Saturday, September 22, 2018

Inspiring Quotes About Autumn

Fall has arrived. Behold the changing leaves, and enjoy the crisp breeze. Let your eyes take in the bursts of color. Transformation is afoot and hope is in the air.

Enjoy these inspirational fall quotes and these spectacular fall foliage photos.


"Leaves are falling. Autumn is calling.”
―Unknown

“A fallen leaf is nothing more than a summer’s wave goodbye.”
―Unknown

"Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree."
―Emily Bronte


"I can smell autumn dancing in the breeze. The sweet chill of pumpkin and crisp sunburnt leaves.”
―Unknown

"It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in Autumn."
―B. C. Forbes

"Autumn begins with a subtle change in the light, with skies a deeper blue, and nights that become suddenly clear and chilled. The season comes full with the first frost, the disappearance of migrant birds, and the harvesting of the season's last crops."
―Glenn Wolff and Jerry Dennis


"The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let the dead things go” 
―Unknown

"And all at once, summer collapsed into fall…”
―Oscar Wilde

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower" 
―Albert Camus


“Autumn...the year's last, loveliest smile."
― John Howard Bryant

"Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.”
―Elizabeth Lawrence

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house."
― Nathaniel Hawthorne


"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”
―F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” 
― Lauren DeStefano, Wither

"There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves."
―Joe L. Wheeler


"Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day.”
―Shira Tamir

"No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face.”
―John Donne

"How beautifully leaves grow old! How full of light and color are their last days!”
―John Burroughs


"Dancing of the autumn laves on a surface of a lake is a dream we see when we are awake.”
―Mehmet Murat Ildan

"Autumn mornings: sunshine and crisp air, birds and calmness, year's end and day's beginnings.”
―Terri Guillemets

“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” 
― L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables


Happy Autumn! 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Get Ready For Venus Retrograde – Tempting Your Dark Side


Take care of yourself, because we’re fast approaching one of the most emotionally challenging and deceptive retrogrades in all of astrology.

Venus Retrograde 2018 starts on October 5th at 10° Scorpio. Venus retrograde will last for 40 days, until November 15th when Venus goes direct at 25° Libra.

Venus — planet of love, romance, luxury, prosperity, and affection — will begin her apparent spin backwards through orbit, taking our hearts with her. Remember that this planet isn’t all roses, diamonds, and love letters. Oftentimes, she can be jealous, possessive, and vindictive when she’s feeling threatened.

If Venus Retrograde 2018 is already giving you chills, listen to this: Venus goes retrograde in Scorpio, the most intense sign of the zodiac. Death, sex, finances, and taboos – in general, what people never talk about – are Scorpio’s territory.

Can you imagine what it means to have the Goddess of Love going through Scorpio? The Valley of death, the inferno? Let’s put it like this: If Romeo and Juliet was an astrological transit, it would have been Venus Retrograde in Scorpio.

Because Venus is in retrograde only 7 percent of the time, it’s in retrograde less than any other planet in astrology. This, in and of itself, makes its impact on our universe undeniably strong.

Challenging your ability to give and receive affection, make wise choices with your money, and resist negative temptation, it’s wise to avoid committing to love affairs or lofty purchases during this time. When Venus is in retrograde, she’s presenting you with opportunities that might seem thrilling at first, but will only lead you toward destruction.

Your love life will be put to thew test 

Aphrodite’s bad points are often overlooked. She had a reputation for jealousy, revenge, possessiveness, and infidelity.

Love is a whirlwind of chaos and confusion during Venus retrograde. If you’re in a relationship, you might face conflict with your partner that puts your commitment in jeopardy. If you’re single, you might be tempted to ignore red flags and give your heart away to someone who isn’t trustworthy.

You will most definitely be thinking with your reproductive organs and not your brain, so do try to resist the sex if you can. You may get a series of red flags but still ignore them. A one night stand might during this time might seem harmless and disposable, but on a spiritual level, this goes far deeper.

Sometimes we think we need a sexual fling because it has been a while, we just want to have fun and we feel we can take it or leave it. But with Venus retrograde, we might develop an obsessive attachment to the so-called “friend with benefits”, which we hadn’t bargained for. We could find we are kept in a very unpleasant psychic, sexual bondage.

There’s also a chance that lovers or friends from your past will resurface, totally disrupting life as you know it.

Even though these romantic challenges can be severely damaging, remember that Venus is currently bringing every negative emotion in love to the forefront. She’s luring your heart towards danger, and you do have the power to see beyond her ruse. If a situation seems risky, that’s because it is. Do your best to avoid toxic temptation during this time and you’ll avoid much of the effects of Venus retrograde. Your ex is your ex for a reason.

But there’s much more to this Venus Retrograde than the obsessive intensity of Venus in Scorpio.

While Venus retrograde starts in Scorpio, Venus Retrograde ends in Libra.

And this is where (in Libra) we will have the final outcome, the resolution of this transit.

During Venus’ time retrograding through Libra, we are going to be encouraged to think about how our actions are affecting others.

Every action we take creates a ripple effect around the entire Universe. With Venus retrograding through Libra, we are going to be encouraged to really think about the other, and to reflect on whether we are treating people how we wish to be treated.

Be cautious with your wallet

Although Venus is known for being the planet of love, she’s also the planet of luxury, and during her retrograde, all that glitters is definitely not gold. You might feel tempted to overspend on things you don’t need, giving in to opulence and pleasure when it’s not wise, and feeling insecure about your financial state.

If there’s a non-essential and overly expensive product you’re lusting over, it’s wise to hold off on making the purchase until Venus retrograde is over. By the time this haze of deception has dissipated, you might suddenly realize that that product is a total rip off.

If you’re feeling ashamed of your financial state during Venus retrograde, trust that it’s also because Venus might be making you seem a lot less fortunate than you truly are. Remember that money comes and goes. By no means does your financial state define you. When Venus retrograde has you comparing yourself to the rich and wealthy, try to feel grateful for all that you already have.


Why Is This Venus Retrograde So Important?

From all Venus retrogrades, Venus in Scorpio retrogrades are the most profound and bring the greatest transformations.

Your life will be transformed to an extent you never thought was possible.

