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[sacredlandscapelist] Cosmati Pavements

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  • Mike Bispham
    Hello list I was recently pleasantly surprised by a lead Barry thoughtfully sent to me - a reference to a book by Richard Foster called Patterns of Thought:
    Message 1 of 13 , Dec 16, 1999
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      Hello list

      I was recently pleasantly surprised by a lead Barry thoughtfully sent to me
      - a reference to a book by Richard Foster called 'Patterns of Thought: The
      Hidden Meaning of the Great Pavement of Westminster Abbey' Barry pointed
      out to me that Foster's thesis, that the pavement signifies an Aristotlian
      matter model, closely paralleled my own work on the ad quadratum and ad
      triangulum 'gothic' design schemes.

      I've been stunned to find, not only that there are many such pavements
      mostly dating from the 13th C., but that, in the words of westminster
      abbey's booklet:

      "The infill patterns are all different, a dazzling display of what can be
      done with just a few basic shapes: those in the transverse square are based
      on hexagons and equilateral triangles, those in the outer square on
      right-angle triangles and squares."

      Which strongly suggests to me that these pavements are indeed cosmic
      models, but definately platonic rather than aristotlian. These shapes are
      Plato's timean triangular atoms - "The most beautiful triangles in the
      world", and of course, to the Neoplatonic mind, what can be built with
      these (two) basic shapes is... via the regular solids, earth air fire and
      water... all of Creation!

      Furthermore, and in opposition to the views of most modern scholars
      regarding cosmati pavements, the catholic encyclopedia gives for 'cosmati'
      exactly what I'd expect: the greek root 'kosmos'. (
      http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04405b.htm)

      Despite being at an early stage in this area, I'm pretty sure that these
      pavements are a neoplatonic/ptolemaic statement of cosmos: built of timean
      atoms with, at their centre, a clear (indeed labelled) model of the crystal
      spheres. From atoms to universe: the whole of Creation. (See attached
      image, and also the abbey site at:

      http://www.westminster-abbey.org/tour/images/cosmati.jpg)

      Now, if I'm right in thinking the above, and if I'm also right in thinking
      the buildings that contain these pavements are also modelled, via the ad
      quad and ad tri schemes, to echo/emulate purest, crystaline matter (see my
      website at http://www.fupro.com/plat) then... some interesting questions
      arise which I though some of you might be able to help out with.

      They concern an area in which I'm rather lost, but which I know some of you
      are familiar with: the mystical? rationale? of: point - line- plane...
      Monad - dyad etc.

      This is what I'm thinking about: Say you continue the point - line - plane
      - geometric progression to the next logical stage: - solid.

      1/point - 2/line - 3/plane (triangle/timeaun planar atom) - 4/solid, maybe
      4 sided tetrahedron, maybe any solid including sphere.

      Each of these stages are I believe significant. So imagine: we are
      standing (by the high altar) of westminster cathedral, upon a cosmic _2
      dimensional_ cosmic pavement, _enclosed by a 3 dimensional_ crystalline
      structure, (the cathedral), and still further by the _crystal_ spheres
      themselves... what?

      We are standing by a holy altar, upon a model of the cosmos, _ in_ a, ok
      I'll say it, man made jewel.

      (Abbot Suger, the known orginator of this style of architecture is known to
      have been obsessed with _light._ Contemporary scientific isses concerning
      the nature of light were at the heart of the atomic debate - ie, was light
      corpuscular or not. Crystal, pure matter, is the only material that admits
      light.)

      Are there some parallels here? Does the movement from 3-ness to 4-ness,
      from plane to solid, say anything significant? Could we suggest for
      instance a parallel concerning intellectual - spiritual? In short, can
      anyone see a way to haul the mystic and scientific together here?

      What I'm hoping is that this picture will enable the reconstruction of the
      full neoplatonic cosmic narrative that informed these structures.
      Absolutely any thoughts will be most welcome. And fulsome thanks again
      Barry for firing me up again.

      Best to all

      Mike
    • Mark Swaney
      Mike, I m not sure if this is along the lines you are thinking of, but A.E. Waite says of the Kabballah that one of the great fundamental principals of it is
      Message 2 of 13 , Dec 16, 1999
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        Mike,

        I'm not sure if this is along the lines you are thinking of, but A.E.
        Waite
        says of the Kabballah that one of the great fundamental principals of it
        is
        that the trinity is "completed in and realized by the quaternary". By
        which I
        have always thought he referred to the 3 and 4 letter name of God, and
        the
        Tetragammaton. This whole 3 to 4 business is indeed a big deal in the
        Kabballah, unity = 3 + 1, (a certain way of expressing the idea that
        there are
        "3 in 1") I think that the connections between 4 and 13 were indicative
        of a
        numeralogical approach to the ideas about the trinity and the
        quaternary. In
        the Kabbalistic book Sepher Yitzarah, the Book of Creation, the
        development of
        the universe is discussed in terms of hexagons and squares, at least
        that's how
        Waite sees it. The subject is rather rich, in my opinion. It would not
        be hard
        to view the development of the universe as described by the SY using
        geometrical terms (sealing the north, south, east & west, above, and
        below with
        the various trigrammatic names of God, IHV) as being a description of
        the
        development of pure space. In this sense, then the progression from
        plane to
        solid is crucial, as we cannot exist in a two dimensional space.

        Mark




        > Are there some parallels here? Does the movement from 3-ness to 4-ness,
        > from plane to solid, say anything significant? Could we suggest for
        > instance a parallel concerning intellectual - spiritual? In short, can
        > anyone see a way to haul the mystic and scientific together here?
        >
        >
        >
        > Mike
      • Mike Bispham
        Message text written by INTERNET:sacredlandscapelist@egroups.com ... I m not sure if this is along the lines you are thinking of, but A.E. Waite says of the
        Message 3 of 13 , Dec 16, 1999
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          Message text written by INTERNET:sacredlandscapelist@egroups.com

          Mark wrote:

          >Mike,

          I'm not sure if this is along the lines you are thinking of, but A.E. Waite
          says of the Kabballah that one of the great fundamental principals of it
          is that the trinity is "completed in and realized by the quaternary". By
          which I have always thought he referred to the 3 and 4 letter name of God,
          and
          the Tetragammaton.

          This whole 3 to 4 business is indeed a big deal in the Kabballah, unity = 3
          + 1,
          (a certain way of expressing the idea that there are "3 in 1") I think
          that the connections
          between 4 and 13 were indicative of a numeralogical approach to the ideas
          about
          the trinity and the quaternary.

          In the Kabbalistic book Sepher Yitzarah, the Book of Creation, the
          development of the
          universe is discussed in terms of hexagons and squares, at least that's how
          Waite
          sees it. The subject is rather rich, in my opinion.

          It would not be hard to view the development of the universe as described
          by the SY
          using geometrical terms (sealing the north, south, east & west, above, and
          below with
          the various trigrammatic names of God, IHV) as being a description of the
          development
          of pure space. In this sense, then the progression from plane to solid is
          crucial, as we
          cannot exist in a two dimensional space.

          Mark<

          Mark, thanks; its going to take a while to digest that though. Do you know
          the origin of the Book of Creation?

          Meanwhile I'll go a little further down my particular road, just thinking
          aloud.

          First, I want to paint a picture of the creator of a cathdral, or abbey
          church. In this picture the designer is the _combined intellectual
          impulse_ ...of the bishopric, or diocese or whatever. The subject is
          spiritual belief, the religious culture Christian, but the design comes
          from the combined, or dominant, wisdom of the local school or university,
          and order. As many of these schools were hotbeds of neoplatonism, and
          as, in the early part of the 2nd millenium Rome wasn't really _too_
          bothered about neoplatonism, and especially as Rome was frequently a good
          distance away... the designers were free to express their particular
          blend of Catholisism and Classical Reason. So what we looking for is the
          nature of that blend.

          Now, back to westminster abbey or canterbury cathedral, and their cosmati
          pavements _right by the altars_ ... right up there in the
          this-is-something-important-place.

          The westminster pavement has several inscriptions, the remaining parts of
          one says:

          "If the reader prudently considers all that is set down, he will find here
          the end of the primum mobile. (The field lives three years; add dogs and
          horses and men, stags and ravens, eagles, huge sea serpents, the world:
          whatever follows triples the years of the foregoing.) The sphere shows the
          architype, this globe shows the macrocosm"

          Ignore for a while the part in brackets. First, Robert Grosseteste's (Dean
          of Lincoln cathedral, atomist, excommunicated for a while because of it)...
          definition of the primum mobile:

          "The cause of Unity, Order and Permanance in the Way of Nature"

          Can we look at this _itself_ as being a description of the cosmic physics?
          That the pavement, the illustration of atoms to crystal spheres, beyond
          which is God - is the neoplatonic model. And that that cosmology, that
          matter/structure theory, as espoused in the pavement, and as echoed in the
          building, is, due to its prominance, its depth of presence in the
          structure, pretty much on a par with the remainder of the Catholic package?
          The expression of the reason half of the faith/reason marriage? Science
          and God as One? God the Ultimate Architect? Or simply God = the Primum
          Mobile = The Cause of Unity, Order etc? Is any of this making any sense?

