The Green Cross and Maranatha-I Tego Arcana Dei

The use of the color green to signify life can date back thousands of years.  Found in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the brilliant color has passed through the ages and yet remains new.  The green color of life or rebirth is easily recognized in a newly sprouted seed of spring.

The walls of Egyptian tombs clearly show this depiction of life in the images of Osiris.  Often seen with green skin, the Egyptian god of the underworld reflected and characterized rebirth.  In the Book of the Hidden Chamber, the journey of Ra through the Netherworld provides a scene of union with Osiris in the sixth hour.  Ra’s rejuvenation illustrates the symbolic value of the color green upon the hour.

Another portrayal of the divine color can be found while gazing at the windows in Chartres Cathedral.  In The Cathedral (a Great Courses guidebook), Professor William R. Cook makes comment of the lancet on the façade of the Cathedral.  He states, “One interesting feature of this window is a green crucifix; often, in medieval art, Christ’s cross was green because it is regarded as the Tree of Life.”

The Tree of Life is mentioned many times in the Bible.  A common reference is found in Proverbs 3:13:18; it has, “Blessed is the man who finds wisdom; the man who gains understanding.  For she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.  She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.  Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.  She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed.”

This passage (another version) was provided at the end of the Maranatha-Et in Arcadia Ego competition.  A description of how the Tree of Life was hidden and could be drawn, by using the symbols scattered across the images in the book, was included in the PDF documents which officially announced the puzzle’s conclusion.

maranatha i tego arcana deiI suppose it could be understood why the projected cover of the Maranatha-I Tego Arcana Dei was chosen to be the color green.  As the planned sequel to the first which told readers, “For to know the Seal is like a death to your present self and the Gold is of purer value than can be perceived in your imagination”, it may have signified Rebirth and guided the reader further along on their journey.

The journey, of course, can still continue. The puzzle, for many, was an introduction into the many paths of which can be taken.  It was like a search for hidden treasure; much like the enigma surrounding Rennes le Chateau.  Another verse in Proverbs comes to mind; “and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”

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10 Responses

  1. Eliza says:

    Hi again jkile- One theme that seems to appear in the puzzle from time-to-time is the appearance of two vertical lines, or two pairs of vertical lines. The green book cover above reminded me of this; if you properly insert a space, the message in yellow then reads “A ll that is hidden shall be seen,” and, of course, the word “shall” contains another “a ll.” I also think back to the Companion and the long-running argument about the four small ls that also looked like 1s. More recently, there is the interesting information you provided about stringing together the outside words on the parchment text. The message seems to hold together, but ends in “Flamel College,” which seems extra. Both words have two ls. Finally, there is the image of the Gates of Paradise, which looks a lot like the number 11 to me.

  2. Nate Beck says:


    As I have mentioned many times before, it seems that my fellow Maranathans payed too little attention to the books in the Maranatha Et In Arcadia Ego bibliography. Too bad. But I guess that’s where I come in. The words that appear in parenthesis are mine.


    ‘In the neighborhood of Lille the idea of the corn-spirit (green-Osiris/Green Man) in horse form is clearly preserved. When a harvester grows weary at his work, it is said, “He has the fatigue of the Horse”. The first sheaf, called the “Cross of the Horse”, is placed on a cross of boxwood in the barn, and the youngest horse on the farm must tread on it. The reapers (sickle/scythe) dance (procession) round the last blades of corn, crying, “See the remains of the Horse”. The sheaf made out of these last blades (the last shall be the first; the end and the beginning) is given to the youngest horse of the parish (commune) to eat. This youngest horse…represents…the corn-spirit of the following year, the corn-foal, which absorbs the spirit of the old Corn-horse by eating the last corn cuts, for, as usual, the old corn-spirit takes his final refuge in the last sheaf. The thresher of the last sheaf is said to “beat the Horse”.

    Sir James George Frazer’s ‘The Golden Bough: a study in magic and religion’ (Page 460. New York: Macmillan Company, 1940-listed in the Maranatha bibliography)


    ‘And I looked, and behold a pale (Greek-chloros-pale green) horse: and his name that sat on him was Death (traditionally seen with a scythe or sickle), and Hell followed with him’ Revelation 6:8 (1)-PAX 681

    Elijah/Elisha- the blue apples, widow’s sons, horses of fire, double portion of a spirit. Corn, wine and oil; salt, sulphur and mercury.

    ‘Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.’ John 12:24. DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION-GREEN CORN.

    ‘LENE BUXEUM-EOUS SCAPHFE’ Le Serpent Rouge.


    • Maria Rigel says:

      If the third horse of the Apocalypse was blue instead of black (maybe the word in the original can be interpreted as blue?), then the horses would have the colours of the elements, and in the right order: white (water), red (fire), blue (air) and green (earth).

  3. Nate Beck says:

    SCAPHFE should be SCAPHAE. BUXEUM is supposed to refer to Boxwood, which is why I included it.

    Calling all Latin linguists! Care to venture an interpretation for the rest of it?

  4. Nate Beck says:

    Hello all,

    Please join me this coming Saturday, January 17th, for a toast to Nicholas Flamel under the midday sun!

    January 17th was the day that Nicolas Flamel accomplished the Great Work of Alchemy and was born-again.

    The quest for that same rebirth is about to be rewarded fellow travelers!!!

  5. Mark says:

    Wow! I must have missed this article!

    My own understanding is that the cross has some type of connection to the understanding for the “Green Goddess,” referred to in Bhuddism as “Tara.” The word Tara is sometimes interpreted as meaning star, but also is supposed to mean “crossing over.”

    I also agree with a lot of the conclusions presented in the article. Although the word Seal can be interpreted in different ways, the “general understanding” is that’s it’s some reference to an “airtight enclosure.” And that’s correct … it does represent the understanding for both death and rebirth, although rebirth and born again mean two different things, for mr

    Death represents the understanding for “sensory death” where the senses are “shut off.” It’s explained somewhere in one of the later books of The Bible that the Seal is actually some “lesser” understanding. The seal represents the understanding for the womb, and is more of a reference to mortal birth. Born again is more of a reference to progeny (children), where the womb is opened up (on one side) so that others can understand what it means to be freed from their mortal imprisonment.

  6. Maria Rigel says:

    Another possible explanation for the green cover: If the first book was supposed to take puzzlers through the trials of water and fire, the last trial would be red (the colour of fire). The second book would take puzzlers through the trials of air and earth, and the last trial would be green (the colour of earth).

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