expression of the central myth of the Roman cult. Thus, if the god Mithras of the Roman religion was actually the Iranian god Mithra, we should expect to find in Iranian mythology a story in which Mithra kills a bull. However, the fact is that no such Iranian myth exists: in no known Iranian text does Mithra have anything to do with killing a bull.
Mithras killing bull
Franz Cumont had responded to this problem by focusing on an ancient Iranian text in which a bull is indeed killed, but in which the bull-slayer is not Mithra but rather Ahriman, the force of cosmic evil in Iranian religion. Cumont argued that there must have existed a variant of this myth– a variant for which there was, however, no actual evidence– in which the bull-slayer had been transformed from Ahriman to Mithra. It was this purely hypothetical variant on the myth of Ahriman’s killing of a bull that according to Cumont lay behind the tauroctony icon of the Roman cult of Mithras.
In the absence of any convincing alternative, Cumont’s explanation satisfied scholars for more than seventy years. However, in 1971 the First International Congress of Mithraic Studies was held in Manchester England, and in the course of this Congress Cumont’s theories came under concerted attack. Was it not possible, scholars at the Congress asked, that the Roman cult of Mithras was actually a new religion, and had simply borrowed the name of an Iranian god in order to give itself an exotic oriental flavor? If such a scenario seemed plausible, these scholars argued, one could no longer assume without question that the proper way to interpret Mithraism was to find parallels to its elements in ancient Iranian religion. In particular, Franz Cumont’s interpretation of the tauroctony as representing an Iranian myth was now no longer unquestionable. Thus from 1971 on, the meaning of the Mithraic tauroctony suddenly became a mystery: if this bull-slaying icon did not represent an ancient Iranian myth, what did it represent?
Within a few years after the 1971 Congress, a radically different approach to explaining the tauroctony began to be pursued by a number of scholars. It is not an exaggeration to say that this approach has in just the past few years succeeded in completely revolutionizing the study of the Mithraic mysteries. According to the proponents of this interpretation, the tauroctony is not, as Cumont and his followers claimed, a pictorial representation of an Iranian myth, but is rather something utterly different: namely, an astronomical star map!
This remarkable explanation of the tauroctony is based on two facts. First, every figure found in the standard tauroctony has a parallel among a group of constellations located along a continuous band in the sky: the bull is paralleled by Taurus, the dog by Canis Minor, the snake by Hydra, the raven by Corvus, and the scorpion by Scorpio. Second, Mithraic iconography in general is pervaded by explicit astronomical imagery: the zodiac, planets, sun, moon, and stars are often portrayed in Mithraic art (note for example the stars around the head of Mithras in the carving of the tauroctony illustrated above); in addition, numerous ancient authors speak about astronomical subjects in connection with Mithraism. In the writings of the Neoplatonic philosopher Porphyry, for example, we find recorded a tradition that the cave which is depicted in the tauroctony and which the underground Mithraic temples were designed to imitate was intended to be “an image of the cosmos.” Given the general presence of astronomical motifs in Mithraic art and ideology, the parallel noted above between the tauroctony-figures and constellations is unlikely to be coincidence.
Tauroctony encircled by zodiac
My own research over the past decade has been devoted to discovering why these particular constellations might have been seen as especially important, and how an icon representing them could have come to form the core of a powerful religious movement in the Roman Empire.
In order to answer these questions, we must first have in mind a few facts about ancient cosmology. Today we know that the earth rotates on its axis once a day, and revolves around the sun once a year. However, Greco-Roman astronomy at the time of the Mithraic mysteries was based on a so-called “geocentric” cosmology, according to which the earth was fixed and immovable at the center of the universe and everything went around it. In this cosmology the universe itself was imagined as being bounded by a great sphere to which the stars, arranged in the various constellations, were attached. So, while we today understand that the earth rotates on its axis once every day, in antiquity it was believed instead that once a day the great sphere of the stars rotated around the earth, spinning on an axis that ran from the sphere’s north pole to its south pole. As it spun, the cosmic sphere was believed to carry the sun along with it, resulting in the apparent movment of the sun around the earth once a day.
This diagram shows the daily rotation of the cosmic sphere around the earth according to the “geocentric” cosmology. As shown here, the sun is carried along by the cosmic sphere around the earth once a day. However, as explained below, in the “geocentric” cosmology the sun was also believed to possess a second movement beyond its daily rotation with the cosmic sphere: namely, its yearly revolution along the circle of the “zodiac.”
In addition to this daily rotation of the cosmic sphere carrying the sun along with it, the ancients also attributed a second, slower motion to the sun. While today we know that the earth revolves around the sun once a year, in antiquity it was believed instead that once a year the sun– which was understood as being closer to the earth than the sphere of the stars– traveled around the earth, tracing a great circle in the sky against the background of the constellations. This circle traced by the sun during the course of the year was known as the “zodiac”– a word meaning “living figures,” which was a reference to the fact that as the sun moved along the circle of the zodiac it passed in front of twelve different constellations which were represented as having various animal and human forms.
Zodiac (circle of 12 figures) with sun in Aries. In the “geocentric” cosmology the sun was believed to move along this circle around the earth once a year. The other cosmic circle shown here, parallel to the earth’s equator, is called the “celestial equator.”
Because the ancients believed in the real existence of the great sphere of the stars, its various parts– such as its axis and poles– played a central role in the cosmology of the time. In particular, one important attribute of the sphere of the stars was much better known in antiquity than it is today: namely, its equator, known as the “celestial equator.” Just as the earth’s equator is defined as a circle around the earth equidistant from the north and south poles, so the celestial equator was understood as a circle around the sphere of the stars equidistant from the sphere’s poles. The circle of the celestial equator was seen as having a particularly special importance because of the two points where it crosses the circle of the zodiac: for these two points are the equinoxes, that is, the places where the sun, in its movement along the zodiac, appears to be on the first day of spring and the first day of autumn. Thus the celestial equator was responsible for defining the seasons, and hence had a very concrete significance in addition to its abstract astronomical meaning.
As a result, the celestial equator was often described in ancient popular literature about the stars. Plato, for example, in his dialogue Timaeus said that when the creator of the universe first formed the cosmos, he shaped its substance in the form of the letter X, representing the intersection of the two celestial circles of the zodiac and the celestial equator. This cross-shaped symbol was often depicted in ancient art to indicate the cosmic sphere. In fact, one of the most famous examples of this motif is a Mithraic stone carving showing the so-called “lion-headed god,” whose image is often found in Mithraic temples, standing on a globe that is marked with the cross representing the two circles of the zodiac and the celestial equator.
Lion-headed god standing on globe with crossed circles
One final fact about the celestial equator is crucial: namely, that it does not remain fixed, but rather possesses a slow movement known as the “precession of the equinoxes.” This movement, we know today, is caused by a wobble in the earth’s rotation on its axis. As a result of this wobble, the celestial equator appears to change its position over the course of thousands of years. This movement is known as the precession of the equinoxes because its most easily observable effect is a change in the positions of the equinoxes, the places where the celestial equator crosses the zodiac. In particular, the precession results in the equinoxes moving slowly backward along the zodiac, passing through one zodiacal constellation every 2,160 years and through the entire zodiac every 25,920 years. Thus, for example, today the spring equinox is in the constellation of Pisces, but in a few hundred years it will be moving into Aquarius (the so-called “dawning of the Age of Aquarius”). More to our point here, in Greco-Roman times the spring equinox was in the constellation Aries, which it had entered around 2,000 B.C.
It is this phenomenon of the precession of the equinoxes that provides the key to unlocking the secret of the astronomical symbolism of the Mithraic tauroctony. For the constellations pictured in the standard tauroctony have one thing in common: namely, they all lay on the celestial equator as it was positioned during the epoch immediately preceeding the Greco-Roman “Age of Aries.” During that earlier age, which we may call the “Age of Taurus,” lasting from around 4,000 to 2,000 B.C., the celestial equator passed through Taurus the Bull (the spring equinox of that epoch), Canis Minor the Dog, Hydra the Snake, Corvus the Raven, and Scorpio the Scorpion (the autumn equinox): that is, precisely the constellations represented in the Mithraic tauroctony.
In the above diagram the celestial equator intersects the zodiac in Aries. This was the situation during the “Age of Aries.” The sun is here pictured (in Aries) as it was located on the day of the spring equinox in that age.
Here the cosmic axis has wobbled, so that the celestial equator intersects the zodiac in Taurus– the situation during the “Age of Taurus.” The sun is here pictured (in Taurus) as it was located on the day of the spring equinox in that age. In this “Age of Taurus” the celestial equator passed through Taurus, Canis Minor, Hydra, Corvus, and Scorpio: precisely the constellations pictured in the Mithraic bull-slaying icon.
In fact, we may even go one step further. For during the Age of Taurus, when the equinoxes were in Taurus and Scorpio, the two solstices– which are also shifted by the precession– were in Leo the Lion and Aquarius the Waterbearer. (In the above diagram of the “Age of Taurus,” Leo and Aquarius are the northernmost and southernmost constellations of the zodiacal circle respectively– these were the positions of the summer and winter solstices in that age.) It is thus of great interest to note that in certain regions of the Roman empire a pair of symbols was sometimes added to the tauroctony: namely, a lion and a cup. These symbols must represent the constellations Leo and Aquarius, the locations of the solstices during the Age of Taurus. Thus all of the figures found in the tauroctony represent constellations that had a special position in the sky during the Age of Taurus.
The Mithraic tauroctony, then, was apparently designed as a symbolic representation of the astronomical situation that obtained during the Age of Taurus. But what religious significance could this have had, so that the tauroctony could have come to form the central icon of a powerful cult? The answer to this question lies in the fact that the phenomenon of the precession of the equinoxes was unknown throughout most of antiquity: it was discovered for the first time around 128 B.C. by the great Greek astronomer Hipparchus. Today we know that the precession is caused by a wobble in the earth’s rotation on its axis. However, for Hipparchus– because he held to the ancient geocentric cosmology in which the earth was believed to be immovable– what we today know to be a movement of the earth could only be understood as a movement of the entire cosmic sphere. In other words, Hipparchus’s discovery amounted to the discovery that the entire universe was moving in a way that no one had ever been aware of before!
