18. The Mythology of the Fixed Cross

By Tom Gilmore
Copyright 2018

Part I – The Fixed Cross

The Astro-logical Tradition

The Belt of the Zodiac is divided into 12 segments, named after the constellations of stars within each segment, and represented by a shorthand symbol called the “Sign”.  There is a permutation of 4x3=12 that is traditionally assigned to the Signs.  The 4 “elements” of Fire, Earth, Air, and Water are permutated with the 3 “polarities” of Cardinal (plus; active), Fixed (minus; passive), and Mutable (zero; neutral).   This is illustrated below, showing the Signs (preceded by their traditional Egyptian icons) followed by their spelled-out names, and then their unique element and polarity combination.

Chart by Tom Gilmore

Astro-logical Schematic of the Fixed Cross

The traditional permutation is converted to a traditional astrological pie-chart in the diagram below.
Connecting the 4 Fixed Signs on the pie-chart forms an “X”, thus the term fixed-cross.

Illustration by Tom Gilmore

Part II – Headlocks of the Fixed Cross

The secret of the headlocks of the fixed cross is hidden by the modern changes to the original Sumerian icons of the Astrological Signs.

                Modern        Sumerian
Taurus     Bull           Water Buffalo
Leo           Lion          Male Lion
Scorpio     Scorpion  Bird of Prey
Aquarius  Water       Tree Serpent

Gilgamesh Headlocks

The line drawing below is based on a carving on a Sumerian seal-ring.  It shows Gilgamesh putting the Water Buffalo in a “headlock” (The Taurus headlock). 
Although the Egyptian icon of Taurus is a bull, in Sumer it was the water buffalo. 

Line Drawing by Tom Gilmore

The icon of Leo is the male lion.  In the depiction of Gilgamesh below he is clearly holding a lion in a headlock.  He wears a chain-mail robe that protects him from the claws of the lion.   In Greek myth, Hercules (derivative of Gilgamesh, as demonstrated further on) “strangles” the Nemean Lion, a misinterpretation of the headlock.

Photo of Assyrian statue of Gilgamesh, with Assyrian beard and hair removed.

It is said of the later-period Assyrian myth version of Gilgamesh, Ashur, that he “wore his ‘headache’ as a garment” (here ‘headache’ is a mistranslation of “headlock”).  This saying reflected that Ashur wore a lion-skin cape.

The Sumerian icon of Aquarius was the tree serpent.  In his right hand, the figure of Gilgamesh above is also head-locking a snake (a tree serpent).  Leo and Aquarius are opposite signs of the Zodiac (held in headlocks on opposite sides of Gilgamesh). 

How Aquarius became the Water Bearer

Gilgamesh neutralized the deadly venom of the tree serpent by holding the snake by the head.  After Assyria conquered Babylon, the Assyrian version of Gilgamesh, Ashur, took the venom of the serpent and put it in a small pail.

Line Drawings by Tom Gilmore

In these line drawings of Assyrian stone relief depictions of Gilgamesh and Assur, the change from headlocks to extraction is revealed.  The snake venom is in the pail in his right hand.  The tuft of the lion’s tail is in his left hand (notice the tail tuft of Gilgamesh’s lion).  Assur adorns his war helmet with the horns of the Assyrian bull (Taurus), and he wears the wings of the Bird of Prey (Scorpio headlock).  This pair of opposiote Signs (Taurus and Scorpio) is behind the winged-bulls that adorned ancient Persian monuments.

After the Age of Pisces had submerged knowledge and truth under the dark depths of spiritual desperation, Christians sociopomorphically interpreted the pail as containing holy water (and the tail-tuft being a holy water ‘sprinkler’).  By the time the Bohemian Occultists strove against the Inquisition to preserve the ancient traditions, the name of the Sign that follows Sagittarius had been changed from Gnosis (knowledge) to Aquarius (derived from aqua, meaning water).  The single wavy-line symbol for Gnosis, hieroglyphically representing a tree serpent, was altered to having 2 wavy lines depicting water.  In illustrating the Bohemian Tarot, Occultists “hid” the symbolism of Aquarius on Card 14 with a maiden depicted holding two water jugs with fluid passing between them in wavy lines.

And that is how the tree serpent became the water bearer.

Enkidu: The Scorpio Headlock

The Sumerian icon for Scorpio was any bird of prey (Eagle, Owl, Hawk or Falcon).  In Egypt it was the Peregrine Falcon (Horus).  Enkidu, the twin brother of Gilgamesh, originated the practice of falconry (a privilege of Royalty), where he tethered a bird of prey, and placed a removable hood over its head when not hunting (the Scorpio headlock). 

