(In Aramaic. h/t @Extrachelle)

Mysticism, Nature

Straighten Up and Fly Right: Jordan Peterson and the Left-hand Path

Maier, Atalanta Fugiens_AF46

Michael Maier, Atalanta Fugiens: Emblemata Nova de Secretis Naturae Chymica, 1618. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

The buzzard told the monkey “You are chokin’ me
“Release your hold, and I will set you free”
The monkey looked the buzzard right dead in the eye
And said “Your story’s so touching but it sounds just like a lie”


Jordan B. Peterson would appreciate this moment of synchronicity. After all, he is well-versed in Jung.

A friend in the northern hemisphere tweeted a video clip of a Peterson interview yesterday on BBC Radio 5. I just happened to see his tweet, five hours later.

In reference to young men, he said:

“They’re desperate for a discussion about responsibility and fair play and noble being and working properly in the world, and to hear the idea that their lives actually matter; that if they straighten themselves up and fly right that they’ll have a beneficial effect on themselves and their family and community, and that the world is starving for that, and for them, as individuals; not for them as a group but for each of them as individuals.”


When I heard those words spoken, my memory instantly flashed to consciousness the 1943 hit song by Nat King Cole:

A buzzard took a monkey for a ride in the air
Monkey thought that everything was on the square
The buzzard tried to throw the monkey off his back
But the monkey grabbed his neck and said “Now listen, jack”

Straighten up and fly right
“Straighten up and stay right
“Straighten up and fly right
“Cool down papa, don’t you blow your top
“Ain’t no use in divin’
“What’s the use of jivin’
“Straighten up and fly right
“Cool down papa, don’t you blow your top.”

The buzzard told the monkey “You are chokin’ me
“Release your hold, and I will set you free”
The monkey looked the buzzard right dead in the eye
And said “Your story’s so touching but it sounds just like a lie”

From “Her Lucky Night” 1945


I instantly knew – by intuition, buttressed by knowledge, acquired recently and reviewed only yesterday – what this idiom really means.

It has a profound significance.

I doubt that many today – if any – fully appreciate what these allegorical lyrics mean. Wikipedia provides a helpful hint, by dint of the background story:

The song was based on a black folk tale that Cole’s father had used as a theme for one of his sermons. In the tale, a buzzard takes different animals for a joy ride. When he gets hungry, he throws them off on a dive and eats them for dinner. A monkey who had observed this trick goes for a ride; he wraps his tail around the buzzard’s neck and gives the buzzard a big surprise by nearly choking him to death.

Engraving from I.C.H. Des Hermes Trismegistus, Leipzig, 1782

Engraving from I.C.H. Des Hermes Trismegistus, Leipzig, 1782. © 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

The phrase “straighten up and fly right” is said to mean:

Fig. to improve one’s behavior or attitude and perform better. (Originally referred to an airplane.)

in. to get serious and start behaving properly.

Clearly this is the context in which Peterson used it.

But there is far more to this allegory. I think it extremely important that we fully understand it:

And therefore, it is wisely said, that the stone is born of the spirit, because it is altogether spiritual. For the vulture himself flying without wings cries upon the top of the mountain, saying, I am the white brought forth from the black, and the red brought forth from the white, the citrine son of the red; I speak the truth and lie not.

Maier, Atalanta Fugiens_AF43

Michael Maier, Atalanta Fugiens: Emblemata Nova de Secretis Naturae Chymica, 1618. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

[F]or the vulture flying in the air without wings, cries out that it might get up upon the mountain, that is upon the waters, upon which the “spiritus albus” or spirit of whiteness is born.

The vulture flying through the air, and the toad creeping upon the ground, are the emblems of our magistery.

– Lapidus, “In Pursuit of Gold”, The Secret Book of Artephius (c. 12th Century)

Last evening – again, just by ‘coincidence’ – I had tweeted a lengthy thread of quotations from a book I am reading, written by a PhD scholar. The author’s preface openly states his purpose:

This book was composed in large measure as a response to the irrational “Satanic scare” of the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was written with the intention of reaching a wide readership of thinking individuals capable of understanding the historical and cultural scope of ideas underlying the images of the left-hand path. [..] It should also be noted that the author of this book is not a Satanist, but is a practitioner of the left-hand path based on purely indigenous European models.