At the time Hipparchus made his discovery, Mediterranean intellectual and religious life was pervaded by astrological beliefs. It was widely believed that the stars and planets were living gods, and that their movements controlled all aspects of human existence. In addition, at this time most people believed in what scholars call “astral immortality”: that is, the idea that after death the human soul ascends up through the heavenly spheres to an afterlife in the pure and eternal world of the stars. In time, the celestial ascent of the soul came to be seen as a difficult voyage, requiring secret passwords to be recited at each level of the journey. In such circumstances, Hipparchus’s discovery would have had profound religious implications. A new force had been detected capable of shifting the cosmic sphere: was it not likely that this new force was a sign of the activity of a new god, a god so powerful that he was capable of moving the entire universe?
Hipparchus’s discovery of the precession made it clear that before the Greco-Roman period, in which the spring equinox was in the constellation of Aries the Ram, the spring equinox had last been in Taurus the Bull. Thus, an obvious symbol for the phenomenon of the precession would have been the death of a bull, symbolizing the end of the “Age of Taurus” brought about by the precession. And if the precession was believed to be caused by a new god, then that god would naturally become the agent of the death of the bull: hence, the “bull-slayer.”
This, I propose, is the origin and nature of Mithras the cosmic bull-slayer. His killing of the bull symbolizes his supreme power: namely, the power to move the entire universe, which he had demonstrated by shifting the cosmic sphere in such a way that the spring equinox had moved out of Taurus the Bull.
Given the pervasive influence in the Greco-Roman period of astrology and “astral immortality,” a god possessing such a literally world-shaking power would clearly have been eminently worthy of worship: since he had control over the cosmos, he would automatically have power over the astrological forces determining life on earth, and would also possess the ability to guarantee the soul a safe journey through the celestial spheres after death.
That Mithras was believed to possess precisely such a cosmic power is in fact proven by a number of Mithraic artworks depicting Mithras in various ways as having control over the universe. For example, one scene shows a youthful Mithras holding the cosmic sphere in one hand while with his other hand he rotates the circle of the zodiac.
Mithras holding cosmic sphere and rotating zodiac
Another image shows Mithras in the role of the god Atlas, supporting on his shoulder the great sphere of the universe, as Atlas traditionally does.
Mithras as Atlas
A further example is provided by a number of tauroctonies that symbolize Mithras’s cosmic power by showing him with the starry sky contained beneath his flying cape (see illustration at beginning of article).
If Mithras was in fact believed to be capable of moving the entire universe, then he must have been understood as in some sense residing outside of the cosmos. This idea may help us to understand another very common Mithraic iconographical motif: namely, the so-called “rock-birth” of Mithras. This scene shows Mithras emerging from the top of a roughly spherical or egg-shaped rock, which is usually depicted with a snake entwined around it.
Rock-Birth of Mithras
As I mentioned previously, the tauroctony depicts the bull-slaying as taking place inside a cave, and the Mithraic temples were built in imitation of caves. But caves are precisely hollows within the rocky earth, which suggests that the rock from which Mithras is born is meant to represent the Mithraic cave as seen from the outside. Now as we saw earlier, the ancient author Porphyry records the tradition that the Mithraic cave was intended to be “an image of the cosmos.” Of course, the hollow cave would have to be an image of the cosmos as seen from the inside, looking out at the enclosing, cave-like sphere of the stars. But if the cave symbolizes the cosmos as seen from the inside, it follows that the rock out of which Mithras is born must ultimately be a symbol for the cosmos as seen from the outside. This idea is not as abstract as might first appear, for artistic representations of the cosmos as seen from the outside were in fact very common in antiquity. A famous example is the “Atlas Farnese” statue, showing Atlas bearing on his shoulder the cosmic globe, on which are depicted the constellations as they would appear from an imaginary vantage point outside of the universe.
Atlas Farnese statue, 2nd century A.D.
That the rock from which Mithras is born does indeed represent the cosmos is proven by the snake that entwines it: for this image evokes unmistakeably the famous Orphic myth of the snake-entwined “cosmic egg” out of which the universe was formed when the creator-god Phanes emerged from it at the beginning of time. Indeed, the Mithraists themselves explicitly identified Mithras with Phanes, as we know from an inscription found in Rome and from the iconography of a Mithraic monument located in England.
The birth of Mithras from the rock, therefore, would appear to represent the idea that he is in some sense greater than the cosmos. Capable of moving the entire universe, he cannot be contained within the cosmic sphere, and is therefore depicted in the rock-birth as bursting out of the enclosing cave of the universe, and establishing his presence in the transcendent space beyond the cosmos.
This imaginary “place beyond the universe” had been described vividly by Plato several centuries before the origins of Mithraism. In his dialogue Phaedrus (247B-C) Plato envisions a journey by a soul to the outermost boundary of the cosmos, and then gives us a glimpse of what the soul would see if for a brief moment it were able to “look upon the regions without.” “Of that place beyond the heavens,” says Plato,
none of our earthly poets has yet sung, and none shall sing worthily. But this is the manner of it, for assuredly we must be bold to speak what is true, above all when our discourse is upon truth. It is there that true being dwells, without colour or shape, that cannot be touched; reason alone, the soul’s pilot, can behold it, and all true knowledge is knowledge thereof.
Beyond the heavens
I would suggest that the awe-inspiring quality of Plato’s vision of what is beyond the outermost boundary of the cosmos also lies behind the appeal of Mithras as a divine being whose proper domain is outside of the universe. As the text from Plato shows, the establishment by ancient astronomers of the sphere of the stars as the absolute boundary of the cosmos only encouraged the human imagination to project itself beyond that boundary in an exhilarating leap into an infinite mystery. There beyond the cosmos dwelled the ultimate divine forces, and Mithras’s ability to move the entire universe made him one with those forces.
Here in the end we may sense a profound kinship between Mithraism and Christianity. For early Christianity also contained at its core an ideology of cosmic transcendence. Nowhere is this better expressed than in the opening of the earliest gospel, Mark. There, at the beginning of the foundation story of Christianity, we find Jesus, at the moment of his baptism, having a vision of “the heavens torn open.” Just as Mithras is revealed as a being from beyond the universe capable of altering the cosmic spheres, so here we find Jesus linked with a rupture of the heavens, an opening into the numinous realms beyond the furthest cosmic boundaries. Perhaps, then, the figures of Jesus and Mithras are to some extent both manifestations of a single deep longing in the human spirit for a sense of contact with the ultimate mystery.
Excerpts from reviews of
The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries:
Cosmology and Salvation in the Ancient World
by David Ulansey
(Oxford University Press, 1989; revised paperback, 1991)
I have been interested in shadows and the light of the sun, it can also be used for a perfect east west direction and thus navigation instead of a compass.
The Indian circle method allows you to accurately draw a line (red) running east-west with a simple set of equipment with just a pole and the sun’s shadow (top image)
It involves plotting the path of the sun throughout the day using the shadow it casts from a rod or pole stuck vertically into the ground. As the sun moves through the sky, the shadow shifts across the floor like the point on a sundial.
If you plot the shadow’s position on the ground every half an hour, you are left with a curved ‘shadow line’.
The curvature of this line changes depending on the time of year because the sun sits at different points in the sky.
At the end of the day, with a curved shadow line drawn, you must wrap a short, taut piece of string around the vertical pole.
When moved around the rod in a circle, the end of the string should intercept two points on the shadow line. Drawing a new line through these two points creates a line running precisely east-west.
On the day of the autumn equinox it is possible to create a perfectly straight shadow line that runs east-west, with no need for the second, string line.The day is halfway between the summer and winter solstices, so day and night are of equal length, meaning the sun is perfectly centred in the sky.
This is a small article explaining indian temple / pyramid architecture.
9 grid. 9 planets. 9 dots, revolving in a swastika.
Our sun in the centre, 9 planets revolving around it
Its our milkyway, allways rotating.. Hindu churning of the milky ocean..
Mount Meru, Mount olympus with the planets as gods.
The turtle and the mountain or the turtle and the pillar. 4 legs 4 directions, 4 pillars in vatican altar, 4 main evengalist, corners of the zodiac.
if you look at that from the top down. you will see a turtle with a circle on its back.
Quote: “Experts found (see this PDF: 0910.0128v1 )that the hole allows a single shaft of sunlight to illuminate the interior during the March and September equinox as well as on April 21 – the date Rome is said to have been founded. He explained that during the darker winter months the beam illuminates only the vaulted dome. However, at noon on the equinoxes it reaches the floor and on April 21 the beam fully illuminates the entrance at midday. The emperor would have been bathed by the sun’s rays as he entered the building on these auspicious occasions. Professor Giulio Magli, from the Polytechnic of Milan, said:’The role of the Pantheon is poorly understood and it’s function still remains uncertain, although we believe the sun has a significant role in the building. ‘We have drawn our conclusions by studying other Roman monuments in the city including the Domus Aurea or as it is also known the Emperor Nero’s Golden Palace which also had a similar domed roof. ‘The sun and time were both linked architecturally in the ancient Roman period and they were used as a form of cosmological signpost for them. By bathing the Emperor in sunlight this would have a dramatic effect on him and raise him to the status of a god.’
The dome is the turtles back or the mountain on back of the turtle and 4 corners of the zodiac. The gods inside the constellations. A time machine.
It was said the bronze roofplates / statues from the Pantheon where melted to create the altar in the Vatican and canons for the castle, how fitting as both related to time itself.
The only passages referring to the decoration of the Agrippan Pantheon written by an eyewitness are in Pliny’s Natural History. From him we know that “the capitals, too, of the pillars, which were placed by M. Agrippa in the Pantheon, are made of Syracusan bronze”, that “the Pantheon of Agrippa has been decorated by Diogenes of Athens, and the Caryatides, by him, which form the columns of that temple, are looked upon as masterpieces of excellence: the same, too, with the statues that are placed upon the roof,” and that one of Cleopatra’s pearls was cut in half so that each half “might serve as pendants for the ears of Venus, in the Pantheon at Rome”.
Pope Urban VIII (1623 to 1644) ordered the bronze ceiling of the Pantheon’s portico melted down. Most of the bronze was used to make bombards for the fortification of Castel Sant’Angelo, with the remaining amount used by the Apostolic Camera for various other works. It is also said that the bronze was used by Bernini in creating his famous baldachin above the high altar of St. Peter’s Basilica, but, according to at least one expert, the Pope’s accounts state that about 90% of the bronze was used for the cannon, and that the bronze for the baldachin came from Venice.
