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Esoteric Portland: Part 2

Updated on May 21, 2010
U.S. Bank Central Branch, Circa 1920
U.S. Bank Central Branch, Circa 1920

Temples of Mammon

"I'm doing God's work." - Lloyd Blankfein, CEO Goldman Sachs

One thing that struck me, while walking around downtown Portland looking at symbols, was the amount of banking structures that take the form of ancient Greek or Roman temples. The central branches of U.S. Bank, Well's Fargo, Bank of the West, and others were some of the most heavily ornamented and symbol laden buildings in the Downtown area.

Why bother? Apart from the fact that the banks, like the religious institutions of the past, have plenty of extra cash to throw away in the construction of these ornate structures, why go to the trouble of decorating their buildings with these mystical symbols? The ancient temples, we are told, were decorated so as to be pleasing to the Gods and inspire religious devotion in the masses.

I can only speculate as to the purpose of the occult symbolism employed by the designers of these buildings. It seems to me, that they would not go to the trouble of using these symbols if they did not serve some function - the question is what that function would be. If the designers were truly devoted to their occult belief systems, then the function of the symbols would be to harness some sort of ethereal power, and focus it on either the structures themselves, or on the minds of those who use them. for the purposes of bringing about some desired end.

Another purpose for the symbolism could be simply as a means to communicate to other members of the fraternal order, like incredibly expensive gang signs for the elite, only the select few really know the true meaning, the rest are in the dark, wink wink. Imagine how that might inflate one's ego.

The "temple" at the top of the page is the U.S. Bank central branch, one of the most heavily ornamented buildings in downtown Portland, and the structure that I will spend the most amount of time discussing in this blog. On the front, there are 8 pillars (not pictured above because the back is now the front), on the side, 13. This seems to indicate that the building was built according to the rules of sacred geometry, with 8/13 being an approximation of the phi ratio, meaning the building was built on a golden rectangle, just like the Acropolis in ancient Athens.

Eagle on U.S. Bank Building
Eagle on U.S. Bank Building
Nazi Eagle
Nazi Eagle

The Imperial Eagle

On the back door, we see that ubiquitous symbol of empires everywhere, the eagle. The Romans had one, Napoleon had one, the Nazi's had one, and we have one, and just because our eagle happens to be bald doesn't mean it represents something else. The eagle represents authority and totalitarianism. It flies above the world, but is constantly looking down. It is all seeing (like Big Brother) and constantly ready to strike. Here is the description given by 33rd degree Freemason Manly P. Hall that I find most relevant:

"Among the Greeks and Romans, the eagle was the appointed bird of Jupiter and consequently signified the swiftly moving forces of the Demiurgis; hence it was looked upon as the mundane lord of the birds, in contradistinction to the phoenix, which was symbolic of the celestial ruler. The eagle typified the sun in its material phase and also the immutable Demiurgic law beneath which all mortal creatures must bend." - The Secret Teachings of All Ages

On thing you might notice about the eagle, is that it has two wings, a left one and a right one, just like our political party system. This is not a coincidence. Two wings, same ugly ass bird.

Lion Heads above Fasci design
Lion Heads above Fasci design
Fasci on the back of an old dime
Fasci on the back of an old dime

Lion's Head and Fasci

Above each pillar on the U.S. Bank building we find a lions head. A lion is another symbol of authority, being the king of the jungle and all - and it also represents the sun, with its golden mane suggesting the sun's rays. If the eagle is also a symbol of the sun, as Manly P. Hall pointed out, then that's two sun symbols so far on this one building. (There is at least one more, and it's a doozy)

Beneath the lions heads, we see a horizontal design of what appears to be rods bound together by x shaped straps. This design is what the Romans called a fasci, literally meaning a bundle of sticks, and it is where we get the term Fascism. Interesting, no?

In American symbolism, you'll see the fasci all over the place, on the back of old currency, in the Senate, on Abraham Lincoln's throne at the Lincoln memorial, and often clasped in the talons of our imperial roman eagle. Mussolini once said that a more proper term for his political ideology would be corporatism, meaning the complete blending of private corporate interests and that of the government. I'd say that's a pretty exact definition of what our government is, wouldn't you?

Fasci in the U.S. Senate
Fasci in the U.S. Senate
Swastikas on U.S. Bank door
Swastikas on U.S. Bank door
Swastika's on Macy's Department Store
Swastika's on Macy's Department Store
Swastikas on Bank of the West Building
Swastikas on Bank of the West Building
Chase Bank modified Swastika Logo
Chase Bank modified Swastika Logo


Since I've gotten on to the topic of Nazi's and Fascists, I might as well get into swastikas. This image here is of the back door of the U.S. Bank building. As you can see, it is covered in swastikas. In fact, I have found no less than 5 buildings in downtown Portland with repeating swastikas all over their facades, including City Hall. This combined with the eagle and the fasci might prompt you to go jumping to the conclusion that the U.S. Bank is run by Nazis. Now, you might very well be correct, but I would first like to point out that this particular building was built in 1920, when swastikas didn't have such a bad stigma around them, and that the symbol itself is thousands of years old and has nothing to do with nazism or fascism.

The swastika is an ancient sun symbol, sometimes referred to as the running sun. It is also a symbol of good luck, change, growth and regeneration. It could even represent the entire galaxy, with its arms spiraling out from the center. It has long been a favorite symbol of eastern religions and western occultists, until its image was forever poisoned in the western mind by the atrocities of World War II. If not for the Nazi regime, it would probably still be a very popular symbol today, with hordes of young people getting swastika tattoos and walking around with swastika necklaces. I often wonder, knowing that the entire war was orchestrated at the top by one group of international bankers who financed and armed all sides, if there may have been some deeper occult reason behind the cultural vilification of the swastika symbol.

