Beatles fans and tourists that visit Liverpool can’t help but visit Mathew Street (aka Beatle Street), the origin of the Beatles road to the toppermost. The Beatles emerged from the Cavern Club located on this road, were lifted up to the highest heights by luck or unseen forces, worshiped like the sun gods, and the rest they say, is history.
So, it might be no surprise to you that the Beatles were depicted as babes and cherubs adored by the Madonna. Wait… what?
Directly across from the location of the original Cavern where the Beatles played over 200 gigs, is this very odd shrine. Titled “Beatles Street- Four Lads Who Shook The World” by Arthur Dooley. Besides the obvious eerie weirdness- is there more to the story of this strange homage to ‘The Lovely Lads from Liverpool’? As usual, YES! Yes there is. Let’s have a dig.
Probably the most glaring weirdness that you notice right away is the strange robed figure carrying 3 children in her arms. The figure is faceless and appears to have ropes or spider webs draped around its arms and body. This is not a Halloween decoration, this was one of the first permanent fixtures in Liverpool in dedication to the Beatles.
The artist is Arthur Dooley. A local artist, he specialized in sculpture in brass, many of them of a religious nature. Some pieces of his work are displayed in churches and other public areas around Liverpool. But this one, seems to be a bit different than his typical pieces.
Examples of other Arthur Dooley sculptures
When you look into the history of this particular piece, you will come to realize that this was not the original depiction. The original depiction is actually a bit stranger, and more mysterious.
Originally unveiled in 1974, the sculpture originally contained three “Beatle babes” and one Beatle cherub with a trumpet. If you zoom in on the faces of the babes, you can actually see that they indeed have the likeness of the three Beatles. According to the Library Services of Liverpool John Morres University :
“the Madonna (representing Liverpool as the mother city of the Beatles) is holding three babies (representing John, George and Ringo), with a fourth baby representing Paul McCartney, who Dooley states, ‘…has been given wings of a cherub for obvious reasons’
For obvious reasons? Really?
The story goes, that just one year after the unveiling of this shrine in 1974, Paul the cherub went missing. Apparently, according to the Liverpool Echo, an anonymous person left the stolen cherub in a bag in front of the Cavern Club across the street years later with an apology. He claimed to have had the “stolen piece” in his garage for nearly 40 years! Now, this may be the case entirely- but I would like to know how a person got up to that height to remove a piece of bronze without being noticed? Here is another view of the shrine in it’s lofty location:
After John’s death in 1980, the sculpture was changed. Another cherub (minus the wings) representative of John Lennon in swaddling clothes and veil was added complete with a halo and the words inscribed, “Lennon Lives”. The new Beatle babe was also made of brass and was featured outside of the box. Select lines from Imagine were also placed underneath at the babe’s feet. Paul’s cherub was never returned to the sculpture. But more things changed as well. Let’s look at a side-by-side.
I feel like this is turning into a ‘Can you spot the differences’ game- but that’s what the Beatles did best- so let’s play on.
Originally, there were 5 letters surrounding the Madonna. M , J, g, r, and which I assume stood for Madonna(?)/ Mother Mary(?), John, George, Ringo, and Paul?? respectively. Looking around a bit, and asking some very knowledgeable friends (thanks K) the symbol seems to be from the Phoenician alphabet.
If this symbol is indeed Phoenician, it adds an interesting twist. Phoenician artisans were skilled in wood, ivory, and metalworking (the sculpture is of brass), as well as textile production. In the Old Testament (2 Chronicles), the master craftsman Hiram of Tyre (Phoenician) was commissioned to build and embellish the temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. Which of course is the foundation of the Freemason ritual. So much more to the Phoenician legend and lore to get into here- but very interesting connotations with so much already discussed on this site. More on Phoenician culture here. For the purpose of this article however, we will focus just on that symbol and its possible interpretations.