Stated more simply, the book is a scholarly defense of Satanist ideology, and so-called “black magic[k]”.

In earlier essays, such as Cheating Females Parts 1 and 2 (here, here), Ode to Debt (18+) (here), and Stags and Unicorns: The Alchemical Root of the Normalisation of Cheating (here), I have demonstrated that the left-hand path philosophy has been deeply embedded in modern western culture. It is increasingly evident – brazenly so – in the decadence, nihilism, and orchestrated chaos of postmodern western culture.

Indeed, the “Satanic” philosophy is literally the driving force of ‘our’ capital-ist,¹ Mammon-worshipping (and thereby enslaved) world. I have shown that it is at the very core of double-entry accounting, ‘modern’ banking, and the creation of our ‘money’ supply in the form of Balance Sheet credebt records, deceitfully rented to us at “interest” (usury, compounding):

..Freud cites overcoming incapacity for work as a major motive for entering a pact with the Devil. [..] A major psychological feature of black magic is that it provides immediate gains without immediate payment. The payment is feared as “really” both deferred and excessive. Thus deferred and excessive payment for immediate gain is characteristically associated with pacts with the Devil. The aversion towards usury, in current times as well as throughout the history of Christianity, is not completely coincidental. For usury is exactly a social expression of the Satanic Pact, immediate gains and excessive deferred payment.²


Engraving from JA Siebmacher, Das guldene Vleiss, Nurnberg 1737

Note hands AND feet: Left = Assets (real wealth), Right = Liabilities (double-entry *book* debt) | J.A. Siebmacher, Das guldene Vleiss (“The Golden Fleece”), Nurnberg, 1737. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

To my repeated assertion that Satanic philosophy is the driving force of modern and (especially) postmodern western capitalist culture, our scholar would appear to agree:

“The existence of the left-hand path is not easily discovered, but once its principles have been uncovered it slowly becomes apparent just how widespread the philosophy is.”

“[T]he basic precepts of the left-hand path have for centuries penetrated far beyond the sphere of magical and occult activity.”

“[M]odern philosophies and political ideologies have fully embraced principles basic and fundamental to the left-hand path, almost all of which have become the accepted norm in the west.”

The true significance of the allegorical sermon by Nat King Cole’s father becomes clear only when we understand the origin and meaning of the left-hand path, versus the right-hand path.

We see then that, rather than “the devil in the detail”, in the lyrics of the song we find the exact opposite: “Le bon Dieu est dans le détail” (“the good God is in the detail”).

I will now present some excerpts from our left-hand path scholar’s book, trusting that your eyes will be opened, and you will see. Note that italicised emphasis is in the original; bold is mine:

The actual origin of the right-hand versus left-hand path terminology itself is rooted in the vocabulary of Indian tantric sects. The two main divisions of these are the dakshinachara, “right-way” and the vamachara, “left-way”. [..] The eventual elaboration of the right-hand/left-hand path distinction is quite complex, but its origins are most probably rooted in the widespread tantric doctrines of a natural flow of universal force through the human body along a left to right line – entering the left, exiting the right. This is mirrored by a cosmic flow of force from the north to the south. When the human being is oriented toward the east this flow pattern is said to be in harmony with the one natural to his body, as his left hand is to the north, his right hand to the south. Here are the roots of the key to the common antinomianism, reversal of patterns, found in left-hand path tantrism. To reverse the left to right pattern, contrary to nature and cosmic law, requires an exercise of the faculty of will. This is an act of rebellion against nature and against divinely ordained cosmic order. [..] In going against this flow, individuals more fully articulate – individuate – themselves within their environments. Independence and freedom are attained and maintained – perhaps even personal immortality is to be gained.

Julius Evola remarks on the distinction between the two paths:

“The creative and productive aspect of the cosmic process is signified by the right hand, by the color white, and by the two goddesses Uma and Gauri… . The second aspect, that of conversion and return (exitus, reditus) is signified by the left hand, by the color black, and by the dark, destructive goddesses Durga and Kali. Thus according to the Mahakala Tantra, when the left and the right hands are in equilibrium we experience samsara, but when the left hand prevails, we find liberation.”

