Category Archives: Occult

Training Your Intuition – Manly P Hall

Manly P Hall was recognized as a 33º Mason (the highest honor conferred by the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite) in 1973, despite never having practiced the craft.

He has been widely recognized as a leading scholar in the fields of religion, mythology, mysticism, and the occult.

Carl Jung, when writing Psychology and Alchemy, borrowed material from Hall’s private collection.

He is perhaps most famous for his work The Secret Teachings of All Ages: An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy.

In his over 70-year career, Hall delivered approximately 8,000 lectures in the United States and abroad, authored over 150 books and essays, and wrote countless magazine articles.

Some people use the word “wise” a bit too freely – I have zero compunction however, applying the word to this man – an excellent example, if not the epitome of…

 

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Manly P. Hall – Mystical Life of the American Indians

Manly Palmer Hall was a Canadian-born author and mystic. He is perhaps most famous for his work The Secret Teachings of All Ages An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy, which is widely regarded as his magnum opus, and which he published at the age of 27.

He has been widely recognized as a leading scholar in the fields of religion, mythology, mysticism, and the occult.  In 1934, Hall founded the Philosophical Research Society (PRS) in Los Angeles, California, dedicating it to an idealistic approach to the solution of human problems. The PRS claims to be non-sectarian and entirely free from educational, political, or ecclesiastical control, and the Society’s programs stress the need for the integration of philosophy, religion, and science into one system of instruction. The PRS Library, a public facility devoted to source materials in obscure fields, has many rare and scarce items now impossible to obtain elsewhere.

In 1973 (47 years after writing The Secret Teachings of All Ages), Hall was recognized as a 33º Mason (the highest honor conferred by the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite), at a ceremony held at PRS on December 8th, despite never being initiated into the physical craft.  In his over 70-year career, Hall delivered approximately 8,000 lectures in the United States and abroad, authored over 150 books and essays, and wrote countless magazine articles.

Read more at:

http://www.manlyphall.org/

http://www.prs.org/

Knights Templar and the First Crusade

The history of the Order of the Knights Templar and the First Crusade as a trans-national military-religious order spans two centuries of the High Middle Ages, from the Order’s founding in the early 12th century to its suppression early in the 14th century.

Northeast exposure of Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount, in the Old City of Jerusalem. Considered to be the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina.(wikipedia)

The Knights Templar trace their origin back to shortly after the First Crusade. Around 1119, a French nobleman from the Champagne region, Hugues de Payens, collected eight of his knighted relatives including Godfrey de Saint-Omer, and began the Order, their stated mission to protect pilgrims on their journey to visit the Holy Places. They approached King Baldwin II of Jerusalem, who allowed them to set up headquarters on the Temple Mount. The Dome of the Rock, at the centre of the Mount, was understood to occupy the site of the Jewish Temple. Known to Christians throughout the Muslim occupation of Jerusalem as the Holy of Holies, the Dome of the Rock became a Christian church, the Templum Domini, the Temple of the Lord. But the Templars were lodged in the Aqsa Mosque, which was assumed to stand on the site of Solomon’s Temple. Because the Aqsa mosque was known as the Templum Solomonis, it was not long before the knights had encompassed the association in their name. They became known as the Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici – the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, which was eventually shortened to “Knights Templar”.

The original order consisted of Hugues de Payens and eight knights, two of whom were brothers and all of whom were his relatives by either blood or marriage: Godfrey de Saint-Omer, Payne de Monteverdi, Archambaud de St. Agnan, Andre de Montbard, Geoffrey Bison, and two men recorded only by the names of Rossal and Gondamer. The ninth knight remains unknown, although some have speculated that it was Count Hugh of Champagne himself — despite the Count returning to France in 1116 and documentary evidence showing that he joined the Knights on his third visit to the Holy Land in 1125.

