The Theater of the World
Francis Bacon’s Secret Doctrine in ‘Shakespeare’s’ Julius Caesar
by Mather Walker 2008
Francis Bacon sent his works, as he wrote them, to his close friend, Tobie Matthew, to read. A letter from Matthew to Bacon about one work said, “I will not return you weight for weight but Measure for Measure.” Thus, when Matthew said in another letter referring to Bacon’s “Felicity of Elizabeth” said, “At that time methought, you were more willing to hear Julius Caesar than Elizabeth commended”, the obvious conclusion is that Bacon wrote Julius Caesar. But the evidence for Bacon’s authorship of ‘Shakespeare’s’ Julius Caesar is far from resting on that one instance. There is extensive evidence in the play that demonstrates Bacon was the author. Julius Caesar holds a mirror up to the world, but anyone familiar with Bacon’s ideas can see Bacon in that mirror also. The examples are so numerous and so unmistakable that the play provides conclusive evidence of Francis Bacon’s authorship.
In Thoughts and Conclusions Francis Bacon described his amazement that no one had ever conceived the idea before of inventing an art for discovering new arts and sciences; he said he had invented this art, and in his Novum Organum, published in 1620, he provided evidence for this by using heat as his subject, and showing how through the use of four tables (Presence, Absence, Variance, and Exclusion) the ‘form’ or essential law that made heat different from all other particulars in nature could be determined. This was not the complete version of his discovery machine; he said that due to the constraint of circumstance he was forced to keep this secret. In Thoughts and Conclusions also while emphasizing the need for a Philosophy of Invention, Bacon said that after long thought he had decided to put forth Tabulae Inveniendi (Tables of Invention, or Discovery). Then he added a curious statement:
“But when these Tabulae Inveniendi have been put forth and seen, he does not doubt that the more timid wits will shrink almost in despair from imitating them with productions with other materials or on other subjects; and they will take so much delight in the specimen given that they will miss the precepts in it. Still, many will be led to inquire into the real meaning and highest use of these writings, and to find the key to their interpretation, and thus more ardently desire, in some degree at least, to acquire the new aspect of nature which such a key will reveal."
His description paints these writings as entertaining; concealed; and consisting of tables like those described in his Novum Organum. Since they were concealed, it is not surprising that they cannot be found under Bacon’s name. Orthodox scholars, with their almost perfect track record for induction into the cretin hall of fame, either are as blissfully unaware as a warthog is of a beauty parlor of anything having to do with the Tabulae Inveniendi, or dismiss the idea of their existence out of hand. In his 1620 Great Instauration Bacon described his Tables of Discovery as models of inquiry and invention. He said they would deal with the noblest subjects of inquiry. In an undated letter to Tobie Matthew, probably written around the latter part of 1621, Francis Bacon said:
“And therefore, not now at will, but upon necessity it will become me to
call to mind what passed: and, my head being then wholly employed about
invention, I may the worse put things, upon the account of mine own
This shows that at some time Bacon’s attention had been so totally focused on creating these writings that he was unaware of what was going on around him. This proves these writings exist. So where are they? There is ample evidence in the Shakespeare plays that they are actually Bacon’s Tabulae Inveniendi. The first play in the First Folio (The Tempest) is signed with Bacon’s name, and has messages at the appropriate places in the text showing that each of the initial four sets of 32 speeches represents one of the respective four tables used by Bacon in his Novum Organum (see my Bacon 101-4 article). Although the information Bacon gave about his concealed writings are scattered through various short passage in various short works he was candid about these in the short passages that do exist. In The Wisdom of The Ancients he expressed his intent to use allegory, allusion and metaphor in his concealed writings. In The Masculine Birth of Time he said his Tabulae Inveniendi would deal with the past, present, and future at the same time. The past would have some notable aspect of knowledge from antiquity; the present some aspect of contemporary knowledge, and the future a model of the operation of his discovery machine. I will demonstrate these are all present in the play. This alone is conclusive evidence of Bacon’s authorship, but there is much more. The aspect of knowledge from the past in Julius Caesar deals with the Dying God myth. The aspect of knowledge from the present deals with the furor in England over the calendar implemented by Julius Caesar in 45 BC, which was still used in England. The aspect of knowledge from the future displays Bacon’s Discovery Machine inquiring into the ‘form’ of mending bad souls.
Although Julius Caesar first appeared in print in the 1623 First Folio it was first staged in 1599. In his impressive book, SHAKESPEARE’S MYSTERY PLAY The Opening of the Globe Theatre 1599 Steve Sohmer puts forth persuasive evidence that it was the first play performed at the opening of the Globe Theater on June 12, 1599. Since the June 12 date was the date by the Julian calendar still in use in England at the time, the date according to the Gregorian calendar now in use was June 21. Therefore the date fell on the beginning of the Summer Solstice, the three-day period called midsummer by the Elizabethans. The play provides evidence in addition to Sohmer’s evidence for the midsummer opening date. The play opens with allusions to three things: (1) an apron, (2) a rule, and (3) a festival. The apron and the rule are two of the best-known symbols of freemasonry, and the annual Masonic festival was on St. John the Baptist day at midsummer.
