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Historical Notes: A feathered snake and a man with a beard

LEGENDS SAY that a bearded white man, with fair hair and blue eyes, brought super-knowledge to the Maya. He taught them the mysteries of the heavens, the laws of mathematics and astronomy, and the skills of the artisan. He taught them to build their pyramids and palaces of stone. Above all else, he taught them wisdom; that purification would come though sacrifice, and that immortality awaited the souls of the pure.

They say that when he died he became the morning star, Venus. He walked, in turn, among the Olmec, the Teotihuacanos, the Maya, Toltec and Aztec. They called him Quetzalcoatl, the feathered snake, god of goodness and wisdom.

Others, too, spoke of the bearded white man. The Incas, in Peru, called him Viracocha, while their neighbours the Aymara called him Hyustus. In Bolivia he was known as the "God of the Wind". To the Polynesians he was known as Kon-Tiki, the Sun-God, Always, when he left, his promise was the same: one day he would return.

More evidence of the legend of "Quetzalcoatl" exists in the tomb of the Mayan priest-king Lord Pacal, at Palenque, in Mexico, than anywhere else. We know this from secret pictures encoded into Mayan artefacts, revealed for the first time in 1993, when the code of Maya carving was finally broken. These show Lord Pacal quite clearly, unambiguously, as a feathered snake. They knew, from his teachings, that the sun affected fertility and that the world had been created four times before and that each creation ended in catastrophic destruction, which they blamed on the sun. To them the sun was God.

No one has ever explained the connection between the sun and this feathered snake, or the man with the beard, until now.

The decoded pictures tell us he took to the throne at the age of 29, and that he was born following an immaculate conception, more than 1,250 years ago in the jungles of Mexico.

At the age of nine, 3,000 years ago, on the banks of the Nile, another boy-king took to the throne. His name was Tutankhamun, the living image of God. For more than 75 years, since his tomb was opened, experts have tried to explain the legacy of the enigmatic pharaoh. Now, using knowledge of Maya encoding, together with the latest in scientific understanding, the life, the times and the tomb of Tutankhamun have been re-examined.

The secrets of the boy-king, kept safe for more than 3,000 years, reveal that he too taught his people the super-science of the sun, which they worshipped as the god of fertility. He too performed miracles. They say that when he died he too went to the stars; to become one with Orion, in the Milky Way. He too was called the feathered snake, which he carried on his forehead with the vulture and the cobra.

Why did the ancients encode their super-knowledge into their treasures? They knew that, upon death, they would reincarnate on Earth, for another attempt at soul purification or return to God, the creator of the universe, to live forever in the stars. In this way, they believed, God grows and the universe expands. They encoded their secrets for themselves to rediscover should they ever return, giving them a better chance next time, if they didn't make it this time.

The discoveries suggest that ancient mythological beliefs could actually be fact, meaning that this human experience is merely a subordinate state to that of our underlying spiritual nature, as eulogised by the ancients.

This revered knowledge is known and thrives today; hidden in the cathedrals of medieval Europe, concealed in sacred geometry, in whispered words, behind closed doors, by the church, the highest orders of Freemasonry and other secret societies. The decoding of the treasures of Tutankhamun reveal, for the first time ever, the reason for the secrecy.

Maurice Cotterell is the author of `The Tutankhamun Prophecies' (Headline, 28 January, pounds 18.99)