Little was heard of the Order for their first nine years. But in 1129, after they were officially sanctioned by the church at the Council of Troyes, they became well known in Europe. Their fundraising campaigns asked for donations of money, land, or noble-born sons to join the Order, with the implication that donations would help both to defend Jerusalem, and to ensure the charitable giver of a place in Heaven. The Order’s efforts were helped substantially by the patronage of Bernard of Clairvaux, the leading churchman of the time, and a nephew of one of the original nine knights. The Order at its outset had been subject to strong criticism, especially of the concept that religious men could also carry swords. In response to these critics, the influential Bernard of Clairvaux wrote a multi-page treatise entitled De Laude Novae Militae (“In Praise of the New Knighthood”), in which he championed their mission and defended the idea of a military religious order by appealing to the long-held Christian theory of just war, which legitimized “taking up the sword” to defend the innocent and the Church from violent attack. In doing so, Bernard legitimized the Templars, who became the first “warrior monks” of the Western world.

[A Templar Knight] is truly a fearless knight, and secure on every side, for his soul is protected by the armor of faith, just as his body is protected by the armor of steel. He is thus doubly-armed, and need fear neither demons nor men.
Shortly after its foundation in Jerusalem and due to possible previous links of the founding knights with the crusader Count Henry of Burgundy and with the House of Burgundy, and perhaps because of the family ties that Henry and his son Afonso had with Bernard of Clairvaux, the Knights Templar were already in the western edge of Europe, in the County of Portugal, at least from May of 1122. The Templars settled there first, where the Order received donations and bought lands during the successive years of 1122, 1123, 1125, and 1126 (donated by D. Theresa), and 1127–28.[2] Another possible reason for such exceptional early donations before the Council of Troyes, may be the alleged links of one or two founding knights of the Temple in Jerusalem, among the founding French knights of Champagne, Languedoc or other regions, Burgundy and possibly Flanders, with the County of Portugal – being of Portuguese origin, or Franco-Portuguese or Burgundian-Portuguese origin; claims sustained by chroniclers of the Templar Order in Portugal, written in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, supposedly basing themselves on original medieval source material of the Order of Christ.

Saint Bernard de Clairvaux, the Order’s patron (wikipwdia)

Donations to the Order were considerable. The King of Aragon, in the Iberian Peninsula, left large tracts of land to the Order upon his death in the 1130s. New members to the Order were also required to swear religious vows of obedience, chastity, poverty and piety, and hand over all of their goods to the monastic brotherhood. This could include land, horses and any other items of material wealth, including labor from serfs, and interest in any businesses.

In 1139, even more power was conferred upon the Order by Pope Innocent II, who issued the papal bull, Omne Datum Optimum. It stated that the Knights Templar could pass freely through any border, owed no taxes, and were subject to no one’s authority except that of the Pope. It was a remarkable confirmation of the Templars and their mission, which may have been brought about by the Order’s patron, Bernard of Clairvaux, who had helped Pope Innocent in his own rise.

The Order grew rapidly throughout Western Europe, with chapters appearing in France, England, and Scotland, and then spreading to Spain and Portugal.

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Depicting Man or Beast – The Riddle of the Great Sphinx of Giza

The Great Sphinx of Giza is one of the most fantastic monuments of ancient Egypt. A monolith carved into the limestone bedrock of the Giza plateau, the statue depicts a mythical creature with the head of a man and the body of a lion. According to legend, the Sphinx protects the tombs of the great pharaohs of Egypt and has done so ever since 2500 BC. However, in recent times, much debate has swirled around the origins and nature of this statue. Some say that erosion patterns actually indicate the Sphinx was built hundreds, if not thousands, of years earlier. Others suggest that the oddly disproportionate head suggest that originally, the statue was not of a sphinx at all, but rather of a lion or perhaps even the dog god, Anubis. As nobody may ever know the truth for certain, the Riddle of the Sphinx lives on.

The Great Sphinx of Giza.

