Viewing entries tagged
mummies and human remains

The Big Dipper and the Lion

This is a terrific time of year to view the majestic pairing of the Big Dipper and the zodiac sign of Leo the Lion, two constellations which are actually "paired" in the sky.

Right now, in the hours between sunset and midnight (prime viewing hours for those who keep rather "normal" sleep schedules), the almost-universally familiar form of the Big Dipper is standing almost vertical when viewed by observers in the northern hemisphere (see diagram above).  

The constellation of Leo the Lion is actually "geared" to the Big Dipper as shown in the diagram, such that the bottom of the "spoon" of the dipper is roughly parallel to the back of the Lion: they look almost like the coastlines of two continents which are now separated by the Atlantic Ocean but which once fit together, having drifted apart as described by the theory of gradual "continental drift" or by the far more-likely hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown.  

Of course, I am not suggesting that continental drift also took place in the heavens and that the constellations of the Dipper and the Lion were once joined together!  This is just a metaphor to describe the nice parallel "fit" and relative positions of the two groupings of stars, and to help the skywatcher to think of the two constellations as part of the same heavenly mechanism.

Those who may be familiar with the Big Dipper but not as familiar with the figure of Leo the Lion can find tips on locating Leo in previous posts such as this one and this one.  Also, as beloved author H. A. Rey describes in his wonderful and essential guide The Stars: A New Way to See Them, the rear two stars in the cup of the Dipper can be used to point an arrow directly to Regulus, the brightest star of the Lion (see diagram below).  Of this brightest star in Leo, H. A. Rey writes:
The brightest one, REGULUS, is easy to find when the Big Dipper is high up: use the two stars of the Dipper's bowl next to the handle and draw a straight line toward the Bear's paws and beyond; it will first hit the star in the Lion's shoulder and then Regulus.  Bluish-white Regulus is the faintest of our 1st-mag. stars but even so it shines about twice as bright as Polaris.  It is about 80 light-years away and over 100 times as luminous as the sun.  34.

The Big Dipper, of course, revolves rather closely around the north celestial pole, that point in the heavens around which all the northern hemisphere stars revolve.  In his wonderful and essential guide The Stars: A New Way to See Them, H. A. Rey describes the north celestial pole using the metaphor of the central point in the middle of an opened umbrella (page 22).  The central point is the north celestial pole (marked in our current epoch by the "North Star," Polaris), and the inner surface of the opened umbrella is the night sky.  

If you revolve the umbrella by turning the handle (you should turn it counterclockwise if you want it to revolve in the correct direction around the north celestial pole), you will see the constellations inscribed on the inner surface of the opened umbrella rotate the way the constellations in the night sky rotate around the North Star.  The Big Dipper would be rather close to the North Star, rotating around it each day as the earth revolves on its axis (the axis points to the north celestial pole, which is why the sky seems to revolve around that point).  The stars of the Dipper, in fact, are among the "imperishable" or "undying stars," the name the ancient Egyptians gave to those stars which are close enough to the celestial pole that they never drop below the horizon (the way the stars farther out towards the edges of the "umbrella" do plunge below the horizon at the end of their circuit to the west).

Because the Dipper and the Lion are "geared" together as shown in the diagram above, as the Dipper rotates upward it "drags" along the Lion across the sky.  When the Dipper is rising vertically in the east, as it is doing now in the hours before midnight, the Lion is also rising mostly vertically in the east (as depicted in the diagram).  As the sky continues to revolve (or, more precisely, as the earth itself revolves on its axis through the night), the Dipper continues upward and the Lion proceeds across the sky, as if propelled by the turning of the "inner gear" marked by the Dipper's circle.  

Of course, during some parts of the year, the Dipper is on the lower half of its turning during the nighttime hours, so the Lion is below the horizon during the nighttime hours, and is washed out by the sun during the daytime hours when he is above the horizon.  During those months, the Lion is not visible at night.  Right now, however, he is coming into the best time of year to view his form in the night sky.

(For the next few days, the moon is traveling into the constellation of Leo, and it will be a full moon tomorrow night, so the moon will interfere with an observer's ability to see all the stars of Leo clearly, but after the moon reaches full it will begin to wane and become less and less of a dominant presence in the night sky, on its way to new moon; the moon will also continue to move through the constellations and out of Leo into Virgo after a couple of days).  

The turning motion of the seven stars of the Big Dipper (which are, properly speaking, not a complete constellation but an "asterism" within the constellation of Ursa Major, the Great bear) was invested with great spiritual significance by the ancient sacred traditions found the world over.  In his masterful 1940 book Lost Light: An Interpretation of Ancient Scripture (discussed in this previous post and available to read online via links in that post), Alvin Boyd Kuhn writes of the Big Dipper:
Neith is Hathor, the Egyptian Venus, the mother of life, twofold in character as liquid and aeriform.  Her celestial representative was Ursa Major, the Great Bear (or Bearer, suggests Massey), the great dipper in which the water of life was held, and from which, as it turned around the pole, it was periodically poured out and again dipped up! [. . .] So this great sidereal directory of the heavens became the greatest of astronomical symbols to the ancients, dramatizing the seven great elemetary mother powers of nature that periodically arose out of the waters of life.  Operated by its handle of three stars, typing the solar triad of mind, soul and spirit, it caught up the living waters in its four-starred cup, the fourfold physical basis of all things.  272.
This explication of the Big Dipper, with a three-fold handle that represents the trinity of mind, soul, and spirit, operating a four-fold cup that cyclically pours out and dips up again (representing successive incarnation in the material realm of the four-fold cross of matter, discussed in this previous post and in the numerical system of the ancient Pythagoreans) is amazing and profound.

