This is a picture of the famed Lady and the Unicorn tapestry, which was woven from silk and wool in Flanders around the 16th century and is now housed in the Cluny Museum in Paris. As you can see, it has been reconstructed in parts, because it was destroyed during the French Revolution.
What it shows is the transfer of Sovereignty – in the form of a casket of the crown jewels – from the spirit of Sovereignty (the larger woman) to the queen or hierodule (sacred prostitute), in order for her pass it on to the new ruler of the land.
As I explain in The Sacred Sex Rites of Ishtar, at the time when absolute monarchs reigned on Earth, the spirit of Sovereignty was passed to the young king when he spent the night of his coronation with a hierodule, who would initiate him sexually into the Higher Mysteries.
In this way, his higher brain centres, or ‘crown’, would be ignited, giving him greater wisdom and thus the ability to rule over his people with wisdom. The crown, therefore, worn on his head, was just a symbol to indicate what had taken place in his inner consciousness under the skilled attentions of the trained priestess on the night of his coronation.
That the spirit of Sovereignty comes from another dimension, or from ‘beyond the veil’, is illustrated by the larger woman emerging from a sort of draped tabernacle, coloured like the night sky.
The lion and the unicorn, as symbols of sovereignty, can be traced back to the old folk song:
The lion and the unicorn
Were fighting for the crown
The lion beat the unicorn
All around the town.
Some gave them white bread,
And some gave them brown;
Some gave them plum cake
and drummed them out of town.
If you were to ask an official expert on heraldry, you would get one explanation for the symbolism contained in the official coat of arms. But if you were to ask an alchemist-shaman, you’d get another.
So let us proceed …
What does the song mean – ‘fighting for the crown’? Well, it’s not so much a ‘fight’ as an alchemical process which includes great agitation between two opposing forces, and which ends in the Marriage of the Sun and the Moon that takes place across dimensions, and leads to the transmission of Sovereignty.
This is the same agitation which you sometimes see in people who are sexually magnetised to one another but for whom, strict taboos are in place to prevent their union. The alchemical process leading to the Marriage of the Sun and the Moon could be compared to an operation which gradually removes those taboos, over time. But it begins with great agitation …
There are several theories about what the lion and unicorn represent individually. I attribute the lion to the Sun, and the unicorn to the Moon, because that makes sense to me both astrologically and magically.
The Moon is the etheric representative in our solar system of the female principle, the over-lighting Great Queen of the Divine Feminine from whose womb all creation springs. Eclipses are intensely magical times for this reason, because this is when the Moon is impregnated by the Sun.
As in all of the creation, for there to be fertility, harmony, beauty and order, the male and female principles have to be in balance. In other words, as a guru of mine once said:
“For there to be peace on Earth, there has to be peace in the home. For there to peace in the home, there has to be peace in the heart.”
Peace on Earth is only achieved when the wise ruler holds his kingdom in balance by the successful Marriage of the Sun and the Moon. This act of supernatural fertility was also phallically symbolised from medieval coronations onwards as the orb and the sceptre.
The Sun and Moon in balance
The Sun has only held such importance for the last 5,000 years or so, or since nomadic man began to settle down to a more agricultural way of life. This is where in the history of mythology we see the sky gods and storm gods giving way to sun gods.
But we can tell from archaeological artifacts that earlier than that, the cycles of Moon held just as much importance as the annual passage of the Sun.
Just on a practical level, the phases of the Moon were of immense importance to the nomad hunter gatherers of the pre-Neolithic times, as they journeyed at night, using the stars as navigational pointers. But as a magical force, even today scientists have still not thoroughly understood the magnetism of the Moon, as she pulls on the tides of the seas, the tides of women’s menstrual cycles and also influences the tides in the affairs of man.
All of life – from the smallest nano-particle to the largest universe – is infused with this magical principle of the dance between the Sun and the Moon, the feminine and the masculine, yin and yang, ida and pingala – and this is the basis of all alchemical or shamanic work for self-empowerment, and the empowerment of those who rule nations, otherwise known as Sovereignty.
One can learn much by reading around this subject – and it is necessary to do so because for most, this vital key to self-empowerment and wisdom has been missing from their education.
So reading about is a good first start. But then one has to step forward, like the Fool going over the cliff, to practically experience journeying inter-dimensionally to and fro, between the veils of the Divine Feminine, in order to achieve Sovereignty.
It is only when the Lion and the Unicorn lie down together, in our own lives, that we achieve full ignition of the higher brain centres, or crown, thus initiating us into superior intelligence, higher wisdom and greater self-empowerment. But it is not about two becoming one – it’s about two coming together to create a third thing: Sovereignty.