The Meridian and the Hexagram: The Revelation of France's Foundation Plan (cont.)
By William Glyn-Jones
In The Republic Plato uses another simile to explain this philosophy of the Realm of the Eternal. In this simile, known as The Divided Line, he describes the journey from the realm of purely subjective perception towards that of mental resonance with these eternal ideas as being like a line, and he explains the spectrum between the two by dividing the line into four zones. So at one end there are the shadows of illusory projections, then in the second zone are beliefs, in other words received wisdom that you have not examined yourself, but simply accepted because you were told that it was so. The third zone Plato describes as being that of Reason. Here critical reasoning is used to arrive at ideas that have an objectivity. Then the fourth zone goes beyond this by partaking of a more direct fusion with realm of universal ideas. No matter how well a student is taught, he may simply lack the inborn Soul-wisdom to perceive ideas at this more visionary level, for it is somehow a memory of the immortal realm experienced by the Soul before incarnation.
In the geodesic scheme we appear to have uncovered in France, as replicated in Scotland, what we have at the most basic level is the line, running north to south, divided into quarters. If one wants to use geometry to divide a line into four zones, as in Plato's simile, then the Seal of Solomon, or hexagram, is in fact one of the easiest ways to do this. But is it feasible that the Renaissance humanists of the 1400's were working with such ideas?
Actually, yes, for The Divided Line became a major influence on the model used by the Florentine Platonic Academy. Cosimo Medici attended the lectures of Plethon, mentioned above, and then when the lectures came to an end he was so enthused that he decided to set up a new Platonic Academy like the one Plato had formed. Marsilio Ficino became the head of this academy, and in Ficino's scheme there were various kinds of love, each corresponding to a human faculty. So there was Amor Ferinus, the base animal drive of the world of the senses, then the Amor Humanus, corresponding to the realm of human faculties such as Reason, and then there was the Amor Divinus, corresponding to Plato's fourth zone of fusion with the realm of universal ideas. To quote Panofsky in his book Studies in Iconology : Humanistic Themes in the Art of the Renaissance, the Florentine Neoplatonists such a Ficino saw this upper zone of Mind as something that "can grasp the truth by directly contemplating the supercelestial ideas," for "where Reason is discursive and reflective the Mind is intuitive and creative" and it "communicates with, or even participates in, the intellectus divines" and "sees with an incorporeal eye".
Clearly, then, these guys were fully conversant with Platonic similes such as The Divided Line.
But then I reactivated my own human faculty of Reason. I knew that we were talking about geodetic schemes that must have been fully planned out by the time that Roslin Chapel was built in 1446. True, the Platonic Academy was busy forming at this time in Florence, but could it really have extended its influence across France and Scotland so quickly? And how well did this Neoplatonic context fit with an iconological examination of the carvings that we actually see inside Roslin Chapel?
While I was contemplating these matters I suddenly felt a nagging sense of déjà vu regarding the notion of the Paris Meridian as a "blade". Wasn't there an image in the book Holy Blood / Holy Grail that depicted something along those lines? Leafing through my copy I found the image, taken from the cover of Circuit, a small magazine brought out in the 1950's by the man who claimed to be the secretary of the group calling itself the Priory of Sion, namely Pierre Plantard. In Plantard's image, which predates The Da Vinci Code by half a century, the blade of a sword runs along the Zero Meridian, and the image even has the hexagram placed over the French map!
So this image comes very close to pre-empting the scheme I believed myself to have uncovered, but it managed to obfuscate the revelation by distorting the relationship between the hexagram and the meridian. In Plantard's image the bottom of the hexagram is exactly on the southern border, but, presumably so as not to give the secret away too easily, he has not made the top of the hexagram map onto the north point, thus hiding the fact that Paris is at the intersection point.
The Priory of Sion documents make various leading mentions of lost tribes of Israel, fitting the Seal of Solomon into a Jewish context, and relating these matters to Jerusalem. So I was intrigued to find, when reading up on the Solomon episodes in the Bible, various references to just such a sword. In the book of Chronicles in the Bible we read how David sent out men to 'number Israel', and then 'David looked up and saw the angel of the LORD standing between Earth and Heaven, and in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem.' David asks what should be done to rectify things, and he is commanded to go to a particular place to build an altar. He is inspired to build a great temple, but is told that because he was a man of war he may not do so, but that his son will be a man of peace, and it will be he who builds the temple. This son is of course Solomon. (The name even includes 'Salem' - 'Peace'.) 'And David commanded to gather together the strangers that were in the land of Israel; and he set masons to hew wrought stones to build the house of God… So David prepared abundantly before his death. Then he called for Solomon his son, and charged him to build an house for the LORD God of Israel. David also commanded all the princes of Israel to help Solomon his son, saying…arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the LORD God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and the holy vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name of the LORD.' Then in the next part of Chronicles Solomon begins the work of creating this temple, and it is a part of the Bible that has been important for Freemasons, for it is here that Solomon enlists the help of King Hiram of Tyre. According to a strand of Masonic tradition Hiram's craftsmen were the Dionysiac Artificers who had come from Bronze Age Greece, and they were the proto-Freemasons.
In Chronicles we read that 'Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the LORD, and an house for his kingdom.' Notice that the temple is to be built 'for the name of the Lord'. Legend says that Solomon had a gold ring with the name of god on it which brought good luck and warded off evil, and this same ring is also behind the name 'Seal of Solomon', for it was said that the hexagram was the symbol upon it. If the 'name of the lord' and the hexagram are one and the same, and the temple of Salem was built for this 'name', we could say that the French hexagram was intended to be just such a talisman. In the Bible the sword that stretched across Jerusalem represented God's wrath towards David because of his transgressions, while the temple David told Solomon to build at a special place was definitely intended to appease this wrath - just building it would bring health, peace and plenty in the kingdom.