DECODING THE FLEUR DE LIS
THE ORIGIN AND MEANING OF THE FLEUR-DE-LIS
ENCODED IN PRE-COLUMBIAN ART
By Carl de Borhegyi copyright 2012
Although the symbol known as the Fleur-de-Lis is perhaps best known through its association with French royalty, its origin in the New World, as I discovered is of far greater antiquity.
The prevailing anthropological view of ancient New World history is that its indigenous peoples developed their own complex cultures independent of outside influence or inspiration. Suggestions that there may have been contacts between the continents prior to the age of European expansion have been generally dismissed as either fanciful, racist, or demeaning. While I in no way dispute the capabilities of New World peoples to develop their own brilliant civilizations independently of the Old, I do suggest that it may be equally demeaning to dismiss their ability to develop the technology necessary to convert their oceans into highways far earlier than has been generally accepted. We know that early humans reached Australia by boat as early as 50,000 years ago. Every year brings a greater awareness and understanding of the sea faring abilities of the ancient Indians, Chinese, Polynesians, and other seafaring peoples. After viewing the visual evidence presented below, readers of this study may wish to challenge the prevailing view of New World history with a more open-minded acknowledgement of the ability of our ancestors to explore their world and disperse their intellectual baggage to its far corners.
Above is a close up view of a Classic Period (200-650 C.E.) Maya ceramic incense burner from the ancient city of Palenque, in Chiapas Mexico. The incense burner is crowned with two Fleur de lis emblems, a symbol in Mesoamerica, I will demonstrate is linked to a Tree of Life, and a sacred mushroom (the forbidden fruit) that grows below, and a trinity of creator gods linked to the planet Venus as a divine resurrection star.
The pre-Columbian incense burner pictured above crowned with three Fleur de lis symbols representing a divine trinity is from the Tarascan culture, 1350 - 1521 C:E: now in the Snite Museum of Art. The incense burner depicts a fanged deity (underworld jaguar transformation) wearing what has been described as an elaborate Tlaloc headdress. Note that the deity's headdress is crowned with a symbol I believe is a pre-Columbian version of the Old World Fleur de lis emblem, symbolizing lordship, resurrection (Venus) and a divine Trinity.
(photo from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tarascan_incense_burner_w_Tlaloc_headdress.jpg)
Above is a list of Zapotec day signs from Javier Urcid (2000). Zapotec civilization had its beginnings in the late 6th Century BC. The glyph on the bottom right, encodes a symbol into the headdress which I will demonstrate throughout as representing a pre-Conquest version of the Old World Fleur de lis symbol, both of which are symbols of rulership, resurrection, and a trinity of creator gods.
Above on the left is a drawing of an Olmec stone celt (900-500 B.C) portraying a winged deity crowned with a Fleur de lis symbol. The drawing above is of Stela 20, at the archaeological site of Coba in Quintana Roo, Mexico, that portrays the accession of a Maya ruler crowned with a symbol similar in shape to the Fleur de lis. The Maya ruler is depicted impersonating the Maya god Chac-Xib-Chac. He holds a "Double-headed-serpent-bar," also known as the Bicephalic ceremonial bar, representing the "World Tree", known as the Wakah Chan, or Raised-Up-Sky, a sacred portal that leads to the supernatural world of immortality.
Above on the right an Assyrian king (722 BC-705 BC) wears a helmet crowned with the Fleur-de-lis, symbolizing divinity and rulership and a trinity of gods. Note the symbolism of the number 3, encoded in the Tree of Life. The ruler is portrayed standing in front of the Tree of Life, with the Fleur-de-lis encoded at the base, symbolizing wisdom, immortality, and divine resurrection. Above on the right is a Babylonian stone slab (650 B.C.?) depicting a winged deity wearing a helmet crowned with the same Fleur de lis emblem.
In the Mayan languages the word chan means both sky and snake, and is code for the vision-serpent-sky portal and alludes to the path the gods and ancestral dead travel in their journey in and out of the Underworld during bloodletting ceremonies, and at death and resurrection. The ancient Maya believed that the gods who created the present world raised the sky by placing a vertical axis signifying up and down at the center of the cosmos.
Modern day image of a phoenix (eagle) crowned with a Fleur de lis emblem.
" To the ancient mystics the phoenix [eagle] was a most appropriate symbol of the immortality of the human soul, for just as the phoenix was reborn out of its own dead self seven times seven, so again and again the spiritual nature of man rises triumphant from his dead physical body." (Quote from Manly P. Hall, The Phoenix: The Secret Teachings of all Ages)
Above is a closeup view of a carved Maya vessel, portraying a ruler or deity crowned with the Fleur de lis.
Above is an incense burner lid depicting a Maya Deity (or possible ruler impersonating a Maya deity) wearing a headdress scholars call the "Jester God Headdress". The so-called Jester God headdress was regarded as a symbol of royalty among the ancient Maya, and has been linked to the Maya god K'awil. The Maya god K'awil (also spelled K'awiil), has also been linked to a trinity of creator gods known to scholars as the Palenque Triad. The incense burner above with probable Fleur de lis emblem, is from the Petén region of Guatemala and dates between AD 250-900.
Above is a cave painting from Baha Mexico, dated as early as 1000 B.C. that portrays an important figure wearing a headdress stylized in the shape of the Fleur de lis.
The drawing above is from a Classic period (200-650 CE.) Teotihuacan drinking vessel. It depicts a Teotihuacan ruler dressed in the guise of the Mexican god Tlaloc. The figure holds a bloody axe in his left hand and three spears in his right hand. His elaborate feathered headdress encodes what appears to be a Mexican year sign directly below a Classic period Teotihuacan version of the Fleur de lis emblem. From Kubler 1967, fig. 14.
The Mexican god Tlaloc was clearly connected with a warrior cult associated with the planet Venus as Star of the Evening and the ritual of decapitation. This Tlaloc-Venus warfare cult spread from the great metropolis of Teotihuacan into the Maya area during the Early Classic period when Teotihuacan was at its apex. The Mexican god Tlaloc, who is easily recognizable by his trademark goggled eyes, shared the same temple in the great metropolis of Teotihuacan with the Mexican god Quetzalcoatl. Their duality as the Evening Star and Morning Star aspects of Venus suggests that they were both the patron deities of Teotihuacan connected with the ruling dynasty. Note the esoteric symbolism of footprints used by the artist, a common motif in pre-Columbian art referring, I believe, to the path that leads to immortality in the Underworld at death.
Above, the Old World Fleur de lis symbol appears in association with the Mexican god Tlaloc as Lord of the Underworld in this scene from the pre-conquest Codex Borgia, also known as the Codex Yoalli Ehecatl. Tlaloc, known as "the provider", is often referred to as a rain god. Also known as "The Master" (Bierhorst, John, 1998 p. 206), Tlaloc has attributes of the underworld jaguar and I believe he represents the Evening star aspect of Venus as the god of the underworld sacrifice.
Above is a Classic Period (200-650 C.E.) Teotihuacan drinking vessel, that portrays the goggle eyed Tlaloc in association with a harpy eagleportrays a ruler in the guise of Quetzalcoatl-Tlaloc. The five pointed star like symbol that surrounds the bottom of the vessel, have been identified as symbols representing the planet Venus, and the harpy eagle in Teotihuacan mythology represents the avatar of the god Quetzalcoatl as the Morning Star aspect of the planet Venus. Like the phoenix, the harpy eagle, is a symbol of the Sun Gods rebirth and resurrection from the Underworld. (photo from http://www.artvalue.com/auctionresult--teotihuacan-phase-tlamimilolpa-incised-tripod-brownware-vesse-2639006.htm)
Above is a close up view of a mural painting from Teotihuacan (200-650 C.E) depicting the goggled eyed Tlaloc as a five pointed star, that scholars identify as a symbol of Venus.
In my examination of pre-Columbian art I have discovered that the gods that appear to be linked to esoteric mushroom imagery are clearly linked to the planet Venus as both a Morning Star and Evening Star. The name Quetzalcoatl has been interpreted to mean "Precious twin," indicating that the Morning Star and Evening Star are one and the same (Caso, 1958:.24; Duran:325).
My study of pre-Columbian art was inspired by a theory first proposed over fifty years ago by my father, the late Maya archaeologist Dr. Stephan F. de Borhegyi, (better known as Borhegyi) that hallucinogenic mushroom rituals were a central aspect of Maya religion. He based this theory on his identification of a mushroom stone cult that came into existence in the Guatemala Highlands and Pacific coastal area around 1000 B.C. along with a trophy head cult associated with human sacrifice and the Mesoamerican ballgame.
Although the Rain God Tlaloc, as far as I know has never been called a mushroom god, I believe that his trademark goggled eyes were intended to reflect a vision of paradise called Tlalocan. This fourth level of heaven, which I believe was conjured up by the ceremonial consumption of sacred mushrooms, was a place of endless spring. Those who died and went to Tlaloc's paradise were blessed with immortality.
Mexican archaeologist Alfonso Caso believed that the cult of Tlaloc was so popular that it influenced all the cultures of Mesoamerica.
Spanish chronicler Jacinto de la Serna, 1892 (The Manuscript of Serna) described the use of sacred mushrooms for divination:
"These mushrooms were small and yellowish and to collect them the priest and all men appointed as ministers went to the hills and remained almost the whole night in sermonizing and praying" (Quest for the Sacred Mushroom, Stephan F. de Borhegyi 1957).Serna in 1650 pointed out that the Aztec calendar was called the "count of planets".
Serna (1892) (The Manuscript of Serna), also writes that the people of Mexico "adored and made more sacrifices to the sun and Venus than any other celestial or terrestrial creatures", and that it was believed that twins were associated with the sun and Venus.
The planet Venus is perhaps best known in Mesoamerican studies through its connection with the special kind of warfare called Venus-Tlaloc warfare. Beginning in about A.D. 378, these wars were timed to occur during aspects of the Venus astronomical cycle and were conducted I believe, on mushrooms, primarily to capture prisoners from neighboring cities for ceremonial sacrifice. (Schele & Freidel, 1990:130-31, 194). Those who died in battle went directly to Tlaloc's paradise called Tlalocan, and were blessed with immortality.
Spanish chronicler Fray Sahagun, who was the first to report mushroom rituals among the Aztecs, also suggested that the Chichimecs and Toltecs consumed the hallucinogen peyote before battle to enhance bravery and strength (Furst 1972, p.12). Hallucinogens taken before battle likely eliminated all sense of fear, hunger, and thirst, and gave the combatant a sense of invincibility and courage to fight at the wildest levels. "This drunkenness lasted two or three days, then vanished" (Thomas, 1993, p.508).
Quoting Ethno-mycologist Bernard Lowy.....
"During a visit to Guatemala in the summer of 1978, I stayed in the village of Santiago de Atitlan, a community where Tzutuhil [Mayan] is spoken and where ancient traditions and folkways are still maintained. There I learned that in Tzutuhil legend mushrooms are intimately associated with the creation myth. In the Quiche pantheon the god Kakulja, he of the lightning bolt, one of a trilogy of supreme gods, is revered above all others, and in the Popol Vuh, the sacred book in which the traditions of the Quiche people are recorded (Edmunson, 7), his position of ascendency is made clear". (from Lowy, Revista/Review Interamericana, vol. 11(1), pp. 94-103, 1980)
Lowy reported in 1974, "Amanita mucaria and the Thunderbolt Legend in Guatemala and Mexico" page 189, that cakulha was not only is the Quiche term for thunderbolt but is also the Quiche name for Amanita mucaria mushroom. In the Popol Vuh, the mushroom gods of the Quiche Maya were named Thunderbolt Hurricane, Newborn Thunderbolt, and Raw Thunderbolt, alluding to a trinity of gods also named in the Popol Vuh as Tohil, Auilix, and Hacauitz.
Quetzalcoatl bestows sacred mushrooms to mankind
Above is a page from the Codex Vindobonensis, also known as the Codex Vienna., believed to be a 14th century Mixtec document, the original of which is now held in the National Library of Vienna, Austria. The codex is one of the few Prehispanic native manuscripts which escaped Spanish destruction. It was produced in the Post Classic period for the priesthood and ruling elite. A thousand years of history is recorded in the Mixtec Codices, and Quetzalcoatl is cited as the great founder of all the royal dynasties.
It has long been known that page 24 of this Codex concerns the ceremonial role of mushrooms among the Mixtecs. In 1929 Walter Lehmann noted the resemblance to mushrooms of the objects portrayed in the hands of many of the characters depicted in this Codex. Alfonso Caso later provisionally identified what he called "T-shaped" objects in the manuscript as mushrooms (Wasson 1980, p. 214). Heim later published this page in color and accepted without hesitation its mushroomic interpretation. In summarizing the significance of this page, Wasson concluded that it showed "the major place occupied by mushrooms in the culture of the Mixtecs." Lowy (1980, pp.94-103) added collateral evidence supporting the validity of these opinions, and extended the base upon which they rest. More recently, Furst concurred in this opinion after a minute examination and analysis of the codex.
In the second row from the top, the last figure on the right wearing a bird mask has been identified as the Wind God, Ehecatl. an avatar of Quetzalcoatl. He is shown bestowing divine mushrooms to mankind. According to Aztec legend, Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl created mankind from the bones he stole from the Underworld Death God, whose decapitated head Quetzalcoatl holds in his hand. Note the tears of gratitude on the individual sitting immediately opposite Quetzalcoatl. This individual, and those who sit behind Quetzalcoatl on the left also hold sacred mushrooms and all appear to have fangs. Fangs suggest that, under the magical influence of the mushroom, they have been transformed in the Underworld into the underworld jaguar.
