THE ASHES OF ANGELS
By Andrew Collins
Indeed there is, for at a place called Jarmo, which overlooks the Lesser Zab river in Iraqi Kurdistan, archaeologists have uncovered evidence of an advanced protoneolithic community that thrived from around 6750 BC for up to 2000 years; indeed, the oldest known examples of primitive metallurgy have been found at Jarmo. More interesting is the knowledge that these people were a dab hand at producing small sculpted images in slightly-baked clay. Literally thousands of these figurines have been unearthed from the earliest occupational levels upwards. Most of them depict animals and birds. Some represent typically human heads, while others show a female figure, plausibly a representation of the Mother Goddess.
appeared as if the Jarmo community enjoyed capturing images of the world
around them, in much the same way that we take photographs today. Yet
if this was the case, then how can we explain the presence among these
small figurines of several anthropomorphic heads with elongated faces,
slit eyes and clear `lizard', or more correctly serpentine features?
They are virtually inhuman in appearance and have more in common with
bug-eyed aliens than abstract human forms.
Sometime around 5000 BC saw the arrival on to the northern plains of Mesopotamia of a new culture who are known today as the Ubaid (after Tell al- 'Ubaid, the mound-site where their presence was first detected during excavations by the eminent Near Eastern archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley in 1922). They brought with them their own unique artistic style and funerary practices, including the habit of placing very strange anthropomorphic figurines in the graves of the dead. The statuettes were either male or female (although predominantly female), with slim, well-proportioned naked bodies, wide shoulders, and strange reptilian heads that scholars generally refer to as `lizard-like' in appearance. They bear long, tapered faces like snouts, with wide, eye-slits - usually elliptical pellets of clay pinched to form what are known as `coffee-bean' eyes - and a thick, dark plume of bitumen on their heads to represent a coil of erect hair (similar coils fashioned in clay appear on some of the heads found at Jarmo). All statuettes display either female pubic hair or male genitalia.
Each Ubaid figurine has it own unique pose. By far the strangest and most compelling shows a naked female holding a baby to her left breast. The infant's left hand clings on to the breast, and there can be little doubt that it is suckling milk. It is a very touching image, although it bears one chilling feature - the child has long slanted eyes and the head of a reptile. This is highly significant, for it suggests that the baby was seen as having been born with these features. In other words, the `lizard-like' heads of the figurines are not masks, or symbolic animalistic forms, but abstract images of an actual race believed by the Ubaid people to have possessed such reptilian qualities.
In the past these `lizard-like' figurines have been identified by scholars as representations of the Mother Goddess - a totally erroneous assumption since some of them are obviously male - while ancient astronaut theorists such as Erich von Dniken have seen fit to identity them as images of alien entities. In my opinion, both explanations attempt to bracket the clay figurines into popular frameworks that are insufficient to explain their full symbolism. Furthermore, since most of the examples found were retrieved from graves, where they were often the only item of any importance, Sir Leonard Woolley concluded that they represented `chthonic deities' - that is, underworld denizens connected in some way with the rites of the dead.
In addition to this realisation, it seems highly unlikely that they represent lizard-faced individuals, since lizards are not known to have had any special place in Near Eastern mythology. Much more likely is that the heads are those of serpents which are known to have been associated with Sumerian underworld deities such as Ningiszida, Lord of the Good Tree.
Since the heads of the Ubaid figurines appear to be styled on the much earlier examples found at Jarmo in the Kurdish mountains, were they highly abstract representations of viper-faced Watchers?
That these figurines were found specifically in grave sites suggests that they were connected with some kind of superstitious practice involving rites of the dead. What were the Ubaid attempting to achieve by placing such strange images alongside their deceased relatives? Were they trying to ensure the safe passage of the soul into the next world, or were they attempting to protect the corpse once the burial had taken place?
In later Babylonian tradition there was a true fear that if the dead were not interred in the correct manner, then their souls would be taken down into the underworld to become blood-sucking Edimmu. Is this what the Ubaid feared - that their departed would be made into vampires if the viper-faced Watchers were not appeased in the current manner? Did this include the burial of figurines bearing abstract features connected with their distorted memory of the fallen race?
