By SHIVA DAS
Many people have not heard the name Rene Schwaller
de Lubicz. Though if you scratch below the surface of the works of Graham
Bauval and other modern writings on Egypt, esotericism and ancient
civilisation, you will
find his powerful influence.
The source for much of the modern re-appraisal of
Ancient Egypt comes from the work of John West, who clearly tells us that Schwaller de
Lubicz was his inspiration. So who exactly was Rene Schwaller de Lubicz and why
havent we heard of him?
The first reason for de Lubiczs low profile is
that much of his work still remains only available in his native tongue of
seems difficult for us, conditioned to believe in the supremacy of English as a world
language, to realise that there is a vast library of untranslated material of great
importance to modern esotericism. Most of the works of Rene Guenon, Julius Evola and Rene
Schwaller de Lubicz are still only available in their native tongue.
The second reason why we probably havent heard
of Schwaller de Lubicz is that he is incredibly difficult to read. Since he believed in
the sacredness of language and of number, he used them only with reservation and respect
and in a form that demanded slow, meditative consideration. His works cannot be breezed
through they demand digestion. Not something the majority of people are accustomed
to, this being the era of the paperback and streamlined news broadcasts with their
"two minute" concentration spans.
As his works have been slowly translated (Inner
Traditions have released many of his titles including the first release of The Temple
of Man, his two volume opus in 1998), it is important to consider his unique insight
into the nature of Ancient Egyptian civilisation.
Sacredness of Number
The foundation of de Lubicz vision comes from
the sacredness of number and language. As with the ancient Hebrews, de Lubicz saw language
not as a simple means of communication, but as an interface between man and the
When the Sepher Yetzirah says that YHVH created man with the fire letters of the
Hebrew alphabet and St. Johns Gospel says that the "Word was God",
we have some indication of a deeper understanding of language than our present secular
usage. The same applies to number: The greatest secret of the Pythagorean brotherhood was
the relationships between number, sound and form.
We may wonder why such relationships were important
or had any value beyond the purely speculative. And this is where de Lubiczs work is
of great significance. De Lubicz understood through his research into alchemy and
Hermeticism that in the traditional view of the universe, life was part of a "Great
Chain of Being". From the lowest particle to the greatest deity, all partook of
certain characteristics and were linked together into a great scheme of
foundations of this bridge of resonance were within sacred letters and
vibrations and harmonics.
This had immense practical application, for example,
in conjunction with Fulcanelli, de Lubicz was able to use these underlying principles to
decode the methods used to create the great windows of Chartes Cathedral. These stained
glass windows show the use of certain colours that could not have been created by pigment
and which involved changes in the actual molecular structure of the glass, something that
is still considered beyond the state of our present technology. But by understanding the
underlying harmonics of the universe, de Lubicz was able to practice the nearly forgotten
alchemical arts and decode this Cathedral.
Harmonic of Egypt
The significance of such an approach is evident in
his reconstruction of Pharaonic Egypt. De Lubicz examined the architecture of Ancient
Egypt and found that it had an underlying symbolic code, a magnificent numerical
that operated as an initiated form of language. By making this deduction he went on to
decode the system and find the real, life changing concepts that Egypt was based
this research he predicted the true age of the Pyramids, the water erosion on the
and even suggested that the Nile had been redirected years before satellite images proved
his hypothesis correct. The real value of his work is not found in such
in his restoration of the primal language, of the real meaning of perception and the
nature of spiritual experience as found in sacred geometry and alchemy.
To fully grasp de Lubiczs vision we need to
consider the Egyptian mindset from within the "Great Chain of Being" and remove
our modernist and secular theories from the stage. For a moment consider the Ancient
Egyptians perception of time, space, direction all having religious
connotations. Time is not simply the ticking of a clock: Time is measured by the flow of
religious festivals, time within the day is correlated to stories about the
Therefore every moment is sacred and full of spiritual intent.
De Lubicz went further and decoded the architecture
of many temples. For example, he spent years decoding the Temple of Luxor revealing that
its design was based on the human body and that its dimensions reflected sacred
proportions (similar to those found in Chartes and other cathedrals build on Masonic
dimensions). Yet what does it mean? What does it matter that a temple is like a human
body. The significance can only be understood when we consider the experience of the
average Egyptian within a traditional culture based on an appreciation of the unity
between the individual, the state and the divine.
