All posts by Richard Cassaro

About Richard Cassaro

Husband, father, journalist, symbolist, speaker, mystic and author of the soon-to-be-published Written In Stone: Decoding The Ancient Masonic Wisdom Hidden In Cathedral & World Architecture (due out 9/2011). The book reveals amazing, never-before-seen evidence that the medieval Freemasons inherited ancient occult wisdom from a highly-sophisticated lost "Mother Culture" from which the first civilizations sprang, and that they encoded this wisdom into the architecture of churches, castles and cathedrals around the world. Learn more at: www.DeeperTruth.com

New England´s Mysterious “Megalithic” Stone Chambers (USA)


Hidden across the rocky highlands of America´s quaint New England landscape are hundreds of mysterious “megalithic” Stone Chambers, possibly of ancient origin. Expertly constructed of mortar-free masonry and covered with earth, these strange structures—some astronomically aligned—are found nowhere else in North America. For decades, intense debate has divided New Englanders as to their age, origin, function, and meaning. Are they colonial root cellars, native American sweat lodges, or prehistoric European temples? In August 2017, I traveled across several U.S. states to study these Stone Chambers and learn more about them. What I found was as amazing as it was baffling.

  Me investigating the Stone Chamber on the old Mead Farm in Kent, NY. www.RichardCassaro.com

Unbeknownst to most Americans—and even to most New Englanders—a cluster of mysterious Stone Chambers lies scattered across a wide expanse of several New England states (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and Connecticut). Many are situated near a natural waterway.

These strange beehive-shaped / igloo-shaped structures bear clear evidence of incredible planning, design, engineering, and craftsmanship. The chambers exhibit common features, although construction details of individual chambers differ. All have an entrance portal, but none have an actual door. Dimensions of the chambers vary, with some chambers measuring up to 40 feet in length and 10 feet in height.

The Stone Chambers are mostly spread across New England:  Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and Connecticut. www.RichardCassaro.com

Some researchers have dubbed them “beehive” chambers because of the often “conical” shape of their central rooms. Some chambers are circular while others are rectangular in form. Most are freestanding. Some are built into the hillside.

Amazingly, the chambers are all made of dry masonry stones, irregularly shaped. The stones fit together precisely, with no mortar gluing them together, clearly indicating the incredibly high level of skill and craftsmanship of the chamber builders. But by far the most remarkable feature about the Stone Chambers—and this absolutely astonished me when I first saw it—is that all the chambers employ megalithic masonry in the form of several ton roof slabs (of granite and quartzite) that lock together without mortar and with incredible precision.

All the chambers employ megalithic masonry in the form of several ton roof slabs that lock together without mortar and with incredible precision. www.RichardCassaro.com

The walls of many—but not all—the chambers are “corbeled,” which means they are made up of piles of stones arched inward to support the megalithic ceiling stones. This highly-sophisticated architectural technique is ancient, found in such far-reaching places as Egypt, Mexico, China and India. The corbeling technique is used to support arches, parapets and floors, and it is one of the reasons why the Stone Chambers have survived this long—far outlasting the actual farmhouses of the colonial settlers who are credited with having constructed them.

Several chambers have large trees of significant size growing on top of them, demonstrating their structural sturdiness by their ability to withstand the outgrowth without collapsing:



Several chambers have one or more trees of major size growing on them. www.RichardCassaro.com

Unfortunately, many of the chambers have been torn down or quarried for their stone. Others have been repeatedly vandalized, dismantled, destroyed, or abandoned. No artifacts have been found inside any of the Stone Chambers.

Many of the chambers are aligned to the rising of the sun on special days, like the summer and winter solstices (June 21 and Dec. 21) and spring and autumn equinoxes (March 22 and Sept. 22), as well as specific solar and lunar events of the year. Some are aligned along north-south and east-west axes. The so-called “Calendar II” chamber, located in South Woodstock, Vermont, is aligned with the rising sun on the Winter Solstice:

Left: Winter Solstice Sunrise alignment at the “Calendar II” Stone Chamber in Vermont. (Photo courtesy of Bill Vieira.) Right: Winter Solstice Sunrise alignment at Newgrange, a 5,000 year old passage tomb in Ireland. www.RichardCassaro.com

The Calendar II chamber is in fact one of the biggest and best-known Stone Chambers in all New England. At the Calendar II chamber—so-called because of its Winter Solstice alignment—the megalithic stone roof slabs are the biggest I´ve seen in any of the Stone Chambers across New England, measuring more than 15 feet across and over a foot thick, probably weighing several tons each.

The two photos above show how megalithic roof slabs of several tons each and fifteen feet long cover the Calendar II Stone Chamber in South Woodstock, Vermont. www.RichardCassaro.com

The chamber interior measures roughly 10 feet by 20 feet. This is also one of the few Stone Chambers to have what for lack of a better term can be called a “ventilation shaft” located on the very top of the chamber. See below:

Calendar II Stone Chamber showing entrance in foreground and “ventilation shaft” in background, partially illuminating the back wall. www.RichardCassaro.com

All of this is obviously very interesting, and more than a little mysterious. Are the Stone Chambers really “root cellars” built by colonial farmers? Or could they be something much different, and perhaps far older?

The idea that colonial farmers created such complex and well-crafted megalithic “root cellars” for their fruits and vegetables—which to this day are still perfectly intact, even though their farmhouses have long since vanished—is a bit strange. In fact, for several decades researchers have been asking a variety of questions challenging the mainstream interpretation. These researchers have pointed out many interesting discrepancies. For example, colonial settlers described in their writings the existence of strange “Indian forts” in and around New England; these descriptions seem to match the Stone Chambers. Also, no written records exist of the colonial farmers ever building even one of the Stone Chambers. Rather, there is evidence that the practically-minded farmers used the already-existing chambers as root cellars.

”Farmers wrote in diaries about building stone walls and farmhouse foundations, barns, orchards, but nothing about building these stone structures. It’s not far-fetched to think that instead of 1492, maybe in 500 A.D., explorers came ashore and built them.”

—Sam Oliverio Jr., New York Times

The Stone Chambers are now considered by many to be one of the great mysteries of North America. The question is, if the colonial farmers didn´t build them as root cellars then what exactly are they? Who built them, and why?

Three main theories exist regarding the origin and purpose of the chambers:

1. COLONIAL ROOT CELLARS

This theory, already explained, suggests the colonial farmers who settled America in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries built the chambers to store and preserve their root crops during New England´s harsh winters. As more fertile and less rocky pastures were discovered during the Westward expansion, New England was abandoned and reverted back to forest, leaving only the root cellars and stone walls as evidence of any past human habitation.

2.  NATIVE AMERICAN SHRINES
Many researchers now believe the Stone Chambers were built by the Native American Indians or perhaps their ancient ancestors who lived in New England before the arrival of the first Europeans. Native American Indians in other parts of North America (i.e., the Adena and Mississippian cultures) created entire cities and ceremonial centers with stone and dirt, so the organizational and technical skill was certainly prevalent in the region or not far from it.

3. PREHISTORIC EUROPEAN TEMPLES
According to this theory, ancient Celts, Druids, Phoenicians, Norsemen, Libyan sailors, Iberian adventurers, and Irish monks made their way to New England before Columbus—some say before Christ—and built the chambers. Proponents of this theory point out similarities between the Stone Chambers, with their unmortared walls and celestial alignments, and many megalithic European sites like Knowth and Newgrange. Similar stone structures of widely varying age and function have been documented from Britain, Scotland, France, northern Canada, and southeastern Italy.

Left: Interior of Knowth, a Neolithic passage grave in Ireland. Right: Interior of Stone Chamber on Route 6 in New York State. www.RichardCassaro.com

Jim Viera, a New England author who has been studying the Stone Chambers for many years, tells an interesting anecdote that indicates the Stone Chambers were not built by the colonial settlers but were instead found by them:

“At the Pound Ridge Historical Museum in New York exists a faded letter dated July 1742. It is from a priest writing back to a local farmer who had just discovered a stone chamber near his property in the woods. The priest instructed the man to stay away from the chamber because it was the work of the devil and was a place where the devil enters this world. Why would this admonishment take place if it was a colonial root cellar as modern archaeologists insist? These stone chamber sites often have large standing stones, stone animal effigy mounds, wells, cairns and wall complexes associated with them.”

—Jim Vieira

Proponents of the idea that the chambers are ancient point out the existence of other apparently man-made megalithic structures in the Hudson Valley to support their beliefs. One example is a site called “Balanced Rock,” a giant boulder that rests on six conical rocks located on Route 116 in North Salem, weighing as much as 80 tons.

I visited and studied Balanced Rock in October 2015, a huge rock perched atop a ring of much smaller stones located in North Salem, NY. www.RichardCassaro.com

The original sign at the site, erected by local historians, described it as a glacial erratic deposited in the Ice Age. But several years ago, a new description was added, explaining the possibility that the rock could be a dolmen or ceremonial stone erected by Celts who may have visited the area more than 2,000 years ago.

In recent years, the North Salem Historical Society changed the description of Balanced Rock to include the possibility that the rock may be a Celtic memorial.  www.RichardCassaro.com

To date, most archaeologists feel that the prehistoric European temple explanation for the Stone Chambers lacks archaeological context. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence,” they say, and rightfully so. Unless a bronze ax of demonstrable European origin is found in a sealed archaeological layer in or around any of the Stone Chambers, the mainstream view is that these amazing megalithic monuments are colonial root cellars and nothing more.

