Schwaller de Lubicz - Introduction

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014


René Adolphe Schwaller de Lubicz (1887–1961), born René Adolphe Schwaller in Alsace-Lorraine, was a French occultist, student of sacred geometry and Egyptologist, known for his twelve year study of the art and architecture of the Temple of Luxor in Egypt, and his subsequent book 'The Temple In Man'.

Early Life

Schwaller's father was a chemist - apparently wealthy - and the young René grew up in a world of science, nature and art.
Dreamy walks in the Alsatian forests followed hours spent painting and "experimenting."
He also had two peculiar experiences.
In 1894, at the age of seven, Schwaller had a kind of mystical insight into the nature of the divine.
This glimpse of metaphysical reality would return seven years later when, at fourteen, he experienced another insight, this one into matter
 "What is the origin of matter ?" the budding meta-physician asked himself.
The question occupied him the rest of his life.

Schwaller left home at the age of eighteen after having completed an apprenticeship with his father in pharmaceutical chemistry.
Moving to Paris from Alsace to study modern chemistry and physics, he developed an interest in Alchemy, reading every alchemical text he could find including those by Paracelsus and Raymond Lull.

Paracelsus (/ˌpærəˈsɛlsəs/; born Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, 11 November or 17 December 1493 – 24 September 1541) was a Swiss German Renaissance physician, botanist, alchemist, astrologer, and general occultist. He founded the discipline of toxicology. He is also known as a revolutionary for insisting upon using observations of nature, rather than looking to ancient texts, in open and radical defiance of medical practice of his day. He is also credited for giving zinc its name, calling it zincum. Modern psychology often also credits him for being the first to note that some diseases are rooted in psychological illness.

Ramon Llull (Catalan: [rəˈmon ˈʎuʎ]; c. 1232[2] – c. 1315), T.O.S.F. (Anglicised Raymond Lully, Raymond Lull; in Latin Raimundus or Raymundus Lullus or Lullius) was a Majorcan writer and philosopher, logician and a Franciscan tertiary. He is credited with writing the first major work of Catalan literature. Recently surfaced manuscripts show him to have anticipated by several centuries prominent work on elections theory. He is also considered a pioneer of computation theory, especially given his influence on Gottfried Leibniz.

He also developed an interest in painting.

Oscar Vladislas de Lubicz Milosz
He was given the title "de Lubicz" in 1919 by the Lithuanian writer, mystic and diplomat Oscar Vladislas de Lubicz Milosz.

Oscar Vladislas de Lubicz Milosz (Lithuanian: Oskaras Milašius) (May 28, 1877—March 2, 1939) was a French-Lithuanian poet. His literary career - as manifested through his many poems, two novels and three plays - passed from its beginnings in the late symbolist movement of la Belle Époque towards a highly personal and dense cosmology. A recluse and meta-physician, his poems were visionary and tormented, concerned with love and loneliness and full of alchemical imagery. Milosz also wrote essays.

He also wrote under the mystical name 'Aor', signifying "Light of the Higher Mind".

Schwaller came under the influence of the new physics of Albert Einstein and Max Planck.
Like many people today, Schwaller believed that the strange world of quantum physics and relativity opened the door to a universe more in line with the cosmologies of the ancients, and less compatible with the Newtonian clockwork world of the nineteenth century.
He was especially stimulated by the idea of complementarity, developed by the Danish physicist, Niels Bohr, and the uncertainty principle of Werner Heisenberg.
Bohr sought to end the debate over the nature of light - whether it was best described as a wave or as a particle - by opting for a position that would see it as both.
Heisenberg's "uncertainty" - which caused Einstein to retort famously that "God does not play dice with the universe" - argued that we cannot know both the position and the speed of an elementary particle: pinpointing one obscures the other.
Schwaller would agree with Einstein about God's attitude toward gambling.
But he appreciated that complementarity and uncertainty demand a stretch of our minds beyond the "either/or" of syllogistic logic, to an understanding of how reality works. 
Complementarity and uncertainty ask us to hold mutually exclusive ideas together.
The result, Schwaller knew, can be an illogical but illuminating insight.
This "simultaneity of opposite states" plays a great part in Schwaller's understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphics.
It characterizes what he calls 'symbolique', a way of holding together the object of sense perception and the content of inner knowing, in a kind of creative polarity.
Schwaller later argued that when the Egyptians saw the hieroglyph of a bird, , they knew it was a sign for the actual, individual creature, but they also knew it was a symbol of the "cosmic function" that the creature exemplified - flight - as well as all the myriad characteristics associated with it. 
Hieroglyphics did not merely designate; they evoked.
As he wrote in Symbol and the Symbolic, "the observation of a simultaneity of mutually contradictory states . . . demonstrates the existence of two forms of intelligence" - an idea the early twentieth century philosopher Alfred North Whitehead would discuss, with many similarities to Schwaller's thought, in his book, 'Symbolism, Its Meaning and Effect' (1927).
He became a student of Theosophy and Saint Yves d'Alveydre's Synarchy.
Theosophy (from Greek θεοσοφία theosophia, from θεός theos, God + σοφία sophia, wisdom; literally "God's wisdom"), refers to systems of esoteric philosophy concerning, or investigation seeking direct knowledge of, presumed mysteries of being and nature, particularly concerning the nature of divinity.