Venus Retrograde will thrust you out of your comfort zone and into the unknown. Yes, it can be challenging. Yes, it can be painful. It can feel like an unending, uphill battle against the world. 

It can certainly feel like a difficult transit. And this is because Venus Retrograde can bring unfinished business back into your life. And we humans are wired to avoid having to deal with unfinished stuff. Otherwise, we would have dealt with the ‘stuff’ in the first place.

Unfinished stuff is heavy, energetically consuming and requires hard work and sacrifice. But if you don’t solve it, then it lingers somewhere in the background, and it ends up consuming even more energy and effort in the long run.

And this is where Venus Retrograde chimes in. She will challenge you to change what you are most comfortable with. 

Let’s say you’re used to be the “giver” in relationships. Venus Retrograde will make you see the reality for what it is. Maybe people take advantage of you. No more hiding and fooling yourself that these people love you for who you are.

Or maybe you are the one taking advantage of others. Venus Retrograde will expose any unfair advantage or manipulation attempt in order to maintain power.

Even if every Venus retrograde is different, Venus retrograde cycles follow a clear pattern.

Unlike other retrogrades, like Mercury retrogrades or Mars retrogrades, Venus retrogrades are very cyclical. Remember the beautiful flower pattern?

Venus cycles repeat in fact 5 times over a period of 8 years. Each Venus retrograde is a repetition of the Venus Retrograde that happened 8 years ago, 16 years ago and so on.  

Every 8 years Venus goes back to the same area of your chart.

Last time we had this was October 2010. Venus retrograde activated the same area of your chart. What happened back then in your life? Check your diary, look in your social media feed, or search your mailbox to find out what was going on in your life.

Channel your feelings into creative expression

All retrogrades are slow, introspective, and contemplative times, but Venus retrograde involves no ordinary introspection. It’s a journey through some of the darkest shadows of your heart, and it will have you oscillating between pain and pleasure as though you’re riding a dangerous, yet exciting roller coaster ride. This energy can be heavily destructive if it isn’t given form or structure. What better a way to channel your emotions than through art, poetry, dance, and self-expression?

The upside of Venus retrograde is that it can also be a wonderfully creative time. Whether you’re feeling aroused, angry, or full of heartache during this period, these emotions are the foundation of some of the greatest works of art known to mankind. Use it to create something beautiful and you’ll look back on this time fondly.


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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Quarter Experiment from Prometheus Rising


“Whatever the Thinker thinks, the Prover will prove.” – Robert Anton Wilson

Robert Anton Wilson (1932 - 2007) became, at various times, an American novelist, essayist, philosopher, polymath, psychonaut, futurist, libertarian and self-described agnostic mystic. Recognized as an Episkopos, Pope, and Saint of Discordianism by Discordians who care to label him as such, Wilson helped publicize the group/religion/melee through his writings, interviews, and strolls.

He described his work as an "attempt to break down conditioned associations, to look at the world in a new way, with many models recognized as models or maps, and no one model elevated to the truth."

Robert Anton Wilson possessed an uncanny ability to introduce his readers to their own mental projections of themselves and the universe—and thoroughly distort the boundaries between the two. 

Prometheus Rising is a book by Robert Anton Wilson first published in 1983. It is a guide book of "how to get from here to there", an amalgam of Timothy Leary's 8-circuit model of consciousness, Gurdjieff's self-observation exercises, Alfred Korzybski's general semantics, Aleister Crowley's magical theorems, Sociobiology, Yoga, relativity, and quantum mechanics, amongst other approaches to understanding the world around us, and claiming to be a short book (under 300 pages) about how the human mind works and how to get the most use from one. Wilson describes it as an "owner's manual for the human brain".

The book examines many aspects of social mind control and mental imprinting, and provides mind exercises at the end of every chapter, with the goal of giving the reader more control over how one's mind works.

"Once you start doing the exercises, you realize that you’re not just reading a driver’s manual of the universe—you’re also behind the driver’s seat! Most of the consciousness changing exercises in Wilson’s books take little effort but can produce lasting change in perception. All they require are commitment, patience, and practice". - Ultraculture



The Quarter Experiment, from Prometheus Rising:

“1. Visualize a quarter vividly, and imagine vividly that you are going to find a quarter on the street. Then, look for the quarter every time you take a walk, meanwhile continuing to visualize it. See how long it takes you to find the quarter.

“2. Explain the above experiment by the hypothesis of ‘selective attention’—that is, believe there are lots of lost quarters everywhere and you were bound to find one by continually looking. Go looking for a second quarter.

“3. Explain the experiment by the alternative ‘mystical’ hypothesis that ‘mind controls everything.’ Believe that you made the quarter manifest in this universe. Go looking for a second quarter.

“4. Compare the time it takes to find the second quarter using the first hypothesis (attention) with the time it takes using the second hypothesis (mind-over-matter).

“5. With your own ingenuity, invent similar experiments and each time compare the two theories—‘selective attention’ (coincidence) vs. ‘mind controls everything’ (psychokinesis).

“6. Avoid coming to any strong conclusions prematurely. At the end of a month, re-read this… think it over again, and still postpone coming to any dogmatic conclusion. Believe it possible that you do not know everything yet, and that you might have something still to learn.”

This experiment is designed to help the reader understand the role of thought and belief in structuring the universe. Whatever it is that you think, your mind will immediately set about proving—the existence of God, the sovereignty of the American President, or any number of conspiracy theories. Your mind will find proofs of those things everywhere.

From Prometheus Rising, Robert Anton Wilson (1997, 2nd rev. ed., tenth printing)
Find his book on the right bar of our site. 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Ancient Goddesses Cult Worship


The Goddesses path to enlightenment is still strong throughout the world and it’s practiced among Shamans, Gnostics, Yogis, Wiccans, Mystics, Kabbalists, and Pagans.

The Goddess tradition is also known as the Teachings of the Rose. The rose is a symbol of the Goddess, as well as for alchemy and gnosis, which are branches of the ancient goddess spiritual tradition. The rose was used as a symbol for Mary, as it was also used as an ancient symbol of Venus.