The Globe Theater was a model in miniature of the earth. When it burned down in 1613 Bacon’s friend, Ben Jonson, wrote a poem about the event in which he said, “See the world’s ruins.” The idea of the Globe Theater was that it was the theater of the world, on its stage was depicted all the human drama that is played out on the world stage. Julius Caesar is a written version of the Globe Theater, it not only depicts the world; it also depicts the theater of the world, and depicts the essence and rationale of all human drama on the world stage. This latter depiction is intimately related with the seasons of the planet.
Here again we see Bacon reflected in this mirror of the world that he created. The basic metaphor Bacon used in his system of thought was his concept of his Intellectual Globe. As God had created the great globe, the world, so Bacon created the Intellectual Globe. The Intellectual Globe was a replica in the human mind of the globe of the world. In his Novum Organum Bacon said, “I am building in the human understanding a true model of the world,” and ended his Advancement of Learning with the words, “And now we have finished our small globe of the intellectual world.” Bacon even gave an unpublished version of his Advancement of Learning, that he wrote in 1612, the title, “A Description Of The Intellectual Globe.” The Globe Theater was a wooden version of Bacon’s Intellectual Globe. Julius Caesar is a written version of Bacon’s Globe Theater.
One way Bacon depicted the earth was through his allusion to festivals. The earth’s biography is written every year in the change of seasons. The cast of characters in this biography includes the zodiac, the moon and the sun-principally the sun in Julius Caesar because the calendar of Julius Caesar replaced the lunar-based calendar with a solar-based calendar. The ancients chronicled the biography of the earth in festivals that marked out the seasons of the earth. Bacon used festivals in the play to allude to the earth. Thus Julius Caesar opens with an allusion to an ‘invented’ festival. Julius Caesar also opens on the festival of the Lupercal. Bacon changed his sources to conflate the festival of the Lupercal with the time of Caesar’s triumph. The Lupercal was celebrated on February 15, exactly one month before the assassination of Caesar on March 15, thus alluding in passing to the moon, but the Lupercal has another more important allusion that emphasizes the importance of festivals in the drama. Lupercal, “wolf day,” was one of the most ancient Roman festivals. It was a fertility rite relating to both individuals and to the entire earth. It was held in honor of Lupercus, the Roman equivalent of the Greek nature god Pan, so called because he protected the flocks from the wolves. Pan, according to Bacon symbolized universal nature, and therefore the earth.
Why did Bacon select Julius Caesar as the first play to be performed in the Globe Theater? The allusions to the seasons that Bacon used as one of his device in depicting the globe of the earth were related to the motif of time, and this motif was one that, in connection with Julius Caesar, was (may I say it?) quite ‘timely’ when the play was written. Julius Caesar was a hot topic at the time because the calendar he implemented in 45 BC was the subject of bitter controversy in England. Religion was a basic part of these people’s lives. In ancient Rome, as in England at the end of the sixteenth century, holy feast days had an astronomical basis, anchored on the equinoxes and the solstices. Julius Caesar new calendar realigned the holy days with the equinoxes and solstices, but by 1599 the Julian calendar was a full 10 days out of sync. What is more, most Elizabethans knew their religious days were being celebrated at the wrong time. In Elizabethan England almanacs were universal, and were even included at the beginning of their Bibles.
The play begins with a reference to the ‘mending of bad soles’ generally acknowledged to imply the ‘mending of bad souls’. This is the subject of Bacon’s secret doctrine in the play. Bacon’s takes his theology from the Eleusinian Mysteries originated by Orpheus, and the Orphic theology relating to the drama of humans in the earth was well expressed by Empedocles, the sage of Sicily (c490-430 BC) in his Katharmoi (Purifications):
There is an oracle of Necessity, and ancient decree of the gods, eternal, sealed
Fast with broad oaths, that when one of the divine spirits whose portion is long
life sinfully stains his own limbs with bloodshed, and following Hate has sworn
a false oath-these must wander for thrice ten thousand seasons far from the
company of the blessed, being born throughout the period into all kinds of
mortal shapes, which exchange one hard way of life for another.
Bacon used myths of the ancients that dealt at the same time with the seasonal changes of the earth and with the incarnation of souls in the earth for his allegory of the mending of bad souls. Thus he melds this with his overall allegory. Souls that need mending, according to his allegory, are souls out of sync with the natural cycle of the planet, just as the calendar of Elizabethan England in 1599 was out of sync with the natural cycle of the planet.
The date of the opening of the Globe Theater, according to Sohmer, was on the new moon and on St. Alban’s day. The allusion to the Freemasons, and the opening of the Globe Theater on St. Albans day, are both additional reflections of Bacon, and additional evidence of his authorship of the play. St. Albans in Hertfordshire was Bacon’s hometown, located a mere 2 miles away from his mansion at Gorhambury. In 1621 when Bacon was created Viscount he selected the title Viscount St. Albans. Much has been written about Bacon’s connection to the Freemasons. The 3rd century martyr St. Alban, according to old manuscripts preserved by Freemasons was a patron of, and introduced Masonry into England. There is an allusion to Freemasonry at the beginning of Julius Caesar. St. Alban was born near the town of Verulanium. When Bacon was created Baron in 1618 he selected the title Baron of Verulam.