A lion and a bear are common elements in heraldry and other iconography, and it is more than likely that their pairing originates from the close pairing of the constellations of Ursa Major and Leo the Lion in the heavens.  The connection is further cemented by the frequency in which a single star is paired with the bear in the depictions, whether the bear is by itself (such as in the California flag) or whether the bear is with a lion (such as can be seen, for example, in the logo of the Firestone Walker Brewing Company, here).  The close association of the bear and star symbology no doubt is a direct reference to the close association of the heavenly Bear (and its Big Dipper) with the North Star.

But regardless of its use in earthly symbology, the profound spiritual message of the endlessly revolving Big Dipper, with its seven stars grouped into a handle of three and a cup of four, is even more universal and can be claimed by all human beings.  Over the next few weeks, you may want to spend some time enjoying the glorious sight of the vertical Big Dipper and the companion constellation of the regal Lion, if you are able to do so.

The mummy and the sevenfold soul

In Ancient Egypt: the Light of the World (1907), the prolific scholar of ancient Egypt Gerald Massey (1828 - 1907) makes the assertion that the reason that the ancient Egyptians practiced mummification was not, as most of us were taught, so that the deceased could use it again in the afterlife.  

Rather, as he argues in Book 4 of that work, entitled "Egyptian Book of the Dead and the Mysteries of Amenta," the creation of the mummy was a way of making the deceased into a type of the Osiris, "an image of durability and continuity, a type of the eternal, or of Osiris-karast in the likeness of a mummy" (216).

Massey explains that the journey into the afterlife did involve the soul of the departed in the form of a risen mummy, but that this was a spirit mummy, and not the physical mummy that remains in the tomb. Crucial to understanding this process is Massey's argument that the ancient Egyptians understood the human soul to be composed of seven stages or seven constituent parts, and that the unification of all of them must take place in the afterlife in order to make the image of the Osiris perfect or divinized in the image of Horus.  Only then could the just spirit be made perfect and experience the life everlasting.

Massey lists the seven constituent parts of the full permanent soul on page 203:
  1. The khabit or dark shade
  2. The ba or light shade
  3. The ab or breathing heart
  4. the sekhem or power to re-arise
  5. the sahu or soul-body
  6. the khu or glorified spirit
  7. the ka or higher soul
Massey declares that "it is a mistake to suppose with some Egyptologists, like M. de [. . .], that the new existence of the deceased was begun in the old earthly body" (213), and again that "it is entirely false to represent the Egyptians as making the mummy and preserving it for the return of the soul into the old earthly body" (215).  The departed received a spiritual or glorified form of the mummy, and ultimately sought to be united with the ka, and Massey explains that the preservation of the features of the departed (along with the very artistic portrayals of the deceased in the tomb) played a critical role in helping the spirit to remember its identity.

He writes: "His mortal personality having been made as permanent as possible in the mummy left on earth, the manes rising in Amenta now sets out to attain the personality that is to last forever" (208).  Unlike the body that is left behind in the tomb, the ka or higher soul accompanies the shade on its journey in the afterlife, and the goal of the departed is to pass from the state of a shade to the state of the ka, and reunify all the constituent parts of the soul.  Massey explains:
When the manes has become a khu, the ka is still a typical ideal ahead of him; so far ahead or aloof that he propitiates it with offerings.  In fact, he presents himself as the sacrificial victim that would die to attain conjunction with his ka, his image of eternal duration, his type of totality, in which the seven souls were permanently unified in one at last.  The ka has been called the double of the dead, as if it simply represented the doppelganger.  But it is not merely a phantom of the living or personal image of the departed.  It serves also for the apparition or revenant; it is a type rather than a portrait.  It is a type that was prenatal.  It images a soul which came into existence with the child, a soul which is food and sustenance to the body all through life, a soul of existence here and of duration for the life hereafter.  Hence it is absorbed at last in the perfected personality. [. . .] This is because the ka was the type of personality, seventh of the seven souls attained as the highest in which the others were to be included and absorbed.  In the vignettes to chapter 25 of the Ritual the deceased is shown his ka, which is with him in the passage of Amenta, not left behind him in the tomb, that he may not forget himself (as we might say), or, as he says, that he may not suffer loss of identity by forgetting his name.  Showing the ka to him enables the manes to recall his name in the great house, and especially in the crucible of the house of flame.  When the deceased is far advanced on his journey through Amenta, his ka is still accompanying him, and it is described as being the food of his life in spirit world, even as it had been his spiritual food in the human life.  203 - 204.
So an important part of the integration of all the sevenfold constituent parts of the soul into the the highest state in which all the parts were included and absorbed was the remembrance of the identity of the individual.  Far from a loss of the individual identity (or a re-absorption into a pantheistic state of undifferentiation), the goal of the unification and transformation of the soul in the afterlife included the affirmation of the individual's unique identity.

Massey states:  "Preserving the human mummy perfectly intact was a mode of holding on to the individual form and features as a means of preserving the earthly likeness for identifying the personality hereafter in spirit.  The mummy was made on purpose to preserve the physical likeness of the soul" (212).

Massey based these assertions on his close analysis of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, which in the 1800s and early 1900s was usually referred to as "the Ritual," and which Massey argued should be properly called "the Ritual of Resurrection".  Modern scholars often refer to it as the Book of Going Forth by Day.  But Massey, both in the passage above and elsewhere, emphasizes that its contents were not just for the eternal soul after death, but also during the life in this body as well.  In fact, the ancient Egyptians emphasized the memorizing of certain passages of the Book of the Dead during this life.