[Burton’s Legal Thesaurus: reditusproceeds, rent, revenue]

Engraving from Benedictus Figulus, Thesaurinella olympica, Hamburg, 1682

Benedictus Figulus, Thesaurinella olympica, 1682. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

Alain Daniélou remarks that the left-hand path corresponds to a “disintegrating tendency” (tamas) which “uses the power of Nature, the passions and instincts of man, to conquer, with their aid, the world of the senses… This way leads directly from the physical to the abstract because … the descending tendency is at both ends of the manifested, [therefore the left-hand path] may utilize even eroticism or drunkenness as a means of spiritual achievement.”

Clearly the left-hand path .. is associated both with the idea of dis-integration (separation) and with the practice of antinomianism  – of “going against the grain” of conventions in order to gain spiritual power.

Here it is quite clear, at least from the masculine perspective,³ that the essence of the vamachara [left-way] is the total transformation of the human initiate into something superhuman or god(dess)-like.

One of the significant differences between the two tantric paths, although both are under aegis of Shiva, is that on the right-hand path the adept always experiences “someone above him,” even at the highest level of realization. However, on the left-hand path the adept “becomes the ultimate sovereign” (chakravartin = world ruler).

Sixth woodcut from Basil Valentine's Azoth

Heinrich Nollius, Theoria Philosophiae Hermeticae, 1617. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.

It is tempting to expand this essay with details of the antinomian “aberrations” that are practiced on the left-hand path in pursuit of its goal. But to do so would, I think, detract from the importance of the thematic understanding here presented, thanks to Jordan Peterson, a black folk tale, Nat King Cole and his preacher man father, my Twitter friend on the other side of the planet, and what was, for me, a spirit-raising moment of Jungian synchronicity.

If you feel compelled to learn more of the (disturbing) details, then you may wish to read my earlier essays mentioned above. One further quotation from our PhD scholar will be mildly suggestive:

Ultimately, [Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis] de Sade holds that the pursuit of pleasure is the object of human life, and that physical satisfaction is more noble than the merely mental. Happiness depends on the greatest possible extension of pleasure. This is done by enlarging the scope of one’s tastes and fantasies. It is only through wilful imagination that the possibilities for pleasure are extended. Social or religious conditioning prevents this in most cases. Finally, happiness is not so much found in the enjoyment of pleasure as in the desire itself and in the destruction of obstacles in the way of its accomplishment.

For de Sade the greatest pleasures were to be found in overcoming things which may have at one time inspired fear or disgust.

Whether in the sexual or more abstract philosophical sphere, the truest definition of Sadism .. is: “The pleasure felt from the observed modifications on the external world produced by the will of the observer.”

Suffice it to say, the allegory of the trickster buzzard who offers to take you on a jivin’, “fly left” joy ride – one that will “set you free” – is a profoundly cautionary tale:

“It is quite understandable why the forces of orthodox Christianity fought every advance in scientific, political, or religious philosophy, for each advance in spiritual freedom and enforcement of the interests of plurality over unity is indeed a victory for the Prince of Darkness – the principle of isolate intelligence…”

Maier, Atalanta Fugiens_AF12

Michael Maier, Atalanta Fugiens: Emblemata Nova de Secretis Naturae Chymica, 1618. © Adam McLean 1997-2017 (alchemywebsite.com). Used with permission.


“Evil is the conscious attempt to make the conditions of existence more pathological than they have to be, and it’s motivated by conscious intent.”



The buzzard told the monkey “You are chokin’ me
“Release your hold, and I will set you free”
The monkey looked the buzzard right dead in the eye
And said “Your story’s so touching but it sounds just like a lie”


UPDATE 3 Feb 2018:

Recommend reading this article on the gnostic underpinnings of Jordan Peterson’s philosophy. Compare with Cabala’s origins. Readers of my other essays will hopefully recognise the fundamental connections between gnosticism, cabala, and left-hand path philosophies.




Stephen E. Flowers PhD, Lords of the Left-hand Path: A History of Spiritual Dissent

¹ If the reader is tempted to assume that I am opposed to the ideology of capitalism alone, I would say only that there was insufficient time and space to address the subject here. Please consider that I am somewhat widely read on the true origins, intent, and consequences of ‘Marxian’ socio-economic theories; thus my views on what I consider to be an artificial opposition are likely more nuanced than you may have presumed.

