Decoding the family tree

Chris knew nothing about his ancestry beyond his grandparents, so I have been researching it. It’s pretty interesting. His ancestors have been living on the American continent country since Jamestown, and it looks like he has bloodlines converging from several different royal families. I realize this is important to some people, though the United States of America is philosophically founded on notions of equality. And I, too, believe in equal rights, regardless of one’s bloodline or background.

James Newman 1846-1923
James Newman 1846-1923
Alf is King Alfred. Fork is Sweyn Forkbeard. I’m still working it all out. Further up the line, Chris’ is the first son 10 generations back to Somerset, England. He is also the 27th grandson of William the Conqueror.

The golden spike is connected to Chris’ 2nd grandfather, James, who was born in Indiana 1846 and died in Stanislaus California 1923. Stanislaus is in “gold country,” not far from Palo Alto, Leland Stanford’s home.

The photo I have of James Newman shows a dignified and even prosperous-looking man. In contrast, Chris remembers his parents and grandparents struggling financially. During the depression, the Newmans picked fruit in a Cowlitz Washington community called “Rainbow” for pennies a day. Chris’ paternal grandfather, Ogden, came to Rainbow from Henry Indiana, while Chris’ grandmother, Eunice Wonser, was born in Pawnee, Kansas.


Continue reading Decoding the family tree

Decoding Alfred E. Neuman

Mad Magazine was founded by Harvey Kurtzman William Gaines in 1952. The first issue was October/November of that year. Chris Newman was born on July 11, 1953, about 8 months later.

Mad Magazine #30 1956For the first year or two, Mad Magazine mostly had scary monster and/or murder mystery covers. Alfred E. Neuman was introduced in November 1954, when Chris Newman was 16 months old, and first appeared on the cover in December 1956 (#30) when Chris was 3 years old.

From issue #1, and especially in those early years, Mad Magazine throws out hints that some kind of “murder mystery” is afoot. The numbers 12 and 22 are frequently worked into cover art, as are clues to who might be involved.

Everything here points to Chris’ birth being anticipated. He was marked before birth, and his life subjected to unusual influences from people with ulterior motives since day one. Crazy, but true.

Here’s a gallery of the first 30 Mad Magazine covers, spanning a four-year period: 1952-1956. Thanks to

Crowns of Ancient Egypt

Crowns of Ancient Egypt: decoding the candy cane

Double crown of United Egypt (Peschant)Egyptian Sun god Horus and Mother goddess Mut are both typically represented wearing a red and white crown called the Pschent or Double Crown of Egypt. This is a crown formed by combining the red crown (Deshret) of Lower Egypt with the white crown (Hedjet) of Upper Egypt. Horus’ father, Osiris, wears an Atef which is the white crown of Upper Egypt surrounded by two Ostrich feathers, and sometimes with a gold disc on top. In the coded imagery of the Game, it seems that alternating red and white colors symbolize unity.

screenshot for video for Hole's song, Malibu
Red and white stripes may represent unity. (Screenshot from Hole’s “Malibu” video)

ancient egyptian crownThe red crown of Lower Egypt is associated with the letter “N” (N red crown). It features a stylized Uraeus that, in art and hieroglypics, looks like a “curl” springing forward from the back part of the crown, extending forward. In later crowns, and on the sarcophagi of pharoahs like Psusennes, Ramses, and Tutankhamun, the Uraeus “curl” springs from the center of the forehead. The “curl on the forehead” is a sun symbol, no doubt related to the uraeus (or its absence) and to the idea of a “third eye” (or its blindness).
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Mythology: a definition

Ancient Egyptian Sun God RaHaving written several blogs discussing mythology associated with ancient and modern cultures, I’ve been getting the nagging feeling that I should define my way of using the word “mythology.” So here I go.

I don’t want to get too complex. The Wikipedia page on mythology is in-depth and academic but there is one sentence that seems to encapsulate my attitude toward mythology: “Some (recent) approaches have rejected a conflict between the value of myth and rational thought, often viewing myths, rather than being merely inaccurate historical accounts, as expressions for understanding general psychological, cultural or societal truths.” Bingo.