Even some of the most modern scholars emphasize the same things.  For example, in his excellent new  (2001) translation of and commentary on the Book of the Dead (using the Papyrus of Hunefer and also the Papyrus of Ani), Dr. Ramses Seleem states: 
The roads, ways, gates, hours, laws, and guardians of life after death are explained in detail in The Book of the Dead.  And even though a copy of the book is buried with the deceased, it is better to learn this divine knowledge by heart and live it in this lifetime, so the words can become flesh (truth).  Only then does The Book of the Dead in this life become the book of life in death.  15.
And again, and even more powerfully, he explains:
The spiritual concepts contained in The Book of the Dead explain life in its continuity and the condition of the reincarnated soul both in this life and in the Dwat.  This is in direct contrast to the emphasis on death and dead relics that can often be seen in modern museums. [. . .]
The Book of the Dead is, in reality, the Egyptian book of life -- life now, life hereafter, and life everlasting.  A copy was buried with the deceased to give the soul the tools to secure his or her future in the life hereafter.
The deceased entered Ementet (the land of the dead) with a papyrus scroll in one hand.  The question that lay ahead was how well the deceased person had established truth in his or her lifetime against the powers of evil.  12-13. 
All of these assertions correlate very well to the analysis of the self-taught Egypt scholar Gerald Massey, writing for the most part over a hundred years earlier.  Together, they should serve to awaken us to the importance of the concepts that the Egyptians were discussing.

It is also interesting to note that Gerald Massey's discussion of the sevenfold soul, and the discussion that these principles are just as important in this life as in the life hereafter, seems to have some potential correspondence with the fact that the Vedic and Hindu traditions assert that we have seven chakras and that it is vitally important to activate all seven.  This concept would also seem to connect to previous discussions about our vital organs and their connection to the visible planets.

Alvin Boyd Kuhn has stated that Gerald Massey is among the most discerning of the Egyptologists, and that he was "a scholar of surpassing ability whose sterling work has not yet won for him the place of eminence which he deserves."  Perhaps this discussion of the sevenfold soul and the importance of the Egyptian Book of the Dead will stimulate readers to examine his works for themselves.  An excellent list with links to many of his texts can be found here.

Tobacco and coca byproducts in ancient Egyptian mummies

Many people are unaware that researchers have found evidence of substances derived from tobacco and coca in tests conducted on ancient Egyptian mummies. Children being taught conventional views of mankind's ancient history in school are rarely if ever given all the evidence and encouraged (or even permitted) to form their own conclusion based on their analysis of the preponderance of evidence. The presence of substances such as tobacco and coca is ignored, suppressed, or dismissed as "pseudoarchaeology" because such substances present a very difficult problem for the reigning academic theories.

It is generally agreed that tobacco and coca are New World plants, unknown to Old World civilizations prior to 1492. Detection of tobacco and coca in ancient Egyptian mummies implies extremely ancient contact across the oceans, and not mere chance contact either. It is one thing to admit the possibility that a random Mediterranean ship was somehow blown off course and made it to the New World, and then somehow returned, but the detection of tobacco derivatives and coca derivatives in the hair follicles of ancient mummies indicates familiarity and ongoing use -- evidence for deliberate, ongoing, long-term trans-ocean contact and a "logistics chain" for obtaining such plants.

Here is an article from the website of Colorado State University discussing the most well-known tests which found evidence of coca- and tobacco-derived substances in Egyptian mummies (namely cocaine and nicotine). It argues that, although the initial reaction to the publication of the results of this study in 1992 was skepticism and disbelief from the academic community, that reaction was based primarily upon firmly-held assumptions about the ancient history of mankind and not upon the evidence itself.

This article describes the earlier discovery in 1976 of plant fragments within the wrappings of the mummy of the well-known and powerful Pharaoh Ramses II (or Ramesses II). Close examination of the fragments revealed that they were tobacco. The theory that these tobacco fragments were somehow dropped there from the cigar or pipe of a nineteenth-century archaeologist was later weakened by the discovery of further tobacco inside the abdomen of the mummy itself. Nevertheless, many skeptics continue to maintain that any evidence of tobacco products in the Ramses II mummy must have been introduced later.

The Ramses II mummy also contains evidence of cannabis, which was known in the Old World (although not generally associated with the region and culture of ancient Egypt). Strangely, nobody seems to argue that nineteenth-century archaeologists accidentally dropped cannabis into the mummy.

The evidence from the Egyptian mummies is sensational, and perhaps more easily dismissed as fringe science because of our own (very strong) cultural perception about drugs and tobacco. However, it is by no means the only evidence of plant species which point to ongoing and regular ancient trans-Atlantic contact. This extensive study by two university professors lists plant after plant, many of them having nothing to do with altered states of consciousness, presenting extremely strong evidence for ancient contact between the "Old World" and the "New World." Species include jimson weed (native to North America, found in Europe and Asia), marigolds (also native to the New World, found in China and India), sarsparilla (native to the Old World, found in Central America), and certain breeds of cotton from the Old World found in South America, all with evidence indicating pre-Columbian transport of these plants.

Defenders of the prevailing timeline of history can labor mightily to dismiss the presence of coca and tobacco substances in ancient Egyptian mummies, but in the end this evidence is simply one more data point in a huge web of other evidence. In fact, even if it turned out that all the scientific studies which found coca and tobacco among these mummies were mistaken or even fraudulent, it would not really matter. The other evidence is overwhelming that ancient trans-oceanic contact did take place. For previous discussions of some of this evidence, see also this post, this post, and this post (among others), and the evidence discussed in the Mathisen Corollary book itself.

