St. George Decoded - Introduction, page 4
I have to state, right at the beginning, that I was not looking for St. George. The last time I ever considered him was when I stumbled across this statue in Stockholm old town in the late 1980's. It is our good knight battling the dragon.
St. George is an iconic figure who has found a place in the consciousness of several nations. My own, England, has adopted him and his cross as national emblems although he wasn't born there, nor had anything to do with that side of Europe. He is important to countries across Europe and is a major saint of the Christian churches. His festival was once one of the major days of the calendar.
My path to the good chap led via a life long interest in mythology and its bizarre stories, and a similarly long interest in astronomy. Such interests had to take second place to my career in technology, but later years have found them rekindled.
Groundbreaking work had been done in the 1960's in a seminal work on decoding mythology written by two historians of science, Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend, called 'Hamlet's Mill', first published in 1969. They showed in considerable depth that mythology contained a technical language for describing astronomical events. Since then, much work has been done by others to decode various mythic systems, see Bibliography.
As Santillana and von Dechend's system requires an understanding of precessional astronomy (more of this later), I set about constructing a star map device with a precessing celestial pole, plus precessing equinox and solstice markers. Once I had built that, I would be the equal of any High Priest of Heliopolis, or indeed any Pharaoh, in being able to 'go down to any sky'. I marked the place where the spring equinox ought to have been two thousand years ago. In a moment of pure serendipity I saw before me, hidden in plain sight, all the elements of the legend of St. George and the Dragon.
So, in this essay I have to cover, in a logical fashion, what was essentially a momentary flash of insight. We need to cover these subjects:
For those to whom St. George is a treasured Christian saint, I have good news. This essay does not in any way deconstruct nor trivialise the good knight, but rather my discovery elevates him to much greater importance than hitherto suspected.
For those with an interest in the inner meaning of ancient mythology I hope this essay provides an inspiration for their own endeavours. We have a tremendous heritage of world-wide mythology and I believe we owe it to those ancient compilers of myth to expose their masterworks for all of humanity to see and understand.
Note that all star charts used in this essay were produced by RedShift® 4 astronomy software, and equinox charts are viewed from Athens, Greece (38° 00' N, 23° 46'E), a centre of the ancient world.