The Skull on the Tomb, The Rose on the Cross

Guest Post by Hayward Gladwin

Image 1 Et in Arcadia Ego“Hayward perseveres in the search for Truth. His determination and dedication for the quest is something to greatly admire. It is a privilege to be able to share part of his journey and findings here.”

I stated the above in the foreword of a previous article written by Hayward.  I can say I feel ever stronger with those remarks as he continues to offer impressive perspectives, thoughts, and possible answers for subjects which have captivated minds all over the world. He skillfully conveys his research and I am sure you will be intrigued by his latest ideas below.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions for him.

 

The Skull on the Tomb, The Rose on the Cross
(Part II of: A Demon, a Stone and the Aspirant)by Hayward Gladwin

In the esoteric mysteries, there are often many interweaving and compound symbols that elude the effort to grasp their clear meaning. Across several traditions, different visual symbols might even convey similar messages, often when they appear not to. Previously, we saw how visual references were given to create a path for others to follow, such as in the works of Guercino or Poussin. We also saw how these artists made reference to an initiation of inner discovery through motifs such as rough and finished cubical stones, while pointing to a further completion of the earthly state of the human condition to where it existed prior to “the fall.” In this article, we will look at some of the symbols which refer to the elements involved with doing so. Using these as stepping stones, we will see how these symbols point to discoveries lying even further beyond.

image 2 et in arcadia ego pointsPickup up where we last left off –with Poussins tomb in his Shepherds of Arcadia– if we focus our attention at just one of the myriad symbols contained within the painting (Poussin was most certainly a master), we can continue from there.  Earlier, we noted how the shepherd in blue kneeling at the tomb reveals two important letters, “RC”.

Lets take a closer look at the potential significance of these letters.

Starting with the “R”, which is actually the point where his finger touches the tomb, I would like to contribute to the discussion of its meaning by bringing together some references of the “R” from different sources.

Firstly, let us look at the Maranatha book cover, specifically at the title:

 

image 3 maranatha title

 

If one takes notice, rather than seeing a Latin “R”, we see the pigpen symbol of the “R” instead. Which tells us that we are looking at the substitution of symbols. Of course, it is also interesting that the pigpen “R” is legible as a Latin “R”, since they look similar in form, but perhaps even more interesting is in seeing how the pigpen “R” looks like a reversed Hebrew notation for the letter “R”, or “ר“. In fact, if we were trace the origin of the Latin “R” to its roots, we are actually brought back to its origins in the Hebrew/Semitic character, which at some point in time became flipped horizontally in its orientation. Additionally, it has often been theorized that the ancient Semitic letter “ר” derived its shape from of the ancient Egyptian hieroglyph for “head”, as the Hebraic term was applied to it since its meaning was similar.     And, so we learn, that in Hebrew, as well as in ancient Phoenician, “Resh” is the word for “head”.

If we then were to take a look at the Greek letter for “R”, which is “P” (Rho), we see what appears to be the immediate predecessor to the Latin “R” and the direct descendent of the Phoenecian ” “, This is another Semitic character given the title of “Resh”. The Phoenician letter basically looks like a reversed “P”.   It is quite revealing then to follow the chain of evolution of this letter from its source to its more modern form. Ultimately, the argument here is the link between the letter “R”, the Semitic word “Resh”, and its symbolic relationship to the “head”.

The full implication of this will be made clear shortly.

Next, let us consider a passage from the Maranatha companion book; wherein Duncan speaks of the significance of Golgotha (“the place of the skull”) in reference to the second version of the Arcadian Shepherds painted by Poussin. Here, he mentions that although not visibly depicted, there is the implication of a skull found on top of the tomb, much in the same way that there is one visibly present in the first. Thus, if you look at the first version of Shepherds of Arcadia, there is clearly a skull placed on top of the tomb that the Shepherds and Shepherdess are visiting, but in the second version, there doesn’t appear to be one.

The anecdote could refer to, as some have speculated, the shape of the mountain painted above the tomb (and it could be very well true that Poussin painted Pech Cardou in reference to it containing something mysterious in relation to our subject), but since the “R” is so blatantly highlighted by the blue Shepherd, I am more inclined in leaning towards the “R” being the skull, or “head” as it were. This interpretation becomes reinforced by the prominence of the letter that immediately follows it, which is a “C”. Together, they become “RC”.

What it is the significance of “RC”?

Now, the fact that we see in Poussin’s painting two prominent letters which could potentially signify the village where a bulk of the mysteries in Maranatha are centralized is quite intriguing to begin with. (That would be Rennes les Chateau.) There is however further significance to be gleaned from these letters; a significance which brings together both the skull and the tomb symbolically. It becomes apparent when seeing the letters highlighted in such an obvious fashion that a reference to the Rosicrucians emerges; of relating to the tomb of Christian Rozenkruez and the characteristic symbol of their fraternity, namely, the Rose Cross.

Of course there are some who would consider this insubstantial in proving that Nicolas Poussin was involved with the Rosicrucians, although in history he is found living precisely at the time of their emergence in Europe and France. And yet it is also difficult to ignore the very words of the founders of the Fraternity of the Rose Cross themselves, whom in their original manifesto stated in their fifth rule that: “the letters ‘R.C.’ should be their seal, mark, and character from that time onward.”

Many of us, even over several lifetimes, may not come close to understanding the full breadth of wisdom held by the Rosicrucians, but we should at least be familiar with their enduring presence in relation to the mysteries throughout history. They were, arguably, single-handedly responsible for ushering in a new, modern era for esoteric wisdom throughout Europe during the middle of the second millennium. To their credit includes the works The Fame of the Brotherhood of RC, The Confession of the Brotherhood of RCas well as (to broadly speculate) the works of Shakespeare, whom few have recently theorized, somewhat convincingly I might add, that he was just a literary guise of Francis Bacon.

But rather than divulging further into these histories, let us return our focus now on the symbols of the Rose Cross and the Skull on the Tomb.

As we have already put together, the “R” relates to the “head”, and yet possibly also the skull on the tomb. And since the letter is also the “R” of the Rose Cross, it is thus also the Rose. Therefore, through association, the Skull and the Rose are interchangeable. And, if we accept that the Skull is the Rose, then what does that make of the “C”? The “C” would of course be the “Cross” of the Rose Cross, but would this also make it analogous the tomb that the Rose rests on top of? It would seem that this is exactly where the symbols are leading.

image 4 Guercino's The Arcadian ShepherdsAs we had seen in Guercino’s The Arcadian Shepherds, it was a Skull on top of a rough, cubical stone that we discovered as relating to the Masonic concept of the Ashlar. The Rough Ashlar was found to be synonymous with the image of Asmodeus, King of Earth, also known as Rex Mundi, King of Terrors. The rough stone, as Rex Mundi, represents the qualities and aspects of original Earth; the limited state of which we find ourselves in as physically-bound creatures (beasts). Similar in fashion to the dwellers of Plato’s cave, our vision and awareness in the Earthly realm is limited to what we see almost like shadows displayed on the wall; as mere images separated from their source. Thus, the tomb of Earth can be looked at as somewhat of a prison, containing us and isolating us from greater reality. The boundary of physicality hence keeps us somewhat dull and trapped in ignorance.

However, as a tomb, its purpose is also to house what formerly existed and what enshrouds its remains (we are not necessarily speaking of bones kept in a casket here.) Therefore, and however appearing to be somewhat contradictory, the tomb is also the Ark, (or “Arc”), the Holy of Holies, and the Tomb of Christian Rosenkreutz. Thus as the old dictum states: “Visit the Interior Parts of the Earth; by Rectification Thou Shalt Find the Hidden Stone”. (V.I.T.R.I.O.L.- in Latin). The Earth is, as many teachers have pointed out, our physicality. It is also the element associated with the cardinal direction of North, and as we have heard elsewhere, “Gold comes from the North”. Therefore, our “Gold” or treasure, is there to be found within our own “Earth”.

image 5 Earth symbolAnd then finally, the tomb of Earth is also the Cross. Its symbol is the perfect balance of the four elements: Fire, Water, Air and Earth. The equal arm cross within a circle has long been known as the astrological symbol of Earth, with four equal quarters. And as we will see in a moment, when it is combined with the symbol of the Rose (or the “head”) it creates the symbol of the Rose Cross.

Image 6 TauThe following Maranatha clue sheds further light on the subject:

“More is shouldered than the Tau for those that know.”

The Greek letter of Tau has, in its stylized form, often been described as looking like a person wearing a monk’s robe with arms extended outward. If we look at this shape as an anthropomorphic symbol, the shoulders would be on the straight horizontal. “To shoulder” is another way of saying “to bear” and the most obvious thing a pair of shoulders would bear in my mind, is a head.

Thus we arrive with this:

image 7 ankh

The “Crux Ansata”, the “Ankh”, the “Key of Life”. Also, with a short extended line beneath the circle, it is the symbol of Venus. Another name it could be given is the “Rose Cross”.  The symbol of the rose has been commonly attributed to different goddesses, including Isis, and particularly to those associated with the properties of love, such as Aphrodite or Venus. Additionally, most common wild Roses have five petals, which is a number also significant to Venus and the pentagram.   Therefore it is no coincidence that the symbol of Venus is also associated with the Rose Cross.

If we were to take the symbol of Venus and place it over the Kabbalah tree of life, such as is given as example by Israel Regardie, we see that the symbol touches each of the Sephiroth. The implication is that an initiation into the symbol of Venus, the symbol of love, embraces the whole tree.

image 8 treeimage 8 tree and venus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or, to look at it from another angle, if we consider the Chi Rho symbol we find something quite similar, although it might not appear to be so at first. Remember the following clue: “X does not just mark the spot, crosses can lead the way also.” And in this case, instead of the cross with a circle above we have an “X” (Greek: Chi) with a “P” (“Greek: Rho) above it. Here might be a good time to say, “In Hoc Signo Vinces.” It might also be of interest to point out that the Greek “Tau” (T) is derived from the Phoenician “Tav” (X), thus the relationship between the cross and the X for our purposes is even more intricately connected.

image 9 pximage 9 cross bones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We can perhaps also see how the Rho appears like the profile of a head. A head above an “X” (Chi). Which brings us back to the Phonecian and Hebrew “Resh”. And in this sense, there is another symbol that we should consider, the Skull and Crossbones, or the Jolly Roger, which is quite literally a skull, or head, on top of an “X”. Two thigh bones represent the major portions of the lower body, in contact with the Earth, that provide us both motion and stability. The Skull is as the same as the Rho, or Rose.