The case of the Micmac hieroglyphs: a powerful blow to isolationist theories

Written languages among Native American peoples were very rare. A notable exception, however, was the written language of the Micmac people (commonly spelled Mi'kmaq today, with the sound "mi" representing the definite article in their language, and the word Mi'kmaq indicating "The Family" or "The People," according to some sources).

The Micmac written language, which contains remarkable similarities to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, was preserved in extensive records by a French missionary named Pierre Maillard (1710 - 1762). The fact that many symbols in this writing system resemble so strongly the sacred hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt causes proponents of the isolationist hegemony varying levels of discomfort, frustration, and defensiveness, which usually manifests itself in the form of scornful criticism of anyone who suggests there may have been some ancient connection between citizens of ancient Old World civilizations and the Indians of the Americas.

If the Micmac script were the only isolated data point suggesting ancient contact across the great oceans, then such skepticism would perhaps be warranted. However, as we have seen with just a few of the many possible examples we have outlined on this blog, there is extensive other evidence which should make those who deny the possibility of ancient cultural contact realize that they are actually the ones who are on shaky ground (see for example here and here).

We have demonstrated that mankind appears to have possessed advanced scientific knowledge at an incredibly early date -- for instance, the design of Stonehenge and the pyramids of Giza indicate knowledge of the size and shape of the earth, as well as of mathematical concepts such as pi and phi and the subtle astronomical phenomenon of precession. It is not surprising to find that civilizations which understood such concepts could sail across the oceans (or, perhaps the converse, that civilizations which could sail across the oceans knew the size and shape of the earth, etc).

Numerous researchers have proposed that the ancient Phoenicians, Chinese and Celts may all have had the capability and inclination to cross the Atlantic and the Pacific, and may have done so somewhat regularly. In Before Columbus, Dr. Samuel D. Marble has suggested that the Egyptians (with their superior knowledge of the stars and of the size and shape of the earth) may have joined with the Phoenicians (with their superior capabilities as shipbuilders and sailors) in a sort of happy marriage, "a partnership that benefited both people, and in this case that benefit was substantial" (119). If there were Egyptians present on Phoenician voyages of discovery and trade with the Americas, it is entirely possible that the hieroglyphs of the Micmac, who lived among the excellent sea-landings of Nova Scotia (see map below) were influenced by these ancient voyagers.

Professor Barry Fell (1917 - 1994) published some persuasive side-by-side analyses of the Micmac writing system with that of the ancient Egyptians in his controversial 1976 work, America BC: Ancient Settlers in the New World. There, he illustrates the hieroglyphs recorded by the eighteenth-century missionary Father Maillard next to the hieroglyphs that he maintains would be the Egyptian counterparts to the same words. Some of these comparisons are reproduced on the web here (with the text translated into Italian, but the Micmac and Egyptian comparisons still apparent to readers of any tongue).

On page 3 of that web document, the text for Psalm 116 (Non nobis domine) is reproduced from the Micmac writing recorded by Father Maillard, along with Barry Fell's suggested Egyptian hieroglyphs for the same words. This line-by-line comparison can be found in America BC on page 254.

Later, on page 5 of the web document, another image from Fell is reproduced, showing the similarities of Micmac and ancient hieroglyphs for various words or concepts. This page can be found in America BC on page 255.

Those who oppose the idea of the ability of ancient civilizations to sail the deep oceans argue that Father Maillard must have invented this language for the Micmac, in order to enable them to record the doctrines of Christianity. Why he would use ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs rather than the Latin alphabet is a bit of a problem for this theory; it is usually asserted that this writing system was introduced by the missionaries, or that they modified an existing system of writing and deliberately made it look Egyptian because Egyptian hieroglyphs were all the rage during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (although they would not be translated until the famous deciphering of the Rosetta Stone by Champollion in 1822.

Typical of the arguments of the detractors is this essay published on the web, which declares as its goal "to examine Fell's claims of discernable ancient Egyptian and other North African languages and scripts in foreign petroglyphs, markings, writings, and the like, and to show a pattern of poor scholarly standards." On that page, the skeptical author advances the thesis that "It's not unreasonable to conclude that the Mi'kmaq - Recollet writing system is often called 'hieroglyphic' because Le Clerq [another French missionary who preceded Maillard] was familiar with the idea of Egyptian hieroglyphs as 'sacred carvings' and applied the term to reflect a holiness associated with the writing of Catholic material in his new Native American orthography."

This hypothesis is completely speculative, suggesting that a Catholic missionary would believe that the use of Egyptian hieroglyphics (which he could not decipher but found to be fascinating) somehow attributed "holiness" to his attempts to record Psalms and other writings for the Micmac people.

Similar criticisms are found on the Wikipedia page for "Mi'kmaq hieroglyphic writing," where it is argued that "Comparison with the actual Egyptian hieroglyphics shows that Fell's claims have significant shortcomings." The Wikipedia page criticizes Fell's analysis of the following hieroglyphs:

In the Wikipedia entry, Fell's analysis of the first symbol is criticized because, "The Micmac glyph cited by Fell appears not to be an Egyptian Hieroglyph, but rather the Christian symbol Globus cruciger with the Earth (a crossed circle) surmounted by a cross."

His analysis of the second symbol is criticized because, "The Micmac glyph cited by Fell appears to be an ordinary pentagram star used for 'heaven'; no connection to Egypt is necessary for the Micmac sign to make sense in this context."

