I recently gave a talk about interpreting ancient symbolism to the American International Women’s Club in Naples, Italy. As the talk was held on 14th February, I thought it was appropriate to tackle the theme of love. My research lead me to some interesting discoveries.
Love is a very powerful emotion, yet there is a significant lack of it in our society. Despite worldwide connectivity, mankind is becoming more distanced from one another, more judgemental, hostile and irrational.
Wars and religion aside, you only need to note how comments posted to online forums typically spiral into antagonistic and abusive messages. Communities are becoming divided and some people want to fight on a Saturday night just to add some excitement in their life.
Ancient scriptures say love is the ultimate emotion and it is difficult to agree with that. Do you know a better feeling than love? So why is so much love missing from our word? The simple truth is because the true essence of humanity is not being promoted by the authorities and into the public consciousness.
Masaru Emoto Rice experiment
Before we get into ancient symbolism, I want to demonstrate my point with science. An experiment performed by Japanese researcher and writer, Masaru Emoto determined positive and negative energy can have a resounding effect on living organisms.
What Emoto did was put cooked rice into three separate jars. Every day he said “thank you” to one jar, “you’re an idiot” to the second, and the third jar he completely ignored. The rice in the jar that received thanks remained healthy whilst the two other jars rotted. The jar which was ignored decayed the most.
The rice in the jar that receives thanks stays white, whilst the two other jars rot and decay. The jar that is ignored decays the most.
Emoto points out that the same results occur in humans. When you direct negative energy towards people or ignore them, they feel bad inside. The brain triggers negative chemicals which can lead to illness – especially depression, a type of mental illness. When a person receives positive comments they experience love-based emotions, such as pride and confidence and will typically flourish. I think we can all relate to that, right?
The sacred heart
The heart is a symbol commonly used to represent and express love in modern times. It was no different aeons ago, but the understanding of why we need to be in control of our emotions has been kept from public knowledge!
The ancients knew the heart was the source of all emotions. They were also familiar with duality; nothing can exist without a polar opposite. The polar opposite of love is fear. Every other emotion stems from these two roots.
Therefore it is important that we learn to love, starting with the self, because with love you have the power to flourish and make a better life yourself. And this is the key point to this talk, you, the self. Only you can choose to love or make people live in fear. All good things are born out of love and all bad things from fear.
It seems however that some religions are persuading people to look on the outside rather than the inside. Muslims blow themselves up in the name of Allah. Christians believe God will protect them.
Deuteronomy 6:5-6 says: “Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
The Roman Catholic Church also says the sacred heart is used as a reminder that “Jesus loved us all with a human heart.” But he was human wasn’t he?
In the image to the right, we see Jesus pointing to his heart as if to say, “Love is in my heart.” The church back this up by telling followers to “feel the love of Jesus.” Does the Catholic Church also tell followers they need to love themselves, the world and everything in it?
If they do, the message is not getting across. Capitalism in western society provokes us to look for emotional gratitude on the outside rather than within, from others rather than themselves?
We have also become consumers with a desire for material items. This is not just a problem in capitalist countries, but all over the world. And all the major corporations use ancient esoteric symbolism to manipulate your thoughts and actions.
Popular advice within the internet psychological community is learn to love yourself rather than rely on others to show you love. In my view, this is sound advice. Yet there is a social stigma ingrained in the masses that consider this advice narcissistic.
The sacred heart is actually a reminder for us to use our hearts and be in tune with our emotions. The heart is where you feel love, it should also be where you carry love.
Emotions of course are developed through experiences; not only what happens to you directly, but also the stories you read in newspapers and on the TV news. Have you noticed how it is always bad news? Whilst the world moves at such a frantic pace, it is easy for people to focus on the negative than the positive.
And whilst the mainstream media, governments and dogmatic society impress negative thoughts onto your mind, it becomes habitual for people to have negative thoughts and emotions. In turn, this can have a negative effect on things you want to manifest in your life.
Your heart is the vehicle that drives your life, and your emotions are the passengers. It’s up to you which passengers you want to carry – love-based passengers, or fear-based.
The Sacred Heart
The sacred heart of Christianity is represented in a several ways and the representation in the Santuario di San Gaetano underneath the Basilica San Paolo di Maggiore in Naples, comes the closest to expressing its true meaning.
Note the heart is disembodied. There is no imaginary personification the heart is attached to distract the viewer from relating the image to their heart. But it is the other symbolism in this picture that reveals the sacred hearts true meaning.
