Archive for the ‘Metaphysics’ Category

For all interested, here’s an interview I gave on Topic: UFO, hosted by Rick Scouler. In it, we discuss the true history of Machu Picchu, the enigmatic ruins of Puma Punku and Tiwanaku, and the mysterious “alien skull” located at an independent museum in Andahuaylillas, about 40 mins south of Cusco, Peru.

At Moray, in front of the largest group of circular depressions, is a rectangular building (apparently) which was divided into two rooms. The length of the smaller room is 20.75 feet. The length of the larger room is 34 feet. The length of the entire building is roughly 55 feet. 55/34 = 1.617. 34/20.75 = 1.63. So, what looks like the ruins of an ancient building is actually a golden rectangle, laid out on the field in front of an enormous circular terracing system that archaeologists have no complete explanation for. I don’t have the time (or the technical expertise necessary) at present to fully work this out. The best I could do was create a golden spiral from said rectangle and see if that made any difference. It does seem to describe the placement of the other two main circular formations, with the tail of the spiral going through the center of one and touching on the edge of the other. But that’s all I’ve got. Any geometers want to have a go at this one?














The Catholic church has had a tough week. And on Pentecost, too!

Rome was rocked by yet another in a series of scandals, as it emerged that Father Thomas Williams, the public face of the Legionaries of Christ, a religious order begun in 1941, fathered a child that the Church attempted to keep secret for at least the past 7 years.

The Legionaries suffered a similar humiliation back in 2009, when it was revealed that their founder, Father Marcial Maciel, had lead a double life throughout his association with the Church, and was not only a pedophile and drug addict, but started two families that he concealed from the Holy See.

Father Thomas Williams, an American based in Rome who has made numerous speeches and written several books on Christian morality, was allowed to continue his public ministry by the current leader of the order, Father Alvaro Corcuera, even after his illegitimate child was revealed.

Father Corcuera stated that he found out about Williams’s child “early in [his] new assignment” as leader of the order, in 2005. Although Corcuera had urged Williams to “start withdrawing from public ministry”, critics and activist groups charge that such a recommendation was not severe enough.

One such group, named the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), released a statement calling strongly on the Pope to fire Corcuera, saying:

“Virtually nothing will change if the Pope and other Church officials continue to let their colleagues and underlings act recklessly and deceitfully – year after year after year – and get by with saying, when they’re caught, ‘Oops, sorry, I goofed.'”

The Legionaries scandal comes on the heels of the arrest of Pope Benedict’s personal butler on charges of spying. The butler, Paolo Gabriele, is accused of contributing to an enormous dump of classified information, since dubbed “Vatileaks”, which revealed internal financial corruption and bickering about money.

Additionally, it was reported last week that the chief Vatican exorcist, appointed by Pope John Paul II, has implicated the Church in the unsolved murder of a 15-year-old girl, allegedly to cover up regular orgies participated in by high-level Church officials.

The Vatican has yet to officially respond to each allegation.

from Magicians, Seers and Mystics by Maurice Magre

The Book of Abraham the Jew

Wisdom has various means for making its way into the heart of man. Sometimes a prophet comes forward and speaks. Or a sect of mystics receives the teaching of a philosophy, like rain on a summer evening, gathers it in and spreads it abroad with love. Or it may happen that a charlatan, performing tricks to astonish men, may produce, perhaps without knowing it himself, a ray of real light with his dice and magic mirrors. In the fourteenth century, the pure truth of the masters was transmitted by a book. This book fell into the hands of precisely the man who was destined to receive it; and he, with the help of the text and the hieroglyphic diagrams that taught the transmutation of metals into gold, accomplished the transmutation of his soul, which is a far rarer and more wonderful operation.

Thanks to the amazing book of Abraham the Jew all the Hermetists of the following centuries had the opportunity of admiring an example of a perfect life, that of Nicolas Flamel, the man who received the book. After his death or disappearance many students and alchemists who had devoted their lives to the search for the Philosopher’s Stone despaired because they had not in their possession the wonderful book that contained the secret of gold and of eternal life. But their despair was unnecessary. The secret had become alive. The magic formula had become incarnate in the actions of a man. No ingot of virgin gold melted in the crucibles could, in color or purity, attain the beauty of the wise bookseller’s pious life.

There is nothing legendary about the life of Nicolas Flamel. The Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris contains works copied in his own hand and original works written by him. All the official documents relating to his life have been found: his marriage contract, his deeds of gift, his will. His history rests solidly on those substantial material proofs for which men clamor if they are to believe in obvious things. To this indisputably authentic history, legend has added a few flowers. But in every spot where the flowers of legend grow, underneath there is the solid earth of truth.

Whether Nicolas Flamel was born at Pontoise or somewhere else, a question that historians have argued and investigated with extreme attention, seems to me to be entirely without importance. It is enough to know that towards the middle of the fourteenth century, Flamel was carrying on the trade of a bookseller and had a stall backing on to the columns of Saint-Jacques la Boucherie in Paris. It was not a big stall, for it measured only two feet by two and a half. However, it grew. He bought a house in the old rue de Marivaux and used the ground floor for his business. Copyists and illuminators did their work there. He himself gave a few writing lessons and taught nobles who could only sign their names with a cross. One of the copyists or illuminators acted also as a servant to him.

Nicolas Flamel married Pernelle, a good-looking, intelligent widow, slightly older than himself and the possessor of a little property. Every man meets once in his life the woman with whom he could live in peace and harmony. For Nicolas Flamel, Pernelle was that woman. Over and above her natural qualities, she had another which is still rarer. She was a woman who was capable of keeping a secret all her life without revealing it to anybody in confidence. But the story of Nicolas Flamel is the story of a book for the most part. The secret made its appearance with the book, and neither the death of its possessors nor the lapse of centuries led to the complete discovery of the secret.

Nicolas Flamel had acquired some knowledge of the Hermetic art. The ancient alchemy of the Egyptians and the Greeks that flourished among the Arabs had, thanks to them, penetrated to Christian countries. Nicolas Flamel did not, of course, regard alchemy as a mere vulgar search for the means of making gold. For every exalted mind the finding of the Philosopher’s Stone was the finding of the essential secret of Nature, the secret of her unity and her laws, the possession of perfect wisdom. Flamel dreamed of sharing in this wisdom. His ideal was the highest that man could attain. And he knew that it could be realized through a book, for the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone had already been found and transcribed in symbolic form. Somewhere it existed. It was in the hands of unknown sages who lived somewhere unknown. But how difficult it was for a small Paris bookseller to get into touch with those sages.

