Em pleno dia de Pentecostes acompanhámos o autor e ensaísta Luis de Matos, editor chefe do Templar Globe, numa visita guiada ao Palácio da Pena em Sintra. Terminada a visita pudemos trocar algumas impressões e fazer a entrevista que reproduzimos de seguida.
Templar Globe (TG) – Luis, dia de Pentecostes e visita à Pena. Coincidência?
Luis de Matos (LM) – Diz-me tu.
TG – Falou-se muito das Lendas do Santo Graal. Será por isso?
LM – Não. E sim. Há uma relação entre a Demanda do Santo Graal e o Pentecostes. De facto, a versão da Vulgata inicia-se com a celebração do Pentecostes no reino de Artur, data em que tradicionalmente se lançava tavolado e se armavam cavaleiros. Nesse dias esperavam-se sempre milagres e maravilhas. E o romance começa precisamente com alguns acontecimento que maravilham todos e com a armação de Galaaz, filho de Lancelot. Mas não é por isso que escolhemos a Pena.
TG – Outros motivos?
LM – Sim. Como sabes os meus deveres profissionais afastam-me muitas vezes de Portugal. Sou director de uma empresa na área da Digital Media e Tecnologias da Informação e, embora viva há mais de 30 anos na zona de Sintra, estou mais ou menos entre 1/3 e 2/3 dos dias do ano longe de casa. Poder regressar aos lugares que formaram uma ideia que tenho do mundo – e Sintra é um deles – é um privilégio. Por isso fui desenvolvendo alguns hábitos que tento manter religiosamente. Entre eles está fazer uma espécie de Peregrinação a lugares especiais do nosso país, mais longe de Lisboa, lá pela pausa de Julho. Não sei porquê, mas um mês antes das grandes feiras de videojogos como o Gamescom onde tenho de ir, há sempre ali uma ou duas semanas mais livres. Mantenho o hábito de aproveitar para conhecer melhor Portugal há uns anos. Quase sempre há amigos que acabam por ser arrastados e fazemos uma autêntica comitiva. Outras vezes aproveito para visitar amigos que estão longe e só comunicamos pelo Facebook. Já fiz passeios em estudo nessa época do ano a Braga, Lamego, São João de Tarouca, Carrazeda de Ansiães e uma boa parte das Beiras e Trás-os-Montes…
TG – Tu és de lá de cima.
LM – Sim, fiz a escola primária em Mirandela. Conheço bem Bragança, Chaves, Miranda, Mogadouro, Macedo de Cavaleiros… Enfim, estar em Trás-os-Montes é estar em casa. Mas como o meu pai era da zona de Moimenta da Beira, a região de Lamego, Tabuaço, Douro e mesmo Viseu são lugares também enraizados na memória que gosto de revisitar. Durante algum tempo andei por ali todos os anos à procura das memórias das famílias que fundaram a nacionalidade. O Vale do Sousa é muito especial, com uma herança românica única. A cidade do Porto também tem muito que se lhe diga.
TG – És tripeiro…
LM – Sou. Não do ponto de vista futebolístico. Não tenho clube. Mas sou do Bonfim, ali sobre Campanhã onde tinha nascido o Mestre Agostinho [da Silva].
TG – Mas essas visitas são em Julho. Ainda estamos em Maio…
LM – Estou a desviar-me! Outro hábito que tenho é comemorar as Luas Cheias de Carneiro – que coincide com a Páscoa, de Touro e de Gémeos. Não é uma questão astrológica, mas sim tradicional. São três momentos muito particulares no ciclo anual. A última coincide muitas vezes com o Pentecostes. Como tenho responsabilidades em algumas organizações de matriz religiosa, a Páscoa é quase sempre comemorada seguindo a liturgia Cristã. E por ser Chanceler Internacional de uma Ordem de inspiração Templária, o Pentecostes é sempre marcado por algum tipo de actividade. Ora, este ano, devido a uma questão de calendário pessoal, que se definiu muito tarde para Maio e tendo-se dado a feliz coincidência de ter terminado o Curso Livre na Universidade Lusófona sobre Templários e Templarismo há poucas semanas e os meus alunos me terem desafiado para lhes guiar uma visita a Tomar, decidi juntar o útil ao muito agradável e, com eles, com o apoio do Instituto Hermético na divulgação e da OSMTHU, fazer um curto ciclo de visitas como costumo fazer em Maio/Junho.
TG – Então esta não é a primeira.
LM – Não. Começámos em Tomar em Abril, apenas para alunos do Curso. Depois aproveitei então o bom tempo e os Domingos, porque estou sempre em Lisboa ao Domingo e marquei uma visita ao Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, esta ao Palácio da Pena e no próximo Domingo à Quinta da Regaleira, com o Luis Fonseca.
TG – E vai haver mais?
LM – De momento penso que não. Não podemos abusar da paciência das pessoas! Penso em associar-me à festa de São João, que também costumamos fazer em Santa Eufêmea, em Sintra em Junho e talvez mais próximo da tal pausa de Julho (se houver este ano!), logo se vê o que programo. Mas não há mais planos de momento.
TG – Qual é a relação destas visitas com a Ordem dos Templários a que pertences.
LM – Como sabes o Templar Globe é o órgão de divulgação principal da Ordem Internacional. Fui eu que o fundei e é um lugar de troca e publicação de informação credível sobre os Templários – antigos e modernos. Ultrapassámos há muito o milhão e meio de visitas. Por isso faz parte integrante do modo de comunicar da Ordem. Em geral, tudo o que eu faço pessoalmente relacionado com o tema Templários tem a cobertura do Templar Globe que o divulga através dos grupos do Facebook e internacionalmente. As Comendadorias de Sintra e de Lisboa são importantes bases de apoio ao estudo e actividades da Ordem. Deste modo, o que eu faço, divulgo ou publico sobre os Templários é coerente com o que a Ordem faz. Não confessional nem prosélito, no sentido em que não uso publicações e visitas para cooptar ninguém para a Ordem. Pelo contrário. Há sempre pessoas que me perguntam sobre como entrar na Ordem e eu recomendo-lhes sempre que visitem o site oficial e escrevam um mail para lá. O tema não é a Ordem em que eu estou e onde me sinto bem e onde gosto de trabalhar, mas sim os Templários como Ordem histórica e ideário já muito preenchido de mitos e lendas. Não é uma questão de aumentar fileiras. Bem pelo contrário! O que faço – isso sim – é usar os eventos, publicações e visitas para procurar entusiasmar os que as procuram, a estudar por si mesmos, pensar por si mesmos e concluir por si mesmos. E isso é instrução vital para quem esteja numa Ordem Templária, moderna ou antiga. Mas é também fundamental para quem não esteja em Ordem nenhuma! Ou seja, as actividades públicas que faço são coerentes com o que defendo sobre o mundo iniciático e, nesse sentido, são apropriadas para membros das Ordens a que pertenço, das Ordens a que não pertenço e dos que não querem ser membros de Ordem ou Religião alguma. Há momentos para tudo na vida. Seria matar o propósito das visitas fechá-las a um ramo da grande família fraternal ou usá-las para cooptar gente. Sei que os membros da Ordem Templária aproveitam as visitas para aprender. Mas não se esgota aí. O Curso Livre da Lusófona é outra coisa bem diferente.
TG – Não está afiliado à Ordem?
LM – Absolutamente não. Enquanto na Ordem a aproximação ao tema Templário é na perspectiva da Cavalaria Espiritual como um modelo de comportamento e estudo pessoal, com os seus temas, paradoxos, meditações, objectivos, desafios e imperativos de compromisso interior e com o próximo, o Curso na Universidade é académico. Explora a história da Cavalaria, na qual os Templários se inserem, todo o contexto religioso e depois a história dos diversos movimentos que se foram inspirando nos Templários desde o século XIV ao século XX.
TG – Qual é a diferença?
LM – No primeiro caso estuda-se a doutrina com o objectivo de adoptar as ideias e integrá-las num modelo de comportamento pessoal como via de relação com o divino. No segundo estudam-se as ideias, a suas evolução, de onde surgem e que impacto tiveram na história, na arte, na religião. No primeiro caso vivem-se os Mitos. No segundo conhecem-se os Mitos, as suas origens, o seu arquétipo e o modo como Mito é usado para impulsionar vontades e acontecimentos, sem necessidade de os viver ou acreditar no seu “nada que é tudo”.
TG – E os alunos do Curso da Universidade Lusófona não têm expectativas diferentes de cada visita?
LM – O tema é o tema. Cada um percepciona-o como entende. Creio que as expectativas não são goradas, porque nas visitas estão todo o tipo de pessoas. Os meus livros têm leitores de todo o género. Não sou um autor para apenas um grupo como muitos dos meus colegas autores. Alguns só são lidos nos círculos Maçónicos. Outros só são lidos nos círculos de Nova Era. Outros só são lidos entre duas paragens em bombas de gasolina. Outros só são lidos por académicos. Outros por leitores que não se filiam em nada. Eu tenho uma base de leitores que abarca todos estes grupos e grupo nenhum. O mesmo se pode dizer dos que vão às minhas visitas ou conferências. Procura não ter uma linguagem “confessional” e proselitista. Não estou a recrutar. Não estou mesmo. Deixem-me em paz. Já tenho muito que fazer. Por isso, ao não ter uma “agenda”, ao não querer promover mais do que o livre pensamento e despertar nos outros a mesma paixão sobres os temas ou lugares que eu mesmo tenho, sem ataduras ou molduras doutrinais, tomo os assuntos de modo que cada um que me ouça ou leia possa tirar o que melhor lhe parecer para a sua busca livre. É seguir as palavras que ouvi ao Mestre Agostinho: “o que importa é gostar do que se faz e ser-se contagioso no entusiasmo”. Por isso, creio que os meus alunos não poderão dizer que lhes tentei impingir doutrinas ou códigos e por isso não creio que as expectativas que tivessem possam ter sido goradas. Espero, isso sim, que os tenha motivado e lerem-me e a deitarem fora os meus livros, trocando-os por coisas ainda melhores.
TG – Mas ao seleccionar um tema como a Demanda do Santo Graal para a Pena já é dar um mote doutrinal.
LM – De modo algum. Foi Strauss que disse “Eis o jardim de Klingsor e o Castelo do Santo Graal” quando esteve em Sintra. Isso acontece porque reconheceu o cenário no qual as óperas de Wagner se desenrolam. Curiosamente Parzival de Wagner é de 1882 e o Palácio da Pena de 1840. Quem inspirou o quê? Quem é percursor do quê? Neste caso o que é evidente é que o mesmo tipo de imaginário que inspirou Wagner tinha já inspirado D. Fernando II. O facto de ambos terem tido contacto com círculos iniciáticos muito próximos pode ajudar a explicar a coincidência. Mas a associação da Demanda à Pena não é uma questão doutrinal. É uma questão de facto.
TG – Então onde é que o Luis traça a linha limite.
