Ophiolatry is the worship of serpents. The religion of ancient Egypt was closely interwoven with the worship of sun and serpent. The deity, Kneph, was pictured as a serpent in a fiery circle. ''He was regarded as the first emanation of the Supreme Being, the good genius of the world, the demiurgus, the efficient Reason of all things, and the Architect of the Universe. ... Kneph is identified with the sun, hence the rays of glory around his head. Both serpent and sun were emblems of the Celestial Father As the solar deity, Kneph became the Cristos of the Gnostics. . . . was regarded as the spiritual sun of enlightenment, or wisdom."61
In the Egyptian pantheon, "Osiris himself was said to have been the son of Kneph .. . and he was essentially identical with Kneph." The worship of Isis, the moon-goddess, was equally entwined wilh ophiolatry. Her emblem was the horned viper. '"In the British Museum there is a head of Isis wearing a coronet of them." The Egyptians often represented Isis and Osiris together, as two serpents. "About the commencement of the Christian era the cult of Osiris was extended over Asia Minor, Greece and Rome." Cicero tells us that he was known as Ob-el, from whence we derive the obelisk.62
The identity of Hermes-Mercury. Anubis (brother to Osiris) has already beeen mentioned. His emblem, the caduceus, was the talismanic serpent, originally entwined around a Tau cross, which was also a phallus. The serpents represented the power of Mercury as a Sun-god. The caduceus was identified with Moses' Brazen Serpent. "In Judah the image of Jehovah took the form of a golden serpent, as in Solomon's temple." Its worship "was in fact the worship of the Sun-god, Osiris, under the name of Jehovah." The Targum, or Chaldee Paraphrast, referred to the Brazen Serpent as the 'Word1."63 It must also be mentioned that the olive branch on the Coat of Arms — the emblem of peace — traces directly back to the olive wand of the caduceus.64
The Cao Dai God Symbol: The All-Seeing Eye
Today, in South Viet Nam in South-east Asia there exists a very real Cult of the All-Seeing Eye. It is called Cao Dai. It is a bizarre blend of Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Christianity, and Animism. The last named doctrine refers to the anima mundi, the idea that phenomena of animal life are produced by an immaterial soul. Ophiolatry is a component part of the Cao Dai "religion" which is symbolized by the God symbol of the All-Seeing Eye in the Triangle (see illustration). The Eye. neither right nor left, has a thick black eyebrow above it. Sixteen rays emanate from the triangle.
The sect claims a membership of two million or more, mostly in the Mekong Delta region and Tay Ninh province, northeast of Saigon, which it once ruled with a private army. Its Great Temple, located near the Cambodian border in the same area, contains great columns around which are entwined raised carvings of huge cobras, reaching from the floor (o the ceiling. The Cao Dai "Pope" sits on a serpent throne in this temple. The two arms of the throne are carved into the shape of two huge cobra heads and necks. Two similar cobra heads form the base; and the undersides of three more cobra heads and necks provide the backrest of the throne. The '"Pope's" entire royal robe and his foot coverings also represent the shape and skin of the cobra.
The Cao Dai also has its own "cardinals" in its "Vatican" headquarters in the Great Temple, which is 55 miles northeast of Saigon. The cult has deliberately adopted the use of Catholic terms lo mock Catholicism. It has an expanding pantheon that includes Clemenceau. Sun Yat-sen, Victor Hugo and Joan of Are, and. in nomination pending his death. Sir Winston Churchill. Its Pope, Pham Cong Tac, formerly a Saigon customs clerk, died in exile in Cambodia in 1959 and has not yet been replaced. The cult, formed in Saigon in the 1920's. had managed by 1956 to build up a private army of 15,000 men. Pham Cong Tac, to stay in power, at one time or another, allied his army and 2 million supporters with the Japanese, the French, and the Communist guerillas.
The first Premier-President of South Viet Nam, Catholic Ngo Dinh Diem, crushed the Cao Dai cult in 1955-56. with the assistance of Pham Cong Tac's Military Chief-of-Staff General Nguyen Thanh Phuong. The General disarmed the 400-man "papal guard" and clapped a score of "cardinals" and Pham Cong Tac himself under house arrist. In early March, 1956, the General forced the "Pope" into exile in Pnompenh in Cambodia, by collecting certified letters from 19 "vestal virgins" of Cao Dai who complained that Pham Cong Tac had raped them.
The Cao Dai. at the height of its power in l955, controlled — with two other sects — one-third of South Viet Nam. The three sects formed an exotic consortium of religious fanatics, feudal warlords, uniformed hoodlums and racket bosses. Their combined armies totaled 40,000 men. One of the sects, the Hoa Hao. is composed of dissident Buddhists founded by the deceased Huynh Phu So, who. so the story goes, converted his psychiatrist when he was sent to a lunatic asylum. The other sect, the Binh Xuyen. is an organization of bandits, in mustard-colored uniforms, who controlled both the brothels of Saigon and the police of the same city under an arrangement with the absentee chief of state, Bao Dai. Their commander, General Le Van Vien. was once a river pirate.
Premier Ngo Dinh Diem crushed the three sects. For eight years South Viet Nam was free of the evil of the Cao Dai. Then, in late 1963. the Premier and his brother. Ngo Dinh Nhu. were assassinated in a CIA-supported murder plot headed by Buddhist traitors in the Vietnamese Government. At once the top surviving Cao Dai leader, exiled General Le Than Tat, returned to Viet Nam from Cambodia to regroup the many factions of the cult into a unified movement.
General Tat returned on November 15, 1963 to the fold of the Cao Dai in a solemn ceremony in the Great Temple decorated with its grotesque dragons and the central symbol of the sect — the All-Seeing Eye radiating "cosmic rays." He knelt before an altar of sculpted cobras and a portrait of Victor Hugo in the uniform of the French Academy. The elaborate ritual performed by the "priests" at that time represented an obscene travesty of religion. The central object of worship is the Serpent. The cult of the All-Seeing Eye, the Cao Dai, openly worships the same ancient deity that its American counterpart venerates and adores behind a screen of mummery and Mumbo Jumbo.85
•See page 25,-"The Seal ol the United States" (Mate Dept. Pub. \o. 6455, issued 1957, 30i per copy, Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Govt. Printing Off., Washington 25, D.C,;, lists cuttings of the Seal not previously recorded: an "illegal" Great Treaty Seal die cut in 1825 by Seraphim Masi, jeweler, Washington, D.C.; an "illegal" die of the obverse side nt the Seal cut in 1877 by Herman Baumgarten of Washington, it states that the 1841 (iif was cut hy John V. \ Throop i>£ Washington and that the 1885 die was etit by Tiffany and Co. ot New York. It also notes that "evidence has reeendy been found" indicating that in 1885 "a die may then have in fact been cut" of the reverse side of the Seal — which was never put in use. The original 1782 die is on displayin the National Archives and the other dies may be seen on the north mezzanine of the main State Dept. building. The Custodian of the Great Seal refuses to allow any examination of the files in her possession by historians even though the Seal is uniquely a part of our National Inheritance. It is the symbol of America, the People, and the Congress.
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