Notre Dame du Sauveur
(Our Lady of the Saviour Cathedral; primitive gothic; 1155-60 to 1225 Choir and transepts completed under the original architect. In 1205 the third and last architect demolished the choir and extended it to its present dimensions and form. The cathedral school, which was closely connected to the Knights Templar, was already renowned throughout western Europe as early as the first quarter of the 1100s.
It is unexpectedly electrifying at times, to become aware of the presence of the cathedral, looming like some magical other- worldly guardian over the Plain of Flanders. All the features of Notre Dame de Laon speak of a connection with a scale of great depth and breadth. Some of this impression is founded in the time of its inception, the period of primitive gothic, the emergence of a new thought-form, a fresh creativity in being. A small portion comes from the context within which it is situated: Laon, the holy city, the city of kings. It had already established itself as a repository for the prestigious, and in that vein, something more subtle than the word prestigious. This message is conveyed through the cathedral's composition and by the magnitude of its roses both in size and design; no other cathedral of this degree of brilliance (regarding totality of components) has an eastern rose.
The Master Builder
The quietude, the simplicity, the subtlety that emanate and form this cathedral cannot be separated from the beingness of its designer(s), the master builder(s). Although there may have been association with a school of knowledge, the source of this manifestation was coming from a ground more fundamental than knowledge. Compared to this ground, knowledge is complex, and by its function makes itself known. But when all is simple, the people of themselves become transformed, and it is natural like the Tao. This simplicity and power, which is reflected everywhere within the church, keeps creating effects that are more and more subtle, until the expression becomes almost undefinable. One could say that the effects try to lead one to the undefinable.
At Amiens, the master builder was formerly a master carver, and it shows... the whole of the cathedral looking more like a sculpture. Here the master builder seems to be coming from a ground, which in its outward-moving mode is called magic.
This "magic" is defined by its beneficence and simplicity. Real magic's characteristic is that it demonstrates, through ordinary materials, an ORDER not commonly recognized. Although this order is the formal (forming) cause of the cathedral itself, nowhere is it more evident than in the rose windows. Just as St. Quentin is an archetype for "orientation", Notre Dame de Laon is an archetype of Pythagorean Principle. One cannot overlook the possibility that this cathedral, with its consistent relationships between interior and exterior proportions, its balance and asymmetry, its constant presentation of the Pythagorean metaphysical order - was advertising its connection to an esoteric school.
The enneagram is a diagram of how perpetual motion might be pictured. It represents the interplay of that which appears as transitory and that which appears permanent/eternal. Sometimes codified as 22/7 or 3.142857, the first number represents the eternal three forces, while the numbers after the decimal point refer to the constantly changing realm of phenomena. The transitional aspect of the symbol is shown in the double- triplicity indicated by numbers 1-4-2 and 8-5-7. The permanent aspect is shown in the equilateral triangle of which 3 and 6 are the affirming and denying positions. The tip of this triangle, 9, manifests a unique function. Not only is it the third point of the permanent triad but simultaneously the seventh point of the transitory bounce pattern. It is the conscious connection between that which appears as transitory and that which appears as eternal. All of this is inscribed within a circle. Because an evolving process is being pictured, the circle is in actuality a spiral seen end on. The points on the circumference indicate the minimum number of aspects which would allow a human to be conscious of reality (according to this system).
The diagram describes a static state unless there is a conscious integration of new energy into the original octave of the enneagram. This original octave represents a particular identity with a specific energy threshold and dynamic. For this identity to be conscious of itself is not possible without an infusion of awakening force. The infusion becomes possible at the places where the permanent triangle intersects and cuts the transitory. Because an identity conscious of itself only as that which is impermanent cannot be conscious of the permanent, there is a gap or "interval" produced by this identity's involvement with change and decay. There is no real disconnection. It is only in the identification with a part posing as the whole that the being conscious experiences the gaps and the holes. But because the identity has convinced itself that there is only an isolated fragment and not the totality, there appears to exist a point at which a shock enters that identity's octave, from "outside" itself. As long as the identity is anything whatsoever this effect will seem to apply, as even God is involved in the process. Beyond this is nothing.
Because the first intersection point at 3 affirms the eternal, and because at this stage the identity is totally immersed in the illusion of change as real, the effect necessarily produced at the first interval is negative to the direction of the original octave. It is negative because the identity does not yet consciously know itself as being both permanent and impermanent. So a corresponding event within the mechanism of change "accidentally" occurs to remind the identity of its true nature. Because the magnetized involvement with form manifests as a low energy state through which the identity cannot come to know itself as it is, it is necessary to boost the presence and attention of the moment by "borrowing" energy from another octave. This borrowing of energy is mutual to the octaves involved. Each identity receives a jolt of fresh energy which momentarily shakes the being loose from its identification with the transitory. A leap in energy is negative only to the presently decaying awareness, but isn't negative in itself.
