Saturday, February 07, 2009

De Gelder's Divine Dove

Early this morning in England, Robert Rickard, the founder and former editor of Fortean Times, tossed and turned. He struggled to wake up and get warm. He drifted in and out of sleep, and then, he later told me, something "popped into" his mind.

He got up and wrote me:

"For some strange reason I woke up with a UFO link to the Dendermonde case. On the cover of the FT compilation Diary of a Mad Planet (FT issues 16-25), we featured a painting of what looks like a UFO hovering over a crowd surrounding St John baptising Jesus. The UFO is in fact a Divine Dove with an elliptical halo, but four beams of light shine down from it onto the scene below. The painting is by Aert de Gelder."

The cover of the compilation is shown here:

The "Dendermonde case" is code for the event involving the daycare nursery killer, Kim de Gelder, the Dendermonde Joker. (I've web logged several recent entries about the subject, for example, here, here, here, here, and here.)

Rickard pointed out to me that the image is now seen throughout the Internet, often in relationship to it being "ancient proof" for UFOs. I notice, for example, that the image is sometimes flipped, incorrectly (see below), thus changing its symbolism.

Rickard further shared that FT had permission, in 1991, from the owner, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, to use it. He wasn't so sure that today all the sites showing it have the Fitzwilliam's permission.

The painting is The Baptism of Christ, c. 1710, by Aert de Gelder (1645-1727), which was given to the Fitzwilliam Museum by Lord Alwym Compton, Bishop of Ely, in 1905. Apparently the previous owner, Marianne, the Countess of Alford, had bequeathed it to the donor in 1888. It is oil on canvas, 48.3 x 37.1 cm.

Aert de Gelder (Oct 26, 1645, Dordrecht – Aug 27, 1727, Dordrecht) was one of Rembrandt’s last pupils while in Amsterdam, studying in his studio from 1661 to 1663. The general consensus is that de Gelder was not only one of the most talented of Rembrandt’s pupils, but also one of his most devoted followers, for he was the only Dutch artist to paint in the tradition of Rembrandt's late style, into the 18th century.

The subject of de Gelder's painting, John the Baptist died around 30 A.D. The prophet is most remembered having headed a baptism movement at the Jordan River in expectation of a divine apocalypse that would restore occupied Israel. Christians, Jews, and Muslims regard John as a prophet, as do Bahá'ís and Mandaeans.

The painting that flashed into Rickard's mind this morning depicts John's baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan. The dove overhead in de Gelder's painting is the disputed UFO/dove.

Christian scholars and writers for hundreds of years have used the dove as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. This symbolism was inspired by the Bibical account of Christ's baptism (Luke 3, 21-22). The dove, as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, may be seen in churches, on priestly vestments, on altars, tabernacles, sacred utensils, and in many religious paintings.

June 24th & Beheadings

Needless to say, among Forteans, the feast day of John the Baptist's birth (June 24) is a major milestone in anomalistic history. The Knights Templars displayed the “Mysterious Head” at Poitiers on June 24, 1308. The "modern age of flying saucers" began on June 24th, 1947. I and many others have written much about St. John's Day, June 24th. (See a list of anomalistic events associated with this date, here.)

The overlapping decapitation symbolism to various events such as the recent VA Tech beheading can be rather directly viewed, via metaphor, in the beheading of John the Baptist, a significant event that is often also painted.

The biblical account portrays the beheading of Saint John the Baptist by Herod Antipas. On Herod's birthday, Herodias' daughter (traditionally named Salome) danced before the king and his guests. Her dancing pleased Herod so much that in his altered state of consciousness he promised to give her anything she desired, up to half of his kingdom. When the daughter asked her mother what she should request, she was told to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Although Herod was appalled by the request, he reluctantly agreed and had John executed in the prison.

Salome With the Head of John the Baptist (London), by Caravaggio, c. 1607.

The beheading date is generally given as August 29th. The Roman Catholic Church celebrates the feast on August 29 as the "Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist" in the ordinary form and as "The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist" in the extraordinary form, or traditional Latin Mass. The Church of England and many other national provinces of the Anglican Communion celebrate the feast on August 29. In the Church of England, the day is referred to as "The Beheading of John the Baptist."