Note the circle, indicating the pillar or oculus. The churning skies.
Sum 15 in all directions. x 24 chinese solar calender = 360
15×9= 216 = Mathematical cube 6x6x6
If one was to build a building as a temple it should have fibonacci and pi math in all its construction, as that is the divine mathematical language of nature. It then should contain time, precession, constellations, lunar mansions and solar houses, polestars and the wobble of the earth into consideration and have polestars calculated far in advance to encode time itself. It also should show the sun through certain windows highlighting the equinoxes and solstices so it would operate as a giant clock. That is what I think stonehenge once was on a smaller scale.
St. John. John is said to be sitting next to Jesus in Leonardo da vinca last supper. It is also said this is Mary. John is always depicted feminine. Could this be Mary? Or could it be Mark instead as indicated later.
4 evangelist have a animal sign according to the zodiac, yet John is the eagle and not the lion Mark. Hence st. Marks square and the winged lion of venice which is st. Marks sign. Mark is depicted with a lion, not john who is an eagle.
In the painting the figure is in front of a cup (also triangle void between jezus and john) in painting is like a cup. We even see Brittania holding a cup…
The cup (holy grail) is in my opinion and personal research the constellation Crater. The dragon Hydra. John is virgo/Mary.
She is also Indian Durga and Brittania. (And related to the bank of england logo. See the sheet of weat. )This we can see because of the lion. (whilst Shiva is orion with Taurus) Jesus is the sun going through the constellations. Mark and Maria are close in naming. Mark has the lion and John the chalice with the dragon. (crater/Hydra) and is depicted as the eagle.
The triptych window symbolism is directly related to the sun moving in the sky left to right rising based on season. The middle door is spring/autumn when there is an equal amount of light and darkness in the days. Hence this was balance. Ying jang. This is encoded in many pyramids and temples around the world in the doors. In ancient days this was also decoded in the 3 domes, or the two obelisks and the middle temple passage in Egypt. In later times we see this back in the ark the triumph.
This is the true meaning of the tryptich symbolism and a small piece of the puzzle why Christianity and its churhces is hidden astronomy , like the temples in India.
A further good read is this website: http://www.solarmythology.com/
This post adresses the meaning of obelisks. Not a phallic symbol but the pillar of heaven.
Cleopatras needle in New York central park is held up by crabs at the base instead of turtles like the Boboli obelisk in florence.
But then i linked it all together. It was astronomy. Crab, snapping turtle and khepri is all cancer constellation
The obelisk is related to the world pillar of heaven. In pairs as they were extremities of ecliptic. Crab, snapping turtle and scarab (at base of london obelisk) are all the same old summer solstice constellation. Now crab is in winter. (makes sense to put at bottom of obelisk as tip would be mid summer now) Yet in old days khepri was mid summer. The dung beetle rolling the sun across the sky.
And That’s also why crab/cancer is at bottom of obelisk. Its opposite capricorn or makkara around the year 0. Now taurus/orion is our summer constellation and … Winter. In 6000bc khepri or cancer was the spring constellation. Egyptians call khepri Zet tepi or the first time.
The following quoted article is relevant as background knowledge in my argument.
Quote article: http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/physics/160-our-solar-system/the-earth/seasons/15-what-is-the-significance-of-the-tropic-of-cancer-tropic-of-capricorn-arctic-circle-and-antarctic-circle-beginner
“What is the significance of the Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn, Arctic Circle and Antarctic Circle? (Beginner) The Tropic of Cancer is the circle marking the latitude 23.5 degrees north, where the sun is directly overhead at noon on June 21, the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere. The Tropic of Capricorn is the circle marking the latitude 23.5 degrees south where the sun is directly overhead at noon on December 21, the beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere. When the lines were named 2000 years ago, the Sun was in the constellation of Capricorn during the winter solstice and Cancer during the summer solstice (hence the names). Now due to the precession of the equinoxes the Sun is no longer in these constellations during these times, but the names remain. The equator is the circle where the Sun is directly overhead at noon on the equinoxes. “
- London obelisk – Scarab
2. New York central park obelisk. Roman crabs.
Good article here: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/cleopatras-needle-has-crabs
Quote met museum website:
“The two bronze crabs 81.2.1 and 81.2.2) are from a set of four originally used in Roman times as supports for the broken corners of the obelisk that now stands in Central Park. Thutmose III erected the obelisk about 1443 B.C. in Heliopolis, now part of modern Cairo. It was re-inscribed by Ramesses II and later moved to Alexandria by the Romans, who inserted the crabs when they re-erected it.
The Roman crabs were replaced with newly cast substitutes in 1881 when the obelisk was moved to New York and placed in Central Park behind The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The originals were given to the Museum by Lieutenant Commander Henry H. Gorringe, who brought the obelisk to New York; the obelisk itself was a gift from Egypt to the City of New York.
The claw of 81.2.1 has an inscription in Latin on the inside and one in Greek on the outside. Both state that the Roman prefect Barbarus and the architect Pontius re-erected the obelisk in Alexandria during the eighteenth year of an emperor, probably Augustus, who also built the Temple of Dendur.
3.Boboli obelisk Florence – turtles
4. Hindu pillar churning of milky ocean. Kurma turtle.
Hercules(orion/taurus) and crab story, zodiac opposites equals shiva(with cow) and kurma. (Durga is virgo and leo) left and right sun and moon or zodiac two halves.
5. Sacrada familia Barcelona
Again a turtle and pillar. Astronomy.
6. Bixi turtle
China has the same symbolism as well. There is it the Bixi turtle carrying world pillar. A statue is also in front of harvard university.
A good writeup on Crab/Scarab is quoted here:
Cancer: The Crab & The Scarab
We are familiar with the sign of Cancer being associated with a crab through the Greek and Roman traditions. Indeed the Latin word cancer means crab, and this well-known crustacean expresses the Cancerian temperament very well. It lives on the cusp of earth and sea, scuttles sideways, cautious in its movements and has a protective shell covering the soft vulnerable flesh within. In order to grow, the crab must periodically shed its shell and grow another. The crab rocks to and fro with the ebb and flow of the tide, which is itself pulled by the ever waxing and waning moon, just as the typical Moon-ruled Cancerian will tend to be pulled more than most by their lunar moods and cycles. I had a lovely vision during last year’s Cancerian weekend of the humble crab actually being the unsung conductor of the moon and the tide, dancing its dance, in tune with the inward and outward flow of life. During our Cancerian Weekend, we actively embody the crab, becoming crab-like in our movements and learning the subtle dance of this unassuming yet symbolically potent creature of the shore.
For the Egyptians, Cancer was represented not by a crab, but by a scarab (or dung) beetle, sacred to the Egyptians as a creature of immortality. The beetle is clearly linked to the moon’s twenty-eight day cycle. It deposits its ball of eggs, rolled in dung in the earth, for the space of twenty-eight days, which is the time it takes for the moon to complete a full revolution through the twelve zodiacal signs. The Egyptians considered the twenty-ninth day to be a day of resurrection, and according to lunar markings, there occurs the baptism of the beetle, when the scarabeus casts his ball into the water, opening to give birth to the young beetle. This immersion and baptism became naturally associated with renewal and regeneration. In this way, the lunar god was always declared to be self-created, never born. This symbolism seems to fit very aptly for the sign of Cancer, so seemingly introverted and self-contained.
The Summer Solstice marks the entry of the sun into Cancer in the tropical zodiac on 21st June and we can find this symbolism highlighted through the behaviour of the scarab beetle. The creature certainly carries solar symbolism, perhaps on account of its ray-like head and the dung ball representing the Sun. The scarab-beetle god was known as Khepera and was believed to push the setting sun along the sky in the same manner as the beetle pushes his ball of dung, a scene frequently depicted in various artefacts. The beetle would, for example, push the dung ball to the top of a sand ridge and then allow it roll down again, a motion that would seem to reflect that of the Sun rising to its zenith in the sky at Summer Solstice before descending again. The scarab can be seen in various depictions apparently holding the sun aloft, suggestive perhaps of the solstice sun.
Whether as crab or dung beetle, Cancer is always represented as a humble creature, yet one with significant powers, whether as conductor or the moon and tide or as bearer of the Sun. It is easy to overlook the humble being in our quest for success, as Hercules famously did when he crushed the divine crab beneath his clumsy feet as he wrestled with the hydra. The crab was placed in the heavens as a mark of loyalty and service and its placement at the crucial turning point of the Summer Solstice highlights its importance, however unassuming its constellation of stars may be. Its star Acubens is the only one we are ever likely to see in our light-polluted skies. Even in our Glastonbury Zodiac, the Cancer figure is the least prominent and the most easily missed. Represented as a ship (rather than a crab) its shape is drawn by the waterways created when the land upon which it stands was reclaimed from the sea in centuries past. Walking that figure last year, several of us felt that we were actually walking in the sea – the earth, just a few feet above sea level, seeming to bounce with each step – in this low-down liminal sign where the margin between earth and sea is fragile to say the least.
He is orion (Mṛgaśiras) with rohini lunar mansion.
“Santa” is a sanskrit word:
Krishna in China, Quan zhou, note the snake/cobra and the deers. Krishna allways has a peacock plume. Its the story of a bird fighting a serpent/dragon. See my Makara paper on Academia.edu
Vishnu reclining on Shesha, as Brahma is born on a lotus from his navel (palace of Bir Singh Dev, Orchha, early 17th c.)
Brahma is what we see in the indus seal. Shiva Pushphati, a predecessor of Brahma with his 4 faces. which in turn is again the horned god.
It is said that when Adishesa uncoils, time moves forward and creation takes place; when he coils back, the universe ceases to exist.He is also described in Buddhism as Vasuki.
He is known in Chinese and Japanese mythology as being one of the “eight Great Dragon Kings” (八大龍王 Bādà lóngwáng), amongst Nanda (Nagaraja), Upananda, Sagara (Shakara), Takshaka, Balavan, Anavatapta and Utpala.
Takshaka is known in Chinese and Japanese mythology as being one of the “eight Great Dragon Kings” (八大龍王 Hachi Ryuu-ou), amongst Nanda (Nagaraja), Upananda, Sagara (Shakara), Vasuki, Balavan, Anavatapta and Utpala.
