‘Never Trump’ national-security Republicans fear they have been blacklisted-1/17I don’t have a problem with this. That Bush team should have hammered Afghanistan and NW Pakistan, instead they made all the wrong choices in the Mideast, which gave us Obama, Obamacare, racial tension, The Church of Global Warming, over-regulation; the list goes on. The Bush administration knew about the Clinton/Dodd/Barney mortgage debacle that eventually came to fruition in 2008. Bush even mentioned it once. They should have focused on that instead, and healthcare. They should have addressed the problems of costs at Universities and the huge debt doctors incur there which is passed on to us. TORT Reform is an absolute must! The cost of MRI’s, CT scan’s, beds etc. Unions and pensions at Hospitals. And competition, like ads, who gives the best rates at what hospitals. And finally, it used to be people just paid the doctor directly. Having a middleman (insurance companies) screwed up everything. I don’t know the answer to that one. And why do we only hear about competition across state lines from Republicans. Trump wants to bring down drug costs, so good for him.
I don’t know who the good ones are from those Bush days. So maybe the baby needs to get thrown out with the bathwater. Give somebody else a change to serve. Most of them were with Bush and the Iraq debacle. I don't want any of them around. I don't like hearing from Karl Rove on Fox, Cheney and even Dana Perino on the Five. As Tucker Carlson said last night, "Press Secretary's are paid liars. I think he had the most recent ones in mind. Editor.
Richard Nolle's 2017 Forecast Highlights-1/8, The Skinny: AUG 31, 2006 Jupiter-Saturn-Neptune T-Square If time is a river, then 2017 is a wide, deep stretch; coursing along its predetermined path with steadily increasing momentum. No sudden bends, no white water . . . but a sense of inevitability that draws us slowly onward, day by day. We can tell it’s taking us along in the flow, but we can’t see yet where we’re going. The details may be uncertain in some respects, but the over-all course of history is part of a pattern that reveals some of what lies ahead. That’s because we’ve been here before. Ever since the Great Jupiter-Saturn-Neptune T-Square of 2006 (in Scorpio, Leo and Aquarius respectively) – the first appearance of this particular tripartite configuration since the year 536 CE - we’ve been living through a sequence of longer term celestial formations not seen since the time of the so-called Dark Ages. Another in this sequence emerges as one of the signature sky patterns of 2016-2017: the Jupiter-Uranus opposition.
Aside from the longer-term outer planet configurations just mentioned, there are quite a few shorter term but still quite dramatic alignments coming up in 2017. In fact, when it comes to headlines (as opposed to history), things like planetary Max Cycles, SuperMoons and eclipses tend to grab more of the spotlight than the longer term, deeper rooted sky cycles. And 2017 has a good crop of these. There are, for example, two planetary Max Cycles; the common Mercury Max (four this year), and the rarer Venus Max (a sign of economic expansion). There are also four SuperMoons: three in the stealth (new moon) category, and one of the better known full moon type. Add in four eclipses – two solar and two lunar – and meld it all together with celestial patterns that appear in interlocking combinations sporadically through the year, and you get a year of destiny – not calamity, not ecstasy, not yet.
In brief, 2017 is a story of economic boom and bust (mostly the former, most of the year), of class warfare and religious/ideological conflict, proxy wars (openers for the main event still to come) and civil wars (most of them proxy wars as well); plus remarkable scientific/technological breakthroughs that stretch far beyond labs and ivory towers to reach right into the social, cultural and political fabric of our lives. And the signature underlying theme – admittedly melded into a lot of tributary currents – is the 2016-2017 Jupiter-Uranus opposition, which holds pride of place this year in the ongoing unfoldment of the Justinian’s T-Square redux and the oncoming Air Trigonalis – the historic change of element of the Great Chronocrator. No one alive has seen anything like this! ... January:Venus Max and times of relative plenty seem to happen together, all else being equal. That’s good news, since the newest Venus Max cycle – the first since October of 2015 – takes effect on January 12, 2017 and continues until June 3 this year. Astronomically speaking, Venus Max is akin to a SuperMoon, in one important regard: it coincides with the close approach of Venus to the Earth, just as a SuperMoon is the close approach of the Moon to Earth. By the same token, Venus is at its biggest and brightest in the skies of our home planet during the Venus Max cycle; just as a full moon SuperMoon is noticeably bigger and brighter than usual. A bigger, brighter, closer Venus is a good thing, by and large. (See the full version of my 2017 World Forecast Highlights for the whole story on Venus Max.) I expect Venus Max to usher in a period of relative prosperity, extending by and large into mid-year. Returns on investment will generally improve, through rising equities and interest rates. For the investor class, this makes for rising animal spirits; which tends to feedback on itself to the benefit of the financial markets. I suspect there’s a catch to this boomlet; namely that it’s based on unrealistic expectations. Venus is conjunct Neptune as this Max cycle begins, after all. ...
What Government 'Help' Looks Like on the Front Lines-1/5 American Thinker, By Andrew Solomon -- Several times each year, our small California company that fluctuates between 100 to 110 employees is besieged by bureaucratic aliens. They show up unannounced, flash us their badges after beaming down from their mother ship, and then expect us to give them our immediate, unadulterated attention as if our lives revolved around them. This year alone we have had to entertain CAL-OSHA, the Dept. of Weights and Measures, the Board of Equalization, various sheriffs and law enforcement agents, and mandatory worker's comp auditors. Then there are mandatory reports that come unsolicited in the mail and must be completed, typically in 15 to 30 days; the Multiple Worksite Report every quarter; DOL time clock punch record audits; UI audits; nosy creditors and student loan repos; garnishments; the Form 5500 for the DOL; top-heavy testing for 401K; and the more uncommon but regularly occurring U.S. Census. I'm just getting started.
