What is fascinating is that in many of the traditional depictions we see what we could interpret as some sort of Stargate opening during Jesus' baptism by John, which might have an esoteric interpretation of extraterrestrial intelligence being bestowed upon Jesus.
Of course, there was no scientific language for such an event in Biblical times, and there are other interpretations to be made of passages describing the parting of the clouds and whatnot, but when you step back and begin to see the larger patterns at work, thematic anomalies sprout like mushrooms.
John's very name traces back to the concept of a doorway. Alternative scholars believe that the name John, or Johannes, is derived from Janus, the god of gates and doorways, and then to Oannes, who is himself associated with the water, just as is John and Osiris.
And Oannes leads directly into modern Ancient Astronaut theory through Robert Temple's book The Sirius Mystery. So we have this situation where things that seem scattered, random and unconnected might actually be linked quite intimately once you begin to look past surface appearance.
Jesus becomes part of the Heavenly Beam during his Ascension into Heaven, which in many depictions has echoes of some highly unusual gate or doorway being entered. The Ascension iconography has also become part of UFO abduction imagery as well.
One can argue it comes from old science fiction, but how did it get there to begin with? Contrary to some skeptical opinion, art is not some arbitrary process of spontaneous generation.
In many cases, the Heavenly Beam in Christian iconography is probably a vestige of pre-Christian sun worship. We've all seen the Sun's rays burst through the clouds in a concentrated beam. It's quite a sight. So much so that you can see it all over greeting cards and calendars and the like at Christian bookstores. But not all of the heavenly beams we see look that way.
We also see a lot of Heavenly Beam imagery in the iconography of Mary's Ascension, as well as the Annunciation, which wouldn't necessarily lend themselves to explicit solar imagery like we may see with the depictions of Jesus.
No one ever seems to question exactly why flight is so important in all of this religious imagery either, or why people would believe the gods were in the heavens or that stars were themselves gods. In my mind, it's counter-intuitive for agrarian societies to look up for these characters, since what they were relying on came from the ground or the water.
Chris Carter brilliantly references the Ascension in the X-Files episode, "The Red and The Black" when the genetically-engineered abductee Cassandra Spender is taken up to a waiting spacecraft.
I could write a book simply on the semiotics of casting in The X-Files; Cassandra is played by Veronica Cartwright, who was not only in the brilliant 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, she was also in the first Alien movie, The Right Stuff and in The Witches of Eastwick, which was filmed in Cohasset, Mass (which was my other hometown).
And, of course, The X-Files brings us to the topic of UFOs...
Now, maybe I need glasses, but from where I'm sitting that's a picture of Jesus being taken up to Heaven enclosed in a flying disk (that looks a lot like a giant iris and pupil). This image is by no means unique, and of course bears a strong resemblance to the winged sundisk, the brand logo of the mysterious Shemsu Hor.
A lot of people might tell me that the disk is actually some sort of representation of the Sun. To which I would reply, yes, exactly. The semiotic gumbo I'm serving up here at the Secret Sun has savory chunks of ancient astronaut theory, sun worship, shamanic experience, and Synchronicity, seasoned with all sorts of other zesty ingredients like rock 'n' roll and comic books.
Around here, sun worship and anomalous technology aren't mutually exclusive, they're very much part of the same continuum.
And I'm not sure exactly how else this 1710 painting ("Le Baptême de Jésus dans le Jordan" by Gelder ) can be interpreted other than as depicting a hovering disk shooting down beams of light while Jesus is being baptised by John.
How are we to dismiss this? Was the painter somehow influenced by ET or Close Encounters, or seeing too many Weekly World News headlines in the checkout line at Piggly Wiggly?
Here's a French site with some links to some more eye-opening UFO images in Medieval religious art. I love how some skeptics all of a sudden become clairvoyant when confronted with these images. They always seem to start in with the "oh, that's just..." routine when slapped in the face with evidence contrary to their fourth-hand reductionism.
Their minds can travel through the centuries and divine what the artist was really trying to depict. After hearing Jacques Vallee- a man who's been studying the UFO phenomenon for over half a century - refuse to make any sort of definitive conclusion on the origin of these objects, I began to think UFO should stand for "Unknowable Flying Objects."
The fact that they show up in antique religious paintings is proof enough for me that they were flying around back then and made a profound impression on the people who saw them.
It's certainly not a news flash for most people reading this blog that what we're dealing with might be something truly alien- maybe something that comes from another dimension and doesn't follow the laws of physics as we understand them.
My interest in it is that we see these images in places where they shouldn't be showing up, like Medieval and Renaissance religious art, and certainly in shamanic hallucinatory experiences undertaken by individuals who haven't see Close Encounters or The X-Files. And that all of these allegedly random memes are starting to look not-so-random in the Google Age.