There is specific evidence of Francis Bacon’s connection with Freemasonry. One example is the October 19, 1616 letter from Edmund Bacon to Francis Bacon. In the letter Edmund says:
“I am bound both you’re your favors to myself, as also by those to my
nephew, whom you have brought out of darkness into light”
In the Masonic ritual the Senior Deacon introduces the candidate for initiation with the words, “Mr. ___ who has long been in darkness, and now seeks to be brought to light.” The passage in the letter obviously refers to the Masonic initiation, and to Bacon as the Worshipful Master who initiated Edmund Bacon’s nephew. There is specific evidence Bacon was the person who formulated the original ritual used in the Masonic initiation. One of the old Masonic manuscripts contains a variance from the contemporary ritual of Freemasonry. In the contemporary ritual the following exchange takes place:
Worshipful Master: I hail.
Senior Warden: I conceal.
Worshipful Master: What do you conceal?
Senior Warden: All the secrets of Masons in Masonry…
But the old document manuscript had:
Worshipful Master: What dothe the maconnes concele and hyde?
Senior Warden: Thay concelethe the arte of ffyndinge neue artes…
Since Bacon invented the “arte of ffyndine neue artes”, the indication is that he also formulated the original Masonic ritual.
There is an intriguing possibility that the design of the Masonic lodge may have had its source in the Elizabethan theaters, and in the Globe Theater specifically. The Globe Theater had the features of the Masonic lodge. The original Masonic lodge was called the blue lodge because it was open at the top to the blue sky just as was the Globe Theater. The Globe Theater had two large ornate pillars, one on either side of the stage, just as the Masonic lodge at its entrance. The Masonic lodge is a symbol of the world just as was the Globe Theater. Masonic lodges are rectangular, their greatest length being from east to west, while their breadth is from north to south. Following the Masonic ritual instruction was given the initiate who stood in the Northeast corner of the lodge as he listened to the lecturer who stood at the center of the lodge. Due to the elongated shape of the lodge the direction from the lecturer to the initiate was in a line approximately 48 degrees East of North. The orientation from the stage to the audience in the Globe Theater was in a direction approximately 48 degrees east of north. The correlation is not exact, but Bacon was following his practice of using allusion. The Globe Theater was designed with the idea that the plays were a lecture to the theatergoers analogous to the lecture given to the initiate in the Masonic lodge.
In her scholarly work, “Theatre Of the World” Frances Yates argues London’s public theaters in general and especially the Globe were adaptations of the ancient theaters, in particular of the Roman theaters. There is a specific connection with Julius Caesar in the 1612 description by Thomas Heywood in his Apology for Actors. Referring to Julius Caesar’s ‘gorgeous amphitheatre’ in Rome. Heywood said:
“…the covering of the stage, which wee call the heavens (where upon
any occasion their gods descended) were geometrically supported by a
giant-like Atlas, whom the poets for his astrology feigne to beare heaven
on his shoulders…”
Over the entrance to the Globe Theater a sign depicted Atlas (some say Hercules as a temporary replacement) bearing the world on his shoulders. The motif of Atlas was not quite as straightforward as it seems on the surface. Hesiod had Atlas bearing the heavens on his shoulders. This burden was later amended to the celestial globe. Later during the renaissance this was amended again so it was sometimes the celestial globe and sometimes the terrestrial globe. This is an additional connection to Freemasonry. At the entrance to the lodges of Freemason were two pillars, one supporting the celestial globe, and the other the terrestrial globe. Moreover, this is also additional evidence that points to Bacon, since Bacon alludes to both. In His Novum Organum he says:
“For I am building in the human understanding a true model of the world, such
as it is in fact, not such as a man’s own reason would have it to be”
And in another passage:
“We neither dedicate nor raise a capitol or pyramid to the pride of man,
but rear a holy temple in his mind, on the model of the universe, which
model we imitate.”
Bacon’s model of the world included the universe and the earth at the same time, and this is additional strong evidence of his connection with the Globe Theater, and with Julius Caesar.
In the Folio text (2.1) Brutus’ in his flawed judgment and failure to connect with the cycle of the planet is exhibited as a man out of step with time. Brutus, pacing in the garden on the morning of the Ides of March (i.e. March 15), mutters, “I cannot, by the progress of the stars, /give guess how near to day’, and a moment later has an afterthought, asking Lucius, “Is not tomorrow, boy, the first of March?” Lewis Theobald in 1733 emended the ‘error’ to make the text read ‘Is not tomorrow, Boy, the Ides of March?’ In one more of the many instances where editors have done their brain-damaged best to destroy the meaning in the text, most editors since have adopted Theobald’s amendment. In one sense the passage alludes to contemporary England and the Julian calendar conflict in England. England still used the calendar implemented by Julius Caesar in 45 BC at the time the play was written. By then the Julian calendar was out of sync with the tropical year by 10 days. In another sense the allusion is to Brutus’ flaw. It has been suggested the play would have been more appropriately named Brutus since he has by far the most lines in the play. The play begins with an allusion to mending bad souls (soles). Brutus is prominent among the ‘bad souls’ in the play that must be mended. Brutus is portrayed as out of sync with time and with the natural order of the cycle of the planet.