We haven't even broached the complexity required for a corporate tax return. We are gearing up for that one, as we do every year, using the long four-month runway to compile all the usual paperwork requested by our accountant, who relies on the ornate nature of this government insanity to retain his own sense of relevance. I don't want to travel down this muddy yet familiar road of IRS humiliation. Over the last two decades, it has anesthetized my ability to even give a damn anymore. I'm numb. So instead of going down that thrilling road, let's discuss the new one, as boring as all this other hellishness is, and this new one is particularly vile. Last year was the first year of threatening employers with penalties, fines, and fees (also known as taxes, notwithstanding the Supreme Court), which caused us to scramble around like female leads in horror movies dragging their bodies along the ground, trying to avoid the hatchet man. We survived, kind of, because of phased in forbearance allowing us to dodge a bullet, but we still lost a lot of blood in the form of lost time. This year was even worse. Most small businesses use third-party payroll software to track the ACA, as opposed to big companies that can afford custom in-house software. As the law has always been mutating due to the fluctuating illegal whims of the D.C. junta, the confused software has always been forced to second-guess these ongoing revisions. It's as if Freud himself vomited up the mucus-filled egos of these morally sick politicians, who think we were made to revolve around them as they laugh at everyone not in their Democratic Party country club.
In the last three weeks alone, two of my highest compensated employees spent their time going over every 1095C before it goes into paper form and is mailed out. For each employee, there are three stacks of cells for every month, 36 boxes that must be filled in correctly, using over a dozen different codes. I'm not even in my business anymore. I work for the government, against my will, along with two of my employees. The three of us cannot afford to make one mistake in any of the cells for all 100 employees. Thirty-six hundred codes must be checked and verified before certification. That requires us to go over our electronic paperwork and refer back to it. These papers, along with our lovely new 1094, which goes directly to the IRS, form the leash around both our necks as well as the necks of our employees, because they will be liable too for fines based on the correct information we provide to them personally. It is a hideous amount of time suck. And that is just the end-of-year 1095s. I haven't gotten into other aspects of this perverse law, such as the affordability as well as the full- versus part-time ongoing monitoring of all staff that keeps us spastically hyper-vigilant, not to mention exhausted from trying to avoid fines by having constant discussions with employees nearing 30 hours. I'm dating myself here, but it's like Logan's Run. If you hit 30, you die. Now we have higher churn, less loyalty among staff, less full time, poorer training and less job satisfaction, and all for what? To pretend that Obama was some great man when he's been the exact opposite? This is a man who never intended to appreciate, or pretend to, even for a minute, the effect this perverse control had over other lives. He just flat-out ignored it, and caused bona fide suffering as well as lost productivity. He doesn't have a legacy worth defending. Thankfully, we are done. We are tired. Our business could not continue this charade. And while its difficult still, as California has uniquely chosen to signal off the White House with a non-staggered pincer formation (minimum wages to $15, paid sick leave mandates, etc.), at least Obamacare can die. Maybe California will choose to be just as ideologically reactionary as Obama's easily bruised, frangible nature and cram down a state Romneycare onto the entire coast, which would not be entirely surprising, as it would be a spiteful thumb in Trump's eye. And it would mean we would have to finally vacate the state once and for all. ...
Saint Thecla monastery in Ma’loula. Thecla was a follower of Paul who was entombed in a cave, and the subject of many larger-than-life tales of her ascetic devotion.(Photo: Bernard Gagnon/WikiCommons)
The Rebel Virgins and Desert Mothers Who Have Been Written Out of Christianity's Early History-12/29 Atlas Obscura, by Alex Mar -- I. From Silk Robes to Hairshirts -- When Jerome, the Catholic priest and scholar, arrived in Rome in the middle of the fourth century, he discovered a circle of noblewomen living in elaborate homes on the Aventine Hill who were nothing like their neighbors. They’d given up their silk clothes and pearl earrings, the hairstyles and rouge and musk, even bathing, as signs of vanity, and were now wearing coarse robes made of goat’s hair. They stayed almost entirely in their houses, fasting and praying, discussing Scripture; in secret, they might visit a nearby basilica or martyr’s tomb. They never allowed themselves to rest on couches or cushions of any kind, and at night they slept on thin mats on the floor—though they hardly slept, spending those hours, instead, crying and praying. Most importantly, these women—some of them widows, some only recently of marrying age, all converts to Christianity—had each taken a vow of chastity. Their ringleader was Marcella, a famous beauty, now a widow, who lived with her mother. No one was sure where she’d gotten the idea for this improvised monastic network, but when her husband died only months after her marriage, Marcella embraced a life that few of her class would ever understand. Many of the female leaders of Christianity—in the Catholic Church in particular, with its 1.25 billion followers around the world—are barred from being fully ordained and are closely overseen by men. But this was not always the case. Scores of early Christian women—like Marcella, the desert-dwelling Susan, or the scholars Melania and Paula—embraced radical lives, helping the young religion fan out across the Roman Empire and beyond. From the beginning, the followers of Jesus of Nazareth comprised a movement that was extreme, countercultural—a revolution that embraced both men and women, even social outcasts and slaves. In those first centuries, while the religion was still defining itself as an institution, many devout women flouted cultural convention and chose Jesus himself—not bishops and bureaucrats—as their personal guide. These women had permission to live beyond their gender as the leaders and patrons of local congregations, as preachers and ecstatic prophets and tough ascetics. They defied Roman family laws and rejected their sexuality. They walked the streets, spreading the gospel. They taught themselves Hebrew, analyzed Scripture, corresponded with other Christian leaders. They were aristocrats who seized control of their money and funneled it into the movement, building monasteries and helping prisoners and the poor. Christianity took shape with the support of these female leaders and mystics and activists. But what we have left of them now are only the remembrances of a handful of men. ...