For me, the megalithic size of the roof slabs coupled with the incredibly advanced craftsmanship of the stones is extraordinary evidence enough. I will be returning to the Stone Chambers with further blog updates in the near future, and I am also currently working on a short film describing my experiences visiting and entering the chambers. Meanwhile, please enjoy this short video blog created by my friend, Anyextee, of AdeptExpeditions.com. Anyextee accompanied me in late August 2017 on a visit to the Calendar II Stone Chamber in South Woodstock, Vermont. Together we explored and exchanged ideas on the chamber´s origin, meaning, and construction.

You can learn more about who I am and my research in my books:

Richard Cassaro’s new book, The Missing Link, explores the meaning, transformations and propagation of the ancient world’s most important religious icon. His first book, Written in Stone, is a wide-ranging exploration of hitherto-unknown connections among Freemasons, medieval cathedral builders and the creators of important ancient monuments, in support of his theory that a spiritually advanced mother culture, lost to history, is behind many of the world’s architectural and artistic traditions.

Prior to the publication of Written in Stone, Cassaro enjoyed a successful career as a U.S. correspondent, professional journalist, and photo researcher for Rizzoli Publications, one of the world’s leading media organizations. Cassaro, who is a graduate of Pace University in New York City, has examined first-hand the ancient ruins and mystical traditions of Egypt, Mexico, Greece, Italy, Sicily, France, England, India, Peru and Spain; he has lectured on his theories to great acclaim in the United States, Egypt, Italy, Spain and Peru.

Richard Cassaro © Copyright, All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to www.RichardCassaro.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

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The Esoteric Symbolism of Egypt´s Crook & Flail


Egypt´s “Crook & Flail” staffs were often depicted in the hands of the Pharaohs. These instruments are described by Egyptologists as “symbols of kingship and royal authority.” But this vague and unclear definition ignores the occult view that the Crook & Flail served a much more important purpose—a purpose specifically related to the “Great Work” of spiritual transformation. We´ll take a closer look at the Crook & Flail staffs and reveal their true esoteric meaning as tools a spiritual seeker can use to transform his/her lower (animal) self into a servant of his higher (spiritual) Self.            

The Crook & Flail staffs, here depicted on the coffin of King Tutankhamun, are called “symbols of divine authority” by Egyptologists.

A longstanding esoteric tradition teaches that the ancient Egyptians were in possession of an advanced metaphysical doctrine. This doctrine was based on the idea that humans possess two intertwined natures—a human “animal” self and a divine “spiritual” Self.

“Man is a god in the body of an animal according to the pronouncement of ancient philosophy…”

—Alvin Boyd Kuhn

Egypt´s metaphysical doctrine taught that humans should not identify primarily with their “physical” animal lower self. Instead, we should focus on rediscovering our “spiritual divine higher Self, which is who we really are.

THE BUDDHA WITHIN

The difference between the lower self and higher Self is described in Buddhism’s Tathagatagarbha Sutra (c. 3rd century AD), which teaches that we all have a “Buddha within” (tathagata), a “perfect soul” or “divine spark.” However, our Buddha nature is covered by layers of vestures (garbha) in the form of bodily passion, anguish, greed, anger, ambition, lust, confusion, and so on.

Life’s goal is not only to rediscover this Buddha inside, but also to remove the outer layers of clothing that bury him.

Buddhism’s Tathagatagarbha Sutra (c. 3rd century AD) teaches that we all have a “Buddha within.”

The 20th century mythologist Joseph Campbell wrote:

“We are all manifestations of Buddha consciousness, or Christ consciousness, only we don’t know it. The word “Buddha” means “the one who waked up.” We are all to do that—to wake up to the Christ or Buddha consciousness within us.…”

—Joseph Campbell

THE OSIRIS WITHIN

In Egypt, there was a spiritual model in the form of a person who had achieved his “Buddhahood” or “Christhood.” He did so by using the Crook & Flail, as we’ll see in a moment. But his name was not “Buddha” or “Christ.” It was “Asar” (Osiris in Egyptian), the central figure of the ancient Egyptian religion for thousands of years. We´re told by the esoteric author and Freemason, W.L. Wilmshurst:

“…the Mystery-systems have always exhibited an example for the instruction, encouragement and emulation of those prepared to make the attempt and the necessary sacrifice. To hearten them to the task the Initiatory Colleges have held up a prototype in the person of some great soul who has already trodden the same path and emerged triumphant therefrom. …In Egypt the prototype was Osiris.”

—W.L. Wilmshurst

It was the aim of every follower of Osiris to live exactly like Osiris, to “become” Osiris in every way. Imagine living so pure you “become” a living Buddha or a living Christ. Austrian philosopher, social reformer, and esoteric author Rudolf Steiner tells us:

“Man becomes perfect when he lives as an Osiris…In this way the Osiris myth receives its deeper significance. It becomes the example of a man who wishes to awaken the eternal within him.”

—Rudolf Steiner, Christianity As Mystical Fact

The ancient Egyptians were so focused on “becoming an Osiris” in life that when they died they buried themselves in his image. Indeed, Egyptologists tell us that the entire funerary ritual of the Egyptians was designed to transform the deceased into an Osiris to show they lived as he did.

But how exactly did the Egyptians transform their dead into the god Osiris?

OSIRIS: THE EGYPTIAN CHRIST

The name “Asar” (Osiris) is constituted by three hieroglyphs—one of which is the image of a bearded man with long hair:

The name Asar” (Osiris) in Egyptian hieroglyphs features the image of a bearded man with long hair.

In Written in Stone I theorized that this image of a bearded man with long hair is an image of how Osiris looked. More precisely, this image—which signifies the word “god” or “godhood” in the Egyptian system of hieroglyphics—symbolized the “godhood” or “god nature” or “higher Self nature” that vivifies and animates every human being.

I also theorized that the two main funerary items placed on the deceased—the “nemes headdress” placed on the head and the “plaited beard” placed on the chin—were props used to transform the outward appearance of the deceased into an image of this “god nature” that exists within each of us, which the Egyptians called Osiris. The headdress is a depiction of long hair; the headdress was tied into a ponytail at the back of the head, as is often done with long hair. The braided goatee is clearly a beard.

Look closely at the image below: Can you recognize the long hair and beard?

The dead were dressed in the image of Osiris, a bearded man with long hair. The “headdress” is a depiction of long hair; the headdress was tied into a ponytail at the back of the head, as is often done with long hair.

If my theory is correct, then this means that for thousands of years the ancient Egyptians were buried in the image of a bearded man with long hair—identical to the popular image of Christ!  In the year 2000, I commissioned the following painting to present my hypothesis:

In my book, “Written in Stone,” I theorize that the Egyptians were buried in the image of Osiris—a bearded man with long hair—so they could follow his resurrection.

By going to their graves in Osirian form, the Egyptians were showing that they had found their higher Self within—what we would today call their “Buddha consciousness” or “Christ consciousness” within.

Watch this video I produced, based on research I published in my book Written in Stone:

                                     

Esoteric schools teach that early Christianity purposely misrepresented the ancient Egyptian teaching of the “inner Osiris,” and that Christianity grew to become a bastardized version of the Egyptian religion. We find this idea in the research of countless professors, scholars and intellectuals like Gerald Massey (1828 – 1907), an English poet who studied the parallels common to the Egyptian and Christian religions; Alvin Boyd Kuhn, an American academic and amateur Egyptologist who took up Masseys work; and Rhodes Scholar Tom Harpur, author, columnist and theologian:

“…what the Egyptian knew that his Christian imitator did not, was that the Osiris whose death and resurrection were thus portrayed was the divine element within his own constitution and not a man perishing on a wooden cross and pushing away a rock from his hillside tomb two days later…”

—Alvin Boyd Kuhn

 

“…Christ was the Immortal Spirit in man… It did not and could not depend on any single manifestation in one historic personality…Historic Christianity originated with turning the…teachings inside out and externalizing the mythical allegory in a personal human history. …a huge and hideous mistake…”

—Gerald Massey

 

 “…the Christ principle is potentially in every one of us…Christ of the myth became a flesh and blood person identified with Jesus.”

—Tom Harpur, The Pagan Christ

Osiris had “mastered” his lower animal self. You might say that his higher Self, or the “god” part of himself, was able to overpower or “master” the lower animal part. But such mastery does not come easily. One needs tremendous discipline to be able to control one´s emotions, feelings, aggressions, appetites, desires, etc.

How exactly does one succeed in doing this?

CROOK & FLAIL

Enter the Crook & Flail, two instruments directly related to the “Great Work” of spiritual transformation and, more specifically, with “mastery” of the lower animal self. The Crook & Flail staffs were tools every Egyptian seeker used to transform his/her lower (animal) self into a servant of his higher (spiritual) Self.

                                           The Crook & Flail are shepherd’s instruments—an epithet of Osiris was “Good Shepherd” (i.e., shepherd of one´s lower nature).

The Crook (heka) & Flail (nekhekh) were often shown held in the hands of Osiris in various paintings, statues and amulets. They were also held in the hands of the Osirianised dead, telling us they aided / assisted the deceased in accomplishing his / her most important mission in life—becoming “an Osiris”:

Left: Images of Osiris holding the Crook & Flail. Right: The “Osirianised” dead holding the Crook & Flail.

