Archive for gods

Symbols, Part 8: Serpents

Posted in All, Health, Humor, Psychology, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2010 by marushiadark

“If you see a snake, just kill it – don’t appoint a committee on snakes.” ~ Ross Perot.

That sentiment may be practical advice, but it serves to illustrate how serpents get a pretty bad rep, both in ancient and modern society.

A number of stories depict snakes as villainous, conniving, and evil.  Medusa and Grendel’s Mother are classic examples.  Indiana Jones can face down Nazis Occultists but is afraid of snakes.  Interpretations of passages from Genesis and Revelation equated the serpent with Satan.  We refer to liars as “snakes” and to fake remedies as “snake oil.”  And a cursory glance on Google will reveal a number of quotes about snakes (like the one above) in which the general advice is to kill them right away.

It would seem that most people throughout the ages don’t like snakes, nor do they take the time to educate themselves about snakes.

There is practical reason to be cautious of snakes, since a number of species are, in fact, poisonous.  But by and large, they are not something to fear.  Most of the top ten deadliest snakes are located in Australia, and then others such as the boa constrictor or the anaconda do not appear commonly in most people’s lives.  Snakes, like most animals, operate based on survival instinct.  They eat when they are hungry and attack when they feel threatened.  If you leave them be, even the deadly ones, you’ve nothing to worry about.  Snakes are deserving of our adoration and respect, like every other creature.

“I’m fascinated by the concept of snake-handling.  When you read about the Pentecostal snake-handlers, what strikes you most is their commitment.” ~ Lucinda Williams

The Pentecostal tradition of snake-handling comes from an interpretation of the ending of Mark 16.  The idea of snake-handling, in a Christian perspective, is most likely because of the association of snakes with Satan, and that to wield power over snakes is to overcome the power of the devil.

An interesting idea, except that it is believed by a number of scholars that the end of Mark 16 is, in fact, a later addition to the Gospel to make it more like The Gospel of Luke.

Still, the Pentecostals are not the first group to practice snake-handling.  Many people keep snakes as pets and we are all familiar with the late Steve Irwin and his famous handling of snakes and other deadly creatures.  Such traditions of snake handling go back many thousands of years, in fact.

“Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die.’ ” ~ Genesis 3:4

Genesis 3:1 is the first appearance of the serpent in the Bible.  Here, it is depicted as “more cunning than any beast of the field that the Lord God had made.”  The word “cunning,” typically has a derogatory connotation associated with deceit.  However, it can also mean clever, skillful, sharp, or shrewd.  So the serpent was the most intelligent creature God had made up until that point.  Depending on which interpretation you choose to follow, this may or may not include man and angels.  Lucifer was allegedly the most intelligent being in existence next to God, but he was not a “beast of the field.”  Man also was not a “beast of the field,” but the serpent may have been smarter than man, since it convinced Eve to eat of the Tree of Knowledge.

Either way, the serpent is very intelligent, but is it malicious?  Some people blame the serpent for costing us paradise.  Certainly the God of the Old Testament does, since he punishes the serpent by removing its limbs and making it subservient to man.

Others see the serpent as a savior, bestowing on mankind the gifts of knowledge and reason.  If anything, the Tree of Knowledge helped to enable our free will by making us more aware of our reality.  And although Adam and Eve did ultimately get cast out of Eden, it could be said that the serpent never really lied.  God said Adam and Eve would surely die if they ate the fruit.  But the fruit isn’t what killed them, and God still had a chance to change his mind if he wanted to.  So one could say it was God’s decision to cut them off from the Tree of Life that ultimately killed them.

Some people believe that the human race is either descended from, or is the creation of, serpent-like alien beings, equated with the Annunaki of Mesopotamian mythology.  Many of the Biblical stories derive from earlier Sumerian and Babylonian myths, of which the Annunaki are a part.  Certainly the “sons of god” from Genesis and the numerous references to “we” and “us” suggests a pantheon of beings, not just one alone, and the behavior of God in the Old Testament suggests he came to earth quite frequently.  Either way, if there is any truth to the serpent alien story, are they benevolent or malevolent?  Who’s to say?

In Jewish mythology, Lilith – the first wife of Adam – was created at the same time as Adam.  She is often depicted carrying a serpent or sometimes equated with the serpent of Genesis.  Lilith is viewed as different things by different people.

The two most prevalent interpretations are that she is either a woman who got a bad deal for being the first feminist, or a demonic seductress.  Quite an extreme, wouldn’t you say?

Lilith also appears in Babylonian mythology and is often equated with the owl, another creature related to wisdom.  The owl can see in the dark, meaning it has secret knowledge of things that the sun does not reveal.  The owl is also a nocturnal predator.  So again, are we to trust the creature or not?

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.  Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.  But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues.”  ~ Matthew 10:16-17.

Martin Luther King was a minister before he became a civil rights leader.  In one of his sermons, he talks extensively about what Jesus meant by the above passage.  In his view, to be “wise as serpents” is a good thing and means to be tough of mind.  To think things through, to be logical, and self-determinant and to not just accept what so-called authorities tell us, but to instead think for ourselves and be our own judges, our own authorities.  Then, to be “harmless as doves,” is to be soft-hearted, compassionate, and kind.  To see our brothers as ourselves and to bring freedom to all.

The serpent ties these ideas together in another religious leader, Moses.

In the book of Exodus, God tells Moses to throw his staff on the ground.  It turns into a snake and Moses is very afraid.  But after working with God, he later uses this same power against the Egyptian priests to liberate his people from the tyrannical pharaoh.