The Phoenician version of this letter is called Sade, and it corresponds to the Hebrew letter Tzade which phonetically sounds like “tz” and typically stands for “hunt”. The Tzade has the Gematria value of 90.
According to Wikipedia; The origin of Ṣade is unclear. It may have come from a Middle Bronze Age glyph based on a pictogram of a plant, perhaps a papyrus plant, or a fish hook.
It also goes on to say; The letter is named “tsadek” in Yiddish, and Hebrew speakers often give it that name as well. This name for the letter probably originated from a fast recitation of the alphabet (i.e., “tsadi, qoph” -> “tsadiq, qoph”), influenced by the Hebrew word tzadik, meaning ‘righteous person‘. Source
Could it be that the artist singled Paul out in this way to proclaim him as some sort of divine ‘righteous person’ above the rest of his Beatles Brethren? Why else would Dooley choose to represent Paul’s initial and embodiment in this way? If you go even further with this line of thinking- it gets even more interesting.
Tsadek can be attributed to the Tzaddi, which is The Star in the tarot deck.
“Tzaddi symbolizes faith, imagination, divine perception, the righteous one *The Path of the star*Angel of Psalm 119 v137 maccabees bible* L’Etoile – The Daughter of the Firmament, The Dweller between the worlds*Universal Soul* Derivative of the phoenician letter likewise evolved from the Egyptian Djed Glyph* tzaddik = Fish Hook* Righteous* Sanskrit roots meaning Head and Age*18th letter in many semitic alphabets including phonecian, Aramaic, Hebrew Ṣadi צ and Arabic Ṣād ص*Corresponds with the 19th letter [Sigma] in the Greek alphabet *Star* *Rasta:Corporeal Consciousness, marks the completion of the initial phase in the transformation of the personal self * Corresponding letter of the Ugaritic alphabet is ṣade* Corresponds to the astrological sign of Aquarius*Tz or Ts Represents the number 90 (or, as a final letter, 900) The Hebrew word “Tzaddi” translates into English as “fish hook”. Symbolically, this is what captures the “fish” of Qooph (Pisces), the subconscious mind. In Hebrew symbolism, the fish is a sign of fertility, so what we have here with Tzaddi is the capturing or hooking of the fertility of the subconscious mind. With it, the initiate feeds, sustains and nurtures the personality, and anchors it in the material life circumstances.” Source
The Righteousness aspect of this letter is quite significant to Paul’s cherubim symbolism in this Beatle Street shrine. Another word that suggest a correlation to righteousness regarding the Tzaddi/Tzadek is tzaddikim, which just as the melakhim are God’s messengers (angels) of heaven,the tzaddikim are God’s messengers on Earth.
“I declare that the Beatles are mutants. Prototypes of evolutionary agents sent by God with a mysterious power to create a new species – a young race of laughing freemen…. They are the wisest, holiest, most effective avatars the human race has ever produced.” – Timothy Leary
Considering the artist chose to represent Paul as a cherub or a babe with wings, holding a trumpet, separated and placed higher than the others- I would have to assume here that we have the correct interpretation for this curious symbol , as intentionally representative of McCartney. Perhaps this is the ‘obvious reasons’ Dooley was referring to. Obvious really only if you have knowledge of esoteric matters, or can decipher the ancient Phoenician alphabet, or are just a curious mystery seeker like me.
Keeping with the ‘fish hook’ symbolism, in the 1960’s/1970’s there was quite the chatter in certain circles of the baby boomer generation in regards to the dawning of the ‘Age of Aquarius’. The age of Pisces was coming to an end, and the Age of Aquarius was on its’ way. Pisces is of course symbolically represented as a fish. Therefore, the fish hook would be needed to catch the (age of) Pisces and lift it up out of the waters and into the air (Aquarius being an ‘air’ symbol in astrology). Aquarius also resonates with the Star card of the Tarot- being the water bearer. Was Paul as intended by this artist to be the ‘dweller between worlds’ or the ‘messenger’ from the spiritual to the material realm- The allegorical Nuit? The child of Horus- the bringer of the new age?