SHEPHERD’S CROOOK
The crook was a cane with a hooked handle, sometimes gold-plated and reinforced with blue copper bands. The crook was used by shepherds; the hook of the crook served to hold a runaway sheep. The crook symbolized the concept of rule, and it serves as the hieroglyph for the Egyptian word “rule, ruler.” However, rather than “ruling” over others, the crook seems to have also conveyed the idea of ruling one´s “lower self” by gently guiding one´s own behavior upward. This is how one becomes an Osiris.

SHEPHERD’S FLAIL
In the other hand was the flail or shepherd’s “whip,” a rod with three attached beaded strands. The flail was a simple agricultural tool used for threshing or beating grain from the ear by hand and it was also a weapon. Yet here it doesn´t seem to have been an “outward” weapon used on others, but rather a weapon one might use on their own lower nature to aggressively whip one´s lower self into line.

Occultists will quickly note that the two opposing and yet complementary concepts described here—Mercy (Crook) and Severity (Flail)—play a key role across various occult schools. Mercy is conveyed by the Crook, as the Crook is a merciful way to gently “guide” a straying animal back to the fold. Severity is conveyed by the Flail, as the Flail is a severe way to “reprimand” a rebellious animal and force that animal back into line. In this way these two tools help to “mercifully” and “severely” guide the lower animal that is you—your lower animal self.

“Quit then, this Tomb, O Aspirant, with thine arms crossed upon thy breast, bearing in thy right hand the Crook of Mercy and in thy left the Scourge of Severity, the emblems of those Eternal Forces betwixt which the equilibrium of the Universe dependeth; those forces whose reconciliation is the Key of Life, whose separation is evil and death.”

—Israel Regardie, The Golden Dawn

The “crossing” of the two staffs above the chest has various meanings and connotations, but the one most pertinent for our discussion is the act of “combining” their power together (the two instruments are held in the right and left hands in a parallel manner) showing they have equal strength. The Osirianised dead, by crossing these two symbolic staffs over his or her chest, were conveying the idea that he / she had used both tools to help them become the Master of his / her own self—to help them become an Osiris. By using these twin instruments of self-control to subdue their lower animal nature, the deceased had “followed in the footsteps” of Osiris (the Egyptian Buddha or Christ) and found their higher Self.

Researcher Gary Osborn, author of The Shining Ones, provides excellent insight into the symbolism of the Crook & Flail:

“What has not yet been acknowledged, is that again, the crook and the flail are ‘Duality’ symbols, symbolising the opposite, positive and negative, male and female, yang and yin energies and forces. The flail is held by the right hand connected to the male-related left brain, and the crook is held by the left hand connected to the female-related right brain. Now the reason why they were seen as symbols of power and kingship was because being held in this way, the point where the crook and flail were brought together, and the point where the crook and flail crossed over each other at the heart or centre of the body, symbolised the ‘neutral point’ of balance, a condition that can lead to the rebirth associated with enlightenment and resurrection, and one’s vertical alignment with the ‘heavenly kingdom’ . . . the Godhead . . . the source-centre of creation.

—Gary Osborn, www.GaryOsborn.Moonfruit.com

Osborn believes these symbols also may record the phenomenon of the Solstices and Equinoxes, whereby the Egyptians were linking the Solstices to the “opposites” / “duality” and the Equinoxes to the “center” / “balance.” Posting the following image, Osborn writes:

“In esoteric thought, the crook and flail would also represent the opposites of Summer and Winter in the yearly cycle. The flail, a kind of whip, or ‘fly whip,’ is associated with Summer. The flail is also used to reap the corn. The crook is associated with the shepherding of the flock during Winter, and of course images of shepherds holding crooks are often displayed on Christmas greeting cards. Summer is related to the Sun and the colour Red, and therefore the male principle, and Winter is related to the Moon and the colour White, and therefore the feminine principle. So symbolically, these two items represent the opposites of Summer and Winter…”

—Gary Osborn, www.GaryOsborn.Moonfruit.com

It’s interesting to note that the duality of Egypt’s Crook & Flail match the duality of the Mercy & Severity Columns—the twin opposing yet complementary concepts of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, as shown here:

 The Tree of Life. Note the twin outer pillars named “Mercy” and “Severity.”

The Tree of Life is a design that can be described as showing the act of “Creation” as it flows downward from the spiritual to material plane in increasing sephiroth or “emanations.” On the way downward, the sephiroth ultimately form a structure reminiscent of the Fall of Man, or, better the Fallen Man. The bodily physical part of this Fallen Man is marked by twin Pillars—the Pillar of Severity on one side and the Pillar of Mercy on the other side. The spiritual side of this Fallen Man is marked by the center Pillar, which is often called the Pillar of the Soul.

Viewed in its entirety, the Tree of life is actually an image of you—the spiritual eternal you (Middle Pillar) inside your body’s duality (Twin outer Pillars). Life’s goal is to rediscover this center pillar—the Osiris nature (i.e., Buddha nature, Christ nature) within you. Once you do that, you´ve found your higher Self.

Visualize yourself for a moment stepping into and becoming the tree. The Pillar of Mercy corresponds to your body’s right side, and the Pillar of Severity to your left side. These two pillars are symmetrical, like your body. As mentioned above, Mercy and Severity are opposites. The eternal you, however, is the Middle Pillar, known as the Pillar of the Soul and the Pillar of Balance.

20th Century mystic Israel Regardie, student of occultist Aleister Crowley, wrote:

“There are two contending forces and one always uniting them…Unbalanced Mercy is weakness and the fading out of the Will. Unbalanced Severity is cruelty and the barrenness of Mind.”

—Aleister Crowley

Regardie, once a member of a Masonic-like order called “temple of the Golden Dawn,” quotes from the order’s initiation ceremony:

“…only in and by the reconciliation of opposing forces is the Pathway made to the true occult knowledge and practical power…”

—Israel Regardie

Here, Regardie’s words echo the position of the Crook & Flail held in the hands of the Osirianised deceased, forming a perfect visual representation of what he calls the “reconciliation of opposing forces” which he claims creates a “Pathway” to “true knowledge and practical power”:

“Pharaoh holds twin “opposites”—shepherd´s staff (MERCY) and flail (SEVERITY)—in balance. Both are used to subdue animals. Here they symbolize mastery over one´s lower “animal” nature. The shepherd´s staff is used to pull stray animals by the neck without hurting them (MERCY). The flail is used to beat animals into submission (SEVERITY). Mastering these symbols means mastering your lower animal nature to find your true Self in the center (MIDDLE PILLAR / BALANCE).”                                                             

Richard Cassaro, Written in Stone

Egypt´s metaphysical doctrine—which was not confined to Egypt, and which I´ve described in my books, articles and lectures as the “Universal Religion of Antiquity,” as it was shared worldwide among the world´s first cultures—was inherited by Western occultists, Hermeticists, alchemists and philosophers during the past two thousand years since the decline of dynastic Egypt. It branched out over the course of centuries and it became grouped into different subgenres called by different names, including the Perennial Philosophy, Sacred Science, Alchemy, Hermeticism, and so on. However, its basic teachings on the fundamental physical/spiritual dichotomy of man have always remained the same.

You can learn more about my research into ancient Egyptian symbolism and meaning in my books Written in Stone and The Missing Link:

 

 Richard Cassaro’s new book, The Missing Link, explores the meaning, transformations and propagation of the ancient world’s most important religious icon. His first book, Written in Stone, is a wide-ranging exploration of hitherto-unknown connections among Freemasons, medieval cathedral builders and the creators of important ancient monuments, in support of his theory that a spiritually advanced mother culture, lost to history, is behind many of the world’s architectural and artistic traditions.

Prior to the publication of Written in Stone, Cassaro enjoyed a successful career as a U.S. correspondent, professional journalist, and photo researcher for Rizzoli Publications, one of the world’s leading media organizations. Cassaro, who is a graduate of Pace University in New York City, has examined first-hand the ancient ruins and mystical traditions of Egypt, Mexico, Greece, Italy, Sicily, France, England, India, Peru and Spain; he has lectured on his theories to great acclaim in the United States, Egypt, Italy, Spain and Peru.

Richard Cassaro © Copyright, All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to www.RichardCassaro.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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The Occult Architecture of Yale University´s “Book & Snake” Secret Society


One of the most mysterious collegiate secret societies on the Yale University campus in New Haven, Connecticut is the Society of Book & Snake. Founded in 1863, it´s the fourth oldest secret society at Yale. Book & Snake uses an interesting mix of ancient and esoteric symbols to convey occult meanings that only the initiated can properly understand. By decoding these symbols we´ll see how Book & Snake´s art and architecture encodes the very secrets this collegiate secret society was founded to protect.

Façade of the Book & Snake tomb on the Yale University campus in New Haven, CT.

Conspiracy theorists insist that secret societies are made up of elite and wealthy families who rule the world and manipulate historical events for their benefit.

But the symbolism encoded into their art and architecture indicates that these secret societies were originally founded for a more noble purpose—namely, to initiate new members into an ancient “Sacred Science” wisdom-teaching that was shared worldwide in ancient times; and to help these new members achieve the so-called “Great Work” of spiritual transformation, which is the primary aim of this wisdom-teaching.

