Thursday, December 13, 2018

Tis the Season

Noel - Michelle Snyder
Many traditions and mythologies tell of the birth of a special divine child. Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ as told of in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The birth of the sun-god is an ancient event; male gods such as Shamash, Ra, Horus, Tonatiuh, Taiyang Shen, Mithras, Krishna, Surya, and Abraxas all tell the story of the mighty sun that gives us life. In prehistory until about 3000 BC, the sun was represented by a beautiful female named Helen; like the sun, females bring forth life. The Magdalenian culture of 12,500 BC symbolized the sun with the sun child - their precious blonde daughters. As millennia passed the sun child grew to become a maiden, a queen, then a goddess, Helen. 

Christmas is the celebration of the birth of a child. A Paleolithic calendric for human reproduction from c. 12,500 BC instructs that babies be conceived in spring, to be born around winter solstice. Winter babies had the best chance of survival: Families stayed inside, and newborns got a maximum of attention. Babies who were born in spring were exposed to pollen in the air and in mother’s milk, producing more people with allergies. Summer produced a high percentage of colic babies who had to compete for parental care with hunting and building activities; the preparations for the approaching glacial weather were paramount. Fall babies risked animal worms, viruses, and bacteria, which in winter would be uncommon. For them, winter solstice was a time to celebrate the birth of babies – all babies. Every life was precious and insured the survival of the human race through the iron cold ice age. The birth of babies became associated with the return of the sun, the light of life. 

Winter Solstice Cross
Michelle Snyder
Festivals celebrating the return of the light have been traditional for millennia. Even thousands of years ago our ancestors knew what we know today: that on December 21st the sun reaches its lowest point on the horizon at the Tropic of Capricorn. The golden ball of light lingers at the bottom of the analemma for three days, then rises again toward the Tropic of Cancer. Many symbols have grown from this event. One is the Celtic cross; a symbol for winter solstice. Its predecessor, the equal-armed (+) cross, appeared tens of thousands of years ago as a symbol for direction: north, south, east, and west. Over time one arm of the cross was lengthened to designate which arms were which; the extended arm of the cross denoting south. The circle of the Celtic Cross (more accurately an ellipse) where it intersects the southern arm symbolizes the position of the sun at the winter solstice, its other intersections being equinoxes and summer solstice. This beautiful image is a popular decoration in homes during the Festival of Lights which is celebrated around the world. Hindu Diwali, Buddhist Tazaungdaing, Jewish Hanukkah, and Christian Christmas are all holy days associated with this time of year; some according to the lunar calendar. Sacred candles and lights on trees, bushes, houses, and in windows reflect the anticipation of the return of the sunlight.  

Another tradition of Christmas time is Santa Claus, most commonly associated with Saint Nicholas, an historic fourth century saint. Many miracles were attributed to his intercession, and because of that he became known as “Nikolaos the Wonderworker.” He also had a reputation for secret gift-giving, which many conclude made him the model for Santa Claus.

Further back in history, as far back as 45,000 years, we find another root for Santa Claus: a Paleolithic Siberian reindeer herder. Duncan-Enzmann tells of this character in Ice Age Language. The reindeer herder traded in reindeer hides, which are both warm and waterproof. He delivered his good by sled, often being charitable to those in need. 


Whatever your tradition is this season, remember that a smile, a kind word, and a warm hug are gifts that money cannot buy. Whether you are young or old, warm or cold, winter solstice is the longest night of the year. It signals longer days, more light, and warmer weather, all encouraging new life. That is a reason to celebrate. 

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


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

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


A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book three The Lost Dragon

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Symbols of the Lost Secrets


by Jay R Snyder, PM, PP 

Freemasonry uses a symbol system of stone-masons' tools to teach allegorical secrets. These masons' tool symbols are also analog symbols of sequential processes used in the Quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy). The science of metrology (measurements) has been recorded on bone, stone, ivory, abri, and cavern walls for a very long time - measurements of time, distance, weights, volume, and direction. Some analog secrets are lost secrets, either lost to remembrance or destruction; or, secrets can be revealed. Knowledge that we all share today was, once upon a time, a well guarded secret, and for good reason. The knowledge of measuring the elements was a distinct advantage, used for surviving the ice ages by maintaining order and nurturing newborns. Without it they all would perish. Calendars and maps were imperative for knowing when and where to acquire the necessary materials for weaving, food, housing, and child care, yet we hardly ever hear of the contributions women made to our survival as a species when temps were 50° below zero. 

