Monday, January 26, 2015

The Lady of the Lake, a verisimilitude


The Making of a Legend
Mythologies, fairy tales, legends, and folklore all have their roots in history. Oral tradition and picture language have been used for millennia to record knowledge and historic events. They evolved into the stories we have today. If one knows how to see the pieces that are there, much can be learned. Arthurian literature is no different. 

One of the most popular and endearing legends in the Arthurian arena is the Lady of the Lake. Perhaps it is because she is a female, or a water spirit, or the bringer of power and hope; whatever the reason, the Lady who created the most famous sword in history still touches our hearts and imagination with her magic. 

To decode the real events which spawn legends is sometimes to shatter the magic we hold so dear. But there is power in knowing, and so it is worth the price. She would have wanted us to know. So here is a story to tell the story of how the Lady came to be. An explanation of the history follows. 

The Ladies of the Iron Swords 

For 1200 years they blocked the Mediterranean. No one, and no thing got through without their permission. No food, spices, fabric, tools, or most importantly, no tin. Without tin we could not make bronze weapons to arm our soldiers, to try and free up the trade routes that we needed to sustain our lives. People were dying. Generations passed.

Then, in the farms of the north lands an observation was made on a bitter cold winter night by a mother tending her fire. She had collected enough peat from the bogs to get them through the harsh winter, and now peat was blazing in the hearth, the flames warming the cottage. Bellows blew gusts of air at the flames to help the fire rage against the cold. She sat close to the warmth. Gazing at the fire sort of dreamily, she noticed something oozing slowly out of the peat where the air from her bellows enraged the flames. It was making a little pile on the bricks below as the flames consumed it; drip, drip, drip. A small rivulet formed, and as it trickled away from the flame it cooled and hardened.

That is when it all changed. Great fires were made, and the drips were collected and given to the blacksmith. Iron was strong - stronger than bronze. Soon men stood at the forge, pounding it into great swords and other tools. They were used by the king’s men, the knights, to clear away the blockade that choked access to the Mediterranean. These great men became legends, heroes of their time. Stories were told about them as families sat around the hearth and soaked up the warmth of the peat fires. They told of dire battles, and great victories. They told of desperate attempts to rescue beloved wives and daughters from the fortresses of the enemy.

The greatest of these legends tell of a wondrous lady, a goddess of the lake. It was her, they say, that gave us the magnificent swords used by the kings and knights in the battle for free trade. She raised a great sword from the peat bogs of the north, and handed the magical weapon to our beloved king; it is said he never lost a battle as long as he held Excalibur. Many tools of these brutal battles were provided by the great Lady of the peat bogs.

To insure her continued blessing, and assure the abundant supply of the iron that the swords were made of - swords that were harder than the bronze of the enemy - the knights pledged to return their sword to the Lady when they retired. It was an honorable tradition. Give back what you were given, so others could receive when they were in need.

The kings men and the iron swords cleared away the enemy, and it was the end of the 1200 year long blockade of the Mediterranean Sea, but the battle against a brutal determined enemy continued. We took all that was left and moved toward England. All 12 kings that could still call themselves kings, and all their people, gathered together to create a strategy to do two things: to retrieve their women and daughters from the barns of the enemy, and to regain control of their fallen kingdoms. 

The bravest most determined men were knighted. And to assure equality between the kings, a great round table was their meeting place; a table with no head. Here they met, broke bread together, planned their adventures, and gathered to celebrate victories. Some of the greatest legends in history grew out of the stories told by these knights of the Round Table as they battled the Huns. Many died trying to find and rescue the "Grail," the princesses of the North. A pact had been made, and an oath had been sworn. Women and children first. Save the women and children. Without them a kingdom dies.

So the Lady of the Lake helped them with magnificent iron weapons, and they honored her by returning what was hers when they were finished. She blessed them as they honored their women, cherished their daughters, and rescued the captured. Finally, a relative peace came upon the land. The Great Lady returned to the water. Maybe one day we will need her again; there is no end to the bitter conflict. Many still die, or disappear. We have made great strides in our technology, battle styles have evolved. But they are still the same; designed to reduce the population.