Even the most stubborn and headstrong conspiracy theorists, like the mid-20th century author Nesta Helen Webster, have freely admitted this obvious truth:

 “Let it be said once and for all, secret societies have not always been formed for evil purposes. On the contrary, many have arisen from the highest aspirations of the human mind—the desire for knowledge of eternal verities.”

―Nesta Webster, Secret Societies and Subversive Movements

The esoteric architecture encoded into the Skull & Bones tomb, Yale University´s most famous secret society, indicates that “secret societies have not always been formed for evil purposes.”  The three-in-one pattern on the tomb´s facade mimics the three-in-one patterns on the facades of many ancient temples:

The “Triptych” façade on the Skull & Bones tomb (1856) mimics the Triptych façade of the ancient Egyptian Shrine of Seti II.

In my 2011 book, Written in Stone, I showed how ancient temples built by far-flung civilizations—especially the pyramid cultures—all shared this same three-in-one pattern. I dubbed this pattern a “Triptych” (a phrase I coined) and I showed how the universality of “Triptych Temples” marks evidence of a Universal Religion or Sacred Science shared worldwide in Antiquity.

In Written in Stone (2011), I theorized that the universality of these Triptych Temples indicates that the pyramid cultures all shared the same “Universal Religion.”

By modeling their meeting places after ancient Triptych Temples, collegiate secret societies like Skull & Bones were showing an affinity with, and a connection to, the ancient Sacred Science teaching.

Another important collegiate secret society on the Yale University campus is Book & Snake. With its white marble exterior, the Book & Snake tomb (which serves as the society´s meeting place) was designed to resemble the ancient Greek temple of Nike, made entirely of white marble.

Left: Ancient Temple of Nike, Greece. Right: Book & Snake Tomb, Yale University, New Haven, CT.

This is one of many connections that links Book & Snake to ancient Greece, a center of philosophy, art, architecture, and sacred geometry, where the Great Work of spiritual transformation was practiced for thousands of years.

In the ancient Greek Mystery Schools, the very basis of the Great Work was personified by the myth of the hero Theseus slaying the Minotaur, a metaphor that describes an initiate´s higher eternal Self (the spiritual soul) mastering his / her lower animal self (the material body).

Ancient Greek pottery depicting the hero Theseus slaying the Minotaur.

We might surmise from this that the original aim of many collegiate secret societies that pattern themselves after ancient Greece—i.e., Delta Delta Delta, Sigma Chi, Chi Omega, or Psi Upsilon—was to initiate new members into the ancient Sacred Science teaching, and to help those new members triumphantly achieve the Great Work:

 “In my third year at Cambridge, I devoted myself consciously to the Great Work, understanding thereby the Work of becoming a Spiritual Being, free from the constraints, accidents, and deceptions of material existence.”

—Aleister Crowley

With this aim in mind, the perfectly cut, smooth white marble ashlars that constitute the Book & Snake tomb seem to have served both a symbolic and a practical purpose.

Like the ancient Greek Temple of Nike on which it is patterned, the Book & Snake tomb is composed of smooth white marble ashlars.

Symbolically, each smooth white marble ashlar symbolizes the triumphant initiate who has succeeded in his / her efforts of achieving the Great Work—much like a triumphant Freemason is recognized as one who has perfected his character from a rough ashlar to a smooth ashlar, as shown below:

But the smooth white marble ashlars do more than symbolically convey this spiritual transformation; they magically “charge” the Book & Snake tomb, consecrating it with the same current of metaphysical energy that arises within it from initiates practicing the Great Work.

Containing metaphysical energy within a confined space creates a concentration of power and intention—which helps to awaken some of the sublime energies within the body that stimulate transformation.

For example, the “magic circle” of a practicing magician serves to contain energy inside a “sacred space.” Ancient stone circles like Stonehenge in England seem to reflect an ancient era when magic circles were understood and practiced by our ancestors.

Left: The magic circle of the magician. Right: The ancient stone circle or magic circle of Stonehenge in England.

Spiritual ascension is the aim, and this aim is symbolized (and achieved, in part) by the upward thrust of the four Ionic columns that grace the Book & Snake tomb´s main entrance.

Seasoned occultists use these columns as “ascension vehicles,” and in Freemasonry the columns are depicted as “ladders” by which the initiated can transcend the material world, gain access to the heavenly spiritual realm, and attain Nirvana.

Left: Masonic Tracing Board associating columns with ladders, symbolically conveying the act of spiritual asension. Right: Book & Snake façade depicting four Ionic columns.

The four columns on the Book & Snake façade support a massive triangle-shaped pediment. Stylized sets of “anthemion and palmette” leaves decorate the capitals (see image below) , forming an alternating pattern of balanced duality that was celebrated in ancient Greek art and architecture.

The Greek Philosopher Heraclitus said that everything in Nature is composed of balanced duality; everything in nature has an opposite, a double with which it exists in harmony. Heraclitus wasn´t alone; this “pairs of opposites” teaching formed the basis of most Greek philosophy. It´s one of the meanings behind the anthemion and palmette pattern.

Top: Stylized sets of anthemion & palmette leaves decorate the capitals of the columns on the Book & Snake tomb. Bottom: Anthemion & palmette was an artistic motif celebrated in ancient Greek art and architecture.

Everything has a solar “right half” representing light, male, fire, balanced by a lunar “left half” representing dark, female, water. As I´ve explained in my books, lectures, videos and online articles for close to two decades, this is the meaning behind many Masonic Tracing Boards, which depict a solar right side (marked “Jachin”) balanced by a lunar left side (marked “Boaz”).

Masonic Tracing Board showing sun, moon, and centered Eye.

To truly understand and know something, including ourselves, we need to recognize this doctrine of opposites; we need to be able to see things from both sides of the equation, thus “centering” ourselves in perfect balance. The alternating pattern of anthemion & palmette leaves symbolize this uniting of opposites formula that forms the basis of the Great Work.

 “The Great Work is the uniting of opposites.”

—Aleister Crowley

Two giant bronze doors, each one decorated with a lion mask doorknocker, bar entry into the Book & Snake tomb, with each lion holding a circular ring in its mouth.

A twin set of lion mask doorknockers decorates the entry into the Book & Snake tomb.

These lions are an abbreviation of the “twin lion statues” that decorate the entrances to ancient temples worldwide (as I show in my books Written in Stone and The Missing Link); from the Hittites in ancient Anatolia; to the Chavin culture in the ancient Andes; from the ancient Hindus in India; to the ancient Egyptians in Africa.

In China, the guardian lions were called Foo Dogs, and they symbolize the “pairs of opposites” – ying and yang.

The twin lion statues “motif” has gone unrecognized by scholars and researchers, as I´ve been pointing out my books, videos, lectures and published articles for close to two decades.

But why lions?

As the king of beasts, the lion is both great and terrible. With its golden coat and radiant mane, the lion is the personification of the sun, symbolizing bravery, nobility, strength, and valor. And yet the lion is a “shade-loving” mainly nocturnal hunter, cruel in its ability to kill and devour its prey. In short, the lion symbolizes the very “balanced duality” that every Book & Snake initiate presumably strives to achieve.

The Green Lion Devouring The Sun” is a common alchemical image from centuries-old texts, such as the Rosarium Philosophorum (1550).

This balanced duality is expressed in part by the imagery visible on the imposing wrought-iron fence that surrounds the Book & Snake tomb. The fence is decorated with 18 massive caduceus posts. The caduceus is one of the world´s most powerful occult symbols. It´s also one of the most enigmatic. For centuries, operative Freemasons encoded the caduceus into the art, architecture, and symbolism of the churches, castles, and cathedrals they designed and built. Primarily, the caduceus relates the occult anatomy of man, a wisdom that (surprisingly) few modern students of the occult recognize.

Author Richard Cassaro holding one of the Caduceus posts in front of the Book & Snake tomb.

The caduceus also conveys the teachings of kundalini yoga, an ancient Hindu system of meditation directed toward awakening our Third Eye, a sixth sense organ hidden in the human forehead—a Third Eye that, when activated, endows us with the ability to see our inner, eternal nature.

The twin serpents symbolize the “pairs of opposites” and the vertical pole in the center symbolizes their “balance” or “unification.”

In one aspect, the caduceus conveys the teachings of kundalini yoga.

In my work, I´ve shown how in some instances a pine cone symbol, signifying the pineal gland (the name modern science has given the ancient “Third Eye”) often appears atop the caduceus, symbolizing our Third Eye.

Caduceus symbols with pine cone on top, signifying the Third Eye.

(For more info on my original research into pine cone symbolism (which has unfortunately been plagiarized and distorted by many authors and researchers in the past few years) read my 2010 article Occult Secrets Behind Pine Cone Art & Architecture” and my 2015 article “The Kundalini Kings: Masonic Symbolism In French Royal Art & Architecture.”)

Here at the Book & Snake tomb, the caduceus “pole” is not just a pole, but a flaming “torch.” Exoterically, the torch symbolizes light and life, and, by extension, immortality and enlightenment. Esoterically, the torch symbolizes the inner soul, the centered higher Self beneath the changing world of duality in which the lower self lives.

The vertical pole is a flaming “torch” when viewed closeup.