          Mike

          PS its occured to me:

          Mark said:
          <It would not be hard to view the development of the universe as described
          by the SY
          using geometrical terms (sealing the north, south, east & west, above, and
          below with
          the various trigrammatic names of God, IHV) as being a description of the
          development
          of pure space. In this sense, then the progression from plane to solid is
          crucial, as we
          cannot exist in a two dimensional space.>

          That would be as an octahedron? Four corners, above, and below.
        • Dan Washburn
          Mike: When I was in Italy, I noticed several references in guide books to cosmati pavements. There apparently was one family that specialized in this type of
          Message 4 of 13 , Dec 16, 1999
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            Mike:

            When I was in Italy, I noticed several references in guide books to cosmati
            pavements. There apparently was one family that specialized in this type of
            floor design.

            As far as neoplatonic cosmology goes, I think you need to go back before Plato
            to Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans. Take a look at page 271-2 of W K C
            Guthrie's History of Greek Philosophy Vol I (a terrific, lucid book on
            Pyathagoras) where he talks about the 5th element, the dodekahedron, as the
            sphere of the whole (primum mobile?).

            As far as the Sepher Yetzirah is concerned, Leonora Leet has just published a
            book called The Secret Doctrine of the Kabbalah in which she details her ideas
            on the geometric construction of the Tree of Life, part of which have to do
            with the SY and the Octahedron. You might be interested, Mike, because she
            develops various ideas around the Platonic Solids. She's a scholar, a
            professor of English Lit, I believe, and she has studied with the best -- Aryeh
            Kaplan, for example. However, I was very disappointed in the book. Insight
            runs miles ahead of evidence. Vincent, you were going to read Leonora Leet,
            weren't you? What did you think?

            Any possibilities of getting xeroxes from Richard Foster's 'Patterns of
            Thought: The
            Hidden Meaning of the Great Pavement of Westminster Abbey'. I looked for it
            once in the used book market and couldn't find it.

            Dan W.

            Mike Bispham wrote:

            >
            > First, I want to paint a picture of the creator of a cathdral, or abbey
            > church. In this picture the designer is the _combined intellectual
            > impulse_ ...of the bishopric, or diocese or whatever. The subject is
            > spiritual belief, the religious culture Christian, but the design comes
            > from the combined, or dominant, wisdom of the local school or university,
            > and order. As many of these schools were hotbeds of neoplatonism, and
            > as, in the early part of the 2nd millenium Rome wasn't really _too_
            > bothered about neoplatonism, and especially as Rome was frequently a good
            > distance away... the designers were free to express their particular
            > blend of Catholisism and Classical Reason. So what we looking for is the
            > nature of that blend.
            >
            > Now, back to westminster abbey or canterbury cathedral, and their cosmati
            > pavements _right by the altars_ ... right up there in the
            > this-is-something-important-place.
            >
            > The westminster pavement has several inscriptions, the remaining parts of
            > one says:
            >
            > "If the reader prudently considers all that is set down, he will find here
            > the end of the primum mobile. (The field lives three years; add dogs and
            > horses and men, stags and ravens, eagles, huge sea serpents, the world:
            > whatever follows triples the years of the foregoing.) The sphere shows the
            > architype, this globe shows the macrocosm"
            >
            > Ignore for a while the part in brackets. First, Robert Grosseteste's (Dean
            > of Lincoln cathedral, atomist, excommunicated for a while because of it)...
            > definition of the primum mobile:
            >
            > "The cause of Unity, Order and Permanance in the Way of Nature"
            >
            > Can we look at this _itself_ as being a description of the cosmic physics?
            > That the pavement, the illustration of atoms to crystal spheres, beyond
            > which is God - is the neoplatonic model. And that that cosmology, that
            > matter/structure theory, as espoused in the pavement, and as echoed in the
            > building, is, due to its prominance, its depth of presence in the
            > structure, pretty much on a par with the remainder of the Catholic package?
            > The expression of the reason half of the faith/reason marriage? Science
            > and God as One? God the Ultimate Architect? Or simply God = the Primum
            > Mobile = The Cause of Unity, Order etc? Is any of this making any sense?
            >
            > Mike
            >
            > PS its occured to me:
            >
            > Mark said:
            > <It would not be hard to view the development of the universe as described
            > by the SY
            > using geometrical terms (sealing the north, south, east & west, above, and
            > below with
            > the various trigrammatic names of God, IHV) as being a description of the
            > development
            > of pure space. In this sense, then the progression from plane to solid is
            > crucial, as we
            > cannot exist in a two dimensional space.>
            >
            > That would be as an octahedron? Four corners, above, and below.
            >
            > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
            > -- Create a poll/survey for your group!
            > -- http://www.egroups.com/vote?listname=sacredlandscapelist&m=1
          • Pam Giese
            from Mike: This is what I m thinking about: Say you continue the point - line - plane - geometric progression to the next logical stage: - solid. 1/point -
            Message 5 of 13 , Dec 16, 1999
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              from Mike:
              This is what I'm thinking about: Say you continue the point - line - plane
              - geometric progression to the next logical stage: - solid.
              1/point - 2/line - 3/plane (triangle/timeaun planar atom) - 4/solid, maybe
              4 sided tetrahedron, maybe any solid including sphere.
              ***************
              This corresponds to the Tetraktys of Pythagoras:
              * Unity ,1
              ** Line , 2
              *** Surface, 3
              **** Solid, 4

              The Platonic Lambda is a form of the tetraktys where each step is 2 or 3
              raised to the preceeding power:
              1
              2 3
              4 9
              8 27 1+2+3+4+8+9=27
              Here again is unity. The 1st dimension corresponds to a line (2 to the 1,
              3 to the 1). The 2nd dimension (2 squared or 3 square) represents the plane
              or surface; the power cubed represents 3 dimensional space.

              "The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library" by Kenneth Guthrie has an
              excellent discussion on this. It is published by Phanes Press -so if you're
              following Dan's advice
              and picking up John Mitchell's book, you might as well add this to the
              list.
              Pam
              pgiese@...
              http://www.snd.softfarm.com/pws/pgiese

              "Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light..."
              -----Original Message-----
              From: Mike Bispham <100574.3655@...>
              To: INTERNET:sacredlandscapelist@egroups.com
              <sacredlandscapelist@egroups.com>
              Date: Thursday, December 16, 1999 3:55 PM
              Subject: [sacredlandscapelist] Cosmati Pavements


              Hello list

              I was recently pleasantly surprised by a lead Barry thoughtfully sent to me
              - a reference to a book by Richard Foster called 'Patterns of Thought: The
              Hidden Meaning of the Great Pavement of Westminster Abbey' Barry pointed
              out to me that Foster's thesis, that the pavement signifies an Aristotlian
              matter model, closely paralleled my own work on the ad quadratum and ad
              triangulum 'gothic' design schemes.

              I've been stunned to find, not only that there are many such pavements
              mostly dating from the 13th C., but that, in the words of westminster
              abbey's booklet:

              "The infill patterns are all different, a dazzling display of what can be
              done with just a few basic shapes: those in the transverse square are based
              on hexagons and equilateral triangles, those in the outer square on
              right-angle triangles and squares."

              Which strongly suggests to me that these pavements are indeed cosmic
              models, but definately platonic rather than aristotlian. These shapes are
              Plato's timean triangular atoms - "The most beautiful triangles in the
              world", and of course, to the Neoplatonic mind, what can be built with
              these (two) basic shapes is... via the regular solids, earth air fire and
              water... all of Creation!

              Furthermore, and in opposition to the views of most modern scholars
              regarding cosmati pavements, the catholic encyclopedia gives for 'cosmati'
              exactly what I'd expect: the greek root 'kosmos'. (
              http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04405b.htm)

              Despite being at an early stage in this area, I'm pretty sure that these
              pavements are a neoplatonic/ptolemaic statement of cosmos: built of timean
              atoms with, at their centre, a clear (indeed labelled) model of the crystal
              spheres. From atoms to universe: the whole of Creation. (See attached
              image, and also the abbey site at:

              http://www.westminster-abbey.org/tour/images/cosmati.jpg)

              Now, if I'm right in thinking the above, and if I'm also right in thinking
              the buildings that contain these pavements are also modelled, via the ad
              quad and ad tri schemes, to echo/emulate purest, crystaline matter (see my
              website at http://www.fupro.com/plat) then... some interesting questions
              arise which I though some of you might be able to help out with.

              They concern an area in which I'm rather lost, but which I know some of you
              are familiar with: the mystical? rationale? of: point - line- plane...
              Monad - dyad etc.

              This is what I'm thinking about: Say you continue the point - line - plane
              - geometric progression to the next logical stage: - solid.

              1/point - 2/line - 3/plane (triangle/timeaun planar atom) - 4/solid, maybe
              4 sided tetrahedron, maybe any solid including sphere.

              Each of these stages are I believe significant. So imagine: we are
              standing (by the high altar) of westminster cathedral, upon a cosmic _2
              dimensional_ cosmic pavement, _enclosed by a 3 dimensional_ crystalline
              structure, (the cathedral), and still further by the _crystal_ spheres
              themselves... what?

              We are standing by a holy altar, upon a model of the cosmos, _ in_ a, ok
              I'll say it, man made jewel.