And now to bring it all full circle: The rough stone Ashlar is the rough state of a person, as we saw, associated with Asmodeus/Azazel/Devil. The perfected Ashlar is the perfected individual in balance of the four elements; the four elements which are attainable in Earth. The balance of the four elements is also symbolized as the Cross of Earth.   The stone/Earth is also the tomb, which could be associated with the tomb of Christian Rosenkreutz and the Ark, wherein illumination or treasure is to be found within. (The term Ark refers to either a vessel, a coffin, or the curved part of a circle). On top of the cross, which is the balance of the four elements, is the appearance of the Skull.

image 10 sun symbolIn Guercino’s first version of Et in Arcadia Ego, instead of a skull on a tomb it was Apollo flaying the Asmodeus-like character of Marsyas. And so, if Marsyas was the rough Ashlar, or the tomb, this would then equate the remaining symbol of the Skull with Apollo. And when we look at the symbol of Apollo, which is the Sun, we see a circle with a dot in the center, which remarkably is similar to the Rose above the Cross in the Crux Ansata, and is also associated with the central sphere of the Tree.

Thus, the Sun is the Rose, and is the Skull, which has risen above the Cross. It is the Head which has risen above the Four Elements, for those who have passed through the initiation of each element in succession; through Earth, Air, Water, and Fire.   To gain further insight into the meaning of this symbol, I would suggest to look at references to heads and beheadings in the Bible and in other sources.

For example, one of the major motifs of beheading comes from John the Baptist, who was decapitated by Herod. Common depictions of the head of St. John shows it being held on a platter. Interestingly, of the many things that the Grail has been discussed as being, it has been described as a platter. If one were to look back to the tree at where the Rose encircles the top six Sephiroth, if we look at its center point, where the head would be found on the platter, it reveals the location of a hidden Sphere, known as Da’at. This Sephirah, it has been said, does not appear until one has fully understood all the others on the tree first.. Uncannily, it would seem, in terms of the symbolism we are discussing relating to the head, Da’at in Hebrew means “Knowledge”.

image 11 treeimage 11 tree and head

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But of course it doesn’t end here. The four elements also correspond to four planes (or bodies) of existence that govern the tree. As was mentioned in the previous article, St. John represents Water, while the position of Christ is at the center plane of the tree, beneath Water, in the plane which relates to Air. The first plane, which is above Water, is of Fire, and the bottom, where we begin our journey, is of Earth. (See the example of the symbol of Venus side by side with the Tree above to visualize the separations of the planes).

There are unique qualities to each of the four elements that shed light on how they relate to each of the four planes, or bodies, that also make up the entirety of our own “trees”. Through experience, and over time, we will begin to see the relations between the elements and the planes and how they are involved with the ascent back “up” the tree.

To make sure we see: there are 4 elements, 4 planes (bodies), and 6 Sephiroth at the top of the tree touched by the circle. To do a little backtracking, 6 Sephiroth can also be found by moving the circle downward a step, placing Tiphareth (placement of Sun) in the center, rather than Da’at. From this position, we are at the center of the six classically-known planets, if we were to look at it from this perspective:

image 12 tree and hexagram

Thus here we find a hexagram –or star of David– at the center. Now, wasn’t it David who cut off the head of the giant, Goliath and the one who later brought his head to Jerusalem? Is there a connection between Goliath and Golgotha?

So in closing, at the place of the skull, it was the skull of Adam, the first “Man”, that was the prize which Melchizedek buried in the serpent’s den. For it was there where the serpent’s head also was crushed, beneath the hill where Christ was later Crucified.   Adam’s was the first skull, that which was of humanity prior to the fall, and yet it is also to be found in Earth.  For us, this is the place to begin, and yet as for the ineffable, (the Most High) it is the place where “his” emanation ends. For this reason, although they may have been some who considered it to be “terribilis”, it was never considered –by those who knew– to be anything less than glorious; and therefore, to be exalted, above every head.

image 13

 

Copyright 2014 by Hayward Gladwin

Other Articles by Hayward Gladwin:

A Demon, a Stone, and the Aspirant

The Tower of the Knights Templar

The Divine Origin of Nothing

A Masonic Meaning for January 17th?

 

 

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138 Responses

  1. Jenny Kile says:

    Thanks, Hayward, for such a wonderful journey! Loved it! You know I find such joy in exploring and I now have lots to do with the many connections you bring to attention.

    Great research and thanks again….

    (I’m sure I’ll have more to say/ask/comment once I absorb it all…:))

  2. lia says:

    Thanks Hayward for your intriquing view of humanities: interesting to read how you’ve merged secular, spiritual, art history, language, symbolism, etc. into a cohesive search for treasure and truth.

    • HaywardG says:

      Thank you Lia,
      Often, it seems, there is always something more to connect and always so much more to explain. I’m glad to offer even a brief glimpse here so that hopefully someone can get something out of it. Best-

  3. Nate Beck says:

    Fantastic article my friend! Bravo. 🙂

    I will offer some comment later.

    God speed

  4. Nate Beck says:

    Hayward!

    You have successfully solved many other clues as well. Such as were given on the Maranatha Puzzle site and that are present in the Rennes-le-Chateau church, such as ‘Virgin’s sign upon the skull’, why the sign of the cross, the angels of air and fire being above the statue of the devil, who represents earth.

    Concerning the Sephiroth of Da’ath, or Knowledge, I think you’ve done a splendid job of connecting that to the Tree of Knowledge and I think this has to do with the Philosopher’s Stone as well.

    In the Maranatha Puzzle, we are taught (and rightly so I believe) that the Philosopher’s Stone is merely a symbol of solid wisdom, perhaps a full realization of the Divine Plan! Where else is wisdom held than in the head, and the skull that holds it is a solidified vessel!

    On the cross, Jesus is thought to have called out for the prophet Elijah and John the Baptist was born to fulfill the next phase of Elijah’s ministry, which was ended when the prophet was taken to Heaven on a Divine chariot of fire and horses of fire.

    Duncan Burden has already made a connection with the story of Elijah in the Companion book, and in his Time Monk Project and Heretic Magazine articles by the following:

    1. David Tenier’s painting of ‘St. Anthony and St. Paul In the Desert being a dual depiction which also represents the prophets Elijah and Elisha in the Desert, which was it’s alternate title while at Shughborough Hall.

    2. Nicolas Poussin’s second portrait depicting him wearing a mantle or cloak across his shoulders, which speaks of the mantle of Elijah that his protege Elisha takes up after he is taken to heaven.

    3. The Biblical stories of Elijah and Elisha where they raise widow’s sons from the dead being the origin of the Freemasonic title and archetype of the son of the widow. Another thing to keep in mind here is that one of those children dies right at noon or midday after receiving some sort of head wound (there’s that head thing again), which I discussed in depth in my article The Midday Demon, which can be read on this site.

    So, I think we should keep those things in mind when trying to decipher the final clue of ‘By the Cross and this Horse of God I complete this demon or spirit guardian at midday’.

    Hayward, I honestly believe that you have probably gotten closer than anyone on what path we should follow in trying to solve the rest of this enigma. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts and articles in the future.

    Stay well and enlightened my friend.

    • HaywardG says:

      Thank you, Nate.

      It has all come about like a bird arriving in the sky, yet actually with much toil and endless research. There was something about the tomb in your article about its possibility of being the tomb of Hermes that I knew was right there- in fact the father of Pan, the only God to have died, thus his tomb in Arcadia.

      The Freemasons as I am sure you know have the best symbols relating to the Widow’s son and Midday, obviously because their self-identification as widow’s sons, but also because of the common use of the Plumb line (straight overhead, held from the unseen hand above), as well as the square, which rises perpendicular to Earth and straight up the same line as the Plumb. Thus, pointing to “Noon” on the clock, also directly pointing to the the highest point of the Sun, squared overhead. I wonder if you have in your research read George Steinmetz’s “The Lost Word–Its Hidden Meaning”, many of these ideas for me came about through this work of his.

      The Pythagorean Theorem also seems to play a role in this>>> and also possibly explaining the 3 degrees. When the square is “produced on the ground”, so to speak, we have the horizontal measure of 3 and the vertical measure of 4. When this is accomplished, the third side of the triangle is produced, “from above” or “on its own”, which completes the triangle back to the ground with the last measure of 5.

      Once, when I was taking a tour at a local lodge, one of the tour members asked the guide, “Is there any significance to the 3 lamps (candles) found only on 3 corners of the altar in the middle of the floor?” The guide answered: “Are you asking: is there any significance or relationship between the 3 and the 4? To ME there isn’t”. Maybe he just hadn’t passed the degree yet!

    • Maria Rigel says:

      Not everything on the Bible has an esoteric meaning. The story of the child that fell and hit his head just looks to me like the child had a bad concussion and the mother went into hysterics thinking that he had died because he fell unconscious and wasn’t reacting, but he was still alive and Elisha simply noticed that, and made sure that he stayed warm.

    • Maria Rigel says:

      “By the cross and this horse of God” means the Templar cross.

    • Maria Rigel says:

      The sign of the cross represents the four directions and the four elements, in order. The angels in the church of Rennes le Chateau represent the four elements.

    • Maria Rigel says:

      I think Tenier’s painting is relevant to understand ‘By the Cross and this Horse of God I complete this demon or spirit guardian at midday’. I don’t think the other couple of points you make are connected.

    • Maria Rigel says:

      Daath represents the “forbidden fruit”. It also represents the Abyss, which is the path that takes you to the Philosopher’s Stone. Strictly speaking, I’m fairly sure the Philosopher’s Stone is found on Yesod, and not Tiferet, as one might think.

  5. Nate Beck says:

    Also, Hayward, another thing I’d like to add which I feel is important, is to remember that Jesus wore a crown of thorns while on the cross.

    Roses have thorns, but Jesus’ head would represent the Rose, as you have explained.

    Now, here is a wild thought! And I’m really not sure what to do with this, but here goes.

    The serpent in Eden is half responsible for the Fall of Man and the ensuing curse, which Genesis chapter one tells us would result in the earth bearing thistles and thorns! So here we have a relationship between serpents and thorns.

    Let’s go back to the Horse of God mystery.

    In Greek myth, the most famous divine horse is Pegasus. The legends tell us that Pegasus was miraculously born from the blood of Medusa after Perseus chops off her HEAD. As soon as he was born, Pegasus mounts up to Heaven, but not before his hoof strikes a rock on a MOUNTAIN which was Helicon, where a spring wells up called Hippocrene, which means Horse Spring.

    It was said that those who drank from this spring would receive poetic inspiration or genius of the Muses- hence wisdom. If one studies the document The Red Serpent veeeery carefully, this story is alluded to when it mentions the shoes of one horse leaving four imprints on the rock!!!

    Now how in the hell are we supposed to connect these?:

    Medusa’s hair of serpents
    Christ’s crown of thorns
    A serpent on the cross
    Flamel’s Rose Tree growing on a hollow dead oak tree, from whence flows a white fountain and stream
    Hermes’ caduceus
    Hippocrene
    Elijah’s mantle
    Divine Horses

    etc.

