Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Give It Up To Shaki-Ra

Gonna take a break from the main story we've been following here and take a look at some of the cream of the crop in modern pop music video production, writing, singing and dancing. Excited?! I sure am. Hopefully that wasn't overly sarcastic. Pull back the curtain and give us a drum roll please here comes our lady of the hour: Shakira. In her latest single she teams up with one of hip hop's toughest and most rugged gang bangers, none other than Lil Wayne. I was out at a local bar and grill the other Friday and caught a glimpse of the video for "Give It Up To Me" and was intrigued by some of the symbolism and costumes used. So I decided to take a closer look. You can watch the video here.

One of the first costumes we notice Shakira wearing has what appears to be a golden Maltese cross acting like a kind of belt buckle...hmmm. What's a Maltese cross? "This eight-pointed cross (linking the points of four arrowheads at the center) dates back to the First Crusade in the 12th century. It was used by the Knights Templar, the Knights of Malta, and the Order of St. John of Jerusalem among others. In 1813, during the War of Liberation against Napoleon, it was revived by Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III and became an award for acts of heroism, bravery or leadership skills." The Maltese Cross may also represent some type of sun symbolism in the context of this video.

"You can't touch this...just kidding of course you can!"

Modern use of the Maltese Cross is pretty much restricted to military uniforms. Also, I haven't gotten to the topic of the Crusades and the Knights Templar but let's just say that they weren't doing God's work.

Templars partying with Baphomet.

Interesting, so it looks like we have a vague association with war or military regalia. Also notice that she appears to be wearing stylized combat boots and a gold chain on her shorts. She's wearing a pair of black gloves giving off the implication that she is ready to do some hard work...hard work lolz. Chains are very common military uniform accessories too. She also has a crazy tattoo on her left arm which I have no idea what it means but it can't be good; so if anyone has any theories let me know! Also notice that Shakira along with her dance troupe are dancing inside what appears to be a target or concentric circles on the ground. The circle is traditionally considered a feminine symbol for obvious reasons...if you don't see this please refer to in-ies and out-ies.

"FLYING V...go team go!"

Outfit #2: She's got a gray skirt and some black chain draped over her shoulder. I wasn't sure what to make of the black chain until I saw the dance that went along with this outfit. In the context of the dance moves and the look of the chain I would say the chain is meant to symbolize a snake.

"Wanna see my mime impression? Look, I'm climbing up an invisible rope!"

Here's where the interesting stuff comes in. Take a look at the costume she dons for the finale of the video. Look at Shakira decked out in purple and red with a sun crown and arms that look like she stole them straight off Kali the goddess of death. She also appears to be floating or walking on water with a brilliant city and star-scape at her back. What does all this mean?!

How nice would this be if you were a switch-board operator!

Revelation 17:4-5;15

4And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:


15And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

This outfit seems like a pretty big coincidence doesn't it? Also, notice the reference to a "cup" in her hand and remember that the cup or chalice is a feminine symbol. And hey look at that, Shakira is now a trinity...

Suddenly I have a craving for Doublemint gum.

"Crimson is used to describe fine materials and sin. The dye was extracted from the dried body of of the insect coccus ilicis; qirmiz (or kermes) as transliterated in Arabic. Along with blue, scarlet and crimson, purple is used to describe hangings and fine materials. The dye was extracted from a particularly scarce family of shellfish which made it quite valuable. Purple became a symbol of royalty and riches due to the scarcity of its dye."

Let's take a closer look at her crown. Does it look familiar? "The general appearance of the
statue [of liberty's] head approximates the Greek Sun-god Apollo or the Roman Sun-god Helios as preserved on an ancient marble tablet (today in the Archaeological Museum of Corinth, Corinth, Greece)—Apollo was represented as a solar deity, dressed in a similar robe and having on its head a "radiate crown" with the seven spiked rays of the Helios-Apollo's sun rays, like the Statue's nimbus or halo. The ancient Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was a statue of Helios with a radiate crown."

