The Upper Haight is known for its rich cultural history, and to this day, it brings throngs of gawkers to the neighborhood in search of signs of its erstwhile greatness.
But to resident and art historian Deborah Hodgson, the Haight projects a very different story. An alternative history of civilization, one where Jesus and Mary Magdalene were really married and produced a bloodline of royalty that has seeped into all walks of life over the past 2,000 years.
The kicker? You won't find an account of this narrative in a public library. Deborah Hodgson says it's hidden in coded symbology that's present in the design elements of many of the old Victorians in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco.
Deborah Hodgson has recently published an interactive online multi media book called Coded Haight Ashbury on Atavist, and maintains a blog Coded History, that documents some of her research. We caught up with Deborah the other day to go on a tour of the neighborhood and hear a little more about her fascinating, and no doubt controversial, findings.
Were are you from and how did you get here?
"I'm originally from Brisbane, the capital of the state of Queensland, in Australia. I worked on a series of concerts with a couple of bands from the USA, who were on tour in Byron Bay. They said, 'Come to America!', so I did.
Just before I left Australia my mother gave me a gift card to get my nails done and the nail technician was asking me about my trip to the USA. I said I wasn't sure what to do there except be a tourist. As she massaged my hands and looked at them she said to go see San Francisco and I would find what I am looking for there.
It was kind of unexplainable, but what she said suddenly made a lot of jumble in my head settle down. So I went to San Francisco and I met my second husband here in a huge multi-arts enclave on 50 Oak Street, where the Music Conservatory is now."
When was that?
"17 years ago."
Why did you choose the Upper Haight?
"I kind of gravitated here. I was only visiting to see what America was like, and staying with friends in a flat on Haight Street. We went out on a free museum night and were meeting others at a friend of a friend's recording studio.
It turned out to be my future husband's recording studio. He tagged along, then a funny old Italian guy named Giovanni later tagged along with our group. Giovanni no less than match made my husband and I that night giving us an unauthorized stour back stage the MOMA.
After we were all kicked out of the MOMA, because Giovanni was being, I think, Giovanni. My future husband escorted me on the NJudah back to the Haight, because it turned out he lived just around the corner from where I was staying. And were we both still live now "
Are you still in the music industry today?
"The last few years I've been a housewife my husband works in real estate services, but before that, I was working in festivals. I worked with How Weird Street Fair, The Superhero Street Fair, Earthdance, Chet Helms Memorial, Monterey Pop 40th. Often with folks from Anon Salon and Burning Man.
When I first arrived in San Francisco I worked with Bill Graham Presents for the last season of their old regime. I've worked with The Grateful Dead, Harmony Festival, and was friends with Chet Helms for the last few years before he left the planet. Chet used to say I reminded him of the old days."
What drew you to be interested in symbology in the Haight?
"Since first coming here from Australia I've been fascinated by these buildings and the odd shapes in some streets. From the first had a strange, I guess, vibes about the designs. One day I cracked my shoulder and couldn't move for a few months. Sitting on the sofa with the TV and laptop I discovered Youtube and documentaries about the Da Vinci Code, and symbols and a particular doc called 'Bloodline'.
Bloodline really got to me, because I could see they were misinterpreting much of the symbology and ignoring the heraldry. I learned the basics of heraldry as a child, because my family ancestors were nobles and I was a debutante. Pony club, ballroom dancing since 7, finishing school, society pages, dated actual princes, the works.
I also traveled the world and studied fine art and design, and with that art history, in college in Australia and England. I realized that people were misusing the Fleur de Lis. Technically the Fleur de Lis is an ancient and still copyrighted logo, the official copyrighted heraldry symbol of the bloodline of Mary Magdalene."
Explain briefly what you mean when you talk about 'Coded History.'
"Coded history is history written or pictured in plain sight. The Bible is several coded histories and several different books coded into one. Not just the Gospels, but also astrology and a form of natural medicine and more. The code is also on certain buildings in the design, layout, and decorations.
