The Saturn Saga

January 13, 2018 | Author: Anthony E. Larson | Category: Saturn, Planets, Genesis Creation Narrative, Venus, Icon
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Ancient peoples the world over described the skies above in very different terms from what we see today. Saturn loomed a...







The Saturn Saga Copyright © 1999 Anthony E. Larson

Ancient peoples the world over described the skies above in very different terms from what we see today. Saturn loomed as an enormous, golden sphere sitting motionless over Earth’s north pole. Turquoise-colored Venus and dark red Mars were also much closer to Earth and resided in the middle of Saturn. The images of these planets changed over time and formed the basis for all mythological and religious imagery.

The Saturn Myths and the Restored Gospel In order to begin unraveling the intricate, tightly woven cloth of metaphor and symbolism bequeathed us by our ancestors, we must initially understand what David Talbott first called the Saturn myths. It is based upon the fundamental fact best articulated by the Apostle Peter when he wrote: “. . . by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: . . . .” (2 Peter 3:5-6.) Thus, the key to understanding most of our cultural and religious traditions lies in remembering the end of the world — the end of the heavens and the earth that “perished” when God “spared not the old world, but saved Noah.” (2 Peter 2:5.) That is, the world we know today and the heavens we see above us are not those the ancients knew. This is the profound message that all ancient cultures strove to pass on and the key to the ancient mysteries: The world they knew “perished,” only to be replaced by the heavens and the earth we know today. It stands to reason that if we wish to understand the messages our ancestors labored to preserve for us, we must understand the

The Saturn Myths and the Restored Gospel


world they lived in and referred to. Only then can we expect to gain a reasonable understanding of their beliefs, traditions and practices. This is also important to us because we live in a day and time . . . in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (2 Peter 3:10, 13.) So, if we, too, are destined to experience the “end of the world,” in this dispensation of time followed by the introduction of a new world — one that will duplicate the lost original our ancestors knew in the earliest epoch — we should know what happened the first time the world ended and began again. The importance of this perspective cannot be over emphasized. It is the key to a more profound understanding of the past, present and future. The first step, then, is to learn how the first heavens and the first earth looked. For that information we turn to the prophet, Joseph Smith, and to the illustration he made of Earth’s ancient appearance. Philo Dibble’s facsimile of that document presents a confirmation of Peter’s assertions and a remarkable proposition: The solar system we know today is a recent development. Earth was once part of a grouping of orbs that shared a common axis of rotation, the defining element of the Earth’s condition anciently. This proposition, purportedly offered by none other than Joseph Smith himself, was so unique, so peculiar, that there was nothing in modern experience to explain it.

The Saturn Myths and the Restored Gospel


With only one or two exceptions, Mormon scholars ignored — even avoided — the claims of Dibble and his facsimile. They believed there was no evidence that anything remotely like the configuration of orbs Joseph Smith proposed in his illustration once truly existed. It was simply too unbelievable to accept—until David Talbott’s research into ancient myth and tradition led him to proffer a similar configuration for the ancient solar system. That Talbott’s reconstruction of the ancient heavens — based on his singular interpretation of tradition and mythology — bears vital similarities to Joseph Smith’s reconstruction leads this author to conclude that Talbott hit upon a primary truth from antiquity that was obviously known to the first prophet of this generation. That his interpretation of ancient tradition, symbolism, ritual and belief — based on his reconstruction — explains nearly all the religious iconography and traditions of mankind — including that of Mormonism — argues eloquently for its validity as well. The concern that there is no astronomical evidence for this remarkable constellation of planets should be no intellectual hurdle for Latter-day Saints. The evidence for its existence anciently exists in the proper interpretation of the records left behind by all ancient peoples in their religions, traditions, texts, monuments, tombs and temples— including our own modern temples. The remarkable irony is that modern man has not recognized the evidence for this configuration found in almost every aspect of ancient culture. Joseph Smith apparently recognized it and communicated it to others, like Dibble. Perhaps today’s Saints should suspend their doubts long enough Venus to explore the possibility. Mars After publishing his original thesis in Earth The Saturn Myth, Talbott went on to refine his thesis. In time he came to believe that the original configuration he proposed was slightly flawed. Instead of envisioning Saturn with a ring or set of rings around it, Jupiter he saw something more like what Joseph Saturn Smith’s illustration implies: three rocky planets, the Earth standing at the “end” or “bottom” of the stack or string. Venus



The Saturn Myths and the Restored Gospel


In turn, these three planets were probably fixed “below” two gaseous giants, Saturn and Jupiter. Talbott’s most recent reconstruction of that group of planets, which he calls the “Polar Configuration,” is composed of these five planets, with the Earth at one end of the grouping. While Jupiter was the largest of the planets, it was obscured from earthling’s view by Saturn, leaving three visible orbs — again, conforming to Joseph Smith’s idea of three planets. Thus, when ancient earthlings gazed skyward, they saw three nested planets, each sitting within the orb of another, in a fixed position in the northern sky, as depicted below. Some have expressed concern that this new conception may not adequately answer to some of the symbolism previously attached to the Saturn configuration. This is not true. In fact, it will be seen that this new arrangement not only conforms to all the original symbolism, but it serves to explain many more symbols and metaphors, traditions and beliefs than did the original. For example, the symbolic use of three rings remains intact because the terminator or “edge” of each planet forms a visible ring as well as the essential crescent when properly lit by sunlight, without the need for orbiting rings as are seen around Saturn today to explain ancient imagery. The original, prototypical Saturn symbol proposed by Talbott becomes only one stage in the evolution of the Saturn epic rather than the dominant feature. Thus, this revised arrangement of planets is of primary interest to Latter-day Saints who wish to understand the symbolism and metaphor of our own religion, as well as that of all ancient religions. Not only that, it will also allow us to understand the most well rooted cultural and religious traditions as well as the history and the future of this planet. No other concept offers so much enlightenment about

The Saturn Epic: In the Beginning


the world we live in and the new world yet to come, as you will see. The magnitude of this undertaking, once perceived in its undiminished totality, is truly staggering. © anthony e. larson, 1999

The Saturn Epic: In the Beginning Every theory must be tested. The Saturn myth theory is no exception. David Talbott’s theory of the Saturn myths has one very specific test: Does it explain the origin and meaning of heretofore incomprehensible traditions, metaphors, rituals and symbols — things that, until now, seemed to have had no real origin other than the vivid imaginations of the ancients? If so, does it give those metaphors, stories, traditions and symbols a consistent system of interpretation? Does it bring meaning and order to traditional cultural and religious beliefs and images? Does it apply to all ancient cultures? The answer is an unqualified “Yes!” For Latter-day Saints, that test is the gospel itself — the acid test. The gospel test is particularly important because, “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” (The Thirteenth Article of Faith.) Since Talbott’s theory does all those things, then it qualifies as something well worth pursuing, according to Joseph’s Smith’s definition. Its greatest value, by far, is the light it can bring to bear upon our understanding of the restored gospel, our scriptures, the prophets and our temples. Latter-day Saints test all purported truth by the restored gospel. It is our iron rod. Modern revelation — truths given us by latter-day prophets — is our cornerstone. Fortuitously, when this theory is tested with the gospel and the words of the prophets, it not only supports the theory, it immediately begins to fill in many blanks, answer many questions and bring meaning to heretofore largely incomprehensible symbolism and metaphor. To this author’s way of thinking, the Saturn myth passes all such tests, as has been amply demonstrated in The Prophecy Trilogy and The Plainest Book: Revelation. It will be even more apparent as we explore Talbott’s thesis in light of the gospel in this and future essays.

