Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition
No. 4, Vol. 1. Vernal Equinox 2003
Reading the Green Language of Light
by Vincent Bridges
Although we can point to the Green Language in works as diverse as Midsummer Night's Dream and The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosencruz, Nostradamus' quatrains, 18th century alchemical texts and surrealist manifestos, few authors have bothered to explain it. One who did was Fulcanelli, the enigmatic 20th century alchemist and philosopher, in his masterpiece The Mystery of the Cathedrals, published in Paris in 1926. Here we have an authentic, although mysterious, voice of authority; one that was both master of the Green Language itself, and a master of the subjects usually hidden within it.
Fulcanelli's main point, the key to unraveling the larger mystery of alchemy and the cathedrals, lies in an understanding of what he calls the "phonetic law" of the "spoken cabala," or the "Language of the Birds." This punning, multi-lingual word play can be used to reveal unusual and, according to Fulcanelli, meaningful associations between ideas. "What unsuspected marvels we should find, if we knew how to dissect words, to strip them of their barks and liberate the spirit, the divine light, which is within," Fulcanelli writes. He claims that in our day this is the natural language of the outsiders, the outlaws and heretics at the fringes of society.
It was also the "green language" of the Freemasons ("All the Initiates expressed themselves in cant," Fulcanelli reminds us) who built the art gothique of the cathedrals. Ultimately the "art cot," or the "art of light," is derived from the Language of the Birds, which seems to be a sort of Ur-language taught by both Jesus and the ancients. It is also mentioned in the Sufi text, entitled "The Conference of the Birds," by Attar the Chemist. In de Tassey's French translation of this work, which Fulcanelli references, the "conference" of the title is translated as "language." De Tassey goes on to explain the complex linguistic metaphor beneath the simple fable. Fulcanelli uses the same method to decode the alchemical meaning of the cathedrals.
Fulcanelli also claims that Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel is "a novel in cant," that is, written in the secret language. Offhandedly, he throws in Tiresias, the Greek seer who revealed to mortals the secrets of Olympus. Tiresias was taught the language of the birds by Athena, the goddess of wisdom. Just as casually, Fulcanelli mentions the similarity between gothic and goetic, suggesting that gothic art is a magic art.
Emphasizing the phonetic connection to argot, cant or slang, Fulcanelli
then links it to the Argonauts, of the quest for the Golden Fleece, by
insisting that the crew of the Argo spoke the Green Language as it sailed
"towards the felicitous shores of Colchos." He suggests that
the language of this quest is the foundation of all initiation - "All
Initiates expressed themselves in cant." In the same sentence he
links this idea with the Court of Miracles of the troubadour poet Villon
and the artists who built the cathedrals, implying that these groups were
somehow the same nautes, or sailors, as the Argonauts.
From the work of modern molecular biologists Fritz-Albert Popp and Mae-Wan Ho, we know that DNA emits a weak form of coherent light that has been demonstrated to work like a communication system between cells and even between larger organisms. In this sense, the art of light is indeed the instrument of the spirit. It is nothing less than the mechanism, the framework so to speak, that allows Mind to exist in the universe. The language of light emitted and received by the DNA may be the original of all languages, the ultimate language of initiation.
Fulcanelli clearly understood this, as he shows when he states that argot, the initiation of the Argonauts, is but "one of the forms derived from The Language of the Birds." This Ur-language, Fulcanelli insists, is the common language of initiation and illumination behind cultural expressions as different as the Christian, the Inca, the medieval troubadours and the ancient Greeks. And traces of it can be found in the dialects of Picardy and Provence, and most important of all, in the language of the Gypsies.
These are stunning assertions. Fulcanelli informs us that the western cabala used by the troubadours and the builders of the cathedrals is based on the language of the Argonauts and the quest for the Golden Fleece. Which in turn is but one application of a vast Ur-language of symbols, derived perhaps from the DNA itself, that unite the global cultures of mankind, from the Inca to the ancient Greeks. And, to top it off, he told us that traces of it can be found in the language of the Gypsies, a fairly obvious reference to the Tarot, long held to be a Gypsy invention. Is he telling us that the Green Language, which is heard according to David Ovason only by those "who have clothed themselves in the skin of the dragon," is simply a symbolic approximation of the information, transmitted by weak laser pulses, coming from our DNA?According to the work of anthropologist Jeremy Narby, this Ur-language of light is a "forest television" of images in which "DNA is a snaked shaped master of transformation that lives in water and is both extremely long and small, single and double. Just like the cosmic serpent." His assessment agrees with Ovason's comments that only one who has the skin of the dragon, or has become one with the cosmic serpent of DNA, can understand this symbolic language of light.
Could it be possible, by looking at the structure of DNA, to reconstruct this dragon's speech, this green language of light's syntax, grammar and vocabulary? And could it be, as Fulcanelli suggests, that fragments of that original language of light can be found in the divinatory systems used by all nautes, shaman and initiates?