Ashur wore the wing feathers of birds of prey as an adornment to his regalia.  (“He wore his headlock as a garment”).

In Sumer the word for the west was Scorpio.  The desert west of Sumer was known as the land of the scorpion.  In the desert just west of Sumer, Enkidu would remove the hood and tether of his falcon to let it hunt for the snakes and scorpions that were scurrying over the sand.  Enkidu was raised by wolves and could commune with animals, so the falcon would return when Enkidu whistled (the Royalty believed they inherited this trait from being descendant of Enkidu). 

This small Sumerian cylinder-seal (shown below) is evidence of the Scorpio headlock.  It depicts the Gemini Twins, and their mother and father.  Enkidu is second from right.  He can be identified by the water and fish streaming around him (his name means “master of the rivers”).  It shows a bird of prey returning to Enkidu carrying something it caught in its beak.


Gilgamesh can be identified on the left by his pet lion (Leo, and his hunting bow.  Between Gilgamesh and Enkidu is Bast, their mother.  She is the source of the genetic link found in all humans, which came from a single female ancestor.  She is depicted with wings, the insignia of the Titans.  This is behind the fanciful Biblical notion of angels with wings, arising from the symbol of the Angelic Race.  The figure on the right has two opposite faces, reflecting that he is Janis, the geneticist that bio-engineered Bast (and the Twins) by splitting eggs.  There is a figure in the center crouched between two blocks that is difficult to make out, but is holding up a serrated blade. He represents the hated Seth (the Syrians) who at the time this depiction was fashioned were thought (mistakenly) to have dismembered Enkidu and scattered his body parts.

In ancient times Lebanon (to the west of the Dead Sea) was a vast Cedar forest extending from Egypt to Turkey, and the ruler of Lebanon was called the “Scorpio King”.  The Egyptian name for the Sign now called Scorpio was “Hor” which translates as “Sky” and also “Falcon” (for more detail on Horus refer to the article on ancient Egypt).

The scorpion is also significant to Enkidu, in that it was a desert scorpion loosed on Enkidu during his sleep that put him in a fatal coma.  Gilgamesh journeyed west (scorpio) to the Dead Sea to obtain the antidote to the scorpion venom. 

Scorpio in the Myth of Gilgamesh

The oldest known written myth was found on clay tablets with cuneiform markings, at the bottom of a well in modern Iraq.  The best guess is that the tablets date somewhere between 3000 to 3300 BC, and is written in poetic stanzas that are culturally modified from the original accounts going back to 6300 BC when Gilgamesh built Ur and Urek, the first cities in Mesopotamia.

Elements of the Gilgamesh myth are mirrored in many subsequent myths, allegories, and Biblical accounts, revealing that the events it describes are submerged in the psyche of the human race (most especially the Deluge and the Great Flood, which have been conflated in the Biblical account).

Gilgamesh and Enkidu are the Gemini Twins of ancient Sumer.  The Gemini attribute refers to the Sign of the Age when they lived (the Ages are measured and labeled by the precession of Earth’s axis, refer to the Sun/Earth/Moon article for detail on the astronomical Ages).  

As the story of the Journeys of Gilgamesh ends, the twin Enkidu has for some time been the good King of Babylon, loved by his people for the justice, safety, and prosperity he brought to them, but evil lurks in the heart of mankind, by those plagued with greed and avarice who prey on the kind and gentle, like the wolf preys on the sheep.  His enemies poison King Enkidu in his sleep with a desert scorpion, and Enkidu falls into a deep coma.  Gilgamesh seeks out the cleric Shamash, who tells Gilgamesh the rumor that there is an antidote to the venom of the desert scorpion, and advises him to seek out the boatman’s daughter at the shores of the Dead Sea far through the desert to the west, and that if he fulfilled her desire she would reveal the secret to him.  Gilgamesh treks through the desert and finds the boatman’s shack by the shore of the Dead Sea, where a ferry service was operating.  Gilgamesh seduced Siduri, the boatman’s daughter, and in return she revealed the secret knowledge to him, saying the antidote was in the roots of a seaweed plant that grew only in high density salt water, and only at a certain depth and upon certain muddy soil.  Siduri warned Gilgamesh that the water of the Dead Sea was deadly to drink.  She advised him to cut 6 poles of 6 cubits each to lay in the water as he rowed out in her father’s boat (rented for a sovereign coin), in order to measure the 36 cubits from a certain point on the shore to the area where the seaweed grew, and when there, to tie rocks to his waist with a rope in order to descend in the buoyant water, whereupon after digging out roots with his knife, to cut the rope and ascend to the surface.