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The planets were gods

According to Talbott, the primary actors in all ancient rites and dramas were originally planets moving close to the Earth. He wrote: For 25 years, I have claimed that this fear-inspiring image once stretched across the northern sky, towering over the ancient world. I termed this planetary arrangement the “polar configuration” because it was centered on the north celestial pole. And I have proposed that the history of this configuration is the history of the ancient gods, recorded in the fantastic stories, pictographs and ritual reenactments of the first sky worshippers. (Symbols of and Alien Sky, p. 1.) Those rites, celebrations, pageants, parades, pilgrimages, dramas and sacred services were reenactments of the movements and changes in appearance of those giant planets, standing in close proximity to our Earth anciently. The resolute dedication with which mankind strove to endlessly repeat these celestial exploits in lavish pageants and dramatizations, over thousands of generations and dozens of cultures, is a measure of those manifestation’s degree of impressiveness. The symbols, stories and traditions those planets spawned have provided grist for the icon mills of all ancient religions and cultures. Indeed, we faithfully preserve most of those images in our present religions and cultures without understanding their original source or meaning. Such is their enduring power. Those planetary gods were altogether massive, imposing, ominous entities. Talbott estimates that Saturn appeared twenty times larger than does our present full moon. At one point in its career, Mars approached Earth, appearing to grow from the smallest of the three visible orbs — the celestial gods — to the largest and closest. Its approach must have made it seem exceedingly large, impressive and ominous. Good gods, bad gods

On occasion, the gods/planets did tremendous damage, throwing interplanetary lightning bolts, shaking the Earth until everything collapsed to the ground, roaring out of the heavens with an ear-splitting, mind-and-body-numbing cacophony, pouring out fire and brimstone on Earth’s hapless populace. At other times they did feats of unparal-

The Saturn Epic: In the Beginning


leled beneficence, lighting the world, producing delightful musical sounds like heavenly choirs or giant wind chimes, while pouring out food or gold upon the world. On occasion, they would take on a wondrous appearance, becoming spectacles of light and beauty, captivating ancient onlookers who observed with amazement and astonishment. Yet on other occasions, they appeared as vengeful demons, hags, malevolent beasts, dragons or hideous monsters — striking fear, dread and horror into the hearts of mankind. Either way, mankind regarded them with the utmost awe, wonderment and reverence. Our ancestors incorporated both aspects of the planetary gods — the good and the evil — into their cultures. Ancient myths, fables and traditions teem with representations of good and evil gods, as do the symbolic embellishments of architectural monuments everywhere. The gods brought culture to mankind

Civilization, as we know it, sprang up from practices honoring, imitating and reenacting the events and appearances of the celestial, planetary gods. For example, all the accouterments of kingship — divine right, descendency from deity, coronation rites, sacred rituals, etc. — came from the example set by great Saturn, the heavenly king, sun god and order keeper of antiquity. The institutions of government, law, medicine, religion, science, education and the trades all borrowed heavily from the traditions, beliefs, practices and icons spawned in the exploits of the planet-gods who ruled heaven and earth. The history of those planetary gods is recorded in the myth, ritual and symbol of mankind. The single most important fact that all ancient records sought to convey was this: The planets were the original gods. Stories told by later generations brought those gods down to earth and made heroic and fabulous men, women and creatures of them. But, in the beginning, their stage was the sky. That’s where the first pageants played out. Our ancestors sought to preserve a global record — some in writing, some in ritual, some in stone — of ancient tumultuous events and catastrophes seen there and on the earth. The remarkable part is that we did not get the message — until now. The sacred mystery

This was the great mystery of antiquity — whispered in sacred convocations and secret ceremonies the world over, passed from sacerdotal

The Saturn Epic: In the Beginning


disciple to devoted novitiate in countless cryptic rites and rituals: the planets were the gods that once ruled Earth’s skies. Shrouded in sacred iconography, religious festivals, public ritual and architecture, it was spoken of plainly only in the most sacred precincts set aside for this one purpose only. Even the sacred name of god, first uttered from the skies in unforgettable fashion, was spoken only in holy sanctuaries — uttered as a series of vowel sounds meant to duplicate the sacred name/sound with the human voice. Additionally, mantras, bells, trumpets and drums were employed in sacred rites to replicate ancient celestial sounds. Modern musical ensembles — choirs, orchestras and bands — evolved from those early attempts to replicate “the music of the spheres.” Because the planets were the original gods, all mankind looked to the heavens above as the traditional abode of the gods — a tradition that remains intact to this very day. All their ancient religions were intimately linked with the heavens. They anticipated that the greatest chastisements from the gods would also come from the heavens. They were paranoid sky watchers, obsessed with anything out of the ordinary in the heavens that might portend a return of past catastrophes. Thus, the primary responsibility of the priestly class was to divine the fate of their people from a diligent observation of the heavens’ occupants and their movements. The sacerdotal class had two primary missions: teach the mystery of past wonders and catastrophes, as well as watch for the same things to happen again. It was the most sacred and fundamental responsibility bestowed on those deemed worthy and sagacious enough to fulfill that role. With that elevated position came great power to rule whole nations. A new heaven and earth

The world we know today — the heavens and the earth — is not the world our ancient ancestors knew. While we do live on the same globe, it is such a vastly different place today from what it was then that it could truly be said that we live on a different world. The transition from that world to this was devastating for mankind. It wrought major changes in our solar system, the planetary order being dramatically altered by Earth-threatening catastrophes later

The Saturn Epic: In the Beginning


remembered in traditional, cultural celebrations, holidays and other customs the world over. Without a doubt, Talbott has given Latter-day Saints the key to understanding the symbolism and metaphor of all religions, including our own. This is no mean accomplishment. But like Velikovsky before him, Talbott has met with tremendous resistance from the orthodox scientific community for offering a radical, new theory of planetary history. Coincidentally, it was Joseph Smith’s insistence on bringing planets, stars and comets into religion once again — elements that had long ago been expunged from normative Christianity as “pagan” — that the clergy found so repugnant in his day and incited such animosity toward him, assigning “cult” status to the religion he founded because of its resemblance to the astral worship of pagan religions. Before Saturn ruled the world

