Bernie Quayle
My theory on the origins of our National Symbol
The Three Legs of Man

The Magic of the Isle of Man must have been known in very ancient times.  You only need to draw a line between John O'Groats and Land's End to see that it goes right through the Island. Not only that, the mid-point is in West Baldwin, which makes it the exact centre of the British Isles!  Measurements may not be accurate but I'm sure it is too close to be just coincidence. When the Vikings established our Tynwald in 979 AD, they divided the island into what is still called Sheadings,  six divisions of land. Superimposed on the map, the Three Legs of Man seems very significant.

The word Tynwald stems from the Norse Thing-Vollr meaning an assembly field. It has counterparts throughout the Scandinavian world and the lands which they settled. There were two grades of "Thing", an Al-thing being a meeting of a whole nation and a Hus-thing being an assembly of a town or community. The Icelandic assembly has the name Althing. The word Sheading is a combination of the Manx gaelic 'shey' meaning six, and the Norse word 'thing'  the Gaelic pronunciation would have been 'ding'.  Each Sheading had a meeting place or a Tynwald.  The hill at St. John's is still used for the annual ceremony.  One of the oldest known sites of a Tynwald Hill is in West Baldwin.

The location is about one hundred yards north of St. Luke's church, along a stony path and over the stile, there you'll see the most stunning views of dear Ellan Vannin with its green hills by the sea.  In the picture above, I'm standing in front of the plaque which states: "Site of Tynwald - Holden at Killabane - 1428" 
Three Legs of Man
: the oldest depiction, in the form we recognise as our  national flag, can be seen in the British Museum on a Greek vase dating back to the 6th century BC  Historians believe that Alexander III of Scotland, whose son-in-law, Edmund, was King of Sicily at that time, adopted the symbol when he gained control of the Isle of Man at the end of the Norse period of Manx rule in 1266.  It’s origins and meanings have been the subject of debate for centuries.   

It is my belief that the Isle of Man’s symbol of the Three Legs, is much older and far more profound than historians would have you believe.  I would go so far as to suggest it is even much older than the flood of Noah.   The Great Flood, as recorded in Genesis by Moses, is just one of many accounts, from all corners of the world, of an almighty cataclysm.  In all of these accounts, there is one family or group who are saved from the inundation.  I believe this to be the same cataclysm that Plato described in 500 BC  when he spoke of a civilisation that disappeared in the Atlantic ocean 9,000 years previously.  Plato had learned of this from the high priests of Egypt.  His account of Atlantis is considered by most to be pure mythology, but to quote the Oxford dictionary a Myth is a "traditional narrative involving supernatural or imaginary persons and embodying popular ideas on natural or social phenomena etc.”  Myths Legends and Fables are all conduits for keeping alive the basic truths of our origin and destiny.  There is always something in these stories, no matter how far fetched, that always rings true -  deep in our subconscious.   

Authors Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval have recently challenged the traditional Egyptologist views on the dating of the Sphinx and Great Pyramid.  They have presented very convincing evidence to show a date of 10.500 BC, a date which coincides with geological evidence of a world-wide inundation, the end of the ice-age.  Tiahuanaco , the ancient South American city with it’s massive Temple of the Sun, has recently been shown to have also been constructed in 10,500 BC.  As yet, no archaeologist has found conclusive proof that Atlantis ever existed, but we are getting closer. In the 1930s, the American psychic Edgar Cayce (see footnote) predicted that the first evidence of Atlantis would appear in 1969, off the coast of Bimini in the Bahamas .  That was the year the monolithic sea wall was seen for the first time.  Now known as the Bimini Road, it’s paving stones are giant blocks, similar to those seen in Mayan ruins.  William Donato has been exploring this region since 1989 and in 1998 discovered multiple sites just to the north of Bimini, near Andros .  Indications are that there could be a number of cities buried deep in the sand and silt. United Press International and major newspapers in the United States reported during the summer of 1973.  “Maxine Asher, the co-director of a scientific expedition that claimed to have found Atlantis at the bottom of the ocean, "Divers had found evidence of roads and large columns, some with concentric spiral motifs, exactly as described by the Greek philosopher Plato. 