Gilgamesh obtained the roots, but upon his return to Sumer he stopped at a Bau Garden to bathe and have his soiled garments washed.  While Gilgamesh bathed he placed the bag of roots on a nearby rock surrounded by water, in order to guard the precious contents, but he failed to notice a tree serpent dangling down from an overhead branch to snatch the bag.  Nearly too late Gilgamesh grabbed at the bag just as the snake took it, but only retained a few roots, as the snake disappeared with the bag (this refers to the prediction of Prometheus that medicine will not mature until the Age of Aquarius).  Upon his return to Babylon, Gilgamesh administers the insufficient antidote to Enkidu, who awakens temporarily to recount to Gilgamesh the hellish dream-world (Nergal) he had been trapped in, where suffering souls were hopelessly entangled.  Heartbroken to see Enkidu lapse back to his nightmarish coma, Gilgamesh set out once again, west toward the Dead Sea, but he was engulfed in a massive sandstorm in the desert, and buried deep under a sand dune.  (It would not be until 2600 BC that the remains of his fated second expedition were exposed by the shifting sands and discovered by the Hero who was destined to reign as King Gilgamesh of the second Sumerian Empire.) 


The Egyptian myth of Osiris picks up the story of Enkidu after he fell into a coma and Gilgamesh had disappeared.  The Order of Isis was responsible for the maintenance of the comatose Enkidu.  After the eventual death from old age of Enkidu, a futile power struggle divided and degraded the strength of Sumer, and the Assyrians invaded Sumer and sacked Babylon, forcing the Order of Isis to retire from Sumer and take refuge in Egypt.    

In the course of time, history became jumbled, and the Egyptians embraced the notion that the Assyrians (called Seth by the Egyptians) cut up Enkidu’s body and scattered the parts, whereupon Isis searched out and recovered the parts and brought them to Egypt where Enkidu was reassembled and mummified as Osiris, but the evidence suggests that the true story was that the dead body of Enkidu was smuggled to Egypt by the Order of Isis and mummified, and that in subsequent turbulent times his mummified body was cut up and the parts spread throughout Egypt.  This would account for the many locations later reputed to contain a body part. 

The Egyptian “Book of the Dead” is actually a distortion of the Sumerian manual for maintaining the life of the comatose Enkidu.  This involved giving sponge baths and flexing the joints of his arms and legs, and for sustenance, the mashing of fruits, vegetables, and meats into pulp, adding water, pouring the mixture into a bladder, and pumping the mixture down his throat using an angular device called the “Opening-of-the-Mouth” to hold the mouth open and allow inserting the tube from the bladder into the esophagus and down to the stomach.

Opening of the Mouth

Part III – The Jumbling of the Proto-Myth of Gilgamesh

There are multiple Sumerian texts that recount the Journeys of Gilgamesh, or make reference to the Journeys.  Together they reveal an epic and complex story.  One interpretation of the term “Journeys” in the title has to do with the multiple travels undertaken throughout the life of Gilgamesh, but an examination of what we would call chapters of the story, that are termed “steps” of the Journeys, suggests that there are 2 versions, one mortal and one immortal.  Gilgamesh is claimed to have been a hybrid being, 1/3 man and 2/3 god (Titan).  The Titans were called the Immortals because they lived up to 900 years of age and more, but they were not literally immortal.  In fact, the mortal journey is told in 22 “steps”, and the immortal journey is told in 2 additional steps, for a total of 24 steps.

In the Gilgamesh myth the Signs of the Zodiac are called "double-hours".  This is because there are 12 Signs on the ecliptic and 24 hours, so each Sign spans 2 hours.  This relates to the 24 steps of the eternal journey.  In a cube, the 12 edges each connect a unique pair of 2 faces, such that in the journey each edge is approached on one face and is departed from on another face, involving 2 faces to each of the 12 edges (2x12=24).

The Mortal and Eternal Journeys

The symbol of material existence is the upright cross (a + sign).  This cross is the emblem of the Knights Templar.  It is distinct from the crucifix cross which has a long lower line.  The “mortal journey” of Gilgamesh is told in 22 steps.  Each step references both a Planet and a Sign.

The steps of the Mortal Journey by Sign, passing through the Planet-faces of the Color-cube are as follows:
A separate article examines the Color-Cube in detail..

