An interesting theological article from Christian anarchist Wayne John Sturgeon. See my previous review of Wayne’s book on Christian anarchist here.
By Wayne John Sturgeon
HISTORY AS SPIRITUAL BATTLEGROUND BETWEEN THE BODY OF CHRIST AND THE GNOSTIC IMPULSE AS MANIFESTED IN ISLAM, THE PAPACY, PROTESTANTISM AND MODERNITY
‘The West is different from all other civilizations because its religious ideal has not been the worship of timeless and changeless perfection but a spirit that strives to incorporate itself in humanity and change the world.’
‘The other great cultures realized their synthesis between religion and life and then maintained their Sacred Order. But in the west the changing of the world became an integral part of its cultural ideal.’
Religion and the Rise of Western Culture
God had not only revealed himself in the historic nation of Israel and the Christian church but also within creation itself, most notably in the Zodiac. The Gospel is itself depicted in the astronomical constellations of the planets and stars, otherwise known in the Bible as ‘The Mazzaroth’ (Job. 38.32) and also in the Great Pyramid of Giza, otherwise known in certain Christian esoteric circles as ‘The Bible in Stone’ (Isaiah 19.19), ‘The stone that the builders rejected’.
Today, God reveals himself in the Christian scriptures and in the ever-new activity of the Holy Spirit. We have a more ‘sure word of prophecy’, so do not need the satanic counterfeit and deception of divination, fortune telling and other such methods. Nevertheless, despite the perversions of Babylonian astrology and other occultist systems, we can still discern a symbolic narrative that has obvious Biblical allusions and associations that, upon research and meditation, appear disturbingly prophetic.
The Tarot is the prototype of prophetic history, dating from approximately 100 BC to around the early part of the 21st Century, more or less encapsulating the so-called Piscean Age. Each card roughly corresponds to a period of one hundred years, or a century, in the history of Christendom until the consummation of prophetic history in the unveiling of St. John otherwise known as The Book of Revelation.
I shall now list each card in the Major Tarot, and explain its origins and symbolism.
(0) THE FOOL
IN MY END IS MY BEGINNING: THE ORTHODOX CATHOLIC SYNTHESIS
Description: A brightly dressed man in a fool’s cap is walking, perhaps carelessly, near an abyss while a dog barks or nips at his feet.
The Fool card represents creation itself, with the ‘green man’ of nature manifesting through the voice of God. The Fool stands between the twenty cards that separate it from the consummation of creation symbolised in the twenty-second card, The Universe.
The dog barking at the Fool’s feet, while he appears liable to fall off a cliff, illustrates the capacity of humanity to choose between good and evil, and to have a free will to either co-operate with the grace of the Holy Spirit or to resist him, as in the theological concept of ‘synergy’ as developed by the church fathers.
In his letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul writes:
‘The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.’
‘Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the Wisdom of God the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.’
‘Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men and the weakness of God is stronger than men.’
‘For God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.’
(1. Corinth 1.18-29)
Some commentators on the order of the Major Arcana place this card, not as the enigmatic zero, but as the number twenty-one, symbolising humanity’s decline into an abyss before the apocalyptic card, The Universe, as The Fool card depicts someone about to step over a precipice. The Fool, therefore, can carry both a positive and negative meaning or association. The Fool can represent ‘paradox’, since the church father St. Irenaeus once said that the one thing a heretic cannot accept is paradox. Interestingly, the word ‘heretic’ can simply mean ‘to choose’.
(1) THE MAGICIAN – 100 BC to 1 BC
PAGAN MYSTERIES AND THE PROTOEVANGEL
Description: A magus stands in front of a table upon which lay four symbolic items, a cup, a coin, a rod and a sword.
The Greek mysteries were a mythological pre-New Testament preparation for the ‘pagan’ masses, for as blessed Augustine once famously said:
‘What is now called the Christian religion already existed amongst the ancients and was not lacking at the very beginnings of the human race. When Christ appeared in the flesh, the true religion already in existence received the name of Christian.’
C.S. Lewis makes this clearer, perhaps, when he said, ‘Christianity is the myth that really happened.’ This implied that God had more than one ‘old testament’. This is the deeper truth hinted at in the opening verses of the Gospel of St. John, in relation to the whole concept of the ‘Logos’. This majestic opening scripture can be likened to another Genesis in the intention that is being conveyed.
‘In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.’ (John 1.1-4)
‘This was the true light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him and the world did not know him.’ (John 1.9-10)
‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the father, full of grace and truth.’ (John 1-14)
(2) HIGH PRIESTESS – 1BC to AD 70
THE BIRTH OF CHRIST TO THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE
Description: A stately woman displaying a tiara and a mantle sits upon a throne. There is a cross on her chest and a book on her knees.
The Book of Revelation, Chapter 12, verses 1 to 12, encapsulates the whole Bible from the proto evangel given in the third chapter of Genesis, where it speaks of the promise given to the woman in verse 15:
‘I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He shall bruise your head and you shall be on guard for his heel.’ (Gen 3.15)
This scripture encapsulates the Old Testament period until the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus via the incarnation from the womb of the virgin mother of God, the divine Theotokas Mary. In her were realized all the types and promises to Israel that she personalises in a transitional mode into the church, which is not a ‘replacement’ of Israel but rather its prophetic fulfilment, continuation and universalisation.
The destruction of the temple in AD 70 signifies the complete and final end of ‘Judaism’ as a sacrificial system, although this was abolished, fulfilled and transcended in the incarnation, life, death, resurrection and finally ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit was sent on Pentecost to reverse the judgement that was visited upon humankind at the Tower of Babel, and to offer to the nation of Israel a second chance that, in being largely rejected, blinded the nation of Israel to their messiah according to the flesh.
Thus, with the Ministry of St. Paul to complete the word of God, the Eucharistic reign of Christ was inaugurated (the ‘millennium’ of Revelation, Chapter 20) through his body, the church amongst the ‘nations’. The woman clothed with the sun in Revelation, Chapter 12, is at once Israel, the church and the Theotokos. The three Magi, or ‘wise men’, who saw the star and sign of the messiah’s birth and advent, beheld the constellation of Virgo with the sun above her head and with the moon under her feet, as pictured in the first verse of Revelation, Chapter 12. This is a sign that will occur again on September 23rd 2017.