It's in fine art, in what we think are meaningless background objects, or colors, and depictions of mythology. It is in poetry in and literature in commentary and allegory. You've heard of The Da Vinci Code, and how they have codes in fine art. It's coded into that, through symbols from Masonic Societies that go back thousands of years. Note: Not Freemason, as they are something quite different.
Through these Masonic societies, people learn all these symbols, and it's an actual language, like Egyptian hieroglyphics. With that, they can code whole histories and stories within artwork, buildings, whole cities, and the margins of books, that only they can read. All we see are pretty decorations."
An owl on the side of a Victorian. According to Hodgson, it represents wisdom and indicates that the building has a story to tell. Photo by Stephen Jackson
What's the narrative you believe these symbols are telling, as compared to widely agreed upon written history?
"It's quite different. For one, Jesus Christ and his family were actually real people. They were royals and recorded in history by other names."
Is that what people sometimes would refer to as the 'Holy Grail' narrative?
"Yes, I guess you could call it that."
Tell us a little more about that.
"It was a living Scottish nobleman around 2011, with a black, white, and blue tartan who told me 'The answer is in Egypt'. We researchers seem to be only allowed clues here and there from Masonic mentors and then have to connect the dots ourselves. They only confirm if we have it absolutely right after we have done the work.
From connecting the dots in artwork, the Bible, allegory, and symbols over 7 years, Mary, the mother of Jesus, was the daughter of Cleopatra, and they were a pharaonic family, an imperial family who governed more than one country. Jesus and Mary Magdalene, who were brother and sister, married each other, as was accepted custom back then.
The Fleur de Lis is their actual official heraldry symbol. In France, there is a grave, and relics, and churches to Mary Magdalene. If you go to France they'll tell you that yes, this symbol, the Fleur de Lis, represents the bloodline of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. If you actually ask the authorities, not the New Age hocus-pocus people.
Jesus and Mary Magdalene lived 2,000 years ago, so from that bloodline many millions of people are descended, hundreds of millions, and they are trackable."
What's your mission behind studying this and sharing it with the public?
"For people to know the truth, so they can actually believe in God without believing in idols or in man as an idol. A lot of people get confused by idolizing themselves and celebrities, whereas if you're really talking about God, it's got nothing to do with that.
The other mission, cause, of this project is to save the beautify Victorian buildings everywhere. They're being torn down by developers as we speak. It's really upsetting, because each one is a storybook telling a chapter of this epic lost history I'm so scared that they have torn down chapters I haven't read yet. I want to know the whole story!"
But how would the idea that Jesus was married and had a bloodline prevent someone from believing in idolatry?
"It has to do with the popular belief in miracles and magic, it is distracting people from the truth. They, Jesus and Mary Magdalene bloodline, are not what Hollywood makes them out to be. They do exist, but not how we've been told. Some of them are my research buddies and distant cousins. Real magic does exist, just not as described in teen novels and Hollywood."
How does real magic exist?
"Synchronicity, for one example. When something happens, after you had just put it out to God or Existence that you would like it to happen and it was a one-in-a-million shot, and it actually happens. The power of healing, for another example. You can be healing to a person just by walking up to them and saying hello. They could be in dark thoughts and your "hello" changes their head space into something more positive, so they don't do something stupid. That's a beautiful miracle in itself."
Detail of a house on Page Street, showing lilies, several fleurs-de-lis, and a stylized urn. Photo by Stephen Jackson
Let's talk about some examples of all this you see in the architecture around here.
[Pointing to pictured above] "See the lily leaf arrangements in the design. The lily is a symbol of the bloodline. It's related to the Fleur de Lis, and you can see tiny Fleur de Lis in there. It's a variation, and it's all everywhere saying 'Mary Magdalene and Jesus had a bloodline.' In old English political commentary of the 19th century, there were jokes about the French being a bunch of Jesuses. Some of them are in TV shows about those times."
Above the entrance we see carved owl faces. Owls are related to goddess of wisdom, Sophia, and illuminating knowledge. Shining light upon information, telling us secrets. The owls are telling us there's a story here to read.
