Por mucho tiempo, el pueblo de Puerto Rico ha optado por aceptar la comodidad de un status quo familiar pero roto por encima de la incertidumbre del cambio real y revolucionario. De hecho, muchos en la isla y en la diáspora se adhieren a una mentalidad colonizada, que cree que un Puerto Rico independiente es económicamente insostenible. Pero las naciones liberadas en Asia, África, Europa y América Latina han demostrado lo contrario. Singapur es un buen ejemplo. Con un tamaño 14 veces más pequeño que Puerto Rico, menos recursos naturales y una densidad de población significativamente mayor, Singapur ha prosperado social y económicamente desde que ganó la independencia – incluso superando los ingresos per cápita de los Estados Unidos.
For far too long, the people of Puerto Rico have chosen to accept the comfort of a familiar yet broken status quo over the uncertainty of real, revolutionary change. Indeed, many on the island and in the diaspora adhere to a colonized mentality, one that believes an independent Puerto Rico is economically unsustainable. But liberated nations across Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America have demonstrated otherwise.
Singapore is a prime example. With a size 14 times smaller than Puerto Rico, less natural resources, and a significantly higher population density, Singapore has thrived socially and economically since gaining independence — even exceeding the per capita income of the United States.
You don’t have to know a damned thing about Greek and Roman mythology to have heard of Pandora or the Trojans — those characters have been used on company logos and by sports teams for as long as either has existed. After all, nobody holds the copyright on ancient myths. So why make up a new name for your company when you can just call it Cerberus?
A word of advice, though. Before you go sticking a mythological figure on your logo, take a few minutes to look up its story. Otherwise you get some downright hilarious unintentional results. Like …
The Starbucks Siren
The Symbol Is Used For:
A classy-looking figure to put on the coffee chain’s sign and cups.
If you’re familiar with the Starbucks logo, it’s probably because, statistically, you are inside a Starbucks right now. If you’re not familiar with Starbucks, that’s because you’re a hypothetical person created just so we could give this paragraph a satisfying structure.
Either way, you may not have realized that the woman in their green label with the perky breasts and weird twin-fishtail deal going on is a siren from Greek mythology.
Via Wikimedia CommonsHer crotch has three handlebar mustaches, which means she may have Roosevelt blood.
According to the Starbucks blog, she was chosen as the logo because Starbucks was looking for a nautical theme to capture the spirit of Seattle. Remember that this was back in 1971, when Seattle was known for sailing and seaports instead of grunge rock, rain and hipsters.
Via WikipediaThough we like to think they were actually trying to run them over because the sirens played nothing but old Zeppelin covers.
Much in the same way that countless people have been seduced by the lure of overpriced coffee, buying cup after cup until they finally succumb, buying an Apple laptop and spending the rest of their lives at one of those tiny tables, joining the other broken victims.
The Symbol Is Used For:
The logo on a high-end Italian fashion label.
GettyMan, we remember when the “I’ve fallen into a lake with my leather clothes on” look was huge.
But the Symbol Actually Means:
Vanity and promiscuity will ruin you.
Chances are you’re familiar with the name Versace, even if it’s only as “that word printed on things I can’t afford.” Just as iconic is the logo, based on Medusa:
Via Guijarrodesign.comYou should probably avoid trying their clothing on in front of a mirror.
To Versace’s credit, legend has it that Medusa was originally incredibly beautiful, so much so that she seduced the sea god Poseidon. The only problem is that they did the nasty thing inside the temple of Athena, another god who wasn’t too happy about it. So Athena punished Medusa with the fangs and the hair-snakes and all that. The point is, this high-priced international fashion house based their logo on a cautionary tale about the dangers of lust and being too attractive.
Photos.comHonestly, though? We’d still hit that.
Medusa’s tale ends with her finally being beheaded. Her head was used as a weapon, since even when severed from her body it was still ugly and dangerous. Also, the blood that spilled from the head turned into poisonous snakes that infested the world. Now go buy some sexy-ass clothes, damn you!
The Symbol Is Used For:
Condoms, presumably to project strength and masculinity.
A container that broke open and released a murderous swarm of warriors.
They might be the most famous example, but the biggest condom company in the U.S. is hardly the only instance of somebody using “Trojan” as their mascot. The University of Southern California uses it as the mascot for their sports teams, and Googling around will reveal lots of companies adopting it for their name and logo. And why not? Trojans were badass warriors. Troy is, after all, the city that withstood an assault from the entirety of Greece for 10 straight years. Strong, resilient, everything you could want in both a football team and something that hugs your boner during sex.
Via WikipediaMakes you want to drag dead bodies behind your chariot like wedding cans.
But ask anyone what they think of when they hear the word “Trojan,” and they’re going to tell you about the Trojan horse. The most famous part of the Trojan war story. You know, at the end, when Troy lost. You know the story, right? The invaders built a huge wooden horse, their soldiers hid inside of it and the Trojans stupidly wheeled it inside their walls? Then the soldiers sneaked out and murdered everyone?
After all, that’s how we get another popular usage of the word “Trojan,” the kind of computer virus. It’s not called that for its ability to trap semen. Instead, it’s a benign-looking download that opens up and releases seven billion animated gifs of dicks onto your hard drive.
Photos.com“His tail is raising! Unplug the tower!”
So what we’re saying is that “Trojan” was probably not the best choice of words for something you’re trying to convince a woman to put inside her body. Unless the goal was to convince her it was safe, before …
Ah, never mind.
