“The resonance of a sacred place is a transition point between heaven and earth, above and below, without and within. We pass between worlds much more easily in such places because the environment contains a sacred presence, and if we are willing to “go there,” we can enter the spirit of these landscapes and receive their profound messages.”
– A.T. Mann, Sacred Landscapes (The Threshold Between Words)
For thousands of years humanity has been discovering, visiting and even creating sacred landscapes. Initially many of the ancient sacred landscapes were created by nature herself. Mountains and caves were destinations for spiritual pilgrimages from the beginning of time, the mountains reached into the heavens, while the caves descended into the underworld. These were places our ancestors visited in hopes of communicating with the Divine.
The mountains and caves weren’t the only sacred gifts given to humanity. Ancient cultures from around the planet have been discovering places on this earth that contain significant and concentrated amounts of spiritual, and even cosmic energies for ages. It has been in these ‘resonating’ power spots that varying forms of Cosmic Temples have been built and aligned to the heavens in hopes of tapping into our universe’s cosmic & stellar energies.
It has even been stated, “The cosmos itself is what mattered to our ancestors. Their lives, their beliefs, their destinies – all were part of this bigger pageant. Just as the environment of their temples was made sacred by metaphors of cosmic order, entire cities and great ritual centers were also astronomically aligned and organized. Each sacred capital restated the theme of cosmic order in terms of it’s builders’ own perception of the universe. Principles which the society considered its own – which ordered its life and gave it its character – were borrowed from the sky and built into the plans of the cities.”(1)
In todays modern age many of us have taken journeys and pilgrimages around the world to the most recognized of these locations in hopes of connecting to the Divine and reaching for the stars. Some of the most popular destinations are of course the Great Pyramids of Giza, Stonhenge, Machu Picchu, and the Mayan ruins just to name a few.
Although these are all incredible and worthy destinations for our soul, there are others right outside our own “front doors” that have went largely unrecognized and especially underutilized!
Throughout America’s heartland and the Great Lakes areas in particular there remain several ancient & sacred mound sites that have all but been forgotten about by the majority of the general public. Originally many of these power spots and the mystical mounds incorporated within them were aligned with the stars and heavens helping to draw down celestial forces to the earthly planes. The ancient cultures who originally recognized these earthly power spots most likely realized that these landscapes resonated with stellar energies. And by creating and aligning there cities and monuments in synch with the heavens they could both increase, and tap into those cosmic energies.
In this article series we will visit some of the Cosmic Temples and sacred mound sites that can still be found throughout America, and in particular the mid-west (heart land). We can view these sacred mound sites as cosmic gateways to the beyond, places we can go and connect with not only our higher selves and increasing stellar energies, but possibly even the Divine. As exciting as this is (the re-discovery of cosmic landscapes “in our own back yard”), it is only the first half of an amazing scenario that will be discussed in this article series.
Over the last few decades an amazing transformation has been taking place within the vicinity of these ancient and sacred mound sites. The modern cities that have emerged in the same geographic area, or sometimes on top of these ancient landscapes have emerged into cosmic & mystical cities!
What we will discover is that much of the same ancient cosmic symbolism that was found throughout the mound sites appears to have re-emerged in the form of art and architecture within their neighboring urban centers. As strange as this scenario initially sounds, it gets stranger!
While surely the majority of the ancient symbolism and alignments that were incorporated in the ancient mound sites and temple plazas was consciously deposited, this may not always be the case with their neighboring modern Mystical Cities. In other words, some of the cosmic symbolism found within the urban portals that we will be discussing may have been brought into fruition in part unconsciously! In some cases it almost appears as if the modern artist working in these cities may have unconsciously tapped into the same stellar energies the ancients were trying to draw down from the heavens with their nearby Cosmic Temples!
With the re-discovery of America’s sacred and ancient mound sites, in conjunction with the discovery of their neighboring Mystical cities, we can all have the opportunity to ‘tune’ in, and tap into the same cosmic energies. This scenario gives us the chance to traverse space and time like never before. While visiting and connecting with the sacred landscapes we can remember and get in touch with the past. In the same day we can explore the cosmic symbolism found in their neighboring Mystical cities, reaching for the stars, and looking towards the future. The combinational experience we get from visiting both the ancient and modern sacred sites in the same day is something akin to a time-machine, we’re able to look to the past, while feeling in the present, and sometimes even glimpsing the future. This is a true “Gateway” experience.
The ancient sacred sites in conjunction with their modern mystical cities are capable of turning nature, art, and architecture into portals and gateways, becoming catalyst to accessing the divine. The connections we experience when “Tuned” into these sacred landscapes may help us to move beyond our every day existence sometimes within an unconscious and transformational experience. In some instances this may be perceived as a personal linking to the divine, while in others as a doorway (gate) to our own inner & higher selves.
These are locations where all of us can visit regardless of our beliefs or our religion, and have personal, spiritual, and even transformational experiences! Originally hailing from Detroit, I like to look at it like this: If we visit and experience these ancient sacred landscapes as well as the urban portals ‘Tuned’ in, we can all receive personal ‘Tune’ ups.
As author A.T. Mann puts it in his beautiful book, Sacred Landscapes (The Threshold Between Worlds), “The sacred is a ritual process, a journey we begin at these evocative places, and once we taste it we remain on the quest for the rest of our lives.”(2)
These ancient gateways and urban portals are entrances to realms beyond our every day comprehension. And the cosmic energies that permeate these landscapes are something akin to a food for our soul, or shall we say soul food. That being said, prepare for an out of this world journey that begins just outside your front door! Welcome to America’s ancient sacred sites and their neighboring modern mystical cities.
