(12) The Story in the Pictures (pages 187 through 206)

78. page 187 Right – The Archangels Michael and Gabriel. If I were to publish a book about the Codex from Rohonc, this picture would be on the front cover. It drew my attention from the very first moment, it fascinates me still. It tickles my brain. Yes, there are two angels, most likely they are Michael and Gabriel, however, Phanuel or Metatron are not excluded. But the strangeness… The firm and vaulted sky to which the sun and the moon are pinned on the inside… The little platforms for the angels… The things the angels are holding…The cross between two mushrooms… Oh, the implications…

As for the cross, this shape appears in two other images, and, as a pictogram, in the text:

page 55 Right

page 55 Right

 page 57 Right

page 57 Right

A shape that might be familiar, the cross pattee:

Templar Armada, from Knights Templar Vault

Templar Armada, from Knights Templar Vault

Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, from Wikipedia

Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, from Wikipedia

So, Templars, huh? And the crescent in the angel’s hand – the first thought is Islam. Combine the image of the two facing angels, one with a cross and the other with a crescent, with the gossip about the Templars’ alleged unhealthy sympathy for Islam (Did I say unhealthy? It was lethal.) and you have this grandiose image of  two major Abrahamic religions united in the skies:  Jibraayl, the one who delivered the word of God, holding the crescent, and Michael, the one who is the word of God, holding the cross.

OK, let’s just stop for a minute, before we rule the CR as the work of an undercover Templar and an ecumenical vision of heaven.

First, the cross pattee is not necessarily Templar. Or Teutonic. Unless the Queen Mother was one of them:

Crown of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother,  from The British Monarchy

Crown of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, from The British Monarchy

As for the crescent moon…

The sun, the moon and the stars are out there, shining for everybody and anybody who “lifts his eyes and looks to the heavens” (Is 40:26), the phases of the moon were studied, understood and taken as celestial guide for shaping time long, long before us, the Codex from Rohonc, the founding of Rome or the Exodus. As symbols, they are unanimously recognized by people everywhere and at any age:

7 year old Jemima's drawing - from Keep Learning, Keep Smiling

7 year old Jemima’s drawing – from Keep Learning, Keep Smiling

But this is a Christian book, so let’s stick to the Christian imagery. The Book of Revelation is riddled with cosmic images. One of the most potent, with a huge impact on the Marian iconography, is the pregnant woman who gives birth to the child that will defeat the dragon of evil. She is clad in the sun, wears a crown of twelve stars and is stepping on the moon.(Rev 12:1-18).

19th century Mondsichel Madonna, Leopold Kupelwieser, from Wikipedia

19th century Mondsichel Madonna, Leopold Kupelwieser, from Wikipedia

It is the Gothic Mondsichelmadonna, the Madonna of the Sickle Moon, of lasting popularity. Notice her feet trampling over the moon and the dragon.  Here is a gallery of 139 such Madonnas, and here some more.

At the time when the Revelation was written, the main religions overshadowing Christianity were  Mithraism/Sol Invictus and the cult of the lunar goddesses: Diana and Isis.

Isis, terracotta, 4th century, from  Stellenbosch University site, Department of Ancient Studies

Isis, terracotta, 4th century, from Stellenbosch University site, Department of Ancient Studies

Both goddesses were associated with the moon. Both were venerated and both had attributes common with Mary. Diana was the eternal virgin but Isis was the true competitor, as the Great Mother, the birthgiver, the nurser and protector of a sacred child, Horus. She was surrounded by a haze of appealing myths that made her incredibly popular. She was “the mother of stars, the parent of times, and mistress of all the world“, linked to the mysterious Egypt, related to magic and celebrated in flashy processions.

In the “The Golden Ass”, Apuleius gives a colorful description of such a procession (in the eleventh book): men dressed up as soldiers, as hunters, as women, boys and girls carrying candles, torches, musical instruments, women covered in garlands, spreading flowers and herbs, all singing, all reciting odes, playing the brass, the silver and the gold instruments. Let’s not forget the bear dressed as a matron, the ape mimicking a shepherd and the ass with wings glued to his back. And then came the priests, with their lustrous bald heads, carrying the sacred relics, bright flames, coffers with secrets, the altar of the veiled goddess, and other marvelous artifacts, among them a vessel picturing on its sides hieroglyphs  and “the Serpent Aspis, holding out his scaly neck“, all in honor of the celestial goddess.

 It is said that the cult of Isis prepared the antic world for Christianity. It probably did, but it also generated confusion and an urge among Christians to separate themselves from a religion that could potentially engulf their own. Apuleius places among the priests one “that bare on his stomacke a figure of his god, not formed like any beast, bird, savage thing or humane shape, but made by a new invention, whereby was signified that such a religion should not be discovered or revealed to any person.”. Could that be a cross?

I can only imagine the abhorrence early Christians felt at the idea of being linked to such a display of devilish exuberance in honor of such a sexual goddess.