In the middle of the page on the right side Quetzalcoatl is depicted gesturing to the god Tlaloc, (or incense burner venerating the god Tlaloc), directly in front of him, to open the portal to the underworld. According to Furst who describes this iconography, the scene depicts the divine establishment of the ritual consumption of sacred mushrooms" (1981, pp.151-155). He identifies the triangular or V-shaped cleft in the basin of water on the left as a cosmic passage through which deities, people, animals and plants pass from one cosmic plane to another.
On the bottom left, two figures stand beside another V--shape portal of Underworld resurrection. The figure on the left who points to the sky, also has fangs. He appears to be a human transformed at death into the Underworld Sun god, or mythical "were jaguar". This gesture probably signifies resurrection from the Underworld. The two-faced deity in front of him holds what appear to be sacred psilocybin mushrooms similar in shape to the Fleur-de-lis symbol of the Old World.
This two-faced deity is, in all likelihood, the dualistic planet Venus and the god of Underworld sacrifice and resurrection. Note that the two-faced deity is painted black (signifying the Underworld) and wears a double-beaked harpy eagle headdress (signifying the sun's resurrection). The five plumes in the harpy eagle's headdress refer to the five synodic cycles of Venus. The three mushrooms in his hand refer to the Mesoamerican trinity: the three hearthstones of creation. ie., the sun, the morning star and the evening star.
The circle below the feet of the figure on the left is divided into four parts, two of them dark and two light, each with a footprint. The Fursts, Peter and Jill, have identified this symbol as representing the north-south axis or sacred center as the place of entry into the Underworld. This symbol also appears in the scene above in association with a figure plunging through the V-shaped cleft into the Underworld.
The photograph above is of a Maya mushroom stone on exhibit at the highland Maya site of Iximche, the ancient capital of the Cakchiquel Maya. This mushroom stone, and the images below wear the trademark goggles of the Mexican God Tlaloc, which allow the "bemushroomed" a peak into the paradise of Tlalocan.
Quoting Dead Sea Scroll scholar John Marco Allegro......
"The dream of man is to become God. Then he would be omnipotent; no longer fearful of the snows in winter or the sun in summer, or the drought that killed his cattle and made his children’s bellies swell grotesquely. The penis in the skies would rise and spurt its vital juice when man commanded, and the earth below would open its vulva and gestate its young as man required. Above all, man would learn the secrets of the universe not piecemeal, painfully by trial and fatal error, but by a sudden, wonderful illumination from within. But God is jealous of his power and his knowledge. He brooks no rivals in heavenly places. If, in his mercy, he will allow just a very few of his chosen mortals to share his divinity, it is but for a fleeting moment. Under very special circumstances he will permit men to rise to the throne of heaven and glimpse the beauty and the glory of omniscience and omnipotence. For those who are so privileged there has seemed no greater or more worthwhile experience. The colours are brighter, the sounds more penetrating, every sensation is magnified, every natural force exaggerated."
"For such a glimpse of heaven men have died. In the pursuit of this goal great religions have been born, shone as a beacon to men struggling still in their unequal battle with nature, and then too have died, stifled by their own attempts to perpetuate, codify, and evangelize the mystic vision."
Aztec legends relate that the sun, as a jaguar, descends each night into the underworld to battle the forces of death in order to return, triumphant, each morning to the sky on the wings of an eagle.
I believe that mushrooms were so closely associated with death and jaguar transformation, and Venus resurrection, that I conclude that they must have been believed to be the vehicle through which both occurred. Mushrooms are also so closely associated with ritual decapitation, that their ingestion may have been considered essential to the ritual itself, whether in real life or symbolically in the underworld where the ritual ballgame was played.
Quoting Ethno-mycologist R. Gordon Wasson….
“The bemushroomed person is poised in space, a disembodied eye, invisible, incorporeal, seeing but not being seen….In truth, he is the five senses disembodied, all of them keyed to the height of sensitivity and awareness, all of them blending into one another most strangely, until, utterly passive, he becomes a pure receptor, infinitely delicate, of sensations”. (Wasson, 1972a:198; Borhegyi, 1962)
“There is nothing incompatible between the mushroom stones and the ball game. Those who have mastered the mushrooms arrive at an extraordinary command of their faculties and muscular movements: their sense of timing is heightened. I have already suggested that the players had ingested the mushrooms before they entered upon the game. If the mushroom stones were related to the ball game, it remains to be discovered what role they played”. (Wasson, from Mushrooms Russia & History, p. 178)
There is plenty of evidence in Mesoamerican mythology linking the many avatars of Quetzalcoatl-Tlaloc, Jaguar-Bird-Serpent, to the duality of the planet Venus. Both Tlaloc and the Feathered Serpent Quetzalcoatl, shared the same temple at Teotihuacan, and Eduard Seler was the first to link feathered serpent imagery to the planet Venus and Quetzalcoatl. Seler also believed that jaguar-bird-serpent imagery was associated with war and the Morning Star ( Milbrath ). Mexican art historian, Miguel Covarrubias, demonstrated that later images of Quetzalcoatl, feathered serpents, and rain gods like the Mexican god Tlaloc were all derived from the Olmec were-jaguar associated with sacrifice and the underworld (Miller and Taube, 1993:185)
In Aztec mythology the cosmos was intimately linked to the planet Venus as well as to the skeletal god Xolotl, the twin of Quetzalcoatl. Venus, in its form as the Evening Star, was believed to guide the sun through the Underworld at night. As the Morning Star, Quetzalcoatl's avatar was the harpy eagle. Among the Quiche Maya, Venus in its form as the Morning Star, was called iqok'ij, meaning the "sunbringer" or "carrier of the sun or day." (Tedlock, 1993:236).
Photograph © Justin Kerr
Above, K6777, are a pair of Tlaloc's magic goggles carved from shell and shaped to form a plumed serpent, thereby linking Tlaloc with Quetzalcoatl and the duality of the planet Venus. The goggles I believe represent a metaphor in which the goggles worn by the "bemushroomed" can see beyond death into the paradise of Tlaloc called Tlalocan.
The Fleur de lis motif appears again at Gary Todd's gallery; https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/MvO7-60nLe5KZ8rpzsaeTg)
Mesoamerican scholars are now beginning to recognize that Venus was the centerpiece of Maya mythology and cosmology. Priests in charge of the calendar plotted the stations of Venus over periods of 52 and 104 year cycles, and measured lunar phases, eclipses, solstices, equinoxes and other celestial movements, by which the Maya regulated their lives. Fortunately for scholars, the Maya recorded this information in the Dresden Codex (Milbrath 1999:51).
Above are Maya glyphs, E representing the planet Venus known as Nohoch Ek. (From Michael Coe's "The Maya", fifth edition p. 187)
The symbol shown above has been identified by archaeologists as a Venus glyph from the Maya area (Gates, 1978, p.149) (Coe, 2001 p.163 Reading the Maya Glyphs) (Morley/Sharer, 1983, p.479). This glyph, which is linked to the color green (Yax), symbolizes the planet Venus as the divine underworld resurrection star. The ancient Maya associated the color green with the quetzal bird who sits atop the World Tree. The avatar of the serpent god Quetzal-coatl, is the quetzal bird, and the color green, yax, designates the central portal, the so-called Axis Mundi, located at the center of the universe, a divine portal of up and down (Venus), where the Sun God and deified kings enter and resurrect from the Underworld.
Above are images portraying the Mexican god Tlaloc. On the left is an image taken from a mural at Teotihuacan that cleverly encodes a Venus symbol in Tlaloc's headdress. On the right is a large vessel or olla that depicts a fanged Tlaloc with Venus symbol encoded around his goggled eyes.
Above on the left is a carved image of Tlaloc with what I would argue is a Venus symbol surrounding the upper half of Tlaloc's goggled eyes that appear to me to end in serpent heads. Above on the right is a carving that depicts the duality of Quetzalcoatl-Tlaloc as a symbol of Venus. The three dots and three monkeys may allude to the three hearth stones of creation.
Above on the left is a carved image of the Mesoamerican god Tlaloc, his goggled eyes encoded as a symbol of Venus as both a Morning Star and Evening Star. The symbol which extends down between Tlaloc’s eyes creating Tlaloc’s twisted nose, may be a reference to the Aztec symbol Ollin, which means movement, or motion and likely alludes to Venus’s movement in and out of the Underworld as both a Morning Star and Evening Star. On the right is a Classic period Maya bowl, (from the collection of the Milwaukee Public Museum) which I believe attempts to depict both Tlaloc and Quetzalcoatl merged into an image of the Fleur de lis. It should be first noted that both Tlaloc and Quetzalcoatl shared the same temple at Teotihuacan. I believe that the artist who painted the bowl purposely designed the abstract image of a bird to encode an equally abstract image of the Mesoamerican gods Quetzalcoatl-Tlaloc merged together to represent the dualistic planet Venus, signifying divine Venus resurrection from the Underworld. The name Quetzalcoatl has been interpreted to mean “Precious twin,” indicating that the Morning Star and Evening Star are one and the same (Caso, 1958:.24; Duran:325).
The Venus symbol as I see it, is esoterically formed by the wings of the bird which partly surround two hook-shaped symbols creating the overall appearance of Tlaloc, only with Quetzalcoatl’s serpentine eyes, a clever artistic substitute for Tlaloc’s trademark goggle eyes. I interpret the tail of the bird to esoterically represent Tlaloc’s trademark handlebar mustache, and fangs which link Tlaloc to the Underworld and the Evening Star aspect of the planet Venus (compare with image of Tlaloc on the left).
In my examination of pre-Columbian art I have discovered that the gods that appear to be linked to mushroom imagery are clearly linked to the planet Venus as both a Morning Star and Evening Star.
It must have been a natural step for the ancients to associate this dualistic Venus God, Quetzalcoatl/Tlaloc, with both life in the upper world and death in the underworld. In his guise as the Evening Star, Quetzalcoatl/Tlaloc presided over the nightly death of the Sun God as he sank beneath the horizon into the underworld. (Sharer, 1994:120) Judging by an abundance of images painted on Maya funerary vases, I believe they thought he was then ritually decapitated and transformed into a baby jaguar or "were-jaguar." According to Aztec legend, he was resurrected each morning by Quetzalcoatl/Tlaloc as the Morning Star, and ascended into the heavens on the wings of a harpy eagle. The harpy eagle was thought of as the jaguar of the day sky being the greatest avian predator of Mesoamerica. The harpy eagle was most likely the personified form of the katun period (a period of almost 20 years) among the Classic Maya becoming a symbol of the morning sky associated with human sacrifice and divine resurrection in nourishing the new born sun (Miller and Taube, 1993:82-83).
Venus also appears to die and rise again from the underworld with great regularity. Every eight years it can be predicted to return to the same location in the sky. The "fiveness" of Venus, 5 synodic cycles, comes from the fact that five Venus cycles of 584 days each equal eight solar years to the day, and that 584 days is the time it takes for Earth and Venus to line up with respect to the Sun. This day was a period ending day in the sacred 260 day calendar (almanac) and always ended on the day Ahau or Ajaw. Ahau means Lord. Ballplayers wore knee pads with the symbol of Ahau, theorizing I guess that the game was played at the completion of a time period in the sacred calendar, like a katun ending (20 yr. period) for example which ended on the day Ahau.
The Maya believed that this knowledge was bestowed upon them by the same god who gave them mushrooms and fire. This god, identified as a feathered serpent and an avatar of the planet Venus, was believed to have created both the universe and humankind. He also gave to man the sciences, the calendar and writing, and the knowledge to fix certain days for feasts and blood sacrifice. Rulers bestowed with this divine knowledge were believed to be incarnates of this god.
Above are symbols identified as Venus glyphs, the symbol on the left most likely representing the Evening Star and the symbol on the right most likely representing the Morning Star..
Below are drawings of petroglyphs (rock art) found on Easter Island that look very much like Mesoamerican Venus symbols.
Above are drawings of petroglyphs (rock art) found on Easter Island which I believe represent Venus symbols. The petroglyph drawing above on the right by Lorenzo Dominguez (1901-1963) is from Easter Island, and when asked what the symbol meant, the Easter Islanders said that it represented "Make Make" their creator god. The drawing of a petroglyph on the left from Easter Island is of a dual Venus symbol found by the expedition led by Thor Heyerdahl. (cumulus.planetess.com/.../ch18.htg/make.jpg) Both representations bear a strong resemblance to the Maya Venus glyphs.
In 1886, William Thomson a U.S. Naval officer and Easter Island's first scientific researcher visited Easter Island. According to Heyerdahl, Thompson found many representations of catlike figures symbolizing their supreme god, a Sun God they called Make-Make. He noted that this was remarkable because there were no members of the cat family on Easter Island or anywhere else in Polynesia.
If, there had been very early pre-Columbian contact with Easter Island it would help to explain the presence of such Olmec-like traits as monumental stone sculpture as well as monument mutilation. I also found plenty of evidence of a were-jaguar cult, a trophy head cult, and a Venus cult on an island. It should also be noted that the inhabitants of Easter Island like the Olmecs of Middle America called their island "the navel of the world".
Above is a close up view of one of the giant Easter Island statues, one of many, called Moai, that have a mushroom shaped symbol encoded in their head and nose. If the Venus/mushroom cult of Quetzalcoatl-Tlaloc did reach Easter Island, by seafarers from the American mainland, then the encoded mushroom might also represent the T-shaped Maya symbol ik, a sacred day in the Mayan calendar meaning wind, breath, and spirit, all attributes connected to the wind god Ehecatl/Quetzalcoatl as 9-Wind. In the Maya codices this T-shaped symbol is encoded as the eye of Chac, the Maya Rain God, who is also deeply connected with the underworld, and the ritual act of decapitation, as the Evening Star aspect of the planet Venus. The Maya god Chac may be equated with the Maya god Kukulcan, who was the Maya/Toltec version of the god Quetzalcoatl. The word k'ul, means "holy spirit" or "god", (Freidel, Schele, Parker, 1993 p. 177) and the word chan or kan means both serpent and sky. Arguing for trans-pacific contact, the exact T-shaped symbol can be found in the Old World, called the Tau Cross, representing a symbol of the god Mathras of the Persians, and the Aryans of India.