The basics of heredity have known since Gregor Mendel's experiments with peas, but the discovery of DNA as the carrier of genetic information revolutionized our understanding of life itself. Fifty years later, we are on the verge of a genetic revolution with the possibility of clones, genetic disease eradication in the womb and perhaps someday soon, designer humans. An inspiration hit James Watson as he walked down a spiral staircase, and in his mind's eye he saw the structure of DNA as a double helix.
Deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA, is a chain like molecule of great length, 1.3 meters, and high molecular weight in a double strand twisted like that spiral staircase that inspired Watson; a double helix with plus and minus strands. The strand itself consists of two chains of alternating acids and sugars in a simple building block like system. The strands are joined at regular intervals by rungs made of a pair of bases. There are four bases, thymine, always paired with adenine, and cystine, always paired with guanine. Thus, A, T, C, G are "letters" paired with T, A, G, C and because of the structure they fit together perfectly, like the teeth of a zipper. 
These base pairs form "words" that are instructions to build an amino acid compound. There are 64 such "words" and one or more of these words represent the instruction and information necessary to create one of the 22 amino acids used to create the protein structure of a living body. The sum of all these code words and amino acid sentences forms the blueprint for a specific entity, including elements that determine the individual's fate. And the strands with all this information are present in every undifferentiated cell nucleus, a script or book with significance, expression, meaning, all the hallmarks of life itself.
In 1968, Marie-Louise von Franz, a disciple of Carl Jung, published an essay in an anthology of psychology articles entitled "Symbol des Unus Mundus". As an aside in her essay about alchemical symbolism, Dr. von Franz speculated that there might be some structural link between the I Ching and the recently discovered DNA code. A year later, a physician, Dr. Martin Schonberger published a small article in an obscure German medical magazine, Zeitschrift fur Allgemeinmedizin - Der Landarzt, No. 16/1969, in which he presented "the astonishing parallels between the natural science of the I Ching and the latest discoveries of nuclear genetics."
Dr. Schonberger's comparisons can be summarized as: 1) Both the DNA and the I Ching are based on polarity, yin and yang in the case of the I Ching, up and down symmetry in the case of DNA's double helix; 2) Four "letters" are available, A,T,C,G in the case of DNA, resting yin, moving yin, resting yang and moving yang in the I Ching, which are grouped in pairs; 3) Three of these words form either a code for protein synthesis or a trigram; 4) The direction in which the codes are read is strictly determined in both; 5) There are 64 of these triplets or double trigrams, from which all creation, in the case of DNA, and fate in the case of the I Ching, are derived; 6) Two of these triplets have names, beginning and end. In the DNA they serve as punctuation between code sequences. In the I Ching, we have hexagrams # 63 and # 64, which serve the same purpose.
Dr. von Franz, a Jungian psychoanalyst, was the first to notice the similarity, 64 units made of three out of four possible components, between the two but it took the practical mysticism of a working physician to elaborate the essential question: "Is there only one spirit whose manifestation (= information) must of necessity find its expression in the 64 words of the genetic code on one hand and the 64 possible states and developments of the I Ching on the other?"
Soon after Dr. Schonberger's article was published, Fritz Albert Popp began his groundbreaking work on bio-photon emission and communication by the DNA. As soon as Dr. Schonberger learned of Dr. Popp's early work, he wrote to him and asked his opinion. "Since information and matter cross in the genetic code, it may be expected that evolution has selected the most favorable, i.e. the surest, and at the same time most economical, principle," Dr. Popp wrote back. "The only solution to the problem is to seek understanding of DNA as you have done, from the information theory angle."
Following this advice, Schonberger elaborated his article into a small book, The I Ching and The Genetic Code: The Hidden Key to Life, published in Germany in 1973. For the second edition in 1977, Popp himself added a short afterward in which he restated the essential question: "Is there a connection between this substantiated reflection of biological evolution and the purpose, the indication and the meaning of Life?" This question, as Popp notes, "focuses our curiosity on the phase-border between the syntax and semantics of the DNA structure."
In other words, if the I Ching is an accurate analogy for the syntax of the genetic code, then what does that imply about fate, free will and a host of other religious and spiritual issues? Even if we can read this "encyclopaedia of biological evolution," by means of a "hidden key to life," as has been done by the human genome project, the what does that imply about human evolution? Could a genetic I Ching, as suggested by Schonberger, function as a "periodic system of the spiritual element" for the evolution of forms of ever-greater complexity and self-awareness?
At the dawn of time, Fu Hsi, the primordial culture-bringer who invented the calendar, writing and the organization of society and whose name literally means Embodied Wisdom, tried to explain the workings of I, a word usually translated as "change." To do this, we are told in the Great Commentary supposedly written by Confucius, he "observed the phenomena of the heavens and gazed down to observe the contours of the earth." He also observed his own internal processes and their reflections in nature and then "went beyond this to take ideas from other things. Thus he invented the eight trigrams in order to comprehend the virtues of spiritual beings and represent the conditions of all things of creation."