Writings of 14,500 years ago tell of continental language and measurement systems in place before the last ice age of Dryas II, and most everything was recorded by women. The skills necessary to provide clothing and care for children is an all-encompassing task in an iron-cold ice age. Most records are of cardinals depicting the process of providing adequate textiles - and these nearly surpass the numbers of records about providing the raw materials. Today's basic necessities of human life were still basic necessities for all these hundreds of twenty-year generations. Births require eternal vigilance, creating needs and purpose for provision. I dare say love as we know it is alive and well no matter what the climate - and surviving the Elements is always the key to success. Women have been teaching grammar, rhetoric, logic, medicine, and trades to their children all along. Therefore, brothers, "women and children first." 

The heavens were observed as being the same everywhere, and the only constant from which any measure could be calculated. Calendars etched in bone found in Bilzingsleben, Germany are dated to 350,000 BC. Recently discovered networks of ancient language and measurements stretch for thousands of miles across land and sea. Trading requires knowing weights and measures, and traveling means knowing times, distance, and direction. Rightly dividing a Circumpunct (or a sphere) by angles from its center point (being the observer) is the secret of navigation. Masters of metrology were able to travel great distances using calendars and maps, and knew how to return with valuable materials in time for winter preparations. Travelling with materials for trade provides a variety of advantages for a local clans' survival. Common knowledge of astronomy was essential for each one's survival during an ice age. 

There are dozens of ancient observatory sites, strategically and sequentially connected, from Iberia to the Urals, south through Mesopotamia and Palestine into Egypt, across Africa to Morocco, including the Azores - with their engineering secrets lost. A giant stone observatory was recently excavated at Gobekli Tepe, Turkey (1998) that had been buried since c. 7800 BC to conceal its location. Stone masons provided the tools and measurements for building great observatories from which to develop continental utilities for their industries. Stones provide a benchmark to the heavens, and the heavens in return provide the measures. Stones that are level (Baalbek) provide a constant horizon from which to measure, stones that are plumb (menhirs) provide a gauge of elevation, and parallel pillars measure the passing of stars (time). 

A complete set of tools is essential for three-dimensional observations; symbols of them surround Freemasons. While the compass, the level, and the square measure two-dimensions (x, y), the plumb adds the third "z-axis" to define space (x, y, z). Square is toward the east at 90°, and is the first of four equally-measured points around the proof of the compass. The south is plumb, opposite the north (zenith), and at 180° it is the perpendicular "axis mundi" of the geological and celestial spheres. West is level, opposite the east at 270°, and north is placed in darkness at 0°, cycling around in a royal arch between Polaris (Ursa Minor) and Deneb (Cygnus) every 13,000 years. 

Freemasonry formed within the past few centuries, but the tools stone masons used for an entire Great Year formed the foundations our world, and survive today as symbols in Freemasonic ritual. These measurement-system secrets have been passed on to us by symbols and oral traditions, and we are charged to preserve them for the next generation. Old generations provide foundations that new generations may improve, from wooden observatories to stone, from analog to digital, from earth to the moon and back, and may soon bring us to the very stars we've measured since long ago.


Jay R Snyder, WM Meridian Lodge, Natick, MA
Co-Author of Ice Age Language: Translations, Grammar, Vocabulary. 





Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Color of Magic and the Evil Eye

Belief that a supernatural power ruled over life and destiny led to superstitions of magic, sorcery, and divination. Divine gods rewarded our virtue and demons cursed our lives. Supplication of gods drove the building of temples, spurred good works, created prayers and ceremonies. But averting evil took magic through rituals, incantations, talismans, charms – and color. Gods used them as well – Marduk, a Babylonian god, carried a red stone between his teeth to ward off demonic influences. Christians wore the crucifix to defy the red Satan. Color was effective in invoking spirits, both good and evil, and has been part of nearly every ritual and ceremony. This included colored ink, paper, thread, ribbon, fabric, and plants.

One widespread superstitious fear was of the evil eye, which cursed a man with one glance. It is held that this curse was from the power of envy transferred from the viewer to the viewed. The cursed would be beset by misfortune, insanity, or disease. It went about wrecking their lives, loves, fortunes, and labors. To avoid the curse of envy, some would hide their success and health, dress their beautiful children in grunge, and go about as if there was nothing to envy. (It would seem this practice has not died out – grunge has been a popular fashion style for decades.) Hindu mothers put daubs of black on the foreheads and eyelids of their babes and tied a piece of white or blue cloth on the dress. 

