Ancient Rootby: Philip Gardiner
For ancient man to live, prosper and procreate, he had to understand and use the world around him. He had to know what was edible, and when and where foodstuffs would be ready for him to eat. His knowledge of the seasons would tell him to prepare a store for the winter. But what happens when spring comes too late, the frost does not lift and the store has been raided? Or what about the summer when there is no rain and the crops fail? In moments of desperation, ancient man cried out to the gods. The basis of human belief in gods is need, and our ancestors had a structure of gods that reflected the science, as they knew it, of the world around them. This structure of gods was created and fostered according to these desires, by the greed oriented leaders of the religious structure. Man formulated the belief system, based around need, and man used it for control, for power and for wealth.
A few years ago I had a friend over from Africa, a Pastor in a Pentecostal movement. He told me how his fellow countrymen and women were so 'alive' to God. When we sat down to dinner, the Pastor ate like a starved man. I had never seen such enthusiasm. It made me think about how we can carelessly toss a half-eaten chicken to one side, without thinking of the people without food. We can always drive down to the supermarket and fill up the cupboards again. The people in his village have an eighteen-mile walk, in searing heat, just to fetch water. This is why they are 'alive' to God.
In his deepest need, man cries out to the God that he has been given and finds strength and comfort in his faith. It appears that no one is immune to this peculiar survival instinct. In times of dire need, even a confirmed atheist may find himself praying. We, in the capitalist world, with all our needs and wants satisfied, are walking away from the idea of God. We may replace Him with mathematical equations or New Age deities, but we are not looking solely to God to fulfil our every need any more. The people in the Pastor's village, on the other hand, need God to bring the water in the rainy season, they need the miraculous powers of His healing spirit when illness strikes and they need the unity that God can create amongst them.
Our ancestors had the same needs. Water could be scarce or, adversely, there could be flooding, although in the Egyptian delta this was considered to be the wondrous work of the gods and was prayed for each year. The gods were needed to bring the warmth and life-giving rays of the sun, the most important of all gods even today, as we shall see. The Earth was worshipped and was believed to mate with the rising sun of spring and summer and bring forth her fruits. These basic beliefs were humanised as all beliefs have been.
Solar, lunar and stellar alignments in Malta
We emerged with a triad of colour, red, white and black, as the first symbols of our life's needs and later to become the three most important colours of Alchemy.
According to standard orthodox black was emblematic of death and darkness, milky or semen white of new life and red of the blood of fertility or war. Although we will reveal in “The Serpent Grail” (www.serpentgrail.com) a deeper meaning behind these enigmatic colours.
Early man developed his belief systems over a vast period of time, slowly growing the subtle power base of religious authority. These ideas fertilised and the vast spread of these ideas began. But this did not happen in isolation, as standard science would have us believe. This spread of ideas evolved in earnest and built up into a vast power base, which differed from the normal political or royal powers, in that it was to become a spiritual power-base much like the original Catholic Church: the church that can be found in most, if not all, of the countries of the world.
As the cultures, politics and historical backgrounds of every country differ vastly, the church base simply takes on some of the local characteristics and blends in; so much so that in future historical writings we may never know that they were there. And yet the religious power of this church has stamped its authority on the various locales of the world, sometimes to their benefit, but not always in the best of ways.
The church influences the minds of the people, changing the history of the country without being held responsible for it. This is real power: to hold it without being accountable, to have the knowledge for yourself and to use that knowledge for whatever means you wish, regardless of the longer term goals; to have as members royalty, politicians, philosophers, warriors or the military and the masses. Exactly how many church leaders become politicians, kings and queens or great warriors is debatable, but is not as many as those already in power who become members of the church and can become influenced by their spiritual leaders. It is the secular leaders who are blamed for the woes of society, throughout history - not the religious leaders. These religious leaders are canonised, becoming unrecognisable saints.
The Power of Church seen in the architecture
In 46,000 BC, a Neanderthal man was buried in the south of what is now France. His remains were found in a cave and his body had been packed with red ochre clay. This substance has become known as the 'blood of the earth', and it is believed that this style of burial was a symbolic returning of the body to the earth from whence it came; a re-entering of the blood red womb of Mother Earth. Here we have a very different picture from the perceived view of Neanderthals.
