The Shugborough Coat of Arms
and the Dogon Religion
by Shannon Dorey
Figure 1. Shugborough Coat of Arms
©Earl of Lichfield With Permission

I was first interested in Shugborough at Staffordshire in Lichfield, England because the three key figures of the ancient African Dogon religion appear on the Shugborough coat of arms. (See Figure 1) This indicates to me that Shugborough has an association with the ancient African Dogon religion. Further research has proven these connections and has also found that the Dogon religion has strong associations with the carvings found in Rossyln Chapel in Scotland and with the Cathars, the Merovingians, and Rennes-le-Château in Southern France, suggesting that all of these groups were connected to each other through their religious beliefs.

According to the Dogon, the Nummo were purely spiritual, immortal, alien beings who came to Earth from space when their world was destroyed. The Nummos' skin was primarily green, but, like the chameleon's, it sometimes changed colour. It was said to at times have all the colours of the rainbow. The Nummo were amphibious beings with fish tails who spent more time in water than on land. While on land they moved like serpents on their long thin fish tails. I believe that the Nummo who visited the Dogon people, appear in the Shugborough Coat of Arms, Figure 1, as a green horse with a fish tail. The phrase, "horse of god" that appeared in one of the mysterious ciphers found at Rennes-le-Château,2 is also likely associated with the Nummo.

In the Dogon religion, the horse was not only a symbol of the Nummo but it was also identified with the Nummo's spaceship or ark. The stacked round wooden cups that the Dogon spiritual leader, the Hogon, used for religious ceremonies usually had a lid with a horse on top, representing the Nummo.3 Henry Lincoln, author of The Holy Place, a book on Rennes-le-Château believes that the Knight's Stone found in Rennes-le-Château and dating to the seventh century is the Celtic horse goddess Epona.4

Initially, I speculated that the Nummo became identified with horses because the chevrons on their backs looked like a horse's mane. Research in 5

The black dog, on top of the Shugborough coat of arms represents the Jackal. In the Dogon religion, the Jackal is a symbol of the Nummos' failed genetic experiment and humanity's separation from truth and immortality. In one Dogon story, the Jackal steals fire from the Nummo's workshop and flees with it back to Earth. He ends up crashing the Nummo spaceship and spreading the fire across the Earth. The stolen fire that the Jackal takes from the Nummo represents the spiritual and biological essence of the Nummo. In other world mythologies, including Greek mythology, the stolen fire is associated with stolen cows, which is important since the Nummo were symbolized by red cows. We find this association in the story of Hermes (the Greek god of thieves), a Jackal figure, who steals cows from the sun God Apollo. Besides a dog, the Jackal is also symbolized by a fox, goat, rooster, and a white cow in the Dogon religion. In other world mythologies he was symbolized by a white bull. The Jackal was a male figure associated with single sexed beings and the Earth. The Nummo, on the other hand, represented heaven, immortality and the divine feminine.7

The myths about the Frankish Merovingian ancestor Merovée also associates him with the Dogon religion. According to beliefs, Merovée was a semimythical person born of two fathers. One was a king named Clodio, the other, a sea monster. The Merovingians were also said to have been descended from aliens who were the offspring of nephilim, or fallen angels. Because of their ancestry, Merovée and his descendants were reputed to have supernatural powers and unnaturally long lives.8 In a second genetic experiment carried about the Nummo, humans were able to maintain their immortality as long as procreation was controlled. The first two male Nummo Ancestors deviated from the Nummos' rules and created an offspring that caused humans to lose their immortality. I believe that myths about Merovée are associated with that event.

In The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail, Lincoln, Leigh, and Baigent assert that the objective of the Knights Templar was to protect the Merovingian bloodline because they thought the Frankish royal family was descended from Jesus and Mary Magdalen. Merovingian kings became kings through sacred right on their twelfth birthdays. They were priest-kings rather than ruling kings.9 My research, however, ties the Merovingians to myths about the Nummo Ancestors.