The Great Sphinx of Giza. Source: Public Domain

The Mythical Sphinx

A sphinx is a mythical figure in Greek and Egyptian mythology. It is typically portrayed as having the head of a man, the body of a lion, and the wings of an eagle. A sphinx can be male or female, but is always cunning and merciless. Usually, in myths, a sphinx asks riddles and if a person answers incorrect, he is eaten. Sometimes the sphinx terrorizes a village. For example, the sphinx of Boeotian Thebes “the most famous in legend, was said to have terrorized the people by demanding the answer to a riddle taught her by the Muses—What is it that has one voice and yet becomes four-footed and two-footed and three-footed? —and devouring a man each time the riddle was answered incorrectly. Eventually,  Oedipus gave the proper answer: man, who crawls on all fours in infancy, walks on two feet when grown, and leans on a staff in old age. The sphinx thereupon killed herself.” (The Editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica, 2016)

Oedipus and the Sphinx of Thebes, Red Figure Kylix, c. 470 BC, from Vulci, attributed to the Oedipus Painter, Vatican Museums.

Oedipus and the Sphinx of Thebes, Red Figure Kylix, c. 470 BC, from Vulci, attributed to the Oedipus Painter, Vatican Museums. (Marcus Cyron/ CC BY SA 2.0 )

At other times, as in the Great Sphinx of Giza, the creature is said to be guarding something and will not let anyone pass unless they correctly answer a riddle.

Who Built the Sphinx of Giza?

Conventional wisdom holds that the Sphinx of Giza was built during the 4th Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of Egypt under the reign of Pharaoh Khafre (2558 – 2532 BC), around the same time that the Great Pyramids were being built. The statue’s face was supposed to be made in the Pharaoh’s image. Yet, one cannot help but be confused by the appearance of such a little head on top of such a gigantic body. “If we know anything about the ancient Egyptians and their statues, we know that they always got the proportions right. In fact, we could say that they were evidently obsessed with correct proportions in everything. So why would they carve what is still even today the world’s largest stone statue and get the proportions wrong?” (Temple, 2009)

Giza Plateau - Great Sphinx - front view, note the proportions of the head to larger body.

Giza Plateau – Great Sphinx – front view, note the proportions of the head to larger body. (Daniel Mayer/ CC BY SA 3.0 )

In addition, the face of the Sphinx does not look like other depictions of Khafre. “Known depictions of Khafre on statues and the Sphinx reveal many differences, though one might defend – though no one seems to have done so – that the sculptors got the precise features of Khafre slightly wrong, because of the uniqueness, the scale and challenge of working with the native rock at Gizeh, rather than with the much smaller scale and tested methodology of his known statues, some of which were recovered from the Valley Temple right next to the Sphinx.” (Coppens, 2016).

Some say that the Sphinx is more in the style of Pharaoh Khufu, Khafre’s father, and was therefore built sometime during his reign (2589 – 2566 B.C.). Others argue that it was built by Khufu’s other son, the little-known Pharaoh Djedefre (2528 – 2520 B.C.) in honor of Khufu, which explains why was in Khufu’s style and why it does not look like Khafre – it could have been made in Khufu’s likeness.

Head of a statue of Pharaoh Khafre (Einsamer Schütze/CC BY SA 3.0), and head in ivory of Pharaoh Khufu exposed in Altes Museum (Marcus Cyron/CC BY SA 3.0). Do you see a resemblance between either pharaoh with the Sphinx?

Left-right: Head of a statue of Pharaoh Khafre (Einsamer Schütze/ CC BY SA 3.0 ), and head in ivory of Pharaoh Khufu exposed in Altes Museum (Marcus Cyron/ CC BY SA 3.0 ). Do you see a resemblance between either pharaoh with the Sphinx?