One of the titles of the Templars was Knights of the Rose Cross. When the secret societies of Europe acquired the Gnostic and alchemical wisdom of the Knight Templars, many also adopted Mary as their patroness and the rose as their symbol. An example of another popular alchemical sect that shares the symbol of the Rose are the Rosicrucians, meaning ‘those of the rose cross’. These various hidden societies became collectively known as sub-Rosa. That is to say, they existed under the symbol of the rose.

Although it is widely held belief that these secretive groups were exclusively created to protect Mary’s sacred bloodline, which may also be true, it was the secret alchemical tradition that she was a patroness of which was actually being so closely guarded for so many centuries. That is not to say there is not such bloodline in existence, but merely that this was not the singular or primary concern, in this author’s humble opinion, of the Templars efforts.

In the Holy land, the Templars learned many of the mysteries from the Sufis, who in tern learned from earlier Goddess cults of the Babylonian Ishtar, and still earlier Sumerian Inanna.

In pre-Islamic times, Mecca was founded to be a shrine to the Goddess. The Black Stone of Kaaba in Mecca, towards which Muslims still pray in the center of the Grand Mosque in Mecca today, is set in large solid silver mountings which on whole resembles the vulva of the Goddess.

The Kaaba is accurately aligned on two heavenly phenomena: the cycles of the moon and the rising of Canopus, the brightest star after Sirius. Pre-Islamic worship of the Goddess seems to be primarily associated with AI’Lat, which simply means ‘goddess’. She is a triple goddess, similar to the Greek lunar deity Kore/Demeter/Hecate. Each aspect of this trinity corresponds to the phase of the moon. Islamic traditions continue to recognize these three, but labels them ‘daughters of Allah’.

Deities of other cultures known to have been associated with black stones included Aphrodite at Paphos, Cybele at Pessinus and later Rome, Astarte at Byblos and the famous Artemis/Diana of Ephesus.

The sacred Black Stone that now enshrines in the Kaaba was the feminine symbol, marked by the sign of the yoni (vagina), and covered like the ancient Mother by a veil. The Black Stone rests in the Haram, “sanctuary”, cognate of “harem”, which used to mean a Temple of Women, in Babylon, a shrine of the Goddess Har, mother of harlots. Hereditary guardians of the Haram were the Koreshites, “children of Kore”, Mohammed’s own tribe. The holy office was originally held by women, before it was taken over by male priests calling themselves eni Shayban (Sons of the Old Woman”).

Various Classical writers describe the sexual rituals which went on the honor of the ancient Goddess - which included he practice which is now known by the disdainful term of ‘sacred prostitution’. Knowledge of ancient rites, as well as the transmutation of sexual energy, was retained through the ages and not completely eradicated by the arrival of Patriarchal religions.

The Sufis taught the Knights Templars that the goal of internal alchemy was to awaken the divine power of the goddess within the human body.

From the Sufis, the Templars also learned that the eight pointed star, or cross, is both a symbol of the goddess as well as an ancient symbols for alchemy. The Templars also venerated many others symbols of the goddess, such as the doves, roses, and five pointed stars. In fact the controversial horned goat of Mendes, a symbol which the Templars made androgynous and adopted, which they also referred to as Baphomet, is actually a translation of Sophia the goddess.

From the Johannites, which emerged out of the Gnostic sect called the Essenes, the Templars were initiated into the Goddess rites and teachings brought to the Middle East from the Far East. It is the same Essene sect that Jesus was said to have been born into. Because of the influence of the Sufi, and the Johannites, the Templars game to know of the Holy Spirit as the power of the Goddess. It was this goddess power that the Knight Templars attempted to transmit into their sacred ceremonies, and the same goddess power that they acknowledged to be the Holy Grail itself.

Extracts from the book Occult Secrets of Vril (chapter 8: Sophia) by Robert Sepehr.

About the author:
Robert Sepehr is an author, producer and anthropologist living in Los Angeles, CA.
He specializes in linguistics, paleogenetics and archeology.

Find Robert Sepehr's book on the left bar of our site.


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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The Goddess and the Rose in the Ancient World


The rose (Latin, rosa, in Greek, rhodon) a symbol that has a rich and ancient history. And like the cross, it can have paradoxical meanings. It is at once a symbol of purity and a symbol of passion, heavenly perfection and earthly passion; virginity and fertility; death and life. It is a symbol of transmutation - that of taking food from the earth and transmuting it into the beautiful fragrant rose. The rose garden is a symbol of Paradise. It is the place of the mystic marriage. In ancient Rome, roses were grown in the funerary gardens to symbolize resurrection. The thorns have represented suffering and sacrifice as well as the sins of the Fall from Paradise.

Of all the flowers, the rose is a singular example of a natural form that has been included in the symbolism of many cultures, spiritual traditions and folklore throughout the centuries. This flower has been intricately connected to our ideas of love and beauty and as such has enjoyed an association with several Goddesses, among them are Inanna, Ishtar, Aphrodite, Venus, Lakshmi, Chloris, Cybele, Flora, Demeter, Astarte, Aurora, and Hecate. The rose also has associations with a few Gods, Cupid, Dionysius, Eros, Mars and Bacchus.

There is one other Deity who came to have a deep connection to the symbolism of the rose, and that is the Goddess Isis. In the Mysteries roses were sacred to Isis. It is also the flower of her son Harpocrates or younger Horus, the god of silence. Many of the Gods and Goddesses mentioned above came to have an association with her eventually, as her worship spread throughout the Mediterranean region and the Roman empire. In her role as She of Ten Thousand Names, Isis was corresponded to many other Goddesses, taking on their attributes, both in and outside of Egypt. By the Greco-Roman period, when the rose had become a popular addition to religious festivals and secular feasts of the Romans and the Greeks, this flower had become intricately associated with Isis, and the association would only deepen over time.

In Sumeria, Babylon and Assyria

“A rose, bent by the wind and pricked by thorns, yet has its heart turned upwards” - Huna of Babylon

The oldest known use of a rose as the basis for a stylized design come from Sumeria. One is a Sumerian seal showing two scorpions protecting the rosette of the Goddess Inanna, dating to the Early Bronze Age or Uruk period, circa 3300 BC. The rosette was a sacred symbol of this Goddess. Seals dating to Early Dynastic I (2900-2800 BC) in the Sumerian city of Ur, combined the rosette symbol of Inanna with those of several other cities of the period. Scholars believe these were originally used for the purpose of sealing store room doors to preserve the materials and contributions made to the great temple of Inanna.

