New Evidence Emerges Authenticating Lost Gospel Mentioning Jesus Was Married (artnet news)

by Sarah Cascone, Tuesday, August 25, 2015 original article here.

The Gospel of Jesus's Wife.  Photo: Harvard Divinity School.

The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife. Photo: Harvard Divinity School.

New scientific tests indicate that the controversial Gospel of Jesus’s Wife, which suggests Jesus might not have been celibate, could be authentic.

The key line from the papyrus scrap reads “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife . . . she will be able to be my disciple.'” Elsewhere, the Coptic text mentions Mary, possibly in reference to Mary Magadalene, famously recast as Jesus’s wife in Dan Brown’s art historical thriller The Da Vinci Code, which spawned many a conspiracy theory.

When the manuscript came to light thanks to Harvard University professor Karen King in 2012, it was met with a great deal of skepticism. Roughly the size of a business card, the papyrus scrap was widely dismissed—the Vatican was among the detractors—as a modern forgery.

According to the Harvard Theological Review Journal, the papyrus and the ink are about 1,200 years old (it’s believed to be dated to sometime between the sixth and the ninth centuries. (Harvard is also home to the recently-discovered Gospel of the Lots of Mary.)

The main evidence against the discovery is the similarity of the text to a fragment of a rare copy of the Bible’s Gospel of John, written in Lycopolitan, the same obscure Coptic dialect used in the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife.

The two manuscripts have several of the exact same phrases and line breaks, and some suspect both are modern forgeries, especially given that Lycopolitan went extinct 1,500 years ago.

“The two Coptic fragments clearly shared the same ink, writing implement and scribal hand. The same artisan had created both essentially at the same time,” argued Christian Askeland, a research associate with the Institute for Septuagint and Biblical Research in Wuppertal, Germany, in a recent paper in the New Testament Studies journal.

The Gospel of Jesus's Wife compared to an online version of an ancient Coptic copy of the Gospel of John.  Photo: Harvard Divinity School.

The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife compared to an online version of an ancient Coptic copy of the Gospel of John. Photo: Harvard Divinity School.

John Yardley, a senior research scientist at Columbia University, disputes these findings. “In our first exploration, we did state that the inks used for the two documents of interest were quite different. The more recent results do confirm this observation strongly,” he told Live Science.

For King’s part, she argues that both Coptic texts could be ancient copies of earlier texts, and that the similarity of the line breaks is coincidental.

She also discounts any resemblance to the early Christian text the Gospel of Thomas, including the inclusion of a typo found in an online version of the text. King contends that ancient scribes were not infallible, and made grammatical errors.

The papyrus’s current owner has not shared his identity with the world, but the provenance he has provided remains in dispute.

The owner claims to have purchased the fragment in 1999 from a German man named Hans-Ulrich Laukamp, who acquired it in Potsdam, in East Germany, in 1963. Laukamp died in 2002. Those who knew him say he never collected antiquities, and, as a West Berlin resident, he could never have visited Potsdam at the time he is said to have purchased the gospel.

King claims to have photocopies of signed papers confirming the owner’s account. If compared to confirmed instances of Laukamp’s signature on publicly available notarized documents, these contracts could verify the current owner’s account.

Hans-Ulrich Laukamp's signature for September 1997.

Hans-Ulrich Laukamp’s signature for September 1997.

For now, the Gospel’s authenticity is still very much up for debate.

“At this point, when discussions and research are ongoing, I think it is important, however difficult, to stay open regarding the possible dates of the inscription and other matters of interpretation,” said King in a recent letter to the Biblical Archaeological Review.

Donatello’s Florence Cathedral Sculptures Cross the Atlantic for the First Time (Hyperallergic)

By by Allison Meier on March 18, 2015 original article here.

Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces From Florence Cathedral at the Museum of Biblical Art

Nanni di Banco, “St. Luke the Evangelist” (1408–13), marble, and Donatello, “St. John the Evangelist” (1408–15), marble, both of which were in niches alongside the Florence Cathedral’s main portal and are now on view in the Museum of Biblical Art’s ‘Sculpture in the Age of Donatello.’ (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

 

Gauzy white fabric divides the single gallery of the Museum of Biblical Art into a series of ethereal chambers for Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces from Florence Cathedral, each turn revealing the marble visage of some stern saint or prophet. It’s an improbable exhibition, with 23 early Renaissance pieces that have rarely (if ever) left Italy, let alone crossed the Atlantic to arrive at this small Upper West Side museum. After their return to Florence’s Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, it’s likely most of these pieces will never travel again because of their fragility and size. That exceptional nature of the exhibition is reason enough to visit, but the unexpected humanity of Donatello’s sculptures up close makes it essential.

Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces From Florence Cathedral at the Museum of Biblical Art

Installation view of ‘Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces From Florence Cathedral’ at the Museum of Biblical Art

The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, the museum of Florence Cathedral, is currently undergoing renovations until October, and the Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA) is the only stop for Sculpture in the Age of Donatello. Meanwhile, there’s just one relief by Donatello on permanent view in the United States: “Madonna of the Clouds” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. This will probably be the best showing of his Florentine work in the United States for a while, maybe a lifetime.

Co-curated by Museo dell’Opera Director Timothy Verdon and Donatello scholar Daniel Zolli, who’s based at Harvard University, the exhibition also includes work by Donatello’s collaborators and contemporaries, who from 1400 to 1450 participated in making the Florence Cathedral, a project that jumpstarted the Renaissance in art and architecture. Anchoring the show are two colossal sculptures by Donatello (aka Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi) and Nanni di Banco, demonstrating two impressive sculptors competing with very different aesthetics right on the cathedral façade.

Donatello’s “St. John the Evangelist” (1408–15) gazes with furrowed intensity and a sprawling beard, while di Banco’s “St. Luke the Evangelist” (1408–13) has a neat style that could be mistaken for a Roman sculpture of Hadrian, his eyes half closed. Both were once positioned in niches on either side of the cathedral’s portal, four feet above an average person. To get the full impact of their oversize scale, you’d have to sprawl on the MOBIA floor (not recommended) and look up. Despite the slightly skewed perspective of viewing them at eye level, you get an immediate idea of two distinct artists, especially the energy emanating from Donatello’s saint, who, despite his detached confidence, feels ill at ease. A century later, the work would influence Michelangelo’s equally hulking “Moses.”

Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces From Florence Cathedral at the Museum of Biblical Art

Donatello, “Prophet” (1435–36), marble, and “Abraham and Isaac” (1421), marble

You could easily linger with each piece, from Filippo Brunelleschi’s wood models for the cathedral’s dome to Luca della Robbia’s reliefs for its bell tower. However, it’s the animation in Donatello’s work that really bristles. This feeling is strongest in two pieces from the cathedral’s bell tower positioned together. In a collaboration with Nanni di Bartolo, Donatello worked a single block of marble into “Abraham and Isaac” (1421), capturing the moment when Abraham was called to stop the sacrifice of his son, a test of faith. Isaac wears a look of blank resignation, but Abraham’s carved eyes have a startled expression — you can almost hear the shriek of angels halting his knife, the blade still resting on his son’s shoulder while he grips the boy’s hair. Opposite is one of Donatello’s best, the “Prophet” (1435–36) or “Zuccone” (Squash Head), as he’s nicknamed for his bald skull. Thought by many to depict the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk, the figure’s eyes originally angled down from the bell tower; even in that aged, mutilated face you can sense real conflicted human psychology.

Whether in the resolution of a saint, the torment of a prophet, or a father compelled to nearly murder his son, Donatello embodied the heaviness of the divine pressing on humanity with compelling naturalism, even while the stone still feels raw and exposed. It’s hard from the exhibition’s white, transcendent design to understand the original perspective and positioning of the sculptures in the towering cathedral, looking down from their imposing perches. Fortunately, at a human scale there remains the intended sense of awe, and one that’s for a fleeting time transported to New York.

Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces From Florence Cathedral at the Museum of Biblical Art

Detail of Donatello’s “Prophet” (1435–36), marble

Donatello, "Prophet" (1435-36), marble; and "Abraham and Isaac" (1421), marble

Donatello, “Prophet” (1435–36), marble, and “Abraham and Isaac” (1421), marble

Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces From Florence Cathedral at the Museum of Biblical Art

Detail of Donatello’s “Abraham and Isaac” (1421), marble

Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces From Florence Cathedral at the Museum of Biblical Art

Installation view of ‘Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces From Florence Cathedral’ at the Museum of Biblical Art

Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces From Florence Cathedral at the Museum of Biblical Art

Donatello and Michelozzo, bronze heads with traces of gilding (1439), possibly copied from ancient bronzes

Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces From Florence Cathedral at the Museum of Biblical Art

Three marble sculptures by Luca della Robbia for the Florence Cathedral’s bell tower (1437–39)

Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces From Florence Cathedral at the Museum of Biblical Art

Two marble prophets by Donatello from 1406–10, sculpted for the bell tower of Florence Cathedral

Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces From Florence Cathedral at the Museum of Biblical Art

Two marble “profetinos,” or “small prophets,” the one on the left attributed to Donatello and the one on the right to Nanni di Banco, both from 1406–09 Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces From Florence Cathedral at the Museum of Biblical Art

Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces From Florence Cathedral at the Museum of Biblical Art

Nanni di Banco or Donatello, “Vir Dolorum” (“Man of Sorrows”) (1407–09), marble

Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces From Florence Cathedral at the Museum of Biblical Art

Attributed to Giovanni d’Ambrogio, “Archangel Gabriel of the Annunciation” and “Virgin Mary of the Annunciation” (both late 14th century), marble

Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces From Florence Cathedral at the Museum of Biblical Art

Installation view of ‘Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces From Florence Cathedral at the Museum’ of Biblical Art

Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces From Florence Cathedral at the Museum of Biblical Art

orenzo Ghiberti, “Adoration of the Magi” (replica from the North Doors of Florence Baptistery), gilded bronze; Master of Castel di Sangro, “Adoration of the Magi” (first half of 15th century), maiella stone, which copied the original Ghiberti composition

Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces From Florence Cathedral at the Museum of Biblical Art

nstallation view of ‘Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces From Florence Cathedral’ at the Museum of Biblical Art

Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces From Florence Cathedral at the Museum of Biblical Art

Exterior view of the Museum of Biblical Art

 

Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces from Florence Cathedral continues at the Museum of Biblical Art (1865 Broadway, Upper West Side, Manhattan) through June 14. 

 

Brooklyn Museum Mural Irks Self-Appointed Spokesman for All Hindus (Hyperallergic)

by Benjamin Sutton on December 22, 2014 original article here.

Installation view of Chitra Ganesh, 'Eyes of Time' at the Brooklyn Museum (all photos courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum)

Installation view of Chitra Ganesh, ‘Eyes of Time’ at the Brooklyn Museum (all photos courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum)

The centerpiece of Chitra Ganesh’s new exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, a mural that depicts the Hindu goddess Kali, has provoked the ire of the president of the Universal Society of Hinduism (USH). What is the Universal Society of Hinduism, you ask? Hard to say, as its website is currently down, and no posts have ever been published on its blog, but its Nevada-based president, Rajan Zed, keeps a very active website that describes the USH as a “nondenominational religious-philosophical-cultural-educational organization [that] aims at reaching about one billion Hindus spread around the world.” One of the most recent press releases on Zed’s site is titled “Upset Hindus urge withdrawal of goddess Kali mural from Brooklyn Museum.”

“Such trivialization of goddess Kali was disturbing to the devotees world over, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stated and urged Brooklyn Museum to withdraw it,” the statement reads. “Zed also asked Museum’s Director Arnold L. Lehman to tender a formal public apology.”

Nevada-based "Hindu statesman" Rajan Zed (photo courtesy Rajan Zed, via rajanzed.org)

Nevada-based “Hindu statesman” Rajan Zed (photo courtesy Rajan Zed, via rajanzed.org)

The Brooklyn Museum declined to comment on Zed’s accusations and demands.

Ganesh’s exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Eyes of Time, features a large-scale, site-specific mural of Kali, the Hindu goddess of time, destruction, and regeneration. The deity has long been a popular figure with feminist scholars and is included in Judy Chicago’s “Dinner Party” in the adjacent gallery. Ganesh portrays Kali as a towering figure with three legs, three breasts, six arms, a clock with no hands for a head, and, in keeping with traditional portrayals, a skirt made of severed human arms. It’s unclear from Zed’s press release which element or elements of the mural offended him and the other, unnamed Hindus he cites:

 

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that goddess Kali was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be thrown around loosely in reimagined versions for dramatic effects on museum walls. Such absurd depiction of goddess Kali with no scriptural backing was hurtful to the devotees.