(3) EMPRESS – AD 70 to 180
THE ERA OF THE APOSTOLIC FATHERS
Description: A crowned woman sits upon a throne with a sceptre, holding a shield emblazoned with the depiction of a hawk.
This card covers the late part of the 1st Century after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem into the first half of the second, and is an allegory of the formation and consolidation of the Christian church after the Pentecostal administration of the Apostles and St. Paul. Essentially, it covers the testimony of the apostolic fathers as referenced in the epistles such as those of St. Ignatius, Polycarp, and the epistles to Diognetus, Barnabas and the Didache.
This period will establish the organizing principle of the apostolic succession and the threefold ministry of bishop, priest (or presbyter) and Deacon. It also covers the period where the infant church is defining itself, and distinguishing itself as having transcended normative Judaism while still drawing on the theology and traditions of the Old Testament as fulfilled in Christ.
The title ‘Apostolic Fathers’ was intended to convey the belief that these writings constitute a body of witness by people who had originally known in person the original New Testament apostles, and were faithful in transmitting their teachings and traditions to the next generation in an unbroken continuation.
Thus, the infant church of Christ grows like a mustard seed within the body of the Roman Empire in all its apparent grandeur, as evidenced in the Age of Hadrian (76-138 AD) symbolising ‘the emperor builder’ and also the ‘philosopher king’ symbolised by Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD).
The cult of Isis would also be greatly influential and celebrated in this period, and is usually referenced by the symbolism of the empress woman with the hawk Horus, a pagan distortion of Sophia the Divine Wisdom and her enlightened Christian offspring.
(4) THE EMPEROR – AD 180 to 312
THE PERSECUTION OF THE CHURCH TO THE CONVERSION OF CONSTANTINE
Description: An emperor sits upon a throne holding a sceptre, with a shield and eagle by his side. The emperor’s legs are crossed.
This card depicts the period whereby the persecution of the infant church reached its consummation. In The Book of Revelation, Chapter 2, Verse 10, it refers to the Lord God saying to the Church that it would have ‘tribulation ten days’, representing ten historic persecutions of the early church. Historians date these persecutions in the following order:
- Nero, 64 AD
- Domitian, 90 – 96
- Trajan, 98 – 117
- Hadrian, 117 – 138
- Marcus Aurelius, 161 – 181
- Septimus Sevens, 202 – 211
- Maximus the Thracian, 235 – 251
- Decius, 249 – 251
- Valerian, 257 – 260
- Diocletian, 303 – 311
These persecutions are further suggested in the tarot card by The Emperor being depicted as having his legs crossed. During the first few centuries of the church, it would suffer attack by three main forces of opposition: firstly by Judaism, secondly by the pagan attempt to merge Hellenism and Christianity with oriental mystic religion through the paradigm known as Gnosticism, and thirdly by the Roman state and empire proving completely antagonistic to the early church.
But God would raise important philosophical apologists like Clement and Origen of Alexander. Pagan fatalism and cosmic pessimism, with its view of time as cyclical and self-repeating, emphasized inner despondency and discord. Thus, this metaphysic would ultimately fail in providing the Mediterranean world with a cohesive template for political, economic and social stability.
(5) THE POPE – AD 312 to 476
CONSTANTINE TO THE FALL OF THE WEST
Description: The Pope makes the sign of benediction with his right hand while his left hand rests upon a triple cross. Two ecclesiastics face him from the front.
Constantine the Great was born in the English city of York in 274, and was proclaimed Emperor of the West by the Roman legions of York after the defeat in battle of Maxentius in the year 312. According to tradition, Constantine prayed for divine assistance before this battle. As the sun was setting on the eve of battle, a pillar of light appeared before them, in the shape of a cross in the sky, bearing the inscription ‘In Hoc Signo Vinces’, or ‘in this sign conquer’. Thus, Constantine ordered a royal standard be made bearing the image of the cross he had seen in the heavens, which was then carried into battle as an ensign of victory and celestial protection.
Further on, tradition relates how several Christian soldiers came forward and openly confessed their faith in the God of the Christians, and so Constantine ordered them to wear on their armour a red cross with sixteen stars to represent the sixteen letters of the inscription imprinted in the heavens referred to above.
In later times, Constantine would make Christianity the recognised faith of the Roman Empire and convene the Council of Nicea in the year 325 AD. It was then that the official canon of the Christian Bible was formalized and the Nicene Creed officially adopted by the universal church as the basis of dogmatic faith.
In 329 AD, St. Helena the mother of Constantine made a journey to the Holy Land in search of the cross of the redeemer. In 330 AD, a new capital was to be built on the site of the Greek city of Byzantium to replace that of the old Roman capital in Italy. It was called Constantinoupolis or Constantinople, ‘New Rome’. This Greek-speaking eastern half of the Roman Empire would survive the collapse of its sister western half, which would fall in the year 476 due to the incursions of robber barbarians. Odoacer, King of the Teutonic tribes, informed Constantinople that there was no longer any emperor in the west.
(6) THE LOVERS – AD 476 to 632
CHRISTENDOM EAST AND WEST AND THE COMING OF ISLAM
Description: A young man stands between two young women at a crossing. One of the women is wearing a diadem and a mantle while the other woman has a wreath of flowers and is wearing a light dress.
This card represents in allegorical form the separation of the western empire from the eastern Roman Empire. This was to be called the ‘Byzantine Empire’ by historians in later centuries, although this remains a questionable assumption as in reality the eastern half of the empire constituted the true continuation of the Roman Empire.
Although it had already ceased to be the capital of the empire, Rome fell to the nomadic Germanic tribe known as the Visgoths in 410. Further barbarian incursions would occur from other tribal peoples such as the Vandals, the Franks, the Burgundians and the Huns. Nevertheless, Latin would survive and thrive as an important language. In the Italian tarot of the 14th Century, historically considered the oldest, this card portrays two young women: a girl in a long robe with a diadem and mantle is the west, while the other young woman in more exotic clothes with a garland and wreath of flowers represents the east.