Roses were included in the Hanging Gardens of King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Historians record that the gardens were built by Nebuchadnezzar for one of his wives, Amyitis. Part of the gardens are believed to have been located near the Gate of Ishtar.

The earliest known written reference to roses exists on clay tablets from the royal library at Nineveh (modern day Mosul) of King Ashurbanipal. They contain the word “amurdinnu” or “murdinnu” which scholars believe refers to the ‘bramble rose’ or ‘wild rose’. Use of this word has also been cited in the Epic of Gilgamesh (Kuyundjik Tablet 2252). The Epic of Gilgamesh (also referred to as the Epic of Ishtar and Gilgamesh) as translated by Hamilton (1901) contains the following passage:

" ... Oh, could we hear those whispering roses sweet,
Three beauties bending till their petals meet,
And blushing, mingling their sweet fragrance there
In language yet unknown to mortal ear ..."

The author and scholar Joseph Campbell, along with many others, has pointed out the strong parallels between the myths of Inanna, Ishtar and Isis. Their consorts have been equated with the cycles of vegetation. All three of these Goddesses held the title “Queen of Heaven”, they were associated with love, loss, death and eventual restoration. Their stories echo a cycle of love, loss and rebirth that has been intimately connected to the symbolism of the rose.

In Crete

“Each common bush shall Syrian roses wear.” - Virgil, “The Eclogues,” IV, (Dryden translation)

Isis certainly had a presence in Crete by the Greco-Roman period. A sanctuary of Isis and Serapis existed near the city of Gortyna in southern central Crete. Gortyna was a major Roman settlement and the chief city of Crete during this time period. A life sized statue of Isis found in Crete is now in the Herakleion Museum (item no. 314). Evidence for an earlier presence may be indicated by a passage from “The Transformations of Lucius, Otherwise Known as the Golden Ass,” by Lucius Apuleius. In it the Goddess Isis speaks these words: “… for the archers of Crete I am Dictynna …”. Dictynna is an ancient Goddess of Cretan origin, who had many attributes. She is considered to be Patroness of Fisherman, Lawgiver, and possibly the Minoan Mother Goddess, whose sanctuaries were believed to be situated on mountaintops.

The oldest known visual evidence of roses is preserved in a fresco from the palace of Knossos on Crete. This piece of art dates from around 1600 BC. The fresco was partially destroyed during the earthquake of 1500 BC which brought down the palace. Portions of the fresco, though broken, vividly depict animals and flowers - among them are several examples of roses.

Roses may have originally been introduced to Syria and Palestine from northern Persia (modern day Iran), and later introduced from these regions into Greece, Italy and eventually into Egypt. Scholars believe the roses of Knossos may have been brought to Crete through trade with Syria. Whatever the route taken by the rose, the worship of Isis spread throughout the same region in much the same manner, if by a slightly different route. Barbara Watterson writes in her book “The Gods of Ancient Egypt”  that the worship of Isis spread from dynastic Egypt “northwards to Phoenicia, Syria and Palestine; to Asia Minor; to Cyprus, Rhodes, Crete, Samos and other islands in the Aegean.”  Perhaps it was the ancient Syrian roses of Crete that were first introduced into the worship and temples of Isis in Egypt.

In Egypt

“The buds from Hatti are ripe … all the meadow blossoms with burgeoning buds.” - Cairo Love Song 21e, “Seven Wishes”, New Kingdom

In Egypt during the Greco-Roman period, wall paintings within Egyptian tombs included roses as a part of their subject matter, objects were decorated with rose motifs, and roses were used in funerary wreaths. Attar of roses was one of the oils used in the later periods during mummification.  Roses and rose oil were used in ancient Egyptian medicine. Private and temple gardens included roses in their flower beds.

Hair ornaments of Senebtisy in the form of gold rosettes, 12th Dynasty Evidence of two types of roses used in pharaonic Egypt have survived. One is the "Rosa Gallica" which was widely cultivated in parts of Europe, in Rome and Greece, and still survives today. The other is "Rosa Ricardii", which became extinct in Egypt by Islamic times. It was “Rosa Ricardii” also known as “Rosa Sancta” that was identified as the type of rose included in the funerary wreaths found in tombs of Hawara by Egyptologist William M. Flinders Petrie in the later part of the nineteenth century. These wreaths have been dated to 170 AD.

Some recipes for Kyphi, an incense used in ancient Egyptian temples called for the use of rose oil. The ancient Egyptians believed that perfume exuded from the bodies of their Deities, and that to breathe in the scent of the sacred Kyphi incense brought communication with the divine. It is not surprising then, that from the time of it’s introduction into Egypt (possibly sixth to seventh century BC), the fragrant and beautiful rose became one of the most sought after flowers, eventually associated with Isis, whose popularity and worship became so widespread.

Throughout the classical world, Egypt was renowned for it’s perfumes. One of these was called “Rhodinon” (‘rose perfume’). It is mentioned by Pliny, Theophrastus and Dioscorides. Theophrastus in his work titled “On Odours” writes of this perfume: “… being very delicate and acceptable to the sense of smell, by reason of its lightness it penetrates as no other can …” To better enhance the color to a more rose like hue, alkanet (a plant used to make dye) was sometimes added.

Cleopatra VII of the Ptolemaic Dynasty of Egypt had coinage issued during her reign that titled her “The New Goddess”, identifying her with Isis. She was not the first Ptolemaic Queen to be identified with Isis, but she was certainly the most famous. It may have been her association to Isis that first drew the displeasure of Roman politicians. The Cult of Isis in Rome was very popular during this time period. Cleopatra’s proclamation of herself as the living personification of Isis on earth would not have been recognized in Rome.

