Sunday, October 27, 2019

Magical Mysterious Cats



Illustration for Puss 'n Boots


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



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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

There are many common expressions about cats:

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Yggdrasil, the original Tree of Life


Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow - M. Snyder
As humans have done throughout history our ancestors created and used symbols to express complicated or mysterious concepts, like the natural cycles of life. Animals often eat in the shelter or shade of trees, leaving what they do not want to “melt” slowly into the ground. Animals also die under trees, their remains melting into the ground, nourishing the trees. Thus nourished, the trees grow and bloom, again providing shelter and food for the animals. The ancients noticed this cycle - death providing food for the tree, which in turn thrives and provides food for life - and a symbol was born.

Yggdrasil  (the Cosmic Tree, later the World Tree or Tree of Life) represents the link between Heaven, Earth, and the Underworld, uniting Above and Below. The trunk of the tree, or Axis Mundi, symbolizes the path between the material and spiritual realms; a sort of life line (the path of nourishment). The children’s poem Rock-a-bye Baby comes from this mythology - the baby is suspended from the branches of the tree, between Heaven and Earth (in the path of nourishment), to be blessed and protected. This practice, hanging the baby from tree branches, developed while the parents worked in the field and tended herds of pigs (which would attack a baby). The precious babies, hanging from a branch, were safe from animals while the adults were busy.

The Cosmic Tree, like the Axis Mundi, is considered to be at the center of the world, at the junction between the home of the gods, the realm of men, and the underworld (Heaven, Earth, and Hell). All sacred and holy places, temples and sanctuaries, are an assimilation of this symbolic archetype. In Christian depictions, Yggdrasil is two trees: the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life.


Symbols of Yggdrasil are found world-wide, from prehistory to the present. The ancient tree, with roots deep underground, a trunk through which flows nourishment for life, and branches which spread out in the heavens, is considered the giver of blessings. Yggdrasil is also a giver of spiritual wisdom; Odin received the gift of language, and Buddha his enlightenment from this tree.

The Allerød Yggdrasil from c. 9000 BC is the ancestor of our Norse, Celtic, Hebrew, Vedic, Christian, and Mohammedan Tree of Life. Yggdrasil symbolizes the origin and cycles of life and death, and attributes them to something beyond the corporeal world. Trees also bear seeds and fruit, which regenerate both trees and Earth; from this the tree has become a symbol of immortality. Yggdrasil is guarded by fearsome beings such as dragons, fiery serpents, or angels with swords of fire.

Allerod Yggdrasil, 9000 BC
Trans: Duncan-Enzmann
Yggdrasil images are still created and used to express that which is best communicated symbolically.  Archetypal psychologist James Hillman points out that the soul reveals itself through images.  Religious sequence throughout the world is the same - from chaos to birth, life, and death, then dissolution back to chaos and reconfiguration. The image of the ancient tree Yggdrasil symbolizes this process. The similarity of these images indicates commonality in the mythologies they represent. Family “trees” showing genealogy imply the same flow of life through the generations of those related by family ties. 

Michelle Paula Snyder, MPhil Divinity


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

Symbologist Michelle Snyder
Non-Fiction - Symbology:

Symbology: Decoding Symbols through History
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered
Symbology: Art and Symbols
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: ReVision
Symbology: World of Symbols
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids

Michelle Paula Snyder
Fiction – Fantasy Wonder Tales:

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

Saturday, March 16, 2019

The Fourth Dimension of Masonry


Jay R. Snyder, MM

The Rule, Square, Compasses, Plumb, and Pillars are symbols with speculative meanings in their own right, to guide a Mason's conduct. Together in operative application this system of symbols captures a progressive process of scientific observation. The applied logic of these symbols teaches ancient math and physics necessary for building with stone, and for navigation. Earlier than Solomon's Temple, the Great Pyramids, Baalbek, or newly discovered (1994) Gobekli Tepe, the origins of scientific measurement are found throughout Europe, before the Dryas II Ice Age, and migrate southward after. Like the very first stone hammer used two million years ago, these symbols of fundamental science are much older than chartered lodges, yet they are unique to this ancient fraternity. The symbols used exclusively in Masonic lodges today carry these ancient principles through times-past into time-to-be.