Elizabethans, familiar with classical literature, would have been aware that several ancient authors said Brutus was the son of Caesar. Bacon uses this information in an important allusion in the play, but he had to go outside his customary sources in Plutarch. At the assassination Suetonius had Caesar saying, ‘kai su teknon’ (you also, my son). This is obviously echoed in the words Bacon put in Caesar mouth at the assassination, ‘Et tu, Brute’ (and you Brutus). Obviously Bacon’s allegory required that he introduce the idea that Brutus was Caesar’s son at the point that Brutus killed Caesar. Sohmer found allusions equating Jesus Christ with Julius Caesar. This seems to throw light on Bacon’s motive here. When Brutus slays Caesar he slays his higher self. His actions had moved him away from his spiritual self, cutting him off from the higher order of things, until finally he severed the connection altogether by slaying his higher self. In the play this is depicted as his dislocation from time and from the cycles of the planet, and ultimately brings about chaos.
The conjectured model of the Globe Theater (Frances Yates-Theatre of the World; Andrew Gurr-Rebuilding Shakespeare’s Globe) has a stage representing the theater of the world (i.e., the earth) with a covering above it on which was painted on the one side the sun, and on the other the moon, while in the middle was depicted the zodiac. The play has allusions to the sun, to the moon, and the zodiac. In addition to the depiction of the earth and the heavens another feature was present in the design of the Globe Theater. The center portion was open to the sky making a threefold division as in the First Folio as a whole. Marsilio Ficino, following the ancient philosophers, divided the whole universe into (1) The realm of the divine imagination (the angelic mind) (2) The realm of the world soul (the heavens) and (3) The body of the world (the earth).
The First Folio
Angelic Mind (Divine Imagination)
Angelic Mind (Divine Imagination)
Higher Mind, or Super Consciousness
Body of Universe
Body of the World
It should be noted also that there were three levels to the Globe Theater, the ground, and two balcony levels above that. Yates says:
“The painting of the ‘heavens’ in Burgage’s Theatre, with the images
of the signs of the zodiac and of the planets, would have been a matter
of great importance. For, apart from their practical use as cover and
for acoustics, the ‘heavens’ emphasized and repeated the cosmic plan
of the theatre, based on the triangulations within the circle of the zodiac.
They showed forth clearly that this was a ‘Theatre of the World’, in which
Man, the Microcosm, was to play his parts within the Macrocosm.”
In the play there are references to a clock. Cassius says, “The Clocke hth stricken three’. And in reply to Caesar asking Brutus, ‘What is’t a Clocke?’ Brutus replies, “Caesar, ‘tis stricken eight’. Editors have pounced on this as an anachronism, since the clock was not invented until the thirteenth century. On the other hand, Bacon certainly knew this, and the safest conclusion is that this is some kind of allusion. The clock Bacon interjects in the play invites the audience to look beneath the surface. In one sense the clock, as Sohmer notes, ‘is a time-shift signal which invites spectators to relate the on-stage action to contemporary English life.’ In another sense the clock refers to the entire earth. In his book, The Dance of Time, Michael Judge notes, “In ancient days, the world itself served as a vast clock.” This is the anachronistic clock alluded to in Julius Caesar, and this is another allusion to the play as a depiction of the globe of the earth.
THE FACE LOOKING TOWARD THE PAST
In Julius Caesar Francis Bacon made changes to his sources to reflect information from three sources, all of which have some relation to the Dying God theme:
3. The Bible
The first of these can be found in the changes to the sources that emphasize the physical defects of Caesar. Plutarch notes Caesar’s epilepsy only to show how Caesar overcame hardships, but in the play the defects are deliberately augmented:
- Cassius invents the story where he and Caesar are swimming the Tiber
And he has to save Caesar who is in danger of drowning.
- Cassius says Caesar had a fever while in Spain and cried like a sick
Girl for Cassius to give him drink
- When Caesar is talking to Antony he tells him to come to his right hand
For his left ear is deaf.
- Caesar swoons and falls down in the market place, and foams at the mouth
And was speechless. The foaming at the mouth is Bacon’s invention.
5. The issue is also raised of Caesar’s possible sterility.
This reflects a feature of folklore described by Sir James George Frazer in, “The Golden Bough”. Frazer describes how, among many primitive societies, there was a custom of putting the ruler to death as soon as he suffered from any personal defect. These people believed the ruler or king had a direct influence over crops and growth in nature. The idea is related to the idea of the king being the proxy on earth of the sun. Each year following the midsummer solstice the days begin to be successively shorter and the nights successively longer, and the weakened sun entered on a declining path that led ultimately to the failure of the crops. Primitive people killed the king as an application of homeopathic magic intended to prevent the decline of the sun. They were attempting to cure time. Bacon uses this to allegorize the souls that need mending as expressed in the words of the cobbler at the beginning of the play.
In the play the sources are changed to depict Julius Caesar’s assassination as the sacrifice of a god. Cassius says of Caesar, “…this man is now become a God.” Sohmer notes Cassius says this derisively, but adds that anyone familiar with classical literature would have known that Caesar was revered as a God during his lifetime. Sohmer says the Greeks often called him Deos, people in Italy called him ‘Deus Caesar’, and even in Rome an official inscription [on a statue] had the wording ‘Deo Invicto’. The changes Bacon made to his sources cast the assassination of Julius Caesar into a very familiar theme in mythology-The Dying God. There are numerous myths about the Dying God. These go all the way back to the night of time. In Babylonian and Syria there was Tammuz and Ishtar. This myth probably antedated 4000 B.C. In Phrygia there was Atys. In Rome there was Sabazius, and in many parts of Egypt, Phoenicia, Syria, Babylonia, Biblos, Greece and Rome there was Adonis. The myth of Adonis was the best known of the Dying God myths. Its importance for Bacon is shown by the fact that the first work he write under the ‘Shakespeare’ name (Venus and Adonis) dealt with Adonis.