These 8 kings preach the lotus sutra
I believe this same symbolism is seen in the Olmec art, the man in the snake. Its the story of quetzalcoatl and his brother, good and evil as seen by the mirrors and the atl atl, symbol of tezcaltipoca. Quetzalcoatl is the bird masked man, exactly like the sumerians in contrast to the snake.
I am not 100% sure if the snake is overcoming of desires/evil/poison or represents the universe with the 7 planets./gods where 7 days of week god is time itself.
The story of hercules fighting the Hydra has vedic origins.
Its the story of Krishna figthing Kaliya!
Not only is this astronomical, Nakshastra as Krishna is Orion and lunar mansion Rohini for his wife. It also directly relates to the Migrashira Nakshastra lunar mansion with Rohini on the side as deer.
Exactly this is depicted on the gundestrup chauldron. The deer headed man fighting the snake of desires. The dear is Rohini Nakshastra, “Krishnas wife” Not only is this astrological, the whole depiction has clear vedic relations and explations. (but in europe!) note the deer again like santa and krishna.
In Slavic mythology, Perun, the god of storms, slays Veles and Dobrynya Nikitich slays the three-headed dragon Zmey. In Armenian mythology, the god Vahagn slays the dragon Vishap. In Romanian folklore, Făt-Frumos slays the fire-spitting monster Zmeu. In Celtic mythology, Dian Cecht slays Meichi.
The Greek Sun-god Helios, the Hindu god Surya, and the Germanic goddess Sól are all represented as riding in chariots pulled by white horses. The earliest discovered chariots come from the Kurgan culture in southwest Russia, commonly identified as belonging to the Proto-Indo-Europeans.
The myth of the Sun and Moon being swallowed by some kind of predator is also found throughout multiple Indo-European language groups. In Norse mythology, the Sun goddess (Sól) and Moon god (Máni) are swallowed by the wolves Sköll and Hati Hróðvitnisson. In Hinduism, the Sun god (Surya) and Moon god (Chandra) are swallowed by the demon serpents Rahu and Ketu, resulting in eclipses.
Another possible Proto-Indo-European mytheme is one in which the goddess of the dawn is born from the sea following a conflict between a god and his enemy. In the Rigveda, the goddess Ushas and a herd of cows are freed from imprisonment after the god Indra slays the multi-headed serpent Vritra. A comparable myth in the Greek tradition is the myth of Aphrodite rising from the foam of the sea following Ouranos‘s castration by Kronos.
Krishna overcomes Kaliya
Appolo vs typhon – Greek
Michael vs Dragon – Roman Catholic Church
Hercules and ladon – Greek
Ba`al and Yam
Apep vs Ra – Egypt
Set vs Osiris – Egypt
Sobek vs Horus – Egypt (Horus under the form of a horseman piercing a croco-
dile with his spear.)
Jörmungandr’s vs Thor – Nors
Tiamat vs Marduk or Bel – Sumerian
Typhon vs Zeus – Greek
Midgard Serpent vs Thor – Norsk
Têmtum vs Hadad – Syria
Lôtān vs Baʿal – Canaanite
Levithian vs Jaweh/Hadad – Hebrew
Hydra vs Hercules – Greek
Dragon vs St. George – Europe
Imdugud vs Ninurta – Sumeria
Illuyanka vs Tarhunt – Hittite
Vishnu vs sesha – Indian
Indra Vrtra – Indian
Tarhunt and the dragon Illuyanka
Maat – Isfet https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isfet_(Egyptian_mythology)
Făt-Frumos – Romanian
Thor vs. Jörmungandr (Norse), Tarḫunz vs. Illuyanka (Hittite), Indra vs. Vritra (Vedic), Θraētaona vs. Aži Dahāka (Avestan), Susano’o vs. Yamata no Orochi (Japanese), Mwindo vs. Kirimu (African), and Zeus vs. Typhon (Greek) among others.
- European dragon
- Norse dragon
- Sea monster
- Ananta Shesha
Not only the snake, the tree also appears often here like the biblical story. Golden apples of hesperides, adams apple. Read more on that here:
This is about overcoming desire yet i still believe the god story is astronomical. 7 planets, constellation. seasons. time. the dragon or serpent (and tree of life) is our planetary system. below is a copy paste other explanation which i dont realy agree with. still researching this.
Krishna overcomes Kaliya the dreaded, multi-hooded snake in the River Yamuna and begins to dance on its several hoods. When the heels of Krishna strike the hoods, some break off and then get replaced by new ones. All the while Krishna keeps playing his sweet flute.
Snake Kaliya with its numerous hoods symbolises the numerous desires we have. When one desire gets fulfilled, another arises, like the new hoods of Kaliya. The hoods keep breaking and forming, but Krishna is unperturbed. He keeps playing His flute, denoting the power of discrimination, of wisdom, of the focus on the bliss of Self. The wife of Kaliya prays to Krishna, that is, her prayer in which she desires her husband to come back whole leads to re-creation of the hoods.
Kaliya questions Krishna: “O Lord! You are the Creator. You have created venomous snakes like me; you have also created gods who drink nectar. What is my fault in this? I am poisonous because nature has made me so.” The Srimad Bhagvatam says that on hearing this, Krishna falls silent.
Krishna accepted Kaliya’s words of discrimination. Krishna is the true embodiment of wisdom. He replies: “Alright, I shall not kill you, but please leave this place. You are causing distress to many. My nature is to shower bliss and your acts are an obstruction to that.” Krishna spares Kaliya’s life. He does not kill him or snatch his venom from him, but asks him to go to another place, where perhaps he would learn to use venom only when absolutely necessary, in self-defence.
In the same way, I do not ask you to eliminate desire, anger, greed and delusion that trouble you, but to change their course. You desire to obtain something or the other. Let this yearning be turned to attain God, to obtain inner peace, to yearn for silence and solitude or if you wish to enter public life, yearn for the welfare of the people. The orientation of your yearning, when changed, can lead you to God. The yearning for kama will get sublimated to attainment of Rama. In this manner, your wisdom will be put to good use. The same applies for anger. For how long will you try to suppress it? Just re-channelise it in a different direction. If greed overpowers you, then channelise it towards greed for doing more japa, more meditation, more acts of benevolence and acquiring more divine knowledge. The same goes for other attachments and passions. Sant Tulsidas has said: “Develop attachment towards the Lord, and equanimity towards the world.”
“O Lord, I have experienced these worldly pleasures, now have mercy…” –
Such a prayer shows your discrimination. However great may be the amount of praise, pleasures and comforts you attain – how long will they last and what will remain in the end? Therefore, yearn for real joy, the bliss of Self, the Atman.
Your real Self, the Atman, is bliss personified. If there is sorrow, worry or fear, it is due to lack of discrimination. Keep awakening your power of discrimination. As you grow in discrimination, you will also grow in dispassion and gain the shat-sampatti, the six spiritual wealth of shama or mind control, dama or sense control, titiksha or forbearance, samadhan or freedom from doubt, shraddha or faith and Ishwar-pranidhan or concentration of mind on God.
The writer Richard Cassaro (www.richardcassaro.com / Written in stone) was right in identifying the rockefeller building with his cathedral triptych doors, as a direct influence from churches and other cultures and its clear masonic influence and meaning as he apparently pointed out in his book, “Written in stone”, (which to date I haven’t read although I suspect its a great book, making profound links and will be ordering it soon myself.)
From his webpage and his online collage images can be seen that he has made clear visual links between ancient pyramid cultures and modern Christianity and Freemasonry.
It were the freemasons who build the churches for the Christian church, clearly incorporating symbolism and older ancient knowledge in symbolic representations in those structures. That knowledge was astronomy.
In this modern age, the mega churches stadiums are nothing compared to the cathedrals of Europe and a diluted , bastardized version of “faith”.
Falsely represented fairy tales of what once was real knowledge of time and astronomy itself by priests (magi) who took this knowledge and sold the story of god(s) to the people for power and control and deceived mankind as such. God(s) in the sky are just constellations and planets.
Today this crookery is seen in the materialistic wealth of the mega churches pastors, which is far from the story of the poor Jezus who gave itself for humanity. Abuse of donations for personal gain and not understanding the true symbolism thrive in the catholic church today, as it where the stone masons who had this knowledge and encoded it in medieval buildings. Architects of today are not schooled in these principals and we see very little buildings today encoding such esoteric knowledge.
The cross layout of the churches is astronomy representing the ecliptic path of the sun and its symbolical death every winter and its resurrection in easter.
When making the Rockefeller connection to this ancient symbolism, I think Richard overlooked the top of the Rockefeller building where his so called “god self icon” or “staf god” as outlined in his second eBook “The missing link” is also visible. I don’t find it a “realised god self icon” as he explains it, but clearly say its the constellation Ophiucius that is depicted as god in all cultures with orion being the sun of god. Its zeus and hercules and Jaweh and Adam respectively.
The importance of Prometheus at the bottom and the staf deity at the top is significant as to me this is related to Orion and Ophiucius. Adam(Hercules) and God(Zeus) respectively
His theory, is that he links this “staff god” to the Yoga nadis and kundalini third eye awakening. I suspect a different meaning of symbolism (as above as below, the micro and macro cosmos) as seen also in the Jewish Kaballa, this has a clear astronomical and time/seasons meaning to it. (the Menora in Solomons temple is the tree of life..)
The Rockefeller skyscraper is “the modern pyramid”, a representation of the milkyway. Its the big obelisk, the pillar of heaven. That is the symbolism of this particular tower. The middle pillar that intersects the zodiac circle, as also seen in Hindu mythology, churning of the milky ocean (the milkyway) which is then the basis for the swastika, the revolving skies. Notice the god on top?
The priest on top of the temple changed for the rich and the executives of the world in their penthouses controlling the world. Yet a lot of esoteric knowledge has been lost or only known to few.
It is no coincidence that Prometheus is seen in front of the Rockefeller building with a band of constellations. Prometheus, the torch bearer (see later video) is the later Hercules with his club, but also Osiris, the green man, the maize god and many others. He is the constellation of Orion, the 3 (!)belt stars. Why? Because he was the spring constellation back in the day together with Taurus, while LEO and virgo ruled mid summer.