Nothing, really, has changed since the fourteenth century. In our day also many men strive desperately towards an ideal, the path which they know but cannot climb; and they hope to win the magic formula (which will make them new beings) from some miraculous visit or from a book written expressly for them. But for most, the visitor does not come and the book is not written. Yet for Nicolas Flamel the book was written. Perhaps because a bookseller is better situated than other people to receive a unique book; perhaps because the strength of his desire organized events without his knowledge, so that the book came when it was time. So strong was his desire, that the coming of the book was preceded by a dream, which shows that this wise and well-balanced bookseller had a tendency to mysticism.

Nicolas Flamel dreamed one night that an angel stood before him. The angel, who was radiant and winged like all angels, held a book in his hands and uttered these words, which were to remain in the memory of the hearer: “Look well at this book, Nicholas. At first you will understand nothing in it ¾ neither you nor any other man. But one day you will see in it that which no other man will be able to see.” Flamel stretched out his hand to receive the present from the angel, and the whole scene disappeared in the golden light of dreams. Sometime after that the dream was partly realized.

One day, when Nicolas Flamel was alone in his shop, an unknown man in need of money appeared with a manuscript to sell. Flamel was no doubt tempted to receive him with disdainful arrogance, as do the booksellers of our day when some poor student offers to sell them part of his library. But the moment he saw the book he recognized it as the book that the angel had held out to him, and he paid two florins for it without bargaining. The book appeared to him indeed resplendent and instinct with divine virtue. It had a very old binding of worked copper, on which were engraved curious diagrams and certain characters, some of which were Greek and others in a language he could not decipher. The leaves of the book were not made of parchment, like those he was accustomed to copy and bind. They were made of the bark of young trees and were covered with very clear writing done with an iron point. These leaves were divided into groups of seven and consisted of three parts separated by a page without writing, but containing a diagram that was quite unintelligible to Flamel. On the first page were written words to the effect that the author of the manuscript was Abraham the Jew ¾ prince, priest, Levite, astrologer, and philosopher. Then followed great curses and threats against anyone who set eyes on it unless he was either a priest or a scribe. The mysterious word maranatha, which was many times repeated on every page, intensified the awe-inspiring character of the text and diagrams. But most impressive of all was the patined gold of the edges of the book, and the atmosphere of hallowed antiquity that there was about it.

Maranatha! Was he qualified to read this book? Nicolas Flamel considered that being a scribe he might read the book without fear. He felt that the secret of life and of death, the secret of the unity of Nature, the secret of the duty of the wise man, had been concealed behind the symbol of the diagram and formula in the text by an initiate long since dead. He was aware that it is a rigid law for initiates that they must not reveal their knowledge, because if it is good and fruitful for the intelligent, it is bad for ordinary men. As Jesus has clearly expressed it, pearls must not be given as food to swine. Was he qualified to read this book? Nicolas Flamel considered that being a scribe he might read the book without fear. He felt that the secret of life and of death, the secret of the unity of Nature, the secret of the duty of the wise man, had been concealed behind the symbol of the diagram and formula in the text by an initiate long since dead. He was aware that it is a rigid law for initiates that they must not reveal their knowledge, because if it is good and fruitful for the intelligent, it is bad for ordinary men. As Jesus has clearly expressed it, pearls must not be given as food to swine.

He had the pearl in his hands. It was for him to rise in the scale of man in order to be worthy to understand its purity. He must have had in his heart a hymn of thanksgiving to Abraham the Jew, whose name was unknown to him, but who had thought and labored in past centuries and whose wisdom he was now inheriting. He must have pictured him a bald old man with a hooked nose, wearing the wretched robe of his race and wilting in some dark ghetto, in order that the light of his thought might not be lost. And he must have vowed to solve the riddle, to rekindle the light, to be patient and faithful, like the Jew who had died in the flesh but lived eternally in his manuscript.

Nicolas Flamel had studied the art of transmutation. He was in touch with all the learned men of his day. Manuscripts dealing with alchemy have been found, notably that of Almasatus, which were part of his personal library. He had knowledge of the symbols of which the alchemists made habitual use. But those that he saw in the book of Abraham the Jew remained dumb for him. In vain, he copied some of the mysterious pages and set them out in his shop, in the hope that some visitor conversant with the Cabala would help him to solve the problem. He met with nothing but the laughter of skeptics and the ignorance of pseudo-scholars ¾ just as he would today if he showed the book of Abraham the Jew either to pretentious occultists or to the scholars at the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres.

Nicholas Flamel’s Journey

For twenty-one years, he pondered the hidden meaning of the book. That is really not that long. He is favored among men for whom twenty-one years are enough to enable him to find the key of life. At the end of twenty-one years, Nicolas Flamel had developed in himself sufficient wisdom and strength to hold out against the storm of light involved by the coming of truth to the heart of man. Only then did events group themselves harmoniously according to his will and allow him to realize his desire. For everything good and great that happens to a man is the result of the co-ordination of his own voluntary effort and a malleable fate.

No one in Paris could help Nicolas Flamel understand the book. Now, this book had been written by a Jew, and part of its text was in ancient Hebrew. The Jews had recently been driven out of France by persecution. Nicolas Flamel knew that many of these Jews had migrated to Spain. In towns such as Malaga and Granada, which were still under the more enlightened dominion of the Arabs, there lived prosperous communities of Jews and flourishing synagogues, in which scholars and doctors were bred. Many Jews from the Christian towns of Spain took advantage of the tolerance extended by the Moorish kings and went to Granada to learn. There they copied Plato and Aristotle ¾ forbidden texts in the rest of Europe ¾ and returned home to spread abroad the knowledge of the ancients and of the Arab masters.

Nicolas Flamel thought that in Spain he might meet some erudite Cabalist who would translate the book of Abraham for him. Travelling was difficult, and without a strong-armed escort, safe passage was nearly impossible for a solitary traveler. Flamel made therefore a vow to St James of Compostela, the patron saint of his parish, to make a pilgrimage. This was also a means of concealing from his neighbors and friends the real purpose of his journey. The wise and faithful Pernelle was the only person who was aware of his real plans. He put on the pilgrim’s attire and shell-adorned hat, took the staff, which ensured a certain measure of safety to a traveler in Christian countries, and started off for Galicia. Since he was a prudent man and did not wish to expose the precious manuscript to the risks of travel, he contented himself with taking with him a few carefully copied pages, which he hid in his modest baggage.