In one version of the legend, Fu Hsi sees the eight trigrams, or primal groupings of broken and unbroken lines, on the back of a turtle, which gives us a clue as to how the oracle was originally practiced. The eight trigrams describe the major concepts of the ancient Chinese eco-philosophy which all refer back to the central image of the I, or, as an early Chou author defined it, "Change: that is the unchangeable." The word began as a pictogram of the cosmic lizard or dragon, and meant the "fixed," or the "straight," in the sense of the cosmic and unchanging axis of the universe. Applied to the idea of "time," the world axis came to denote "change" in order to describe the perceived evolution of patterns and rhythms.
These patterns were conceived as the cold dark yielding forces of Yin and the hot bright expansive forces of Yang, both of which are but fluctuations in the Chi. These fluctuations give rise to the five elements - metal, wood, water, fire and earth - whose interactions in turn produce all things. These eight concepts are symbolized by the eight primal trigrams: the trigrams Heaven and Earth represent Yang and Yin, while the trigram Thunder represents the Chi. The other five, - Lake, Fire, Wind, Water and Mountain - convey the essence of the five elements, metal, fire, wood, water and earth.
Fu Hsi's realization of the eight trigrams produces first of all a gnomic or geometric view of the universe's expansion, from first cause to the reality event horizon symbolized by the 64 hexagrams. The One becomes two, Yin and Yang, which in turn produces four, the directions, then eight, the trigrams, and then on to 64, the hexagrams. This was thought of as the primal linear order, of both the trigrams and their resulting hexagrams. This can also be seen as the primal binary matrix, a sort of master set of off/on switches by which life unfolds through time by means of change.
The number 64 is unusual in several ways. There are 64 codons, of three nucleotide units each, used by DNA and RNA to specify the amino acids needed for protein synthesis. We can think of these codons as a taxonomy, a complete and self-referencing group of symbols, that describes the possibilities of biological evolution. Interestingly enough, evidence from anthropology also suggests that 64 is the maximum number of entities that can be contained in one folkloric unit. From this it follows that the maximum level of cultural complexity is also controlled by the law of 2 to the 6th power, or 64. This connection between the evolution of proteins from DNA and the development of cultural complexity from archetypal experience forms the basis of the I Ching.
While there are other ways to organize the trigrams and therefore the hexagrams, the primal linear order seems to represent some basic structure of life itself. Fu Hsi, the Embodied Wisdom, seems to have been telling us that the wisdom is also encoded within all of us. Indeed, the archaic pictogram for the oracle resembles nothing so much as a way to align the I, or cosmic center, with the unfolded spirals of DNA derived life.
However, as the text attributed to Confucius noted, Fu Hsi went beyond the code of life. He also gave us a way to understand how our DNA fits within the larger patterns of celestial alignments and temporal development. The logical way to turn the linear, binary order of the trigrams into a circular pattern is to match pairs of opposites. This produces the primal or celestial arrangement, which represents the larger patterns of time and change. We can in fact align this primal pattern to the four corners of the universe, the so-called galactic solstices and equinoxes, and thereby derive the quality of time for each trigram's age or era.
The trigrams used to mark these large periods of time, the slow changes of the ages, can also be arranged to show the yearly cycle of natural and ecological change. This temporal arrangement begins in the spring with the appearance of the Chi trigram, Thunder, and then proceeds to develop the Chi through the year to perfection in the late winter, earth trigram Mountain, or Keeping Still, from which the Chi re-emerges in the spring.
Therefore Fu Hsi's revelation provides us with a way to understand the evolution of the life codes, our DNA, within the organization of the space/time matrix from which reality is formed. Each arrangement of trigrams can be used to generate a sequence of the 64 hexagrams, which describes the changes, or relationships, within that level of reality. Thus, the linear or binary sequence describes the diversity of life produced through the action of tRNA, the celestial sequence describes the quality of time as the evolution of the results of action, what the Hindus call karma, and the temporal sequence describes the unfolding of the life force, the Chi, through the year and the landscape. By referring to all three, a total picture of reality emerges.
Apparently, up to this point, no recognized interpretations of the patterns existed. Each practitioner was free to interpret the patterns of the hexagrams in their own way. However, around the middle of the 12th century BCE, the late Shang dynasty deposed and imprisoned one of their dependents, King Wen. While in prison, King Wen turned his attention to writing descriptions, or judgments, on the 64 hexagrams. By careful use of the ideas revealed in his study, King Wen was able to affect his release and the re-instatement of his kingdom. Perhaps for this reason, his judgments have ever since been seen as definitive.
King Wen passed his knowledge on to his son, Tan, the Prince of Chou, founder of the Chou dynasty that eventually overthrew the Shang. The Prince of Chou is credited with having passed on the wisdom of his father in his judgments on the lines of the 64 hexagrams. These 384 descriptions form a unified field of understanding where all three perspectives on the eight trigrams and their subsequent sequences of hexagrams can be explored.
Imagine that a being from an advanced culture gave you a toy designed to both entertain you and instruct you in the workings of our reality matrix. The toy works like this: at any moment, you can freeze the flow of time into a very small slice which not only tells you the nature of the moment, but why you chose it, the ramifications of having chosen it, and three other co-ordinates of change that create the moment and the choice.