At 19 Hill Street, look up to see this six-pointed star, a Masonic symbol (Credit: Amanda Ruggeri)
The Lost History of the Freemasons-12/14 BBC, By Amanda Ruggeri -- Conspiracy theories abound about the Freemasons. But Scotland’s true Masonic history, while forgotten by many for centuries, remains hidden in plain sight. -- With its cobblestone paving and Georgian façades, tranquil Hill Street is a haven in Edinburgh’s busy New Town. Compared to the Scottish capital’s looming castle or eerie closes, it doesn’t seem like a street with a secret. Walk slowly, though, and you might notice something odd. Written in gold gilt above a door framed by two baby-blue columns are the words, “The Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary’s Chapel) No 1”. Further up the wall, carved into the sandstone, is a six-pointed star detailed with what seem – at least to non-initiates – like strange symbols and numbers. Located at number 19 Hill Street, Mary’s Chapel isn’t a place of worship. It’s a Masonic lodge. And, dating back to at least 1599, it’s the oldest Masonic lodge still in existence anywhere in the world. That might come as a surprise to some people. Ask most enthusiasts when modern Freemasonry began, and they’d point to a much later date: 1717, the year of the foundation of what would become known as the Grand Lodge of England. But in many ways, Freemasonry as we know it today is as Scottish as haggis or Harris tweed. From the Middle Ages, associations of stonemasons existed in both England and Scotland. It was in Scotland, though, that the first evidence appears of associations – or lodges – being regularly used. By the late 1500s, there were at least 13 established lodges across Scotland, from Edinburgh to Perth. But it wasn’t until the turn of the 16th Century that those medieval guilds gained an institutional structure – the point which many consider to be the birth of modern Freemasonry.
Take, for example, the earliest meeting records, usually considered to be the best evidence of a lodge having any real organisation. The oldest minutes in the world, which date to January 1599, is from Lodge Aitchison’s Haven in East Lothian, Scotland, which closed in 1852. Just six months later, in July 1599, the lodge of Mary’s Chapel in Edinburgh started to keep minutes, too. As far as we can tell, there are no administrative records from England dating from this time. “This is, really, when things begin,” said Robert Cooper, curator of the Grand Lodge of Scotland and author of the book Cracking the Freemason’s Code. “[Lodges] were a fixed feature of the country. And what is more, we now know it was a national network. So Edinburgh began it, if you like.” ...
The Unheroic Heart-12/16 Washington FreeBeacon, Essay: Gary Saul Morson on why Russian literature matters today -- BY: Aaron MacLean -- Among the many quirks of the small college where I was an undergraduate was that it required all students to read, in the summer before senior year, War and Peace. Far from being a dull project, for me the novel was a source of hypnotic delights: The competing role models of the dark, heroic Andrei and his friend, the searching, kindly Pierre; the attractive figure of Natasha—what now most holds me back from rereading the thing is the fear that, in my adulthood, I can no longer be charmed by her—not to mention the spectacle of these weirdly real souls caught up in all that war, in Great Events.
Never mind that the closest I came to an act of bravery was getting up before 10 a.m. and managing not to trip over the empties on my way to class. I decided that Andrei—tall, tragic, and irresistible to the ladies—was my kind of guy. Like preferring Achilles to Odysseus, or James Bond to George Smiley, this was a lifestyle choice. I expect a lot of young men who read the novel have a similar reaction, though I don’t know how many had a professor like mine, who delicately pointed out how my preference revealed that I was completely missing Tolstoy’s point. The ambitious Andreis of the world are very often incapable of happiness, he told me. It’s the bumbling Pierres who, despite appearances, really live.
I relate this story not because my moral education is all that interesting, but to make the more general point that a novel—a great novel, at least—really can be a source for such an education. That’s a commonplace enough assertion in some circles, though not, sadly, in most college literature departments today. At least it would be supported by Gary Saul Morson, who has somehow not only survived but flourished as a professor of Russian literature, first at the University of Pennsylvania and today at Northwestern, and who came to Washington this week to deliver a lecture at the Heritage Foundation called “Pray for Chekhov: Or, What Russian Literature Can Teach Conservatives.” (It was quite excellent, and you can watch it here.) Morson would go much further, in fact. Western intellectuals, in his view, increasingly resemble the pre-Revolutionary Russian intelligentsia. Considering the totalitarianism that resulted when these men and women finally took power, this is not a reassuring observation. Morson warns: Let me lay my cards on the table. To the extent that a group of intellectuals comes to resemble an intelligentsia, to that extent is totalitarianism on the horizon—should that group gain power. That, not Swedish style social democracy, is what I see happening here. I foresee in years rather than decades first a Putin style managed democracy, and soon after a Stalinist state, or rather one beyond Stalinism since Stalin did not have access to today’s monitoring technology.
The old intelligentsia—united, like today, by faith in materialism, socialism, and the power of science to order human affairs—found its enemy in literature, and in particular in the great realist novelists. Morson quoted the critic Mikhail Gershenzon’s line that “The surest gauge of the greatness of a Russian writer is the extent of his hatred of the intelligentsia,” and indeed the novelists generally took a dim view of their politicized intellectual contemporaries. At least one, Dostoyevsky, himself once a member of the intelligentsia, accurately predicted the logic of the twentieth century’s coming totalitarianism—for example, in the reasoning of Crime and Punishment‘s Raskolnikov, who opportunistically shifts between utilitarianism and relativism to justify his crime. The real divide between the intelligentsia and the novelists was that the former were invested in all-encompassing ideologies of History and human action, while the latter, as documentarians of the complexity of man’s consciousness and the radical contingency of the actions of men in groups—of “history”—found ideology ridiculous. The novelists, through their very method, were “making a polemical point,” according to Morson. “The intelligensia denied that people were complex at all. Human complexity was an idea hindering radical action.” The realists stood in their way. This was literature that stood not so much in opposition to philosophy, but offered itself as a replacement to philosophy—or at least, to modern philosophy, and to the social sciences. It was humanizing, pluralistic, and implied that one’s politics ought to follow from a sense of modesty regarding what man can know, and of what he can achieve. It was, in this sense, conservative. Some of the realists—most prominently Tolstoy and Chekhov—also advanced an ethics that paired nicely with this politics: life was to be found in the unheroic moments between crises, and bourgeois concerns like treating your family well and paying your debts were tied to happiness. I am not sure that Morson is right that we are on the path to totalitarianism. As he himself points out, the Russian radicals of the nineteenth century were revolutionists. Our radicals, bless them, seem too invested in bourgeois concerns like tenure to follow their own project to its logical ends. But his eloquent case for literature, and in particular for the realists, is of great value. It also highlights an enduring problem for conservatives: How do you interest the young in the case for modesty and incrementalism? How do you warn them of the dangers of heroism? End Editor: I too read the great Russian novelists in college, especially Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. I purposely left one last Dostoevsky book unread: "Notes from the Underground." I haven't read it to this day. I can always look forward to reading one more Dostoevsky book. So this article and lecture above is dear to my heart. I wish I could have taken this course at Boston Univ. I would have dropped Howard Zinn's (whom Matt Damon has an inordinate love for) course called "Law and Justice in America" for this one. But alas, I didn’t have that choice but was caught up in some of the intelligentsia's lies that Tolstoy and Dostoevsky warned about. No longer.
