Wednesday, April 6, 2016

(Updated) The Temple of Baal (Bel) Coming to London and Later to New York (Occult Analysis) | The Resurrection of Ba'al (Moloch, The Golden Calf) Ritual

Update - the temple of Ba'al is no longer going to be rebuilt in London. But the following article is still a wealth of information related to Ba'al symbolism and other archetypes.

Related Victory! The Arch From The Temple Of Baal Planned For New York City Has Been CANCELED

By Justin Deschamps

An archway from the Temple of Ba'al, also known as the Temple of Bel, will be erected in London on April 19th—13 days from today and just in time for the occult festival of Beltane on May 1st. Later in the year there are plans to move it to New York. It is to give tribute to a site that was destroyed by Islamic State fighters last year who intentionally defaced many artifacts from antiquity during their rampages.

The Cabal or dark occultists, also known as the Illuminati or NWO, revere the destructive forces in the Universe, represented by many different symbols and names, among them, Ba'al and its derivatives.


In order to understand the symbolic and allegorical meaning of raising the Temple of Ba'al, a review of some of the history and interpretation of the appellations involved is required.

To be sure, in the world of magic, ritual and dark occultism, the destruction of Ba'al's temple last year and its resurrection in London during The Feast of Moloch is most likely no accident. It suggests that some kind of rite or ritual is taking place, which the following article attempts to outline. Furthermore, there are plans to bring the same reproduction to New York later in the year, another event of potentially great significance.

Image Source. Temple of Ba'al Archway
The April 19th date of the raising of the 48-foot tall Ba’al temple archway reproduction in London’s Trafalgar Square coincides with the first day of a very important period known as the 13 Days of Preparation, or the Blood Sacrifice of the Beast. These are secret rites and as such no official source can be found for their observance, however; the former Dark Occultist Mark Passio has disclosed that these rites are taken very seriously within certain circles of worldly power.

April 19th is also known as the Feast of Moloch (Ba'al), the owl-headed Canaanite god celebrated in antiquity by the sacrifice of living infants. Undoubtedy it is connected to the effigy of Moloch, which is worshiped at Bohemian Grove festivals every year by the rich and powerful.

Image Source. Moloch Effigy at Bohemian Grove
during the Cremation of Care ritual.

From April 19th to May 1st, sacrificial rites are practiced leading up to what has been called the second most important dark occult holiday of the "Illuminati," the festival of Beltane or May Day. Given these observances by the Cabal, it his highly likely that during this 13-day period, false flag attacks or the initiation of draconian policies will take place.

For example, the London reproduction of the temple will feature "a range of interactive exhibits and workshops for visitors of all ages," possibly making it a perfect venue for a false flag attack.

Ken, from Redefining God put it this way,
It would be sold to the public like this…

“ISIS took our rebuilding of the Arch they destroyed as a slap in the face and a challenge to finish the job they started.” - Source
In other words, resurrecting the archway would give the Islamic State (ISIS) a perfect chance to exact "revenge" for rebuilding the temple they destroyed. But as we will see later, it is clearly a Cabal-run organization, so why destroy their own temple?

Resurrection of Ba'al Ritual

I posit one theory for the erection of this temple, but hardly the only one.

First understand that the Cabal is a loose organization of syndicates, dynastic families, secret societies, crime rings, cartels, and so on. While they have common interests that enabled them to form alliances—like the common goal of enslaving humanity—they are hardly in perfect agreement.

I suggest that their reign of control is slipping, the Cabal is dying, made evident by many failed draconian policies and an inability to bring about their dark NWO. Furthermore, there appears to be a great deal of infighting amongst formerly aligned groups, made evident by the drop in global shipping since the beginning of this year. And there are still other unrevealed events playing out for the battle of the planet.

Related First Time Ever: The Baltic Dry Index Plunges To 394 As Global Trade Grinds To A Standstill 

Although this beast is hardly finished, they appear to be in their death throes.

In an effort to symbolically resurrect themselves, the western Cabal allowed their own temple to be destroyed in the East so it could rise again in the West—London and eventually New York.

Consider that a single line can be drawn from Baalbek Lebanon, close to the former Temple of Bel in Syria, to Stonehenge, London, New York, Washington DC and eventually Teotihuacan in Mexico—all locations that have long histories tied to blood sacrifice and dark occultism.