As "Jack" the Egyptian approaches the temple, he is not isolated from
it. He approaches it at a certain time, correlated to a
god or religious concept, from a direction intent with meaning. He is not isolated from
the architecture it is alive. Its form, shape and dimension all communicate to
He knows they have the same proportions as his body, hence he is part of the
he is connected to the temple and it to him. Further to this, he knows it has been placed
in a "sacred location" and is connected to his motherland and to his people. So
there is no division there is a harmonic and unity between the
individual, time, space, direction, architecture, land and people.
As the temple rite begins "Jack" the
Egyptian does not feel that it is only for the priest class or that they get more than he
does. He knows that he is part of a great chain of being, an organic state where he is
linked to all others in the country from the lowest worker to the Pharoah
himself. As the
Pharoah acts he influences the whole state, as he practices the ancient
rites, all are affected. There is no artificial division between religion,
politics, the divine and the secular.
The Egyptian experience is one harmonic, one unity
that encompasses all aspects. This unity was the foundation for the Egyptian Harmonic
which sustained Egypt for thousands of years. Indeed, Egyptian art did not change for some
2,000 years until the advent of Akhnaten and afterwards then returned to its "Old
style" until its fall. The great unity of Egypt was its sustaining
essence not only found in the state or political structure or in the
within every aspect of its expression, from art to architecture, from music to
Like a hologram, even a single artefact can reveal the language of the greater
Schwaller de Lubicz understood this and used the mathematics of the temples to give us a
glimpse of the greater vision of Egypt.
The Great Chain of Being
The plan and structure of the world, which, through
the Middle Ages and down to the late eighteenth century most educated men were to accept
without question the conception of the universe as a "Great Chain of
Being", composed of an immense or infinite number of links ranging in hierarchical
order from the meagerest kinds of existents... through every possible grade up to the ens
Arthur Lovejoy, Great Chain of Being
This greater vision was not only found within
Egyptian civilisation, but it certainly was its greatest expression. The traditional
worldview underlied much of Medieval thought, though its unity was not expressed as
clearly as in Egypt.
Since the reference point for modern man is the
material world, he judges life by his perceptions and acts accordingly. His life is
governed by physical desires and material requirements. This way of life, whether it be
Western consumerism or Marxist materialism, was created by the development of the
(Western) scientific worldview, whereby man was removed from his place at the centre of
the universe and reduced to his new status as an "evolved monkey". Beginning in
the 19th century (some would argue earlier) prevailing ideologies began to jettison
spirituality and the Medieval worldview and replace "superstition" with a
"scientific" model based on matter, evolution and technology coupled with a
blind belief in progress. This new scientific model was and is a direct contradiction of
the earlier "traditional" model, that was based on the "Great Chain of
This Great Chain of Being is the traditional
view of the universe that is not locked in a simple "nuts and bolts"
which encompasses the great span of existence from the very heights of spirit to the
depths of the infernal realms. The Great Chain of Being finds expression in
many cultures but is not doctrinally specific it can be found in
Hindu, Buddhist, Platonic, Christian and Mystical cosmology, and throughout literature on myth and
as well as in the visions of Dante.
Modern mans vision of reality can be seen like
those locked into Platos cave he perceives only shadows and presumes these to
be real. This is far more dangerous than we admit, for if we limit our reality to our
senses alone then we remove all possibility of ethical or spiritual insight and reduce
existence to material banality. While psychology may wish to somewhat expand our horizons
by positing spiritual equivalents within the mind, it is still reductionist and everything
is referenced back to the senses and the material world. If it is from matter we
then to matter we shall return.
The Harmonic of Ancient Egypt and
the sacred mathematics of Pythagoras, the blazing power of language
and the divine proportions of architecture, reflect a worldview where
all was sacred. From the labourer to the Pharoah or king, all partook
of the essence of the organic whole. It is only today with the advent
of so-called individual freedom, the scientific method and man-centred
political systems, that this union has been shattered and modern man
is left alienated and lost in a hostile world. Perhaps de Lubiczs
work is a glimpse of just how much we have lost.