    Hayward, I think you’ve written an excellent article that lights the way!

    • Maria Rigel says:

      The Red Serpent alludes to the painting “Heliodorus expulsion from the Temple”, rather than the myth of Pegasus.

    • Maria Rigel says:

      You are trying to connect an awful lot of things that may not be directly connected. I think both Hermes’ caduceus and Elijah’s mantle refer to the highest levels (master mason, corresponding to elements air and earth). Apart from that, I don’t think there are direct connections between all the other things you mention.

    • Maria Rigel says:

      I have some better idea now about how some of these things are connected.

      Flamel’s oak tree is the Tree of Life. The serpent on the cross may represent the lightning described by joining the nodes of the Tree of Life in order, but I’m not sure of that.

      Flamel’s rose bush has all the roses (geometrical figures, such as the hexagram and the square). The hexagram can be used to cover the Tree of Life, that’s why the rose tree is growing on the oak tree.

      The fountain and the stream coming from the Tree of Life are the underground stream. The Hippocrene is probably one representation of the underground stream.

      Hermes’ caduceus is not connected directly with the above.

      Medusa’s hair of serpents is how Hermes’ caduceus and the Tree of Life look like to a beginner magician. You can’t make sense of it, that’s why Medusa is a monster.

      All of the above are divine horses.

      Elijah’s mantle is what covers all of the above.

      I’m still not sure about Christ’s crown of thorns.

  6. Nate Beck says:

    Oh yeah, I’m definitely familiar with George Steinmetz’ work 🙂

    Anyone interested in Masonry should read that book! The info you’ve given on the Pythagorean Theorem is vital I believe.

    Remember when Duncan Burden described the Key as “the properties of two of the three shapes listed can produce the perfect form of the third”? That not only applies to the Key, but more famously to the Pythagorean Theorem, where two of the three squares together form the third one, as the squares and circle of the Key form the perfect tilted 45 degree Hexagram. Mr. Burden was referring to two things at once here, so there’s that duality thing again 🙂

    • HaywardG says:

      Hi Nate-

      Duncan’s description of the key, as you mention, feels highly apt here. It also reminded me of something thought previously about the 3-4-5 of the Pythagorean Theorem relating to 6-8-1(0). Let me know when you see it.

      I’v been prone towards Pegasus being a likely candidate as the horse of God, based also on looking at it’s constellation and the main, or “great”, shape of it in the sky. Your connection to Medusa and Perseus (whom is often equated with one of my favorite figures, Mithras), is fantastic.

      The other I have been fixed on was Abraxas, one of the immortal horses of Helios, and also the name of the Gnostic deity. In Delacroix’s painting at St. Sulpice, it is titled “The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple”. Heliodorus, meaning “Gift of the Sun”.

      In relation- it has been said that one of the oldest Saints in Christianity was St. Elias, or St. Elijah, as you mention, too. “Helios”, “Elias”, Elijah, Ilya, etc. seem all to have the same root “Eli”- close to the meaning of “high”, “ascending”, or “the one who ascends”. Helios rides his chariot of the Sun each day, just as Elijah goes up to “Heaven on a Divine chariot of fire and horses of fire.”

      In other places, I have seen very old Byzantine frescoes with images of trees- and at the very top is the Virgin (Mary) as well as a male figure along side, who is discovered to be St. Elijah. At first I couldn’t see the connection, but now it makes much more sense. You are so right in stating that the prime source material for the Kabbalah is the Bible.

      I wanted to add– that Mary and St. Elijah -in these frescoes- were surrounded by curious “angels” with six wings each. Their name, and its meaning, might reveal something important about the serpent and especially the “brazen serpent” raised by Moses in the wilderness. They are also referred to in the Maranatha book, however in an English translation of their name.

  7. Mark says:

    I love the way that you have the “T” circled on the square stones (rough ashlers) as a way of helping to make your point. This was an extremely well thought out article, and I’m not only impressed with many of your conclusions, but the fact that a lot of these things never even occurred to me until you mentioned them. Great work!

    The Egyption “Ankh” is supposed to represent the understanding for a “Key,” and I like the way that you tied the whole understanding together with the Tau as representing the shoulders, axis mundi (as it relates to earth), the elements, etc. Then you add the circle representing the head to get the understanding for the “Ankh” (key).

    In fact, I even like some of the points that you made in regards to “Adam” & the “skull.” I find that conclusion to be an accurate one, in many ways.

    In fact, my own understanding for who Adam is based on the prophesies of “Sodom & Gommora” which I believe are actually a reference to the volcanic eruptions which occurred at Pompeii & Herculanian.

    What I’m trying to say is that “Adam” is actually dead & is encased in stone, a victim of the volcanic eruption because he ate of the forbidden fruit (the rose). Thank you for clarifying that for me. It never occurred to me that the flower might be a rose (rose of Sharon.”

    “I charge you oh daughters (Baths) of Jerusalem not to awaken my love before she stirs.”

    This is actually a reference to the bath houses in Pompeii, most notably the Lupinar (Den of she wolves) where customers committed acts of fortification while bathing in “flower water.” flowers were added to baths because they were associated with Aphrodite.

    Notice that the moment that Adam committed the sin, what is mentioned in Genesis;

    “The Ground shook.”

    That brings us to Isaiah 14, which explains the relevance of “Adam.” The Hebrew word “Adam” is interpreted as meaning “man.” However, the word “man” which is used in Isaiah is not mentioned as “Adam” but just as “man,” but asks us to guess “which man” they are referring to; I’ve placed words in Italics to explain the mystery of what is trying to be said;

    Isaiah 14:

    Hell from beneath (volcano) is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming (the tourists). it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.

    All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak (as we? (Herculanium), art thou become like unto us?

    Thy pomp (Pompeii) is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.

    How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning *! how art thou cut down to the ground (Herculanium), which didst weaken the nations!

    For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount (Olympus) of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

    I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

    Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

    They that see (the tourists) thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the MAN that made the earth to tremble that did shake kingdoms;

    Who made the world like a wilderness And overthrew its cities, Who did not allow his prisoners to go home?’

    “All the kings of the nations lie in glory, Each in his own tomb.

    “But you have been cast out of your tomb Like a rejected branch, Clothed with the slain who are pierced with a sword, Who go down to the stones of the pit Like a trampled corpse.

    “You will not be united with them in burial, Because you have ruined your country, You have slain your people. May the offspring of evildoers not be mentioned forever.

    It’s difficult for others who are not New Agers to understand the relevance of the verses. In fact, I used to actually drink “flower water” because New Agers think that it represents a source of what’s referred to as “lifetrons.”

    But the next day, after drinking the flower water, I was working back in the Pasteur, and I got a really bad case of “chiggers.” I haven’t gotten them since I was a kid. That’s when it occurred to me “The plague of Lice (chiggers) mentioned in The Bible.

    Likewise, Mount Olympus is the home to some of the most beautiful flowers in the world. Notice what is mentioned:

    “Is this the man (Adam) that made the earth to shake …” Basically, that’s the same as saying that “Adam caused” the volcano to quake. The proof of the acts of treachery committed by these men at Pompeij is hanging right on their walls, “paintings depicting Satyrs having sex with nymphs, the spirits believed to reside in flowers.”

    The Romans actually believed that by bathing in “flower water,” they could become “as Gods.” But they, as Adam, ate of the “forbidden fruit,” not even aware of the fact that such a sin can actually cause the ground to shake

    • Maria Rigel says:

      I think it’s interesting how Isaiah 14 identifies Babylon with Lucifer, son of the morning. Now, Lucifer is the morning star, or Venus. Is it saying that the Babylonians worshiped Venus?

      I also remember that Solomon didn’t build Jerusalem, he conquered it. Did he conquer it from the Babylonians, I wonder? And in the process learn from them everything they knew about Venus?

    • Maria Rigel says:

      It’s also interesting that Lucifer sat on a throne in the North. The journey begins with Venus, and it also begins on the North, the place of darkness.

    • Maria Rigel says:

      I don’t think the ankh is connected with the tau (different peoples, different writing systems). And I don’t think either is connected with the earth element or the cross inside a circle. They’re just separate symbols.

      • HaywardG says:

        Here, you can educate yourself a little on the common description of the composite nature of the Crux Ansata, or Ankh. Since you seem to like quick google searches. (But are you going to tell me that there is no connection between the Crux Ansata and the Ankh because one language is Latin and the other Egyptian?)

        http://symboldictionary.net/?p=641
        http://www.holoweb.net/~liam/pictures/ankh/ankh.html
        http://gnosticwarrior.com/the-true-cross.html

        By the way, you know that the ancient Greeks and Egyptians had contact with each other at some point in history right? You are wrongly looking into speculative dates of origin, when you should be looking into their composite meaning. The meaning later understood through these symbols was based on a shared, mutually-developed understanding, not an exclusive translation based on cultural ownership. Symbols represent ideas, they are not trademarks.

        • Maria Rigel says:

          I do understand that sometimes symbols may get additional layers of meaning that they didn’t have originally. But one thing I keep coming across, said by people knowledgeable on these matters, is that the meaning of esoteric symbols tends to change little over time, less than for symbols in the public knowledge. When knowledge is secret, people are more afraid of change, because there is a real risk that the tradition is lost altogether. Besides, the knowledge of what’s really significant in the symbol isn’t public, so people who aren’t the highest initiates are afraid of changing anything, in case they change something important.

    • Maria Rigel says:

      One thing I’ve found recently is that so-called books of prophecy (like Revelations, the prophecies of Nostradamus, even the Mothman prophecies) are often in fact books with specific instructions and/or historical facts.

  8. RUBYFELIXIR says:

    Why do you BECK and you HAYWARD assume that DJB knows anything that is not already known about the painting? Maybe the Book Puzzle is that proof, but who but DJB can prove that. What if what he thinks he knows, is wrong? All you are doing then is working hard to prove something that is wrong. How do you know that DJB is right? I remain unconvinced by anything that DJB has written that can be read in an honest manner at face value in clear terms.

    • HaywardG says:

      Hi Ruby-

      Its a good question- and clearly one has to go out of the context of the book actually to find “proof”. As for myself and the ideas presented, they come from outside the book, from my own experience and research. However, I am always amazed at how the context of what I am seeing compares with, and seems to be supported by, what Duncan and the Maranatha group wrote- as well as their research. For me, these clues are additional supporters.

      In general though, I think the subject is much larger than any one person or entity, maybe there are some people really know, maybe nobody knows— it’s all speculation. For my own work, you can take out the references to Maranatha and the research still stands on its own. Since this is a puzzle discussion site and I feel that Duncan is definitely on to something, it is necessary to bring these two together, and hopefully strengthen the ideas presented.