This highly sophisticated ritual shows a remarkable understanding of the cycles of life and death: to rise up from the earth and return once again. If we take one of the future meanings of red ochre into account and work backwards to this find, we can say that it is symbolic of what the gods used to make man and therefore by stuffing the corpse in such a way it is symbolic of giving new life to the body and therefore a type of reincarnation or rebirth in the afterlife or ancestor home. This was the beginning of the rituals, which would encircle the globe, the rituals, which would take hold of the minds of men and be used against them.
In 6,400 BC, a young Indian child was buried at the settlement known as Koster in southern Illinois, America. The body had been dusted with red ochre. Asking the gods to give the prematurely dead child another chance and dusting him or her with the symbol of rebirth could have helped the mind of the gods in their decision to offer the child new life in the 'land of the ancestors' or paradise.
In Swaziland, the buried skeleton of a child was discovered, which had been returned to the earth and dusted with ashes and red ochre. Later beliefs from this and nearby areas held to the idea of rebirth and reincarnation, so there is no reason to assume this belief was not held earlier.
Years later, Neolithic man was painting himself with red ochre as a symbolic gesture of his rebirth and initiation into the new life of the gods. In the outback of Australia, the anthropomorphic figures of the Wondjina, which date back to 10,000 BC, show a distinct red band around the heads of the priesthood. Evidence from Australia shows that they were magically adept at utilising and chemically altering the earth around them to produce the red ochre needed for their rites. The colour red was merging with the form of the life-giving sun: fertility and life coupling symbolically. The origin is not certain but it seems likely that the sun, with its spring morning red rays of life, representing the fertility of woman, was imitated on the human body and indeed in Neolithic wall paintings.
By 7,500 - 6,000 BC in the so-called cradle of civilisation, the Middle East, there were, cults of female, bull, sun and skull worship. The skull cult packed the skulls of the dead with red ochre clay and placed shells, which are symbolic of the sun's shining rays of light, on to the eye sockets. In this area, the scholars say, the bull was taken to represent the sun, the skull was symbolic of the human, and the female was the fertile mother earth-moon goddess, thus a trinity of beliefs developed.
In Catal Huyuk in Turkey, the trading route of the known world, sculptures of bull's heads as the sun god have been discovered. Here, the Mother Goddess was worshipped as a three-in-one deity who was also to become greatly important.
Red ochre, rebirth and reincarnation go hand in hand here. The archaeologist James Mellaart claimed that the cult of the Mother Goddess from Catal Huyuk was the basis of our own civilisation. There is no explanation of how Catal Huyuk built up its technical abilities so quickly. Could there have been influence from some outside source? Possibly a sacred priesthood, skilled in the art of knowledge and able to pass on a world's supply of such knowledge? Were they originators of such stories as Atlantis and Lemuria? The religion here was well developed and elaborate from day one.
Some of the skills expressed in Catal Huyuk were known in other parts of the world, but there is no evidence of migrating peoples. This has always been the problem when we have nations rising from nowhere and we do not have people disappearing elsewhere or any genetic evidence of inwardly migrating Atlanteans. (In fact, the Atlanteans were supposed to have sacrificed to the Bull cult of Poseidon in a ritual of cyclic nature, as did the people of Catal Huyuk).
For a long time, these early rituals and beliefs spread over vast distances. But the question is, how? These beliefs spread with the priest, who took hold of this growing structure and created a religious base. This early priest goes unnoticed in the historical record, his DNA cannot be discerned amongst the numerous indigenous peoples, but his wide unparalleled knowledge can be seen in the eruption of strange societies, which came from nowhere, like the Etruscans and those of Catal Huyuk. These priests are the true Atlanteans.
Local minor ethnic alterations will become more apparent as time passes and our priesthood will take on the various differences and merge them, almost cyclically and cynically, into first one front religion and then another. What will emerge first are the surface religions of the politicians and leaders, which were incorporated into the politics of the relevant race or culture, but below that, we will see the basic patterns of the ancient priesthood - the universal priesthood.