Image Source: Line connecting Baalbek, London,
Stongehung, Boston,  New York, and Teotihuacan

Related Numerological and Linear Connections on Earth | Secrets in Plain Sight - Great for Beginners

The Temple Archway seems to be traveling along this line. It stood in Palmyra Syria for thousands of years, was destroyed and will be moved to London, then eventually to New York. And possibly there are other stops it will make that have yet to be revealed.

Ba'al, Belial, or the Bull and Lucifer

The term Ba'al has been used throughout history and in modern times. According to Mark Passio, it is derived from an ancient language that did not use vowels, most likely Sumerian or Phoenician. It was originally written as the two consonants BL, and any number of combinations of vowels thereto can be used to imply the similarly related meaning of Ba'al. Bill, Bull, Bail, Ball, Ba'al, Belial, and so on, are all connected to the original term or archetypal meaning associated to a personified deity of creation, a light bearer or Lucifer.

Image Source. Positive version of Lucifer,
Light Bearer, bringer of wisdom, shining
the light of truth into ignorance (darkness).
Notice how it is also similar to the
Colombia Pictures logo.
Related Why You NEED To Understand the Occult | De-Mystifying the Occult Seminar - The Nature of Sacred Symbolism and Hidden Knowledge by Mark Passio

The earliest known meanings of the Sacred Calf or Bull refer to an astrotheological representation of a solar deity. In their original form, these depictions of the Sun god are not evil, although in modern times nefarious groups (e.g. the Cabal, Illuminati or NWO) have co-opted them, Lucifer being one well-known example.

The Lucifer archetype refers to the concept of a bearer of truth; Lux or Luc meaning light; and Ferre meaning to carry.

Light symbolically represents true knowledge or wisdom; darkness represents ignorance, nescience and willful ignorance (evil). Within this older system of interpretation, if one shines the light of truth into the world, they are considered to be acting as a Lucifarian, a light bearer.

Image Source. Baphomet or Dark Lucifer.
Notice how the same right hand is used
to point towards the light. Dark Occultists
acknowledge the truth, but they try to
hide from others for personal gain. 
If one seeks to hide knowledge and wisdom from others for personal gain, they are considered a Dark Lucifarian. If one seeks to share knowledge and wisdom for the benefit of all, they are considered a Light Lucifarian. But in both cases, the same knowledge of universal law and truth is symbolized by Lucifer. The application of that knowledge is what makes someone evil or good, dark or light. In other words, Dark Lucifer represents the bringer of knowledge that binds the minds of humanity via self imposed or willful ignorance—darkness. It is the knowledge of how to enslave others, hence Dark Lucifer. 

The symbolic allegory of bringing knowledge of either light or darkness is applicable with both depictions of Lucifer. The Cabal promote ignorance and use the knowledge of darkness to achieve their ends, hence the Cabal worship the Dark Lucifer archetype or the Black Sun.

In modern times, the Lucifer symbol has been co-opted by the Cabal, who associate a negative archetype of evil or the personification of destruction (the Black Sun), with the bull, or Ba'al. This darker meaning became associated with Beelzebub or Belu, as well as many other appellations in the past 6,000 years.

The dark occultists of this world, the Cabal or Illuminati, consider themselves dark light bearers for humanity, and employ symbolic images associated with the archetype of consciousness evolution. This symbol is the Eye of Horus, the Third Eye, the Truncated Pyramid and so on, but to be sure, all of these symbols, including the Lucifer concept, were originally positive in nature.

Related Another Look At: The Illuminati Eye, Pyramid, 33, And Other Symbols Are NOT Evil

The House of Taurus and Lucifer

The astrological sign of the Bull (Taurus) normally begins on April 19th and ends on May 20th, a time of year when the Northern Hemisphere is being infused with the life-giving energies of spring. Therefore, this house of the Zodiac is representative of the time when the light of spring is being carried or bared by the Sun, associated with the symbol of the bull. This unquestionably associates this time of year with Lucifer as well as the bull symbol, which can have both positive or negative meanings, depending on the kind of rites observed. In either case, this time of  year is essentially the season of the light bearer.

Notice in the below image that the sign of Taurus begins at the peak of spring, the season representing the time when the light is being carried to the Northern Hemisphere, the season of Lucifer.

Image Source.

The raising of the 48-foot tall archway on the first day of the house of Taurus (April 19th) is clearly connected to the gateway of spring into summer. This is most likely why Dark Occultists consider May Day, 13 days after the sign of Taurus begins, to be their second most important holiday.