      Its all a matter of what you find to be true. I personally believe that Duncan’s work is true, from what I’ve discovered. The proof, for me, is mostly in the monthly clues and statements made in both books. There are other items in the book that I’ve discovered that mostly relate to what has been publicly released. A tilted hexagram in the second image of the Maranatha book, for example. I think that besides disputing over who said what– and who is claiming to be right or wrong— which I personally do not care one iota about– the form in the image is definitely there. It is also in the RLC 1st parchment (found through research aided by Paul Karren), as well as in many of Rembrandt’s works. I think this is the next point to where we should focus our attention- as to its symbolism and what it means. Duncan didn’t invent it, Plantard didn’t invent it, Poussin didn’t invent it- but they are referring to it, always in a hidden fashion. Why? What could it mean?

  9. Nate Beck says:

    Hi RUBYFELIXIR,

    I obviously cannot speak for others, like Hayward or Mark in what or why they might feel about Mr. Burden’s work, but I will most certainly answer for myself and why I believe what I believe.

    First, you must understand that I am a student of the Bible. The only reason I ever got into Alchemy, Freemasonry, Rennes-le-Chateau or any of that stuff is because of my Biblical studies. I will always be a student of the Bible first and foremost, before I’m a student or researcher of Alchemy, Freemasonry the Grail or anything else.

    And that leads me to why I (unlike so many cynics) remain so optimistic and respectful toward Mr. Burden and all he has written. You see, the reasons why I don’t have a problem with the man includes, but is not limited to, the following:

    1. So much of what he has revealed is confirmed directly from the Bible itself. The geometry, significance of symbols and other things he has shared can be found right in the Bible and in Kabbalah texts. Having an outside source that confirms any author’s work is important, and he certainly has it here!

    2. He is the ONLY one in the history of Rennes-le-Chateau researchers who has been able to successfully explain the meaning of PAX 681.

    3. In old Masonic rituals that certainly predate anything Duncan Burden published, one can find constant confirming information as regards the Key as revealed by him. In Royal Arch and Cryptic Masonry rituals, which can be purchased by anyone, one can find many things about the hexagram and geometry and their link to a lost treasure.

    4. Masonic symbols in Nicolas Poussin’s painting. Anyone who studies Masonic ritual in depth as I have can find many Masonic symbols in Poussin’s painting, such as the sign of the Apprentice’ foot on the rough ashlar, Lady Wisdom (based on Proverbs 3) resting her hand between his shoulders (based on Deuteronomy 33), finger gestures which hold Masonic import, etc etc.

    5. The uniqueness and perfection of the geometrical design itself. I’ve studied sacred geometry for a good while and NO ONE has ever come up with any kind of simple, but intricate, design such as the Key revealed by Mr. Burden.

    So these are my five main reasons why I keep holding on and have no beef with Mr. Duncan J. Burden. Thanks for your time and consideration RUBYFELIXIR.

    Be well,

    Best regards,

    Nate W. Beck

    • Maria Rigel says:

      It’s interesting what Proverbs 3:18 has to say about wisdom: “She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.”

    • Maria Rigel says:

      That Duncan has offered some explanation for PAX 681 doesn’t mean that he and the team that did Maranatha are the only ones that understand its meaning. He’s said pretty openly that this is rather high-level Masonic stuff, in other words, things that only Master Masons or maybe only Royal Arch Masons know. I’m pretty sure that more people know, it’s just that they’re not telling.

      As for the geometric key that he revealed, it isn’t his discovery, it’s part of the standard Masonic geometry. I’ve found it in other Masonic pages not connected with him.

      As for “simple but intricate design”… well, it depends on your taste and what you know about them. Sacred geometry is my strong suit, and I’ve found quite a lot that impresses me more than this geometric key. Among the simple ones, I’d choose the flower of life and the enneagram.

      But as a starting point to the quest, I recommend the straight (upwards) and inverted pentagram, and the four pentagrams pointing to each of the cardinal points.

  10. Nate Beck says:

    Hayward,

    I’m not about to let your article here fade into obscurity or take a backseat to Forrest Fenn lol.

    I would like to remind you that I think this article solves another huge part of the Rennes-le-Chateau mystery. You really have done a top notch job of research and deciphering here!

    I am working on the hypothesis that what the Holy Grail is happens to be the human skull itself! Taking that as a springboard, I find that even more of the clues from the documents associated with the Priory of Sion make alot more sense, especially many things spoken of in Le Serpent Rouge. Also, I believe I have solved the ‘Horse of God’ clue and why this has to do with legends of Pegasus and the fountain Hippocrene and the Muses.

    I’m working on an article and would like to tie it with yours here if that’s okay?

    One last thing I’d like to add here is that even the Knights Templar were accused of worshiping idol heads!

    Thanks Hayward

    • HaywardG says:

      Hi Nate-

      I am excited to read your hypothesis on the Horse of God and the Holy Grail. Tie it in with the research here, totally ok with me. The only thing I’m interested in is finding, or mercifully seeing, the Truth!

      And also of course Baphomet in the Atbash cipher comes out to Sofia/Wisdom! The ancient “philo”-sophers were lovers of Sofia, lovers of Wisdom. There is also a nice connection between the Sephiroth: Chokhmah (Wisdom), Binah (Understanding), and the hidden Da’at (Knowedge).

      Maybe another reason to raise that head up there!

      There is a nice “inverted” symbolism to this head business also that I may write about sometime in the future.

      Looking forward—-

    • Maria Rigel says:

      I don’t think the Holy Grail is a human skull, but it relates to something that has been compared to a human skull.

  11. Nate Beck says:

    Thank you Hayward,

    You mention Sophia, which links to what I want to discuss in my next article- the connection between Pegasus and the 9 (note that number!) Muses of Mt. Helicon.

    I also would like to apologize for implying that I have anything against Forrest Fenn’s treasure hunt. Although I have no interest in that particular subject, I think it has as much going for it in the wisdom and knowledge and philosophy department as anything else. I just don’t want the other Grail/Masonic/Kabbalah department suffer lack of attention that I think it well deserves. But that’s my insecurity lol, for which i apologize.

    Looking forward to sharing and learning more,

    Thanks to everyone here

  12. Maria Rigel says:

    I disagree with the conclusions of this article.

    I think the skull most likely represents a dome, ie the heavens. While the rose is most certainly the hexagram. And the only association of both with the Sun is that the Sun is used to represent the centre. But the main association of the Sun is the Templar Cross.

    As for the cross, it isn’t the same thing as the tomb. The tomb is best understood as a crypt, ie a secret. The cross marks the centre, the spot where the treasure may be found.

    • haywardg says:

      Its important not to get too “absolutist” when making associations with the symbols. Several different symbols in certain contexts could all mean the same thing, whereas in other cases the same symbol can mean different things. In addition, we are each approaching these ideas with a subjective frame of mind, so we also face the risk of being led by what we want to believe or see, or being led by the sense of wanting our initial suspicions to be correct. I’m only interested in truth. If you have it, great. Please continue.

      If these symbols mean something different to you, then by all means, please expand on your ideas and share with the rest of us. Many of us here are working from the hypothetical, we speak conclusively only when making what appears to be a definite bridge between ideas.

      For example, when you speak about the skull representing “a dome, ie the heavens”, I would have to both agree and disagree, since I can appreciate the possibility of the dome of the skull somehow representing the dome of the sky or zodiac, but I don’t see anything that substantiates this idea. Perhaps the dome of the rock placed over the place of the skull (Golgotha), but why would the dome above and the skull below be the same? There is, most likely, a skull “above” and “below” (and this is indicated in the article with the head of John the Baptist), but we have to work up to that.

      Also, with the observation that “the rose is most certainly the hexagram”, how do you figure? A hexagram has 6 points, a rose, 5. Now, I would agree with saying that the Rose relates to the hexagram, but I would strongly hesitate is stating that it is one and the same. Because, there is another flower which is often associated with the hexagram, and with Isis, and that is the Lily. The lily has six petals. One is white, the other is red. One represents the heavenly Mother (Virgo/Isis) and the other the Earthly mother (Venus/Gaia).

      As for the Templar Cross, who is to say that it is a Solar symbol or an Earthly symbol, or both? The solar cross is often depicted as an equal armed cross held within a circle, such as the celtic cross. But, this is what I actually think the Templar cross means: the four elements: Earth, Air, Water, Fire combined to produce the fifth (which is marked by the center, and I would agree- where lies a treasure). It is red since it is the elixir of life, as well as the color of the life force of the human= blood. The message = the treasure is within you.

      Which brings us to the next issue, of the tomb. Yes, the tomb is the crypt, where the secret is kept, but what you are missing is it’s connection to the four elements, and thus to Earth, the beginning point where we find ourselves appearing in this life, at the bottom of the tree in Malkuth/Assiah. This is the secret in the crypt: don’t go looking for “Sleeping Beauty” out there in the heavens just yet, because she lies here sleeping in the crypt, which is of Earth, which in alchemy is your own physicality.

      The skull also plays with the death motif, as you pointed out, “obviously”. And it references a similar idea: that, after mortal existence, something remains. This thing that remains is twofold. One aspect is about what is being housed in the Earth/Tomb (a place to keep dead things) and is kept there, since in our waking lives, it is now dead (or at least dormant). The second is with death and the Skull. What does the skull ultimately refer to? In biblical lore, the place of the Skull (Golgotha) is the place of the crucifixion (interesting: why is there a cross placed on this mound of Earth?), but also it is where a particular skull was buried. You can see it in many icons of the crucifixion scene. The story is that the skull of Adam (Yes, that one from Eden) was buried there. The blood (red) from the sacrifice of the crucifixion runs down and flows over the skull.

      Or you can look at the images of Mary Magdalene and the skull? What does Mary Magdalene represent? Well, there are two Mary’s, no? The Mother Mary and the bride Mary. In Kabbalah, Mother Mary would be the Supernal Mother, and Magdalene the Inferior Mother (actually one is not “higher” or “better’ than the other- it is simply a way of showing the structure of the tree). The inferior mother is Malkuth, the “Earthly Kingdom”. And then, so what? The Bride or Mother of the Earthly Kingdom again is shown in association with the Skull in similar fashion to how it is described with the four elements of Earth.

      When I wrote this article (and the earlier, first part of it) almost a year ago, I tried to put aside my personal convictions and to look at what these elements seemed to be saying. Looking back, I still think they stand firm. The article cites at least 3 instances wherein the symbol of the Skull is referencing an image of the Solar center. But to simply state that Skull = Sun, yes is hard to swallow all at once. There are a string of steps between these two ideas that have to made to make the connection perfectly clear. On one hand there is the Skull of Adam, meaning the “once divine nature of humanity”, and the other with the Solar center of the Tree of Life, which is Tiphareth.

