Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Astrology of the Zodiac




The mythologies of the Zodiac are the oldest stories ever told. They were laid into the tapestry of stars before recorded history, and the symbolism of these great tales is found worldwide. Our ancestors watched the magnificent skies, they knew the power of natural cycles on Earth, and understood the need to predict them. The Grand Stories were told to children, passing on this knowledge, and the constellations were the pictures that accompanied them. The ever-present stars provided a fixed reference for timing natural cycles as well as for cultural history, rituals, and knowledge. This “language of the stars” carries records of astronomical observation and its application to survival. The stories were immortalized by oral tradition and symbols.

There is great wisdom in studying the heavenly cycles. The Bible pronounces "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years…that night unto night showeth knowledge,” (Genesis 1:14-17). Leading thinkers in Greek philosophy, science, and religion accepted that planetary alignments affected events on earth, including those of the individual. According to Duncan-Enzmann, this thinking has its beginning about 12,500 BC.

Reproductive calendar, 12,500 BC
Translated - Duncan-Enzmann
During the ice age babies born at winter solstice had more attention, as outside activities were limited. The world was frozen, locked in an iron cold winter – temperatures could reach 70 below zero. There was no pollen, worms, or viruses to make the baby sick. Nurtured well, these babies were healthy, and functioned better during their lives than those born when parents were busy with critical activities and natural predators were more abundant. Differences in the long term health and functional quality of people were noticed. As a result, babies were planned for winter solstice birth – a time marked by certain patterns in the sky. Here we have the beginning of astrology; the awareness of the position of the stars when a child is born, and their “affect” on that person’s life.

This practice evolved with time; since ancient times people have believed that, by divine power, stars shape the destiny of human affairs. We see confirmation of this in an ancient symbol for deity, the Cuneiform sign for god: a star. Astrologer-astronomers were advisers to nobility, charting when the heavens were in favorable position for everything from marriage to war. This is a traceable development from the prehistoric knowledge of the astronomical, and therefore, climatological patterns which affected the path and outcome of human activity.

Astrology is the oldest of occult sciences, the origin of science itself. Astronomy, calculation of time, mathematics, botany - all derive from astrology. Words like conjunction, opposition, forecast, lunatic, aspect, and influence are astrological terms common our language, along with phrases like “thank our lucky stars” and “star-crossed lovers.” The zodiac, like folklore, fairy tales, and mythology, carries lore from Once Upon a Time, long, long before recorded history, when we gazed at the heavens, divided time by the movement of the sun, moon, and stars, and learned to predict the cycles of Mother Nature. These stories have survived the erosion of passing time, the destruction of records, and the layers added by new generations. They are examples of how symbolism carries folklore forward over time. That these stories are found all over the world speaks to their endurance and relevance to human life.  


Michelle Paula Snyder
Michelle Snyder is a professor of mythology, and an author, publisher, speaker, and artist. She  did her post-graduate research at the University of Wales, decoding ancient and prehistoric symbolism, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales.  Her artwork has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.


Symbologist Michelle Snyder
Non-Fiction - Symbology:
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images
Symbology: Decoding Symbols through History
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered
Symbology: Art and Symbols
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: ReVision
Symbology: World of Symbols
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids

Michelle Paula Snyder
Fiction – Fantasy Wonder Tales:
The Fairy Tales: Once Upon a Time Lessons, First Book
Call of the Dragon and other Tales of Wonder
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book one: The Lost Unicorn
 A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book two The Lost Mermaid 
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book three The Lost Dragon

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Magical Mysterious Cats



Illustration for Puss 'n Boots


Cats are a constant source of amusement, humor, affection, comfort, fear, and suspicion. The domestic cat, Felis Catus, is found in the most comfortable location in any house, and has a passionate approach to napping. The fairy tale Puss 'n Boots was originally a story about how wonderful it was for a little girl to have a cat to take care of her. Domestication of cats is an ancient practice dating back at least 10,000 years.  