LM – Traço a linha limite na interpretação desses factos. Ao fazer uma visita destas procuro dar aos meus companheiros de tarde uma boa história. Como se nos juntássemos à volta de uma fogueira e partilhássemos aventuras. Nas visitas tento não falar só eu. Também quero ouvir e aprender. Estão ali muitos pares de olhos que conseguem ver o que eu não vejo e sabem o que eu não sei. O que já aprendi nestas visitas! Ui! Eu o que posso dar é o referencial que não se encontra logo disponível. Interesso-me por estes assuntos, sempre os mesmos, há tanto tempo que algumas coisas foram ficando consolidadas. Lá diz o ditado “O Diabo sabe tanto, mais por ser velho do que por ser Diabo”. Ao manter sempre a mesma linha, acabo por ir construindo uma mundividência só minha, concreta e definida, consistente. É essa experiência que devo partilhar, poupando tempo a quem me acompanha, para que disponham logo de dados relevantes para que façam a sua mundividência eles mesmos. Saber, por exemplo, que D. Fernando II era maçon ajuda a entender algumas coisas. Mas saber que ele se filiava numa Maçonaria alemã de raiz ligada à antiga Estrita Observância Templária reformada, ajuda a perceber o seu interesse pelo pintor Nicolas Poussin e as particularidades que se encontram nos pratos de Cifka. A interpretação desses elementos já são outros “quinhentos”, por assim dizer. É aí que eu traço a linha. Se me fizerem perguntas sobre a interpretação, não deixarei de responder, sublinhando que é a minha interpretação. Mas o que encorajo é a que cada um procure saber mais. Toca a “googlar” Cifka, Estrita Observância e Nicolas Poussin. Não me perguntem o que quer dizer. Descubram! O mais difícil está feito.
TG – Foi assim no Mosteiro dos Jerónimos?
LM – Claro. Um livro incontornável é “A História Secreta de Portugal” do António Telmo, onde se faz um primeiro exercício de interpretação de muitos dos elementos iconográficos. Mas eu não vou aos Jerónimos explicar António Telmo. Ele é auto-explicativo. Compra-se o livro, lê-se, até se pode fazer a visita com o livro na mão e temos lá o que pensava António Telmo. O que importa é dizer que não foi só António Telmo que pensou os Jerónimos. Importa chamar a atenção para o trabalho sobre o simbolismo do Manuelino do Paulo Pereira, para o célebre programa que a RTP passou da autoria do Manuel J. Gandra e do António Carlos de Carvalho nos idos dos anos 80, para algumas linhas escritas e particularmente os painéis do Rossio do Mestre Lima de Freitas e, já noutro plano, para todo um acervo mais recente de autores como Eduardo Amarante, Paulo Loução, entre muitos outros. Assim sim. Assim já temos uma base para “navegar” os claustros. Há informação de qualidade, há especulação, há teses distintas. É isso que serve o visitante. Serve-lhe saber onde há-de ir procurar para fazer a sua própria visita e a sua construção simbólica sobre os Jerónimos.
TG – Então não se ficou a saber o que o Luis pensa?
LM – O que o Luis pensa é muito útil ao Luis. Mas é pouco útil a quem quer compreender – no sentido bíblico de circunscrever e apreender – por si. Não quero que venham ver-me fazer sapatos, que eu não sou sapateiro. Quero que, ao explicar os sapatos, alguns saiam das visitas a querer ir experimentar fazer um par! Uma vez ou outra, lá vou dando a minha orientação temática, porque o tema está lá e fala-se pouco dele. Por exemplo, um tema fascinante nos Jerónimos é o dos túmulos vazios. Até D. Sebastião lá está! Eu tenho opinião e conto algumas histórias. Mas o essencial é apontar por onde procurar mais informação e pontos de vista inusitados ou inabituais. Acho que é disso que as pessoas mais gostam. Uma história bem contada é um apontador.
TG – E no Palácio da Pena, que temas costumam passar despercebidos?
LM – Muitos. Mesmo muitos. Tal como com os Jerónimos há uma visão mais ou menos consagrada da Pena que ignora muitos detalhes. E é no detalhe que está o tesouro. Sim, Parque e Palácio estão relacionados com a Demanda do Graal. Mas que Demanda? Há várias versões, várias linhas tradicionais. Qual delas? Que elementos estão ali expressos? E que outras correntes são determinantes para a Pena tal como a conhecemos hoje? Passa-se ao lado de quase tudo. Um tema fulcral, por exemplo, é o de saber se havia ali um Convento ou um Mosteiro. Não é tudo a mesma coisa… Outro tema é conhecer a Ordem Hieronimita, o que poderá surpreender os mais desatentos. Outro ainda, sobre o qual nos debruçámos nesta última visita, é o dos vitrais. Os da Capela são de tal modo importantes que foram feitos logo em 1840, ano do início das obras. Fazem, portanto, parte dos planos iniciais e aquilo que neles se expressa será fundamental – no sentido mesmo de fundação. Mas mesmo a colecção de esparsos reunida no Salão Nobre não é aleatória e apresenta bastas razões para uma reflexão cuidada. É mais um apontador pouco referenciado.
TG – O que podemos esperar para a Quinta da Regaleira.
LM – Tudo.
TG – Tudo?
LM – Apontadores. O 515 pode ser logo tratado. Basta 1 minuto e está. A questão Maçónica já foi muito bem ponderada pelo José Anes. Mais um par de minutos e fica o apontador. Quase todos os que vão ou já leram, ou podem vir a ler em breve o livro. Outro apontador é o do Manuel Gandra que publicou informação relevante sobre a colecção camoniana de Carvalho Monteiro, agora em Washington. Isso toma mais uns minutos. Noutro plano, naquele espaço não se pode ignorar o trabalho do Victor Adrião, que já estuda a Quinta desde há muitos, muitos anos. Trabalho extenso, documentado e detalhado. Mais um par de minutos. Como é costume não direi nada sobre o autor, mesmo sabendo que não é recíproco! Em menos de 20 minutos os apontadores mais conhecidos estarão dados. Perfeito. Será então hora de por isso tudo numa pastinha, fechar e ver em casa. Porque chegou a hora de, isso sim, fazer o que se deve fazer naquele jardim: passear. Deixar-se levar. Deixar-se encantar. Viver a tarde. Olhar o detalhe, deixar a evocação surgir à superfície do consciente. É um jardim iniciático. Comece-se a iniciação.
Fotos: Sunana Ferreira (c) 2015
Texto: TG (c) 2015
A Quinta da Regaleira e os seus Jardins Iniciáticos e Palácio, está situada na encosta da Serra de Sintra e a escassa distância do Centro Histórico. O seu construtor, Carvalho Monteiro, pelo traço do arquitecto italiano Luigi Manini, deu à quinta de 4 hectares, o palácio, rodeado de luxuriantes jardins, lagos, grutas e construções enigmáticas, lugares estes que ocultam significados alquímicos, como os evocados pela Maçonaria, Templários e Rosa-cruz. Modelou o espaço em traçados mistos, que evocam a arquitectura românica, gótica, renascentista e manuelina.
Homem de grande cultura clássica, Carvalho Monteiro era dono de uma excepcional colecção camoniana. A mitologia greco-romana, as visões infernais de Dante e os ecos de um passado distante de misticismo e deslumbre acompanham o visitante que queira decifrar os mistérios de jardins e cavernas, num viagem ao interior da alma.
A visita terá lugar no dia 31 de Maio, iniciando-se pelas 14h30 e terminando 19.00h, sendo guiada por Luis de Matos e Luis Fonseca* (ver: universatil.wordpress.com).
As inscrições são limitadas e devem estar concluídas até dois dias antes da visita por imposições logísticas da própria Quinta.
A visita tem um custo de 10€ por pessoa + entrada no monumento** (ver preços de admissão ao monumento em: regaleira.pt)
Inscrições prévias: email@example.com
* Luis de Matos é autor, entre outros de “A Maçonaria Desvendada – Reconquitar a Tradição”, “Quero Saber – Alquimia” e “Breve Memória sobre a Ordem do Templo e Portugal”; Luis Fonseca é autor de, entre outros, de “Perit ut Vivat” e “A Doutrina Cristã Esotérica”.
** para alunos do Curso Livre Templários e Templarismo da Universidade Lusófona, bem como membros da OSMTHU a visita é gratuita e apenas devem pagar a entrada no monumento, contudo DEVEM INSCREVER-SE de modo a garantir a participação.
Perto do local onde o Infante D. Henrique, em meados do séc. XV, mandou edificar uma igreja sobre a invocação de Sta. Maria de Belém, quis o rei D. Manuel I construir um grande Mosteiro. Para perpetuar a memória do Infante, pela sua grande devoção a Nossa Senhora e crença em S. Jerónimo, D. Manuel I decidiu fundar em 1496, o Mosteiro de Sta. Maria de Belém, perto da cidade de Lisboa, junto ao rio Tejo. Doado aos monges da Ordem de S. Jerónimo, é hoje vulgarmente conhecido por Mosteiro dos Jerónimos.
A visita irá concentrar-se na vertente mitológica e simbólica do incontornável monumento. Iremos explorar o contexto histórico das Descobertas, bem como da época da sua construção sob a Dinastia de Avis. Iremos conhecer melhor os construtores e artífices, o programa iconográfico e, na senda de António Telmo na sua pioneira “História Secreta de Portugal”, navegar os claustros e os seus mistérios, indo até onde a conversa nos levar. Não esqueceremos Camões e Pessoa.
A visita terá lugar no dia 17 de Maio, iniciando-se pelas 14h30 e terminando 18.30h, sendo guiada por Luis de Matos (ver: universatil.wordpress.com).
As inscrições são limitadas e devem estar concluídas até dois dias antes da visita por imposições logísticas do próprio Mosteiro.
A visita tem um custo de 10€ por pessoa + entrada no monumento* (ver: mosteirojeronimos.pt)
Inscrições prévias: firstname.lastname@example.org
* para alunos do Curso Livre Templários e Templarismo da Universidade Lusófona, bem como membros da OSMTHU a visita é gratuita e apenas devem pagar a entrada no monumento, contudo DEVEM INSCREVER-SE de modo a garantir a participação.
A niggling curiosity about colors started the whole thing. “For many years, I found myself idly wondering if the name value of colors mentioned in the Bible had any relationship to their wave frequency,” says Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Professor Haim Shore.
“In the scheme of things, that’s an outrageous suggestion – why would anyone think that the Hebrew name for colors mentioned in the Bible – red, green, yellow – would bear any relationship to the wave frequency of the color itself?” he asks. “Finally, just for fun, I checked it out. When I saw the results, I was stunned. It was a heck of a coincidence, but the two were linearly related.”
“The Hebrew word for the color actually matched the color’s wave frequency,” Shore says. “How could that be?”
Shore’s methodology was relatively simple. He took the Hebrew names of five colors that appear in the Bible – red (adom), yellow (tzahov), green (yerakon), blue (tchelet) and purple or magenta (argaman) – and calculated a numerical value for each word by adding the total values of the letters, with aleph as one, bet as two, etc. Then he plotted them on a graph. The vertical axis charted the colors’ wave frequencies, which are scientifically established, while along the horizontal axis, the ‘CNV’, Color Name Value, appeared. When it was complete, “I was astonished,” Shore recalls.
“The five points on the graph formed a straight line – which means that the names of the colors related directly to their established wave frequencies.” It was a straight-out statistical analysis, Shore says. “I didn’t manipulate a single number in doing the analysis.”
“I didn’t plot anything at all until I had all the data,” he says. “But when I saw it, I was like a lion in a cage, pacing around. I couldn’t believe it. Then I went on to other words in the Hebrew Bible, plotting the value of the letters against known scientific data. The whole thing blew me away.”
“What I found is that there’s an astonishing number of ‘coincidences’ in which the Hebrew name for some ‘entity’ in the Bible relates directly to that entity’s scientifically established physical property,” Shore continues. “I began recording it all, and finally published it in a book which contains about 20 different analyses – statistical, scientifically verifiable findings.”