To my view, there is no conflict between myth and so-called “rational thought.” None.

Unlike Bill Maher who in Religulous seems to reject the concept of religion based on historical or factual innacuracies in religious texts – or evangelical Christians who insist that the Bible be viewed as historically accurate even when scientific method makes that difficult or impossible – when it comes to mythology, I have little interest in the facts. What matters to me is that a particular story is important enough to venerate and pass down through generations. So when I use the world “mythology” I am referencing important stories passed down orally, and/or in writing, which use symbolic language to describe a people’s deep cultural and spiritual truths.

Simple. Continue reading Mythology: a definition

Sun King mythology V: Aztecs and Tonatiuh, the Fifth Sun

Aztec Sun God: TonatiuhThe association between Ancient Egypt and freemasonry via stonemasonry is obvious, but it seems like there is an Aztec connection as well. Mythological associations between the Sun, fertility, and the passage of time (calendars) were important to Aztecs who first encountered Europeans with the arrival of Spanish Conquistador Hernán Cortés in 1517. It’s certainly possible that over the past 500 years, some Aztec beliefs regarding the Sun were incorporated into the mythological structure of European freemasonry. Continue reading Sun King mythology V: Aztecs and Tonatiuh, the Fifth Sun

Osiris and isis

Sun King mythology III: Solar deities of Ancient Egypt

As noted in Part I and Part II, Sun gods and Sun goddesses are found throughout the ancient world, and there are certain commonalities between them, though each has its own character and complexity. It’s clear that the way “The Sun” aka “The Son” is seen in this Game can be traced, one way or another, to Ancient Egypt. While various mythologies come into play with the Game, for our purposes, Ancient Egyptian mythology, specifically the epic battle between Set and his nephew Horus, seems to be most important.

Egyptian Sun mythology

Ancient Egypt was a civilization spanning about 3,000 years. Over that period of time, and because the Ancient Egyptian worldview was “multi-layered” (Oxford Guide to Egyptian Mythology 2003 p 106), interrelated deities morphed and mingled making it pretty difficult to do a superficial survey and make generalizations. Nonetheless, I’m going to try. Wikipedia is really handy here because of the checks and balances built in, because there is a consistency of how information is presented, and because of the footnotes which would enable a person to go to primary sources when necessary. Anyone who can, should really consider donating to Wikipedia.

Egyptian sun or sun-related deities include Atum, Aten, Ra, Horus, Isis, Nut, and Sekhmet.
Continue reading Sun King mythology III: Solar deities of Ancient Egypt

Mexico 10 centavos 1936

Circle geometry II: 3, 6, 9

Twelve spokes, one wheel, navels three.
Who can comprehend this?
On it are placed together
three hundred and sixty like pegs.
They shake not in the least.

Dirghatamas, Rigveda 1.164.48 c. 1500–1200 B.C.

clock face showing relationships  between 3, 6, 9, 12I’m not clever in math. I can notice some basic relationships, though, and I can see that both the 12 hour clock and the 360° circle are divisible by 6’s (and of course, 3’s). On the clock face, the numbers 3, 6, 9, and 12 can be connected with lines to form diamond with a plus sign (+). The plus sign is also a visual representation of four 90° angles – the 360° of a circle or the four interior angles of a square.

12 Hanged ManLike the numbers on the clock and the degrees in a circle, the Persian calendar 360 day year is divisible by 6’s and 3’s and suggests that the degrees on a circle may be partly a graphical representation of a year. Similarly, our modern calendar is divided, like a clock, into twelve units (months).