Essentially, the I Ching, the gift of Fu Hsi, is such a toy. Any means of random selection can be used - counting yarrow stalks, tossing coins or a binary computer program - to provide the hexagram, which marks the quality of that moment. This hexagram is then interpreted by various methods and then related to other hexagrams to provide an inclusive and holistic perspective on the evolution of that moment in time. The value of such knowledge, however, comes from our ability to make use of it.
And this, perhaps, was the genius of King Wen. In addition to writing the enigmatic judgments, King Wen also designed a way to structure the hexagrams in pairs so that the increment of change between the pairs described the rhythmic structure of that elusive quality the now or the everchanging present. This discovery animated the larger structures described by Fu Hsi's trigrams so that time or change was rendered interactive. King Wen's arrangement became the standard sequence used in most versions of the I Ching, and for millennia was the preferred way to consult the oracle. It survived because it worked. Through the King Wen arrangement, it was possible to have a dialogue with this ancient source of wisdom.
How this actually worked was a mystery until recently. Carl Jung's study of the I Ching led to his theory of synchronicity as an acausal connecting principle, but he was unable to see how the flow of archetypes formed meaningful structures in an acausal manner. Synchronicity could be defined as a psychological event, the projection of meaning onto a background of randomness, but Jung left unanswered the question of meaning itself. Does this temporal universe inhabited by biological entities truly have a "meaning?"
Perhaps not a meaning, but at least a "destiny." One of the commentaries on the I Ching attributed to Confucius tells us that "the future likewise develops in accordance with the fixed laws, according to calculable numbers. . . This is the thought on which the Book of Changes is based." Another even older commentary informs us that "counting that which is going into the past depends on the forward movement. Knowing that which is to come depends on the backward movement. This is why the Book of Changes has backward moving numbers." Clearly the early commentators and interpreters saw the I Ching as something vastly more significant than a simple oracle.
But what exactly? This question was answered by a couple of the century's most brilliant minds. The McKenna brothers, Terence and Dennis, in their groundbreaking work The Invisible Landscape postulated that the King Wen arrangement contained just such a backward and forward flowing pattern of numbers, and that these numbers could be used to construct an interface with similar vital holons, or holistic hierarchies, in the organization of space/time.
The McKennas demonstrated this by overlaying the 384 lines of the 64 hexagrams (6 x 64 = 384) on the 13 month lunar calendar (13 X 29.53 days = 383.89 days). They then used these basic units to develop a temporal lock with the solar/sunspot cycle, the Zodiacal Ages, and the length of the Great Year of precessional motion. With the same increment, 64, they found it was possible to assemble a 26 step model of space/time from the size/age of the universe down to Planck's Constant. In this view, the I Ching is a fractal model of all that is, was, or will be. It is also hologramic, in that the piece, the I Ching, contains the information of the whole, the evolving universe.
Applying this realization to the structure of the King Wen arrangement produces a model of the holonic nature of evolution. If we think of the time from the emergence of life on earth to the immediate future, roughly 1.3 billion years, as one increment and then begin to divide that by 64, some interesting time periods are highlighted. Our first division, one 64th of 1.3 billion years, brings us to the high point of the mammals, 18 million years ago. The next division by 64 brings us to 275,000 BCE, the dawn of Homo Sapiens. Dividing again by 64 brings us to the high point of the ancient cultures such as the Egyptian around 2300 BCE. Another division brings us to the mid 20th century and the last 67 + years of the cycle.
According to this view, all of biological and cosmological time is approaching a point of concrescence in the near future. The McKenna brothers went looking for possible dates for this concrescence and decided that the helical rising of the winter solstice sunrise in 2012 matched the requirements. It would certainly be an event of cosmological significance that could serve as a symbol of the concrescence itself. The McKennas found that this date also matched the wave form derived from King Wen's arrangement with historical events. The end of World War II and the atomic bomb, for instance, fell on 1945, the year of the last division, the beginning of the last 67 + years of biological and galactic evolution which completes the vast hexagram of time which began 72.25 billion years ago.
All of the information, "novelty" as the McKennas called it, that was generated in the course of the previous billions of years from the formation of the earth to the present is compressed and recapitulated in the last 67 + years. Therefore we can apply the same scale of division, creating a new hexagramic hierarchy, to this 67 + year period. Within this time period, there are 64 groups of 384 days, which cover three major and six minor sunspot cycles. When the wave front of concrescence is applied to the time period, we find that the first node falls on the beginning of the last 384 day cycle. The McKennas suggested that this node marked a shift in "novelty" or information density, equal to that which occurred in 1945 CE, 2300 BCE, 275,000 BCE and so on.
The next node on the concrescence wave happens six days before the shift point and again represents the same kind of acceleration in "novelty." The first trigram is completed at the next node, 135 minutes from ground zero, and represents another level of acceleration. Novelty continues to speed up at the next node, 127 seconds, and again at the next, 1.98 seconds, and then for the final time at .003 seconds when it accelerates to its maximum. The pattern then inverts and novelty decreases by the same incremental pattern with which it increased. Another round has begun.