Moses and Joshua bowing before the Ark by James Tissot (circa 1900)
THE TREASURE OF SOLOMON IN ISTANBUL-12/9 By ANDREW GOUGH, November 2016 -- It was the winter of 537 CE. The Byzantine kingdom battled abroad, unrest festered at home, the sun vanished from the sky triggering famine and desperation around the globe, and history’s first bubonic plague was about to decimate Constantinople. Justinian the Great (482–565 CE), the Byzantine Emperor of Constantinople, was led from his Royal Palace to Hagia Sophia, which had been levelled to the ground a few years earlier. It would reopen on 27 December and Justinian would be permitted to enter the magnificent house of God for the first time in months. The Emperor must have been filled with anticipation, if not apprehension, for he had watched the construction of the church from the balcony of his palace since it had been destroyed in a riot that he, in part, had caused. He entered and, like all of us who have visited this astonishing church, Justinian was stunned and awed by what he saw. ‘Solomon, I have outdone thee,’ he exclaimed, and he could not have chosen his words with more purpose.
Justinian’s words, as recounted by Procopius of Caesarea (500–554 CE), the principle historian of the sixth century, have featured in countless treatments on Byzantine history. However, what scholars have neglected to consider is that Justinian’s awe, as exemplified by his reference to Solomon (circa 970 to 931 BCE – the legendary King of Israel, whose celebrated temple in Jerusalem was constructed to house the Ark of the Covenant, amongst other treasures, almost fifteen hundred years earlier) was due to the fact that Justinian had not only built a greater temple, but he was now in possession of Solomon’s lost treasure. Not only does history confirm that the greatest religious relics of the ancient world were last seen in Constantinople, I believe there is evidence to suggest they remain there, in Istanbul, and may even be hidden in plain sight.
The Ark of the Covenant -- The Ark of the Covenant is perhaps the most coveted religious relic from antiquity, and the most famous of Solomon’s treasures. However, as the discovery of the Ark of the Covenant would create political pressures to construct the Third Temple in Jerusalem to house it, and given that the scriptures suggest that the creation of the Third Temple would herald the apocalypse, it is possible that the whereabouts of the Ark of the Covenant is known, but suppressed, for this reason. After all, nobody wants to usher in the end of the world, now do they? If the Ark of the Covenant were sitting in a museum display window or in a cathedral alcove, would we recognise it? We should, for what we have been told about its appearance is surprisingly explicit. I speak of the Book of Exodus, where we learn that it was a gold-covered wooden chest constructed by Moses, based on detailed instructions from ‘the Lord’ that read like an ancient DIY instruction manual. In addition to the Ark of the Covenant, the instructions also included the specifications for the creation of the Menorah lamp stand, as well as the Tabernacle, a stylised tent that concealed the Ark while the Israelites were encamped at the foot of Mount Sinai.
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A Secret About Purgatory-12/14 Spirit Daily, ... "The souls in purgatory are enveloped, as it were, in a thick shroud into which they have wound themselves while living here on earth," says an amazing revelation (in a booklet called Secrets of Purgatory). "It is the garment of their own egoism. Their main care in this life was themselves, just as the world's highest ideal is self-glorification and honor. It is this which fashions that coarse garment through which the Light of God can hardly penetrate. Many souls on earth do not seriously ask themselves the question: 'Does my way of living please God?' "Instead they think without anxiety that their life is upright and most praiseworthy, but they are mistaken. Indeed, there are even people who gladly go to church, who pray and perform works of mercy -- but a thin hard crust forms around their souls. They think that everything they undertake is very pleasing to God. But they never truly seek God's wishes. They perform all their actions without love, without holy fear of God. They dull their conscience through the fulfillment of external duties only. "There are also souls in purgatory who had great wisdom and learning in this life, who were famous, who did much good for their fellow men, who upheld all righteousness and justice. "However, they performed these actions because of ambitious motives. They were entirely permeated with the spirit of the world, living a selfish and independent life, while completely ignoring their Lord and Creator. These souls enter eternity with the least knowledge of God. On earth they were well-versed in everything; now they find themselves in the greatest quandaries. Formerly they were so highly educated and now they know nothing, for God reveals the truly great things only to the humble. "Such 'wise' men often have shallow souls. They frequently remain a long time in purgatory -- until they have been liberated from their ego, until they are aroused from their slumber, until they lose all concern for themselves. They lie, dead and lifeless, in their shroud until Light Everlasting finally penetrates through their windings to the interior. These are the most helpless souls, for they have so much of the world and self in them. "There are in purgatory wise men who stood in great repute among the worldlings, but now they find themselves greatly perplexed. "For there the smallest and poorest child is often wiser than they. Again this truth comes to light: God reveals great things to the humble." ...