It was in the eastern half of the empire that the ideal of the Roman imperium was maintained while in the west, apart from Italy where the papacy would later emerge, much of what remained was carved up amongst the invading barbarian tribes. Against this background of the split between two sister halves of the empire, there arose in central Arabia a new world religion and constitutional entity, ‘Islam’, heralded by the prophet Mohammed. Having been born in AD 570, Mohammed claimed to have received The Koran from the angel Gabriel, this being the sacred text and scripture of Islam, between 610 and his death in 632. The Koran would deny the Holy Trinity, the incarnation and crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the testimony of the Apostle Paul (who completes the word of God, 1 col 25), claiming that Mohammed instead had the ‘seal of the prophets’ and thus Islam constituted a purified Judeo-Christianity claiming that both the Jews and the Christians had corrupted their scriptures.
(7) THE CHARIOT – AD 632 to 732
THE DEATH OF MOHAMMED TO THE BATTLE OF TOURS
Description: A mighty warrior rides a chariot drawn by two horses. He is holding a rod of power in one hand, and a sword in the other. Two crescents are attached to his shoulders.
The above description of this card clearly depicts Mohammed, a figure of power commanding authority, a warrior with two crescents – the lunar morning star symbolism of Islam, which adorns the top of every mosque. From Mohammed’s death in 632 till around 650, almost half of the Christian world was conquered by this new faith. By 715, what remained was at risk. The Islamic domination of the Mediterranean Sea led to the impoverishment, both economic and cultural, of Western Europe. If Islam had not happened, what is termed by historians the ‘Middle Ages’ would have been more ‘Roman’ and a lot less ‘medieval’ in the sense of the word’s usual connotation. The ‘Byzantine’ civilization would have reached an unhindered, full fruition. By Islam’s control of the Mediterranean, it was able to terminate the supply of papyrus to Europe. This meant that the whole edifice of classical literature was lost, and with it the learning and thinking of the ancients, resulting in a highly illiterate mass population apart from some churchmen and the monastic centres that preserved European traditions and wisdom.
Under extreme threat, we see European Christianity imitate – to some extent – Islam’s concept of ‘Holy War’ and ‘Theocracy’, entering into what some historians call the ‘Dark Ages’. With Islam causing enormous disruption, this paved the way for the Viking wars to commence, seeking an opportunity to exploit the situation. So piracy would be born and exist in the Mediterranean world for a thousand years. Between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, Muslim pirates from North Africa captured and put into slavery between one and a quarter million Europeans from as far away as Iceland, Norway and the south coast of England to the coastal regions of Spain, France and Italy in what has become known as the Barbary slave trade.
In 711, Islamic forces invaded Spain from Africa, after having conquered most of the Middle East including the Holy Land. At the Battle of Tours in 732, Charles Martel finally defeated and stopped the Islamic advance which, had this battle been lost, would have meant the complete defeat and absorption of Europe and Christianity into an Islamic constitution and world state. More details can be found in Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited – The History of a Controversy by Emmet Scott, New English Review Press, 2012.
(8) JUSTICE – AD 732 to 800
FRANKISM AND THE CROWNING OF CHARLEMAGNE
Description: A woman wearing an iron crown holds a sword and scales. This card, Justice, can also be known as Adjustment, signifying to change or alter.
With the defeat of the Islamic armies in 732 AD, Charles Martel was practically the ruler of Western Europe. His son Pepin took the kingly state and title, paving the way for his grandson Charlemagne to reign in the year 768. He inherited a realm so huge in landmass that he received the title of Emperor.
Thus, Charlemagne would seek to become a type of ‘Caesar’ for the Latin west. It is here that, in the late part of the 8th Century, we see the early signs of papacy begin to emerge, and schism within the universal church. In place of the Christian Roman Empire ruling by the concept of ‘Romanity’, we see an attempt to undermine the authority of the universal (ecumenical) Roman Empire centred in the ‘New Rome’ of Constantinople in order to assert the authority of a new centre in the Roman Latin west. Ideologically, this was done by reviving the pagan and classical thinking of old Rome via trade routed from Spain, where Jewish thinkers and intellectuals had preserved Roman and Greek rationalism with roots in Babylonian traditions.
In time, this ‘rationalism’ would produce the error known as the ‘Filioque’ (literally translating as ‘and the Son’), which first made its appearance within the court of Charles the Great (Charlemagne) just before he would style himself as Emperor of the West, and in being crowned by Pope Leo declare his empire to be The ‘Holy’ Roman Empire.
Briefly, the Filioque was to be added to the universal Catholic creed of Christianity without an ecumenical council of the one undivided church, and thus demonstrated the western church’s aspirations towards supremacy over all of Christendom. Being true to scripture, the creed had simply said, ‘The Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father’, whereas the new creed with the Filioque added said, who proceeds from the Father ‘and the Son’. This may appear relatively trivial, but it masked a big departure of the western half of the church from Apostolic truth and tradition.
(9) THE HERMIT – AD 800 to 962
THE ASCENDANCY OF THE PAPACY AND THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE
Description: An old man holding a lamp walks with a staff at night time.
On Christmas Day AD 800, the Pope put a crown on the head of Charlemagne and hailed him Caesar and Augustus. From this, we trace the concept of divine rule of kings and the origins of the system of feudalism that was to become a permanent institution for hundreds of years. Charlemagne launched many reforms and encouraged many academic disciplines, igniting what was to become known as the Carolingian Renaissance. However, from this moment on there was a power struggle between the office of the Pope and the Emperor of State.
In 962, Otto the First Duke of Saxony was crowned Emperor by the Pope. He would unite Germany and Italy to form what was again to be referred to as The Holy Roman Empire, although it was only the Latin half that was being so described. During his reign, Otto changed the relationship between the ruler of state and the Papacy by exercising a tight control over the clergy, and also by strengthening royal power – a power that was to endure for more than nine hundred years, but still vying with the papacy for the ascendancy.
From the years 325 to 787 AD, the Christian Church would hold seven ecumenical councils to theologically clarify the essential dogmatic boundaries of the faith. In 843 AD, in a decision known as ‘the Triumph of Orthodoxy’, the fullest implications of the doctrine of the incarnation expressed through the sacred iconography of the church was fully reaffirmed, in opposition to the Islamic influenced iconoclast controversy.
