On the pilgrimage route, the Issenheim altarpiece is often presented as an example of artistic mastery in the service of the christian church’s religious teaching. However, according to the author this altarpiece presents “details” with double reading also suggesting an esoteric dimension. The proposed approach is absolutely innovative, sometimes confusing, but always consistent. With simple words, the author questions, proposes and fnairereveally reveals that this altarpiece is also an alchemical ordinance to the point of considering it more as a spiritual work than a religious one. The teaching painted on this altarpiece would show another image of Jesus and his Christic mission, Mary – Madeleine would be presented as the apostle of the apostles; Mary as an Insider of exceptional purity more than virgin. The alchemist’s gaze allows us to discover the teaching of the moving altarpiece of tolerance and topicality, in accordance with the subatomic reality and with the testimonies of those who lived “The Beyond” at their clinical death. This work is a meeting between Art and The Spiritual, between the Spiritual and the Quantum : the altarpiece is considered here as a springboard of Transmutation.
Excerpts from the book
p. 24 :
In other words, the altarpiece that some consider to be a religiously dogmatic work seems to echo the Church of the East here by considering Mary Magdalene as the preferred apostle of Jesus. According to the Scriptures, it was first to her that the resurrected Jesus spontaneously presented himself and on the altarpiece it is at his feet that the therapeutic vase is placed. In other words, the vase of the altarpiece erases the defamation of the woman: Mary Magdalene is an exceptional Initiate, which makes Jesus a particularly awake prophet who places the woman in the foreground whereas in those days the woman was considered a minor for life.
p. 33 :
Given these considerations, Christ between the positive/negative polarities, necessarily represents the neutral part of the materia : between Mercury – St- Sebastian and Sulfur – St- Anthony, Christ is… alchemist’s salt! The salt of the materia is the neutron of the atom which has the function of “glue” the subatomic components: “salt” in french is “sel”, same phoneme of “scelle” which means “to glue”… Christ is therefore identified by the neutral part of the atom which under-means that the christian message is intended to establish peace among men, to connect them to each other despite the individualities of each. Salt is eternal, it is the part of matter that cannot be eliminated. Salt also allows the preservation of food : salt represents our infinity which is linked to the Christian message since by the Passion is announced to Humanity that death is only the passage to the After – Life. Salt is the neutral part of matter like the neutron free of electrical charge, which is related to Christ who does not judge, but welcomes anyone whatever he may have done.
p. 43 :
Grünewald presents an ethereal concert since they are musical spirits, in a balanced contrast of dark and luminous forces within the same harmonic composition… being musical! Religions teach a dichotomous view of life by defending the idea that there is Good on one side and Evil on the other; on the one hand the believers and on the other the infidels. On the contrary, the altarpiece invites us to recognize Evil and live with it, because Evil is not bad, but indispensable to make the Universe work! Knowing evil allows you to discernment: the angels above Jesus indicate that He has finally chosen to serve the Good. Unlike any religion that defends its truth in spite of other religions, spirituality invites us to find common values between all individuals- believers or not – because the purpose of our life is to be at the Unison, be aware of its Unique being connected to the Universe!
Which are the altarpiece “details” which would indicate an alchemical dimension ?
My alchemical vision of the Issenheim altarpiece begun with this lamb : its blood is falling in a golden cup which is an evident allusion to the Holy Graal, main symbol of the Templars, to a famous britan pagan myth, painted at the Christ feets, which is also an alchemical indication…
The alchemist’s purpose is to study the materia, so that to be able to purify it, and finally to purify himself. The philosophical stone is the name given to the metal which has been purified, which means to get a metal with a rectilinear structure, and so translucent to be able to conduct the light : so is the Grünewald’s carafe, isn’t it ?
A little male angel on the right of Christ : could it be an allegory of the materia ?
A crucifixion with an horizontal curved beam…never made before, neither producer later…an unique detail which is an incredible indication that the Grünewald crucifixion, more than a crucifixion, could be an alchemical allegory !
An aura without using gold : the best way to represent the ether ?
Promised for paradise,
we are all condemned to the Light.
So be it.
amazon.com : french – italian- english (translated by V. POPPE) – german (translated by R. MÜLLER) – spanish translated by A. LEON-COLOTTE)
The esoteric language made of symbols, geometry, statuary, proportions or orientation is illustrated in this book through references to various European gothic cathedrals. It appears that this language stems from the knowledge of ancient civilisations, especially Celtic, Egyptian, Hebrew, Greek, Sufi or Hindu. Consequently, the spiritual dimension of the gothic cathedral has similarities with world famous sites such as the Pyramid of Giza or Stonehenge.
The writer literally takes the reader by the hand and, step by step, guides him or her through the space contained by the walls of the cathedral, stopping at various parts of the building to explain the meaning or meanings, hidden or not. The reader learns that the cathedral is an invitation to discover, as experienced by the pilgrims of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, and like in King Arthur’s legend of the Quest for the Graal.
The gothic cathedral is the Path of wisdom with Love as its final destination. It is the Path to Awakening which cannot be travelled in one stretch but must be accomplished in several steps.
Each step spoliates our wanderings, each step purifies us more and prepares us to move into the world of the Hereafter, a world free of matter and where Unconditional Love reigns.
The spiritual teaching present in the gothic cathedral coincides with recent medical research on the brain; the difference between the brain and consciousness and the functioning of the heart, all corroborated by testimonies of near-death experiences.