In thenumbernine’s analysis of the Butcher Cover album, the Beatles Apotheosis, it was discussed at length how the Beatles seemed to be illustrated in that image as the ushers into the ‘new age’ or the ‘new aeon’. Portrayed as basically demi-gods or ascended masters, completely intentional as admitted by the photographer Robert Whittaker. All of these observations seem to coincide rather well in my opinion.
Have I lost you yet? Am I totally ‘Out There’ on this one?
The symbol also reminds me of a Shepard’s Crook, this is valid I believe considering the fish hook origin of the symbol. Shepard/sheep/goat/ram symbolism runs RAMpant within McCartney’s work, as has been discussed here in thenumbernine blog several times. Which also leads back to ‘Paul is Dead’ symbolism and/or the Gnostic philosophies and/or other Mystery School/Babylonian mysteries also discussed at length by several researchers in regard to the Beatles.
Billy ‘Shears’ and William Shepherd have both been used when giving a name to the alternative Paul (Faul) McCartney, or Paul McCartney’s imposter. The now infamous LIFE magazine ‘Paul is still with us’ November 7 (11/7:7/11) issue features ‘Paul’, Linda, Mary and Heather with the shepherd crook.
If you are a believer in the notion that Paul McCartney died and was replaced by an imposter in 1966, this shrine may speak volumes to you. I can’t quite deny the odd synchronictic symbolism myself so easily. Was Paul simply this artist’s favorite Beatle, and he chose to represent him this way- above and singled out from the rest of the Beatle babes? Maybe. Was he simply denoting Paul’s new band, Wings? Perhaps so- but at the same time, given all the other ‘clues’ and odd coincidences surrounding the Beatles and Paul McCartney, it is very difficult not to admit that SOMETHING profound occurred to/with the Beatles. Was it an occult death and rebirth? Possible too. Was Paul initiated into the likes of a ‘secret society’ such as the O.T.O. or the T.O.T.O. and achieve personal enlightenment/ascension/Gnosis? Certainly possible, and even likely in my opinion. Perhaps this too can explain all the symbolism we see. Perhaps a combination of all these things.
Keeping again with the Phoenician theme here, what can be said about the curious ‘mother’ figure bearing the Beatle babes? It might be a depiction of Astarte, a Phoenician fertility goddess. ASTARte has been described as such:
“The Assyrians and Babylonians pictured her [Astarte] caressing a child. She was associated with the moon and called the Mother of the Universe, giver of all life [sic] on Earth. She ruled all spirits of the dead residing in heaven, visible from earth as stars; hence came her name Astroarche, “Queen of the Stars.” She was called the mother of souls in heaven, the Moon surrounded by her star-children, to whom she gave their “astral” (starry) bodies. Occultists still refer to the astral body as the invisible double, without remembering the term’s original connotation of starlight.” Source
That sounds a lot more like what we are seeing in the Beatle Street sculpture. Much more-so than a creepy ‘Mother Mary’. Would you agree? However, It could also be argued that Astarte was assimilated later into the likes of Ishtar/Isis/Hathor/Aphrodite/Artemis/Juno/Mary Magdalene/Mother Mary, so to some, these could be versions or representations of the same thing. This would also fall in line well with the symbolism presented in the Sade symbol used in the sculpture, bringing to mind once again the associations with the Star card of the Tarot.
The only real conclusion I can make is that this symbol to represent Paul was most definitely intentional. What exactly that intention is, is left open for debate. Not unlike the countless other oddities and coincidences surrounding the Beatles legend, perhaps we will never know the real intentions. But it is a long and winding road that I do not mind traveling.
What did I miss? Any commentary or constructive criticism is welcomed. I would love to hear your thoughts about what this sculpture is symbolizing. Thanks for reading!
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