Lébé, the Dogon ancestor of humanity, who was created in a third experiment, was symbolized by the lion in the Dogon religion. The lion appears on the right side in the Shugborough coat of arms. Lébé was born of two mothers.10 Even though Lébé's parents were androgynous, and identified as the Seventh and Eighth Ancestors in the Dogon religion, they were primarily female and Lébé was born of their union. Lébé's birth was likely done to offset the birth of Merovée, who was born of two fathers.11

For more information about these things refer to The Nummo.

The Shepherd's Monument and the Masonic Society

Monuments on the Shugborough grounds also relate to the Dogon religion. I was particularly interested in the secret code on the Shepherd's Monument, which has provided a mystery for visitors since the monument was first built by the Anson family in the 1760s. It is said that the secret letters on the Shepherd's Monument are "hiding a set of instructions on how to find the Holy Grail, the chalice in which the blood of Jesus was collected as it fell from his crucified wounds."12 Since the Dogon religion is about immortality, creation and regeneration, this reference to the Holy Grail is significant. In my book, The Nummo, I refer to the connection between the Dogon religion and the Arthurian Mythos involving the Holy Grail and cauldrons of regeneration.

My research points to the possibility that the Shepherd's Monument was a meeting place for an Operative Masonic group that was connected to a secret underground political and religious group involving the exiled Stuarts and their attempt to regain the English throne. Because they were said to be connected to the Merovingian bloodline, the Stuart line would have been important to the religion practised by these individuals. The "Divine Right of Kings" may have originated because of the genetic experiment and the protection of the beneficial DNA. The Templars who were involved in a number of important building projects of the early Middle Ages, appear to have played a role in the formation of the early "master associations" or guilds.13 Operative was a term that was used to refer to working masons. It is quite possible that the Templars did protect the Merovingian bloodline but not for the reasons that Lincoln, Leigh, and Baigent believed. The religion practised by these individuals was much older than biblical mythology. My research indicates it is the core religion, from which every other religion in the world has emanated.

The result of the Philalethan Congress held in Paris from 1785 to 1787 tends to support my research. "This meeting called upon eminent Freemasons from all lands and all rites to convene 'to discuss and clarify the most essential points of the doctrine, the origin, and the historical affiliation of the true Masonic science.'" These individuals brought their diverse opinions with them and the "resulting understanding generally agreed upon was that Freemasonry was the 'original religion'." According to those who met at the Congress, this religion was handed down from various sources including individuals such as King Arthur, the Gnostics, the Templars, Pythagoras, Plato, the Rosicrucians and Hermes Trismegistus, just to mention a few. All of those individuals have been mentioned in my books and articles.14

Historical documents indicate that the group associated with the Shugborough Shepherd's Monument was probably established by the Rosicrucian and alchemist Elias Ashmole around the time of Charles I execution in 1649. Ashmole, who was the first Operative Mason of any consequence, was born in Lichfield on 23 May 1617 and died in South Lambeth (London) in 1692.15 The Shugborough Monument is located on the grounds at Shugborough Hall, the seat of the Earls of Lichfield. I believe it was built as a meeting place for the Operative Masons sometime in the 1760s, long after Ashmole's death but at a time when the Stuarts' desire to regain the English throne was still paramount. The monument would have also provided a meeting place for those who still believed in the ancient religion.

Figure 2. Shepherd's Monument, Staffordshire ©Shannon Dorey

The Shepherd's Monument at Shugborough was designed in reverse to Poussin's Les Bergers d'Arcadie, which was painted in 1637-39. In this painting, shepherds point to the phrase Et in Arcadia Ego, which happens to be the title of Poussin's earlier painting in which the river god appears.16 The painting of the morose water deity dates from 1630 to 1635. "The river Alpheus is a central river in the actual geographical Arcadia in Greece, which flows underground and is said to surface at the Fountain of Arethusa in Sicily and is deemed to be sacred."17 Poussin's painting would have been created a few years before Elias Ashmole formed the Operative Masonic group associated with Shugborough. Poussin's paintings indicate that he had knowledge of the ancient the religion associated with the African Dogon religion and which is evident at Shugborough, Rennes le Chateau and Rosslyn.