The Sons of Belial

In Hebrew, Ba'al means owner, master, or lord, a name given to any deity or god. Interestingly enough, the Dark Occultists of this world think of themselves as masters and owners of humanity, death dealers who use the laws of commerce and salvage to claim the lost souls of the Earth.

Related The Underworld Death Dealing Practices Of The Elite | Birth, Marriage and Death Estate Are Seized and Traded By The Government

According to Passio, the Cabal refer to humanity as "the dead," due to the fact the masses are unable to recognize the spiritual realities of existence, which again, are represented symbolically by light.

Although modern historians do not connect Ba'al and the Bebrew term Belial, Passio is one such occult researcher who claims they are derived from the same archetypal solar deity—Lucifer. The order of the Black Sun, which is an extremely ancient satanic cult, uses the term Belial, and other variations, in their worship of the god of destruction and chaos.

Image Source. The Order of the Black Sun is connected to
several secret societies, such as The Thule and Vril Society.

Related The Black Sun and the Luminous Lodge The Vril Society, the Luminous Lodge and the Realization of the Great Work

The Son's of Belial are referred to 27 different times in the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew bible, taking on the meaning "worthless," from two common words beli [בְּלִי] meaning without, and ya'al  [יָעַל] value. Given that these sons of darkness worship death, destruction and chaos, it stands to reason these qualities are worthless to a creator or universal deity of creation.

Isis is one such goddess archetype who represents the creative principle in the universe—and as we will see later—this appellation of Isis is also intimately connected to the raising of the Ba'al temple in London and New York allegory.

In the book, Children of the Law of One and the Lost Teachings of Atlantis, the Sons of Belial are allegedly the Children of Darkness, who intentionally promote ignorance, selfishness, and slavery for the whole of the human race. Within the history revealed therein, the Sons of Belial were responsible for the destruction of Atlantis, and are also the early progenitors of the Cabal, Illuminati, or Dark Occultists.

Related Atlantean Technology and History | A Very Detailed Story of the Fall of Atlantis and their use of Crystals

Moloch, The Golden Calf and New York

Image Source.
Moloch, the Bull or the Owl is also connected to Ba'al and the worship of dark occult archetypes, also known as: Melech, Molech, Milcom, Melkom, Moloch, Molek, Malec, Malik, Melek, Malkum, Melqart, Melkart, Milk, Melqarth, Kronos, Cronus.

Related Moloch History (One-Evil)

In ancient times, worshipers of Ba'al would sacrifice first born children by throwing them into a fiery effigy of the dark deity, called a burnt offering. Today these same rites are practiced in secret or in grand displays such as false flag attacks.

Every year, hundreds of key figures in finance, business and government gather at Bohemian Grove to perform a rite known as the Cremation of Care, a modern day version of the child sacrifice ritual of old.

Related Bohemian Grove

The symbol of the Golden Calf or bull represents materialism and selfishness, worship of a false god, or the worship of death itself. Satanism can be likened to the maximization of selfishness, the abandonment of the spiritual purpose for incarnating on Earth. Hence those who worship Ba'al or Belial call themselves the Cult of Death, reveling in materialistic pleasures, and promoting negativity and darkness as a matter of spiritual belief.

Image Source. The Charging Bull in New York city.

The connection of Ba'al to the city of New York is exemplified by the Charging Bull, a 7,100 pound sculpture standing 11 feet tall and 16 feet long, by Arturo Di Modica. It is currently located in Bowling Green Park, the Financial District of Manhattan, home of Wall Street and the banking powers of this world. 

Given that New York is arguably one of the most materialistic locations on Earth, and the connection of the bull symbol with Chase Bank, it seems like an ideal location for a Temple of Ba'al reproduction. The city of London is also intimately connected with high finance and the salvage of souls lost in the sea of admiralty

The Islamic State and the true ISIS

Image Source.
The Islamic State, who refer to themselves as ISIS, is also symbolically important. The Cabal have allowed this entity to be created as a symbolically dark version Isis.

Isis is an ancient deity used throughout antiquity. It is often representative of the truth, wisdom, and universal law, as well as the feminine archetype of creation. Dark occult powers of this world have long twisted the Isis archetype into its darker form, the scarlet woman, due to its powerful connections to ancient schools of mysticism. For example, the symbol for the US dollar, $ is allegedly derived from the appellation Isis, which represents abundance, the fruit of creation and manifestation, unity consciousness, and the Goddess.