The implications of this are staggering if considered from the perspective of the universe's meaning or destiny. Perhaps sentient life developed out of the primal matrix just to be aware of this all-important wave of information acceleration as it reaches concrescence. Perhaps the true value of the I Ching is to help us understand the transformational possibilities of living in a moment of rapidly accelerating time.
This alchemical mandala, with its circle of sixty hexagrams, is the informational link between eastern and western systems of divination and magical philosophy. Its four outer hexagrams suggest the pattern of the Kabbalistic cross - "Between the heights (heaven) and the depths (Earth), between Justice (Fire) and Mercy (Water), I am centered" - while the circle of sixty hexagrams represents the union of the microcosm, 5 the pentagram, and the macrocosm, 6 the hexagram, [5 x 6 = 30, 6 x 6 = 36, 5 x 12 (6 + 6) = 60, 6 x 10 (5 + 5) = 60 and 12 + 60 = 72] in the ratio of 5:6, or 10:12.
This numerical relationship corresponds in the double helix of DNA to the point where counting by triplets and turns merge. Two triplets, six base pairs, contain a half turn of the DNA helix, or five base pairs. Therefore, three whole turns, or six half turns, contains ten triplets, 30 base pairs or 60 amino acids, with in a framework of 12 triplets, 36 base pairs and 72 amino acids. These ratios, 5:6 and 10:12 form a common period where turns, structure, and information, triplets, coincide, echoing the overlap between mind, the microcosm, and matter, the macrocosm and the relationship between the Tree of Life, three turns and ten triplets of the helix, and the zodiac of six half turns and 12 triplets.
Both the 60 hexagram cycle and the 64 hexagram cycle are related to time. The ancient Chinese calendar was based on the Chang, or Metonic cycle of 19 years solar years. This the time period in which the sun and moon go through their permutations before returning to the starting point. In astrology, this is marked by the head and tail of the dragon, markers used to note the main event of the Metonic cycle, the prediction of eclipses. If we divide our 60 hexagrams or amino acids by the 19 years of the cycle, we find a close approximation of Pi, 3.15, a geometric marker of the cycle that is also reflected in the structure of DNA. Nineteen turns, counted by triplets, brings us to the 64th triplet, completing the cycle of the code. Nineteen turns of 64 triplets is 192 base pairs and 384 amino acids, the total number of lines in the I Ching.
If we count by lunar years of 384 days, 13 months times 29.6 days or 19 days more than the solar year, then 64 of these "years" would merge the eclipse cycle, the head and tail of the dragon, with the sun spot cycle, containing three major cycles and six minor ones, which echoes the three turns and six half turns created by ten triplets. This temporal unit, as we saw noted above, is the increment of change, the wave front of the increasing novelty factor, by which evolution is paced. It is no accident, given the light sensitive nature of DNA that eclipse cycles, sunspot cycles and the informational structure of DNA should all be based on the same ratios and proportions.
From this we can see that the structure of the I Ching and the DNA code contains both local solar system time orchestrated by the permutations of sun, moon, eclipses and sunspot cycles, and the larger cycles of precessional time. Counting by turns and triplets reveals that a macrocosmic framework of precessional numbers supports the microcosm. The movement of the spring equinox backward through the zodiac due to the tilt of the earth's axis is measured at the rate of one degree every 72 years, therefore 12 triplets, 1 and 1/5th turns of the helix equals 1/6 of a degree of precessional motion, or 12 years. Given that there billions of turns and millions of triplets in a single strand of DNA, then the entire history of the universe, from beginning to end, could be coded into our DNA.
From this perspective, the mythic Akashic Records are simply the coils of DNA within every cell of your body, and they can be read by those who, in Ovason's phrase, "have clothed themselves in the skin of the dragon," that is, only by initiates who have learned the Green Language of Light. But, while the I Ching provides us with an alphabet and a way to spell out meaningful "words," the 64 codons it fails to provide a grammar and syntax that would allow us to use these "words" in sentences and metaphors, in other words, to turn the images into a discrete form of communication.
For that piece of the puzzle, we must turn to the western mystery tradition and a much newer psycho-technology, the Tarot and its Gnostic and Kabbalistic roots.
According to the gnostic myth, at the creation of the world the spirit of Light was imprisoned by the powers of Darkness. This light, the essence of God, was trapped in human bodies as separate sparks of light, our souls. The gnostic sects held that the goal of their knowledge was the path of return, or the ability of the individual sparks to return to the original Light through the process of redemption. According to the Gnostics, this world, and its history, are the works of the evil Demiurge. This is the false god, or the evil one, who built this world as a trap for souls, or the light.
