Month: November 2015

Internal wisdom and the initiatory act

As  a boy, I use to run around the forests surrounding my home. I was exploring, looking under rocks, under fallen trees, and inside of caves. I was searching for something. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew in my heart and soul that it was out there and that I would find it. There was a mystical feeling to that search and a yearning that refused to let it die. Hours would pass in those forests and yet, I could never find what it was and didn’t until later in my life.

I’ve gone through many phases in search of what it was and you would be surprised by the steep contrasts of those phases. To give you an idea, I was going to raves and underground parties at age 18, for example, and becoming a Freemason at age 21.

As it turns out, the solution was internal and not external. It’s strange, you could spend a lifetime searching on the outside for what’s inside. It’s so typical and instinctual, too, that we look for validation through external means, which only reflects our insecurity and intellectual laziness.

“A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that’s unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push.” — Ludwig Wittgenstein

Freemasonry helped identify what I was searching for. Freemasonry, like many orders founded on the Mysteries, will show you the door, but only you can open it.

If you’ve ever been to the House of the Temple, the headquarters of Scottish Rite Freemasonry, you might have noticed a chair or throne that says, “Know Thyself.”

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Image Attribution: PheonixMasonry

Freemasonry led me to the understanding that it was myself and my own internal wisdom that I was searching for. That was the answer.

 “Know thyself and thou shalt know the universe and god.” — Pythagoras

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3,500-Year-Old Sunken Croatian town discovered

Croation archaeologists announced the discovery of a 3,500-year-old sunken town and a port located in the Adriatic Sea near Zadar.

“We found the remains of a large settlement and a port in the sea between the islands of Ricula and Galesnjak in the Pasman Channel last year. After radiocarbon analysis finished this month, we could say that the remains were probably built around 1500 B.C.,” said Mato Ilkic, head of the archaeological research team at Zadar University.

These findings were unearthed during two research explorations spanning over an area of nearly two hectares.

According to Ilkic, the most important findings were rare wood items from 3,500 years ago.

Laboratory test results of wooden pylon samples found at the sea bottom showed that the town and port were built in the mid-Bronze age.

“The discovery of this wide site will certainly shed light on a dark period of pre-history – the Bronze Age of northern Dalmatia,” Ilkic added.

Ilkic also added that a museum to display the findings might be setup in the near future.

The team which made the discovery included Martina Čelhar, Dario Vujević, Mate Parica, Marko Meštrov and Maja Kaleb.

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The Benbine Table of Isis and The Tablet of Cebes: Ancient Tarot Templates?

Although Athanasius Kircher’s reputation was severely damaged by his dubious interpretation of Egyptian hieroglyphics, it is often forgotten that he did, in fact, demonstrate the connection between ancient Egyptian and the modern Coptic form.

Other studies, however, including his mapping of Atlantis and claims that The Voynich Manuscript was a form of universal language (1.) tend to place him in the realm of the more eccentric 17th century scholars.

Perhaps the most famous example of Kircher’s enthusiasm and curiosity placing him outside of mainstream thought was his translation of The Benbine Table of Isis.

This table measures 50 by 30 inches and is made of bronze, enamel and silver.

It depicts engraved Egyptian looking images and hieroglyphs on its surface all leading the eye to the central figure, thought to be the Goddess Isis.

Because it was most likely created in Rome during the first century it has long been considered a mere meaningless imagining with no esoteric basis.

Kircher’s opinion, that it represented a secret, mystical rite, was dismissed after Champollion’s work on The Rosetta Stone in the 1820’s.

In 1860, Eliphas Levi, in his book The History of Magic, hinted that Kircher was indeed on the right road but that the rites depicted were associated with The Book of Thoth or Tarot. (2.)

Levi created a key in which he claimed one could decipher the seasons, the zodiac and the Tetragrammaton, the name of God, as well as the 22 major arcana of Tarot.