According to the story, Venus, in idle love play one day with her boy Cupid, wounded her bosom with one of his arrows. She pushed him away, but the wound was deeper than she thought. Before it healed she beheld Adonis, and was captivated with him. Adonis was fond of the hunt, and when he was killed while hunting by a wild boar (symbolizing winter). Venus pleaded with Zeus to bring Adonis back to life. Zeus agreed, but decreed that he must stay in the underworld during the six winter months, and with Venus for the six summer months only, thus making the vegetation die in winter and blossom in summer.
A Midsummer Nights Dream is the correspondence in the realm of the Divine Imagination (The Comedies) to Julius Caesar in the physical realm of TheTragedies. The First Folio had 14 Comedies, but a large ornamental “T” offset the first two leaving 12 Comedies that matched the 12 Tragedies offset the first two.
In the matching set of 12 Comedies, and 12 Tragedies, A Midsummer Nights Dream was the matching play in the Comedies to Julius Caesar in the Tragedies:
The Merry Wives Of Windsor
Troilus and Cressida
Measure For Measure
The Comedy Of Errors
Much Ado About Nothing
Romeo and Juliet
Love’s Labor Lost
Timon Of Athens
A Midsummer Nights Dream
The Merchant Of Venice
As You Like It
The Taming Of The Shrew
All’s Well That Ends Well
Anthony and Cleopatra
The Winters Tale
Thus in A Midsummer Nights Dream Bacon has an allusion connecting the play to Julius Caesar. The allusion to the Adonis myth is in the reference to the flower called “Love-in-idleness”, where Oberon says:
Yet mark’d I where the bolt of Cupid fell.
It fell upon a little western flower,
Before milk-white, now purple with love’s wound,
And maidens call it Love-in-idleness.
Fetch me that flow’r, the herb I showed thee once.
The juice of it on sleeping eyelids laid
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees.
This obviously refers to the Adonis myth where Venus, in idle play one day with her boy Cupid (love in idleness), wounded her bosom with one of his arrows. She pushed him away, but the wound was deeper than she thought. Before it healed she beheld Adonis, and was captivated with him.
All of these Dying God myths with their astronomical basis related to the sun had a very simple prototype, the annual cycle of the sun, with the four points and two halves of the year.
From the summer solstice when the sun reached its maximum strength and days were longest and nights shortest the days began to grow shorter and the nights began to grow longer, as the sun began to decline in strength. At the autumnal equinox the days and nights were equal. Past this point, as the process continued the sun entered the dark half of the year, the six month period during which the nights were longer than the days. The ancients divided the year into two halves, the light half, and the dark half, with the light half representing in their myths the realm of light above and the dark half representing the underworld. In the solar myths this six-month period from the autumnal equinox to the vernal equinox represented the underworld, and the personified sun in the myths spent this period in the underworld. From the autumnal equinox when the days and nights are equal the days continued to grow shorter and shorter until the winter solstice on December 21 at which time the nights were longest and the days shortest of any time in the annual cycle. They remained the same for three days after which the night begin to get shorter and the days longer again. At the vernal equinox the days and nights were once again equal, and the length of the days continue to increase until the summer solstice at which they reached their greatest length. In some solar myths the sun died at the autumnal equinox when he entered the dark half of the year, or underworld. In other solar myths the sun died at the beginning of the winter solstice on December 21st and was born again on December 25th when the days began to become longer again.
The Masonic myth dealt with this also. According to the legend enacted in the Master Mason’s degree of the Blue Lodge, Hiram Abiff was accustomed to go into the Holy of Holies take his rest at high twelve, i.e., the sun rests, or stands still at the highest point of the 12 months, the summer solstice. As he was leaving the temple he was accosted by three ‘ruffians,” in succession. Each struck Hiram Abiff a blow, with the third blow killing him. Following the summer solstice the sun begins to decline in strength. Each successive month, July, August, and September strikes him a blow until the point where he reaches the autumnal equinox where the days and nights are equal. At that point he is slain for he enters to underworld, or the six-month division of the year where the nights are longer than the days. Fifteen Fellow Crafts had originally planned to kill Hiram Abiff, but twelve recanted from the murderous plan. According to the legend of Hiram Abiff it was the twelve Fellow Crafts - emblematically the three Eastern, three Western, three Northern, and three Southern signs of the zodiac, who made the search for the body.
(3) The Bible
At the beginning of the play two tribunes, Flavius and Marullus, encounter two citizens on the streets of Rome, one is a carpenter, the other a cobbler. The cobbler says he is a mender of bad soles [souls]. The obvious allusion is to Jesus Christ. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, was a carpenter, and Mark 6:1-4 tells us specifically that Jesus was a carpenter also:
Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples.
When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed (Greek, ekplesso). "Where did this man get these
things?" they asked. "What's this wisdom that has been given him, that he
even does miracles! Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son and the
brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon?"