Here, The Hermit is a symbol of those monastic devotees and theologians, both east and west, who kept the light of truth ablaze within the darkness that was engulfing the world. The Carolingian Renaissance was soon followed by Feudal enslavement, and continuous fights between the church and secular rulers. This shows us the origins of both Caesar-Papalism (the secular ruler dominating the church) and Papal-Caesarism (the church dominating the secular ruler or state).
(10) THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE – AD 963 to 1054
THE EMERGENCE OF FEUDALISM AND THE GREAT SCHISM
Description: A monkey and a dog turn a wheel, hovering over which is a sphinx aiming a dart.
If the first millennium of Christian history was the age of the martyrs, of the fathers, of the seven ecumenical councils of the undivided universal and Catholic Church coming to a full realization of the ‘incarnation’, the next millennium of Christianity and church history could be understood as the millennium of the ‘disincarnation’. As the error of the papacy began to emerge and consolidate itself in a centralized clerical despotism, which embraced heretical innovations such as the Filioque and laid the foundations within western Christendom of humanism and secularism, it was inevitable that these principles would also manifest and find expression in political and economic spheres.
‘Feudalism’ evolved out of the Frankish kingdom of the Merovingians, and was further developed during the Carolingian Renaissance. It reached its classical and consolidated period during the 10th to the 13th Centuries. More significant, perhaps, was the complete separation of the east and western church with the Great Schism of 1054, which centred on the papal addition to the Creed of the Filioque. In Orthodox eyes, this confuses and conflates the persons of the Holy Trinity and destroys the essential balance between unity and diversity within the Godhead.
In philosophy, there has always been a debate aiming to reconcile ‘the one and the many’. The only answer to this is the Holy Trinity as understood by Orthodoxy, but the western church’s adoption of the Filioque emphasised oneness at the expense of diversity. Thus, this unbiblical over-emphasis on unity produced a distortion within the western understanding of the church. Within this concept of ‘unity’, a centralization of power developed as the papal church became an institution of the world, governed at the expense of freedom in diversity while claiming an earthly, universal jurisdiction over all other churches and powers. In time, this led to even greater heresy such as the principle of papal infallibility.
(11) FORCE – AD 1054 – 1187
THE RISE OF SCHOLASTICISM AND THE AGE OF THE CRUSADES
Description: A woman wearing a long mantle and a wide-brimmed hat is taming a stubborn lion.
This card represents an allusion to the symbol of the Great Sphinx of Giza, i.e. that of a woman and a lion corresponding to the astronomical signs of Virgo and Leo, which in Biblical cosmology symbolize the Virgin Mary and Christ Jesus. But here, it appears that a feminine power is in mortal combat with a masculine power. The lady is usually depicted as being clad in blue and white, the colours of heaven and the stars. These are the colours that usually adorn Marian iconography in the west, suggesting an ecclesiastical image of the church. Also, on her head is a hat whose brim displays the symbol for infinity.
We find in this card an image of the Hebraic shekinah and the divine Sophia – i.e. the idea of a compassionate feminine force descending from within the Godhead, hidden and marginalized within the western institutional and formalized church. We discern this in the Orthodox ‘hesychast’ struggle with the scholastics, which – because scholasticism cannot accept the ‘essence-energies’ distinction of hesychasm – teaches that humanity cannot participate in the uncheated energies of God and be divinised. Hence, ‘grace’ is dependant on discursive rationalism. We see here the basis for the rise of ‘clericalism’ within the western church, while the true dynamic and participatory tradition was maintained and affirmed by orthodox theologians like Symeon the New Theologian and Gregory Palamas.
Against this backdrop, we also see the rise of violence and power grabbing by the papacy, expressed in the Norman invasion of England in 1066, whereby England was captive to the conflicts of French feudal princes for the next four centuries, and subject to what was later to be called ‘The Norman Yoke’. Further on, with Islamic military advances being made on the Eastern Church, the Byzantine monarch asks the Pope for assistance.
Seizing the opportunity, Pope Urban II calls for the first crusade. Hence, a period of bloody and intense conflict ignites across the Middle East involving all three of the historic Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This was an era that would see the crusaders take back Jerusalem in 1099, and then lose it in 1187 to the Islamic leader Saladin.
(12) HANGED MAN – AD 1187 to 1348
FROM THE FALL OF JERUSALEM TO THE BLACK DEATH
Description: A man is hanging upside-down by one leg while the other leg is bent, making a cross against a night sky displaying a half moon.
This image obviously bears on correspondence to the trials of Christendom. As St. Peter was crucified upside-down, the hanged man is upside-down with one of his legs bent to form a shape similar to a cross, while a crescent moon in the night sky is a clear reference to Islam during the crusades. The western church had fought a long battle to suppress the claims of royalty within its domain that had opposed the papacy, but the crusades united both the church and nobles against a common foe.
Despite the terrible horror of the crusades, they did enable Europe to enjoy space to develop a civilization and culture. Nonetheless, during the fourth crusade in 1204, the crusaders sacked Constantinople on their way to Egypt over three appalling days of pillage against fellow Christians, despite having been asked to come to the rescue of the eastern Roman Empire in the late 11th Century. This weakening of the Rome’s eastern capital was to have appalling consequences two centuries later.
The crusaders established a Latin kingdom in Constantinople until 1261, when the Greeks were able to recapture the city. By this time, the age of the crusades was over, the last major attempt to recapture Jerusalem being 1248-50. Thus, the Latin crusaders’ presence in the Middle East was over.
From the late 7th Century until the late 14th Century, Islam had subjected Christians and people of other faiths to the concept of ‘Dhimmitude’. Zoroastrians, Nestorian Christians, were completely wiped out, while Christianity was no more in Persia, Central Asia and China. It is important to remember that the Islamic conquest of Spain, the Middle East and North Africa, along with the first siege of Constantinople, all took place well before the first crusade. In fact, the first crusade took place well over 450 years after the Islamic conquest of Jerusalem in 638. Although the crusades failed in their main objective, they effectively staved off the Jihadist conquest of the whole of Europe.
(13) DEATH – AD 1348 to 1453
FROM THE BLACK DEATH TO THE FALL OF THE EASTERN ROMAN EMPIRE
Description: A skeleton with a scythe is mowing down human heads.