"The ancient Roman goddess Libertas was honored during the second Punic War by a temple erected on the Aventine Hill in Rome by the father of Tiberius Gracchus. A statue in her honor was also raised by Clodius on the site of Marcus Tullius Cicero's house after it had been razed. The figure also resembles Sol Invictus, the Roman god of sun." The main thing I want to point out in this quote is the fact that there is a resemblance to the sun god Sol Invictus. It's not a stretch of the imagination to look at the radiant or turreted crown as a sun symbol. Who else wears a crown like this?

From left to right we have: the Greek goddess Cybele, Babylonian goddess Semiramis, and Hindu god Agni.

Hey look at Lil Wayne he managed to get himself some bling in the the form of a halo!

From left to right: a face only a mother could love and Jesus Christ.

The lyrics speak, albeit poorly, for themselves:

How you doin I'm Mr Mos I'm back
Timb are you on it x2
Give me some
Is this what you wanted? x2

Uh Wayne's World
I'm the cashier I change girls
You can go up my crain girl
And Imma go down that drain girl
Hey ah midnight cowboy
My flow's a dog...down boy
Hah my girl is a queen
And she do what I say and I say what I mean
Then I give it to her uncut
Shakira, swing those hips like nun chucks
Now, give it to me
I want the best and the best things in life are free

(Refrain) You can have it all
Anything you want you can make it yours
Anything you want in the world x2
Give it up to me

Nothing too big or small
Anything you want you can make it yours
Anything you want in the world x2
Give it up to me

What you get is exactly what you give
Never really know until you try
We're so ahead of this
Got this she wolf appetite that keeps me up all night
You know the way it works don't be afraid to ask
Aim high when the target is low
FYI I am ready to go
People say men are just like kids
Never saw a kid behave like this

What you give is exactly what you receive
So put me in a cage and lock me away and i'll play the games that you want me to play


Hey can we go by walking
Or do you prefer to fly
All of the roads are open
In your mind
In your life
Give it up to me

Hey can we go by walking
Or do you prefer to fly
All of the roads are open
In your life
In your life
Give it up to me

Hey lil lady
What's your plan
Say lil mama
Come take a ride jump in

Hey there baby
What's on your mind
Don't need approval tonight, tonight
Give it up

(Refrain) x2

So what do we have here? Why the allusions to religious mythology? Why the military symbolism? It seems to me that we are looking at a 3 minute sales pitch. This video is not just selling a lifestyle but a spiritual movement. The mentions of karma and getting what one wants combined with the goddess symbolism implicates some form of spirituality. There are sexual euphemisms (most likely written by a 10-year-old), depictions of the divine feminine, lots of circles, serpent symbolism (read: Eve) with some military symbolism thrown in to communicate power or authority. Combine all of these ideas and we get a great modern day pop portrait of new age humanism ie. establishment sanctioned sex worship. Good times.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Gate Crashing

Continuing with the context of ritualistic human sacrifice I wanna take a look at an important symbol that has been handed down through occult tradition. The twin pillars of Boaz and Jachin from Solomon's temple in Jerusalem.

Depiction of what Solomon's Temple may have looked like

Wikipedia has this to say: "Two brass pillars named Boaz and Jachin stood in the porch of the Temple. (1 Kings 7:15; 7:21; 2 Kings 11:14; 23:3). Boaz stood on the left and Jachin on the right. The Bible records their measurements as 27 feet (8.2 m) high and 6 feet (1.8 m) wide (18 by 12 cubits) with a hollow of 4 fingers thick. (Jeremiah 52:21-22). Their 8-foot (2.4 m) high brass capitals were each decorated with rows of 200 carved brass pomegranates, wreathed with seven chains and topped with lilies. (1 Kings 7:13-22, 41-42; 2 Chronicles 4:13) According to most translations of 1 Kings 7:13-22, these two pillars were cast of brass, though some believe the original Hebrew word used to describe their material, "nehosheth", is actually either bronze or copper, because the Hebrews were unfamiliar with zinc, which along with copper, is required to create brass.