Jesus was also a mender of bad souls. Extensive analogies exist between the story of Caesar and Christ. I would like to give an overview of these, but I am trying to keep the length of this article down. There is a question as to whether the story of Christ is actual fact, or is myth. Bacon seems to allude to this in his first two divisions of the face looking toward the past. The first, the folklore allusion, is based in fact. The second is based in myth. The third deals with Christ. Sohmer found extensive allusions, all changes to the source used for the play, equating Julius Caesar with Jesus Christ. Sohmer gives no explanation as to why this element should be present in the play, but the famous authority on the occult, Manly Palmer Hall, does. In his great book on the occult, The Secret Teachings Of All Ages, Hall says:
From a consideration of all these ancient and secret rituals it becomes
evident that the mystery of the dying god was universal among the
illumined and venerated colleges of the sacred teaching. This mystery
Has been perpetuated in Christianity in the crucifixion and death of the
God-man-Jesus the Christ.
The Dying God reflected the sun. The story of Jesus Christ did also. The 12 disciples are the twelve signs of the zodiac. The ecliptic (the apparent path of the sun) crosses the line of the equator at an angle making a St. Andrews cross. At the vernal equinox, the point where Jesus is crucified the sun is positioned on the cross made by the line of the ecliptic and the line of the equator, i.e., the sun is crucified just as Jesus was on the vernal equinox. John the Baptist is born six months earlier than Jesus, at the summer solstice, while Jesus is born at the winter solstice. Jesus says of John The Baptist, “He must increase, but I must decrease,” (John 3:30). From the summer solstice the length of the days decrease. From the winter solstice the length of the days increase. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ incorporates a significant difference from the sun god myths previously described. In this account there are three who die on Mount Golgotha, i.e., the death that takes place is the death of the lower threefold form-the personality composed of the physical, the emotional, and the mental, signifying the completion of the cycle of the soul in the earth.
FRANCIS BACON’S SECRET DOCTRINE
Francis Bacon fashioned the three aspects of knowledge from the past in Julius Caesar (Folklore, Myth, Bible) to exhibit respectively (1) In Folklore the earth only; (2) In myth the earth and the higher level of the sun or soul, and (3) In the Biblical allusion the earth, the higher level of the sun or soul, and the highest level of the divine imagination, or spirit. Here is Francis Bacon, the Master Mason onstage in the Globe Theater, facing the same northeast direction to his audience, as the Master Mason in the Mason Lodge delivering his lecture to the candidate for initiation (in this case the audience), and it is too them that Bacon, the Master Mason, delivers his secret doctrine.
In the Globe Theater was depicted the variety of human drama that takes place in the world. In Julius Caesar is depicted the ultimate purpose of the human drama that takes place in the Theatre of the World. The play uses the canvas of the world for its background. The mending of bad souls and Bacon’s depiction of the drama of the soul in the earth depicts their flaw as a dislocation from the natural order of the cycle of the planet just as the Julian calendar in dislocated time from the natural order of the cycle of the planet.
In ancient times a mythology was created relating to the annual cycle of the sun, and involving the year and the twelve signs of the zodiac. These myths were apparently the work of initiates who concealed the secrets of their science in the starry heavens, and in the annual drama of the sun. In Wolfram Eschenbach’s great initiate document, Parsifal, we read that Flegetanis, the heathen, saw with his own eyes in the constellations things he was shy to talk about, hidden mysteries. What Flegetanis saw was the secret lore initiates concealed in the myths they had created relating to the constellations and the heavenly bodies. In its astronomical aspect Adonis obviously represents the sun, but the myth of Adonis also symbolizes the soul. We know this because an ancient source tells us Persephone represents the soul, and Persephone parallels the myth of Adonis. Persephone was abducted by Pluto and forced to spend half of the year in the underworld and half in the world above, and just as was the case with Adonis, the vegetation died in winter when Persephone is in the underworld, and blossomed in summer when Persephone was in the upper world. So the myth represents the earth as well.
Sallust (86-34 BC), a well-known Roman historian and politician and a friend of Julius Caesar, in his Gods of the World said the rape of Persephone signified, “the descent of souls”, and Olympiodorus, in his commentary on the Phaedo of Plato, supported the statement of Sallust in more detail. In this allegory the time the sun spends in the underworld, i.e., the dark six months of the year, represents the time the soul spends in the dark realm of physical matter while incarnated in the earth. The time the sun spends in the world above (the light six months of the year) is the time the soul spends in own realm in the upper world between incarnations. The soul cycles back and forth between these two just as the sun cycles back and forth between the light and dark halves of the year in its annual cycle.
In the Masonic myth the three ruffians who slay Hiram Abiff are, in the astronomical sense, the three months from the summer solstice to the autumnal equinox where the nights become shorter than the days and the sun symbolically enters the underworld of the dark half of the year. However, the three ruffians who slay Hiram Abiff also represent the three aspects of the lower self-the mind, the emotions, and the physical body that slay the higher self in its descent into the underworld of the physical realm. In the Biblical story of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ the process is just the opposite. Three individuals are crucified, Christ, the mind, in the center, and on either side of Christ, the two thieves, the emotions and the physical self. This is the representation of the lower self that is slain at the end of the cycle of incarnations in the earth. The mind is the only aspect of the self that survives death while the emotions, and the physical are slain.