The Volkswagen Phaeton
The Symbol Is Used For:
A line of luxury sedans.
But the Symbol Actually Means:
A reckless teen who almost destroyed the world with his shitty driving.
Motor companies tend to name their cars based on what rolls nicely off the tongue. Either it’s a meaningless, simple word (Ford Escort, Honda Civic) or it’s one that invokes thoughts of speed and danger, like “viper” or “mustang.” So Volkswagen probably just thought “Phaeton” was a cool word. After all, it sounds like a weapon out of Star Trek or something.
GettyOr every dance crew ever formed.
They presumably did not know that the story of Phaeton from Greek mythology is the tale of a headstrong young man who, when he came of age, asked to borrow his father’s chariot. When his father said, “Sure, whatever,” Phaeton went out, had some fun and almost crashed it before Zeus killed him with a lightning bolt. We all have a similar story from our youth.
Phaeton was the son of Apollo, the god who carried the sun across the sky, so his “chariot” he was borrowing was also towing the sun around. So maybe that was the idea, that this car is so badass that you’ll feel like you’re driving a chariot hauling the massive, burning sun behind you?
GettyOr Matthew Perry, which is pretty much the same load.
But that just makes the story worse, since crashing his chariot meant crashing the sun into the Earth. So Volkswagen named their luxury sedan after a near-apocalyptic drunk driving incident. One that was only avoided because someone murdered the driver before he could do any further damage.
A line that was evidently extremely proud of its clock feature.
But the Symbol Actually Means:
The goddess of frustration.
Cellphones seem to be named by the same people who name cars. They either get totally made-up words (Razr) or vaguely sci-fi sounding ones (Galaxy) or, in this case, names that sound like video game characters (Eris).
“Introducing the Verizon Sonic. Because video games are things.”
The Droid Eris was the first smartphone that Verizon Wireless carried, and like a lot of modern smartphones, it boasted a lot of cool sounding features like “sense” and “multi-touch,” none of which matter more than the all-important “having some goddamn service” feature which, unfortunately, it didn’t have.
So she’s basically the Greek symbol for massive inconvenience, which makes sense when you’re fumbling with your too-fat fingers over a smudgy touch screen that cracks if you so much as cast a shadow on it. Though originally the phone was called the HTC Hero, Verizon changed the name when they agreed to provide support for it. It seems almost like someone was trying to warn us.
The Symbol of Medicine, Caduceus
The Symbol Is Used For:
Medical institutions the world over.
Photos.com“Well, four breast exams in one day seems a little excessive, but you’re the doctor.”
But the Symbol Actually Means:
Deceit and profit.
You’re probably at least passingly aware of the universal symbol of doctors and medicine, but when you saw it on the back of an ambulance, you likely didn’t know what the hell two snakes and a pair of wings had to do with either:
Photos.comBut you were pretty sure that if you rolled at least a 12, you’d resist its poison.
The answer is not a lot. However, the symbol, which is called a caduceus, does have strong connotations involving deceit, trickery and corporate greed. It’s actually the staff of Mercury, Roman god of liars and thieves. To be fair, it would seem to be more fittingly the symbol of medical insurance companies rather than doctors.
The use of the caduceus as a symbol of medicine came into vogue in the 1850s, most likely due to a hilarious misunderstanding — another image, the rod of Asclepius, is actually the ancient symbol for the god of medicine and healing, but it only has one snake and no wings. So, yeah, be glad you’re not still living in an era when medical treatment involved getting smacked with a snake rod.
Via Medgadget.comAnd don’t dwell too hard on this article during your next root canal.
When they were looking for an appropriate logo for doctors and medics, they simply got the two symbols confused. It turns out sticks with snakes wrapped around them are more common in mythology than anyone realized.
Cerberus Capital Management
The Symbol Is Used For:
One of the USA’s largest private equity firms.
GettyThey’ve been known to buy a small company or two.
But the Symbol Actually Means:
A vicious dog that corners you and devours you alive.
A capital management firm works by finding companies that should be doing really well but aren’t and then injecting them with some cash so that they can really shoot for the stars. At their best, they’re like the gigantic corporate version of Mr. Miyagi, teaching you some “car-wax techniques” and “badass fight moves” (financial stability and investment smarts, respectively) so you can hold your own against the “local bully” (tumultuous economic climate). At their worst, they’re like a gigantic three-headed dog that traps you on one side of a river and threatens to eat you alive if you ever try to escape.
Via WikipediaAnd then it pees on the carpet and swats your nose with a newspaper.
Cerberus Capital chose its name because the founder wanted to invoke the image of guarding his clients’ funds. But the mythological dog is definitely best known for eating people alive and trapping them in a place they don’t want to be (Hades) — exactly the opposite of what a burgeoning company wants their new partner to do, unless that’s somehow their business model.
We’d make a joke about Cerberus being an evil shadowy cabal, but founder Steve Feinberg already beat us to the punch with this comment:
“We try to hide … If anyone at Cerberus has his picture in the paper and a picture of his apartment, we will do more than fire that person. We will kill him. The jail sentence will be worth it.”
Via WikipediaHe then drank the blood of an orphan and molested Hitler’s corpse back to life before disappearing in a ball of flame.
Yeah. We’ll just leave that up there all by itself.
Local legends about the Sansevero Chapel of Naples claim that the astonishing works of art it contains are the result of sorcery and black magic. The sculptures appear impossible to create by hand, while a macabre display featuring two actual human bodies is said to be the result of ritual killings. Also, adding to the occult aura surrounding the chapel, it is filled with Masonic symbolism.