It is logical to assume that the Earth had been in the planetary conjunction from the time the first man, Adam, was placed here on Earth. It necessarily follows that Saturn stood at Earth’s celestial pole in that same early epoch. But Saturn and its companion planets Venus and Mars may not have always been visible or notable to Adam and his early descendants. (Another monograph will address this subject and explain how it is that all ancient records, including the Hebrew account in Genesis, tell that man watched the ‘creation’ unfold in the heavens above.) Exactly how Saturn remained hidden from sight or was unnoteworthy to the Earth’s very earliest inhabitants and how it could have suddenly emerged as the dominant feature in their lives is a matter of some conjecture among catastrophists. What seems certain, however, is that when it did become visible, it made such an indelible impression on the ancients that it dramatically and completely altered their view of themselves and the world they lived in. Thus, when the ancients first lifted their eyes skyward, this is what they saw: Mars in the center of Venus and both in the center of Saturn — an apparent superimposition of planets. Mars was a deep red color. Venus was bluegreen in color, much like turquoise (which is

The Saturn Epic: In the Beginning


why that stone was preferred for sacred jewelry and the adornment of religious artifacts anciently). Saturn was probably a light golden color. Talbott notes that Saturn was at least twenty times larger than today’s full moon, occupying ten degrees of arc or more in the sky. So this celestial phenomenon appeared to be huge to earthly observers, dominating a large portion of the heavens—fixed and immovable at the axis or center of heaven. This was the beginning of Saturn’s career, what all mankind viewed as the beginning of “creation.” We see what they saw

We ask the more analytical questions. What planets were involved? How did they move? What happened to cause them to change their appearance? The ancients were not so discriminating, for the most part. The ancients described their world and their heavens in impressionistic ways rather than in analytical terms. They experienced truly remarkable phenomena that defied analytical description, given the overwhelming and unique things they observed. They interpolated what they saw, turning it into images of things that were familiar to them. Their impressions were somewhat simplistic, but accurate associations. We know what they believed they saw because they left countless records and icons of these manifestations. These are the records and icons we seek to interpret — mysterious and enigmatic forms in stone and story. The most remarkable part is that now — given our newly found understanding of Saturn’s career in Earth’s ancient skies — we can see and appreciate what they saw. We have simply to ask ourselves, “What does that look like?” For example, what did you see in the first illustration? An eye? A navel? A breast? A wheel with an axle? An island? As it turns out, these are precisely the terms the ancients used in their accounts and their icons to describe and depict this earliest stage of the Saturnian configuration of planets. Additionally, because they saw vivid, colorful images in the heavens they also identified Mars as a heart because of its deep red color and its placement in the center. So it is that the icons and metaphors created by the ancients to describe the forms they saw are not as mysterious as they once may have seemed, now that the Saturn story is allowed to give them meaning.

The Saturn Epic: In the Beginning


The ‘creation’ continues

After an unknown time, the primary configuration of planets, as shown above, began to change. It was the next step in the creation saga recorded in the sacred annals and traditions of all ancient religions. Actually, it was probably Venus that began to change first. The changes were minor at the outset, but as time went on they became more and more pronounced and dramatic. This resulted in multiple presentations, as we will see, which gave rise to a multitude of symbols. In order to understand Venus’ multi-faceted role in the Saturn saga, it is necessary to understand that the planet’s atmosphere was dramatically distorted, twisted and contorted by the colossal forces created in the dynamic electromagnetic interplay between several planets. In addition, there were forces at play that we are only beginning to understand. Since we do not see these forces in action today, it is hard to imagine that the atmosphere of one planet could be so dramatically altered. Yet, that is the testimony of the ancients, which they left behind in their records, monuments, temples, rituals and traditions. So it is that by allowing the testimony of the ancients to explain what they saw, we learn the origins of their symbols. The first of many changes

Thus it was that the original appearance began to change as the atmospheric gasses began to react to the forces within the configuration. According to Talbott, when the gaseous material first began to swirl away from Venus, it took on the form of an elliptical cloud when viewed from Earth as it began to discharge electrically. This gave Saturn new look for the ancients to ponder. It was the first of many changes in Venus, the most active of the celestial players in act one of this ancient celestial drama. The wide variety of forms displayed by the gases in this ancient configuration is remarkable. Indeed, it was the pliant nature of the gases, called “plasma” by physicists, that constituted the most remarkable aspects of the ancient configuration of planets.

The Saturn Epic: In the Beginning


What cannot be seen in the collinear planetary configuration illustration above are the gasses stretching between Mars and Venus. It is likely that they were elements of the atmospheres of the two planets, augmented by ionized gasses, drawn out by the electromagnetic forces generated in the plasmas into a string or column between the two. Later, these plasmas play a crucial role in the Saturn story. Later still, a similar plasma stream arose between Mars and Earth, creating the great pillar seen to connect Earth with Mars. So interplanetary plasma and the distended atmospheres of the planets involved played a dynamic and pivotal role in the evolution of this planetary configuration. Two axioms

When considering the many manifestations of the collinear, polar configuration, this is a vital axiom: Whenever the images presented in the ancient heavens resembled familiar objects, they were referred to in those same terms by their earthly observers. A grouping of planets that looked like an eyeball, complete with an iris and pupil became just that. The Egyptians wrote, “I am Horus in His Eye,” and that the celestial eye “shineth with splendors on the forehead of Ra.” Later, it transformed into what looked like a cosmic egg, complete with yolk. So, Egyptian priests celebrated the unborn hero (which is what he would become in all ancient traditions) in the center (Mars/ Horus) as “the mighty one in the egg.” Talbott notes that Venus also looked like a small, white cloud. Thus, we see the word “cloud” and the cloud icon substituted for “planet” or “star” in a multitude of scriptural (the Exodus “pillar of a cloud”) and symbolic settings (the iconography of the Salt Lake Temple, for example). We also saw that in its first manifestation, the polar configuration was called a navel, a breast, a shield, an island and the heart of heaven or the heart of god. Thus, it becomes clear that the ancients borrowed the names of familiar objects by which to designate the various aspects of the celestial marvels they beheld. Where myths come from

Depictions such as these make no sense in a modern context. Nothing we see in our skies would lead us to describe deity in the terms used by the ancients. Until now, such metaphors appeared to have no basis in reality. For this reason, scholars put the label “myth”