² David Bakan, Sigmund Freud and the Jewish Mystical Tradition

³ Cheating Females: The Production of Inequality, By Illusions of Equality


I recommend giving thought to this man’s words. But do not watch if you are unable to ignore vulgar, and/or blasphemous language, in the interest of gaining understanding.

“Of course, if I get disassociated from by a domination of empirical science I could be objectified into nihilism but apart from that little hiccup…”


Why Economics Needs Repentance, Not Reformation


The only way for economists to earn public faith in their profession, is to repent, and cease from practicing cabalists’ magic.

One year ago, economists were trusted far less than hairdressers, and the ordinary man or woman in the street.

Today, as the curtain closes on a tumultuous year Two Thousand Seventeen of the Common (until recently, Christian) Era, and the portents of war, of financial, social, ecological and civilisational collapse, and the gloomy dawn of a new Dark Age ruled by a small cabal of neo-feudal globalist oligarchs hang ominously in the air, the economics profession continues to do what it does best.

Bicker in the piazza. While all around, Rome is burning.

Case in point.

A recent protest by rebel economists invoked the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s fabled[1] 95 Theses. In reply, the hierarchy issued a pontifical bull defending their “unhealthy intellectual monopoly” (my emphasis):

It has become routine to assault the “dismal science” with a dismal ignorance of what economics actually involves. Writers, students and even some social scientists from other disciplines who have very little exposure to what economists do are quick to point the finger and declare economics as a veil for vested interest, and dismiss it as a way of thinking that is fossilised in numbers.

Sometimes, though, the criticism can even come from within the economics bubble itself.

Oh the irony.

Economic theory has always been a veil for vested interest: the interest of the Usurocracy.

Economists’ “way of thinking” has been fossilised in numbers since the thirteenth century rise of cabalist theurgy: the magic equilibrium numerological ‘science’ of angelology and demonology.

Economists exist in a bubble of historical ignorance. They broadly fail to search outside their prescribed textbooks for knowledge and understanding of the true origin of the fundamental ideas and beliefs within their own discipline. Heterodox economists calling for a Reformation, or revolution in economic thinking, are just as endarkened as the orthodoxy.

Consider a singular example often cited by a leading economic rebel:

Economics doesn’t need a Reformation: it needs a scientific revolution, similar to that triggered by Copernicus’s publication of “On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres” in 1543. [..] This was the first great scientific revolution, and it inverted our understanding of the Universe: rather than the Sun orbiting the Earth, the Earth orbited the Sun; rather than the stars being nearby, they were far away; and gravity, not God, told the “Heavenly Bodies” how to move. [..] The revolution in astronomy that Copernicus triggered with his fundamentally different paradigm took over a century. Galileo played a key role here, by building the first serious telescope and observing four of Jupiter’s moons… [..] This revolution didn’t come peacefully, and it wasn’t led by the Ptolemaic astronomers themselves, but by new entrants to the field—including, crucially, Isaac Newton, whose equations of motion provided a mathematical explanation for why the orbits of planets were elliptical rather than circular.

Let’s unpack this. Historical context is vital.

In the Battle of Ideas between ‘science’ and ‘superstition’, as always, it’s about money:

Then, as now, all wars are bankers’ wars.

Copernicus spent many years in Italy. Evidence suggests that ‘his’ idea crystallised while studying at the University of Padua.[2] This was the seat of libertas scholastica (academic freedom) near Venice: the fertile ground for ideas and schemes offering ‘utility’ in the confrontation, or subversion, of political or religious threats to the Venetian Republic’s profits and power. Its first offered subjects were law, and theology. Copernicus himself is said to have attributed the discovery of heliocentrism to the ancient Greek astronomer, Aristarchus of Samos.[3][4]

Galileo was a paid agent and likely dupe of Paolo Sarpi, chief of the Venetian intelligence and philosophical ridotto (think tank) networks. The controversy between Galileo and the Church was masterminded by Sarpi – his trial represented “one of the greatest public relations successes of all time.” Galileo’s status as Europe’s premier scientist followed the publication of ‘his’ astronomical findings. Sarpi was the “advisor, author, and director” of the entire project. In March 1610 he wrote that a telescope had been found in Holland two years before (my emphasis):

Once this was found, our mathematician [Galileo] of Padua and some of our other people who are not ignorant of these arts began to use the telescope on celestial bodies, adjusting it and refining it for the purpose….”[5]


