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(The name Druid is believed to be a compound of two words, Old Norse tales of mistletoe’s origin blame the plant for the death of the sun-god Baldur, who is felled by a dart made of mistletoe, the only plant his mother neglected after a prophecy of the god’s death; some versions of the story tell that the plant became a tree-dweller after the wrathful goddess flung it there.
When the weather turned cold the leaves dropped from deciduous host trees, revealing the sacred leaves and waxy white berries- a promise of the return of the sun.
The image of Chronos devouring his children seems macabre, but illustrates that the the Greeks believed the passage of time is so inevitable that even the gods were consumed by it.
The hourglass is another emblem of time, although hidden within is the promise of life- because the hourglass is reversible, it held within a promise of resurrection, a symbolism not lost on everyone- all of these emblems later became symbols of resurrection to Freemasons and Rosicrucians who grasped their true ancient meanings.
The Shofar is a musical instrument, usually created from a ram’s horn (or that of any kosher animal), used by the ancient Hebrews in war and during events of special significance.
The shofar is the legendary horn that “blew down the walls of Jericho,” allowing the wandering Hebrews to take the city.
Bundles of rods without a weapon were called bacilli, the emblem of the duumviri, magistrates without the power to pass a sentence of death. It was frequently used as a symbol of government, unity, and order.
This ostentatious symbol served as a name for the musician Prince (Prince Rogers Nelson) for more than five years after a publishing dispute with his recording company (Warner Brothers) left him unable to use the “Prince” moniker- which happened to be his given name.
Slogans such as “remember death” and “all is vanity” were omnipresent- death was around the corner, and one had better repent if one was to avoid an eternity of damnation.
The source of these macabre symbols was, ironically, the paganism that Christianity had supposedly replaced.* In ancient times, the emblem of the God Saturn (Chronos to the Greeks) was the scythe, which represented the nature of the cycles of time.
With its golden color, and growing high off the ground without roots, it was naturally associated with the sun.
Most specifically, it was considered to be the sperm of the solar deity Taranis, the promise of the sun God’s rebirth.
During the period of the Winter Solstice, branches were harvested with great ceremony and used for a variety of magical and medical purposes- protection from lightning and fire, curing of poisoning, etc.