If this is your first time here, Welcome! I’m David, and the following blog entries shine a new light on our religious and scientific history three thousand years ago. You will understand the basis of today’s thinking much better after reading them! The best order to follow is:
To a child, the Samson story is one of amazement! Ripping apart a lion, single-handedly killing a thousand people using only a jawbone as a weapon, then three thousand more by pushing the pillars of a house apart: these are feats firing the imagination! And to find Samson’s power comes from his hair, by a decree of God Himself! It is a mighty convincing tale of Our Creator’s greatness!
In those young years you may laugh at the fact that he was undone by a woman. Your teachers might use the story to emphasize that God works in mysterious ways, and has a plan for everyone’s life, or maybe they will talk about the importance of being smart as well as strong.
As you grow older, the idea of such a person ‘Judging’ the Israelites for twenty years may come to feel odd. Asking a priest, you might find that the Hebraic term translated as ‘judge’ actually means ‘someone God uses as an example, i.e., to lead people on a better path.’
Digging deeper, something quite odd appears: the name ‘Samson’ means something like ‘man of the sun,’ or ‘little sun.’ Delilah, the femme fatale, derives her name from the root ‘lilah,’ which means ‘night.’ The little sun is betrayed by night!
Scholars have commented on this weird fact, questioning why his name doesn’t incorporate God’s name in some manner, like most other Biblical characters. For example: Ezekiel and Zachariah mean ‘God strengthens,’ and ‘Yahweh has remembered,’ respectively.
Taken at face value, this item indicates the story came from an age before the later versions of God.
Because of these issues, and more, hundreds, if not thousands of writings have been created about Samson.
Just as a literal reading of the story is not backed up by any non-biblical source, none of those commentaries have been able to point to physical events directly correlating to Samson’s adventures.
My work changes that. There are twenty nine astronomic actions which mirror the biblical narrative. A forgotten reason behind the slow Israelite transition to monotheism is also revealed.
Place yourself in the sandals of our ancient priests. They did not understand the world, but, like most people today, they were convinced a power (or multiple powers) were responsible for their life and the universe around them.
When those early searchers first became aware of the sixty-year Jupiter/Saturn conjunction cycle, they viewed it with a sense of awe. The sky god was revealing itself to them! That is why they gave ‘sixty’ the title of being Anu – the god of heaven’s – number.
As you can imagine, centuries passed, and the newer generations did not look upon things quite the same. For a while, they thought the planets were deities. But the question wouldn’t go away: were they gods? What made the slowest ones come back together in twenty-year intervals, with a greater sixty-year pattern?
Eventually these became such important questions that the inner core of the priesthood had to know the answers. After careful observations, they encoded what they witnessed, and their hypotheses, into the Samson story. Those answers helped change their society, and are the basis of our own civilization.
The clues which helped solve this riddle appeared in Hamlet’s Mill, as well as Alden’s writing, surrounded by a bunch of slag that took much time to skim off. Among the useful items: Samson was Mars; the ‘jawbone’ was the Hyades; Leo, the constellation, was the ‘lion;’ and ‘sixty’ was extremely important to the story. In fact, another source, the Babylonian Talmud, records Simeon the Just (from pre-200 BC) giving a span of ‘sixty’ cubits wide for Samson’s shoulders, emphasizing that number in relation to the biblical story. (The reference also indicates that Samson’s astronomic underpinning had not been immediately forgotten by the inner core of the Judaic priesthood.)
The reason for the emphasis is simple, but profound: the Samson tale recorded celestial events occurring on the sixty-year Jupiter/Saturn conjunctions, beginning in 1416 BC.
Our archaeological record shows the people of Canaan/Israel undergoing a transformation at that time. The Bible says the Hebrews came to Israel after forty years of wandering in the desert, but the ruins (and our newer genetic investigations) make more sense when interpreted as internal strife destroying the Canaanite palaces, not external conquest, especially because the pottery of the Canaanites is similar to that of the Israelites. The upheaval occurred between about 2200 BC to 1250 BC.
Back then longitudinally based mathematical astronomy wasn’t a dream, and wouldn’t begin taking form until about 500 BC. Our ancestors could determine the shortest and longest day of the year (to within a few days), as well as the ‘times of equality’ – the beginning of spring and fall, and we know the Babylonians had a step function that could roughly predict eclipses. They could also record transactions on a night-by-night basis in simple terms, such as, “On the 1st of Nisannu the Hired Man becomes visible. On the 20th of Nisannu the Crook becomes visible…” (This is from the Babylonian Mul Apin tablets, dating to approximately 1000 BC.)