      You see, when one reaches Tiphareth, this is supposedly where one’s “lower self” combines with, yet becomes in service to, their “higher self”. The narrative here is that the “higher self” is this “once divine, yet now dead Skull of Adam” which is placed in this very Earth wherein we presently live. We saw that in Guercino’s first painting it was Apollo flaying Marsyas. Apollo= god of the sun, but also the God of reason (connection to the head?). But, he updated the painting with a second version. Probably since the idea of the Solar Apollo being the point of ascension was not entirely sufficient. To bring in the symbol of the skull, of pertaining to the subject of mortality and the afterlife, therein was something different.

      Et in Arcadia Ego. Arcadia, as many have suggested, is another version of EDEN. Eden was the place where Adam and Eve were expelled from. It would make sense that the skull of Adam at Golgotha would find its place next to the Arcadian myth as well.

      These are my thoughts and have come about to this conclusion after several years of study and struggle. If you have something else that appears more convincing based on your convictions, please share it, I’m only interested in the truth.

      • Maria Rigel says:

        The Templar Cross is definitely not the four elements combined. That’s the Holy Grail. The Templar cross is the Sun. That’s why it’s red like the setting sun.

      • Maria Rigel says:

        I’ll make a couple more points:

        I agree that the lily probably also represents the hexagram.

        Sleeping Beauty is actually in the heavens. It’s Betelgeuse. But I accept that she’s also buried.

        What is in the tomb is a secret. It isn’t really dead, but it’s dormant.

        Magdalene, when represented in a Rosacrucian context, is associated with a talking skull because she’s associated with the Holy Grail.

      • Maria Rigel says:

        To relate the skull to the sun, you start from letter R, that stands for “rose” in RC=Rose-Cross. And you find connections between letter R and “head”, therefore skull. The problem is that a single letter, like a single number, is likely to have connections to almost any concept you want to pick. So, unless you have proof that, in a Rosacrucian context, there are associations between letter R and a skull, you can’t make that connection.

        • HaywardG says:

          Just because one doesn’t understand something doesn’t mean it is automatically incorrect.

          When I write what I’ve researched and considered at length, it is almost always supported by more than one example (several examples usually) to carry forward the possibility of it’s meaning

          But, if you need to review the article yet again, you can see that I approached it from another angle, using the Labarum in comparison with the SKULL and crossbones. P (Greek ‘r’, derivative of Phonecian ‘resh’ meaning ‘head’) compared with the placement of the skull. Then, the X (Greek ‘chi’, Phoenician ‘tav”) compared with the cross of bones. If you don’t see it, sorry.

          So, I think I have a perfectly sound reason for ‘making that connection’, with or without proof in a Rosacrucian context, even when it is clear, to me at least, that there is much more than one Mystery School being shown in this painting, considering also Duncan’s findings on the subject pertaining to Masonic symbols.

          You can see that Poussin even included the symbol on the tomb if you look at the highlighted circle in the image at the end of the article. Now compare this with the Red-cloaked figure’s head being ‘crossed over’ by his staff right next to it. Furthermore, look at the first image before the article (I book ended the article with these two), with the crack in the tomb going up to the skull from the ‘A’ and making a “T” with the tomb top-edge. Poussin did said he was careless about nothing, after all.

          • Maria Rigel says:

            Not only the head of the shepherd dressed in red is cut through a line (in this case the staff). Other significant lines in the painting cut through the head of the other shepherds. I describe this on a comment in “The secret star in the Maranatha puzzle”. But I interpret this to mean that revealing secrets “kill” the shepherds. I’ve encountered this in other paintings, also by other artists.

          • Maria Rigel says:

            It’s possible that Poussin was trying to put there a Tau. But I doubt that the crux ansata that you seem to see there was intended.

            • HaywardG says:

              It would depend on what your opinion of Poussin is. If you think he is either informed, not informed, or unaware of what he was doing. I don’t think he was unaware. To imagine that he would paint a Tau cross into the painting and then haphazardly manage to produce a circle-like shape right above it (which would mean that he somehow subconsciously or unintentionally created several different tones of paint, cleaning the brush each time, to work in one specific area of the painting to produce that shape), that actually does sound odd to me.

              • Maria Rigel says:

                It isn’t even a full circle, it’s more like two horns.

                And the thing is, he was drawing a nine-pointed star as part of his design, and one of the lines goes right there, and he also was drawing a perpendicular, making that Tau. Then he had to eliminate the lines of the star, which probably created some funny shadows. Not to mention that his original design might have been something a bit different, and he would have to paint over it.

          • Maria Rigel says:

            The skull and crossbones is quite obviously a symbol of death, and I don’t think anybody intended a connection with chi-ro.

            • HaywardG says:

              They would appear to derive out of a similar concept, and yet also they are visually similar.

              “Death” is your standard, common, present definition of the symbol, without much awareness of where it comes from.

              It is a Templar motif.

              http://www.crystalinks.com/skullsidon.html

              “He returned at the appointed time, opened the grave again and found a head on the leg bones of the skeleton (skull and crossbones). The same voice bade him ‘guard it well, for it would be the giver of all good things’, and so he carried it away with him.”

              “For it would be the giver of all good things”.
              “In this sign you will conquer”?

              • HaywardG says:

                And here is further issue to consider.
                The two letters of the Labarum: “Chi” & “Rho”

                The “Chi” is an “x” whose origin is the Tav (Tau). Thus, a cross.
                The “Rho” can be associated with the Rose of (Rho)des.

                If we flip their orientation we have Rho Chi, or Rose Tau, or Rose Cross.

                In Hebrew, “Chi-Rho” equates to “Tav-Resh”. The form of the ancient Tav is what in English we would call an “X”. As described in the article, “Resh” is “head”.

      • Maria Rigel says:

        And another thing: even if you can find valid connections between the sun and head (which I’m willing to accept), that doesn’t mean the connection is valid for a skull. The symbolic connotations of a living head and a skull are quite different.

        • Haywardg says:

          You’re now seeing the apparent duality. All you need to do now is to put all of it together. Living? Dead? What difference IS there? Or, what difference is THERE?

      • Maria Rigel says:

        As far as I’ve worked out, Rosacrucians have two main female figures: Venus and the Moon. Venus is associated with the pentagram, the Moon with the hexagram. In terms of flowers, I’m fairly sure Venus was associated with the apple blossom and the forget-me-not. The Moon is associated with the lily and the white rose. But I don’t think the flower connections are particularly strong and they can shift.

      • Maria Rigel says:

        The rose of the Rosacrucians is white and then turns red with blood.

      • Maria Rigel says:

        I’m quite sure that what’s housed in the Earth/tomb is a message.

      • Maria Rigel says:

        The first of the elements isn’t earth, but water. The water of the river Styx, that you cross to get to the underworld (where the dead are).

      • Maria Rigel says:

        Magdalene most definitely is not Malkuth. It’s Yesod.

      • Maria Rigel says:

        The skull is associated with death, and therefore with night and the usual associations of the night: the starry sky (that may even be thought of as the same thing as the dome of a skull) and the moon. The skull is most definitely not associated with the sun, except if you are talking about the Black Sun, which is the sun when it goes to the underworld (below the horizon) during the night.

  13. Maria Rigel says:

    On second thoughts, the skull is more likely to represent the obvious, namely death, the end of the journey. Still, nothing to do with the rose or the Sun.

  14. Nate Beck says:

    I would have to agree with Hayward on this one. It would make zero sense for the Hexagram to be represented by the rose, for as Hayward points out, Roses are Pentagonal not Hexagonal. The best candidate in nature to represent the Hexagram would be water because frozen water has Hexagonal structure and snow flakes are Hexagonal as well.

    But, I also agree with maria that the cross can be seen as a solar motif/symbol

    Great thoughts you guys.

    • Maria Rigel says:

      Roses are symbolically flowers of many petals, as much as needed to reflect the issue. That’s why the rose of winds has eight or sixteen petals. In a Rosacrucian context, I’m sure the rose is a hexagram because the hexagram combined with a square can also be seen as a hexagram and a cross.

      The hexagram also gets represented as water, that’s true.

      • Haywardg says:

        The Rosacrucian rose is five because it represents the four elements, combined with the quintessence, producing the climb to next figure numerically, which is a six for the hexagram. The Axiom of Maria.

        • Maria Rigel says:

          The pentagram that eventually was represented as a rose of five petals is a symbol for Venus, and I’m fairly sure it was already before the four elements got a fifth added, when Platonic solids were discovered.

          As for the rose being an hexagram or pentagram, I’ve come to the conclusion that the rose is used to represent all geometric stars with any number of points.

          • HaywardG says:

            Lets start with your supposition that the pentagram, or five-pointed star, was originally a symbol for Venus, and at one time had no association with the four elements, combined with the Quintessence. Most descriptions of the relationship between Venus and the Pentagram will describe a phenomenon witnessed through five consecutive synodic periods of Venus in its inferior conjunction between Earth and the Sun, an event that takes place at intervals approximately 584 days between each, and takes approximately eight years to complete in total. Although some have stated that one can start with any date to begin the count of this cycle,it would appear that not every beginning point will create a regular, or perfect, pentagram. Instead, such as shown in James Ferguson’s “Astronomy Explained Upon Sir Isaac Newton’s Principles” 1799, the regular pentagram is found in the conjunction of Earth and Venus together. An example of this is shown here: https://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/AstronNotes/Earth-Venus.htm

            So, even though there could be the possibility that before Plato, as you described, people associated this shape with Venus, there are two problems with this theory.

            First, is that the association is dependent upon a specific astronomical observation, one that apparently was not recorded earlier that Newton, or perhaps even Kepler. (Even though it is likely proven that through the sophisticated observations of the ancients, they would be capable of this).

            Second, the association is also dependent upon the relationship between the Earth AND Venus, and not necessarily Venus independently. Therefore, a proper conclusion might be that the pentagram has a symbolic and unifying association between the two, describing a harmony between Venus and Earth. If we are to credit the ancients with the capability of observing such phenomenon accurately, then I would assume they would also be capable of observing this fact, and thus would not have taken this fact lightly.

            In terms of a cosmological or metaphysical meaning, it would be correct to credit the ancient Greeks with this knowledge, as we might note that the term “pentagram” itself stems from classical Greek.

            Many have pointed out how the form might have held significance to the human form: Head, arms, and legs.

            The Pythagoreans most certainly saw a reflection of the Golden Ratio in the pentagram.