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(i.e., inventions, fabrications, contrivances) on ancient accounts employing these symbols. These icons and the metaphors they spawned become meaningful in only one context: the collinear alignment of planets in antiquity as proposed by Talbott. Thus we see that some of the most esoteric language from ancient lore actually has its origins in that collinear configuration. If this is true of these examples, might we not conclude that it is also true of most other such metaphor and icons? Could it be that this is what Joseph Smith attempted to teach a few, early Saints about the remarkable relationship between Earth’s earliest history and the symbolism and metaphor of the scriptures and religions in general? Is this why the iconography of the Nauvoo and Salt Lake temples is more than a little reminiscent of ancient iconography (the Saturn stones on the Salt Lake and the Sun stones on the Nauvoo, for example)? If, as stated earlier, this is the great mystery of the ages, then is it not reasonable to assume that Joseph Smith knew and understood it? Eyes and twinkles

An example of how these traditions are so invisibly imbedded in our culture, consider how it is often said that the child is the apple of his/her father’s eye. Or, how often it is said that the child was once, before birth, only a twinkle in his/her father’s eye. We all understand what is meant; it is part of our cultural heritage. But that begs the question, what does an apple have to do with the eye? How can the child be considered analogous to the apple? For that matter, what does the child have to do with the eye at all, or a twinkle? From where does such nonsensical whimsy come? It comes from the same source as the above quoted Egyptian texts, which refer to Mar/Horus child in the eye of god. If red Mars, as it appeared anciently within Venus and Saturn, were considered a child in the center of the celestial ‘eye,’ then it would be as proper to associate that child with an apple (for its red color and roundness) as it would to call it a heart (since it was red and in the center). Further, if the largest orb (Saturn) were considered the father of the child/apple in the egg, then it would be metaphorically proper to say that the child was the apple of his father’s eye! It would also be proper to call the egg-looking orb a “twinkle” in its father’s eye if it subsequently

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became the prototype of all star icons, as we shall see next. All this has come down to us as cultural tradition because it was, at one time, religious tradition. No other explanation for these aphorisms has ever been articulated. Only the Saturn traditions give meaning to them. So it is with a multitude of scriptural metaphors and similes. As our investigation into these matters continues, we will see that this same situation prevails in the gospel. The plethora of icons the collinear configuration spawned, together with the resulting imagery, metaphor and symbolism, became the symbolic backbone, so to speak of the gospel. Where stars come from

The reflexive axiom to that previously noted above is: Whenever the images presented in the ancient heavens were unlike familiar objects, the ancients created a unique icon, a facsimile of the heavenly original. So it is that we find a mix of icons in ancient symbolism—some familiar, others very odd. Even familiar symbols are often juxtaposed with unfamiliar images—all arranged in very strange ways. The traditional star image or icon is the best example of a unique icon. The illustration of stars are among the oldest universal icon portrayed in the art of man; yet, no such object or image is present in today’s heavens. The pinpoints of light in the night sky that we call stars bear no resemblance to the illustrations or icons we call stars. Some stars are depicted with three points, others with four, five or six. What compelled the ancients to create such an image and why call it a star? Venus’ discharge streamers

The nature of the low mass, ionized gasses in space makes them extremely susceptible to electromagnetic forces. Gasses in the vacuum of space will readily follow such lines of force. They are called plasmas. A demonstration of a similar phenomenon can be made using a piece of notebook paper, some fine metal filings and a large magnet. When the metal filings are scattered over the paper, they fall randomly. Bringing the magnet up beneath the paper causes the filing to react dramatically. The

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filings immediately jump into patterns that reflect the magnetic lines of force exerted by the magnet. Of course, it only shows them in one plane, that of the paper. A similar thing happens to gasses suspended in a vacuum when electromagnetic forces are applied. Illustrated in three dimensions, it becomes clear that the lines of force might easily carry gasses away from the planet, out into space in such a way as to for ‘points’ or streamers when viewed from a polar perspective as Earth’s inhabitants did Venus. In addition, if electric current were present (which would account for the electromagnetic forces, the one being induced by the other), certain inert gases would tend to phosphoresce or glow — just as our florescent lights do. Thus, the gases would not only assume a multitude of forms as the lines of force varied over time, they would tend to glow — much like phosphorescent light — making them especially visible from Earth and presenting a striking celestial display. A pale analog to this phenomenon, which can be seen in our skies today, would be the familiar Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. Shifting planets, changing looks

Over time, the distance between Venus, Mars and Earth varied as forces within the congregation of planets caused them to shift position back and forth along the common axis. According to some astronomers, a collinear planetary arrangement would be inherently unstable, leading to some shifting of position within the configuration. Due to their considerable mass, the two anchors of this arrangement were Saturn and Jupiter. A slight variation in their relationship would cause dramatic movement among the three smaller planets. It was this ‘jostling’ effect that probably accounted for many of the changes in the relative position between Venus, Mars and Earth on occasion. Indeed, it was the inherent instability that probably caused the ultimate dissolution of the Polar Configuration of planets.

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Naturally, the proximity of the planets would largely determine the amount of gaseous material suspended electromagnetically between the two. The closer they were, the more material would be drawn into the space between them, giving the column greater density and more visibility. Then, when the planets distanced themselves from one another, those same gases would be distended across the widening void. This would set the stage for some of the most dramatic changes of appearance in the Saturn complex. The proximity of the five planets would also determine the degree of eccentricity in the movement of the gases: the closer they were, the more force would be applied to the gases, leading to more dramatic changes in arrangement. Finally, when any of the three smaller planets left the axis and began to oscillate across it or orbit around it, which apparently did happen, the forces unleashed would have had a ‘whipsaw’ effect on the plasma, leading to still more dramatic displays — as shall be seen in later discussions regarding the evolution of the collinear planetary configuration. This sets the stage for three separate plasma columns in the Polar Configuration, which appear at various stages in its development: between Saturn and Venus, between Venus and Mars and between Mars and Earth. All three columns appeared at one time or another in Earth’s ancient heavens. In fact, they were all three probably part of one continuous plasma column. Imagine a great fluorescent light, which is nothing but plasma suspended in a glass tube, with these planets suspended within it in a linear arrangement. That is probably a close approximation to the situation that existed in the Polar Configuration anciently. Venus in evolution

We see that after taking the ovoid or elliptical form, Venus’ atmosphere next evolved into an equilateral triangle, on its way to an even more sensational series of changes. This is not an image we would call a star. Yet, it gave rise to one of the best known star icons. To understand how this came to be, we have only to remember that these images were not motionless. They seemed to be fixed in one place in the heavens — as is today’s pole star, Polaris — but