              (Abbot Suger, the known orginator of this style of architecture is known to
              have been obsessed with _light._ Contemporary scientific isses concerning
              the nature of light were at the heart of the atomic debate - ie, was light
              corpuscular or not. Crystal, pure matter, is the only material that admits
              light.)

              Are there some parallels here? Does the movement from 3-ness to 4-ness,
              from plane to solid, say anything significant? Could we suggest for
              instance a parallel concerning intellectual - spiritual? In short, can
              anyone see a way to haul the mystic and scientific together here?

              What I'm hoping is that this picture will enable the reconstruction of the
              full neoplatonic cosmic narrative that informed these structures.
              Absolutely any thoughts will be most welcome. And fulsome thanks again
              Barry for firing me up again.

              Best to all

              Mike


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            • J.Vincent Beall
              ... Well, I started reading it and put it down because it was also disappointing to me. Part three of the book I thought would hold my interest The
              Message 6 of 13 , Dec 16, 1999
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                Dan Washburn wrote:

                > As far as the Sepher Yetzirah is concerned, Leonora Leet has just published a
                > book called The Secret Doctrine of the Kabbalah in which she details her ideas
                > on the geometric construction of the Tree of Life, part of which have to do
                > with the SY and the Octahedron. You might be interested, Mike, because she
                > develops various ideas around the Platonic Solids. She's a scholar, a
                > professor of English Lit, I believe, and she has studied with the best -- Aryeh
                > Kaplan, for example. However, I was very disappointed in the book. Insight
                > runs miles ahead of evidence. Vincent, you were going to read Leonora Leet,
                > weren't you? What did you think?
                >

                Well, I started reading it and put it down because it was also disappointing to me.
                Part three of the book I thought would hold my interest "The Kabbalistic Sacred
                Science of Geometry", but it was very evident that she was not describing a
                science, she was making use of the geometry as an art. She has a huge bibliography
                attached to the book but has left out "The Art of Memory" by Yates. She definitely
                should have read it carefully before she wrote her book because I think it is a big
                mistake to be claiming science for her artful use of geometry.

                As to the secular science section of her book I assume it is more of the same, so
                it may be quite a while before I get to reading it. I have read some early parts of
                the book that were rather informative to me because of the historical imort. I may
                one day read it all straight through, but probably not today. ;-)

                Vincent
              • Barry Carroll
                vincent-- if you have time, can you post a quote of any kind that gives an example of Leet s style? or illustrates what you mean by: it was very evident that
                Message 7 of 13 , Dec 17, 1999
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                  vincent--
                  if you have time, can you post a quote of any kind that gives an example of
                  Leet's style?

                  or illustrates what you mean by: "
                  it was very evident that she was not describing a
                  science, she was making use of the geometry as an art".

                  i'm not familiar with her. til i can catch up
                  i'd like to get a better sense of where she takes the subject.
                  B



                  At 01:51 AM 12/17/99 -0500, you wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  >Dan Washburn wrote:
                  >
                  >> As far as the Sepher Yetzirah is concerned, Leonora Leet has just
                  published a
                  >> book called The Secret Doctrine of the Kabbalah in which she details her
                  ideas
                  >> on the geometric construction of the Tree of Life, part of which have to do
                  >> with the SY and the Octahedron. You might be interested, Mike, because she
                  >> develops various ideas around the Platonic Solids. She's a scholar, a
                  >> professor of English Lit, I believe, and she has studied with the best
                  -- Aryeh
                  >> Kaplan, for example. However, I was very disappointed in the book.
                  Insight
                  >> runs miles ahead of evidence. Vincent, you were going to read Leonora
                  Leet,
                  >> weren't you? What did you think?
                  >>
                  >
                  >Well, I started reading it and put it down because it was also
                  disappointing to me.
                  >Part three of the book I thought would hold my interest "The Kabbalistic
                  Sacred
                  >Science of Geometry", but it was very evident that she was not describing a
                  >science, she was making use of the geometry as an art. She has a huge
                  bibliography
                  >attached to the book but has left out "The Art of Memory" by Yates. She
                  definitely
                  >should have read it carefully before she wrote her book because I think it
                  is a big
                  >mistake to be claiming science for her artful use of geometry.
                  >
                  >As to the secular science section of her book I assume it is more of the
                  same, so
                  >it may be quite a while before I get to reading it. I have read some early
                  parts of
                  >the book that were rather informative to me because of the historical
                  imort. I may
                  >one day read it all straight through, but probably not today. ;-)
                  >
                  >Vincent
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  >-- Talk to your group with your own voice!
                  >-- http://www.egroups.com/VoiceChatPage?listName=sacredlandscapelist&m=1
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • Mark Swaney
                  ... Mike, I think I see what you mean, it is ironic that such a beautiful example of the neo-platonist model appears in the pavement of a cathedral, the
                  Message 8 of 13 , Dec 17, 1999
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                    > Can we look at this _itself_ as being a description of the cosmic physics?
                    > That the pavement, the illustration of atoms to crystal spheres, beyond
                    > which is God - is the neoplatonic model. And that that cosmology, that
                    > matter/structure theory, as espoused in the pavement, and as echoed in the
                    > building, is, due to its prominance, its depth of presence in the
                    > structure, pretty much on a par with the remainder of the Catholic package?
                    > The expression of the reason half of the faith/reason marriage? Science
                    > and God as One? God the Ultimate Architect? Or simply God = the Primum
                    > Mobile = The Cause of Unity, Order etc? Is any of this making any sense?

                    Mike,

                    I think I see what you mean, it is ironic that such a beautiful example of
                    the neo-platonist model appears in the pavement of a cathedral, the citadel of
                    the church, which later became a bitter enemy of neo-platonism. The pavements
                    are from the 13th century, roughly two hundred years before the renaissance, in
                    that comfortable time when truth was viewed as being all of one piece. As I
                    understand this period, it was a time when the relationship between the church
                    and the intellectuals was fairly cordial. As long as the intellectuals who
                    made their philosophical theories of the universe did not postulate something
                    radically at odds with Christianity, then it wasn't so bad. Under these
                    conditions, the church encouraged intellectual pursuits, and wanted to be in
                    harmony with the "latest knowledge", even take advantage of the latest
                    knowledge, unless the latest knowledge conflicted with certain precepts of the
                    church, of "faith". So, I think that the church itself accepted as true many
                    of the
                    philosophical/cosmological theories of the platonists and neo-platonists.
                    Marsilio Ficino was a priest, so were other neo-platonists, like Giorgi.

                    You demonstrate what I think is an important point, that it is
                    intellectually possible to unite a view of the physical universe with a
                    spiritual view. I think that in ancient times that is exactly what all
                    religion was based on. Now, all we have is the husk of a dried-out inherited
                    DEAL that was made to save a political/theocratic establishment that passed
                    away about 400 years ago.

                    The problem for the church came when philosophers wanted to become more
                    than pure thinkers and started to ACT on the "latest knowledge". Now the
                    church had to contemplate its own position as purveyor of "magical" effects -
                    Christian Magic - to be sure, but still viewed by the church itself as
                    religious magic. If anyone could do magical things (heal the sick for example)
                    simply by knowing the proper rules (what planets have what influence, etc.)
                    then the church had lost it's monopoly on what we in the 21st century call
                    "practical psychological magic". And it was specifically the assumed linkage
                    between the truth of physical reality and the truth of spiritual reality that
                    was such a threat. The fact that we today can even conceive of a difference
                    between the two is itself a product of the aftermath of the renaissance.

                    I don't believe the neo-platonist theories were scientifically correct. I
                    think that modern criticism of the occultists is accurate - that stuff that
                    Ficino and the others believed in was hokum. And attempts to imitate it now
                    are also hokum. But the theories of Ficino, and Pico, and the Kabbalists and
                    the Hermeticists, and the Neo-Platonists, had to my mind some highly redeeming
                    features that deserve consideration in the 21st century. They at least aimed
                    higher than our modern thinkers dare. They imagined, conceived, and in a
                    sense, created, a unified vision of existence, a very beautiful, almost
                    intoxicating, view of reality in which the truth of ones physical life could be
                    made commensurate with the universe. That they failed or were suppressed
                    should not, I think, discourage us from trying again.

                    Mark
                  • Mike Bispham
                    Thanks Mark, and everyone else who s helping out here. My copy of Fosters book has now arrived, and it illuminates these questions perfectly, if, in my view,
                    Message 9 of 13 , Dec 17, 1999
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Thanks Mark, and everyone else who's helping out here. My copy of Fosters
                      book has now arrived, and it illuminates these questions perfectly, if, in
                      my view, incompletely.

                      His central argument, very well made, is that the westminster pavement is a
                      complex model which fully illustrates the contemporary neoplatonic
                      cosmology, (although he admits, in specific terms, his is but one of any
                      number of interpretations.) This argument is developed from the widespread
                      existence of similar but more specific paintings, illustrations and
                      mosiacs, all designed to illustrate the well developed elemental model, its
                      beautiful internal numerical harmony, and its connections to medicine
                      (through the humours), astrology, and sometimes more. The attached example
                      is taken from a 12th C. schema from St John Collage, Oxford. I won't give
                      every detail because the picture is pretty complex; but the numerics are as
                      follows, directly from Foster:

                      "In the process of harmonising neo-Platonic teaching with that of the
                      Bible, the Church Fathers had identified the caelum et terram created by
                      God in the opening words of Genesis with the Elements of Fire and Earth:

                      "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." In the Timaeus,
                      Plato describes Fire and Earth as the first two Elements to be created, an
                      opposing pair which were reconciled by the creation of two intermediate
                      Elements, Air and Water. The {further}reconciliation of the four Elements
                      was achieved not only by the [additional] qualities of Hot, Cold, Dry and
                      Moist, but also .
                      quantitively by giving them numerical values.