These elements emerge directly from the reasons we hold our beliefs. The life giving light of the sun will merge into the god of the western world. The mother earth and moon goddess will merge with various identities at face value, but will always be there below the surface. The worship of a female deity is worldwide and where Christianity has taken root, the Virgin Mary or the Magdalene has been substituted (In Rome it was Vesta which means Shining One). Where Islam is dominant, Fatima (meaning Shining One), the daughter of Muhammad and mother of three, is venerated. The stars in the sky will become minor deities and lead us through the seasons of life. Mountains, trees, animals, divination and symbols will all be seen to be below the surface of any country's main religion and all emerged from the dawn of man’s religious creation.
What emerges is the unknown notion that all the countries of the world share a common religious belief system. To have such a system spread over vast areas of the globe, especially when most of it is covered with water, would require an early understanding of the stars for navigation and a possible homing instinct with the use of lodestone, or magnetite. The technical ability to create ships must also have been available.
The evidence is beginning to prove that ancient travel was possible. In Southern Asia, there are engravings and cave paintings of deep-sea creatures which would have been impossible to know of without having gone out to sea. There are also paintings of dolphins and whales.
Boats that are capable of such travel have been discovered from as long ago as 40,000 years. In the Middle East, canoes hollowed out from whole tree trunks have been found which date back to 7,500 BC. Plato claimed that in the time of Atlantis it was possible to travel from Atlantis to the further islands, possibly America. In Holland, there is evidence of boats capable of carrying large stones possibly for early stone circles. The Biblical Noah myth, the Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic and China's Noah, Yu, who stopped the floods, shows that in pre-history there was a time of sea-faring beliefs.
In 4,500 BC, sailing boats were seen on the Euphrates in Mesopotamia using the stars to navigate. From archaeological data, it is possible to state that this basic belief system could have developed as far back as 100,000 years ago. This would explain why its tenets are basic to the core, and revolve around purely cyclic ideas which no longer seem to hold any meaning to us. So what beliefs are we looking for? How will we be able to recognise the ancient tracks of our universal priesthood? The same priesthood, which evolved our modern day beliefs thousands of years ago.
Firstly, we are looking for ideas of the sun as the giver of life. This universal belief could have sprung up anywhere at anytime without outside influence, although when we see that so many other ideas also sprang up all over the globe the mathematical probability of this universal belief explosion is small.
Once we have found the Sky God or Sun God form, we need to establish whether there are any symbols or titles centred around this deity. 'Father' and 'light' are the two most basic, and many language variants stem from these titles.
The next deity to discover is the wife of the Sun God, the Mother of us all and many other minor deities. She is worshipped as the Earth Goddess who mates with the Sky God and maintains the cycle of life and death. She is also sometimes known as the Moon Goddess, mainly because the cycles of the moon coincide with those of women. The two great bodies in the sky mate at particular times of the year and fertilise the earth with new abundant life. Eclipses are particularly important for this mating procedure and many ancient buildings and writings show that this was eagerly predicted, all over the world.
Stars are also important - the great shining ones of the heavens; minor deities of the Sun and Moon/Earth. They inform us of the times, seasons and longer-term cycles. They guide us around our world and we can predict so much from their movements. They are the many eyes of the unreachable gods looking down upon us.
Trees too are universally revered. They represent the Tree of all Knowledge, of Life, of Sorrow; the symbols of life and regeneration. We can use the tree for fire, to build shelter and transport, whether by land or sea. Ancient knowledge of how to gain medicine from certain trees is being rediscovered every year. Trees provide the world's breath with their oxygen output. Clothes are made from the bark and weapons produced from the branches and trunks. We can dye our clothes using the fruits and bark, we even eat their fruits. Mankind discovered that communication was possible via trees, whether by burning the wood or by producing paper. In a more metaphysical way, the tree shows us the order of the universe with its perfect geometric patterns in the circles of the trunk rings, the leaf patterns and the clever balancing act of the roots and branches. There is no wonder that it is called the tree of life: we live from it as virtual parasites.
