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Monday, 17 September 2012

Geometry and manifestation.

 By K.S
The Priestess card relates to geometry and manifestation.

She stands at at the Temple of Solomon holding the book of law.

There are two pillars behind the Priestess; the right-hand column was called Joachin and it was associated with law and order; the left-hand column was called Boaz and symbolized strength.

This means that to build the Temple a culture needs the influence of law, whilst the knowledge of geometry provides the means. 

It is said that after the great flood, Pythagoras found the two pillars that had once stood at the entrance to the Temple of Solomon. 

All the secrets of Geometry were inscribed upon the two pillars and he, together with Hermes Trismegistos, took these secrets to the Greeks.

From Greece the knowledge spread through the Roman world; and via Vitruvius and latter Giovanni Battista Piranes, and his son Francesco Piranesi, the concept of Sacred Geometry eventually fractured into the Sacred, the profane and  the truly surreal .


This myth of Pythagoras, Hermes Trismegistos and the pillars of the first temple is found in the Masonic tradition, and encapsulates their avowed aim to build a better society, or, if you like, the wish to transmit enlightenment values through architecture.

As a result we have 'Masonic' knowledge embedded in many late 18th century buildings, but we also have  their shadow.

Giovanni Battista Piranesi is most famous for the Carceri d'Invenzione (Imaginary Prisons), a series of plates issued in 1749-50 and reworked in 1761.

Piranesi Carceri d'Invenzione from Grégoire Dupond on Vimeo.

William Beckford, the author of the Gothic novel, Vathek (1786) wrote:
'I drew chasms, and subterranean hollows, the domain of fear and torture, with chains, racks, wheels and dreadful engines in the style of Piranesi'
Thomas De Quincey in Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1820) wrote the following:
Many years ago, when I was looking over Piranesi's Antiquities of Rome, Mr. Coleridge, who was standing by, described to me a set of plates by that artist ... which record the scenery of his own visions during the delirium of a fever: some of them (I describe only from memory of Mr. Coleridge's account) representing vast Gothic halls, on the floor of which stood all sorts of engines and machinery, wheels, cables, pulleys, levers, catapults, etc., etc., expressive of enormous power put forth, and resistance overcome.
Creeping along the sides of the walls, you perceived a staircase; and upon it, groping his way upwards, was Piranesi himself: follow the stairs a little further, and you perceive it come to a sudden abrupt termination, without any balustrade, and allowing no step onwards to him who had reached the extremity, except into the depths below. ... But raise your eyes, and behold a second flight of stairs still higher: on which again Piranesi is perceived, but this time standing on the very brink of the abyss.
Again elevate your eye, and a still more aerial flight of stairs is beheld: and again is poor Piranesi busy on his aspiring labors: and so on, until the unfinished stairs and Piranesi both are lost in the upper gloom of the hall.

The imaginary prisons are now found in computer games, Piranesi-like distortions, labyrinths empty of purpose, zombie-infested dungeons.

Just for fun.