“In our lifetime – if we are fortunate – we visit certain places, whether near home or far away, that evoke the sacred in us. They differ from our usual world in magical and powerful ways, resonating with our deeper self, challenging us by their mere presence, and creating such awe in us that we come away feeling ourselves part of a wondrous natural world. There are many sacred landscapes in the world, but our experience of them is out of this world. Although such places exist in time, our experience of them is outside time.”
– A.T. Mann, Sacred Landscapes (The Threshold Between Words)
Cahokia Mounds ( City of the Sun)
In the heartland of America there is an out of this world piece of real estate that still radiates with cosmic energies to this very day. Located in southern Illinois, just outside of modern day St. Louis is the ancient sacred landscape known today as Cahokia Mounds, also referred to as the City of the Sun. The Mississippian culture that is believed to have occupied this area flourished from approximately 800A.D. to 1300 A.D. boasting a population upwards of 20,000 during it’s peak (a larger urban center than London during this period of time). The original site contained around 120 earthen mounds covering over an area of six square miles. In 1982 Cahokia was designated a World Heritage site by (UNESCO) in hopes of preserving and protecting the 80 or so mounds that still remain. According to archeologists as well as the Cahokia interpretive center, the precise reason for the disappearance of this civilization still remains a mystery.
There have been numerous articles written on The Cahokian people, who were they? where did they come from? and where did they go? Today we’re going to take a look at Cahokia from a slightly different perspective. We’re going to take a step back, or up, and view Cahokia through a birds-eye view. Rather than focusing on just the Cahokians themselves, we will examine some of the symbolism they left behind within their layout of the landscape as well as some of the ancient relics discovered within the mounds. If we ever wish to truly understand this lost culture, a good first step is to take a look at their beliefs and how they incorporated them into the landscape, their culture, and even the time-capsule like relics they left behind.
(Reflecting The Cosmos)
An entire ancient urban center aligned and correlated to the heavens, a scenario that peaks both our curiosity and wonder! In the heartland of America, Cahokia’s ancient majestic mounds and plazas mark the four cardinal directions, “a reflection of the cosmos”.(3) The largest of the mounds at Cahokia is the majestic Monks Mound. Monks Mound and several of the Plazas are aligned to the four cardinal directions and there are also several mounds in alignment with the spring and winter solstices. Author Sally Kitt Chappel points out, “With its plazas aligned on the cardinal directions and the mound of greatest height at the crossing of the plazas, it is clear that Cahokia is a landscape cosmogram.”(4)
Perceivably what the Cahokian’s have done is to create a four part horizontal division of the world (north, east, south, and west) while at the same time creating a three part vertical sub-division into (the lower world, this world, and the heavens above). The Cahokia Mound site is a seven layered “cosmogram”!
The alignments of the ancient mounds at Cahokia aren’t the only monuments that connect this sacred landscape to the heavens. There is also a “Solar Horizon” calendar called Woodhenge. Woodhenge (very similar to Stonehenge) is a cosmic calculator that was able to track the movements of the heavens including equinoxes and solstices. The astronomically aligned mounds in conjunction with their Woodhenge Solar Calendar truly has created what we can refer to as a “Cosmic Temple”, a place we too can go and connect with the cosmic energies that permeate the landscape. Wisconsin archeologist Melvin Fowler states in his book (The Ancient Skies and Sky Watchers of Cahokia: Woodhenges, Eclipses, and Cahokian Cosmology), “The greater Cahokia site…relates the hierarchy of the social structure to the architecture of the cosmos. Through mythical ancestors and celestial divinities, the elite allied themselves with the power of the sky. Plazas located at the cardinal directions link the architecture of Cahokia to the architecture of the heavens, providing celestial legitimacy for social stratification and elite ranking. The plan of Cahokia is a portrait of Cahokia society.
A complex community like Cahokia establishes its territorial claims and prerogatives, then, by operating symbolically as a miniaturization of the cosmos, it conforms itself with the topographical features of the sacred landscape by making its layout a template of cosmic order. This usually means that celestial events, which reveal cosmic order, are in one way or another incorporated into the design. Cardinal orientation, seasonal solar alignment, and calendric ritual all may play a role.”(5) With the realization that the sacred landscape known as Cahokia Mounds, and sometimes referred to as the City of the Sun, is a reflection of the heavens, let us now look at some of the individual mounds and monuments in hopes of reaching for the stars.
The central structure occupying the Cahokian Cosmic landscape is an enormous earthen pyramid that soars one hundred feet into the heavens. Monks Mound is the largest prehistoric earthwork in the Western Hemisphere. At one time the base of Monks Mound was larger than that of the Great Pyramid in Egypt!
The majestic mound covers over 14 acres and contains an estimated 22 million cubic feet of soil, believed to have been carried one basket load at a time! Recent drilling into the mound unveiled an unexpected find, an ancient structure was discovered approximately 40 ft. below the surface. Further remote sensing discovered possibly an even older structure 70 ft. below the surface.
This is a rather common scenario throughout the ancient world, where they would build their new sacred monuments upon older ancient structures and foundations.(6) Monks Mound is not only orientated to the cosmos but creates a connection point between the three worlds. The mystical mound binds together land and sky, the earth and heavens, with its cosmic stairway that leads to the great beyond! We will take a closer look at some of the ancient relics that were discovered on this cosmic mound momentarily, but first we will visit Cahokia’s version of Stonehenge, the sacred WOODHENGE.
Monks Mound absorbing the Suns rays of light
In the early 60’s another monumental discovery was made within the Cahokia confines. In 1961, Dr. Warren Wittry unearthed the remains of a circle of red cedar posts that appeared to him quite similar to the infamous Stonehenge in Great Britain.
The monument would become known as Woodhenge.
During excavations it was discovered that the Woodhenge had been rebuilt five separate time. The first circle (date unknown) only partially excavated, would have consisted of 24 posts; the second circle had 36 posts; the third circle (1000A.D.) the most completely excavated, had 48 posts; the fourth, partially excavated, would have had 60 posts. The last Woodhenge if it had been completed would have consisted of 72 posts.
