Neil reflects on the Cathar culture at Chateau Peyrepertuse back in July 2014. He looks at the hardly mentioned 4th Crusade against the albigensians Christians by the Holy Roman Church and why they were removed in the early 13th Century, amongst other subjects
Neil Hague talks about his art and the deeper symbolism behind some of his work (Part Two)
Filmed by Jonnie Dean Peace in Neil’s studio, we look at original art, sketchbooks and Neil working on a canvas. Featuring new art and Illustrations, Neil also talks about his ‘dreams and visions’ and how imagination shapes reality. In this second part Neil goes into greater detail looking at some of the symbolism within his art.
Holy Week is upon us across much of the Western Hemisphere. A time when children are often taught to connect Easter’s Pagan origins with the Judeo-Christian belief in a savior god. A connection that uncomfortably tries to equate ‘a giant rabbit or ‘hare’ with a crucified Sun God. It’s a mad, ‘mad world’, especially when ‘State and religion’ would have children focusing on the ‘ritual killing’ of Jesus (the crucifixion), in one hand, and celebrating the return of a ‘giant bunny’ delivering chocolate eggs with the other. Giant bunnies, chocolate eggs, alongside the crucifixion story of course, is not found in the ‘holy book’ but nonetheless the modern world celebrates ‘Easter time’ with the same vigor as it does every other festival on the calendar.
All religion generally speaking, in my view, is ‘madder than a March hare’. No wonder that the ‘official stories and their associated festivals such as Easter, don’t make sense when you combine narratives and take stories ‘literally’. Mind you my local church is getting into the pagan spirit by equating ‘hot cross buns’ with ‘six packs’ this Easter (see below). So, that’ll be a ‘half dozen’ Easter bunny eggs and ‘full dozen’ would give you ‘twelve disciples’ circling around a big ‘hot cross Sun bun’… Bless em. None of it makes much sense unless we venture deeper into the Pagan symbolism that ‘connects’ the cycles of the Sun and the Moon’ from our ‘earthly perspective’. In this blog I am going to weave together the main themes associated with Easter and as usual delve a little deeper into the symbolism. Grab yourself a ‘Babylonian bun’ and a nice cup of tea, it’s going to be a long blog.
The Sun Cross
Christians refer to the week before Easter as ‘Holy Week’ as it contains the days of the Easter ‘Triduum’, including ‘Maundy Thursday’ and ‘Last Supper’, as well as ‘Good Friday’ (not so good for some). Without going into great detail regarding ‘sun gods’, (as I want to focus on the ‘moon, hare and egg symbolism’), Jesus comes from a ‘long line’ of pre-Christian ‘Sun gods’ that were killed and rose again to redeem the sins of the world; See ancient Babylon, Tammuz, Bal and the Norse god Balder to name but a few. If one does the research, there is well over a dozen versions of the ‘Sun of god’ found all over the ancient world pre dating Christ. The sun-cross circle below is what connects the Sun and Moon to the main festivals marked by the Equinoxes and Solstices on what was and still is the Pagan calendar.
When one looks more closely at the religious symbolism associated with celebrations and festival such as Easter it becomes obvious to see the correlations of time being ‘marked’ through the various ‘stages’ of the Sun and the Moon in relation to how we ‘see’ life and our ‘time’ here on Earth. The three main symbols for the Sun, Moon and Earth (sometimes Venus) have all been worshipped for thousands of years at points on the calendar (see below). The eight pointed star of Ishtar is often found alongside the crescent (Sin) and the rayed solar disk (Shamash) in Babylonian iconography on boundary stones, cylinder seals. In the Christian version of Easter some ‘Boundary stones’ are still ‘marked’ or ‘hit’ with a broom or stick to this day in some English churches. It all makes sense when we ‘see’ that Easter came out the pre-Christian world.
Lunar-‘tick-tock’ Calendars (Moon & ‘Sun-Saturn’ Symbolism)
Easter and the holidays that are related to the Moon calendar are called ‘moveable feasts’ which do not fall on a ‘fixed’ date in the Roman Catholic inspired Gregorian or Julian calendars. These calendars instead follow the cycle of the sun with ‘irregular’ Moon days. Easter ‘time’ is determined through what is called a ‘lunisolar calendar’, which is similar to the Hebrew calendar. In 325 AD it was the Council of Nicaea that decided Easter would fall on the first Sunday after the ecclesiastical full moon or soonest after the Spring Equinox on the 21st March. Those ‘Pagan founding fathers’ of the Christian church knew how to ‘use the Moon’. Saturn (the ‘Dark Sun’) underpins the vibrational (invisible) structure given to us by the Moon and therefore the calenders are no more than a ‘Saturn-Sun & Moon vibrational illusion’. Or as authors like David Icke call the Saturn-Moon Matrix.
The Moon is the ‘marker of time’ (Saturn’s creation) and therefore gives us the illusion of time. The ‘white rabbit’ and his ‘pocket watch’ in Alice in Wonderland, for example, are all ‘symbols’ for the Moon, Saturn and the Goddess (Alice) in ‘wonderland’ – the illusion. Alice (the Goddess archetype) is ‘trapped’ by time in the Saturn-Moon matrix. In ancient Chinese and the Japanese calendars the hours were counted through animal names, and for these cultures the ‘artificial day’ began at six o’clock in the morning when the ‘Sun rises’ in the middle of what they called the ‘hour of the Hare’. It was the hour of the crossing between night and day. More on the hare and Rabbit soon.
Easter is also linked to the Jewish Passover (Pesah or Pesakh in Assyrian) through much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the lunisolar calendar. Jewish people celebrate Passover as a commemoration of their liberation by God from slavery in Egypt thanks to Moses (Exodus). The Nehustan (the brazen serpent on the cross attributed to Moses) gives us more insight into the ‘Passover-Easter’ (Saturn-Sun) connection. The serpent symbolism refers to ‘chaos calmed’ and given a ‘new order’. Out of chaos comes Order and a New Age, a liberation by the said Moses or Jesus saviour figure. The ‘light of the world’ is renewed at Easter (spring time) and the saviour gods found in much ancient myth are symbols for this renewal on one level.
Interestingly Passover (Easter) arrives through first month called Nisan (or Nissan) on the Hebrew/Assyrian calendar, which is (April) in the ecclesiastical year. Nissan of course is the name of a car corporation and its symbolism clearly is another variation of the lord of time – Saturn. The crescent moon and the star (Venus) are also interchangeable with the old Sun (Saturn) and of course we have the Sabbath on Saturn’s Day (Saturday). The Passover is also one of the ‘three pilgrimage’ festivals during which the population of the kingdom of Judah would have made a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem. Today Samaritans still make this pilgrimage to Mount Gerizim, and along with Moriah and Zion they give us the ‘three’ scared mountains in Jerusalem. The number three will become relevant shortly.
The Goddess Ostara (Easter)
In ancient Indo-European myths ‘Ostre’ or ‘Ostara’ was associated with the ‘light of spring’ and the Goddess who brings the ‘new light’. She made the clocks go ‘forward’ so to speak. The Goddess Ostara is also linked to the festival of Easter, hares and ‘sacred eggs’. She is another version of ‘mother nature’ and the ‘awakening of the feminine’ principle behind the Sun’s light. In other forms she is known as Ishtar (star), Freyja and Anunitu, who on the Spring Equinox, was said to mate with the ‘solar god’ (the Sun) and conceive a child that would be born nine months (moons) later on the Winter Solstice. We all know who the child is supposed to be? The same poor child of the ‘Sun and the Moon’ gets nailed to Moses’s ‘Saturn cross’ every Easter.
The Mesopotamian (Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian) goddess Ishtar was another version of the ‘goddess of light’, among other things. She was also the ‘goddess of fertility’, love, war, sex and power. Ishtar, like Ostara, was said to have ‘two sides’, or ‘two natures’, both ‘creative and destructive’. Ishtar is also Aja (the eastern mountain dawn goddess) and Anatu (possibly Ishtar’s mother). She is also Anunitu (the Akkadian goddess of light), Agasayam (war goddess), Irnini (goddess of cedar forests in the Lebanese mountains), Kilili (symbol of the desirable woman), Sahirtu (messenger of lovers), Kir-gu-lu (bringer of rain) and Sarbanda (power of sovereignty). Both Ostara and Ishtar (same deity) are the goddess that ushers in the ‘time’ we call Easter. Astarte (English) Ashtaroth (Hebrew) are also the name for the Canaanite fertility goddess associated with the ‘beginning of spring’ and Easter. Astarte was also considered the goddess of the ‘underworld’ (Saturn’s domain) and her other name was El, the Queen of the underworld (see IS-RA-EL). Note that ‘ceremonial acts of war’ (terror) and the marriages of prominent blood lines seem to occur at the start of spring (Ostara) through to Walpurgis (Witches night) and Beltane (May the 1st). The pagan calendar of course is also ‘used’ by those follow Satanism, hence the endless acts of destruction we witness in the world conjured up by those in the shadows.