                      The numerical treatment of the theme of the four Elements plaited together
                      strands from both the Pythagorean and the Platonic traditions. Being
                      primal, the Elements must be represented by, or derive from, the simplest
                      numbers. Since I was reserved for the divine unity of God, the first two
                      numbers that could possibly be used to represent the first two Elements to
                      be created, Fire and Earth, were 2 and 3. However, these numbers were not
                      considered adequate in themselves. ' A simple number can represent only
                      one dimension, in visual terms a line. By analogy, a square number, for
                      example 4 (2*2), may represent a surface area, that is, a plane figure. But
                      for material and spatial existence, three dimensions are necessary. Theon
                      of Smyrna, the Greek mathematician, wrote that 3 "is the first bond and
                      power of the solid; for in three dimensions is the solid concieved . Thus
                      the appropriate numbers for the first two Elements had to be the cubes of
                      the first two available numbers, 2 and 3. So Fire was assigned the number
                      8, and Earth the number 27. [2*2*2 and 3*3*3 respectfully. See Pam's post
                      on the Tetraktys of Pythagoras and the Platonic Lambda]

                      The extremes of Fire and Earth, 8 and 27, then had to be reconciled by
                      bonds which were sufficiently strong, in the numerical sense, to hold
                      together the whole of the created world. Between two square numbers (those
                      re representing plane figures) a single mean is sufficient, but for cube
                      numbers (solid figures) two means are needed. These means are I2 ( 2 X 2
                      X3) and I 8 ( 2 X3 X 3 ). So the intermediary Elements of Air and Water
                      received the mean numbers of I2 and I 8 respectively. The numbers of the
                      Elements, therefore, form a progression in which each individual Element is
                      bound to its neighbour by the ratio of 2 : 3 one of the
                      favourite harmonic ratios of the Pythagoreans, known as the sesquialter,
                      the sixth of the proportions described by Nicomachus of Gerasa in his
                      _Introduction to Arithmetic, c. AD 100_. In this way the Elements that
                      'seem to oppose each other' were united into a stable and well-tuned
                      harmony'. "

                      It seems that this cosmology was very well established by the 13th C., and
                      schemata like the attached example were many and varied - and often found
                      in ecclesiastic settings. As you say Mark, "a unified vision of
                      existence, a very beautiful, almost intoxicating, view of reality in which
                      the truth of ones physical life could be made commensurate with the
                      universe". To contemplate such a model from within a fabulous,
                      cosmologically attuned cathedral, listening to simple harmonic singing,
                      must have quite an experience.

                      I suspect the more detailed parts of the theory, concerning the timean
                      atoms, were slowly 'brushed out', and became esoteric, available to
                      initiates only. Even the regular solids are left out of these models;
                      possibly these aspects of the elemental theory became uncomfortable
                      immediataly after the Council of Nicea (300 odd ad), where trinititarianism
                      was established as the godheads nature, and questions of substance became
                      awkward. (The east, ruled from byzantium disagreed, as did later,
                      Mohammed. And this mosaic style, like so much else, is known to have been
                      introduced to the west from these sources). And about this time (13th C.)
                      the elevation of the sacrement of the eucharist to the liturgy made the
                      continuation of the neoplatonic model impossible. (Foster though doesn't
                      mention the 'great controversy' at all) I have records of 16th C.
                      injunctions against 'the geometry of indivisibles', but nothing that
                      specific this early - just the Lateran Council rulings against anything
                      'leading to error' about the sacrement, which were I think the first
                      effective condemnations of the atomistic cosmology.

                      I thoroughly recommend Foster's book, although its hard to get hold of,
                      well worth the effort to find a secondhand copy.

                      Mike

                      PS, Dan, from Pam's post: "...so if you're following Dan's advice and
                      picking up John Mitchell's book,..." I didn't get any post recommending
                      this book? Could you re-send to me if I've missed one? And

                      >Any possibilities of getting xeroxes from Richard Foster's 'Patterns of
                      Thought: The Hidden Meaning of the Great Pavement of Westminster Abbey'. <

                      Sure, emailed images anyway.


                      Message text written by INTERNET:sacredlandscapelist@egroups.com (Mark)
                      >> Can we look at this _itself_ as being a description of the cosmic
                      physics?
                      > That the pavement, the illustration of atoms to crystal spheres, beyond
                      > which is God - is the neoplatonic model. And that that cosmology, that
                      > matter/structure theory, as espoused in the pavement, and as echoed in
                      the
                      > building, is, due to its prominance, its depth of presence in the
                      > structure, pretty much on a par with the remainder of the Catholic
                      package?
                      > The expression of the reason half of the faith/reason marriage? Science
                      > and God as One? God the Ultimate Architect? Or simply God = the Primum
                      > Mobile = The Cause of Unity, Order etc? Is any of this making any sense?

                      Mike,

                      I think I see what you mean, it is ironic that such a beautiful example
                      of
                      the neo-platonist model appears in the pavement of a cathedral, the citadel
                      of
                      the church, which later became a bitter enemy of neo-platonism. The
                      pavements
                      are from the 13th century, roughly two hundred years before the
                      renaissance, in
                      that comfortable time when truth was viewed as being all of one piece. As
                      I
                      understand this period, it was a time when the relationship between the
                      church
                      and the intellectuals was fairly cordial. As long as the intellectuals who
                      made their philosophical theories of the universe did not postulate
                      something
                      radically at odds with Christianity, then it wasn't so bad. Under these
                      conditions, the church encouraged intellectual pursuits, and wanted to be
                      in
                      harmony with the "latest knowledge", even take advantage of the latest
                      knowledge, unless the latest knowledge conflicted with certain precepts of
                      the
                      church, of "faith". So, I think that the church itself accepted as true
                      many
                      of the
                      philosophical/cosmological theories of the platonists and neo-platonists.
                      Marsilio Ficino was a priest, so were other neo-platonists, like Giorgi.

                      You demonstrate what I think is an important point, that it is
                      intellectually possible to unite a view of the physical universe with a
                      spiritual view. I think that in ancient times that is exactly what all
                      religion was based on. Now, all we have is the husk of a dried-out
                      inherited
                      DEAL that was made to save a political/theocratic establishment that passed
                      away about 400 years ago.

                      The problem for the church came when philosophers wanted to become more
                      than pure thinkers and started to ACT on the "latest knowledge". Now the
                      church had to contemplate its own position as purveyor of "magical" effects
                      -
                      Christian Magic - to be sure, but still viewed by the church itself as
                      religious magic. If anyone could do magical things (heal the sick for
                      example)
                      simply by knowing the proper rules (what planets have what influence, etc.)
                      then the church had lost it's monopoly on what we in the 21st century call
                      "practical psychological magic". And it was specifically the assumed
                      linkage
                      between the truth of physical reality and the truth of spiritual reality
                      that
                      was such a threat. The fact that we today can even conceive of a
                      difference
                      between the two is itself a product of the aftermath of the renaissance.

                      I don't believe the neo-platonist theories were scientifically correct.
                      I
                      think that modern criticism of the occultists is accurate - that stuff that
                      Ficino and the others believed in was hokum. And attempts to imitate it
                      now
                      are also hokum. But the theories of Ficino, and Pico, and the Kabbalists
                      and
                      the Hermeticists, and the Neo-Platonists, had to my mind some highly
                      redeeming
                      features that deserve consideration in the 21st century. They at least
                      aimed
                      higher than our modern thinkers dare. They imagined, conceived, and in a
                      sense, created, a unified vision of existence, a very beautiful, almost
                      intoxicating, view of reality in which the truth of ones physical life
                      could be
                      made commensurate with the universe. That they failed or were suppressed
                      should not, I think, discourage us from trying again.

                      Mark
                      <
                    • J.Vincent Beall
                      The Secret Doctrine of the Kabbalah Part three: The Kabbalistic Sacred Science of Geometry page 209-210
                      Message 10 of 13 , Dec 17, 1999
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                        The Secret Doctrine of the Kabbalah

                        Part three: The Kabbalistic Sacred Science of Geometry

                        page 209-210

                        <<It is precisely the controls involved in the actual construction of geometric models that give to such models a truth value lacking in an arbitrarily "invented" theoretical model. And it is also through the attention paid to the "accidental" properties of the model that new insights can be  generated regarding the structure of the domain intuitively recognized to be isomorphic to the model: "A promising model is one with implications rich enough to suggest novel hypotheses and speculations in the primary field of investigation-- in short, to see new connections." Black's analysis of the scientific use of models, like Hirsch's analysis of the interpretive process, is shown to begin with "interpretive guesses" and then to move to the cannons of validation by which they can be tested: "We can determine the validity of a given model by checking the extent of its isomorphism with its intended application." In its use of models, then, scientific theorizing approximates the interpretive methods used in the construing of a literary text, not the processes of logical syllogism but the more intuitive processes of associative reasoning, a metaphorical apprehension of similarity between dissimilars.>>

                        This is a paragraph that I found of some interest, but I think she isn't clear about what she expects of a model. If the model is to be predictive then it is more like a scientific model.