The interpretive center claims, “Why this structure kept changing in size and number of posts remains a mystery.” We will speculate on the reasoning behind the number of posts as well as the kind of wood they are made from in a moment, but first lets look at some of the general uses of this amazing cosmic calculator.
Most scholars believe Woodhenge was a Solar Horizon calendar that allowed the Cahokians to track the movements of the sun helping them to determine important dates. It is believed that observation took place from the center of the circle, and several circles had large “observation posts” at that location, where it is likely the sunpriest stood on a raised platform.(7)
In its cosmological role the central pole symbolizes the cosmic axis, which was also seen as a Spirit Trail, a route to the hereafter. From this position, at certain times of the year, both the equinoxes and solstices could be observed. A spectacular sunrise occurs during the equinoxes, when the sunrises out of the east.
The Red Cedar posts that mark these sunrises align with the front of Monks Mound, where the Sun-Chief resided, appearing as if Monks Mound is giving birth to the Sun. Some feel that Sun-Chief may have been revered as a “brother” of the sun or to represent the sun deity on earth, and to have his “sky brother” rise from his mound would reinforce his Solar power (so to speak).(8) Another symbolic discovery was a possible offertory pit near the winter solstice post suggesting a fire was burned to warm the sun and encourage it to return northward for another annual cycle and rebirth of the earth. This probably marked the start of the new year.(9)
One peculiar scenario that has apparently taken place for hundreds, maybe thousands of years is an unusual amount of lightning strikes within the Woodhenge. Archeologist have discovered that several of the Red Cedar post have been replaced due to frequent lightning strikes.
This could imply that this sacred site may contain unusual amounts electromagnetic energies. In 1980, the central observer’s post (cosmic axis) was struck by lightning and shattered while the Winter Solstice post also shows signs of lightning damage.(10)
Paul Devereux has pointed out, “And what more dramatic way could a link between heaven and earth be demonstrated to the populace than by a bolt from the sky linking with the sacred Omphalos” (World Navel or World Axis).(11)
According to the Cahokia interpretive center, “Why this structure kept changing in size and number of posts remains a mystery”, this should peak our interest, especially in regard to what would of been the final Woodhenge consisting of 72 posts.
Could those at Cahokia have recognized the significance of the sacred number 72?
The number 72 has not only been used in myth and lore for thousands of years, but has also been symbolically incorporated in art and architecture around the world.
- 72 steps on Jacob’s ladder
- 72 nations in Genesis
- 72 disciples of Confucious
- 72 accomplices in the death of Osiris
- 72 names of God, according to Kabbalah
- 72 languages confused at the tower of Babel
- Etc, etc.
In relevance to our inquiry about the number 72 incorporated into the number of Woodhenge posts, Graham Hancock has indicated that the numeral 72 and divisions of it have been used in sacred architecture around the world.
It has been suggested this may have occurred due to the ancients knowledge of Precession of the Equinox.
Like a top, Earth’s rotational axis gyrates. This revelation proceeds at the rate of one degree every 72 years, a complete precessional cycle takes approximately 26,000 years. Coincidently, our current precessional cycle will be completing it’s 26,000 year cosmic cycle in the very near future, December 21st, 2012!
Graham Hancock explains that when we see the sacred 72 incorporated in art and architecture it is like a code of sorts, and the ruling number of the code is 72. It truly appears that ancient cultures around the world recognized the significance of the (72 code) considering it has been incorporated in many of their sacred sites. That being said, could this be a partial answer to the mystery, why 72 post in what would have been Cahokia’s final Woodhenge? Could those at Cahokia have recognized the significance (in some aspect) of the sacred number 72?
In 1967 a rather small and inconspicuous ridge top mound was excavated due to its perceived alignments with some of the other surrounding mounds. The ancient mound measured around 10 ft. tall, and was 140 ft. long, and 72 ft. wide.
This would become known as mound 72.
Atop the mound large post pits were discovered. Archeologist Melvin Fowler believed this demonstrated a presence of a sixth Woodhenge at the location of mound 72.
So there was a nearby Woodhenge that if complete would have consisted of 72 posts, and at the astronomically aligned Mound 72 they discover the remains of another Woodhenge.12
If the name Mound 72 isn’t ironic enough, wait until you see what was discovered in the sacred mound – 272 burials! Mound 72 yielded a spectacular array of goods, numbering in the tens of thousands. Many of the burials were sacrificial offerings and placed there as either extended or bundle burials. High status burials in mound 72 would include two burials known as the “beaded burials”. In regard to the high status “beaded burials”, “One of the two corpses lay under a two-inch thick layer of twenty thousand shell beads, more in one deposit than had ever been found in all other Cahokia digs combined. The other corpse had been laid on top the beads, which had probably been sewn onto a blanket, cloak, or most likely cape, possibly draped over a wooden framework that was used to carry the second man’s body to this spot. The fabric had long since decayed to dust, but the beads remained, indicating that the garment measured about six feet in length and had been made in the shape of a falcon or thunderbird. The bird-cape head, wings, and tail paralleled the dead man’s body from head to toe.”13 The image of a Bird-Man has become the icon for modern day Cahokia. The Bird-Man has symbolically taken flight over Cahokia, not only due to the Bird-Man burials, but also other ancient relics discovered in the vicinity including the Bird-Man tablet.
(The Bird-Man / Pale Prophet)
The Birdman Tablet was found during excavations on the east side of Monks Mound in 1971. According to the Cahokia Interpretive Center, “The image on the ‘front’ of the tablet is of a human, dressed in eagle (or falcon) regalia. The ‘reverse’ of the tablet is plain or cross-hatched, suggesting the pattern on the skin of a snake.”
