Hamilton Gardens – Stunningly Beautiful and full of Occult Symbolism

                                                   By Tony K January 2018

Hamilton Gardens is surely one of the most stunning public gardens in the world. In fact in 2014, it won the Garden of the Year Award at the International Garden Tourism Awards in Metz France. The park is situated between the Waikato River, and Cobham Drive in Hamilton New Zealand. It is a tourist attraction that all visitors to New Zealand really should put on their list of “must see” destinations. Spending a few hours wandering around the 54 hectare (133 acre) park is an amazing experience, and it is absolutely worth taking the time to walk round and view the huge variety of gardens, wooded areas, lakes and ponds, riverside, and lawn expanses. Whilst it is an awesome place to visit, it must also be said that it if one knows what to look for, you can find an abundance of symbols associated with paganism and the occult.

I walked around the gardens armed with a camera, on a sweltering hot summer’s day in January 2018. It was the first time I had visited the Gardens in about 2 years. Since I was last there, much has changed, with many new garden developments either having been completed and opened, or in a state of construction. It must be said here, that I have an affinity with these gardens. I worked there for around 20 years, having left in 2004. During my time there I was in a position known as “Leading Hand”. It was interesting to see how much, many of the trees I had planted and trained, have grown and matured in the last 14 years since I left. Some of the garden areas that I had tended have not changed greatly, while other areas have changed drastically in the last decade and a half.

In spite of my concerns and warnings about the nature of some of the occult and pagan aspects of these gardens, I highly recommend visiting Hamilton Gardens. It is a magnificent destination. There is so much to see there. Some parts of the park are generally fairly well populated with tourists, while the outer sections are a great place to walk a dog or just enjoy some tranquil surroundings. If you are a local, or a visitor to the area, then put this on your list of destinations to check out.

Click on the images to see them full size

The Entrance To The Gardens

At one comes along Cobham Drive in Hamilton, there is a roundabout where one is met by the sight of large monolithic Hinuera stone structures. These look like a mixture of Stonehenge and Maori structures. There are actually 21 columns, and 5 of them have a large stone cloak ( Maori Kakahu) draped over them.

Quoting Chris Wood the sculptor:
“Along with protection, the Kakahu also symbolically honours the wonder of mother earth. Dark stones are used to create three patterns – each one based on a traditional Maori weaving by Diggeress Te Kanawa and translated into stone.”
Source of quote: Hamilton Gardens Sculpture


I have written more extensively about Gaia and mother earth worship in an article titled The Queen of Heaven – A Deceptive Doctrine  so I won’t reinvent the wheel here. But I will say that it is an integral part of paganism and occult belief systems.

Tudor Garden

The Tudor Garden in the Hamilton Gardens is a stunning interpretation of a 16th century English garden. It features a recreation of the pavilion found at Montacute House in Somerset England, and an intricate knot garden. Along with these, on poles we find the following mythical beasts: Phoenix, unicorn, griffin, dragon, satyr, centaur, Bottom ( from Shakespeare’s mid-summer night’s dream),and a sea serpent. We also find the shields and crests of: Queen Elizabeth 1st, Mary Queen of Scots, Sir Francis Bacon, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Thomas More, Sir Francis Drake, William Shakespeare, and King Henry VIII.

Sir Francis Bacon was a proponent of the Rosicrucian Mystery School and of Freemasonry. Sir Walter Raleigh co-founded the School of Night which was an occult inspired group. In West Country Folklore Sir Francis Drake was believed to have been a wizard, and the name Drake means “dragon.”

Outside the entrance to the Tudor Garden is a sculpture representing the god Pan. I find it very interesting that there is a children’s activity trail pdf available on the Hamilton Gardens website, where kids are given the task of matching the mythical beasts with the crests and shields. In the pdf is a picture of the statue at the entrance saying, “Hello my name is pan”. However, most people would have little clue as to who or what Pan is, and what he actually represents! I am going to briefly explain a little about who some of the characters in the Tudor Garden truly are (or were).