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the Earth’s rotation imparted a rotary motion to these images. Thus, the image seen above seemed to rotate through a full 360 degrees in 24 hours (the diurnal rotation rate of the Earth). Animation is a well-understood art today because of motion pictures and video. We know that a series of still pictures, projected in rapid succession, can be used to create the illusion of motion. The ancients used a similar device: a series of illustrations depicting the various phases or positions of the planets in the great conjunction. But in this case, the various illustrations were superimposed rather than juxtaposed because the sacred icon in question rotated in a fixed position, like a wheel around an axle. Hence, the ancients depicted the triangle icon in its two most important position — in its midnight and midday positions, point up and point down — to imply motion. This gave Israel its national symbol, the Star of David. Incidentally, this tendency to superimpose images to depict rotation was used commonly in both icons and metaphors, giving rise to some of the most colorful, imaginative description in ancient sacred literature. For example, the superimposition on the above figure of two more primary positions for triangular Venus, morning and evening, would present a twelve-point icon. So, while such elaborate figures may never actually have occurred, the superimposition of basic images to imply rotational motion actually gave rise to a whole series of derivatives with a symbolic life of their own. Derivation provided another entirely new series of icons as well. For example, the inside of the Star of David forms a pentagram. Of course, this, too, has found its place in the iconography of mankind, only this time as a symbol of evil, the antithesis of the symbol of good, the star. Thus, it can clearly be seen that these simple icons, their changes and their movement, gave rise to the multitude of icons and symbols employed by mankind anciently. As it turns out, the most bizarre, puzzling and inexplicable images, used to depict good or evil, found in the religions and cultures of mankind, can be traced to the original manifestations of the Saturn configuration.

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More changes, more stars

As we have seen, gaseous streamers erupted from Venus and extended toward Saturn, following the lines of force. From a vantage point at a distance from and perpendicular to the collinear configuration of planets, it most likely appeared something like what can be seen in this illustration. From a vantage point on Earth’s northern hemisphere, those gaseous discharge streamers eventually metamorphosed Venus’ appearance from that of an eye, to that of an egg, and then to a triangle. Finally, as the points of the triangle extended, it became another familiar star icon. Eventually the arrangement of gasses metamorphosed into a four-pointed star as the gas streamers gradually evolved from the simple to the increasingly more complex, being gradually distended and differentiated over time. Ultimately, Venus evolved into its most complex star configuration, the stage Talbott calls “the star of glory” because the ancients asserted that it was resplendent. As we have seen, a whole lexicon of ancient imagery grew up around Venus’ metamorphosis from a circular form to symmetrical “great star.” Yet, this final appearance alone (in what is only the first act of an entire celestial drama) gave rise to innumerable symbols. Venus was the literal “glory” of the sun god, a physical manifestation of his soul radiating out into all creation, the sun god’s shield, a long-haired goddess, the ancient ‘comet’ that radiated equally in all directions, the spokes of the ‘sun’ wheel, the crowning glory of Saturn’s son, Mars, and the ‘eye’ that became radiant and filled all heaven with its glory.

The Saturn Epic: In the Beginning


Thus, the ancient and modern icon for a star had nothing to do with any sun, far or near. It was a primary feature of the ancient planetary conjunction. The star icon — regardless of the number of points it displays — is unlike any familiar object, celestial or otherwise. Rather, it is an original icon from the past that endures into modern culture and is an example of how the ancients dealt with an unfamiliar celestial image. As such, it is further evidence supporting Talbott’s thesis. What other explanation can be given for the origin of the star icons? Is there some other explanation that conforms to its employment by mankind since time immemorial and the multitude of descriptions and names attached to it by the ancients? Note how closely the last image matches the illustration of the lines of force (see earlier illustration) surrounding a planet as seen from a polar perspective. Additional corroboration of the idea that these icons originated in a unique celestial event can be found in the name of this icon. The word ‘star,’ used today, is derived from one of the multitude of ancient names for Venus: Astarte (astar-te) and its many variants (Ashtoreth, Ishtar, Isis, Hathor, Aphrodite, etc.). It is also the root for words like astronomy and astronaut, all having to do with the heavens. Even the name attached to these cultural icons is ancient, having its origins in the contemporary appearance of the icons themselves. Ancient cultural traditions affirm that the location of the ‘stars’ was in the heavens. It is reasonable to assume that later generations (which, like us, did not see this planetary conjunction when they looked to the sky) assumed that the pinpoints of light they saw there were the ‘stars’ of their ancestors — even though the traditional symbols bore absolutely no resemblance to the reality they saw. Also, many ancient traditions told of how the body of the ancient goddess/queen/star was eventually dismembered and scattered across the heavens. Naturally, those scattered remnants would also be called stars.

The Saturn Epic: In the Beginning


More symbolism

Of course, all scriptural allusions to “crowns of glory” refer to Venus in its first manifestation as the prototypical star. Thus, the images of star and crown are really one and the same. Indeed, all royal crowns, placed upon the king’s head, are but replicas of Venus as she sat upon the head of her son/child, Mars. This ‘nested’ planetary arrangement of Mars within Venus also gave rise to one of the most pervasive icons in history: the mother and child. This is so because the child, Mars, seen to reside within Venus, would soon be ‘born’ in the celestial temple to become the ruler of the heavens, eclipsing, for a time, even his father, Saturn. From this first form or archetype, may mother/son images emerged. The Egyptians placed Horus on the lap of Isis. The Catholic incarnation, the Madonna and Child icon, is simply the last in a long line of such religious symbols. Typically, in the anthropomorphic versions, the mother is depicted in a seated position with the child in her lap. Often, they are shown with auras or halos about their heads, reminiscent of the crown symbol. These can be found in the iconography of almost every ancient culture. When Christianity began to find a place in the Roman Empire, the story of Mary and Jesus found a ready icon in the pagan symbol of the mother and child. Roman converts to Christianity brought their pagan mother and child icon into their newfound religion, whereupon it became a cornerstone of their beliefs, just as it had been in their former, pagan religion. Because this child/planet was the son of the celestial god and his wife/sister, he was heir to the “kingdom of god.” So it is that much of the language found in the scriptures echoes this arrangement of things. Allusions to kings, princes, queens, kingdoms, etc., are basic to Christianity. This was not simply an artifice of the King James translators who gave us the English version of our Bible. It is an integral part of the ancient symbolism, kept intact by those translators. Gospel connections

Of course, the best test is to connect these symbols with the gospel, as mentioned at the outset. In Genesis we read that In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was

The Saturn Epic: In the Beginning


upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. (Genesis 1: 1-5.) Here we have a detailed scriptural description of what happened in the beginning of Saturn’s career — what the ancients called the “creation.” Taking it statement by statement, and then relating it to Talbott’s Saturn story, we can now understand what Moses meant. (Moses is traditionally thought to be the author of Genesis.) Line upon line

