Key to the Sacred Pattern

30 April 2007

Inconsistencies in Reports about the Rosslyn Motet

Author’s Note:
One of the things that I look for in any series of information is inconsistencies. One can ferret out the trail of where truth lies by looking at the wake of conflicting details. It is with this mind set that I have explored the following topic. And as always, I have played Devil’s Advocate with myself. The few things that I’ve turned up might be explained away very simply. However, there is an equal chance they cannot. The bad thing is that I end at a place that brings more questions than answers to the table. The other really bad thing is that all of this makes me sound like an off the deep end conspiracy theorist.

There is never a short list of architectural enigmas when talking about Rosslyn Chapel. In the news this week, one of the most intriguing features of the Chapel has been brought literally in the limelight. The remaining rectangular cubes that adorn the ceiling of the Chapel have taken to the news in the UK. This time the solution to the solution seems to be a musical one.

In 2006, composer Stuart Mitchell claims to have cracked the code by assigning musical notation to the Cubes by way of Chladni Patterns. Mitchell worked with his father Thomas Mitchell to offer a solution to the Cube riddle. Below is a list of relevant articles to get you up to speed on recent developments.

Team cracks chapel's music 'code'; 30 Apr 07; BBC News

Da Vinci Chorus; 22 Apr 07; The Sunday Mail

Tune into the Da Vinci Coda; 27 Apr 06; The Scotsman

The Rosslyn Cipher; Aug 2006; Fortean Times

Composer Cracks Rosslyn Musical Code; 1 Oct 05; The Scotsman

Japanese bid to solve mystery of the Rosslyn cubes; 16 Jun 2002;The Scotsman

Stuart Mitchell and his father Thomas have a better solution to the Cube mystery than has ever been presented, I have noticed a few oddities about the story. The first is that we know that there is at least one cube missing in Rosslyn. The author of the Fortean Times article makes this claim quoting “Chapel Management”. When I visited the Chapel in 1999, I heard a tour guide place the number of missing or damaged cubes at four. Either: I am mistaken, I misheard the guide, my recollection is not accurate, or there were four missing cubes and now there is just one.

No matter what the number, the missing cube(s) could queer the whole decryption process. The missing piece, or pieces, could be the “key cubes” to the code. The piece of music would be incomplete without the missing cube(s). None of the articles about Mitchell even address how he overcame this obstacle. (Mitchell has a book on cracking the cube code that I have not gotten yet. This may be addressed there. Or I could have missed a reference that has explained this. If so, let me know.)

Related to the missing cube(s), is the number of cubes reported to be in the Chapel. All the news reports and articles I listed above set the total number of cubes in Rosslyn at 213. Thomas Mitchell’s web site says that he decoded 215 cubes. Out of all the references I have on Rosslyn, I cannot find an exact cube count. If anyone out there has a definitive answer to the number of cubes at Rosslyn, please let me know.

The other set of inconsistencies has to do with Matsushita Electric Works UK’s, a division of Panasonic, research into the Rosslyn Cubes. My misgivings about the Matsushita and the Mitchell situation can be found in my article Music and the Rosslyn Cubes.

Basically, the 27 Apr 06 Scotsman article Tune Into the Da Vinci Coda asserts that: “The breakthrough to interpreting the notation came when Mitchell's father discovered that the markings carved on the face of the cubes seem to match a phenomenon called Cymatics or Chladni patterns.” The Sunday Mail’s 22 Apr 07 article Da Vinci Chorus goes on to say, “Using skills learned as an RAF code-breaker during the Korean War and his lifetime knowledge of classical music, he finally realized they depicted the vibrations of musical notes. He said: "It was a Eureka moment to end all Eureka moments.”

Oddly enough, in the 16 June 2002, Scotsman article Japanese bid to solve mystery of the Rosslyn Cubes says one of the theories that Matsushita has is: “… that the notes were recorded using a brass plate covered with sand. When the brass plate was struck with a bow, it vibrated, creating a distinctive pattern of sand lines for that particular note.” This is exactly how Chladni patterns are created.