At first glance, Capella Sansevero is your typical Italian chapel from the 17th century, tastefully filled with paintings and sculptures of a religious nature. However, a closer look at the various items in the chapel reveals that something is “off” about this place. Some sculptures are so “organic-looking” that they lead many to believe they were the result of a supernatural process. Furthermore, the enigmatic symbolism found around the chapel heavily hints to an allegorical esoteric message.
And, when visitors climb down a few stairs, they see this:
The chapel has on display two actual human remains with their entire nervous system on display. Creepily dubbed “Adam and Eve” – and even more creepily referred to as “anatomical machines” – this bizarre display has been the subject of all kinds of occult rumors.
To fully understand what is going on with the chapel, one must understand its creator: Raimondo di Sangro, the Prince of Sansevero. While he was considered a brilliant inventor and philosopher by many, others believed that he was a cruel black magician who killed people to conduct bizarre experiments.
A visit to his Sansevero Chapel gives credence to both points of view as it puts on display all of di Sangro’s alchemical genius … and madness. Before looking at the bizarre works of art on display at the chapel, let’s first look at the man behind it all.
Raimondo di Sangro, the “Sorcerer Prince”
From the age of 10, di Sangro was educated at the Jesuit College of Rome. In 1730, at age 20, he came back to Naples using the title “Prince of Sansevero”. He soon joined the ranks of occult secret societies.
“In spite of the religious training that he had received with the Jesuits, the young man soon joined the secret brotherhood of the Rosicrucians, where he was initiated into ancient alchemic rituals, the so called “sacred art” or “king’s art” which had been handed down through the centuries from Egyptian priest to their disciples. Don Raimondo had found his life calling. While maintaining the outmost silence about “his brothers” and the teachings he was receiving (he left no documents whatsoever on the activities of the mysterious sect) the Prince radically changed his life and devoted all his time to alchemy. Vials, ovens and alembics filled the cellar of his palace and at nighttime it was not rare to see strange, colored vapors and disgusting smells coming out of the barred windows of his cellar. It was at that time that Neapolitans started labeling him a sorcerer.”
– Rino Di Stefano, Raimondo de Sangro,
the “Sorcerer” Prince
Di Sangro introduced Freemasonry to his city as he became the head of the Neapolitan Masonic Lodge. This fact, combined with his knack for presenting peculiar inventions, such as an “eternal flame” made from a chemical compound of his creation and human skull bones, only grew the legend surrounding Di Sangro.
“Prince Raimondo di Sangro was known as an eccentric, enigmatic, and mystical man. He was the head of the Neapolitan Masonic lodge, the symbols of which are interspersed throughout the chapel, and was a student of numerous areas of the sciences, as well as alchemy and other mystical disciplines. He also spoke several exotic languages such as Hebrew and Arabic and was an inventor, some of his inventions of which were rather bizarre, such as a mechanized carriage with wooden horses that was said to be able to travel over both land and water. These eccentricities led to the Prince garnering a reputation as a practitioner of wizardry and black magic, and rumors abounded that he performed sinister magical rituals, human sacrifices, and curses. It was also said that he could perform great feats of alchemy, such as creating blood out of water or even thin air, and that he used the various body parts of his sacrificed victims in his odious spells and potions. The Prince was said to lock himself away for days on end and perform demented experiments on human beings, such as reanimating the dead. These dark rumors and legends that swirled around the Prince made him into a man to be feared and avoided; a larger than life black sorcerer who could bend magical and natural forces to his will. The Prince did little to deny these rumors and it is thought that he even encouraged them.”
– Brent Swancer, The Bizarre Anatomical Machines of Italy
One of di Sangro’s many “hobbies” was Bel Canto, which means “beautiful singing”. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Who doesn’t appreciate beautiful singing?
However, for di Sangro, “Bel Canto” means buying little boys from impoverished parents, castrating them and forcing them to sing.
“In spite of his being acquainted with the pleasures of family life and having children (…), the Prince enjoyed going around his many estates looking for young boys with beautiful voices. Usually he would find them in the church choir. Then he would “buy” them from their parents (usually poor, illiterate peasants who had many children) and had his personal physician, don Giuseppe Salerno, castrate them. He would then lock them up in the Conservatory of Jesus Christ’s Poor in Naples, where these young castrated boys started their careers as “sopranist”.
He saw in the castrati a search for perfection, which according to the Rosicrucians resulted from “annulling the dualism that comes from separation, a return to the primordial androgynous being”.
As di Sangro’s reputation grew, and his writings gained publicity, he made powerful friends and powerful enemies. His involvement with Freemasonry lead to his writings being banned and for him to be ex-communicated by the Catholic Church.
He spent the later days of his life decorating the Sansevero Chapel, turning this small place into a grandiose representation of the “alchemical and Masonic path to illumination”.
A Mysterious Occult Temple
Before it was transformed by Raimondo di Sangro, the Sansevero Chapel was already the subject of bizarre rumors. It was said to have been constructed on an old temple of Isis and, to prove this fact, locals point to a massive Statue of the God of the Nile, located just around the corner from his home.
Adding to the sinister factor, the Palazzo Sansevero was the scene of a brutal murder at the end of the 16th century, when the composer Carlo Gesualdo caught his wife and her lover together and hacked them to death in their bed. Up until 1888, a passageway connected Palazzo Sansevero to the Sansevero chapel.