                        She speaks of accidents of a model pointing to new speculations, and I find this interesting. More reading on my part will be required to determine how much she was able to impress in her model. It would seem that if the accidental properties of a model are to be examined with the expectation of forming good hypotheses then we must also be confident that the model is carrying substantial attributes of our system in the first place.

                        It seems to me that some models would have more accidents than others and the accidents of a model would be in some proportion fortunate and some unfortunate. In otherwords how well does the model 'map' the area of possible speculations, and fruitful speculation?

                        Vincent
                         
                         
                         
                         
                         

                        Barry Carroll wrote:

                        vincent--
                        if you have time, can you post a quote of any kind that gives an example of
                        Leet's style?

                        or illustrates what you mean by: "
                         it was very evident that she was not describing a
                        science, she was making use of the geometry as an art".

                        i'm not familiar with her. til i can catch up
                        i'd like to get a better sense of where she takes the subject.
                        B

                        At 01:51 AM 12/17/99 -0500, you wrote:
                        >
                        >
                        >Dan Washburn wrote:
                        >
                        >> As far as the Sepher Yetzirah is concerned, Leonora Leet has just
                        published a
                        >> book called The Secret Doctrine of the Kabbalah in which she details her
                        ideas
                        >> on the geometric construction of the Tree of Life, part of which have to do
                        >> with the SY and the Octahedron.  You might be interested, Mike, because she
                        >> develops various ideas around the Platonic Solids.  She's a scholar, a
                        >> professor of English Lit, I believe, and she has studied with the best
                        -- Aryeh
                        >> Kaplan, for example.  However, I was very disappointed in the book.
                        Insight
                        >> runs miles ahead of evidence.  Vincent, you were going to read Leonora
                        Leet,
                        >> weren't you?  What did you think?
                        >>
                        >
                        >Well, I started reading it and put it down because it was also
                        disappointing to me.
                        >Part three of the book I thought would hold my interest "The Kabbalistic
                        Sacred
                        >Science of Geometry", but it was very evident that she was not describing a
                        >science, she was making use of the geometry as an art. She has a huge
                        bibliography
                        >attached to the book but has left out "The Art of Memory" by Yates. She
                        definitely
                        >should have read it carefully before she wrote her book because I think it
                        is a big
                        >mistake to be claiming science for her artful use of geometry.
                        >
                        >As to the secular science section of her book I assume it is more of the
                        same, so
                        >it may be quite a while before I get to reading it. I have read some early
                        parts of
                        >the book that were rather informative to me because of the historical
                        imort. I may
                        >one day read it all straight through, but probably not today. ;-)
                        >
                        >Vincent
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
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                        >
                        >
                        >

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                      • Mike Bispham
                        Vincent, did you send an image? If so, my mailer won t open it. Could you re-send in a different format by any chance? Mike
                        Message 11 of 13 , Dec 18, 1999
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Vincent, did you send an image? If so, my mailer won't open it. Could you
                          re-send in a different format by any chance?

                          Mike
                        • C G
                          Hope you all won t mind me following up on an earlier discussion about the Cosmati Pavement of the Westminster Abbey. Part of me feels weird about trying to
                          Message 12 of 13 , Feb 21, 2012
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                            Hope you all won't mind me following up on an earlier discussion about the Cosmati Pavement of the Westminster Abbey. Part of me feels weird about trying to rekindle a conversation that has lain dormant for some time but part of me is inspired to be interested in it again, and I thought that there might be someone out there who may also share my interest. That's what discussion lists are for, right? Even ones that have lain dormant for some time? Otherwise, forgive the intrusion into your inbox.

                            First, a big thanks to Mike and all the others below for educating me about this topic. I knew nothing about it before coming to this list.

                            Second, for anyone else who may not know, Westminster Abbey is where the coronation of 38 English kings and queens occurred over the past 765 years, including the current queen in 1953. It is also where Kate and William were married in 2011.

                            A bit of background: Westminster Abbey, technically called "The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster", had been important prior to the cathedral we now know. It had been the coronation site of Norman kings, for example, but none were buried there until Henry III rebuilt the abbey. My understanding is that he wanted England to have a cathedral as good (and Gothic) as any in France!

                            Anyway, the area directly in front of the altar is, obviously, sacred in and of itself. But what makes this Abbey's altar space truly unique is the intricate mosaic tile floor. It is referred to as the "Cosmati Pavement" after the four generations of Roman family of marble workers who perfected the tiling technique. (My understanding is that the marble in the Abbey came from crushed Roman sculptures and the porphyry came from Egypt. So there are really interesting connections with previous empires here.)

                            For the past 150 years or so, the pavement was so seriously deteriorated it was only able to be used when covered over. In other words, when the queen's coronation took place in 1953, the area in front of the altar was carpeted.

                            I don't know when the carpet was removed (1980s?) but I do know that between 2008 and 2010 the mosaic floor was painstakingly restored, thanks to the Getty Foundation. This means that Kate and William's wedding in 2011 was the first high level royal function to occur on top of the newly restored space. Here is a picture of it, from directly above. It is pretty amazing, take a look if you haven't already:

                            http://blogs.getty.edu/iris/files/2011/04/New-Cosmati-floor-complete1.jpg

                            You can see that the design is perfectly square, with a smaller square set within. A final transverse square occupies the central spot, like a sitting diamond. Twenty-nine circles are woven throughout the design (five in each corner, five in the center, and four bounding the transverse square). None of the circles are actually separate from their surroundings...they "weave" into something around them. It is hard to tell in the picture but my understanding is that all of the infill patterns are different and no two circles are the same. For example, "orbiting" circles around the transverse square are circular, hexagonal, heptagonal, and octagonal. There are also four rectangles spaced between the groups of circles in the corner. Finally, the five circles in the middle resemble a kind of cross.

                            (Just as an aside, if there are any quilters out there, this lady has quilted her own version of this cosmic pattern: http://www.thequiltshow.com/os/blog.php/blog_id/3787 )

                            Okay, now to the meat and potatoes of my post. As Mike and others point out below, this pavement has deeper meanings. The inscription on the floor is said to state the following:

                            "In the year of Christ one thousand two hundred and twelve plus sixty minus four, the third King Henry, the city, Odoricus and the abbot put these porphyry stones together.

                            If the reader wisely considers all that is laid down, he will find here the end of the primum mobile; a hedge (lives for) three years, add dogs and horses and men, stags and ravens, eagles, enormous whales, the world: each one following triples the years of the one before.

                            The spherical globe here shows the archetypal macrocosm."

                            My question relates to the math. All of the websites I checked out state that the end of the world is here implied as 19,683 years. According to my calculation, that 19,683 is simply the last number of the world (which is three times the preceding number, which is three times that preceding number, and so on.)

                            Here are the numbers and related animals:

                            Hedge: 3
                            Dog: 9
                            Horse: 27
                            Men: 81
                            Stag: 243
                            Raven: 729
                            Eagle: 2187
                            Whale: 6561
                            World: 19,683

                            My beef is with the addition. The "world" is NOT the primum mobile. That is reserved for the bounding sphere of the cosmos, of which the world is but a part.

                            There are two possibilities: do we multiply 19,683 by 3 to get the age of the primum mobile (19,683 x 3 = 59049)? Or do we add, as instructed, all of the numbers together to get that age (3+9+27+81+243+729+2187+6561+19,683 = 29,523)?

                            29,523 looks familiar to me but I can't figure out why.
                            The square root of 59049 is 243.

                            What do you folks think? How would you interpret the instructions?

                            As an aside, I found this gnostic tidbit from the following website:

                            "The most interesting item on the list, here translated "enormous whales," was actually referred to as "sea serpents" on the archeology program "Time Teams" on British television, with a very mythical lifespan attributed to them.

                            Sea serpents, also known as "dragons," were very important to our ancestors. The Leviathan of the Hebrews, and Tiamat of the Sumerians, were viewed as representations of the primordial chaos that had given birth to the universe, and would one day swallow it again (or in the case of Leviathan, be swallowed itself). In the meantime, a monarch must always reign on the throne of the Lord of the Earth. By bearing the weight of the premium mobile on his own shoulders, he prevents chaos from overtaking the earth, and postpones the day of judgment. This is the image of St. George subduing the dragon that is now emblematic of England, for whom he is the patron saint. Although George was not one of them, the English frequently canonized their monarchs, attributing saintly and magical qualities to them, including the ability to heal and to protect their kingdom from evil."