            For the purpose of this discussion, the Pentagram was used to describe the development of a concept that pertains to classic Hermetic ideas, introduced mainly through ideas introduced by the Platonic school, and carried forth later by groups such as the Rosicrucians. So, for the sake of this discussion, it bears no value to introduce extraneous concepts since it would not address the meaning or value that they held in relation to the symbol or form. The basis for these schools was that the balance of the four elements, with the further development of the fifth, would produce the perfect human. If these ideas are not familiar to those outside of the realm of these teachings, it is only then a state of ignorance which separates their meaning from the individual in question.

    • Maria Rigel says:

      I don’t mean just any cross is the sun, I say a Templar cross. A cross can also be associated with the air element.

  15. HaywardG says:

    Hi Nate- interesting thought about water and the hexagon. Will ponder that one over.
    The cross has definitely been used as a solar motif, and commonly shown as a cross within a circle. Then we have the exact same symbol (cross in a circle) used as the Astrological symbol for earth. Referring back to the Templar cross, whose arms do radiate in such a way as to suggest forming a circle around its edges, I did some research last night and its interesting to see that some writers see its origin as the Assyrian sun cross. But, images I’ve seen of this are also a cross in a circle. It also has bands radiating outward like an “x” from the center, along with the arms of the cross. The circle, in addition, is a vital distinction and having one either present or not can not, in my mind, lend itself to the same reading of the symbol.

    Good conversation. Hope to hear more.

  16. Maria Rigel says:

    One final point: the Sun doesn’t represent the final stage after all the initiations. It’s the first stage. And I’m pretty sure it isn’t the rose.

    The skull is the final stage. And in terms of planets, it’s Saturn.

    I know I’m being awkward here giving tidbits of information here and there, instead of just saying all I know in one coherent whole. The reason I do this, is because I have found convincing evidence of information being actively suppressed. I have some notions about why (and they are convincing reasons), but I don’t know with certainty. What is clear is that the rule of the game is that you are allowed to hint, but you aren’t allowed to give all the information in one go. So that’s what I’m doing.

    And I’m not claiming that I’ve figured it all yet. I think I’m about a third of the way. And I’m possibly being optimistic.

    • HaywardG says:

      I know the game well, its a game of cat and mouse wherein a person shouldn’t reveal too much because its a competition to see who knows more than the other. One wants to hint that they know the answer as bait to see if the other gives something away, but then reciprocally is perhaps not entirely sure of their own position to risk revealing that maybe their knowledge is not so solid.

      As for suppressing or revealing information, I’m willing to take a risk and to say exactly what I think the truth is simply for the reason that the truth is more important than any one person’s need to save face.

      Besides, it is impossible to say all that one “knows” in one coherent whole. The mystery is complex, and it is not easily explained through means such as reason. This is not a “reasonable” subject. It is, in fact, quite “unreasonable” and has as much to do with solar reason as does it with lunar reason, the sub- or un- consciousness.

      • Maria Rigel says:

        I’m absolutely convinced that all the parts fit into a coherent whole. Some of them may be just little details, though, and only important for a particular person or context. But I’m sure that there is a process with definite steps that have to be taken in the right order, and the main stages are consistent throughout.

  17. Haywardg says:

    We might have just crossed over each other, but I just made statement to the same thing on the Demon/stone thread about Saturn. Of course, Kabbalastically speaking, Saturn is above the Sun sui there should be no inference that it is the final step. They say that figure representative of the Sun in Tiphareth is a sacrificial figure, address afterall.

  18. Maria Rigel says:

    On the question of whether Poussin was a Rosacrucian: I think he revealed it, quite clearly, on the painting “The empire of Flora”, that you can see here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Poussin,_Nicolas_-_The_Empire_of_Flora_-_1631.jpg

    Look at the figure to the left. He’s supposed to be Ajax, a Greek warrior that killed himself by falling on his sword and became a flower. There are a lot of things to note here:

    1. The sword looks like a cross, and the flower is a white rose. The rose and the cross.

    2. The flower that Ajax became according to the myth wasn’t a rose, but a knight’s spur (Consolida ajacis), that doesn’t look much like a rose. It’s possible that Poussin didn’t know which flower it was, though he seems extremely well versed on Greek mythology in all his paintings. But the real clue is in the helmet. It has wings, and that tells us he’s Hermes. In fact, if you look more closely, you’ll see that what’s on the helmet is a sphinx.

    3. He’s in a rather strange position. It’s justifiable because he’s ostensibly falling, but it turns out that he fits quite accurately inside a figure of sacred geometry centered on his navel, that you can also find in the Maranatha book, in the fourth image (the one with the king at the centre).

    4. His blood is about to fall directly on the white rose, which would turn it red. Oscar Wilde, a known freemason, wrote a short story called “The nightingale and the rose” that has the same theme of a rose coloured red with the blood of a self-sacrifice. The story is full of esoteric references. You can read it online here:

    http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/NigRos.shtml

    5. The wound is in the same position that Christ’s wound by the lance is normally represented, except that it’s on the left side, rather than the right side. This reminds me of the 14th station of the cross in the church of Renne le Chateau, where the wound is also on Christ’s left side:

    http://www.benhammott.com/14-rennes-le-chateau-station-cross-14.html

    This shows that the white rose is the chalice of Christ’s blood, in other words, the Holy Grail.

  19. Maria Rigel says:

    A thought about chi-ro: Greeks used letters as numerals. Chi is 100, ro is 600. Added together, that’s 700. The letter for 700 is psi, that looks like a trident. Chi-ro could actually mean 700, a trident, or both.

  20. Maria Rigel says:

    Why do you say the crux ansata is similar to the symbol for the sun? I thought the crux ansata was the ankh, the Egyptian symbol for life. I don’t think that’s at all similar to a circle with a dot in the centre.

    • Maria Rigel says:

      Also, just did a little research on the ankh and the symbol for Venus, and they definitely have different origins and shouldn’t be mixed.

      The ankh is an Egyptian hieroglyphic meaning “life”. The symbol for Venus originates from Greece, and originally was a combination of the first two Greek letters for their name for the planet. At no point in history they looked identical.

    • Haywardg says:

      It’s not entirely necessary to find the individual meaning of a symbol this way. Clearly, the symbol of Venus and the Ankh have similar form. But it’s not important because I think so, but because others did.
      You can even wiki the Ankh and it will tell you that certain people use the Ankh as a symbol of Venus. The crux ansata is also sometimes depicted without the loop-shape and is simply shown as a circle on top of a “T”, which is even more similar to Venus, just without the extension from the top of the cross.

      We are not the authors of this “underground stream”, it comes to us from the past, and we aren’t going to find a guide book explaining every detail. What we are meant to do is to look at the myriad symbols or paths and to take them in comprehensively. We are meant to find the intent or motive behind what the authors where likely indicating, through inference and association.

      These ideas about the Ankh and planetary symbol of Venus are not even my own, and you can look them up for yourself.

      But isn’t it interesting to see what is known as the ‘key to life’ being connected to the symbol that embraces the Tree of Life? If you were an esoterist and were very familiar with these being used in different contexts, to then only see this connection, one that others even supported, wouldn’t that trigger something in you? The knot of Isis…the symbol of Venus…

      • Maria Rigel says:

        The ankh is a much older symbol than the Tree of Life. In fact, it seems quite possible that the Tree of Life was invented after the time of Christ. By then, ancient Egypt was history and the Jews would no longer be familiar with the ankh.

    • Haywardg says:

      The CIRCLE on top is the similarity.

      I admit to being somewhat facetious with this comparison. The reason is found in the component meaning of the alchemical symbols, particularly with attention the planetary symbols.

      • Maria Rigel says:

        There are so many shapes that contain circles… Especially in sacred geometry, where the circle is used as the base for everything.

        • HaywardG says:

          I wasn’t speaking about sacred geometry, I was speaking about alchemical symbols.
          The same shape used in two different instances does not necessarily give it the same meaning. Context is important, and its important to learn of a symbol’s meaning in one example before attempting it with another. The planetary symbols derive from alchemy. Its useful to learn about what they mean, or how they are created.

  21. Maria Rigel says:

    It’s true that you can cover the tree of life with the symbol of Venus, but I have found no evidence that Rosacrucians traditionally did that. What they definitely covered it with was the hexagram.

  22. Maria Rigel says:

    I’m pretty sure I have figured out my element correspondences right by now. It’s a tricky one, because different authors say different things, so it’s quite important to look at the right people, the ones that you feel more confident they know for sure.

    And by now I’m confident that in a Rosacrucian context, the North is associated with water, not earth. Earth is associated with the West.

    • HaywardG says:

      This is not right, or I should say, that it would not be helpful to follow it this way.
      To make it easy, start with the 4 archangels and find out which element they correspond with, as well as which cardinal direction. They will explain it to you.

      Then, with regard to Lucifer, find which element is now associated with the one who has fallen and dwells in the Dark North. This is also the connection to the demon I’ve mentioned in A Demon A Stone….

      • Maria Rigel says:

        The reference I found for the archangels and elements has the correspondences I thought, with one difference: Earth and Water are reversed. Earth was given to the North and Water to the West. I’m quite sure this is a mistake, for two reasons:

        1. Seasons. The season of the North is winter. The season of the West is autumn. Autumn is associated with earth, because it’s the time of harvest. Water should be a wet season in Mediterranean countries. Winter is rainy in the Mediterranean, autumn not really.
        2. The angels that make the sign of the cross in Rennes le Chateau. The top angel is wearing white, the angel to the right is wearing green. White is associated with water, green with earth.

        As for Lucifer, he’s the Morning Star, who is also Venus. And Venus is traditionally associated with water – she was born from sea-foam.

        • HaywardG says:

          Granted, there has been every attribution of the Archangels to every one of the four quarters, cardinal directions, or the four winds, so one can argue any of these are being legitimate.

          There is a old Hebrew bedtime prayer from the Siddur that says:
          ‘To my right Michael and to my left Gavriel, in front of me Uriel and behind me Rafael, and above my head Shechinat El.’

          Which would make Fire to the South, Water to the North, Earth to the East and Air to the West.

          However, the directions I have learned come from the Western hermetic tradition. East=Air=Raphael, West=Water=Gabriel, South=Fire=Michael, North=Earth=Uriel.

          These placements also tie in with the Four Winds, such as in Greek Mythology. There is Boreas, the cold wind of the North. Notos, the hot winds of the South. Zephyrus, the gentle West wind of Spring Rains, and then Eurus, the East Wind who dwells near the Far East palace of Helios.

          East is the direction of the rising sun (Air). North corresponds with coldness and darkness (Earth). South is hot (Fire), and West winds were considered wet with rains (Water). For these reasons it makes sense to me, these directions and their correspondent elements and archangels.

          I think what is most important is that the elements and their directions feel resolved and make sense to you. But also, it is important to understand what the elements represent in the formation of the human constitution.