It is amazing what we can know just by observing a fire in the hearth. Knowledge is a powerful ally, and a dangerous friend. It is able to make life better for a whole planet. Yet some would try to be in control of it all - so others who "know" must be eliminated. We must remember the gift of the Lady of the Lake. Our weapons may be different, but our pact and oath is the same. Our enemy is the same. We hope fortune favors the our knights.  

Above is a verisimilitude about the history of the fall of the tin blockade that choked the Mediterranean for centuries. The enemy was successful in holding off any trade or travel that required crossing the sea, the most accessible route, by placing sentries with armies at four locations. Their bronze production supplied weapons to the army who maintained vigilant watch for centuries, until iron was discovered in the north by the Celts. Then iron weapons were supplied to the freedom fighters and they broke the stranglehold, freeing up the trade routes. Great stories were told, and scattered records were preserved with oral tradition; the history of this time was destroyed, deconstructed, and rewritten. But it survives in the tales of Arthur, and in fairy tales from Avalon and the woods and sea of Ireland, Scotland, and the dark forests of Germany. It is there, if you can see.


About Symbologist Michelle Snyder

Michelle earned her post-graduate degree at the University of Wales, decoding prehistoric images, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales and tracing them to their roots. She is an author, columnist, publisher, artist, and teacher. Her artwork, inspired by her love of symbolism and folklore, has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.
     Books by Michelle, available at Amazon:

     Symbology:


Symbology ReVision: Unlocking Secret Knowledge  
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: My Art and Symbols 
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered 
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images 
Symbology: World of Symbols 
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids

 

 Fiction: 
A Tale of Three Kingdoms: Book One - The Lost Unicorn


 




A Tale of Three Kingdoms: Book Two - The Lost Mermaid










The Fairy Tales: Once-Upon-A-Time Lessons First Book






Friday, January 23, 2015

Preview of "Ice Age Language," translations by R Duncan-Enzmann

A: Birth of a baby girl,  B: woman standing at weighted upright loom,  C: How to make shoes and boots
Ice Age Language is an introduction to the enormous number of Duncan-Enzmann's translations of inscriptions from the Paleolithic era, mostly by Magdalenian women ca. 12,500 BC. The stories told by these prehistoric records bring us knowledge of our ancestors previously unavailable. Decades of research and passion have resulted in a body of work that will surely change our understanding of history.

About the author: 

Dr. Robert Duncan-Enzmann worked in southwest Africa, and spent some winters in Greenland and Antarctica. He studied under Dr. Backlund, who in czarist Russia rented the Graff Zeppelin in 1931 to make aerial photographs of the coastlines of Siberia for Stalin. Enzmann was taught by Sir Aurel Stein, Erik Norin, and gleaned knowledge from the Manfred Richtenhofen group, which had mapped central Asia and China. Duncan-Enzmann spent years on foot researching southwest Africa, studying the Namib, Nama, Namaqua, and Skeleton Coasts. Excerpts from his resume give further evidence of an impressive breadth and depth of knowledge:
British Embassy School, Peking, China; WW II United States Navy Air Corps (USNAC); Arts Bachelor, Harvard; Science Bachelor Hon., London; Standard, Masters Science, Witwatersrand; National Science Scholarship; MIT course work; Royal Inst. Uppsala, Sweden; PhD/MD Cuidad Juarez, Mexico; Pacific Radar: Greenland Gap-filler, Canada Distance Early Warning (DEW)-line; Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE); Pacific Range Electromagnetic Signature Study (PRESS); California ATLAS, Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS); Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM); Kwajalein Atoll ICBM intercept; Target Resolution and Discrimination Experiment (TRADEX); Mars Voyager; Cryptography.
Excerpt from the introduction to Ice Age Language 
       A picture is certainly worth 1000 words; and returning to the Ice Age pictographs, at their best their combined art and narrative is worth much more than words. This is because the Paleolithic artists-authors not only instinctively understood techniques used in classical art; but at the same time had to write. The most interesting writings are chronicles. In this work I offer a translation of an annual mammoth hunt which certainly ranks as drama at its best.