In our age, Taurus rules mid summer and aquarius is present in spring, in the northern hemisphere that is, it was Ophiucius who rules spring in the southern hemisphere. Ophiucius used to carry two snakes, caleb and kaput. Snakes, or lightning bolts are exchangable as lightning are snakes in the sky. The worldwide seen “staff deity” is the stormgod, god of thunder, known under many names. The constellation Ophiucius.
Ophiucus is 180 degree of Orion. Just like Prometheus is seen here on the opposite side of the building. (up down).
To me ophiucius is this is the origin of the “staf god” or god of thunder or solar deity.
Its the same figure as Samson in the bible who “pulled down the pillars of the temple” just symbolic for the changing of the constellations in the sky.
Below we see how the same symbolism was used her on election of the new pope. The triptych chairs, the god and the tree with its branches. The tree is the tree of life, a representation of the unfolding universe itself.
The masonic lodge as a miniature “solomons temple” is really to be seen from the top as a circle. Hence the circumambulate of the lodge.
A classic lodge, two pillars, 3 chairs. This specific symbolism of meaningfull lodge layout is dwindling, just like now any building is used as a “church” (and missing the cross layout, the triptych and two towers as Boaz and Jachin pillars) and if not for this book, being lost in time. Not any place can be a church or lodge. Clear symbolism and rules for its construction needs to be adhered to to convey and carry on the message.
There was a reason for the specific church and lodge layouts and Leonardo da vinci’s composition of the last supper, in my opinion this was because of astronomy.
I even dare to say that like the church, not many modern masons know why they do the 33 degrees, (the sun has a 33 year solar cycle.) or why they circumbate the lodge. They merely focus on executing the rituals whilst its meaning have been lost in time. One see an erosion of knowledge happening to the true meaning of cross layout churches. and the specific layout of lodges and such temples and its origins in the astronomical meanings of such buildings.
11 apostels and Maria. (because she is the only virgo/female in our zodiac) The original EVE while Adam was Orion. The tree of life in the garden of eden is related to the cosmological world tree.
Them “eating from the tree” deceived by the snake hydra, caused the skies to move in the seasons and show less stars (a certain section of the sky has less stars whilst turning) This was then related to the winter season and “god” banishing them from the lush green of spring and summer.
The 4 main apostels and their animals are the specific 4 corners of the zodiac. (the eagle is scorpio/aquila, the eagle of Zeus, the staff stormgod ophiucius carrying its two thunderbolts, or as in the old days two snakes, caleb and kaput)
As a bottom (or top) of the constellation circle, orion on the other side, he is realy “carrying” or just the two sides of the zodiac (milky way) as represented by the two snakes crawling down from pyramids as well.
Its note worthy that in ancient days, the universe was “the great mother” before it became “god our father”. Hence we see the minoan snake godess as the universe. Note the bar breast as isis. The change of society from matriarchal to patriarchal dominated created a shift in the naming the universe or god male from an earlier female universal womb.
She was the virgin and the gorgon who “gave birth” to life and creation without conception.
But she was also the gorgon, the monster (with the snake hair) who takes life when creation dies of.
So people went to church, to the cross for the holy union between man and women and to celebrate new life and mourn the death.
Was the staff gods or main god, merely a far simpeler less deep meaning and a relation to the stormy season and the constellation ophiucius, his eagle next to him aquila, revered as the god of rains (chaac), the return of the fertility of the land.
All these storm gods symbolic battled serpents, Hydra or Draco. So the storm god with his two lightning bolts serpents battling the monster later became Ophucius battling one serpent in the sky, just like the myths.
So many cultures had a storm god as their main god (Indra, Marduk, Zeus, Thor, Viracocha etc) as outlined in my Makara paper that that has an astronomical reference. I propose this was Ophiucius as God, Viracocha, Zeus and many other names. Hercules, the 180 degree opposite constellation was “his son”
Ba`al and Yam (Caanite)
Krishna overcomes Kaliya (indian)
Indra vs Vitra (Indian)
Vishnu vs Ananta-Shesha (indian)
Tarhunt and the dragon Illuyanka (hittite)
Apep vs Ra (Egypt)
Horus (hero) vs sobek (Egypt) (Horus under the form of a horseman piercing a croco-
dile with his spear, louvre museum)
Zeus vs Typhon (Greek)
Thor vs Jörmungandr’s (Nors)
Marduk or Bel vs Tiamat (Sumerian)
Hadad vs Têmtum (Syria)
Lôtān vs Baʿal (Canaanite)
St. Michael and the Dragon
Levithian vs Jaweh (Hebrew)
Hydra vs Hercules (Greek)
Dragon vs St. George (Europe, this particularly in st. mark square, Venice)
Imdugud vs Ninurta (Sumeria)
Balaur vs Făt-Frumos (Romanian)
The Nazi’s, highly occultly schooled, took the symbol of the eagle (Horus), the swastika (revolving universe) and the double lightning bolt (zeus storm bolts) for their SS.
These lightning bolts weapons turned into the Dorjes of eastern Buddhism. Any subsequent god was a lightning god holding thunderbolts. Its a constellation and the basis of the worldly “staff diety”
There is no difference to all these named hero’s and gods they all are the same constellation Ophiucius. All cultures has exactly the same depiction of their sungod worldwide as the basis was astronomy.
Under Ophiucus we see Scorpio
That is what is under Viracocha, a scorpion frontal view with 6 legs and two clippers
It was the scorpion who bit the solar deity. (Mithras bull bals/fertility) and Orion and it was also Judas that betrayed Jezus.(Orion)
Quote wikipedia: ” In Greek mythology, the myths associated with Scorpio almost invariably also contain a reference to Orion. According to one of these myths it is written that Orion boasted to goddess Artemis and her mother, Leto, that he would kill every animal on the Earth. Although Artemis was known to be a hunter herself she offered protection to all creatures. Artemis and her mother Leto sent a scorpion to deal with Orion. The pair battled and the scorpion killed Orion. However, the contest was apparently a lively one that caught the attention of the king of the gods Zeus, who later raised the scorpion to heaven and afterwards, at the request of Artemis, did the same for Orion to serve as a reminder for mortals to curb their excessive pride. There is also a version that Orion was better than the goddess Artemis but said that Artemis was better than he and so Artemis took a liking to Orion. The god Apollo, Artemis’s twin brother, grew angry and sent a scorpion to attack Orion. After Orion was killed, Artemis asked Zeus to put Orion up in the sky. So every winter Orion hunts in the sky, but every summer he flees as the constellation of the scorpion comes.”
Now this story relates directly to mithras. Wasn’t it the scorpion who attacked the bulls testikles. Yes, mithras is orion. The dog can is major and the snake hydra in the Bull killing scene.
Colours are very important here again. Mithras is red. (like Adam is red in hebrew) while blue was for God (see its Cape is sky with stars) (And purple for man/God jezus) this relates to seasons. Red blue. How holy Jesus was depicted in medieval art. It is clearly mentioned, further explained in this article later.
It also relates to Hercules and the cretan bull story as hercules is orion.
The 7 headed snake later turned into a dragon/leo composite animals purely because leo is above Hydra.
Jaweh battled the serpent, the later devil.
As outlined in my Makara research paper, the symbolism of Horus-Sobek as opposites in the zodiac, transformed into the St. george and the dragon stories.
One of the two pillars (!) carrying St. George,entering Piazza San Marco in venice.
For that symbolism I would refer you to my Makara research:
Hercules/orion/prometheus was the model of the torchbearer the collusus of rhodes. The torchbearer gets explained here:
The olympics, the torch bearer, the kurds celebrating newros, all comes from this. Even the collosus of rhodes and statue of liberty is related although the statue of liberty might be Virgo with her weatstalk touching the ecliptic becoming a torch.
The light and darkness, the sun and the moon and the central equilibrium or sunrise and dawn, which in our seasons is spring and autumn, and equal division of the day in light and darkness. Balance. In modern culture movies like starwars, the balance of “the force”. The ying and yang in other cultures.
Yet what is the real teaching is that man IS god and not seperated from it. We are not separate from the universe, yet a part of it as creator and created in 1.
No man better than any other yet all part of creation/preservation/destruction itself. The 3 yunas, of 3 representations of gods in Hinduism.
The sun king or ruler as representation of god himself on earth.
This particular symbolism is very old indeed and goes back all the way to ancient Egypt from where it transvered the world in the form of the world tree or tree of life, equating creation and fertility of the lands with a tree and its fruits. The Milkyway with its stars as fruits and the polestar in top as highest most northern point of direction in the sky.
The Christmas tree.
The christmass tree is a direct link to the tree of life, a representation of the milkyway, with the polestar on top, but, also has links to kabalistic meanings and the chakras in other cultures. Enlightenment to be obtained via specific Yogic practices.
Thus time is the revolving sky of consteallations and the ever changing and continuous cycle of Birth and Death of nature and the universe around us.
The concept of time and god is identified as the universal force that keeps recreating itself and also “eats its own children” depicted as a monster in mayan art, hindu temples, a dragon that devours its own tail, kronos that east its own children(creation) time itself.
This astronomy was captured in temple buildings and later masonic halls, where the master of the lodge occupied the central chair. (or central door) the door of the sun itself on equinox. Mason circumbating the lodge, as the sun themselves through the seasons. The blazing star the polestar.
It has allways been a duality of opposites. The constellation ophiucius, which in ancient days held two snakes, just like viracocha and the constellation of orion, the 3 belt stars, which symbolized the spring equinox. Hercules with his club is promotheus with his torch as the sun passes on its tip on the ecliptic making it a torch, stealing “the light/fire” from the gods.
The pillars of freemasonry, the church towers, are a direct link to the temple architecture of ancient and later Egypt, for example seen in the temple of dendur in the metropolitan museum of art in New York. The two obelisks where the later Boaz and Jachin pillars or the two church towers. Both Ophiucius or Virachocha which held initialy two snakes before it became one in astronomy and which is “the staff deity” seen across the world.”He who battles the serpent”
And ofcourse the later cathedrals.
On some cathedals and churches, one can clearly see the massive rosette window in the middle.
Here a difference is made in the towers, a male female force, moon, sun tower. In freemasonry it holds the arch of heaven with its constellations.