Did the Templars Hide the Ark of the Covenant? Unraveling the Cove-Jones Cipher-11/22 Ancient Origins, by Graham Phillips -- On October 25th this year, the Vatican released a document that had remained in its secret archives for seven hundred years. It is the report of the official Church investigation into the activities of the Knights Templar in the early fourteenth century. In October 1306, these crusader knights were found guilty of idolatry, blasphemy, and heresy, and their order was dissolved. Some were burned at the stake, others imprisoned, and most were stripped of their assets. Astonishingly, this extraordinary document reveals how the Vatican enquiry found no evidence of wrongdoing. It was the Pope himself, Clement V, who directly intervened and declared the Templars heretics. The report appears to show that the pontiff was after their wealth, said to include priceless treasures once housed in the temple of Jerusalem and lost when the city was sacked in ancient times. But despite the arrest and torture of leading Templars, and the wholesale seizure of their lands, nothing of this fabled hoard was ever found. Most historians doubt the existence of the Templar treasure. However, my research suggests that one of the ancient relics they are said to have possessed may have been hidden in central Britain. Hallowed Relics In the heart of England, close to Stratford-upon-Avon, famous as the birthplace of William Shakespeare, is the village of Temple Herdewyke, named after the Templars who once resided there. After the Third Crusade in the late twelfth century, these Templars returned from the Holy Land to build a chapel to house certain holy relics they claimed to have found. Many crusaders came home with items purportedly associated with early Judaism and Christianity, and with characters and events in the Bible, but the Temple Herdewyke knights are said to have discovered the most famous biblical artifact of all: the Ark of the Covenant. At least, according to local legend!
They certainly claimed to have found what appear to have been considered hallowed relics at the time. Contemporary records of land and property holdings reveal that in 1192 the chapel housed certain objets sacrés – “sacred objects” – which the Templars had acquired in the Holy Land, including a large golden chest. This is exactly what the Ark of the Covenant was said to be.
The Guilt of the Gnostic Knights Templar: The Chinon Parchment
The Grail Cypher: A radical reassessment of Arthurian history
Mystery of the Knights Templars: Protectors or Treasure Hunters on a Secret Mission?
According to the Old Testament, it was a large golden box, made to contain the tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments, lost when the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem in 587 BC.
Although the Templars were rounded up in 1306, some evaded capture. Six hundred years later, a British historian suggested that they managed to survive in secret at Temple Herdewyke until 1350, when they were wiped out by the Black Death. Jacob Cove-Jones, who lived in the area, not only believed they possessed the lost Ark, he also claimed to have discovered its secret hiding place. Having fallen out with fellow scholars for ridiculing his work, Cove-Jones refused to reveal his findings. He intended to carry out an excavation of his own, but sadly it never transpired. In 1906 he contracted tuberculosis and decided to take his secret to the grave. Well, almost! Knowing he had only a short time to live, the eccentric historian left behind a bizarre epitaph. He designed a stained-glass window that he commissioned to be made and installed in a new church that was being built close to his home in the village of Langley. Astonishingly, on his deathbed he announced that the window contained a series of clues to lead to where he was sure the Ark was hidden. Most dismissed him as a crank, while others who attempted to crack the code gave up without success. I personally remain to be convinced that this Victorian scholar really did know where the Ark was hidden or, for that matter, whether the Templars ever discovered the Ark at all. Nevertheless, Jacob Cove-Jones certainly seems to have believed it, and went to a great deal of trouble to leave his cryptic message. It was, I decided, likely that the window did hold clues to lead to something; if that was actually the lost Ark remains to be seen. It was certainly worth investigating this century-old Edwardian mystery.
Clues in the Epiphany Window
Completed in 1906, the year Cove Jones’s died, Langley chapel is one of the smallest churches in England, and the window in question is set into a side wall. Called the Epiphany Window, it depicts the three Wise Men visiting the baby Jesus on Epiphany, the twelfth night of Christmas between January 5 and 6. Matthew’s Gospel relates how three mystics from the East followed a miraculous star that led them to Bethlehem where Christ was born. According to Christian tradition, the Wise Men ultimately found Jesus when a rooster uncharacteristically crowed at midnight on top of the building where the child slept. The window scene shows the Wise Men holding their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, praising the baby held in his mother’s arms, while above them is the crowing rooster and the wondrous star. Strangely, the stained-glass window did not depict the Ark. Why the Nativity, I wondered? ... More >>>...
Occult Americans-11/22 Medium.com. by Mitch Horowitz, It’s Impossible to Separate Strangeness from American History?—?And That’s a Good Thing to Remember on Occult Day --
“People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history.”?—? Vice President Dan Quayle on the career of Russian occultist Grigori Rasputin
U.S. Senator James Shields loved a good fight. A former general, he was known to challenge rivals?—?including future president Abraham Lincoln?—?to duels. But at the start of a Washington spring day in 1854, Shields startled his Senate colleagues with a gesture that seemed bold, even for him. On April 17, the Illinois Democrat rose on the Senate floor to speak on behalf of one of the strangest petitions in American history. Signed by a reported 15,000 citizens, the document was, he acknowledged, of a “very singular and novel subject.” At this moment his colleagues began to lean forward in their chairs; the hum of conversation on the Senate floor fell silent. “The petitioners represent,” Shields announced, “that certain physical and mental phenomena of a mysterious import have become so prevalent in this country and Europe as to engross a large share of public attention.” Citing the neglected work of medieval alchemist Roger Bacon, occult philosopher Cornelius Agrippa, and Hermetic mathematician John Dee, Shields urged his colleagues to take seriously the request of his petitioners to fund a “scientific commission” to study the possibility of talking to the dead?—?perhaps, Shields offered, even “establishing a spiritual telegraph between the material and spiritual world.” In an era of séances and table-rapping, one senator guffawed that “it would be better to allow the petition to lie on the table.” “This is an important subject and should not be sneered away,” Shields protested as laughter began to ring from the chamber. Another colleague suggested that the petition be dispatched to the Committee on Foreign Relations. More laughter erupted. Shields, red-faced, agreed to let the proposal drop. But it was not the last time that Spiritualism had its day in the halls of Congress. In early 1871, the chamber invited the first woman to address a joint congressional committee. That winter day, it was a free-love advocate?—?and avowed trance medium?—?named Victoria Woodhull who took the floor (pictured left). Poised and handsome, Woodhull delivered a rousing brief in defense of women’s suffrage, which she later said had been dictated to her in a dream by a ghostly, tunic-wearing Greek elder?—?a spirit guardian who had guided all of her public utterances ever since she was a young girl. By the time of Woodhall’s appearance, Spiritualism could not be hooted down, even in the Senate. Its acolytes included Mary Todd Lincoln and a range of industrialists, congressmen, and figures from everyday life. The year following Woodhull’s speech, suffragists nominated her as the first female candidate for president. Well over a century later, however, the word “occult” seems like a stranger in American life. Today it is tempting to dismiss occultism as no more than the crazy auntie tucked away in the attic of America’s history. But that kind of dismissal would be a misreading of occultism’s role in America, and of America’s role in recent religious history. Indeed, the arcane philosophies grouped under the name of occultism represent an unheralded thought movement in America’s national life, one that not only placed horoscopes into nearly every daily newspaper, but that transformed a young nation into the launching pad for the revolutions in alternative spirituality that spanned the globe in the past century. This is a history to reclaim on Occult Day. ...