She was said to have a passion for roses. Cleopatra regularly enjoyed fountains filled with rosewater at her palace. In “The Deipnosophists” Athenaeus wrote the following about her: “On the fourth day she distributed fees, amounting to a talent, for the purchase of roses, and the floors of the dining-rooms were strewn with them to the depth of a cubit, in net-like festoons spread over all.” Legend has it that she even had the sails of her barge soaked in rosewater. Shakespeare refers to this in "Anthony and Cleopatra:” "Purple the sails, and so perfumed, that the winds were lovesick with them …” This "New Goddess," has been identified with love, queenship and the rose in art and literature down through the ages.

In Greece

“Venus … anointed him with ambrosial oil of roses …”  Homer, “The Iliad,” Book XXIII

The Gnostic Gospels found at Nag Hammadi in Egypt contain a story of the origin of roses which is based on an ancient Greek myth: “But the first Psyche (Soul) loved Eros who was with her, and poured her blood upon him and upon the earth. Then from that blood the rose first sprouted upon the earth out of the thorn bush, for a joy in the light which was to appear in the bramble.” - (Robinson, “The Nag Hammadi Library” pp. 169 - 170)

The ancient Greeks cultivated a form of the Gallica rose. The name ‘rose’ comes from Latin ‘rosa’  which derives from the ancient Greek ‘rhoden’ meaning ‘red’. The rose was eventually brought to southern Italy by Greek colonists.  Both the Greeks and the Romans used roses for perfume, medicine, festivals and temple rituals.

The ancient Greeks developed a system of corresponding specific plants and flowers to specific Deities, and then subsequently allocating certain plants and flowers for wreaths, to adorn the statues of Deities and the heads of persons of renown.  Followers of Isis used roses in the Greco-Roman period to create 'Wreaths of Justification' for the righteous dead, as a sign the deceased had successfully passed through the Judgement Hall of Her husband, Osiris.

It was the poetess Sappho who first named the rose ‘Queen of Flowers’ in her poem “Ode to the Rose.”  It became the flower of the Greek Goddess Aphrodite, and in Rome the rose was dedicated to the Goddess Venus. When the worship of Isis spread into Greece and Rome, the rose was considered the most sacred of floral offerings to Her.

A temple dedicated to Isis located near Mikro Elos in Brexiza on the borders of the Marathon and Nea Makri is under excavation. This area is located in Attica in southern Greece. Statues of Osiris and Isis have been recovered from the area, the originals are in the Marathon Museum, copies have been situated on the excavation site for tourists. Since the discovery of the first two Egyptian-style statues on the site in 1968, six statues have been found, including an intact marble sphinx, a gray stone sphinx in two pieces and a portrait of Polydeuces. One of the most striking of these statues depicts Isis holding a rose in each hand.

There were several established centers for the Cult of Isis in ancient Greece, particularly in Attica. One of these was in Athens. Isis was also established just east of Athens in Corinth, in Cenchreae (Kenchreai), Eleusius, Piraeus, and notably on the island of Delos. In Athens, evidence suggests that a Cult of Isis existed during or before the last third of the 4th century BC, officially recognized in the early part of the 2nd century BC and continued to flourish until the 2nd half of the 3rd century AD. The surviving physical evidence amply corresponds Isis with the rose in ancient Greece. Some scholars feel that the rose may have had a deep connection to Demeter and it was through the association of Isis with Demeter that the rose first became corresponded with Isis.

Diodorus Siculus writes an account which may demonstrate how this ancient introduction of Isis of Egypt into the Mysteries of Eleusis and into Attica of Greece first took place: “Erechtheus also, who was by birth an Egyptian, became king of Athens, and in proof of this they offer the following considerations. Once when there was a great drought, as is generally agreed, which extended over practically all the inhabited earth except Egypt because of the peculiar character of that country, and there followed a destruction both of crops and men in great numbers, Erechtheus, through his racial connection with Egypt, brought from there to Athens a great supply of grain, and in return those who had enjoyed this aid made their benefactor king. After he had secured the throne he instituted the initiatory rites of Demeter in Eleusis and established the mysteries, transferring their ritual from Egypt. And the tradition that an advent of the goddess into Attica also took place at that time is reasonable, since it was then that the fruits which are named after her were brought to Athens, and this is why it was thought that the discovery of the seed had been made again, as though Demeter had bestowed the gift … their ancient ceremonies are observed by the Athenians in the same way as by the Egyptians … they are the only Greeks who swear by Isis, and they closely resemble the Egyptians in both their appearance and manners.”

Reliefs from graves dating to this period in Athens and other areas of Attica show women wearing garlands that alternate laurel leaves and roses. They are also represented wearing rose wreaths. A late Hellenistic Hymn from Andros describes “the flower laden locks of Isis”. The women in these reliefs are shown wearing a kind of knotted mantle, whose knot in some depictions closely resembles the open flower of a rose.

The reasons for these women to be depicted wearing roses in a funerary context are known. The exact reason for these women to be dressed in the manner of the Hellenistic Isis is a matter of debate amongst scholars, due to lack of conclusive physical evidence. They suggest that the women could be representative of Isis Herself, priestesses of the Cult of Isis, or women who have been participants in Her worship. Whether as a personification of the Goddess, as Her priestess or as Her devotee, by assuming the dress and bearing the symbols of Isis, these women hoped to be protected by the Goddess in a final act of salvation - life renewed in the Kingdom of Her husband Osiris.

In Rome

“As she talks, her lips breathe spring roses” - Ovid, “Fasti,” Book V: May 2

In the time period when the temple of Isis in Attica was built, the rose was already sacred to Isis in ancient Greece and in Rome. A famous correspondence of the rose with the worship of Isis occurs in passages from “The Transformations of Lucius, Otherwise Known as the Golden Ass,” in which the Goddess Isis appears to Lucius when he has reached a state of total despair. Isis gives him the following instructions on a way to escape his condition: “I shall order the High Priest to carry a garland of roses in my procession, tied to the rattle which he carries in his right hand. Do not hesitate, push the crowd aside, join the procession with confidence in my grace. Then come close up to the High Priest as if you wished to kiss his hand, gently pluck the roses with your mouth and you will immediately slough off the hide …”

Strength - Rider Waite tarot deck After Lucius was transformed back to his human self, he underwent a period of study and training within the temple of Isis and became an initiate of Her Mysteries. The act of eating the roses in this novel is symbolic, of taking on and absorbing the mysteries of Isis into his person. Leaving behind the dross side of his nature and becoming aware, attuned to his higher self. (Note: interesting that the Strength card of the tarot, shows a woman gentling a raging lion, and she is crowned with roses and wearing a trailing garland of roses at her waist.)