However, it is when Raimondo di Sangro turned this chapel into an alchemical project that the site became an attraction, especially in occult circles. Other than the enigmatic “hidden message” of the chapel, it is the works of art that mystify visitors. They appear to daringly declare: “I was an occultist and this is what I could do”.
The works of art in the Sansevero Chapel are indeed unique, powerful and unsettling, forcing visitors to ask: “How did he do that”? And, when one knows the esoteric and alchemical background of the Prince, observing them leads to the question: “Was this done through an occult process?”
The most compelling example of this is The Veiled Christ. Set in the middle of the chapel, this sculpture of Christ covered by a thin veiled has an unnerving quality: How was this marble sculpture made using a block of stone and a chisel? The veil is too … real.
“Completed in 1753 by Giuseppe Sanmartino and commissioned by Raimondo di Sangro, it portrays Christ deposed after crucifixion, covered by a transparent veil. This veil is rendered with such subtlety as to be almost deceiving to the eye, and the effect seen in person is really striking: one gets the impression that the “real” sculpture is lying underneath, and that the shroud could be easily grabbed and lifted.
It’s precisely because of Sanmartino’s extraordinary virtuosity in sculpting the veil that a legend surrounding this Christ dies hard – fooling from time to time even specialized magazines and otherwise irreproachable art websites.
Legend has it that prince Raimondo di Sangro, who commissioned the work, actually fabricated the veil himself, laying it down over Sanmartino’s sculpture and petrifying it with an alchemic method of his own invention; hence the phenomenal liquidness of the drapery, and the “transparence” of the tissue.”
– Bizarrobazar, The Mystery of Chapel Sansevero
For centuries, a “black legend” surrounded this sculpture and others in the chapel that held that the Prince used a mysterious alchemical process to “marbelize” a fine cloth placed over the sculpture.
Some observers noticed a troubling detail about that sculpture: Christ appears to still be breathing.
“There may be another small “anomaly” in this Veiled Christ, as there is a slight indentation over the nostril, as if the shroud is being sucked in by breath – is this “dead Jesus” alive? Did di Sangro believe that Jesus had not died on the Cross? If so, perhaps he was not only a Mason, but a member of another, even more mysterious, order?
Jesus disappeared from his tomb – but he is not alone. The Prince’s tombstone can still be seen in the chapel. He died on March 22, 1771, “from a sudden illness caused by his mechanic experiments”. During the long nights he spent in his laboratory he had probably inhaled or ingested some toxic substance, which this time had indeed become lethal. His sarcophagus, however, does not contain his body; someone stole it. When or why is not known.
Raimondo had a plaque placed in the chapel, stating that the person who commissioned those works (i.e. himself) was moved by a desire “to astonish, discover and teach”.
– Phillip Coppens, The Alchemical Chapel
On the left of Veiled Christ is The Chastity, a sculpture modeled after di Sangro’s mother Cecilia Caetani d’Aragona. The naked woman is covered from head to toe by a thin veil which reveals her forms in every detail. This work of art is, once again, another “supernatural” feat of sculpture. How can this effect be achieved using marble?
“The Chastity (La Pudicizia) by Corradini, with its drapery veiling the female character as if it was transparent, is another “mystery” of sculpting technique, where the stone seems to have lost its weight, becoming ethereal and almost floating. Imagine how the artist started his work from a squared block of marble, how his mind’s eye “saw” this figure inside of it, how he patiently removed all which didn’t belong, freeing the figure from the stone little by little, smoothing the surface, refining, chiselling every wrinkle of her veil.”
– Op. Cit, Bizarrobazar.
Although the statue was modeled after di Sangro’s mother, it is clearly a tribute to the most important figure in Freemasonry: Veiled Isis.
“The veiled woman can be interpreted as an allegory of Wisdom, and the reference to the veiled Isis, special divinity of the science of initiation.”
– Made in South Italy, The Alchemist Chapel
Indeed, in occult symbolism, Veiled Isis is the ultimate representation of occult mysteries where the truth is veiled to the profane until true esoteric initiation.
“The mysteries of Hermeticism, the great spiritual truths hidden from the world by the ignorance of the world, and the keys of the secret doctrines of the ancient philosophers, are all symbolized by the Virgin Isis. Veiled from head to foot, she reveals her wisdom only to the tried and initiated few who have earned the right to enter her sacred presence, tear from the veiled of Nature its shroud of obscurity, and stand face to face with the Divine Reality. (…)
To the modern seeker she is the epitome of the Great Unknown, and only those who unveil her will be able to solve the mysteries of life, death, generation, and regeneration.”
– Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages
Locals claim that The Chastity is placed exactly where a statue of Isis stood, back when the chapel was a temple of Isis.
On the opposite side of The Chastity is Disillusionment, another perplexing sculpture infused with profound symbolism. Modeled after the Prince’s father Antonio di Sangro, it depicts a man struggling to free himself from a net as he is being helped by a winged youth.
Once again, a mystery surrounds this sculpture: How can a net be sculpted over a body that appears to have been already sculpted underneath? Was an alchemical process used to achieve this astonishing result?
Not unlike The Chasity, this sculpture is an allegory for a fundamental Masonic concept: The freeing of Man using the intellect.
“Its allegorical meaning is that man is intent on freeing himself from false beliefs (the net) with the aid of the intellect (the young man).”