The history of cats and their symbolism is shared by the owl and the snake. What do cats, snakes, and owls have in common? The answer to that is pivotal in the history and symbolism of all three, cats especially. They all eat rodents; one rat can ruin an entire cache of grain. All three animals were encouraged to frequent farms in northern Europe; milk was left by farmers for them so they would return - this became a practice of leaving "gifts" for their animal friends, then "offerings" to the animal spirits. In European legend the Corn Cat cared for corn crops; when harvested it retired to a special sheaf set aside for it, until the next growing season.

During the Dark Ages, in an effort to subvert Pagan culture, the Church demonized all three animals and it became illegal to even own one as a pet. This effectively destroyed the agricultural commerce of those outside the Church, crushing their independence. From this slander came the modern demonic associations in symbolism to all three (Duncan-Enzmann).

Prior to their deconstruction, cats, snakes, and owls held places of honor in the myths and traditions of many cultures. Cats and snakes, or serpents, are sometimes adversaries, sometimes colleagues. All three animals are sacred in various religions, but the cat holds a special place in the homes of the gods, not to mention the homes of humans. Indeed, during the first century BC it was illegal to kill a cat, and if the murderous act happened after an eclipse, the killer might be torn apart by a mob. St. Agatha was called St. Cat, and the patroness of cats is St Gertrude.

Royal and sacred cats are evident in the cultures of Egypt from 2500 BC. Egyptian temples dedicated to the sun had images of cats in them. A symbol for sun god Ra is a cat, and they are sacred to Isis. Egyptian goddess Bast, or Bastet was imaged with a cat's head; earlier depictions were with a lioness's head. Linked to protective forces, cats were known to defeat snakes and were worshiped for their ability to defeat the enemy Serpent.

Greek goddess Hecate can turn into a cat; she is a goddess of witchcraft. This perhaps was influential in the belief that witches keep cats. The furry feline is also sacred to Diana (Artemis); her brother Apollo, the sun god, is imaged with or as a lion. In Indian religious iconography, the vehicle of sage Vidali is a cat. For two hundred years the Siamese cat resided only with monarchs; Burmese and Siamese believe that cats enshrine spirits of the dead. Scandinavian goddess Freya has a chariot pulled by two cats. The goddess Virgo, who holds a sheaf of grain, or corn stalk, has a cat guardian. Indeed, the Virgin is linked to the cat; Helen, Frigga, Pasht, Artemis, Diana, Maya, and Mary, all, like Virgo the Virgin Mother, have the same attributes. They are linked to the moon, and to the cat. Hercules was given a lion.


When the Christian church demonized cats to a superstitious world, every black cat became a devil, and every old woman who kept cats became a witch. Indeed, a woman was hanged in Exeter because a neighbor saw a cat jump into her cottage window one evening. No further proof was needed. Demons and sorcerers of many traditions are priests and gods of older religions cruelly misrepresented by intolerance and efforts by the church to subvert them. A common belief was that souls too corrupt to inhabit human bodies were in beasts like cats, lions, and monkeys. Since that time, cats have become associated with demons, ghosts, omens, vampires, genies  corpses, and witchcraft. Demonic stinging cats are the enemy of the Celts. They are both charms and talismans.

Cats are representatives of Hecate, goddess of death, and there are many recorded instances of cats appearing right before someone died. In Egypt, cats were credited with considerable powers of clairvoyance. Cats feel beforehand and react to magnetic and meteorological changes. According to physicist Duncan-Enzmann cats, and many animals, can smell water, different types of land and vegetation, and navigate by the stars and sun. This explains their uncanny ability to travel great distances over unknown terrain and return home. Cats were watched in olden time to forecast nature's varying moods. Almost universal is the belief that a cat cleaning behind its ears with wet fore-paws foretells rain. Some cats even display telepathic ability to know when their master returns.

Cats, and other felines, are prevalent in symbolism. They are the fourth sign of the Chinese zodiac, corresponding to Cancer. Cats represent the Great Hunter - they are most present while seeming most absent, relentless in purpose, have unerring aim, and are able to see in the dark.  Goddess Liberty is often imaged with a cat at her feet. In Heraldic iconography cats have been used by companies of soldiers as they symbolize liberty. Romans often used cats on banners, most likely to symbolize the goddess Liberty. After the fall of the Republic, a cat at the feet of a Pope symbolized treason and hypocrisy.