The zodiac arch on top and also the cross with the 4 corners of the zodiac is clear. Its the 4 evangelist on the zodiac cross. Bull, lion, eagle and man, the original tetramorph (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetramorph) that to this day still graces the dome of the vatican in perfect cross form.
The fact that marriage, birth and death was “celebrated” in church, is a further confirmation of it being a symbol of life and the universe itself. Jezus path passed the 12 apostels is a direct link to the path of the sun in the sky through the year. The purple robe at easter is a direct relations to a triptych in color.
As seen all over medieval art, the blue and the red, winter and summer, god and adam and jezus in the middle as man and god in 1.
“The triptych doors/symbolism or temple towers are directly related to the path of the sun, left small door being winter solstice, middle doors autumn and spring equinox and right door winter solstice. Hence during spring equinox the middle tower or middle way of the temple or tip of the middle tower was illuminated by the sun. That is also why you see Viracocha on the gate of the sun in Tiahuanaco and on top of the Rockefeller building, as that is the constellation equated with god in ancient times due to its position at the time at solstice. – Stijn van den Hoven / November 2017”
So the church rebuild the astronomical religion of the ancient cultures, like Egypt and Mythraism and moulded that astronomical knowledge into a new “religion” called Christianity.
That was direct plagiarism of older concepts and allegories, they just changed the figures names. The Christian church from Isis and Horus. (Josef/Maria-Jezus = Osiris/Isis-Horus). In ancient days the great mother was worshipped, the universe. The sun is “her son”
Horus the hawk god. Isis side of the pillars, Osiris the other, child, The holy trinity.
The rosette (rose)
Of isis or seen on sumerian wrist, the fertility of the land or the great mother.
The rose window with the 12 apostels or 12 constellations.
The path of the sun is the ecliptic. That is represented by the horizontal cross bar of the church. Jezus, the sun, dies every year and gets resurected, after being put “into a cave”, The area below the horizon, also known as the sea. Hence half of the zodiac are water constellations and at the edges you see the crab who lives in see and land.
So, the basis of the christian church is a solar religion, where time itself, the universe or creation itself is worshipped in an allegorical matter taken from many ancient cultures before them.
Thats why the Mayas thought their gods returned as they carried the same “cross” symbolism as seen in the temple of the cross in palenque. Yet their knowledge came from the west, not the east as seen in the makkara symbolism highlighted in my other research.
Isis breast, her nipple in a rose, the “lady of the rose” Sounds familiar?
Look closeley on the rockefeller buildings top and also there we find this symbol of the “fertility rose” related to the sun itself on equinoxes.
Now these towers and the old symbolism of the two mountains wih the sun in the middle is very old and is in my opinion related to this below.
Why? This becomes clear in this video. Its related to time itself and the annual path of the sun. (who dies every year on the cross of the ecliptic)
Not only was this the basis for Egyptian temples, christian churches etc. etc. but also for hindu temples where this similar astronomy is clearly depicted. This is the basis for the triptych doors and the god in the middle door symbolism wether its buddha, the sun god viracocha, jesus or other.
We not only see this in egypt but also in Cambodia. (note the 3 tower symbolism like the 3 doors)
And in Mayan cities:
Quote: The Temple of the Sun at Dzibilchaltun in Yucatan, Mexico. The sun has risen on the spring equinox. On this day the Temple of the Sun frames exactly the rising sun.Source: http://multiverse.ssl.berkeley.edu/multicultural (Image Credit: Jim Spadaccini, Ideum)
The triptych and the sungod as such can be seen all the way back in gate of the sun in Tiahuanaco in Viracocha and at the back the 3 doors symbolism. Note also the indentations forming together a triangle.
This further becomes clear at the rear where the tryptich symbolism is clearly visible. This is exactly the same symbolism we find back in the rockefeller building but also in masonic lodges with the 3 chairs and the two pillars on the opposite side.
In a later version in Leonardo da vinci’s painting.
6 apostels on the left side, 6 on the right side (12 constellations and the central universe with the sun (solar) in front wearing the red and the blue garment. (colour symbolism as seen in many flags of US, russiam, netherlands, france etc etc)
There is no difference to the gate of the sun and this painting. Note again the colours of his garment. Red and Blue.
So one can see this astronomical “religion” has travelled the world under different names. The hindu temples of the east are no different to the European cathedrals, Egyptian temples or the Jewish temple of king solomon in symbolism and meaning. The Menora in king solomons temple is actually a stylized representation of the tree of life.
The message and concept of god, the universe as creator, preserver and destroyer just expressed in a different way and if by that, we are all talking about the same, creation itself, why should one fight one other to make their religion the main religion?
One should perhaps strive to unify these beliefs into a new “religion” and educate the world on the origins and true meanings of these cultural expressions of pyramids, temples and churches, as all of these are based on this knowledge of astronomy and time itself yet sold to the people in vague veiled stories only to be understood by a select few at this stage. Perhaps this article I wrote gave you some insight into this hidden knowledge.
Stijn van den Hoven
Mayan World Tree
The Mayan believed heaven to be a wonderful, magical place on Earth hidden by a mystical mountain. They called this place Tamoanchan. Heaven, Earth, and Underworld (Xibalba) were connected by the ‘world tree’. The world tree grew at the locus of creation, all things flowing out from that spot into four directions. These were: East associated with red, North represented by white, West that is black and South that is yellow. The Mayan tree of life is a cross with its centre being the point of ‘absolute beginning’, the source of all creation and its branches passing through each of the three layers of existence – underworld, earth, and the sky.
Sumerians and Babylon Tree of Life
The oldest name of Babylon, Tin-tir-ki, meant ‘the place of the tree of life’. To the Babylonians, it was a tree with magical fruit, which could only be picked by the gods. The earlier Sumerian traditions played a major role in Babylonian culture. The early Sumerian art (around 2500 BC) depicts pictures of a pole or a tree called the ‘axis mundi’. Guarding this tree is a snake or a pair of intertwined snakes. Babylonians have the concept of the ‘navel of the world’, the place of the connection of different spheres. This vertical dimension, axis mundi, is the connection between three cosmic spheres: heaven, earth and underworld. The sacred mountain, the temple, the sacred city are all considered to be this Sacred Space, the axis mundi, the connection of the three cosmic dimensions.
Assyrians and Tree of Life
Assyrians substituted the tree for the caduceus with coiled snakes circling around the wood of the wand. Here we see a snake symbolising an underworld consciousness, passing through earth, climbing a stick, transcends to a winged reality, a heavenly creature. Wings on a wand became a symbol of transformation and transcendence.
Egyptian Tree of Life
In Egyptian mythology, the first couple are Isis and Osiris. They have emerged from the acacia tree of Iusaaset, which the Egyptians considered the tree of life. Egyptians considered the Tree of Life to be the tree in which life and death are enclosed. The direction East was associated with the direction of Life, the direction of the rising Sun, and the direction West was seen as the direction of death, of under-world, because Sun sets in the West. Egyptian creation myths refer to a serpent and a primordial egg, which contained a bird of light.
Within the Nordic cultures we also find a Tree of Life called Yggdrasil. It is a massive holy ash tree where Gods assemble daily. the tree provides a magical springwater of knowledge. An eagle is on the top of the tree and a serpent is coiled around the roots of the tree. The eagle and the snake hate each other.
On the top of the above tree is the symbol of Thor, the eagle. The dogs guarding the Tree emulate the guardian lions depicted in Byzantine works.
Chinese Immortality Tree
In Chinese mythology a Taoist story tells us of a peach magical tree that produces a peach every three thousand years. The one who eats the fruit becomes immortal. At the base of the Tree of Life is a dragon, and at the top is a phoenix (a bird). In Chinese cosmology, there are four Dragon Kings (Qin, Kuang, Jun and Xun), each with his own elemental domain.
Kabbalah Tree of Life
The Tree of Life that is in the centre of Kabbalah’s symbolism can be studied as a complex formula of existence, the flow of creation from the Divine to Earth and back to the Divine. It is the Tree of Life and Knowledge, a magical key to how life manifests itself. The Tree of Life is comprised of ten sephiroth, with twenty-two paths interconnecting them. The Kabbalah is a magical framework for the Hebrews’ mystical thoughts.
The left column is called the Pillar of Severity. It represents the female aspect of creation and contains three sephira: Binah (Understanding), Geburah (Severity) and Hod (Splendor).
The right column is called the Pillar of Mercy. It represents the male aspects of creation and contains three sephira: Chokmah (Wisdom), Chesed (Mercy) and Netzach (Victory).
The middle pillar is called the Pillar of Equilibrium. It represents the balance between the male and female pillars. It contains four sephira: Kether (Crown), Tiphareth (Beauty), Yesod (Foundation) and Malkuth (Kingdom).
The Tree in the Garden of Eden
The tree legend became the Hebrew legend of Garden of Eden. In the centre of the Garden of Eden grew the Tree of Life guarded by a snake. The main river flowing from Eden to water the garden spread into four major directions.
Within the Ortodox Church the cross of Christ is also referred to as the Tree of Life. The cross is a symbol of life, the union of heaven and earth, and spirit and matter. It also represents the centre, meeting the divine in the human heart. The arms extend into the four directions
Tree of Life: Modern Interpretations
Gustav Klimt tree of life
A Tree of Life in various religious interpretations, within myths, and as a mystical concept represents the interconnectedness of all life on our beautiful planet. The Tree of Life connects all forms of creation. The Tree of Life is considered to be the symbol of ‘Creator’.
The jewish menora is the “tree of life” symbol.
Assyrian conquest and demise
Clear relation to Medusa in South american art –>
The “sunstone” might actualy be a “moonstone” which makes more sense since they had a 13 moon calender and not a sun calender.
Ometeotl is God of…
- Heaven (Omeyocan, “Place of Duality”)
Equivalents in Other Cultures
Hunab Ku, Itzamna in Mayan mythology
The story of Huitzilopochtli fighting with Coyolxauhqui is the day fighting with the night. male to female. sun with moon. Coyolxauhqui was dismembered and decapitated by Huitzilopochtli . This is the exact same story as Perseus Slaying Medusa. The symbology is also exactly the same. Note the “running pose” of Coyolxauhqui and her belt of snakes, Exactly like Medusa on the greek temples. This beyond reason of doubt proofs there was some form of cultural relation perhaps by seafarers between the old world and the new world before columbus from the west. It also was populated from the east.