“I have no intention of trying to tell anyone what this means, or how this information should be interpreted. All I did was publish what I found,” he says. “As a scientist, as a matter of integrity, I felt compelled to offer what I’d found for discussion.”
Shore’s book Coincidences in the Bible and in Biblical Hebrew offers dozens of incidents in which the Hebrew words in the Bible offer hidden information about the objects or people they represent, information which, in many cases, couldn’t have been known or measured until modern times.
“This is not gematria,” Shore says. “Gematria, adopted by rabbis and Jewish Bible interpreters, suggests that if two Hebrew words share the same numerical value, there’s then a ‘secret’ that binds them together. By contrast, the Hebrew word, ‘heraion’ (pregnancy) has the same numerical value as the duration of human pregnancy, 271 days.”
“That is not gematria,” he insists, “nor is this a ‘Bible Code’ sort of thing, with overtones of prophecy. What I have attempted to do, with as plain and non-technical means as possible, was to offer several quantitative analyses that demonstrate that major physical properties are probably reflected in the numerical values of Hebrew words.”
Colors were one thing. Celestial objects were another – moon, earth and sun. “It is well known from Kabbalistic literature that the letters of the Hebrew alphabet were created first, and that thereafter, by use of these letters, God created all the worlds. Ancient Jewish sources repeatedly stress that idea,” he says.
“Could there be a linkage between numerical values of biblical words and certain physical properties, as demonstrated by the heraion example?” Shore asks. “In Hebrew, yareach is moon, eretz is earth, and shemesh is sun. One thing that distinguishes the three bodies is their size, expressed by the diameters. I used their diameters as listed by NASA, and plotted them on a graph, just as I did with the colors.
“On the horizontal axis is the numerical value of the Hebrew word, on the vertical axis is the planetary diameters from NASA (on a log scale),” he continues. “To my astonishment, the phenomenon repeated itself. The three points aligned themselves on a straight line – an exact mathematical relationship would have given a linear correlation of ‘1,’ whereas these three points had a linear correlation of 0.999. Again I thought, ‘What an amazing coincidence!'”
IT’S NOT as though the Tiberias-born Shore was intellectually primed to believe what he was seeing. “My research has been in the areas of statistical modeling and quality and reliability engineering,” he says. “I graduated from the Technion in Industrial Engineering and Management, received a Masters in Operations Research, plus a BA in Philosophy and Psychology, then a PhD in Statistics from Bar Ilan. I’ve worked as a management consultant, taught at Tel Aviv University, then came to BGU in 1996. But beyond that, I’m an engineer. I don’t accept anything as true unless there is quantitative analysis – without that, everything is debatable.”
“But not this,” Shore says. “It’s a universal principle of engineering that if you have two sets of data, you put them in ascending order, plot one set on a horizontal axis and the other on a vertical axis and they fall on a straight line, that means both data sets are measuring the same thing, only on different scales.”
Nor did he start out believing what the Sages had written, that within the Hebrew words lay an additional layer of information, hidden to us, which can be exposed by relating to the numerical value of the word.
“Not at all,” he says. “For many years I was utterly convinced all that was based on superstition – pure myth, no different from those provided by any number of other religions and cultures. But what I was seeing made me think twice about what was written in the Talmud, like in Midrash Rabba, where it says, ‘Thus was God observing the Torah and creating the universe,’ and in Berachot, ‘Bezalel knew how to assemble letters with which Heaven and Earth had been created.'”
Shore’s postulations don’t amount to scientific evidence, he says, but he’s now moved beyond terming the multitude of correlations he found as mere “coincidences.”
“Initially, I related to these incidents as curiosities, things that had no scientific basis. But over the years, I’ve come to see these ‘coincidences’ evolve into something more,” he says. “By 2006 I’d reached the conclusion that the number of instances I’d assembled had reached a critical mass, which justified putting some of it into print.”
One of the things that fascinates Shore is how modern science and technology reflects or reinforces Biblical terminology. “The word ‘year’ – in Hebrew shana – is numerically equivalent to 355, which happens to be the average duration of the lunar (moon-based) Hebrew year,” Shore explains. “Or ozen which means ‘ear’ in Hebrew, which comes from the same root as the Hebrew word for ‘balance.’ That’s curious, because it was only at the end of the 19th Century that we discovered that the mechanism responsible for the body balance resides in the ear.”
Another curiosity relates to the name of the Biblical character, Laban, one of the more menacing personalities in Genesis. A passage in the Passover Haggada reads, “Go and realize what Laban the Aramean wished to inflict on Jacob our Patriarch. Pharaoh decreed against the males only, however Laban wished to uproot all.”
“Laban represents a total loss of Jewish identity,” Shore says. “He wanted everything mixed up, with no one, or no culture, having any distinguishing features. He mixed his children, his wives, his religious faith, his language and his property. He idealized the ‘everything goes’ maxim – the ‘global village, as we’d say today – where everyone and everything is just alike.”
“As every Hebrew school kid knows, the name ‘Laban’ means ‘white’ – which is extraordinary,” he continues. “‘Laban’ is the only personal name in the Bible that’s also the name of a color. Up until 1666, when Isaac Newton came along, every scientist since Aristotle believed that white was a single basic color. Not until Newton passed a thin beam of sunlight through a glass prism did anyone recognize the spectrum of colors. White, Newton argued, is really a mixture of many different types of rays that are refracted at slightly different angles, with each ray producing a different color. White, then, is a mixture of all colors.”
“Isn’t that bizarre, if it’s just a coincidence? That in the Bible, Laban, the man who mixed everything up, should be named ‘white’?” Shore asks.
THE BOOK of Genesis, especially the creation story, comes in for special treatment. Together with Prof. Yehuda Radday, Shore analyzed Genesis and published a book in 1985.
“Prof. Radday, who passed away on Sept. 11, 2001, was one of my closest friends. We first met when I was a teaching assistant back in the 1970s and he was affiliated with the Technion doing statistical analysis of Biblical texts,” Shore recalls. “At that time, the theories of German-born Julius Wellhausen were in vogue, and we set out to statistically test Wellhausen’s theory that there were multiple authors for Genesis.”
Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918) was a German Bible scholar who argued that the Pentateuch, the Five Books of Moses, were not written by Moses but rather resulted from oral traditions that evolved from a nomadic culture which, relatively recently, had been pieced together. Wellhausen named the four sources “J”, “E”, “D” and “P” distinguishing individual verses and segments on the basis of terminology and by perceived differences in philosophy. For many decades, Wellhausen’s theories enjoyed general acceptance among Biblical scholars.
“Yehuda and I published our research – which statistically affirmed the position that the book of Genesis was homogenous with respect to authorship (namely, a single author) – in several research papers and ultimately in a book published by the Biblical Institute Press in Rome (Romae E Pontificio Instituto Biblico) of the Vatican,” he tells. “So when I began looking at the book of Genesis again, I already had considerable background.”
One of the elements Shore analyzed was the Biblical timeline of creation. In the Genesis story, the universe was created in six “days,” whereas in modern day cosmology, it’s measured in billions of years, which sets off the faith vs. science debate.
“I started by taking the events of the first chapter of Genesis – just the facts as given, no interpretation. ‘Light’ was created on the first day; on the second – the sky; on the fourth – the sun and the moon were set in place; on the fifth – marine and bird life; and on the sixth day, according to oral Torah, Adam and Eve were created at the end of the 14th hour,” he says.
“I took the six points and correlated each Biblical day – ‘1 day,’ ‘2 day’ – with the scientifically established time period. For example, science has established that galaxies started to be formed about 11.8 billion years ago, the sun and the moon, 4.5 billion years ago, etc. I plotted the cosmological age on the vertical axis and the Biblical timeline (day – one through six) on the horizontal axis. I found them to be arranged in a straight line,” Shore says.
“Is that possible that the two sets of data, the biblical and the scientific, represent the same ‘timeline,’ just expressed in different time scales?” he asks.
“Statistical analysis shows that the probability that would happen by chance alone is less than 0.0021%,” he continues. “If you take out day 2 and day 5 – there’s scientific debate about when life as we know it came into existence, or when exactly large scale structures had appeared in the early universe – you can plot just four points. The probability of those four points aligning themselves on a straight line, the way they did, by chance alone is still less than 0.0165%.”
Shore now believes he might have used a word other than ‘coincidences’ in the book title. “The title reflected my attitude towards many of the examples given in the book. But during the short span of about two or three months when I feverishly wrote it all down, something changed. I’d now say it’s highly probable that hidden information in biblical words supplements the exposed information submitted.”
What did Shore hope to gain by publishing his findings? “I knew very well I was putting my reputation on the line with this book,” he says. “What I hoped would happen is that it would start a discussion, that people would begin to talk about it.”
“That hasn’t happened so far, probably because I’ve been reluctant to publicize it,” Shore admits. “I finally went ahead because the data is significant. Everyone can figure out for himself what it all means – I’m not saying anything here about God or the Bible or biblical Hebrew. But there’s something here that should be discussed and analyzed further.”
Several more ‘coincidences’ have helped shape Shore’s life. At present, he is statistically processing data received from a web-based feedback survey, conducted at the end of the 18th Maccabiah. “We’re measuring participants’ satisfaction, which involves analyzing questionnaires submitted by e-mail to athletes, delegation officials and Maccabiah staff,” he says.
“The Maccabiah is special to me because in 1932, my father, Daniel, came to Tel Aviv to participate in the first Maccabiah as a member of the Polish football team. Once here, he stayed – which meant that he escaped the Holocaust (most of his family did not). Because of that, I told the Maccabiah Organizing Committee, who had approached me with a request to conduct this feedback survey, that I would conduct the survey and analyze its results free of charge, on a voluntary basis only,” Shore recalls.
Then, too, Shore was stunned to find that he wasn’t the first Shore to write a book on Genesis. “My father’s grandfather, Baruch Schorr, was a famous cantor in Lemberg, called Lvov today,” he says. “He wrote two books, one about Ecclesiastes and another about Genesis that he named Bechor Schorr. I only learned about Baruch’s book of Genesis – which was published in Lemberg in 1873 – long after my book about Genesis, with Prof. Radday, was published.”
“That’s just one more coincidence,” Shore adds.
in Jerusalem Post
A Fundação Cultursintra promove, a partir de 24 de Outubro, um ciclo cultural sobre a temática das Moradas Filosofais, propondo-se assim dar maior visibilidade a uma matéria que, em Portugal, permanece ainda arredada do main-stream cultural.
O Colóquio Internacional decorrerá a 24 e 25 de Outubro, contando com a presença de especialistas das diferentes disciplinas envolvidas, como a Arquitectura, a Arte do Jardim, a Pintura, a Música, a Literatura, a Filosofia, a Emblemática e a Heráldica, bem como de amantes incondicionais da Arte, que dedicam as suas vidas ao estudo e divulgação das mais notáveis mansões e jardins europeus, regidos por Hermes.
No âmbito deste ciclo, realizar-se-ão, em fins-de-semana posteriores ao colóquio, visitas guiadas a alguns exemplos notáveis de arquitectura em território luso, cujos projecto, construção e/ou decoração foram animados por um sentido hermético.
