By the time Soph and I got to Chartres Cathedral, we were getting the hang of navigating through increasingly labyrinthine layers of reality. On the external level, we had decided to spend a few days in Chartres to look at a potential property to move the Paris office into. Chartres was conveniently close enough to Paris, but far enough out to take advantage of the lower property prices, thereby enabling us to acquire more space, maybe even to build another recording studio.
As it happened, a disused church had come onto the market in the center of Chartres, providing all the space we needed in a viable location with loads of character. Our London headquarters was already based in a converted church, so we liked the idea of rolling out the MemoryMap church theme across Europe.
But, on another level, we had begun to investigate the background to the dodgy internet quest that I had solved - or, at least that's what we thought we were doing at the time.
You might remember from a previous episode here on Mania that I had read a curious book at Christmas, which had featured a promotional contest on an internet website offering a prize trip to Stonehenge to the person who correctly solved the clues embedded in paintings in the style of Leonardo da Vinci.
I had fortuitously cracked the clues without forking out for the pricey art prints and posted the solution on the website's forum, for which I was being abundantly ignored. No exciting trip to Stonehenge had transpired.
So, in response, I dug myself into their discussion forum and systematically deconstructed the clues to the quest right out in public. One clue involved Chartres Cathedral, which I was now "coincidentally" preparing to visit with Soph in the course of looking for new offices for my company.
Now, the way this all fits together is that the solution to the quest was set up to reveal the mythological dimensions of the Temple of Solomon. Basically, all of the "clues" embedded into the paintings related to specific locations around the world that supposedly fit this geometrical "template" - including Chartres Cathedral and Stonehenge itself, among several others.
However, in this context, we're talking about the metaphorical Temple of Solomon, which has also been cleverly deployed into secret ritual by the Freemasons for hundreds of years.
To this end, Sovereign Grand Commander Albert Pike states that The Universe itself supplied man with the model of the first Temple, reared to the Divinity. And Clemens of Alexandria informs us that the Temple contained many emblems of the Seasons, the Sun, the Moon, the planets, the constellations Ursa Major and Minor, the zodiac, the elements, and the other parts of the world.
So, in a nutshell, one could say that Solomon's Temple can be regarded as a metaphor for The Universe, as viewed from the perspective of the Earth.
This is why round churches, such as Notre Dame de France and the Temple Church in London, are usually constructed around twelve pillars, representing the twelve apostles or the twelve zodiacal constellations surrounding the ecliptic of the Earth or the twelve tribes of Israel, depending on your point of view. These could also be represented in a rectangular formation, which was easier to build - the Norman Chapel of Saint John the Evangelist at the Tower of London, where the Order of the Garter still holds their ceremonies, is a good example.
Additionally, the alignments of the Sun and the Pole Star were used to determine the orientation of the solar Meridian through the twelve-pointed template (which also conveniently formed the shape of a Rose when you connected the dots properly). These were often denoted by another two "master" pillars in the template, totaling fourteen pillars in some representations, or as outright gnomonic correspondences in others.
In a Christian context, the Sun (Sol) was symbolized by Jesus (or, by the Archangel Michael in medieval systems) and the Pole Star by the Virgin Mary, or Notre Dame, who was often depicted standing on the north pole of the earth with a circle of twelve stars surrounding her head. Once determined, the Meridian coordinates on the twelve-pointed church template were symbolized by John the Evangelist corresponding to the Winter Solstice in the north and John the Baptist for the Summer Solstice in the south.
Furthermore, the overall orientation of the early churches was determined by the location of the rising sun on the horizon in the east on the feast day of its patron saint, thereby manifesting the church itself as a terrestrial representation of God in his heavens at the exact moment of the church's inception.
In other words, what evolved from this temple-construction technique was a model of a snapshot of a particular moment in time, plotted in space. A terrestrial mirror of a celestial configuration. It was, in effect... a three-dimensional map of space-time.
Artists such as Leonardo da Vinci used a similar religious correspondence system to portray radical concepts about the heavens that eventually tended to get astronomers like Galileo arrested and barbecued. From there, this system provided a "language" enabling adepts to write extremely heretical dissertations on multiple levels, which would read as innocent religious devotions on the surface, but as coded astronomical studies for initiates.
However, the map aspect of the template also had practical purposes.
For instance, if you were a World War II undercover resistance operative who wanted to leave me a secret letter drop in our agreed local church, you could send me a nice devoted prayer, maybe something about the head of John the Baptist, and I would know exactly where to look.
Inevitably, after we got the hang of this system, Resistance Operatives became me and Soph's favorite new game, hiding everything from the after-work bottle of Bollinger to the company credit card, which could then only be found via increasingly cryptic religious references to hidey-holes secreted in our temple-converted hotel Gatehouse. The chambermaid must have thought that we had gone utterly bonkers as precisely positioned religious statuary began to proliferate with devout chapels to archangels springing up overnight in the toilets...
As we became more proficient, we were inspired by real-life Resistance Operatives such as our hero Jean Moulin, the local mayor who had resisted the German invasion of Chartres, who had expanded the system of correspondences to include everything from Tarot card trumps to Kabbalistic sephiroth, even to Paris Metro stations. This enhanced metaphorical template excitingly transformed our formerly mundane business meetings in recording studios and restaurants into increasingly intrepid adventures incorporating convoluted interactions with historical personages such as Victor Hugo and Emile Zola, amongst the usual panoply of deities, saints, and archangels.
So, now maybe you can see how, by the time we got to Chartres Cathedral, Soph and I were sufficiently trained enough in the symbolic navigation of the space-time matrix to be able to grasp just what an amazing, multi-dimensional cosmic masterpiece this gothic cathedral actually represented.
Newton Coordinate:- The Feast Day of Saint Fulbert, April 10th, in honor of Fulbert, Bishop of Chartres, who rebuilt Chartres Cathedral on the terrestrial correspondence to Porrima, Gamma Virginis.
(Special thanks to the Masonic Herrings for helping me to distill the entire historical corpus of works on Solomon’s Temple into a soundbite.)