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” This was the very beginning, when Saturn, Venus and Mars first became visible or notable. In the original Hebrew, as in the original Egyptian (both evolving from the original Semitic tongue), the words for “heaven” and “earth” were originally “the above” and “the below” — hence the interpretive translation into English. But “the below” probably did not refer to the earth, and “the above” did not refer to heaven. The above and the below were two halves of the celestial apparition — something that divided the planetary conjunction in half — as we will see shortly. “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” Thus, the reference to the “earth” in this verse is probably a reference to “the below” or bottom half of the planetary conjunction. This is singled out because the bottom of the configuration was the location of the bright crescent on Saturn as sunlight illuminated the planet’s terminator. Thus, without the brilliant crescent, it was said to be “without form, and void,” or empty. The “darkness on the face of the deep” is likely a reference to Saturn itself because all the brilliance it would soon display was still in the future. It was shrouded in a plasma cloud. That is, it was not dark at all, but simply dim, without distinction. It was called “the deep” because, as we shall see, Saturn had not yet emerged from the plasma vortex that hovered

The Saturn Epic: In the Beginning


over the Earth. This vortex, a slowly swirling plasma that looked like dark clouds in the sky or a heavenly whirlpool was all the ancients could see. Because it resembled water, they called it the “deep” and the “firmament” or simply “the waters” of creation. “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” If Venus, in its initial ‘star’ phase, was considered the glory, majesty, life-breath and soul essence or ‘spirit’ of Saturn, then its metamorphosis across the face of Saturn—the “face of the deep”—to become the “great star” would properly be characterized as movement of the god’s spirit across his face. “And God said, Let there be light; and there was light.” This was not the light of the Sun. That was to come later in the sequence of creation. This light was probably coming from Saturn, though it was greatly dissipated by the plasma fog that enshrouded the skies. “And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.” The light of Saturn was not just good, as the ancients saw it; it was the perfect light. It provided a contrast to the darkness or uniformness of everything else in the heavens. “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” When the three visible planets became visible, as the plasma cloud dissipated, Earth’s inhabitants saw three orbs with no apparent motion. Once sunlight began to illuminate Saturn’s limb to create a crescent, it gave the ancients the means to detect rotation in the heavens, the very basis of all timekeeping. Also, as Venus’ brilliant appendages evolved, they demonstrated motion by appearing to rotate as well. This apparent motion was actually due to the Earth’s sidereal motion. Thus, mankind first grasped the concept of time — differentiating day from night. Moreover, the planetary configuration became a handy timekeeping device. They marked the time of day by the positions they were in, much like the hands of a clock. For this reason, Saturn was also called Kronos (Chronus), Father Time. In fact, this was the prototype for all timekeeping. The modern watch uses a circular face divided into 12 one-hour segments (twelve for day, twelve for night, 24 hours total). Thus, even modern timepieces preserve the essence of this ancient symbolism. Of course, any student of the scriptures, in general, and John’s Revelation, in particular, readily recognizes this symbolism.

The Saturn Epic: Mythmaking


(See Revelation 4:2-4, for example.) © anthony e. larson, 1999

The Saturn Epic: Mythmaking The beginning of the Saturn epic, as we have already seen, gave rise to some remarkable imagery. That imagery can be seen in our own religion, as well as other Christian denominations. But it goes far beyond that limited scope. For those schooled in world religions, it should be apparent that the imagery is universal. This will become even more evident as we continue to probe the evolution of the ancient polar configuration of planets. Understanding all religion

Scholars have long noted similarities in the world’s religions. Until now, the best explanation for such conformity has been cross-cultural exchange, called diffusion. While there has clearly been some borrowing in cultural religious tradition, the Saturn events serve to explain why there are so many profound and remarkable commonalities in world religions. In addition, as the iconography and imagery of those ancient, celestial events continues to unfold, many more unnoticed similarities between Man’s religions begin to emerge. Indeed, the similarities become clearly apparent and continue to multiply before our eyes. Icons from the most exotic religious traditions become quite understandable, even to our ‘symbolically sanitized’ Christian eyes, to the point that we can plainly see that all religious traditions stem from the same original, cosmological events. For Latter-day Saints, this exercise proves invaluable in our quest to understand our own religion. It only stands to reason that a restored religion would have echoes of the ancient traditions, symbols and metaphors. An apparent example of this in Mormonism is the erection of temples—a practice as old as mankind—complete with rituals, icons and architecture as authentic and traditionally accurate as any Egyptian, Babylonian, Mayan, Buddhist, Islamic, Greek or Hebrew temple.

The Saturn Epic: Mythmaking


The gospel connection

In addition, a restored religion would connect those ancient traditions, symbols and metaphors to the actual events that spawned them. This Joseph Smith did with statement like that recorded in the History of the Church, volume 5, page 337, where he attributed the miraculous events of the last days to a “grand sign” which he identified as “a comet, a planet.” His considerable work to identify the meaning of certain Egyptian documents in his possession are another, profound connection with recent discoveries. What he left us clearly points to the research and insight of modern scholars who struggle to unlock the secrets of Earth’s remarkable past as it relates to Catastrophism and the Polar Configuration. Significantly, their research serves to support Joseph Smith’s claim to revelation since this remarkable view of ancient history has only just begun to come to light among secular scholars in the last 50 years. There is simply no other way an individual living the primitive intellectual atmosphere of the American frontier in the early 19th century could come by this kind of knowledge. It was simply nonexistent then. It could have come only by revelation, as Joseph asserted. This should give added strength to the witness of any Latter-day Saint who strives to perfect their testimony and their knowledge of the gospel. This is what Joseph Smith strove to do for the Saints of his day. Thankfully, modern Saints can now enjoy nothing less. Recapitulation

The appearance of Saturn, Venus and Mars, standing above the Earth in ancient times, began to undergo a remarkable metamorphosis from the simple to the complex. In the process it would assume a variety of configurations, each giving rise to a new group of symbols, metaphor and traditions. Venus’ evolution into the prototypical star was only one phase of its career. Eventually, the streamers that formed the “points” of the “star of glory” radiating outward from Venus toward Saturn reached similar length and breadth to form a new image.