But to make sense of their observations the priests only had one tool available: stories. And the Israelites crafted one of the most masterful tales ever told.
The narrative starts with Samson’s birth, in Judges, chapter 13. Scholars have concluded the authors wrote Judges 13 independently of Judges 14, 15, and 16, to set the scene, so to speak. No astronomical interactions occur in that chapter.
The celestial tale begins in Judges, chapter 14, in which Samson is said to have ‘rent’ (ripped apart) a lion. Cutting to the chase, this is the event they chronicled as portrayed in the planetarium program Stellarium:
Very simple: Mars passed through Leo directly after Jupiter and Saturn conjuncted in 1416 BC.
As an aside, in 2012 archaeologists uncovered a seal which appears to show Samson fighting a lion. Interestingly, it was discovered in ‘Beth Shamesh’, a town whose name translates to ‘House of the Sun,’ thereby tying into Samson’s name, and indicating the tale may have originated there. The seal dates to the 12th century BC (so between 1200 to 1100 BC), which testifies to the sticking power of the story in society back then, as well as the celestial beliefs at that time.
After Samson ‘rent’ the lion the storytellers said he returned to see a woman, and ‘turned aside’ to see the lion’s carcass. ‘Bees and honey’ had appeared in the body of the beast, and he took some for himself, and shared some with his parents upon meeting them.
Again, the priests simply made up a story to explain what they witnessed. After two years Mars returned to the lion, and this time ‘retrograded,’ or ‘moved backwards’ against its normal forward movement. It did this in Leo, and moved close to a cluster of stars that has been called ‘the beehive’ since antiquity:
The observers imagined Mars/Samson ‘reaching out’ to get honey, in response to the celestial motions.
(As another aside, Cancer, the Crab constellation, which houses this ‘beehive,’ appears to have been created about fifty years after this event, around 1350 BC, which helps explain its omission in this tale. Cancer is one of the dimmest of the zodiac constellations.)
Those are the major transactions of Judges 14. They are just two of the eleven astronomic events recorded in its twenty verses.
Our ancestors constructed the next chapter in the same step-by-step manner as 14. The highlight of that installment was Samson ‘killing a thousand men with the ‘jawbone of an ass.’ Again, straightforward:
In other words, Mars retrograded in the sky near the Hyades (the ‘Jawbone’ in their terms) right after Jupiter and Saturn met in 1356 BC. The authors made the ‘slaughter’ up, to commemorate the importance of the events being documented, just as the lion was imaginatively ’rent,’ or killed, in the previous installment.
Judges, chapter 16 is a record of the priests focusing on a bigger question: whether the sixty-year Jupiter/Saturn conjunction sequence illuminated anything meaningful about the celestial deities. Remember, prior to this they thought the specks in the night sky could actually be gods wandering the heavens. But the cyclic nature of the planets made them question their hypothesis.
As I indicated, those observers became aware of the sixty-year Jupiter/Saturn cycle about 3200 BC. While the Canaanites did not directly descend from the Sumerians, they worshipped the same type of ‘heavenly council,’ and everything shows a deep influence by their neighbors to the east.
The Samson story testifies to the desire of at least a small core of the Canaanite/Israelite priests to understand the planetary actions they witnessed in the night sky. Even though their thoughts were steeped in ‘deity thinking,’ the cyclical nature of the nighttime specks made them propose what we would call a childish idea: that ‘bindings’ of some sort – like dark hairs which couldn’t be seen against the black of night – drew the planets through the skies. But such ideas had to be thought before our own, deeper comprehension could begin to take hold.
The Samson story also testifies that the Bible is not the word of a ‘perfect God,’ as my mother, and other religious people often proclaim. Rather, it is a compilation of the most important stories of the Judaic people. Amazingly, this three-thousand year old tale created to record planetary actions has remained within its pages, and shines a light upon thoughts that have been long forgotten.
In my book, Laughing at the Devil: One Man’s Religious Discoveries, all the celestial events recorded in the Samson narrative are revealed. Fresh insights into the origin of our seven-day week, and other religious topics are also illuminated. I also share more of my story, and my relationship with Mom, who has passed away.
