Bohemian Grove Club Member Will Rogers portrait wearing hat
The Phrygian Cap is a most recondite antiquarian form; the symbol comes from the highest antiquity. It is displayed on the head of the figure sacrificing in the celebrated sculpture, called the ‘Mithraic Sacrifice’ (or the Mythical Sacrifice), in the British Museum. This loose cap, with the point protruded, gives the original form from which all helmets or defensive headpieces, whether Greek or Barbarian, deduce. As a Phrygian Cap, or Symbolizing Cap, it is always sanguine in its colour. It then stands as the ‘Cap of Liberty’, a revolutionary form; also, in another way, it is even a civic or incorporated badge. It is always masculine in its meaning. It marks the ‘needle’ of the obelisk, the crown or tip of the phallus, whether ‘human’ or representative. It has its origin in the rite of circumcision–unaccountable as are both the symbol and the rite.
The real meaning of the bonnet rouge, or ‘cap of liberty’, has been involved from time immemorial in deep obscurity, notwithstanding that it has always been regarded as a most important hieroglyph or figure. It signifies the supernatural simultaneous ‘sacrifice’ and ‘triumph’. It has descended from the time of Abraham, and it is supposed to emblem the strange mythic rite of the ‘circumcisio preputii’. The loose
[paragraph continues] Phrygian bonnet, bonnet conique, or ‘cap of liberty’ may be accepted as figuring, or standing for, that detached integument or husk, separated from a certain point or knob, which has various names in different languages, and which supplies the central idea of this ‘sacrificial rite–the spoil or refuse of which (absurd and unpleasant as it may seem) is borne aloft at once as a ‘trophy’ and as the ‘cap of liberty’. It is now a magic sign, and becomes a talisman of supposedly inexpressible power–from what particular dark reason it would be difficult to say. The whole is a sign of ‘initiation’, and of baptism of a peculiar kind. The Phrygian cap, ever after this first inauguration, has stood as the sign of the ‘Enlightened’. The heroic figures in most Gnostic Gems, which we give in our illustrations, have caps of this kind. The sacrificer in the sculptured group of the ‘Mithraic Sacrifice’, among the marbles in the British Museum, has a Phrygian cap on his head, whilst in the act of striking the Bull with the poniard–meaning the office of the immolating priest. The bonnet conique is the mitre of the Doge of Venice.
Besides the bonnet rouge, the Pope’s mitre–nay, all mitres or conical head-coverings–have their name from the terms ‘Mithradic’, or ‘Mithraic’. The origin of this whole class of names is Mittra, or Mithra. The cap of the grenadier, the shape of which is alike all over Europe, is related to the Tartar lambskin caps, which are dyed black; and it is black also from its association with Vulcan and the ‘Fire-Worshippers’ (Smiths). The Scotch Glengarry cap will prove on examination to be only a ‘cocked’ Phrygian. All the black conical caps, and the meaning of this strange symbol, came from the East. The loose black fur caps derive from the Tartars.
The ‘Cap of Liberty’ (Bonnet Rouge), the Crista or
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