According to the Dogon, the Nummo sometimes lived high in the mountains in caves and sometimes underground. The sunlight dried out their skin. Because they were amphibious, they needed to keep moist in order to stay alive. I believe that the "underground stream" that appears in the mythology of the Rosicrucians and the river god Alpheus found in the artist Nicholas Poussin's painting, Et in Arcadia Ego are related to the Nummo. The morose water deity is associated with the Nummo who were devastated by the failed experiment on Earth.

The Hidden Clues at Rennes-Le-Château

Another meeting place for this particular Operative Masonic group appears to have been in Rennes-le-Château in southern France. Most of the clues for solving the puzzle of the letters on the Shugborough Shepherd's Monument came from Rennes-le-Château, some appearing in ciphers that were thought by Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln, authors of Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, to have been composed in the 1780s by the curé at the time, Abbé Antoine Bigou. In one of the ciphers, Nicolas Poussin is mentioned as providing a key to the mystery.18 Southern France and the Cathars were also connected to the Merovingians, whose first king, Dagobert, married his second wife Giselle at Rennes-le-Chateau in the south of France in 671. Some legends also link the Cathars with the Holy Grail.19

It is the shepherd's found in Poussin's painting, which are reversed to that of the shepherd's on the Shepherd's Monument at Shugborough, which is the key to solving the enigma of the letters on the monument. Poussin's reversed painting of the shepherds in Les Bergers d'Arcadie indicates that the letters on the Shepherd's Monument are supposed to be read in reverse. Not only are the letters on the Shepherd's Monument meant to be read in reverse but the top letters are also separated from the bottom letters because the top letters are also meant to be flipped. When flipped and reversed, the top letters on the Shepherd's Monument spell MAVSONO, or .

Figure 3. Upside Down Cross. ©R. Hill

The clue for the reversal and flipping of the letters is also found in the church at Rennes-le-Château, where the original Visigothic Pillar that used to support the old altar was displayed upside down in the church (see Figure 3). In the early 1970s the actual tomb, which appears in Poussin's painting of Les Bergers d'Arcadie, was found on the outskirts of Arques, approximately six miles from Rennes-le-Château.20

A mile or so east of Rennes-le-Château lies the ruins of the Château of Blanchefort, seat of the fourth Grand Master of the Knights Templar, who presided over the order in the mid-twelfth century.21 The clues found at Rennes-le-Château may have been part of a Masonic ritual in which initiates were to read the meaning of the letters on the Shugborough Shepherd's Monument.

On the Shugborough Monument, the letters SON spell the end of the word MASON. The letter O at the end of the letters may stand for "operative", which, as mentioned earlier, was a term that was used to refer to working masons. I believe the working masons likely provided some of the army's backbone in the Stuart uprisings. The word "operative" also became identified with mathematicians and scientists in the 1600s. Elias Ashmole was supposed to have been the first Operative Mason of any consequence.23

In her Theosophical writings, H.P. Blavatsky asserts that Elias Ashmole was admitted to the freedom of the Operative Masons' company in London in 1646. Blavatsky further reports that Elias Ashmole was the celebrated antiquarian, who founded the museum of Oxford and was initiated together with Colonel Mainwarring in the Brotherhood of the working Masons in Warrington. She recounts how "the entrance of such men as Elias Ashmole into the Operative Fraternity paved the way for the great 'Masonic Revolution of 1717', when SPECULATIVE Masonry came into existence."24

In A Chronology of the History of Freemasonry it is written that "In this year, of 1646, a company of Rosy Croix that had been formed in London according to the ideas of Bacon's New Atlantis, assembled in the conference room of the Masons. Elias Ashmole, who was a member, and the other Brothers of the Rosy Croix, rectified the formulas of reception of these workmen, which consisted of some ceremonies similar to those used among all the professionals, and substituted a mode of initiation which they copied, partly, from the old mysteries of Egypt and Greece."25

Figure 4. Engraved Letters on the Shepherd's Monument

The letters A and V of the mysterious word shown in Figure 4 represent two Masonic symbols, the compass and the square. These symbols are meant to appear overlapping each other, as shown. In addition to being Masonic symbols, they make the A in the word MASON.