– Rino Di Stefano, “San Severo”
Although there are several other sculptures in the chapel, the three above clearly stand out and are connected with their mysterious organic qualities. Furthermore, these three sculptures constitute an “esoteric triangle”. With The Chastity on the left (representing the female principle), Disillusionment on the right (representing the male principle) and Veiled Christ in the middle (representing the “perfected man”), the sculptures esoterically represent the most fundamental hermetic principle: Duality merging to create a perfected being.
In occult circles, this concept is personified by Isis and Osiris uniting to create Horus – the perfect being.
“To achieve perfection, the initiate must successfully understand and internalize the dual nature of the world (good and evil; masculine and feminine; black and white, etc.) through alchemical metamorphosis. This concept is symbolically represented by the union of Osiris and Isis (the male and female principles) to give birth to Horus, the star-child, the Christ-like figure, the perfected man of Freemasonry – who is equated with the Blazing Star.”
The original floor of the chapel also heavily plays on the concept of duality and esoteric initiation.
The original floor was in black and white – meant to represent duality and the unification of opposing forces – not unlike the checkerboard floor found in all Masonic lodges. The intricate, tri-dimensional design depicts a labyrinth – a masonic symbol for initiation.
“Labyrinths and mazes were favored places of initiation among many ancient cults. Remains of these mystic mazes have been found among the American Indians, Hindus, Persians, Egyptians, and Greeks. (…) The famous labyrinth of Crete, in which roamed the bull-headed Minotaur, was unquestionably a place of initiation into the Cretan Mysteries.
Labyrinths were symbolic of the involvements and illusions of the lower world through which wanders the soul of man in its search for truth.”
– Hall, op. cit.
Just like duality opposes black and white, the sublime works of art described above are opposed to a morbid and sinister display: The Anatomical Machines.
Adam and Eve
What the heck are those things might you ask? Well, they’re exactly what you’re hoping they are not. And maybe worse.
This exhibit consists of two actual skeletons of a mature male and a pregnant woman. Their entire nervous system is exposed, where the arteries are colored red and the veins are colored blue.
The fetus of the pregnant woman was on also originally on display but the specimen mysteriously disappeared.
How did Raimondo di Sangro preserve the nervous system of these human remains? Well, that’s a mystery that keeps on being mysterious. And, once again, a “dark legend” surrounds these “anatomical machines”.
It was indeed rumored that “Adam and Eve” were two servants of di Sangro who were injected with a substance that crystallized their nervous system – killing them in the process. Here’s a dramatic account of the legend:
“The Prince, just like a sorcerer, is stirring the preparation in a big cauldron. Eventually, the long-awaited reaction takes place: a mysterious liquid is ready. On the other side of the room, the two bound and gagged servants can’t even scream anymore. The man is sobbing, while the woman, even immobilized, stays vigilant and alert — perhaps the new life she carries in her womb prevents her from giving in to fear, commanding an already impossible defense. The Prince hasn’t got much time, he has to act quickly. He pours the liquid down a strange pump, then he gets close to his victims: in their eyes he sees an unnameable terror. He starts with the man, puncturing the jugular vein and injecting the liquid right into his bloodstream with a syringe. The heart will pump the preparation throughout the body, and the Prince watches the agonizing man’s face as the dense poison begins to circulate. There, it’s all done: the servant is dead. It will take two to three hours for the mixture to solidify, and surely more than a month for the putrified flesh to fall off the skeleton and the network of veins, arteries and capillaries the process turned into marble. Now it’s the woman’s turn.”
– bizzarrobazar, The mysteries of Sansevero Chapel
While recent “studies” claim that di Sangro artificially recreated the nervous systems of these bodies using wire and beeswax, I find this difficult to believe. I mean, just look at the closeup pictures above. How can a man create that complex system manually?
“These two skeletons are overlaid with a complex, twisting network of metal tendrils and hardened arteries and veins which represent the arterial system, viscera and musculature of human beings with amazing, meticulous accuracy. The skulls of the two figures are hinged, and can be opened to reveal an incredibly detailed spiderweb of blood vessels within. Upon their unveiling, the disturbing models were so mystifying and grotesque that it was believed that the dark Prince had actually used his black magic and alchemy on some of his unwilling servants to morph them into these abominations.
Regardless of whether they are the result of black magic or not, Adam and Eve present a number of very real mysteries, not the least of which is how they were made in the first place. For years the method of construction was the source of bafflement among scientists and doctors. Were the intricate hardened circulatory systems real, and if so how did they remain so remarkably well preserved for over 200 years? Were they artificial? If so, how could they be reproduced so faithfully? Since there was little to no documentation as to the original creation of the anatomical machines, these were questions for which the answers long remained elusive. The main theory was that the two anatomical machines were created through a process known as plasticization, or “human metallization,” which involves injecting substances directly into the circulatory systems of subjects while they were still living, after which these materials would travel along the veins and harden, painfully killing the unfortunate victim in the process. However, no one really knew for sure.”
– Op Cit. Swancer
No matter what the case may be, these anatomical machines aren’t simply there to freak out visitors. They are also said to serve a symbolic purpose in the alchemical “great work” that is the chapel.
Through various clues, it is believed that the anatomical machines represent the last stage of the alchemical process called Rubedo – the reddening – symbolized by a red phoenix rising from its ashes. Interesting fact: The “machines” were originally on display in a room called The Phoenix.
“the originary placement of the “anatomical machines”, inside the Phoenix Apartment on a revolving platform, looks like a symbolic choice: maybe Raimondo di Sangro thought of them as a depiction of the rubedo, a stage in the search for the philosopher’s stone in which matter recomposes itself, granting immortality.”