The symbolism on this sandstone relic incorporates the underworld (snake-like crosshatching), this world (human figure), and the upper world (feathered man). This relic was only one of several discovered that contained similar Birdman depictions.
Author Philip Gardiner points out, “This winged man is indicative of the Shaman and spirit flight to the Otherworld, indicating the objective of these mounds. It is the place of the serpent Gateway, with the wings of Shamanistic flight.”14
This relic is highly reminiscent of another Plumed – Serpent deity that was worshipped throughout Meso-america, sometimes known as Quetzlcoatl, Kukulkan, and even on occasion referred to as the Pale One or Pale Prophet. Could there be any myth or lore to back up the possibility of the Cahokians recognizing and symbolically representing this cosmic deity?
It just so happens that there are MANY legends of a Pale Prophet, possibly Jesus, (sometimes described as a feathered serpent) visiting the Americas. In some instances these visitations appear to be literal manifestations of the prophet, while others it is perceived that he is arriving in his cosmic Star-Body from realms outside this material world.
John 10:16 “I have other sheep that are not of this flock, I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”
Years ago, author L. Taylor Hanson took it upon herself to visit Native American tribes from South America to the Northern most parts of Canada. Her mission was to document the ancient tribes myths and lore of a Pale Prophet visiting them in the past. Could there be any myth or lore of the Plumed Serpent- Pale Prophet-Cosmic Deity from the Cahokia or St. Louis area? The following are excerpts from Hanson’s historical book, He Walked The Americas: (15) “From E-E-Co-Wah to the place where now is St. Louis, in the fleets of the merchants went the Healer, to the capital city of the Puant Nation.”
“In the times of the Prophet, the place which is now St Louis was once the capital of the Puant nation. The streets of the city actually represented history. Each street started from the Central Hub (which is where the Crest mounds were) and grew outward like a spoke on a wheel. When a dynasty was complete, the line would end and pottery with significant pictures of the period would be placed within the mound. The crest would be closed with a Mound of Extinction. Beyond it, counterclockwise, the new crest would begin. The capitol buildings stood on the old crest, usually built of logs and beautifully painted. Many crests had been closed at the time of the Prophet and the city was large and many imports and exports went through the streets. The Algonquin remember Him well at the time of His arrival. The fleets coming down the river ceremoniously brought Him, always greeted with flowers.” “He told them he was born across the ocean where all men had beards. Even in the legends, he told them of his virgin birth and about the bright star that shone over his city of his birth. The heavens opened up and winged beings sang chants of exquisite beauty.”
In one legend from the area that modern day St. Louis resides it was claimed that the Pale Prophet visited twice. The description of his second appearance sounds something like out of a sci-fi novel! “Then a fire lit up the east sky, where cloud banks had been piled up, and everyone turned in wonder as consternation hushed the chanting. Suddenly he was there among them! Like a creature from another planet, luminescent, a weird glow rippling from his garments and his sea-eyes flashing with lightning, he stood staring at the Pawnee People.” “Before anyone else saw the sunlight, a golden shaft of radiant beauty came down from some clouds banked high with firelight, and touched the curling hair of the Prophet, diffusing itself like a halo until He stood, a luminous creature, painting all the ground around Him with gold. The people then fell down saying: ‘Behold He is indeed the Dawn God who has come to walk among us!’ and ‘He draws his power from the Star of the Dawning.”
Recall Cahokia’s Woodhenge was made from 72 Red Cedar Posts. Jesus has on occasion been symbolically represented alongside the sacred numeral 72, we will discuss this connection in the following chapter, but could there be a connection in regards to the 72 Red Cedar posts? This oral legend may help to explain why Red Cedar… “It is well tonight that we speak of the Pale God, and fitting as well that we council with others, greeting our enemies as brothers, for such would have been the wish of the Prophet. I have heard some talk among the lodges that the Lord of Wind and Water was but a myth brought down by the old ones from times beyond our present reckoning. That is true, but it is a strange legend! If the youth among our people doubt the wide-flung strength of this ancient story, look about at His symbols from tribe to tribe across the broad land. “Have you ever wondered about the cedar…every tribe revere it…high priests mix its shavings with the leaves of our tobacco? And why do we blow smoke across our bodies, when we are returning from the war trail? Is it not to ask His forgiveness, as was once taught by the Pale Prophet? Why do we plant these trees upon the Great Mound-those ancient histories of our cities? Was it not to warn all men that once He walked here; the Sacred One, the Miracle Worker?”
One more final and important detail to point out. Friend and colleague, Investigative Mythologist William Henry, has made the connection that Jesus (Pale Prophet) was in some instances portrayed as a Seraphim in ancient art and lore. William points out, “Seraphim means “winged and/or fiery serpents”. They are the highest order of angels and are considered to be beings of pure light and pure love. They dwell at the Throne of God. However, they can manifest in our world.”16 A Cosmic Winged Serpent Deity, sound familiar? William has also pointed out that following the ascension, Jesus may have become a “stargate time-traveler capable of toggling back and forth between dimensions.” This would not only help to explain his “out of this world” re-appearances in the Americas, but at the the Cahokia landscape in particular. For more information on this amazing scenario please visit William Henry’s Website.
Chippewa Chief, Dark Thunder appears to agree with the above scenario. When asked why the “Pale One” was to be referred to as a prophet he replied, “Because He not only walked among us, He also walked the realms of the future.”(17)
The possibility of a Pale Prophet visiting Cahokia would surely give the name City of the Sun (Son) a whole new meaning. Couldn’t we view this landscape in a whole new light? While the possibility of the Son visiting Cahokia will surely be open for debate it is important to point out that up until this point in time only 1% of Cahokia has been excavated and explored. Until more of Cahokia is explored it’s culture & history shall remain veiled in mystery.