The Saturn Epic: Mythmaking


Venus’ streamers had reached their widest, brightest expansion. Recalling that the plasmas that formed these streamers fluoresced like the neon in fluorescent lights, one can understand that the brightness of this display must have been awesome and impressive. The ancients refer to Venus’ streamers as the “light” and “life” of Saturn. It is easy to see how filling the ancient heavens with brilliant light gave the impression the Polar Configuration had come to life, that Venus was the animating or life-giving force behind that birth. It must have been an astounding sight! What we see, they saw

What do you see in the above image? A wheel? A flower? A sun? A shield? A crown? The ancients saw and described this stage of the Polar Configuration as all those and much more. There is little doubt that the image above can be described as a wheel, complete with spokes. So it is that ancient tradition from many cultures associated the primary, father god with the wheel and so depicted him. It is also the reason why the wheel was not employed as a laborsaving device in many ancient cultures. To use a sacred symbol as a mere utilitarian device would be the height of irreverence and sacrilege. The wheel of god

Anthropologists and archeologists are puzzled by this enigma. It is clear that the Meso-American cultures, for example, knew about the concept and utility of the wheel. They made numerous illustrations of it. They even made what the archeologists characterize as a toy using a wheel. (It was probably not a toy, but a religious icon instead.) The Mexicans (Mejica) used the format of a wheel to create their stunningly beautiful calendar stone. Yet, laborers in those ancient cultures carried their burdens of their backs instead of employing a wheeled device. (Remember, they did not have the use of horses until the Spaniards brought them from Europe.) The reason for this seeming penchant for physical labor is simple, given their religious traditions that hearken back to this wheel symbol. To employ the wheel in as mundane a fashion as in a cart or wagon would have been blasphemous to those who venerated this icon as holy. Much as the horned cow is venerated as a sacred beast by some Eastern cultures, allowing it free reign and refusing to use it for work

The Saturn Epic: Mythmaking


or for meat, many ancients refused to employ the wheel to carry loads — much less touch the ground. The plant of life

The Hindu tradition that the world was created when a lotus flower of light opened to reveal all creation stems from this stage of the configuration’s development. It is probably also the origin of the “Tree of Life” symbolism found in the scriptures. It was probably first rendered as the “plant of life,” since the light it emitted was considered the rebirthing of creation in an event of light/glory/spirit. The Christian imagery of the light of god or the spirit of god radiating outward, innervating all creation, also probably traces its roots back to this event. This was the origin of many “sun” pictographs from ancient cultures worldwide. A bright circle of light with radiating spokes of light is virtually universal, common to every culture — ancient or modern. As with the star symbols, there is no analog to this symbol in the physical world. Nothing in our experience would lead us to depict the Sun with rays of light radiating out in all directions. It is a construct we draw upon that comes from our cultural traditions, which hearken back to this magnificent image in the sky — the true sun, the best sun, the sacred sun. The sun-shield

It is, at the same time, the shield of the ancient god, standing before him and protecting him from the darkness and chaos around him. It is the prototype of all ancient shields carried into battle. Since war itself was considered a sacred ritual — an attempt to bring all humanity under the benevolent rule of a god-on-earth — then the shield, designed after and decorated by the ancient sun symbol, was thought of as a powerful icon to carry into battle as a divine protection. Even when the shape of the shield was altered by later cultures for more practical, utilitarian reasons, a version of the sun symbol was used to decorate it. That symbol was thought to give the shield supernatural protective powers. It also explains why a female nature was attributed to the symbol and why so many ancient goddesses were depicted with a shield.

The Saturn Epic: Mythmaking


A shield, a garment, a crown

Because Venus’ streamers of light seemed to cover Saturn, some traditions spoke of it as a garment of light. Like the shield, tradition placed it upon him for protection. This idea should be familiar to most Latter-day Saints. Lastly, Venus, with her streamers, was said to be the crown of Mars, the heir apparent of the heavenly kingdom and the son of the fathergod, Saturn. This imagery is employed by John in Revelation, and is another key to understanding that enigmatic book. Displacement of planets, more variations The next stage of the polar configuration’s evolution is truly remarkable. It marks a critical phase in the relationships that existed between the several planets that composed the configuration. One or more of the smaller planets — Earth, Mars and Venus — began to ‘wobble.’ That is, they began to oscillate slightly back and forth through the centerline or swing about the centerline that they had shared. The configuration was in the early stages of dissolution. It began to come apart! It would not take much movement away from the common center of alignment during that ancient epoch to create a remarkably different view of the heavens for Earth’s inhabitants. As will be seen in a future analysis of the ancient planetary conjunction, there was a great deal of movement among the planets involved before the extraordinary configuration that gave mankind its cultural traditions finally came apart. That movement generated a remarkable variety of images, as we shall see. Which of the planets moved first and in what manner is a matter of conjecture; the visual effect that it produced for earth-bound observers is not because they recorded and reproduced it in abundance. Whether Venus and Mars moved away from the center in tandem or whether the Earth alone moved, the displacement created an offset or parallax view of the polar configuration from Earth. At that point, the symmetry of the original icon, from an earthly perspective, was altered considerably. Once again we have only to ask ourselves what this looks like to know what the ancients also thought of it. Do you see a bird’s or pea-

The Saturn Epic: Mythmaking


cock’s tail? A hand fan? A flowering plant? A headdress? Or a scallop shell? Even a cursory acquaintance with ancient symbolism allows one to see the multitude of icons that might have resulted from this manifestation. It certainly reinforced the “plant of life” or “tree of life” symbolism mentioned earlier because it looked much like a palm tree. It became the source of innumerable artistic motifs for sacred edifices. Eventually it found its way into every kind of decorative pattern — sacred or profane. The peacock is an integral part of the symbolism of Eastern religions. Hindus and Buddhists, in particular, employ the peacock imagery where some of their deities are depicted seated upon a peacock as a throne. Such a relationship seems ludicrous to Western eyes, yet within the understanding of the Saturn myths comes a new appreciation and understanding of religious iconography from around the world. Some of the most eccentric images in ancient and foreign cultures become understandable, as in this case. Of course, there are a plethora of sacred birds to choose from in ancient iconography. The Native American tradition of the thunderbird leaps to mind, as does the Phoenix legend. Most striking to Christians is the symbol of the white dove. If this brilliant, white-feathered, birdlike celestial image were considered the animating force or spirit of the ancient sky god, then the symbol of the dove—a white, feathered bird—would be quite proper in later Christianity to connote the Spirit of God or the Holy Ghost. It would be an unmistakable icon, rife with meaning. Fans, veils, wigs and hats

While our Western culture does not put much emphasis on the image of the fan or the veil, it was used in ancient times to cover the face—again, a sacred covering representing protection and glory. The fan was, in myth, a device used by many ancient goddesses to protect themselves, as odd as this may seem in practice, and to banish the powers of chaos and darkness that menaced them. It was also characterized as a whisk or broom for the same purpose. For that reason, the fan was used by young women in many ancient cultures to cover their faces—not to hide their face, as later cultures interpreted the