Nicolas Flamel has not recounted the adventures that befell him on his journey. Possibly he had none. It may be that adventures happen only to those who want to have them. He has told us merely that he went first to fulfil his vow to St James. Then he wandered about Spain, trying to get into relations with learned Jews. But they were suspicious of Christians, particularly of the French, who had expelled them from their country. Besides, he had not much time. He had to remember Pernelle waiting for him, and his shop, which was being managed only by his servants. To a man of over fifty on his first distant journey, the silent voice of his home makes a powerful appeal every evening.

In discouragement, he started his homeward journey. His way lay through Leon, where he stopped for the night at an inn and happened to sup at the same table as a French merchant from Boulogne, who was travelling on business. This merchant inspired him with confidence and trust, and he whispered a few words to him of his wish to find a learned Jew. By a lucky chance the French merchant was in relations with a certain Maestro Canches, an old man who lived at Leon, immersed in his books. Nothing was easier than to introduce this Maestro Canches to Nicolas Flamel, who decided to make one more attempt before leaving Spain.

One can easily appreciate the depth of the scene when the profane merchant of Boulogne has left them, and the two men are face to face. The gates of the ghetto close. Maestro Canches’ only thought is expressed by a few polite words to rid himself as quickly as he can of this French bookseller, who has deliberately dulled the light in his eye and clothed himself in mediocrity (for the prudent traveler passes unnoticed). Flamel speaks, reticently at first. He admires the knowledge of the Jews. Thanks to his trade, he has read a great many books. At last he timidly lets fall a name, which hitherto has aroused not a spark of interest in anyone to whom he has spoken ¾ the name of Abraham the Jew, prince, priest, Levite, astrologer and philosopher. Suddenly Flamel sees the eyes of the feeble old man before him light up. Maestro Canches has heard of Abraham the Jew! He was a great master of the wandering race, perhaps the most venerable of all the sages who studied the mysteries of the Cabala, a higher initiate, one of those who rise the higher the better they succeed in remaining unknown. His book existed and disappeared centuries ago. But tradition says it has never been destroyed, that it is passed from hand to hand and that it always reaches the man whose destiny it is to receive it. Maestro Canches has dreamed all his life of finding it. He is very old, close to death, and now the hope that he has almost given up is near realization. The night goes by, and there is a light over the two heads bent over their work. Maestro Canches is translating the Hebrew from the time of Moses. He is explaining symbols that originated in ancient Chaldea. How the years fall from these two men, inspired by their common belief in truth.

But the few pages that Flamel had brought are not enough to allow the secret to be revealed. Maestro Canches made up his mind at once to accompany Flamel to Paris, but his extreme age was an obstacle. Furthermore, Jews were not allowed in France. He vowed to rise above his infirmity and convert his religion! For many years now, he had been above all religions. So the two men, united by their indissoluble bond, headed off along the Spanish roads north.

The ways of Nature are mysterious. The nearer Maestro Canches came to the realization of his dream, the more precarious became his health, and the breath of life weakened in him. Oh God! he prayed, grant me the days I need, and that I may cross the threshold of death only when I possess the liberating secret by which darkness becomes light and flesh spirit!

But the prayer was not heard. The inflexible law had appointed the hour of the old man’s death. He fell ill at Orleans, and in spite of all Flamel’s care, died seven days later. As he had converted and Flamel did not want to be suspected of bringing a Jew into France, he had him piously buried in the church of Sante-Croix and had masses said in his honor. For he rightly thought that a soul that had striven for so pure an aim and had passed at the moment of its fruition. could not rest in the realm of disembodied spirits.

Flamel continued his journey and reached Paris, where he found Pernelle, his shop, his copyists, and his manuscripts safe and sound. He laid aside his pilgrim’s staff. But now everything was changed. It was with a joyous heart that he went his daily journey from house to shop, that he gave writing lessons to illiterates and discussed Hermetic science with the educated. From natural prudence, he continued to feign ignorance, in which he succeeded all the more easily because knowledge was within him. What Maestro Canches had already taught him in deciphering a few pages of the book of Abraham the Jew was sufficient to allow his understanding of the whole book. He spent three years more in searching and in completing his knowledge, but at the end of this period, the transmutation was accomplished. Having learned what materials were necessary to put together beforehand, he followed strictly the method of Abraham the Jew and changed a half-pound of mercury first into silver, and then into virgin gold. And simultaneously, he accomplished the same transmutation in his soul. From his passions, mixed in an invisible crucible, the substance of the eternal spirit emerged.

The Philosopher’s Stone

From this point, according to historical records, the little bookseller became rich. He established many low-income houses for the poor, founded free hospitals, and endowed churches. But he did not use his riches to increase his personal comfort or to satisfy his vanity. He altered nothing in his modest life. With Pernelle, who had helped him in his search for the Philosopher’s Stone, he devoted his life to helping his fellow men. “Husband and wife lavished succor on the poor, founded hospitals, built or repaired cemeteries, restored the front of Saint Genevieve des Ardents and endowed the institution of the Quinze-Vingts, the blind inmates of which, in memory of this fact, came every year to the church of Saint Jacques la Boucherie to pray for their benefactor, a practice which continued until 1789,” wrote historian Louis Figuier.

At the same time that he was learning how to make gold out of any material, he acquired the wisdom of despising it in his heart. Thanks to the book of Abraham the Jew, he had risen above the satisfaction of his senses and the turmoil of his passions. He knew that man attains immortality only through the victory of spirit over matter, by essential purification, by the transmutation of the human into the divine. He devoted the last part of his life to what Christians call the working out of personal salvation. But he attained his object without fasting or asceticism, keeping the unimportant place that destiny had assigned him, continuing to copy manuscripts, buying and selling, in his new shop in the rue Saint-Jacques la Boucherie. For him, there was no more mystery about the Cemetery of the Innocents, which was near his house and under the arcades of which he liked to walk in the evenings. If he had the vaults and monuments restored at his own expense, it was nothing more than compliance with the custom of his time. He knew that the dead who had been laid to rest there were not concerned with stones and inscriptions and that they would return, when their hour came, in different forms, to perfect themselves and die anew. He knew the trifling extent to which he could help them. Yet he had no temptation to divulge the secret that had been entrusted to him through the book, for he was able to measure the lowest degree of virtue necessary for the possession of it, and he knew that the revelation of the secret to an undeveloped soul only increased the imperfection of that soul.