The Isis of old is a feminine version of the positive Lucifer archetype, the light barer, which is symbolically represented by the statue of liberty and the Colombia Logo.

Image Source.
Image Source.

Isis is said to be the destroyer of night, who can shine her light and do away with darkness. The truth is no respecter of falseness, which is similar to light in how it behaves with darkness. For example, a single candle flame can bring light to a room filled with darkness. And, one can obscure light but one cannot do so with darkness. The symbolic meaning is that light or truth is a harsh judge, it has no mercy for darkness. When light and dark come together, light will always dissolve darkness. Taking this into account, the Islamic State or ISIS, claims to personify this same cleansing behavior—a Caliphate against Western sinners (although obviously it is not in harmony with the true archetype of Isis).

The Islamic State, given the available evidence, appears to be a terrorist group under the direction of the US intelligence apparatus.

Last year, a series of documents related to foreign policy in the Middle East, revealed that the Pentagon knew its policies would see the creation of a radical Islamic group and allowed this to occur in an effort to deal with Assad in Syria, amongst other unrevealed agendas.

In addition, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin held a press conference last year revealing intelligence that the US helped fund the creation of ISIS and was secretly trading oil with them using Turkey as a proxy. 

And there is still other evidence that suggests the US either deliberately created ISIS or allowed it to emerge, twisting it into the foreign policy goals of the US.

So this dark version of the god Isis, the Islamic State, claims to be cleansing the world of false worshipers, in a holy war or Jihad. And one of the things this group has been doing is destroying antiquities in various nations it overtakes, one of which was the Temple of Bel (Ba'al) in Syria. This act is very similar to what Moses did when he came down from Mount Sinai, according to Biblical accounts.

Moses, the Golden Calf and Destruction of Ba'al

There is an allegory for the destruction of Ba'al temple in the Bible. Moses represents Isis the Destroyer of falseness, whereas the Israelites represent the Sons of Belial or those lost in selfishness.

Image Source. Moses destroying the
Golden Calf.
When Moses climbed Mount Sinai, he left the Israelites in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights (a significant number as we'll see later). In his absence, Aaron was appointed by them to create a Golden Calf and alter, which he did, and then proclaimed that the next day, they must feast for their new lord. On that day, they "offered burnt-offerings, and brought peace-offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play," which represents sacrificial rites to the god who opposes Moses, Satan or Dark Lucifer.

When Moses came back down the mountain, he found them worshiping a graven image, a Golden Calf or bull—worshiping Dark Lucifer or materialism and debauchery. As Moses discovered this, he was filled with righteous indignation and destroyed the commandments and rebuked his people. He ground the alter and Golden Calf into powder and scattered it into water, which he then forced the people to drink.

Moses' story is a biblical allegory for the personification of Isis, the god of truth, who unmercifully judges the creatures in creation when they stray from her light.

For all intents and purposes, the destruction of Bel temple in Syria was a reference to the Moses story in the bible, which as many know, is intimately connected to the Zionist NWO and Western Cabal. 

The Season of Sacrifice and the 13 Days of Preparation 

Between March 22nd and May 1st is the dark occult Season of Sacrifice. During this 40-day period, a great number of false flag attacks and manufactured events have taken place. It is also during this period of time that the House of Torus rises.

The biblical description of the Israelites fabricating the Golden Calf during their 40 days and nights in the desert was a reference to this astrotheological connection to the house of Taurus, again symbolizing Lucifer. Although in this case, the Taurus, Golden Calf or bull represents the Dark Lucifer archetype, made evident by their worship of a false god within the context of the story.

When the Cabal use false flag attacks and death rituals during this time of year, it is in worship of Ba'al or the bull, in addition to other purposes such as mass-mind control and indoctrination. The most recent false flag event was the Brussels attacks from the 22nd of March, which ISIS claimed responsibility for. 

The 13 days of Preparation are between April 19th and May 1st. At the end of this period of time, the festival of Beltane occurs at the peak of the season of spring. As was mentioned earlier, this is the second most important dark occult holiday, the first being the festival of Samhain on October 31st.