Mitchell’s father didn’t make any breakthroughs relating the Chladni patterns to do with the Cubes. The theory was in existence and in print four years before the Mitchells made the announcement they had cracked the code. To further muddy the waters, Stephen Prior was working on cracking the cube code via music as far back as 1994. So what gives? Stuart Mitchell made the comment on 30 Apr 07 to BBC, “We got clues from other books as well. Over the years this became more of an obsession than anything else and we decided we had to find out what was going on.” So how could the pair not have been aware of Matsushita’s work in 2002?

What has happened with Matsushita’s project? Their research began on the premise that music derived from the Cubes could be used to heal damaged tissue. This theory was based on Stephen Prior’s prior (sorry couldn’t resist) work. Stuart Mitchell himself thinks that playing the Motet in Rosslyn will literally unlock something in the Chapel. The big question at hand is did Matsushita’s project ever stop, or is it still on going? Furthermore is there a connection between the Mitchells and Matsushita? Alas, I have no answers for those questions.

The final oddity is one that puts me over the top with the Lone Gunmen. Stephen Prior was reported to be in the MI6. Thomas Mitchell was an RAF code breaker during the Korean War. While this truly is six degrees of separation that could link both men back to Kevin Bacon, the fact is both were part of the British Intelligence Community at one time. It’s odd how British Intelligence keeps popping up in my articles. Remember Vernon Gifkins or the decoding of the Shepherd’s Monument at Shugborough Hall being decoded by Bletchley Park? Ok, now I’m beginning to think that I should get a grip…

In closing, let me be the first to say all of this might be easily explained. I realize that I do not have all of the facts at hand; nor have I spoken with anyone involved in the project. I would welcome any rebuff from either Mitchell on some of the inconsistencies that are in print about them. Given what’s in the press, there’s just something that doesn’t feel right. Once again, I’m left with more questions than answers.


28 April 2007

Grail Seekers Media Watch for the Week Ending 28 Apr 07

This week on Grail Seekers:

I’d like to thank everyone that has voted for Grail Seekers on the Blogger’s Choice Awards website. Thanks for you continued support. Also don’t forget to check out the Oreo Experiment blog, and you might win a Grail Seekers t-shirt for your participation.

Finally, I am still working on a few articles that the muse hasn’t drug out of me. One is on the decoding of Rosslyn Cubes. I posted an article last year on this here, and still think something is funny about the situation. Other than that, not too much in the way of news out there this week.

In the News:

The Pope’s new book Jesus of Nazareth is flying off the shelves. It’s being billed as a response to the Da Vinci Code by reviewers everywhere. In other Catholic news this week, the Vatican deletes Limbo from their dogma.

A Knights Templar site is being excavated in London

While the subject of the history of corn doesn’t sound like it would have anything to do with the Grail, don’t forget Rosslyn has cravings of corn 50 years before Columbus came back to Europe with any.

On the Web:

Graham Hancock’s site has an article from Petros Koutoupis on the origins of the Nephilim

23 April 2007

The Rosslyn Light Box and The Lost Tomb of Jesus

File this under: “Things that have nothing to do with each other, but someone will try to make something out of it…”

The picture on the right is that of the “light box” that was recently discovered at Rosslyn Chapel. For the full scoop on this discovery, read this Scotsman article.

On the right is the “Lost Tomb of Jesus” per the James Cameron documentary.

Now, my prediction is that someone will make a comparison between the two objects. These comparisons will advance the theory that the builders of Rosslyn were hiding the true secret of the tomb in the Chapel's architecture. I’m sure there will be protractors flying to measure angles and distances relative to the Golden Ratio between the light box and the circular piece in the front of the tomb. Someone will make the case that the real secret of the tomb can by found by tracing the exact angle that the light box casts on 21 March or 21 September as it relates to a spot in front of the tomb. Either that or some other voodoo trigonometry will crop up in someone’s book in the next year. At least that’s my prediction.

Just remember when you're scratching your head trying to make the mental math work, you heard it here first.