And when he was illuminating a manuscript and putting in with a fine brush a touch of skyblue into the eye of an angel, or of white into a wing, no smile played on his grave face, for he knew that pictures are useful to children; moreover, it is possible that beautiful fantasies which are pictured with love and sincerity may become realities in the dream of death. Though he knew how to make gold, Nicolas Flamel made it only three times in the whole of his life and then, not for himself, for he never changed his way of life; he did it only to mitigate the evils that he saw around him. And this is the single touchstone that convinces that he really attained the state of adept.

This “touchstone” test can be used by everyone and at all times. To distinguish a man’s superiority, there is but a single sign: a practical and not an alleged-contempt for riches. However great may be a man’s active virtues or the radiant power of his intelligence, if they are accompanied by the love of money that most eminent men possess, it is certain that they are tainted with baseness. What they create under the hypocritical pretext of good will bear within it the seeds of decay. Unselfishness and innocence alone is creative, and it alone can help to raise man.

Flamel’s generous gifts aroused curiosity and even jealousy. It seemed amazing that a poor bookseller should found almshouses and hospitals should build houses with low rents, churches and convents. Rumors reached the ears of the king, Charles VI, who ordered Cramoisi, a member of the Council of State, to investigate the matter. But thanks to Flamel’s prudence and reticence, the result of the inquiries was favorable to him.

The rest of Flamel’s life passed without special event. It was actually the life of a scholar. He went from his house in the rue de Marivaux to his shop. He walked in the Cemetery of the Innocents, for the imagination of death was pleasant to him. He handled beautiful parchments. He illuminated missals. He paid devout attention to Pernelle as she grew old, and he knew that life holds few better things than the peace of daily work and a calm affection.

The “Death” of Flamel

Pernelle died first; Nicolas Flamel reached the age of eighty. He spent the last years of his life writing books on alchemy. He carefully settled his affairs and planned how he was to be buried: at the end of the nave of Saint Jacques la Boucherie. The tombstone to be laid over his body had already been made. On this stone, in the middle of various figures, there was carved a sun above a key and a closed book. It contains the symbols of his life and can still be seen at his gravesite in the Musee de Cluny in Paris. His death, to which he joyfully looked forward, was as circumspect and as perfect as his life.

As it is equally useful to study men’s weaknesses as their finest qualities, we may mark Flamel’s weakness. This sage, who attached importance only to the immortality of his soul and despised the ephemeral form of the body, was inspired as he grew old with a strange taste for the sculptural representation of his body and face. Whenever he had a church built, or even restored, he requested the sculptor to represent him, piously kneeling, in a comer of the pediment of the facade. He had himself twice sculptured on an arch in the Cemetery of the Innocents: once as he was in his youth and once old and infirm. When he had a new house built in the rue de Montmorency, on the outskirts of Paris, eleven saints were carved on the front, but a side door was surmounted with a bust of Flamel.

The bones of sages seldom rest in peace in their grave. Perhaps Nicolas Flamel knew this and tried to protect his remains by ordering a tombstone of great weight and by having a religious service held for him twelve times a year. But these precautions were useless. Hardly was Flamel dead when the report of his alchemical powers and of his concealment somewhere of an enormous quantity of gold spread through Paris and the world. Everyone who was seeking the famous projection powder, which turns all substances into gold, came prowling round all the places where he had lived in the hope of finding a minute portion of the precious powder. It was said also that the symbolical figures which he had had sculptured on various monuments gave, for those who could decipher it, the formula of the Philosopher’s Stone. There was not a single alchemist but came in pilgrimage to study the sacred science on the, stones of Saint-Jacques- la Boucherie, or the Cemetery of the Innocents. The sculptures and inscriptions were broken off under cover of darkness and removed. The cellars of his house were searched and the walls examined.

According to author Albert Poisson, towards the middle of the sixteenth century a man who had a well-known name and good credentials, which were no doubt fictitious, presented himself before the parish board of Saint-Jacques la Boucherie. He said he wished to carry out the vow of a dead friend, a pious alchemist, who, on his deathbed, had given him a sum of money with which to repair Flamel’s house. The board accepted the offer. The unknown man had the cellars ransacked under the pretext of strengthening the foundations; wherever he saw a hieroglyph he found some reason for knocking down the wall at that point. Having found nothing, he disappeared, forgetting to pay the workmen. Not long afterwards, a Capuchin friar and a German baron are said to have discovered in the house some stone vials full of a reddish powder ¾ allegedly the projection powder. By the seventeenth century, the various houses which had belonged to Flamel were despoiled of their ornaments and decorations, and there was nothing of them left but the four bare walls.

History of the Book of Abraham the Jew

What had happened to the book of Abraham the Jew ? Nicolas Flamel had bequeathed his papers and library to a nephew named Perrier, who was interested in alchemy and of whom he was very fond. Absolutely nothing is known of Perrier. He no doubt benefited by his uncle’s teachings and spent a sage’s life in the munificent obscurity that Flamel prized so dearly, but had not been able altogether to maintain during the last years of his life. For two centuries the precious heritage was handed down from father to son, without anything being heard of it. Traces of it are found again in the reign of Louis XIII. A descendant of Flamel, named Dubois, who must still have possessed a supply of the projection powder, threw off the wise reserve of his ancestor and used the powder to dazzle his contemporaries. In the presence of the King, he changed leaden balls with it into gold. As a result of this experiment, it is known he had many interviews with Cardinal de Richelieu, who wished to extract his secret. Dubois, who possessed the powder but was unable to understand either Flamel’s manuscripts or the book of Abraham the Jew, could tell him nothing and was soon imprisoned at Vincennes. It was found that he had committed certain offences in the past, and this enabled Richelieu to get him condemned to death and confiscate his property for his own benefit. At the same time the proctor of the Chitelet, no doubt by order of Richelieu, seized the houses that Flamel had owned and had them searched from top to bottom. About this time, at the church of Saint-Jacques la Boucherie, robbers made their way in during the night, lifted Flamel’s tombstone and broke open his coffin. It was after this incident that the rumor spread that the coffin had been found empty, and that it had never contained the body of Flamel, who was supposed to be still alive.