Fire is one of the four classical elements of ancient Greece, and some Greek philosophers considered it the first and most fundamental, the source of all existence. Heraclitus regarded the soul as being a mixture of fire and water, with fire being the higher noble part and water the lower ignoble part. He believed the goal of human existence is to rid one´s self of water and become pure fire. In doing so, one becomes an “Olympian,” a god holding the Olympic torch of triumph.

The Statue of Liberty is based on an ancient Greek original.

Patterned after an ancient Greek original, the Statue of Liberty holds a torch upward, conveying the “life” and “freedom” of an Olympian.

A massive caduceus appears encoded into the architecture of Rockefeller Center in New York City, built in the early 20th century, showing a torch centered between twin symmetrically balanced male / female opposites.

A caduceus appears on Rockefeller center in New York City, built in the early 20th century.

On the reverse side of the U.S. dime, we see the torch of illumination, flanked by a symmetrically balanced set of branches—an oak branch on one side and an olive branch on the other.

The reverse side of the U.S. dime shows a caduceus-like symbol—a torch flanked by twin branches, an oak branch and olive branch.

At the Book & Snake tomb, this same “balance-of-opposites-around-a-torch-in-the-center” theme is conveyed by the caduceus posts, and it´s echoed in the massive triangle pediment atop the building. Like the caduceus, the triangle is a three-in-one symbol, showing twin opposing forces, symbolized by the twin lower points of the triangle, unified by the apex into a single whole.

The triangular pediment on the Book & Snake tomb is a three-in-one symbol, just like the caduceus posts.

As the alchemical symbol for fire is an upward pointing triangle, we may infer that the triangular pediment here symbolizes the soul, or, better, the discovery of the soul via the “balance of opposites” formula, which is the ultimate end of the Great Work.

In one of its meanings, the triangle symbolizes the Path home to the soul. Drawing from my book, Written in Stone.

For thousands of years, the triangle has symbolized a man or woman who has found his or her “soul within” or “divinity within.” Renaissance artists depicted the triangle above a seeker or hero who was able to accomplish this Great Work, including Jesus Christ and St. Ursula, as seen in the following works of art:

Left: St. Ursula and Her Companions with Pope Ciriacus and St Catherine of Alexandria (1608). Right: Supper at Emmaus (1606) is a painting by the Italian master Caravaggio, housed in the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan.

Thus, the massive triangle-shaped pediments that adorn the apexes of many ancient Greek temples, like the Temple of Nike, are aimed at showing initiates how to rediscover the divinity within their own nature—a theme echoed in the Book & Snake tomb.

Left: Ancient Temple of Nike, Greece. Right: Book & Snake Tomb, Yale University, New Haven, CT.

Triangle-shaped pediments appear on many U.S. Government buildings, including the Supreme Court Building in Washington D.C. In the image below, we see a Deity in the center, recognized exoterically as Moses. Esoterically this Deity symbolizes the divine nature within us. Flanking this Deity are sets of symmetrically balanced opposites, all mirror-images of each other. The greatest opposites are at the extreme, with the slow turtle on one side balanced energetically by the speedy rabbit on the other.

U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington D.C.

All the figures inside the pediment converge toward the middle, the triangle´s apex, urging us to transcend the duality or polarity of earthly life and find our center or soul within.

A similar meaning is conveyed by Book & Snake´s “ouroboros serpent” symbol, depicted on the society´s regalia. The eternally circling serpent is shown consuming itself.

Ouroboros serpent on the Book & Snake regalia.

The ouroboros serpent is a symbol of the eternal soul within us, that feeds on the very bodies it uses to manifest itself on the material plane. It´s the same circular symbolism depicted by the rings in the mouths of the lions on the Book & Snake tomb´s entrance. With no beginning and no end, the circle symbolizes eternity, and, by extension, our eternal and divine “god-like nature” (i.e., the soul or higher Self within us). The book on which the ouroboros serpent rests is also symbolic, and we often see it in Masonic art and architecture.

Masonic Temple depicting an open book inside a triangle pediment.

The left side of the book signifies “the past.” The right side “the future.” The “centered” spine of the book, like the human spine, balances the twin sides, thus shifting focus towards the center, and pointing to the “eternal now” moment.

“… the meeting of two eternities, the past and future… is precisely the present moment.”

―Henry David Thoreau

“Remember then: there is only one time that is important—Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.”

― Leo Tolstoy

“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.”

― Alan Watts

We see this same symbolism in the ancient Spanish city of Alcala´ de Hernares, home to the Complutense University of Madrid, one of the world´s oldest universities. An open book shows the words “pasado” or yesterday on one page and “futuro” or future on the other page, while the book´s spine or center, like the human spine, represents the center or eternal now.

An open book shows the words “pasado” or “yesterday” on one page and “futuro” or “future” on the other page. Alcala´ de Hernares, Madrid, Spain.

When decoded properly, the art and architecture of the Book & Snake tomb indicates that the Book & Snake Society´s founding purpose was to initiate new members into an ancient Sacred Science wisdom-teaching, the goal of which was to achieve the so-called “Great Work” of spiritual transformation.

Whether or not the spirit of this founding purpose is still honored is unknown—but one thing is certain: When conspiracy theorists fail to address the noble origins of Secret Societies, their research becomes a tool of suppression, propaganda, and misinformation.

Richard Cassaro’s new book, The Missing Link, explores the meaning, transformations and propagation of the ancient world’s most important religious icon. His first book, Written in Stone, is a wide-ranging exploration of hitherto-unknown connections among Freemasons, medieval cathedral builders and the creators of important ancient monuments, in support of his theory that a spiritually advanced mother culture, lost to history, is behind many of the world’s architectural and artistic traditions.

Prior to the publication of Written in Stone, Cassaro enjoyed a successful career as a U.S. correspondent, professional journalist, and photo researcher for Rizzoli Publications, one of the world’s leading media organizations. Cassaro, who is a graduate of Pace University in New York City, has examined first-hand the ancient ruins and mystical traditions of Egypt, Mexico, Greece, Italy, Sicily, France, England, India, Peru and Spain; he has lectured on his theories to great acclaim in the United States, Egypt, Italy, Spain and Peru.

Richard Cassaro © Copyright, All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to www.RichardCassaro.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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The Secrets of Asia´s Pyramid Temples


The Asian country of Myanmar is home to a series of thousand-year old stupa temples and pagodas that appear to have been intentionally designed and built to resemble ancient pyramids. In this article, we´ll explore seven examples of this “pyramid” motif, and question whether these monuments may have been constructed atop actual prehistoric pyramids to encase and preserve them. We´ll look at how Myanmar´s Master Masons successfully married the “pyramid” shape to the Buddhist stupa and pagoda concepts. We´ll also see how this marriage to Buddhism may shed a new and interesting light on the mystery and meaning of ancient pyramids around the world.
     


There are thousands of temples across the southeast Asian country of Myanmar (formerly Burma) that resemble ancient pyramids. But these pyramids are not associated with Osiris, as they are in Egypt. Neither are these pyramids associated with Quetzalcoatl, as they are in Mexico. No, here, Asia´s pyramids are associated with the Buddha.

“The richness of religious architecture in Myanmar reflects the continuity of Buddhist tradition over at least the last 2,000 years…Most temples…sheltered an image. In nearly all cases, this was an image of the Buddha…”

— John Falconer, Elizabeth Moore, Burmese Design & Architecture

Modern scholars have failed to recognize a “pattern” in the presence of ancient pyramids worldwide, and so they have never bothered to investigate the possibility that the world´s pyramids may point to a “Universal Religion” that may have existed in Antiquity. By decoding the architecture of these Buddhist pyramid-temples, we may be able to gain insight into this theorized Universal Religion, as well as the architectural role of the world´s pyramids as it pertains to this Universal Religion.

Many of Myanmar´s pyramid-temples were built in Bagan (formerly Pagan), an ancient city located in the Mandalay Region of Myanmar, from the 9th to 13th centuries. The city was the capital of the “Kingdom of Pagan,” the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. Scholars tell us that during the pinnacle of the kingdom’s power, more than 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas, and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains. Unfortunately, less than half of these structures survive.

In this article, we´ll take a brief look at seven of these mysterious monuments.

 

# 1) Shwesandaw Pagoda  

The pyramidal “Shwesandaw Pagoda” resembles many of the ancient Mayan pyramids that we find in ruins in the Yucatan.

“The Shwesandaw Pagoda is a Buddhist pagoda located in Bagan, Burma. The pagoda contains a series of five terraces, topped with a cylindrical stupa, which has a bejeweled umbrella. The pagoda was built by King Anawrahta in 1057…Enshrined within the pagoda are sacred hairs of Gautama Buddha…”

—Wikipedia

An interesting and unique feature of this pyramid-temple is that there are stairways on all four sides. Most temples just have stairs on one side, and it is unclear why this pyramid-temple is different. With stairways on all four sides, the Shwesandaw Pagoda bears a strong resemblance to the pyramid of Quetzalcoatl (El Castillo) in Chichen Itza, Mexico:

Left: Mayan pyramid of Quetzalcoatl in Mexico. Right: Pyramidal-shaped Shwesandaw Pagoda in Myanmar.