22 April 2007

Hilter's Search for the Holy Grail

If you haven't see Kevin Sim's 1999 documentary on the Nazi search for the Grail, it's worth a look. The documentary also has a number of personal interviews with friends of Otto Rahn.

21 April 2007

Grail Seekers Media Watch for the Week Ending 21 Apr 07

This week on Grail Seekers:

For the second week, I’d like to thank everyone that has voted for Grail Seekers on the Blogger’s Choice Awards website. Thanks for you continued support. Also don’t forget to check out the Oreo Experiment blog, and you might win a Grail Seekers t-shirt for your participation.

On TV:

History Channel: Monday, April 23, 2007;

7-8pm (CST): Lost Worlds - Knights Templar

9-10pm (CST) Cities of the Underworld: Scotland's Sin City: Edinburgh

On Audio:

On the Laura Lee Show 22 and 23 Apr 07; Peter Gandy & Timothy Freke - Secret Gnostic Teachings Parts 1 and 2.

In the News:

Scholars are starting to back peddle from their part in the Tomb of Jesus documentary.

De viribus quantitatis has finally been translated in English. For those not familiar, it was a text on the basic magic tricks and numeric puzzles that was supposedly written by a friend of Da Vinci.

Archeologists in Bulgaria are searching for Knights Templar sites. Also, the relics of a Bulgarian King are going to be reburied after 800 years. I wonder if these two articles are somehow linked. It’s interested that one never hears anything about Bulgaria, and now two articles come up…

Biblical Archaeology Review has a 60th anniversary issue of the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

On the Web:

Andrew Gough delves into Louis de Coma and his stations of the cross. Also on Andrew’s blog is an article by Corjan de Raaf exploring three maps relating to Rennes-le-Château.

The Smithsonian Magazine gives a tour of the Scottish Rite House of the Temple. does a fluff travel piece on King Arthur and Tintagel

Andy North gives a very brief overview of Mary Magdalene in his blog.

Tips of the Week:

Don’t buy into anyone claiming that having shots of Jagermeister 30 minutes before last call is a good idea…

16 April 2007

Ghost of the Brotherhood

Author Philip Gardiner posted this video as a bulletin on My Space today. According to his blog he went along with some psychics to a haunted house in York and captured his experience on film. Using the P.T. Barnum tactic of showing us just enough to get us interested, I have no more information on this film. Possibly a haunted Templar site? I'm sure Philip will give us the full scoop when the time comes.

13 April 2007

Grail Seekers Media Watch for the Week Ending 14 Apr 07

This week on Grail Seekers:

I’d like to thank everyone that has voted for Grail Seekers on the Blogger’s Choice Awards website. Thanks for you continued support. Also don’t forget to check out the Oreo Experiment blog, you might win a Grail Seekers t-shirt for your participation.

On Audio:

Laura Lee interviews Peter Gandy & Timothy Freke on Secret Gnositic Knowledge on 21 Apr 07.

In the News:

A bevy of Friday the 13th articles always pop up every Friday the 13th (is that redundant?) Check here, here, and here for the day’s history and why people still freak out about it.

The Mirror gives an overview of the major relics related to Jesus.

Here’s a beginning point for anyone interested in the bloodline carvings in Royston Cave

Is this old Templar Hospital turned home haunted?

The West Chester University gave a presentation by photo journal Frank Kilcar on his travels and different theories on the Holy Grail.

On the Web:

Are the Rothchilds part of the Grail bloodline?

Esolibris has a primer on Kabbalah and it’s relation to quantum physics.

Beltane is coming up, get your torches ready.

On Film:

Crews film part of Nation Treasure 2 in front of the capitol.

Tips of the Week:

The Hidden Romance of the New Testament

James Robertson gives in on his views on Joseph. Robertson is a professor of New Testament Language at the United Free Church of Aberdeen, so the text has a number of Early Church and Biblical references. An enlightening read.