The wings are of a dove, which in Christianity represents the Holy Spirit. You probably already know the dove also represents peace which is relevant to its overall meaning. It also represents hope, joy and discovery which are often forgotten.
If you think of the story of Noah, it was the dove that returned with an olive branch indicating dry land was near. Whilst the dove was gone, the passengers on the Ark would have had hope in the hearts. When the dove returned with its discovery, Noah and his family experienced joy and found peace in their hearts. All these attributes are relevant to manifesting what you desire in life.
In the ancient world, the dove represented the Divine Mother. The church won’t tell you this, but this entire image represents the Mother Goddess, the Virgin Mary as she is known in Christianity. The symbol of the sacred heart has nothing to do with the love of Jesus, it is the female principle in the law of manifestation.
The cross you see in the image above is the Rosicrucian Cross which is used by the Rose and Cross Order, thought to be the oldest mystic fraternity in the world. To this society of secrets, the rose represents the unfolding of consciousness. In other words, understanding.
Emotion helps you understand you inner-self.
This depiction of the sacred heart taken in the Chiesa di Apostoli in Napoli is perhaps the most recognised version of the sacred heart – wrapped in thorns. But why thorns? The idea of thorns stabbing into your heart is painful, and when you blow the image up is visually disturbing.
We are told of course, the thorns represent the crown thrust upon the head of Jesus before being nailed to the cross. One meaning of these thorns is that sometimes you have to make sacrifices in your life – even if it means giving up something you love – typically an addiction.
You may have had a past relationship with someone you cared for, or a secure job with a promising career, but ultimately knew it was not the future you wanted. At the time, the relationship was difficult to give up, but you knew it was the right decision and moved on to better things in your life.
Sometimes these are the type of sacrifices we have to make. To bring in the new, you have to clear out the old. But there is a more subtle meaning to the appearance of thorns in the sacred heart. The thorns represent the rose flower.
Roses and the Mother Goddess
The connection with love and roses was established thousands of years before Christianity. The ancient Egyptians often depicted the goddess Isis with the rose to represent love and beauty. Isis is the Mother Goddess of ancient Egypt.
The Anatolian Goddess, Cybele, is also celebrated with roses. In Greek legend she is said to have created the red rose to compete with Aphrodite’s white rose when fighting over the love of Adonis.
Cybele was known as the Magna Mater, the Mother Goddess and was a precursor for the Minoan Rhea and the Greek Demeter. Essentially, they represent love and nurturing.
The western symbolism, the rose is the equivalent of the eastern lotus and represents a connection with higher consciousness. The shape of its petals are considered to be receptive vessels that pours divine consciousness into the soul.
The Sufi teacher, Hazrat Inayat Khan say the rose, “the rose consists of many petals held together, so the person who attains to the unfoldment of the soul begins to show many different qualities. The qualities emit fragrance in the form of a spiritual personality.”
The most commonly used roses in esoteric symbolism are red and white. White roses represent purity of the heart whilst red relates to strong feelings. We can see the use of the red and white rose in tarot, an ancient practice that is rich in symbolism.
In the first card of the tarot deck, we see the Fool with a white rose. The Fool card represents the initiate embarking on a new adventure, a new cycle of life in which he needs to learn skills and knowledge. The white rose therefore represents the purity and innocence of heart as he steps out into the unknown.
The next card is the magician whom we find surrounded by red roses in an elevated position purporting to its association with the higher consciousness. This meaning of this card represents the next progressive step in the initiate’s life cycle and augurs the period whereby you learn new skills and behaviours.
The next two cards of the deck represent the female principle. The first is the High Priestess, goddess of the Underworld and represents inner understanding which we learn through emotion. Note the crescent moon – we see it again later.
The next card is the Empress wearing a dress adorned with roses. The Empress is the Mother Goddess, the divine female that provides love, nurturing and care. She represents Demeter from Greek mythology, the Mother Goddess. Demeter is the mother of Persephone who is represented by the High Priestess in tarot.
The female principle relates to emotion in the trinity of manifestation, The Empress being love and care, and The High Priestess representing inner-knowledge, an understanding learned through emotion.
The red roses on Demeter’s dress symbolise balance of heart and expresses the promise of new beginnings. This is also why red roses have been used as symbols of death throughout history as they are associated with rebirth and resurrection.
In turn, resurrection is used as a reminder of life changes, the cycles we go through. As one ends, another starts. Given emotions have a major part to play in understanding, we need to use our hearts to move on to the next phase of life, otherwise we continue to keep repeating the same cycles.