                            http://projectavalon.net/forum4/showthread.php?18343-The-Cosmati-Pavement

                            Be well,

                            Chris





                            --- In sacredlandscapelist@yahoogroups.com, Mike Bispham <100574.3655@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Thanks Mark, and everyone else who's helping out here. My copy of Fosters
                            > book has now arrived, and it illuminates these questions perfectly, if, in
                            > my view, incompletely.
                            >
                            > His central argument, very well made, is that the westminster pavement is a
                            > complex model which fully illustrates the contemporary neoplatonic
                            > cosmology, (although he admits, in specific terms, his is but one of any
                            > number of interpretations.) This argument is developed from the widespread
                            > existence of similar but more specific paintings, illustrations and
                            > mosiacs, all designed to illustrate the well developed elemental model, its
                            > beautiful internal numerical harmony, and its connections to medicine
                            > (through the humours), astrology, and sometimes more. The attached example
                            > is taken from a 12th C. schema from St John Collage, Oxford. I won't give
                            > every detail because the picture is pretty complex; but the numerics are as
                            > follows, directly from Foster:
                            >
                            > "In the process of harmonising neo-Platonic teaching with that of the
                            > Bible, the Church Fathers had identified the caelum et terram created by
                            > God in the opening words of Genesis with the Elements of Fire and Earth:
                            >
                            > "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." In the Timaeus,
                            > Plato describes Fire and Earth as the first two Elements to be created, an
                            > opposing pair which were reconciled by the creation of two intermediate
                            > Elements, Air and Water. The {further}reconciliation of the four Elements
                            > was achieved not only by the [additional] qualities of Hot, Cold, Dry and
                            > Moist, but also .
                            > quantitively by giving them numerical values.
                            >
                            > The numerical treatment of the theme of the four Elements plaited together
                            > strands from both the Pythagorean and the Platonic traditions. Being
                            > primal, the Elements must be represented by, or derive from, the simplest
                            > numbers. Since I was reserved for the divine unity of God, the first two
                            > numbers that could possibly be used to represent the first two Elements to
                            > be created, Fire and Earth, were 2 and 3. However, these numbers were not
                            > considered adequate in themselves. ' A simple number can represent only
                            > one dimension, in visual terms a line. By analogy, a square number, for
                            > example 4 (2*2), may represent a surface area, that is, a plane figure. But
                            > for material and spatial existence, three dimensions are necessary. Theon
                            > of Smyrna, the Greek mathematician, wrote that 3 "is the first bond and
                            > power of the solid; for in three dimensions is the solid concieved . Thus
                            > the appropriate numbers for the first two Elements had to be the cubes of
                            > the first two available numbers, 2 and 3. So Fire was assigned the number
                            > 8, and Earth the number 27. [2*2*2 and 3*3*3 respectfully. See Pam's post
                            > on the Tetraktys of Pythagoras and the Platonic Lambda]
                            >
                            > The extremes of Fire and Earth, 8 and 27, then had to be reconciled by
                            > bonds which were sufficiently strong, in the numerical sense, to hold
                            > together the whole of the created world. Between two square numbers (those
                            > re representing plane figures) a single mean is sufficient, but for cube
                            > numbers (solid figures) two means are needed. These means are I2 ( 2 X 2
                            > X3) and I 8 ( 2 X3 X 3 ). So the intermediary Elements of Air and Water
                            > received the mean numbers of I2 and I 8 respectively. The numbers of the
                            > Elements, therefore, form a progression in which each individual Element is
                            > bound to its neighbour by the ratio of 2 : 3 one of the
                            > favourite harmonic ratios of the Pythagoreans, known as the sesquialter,
                            > the sixth of the proportions described by Nicomachus of Gerasa in his
                            > _Introduction to Arithmetic, c. AD 100_. In this way the Elements that
                            > 'seem to oppose each other' were united into a stable and well-tuned
                            > harmony'. "
                            >
                            > It seems that this cosmology was very well established by the 13th C., and
                            > schemata like the attached example were many and varied - and often found
                            > in ecclesiastic settings. As you say Mark, "a unified vision of
                            > existence, a very beautiful, almost intoxicating, view of reality in which
                            > the truth of ones physical life could be made commensurate with the
                            > universe". To contemplate such a model from within a fabulous,
                            > cosmologically attuned cathedral, listening to simple harmonic singing,
                            > must have quite an experience.
                            >
                            > I suspect the more detailed parts of the theory, concerning the timean
                            > atoms, were slowly 'brushed out', and became esoteric, available to
                            > initiates only. Even the regular solids are left out of these models;
                            > possibly these aspects of the elemental theory became uncomfortable
                            > immediataly after the Council of Nicea (300 odd ad), where trinititarianism
                            > was established as the godheads nature, and questions of substance became
                            > awkward. (The east, ruled from byzantium disagreed, as did later,
                            > Mohammed. And this mosaic style, like so much else, is known to have been
                            > introduced to the west from these sources). And about this time (13th C.)
                            > the elevation of the sacrement of the eucharist to the liturgy made the
                            > continuation of the neoplatonic model impossible. (Foster though doesn't
                            > mention the 'great controversy' at all) I have records of 16th C.
                            > injunctions against 'the geometry of indivisibles', but nothing that
                            > specific this early - just the Lateran Council rulings against anything
                            > 'leading to error' about the sacrement, which were I think the first
                            > effective condemnations of the atomistic cosmology.
                            >
                            > I thoroughly recommend Foster's book, although its hard to get hold of,
                            > well worth the effort to find a secondhand copy.
                            >
                            > Mike
                            >
                            > PS, Dan, from Pam's post: "...so if you're following Dan's advice and
                            > picking up John Mitchell's book,..." I didn't get any post recommending
                            > this book? Could you re-send to me if I've missed one? And
                            >
                            > >Any possibilities of getting xeroxes from Richard Foster's 'Patterns of
                            > Thought: The Hidden Meaning of the Great Pavement of Westminster Abbey'. <
                            >
                            > Sure, emailed images anyway.
                            >
                            >
                            > Message text written by INTERNET:sacredlandscapelist@egroups.com (Mark)
                            > >> Can we look at this _itself_ as being a description of the cosmic
                            > physics?
                            > > That the pavement, the illustration of atoms to crystal spheres, beyond
                            > > which is God - is the neoplatonic model. And that that cosmology, that
                            > > matter/structure theory, as espoused in the pavement, and as echoed in
                            > the
                            > > building, is, due to its prominance, its depth of presence in the
                            > > structure, pretty much on a par with the remainder of the Catholic
                            > package?
                            > > The expression of the reason half of the faith/reason marriage? Science
                            > > and God as One? God the Ultimate Architect? Or simply God = the Primum
                            > > Mobile = The Cause of Unity, Order etc? Is any of this making any sense?
                            >
                            > Mike,
                            >
                            > I think I see what you mean, it is ironic that such a beautiful example
                            > of
                            > the neo-platonist model appears in the pavement of a cathedral, the citadel
                            > of
                            > the church, which later became a bitter enemy of neo-platonism. The
                            > pavements
                            > are from the 13th century, roughly two hundred years before the
                            > renaissance, in
                            > that comfortable time when truth was viewed as being all of one piece. As
                            > I
                            > understand this period, it was a time when the relationship between the
                            > church
                            > and the intellectuals was fairly cordial. As long as the intellectuals who
                            > made their philosophical theories of the universe did not postulate
                            > something
                            > radically at odds with Christianity, then it wasn't so bad. Under these
                            > conditions, the church encouraged intellectual pursuits, and wanted to be
                            > in
                            > harmony with the "latest knowledge", even take advantage of the latest
                            > knowledge, unless the latest knowledge conflicted with certain precepts of
                            > the
                            > church, of "faith". So, I think that the church itself accepted as true
                            > many
                            > of the
                            > philosophical/cosmological theories of the platonists and neo-platonists.
                            > Marsilio Ficino was a priest, so were other neo-platonists, like Giorgi.
                            >
                            > You demonstrate what I think is an important point, that it is
                            > intellectually possible to unite a view of the physical universe with a
                            > spiritual view. I think that in ancient times that is exactly what all
                            > religion was based on. Now, all we have is the husk of a dried-out
                            > inherited
                            > DEAL that was made to save a political/theocratic establishment that passed
                            > away about 400 years ago.
                            >
                            > The problem for the church came when philosophers wanted to become more
                            > than pure thinkers and started to ACT on the "latest knowledge". Now the
                            > church had to contemplate its own position as purveyor of "magical" effects
                            > -
                            > Christian Magic - to be sure, but still viewed by the church itself as
                            > religious magic. If anyone could do magical things (heal the sick for
                            > example)
                            > simply by knowing the proper rules (what planets have what influence, etc.)
                            > then the church had lost it's monopoly on what we in the 21st century call
                            > "practical psychological magic". And it was specifically the assumed
                            > linkage
                            > between the truth of physical reality and the truth of spiritual reality
                            > that
                            > was such a threat. The fact that we today can even conceive of a
                            > difference
                            > between the two is itself a product of the aftermath of the renaissance.
                            >
                            > I don't believe the neo-platonist theories were scientifically correct.
                            > I
                            > think that modern criticism of the occultists is accurate - that stuff that
                            > Ficino and the others believed in was hokum. And attempts to imitate it
                            > now
                            > are also hokum. But the theories of Ficino, and Pico, and the Kabbalists
                            > and
                            > the Hermeticists, and the Neo-Platonists, had to my mind some highly
                            > redeeming
                            > features that deserve consideration in the 21st century. They at least
                            > aimed
                            > higher than our modern thinkers dare. They imagined, conceived, and in a
                            > sense, created, a unified vision of existence, a very beautiful, almost
                            > intoxicating, view of reality in which the truth of ones physical life
                            > could be
                            > made commensurate with the universe. That they failed or were suppressed
                            > should not, I think, discourage us from trying again.
                            >
                            > Mark
                            > <
                            >
                          • danw@netmastersinc.com
                            Hi, Chris Fascinating stuff. Back in those days we really had a command of facts and language! My gut feeling is that to reach the primum mobile level you
                            Message 13 of 13 , Feb 23, 2012
                            • 0 Attachment
                              Hi, Chris

                              Fascinating stuff. Back in those days we really had a command of facts
                              and language!