Leo                  1  Sun  à        2  Mercury
3  Mercury     4  Mars
Aries               5  Mars           6  Sun
Cancer            7  Sun              8  Moon
Taurus            9  Moon          10 Venus
Virgo              11 Venus         12 Mars
Scorpio           13 Mars          14 Moon
Pisces              15 Moon         16 Saturn
Capricorn      17 Saturn       18 Venus
Libra              19
Venus         20 Mercury
21 Mercury    22 Saturn 
à Death

As can be seen on the color-cube below that tracks the steps, the Mortal Journey crosses the face of the Moon (the mortal cross).     

Both journeys start with the Sun in Leo (marked with an S on the color-cube journey diagrams.

The Immortal Journey alters the Sign sequence as described in 2 additional steps (chapters) that delve into his “afterlife”.  These steps are listed below. 

Leo                  1  Sun  à        2  Mercury
3  Mercury     4  Mars
Aries               5  Mars           6  Sun
Cancer            7  Sun              8  Moon
9  Moon          10 Mars
Virgo               11 Mars          12 Venus
Libra              13
Venus         14 Mercury
15 Mercury    16 Saturn
Capricorn        17 Saturn       18 Venus
Taurus             19 Venus         20 Moon
Pisces              21 Moon         22 Saturn
Sagittarius     23 Saturn       24 Sun
à Leo             Sun      à

These steps eliminate the cross of material existence, adds Sagittarius to the edges involved, and end at the beginning in an eternal loop. 

The myth refers to the “eternal journey of the serpent”, which generally describes the undulating flow of the closed loop of paths.  I had already developed the Geocubic Model, based on spheres compressed inside cubes, and I noticed that by projecting the eternal journey path to the inside of the cube and onto a contained sphere, a smooth looping “serpent” path was produced.  Seeing this, I recognized that I had found the form of the never-ending electron spin as illustrated below.

In addition I had found the origin of the tradition of the serpent representing knowledge.

The 12 ”Labors” of Hercules

The myth of Gilgamesh was known to the ancient Greeks, but through the millennia, Greek myth was hopelessly jumbled, distorted, altered, fantasized, imagined, and fabricated.  An examination of the labors of Hercules reveals that Hercules was derivative of Gilgamesh.  The 12 labors roughly correspond with the 12 Signs of the 24 steps of the immortal journey, and the labors also contain certain elements of the Gilgamesh myth.

Hercules is actually Herakles, which means the power and glory of Hera, and Hera means a year.  The central theme of the labors myth is (sometimes) that the labors were assigned by detractors of Hera, designed to be impossible tasks meant to discredit Hera by having her Herakles fail, or contra-positively were tasks assigned by Hera to prove her power and glory. 

Immortal         Labor                                                   Mortal
1 Leo               Strangle Nemean Lion
2 Gemini         Slay Lernaean Hydra
3 Aries            Capture Artemis’ Golden Hind
4 Cancer          Capture the Erymanthian Boar
5 Scorpio         Clean the Augean Cattle Stables        Taurus
6 Virgo            Shoot the Stymphalian Birds
7 Libra            Capture Cretan Bull                           Scorpio
8 Aquarius      Tame Diomedes’ Mares                     Pisces
9 Capricorn     Obtain Hippolyta’s Girdle
10 Taurus        Roundup Geryon’s Cattle                   Libra
11 Pisces         Steal the Apple of the Hesperides      Aquarius
12 Sagittarius Capture the Hell-Hound Cerberus      --- (None)

(The Signs with no icon association in the labors are grayed.  Only the mortal Signs that differ from the immortal Signs are shown.)

The first 3 labors correspond with the order of the Signs of the steps of both Journeys: Leo, Gemini, and Aries.

The 1st labor is Leo.  Hercules strangles the Nemean Lion in the region of Nemea.  As revealed earlier this is a misinterpretation of the Leo headlock of Gilgamesh.

The 2nd labor is Gemini.  Hercules fights the Hydra of Lernaea.  When Hercules cuts off the head of the Hydra two heads grow back in its place.  This relates to the genetic process Janus used in producing the hybrid Twins Gilgamesh and Enkidu, in that in the chain of twins, Janus terminated one twin fetus and then inseminated twins in the surviving hybrid, until after nine times the hybrid Gemini Twins were born (said to be 2/3 Titan and 1/3 Man).

The 3rd labor is Aries.  Hercules captures the Golden Hind of Artemis.  The Hind is a mythical antelope (a Ram) with golden horns, that can run faster than a flying arrow (Artemis lived in the forest hunting with bow and arrow).  It takes Hercules a year to catch the elusive Hind.   