Mammoth hunt - mother and baby mammoth
 And are we different today? In Ireland and across Celtic Europe paychecks are collected by wives who portion their husband’s allowances. Slavic Europe is epitomized by women who organize most things and are devoted to child welfare. My memories of Russia are of Babushkas whom I was escorting on the wintry sidewalks, stopping on the street to adjust a child’s hat, mittens and coat. And what of old Holland where it's so often said: they esteem their daughters more than their sons. Translations of the Magdalenian inscriptions tell us that the culture during the Bølling warm interval was skilled at weaving, insulated building, calendrics, astronomy, medicine, and map-making. Artifacts throughout Europe exhibit inscriptions of tools and methods of weaving.
These inscriptions tell of mothers and children, hearth and home, textiles and tools, hunting and fishing, health and medical, calendars and contracts. One of the most important points this author makes is that all writing begins with sequential arrays of symbols. This observation can be derived from the analyses of Magdalenian writings. In brief, writing began with a symbol. Major cardinals are recognizable images which show what the story is about. On a record of how to use a horse for food, clothing, etc, the outline of a horse is clearly visible. Inside the horse-cardinal are also calendrics and instructions, the when and how.
The translations of these image-stories tell us that the subject of Paleolithic writing was centered on textiles. These translations bring to us records of women making and trading textiles, and caring for their children. Much, indeed most, of the Magdalenian writings concern textiles; likely all of it written by women. Their writings show that the most personal and important modern comforts of home were invented and used well over 14,500 years ago. Long before we had electricity, today’s versions of heating, laundry, childcare, cooking, lighting - all of these necessities - existed in other forms. Most of what was written during the Bølling concerns the same kinds of things that are important to us today: textiles, seasons, childcare, cradles, diapers, and clothing.
We are not significantly different in our modern world. Standards in normal society are set by the women, and rightly so. Gimbuta's description of the Mother Goddess is a sociology with roots at least ten thousand years deeper than the old Europeans of Atlantic Europe, c. 4000 BC. Here, on scraps of ivory, bone, and stone is our own story. Consider the little that is translated, and from this imagine what our lives were like at Saut-du-Perron - at modern man’s technological dawn. And even now we work, build, discover, and improve, and soon wagon-trains to the stars will voyage out. Let the wagons roll!
Duncan-Enzmann writes: "Stories on some tablets remind me vividly of conversations with Hungarian novelist Koestler, only a few really appreciated him. We talked of fairy tales, legends, and fireside stories, agreeing that most were thousands, even tens of thousands of years old. To my knowledge he never wrote of this. It wasn't until recently that this information was published by Michelle Snyder, in Symbology: Decoding Classic Images."

Jay R Snyder, editor of Ice Age Language: Translations, Grammar, Vocabulary, available now at Amazon: 
Now available at Amazon: 


Translations of ice age inscriptions by Dr. Robert Duncan-Enzmann were compiled, edited, and published by J. Robert Snyder, White Knight Studio. It is an extraordinary look into our prehistoric past, with more than 1,000 extant ice age inscriptions from Gönnersdorf, Germany, ca. 12,500 BC, now translated to reveal their exquisite stories and hidden history. 





Monday, January 19, 2015

Peal of the Bell

Christmas Bell

When you were a kid, did you ride a bike with a bell on it that you rang with your thumb? Is there a church near you with bells that peal on days of worship? Many expressions are about bells: saved by the bell, clear as a bell, that rings a bell, with bells and whistles, ring in the new year – and many more. There are church bells, school bells, jingle bells, dinner bells, liberty bells, funeral bells, cow bells, wedding bells, musical bells, sleigh bells, Christmas bells, and bell curves. Bells toll, peal, chime, bong, clang, clink, ding, jingle, and tinkle.

Bells are part of almost every culture. They are used in religious ceremonies, healing practices, and traditions of initiation. The ring of a bell is the sound of a moment in time. A time marker. Their tintinnabulation can be the sound of celebration, warning, or sorrow; the beginning, or the end of the fight. During WW II the Lutine Bell, a recovered ship’s bell, rang once for the loss of a ship, and twice for her return. It tolled when the Bismarck sunk and at the death of Princess Dianna.

According to Duncan-Enzmann the history of bells doesn't actually start with bells. Humans have always experimented with sound; ca 400,000 BC our ancestors were communicating with sound by blowing through reeds. By 42,000 sounds were made with bird bones and flutes with holes. During the Paleolithic, 12,500 BC, Aurox horns (like Rams) were used. During the warm Atlantic (5900 – 3750 BC) wooden horns were made, the Alpenhorn resounded through the mountains of Switzerland, and the drone of the Australian Didgeridoo floated across the waters.

