1188 and the Cutting of the Elm
1188 and the Cutting of the Elm
Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter in the King James Version of the Bible (KJV), and Psalm 119 is the longest. Psalm 119 is divided into 22 sections, each one devoted to one of the 22 Hebrew letters. The book of Revelation and I Kings both have 22 chapters each. Psalm 118:22 is where we read of the stone that the builder refused, and 118:8 is reported to be the middle of the KJV. You will recall that the 'dead man's hand' in poker, is eights and aces. 1188 is 2 squared x 3 cubed times 11.
As the story goes, the cutting of the elm paralleled some sort of 'schism' between two groups that involved the Templar defeated of July 4, 1187. The cutting of the elm has been dated at just after July 1, 1188. While the Templars are not involved in the story directly, there was a Templar structure at Gisors at that time. One version of the story suggests taking refuge inside walls.
HPH Bromwell, like Albert Pike before him, reminds us that Masonic legends are devised, not for the purpose of perpetuating the knowledge of historical facts, but for containing and covering some important truth which might be lost if it were not put in some such symbolic form. That is, they are allegorical and not historical as some presume. The Bible uses the term parables, and we expect the same to be true of the stories that we read there.
I am going to suggest that just for a momment you consider the story of the cutting of the elm to be a Masonic legend, that you look at the numbers and symbolic images that are being portrayed, and that you imagine that it may be a geometry story like the feeding of the 5000 which has been covered above. Here is the narrative -
One account tells of the meeting between Henry II of England and Philip II Augustus of France in 1188, following the fall of Jerusalem (following the July 4, 1187 Templar defeat).:
At Gisors, Henry II and his advisers stood under an Elm tree while Philip and his entourage suffered in the full heat of the sun. After the meeting, Philip ordered the tree cut down and hacked to pieces, sending the message that he would offer no quarter to the English.
Shade, sun, hacked to pieces (divided), no 1/4. Elms are not good to burn and carpenters don't like the wood, so they are left for shade and as boundary markers. Prized for its rapid growth rate , height and breadth of crown and the shade.
The French were said to out number the English defending the 'tree', and suggest "no quarter". In the image above we see that the center circle is 1/4 the area of the larger one, as it is half the width. The outer ring is three times that size (.75), and outnumbers it. Remember that the story of feeding the 5000 entails dividing the loaves and the fishes. In some versions of the story the tree is 800 years old and so large that it takes nine men to reach around it. 8x9 = 72, and these are our 8 and 9 figures discussed above. Remember that nine people founded the Templars according to legend.
As the main symbol is an elm tree, I recommend that you read (or re-read) Robert Graves book The White Goddess which deals with poetry, mythology and the tree alphabets. Next I suggest a general review of mythological concepts connected to elm trees.
In Norse mythology, the first man came from an Ash tree and the first woman from an Elm Tree (like Adam and Eve in the English Bible). Sexual congress is sometimes depicted a batle, or plowing a field. Boundaries pertain to Mercury and Mercury rules Virgo. Sacred Field (located on the border with Normandy), is a sexual metaphor, 'grows in moist bottom lands making it safe from fires' is not, but they are connected.
In connection with the legend we find that in addition to the schism of 1188, the Rose Croix was supposedly founded by Jean de Gisors that year. Again, the rose-cross being a sexual metaphor, we can see that the ash tree is the cross and masculine, while the elm (ailm) tree is feminine and would be associated with the vesica and the rhombus. Cross and Vesica; see The Canon.
Like alder wood, elm wood withstands wet conditions very well, making it a popular choice for the building of boat and barge hulls, bridge foundations - boats. In the feeding of the 5000 they go by ship to a desert place with green grass. The inside of a church is called a nave, as in navis or ship. The inside of cathedrals have been compared to the framing of the inside of a ship. The frame of the Universe has been characterized as 12 sided, and Plato likened it to a dodecahedron. Divding the figure above gives us the 12 part astrological chart that 'works' for that image.