The Serpent and The Tree of Knowledge – Mdina, Malta
The tree figures in folklore throughout the entire globe and is central to all world religions. The Norse Yggdrasil, the Shaman's World Tree, is an evergreen ash which supports the universe. It has three roots which extend into the underworld, Niflheim, the place of the giants Jotunheim or Midgard, and the place of the gods, Asgard, the trinity of the Norse people. The tree is fed by sacred streams of living water from three sources. The highest branches of Yggdrasil shade the home of warriors, Valhalla, the Norse heaven. Odin, the 'Great Shaman', was sacrificed on Yggdrasil, like Christ, in a basic re-interpretation of the ancient reincarnation ritual.
Vishnu was born beneath a Banyan tree and, like Buddha, was enlightened, or born again, under a Bo tree. The Biblical meaning of 'born again' is 'change of heart' or 'enlightened'.
Christianity has an intrinsic relationship with trees, from the Garden of Eden's Tree of Knowledge and Tree of Life, to the Germanic use of the hazel tree, with twigs formed into a cross shaped charm. In Celtic lore, the hazel tree was the Tree of Knowledge, the nuts from the hazel were believed to bestow wisdom when eaten. Teutonic belief has man created from the Oak tree.
The Maypole dance of 'Merrie England' is a relic of tree worship, and there is much folklore scattered across the world regarding surviving rituals from the tree worshipping past of mankind. Quite specifically there are many instances of actually nailing sacrifices to the Tree, in a Christ like way.
Joseph of Arimithea brought a symbolic tree with him in the form of his staff and planted it in the Glastonbury Tor where today it is venerated by all who believe. This is a symbolic representation of the Middle Eastern cult of Christianity spreading its power base even to the shores of England.
In China, the tree was trained into the now familiar bonsai. The practice, which dates back as far as 1,600 BC with the Shang dynasty, is an attempt to slow down the life of the tree and therefore render it a symbol of immortality. The Immortals of the Chinese were called the Hsien, or the Eight Immortals the part-Hsien. They were believed to live in the sacred mountains and hold the secrets of life. They looked into the nature of trees as being the elixir of life, a practice remarkably similar to the alchemists of Europe and the Middle East and they were held to be the religious and ancient leaders.
In Persia and Egypt, the trend caught on from the Chinese, showing that spiritual and philosophical ideas were widespread. The Chinese scholars and mandarins known as the 'Literati' were a sacred and secretive group. They travelled broadly and were the first to develop calligraphy in China. Much like Thoth, the Egyptian god of writing. It is beyond all doubt that these ancient Chinese religious leaders were in contact with those of the west. Controlling the mind of millions through a universal belief system.
Australian aborigines say that a tree once joined the Earth to Heaven. It is hardly surprising that nomadic aborigines should hold the tree to be incredibly important when we consider that it was, and still is, vital to their lifestyle. In Islam the idea of the Tree of Life has each one of us named on a leaf. When the annual wind blows, the leaves that fall are those who must die in the coming year.
From Asia to Africa, the Mediterranean to Europe, the fig tree has been venerated as the tree of plenty. The Roman god Dionysus was attributed the fig tree. Muhammad swore on it and Buddha is said by some to have found enlightenment under the pipul or fig tree. Adam and Eve covered themselves with the leaves of the fig and some believe it to be the 'forbidden fruit'. Tradition has Judas Iscariot hanging from a fig tree, infesting it forever with evil spirits or alternatively himself being the true sacrifice. Other traditions have Jesus sheltering from the rain under the leafy branches.
Burnt ashes from trees are said to be sacred. The Aztecs of South America and the Brahmins of India rub ash into their skin when preparing for ceremonies. In Jewish and Christian folklore, sackcloth and ashes are a sign of humility. The Palm Sunday practice of burning palm leaves and scattering the ashes on the heads of the congregation or simply making the sign of the cross on the forehead is reminiscent of various cultures around the globe especially in Africa.