His analysis of the third symbol is criticized because, "The Míkmaq msit 'all' (not 'full'?) is not drawn accurately; it is a large equilateral triangle made up of horizontal lines, not a low horizontal sign like V30."

Finally, his analysis of the fourth symbol is criticized because, "The Micmac glyph cited by Fell appears to be a triangle, representing the Trinity, and not a set of stairs."

By this sort of criticism, it is implied that there must be no connection between the Micmac writing and the ancient Egyptian, and that the symbols selected by the priests were merely Christian symbols (such as a triangle for the Trinity or a Globus Cruciger for the concept of "holy") and that these selections only coincidentally resembled Egyptian hieroglyphs for the same concepts.

However, this argument becomes more difficult to maintain when other Micmac symbols are examined. For example, prominent in the Micmac version of the Lord's Prayer reproduced above (from an 1822 book published in German) is the symbol for "name" (as in, "hallowed be thy name"). The Micmac symbol recorded by Father Maillard in 1762 is extremely suggestive of the ancient Egyptian symbol for a name, which is the symbol known as a "cartouche" (see below, in which the Micmac symbol is juxtaposed with a cartouche from the Rosetta Stone):

This similarity is extremely problematic, because it is well known that the feat of deciphering the Rosetta Stone rested upon the insight by Champollion (in the 1820s) that these cartouches contained royal names, as well as his breakthrough discovery that the hieroglyphs could play a dual role in representing both individual phonetic sounds in some usages and entire words in others. To suggest that Maillard (who died in 1762) had known that cartouches represented the concept of a "name" is speculative beyond belief, and implies that this missionary priest, who spent the bulk of his life in remote woodlands ministering to Native Americans and who had never been to Egypt nor shown any evidence of interest in deciphering the mystery that had puzzled linguists for centuries, had somehow found time to crack the Egyptian code before Champollion, but had kept his understanding of it a secret.

Other Micmac hieroglyphs that are difficult to explain away are shown in the image on page 5 of the Italian reproduction referenced above, such as the hieroglyphs that Egyptologists equate with an image of "mountains" or the common image of a "mouth," as well as the startlingly similar hieroglyphs denoting "metal" in general (three vertically-arranged circles in both systems) and "gold" and "silver" in particular. While the hieroglyphs selected by Wikipedia can be attacked as being coincidental Christian symbols mistakenly confused with Egyptian hieroglyphs, these others cannot be so readily criticized.

In the end, it does not really matter whether one is convinced by the evidence of ancient contact present in Micmac script. One piece of evidence, on its own, can be explained away as an incredible coincidence. The important perspective to adopt when examining such evidence is the understanding that each such clue is "one data point." When viewed in conjunction with all the other data points found in the Americas which point to deliberate ancient contact, the Micmac writing system is far more powerful evidence.

The possibility that ancient civilizations who inherited knowledge from predecessors unknown to conventional academia (who possessed knowledge and capabilities far beyond what conventional academia would grant at such an early date) regularly traveled across the oceans is explored in more depth in The Mathisen Corollary book.

One point that is made is that, while conventional scholars may scoff at the evidence of European writing systems found in the New World, and argue that such evidence is either faked or (as in the case of the Micmac writing) the invention of modern priests with an affinity for the "holiness" of an Egyptian writing system which they could not even understand, it is far more difficult to argue that enormous pyramids, temples and murals were also fakes or modern anachronisms. Even more difficult is it to argue that the human remains, in the form of mummies and mummy-bundles, are forgeries or cases of mistaken identity.

Taken in context with all the other evidence, then, the case of the Micmac hieroglyphics is another blow to the isolationist position, and a powerful blow at that.

DMT, Egypt, evolution, and other subjects

Here is an amazing episode of Magical Egypt featuring the work of John Anthony West and other researchers -- his pioneering and penetrating work can be found at his website here. The segments of the video can be found by following the links below, and it is well worth consideration as an introduction to a whole new layer of insight into the civilization of ancient Egypt.

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The incisive analysis of Mr. West illustrates a truth that I have stressed before in previous posts: namely, that just because there are clear astronomical and mathematical truths encoded in ancient myths and texts, this does not take away the many other rich layers of meaning which are also present. In other words, seeing celestial codes in literature does not take away from the deep and powerful illumination of other aspects of the human condition in that literature. It only adds; it does not take away (see for example the discussion in this previous post and this previous post).

The documentary segment above neatly illustrates the way numerous other layers may be going on at the same time that celestial truths are being preserved. For example, the videos begin with an extensive and erudite explanation of the text of "The Book of What is in the Duat" found in the tomb of Tuthmoses III (reigned 1479 BC - 1425 BC) by John Anthony West. This is an extremely important text (also known as the Amduat) and it is well worthwhile to listen to Mr. West's explication of it. Its first complete known appearance is in the very tomb of Tuthmoses III shown in the video. Tuthmoses III was the great-great-great grandfather of Tutankhamun, or the grandfather of the grandfather of Tutankhamun's father Akhenaten.

At approximately 8:40 in the second of the above six videos, Mr. West describes "a familiar figure" which confronts the progress of the solar bark through the twelve hours of the Amduat. This figure, we are told, is the "great serpent, which is being chopped up by knives. This is the serpent Apep, or Apophis, which is a form of Set, the opposition." The point of bringing this up is to show that, while Set plays an incredibly important role in the astronomical knowledge hidden in the Egyptian myths (which surface again and again in mythology around the world), a role which is described in Hamlet's Mill and elaborated upon in greater detail in Jane Sellers' Death of Gods in Ancient Egypt and in the Mathisen Corollary, this celestial role does not mean that Set cannot also stand for several other principles which have less to do with astronomy and more to do with life, death, and the human condition. This is an important point to consider.