Levi was the first person to rigorously detail a relationship between the 22 major arcana and Kabbalah, following initial investigations by Court de Gebelin in the late 18th century.

Levi famously wrote, “An imprisoned person with no other book than the Tarot, if he knew how to use it, could in a few years acquire universal knowledge, and would be able to speak on all subjects with unequalled learning and inexhaustible eloquence.” (3.)

Levi believed that the symbols of the major arcana were the secret key to forgotten yet eternal truths.

Noted Tarot scholar, Robert Place writes in his book The Tarot: History, Symbolism and Divination that “…Levi believed, like Plato, that all knowledge is within and that we actually remember it.” (4.)

So, in essence, what we have, without allowing speculation to cloud our perception, is a table of uncontested ancient origin. This table is said by antiquarians to date to a Roman temple dedicated to Isis in, roughly, the first century.

The table then disappeared until after the sack of Rome in 1527 when it was acquired by Cardinal Benbo.

The problem for anybody trying to trace the origin of mystery cults is that by their very definition their rites and history are obscured. So, in that context, can we really call The Table of Isis a fraud because we don’t understand its symbolism?

The table is one of the finest examples of ancient metallurgy and is painstakingly decorated with bronze, black steel, silver and copper. Why would anyone go to such trouble in order to create something meaningless?

The images correspond in the eyes of occult historians to archaic, esoteric systems which would have remained secret except to initiates.

We know from works such as Plutarch’s essay On Isis and Osiris (5) that temples to Isis in Rome practiced rites consisting of the interpretation of Egyptian ceremonies and the temples developed independent to each other with no central or dogmatic system.

Using this information, we might well speculate that it would be only natural that individual rites might evolve and that these systems might also interpret and record the sacred knowledge in a way that might be recognizable only to the priests and priestesses of that particular temple.

As long as the central ideology was understood and maintained, outer decoration and images might change according to location and cultural influence.

If this were the case with The Benbine Table of Isis we might expect to find at least one other surviving example of the same motifs from the same era.

Coincidentally enough, we do. The Tablet of Cebes is such an example.

This is a written work from roughly the first century which claims to be a description of a tablet depicting the life of the soul, from pre-existence to the afterlife.

Much like The Tarot and the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, the tablet can be understood on many different levels including the mundane routines of life as well as the journey and effect of the planets and constellations.

It seems to express the alchemical and hermetic ideology of ‘As above, so below.’

According to Ronald Decker in his recent work The Esoteric Tarot, “It charts the soul’s progress through the precinct of life.”

Going further, Decker writes about the images detailed, “They are comparable to some Tarot inhabitants: lovers, Virtues, hermits.”(6.)

The tablet was reinterpreted as a woodcut by Hans Holbein the Younger (ca 1497-1543) (7.)

If we consider that the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet used in Kabbalah derive from Phoenician script, which in turn evolved from Egyptian hieroglyphics (8.) we have a very interesting connection.

Although it is beyond the scope of this article, many scholars today associate the Phoenician alphabet with the constellations and in the Kabbalah the 22 pathways are often referred to the pathways of the soul or creation.

According to Manly P. Hall in The Secret Teachings of all Ages, a manuscript by Thomas Taylor detailed how The Benbine Table was the altar before which Plato stood while receiving the knowledge of the great mysteries. (9.)

If this is so, then we are once again forced to consider an Egyptian origin for the Tarot and the symbols of the major arcana.

And must we also ask if it is time to re-evaluate The Benbine Table of Isis and The Tablet of Cebes as remnants of a shared sacred wisdom?

 

© David Halpin 26/11/2015

References

(8.)Michael C. Howard  Transnationalism in Ancient and Medieval Societies. P. 23. (2012.)

(9.) The Secret Teachings of All Ages. Manly P. Hall (p 163 Penguin Tarcher Edition: 2003)

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The Hermetic expression of the Washington Monument

The Hermetic expression (as above, so below) is created between the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool underneath the starry night sky.