– Op. Cit., bizzarrobazar
The least one can say is that the chapel is surrounded by mystery. This is only amplified by the fact that di Sangro destroyed his own scientific archive before he died. Then, after his death, under threat of excommunication by the Church due to di Sangro’s involvement with Freemasonry and alchemy, his descendants destroyed what was left of his writings, formulae, laboratory equipment and results of experiments. All that is left is thinly veiled symbolism.
In the image of its creator, the Chapel of Sansevero is brash and unapologetic. It is a celebration of the esoteric path and a showcase of the alchemical know-how of an enthusiastic occultist. While “occult” literally means “hidden from the public”, Raimondo di Sangro spent his life publicizing his interests and discoveries, barely “placing a veil” on the true nature of his experiments.
The Chapel is, therefore, one of those rare instances where “magic” can be seen in plain sight. While the sublime works of art of the chapel are a celebration of life, beauty, and spirituality, the morbid manipulation of cadavers below celebrate death, decay and the gruesome. In short, not unlike the black and white floors that used to cover this occult temple, the Chapel of Sansevero visually represents the dualistic nature of the universe and, by correspondence, the dualistic nature of man. Once these opposing forces are united, and the duality is resolved, esoteric perfection is said to be attained. To achieve this, one must not be afraid to look towards the heavens … and stare into the depth of hell.
This passage may read like a passage from the Old Testament of the Bible; but, this is a quote from the Hymn of Aten, a work by Pharaoh Amenhotep IV better known as Akhenaton. This so-called heretic king was the only known Pharaoh in Egyptian history who believed in a monotheistic doctrine when most of the ancient world adhered to polytheism.
Just how did this Pharaoh start to form the practice of worshiping a single god?
Religion in Egypt Before the Sun God Aten
Religion seemed to dominate every aspect of ancient Egyptian culture. Before pharaonic times, there were a variety of deities worshiped in various districts throughout Egypt. It wasn’t until the First Dynastic Period under King Narmer that the country was unified. Religion too was unified, but there wasn’t an official canonization of gods that minimized or eliminated the importance of lesser gods. Instead, deities were cosmopolitan – all of the gods of Egypt were recognized as an important part of the pantheon. This created some confusion and some overlap in beliefs but still no hegemony of deities seemed to exist in ancient Egypt.
Representations of six gods from the Ancient Egyptian Pantheon (Public Domain)
This codification of religion brought a substantial change in kingship. The birth of the concept of a Pharaoh emerged in which the king was no longer just a civil ruler but a part of the divinity – the godhead to be precise. The new god-king ruled in conjunction with Ra, or Amen-Ra, and he was often depicted as a powerful man with a falcon head nested upon his head with cobra surrounding the sun.
With this uncontested rule of the god-king came another important change. The role of the priests became much stronger and more dominant. Unlike today’s priests, they weren’t charged with guiding the masses. Instead, they were the keepers of tradition and played an integral part in appeasing the gods and goddesses through rituals and sacrifice. During the 18th dynasty, there was a temple created in Amen-Ra’s honor and Thebes became the city representing a unified Egypt, after a brief takeover by the Hyksos. The Pharaohs of this era paid homage to this god by incorporating the name Amen in their names, hence Amenhotep.
The Sun-Disk Pharaoh Emerges
By the time Amenhotep IV took the throne, pharaonic Egypt was in full swing. Rituals and traditions of the priests had been set in stone for many generations. Pharaohs simply assumed authority and let the priests do all the work while they enjoyed the finer things. This didn’t sit well with Amenhotep IV, however. Unlike his predecessors or even his successors, he was unhappy with tradition and was especially disgusted with the power of the priesthood. Whether Amenhotep IV unhappiness was due to him being fed up with Egyptian decadence or him being tired of the priests control over the Pharaohs is uncertain. But one thing for sure is that after five years of his reign he set out to turn Egyptian religious practices upside down and because of his divine authority, no one could stop
One of the first things he did was abandon the name Amen-, a name associated with a god he now despised – and changed his name to Akhenaten. Aten was the name of the sun disk god he now embraced as the only god. He then moved the capital from Thebes to Amarna. Most likely this move represented a break from the old and freedom from the authority of the priesthood. He then employed agents who outlawed the worship of other deities and forced the people to recognize only one god. To ensure that the people would follow his orders, he closed the Temple of Amun and defaced all of the deities in the temple.
Akhenaten’s religious fervor was undoubtedly strong during his lifetime and his cronies supported his desire to spread the power and influence of the Aten religion. Unfortunately, upon his death, the religion of Aten faded as swiftly as it had come. Akhenaten’s reign became a historical mockery. Even depictions of him seemed to mock his figure – oval eyes, high cheekbones, pot belly, frail build. Artisans and historians alike worked to minimize Akhenaten’s significance, not by writing him out of history or art; but making him look like a madman with unusual laws and an unusual appearance. The power of Egypt was restored to Thebes, the priesthood was reestablished, and even Akhenaten’s son defied his father’s teachings and reembraced the religion of Amun.
Akhenaten certainly seemed like a religious zealot devoted to a single god. Perhaps his passions were divinely inspired or maybe they centered on a more worldly aim of absolute power and control free of the priesthood’s influence. One man seems to imply that Akhenaten’s motives stemmed from the fact that he was Moses himself – the man depicted in the old testament of the Bible. Ahmed Osman – author of Moses and Akhenaton: The Secret History of Egypt at the Time of the Exodus – is convinced that archaeological and Biblical evidence prove that Akhenaten and Moses were the same man.