Of course, the ruling class are still fond of this symbol, and they continue to use modified versions of it to this day. Take the logo of Chase Bank for instance. Chase happens to be a member of the J.P. Morgan Chase conglomeration, which grew out of the Morgan and Rockefeller families, both of whom, through their enormous financial empires and shady business dealings, helped bring about the creation of the Nazi and Soviet Regimes.

Six Petaled Flower on U.S. Bank Building
Six Petaled Flower on U.S. Bank Building
Hexagram Symbol
Hexagram Symbol
Masonic Square and Compass
Masonic Square and Compass

The Six-pointed Star

At the top of each of the pillars on the U.S. Bank building, we see six-pedaled flowers. I take this to be modification of the hexagram, or six pointed stars. I know you may be thinking, "first he's on about Nazis, and now Jews!" but not so fast. The hexagram, like the swastika, is an incredibly ancient symbol and has nothing to do with Judaism, or at least it didn't until the more modern cultural creators (the Rothschild banking family in particular) made it so.

The hexagram is a symbol of duality, sort of the western equivalent of the yin and yang. The upward pointing triangle symbolizes male, the downward triangle symbolizes female. It also symbolizes the movement upwards towards the realm of spirit, and downwards towards materiality, and the conjunction of the two. It also demonstrates the Hermetic axiom of "As above, so below."

The Masonic square and compass is actually just a modification of this symbol. The square is an instrument used to create a straight line or right angle, which symbolizes masculinity, the compass creates a curved line or circle, symbolizing the feminine. These are said to be the only two implements necessary for the craftsmen or architect to create a building using the principles of sacred geometry. Sacred Geometric principles, the platonic solids, the phi and pi rations, and so on underlie all structures of three dimensional universe, from microscopic particles, to flowers and nautilus shells, to the proportions of the human body. Thus, the Masons refer to their deity as the Grand Architect.

Owl on U.S. Bank Building
Owl on U.S. Bank Building
Sumerian Goddess Ishtar with Owls
Sumerian Goddess Ishtar with Owls
Emblen of the Bohemian Grove Society
Emblen of the Bohemian Grove Society

The Owl

The back door of the U.S. Bank building is bordered by a series of faces and symbols, one of which is the owl you see to the right. As far as I can tell from my research, the owl is a representative of the Goddess (from Esoteric Portland:Part 1). In ancient representations of Ishtar, Isis, and Athena, we often see the Goddess accompanied by an owl. The owl has also often been portrayed as a symbol of wisdom, which is another aspect of the Goddess.

The owl, being a nocturnal animal, may also represent the occult in general. Occult basically just means hidden, though when we refer to The Occult we are referring to hidden, secret, or esoteric knowledge. The owl, having the ability to peer through the darkness, finds that which is hidden.

The owl is also one of the favorite symbols of the ruling elite. It is on the emblem of the Bohemian Grove society, whose membership includes such notables as Henry Kissinger, David Rockefeller, and just about every U.S. President for the past hundred years. Each year they gather at Bohemian Grove in Northern California, and perform a mock (we hope) human sacrifice to a giant stone owl, called the "Cremation of Care" ritual. They then spend the rest of the weekend getting drunk and partying with male prostitutes, no women allowed.

The Owl can also apparently be found hidden in a little corner of the $1 dollar bill, and also in the street design of Washington D.C. (google these things if you want to see a picture)

Portion of the U.S. Bank Logo
Portion of the U.S. Bank Logo
Eliphas Levi's Inverted Pentagram
Eliphas Levi's Inverted Pentagram

The Inverted Pentagram

Lets take a look at the official U.S. Bank logo itself. In the lower right hand corner, we see five pentagrams inside a circle, which form a pentagon in the empty space in the middle. If we were to draw a five-pointed star with that pentagon as the center, the arms of the star would line up exactly with the arms of the surrounding, smaller stars, forming an inverted pentagram. The inverted pentagram, though not actually drawn in, is suggested by the shape of the five stars. (5 star service, guarenteed! is the bullshit motto)

The inverted pentagram is often associated with evil, in contrast to the upward pointed pentagram which is supposed to be associated with good, a symbol of man, of the five basic elements of earth, water, fire, air, and spirit. When used in rituals, the inverted pentagram is said to attract evil spirits. As far as I know, the association of the inverted pentagram with evil goes back can be traced to the 19th century occultist Eliphas Levi, whether it goes back farther, I don't know. What I do know is, generally, when a symbol is inverted it tends to take on the opposite of its original meaning.

The Church of Satan, at least, has adopted this symbol as one of their favorites. Does this mean that U.S. Bank is run by satanists? Not necessarily, but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if that were in fact the case.


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great hub, I too am very interested in all these hidden meanings of old essoteric knowledge and I would say you have sumed it up in an intresting way, nice job.

    • Marshall Hammond profile imageAUTHOR

      Marshall Hammond 

      8 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      I don't tend to think of these symbols as lifeless, on the contrary I think they represent eternally relevant aspects of the human experience.

    • PrometheusKid profile image


      8 years ago from Heaven

      When Thomas

      More, for example, endows the criminals in his Utopia with golden

      chains and the ordinary citizens with gold and silver chamber-pots/

      it is in something of the spirit that leads primitive mankind to wreak

      vengeance on lifeless images and symbols.


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