Esoteric Shakespeare (Part 2)

In 1637, the third edition of Les Images ou Tableaux de platte peinture des deux Philostrates sophistes grecs et les statues de Callistrate, was published in Paris, France. The book by one Blaise de Vigenere is generally abbreviated as the Philostrates. On page 486 of the Philostrates appears a plate entitled Hercvles Fvrievx (Hercules Furieux) which can hopefully be seen above. A gigantic figure (Hercules) shakes a spear. In his curious work, Das Bild des Speershüttlers die Lösung des Shakespeare-Rätsels, Alfred Freund attempts to explain the Baconian symbolism in the Philostrates. Francis Bacon is revealed by Freund as the philosophical Hercules, whom time will establish as the true Spear Shaker. [1]

Various authors have written that there were indications that Francis Bacon had gone into debt while secretly funding the publishing of materials for the Freemasons, Rosicrucians, “Spear-Shakers”, “Knights of the Helmet”, as well as publishing, with the assistance of Ben Jonson, a selection of the plays that they believe he had written under the pen name of “Shake-Speare” in a “First Folio” in 1623. [2]

Recently I had chanced to come into possession of a damaged copy of a 19th-century manuscript: A New Study Of Shakespeare, by William Francis C. Wigston. I soon realized its contents concerned in part the secret activities of the legendary Spear Shaker. “But the damaged copy found by me in the small cosmopolitan city did not deal so much with Francis Bacon as it did with an esoteric explanation of the plays and poems of the Spear Shaker.” (Background: Esoteric Shakespeare (Part 1), Ersjdamoo’s Blog entry of February 13, 2014.)

“The great literary problem of the world is Shakespeare,” explained Wigston (op. cit.). “We maintain the nature of the problem has never been even put – its existence ignored! For Shakespeare’s art is studied as dead art – not as living art.” The works of Shakespeare have a hidden Platonic soul living within the text.

Continued Wigston, “Shakespeare’s art, we believe (for ourselves), has the very profound aim of a self-planned and self-contained revelation through time. That revelation is connected with the origin and classical source of the Drama in the Mysteries.”

Wigston and his associates “found in Shakespeare’s art certain classical parallels, repeated from play to play, and reflected back again in the sonnets…”

Act 3, Scene 2 | The Winter’s Tale | Royal Shakespeare Company

Case in point: The Winter’s Tale. This play by the Spear Shaker was adapted from another: Robert Greene’s Pandosto, or The Triumph of Time. It was then shaped into The Winter’s Tale in order to fit a pre-conceived hidden plan. [3]

From Greene’s prose romance, Pandosto becomes Leontes in The Winter’s Tale. Likewise, Egistus becomes Polixenes. Perdita takes the part of Fawnia, taken from Greene’s work, and Hermione that of Bellaria. [3]

In The Winter’s Tale, Leontes, king of Sicily, becomes jealous of his wife, Hermione. Leontes wrongly thinks Hermione has been fooling around with his friend, Polixenes, king of Bohemia. Leontes tries to poison Polixenes but he escapes back to Bohemia. In a rage, Leontes imprisons Hermione. In prison, Hermione gives birth to a daughter. Leontes, however, believes the child is not his but is the spawn of Polixenes. Leontes therefore orders the child to be taken away and exposed to the elements. Soon thereafter, Hermione apparently dies of grief. Meanwhile, the baby daughter, Perdita, is abandoned on the “shores” of Bohemia. (Really Bohemia has no shores.) The helpless infant is fortunately rescued from death by a shepherd. Sixteen years later, Florizel, the son of king Polixenes, falls in love with Perdita. Eventually Perdita’s true identity is discovered and she is reunited with king Leontes of Sicily. As for Hermione, she had not really died but seemed to have been turned into a statue. Leontes mourns for what he has done and the “statue” (really Hermione who had feigned death to avoid the king) returns to life.

Obviously there is a deeper meaning in all this, yet many critics obstinately refuse to see it. The one striking feature preserved from Greene’s prose romance is jealousy and exposure to the elements of the child Fawnia (Perdita). Pandosto, or The Triumph of Time is reflected in The Winter’s Tale in the exposure of the infant Perdita to the elements and its re-discovery through time. [3] Well and good: thus far the critics allow such an interpretation. But the secret meaning involving Demeter and Persephone is less approved.

Demeter is a daughter of Cronus and Rhea and sister of Zeus by whom she became the mother of Persephone. When Persephone was abducted by Hades, lord of the underworld, Demeter wandered the earth in search of her lost child. During this time the earth brought forth no grain. Finally Zeus sent Hermes to the underworld, ordering Hades to restore Persephone to her mother. However, before she left, Hades gave her a pomegranate. When she ate from it, she was bound to spend a third of the year with her husband in the infernal regions. Only when her daughter is with her will Demeter let things grow. The dying and blossoming of nature was thus connected with Demeter. [4]

In The Winter’s Tale, Perdita is paralleled by Persephone and Hermione is paralleled by Demeter. When Persephone (Perdita) disappeared, Demeter (Hermione) threw the dark veil of Winter over her shoulders (froze into a statue). [3]

The leading features of the myth, as given by Wigston (op. cit.), are firstly, a lost maiden and the earth mother mourning for her. This mother is the sleeping earth during winter (i.e., Hermione seeming to be dead and turned into a statue). “With the recovery of Persephone [Perdita], the earth ceases to be dead, for with the spring it puts on fresh life and beauty. The myth of Demeter is therefore a Winter’s Tale.” [3]

——- Sources ——-
[1] The Secret Teachings of All Ages, by Manly P. Hall. Los Angeles: The Philosophical Research Society, 1977. Chapter CLXVIII, “Bacon, Shakspere, and the Rosicrucians”.
[2] “Occult theories about Francis Bacon”, Wikipedia, February 15, 2014.
[3] A New Study Of Shakespeare, by William Francis C. Wigston
[4] “Demeter”, by Micha F. Lindemans. http://www.pantheon.org/articles/d/demeter.html

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About ersjdamoo

Editor of Conspiracy Nation, later renamed Melchizedek Communique. Close associate of the late Sherman H. Skolnick. Jack of all trades, master of none. Sagittarius, with Sagittarius rising. I'm not a bum, I'm a philosopher.
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3 Responses to Esoteric Shakespeare (Part 2)

  1. Pingback: Esoteric Shakespeare (Part 3) | Ersjdamoo's Blog

  2. Pingback: Esoteric Shakespeare (Part 4) | Ersjdamoo's Blog

  3. Pingback: Esoteric Shakespeare (Part 5) | Ersjdamoo's Blog

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