This intriguing similarity is even more curious when we learn that, like the pyramid of Quetzalcoatl in Mexico, the pyramidal Shwesandaw Pagoda in Myanmar was built with curiously steep stairways, making the climb upward/downward a perilous ascent/descent:

Left: The unusually steep stairways of the Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl in Mexico. Right: The unusually steep stairways of the pyramidal Shwesandaw Pagoda in Myanmar.

As mentioned, Myanmar´s pyramidal monuments are intricately interwoven with various Buddhist teachings, and one can argue that in general Myanmar´s pyramids speak to the “apotheosis” of man, symbolized by the Buddha:

“Today, the immense Bagan archaeological zone is home to the largest and densest concentration of Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas, and ruins in the world with many dating from the ancient Pagan period. The shape and construction of each building is highly significant in Buddhism with each component part taking on spiritual meaning.”

—Joachim Schliesinger, Origin of Man in Southeast Asia

It is interesting that the pyramid shape is here linked to Buddhism, a religion that teaches humans how to “awaken” to the spiritual nature of true reality and how to escape samsara (the material world) with its endless cycle of reincarnation. The word “Buddhism” stems from the Sanskrit word bodhi, which literally means “to awaken.”

While modern scholars will dismiss the notion that all ancient pyramids were somehow related to this Buddhist idea of awakening, the Victorian Era scholars would have been more receptive; the Victorians believed the pyramid cultures were “children” of the same ancestral “Mother Culture,” which some of them called “Atlantis” (following Plato).

Is it possible that Myanmar´s pyramid-temples, which were built long after the ancient pyramid cultures fell into decline, convey the same lost “Universal Religion” as the pyramids? —A Universal Religion that has been filitered through Buddhism, but nonetheless conveys the same metaphysical goal of “awakening”?

 

# 2) Dahmmayan Gyi Temple

Another Bagan temple that seems to have been purposely built to resemble an ancient pyramid is Dahmmayan Gyi Temple:

“Dhammayangyi Temple is a Buddhist temple located in Bagan, Myanmar. Largest of all the temples in Bagan, the Dhammayan as it is popularly known was built during the reign of King Narathu (1167-1170)…”

—Wikipedia

While scholars claim the Dhammayan Gyi pyramidal temple—and the rest of the pyramidal temples in Bagan—were built during the 11th to 13th centuries by the “Kingdom of Pagan,” there are no written records indicating who built these strange structures. There is even less evidence in the archaeological record that gives concrete evidence of the history of the region. It may very well be that scholars are giving a very modern origin for what may be a very ancient kingdom. The mainstream view holds that:

“The Kingdom of Pagan (849-1297) was the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern-day Burma (Myanmar). Pagan’s 250-year rule…laid the foundation for the ascent of Burmese language and culture, the spread of Burman ethnicity in Upper Burma, and the growth of Theravada Buddhism in Burma and in mainland Southeast Asia.”

—Wikipedia

This mainstream view, which was established by Britain during the British colonial period, clashes with some of the native chronicles that claim the history of the Kingdom of Pagan is rooted in a far older history, culture, and tradition:

“Considerable differences exist between the views of modern scholarship and various chronicle narratives…European scholars of the British colonial period were…skeptical, dismissing outright the chronicle tradition of early Burmese …They doubted the antiquity of the chronicle tradition, and dismissed the possibility that any sort of civilization in Burma could be much older than 500 CE.”

—Wikipedia

In the past few decades, some scholars have begun reexamining the evidence. These scholars believe it is unacceptable to base Myanmar´s history on the “outsider” perspective of British colonialists and European scholars of the past, who dismissed out of hand the native Burmese account of their own history.

“Reconstruction of this part of the early Burmese history has been ongoing, and the views of the scholarship evolving…Modern scholarship, with the benefit of latest research, now holds a far more nuanced view. Latest research shows that when stripped of the legendary elements, which are now viewed as allegories, the chronicle narratives largely conform to the evidence. Archaeological evidence shows that many of the places mentioned in the royal records have indeed been inhabited continuously for at least 3500 years…”

—Wikipedia

I suspect Bagan´s history stretches back much further than even 1500 BC. Furthermore, I believe that an ancient pyramid-building culture may have existed in Bagan during a formative period, and may have passed on their “pyramid tradition” to their descendants, which would explain Myanmar´s more modern pyramid-temples.

The existence of ancient pyramids just north of Myanmar in Xi´an, China is cultural evidence pointing to a very ancient and powerful tradition of pyramid construction in the region.

Pyramids in Xi´an China, just north of Myanmar, lend credence to the theory that Myanmar´s pyramid temples may have been based on a much older pyramid-building tradition in Myanmar.

But, if this theory is correct, then where exactly are all the ancient pyramids of Myanmar? If Myanmar´s pyramid-temples are based on an older ancestral “pyramid tradition” then where are all of Myanamar´s ancient pyramids?

I believe they may be sitting at the inner core of Myanmar´s pyramid-temples themselves. In other words, Myanmar´s pyramid-temples may be recent “re-constructions” or “restorations” or “refurbishings” of far more ancient pyramidal structures that lie beneath or rather inside these pyramid-temples, and that have been heavily eroded. The pyramid-temples we see today in Bagan may be recent structures that have been built as “enclosures” to shelter and preserve the deteriorated and fallen ruins of far older and far more important pyramidal structures.

The stonemasons of the Kingdom of Pagan may have used the same brick-by-brick method of salvaging the more ancient structures that modern Egyptologists are using to preserve the Great Sphinx:

The modern brick-by-brick method of “covering over” and thus preserving the prehistoric Sphinx statue.

While this theory may sound far-fetched, evidence shows cultural, artistic, religious and symbolic similarities between dynastic Egypt and Myanmar, indicating a connection. For example, just as the Great Pyramid in Egypt is missing its top courses (presumably because it was never completed) Dhammayan Gyi Temple was left “unfinished”:

“Burmese chronicles state that while the construction of the temple was in the process, the king was assassinated by some Indians and thus the temple was not completed.”  

—Wikipedia

Like the Great Pyramid in Egypt, Dhammayan Gyi Temple is an “unfinished” pyramidal structure.

What´s more, just as the Great Pyramid in Egypt was “sealed off” from supposed grave robbers, so the interior of Dhammayan Gyi Temple was “bricked up”:

“The temple’s interior is bricked up for unknown reasons, thus only the four porches and the outer corridors are accessible.”

—Wikipedia

An “unfinished” pyramidal monument whose inner core was “sealed off” for unknown reasons should sound familiar to anyone who has studied the Great Pyramid in Egypt.

Like many other pyramids across the world, the great Pyramid in Egypt appears unfinished.

Is there a link? What exactly lies inside this thousand-year old pyramidal temple in Myanmar? Could there be a far more ancient pyramid at its core? A pyramid contemporary with the Egyptian, Chinese, and Mayan pyramids?

Note in the image below how the Buddha statue inside the Dhammayan Gyi Temple (below left) shows the Buddha´s hand with the same anatomically incorrect “pinky finger” as depicted in ancient Egyptian art (below right). In both artistic representations, the pinky fingers are extraordinarily long:

Left: Buddha´s extraordinarily long pinky finger. Right: Egyptian art depicting extraordinarily long pinky fingers. This Egypt / Myanmar connection is only one of many parallels.

This parallel may indicate a prehistoric link that connects the artistic tradition of Dynastic Egypt to the artistic tradition of Myanmar. This is a small detail, but its ramifications may be significant.

A similar connection linking Myanmar´s pyramid-temples to the more ancient pyramid cultures is visible at Myanmar´s Bulethi Temple.

 

# 3) Bulethi Temple

Like the Shwesandaw Pagoda, the Bulethi Temple has stairways on all four sides, giving it the appearance of a Mayan pyramid. Very little is known about this temple and very little literature exists explaining it. We are left to marvel at the parallels to the ancient Mayan—and Egyptian—pyramids. Yet parallel pyramids are just the tip of the iceberg.

For example, one of the main tourist attractions of Myanmar is the so-called Mingun Bell, described as the second heaviest functioning bell in the world. Atop the bell we find the symbolism of two lions (or lion-like creatures) depicted back-to-back and facing opposite directions:

Mingun Bell, Mingun, near Mandalay, Myanmar depicts lions or lion-like creatures facing back-to-back.

As I´ve been pointing out for the past twenty years, this same back-to-back depiction of lions is a universal tradition found in many different parts of the world, most notably among the pyramid cultures in Mexico and Egypt, as we can see below:

Left: Mayan depiction of twin lions or lion-like creatures depicted as back-to-back. Right: Egyptian depiction of twin lions back-to-back.

In my books Written in Stone (2011) and The Missing Link (2016), I show how this pattern of “twin lions” existed among ancient cultures around the world. I explain how the symbolism of these back-to-back lions signifies what the Symbolist Egyptologist Schwaller de Lubicz described as the “Eternal Now,” a concept found in Buddhism. (See my article: “The Esoteric Meaning of Egypt´s Aker Lions.”)

More links to the pyramid cultures are apparent in the “Triptych” three-door entrances visible on the facades of many of Myanmar´s pyramid-temples.

 

# 4) Salumani Temple


The Sulamani Temple is one example. A Buddhist temple built in 1183 by King Narapatisithu, the Sulamani Temple was restored in 1994 after an earthquake. As with the temples described above, Salumani Temple was designed and built in the shape of a step pyramid. But what is even more striking is the fact that Salumani Temple is not just a pyramidal temple; it is what I describe as a “Triptych Temple,” a temple with three distinct entry doorways with the door in the middle larger and wider than the twin doors flanking it:

Salumani Temple is a “Triptych Temple” made up of three doors, with the door in the middle larger and wider than the twin doors flanking it.