24 DE OUTUBRO (SÁBADO)
10h00 Inscrições * | Visita guiada à Quinta da Regaleira
12h30 Inauguração do “Laboratório Alquímico” no Palácio da Regaleira
14h30 Abertura do Colóquio Internacional
14h40 1ª SESSÃO
Richard Khaitzine “Les Demeures philosophales dans l’art religieux”
António de Macedo “Mansões Herméticas e Geometria Sagrada – do Tabernáculo
no deserto ao “Número” da Ordem de Cristo”
15h40 Debate | 16h00 Intervalo
16h30 2ª SESSÃO
Rémi Boyer “Initiation au Jardin et Initiation dans la Cité”
Manuel J. Gandra “Emblemática nas Mansões Filosofais – I”
17h30 Intervalo | 17h45 2ª SESSÃO (cont.)
Ferdinando Rizzardo “La Case dell’ Alchimista a Valdenogher”
João Luis Susano “Quinta da Regaleira – Presença de Baphomet”
* Condições de acesso Colóquio: € 50 | Estudantes € 30
Participação apenas num dia: € 30 | Estudantes € 20
25 DE OUTUBRO (DOMINGO)
10h30 1ª SESSÃO
Richard Khaitzine “Le domaine de Bagatelle, une Demeure Philosophale de l’architecture civile”
Manuel J. Gandra “Emblemática nas Mansões Filosofais – II”
12h00 2ª SESSÃO
François Chesneau “Une demeure philosophale au cœur de la France: l’Hôtel Lallemant de Bourges”
12h30 Debate | 13h00 Almoço
14h30 3ª SESSÃO
Visionamento do documentário sobre Maurice Baskine, pintor alquimista
Paul Sanda “Os surrealistas de Cordes sur Ciel”
Paulo Brandão “Skryabin e o Acorde Místico”
16h15 Debate | 16h30 Intervalo
17h00 4ª SESSÃO
Ferdinando Rizzardo “Ermetismo a Venezia e Libreria Marciana”
João Cruz Alves “Lima de Freitas e a Topologia do Imaginal”
18h15 Debate | 18h30 Conclusões e encerramento do Colóquio
19h00 Jantar de convívio no Palácio da Regaleira
(Participação no jantar sujeita a inscrição prévia – € 25)
This is a story about a nearly 100-year-old book, bound in red leather, which has spent the last quarter century secreted away in a bank vault in Switzerland. The book is big and heavy and its spine is etched with gold letters that say “Liber Novus,” which is Latin for “New Book.” Its pages are made from thick cream-colored parchment and filled with paintings of otherworldly creatures and handwritten dialogues with gods and devils. If you didn’t know the book’s vintage, you might confuse it for a lost medieval tome.
And yet between the book’s heavy covers, a very modern story unfolds. It goes as follows: Man skids into midlife and loses his soul. Man goes looking for soul. After a lot of instructive hardship and adventure — taking place entirely in his head — he finds it again.
Some people feel that nobody should read the book, and some feel that everybody should read it. The truth is, nobody really knows. Most of what has been said about the book — what it is, what it means — is the product of guesswork, because from the time it was begun in 1914 in a smallish town in Switzerland, it seems that only about two dozen people have managed to read or even have much of a look at it.
Of those who did see it, at least one person, an educated Englishwoman who was allowed to read some of the book in the 1920s, thought it held infinite wisdom — “There are people in my country who would read it from cover to cover without stopping to breathe scarcely,” she wrote — while another, a well-known literary type who glimpsed it shortly after, deemed it both fascinating and worrisome, concluding that it was the work of a psychotic.
So for the better part of the past century, despite the fact that it is thought to be the pivotal work of one of the era’s great thinkers, the book has existed mostly just as a rumor, cosseted behind the skeins of its own legend — revered and puzzled over only from a great distance.
Which is why one rainy November night in 2007, I boarded a flight in Boston and rode the clouds until I woke up in Zurich, pulling up to the airport gate at about the same hour that the main branch of the United Bank of Switzerland, located on the city’s swanky Bahnhofstrasse, across from Tommy Hilfiger and close to Cartier, was opening its doors for the day. A change was under way: the book, which had spent the past 23 years locked inside a safe deposit box in one of the bank’s underground vaults, was just then being wrapped in black cloth and loaded into a discreet-looking padded suitcase on wheels. It was then rolled past the guards, out into the sunlight and clear, cold air, where it was loaded into a waiting car and whisked away.
THIS COULD SOUND, I realize, like the start of a spy novel or a Hollywood bank caper, but it is rather a story about genius and madness, as well as possession and obsession, with one object — this old, unusual book — skating among those things. Also, there are a lot of Jungians involved, a species of thinkers who subscribe to the theories of Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist and author of the big red leather book. And Jungians, almost by definition, tend to get enthused anytime something previously hidden reveals itself, when whatever’s been underground finally makes it to the surface.
Carl Jung founded the field of analytical psychology and, along with Sigmund Freud, was responsible for popularizing the idea that a person’s interior life merited not just attention but dedicated exploration — a notion that has since propelled tens of millions of people into psychotherapy. Freud, who started as Jung’s mentor and later became his rival, generally viewed the unconscious mind as a warehouse for repressed desires, which could then be codified and pathologized and treated. Jung, over time, came to see the psyche as an inherently more spiritual and fluid place, an ocean that could be fished for enlightenment and healing.
Whether or not he would have wanted it this way, Jung — who regarded himself as a scientist — is today remembered more as a countercultural icon, a proponent of spirituality outside religion and the ultimate champion of dreamers and seekers everywhere, which has earned him both posthumous respect and posthumous ridicule. Jung’s ideas laid the foundation for the widely used Myers-Briggs personality test and influenced the creation of Alcoholics Anonymous. His central tenets — the existence of a collective unconscious and the power of archetypes — have seeped into the larger domain of New Age thinking while remaining more at the fringes of mainstream psychology.
A big man with wire-rimmed glasses, a booming laugh and a penchant for the experimental, Jung was interested in the psychological aspects of séances, of astrology, of witchcraft. He could be jocular and also impatient. He was a dynamic speaker, an empathic listener. He had a famously magnetic appeal with women. Working at Zurich’s Burghölzli psychiatric hospital, Jung listened intently to the ravings of schizophrenics, believing they held clues to both personal and universal truths. At home, in his spare time, he pored over Dante, Goethe, Swedenborg and Nietzsche. He began to study mythology and world cultures, applying what he learned to the live feed from the unconscious — claiming that dreams offered a rich and symbolic narrative coming from the depths of the psyche. Somewhere along the way, he started to view the human soul — not just the mind and the body — as requiring specific care and development, an idea that pushed him into a province long occupied by poets and priests but not so much by medical doctors and empirical scientists.
Jung soon found himself in opposition not just to Freud but also to most of his field, the psychiatrists who constituted the dominant culture at the time, speaking the clinical language of symptom and diagnosis behind the deadbolts of asylum wards. Separation was not easy. As his convictions began to crystallize, Jung, who was at that point an outwardly successful and ambitious man with a young family, a thriving private practice and a big, elegant house on the shores of Lake Zurich, felt his own psyche starting to teeter and slide, until finally he was dumped into what would become a life-altering crisis.
What happened next to Carl Jung has become, among Jungians and other scholars, the topic of enduring legend and controversy. It has been characterized variously as a creative illness, a descent into the underworld, a bout with insanity, a narcissistic self-deification, a transcendence, a midlife breakdown and an inner disturbance mirroring the upheaval of World War I. Whatever the case, in 1913, Jung, who was then 38, got lost in the soup of his own psyche. He was haunted by troubling visions and heard inner voices. Grappling with the horror of some of what he saw, he worried in moments that he was, in his own words, “menaced by a psychosis” or “doing a schizophrenia.”
He later would compare this period of his life — this “confrontation with the unconscious,” as he called it — to a mescaline experiment. He described his visions as coming in an “incessant stream.” He likened them to rocks falling on his head, to thunderstorms, to molten lava. “I often had to cling to the table,” he recalled, “so as not to fall apart.”
Had he been a psychiatric patient, Jung might well have been told he had a nervous disorder and encouraged to ignore the circus going on in his head. But as a psychiatrist, and one with a decidedly maverick streak, he tried instead to tear down the wall between his rational self and his psyche. For about six years, Jung worked to prevent his conscious mind from blocking out what his unconscious mind wanted to show him. Between appointments with patients, after dinner with his wife and children, whenever there was a spare hour or two, Jung sat in a book-lined office on the second floor of his home and actually induced hallucinations — what he called “active imaginations.” “In order to grasp the fantasies which were stirring in me ‘underground,’ ” Jung wrote later in his book “Memories, Dreams, Reflections,” “I knew that I had to let myself plummet down into them.” He found himself in a liminal place, as full of creative abundance as it was of potential ruin, believing it to be the same borderlands traveled by both lunatics and great artists.
Jung recorded it all. First taking notes in a series of small, black journals, he then expounded upon and analyzed his fantasies, writing in a regal, prophetic tone in the big red-leather book. The book detailed an unabashedly psychedelic voyage through his own mind, a vaguely Homeric progression of encounters with strange people taking place in a curious, shifting dreamscape. Writing in German, he filled 205 oversize pages with elaborate calligraphy and with richly hued, staggeringly detailed paintings.
What he wrote did not belong to his previous canon of dispassionate, academic essays on psychiatry. Nor was it a straightforward diary. It did not mention his wife, or his children, or his colleagues, nor for that matter did it use any psychiatric language at all. Instead, the book was a kind of phantasmagoric morality play, driven by Jung’s own wish not just to chart a course out of the mangrove swamp of his inner world but also to take some of its riches with him. It was this last part — the idea that a person might move beneficially between the poles of the rational and irrational, the light and the dark, the conscious and the unconscious — that provided the germ for his later work and for what analytical psychology would become.
The book tells the story of Jung trying to face down his own demons as they emerged from the shadows. The results are humiliating, sometimes unsavory. In it, Jung travels the land of the dead, falls in love with a woman he later realizes is his sister, gets squeezed by a giant serpent and, in one terrifying moment, eats the liver of a little child. (“I swallow with desperate efforts — it is impossible — once again and once again — I almost faint — it is done.”) At one point, even the devil criticizes Jung as hateful.
He worked on his red book — and he called it just that, the Red Book — on and off for about 16 years, long after his personal crisis had passed, but he never managed to finish it. He actively fretted over it, wondering whether to have it published and face ridicule from his scientifically oriented peers or to put it in a drawer and forget it. Regarding the significance of what the book contained, however, Jung was unequivocal. “All my works, all my creative activity,” he would recall later, “has come from those initial fantasies and dreams.”
Jung evidently kept the Red Book locked in a cupboard in his house in the Zurich suburb of Küsnacht. When he died in 1961, he left no specific instructions about what to do with it. His son, Franz, an architect and the third of Jung’s five children, took over running the house and chose to leave the book, with its strange musings and elaborate paintings, where it was. Later, in 1984, the family transferred it to the bank, where since then it has fulminated as both an asset and a liability.
Anytime someone did ask to see the Red Book, family members said, without hesitation and sometimes without decorum, no. The book was private, they asserted, an intensely personal work. In 1989, an American analyst named Stephen Martin, who was then the editor of a Jungian journal and now directs a Jungian nonprofit foundation, visited Jung’s son (his other four children were daughters) and inquired about the Red Book. The question was met with a vehemence that surprised him. “Franz Jung, an otherwise genial and gracious man, reacted sharply, nearly with anger,” Martin later wrote in his foundation’s newsletter, saying “in no uncertain terms” that Martin could not “see the Red Book, nor could he ever imagine that it would be published.”
And yet, Carl Jung’s secret Red Book — scanned, translated and footnoted — will be in stores early next month, published by W. W. Norton and billed as the “most influential unpublished work in the history of psychology.” Surely it is a victory for someone, but it is too early yet to say for whom.