Seal of the Theosophical Society
Saint Yves d'Alveydre
Theosophy is considered a part of the broader field of esotericism, referring to hidden knowledge or wisdom that offers the individual enlightenment and salvation. The theosophist seeks to understand the mysteries of the universe and the bonds that unite the universe, humanity, and the divine. The goal of theosophy is to explore the origin of divinity and humanity, and the world. From investigation of those topics, theosophists try to discover a coherent description of the purpose and origin of the universe.

Alexandre Saint-Yves, Marquess of Alveydre (26 March 1842, Paris – 5 February 1909, Pau) was a French occultist who adapted the works of Fabre d'Olivet (1767–1825) and, in turn, had his ideas adapted by Papus. He developed the term Synarchy - the association of everyone with everyone else - into a political philosophy, and his ideas about this type of government proved influential in politics and the occult.

Schwaller was fascinated with the esoteric secrets of Gothic architecture and became acquainted with the man whose name is most associated with the "mystery of the cathedrals," the pseudonymous Fulcanelli.
Sometime between 1918 and 1920 in Montparnasse, Schwaller met Fulcanelli, who had gathered a band of disciples around him, aptly called "The Brothers of Heliopolis."
(Schwaller would later claim that the word alchemy meant "out of Egypt.")
Alchemy had found a home in the strange world of the Parisian occult underground, and Fulcanelli and the Brothers of Heliopolis studied the works of the great alchemists, like Nicolas Flammel and Basil Valentinus.
Fulcanelli and Schwaller met often, and discussed the 'Great Work', the transmutation of matter, a possibility that the recent advances in atomic theory seemed to bring closer to reality.
Then one day, Fulcanelli told Schwaller about a manuscript he had aquired from a Paris bookshop.
While cataloguing an ancient book for a bookseller, Fulcanelli discovered a strange piece of writing: a six-page manuscript in fading ink, describing, Fulcanelli claimed, the importance of color in the alchemical process.
But, said Schwaller, when it came to alchemy, Fulcanelli was a materialist, and so he didn't grasp the true nature of color.
Schwaller enlightened him.
Tired of the distractions of Paris, Schwaller moved to Grasse, in the south of France, where he invited Fulcanelli to join him in an alchemical retreat.
There, after much work, they performed a successful opus, involving the secrets of "alchemical stained glass."
The peculiarly evocative reds and blues of the rose windows of cathedrals like the unearthly Chartres had eluded artisans since the Middle Ages.
In Grasse, Schwaller and Fulcanelli may have cracked the formula.
But there was tension between the two.
The ideas for his most famous work, 'The Mystery of the Cathedrals' (1925), are said to have been taken from Schwaller de Lubicz.
Fulcanelli returned to Paris and against Schwaller's advice, tried to perform their work again. 
He wasn't successful.
This was, Schwaller claimed, because Fulcanelli left out essential ingredients known only to him.
Ignoring Schwaller's warnings, Fulcanelli persisted in performing the work in Paris.
But his strange death from gangrene, a day before he was to reveal the secret to his students, brought an end to his opus.

Les Veilleurs

Schwaller de Lubicz was the founder in 1919, with other members of the Theosophical Society, of the esoteric right-wing French group called Affranchis, that published a journal 'L'Affranchi-Hiérarchie, Fraternité, Liberté', a monthly journal of art and philosophy, dealing with a spiritual and social renewal within the framework of a mystical political philosophy.
Its president was René Bruyez.

Rudolf Walter Richard Heß
On 23 July 1919 the group dissolved and another group was formed in its place: Les Veilleurs ("the Vigilants"), to which, allegedly, the young Rudolf Hess belonged (according to the historian Pierre Mariel).

Rudolf Walter Richard Heß, (26 April 1894 – 17 August 1987), was born in Alexandria, in Egypt, and served in the First World War, later becoming a prominent politician in Germany. Appointed Deputy Führer to Adolf Hitler in 1933, he served in this position until 1941, when he flew solo to Scotland in an attempt to negotiate peace with the United Kingdom during World War II. 

Its uniform consisted of a dark shirt, high-boots and riding-breeches.
Les Veilleurs delivered its manifesto in December 1919, its politics conveyed through a series of letters called "Appeals" and signed by its members.
The first issue of its journal, 'Veilleur', contained an article concerning the position of Jews in society that first appeared in a Masonic journal from 1898.
The artist André VandenBroeck in his memoirs and biography of Schwaller de Lubicz described him as being concerned with race and the nature of Judaism.