This novel was written during a time period when the demand for roses throughout the Roman Empire had been very high, turning the growing of roses into an important industry. The type of rose that has come down to us from the flower breeders of ancient Greece and Rome is called the “Gallica”. When Classical writers referred to the rose (rosa) they meant the Gallica, the wildrose or briar rose was termed Cynorrodon, the Dog Rose.

Statue of a woman with draped hands, 2nd century BC. Found in the Villa Adriana, Tivoli Objects sacred to the worship of Isis, such as the urnula, the type of pitcher used for Isian and Osirian mysteries in Her temples, were held by the draped hands of the priestesses. Often these objects were adorned with roses. Wreaths and garlands of roses were placed within the temple. So synonymous did the rose become with the Goddess Isis as Healer and Protector to the people of Rome, rose amulets were worn in Her Name as protection against the evil eye.

It was through Horus, son of Isis and Osiris, that we find the origin of the term ‘sub rosa’. Horus was incorporated into the cult of Isis and Serapis which flourished in Greco-Roman Alexandria in particular, and in Rome, where he became known by the Greek version of his name, 'Harpocrates'. The ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic sign used for a child was a seated boy with his fingers to his mouth, actually in the pose of a young child about to suck his finger, a way of designating extreme youth. This pose was interpreted by the Greeks as a sign of silence and secrecy. By the time of Caligula in the first century AD, Horus had reached a great height of popularity among the Romans. A story circulating at that time told of Cupid, son of Venus, who gave a rose to Horus/Harpocrates. The rose  was a gratuity for the silence of Harpocrates about the affairs of Cupid’s mother. Through this story, the rose became the symbol of keeping a confidence. The practice of hanging a rose hung from the ceiling served as a reminder that anything said in the room was to be considered ’sub rosa’ (under the rose) and therefore completely private.

In Rome the feast called "Rosalia" was a feast of the dead: thus the flower referred to the next world.

Isidis Navigium and the Star of the Sea

"Rose of all Roses, Rose of all the World" - W.B. Yeats, “The Rose of Battle”

During the Greco-Roman period, Isis was patroness of sailors and ships. The Romans credited Her as the inventor of the sail. One of Her many titles, Isis Pharia, grew from this patronage. As the protectress Deity of one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Pharos lighthouse of Alexandria, She guided ships to safe harbor. The use of female figureheads on the prows of ships is thought to derive from this ancient association of Isis as Protectress of mariners.

A famous Isian festival in the classical period was the Isidis Navigium (known as the Ploiaphesia in ancient Greece). It was celebrated in the ports of ancient Greece near Corinth, Cenchreae and Piraeus, the harbors of Rome, the shores of Greco-Roman Egypt and to far reaches of the Roman Empire, where it was held on the Seine. Imagery of the Navigium was incorporated into the Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris. Robert Eisler writes in “The Royal Art of Astrology” of the main porch of the cathedral which contains a depiction of the Zodiac: “Still further left (i.e. of January) Aquarius and Isis launching a ship. The ship is Navis seen just opposite Aquarius. Over this figure we see Pisces.” The Isidis Navigium is still celebrated today by Fellowship of Isis members in California and in London.

Traditionally the Isidis Navigium is celebrated on March 5th. Apuleius writes in his work “The Transformations of Lucius, Otherwise Known as the Golden Ass,” these words of the Goddess Isis: “Devote to my worship the day born of this night … for at this season, the storms of winter lose their force, the leaping waves subside and the sea becomes navigable once more.” Participants in the festival were known to carry garlands and bouquets of flowers and to sprinkle the ground with perfumed oils. Among the flowers used were roses.

Isis was titled “Star of the Sea” (Stella Maris) by this period, the star in question being the North Star, which was used by sailors to guide their vessels at night. When ancient mariners followed the light of Stella Maris, they knew they were on the right path, steering true. The petals of the sacred rose of Isis, Patroness of sailors and ships, may have lent their name to other means of steering sailors safely through the seas. In the classical period, before the use of the Compass Rose, which dates to around the 13th century on charts and maps, mariners used the Wind Rose. The names of the eight winds were used instead of names of directions on these charts.

There is a Tower of Winds in Athens, built around 100 BC, which is still standing today. Inscribed in the stone walls of this tower are the names of the eight winds. This edifice may have been employed as an observation tower, it did serve as a clock tower with a water clock, or clepsydra, a time keeping device that was used in ancient Egypt, especially in the temples. (The water clock is not the same thing as a Nilometer which was also used in ancient Egyptian temples to gauge the level of the Nile River.) The oldest known example of a clepsydra in Egypt dates to 1400 BC. Archimedes is credited with learning the technology of the water clock in the city of Alexandria in Egypt and bringing it to Athens.

Christianity

In the Latin West the symbolism of the rose is of Greco-Roman heritage but influenced by and finally transformed through Latin biblical and liturgical texts. The rose was a privileged symbol for Mary, Queen of heaven and earth.

During the Middle Ages the rose was cultivated in monastery gardens and used for medicinal purposes. It became a symbol in religious writing and iconography in different images and settings, to invoke a variety of intellectual and emotional responses. 

The third-century Saint Ambrose believed that there were roses in the Garden of Eden, initially without thorns, but which became thorny after the fall, and came to symbolize Original Sin itself. Thus the Blessed Virgin is often referred to as the 'rose without thorns', since she was immaculately conceived. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux compared her virginity to a white rose and her charity to a red rose. With the rise of Marian devotion and the Gothic cathedral in the twelfth century, the image of the rose became even more prominent in religious life. Cathedrals built around this time usually include a rose window, dedicated to the Virgin, at the end of a transept or above the entrance. The thirteenth century Saint Dominic is credited with the institution of the Rosary, a series of prayers to the Virgin, symbolized by garlands of roses worn in Heaven.

The rose has also been used as a sign of silence and secrecy. The word sub rosa "under the rose" referring to the demand for discretion whenever a rose was hung from the ceiling at a meeting. 