In early 1348, an epidemic of bubonic fever was raging in the ports of Italy, and also southern France, having been carried overland to the Black Sea from India and by shipping to the Mediterranean. From the coasts, it travelled along trade routes all over Western Europe. It has been estimated by responsible historians that in the year 1348 to 1349, a third of the population died a painful and bitter death. This was possibly the greatest catastrophe to ever fall upon Western Europe during the ages of Christendom.
Sometime later, after the great plague, a popular reforming preacher by the name of John Huss followed the example of a learned doctor of theology from Oxford, England – John Wycliffe – in preaching a doctrine of Christianity from Prague counter to that being taught by the established church. This new doctrine was to prove so influential amongst the masses that, at the Papal Council of Constance (1414-1418), Huss was declared a heretic and burned at the stake in 1415, an event that was perhaps to be the catalyst for an ever-greater reforming movement within western Christendom a century later.
An event of even greater magnitude was to be visited upon the eastern Roman Empire when, in 1453, Constantinople finally fell to the Islamic Turks. Historians date this event as marking the end of the ‘Byzantine Empire’, if not the Holy Roman Empire. But in his mercy, God ordained the Russian city of Moscow to be the successor to Byzantium and in 1472, Ivan the III the Great (reigning 1462-1505) married Sophia, niece of the last Byzantine emperor, establishing a dynastic link.
Moscow began to be thought of and understood as ‘the third Rome’, as the first Rome had fallen to the barbarians in 476 and then lapsed into heresy. The second Rome had also fallen into heresy by the brief acceptance of papal claims at the Florentine Council in 1439, in an attempt to secure military aid from the west. So with the title of ‘Tsar’, an adaptation of the Roman ‘Caesar’, and bearing as its state emblem the double-headed eagle of Byzantium, the Russian autocrat extended Rome’s reign in ‘symphony’ with the Russian church.
(14) TEMPERANCE – AD 1453 to 1517
THE RENAISSANCE FROM THE FALL OF THE EASTERN ROMAN EMPIRE TO THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION
Description: An angel is holding two urns, pouring liquid from one into the other.
This card displays in symbology the beginnings of the renaissance (usually dated 1440-1540), with the rise of great commercial city-states. In northern Italy, there arose a new spirit of inquiry that looked back to the Greeks for philosophical inspiration. A revival of interest in classical studies, coupled with the invention of the printing press, not only anticipated the revival of pagan learning but also laid the foundations of the Reformation and Counter Reformation.
This card displays the old wine of Greek pagan classical culture being poured from one jug into another, representing the high Middle Ages. We can trace the beginnings of modernity and humanism to this period, from the Filioque to the ‘essentialism’ of the scholastic, Thomas Aquinas, to the ‘nominalism’ of William of Ockham and the ‘conceptualism’ of John Duns Scotus, all of which taught that God could be sought through natural reason. While this ‘subjectivity’ was still based on obedience to church authorities, it led to the next logical step in embracing a version opposed to church authorities. Nominalism paved the way for this in its rejection of universal truths. Plato taught that universals are unchanging forms and these lead to God. ‘Truth’, as such, goes beyond appearances – while in nominalism, words are severed from these universals and hence from the ‘truth’ they relate to. Thus, words could now create a reality apart from the universal forms, so that those who control the language could now control reality and determine not only what is ‘true’ but also what is ‘real’.
In this way, nominalism paved the way for Protestantism, a belief in which every man reading the Bible for himself becomes his own ‘Pope’. In adding the Filioque to the universal creed of the church by his own authority, the Pope became in essence the first Protestant.
The Protestant faith, when later secularised, became the basis for capitalism, liberalism, communism, socialism and democracy. Totalitarianism also springs from all these, because if such ‘subjectivity’ is to become politicised, then it is only a short step to suggest it must be the subject of regulation and state intervention.
(15) THE DEVIL – AD 1517 to 1683
THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE AND THE BATTLE OF VIENNA
Description: A horned devil with bat-like wings holds a burning torch while standing on a pedestal to which two satyr-like creatures are chained.
The word diabolos, from which we get the word ‘devil’, can simply mean ‘the one who divides’, and thus causes division. In AD 1517, the Augustinian monk Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of All Saints Church, Wittenberg, disputing the sale and power of indulgences in the corrupt Latin Church, and started the Protestant reformation in the west. In the east, AD 1517, the Ottoman Muslim empire conquered Jerusalem once more, and were to reign there for a prophetic 400 years.
Indeed, the number ‘17’ appears to be a prophetic time marker. In 1517, we have the start of the Reformation, the Ottoman Empire ruling the Middle East, and in 1717 the start of Freemasonry, in 1917 the Bolshevik revolution and in 2017 the sign of the woman clothed with the sun.
This consolidation of an Islamic empire led in time to another Islamic resurgence and military advance into Europe, which was to reach a consummation at the Battle of Vienna in 1683. This is often seen as a major turning point in history as, after the defeat of the Ottoman Turks, Islam ceased to be a menace to the Christian world.
This period of history sees the major development of reformed Protestant theology in Martin Luther and John Calvin, with the execution of the English king, Charles I in 1649, during the English Civil War, seeing Britain become a republic under the dictatorship of the puritan Oliver Cromwell. This was to reach a consummation in the so-called ‘glorious revolution’ of 1688, when William of Orange successfully invaded England with a Dutch fleet to overthrow King James II of England and stamp out any possibility of a revived Catholic or absolute monarchy in England.
As the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter Reformation were taking place in numerous areas of northern and central Europe, Protestants sometimes even sought various forms of co-operation and military, religious and commercial rapprochement with the Muslim world against a common Roman Catholic enemy.
(16) THE TOWER – AD 1683 to 1789
THE RISE OF MODERN BANKING TO THE FRENCH REVOLUTION AND ENLIGHTENMENT
Description: A tower is being struck by lightning from the sun. A crowned man is falling from the top of the tower. A monk already lies on the ground, giving the appearance of already haven fallen.
Obviously, by the lightning from the sun, this card is referencing the discovery/invention of printing by Gutenberg (1400-1468). The two figures who have fallen from a great height represent the Church and the Pope, or the undermining of both Church scholasticism and royal or priestly authority. As it reached its full flowering, the earlier invention of printing signalled the end of Papal monopoly over all branches of knowledge – not just theological, but also scientific, political and financial.