Above left, "hidden In plain sight," the ceramic Precolumbian mask depicts the transformation of a human into a "were-jaguar," a half-human, half-jaguar deity first described and named in 1955 by archaeologist Matthew W. Stirling. The were-jaguar appears in the art of the ancient Olmecs as early as 1200 B.C. I believe this mask symbolizes the soul's journey into the underworld where it will undergo ritual decapitation, jaguar transformation, and spiritual resurrection. An Amanita muscaria mushroom (actual specimen shown in the photo on the right) is encoded into the head and nose of the human side, while the left half of the mask depicts the effect of the Amanita mushroom as resulting in were-jaguar transformation. The were-jaguar eventually came to be worshiped and venerated throughout Central and South America. Mexican art historian, Miguel Covarrubias, demonstrated that later images of Quetzalcoatl, feathered serpents, and rain gods like the Mexican god Tlaloc were all derived from the Olmec were-jaguar associated with sacrifice and the underworld (Miller and Taube, 1993:185)
(photo below by Prof. Gian Carlo Bojani Director of the International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza, Italy) (Photo of Amanita muscaria by Richard Fortey)
Above is an incense burner that portrays a ruler or a young Maya deity most likely that of a newborn Sun God emerging from the jaws of the Underworld Jaguar God, crowned with what looks like a flaming Fleur de lis symbol.
Above is a Late Classic (600-850 C.E) Maya drinking vessel that depicts a similar flaming Fleur de lis symbol above an Ajaw glyph which was a symbol of ruler or lord.
Above is a ceramic Jaguar God, (Teotihuacan 450 AD - 650 C.E. ), a symbol of the Underworld Sun God, wearing an icon around his neck (decapitation) in the shape of an upside down Fleur de lis emblem symbolic of Underworld and Venus resurrection.
All Mesoamericans believed that the greatest gift one could offer the gods was one's own life; in return for immortality, a concept of eternal life from death. It is likely that in Mesoamerica the notion of divine immortality via Underworld decapitation was inspired by the mushroom ritual itself.
In the religion of the Maya, various twins or brothers represent the dualistic planet Venus. Maya creation stories record that twins were responsible for placing the three stones of creation into the night sky at the beginning of this world age. These three stones, which represent the three original hearthstones, may also refer to a trinity of gods responsible for creating life from death. One of these gods, known as the Maize God, ruled as the Sun God in the previous world age. He was decapitated by the Lords of Death after being defeated in a ballgame. His twin sons, after finding his bones buried under the floor of the ballcourt, resurrected him from the underworld and placed him into the night sky as a deified ballplayer. I believe that the Maya could see this resurrected decapitated ballplayer, still wearing his ballgame belt, in the constellation Orion. The resurrected Maize God, known as First Father, has been identified as Quetzalcoatl and the planet Venus. As the planet Venus, Quetzalcoatl rules the underworld, and was responsible for creating life from death, including that of the underworld sun or Sun God. The Toltecs, Aztecs and Maya all believed that Quetzalcoatl would return to his thrown at the end of days.
Photograph © Justin Kerr
Maya vase K1250, in roll out form, depicts the so-called Palenque Triad in what may be a Late Classic (600-850 C.E) Maya version of a creation scene taking place in the Maya Underworld. First and foremost, the jaguar deity on the left wears a scarf around his neck adorned with an upside-down Fleur de lis, identifying him as the Jaguar God of the Underworld. The figure in the middle wielding an axe is ether an impersonator or represents the artist's conception of the Maya God of Underworld decapitation, Chac-Xib-Chac, or GI of the Palenque Triad. Note that the Spondylus shell earflare and shell diadem in Chac's headdress are attributes of Chac and GI. It is likely that this scene is an early interpretation of the "Resurrection of Xbalanque" (Yax Balam?) from the Post Classic Popol Vuh, in which the Hero Twin Xbalanque's avatar is the underworld jaguar. The mythical Hero Twins often appear on ceramic plates and vase paintings, Hunahpu marked by black death spots and Xbalanque marked by patches of jaguar skin over the face and body (Coe, 1993 fifth edition of The Maya). The Jaguar God on the left, who would represent GIII of the Palenque Triad, is about to be decapitated in the Underworld, by GI of the Palenque Triad, or by his Classic period counterpart Chac-Xib-Chac. Once decapitated in the Underworld the sacrificial jaguar, who represents the Sun God in the Underworld, becomes deified and reborn, a daily cycle in which the Sun is resurrected from the Underworld as the newly reborn Sun God.
The Chac-Xib-Chac impersonator holding the axe is likely a Classic period Maya version of the Hero Twin Hunahpu, Xbalanque's twin brother from the Popol Vuh. He likely represents G I of the Palenque Triad. As mentioned earlier, Maya archaeologists have determined from inscriptions at Palenque that the king was considered the incarnation of GI, of the Palenque Triad (Editors, Archaeology Magazine, Secrets of the Maya, 2004:109) thus infering that the king was the incarnation of Xbalanque's twin brother, Hunahpu. Xbalanque, the Underworld Jaguar God, is related to G III of the Palenque Triad (Schele and Freidel, A Forest of Kings, 1990, p.416). The serpent deity depicted on the far right would then represent G II of the Palenque Triad or K'awil, as the divine portal of Underworld Venus resurrection.
Above is a sculpture from the Maya ruins of Copan in Honduras, overlooking a large plaza that archaeologists call the "false ballcourt", an area that represents the Maya underworld. The sculpture portrays the God of the Underworld, or Underworld Sun God, who is linked directly to the Evening Star aspect of the planet Venus as the Underworld Sun God's executioner. Note the two Venus symbols above (shown sideways) on either side of the bearded deity's head.
Photograph © Justin Kerr
Maya vase K2284 in roll out form that depicts another possible scene from the Maya Popol Vuh, of the Hero Twins, in a scene of jaguar transformation and divine Venus resurrection. The character on the right, shown emptying the contents of an olla, has been identified as the young God A Prime. I propose that the jar is marked with a symbol of death, a glyph known as Ak'ab, or Ak'bal, which means darkness, and that the olla likely contains a mushroom beverage, that was mixed with honey, as suggested by the bees in the scene. The scene indicates that the contents from the olla manifests the Maya god K'awil (God K or GII of the Palenque Triad) in the form of the vision serpent surrounded by Venus signs. Ethno-archaeologist Peter Furst (1976:80) mentions that in the Coto dictionary, there is name of a sacred mushroom called "jaguar ear". Note that the artist may have actually encoded a mushroom in the jaguar's ear above.
Maya vase K1652, shown above,depicts the underworld Sun God as an underworld jaguar surrounded by Venus symbols on his shoulder, back, knee, and under the tail of the serpent he carries in his arms. The serpent represents the portal of Venus resurrection that is manifested by the Maya the god K'awil, (the Maya counterpart of Quetzalcoatl). The head of the god Kawi'l emerges from the serpent's tail, in a hook symbol, which can be identified throughout Maya religious iconography, and that I believe is code symbolizing the mushroom-jaguar transformation-Venus resurrection religion. Note that the three legs supporting the vessel are shaped to represent the Maya word Ik, a glyph which means wind or breath and thus life and spirit. This T-shaped Ik symbol is associated with the Maya god Chac, and Quetzalcoatl as 9-Wind.
The upended toad at the far right represents a Maya metaphor for birth or rebirth. The skeletal god (known as God A) shown between the jaguar and the toad holds the sacrificial axe, with three blades, as a reference to death and rebirth in the underworld. The three blades on the axe represent the sacred number three, and allude to a trinity of creator gods known as the three hearthstones of Maya creation.
Photograph © Justin Kerr
Maya vase K2797, photographed in roll out form by Justin Kerr, depicts an Underworld mushroom resurrection ritual involving the Underworld Sun God, GIII of the Palenque Triad, and the Maya god K'awil (God K) identified as GII of the Palenque Triad.
The ceramic three faced incense burner above comes from the ancient Maya site of Comalcalco, located in Tabasco, Mexico near the mouth of the Usumacinta River. The three faces with tongue sticking out (Kali?) may represent the artist's conception of the Maya trinity, known to scholars as GI, GII, and GIII. Note that two deities appear to have a stylized Fleur de lis emblem encoded in their headdress as a likely symbol of divinity, lordship, and Venus resurrection. (Photograph © Rob Mohr, 2010)
I believe the ancient Mesoamericans believed that the consumption of hallucinogenic mushrooms, whether orally, anally through enemas, or by smoking, transformed the individual into a were-jaguar and opened a sacred portal into the underworld. I believe that the mushroom was linked to jaguar transformation, and that the image of the were-jaguar was a metaphor for the daily death, sacrifice, and rebirth of the Sun, and the journey each individual takes from death to rebirth. Passage through the sacred portal, linked esoterically to mushrooms, assured the decapitated of divine resurrection.
Painted or carved Maya vessels like the ones pictured above (note encoded Fleur de lis symbol on the left and encoded mushroom in scribes headdress on the right) may have contained a ritual drink concocted from the Amanita muscaria mushroom or other hallucinogenic mushrooms in a manner very similar to that described for the legendary Soma of the Rig Veda. Soma was prepared by extracting juice from the stalks of a certain plant. That certain plant was likely the Amanita muscaria mushroom, first identified by ethno-mycologist R. Gordon Wasson. Soma was the divine beverage of immortality, and in the Rig-Veda Soma was referred to as the "God for Gods" seemingly giving him precedence above Indra and all other Vedic-Hindu Gods (RV 9.42). In the Rig Veda, there are recurring themes that allude to decapitation and the spiritual potency of the head. In the ancient Hindu texts known as the Brahmanas, that follows the Vedas, one of the cups of Soma is referred to as the head of Gayatri, the eagle who bore Indra down from the heavens after beheading the dragon Vrtra, and obtaining Soma, only after Vrtra's beheading, known in the Vedas as Ahi meaning "snake" (Rush 2013, p. 296).
The drinking of Soma by priests at sacrifice produced the effects of god within, and according to Wasson the act of collecting hallucinogenic mushrooms was always accompanied by a variety of religious sanctions. For example, among the present day Mixtecs the sacred mushrooms must be gathered by a virgin. They are then ground on a metate, water added, and the beverage drunk by the person consulting the mushroom.
The image above depicts the god Quetzalcoatl wearing a feathered serpent headdress with the Fleur-de-lis symbol of Lordship encoded at the top. Among the ancient Maya the Wind God personified the number three, and presided over the month Mahk (Stone and Zender, Reading Maya Art, 2011, p. 175). Quetzalcoatl is depicted on a throne wearing his trademark "Wind-Jewel" breast plate, a sacred symbol identified with the Wind God. The "Wind-Jewel," a half-sliced conch shell worn by High Priests or rulers, resembles the five pointed Mexican half-star that scholars have identified as a symbol for Venus. I believe that this image depicts Quetzalcoatl as a Venus God. The harpy eagle staff at his side is a symbol of Venus as the Morning Star. Quetzalcoatl´s hand gesture signifies an opening or creation, thus identiying him as the God of Underworld Venus resurrection and as both the Evening Star and Morning Star aspects of the planet Venus.
Quoting Maya Archaeologist Stephan F. de Borhegyi....
" I think that the story is as follows: the priest king Quetzalcoatl /Kukulcan, (Gucumatz) was expelled by his enemies from Tula (Tollan), sometime around 960A.D (Quetzalcoatl was accused with sodomy and incest.). He left with a small group of his followers and went to Tlapallan, that is, the Laguna de Terminos region. Here he apparently settled down. It would seem that some of the Chontal tribes accepted the mushroom cult introduced by him and after a few years, the pressure of enemy tribes forced them to move on, led by descendants of Quetzalcoatl and his followers. Some went northeast to Chichen Itza; others moved southward following the Usamacinta toward Guatemala" (Letter, Borhegyi to Wasson, April 1954).
Above, left, is a closeup image of a two-handled vase filled with psilocybin mushrooms. On the right, a page from the Codex Mendoza, an Aztec codex created just after the Spanish Conquest, shows tribute collected by Aztec civil servants from the province of Tochtepec. Included in the tribute were the aforementioned psilocybin mushrooms (second image from left on next to bottom row). The enlarged image shows the mushrooms emerging from a Fleur-de-lis emblem. The Aztecs called these mushrooms Teonanacatl, meaning "flesh of the Gods."
Above is a silk textile from Iran, the Sasanian Dynasty, 224 CE to 651 CE. which I believe depicts a similar looking Fleur de lis emblem with encoded mushrooms emerging from both sides, representing a symbol of the World Tree or Tree of Life. I would speculate also that the stars in the scene as well as the two birds represent the duality of the planet Venus as a resurrection star and that the stylized pillar with Fleur de lis emblem encoded with nine hearts, alludes to the World Tree, or Tree of Life, and possibly to the nine levels of the Underworld.
Above is a Late Classic (600-850 C.E) Maya plate, and drinking vessel both of which encode a similar Fleur de lis like symbol with mushroom like glyphs.