The Ancient Hare and Rabbit Goddesses
Another animal symbol for pagan lunar magic, nature and witchcraft is the hare. Many of the Goddesses mentioned above were either said to have a hare as a companion or could take the form of a hare. In ancient Egypt Osiris was sacrificed to the Nile each year ‘in the form of a hare’ (below left) to guarantee the annual flooding that Egyptian agriculture (and indeed their entire society) depended upon. A minor Egyptian goddess named Unut or Wenet (above right) also had the head of a hare. The hieroglyph ‘Wn’ (Wen) itself stands for the ‘essence of life’ and often depicts a hare over flowing water. The hare is often depicted ‘greeting the dawn’ (the ‘hour of the hare’) and she sometimes serves as messenger for the god Thoth. Sirius (Thoth), Lepus (Wenet) and Orion (Osiris) are the three main constellations that usher in the turning points of the autumn and spring equinoxes.
In Norse mythology, there was said to be a goddess before Odin (Saturn worship) replaced the Germanic tribal gods and goddesses. She was called Frau Holle, or Hulda, (above middle). Frau Holle was the goddess of the ‘wild hunt’, much like the goddess Artemis of Greece, and she was often shown with a large group of hares bearing torches ‘illuminating her way’. The hare as a hieroglyph signifies ‘the keeper of the ‘Great Mystery’ and was thought as a symbol of ‘becoming’, or ‘to be’. The hare’s ability to ‘disappear quickly’ was seen as a symbol for ‘states of awareness’ and transfiguration.
In some Native American myths, the hero Michabo or Great Manitou, was said to be the ‘great hare’ that brought knowledge to some of the American Indian tribes. Many North American tribes spoke of this deity as their common ancestor. Michabo was considered a personification of the Sun’s light, a life giver and his name compounded of ‘michi’ means ‘great’, and ‘wabos’, which means both ‘hare’ and ‘white’. The hare is a mammal that lives in solitude and can navigate the hours of darkness and is said to a have a ‘foot in two worlds’. Michabo of the dawn (or the ‘great white hare’) was considered the guardian of many Native American tribes. He was said to be the founder of their religious rites, the inventor of picture-writing and preserver of Earth and Heaven.
‘Destroy this Temple’, and I will make it ‘rise again’ in ‘three Hares’
Another version of Ostara (Astarte) is Hecate, the ‘triple headed goddess’ associated with ‘crossroads’, entrance-ways, light, magic, witchcraft, knowledge of herbs (poisonous plants), ghosts, necromancy and sorcery. The number three is a profound symbolic number that is found ‘everywhere’, from the triquetra (below), three primary colours, to the ‘three days’ the egg of the ‘queen bee’ takes to hatch. In numerology three is is considered to be ‘feminine’ and the Tarot card representative of the 3 energetically is The Empress (Hecate).
Three is also the ‘Trinity’ and these are the three aspects of Shin in the Kabbalah whose ‘three wicks’ are a symbol of the ‘holy trinity’ through the letter Shin (below right). The god Brahma of Hindu belief also provides symbolism of the Trinity, ‘three heads’ and the egg. I’ll come back to the egg at the end of this blog.
In many uses of numerology and ancient belief, three is an important number for ‘creating reality’ and ‘manifestation’. The symbol of the ‘three hares’ (below) found at sacred sites from the Middle and Far East to the churches of Devon are all versions of Hecate’s (Ostara’s) ‘power of manifestation’ and ‘renewal’.
The Italian Renaissance painter Andrea Mantegna, a Knight from a ‘bloodline of painters’, depicts the ‘three hares’ in his masterpiece, The Agony in the Garden (1458-60). The full painting shows angels bearing the Instruments of ‘the Passion’ appearing to Christ in prayer. Three disciples sleep, with ‘three’ hares at their feet and in the background Judas comes with soldiers to arrest Christ. The symbolism, which was obviously known to Mantegna (and the elite) relates to the ‘Trinity of the Church’ that would be born out of the Passion. The painting also relates to fertility, lunar cycles and the ‘goddess of renewal’. The Triskele symbol below carries the same meaning.
The ‘ears of the hares’ form a trivium (or trapezium), which in 3D is a tetrahedron (above right). The tetrahedron (the first of five geometric platonic shapes that are said to construct reality), is a symbol of ‘creation’, ‘fire’ and ‘renewal’. The Vesicae Piscis is also formed by the ‘three ears’ and the same shapes give us the spinning Mer-Ka-Ba (Star tetrahedron) or ‘vehicle of light’ (above right). The symbolism of ‘new life’ and ‘renewal’ entwined in the story of Christ (who was said to baptize with ‘fire’), quite clearly comes from the Pagan understanding of the ‘goddess of light’. The goddess who could see three ways simultaneously and use the ‘light’ to change the illusion. So can we if we tap into this unseen power.
Another version of Ostara also found in Norse Mythology is the goddess Freyja who is associated with love, sex, beauty, fertility, gold, war and death. Freyja is the owner of the ‘necklace Brísingamen’, she rides a chariot pulled by two cats, she keeps the boar Hildisvíni by her side, possesses a cloak of falcon feathers and is accompanied by dwarves. Freyja and her ‘seven dwarfs’ are symbols for the ‘seven days of the week’ which construct the Lunar month (Snow White), seen below in their ‘spring time’ kingdom. Snow White is Freyja and Ostara combined and the symbolism especially through colour relates to the feminine archetype, duality and light of ‘eternal spring’.
The evil queen (the dark archetype) in Snow White, along with the innocent magical goddess that over throws the queen, can also been found in CS Lewis’s books Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. All are stories that use goddess symbolism associated with ‘moving between’ different realities, just as the Earth’s Equinoxes and Solstices are markers between changing worlds. The Chinese ‘Moon Goddess’ Chang’e comes to mind.
The Easter Moon Rabbit (Hare)
The moon rabbit in folklore was said to be a rabbit that lives on the Moon, some say, based on the pareidolia that identifies the markings of the Moon as a rabbit (see below right).
Stories exist in many cultures, prominently in Asian folklore and Aztec mythology of a Moon rabbit. In East Asia, the rabbit is seen pounding in a mortar and pestle (below left), but the contents of the mortar differ among Chinese, Japanese, and Korean folklore. In Chinese folklore, the moon rabbit is often portrayed as a ‘companion’ of the Moon goddess Chang’e, constantly pounding the ‘elixir of life’ for her. The elixir could relate to the ‘egg’ and how life is created through DNA. In Japanese and Korean versions, it is pounding the ingredients for rice cake. Maybe the inspiration for the ‘cake’ Alice eats in Wonderland? More on Alice in a moment.
In other Asian myths Sun Wukong fights the ‘Moon Rabbit’ (above middle), a scene in the 16th century Chinese novel Journey to the West, depicted in Yoshitoshi’s One Hundred Aspects of the Moon (1839-1892). In the Buddhist Jataka tales, a monkey, an otter, a jackal, and a rabbit resolved to practice charity on the day of the ‘full moon’ (Uposatha), believing a demonstration of great virtue would earn a great reward. When an old man begged for food, the monkey gathered fruits from the trees and the otter collected fish, while the jackal wrongfully pilfered a lizard and a pot of milk-curd. The rabbit, who knew only how to gather grass, instead offered its own body, throwing itself into a fire the man had built. The rabbit, however, was not burnt. The old man revealed himself to be Akra (Lord of Heaven) and, touched by the rabbit’s virtue, drew the likeness of the rabbit on the Moon for all to see. It is said the lunar image is still draped in the smoke that rose when the rabbit cast itself into the fire. The same story of the Moon god sacrificing itself in the solar fire can be found in Hopi, Mexican and Mayan myths, not least in the stories of Quetzalcoatl. ‘Cotton tail’ in Hopi myth was a god born of the Sun and the Moon after jumping into the solar fire. Many of these stories are symbolic of the upheavals that took place in the heavens.