Mexico 10 centavos 1936Aztec and Mayan calendars also take the form of a circle, and design elements from some of these ancient calendars have been used in modern currency.
Continue reading Circle geometry II: 3, 6, 9

Dead Man - Johnny Depp as Willam Blake, poet, painter, killer

Sun King mythology II: solar barges, solar chariots

Solar Barge

Ra in Solar Barge
Solar God Ra in Barge
The “solar barge” is a mythological representation of a Sun that rides a boat. Representations of solar barges can be traced to the neolithic era (approx 10,000 B.C. to 2,000 B.C.). It is a mythic representation which continued into Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and it is found in other mythologies around the world as well.(Wikipedia: solar deity)

The Khufu ship, for example, is an intact full-size ritual vessel that was sealed into a pit at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Giza around 2500 B.C. It is a type of solar barge designed to carry the resurrected king Khufu with the sun god Ra across the heavens.

Khufu ship
Khufu ship

The Jim Jarmusch movie, Dead Man, evokes the concept of a solar barge as Johnny Depp’s character, William Blake, is ceremonially set off into the Pacific Ocean by Gary Farmer’s character, “Nobody.”

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Rosetti - holy grail

Sun King mythology I: vegetation ceremonies, blood sacrifice, holy grail

The Golden Bough book coverNot only the title, but the plan and a good deal of the incidental symbolism of the poem were suggested by Miss Jessie L. Weston’s book on the Grail legend: From Ritual to Romance … To another work of anthropology I am indebted in general, one which has influenced our generation profoundly; I mean The Golden Bough; I have used especially the two volumes Adonis, Attis, Osiris. Anyone who is acquainted with these works will immediately recognize in the poem certain references to vegetation ceremonies.
– T.S. Eliot introduction to “Notes on the Waste Land” 1923

Byzantine Christ Icon 6th CenturyThe Sun might be the oldest and most universal human representation of a supreme deity. Some have deconstructed Christian mythology and compared it to myths like that of Horus and Osiris to make the argument that Christ is, or has been framed as, another form of Sun God. Whether or not this is true, it is true that many ancient cultures featured Sun deities, and that there are certain similarities between the story of Christ and older Sun deity myths.

Because of its key connection to all life on earth, and because it is visible as it passes across the sky every day, the Sun is probably an ideal concrete representation of a universal deity. At night, when the Sun is “sleeping,” “dead,” or “underground,” the Moon shines, acting as the Sun’s reflective foil. The Sun, Moon, and Stars are common characters (gods, goddesses) in mythology worldwide.

Ouroboros, boy, skullModern Europe was deeply influenced by the Roman empire which continued cultural and mythological concepts from Ancient Greece, which in turn inherited mythological concepts from Ancient Egypt. Underneath all of that, Europe has its own pagan roots.

Roman religious practices intermingled with those of the European tribes. Later, as Christendom became the prevailing religious and political force, alternate rituals were also obviously kept alive. The May Queen ceremony is one mainstream example of an old vegetation ritual which continues today. Even the use of Christmas Trees is thought to have its roots in pagan ceremonies. These rituals are connected to Sun and Tree dieties, Fisher King / Holy Grail mythology, and the idea of blood (human) sacrifice.

Continue reading Sun King mythology I: vegetation ceremonies, blood sacrifice, holy grail

squaring the circle

Circles I: π pie

“Well, I had a vision when I was twelve. And I saw a man on a flaming pie, and he said, ‘You are the Beatles with an A.’ And so we are.”
CBS News: Out of a flaming pie comes The Beatles

“We can conclude that although the ancient Egyptians could not precisely define the value of π, in practice they used it”.
– Verner, M. (2003). The Pyramids: Their Archaeology and History, p. 70.

The Sun as flaming π: irrational & transcendental

pi pieIn symbolic code, the Sun is represented by a dot, a hole, a disc, a ring, 360°. The Sun is Ra’s flaming Eye. The Sun is also represented by various types of food, including pizza and pie. “Pie” has multiple meanings, and one of those meanings is a play on π (Pi), the mathematical representation of the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.
π is an irrational number and cannot be expressed by a common fraction, but a close approximation would be 22/7. π is expressed as a decimal which neither ends nor repeats itself. It is a transcendental number (Wikipedia).
Continue reading Circles I: π pie