Ultimately the essence of the teaching offered by the gothic cathedral lies in its space, in its void. A void resembling a resonance chamber built in a way akin to our Universe, in which we evolve and which produces a Permanent Sound.
We are living through a new era where Spirituality and Science seem to have the same visualisation of the Universe, Life, Death and the Afterlife.
The Universe is a Sound and music one of the key expressions of esoteric language. Composed of 7 keys, the musical notes must therefore open seven doors. This book professes to offer the locks.
p. 29 : One does not enter a cathedral fortuitously: one chooses to enter it and discovers its teaching while wandering through it. Therefore, before beginning to discover the spiritual teaching delivered by the building, let us already realise that the cathedral represents the idea we have of the Path.
Walking through the cathedral is an act of pilgrimage, a walk taken throughout the times and in all religions, one similar to the route from Gaul to Compostela, already a route of pilgrimage in the Neolithic period and indicated by mounds of stone or scallop shells. In the same way, pilgrims today find their route thanks to the scallop shell carved or painted on the religious buildings along the Camino, when it is not the shape of the main square of the city of Siena …
The Archangel Michael in Hebrew, or Saint-Michel in French, is the guide appointed to point the direction towards Compostela with his sword of fire which symbolises the just instrument, aligned and able to break through matter. […] In fact the Archangel is always raised on an octagonal pedestal, because the figure eight represents the threshold between the Sky (the top loop of the eight) and the Earth (the bottom loop of the eight): The Archangel stands on the junction of the figure eight, between the human world and the inverted world and indicates the direction of Compostela through the Durandal sword, which belongs to the defender of Christianity, Roland.
Alchemy is not defined as a science, but as a Great Work, because it introduces the idea of an interaction between the experimenter and matter, similar to the principle of the “coefficient of charm” of which quantum physicists speak. The alchemist considers that by taking the same ingredients, the effects obtained will vary according to the level of consciousness of the experimenter. Alchemy is not a science, but an art. […] The alchemist considers that matter has a soul; and alchemy has three paths […] the three Magi are an allegory of these three paths. […] In the same way the cathedral is a therapeutic path analogous to a megalithic structure with a roof and which proposes ablutions in order to obtain the purification of the body (the matter) and the spirit (the ether).
[…] The sacred sites of the world are angled to receive the sun’s rays at one of these dates and in particular during the spring equinox, as the daytime hours starts getting longer than the nighttime. The spring equinox coincides with Easter, the resurrection, the victory of light over darkness. […] The gothic cathedral is an extraordinary astronomical machine that describes the Christic mission, which can also be understood from an astronomical point of view. […] But what is the celestial sign of 25 December? In fact, during the winter solstice a particular optical phenomenon occurs:
On 22 December, the Sun is at its lowest, and it is precisely on this date that the days are the shortest of the year; • then, between 22 and 25 December, or for 3 days, the eye no longer perceives solar movement; • and on 25 December, the sun rises to the north, a degree under the constellation of the Crux: de la Croix! Moreover, on 25 December, the Sun is aligned with the three stars of the Orion Belt (representing the three Magi), all situated on the same axis as the star of Bethlehem: the Prophet, thus Jesus, is born on Earth while his story is written in the Heavens! In other words, having Jesus born on 25 December is an effective way to show that Christ is the Light that will overcome the Darkness and that he delivers the Universal Message.
[…] the quality of the sound produced by a bell depends on the metals used and the shape given to its interior, its vacuity. The bell and the cathedral are analogous to our Universe: a sound generating space. […] But it is necessary to differentiate “vacuity” from “nothing”. Nothing is nothing; while vacuity is a place of conception, a sound matrix: a “quantum plenum” as the philosopher ERVIN Laszlo would say. The quantum plenum is the space needed for the electron to gravitate around the nucleus, making the atom a vibratory element: the cathedral is designed to reproduce the structure of the Universe. […] Builders of cathedrals adhered to this musical conception of the universal reality and which coincides with the principle of fractality discovered in the 70s by the mathematician, Benoît MANDELBROT. […] It is then time to observe more closely the musical language, the meaning of musical notes, because each note has its reach.
The Knights Templar played chess from the time they were in the Holy Land and having discovered the deep meaning of this game, they decide to line the nave with a chromatic play of light and dark stones. What is the teaching of chess? […] The chessboard represents life in which two sides evolve, the two universal polarities: the whites and the blacks, namely the Light and the Darkness. According to the rules of the game, whoever chooses the whites plays first: the light is always a step ahead and because of this, whites are mathematically doomed to victory! […] What is inferred by this? A physical reality: the light itself exists, it is visible and quantifiable, because it is a wave of shape. You understand? A wave, another musical term. Unlike light, the shadow itself does not exist: there is light or there is a lack of light that we call shadow. But the shadow itself does not exist […] so it cannot win the game.
The labyrinth of the cathedral is a direct reminder of the Cretan labyrinth. And while the labyrinth of King Minos has no way out, the labyrinth of cathedrals is a path with an exit, it is an alchemical path from Darkness to Light. The labyrinth is the symbol of our inner journey, that which we concretely accomplish in our daily life, a life that we do not control, hence our wanderings and hesitations. Suddenly, by analogy, the labyrinth is tortuous […]
The idea that a smile carries an esoteric message may be astonishing […] Laughter is the “evil” protagonist of MACHIAVEL’s theater which has marked the whole European culture. So beware of the smiling statue, far from being innocuous it indicates that, in that cathedral, there is question of subversive expression …