- King Arthur and the Messianic Holy Snake
By Christopher Morford
In the Sefer Yetzirah, the Book of Creation, Chapter 6:1, we are introduced to the word “Teli”.
These are the three Mothers AMSh
And from them emanated Three Fathers,
And they are air, water, and fire.
and from the Fathers, descendants.
Three Fathers and their descendants.
And seven planets and their hosts,
And twelve diagonal boundaries
A proof of this
true witness in the Universe, Year Soul
and a rule of twelve
and seven and three:
He set them in the Teli, the Cycle, and the Heart.
The definition of “Teli” is not universally agreed upon. Some say it is the sword of God, hanging in its sheath at his hip. Others say it refers to a Bola, a ball hanging from a line once used by hunters to throw and entangle the legs of animals. Most Kabbalists agree that it refers to the center point around which the heavens rotate and from which the Earth hangs, like the ball of the Bola from a string, or a suspended blade like the Sword of Damocles.
The Teli is most likely the Pole Serpent Draco, the twisting constellation that reaches into all the houses of the zodiac. Depending on the myth, Draco either protects or seeks to possess the pearl, the stone, and the jewel known as the Pole Star. A star in Draco, Thuban, was once the pole star, but now we follow Polaris in the constellation of the little bear as our Northern star. The word Teli comes from the root Talah, meaning to hang, or suspended from above. In the Midrash, it is said that the World “Hangs from a fin of the Leviathan”.
Below we see a drawing of the Teli done by Rabbi Eliezer Rokeach of Wormes (1176-1238).
In the mystic work known as the Bahir, it is said that the Teli is a likeness of God. The drawing by Rabbi Eliezer symbolizes this reference, for if it is inverted it is meant to look like one face or aspect of God, that of a young bearded man in battle. The beard and hair of God are said to be the channels through which his/her wisdom flows out into the universe. The hanging serpent becomes the hanging man. This may be one reading of the Hanged Man of the Tarot.
Let’s visit the legend of King Arthur. Arthur was born of the Pendragon line. We are often told that this means the “Head Dragon” or “Chief Dragon”. I would propose another possibility. Take the word “Pendant” or “Pendulous” from Latin “Pendere”: To hang. In this sense, Pendragon could mean “Hanging Dragon/Serpent”. We have seen that Draco encircles the Pole star Polaris in the constellation Ursa Minor, the Little Bear. The name Arthur comes from Arturus and Ursus. From this we get the word Artik, the North Pole of the Heavens and Arktos, the Bear. King Arthur’s name is literally describing this section of the heavens above and he sits in the center of the Round Table set in front of him.
Arthur’s sword is the legendary Excalibur of course. Pulled from the stone and/or retrieved from the Lady of the Lake (The many versions of the Arthurian legend do not agree as to whether the sword in the stone is the same sword as was presented to Arthur by the Lady of the Lake). The name may come from a sword of Irish legend called Caladbolg. It was a two-handed sword that cut a great circle across the sky when swung and could level the tops of mountains and destroy entire armies. Recall the Teli being described as the terrible sword of God that hung at his side and with which he will destroy the Dragon of the Sea, the Dragon that forms a great circle around the heavens.
There are many other instances of Kabalistic symbology within the Arthurian Legends, not the least of which is the character of Parsifal/Perceval. Aside from his name sounding much like “Pierce the Veil”, it is also likely related to the Kabalistic concept of the Partzifum. The Partzifum are the names given to the shattered vessels that were constructed to contain God’s light. 5 of the 10 were broken but have been partially reconstructed.
Also the Knight Gawain. Ga’Wain..Wain meaning a wagon or cart. Another name for the little dipper, ursa minor, the little bear is “Wain”, as it was seen as a wagon or a cart in some cultures. Related to this is Lancelot. Perhaps the Lance of Lo-nginus, the centurion who pierced the side of Christ with his Lance. There is a 12th century French poem by Chretien de Troyes entitled “Lancelot, Knight of the Cart”.
Let’s move on to the last and most mysterious meaning behind the Teli. The Teli is said to be the “Holy Snake”, the Pole Serpent, the Nachash-Ha’Kodesh that Moses raised upon a Pole to save the Jews from the other Fire-snakes. The concept is that it takes one snake to defeat another, just as the staff of Moses changed into a serpent to devour the other snakes of the magicians of Pharaoh. “Moshiach” is the Hebrew word for “Messiah”. Moshiach and Nachash have the same gematria value: 358. In this sense it is not a stretch to see the Christian Messiah, the Moshiach, Jesus as the Holy Snake.
In the Bible there are two books which have the same introductions, “In the beginning…”, the Book of Genesis and the Book of the Apostle John. Strangely enough, since we are talking about the Great Dragon that encircles the heavens, let’s take a look at chapter 3, verse 14 in both books. 3:14 or 3.14 being the value of Pi, the formula relating the radius of a circle to its circumference.
Genesis 3:14 : And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.
John 3:14 : And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.
Both passages relate to the Serpent. In one passage the serpent is cast down, in another it is lifted up. Jesus is comparing himself to the Brazen serpent, the serpent that Moses raised upon a pole in the desert, the Pole Snake, Draco, the Teli, the bearded man/god hanging upon the pole/ or even the world tree just as Odin hung inverted to discern the runes.
In many depictions of Christ he is seen holding the Globus Cruciger (The globe of the earth surmounted by a cross) in his left hand. In this aspect he is the Salvator Mundi, the savior of the world. Remember that the earth is said to dangle from the hanging serpent.
Sometimes the globe is a clear sphere with gold bands that resemble the sutures on the top of the human skull as well as the sections of the body of the Scarab beetle so revered by the Egyptians. The Cross “sprouts” from the top of the skull/earth, reminding us of the true symbolism of Golgotha/Calvary, the place of the skull.
Christ holds his right hand up in most renditions, two fingers raised, sometimes slightly crossed. This is said to be the sign of benediction. I think it’s possible it may represent the two serpents, sometimes said to be the twins, Esau and Jacob, or two aspects of the same serpent which is in a constant battle with itself, thereby maintaining balance, sometimes seen as the ouroboros, the coiled serpent simultaneously devouring itself in order to sustain itself, also the serpents of the caduceus and the Ida and Pingala of Kundalini yoga.
In addition, as the constellation Draco is seen touching every house of the zodiac, 12 portions of its body residing in each sign, one could say that this is symbolic of Christ giving a portion of bread (His Body) to each of his twelve disciples. The cup of the last supper, the grail, could be seen as the little dipper in this context.
I hope I didn’t get too far off track as I tried to connect all of these dots. Thanks for reading.