Figure 5. Compass and Square
Figure 6. Masonic Symbol

Figures 5 and 6 show how the cross and square appear on Masonic artefacts and support the theory that these two letters were meant to be read together.The clue that these Vs should overlap also appears at Rennes-le-Château, where they are engraved in stone in the word OMARIE. The A in the name MARIE is overlapped by an M. It is part of a phrase meaning "Oh Mary Conceived Without Sin Pray For Us." Henry Lincoln, one of the authors of Holy Blood/Holy Grail and the author of The Holy Place, a book about Rennes-le-Château, says it almost appears as if the stone mason who carved the phrase and the name MARIE made a mistake, first putting in the MM and then overlapping the second M with an A.28 Lincoln joked that he thought this was highly unlikely because the M's are written like upside down V's. The overlapping letters in the stonework are clearly the Masonic symbol.

The OM that begins the phrase may also be a clue to the fact that the Masonic group associated with Shugborough and Rennes Le Chateau were Operative Mason, which followed the ancient operative traditions. This is important because at that time in history a transition was taking place and speculative Freemasonry was taking over the old operative traditions that were becoming lost.29 It was the old operative traditions that were most closely linked with the ancient religion. Some historians have speculated that the Operative Masons were groups identified with actual working masons and the later Speculative groups were identified with clubs that weren't comprised of working masons but who just followed the Operative Masonic rituals. My research tends to support the fact that the older operative groups were more closely associated with the ancient religion that later became confused by the speculative Freemasons.

Shugborough Then And Now, Stafforshire County Council. ©Earl of Lichfield
2Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, The Holy Blood And The Holy Grail, BPCC Hazell Books,
Aylesbury, England, 1990 p. 26.
3Shannon Dorey, The Nummo, p. 83.
4Henry Lincoln's Guide to Rennes-le-Château. DVD. 2000.
Illuminated Word. 2005. The Disinformation Company Ltd.
5Dorey, The Nummo, p. 2.
6Shannon Dorey, The Master of Speech p. 2. 7Dorey, The Nummo, pp. 233-236.
8Dan Burstein, Secrets of the Code, CDS, New York, NY. 2004. p. 348.
9Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln p. 253.
10Dorey, The Master of Speech p.113.
11Dorey, The Nummo, p.124. 12
2005/05/17/shugborough_code_feature.shtml Helen Thomas

13Paul Naudon, The Secret History of Freemasonry
Translated by Jon Graham, Inner Traditions, Rochester, Vermont. 2005. p. 81.

14Naudon p. 266.
Grand Lodge of Yukon and British Columbia. Elias Ashmole
16Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, pp. 142-143.
17Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, p. 187.
18Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln pp. 25-26.
19Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln p.56.
20Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln p.39.
21Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln p.25.
the%20right%20angle%20p2.htm From the Theosophical Writings
of H.P. Blavatsky compiled by Geoffrey Farthing.
the%20right%20angle%20p2.htm From the Theosophical Writings
of H.P. Blavatsky compiled by Geoffrey Farthing.
Translation Stuart Nettleton 1999. A Chronology of the History of Freemasonry.
Square%20&%20Compasses/SQC79.jpg Kena Hiram's Masonic Picture Collection.
National%20Sojourners/ Kena Hiram's Masonic Picture Collection.
28Henry Lincoln's Guide to Rennes-le-Château. DVD. 2000. Illuminated Word. 2005. The Disinformation Company Ltd.
29The Secret History of Freemasonry Paul Naudon, Translated by Jon Graham, Inner Traditions, Rochester, Vermont. 2005. p. 266-267.