It’s safe to assume that this was not intentional. The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and Washington Monument were designed and completed during different times and by different architects. That doesn’t necessarily rule out the possibility that individuals conspired to embed this age old expression between the two structures, but it’s not likely.

The Washington Monument was designed by architect and Freemason Robert Mills. Of course, George Washington was a Freemason himself.

To Scottish Rite Freemasons who are aware of the Egyptian influence on Freemasonry, this makes sense. [1] The Washington Monument actually might have been intended to reflect Masonic and ancient Egyptian belief and symbolism. However, the reflecting pool probably wasn’t.

Henry Bacon was the architect of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. He was not a Freemason and there is no indication that he conspired with Freemasons to create an ancient maxim. In fact, there actually were two very Masonic proposals submitted by John Russell Pope, the architect of the Scottish Rite headquarters of Freemasonry known as the House of the Temple, and they were rejected.

Pope had submitted two design proposals that resembled ancient Mayan and Egyptian pyramids. However, these proposals were rejected in favor of Bacon’s Greek Doric temple. They’re very interesting nonetheless.

References

1, Hutchens, Rex., A Bridge to Light, p. 294

2. http://www.history.com/news/the-lincoln-memorials-bizarre-rejected-designs

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Are the rich using solar cycles to make money?

J.P. Morgan once said,”millionaires don’t need astrologers, but billionaires do.” Now, I don’t want to create an argumentum ad verecundiam, but such a statement makes you wonder.

Could there be something we’re not aware of regarding the stars and our solar system? Perhaps there actually is a way of using the stars to predict things. Morgan believed there was and used astrologers to guide his business and investments. He’s not alone, though. A lot of investors use astrology as a basis for their investments. In fact, the founding date of the New York Stock Exchange may have been based on astrology. Astrological symbolism and allegory can also be seen in the origin and meaning of the bull and bear market expression. There are even companies, such as MMA Cycles, based on using astrological cycles to make investments.

“”Astrological economics is not fortune cookie baloney,” said Robert Gover, author of the book Time & Money: The Economy and the Planets. “We go back deep into history to see where the planets were in the sky at the time of certain events. Years ago you had to come up with star charts and calculate their radiuses by using complex math. Now we have computer programs that can chart that out for us. What you see over time is that there is a lot of movement up there in the solar system and that movement can affect individual lives as much as it can affect nations.”” [Forbes]

Does this seem absurd? Of course, but people HAVE made money by investing based on solar cycles. In another Forbes article, Bill Sarubbi explains the process in further detail.

There is no hard science to astrology, but there could be a science based on the philosophy and ideology surrounding astrology and that’s what we believe is happening here, if anything. Regardless, we don’t encourage anyone to invest based on solar cycles, but it is something people are doing and it’s interesting nonetheless.

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The origin/meaning of the Bull and Bear Market expression

According to Investopedia, “the actual origins of these expressions (the bull and bear market) are unclear.” If, however, you understand what Albert Pike referred to as “the Sacred Science of the Mysteries,” then it’s crystal clear.

“There was an intimate connection between the Sacred Science of the Mysteries, and ancient astronomy and physics; and the grand spectacle of the Sanctuaries was that of the order of the Known Universe, or the spectacle of Nature itself, surrounding the soul of the Initiate, as it surrounded it when it first descended through the planetary gates, and by the equinoctial and solstitial doors, along the Milky Way, to be for the first time immured in its prison-house of matter.” — Pike, Albert., Morales & Dogma, p. 415


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The curse of the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar

Jacques de Molay was the 23rd Grand Master of the Knights Templar, acting as the order’s leader from 1292 until 1307 when the order was dissolved by order of Pope Clement V and Molay was sentenced to burn at the stake. [1]

Upon being burned at the stake, Jacques de Molay allegedly cursed King Philip IV of France and Pope Clement V, stating that “from this your heinous judgement to the living and true God, who is in Heaven”, warning the Pope and King Philip that they would answers for their crimes in the presence of God within a year’s time.[2]

Surely enough, King Philip and Clement V both died within a year of Molay’s excution: Philip dying due to a stroke and Clement of illness. The Direct Capetian kings of France between 1314 and 1328 followed, then the sons and a grandson of Philip IV. In fourteen years time of Monlay’s death, the 300-year-old House of Capet collapse.