The Late Classic Maya Vase painting shown above in roll-out form, Kerr No. 5390, depicts, I believe, an instance of deity impersonation taking place in the Maya Underworld. The figure on the far left holding a spear and shield wears the headdress of the Maya God L, who in Late Classic times (600-850 C.E) symbolized the Maya Lord of the Underworld. In Maya cosmology the planet Venus was believed to be the sun from the previous world age. Before this world was destroyed it was ruled by God L. A ballplayer, or ruler wearing jaguar attire, kneels in the posture of someone about to be sacrificed. He holds a royal staff and with his right hand makes a gesture which I interpret as code for the divine mushroom ritual. The dark-skinned figure standing directly in front of him wears the headdress of an underworld deity. That he is associated with the grisly ritual of decapitation is clear from the trophy head he has tied upside-down to his staff. In his left hand he offers an Amanita muscaria mushroom, symbol of divinity and immortality, to the individual to be sacrificed. The Maya artist has stylized the mushroom in the shape of the Fleur-de-lis.
Above, an image from the Codex Ríos shows a deity who, although apparently bearded, has been identified as the Aztec goddess Mayahuel, goddess of the maguey plant. The codex, a Spanish colonial-era manuscript now in the Vatican library (also called Codex Telleriano-Remensis), is attributed to Pedro de los Ríos, a Dominican friar who worked in Oaxaca and Puebla between 1547 and 1562. The codex itself was likely written and drawn in Italy after 1566. Based on the beard and mushroom headdress, the deity probably also represents an aspect of Quetzalcoatl, the god who bestowed sacred mushrooms to mankind and instructed humans on how to perform sacrifices in exchange for the gift of fire and immortality. Note that his crown consists of a stylized fleur-de-lis from which emerge three sacred psilocybin mushrooms. Note also that two probable psilocybin mushrooms emerge from the fleur-de-lis emblem within the drinking vessel held in his right hand. The implication is that the vessel contains a psilocybin-based Soma beverage .
In Mesoamerica, as in the Old World, the royal line of the king was considered to be of divine origin. Descendents of the god-king Quetzalcoatl, and thus all kings or rulers, were identified with the resurrected Sun God, and the Maize God of Mesoamerican mythology.
Photograph © Justin Kerr
The carved Maya vessel K5420 shown above depicts an esoteric scene of creation taking place in the Maya Underworld. I propose that the bearded deity on the far right represents the god Quetzalcoatl. He is depicted with the fleur-de-lis emblem above his forehead symbolizing lordship and divinity, I also propose that the symbolism and iconography on the far left depicts a stylized mushroom emerging from the anus of an upside-down turtle (note carapace). The animal inside the carapace, however, may represent a sacrificed dog or deer or even a feline. In both Nahua and Maya mythology a dog or a dwarf often accompanies the deceased into the Underworld. A dwarf may be depicted on the right sitting in front of the bearded deity just below what appears to be a monkey. In the event the animal inside the turtle carapace is a sacrificed deer, it should be noted that many hallucinogenic mushrooms, among them Psilocybe and Panaeolus genera mushrooms, grow in the dung of herbaceous quadrupeds such as deer, making the deer extremely sacred in mushroom rituals. Mushrooms found growing in the dung of deer were easy to find and safe to consume. They were also very easy to cultivate for the purpose of trade.
The turtle carapace in the creation scene is somewhat reminiscent of Hindu mythology, in which a turtle acts as the central pivot point in the Vedic-Hindu myth of the Churning of the Milk Ocean. The Churning of the Milk Ocean myth is told in several ancient Hindu texts. The Vedic god Vishnu, depicted as a sea tortoise, is the pivot point or churning stick for Mt. Mantara.. At the suggestion of Vishnu, the gods and demons churn the primeval ocean with the help of a serpent, in order to obtain Amrita, which will guarantee them immortality. I would argue that Amrita is the Amanita muscaria mushroom.
The Turtle has been identified with rebirth among the ancient Maya, and the carapace of the turtle with divinity. In the creation mythology of the ancient Maya the first created image was the turtle constellation Ac, identified as the three stars (hearthstones of creation) of the belt of Orion (Brennan,1998 p.93). I would also propose that the turtle is an esoteric reference to the planet Venus as a divine resurrection star. In the vase carving above, I believe the symbolism of a deer sacrifice and the ritual of decapitation can be inferred by the trident axe the artist has located on the stem of what appears to be a mushroom, alluding I believe to the creative powers of the turtle. The carapace is a divine portal to rebirth and, through the mediation of the mushroom, to underworld jaguar transformation. The trident blades used in ritual decapitation and the mushroom journey are both symbolic of divine portals of ancestor deification. I propose that in Mesoamerica there was a belief that the stars in the night sky represented the decapitated heads of deified ancestors. The Fleur-de-lis symbol in Maya, Olmec and Aztec art is likely an esoteric reference to the trinity of gods, identified in Maya hieroglyphs as the Three Hearth Stones of creation.These hearth stones separated the sky from the earth when the gods created the world at "Three Stone Place" (Orion). In the Quiche Maya Popol Vuh, these gods were named, Thunderbolt Hurricane, Newborn Thunderbolt, and Raw Thunderbolt (see also Palenque Triad).
The skeletal demon in this scene represents the Evening Star aspect of Venus and presides over the death of the sacrificial animal (note symbolic turtle shell). The hands of death and creation are evident on the skeletal demon and the artist has also esoterically incorporated the creator serpent above the skeletal demon's elongated skull. The skull is tied to his head in a rulers' knot, reminiscent of the so-called "Toothache Glyph," which refers to the supreme act of tying the royal headband or bundle, the divine symbol of completion associated with period endings and the ritual act of decapitation.
On the far right we see a scene in which a tiny human and monkey are created from the divine serpent hands (note hands) of Quetzalcoatl who represents the Morning Star of Venus in this scene. The monkey he creates represents the divine symbol of rebirth. Maya scholars point out that when the image of the monkey, known as God C, and meaning "divinity," is merged with another object it marks the image as "holy." In this case the holy image is the act of creation.
In Maya religion the monkey represents the first of the Nine Lords of the Night or Underworld. Called the Bolon Ti Ku, these gods were responsible for guiding the Sun (identified as an underworld jaguar), into the underworld to be sacrificed by underworld decapitation and reborn and deified as the new Sun. The first god associated with re-birth was the Monkey (GI) and Quetzalcoatl (G9) was the last, associated with death and completion. The word K'uh in Classic Maya glyphs was assigned to the monkey god and in glyphs his monkey profile was used to describe "holy" or "sacred," referring to "divinity" or "god" (M.D. Coe 2001, p.109).
The monkey imagery in this creation scene may also allude to the Five Suns cosmogonic accounts (Mary Miller and Karl Taube 1993; p.118), in which Quetzalcoatl in his guise as Ehecatl the Wind God presided over the second sun, ehecatonatiuh, the sun of wind, until it was destroyed by great winds. The survivors of that era were turned into monkeys and Quetzalcoatl was their ruler. Archaeo-astronomer Susan Milbrath writes that (Star Gods of the Maya, 1999,p. 256 ), that an analysis of the Dresden Codex identifies the monkey as also related to Venus as the Morning Star.
Photograph © Justin Kerr
Above, a close up of a Late Classic (600-850 C.E) Maya vase painting depicts sacred mushrooms in association with the sacrificial deer.
According to ethno-archaeologist Peter Furst....
"The discovery, by early migrants into Mexico, of a functional deer-mushroom relationship could, conceivably, have served to reinforce whatever ancient Asian traditions might then still have remained alive concerning the deer as source of supernatural power, and especially the visionary gifts of shamans."
Above on the left is a ballgame hacha carved to fit into a ballplayers belt (yoke) representing a deer wearing the goggled eyes of Tlaloc. The goggled eyes of Tlaloc in this case symbolizes the sacrifice and resurrection of the deer on the ball court. Ballplayers are commonly depicted wearing the headdress of a deer, and ballplayers are often depicted wearing the goggled eyes of Tlaloc. Tlaloc's goggled eyes are a symbol of sacrifice, and they represent a paradise of life after death. Note that Tlaloc's goggled eyes resemble the rings or hoops that we see mounted into the walls of Postclassic formal ballcourts. Above on the right is a Late Classic (600-850 C.E ?) polychrome plate from Cholula, Mexico (on exhibit at the British Museum) which depicts a deer wearing Tlaloc's trademark goggled eyes and feline fangs.
Late Classic Maya vessel that encodes a psilocybe mushroom as the portal to Underworld transformation.
I found very early representations of the Fleur de lis encoded in ancient Indian coins, believed to represent a symbol of divinity and resurrection.
Nahapana's coin (119–124 CE) with possible Fleur de lis symbol ?
Note the Fleur de lis symbol on the coin above right from the Kshaharata dynasty 1st century C.E.
INDIAN COINS. Ancient, Satakarni I, Lead Karshapana from the Nasik region, bull and swastika, rev tree; Nahapana, Lead Karshapana, lion to right, rev vajra or thunderbolt. Note the symbol of the Fleur de lis on the coin above in the upper right hand corner. The Satavahana Empire covered much of India from 230 BCE onward. (From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satavahana) (photograph of coins from Baldwin's Auctions Ltd, Auction 71, 1322 )
MUSHROOMS ENCODED IN ANCIENT INDIAN COINS ?
Magadha Janapada silver coin,(c.600-500 BC) depicting mushroom-like symbols.
INDIAN COINS. With astronomical signs and probable mushroom and Tree of Life symbolism. Magadha Janapada (c.600-500 BC), Silver Vimshatika, from the earliest series, approx 5.5g, (cf Rajgor series 10, 45-46) Baldwin's Auctions Ltd, Auction 71, 1247 and 1248
The Fleur de lis Symbol in Mesopotamian Art
There is an ancient belief that the Sun God was born from the sea and soared into the sky like an eagle. For this reason, ancient solar deities were often depicted as half-man/half-fish, or half-man and half-bird. Above on the left is the Fish God Dagon, of Assyro-Babylonian mythology wearing a helmet crowned with the Fleur de lis emblem symbolizing divinity and Lordship. Above on the right is a Babylonian stone slab (650 B.C.?) depicting a winged deity wearing a helmet crowned with the same Fleur de lis emblem.
Above a carved Neo-Assyrian panel, 8th century B.C. Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), with winged sun disc, depicts a bearded figure grasping a tree encoded with a probable Fleur-de-lis emblem.
In Mesopotamia the Fleur de lis symbol appears as early as the 8th century B.C. in Assyro-Babylonian art. Above, is a Sumerian clay tablet that portrays two winged deities crowned with the fleur de lis symbol. The deities hold what appear to be ritual buckets. Neo-Assyrian period 934 BC–609 BC .The scene portrays the goddess Ishtar, middle left, as the personification of the planet Venus as divine resurrection star. Note the possible connection between the names Ishtar and Easter (Venus resurrection?) and the resurrection connection with Jesus and Easter.
Surprisingly, the ancient emblem that we have come to recognize as the Fleur de lis appears in the art of Mesoamerica at approximately the same time in history. Its appearance dates to the beginnings of the region's first complex civilization, that of the Olmecs. Perhaps not so surprisingly, the emblem carries the same significance as a symbol of divinity and rulership a Tree of Life (Venus resurrection), and a trinity of creator gods. Like the Old World Fleur de lis it also appears in relation to a world tree, a divine mushroom, and a trinity of gods.
Quoting the late ethno-archaeologist Gordon F Ekholm...
"There are, of course, many problems concerning the kinds of evidence that have been presented in the area of transpacific contacts, but the principal difficulty appears to be a kind of theoretical roadblock that stops short our thinking about questions of diffusion or culture contact. This is true in anthropological thought generally, but the obstruction seems to be particularly solid and resistant among American archaeologists." (From Man Across the Sea; Problems of Pre-Columbian Contacts, 1971, third printing 1976, Chapter 2, Diffusion and Archaeological Evidence, by Gordon Ekholm page 54)
Olmec jadeite figurines crowned with fleur-de-lis emblem of divine rulership, 900 - 300 B.C.E.
Above, a Late Olmec (800-500 B.C) relief panel from the south coast of Guatemala, depicts a ruler or god-king with a stylized fleur-de-lis in the headdress. Note that the feline figure also wears a T-shaped medallion around his neck a symbol (Ik) of Quetzalcoatl as the Wind God, which is similar in shape to the Aryan Tau cross. The footprints are reminiscent of those of the Buddha found on ancient Buddhist sculpture.
Above is another Late Olmec (800-500 B.C) carving, that depicts a deity undergoing jaguar transformation and crowned with a symbol similar in shape to the Old World Fleur de lis emblem.
Quoting ethno-archaeologist Peter T. Furst:
"It is tempting to suggest that the Olmecs might have been instrumental in the spread of mushroom cults throughout Mesoamerica, as they seem to have been of other significant aspects of early Mexican civilization......" It is in fact a common phenomenon of South American shamanism (reflected also in Mesoamerica) that shamans are closely identified with the jaguar, to the point where the jaguar is almost nowhere regarded as simply an animal, albeit an especially powerful one, but as supernatural, frequently as the avatar of living or deceased shamans, containing their souls and doing good or evil in accordance with the disposition of their human form" (Furst 1976, pp. 48, 79)."
Above is a Peruvian figurine from the Denver Museum, holding what appears to be an Amanita muscaria mushroom in his left hand. Note the figurine's goggle shaped eyes, and the three esoteric symbols (probable trinity?), one on each leg and one at his waist.
In the northern Peruvian highlands the Chavín civilization flourished that in many ways paralleled the contemporary Olmec civilization of Mesoamerica. Both were major early civilizations and both used feline images in their sacred iconography. Pioneer archaeologist Marshall H. Saville was the first to call attention to certain Mesoamerican influences he called "Mayoid" in archaeological material from the Ecuadorian and Peruvian highlands and Pacific coastal areas of South America (Saville, 1907, 1909, 1910). Since Saville's first observation numerous archaeologists have reported other apparent artistic and ideological similarities between the two areas dating from as early as the Preclassic and continuing through the Postclassic, a time span from 1500 B.C. to A.D.1400. There is now a consensus that this exchange likely occurred by sea. As mentioned earlier, Peter Furst has demonstrated conceptual religious similarities between the Olmecs and Maya and South America, and has identified mushrooms and mushroom headdresses on Moche ceramic vase paintings (200-700 A.D.).