There are many other similar discoveries in the same area.  A pyramid was explored by Dr Ray Brown on the sea floor off the Bahamas in 1970.  Brown was accompanied by 4 divers who also found roads, domes, rectangular buildings, unidentified metallic instruments and crystals.  You may by now be wondering where’s the connection with the Three Legs of Mann?  I'm getting there, read on.  The Edgar Cayce psychic account of  Atlantis disappearing beneath the waves is so similar to that of Plato.  Cayce spoke of a large continent that was broken up around 50,000 BC.  There was further inundation at 28,000 BC This left a group of smaller islands, one called Poseidia.  The Cayce readings state that among the ruins to be discovered would be the Temple of Poseidon.   That legendary Greek god is the link.  Poseidon, Neptune, Mannanan, are all trident carrying sea-gods.  

“Atlantis, the Antediluvian World” one of the most comprehensive works on Atlantis, was published in 1882 by Ignatius Donnelly .  No book, before or since has accumulated such a mass of geological, archaeological and legendary material.  According to Donnelley - and in fact many other sources, Atlanteans, aware of the impending cataclysm, migrated east and west from their homeland in the Atlantic ocean .  Donnelley compares the names of cities in Asia Minor and those of central America which were already named when the first European explorers arrived.  Here are a few examples:

Asia Minor Central America
Chol Chol-ula
Colua Colua-can
Zuivana Zuivan
Cholina Colina
Zalissa Xalisco

In all, Donnelley lists 626 similar references, far too many to ascribe to coincidence.  There were not only similarities in place names but also ‘legendary gods.’  The one that is of  particular interest to me is Kukuklan - feathered serpent god of the Maya.  In Celtic mythology, we have the Irish magician Cuchulain.  Many godlike powers were attributed to Cuchulain, some of these powers he gave to the sea-god Mannanan from whom the Isle of Man derives its name. According to legend, Mannanan, like Kukuklan was able to fly.  There is a Manx legend that tells of Mannanan flying around his island home in a fiery chariot, laying down a mantle of mist to protect it from marauders.  Mannanan’s mist still occurs around the coast of the island.  It’s appearance is almost as if the vapour trail of a jet plane had settled on the sea.   In the many readings Edgar Cayce gave on Atlantis, he described  aircraft that were able to overcome gravity and were guided by beams of light.  The ability to overcome gravity might also explain how the huge blocks were lifted into place in these ancient monuments. The Cayce readings, given many years before the invention of the laser, also describe surgical instruments and cutting tools that appear to be accurate descriptions of what we now know as lasers.  Many carvings of Kukuklan by the Maya,  show him wielding  a “fire stick”  Close examination of ancient Egyptian artefacts  confound experts who claim that even with today’s advanced cutting tools, we are still unable to match the skills of these ancient craftsmen.  OK, back to the three legs. 

In Celtic cosmogony, Mannanan is the same person as the Latin Neptune, and the Greek, Poseidon as illustrated on the right.
There are other ancient cultures with a similar sea-god and these myths probably all refer to the same person, only the name changes. 
In each case, they are depicted holding a three pronged spear and often shown to be riding a horse or dolphin over the waves.  It is this three pronged trident, I believe, that has become our  Three Legs of Mann. Variations of  this symbol indicate that it may well be one of the most ancient of all symbols.

The Isle of Sicily has an identical three legs logo but with one major difference, it also features the snaked head of Medusa, pictured left.  The serpent, as we will see,  is inextricably linked to the three legs, remember, Kukuklan was the feathered serpent god.  It is my belief that the three legs symbol was used to demonstrate the divine principle of Three in One.  


Below are two more examples of how universal the 3 Legs symbol is throughout the world.  These show the coat of arms of  Füssen a small town in Bavaria, Germany situated 5 kilometres from the Austrian border on the banks of the Lech River. In 2002 it had a population of 14,357. Note the unusual arrangement in the enlarged portion.