In the Gnostic Jewish cult of the Qabalah, the Tree of Life is symbolic of many things; the junction of the three worlds, water, earth and heaven, in exactly the same way as the Norse Yggdrasil. In Norse myth, the Serpent of Midgard wraps itself around the tree. The snake also appears in the Garden of Eden entwined about the Tree of Knowledge. In Sumerian myth the serpent represents the fertilisation of Mother Earth.
To some, the tree symbolises the 'Mother Earth' side of nature and the sheltering protection she offers. The Qabalistic Tree of Life is both the Tree of Life and Tree of Knowledge from Eden and is therefore symbolic of both the knowledge of good and evil and regeneration or rebirth. Trees are also believed to have developed eventually into the pillars of stone megaliths, yet another worldwide phenomena of religious belief.
In ancient folklore, the dying god is almost always killed on a tree and so too is Christ. The biblical word for the Cross on which Christ was killed actually means tree. It was common practice for the Romans to crucify using trees. In fact, it was unusual to crucify using a cross beam. Jesus died fittingly on the symbol of re-birth and regeneration in an exact repeat of the ancient and global ritual.
The fruit of the apple tree is said to confer immortality. Heracles went in search of the apples of Hesperides, the fruit of eternal life. The apple of Asgard guarantees perpetual youth. Some say that the apple was the forbidden fruit of Eden. There is the golden apple of Aphrodite; the Hellenistic belief that the apple gives sexual prowess and knowledge. In Greece, the tossed apple was an invitation for sex. Three golden apples were thrown by Hippomenes at the feet of Atalanta, who wins the race. The Celtic Conle is given the irresistible desire to enjoy the pleasures of the Celtic fairyland by an apple. The apple is globally used in sacred rites and religious practices from the Druids of Europe to the priests of Haiti, America, Scandinavia and Greece. And we see a survival of this ancient understanding of the sacred apple in the dying Arthur, who is taken away to Avalon, the isle of apples.
The Yew tree has also crept into popular superstition. The ancient Britons planted Yew trees close to their Temples prior to the introduction of Christianity. The custom is not thought to have been Roman, as evidence shows that the Yew became the funeral tree of the Celts after it had already been used as a Temple tree.
There are more links between faiths, beliefs and religions than their ritualistic understanding of the Tree. One other sacred, and universal, aspect is the use of numbers. These hold secrets at deeper levels and often need a trained eye to reveal the true meanings.
There is not one faith on the planet which does not in some way respect, revere or attach mystical significance to numbers. In some cases, their symbolism is beyond the science of modern man, and in others the secrets are known but kept hidden from the populace. Some would have us believe that God's existence can be proven via mathematics, and maybe that is part of what the ancients were up to with their weaving of patterns and strange hidden passages in the pages of the Bible and elsewhere.
In Hinduism, Brahma is the absolute Godhead. With the partners Vishnu and Siva (Shiva), they are called the Divine Triad, or Trinity, and have become a three-headed deity. The supposed origin of Hinduism is Jainism. In the Sacred Book of the Jainas we have an example of the threes. 'One should ever make his own self radiant by the light of the three jewels,' says the book with all the secret teachings for those with the eyes to see and minds open enough to understand. For us to truly understand, to see the light, to be 'enlightened', we must utilise the three jewels. They should be followed every moment, without ceasing. The three jewels in question are right belief, right knowledge and right conduct.
In Buddhism we have the Three Fires of greed, hatred and delusion. These are the key reasons why people are tied to the perpetual rebirth. Along with the Three Marks of impermanence, suffering and substance built into everything, making everything futile and pointless, we should, therefore, follow the Three Jewels and escape. In Buddhist belief the Three Jewels, similar to the Hindu, release us from the clutch of rebirth. The initiate would say, 'I go for refuge to the Buddha...to the dharma...and to the sangha.' They are the path to enlightenment: the father, son and spirit.
