Last night Scott Wolter turned his blog over to lunatic historian Alan Butler—the adjective referring accurately to his belief that our moon was made by time travelers who also founded the Freemasons. Butler uses the space to promote his 2006 book on the history of sheep, one which situates most of the credit for the creation of the modern world on British sheepherding. The blog post is rather dull and doesn’t make too many wild claims. Instead, Butler intimates that the Knights Templar used the Lamb of God (Agnus Dei) symbol to represent their sheep holdings. The Templars did in fact have many sheep across Europe and held licenses to export wool, a major cash source for the order.
Other knightly orders did similar things: The Burgundian Order of the Golden Fleece, while officially representing Jason’s fleece from Greek mythology (later changed the Biblical fleece of Gideon), actually took the form of the hoisted sheep used by Burgundy’s wool merchants. As Butler himself knows, the idea of sacred sheep and rams goes back to the origins of animal husbandry. However, there isn’t any evidence that the Knights intended to symbolize their sheep with the lamb, which comes from John 1:29 and typically symbolizes Christ’s sacrifice.
Nor is the Agnus Dei unique to the Templars; medieval people used it all the time, and the Knights Hospitaller also used the same lamb, following an old Catholic tradition from the ninth century onward in which wax discs stamped with the lamb were used as protective amulets.
In short, there isn’t anything unique or conspiratorial about the Templars’ sheep symbol, nor can we support Butler’s assertion that the Templars’ sheepherding brought about the Renaissance as part of an economic plan developed in the eleventh century by the counts of Champagne. Sheepherding was a standard part of a manorial economy across Europe. For example, in thirteenth century Spain, sheepherding was the most important sector of the interior peninsular economy, more so than even cattle ranching. Sheep weren’t exclusive to the Templars, nor were the Templars particularly dominant in the wool industry.
But Butler’s post was practically scholarly compared to comments Ancient Aliens pundit Jason Martell made at the ancient astronaut panel at the Conscious Life Expo last week. As reported by The Emoluments of Mars blog, Martell told an adoring crowd that the sun is part of a binary star system and that the absence of its dark twin correlates with spiritual dark ages, including the early medieval period in Europe, while its presence leads to spiritual golden ages every 24,000 years. (This dark star seems to affect only Western civilization and not, say, the Maya.)
Here’s an edited taste of what Martell had to say, as transcribed on Emoluments of Mars:
You guys have heard of the Dark Ages, and the Golden Age -- well, these seem to be terms connected to a larger cycle of time, that the ancients were aware of. Precession today is based on what they call some wobble on the Earth caused by the gravitational pull of the Moon, and various things. […] Most solar systems are binary. We're starting to see that they have at least two suns -- sometimes even six, an intricate dance. So it's very possible that we are a binary solar system -- that we actually have two suns. Our second sun would probably be a brown dwarf -- a dark star at this point, not giving off a lot of heat, not very easy to detect. But a lot of the evidence is pointing to the fact that if we are a binary solar system, the model to explain precession is getting disrupted. […] So there seems to be a correlation between the orbit of these two suns -- and when the suns are at their farthest point we're in the Dark Ages. When the suns are at their closest point we're in the Golden Age. Now, if you think about this for a second, this is a very large cycle of time -- a 24,000-year cycle -- and the ancients watched this by every 2,000 years we kind-of point to a new north star, a new direction.
Martell went on to tell the audience that if we could capture energy from a second sun it would give us more “electro-magnetism” which in turn will “get us going” the way the sun energizes us when we wake in the morning. Therefore, this energy will take us to “a higher consciousness.” (The energy seems to only affect diurnal creatures. Sorry, bats and owls: Your consciousness will remain blinkered.)
It’s touching that Martell, the co-founder of the God Tube religious video sharing service, has such little faith in modern science that he thinks we have somehow missed the existence of a second sun in our solar system, yet somehow this same science proved conclusively that “most solar systems are binary.”
Over at The Emoluments of Mars you can read more about Martell’s shoddy grasp of astronomy, but it’s worth noting that there is no evidence of universal cultural florescence and decay on a synchronized schedule, let alone according to some astrological timetable dictated by the imaginary constellation before which the sun rises on the spring equinox. When might the Golden Age have been? Why did the Dark Ages fail to affect the Maya, for example, who reached their greatest heights when Europe was at its lowest ebb? Similarly, Tang Dynasty China, coeval with early medieval Europe, is remembered as a golden age of Chinese civilization. If Martell’s ideas are true, we’d expect to see world civilizations moving in sync.
Maybe Martell has a different Dark Ages in mind, perhaps something thousands of years in the past or the future. I doubt it, though. If we’re only somewhere in the middle of a cycle lasting tens of thousands of years, then our lifetimes would see no magic, no change. And who’d be interested in that message?
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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