Coincidence? God only knows.

References:

1. “Jacques de Molai”, Catholic Encyclopedia.

2. Ferretto of Vicenza, ‘Historia rerum in Italia gestarum ab anno 1250 as annum usque 1318’, c. 1328, in Malcolm Barber’s, The New Knighthood: A History of the Order of the Temple (Cambridge University Press, 1993), pp. 314–315.

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Magicians of the Gods: Survivors of a lost civilization destroyed by global cataclysms 

Randall Carlson and Graham Hancock joined Joe Rogan on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast to discuss Magicians of the Gods, Hancock’s sequel to his multi-million bestseller Fingerprints of the Gods. Magicians of the Gods further investigates the mysteries of our past and the evidence of an advanced civilization destroyed by global cataclysms.

Approaching the end of the last Ice Age 12,800 years ago, a massive comet entered our solar system from the depths of space. The comet broke into various fragments and some of those fragments smashed into our planet causing a global cataclysm that parallels the extinction of the dinosaurs.

A portion of these comet fragments hit the North American ice cap and other fragments hit the European ice cap. The impacts of these fragments approaching Earth at 60,000 miles an hour generated massive amounts of heat that instantly melted millions of square kilometers of ice, which destabilized the Earth’s crust and caused a global deluge. Evidence of this event can be seen in the large ripples visible in the Camas Prairie and massive boulders that were carried by glaciers known as glacial erratics.

Another series of comet impacts that were equally destructive caused further cataclysmic flooding 11,600 years ago, which is the exact date that Plato gives for the destruction and submergence of Atlantis.

The ancients created accounts of this deluge that are reflected in various mythologies such as the Epic of Gilgamesh. These accounts were adapted and adopted into other religions, which is why the Abrahamic tale of Noah’s Ark resembles other flood myths that predate it. These flood myths should not be dismissed too quickly as tales of sea risings have been told accurately for 10,000 years and could act as linguistic repositories of factual information.[1]

What happened in North America 12,800 and 11,600 years ago is so important,” Hancock says.

That period stands right in the foundations of what we think of as the beginning, the origins of civilization and yet, mainstream archeology and historians have not taken it into account and I don’t blame them for that. This is new information. This is new science,” he continues.

Hancock and Carlson believe an advanced civilization that prospered during the Ice Age was destroyed by these two global cataclysms between 12,000 and 11,600 years ago.

The survivors of these global cataclysms became known as the sages and magicians and were responsible for creating the deluge accounts and reseeding civilization with comparatively advanced understanding such as the knowledge of celestial bodies. Survivors settled at key locations like Baalbek in the Lebanon, Giza in Egypt, ancient Sumer, Mexico, Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, and Peru.

Rogan questions whether or not the hypothesis of Hancock and Carlson has been refuted or adopted by mainstream academia to which Hancock states that every major criticism of the hypothesis has been refuted and that evidence for the hypothesis continues to emerge. The three conclude that academia is often slow to accept alternative theories and hypotheses due to emotional investments and fears of losing academic credibility.

Interestingly, Carlson goes on to explain how Masonic symbolism mirrors the hypothesis in its symbolism which often depicts comets, celestial bodies, and Noah’s Ark.

Mirrored from my article at Disinfo.

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Carl Sagan on The Sirius Mystery

The Sirius Mystery is the hypothesis that the Dogon of Mali, in west Africa, retained an ancient tradition of extraterrestrial contact from the Sirius star system.

These extraterrestrial beings are supposed to have taught the arts and sciences to the human race and are claimed to have originated the Pharaonic system of ancient Egypt, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and Greek mythology, etc.