Traditional bronze horns were made during the Bronze Age. In Northern Europe the Lur was used; bronze Lurs have been found in the bogs of Denmark and Germany (perhaps returned to the source of the metal, as were the swords of the medieval knights). Horns make noise when blown through, but they also make a variety of sounds when struck with sticks or other objects. The shape of the horn was discovered to makes sounds of varied frequencies when hit with something. The bell shape of the horn was made separately with a clapper to strike it; this was the birth of bells as we know them. The shape of the horn is the origin of bells.

It all has to do with sound waves. Bells are a particular shape which produces sound waves that can travel a great distance under the right conditions. The ancient mariners knew this, their navigators (the Gorgons) were highly knowledgeable in the science of light, water, and sound.

The varied sounds of the bells were perfect for communication. On the high seas, ships transmitted messages to other ships with shipboard bells. The first recorded use of such bells was in 1485 by a British ship called Grace a Dieu, and The Regent, from England. Tracing the origin of the use of bells reveals much older examples of navigational use, by the ancient mariners of ca 5000 BC. Their ships used bells to send coded messages to other ships that were miles away, to warn of storms or enemies, or to notify ports of call long before they could be seen.

Because of the distance over which a bell could be heard and the short time in which they could send a message, they came to replace other communication systems. Church bells reverberated over the countryside, calling to parishioners. Bells clanged at the firehouse, summoning volunteers to help. Bells tolled for the dead.

Over time bells became symbolic, as did their sounds. Bells are common in folklore, mythology, and religious tradition. Mermaids were said to ring bells with which they had a special connection. The glass bell was a weapon against the Basilisk. Buddhist monks used bells in their initiations, the Mythraic mystery cults used bells, ancient Asiatic temples had bells, Rabbi’s had bells attached to the  hem of their robes before entering the Holy of Holies, and church bells ring the celebration of holidays or the passing of a soul into heaven. “For whom the bell tolls,” a line in John Donne’s poem, reminds us all of our mortality.

The Mort Bell (Dead Bell) of Glasgow Cathedral was carried through the streets of the city before a funeral procession, the death knell sounding for all to hear.  The image of the fish on this bell reveals a connection to navigation, and the tree, Yggdrasil, symbolizes the cycles of life and death. The bird in the tree is likely a raven, also a symbol of death.

Bells are symbolic of freedom, death, union, respect, and mortality. From antiquity there are goddess images in the shape of bells, symbolic of the Gorgons’ knowledge and use of sound. Church bells, hanging high in the steeple between heaven and earth, were attributed with magical powers and signified the coming of the Holy Spirit. Bells were given to the winners of contests before the prize was a great “cup.”

The sound of bells also holds strong symbolic associations, especially to that of creative power. It can be a summons or a warning. Changes, or church bell ringing, was thought to cause the demons to flee.  The sound of a bell is believed to avert the “evil eye.” The bell of the Sangraal temple was rung when faith was in danger, and a knight would step out. Small bells tinkling symbolize the sweet sounds of Paradise. One scientific theory states that the early universe “rang like a bell;” to Pythagoras the peal of bells is the expression of the harmony of the spheres.

The Liberty Bell is perhaps one of the most well known bells in the world. The symbol of freedom was cast in London in 1752, and sent to Independence Hall in Philadelphia, USA, then the State House in 1753. It rang to announce important events such as presidential elections and deaths. The famous crack happened when the bell was rung for the funeral of John Marshall, fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. The crack in the bell symbolizing freedom has gathered its own layers of symbolic meaning. This famous bell weighs 2080 pounds and peals an E-flat when struck.

In all traditions and cultures bells are associated with time. T S Eliot related bells to the sea, the ships bell marking the flux of time, the moment of the intersection of time and timelessness. The great Clock of Westminster chimes the time, as does Big Ben – the name of the great bell of the clock in Elizabeth Tower, London. The use of bells in traditions of initiation is usually for the expression of the moment at which an event occurred, or a metamorphosis has happened. We are reminded that time passes and is gone, that change happens and we can’t go back. Death will not reverse itself. The sound of the bell marks a moment in time; as another saying reminds us: you can’t un-ring the bell.