Our ancestors were trying to better understand the universe through their investigations, in order to create a better world for themselves by praising the deity that could reward them. I hope that by shining a fresh light on the astronomic underpinning of their work, we can go beyond the religious beliefs of today, and create a better world for everyone. Perhaps one day no one will have to choose one parent over another in the name of God. Pick up a copy of my book, and see for yourself if that dream can be realized!
To my mother, grandmother, and the rest of the cult members, the Samson story was simply an example of God’s greatness. Studying it in any other terms was pointless, because you do not question God. Period.
The tale has a greater context, though, and being aware of that context will considerably enrich your comprehension of Samson and his actions, because it brings new insights into humanity’s search for truth, and casts a new light on the roots of both religion and science!
As you can imagine, at one time our ancestors understood very little about how the universe worked. We made great progress since then, but we’ve mostly turned our backs to the thoughts which preceded our current investigations. That doesn’t mean the general picture isn’t known. Rather, it isn’t widely disseminated.
More than a century ago scholars made huge strides towards understanding our past. We deciphered many ancient languages, and examined a large number of artifacts. Myths and ideas from numerous cultures were recorded and correlated. And a bigger picture appeared.
Among the most impressive of those results is a work by Sir James Frazer; a set of books titled The Golden Bough. In them, Frazer presents many early beliefs and rituals, and shows humanity was deeply superstitious, and viewed the world from a magical perspective before religion held sway. In those times if you wanted revenge upon someone, you might stab a footprint they left behind, believing the action would thereby affect their foot, and bring them pain, if not death.
Frazer’s work of twelve volumes is packed with many more examples of sympathetic magic we once practiced. It also goes way beyond magic, and reveals Christianity wasn’t something ‘brand new,’ but was an extension and refinement of many thoughts and practices which came before it.
Inanna’s ziggurat, in Uruk
As the saying goes, ‘the only constant is change,’ and another book, by Thorkild Jacobsen, titled The Treasures of Darkness is worth knowing about. It documents some of the changes Mesopotamian religion went through over the years. Beginning from the magical approach, Jacobsen (who was an important scholar of their history) shows the next major religious idea to hold power is individual gods/goddesses ruling each city.
After a millennia of that thought, people started believing they, themselves, had their own personal deity who would help them if called upon to do so correctly. (This is similar to the modern Christian idea, except for the polytheism involved.) Finally, as more war came to the region, and people’s fates seemed uncertain, their imaginations turned away from propitiating gods, and to pacifying those warrior figures with flattery of their frightfulness, to keep them from harming the populace.
In other words, their view of the world changed, partly as the result of their exterior circumstances. Another item was also changing: their understanding of the universe.
Back in the times of magical thinking, quantifying the world wasn’t a priority. But as their viewpoint shifted, it became one.
We know one of the items they focused on was the night sky. The moon’s twenty-nine to thirty-day cycle beckoned to be understood, and was the basis of our calendar back into antiquity. Venus and Jupiter, with their brilliance at dawn and dusk – when they sometimes appeared above the horizon before or after anything else – drew attention to the fact that some of the specks moved against the background stars. Watching closer, those observers made out the five visible wanderers.
Afterwards, our priests tried making sense of the stars and planets from the perspective of those celestial points being deities worthy of worship. The timeframe of this historical phase was from about 3500 BC (and possibly earlier) to 1000 BC for the Near-East cultures responsible for our civilization.
As hinted at with the moon, counting became quite important. Once our investigators were aware of the wanderers, they eventually wanted to know how often they met each other. The slowest objects take the longest time between meetings, and because of that a sixty-year conjunction sequence between Jupiter and Saturn was found. Nothing they knew of took longer, and because of its celestial nature ’60’ gained the title of Anu – the lord of heaven’s – number. Its use on our watches is a reflection of the importance educated elites placed upon it in the past.
Based on our archaeological investigations, the Sumerian investigators discovered ’60’ about 3200 BC, towards the end of the magic era.
Only two more pieces of information are needed to begin making sense of the Samson story. The first is that ideas continued to evolve, and explanations which once worked no longer fit as comfortably. The second is that proper mathematical astronomy wouldn’t start to appear until about 500 BC. Before then, stories were the only real tool our ancestors had for understanding the workings of the night sky.
With that, the Samson story – the greatest of their achievements – can be elevated to its proper place in history. We will do so in the next post! See you there!
My childhood experiences left a lot of questions. Answering those questions was hard, because I didn’t know (and still don’t) anyone capable of honestly discussing our religious heritage and beliefs.