Talismans were designed to ward off the effects of the wicked eye, and color was important in their power. Some charms in Persia had a bit of turquoise in them. In Jerusalem the defense was a “hand of might” which was always blue, and worn as a bracelet. Scottish new-born babes had a piece of red ribbon tied around their neck. In England rings or amulets of red chalcedony were the talisman of choice. Italians used pieces of coral. In Cairo pottery beads were sold to caravans, and were tied to the forehead of the camels. In this way the gaze of the evil eye would be attracted to the beads, sparing the animals. Brass ornaments which decorate the harnesses of cart horses and shire stallions, and the brass horns rising from their collars, began as amulets intended to protect the animals from the wicked evil eye. Over time these powerful amulets degenerated into mere ornaments. 

Color is and always has been important in magic. Magic formulas were usually written in red, as it is in the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Color had great power to resist evil and overthrow demons. When natural red stones were used and no fading took place, the power was greater. This reverence for color was not for beauty or aesthetic reasons. Rings, bracelets, and necklaces had meanings as a practical religious strategy. Some amulets of certain gems and colors blessed their wearer, bringing favor from gods and connecting them with divine beings. Color brought success to commerce, prevented disease, protected travelers by providing safety from shipwreck, lightening, and animal attack. Color even assured a wonderful harvest and managed the elements for beneficial results. The preferred colors for amulets were red, blue, yellow, green and white. Red amulets protected wearers from fire and lightening, and treated disease. Violet stones attracted virtue and faith. When worn by children, the stones assured heaven’s watchfulness, and encouraged obedience to parents. 

Yellow stones attracted prosperity and instilled happiness. Green stones were connected to nature, causing fertility in man and animal. They brought rain and general strength. White stones were thought to come from heaven and bring its protection. For an all-purpose powerful gem, seek out a brown agate – it promises victory to the warrior, favor to the lover in his lady’s eyes, intelligence, happiness, health, and long life. What more is there? 

Belief in color as a powerful force has faded away. Magic, sorcery, and divination survive today in the fortune tellers, crystal gazers, and spiritualists. Once divine, the supernatural has degenerated into so-called black arts. Amulets and esoteric rites were forbidden by Christianity, and only creatures of the devil practiced them. These were labeled witches and fiends, and were persecuted severely, accused of denying faith to practice sorcery. Yet before Christianity reached its height progressing through a period of tortuous inquisition and reformation, magic was often confused with it. Humans were mystic and penitent beings to whom color and god were one, a reverence rooted in the ancient knowledge that the sun brings life, and the light of the sun was powerful color. Today many holistic healers used colored light in their practice.

image: facebookcover.com


Symbologist Michelle 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.

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








Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Magical Talisman

Queen of Sheba gives Solomon a PentacleKonrad Witz (1400-1446)



Many philosophical and religious discussions come against the talisman. But none succeed. Christianity condemns them and yet crucifixes and rosaries perform the same function as talismans. Gods come and go, but talismans remain. Even a most academic and rational soul carries a good luck charm or a rabbit’s foot which he cherishes. Talismans and instructions as to how to make them have been discovered in many ancient sites. Talismans are evident in all occult traditions. 

Some talismans are created only to do harm, but most are designed to protect against evil forces. Every religion, tradition, and belief system has its talismans. As time passed, they have become so intertwined that tracing individual origins is all but impossible. The magical amulets come in all shapes and sizes – rings, jewels, paper, gardens, even animals. The painting “Spring” by Botticelli was reputed to be a talisman.

Precious stones are formed by powerful natural forces. This makes them natural talismans, and they are used as such in all cultures.  Because of their presence on the garments of the high priests, Christians readily adopted the tradition and use of precious stones as talismans. Many ancient documents state that stones and crystals have healing properties. Modern science has discovered that each stone has a unique vibration pattern which can help stabilize the functions, or malfunctions, of the human brain, which also emits vibrations.

There are different ways of using amulets for various ailments. From writings of the 1600’s we learn that an emerald worn on the person controls lust,  strengthens the memory, and blesses ones rhetoric. Rubies and carbuncles provide protection from plague and poison, and increase gifts of fortune. They can also reconcile persons in a lawsuit. Sapphires produce peacefulness, amiability, and piety. When angry or lying persons hold a diamond in their mouth, these traits are cured. Topaz neutralizes any poisonous liquid, and pearls cure headaches.