The ancient Druids, successors to and practitioners of the Shining Ones ways, held belief in a holy triad: the Infinite Light or Beli, the Illuminated Man and the Finite Intermediary or Taran. Again these are much the same as the Hindu, Jainist and Christian beliefs. The Shamans of Central Asia believed in the same triad or trinity and held a similar Druidic belief in the three worlds of heaven or underworld, earth and sky. This 'threefold world' belief is an indication of the origin of the Shining Ones, it is the historical beginning of the major beliefs and some have said traces directly back to Bon-po in Central Asia. This area according to early 20th century Theosophists was pointed out to be the home of a secret elite who controlled the minds of men from a distant. Why would these 20th century researchers believe such a thing? Did the evidence stack up for them, like it does for me? Is this the earliest place we can point to for the origin of the Shining Ones? There are known links between this remarkable spiritual area and those highly religious times of the Biblical era.
It is no long stretch of the imagination to suggest that with the disciples of the Bible, known contacts with European and Asian countries and their vast learning, they did not at least hear of these Druidic and Shamanistic Triads, not to mention the Hindu and many other beliefs in trinities. Neither is it a long shot to suggest that the trinity of Christianity was probably instigated to include as many pagans or 'Gentiles' as possible. It may also be true that Christianity was being led by the Shining One priesthood and therefore included the trinity because that is what its beliefs were. The Druids took on Christian beliefs in a Gnostic way and symbolised the Christian trinity with Yesu carved on the right branch of a tree, Beli the shining one, on the left and Taran at the centre.
The Shaman of history often went into the Underworld via trances which lasted three days, symbolically escaping the cave like womb as in re-birth. The Shaman, incidentally, would rise to the Sky-World via a great notched tree ladder.
The Taoist tradition, in the forty second chapter of the Lao-tzu, gives the statement of Cosmic Gestation with the following words:-
'The Tao gave birth to the One
The One gave birth to the Two
The Two gave birth to the Three'
The Three gave birth to the myriad creatures.'
Even as far away as China we have the trinity needed to create life. The rites from this are called Feng-teng or 'Dividing the new fire or light', and are all tied up in cyclic and cosmic renewal patterns.
The T'ai-chi is represented by three candles, the immanent moving Tao of nature, yin and yang. They represent the Three Spirits of the Transcendent Tao working in that nature.
The gods of classical Greece ruled over a threefold world of heaven, sea and Earth with the trinity of gods, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, which then became the Roman pagan trinity of Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto. In Norse myth, the place of Asgard had three high thrones waiting to be claimed.
In most fairytales we have the threefold repetition of an action as this seems to be important. The fairytale of the three golden sons is global in various forms and is steeped in symbolism, which at childlike face value would not be seen. The myth includes astrologers being tossed into water in the form of children, the birds of truth, the water of life and a singing, knowledgeable tree.
In the 1920's the French scholar Georges Dumezil argued that all religions are made up of pantheons of deities which always fall into three distinct groups: kingship or priest, which is known as first function; warriors ,or second functions; and supplier, giver or third function.
This is the idea of a trinity on a global scale, showing more than just a dissolution theory, more than just the idea that these exactly similar beliefs emerged around the globe at the same time, and completely separate to each other. Could it show a well thought out plan actually happening? A plan which is subtle and almost hidden from us, but not from those with the eyes to see. Does it show the remarkable spread of universal belief? Is this the true Atlantis - that instead of a race moving around the globe, we have a religious belief system taking hold of the imaginations of ancient man?
There are many other important numbers which seem also to be universal, such as twelve, which will become apparent later on. Twelve includes the tribes of Israel, the months of the years, the collective gods of Scandinavia, the Aesir, the Greek Amphictyonic League of tribes and the Greek pantheon had twelve members, and there are many more examples, as we shall see.
Another element we should watch out for is that of animals. They were used widely in various images, from the Sun God Ra of the Egyptians as the Ram and Ass to the global Bull cults of the world which strongly indicate the existence of the Moon Goddess in this cult. Within these animal rituals there are beliefs and practices; strong ancient links which need to be drawn out.
Of course we must not forget mountains, burial practices, magic and the vast array of sacred symbolism, such as crosses, all of which make up a vast network of ancient links in the story of our unseen past.
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