As I explained in Written in Stone, the “Triptych Temple” three-door entryway is a common feature among temples built across the ancient world, especially among the pyramid cultures. This discovery has not yet been recognized by archaeologists. My research shows that Triptych Temples symbolize the same Universal Religion, a “balance of opposites” wisdom-tradition expressing the eastern concept of “non-duality” that was shared by all ancient cultures, bar none.

This Universal Religion teaches that we can achieive a metaphysical awakening by balancing the duality inherent in Creation, including the duality inherent in our own physical bodies. We can do this via a process of inner alchemy by finding the center between duality; this idea is signified by (taking) the center door between extremes or opposite forces.

“Triptych Temple” three-door entryways symbolize the Universal Religion of the “balance of opposites” (Coincidentia Oppositorum in Latin) shared by the pyramid cultures. More here:  http://www.richardcassaro.com/research)

It is interesting that this “Middle Path” tradition expressed by the Triptych Temple is also present in Buddhism. The Buddha´s “Middle Way” taught that the true path to enlightenment and spiritual illumination is to be found by striking a perfect balance between opposites:

“Buddha was moved by the innate suffering of humanity. He meditated on this alone for an extended period of time…He reached enlightenment, discovering what Buddhists call the Middle Way, a path of spiritual practice to end suffering (dukkha) from rebirths in Saṃsāra…

An important guiding principle of Buddhist practice is the Middle Way. It was a part of Buddha’s first sermon, where he presented…a ‘middle way’ between the extremes of asceticism and hedonistic sense pleasures.”

—Wikipedia

By featuring a massive three-door Triptych pattern, the Sulamani Temple, like many other Buddhist temples, shows us a deep and powerful link to the ancient Universal Religion of the pyramid cultures.

Like Sulamani Temple, many other pyramidal structures on the Bagan plains are Triptych Temples.

 

# 5) That Byin Nyu

The majestic That Byin Nyu pyramidal monument, a 12th Century Buddhist temple which is believed to have been built during the reign of King Alaungsithu, is a Triptych Temple. That Byin Nyu takes its name from the “omniscience” of the Buddha and the word is associated with the phrase “knowing thoroughly and seeing widely.”

As with the rest of the temples featured in the present article, That Byin Nyu is a massive pyramidal edifice with a series of steps that flow inward finding their apex at the center of the structure. Towering above the other monuments of Bagan, That Byin Nyu is a Triptych Temple:

That Byin Nyu is a “Triptych Temple” made up of three doors, with the door in the middle larger and wider than the twin doors flanking it.

That Byin Nyu Temple has the shape of a cross, which seems to symbolize the crossing of duality or the joining together of opposing forces, which is the meaning of the Triptych. There are two primary storeys, and there is a large seated Buddha image located on the second storey.

The Triptych pattern encoded into this pyramidal Buddhist temple likely signifies the Middle Way doctrine of the Buddha. After all, the goal of the “coincidentia oppositorum” or “balancing duality” is awakening—the very same idea symbolized by the golden Buddha statue depicted inside That Byin Nyu Temple, near the structure´s apex:

Large Buddha image in gold seated on a throne atop That Byin Nyu Temple.

We “moderns” see gold as symbolizing material wealth; but in ancient cultures and religious traditions, like Buddhism, gold had deep spiritual significance. It symbolized spiritual awakening. Many “laughing Buddha” statues were painted gold or made of solid gold as symbols of happiness and good health. A great example is the famous “Golden Buddha” of Wat Traimit Temple in Thailand, which weighs more than five tons. Gold represented enlightenment via the Middle Way.

This concept of “spiritual awakening” is visible at the next temple we´ll look, the Gawdaw Palin Temple.

 

# 6) Gawdaw Palin Temple

As with the first five temples in this article, the Gawdaw Palin Temple is shaped like a step pyramid. Construction of this pagoda is dated to the early 1200s, and since that time the temple has been used for meditation, devotional worship of the Buddha, and other Buddhist rituals. It suffered damage during a massive earthquake in 1975 earthquake and was reconstructed in the following years.

Known as the second tallest temple in Bagan, Gawdaw Palin is two storeys tall, and consists of three lower terraces and four upper terraces. The upper courses depict a three-door Triptych entry, very much like the Sulamani Temple and the That Byin Nyu Temple. The golden Buddha statues inside leave little doubt that this pyramidal temple´s Triptych entrance signifies the Buddhist concept of awakening.

The final temple we´ll look at is the most famous of them all, Ananda Temple.

 

# 7) Ananda Temple

Said to have been built around 1105 by King Kyanzittha, the perfectly proportioned Ananda Temple is described as the finest, largest, best preserved, and most revered of all Bagan´s temples. After suffering damage in the 1975 earthquake, it was carefully restored to its former glory.

“The most important temple is the Ananda Temple (1105), built as an ascending pyramid topped by a spire. Constructed of brick covered by white stucco, it rises six terraces above its base. Pagodas and other structures are built into it, giving it mass and strength. It is named for the Buddha´s personal attendant and cousin.”

Norbert C. Brockman, Encyclopedia of Sacred Places

The Buddhist temple houses four standing Buddhas, each one facing the cardinal direction of East, North, West and South.

“The four standing Buddhas (pictured) are adorned with gold leaf and each Buddha image faces a direction, from north to south, stated to represent attainment of a state of nirvana…”

—Wikipedia

If the “attainment of Nirvana” is the ultimate meaning of the pyramidal temples of Myanmar, then could it also be the meaning and purpose of other more ancient pyramids around the world?

Is this same Buddhist concept of “awakening” also the meaning of all the world´s pyramids?

Were Myanmar´s temples designed to look like ancient pyramids to express this metaphysical truth?

Was there a prehistoric pyramid tradition that once flourished in Myanmar? And could Myanmar´s pyramids be “shrouds” and “memorials” covering more ancient pyramids?

You can find more information on pyramid symbolism and meaning in my books Written in Stone and The Missing Link:

Richard Cassaro’s new book, The Missing Link, explores the meaning, transformations and propagation of the ancient world’s most important religious icon. His first book, Written in Stone, is a wide-ranging exploration of hitherto-unknown connections among Freemasons, medieval cathedral builders and the creators of important ancient monuments, in support of his theory that a spiritually advanced mother culture, lost to history, is behind many of the world’s architectural and artistic traditions.

Prior to the publication of Written in Stone, Cassaro enjoyed a successful career as a U.S. correspondent, professional journalist, and photo researcher for Rizzoli Publications, one of the world’s leading media organizations. Cassaro, who is a graduate of Pace University in New York City, has examined first-hand the ancient ruins and mystical traditions of Egypt, Mexico, Greece, Italy, Sicily, France, England, India, Peru and Spain; he has lectured on his theories to great acclaim in the United States, Egypt, Italy, Spain and Peru.Richard Cassaro © Copyright, All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to www.RichardCassaro.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Richard Cassaro © Copyright, All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to www.RichardCassaro.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Amphibious Gods

Wells, springs, lakes, and oceans have been considered sacred since the earliest days of mankind. Many of these water sources have been associated with gods, goddesses, spirits and demons. Throughout history, many mystical beings have been revered. Today, we look at a few of them.

Amphitrite
To the ancient Greeks, Amphitrite was a goddess of the sea. Over time, she became merely a consort of Poseidon. To the Romans, she was Salacia, consort of Neptune. Amphitrite, in addition to birthing dolphins and seals, also had a son and daughter father by Poseidon.

Cybele
Cybele is an ancient Phrygian goddess, at least 5000 years older than the Egyptian and Sumerian goddesses. Worshiped in Rome as the “Magna Mater”, or Great Mother, this maternal and queenly Goddess’ influence can still be seen in the worship of Mary in the Catholic faith. She is a goddess of fertility, of the earth and of animals. She can be found in caverns and mountains and all Earth’s wild places.

Her son, Attis, died after castrating himself. When his mother resurrected him, she became an important deity to the ancients in matters of life, death, and rebirth.

Dagon
This Philistine god represented fertility, nature, and reproduction. From the waist up, he is a man, strong and virile; below the waist he is a fish.

Dagon was also a god of grain and agriculture, worshiped by many cultures. He was a major god of the Semites, the Amorites, and the Philistines. Traces of his name have been found in the writings of ancient Hebrews, Akkadians, and other cultures.

Fu Xi or Fu Hsi
The ancient Chinese believe that their civilization was founded by Fuxi, an androgynous God with the head of a man in detail the fish. Traditionally, he was born in 3322 B.C. His gifts to society include the arts of writing, trapping, and fishing. Chinese mythology credits him as the first of the Mystical Sovereigns of ancient China.

Fu Xi and his sister were the only survivors of a great flood near the Yellow River. In legend, he and his sister procreated, creating the human race. He became more popular once ancient Chinese society became patriarchal.

Fu Xi is credited with developing the I Ching; other gifts to mankind include the secrets of cooking, net fishing, and Iran weapons.

Glaucus
Glaucus was a Greek god of the sea, though the name has been given to several different figures. According to legend, Glaucus was a fisherman. The magical herb he found brought fish back to life, but turned him into a half man, half fish, forced to live in this sea forever. He was well received by the gods of the sea, who taught him the art of prophecy.