Zed is known to make pronouncements on any and all matters relating to Hindu culture. In a 2013 post about Zed’s message of approval for a new Selena Gomez music video, Gawker referred to him as the “Hindu-in-Chief.”

Installation view of Chitra Ganesh, 'Eyes of Time' at the Brooklyn Museum (all photos courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum)

Installation view of Chitra Ganesh, ‘Eyes of Time’ at the Brooklyn Museum (all photos courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum)

Chitra Ganesh’s Eyes of Time continues at the Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn) through July 12, 2015

 

Has Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia Grown Out of Touch? (Hyperallergic)

by Laura C. Mallonee on October 1, 2014 original article here.

La Sagrada Familia in 2009, with cranes digitally removed. (image via Wikimedia)

La Sagrada Familia in 2009, with cranes digitally removed. (image via Wikimedia)

You might say that Antoni Gaudí was an architect of the cloth. From 1883 until his death in 1926, the Catalonian master oversaw the construction of the Roman Catholic basilica Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família in Barcelona, Spain. When people asked him why it was taking so long, he purportedly replied, “My client isn’t in a hurry.”

Nearly nine decades after his death, construction is still ongoing, and a new video released by the basilica (below) reveals how it will unfold over the next two years. By 2016, workers will have finished the sacristy and raking cornice and installed new stained glass windows. And if a video released last year (at the bottom of this post) can be believed, the building could be completely finished by 2026. It took less time to build Notre Dame.

he journey hasn’t been easy, though. When the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, Gaudí’s original plans for La Sagrada Familia burned in a fire that destroyed his workshop. A few plaster models, drawings, and photographs were salvaged from the cinders and used, along with notes from Gaudí’s students, to piece together the rest. Through political change and architectural innovation, construction has marched on.

Yet the basilica has never been more at odds with its time. Aside from the fact that the West has grown increasingly secular, much has changed among Christians themselves since the 19th century, when Catholics and Protestants alike constructed costly imitations of Medieval cathedrals. Today, as Pope Francis underscores the need to care for the poor, it’s harder for Catholics to justify the continued construction of a church structure built entirely on expiations (monetary donations many believe will atone for their wrongdoings), not to mention the €12.50 admission fee coughed up by 2 million visitors every year.

Given Gaudí’s acclaim as an architect, it’s easy to ignore this murkier aspect of the building’s funding. The basilica remains an important architectural work; its crypt, constructed between 1884 and 1889, is even listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The selection of Gaudí to design La Familia Sagrada represented one of the few modern instances wherein the interests of the church and art world collided, but it may now be in both their interests to halt construction altogether. Over the past few years, many onlookers have raised concerns that the basilica’s contemporary additions fall far short of Gaudí’s vision. In 2008, more than 400 architects and historians signed Fomento de las Artes Decorativasmanifesto demanding that construction be stopped. And in 2011, architecture critic Rowan Moore argued in the Guardian:

The great Catalan architect famously adjusted his buildings as he went along, modifying details in response to unusual stones found in the quarry and forever testing his ideas with full size mock-ups … [La Sagrada Familia] is no longer a work of Gaudí. It cannot overcome the central paradox, which is that Gaudí’s architecture was organic, living and responsive, whereas posthumous simulation of his ideas makes them fixed and lifeless.

Continued construction not only raises questions about the ethics of the basilica’s funding during a time of severe austerity in Spain, but it reduces Gaudí’s masterpiece to the architectural equivalent of an overworked canvas.

For more info see my post about the arson attempt at Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia here.

Pagan “God Self” Icon Found Worldwide Rewrites History, Reveals Lost Golden Age (RichardCassaro.com)

(This article is just a tidbit of art history conspiracy I have come across and while this add appears to be selling his book, it makes for some interesting reading if you are into hidden meanings in art, history, and Da Vinci Code-like investigations.)

 

By Richard Cassaro | October 15th, 2013 | original article here.

 

A new discovery (that I made many years ago, and that’s been officially published in my recent book “Written In Stone”) challenges―if not rewrites―ancient history by showing how the world’s first cultures mysteriously shared the same religious icon. From the Egyptians to the Assyrians, the pre-Incas to the Europeans, the icon is ubiquitous. Is it the lost symbol of a forgotten Golden Age religion that flourished globally in the remote past? How can it not be?