Francis Bacon at the age of 17 or 18
The Truth About The Freemasons-9/29 by Richard Allan Wagner
Hopefully you have come to this essay because you’re truly interested in the history and meaning of Freemasonry. If, however, you’re looking for another Masonic conspiracy theory, you’ve come to the wrong place. TRUE, this article is uniquely different from all of the rest… but I must warn you that it reveals truths and facts about Freemasonry that most Masons simply do not know. In fact, the information contained here is radically different from everything average, garden variety Masons are taught or understand. How can that be?
Well, let’s just say that the VAST MAJORITY of Masons are extremely (and blissfully) ignorant of their “Masonic Heritage”. You see, most Masons are in the “Fraternity” for the purpose of belonging to a “Good Ol Boys Social Club”, which is perfectly fine, but that’s basically it. Now understand, I’m not here to put Freemasonry down, after all, I’m a Mason. Actually, I’d like nothing more than to see Freemasonry receive a much needed jolt to its lethargic and virtually dormant mindset so as to awaken it from its current slumber. Also understand that just reading all of the books and online articles about Freemasonry will NEVER deliver a thorough understanding of it.
IF YOU’RE NOT A MASON, I guarantee you cannot possibly understand what it’s all about—YOU HAVE TO BE ONE IN ORDER TO GET THE COMPLETE PICTURE. However, if you’re not a Mason this essay will still provide crucial insight into the True meaning of Freemasonry. Having said all that, let’s get to it…
because what you’re about to learn (whether you’re a Mason or not) is THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT THE ORIGIN OF SPECULATIVE FREEMASONRY.
How and Where Did It All Begin? ...
A Guided Tour of Hell: A Graphic Memoir-11/16 by Samuel Bercholz, Illustrated by Pema Namdol Thaye -- Amazon Review: Take a trip through the realms of hell with a man whose temporary visitor’s pass gave him a horrifying—and enlightening—preview of its torments.
The Zoroastrian Texts Of Ancient Persia, Underground Cities & What They Reveal About Advanced Ancient Civilizations-11/25 Collective Evolution, by Graham Hancock -- Graham Hancock investigates the mysterious religious texts of the Zoroastrians of ancient Persia and the ‘underground cities’ of neighbouring Turkey. Both, he argues, are far older than is presently taught and date back to cataclysmic events near the end of the last Ice Age that destroyed, and all but wiped from human memory, an advanced civilization of prehistory. Below is an excerpt form his work, which you can find HERE. ( A link to his new book, “Magicians of the Gods”)You can also check out our Podcast with him here.
Exactly how old Zoroastrianism is has not yet been satisfactorily established by scholars, since even the lifetime of its prophet Zarathustra (better known as Zoroaster) is uncertain. Indeed, as Columbia University’s authoritative Encyclopedia Iranica admits: ‘Controversy over Zarathustra’s date has been an embarrassment of long standing to Zoroastrian studies.’[i] The Greek historians were amongst the first to address themselves to the matter. Plutarch, for example, tells us that Zoroaster ‘lived 5,000 years before the Trojan War’[ii] (itself a matter of uncertain historicity but generally put at around 1300 BC, thus 5,000 plus 1,300 = 6300 BC). A similar chronology is given by Diogenes Laertius, who relates that Zoroaster lived ‘6,000 years before Xerxes’ Greek campaign’[iii] (i.e. around 6480 BC). More recent scholars have proposed dates as far apart as 1750 BC and ‘258 years before Alexander’[iv] (i.e. around 588 BC). Whatever the truth of the matter, it is agreed that Zoroaster himself borrowed from much earlier traditions and that Zoroastrianism, therefore, like many other religions, has roots that extend very far back into prehistory. In the Zoroastrian scriptures known as the Zend Avesta certain verses in particular are recognized as drawing on these very ancient oral traditions.[v] The verses speak of a primordial father figure called Yima, the first man, the first king, and the founder of civilization, and appear in the opening section of the Zend Avesta, known as the Vendidad. There we read how the god Ahura Mazda created the first land, ‘Airyana Vaejo, by the good river Daitya,’[vi] as a paradise on earth and how ‘the fair Yima, the great shepherd… was the first mortal’ with whom Ahura Mazda chose to converse, instructing him to become a preacher.[vii] Yima refused, at which the god said: Since thou wantest not to be the preacher and the bearer of my law, then make my world thrive, make my world increase; undertake thou to nourish, to rule and to watch over my world.[viii]
To this Yima agreed, at which the god presented him with a golden ring and a poniard – a long, tapered thrusting knife – inlaid with gold. Significantly, for we will see in Chapter Seventeen there are close parallels to this story as far away as the Andes mountains of South America, Yima then: ‘pressed the earth with the golden ring and bored it with the poniard.’[ix] By this act, we learn he ‘made the earth grow larger by one third than it was before,’ a feat that over the course of thousands of years he repeated twice more – in the process eventually doubling the land area available for ‘the flocks and herds with men and dogs and birds,’ who gathered unto him ‘at his will and wish, as many as he wished.’[x] Anatomically modern humans like ourselves have existed, so far as we know, for a little less than two hundred thousand years (the earliest anatomically modern human skeleton acknowledged by science is from Ethiopia and dates to 196,000 years ago).