The two pillars had their parallel not only at Tyre but at Byblus, Paphos, and Telloh (see, however, De Sarzec, "Découvertes en Chaldée," pp. 62-64). In Egypt the obelisks expressed the same idea. All these were phallic emblems, being survivals of the primitive Hamito-Semitic "maẓẓebah". Jachin and Boaz were really isolated columns, as Schick has shown, and not, as some have supposed, a part of the ornamentation of the building. Their tops were crowned with ornamentation as if they were lamps; and W. R. Smith supposed that they may have been used as fire-altars. This assumes that they contained cressets for burning the fat."
So the pillars of Boaz and Jachin stood at attention on the porch of the temple flanking the entrance into the temple. What's interesting about these pillars is the fact that they can be found elsewhere outside of Solomon's Temple.
Boaz and Jachin depicted according to the measurements in the Bible

Each modern Freemason Temple is meant to mimic Solomon's Temple. According to W.Bro William M Larson a 33rd Degree Mason, "In the United States, the earliest description, from the 1700's, show both Wardens seated in the west, facing the Master. The two pillars were generally near them, forming a kind of portal, so candidates passed between them during their admission, to gaining access, to the Middle Chamber of King Solomon's Temple, a custom we have modified, and which inherently, we carry out today." So we have a description of the pillars as a kind of portal into the temple. Larson goes on to say that, "the Senior Warden's column is called Jachin and signifies "To establish in the Lord", whereas the Junior Warden`s column is called Boaz and signifies "Strength."

High Priestess tarot card complete with "B" & "J" twin pillars

If we take a peek at the High Priestess Tarot card we will notice a black and white pillar adjacent to the high priestess with the letters 'B' and 'J' on each pillar. Disclaiming any irreverence here; whenever I see these letters I can't help but think..."Billy Jean" by Michael Jackson. Clean humor only on this blog folks! "The two pillars are the white (right) and black (left), pillars of the Tree of Life, the pillars that stood before the door of Solomon's Temple. They are esoteric symbols of the labia of female genitalia, the portal of initiation into the mysteries. The B & J on the pillars stand for the biblical names of Boaz and Joachim, references respectively to Severity and Mercy, the twin principles on which all creation rests." So there we have the pillars as "portal of initiation into the mysteries." The plot thickens.

"The veil behind the High Priestess conceals the Holy of Holies, the sacred womb at the heart of Solomon's temple, which contains the memories of the individual, the race and the cosmos. The concealing veil is made of light, so bright as to be impenetrable. This is the light that stands above Tiphereth (Beauty/#6), concealing the Abyss." So we have another parallel between the tarot card and the description of Solomon's Temple from the Bible in the form of the veil. According to wiki, "There was a two-leaved door between it and the Holy Place overlaid with gold (2 Chr. 4:22); also a veil of tekhelet (blue), purple, and crimson and fine linen (2 Chr. 3:14; compare Exodus 26:33). It had no windows (1 Kings 8:12) and was considered the dwelling-place of the "name" of God.

The color scheme of the veil was symbolic. Blue represented the heavens, while red or crimson represented the earth. Purple, a combination of the two colors, represents a meeting of the heavens and the earth." So it would appear that we have a gatekeeper with the veil. Also worthy of note is the archetypal interpretation of the high priestess herself: "Virgin, seeress, oracle, she is the voice of the unconscious, the boundless ocean, the silent night. Moon goddess, knower of the soul, keeper of the mysteries, the unknowable feminine. She keeps the secrets you need to know. She answers the questions that cannot be asked in words." She sure sounds familiar...cough*...Ishtar...cough*.

Monument to the Pillars of Hercules at the Strait of Gibraltar

So where else can we find these pillars? "The Pillars of Hercules (Latin: Columnae Herculis, Greek: Ηράκλειες Στήλες) was the phrase that was applied in Antiquity to the promontories that flank the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar. The northern Pillar is the Rock of Gibraltar in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. A corresponding North African peak not being predominant, the identity of the southern Pillar has been disputed through history, with the two most likely candidates being Monte Hacho in Ceuta and Jebel Musa in Morocco."