The Divine Dove

Aert de Gelder's "Divine Dove" is a frequent motif in religious paintings, and is, as noted, an earthly representation of the "Holy Spirit."

In this painting, The Descent of the Holy Ghost, the disk form is similar to what is shown in de Gelder's art.

Sometimes, however, the Divine Dove is shown as part of the Trinity of Signs.

Fridolin Leiber (1853–1912) painted an example in his The Holy Trinity. Note that the iconography of "triplets" may not be accepted by all modern Christian groups. (The Holy Trinity is more usually depicted with God the Father as an elder, God the Son as Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit as a Divine Dove.) The persons of the trinity are identified by symbols on their chests: The Son has a lamb (agnus dei), the Father an Eye of Providence, and the Spirit a dove.

But in general, the "Holy Spirit" as a dove is painted above the religious figures in the scene, as can be viewed in the following several examples (which may be identified and keyed from this reference, "Holy Spirit").

Doves, UFOs and Loch Ness

One could say that metaphoric UFO landings were re-enacted routinely within religious settings.

In medieval times the figure of a dove was widely used to enact in a dramatic way the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday. When the priest had arrived at the sequence, he sang the first words in a loud and solemn voice: 'Veni Sancte Spiritus' (Come, Holy Ghost). Immediately there arose in the church a sound 'as of a violent wind blowing' (Acts 2, 2). This noise was produced in some countries, like France, by the blowing of trumpets; in others by the choirboys, who hissed, hummed, pressed windbags, and rattled the benches. All eyes turned toward the ceiling of the church where from an opening called the 'Holy Ghost Hole' there appeared a disc the size of a cart wheel, which slowly descended in horizontal position, swinging in ever-widening circles. Upon a blue background, broken by bundles of golden rays, it bore on its underside the figure of a white dove. Source

I want to note that the Loch Ness Monster can be added into this mix too.

The "dove" is found in a fairly common word and its many forms: Columba, Columbia (!), Columbine (!).

St. Columba, a warrior saint, has become the living "dove," for in Old Irish, he is known as Colum Cille (meaning "Dove of the Church"). It is said Clan Robertson are heirs of Columba, and to some extent, Clan MacKinnon too.

Art by Bill Rebsamen.

On August 22, in 565 AD, St. Columba came across a group of Picts who were burying a man killed by a monster that today is linked to the Loch Ness Monster. St. Columba supposedly brought the man back to life. In another version, he is said to have saved the man while the man was being attacked, driving away the monster with the sign of the cross.

Several St. Columbas have been recorded, all having been beheaded.

St. Columba of Sens suffered towards the end of the third century, probably under the Emperor Aurelian. She is said to have been beheaded in 273, near a fountain called d'Azon; and the tradition is that her body was left by her murderers on the ground, until it was buried by a man called Aubertus, in thanksgiving for his restoration to sight on his invoking her.

St. Columba the Virgin is a female saint with dedications in Cornwall and other Celtic regions. She probably lived in the 6th century. She became a Christian when the Holy Ghost appeared to her in the form of a dove. The Latin word for dove is 'columba'. She was beheaded by a pagan prince she refused to marry.

The Celtic saints of St. Columba of France and St. Columba of Spain have similar legends in that they were all maidens who were pursued and killed by pagans. All suffer decapitation where springs or wells then miraculously gushed forth from the spot, as was said to have happened with St Columba the Virgin too.

St. Columba of Cordova was a Spanish nun who was martyred by being beheaded by the Moors, at the monastery of Tabanos in 853.

St. Columba Kim Hyo-im (1813-1839) was a native of Pam-som, Korea. As the persecution of Korea’s Catholics continued, Columba and her younger sister (Saint) Agnes were brought before a pagan police commissioner. Upon refusing to apostatize, Columba was tortured in various ways. Only about five days after this ordeal, her wounds inexplicably healed so completely that her captors attributed the apparent miracle to an evil spirit. On September 26, Columba was beheaded for her faith, three and a half weeks after her sister Agnes had suffered the same fate.