The Oreo Exercise

If you’re reading this blog with regularity, I could probably deduce a number of things about you. One thing I was wager is that most of you are aware of the massive amounts of symbolism that bombard us every day. You are also aware that symbols can have multiple meanings and change with time. Finally, I would guess that the Grail Seekers out there look at the world through these symbols in a different way than the general populace. Many of the theories that are presented to us about the Grail hinge on the interpretation of both visual and literary symbols. One has to go no further than the pictures of Rosslyn Chapel to see how heavily symbols influence a whole body of theories about the Grail. With that said, I thought I would do a little experiment in symbolism for this week’s blog.

Before reading any further, keep in mind that there is no validity to my answer to this experiment. I have no special knowledge that has lead me to these conclusions, and it’s basically a mental exercise. But I think that the results we might get from this will be reveling as to how differently we “read” symbols. (Further disclaimer, yes I realize this is goofy and that I doubt there will be much of a response. But I had fun doing it.)

Now for the experiment. Take close a look at an Oreo Cookie. (I would suggest looking a Golden Oreo, it’s easier to look at than the “Classic” Oreo. Forget that it’s a cookie, and pay attention to what is on the face of the Oreo. There’s a pretty intricate design that is baked into the top of each cookie. The question is how does one interpret that in a symbolic light?

If you care to, email or insert a comment of your solution before you read what I’ve come up with. I’ll publish some of the e-mails so we can see how differently everyone has looks at the same object. I’ll pick one of the solutions at random and send that lucky person a Grail Seeker’s T-Shirt from my Café Press shop. The deadline for this is midnight one month from this article’s posting. Also on May 13th, I’ll publish my solution to the problem.

05 April 2007

Thoughts on the Grail at the Last Supper

With Easter coming up, I thought it might be beneficial to look into the most persistent of all theories of the Holy Grail. The most common theory is that the Grail is the cup Jesus used at the Last Supper. Given that Biblical accounts of the Last Supper describe historical events, Jesus did use some sort of vessel to drink from. Therefore, this cup or cups did at one time exist.

The implication here is something that is not talked about in modern day Grail studies. Today the Grail means something different to different people. The Cup of Jesus, Jesus’ blood line, the Ark of the Covenant, a Druidic Artifact, and The Philosopher’s Stone top the list. Differing interpretations of the Grail’s nature have existed since the time of the first Grail romances. The trouble is that groups would attach their own meaning to what the Grail was and muddy the waters for the modern day Seeker. Because of the antiquity of Grail legends, there could be some validity to each theory.

For example, in the early 1600’s the Rosicrucians have a stone they believe to be the Philosopher’s Stone. They attach the moniker of Holy Grail to it, and base an esoteric system around the Stone being the Grail. The metaphors the Rosicrucians use for the Grail are the same Grail Romance metaphors used by the Priory of Sion to describe the Grail as the blood line of Jesus. Both views are that of the Holy Grail, but of two different Grails. Looking at Grail studies in this light now aren’t popular because everyone wants to have a definitive answer as to what and where the Grail is. You can’t sell books telling your theory or show up on a History Channel special if you view Grail studies with this type of diversity.

In order to limit the scope of the discussion, I have stuck to a Socratic method of looking at a primarily Christian tradition. Please don’t e-mail me and shout that my views are limited and I’m not being opened minded. The attempt here is to look at one facet of this Grail theory. This article is also part of my “diversification” of Grail mysteries. There might be more that one cup used at the Last Supper, which explains why there are a host of Grail Cups out there. With that out of the way, let’s begin.

Would anyone have thought to venerate that particular cup?

According the Matthew, Jesus did predict his crucifixion (Matthew 26:2) and say that he would drink with them from that cup until the “Kingdom of God will come”(Luke 22:17-18). That’s a point in the Apostle’s favor in viewing the cup as a potentially sacred object worth holding on to. However, the Apostles weren’t always so attentive to Jesus’ teachings. The Apostles fell asleep when Jesus told them not to, they didn’t understand parables, and they tried to casting out demons when Jesus told them not to. The Apostle’s list of follies goes on and on. So, would one of them have the presence of mind to preserve the cup? At the time of the Crucifixion, I’m not so sure.