Paolo Sarpi (Source: Wikipedia – Mezzotint by William Dickinson, 1777, after F. Zucchero, 1777)

The fame of alchemist and cabalist Isaac Newton and his alleged “discoveries” was also engineered by the Venetian “Deep State” network, for financial and political gain, in context of Anglo-French rivalries. The mastermind was Padua native and member of the Venetian nobility, Antonio Schinella de Conti, the duplicitous intermediary in the Leibniz-Newton calculus controversy.[6][7]

Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 9.58.14 PM

Père Conti of the French Mission in Rome, caricature by Pier Leone Ghezzi, 1674–1755. (Source: Artnet.com)

The Church hierarchy may have been empirically wrong in upholding the geocentric model of the Universe. However, the weight of emphasis given to these key historical events by modern academia abjectly fails to identify the vested financial motives underpinning the ‘scientific revolution’.

Throughout the Renaissance – also known as the Hermetic Reformation[8] – the immensely powerful Venetian oligarchy employed its sophisticated pan-European network of agents in active promotion of any ideas convenient to its financial interests. Its chief opponent, and perennial on-again-off-again antagonist or ally, was Europe’s moral and financial regulatory authority: the Catholic Church.

The Church’s teachings on usury, and a spiritual kingdom – in essence, a moral paradigm of patient endurance in suffering, and of doing good in the service of others in this life, in anticipation of spiritual reward – were anathema to a usurious patrician nobility and merchant oligarchy possessed of centuries-old envies and aspirations for earthly rule, through money and the sword.

Modern science did not begin with rare enlightened “free thinkers”, armed with reason and experimental evidence, courageously challenging the authority of superstitious obscurantism.

Nor did economic ‘science’ develop as a result of “physics envy”.

Modern science – including physics, and the ‘science’ of economics – began with thirteenth century cabalist theurgy.

Black (under cover of “white”) magic.

While the Church promoted God as the invisible force telling the Heavenly Bodies how to move (“by the Word of God”), the Venetian oligarchy promoted cabalist theurgy as the means by which man could gain control over the “spirits” controlling the motions of the Sun (gold), Moon (silver) and the planets Above. These heavenly “powers” were the key to the universal order of creation, including the world Below.

Rather than God as the invisible, personal force who could be humbly petitioned to grant requests for health and wealth “according to His will”, cabalist theurgy promoted the idea of acquiring power to command the invisible, intermediary forces responsible for health and wealth.

The secret gnosis (knowledge) of how to do this, was the Art of magic words – magic letters, embedded with magic numbers.

Magic mathematics.

The Duality Principle embedded in the double entry bookkeeping of medieval Italian merchants, and in the “rational”, pleasure/profit-maximising, magic equilibrium assumptions and equations of modern economists, is the “Enlightened” modern gnostics’ scientific title for ancient Babylonian occult philosophistry.

Story-telling, with numbers added.

As proponents of black magic, the Venetian Usurocracy was initially hostile to the flourishing development of empirical science in rival Florence during the early Renaissance. Around 1600 however, the Paolo Sarpi network began rebranding the Venetian Republic as the embodiment of the most advanced and sophisticated science, representing the highest expression of scientific values.[9]

Over ensuing centuries, the Usurocracy’s network successfully smuggled its cabalist theurgic principles into all areas of modern science, promoting formalism, reductionist materialism, and in a supremely ironic example of cabalist-derived Orwellian doublethink, the fetishism of institutional (i.e, academic ‘expert’) authority.

Economists have an immensely important role in shaping the policies, regulations, and values of modern society. Few, if any, have the faintest clue that by conflating biological, material, and moral values using the balance sheet ‘logic’ of double entry, the Venetian Giammaria Ortes, and subsequent luminaries of the British Radical liberal philosophical school such as Jeremy Bentham, cleverly eliminated the “moral element”[10] from their ‘scientific’ discipline: one that was once called Moral Philosophy.

Those who do not study history, or who restrict their search for knowledge and truth to within safe reading and thinking distance of academically-approved, textbook lines of inquiry, will never discover the true origin and sign-ificance of the ideas, and (amoral) values that they practice and preach.

One wonders if St. Peter may not have been forecasting the coming of modernity’s neo-Babylonian economic theurgists, and not merely pseudo-Christian theologians, when he wrote his Second Epistle warning against false teachers:

These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.