[xi] Within this timespan there has only been one period when those parts of the earth that are useful to humans increased dramatically in size, and that was during the last Ice Age, between 100,000 and 11,600 years ago. Indeed, previously submerged lands totalling 27 million square kilometres – equivalent to the area of Europe and China added together – were exposed by lowered sea-levels at the last glacial maximum 21,000 years ago. While it is probably far-fetched to suppose that it is this very real increase of useful land that is referred to in the Yima story, or that it has anything to do with the golden age that Yima’s benign rule supposedly achieved in Airyana Vaejo,[xii] it is interesting to note what happened next. After another immense span of time, we read, Yima was summoned to ‘a meeting place by the good river Daitya’ where the god Ahura Mazda appeared to him bearing an ominous warning of sudden and catastrophic climate change: O fair Yima, upon the material world the fatal winters are going to fall, that shall bring the fierce, foul frost; upon the material world the fatal winters are going to fall that shall make snowflakes fall thick, even on the highest tops of mountains… Therefore make thee a Vara [a hypogeum, or underground enclosure] long as a riding ground on every side of the square, and thither bring the seeds of sheep and oxen, of men, of dogs, of birds, and of red blazing fires… Thither thou shalt bring the seeds of men and women of the greatest, best and finest kinds on this earth; thither shalt thou bring the seeds of every kind of cattle, of the greatest, best and finest kinds on this earth. Thither shalt thou bring the seeds of every kind of tree, of the greatest, best and finest kinds on this earth; thither shalt thou bring the seeds of every kind of fruit, the fullest of food and sweetest of odour. All those seeds shalt thou bring, two of every kind, to be kept inexhaustible there, so long as those men shall stay in the Vara. There shall be no humpbacked, none bulged forward there; no impotent, no lunatic… no leprous.[xiii]
So… you get the idea? This underground hideaway was to serve as a refuge from a terrible winter that was about to seize Airyana Vaejo – a winter not of a single season but of a millennium, at the onset of which, as the Bundahish, another Zoroastrian text, informs us: the evil spirit… sprang like a snake out of the sky down to the earth… He rushed in at noon, and thereby the sky was as shattered and frightened by him as a sheep by a wolf. He came onto the water which was arranged below the earth, and then the middle of this earth was pierced and entered by him… He rushed out upon the whole creation and he made the world quite as injured and dark at midday as though it were dark night.[xiv] ...
Editor: Hancock chooses to use the modern vernacular term "climate change" which is all well and good but tends to reinforce today's narrative. Science today is not what it's cracked up to be. Let's remember there were no SUV's, factories etc. causing climate change back then. To paraphrase the Church Lady: "Could it be --- KARMA!" Also, we learn below that Yima mentioned above was the founder of a false religion which contained evil practices.
Zarathustra and the Fire of Ahura Mazda-11/25 Written a few years ago for the Worldwide Ashram, by William House and paraphrasing ECP, (Greek: Zoroaster, meaning “golden light” 1500 BC± ) (According to Hancock our dates are way off. Could be.) -- Each era chooses its new, corresponding Teaching, when all previous Teachings have become distorted. People tend to cling to these twisted distortions of the faith of their forefathers, yet no new Teaching ever excludes preceding ones. Little attention is paid to this fact, for the followers of every Teaching like to build their success on denial of the previous Teachings. But it is easy to prove the continuity of what people call religion. In this continuity is sensed a single stream of one energy. Calling it psychic [fiery] energy, we speak of the Sophia of the Hellenic world or Sarasvati of the Hindus. The Holy Ghost of the Christians manifests signs of psychic energy, just as do the creative Adonai of Israel, and Mithra of Persia, full of solar power. Certainly, no one doubts that the Fire of Zoroaster is the Fire of Space, which you now study. Agni Yoga, #416, 1929, Agni Yoga Society (Editor: Reading the above in html as I pasted it in this column and before I got to the source, I'm thinking What!, this is really good, I couldn't have written this. And of course, I didn't. It was Morya.)
Zarathustra was an initiate of the Great White Brotherhood, taught by archangels and Ahura Mazda to bring a teaching of the Sacred Fire and the use of mantrams to the people. Much confusion reigns over the exact dates when Zarathustra lived. Not much is known about him. He probably lived around 1,750 to 1,500 BC., but it’s hard to say for sure. At this time in history, no other land could boast of a prophet or messenger appearing on the scene with such supreme gnosis and direct tie to the Great White Brotherhood in over 8,000 years, since the time of Atlantis. Abram heard a voice. Not even Moses was elevated in such a way, for he was initiated in Egyptian mysteries and when he did see God it was as a burning bush. Zarathustra had a visitation of epic proportions. This was an extraordinary event in the annals of the spiritual history for earth. The following is merely a condensed and adapted version of a lecture by Elizabeth Clare Prophet given on August 30, 1992. The quotes are verbatim from the Pearls of Wisdom Vol. 35, Book II (which we highly recommend) where her entire lecture on Zarathustra can be found, starting on page 454.
“Zoroastrianism is the oldest of the revealed world-religions, and it has probably had more influence on mankind, directly and indirectly, than any other single faith.” From Mary Boyce, Emeritus Professor of Iranian Studies at the University of London.