1. The First Dimension - The Rule 
Observing of the physical universe begins at a single point. A point doesn't have any height, width, depth, or volume, yet it provides basis for observation. Without the one-point origin, lines, circles, and spheres cannot exist. The single point is the first dimension where metric origins begin. Our iris radiates around the center-point of our pupil - the original point of observation, the eye of the observer from which our vision radiates - encompassing panoramic landscapes or focusing on a single star twinkling red overhead. Through the lens of a microscope or telescope, the all-seeing eye watches from a single point. 

The Rule measures a one-dimensional, sequential, span. Between an original point and any second point is a line of infinite points in one dimension (height, width, or depth).  From an original point, infinite one-dimensional lines radiate straight-out in all directions, like rays of light from a star. Each line can be gauged with a Rule and measured in the first dimension.

2. The Second Dimension - The Square and Compasses
A third point makes a triangle of three one-dimensional lines, a two-dimensional plane, and an area. Perpendicular centerlines that divide the plane into quadrants are called the x axis (horizontal), and the y axis (vertical). Any point on that plane can be plotted by using the Square to gauge the distances from each centerline. 

A two-dimensional circular plot is pie-sliced into parts by radiating lines from its center point.  Any point on the plane can be plotted by measuring the distance from the center point, and the angle from its centerline. The Compasses circumscribe all radiating lines on the plane with a circle, and can then divide the arc into equal parts. Anchoring the centerline to the north creates a benchmark for headings. Direction can be navigated from the center point, or eye of the observer, toward any azimuth point with the Square and Compasses.

Dividing the circle by 360° gives direction and heading, and is conveniently similar to the solar, lunar, and planetary orbits. It has long been discovered that by far the most practical division of a circle is into 360 equal parts - evenly divisible by 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 24, 30, 36, 40, 45, 60, 72, 90, 120, 180, and 360. In a two-dimensional plane with the north centerline at zero (or 360) degrees, east is square at 90°, south is opposite north at 180°, and west is on the level with east at 270°. These are cardinal 2D principles carried from generation to generation in Masonic fraternity and ritual.

3. The Third Dimension - The Plumb
A fourth point, off the plane, creates four distinct triangular planes, all connected, whose areas enclose a three-dimensional volume, or space. The fourth point can be plotted with a second radial plane, with a plum-line (z axis) that passes through the center point of the first radial plane. The third dimension can be observed with these two perpendicular radial planes defining a three-dimensional spherical volume, or space, with an equator and meridians.

4. The Fourth Dimension - The Two Pillars
The additional point added for the fourth dimension is not a point in space, but a point in time. The first point in time, or beginning, is the origin from which change can be observed; change that can be measured, not in dimension, but in duration against its origin (Duncan-Enzmann).  The rotation of a three-dimensional sphere around its plumb-line axis is a change or movement in the fourth dimension.

As in the beginning, an original point in time doesn't have any height, width, depth, or volume, yet it provides a basis for a timed observation of change in the physical universe. A span in time, as in a span in line, requires two points. Between two points in time, the beginning and the end, is an observable, measurable fourth dimension - change. This two-point, binary (on/off), toggle system of measurement can be observed as bright stars cross a dark sky against a pair of parallel, perpendicular pillars. The fourth dimension - time marked by change - is measured by observation of the heavens through the Masonic pillars of Strength and Wisdom. 

From the original point of observation, as stars move between the two pillars, the binary-time span is proved by operative tools measuring all four dimensions, height, width, depth, and time span. The ancient principles of scientific observation, dimension, and metrology are represented by the images we commonly call Masonic Symbols. 

Jay R Snyder, MM, Meridian Lodge, Natick, MA
Editor of Ice Age Language: Translations, Grammar, Vocabulary
Now available at Amazon: 


Translations of ice age inscriptions by Dr. Robert Duncan-Enzmann, compiled, edited, and published by J. Robert Snyder, White Knight Studio. An extraordinary look into our prehistoric past, provided by more than 1,000 extant ice age inscriptions from Gönnersdorf, Germany, ca. 12,500 BC, now translated to reveal their exquisite stories and hidden history. 




Friday, January 18, 2019

Why Lost Civilizations Matter


SHOWN: Rx symbol 12,500 BC, Gonnersdorf, Germany. Translated Duncan-Enzmann: Medicine Lady and Her Medicine.