As each soul is redeemed, it travels back to the shattered source of the divine Light. The soul returns its own small spark of light to the main source, which slowly, as more and more souls return to it, becomes whole again. Eventually, when all souls have returned, the physical universe, being now completely without Light, will end. Given modern biology's understanding of the light emitting and information carrying ability of DNA, and the implications for the kind of hologramic reality described by the Gnostics, then such eschatology of Light gains a new and more scientific meaning. Therefore this "eschatology of Light" synthesized from Egyptian, Persian and Hebrew elements can be seen as the framework supporting the vast diversity of gnostic traditions. These traditions included the new messianic form of Judaism that would become Christianity a century or so later.
The key concept in this eschatology of light is the Tree of Life, Etz Chaim, as described in the work of creation texts such as the Sepher Yetsirah. The Tree of Life is a diagram that pictures reality as the intersection of four great realms, or levels of abstraction. A geometric pattern crystallizes within the intersection planes like a moiré pattern in a hologramic projection. Twenty-two paths, processes or states of becoming connect ten localities, spheres or sephiroth. The entire diagram was thought to describe the nature of creation, God's artistic technique if you will. But it's true importance to the sages was its application to the human condition.
As God is supposed to have made man in his image and likeness, then man was thought to contain, in microcosm, the entire Tree of Life. Some medieval Kabbalists used the concepts in the Sepher Yetsirah to create an artificial form of life, as in the Golem legends of Prague and Warsaw. To the western esotericists, the Tree of Life functioned much like the Kundalini diagrams of the Hindu mystics. By mapping the internal power centers, and then projecting outward and aligning them with the forces of nature, the magician sought to re-enact the process of creation. And so become, like God, a co-creator of the universe.
The sephiroth and the paths are arranged in a few basic patterns. The top three localities, Kether, Chokmah and Binah, (Crown, Wisdom and Understanding) create a triangular motif that is then inverted and projected downward through the pattern. The first inverted triangle, Chesed, Geburah, Tiphareth, (Mercy, Strength and Beauty) is repeated by the third and last triangle, Netzach, Hod and Yesod (Victory, Splendor and Foundation). The whole pattern is then resolved by, and enfolded into, the last sephiroth, Malkuth (Kingdom).
Each of these triangular patterns represents one of the realms or levels of abstraction. The repetition of the pattern also creates three columns or pillars on the Tree. Facing the Tree, the three columns are Mercy, Transformation (note this column connects Malkuth with Kether, heaven to earth), and Severity. These repetitions of three can also be seen as the three persons of the trinity, the law of threes, or thesis, antithesis and synthesis to the modern philosopher. They can also be seen as the triplet code at the heart of transfer RNA, which creates proteins according to the DNA's blueprint, and the three turns formed of ten triplets.
Indeed, the whole Tree of Life pattern echoes the structural components of DNA and its processes that we found in the I Ching. The ten spheres are joined together by the serpent like entwining of the 22 paths, for a total of 32 qualities and their reflection, which of course matches the 64 protein synthesis code words of t-RNA. The 22 letters of the paths correspond to the 20 amino acids and the two punctuation marks formed by t-RNA. As these are formed of words made of base pairs, we might think of them as possible sentence structures, or varieties of syntax, that allow for the "metaphor" of a physical body to be "written" or constructed. Even the 23 chromosomes that each individual passes on in reproduction can be seen as the 22 paths of the Tree, with the addition of the Malkuth, or earth element, that creates both gender and individuality. In essence, the Kabbalah and the Tree Of Life are elegant and symbolic ways to express the patterns found in the DNA. It is therefore no wonder that it was thought capable of bestowing life on inanimate clay as in the Golem legends.
Understanding of this combination of mythic mathematics and DNA geometry almost disappeared with fall of the ancient world. It survived in fragments, and in the quotations of the ancients, until an almost unknown English scholar named William Stirling wrote the first formal explication since Vitruvius in ancient Rome. Published anonymously in 1897, his book, entitled The Canon: An Exposition of the Pagan Mystery Perpetuated in the Cabala as the Rule of All Art, managed, like Fulcanelli's Mystery of the Cathedrals, to become influential in spite of its obscurity. It inspired thinkers as diverse as the psychic archaeologist F. Bligh Bond and the perennial Victorian bad-boy magician Aleister Crowley, who liberally sprinkled his work with swipes from Stirling.
According to Keith Critchlow, a geometric philosopher and student of Buckminster Fuller's, "the Canon is based on the objective fact that events and physical changes which are perpetual are never the less completely governed by intrinsic proportions, periodicities and measures." As Critchlow notes, "it is to just such a hidden intrinsic language that the author of this book (Stirling) has dedicated himself."
In his chapter on Rhetoric, one of the liberal arts surrounding Alchemy on the base of Notre-Dame's middle pillar, Stirling gives us a simple description of the Great Tree of Life: "The process of creation may be expressed by inscribing the cabalistic diagram in the upper hemisphere, so that the apex or crown reaches to the Milky Way, while the tenth step will coincide with earth." Stirling's "cabalistic diagram" is the ten-step pattern of unfoldment known to occultists as the Tree of Life, and according to his explication, it is the basic pattern of the Canon itself.