Henry Ford, among others, said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you‘ll always get what you‘ve always got.”
The Triangle of Manifestation
Before we continue with symbolism, you need to understand how the universe works, or rather how to use energy. Hermetic principles documented in the Kybalion says that everything vibrates and manifests as matter.
Quantum physicists now understand that matter is the manifestation of energy. Everything is energy from the smallest sub-atomic particles to the vastness of the cosmos. That means your thoughts, actions and emotions are also energy.
Psychologist and other arms of the medical profession also acknowledge that positive and negative attitudes can have significant results on your health. They can certainly dictate whether you succeed or fail in something you do. When you are confident (from the root of love), you will perform better than when you are anxious (from the root of fear).
It would appear then that by changing your emotional and mental state you change the frequency of vibrations you receive, and that with positive energy you can achieve what you want in your life.
This principle has been theorised in popular consciousness as the laws of attraction, although it is not quite as simple or fantastical as books like The Secret want you to believe. Positive thinking alone will not get you very far. You also need to act – and that it what really brings things into manifestation.
But it is emotions that dictate the way in which you think and act.
In esoteric symbolism, this three-part principle is explained in the triangle of manifestation. This is why the three in hermetic principles is called the number of manifestation; to make something happen.
The triangle of manifestation is typified by three key elements, thoughts, emotions and actions. In esoteric symbolism, the triangle of manifestation is presented by using a trinity of Godheads such as Osiris, Isis and Horus or the Holy Trinity in Christianity – and that is where the idea becomes misleading.
To explain how the triangle of manifestation works, I will use the analogy of agriculture. You plant a seed – your thoughts – over time you nurture your crops – your desires – “you reap what you sow,” the outcome.
If you care for and nurture your crops, you will reap a good harvest. If you do not tend to them carefully or leave them to grow by themselves, your harvest will ruin! So to get anything done you have to do something and do it with care.
And this is how goals are performed. Your initial idea begins with a thought. In astrology, this is represented by Saturn at the top of the triangle. This is the onset of an idea the initiate intends to pursue. If you do not pursue it, nothing will come of the idea.
You then have to dedicate time to put your ideas into action. If you go about this with love and care, you will put more energy into your actions and the results will be better.
In the astrological triangle this is represented by Mercury as it requires intelligence gathering which includes acquiring new skills. The knowledge you need to acquire is typically life skills or physical skills you need to learn to successfully attain your goal. We see this is the card of the Magician, who represents Hermes in Greek mythology, the source of wisdom. Mercury is the Roman equivalent of Hermes.
This new skill you need to learn makes you act in a different way thus changing behaviour patterns you are ordinarily accustomed to. Thus a new cycle of life has begun.
The other element of manifestation is emotion and this is the most important element because how you feel about something dictates your thoughts and actions. In the astrological triangle, this aspect is represented by Venus, the goddess of love.
The Catholic Church also pays lip service to the triangle of manifestation. When people pray to God, do they not ask for a desire? But what do they do about it themselves – do they accompany their request with an action, or is it just wishful thinking that God will help them?
I also found this statue in the Duomo in Naples. It depicts the triangle of manifestation.
You can see in the image that one of the three women is holding a cup. In Tarot the cup relates to matters of the heart. Furthermore, the word cup comes from the Latin word calyx, the name for the sepals that hold the petals of a flower.
The calyx of many flowers fall off, whereas other flowers have persistent calyx that remain even after the petals have withered and died.
One such flower is the rose and throughout history the flower has been closely associated with cups and chalices. It is not uncommon to find patterns of open flowers on a chalice or carved into the form of a rose.
The women at the back is holding a tool, which appears to be for agricultural purposes which creates the impression of the need for nurturing. In tarot, the wand represents work, a form of action and putting your energy into something you want to manifest. So the emotions and action are present in this statue.
When you look at the third woman, she is holding a small child, which as we shall see later represents the creation of the male and female principles. The woman’s breast is bare indicating she is about to feed her baby – this caring and nurturing.
When you think of a mothers role from giving birth to raising a child, we see new cycles of life over and over again, and all the time the mother is learning and nurturing.
We experience similar cycles in understanding what our life is about, and we understand this more profoundly when we experience something on an emotional level.
So again we see the same female principles we find in The Empress and The High Priestess representing spiritual understanding through love and emotion. We also find another example of how the rose shares an association with love and the mother.
Male and female energy
I mentioned earlier that everything is energy and everything has a polar opposite. Energy of cause has a negative and a positive which in astrology and alchemical symbolism are represented as triangles. An upright triangle in the male principle and the down-facing triangle is the female energy.