During the 1920s with his wife Isha, Schwaller de Lubicz established in Switzerland the 'Station Scientifique Suhalia', a research centre consisting of
"laboratories for physics, chemistry, micro-photography and the manufacture of homeopathic tinctures was set up, along with an astronomical observatory, a machine shop, workshops for woodworking, blacksmithing, printing, weaving, rugmaking and glassmaking and a theater." 
While there, Schwaller de Lubicz brought to a total whole his philosophical vision, and in 1926 published his book 'L'Appel du Feu', where his "inspiration and higher intelligence is personified as 'Aor'."
At Suhalia, Schwaller's views on the evolution of consciousness began to coalesce.
In 'L'Appel du feu' (1926), he recorded a series of inspirations via a higher intelligence that he called "Aor."
These revealed to him the true significance of time, space, measure, and harmony.
The basic insight was to think simply, to abstract oneself from time and space, and to "consider only the aspect common to every thing and every living impulse."
As he would later write,
"To cultivate oneself to be simple and to see simply is the first task of anyone wishing to approach the sacred symbolism of Ancient Egypt."
This is necessary because "the obvious blinds us," the obvious being our perception of the world via cerebral consciousness alone, which divides, analyzes, and "granulates" experience - Bergson's "static perception."
Schwaller would later discover that the Egyptians associated this type of consciousness with the "evil" god Set; its opposite, the "intelligence of the heart," they associated with Horus.
Schwaller claimed that the knowledge he received at Suhalia was from a past life.
Like Plato, Schwaller believed that all real knowledge is a kind of re-membering - a bringing back together what had been separated, a reparation of the "primordial scission."
Suhalia continued until 1929, when finances caused Schwaller to shut it down.
The next few years were spent at Grasse and aboard his yacht.
Two years of comparative solitude in Palma de Mallorca ended with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.
The moment seemed right to embark on a journey to Egypt.


In 1936, on a visit to the tomb of Rameses IX in Alexandria, Schwaller had a kind of revelation. 
A picture represented the pharaoh as a right-angle triangle with the proportions 3:4:5, - his upraised arm adding another unit.
Schwaller thought it demonstrated the Pythagorean theorem, centuries before Pythagoras was born.
For the next fifteen years, until 1951, Schwaller de Lubicz remained in Egypt, investigating the evidence for what he believed was an ancient system of psychological, cosmological, and spiritual knowledge.
Most of Schwaller’s work was done at the temple at Luxor, - his study of its remarkable architecture and design a natural outcome of his early fascination with the mystery of number. 
On his first visit in 1937, Schwaller was impressed with a tremendous insight.
The temple, with its strange, "crooked" alignments, was, he was certain, a conscious exercise in the laws of harmony and proportion.
He called it the 'Parthenon of Egypt' - somewhat anachronistically, since he believed Luxor was concrete proof that the Egyptians understood the laws of harmony and proportion before the Greeks.

Schwaller searched Luxor for evidence of the golden section, and 'phi'.
 If the golden section had been used, that would prove the Egyptians had knowledge of it much earlier than the Greeks,-  a revelation that alone would cause an uproar in orthodox Egyptology. Schwaller linked 'phi' to the orbits of the planets, the proportions of Gothic cathedrals, and the forms of plants and animals.
It was a "form constant," a blueprint for reality, a law of creation.
And the Egyptians knew it.
The Egyptians knew much else: the precession of the equinoxes, the circumference of the globe, and the secrets of phi.
The knowledge of the Egyptians indeed made the Greeks seem like children.
Their forgotten mathematical wisdom led Schwaller increasingly to realize that Egyptian civilization must be far older than we suspect - the clear evidence of water erosion on the Sphinx also suggests that.
He concluded that their knowledge may have been inherited from vanished Atlantis.
But more important than any of those conclusions, was his growing conviction that the Egyptians had a radically different consciousness from ours.
They viewed the world symbolically, seeing in nature a "writing" conveying truths about the metaphysical forces behind creation - "the Neters," as Egyptian gods are called.
It was a vision Schwaller believed we desperately need to regain.
He, with the French egypologist Alexandre Varille, developed the symbolist approach to ancient Egypt.
He argued that Egyptian temples were used for mystical initiations, and that their design incorporated symbolism, expressing a belief system that combined religion, philosophy, art, and science.
He believed, for instance, that the Egyptians were aware of astronomical concepts like axial precession, which was reflected in their religious beliefs.
He linked the astrological age of Gemini with the development of the dualistic themes in Egyptian religion, the age of Taurus with the bull god Apis, and the age of Aries with the god Amun, who was sometimes depicted as a ram.
He also argued that the human form was the basis for ancient Egyptian architecture, and he equated parts of the temples with parts of the human body.
His three-volume work 'The Temple in Man' includes a drawing that compares the plan of Luxor Temple to the shape of a human skeleton.
Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince argue that these ideas were influenced by Schwaller de Lubicz' existing beliefs, such as Synarchy and Theosophy.
Like many other esotericist figures, he believed that Egyptian civilization dated back much farther than conventional Egyptian chronology allows.
Mainstream Egyptologists have largely ignored his claims or viewed them with hostility, although Erik Hornung points out that his survey of Luxor Temple contains information useful to anyone studying the temple today.
He is an influential figure among the advocates of theories about ancient Egypt that challenge the conclusions of mainstream Egyptology - theories that are sometimes labeled "alternative Egyptology".

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