No one knows who built these underworld domains. They are at least 4000 years old, while tentative evidence suggests they were constructed as early as 9000 BC, when the final thrust of the last Ice Age was about to bring arctic-style conditions to the Middle East. At the same time rains of fire spewed out of active volcanoes, and when the Ice Age finally receded floods comparable with the deluge of the Bible wreaked havoc in low-lying areas. Moreover, Persian myth records that the ancestors of the Iranian race had escaped the long winter of snow and ice by building a var, a word denoting an underground city (curiously, the word ark means `city' in the Persian language).
The memory of such subterranean worlds are also likely to have been behind the Judaeo-Christian belief in Gehenna and Hell - the fiery realm into which the fallen angels were cast as a punishment for their interference in the affairs of mankind.
Many of these `fairy chimneys' were occupied during early Christian times, while a number of them were actually fashioned into rupestral or troglodyte churches from the sixth century onwards. The oldest contain many fascinating images beyond the accepted iconography of the Early Church. These include recurring geometric designs and, in one case a stylised bird-man, which may well reflect an art-style found in the 8000-year-old vulture shrines at Catal Hayuk. The close proximity of both this unique `Christian' art and the site of Catal Hayuk to the underground cities cannot be overlooked. Remember too that in the story of Ishtar's descent into the underworld the goddess encounters beings `like birds covered with feathers', who `from the days of old ruled the earth'.
Is it possible that the dwellers of the underground cities were indeed the forerunners of those who built the sub-surface citadel of Catal Hayuk? Might they have been connected with the shamanistic Watcher culture of the Kurdish highlands, which lay some distance to the east of Cappadocia?
of the Djinn
In another version of the same story, 100 genies are dispatched by Solomon to search out 100 of the world's most beautiful maidens for his personal harem. Having achieved this quota, Solomon then dies and the 100 genies decide to settle down with the maidens amid the inaccessible mountains of Kurdistan. The offspring of these marriages result in the foundation of the Kurdish race, `who in their elusiveness resemble their genie forefathers and in their handsomeness their foremothers'.
As non-sensical as these legend may seem, they attempt to explain the inexplicable foreign features of certain Kurdish communities and point to their origin in the biblical kingdom of Solomon, in other words modern-day Israel.
of the Madai
It almost seemed as if those who had taught the Nilotic peoples the rudiments of an agricultural lifestyle had suddenly departed the scene, leaving their obedient pupils to return to primitive hunter-gatherer lifestyles more familiar to the age in question. It is therefore interesting to note that after its apparent disappearance from Egypt c. 10,500 BC, agriculture does not reappear again until it blossoms in Kurdistan a full 1500 years later. Is it therefore possible that the teachers of the Nilotic communities departed Egypt for Kurdistan sometime between 10,500 and 9000 BC? Who exactly were these hypothetical agronomists and what made them leave the cultivated steppes of palaeolithic Egypt for pastures new? More importantly, were they the ancestors of the Watchers, the human angels of Enochian and Dead Sea tradition?
The Sphinx is quite obviously a lion, the head of which was re-carved in Pharaonic times to represent a king wearing the nemes-headdress. Orientated exactly due east, it gazes out towards the point on the horizon where the sun rises each spring and autumn equinox. Its function is like that of a time-marker, a minute hand on a clock, recording the return of the solar orb as it passes through its 365-day cycle. Yet it also possesses a less obvious, though perhaps more important `hour' hand, and this one marks the minuscule shift in the starry canopy as it turns about its 26,000-year cycle of precession. This visual effect is caused by the extremely slow wobble of the earth, which might be compared with the swaying action of a child's spinning top if revolving at a snail's pace.
in the Age of Leo
If the Great Sphinx was carved as an equinoctial marker at the same time the neighbouring Pyramids were constructed in Pharaonic times, then surely it would make more sense if it was a bull. Making it a lion hints at a connection with the stars of Leo, suggesting that it marked an age when the constellation of Leo rose with the equinoctial sun. The last Age of Leo occurred between 10,970 and 8810 BC, suggesting that the construction date of the Great Sphinx fell somewhere within this time-frame. This is not a new idea by any stretch of the imagination. As far as I am aware, this theory was first put forward by British astro-mythologist Gerald Massey in 1907. In an extraordinary work entitled ANCIENT EGYPT - THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD he boldly concluded that `... we may date the Sphinx as a monument which was reared by these great (Egyptian) builders and thinkers, who lived so largely out of themselves, some thirteen thousand years ago (ie in the age of Leo, its astronomical counterpart).'