While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption…

St. Peter the Apostle



[1] E. Michael Jones, “The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit and its Impact on World History”, Fidelity Press (2008), p. 257 – “On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther sent 95 objections to the Catholic Church’s doctrine on indulgences to Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz. According to legend, he also nailed the theses to the door of the Schlosskirche in Wittenberg.”

[2] Jerzy Dobrzycki and Leszek Hajdukiewicz, “Kopernik, Mikołaj”, Polski słownik biograficzny (Polish Biographical Dictionary), vol. XIV, Wrocław, 1969, p. 6 (cited in Wikipedia, Nicolaus Copernicus In Italy, fn. 55; online 31 Dec 2017)

[3] Owen Gingrich, “Did Copernicus Owe a Debt to Aristarchus?”, Journal for the History of Astronomy, vol. 16, no. 1 (February 1985), pp. 37–42. (cited in Wikipedia, Nicolaus Copernicus, fn. 6; online 31 December 2017) – “Copernicus was aware of Aristarchus’ heliocentric theory and cited him in an early (unpublished) manuscript of De Revolutionibus (which still survives), though he removed the reference from his final published manuscript.” (note A)

[4] George Kish, “A Source Book in Geography”, Harvard University Press (1978), p. 51 (cited in Wikipedia, Aristarchus of Samos, fn 2; online 31 December 2017) 

[5] Webster G. Tarpley, “Against Oligarchy: How the Dead Souls of Venice Corrupted Science”, The American Almanac, January, 1996.

[6] Richard S. Westfall, “Never at Rest: A Biography of Isaac Newton”, Cambridge University 1983, p. 771ff (cited in Wikipedia, Antonio Schinella Conti, fn 1; online 31 December 2017)

[7] Webster G. Tarpley, “Against Oligarchy: How the Dead Souls of Venice Corrupted Science”, The American Almanac, January, 1996.

[8] James D. Heiser, Prisci Theologi and the Hermetic Reformation in the Fifteenth Century, 2011

[9] Webster G. Tarpley, “Against Oligarchy: How the Dead Souls of Venice Corrupted Science”, The American Almanac, January, 1996.

[10] John Ruskin, “Unto This Last” (1860), E.P. Dutton and Company, 1921 Edition, Essay IV Ad Valorem, p. 89.


Carried Worlds

Caught between many worlds,
Three years I carried them all,
Saviour, stranger, danger, betrayer.
The scarlet thread, said to bind eternal,
Whitens when pure sacrifice accepted.
With salted sight I die outside your walls,
Wondering if you kept your half,
Or wrapped it all around my horns.

Mysticism, Time

On Bitcoin Bubbles, Blue Garters, and Blue Aprons

(William Hogarth, The South Sea Scheme, 1721)

See here ye Causes why in London,
So many Men are made, & undone,
That Arts, & honest Trading drop,
To Swarm about ye Devils shop, (A)
Who Cuts out (B) Fortunes Golden Haunches,
Trapping their Souls with Lotts and Chances,
Shareing em from Blue Garters down
To all Blue Aprons in the Town.
Here all Religions flock together,
Like Tame and Wild Fowl of a Feather,
Leaving their strife Religious bustle,
Kneel down to play at pitch and Hussle; (C)
Thus when the Sheepherds are at play,
Their flocks must surely go Astray;
The woeful Cause yt in these Times
(E) Honour, & (D) honesty, are Crimes,
That publickly are punish’d by
(G) Self Interest, and (F) Vilany;
So much for monys magick power
Guess at the Rest you find out more.

The South Sea Company was a British stock company founded in 1711. The company was part of the treaty during the War of Spanish Succession, which was traded in return for the company’s assumption of debt run up by England during the war. The South Sea Company was plagued with financial speculation, corruption and credulity that caused the south sea bubble in 1720 (Sperling 5). Hogarth illustrates a scene that reflects the reality of the corruption behind the bubble. When the bubble burst because of rising stock prices due to speculation, a large portion of company investors were left broke as the company crashed. These company investors were people in all walks of society. As a fraud between the company’s directors and cabinet ministers surfaced, political scandal began to cause mass chaos.