If the being takes the energy and consciously integrates it into the original intention without being sidetracked, this will supply the octave with enough force to continue the journey of discovering exactly who or what it is that is originating this particular octave. That is until the second permanent point is reached at 6. However, the actual experiential shock for this does not appear at the expected point. This conforms exactly with the essential quality of the denying force. Because it denies the very existence of the transitory, it does not manifest itself until all identification with illusion has reached its most meaningless potential. Only when the identity recognizes its own nothingness consciously is this interval able to be passed beyond. And because the last barrier to real gnosis is one's inmost belief about "God", this belief (which is the basis for one's ordinary existence) must be seen for what it is. A mere mask of the voidness of the void. If there is a realization that one is the very Void of the Void, the second interval is passed. The second interval always represents an "inner" shock in that one must release one's most precious of preciouses in order to truly awaken to the nature of reality without illusion or duality.
The Breath Of Light
Shortly after Laon cathedral was completed in the latter 1100s, a restructuring of the apse and choir took place. During the reconstruction the apse was torn down, and in its place the new eastern portion was extended to almost the same length as that of the nave. Instead of refinishing the east (as it was formerly) with the customary crown of radial chapels and their arrangement of lancets and clerestory windows, the choir- sanctuary was ended with a flat wall containing three slender lancets surmounted by a magnificent rose window, identical in size and design to the rose of the west facade.
Although "official" reports of the reason for this change have indicated that it was merely for accommodating a score more canons in the choir, a radical altering of the dynamic of the cathedral-space points to a much more meaningful and conscious reason for having done so. Results of this 20 year restoration are unique unto gothic architecture.
Not only is the eastern rose singular in its brilliance, but the arrangement and impact of having 4 potently energizing roses circulating and revitalizing the flow of force within the cathedral's well-balanced dimensions indicates that the change was meant to manifest and to clarify some very basic principle which may have been previously overlooked. If this was the case, what could this clarification have referred to?
The most obvious intuition about this question reveals that whoever engineered the change was working practically on the transformation of the human being. Without a real work necessity, this principle could not have been so eloquently demonstrated. To understand more clearly what may have been involved it is necessary to first comprehend the impact of the original space with radiating chapels and lancet windows. When this sort of diffused light combines with the intensity of the light from 3 rose windows, the focus of the combined light is itself diffused. But when 4 rose windows of equal intensity and harmonic complementarity blend their voices, the entire focus of the space takes on a much clearer and primal sparkle.
The light of the 4 roses symbolizes and demonstrates by resonance (for those who are open to it) the principle of merging the breath of the higher potentials or centers into the heart center. This equilibrium of breathing is then automatically impelled by the breath of presence into pure consciousness of the spiritual void. This movement in being conscious is represented by the open lantern tower over the transept crossing, the symbolic heart of the cathedral.
Imagine that light is the breathing of higher centers. Also imagine that each of the rose windows represents a particular "center" (instinctive, moving, feeling, thinking), and that their light (which is of specific sets of frequencies) exactly converges at a central point in the cathedral which would (theoretically) be under the grand keystone of the transept or the central lantern tower (as here). Thus, each window represents an "eye" or way of being conscious of reality in a precise, yet interdependent manner. The western rose connects with the vision of the physical or phenomenal eyes, the consciousness perceiving subjects and objects. The eastern rose connects with the vision of the superhuman or non-phenomenal eyes, the consciousness perceiving not subjects and objects, but relations. The north rose connects with the vision of the wisdom eye, the consciousness perceiving the innate nonduality of everything as voidness, the eye of being. The south rose window connects with the vision of the eye that teaches the inconceivable enlightenment, the consciousness that sees nothing left undone. The central lantern connects with the all-seeing fifth eye, the consciousness of the ecstatic equilibrium of nothing to awaken or to have been asleep. Where this meeting of luminous energy converges and cancels is the point which would correspond to the sex energy center in a human. Although at this point it appears to have the function of the Power Source, this "energy" is more than simply power. It is all-pervading Consciousness. Nothing else is. The Sex Energy is merely a limited attribution given to Consciousness while still supposing one is "human" or anything else. The view of "what" this energy is becomes more and more insubstantial until there is nothing whatsoever to be conscious...
The merging of the 4 components into the fifth point corresponds to Clear Light stage during the moments of death or the Co-emergent Non-separateness of Nothingness/Bliss in sexual Tantra. The state is identical, only the means by which it is realized seems to differ. By allowing Sex Energy to flow uninterruptedly, all the "lower" centers (i.e. which have become identified with the hallucinatory projections of phenomenal existence) are "transformed" into their "higher" functions. Only the filter of phenomenal conditioning is removed. The centers themselves are really never degenerated.
Because breathing is directly connected to how one is conscious, the order of the breaths determines the type of mind/body (form of consciousness) which arises. Usually there is constant imbalance between the various breaths and the result is a lopsided way of being conscious which is fixated within one of the four centers. This varies from individual to individual, group to group, culture to culture... so that entire sections of humanity may have a habitual breath pattern which is also defined by its reflexes, movements, emotional tone and concepts.
When the art is accurately corresponding to the deeper levels of being conscious, it can liberate one or many from limitation for greater or lesser periods simply through visual contact. This is known as liberation through seeing. When this liberating art is voluntarily absorbed, it helps to awaken everything in the universe and the universe in everything.