Along these lines, the transition of the discussion in the above videos to the work of dimethyltriptamine (DMT) researcher Dr. Rick Strassman follows an extremely interesting analysis of the Amduat text which begins at approximately 3:00 minutes into segment three of six above. There, the assertion is made that the geometry and negative spacing of one drawing of two human figures flanking two intertwined serpents topped by a solar disc suggests a human skull, with the sun disc approximating the location of the pineal gland (and the Uraeus headdress).

From there, the videos explore the rather controversial theory of Dr. Strassman, who believes that the powerful hallucinogenic compound DMT may be naturally produced in certain conditions in the human body, perhaps by the pineal gland, and that this substance is tied to the perception of mystical experiences as well as to visions of the afterlife and the well-known reports of near-death experiences by numerous individuals. Small amounts of naturally-occurring DMT have been found in human tissues, and the theory of some researchers is that certain types of meditation or certain levels of stress could trigger increased production of DMT and possibly the onset of powerful visions and otherworldly experiences.

A brand-new documentary discussing Dr. Strassman's theories, and the implications of DMT in general, based upon and named after Dr. Strassman's book The Spirit Molecule, is currently being released.

The implications of this theory, as well as the very interesting ties to ancient Egypt discussed in the remaining segments of the video above, are fascinating to consider, whether one accepts them or not. Another important theme of this blog and my book is the importance of considering alternative theories and examining all the available evidence for and against them, rather than rejecting them out of hand as is too often the case today. Thor Heyerdahl's approving reference to a quotation by Edgar Smith Craighill Handy is worth repeating in this context: "There is such a variety of possibilities open in the matter of relationships and derivations that my own feeling is that there is only one sure way of being in the wrong, and that is by asserting dogmatically what is not true" (cited in American Indians in the Pacific 8).

If a naturally-occurring chemical compound is in fact responsible for mystic visions and concepts of otherworldly beings and an afterlife, does this mean that critics can dismiss the reality of a soul and a spirit world, mystical revelation, and other related concepts as mere figments of a chemically-induced altered state of consciousness?

One strong argument against Darwinian evolution is the extensive evidence for a spiritual aspect to human existence. Spirits or souls cannot really be explained by Darwinian evolution at all, which is why the existence of such concepts is vehemently rejected by most Darwinian apologists. If any supernatural experiences can be attributed to naturally-occurring hallucinogenic compounds, perhaps produced by the pineal gland, then this would appear to be a powerful new argument in the evolutionists' arsenal.

However, there are several counters to this line of argument as well. First and most obvious among them is the possibility that naturally-occurring DMT is not responsible for visions at all (this hypothesis is still speculative and has not been proven). Another counter is the fact that some DMT users (and near-death experience survivors) appear to have experienced things that they would not be expected to know or that their brains could not be expected to have "dreamed up," whether under the influence of a chemical or not. There are also other evidences of spiritual aspects to the human experience which do not seem to rely upon altered states of reality among those who experience them (for instance, some of the physical feats performed by yogis, fakirs, or advanced martial artists). Finally, there is the entire discussion in the final videos of the series above in which doors and passwords for use in the afterlife are discussed, and the insightful comment of the narrator at the beginning of the discussion that such knowledge, in order to be useful, implies the transmission of data and knowledge from someone or something from the "other side."

Again, to discuss these things is not to imply agreement with or acceptance of everything that is discussed. However, it is a fascinating layer of analysis of a very ancient civilization, and an important line of clues into their "technologies" (technologies not only in the sense in which we commonly use the word, but also in the sense that martial arts and other forms of human achievement and science can be thought of as technology). It is important that researchers and analysts such as John Anthony West, Rick Strassman, and the others involved in the video and in ongoing investigations continue to probe in new and unconventional directions, because one never knows what will be discovered and when a new breakthrough might occur.

We should all be stimulated to apply our own gifts and areas of expertise in the same way to areas of research or analysis to which we are drawn, as the mystery of human existence and mankind's ancient past is too big for any one individual to decode in its entirety.

Museums that influenced, continued: the 1979 exhibit of the treasures of Tutankhamun

In 1979 the exhibit of the treasures of the tomb of King Tutankhamun came to San Francisco's De Young Museum, at the end of a three-year tour of the United States.

I was nine or ten years old, and already completely enthralled by ancient Egypt (I had already been corrected for using up all the masking tape in my classroom to make mummies out of sticks in second or third grade a couple of years before). My parents took me to see the exhibit at the De Young museum, waiting for hours in an enormous line that snaked back and forth across the grounds leading up to the building where Tutankhamun's treasures were displayed.

The exhibit was of course magnificent, with room after room of statues, canopic jars, thrones, animals, and jewelry. The centerpiece of the exhibit was the golden funerary mask, one of the most exquisite relics of the ancient world in existence, and as stunning today as it must have been on the day it was sealed in the tomb over 3,300 years ago.

The mask was placed over the head and shoulders of the mummy itself, which was then placed inside three successive nested sarcophagi. This mask did not accompany the recent return of the exhibit to the United States in 2005.

A short news clip describing the exhibit from 1976 (when it was in Washington DC, prior to making its way across the country) can be found on YouTube, here.

