Late last night a film came on, a throwback classic from 1989, ”The Church”. An Italian directors attempt at a horror film. Shaky angles, moment by moment renditions of scenes from the likes of “Rosemary’s Baby” with some incredible steady cam shots. Anyway, in this film one of the characters makes reference to “Fulcanelli”. The famous anonymous alchemist from France who, to this day eludes identification. Some say he was an enlightened man, some say he was royal, while others say he still lives, in Spain, deep in the mountains. The material the character referenced is the mysteries of cathedral’s. A typical French title “Mystres des Cathedrales”, this work was brought to light in 1926. The basis of the piece is that European Church’s are living historical allegory, brought to life by the master builders. As you probably guessed, Masonic in nature and humanistic in form. The bulk of the esoteric literature is steeped with signs and symbols, for those with initiated eyes can see. The movie, if you haven’t watched, is about a church that was built on an ancient site, where mass graves and demons are set. So “knights” in hopes of saving the village, erect a church. Many years later the church begins to decay and the souls and demons break free. I won’t spoil the crux of the film, if you wish to view it. My apologies if you’ve seen it and find it awful. I am not interested in the film, per sé, but the reference to Fulcanelli.
Vulcan, the God of fire, and El, the Canaanite name for God, is the purposed compound making up his name. His identity has been a hot debate for years. One of the contenders name is Jules Louis Garbriel Violle. This genius, a physicist and inventor taught the solar constant at Mont Blanc, and developed the standard for luminous intensity. In photometry, this is the power emitted by a light source in wavelength weight. The standard purposed by Jules, is equal to the light emitted by 1cm square of platinum at its melting point. A true moment of perfect measure, that should be used today however, was made obsolete by the candela, the standard unit in measuring luminous intensity today.
If you are aware of CERN, the large hadron collider, the physics of measuring luminosity are key to their success. I purpose the return to the Violle platinum standard, the desired result is accuracy. Humanistic is the candela standard and should be considered flawed. This hypothesis will be further explored at another time.
The “Mystres des Cathedrales” is the topic of discussion, so let’s move on. Fulcanelli begins his masterpiece by evoking a memory, of his early childhood, at the tender age of 7. He recalls the impression that imprinted an emotion of arousal in his heart when he first gained sight before a gothic cathedral. He referenced ecstasy, wonder and complete paralysis. Let’s read his own words from his book” I was in ecstasy struck with wonder, unable to tear myself away from the attraction of the marvellous, from the magic of such splendor such immensity, such intoxication expressed by this more divine than human work.” This description of gothic divine houses of God is moving, and quite metaphysical. “More divine than human” infers man, as master builders of gothic churches, were more than mere mortals. Inspired and divinely created to be those men chose to fulfill such “good work” as those worthy to be architects of such great wondrous monuments. The dilemma Fulcanelli faces in his writing is how does one thank the great work and how does one express aesthetics in the shadow of such great accomplishments. I find, with this work, Fulcanelli attempts to use words and works of his contemporaries. I think we all use this tactic at times, to describe emotions conjured up by magicians of our past.
Funny, as I write this I recall once working backstage for David Copperfield, the stage magician. I signed a nondisclosure, so I won’t revel any “tricks” here, but I learned a great lesson. Once you know how the “trick” is performed, it losses it’s affect.
Back to Fulcanelli, there is another great reference to this work in one of my favorite books by Paolo Coelho. “The Alchemist”, you know the book, Santiago on his journey, finds that the whole universe conspires to help him. Same is true when you really want something. Check it out, and pay attention to the Fulcanelli reference. There is another modern book, which weighs heavily on finding Fulcanelli in Martin Langfields “The Secret Fire”. Countless artist and musicians make reference to this mysterious man. If you read comics, you will find DC has a character named Evan Fulcanelli. Zappa titled a song “who is Fulcanelli” and the list continues today, even in EDM (Electric Dance Music) DJ Balli makes “transmutations”. A clear reference to Fulcanelli. So who is this alchemist, with only 2 works published and a whole host of investigators, present company included? The debate rages on. However, in my endeavor I have revealed truth more relevant than the “who” is the “whole”.
WE all are Fulcanelli. All conscious beings on this planet, the ones who struggle to find words to describe the world around us. The people who, by the innocence of a 7 year old are awe struck by the achievements of the magicians of history. Those who find the need in a journey across the desert to feel they are special, to remind ourselves the entire universe has their back. The masterpiece that is the Mysteries of Cathedrals, is the overwhelming gratitude and the struggle to express thanks. It is the human expression made manifest. The realization of the ones who came before you struggled with expressing gratitude, awe and wonder. Some beings use stone, some words, some paint and some use blogs, while others use exact scenes from movies. Roman Polanski’s sex scene with Satan is reproduced in Michele Soavi sex scene with Satan to the tee in The Church. Some say he did this to honor the work of Polanski. When is it copy? When is it flattery? One thing is clear, once you have eyes, you see. Once you have words you speak, once you have light you shine. Go transmute. Try to find your own words, but the mysteries of our past may depend on using our contemporaries words, images or plans along side our own to express such magnificence called Beauty. The answer is within these words. Now you know, what I know.
In other words Merci Beaucoup, Fulcanelli!
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