Contemporary video games and comics seem to contain symbolism that relate to the Moon rabbit. In the 2000 video game Dark Cloud, the ‘Moon People’ are revealed to in fact be anthropomorphic rabbits. In the Nexon game MapleStory there is a party quest that involves protecting a ‘Moon Bunny’ while it produces rice cakes. In the 2014 game Destiny, the Jade Rabbit is featured as both an emblem that can be acquired on the Moon, as well as a primary weapon exclusive to PlayStation 4 owners.
The Goddess & the White Rabbit
Celtic myth talks of the goddess Cerridwen who represented the human cycles of ‘birth’, ‘life’, ‘death and rebirth’. Cerridwen was another Moon Goddess associated with the Hare. In one legend the hunter Ossian was said to have wounded a hare forcing it find sanctuary in a thicket. When Ossian followed it he found a door in the ground that led to vast hallway and in that ‘underground kingdom’ he met a beautiful woman sitting on a throne, bleeding from the leg. Tales like this are plenty in the pre-Christian world and hint at metamorphosis.
Japanese myth also tells of the Hare of Inaba and the goddess Amaterasu and her search for a place for their palace or kingdom. Like the white Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, Inaba suddenly appears to point the way to Amaterasu (see below). According to the folk tale, the white hare bites Amaterasu’s clothes and takes her to a ‘otherworldly’ location to look for a temporary palace at Nakayama Mountain and Reiseki Mountain. The ‘mountain’, the ‘Goddess’ and the ‘white hare’ are all symbols for the ‘Moon’, ‘time’ and ‘forces that create the collective world reality’.
The white rabbit often appears in 15th Century Renaissance paintings to symbolise the connection between the goddess, the oceans and the Moon. Other meanings relate to venus, love and the ‘duality’ of male and female, as shown in the painting Venus, Mars and Cupid 1490 by Piero di Cosimo (below). It shows cupid lying on Venus next to a white rabbit. The lovers (Venus and Mars) are exhausted by their sexual activity (cupid) and the white rabbit is the symbol for ‘timelessness’ brought on through sexual excess. Moon, Mars and Venus ‘alignments’ have been linked to upheavals on Earth. See the work of Immanuel Velikovsky.
The idea of rabbits as a symbol of ‘vitality’, ‘rebirth’ and ‘resurrection’ clearly comes from the Pagan world and the Italian masters must have known this when they made such ‘Christian works of art’. They were having a laugh! The elite painter Titan in his work, Mary and Infant Jesus with a rabbit (below), is clearly alluding to the Pagan knowledge associated with the goddess and the white rabbit/hare. The painting of St. Jerome reading in the countryside, by Giovanni Bellini (below left) with a white and brown hare/rabbit clearly relates to the power of ‘solitude’ (the hare) and the world that would await the hermit once he leaves the cave to ‘follow the white rabbit’. Jerome was the ‘founding father’ of the Christian Church, (often shown in Saturn red with the lion), instead here he is depicted as the hermit in the wilderness.
The character Neo in the Matrix movie is also shown the ‘white rabbit’ as a way out of his illusionary ‘solitary’ world so he can meet the ‘god of the dreamtime’ – Morpheus.
The Trickster Hares
Many native cultures saw the hare as a trickster and shape-shifter. The hare appears in English folklore in the saying “as mad as a March hare” and in the stories of a witch who takes the form of a white hare and goes out looking for prey at night. The Br’er Rabbit stories are loosely related to the trickster element of the rabbit and hare. Cottontail was a symbol for both the ‘hare’ and ‘time’. Interestingly, the hare was said to be a ‘child of Pan’ and in many myths the hare was wrapped in ‘goat’s skin’. Of course the ‘hare’ and the ‘Moon’ are symbolically connected as I’ve shown. The hare also takes on the role of a ‘demiurge’ in some myths and this aspect is connected to the ‘egg’ as we shall see.
African folk tales told by the Namaquas relate the story of phases of the moon with the idea of immortality, alternate disintegration and reintegration, decay and growth repeated perpetually. Even the ‘rising and setting of the moon’ was interpreted by them as its ‘birth and death’. They say that a long time ago the Moon wished to send to mankind a message of immortality, and the hare undertook to act as the messenger. So the Moon charged him to go to humanity and say, “As I die and rise to life again, so shall you die and rise to life again.” It is said that the hare ‘reversed’ (inverted) the message (so life became death) and humanity instead ‘focused on their mortality’.
Kit William’s Book Masquerade (1979) relays the ‘trickster element’ of the hare. The book’s objective, the hunt for a valuable treasure, became his means to this end. Masquerade features ‘fifteen’ (Saturn’s number) detailed paintings illustrating the story of a ‘hare’ named Jack. The boy Jack seeks to carry a treasure from the Moon (depicted as a woman) to her love object, the Sun (a man). On reaching the Sun, Jack finds that he has lost the treasure, and the reader is left to discover its location of the ‘golden hare’. The author Kit williams must have been inspired by the pagan myths associated with the Sun, the Moon and the hare?
The púca (Irish for spirit/ghost), pooka, phooka, or púka is primarily a creature of Celtic folklore. A púca was considered to be a bringer of both good and bad fortune, they could either ‘help or hinder’ communities. These creatures were said to be ‘shape changers’ (shape-shifters) that could take the appearance of black horses, goats and hares. They could also take human form with ‘animal features’, such as long ears. According to legend, the púca can assume a variety of terrifying or pleasing forms. No matter what shape the púca takes, its fur was almost always dark. I have personally witnessed a púca of sorts manifest in front of me in a Tudor house/hotel many years ago, in the form of a black panther.
Another creature called a Koschei, similar to the púca, was said to be able to use magic and could not be killed by conventional means. In various folklore the Koschei’s soul was hidden separate from its body, through ‘talisman’ and other ‘animate objects’. The soul could be inside a needle, which is inside an egg, which is in a duck, which is in a hare, which is in an iron chest, buried under a green oak tree, which is on the island in the ocean. The soul of the Koschei is not dissimilar to the concept of Sauron in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, whose essence of being was ‘contained’ within a ring that was ‘connected to’ other rings, etc. Legends say that anyone ‘possessing the egg’, for example, has the Koschei in their power. If the ‘egg’ is tossed about, the Koschei likewise is flung around against his will. If the needle is broken, Koschei will die. When the ring is destroyed so is Sauron’s power, etc, etc. The Magic associated with the Koschei is that of an ‘invisible form’ that could ‘move through different realities’. The hare (and white rabbit) symbollically speaking were said to be able to move through different worlds and become ‘timeless’.
In other folklore and legends we have mythical hare’s that are ‘hybrid creatures’, such as the Lepus Cornutus and Al-mi’raj (an Arabic mythical unicorn hare (below). In Bavarian folklore there are stories of the wolpertinger (also called wolperdinger), a mythological hybrid hare allegedly inhabiting the alpine forests of Bavaria and having antlers (below left).
The Primordial ‘Easter Egg’ of fire
Another symbol of Easter is the egg of course, which is a universal symbol for birth and ‘new life’. The ‘primordial egg’ holds the seed from which the whole of manifestation was said to ‘spring’ from. The idea that the universe was ‘born from an egg’ is shared by nearly all ancient civilizations and cultures. The ‘primordial man’ was also said to originate from an egg, see William Blake’s image of the Four Zoas (below). The egg is symbolically the ‘boundary of the restriction’ of ‘matter’ for the human being, and here is shown surrounded by the four bodies of the mind, emotions, senses and imagination.
The cosmic egg, born from primordial Waters, in some myths, splits into two halves to give birth to Heaven and Earth (Symbolised as Adam and Satan in Blake’s image), or as the Hindu Brahmânda and the ‘two Dioscuri’ in Greco-Indian myths. In Hindu mythology, Brahma – the omniscient, the source of all that exists, forms out of the golden embryo and egg. According to Hindu belief, he was the self-born ‘uncreated creator’, the first manifestation of the one’s existence. As the embryo from which the universe originates, he is also called Hiranya Garbha (golden embryo), the ball of fire. Other names for the ‘egg god’ were Pitamaha (the patriarch), Vidhi (the ordinator), Lokesha (the master of the universe) and Viswakarma (the architect of the world). The ‘architect’ of course connects to Gnosticism, Masonry and the imposter creator – the Demiurge.
The egg also signifies the polarization of the Hermaphrodite in some instances and was a symbol for the beginning of life. For the ancient Egyptians, ‘life emerged’, by the action of a ‘Demiurge’, through the ‘Nun’, (the personification of the primordial Ocean) that ‘gave birth’ to the egg. Chinese legend tells of how an enormous ‘black egg’ was formed in the darkness at the beginning of time. Inside this egg, the sleeping giant Pan Gu was formed (below left). Likewise, Hanuman the monkey king was said to be born of primal chaos, hatching from a ‘stone egg’ impregnated by the sky and the Gnostics also talk of Heaven and Earth, symbolised by the ‘world egg’ in the womb of the universe. Not a crucifixion in sight here folks? Just a human (light being) born of the cosmos.