About Symbologist Michelle Snyder

Michelle earned her post-graduate degree at the University of Wales, decoding prehistoric images, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales and tracing them to their roots. She is an author, columnist, publisher, artist, and teacher. Her artwork, inspired by her love of symbolism and folklore, has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.
Books by Michelle, available at Amazon:


     Non-fiction:


Symbology ReVision: Unlocking Secret Knowledge  
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: My Art and Symbols 
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered 
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images 
Symbology: World of Symbols 
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids

 






 Fiction: 
NEW!!! The Fairy Tales: Once-Upon-A-Time Lessons, first book

 












A Tale of Three Kingdoms: Book One - The Lost Unicorn


 








A Tale of Three Kingdoms: Book Two - The Lost Mermaid















Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Color of Mystery


Published first in Working Tools Masonic Magazine 


Color became part of the mystery traditions in the early stages of civilization. Color was associated with light, and light was the greatest of all mysteries. The sun created and sustained life, so color was vital to life because light ruled over life. Color was the ultimate splendor of light.

Man was forever dominated by the mysteries of life. Those that could read and understand the heavens, and gain knowledge of the unknown, mastered the highest of arts. Seeking it was the most mystifying of paths. It was perhaps through divine appointment that some were able to understand the impenetrable secrets of nature, and connect with the supreme deity. From these seekers, color symbolism emerged that remained essentially the same throughout history into modern times. 

Symbolism is an ancient language, and as such is not a matter of preference, but of meaning. Color was not used for beauty or decoration; it was an important part of communication, and guided one’s understanding of the world. Colors were used deliberately. At one time the kingdom of Earth was purple – a representative of the baser qualities of nature. These qualities were the foundation of patience and endurance; thus amethyst was a warriors amulet, imparting to him moral courage and the calmness necessary to insure victory. In upper Egypt the Pharaohs’ crown was white, symbolizing his dominion. His treasury was called the “White House.” A flat red crown proclaimed authority over lower Egypt and its “Red House.” Temple ceilings were blue with representations of the constellations on them. The floors were green like the meadows along the Nile.

There is much evidence that beauty of color began with mysticism, rather than beginning with  esthetics. Ancient color symbolism was founded on the Mysteries, and spoke a common language to all people. Art was universally understood, and as with literary language, consistent in its use. Opinions of beauty or ugliness did not enter in. Compass points have color symbolism known around the globe; they were observed in the construction of temples, and at altars in rites and ceremonies. These color associations are found in the mythologies of most Indian tribes in America – yellow represents north, green or blue is next for west, red is for south and would be painted third, and last, white for east. Red, yellow, and black are masculine colors, white, blue, and green are feminine. In Tibet even moods had a mystical color relationship – white and yellow indicated a mild temperament, whereas ferocity was red, blue, or black. Celestial beings were light blue, gods were white, goblins, red, and black was for devils.

Great ages were built by humans, ages of gold and iron, both colorful and drab. The Greeks held that a golden age was once upon the earth when Saturn ruled and evil did not exist. Humans dwelt  without aging, in piety, content. Then we fell, and the golden age was lost. 


How to regain this great golden kingdom? Perhaps the mystical longing would be answered if we symbolize perfection with color: don the white robe of purity, the red robe of sacrifice and love, and the blue robe of integrity and truth, as did the noble Greeks of ancient times. 

(Many thanks to Faber Birren for his meticulous research about the history of color)

About Symbologist Michelle Snyder

Michelle earned her post-graduate degree at the University of Wales, decoding prehistoric images, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales and tracing them to their roots. She is an author, columnist, publisher, artist, and teacher. Her artwork, inspired by her love of symbolism and folklore, has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.
     Books by Michelle, available at Amazon:

     Symbology:


Symbology ReVision: Unlocking Secret Knowledge  
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: My Art and Symbols 
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered 
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images 
Symbology: World of Symbols 
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids

 

 Fiction: 
A Tale of Three Kingdoms: Book One - The Lost Unicorn


 




A Tale of Three Kingdoms: Book Two - The Lost Mermaid










The Fairy Tales: Once-Upon-A-Time Lessons First Book