Through whatever means, it is believed Richelieu took possession of the book of Abraham the Jew. He built a laboratory at the Chateau of Rueil, which he often visited to read through the master’s manuscripts and to try to interpret the sacred hieroglyphs. But that which a sage like Flamel had been able to understand only after twenty-one years of meditation was not likely to be at once accessible to a politician like Richelieu. Knowledge of the mutations of matter, of life and death, is more complex than the art of planning strategies or administering a kingdom. Richelieu’s search gave no good results.

On the death of the cardinal, all traces of the book were lost, or rather, all traces of the text, for the diagrams have often been reproduced. Indeed, the book must have been copied, for it is recorded in the seventeenth century that the author of the Tresor des Recherches et Antiquites Gauloises made a journey to Milan to see a copy which belonged to the Seigneur of Cabrieres. In any case, the mysterious book has now disappeared. Perhaps a copy or the original itself rests under the dust of some provincial library. And it may be that a wise fate will send it at the proper time to a man who has the patience to ponder it, the knowledge to interpret it, the wisdom not to divulge it too soon.

Is Nicholas Flamel Still Alive?

But the mystery of the story of Flamel, which seemed to have come to an end, was revived in the seventeenth century. Louis VIV sent an archeologist named Paul Lucas on a mission to the East. He was to study antiquities and bring back any inscriptions or documents that could help forward the modest scientific efforts then being made in France. A scholar had in those days to be both a soldier and an adventurer. Paul Lucas united in himself the qualities of a Salomon Reinach and a Casanova. He was captured by Barbary corsairs, who robbed him, according to his own story, of the treasures he had brought from Greece and Palestine. The most valuable contribution that this official emissary made to science is summarized in the story he tells in his Voyage dans la Turquie, which he published in 1719. His account enables men of faith to reconstitute part of the history of the book of Abraham the Jew.

The story goes as follows: At Broussa Paul Lucas made the acquaintance of a kind of philosopher, who wore Turkish clothes, spoke almost every known language and, in outward appearance, belonged to the type of man of whom it is said that they ” have no age.” Thanks to his own cultured presence, Lucas came to know him fairly well, and this is what he learned. This philosopher was a member of a group of seven philosophers, who belonged to no particular country and traveled all over the world, having no other aim than the search for wisdom and their own development. Every twenty years they met at a pre-determined place, which happened that year to be Broussa. According to him, human life ought to have an infinitely longer duration than we admit; the average length should be a thousand years. A man could live a thousand years if he had knowledge of the Philosopher’s Stone, which, besides being knowledge of the transmutation of metals, was also knowledge of the Elixir of life. The sages possessed it and kept it for themselves. In the West, there were only a few such sages. Nicolas Flamel had been one of them. Paul Lucas was astonished that a Turk, whom he had met by chance at Broussa, should be familiar with the story of Flamel. He was still more astonished when the Turk told him how the book of Abraham the Jew had come into Flamel’s possession, for hitherto no one had known this.

“Abraham the Jew was a member of our group,” the man told him. “He had determined not to lose sight of the descendants of his brothers who had taken refuge in France. He had a desire to see them, and in spite of all we could do to dissuade him he went to Paris. He made the acquaintance there of a rabbi who was seeking the Philosopher’s Stone, and our friend became intimate with the rabbi and was able to explain much to him. But before he left the country the rabbi, by an act of treachery, killed our brother to get possession of his book and papers. The rabbi was arrested, convicted of this and other crimes and burned alive. The persecution of the Jews in France began not long afterwards, and they were expelled from the country. The book of Abraham was sold to Flamel by a Jewish man who did not know its value and was anxious to get rid of it before leaving Paris. Having discovered the Philosopher’s Stone, Flamel was able to remain alive in the physical form he possessed at the time of his discovery. Pernelle’s and his own funerals and the minute care he bestowed on the arrangements for them had been nothing but clever shams.”

But the most amazing thing that Paul Lucas heard was the statement made by the Turk that both Flamel and his wife Pernelle were still alive! Having discovered the Philosopher’s Stone, Flamel had been able to remain alive in the physical form he possessed at the time of his discovery. Pernelle’s and his own funerals and the minute care he bestowed on the arrangements for them had been nothing but clever shams. He had started out for India, the country of the initiates, where he still lived. The publication of Paul Lucas’ book created a great sensation. In the seventeenth century, like today, there lived discerning men who believed that all truth came out of the East and that there were in India adepts who possessed powers infinitely greater than those that science so parsimoniously metes out to us. In fact, this is a belief that has existed at every period in modern human history.

Was Nicolas Flamel one of these adepts? Even if he was, can it reasonably be presumed that he was alive three centuries after his supposed death, by virtue of a deeper study than had yet been made of the life force and the means of prolonging it? Is it relevant to compare with Paul Lucas’ story another tradition reported by Abbe Vilain, who says that in the seventeenth century, Flamel visited Monsieur Desalleurs, the French ambassador to the Sublime Porte? Every man, according to his feeling for the miraculous, must come to his own conclusion. I think, myself, that in accordance with the wisdom which he had always shown, Nicolas Flamel, after his discovery of the Philosopher’s Stone, would have had no temptation to evade death; for he regarded death merely as the transition to a better state. In obeying, without seeking escape, the ancient and simple law that reduces man to dust when the curve of his life is ended, he gave proof of a wisdom that is none the less beautiful for being widespread.

by Michael Schneider

Just a few numbers and their shapes compose this archetypal alphabet upon which the designs of the universe, from atoms, flowers, seashells to the human body and galaxies and are based. The forms of nature are forces made visible. Each number and shape conveys specific meaning, and everything in nature tells us its purpose if we know how to read the language in which it is written. Great spiritual art, crafts and architecture have always used this language of number, shape, pattern and proportion to manifest harmonious composition. Knowing nature’s own language is a step towards our harmonious, respectful cooperation with a wonderworld of beauty, and a key to understanding the symbolic significance of numbers and shapes wherever they occur.