The play begins with an allusion that connects the play to midsummer, and also alludes to a myth parallel to the dying god myths. In the third speech the tribune Marulles asks the carpenter, “Where is thy leather apron and thy rule?” This is an obvious allusion to the Freemasons since these were two of their main insignia. This also alludes to midsummer since the carpenter is depicted celebrating a festival day, and the festival day of the Freemasons was midsummer. A third allusion here is a legend that is a parallel to The Dying God myths.
According to the ancient theology souls were forced to spend part of their time in the underworld (incarnated in the earth) because of some defect. It is no coincidence that the assassination in 3.1 has twelve named people on stage who are involved, while the actual assassination involves only six people, namely Brutus, Cassius, Decius Brutus, Metellus Cimber, Cinna, and Casca (The conspiratior Trebonius did not take part in the actual assassination since his job was to lure Antony away while the assassination took place). The twelve represent the entire year, while the six conspirators who slay Caesar represent the six winter months of the dark half of the year when the nights are longer than the days, and symbolize the time the soul spends in the lower world, i.e. incarnated in the earth.
THE FACE LOOKING AT THE PRESENT
In his 1968 book, Shakespearean Meanings, Sigurd Burckhardt alerts students of Julius Caesar to the importance for the play of the bitter struggle at the end of the sixteenth century over the Julian calendar. According to Burckhardt:
“a situation existed in Europe exactly analogous to that of Rome in
44 BC: it was a time of confusion and uncertainty, when the most
basic category by which men order their experience seemed to have
become unstable and untrustworthy, subject to arbitrary political
The vernal equinox was used to calculate the beginning of the liturgical year; of Easter, and of all the other major holy days of the year. The decree by the Council of Nicaea in AD 325 declared March 21 as the ‘official’ date of the vernal equinox, and that Easter (which celebrated the resurrection of Jesus) would be observed on the Sunday after the first full Moon following the vernal equinox. Ideally the vernal equinox should have fallen on the same date each year, but the Julian calendar introduced an error of 1 day every 128 years. By 1599, when the play, Julius Caesar, was written this had resulted in a slippage of a full 10 days backward, and for those who used the Julian calendar this meant a number of important religious days (including Christmas) were dislocated by 10 days. In 1582 Pope Gregory introduced the Gregorian calendar, which dropped 10 days in order to rectify this problem and put the ‘movable holy days’ back at their correct place in the annual calendar. Since England was staunchly Protestant, Queen Elizabeth refused to follow the Pope’s lead and adopt the Gregorian calendar. On the other hand many Englishmen knew Easter was celebrated on the wrong day, and this problem became acutely embarrassing for Englishmen in 1599 because, while the Gregorian calendar put Easter on its correct date at April 11, in England the discrepancy caused by the Julian calendar made it fall on All Fool’s Day (April 1).
In ancient Rome, as in England at the end of the sixteenth century, holy feast days had
an astronomical basis, anchored in the equinoxes and the solstices. On January 1, 45 BC Julius Caesar imposed a new calendar to correct the equinoxes and solstices, which varied from year to year by the old calendar causing the seasons to drift from their proper months, and the holy feasts from their proper place. The Julian calendar was much better than the old calendar, but it was not immune against to very long periods of time, and drifted out of sync with the solar tropical year by a full day every 128 years. By the time the Elizabethan era rolled around the Julian calendar was a full 10 days out of kilter. In February 24, 1582 Pope Gregory XIII signed a Papal Bull implementing a new calendar designed to correct the problems with the old Julian calendar and maintain it correctness in perpetuity. England was protestant and did not adopt the Gregorian calendar on the grounds that the Julian calendar was that of Christ’s revelation.
The big problem with this is that most of the major religious days have an astronomical basis. Easter, for example, is the first Sunday following the first full moon that is on or after the vernal equinox. Christmas begins on midnight of the last day of the winter solstice. The feast of the birth of John the Baptist is celebrated on the last day of the summer solstice. Observance of the calendar of Julius Caesar created holy days on days that were not holy days. An allusion can be found to this in the opening lines of the play. As a procession of plebeians cross the stage the tribune Flavius challenges them, “Hence: home, you idle Creatures, get you home:: / Is this a Holiday?” The Elizabethans pronunciation of ‘holiday’ was indistinguishable from ‘holy day’, and thirty lines later (in the First Folio) the holiday becomes ‘Holy-day’ when the Cobbler declares, “But indeede Sir, we make Holy-day to see Caesar.” The point made in this allusion is that the obeisance to Caesar (i.e. to the Julian calendar) creates a holy day on a day that is not a holy day.
Church festivals in England were all celebrated on days that failed to match the astronomical edict of the heavens, and sometimes put the movable feasts in mocking juxtapositions. This became particularly embarrassing for Englishmen in 1599 when Europe’s Easter, the ‘real’ Easter by Pope Gregory’s scientifically calculated calendar, fell on April 11 while in England, 10 days behind, it fell on April Fools Day.
Another allusion that has to do with time and point toward England at the time the play was written is where the conspirators arrive at Caesar’s home on the Ides of March. Caesar asks Brutus, “What is’t a Clocke?”, and Brutus replies , “Caesar. ‘tis stricken eight”. Shakespeare’s editors have pounced on this anachronism. Mechanical clock was not invented until the thirteenth century. But Sohmer points out that ‘Shakespeare’ with his universal learning would have certainly known the Romans did not have the clock, and would have understood Roman horology if from nothing else, from his reading of Caesar’s Commentaries. Sohmer argues that the anachronistic clock is a time-shift signal, which invites spectators to the related the on-stage action to contemporary England.