For a talisman to have any power it must be engraved with a mark, symbol, or sign. DeGivry found these directions in a manuscript from 1671:

“A talisman is nothing else than the seal, figure, character, or image of a celestial omen, planet, or constellation; impressed, engraved, or sculptured upon a sympathetic stone or upon a metal corresponding to the planet; by a workman whose mind is settled and fixed upon his work and the end of his work without being distracted or dissipated in other unrelated thoughts; on the day and at the hour of the planet; in a fortunate place; during fair, calm weather, and when the planet is in the best aspect that may be in the heavens, the more strongly to attract the influences proper to an effect depending upon the power of the same and on the virtues of its influences.”
That in itself is a tall order, making a true talisman rare and exceedingly valuable. There is a difference between magnetized and unmagnetized talismans. To magnetize the amulet, it must be the right substance, and engraved at a propitious time by a focused artisan who keeps his mind on the work at hand.  You can have a talisman for each day of the week. Like all effective amulets, they must be engraved on the day’s corresponding metals – on gold for the sun, etc. The correct one for each day must be worn.

Some talismans are so useful that if they were generally used they would improve our world considerably. They have most useful powers. One provides protection for you, even late at night in the most cut-throat part of town. Legend says that even in a fight you will not be hurt and your opponents weapons will be turned against him. Another protects against accidents on Saturday – Saturday being an evil day against which one needs protection. Others help you acquire a good memory (is that a memory that works well? Or a memory that is pleasant to recall…). This talisman must be inscribed on Hyena parchment, which should not be too difficult to procure.

Then there are fortune talismans. One depicts Fortuna standing on a globe. Any research of talismans brings up the name Catherine de Medici. Her propensity for the occult is well known. She owned a now famous amulet, made to impart sovereign governance and knowledge of the future.  A very well-known image is called Solomon’s Seal, although you may not recognize it as a talisman. It is made of two overlapping triangles which form a hexagram. The divine name (tetragrammaton) is inscribed in the center. The information we now have about the origin of this magic amulet may add to what we know about talismans in general. 

Hexagons are six-sided shapes. Evident on the crust of the earth, in the formation of rocks, dried corn, and snowflakes, they are formed by pressure from the outside. This is the basis of the “hex”: subjects of the “hex” find themselves surrounded by pressure. Hexagrams of overlapping triangles were used in the days of Solomon to contain evil spirits, trapped by the surrounding pressure. (Pentagons are formed from stretching – pressure from within pushing out.)

A hexagram is a six pointed star composed of two overlapped triangles. The beginnings of the hexagram are seen as far back as 77,000 years, with an upward pointing triangle symbolizing winter solstice sunrise and sunset. By 14,500 BC, summer  and winter solstice sunrises and sunset s were represented with overlapping triangles, one pointing up, one down (Duncan-Enzmann).


1) Blombos solar V, winter solstice, 77,000 BC. 2) Lascaux (14,500 BC) summer solstice. 3) summer/winter solstice .
According to Christopher Knight, as he states in “Solomon’s Power Brokers,” the hexagram known as the Solomon’s Seal, or the Star of David, has roots not only in ancient astronomical observation, but observations done at a particular place, at the latitude of Jerusalem. There is another talisman worn by Jewish children during Bar Mitzva called Shaddai. It is a round metal badge inscribed with that name, and it is of very ancient tradition. Christian Cabalists and magian sorcerers all obtained them. A talisman depicting a hand-drawn Solomon’s Seal was taken off the body of Anslem, Bishop of Wurzburg, Count of Ingelheim; he was an adept in alchemy, and was found dead in his bed.

Many legends have been told about the Mandrake, a natural talisman. The plant we know is probably not the same plant in the Scriptures (dudaim, or love plant), mentioned in Genesis and Song of Solomon. Legend records that it was of Venus, and could make barren women fertile. Some believe it was Ginseng, which has fertility enhancing properties. All writers of the Middle Ages mention that there is a male, and a female plant - its name is likely because the roots are said to resemble tiny humans. Some believed the plant was demonic, as it could reveal knowledge of the future, by shaking their heads when questioned. They were featured in the Harry Potter movies, mentioned by Shakespeare and Machiavelli, and sung about by John Donne.




Symbologist Michelle 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.

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