"Stéphane Hessel at a pro-Palestinian rally. He is wearing a Phrygian cap, an icon of the French Revolution.” (NY Times picture caption, from the front page of section C, "A Resistance Hero Fires Up the French,” by Elaine Sciolino, March 10, 2011)
by Michael Hoffman
It is not often that one sees the red Phrygian cap of the initiate being worn by a prominent person these days, in this case a hero of the French Resistance in World War II, Stéphane Hessel.
The Phrygian cap was worn by the insurgents of the masonic French Revolution, in the 18th century. Its ancient roots in ritual occult costume are seldom mentioned.
Those who have read my book Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare are aware of my interest in the detection of public and civic ritual “magic," which, together with Twilight Language, form a principle tool of the Cryptocracy for the recondite processing of humanity.
The Phrygian cap is at the root of some of the most striking and sacred ceremonial headwear in the West.
The god Mithras wore a red Phrygian cap. In volume two of his seminal work, The Rosicrucians: Their Rites and Mysteries (1870), Hargrave Jennings argued for the common ancestry of the Phrygian Cap, as the classic cap of the god Mithra; this Mithraic or Phrygian Cap being the origin of the priestly miter in all faiths. The Phrygian Cap was worn by the priest in sacrifice. When worn by a male, it had its crest, comb, or point set jutting forward.
Jennings informs us that the Phrygian Cap is a most recondite antiquarian form; it comes from the highest antiquity. It is displayed on the head of the figure sacrificing in the celebrated sculpture called the "Mithraic Sacrifice" in the British Museum, London.
When a Phrygian Cap, or Symbolizing Cap, is blood red, it stands for the crown or tip of the phallus, whether human or representative. It has its origin in the rite of circumcision; an emblem of the rite of circumcision, standing for the excised husk of the phallus born aloft as a trophy or cap of “liberty” on the head of the secret society member, or dupe.
The Phrygian Cap stands as the sign of sacrifice. The sacrificer in the sculptured group of the “Mithraic Sacrifice," among the marbles in the British Museum, has a Phrygian Cap on his head. He performs the act of striking the bull with a dagger, which is the office of the immolating priest.
The bonnet conique is the miter of the Doge of Venice. Cinteotl, a Mexican god of sacrifice, wears such a cap made from the thigh-skin of a sacrificed virgin. This headdress is shaped like a cock's comb. The Scotch Glengarry cap also seems, upon examination, to be "cocked."
Besides the "bonnet rouge," the Pope's miter and other miters and conical head-coverings derive their names from the terms "Mithradic," or "Mithraic," and the origin of the whole class of names is Mittra, or Mithra.
What is the solution to the modern riddle of the Phrygian cap?
It is this: when the “cap of liberty,” the Phrygian cap of the initiate, raised its severed prepuce in revolutionary France, its wearers simultaneously raised, to the raucous cheers of the Paris mob, the human heads severed by the guillotine.
It is perhaps not so much a riddle, as an inside joke.
Michael Hoffman’s latest book is Usury in Christendom, due to be published in July. He edits Revisionist History newsletter and lives in the foothills of Idaho’s Bitterroot mountains.