Martin Doutré believes that the numbers of the stripes on the nemes headdress of the golden mask contain astronomical and calendrical significance. As he explains in this article from his website, the mask contains counts of 13, 14, and 26 stripes along the important portions of the nemes, some of them in blue lapis lazuli, some of them in gold, and one of them an ornate central gold band surmounted by the vulture and cobra.

Mr. Doutré puts forward some fascinating arguments that these numbers represent the number of 28-day months in a raw year of 364 days (13 months of 28 days equals 364), the number of days in a biweekly period (14), and the number of such biweekly periods in a 364-day year (26 biweekly periods of 14 days equals 364). He also notes that the total number of gold bands, 56, is the same number of post holes in the Aubrey Circle at Stonehenge, and relates to the calculation of Sabbatical Years, and that the total number of blue bands, 55, relates to the diameter of Silbury Hill and when multiplied by ten pi yields the precessional number 1728 (which is 24 times 72).

He also points out that the vulture atop the mask is not actually a vulture but a serpent with a vulture's head, which may have connections to the feathered serpents appearing frequently in ancient Central American statuary and mythology. His assertion that the ornate gold band associated with the two serpents may have equinoctial significance certainly rings true given the discussion of the symbology of the double solar spiral in this previous post, as well as the serpentine motion of the sun shown in the video linked in the third-to-last paragraph of this post.

Perhaps the most startling aspect of Mr. Doutré's argument is the assertion that the number of lines in the mask of King Tut may have a connection to the lines formerly found in the facial mokos of the Maori of Aotearoa New Zealand. In the post, he notes that these mokos very often had dark curving lines along the forehead of the subject which appear to be very similar in design to the lines of the nemes headdress. In fact, he also points out that many Maori mokos also feature a beautiful fleur-de-lys pattern in the middle of the forehead dividing the lines on the left and the right, which may be related to the double-serpents on the Tutankhamun mask. This insight is rather remarkable, and can be confirmed by a close examination of the paintings of actual Maori elders made during previous centuries.

Mr. Doutré also notes that there are a different number of dark blue stripes in the forehead portion of the Tutankhamun nemes on either side of the twin serpents -- five blue stripes on our left side if we are facing the mask, and four on the right. This fact can be perceived (barely) in the two screen shots from two YouTube videos of the Tutankhamun mask itself, below:

Above, the left side of the mask (as we face it) has five blue stripes of lapis lazuli above the forehead (numbered). For the original video of this, see here.

Below, the right side of the mask (as we face it) has four blue stripes of lapis lazuli above the forehead (numbered). For the original video of this, see here.

Mr. Doutré points out that the Maori mokos of the past often duplicated this imbalance in lines, and illustrates his point with a painting of a Maori man by English explorer and painter George French Angas (1822 - 1886). He notes that the moko in this painting has 13 dark lines and 14 lighter (non-tattooed) lines, which appear to correspond to the significant numbers found in the Tutankhamun mask, and to point to the same celestial significance. He also notes that the moko in the painting clearly has an additional dark band on one side of the forehead that is absent on the other side, just like the mask of Tutankhamun.

It must be pointed out that by no means did all mokos adhere to this pattern -- mokos were "as personal" to their owners "as a signature today," according to this web page discussing the portraits of Maori men and women done by Gottfried Lindauer (1839 - 1926). Many of the portraits he did, which can be seen online at this website (which also includes an excellent "zoom" feature allowing you to zoom in with high resolution onto the portraits), have the same number of tattooed bands on either side of the forehead (most often four on the right and four on the left). However, some do appear to have an uneven number, such as the portrait of Tamati Waka Nene (#48 of 69 in the gallery) and the portrait of Ratene Hihitawa (#40 of 69 in the gallery; this one is more difficult to ascertain whether the bands on either side of the forehead are different in number or not). Whatever the details of their mokos (and some do not have facial tattoos at all), all of the portraits are deeply moving for the way they convey the powerful dignity of their subjects.

Some might argue that the large number of mokos in that gallery that have symmetrical numbers of bands on the forehead disproves Mr. Doutré's argument, but it is certainly possible that by the late 1800s some elements of the moko that were present previously were no longer emphasized. Certainly the central pattern resembling a fleur-de-lys or caduceus is present on some mokos and not on others, and appears to have been ignored for most of the mokos, but this does not diminish the clear parallels with the twin serpents atop the Tutankhamun mask for the mokos in which it is in fact present.

Further, this observation of Mr. Doutré is by no means the only evidence he has found of some contact between the Maoris and the descendents of a very ancient civilization -- see some of the discussion in this previous post, for example. One possible source of this contact might have been the descendents of an ancient civilization that visited New Zealand in the centuries before Christ and stayed there until the Polynesian seafarers arrived in the 1200s AD; the recently-discovered skull of the Ruamahanga Woman represents another very strong piece of evidence in favor of that possibility. Certainly the Maori have many cultural characteristics in common with the Polynesian cultures elsewhere in the Pacific, but they also have other cultural characteristics that are completely unique, and may represent some contact with another culture that is overlooked by conventional history.

All these fascinating possibilities were completely unknown to me when I visited the treasures of the tomb of King Tutankhamun in 1979, but that visit made a lasting impression on me, and I am thankful to this day for the memory of it.

The Solar Double Spiral

The ancient symbol of the double spiral appears to be closely related to the sun's path throughout the year, and to incorporate the subtle complexities created by the obliquity of the ecliptic and the eccentricity of earth's orbit.

In his books The Stars and the Stones: Ancient Art and Astronomy in Ireland, archaeoastronomer and artist Martin Brennan provides compelling evidence that the double spiral is related to the changes in the sun's path throughout the year.