According to Plato's account, the lost realm of Atlantis was situated beyond the Pillars of Hercules, in effect placing it in the realm of the Unknown. According to some Roman sources, while on his way to the island of Erytheia Hercules had to cross the mountain that was once Atlas. Instead of climbing the great mountain, Hercules used his superhuman strength to smash through it. By doing so, he connected the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and formed the Strait of Gibraltar."

Spanish coat of arms complete with twin pillars

So what else is the Strait of Gibraltar famous for? Well in 1475 Columbus made his first considerable voyage to the Aegean island of Chios, and in 1476 he sailed on a Genoese ship through the Strait of Gibraltar. So, one could assume that the Strait of Gibraltar could be looked at as a portal. And that's exactly what the Spanish thought, "The Pillars appear as supporters of the coat of arms of Spain, originating from the famous impresa of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, King of Spain. The motto Plus Ultra for further beyond indicates the desire to see the Pillars as an entrance to the rest of the world rather than as a gate to the Mediterranean Sea. It also indicates the overseas possessions that Spain had."

So it seems that we might have an overarching concept that all these instances of the pillars parallel with one another. We have pillars as a portal to occult knowledge or location (ie. Holy of Holies, Initiation into the mysteries, Atlantis, New World, Deity). One could also make the assertion that the pillars represent a portal to change, transformation, or a new age through interaction with supernatural forces. It seems to be a common new age belief that there is a connection between the tarot card High Priestess and a shift from the Piscean age into the age of Aquarius. The age of Aquarius being described as a "return to the feminine" from a male focused culture. This paradigm shift is represented on the tarot card through the depiction of the pillars as opposites (black and white) merging to form a new third pillar (the high priestess).

Title page of Sir Francis Bacon's Instauratio Magna ("Great Renewal"), 1620

What I would like to focus on is the ritualistic nature of these pillars and the role that they might play ushering in a supposed "new age" as a result of their archetypal nature. Some people might be asking how this could be possible? How can symbols of this type affect the direction of humanity at large?

Let's go back to Christopher Columbus and Spain. According to history, the Strait of Gibraltar had significance placed upon it because of the role that it played as a portal to the New World ie America. The Spanish believed that the Pillars of Hercules (Strait of Gibraltar) played a large role in their manifest destiny. Also, "The Pillars appear prominently on the engraved title page of Sir Francis Bacon's Instauratio Magna ("Great Renewal"), 1620, the foreword to his Novum Organum. The motto along the base offers the optimistic promise Multi pertransibunt et augebitur scientia ("Many will pass through and knowledge will be the greater")."

1768 Spanish Colonial Real silver coin, showing the Pillars of Hercules surrounding a picture of the world.

What I'm suggesting here is that, psychologically, the more emphasis or energy that we, as a species, place on or give to a particular symbol the more profound the effect of that symbol on our subconscious. Recalling the pentagram symbol and it's discovery, how much more profound would the effect of a symbol be that was essentially handed down from the "heavens?" A symbol that was literally written into the very fabric of nature and space. The potential psychological impact is mirrored and connected with the physical impact these symbols might have the same way that a stop sign affects automobile traffic. But a natural symbol would be even more potent; as universal as equating water with sustenance or life. Once entered into the collective unconscious these symbols have the potential to be accepted as a signifier that is unquestioned by the conscious mind and thus perceived as universally true.

In order to understand how symbols can have such a profound effect on our subconscious we must grasp the relationship that humanity has had with this symbol historically. "The esoteric associations with the Twin Towers are profound. From Hebraic legend they reference the two great pillars Joachim and Boaz, placed at the entrance to Solomon’s Temple. Besides the ancient Hebrews, the Spartans, Phoenicians, Aryans and Scandinavians all associated the twin pillar motif with the presence of the deity. The Vedas refer to the twin Asvins, the Spartans to the Dioscuri, “clad in shining armor” and associated with clouds. The twin pillars: for the Greeks, symbols of Heracles (heroism), for the Scandinavians, of Thor (might). Legend associates them with Castor and Pollux, the twin brothers, one who gave his life for the other. They recall the twin Trees of Eden — Knowledge of Good and Evil (duality), and that of Eternal Life (unity) — as well as the Tree of Life diagram of Kabala, between whose pillars all is made manifest. For the Hebrews symbolizing establishment and strength, justice and mercy, as pillars of cloud by day and fire by night they led the Israelites from bondage, connoting a union of opposites, or harmony, fullness, the guidance and immanence of God."