Above is a Late-Preclassic (100 B.C.) mural painting from the ruins of San Bartolo in present day Guatemala, which depicts the Principal Bird Deity atop the Tree of Life, crowned with a symbol similar in shape symbolizing resurrection and rebirth, arguably the same meaning as the Old World Fleur de lis emblem.
Here, again, the mural shown above from the ancient city of Teotihuacan in the Central Valley of Mexico. The scene alludes to divinity and immortality and the dual aspects of the planet Venus as a resurrection star. In Mesoamerica the harpy eagle is a symbol of the Mexican god Quetzalcoatl who represents the Morning Star aspect of the planet Venus. I believe the harpy eagle above is depicted with the goggled eye of the Mexican god Tlaloc who, I believe, represents the Evening Star aspect of the planet Venus.
Above is a drawing, in roll-out form of a ceremonial drinking vessel painted in a classic Teotihuacan style (from Alarcón 1992:XV) depicting a harpy eagle, and the bearded god Quetzalcoatl-Tlaloc (note goggled eye). In Mexican mythology the harpy eagle is a symbol of the upper world, and is the avatar of Quetzalcoatl as the Morning Star aspect of Venus. The harpy eagle represents the symbol of Venus and the resurrected Sun God. The three abstract five-pointed half-stars depicted on the upper left, are symbols of Venus, identifing Quetzalcoatl-Tlaloc as one and the same, the dualistic god of Venus, and the dualistic God of the Underworld resurrection. The stylized Fleur-de-lis emblem, which believe is encoded directly above Quetzalcoatl's speech scroll, is an esoteric reference to the creator gods Quetzalcoatl-Tlaloc's and their divine role as twin deities, representing both the Morning Star and Evening Star, two of the three triad gods who are responsible for the sacrifice and resurrection of the Underworld Sun God. Researchers studying the Mayan inscriptions at Yaxchilan Lintel 25, have decoded a glyph they believe represents "The Founder Glyph", depicting a double-headed serpent, bearing a ruler wearing a Tlaloc mask, and that this ruler seems to be a lineage founder connected with Venus and a goggle-eyed deity. There is also plenty of evidence at the ancient Maya city of Copan that the goggle-eyed Tlaloc is closely connected with the founder of the Copan lineages named Yax K'uk Mo,who is depicted on Altar Q,wearing the goggled-eyes of Tlaloc (Milbrath p.196-197).
Quetzalcoatl's other avatar the Feathered Serpent, is one of the oldest and the most important deities of Mesoamerica. In Aztec accounts Quetzalcoatl turns himself into a serpent and then back again into a god with human attributes and form. Quetzalcoatl’s name represents a blending of serpent and bird; the quetzal, a blue-green bird belonging to the trogon family that inhabits the cloud forests of Mesoamerica, and coatl, the Nahua word describing both sky and serpent. Among the Mixtecs of Oaxaca, Quetzalcoatl was known by his calendrical name "9 Wind." The Maya of Yucatan called him Kukulcan. The Venus-mushroom religion connected with Quetzalcoatl goes back as far as Olmec times. We know from early chronicles that in the Postclassic, Quetzalcoatl was revered both as a god and as a Toltec ruler. We are told by the Aztecs that the human culture hero Quetzalcoatl died in the year 1-Reed, one 52 year cycle from his birth. It is further recorded in 1570 in the Nahua manuscript known as the Annals of Cuauhtitllan, that he was apotheosized as Venus and transformed into the Morning star in the “land of writing,” which has been interpreted by scholars as being the Maya area (Milbrath 1999:177).
Above, Quetzalcoatl is depicted in the Codex Borbonicus with a stylized looking fleur-de-lis emblem emerging from his serpent staff.
The ancient myth of Quetzalcoatl’s creation was preserved for us by a Franciscan friar named Jeronimo de Mendieta in 1596. In his manuscript, Historia Eclesiastica Indiana, Mendieta writes that it was “Quetzalcoatl, the Mexican Prometheus, the beneficent god of all mankind, descended to the world of the dead to gather up the bones of past generations, and, sprinkling them with his own blood, created a new humanity”. (Alfonso Caso, 1958; THE AZTECS, PEOPLE OF THE SUN)
Spanish chronicler Fray Toribio de Benavente ( Motolinia) recorded in chapter 24 of the Memoriales, that the principal gods of Tlaxcala, known as Cholula and Huexotzinco, were known by three names and that Huexotzinco was also called Quetzalcoatl and Camaxtli. Motolinía writes that the Holy city of Cholula, where human sacrifices were offered in honor of Quetzalcoatl, calls into question the legends that describe Quetzalcoatl as opposing human sacrifice. According to Motolinía the Indians of New Spain regarded Quetzalcoatl as one of their principal gods. They called him the God of air and wind, and built temples to him. Motolinia goes on to say that "Quetzalcoatl initiated the scarifying of ears and tongue, not, as was claimed, to serve the Demon, but to perform penance for the sins of evil speech and hearing. In his Memoriales, (chapter 29), Motolinia describes the great ceremony to Quetzalcoatl which lasted eight days. Coincidentally, this is the same number of days that , according to legend, Quetzalcoatl was in the underworld creating humanity by bloodletting on the bones of his father and the bones of past generations. He then emerged from the underworld as the Morning star.
THE RETURN OF QUETZALCOATL AS HERNANDO CORTES
Above, the Aztec conqueror Hernando Cortes is depicted with what I would argue is a stylized Fleur-de-lis emblem encoded into his helmet. The Aztec artist who painted the image of the bearded Cortes encodes the Fleur de lis as a symbol of lordship. The Aztecs believed that Cortes was the incarnate of the god Quetzalcoatl, who the Aztecs believed would return one day as prophesied, to reclaim his rightful throne.
My studies have led me to conclude that all variants of the Toltec/Aztec gods Quetzalcoatl and Tlaloc, and their Classic Maya counterparts, Kukulcan, Gucumatz, Tohil, K´awil and Chac, though they may have different names and be associated with somewhat different attributes in different culture areas, are linked to the planet Venus through divine rulership, lineage and descent.
Above, an Aztec incense burner depicts a bearded deity, wearing ear flares encoded with an upside down Fleur-de-lis. The deity may represent the Maya counterpart of the Mexican god Tlaloc, the Maya god Chac-Xib-Chac, or GI of the Palenque Triad, identified by the trademark Ik symbol encoded as the deity's tooth. The Ik, which looks like a capital T,was one of the most sacred symbols among the ancient Maya. The symbol signifies wind, breath (breath=Life) and spirit, and represents a sacred day in the Mayan calendar linked to the birth of GI of the Palenque Triad, and to the god-king Quetzalcoatl as 9-Wind. In the Old World the same symbol, known as the Tau Cross, was sacred to the ancient Aryans of India. (photo from http://www.milenio.com/cdb/doc/impreso/8121027)
Above are glyphs which depict the Maya god Chac, with the Ik glyph encoded as his eye.
The Ik glyph, above, which is shaped like a capital T, is an encoded symbol of resurrection linked to the Amanita muscaria mushroom and the planet Venus as the Morning Star.
I found the Ik glyph in Mesoamerica to be intimately connected with the Fleur-de-lis, and tied to the births of the Maya god GI, (Chac) and the Mesoamerican god-king Quetzalcoatl as 9-Wind.
Above is a Maya incense burner depicting an Ik glyph emerging from the center of a Fleur de lis symbol.
Above, a Maya glyph from the Dresden Codex (possibly an eclipse glyph) depicts the Fleur-de-lis symbol of divinity linked with the Ik glyph (shaped like a white capital T) in connection with the four cardinal directions.
In the drawing above of a Late Classic (600-850 C.E) Maya stucco relief (Maya ruins of Palenque, House B), the Maya artist has encoded the T-shaped Ik glyph as a symbol of the gods Chac and Quetzalcoatl. It appears in context with the Fleur-de-lis depicting the four cardinal directions. They appear in conjunction with a step motif, a Mesoamerican symbol referring to the descent and deification in the Underworld through which one is resurrected from the Underworld.
(drawing from A.Stone, Reading Maya Art, 2011; p.174)
From the inscriptions at Palenque, archaeologists have determined that the king was considered the incarnation of GI, of the Palenque Triad (Editors, Archaeology Magazine, Secrets of the Maya, 2004:109). GI was the first born of the Palenque Triad. He was born on 9 Ik, meaning "9 Wind," which is the same birthday as the Wind God Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl, also born on 9 Wind. In the Dresden and Madrid codices the T-shaped Ik glyph is used to portray Chac's eye. Both GI and Quetzalcoatl are associated with the planet Venus and the ritual of Underworld decapitation (Schele and Freidel, A Forest of Kings, 1990 p.245). G I, of the Palenque Triad has been identified as a shark-toothed anthropomorphic god whose attributes include a Spondylus shell ear-flare and shell diadem in his headdress encoded with an X-symbol, which may represent the word Jal, a verb meaning to create.
The drawing above of Stela 20, a monument in the Grupo Nohoch Mul at the archaeological site of Coba in Quintana Roo, Mexico, portrays the accession of a Maya ruler. He wears an elaborate feathered headdress crowned with a Maya version of the Fleur-de-lis emblem symbolizing lordship, divinity, and a trinity of creator gods. The ruler also wears clothing encoded with three dots, a sacred symbol of the three hearth stones of creation linked as well to a trinity of creator gods. Although somewhat indistinct, the ruler wears a loin cloth encoded with the Ik glyph.
The Coba ruler portrayed on Stela 20 is known only as Ruler C because his name glyphs are too eroded to be read. Research of the monument´s inscriptions reveals that the ruler's name likely began with the title kaloomte’ (see E1 of stela text, Gronemeyer 2004), a title comparable to the supreme rank of “emperor” (Harrison, 1999 p. 92). The ruler is portrayed in the guise of the Maya god Chac-Xib-Chac (also known as Chac from the later codices) at his accession from the Underworld, suggesting that this ruler entered the afterlife impersonating this deity. Chac-Xib-Chac (believed to be G I of the Palenque Triad) is a long-lipped god with both reptilian and fish-like features. He wields an axe and is commonly depicted in Maya art associated with the ritual of Underworld decapitation. Commonly mistaken for the serpent-footed Maya god K'awil, the other long-lipped Maya god, Chac-Xib-Chac, has more fish-like features, and can easily be identified by the trademark shark tooth projecting from his mouth, and his bulbous nose. He is frequently depicted wearing a shell earflare and a shell diadem in his headdress depicting an X-shaped icon identified by archaeologist Michael Coe as the verb jal, meaning "to create.."
Quoting, Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures:
" Mayanists Stephen Houston and David Stuart note that living Classic Maya rulers who impersonated deities likewise are never said to be or become those gods, although they appear to have been associated with one or more deities after death. Carved stone portraits of Maya dynasts dressed as a god are identified in accompanying inscriptions as u bah, the “likeness, image, person, self” of the god.
This would imply that Maya rulers who impersonated the god Chac-Xib-Chac at death, resurrected from the Underworld not as Chac-Xib-Chac, but as the Sun God in the likeness of the god K'awil. Maya researchers inform us that, when we see K'awil's burning torch piercing the king's forehead or cranium, the king is being reborn at the precise moment of his resurrection and apotheosis, is reborn as the deity Unen K'awiil or Baby K'awiil" (Stone and Zender 2011, p. 31) .An excellent example of the king's underworld transformation can be found in the inscriptions at Tikal in which the name of the king is Sihyaj Chan K'awiil, which means "heavenly K'awiil is born" (Stone and Zender, Reading Maya Art, 2011, p. 149).
The iconography of deity impersonation tells us that the king or ruler was believed to be the incarnation of Chac-Xib-Chac (GI of the Palenque Traid). Mayan inscriptions also tell us that the king often added the name K'awil (also spelled K'awiil) to his own, because K'awil was the patron deity of Maya lineages, and as god of divine transformation, K'awil opened the door to the spirit world. Maya kings may have believed they were actually communicating with K'awil when they performed sacred bloodletting rituals after consuming an intoxicating beverage (Soma) that opened the door to the spirit world.
The same can be said of Classic period Teotihuacan rulers who likely impersonated the god Tlaloc, the counterpart of the Maya god Chac-Xib-Chac, before entering the Underworld. Because of Tlaloc's association with Underworld decapitation as the Evening Star aspect of Venus, Teotihuacan rulers likely portrayed themselves impersonating Tlaloc, just as their Maya counterparts impersonated Chac-Xib-Chac, or GI of the Palenque Triad.
The ruler portrayed above on Stela 20 impersonating the Maya god Chac-Xib-Chac holds a "Double-headed-serpent-bar," also known as the Bicephalic ceremonial bar. This bar represents the "World Tree", a sacred portal known as the Wakah Chan, or Raised-Up-Sky, the path that leads to the supernatural world of immortality. In the Mayan languages the word chan means both sky and snake, and is code for the vision-serpent-sky portal and alludes to the path the gods and ancestral dead travel in their journey in and out of the Underworld during bloodletting ceremonies, and at death and resurrection.The ancient Maya believed that the gods who created the present world raised the sky by placing a vertical axis signifying up and down at the center of the cosmos. Archaeologist Sylvanus G. Morley believed the Maya bicephalic serpent bar symbolized the highest religious rank during Classic times. K'awil (God K or G II of the Palenque Triad), the god most frequently depicted emerging from the Bicephalic or Double-headed-Serpent Bar during the Classic period, summoned the deified ancestors and was associated with immortality through the bloodletting ritual.. I propose that the ceremonial bar likely represents a cosmological icon of the "World Tree", the axis mundi, an up and down portal linked to the dualistic nature of the planet Venus.