Two days later when your Rabbi is said to have risen from the dead, that’s a different story. I would like to think that I would be saving items that were linked to someone that had just walked out of his tomb. Given a tradition of Holy Jewish objects, it’s plausible that at least one of the Apostles would have thought the cup used at the Last Supper would have had been at very least a sacred object.

Could there be multiple Grail Cups?

The Haggadah (translated from Hebrew as “telling”) is a text that describes Passover ceremony and etiquette that has been around since at least 200 AD. Some scholars believe the traditions and some of the Haggadah texts go back to the time of the Second Temple Period (560 BC to 70 AD). The text describes using four different cups to perform the Passover ritual. Each of the cups is used to symbolically express the redemption and exodus from Egypt and Israel’s birth as a nation. (Exodus 6:6-7) Were all Passover rituals done the same in the first century? No, just as not all Passover ritual is exactly the same today. They vary from family to family and Jewish Sect to Jewish Sect.

The Gospels refer to “the cup” in Matthew 26:27. This is the Greek word , and according to Strong’s Concordance it is a singular noun. Then again, this refers to the cup that Jesus used to establish the New Covenant. In that sense there was only the one cup that was used for that activity.

Why would the Cup used at the Last Supper have miraculous powers?

Mark 6:56 tells of the sick and infirm being laid on the roadside just for the chance to touch Jesus’ garment to be healed. The text goes on to say that those who did touch Jesus were healed. Given your views on the divinity of Jesus, there are a couple of routes to go on this point.

    1. The cup used for the first sacrament transubstantiated the wine in the cup to Jesus’ blood. Thus imbuing the cup with Jesus’ powers.
    2. If that cup was used at the Crucifixion to catch Jesus’ blood by Joseph of Arimathea, then the same holds true as above
    3. The Cup has no powers what so ever and by faith alone its miraculous powers are seen
    4. The Cup has no powers and it’s all a fairy tale.

Could the cup have survived to present day?

Sure why not? If I can go on E-Bay and find a cup that dates from 2500 BC that was found in the Indus River valley, then it is very possible. Besides that, for whoever was the steward of that cup, it was a sacred relic. Holy objects generally aren’t put in a chest and forgotten about. Unless of course the person that put that item in the chest never tells anyone what the significance of that cup. Thinking they will pass the cup on to someone on their death bed, fate snatches them before the secret can be told.

Could the Grail, as a cup, have a longer history than the Last Supper?

There is a tradition in the Languedoc region of France, that states the Grail cup has a much longer history that the Last Supper. This tradition states that Adam was the craftsman of a wooden Grail. Supposedly the wooden cup was the only legacy Adam left his descendants. Adam’s cup was passed down the Davidic line and eventually inherited by Jesus. What better cup to use at the Last Supper than one crafted by the first man? This legend has the added bonus of sounding like the Nanteos Cup.

So if the Grail is the Cup Jesus used at the Last Supper, what happened to it?
This is the fun part. If there were multiple cups used tat the Last Supper, then might this explain the multiple Grail Cups that can be found today? A number of these contenders for the title of “Holy Grail” all have very similar characteristics. The Valencia Chalice, The Marian (or Hawkstone Park) Cup, Chalice of the Abbot Suger of Saint-Denis, The Sacro Catino, and Rocco Zingaro's Cup have laid claim to be the Grail and have some physical similarities. Maybe all, some, or none of these cups were present at the Last Supper and their legends grew from simply being there.

What’s the Point?

The point to all of this is not to pin-point what the Grail is or if the Grail is the cup used at the Last Supper. I hope I’ve demonstrated that there is a general fallacy in the way most of us think about the Grail being one particular object or idea. For most of us who look for the Grail through research, I think it’s a lesson well learned. One can spend copious amounts of time going down blind alleys if one tries to mismatch their research with their personal vision of the Grail.