Is there any significance to the puzzling ages of the antediluvian patriarchs in the fifth chapter of Genesis? And why do these numbers differ between the Masoretic text and the Septuagint?
These questions occupied the Swedish 19th century novelist, journalist, scholar and later member of parliament, Viktor Rydberg during the late 1860s.
In 1869, he had come up with answers to these questions that were published in Swedish. The ideas of Rydberg caught the interest of Samuel Birch of the British Museum and a paper was published in English a few years later in Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology (1877:vol.V) under the title “ Key to the genealogical table of the first patriarchs in Genesis ”.
Since then, the paper has been left largely unnoticed.
Lifespans of the Biblical Patriarchs. ( CC BY SA )
The paper suggests that an astronomical table is hiding behind the numbers of the patriarchs. That table includes figures central to the astronomy of the time and specifically crucial to the archaic Hebrew lunisolar calendar.
However plausible the solution was, it remained quite speculative with little source material to support it. Later archaeological findings however, like the Sumerian King List and the Dead Sea Scrolls, seems to offer some support to Rydberg’s thesis.
Cuneiform writing on a clay brick, written in the Sumerian language (during the time of the Akkadian empire), listing all kings from the creation of kingship until 1800 BC when the list was created. Displayed at Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. (CC BY SA 4.0 ) This is one piece of evidence which seems to offer support for Rydberg’s thesis.
Let´s take a closer look at it. Comparing the lineages in Genesis 4 and 5, Rydberg assumed they shared a common source document, which he set out to reconstruct. He believed Seth, rather than Elohim, had been the divinity in the original document. Since the names Adam and Enosh has the same meaning, he figured one of them was added later. Seth and Enosh were therefore not included in the reconstruction. He ended up with a list of eight antediluvian patriarchs.
Seth. Patriarchs line in iconostasis. Zhdan Dementiev, Vologda. Cathedral of the Assumption, St. Cyril-Belozersky Monastery. Museum of Cyril Belozersky Monastery. ( CC BY SA 3.0 )
In Genesis 5 three numbers are connected to each patriarch. Their age at the birth of their first son, the remaining years of their life, and their age at death. The age of Enoch being 365 has been taken as a hint towards an astronomical interpretation. Arranging these numbers in columns and adding them together confirmed the astronomical hint. The first column gave the number 1461, otherwise known as the Sothis-cycle – the number of years between two heliacal risings of the star Sirius on the same date of the solar year. This would imply that the deluge happened exactly a Sothis-period after the creation of man.
The second column yielded the number 4947. That number happens to be the number of lunar years equivalent to 4800 solar years. In 600 years, this cycle diverges with less than a day, if an intercalary day is observed every 50th year. This fits perfectly with the so-called jubilees described in Leviticus (25:8–13).
These two exact numbers occurring when the ages of the patriarchs are added together can hardly be explained away as mere coincidences.
Furthermore, the unearthing of the Sumerian King List provides a possible explanation to why the Masoretic text has ten patriarchs rather than eight.
Also, it is well known since the finding of the Dead Sea scrolls in the 1940s that the calendar was a burning issue for the movement that took refuge in Qumran by the Dead Sea. By the time the Qumran Community was established, the temple in Jerusalem had adopted several Greek customs, among them the more convenient metonic 19-year cycle for making calendars.
Two scrolls from the Dead Sea Scrolls lie at their location in the Qumran Caves before being removed for scholarly examination by archaeologists. ( Public Domain )
Moreover, comparing the Masoretic text with that of the Septuagint, Rydberg noticed some important differences. Although the full ages of the patriarchs are the same (except for Lamech), their ages at the birth of their first sons (and hence the remainder of their lives) differ considerably. By the time of the first Greek translation of the Torah, the astronomical significance may very well have become out of date in favor of the Greek lunisolar calendar. However, the lineage did serve a purpose as a pseudo-historical document tying together later events with the creation of the world.
Rydberg argued that the Masoretic text was based on Babylonian documents for exactly this purpose.
The Septuagint, on the other hand, was corrected to harmonize with the historical documents of the Egyptians, most probably Manetho’s Aegyptiaca. When comparing lineages of the patriarchs after the flood in the Septuagint, they seem to match the king lists of the Egyptians up to the time of the 30th dynasty.
The time of the first eleven dynasties of Egypt adds up to a period of 2262 years, and so do the Septuagint numbers of the patriarchs before the flood
Genesis 5:24: “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” (KJV) illustration from the 1728 ‘Figures de la Bible’; illustrated by Gerard Hoet (1648–1733) and others, and published by P. de Hondt in The Hague; image courtesy Bizzell Bible Collection, University of Oklahoma Libraries. ( Public Domain ) Enoch was the seventh of the ten pre-Deluge Patriarchs.
Likewise, the time from the flood to the Exodus amounts to 1777 years in the Septuagint, which matches the time from the twelfth dynasty up until Pharaoh Tutmosis. And finally, the time from the Exodus to the end of the 30th dynasty is 1117 years in both the Septuagint and the extant fragments of Aegyptiaca.
In sum, Rydberg’s paper suggests that the numbers in Genesis 5 were originally an astronomical table, but when Greek calendars made the jubilee calendars obsolete these numbers were used to reconcile the histories of the Hebrews with the Babylonians in the Masoretic text, and with the Egyptians in the Septuagint.