The Egg as the Soul
In terms of symmetry, astronomy and sacred geometry the egg has been used by alchemists to depict the ‘cycles within cycles’ and the ‘relationship’ between the Earth the Moon and the Solar System. The elite Elizabethan occult magician Dr John Dee, likened the origin of the planets to the metamorphosis of an egg made up of the four elements (the Zoas), which a scarab beetle brings along a spiral path. Dee referred to the ‘egg white’ as the work of the Moon (Saturn) and the ‘yoke’ the Sun (Jupiter).
The Druids saw the egg as the ‘sacred emblem’ of their initiation rites, hence the importance of the egg in spring (at Easter). The procession of the Goddess of agriculture, Ceres, in Rome, was preceded by an egg and it was often depicted entwined by a serpent or crowned by a crescent moon. The illustration below shows two ways the druids (Priests) represented their sacred eggs.
In the mysteries of Bacchus in ancient Greece the egg was a consecrated emblem that symbolised the ‘soul’ and this symbolism was portrayed in the move Angel Heart, when Louis Cyphre (Lucifer), played by de Niro peels an egg and eats it as a symbol of the ‘consumption of the soul’.
The eye and egg are another symbol for the ‘theft of the soul’, or the visionary limits of ‘perception’ placed on humanity by the Demiurge. All over the ancient world, from China to Babylon, the egg was also painted, and venerated as symbol of ‘re-birth’ and the ‘soul’. The ‘soul of humanity’ ‘captured’, ‘bound’ or ‘eaten’ is a common theme through the use of the ‘symbol of the egg’, see my Illustration below (middle).
The ‘alchemical Modena’ relief (above left) also symbolises both the ‘world’ and the ‘egg’. Inside the egg (Modena), Mithras or Phanes (the light of the world) emerges with his lighted torch surrounded by a mandorla of the zodiac (corresponding to the twelve ‘altar fires’ in the Pythagorean cult). The mandorla can also represent the vulva, and thus the arrival of a ‘new being into the world’ through the goddess. The mandorla is also a sign of union, climax, opening and departure into a new life. Not a Christian theme insight here!
‘Born’ of the Easter Egg
The reptilian symbolism associated with the egg is obvious and it could be that the ‘Babylonian religion’ that originally gave us Easter, relates to the reptilian deities that were ‘openly worshiped’ by the Akkadian and Sumerian mystery schools. The connections between reptilian gods and a new human made in the ‘likeness of the gods’, can be visually understood through the symbolism of the egg. Renaissance artists that were in the know, often used the egg as a symbol for the ‘new human’ born of a goddess.
Hieronymus Bosch’s painting ‘Concert inside an Egg’ depicts his knowledge of alchemy, the philosophical Egg and the ‘light that can be seen with the ears’ (below left). The ‘light’ is the electromagnetic forms that the brain translates into pictures and sounds, hence the light that can be seen with the ears. Bosch also includes humans that are ‘entering into’ an egg in his masterpiece ‘Garden of Earthly delights’ painted in the 15th Century. The strange creatures and imagery contained within the scene are reminiscent of reptilians/greys and naked humans (Adam and Eve prototype) of course are ‘being born’ in reverse, or being ‘encased’ in the egg – through the limitation of their DNA. The egg is also a symbol for the Moon and its control over our biological bodies’.
In paintings by lenaordo Da vinci and Bachiacca (below) the Greek myth of Leda and the Swan (a bird that symbolised Venus) uses the symbolisim of the children ‘born of an egg’ (just as reptiles are). The egg and its nest are also symbolic of the goddess and the word for nest, ‘shechinot’, in Hebrew is virtually the same as shekinah which means the ‘feminine glory of God’ come to ‘dwell on earth’. It literally means ‘dwelling’ or ‘presence’. Interestingly the hare also builds a ‘form’ which looks like a ‘birds nest’, another ‘visual idea’ that could have given life to the ‘Easter egg’?
In the Leda and the Swan myth, Zeus takes the form of a swan and seduces the goddess Leda, whose offspring, Castor and Pollox, are born as ‘hybrid humans’, part-god, part-human. The myths and paintings showing these narratives are hinting at the ‘copulation’ of ‘non-human’ with ‘humans’ in the ancient world. The egg symbolism, at Easter is in many ways, is a symbol for this knowledge, which was understood by the mystery schools of antiquity.
A New World Egg (Order)
On another level the egg is a symbol for a ‘new world’. Salvador Dali painted Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man (above right) during the Second World War. A painting that clearly symbolizes ‘change’ and a ‘new world’ being born. Dali’s initial notes for the work read: “parachute, paranaissance, protection, cupola, placenta, Catholicism, egg, earthly distortion, biological ellipse. Geography changes its skin in historic germination.”
Dali’s words offer some hint of the work’s meaning. At the bottom right of the painting, the gaunt body of a classical figure, symbolises the ‘old world’ and its emaciated civilization, revealing a central scene to a child, who peeks at the male figure struggling out of a terrestrial globe, distorted into the shape of an egg. This surreal scene is emblematic of the emergence of a ‘new political order’ after the war. The central scene of global rebirth is protected by a parachute-like floating cupola that, when seen in conjunction with the cloth at the bottom, forms an ‘oyster-like shape’, another symbol for the Moon and the Christian Kingdom of Heaven. The emerging figure bursts out from the North American continent, which Dali saw as a centre of ‘historic germination’ (the growth of the new world order). The alchemical ‘great work of the ages’ is also connected to the philosophers egg and much more besides.
Personally, I always see Easter time as a period of ‘transition and renewal’, a time for ‘new ideas’ and ‘new beginnings’. William Blake’s image of a winged infant emerging from a cracked egg also hints at the awakening themes mentioned above. Blake had no time for orthodox religion and was aware of the Pagan roots of Christianity. The image is one of many from his collection of writings and drawings called The Gates of Paradise and this one in particular shows a ‘hatching’ of a winged infant (or cherub with Blake’s face) breaking free of the confinement imposed by the egg. According to Blake ‘the child becomes acquainted with the functioning of his mind through four spheres (the Zoas mentioned earlier) of the body, mind, imagination and emotions’. These bodies ‘give form’ to the ‘egg shape’ and signifies mankind’s ‘limited field of vision’. Writing in 1793, He said,
“An immense/Hardened shadow of all things upon our vegetated Earth, /enlarged into dimension and deformed into indefinite space”. After his death, man tears this “veil of nature” which freezes all life”
If anything, Easter is the festival of visible ‘new light and life’ and the symbolism behind the ‘Moon Egg’, the ‘Hare’ and the ‘Goddess’ are the core symbols for this time of year.
Until next time
A new project in the making by Neil Hague
I’m currently writing and illustrating the third part of my Kokoro triology called Aeon Rising, with a huge focus on Atlantis, Mu and the invasion of Sophia Earth within this story. The project is in its early stages with much to do, but I am really excited about the way the book is unfolding. I am not giving too much away at this stage apart from the fact the ‘eagles’ play a huge role in this narrative, hence the recent image of Altair (below).
Altair (Aquilla) Jupiter
I’ve been researching Jupiter’s role in the so called ‘Clash of the Titans’ (as recorded in classical myth) and I’m building these concepts into the new narrative. Gnostic myth and the work of Immanuel Velikovsky is also inspiring me too. The book Worlds in Collision is a great read.
Jupiter or Jove was said to be the king of the gods and the god of ’sky’ and thunder in myth. Jupiter was also the chief deity of Roman state religion throughout the Republican and Imperial eras, until Christianity became the dominant religion of the Empire. It is Jupiter (with Saturn in the background) that presides over all Roman religion and sacrifice to the gods. Jupiter (or Zeus in Greek Myth) depicted as the Eagle (the sovereign ‘bird of birds’) clutching the Thunderbolt is another symbol found in the ‘esoteric’ symbols of empires from Rome to the Nazis, and of course the Eagle standard used by Rome through to modern empires can be found decorated into the pulpits of Christendom.
Jupiter is/was the god of the New World Order, a ‘good Sun’ and son to Saturn (Cronos). Both Jupiter and Saturn are massively connected, not least physically in terms of their size in our Solar system, but as ‘forces’, or vibrations that play a part in the ‘Illusion we call life on Earth’. My new project weaves together this connection, along with the lions of Regulus (Leo) and the Orion constellation, with much more besides. Gnostic teachings interpret Jupiter as a ‘good force’ and so do I in my narrative.