Tower of Babel and the "Gate of the Gods"

Image Source. Tower of Babel.
The Tower of Babel is also intimately connected to Ba'al and its worshipers. Here is an excerpt from an article discussing the important points:
The worship of Baal, also known as Bel, can be traced all the way back to ancient Babylon. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Marduk was “the chief god of the city of Babylon”, and ultimately he became known as “Bel” or “Lord”…

Marduk, in Mesopotamian religion, the chief god of the city of Babylon and the national god of Babylonia; as such, he was eventually called simply Bel, or Lord. Originally, he seems to have been a god of thunderstorms. A poem, known as Enuma elish and dating from the reign of Nebuchadrezzar I (1124–03 bce), relates Marduk’s rise to such preeminence that he was the god of 50 names, each one that of a deity or of a divine attribute. After conquering the monster of primeval chaos, Tiamat, he became Lord of the Gods of Heaven and Earth. All nature, including man, owed its existence to him; the destiny of kingdoms and subjects was in his hands.

And it is interesting to note that according to Wikipedia, the name of the city of Babylon is believed to have originally come from an Akkadian word that meant “Gate of God” or “Gateway of the God”…

The English Babylon comes from Greek Babylṓn (Βαβυλών), a transliteration of the Akkadian Babili.[5] The Babylonian name in the early 2nd millennium BC had been Babilli or Babilla, which appears to be an adaption of an unknown original non-Semitic placename.[6] By the 1st millennium BC, it had changed to Babiliunder the influence of the folk etymology which traced it tobāb-ili (“Gate of God” or “Gateway of the God“).[7]

So now we are setting up a “gateway” or a “portal” for the chief God of ancient Babylon in the heart of our most important city next month. - Source
The Gateway of the God is essentially the temple of Ba'al. The part of the temple that is being erected is the archway, which is most definitely representative of a gateway, portal or doorway.

Death itself can be likened to a portal, wherein the soul moves towards the light, passing from this world into the next. Given this, then the destruction of the temple in Syria was Ba'al's an entrance into a gateway, the exit being in London and later New York.

As mentioned above, the inference suggests that the dark version Isis, the Islamic State, will emerge out of the gateway or portal in London's Trafalgar Square. She will resurrect Ba'al in London, like she resurrected Osiris in myth. All of this could be suggestive of some kind of manufactured event on the 19th of April leading up to the 1st of May; as well as a resurrection of the Western Cabal.

Deciphering Meanings

Now that some of the symbolic meanings for the terms Ba'al and Isis have been revealed, we can discuss the allegory of bringing the Temple of Ba'al to London and New York. Keep in mind that symbolism in general can be interpreted many different ways, the following is just one inference. 

New York represents Babylon, exemplified by the Chasing Bull or Golden Calf statue in Times Square. The same ideologies that saw the creation of the financial slavery system of the ancient world are alive and well today on Wall Street. These ideologies came from London, home of the Temple Bar, the House of Rothschild, and parent to the Wall Street banking cartel. Hence, the resurrection will appear in London first, then New York. 

Therefore, the raising of a 48-foot tall gateway known as the Temple of Ba'al in Trafalgar Square during the Season of Sacrifice and 13 Days of Preparation is a symbolic gesture marking the entrance of the God of Babylon onto the earthly planes—the Dod of Death, materialism and selfishness. It is a rebirth ritual because the slaying of the bull, the destruction of the Tower of Babel and the grinding of the Golden Calf happened via Isis; the destroyer of lies and the unworthy. This was symbolically represented by the destruction of the Temple of Bel in Syria. 

As mentioned earlier, within the ancient mysteries, Isis represents the destroyer of falseness and those who choose selfishness over a spiritual life. Isis is the personification of the truth, which is belligerent and intolerant of falseness.

In the above-referenced message from Isis, she refers to the offer of eternal life made to the human race, and that those who deny her offer will suffer the perils of their own making:
"If you decide to be devoured, fully dedicate your life to enjoyment; drink the last drop from the cup of pleasure. Close your mind to the voice of your spirit, abandon yourself to the beast and enjoy the sensual pleasure of matter. Thus, when you are least aware, the moment of final cannibalism will arrive. Do you really believe I will take pity on you? You deceive yourself; I have no feelings. I am beyond pleasure and pain, beyond right and wrong. I am like the sun that rises in the morning to light everything equally. After your death, you will become only remains and a relic. Afterwards . . . not even that." - Source
Given this meaning of Isis from antiquity, clearly related to the Lucifer archetype, the destruction of the Temple of Bel in Syria implies that the "moment of cannibalism" has arrived. 