Top Image: ‘Abraham and the Angels’ by Aert de Gelder ( Wikipedia). Abraham was said to have lived to the age of 175.
Kautilya (también llamado “Chanakya”) fue un consejero real miles de años atrás en la India antigua. Sus escritos se consideran un precursor importante a mucho pensamiento moderno. Notas de la Wikipedia: Es considerado el pionero del campo de la ciencia política y de la economía en la India, y su trabajo se piensa como de un precursor importante a la economía clásica. Hace 2.300 años – en el siglo IV A.C. – Kautilya abogó por el uso de ataques de bandera falsa:
El hermano de un ministro sedicioso puede presentar su reclamo de herencia. Mientras que el demandante miente por la noche en la puerta de la casa del ministro sedicioso o en otra parte, un espía ardiente … puede matarlo y declarar “¡Ay! El demandante de herencia es asesinado por su hermano “. Luego, tomando el lado de la parte lesionada, el rey puede castigar al otro (el ministro sedicioso).
*** El rey puede enviar un ministro sedicioso con un ejército de soldados ineficaces y espías ardientes para derribar una tribu salvaje rebelde o un pueblo, o para establecer un nuevo superintendente de países o de límites en una localidad limítrofe con un desierto, O para poner bajo control una ciudad altamente rebelde, o para traer una caravana que trae el tributo debido al rey de un país vecino. En una afrenta (que se produce como consecuencia de la misión anterior) ya sea de día o de noche, los espías ardientes o espías bajo el disfraz de ladrones … pueden asesinar al ministro y declarar que fue asesinado en la batalla. Mientras que marcha contra un enemigo o se dedica a los deportes, el rey puede enviar para sus ministros sediciosos para una entrevista. Mientras conducen a los ministros al rey, espías ardientes con armas ocultas, en el recinto central del pabellón del rey, se ofrecen a ser buscados en el interior, y cuando son atrapados con sus armas por los porteros declaran Mismos cómplices de los ministros sediciosos. Habiendo hecho conocer este asunto al público, los porteros matarán a los ministros, y en lugar de los espías ardientes, otros serán ahorcados. Mientras se dedica a deportes fuera de la ciudad, el rey puede honrar a sus ministros sediciosos con un alojamiento cercano al suyo. Una mujer de mal carácter bajo el disfraz de la reina puede ser atrapada en el apartamento de estos ministros y se pueden tomar medidas contra ellos como antes. Un fabricante de salsas o un fabricante de dulces puede pedirle a un ministro sedicioso salsas y caramelos halagándolo: «Sólo tú eres digno de tales cosas». Después de haber mezclado esas dos cosas y medio vaso de veneno, puede sustituirlo Esas cosas en el almuerzo (del rey) fuera de la ciudad. Habiendo hecho este acontecimiento sabido al público, el rey puede ponerlos (el ministro y el cocinero) a la muerte bajo la súplica que son envenenadores.
*** Cuando surge una disputa entre personas sediciosas, los espías ardientes pueden prender fuego a sus campos, cosechas y casas, arrojan armas a sus parientes, amigos y bestias de carga, y dicen que lo hicieron a instigación de Los sediciosos; Y por esta ofensa otros pueden ser castigados. Los espías pueden inducir a las personas sediciosas en los fuertes o en las partes del país a ser huéspedes de cada uno en una cena en la que los envenenadores pueden administrar veneno; Y por esta ofensa otros pueden ser castigados.
Hace 500 años, Machiavelli escribió: A fin de mantener el poder, uno tiene que usar el terror a veces. Maquiavelo y el padre del movimiento neoconservador – Leo Strauss – defendieron el terror de bandera falsa como una herramienta política. Strauss, admirador de Maquiavelo, creía que un orden político estable requería una amenaza externa y que si no existía una amenaza externa, debía fabricarse.
Específicamente, Strauss pensó que:
Un orden político sólo puede ser estable si está unido por una amenaza externa. . . . Siguiendo a Maquiavelo, sostuvo que si no existe amenaza externa, entonces hay que fabricarla. Los líderes a lo largo de la historia también han reconocido el “beneficio” político de banderas falsas: “Esta y ninguna otra es la raíz de la cual brota un tirano; Cuando aparece por primera vez es un protector. “- Plato” Si la tiranía y la opresión llegan a esta tierra, será bajo la apariencia de luchar contra un enemigo extranjero “. – El presidente estadounidense James Madison” El terrorismo es el mejor arma política para nada conduce Personas más fuertes que el miedo a la muerte súbita “. – Adolph Hitler “Por supuesto que la gente no quiere la guerra … Pero después de todo son los líderes del país los que determinan la política, y siempre es una cuestión simple arrastrar a la gente, ya sea una democracia, una dictadura fascista, un parlamento o una dictadura comunista … Voz O ninguna voz, el pueblo siempre puede ser llevado a la licitación de los líderes. Eso es fácil. Todo lo que tienes que hacer es decirles que están siendo atacados, y denunciar a los pacifistas por falta de patriotismo y exponer al país al peligro. Funciona igual en cualquier país. “- Hermann Goering, líder nazi. “La forma más fácil de obtener el control de una población es llevar a cabo actos de terror. [El público] reclamará tales leyes si su seguridad personal está amenazada “. Josef Stalin Estos no son sólo palabras ociosas … presidentes, primeros ministros, congresistas, generales, espías, soldados y policías de todo el mundo han admitido el terrorismo de bandera falsa.