He writes: "The doctrine of the Cabala was reduced to a geometric diagram, in which ten steps were grouped according to a progressive scheme, so that the emanations of the Spirit of the Elohim issues from the first step called the Crown, and after passing through the whole figure is carried through the ninth step, and finally reaches the tenth or last of the series." This cabalistic diagram described by Stirling, the Tree of Life, was first elucidated in the 2nd century Sepher Yetsirah, and pictures reality as the intersection of levels of abstraction, again reminiscent of the intersection of mind and matter, information and structure, that is the DNA code.
Stirling tells us that "the ideas which the ancients connected and combined into this figure of ten progressive steps, appears to form the basis of all their philosophy, religion, and art, and in it we have the nearest approach to a direct revelation of the traditional science, or Gnosis, which was never communicated except by myths and symbols." From this we can see that the framework, the Gnostic pattern, behind the universal language of symbolism, the Language of the Birds and the Green Language, is this great word/world tree of DNA geometry. It is also the Ladder of our western shamanic Gnosis.
In Islam, the mithrab is the prayer doorway to Mecca and the inner mysteries of Mohammed's revelation. In many Sufi sects, the mithrab has the geometric pattern of the Tree of Life, without Malkuth, inscribed in its niche. This is usually coupled with the Light Verse from the Qu'ran - Sura 24, verse 35. To the Sufis, this verse exemplifies the very idea of illumination. Idries Shah called the verse "the essence of Sufism," and goes on to suggests that it "conceals the nature of the cognition of the extra dimensions of the human consciousness which comes beyond the intellect."
The mithrab/credence in Lallemant Mansion combines Islamic concepts with the even deeper meaning of a door to the Duat from Egyptian cosmology. It has three layers, as does the Egyptian false door. On the inner surface of the niche is a letter rebus that, as we will see, distils the essence of the Sufi Light Verse. We are also reminded of the Abbot Suger: "Bright is the noble work, this work shining nobly/ Enlightens the mind so that it may travel through the true lights/ To the True Light where Christ is the true door."
In the niche of the credence at Lallemant are the letters RERE on one line, followed by the letters, RER on the next. This is repeated twice more for a total of six lines, hence doubling or crossing: two times three equals six. It looks like this:
The repetition suggests a sequence with six lines, such as a hexagram of the I Ching. If we take the RER to be a yin line and the RERE to be a yang line, then the credence gives us the 64th hexagram of the I Ching: "Before Completion." If we flip the attribution so that RER is yang and RERE is yin, then we have hexagram #63, "After Completion." These hexagrams are composed of two trigrams, Li, flame or light, and K'an, water or the abyss. Therefore we have the image of "fire over water; the conditions before transition," and "water over fire, the conditions after transition," as the sages described it in the text. This image suggests the Silver Star of the Wise, rising from the depths of space to signal the completion of the Great Work, and the symbol of both the prima materia and the completed process, the cosmic serpent biting its own tail of DNA itself.
Jeremy Narby, in his book The Cosmic Serpent, describes DNA as "living in water and emitting photons, like an aquatic dragon spitting fire." This certainly matches the image of the two hexagrams we can make from the pattern on the credence, and suggests that the I Ching and the DNA light language might be the same thing, the same "text." Researchers, such as Rattemeyer, Popp and Ho, consider this bio-photon emission and absorption as a kind of "bio-communication between cells and organisms," and their work over the last 15 years suggest that this language is used not merely on the cellular level but also as a communication and organization mechanism in macro-organisms such as plankton swarms. Narby presents startling evidence that shamanic states can function as an access way to this internal flow of information in the form of symbols and imagery.
As we saw above, the Tree of Life is also a way to organize the information of the DNA. When viewed as a 3 dimensional object, the Tree of Life becomes a prism-like crystal, which increases its resemblance to the liquid crystal of DNA. We can see these two great information theories as emblematic of the eastern and western approaches. The Ladder-like approach of the Tree of Life complements the language-like structure of the I Ching. What unites them is the end result, the realization of the DNA/light, even in symbolic terms, from which they originate.
Is there really a very sophisticated meme for transformation and gnosis
that runs through all religions and spiritual traditions? Is this tradition
holding the knowledge of our past for a release some time in the future?
Could light, in the form of weak laser pulses from our DNA, be the source
of this information? Could the pattern itself, represented by the yin/yang
polarity of hexagrams #63 and #64, reveal when understood the ultimate
secrets of life, time and fate?
Le Mystere des Cathedrales, Fulcanelli, 1926, J. Schmeit, Paris,
1st edition - 1957, Jean-Jacques Pauvert, Paris, 2nd edition
'Biological organization, coherence and light emission from living organisms,' 1993, Mae-Wan Ho and Fritz-Albert Popp, in Thinking about Biology, W. D. Stein and F. J. Varela eds.
'Biophoton emission : Experiemental background and theoretical approaches,' Fritz -Albert Popp, Qiao Gu and Ke-Hsueh Li, 1994, Modern Physcial Letters B 8(21-22) : 1269 -1296.
