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Rene' Schwaller de Lubixz And The Intelligence of the Heart

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Author Topic: Rene' Schwaller de Lubixz And The Intelligence of the Heart  (Read 1122 times)
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« on: November 12, 2007, 09:18:33 pm »

The Temple of Man

by R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz
Translated from the French by
Deborah Lawlor with Robert Lawlor

Illustrations by Lucy Lamy

1998, Inner Traditions; two volumes in slip case, 544 pp each, 400 b&w illustrations; hardcover, $195.00; ISBN 0-89281-570-1

Publicists for this two-volume book would have us believe that: “The monumental Temple of Man represents the most important breakthrough in our understanding of Ancient Egypt since the discovery of the Rosetta Stone.” I don’t know if even R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz himself (1887-1961) would agree with that unfortunate overstatement on the inside of the dust jacket by the PR people at Inner Traditions, the work’s publisher, but almost certainly no scholarly Egyptologist would. Then, as far as I can tell, Egyptologists have been pretty universally silent on the merits or demerits of Schwaller de Lubicz’s non-traditional concepts. This in spite of the fact that the idea of an Egyptian origin for the Hermetic doctrine has been rehabilitated among some contemporary Egyptologists (see the work of Eric Iversen, Egyptian and Hermetic Doctrine, Copenhagen, 1984). And even today some of Schwaller de Lubicz’s ideas filter into academic publications (see, for instance, figures 47 and 54 in Temples in Ancient Egypt, Byron E. Shafer ed., Cornell, 1997).

There are many reasons for the hesitation in official discourse to take on Schwaller de Lubicz’s ideas, but surely chief among them are the difference in language and approach. And here I do not mean the French that the author wrote in, but rather the language of esoteric philosophy by which he expressed himself, approaching ancient Egypt with his own agenda in order to give voice to his teachings.
He was trained as a chemist, which led to his interest in alchemy and other esoteric arts. Formerly going by René Schwaller, his pursuit and knowledge of the “sacred sciences” prompted Prince O.V. de Lubicz Miosc to confer his family title on the Frenchman in 1919. Schwaller de Lubicz went to Egypt to study her monuments and remained fifteen years, especially examining Luxor Temple in great detail, along with his wife, Isha, and his stepdaughter, Lucy Lamy. While in Egypt he worked with Clement Robichon, architect and director of field work of the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology, and also with noted French Egyptologist Alexandre Varille. It took Schwaller de Lubicz and his team eight years to survey, photograph and produce drawings of Luxor Temple, a project he initially thought could be accomplished in six months.

No doubt it was his personal philosophy, influenced by his knowledge of alchemy, Pythagorean and Hermetic doctrine, and his own theories on the “symbolique” that inspired him to envision Luxor Temple as a blueprint of the “cosmic man.” Many Egyptophiles have at least seen - if not actually read - Schwaller de Lubicz’s slender volume The Temple of Man (first published in France as Le Temple dans l’Homme in 1949), with its illustrations showing the floor plan of Luxor Temple over which is superimposed a human skeleton. It was this early work that grew into the present edition of his hugely expanded thesis published in 1957 as Le Temple de l’Homme. Full title of this new English version is The Temple of Man: Apet of the South Sanctuary.

The thesis of the massive study may be summed up as follows:

Luxor Temple incorporates the proportions of the divine man in its layout and decoration, thereby serving as a “symbolique anthropocosmos.” That the temple has these human proportions is important because: “Man conceived by the Creator is Universe. On his body, senses, organs, assimilative functions, and vital nervous centers, both physical and occult, all knowledge is inscribed.”
Of course, the biggest drawback to this idea is that this particular temple was constructed by different kings in different dynasties, with the initial (back) part of the building being raised by Amenhotep III and the remainder (forecourt) added by Rameses II several generations later (with subsequent kings making contributions as well). If the “finished” temple represents the cosmic man, this presupposes a foreordained master plan that was necessarily followed by all the kings who worked on the structure over time.

The Temple of Man requires two huge volumes, each with over 500 pages to establish this doctrine and analyze the temple from its entrance to the rearmost sanctuaries, pointing out the correspondences between the “cosmic man” and the layout and decoration of the structure. In short, Schwaller de Lubicz argued that if one superimposed a figure of a standing man over the blueprint of the temple, that which is on the walls at any given point would symbolically relate to that corresponding part of the human body.

If Schwaller de Lubicz spent fifteen years in Luxor figuring this all out, it should come as no surprise that it may take the uninitiated reader quite a lot of time to work through the material in this massive study. Here are the main themes awaiting the intrepid pilgrim: The Doctrine of Anthropocosmos, Foundations of Pharaonic Mathematics and Calculations, Pharaonic Trigonometry, Living Architecture of Number, The Cosmic Principle of Volume, Pharaonic Cubits, The Human Canon, The Royal Apron, The Axes, The Architecture of the Temple, The Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus, The Diadem, The Joints, The Head, The Zodiac, The Mystic Temple. And those are just the chapter titles of Volume I!

Volume II has more supporting textual material and 101 plates.

The Temple of Man, though more esoteric philosophy than Egyptology, to be sure, with its superb design and splendid illustrations, is an impressive, beautifully realized presentation of a highly controversial thesis. At its very worst it is only R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz forcing Luxor Temple to fit into his personal master plan and “philosophical” interpretations. But the very fact that the man spent fifteen years intensely studying this one monument to come up with the conclusions he did deserves consideration, discussion and debate.

It is hoped that fully respected Egyptological scholars who themselves have studied Luxor Temple in great detail - and I’m thinking in particular of Lanny Bell and Ray Johnson - will take a serious look at The Temple of Man and respond to Schwaller de Lubicz’s special interpretation of the structure’s layout and decoration. It would likewise be interesting to get a scholarly reaction from someone like Gay Robins to his ideas on the mathematics of proportion and how such relates to the ancient Egyptians’ depiction of the human form. It is The Temple of Man, after all, which is the bible of such “New Age” popularizers as John Anthony West (Serpent in the Sky) and Graham Hancock (Fingerprints of the Gods), and silence from academia only emboldens them to advance their personal reinterpretations of Schwaller de Lubicz’s ideas.

For those of you with interest in alternative approaches to ancient Egypt, The Temple of Man will be an important - if expensive - addition to your library.

Greg Reeder
« Last Edit: November 12, 2007, 09:28:59 pm by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.

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