STEPHEN MARTIN IS a compact, bearded man of 57. He has a buoyant, irreverent wit and what feels like a fully intact sense of wonder. If you happen to have a conversation with him anytime before, say, 10 a.m., he will ask his first question — “How did you sleep?” — and likely follow it with a second one — “Did you dream?” Because for Martin, as it is for all Jungian analysts, dreaming offers a barometric reading of the psyche. At his house in a leafy suburb of Philadelphia, Martin keeps five thick books filled with notations on and interpretations of all the dreams he had while studying to be an analyst 30 years ago in Zurich, under the tutelage of a Swiss analyst then in her 70s named Liliane Frey-Rohn. These days, Martin stores his dreams on his computer, but his dream life is — as he says everybody’s dream life should be — as involving as ever.
Even as some of his peers in the Jungian world are cautious about regarding Carl Jung as a sage — a history of anti-Semitic remarks and his sometimes patriarchal views of women have caused some to distance themselves — Martin is unapologetically reverential. He keeps Jung’s 20 volumes of collected works on a shelf at home. He rereads “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” at least twice a year. Many years ago, when one of his daughters interviewed him as part of a school project and asked what his religion was, Martin, a nonobservant Jew, answered, “Oh, honey, I’m a Jungian.”
The first time I met him, at the train station in Ardmore, Pa., Martin shook my hand and thoughtfully took my suitcase. “Come,” he said. “I’ll take you to see the holy hankie.” We then walked several blocks to the office where Martin sees clients. The room was cozy and cavelike, with a thick rug and walls painted a deep, handsome shade of blue. There was a Mission-style sofa and two upholstered chairs and an espresso machine in one corner.
Several mounted vintage posters of Zurich hung on the walls, along with framed photographs of Carl Jung, looking wise and white-haired, and Liliane Frey-Rohn, a round-faced woman smiling maternally from behind a pair of severe glasses.
Martin tenderly lifted several first-edition books by Jung from a shelf, opening them so I could see how they had been inscribed to Frey-Rohn, who later bequeathed them to Martin. Finally, we found ourselves standing in front of a square frame hung on the room’s far wall, another gift from his former analyst and the centerpiece of Martin’s Jung arcana. Inside the frame was a delicate linen square, its crispness worn away by age — a folded handkerchief with the letters “CGJ” embroidered neatly in one corner in gray. Martin pointed. “There you have it,” he said with exaggerated pomp, “the holy hankie, the sacred nasal shroud of C. G. Jung.”
In addition to practicing as an analyst, Martin is the director of the Philemon Foundation, which focuses on preparing the unpublished works of Carl Jung for publication, with the Red Book as its central project. He has spent the last several years aggressively, sometimes evangelistically, raising money in the Jungian community to support his foundation. The foundation, in turn, helped pay for the translating of the book and the addition of a scholarly apparatus — a lengthy introduction and vast network of footnotes — written by a London-based historian named Sonu Shamdasani, who serves as the foundation’s general editor and who spent about three years persuading the family to endorse the publication of the book and to allow him access to it.
Given the Philemon Foundation’s aim to excavate and make public C. G. Jung’s old papers — lectures he delivered at Zurich’s Psychological Club or unpublished letters, for example — both Martin and Shamdasani, who started the foundation in 2003, have worked to develop a relationship with the Jung family, the owners and notoriously protective gatekeepers of Jung’s works. Martin echoed what nearly everybody I met subsequently would tell me about working with Jung’s descendants. “It’s sometimes delicate,” he said, adding by way of explanation, “They are very Swiss.”
What he likely meant by this was that the members of the Jung family who work most actively on maintaining Jung’s estate tend to do things carefully and with an emphasis on privacy and decorum and are on occasion taken aback by the relatively brazen and totally informal way that American Jungians — who it is safe to say are the most ardent of all Jungians — inject themselves into the family’s business. There are Americans knocking unannounced on the door of the family home in Küsnacht; Americans scaling the fence at Bollingen, the stone tower Jung built as a summer residence farther south on the shore of Lake Zurich. Americans pepper Ulrich Hoerni, one of Jung’s grandsons who manages Jung’s editorial and archival matters through a family foundation, almost weekly with requests for various permissions. The relationship between the Jungs and the people who are inspired by Jung is, almost by necessity, a complex symbiosis. The Red Book — which on one hand described Jung’s self-analysis and became the genesis for the Jungian method and on the other was just strange enough to possibly embarrass the family — held a certain electrical charge. Martin recognized the descendants’ quandary. “They own it, but they haven’t lived it,” he said, describing Jung’s legacy. “It’s very consternating for them because we all feel like we own it.” Even the old psychiatrist himself seemed to recognize the tension. “Thank God I am Jung,” he is rumored once to have said, “and not a Jungian.”
“This guy, he was a bodhisattva,” Martin said to me that day. “This is the greatest psychic explorer of the 20th century, and this book tells the story of his inner life.” He added, “It gives me goose bumps just thinking about it.” He had at that point yet to lay eyes on the book, but for him that made it all the more tantalizing. His hope was that the Red Book would “reinvigorate” Jungian psychology, or at the very least bring himself personally closer to Jung. “Will I understand it?” he said. “Probably not. Will it disappoint? Probably. Will it inspire? How could it not?” He paused a moment, seeming to think it through. “I want to be transformed by it,” he said finally. “That’s all there is.”
IN ORDER TO UNDERSTAND and decode the Red Book — a process he says required more than five years of concentrated work — Sonu Shamdasani took long, rambling walks on London’s Hampstead Heath. He would translate the book in the morning, then walk miles in the park in the afternoon, his mind trying to follow the rabbit’s path Jung had forged through his own mind.
Shamdasani is 46. He has thick black hair, a punctilious eye for detail and an understated, even somnolent, way of speaking. He is friendly but not particularly given to small talk. If Stephen Martin is — in Jungian terms — a “feeling type,” then Shamdasani, who teaches at the University College London’s Wellcome Trust Center for the History of Medicine and keeps a book by the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus by his sofa for light reading, is a “thinking type.” He has studied Jungian psychology for more than 15 years and is particularly drawn to the breadth of Jung’s psychology and his knowledge of Eastern thought, as well as the historical richness of his era, a period when visionary writing was more common, when science and art were more entwined and when Europe was slipping into the psychic upheaval of war. He tends to be suspicious of interpretive thinking that’s not anchored by hard fact — and has, in fact, made a habit of attacking anybody he deems guilty of sloppy scholarship — and also maintains a generally unsentimental attitude toward Jung. Both of these qualities make him, at times, awkward company among both Jungians and Jungs.
The relationship between historians and the families of history’s luminaries is, almost by nature, one of mutual disenchantment. One side works to extract; the other to protect. One pushes; one pulls. Stephen Joyce, James Joyce’s literary executor and last living heir, has compared scholars and biographers to “rats and lice.” Vladimir Nabokov’s son Dmitri recently told an interviewer that he considered destroying his father’s last known novel in order to rescue it from the “monstrous nincompoops” who had already picked over his father’s life and works. T. S. Eliot’s widow, Valerie Fletcher, has actively kept his papers out of the hands of biographers, and Anna Freud was, during her lifetime, notoriously selective about who was allowed to read and quote from her father’s archives.
Even against this backdrop, the Jungs, led by Ulrich Hoerni, the chief literary administrator, have distinguished themselves with their custodial vigor. Over the years, they have tried to interfere with the publication of books perceived to be negative or inaccurate (including one by the award-winning biographer Deirdre Bair), engaged in legal standoffs with Jungians and other academics over rights to Jung’s work and maintained a state of high agitation concerning the way C. G. Jung is portrayed. Shamdasani was initially cautious with Jung’s heirs. “They had a retinue of people coming to them and asking to see the crown jewels,” he told me in London this summer. “And the standard reply was, ‘Get lost.’ ”
Shamdasani first approached the family with a proposal to edit and eventually publish the Red Book in 1997, which turned out to be an opportune moment. Franz Jung, a vehement opponent of exposing Jung’s private side, had recently died, and the family was reeling from the publication of two controversial and widely discussed books by an American psychologist named Richard Noll, who proposed that Jung was a philandering, self-appointed prophet of a sun-worshiping Aryan cult and that several of his central ideas were either plagiarized or based upon falsified research.
While the attacks by Noll might have normally propelled the family to more vociferously guard the Red Book, Shamdasani showed up with the right bargaining chips — two partial typed draft manuscripts (without illustrations) of the Red Book he had dug up elsewhere. One was sitting on a bookshelf in a house in southern Switzerland, at the home of the elderly daughter of a woman who once worked as a transcriptionist and translator for Jung. The second he found at Yale University’s Beinecke Library, in an uncataloged box of papers belonging to a well-known German publisher. The fact that there were partial copies of the Red Book signified two things — one, that Jung had distributed it to at least a few friends, presumably soliciting feedback for publication; and two, that the book, so long considered private and inaccessible, was in fact findable. The specter of Richard Noll and anybody else who, they feared, might want to taint Jung by quoting selectively from the book loomed large. With or without the family’s blessing, the Red Book — or at least parts of it — would likely become public at some point soon, “probably,” Shamdasani wrote ominously in a report to the family, “in sensationalistic form.”
For about two years, Shamdasani flew back and forth to Zurich, making his case to Jung’s heirs. He had lunches and coffees and delivered a lecture. Finally, after what were by all accounts tense deliberations inside the family, Shamdasani was given a small salary and a color copy of the original book and was granted permission to proceed in preparing it for publication, though he was bound by a strict confidentiality agreement. When money ran short in 2003, the Philemon Foundation was created to finance Shamdasani’s research.
Having lived more or less alone with the book for almost a decade, Shamdasani — who is a lover of fine wine and the intricacies of jazz — these days has the slightly stunned aspect of someone who has only very recently found his way out of an enormous maze. When I visited him this summer in the book-stuffed duplex overlooking the heath, he was just adding his 1,051st footnote to the Red Book.
The footnotes map both Shamdasani’s journey and Jung’s. They include references to Faust, Keats, Ovid, the Norse gods Odin and Thor, the Egyptian deities Isis and Osiris, the Greek goddess Hecate, ancient Gnostic texts, Greek Hyperboreans, King Herod, the Old Testament, the New Testament, Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, astrology, the artist Giacometti and the alchemical formulation of gold. And that’s just naming a few. The central premise of the book, Shamdasani told me, was that Jung had become disillusioned with scientific rationalism — what he called “the spirit of the times” — and over the course of many quixotic encounters with his own soul and with other inner figures, he comes to know and appreciate “the spirit of the depths,” a field that makes room for magic, coincidence and the mythological metaphors delivered by dreams.
“It is the nuclear reactor for all his works,” Shamdasani said, noting that Jung’s more well-known concepts — including his belief that humanity shares a pool of ancient wisdom that he called the collective unconscious and the thought that personalities have both male and female components (animus and anima) — have their roots in the Red Book. Creating the book also led Jung to reformulate how he worked with clients, as evidenced by an entry Shamdasani found in a self-published book written by a former client, in which she recalls Jung’s advice for processing what went on in the deeper and sometimes frightening parts of her mind.
“I should advise you to put it all down as beautifully as you can — in some beautifully bound book,” Jung instructed. “It will seem as if you were making the visions banal — but then you need to do that — then you are freed from the power of them. . . . Then when these things are in some precious book you can go to the book & turn over the pages & for you it will be your church — your cathedral — the silent places of your spirit where you will find renewal. If anyone tells you that it is morbid or neurotic and you listen to them — then you will lose your soul — for in that book is your soul.”