THE FACE LOOKING AT THE FUTURE: A CURE FOR THE DYING GOD
The first 32 speeches in Julius Caesar (the table where the particular under inquiry is present) contains allusions to Christ; to mending bad souls; to invented festivals; to the fact that the day is actually the festival of the Lupercal; to Freemasonry; and to a supernatural being (the soothsayer). All of this boils down to the fact that the inquiry is into the ‘form’ of the mending of bad souls and it comprehends, in some way, these other elements.
Sohmer notes that Julius Caesar, which has 2730 lines in the Folio text, is divided exactly into two halves. Line 1366 begins the second half of the play with the stage direction: Enter Antony. What this means is that the play as a whole has the shape of a:
The first half of the play is a descent to the lowest point at which point Caesar is assassinated. The second half is an ascent with the pro-Caesar forces gaining more and more dominance until all the assassins are finally dead, and Caesar is now on a higher level than the beginning level, i.e., he is now on the supernatural level. The play was first performed on the new month, and is divided into two lunar halves symbolizing two full cycles of the individual, one which passes through the development and termination of the lower self (no individual in history displays a higher development of the personality self than Julius Caesar), and the other which expresses the full cycle of development of the soul self
Arthur M. Young (1905-1995) a Baconian and one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century was deeply interested in the theory of process. In his 1976 book, The Reflexive Universe, he made a study of and described his theory of process. According to Young all process embodies a descent followed by an ascent to a higher level then the beginning point, and can be represented by a “V” shaped graph.
Midsummer is an important point in the design of the First Folio as a whole, because the First Folio was designed with a celestial and terrestrial zodiac, and in these zodiacs A Midsummer Nights Dream and Julius Caesar are corresponding plays at the low point, or vertex of the “V” in the descent of each. In the First Folio a large ornamental “T” sets off the first two plays from the others. The remaining comedies and tragedies are two matching sets of twelve. Each set of twelve depicts a cycle of the soul; the Comedies in the celestial realm, and the Tragedies in the terrestrial realm. Each respective cycle of development of the soul is a “V” shape: a descent followed by an ascent. Thus the allegorical structure of both of these two sets of twelve taken together is a double V.
In his books Tudor Problems, and Sir Francis Bacon, Parker Woodward provided evidence to support his claim that John Lyly was an early penname used by Francis Bacon. It is significant that when Bacon wrote “Pap with a Hatchett” under the penname of John Lyly he used the sobriquet “DOUBLE V”. This is one of Bacon’s many allusions, and apparently indicates that he had completed the two cycles of soul evolution. Bacon also adopted this allusion for his emblematic design at the beginning
of the First Folio. The names of “the principal actors in all these plays” begins with William Shakespeare, and William begins with the following large ornamental “W”, which incorporates a double “V” in the design:
The “DOUBLE V” not only tells us that “William Shakespeare” is a penname used by the same person who earlier used the penname John Lyly, it also tells us that the design of the First Folio has a face looking toward the past, and a face looking toward the future, and this also indicates an aspect of the design that has to do with the present. Where the two large “V’s” cross they form a small third “V” between them, thus indicating the present between the past and the future. The way this is formed is significant. There is no separate third “V”, there is only an apparent third “V” formed by the crossing of the double “V”. What this seems to mean is that either only the past and future exists, or that they are both merely illusory perceptions of our mind, and only the present exists.
The face used to indicate the past and the future are not just any face, but is the Green Man, the traditional folklore figure that represents growth and rebirth in nature. What better face to use to representing the cycles of the soul? The emblem also indicates the presence of this double “V” design in the design of the First Folio as a whole.
Midsummer, when the sun is as it strongest point, represents the deepest descent into matter. It is the vertex of the process “V”. Bacon quotes Philo Judaeus (a Jewish scholar of Alexandria, First Century A.D.):
And therefore it was most aptly said by one of Plato’s school, that the
Sense of man carrieth a resemblance with the sun, which (as we see)
Openeth and revealeth all the terrestrial globe; but then again it
Obscureth and concealeth the stars and celestial globe: so doth the
Sense discover natural things, but it darkeneth and shutteth up divine.
It at this deepest descent into matter that the myth of the Dying God most aptly applies, for at this point the soul becomes so immersed in matter that it ostensibly dies, although this is only to be born again on a high level.
The ‘form’ of the mending of bad souls is that as the soul goes through its cycle in the ‘form’ of the process is a ‘V’ akin to the Sun-god myths of the Dying God, where the Sun-god dies over and over at the winter solstice when the days are shortest, only to be born again on December 25th when the days begin to grow longer again. This is symbolized in the play Octavius Caesar who has the role of the reborn Sun-god. On the plains at Philippi the exchange of Octavius is at first strikingly reminiscent of Hal to Falstaff-another ‘boy’ to another older person. Antony calls him at first “Young Octavius”, but Octavius quickly assumes command and a few lines later Antony is calling him “Caesar”, and Octavius is now describing himself as “another Caesar”. The Sun-god has been reborn.