The symbolic significance of numbers and shapes is not arbitrary or cultural but comes from their timeless characteristics, their properties alone, and the ways they relate with others. It’s best to let numbers and shapes themselves teach you directly, so bring a geometric compass, straightedge, colored pencils and blank paper for hands-on experiences.

We don’t need any math background to learn the gentle alphabet of nature’s design language. The most important reason for these studies is their healing and uplifting property. With this in mind, Plato wrote:

“‘You amuse me,’ I said, ‘with your obvious fear that the public will disapprove if the subjects you prescribe don’t seem useful. But it is in fact no easy matter, but very difficult for people to believe that there is a faculty in the mind of each of us which these studies purify and rekindle after it has been ruined and blinded by other pursuits, though it is more worth preserving than any eye since it is the only organ by which we perceive the truth. Those who agree with us about this will give your proposals unqualified approval, but those who are quite unaware of it will probably think you are talking nonsense, as they won’t see what other benefit is to be expected from such studies.”

These classes are informative and inspiring, and will rekindle and enhance your own investigations and understanding by means of the wisdom inherent in numbers and shapes.

Come learn the language of your native world!

This information is especially valuable to artists, craftspeople, architects, educators and students of symbolism in worldwide traditions.

For information about specialized workshops for your group email Michael



1&2 Unity & Polarity

This first session begins with an overall introduction to the language of numbers and shapes. It introduces participants to the ancient traditions of “philosophical mathematics” including symbolism of the geometer’s tools, the spiritual allegory of geometric construction, and overview of the Timeless Alphabet. Through hands-on activities with the compass, straightedge and marker, we’re guided to see geometric construction as a creation myth, a metaphor for the process by which all the forms of nature are created.

Unity is a fact of nature, and all numbers and shapes unfold from Unity, number 1, represented by the point, circle and sphere, are most efficient forms and worldwide symbols of heavenly perfection. But Unity casts its own shadow to “create” polarity, represented geometrically by the compass itself, and the Vesica Piscis, the almond opening through which all other numbers and shapes are born.



3: Trinity: Tri-Unity

The birth of the number 3 and triangle enables opposites to balance and transcend to a new wholeness they couldn’t achieve by themselves. A third leg makes a tripod stable, and a third strand of hair allows a braid to knot as one whole, just as neutral judges balance opposing parties, neutrons balance atoms, and the Supreme Court plays the role of the balancing, transcendent third force. This class surveys the appearance of trinities in nature and as worldwide religious symbols, investigating spiritual art which uses the unseen triangular frame to convey this archetypal power.




4: Fair And Square

This class examines the symbolism and appearances of the number four and its representative forms, the square, cube and tetrahedron. Fourness is the essence of volume, underlying the forms of crystals and creatures, and is a symbol of earth, manifestation and the four states of matter (“mater” or mother) shaping and clothing the designs of nature, arts, crafts and architecture. Thus it appears worldwide as a number of directions and migrations, represented everywhere from goddess art to divinatory board games.




5: The Flag of Life

In starfish and flowers, corporate logos and flags, the number five and the amazing regenerative geometry of the pentagon and pentagram star appear in nature and human affairs as a sign of life (the flower of every edible fruit is five-petaled). It is a worldwide symbol of humanity, authority, harmony, beauty and excellence. Participants will learn to recognize the five-ness of living forms, and see how artists from Egypt and Greece to Raphael and Dali have applied five-fold symmetry — the flag of life — to create harmony in their compositions.



6: The Joy Of Six

The principle of sixness is that of structure, function and order, the efficient properties of space, power and time. It appears as the close-packed crystalline patterns of snowflakes, diamonds, chicken wire and honeycombs, as well as the underlying pattern within much spiritual art including the Sphinx and Egyptian jewelry and painting, Chinese sculpture and the U.S. Great Seal.. Multiples of six (especially 12, 24, 30, 36 and 60) provide the sacred measures of space, weight and time, from rulers and protractors to clocks and calendars. Participants will explore the mystery of the sixfold pattern as it appears in many of its universal guises.



7: The Virgin Number

The number seven was considered “virgin” by the ancients because no number goes into it (without remainder), and its geometric construction cannot be captured by compass and straightedge. Thus it appears to us as objects we cannot grasp like the colors of the rainbow and tones of the musical scale. The predominance of seven in religious and mythological symbolism reveals its role as the number of stages in a whole process, from the number of crystal systems and endocrine glands to chakras and “heavens” clues to the stages of our spiritual journey. Participants will learn how to tune a musical instrument to the Pythagorean scale used in ancient musical healing therapy.



8: Periodic Renewal

What is it about the number eight and the geometry of the octagon which makes it so popular in the design of sacred buildings around the world? Participants will tour various expressions of the properties of this fascinating number and see how it reveals the principle of the musical octave, periodic renewal, at work through the universe, from the mythology of Grandmother Spider and the Siberian Shaman’s eight-legged horse, the pattern of rhythmic flow symbolized in the I Ching, in computer chips, the Taoist “Eight Immortals” and Buddhist mandalas which make visible the “Eightfold Path”. We’ll look at sacred architecture including mosques, ancient temples and even the U. S. Capitol Building to discover the principle of “periodic renewal” at work.



9: The Horizon

In traditional worldwide number lore, nine, or thrice three, was referred to as “the horizon” symbolizing the ultimate, the maximum, “the whole nine yards”. This class will look at the ways people have revered the number nine and its principles through their arts, crafts, architecture, literature, mathematics, mythology, religion and folk-sayings, from “cloud nine” and a pagoda’s nine levels to a cat’s nine lives. Casual attire: no need to “dress to the nines”.




10: New Unity

The number ten is a traditional symbol of fulfillment, a return to unity after having gone through the experience represented by single-digit numbers. Tens, hundreds and thousands represent greater powers of Unity. Participants will see how a knowledge of the mathematical principles within “ten” help us to understand its appearances in nature, as well as the philosophical basis of many cultures’ religious scripture, architecture and arts. We will explore the traditional wisdom held in the Tetraktys, symbol of the Pythagoreans, as well as the hidden map of ourselves in the Kabbalah’s “Tree of Life” diagram.




11: The Passageway

The number eleven is quite a mystery. References in sacred literature, philosophy, art and architecture are rare and obscure, but they do exist. It was considered to tresspass beyond 10, but incomplete approaching 12. Resembling the principles of the number 2, of which it is a lower form, 11 represents a door, tunnel or passageway, not only between the realms represented by numbers 10 and 12, but appears as the number of days of the Babylonian New Year’s Festival (the door between years), as the link between the Chinese Magic Squares of Heaven and Earth, as Egyptian bread offerings, in many Islamic references, and is important in the history of measure. To where does this passage lead us?