The Saturn Epic: Mythmaking


custom, but to associate themselves with the ancient goddess of light and beauty that once covered the face of the celestial god. We recognize this symbol in another of its incarnations or variations: the veil. Like the train worn by the new bride to symbolically associate her with cometary Venus, the veil over the face is a symbolic association of the individual with this aspect of Venus so as to identify the bride with the heavenly prototype of beauty, Venus in this most glorious aspect. As such, the train and the veil become a dual statement of the bride’s association with the prototypical bride of antiquity, Venus, the bride of heaven’s ruler, Saturn. Latter-day Saints will see the special meaning in the veil as a covering. The ‘headdress’ motif is also nearly universal. Perhaps the most striking example is found in the imposing feathered headdresses of the Native American peoples. If the ancient god, Mars, wore a headdress composed of bright, white feathers, then any chief or ruler here on Earth should do the same. In fact, this image is the origin of the headdress or wig worn by Egyptian pharaohs, that of Tutankhamen being the most easily recognized in modern popular culture. This headdress or wig was identical to the appearance of the ancient planetary configuration in this phase of its development. It was meant to designate the wearer as the heir to godhood. As with all Saturn traditions, we see that the headdresses of vastly different cultures, separated by time and distance, share a common origin. Indeed, Venus in its various early stages of light may be the origin of all worldly headgear. If the veil and the fan were used by women as ceremonial adornments to connect them with the goddess of beauty, then the hats and headgear worn by men of all cultures likely hearken back the planetary configuration at one stage or another. This is certainly true of crowns worn by rulers. Worn in one form or another, as ceremonial adornments (just as the pharaoh’s head-

The Saturn Epic: Mythmaking


dress), during rituals rehearsing specific events in the history of the polar column of planets, they are universal icons. Temple-going Saints should make note of this imagery. Goddess on the half-shell

The scallop shell was also associated with many ancient, mythical goddesses. Mythmakers often chose to rhetorically adorn the goddess’ hair with scallop shells to identify them to readers or listeners. Aphrodite was said to have been born on a scallop shell. Perhaps it was the didactical importance of this symbol that led to its use in the Celestial Room of the Salt Lake Temple, where a young woman stands is depicted standing on a scallop shell. Many have wondered why such an image was included in an LDS temple. Why bring a pagan image into such a sacred edifice? The reason is probably the same as that which inspired ancient Israelites to bring such images into their temple in Jerusalem. It is, likely, the same reason that brought all other images to early Mormon temples: They are part and parcel of the iconography that connects modern temple-building to ancient temples. Like so much of that temple’s iconography, the Salt Lake Temple points the viewer back to the original Saturn traditions. One other aspect of this phase of the polar configuration, not readily apparent, is that of the ‘hand.’ As the ‘wobble’ in the planets progressed, the streamers were altered or distorted further. At one point, some appeared longer or shorter than others, and the number of streamers fell to five, thus giving the appearance of a human hand. Hence, we find the term “hand of God” in Hebrew and Christian scriptural references. Cultures worldwide depict the human hand as a sacred object. More often than not, that hand is illustrated with an eye and/or a wheel in the palm, a completely appropriate juxtaposition since the archetypical ‘eye’ and ‘hand’ were both formed in the ancient heavens by the same orbs in different manifestations. Those who have

The Saturn Epic: Mythmaking


observed the exterior of the Salt Lake Temple have seen both symbols used there: the all-seeing eye and the hand (usually clasped hands). Another aspect of this stage or phase of the configuration’s development is the apparent oscillation of the streamers from side to side, giving the appearance of so many serpents emerging from the head. This may be the origin of the Medusa image. Medusa, you may remember, was a horrific female creature from Greek mythology with the body of a serpent and hair that became a multitude of snakes emerging from her head. For those wishing to interpret the vision of John the Revelator in the New Testament book Revelation, this image is crucial because the many-headed serpent or dragon of chapters 12 and 13 finds its prototype in this original image. The same ‘serpent’ motif can be found in widely divergent ancient cultures. The Greeks used the Medusa. The Hindus depict Nag as a serpent with seven heads. The Aztecs venerated a god with a human body and seven serpents sprouting from his shoulders where his head should be. Interestingly, the oldest example of this many-headed serpent icon, matching John’s description in Revelation, was found by archeologists incised on a Sumerian shell inlay dating to about 2600 BC, long before John penned his cryptic vision. These examples should amply demonstrate to the reader that these mythic icons predated Christianity and the New Testament. Thus, John’s use of the imagery of dragons and serpents constituted a borrowing rather than invention. This and a multitude of other examples cited by this author in The Plainest Book: Revelation, suggest that almost the entire book was a borrowing of ancient imagery. (Note that this makes John’s vision no less valid. In fact, it makes it a kind of scriptural Rosetta Stone, allowing us to understand the relationship between the ancient imagery of all cultures and that of early Christians. It was a syllabus for pagans — full of well-known and well-understood cultural imagery — who wished to understand the

The Saturn Epic: Mythmaking


beliefs of early Christianity. This evidence also completely demolishes the popular interpretation of Revelation by modern Evangelists who see the image of the seven heads as some modern political alliance forged between ungodly nations in the last days.) Making stories from symbols

The Egyptians, referring to this symbol, said that the hair of Isis became a “thicket” of papyrus in which she protected the child/god Horus and is so illustrated on the walls of tombs and temples. Thus, we see how a simple icon can give birth to a story that takes on a life of its own. Over time, the story is elaborated and embellished with detail until the original icon is obscured or lost entirely, and the story eventually attains the stature of historical fact. For example, this suggests that some of Moses’ history about being hidden by his mother in the bulrushes may have been borrowed from religious tradition/imagery in order to validate his position in Hebrew tradition as a prophet. Indeed, this is probably true for most of the prominent Old Testament characters: All or part of their personal history had to conform to sacred traditions in order to validate their sacred role in history. Since almost all of those traditions stemmed from and conformed to the Saturn myths, it is not surprising that elements of those traditions have found their way into the histories of prominent Old Testament figures. This, as we shall see, was certainly true of Abraham and was also the case with some accounts of the Savior’s life. Modern uses of these and other Saturn symbols include the logo for television networks, NBC and CBS. This is an example of how these symbols continue to emerge in the cultures of man, each time more detached from their origins, often more elaborate and esoteric. Nevertheless, they continue to convey some aspect or meaning of the original. Why choose the feathers of a peacock for a new electronic technology? Why employ the all-seeing eye for another? Some might scoff

The Saturn Epic: Mythmaking


at the idea that they hearken back to ancient symbolism, saying that there are other, more logical reasons for choosing such symbols. Yet, when the appearances of the polar configuration are considered, it is completely logical that ancient symbols for vision, light, knowledge and wisdom should be selected. Ironically it allows us to see that we in our modern, enlightened culture have not divorced ourselves, in reality, from the beliefs and traditions of our idolatrous ancestors. However, we are completely unaware of their origins. Once again, we see that the Saturn traditions brought to light by modern scholars connects us to the symbolism of the restored gospel. Indeed, the imagery of all mankind’s religions has a common origin in Earth’s ancient heavens — a remarkable revelation in itself. © anthony e. larson, 2000 For more essays from this series: For online classes, videos, newsletters and published books exploring this material in depth: Your questions or comments are welcome: [email protected]

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