                              My gut feeling is that to reach the primum mobile level you need to add
                              the animal ages. As you say that is essentially how the instructions
                              read.
                              29,523 sounds astronomical to me -- the rotation of the galaxy, the
                              precession of the equinoxes?

                              Thanks for bringing this back from your archaeological researches.

                              Dan



                              > Hope you all won't mind me following up on an earlier discussion about the
                              > Cosmati Pavement of the Westminster Abbey. Part of me feels weird about
                              > trying to rekindle a conversation that has lain dormant for some time but
                              > part of me is inspired to be interested in it again, and I thought that
                              > there might be someone out there who may also share my interest. That's
                              > what discussion lists are for, right? Even ones that have lain dormant for
                              > some time? Otherwise, forgive the intrusion into your inbox.
                              >
                              > First, a big thanks to Mike and all the others below for educating me
                              > about this topic. I knew nothing about it before coming to this list.
                              >
                              > Second, for anyone else who may not know, Westminster Abbey is where the
                              > coronation of 38 English kings and queens occurred over the past 765
                              > years, including the current queen in 1953. It is also where Kate and
                              > William were married in 2011.
                              >
                              > A bit of background: Westminster Abbey, technically called "The Collegiate
                              > Church of St Peter at Westminster", had been important prior to the
                              > cathedral we now know. It had been the coronation site of Norman kings,
                              > for example, but none were buried there until Henry III rebuilt the abbey.
                              > My understanding is that he wanted England to have a cathedral as good
                              > (and Gothic) as any in France!
                              >
                              > Anyway, the area directly in front of the altar is, obviously, sacred in
                              > and of itself. But what makes this Abbey's altar space truly unique is the
                              > intricate mosaic tile floor. It is referred to as the "Cosmati Pavement"
                              > after the four generations of Roman family of marble workers who perfected
                              > the tiling technique. (My understanding is that the marble in the Abbey
                              > came from crushed Roman sculptures and the porphyry came from Egypt. So
                              > there are really interesting connections with previous empires here.)
                              >
                              > For the past 150 years or so, the pavement was so seriously deteriorated
                              > it was only able to be used when covered over. In other words, when the
                              > queen's coronation took place in 1953, the area in front of the altar was
                              > carpeted.
                              >
                              > I don't know when the carpet was removed (1980s?) but I do know that
                              > between 2008 and 2010 the mosaic floor was painstakingly restored, thanks
                              > to the Getty Foundation. This means that Kate and William's wedding in
                              > 2011 was the first high level royal function to occur on top of the newly
                              > restored space. Here is a picture of it, from directly above. It is pretty
                              > amazing, take a look if you haven't already:
                              >
                              > http://blogs.getty.edu/iris/files/2011/04/New-Cosmati-floor-complete1.jpg
                              >
                              > You can see that the design is perfectly square, with a smaller square set
                              > within. A final transverse square occupies the central spot, like a
                              > sitting diamond. Twenty-nine circles are woven throughout the design (five
                              > in each corner, five in the center, and four bounding the transverse
                              > square). None of the circles are actually separate from their
                              > surroundings...they "weave" into something around them. It is hard to tell
                              > in the picture but my understanding is that all of the infill patterns are
                              > different and no two circles are the same. For example, "orbiting" circles
                              > around the transverse square are circular, hexagonal, heptagonal, and
                              > octagonal. There are also four rectangles spaced between the groups of
                              > circles in the corner. Finally, the five circles in the middle resemble a
                              > kind of cross.
                              >
                              > (Just as an aside, if there are any quilters out there, this lady has
                              > quilted her own version of this cosmic pattern:
                              > http://www.thequiltshow.com/os/blog.php/blog_id/3787 )
                              >
                              > Okay, now to the meat and potatoes of my post. As Mike and others point
                              > out below, this pavement has deeper meanings. The inscription on the floor
                              > is said to state the following:
                              >
                              > "In the year of Christ one thousand two hundred and twelve plus sixty
                              > minus four, the third King Henry, the city, Odoricus and the abbot put
                              > these porphyry stones together.
                              >
                              > If the reader wisely considers all that is laid down, he will find here
                              > the end of the primum mobile; a hedge (lives for) three years, add dogs
                              > and horses and men, stags and ravens, eagles, enormous whales, the world:
                              > each one following triples the years of the one before.
                              >
                              > The spherical globe here shows the archetypal macrocosm."
                              >
                              > My question relates to the math. All of the websites I checked out state
                              > that the end of the world is here implied as 19,683 years. According to my
                              > calculation, that 19,683 is simply the last number of the world (which is
                              > three times the preceding number, which is three times that preceding
                              > number, and so on.)
                              >
                              > Here are the numbers and related animals:
                              >
                              > Hedge: 3
                              > Dog: 9
                              > Horse: 27
                              > Men: 81
                              > Stag: 243
                              > Raven: 729
                              > Eagle: 2187
                              > Whale: 6561
                              > World: 19,683
                              >
                              > My beef is with the addition. The "world" is NOT the primum mobile. That
                              > is reserved for the bounding sphere of the cosmos, of which the world is
                              > but a part.
                              >
                              > There are two possibilities: do we multiply 19,683 by 3 to get the age of
                              > the primum mobile (19,683 x 3 = 59049)? Or do we add, as instructed, all
                              > of the numbers together to get that age
                              > (3+9+27+81+243+729+2187+6561+19,683 = 29,523)?
                              >
                              > 29,523 looks familiar to me but I can't figure out why.
                              > The square root of 59049 is 243.
                              >
                              > What do you folks think? How would you interpret the instructions?
                              >
                              > As an aside, I found this gnostic tidbit from the following website:
                              >
                              > "The most interesting item on the list, here translated "enormous whales,"
                              > was actually referred to as "sea serpents" on the archeology program "Time
                              > Teams" on British television, with a very mythical lifespan attributed to
                              > them.
                              >
                              > Sea serpents, also known as "dragons," were very important to our
                              > ancestors. The Leviathan of the Hebrews, and Tiamat of the Sumerians, were
                              > viewed as representations of the primordial chaos that had given birth to
                              > the universe, and would one day swallow it again (or in the case of
                              > Leviathan, be swallowed itself). In the meantime, a monarch must always
                              > reign on the throne of the Lord of the Earth. By bearing the weight of the
                              > premium mobile on his own shoulders, he prevents chaos from overtaking the
                              > earth, and postpones the day of judgment. This is the image of St. George
                              > subduing the dragon that is now emblematic of England, for whom he is the
                              > patron saint. Although George was not one of them, the English frequently
                              > canonized their monarchs, attributing saintly and magical qualities to
                              > them, including the ability to heal and to protect their kingdom from
                              > evil."
                              >
                              > http://projectavalon.net/forum4/showthread.php?18343-The-Cosmati-Pavement
                              >
                              > Be well,
                              >
                              > Chris
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > --- In sacredlandscapelist@yahoogroups.com, Mike Bispham <100574.3655@...>
                              > wrote:
                              >>
                              >> Thanks Mark, and everyone else who's helping out here. My copy of
                              >> Fosters
                              >> book has now arrived, and it illuminates these questions perfectly, if,
                              >> in
                              >> my view, incompletely.
                              >>
                              >> His central argument, very well made, is that the westminster pavement
                              >> is a
                              >> complex model which fully illustrates the contemporary neoplatonic
                              >> cosmology, (although he admits, in specific terms, his is but one of any
                              >> number of interpretations.) This argument is developed from the
                              >> widespread
                              >> existence of similar but more specific paintings, illustrations and
                              >> mosiacs, all designed to illustrate the well developed elemental model,
                              >> its
                              >> beautiful internal numerical harmony, and its connections to medicine
                              >> (through the humours), astrology, and sometimes more. The attached
                              >> example
                              >> is taken from a 12th C. schema from St John Collage, Oxford. I won't
                              >> give
                              >> every detail because the picture is pretty complex; but the numerics are
                              >> as
                              >> follows, directly from Foster:
                              >>
                              >> "In the process of harmonising neo-Platonic teaching with that of the
                              >> Bible, the Church Fathers had identified the caelum et terram created by
                              >> God in the opening words of Genesis with the Elements of Fire and Earth:
                              >>
                              >> "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." In the
                              >> Timaeus,
                              >> Plato describes Fire and Earth as the first two Elements to be created,
                              >> an
                              >> opposing pair which were reconciled by the creation of two intermediate
                              >> Elements, Air and Water. The {further}reconciliation of the four
                              >> Elements
                              >> was achieved not only by the [additional] qualities of Hot, Cold, Dry
                              >> and
                              >> Moist, but also .
                              >> quantitively by giving them numerical values.
                              >>
                              >> The numerical treatment of the theme of the four Elements plaited
                              >> together
                              >> strands from both the Pythagorean and the Platonic traditions. Being
                              >> primal, the Elements must be represented by, or derive from, the
                              >> simplest
