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Skull and Crossbones

Skull and Crossbones



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Published by Real2Can.com
The origin of the skull and crossbones
The origin of the skull and crossbones

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Published by: Real2Can.com on May 23, 2007
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The Skull and Crossbones
The Untold Tale of the Templar Shining Ones
By Philip Gardiner The enigmatic image of the skull and crossbones is deeply entrenched in the minds of millions around the world as the symbol of piracy, death and even poison. It was animage that has kept cropping up in my researches, whether Masonic or Templar or even as the symbol that the Christian Jesuits found themselves being inaugurated on,and so I decided that I needed to look deeper into the mysterious rise of this peculiar image.Whenever we see a pirate ship on television, cinema or in comic books we also see anextremely ancient symbol – the skull and crossbones. This however, was not a symbolof death or indeed poison but instead it profoundly symbolized life in so manyaspects.Many researchers of Templar and Masonic history have pointed out the links betweenthis symbol and the one used by the Knights Templar on their ships. If we take intoaccount the fact that the Templars had the world’s biggest fleet in the 13
century, andthat they were well known for acts that we would call today ‘piracy’ then there is nowonder. The latter Knights of Malta were also well known for piracy and we find thatthese Maltese Knights were in fact the very same as the Templars – having beenformed or joined by the remnant of the dissolved Templars. These new Templars or Knights of Malta were accused on several occasions of piracy and henceforth we havetales of piracy on the high seas. There is a direct link therefore between the creationor use of the skull and crossbones by the Knights Templar and our modern day idea of it being a symbol of piracy.But, I wondered, what explanation did the Knights Templar give for using thesymbol? Where did they get it from? I found a strange tale that is told by mostTemplar researchers to link the symbol to them and this tale surprisingly involves thenumber 9, a mother earth image and a skull.In
The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail 
, Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln tell the tale:
‘A great lady of Maraclea was loved by a Templar, A Lord of Sidon; but she died inher youth, and on the night of her burial, this wicked lover crept to the grave, dug upher body and violated it. Then a voice from the void bade him return in nine monthstime for he would find a son. He obeyed the injunction and at the appointed time heopened the grave again and found a head on the leg bones of the skeleton (skull and crossbones). The same voice bade him ‘guard it Well, for it would be the giver of all  good things’, and so he carried it away with him. It became his protecting genius, and he was able to defeat his enemies by merely showing them the magic head. In duecourse, it passed to the possession of the order.’ 
In another version this Lord of Sidon actually ritualistically marries the corpse.I told this tale to several colleagues in-order to judge the response and in each case theresponse began with horror and disgust and ended with a lot of head scratching and bewilderment – the reaction that the story in fact was intended to provoke.
 Now such stories are naturally seen as macabre and the ‘hidden message’ thereforestill evades us – which is the idea. But as I was to discover, what is really beingconveyed in these stories, is the importance of the union or balance, which creates astate of enlightenment akin to that spoken of by the Gnosics, alchemists and mystics.[1]But before I decided this to be the case I wanted to delve deeper and found myself inan ancient world of symbolism and secrecy. There were more nuggets of informationin this text, which needed investigation and I decided that it was about time the codewas broken. I turned firstly to the main character in the tale, the infamous Lord of Sidon.As a Titular metropolis of Pamphylia Prima, Sidon, dates as far back as Neolithictimes. In the tenth century B.C. Sidon had its own coinage that bore the head of Athena (also Minerva a serpentine, feminine deity linked with healing.) I found thatAthena was indeed the patroness of the city even though its people were sometimestermed ‘a piratical horde’ and Constantine Porphyrogenitus called Sidon a ‘nest of  pirates.’ However the place did go on to play host to one of Alexander the Great’sgarrisons for a while, which was used to subdue this piratical element for Alexander’sown purposes. Under his successors Sidon became known as the ‘holy city of Phoenicia’ and enjoyed relative freedom, with games and competitions attracting people from far and wide.In 1111 AD the crusader Baldwin, who was later to become King Baldwin of Jerusalem, besieged the city and it was later to become one of the four baronies of theKingdom of Jerusalem.It was a very commercial, and in fact, warlike city, with a powerful navy – somethingthe Templars looked up to and emulated.From early on, Sidon was a rendezvous for pirates, and even the slave trade continuedafter the fall of slavery elsewhere.However, by the 14
century, and following the downfall of the Templars, Sidon wason the ‘way out’ as a player on the world market. The lack of water and resources -added to Turkish invasions - led to lack of interest. Sidon was not yet dead in thewater though and flourished again briefly in the 17
century when it was rebuilt byFakhreddine II – the then ruler of Lebanon. Under Fakhreddine’s guidance it becamea base for French merchants who used it as a staging post to further their commercialconquests. Slowly however Sidon again declined until the late 20
century whenagain it has risen from the ashes to become an important commercial and agriculturalcentre.So this was a brief but relevant history of Sidon and its relationship to my story wasremarkable. The fact that it was well known as a ‘nest of pirates’ was startling. Iconsidered also the link of the skull and crossbones to piracy, especially as it waslinked to the Templars, and the fact that the Lord from the skull and crossbones storywas
 Lord of Sidon
.So was this Lord of Sidon mentioned in the Templar story really a pirate?
The links between Sidon are strong: Templars were highly commercial and indeedlinked to slavery, so was Sidon. It collapsed in the 14
century, and so did theTemplars. It had a huge fleet, and so did the Templars. In fact they were one and thesame in many respects – both feeding from one another. The leaders of Sidon werelinked with the Templars and would have seen the Templar’s banking system ashighly important.As the Holy Land finally fell to the Muslims in 1291 I found mention of a Templar knight by the name of Tibald Gaudin who is thought to have carried off the famousTemplar treasure. When Gaudin finally arrived at the Templar port of Sidon he waselected the next Grand Master – or Lord. It seems that there were ample financialreserves held at the Sidon Preceptory and so the treasure of the Templars cannot have been gold or otherwise it would not have been mentioned. I am of the opinion that thetreasure was the secret of the Holy Grail as I pointed out in
The Serpent Grail 
.If Sidon had a hidden message in the text then it was simply that the Lord of Sidonwas to get the Grail from the Lady of Maraclea – as intimated in the story quotedabove – which reveals, and rather symbolically, the means through which he couldclaim it.Having now established a link between Sidon and the Templars story I wanted tomove on to the other name given that caught my eye – 
.This peculiar name I found was taken from a site that the Templars had previouslyheld in the 13
century. I wondered whether the name had a symbolic meaning – aname with a hidden message in the language – why else would she be from Maracleaand not Antioch or Acre?Initially I found the site was called Maraclea because it simply means ‘Clear Waters’or ‘Sea.’ But I wanted to know why the Templars had used the term and began withthe standard etymological practice of breaking the word up into two parts – 
. Taking the first part I delved into the world of etymology once more and foundsome remarkable ‘coincidences.’Mara in Hebrew means, ‘bitter’ and was a common alternative for Mary – whether theMother of Jesus or the Magdalene. In Latin it equates to
, which is ‘water,’ ‘lake,’‘sea’ and indeed linked to ‘horse’ (female horse.) In Anglo Saxon I found that the term
meant ‘greater’ or ‘more.’ In Buddhism Mara is ‘death’ or ‘evil one.’ Mara issaid to tempt us like Eve and indeed it was Mara who tempted Buddha on the night before his enlightenment experience. I found this rather intriguing as in the Garden of Eden it was the serpent whom supplied the fruit of the tree of knowledge to Eve andtherefore he was supplying enlightenment just like Buddha (and Eve as
isequated with female serpent.)This Mara of the Buddhists I discovered was also closely related to
, where
equates to black or dark, a term associated with beauty and a term also meaning‘Great Mother.’

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