The print shows a London scene, with a statue of a giant to the left; a column to the right is erected, its base originally reads “Erected in memory of the destruction of the City by the Great Fire in 1666” but Hogarth alters the inscription to “This monument was erected in memory of the destruction of the city by the South Sea in 1720” (Stevens, 8).  Hogarth does this to achieve equalizing the tragic results of the two events.  St. Paul’s Cathedral is in the background. The monument represents the city’s greed juxtaposed with St. Paul’s, which represents the city’s charity (Stevens 9). In the center of the print is a large construction, which seems to represent a merry-go-round of figures representing all levels of society, indicating the ways in which the South Sea Bubble affected all classes of people. These figures include a clergyman, a prostitute, a hag, and a Scottish nobleman (Walcot 415). A goat sits atop a sign that says “Who I Ride.” [“Who’l Ride” – CM]. In the upper left, a long line of women are entering a building with a sign that says “raffling for husbands with lottery fortunes in here”. On top of the building is a set of stag antlers (Walcot 413), which is symbolic of women cuckolding or leaving husbands who have lost their money in the crash [or is it? — CM]. To the left, “Fortune” hangs by her hair, blindfolded as the devil chops off parts of her body and throws them to the crowd below (Tate). She is hanging from a balcony of the Devil’s shop, aka Guild Hall (Walcot 413). To the right, the figure of “Honesty” is broken upon a wheel of self-interest (416). A man who represents Villainy, whip in hand and a mask upside down between his legs, stares at a figure representing “Honor” as if ready to beat him. Beneath Villainy stands a monkey wearing [taking, stealing – CM] the cloak of Honor, representing mimicry (Walcot 416). A Puritan, a Jew, and a Catholic stand at bottom left, ignoring the chaos and focused on the gambling, not having learned the harsh lesson about speculation. Finally, the figure of Trade, at the very front, appears to be dead. The corpse of Trade is easy to overlook in the ensuing chaos. [1]

Let us discover what William Hogarth meant in saying that the “Devil trap[s] their Souls .. Shareing [th]em from Blue Garters down, To all Blue Aprons in the Town.”

A superficial interpretation would be that he was referring to the entire hierarchy of English society, from the highest down to the lowest classes.

In 1348, King Edward III had founded the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the highest order of English chivalry. Membership is limited to the Sovereign, the Prince of Wales, and no more than 24 members, or Companions. The garter itself is made of blue velvet trimmed with gold, and is worn on the left leg, below the knee:

When the ‘Garter’ was instituted, about 1348, its color was light blue — like the color of the regalia in private English Lodges — but soon after the accession of George I, in 1714, this light blue was changed to the present deep blue shade.[2]

But what of the “Blue Aprons”? Were the lowest classes in England associated in any way with this symbol? Not that I am aware.

There is another possibility.

William Hogarth was a freemason.[3] His father-in-law, Sir James Thornhill, was also an active member of the Craft, in “a period when to be a freemason was a fashionable activity in an environment where joining and attending clubs, coffee houses and various societies was very commonplace. Freemasonry stood out as an institution because of the quality and high ranking standing of those who had become members…”[4]

Hogarth “was born into an impoverished family, and he needed Thornhill’s introduction to join a suitable Lodge consisting of men well above his own social standing.”[5] He designed the Grand Steward’s Jewel for the Grand Lodge of England,[6] and eventually became a Grand Steward in 1734.[7]

Perhaps Hogarth, a renowned satirist, was mocking the victims of “The South Sea Scheme” at a deeper level than is commonly understood.

The Blue Apron is likely a cryptic reference to Freemasonry. A white lambskin or leather apron is said to be “the Badge of a Mason and [..] is more honorable than the Star and Garter or any other order that could be conferred upon him by King, Prince, Potentate or any other person except he be a Mason.”[8]

Recall that Hogarth depicted Villainy with a face mask that is hanging, inverted, over his groin.

On March 17th 1721 – shortly after the South Sea bubble had burst – the first Grand Lodge ordained that:

“None but the Grand Master, his Deputy and Wardens shall wear their Jewels in Gold or gilt pendant to Blue Ribbons about their Necks, and White Leather aprons with Blue Silk; which Sort of Aprons may also be worn by former Grand Officers.”