We see representations of the god Pan in the Hamilton Gardens on an urn (his head only) in the English Flower Garden, and at the entrance to the Tudor Garden. There are many myths and legends revolving around the origin of Pan. He is said to have been a god of the wild who’s hind quarters were those of a goat, and on his head a pair of goat horns. This is the same as a faun or satyr. The word panic stems from his supposed angry outbursts which caused fear in those who heard them. He was said to be a companion of nymphs, whom he would seduce. He is often depicted with a phallus, and a statue found in the ruins of Herculaneum which was destroyed along with Pompeii in 79 AD by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, shows him having sex with a goat.

Satan is not a black god, but negation of God … this is not a Person, but a Force, created for good, but which may represent evil. It is the instrument of Liberty or Free Will. They represent this Force … under the mythologic and horned form of the God Pan; thence came the he-goat of the Sabbat, brother of the Ancient Serpent, and the Light-bearer.
Albert Pike (33° Scottish Rite Freemason) , Morals and Dogma page 48


One does not have to dig far to realize that the Baphomet held in honour by occult groups such as the satanist cults, and those inspired by Crowley, is in fact a stylized representation of Pan. It was made famous by the picture of the Baphomet drawn by Eliphas Levi in the 19th century.

Below this figure we read a frank and simple inscription—THE DEVIL. Yes, we confront here that phantom of all terrors, the dragon of the all theogenies, the Ahriman of the Persians, the Typhon of the Egyptians, the Python of the Greeks, the old serpent of the Hebrews, the fantastic monster, the nightmare, the Croquemitaine, the gargoyle, the great beast of the Middle Ages, and—worse than all these—the Baphomet of the Templars, the bearded idol of the alchemist, the obscene deity of Mendes, the goat of the Sabbath. The frontispiece to this ‘Ritual’ reproduces the exact figure of the terrible emperor of night, with all his attributes and all his characters…. Yes, in our profound conviction, the Grand Masters of the Order of Templars worshipped the Baphomet, and caused it to be worshipped by their initiates; yes, there existed in the past, and there may be still in the present, assemblies which are presided over by this figure, seated on a throne and having a flaming torch between the horns. But the adorers of this sign do not consider, as do we, that it is a representation of the devil; on the contrary, for them it is that of the god Pan, the god of our modern schools of philosophy…..
Lévi, trans. Waite, “The Sabbath of the Sorcerers,” pp. 288–292.


We can attempt to romanticize Pan in statues and make him acceptable to the general public and to children, but the fact remains that he has been anything but a savoury character throughout mythology and in occult beliefs. One legend speaks of him having learned masturbation from his father Hermes and of having then taught it to shepherds.

In 1933, the Egyptologist Margaret Murray published the book, The God of the Witches, in which she theorised that Pan was merely one form of a horned god who was worshipped across Europe by a witch-cult. This theory influenced the Neopagan notion of the Horned God, as an archetype of male virility and sexuality. In Wicca, the archetype of the Horned God is highly important, as represented by such deities as the Celtic Cernunnos, Hindu Pashupati, and Greek Pan.



In Greek mythology satyrs are usually depicted as having horse-like ears and tails. They are also often depicted with goat legs and horns. We can see this more goat-like form in the satyr depicted in the Tudor Garden at Hamilton Gardens. In addition to this in mythology, they display exaggerated erections. We cannot see if this is the case with the Tudor Garden satyr, since that part of the anatomy is covered by a shield and a red and black pole!

I find it interesting to note that the origin of the mystery religions is often associated with Babylon, and we find a description of the destruction of Babylon making reference to satyrs in the King James Bible. Satyrs are mentioned twice in Isaiah 13:21 and Isaiah 34:14.

The biblical satyrs are depicted as “hairy demons or monsters of semitic superstition, supposed to inhabit deserts” (Knowles,The Oxford dictionary of phrase and fable.)

1And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.