The Sphinx as a Giant Lion

However, none of these theories explain the jarring disproportionate nature of the sphinx’s head. Historical architect Dr. Jonathan Foyle has said “the head and body were massively out of proportion…[and] the reason for this could be that the Sphinx originally had an entirely different head – that of a lion… To early Egyptians, the lion was a much more potent symbol of power than the human face” (Daily Mail Reporter, 2008). At this point in history, lions still inhabited Giza and the surrounding areas. Whether it was due to the erosion of the soft limestone or for political reasons, supporters of the lion-head theory argue that the Great Sphinx was remodeled to have the face of man, possibly of a pharaoh, an act that reduced the overall size of its head significantly.

An Egyptian lion statue.

An Egyptian lion statue. (Yortw/ CC BY 2.0 )

The Egyptian God of the Dead

Yet another theory, somewhat less widely supported but far more interesting, holds that the Great Sphinx’s head was indeed originally that of an animal, but not of a lion. It was originally a dog and represented the Egyptian god of the dead, Anubis. As Robert Temple observes, “the body of the Sphinx is not feline, as lions are known for a back that is curved and possessing a mane that is absent on the Sphinx” rather, the body is in the shape of a crouching dog (Coppens, 2016). There is much circumstantial evidence to support this theory: First, Anubis is the god of the dead and is believed to protect the deceased and to prevent the unworthy from crossing the river Nile to the underworld, like the role played by the guard dog Cerberus in Greek mythology. In addition,

“following the Book of the Dead, a statue of Anubis was used in rituals to do with the deceased, and specifically the washing of the parts of the deceased body that had been placed in the four Canopic jars…[and] this might also explain why the Sphinx enclosure might have been a moat – filled with water – for ritual washing of the pharaoh’s body. Equally, seeing that Anubis was the god of embalming, one could argue whether the embalming of a or several pharaohs therefore occurred in the so-called Sphinx Temple.” (Coppens, 2016).

Was the sphinx initially designed as a statue of Anubis?

Was the sphinx initially designed as a statue of Anubis? (public domain)

Finally, “the best-known image of Anubis is the Anubis statue found inside the tomb of King Tutankhamen, which shows him as a crouching dog” (Temple, 2009). If the head of the statue was originally that of a pointy-eared jackal, as Anubis is often portrayed, then it supports the notion that erosion eventually ruined its ears and maybe its snout. The Pharaoh’s then sought to restore the statue and remodeled it to have a head of a man, transforming it into the popular mythical figure, the sphinx.

Representation of Anubis from the tomb of Tutankhamen.

Representation of Anubis from the tomb of Tutankhamen. (CC BY SA 2.5 )

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In the fortress which is in the Vale of Achor – The Legendary Copper Scroll(3Q15)

In the fortress which is in the Vale of Achor, forty cubits under the steps entering to the east: a money chest and it contents, of a weight of seventeen talents.” So begins the first column of the Copper Scroll, one of the most intriguing, and baffling, scrolls to be found among the collection known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Sounding like something out of an Indiana Jones movie, the text of the Copper Scroll (3Q15) describes vast amounts of buried treasure.

Image result for 3Q15

The Copper Scroll (3Q15) Image Source

 

3Q15 indicates the artifact was found in cave 3, while Q indicates the site as Khirbet Qumran. The later digits indicated the item number. Enhancing the significance of the find, this artifact was discovered in place by archaeologists. It was found in 1952  on the shores f the Dead Sea, one of the few scrolls to be discovered in the place where it had lain for nearly 2,000 years. Most of what are called the “Dead Sea Scrolls” were found by Bedouin and sold through antiquities dealers, but this one was actually discovered by archaeologists–a rare occasion during those years. In ancient times the text of the document had been incised on thin sheets of copper which were then joined together. At the time it was found, however, the document was rolled into two separate scrolls of heavily oxidized copper which was far too brittle to unroll. For five years scholars and experts discussed ways of opening the scroll. Finally, they decided to cut the scroll into sections from the outside using a small saw. Working very carefully they cut the scroll into 23 strips, each one curved into a half-cylinder. Before it was cut, one scholar thought he saw words for silver and gold and suggested that the scroll was a list of buried treasure. Sure enough, when it was deciphered that scholar turned out to be right!