Freemasonry establishes itself formally in the year 1717. Martin Luther’s seal of the ‘Rose Cross’ hints at a possible Rosicrucian influence in the early development of Protestantism. Coupled with John Calvin’s theological justification for usury, which had on the whole been banned in medieval Christendom, this paved the way for financial capitalism to emerge as a secularised form of Puritanism and deism.
Calvin had been educated at the very same college of de Montau where Ignatius Loyola was also educated. Loyola was the founder of the Jesuit Society of Jesus, the infamous agents of the Counter Reformation. John Calvin’s real name was Cohen, and he had changed it to seem more acceptable to the English and French when moving to Switzerland where, in enforcing a legalistic dictatorship, he had the Unitarian Servetus brutally murdered and fellow Protestant Sebastian Castellio starved to death. Once usury was legal in the Protestant world, the international banking system emerged in Switzerland and Calvinism was then used by an emerging hidden hand to overthrow the British monarchy and install a puppet king. This would make way for William of Orange, who had blood links to the infamous ‘Black Nobility’. Within this Calvinistic doctrine of determinism, with its roots in the Augustinian doctrine of predestination, arose a secular bastard child – the so-called ‘Enlightenment’, birthed not just by a secularised Protestant nominalism, but also the rationalism of the scholastics, the corruption of the Latin Church and the pagan revival of the Renaissance.
(17) THE STARS – AD 1789 to 1848
THE RISE OF REASON AND INDUSTRIALIZED CAPITALISM
Description: A bright star shines in the sky while a naked young woman is sitting on a bank beside a river. The young woman has two vessels from which water is pouring down, while a singing bird rests on a bush nearby.
The reference to the stars on this card displays a cryptic allusion to the new era of scientific discovery, fostered by the apparent rejection of a church authority inaugurating ‘the age of reason’, the goddess of which was made into a state and paraded around the streets in mockery of its Catholic Marian counterpart during the French Revolution. The era of royalist absolutism and monarchical power was coming to an end and reaching its consummation before a coming bloody backlash, for as Louis XV said, “After me the deluge.” The storming of the Bastille in France would prove the catalyst to inspire the American Revolution (1776 to 1789), and also the year that Adam Weishaupt formed the anti-monarchical ‘Bavarian Illuminati’ on May Day – a day that was to become of symbolic relevance to revolutionary communism and socialism sometime later, and of which Adam Weishaupt is the undoubted precursor.
In fact, within this period in 1835 we see the first emergence of the term ‘socialism’ in an ideological context, and with the advent of the Paris commune and its failure in 1848, we see the young Hegelian Karl Marx move to London to write his Das Kapital. Since the time of William of Orange, London had become a major economic force with the creation of the privately controlled banking cartel known as the Bank of England. One of its chief architects is the little known Gilbert Burnet who, in sermons and speeches delivered in Parliament, claimed that Britain was actually the inheritor of ancient Israel’s claim to theocratic universal sovereignty.
With the industrial revolution that was championed in England began the arrival of laissez-faire economics and industrialized capitalism, with its intellectual roots in a radical emerging ‘middle class’. It was a bourgeois optimism based in a materialist or mechanist view of creation, so in point of fact it was not communism but capitalism that was to emerge as the true revolutionary force against a traditionalist paradigm.
(18) THE MOON – AD 1848 to 1917
THE RISE OF COMMUNISM AND ZIONISM
Description: The moon is obscured behind clouds manifesting a pale twilight. In the distance are two towers. A dog and a wolf are baying at the moon while a sinister crawfish is crawling from a pool of water in the background.
The roots of the so-called Hegelian dialectic – thesis, antithesis and synthesis – have their roots in the cabbalistic mysticism of the Lutheran theosophist Jacob Boehme, and when applied to the political realm at the time of the French Revolution we find the roots of the political concepts of ‘right-wing’ and ‘left-wing’. Within these, we can trace the process within western civilization of a transition from universal to multiplied limited sovereignties such as nationalism and popularism, which at a later time will again mutate into the evermore individualized and multiplied sovereignties of consumerist society.
During this period, from the defeat of the Paris commune to the communist but western-backed Bolshevik revolution, we see this popularised sovereignty take on a markedly collectivist manifestation. The crescent moon is not only to be taken as an image of Islam but also the communist symbol, as the hammer and sickle also replicate the moon and morning star symbolism of Islam. With the regicide of the Russian Royal Family, we can now put a date to the final fall of the orthodox Holy Roman Empire. The ‘restrainer’ that St. Paul alludes to in his Epistle 2, Thessalonians 2, Verses 6 to 11, is none other than the restraining effect of the monarchical power of the Roman imperium. With this advent, we see the manifestation of the man of lawlessness who will sit in God’s temple proclaiming he is God (2 Thess, verses 3 and 4). In 1897, we see the first Zionist Congress take place, initiating the last 120 years of a prophetic cycle akin to the scripture, ‘as in the days of Noah’, spoken in the gospels, which will reach its apex in the year 2017.
The doctrine of Christian Zionism is referred to in scripture as ‘the synagogue of Satan’ (Rev 3, verse 9) and is not a genuine Jewish movement at all. In fact, it comprises descendants of the Japhethite son ‘Ashkenaz’ and is thus not of the line of ‘shem’. Like blinded Isaac, the Church is in fact blessing Esau instead of Jacob. However, it is important to stress that Zionism is not the same thing as Orthodox Judaism but in point of fact is a distortion of it.
(19) THE SUN – AD 1917 to 1967
MODERNITY AND THE RISE OF SECULAR HUMANISM
Description: A young boy and girl are playing together in a garden in front of an unfinished wall, while tears are dropping from the sun.
From the advent of the First World War in 1914 to 1918, with the horrors of mechanized trench warfare on a worldwide scale, to the industrialized slaughter of the Second World War with its Holocaust of Jews, to the arrival of the newly adopted age of the ‘Anthropocene’ with the trinity test of an atomic bomb on July 16th 1945, humanity now has the technology to completely undo God’s gracious act of creation.