Elm wood is traditionally used to make coffins, though the wood's durability underground may also play a part in this choice. - coffins. The norse buried their warriors in ship shaped coffins.
Twine made from the inner bark of the elm
As well as their widespread use in hedges, their stature made them imposing landmarks and boundary markers, and travelling preachers and judges would often pronounce from beneath them. - boundaries (like Mercury)
The Minstrel of Rheims (c. 1260) gives a quite different account :
King Richard sent a message to the counts of Sancerre and of Barre, telling them that they took the king's bread and gave him nothing in return but if they were brave enough to come to the elm tree at Gisors, he would consider them truly courageous. The French nobles sent the message back that they would come the next day, at the third hour, to cut the tree down, in spite of him. When the English king heard that they were coming to cut down the tree, he had the trunk reinforced with bands of iron, that were wrapped five times around it. The next morning the French nobles armed themselves, and assembled five squadrons of their men, one of which was led by the count of Sancerre, another by the count of Chartres, the third by the count of Vendome, the fourth by the count of Nevers, and the fifth by Sir William of Barre and Sir Alain of Roucy. The rode up to the elm tree at Gisors, with the crossbowmen and carpenters out front, and they had in their hands sharp axes and good pointed hammers, with which to cut the bands that were fastened around the tree. They stopped at the elm tree, tore off the bands, and cut it down, in spite of all resistance.
Welsh bowsmen like elm for their bows, the English prefer yew. Here we see bread and five bands, as in five loaves in the fishes stories. When you hear the story and the detail about the iron bands, we are reminded of the fourth chapter of the book of Daniel, and the dream about the tree.
 Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.
 Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great.
 The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth:
 The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it.
 I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven;
 He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches:
 Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth:
 Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him.
 The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth;
 Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation:
 It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth.
 And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Hew the tree down, and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him;
 This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king:
 That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
 And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule.
 At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.
 The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?
 While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.
 And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws.
 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:
 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?
 At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellers and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.
At the end of twelve months it says at . This reminds us of the tree that brings forth fruit in every month, as in Rev 22. At the same hour the thing was fulfilled and the king's hair grew like eagle feathers and his nails like birds' claws. Speaking of the Celtic tree relate months, Robert Greaves writes in The White Goddess that December 23 was "the extra day of the year, on which the young King, or Spirit of the Year, was crowned and given eagle's wings, and which was expressed by the semi-vowel J, written as double I (II)... In one od the cypher-alphabets, Luis is given as elm, not rowan (mountain ash), because the Irish word for elm, lemh, begins with an L.
On page 190 he explores the use of the elm as A, since it is spelled Ailm, in some places. He suggests that ailm also can mean 'palm', which he says is the birth tree of the middle east. He says that the silver fir, with leaves resembling the yew's, and which was sacred to Artemis, was a European birth tree. In Exodus 15:27 we read that the Hebrews "came to Elim where were twelve (12) wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees, and they camped there by the waters". (see Rev 22)
Reading of the tender grass of the field reminds us of the story of the feeding the 5000, where they went by ship to a desert place and sat on green grass.
Rev 22 Tree of life twelve manners of fruit. The two opposing parties and the five bands on the tree of twelve parts reminds us of dividing the loaves and fishes and producing 12 baskets of remnants.
I will point out that it is my intuition that the story relates to the idea of the tree of life in the Bible as seen in Rev 22, which brings forth 12 manners of fruit, which is the months of the year. See this page which shows how the Celts associated a tree with each of the months. http://pages.prodigy.net/groovyskye/11.html This reminds us of the city and the New Jerusalem each with 12 gates, and the astrology chart that was shown above.
The story in Daniel features the 12 months and the number seven for the planets. in the images directly above, the central square is where men inhabit, outside that is the zodiac signs, charactewrized as the beasts. The term army in heaven refers to the stars, as the sky is in may ways a field of battle.
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