What about all that treasure? What is it? Has anyone found it? The answer to the last question is, no, at least that they are telling.

The treasure described in the Copper Scroll consists of vast quantities of gold and silver, as well as many coins and vessels. It is difficult to assess the value of what is described, since we are not sure what the weights in the scroll are actually equivalent to, but it was estimated in 1960 that the total would top $1,000,000 U.S.

With this great treasure list, you may ask, why isn’t everyone out looking for the treasure? (And why hasn’t Stephen Spielberg made a movie out of it?) The truth is, some people are looking for it, but it is not all that easy. To begin with, we do not know what all the words in the text mean. The text is in Hebrew, which is certainly a known language, but most ancient Hebrew texts that we have are religious in nature, and the Copper Scroll is anything but religious. Most of its vocabulary is simply not found in the Bible or anything else we have from ancient times.

Not only is the vocabulary of the scroll very technical, some of the geographical locations are unknown after so many years, many are too specific and some refer to places that no longer exist. Take some of the following examples:

“In the gutter which is in the bottom of the (rain-water) tank…”

“In the Second Enclosure, in the underground passage that looks east…”

“In the water conduit of […] the northern reservoir…”

There are those who have suggested that the treasure never actually existed, that the Copper Scroll is simply a work of fiction. Even if the treasure did exist, we do not know where it came from or who it belonged to. Some believe the scrolls refer to Temple treasure, hidden for safekeeping before the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 C.E. Others believe the treasure belonged to the sect that lived at Qumran, a sect usually identified with the Essenes, a Jewish group mentioned in the work of the Jewish historian Josephus, who wrote in the 1st century C.E. However, these are just educated guesses. Who the treasure belonged to, and what happened to it, we may never know.

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Origins of The Legendary – Merlin the Magician

Most people today have heard of Merlin the Magician, as his name has been popularized over the centuries and his story has been dramatized in numerous novels, films, and television programs. The powerful wizard is depicted with many magical powers, including the power of shapeshifting and is well-known in mythology as a tutor and mentor to the legendary King Arthur, ultimately guiding him towards becoming the king of Camelot. While these general tales are well-known, Merlin’s initial appearances were only somewhat linked to Arthur. It took many decades of adaptations before Merlin became the wizard of Arthurian legend he is known as today.

It is common belief that Merlin was created as a figure for Arthurian legend.  While Merlin the Wizard was a very prominent character in the stories of Camelot, that is not where he originated.  Writer Geoffrey of Monmouth is credited with creating Merlin in his 1136 AD work, Historia Regum Britanniae – The History of Kings of Britain. While a large portion of Historia Regum Britanniae is a historical account of the former kings of Britain, Merlin was included as a fictional character (although it is likely that Geoffrey intended for readers to believe he was a figure extracted from long-lost ancient texts). Merlin was paradoxical, as he was both the son of the devil and the servant of God.

Merlin was created as a combination of several historical and legendary figures. Geoffrey combined stories of North Brythonic prophet and madman, Myrddin Wyllt, and Romano-British war leader, Ambrosius Aurelianus, to create Merlin Ambrosius. Ambrosius was a figure in Nennius’ Historia Brittonum.  In Historia Brittonum, British king Vortigern wished to erect a tower, but each time he tried it would collapse before completion. He was told that to prevent this, he would have to first sprinkle the ground beneath the tower with the blood of a child who was born without a father. Ambrosius was thought to have been born without a father, so he was brought before Vortigern. Ambrosius explains to Vortigern that the tower could not be supported upon the foundation because two battling dragons lived beneath, representing the Saxons and the Britons. Ambrosius convinced Vortigern that the tower will only stand with Ambrosius as a leader, and Vortigern gave Ambrosius the tower, which is also the kingdom. Geoffrey retells this story with Merlin as the child born without a father, although he retains the character of Ambrosius.