20 It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.

21 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. Isaiah 13: 19-21 KJV

As Above So Below, As Within So Without

An esoteric tradition known as Hermeticism forms the basis of, or at least heavily influences most of the occult mystery schools. Attributed to Hermes Trismegistus the supposed writer of an ancient work known as The Emerald Tablet, comes the phrase “As above so below, as within so without”.
The name Hermes Trismegistus is widely thought to be a combination of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth.
In Hamilton Gardens we see a number of examples of this philosophy in evidence. One that I will highlight here, is the clever design featured on the flags atop the dualistic poles being held by the mythical creatures in the Tudor Garden. If you look at the image I have created here, you can see that if you overlay a pentagram on the flag as I have done for the picture, you can actually see a perfect alignment of the points that alternate between an upright pentagram, and inverted pentagram, and then a third clearly marked pentagon shape inside of that. Interesting stuff!

The Phoenix

The Phoenix, it is said, lives for 500 years, and at its death its body opens and the new born Phoenix emerges. Because of this symbolism, the Phoenix is generally regarded as representing immortality and resurrection … The Phoenix is one sign of the secret orders of the ancient world and of the initiate of those orders, for it was common to refer to one who had been accepted into the temples as a man twice born, or reborn. Wisdom confers a new life, and those who become wise are born again.”
Manley P. Hall ( 33° degree Scottish rite freemason )- The Phoenix: An Illustrated Review of Occultism and Philosophy (page 177)

The phoenix is found abundantly throughout the beliefs of the ancient mystery religions, cults and secret societies. One example of a ritual involving phoenix mythology, would be the Mass of the Phoenix, a ritual designed by renowned occultist Aleister Crowley. Crowley was also at one point a member of an occult group known as the Golden Dawn. To this day, that group utilizes the phoenix in it’s magick, and it’s goals of illumination. The legend of the phoenix began in ancient Egypt. It was known as bennu and was associated with worship of the sun god Ra. In Greece it was associated with the worship of their version of the sun god known as Heliopolis.


The dragon really needs no introduction. It is a common in myths and legends the world over. Dragons are also found symbolically reflected in many parts of Hamilton Gardens. I will just briefly touch on the Biblical association of the dragon with the devil or Satan here.

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Revelation 12:9

In many ways I see the subtle deceptions of the occult and paganism being used to sway people, without them knowing they are being deceived. The dragon or Satan is a master of this. Many people embrace the occult without even realizing that is what they are doing!

In the Hamilton Gardens playground we see what appears to be a Persian inspired structure that houses a stage, situated between two pillars and an arch, and it is presided over by an ornate green dragon. It is actually called the Jade Dragon Theatre. There are also pictures showing children being entertained by another green dragon on the stage. There is also a magical little house for kids to explore. This is all apparently part of a residence of an imaginary wizard called Abdul Kabul.

The English Flower Garden

This lovely garden is based on an English garden such as might have been found during the Arts and Crafts period in the late 19th and early 20th century. I will be honest in saying that I have a real love for this particular garden. I was there when it was designed, created and planted. I personally planted many of the plants and trees that are still in the garden, and I was in charge of maintaining it until 2004. It features a pond, a brick pavilion, a fountain, rose arch, perennial flower beds, and a Gertrude Jekyll inspired White Garden. It is all laid out in a very picturesque fashion. As mentioned it earlier in this article, does have a small urn with Pan’s head on it.

The Italian Renaissance Garden

The Hamilton Gardens version of the Italian Renaissance Garden is spectacular to say the least. If this were the only garden in the park, it alone would make it worth a visit to the gardens.

It has several notable sculptures copied from antiquity within it. They include a depiction of Romulus and Remus being suckled by a she-wolf. The sculpture is a copy of the 5th century Capitoline wolf, and the two boys were supposedly the founders of Rome.

Horus and Sobek

I well remember the controversy that surrounding the erecting of the statues of the Egyptian gods Horus and Sobek in the Gardens. I don’t remember the date they were erected, but it was some time in the 1980’s. I was employed at the Gardens and even back then I really wondered what they had to do with gardens, and why pagan gods were being installed in the park.

Horus is here represented as a falcon-headed deity. To the ancient Egyptians, he was god of the sky.