Statues of Jupiter as the Eagle can be seen with the child Ganymede (one of its Moons) at stately homes all over Britain and relate to the Jupiter and the Age of Aquarius.
The Romans regarded Jupiter as the equivalent of the Greek Zeus, and in Roman art, the myths and iconography of Zeus are adapted under the name Iuppiter. In the Greek-influenced tradition, Jupiter was the brother of Neptune and Pluto. Each presided over one of the three realms of the universe: sky, the waters, and the underworld. From this perspective the sky, the primordial waters (oceans) and the inner Earth and Underworld, where all connected. They were the place of ‘origins’ the home of the gods and the so-called planets or wanderers. Saturn of course has its own symbolism which I have covered many times in other blogs.
My work in recent months has seen me consider the myths of the Mahabharata or Mahābhārata, one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India. And I am also focusing on Ancient Egypt along with the Epic Gilgamesh as a write my fictional take on these myths and legends. Not that I am comparing my projects to the likes of Tolkien’s work, but as an image-maker, story teller, I am fascinated by the power of the ‘myth’ in terms of it’s potential to ‘transform our perception’ of history. As Tolkien wrote in his book [about Saturn] Lord of the Rings; “And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for two and a half thousand years, the ring passed out of all knowledge.” ― Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
Of course Tolkien used Eagle myths within his books, attributed to Gandalf and the connections between Vishnu and the eagle god Garuda as found in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology (above). My version of these combined forces appear in the Third book of Kokoro as the ‘Eagles of Uthorna’ (see below) and how they can appear to have an etheral body (aura) of an eagle. The eagles themselves came out of the body of Urza (Jupiter) in my narrative. As I write in the forth coming book;
“To the ancients, Aquila was also known as the ‘royal eagle’ of the young Sun Urza, also known as Jupiter by the priestesses of Sophia. It was said that Aquila’s talons carried mighty thunderbolts that could change worlds. The Eagle people were the direct descendants and the personification of the ‘electric thunder beings’ that always signalled changes in the solar tree (Solar System) if they were forced to fly. Imagine a predator appearing at the foot of the trunk of a great tree and as it stalked the tree, circled it, a great noise rose out of the branches above in the form of thousands of birds moving their wings in unison has they fled the predator below; such was the ‘sound and energy’ of the mighty eagle Altair and his warriors when they took to the heavens above the Solar Tree”.
While writing and researching for the narrative and characters in Aeon Rising, I am also finding intriguing correlations between what I often ‘perceive through my dreams’ and visions to be pivotal sources in providing good historical, archaeological information for the book. In a recent dream I was given the name Tanis or (San El-Hagar) as a source for the ‘ancient city location’ of a pre Atlantean temple. Much of my narrative in this new book is woven around the priests’ of Manu, the lion panthera leo priests and the keepers of the main temples of Atlan (Atlantis) and Ammon (North Western Lemuria). Tanis has an ancient temple also dedicated to Amun (Amon Ra) the Sun god. But which sun? Along with Montu, the (eagle) falcon-god of war, Amun was a main focus in the temples of ancient Egypt.
Much of my reference material comes from looking closely at the myths, deities and geographic locations connected to the ancient (‘pre-historic’) world. The connections to an ancient order of Lion Priests’ and Orion, Saturn and Leo is becoming clear to me as I write the book. So are the battles between ‘invading forces’ and lions’, eagles’ (men) and other creatures that are found in so much ancient art. Not least in the ancient Sumerian religion, and later in Akkadian (Assyrian and Babylonian), Hittite, Canaanite and other Mesopotamian clay and stone tablets (below).
I go into great detail about the types of forces that populate my stories in my bestiary Lions & Velons and I am literally creating an hierarchy and lineage of characters that can be seen to enhance the ‘world myths’ that already exist.
As always the lions’ feature in this story and so do the ‘lions of Orion’, Saturn and Leo. Note the references to Saturn and the Lion/Griffin in the coins and tablets found in Greece, Tyre, Lebanon and the Mediterranean (above). As I explain in the new book;
“An internal war between the Lions of Regal, caused by the Killipoth had turned some of these mighty beings into ambassadors for the darkness. As the war spread across the heavens the Lion priests or the Rezura of Orion (who were magicians of the highest order) were made to choose sides. The orders of Rezura split into two, the Panthera leo and the Jezura, the latter formed an alliance with the serpent Naga. The very nature of Orion’s part in the creation of ‘reality and duality’ was witnessed in the two opposing sides of the same force. The lions of Orion fought each other now and those of Panthera that wanted peace used the light of Manu and sought council with their ancestors on Regulus. The Jezura and Rezaru became willing servants of the darkness aiding in the creation of the Fourth Age on Earth.”
The Priests of Manu
The new book depicts the Priests of Manu as the original ‘Light keepers’ of Sophia. Only three priests existed at anyone time on the Sophia. These Lion Priests were said to come from Regulus (in Leo) and were placed on Sophia (in the Temples of Atlan in Atlantis) to hold the light of the Aeons at sacred points along the Earth’s surface. The Priests of Manu were the ‘temple builders’ and ‘protectors’ of the ‘sacred sites’ where the ‘light of Durga’ travelled through what became known as ‘energy lines’ or dragon lines. The Priests of Manu were the founders of what became Gnosticism that emerged after the ‘Great Flood’. They emerged through the last of their kin, Ariel in what is now kown as Lower Egypt.
The whole of the Lower Egypt location (the Nile Delta and where it meets the Mediterranean) where Tanis is located has become more intruiging as I have been writing this book. Not least through the fasinating work of Danny Wilten and his correspondences bewteen the Orion Nebula and the Nile Delta region, as above so below… His You tube channel is worth a view.
So, as I said above, I don’t intend to give too much away at this stage, but to merely interest those that love my images and books.
The book Aeon Rising should be avialble at the end of 2017, into 2018.
Neil Hague talks about his art and the deeper symbolism behind some of his work. In this final part he talks about the power of the imagination, ‘lion consciousness’, religion, energy shifts and where his ideas come from and much more besides
Filmed by Jonnie Dean Peace in Neil’s studio, we look at original art, sketchbooks and Neil working on a canvas. Featuring new art and Illustrations, Neil also talks about the dreams and visions and how the imagination shapes reality.
I speak from my own perspective of course, but isn’t Christmas a bore these days? Spending time with family and loved ones is wonderful for most, but sanctioning it as an official holiday has become tedious, draining and for many that have ‘woken up’ to the ‘reality of ‘reality’, just another focus for an ‘energy theft’ that has no bearing on the real plight of humanity today. Now before anyone says ‘Ba humbug’ (which is a word incidentally that means to act in a ‘deceptive’ or ‘dishonest’ way), I will say that there is a meaningful connection to the ‘introspection’ at this ‘time of year’. The winter period brings ‘clarity of focus’ for those that can look within. Being creative is important too as winter kicks in, but the modern day version of what was ancient Saturnalia is nothing more than a ‘massive energy grab’ (our human energy) just as it always was.
What’s that old saying, ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do? We do and Saturnalia is now officially here once again.
The ‘Time’ when Ancient Rome Comes to Town
On one level, Saturnalia was a ’festival of light’ in Rome, leading through to the Winter Solstice (21st December), signified through an abundant presence of candles (fairy-lights) and pine trees. All of which are meant to be symbols of our quest for ‘knowledge and truth’ (light) at the darker end of the year. The other aspect of Saturnalia is more about the ‘giving and ‘taking’ of energy. However, when you look around our modern day 21st century ‘Saturnalia fest’, I think its safe to say that the ‘knowledge and truth’ has taken more of a back seat. The whole period of ‘time’ called Christmas can be an ‘unnecessary burden’ for too many and it also focuses our energy on the ‘polarisation’ of those that ‘have’ and those that ‘don’t have’. It’s magnified at this time of year, especially when we see the rich, the famous and the ‘gods of our time’ (celebrities) revelling in Saturnalia. The amount of presents being bought in some homes and the over indulgence by those that have discovered their ‘credit cards power’ of no return is beyond madness in my view. As Asterius wrtites in Oratio 4: Adversus Kalendarum Festum;
“This festival teaches even the little children, artless and simple, to be greedy, and accustoms them to go from house to house and to offer novel gifts, fruits covered with silver tinsel. For these they receive, in return, gifts double their value, and thus the tender minds of the young begin to be impressed with that which is commercial and sordid.”