Stela 21 from the archaeological site of Nim Li Punit in Belize portrays a Maya ruler wearing a Chac-Xib Chac headdress (GI of the Palenque Triad) and holding the God K Manikin Scepter (GII of the Palenque Triad) depicting the serpent-footed god K'awil. The ruler portrayed on the monument wears a pectoral with a double trefoil design similar in shape and meaning to the Old World Fleur-de-lis emblem of divine trinity.
The carved block from the Maya ruins of La Corona, portrays a seated Maya ruler wearing a Chac-Xib-Chac headdress and a royal chest pectoral depicting two Fleur-de-lis emblems. According to Maya scholar David Stuart, the glyphs on the above monument reveal the “end date” for the Mayan calendar, becoming only the second known document to do so.
(Above photo from http://www.chromographicsinstitute.com/tag/mayans/)
Tikal Stela 9, Early Classic Period, 475 AD (stone), Mayan / Tikal, Peten, Guatemala / Jean-Pierre Courau / The Bridgeman Art Library
Stela 9, portrays the 12th ruler of the powerful ruling dynasty at the great Maya kingdom of Tikal. The Maya ruler most likely held the supreme rank of Kaloomte, a title comparable to the European understanding of “emperor” (Harrison,1999 p. 92). The ruler holds a staff in one hand, and makes a hand gesture with the other. He wears an elaborate headdress crowned with three Fleur-de-lis insignias representing divinity, rulership and a trinity of creator gods (note the three jaguars on ruler's cape). This Tikal ruler’s name glyph depicts the head variant of a peccary with a kan-cross symbol, with trefoil, or what I propose is a Fleur-de-lis emblem, encoded above the peccary’s eye. We know this powerful ruler today as K’an Chitan, or K’an Ak, or by his nickname, Yellow Peccary.
The god identified with decapitation was particularly important to the highland Maya at the site of Kaminaljuyu. This drawing from Stela 10, a carved monument at Kaminaljuyu, depicts the trefoil-eyed god (upper left) wielding a sacrificial axe in a scene of ritual ballgame sacrifice. The two floating or suspended gods above may represent a Preclassic version of the Hero Twins from the Quiche Maya Popol Vuh. The figure in the scene below wearing a ballplayer's yoke may represent Hun Hunapu, the Hero Twins father who is decapitated in the Underworld by the Lords of Death. The three figures may also represent the Palenque Triad (GI, GII, GIII). Freidel and Schele (1998) have identified two of the Palenque Triad with the Hero Twins of the Popol Vuh. From inscriptions at Palenque, archaeologists have identified that the king was considered the incarnation of GI, (Editors, Archaeology Magazine, Secrets of the Maya, 2004:109) who began his mythical reign before the creation of the world on March 10, 3309 B.C.E. (GMT correlation) or 3569 B.C E.. using the Herbert Spinden correlation of the Mayan calendar. The figure at the bottom, representing a ballplayer (possibly First Father) is about to be decapitated by the deity above sporting a trefoil eye, who most likely represents GI of the Palenque Triad. The figure below wears a ballgame belt or yoke incorporating the three circles which I believe signify the three hearth stones of creation, the trinity of creator gods (Palenque Triad above), and the "place of ballgame sacrifice" which, in the Popol Vuh, is the Underworld. The scene suggests that, just as the Underworld Sun God is decapitated in the Underworld by a pair of twins, the ritual act of decapitation assures divine resurrection. Inscriptions at Palenque and at Quirigua, tell us that twin deities are associated with the "three stones of creation" as the "three stone place", calling to mind Orion's belt and the constellation of Orion as a ballplayer. We know that Quetzalcoatl and his twin brother Xolotl were known as both the Lords of the Ballgame, and Lords of the Underworld. It is tempting to think that, in ancient times, the Maya believed that the stars in the night sky were the heads of the deified dead, and that the constellation of Orion actually represented a resurrected ballplayer.
Buddha meditating below the fleur-de-lis emblem. Nalanda Site Museum, Bihar, India.
Hindu-Buddhist deity crowned with the Fleur de lis symbol?
The Awakened One, Buddhist mural depicting Tree of Life in association with the Fleur de lis symbol, from Po Win Daung, Myanmar.
(drawings of Buddhist Trinity from http://oldgoths.blogspot.com/2011_09_01_archive.html)
Manjushri, an Emanation of Amitabha Buddha, wearing an upside down Fleur de lis around his neck. Nepal 11th-12th century (Kathmandu Valley)
Was Guatemala one of the many lands visited in pre-Columbian times by Buddhist monks ? Can we find the origin of the name Guatemala connected with the Buddhist prophet Gautama ?
Above on the left is a drawing of an Olmec monument, dated between 500-400 B.C.E. It shows an elite figure wearing a bird mask, and a headdress similar to the wood sculpture on the right of a Buddhist monk (Drawing of Olmec sculpture by Linda Schele).
It should be noted that the majority of mushroom stones were found in the highlands of Guatemala and along the pacific slope where the Amanita muscaria mushroom grows in abundance. It should also be taken into consideration that the Vedic (Sanskrit) word used to describe the divine enlightenment of Soma was called Maya.
Quoting ethno-archaeologist Robert Heine Geldern:
"The influences of the Hindu-Buddhist culture of southeast Asia in Mexico and particularly, among the Maya, are incredibly strong, and they have already disturbed some Americanists who don't like to see them but cannot deny them....Ships that could cross the Indian Ocean were able to cross the Pacific too. Moreover, these ships were really larger and probably more sea-worthy than those of Columbus and Magellan."
FOOTPRINTS OF THE BUDDHA
Buddhism is named for its reputed founder Gautama who came to be known as the Buddha, an Indian prince of the 6th century B.C. Buddhist legend holds that during Gautama's lifetime he left footprints in all the lands where his teachings would be acknowledged.
So as the story reads Buddha becomes enlightened under the Bodhi tree. The word bodhi which means enlightenment, is likely a metaphorical reference to the Amrita or Soma mushroom used in communion to attain divine enlightenment. It should also be noted that Buddha eventually dies and reaches Nurvana from eating a poisonous mushroom.
Early Chinese texts use the language of “searching for” (chhiu), the herb or plant of immortality, often described as a fungus (source: Frederick R. Dannaway, Entheogenic Traces in Islamic Mysiticism).
Footprints of Gautama Buddha 1st century with upside down cap of probable Amanita muscaria mushroom and what may be a Venus symbol similar in shape to the Venus symbols of the ancient Maya.
Above, is a photo that depicts the under-side and gills of an Amanita muscaria mushroom. (http://www.flickriver.com/photos/mark_leppin/5919105321/)
Quoting Scott Hajicek-Dobberstein......
"In the legendary biographies of some Buddhist adepts from the 2nd- and 9th-centuries there are some clues which can be interpreted to reveal that the adepts were consuming psychedelic Amanita muscaria, 'fly agaric', mushrooms to achieve enlightenment."
(from Hajicek-Dobberstein 1995, Soma siddhas and alchemical enlightenment: psychedelic
mushrooms in Buddhist tradition)
The ballgame yoke fragment above with divine footprint on the left was excavated along with a tripod (trinity?) mushroom stone from a pit in front of Monument 3 at the Pacific coastal site of El Baul in Guatemala (Thompson, 1948: 24, fig.20b)
In Chinese religion, the word "tao" means road or path. The Aztecs called their divine mushroom, teonanacatl, "teo" meaning God, teonanacatl, meaning "God's flesh". Encoded above in the Buddha's footprints is a wheel-shaped symbol that I would argue represents the under side of the Amanita muscaria mushroom cap depicted below, which (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddha_footprint ).
Above is a carved image of a footprint of the Buddha, with a swastika on each toe (5 synodic cycles of Venus?). The footprint also encodes a circular icon in the middle of the foot, reminiscent to an upside down Amanita muscaria mushroom cap. Below the probable mushroom cap is another symbol tipped at each end with the Fleur de lis symbol. Note that the symbol tipped with the Fleur de lis is also similar in shape to an ancient Maya symbol meaning Venus symbol depicted below.
Above is a photograph of a carved panel from a Hindu-Buddhist temple in India, depicting the "Tree of Life" with probable encoded mushrooms, and a symbol very similar in shape to a the Maya glyph for Venus.
Above is a limestone carving 1st century B.C. depicting the enlightenment of the Buddha. Note the possibility of what looks like Amanita mushrooms underneath the sacred bodhi-tree. Also note that at the base of the empty throne are the Buddha's footprints. .British Museum, London, Great Britain (from http://www.lessing-photo.com/dispimg.asp?i=03060124+&cr=714&cl=1
The head of Buddha shown above depicts what looks to me like five Buddhas (5 synodic cycles of Venus?) sitting on sacred mushrooms. The head is in the collection of the British Museum and dates from A.D. 960-1279.
Quoting Robert Gordon Wasson...
"the use of mushrooms, if I am right, spread over most of Eurasia and the Americas, and as Stone Age Man has emerged into the light of proto-history these strange fungi may well have been the primary secret of his sacred Mysteries".
SOUTH ARABIAN BRONZE VOTIVE PLAQUE
CIRCA 5TH CENTURY B.C.
Above are bearded figures carrying ritual buckets in their left hand, which I believe contains the sacred beverage of the Rig Veda known as Soma. This conclusion is based on the circular symbol in the middle of the scene that looks to me like an upside down Amanita muscaria mushroom cap. which would be a clue to the contents of the ritual buckets.
Quoting Robert Gordon Wasson....
"What was this plant that was called "Soma" ? No one knows. Apparently its identity was lost some 3,000 years ago, when its use was abandoned by the priests. The earliest liturgical compositions of the Indo-Aryans, called the Brahmanas and put together after the hymns had been assembled, discuss the surrogates to be used for Soma in the ritual but fail to describe the original plant."
" I believe that Soma was a mushroom, Amanita muscaria (Fries ex L.) Quel, the fly-agaric, the Fliegenpilz of the Germans, the fausse oronge or tue-mouche or crapaudin of the French, the mukhomor of the Russians. This flaming red mushroom with white spots flecking its cap is familiar throughout northern Europe and Siberia. It is often put down in mushroom manuals as deadly poisonous but this is false, as I myself can testify. Until lately it has been a central feature of the worship of numerous tribes in northern Siberia, where it has been consumed in the course of their shamanic sessions. Its reputation as a lethal plant in the West is, I contend, a splendid example of a tabu long outliving the religion that gave rise to it. Among the most conservative users of the fly-agaric in Siberia the belief prevailed until recent times that only the shaman and his apprentice could consume the fly-agaric with impunity: all others would surely die. This is, I am sure, the origin of the tabu that has survived among us down to our own day."
(from Wasson's, Soma of the Aryans: ttp://www.iamshaman.com/amanita/soma-aryans.htm)
It may be that the origin of Soma and its rituals, as proposed by R. Gordon Wasson, is rooted in the shamanism of the Siberian forest people and came to the New World as early as the Paleolithic. However according to researcher Jason Fitgerald...
" Gordon Wasson noted ancient Hindu scriptures depicting urine drinking as bestowing spirituality, just as Siberian shamans drink the urine of Amanita muscaria-fed reindeer which exhibit appropriate signs of mushroom intoxication in order to gain insight and wisdom".
Quoting Ethno-Mycologist R. Gordon Wasson...
"People generally claim that the effects of the mushroom poison becomes more intense and more beautiful when it has already passed through another organism. Thus an intoxicated man will often be followed by someone else who wants to collect his urine, which is supposed to posses this effect to a particularly high degree (Wasson 1968: 257, reprinting Dittmar 1900). "
"passing the pot."
Above are joined figurines from Western Mexico, Nayarit culture 300 BC. that depict a seated man and woman, the man holding a cup in one hand and a probable mushroom in the other. The bowl that sits between them may contain a ritual beverage like the Soma beverage of Vedic rituals. (19.7cm high 26cm wide. Gift of August L. Selig. photo image from http://biodiversity.ku.edu/galleries/west-mexico University of Kansas, Natural History Museum)
For reasons that may never be known, the ceremonial use of Amanita muscaria mushrooms and the drinking of Soma urine, was later replaced in Vedic and Hindu rituals, and Soma's true identity became a mystery.
Above is a female fertility figurine from Western Mexico Zacatecas culture 2nd century CE with what I believe are encoded Amanita muscaria mushroom breasts "Hidden In Plain Sight". (Flicker, photographed at the de Young Museum of Fine Arts, San Francisco, California.
Above carved from basalt, is an Aztec ruler or deity 15th–16th century Mexico, holding a pine tree in his right hand, and pine cones in the other.
The photographs above depict the Amanita muscaria mushroom living in symbiotic relationship with pine trees and birch trees. (the photo on the left is by Adrian Davies)
In both Iranian and Vedic-Hindu mythology the haoma and soma plant grow by sacred "World Tree" (Photograph from, Soma Haoma: Identification of Soma and notes on lexeme corpora of ancient Indian languages.
Above is a photograph of a Babylonion stone slab (650 B.C.?), that depicts the use of the Fleur-de-lis emblem in the head like a crown, as a symbol of Lordship and divinity and represents an esoteric symbol of a Babylonian trinity. Note the winged god-king carries a ritual bucket in one hand, containing what I would argue is the ritual Soma beverage, and in his other hand the winged god-king holds a pine cone, which I would argue may be a symbolic reference to the "Tree of Life", and "Tree of Knowledge".