ZURICH IS, IF NOTHING ELSE, one of Europe’s more purposeful cities. Its church bells clang precisely; its trains glide in and out on a flawless schedule. There are crowded fondue restaurants and chocolatiers and rosy-cheeked natives breezily pedaling their bicycles over the stone bridges that span the Limmat River. In summer, white-sailed yachts puff around Lake Zurich; in winter, the Alps glitter on the horizon. And during the lunch hour year-round, squads of young bankers stride the Bahnhofstrasse in their power suits and high-end watches, appearing eternally mindful of the fact that beneath everyone’s feet lie labyrinthine vaults stuffed with a dazzling and disproportionate amount of the world’s wealth.
But there, too, ventilating the city’s material splendor with their devotion to dreams, are the Jungians. Some 100 Jungian analysts practice in and around Zurich, examining their clients’ dreams in sessions held in small offices tucked inside buildings around the city. Another few hundred analysts in training can be found studying at one of the two Jungian institutes in the area. More than once, I have been told that, in addition to being a fantastic tourist destination and a good place to hide money, Zurich is an excellent city for dreaming.
Jungians are accustomed to being in the minority pretty much everywhere they go, but here, inside a city of 370,000, they have found a certain quiet purchase. Zurich, for Jungians, is spiritually loaded. It’s a kind of Jerusalem, the place where C. G. Jung began his career, held seminars, cultivated an inner circle of disciples, developed his theories of the psyche and eventually grew old. Many of the people who enroll in the institutes are Swiss, American, British or German, but some are from places like Japan and South Africa and Brazil. Though there are other Jungian institutes in other cities around the world offering diploma programs, learning the techniques of dream analysis in Zurich is a little bit like learning to hit a baseball in Yankee Stadium. For a believer, the place alone conveys a talismanic grace.
Just as I had, Stephen Martin flew to Zurich the week the Red Book was taken from its bank-vault home and moved to a small photo studio near the opera house to be scanned, page by page, for publication. (A separate English translation along with Shamdasani’s introduction and footnotes will be included at the back of the book.) Martin already made a habit of visiting Zurich a few times a year for “bratwurst and renewal” and to attend to Philemon Foundation business. My first morning there, we walked around the older parts of Zurich, before going to see the book. Zurich made Martin nostalgic. It was here that he met his wife, Charlotte, and here that he developed the almost equally important relationship with his analyst, Frey-Rohn, carrying himself and his dreams to her office two or three times weekly for several years.
Undergoing analysis is a central, learn-by-doing part of Jungian training, which usually takes about five years and also involves taking courses in folklore, mythology, comparative religion and psychopathology, among others. It is, Martin says, very much a “mentor-based discipline.” He is fond of pointing out his own conferred pedigree, because Frey-Rohn was herself analyzed by C. G. Jung. Most analysts seem to know their bloodlines. That morning, Martin and I were passing a cafe when he spotted another American analyst, someone he knew in school and who has since settled in Switzerland. “Oh, there’s Bob,” Martin said merrily, making his way toward the man. “Bob trained with Liliane,” he explained to me, “and that makes us kind of like brothers.”
Jungian analysis revolves largely around writing down your dreams (or drawing them) and bringing them to the analyst — someone who is patently good with both symbols and people — to be scoured for personal and archetypal meaning. Borrowing from Jung’s own experiences, analysts often encourage clients to experiment on their own with active imagination, to summon a waking dreamscape and to interact with whatever, or whoever, surfaces there. Analysis is considered to be a form of psychotherapy, and many analysts are in fact trained also as psychotherapists, but in its purist form, a Jungian analyst eschews clinical talk of diagnoses and recovery in favor of broader (and some might say fuzzier) goals of self-discovery and wholeness — a maturation process Jung himself referred to as “individuation.” Perhaps as a result, Jungian analysis has a distinct appeal to people in midlife. “The purpose of analysis is not treatment,” Martin explained to me. “That’s the purpose of psychotherapy. The purpose of analysis,” he added, a touch grandly, “is to give life back to someone who’s lost it.”
Later that day, we went to the photo studio where the work on the book was already under way. The room was a charmless space with concrete floors and black walls. Its hushed atmosphere and glaring lights added a slightly surgical aspect. There was the editor from Norton in a tweedy sport coat. There was an art director hired by Norton and two technicians from a company called DigitalFusion, who had flown to Zurich from Southern California with what looked to be a half-ton of computer and camera equipment.
Shamdasani arrived ahead of us. And so did Ulrich Hoerni, who, along with his cousin Peter Jung, had become a cautious supporter of Shamdasani, working to build consensus inside the family to allow the book out into the world. Hoerni was the one to fetch the book from the bank and was now standing by, his brow furrowed, appearing somewhat tortured. To talk to Jung’s heirs is to understand that nearly four decades after his death, they continue to reel inside the psychic tornado Jung created during his lifetime, caught between the opposing forces of his admirers and critics and between their own filial loyalties and history’s pressing tendency to judge and rejudge its own playmakers. Hoerni would later tell me that Shamdasani’s discovery of the stray copies of the Red Book surprised him, that even today he’s not entirely clear about whether Carl Jung ever intended for the Red Book to be published. “He left it an open question,” he said. “One might think he would have taken some of his children aside and said, ‘This is what it is and what I want done with it,’ but he didn’t.” It was a burden Hoerni seemed to wear heavily. He had shown up at the photo studio not just with the Red Book in its special padded suitcase but also with a bedroll and a toothbrush, since after the day’s work was wrapped, he would be spending the night curled up near the book — “a necessary insurance measure,” he would explain.
And finally, there sunbathing under the lights, sat Carl Jung’s Red Book, splayed open to Page 37. One side of the open page showed an intricate mosaic painting of a giant holding an ax, surrounded by winged serpents and crocodiles. The other side was filled with a cramped German calligraphy that seemed at once controlled and also, just given the number of words on the page, created the impression of something written feverishly, cathartically. Above the book a 10,200-pixel scanner suspended on a dolly clicked and whirred, capturing the book one-tenth of a millimeter at a time and uploading the images into a computer.
The Red Book had an undeniable beauty. Its colors seemed almost to pulse, its writing almost to crawl. Shamdasani’s relief was palpable, as was Hoerni’s anxiety. Everyone in the room seemed frozen in a kind of awe, especially Stephen Martin, who stood about eight feet away from the book but then finally, after a few minutes, began to inch closer to it. When the art director called for a break, Martin leaned in, tilting his head to read some of the German on the page. Whether he understood it or not, he didn’t say. He only looked up and smiled.
ONE AFTERNOON I took a break from the scanning and visited Andreas Jung, who lives with his wife, Vreni, in C. G. Jung’s old house at 228 Seestrasse in the town of Küsnacht. The house — a 5,000-square-foot, 1908 baroque-style home, designed by the psychiatrist and financed largely with his wife, Emma’s, inheritance — sits on an expanse between the road and the lake. Two rows of trimmed, towering topiary trees create a narrow passage to the entrance. The house faces the white-capped lake, a set of manicured gardens and, in one corner, an anomalous, unruly patch of bamboo.
Andreas is a tall man with a quiet demeanor and a gentlemanly way of dressing. At 64, he resembles a thinner, milder version of his famous grandfather, whom he refers to as “C. G.” Among Jung’s five children (all but one are dead) and 19 grandchildren (all but five are still living), he is one of the youngest and also known as the most accommodating to curious outsiders. It is an uneasy kind of celebrity. He and Vreni make tea and politely serve cookies and dispense little anecdotes about Jung to those courteous enough to make an advance appointment. “People want to talk to me and sometimes even touch me,” Andreas told me, seeming both amused and a little sheepish. “But it is not at all because of me, of course. It is because of my grandfather.” He mentioned that the gardeners who trim the trees are often perplexed when they encounter strangers — usually foreigners — snapping pictures of the house. “In Switzerland, C. G. Jung is not thought to be so important,” he said. “They don’t see the point of it.”
Jung, who was born in the mountain village of Kesswil, was a lifelong outsider in Zurich, even as in his adult years he seeded the city with his followers and became — along with Paul Klee and Karl Barth — one of the best-known Swissmen of his era. Perhaps his marginalization stemmed in part from the offbeat nature of his ideas. (He was mocked, for example, for publishing a book in the late 1950s that examined the psychological phenomenon of flying saucers.) Maybe it was his well-documented abrasiveness toward people he found uninteresting. Or maybe it was connected to the fact that he broke with the established ranks of his profession. (During the troubled period when he began writing the Red Book, Jung resigned from his position at Burghölzli, never to return.) Most likely, too, it had something to do with the unconventional, unhidden, 40-something-year affair he conducted with a shy but intellectually forbidding woman named Toni Wolff, one of Jung’s former analysands who went on to become an analyst as well as Jung’s close professional collaborator and a frequent, if not fully welcome, fixture at the Jung family dinner table.
“The life of C. G. Jung was not easy,” Andreas said. “For the family, it was not easy at all.” As a young man, Andreas had sometimes gone and found his grandfather’s Red Book in the cupboard and paged through it, just for fun. Knowing its author personally, he said, “It was not strange to me at all.”
For the family, C. G. Jung became more of a puzzle after his death, having left behind a large amount of unpublished work and an audience eager to get its hands on it. “There were big fights,” Andreas told me when I visited him again this summer. Andreas, who was 19 when his grandfather died, recalled family debates over whether or not to allow some of Jung’s private letters to be published. When the extended family gathered for the annual Christmas party in Küsnacht, Jung’s children would disappear into a room and have heated discussions about what to do with what he had left behind while his grandchildren played in another room. “My cousins and brothers and I, we thought they were silly to argue over these things,” Andreas said, with a light laugh. “But later when our parents died, we found ourselves having those same arguments.”
Even Jung’s great-grandchildren felt his presence. “He was omnipresent,” Daniel Baumann, whose grandmother was Jung’s daughter Gret, would tell me when I met him later. He described his own childhood with a mix of bitterness and sympathy directed at the older generations. “It was, ‘Jung said this,’ and ‘Jung did that,’ and ‘Jung thought that.’ When you did something, he was always present somehow. He just continued to live on. He was with us. He is still with us,” Baumann said. Baumann is an architect and also the president of the board of the C. G. Jung Institute in Küsnacht. He deals with Jungians all the time, and for them, he said, it was the same. Jung was both there and not there. “It’s sort of like a hologram,” he said. “Everyone projects something in the space, and Jung begins to be a real person again.”
ONE NIGHT DURING the week of the scanning in Zurich, I had a big dream. A big dream, the Jungians tell me, is a departure from all your regular dreams, which in my case meant this dream was not about falling off a cliff or missing an exam. This dream was about an elephant — a dead elephant with its head cut off. The head was on a grill at a suburban-style barbecue, and I was holding the spatula. Everybody milled around with cocktails; the head sizzled over the flames. I was angry at my daughter’s kindergarten teacher because she was supposed to be grilling the elephant head at the barbecue, but she hadn’t bothered to show up. And so the job fell to me. Then I woke up.
At the hotel breakfast buffet, I bumped into Stephen Martin and a Californian analyst named Nancy Furlotti, who is the vice president on the board of the Philemon Foundation and was at that moment having tea and muesli.
“How are you?” Martin said.
“Did you dream?” Furlotti asked
“What do elephants mean to you?” Martin asked after I relayed my dream.