The “mystery” of the hypothesis is how the Dogon supposedly gained knowledge of Sirius B, a white dwarf stars, the companion star of Sirius A, which is invisible without visual aid. Robert Temple argued that since the Dogon had knowledge of that star invisible without visual aid, they must have made contact with alien life.

Carl Sagan spoke on The Sirius Mystery in his book Broca’s Brain. Sagan believed that since the Dogon seemed to have no knowledge of another planet past Saturn, that their knowledge most likely came from a European source, and thus, not an extraterrestrial source. Sagan asserts that it is a matter of cultural transfer that explains the Dogon’s awareness of Sirius B.[1]

1:  Sagan, Carl., Broca’s Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science (1986) p. 86.

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Is the search for immortality in our nature?

  Anthropologist Ernest Becker, in his 1973 book The Denial of Death, argued that “the idea of death, the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else; it is the mainspring of human activity — activity designed largely to avoid the fatality of death, to overcome it by denying in some way that it is the final destiny for man.”[1] In other words, civilization itself is driven by our fear of death, as are many aspects of our lives, especially heroics. By doing or being a part of something that seems to outlast our mortality, we are symbolically transcending our death. The symbolic transcendence of death is our primitive solution until we can obtain the real solution, which is immortality or to satisfy pedantic transhumanists, mere life extension.

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Does it seem far-fetched that the fear of death could be a primary driving force of civilization? If it does, consider this. In ancient Egypt, over thousands of years, the belief in immortality and the hope to preserve the dead, slowly transformed basic burial pits into mastabas and those mastabas transitioned into step pyramids, which lead to “true” pyramids.[2] In the attempt to immortalize the pharaohs in stone and to assure the preservation of their body, architectural advancements were made and greatly influenced civilization. In fact, Imhotep might be responsible for the first use of stone columns to support buildings.[3] The underlying philosophy driving these developments were the afterlife and hope for immortality.

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The awareness of our mortality directly challenges the idea that life has meaning and purpose. For this reason, death and the mere thought of it are often repressed and ignored. Fear is the most common and natural response to death. Gregory Zilboorg suggests that this fear is an instinctive expression of self-preservation and becomes a perpetual drive to survive and overcome that which threatens our lives.[4] If true, that perpetual drive is just as natural as the fear of death itself.

The evolutionary and biological explanation is that animals had to develop fear responses for the sake of survival. In humans, who are more susceptible to death in their infantile states, that fear of death is increased. Therefore, early Darwinians believed that early men who were most afraid were also most in tune with their surroundings and passed such awareness to their offspring for its survival value.[5] Our heightened fear of death could be what essentially saves us from death and leads to our effort to enter the “afterlife” or obtain immortality through transhumanism.

Ideas about the afterlife and immortality have long been assumed to stem from cultural exposure and religious instruction. However, a developing body of work has begun to question if these beliefs are instead, hardwired into our brains.

On January 16, 2014, a Boston University study led by Natalie Emmons was published in the online edition of Child Development. The study examined children’s ideas about life before conception by interviewing 283 subjects from two separate cultures in Ecuador. The results suggest a bias toward the belief in immortality that arises early in life from our natural human intuition. This bias may indicate that our search for immortality is in our nature, which explains the aforementioned results as well as the widespread cultural and religious significance of the belief in the afterlife and immortality, which could date as far back as the first intentional burials.[6] If these things are any indication, our search for immortality might be a part of our nature and natural evolution.

This post was mirrored from my Medium article.

Sammy R. LaPoint © 2015

References

  1. Becker, Ernest., The Denial of Death, p. ix
  2. Lehmer, Mark., The Complete Pyramids
  3. Baker, Rosalie; Backer, Charles., Ancient Egyptians: People of the Pyramids
  4. Zilboorg Gregory., Fear of Death, p. 467
  5. Becker, Ernest., The Denial of Death, p. 19
  6. Lieberman, Philip., Uniquely Human
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