All matter is comprised of atoms with its three main parts, the proton, neutron and electron.  You could say that the atom is the building block of all matter, be it earth, air, fire or water.  The atom then is the ‘three in one principle’ from which the four elements are created.  The ancient Hindu symbol which the Nazis adopted and called a Swastika, is not just a symbol of the sun, it is the outgrowth of the 3 in 1 principle.  Atoms become one of 4 elements, the 4 arms of the swastika..   Three in One becoming four is clearly indicated in the pyramid with its three sides reaching towards the heavens on a four sided square base.  
An atom is the smallest particle of a chemical element.  Moses, when describing the creation of Adam in Genesis, uses the analogy of a speck of dust, the smallest particle man could conceive.  If you subscribe to the theory of evolution and hold that life as we know it evolved from the sea, then an in-depth study of Genesis would not be at odds with this view.  Fabré D’Olivet in “The Hebraic Tongue Restored” shows how Moses wrote on three levels simultaneously.  Each letter has a meaning, so each word then, would create a sentence.  For instance, the name Adam, using D’Olivet’s  keys for unlocking the mysteries of Genesis, becomes “Red, ruddy, firm. Universal man, an immortal group, capable of becoming one with God: a group of Godlike powers capable of unlimited potential.”  The Greek myths especially, describe such Godlike beings.  Poseidon or Neptune, god of the sea,  was also the god of earthquakes. He was called the Earth-shaker!  If the destruction of Atlantis was, as Plato described, Caused by a devastating earthquake, then no wonder this ancient sea-god is remembered as the Earth Shaker.

Through a study of Eastern texts on meditation I learned that there, is at the base of the spine, an energy which for the most part lies dormant.  Carl Jung called it the “sleeping serpent.”  There is a right way and a wrong way for this serpent to be aroused.  When used for self, it becomes the libido, but when you enter into meditation and focus on the one true Being, this energy is raised (physiologically) along two channels which intertwine the spine until it reaches the highest point, the crown  chakra.  The Good Shepherds crook is a symbol  of this.  

The risen serpent seen on the forehead of Pharaohs . 

 This shows that the Pharaoh  has achieved these godlike powers.  The story of Adam and Eve in the garden now takes on much more meaning, the serpent representing the sex drive and the tree of life is the same as that in Eastern mysticism with it’s roots in heaven (brain) and branches in the earth (body).  Think now of Moses coming face to face with the burning bush.  The illustration on the right shows a cut-away of the nervous system in the body of man.

Those who meditate know that when the energy reaches the highest centre, it then pours down again, through the entire body.  The whole nervous system would be glowing with this energy.  The burning bush is a perfect analogy.  Remember also how Moses cast down his ‘staff’ which turned into a serpent which then devoured the serpents of the Egyptian magicians.  This, for me shows the constant battle between the positive and negative channels of this energy or kundalini. 

The symbol of the healing profession the Caduceus (right) is also known as the staff of Hermes, architect of the Great Pyramid, picured on the left.  According to psychic, Edgar Cayce, Hermes, who is also the second Enoch in Genesis, was an Atlantean who brought his wisdom and knowledge to Egypt before the flood.  That knowledge, and the history of Atlantis is inscribed on “The Pillars of Hermes” which are located in a chamber beneath the Sphinx at Giza.

Edgar Cayce predicted that this chamber could be discovered around the turn of the century.  Recent examination of the area, seem to verify Cayce’s prediction.  The Caduceus shows that when the twin serpents rise up in perfect balance, the soul takes wings,  transcends the earth, and becomes one with universal consciousness.  These twin serpents, rising to the highest, is I believe the basic Celtic chain which is seen in so many of our stone crosses, on the Isle of Man , especially Gaut's cross in Kirk Michael. A close examination of this cross clearly shows two channels twisting around what appears to be the vertebrae of the spine.

The concept may not be orthodox Christianity, but it is certainly very spiritual and  I'm sure this is what Gaut was trying to show in his carving.  There is also Odd’s cross in Braddan which depicts interlaced dragons below the cross bar (now missing) and looking remarkably similar to Mayan carvings. Left is Gaut's Cross and on the right a close-up view.   Among the many Manx stories about Mannanan is the legend of his ability to change form and become a ‘fiery wheel.’  Coincidentally, the Hindu term Chakra, the spiritual centres in the body, means fiery wheel.

There are seven Chakras, four of them represent the physical body (earth) and the three higher centres represent the spiritual (heaven)  Once again, the combination of the 3 and 4.  In my opinion, all that I have related in this article, goes beyond coincidence.  It shows to me that there is, historically, an essential unity in all religion and philosophy and that the Isle of Man symbolises, through it’s flag, crosses and heritage, Man’s quest for enlightenment.  

FOOTNOTE   Click on  the A.R.E. Bookstore, check out  “Edgar Cayce on Atlantis.” and other reports on their research.