Image Source. Ishtar, a Babylonian depiction of Isis. 
The same people that manage the Islamic State (ISIS)—the dark occultists, partially based in London and New York—allowed ISIS to destroy the original Temple of Bel in Syria, a cannibalistic moment. This can be interpreted as a sacrificial offering of the old god dying in the East, only to reemerge in the West by the raising of the gateways in London and New York, two cities intimately connected with the modern day worshipers of Ba'al. This is occurring during the traditional time of Ba'al worship and the festival of Beltane. 

In short, the dark occultists allowed their temples of old to be destroyed by ISIS so that they can be reborn in the West, through the gateway arch of the Temple of Ba'al in London and New York.

The Cabal knew that their reign would eventually come to an end because the truth (Isis) can't be suppressed forever, and they seem to be attempting to perform a ritualistic rebirth of their dark god Ba'al. Given that most of humanity is lost in materialism and selfishness, this could be their attempt to mark a transition into an age of increased darkness—the golden age of the Cabal or the New World Order. 

As with all symbols and allegories, there are an infinite number of potential meanings. The ones I provided above are for your consideration, and not to be taken as the only meaning.

Despite the ominous overtones of this perspective, the good news is that the Sons of Belial require pandemic ignorance in humanity in order to maintain their illusory power. As such, those of us who are true light bearers are needed now more than ever to reveal what is hidden to the masses.

The Panama Papers Leaked During Season of Sacrifice

As a preamble to more potential conflicts, the Panama Papers, the largest leak in history were released on April 3rd, a day falling within the 40-day Season of Sacrifice.

Image Source.
By all accounts it appears to be spearheaded by the Western Cabal, funded by key players such as George Soros, David Rockefeller, the Carnegie Corporation, the Ford Foundation, Goldman-Sachs, and others.

Related Panama Papers Funded by George Soros, David Rockefeller, Ford Foundation, Goldman-Sachs and 441 U.S. Clients of Mossack Fonseca: Who Are They?

These leaks are naming several targets of the West in their silent cold war against the East, such as Russia and Vladimir Putin. Putin isn't named in the leaks, but is being presented with those who were by the media, suggesting that this leak was part of the Cabal's agenda.

Related The Panama Papers Largest Leak in History | Propaganda, Preparation for Mass Arrests or Evidence of Silent Cold War?

Also Iceland's Prime Minister, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, stepped down yesterday, amid controversy about being named in the leaks. This is the same Prime Minister who jailed bankers shortly after the 2008 crisis. And there are still other enemies of the Western banking syndicate being named. All of this could lead to aggressive moves in the coming weeks, perfectly in harmony with the Occult Season of Sacrifice.

Related The 40-Day Season of Sacrifice: March (19th or 22nd) to May 1st | Manipulating the Collective Consciousness of Humanity Using Mass Black Magic Rituals

But as truth seekers, we always have the choice to gain knowledge and be empowered. And like the archetypal light bearer of old, we can shine our light into all the dark places of this world, most importantly, within the darkened minds of our friends and fellows. 

- Justin

The preceding article is a Stillness in the Storm original creation. Please share freely. 

PS - For reference, I have added the New York Times article below, which describes the destruction of many sites in antiquity as a result of the Islamic State. 

Edited for grammar at 10:08pm April 6th 2015. 

Source - New York Times

The Temple of Baal, in Palmyra, Syria, in 2011. In 2015 it was razed by the Islamic State.
Credit Yin Bogu/Xinhua Press, via Corbis

By Kanishk Tharoor

NEXT month, the Temple of Baal will come to Times Square. Reproductions of the 50-foot arch that formed the temple’s entrance are to be installed in New York and in London, a tribute to the 2,000-year-old structure that the Islamic State destroyed last year in the Syrian town of Palmyra. The group’s rampage through Palmyra, a city that reached its peak in the second and third century A.D., enraged the world, spurring scholars and conservationists into action. Numerous nongovernmental organizations are now cataloging and mapping damaged cultural heritage sites in the region.

It will be uncanny and thrilling to see this arch from an ancient desert civilization set against the bright lights of New York. Unfortunately, facsimiles can achieve only so much. Denuded of people, stripped of the rich social contexts in which they were once embedded, antiquities appear just as evidence of the grandeur of the past, the accomplishments of another place in another time. But what did these assemblages of stone mean to the modern Iraqis and Syrians who lived with them?

For Salam al-Kuntar, a Syrian archaeologist who works at the University of Pennsylvania Museum, the loss of the Temple of Baal was deeply personal. “I have a special love for Palmyra because the Temple of Baal is where my mother was born,” she said.