We have been gifted a cosmic treasure by our ancestors left behind in the form of Cahokia Mounds. A cosmic Temple Plaza in correlation with the heavens where we can all go to ‘tune’ in to other realms, and ‘tune’ up our personal star bodies!
As mentioned in the beginning of this article: an amazing transformation has been taking place within the vicinity of many of these ancient and sacred mound sites. The modern cities that have emerged in the same geographic area have blossomed into cosmic & mystical cities! What we will discover is that much of the same ancient cosmic symbolism that was found throughout the mound sites appears to have re-emerged in the form of art and architecture within their neighboring urban centers, sometimes consciously, sometimes not! Welcome to Stargate St. Louis, a Gateway to the Stars!
Stargate-Way St. Louis (Gateway to the Stars)
In the early 1930s the United States began looking for a suitable memorial for Thomas Jefferson (the Washington Monument and the newly built Lincoln Memorial were the only large Presidential memorials at the time). The memorial to Jefferson would eventually be placed on the actual location that was symbolic of one of Jefferson’s greatest triumphs — the Louisiana Purchase, clearing the way for westward expansion! To memorialize Jefferson’s achievements the Gateway Arch, A.K.A. The Gateway to the West, was envisioned and brought into fruition as the Icon of St. Louis.
The Gateway Arch was designed by Finnish American architect Eero Saarinen and structural engineer Hannskarl Bandel in 1947. Construction began on February 12, 1963, and ended on October 28, 1965. The monument opened to the public on July 10, 1967. Eero grew up within the community of the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where his father taught. Many amazing artist were brought into fruition through the Cranbrook institute including, Eero Saarinen, Carl Milles, Marshall Fredericks, and even author William Henry. The Arch is the tallest national monument in the United States at 630 feet. The Arch is a structure known as a catenary curve, the shape a free-hanging chain takes when held at both ends, and considered the most structurally-sound arch shape. The span of the Arch legs at ground level is 630 feet, the same as its height.
For Saarinen, “The major concern …was to create a monument which would have lasting significance and would be a landmark of our time… Neither an obelisk nor a rectangular box nor a dome seemed right on this site or for this purpose. But here, at the edge of the Mississippi River, a great arch did seem right.”(18) Although the Gateway was designed as an Arch, Eero Saarinen felt when viewed from the side it could be symbolic of an obelisk! Within this one monument the male and female symbolism was represented.
Minoru Yamasaki, designer of the former World Trade Center, once stated in regards to the design of the Arch, “Being the gateway to a large city, St. Louis, I had felt from the very beginning that somehow this building should symbolize this sense of being a gateway.”
Driving into St. Louis and seeing the Gateway Arch glisten in the colors of the rainbow, the first thing that comes to mind is the “Rainbow Bridge”. Symbolically speaking, in mythologies worldwide the Rainbow Bridge, or the “Shimmering Path” as it is sometimes referred to, was seen as a link between the earthly realms and the heavenly realms. The Rainbow Bridge was considered a pathway connecting humanity to the gods, and possibly even a bridge between our everyday selves and our higher selves. That said, let’s take a journey into the underworld of the Arch followed by a trip to the top of the rainbow (Gateway Arch), and see if there is any symbolism which has been hidden in plain sight just waiting to be re-discovered.
Upon entry into the gate you descend beneath the Gateway Arch in what symbolically could be perceived as the underworld or even a cave. Joseph Campbell writes, “The cave has always been the scene of initiation, where the birth of the light takes place. Here as well is found the whole idea of the cave of the heart, the dark chamber of the heart, where the light of the divine first appears.” We will return to more heart symbolism found in the gateway’s underworld momentarily, in particular the weighing of the heart.
Within the Gateway’s underworld are several features including an incredible brick mural, a museum and a theater ironically named “The Odyssey”! In 1993 Jay Tschetter completed a brick mural for the facade of the Odyssey Theater entitled “The Pioneers of Light” depicting twelve photographers of the 19th century American West who were instrumental in forming historical perceptions of the landscape and the era.(19)
Coincidently, in Homer’s epic poem “The Odyssey” he describes the magical cave of the Nymphs as follows:
Perpetual waters through the grotto slide
A lofty gate unfolds on either side
That to the north is pervious to mankind:
The sacred south t’ immortals is consign’d
Fourth century philosopher Porphyry of Tyre commented on Homer’s description of a mystical cave, “This is admirable, that the cave should have a twofold entrance; one made for the descent of men, but the other for the ascent of Gods. And again that the gate, which is pervious by men, should be said to be turned against the north wind, but the portal of the Gods to the south and why the poet did not rather make use of the west and the east for this purpose, since nearly all temples have their statues and entrances turned towards the east; but those who enter them look towards the west, when standing with their faces turned towards the statues they honor and worship the Gods.” (The Gateway Arch has a twofold entrance, one to the north and one to the south. It is only when you reach the top of the arch you are afforded the chance to view the sacred landscape to the east and west through the “windows of opportunity”.) “According to Porphyry, the cave is an image of the cosmos, where through one door mortals descend on their path to generation, while through the other door immortals ascend the path of liberation towards the realm of the gods.”(20) Speaking of the “path to liberation”…….