More recent astro-mythological evidence presented by Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval in their 1996 book KEEPER OF GENESIS, convincingly demonstrates that the Great Sphinx, as well as the ground-plan of the Giza plateau as a whole, must date as early as 10,500 BC, the very time-frame given for the sudden cessation of proto-agriculture along the Nile.
Since we know that the great stone blocks removed from the sunken enclosure around the leonine monument at the time of its construction were used to build the nearby Sphinx and Valley Temples, then these too must date from the same distant epoch of human history. All this indicates the presence in Egypt around 10,500 BC of an advanced culture adept in agronomy, engineering, building technology, as well as astro-mythology and geomythics that included a profound knowledge of the earth's 26,000-year precessional cycle.
Who were these people? Were these builders of the Great Sphinx really the ancestors of the tall, viper-faced Watchers of Kurdistan? Folklore, legend and the spread of Old World agriculture would appear to support this view. Yet if this was the case, then what happened to make this Egyptian Elder culture want to migrate to the highlands of Kurdistan?
Egypt's proposed Elder culture would have been right in the thick of this global destruction. Certainly it is known that the climatic changes during this epoch caused wide-spread flooding along the Nile, the reason scholars have suggested for the cessation of its proto-agriculture.
More telling is the myth of Sekhmet, the lion-headed deity in the Egyptian pantheon. Because the human race had turned its back on the ways of the sun-god Ra, or Re, whom it saw as `too old', the fierce goddess unleashed an all-consuming fire. Her mass genocide would have resulted in the destruction of humanity had it not been for Ra's personal intervention. He sent an intoxicating brew to cover the earth. Consuming this mixture made Sekhmet drunk so that she fell asleep.
Assuming that Sekhmet's fierce fire was in some way representative of an all-encompassing conflagration that devastated Egypt, then might the intoxicating brew that covered the earth be a memory of a subsequent flood that also overwhelmed the land? If so, then was Sekhmet herself simply a allegorical allusion to the Age of Leo? The indications are that the lion of Leo come to symbolise the age of chaos and destruction that surrounded the end of the Ice Age, perhaps the reason why the Arabs referred to the Great Sphinx as the `Father of Terrors'.
In the story of Sekhmet the survivors of the human race attempt to escape the goddess' devastating fire either by climbing a mountain or by hiding in `holes' like `snakes' or `worms'. Similar means of protection against the cataclysms that raged during the Age of Leo are found in mythologies around the globe, while the presence of such stories in Egyptian legend point towards the break-up of the Elder culture and its subsequent re-establishment in other regions. Might this have included Cappadocia, where underground cities would appear to have been built as early as 9000 BC, and the mountains of Kurdistan, where the Watchers may well have catalysed the beginning of the Neolithic revolution as early as 8500 BC?
The date for this apparent diaspora of the Elder culture towards the end of the last Ice Age can actually be pinned down with some degree of accuracy. For instance, a ninth-century Coptic-Arab text known as Abou Hormeis records that the astronomer-priests of Egypt, having realised the imminent destruction of their race, conceded that: `The deluge was to take place when the heart of the Lion entered into the first minute of the head of Cancer.' The `heart of the lion' was the name given in classical times to the star Regulus, Leo's `royal star', which lies exactly on the ecliptic, the sun's perceived daily course across the sky. Since the constellation of Cancer follows Leo only in the precessional cycle (Leo follows Cancer in the yearly cycle), then this appears to confirm that this legend preserved, not just the memory of probable historical events, but also the approximate date in which they occurred.
