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23.5 Degrees: The Song of Solomon
Set me as a seal upon your heart- Song of Songs
By Stella Maris
July 19, 2008
© Eliphas Levi
Of course, there was no way of knowing for sure whether the master masons of Notre Dame de Chartres had specially calculated the alignment of the cathedral to compensate for the offset of the tilt of the earth in their mission to incorporate the precise angle of the sun at its highest point in the heavens on the Summer Solstice. But, noting that Stonehenge was also canted at 47 degrees, or twice the angle of the tilt of the earth, Soph and I wondered whether this alignment might even be an age-old technique that had been passed down by master builders throughout the centuries.
Either way, it was clear that the solar element was so important to the manifestation of Chartres Cathedral that the entire edifice was accordingly oriented to accommodate it.
Yet, we had to smile to ourselves. Because, if the omnipotent solar emanation of the patriarchal God in his Heaven was so blatantly evoked within the upper fabric of the cathedral, then it didn't take a genius to grasp what the dark, moist, underground crypt was cunningly designed to venerate. Chartres was dedicated to Our Lady, after all.
The crypt, constructed around a former sacred Druid well, which in turn was presided over by Chartres’ second Black Madonna, was the most ancient part of the cathedral, pre-dating the original church itself.
But wells didn't just randomly pop up out of nowhere, they were inevitably the result of a significant underground system of running water.
And, sure enough, Sophia and I hit pay dirt when we discovered that Chartres' world-famous Labyrinth, built into the cathedral's stone pavement, was said to be specifically sited to benefit from the biogeological effects of an archaic underground network of blind springs spiraling beneath it. This even explained why pilgrims were instructed to walk the Labyrinth barefoot, for maximum effect.
Basically, running water courses such as waterfalls, underground streams, and convoluted blind spring systems were said to generate negative ions which, in turn, were believed to facilitate a range of psychological benefits from euphoric states of consciousness to accelerated healing processes.
Soph and I knew all about negative ions, having gone through a mad phase of installing trendy electronic "air ionizers" throughout the MemoryMap studio complex in an enthusiastic attempt to inspire a more productive creative environment. In the end, all our expensive toys actually accomplished was to give our clients an ion-induced headache, but we jokingly reasoned that perhaps artificially produced ions simply weren't as effective as a natural underground generation process organically amplified by stone and sunlight?
And that's when, in a flash, Soph and I instantly comprehended what we had originally misunderstood as the three layers of Chartres Cathedral.
In fact, there weren't any layers at all. The entire construction was an elegant fusion of diametrically opposing literal and metaphorical elements of light and darkness, above and below, designed to transmit information on multiple levels to the itinerant traveler as he navigated through the cathedral space.
On one hand Notre Dame de Chartres was an exquisite work of art, an "encyclopedia in stone", designed for the edification of those pilgrims who wanted to absorb both the biblical and the hermetically encoded messages in the sculptures, stained glass windows, even in the architecture itself. But, on the other hand, there appeared to be a subliminal "carrier frequency" that could be tuned into, almost like a subconscious electro-magnetic radio broadcast, which Louis Charpentier referred to as a kind of "telluric current" known as a Wouivre.
Pouring ourselves a final glass of Bollinger before retiring, Soph and I were drawn back to Charpentier's romantic description of Chartres as the "alchemical marriage of fire and water", which now made perfect sense in view of the conjunction of the cathedral's celestial patriarchal solar light with its subterranean dark and moistly feminine secrets.
Only then did we remember that the alchemical symbol for Fire is an upright triangle and the alchemical symbol for Water is a downward triangle. And that, transposed, they formed what's known as... the Seal of Solomon. So, it looked like we had accidentally discovered the key to our metaphorical Temple of Solomon!
And now that we had Ariadne's thread firmly grasped in our hands, Soph and I were finally ready to enter the Labyrinth...
Newton Coordinate:- The Feast Day of Mary Magdalene, July 22nd, Gamma Virginis, 1º31' East of the Greenwich Meridian. Also, Happy Birthday to Soph on the 18th!