The cat in Native American symbolism denotes cunning, ingenuity, and forethought. Unlike many other cultures, they consider cats neither friend nor servant to mankind. Cat characters are found in the fables, fairy tales, folklore, and poetry of many cultures; Puss 'n Boots, The Cat in the Hat, Lewis Carol's Cheshire Cat, and Duck Wellington's Cat are only a few. 

There are many common expressions about cats:

Playing cat and mouse is an expression derived from the association of the cat with the sun and moon, and the mouse with clouds. The sun darts in and out of the clouds playfully, before dissipating it, as a cat plays with a mouse before pouncing. In Puss 'n Boots the Cat persuades the ogre to become a mouse, then after a good chase, eats him. 

Cats are blessed with nine lives; Apollo, the god of light, was the producer of the original nine month lunar year and is surrounded by nine sister muses; these nine muses grew out of the nine month gestation period - one muse for each month. In Egypt there are three companies of nine gods, also derived from gestation trimesters, as is the trinity of trinities.  Freya, the Norse goddess whose chariot is pulled by cats is connected to the number nine, and she is, in part, a goddess of witchcraft.  

White or black cats being good or bad luck depends on where you are. In some cultures a black cat is not bad luck, as it is not associated with death, and in some places a white cat is because it is the color of ghosts. 

Cats are associated with foreknowledge, and in Japan linked to genies and vampires. The Sephardim (Spanish Jews) believed vampire cats lived among them; Lilith (created before Eve as Adam's first wife) lives as a  black cat named elBroosha, also known as a Screech Owl or Barn Owl, associated with witchcraft. Cats have become symbols of life and death, day and night, sun and moon, good luck and bad, deity and devil. Whatever has befallen them, today these cunning creatures are sometimes family pets, but mostly ignored, like an old toy we would be embarrassed to play with.

Just remember, when you come home to your dog, he wags his tail and you feed him and pet him, and he thinks "wow, you are a god." Your cat sees you, rubs up against your legs, you feed it and pet it, and it thinks "wow, I am a god."


Michelle Paula Snyder
Michelle Snyder is a professor of mythology, and an author, publisher, speaker, and artist. She  did her post-graduate research at the University of Wales, decoding ancient and prehistoric symbolism, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales.  Her artwork has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.


Symbologist Michelle Snyder
Non-Fiction - Symbology:
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images
Symbology: Decoding Symbols through History
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered
Symbology: Art and Symbols
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: ReVision
Symbology: World of Symbols
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids

Michelle Paula Snyder
Fiction – Fantasy Wonder Tales:
The Fairy Tales: Once Upon a Time Lessons, First Book
Call of the Dragon and other Tales of Wonder
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book one: The Lost Unicorn
 A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book two The Lost Mermaid 
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book three The Lost Dragon

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Symbols of Scary


Halloween, or Samhain, the ancient pagan new year, is celebrated at the beginning of winter, a time when everything dies. Corn stalks, harvest sheaves, and scarecrows are all symbolic of the rituals and tradition of the harvest, the basis of the Samhain or All Hallows Eve celebrations. In agriculture, scarecrows are responsible for keeping the birds away. Other common Halloween symbols - cats, snakes, and owls - were depended upon for keeping grain stores rodent-free. In order to suppress pagan agricultural industry, these animals were demonized by the church, associating them with all things evil.

Samhain was a time when the gates to the underworld were believed to be opened and spirits roamed the earth freely.  Offerings of fruits and vegetables were made to honor the dead. Over time, a night to remember and honor the dead became a night of fear of the dead; a day when fairies and ghosts were about. This required masks to hide from the fairies and ancestor-worship rites to placate the spirits. Skeletons are symbols of the dead and a favorite Halloween decoration. Samhain was a night when the dead could cross over and communicate. This was an important time for divination, as any information about the nature of the coming winter was valuable.

Goblins, also a Halloween symbol, are not ghosts. Goblin is actually the  French name for Fairy Folk or Fair Folk, the descendants of the white-skinned blonde Maglamosian people; northern Europeans who, because of their knowledge of astronomy and natural sciences, were feared and powerful, and gained the reputation of being able to do magic.