The same icon etched in stone atop temple doors on opposite sides of the world. Left: Gate of the Sun in Tiahuanaco, Boliva Right: Temple of Hadrian in Ephesus, Turkey

For several decades, mainstream scholars have insisted that the world’s first civilizations arose separately and independently.

But an amazing new find now casts serious doubt on their theory.

It shows how ancient cultures worldwide―cultures that scholars insist evolved independently―actually followed the same global spiritual system or Universal Religion, the central icon of which has now been found to be common amid their ruins.

The Icon Found In Ruins Worldwide

The religious icon is shown in the photos below.

Note the parallel pose:

 

This same religious icon exists in the ruins of the world’s most ancient cultures―an astonishing parallel undiscovered and undocumented by academia!

With both arms outstretched in opposite directions (right and left) a single god or goddess holds “twin objects” in each hand, symmetrically.

These objects are usually animals, often serpents, but sometimes vegetation or magical staffs. The artwork is almost always perfectly symmetrical, just like the icon’s pose.

If ancient cultures evolved separately, as scholars tell us, then how is this same religious icon present worldwide?

This stunning new discovery challenges mainstream academic history.

It strongly suggests ancient cultures did not evolve separately, as scholars tell us; on the contrary, ancient cultures worldwide were “united” in their spiritual beliefs, most probably the result of a “shared cultural heritage” stemming from the prehistoric era.

But “united” how? A “shared cultural heritage” how?

Did a “Golden Age” of humanity once exist in our remote past, as the Greeks, Hindus and others claimed?―a kind of “Tower of Babel” era, when the world was one speech and one tongue?

Was this icon, along with the spiritual wisdom it signifies, “inherited” from this Golden Age?

“Lord Of The Animals” & “Staff God” Titles
Interestingly, the icon has been partially recognized by scholars of Old World cultures and New World cultures alike.
OLD WORLD

Among scholars of Old World cultures the icon is called:

  • Lord of the Animals
  • Master of Animals
  • Mistress of Beasts
  • Mistress of the Animals
  • Mistress of Wild Animals
  • Potnia Theron

The Lord of the Animals (also known as Master of Animals) is a generic term for a number of deities from a variety of cultures…They sometimes also have female equivalents, the so-called Mistress of the Animals. The implication being these all have a Stone Age precursor…”

—Wikipedia

NEW WORLD

Among scholars of New World cultures the icon is called:

  • Staff God

The Staff God is a major deity in Andean cultures. Usually pictured holding a staff in each hand…his other characteristics are unknown, although he is often pictured with snakes in his headdress or clothes. The oldest known depiction of the Staff God was found on some broken gourd fragments in a burial site in the Pativilca River Valley…and carbon dated to 2250 BC. This makes it the oldest image of a god to be found in the Americas.”

—Wikipedia

Despite recognizing the icon in their respective disciplines, Old World scholars and New World scholars have:

(a) failed to recognize the icon’s presence worldwide

(b) failed to understand the ubiquitous meaning the icon holds worldwide

(c) failed to connect (a) and (b) and thus remain unaware that THE ICON IS THE CHIEF SYMBOL OF A LOST ANCIENT UNIVERSAL RELIGION once known worldwide

Just as the simple crucifix conveys a complete metaphysical doctrine expressing complex themes like “sacrifice,” “life,” “death,” and “resurrection,” likewise this Lord of the Animals / Staff God icon encodes a single multifaceted metaphysical doctrine or Universal Religion.

This religion relates eternal spiritual and perennial truths regarding who we are, where we came from, why we’re here, and where we’re going, as we’ll see in a  moment.

For a more penetrating explanation, read my new book Written In Stone (an entire chapter is devoted to this amazing new archaeological discovery).

For now, let’s look at how the icon mysteriously appears in an array of esoteric and alchemical manuscripts published and quietly circulated during the past several centuries.

space

The Icon In Esoteric & Alchemical Manuscripts

Many of these manuscripts were published during the European Renaissance.

See below. The creators of these manuscripts certainly understood the icon’s historical significance―but exactly how is unclear.

It is clear, however, that they were trying to preserve the icon’s ancient meaning for posterity.

Note how the icon is always depicted holding twin objects, following the ancient archetype.

These twin objects are very often associated with the sun (right hand) and moon (left hand).