Horus was born to the goddess Isis after she retrieved all the dismembered body parts of her murdered husband Osiris, except his penis, which was thrown into the Nile and eaten by a catfish, or sometimes depicted as instead by a crab, and according to Plutarch’s account used her magic powers to resurrect Osiris and fashion a golden phallus to conceive her son (older Egyptian accounts have the penis of Osiris surviving).Once Isis knew she was pregnant with Horus, she fled to the Nile Delta marshlands to hide from her brother Set, who jealously killed Osiris and who she knew would want to kill their son. There Isis bore a divine son, Horus. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horus

Horus was later identified with the god Apollo by the Greeks. The Eye Of Horus, also known as the Eye of Ra, or the Eye of Providence, is a common symbol used today by Freemasons. It was first used by masons in 1797. There are many variations on the origins of the myth of Horus’s eyes, but the all seeing eye is usually associated with the sun and clouds.

Sobek is represented as a man with a crocodile’s head at Hamilton Gardens. In ancient Egypt Sobek was known by the title “Lord of the Waters”. Some ancient sects believed that he was the creator of the world, which came from the “Dark Water” and brought order in the universe.

Sobek first acquired a role as a solar deity through his connection to Horus, but this was further strengthened in later periods with the emergence of Sobek-Ra, a fusion of Sobek and Egypt’s primary sun god, Ra. Sobek-Horus persisted as a figure in the New Kingdom (1550–1069 BCE), but it was not until the last dynasties of Egypt that Sobek-Ra gained prominence. This understanding of the god was maintained after the fall of Egypt’s last native dynasty in Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt (c. 332 BCE – 390 CE). The prestige of both Sobek and Sobek-Ra endured in this time period and tributes to him attained greater prominence – both through the expansion of his dedicated cultic sites and a concerted scholarly effort to make him the subject of religious doctrine.

The Egyptian statues stand in an area called the Cloud Court, and are near a reflection pond. When I worked at the Gardens I sometimes wondered about the purpose of the reflection pond. In my recollection, in the early days there were several attempts to paint it with a suitable black paint that would last, and not disintegrate quickly. Now year later, upon reflection (yes it’s a silly pun), I realize that since depending on where you are standing, the water reflects the two Egyptian statues, tall hedges, columns or clouds. It’s quite clever really. In essence, it reflects the “As Above, So Below” philosophy common to all Mystery Schools. Of course, with Horus being “god of the sky”, being reflected along with the clouds, and standing next to Sobek the “god of the waters” it makes perfect sense!

It is my premise that only someone who knows intimately the beliefs and philosophies of the Ancient Mystery Religions, would choose to place statues of Horus and Sobek-Ra not only together, but also in a Cloud Court with a reflection pool.

The Tarot Court

Currently under construction is a small garden with an airship as a central figure. I am not exactly sure what this garden will represent, but with a name like Tarot Court it certainly would appear to have an esoteric or “mystery school” focus.

Surrealist Garden and the “Trons”

Another garden under development is the surrealist garden. Everything in the garden will be five times the normal size, and it will feature giant topiary figures that will move. These have become known as “The Trons”, and will be covered in Ivy. The Ivy is still growing and the garden is not yet open to the public. But you can already see these “Trons” poking up and towering over the surroundings.

The Outdoor Chapel

There is a large altar situated under some large trees adjacent to Hamilton East’s historic cemetery. While most of Hamilton Gardens is situated in low down in a sort of valley next to the Waikato River, The St Luke’s Outdoor Chapel is found on a hill that is the highest place in the Gardens. The Order of St Luke is a Christian Order that began in the Methodist church. Nevertheless I must say that this outdoor chapel with it’s large altar, seems more akin to a meeting place for covens than for a church group. While that may sound crazy, when I was employed in the Gardens prior to 2004, on several occasions I found the remains of candles in a circle on the spiraling pavers in the lawn in front of the altar, and on the altar. So who knows!