Coatlicue is the earth. With the snake heads Here we see also GEB with a snake head as earth. Coatlicue is a combination deity of sky and earth. NUT and GEB in 1. Like the eagle and the snake. The sky and the earth. Male and female. Together they birth their children, the sun and the moon
A seal from Vapheio (left) and a Minoan seal from Kydonia (right) (from Marinatos, 2010)
The godess and swastika(triskele) combined.
As the skies are allways revolving, the swastika and triskele imagery is just that, every going motion. Every going (re)creation.
The Rivers and the waters
The rivers/waters flowing on the sides is “like the blood of medusa” summer and winter. One side “good” and one side “bad”. This is seen back in the Hero twins, both representing a side of the milkyway (the summer and winter constellations) or year.
The two snakes and cadaceus
The symbol of the two waters, or two rivers on each side is also depicted as snakes. Like the Minoan godess. Orions counterpart was Ophiucius, now holding 1 snake but in the past he held two, caput and serpens. Just like Viracocha. Like the blood of medusa, or the hero twins from the Codex Borgia, one side is bad (winter) one side is good (summer). Together entwined they form time itself the cadaceus. Of particular note is here that we see that like the greeks said one side of medusa was bad and the other good, we see this exact blood link symbolism in the mayas hero twins codex borgia depictions. The interesting part here is that the Hero twins are added which is not visible on the exact same depiction of pacals tomblid. (that btw is not rocketship but a depiction of the milkyway, an astrological reference, more on that later)
The two snakes are seen on mayan pyramids and Hindu pyramids, where they alternate between dragons, snakes and lions. The mountain is mount meru, the central pillar or milkyway and its central bulge. The snakes also the spiraling universe. You also see them on the aztec calender, where they are just like the Hindu culture, the Makara monsters with the long snout. The author also suggest that the chitzen itza temple dragons are wrongfully reconstructed by archeologists, their elongated “makara” snouts now stuck to the snakes chin.
Which should be reconstructed like this:
The “monster in the middle with tongue sticking out”
Aztec calender central figure
The double mountain
Of special note here is the “double mountain relief” Seen in Sumeria, Egypt, Mayan civilizations. With the sun in the middle, which is also depicted as aker, the two lions or two sides. We even see this in Mycenean civilization where the palace of the lion gate is situated between two mountains on the middle one. The lionsgate itself is again a representation of the great godess in the form of a pillar, like asherah was depicted as a pillar for the jews, and the menorah is the tree of life, with the 7 lights of the little dipper on its peak, the milkyway with a slit in the altar signifying her vulva and the lions of the side the two sides of the milkyway.
The two dragons, lions or other animals
The two dragons on enki’s shoulder are of particular relevance as that is the ecleptic, also depicted as AKER symbol, the two lions or sometimes other animals. We see this later also in the Budha who has the same dragons on his shoulders, then called makaras. Makaras appear again in Mayan Civilizations.
The Axe, or Labrys
Related to Labyrinth (the sky), again a reference to the two sides as probably would be the double headed eagle, from the bird on top of the mayan tree. The bird, comes from the little dipper containing the pole star. Quetzal Coatl, often translated as Feathered serpent, also means, Quetzal Twins. The quetzal being a bird, like stele 25 from Izapa where one sees two bird, respectively the female bird, the little dipper with the polesta at the back of the crocodile tree monster (note our christmas tree with star on top) , the milkyway, like the Hindu Makara and the right bird the male big dipper bird.
The water bottles, flowing waters or Shiva Nataraja Hair
Are also a recurring theme, to indicate water/flow, the milkyway was a river to the ancient. (the godess Ganga) hence the reference to water, but also a liking to a Makara, crocodile (sobek) or other aquatic animals like the egyptian Tawaret. The monster godess of childbirth.
The “Godess” who births (creates) and “takes Life” as a monster depicted.
Perseus, the sun, beheads “the monster” winter and life is abundant again. Or the Virgin summer/virgo, turns into a monster/winter. Osiris (orion), goes to the underworld, orion constellations moves to below the horizon. Capricorn the devil / goat in Hell etc etc. Jezus (orion) put in a “cave”
Ishtar was an important deity in Mesopotamian religion from around 3500 BCE, until its gradual decline between the 1st and 5th centuries CE with the spread of Christianity.
Ishtar is a Semitic name of uncertain etymology, possibly derived from a Semitic term meaning “to irrigate”. George A. Barton, an early scholar on the subject, suggests that the name stems from “irrigating ditch” and “that which is irrigated by water alone”, therefore meaning “she who waters”, or “is watered” or “the self-waterer”. (milkyway reference)
Old Babylonian relief from the early second millennium BCE showing Ishtar wearing a crown and flounced skirt, holding her symbol, currently held in the Louvre Museum
The relief is displayed in the British Museum in London, which has dated it between 1800 and 1750 BCE
Appearance: The hieroglyphic sign for “mountain” depicted to peaks with a valley running between them. This image approximated the hills that rose up on either side of the Nile valley.
Meaning: Although the djew hieroglyph did portray the mountain ranges the Egyptians saw in their everyday lives, it also was a visualization of their cosmic beliefs. Symbolically, the “mountain” was an image of the universal mountain whose two peaks were imagined to hold up the sky. The eastern peak was called Bakhu, to the west was Manu. The ends of this great mountain were guarded by two lions who were called Aker. Aker was a protector of the the sun as it rose and set each day.
Aker is one of the earliest Egyptian earth gods and is the deification of the horizon. He represents the horizon where the sun rises in the East and the sun sets in the West. He is believed to be protecting the sun god Ra, as he enters the netherworld during sunset and returns to the land of the living at sunrise. He is also believed to the guardian of the sun god against his enemy, the demon god Apep by imprisoning his coils to secure safe passage of Ra Only Aker can neutralize the bite of the snake demon god. His name may also be spelled as Akar which roughly translates into “he who bends”.
He was originally portrayed as a narrow strip of land with a lion or a human head at both ends facing away from each other (usually one faces the east and the other the west). Later, he is depicted as two lions facing opposite each other most commonly called Ruti (two lions). Lions were used because the summer solstice usually peaks at the time of the zodiac Leo. The Ruti carries on their back the hieroglyphic sign of the horizon with the sun with the sky above it. Later on, the lions were given names: Sef that means yesterday and Tuau that means today. The lions are often spotted like a leopard as representation of the now extinct Barbary lions. He also may be carrying the akhet – the symbol of the Egyptian sky. It is a solar disc supported between the two summits of the mountain djew. The western crest was called Manu, while the eastern summit was called Bakhu. These peaks cradled the sky as well. Sometimes, the heads of the lions may be that of men or women.
However, these lions were believed to be aggressive in nature when they are called Akeru (the plural form of Aker). The Pyramid Texts suggests that Akeru would not attack the king or the pharaoh but not necessarily the others. The texts further suggest that no one can escape the clutches of the two lions. The two lions were called Sef and Duau, which means “Yesterday” and “Today” respectively.
As Egyptians believed that the gates of the morning and evening were guarded by Aker, they often placed statues of lions at the doors of their palaces and tombs. This was to guard the households and tombs from evil spirits and other malevolent beings. Sometimes they gave these statues the heads of men and women. The Greeks called this class of statuary, “Sphinxes.”
The Egyptian necropolis was typically located in the mountainous desert and so the djew was also closely associated with the concepts of the tomb and of the afterlife. The god of mummification, Anubis bore the epithet, “He who is upon his mountain.” Hathor, the “Mistress of the Necropolis”, while in the form of a cow, was often shown emerging from the side of the western mountain.
Afghanistan: Scythian Gold ornament from Tillia Tepe
A seal from Vapheio (left) and a Minoan seal from Kydonia (right) (from Marinatos, 2010)
Other relevant finds are the gold seal from Turkmenistan Potna Therion, which is directly used to explain the lions gate at Mycenea (the deliberate slit in the altar)
And the Votive clay figure from Altyn Depe (the Golden Hill), Turkmenistan showing the two snakes with the godess like the minoan cult.
The pillar of life is directly related to the great godess and tree of life which is in turn the milkyway.
Votive clay figure from Altyn Depe (the Golden Hill), Turkmenistan.
Copyright © 2012 Ray Dickenson
Turkmenistan, ca 2000 BC, Schaffhausen (the great godess depicted half as tree of life half as godess)
Winged goddess with a Gorgon’s head wearing a split skirt and holding a bird in each hand, type of the Potnia Theron. Probably made on Rhodes. From Kameiros, Rhodes.
Multiple images of Potnia Theron
Who is Britannia?
Britannia is presented in mainstream circles as the female personification of Britain and has done so since the Romans invaded Britain in 43AD. She is depicted as a war like figure, wearing a Corinthians hat and brandishing a shield and trident. She is mostly associated with the sea and features in the popular song, Britannia rules the waves.
However, there is a deeper esoteric meaning behind the symbol which dates back to ancient times long before the Roman Empire was even thought of. The classic symbol of Britannia resembles the ancient Phoenician goddess, Barati, who was recogonised in the Indian Vedas as goddess of the waters.
Her name actually derives from an elite clan of the Aryans who settled in Sumeria around 7500 years ago. The clan was known as the Barats, thus Barati means “belonging to the Barats.” There is a suspicion that this powerful clan have infiltrated cultures and risen to power under another guise.
Goddess of the waters
The symbol of Barati certainly keeps appearing throughout the ancient empires. In ancient Vedic hymns she is called the “Holy Lady of the Waters,” and in the hymn “napat the Son of the Waters,” is hailed as the First-made mother. It is for this reason she is confused with Semiramis, Isis, Athena or Minerva, all of whom are the same goddess passed on through Babylon, Egypt, Greece and the Roman Empire.
In ancient Egypt Barati was known as Bairthy, goddess of water and was depicted with a small pitcher balanced on her head, holding a long spear-like sceptre. In Greece she was the goddess Brito-Martis and is always depicted in arms. The Romans adopted the image as Fortuna – the goddess of Good fortune.
So we can see from ancient history, that the modern day symbol of Britannia represents the goddess of the sea and brings good fortune in the times of war – hence the lyrics, “Britannia rules the waves.” Given that modern day symbols used by the elite all come from ancient times yet we are never told what they really represent, it should come as no surprise that few Britons can actually identify a significant symbol in British history!