Some other Journey Signs correspond with labors.

The 6th labor of shooting the Birds of Stymphalia matches with the 6th Journey Sign of Virgo.  This connection is revealed by the Stymphalian depiction of female Nymphs with bird feet, who were aloof from carnal relations.  Hercules has Cupid shoot them with his aphrodisiac arrow so he can seduce them (and thus conquer Virgo)

The other Sign reference is the 7th labor of capturing the raging Bull of Crete (a Minoan reference), which is clearly Taurus, but is out of order, as Taurus is the 10th Immortal Journey Sign.  Instead, the 10th labor was to round up Geryon’s cattle, a more general reference to Taurus.  The 5th labor to clean the Augean Cattle Stables is a general reference to the 5th Mortal Journey Sign of Taurus. 

The 10th labor has no ties to real locations or real animals or people.  Hercules has to travel to Erytheia, which is the red-orb of the setting sun, where he confronts the 3-headed Geryon (a derivative of Cerberus, the 3-headed hell-hound).  Hercules kills Geryon, who carries 3 shields and 3 spears.  It takes Hercules a year to round up the cattle and herd them to the altar of Hera to be sacrificed.

Two labors spoke to the “glory of Hera” (Herakles).

The 4th labor is recorded to be the capture of the Erymanthian Boar, but there are myth remnants that indicate the Boar is not at all the labor, and that instead Hera had Hercules track down and pay court to all the goddesses, in order to espouse the glory of Hera.  It takes a year to accomplish the labor.

The 9th labor is to obtain the Girdle (Belt) of Hippolyta.  The Girdle was a broad belt that the Queen of Amazonia awarded female warriors of great prowess.  Hercules so impressed Hippolyta that she made an exception and awarded the Girdle to a male.  In many of the labors, some versions have Hercules kill the main character for some fabricated reason.  This is especially obvious in the 9th labor because the belt was awarded, and afterward, in the various versions, for some nonsensical reason or other Hercules kills Hippolyta.

Some labors can be shown to have devolved from elements of the Gilgamesh myth.

The 5th labor is to clean the vast Augean Stables which housed 3000 cows.  No matter how fast Hercules worked, before he could finish, the stables he started with would be soiled.  To solve this problem, Hercules dug a canal (in a year), diverting the Alpheus and Peneus Rivers to flush out the stables all at once in one day.  In some versions of the myth, Augeas had been so confident Hercules could not perform the task that he had offered 1/10 of his cattle, but he refused to honor his pledge, and in the dispute Hercules kills Augeus.  This labor relates to the Gilgamesh myth in that in Sumer, Gilgamesh built canals between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers that were used for commerce, and to irrigate the fields.

The 11th labor is to steal the Apples of the Hesperides.  This refers to when Gilgamesh took Enkidu into the Cedar Forest of Lebanon to seek a healing fountain for Enkidu’s injury to the Achilles tendon (Achilles is derivative of Enkidu) and encountered Ishtar, a Titan goddess guarding the forbidden apple orchard.  After a love triangle with Ishtar (labeling her the courtesan of the gods) had disillusioned Gilgamesh, he stole apple seeds from Ishtar and spread them around in vindictive defiance of her guardianship.  This episode is reflected in the American remnant of Gilgamesh, Johnny Appleseed.  (The apple is Biblically associated with the tree serpent, which is the icon of Aquarius, the mortal Journey Sign.)

The 12th and final labor is capturing the 3-headed hell-hound Cerberus, who guarded the gate to the underworld where the dead were imprisoned.  This symbolizes the immortal journey’s “end”, releasing the mortal cross to eternal life.  This is actually from the myth of Poseidon, who rescues Kore (Persephone) from Hades, first vanquishing Cerberus.

One labor spoke to the flawed and mortal character of Hercules.

The 8th labor is to tame the Mares of Diomedes, 4 wild and ferocious horses that ate human flesh, and possessed various powers (source of the 4 horses of the Apocalypse).   Hercules killed Diomedes and contaminated the flesh with a sedative before feeding the body to the mares, and this made the mares docile so he could present them as tamed.  He starved the horses into eating sedative doped grain, and claimed he had fulfilled the challenge, but it sullied his reputation and angered Hera, clouding the proof that he was indeed Herakles.  Hera is said to have released the horses to the wild, allowing their fierce nature to be restored.  The horse is the icon of Sagittarius (confused with the Centaurs, half-horse and half-man).  Hercules was mortal and thus could not complete the Sagittarius labor, which was excluded from the Mortal Signs.

Index of all Articles by Tom Gilmore