          Saunier’s church doesn’t apply to this pattern, but like I said there has been every attribution of each of the Archangels and elements to every one of each of the cardinal directions.

          I do think that the correct correspondence to each of the Four Worlds of Kabbalah (not counting Ein Sof) in order is more valuable. But then again, Air in the direction of the Sun, Earth in the stable yet cold North, Fire in the hot South, and Water in the wet West also have important meaning, I believe.

          Lucifer is the one who had fallen to Earth and thus from this position becomes the ascendant, in the sky swirling around the rising and setting of the sun, as Venus. Water is the primordial symbol for creation in general.

          • Maria Rigel says:

            The problem with using the archangels as references is that different sources give them different directions. Thomas Heywood in a 17th century book on the hierarchy of angels says Gabriel is North, Uriel is South, Michael East and Raphael West. And the connections between archangels and elements also vary.

            In any case, element associations are always tricky because different authors say different things. And some indications simply aren’t clear, like the Four Winds. I’m just trying to work out which associations appear to be the earliest, the original pattern that afterwards was changed.

            • HaywardG says:

              Yes, I believe I already stated this above, that the attributions of the Archangels have been placed in several locations according to different traditions or individuals.

              As far as the “correct” placement, I would go so far to say that it isn’t entirely essential that one chooses one organisational cosmology over the another, except only to understand the general premise of the order.

              However, if one were pressed to find further meaning behind the archangels, they could discover their Hebraic meaning.

              Raphael meaning “healing of God” or “God heals/has healed”
              Gabriel meaning “God is my strength”
              Michael, meaning “he who is like God”
              Uriel meaning “light of God”

              I don’t agree with the premise that the origin, or earliest example for an idea is single-handedly more valid than anything else that came later. For example, would we say that the first ones who used words in any given language had a better understanding of that language than we do today? I would guess that the answer is probably no, considering that the semantic and syntactic usage we have developed today has adapted to a fuller understanding of that language.

              Albeit, the etymological origin of a word can provide insight as to an original intention of its meaning, as close or far off as it is in relationship to what is in place today. So, in other words, ideas and meanings shift due to many possibly contributing factors. Highest in probability would be the shift of orally-transmitted forms of ideas.

              The question then becomes, why did the specific idea have an original infliction that later necessitated any need for change? If the original meaning was satisfactory, then why was it changed, why was there need for it to adapt? My suggestion would be it was because the concept or experience associated with the original idea changed in focus or nuance, thus causing the communication of the idea to change in nuance.

  23. Maria Rigel says:

    Where does “gold comes from the North” really come from? The reference I found is to Job 37:22, but that says “fair weather cometh out of the North”, at least on King James Bible. Still clearly not literally true, but it doesn’t say “gold”.

  24. Maria Rigel says:

    It’s interesting that the shepherd pointing to RC wears blue, with blue being the colour traditionally associated with the mysteries and freemasonry.

  25. Maria Rigel says:

    I’m inclined towards the theory that the “missing skull” on the tomb painted by Poussin is in fact Pech Cardou.

  26. Maria Rigel says:

    The chi ro symbol is way too far from both the Venus symbol and the ankh. I don’t think any similarities were intended.

    • Maria Rigel says:

      And of course, I don’t think any similarities were intended with the circle and dot. This is all like saying that because the letters b, d, p and q look similar, they must be interchangeable. Except that the four letters look far more similar than the symbols suggested.

    • HaywardG says:

      Intended by whom? Are you suggesting that one person sat down to write every esoteric symbol with intention? No, meaning shifts and takes new form, absorbed by individuals and cultures, to be found in new symbols, and just as with language, it evolves.

      I sincerely doubt that you have done enough research or have spent enough time with the material to understand the significance of the symbols being used, rather than by looking strictly at their forms. Several times I have seen you cast your doubt with an authoritative tone at some of the most basic symbols and without anything to substantiate your argument except that you don’t think any of it is true. Please spend more time with the material or be helpful and use some references outside of an opinion.

      • Maria Rigel says:

        I mean “intended by the people who created the symbol”. And sometimes even “intended by the mainstream European esoteric tradition”, whether the attribution happened in its origins or later on.

        Of course, particular individuals may connect just about any symbol with just about anything. But that is rarely interesting, unless that individual proved to be very influential. What’s interesting is when particular symbols are regularly seen connected in particular ways. Not because *you* find some similarity or connection, but because sources that are definitely well versed in the esoteric traditions regularly put them together.

        • HaywardG says:

          I’m not sure I can quite grasp the idea of why someone would show an interest in esoteric topics just so that they could try to understand it’s “mainstream” concepts.

          That would make it orthodox then, would it not?

        • HaywardG says:

          “What’s interesting is when particular symbols are regularly seen connected in particular ways”
          This is not interesting to me at all. What is interesting is when someone who is familiar with its concepts make connections not previously revealed. But you must first learn the foundations. In your case, you just recently started to consider the four fixed signs of the zodiac (which you didn’t know about), the attributions of the four elements to the Archangelic angels and to the four directions (which you also didn’t know about), the significance of the 5-petaled rose, placement of elements on the tree etc. There are many subjects to consider, they take time to germinate and I must respectfully suggest that you are not prepared to engage in a discussion on this level.

          “Not because *you* find some similarity or connection, but because sources that are definitely well versed in the esoteric traditions regularly put them together.”

          Which sources are you reading that would make for being described as being well-versed? Are you willing to take directive from another when you are still trying to make up your own mind, or are you trying to establish or join a “church” of sorts? Since you find the “mainstream” concepts interesting, this also seems to suggest that you are either at the beginning or interested in propagating the external appearance of the esoteric subjects. Which is fine. But maybe these subjects just aren’t for you.

          The site is called “Mysterious Writings”, not “Mainstream Writings”. Mystery suggests curiosity, discovery. The stream that preserved the teachings was called “Underground” because it was hidden. It has to be discovered. It isn’t going to be handed to you and most certainly isn’t taught in the mainstream.

          • Maria Rigel says:

            Just because, when I started making comments on this blog, I didn’t know a lot of things, it doesn’t mean that I knew nothing. I knew the most important thing: that you won’t find the answer in a book, or out there written on the Internet. But the answer exists, and it’s the same for everyone.

            • HaywardG says:

              Of course, each of us knows part of the answer, as each of us comes with their own knowledge and experience. But we must be diligent in not simply trusting our initial opinions our assumptions without support of reason. One can not do it with intuition alone, nor with only intellect, passion or physical strength.

              Traveling through the elements reveals the equipoise needed. Only with this can the fifth be expressed without interference.

              Best wishes and may you be victorious.

  27. Maria Rigel says:

    I think the tomb is a cube. It may sometimes be a square or a line. I don’t think it’s a cross.

  28. Maria Rigel says:

    I don’t know anybody that called the crux ansata “rose cross”. There is a weak connection, in that it’s a symbol for life, and Rosacrucians claim to have the secret of eternal life, but I’ve seen no direct connection, as in somebody actually using that name.

  29. Maria Rigel says:

    I still think that even though sometimes somebody may choose to rotate a cross 45 degrees, in general the cross and the X should be seen as separate symbols.

  30. Maria Rigel says:

    I think the reason the Holy Grail has been described as a platter is because one of its representations is the flower of life. Not an especially illuminating one, I must say, but it does provide some clues.

  31. Maria Rigel says:

    I’m fairly certain that overlapping the symbol of Venus on the Tree of Life doesn’t take you anywhere. On the other hand, remembering the lightning that joins the nodes in order is useful.

    And by the way, I know what I know, and I can prove it to any magician. Ecce homo: The Book of Lies by Aleister Crowley, chapter 38. Available online, if you don’t have the book. If you know what I’m talking about, I rest my case. If not, it’s you that needs to learn, my friend. I suggest you read chapter 51 of the Book of Lies, until it sinks in.

    • HaywardG says:

      Placing Venus over the tree of life, as was mentioned in the article, came from GD member Israel Regardie. The only purpose in doing it really is to reveal the symbolic importance behind the successioning process of initiation and it’s evolution. The lightning bolt is important for different reasons, but mostly describing the involution or decent of things from the divine mind through the course towards ultimate resolution in malkuth.

      The fact that Crowley spoke of a “death to the mind” has multiple, albeit simple interpretations, those of which would, as a result, also have varying levels of significance depending on the evolutionary level of the candidate or individual. Even the title of the book “The book of lies”, alludes to this principle. For, every level or step closer we make on the journey, there is always one level higher which we may never know. So, as they say, in every statement truth there is a non-truth.

      “Death to mind”, to those on the entry level might signify a need to develop their intuition, or to invoke some sense of the subconscious tendencies. To those who have either earned or been naturally gifted with this, it might mean a sacrifice to, or a synthesis with, reason. To those naturally gifted or earning of reason, then it might be a sacrifice to or synthesis with its counterpart intuition or deeper level emotion. To those who have earned this synthesis though either effort or nature, it might mean then a sacrifice thus to spirit. From there, the progressive sacrifice into stages beyond the limitations of duality, the Ain, or as Crowley called it, into the “no”-thing.

      So it seems also that the difference between what you and I are speaking about also pertains to this principle of varying levels of significance.

      Further study, or more importantly, experience, of the planes of manifestation on the KBL tree of life as well as the corresponding “bodies” would develop this understanding.

      However, not all of us are thus destined to become absorbed into the absolute nothingness provided by this living experience. Some have other courses to take.

      Therefore, from my point of view, the most important thing would be to aid in showing the opening of the most objective path, since from there those who reach it will be able to find the remaining course on their own.

      And I believe that is what those who were a part of the underground stream in the past we doing, in their art and in their writings. It is there as they left it, concealed, but those who are inclined and those who are unwavering in their dedication can find it for themselves.

      • JL says:

        Whoa this is deep, but in the end you can not get to the end. We are always one level off?

        • HaywardG says:

          Hi JL-

          Hopefully not to be misleading, but what I’m describing is a mystical process of raising the individual at various intervals, which could either occur naturally or by hard won effort, with the final and far-off culmination of absolution, (perhaps taking place over several lifetimes), as others might put it, “into to the godhead”. At each interval below/outside the godhead therefore, (which is a place we can easily determine ourselves to be otherwise we would already know it) we can infer that a certain level of our being is deficient in meeting with this totality. Therefore, every step we take to get closer (or increase our awareness, or experience the divine) also establishes those levels we have not yet encountered or resolved. Therefore, with each passing experience we are able to determine that which we were unaware of before, but not fully that which we have yet know. So, we can only know that with each step, there more beyond that we don’t know or haven’t evolved enough to understand.