For decades I have followed the trail left by symbol-makers who practiced their craft in what we call prehistory. Here it is that a language of pictures was used to record the lives and knowledge of a civilization long since obscured by those that followed. As I first began to discover the origin of these images I experienced a sense of wonder and excitement as a revelation of our ancient world emerged. The story told by this picture-language is that of an intelligent and extraordinarily resourceful culture, one that studied the stars, built observatories, survived ice ages, and voyaged on the oceans.

Symbology is the study of images and symbols in context, and the decoding of their origin and meaning. Context is all about geography, history, climate, and timeline. Context helps us determine whether an interpretation is likely to be correct or not. Take cave men for example. First of all, during the Ice Age there were few caves. But that is the smallest problem. It is easily 70 degrees below zero, and lighting a fire in a cave would not be smart. You would not generate enough heat to warm the cave with any opening, and if you blocked off the opening you would die of carbon monoxide poisoning. So I asked myself - how did they survive? That they did is obvious, we are here.

The realization that there were no such thing as “cave men” began to create doubt as to other things I had been taught. I experienced a paradigm shift, and began to ask questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how? These questions plagued my mind, and I had to find the answers the only way I knew how – by researching and comparing the origin of more symbols, in context, to find their meaning. Knowledge comes in stages. I discovered that my geography was sadly lacking. Is it too much to ask that we at least know where things are on this rock called Earth? After all, we live here.
12,500 BC, Plans for a Paleolithic House, Gonnersdorf, Germany

I consulted regularly with Dr. Duncan-Enzmann, who has translated inscriptions from the Paleolithic Ice Age. Among the translations is one for how to build a house. A triple walled house, with a fireplace vented under the house to circulate outside air into the pit to be warmed and mix with the air in the house. But that would not be enough to keep a family warm in fifty below zero weather. They also had heating stones, like the bed warmers of the pioneer days. Still not enough. Dr. Duncan-Enzmann shared with me inscriptions showing records of weaving, of looms, of collecting eider duck down, and quilting clothing. I began to see why they survived.

Shown: A lady (stick figure) with a shuttle in her hand standing in front of an upright weighted-warp loom, with her oil lamp and three lumps of fuel. 12,500 BC, Gonnersdorf, Germany, translated Duncan-Enzmann. 

The next question now is: why isn’t this known? Does it matter?, you might ask. I believe it does. Our perception of who we are today is affected greatly by what we believe history to have been. Be cautious – winners write history. So how do we know what is true? Look for yourself at what is there. Pictures tell us a great deal. Why bother, you might be thinking; I am concerned about my future, and the future of my family. But it is important. Our knowledge of the past is the foundation of the present. And our vision for the future depends upon our understanding of today. Learn about the past, and build a better future.  

I have spent decades researching and writing the story these ancient pictures are telling. This knowledge is powerful for many more reasons: Knowledge is a catalyst for personal growth, and knowledge shields us against lies and deceit. There is something uplifting about knowing that our ancestors were intelligent and industrious. They named the days of the week eight thousand years ago, and we still use the names. What has been forgotten is why those names, and why in that order? There were good reasons. Why is a good question to ask. Why is Venus female? Why is there a Gorgon in the center of the Aztec calendar? Why did we teach generations of people that the Earth was flat when its circumference had been measured before 6000 BC? Why don’t our latest generation of college students know about the Hudson Bay Slush Out (6000 BC) and its effect on the European waters like the Black and Caspian Seas? Those two bodies of water were once connected, and that affected where humans could have been and how they got there not to mention subsequent history.

Perhaps you, like me, are also intrigued by the megalithic structures that mysteriously dot our landscape, or by civilizations that just disappeared without any record of why, or by stories and legends of places that might have been. Symbols are the door to this information. Decoding symbols, myths, legends, folklore, and fairy tales is the key to open the door. Many symbols are the records left by the people who built Gobekli Tepi and then buried it. This civilization was thousands of years old, and we can piece together their history by decoding the images they made. A good start is to know what the world was like geographically and geologically, and what the climate was.

It all begins by asking: who, what, when, where, why, how. Context is crucial for accurate translation. 


Michelle Paula Snyder, MPhil Divinity


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

Symbologist Michelle Snyder
Non-Fiction - Symbology:

Symbology: Decoding Classic Images
Symbology: Decoding Symbols through History
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered
Symbology: Art and Symbols
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: ReVision
Symbology: World of Symbols
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids

Michelle Paula Snyder
Fiction – Fantasy Wonder Tales:

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