“I like elephants,” I said. “I admire elephants.”
“There’s Ganesha,” Furlotti said, more to Martin than to me. “Ganesha is an Indian god of wisdom.”
“Elephants are maternal,” Martin offered, “very caring.”
They spent a few minutes puzzling over the archetypal role of the kindergarten teacher. “How do you feel about her?” “Would you say she is more like a mother figure or more like a witch?”
Giving a dream to a Jungian analyst is a little bit like feeding a complex quadratic equation to someone who really enjoys math. It takes time. The process itself is to be savored. The solution is not always immediately evident. In the following months, I told my dream to several more analysts, and each one circled around similar symbolic concepts about femininity and wisdom. One day I was in the office of Murray Stein, an American analyst who lives in Switzerland and serves as the president of the International School of Analytical Psychology, talking about the Red Book. Stein was telling me about how some Jungian analysts he knew were worried about the publication — worried specifically that it was a private document and would be apprehended as the work of a crazy person, which then reminded me of my crazy dream. I related it to him, saying that the very thought of eating an elephant’s head struck me as grotesque and embarrassing and possibly a sign there was something deeply wrong with my psyche. Stein assured me that eating is a symbol for integration. “Don’t worry,” he said soothingly. “It’s horrifying on a naturalistic level, but symbolically it is good.”
It turned out that nearly everybody around the Red Book was dreaming that week. Nancy Furlotti dreamed that we were all sitting at a table drinking amber liquid from glass globes and talking about death. (Was the scanning of the book a death? Wasn’t death followed by rebirth?) Sonu Shamdasani dreamed that he came upon Hoerni sleeping in the garden of a museum. Stephen Martin was sure that he had felt some invisible hand patting him on the back while he slept. And Hugh Milstein, one of the digital techs scanning the book, passed a tormented night watching a ghostly, white-faced child flash on a computer screen. (Furlotti and Martin debated: could that be Mercurius? The god of travelers at a crossroads?)
Early one morning we were standing around the photo studio discussing our various dreams when Ulrich Hoerni trudged through the door, having deputized his nephew Felix to spend the previous night next to the Red Book. Felix had done his job; the Red Book lay sleeping with its cover closed on the table. But Hoerni, appearing weary, seemed to be taking an extra hard look at the book. The Jungians greeted him. “How are you? Did you dream last night?”
“Yes,” Hoerni said quietly, not moving his gaze from the table. “I dreamed the book was on fire.”
ABOUT HALFWAY THROUGH the Red Book — after he has traversed a desert, scrambled up mountains, carried God on his back, committed murder, visited hell; and after he has had long and inconclusive talks with his guru, Philemon, a man with bullhorns and a long beard who flaps around on kingfisher wings — Jung is feeling understandably tired and insane. This is when his soul, a female figure who surfaces periodically throughout the book, shows up again. She tells him not to fear madness but to accept it, even to tap into it as a source of creativity. “If you want to find paths, you should also not spurn madness, since it makes up such a great part of your nature.”
The Red Book is not an easy journey — it wasn’t for Jung, it wasn’t for his family, nor for Shamdasani, and neither will it be for readers. The book is bombastic, baroque and like so much else about Carl Jung, a willful oddity, synched with an antediluvian and mystical reality. The text is dense, often poetic, always strange. The art is arresting and also strange. Even today, its publication feels risky, like an exposure. But then again, it is possible Jung intended it as such. In 1959, after having left the book more or less untouched for 30 or so years, he penned a brief epilogue, acknowledging the central dilemma in considering the book’s fate. “To the superficial observer,” he wrote, “it will appear like madness.” Yet the very fact he wrote an epilogue seems to indicate that he trusted his words would someday find the right audience.
Shamdasani figures that the Red Book’s contents will ignite both Jung’s fans and his critics. Already there are Jungians planning conferences and lectures devoted to the Red Book, something that Shamdasani finds amusing. Recalling that it took him years to feel as if he understood anything about the book, he’s curious to know what people will be saying about it just months after it is published. As far as he is concerned, once the book sees daylight, it will become a major and unignorable piece of Jung’s history, the gateway into Carl Jung’s most inner of inner experiences. “Once it’s published, there will be a ‘before’ and ‘after’ in Jungian scholarship,” he told me, adding, “it will wipe out all the biographies, just for starters.” What about the rest of us, the people who aren’t Jungians, I wondered. Was there something in the Red Book for us? “Absolutely, there is a human story here,” Shamdasani said. “The basic message he’s sending is ‘Value your inner life.’ ”
After it was scanned, the book went back to its bank-vault home, but it will move again — this time to New York, accompanied by a number of Jung’s descendents. For the next few months it will be on display at the Rubin Museum of Art. Ulrich Hoerni told me this summer that he assumed the book would generate “criticism and gossip,” but by bringing it out they were potentially rescuing future generations of Jungs from some of the struggles of the past. If another generation inherited the Red Book, he said, “the question would again have to be asked, ‘What do we do with it?’ ”
Stephen Martin too will be on hand for the book’s arrival in New York. He is already sensing that it will shed positive light on Jung — this thanks to a dream he had recently about an “inexpressively sublime” dawn breaking over the Swiss Alps — even as others are not so certain.
In the Red Book, after Jung’s soul urges him to embrace the madness, Jung is still doubtful. Then suddenly, as happens in dreams, his soul turns into “a fat, little professor,” who expresses a kind of paternal concern for Jung.
Jung says: “I too believe that I’ve completely lost myself. Am I really crazy? It’s all terribly confusing.”
The professor responds: “Have patience, everything will work out. Anyway, sleep well.”
The article misspells the name of a street in Zurich where, before it was published, the book was held for years in a bank safe-deposit box, and a correction in this space on Saturday also misspelled the name. It is Bahnhofstrasse, not Banhofstrasse or Banhoffstrasse. The article also misstates the location of Bollingen, the town where Jung built a stone tower as a summer residence. While it is on the north shore of Lake Zurich, it is south of the Jung family home in Küsnacht.
Entre los siglos XI y XIV, en poco más de 250 años, Francia asistió a la construcción de 80 catedrales y más de 500 grandes iglesias. Algo muy similar ocurrió, aunque en menor medida, en otros países europeos, como Inglaterra, Alemania o España.
Semejante afán constructor ha estado siempre rodeado de un halo de misterio y, especialmente en las últimas décadas, multitud de trabajos han pretendido ver en estos prodigios del saber y la fe de la Edad Media, y en la aparición supuestamente repentina del estilo gótico, una demostración física y palpable del conocimiento esotérico de templarios o alquimistas. Sin embargo, buena parte de esta bibliografía dedicada a analizar el supuesto hermetismo de los templos medievales –y más especialmente de las catedrales góticas– suele contener numerosos errores. Entre ellos, uno de los más repetidos asegura que buena parte de las catedrales góticas, así como la creación de este estilo arquitectónico, tienen su origen en los caballeros templarios.
En realidad, si a alguien debemos el surgimiento del gótico es a Suger, abad de Saint-Denis, y es seguro que los célebres caballeros poco tuvieron que ver con la edificación de estos hermosos e impresionantes templos. ¿Significa esto que dichas creaciones medievales carecen de enigmas? Más bien el contrario. Ciertamente, los constructores medievales, auténticos creadores de estos complejos y sorprendentes «rascacielos», insuflaron en sus obras toda una serie de conocimientos y mensajes que podemos calificar de esotéricos sin que, por otra parte, ello implique que tales ideas resultasen heréticas o contrarias a las doctrinas de la Iglesia. Desde la concepción del edificio en un plano, pasando por su orientación o el trazado de su planta, todos y cada uno de los elementos de una catedral o una iglesia eran planteados cuidadosamente siguiendo unos esquemas cargados de simbolismo y de un conocimiento que en buena medida se había heredado de la antigüedad.
LA ESCUELA PITAGÓRICA
La principal herramienta constructiva de los maestros de obra medievales era la geometría, una disciplina que todo constructor tenía la obligación de dominar a la perfección. Con la única ayuda de figuras geométricas simples, como el círculo, el cuadrado y el triángulo, los constructores eran capaces de crear las plantas y los alzados más complejos y hermosos. Sin embargo, y a pesar del dominio que mostraban en esta disciplina, la base de dicho conocimiento no era un logro propio, si no que procedía de la más remota antigüedad, aunque fue la Escuela Pitagórica la que se hizo más célebre por aplicar dicho saber. La secta creada por este sabio de Samos en el siglo VI a.C. fundamentaba todas sus enseñanzas en la importancia del número como medida de todas las cosas. Pitágoras y sus seguidores no veían los números –y las figuras geométricas que se derivaban de ellos– como simples cifras, sino que les atribuían un valor simbólico y místico. Así, entre los números considerados «divinos» por los pitagóricos –hay otros, pero estos son los más destacados– está el 10, cuyo resultado se obtiene sumando los cuatro primeros números enteros: 1, 2, 3 y 4. Esta cifra, la Década, era representada por ellos mediante una figura geométrica llamada tetracktys, un triángulo equilátero formado por una base de cuatro puntos, que según iba ascendiendo tenía uno menos, hasta llegar a la cúspide, con uno solo.
Foto (c) LM – 2008 [Sta. Maria do Olival; Tomar; Portugal]
Más importante aún que la Década fue su mitad, el cinco, la péntada y su representación geométrica, el pentalfa o pentagrama. Esta cifra era para los pitagóricos símbolo de la salud, del hombre, del crecimiento, de la armonía natural y del movimiento del alma. Del mismo modo, lo consideraban una cifra «nupcial», pues unía al primer número entero par (el 2), considerado por ellos como femenino, con el primer impar (el 3), de carácter masculino. Además, era también un símbolo del microcosmos y su representación geométrica, el pentagrama, contiene el número aúreo o divina proporción. La importancia de este símbolo era mucho mayor, pues el pentalfa era el símbolo utilizado por los miembros de dicha secta como signo de reconocimiento entre ellos.
Además de estos números sagrados, otra figura geométrica surgida de las doctrinas pitagóricas, el triángulo rectángulo del famoso Teorema de Pitágoras, tuvo también un interés especial para los arquitectos medievales. Este triángulo tiene la particularidad de que sus lados están en progresión aritmética: 3-4-5, y puede generarse mediante una herramienta llamada «cuerda de los constructores» y que consta de 12 espacios iguales. Todos estos conocimientos habrían sido adquiridos por Pitágoras, según la tradición, durante su estancia en Egipto, aunque desarrollados por él en su escuela de Crotona.
LA LEY DEL SECRETO
Pero además de estos conocimientos, la secta fundada por este sabio griego poseía algunas características que más tarde se repetirían en las logias de constructores medievales. La Escuela Pitagórica poseía una estructura o separación jerárquica entre sus alumnos, quienes eran divididos en matemáticos –quienes ya habían sido iniciados en los secretos de la escuela– y acusmáticos, los aprendices que todavía esperaban su iniciación y que hasta entonces recibían enseñanzas simples, siempre tras una cortina que les impedía ver al maestro, a quien se limitaban a escuchar de viva voz. Una jerarquización similar existía en las logias de constructores medievales, quienes se dividían en aprendices, oficiales y maestros. Por otra parte, entre los pitagóricos existía una «ley de secreto», que les impedía revelar los conocimientos aprendidos a los no iniciados. Si alguien quebrantaba esta ley, era considerado un hereje de forma inmediata, y repudiado e ignorado por todos.