12: Cosmic Dozens and
The Cosmological Circle

“The universe is simple if you use imagination.
Its pattern is the number Twelve which structures all Creation.
You need not study physics or be versed in numerology
To draw from Threes and Fours the duodecimal cosmology.”

–“Twelve Fold Universe” by John Michell

To live in accord with the perceived cosmic order, countless societies mirrored upon Earth the patterns they saw in the sky and in mathematics, particularly around the wondrous properties of the number twelve. Twelve is the traditional “framework number” embracing and interrelating the numbers below and beyond it. From time immemorial the archetypal “twelve-around-one” pattern of the zodiac was mirrored in twelve-tribe societies, the mythologies of twelve heroic ordeals, twelve spiritual disciples, and the designs of monuments, temples and cultures mediating between Heaven and Earth, from Stonehenge to the U.S. Government. Come learn about worldwide traditions of the Duodecimal (twelvefold) Cosmology.

The “Cosmological Circle” refers to an ancient geometric diagram which appears throughout the world underlying the designs of temples, kivas, churches, mandalas and other expressions of sacred arts, crafts and architecture. Its secret is that it makes visible the harmony of all the numbers 1 through 12 and so represents a harmonious sacred microcosm. We’ll see how its “squared-circle” design insures that such temples are properly oriented to the solstices and equinoxes, and symbolizes that the site occurs at the meeting of Heaven and Earth.

by David Kurtz

As we experience our surroundings, culture, behavior, ethics, we soon discover that life isn’t thought about as much as the additional amenities that are added to it. These amenities are all around us and have become us: Cars, TV’s, I-Pod’s, Cell Phones, Houses, and nice clothes. It is these amenities that we regard as what describes someone’s personality and behavior. Imagine a person walking along side a street with a Tuxedo, a clean-cut appearance and a cell phone “talking business.” You can already imagine what this person does and who he is. Now if we look at history or other cultures, we will soon discover what you own doesn’t make who you are.

Child Birth a few hundred years ago or more, was a very bittersweet occasion, mostly because many children didn’t make it past 3-4 years of age. Bach had many brothers and sisters, many who didn’t make it to see 10 years. He also had many children that didn’t live to see their teenage years. Imagine all the natural deaths that surrounded people in history and other countries while growing up. It was normal. If you made it to twenty years of age, life was somewhat of a success.

Nowadays it is expected that all children are to be well, and if they become sick, there is modern medicine to better them. Even still, many foreign countries don’t have the medicine to help their people, so death is still prevalent around their communities.

The Hopi Indians of Native America, is an ancient tribe that has seen the cycles of history and has written about it, so to help their people. In their culture, they live on what we would consider horrible conditions, as to better their individuality and ethics, than to be complacent with the “extras” of life.

In other countries where nothing material is really expected (because they have nothing), you will see great personalities. This is what they have to offer and this is who they are. After getting to know these people, you stop looking at what they’re wearing and start noticing how they wear their smiles, their stories, their great life experiences that make them who they are. Their wisdom through life is shown through, because they have regarded IT and looked at it in the face. Because whether they wanted to or not, they had to deal with life’s difficult obstacles it presented, instead of turning on the TV and tuning out of life.

As most people’s goal in school is getting a degree to get a job, to get…ect, the search for truth and knowledge diminishes, which starts as a child through their curiosity. As we become less curious as we grow older, our identity weakens as an individual. One stops thinking about WHO he is to the world, and becomes more involved with what’s around him and WHAT makes him who he is, ie. his brand new Corvette.

As each new morning comes, it is up to you to be who you are or what you are. Life is not a means to an end unless you make it one. Einstein wrote, “The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unhappy, but hardly fit for life.”

Tool’s Lateralus

Posted: 03/07/2012 in Metaphysics

Tool, to my knowledge, is one of the only bands of the last century to complete a concept album (albeit unrecognized as such) revolving entirely around Hermeticism generally and Alchemy specifically. On the album entitled “Lateralus”, the songs “The Grudge”, “Parabola”, “Schism”, “Reflection”, and of course “Lateralus” itself are all united by Hermetic themes and symbols. Briefly, let’s take a look at the song “Lateralus”. The lyrics:

Black then white are all I see in my infancy.

red and yellow then came to be, reaching out to me.

lets me see.

As below, so above and beyond, I imagine

drawn beyond the lines of reason.

Push the envelope. Watch it bend.


Over thinking, over analyzing separates the body from the mind.

Withering my intuition, missing opportunities and I must

Feed my will to feel my moment drawing way outside the lines.


Black then white are all I see in my infancy.

red and yellow then came to be, reaching out to me.

lets me see.

There is so much more

that beckons me to look through to these infinite possibilities.

As below, so above and beyond, I imagine

drawn outside the lines of reason.

Push the envelope. Watch it bend.


Over thinking, over analyzing separates the body from the mind.

Withering my intuition leaving all these opportunities behind.


Feed my will to feel this moment urging me to cross the line.

Reaching out to embrace the random.

Reaching out to embrace whatever may come.


I embrace my desire to

feel the rhythm, to feel connected

enough to step aside and weep like a widow

to feel inspired, to fathom the power,

to witness the beauty, to bathe in the fountain,

to swing on the spiral

of our divinity and still be a human.


With my feet upon the ground I lose myself

between the sounds and open wide to suck it in,

I feel it move across my skin.

I’m reaching up and reaching out,

I’m reaching for the random or what ever will bewilder me.

And following our will and wind we may just go where no one’s been.

We’ll ride the spiral to the end and may just go where no one’s been.


Spiral out. Keep going, going…

Alright. So let’s examine the first stanza:

Black then white are all I see, in my infancy. Red and yellow then came to be, reaching out to me, let’s me see.

In the Alchemical Opus, there are 4 generally recognized steps in creating the Philosopher’s Stone. The first is known as the negrido, the black stage, in which the prima materia is calcified and dissolved. The second is known as the libido, the white stage, in which the material is cleansed of all impurities. The third and fourth stages are the cintrinitas, the yellow stage, and the rubedo, the red stage, in which the work is brought to fruition and the Stone is created. The infancy of the Stone is represented by the black and white stages, and the Stone is said to grow to maturity in the yellow and red stages.