(The Rainbow Bridge & the Path to Liberation)
There is another mural beneath the Gateway that may help to correlate its symbolic representation of a Rainbow Bridge. Done in 1997 by artist Jay Tschetter, The Builders Mural measures 45 ft. long and 15 ft. high. It is dedicated to the folks who made the Gateway Arch as well as the nations monuments. But looking closely you realize there is one monument out of place, not built by man! Utah’s Rainbow Bridge. And look who’s seemingly standing in front of, or sitting on it, Lady Liberty!! Utah’s Rainbow Bridge is often described as the world’s largest natural bridge. The Rainbow Bridge spans a distance of 234 feet . At the top it is 42 feet thick and 33 feet wide. Ironically the literal rainbow is created by white light that is reflected and refracted at an angle of 42 degrees. Symbolically speaking Lady Liberty in conjunction with Utah’s Rainbow Bridge is identical imagery as when we see other savior figures hovering on a rainbow, usually Jesus, or archetypes thereof. One very similar depiction to Lady Liberty and the rainbow bridge comes from the Mithraic Mysteries. The Mithraic Mysteries was a mystery religion centered on the god Mithras. The most characteristic of these are depictions of Mithras as being born from a rock, and as sacrificing a bull. His worshippers had a complex system of seven grades of initiation and they met in underground temples, which survive in large numbers. Didn’t we just get done discussing the possibility of the underworld of the Gateway Arch being an underground temple? It is also Ironic that there were seven grades of initiation considering there are also seven colors of the rainbow. Coincidently many of the depictions of Mithras appear to have a likeness of the Rainbow Bridge! One final synchronicity, atop Mithras head he wears a Phyrigian Cap or “Liberty Cap”!
But Lady Liberty & the Rainbow Bridge? Come to find out this isn’t the only appearance Lady Liberty has made in conjunction with a Rainbow Bridge. One year after liberty shows up riding the rainbow beneath the Gateway Arch she made another surprise appearance in Japan! “The French Statue of Liberty came to Odaiba in commemoration of “The French year in Japan”. Because of its popularity, in 2000, a replica of the French Statue of Liberty was erected at the same place. Once again in front of a Rainbow Bridge. This obviously helps to confirm the statues official name… the Statue of Liberty is officially titled Liberty Enlightening the World!!
Did these artist who brought Liberty and the Rainbow bridge into fruition on opposite sides of the world know of each other? I don’t believe so… It is almost as if this symbolism is creeping it’s way into the unconsciousness of humanity and being recognized when the time is right, Now! By the way, there is one other important location that Lady Liberty is found hovering on a rainbow…… the United States Capital Dome next to George Washington! In the dome of the United States Capital Building is possibly the most important painting in American history, The Apotheosis of George Washington! Painted by the Italian painter Constanino Brumidi in 1865, the deified George Washington & Lady Liberty hover in the dome of the capital on a Rainbow Bridge in a heavenly scene. Investigative Mythologist William Henry describes the fresco as depicting the first President of the United States, “Rising into the clouds in glory. Floating in the center of the painting, the deified Washington sits enthroned on a rainbow – the judgement seat of Heaven — in a circle or ‘gate’ of 72 stars.” Thats right, the deified George Washington & Lady Liberty hover on a rainbow bridge circled by a gate of 72 stars (a Stargate).(21)
There is that sacred number 72 again! The number 72 has many times been associated with, sacred sites, mythologies, and even the Rainbow Bridge. Recall the large amount of 72 symbolism also found at the “Gateway’s” sister site, Cahokia Mounds! At Cahokia Mounds we discovered 72 symbolism within the sacred Woodhenge Solar (Sun -Son) calendar, as well as the sacred Mound 72. We also discussed the possibility of a “Pale Prophet” visiting this sacred landscape. COINCIDENTLY, in modern times this same symbolism has re-emerged and been brought into consciousness in the form of the Gateway Arch, a symbolic Rainbow Bridge, a gateway to the stars!
For thousands of years the rainbow and the symbolism it incorporates has been viewed with a sense of awe, wonder, and inspiration. The shimmering and glistening colors that emanate from the “path of the gods” have been illuminating and inspiring ancient cultures, mythologies, poets and artists for thousands of years.
Symbolically speaking, in mythologies worldwide the Rainbow Bridge, or the “Shimmering Path” as it is sometimes referred to, was seen as a link between the earthly realms and the heavenly realms — the Rainbow Bridge was considered a pathway connecting humanity to the gods. The Rainbow Bridge was a Gateway to the stars, a Gateway to the gods, and a Gateway to personal ascension! Symbolically, the Gateway Arch (Rainbow Bridge) is starting to appear as a Cosmic Temple, and even a Gateway to the Stars – a Stargate! Is there any more symbolism within this cosmic time machine that can help to back up this scenario?
(Mark Twain’s Judgement Day Exhibit)
While waiting in line for the tram ride to the top of the Arch, there is one final exhibit to take in, the Mark Twain/prohibition display. The central feature of this exhibit just so happens to be an enormous scale. An amazing scenario takes shape within the children’s interaction with this exhibit. These children would weigh themselves against each other and who ever was lighter thought they got to go up the rainbow bridge, I mean Arch first! Symbolically the weighing of the children and their hearts, prior to ascending the Gateway Arch, is very similar to an ancient Egyptian tradition. In ancient Egypt at the time of Judgment Day the heart was weighed on the scales of Maat (Justice) against that of a feather. If the heart weighed less than the feather the soul was granted permission to cross the Rainbow Bridge to the “Dimension of the Blessed”! How was the “Dimension of the Blessed” accessed? Through the Sun-Door or Stargate.
(Cosmic Egg/ Sun-Door Pods)
Symbolically speaking if your heart was lighter than the feather you are then afforded the opportunity to enter the Sun-Door(Stargate) and scale the Rainbow Bridge, I mean Gateway Arch! This is the tram car to the top! Coincidently the Pods that take visitors on a journey to the top of the Gateway Arch highly resemble Sun Doors or even cosmic eggs!