The mystic rose appears in Dante's Divine Comedy, where it represents God's love. By the twelfth century, the red rose had come to represent Christ's passion, and the blood of the martyrs.

"Mystery glows in the rose bed, the secret is hidden in the rose." -12th century Persian poet.


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Friday, August 24, 2018

Sophia’s Power: Veiled


Sophia in Greek, Hohkma in Hebrew, Sapientia in Latin, Celtic goddess-figure Sheela-na-gigs - all mean wisdom. The Judeo-Christian God's female soul, source of his true power is Sophia. As Goddess of wisdom and fate, her faces are many: Black Goddess, Divine Feminine, Mother of God, Mother of Creation. She is both Mother Mary, in her ascendant form, and Mary Magdalene, as the earthly companion of the Christ potential in Christian Gnosticism.

Sophia in her early form:

The earliest forms of Sophia emphasized her power and influence on earth and in the human psyche.  In the ancient text of Hypostasis of the Archons, found at Nag Hammadi, it is written that Sophia preexisted and gave birth to the male godhead. She chastises his arrogance when he says there is no other god before him. She claims her spiritual authority. She says “you are wrong, Samuel” (meaning Lord of the blind) and stretches forth her finger to send light into matter. She then follows the light down into the region of “Chaos.”

This power of Sophia within the earth realm was seen in early visions:  “I am nature, the universal mother, mistress of all the elements, primordial child of time, sovereign of all things spiritual, queen of the dead, queen of the immortals, My nod governs the shining heights of heaven, the wholesome sea breezes, the lamentable silences of the world below. I know the cycles of growth and decay.”

Certainly, from the beginning of time Sophia has been represented by the Great Mother from whom all life arises and is sustained. She was worshipped from 25,000 to 5,000 BC, an immense period of time in human history. 

Themes of the intertwining of nature and spirit, and the paradox of life and death are everywhere in images of the Great Feminine. In ancient Mesopotamia, she was depicted as Ishtar, with a winged headdress and holding the ring of divine authority. She was sculpted with owls at her feet representing the secrets of the underworld and death.

In pre-dynastic Egypt she was often shown as a bird goddess with her arms uplifted, again like wings. Another frequent association was with the lion: a fire symbol.  This theme was evident in the statues of Sekhmet. It was said that Sekhmet, carrying the paradox of fierce feminine power, would return in times of epoch change.

The uniting of paradoxes is evident in Isis: the great Goddess of the two lands of light and dark of Egypt. She is the agent for the resurrection of Osiris; by conceiving Horus, she brings forth the basic symbol of transformation in the uniting of the paradoxes.

She is Shakti in Sanskrit, the powerful Hindu personification of feminine wisdom, and the personal and collective linking soul as atman, realized in the transcendent state of samadhi (Gnosis). 

She is the compassionate boddhisatva (Avalokiteshvara) in Buddhism, returning to light the path to nirvana (Gnosis); personified by the deity Guanyin. 


For a period of time Sophia was evident in the city states of Greece and Rome. Her qualities were expressed through the ancient goddess Cybele. Here, also, she was often shown with lions, thought to represent the fiery and ecstatic state associated with her worship. However, Cybele began to fade in Rome about 200 BC as did the goddesses worshipped elsewhere: Isis in Egypt, Artemis in Ephesus, and Demeter in Greece. Similarly, Athene (Minerva) goddess of wisdom; became redefined as the daughter of Zeus, now the goddess of civilization. She was occasionally portrayed with only a small reminder of her heritage: an owl in her hand. To add insult to injury, she was considered to be the inventor of the bridle to tame the horse.

With the further emergence of the Greek Culture there was a marked decline in the power of Sophia.  In particular, when the work of Aristotle stressed the world of ideas, and rationality; Logos, which had been her prerogative, became defined as masculine.

Buddhism, Christianity, Islam: (530 B.C to 0 – 600 A.D) all make mention of Sophia, yet each tradition adapts her to their own cosmology; and all increasingly become critical of nature. The goal of all these spiritual traditions is to rise above the earth and achieve Nirvana. Heaven, or Paradise.

The strongest belief in Sophia was retained by Gnostics (2-3 A.D.). While some Gnostic sects saw Sophia as God’s playmate, existing before the manifest world and responsible for helping man journey back to the Source, others blamed her curiosity for the fall of the soul into matter. This, for them, was a tragedy, for the material world was seen as unworthy. Women and earthiness were judged as the cause of all man’s problems. These Gnostics held a dim view of sexuality and treated women in the patriarchal style of the times. And so Sophia became split; her more negative aspect was called the Whore of Babylon, and earth, as a valued expression of creation, was lost.

"Matter" comes from the root word "Mater" or "Mother" and is ultimately the "Great Mother" (Sophia) which gives form to all of Creation and consequently has historically been legitimately worthy of the highest respect and veneration.

Sadly over recent centuries the role of "Matriarchy" has in many circles been an object of denigration.

One can only hope that at the Dawn of the 21st Century that the utterly majestic role of The Feminine will be more widely understood and embraced.

[It is a tragedy that even at the dawn of the 21st Century "Matter" is rejected and considered to be "Evil" as in so doing harmony with the soul and the attainment of "Gnosis-Individuation" shall not be attained.]

Psyche cannot be totally different from matter, for how otherwise could it move matter?

And matter cannot be alien to psyche, for how else could matter produce psyche?

Psyche and matter exist in one and the same world, and each partakes of the other, otherwise any reciprocal action would be impossible.

If research could only advance far enough, therefore, we should arrive at an ultimate agreement between physical and psychological concepts.

~Carl Jung; Aion; Page 261.


Sophia, in her new form, surfaced as the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus. She is first really noticed within the Catholic Church in 431 A.D.  She became very prominent in early art where she was depicted as a vessel of rebirth and higher transformation. She was seen, usually, as a divine protector in early Renaissance times: a figure that mankind could appeal to in times of trouble. She became increasingly “elevated” through the years and in 1950 the church declared the Assumption of Mary into Heaven. Jung wrote that while it was good that the Church finally recognized the importance of the feminine, it had exalted Mary in the masculine sense and this would be injurious to the feminine principle of wholeness.