Maynard then continues by saying:

As below so above and beyond, I imagine…

This is a direct reference to the Emerald Tablet, the universally recognized primary text of Alchemy, in which Hermes Trismigestus states: “That which is above is like that which is below, and that which is below is from that which is above, working the miracles of one thing.” I find it interesting that Maynard starts from below and works up. This may have some connection to the Hermetic concept of the body summoning the spirit, as much as the spirit creates the body.

The next bit, though not overtly Hermetic, is clearly in line with the ancient philosophy which prefers intuitive understanding (intelligence of the heart, in the words of Schwaller de Lubicz) to ratiocinative, discursive reasoning:

Over thinking, over analyzing separates the body from the mind. Withering my intuition, missing opportunities and I must feed my will to feel my moment drawing way outside the lines.

The preference for synthesis, rather than analysis, is clear. Before we move on, let’s address the rythym of the song, as well. That the Fibonacci sequence is embedded in the song has been remarked upon before. The Fibonacci sequence, for those who don’t know, is a string of numbers, beginning with zero, in which the sum of one integer and the integer which preceded it becomes the next integer in the sequence. So, for instance:

0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55 …

0 + 1 = 1

1 + 1 = 2

2 + 1 = 3

3 + 2 = 5

5 + 3 = 8

And on, and on… The first and third stanzas of Lateralus are arranged according to Fibonacci patterns. In the first stanza, we begin with 1 syllable, ascend to 8 syllables and descend to 3 syllables:

Black (1)

 then (1)

 white are (2)

 all I see (3)

 in my in-fan-cy (5)

 red and yel-low then came to be (8)

 rea-ching out to me (5)

 let’s me see (3)

We then jump to 13 syllables, and descend to 3 syllables at the end of the stanza:

As be-low, so a-bove and be-yond I’d ima-gine (13)

 Drawn out-side the lines of rea-son (8)

 Push the en-vel-ope (5)

 Watch it bend. (3)

In the third stanza (as in the first) we start at 1 syllable and ascend to 8, before descending again, this time all the way to 1 syllable before we begin our ascent once more to 13:

Black (1)

 then (1)

 white are (2)

 all I see (3)

 in my in-fan-cy (5)

red and yel-low then came to be (8)

rea-ching out to me (5)

let’s me see (3)

There is (2)

so (1)

much (1)

more that (2)

beck-ons me (3)

to look through to these (5)

in-fin-ite poss-i-bil-i-ties (8)

As be-low, so a-bove and be-yond I’d ima-gine (13)

Drawn out-side the lines of rea-son (8)

Push the en-vel-ope (5)

Watch it bend. (3)

Okay, clear enough. But what I’ve never heard commented on before is the point behind the incorporation of the Fibonacci sequence into the rhythm of this song. The underlying meaning of “Lateralus” is, in the final analysis, a merging of the human and the divine (also the underlying meaning of Alchemy). This is demonstrated most clearly in stanza 6, in which Maynard states that he wants to:

…swing on the spiral of our divinity and still be a human…

The spiral that he speaks of is, specifically, the Golden Spiral, constructed via the Golden Ratio, or phi (1.618). This ratio of 1/1.618 is found throughout nature (most convincingly throughout the human body), and represents, metaphysically, the relationship between the macrocosm and the microcosm. Here are a few examples of the Golden Ratio found in nature:


Let’s examine the Golden Spiral very quickly.

The Golden Spiral is constructed via the Golden Rectangle, a rectangle formed using the ratio of 1/1.618. Here’s a sample construction of a Golden Rectangle from a simple square (pulled from

A golden rectangle can be constructed with only straightedge
and compass by this technique:

1.      Construct a simple square

2.      Draw a line from the midpoint of one side of the square to an opposite corner

3.      Use that line as the radius to draw an arc that defines the height of the rectangle

4.     Complete the golden rectangle

Take one side of the original square as representing “1”. The side of the rectangle constructed from the square will then represent 1.618. Ta-da! Golden Rectangle. By creating successive Golden Rectangles, we can easily (with a little practice) create the Golden Spiral, as is demonstrated in the picture below (also stolen from

Successive points dividing a golden rectangle into squares lie on
a logarithmic spiral which is sometimes known as the golden spiral.

The Golden Spiral is unique in geometry, in that wherever the Spiral is divided, the part thus separated will be identical in form and appearance to the original Spiral. This means that each part is identical to the whole, which concept underlies the philosophy of the macrocosm/microcosm.  It speaks to the unity of all things, and of God with His creation. It geometrically demonstrates the Hermetic notion of the original division of (for lack of a better term) God.

Alright, so what does this have to do with the incorporation of the Fibonacci sequence into the rhythm of the song? Well, the Fibonacci numbers are intimately related to the Golden Ratio, in that, when one row of Fibonacci numbers is staggered on top of another row, and the numbers in the top row are divided by the numbers in the bottom row, the resulting quotient comes closer and closer to the Golden Ratio itself: 1.618. To illustrate this:

0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55

0 1 1 2 3 5  8  13  21 34

1 / 0 = 0

1 / 1 = 1

2 / 1 = 2

3 / 2 = 1.5

5 / 3 = 1.666666666…

8 / 5 = 1.6

13 / 8 = 1.625

21 / 13 = 1.6153846….

34 / 21 = 1.6190476….

55 / 34 = 1.61764705….

And so on, and so on. Thus, the Fibonacci numbers incorporated into the rhythm of “Lateralus” are meant to evoke the notion of the Golden Spiral, the “spiral of divinity” on which we swing, and the philosophy of the macrocosm/microcosm, directly alluded to earlier with the lyrics “…as below, so above and beyond I’d imagine…”

One last thing. Prior to invoking the Spiral, Maynard states that he wants: feel inspired, to fathom the power, to witness the beauty, to bathe in the fountain…

The fountain that he’s referring to is found strewn throughout numerous Alchemical texts (see, for instance, the Parabola of Madathanus or Treviso’s Allegory of the Fountain). Sometimes called the fountain of youth, it could also be called the fountain of reincrudation. This is the bath of the Alchemical King, in which he is dissolved, purified and cleansed, and from which the Stone eventually emerges.