For example, my mother encouraged me to stop studying because my investigations touched upon the pagan ideas of our ancestors, and she loved me so much she didn’t want eternal damnation for my soul.
On the other hand, some of the scientific minds I’ve dealt with refuse to acknowledge science could have anything to do with religion, even though religion has been around longer, and molded early society far more than today’s science.
A rather sad state of affairs exists because of our collective action of turning away from the past. We repeat things that just aren’t true, and have been known to be untrue for quite a long time.
A simple example is the Pyramids of Egypt. Many people are aware of stories saying aliens built them, or they are unbelievably old. After all, a certain channel which claims to be about ‘History’ presented these items with a straight face, although historians have understood for almost a century that the Egyptians made them approximately forty-five hundred years ago, primarily for religious purposes.
An even crazier example is ‘Niburu’. Searching online will reveal thousands of pages dedicated to the idea that it is an extra planet wandering our solar system, which will soon return to visit us, bringing either a new enlightenment or world destruction. The real, existing Nibiru scholarship is not so easy to find.
Given this foundation, moving away from the thought of my father being Satan’s son was a multi-year, solitary affair.
By the time I discovered the book mentioned in the previous post, that shift had finished. I’d completed college, Dad and I were friends, and no religion appealed to me, although I believed in being a good person and trying to make the world a better place.
But I remained curious. Thanks to my curiosity, over twenty years later I do have something to add. Something which will subtly, if not profoundly, alter your ideas about our religious past, regardless of your current beliefs.
My cult immersion occurred twenty years before discovering Hamlet’s Mill, but I still remember Mom and Grandma praying with us, and sharing Bible stories and tales of the saints for inspiration. Somewhere in those stories was Samson, and his super-heroic feats against the Philistines, including slaughtering a thousand of them using only the jawbone of an ass, and pushing two pillars of a house apart, killing three thousand more. In my childhood he was portrayed as a great example of God’s power.
De Santillana and von Dechend devoted an entire chapter to that biblical strongman, and mentioned him several more times throughout their work. Their point was much different than Mom and Grandma’s. They believed Samson encoded a story about the planet Mars, and based their assertion on the preposterousness of the tale, as well as his impetuousness, strength, and lust – which were traits for the red wanderer in many cultures. Additionally, they pointed out that the Babylonians used the term ‘the Jawbone’ for the group of stars we now call ‘the Hyades,’ in the constellation Taurus.
Unfortunately, the writing was in such a bad state that working out the exact connections between Mars and Samson was almost impossible. Frustration turned me away from the quest.
Almost a year later an urge compelled me to search online for anything relating to Hamlet’s Mill. A source appeared which brought me a step closer to unravelling the truth, but it had its own set of problems!
The web writing (The Mill of Time, by Terry Alden) said our ancestors once knew a very precise method of dating ‘celestial ages,’ long before our current astronomical abilities were available.
If you are drawn to understand ‘celestial ages,’ or ‘world ages’ as they are also called, google ‘precession of the equinoxes.’ For our purposes they are unimportant.
What is important is that even though Alden was wrong about our ancestors’ knowledge and abilities, he pointed out the emphasis de Santillana and von Dechend placed on a sixty-year conjunction cycle between Jupiter and Saturn. I had completely missed it in my perusal!
With that background I began my own studies. It took some time to overcome the incorrect assumptions floating around us, but I succeeded. We can finally begin understanding our true past, and the important role the priests played in it! The journey will start in the next post!
Hi, I’m David, and in this, and following posts, some of our forgotten religious and scientific heritage will be shared. I’ve gone deeper into our heritage than most, because my mom ran away with my sisters and me when I was a child, and indoctrinated us in a fundamentalist Catholic cult. The hypocrisies I witnessed left many questions, and started a multi-decade quest for understanding.
My formative years
Some aspects of our ancestor’s religious endeavors are illuminated which have been forgotten for two thousand years, or more. Just as they helped me cope with my situation, and grow beyond some painful limiting beliefs, they may help you view our religious heritage more clearly, and see things from a new perspective. My hope is these discoveries help broaden our ideas, and lead to a more inclusive and tolerant world.
When Mom drove us four hours from our childhood home, she did not tell Dad where she was taking us. Many years passed before I could understand how strained their relationship had become, but almost no time passed before I understood things had changed. After a quick greeting by the nuns and girls at the boarding house, everyone knelt and prayed for what seemed like eternity. And then bed.