This is a major clue that all but reveals the icon’s ancient universal meaning:

The icon holding twin objects associated with sun (right hand) and moon (left hand). From a mysterious alchemical treatise titled “The Hermetic and Alchemical Figures of Claudius de Dominico Celentano Vallis Novi From A Manuscript Written And Illuminated At Naples A.D. 1606″
The alchemical Mercury, from Tripus aureus (The Golden Tripod) by Michael Maier, c. 1618. As Mercurius he presides over the alchemical opus, integrating the principles of sun and moon.
From a 16th-century alchemical treatise called “The Rosary of the Philosophers” (Rosarium philosophorum sive pretiosissimum donum Dei). Sun associated with the right hand, moon with the left hand.
Esoteric design. Origin unknown. Sun in the right hand, moon in the left hand.
Christian Androgynes (Alchemical), 17th & 18th centuries. Here, the icon has two heads, one male, one female. Sun in the right hand, moon in the left hand.

An old Hermetic “Rebis” symbol, from the “Materia Prima” of Valentinus, printed at Frankfurt, 1613. Sun (and Masonic compass) in the right hand, Moon (and Masonic square) in the left hand. The icon has two heads. Male right, female left.

This last depiction is interesting.

Called “Rebis,” this mythological figure has been featured in alchemical texts during the past few centuries.

The Rebis’ right hand is associated with the sun and left hand with the moon.

The Rebis additionally holds a “compass” tool in the “solar” (right) hand balanced by a “square” tool in the “lunar” (left) hand.

This is important.

When combined, the compass and square form Freemasonry’s chief symbol:

The solar compass is held in the right hand and the lunar square in the left hand. Together the compass and square form the supreme symbol of Freemasonry.

The compass, since it draws a circle or spiritual symbol, denotes our “spiritual” nature, as humans.

Likewise, the square, since it draws a square or material symbol, denotes our “material” nature.

Holding the compass and square is thus a reminder that when we are man we are not just material (body) we are spiritual (soul) too; we are part human, part divine.

– The eternal “spiritual” (soul) part of us reflects solar qualities―right, yang, masculine, give, light, eternal, hot.

– The temporary “material” (body) part of us reflects lunar qualities―left, yin, feminine, receive, dark, temporary, cold.

Think about this for a moment.

We know we are human, of course. We see this in the mirror each day. But divine too? Are we really divine, eternal, immortal…as well as human, temporary, mortal?

The answer is yes.

Man is a combination of human (moon) and divine (sun).

The six-pointed star symbol directly above the head of the Rebis is a symbol of the integration of these opposing forces (sun and moon) and their balance in the Rebis.

And THIS is the message of the Rebis!!!

It’s an instruction that teaches us to integrate our own opposing forces in order to transcend the body and discover the divine eternal Self within/above.

The Rebis is a revelation and an affirmation of our own divinity and eternity―same as Masonry’s chief symbol:

Freemasonry’s logo, the Compass and Square, is a sign of the union of your (temporary physical) body and (eternal spiritual) soul, both of which constitute you while you are human. Did you know you were eternal and spiritual?

“There is one sign which has never changed its meaning anywhere in the civilized world—the Compass and the Square. A sign of the union of the body and soul.”

—Deman Wagstaff, Wagstaff’s Standard Masonry (1922)

“…the compasses stand for…the spiritual side of man, while the square appertains to the material…”

—J. S. Ward, Interpretation of Our Masonic Symbols

The Rebis is a symbol of the higher spiritual Self, the “god Self,” within each one of us, insofar as it is a revelation to us concerning our eternal divine nature.

This eternal divine nature is not readily apparent given the limitation of our five senses (see, touch, hear, taste, smell).

Hence, the message of the Rebis is a message that we need to hear because it’s an explanation of who we really are inside.

“Every man is a divinity in disguise…”

―Ralph Waldo Emerson

For this reason, the Rebis is the Philosopher’s Stone, the Gold of Alchemy, the pearl inside the Oyster, and so on; the Rebis is all the hidden gems of all the lost sacred sciences and secret societies.

It reveals who you really are. But it also reveals something more: How to get there. How to find your true Self.

In Part II, we will examine how this god Self idea was known throughout the ancient world, symbolized by the icon; its wisdom forming a Universal Religion shared globally.