Above is Monument 19 from the Olmec site of La Venta. The monument depicts a ruler or ballplayer holding a ritual bucket, beneath a plumed serpent, and two quetzal birds, an esoteric reference I believe to the creator god Quetzalcoatl who was said to have invented the ballgame. The ruler or ballplayer or both, wears a three teared ballgame belt, which is a common motif depicted in Maya art alluding to a trinity of Maya gods, known to scholars GI, GII, and GIII, the so-called three hearth stones of Maya creation. The ruler or ballplayer also wears a feline-serpent inspired helmet representing I believe a divine portal of Underworld Venus resurrection. The ritual bucket he holds in his right hand contains the divine beverage I believe is Soma, the ritual mushroom beverage of Underworld jaguar transformation and Venus resurrection. The site of La Venta was one of the largest Olmec ceremonial centers that flourished in the hot tropical jungles of Mexico's Gulf Coast, between 1500 BC and 900 BC. before it was abandoned around the beginning of the 4th century BC.
Above is an ancient Assyrian stone slab (650 B.C.) depicting a deity on the left with wings who is crowned with an emblem of divinity in his helmet similar in shape to the Old World Fleur-de-lis emblem. The winged deity holds in his left hand a handled pot, filled with a sacred beverage for the gods, (Soma?). The winged deity above also holds in his hand what appears to be a pine cone, which likely alludes to the contents in the jar being none other than the Soma beverage.
Above is the possible image of the Sumerian trinity with the Sumerian god Anu as the central figure holding what I would argue are symbolic references to the "World Tree" encoded with the number three, for trinity. Anu (Anu= sky, and heaven) is flanked on either side by two other deities both crowned with the Fleur-de-lis symbol. Anu was one of the oldest gods in the Sumerian pantheon, and part of a triad of gods which include, Enlil god of the air, and Enki god of water. (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anu).
Please note the similarity above and below in "World Tree" imagery
Above is page 24 of the Mixtec Codex Vindobonensis. Note that the scene depicted on the bottom left of the pre-Columbian codex, looks somewhat similar to the Sumerian triad image directly above and below of the Sumerian god Anu. The V-shaped cleft depicted below left, in the pre-Columbian codex represents I believe a portal (mushroom portal) that leads to the Underworld for rebirth. The footprints just to the left of the V-shaped cleft in a circle marked esoterically as day and night, represents the journey the Sun God makes each day as he travels into the Underworld to be sacrificed by decapitation, as the Underworld Jaguar God. Note that the Sumerian god Anu, depicted as the central figure (above and depicted below) holds a sacred plant in both hands, a divine plant similar in shape and meaning to the sacred plant or mushrooms that the twin-faced Venus deity depicted above in the pre-Columbian codex above, which I would argue than is a reference to a trinity of gods (mushroom symbol of triad and rebirth?). Also note (see Fig. 58 above) that the Sumerian god Anu who is flanked on both sides by two other deities with the Fleur-de-lis emblem in helmet, is depicted with a circle around the waist, which I believe, like the V-shape cleft in the codex above is an esoteric reference to a portal of resurrection and immortality. I would propose, based on the notion of similar imagery, that the disc above Anu's head is a reference to the sun, or reborn Sun God. And that the two deities that stand on either side of Anu with the Fleur-de-lis emblem encoded in their helmets, represent dualistic deities associated with death and rebirth, and more than likely represent the twin aspects of Venus as a divine resurrection star. Note that the twin-faced deity depicted above in the Codex Vindobonensis wears a dual-headded harpy eagle headdress, and he holds in his right hand a sacred plant associated with Underworld jaguar transformation, and what I would argue is an esoteric reference to divine mushrooms and a trinity of creator gods, stylized to resemble the Fleur-de-lis emblem.
Above are the Sumerian gods Enki and Enlil, sons of the god Anu that came down to Earth according to Sumerian mythology. Enki's attributes as seen above is a double-headed snake, often shown with the horned crown of divinity and dressed in the skin of a fish. Enki played the pivotal role in saving humanity from the global Deluge, and just like the Mesoamerican god Quetzalcoatl, who's previous world was also destroyed by flood, Enki is also credited with the creation of mankind and bestowing the secrets of life and death. Like Quetzalcoatl whose avatar is the Feathered Serpent, Enki's emblem was also the serpent or two serpents entwined on a staff—the basis for the winged caduceus a symbol used by modern Western medicine. Note in the drawing above the offering of a sacred beverage, to a female (fertility, or mother goddess?) with encoded Fleur-de-lis emblem. I conclude that the Fleur-de-lis emblem is an esoteric symbol of the Soma beverage and of divine immortality (http://www.alchemylife.org/Pages/bltav1_wpf/bltav1_wpf.html#_edn36)
Quoting the author, Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y d la Torre, M.A. Ed.
" In Sumerian myths Enki of Eridu bears the Sumerian epithet ushumgal, meaning "great-serpent-dragon" and it is he who plants a great fruit tree in his garden at Eridu called the Mes-tree and another wonderous tree called the Kiskanu. He is described in Sumerian hymns "as the great dragon" (ushumgal) who STANDS in Eridu." His double-meaning words that confound and ensnare an unwary mankind (Adapa) are likened in hymns to the "poisonous venom of a great viper." He is portrayed as the creator of mankind and the god of wisdom, who bestows knowledge on mankind at Eridu (and at Nippur) and he allows man (in the form of Adapa) to obtain forbidden knowledge reserved for the gods but denies him and mankind immortality (cf. the Adapa and the Southwind myth). That is to say, Enki (Ea) is not only one of several prototypes that was later transformed into Eden's serpent, he is also one of several prototypes that was transformed into Eden's God, Yahweh-Elohim.
The Mesoamerican god Quetzalcoatl and the Sumerian god Enki, both have the attributes of a double-headed serpent. In Mesoamerica, dual-headded serpents I believe are associated with the twin aspects of the planet Venus as a divine portal of up and down. Both Quetzalcoatl and Enki are responsible for creating mankind and bestowing the secret to immortality the secret of life from death, through a ritual beverage (Soma?) and self sacrifice.
According to Vedic literature, the Gods got together at the beginning of time and churned
the ocean to extract a substance which would offer them immortality. According to Richard J. Williams author of "Soma in Indian Religion" Etheogens as Religious Sacrament (2009 p.2 Introduction), The Gods agreed to share this mighty elixir, calling it Amrita, or Amrit which is a Sanskrit word for "nectar", a sacred drink, or Holy Ambrosia, that grants their gods immortality.
In Mesoamerica the greatest gift one could offer to the gods was one's own life, or self sacrifice, emulating the death and resurrection of Quetzalcoatl who took his own life at Teotihuacan. In the Popol Vuh the sacred book of the Quiche Maya, the Hero Twins after drinking a sacred beverage new the secret to life and death through the act of self decapitation in the Underworld. Blood was the sacred substance of life that gave strength each morning to the new born sun as it journeyed across the sky. A passage from the Popol Vuh, describes how the first humans received instructions on how to perform sacrifices in exchange for the gift of fire. The passage reads...
"They should cut themselves open, that from under their ribs up under their armpits their hearts should be torn out. Before everything, sacrifice. By this you will obtain grace. Next, make holes in your ears, and likewise prick your elbows and knees. Offer as sacrifice the blood that flows from them. In these ways, your gratitude will be shown."
The scene above from the Codex Laud depicts the Aztec goddess Mayahuel, goddess of the maguey plant, in a scene depicting the divine act of self sacrific. In her right hand she appears to hold a ritual beverage ( Soma beverage stylized with the Mesoamerican version of the fleur-de-lis emblem?) as a gateway or portal to immortality. Note the serpent and turtle below the so-called "World Tree" or "Tree of Life". Both the turtle and serpent act as a sacrificial altar, and both are avatars of the god Quetzalcoatl and the planet Venus as the Morning Star.
Above is a sixteenth-century drawing from the Florentine Codex, Book 11, by Frey Bernadino de Sahagun. The image as described by Sahagun depicts the sacred mushroom of Mexico, called teonanacatl by the Aztecs, which means "Gods Flesh". The image of a bird perched on top of the mushrooms is a possible metaphor that alludes to the bird deity (Quetzalcoatl) that sits atop the world tree in Mesoamerican mythology.
The carved relief panel above is one of a series of six carvings in the vertical side walls of the South Ball Court at El Tajin, in Veracruz, Mexico (drawing from Coe, 1994, p.117). The carved panel depicts an individual, a ruler or Underworld god, with were-jaguar fangs, in the sacred act of drawing blood from his penis. Note just to the right of the World Tree sprouting divine mushrooms, that the figure in the water below receiving the blood offering, wears a fish headdress (Vishnu?), which may be a symbolic reference to a mythological ancestor from a previous world age, who survived a world ending flood by being changed into a fish. The bearded god above him, with two bodies, likely represents Quetzalcoatl in his twin aspects of the planet Venus representing both the Evening Star and Morning Star. Most importantly, note that there are tiny mushrooms depicted on the limb of a tree just left of center. This tree, I believe, represents the world tree as the portal leading up and down at the center of the universe. The bottom of the panel has an intricate scroll design which I believe is more than mere decoration and likely represents a stylized cross-section of a mushroom. Stylized Venus symbols are also depicted on the panel at both of the sides. Each Venus symbol is associated with three circles, maybe representing the three hearth stones of creation.
The Illustration of the Fish God Dagon, with Fleur-de-lis emblem encoded in helmet is from With the World's People, by John Clark Ridpath (Clark E Ridpath, 1912). As already mentioned, there is an ancient belief that the Sun or Sun God is born from the sea. This is because the Sun appears to rise out of the sea from the eastern horizon. For this reason, solar deities are often depicted as half-man/half-fish, the very first one being Vishnu of Vedic Hindu mythology.
QUOTING RESEARCHER RICHARD MERRICK...
"In the Hari Purana, the god Vishnu is shown as having assumed the form of a fish, with a human head, in order to reclaim the Vedas lost during the deluge. Having enabled Visamitra to escape with all his tribe in the ark, Vishnu remains with them for some time and gave them instruction".
"This narrative is probably the original story behind the Babylonian god Oannes, described by Berossus in the 3rd century BC as the man-fish who arrived from the sea and taught the Babylonians agriculture, writing, geometry and mathematics. This in turn is cognate with the Biblical story of Jonah being swallowed by a whale and Noah returning from the sea in his ark". (From Richard Merrick, Venus blueprint ?)
The Fleur de lis as a symbol of the "Tree of Life", the Holy Trinity, and the
Amanita muscaria mushroom encoded in Christian Art
Quoting Dr. John A. Rush author of, The Mushroom in Christian Art (2010: 138-139).
"Most people read Christian art as pictures, as snap shots representing historical events, but that is not what Christian art is about. An icon is a representation of something that cannot be represented; icons are spiritual renderings of another world, a spiritual geography; what you see is not what you get. A cross is not a cross, a book is not a book, an angel is not an angel, and a mushroom is not a mushroom. This being the case the Apostle’s Creed is likewise an icon, a mega-icon because it encapsulates all others. Again, this is not history; it is an elaborate, artistic, spiritual attempt to explain and pay homage to the mushroom experience."
"Thousands of years before Christianity, secret cults arose which worshiped the sacred mushroom — the Amanita Muscaria — which, for various reasons (including its shape and power as a drug) came to be regarded as a symbol of God on earth. When the secrets of the cult had to be written down, it was done in the form of codes hidden in folktales. This is the basic origin of the stories in the New Testament."
R. Gordon Wasson...
"the Soma of the Rig-Veda becomes incorporated into the religious history and prehistory of Eurasia, its parentage well established, its siblings numerous. Its role in human culture may go back far, to the time when our ancestors first lived with the birch and the fly-agaric, back perhaps through the Mesolithic and into the Paleolithic" (from Furst, 1976 p. 103).
"In brief, I submit that the legends of the Tree of Life and of the Marvelous Herb had their genesis in the Forest Belt of Eurasia". "The Tree of Life, is it not the legendary Birch Tree, and the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Life, what else is it but the Soma, the fly-agaric, [the Amanita muscaria] the pongo of the Ugrian tribesmen?" (from Furst,1972, p.212)
"In Genesis, is not the serpent the self-same chthonic spirit that we know from Siberia?"
According to Genesis, God told Adam that he was forbidden to eat from the tree of knowledge. God told Adam that if he ate the fruit he would die. Later, Eve who was deceived by a serpent, ate the fruit which she then took to Adam and he ate it, knowing he had disobeyed what God had explicitly told him. God expelled them from the garden, and through this act, . We don't know what kind of fruit this tree had, that would cause Adam and Eve to die, (some Amanitas are poisonous) but the idea that the deadly fruit was an apple was introduced by John Milton in his epic poem Paradise Lost.
Ethno-mycologist Robert. Gordon Wasson, and other notable scholars have written that the mythological apple is a symbolic substitution for the Amanita muscaria mushroom. Note below the obvious encoded mushroom imagery in association with the Holy Trinity, and World Tree, and "Tree of Knowledge".
Photograph of Amanita muscaria mushrooms under a pine tree, courtesy of sagaciousmama.com.
The Forbidden Fruit, Amanita muscaria
The Canturbury Psalter, 1147 AD, depicting Adam and Eve and the World Tree, the Tree of Knowledge, the forbidden fruit encoded as sacred mushrooms "Hidden in Plain Sight".
Above is an 11th century work of art made of bronze, on the door of St. Michael’s Cathedral in Hildesheim, Germany. The bronze artwork depicts the scene of "original sin", the so-called "Fall of Man", in which God banishes Adam and Eve from Eden for eating the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge.