If anything, Christmas (Saturnalia) can bring heightened emotions, stress, arguments, loneliness, drunkenness, suicide and the overpowering need to ‘keep on with the programme’ called Christmas. ‘Boxing Day’ in the UK can take on a very literal meaning for some. I know Christmas also brings laughter, love and hapiness too, which is why it has ‘two sides’. Christmas shopping, Black Friday’s, the sales, buying things and maxing up debt has become the norm for people that have ‘bought into’ the vibe of modern Saturnalia. When I was a kid people used to stock up on food at Christmas like there was going to be a war? Bread was frozen in quanties across homes all over Britain in the 80’s as though there was going to be a famine (the shops really did close for days back then). To understand the Christmas ‘vibe’ we have to go back in time to ancient Rome.
Inner Light – Outer light
Saturnalia is/was the Roman festival of the ‘renewal of light’ and the coming of the ‘new year’, celebrated as the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, or the birthday of the ’Unconquerable Sun’. The date for this event was the 23rd of December, but the roots of this go further back into the ancient world and have more meaning in the attachment to Saturn (the Old Sun), and not necessarily the Sun. Of course the birth of the new ‘Sun (a Son) god was interchangeable with the ‘Son of God’ (born on the 25th of the month), not least thanks to Emperor Constantine… The rest is fable disguised as history. In 4th Century Christian leaders succeeded in converting to Christianity large numbers of Roman pagans by promising them that they could continue to celebrate the Saturnalia as Christians. The problem was that there is nothing very ‘Christian’ as such, about Saturnalia. The Jewish festival of Hanukkah (with its 9 to 8 candles) is another Saturn based focus at the same time of year.
Saturnius Mons – Lord of the Golden Age
The oldest Roman religious calendars, which were thought to have been established by the legendary founder of Rome, Romulus and his successor Numa Pompilius, marked Saturnalia (Saturnius Mons) as a legal holiday in December. The 19th of December marked the dedication anniversary (dies natalis) of the Temple to Saturn in the Roman Forum in 497 BC (see below). Julius Caesar had the calendar reformed because it had fallen out of synchronization with the solar year, two days were added to the month, and Saturnalia then fell on 17th December, through to the 24th of December – Candle-mass Eve.
In Roman mythology, Saturn was an agricultural deity who was said to have reigned over the world in the Golden Age, (most likely a pre Atlantis world), when humans enjoyed the spontaneous ‘bounty of the earth’ without ‘labor’ and in a ‘state of innocence’. Any chance of that Golden Age now would be fine thing? Saturn was the first god of the Capitol, known since the most ancient times as Saturnius Mons, and ‘he’ was seen as a god of generation, dissolution, plenty, wealth, agriculture, periodic renewal, law and liberation. The death of a Sun and the ‘birth of a Sun’ (its light) are embroiled in the symbolism of Saturnalia. So are the notion of ‘old and young’, ‘Santa and children’ and the gifts given through life itself. Life is ‘given to death’, so that ‘death can live’. The BBC’s Children’s drama The Box of Delights in the 1980’s is another fine example of the symbolism evoked through Saturnalia. The ‘box’ or cube is another symbol of Saturn. See the images below.
In many ancient beliefs, the Sun (Saturnis Mons) was used as a marker for when the position of the Sun (as seen from Earth) would change simply to ‘mark’ lighter nights, darker days (solstices) and it is all based on the over arching mechanism of marking ‘time’. Who was the Lord of time? The old bearded bloke above, I will come back to ‘Time’ in a bit.
In Rome the revelries of Saturnalia were supposed to reflect the ’conditions of that lost mythical age’, not all of them desirable mind you, as much of it was connected to bestiality, human sacrifice and Satanic worship. In ancient Rome priests inside the ancient temple performed the rituals of Saturnalia, while homes were decorated with cyprus and pine trees, covered in candles. Health and Safety didn’t exist back then. Trees and the star at its top are all symbols of that bygone ‘golden era’ and quite possibly a memory of the ‘old Sun Saturn’ as it was seen from Earth. For more information see an excellent book called The Saturn Myth by David Talbot. The star on the tree ‘symbolism’ becomes very clear through understanding how the ancients saw Saturn and other planets in the skies.
Today these symbols and rituals are ‘continued’ through the focus of ‘mass’ media, ‘mass consumption’ and the ‘ethereal effect’ of the ‘lack of light’ that we ‘take in’ at Saturnalia. It has become Christmass hypnosis. And the official religions of ancient Rome have now become the religions of ‘buying things’. Shopping malls are the cathedrals decorated to the hilt with neon lights. Even as far away as Australia, where if we went back several thousands years, the Aboriginal people would not have heard of such ceremonies and pagan rituals. It’s all a ‘programme’ that has spread ‘world wide’ with good reason. Saturn’s influence over humanity is through ‘hypnosis and the connection to what we call ‘time’ and the ‘unseen’.
The Hunt, Pan & the Gingerbread Man
As I have already said, Ancient Rome was the epicentre of Saturnalia. The cities architectural symbols, not least the ‘phallic symbol’ or Obelisk relating to the ‘death’ and ‘resurrection’ of the Egyptian god Osiris (Orion) can be found placed in the Capitols of Europe. They are there to invoke the ‘sexual’ masculine energy, or the ‘randy old goat’ syndrome also known as the god Pan. Old Pan is connected to the myths associated with the Lord of Capricorn (Sex magic) and the Lord of Aquarius (Electronic Communications) through Mercury.
The worship of Pan began in Arcadia (Greece), which was always the principal seat of his worship. Arcadia was a district of mountain people, culturally separated from other Greeks. The hunt, the Shepard, the cave and the woods where all abodes of Pan. Hermes (Mercury) was considered the great grandfather of Pan. Symbolically Mercury goes ‘between’ worlds and is the messenger of what we the Romans called the gods. These gods are ‘personified energetic realms’ and it has become clear to me that the imagery and symbols associated with ‘the gods’ are portals into that ‘energetic field’. Hermes, as the father/grandfather of Pan connects Pan (the goat) with the titan Saturn in Capricorn. The Gävle Goat (Swedish: Gävlebocken) is a traditional Christmas display erected annually at Slottstorget in central Gävle, Sweden (below). It is a giant version of a traditional Swedish Yule Goat figure (Pan) made of straw, which often is attacked by arsonists during Saturnalia.
Saturnalia is also a time for family visits, trips and all communication (electrical or otherwise) especially over the festival period. Mercury is currently retrograde this December 2016, so watch out!
Catch me if you can?
Saturnalia as recorded by the Greek writer poet and historian Lucian (in his dialogue entitled Saturnalia) observes the festivals in his time. Lucian mentions human sacrifice, ‘widespread intoxication’, ‘going from house to house while singing naked’, ‘violation’ and other ‘sexual activities’. He also mentions consuming human-shaped biscuits (still produced in some English and most German bakeries during the Christmas season as the gingerbread man). “You can’t catch me!” takes on another meaning when you consider the deeper meanings behind Saturnalia and the horrors some might have suffered at that time. There is another side to Christmas that invokes both the ‘good and the bad’, where children become the focus for this tussle. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Hansel and Gretel (with the ginger bread house) come to mind! I’ll come to Krampus too shortly.
We Three Kings from Orion are …
In previous blogs I have pointed out the connection to three belt stars of Orion (Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka) and the pyramids of Giza – not to mention the Hopi’s Three Mesas of Arizona. Many myths are allegories of the path of the sun through the signs of the zodiac, and the famous axiom ‘As above and so below’ is so true. The word ‘Orient’ in the Christmas carol We Three Kings from Orient Are’ should be replaced by ‘Orion’. The three Magi who searched for the newly born Christ are symbolic of the three stars in the hunter’s belt in the constellation of Orion.
Egyptians also knew Orion as ‘the father of the ‘First Time’ of Osiris (as Adam/Ptah) and the Egyptian trinity also connect to Orion. The Three Kings represent the three divine aspects of Will, Love and Intelligence in some sources. The name ‘Orion’ literally means ‘the breaking forth of light’ and therefore symbolizes the ‘place of light’. I feel that ‘place’ is where Saturn gets its ‘interstellar instructions’. In some South American cultures Orion’s Belt is known as ‘Las Tres Marias’ (The Three Marys) in honour of Mary of Nazareth, Mary Magdalene, and Mary of Bethany. One od the first Christmas cards I made was of Mary and Josepth (Isis and Osiris) being visted by an alien loosely based around the song ‘A Spaceman Came Travelling’ by Chris De Burgh.