At my request, electronics engineer Rodney Hale punched the astronomical information contained in the Abou Hormeis account into a computer using a Skyglobe 3.5 programme. He ascertained that the last time Leo's `royal star' would have risen and been visible on the eastern horizon just prior to the equinoctial sunrise, was around 9220 BC. When the star Regulus, the `heart of the lion', no longer rose with the sun on the spring, or vernal, equinox, this would have been seen by the astronomer-priests of Egypt as a signal that the Age of Leo had come to an end, and the age of Cancer was either about to commence, or that it had already entered its `first minute' of arc across the sky. This information therefore suggested that it was at this point that the Elder culture had departed Egypt in anticipation of a major deluge that was about to over-run their land.
The twin deities vie for superiority over heaven and earth, a battle that is only settled when Zoroaster is said to have vanquished the daeva-worshipping Magi priesthoods during his own life-time. Ever since this time the `Good Spirit', Ahura Mazda, has ruled supreme.
Did all this imply that the ancestors of the Iranian god-kings had first inhabited their mythical homeland, known as the Airyana Vaejah, the Iranian Expanse, around 9588 BC? Give or take a few centuries, this date was remarkably close to the time-frame in which the Egyptian Elder culture would appear to have broken up. Since the Airyana Vaejah is equated with the Kurdish highlands, might this tradition also record the arrival in the region of those Elders who went on to establish the proposed Watcher culture?
According to Iranian mythology, the dualistic forces of Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu were born to a supreme being known as Zurvan, who symbolised `infinite time'. In the Roman cult of the god Mithras, which developed from primary Iranian sources, the concept of `infinite time' was symbolised by a lion-headed deity. Statues depicting this leonine figure show the twelve signs of the zodiac on its chest and a snake curling up over the top of its mane. Although the deity is not identified by name (although it is occasionally linked with Aeon, a gnostic god of time), scholars of Mithraism describe it as a kosmokrator, the controlling intelligence behind the phenomenon of precession.
To find a lion-headed kosmokrator that originated in a tradition that saw world history as having begun in 9588 BC, during the Age of Leo, was impossible to ignore. Could it be possible that although knowledge of the precessional cycle was understood by the Elder culture of Egypt, later cultures who inherited this tradition failed to comprehend its mechanics. So instead of Leo making way for the age of Cancer, and then Gemini, and then Taurus, the symbol of the lion became the one and only kosmokrator, or guardian of infinite time, in much the same way that the Great Sphinx became a precessional time-marker on the plateau at Giza.
of the Fall
Yet these individuals did much more than this, for they would also appear to have left the world an important legacy. It can be traced in the astro-mythology and geomythics of the Giza plateau as well as in the universal myths and legends concerning global cataclysms and precessional data. It transcends all language barriers and can be `read' by all. It is a simple message repeated again and again, like a recurring SOS Mayday signal, and it suggests that what befell their race could one day happen again. For whatever reason, we as a race could sink into oblivion without trace and be wiped clean from the pages of history, unless, that is, we wake up from this collective amnesia we seem to have been experiencing for the past eleven thousand years and realise that we were never the first.
Free thinkers, mystics and maverick scholars have been telling us that civilisation is much older than science would like us to believe for the past hundred years or more. Often their books repeat almost exactly the same evidence time after time. The Pyramids, Tiahuanaco, the Maya, Piri Reis, Hapgood, Plato and the Baghdad battery are just some of the buzz-words repeated again and again. Yet no one other than believers has ever taken these matters seriously.
With the re-dating of the Great Sphinx in particular, there is now too much evidence to deny that at the end of the last Ice Age a high culture existed in this world. Where these people came from is completely unknown. Some might suggest Atlantis, others will say they came from the skies, but to be honest we simply do not know. What is far more important is that we take each step at a time, and stick to hard facts, in the hope that this time the whole world will share in these greatest revelations of our time.
All notes and references used for this article can be found in the author's book FROM THE ASHES OF ANGELS (Michael Joseph, hbk, 16.99)