For John the Revelator, this tremendously popular and officially accepted cult, was the enemy. The vision of the Mother of Christ, wearing the sun as a cloak and stepping over the moon and the serpent, both symbols of Isis,  is a hint  towards the imminent victory of Christianity, who appropriates the powerful solar symbol while overcomes the goddess of the lesser light. And thus, the moon became the symbol of The Other.

And The Other changed, as times changed. The waning moon was affixed to John the Baptist, the last of the prophets of the Old Testaments and by extension, to the Old Testament itself and to Judaism. Making it a symbol of the Jewish people was a small step to take.

The Presentation in the Temple, Veneto, mid 16th century, from The Fitzwilliam Museum, Collection Explorer

The Presentation in the Temple, Veneto, mid 16th century, from The Fitzwilliam Museum, Collection Explorer

After the fall of Constantinople and the constant and overwhelming Ottoman threat, the crescent was permanently linked to the Ottoman Empire and Islam, as they happily embraced it (or came with it, sources are not clear).

When used by Christians in a religious context, it is usually placed in a position of inferiority. The domes of the Rizpolozhenia Church in Kremlin are meant to commemorate the victory of Christians against Muslims in the battle of Kazan.

Church of the Deposition of the Robe, Kremlin, Moscow, 17th century, from Wikipedia

Church of the Deposition of the Robe, Kremlin, Moscow, 17th century, from Wikipedia

In the CR drawing, however, the cross and the crescent are facing each other, on the same level, as equals.

I am in favor of the idea that they represent the two parts of the Bible: the Old Testament is the crescent while the New Testament is the cross. Oh wait, then it is the vision of two major religions united!

And after all the work, here is an unexpected piece of  information:
 “The sign 2002a was sometimes used to represent the archangel Gabriel in Cabbalistic mysticism.” (from Symbols – An Encyclopedia of Western Signs and Ideograms)

Symbols are a tricky business.

79. page 192 Right – Presentation at the Temple – A berobed and bebearded figure holds up a baby. Facing him is a becrowned character, with her arms extended. Behind him is another person, and behold, she has a magic wand.

Forty days after his birth, Mary and Joseph  took baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem, where they encountered the very respectable and very old Simeon and Anna the prophetess, who were both happy to recognize the promised Christ in the infant. Mary hands her baby over to Simeon, and she is probably the character on the left, with the crown. Anna is often depicted with a scroll, an attribute of the prophets.

Duccio di Buonisegna, Presentation at the Temple, 14th century, from Wikipedia

Duccio di Buonisegna, Presentation at the Temple, 14th century, from Wikipedia

But quite as often she is represented with a magic wand. Not really, she holds a candle.

Presentation in the Temple, Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry, Folio 63r  -   the Musée Condé, Chantilly, from Wikipedia.

Presentation in the Temple, Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry, Folio 63r – the Musée Condé, Chantilly, from Wikipedia.

The event is commemorated on Candlemas Day . Oh ye of little faith, The Groundhog Day (February 2nd).

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another fight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter won’t come again.
If Candlemas Day be dry and fair,
The half o the winter’s to come and mair;
If Candlemas Day be wet and foul,
The half o the winter’s gane at Yule.

Now that we revealed the mystery of the magic wand and if this identification is correct, we still have a big problem. Why, oh why are all shiny and holy just the characters on the right? Why is the mother of Jesus left out in the shadows, when even the prophetess shimmers? It’s true, the flame of a candle can light up only so far. So what, is this the Book of  Physics?

80. page 193 Right – snake

 

81. page 194 Right – Party. The seated character on the right is Jesus. He has the right halo and the inscription above him (which I explain in The Divine Designators).

 

The guy on far left has a funny hat.

82. page 196 Right – Let the little children come to me, and bring their rattlers along.

 
Let the children come to me, The Gospels in Arabic, fol. 188b, 1684,   from The Digital Walters

Let the children come to me, The Gospels in Arabic, fol. 188b, 1684, from The Digital Walters

83. page 197 Left – ?

 

84. page 199 Left – The tent with the ark of the covenant (?) Lilies sprouting out of something that looks like a tent.

 
 
The Ark of the Covenant, Speculum Humanae Salvationis, fol. 13v., c. 1400-1500, from Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts

The Ark of the Covenant, Speculum Humanae Salvationis, fol. 13v., c. 1400-1500, from Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts

85. page 199 Right – Rudolph, the red-nosed angel.

 

86. page 203 Right – ?

87. page 204 Right – snake, sort of


88. page 206 Right – angry snake

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5 Responses to (12) The Story in the Pictures (pages 187 through 206)

  1. Izzy says:

    83. page 197 Left = 1st letter in “NN” (see 81. page 194 Right)

  2. Nigel says:

    86. Page 203. Jesus gives Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven.

    • deliahugel says:

      Excellent catch, Nigel. It makes perfect sense. Because the “things” seem to be in mid-air, I thought they are words exchanged by the two characters. But your explanation is spot on. I will look up for a similar image, other then the Perugino painting. Thank you.

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