(Riding The Rainbow Arch)
The view from atop the Arch allows you to look out over the river and the city from truly a birds eye view. You almost feel as if you are a Bird-Man! As you exit the Sun-Door Cosmic Egg pods atop the rainbow Gateway Arch you are afforded the opportunity to observe the sacred landscape to both the east and west. The visitor has the option of looking in either sacred direction (lands of the rising and setting sun) through 32 (16 on either side) portal like windows. It just so happens (COINCIDENTLY) the windows measure 7 inches by 27 inches! (7-2-7) hmm? In other words when you look through the “Windows of Opportunity” that measure 7 by 27 inches (7-2-7) towards Cahokia Mounds you can also contemplate the significance of the sacred sites 72 symbolism including of course the solar calender Woodhenge as well as Mound 72 and it’s 272 sacred burials. As mentioned earlier, 72 can also be symbolic of the precession of the equinox which happens to be completing a 26,000 year cycle in the very near future, 2012!
In correlation with our investigation, it was recently discovered that Leonardo Davinci may have also recognized the symbolism of the sacred 72 in conjunction with an arch! Art historians recently unveiled hidden symbolism within Davinci’s master piece, the Mona Lisa. In particular the number “72” under the arched bridge in the backdrop of the famous painting.(22)
(Museum of Westward Expansion)
After descending the Arch there is one final destination within it’s underworld deserving of attention. Museums in general take us on a journey into our past, a journey through space & time! Beneath the Gateway Arch is the historic Museum of Westward Expansion. Standing as a centerpiece to both the museum and the arch is a beautiful sculpture of Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson stands tall upon a golden dot surrounded by concentric rings. The museum radiates out from this point also in a concentric fashion. In the architect and designer, Aram Mardirosian, own words he describes the symbolism as follows, “Carved from the vast underground space beneath the Gateway Arch, the museum’s circular design of expanding rings seeks to create a space-time continuum to provide an appropriate three- dimensional, Multi-sensory visitor experience using a hierarchy of chronologically organized documentary materials relating to the history, natural history, technology, art and music of the American West.” And, “The concept of time and space gives us the means by which we are able to locate ourselves and determine how far we have traveled and the changes we have experienced.”23 Cosmically speaking, Thomas Jefferson stands in a “space-time continuum” in the heart of the underworld (basement) of the Rainbow Bridge (Gateway Arch)!!! Considering the overwhelming amount of cosmic and rainbow bridge symbolism incorporated in the Gateway Arch, I propose we can use the monument as a catalyst for reaching towards the stars and assisting in a transformation of our consciousness, opening our minds, and lightning our hearts and activating our inner rainbow bridges. Our Chakra system.
(Gateway To The Stars)
Before departing the iconic Gateway there is one last coincidence (unconscious symbolism) to point out. We have speculate that the Gateway Arch can be seen symbolically as a stargate or even a gateway to the stars. In in the summer of 2010 the St. Louis Astronomical Society set up telescopes at the Arch for public stargazing. They called this event…… THE GATEWAY TO THE STARS!! Millions of visitors every year visit, and ascend to the top of the Gateway Arch. Imagine the effect this single monument could have if only a portion of these visitors were to recognize this symbolism, and personally begin to utilize it.
(The Gateway Mall’s Citygarden Park)
The Gateway mall sits at the base of the Gateway Arch and is also part of the Jefferson National Expansion. Within the confounds of the mall are several attractions, The Old Court House, Kiener Plaza, and the new sculpture park Citygardens. Today we are going to skim over The Old Court House and Kiener Plaza so we can focus on the brand new Citygarden Park.
Citygarden was a project of the City of St. Louis funded by Gateway Foundation. The foundation has developed three acres in the heart of downtown into an exhilarating urban oasis featuring modern and contemporary sculptures, a lush landscape, and reflecting pools. The Citygarden motto is “Free to explore. Free to play. Free to feel inspired.”(24)
**Below are a few of the amazing sculptures that are featured in the new celestial sculpture park.
The Door of Return
“The egg-shaped form at the top of the door resembles a seed that has just split open or mouth that opens to the sky, like a baby’s first cry. Artist Kan Yasuda has left the answer deliberately ambiguous, leading us to think about time and space, life and death, the past and present. When we pass through the door what is the place we are returning to?”(25)
“Mimmo Paladino is inspired by the art and artifacts of diverse cultures. He combines images drawn from mathematics, science and art, with ancient signs and symbols to create works of art that appear dreamlike and ambiguous. In Zenit, (or Zenith in English), Paladino has created a bronze sculpture of an elegant riderless horse. A geometric form that mathematicians call a stellated dodecahedron (a star-shaped form with twelve faces) appears to balance on one of its points on the horse’s back.”26 In general terms, the zenith is the direction pointing directly “above” a particular location.
The term zenith also refers to the highest point reached by a celestial body during its apparent orbit around a given point of observation. This sense of the word is often used to describe the location of the Sun. In reference to the stellated dodecahedron on the celestial horse’s back, Ronald Holt, the director of Flower of Life Research, has commented “the stellated dodecahedron is about adding conscious awareness, impeccability, self-responsibility, and integrity to the open heart to create Christ consciousness realization”
Two Rabbits (Untitled)
Considering we are on a quest searching for gateway symbolism, It is very exciting to discover Tom Classen’s sculpture of Two White Rabbits that appear to be sitting on their rabbit holes! White rabbits have seemed to creep into the public consciousness of late. Usually being portrayed going through rabbit holes, wormholes, and to other dimensions. Contemplating the symbolism of white rabbits and rabbit holes it brings a few things to mind. The first being of course Alice in Wonderland, in which Alice descends down the rabbit hole! These White Rabbits also reminded me of several more recent movies including What The Bleep (Down the Rabbit Hole), as well as Knowing with Nicholas Cage. In Knowing two children are given two white rabbits before departing the planet with two light beings upon a warp craft! The Last Mimzy was another movie that used the symbol of the white rabbit. In this movie a scientist from the future sends back in time, through a worm(rabbit) hole, of all things, a white rabbit! Are you prepared to go down the rabbit hole?
