Witch Owls and Christian Saint Discovered in Mona Lisa Landscape

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Mystery-solver Scott Lund Identifies Images of Childbirth Cult Site in Da Vinci's Survey Line Between Vatican and Lake Nemi

“Yes there are animals hidden in the Mona Lisa, but you don't have to look sideways to see them,” says investigative writer Scott Lund, who is back in Los Angeles after his groundbreaking presentation of the painting's secrets in Rome on 9/10/11. Lund has just released new visualizations that identify startling figures in the rock formations on the left side of Leonardo da Vinci's iconic masterpiece, also known as “La Gioconda” and “La Joconde.” Clearly seen is the figure of St. Christopher carrying the Christ Child and three owls of different species grouped together.

“Since I first made my findings of the Mona Lisa Code public, there has been a flurry of people with some rather far-fetched interpretations of secret symbols,” says Lund, who emphasizes that the painting is not a Rorschach test. “What's different about the images I am showing is that they have clear meaning within the context of a survey line that Leonardo conceived between the Vatican and the childbirth cult practices at Lake Nemi near Rome. It is the opposite ends of this land survey that are cleverly depicted in the two incongruous sides of the Mona Lisa's background."

Lund says the figure of St. Christopher and the infant correspond exactly to the spot where countless thousands of expectant mothers made pilgrimage to the famous spring of Childbirth goddess Egeria as it emptied into Lake Nemi. Also nearby--just beyond the rocky ridge formed in the likeness of the three owls--were the cult activities of Diana, another goddess of childbirth who was branded as the supreme mother of European witchcraft. The Italian word for “witch” also means “owl,” and coins of Diana at Lake Nemi show her as a three-figure goddess, thus inspiring Leonardo's three-owl depiction.

In his newly released illustration, Lund shows that Leonardo got his inspiration for the concealed owls from Greek and Roman coins. Most notable is the resemblance of the owl on the left of the rocky formation with the Athens owl that was stamped on one of the most widely distributed coins in antiquity. "The owl on the right is a 'horned owl'--a species Leonardo wrote about due to its exceptional night-seeing ability," says Lund.

"The composition of St. Christopher with the Christ Child jumping into Lake Nemi is classic Da Vinci. Once you see where it is in the painting it pops right out. You just can't make this stuff up," says Lund.

Among other things, Lund has demonstrated the Mona Lisa to be a sister project to the Tempietto of Bramante, which is intersected by Leonardo's survey line. “It seems quite fitting that the most iconic painting of all time would be the symbolic equivalent of the foremost icon of Renaissance architecture,” says Lund, who notes that the small chapel's circular design was inspired by the temples of the Vestal Virgins who were also active at Lake Nemi. The Tempietto is owned by the Spanish government and Lund is awaiting an academic response to his findings from the Royal Academy of Spain in Rome, properly known as the Royal Academia de España en Roma (RAER).

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Elizabeth Venturini
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