          • JL says:

            No, I don’t think you are misleading. It is much like a conclusion I had started to develop myself, I am just slightly surprised that I am not the only one to have thought these thoughts. I conclude that you do not see the clues until you are ready. My thoughts started some years ago on the meaning and my thought was that everyone is on a different level and you continue to get sent back to evolve until you get it right. To some, this would seem very far fetched and to try to explain it a person has no conclusive evidence. Why is that?

            • HaywardG says:

              You see there, that’s what is interesting. Some things come to us naturally, as if they were ideas from inside already formed and then other things take considerable effort, understanding, and proof. Many of us, I would assume live in a world with meaning tied only to the physical world, and so avoid anything connected to the outside/inside. Many people, I believe, have these thoughts and ideas but don’t act on them or pay attention to them because they don’t seem to serve any practical purpose in life.
              But there are so many things, to begin with, that aren’t truly physical or practical that we encounter on a daily basis and accept anyway. If we only started to consider at length the principles behind these things, we might see that there is more going on.

              • JL says:

                Ah, but where to start? Why has some distant relative of my past not helped me on my journey or even a close relative? Did I already pass them on my journey and now we are too many levels apart? Are they too many levels ahead of me? How do we come together to achieve a common goal? If you can differentiate the levels there must be others. I know, i ask too many questions but to be honest, I have never made it this far before and it has never come up in a conversation even with ones who think they are on the path. If I am to continue I want to make the best use of my time and to be as efficient as possible.

                • HaywardG says:

                  JL- The issue of levels, just to be sure, should not be approached too structurally, we can’t say with certainty whether they are inside or outside, higher or lower, but only as varying degrees of expression among individuals age different moments.

                  If the matter is truly calling out to you, I would say that you absolutely must trust its voice and listen to it very carefully and follow its direction. Not to settle into judging against it with too many thoughts of expectation. Such as, “this didn’t occur, so such and such didn’t happen”, or “this is the way I think it should be and so that is the extent if it all”. There are many many ways, and many paths– some are more well suited for some individuals better than others.

                  There are western, eastern, mystical, ascetic, theological, natural and magical paths. Within each way there are even different approaches. Start with the thing closest to your heart and interests, pay attention to the things that trip you up, the things that you keep coming back to, the things that you can’t shake off too easily.

                  The most efficient way after you’ve chosen is to work with a guide that pushes you into first hand experience. That way you gain personal knowledge but do not end up taking off years straying too far when you reach an impasse. (And perhaps in some cases this could even be a more enriching path on its own.)

                  The path I chose was more Western. It’s symbols, its language spoke strongly to me, and its like I could taste its blood in my mouth if you know what I mean. But there are schools that even combine Western with many Eastern meditative approaches and philosophical views. And the more you go on, you see them overlapping with each other.

                  But the most important place to be at the beginning is just to determine that you need it. If the matter irks you profoundly and not knowing the answer even causes distress, then you will know. If not, if the matter is easily brushed off as a passing interest, you could leave it at that as well as just be happy and live life contently.

                  But be careful because there are those out there that would use this for their own advancement, and it it could be in their interests to leave you in the dark, hanging on for as long as possible. That is, if they are even qualified to teach to begin with. In this way, I could help advise.

                  There are also individual paths that follow certain curriculums. This is what I chose, as joining an organization as a member was something not very appealing to me. If I can help in any other way, pls let me know. HG

              • JL says:

                HG,
                I have always been a very headstrong individual and seek my own paths. A guide is sometimes acceptable if they can be trusted but I guess you could say I am a bit cynical in this day and age. I prefer to take the information and draw my conclusion and not be handed the canned ham version.

                How do you find the Individual path that follows a certain curriculum? Structure i do seek but it is often elusive. Then there is always the siege against a person that seeks the truth. What seems important today finds the back burner tomorrow.
                You said ” That is, if they are even qualified to teach to begin with. In this way, I could help advise.” can you elaborate more please? Is there a path that is safe? One must always question their direction and fight to stay on the righteous path.

                • HaywardG says:

                  Hi JL-

                  It is good to hear that your leanings are individualistic, since, as I’m sure any good teacher will tell you, the work and your progress is mostly in your hands anyway. The use of having someone with experience to ask questions is simply to help with any obstacles or uncertainties along the way. But the solution is ultimately up to each person.

                  Having said that, like I said, there are many directions out there as well as many resources to look at. We are each born with specific strengths or weaknesses, so I believe different paths are better suited for different individuals. The final goal in any path is to determine what these strengths and weaknesses are and to bring them into equilibrium.

                  You should start with asking yourself what you are attracted to? Eastern mysticism? Western esotericism? Chinese alchemy? Greek philosophy? Etc. Knowing this I believe can help you prepare for that which you need.

                  There are some schools that you can contact and become involved with corespondance courses with. There are some that actually have online communities with peers at the same level. There are others where you simply check in with a “counselor” every so often. Then there are some really good self-initiation guides, the problem there of course being that you don’t have any live counsel to offer help when you potentially stray or get lost. (Yet if you pay close enough attention, they say the universe is always speaking to you anyway, and that of course can be your guide).

                  As far as your question, like I said, there are some that I think should be avoided. These, as a general rule, might include schools whose emphasis seems unjustifiably too “due-heavy”, and those branches of some old orders which have long since departed, yet who seem to have been revived without direct relationship to the original orders. You just have to go with what you trust, and basically, you have to do some research and trust your gut. If you see some things that don’t sit well with you, then probably you should avoid them. I always saying that I could offer my opinion on some of these matters, because this field does, unfortunately, attract some rather unsavory characters.

                  As to whether any path is to be considered safe or not, the largest danger is always self-delusion, unrealistic expectations, false attitudes, laziness, avarice, etc. The bigger these factors are involved in the individual, the more violent will be their eventual collapse. But if you are most honest and open, the outcome will always bring forth that which is purely better.

                  If you are interested in Western esoteric approaches, there are few that I feel are trustworthy and could recommend. As far as Eastern approaches go, I am familiar with few approaches but not really enough to point exactly where to go. Let me know, and if so, I could offer some links.

              • JL says:

                Hayward G,
                Thank you for taking your time to answer some of my questions. In response to which I am interested in I would have to say all. Taking into account I must start somewhere I think Western esotericism is a good place. I have started reading up on the Free Masons and it interests me considerably. The symbolisms and the fact that they are craftsmen. I have not gotten far yet but they are not as secretive as I first assumed. I am sure they are only going to put a limited amount of information to the public. I also have a general understanding of Esoteric Christianity and find that interesting. I also find that I enjoy reading about ancient Egyptians and looking at their symbolisms. Mostly I just read as much as I can find about those when I can and if they lead me somewhere else then I follow that.

                • IN1564 says:

                  Hayward and JL,

                  I have a comment regarding different levels of knowing:

                  All information is presented to us in time and space–change, disturbance, or transformation. Every small disturbance is part of a larger disturbance–complex ecology. At each level there is an invariant (something that does not change). Spin a ball on your figure, that spot is an invariant. The pattern of notes in the rhyme, three blind mice–that is an invariant. The style of change is a change to that pattern, and that creates harmony. There are higher and higher transformations. So what is the ultimate invariant of all levels?–I doubt it is 3.14, but I have a feeling some masons may have some good ideas on this matter.

                • JC1117 says:

                  Hello, Hayward, JL and IN1564.

                  This seems fitting for a discussion of “The Skull on the Tomb, The Rose on the Cross”…

                  …and The One Invariable.

                  https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Colossians-1-17/

                  He Is…without beginning and without end.

                  https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Matthew-22-36/

                • JL says:

                  IN1564,
                  I am but a novice and very green at that but my intuition tells me that the ultimate invariant on all levels is Gods image. Every level is strived to be a reflection of Gods spiritual image.

                • IN1564 says:

                  So God is with us every step of the way and at every level? That is a comforting thought. thank you

                • HaywardG says:

                  JL- Freemasonry is rich in beautiful symbolism and tradition is a very safe and gradual place to begin. Every Mason I have been in contact with has always been quite receptive and open (except for those matters they have taken oaths for, of course!). There are some people out there that would actually classify Freemasonry as “Christian” in essence, but that can’t really be taken at face value. If you have some knowledge of esoteric Christianity, it might help shed some light on why certain people would make such an observation.

                  Rosicrucian traditions also work with a highly “Christian” set of values, combined of course with general Western Hermeticism, including alchemy, Kabbalah, etc. It is commonly accepted however that they are a defunct organisation. There are some modern versions of the RC’s out there, and there are some that would speculate about their “authenticity”, since it is most people’s understanding that they had disbanded a while ago, but I would always reserve some sense of doubt. I know of some individuals that have been involved with the AMORC for example, and they certainly didn’t have any doubts about what they were doing. Many of their ideas though can be found in some Masonic rites and Golden Dawn material as well. There are several books and manuscripts that they have left behind that in my opinion are of great, great value and have no doubt been the inspiration for many of their lessons.

                  Every group generally has an outer and an inner order. But then today, you can find almost everything online, even sometimes the “secret stuff”. The things that are assumed to be “public knowledge” are generally things that were made available to the outer order, and considered thus “less secretive”, but in my opinion it doesn’t really matter since to understand any of it– the material or its symbolism– on any level, one will have to experience what it describes for themselves anyway. The secrets, in this way, protect themselves. The greater risk today with this material, I would say, is that many will dismiss their significance or pretend to apprehend.

                  You will often find alot of Egyptian motifs underlying many of the Western Traditions also, since many of them came to popularity during the age of Egyptian curiosity during the 18th-19th centuries. Sounds like you are off on a good start.

                  If curious, take a tour of your local lodge. I’ve been to many, they will typically always accommodate visitors. Many of them also have open houses in case you feel too much pressure to visit alone.

              • JL says:

                Thank you HaywardG,
                You certainly have considerable knowledge of the subject and it is nice of you to share. It is unfortunate in todays society that these subjects do not come up much. I remember when I was younger I did not have much interest in history back more than 100 years or so, but now I find it fascinating. I enjoy looking at the objects and symbols they used and like to wonder what they were thinking of when they were created. The ancient biblical artifacts were the true turning point for me in my belief, once I started putting those together it was like a switch turned on.

  32. Maria Rigel says:

    The true symbol of Venus, or the moon, is the hexagram and the square/cross. And it’s true that it’s all that’s needed to reach the Inner Temple. But it doesn’t cover all that there is to learn about the Tree of Life.

  33. HaywardG says:

    IN1564,

    I would have to agree with JL on this one. But the matter of “receiving” would be an individual condition composed of a few compound factors that prevent the “invariant” aspect to be purely expressed in our case. We are familiar with, and of course compelled by, the image, and its appearance in the universe, as well as our attempt to model ourselves by it. But as they say, since we are dealing with the concept of a reflection, we should understand that as the source of the image moves so does its reflection correspond. There is thus a reality of direct causation going on there that is of course much deeper than just the appearance of the image.

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