^ ^ ^

"On the instant when a picture of the dove, or even the shadow of the suspended bird, was pierced by a sword, the dove itself was beheaded, although it had not been disturbed....This experiment, called 'Theophrastus Paracelsus,' recalls an old superstition, namely, that evil can be wrought by a spoken incantation." - The Old and The New Magic by Henry Ridgely Evans


Thuth said...

This is very interesting find, and GREAT that it came in a dream.

The beheading synchs are all interesting - breaking open the head. There's a link to a Beer commercial in Thuther Thoughts that touches directly on this. I will find it on Youtube and post it for you as a comment.

The light shining down in the painting from the UFO may not be shining down at all, but instead, shining up. Jesus as the gate letting the light in through him splayed out on the clouds.

Also, it reminds me very much of this:

You'll like this one. ;)


Thuth said...

One more quick one, because you have me spiraling.

You throw the bat signal up in a last ditch attempt to summon the dark knight to your aid.


Because the joker is on the way.

You imbue Heath Ledger with symbolism you know will synch him up with all this Gelder / Dendermonde / Beheading St. Columbia stuff.

Then you kill him as an sacrifice to keep what he represents away/at bay. Or the universe killed him. . .not sure. As a kind of Ying/Yang balancing act to make sure we don't TEETER to far to one side.

Is the Joker Quetzalcoatl/Thoth? Are the killings the before-wake of his future coming?

Hmmm. . . .


Thuth said...

I wrote about this video about a year ago. Watch closely:

Beheading on Easter Island - which synchs up with Jesus/Easter.
Breaking open the Watergate/Stargate
Mass Programming of the Superbowl
Bat Signal on the Moon


Michael said...

Fascinating. Let's not forget the symbol of Star Wars' Rebel Alliance - a dive bombing dove.

cryptidsrus said...

We might as well throw in the fact that the Knights Templar supposedly worshiped the head of St. John the Baptist as part of their initiation ceremonies. That, along with their worship of Baphomet, their "spitting on the Cross," and so forth is why we love them so much after all these centuries. Great post, Loren. I especially liked the St. Columba reference. Looking forward to the Ledger movie, too.

Ben Fairhall said...

A fascinating update- thank you.

This and the Bruges connection are significant links in the chain.


Anonymous said...

Thuth said:

You throw the bat signal up in a last ditch attempt to summon the dark knight to your aid.


Because the joker is on the way.

You imbue Heath Ledger with symbolism you know will synch him up with all this Gelder / Dendermonde / Beheading St. Columbia stuff.

Then you kill him as an sacrifice to keep what he represents away/at bay. Or the universe killed him. . .not sure. As a kind of Ying/Yang balancing act to make sure we don't TEETER to far to one side.

thuth's batsignal = loren's dovelight

the dreaming mind feels the joker near, the devil in earthly wrath

so . . . a kind of apotropaic rite, a (bruce) warding . . . this Mad Planet keeping its Diary

and hoping somebody still reads it

watching ledger closely in 'dark knight' makes clear that a collective rite is underway in his being -- he exudes and attracts a mass charge . . . a lightning rod encapsulating v real collective fears (and guilt) projected from what is coming backward into time

ledger was teleologically impelled, offered up by a desperate nation amidst a psychospiritual meltdown

the loki-ness monster is boleskine, antediluvian sorcery/ seabeast/joker risen

Ben mentions Bruges again, and i also referred to that city yesterday in a post at TTLG, mentioning also the torture of boys at an orphanage in Marianna, Florida -- and up pops the Countess Marianne in this post, a possessor of the de Gelder painting

nice work loren, ben, thuth


Loren Coleman said...

There's been confirmation that the first decapitation of a Western hostage in Pakistan since U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl was beheaded in 2002 has occurred. The Pakistani Taliban has released a video today, February 9, 2009, showing the beheading of the Polish hostage, Piotr Stanczak.