Born in a Cave
Kronos (Saturn) as I mentioned above was the Sun in the cave and it is said in myth that his mother Rhea carried Kronos ‘the stone’ wrapped in swaddling clothes, as though he were the babe to which she had given birth. The Babe in a manger born among animals (not least the Ass and Ox) in a stable or a cave and wrapped in swaddling clothes was common in many ancient religions. The mother of Kronos in the Hindu myth equivalent was known as Chaya, meaning ‘shadow’. She represented the unconscious, other-worldly, the unseen and the light of the aura. You could see her as the Queen of the fairies (fairy lights). In a small an intriguing book called The Greatness of Saturn, by Dr Robert E Svoboda (below), that covers Eastern Vedic myth, Chaya is represented as ‘material things’, the illusion of the material life and how the shadow allows this ‘fake light’ to be seen for what it is – illusory.
The Gnostics also talk of the ‘light of Christos’ and its penetration of the dark, the shadow world (see my other blogs here)
According to legend, Hermes was also born in a cave on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia (see Pan and Mercury above). Zeus had impregnated Maia at night while all the other gods slept. When Hermes was born at dawn (like the Sun), Maia wrapped him in swaddling clothes. The Roman version of Jesus (before Jesus) Mithras, was also born in a cave, with shepherds in attendance, all on the 25th of December. Mithras was known to his followers as ‘The light of the world,’ or ‘The Good Shepherd,’ and urged his followers to share ritual communion of bread and wine. Mithras’s priests were called ‘Father.’ Add the word ‘Christmas’ after ‘father’ and there you have it.
Krampus (Santa’s Claws) – Sakwa Hu
Krampus, the horned, anthropomorphic folklore figure described as ‘half-goat, half-demon’, is another symbolic deviation of Pan. Santa or Saint Nick in Nordic and Germanic versions can be often seen together. They are two halves of the same symbol.
During the Christmas season, Krampus punishes children, just like the Hopi Kachina Sakwa Hu, who arrives at the winter solstice or Soyal (Soyalang-eu) to do the same? A group of about thirty “official” kachinas, called Mong Kachinas, takes part in five major ceremonies held during this period: Soyalang-eu (Winter Solstice Ceremony) in December, Pamuya in January, when the sun appears to move north again. During Soyal, which lasts nine days of what we call Christmas, sacred rituals are performed in chambers, called kivas, and many ceremonies involving dancing and singing take place; the kachinas may even bring gifts to the children. And the Christian’s think its all about Jesus, you have to laugh really.
Soyal time is when stories are passed down to children from the elders and children are taught pivotal lessons like respecting others. The Hopi believe that everything that will occur during the year is arranged at Soyal (New Year Resolutions as such). Children are also given replicas of the kachinas (dolls), intricately carved and dressed like the dancers, to help them learn about the hundreds of kachina spirits. Sixteen days before the winter solstice, one of the chief kachinas enters the house. He appears as a tired, old man who has just awakened from a deep slumber, teetering and on the verge of losing his balance. Santa is so old he’s loosing it! The Hopi god Masauwu (see my other blogs on Orion) is massively connected to the symbols of Orion, Saturn and Father Time (see below).
Cottontail was a symbol for both the ‘hare’ and ‘time’. Interestingly, the hare was said to be a ‘child of Pan’ and in many myths she (the Hare) was wrapped in goats skin. Of course the ‘hare’ and the ‘Moon’ are symbolically connected in much folklore and the hare also takes on the role of a ‘demiurge’ in some myths. See an interesting book called The Lady of the Hare by John Layard. The constellation of Lepus runs alongside Orion and there is more to know about this connection.
Krampus is also another version of Ba’al Hammon, the Carthaginian god who was regarded as the counterpart of the Roman Saturn and Greek Cronus. Krampus is one of the companions of Saint Nicholas in regions including Austria, Bavaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and Northern Italy. The song Santa Claus is Coming to Town is based on the Germanic pagan folk tales of Krampus
He sees you when you’re sleeping’
He knows when you’re a wake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake…
The modern figure of Santa Claus (Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle) is derived from the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas, whose name is a dialectal pronunciation of Saint Nicholas, the historical Greek bishop and gift-giver of Myra. During the Christianization of Germanic Europe, this figure may have absorbed elements of the god Odin, who was associated with the Germanic pagan midwinter event of Yule and led the ‘wild hunt’, a ghostly procession through the sky. Of course the hunter Orion is observed clearly in the winter sky from November through to the Winter solstice, along with the constellations of Sirius and Lepus. The winged serpents in the image below infer a Hermes connection to Saturn.
Telling a child that Santa, (who is essentially an old bloke, a stranger with magical powers), who sneaks into your house to leave gifts, in the child’s early years, is creepy enough. But to then say it was all a fib later on, is the power of Ba-humbug; and we have all partaken in this myth making. The creeping around at night while children sleep is harmless to those from loving families, but consider the amount of ‘creeping around’ in orphanages and children homes over the years by figures that are more like Krampus? Saturnalia is a time of year when both the good and the bad are magnified ‘energetically’.
‘Coke’, Magic Mushrooms and Flying Reindeer
In his book Mushrooms and Mankind (The Book Tree, 2003) the late author James Arthur points out that Amanita muscaria mushroom (below), also known as fly agaric, lives throughout the Northern Hemisphere under conifers and birch trees, with which the fungi (which is deep red with white flecks) has a symbiotic relationship. Some say that this explains the practice of the Christmas tree, and the placement of bright red-and-white presents underneath, which look like Amanita mushrooms. Arthur wrote.
“Why do people bring pine trees into their houses at the Winter Solstice, placing brightly coloured (red and white) packages under their boughs, as gifts to show their love for each other…?” he wrote. “It is because, underneath the pine bough is the exact location where one would find this ‘Most Sacred’ substance, the Amanita muscaria, in the wild.”
I would suggest that it has more to do with Saturn’s pole position in that Golden Age mentioned earlier, but there maybe some truth in this across certain cultures.
Reindeer are common in Siberia, and seek out these hallucinogenic fungi. Donald Pfister, a biologist who studies fungi at Harvard University, suggests that Siberian tribesmen who ingested fly agaric may have hallucinated into thinking that reindeer were flying. The use of ‘red and white’ for Christmas and Santa is clearly connected to the Coca Cola imagery and their 20th Century campaign to associate Saturnalia with this drink.
The Time of the King of Saturnalia
The King of Saturn ruled as the ’master of ceremonies’ for the proceedings through Saturnalia. He was appointed by lot, and has been compared to the medieval Lord of Misrule at the Feast of Fools. In England, the Lord of Misrule (known in Scotland as the Abbot of Unreason and in France as the Prince des Sots) was an officer appointed to preside over the Feast of Fools (below).
The Lord of Misrule was generally a peasant or sub-deacon appointed to be in charge of Christmas revelries, which often included drunkenness and ‘wild partying’, in the pagan tradition of Saturnalia. Sunds like every town in the UK to me? The Roman emperor Nero played the role of Saturnalia in his youth. Where as the first emperor Augustus celebrated the ‘Golden Age of Saturn’ it was eventually lost.
Saturnalia and misrule makes a ‘mockery of a world’ in which law was determined by one man and the traditional social and political networks are reduced to the power of the emperor over his subjects. In general terms, Saturnalia was the celebration of the longing for Saturn to reign again, as in ancient times. The donkey or Ass was another symbol of misrule and ‘mockery of law and order’, ‘title and kingship’. In Ancient Egypt Seth, the enemy of Osiris (his brother) had the image of a donkey. That’s why Apuleius in his Golden Ass describes a great metamorphosis, the transformation of Lucius to a donkey and his way back – spiritual evolution towards the human being. Jesus also was said to ride into Jerusalem on a donkey (see below).
In this case donkey represents sexuality, instincts, sensuality, ignorance. A red donkey was said to be one of the dangerous creatures that the soul met in its journey after death – possibly an archon of sorts? The Ass and the Lord of Misrule go together at both Saturnalia (Christmas) and Ostara (Easter).
According to the anthropologist James Frazer in his book The New Golden Bough, he says there was a darker side [and the rest] to the Saturnalia festival. In Durostorum on the Danube (modern Silistra), Roman soldiers would choose a man from among them to be the Lord of Misrule for thirty days. At the end of those thirty days, his throat was cut on the altar of Saturn. Similar origins of the British Lord of Misrule, as a ‘sacrificial king’ (a temporary king, as Frazer puts it) who was later put to death for the benefit of all, have also been recorded. See the movie The Wicker Man starring the late Lord of Misrule himself – Christopher lee (above). I once stood next to Lee at a Euro star waiting area over a decade ago and he seemed a very ‘strange’ man to me.