Ms. Kuntar’s grandfather was a policeman in Palmyra when its Roman-era ruins were inhabited. Well into the 20th century, generations of Palmyrenes made their homes in the shade of millenniums-old columns. The locals taught Ms. Kuntar’s grandmother — who was a young bride when she arrived in Palmyra — how to cook and how to bake bread.

Her daughter was among the last generation born inside the ancient city. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, French colonial authorities cleared the area of its inhabitants and dismantled their mud-brick house. That paved the way for the archaeological exploration and preservation of the site, but it also definitively ended ancient Palmyra’s habitation as well as the use of the Temple of Baal, which over the centuries had transformed into a Byzantine church, then a mosque, before eventually becoming part of the village where Ms. Kuntar’s mother was born.

A picture taken in March 2014 shows the iconic arched gate in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. The Islamic State destroyed it in 2015. CreditJoseph Eid/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

When lamenting the masonry and sculpture destroyed by the Islamic State, we can easily overlook this shifting human story. We too readily consign antiquities to the remote province of the past. But they can remain meaningful in surprising and ordinary ways. “This is the meaning of heritage,” Ms. Kuntar said. “It’s not only architecture or artifacts that represent history, it’s these memories and the ancestral connection to place.”

Bulldozed by the Islamic State in 2015, the 1,500-year-old monastery of St. Elian, near Al Qaryatain, Syria, was a symbol of these connections. It was a modest and unadorned structure that had none of the glamour of the Temple of Baal; a 3D reconstruction of the rather plain sarcophagus that held the remains of its eponymous saint won’t be coming to a major Western city any time soon. But its importance lay in its role as a bridge between communities.

Al Qaryatain is a small town in the desert between Palmyra and Damascus. For centuries, Christian and Muslim pilgrims alike came to the monastery to seek the blessings of the saint. Muslims venerated St. Elian as a Sufi sheikh, known to them as Sheikh Ahmed the Priest. His tomb was draped in the green satin common to Sufi holy sites.

Until the turbulence of the civil war, the monastery hosted the festival of Eid Mar Elian every Sept. 9. Five to six thousand devotees — Muslim and Christian — would converge on the monastery, where under a large tent erected in the central cloister they would swap tales about St. Elian/Sheikh Ahmed, share plates of lamb and rice, and dance the dabka.

In attacking the monastery, the Islamic State was not simply leveling a holy place. The militants struck at a site that had knit Muslim and Christian communities together for centuries. Local legend has it that centuries ago, the townspeople decided that no matter whether Islam or Christianity gathered more believers, the group in the majority would always protect the one in the minority. Generations of pilgrims left affectionate graffiti on the sarcophagus of Mar Elian, including a Star of David suggesting that at least one Jew visited the saint.

Another instance of revealing graffiti can be found on an antiquity destroyed last year in northern Iraq. After the Islamic State seized Mosul in 2014, important archaeological sites fell into the group’s hands. These included the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh, which the Islamic State pillaged in 2015.

One of the antiquities demolished at Nineveh was an enormous figure of a “lamassu,” a winged bull with the torso of a man and the beard of a king. It was a protective deity that watched over the Nergal Gate, a major entrance into the city. The lamassu was probably installed during the reign of King Sennacherib, who ruled from 705 to 681 B.C. He was an expansionist leader under whom Nineveh became the capital of the Assyrian Empire. The muscular iconography of the lamassu matched Sennacherib’s imperial ambition. Before smashing the sculpture, Islamic State fighters chiseled off its face with a pneumatic drill.

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The winged bull carried the history not only of kings, but also of ordinary people. Archaeologists had noticed webs of lines scratched into the plinth of the lamassu. These markings, they determined, were the traces of a board game, possibly a version of the ancient Mesopotamian pastime known as the Twenty Squares, a descendant of which is still played in Iraq today. Bored Assyrian guards probably played as they whiled away their shifts. On the surface of a grand political statement, they left the irrepressible evidence of humbler life.

We should not think of the destroyed or at-risk heritage sites in the Middle East as history frozen in stone. It is, of course, worthwhile to study their structures, to resurrect them digitally and even raise them in the metropolitan plazas of the West. But those efforts will be hollow if we forget how antiquities have remained present in the lives of Iraqis and Syrians right up to this grim modern era of destruction.


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