He notes that the shadows cast by a gnomon throughout the year will create a straight line east-west on the equinoxes, but that on the solstices the shadow's path will actually trace out two hyperbolas (this phenomenon is discussed in a previous post here). Brennan explains how this fact may lead to the double spiral design:
At summer solstice the shadows are shortest and the arc is concave. At winter solstice the shadows are longest and the arc is convex. In archaic astronomy, these were known as the 'horns of the solstice.' At equinox the shadow is straight. If the shadows of the sun are correlated over the period of one year in chronological order following their curvature they form a double spiral. In winter the spiral is counter-clockwise and the coils are wide. The shadows begin to straighten as equinox approaches, and after equinox they begin to wind into a clockwise spiral and tighten. They contract until the summer solstice, straighten again at equinox and return to a left-handed spiral again in winter to continue the process perpetually.

The Boyne Valley artists developed the double spiral and displayed it prominently. Recently, an American artist, Charles Ross, arrived at a double spiral in a controlled experiment documenting the sun's path through the year. Using a stationary focused magnifying glass, he placed wooden planks in a fixed position for 366 consecutive days. The sun's rays burned a pattern in the planks which when graphed showed a precisely executed double spiral. 190.
The burned planks on which Charles Ross has performed this experiment can be seen in this photograph on his website, and the spiral pattern can be seen inlaid on the floor of the gallery (click on the third image from the left at the very bottom of that webpage).

Charles Ross has also created three-dimensional solar art called Star Axis in the desert of New Mexico, including a "shadow field" which illustrates the shadow paths throughout the year from one solstice to the other. By visiting this excellent webpage about the project, visitors can select the winter solstice, summer solstice, or equinox position, and then press "play" to see an animation of the shadow movement on those important annual earth-sun positions (to reach the animations, follow the link above and then click "Solar Pyramid and Shadow Field" in the central horizontal menu bar; next click the link which reads "Shadow Field" in the text portion of the page).

This graceful annual solar motion is also related to the analemma pattern created by the earth's tilt, which causes the ecliptic path to move back and forth across the celestial equator throughout the year (crossing at the equinoxes, as discussed in this previous post and elaborated in greater detail in the Mathisen Corollary book). The other phenomenon which causes the analemma's shape to look the way it does is the eccentricity of earth's eliptical orbit, which causes the earth to speed up as it "falls towards" the sun on its way to perihelion around January 4th each year and to slow down as it "rises away" from the sun on its way to aphelion around July 4th each year. Because the earth is moving faster in its orbit on some parts of its orbit, the sun does not "make it" to the anticipated point (for instance, the culmination point or "high noon" point) at the same time on days when the earth is moving faster as it speeds towards perihelion (because it is still spinning at the same rate, an observer on earth will perceive the sun as lagging a little from one day to the next at the same exact time).

The celestial mechanics surrounding the graceful figure-eight shape of the analemma are thoroughly and superlatively explained in the series of pages and animations in this website from Bob Urschel (use the small blue arrows at the bottom of each page to go to the next page -- it will require looking at all of the pages and videos to fully understand this complex process). The video which shows the sun's ecliptic path moving over and under the celestial equator throughout the year, and tracing out the figure-eight analemma as it does so, can be seen here. The first successful photographic record of the analemma, along with arcs showing the sun's path on the solstices and one equinox, can be seen here.

Having established the connection of the double spiral to the graceful annual motion of the sun from one solstice to the other and the equinoxes in between, we can then note the presence of this powerful symbol around the globe. As has already been noted in the citations from Martin Brennan, it can be found in the petroglyphs adorning the megalithic architecture of the Boyne River Valley in Ireland (where the passage mounds have clear alignments to the solstices, equinoxes, and cross-quarter days). It is also found in the New World, such as in the double spiral shape pictured at top which is carved into Fajada Butte in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.

We have also noted the presence of spiral patterns on the faces of some of the Tocharian mummies of the Tarim Basin. Martin Doutré has made a convincing argument that this very same solar double-spiral pattern found on the faces of some of the Urumqi mummies is directly related to the double-spiral pattern found in many of the mokos or facial tattoos of the Maoris of Aotearoa -- scroll down to the section entitled "Origins of the Early Maori Moko (Facial Tattoo)." For a powerful example of the double spiral, which was often seen crossing the bridge of the nose in men, as well as along the cheekbones and in other areas of the mokos, see this beautiful portrait of Maori Chief Wi Te Wanewha by Gottfried Lindauer (1839 - 1926).

The presence of the double spiral among the ancient inhabitants of Ireland, the Tarim Basin in China, Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, and Aotearoa or New Zealand can of course be explained by independent and isolated observation of the solar patterns, although it must be admitted that this pattern is extremely subtle and not at all inherently obvious from a casual observation of the arcing hyperbolas of the gnomon's shadow field. It is also possible to explain its widespread appearance as a result of ancient trans-oceanic contact and migration. If it were the only data point to support such a theory, it would not be very strong, but taken together with the extensive other data points which exist in mythology and archaeology, it is a noteworthy addition to the debate.

Finally, William Lasseter has some interesting musings about the possible connection of the serpentine double-spiral to the twisting, spiraling dragons which appear in art and tradition the world over, including in Europe in a blog post here. Interestingly enough, that post also includes the page from Martin Brennan's book explaining and illustrating the double spiral that is quoted above in this post, as well as some very insightful literary analysis of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. For readers who are interested in Tolkien and the connection to the subject of the celestial phenomena, be sure to check out this post about the connections between the crucially important constellation of Orion and the elven king Earendil.