Artemis, Ashtoreth, Astarte, Atargatis, Athirat, Azzanathcona, Ceres, Cybele, Dana / Danann, Demeter, Easter, Eostre, Innana, Ishtar, Isis, Lilith
`Amazons’ and `Gorgons’
Chieftain / Warrior Goddess
`Tuatha Dé Danann’
From earliest times – 9,000 to 10,000 years ago – images of `The Goddess’ as Maiden, Chieftain or Mother were shown flanked by `royal’ leopards, panthers or lions, as seen in the above relics from the eastern Mediterranean & Black Sea area; i.e. Syria, Crete, and Anatolia.
She also ruled over plant & animal life & breeding and so is often shown with foliage & lambs / goats etc.
Some early images seem to show `sacred’ Twins (male) at one side, sometimes beside a column or upright beam.
Wild `sacred’ animals belonged to the Goddess; these were birds (owls and eagles), snakes, and bulls (often represented by the `votive horns’ seen above-center). Some of these animals were retained in her later incarnations – below.
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Fuenta magna bowl South America with sumerian writing showing the snake godess in squating / wide open legs pose.
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Simplified image of The Goddess – as Warrior or Chief – holding or restraining two lions, apparently used as identifying `seals’; either for individuals (priestesses), or for goods / cargo headed to or from `Great Goddess’ territories.
A similarly simplified image of The Goddess – as Warrior or Chief – holding or restraining two lions, on a c. 5,500 year old tomb in southern Egypt. I.e. – dating from well before the time of the pharaohs.
Great Goddess image survivals from – Syria, Spain, Mesopotamia (Iran), Greece (Sparta), central Egypt, Israel, Mycenaean Greece etc.
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Great Goddess Warrior images used a fear-symbol – probably by later patriarchal opponents – Etruria & Ireland
Mistress of the animals on Boiotian clay pyxis Antikensammlung Berlin
The Lion Gate of Mycenae
The Lion Gate of Mycenae was the entrance to the city. Atop the gate, two lions rampant are carved in stone relief. Similar bas-reliefs of two lions rampant facing each other are found in a number of places in Phrygia in Asia Minor.1
The Lion Gate of Mycenae
Arslantas, Rock-cut Phrygian tomb
“The resemblance in idea is complete,” wrote W. M. Ramsay in 1888.2 He considered the scheme “so peculiarly characteristic of Phrygia, that we can hardly admit it to have been borrowed from any other country.” He found himself “driven to the conclusion that the Mycenaean artists either are Phrygians or learned the idea from the Phrygians.”3 “It is not allowable to separate them [the Phrygian and Mycenaean monuments] in time by several centuries.”4
“The Phrygian monuments,” in Ramsay’s view, belong to the ninth and eighth centuries.5
. . . The end of the Phrygian kingdom is a fixed date, about 675 B.C.”6 when the invasion of Asia Minor by the Cimmerians put an end to the Phrygian culture and art. Ramsay went on:
The view to which I find myself forced is as follows. There was in the eighth century lively intercourse between Argos and Asia Minor: in this intercourse the Argives learned . . . to fortify their city in the Phrygian style with lions over the gate. Historically there is certainly good reason to assign at least part of the fortifications of Mycenae to the time when the Argive kings [the tyrants of the eighth century] were the greatest power in Greece [here follow the names of several authorities among the historians who hold the same view].8
On the other hand, the almost universal opinion of archaeologists rejects this hypothesis. . . .
I quote this opinion of Ramsay with the special intention of showing how this viewpoint was invalidated.
The Egyptologist Flinders Petrie made the following reply:
“[A] matter which demands notice is Professor Ramsay’s conclusion that the lion gateway is of as late a date as the eighth century B.C. This results from assuming it to be derived from Phrygian lion groups, on the ground of not knowing of any other prototype. As however we now have a wooden lion, in exactly the same attitude, dated to 1450 in Egypt . . . it seems that the Phrygian designs are not the only source of this motive for Mykenae.”10
In Egypt of the latter part of the Eighteenth Dynasty a single instance of a rampant lion (not two rampant lions facing each other as at Mycenae and in Phrygia) made Petrie claim Egypt as a possible place of origin of this image rather than Phrygia. He had discovered heaps of Mycenaean ware in Egypt of the time of Akhnaton. He could not but conclude that these heaps coming from Mycenae must be dated to the fourteenth century.11
Equally impressive was the discovery at Mycenae of a number of objects of Eighteenth-Dynasty date, such as objects bearing the cartouches of Amenhotep II, Amenhotep III, and Queen Tiy.12
Therefore Petrie decidedly opposed Ramsay in his estimate of eighth century for the Lion Gate and the fortification wall of Mycenae.13
Here is a case where evidence from Anatolia pointed to the eighth century;14 but the Egyptologist demanded of the classical scholar that he disregard this evidence in favor of the time scale of Egypt.
The debate between Ramsay and Petrie took place before Evans’ archaeological work on Crete; there rampant lions were found engraved on Late Minoan gems,15 conveying the idea that Mycenae must have borrowed the image from there, from a period well preceding the Phrygian models.16 Yet one should not lose sight of the fact that Crete’s chronology was also built upon relations with Egypt. In the section “The Scandal of Enkomi” we shall read how Evans objected to the chronological implications of Cypriote archaeology by stressing relations between the Egyptian and the Minoan (Cretan) chronologies on the one hand, and Minoan and Cypriote on the other. In Ages in Chaos it was shown in great detail why the end of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt must be placed in the latter part of the ninth century. Thus even if Crete was the original source of the motif, Mycenae and Phrygia both deriving it thence, the dependence of Cretan chronology on that of Egypt constitutes the crux of the problem.17
Let us keep in mind that in the 1880s and 1890s classical scholars of the stature of W. M. Ramsay (1851-1939) questioned the inclusion of the Dark Ages of several hundred years’ duration between the Mycenaean past and the Ionic age in Greece. And let us not overlook what was the supposedly crushing argument for wedging more than half a millennium into the history of ancient Greece.
Ramsay, “A Study of Phrygian Art,” Journal of Hellenic Studies IX (1888), p. 369. [Ramsay, “Studies in Asia Minor,” Journal of Hellenic Studies III (1882), p. 19—but see G. Mylonas, Mycenae and the Mycenaean Age (Princeton, 1966), p. 173.]
Ramsay, “A Study of Phrygian Art,” pp. 369-370. [Earlier representations of two rampant lions facing each other are known from Crete; however, it is for the carving technique on stone on a monumental scale that Mycenae seems to be indebted to Phrygia. For a link to Assyria, see L. M. Greenberg, “The Lion Gate at Mycenae,” Pensée IVR III, p. 26.]
[Emilie Haspels in Highlands of Phrygia (Princeton, 1971) dates the Phrygian reliefs at Arslan Tash to “the last third of the eighth century B.C., the period of the ‘Phrygian City’ of Gordion” (vol. I, p. 135; cf. vol. II, pl. 131-32). E. Akurgal, however, puts the same reliefs in the early sixth century, deriving them from Ionian, and ultimately Egyptian models—Die Kust Anatoliens von Homer bis Alexander (Berlin, 1961) pp. 86-90, 95. EMS ].
[Ramsey considered the Mycenaean relief “much more advanced in art” though “not necessarily later in date” than the Phrygian Lion Tomb: “Some Phrygian Monuments,” Journal of Hellenic Studies III (1882) p. 257. For evidence of Phrygian influence on eighth-century Greece, see R. S. Young, “The Nomadic Impact: Gordion” in Dark Ages and Nomads c. 1000 B.C.: Studies in Iranian and Anatolian Archaeology, ed. by M. J. Mellink (Leiden, 1964), p. 54.]
U. v. Wilamowitz-Moellendorf, “Oropos und die Graer,” Hermes XXI (1886), p. 111, n. 1, and idem, Isyllos von Epidauros (Berlin, 1886), p. n.1; B. Niese, Die Entwicklung der homerischen Poesie (Berlin, 1882), p. 213, n. 1. A. S. Murray and S. Reinach are also among those cited by Ramsay as concurring with his opinion (p. 370, n. 3).
Sir W. M. Flinders Petrie, “Notes on the Antiquities of Mykenae,” Journal of Hellenic Studies XII (1891), pp. 202-03. [Petrie also attempted to fix the dates of many of the finds from the Mycenaean tombs by comparing them with objects from Egypt whose antiquity he considered to be well-established.]
Cf. J. D. S. Pendlebury, Aegyptiaca (Cambridge, 1930), pp. 111ff. [V. Hankey and P. Warren, “The Absolute Chronology of the Aegean Late Bronze Age,” Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies (University of London) XXI (1974), pp. 142-152.]
Boardman notes that monumental sculpture of this kind is unknown in Greece from the time the Lion Gate of Mycenae was built until the eighth century: “More than five hundred years were to pass before Greek sculptors could [again] command an idiom that would satisfy these aspirations in sculpture and architecture.” Greek Art (New York, 1964), p. 22. [A few other 500-year enigmas appear at Mycenae. See below, Supplement, “Applying the Revised Chronology,” by Edwin Schorr.]
[Some of these gems were known even before Evans’ digs—see for instance the intaglio in G. Perrot and C. Chipiez, History of Art in Primitive Greece II (London, 1894), pp. 214 and 246, depicting two rampant lions facing each other in a way similar to that on the Lion Gate. Cf. also the gems shown in Corpus der minoischen und mykenischen Siegel, ed. F. Matz and H. Bisantz (Berlin, 1964) nos. 46, 144, 145, 172.]
[N. Platon, (“Cretan-Mycenaean Art,” Encyclopaedia of World Art IV [New York, 1958], p. 109) thought that “the technique of the execution [of the Lion Gate] is clearly inspired by Cretan sculpture.” But the Cretan sculptures, unlike those in Phrygia, are miniatures, and Platon needs to assume “the effective translation of a miniature theme into a major sculptural creation” (R. Higgins, Minoan-Mycenaean Art [New York, 1967], p. 92). Sandars in The Sea Peoples points out the similarity of the monumental carving style of the Lion Gate of Boghazkoi in central Anatolia to the Lion Gate of Mycenae.]
[The discovery of Late Helladic IIIB pottery in strata excavated underneath the gate is used to establish the date of its construction.] But this pottery, too, is dated on the basis of relations with Egypt.