Masonic tracing board depicting Boaz and Jachin

The pillars as a symbol of passage and deity have played a very large role in the mythology of humanity. It's not hard to see how this symbol could have wedged it's way so deeply into our collective unconscious over the years as to act as a sort of archetypal road sign. Going back to a concept that I touched on previously, one has to wonder if there are potential spiritual implications involved when this symbol is invoked; a kind of "as above, so below" phenomenon. With a symbol that is so deeply connected with our unconscious minds it is not out of the question to assume that a symbol of this nature could have a profound affect on human behavior acting as a type of antenna to conjure energy in the form of reactionary behavior. Next time I want to touch on two very famous pillars that have acted as a portal to the current age of foreign relations and politics we now find ourselves in: the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Die for Your Country?

I want to take a closer look at human sacrifice throughout history and culture, attempt to assess it's origins, and understand it's religious significance. It appears as though human sacrifice is as old as civilization itself. We know that ancient Sumerian society, the cradle of civilization, placed a heavy religious significance on human sacrifice. If one looks to the past it is easy to find examples of human sacrifice across almost all cultures: Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, Neolithic Europe, Greco-Roman antiquity, Celts, Ancient China, India, Pacific regions, Pre-Columbian America, and West Africa. There are two main types of human sacrifice:
  • The ritual killing of human beings as part of the offerings presented to the gods on a regular basis, or on special occasions.
  • Retainer sacrifice, or the killing of domestic servants to bury them along with their master.
Encyclopaedia Britannica defines human sacrifice as "the offering of the life of a human being to a deity. The occurrence of human sacrifice can usually be related to the recognition of human blood as the sacred life force. Bloodless forms of killing, however, such as strangulation and drowning, have been used in some cultures. The killing of a human being, or the substitution of an animal for a person, has often been part of an attempt to commune with a god and to participate in divine life. Human life, as the most valuable material for sacrifice, has also been offered in an attempt at expiation."

Gadimai festival in Nepal; over 200,000 animals sacrificed in 2009

According to Josef Kastein, in his book The History and Destiny of the Jews, ancient Jews believed "the blood was the seat of the soul."
The story of the Passover comes to mind. The blood of a sacrificial lamb caused the angel of death to passover the homes of the Jews. In Leviticus 17:11 it says, "for the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul." The story of the Passover was also a foreshadowing for the crucifixion of Jesus. Matthew 26:28 reads, "for this is my (Jesus) blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."

Closely related practices found in some tribal societies are cannibalism and headhunting. Headhunting was common in China, India, Nigeria, Nuristan, Myanmar, Borneo, Indonesia the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, Micronesia, Melanesia, New Zealand, and the Amazon Basin, as well as among certain tribes of the Celts and Scythians of ancient Europe. Some experts theorize that the practice [of headhunting] stemmed from the belief that the head contained "soul matter" or life force, which could be harnessed through its capture. This concept parallels the Sacrament of Holy Communion or Eucharist in many ways. The Eucharist is a Christian sacrament or ordinance, generally considered to be a commemoration of the Last Supper, the final meal that Jesus Christ shared with his disciples before his arrest and eventual crucifixion.

Jesus Christ on the crucifixion cross

Wikipedia says that "victims [of human sacrifice] were typically ritually killed in a manner that was supposed to please or appease gods, spirits or the deceased, for example as a propitiatory offering, or as a retainer sacrifice when the King's servants are killed in order for them to continue to serve their master in the next life." So it appears as though the common belief is that their is a kind of spiritual power in living beings, human or animal, that is released through death. So human sacrifice was thought of as an offering in exchange for favorable circumstance from the gods. There is evidently a deep mythological belief in the power of human sacrifice.