The upper-pointing triangles of Fire and Air, are male energy. Fire is associated with the sun, the vital energy of life, and in symbolism represents influence and authority. Sun symbolism is used more than any other throughout ancient cultures because without the power of the sun, there would be no life on earth.
Air relates to the mind, the ability to think analytically and logically. In psychological terms the male elements are the left side of the brain, where ideas are born and processed.
In religions the male godhead is often symbolised as the Sun. So too the creation which again represents the return to the beginning of a new cycle. This will become more apparent later.
The down-facing triangles represent Water and Earth. The Earth sign is related to Mother Earth, the divine female who is dependable and committed to making things grow through love and care. Nobody loves more than a mother.
Water has a relationship with our consciousness in the material world and has the ability to ebb and flow to fit into its surroundings. Water splashes and crashes, but also goes with the flow. It is the element associated with love, peace and purification.
The Crescent Moon
The qualities of the female principle are represented in ancient cultures and western philosophies by the Moon, or the crescent moon. In tarot the card of The Moon represents the unseen forces of the subconscious, similar to the mystery of the inner-self as shown in the card of the High Priestess above – in which we find the crescent moon.
The Moon of course is the duality of the Sun, which is why you often find the sun and moon depicted together in ancient symbolism, the male and female opposites, both of which are important to life on Earth.
The Laws of Nature dictates that to manifest creation, you need to apply both the male and female principles. This ideology is seen throughout ancient mythology in the trinity of Godheads that create the upper-pantheon of Gods.
The earliest documented trinity comes from ancient Sumeria; Baal Ishtar, Tammuz who later became, Nimrod, Semiramis and Tammuz in Babylon, Osiris, Isis and Horus in Egypt, Cronos, Rhea and Zeus in Greece, Saturn, Ops and Jupiter in Roman mythology.
Note that in each of the trinities, there is a male figure, a female figure and a child, the creation or manifestation, all of which take the place of their fathers. So goes the ideology of the father – the original idea/thought – being replaced by the son – the creation – once the goal is complete. And another cycle begins.
Thus we have the cycles of life.
In the middle of all that we have the all-important female principle, nurturing the idea to creation. Remember, the female principle represents emotion and emotion dictates thoughts and actions. Without actions the creation does not manifest.
The Holy Trinity in the Christianity
The Holy Trinity of the Catholic Church is the father (thought/idea), the son (the creation) and the Holy Ghost (?). Who is this Holy Ghost character? Surely, there should be a female principle there.
In essence there is, but it is very convoluted.
In Christianity the Dove represents the Holy Spirit, but as outlined above also represents virtues of the heart; peace, hope, joy and discovery. The Holy Ghost then is the High Priestess character in the tarot that represents the unseen world of the subconscious mind?
But what about the Empress, the nurturing mother goddess that enables things to grow?
If you cast your minds back to the sacred heart with the wings above, you will remember the entire symbol represented the Mother Goddess who is associated with love and nurturing that we find in the Christian rose. Together the rose and the dove relate to the heart, the seat of all emotions.
And emotion is the all-important requirement to manifest the creation. Yet the Divine Mother – the Virgin Mary – is missing from the Holy Trinity.
The Catholic Church does actually recognise St. Mary as part of the Holy Trinity, they just don’t broadcast it. However, in 2014, Pope Francis acknowledged Virgin Mary has a position in the Holy Trinity, saying that without her Jesus Christ – the son, or creation – would not have been born.
We can see this idea more succinctly when you analyse the symbolism the Virgin Mary is depicted with in Christian Churches. For example, she is nearly always seen with a rose, either a decoration by the church or carved into an altar beneath her statue.
In the image above, we see Mary holding a red rose symbolising strong feelings.
The statue of the Virgin Mary standing atop an altar again associates her with the rose. As you can see from the image on the right, the altar is carved into a rose shape with the calyx underneath.
We also see the Virgin Mary depicted with the crescent moon.
In both images above, you can clearly see Mary standing on the crescent moon, a symbol of the divine female. In the second image there is also bunch of red roses.
We should appreciate by now that we are being systematically deceived by the authorities of government and religion. It is our responsibility as individuals, and as a collective conscious, to understand the messages that esoteric symbols are communicating to us.
First and foremost, we have to appreciate that our fellow man regardless of nationality or religious persuasion are equal and with love and understanding, together we can make the world a better place to live. Stop the hate and antagonism and learn to love. And to manifest your desires, all you need is love.