With the defeat of the Fascist powers after World War Two, the west entered a period known as the Cold War between the superpowers of the USA and capitalism in the west, and the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, formerly Russia) and communism in the east. This was truly a time of tears, and of the societal triumph of atheism and secular humanism worldwide, the myth of ‘progress’ masking a secularised form of millennialism, leading in time to the complete commodification of the life force itself. If modernity was to give rise to three ideologies – liberalism, communism and fascism – history tells us that liberalism has won, but at the cost of absorbing both communism and fascism into itself. In fact, neo-liberalism is effectively a form of collectivist oligarchy and corporatist finance fascism.
Now, having merged with the cultural Marxism of political correctness and multicultural relativism, liberalism is now entering its totalitarian phase, as both communism and fascism did before. International finance capital, with its speculation and central banking – printing money that does not exist, and then charging ‘interest’ on it – is the main driving force behind globalisation and the endgame of world government via both the United Nations and the European Union, the modern day antichristian Tower of Babel. What both Napoleon and Hitler first attempted is finally coming to fulfilment through the economic and political centralization and hegemony of the European Union.
(20) JUDGEMENT – 1967 to 2017
LATE CAPITALISM, GLOBALISATION AND THE WOMAN CLOTHED WITH THE SUN
Description: An angel blowing a trumpet flies in the sky while a man, woman and child rise from an open grave.
Since the founding of the state of Israel in 1947/8, and the six-day war in June 1967 with the recapture of the Temple Mount by the ‘Jews’, we have entered into that ‘generation that will by no means pass away until all is fulfilled’. Western society has so completely entered a post-Christian phase that it is bringing upon itself the Judgement of God. Coupled with the rise of the state of Israel has been the global insurgence of Islam, fuelled by oil in the Arab states after the complete collapse of the Ottoman Empire and Islamic Caliphate in 1922/4.
This period has seen the west’s attempt to divide and control the Middle East by means of its proxy, the state of Israel, to fulfil the imperialist ‘greater Israel project’. Also, it has involved merging the European Union with the North African and Middle Eastern countries via Turkey into the political project known as ‘Eurabia’, in conformity with the initial vision of founding EU ideologist Richard Nikolaus Von Coudenhove Kalergi in his two published works, Pan Europa and Practical Idealism.
With the collapse in 1989/91 of communism in Russia, space and time was given to the Orthodox Church to revive and enter into an opportunity for spiritual renewal. Anonymous Greek Orthodox prophecies found in monastic communities from the 8th and 9th Centuries foretell of a great and terrible war, World Wars I and II considered as two halves of the same western conflict, which would devastate humanity.
After this, there would be a short period of universal prosperity whereby the true gospel of the Orthodox Church, and not that distorted and preached by heretics, would be spread over the world. The period covers the years between the Orthodox Diaspora at the time of the Bolshevik Revolution to that of Putin’s revival after the collapse of the Soviet Union. If the church is worthy, this would allow for the restoration of the Orthodox tsar. Otherwise, it will mean the world being no longer capable of correction, leading instead to the enthronement of the antichrist.
(21) THE UNIVERSE – AD 2017 to 2027/8
ANTICHRIST, THE LAST GREAT REBELLION AND THE FULLNESS OF TIME
Description: The Virgin Sophia in a garland holds a wand while walking on clouds. At the four corners of her are four signs of the Zodiac – Aquarius, Scorpio, Leo and Taurus – which correspond to the four gospels and the symbolism of a man, an eagle, a lion and a bull.
This card clearly depicts the four cardinal signs of the Zodiac of Mazzaroth, which biblically are symbols of the four gospels, Aquarius representing Matthew, Leo the gospel of Mark, Taurus being Luke and lastly Scorpio allegorically symbolising the gospel of John, the eagle having long been considered the higher alter ego or positive aspect of Scorpio.
Being last in the Major Arcana of the Tarot, this card is thus referencing the consummation of prophetic history as revealed in The Apocalypse of St. John, although it is important to realize that the word ‘apocalypse’ simply means ‘unveil’, in the sense of revealing something concealed or hidden. It is the eschatological Sabbath of history on which God ‘rested’ as a sign of his grace, and the manifestation of the cosmic shekinah or Divine Sophia.
With the Theotokas, Christ has already entered into the fullness of time and eternity, and so we can know in point of fact that ‘the future is the source of time’. Because the source of time is transcendent, future time is not itself totally determined by the past: there is a future in the past because God transcends time, and so it is therefore possible to take up in the present the future of the past, not the future that became actual but all of its unrealised possibilities. As William Blake once said, ‘The ruins of time shall build mansions in eternity.’
In September of 2017, a great sign shall appear in the heavens: the sign of the woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, which clearly alludes to the beginning of the great tribulation as described in The Book of Revelation, Chapter 12, Verses 1-17. How this will manifest is open to speculation, but it appears evident that Zionism, Islam and the papacy will be major players in global deception from which only those safe in the ark of the church, which is Christ’s apostolic Orthodox and Catholic body on earth, will be safe.
THE SOCIAL TRINITY IN CREATION: FORWARDS TO NATURE AND DIVINE ORDER
‘The rose is without why, it blooms because it blooms. It pays no attention to itself, asks not whether it is seen.’
‘It is laid up as a Pattern in the heaven where he who wishes can see it and establish it in his own heart.’
Plato, The Republic
The true divine order (As above so below), ‘On earth as it is in heaven’, is revealed in the ancient orthodox conception of ‘symphony’, whereby the ecumenical patriarch and the monarch represent by contrast the divine and human natures of Christ, united in one body. This is prefigured in the two olive trees of Zechariah 4. 11-14, where the two powers of leadership are symbolized in the kingly role by Zerubbabel and that of the Sacerdotal by Joshua the High Priest.
The Holy Trinity can also be understood to reflect a social template as the Father can also represent the source of kingly authority, the Son that of the office of priest and the Holy Spirit that of the prophet. Thus, divine order manifesting in synergy with creation could be said to comprise a social fourfold order:
- THE CITADEL or the principle of ‘co-inherence’ as in ‘to unify’.
- THE MARKET or the principle of ‘co-operation’ as in ‘to share’.