Above are more 12th century stained glass windows that may depict encoded esoteric Amanita muscaria mushroom imagery.
Christ's Entry into Jerusalem (fresco), French School, (12th century) / Church of St. Martin, Vic, Berry, France. Note the mushrooms in the upper right of the fresco emerging from a Fleur de lis. (http://bridgemanart.com/asset/95749/French-School-12th-century/Christ's-Entry-into-Jerusalem-fresco)
Illuminated Manuscript, late twelfth or early thirteenth century, Claricia Psalter, Walters Art Museum Ms. W.26, fol.8v. Note the Fleur de lis symbol encoded with what looks to me like two stylized Amanita muscaria mushrooms.
Amanita muscaria imagery encoded in the offering of the sacred sacrament (Soma ?)
Fleur de lis emblem as a symbol of the Holy Roman Emperor
Above on the right is a sculpture of the Holy Roman Emperor Otto I crowned with the fleur de lis emblem of divine rulership (Holy Roman Empire) and Holy Trinity and holding an object resembling the cap of the Amanita muscaria mushroom.
Portraits of the Holy Roman Emperor, King Charlemagne A.D. 742 - 814, holding a royal staff, with (left) the Fleur de lis, and (right) the Holy Cross, both symbolic references to the World Tree, or Tree of Life In both portraits the red robe with embossed decoration is an encoded reference to the Amanita muscaria mushroom.
Holy Roman Emperor King Karel II der Franken 823-877: ( "Charles the Bald (823-877)" ) Note the red robe, Holy orb, and Fleur de lis staff, and what looks like three little mushrooms emerging from the king's crown stylized with the Fleur de lis emblem, as a symbol of divinity and the Tree of Life.
Amanita muscaria mushroom crown ?
Margaret Theresa of Spain was Holy Roman Empress, German Queen, Archduchess consort of Austria, Queen consort of Hungary and Bohemia. She was the daughter of King Philip IV of Spain and his second wife Mariana of Austria. Wikipedia
"V. Alfonz aragóniai király with Amanita muscaria mushroom crown ?
Holy Roman Emperor, King Charlemagne, symbolically portrayed as the tree of life, wearing a robe decorated with the Fleur de lis emblem.
Above is a mosaic of Justinian the Great, with encoded Amanita muscaria inspired halo. Justinian I, was the Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565.
Justinian I; mosaic in Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo
HINDU BUDDHIST MYTHOLOGY IN PRE-COLUMBIAN ART
THE CHURNING OF THE MILK OCEAN
The Churning of the Milk Ocean, is told in several ancient Hindu texts, the avatar of the Vedic god Vishnu is the sea tortoise depicted below as the pivot for Mt. Mantara acting as the churning stick. At the suggestion of Vishnu, the gods, and demons churn the primeval ocean in order to obtain Amrita, which will guarantee them immortality. For more on the CHURNING OF THE MILK OCEAN, IN MESOAMERICA ?, in pre-Columbian art see, Soma in the Americas page II, http://www.mushroomstone.com/somaintheamericasii.htm
I found a drawing by Daniela Epstein-Koontz, of a ball court relief panel from the archaeological site of El Tajin, in Veracruz Mexico. As far as I know I am the first to connect this ballcourt scene with Hindu mythology, and the Churning of the Milk's Ocean, often depicted in Hindu art. Note the dual headed serpent at the bottom of the scene on the right and left, emerging from the ocean's depth. The turtle at the bottom of the scene, an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu acts as the central pivot point, below the churning mechanism which is composed of an intertwined serpent being pulled at both ends by sky deities (four cardinal directions) who create the new born Sun (Vishnu ?). Note that the tail of the serpent end directly above the symbol of the new born Sun just above the turtle in a three-lobed stylized design of the Fleur-de-lis emblem, esoterically alluding I believe to the trinity of creator gods. The three arrows penetrating the Sun in the scene alludes to the triad and the Sun's life giving rays of light. If this ballcourt scene does represent Hindu mythology, and I feel certain that it does, than the two deities behind the central characters hold containers or ritual buckets in their hands filled with the Soma beverage.
For documentation of motif of ritual bucket (bag?) held by figures in hieratic scenes in Mesoamerica see Drucker, Hiezer, & Squier, 1955: 198. For documentation of motif of ritual bucket (bag?) held by figures in hieratic scenes in the Old World see H. Frankfort, 1955: pl.83.
The photograph above K4880, from the Justin Kerr Data Base, is of a turtle depicting an incised Venus glyph. The turtle carved from shell, was excavated from a burial in the Mundo Perdido of Tikal, Guatemala. In Maya creation myths the first manifestation of creation is a Cosmic Turtle from which First Father is reborn. The turtle artifact above is in the National Musuem of Guatemala. Museum no. 1875. length 4.5 cm. In Mesoamerican mythology the planet Venus, (aka Quetzalcoatl) is clearly linked with the creation of the universe, and an analysis of the Paris Codex (Milbrath, 1999; p.176) Zodiac pages 23-24, suggests that the turtle is closely linked with the constellation of Orion (see cosmic turtle, Bonampac murals room II) just like the turtle is in Hindu mythology. According to Mesoamerican scholars Mary Miller and Karl Taube, (1993:175) there are a number of Late Classic altars carved in the form of a turtle. One such turtle altar (Itzimte Altar 1), depicts Maya Kaban curls. Legendary Maya scholar Linda Schele has deciphered that the Hero Twins father, Hun Hunahpu, is reborn (as Sun God?) from the Underworld through the back of a cosmic earth turtle. Resurrection myths in Mesoamerica are clearly linked to a cosmic turtle, the ritual ballgame and the belt of Orion. I believe that the turtle is linked to the planet Venus and thus Quetzalcoatl as both a Morning Star, and a feathered serpent. In the Quiche creation myth of the Popol Vuh, Plumed Serpent swims in the sea before the dawn of creation.
The drawing above by Jenni Bongard is taken from the Madrid Codex, which depicts the three hearth stones of creation, placed on the back of the Cosmic turtle. The X-symbol depicted on each of the three stones likely represents the glyph jal, a verb according to Michael Coe, to create ( see Coe's, Reading the Maya Glyphs: 2001 p.163). Note as well that the turtle's tail is in the shape of the Maya kaban curl.
THE CHURNING OF THE MILK OCEAN IN THE MADRID CODEX
Above is page 19, from the Madrid Codex, also known as the Maya Tro-Cortesianus Codex depicts what I believe are elements of the same Hindu inspired myth The Churning of the Milk Ocean. Note that the deity above the turtle is painted blue, just like the Hindu god Vishnu is in Hindu art, and that the turtle below once again acts as the pivot point for the churning stick. The serpent's intertwined body is the mechanism by which the gods churn the milk's ocean. In the scene above the artist depicts the importances and creative forces of self sacrifice by substituting a rope for the serpents long body, depicting a blood letting ritual in which the rope (the serpents body) is being pulled through the penises of the gods above. The glyphs in the scene marked with the X-symbol, may represent the Maya word jal, a verb meaning to create ( see Reading the Maya Glyphs: 2001 p.163).
The Churning of the Milk Ocean myth depicted in a Mural at Tulum?
(drawing by Felipe Davalos G)
Above is a drawing of a Mural from the Maya site of Tulum, Structure 5, in Yucatan Mexico, which depicts what I believe is a Post Classic Maya version of the Hindu myth, The Churning of the Milk Ocean. Note the intertwined serpents in the main section of the scene as well as a serpent swimming below in the primordial sea along with a fish and a turtle in the lower section. The turtle bears the so-called head of a god scholars call God N. David Stuart has suggested that God N and and the Maya Post Classic god Itzamnah known as God D from the codices, were manifestations of the same deity and that he was involved in the creation of the world. Inscriptions on Stela C at the Maya archaeological site of Quirigua tell us that Itzamnah is one of three deities, like the Palenque Triad involved with the activities of creation at the beginning of the new era.
Once again the turtle deity acts as the central pivot point, below the churning mechanism, which is composed of intertwined serpents. The characters above likely depict the gods from the four cardinal directions representing both life and death, upper world and underworld. The four deities use hand gestures to churn the Milk ocean, and together with the serpent and turtle, (both are avatars of the planet Venus), create and resurrect the reborn sun god. (drawing of Mural 1 from Tulum from Milbrath 1980).
The Churning of the Milk Ocean in the Codex Selden
Depicted above in the Codex Selden, is another scene that I feel quite certain, represents a Mesoamericanized version of the Hindu inspired creation myth known as The Churning of the Milk Ocean. The complex scene on the page is first and foremost divided into three sections, separating the upper world, from the underworld, and the middle world from which the tree emerges. The upper world is depicted and framed at the corners of the page with a sky band depicting disembodied eyes, which represent the soul of the deified ancestral dead as the stars above. Framing in the bottom portion of the page is a two-headed feline/serpent, depicted with a stylized design of criss-crossing bands which can be linked to a Maya verb jal, which means create, (Coe; p.163). The dual headed serpent which frames the bottom of the page also surrounds a body of water that I believe represents the so-called Milk ocean of Hindu mythology. Emerging from this sea of creation (note waves) is a tree depicting a single eye, and intertwined serpents, emerging from a sacred altar platform that depicts a band of stylized step glyphs, symbolizing the descent and emergence from the underworld. Its worth noting that verses in the Rig Veda refer to Soma as the "single eye", the eye of the sun, symbolism, that can be clearly seen in the iconography above. Coiled around the trunk and branches of this sacred tree is a two-headed serpent, which depicts feline fangs symbolizing the serpents descent into and out from the underworld. The serpents feline attributes represent the underworld transformation that takes place prior to the Sun God's resurrection from the underworld. The central portion of the scene likely symbolize middle earth, from which the Tree of Life emerges. The codex scene depicts two main characters or deities sitting on opposite sides of the tree. I believe they symbolize both the God of Life and the God of death. The God of Life and god of the upper world sits at the left of the tree. He appears to have emerged from the mouth of the serpent below him at left. Opposite the God of Life, on the other side of the tree is the God of Death, who has emerged from the mouth of the serpent with the feline head.
Both deities hold in their hands a ritual sacrament, to be eaten or offered as a gift to the Tree of Life, from which the Sun God is reborn and immortality is obtained.
At the top of the page we see the newly born Sun God emerge from a V-shaped cleft depicted in the upper branches of the Tree of Life. To the right of the Sun God in the upper right hand corner of the page is an icon that is shaped like a drinking vessel that bears a symbol of five points beneath the vessel that refers to the so-called "fiveness" of Venus, referring to the planets five sonodic cycles, noted by scholars in the Dresden Codex. I believe that this symbol is linked to the Soma ritual and the sacred day Ahau, in the Venus calendar, when Venus is first visible rising from the Underworld as the Morning Star. I would argue that this Venus resurrection ritual is intimately connected with the Soma beverage and Soma sacrifices mentioned in the Rig Veda. The symbol to the left of the Sun God, and opposite the probable Soma vessel located at the left hand corner of the page is the year sign in the Aztec calendar.
Moving on to the middle portion of the scene, I believe the sequence of events, reads from right to left, and is as follows. Just to the right of the altar platform from which the Tree of Life emerges, there is a bleeding turtle just above a body of water I believe refers to the "Milk Ocean" in Hindu mythology. The bleeding turtle is located just below the deity identified as the God of Death and the Underworld. The bleeding turtle in this scene represents the sacrificial victim, whose shell or carapace in this scene will be the sacred portal linked to immortality and divine resurrection. The turtle's bloody heart can be seen sitting on top of the altar platform just to the left of the tree, as a sacrificial gift to the Gods of Life and Death who are responsible at times completion for the death and daily rebirth and resurrection of the Sun God. Note that the three turtle carapaces depicted in the primordial sea moving from right to left, under the Tree of Life, is a reference to the three hearthstones of creation, and that the turtle carapace located on the far left just below Tlaloc's severed head appears to have a star symbol inside the shell, which likely alludes to the planet Venus and that the turtle represents Venus as a divine resurrection star.
Just below the Tree of Life, underneath the altar platform is the carapace of the turtle with the head of a feline emerging, symbolizing the turtle's transformation in the underworld into the Underworld Jaguar. The sequence of events moves to the left, and then up, with the empty turtle carapace still in the sea, but just above and to the left of the altar platform is a stylized severed head, associated with the ritual act of decapitation. The stylized severed head bears the image of the Mexican Rain and Lightening God Tlaloc, who also represents the God of the Underworld and thus he represents the god of underworld decapitation, as the Evening Star aspect of the planet Venus. Tlaloc's severed head in this scene is stylized to represent a divine star reborn from the Underworld. Tlaloc can be easily identified in this scene by his trademark goggled eyes, feline fangs, and handlebar mustache. Those who died for Tlaloc or were under his watchful eye, went directly to his divine paradise called Tlalocan.
The Soma ritual was an integral part of Vedic-Hindu religion where Soma was drunk by the priesthood during sacrifices. Verses in the Rig Veda refer to Soma as the "single eye", the eye of the sun, symbolism that can be seen encoded in the trunk of the Tree of Life, above in the Selden Codex, and above along the top border, in which the stars represent the disembodied eyes of deified ancestors who look down upon them from Tlalocan.
Above is a scene from the Codex Bodley, a Mixtec codex painted sometime after A.D. 1500. Note that directly above the two seated figures are the images of the Mexican gods Tlaloc, and Quetzalcoatl (4-Wind) in association with a symbol similar in shape to the Fleur de lis.
The "single eye" motif is a common icon in the pre-Hispanic codices, and can be found in the iconography at the great city of Teotihuacan in the highlands of Mexico where Tlaloc and Quetzalcoatl the Feathered Serpent shared the same temple.