Celestial Yuan in the Chinese Garden

Within the Chinese Scholar’s Garden there is a large bronze half turtle-half dragon sculpture overlooking the Waikato River. Here is a short description of it’s meaning:

The bronze turtle, a figure from Wuxi legend, is the Celestial Yuan of Taihu, a giant turtle sent by the Dragon King to save the people of Wuxi. It is symbolically protecting this garden from floods and providing the cerebral/spiritual linkage to the river that will be found in all of the riverside gardens within Hamilton Gardens. http://nzchinasociety.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/The-Chinese-Scholars-Garden-Hamilton-Gardens.pdf

Many More Theme Gardens and Features

There are too many other garden areas, themed areas and walks to cover in this article. I suggest that if you can get there- have a look at them yourself. Here are a few extra pictures from some of the areas within the park.

Freemasons – Influence and Sponsorship of the Gardens

“The true Mason is not creed-bound. He realizes with the divine illumination of his lodge that as a Mason his religion must be universal: Christ, Buddha or Mohammed, the name means little, for he recognizes only the light and not the bearer. He worships at every shrine, bows before every altar, whether in temple, mosque or cathedral, realizing with his truer understanding the oneness of all spiritual truth.”
Manly P. Hall 33° freemason
“Masonry, like all the Religions, all the Mysteries, Hermeticism and Alchemy, conceals its secrets from all except the Adepts and Sages, or the Elect, and uses false explanations and misinterpretations of its symbols to mislead those who deserve only to be misled; to conceal the Truth, which it calls Light from them and to draw them away from it”
Albert Pike 33° freemason- Morals and Dogma page 49

As I was going around the Hamilton Gardens and seeing the hallmarks of the Ancient Mystery Religions it seemed evident to me that this is not coincidental. I began to wonder if there were ties to any groups who follow these beliefs. When I discovered on a sign near entranceway that the Freemasons Association is one of the Garden’s sponsors, it was a bit of an “aha” moment for me. Generally amongst the public, most see freemasonry like some sort of “old boys club” that does community projects and has a secret handshake. Many are unaware of the role that the ancient mystery religions play in the freemasonry. The esoteric, metaphysical traditions of ancient times, are integral to beliefs of freemasons.

The black and white tiles in the Temperate House found in the Victorian Flower Garden area look very striking. However, this pattern immediately reminded me of the fact that the use of black and white tiles is a very common theme in freemasonry. It represents the duality or dualism that is an important part of the beliefs of freemasons and other mystery school adherents.

“The mosaic pavement in an old symbol of the Order. It is met with in the earliest rituals of the last century. It is classed among the ornaments of the lodge along with the indented tessel and the blazing star. Its party-colored stones of black and white have been readily and appropriately interpreted as symbols of the evil and good of human life.” Albert G. Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and its Kindred Sciences page 494
So from this information, it can be understood that the concept of duality has played a part in Masonic symbolism since the early days of the fraternity. While duality is not often discussed in the ritual of the Blue Lodge, the Scottish Rite mentions this concept numerous times. The Rite makes the ideas of dualism, or opposition, in the universe an important part of its theme. Indeed, the ideas of the Kabbalah and the Alchemists are used in the Scottish Rite to discuss this concept in several of the degrees.
Rex Hutchens A Bridge to Light page 18

When I got home I did a search and found a link that shows Hamilton Gardens Director Dr Peter Sergel receiving an award from the Royal Arch Freemasons in 2017.


There are many more themed gardens situated within the Hamilton Gardens complex that are equally worth seeing. There are also many more points I could have covered here, given more time to do it. It has not been my intention to attack or defame anyone involved with the gardens development or maintenance. In some ways it has been difficult for me to write this, due to the fact that I personally know some of the sculptors who were contracted to craft the sculptures, and also some members of the staff past and present. Add to this the fact that I spent so many years as part of that staff myself. However, I felt that it was important to bring to the light some truths that few people would otherwise have seen. I wish Hamilton City Council, the Gardens staff and friends well for the future. I look forward to seeing the ongoing development of new gardens with the Gardens.

I highly recommend visiting these gardens. It well worth doing. It takes several hours to walk around the whole park, to see all it’s features. When I am next in Hamilton I will look forward to visiting Hamilton Gardens again. Each time I visit there, there are new things to see.

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