01 April 2007

A Visit with the Shepherds at Arcadia

Early this week, I took Laura and my 6 year old son, Robert, to Atlanta for little man’s first official “vacation”. Our agenda was nothing other than to play tourist and visit some family. I was in the hotel lobby perusing the gaggle of poorly designed flyers, when the words “Louvre Atlanta” caught my eye. I then had a moment of serendipity when I realized this exhibit’s star offering was Poussin’s Les Bergers d’Arcadie (Shepherds at Arcadia). I hate to rat myself out, but I had no idea that the painting was a short 4 hours from my home.

What fascinates me is that the painting has become a modern-day Grail artifact. The mystique that has grown up around this painting has sucked me in as much as the possibility that there are hints about the Grail hidden in plain sight. Being the good Grail Seeker, I had to see the painting for myself, and review what I knew of its history.

I will not take your time and retell what has already been written about the painting or Poussin. Concise histories and fun facts of both can be found at the following site links: Wikipedia, Art Cyclopedia, and New Advent.

The painting took to the underground stream in 1982 with the publishing of Holy Blood, Holy Grail . The book put forth the theory that Poussin was involved with the Prior of Zion and painted Shepherds as a hint to the Priory’s secret knowledge. The authors point out that Shepherds bears an inscription on the tomb that reads “Et in Arcadia Ego”. The authors make a claim that this is an anagram and also point out it was family motto of Pierre Plantard. Another claim was made by Richard Andrews and Paul Schellenberger in their book, the Tomb of God. These gentlemen claimed that the painting was an actual scene around Rennes-le-Château, and geometric relationships in the painting formed a sort of treasure map.

In the last few years, the painting itself has not been in the news. However, there a mirror image sculpture of Shepherds at Shugborough Hall in Staffordshire, England that has. This sculpture has the inscription of :

D•                   M•

The meaning of this inscription has never fully been understood. In 2004, Bletchley Park set an open contest to make sense of the inscription. On 25 Nov 04, the Bletchley Park web site announced the code was: Jesus (As Deity) Defy. The BBC website reported on the announcement here. The article also promised that in the near future many of the methods and solutions would be made public on their site. That has never happened and there is nothing that I can find, on the Bletchley Park web site that refers to Shugborough Hall. I even tried to contact an official at Bletchley in early 2006 for an explanation. My e-mail was never responded to. Sadly enough, the attention to the sculpture had an unintended consequence. On 14 May 04, the BBC reported that vandals smashed ornamental shells at the top of the monument.

Shepherds is being shown at the High Museum of Art as part of a loan from the Louvre until 2 Sept 07. Overall the Louvre Atlanta exhibit had a number of great pieces. I wasn’t impressed with the size or presentation of the works shown at the High. There was no attempt by the staff to connect the pieces to either history or a shared human experience. So if you’re headed to Atlanta thinking you’re going to get the Louvre in miniature, you’ll be disappointed.

However, one thing the High did get right was security. Art theft is a much more prevalent crime than most people realize. So much so the FBI actually has a full time art theft unit. I made the nice security guards quite nervous by viewing the painting much longer than the average tourist. No one has ever told me that I fit the profile of an art thief. (Maybe it’s my striking resemblance to Pierce Brosnan) With this type of security in mind, leave your cameras in the car. There is no photography of any kind in the Louvre exhibit.

I did leave the exhibit with a couple of observations about the painting itself. The first thing that struck me about the Shepherds is a matter of color. The pictures you’ve seen on line and in art books doesn’t quite get the color right. The colors are much more subdued that one would be lead to believe by photographic representations. The other thing that stuck out was the brush strokes. In the upper right hand corner of the painting the brush strokes are more prevalent than in any other place in the painting. I’d lay better odds that there is something “hidden” in the brush strokes than in the geometric layout of the painting’s elements. It would be rather easy to embed a short string of letters or numbers in a dark blue field using simple brush strokes. Then again, I tend to be simple in my musings…

If you find yourself in Atlanta, by all means put the High on your list of places to see. Even with all the petty whining I’ve done, Shepherds at Arcadia is something to behold. The work is a piece of modern day Grail history, and to see it felt like a small victory to this Grail Seeker.