Glaucus’ love for the beautiful nymph, Scylla, led him to seek the help of a witch, Circe. By refusing to return the witch’s love, he condemned Scylla to a terrible fate – she was transformed by Circe into a ravening monster with six heads and 12 feet.

It is said that Glaucus helped Menelaus to return home; he also helped the Argonauts. He is credited with rescuing sailors from storms.

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The Akashic Records

Akashic is a Sanskrit word that means sky or ether. The Akashic records referred to a collection of knowledge written in the ether, that is, on a non-physical plane of existence. They have been around since the beginning of time, encoding all phenomenal and transcendental knowledge.

History of Akashic records
It is believed that the Indians, Greeks, Christians, Egyptians, and many other civilized nations would tap into the Akashic records seeking wisdom. Nostradamus himself claimed to have used these records.

It is believed that the full history of mankind is encoded in these records. Every living creature contributes to the records, and every creature can access them through various techniques, including meditation and prayer.

When a person accesses the Akashic records, he or she will perceive both the events and the responses to those events – a multimedia cinematic treat. The Akashic records can also help tell the future, although the responses rely heavily on probability, based on previous behavior.

Claims and Skepticism
Believers in the Akashic records claim that the Akashic was widely used; however, historical documentation has no evidence of this.

Specific accounts of the Akashic records
In the awesome feat and New Age discussions, the Akashic records are seen as the records of all knowledge held in the universe, including human experience.

Edgar Cayce believed that upon death, each person will access their Akashic record. This is said to help them discover what they have or have not done in life, karmically speaking.

Others believe that there are many repositories of wisdom, like the Akashic library, scattered throughout the universe. Each of these repositories is said to exist on a different plane of existence.

The Akashic records are also referred to as the Memory of Nature. It is believed to have recorded events from the beginning of creation to the present day. These records may be accessed by spirits and the spiritually enlightened.

The Law of One
In The Law of One, Book 1, Edgar Cayce is asked how he receives his information. The answer received from “Ra”, Edgar’s spirit guide, tells us that he received his information from the All of Records, or the Akashic record.

In seeking wisdom, people have relied on prayer, visualization, meditation, and other methods. In truth, all these methods can help you access the Akashic record, and to develop wisdom and compassion for all living creatures.

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Pharaoh Akhenaten

The Heretic King, Akhenaten, ruled Egypt during a time of incredible prosperity. He lived with his family in Thebes, a religious center and city of Amun. At a time when there were hundreds of gods, religion was big business. Thousands of priests worked tirelessly, serving their gods.

Akhenaton’s parents, Amenhotep III and Queen Tiy, had six children. However, Akhenaton seems to be an outcast. Scientists now believe that he suffered from a disease called Marfan Syndrome, a genetic defect shared with Abraham Lincoln. While he had no portraits, no mention on monuments, his mother still seems to favor him greatly.

Akhenaton succeeded his father to the throne in 1352 B.C., in a rule that lasted 16 years. While he is blamed for the loss of prosperity and decline in civilization in Egypt, evidence suggests that this had been an ongoing problem, one that came to a head during Akhenaton’s reign.

Ancient Egyptians had a pantheon of gods to choose from, led by Amun. Akhenaton’s claim to fame is his religious reforms. Under his rule, Egypt became a monotheistic society, ruled by one God, Aten. This sun god was now the only God.

Although Thebes had been a religious center for generations, Akhenaton developed a new religious center at Karnak. Obviously, religious differences between the two groups caused strain. Akhenaton broke with tradition, closing temples, destroying statues, desecrating worship sites, and taking the revenues given to the God Amun. The fallout from these actions would affect Egyptian civilization for many years.

Akhenaton married the famous Queen Nefertiti, believed to be the most beautiful woman in the world. Carved stela show the happy couple, surrounded by children, worshiping the sun disk, Aten. In a rare show of affection, they are shown playing with their children.

Pharaoh Akhenaton was single-handedly responsible for changing thousands of years of art tradition. Images of the other gods were now replaced by the one true image of Aten, the desk of the sun. When the Pharaoh built his monuments, he did not idealize his form; in fact, sculptures show him with a large head, wide hips, and elongated fingers and toes.

In the end, Akhenaton’s dedication to monotheism could not last. He remained isolated in his new Kingdom, neglecting foreign policy and the bitter complaints of his citizens. After his death in 1332 B.C., Egypt returned to its polytheistic roots.

Pharaoh Akenaton, wife Nefertiti, and their children
The Bust of King Akenaton
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Carl Jung

Carl Gustav Jung was an influential figure in early psychoanalysis, one whose influence extends into current times. His theories on the unconscious mind, the “psyche”, and Jungian archetypes form the basis for much study. However, it is his theories on the archetype that have garnered the most attention.

Carl Jung archetypes are not easy to understand, yet are as fundamental to psychoanalysis as gravity is to physics. An archetype can be thought of as a symbol, an idealized model representing a person, idea, or object, which is then emulated. Personality archetypes are often stereotypical, and may epitomize a person, their personality or behavior. “Mother figure” is an example of such an archetype.

Jung believed that there was a difference between our individual psychology and the collective psychology of the universe. Not only did we each have our own personal unconscious, we were also able to tap into the collective unconscious for wisdom. He stressed the importance of studying archetypes, or symbols, in dreams, art, religion, mythology, and philosophy as a way to understand the psyche. By understanding the psyche, it was possible to understand why humans acted as they did.

Carl Gustav Jung placed a strong emphasis on uniting spirituality and everyday life. A trip to India in 1938 led to a fascination with Eastern religions and philosophy, which had a profound effect on his ideology. Through these experiences, he gained an appreciation of the unconscious. He began to stress the integration of spirituality and everyday life.

Jung firmly believed that there was more to life than the pursuit of material things. Our job, as he saw it, was to discover our true talents so that we could fulfill our potential. Jung saw this transformative journey in all religions, based on his study of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Gnosticism, Taoism, and many others. As we walk to meet the Divine, we go forth to meet ourselves.

In order in order to begin this journey, it is essential to understand the symbolic power of archetypes. Meditation, doodling, viewing art, even auditory stimuli can help us to access the collective unconscious, that Akashic records, and unlock valuable clues to the meanings of our lives. As with all symbols, some are easier to understand than others.

As many teachers before him, Carl Gustav Jung believed that we must integrate all aspects of our life – the spiritual and the mundane. Through careful study, we could identify our talents and use them for the greater good of mankind.

1909 Photo in front of Clark University. Front Row, L-R: Sigmund Freud, Granville Stanley Hall, Carl Gustav Jung. Back Row: Abraham Brill, Ernest Jones, Sandor Ferenczi. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
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Aliens and Extraterrestrials

Aliens are life forms, usually intelligent, that do not come from Earth. Many ancient civilizations believed in extraterrestrial life, including the Syrians, Egyptians, Chinese, Sumerians, and Babylonians. So, do aliens exist? Are there extraterrestrials walking among us?

Over the centuries, mankind discovered not one but many solar systems, with millions and billions of planets. As more planets were discovered, the question arose. Are we alone in the universe? Or has life begun elsewhere, progressed beyond simple single cell organisms to develop into complex life forms, capable of thought.

At first, it was believed that extraterrestrials could live on the moon, or perhaps Venus or Mars. Since then, the moon has been ruled out; Venus and Mars show no signs of life. That has not stopped scientists from attempting contact.

Science has offered mixed results to the question of alien existence. While scientists have been unable to contact aliens, it is entirely reasonable to expect that aliens will have technology that is, well, alien. Our reliance on radio waves may seem painfully primitive to other species.

Improved equipment, along with information gleaned from space probes, allows scientists to determine “habitability criteria” for other worlds. This has confirmed the existence of other habitable planets. Aliens, however, remain elusive.

While science has been unable to confirm the existence of aliens, anecdotal evidence abounds. UFOs, or flying saucers, have been reported over many areas. Presumably piloted by aliens, these flying craft have caused confusion and fear. Many people claim to have been abducted by aliens, studied like common lab rats before being returned to their home. Others report the experience has been pleasant, soothing, and even transcendental.

There are many accounts of aliens visiting the earth throughout history. Approximately 12,000 years ago, according to legend, the “Dropa” (dwarf-like extra-terrestrials) landed near the Chinese Tibetan border. Since that early account, civilizations across the globe have reported flying disks and alien visitors.

Those who study aliens have found many different races, including Grays, Reptilians, and Nordics. Each race are said to have different origins and different motivations for visiting Earth. The four-foot tall Grays are most common in North America; Europeans are more likely to be visited by Nordic aliens — 12 feet tall, statuesque, and very attractive.

Scientists often disregard reports of aliens, believing these reports are exaggerated by those seeking fame and fortune. However, many intelligent and stable people have reported alien abductions. Victims who have undergone psychological counseling do not appear to be lying or crazy. In fact, many influential people claim to have had contact with aliens.

So do aliens exist? Perhaps we should look to the sky for answers. Perhaps the strongest argument for the existence of intelligent life elsewhere is the fact that they haven’t tried to make contact with us.

Purported UFO – photo taken by CIA employee. Courtesy Wikipedia.
The elusive Grey, courtesy Wikipedia.
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