- THE ALTAR or the principle of ‘consecration’ as in ‘to make sacred’.
- THE THRONE or the principle of ‘consummation’ as in ‘to complete’.
It is the altar and throne which, in uniting the kingly monarchical and church office of the patriarch, bears some resemblance to Plato’s theory of the benevolent ‘philosopher king’ and the Chinese Confucian concept of the ‘Mandate of Heaven’, power being understood in the Bible as ‘kenotic’ – that is, encapsulating a dynamic process of ‘self emptying’ in imitation of the messianic reign itself. The Lord Jesus Christ personified this in his incarnation as the ‘New Adam’, his human nature being that of the original Adam before he had fallen into transgression.
‘Who being in the form of God did not consider it robbery to be equal to God but emptied himself taking the form of a servant and coming to the likeness of men and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.’
The cross, then, is the central axis of all history and time, stretching back both into the eternity before creation and forward into the eternity after the consummation of time, into the ‘eternal now’ of God’s presence as a refining river of fire. In its fourfold application, it displays the breadth, length, depth and height of God’s love, manifest in Christ Jesus to heal, restore and transfigure all of creation. This gives testimony to the esoteric significance of the letters ‘INRI’ that were inscribed above Christ on the cross of Calvary, which when understood in a holy, magical and occult sense read thus:
‘BY FIRE NATURE IS RENEWED MADE WHOLE’
Wayne John Sturgeon
TIMES IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION
- The Seven Churches of Revelation: Ephesus 30-64 AD, Smyrna 64-313 AD, Pergamos 313-800 AD, Thyatira 800-1517, Sardis 1517-1789, Philadelphia 1789-1897, Laodicea 1897-2017.
- The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse:
The White Horse, 96 to 193 AD. The Emperor Nerva had a bow as his symbol, and this period was the most peaceful one in Rome’s history.
The Red Horse, 193 to 243 AD. Severus established a military regime and caused a civil war to prevail for fifty years, from which Rome never recovered, enforcing crippling taxation on the domestic population.
The Black Horse then ran from 243 to 250 AD.
The Pale Green Horse then commenced after this period of austerity, bringing a terrible plague covering the period 250 to 265 AD, when one quarter of the Roman population died. As many as 5000 a day died in the city of Rome.
In a letter to the Church of Smyrna, the persecution of Diocletian is referred to as the ‘ten days’ (Chapter 2, verse 10), which ran from 303 to 313 AD. Consequently, the fifth seal displays the triumph of the Christian martyrs by the Constantine Edict of Milan, which stopped all persecution of Christians and declared Christianity the state religion in 313 AD. The 5th and 6th trumpet in Revelation, Chapter 9, details the rise of Islam and the Saracens. Five months equals 150 days, and a day represents a year. Hence, the Saracens swept through North Africa like a plague of locusts from 613 to 763 AD. This period covers the first converts made to Mohammed to when the new capital of Baghdad was declared.
A second period of five months is declared in Revelation 9, which covers the period when the Sultan Ottoman made another assault on the Greek Empire. Starting in July of 1299, this ‘second woe’ lasted 150 years to 1449 when the Greek Emperor died and Constantine Deacozes succeeded to it, but would not venture to ascend to the throne without the consent of the then Turkish Sultan Amurath. The four angels of the great river, Euphrates, are released for a day, a month and a year equalling 391 years, bringing us to 1840 when the Ottomans’ supremacy departed into the hands of the European powers, principally England and Russia. In fact, the third woe is the Bolshevik Revolution.
The Nestorian, monophysiate churches are thus judged by Islam, and later Byzantium in 1453 through earlier collusion with the errors of the papacy. Revelation 11 and the forty-two months or 1260 days is from the building of the dome on the rock in 688 AD to the founding of the state of Israel in 1948. The River Euphrates dries up, bringing us to 1917. Another 1260 period in Revelation 12 covers the period 732, the Battle of Tours to the end of communism and the start of the European Union’s expansion. The 42 months in Revelation 13 covers the period of the coming great tribulation, while 1335 in Daniel is 632 years from the death of Mohammed to the Six Day War in 1967, contrasted with the 1290 days of Daniel 12, 688 years from the dome on the rock to the end of the Caliphate in 1922. These two numbers are prophetical of the Day of Atonement followed forty-five days later by the festival of lights of dedication, Hanukkah. This suggests that ‘the deadly wand’ is that visited upon the Caliphate and ‘the deadly wand that is healed’ will be the future restoration of the Caliphate.
Lastly, the 2300-day prophecy of Daniel 8.14 is understood to be calculated according to the principle laid down in the Book of Ezekiel 4.5, ‘I have given you each day for a year.’ Thus, the 2300 days are understood to represent 2300 years beginning in 457 BC, the calculated starting date of the seventy weeks prophecy based on the 3rd degree found in Ezra. This leads to the year 1844, the year that saw ‘The Edict of Toleration’ enacted upon the Ottoman Empire, which began the process leading to its dissolution, reaching its consummation in the years 1922-1924. The Edict of Toleration stopped the persecution of Christians and eventually had the effect of also discouraging the persecution of Jews. From this point on, this led to Jerusalem having the largest Jewish population in Palestine, and then by 1852 being majority Jewish. This, the year 1844 – being the end of the 2300 years – signalled the year when the strict exclusion of the Jews from Jerusalem, which had been enforced by the Muslims for some twelve centuries, was at last relaxed.
Many sources of prophetic chronology suggest the year 2027 to 2028, beginning in the Hebraic year of September, completes the 6000 years from Adam, a template to be followed by a 1000 year ‘millennium’ or Sabbath day. This follows the chronology of the ‘Masoretic text’, but this differs from the Septuagint Bible chronology, which would count a 7000-year period from the time of the birth of Enosh, the son of Seth, at whose time ‘people began to invoke the name of the Lord’ (Genesis 4.26). According to the Septuagint, this would have been in the year from Adam 435. Adding 7000 years to the Septuagint chronology, this would bring us to the year 2028, beginning the prophetic 8th day of the new creation, calculating the Hebraic Old Testament dispensation to cover a period of 5407 years from the old Adam to the New Adam in Christ Jesus. In this reckoning, there is no ‘literal’ millennium according to Orthodox teaching.