Depiction of Aztecs human sacrifice on temple stairs

A common thread among cultural human sacrifice practices is the dedication of sacrifices after the completion of a building or bridge. "There is a Chinese legend that there are thousands of people entombed in the Great Wall of China. In ancient Japan, legends talk about Hitobashira ("human pillar"), in which maidens were buried alive at the base or near some constructions as a prayer to ensure the buildings against disasters or enemy attacks. For the re-consecration of the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan in 1487, the Aztecs reported that they killed about 80,400 prisoners over the course of four days. According to Ross Hassig, author of Aztec Warfare, between 10,000 and 80,400 persons were sacrificed in the ceremony." There are numerous legends regarding sacrifices being buried alive in order to bring favor to a particular structure.

A particular practice of the Pawnee people, a native American people who lived along the Missouri river, called the Morning Star ceremony has some interesting parallels with Sumerian human sacrifice. The Pawnee mythologized that the Evening Star was Venus and the Morning Star was Mars. The Pawnee people would take a maiden from an enemy tribe who was meant to represent Venus and sacrifice her upon a scaffold that represented the “Evening Star’s garden in the west, the source of all animal and plant life.” This tradition strikes me as reminiscent of the mythology surrounding Venus as chief goddess of life and death and as mother earth to the Sumerians and Egyptians...but who knows I'm just guessing here. There does seem to be a universal mythological perception of the planet Venus as a female.

Moloch the name of a god or the name of a particular kind of human sacrifice
associated with fire of Middle Eastern origin.

I want to go back to my assertion that war is a modern outgrowth of ritualistic human sacrifice. We will use World War II as an example and look at some of the economic after-effects of the war. According to Wikipedia "the common view among economic historians is that the Great Depression ended with the advent of World War II. Many economists believe that government spending on the war caused or at least accelerated recovery from the Great Depression. However, some consider that it did not play a very large role in the recovery, although it did help in reducing unemployment. The massive rearmament policies leading up to World War II helped stimulate the economies of Europe in 1937–39. By 1937, unemployment in Britain had fallen to 1.5 million. The mobilization of manpower following the outbreak of war in 1939 finally ended unemployment." Also worth noting here is the significance of the Holocaust of World War II in this discussion.


[hol-uh-kawst, hoh-luh-]
1. a great or complete devastation or destruction, esp. by fire.

2. a sacrifice completely consumed by fire; burnt offering.

3. (usually initial capital letter) the systematic mass slaughter of European Jews in Nazi concentration camps during World War II (usually prec. by the).

4. any mass slaughter or reckless destruction of life.

When we look at the definition above it appears that I am not the only person that has made a potential connection between war and human sacrifice here.

Commonwealth Graves British Military Cemetary

The relationship between the military, the government, and the industry that supports them is commonly referred to as the military-industrial complex. "Total world spending on military expenses in 2006 was $1.158 trillion US dollars. Nearly half of this total, 528.7 billion US dollars, was spent by the United States. The privatization of the production and invention of military technology also leads to a complicated relationship with significant research and development of many technologies. The Military budget of the United States for the 2009 fiscal year was $515.4 billion. Adding emergency discretionary spending and supplemental spending brings the sum to $651.2 billion. This does not include many military-related items that are outside of the Defense Department budget. Overall the United States government is spending about $1 trillion annually on defense-related purposes."

I think that it is easy to see that there is a lot money to be made in war. If we look closely we can see some parallels in the relationship between modern economies with war and ancient civilization with human sacrifice. There was an ancient belief that sacrificial blood, especially that of a human, brought peace and prosperity through appeasement of the gods. It is also widely believed that through war modern societies achieve economic prosperity and incline. Could there potentially be a deeper spiritual connection between the spending of human lives in modern war and the purification and progress of human society; a sort of receiving by giving? The answer may lie in the age old words of Isaac Newton in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below."

I wrote an entire post and didn't even include any bad jokes or puns. But don't worry though there is more to come!