You can also see the lily leaf arrangement that looks like an urn, which also has to do with bloodlines, the Gens Julii bloodline. It's right in the middle, hidden under the eaves. This is another aspect of the code; not everything is overtly graphic. Some of it is very stylized, so you have to use other pictorial references and a little bit of imagination."
According to Hodgson, this pillar features Alexander The Great-related symbology.
What does this pillar here indicate to you?
"On top of the pillar (pictured above), there's a symbol that curls around and then curls back. That's a symbol for Alexander the Great, and he's an ancestor of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. It also represents a shell, which is a symbol of Venus their ancestor, and Saint James, Jesus and Mary Magdalene's brother, of the Saint James Way. The fan shape also represents a peacock's tail, another symbol for Jesus. Often many symbols are layered. The Knights Templar also used to layer symbols to make messages smaller and to confuse would be readers."
Ok, here's a question: How is all this 'telling a story,' if the people who built these houses didn't really know what they were doing? Or did the builders and designers get it?
"With this particular one, it's possible. The owls kind of get me, like the builder was alerting us to be aware. But for the most part, no, most people in the 20th century certainly didn't have a clue. Only initiates or geeks like me would know about it. These ancient designs created by the Masons were pirated by and copied for the paying public. Either way it preserves the stories for a future generation to read. These societies are still around. They didn't die off."
So you're saying that there's a story written by people who don't know they are telling it?
"Well, most of the people who built these houses weren't telling a story at all. They were just building them to look pretty. But the designers they were copying, such as Cranston, a Scotsman from a noble family, who designed this particular house, knew what the symbols meant. Cranston was definitely leaving specific messages coded into his buildings. "
So it's your opinion that the people who originally came up with the symbols had this knowledge, and they put it into the symbols? And that now the information is available to people who learn to read the language of the symbols?
A detail of a column with symbology Hodgson believes to represent Jesus' biological father and Mary. Photo by Stephen Jackson
Let's check out some more buildings!
"You see the little arrows (pictured above), that is the symbol for Jesus's dad, we know him as Cymbeline. Not Joseph, Joseph was Jesus' stepdad. Between the arrows, is an orb with sort of horns. That's an Egyptian symbol of Isis, which is the symbol for Jesus's mother, Mary. Mary was a priestess of Isis and Pharaonic daughter of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar. Cleopatra was seen as a reincarnation or avatar of Isis to her people."
Who, specifically, is saying that Mary was the daughter of Cleopatra? Where is this lineage recorded?
"Have to study a lot of different languages for that, since it's written in many different languages. They are written in ancient royal archives, which you can only get to if you're a royal or scholar. However, there are certain old libraries where if you know what you're looking for, you can find it.
But you really need to do a lot of Wikipedia and searching, as well as official institutions and archives. Wikipedia is fabulous. I love Wikipedia and Google for research, especially Google Translate, because most of this information is not in English. In fact, nearly all of it is not in English.
Let's head to one more house. This next one is actually the house that inspired the book Season of the Witch. The author and founder of Salon.com, David Talbot, lived a couple of doors away, just over there."
Lead the way!
The witchy house in question.
"The pentagram in the window is a symbol for Mary Magdalene. Also, Venus's original name was Lucifer. If you look in very old dictionaries and look in the thesaurus part for Venus, you will find Lucifer, which relates back to the word illuminate.
Venus has a strange kind of orbit, where it actually comes close to earth, kissing it, five times, which is represented by the five points of the pentagram. You can find animations of Venus' unusual orbit online. Mary Magdalene served at the Temple of Diana, which is the Roman name for Venus. "
Thanks for this tour! One last question: What message might you have for people who are skeptical of your research and beliefs?
"I would say drop the Bible miracles and the New Age hocus-pocus. Do your own research on history and mythology and the Bible without the Hollywood filters, and it will start to make sense.
Check out the book, at www.codedhaightashbury.com it's digital with multi media and you can walk around with it on smart devices on your own private tour. It has enough information to start your own Coded History research and show you why the Victorians are a world heritage treasure and must to be protected and restored.