Eros Bendato (Eros Bound)
Eros Bendato by Igor Mitoraj has the feel of an ancient relic that has been excavated and reconstructed. Originally Eros was one of the few primordial divinities including Chaos and Gaea. In this instance he was hatched from the cosmic egg and took on the personification of love and desire. As with many of the ancient gods Eros lineage and parents also changes over the years. Eros was the son of Aphrodite and, Hermes in one of the lineages. In a more rare version concerning Eros’s lineage coming from a fragment of Alcaeus (327 LP) it mentions that Iris mated with the west wind, Zephyros, to become the mother of Eros. In Greek Mythology Iris is the personification of the rainbow and messenger of the gods. She is the goddess of the ‘Rainbow Bridge’ linking the gods to humanity. Of course the Iris is the colored part of the eye and is named after ‘Iris’ The rainbow goddess.
Quite an amazing scenario presents itself when you have the opportunity to view the sculpture of Eros first hand. You have the opportunity to climb into the head of the sculpture and become the Iris of Eros!! What you see looking out the Iris of Eros is the throne of Iris the rainbow goddess, the Rainbow Bridge or Gateway Arch! Another coincidence is the fact that when you look out the Iris of Eros your viewing the Gateway Arch created by Eero Saarinin!
What I believe may be taking place is that humanity is being downloaded with wormhole and stargate symbolism pointing towards a time of transformations and a future of Cosmic consciousness, and doing so via public events, mass media, and especially the emergence of art and architecture containing gateway symbolism. While surely in some instances this is being done consciously by the architects and artists, in others the symbolism appears to be coming through them unconsciously! Perceivably these “tuned” in modern day artist may be tapping into the cosmic energies that still permeate these landscapes and coming back with “otherworldly” masterpieces! This scenario appears to have been taking shape over the last few decades, but the symbolism has went largely unnoticed until just recently. Almost as if this symbolism was to only be recognized when the time is right, NOW!
City of the Sun and Gateway to the Stars! An ancient sacred landscape, with a neighboring modern Mystical City! This is truly an “out of this world” scenario. Cahokia Mounds were brought into fruition as conscious reflections of the cosmos. This was, and is, a landscape that was deigned to be a conduit, or connection point, between the earth and the heavens, between humanity and the gods! This magnificent mound site is a Gateway to realms beyond our every day experiences. Cahokia is a celestial sacred landscape where all of us can visit regardless of our beliefs or our religion, and have personal, spiritual, and even transformational experiences! This was of course only the first half of our expedition. We also had the opportunity to visit Cahokia’s neighboring modern day Mystical City, St. Louis. We descended into the underworld of the Iconic Gateway Arch where we discovered on our Odyssey (a long wandering and eventful journey) that not only is the Arch a Cosmic Temple in which Thomas Jefferson oversees from within his space-time continuum, but also can be viewed symbolically as the celestial Rainbow Bridge!
The sacred geography that encompasses the small area between Cahokia Mounds and modern day St. Louis is beginning to appear as if it is a connection point between the earthly realm and heavenly realm. An area we can visit “tuned in” in hopes of receiving “tune ups”. This sacred space is a portal in space and time—through which a person can pass to new life and experiences. So the next time you have the feeling or need to reconnect with our past, truly be in the present, or even contemplate our cosmic future, take a trip to the heart-land and experience the City of the Sun and the Iconic Gateway Arch, “Tune in” and REACH FOR THE STARS!!!!!
“ The sacred is a ritual process, a journey we begin at these evocative places, and once we taste it. we remain on the quest for the rest of our lives.”
-A.T. Mann, Sacred Landscapes (The Threshold Between Words)
“Sometimes we find mythic sacred lands in our imaginations and other times find them right on our doorstep.”
-A.T. Mann, Sacred Landscapes (The Threshold Between Words)
1- E.C. Krupp, Echoes of the Ancient Skies
2- A.T. Mann, Sacred Landscapes (The Threshold Between Worlds)
3- (Cahokia: Mirror of the Cosmos by Sally A. Kitt Chappell)
4- (Cahokia: Mirror of the Cosmos by Sally A. Kitt Chappell)
5- “The Ancient Skies and Sky Watchers of Cahokia: Woodhenges, Eclipses, and Cahokian Cosmology, Melvin Fowler
6- Sacred Places North America: 108 Destinations By Brad Olsen
8-The Skywatchers of Cahokia by William R. Iseminger, Assistant Site Manager, Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
10- Living in the Sky, Ray Williamson
11-Secrets of Ancient and Sacred Places, Paul Devereux
12- (Hero, hawk, and open hand: American Indian art of the ancient Midwest and South By Richard F. Townsend, Robert V. Sharp, Garrick Alan Bailey)
13- Cahokia: Ancient America’s Great City On The Mississippi; Timothy R. Pauketat
14- Gateways to the Otherworld, Philip Gardiner
15- L. Taylor Hanson, He Walked The Americas
16- THE SERAPHIC ECSTACY OF SAINT FRANCIS AND HIS TRANSFORMATION INTO THE SECOND CHRIST; William Henry; http://www.williamhenry.net/art_gentleheart.html
17- L. Taylor Hanson, He Walked The Americas
18- Eero Saarinen – Architect With a Vision By Michael A. Capps
19- Tim Tucker; Growing Up In The Shadow Of The Arch
20- A.T. Mann, Sacred Landscapes (The Threshold Between Words
21- Freedom’s Gate (The Lost Symbols In The US Capital), William Henry, Dr. Mark Gray, 2009, pg.13
22-.. Mona Lisa’s Hidden Symbols? Researcher Says Yes, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/01/12/tech/main7239122.shtml
23-The Gateway Arch, An Architectural Dream; Narrative by Robert J. Moore
24- Citygarden Brochure