A very popular activity at Halloween is carving pumpkin faces and lighting them from inside with a candle. These scary faces are sentries designed to scare off evil spirits; legends of the demon Jack probably originated from sightings of bog and marsh “lights” that looked like lanterns being carried. Referred to as Jack-O-Lanterns, they were caused by combustion of methane and marsh gasses.

The most common Halloween character of all is the witch. The word witch likely comes from a word meaning wise one. Pagan witches have many traditions. It is said that at their annual celebration they would marry, initiate new witches, and dance about on branches or broomsticks. Old pictures of witches show them worshipping a horned figure, most likely Cernunnos, the Celtic god of the woods, a Green Man. When the church attempted to stamp out or change all pagan celebrations Cernunnos became a devil figure. Later, witches were imaged with wings like a bat’s; bats fly at night and sleep hanging upside down, lending them to be associated with scary things.

Kids love to dress up and go out to Trick or Treat. Viewed as extortion by some, the tradition actually comes from a time when poorer families went house begging, offering prayers for the dead en exchange for food and money. This was called “guising” (disguising” oneself and knocking on the doors of the affluent) Those who gave were blessed with good luck, those who were stingy were threatened with bad luck. Trick or treat is actually a later American phrase and was known as a time of pranks that were supernatural in character, such as taking apart something large and putting it back together on a roof, or fixing a door so it wouldn't open. People gave candy to avoid having pranks played on them. As the popularity of pranking died out, candy was still given to groups of children who visited their neighbors in costumes to get some goodies.

Early Christians disliked Samhain’s association and connection with the supernatural, and spread the belief that spirits of the dead were delusions from the devil. Eventually the Celtic traditions became associated with the Christian hell, and were greatly feared. Today, less moral significance and more theatrical emphasis is enjoyed by those who practice Halloween traditions. As it is with December to January New Year celebrations, in Pagan and Wiccan traditions Allhallows Eve is considered a good time to make a new start or begin new projects.

TRICK OR TREAT??????

Michelle Paula Snyder
Michelle Snyder is a professor of mythology, and an author, publisher, speaker, and artist. She  did her post-graduate research at the University of Wales, decoding ancient and prehistoric symbolism, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales.  Her artwork has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.


Symbologist Michelle Snyder
Non-Fiction - Symbology:
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images
Symbology: Decoding Symbols through History
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered
Symbology: Art and Symbols
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: ReVision
Symbology: World of Symbols
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids

Michelle Paula Snyder
Fiction – Fantasy Wonder Tales:
The Fairy Tales: Once Upon a Time Lessons, First Book
Call of the Dragon and other Tales of Wonder
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book one: The Lost Unicorn
 A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book two The Lost Mermaid 
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book three The Lost Dragon

The 'Handbag of the Gods' Decoded



By: Symbologist Michelle Snyder & Dr. Robert Duncan-Enzmann

Theories about the meaning of the ‘handbag’ in ancient images like the above, range from the idea that it proves time travel – how else could a god from long ago have a designer bag? – to its use for carrying gold while hanging from an ancient Egyptian helicopter.

In order to decode symbols within images, one must first take into consideration their context: when, where, what, who, and how. Symbolic language uses patterns and so one must also be in the habit of counting dots, lines, angles, and other repeated shapes. Geometric shapes were used to depict concepts, nouns, and ideas. Most of our contemporary symbols evolved from those used in prehistory for astronomical, agricultural, and navigational notations. For more on that subject see Symbology: ReVision, or one of my other books on symbology which feature Duncan-Enzmann’s groundbreaking translations.

In the book Ice Age Language: Translations, Grammar, and Vocabulary (Enzmann & Snyder, pub: WKS) Duncan-Enzmann explains the pictorial language used since the ice ages and how this language works. Cardinal images are fundamental to ‘reading’ inscriptions and images; if it is a picture of a duck, it is about a duck – how and when to hunt one, what parts of it are useful and for what, and how to use them. All this information is inscribed on bone, stone, or ivory, preserved for the succeeding generations. Link lines connect symbols that are relevant to each other, lead lines direct the flow of information. It was a grammar of sorts, creating paragraphs of information with pictures. This picture-language was used for tens of thousands of years, and is still evident in modern languages such as Chinese.