Illumination of a 15th century manuscript of Historia Regum Britanniae showing king of the Britons Vortigern and Ambros waching the fight between two dragons

Illumination of a 15th century manuscript of Historia Regum Britanniae showing king of the Britons Vortigern and Ambros waching the fight between two dragons. ( Wikimedia Commons )

In Geoffrey’s version of the story, he includes a long section containing Merlin’s prophecies, along with two other stories, which led to the inclusion of Merlin into Arthurian legend. These include the tale of Merlin creating Stonehenge as the burial location for Ambrosius, and the story of Uther Pendragon sneaking into Tintagel where he father Arthur with Igraine, his enemy’s wife. This was the extent of Geoffrey’s tales of Merlin. Geoffrey does not include any stories of Merlin acting as a tutor to Arthur, which is how Merlin is most well-known today. Geoffery’s character of Merlin quickly became popular, particularly in Wales, and from there the tales were adapted, eventually leading to Merlin’s role as Arthur’s tutor.

A giant helps Merlin build Stonehenge. From a manuscript of the Roman de Brut by Wace

A giant helps Merlin build Stonehenge. From a manuscript of the Roman de Brut by Wace ( Wikimedia Commons )

Many years after Geoffrey’s Historia Regum Britanniae, Robert de Boron composed a poem called Merlin. Boron’s Merlin has the same origins as Geoffrey’s creation, but Boron places special emphasis on Merlin’s shapeshifting powers, connection to the Holy Grail, and his jokester personality. Boron also introduces Blaise, Merlin’s master. Boron’s poem was eventually re-written in prose as Estoire de Merlin, which also places much focus upon Merlin’s shapeshifting. Over the years, Merlin was interspersed through the tales of Arthurian legend. Some writings placed much focus upon Merlin as Arthur’s mentor, while others did not mention Merlin at all. In some tales Merlin was viewed as an evil figure who did no good in his life, while in others he was viewed favorably as Arthur’s teacher and mentor.

Merlin reciting his poem in a 13th-century illustration for ‘Merlin’ by Robert de Boron

Merlin reciting his poem in a 13th-century illustration for ‘Merlin’ by Robert de Boron ( Wikimedia Commons )

Eventually, from the various tales emerged Merlin’s downfall, at the hands of Niviane (Vivien), the king of Northumberland’s daughter. Arthur convinces Niviane to stay in his castle, under Merlin’s encouragement. Merlin falls in love with Niviane. However, Niviane fears Merlin will use his magical powers to take advantage of her. She swears that she will never fall in love with him, unless he teaches her all of the magic he knows. Merlin agrees. Merlin and Niviane depart to return to Northumberland, when they are called back to assist King Arthur. As they are returning, they stop to stay in a stone chamber, where two lovers once died and were buried together. When Merlin falls asleep, Niviane places him under a spell, and traps him within the stone tomb, where he dies. Merlin had never realized that his desire for Niviane, and his willingness to teach her his magical ways, would eventually lead to his untimely death.

Merlin and Vivien

Merlin and Vivien dated 1867 by Gustave Dore ( Wikimedia Commons )

From Merlin’s inception through the writings of Geoffrey, the wizard appeared in many subsequent tales, stories, and poems. Today, Merlin is most well-known for being the wizard who tutored and taught the young Arthur, before he grew to become the King of Camelot. It was under Merlin’s counsel that Arthur became the king that he was. While this legend continues on today, it is interesting to see the many variations of Merlin, from an evil wizard, to a shapeshifter, to one who met his downfall from teaching his powers to the woman he loved. This powerful and versatile character caught the attention of many people centuries ago, and continues to play a prominent role in today’s storytelling.

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