We also will take a closer look at how the icon’s modern esoteric manifestation in the form of the Rebis symbolizes the same idea— the God Self, the higher You.

We will also see evidence from Egypt, Iran and Peru.

 

 

ISIS Destroys Historic Sites in Iraq and Syria (Hyperallergic)

by Hrag Vartanian on July 9, 2014 original article appears here.

From the unverified video of a member of ISIS desecrating the alleged tombs of the prophet Jonah (GIF Hrag Vartanian/Hyperallergic)

The militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been destroying the artistic and religious heritage of Iraq and Syria as they continue to impose their fundamentalist Sunni doctrine on the lands they’ve occupied. Recent reports, which have been hard to independently confirm, have reported that ISIS most recently destroyed the alleged tomb of the Biblical prophet Jonah (Younis). A short video (posted below) of a black-clad figure hurling a sledgehammer at the tombs, which according to Iraqi authorities includes the prophet’s tomb, is the latest visual evidence of the group’s iconoclastic cultural policy. Jonah is the Biblical figure that was swallowed by a whale, and his tale is recorded both in the Old Testament and the Quran.

The latest bout of destruction by ISIS has raised concerns that the group threatens all religious minorities, including non-fundamentalist Sunni Muslims, and imperils all the monuments and sites affiliated with those groups. Archeological sites are also under threat, and in June the Guardian reported that ISIS “was also known to have reaped windfalls from smuggling all manner of raw materials pillaged from the crumbling state, as well as priceless antiquities from archaeological digs.”

Last month, European Union observers reported that 11 churches were torched by ISIS in the Iraqi city of Mosul, while the Sunni fundamentalists also raped civilians. Among the many architectural monuments destroyed included the grave of 12th–13th-century historiographer Abu al-Hassan al-Jazari, known as ibn al-Athir, and several churches that had been “burnt to the ground.”

An image posted on social media by ISIS showing what appears to be a Sufi shrine being bulldozed. (Al-Arabiya News/Twitter)

A Shiite Islamic site being destroyed by explosives (image via Al Arabiya)

ISIS’s animosity towards local Christians is not new, and the group has been targeting Christians heavily since they took over parts of eastern Syria. According to Al Jazeera, earlier this year the group demanded “every Christian man pay a tax of up to 17g of gold, a levy that was common in Muslim states centuries ago,” while the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) reported that ISIS has imposed a $250 minimum tax on Christians in the Iraqi city of Mosul. There are also numerous videos posted online of the fundamentalist group’s desecration of Christian churches.

The AINA has been regularly reporting about the destruction of historic and religious monuments by ISIS. Earlier this year they reported that the group destroyed Assyrian statues and artifacts believed to be 3,000 years old, while more recently they confirmed that ISIS had destroyed a statue of Arab poet Abu Tammam in Mosul last month.

ISIS is not limiting its destruction to non-Muslim sites and four shrines to Sunni Arab or Sufi figures, and six Shiite mosques have also been destroyed in the ISIS-controlled regions of Iraq’s Nineveh province, where Mosul is the capital. Al-Arabiya News is reporting that the “Sunni and Sufi shrines were demolished by bulldozers, while the Shiite mosques and shrines were all destroyed by explosives.”

Photos showing what appears to be ISIS militants destroying ancient Assyrian statues. (via apsa2011.com)

 

 

Destruction of a Shiite religious site by ISIS (Twitter via Al-Arabiya)

 

St. Etchmiadzin Armenian church in Mosul following attacks by ISIS. (via Asbarez)

This Church Seems Completely Normal From The Outside But Go Inside And… NO. (Viral Nova)

-from Viral Nova article January 23, 2014

This quaint Roman Catholic Church located in the Czech Republic is known as the Cemetery Church of All Saints. The name is a little strange for a church, but straightforward. And literal. That’s because, once you step inside the church, you’ll see the bones from 40,000 – 70,000 people adorning the walls. Thousands of human bodies are hanging from the walls, ceilings and fixtures inside of this church.

It’s hard to determine if this is respect for the dead or some kind of twisted art display. Given that the bones were exhumed and arranged, at the beginning, by a monk, it seems like it is the former.

Either way, it would be hard to take a breath inside of this church, knowing that thousands of dead bodies surround you, forever silent.

-Source: wikipedia.com and viralnova.com