Mom started sneaking prayers with us a few months earlier, after school before Dad got home. At the boarding house we prayed morning, noon, and night. Later, when they entered me in their schools, even the bus rides were filled with them. During those trips we were also told to look at the floor, to keep from being tainted by the sight of any outside non-believing sinners.
Dad tracked us down shortly afterwards, and tried to make the relationship work, but the cult interfered. They chaperoned his visits, and insisted that he accept all their beliefs so he could marry mom in the church, since they didn’t consider the previous marriage valid. He attempted to, but found several contradictions in their teachings they couldn’t reconcile.
One morning a priest met me and two of my sisters as we got off the bus to go to school. They herded us into a parishioner’s car and took us to a farm outside town, where Mom and my other sister had already arrived. We were being hidden from Dad once again; tensions had gotten so high that he was no longer a ‘good person.’
Dad turned into ‘Satan’s Son’ a couple weeks later, when he found us one more time. That is how I remember his sleuthing power being explained, and since Mom and Grandma both said it with conviction, I was young, and I was impressionable, I believed them, as did my sisters.
This thought became the greatest cornerstone for change in my life.
For some unknown reason, the cult moved us back to the original boarding house when Dad found us. (Possibly because they really figured he was in cahoots with Satan, so failure would be the result of any action other than prayer.) Several weeks later our place was surrounded by cops, and Dad got us from them.
At the beginning my parents were allowed to live as ‘brother and sister’ by the church, so Mom could be with us. But their relationship continued to degrade, largely because Mom considered my father to be related to the devil, and she and Grandma gave us religious paraphernalia to hide around him, to ‘convert’ him. Of course he found those items, and wasn’t happy.
Eventually he filed for divorce, and obtained one, after a lot more drama I won’t go into here.
During that time Dad forced us to broaden our perspectives, even if only slightly. We went to some Protestant and Baptist services. I was unwilling, until Dad’s ear twist brought tears, and changed my mind!
Slowly, my thinking shifted. I did not convert to a new religion, but I did begin to know Dad was not the evil being I had been taught. He didn’t perform pagan rituals, nor did a smoky apparition of his supposed ‘father’ ever float about him. More importantly, in spite of his sometimes forceful nature, I began to know his good and caring sides.
As that caring became more apparent, I started questioning my aversion of him, and finally began changing my beliefs and accepting him. After much more than a year I started to wonder, “If the church was so wrong about Dad, what else were they wrong about?”
Eventually, I forced myself to tell Grandma I wasn’t going to be her little priest any more. I have never done anything more difficult. No religion appealed to me at that point, although I did believe Something was responsible for creating the awesomeness of reality. ‘Something’ just couldn’t be defined in the terms the priests used – they had all shown a lack of comprehension.
The stumbling block was every preacher said a ‘Perfect’ God wanted us to accept teachings only they knew, and other people must be converted. This reminded me too much of my relationship with Dad. I only began making sense of things when I stopped trying to convert him, and started to understand him. That is when I gained a little happiness, and became more secure in myself.
I started calling myself ‘spiritual, not religious,’ and began building my life. Engineering became my major, in order to understand reality from a different perspective, and find out if I could make deeper sense of the God concept from that viewpoint.
And then I worked, and started to see how our plethora of conflicting beliefs cause a lot of chaos in the business world.
Slowly, I forgot about my quest to understand ‘God.’
Then, one day in about 1994, I went to the library for a book – I don’t remember which one. I do recall perusing the shelves for fun, and ending up in the mythology section. A thick tome seemed to beckon me, and upon reading, I was hooked.
Thumbing through the pages, I came across reference after reference to connections between some early myths and astronomic events – or what appeared to be connections between some early myths and astronomic events! For over thirty minutes I stood there, flipping through pages, soaking up the information until my hands began to numb. Then the circulation desk rescued me, and the secrets of the universe poured into my head for the next three weeks!
Well, not quite. I spent about four more hours with that book, and they became progressively more frustrating. The writing was terrible– skipping from topic to topic without closure. Never making the connections between subjects understandable, nor the author’s point clear. And, worst of all – although I didn’t know it at the time – they proposed a hypothesis which didn’t make sense in light of the historical relics we possessed when the authors wrote it.
That known history, and some of our more far-fetched efforts to explain it, will be the topic of the next post, because those authors were far from the first to make such a mistake, and it took almost twenty years to get to the bottom of the puzzle they opened up.
The result is a far greater understanding of our history, and I look forward to sharing some of it with you in the next post! See you there!