It was through the Black Madonna that Christianity retained Sophia’s connection with nature. The Black Madonna was sometimes called the lady of the caves where her statues were often hidden. The blackness there may have been related to the fact that she had been rescued by the locals after being burned as “pagan” by the church. The Black Madonna became the Mary of indigenous people and is still found in Poland, Spain, Mexico.

In the Biblical Wisdom literature, she teaches men that clear perception and discernment are more important than gold. Because the teachings were rooted in life instead of doctrine and spoken by a divine female, Sophia became problematical and excluded from the religious formulations of monotheism. Sophia's exile from mainstream religion mirrors the alienation suffered by modern individuals who experience betrayal, abandonment, scapegoating, exclusion, and loss--of homeland or loved one.

"The word philosophy was coined by Pythagoras and comes from the Greek word philein (brotherly love) and sophia, wisdom. He was the first person to call himself a philosopher, which he defined as one who is attempting to find out. Before Pythagoras (6th c. BCE), wise men called themselves sages, meaning those who know."

 (Manly P. Hall, An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic Hermetic Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Philosophy, LXV).

Sophia, the "person" in the word "philosophy," was named Sophia after the Greek word for wisdom. She was described in the five Biblical books classified as wisdom literature, written in the postexilic period, from 500 B.C.E. on. Sophia is not only a teacher of men in these texts, but also co-creator of the world. Sophia speaks about her identity, power and function and her mysterious presence with God at creation in passages reminiscent of earlier speeches of wisdom goddesses found in sacred texts in India, Egypt, and Sumeria.

Sophia eventually disappeared from the development of mainstream theological tradition in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam because she was problematical. Being a "she" did not fit into the increasingly male-dominated religions that excluded the feminine in favor of an all-male god that creates everything. Such a concept would be ludicrous for the earlier matrifocal societies who were well aware that the source, bearer, and protector of newborn life is the woman, not the man.

For centuries, the frequent presence of Sophia in the Wisdom literature was a difficult issue for Biblical scholars attempting to account for her apparent divinity and role in creation:

  • Her divine status, evident from her speeches, does not easily fit into monotheism.
  • Her teachings are rooted in life, not in obedience to rules, gods or priests; these teachings demand individual integrity and justice in the marketplace and royal court, and are achieved through clear perception and devotion to her, wisdom, and by abandoning "marketplace consciousness"--giving up the quest for gold & possessions.
  • She is associated with the natural order and meaning of creation, rather than the revelation and salvation of monotheistic religions. Sophia had many of the characteristics of earlier wisdom goddesses who carry the banner of the supremacy, primacy, and justice of the natural order of the cosmos rather than the capricious brutal rule of man whose focus is on profit and domination.
  • Her gender is unacceptable in religions that deify only the male. The strenuous effort of Hebrew prophets to turn their people away from the worship of popular local deities to an ever-stricter monotheism admitted no divine reality save one demanding wifeless male god.

Sophia was so problematical for the translators and interpreters of the texts composing the New Testament that her development as a divine figure gradually disappeared from the main stage of Christianity, except in Russia.

The Russian Orthodox Church has a school of "Sophiology" to explore the theology of Sophia without contradicting the Russian Orthodox theology.

She remained, however, a vital force in religious visions, esoteric traditions, and schools of philosophy. She appeared as two Sophias in gnosticism: the world soul and the embodied soul. In medieval alchemy, as Sapientia she was the goal of the transformation process. In Persian Sufism, Sophia inspired mystical devotion and poetry.


Translate Baphomet into Hebrew letters. Beth, Peh, Vav, Mem, Tau (or BPhOMTh).

Now write out the common Hebrew "Atbash cipher": Write the Hebrew alphabet on one line from Aleph to Tau. Then write it again on the next line down, this time from Tau to Aleph.

Now use the Atbash to transpose the letters of BPhOMTh:

B = Sh (Beth = Shin)
Ph = O (Peh = Vav)
O = Ph (Vav = Peh)
M = Y (Mem = Yod)
Th = A (Tau = Aleph)

So BPhOMTh = ShOPhYA

And now you know the true identity of Baphomet. It is Sophia - the Mother Goddess.



Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Ereshkigal the Mesopotamian Goddess of the Underworld


In Mesopotamian mythology, Ereshkigal was the goddess of the underworld or Irkalla (the land of the dead). Her name translates as 'Queen of the Great Below' or 'Lady of the Great Place.’ Sometimes her name is given as Irkalla, similar to the way the name Hades was used in Greek mythology for both the underworld and its ruler.

Ereshkigal is a granddaughter of Enlil, and the older sister of the goddess, Inanna (the Queen of Heaven, and later known as Ishtar) and best known for the part she plays in the famous Sumerian poem The Descent of Inanna (c.1900-1600 BCE). Inanna and Ereshkigal represent polar opposites.

She is wife of Nergal, the king of death who brings disease, plague, and all misfortunes caused by heat.

In Sumerian myths, Ereshkigal was the only one who could pass judgment and give laws in her kingdom. The main temple dedicated to her was located in Kutha. 

By the time of the Old Babylonian Period (c. 2000-1600 BCE) Ereshkigal was widely recognized as the Queen of the Dead. 

Although goddesses lost their status later in Mesopotamian history, early evidence clearly shows the most powerful deities were once female.

In later times, the Greeks and Romans appear to have syncretized Ereshkigal with their own goddess Hecate. In the heading of a spell in the Michigan Magical Papyrus, which has been dated to the late third or early fourth century A.D., Hecate is referred to as "Hecate Ereschkigal" and is invoked using magical words and gestures to alleviate the caster's fear of punishment in the afterlife.

It’s interesting to see that the story of Ereshkigal and her husband Nergal is a “gender-swapped” version of the more famous Persephone/Hades story, even though Ereshkigal is much older than the Greek story.

Her husband Nergal actually seems to be in part a solar deity, sometimes identified with Shamash, but only a representative of a certain phase of the sun. Portrayed in hymns and myths as a god of war and pestilence, Nergal seems to represent the sun of noontime and of the summer solstice that brings destruction, high summer being the dead season in the Mesopotamian annual cycle.


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