See also my post THE EGG CAME FIRST.

I am fascinated by the 12000 year old temple complex at Göbelki Tepe in Turkey. I am not a scientist, archaeologist or historian, I am of a more philosophical bent. So I am free to suppose and search for meaning that is not provable. One thing that immediately stood out for me when I watched a documentary on the discoveries at this ancient site recently was the similarity between the megaliths at Göbelki Tepe (see photo above) and the tau cross (see photo of tau cross in Ireland below). The tau cross predates the Christian cross. It was placed on the lips of Egyptian kings when they were initiated into the mysteries, was used symbolically in many other pre-Christian cultures and even gets a mention in the Old Testament, in Ezekiel and, possibly, Job. I think it is extremely probable that Christ was crucified on a tau shaped cross (it's much easier to construct than the traditional Christian cross) and that early Christians changed the shape of the symbol to distance themselves from paganism. That the tau cross was employed by those parts of the church more closely linked to paganism and esoteric religion may be a reference back to a far more ancient symbolism. I certainly believe that cultural symbolism is very persistent. I see no reason why the megaliths at Göbelki Tepe should not be the original manifestation of a symbol that would enter the mythology of subsequent cultures and be carried forward in time right up to the present day.

There may be another religious first at Göbelki Tepe. Archaeologists have discovered that, at the time that the complex was first constructed, when people died they were buried and then, later, dug up. At this point their skulls would be carefully removed from the rest of the skeletal remains and kept in places of religious activity and within homes. We cannot know what reason the perpetrators of this ritual had for their actions but it could well be the first example we have come across of a belief in resurrection, a belief that became the central concern of many religions, especially those which, like Christianity, were connected to the mystery cults of antiquity.



  1. In the Royal Arch of Freemasonry we use three Tau Crosses joined together within a Triangle within a circle as an emblem.

    I like the Triple Tau explanation that goes with the story in Daniel where it says: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames….But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?” “Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied.”Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!”

    The three Taus when joined together make a fourth Tau which signifies God’s presence with us when we are joined together.

    I much prefer the Tau cross or the Egyptian Cross of Life than I do the Roman Cross with Jesus crucified on it.

  2. Thank you, Jay. Masonry has much (and this an oversimplification) Judaic and esoteric imagery in its rites and “secrets.” Unlike many who dismiss the esoteric strand of religion as cultish, new agey twaddle, I think that within the twaddle (and all religions have a lot of twaddle) is a repository of ancient beliefs and symbolism that stretch back to ancient Egypt and beyond. I also think that the study of esoteria and true paganisms, especially the mystery cults, helps elucidate the meaning of Christianity. It does not worry me that the story of Christ, especially his death and resurrection, is extremely similar to more ancient mythologies as it just seems sensible and logical to me that God would talk to us using imagery and cultural references that are already part of our languages and belief systems.

  3. What I find interesting is the presence of the curved band (rainbow or river, maybe) with the animal on one side and emptiness on the other. Possibly a statement on the seen vs the unseen? Speculation, of course, but still fun.

  4. “It was placed on the lips of Egyptian kings when they were initiated into the mysteries”

    I’m highly doubtful of this (the wikipedia article is highly speculative and does not cite a reliable source). What mysteries? The closest I can think are the various tools used in the opening the mouth and eyes ceremony. http://www.digitalegypt.ucl.ac.uk/religion/wpr.html
    None look like a Tau cross.