The Nostradamus Code, Ovason, David, 1998, Arrow Books Limited, London.
The Cosmic Serpent, Jeremy Narby, 1998, Tarcher Putnam, New York.
The Double Helix, James D. Watson, 1968, New American library, New York.
The Eighth day of Creation: The makers of the revolution in biology, Horace Freeland Judson, 1979, Simon and Schuster, New York.
Signs of Life : The Language and meanings of DNA, Rober Pollack, 1994, Houghton Mifflin, New York.
Dialog uber den menschen, W. Bitter ed., 1968, Klett Verlag, Stuttgart.
The I Ching and The Genetic Code: The Hidden Key to Life, Dr. Martin Schonberger, 1992, Aurora Press, New Mexico.
The Horizon History of China, C. P. Fitzgerald, 1969, American Heritage, New York.
The I Ching, translated by Richard Wilhelm and Cary F. Baynes, 1950, Bollingen Foundation, New York.
A Dictionary of Chinese Symbols, Wolfram Eberhard, 1986, Routledge, London.
Chinese Characters, Dr. L Weiger, S. J., 1965, Dover Publications, new York.
The Diversity of Life, Edward O. Wilson, 1992, Penguin, New York.
Understanding The I Ching - The Wihelm Lectures on the Book of Changes, Helmut and Richard Wilhelm, 1995, Princeton Univesity Press.
Heaven, Earth and Man in the Book of Changes, Helmut Wilhelm, 1977, University of Washington Press.
The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens and the I Ching, Terence and Dennis McKenna, 1993, HarperCollins San Francisco.
The Taoist Classics, volume four, The Taoist I Ching with I Ching Mandalas, Thomas Cleary, 2000, Shambahala, Colorado.
The Tree of Gnosis, Ioan P. Couliano, 1993, HarperCollins, San Francisco
The Secret Teachings of Jesus: Four Gnostic Gospels, Marvin W. Meyer, 1986, Vintage Books, New York
The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels, 1981, Vintage Books, New York.
The Nag Hammadi Library, James M. Robinson, (editor) 1978, Harper & Row, New York
The Kabbalah Unveiled, S. L. MacGregor Mathers, 1991, Arkana, London
The Universal Meaning Of The Kabbalah, Leo Schaya, 1971, London
Jewish Gnosis, Merkabah Mysticism and Talmudic Tradition, Gershom Sholem, 1960, New York
The Canon - An Exposition of the Pagan Mystery Perpetuated in the Cabala as the Rule of All the Arts, Williuam Stirling, 1897, Elkins Matthews, London
'Evidence of photon emission from DNA in living systems, M. Rattenmayer, 1981, Naturwissenschaften, 68 :572 - 573.
Recent advances in biophoton resdearch and its application, Fritz-Albert Popp, et. al. Eds. 1992, Singapore World Scientific.
The Anatomy of the Body of God, Frater Achad ( Charles Stanfield Jones) 1969, Samuel Wieser, New York.
 Le Mystere des Cathedrales, Fulcanelli, 1926,
J. Schmeit, Paris, 1st edition - 1957, Jean-Jacques Pauvert, Paris, 2nd
 'Biological organization, coherence and light emission from living organisms,' 1993, Mae-Wan Ho and Fritz-Albert Popp, in Thinking about Biology, W. D. Stein and F. J. Varela eds., pp. 182 -213. Also, 'Biophoton emission : Experiemental background and theoretical approaches,' Fritz -Albert Popp, Qiao Gu and Ke-Hsueh Li, 1994, Modern Physcial Letters B 8(21-22) : 1269 -1296.
 The best single volume work on the early breakthroughs in DNA research remains The Eighth day of Creation :The makers of the revolution in biology, Horace Freeland Judson, 1979, Simon and Schuster, New York.
 A Dictionary of Chinese Symbols, Wolfram Eberhard, 1986, Routledge, London, pag. 217. Also The I Ching and The Genetic Code :The Hidden Key to Life, Dr. Martin Schonberger, 1992, Aurora Press, New Mexico, pg 131. And Chinese Characters, Dr. L Weiger, S. J., 1965, Dover Publications, new York, pg 246.
 See Understanding The I Ching - The Wihelm Lectures on the Book of Changes, Helmut and Richard Wilhelm, 1995, Princeton Univesity Press and Heaven, Earth and Man in the Book of Changes, Helmut wilhelm, 1977, University of Washington Press for a fuller picture of this integrated view of the I Ching.
 The I Ching and The Genetic Code :The Hidden Key to Life, Dr. Martin Schonberger, 1992, Aurora Press, New Mexico, 'Epilogue : I Ching and DNA - An Interdisciplinary Phenomenon,' Frank Fiedler, Ph. D. pgs 147 - 152.
 'Evidence of photon emission from DNA in living systems', M. Rattenmayer, 1981, Naturwissenschaften, 68 :572 - 573. Also 'Recent advances in biophoton resdearch and its application', Fritz-Albert Popp, et. Al. Eds. 1992, Singapore World Scientific.