The Meridian and the Hexagram: The Revelation of France's Foundation Plan (cont.)
By William Glyn-Jones
What is certainly true is that Louis the Sun King himself took an extraordinary interest in this painting, going to extreme lengths to acquire it at enormous financial cost after he had confiscated letters written by his Superintendant of Finances which spoke of some great mystery of which its painter, Poussin, was aware. The reason this is anomalous as regards the official history is that The Shepherds of Arcadia II was painted in the early half of the 1600's, while the official mapping out of the Paris Meridian occurred considerably later in that century, so if the mystery Poussin wished to declare related to the Meridian, something funny is going on.
And did Paris just happen to be on a longitude line that extends from what had by then become the most northerly to the most southerly points of France, as the boundaries by this point had been fixed? It seems quite possible that whilst the cartographic survey was carried out for the first time in this later period, the basic notion of the Paris Meridian was based on something with a somewhat longer history.
I also found it interesting that the Seal of Solomon pattern can indeed be related to the Rennes-le-Chateaux mystery in material preceding even Plantard's image of the sword along the French Meridian. In the bookplate designed by Sauniere, the priest who is said to have discovered the treasure and the secret parchments of Rennes-le-Chateaux, look carefully and you shall see the dot in the centre of the cross is in the Paris position, a direct reference that, it seems to me, cannot possibly be just coincidental, and the other dot in the middle of the centric circles is exactly in the equivalent Roslin location, i.e. at the intersection points along the central vertical/meridian.
Sauniere's Bookplate based on the Solomon Seal
Reason demands that another question be answered: when did the map of France become hexagonal? Actually, analysis of the changing shape of the country over the years shows that from the Middle Ages up to the eve of the French Revolution the shape, rather like a snowflake forming, gradually became more and more hexagonal until she reached the shape she has today. It was also upon the eve of the Revolution that the great cartographic survey of France begun in the Sun King's time was finally completed. Then when Napoleon came into power the borders suddenly expanded as a result of the conquests. However, after the defeat of Napoleon at Elba a group of European royals and their officials met in Vienna and, as well as taking in the odd Beethoven performance here and there, came up with new agreements about the European borders, and in the case of France this resulted in the shape of the nation reverting as if by elastic memory to a hexagon. It was a royalist meeting that didn't have democratic aims high on its list, but it did result in about a hundred years of peace between European nations, quite a significant result.
Then there was that question of how the Louvre pyramids could be a key to all this, when they were built only recently. Plantard's map with Meridian blade and hexagram, and also Sauniere's bookplate, give evidence that this scheme was known by some in recent times, which also makes it possible that the builders of the pyramids did have this same scheme in mind. In fact, the Louvre pyramid complex was commissioned by President Mitterand as part of his Grands Travaux or 'Great Works' programme, which also included the intriguing Monument to the Rights of Man and the Citizen. This monument includes, amongst other things, two bronze figures based on the shepherds in Poussin's painting, a shaft aligned to the Sun due south at the Summer Solstice, Masonic symbols and two obelisks. In light of this it would be difficult to claim that the Grands Travaux project including the Louvre pyramids lacked occult significance! The Travaux project also includes the massive Grand Arch of the Defence in the shape of a giant cube. In fact, the glass pyramid was actually the fulfilment of a long-standing plan for a Parisian pyramid, with various versions of the plan being the 'Cenotaph dans le genre égyptien' of Etienne Boullée, and the great pyramids planned by the Freemason Nicholas Ledou. Indeed even before Napoleon, during the reign of Louis XIV a pyramid to the glory of the Sun-King had been proposed for the Cour Carrée of the Louvre by architect Francois Dubois, and later a large baroque pyramid with a statue of Napoleon on top was designed by the architect Louis-Francois Leheureux to be located on the exact spot where the glass pyramid now stands! Details of these plans are given in the penultimate chapter of Talisman, the 2004 book of Bauval and Hancock. It seems that whether it was the king or the emperor of a republic - or indeed a 20th century president - was far less important than the real aim - to get a Paris pyramid erected here. This was partly because they believed that the Great Pyramid of Egypt stood on an Ancient Egyptian prime meridian that bisected the Nile Delta. But what ultimately got built also had the inverted pyramid, a symbolic reference, it would now seem, to the location of Paris at the ¾ intersection point along the French Meridian.
The Grand Arch of the Defence
So, for goodness sake, what is this business of the "blade" and the "chalice"? We've already seen that Plantard's map shows a sword stretched across the map over that Seal of Solomon pattern which has become associated with the Jerusalem Temple, while in the Bible a sword stretched across Jerusalem embodied the "wrath of god". Perhaps this is why the sword came to be associated with Justice, as personified by the goddess Astraea, for in the Renaissance Astraea was most often shown holding not only the scales in one hand, but also the sword in her other hand. Justice is one of the Four Cardinal Virtues that were mentioned in works by Plato, and this theme was then taken up by Jewish, Christian, Medieval chivalric and Florentine NeoPlatonic traditions. Here at last is a level of research into this business that appeals both to my Reason, in that it sheds light on the origins of the concepts in this mystery within both Medieval and later Renaissance contexts, and appeals also to my Mind, my Mens, in the higher NeoPlatonic, 3rd Eye sense. The other Cardinal Virtues are Temperance (exercising moderation where appropriate), Strength (having fortitude, endurance), and Truth.
Why do these give us the key to understanding not just the "Blade", but also the "Chalice"? In Florence these Four Cardinal Virtues became associated with the Four Suits of Tarot/playing cards: Temperance, symbolized by wine being mixed with water, being associated with Cups, Strength associated with the Rods suit, and Truth with Mirrors (Coins). And surprise, surprise: it is a Florentine book dedicated to Catherine de Medici (of Louvre fame) that gives us evidence of a card game in which the four suits were associated in this way with the Cardinal Virtues. (One Hundred Liberal and Ingenious Games). The Florentine church of San Miniato al Monte, dating from the century before, (i.e. the 1400's, when the chapel at Roslin was also built) has four angels at the four corners of the ceiling each carrying one of these emblems of the Four Virtues, as noted by Paul Huson in his book Mystical Origins of the Tarot.