Esta misma «regla de silencio» la encontramos entre los constructores medievales, como evidencian algunos documentos que se conservan. Los Estatutos de Ratisbona, de 1459, son explícitos en este sentido: «Ningún trabajador, ni maestro, ni jornalero enseñará a nadie, se llame como se llame, que no sea miembro de nuestro oficio y que nunca haya hecho trabajos de albañil, cómo extraer el alzado de la planta de un edificio». Se establecía así una obligación de secreto que obligaba al aprendiz que había sido iniciado en el grado de oficial a no revelar los nuevos conocimientos adquiridos. Al igual que sucedía con los pitagóricos y su pentagrama, entre los constructores medievales existían también signos y señas de reconocimiento, que no podían ser reveladas, y que eran recibidas al completar el aprendizaje. Entre estos símbolos se encontraban los famosos compases, escuadras, plomadas y niveles, que siglos más tarde serían adoptados por la masonería especulativa.
Por otro lado, no todos aquellos que lo deseaban eran aceptados como aspirantes a futuros oficiales o maestros. Además de una serie de requisitos «básicos» (haber nacido libre –no esclavo– y ser hombre «de buenas costumbres, no vivir en concubinato y no entregarse al juego), no se admitía a los aprendices si éstos no manifestaban poseer aptitudes especiales para comprender el lenguaje simbólico utilizado por maestros y oficiales, el cual estaba especialmente plasmado en esculturas y fachadas. Todas estas enseñanzas y conocimientos de la escuela pitagórica pasaron a las logias medievales gracias a dos vías: en primer lugar mediante la arquitectura, a través de a los constructores romanos (los llamados Collegia Frabrorum) y, por otra parte, a través de la filosofía platónica y neoplatónica, deudora de Pitágoras, y recogida por los Padres de la Iglesia. el número, pensamiento divino La huella de estas doctrinas esotéricas, aplicadas por los constructores, es evidente en los diseños realizados en catedrales y templos medievales, pues todos ellos siguen las reglas de un tipo de matemáticas sagradas, tal y como señala el historiador del arte y experto en simbología Emile Mâle, en su libro Arte religioso en la Francia del siglo XIII: «Esquemas de este tipo presuponen una creencia razonada en la virtud de los números y, de hecho, en la Edad Media nadie dudó que los números estaban dotados con algunos poderes ocultos».
El propio San Agustín creía que cada número tenía un significado divino, pues interpretaba los números como pensamientos de Dios: «La Sabiduría Divina está reflejada en los números impresos en todas las cosas». Conocer la ciencia de los números, equivalía a conocer la ciencia del Universo y, por lo tanto, a dominar sus secretos.
Esta importancia de la matemática y los números es especialmente evidente en el papel destacado de la geometría (que no es sino una plasmación gráfica de estos últimos). En El simbolismo del templo cristiano (Ed. José J. Olañeta, 2000), Jean Hani, profesor de la Universidad de Amiens, señala al respecto: «La geometría, base de la arquitectura, fue hasta el comienzo de la época moderna una ciencia sagrada, cuya formulación por lo que a Occidente se refiere proviene precisamente del Timeo de Platón y, a través de éste, se remonta a los pitagóricos». En época medieval se popularizó también la representación de Dios como geómetra, el Creador como Gran Arquitecto del Universo, una designación que pasaría siglos después a la masonería especulativa. En estas representaciones Dios aparece representado con un compás, uno de los emblemas de los maestros constructores, que también aparece plasmado en muchos edificios medievales. Esta importancia extraordinaria de la geometría se hace manifiesta en algunos de los textos conservados de los maestros masones, en los que a su vez se aprecia también el carácter secreto de sus enseñanzas, como en este cuarteto de época medieval: «Un punto hay en el círculo que en el cuadrado y triángulo se coloca. ¿Conoces tú este punto? ¡Todo irá bien! ¿No lo conoces? ¡Todo será en vano!»
Una de las figuras geométricas más importantes entre los constructores medievales, el pentagrama, evidencia de nuevo sus raíces pitagóricas. El profesor Santiago Sebastián, en su libro Mensaje simbólico del arte medieval (Ed. Encuentro, 1996), al referirse a la importancia de la geometría en los templos románicos, explica: «Más importante como figura clave fue el pentágono, que poseía la llave de la geometría y de la sección áurea, e incluso poseyó poderes mágicos».
El estudioso Matila Ghyka, autor de El número de Oro (Ed. Poseidón, 1978), menciona algunas de ellas: en Notre-Dame de París, dentro de un rosetón pentagonal de una vidriera; en la «rosa» norte de Saint-Ouen en Rouen, así como en el rosetón norte de la catedral de Amiens. Otra muestra de la importancia que tuvo esta figura pitagórica la encontramos en los cuadernos de trabajo del maestro arquitecto Villard de Honnecourt, que vivió en el siglo XIII, y cuyos diseños suponen hoy una pieza inigualable para conocer cómo vivían y trabajaban los miembros de las corporaciones de constructores. Pues bien, en estos cuadernos de dibujo, hoy conservados en la Biblioteca Nacional de Francia, vemos como la figura del pentagrama aparece repetidamente como base para el diseño de plantas, alzados, rostros humanos, animales, etc…
ARMONÍAS Y PROPORCIONES
Todavía hoy, y a pesar de las numerosas modificaciones que han sufrido buena parte de estos templos medievales, es posible apreciar la singular belleza y armonía que desprenden algunas de estas construcciones. Esta atmósfera especial, capaz de llevar al recogimiento a quien recorre su interior, no es una sensación subjetiva, sino más bien al contrario. Tiene su origen en otra de las piezas clave utilizadas por los maestros constructores, y que igualmente se basaba en el número: la relación o proporción entre las distintas partes del edificio. Entre estas proporciones destaca especialmente la célebre sección áurea o «divina proporción», el número phi, presente en la figura del pentagrama, como ya hemos visto, . Mediante el uso de esta y otras proporciones, los maestros constructores vinculaban sutilmente las distintas partes del edificio, formas, volúmenes y superficies. Igualmente importantes para esta cuestión fueron otros dos números ya mencionados, y que eran sagrados para los pitagóricos: la Década o Tetracktys y su mitad, la Péntada.
Tal y como explica Jean Hani: «La Década era el número mismo del Universo, base de la generación de todos los números presentados, planos o sólidos y, por tanto, de los cuerpos regulares correspondientes a algunos de ellos; y baste también de los acordes musicales esenciales (…) La Péntada, el pentáculo, polígono estrellado o estrella de cinco brazos, fue el símbolo del amor creador y de la belleza viva y armoniosa, expresión de ese ritmo imprimido por Dios a la vida universal. Servía para determinar correspondencias armónicas pues, entre todos los polígonos estrellados, éste es el que ofrece directamente un ritmo basado en la proporción o número de oro, que es la característica por excelencia de los organismos vivos». Además, estos dos números aparecían también de forma habitual en el propio plano generador del edificio, pues en muchos casos el «círculo rector» creado al orientar el templo (ver recuadro) era dividido en cinco o diez partes, lo que generaba diseños en los que los elementos estaban unidos por proporciones áureas.
GEMATRÍA: LA CÁBALA EN PIEDRA
Otro de los aspectos esotéricos de las construcciones medievales, igualmente relacionado con los números y sus mensajes ocultos, es el de la gematría. De forma similar a lo que ocurre en la tradición hebrea con la cábala, la gematría es una «ciencia tradicional» que interpreta de forma simbólica las palabras a partir del valor numérico de sus letras, ya sean hebreas o griegas. En ambos casos es posible traducir las palabras a números, e interpretar estos de manera simbólica, y viceversa. «Difícilmente hubo un teólogo medieval –explica Emile Mâle– que no buscara en los números la revelación de la verdad oculta. Algunos de sus cálculos recuerdan vívidamente a los de la Cábala». Esta práctica cabalística y mística también fue conocida y empleada de forma habitual por los maestros constructores de la Edad Media, existiendo numerosos ejemplos que dan prueba de ello.
Uno de los más llamativos se encuentra en la catedral de Troyes (Francia). Allí podemos comprobar que la clave de la cabecera está a una distancia del suelo de 88 pies y 8 pulgadas. 888 es la cifra que obtenemos si, usando la gematría, traducimos el hombre de Jesús en griego: IHSOUS o lo que es lo mismo: I(10) + H(8) + S (200) + O (70) + U (400) + S (200)= 888.
Por otra parte, algunos pilares miden 6 pies y 6 pulgadas, y la iglesia tenía 66 de estos pilares. Sobre aclarar que el 666 es el número de la Bestia, tal y como cita el Apocalipsis, y que los pilares –que sostienen las bóvedas y simbolizan a los apóstoles– deben aplastar al Maligno. Tal y como explica Jean Hani en su obra, este simbolismo gemátrico de Troyes parece aludir continuamente al Apocalipsis de san Juan, pues también encontramos en este templo 144 ventanas (en alusión a los 144.000 elegidos), y el triángulo utilizado para obtener el alzado del templo, «oculta» un ángulo de 26 grados, cifra del nombre de Dios en hebreo: IHVH. Hani cita otros ejemplos: en la iglesia de Saint-Nazaire, en Autun, la longitud y la anchura del templo suman 257, cifra que equivale a NAZER. Ésta palabra significa «la corona del príncipe» y unida al Nazaire del nombre de la iglesia quiere decir: «la corona del Rey Jesús, el Nazareno».
Del mismo modo, la longitud de la catedral de Notre-Dame de París es de 390 pies, que gemátricamente significa: «ciudad de los cielos». Identica cifra y mensaje lo encontramos también en la iglesia francesa de Saint-Lazare de Autun, «oculto» en las medidas de tres ventanas del crucero. Este uso simbólico del número tampoco era una creación original de los constructores medievales sino que, una vez más, fue heredado de prácticas más antiguas. Así, el estudioso y sacerdote monseñor Devoucoux, demostró que los antiguos templos de Jano y Cibeles, así como el de Artemisa en Éfeso, fueron erigidos empleando el simbolismo de la gematría.
LA ORIENTACIÓN DE LOS TEMPLOS
Al igual que sucede con el conocimiento relacionado con el simbolismo del número y las proporciones, la orientación de los templos cristianos también fue heredado de los antiguos constructores, y tuvo una importancia casi religiosa entre egipcios, griegos y romanos. Este ritual de orientación, indisolublemente unido al de fundación, establece una relación del edificio con el Cosmos. En la antigüedad clásica, los templos estaban dispuestos con la puerta de entrada hacia el Este, de forma que, con la salida del Sol, los rayos de luz iluminaran la estatua del dios custodiada al fondo del templo.
Con la llegada del cristianismo, las primeros iglesias continuaron esta tradición, aunque tras el Concilio de Nicea se estableció que fuera la cabecera la que estuviera mirando a la salida del Sol, y no la puerta. De este modo, cuando el astro rey iniciaba su ascenso los rayos de luz entraban a través del ábside, identificándose la luz con el propio Cristo. Esta orientación tenía también otros significados simbólicos, como explica Jean Hani: «La puerta está al oeste, a poniente, en el lugar de menos luz, que simboliza el mundo profano o, también, el país de los muertos. Al entrar por la puerta y avanzar hacia el santuario, uno va al encuentro de la luz: es una progresión sagrada, y el cuadrado largo es como un camino que representa la ‘Vía de Salvación’, la que conduce a la ‘tierra de los vivos’, a la ciudad de los santos, donde brilla el Sol divino».
in Revista “Enigmas”