Zarathustra was “one of the greatest religious geniuses of all time…. [He] was a prophet, or at least conceived himself to be such; he spoke to his God face to face.” R. C. Zaehner, former Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at Oxford University.
Zarathustra was an initiate of the Great White Brotherhood. According to Boyce, “He… describes himself [in the Gathas] as a ‘vaedemna’ or ‘one who knows,’ an initiate possessed of divinely inspired wisdom.” She continues, “According to tradition Zoroaster was thirty, the time of ripe wisdom, when revelation finally came to him. This great happening is alluded to in one of the Gathas and is tersely described in a Pahlavi [Middle Persian] work. Here it is said that Zoroaster, being at a gathering [called] to celebrate a spring festival, went at dawn to a river to fetch water.” In the middle of the stream he saw one Vohu Manah. It was this Being who led Zoroaster into the presence of Ahura Mazda and five other radiant figures, before whom “he did not see his own shadow upon the earth, owing to their great light”. And it was then, from this great heptad [or group of seven beings], that he received his revelation. Ahura Mazda is another name for Sanat Kumara. There are six other Kumaras; each one has sponsored one of the seven major religions. It’s reasonable to assume that Zoroaster stood before the Seven Holy Kumaras. No wonder he couldn’t see his own shadow. Zarathustra proceeded to revolutionize his country by exposing the lies and false gods behind the current religion. He was definitely a Prophet. He had little success for ten years until finally he was able to impress King Vishtaspa and then convert his Queen. But the King needed proof. In response, Ahura Mazda sent three Archangels to the court of Vishtaspa and Hutaosa. They appeared as effulgent knights in full armour, riding on horseback. According to one text, they arrived in such glory that “their radiance in that lofty residence seemed …a heaven of complete light, owing to their great power and triumph; when he thus looked upon [them], the exalted king Vishtaspa trembled, all his courtiers trembled, all his chieftains were confused.” Radiating a blinding light and the sound of thunder, they announced that they had come on behalf of Ahura Mazda in order that the king might receive the fullness of the message of Zarathustra. They promised Vishtaspa a life span of 150 years and that he and Hutaosa would have an immortal son. The Archangels warned, however, that if Vishtaspa should decide not to take up the religion, his end would not be far away. The king embraced the faith and the entire court followed suit. The scriptures record that the Archangels then took up their abode with Vishtaspa. Elizabeth Clare Prophet The Ascended Master Zarathustra spoke of King Vishtaspa and Queen Hutaosa, in a dictation (a spiritual transference of teaching to an anointed Messenger of the Brotherhood)1:
"I AM come to deliver the sacred fire of the Sun behind the sun to raise you up and to establish in you the original teaching of Ahura Mazda, Sanat Kumara, delivered long ago in the land of ancient Persia unto me and unto the king and queen who received the conversion of Archangels and of the sacred fire and of holy angels by the descent of Light. Thus, by their lifestreams’ acceptance of my prophecy, there came to pass the multiplication of the bread of Life from the heart of Sanat Kumara, whose messenger I was, whose messenger I remain…. The teaching of the hosts of the Lord and the coming of the great avatar of Light, the teaching of betrayal and the consequent warfare of his hosts against the evil ones, was understood and propagated. The law of karma, the law of reincarnation, and even the vision of the last days when Evil and the Evil One would be vanquished – all of this went forth by the conversion of the king and the queen and the reaching out of the faith to all of the subjects of the land. Thus, the tests were given by the Archangels through my office unto these two chosen ones. Thereby passing the tests, they became blessed as secondary emissaries of Sanat Kumara. And therefore, I the prophet and they holding the balance in the earth manifested a trinity of Light and the figure eight flow. Realize the necessary ingredients for the propagation of the faith throughout the earth… The Archangels send their Messenger with a gift of prophecy that is the Word of Sanat Kumara to every culture and in every age. Thus, the prophet comes forth with the vision, with the anointing and with the sacred fire. But unless the prophet finds the fertile field of hearts aflame and receptive, the authority of the Word does not pass unto the people."
Zarathustra sometimes referred to himself as a manthran, one who is able to create mantras. He embodied fire and taught about fire. With the mantle of Prophet upon his shoulders he delivered fire as well, no doubt with the use of mantras. A true Prophet can brook no compromise with evil. To some he seemed too extreme, seeing things in only black and white. With that much fire, he didn’t have a choice. He taught with myths, about knowing Truth from evil. “The doctrine of the Heptad,” Boyce says, “is at the heart of Zoroastrian theology. Together with [the concept of Good and Evil] it provides the basis for Zoroastrian spirituality and ethics, and shapes the characteristic Zoroastrian attitude of responsible stewardship for this world.” The Heptad are seven emanations from Ahura Mazda and embody such principles as “Good Mind,” “Good Purpose,” “Right-mindedness” or “Holy Devotion,” “Wholeness” or “Health,” and “Long Life” or “Immortality.” He attacked the prior religion that was founded by someone called Yima. The people worshipped evil spirits called daevas, did animal sacrifice and got drunk. Zarathustra was the target of their wrath. This war played out in the microcosm as well. John Noss, author of Man’s Religions, observes, “It was perhaps Zoroaster’s cardinal moral principle, that each man’s soul is the seat of a war between good and evil.” To counteract their spiritual attacks, Zarathustra composed this prayer, considered the holiest of Zoroastrian prayers: As the Master, so is the Judge to be chosen in accord with Truth. Establish the power of acts arising from a life lived with good purpose, for Mazda and for the lord whom they made pastor for the poor. ...
Fiery World I 17. The substance of fiery immunity was described by Zoroaster. He pointed out that from each pore of the skin people could call forth fiery rays to smite all evil. A man clad in a protective armor cannot succumb to any contagion. One can increase this resistance through unity with Hierarchy. Thus, the heart becomes like a sun reducing all microbes to ashes.