This was the first official mention of Blue Silk as a trimming for aprons, and it is clear that the Blue was originally reserved for Grand Officers. The Rawlinson MS., c. 1740, mentions: “Two Grand Masters aprons Lined with Garter blue silk and turned over two inches with white silk strings.”[9]

Originally Garter Blue was a very pale blue, “of a watery tinge”, changed under Edward VI to a mazarine or light sky blue and changed again during the Hanoverian period [probably 1745] to the current darker hue.[10]

So we see that there is clearly a connection between the Blue Garter of the Most Noble Order of royal chivalry, and the Blue-trimmed Apron of the Grand Masters of Freemasonry.

However, there is still more here than meets the eye.

The Blue Garter is also a symbol of the Sacred Marriage:

“Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and a Silver Sixpence in her Shoe.”


It represents purity, virginity, and fidelity … and, a confirmation of the deflowering of the bride:

[T]he garter toss originates from an early 14th century French tradition called “Fingering the Garter”. [..] Post-wedding ceremony, couples would retire to the wedding chamber to consummate their marriage in order to make it all legally binding and ascertain the bride was an untouched virgin (and thus all offspring were genetically linked to the groom and his inheritance). Guests were then invited up to the room to see the groom’s deflowering handiwork, usually in the form of showing off the bed linens with their telltale post-virgin blood stain OR claiming the bride’s garter as a symbol of said consummation (likely a leftover from the tradition of the wedding girdle removal). In French the term for this was “fingering the garter,” guests checking to see if the bride was no longer a virgin by feeling near her garter. [..] In English traditions, guests would sneak into the marriage chamber to then attempt to throw discarded lingerie and stockings on the couple, whoever hit the noses of the couple with a stocking being the next to marry. In order to protect the bride from this groping crowd, grooms began throwing the garter to the mobs in order to keep them at a distance from their new bride.[11]

It is also a symbol of good fortune … to the man, other than the husband, who gets his hands on it first.[12]

The Devil traps their souls with lotts and chances,
Shareing them from Blue Garters down,
To all Blue Aprons in the Town

Perhaps what Hogarth really meant, was that the Devil had share-d the souls of the Most Noble (“Blue Garters”), down To” all the Grand Master Masons (“Blue Aprons”).

In light of the revelations of corruption and “fraud between the company’s directors and cabinet ministers”, our interpretation may be more than merely, err, speculative.

Pun intended.

What does all of this have to do with Bitcoin?

You decide.

For a deeper interpretation and exposition of the occult (hidden) meaning of the stag antlers over the building marked “Raffleing for Husbands with Lottery Fortunes in Here”, see Stags and Unicorns: The Alchemical Root of the Normalisation of Cheating.



[1] Hogarth Satires, The South Sea Scheme (online; accessed 20 December 2017)
[2] Leon Zeldis FPS, 33°, PSGC, Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite for the State of Israel Honorary Adjunct Grand Master, Masonic Blue (online; accessed 20 December 2017)
[3] Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon, A few famous masons (online, accessed 20 December, 2017)
[4] W. Bro. Yasher Beresiner, William Hogarth: The Man, The Artist, and His masonic Circle (online, accessed 20 December 2017)
[6] Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon, William Hogarth (online, accessed 20 December, 2017)
[7] Masonic Dictionary, William Hogarth (online, accessed 20 December, 2017)
[8] Brooks C. Dodson, Jr., Masonry and the Order of the Garter (online, accessed 20 December 2017)
[9] Bro. F.R. Worts, M.A., P.A.G.D.C., The apron and its symbolism (online, accessed 20 December 2017)
[10] Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon, Masonic blue (online, accessed 20 December 2017)
[11] Nuptial Adventures, Traditions: Fingering the Garter, Symbols of Virginity, and Public Mortification (online; accessed 20 December 2017)
[12] ibid., “Weddings in most cultures have been considered a special moment to transfer luck or fortune, be it money, land, inheritance, good fortune, the possibility of future weddings, etc. In ye olden European wedding traditions, obtaining a trinket from the bride was always thought to be a harbinger of luck or at least future nuptials. After the couple exchanged vows, the attendees would sometimes rush up to the bride, ripping sections of her wedding finery off of her in order to obtain some of her wedding providence. The bride, in order to protect herself and her fashion choices, would then sometimes throw favors to the crowd, scarves, tokens, ribbons, garters, in order to make it to her own reception. If not quick enough though, her clothing and her garter would be forcibly removed, attendees flipping over the bride to remove her garters with her skirts over her head.”