The sordid and sinister rituals that are hinted at in the Kubrick movie Eye’s Wide Shut also happen at Christmas (see below). Note the Sun (Saturn) Star featuring in the Illuminati-style Elite parties early on in the film. Sex is a big part of Saturnalia and of course it plays a big part in Kubricks film too.
Father Time Magazine
The infamous American Time Magazine, which was created by Henry Luce, a member of Alpha Delta Phi and Skull and Bones secret society, is another example of the subtle symbolism of Saturnalia ‘end of year celebration’. As I have shown, Chronos is usually portrayed as an older, wise man with a long, grey beard, similar to ‘Father Time’. Both the ‘father figure’ aspect can suffice in terms of symbolism, and in other years from ‘time to time, more obvious imagery sums up the connection to Saturn through, death, royalty, the Moon and ‘hidden worlds’ (space). Just look at some of the covers of Time Magazine?
Some of the current English words whose etymological root is khronos/chronos include ‘chronology’, chronometer, chronic, anachronism, and chronicle. The Time Magazine is the Chronicle with its cover of the Person of the Year ‘in December’. No mattter where you look, its ”Saturn everywhere’, especially at Saturnalia.
Donald trump on the latest edition all ‘horned’ like Krampus (Pan) is another ‘Lord of Misrule’ (symbolically speaking) and that makes me wonder how long his rule will be? The Lord of Misrule or King of Saturnalia only rules for a certain period… ‘Time’ is also ‘money’ and the Saturnalia ‘machine’ expects the ‘money to flow’ into the jaws of Saturn (see my image below).
Saturnalia’s Slaves & Masters
The phrase Saturnalia was also a characteristic shout or ’salutation’ of the festival, in Roman times. The ’Yo ho ho’ is connected to this Salutation. Seneca looked forward to the holiday of Saturn, if somewhat tentatively, in a letter to a friend:
“It is now the month of December, when the greatest part of the city is in a bustle. Loose reins are given to public dissipation; everywhere you may hear the sound of great preparations, as if there were some real difference between the days devoted to Saturn and those for transacting business. & Were you here, I would willingly confer with you as to the plan of our conduct; whether we should eve in our usual way, or, to avoid singularity, both take a better supper and throw off the toga.”
Roman Microbius also writes in his work titled Saturnalia.
“Meanwhile the head of the slave household, whose responsibility it was to offer sacrifice to the Penates, to manage the provisions and to direct the activities of the domestic servants, came to tell his master that the household had feasted according to the annual ritual custom. For at this festival, in houses that keep to proper religious usage, they first of all honor the slaves with a dinner prepared as if for the master; and only afterwards is the table set again for the head of the household. So, then, the chief slave came in to announce the time of dinner and to summon the masters to the table.”
That’s your Christmas dinner! I am sure some people feel like a slave when it comes to cooking?
Back then a suckling pig was sacrificed (and still is eaten in large quantities in more Latin, Hispanic countries). The Turkey replaced the ‘pig’ over the centuries, unless you were munching on flesh in Tudor times, you might have a combination of both ‘sown together’ as a ‘cockenthrice’, just one of the many twists of Saturnalia. How lovely!
Roman Saturnalia is best-known for roles reversal and behavioral license, which allowed slaves to act like masters and visa versa. Roman slaves were treated to a banquet of the kind usually enjoyed by their masters. Role-playing was implicit in the Saturnalia’s status reversals, and there are hints of mask-wearing or ’guising’. The Elite families would have loved all that role play, hunting in masks and genrally playing roles reversed? maybe they did and still do? Slaves were set free just for the festivities… So ‘nothing’s changed then?’ See every Bank Holiday too. Who is it that rules over the banking system? Saturn! Who owns the banks? The Elite familes that adore Saturnalia.
Versnel writes in Saturnus and the Saturnalia;
“Gambling and dice-playing, normally prohibited or at least frowned upon, were permitted for all, ’even slaves’. Coins and nuts were the stakes. On the Calendar of Philocalus, the Saturnalia is represented by a man wearing a fur-trimmed coat next to a table with dice, and a caption reading: “Now you have license, slave, to game with your master.” Rampant overeating and drunkenness became the rule, and a sober person the exception.”
Yeah, your allowed to feel free for a week or so, to drink (be merry) and pretend that you’re not a ‘slave to the system’!
Some things change, some things don’t
In his many poems about the Saturnalia, the poet Marcus Valerius Martialis names both expensive and quite cheap gifts, including writing tablets, dice, knucklebones, moneyboxes, combs, toothpicks, a hat, a hunting knife, an axe, various lamps, balls, perfumes, pipes, a pig, a sausage, a parrot, tables, cups, spoons, items of clothing, statues, masks, books, and pets. Writing today he would be mentioning ‘Pound Land’ and ‘unwanted socks’ too! In ancient Rome gifts might be as costly such as a ‘slave’ or ‘exotic animal’, but Martialis suggests that ‘token gifts’ of low intrinsic value inversely measure the high quality of a friendship. You were being judged by the gift you gave? Patrons or ‘bosses’ might pass along a gratuity (sigillaricium) to their poorer clients or dependents to help them buy gifts. A ‘Christmas bonus’ for some, and ‘bugger all’ for others like today? Some emperors were noted for their devoted observance of the Sigillaria (19th December), when small pottery gifts were given. Some say that the giving of Christmas cards came from Sigillaria in Ancient Rome?
I wrote this blog not to focus on the darkness of Saturnalia but to simply say that if people wish to really make a change and want to really ‘vibrate’ to a ‘higher level’, we may just have to ‘come away from the ‘same old rituals’, programmes and polarised views that are tucked away within all of the ‘Christmas razzamatazz’. Symbols, icons, stories and legends are more powerful than we can imagine. We are still in ancient Rome (and Egypt) in so many ways, as these rituals and festivals have been with us since then. I would prefer to focus on ‘introspection’ at this time of year (which is hard when you have small children I know), but whatever you do, make sure you can get out of the ‘Saturn vibe’, even if its just for an hour or two, to contemplate the ‘bigger picture’ beyond the claws of Saturnalia.
Peace on Earth (while you can).
Alongside painting new canvases, I’ve been writing, illustrating and putting together a little project for fans of Kokoro & Moon Slayer.
Writing and illustrating the books Kokoro and Moon Slayer has ‘birthed’ a myriad of ‘characters’ for what I see as an ‘Avatar style’ movie and then some! I have a trilogy in my head, big enough for any Starwars plot, with credible connections to our Junk DNA, the stars and beyond. My new book (out in December) is an extension to the glossaries at the end of my previous illustrated books and it introduces a few other characters as a prelude to the third and final part to my narrative (due sometime in early 2018). People who know my work will hopefully love this companion book, as I give more background information to the Lions and Velons and how they oppose each other across the myths and narratives that make up the Kokoro & Moon Slayer ‘Universe’. For more information see the Blurb below.
Thank you to all that love and support my work.
Lions & Velons is a unique mini-dictionary that explores even further the books and narratives illustrated by Neil Hague. It is ‘more than a dictionary’ or bestiary, it is an extraordinary companion to the stories of ‘dualistic forces’ that have battled for eons across many worlds. In this highly original and personal work, Neil gives further insight into the ‘characters and creatures’ that appear in his illustrated books Kokoro and Moon Slayer.
Alphabetically presented, we are taken ‘behind the scenes’ and ‘across a myriad of star systems’ to encounter the different ‘lions and velons’, the ‘opposing forces’ that have battled over Earth since the beginning of time. We are introduced to new characters while familiar ones are embellished further as Neil visually explains the Gnostic myths of Sophia and the demiurge, and how worlds are formed and worlds are ‘possessed’ by the entities called the Velon or Jinn. Like a shaman taking us into ‘otherworldly landscapes’, Lions & Velons illustrates the many gods, goddesses, suns and planets all engulfed in an ‘epic war of the Heavens’.
Through Neil’s unique style of imagery we are introduced in more detail to the ‘Lions of Durga’, the Velon, Lord Marduk, the Priests of Saturn, the Owls Ships of Urza, and the Eagle Warriors of Uthorna and Atlantis. In the spirit of William Blake’s personal myths and books, such as Albion (Four Zoas), through to modern day Science Fiction film and literature, Lions & Velons un-packs the ‘multidimensional’, ‘highly imaginary’ and ‘informative worlds’ of the artist and Illustrator Neil Hague.