To decode what one part of an image might mean, it is necessary to have a general idea of what the rest of the image is telling you, and to do that, you must know the culture and when the image was made. Duncan-Enzmann is a world authority on the subject.

The ‘Handbag of the Gods’ is a symbol found in many cultural as sculptures and imaged as part of  emblems, sculptures, and reliefs. They are always connected with kings, gods, or leaders. According to Duncan-Enzmann, this shape is used to convey a standard weight, just as the megalithic yard was a standard measurement used to build the megalithic observatories. The symbol for this standard of measurement is the rod and cord, found on many ancient images, and again, it is always associated with leadership, power, kings, or gods.


The rod and cord of ancient and prehistoric kings, queens, and gods

One must consider the applications of the concept of weight. Ounces and pounds, or kilograms, depending on where (one must always consider where a symbol is being used), are one idea of weight. But there is also the weight of the law. The weight of tribute. The weight of obligation. The weight of responsibility. This ‘handbag’ represents all of these concepts; which one depends upon the ‘paragraph’ it is in, just as words like ‘ruler’ do. Whether it refers to a king or twelve inches depends upon context.

Duncan-Enzmann traces the ‘handbag’ to ancient Egypt, where the Remen (rod and cord) was a symbol for standard length. The Egyptians used the handbag as a symbol for standard volume and weight. This concept became the Masonic Lewis. The Handbag of the Gods is found around the globe because the culture that used the symbol migrated and settled around the globe. In Gobekli Tepe (image 1) one inscription shows three handbags, which Duncan-Enzmann translates as fractions of standard weight. Image 2 shows four characters. From left to right: Time (patterns and angles), Weight (the handbag), Length (with the rod and cord), and Area (the ashera pole for astronomical reading). Image 3 is an example of weight as the law, the weight of taxes on you.

  
                1                                       2                                                   3

Another symbol that is consistently used, much of the time in emblems where the handbag is evident, is the flower pattern called a ‘watch’. Again, to some persons this is confirmation of  advanced alien technology or time travel. Yet, it is a watch of sorts, a calendric which shows patterns of the solar and lunar year, and is often shown separately from the ‘watchband’. Image 4 shows us four such ‘watches’ and in them, much seasonal information. In his right hand (your left) a symbol which indicates dry-season rod-and-cord land surveys. In his left hand (your right) we see semi-monsoonal valley floods. The flower pattern circles, left to right, show us a four-season calendric, and reading the rims tells of taxes and percentages of crops to be paid.  


4


Dr. Robert Duncan-Enzmann
Physicist, scientist, starship designer, astronomer, mathematician, geologist, cryptologist, archaeologist, historian, linguist, MD, author of Ice Age Language: Translations, Grammar, and Vocabulary; Planetology and Space Mission Planning vols. 1, 2, 3; Expanded Order Theory  




British Embassy School, Peking, China; Univ. London; WW II USN, AC; RN, AB Harvard; ScB Hon., London; Standard, MSc, Witwatersrand; Nat Sci Scholar; MIT course work; Royal Inst. Uppsala Swed.; PhD/MD Cuidad Juarez, Mex.; Pacific Radar: Greenland Gap-filler, Canada DEW-line; SAGE; Pacific PRESS; California ATLAS, BMEWS;  ICBM; Kwajalein Atoll ICBM intercept; TRADEX; Mars Voyager; Cryptography.

Michelle Paula Snyder
Michelle Snyder is a professor of mythology, and an author, publisher, speaker, and artist. She  did her post-graduate research at the University of Wales, decoding ancient and prehistoric symbolism, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales.  Her artwork has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.


Symbologist Michelle Snyder
Non-Fiction - Symbology:
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images
Symbology: Decoding Symbols through History
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered
Symbology: Art and Symbols
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: ReVision
Symbology: World of Symbols
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids

Michelle Paula Snyder
Fiction – Fantasy Wonder Tales:
The Fairy Tales: Once Upon a Time Lessons, First Book
Call of the Dragon and other Tales of Wonder
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book one: The Lost Unicorn
 A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book two The Lost Mermaid 
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book three The Lost Dragon