Moses is not the only religious figure to be linked to a staff and snake, however.  In Greek mythology, Asclepius was the god of medicine and healing, and the son of Apollo (the sun god).  Asclepius is also associated with the 13th sign of the Zodiac: Ophiuchus, the symbol for which is a snake coiled around a rod.  This is the proper symbol for healing, as can be seen on the Emergency Medical Service’s Star of Life, the EMS being an organization that saves many lives.  Interestingly, the symbol chosen by medical institutions is the caduceus, which is a symbol of Hermes, guide of the dead and protector of merchants, gamblers, thieves, and liars.  That should tell you a lot, right there.

Also, I mentioned before that alternative remedies are often referred to as “snake oil.”  I wonder what would happen if it were one day discovered that snake oil actually cures cancer.  Think about that for a while.

All in all, snakes are complex creatures.  Perhaps the real truth is that snakes have two sides to them, like all of us: a dark side and a light side.  One side cold and calculating, the other bright and helpful.  One side seductive and deadly, the other side sensual and enlightening.

Symbols, Part 6: The Solar Cross

Posted in All, Miscellaneous, Politics, Psychology, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2010 by marushiadark

“The best thing about the sun … it never tells me I’m unworthy.” ~ George Carlin

Today is the Autumnal Equinox, the time of year when the day is the same length as the night, and I can’t think of any more appropriate time of year (except maybe Christmas) to talk about the Solar Cross.  The solar cross is one of the oldest, most ubiquitous, and most universally recognized religious symbols in human history.  You’ve probably seen it all over the place without even recognizing it.  Simply stated, it is a circle with two lines through it that intersect in the center.

The Greek Cross, the Celtic Cross, the Latin Cross, the Swastika, the Chi Rho, the Buddhist Wheel of Life, the Egyptian Ankh, and a host of other symbols all derive from it.  It is also found in Central AmericaMesopotamia, North America, and many of other places.

In short, the solar cross is the symbol in most of the world’s religions.

Among other things, it is symbolic of the four directions, the four elements, the four root races, the four stages of life, the four humours, the four seasons, and so forth.  But perhaps most importantly, most commonly, and as its name suggests, it is a symbol of the sun.

“Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love.” ~ Sitting Bull

The documentary film Zeitgeist, created by a man known only as Peter Joseph, is arguably the most popular viral video on the internet.  The first part of the video is based on the life’s work of researchers such as Jordan Maxwell and Acharya S.  It outlines very plainly the history and usage of the Solar Cross in various religions and cultures throughout the world.  Without wishing to completely rehash Zetigeist, the basic story is as follows:

The ancients believed the sun was the light of the world and the savior of mankind.  Every night, the sun would set into the underworld and rise again each morning to conquer the forces of darkness and “evil.”  At certain points throughout the year, it would undergo particular behaviors from the perspective of the earth, and these are the basis of many ancient myths.

For instance, on December 21, the Winter Solstice, the sun reaches its lowest point in the sky and the day is shortest while night is longest.  For the next three days, it would appear to not move at all before rising one degree higher in the sky on December 25.  To the ancients, this motion symbolized the death and rebirth of the sun and it is why Christ and many other religious figures have their date of birth on December 25.  The death and resurrection of the sun was not celebrated, however, until the Spring Equinox when the days began to become longer than the nights and light officially conquered the darkness.  The feast of Easter derives from the Feast of Ostara, the goddess of dawn, who was symbolized by rabbits and eggs.

Throughout the calendar year, the sun would pass through the twelve constellations of the Zodiac.  In Christianity, these are symbolized by the twelve apostles.  Da Vinci’s Last Supper depicts not only the twelve signs, but also Christ centered on the cross as the sun.  The number twelve appears throughout the bible for similar reasons, all being a reference to the zodiac.  The twelve apostles, the twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve prophets, the twelve kings, etc.  The twelve gods of Olympus, the twelve titans, and the twelve labors of Hercules are examples of the same, as used in Greco-Roman mythologies.

In the book of Revelation, chapter 4, verse 7, there is mention of several beings with the heads of a bull, a lion, an eagle, and a man.  These are the symbols of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio (which was symbolized by an eagle before it was a scorpion), and Aquarius, respectively.  This imagery can also be found in occultism, such as on the Wheel of Fortune card in the tarot deck.

There is no shortage of parallels that can be drawn between the myths of majors religions, especially Christianity, and the motions of the sun as it travels through the heavens.  The Solar Cross, i.e. the Cross of the Zodiac, is a shorthand representation of this concept, which is really just an ancient pagan spiritual symbol.

Some of the earliest constructions of mankind reflect a worship of the sun.  For instance, it has recently been demonstrated by archeologists that the monoliths at Stonehenge were used as a solar shrine to mark the Winter Solstice and there is a sister site some miles away that marks the Summer Solstice as well.  The Egyptians, Mayans, and Aztecs are all well known for their worship of the sun also.  I could go on and on about this, but this is just an introduction.  The point is that, the more you begin to research into comparative religions and history, the more you begin to find sun worship everywhere.

Though its most common use is as a religious symbol, the Solar Cross is also used in a number of corporate logos as well.  Most notable are BWM, Alfa-Romeo, and Bayer.

Also keep in mind that there are many derivatives of the Solar Cross, as I mentioned in the beginning of this article.  For instance, the equal-armed cross is used prolifically in medicine, and in the logos of Chevrolet and the Red Cross.  The cross is used in national flags, such as the flag of Switzerland and many others.

The Cross of Lorraine, aka the double cross (play on words, much?), is used in the logos for BloodRayne, Holiday Inn, Nabisco, and Exxon-Mobile.  It’s also the symbol of the ruling party in V for Vendetta, with Chancellor Sutler being the dictator of a British police state.  The parallels between that and Nazi Germany, headed by Chancellor Adolf Hitler; or the Empire from Star Wars, headed by Chancellor Palpatine, should raise a number of alarming questions in your mind about just what sorts of people are using these symbols against us and why.