                              >> numbers. Since I was reserved for the divine unity of God, the first
                              >> two
                              >> numbers that could possibly be used to represent the first two Elements
                              >> to
                              >> be created, Fire and Earth, were 2 and 3. However, these numbers were
                              >> not
                              >> considered adequate in themselves. ' A simple number can represent only
                              >> one dimension, in visual terms a line. By analogy, a square number, for
                              >> example 4 (2*2), may represent a surface area, that is, a plane figure.
                              >> But
                              >> for material and spatial existence, three dimensions are necessary.
                              >> Theon
                              >> of Smyrna, the Greek mathematician, wrote that 3 "is the first bond and
                              >> power of the solid; for in three dimensions is the solid concieved .
                              >> Thus
                              >> the appropriate numbers for the first two Elements had to be the cubes
                              >> of
                              >> the first two available numbers, 2 and 3. So Fire was assigned the
                              >> number
                              >> 8, and Earth the number 27. [2*2*2 and 3*3*3 respectfully. See Pam's
                              >> post
                              >> on the Tetraktys of Pythagoras and the Platonic Lambda]
                              >>
                              >> The extremes of Fire and Earth, 8 and 27, then had to be reconciled by
                              >> bonds which were sufficiently strong, in the numerical sense, to hold
                              >> together the whole of the created world. Between two square numbers
                              >> (those
                              >> re representing plane figures) a single mean is sufficient, but for cube
                              >> numbers (solid figures) two means are needed. These means are I2 ( 2 X 2
                              >> X3) and I 8 ( 2 X3 X 3 ). So the intermediary Elements of Air and Water
                              >> received the mean numbers of I2 and I 8 respectively. The numbers of the
                              >> Elements, therefore, form a progression in which each individual Element
                              >> is
                              >> bound to its neighbour by the ratio of 2 : 3 one of the
                              >> favourite harmonic ratios of the Pythagoreans, known as the sesquialter,
                              >> the sixth of the proportions described by Nicomachus of Gerasa in his
                              >> _Introduction to Arithmetic, c. AD 100_. In this way the Elements that
                              >> 'seem to oppose each other' were united into a stable and well-tuned
                              >> harmony'. "
                              >>
                              >> It seems that this cosmology was very well established by the 13th C.,
                              >> and
                              >> schemata like the attached example were many and varied - and often
                              >> found
                              >> in ecclesiastic settings. As you say Mark, "a unified vision of
                              >> existence, a very beautiful, almost intoxicating, view of reality in
                              >> which
                              >> the truth of ones physical life could be made commensurate with the
                              >> universe". To contemplate such a model from within a fabulous,
                              >> cosmologically attuned cathedral, listening to simple harmonic singing,
                              >> must have quite an experience.
                              >>
                              >> I suspect the more detailed parts of the theory, concerning the timean
                              >> atoms, were slowly 'brushed out', and became esoteric, available to
                              >> initiates only. Even the regular solids are left out of these models;
                              >> possibly these aspects of the elemental theory became uncomfortable
                              >> immediataly after the Council of Nicea (300 odd ad), where
                              >> trinititarianism
                              >> was established as the godheads nature, and questions of substance
                              >> became
                              >> awkward. (The east, ruled from byzantium disagreed, as did later,
                              >> Mohammed. And this mosaic style, like so much else, is known to have
                              >> been
                              >> introduced to the west from these sources). And about this time (13th
                              >> C.)
                              >> the elevation of the sacrement of the eucharist to the liturgy made the
                              >> continuation of the neoplatonic model impossible. (Foster though
                              >> doesn't
                              >> mention the 'great controversy' at all) I have records of 16th C.
                              >> injunctions against 'the geometry of indivisibles', but nothing that
                              >> specific this early - just the Lateran Council rulings against anything
                              >> 'leading to error' about the sacrement, which were I think the first
                              >> effective condemnations of the atomistic cosmology.
                              >>
                              >> I thoroughly recommend Foster's book, although its hard to get hold of,
                              >> well worth the effort to find a secondhand copy.
                              >>
                              >> Mike
                              >>
                              >> PS, Dan, from Pam's post: "...so if you're following Dan's advice and
                              >> picking up John Mitchell's book,..." I didn't get any post recommending
                              >> this book? Could you re-send to me if I've missed one? And
                              >>
                              >> >Any possibilities of getting xeroxes from Richard Foster's 'Patterns
                              >> of
                              >> Thought: The Hidden Meaning of the Great Pavement of Westminster Abbey'.
                              >> <
                              >>
                              >> Sure, emailed images anyway.
                              >>
                              >>
                              >> Message text written by INTERNET:sacredlandscapelist@egroups.com (Mark)
                              >> >> Can we look at this _itself_ as being a description of the cosmic
                              >> physics?
                              >> > That the pavement, the illustration of atoms to crystal spheres,
                              >> beyond
                              >> > which is God - is the neoplatonic model. And that that cosmology,
                              >> that
                              >> > matter/structure theory, as espoused in the pavement, and as echoed in
                              >> the
                              >> > building, is, due to its prominance, its depth of presence in the
                              >> > structure, pretty much on a par with the remainder of the Catholic
                              >> package?
                              >> > The expression of the reason half of the faith/reason marriage?
                              >> Science
                              >> > and God as One? God the Ultimate Architect? Or simply God = the
                              >> Primum
                              >> > Mobile = The Cause of Unity, Order etc? Is any of this making any
                              >> sense?
                              >>
                              >> Mike,
                              >>
                              >> I think I see what you mean, it is ironic that such a beautiful
                              >> example
                              >> of
                              >> the neo-platonist model appears in the pavement of a cathedral, the
                              >> citadel
                              >> of
                              >> the church, which later became a bitter enemy of neo-platonism. The
                              >> pavements
                              >> are from the 13th century, roughly two hundred years before the
                              >> renaissance, in
                              >> that comfortable time when truth was viewed as being all of one piece.
                              >> As
                              >> I
                              >> understand this period, it was a time when the relationship between the
                              >> church
                              >> and the intellectuals was fairly cordial. As long as the intellectuals
                              >> who
                              >> made their philosophical theories of the universe did not postulate
                              >> something
                              >> radically at odds with Christianity, then it wasn't so bad. Under these
                              >> conditions, the church encouraged intellectual pursuits, and wanted to
                              >> be
                              >> in
                              >> harmony with the "latest knowledge", even take advantage of the latest
                              >> knowledge, unless the latest knowledge conflicted with certain precepts
                              >> of
                              >> the
                              >> church, of "faith". So, I think that the church itself accepted as true
                              >> many
                              >> of the
                              >> philosophical/cosmological theories of the platonists and
                              >> neo-platonists.
                              >> Marsilio Ficino was a priest, so were other neo-platonists, like Giorgi.
                              >>
                              >> You demonstrate what I think is an important point, that it is
                              >> intellectually possible to unite a view of the physical universe with a
                              >> spiritual view. I think that in ancient times that is exactly what all
                              >> religion was based on. Now, all we have is the husk of a dried-out
                              >> inherited
                              >> DEAL that was made to save a political/theocratic establishment that
                              >> passed
                              >> away about 400 years ago.
                              >>
                              >> The problem for the church came when philosophers wanted to become
                              >> more
                              >> than pure thinkers and started to ACT on the "latest knowledge". Now
                              >> the
                              >> church had to contemplate its own position as purveyor of "magical"
                              >> effects
                              >> -
                              >> Christian Magic - to be sure, but still viewed by the church itself as
                              >> religious magic. If anyone could do magical things (heal the sick for
                              >> example)
                              >> simply by knowing the proper rules (what planets have what influence,
                              >> etc.)
                              >> then the church had lost it's monopoly on what we in the 21st century
                              >> call
                              >> "practical psychological magic". And it was specifically the assumed
                              >> linkage
                              >> between the truth of physical reality and the truth of spiritual reality
                              >> that
                              >> was such a threat. The fact that we today can even conceive of a
                              >> difference
                              >> between the two is itself a product of the aftermath of the renaissance.
                              >>
                              >> I don't believe the neo-platonist theories were scientifically
                              >> correct.
                              >> I
                              >> think that modern criticism of the occultists is accurate - that stuff
                              >> that
                              >> Ficino and the others believed in was hokum. And attempts to imitate it
                              >> now
                              >> are also hokum. But the theories of Ficino, and Pico, and the
                              >> Kabbalists
                              >> and
                              >> the Hermeticists, and the Neo-Platonists, had to my mind some highly
                              >> redeeming
                              >> features that deserve consideration in the 21st century. They at least
                              >> aimed
                              >> higher than our modern thinkers dare. They imagined, conceived, and in
                              >> a
                              >> sense, created, a unified vision of existence, a very beautiful, almost
                              >> intoxicating, view of reality in which the truth of ones physical life
                              >> could be
                              >> made commensurate with the universe. That they failed or were
                              >> suppressed
                              >> should not, I think, discourage us from trying again.
                              >>
                              >> Mark
                              >> <
                              >>
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > ------------------------------------
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