• The mystery of the Gothic cathedrals
    Jan Wicherink




    The Gothic cathedral architecture originated in France in the early 12th century during the heydays of the Knights Templar. The Knights Templar officially called the ‘Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon’ formed a knight’s order of priests who protected the pilgrimage routes to Jerusalem.

    The order was founded in 1118 by Hugo van Payens who managed to team up nine brave knight-priests. This group of nine knights became to be one of the richest and most powerful groups in history. With their huge wealth, collected from financing the crusades, they were able to build the Gothic cathedrals in Europe. The cathedrals with their twin towers facing the West resemble the Temple of Salomo with its two pillars Jachin and Boaz that stood in front of the temple. This explains why in many cases a statue of Salomon is placed at the West portal of the French cathedrals in between the twin towers.

    Many books have been written about the mysteries of the French Gothic cathedrals and its sacred geometry used in the architecture. A well known book is ‘Le Mystère des Cathédrales’ written in 1929 by Fulcanelli (1839 - 1953), the mysterious French alchemist who was one of the first to write about the mysteries surrounding the French cathedrals. According to Fulcanelli a cathedral is an alchemical book written in stone.


    The End of Time

    A visitor entering the cathedral is immediately confronted with ‘The Last Judgment’ that is displayed at the tympanum (mural) above the entrance. In the tympanum Jesus is displayed surrounded by the four beasts of the Apocalypse. These four beasts are mentioned in John’s Revelations and have been equated with the four apostles of the four canonical books of the bible, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The four beasts of the Apocalypse have an astrological significance. The beast with the human face correlates with Aquarius (Matthew), the lion with Leo (Mark), the ox with Taurus (Luke) and the eagle with Aquila (John). The zodiac sign Aquila is often replaced by the zodiac sign Scorpio in ancient zodiacs.

    In Christian art expressions Christ is often portrayed inside a Vesica Pisces along with these four zodiac signs and surrounding Christ’s head a halo is displayed resembling the Sun. The cross in the halo in reality could therefore be a reference to these four signs of the Apocalypse, since Taurus, Aquarius, Scorpio and Leo together form a perfect cross in the zodiac.


    Jesus inside the Vesica Pisces (Codex Bruchsal) with the four signs of the Apocalypse, upper left (Aquarius), upper right (Scorpio alias the eagle), bottom right (Taurus), bottom left (Leo)

    In prior articles I’ve argued that the Four Evangelists of the New Testament, just like the four beasts of the Apocalypse represent the signs of the Galactic Cross.

    ‘Last Judgment’ Chartres West Royal Portal


    Chartes Notre Dame Cathedral

    One of the oldest Gothic cathedrals in France is Chartres cathedral. This cathedral is aligned to the summer solstice. On the summer solstice the Sun shines through the window of ‘Saint Apollinaire’ with a depiction of the Roman sun god Apollo and its rays fall straight on an iron nail in the floor of the cathedral.

    Summer solstice Sun cathedral of Chartres

    Inside the cathedral one can find a zodiac which is rather peculiar since in Christian tradition practicing astrology is regarded as an act of paganism. This zodiac however seems to be telling something extraordinary. The first thing that attracts one’s attention is the cross in this zodiac that connects the four signs Taurus, Aquarius, Scorpio and Leo. Similar to the ‘Last Judgment’ this zodiac cross seems to denote the importance of these four signs and presumably must be associated with ‘The End Times’ as well.

    The reason might be that these four signs rise heliacal (before the sun) during a Great Celestial Conjunction at the solstices and/or equinoxes. They are thus the symbols of the true Galactic Cross determined by the places in the zodiac where the ecliptic and the Milky Way cross. The importance of the Great Celestial Conjunction of 2012 is that it marks the event after 6480 years when the equinox and solstice axis of the zodiac cross merge again with the Galactic Cross. This is the time the 26.000 year precession cycle will be concluded and a new cycle will commence. This is what in John’s Revelations has been called ‘The End Times’.

    Equinox-solstice cross aligns and merges with the Galactic Cross around 2012

    The next thing that attracts one’s attention about the zodiac in Chartres cathedral are the two semicircles in the zodiac that intersect to form a Vesica Pisces. A Vesica Pisces is an important ancient symbol later adopted by Christians to represent Christ. When vertically depicted, the Vesica Pisces represents the vagina of the goddess mother and as such was associated with fertility and birth. Christ is often depicted inside the Vesica Pisces in a vertical position like in the ‘Last Judgment’ of the tympanum above the West Royal Portal of Chartres cathedral. This symbolism therefore refers to the rebirth or Second Coming of Christ at the ‘End of Time’.

    When the Vesica Pisces in the zodiac of Chartres is carefully inspected, something interesting is discovered. The intersection of the Vesica Pisces aligns with the Pisces-Virgo axis in the zodiac. This is a hint that the Vesica Pisces should be associated with both the signs Pisces and Virgo. The esoteric astrological significance is that Pisces stands for Christ (the fisherman) while Virgo stands for Mary (the virgin mother). It was the virgin mother Mary (Virgo) that gave birth (Vesica Pisces) to Christ (Pisces).


    Great Celestial Conjunction

    There is only one very important astronomical rebirth taking place in Pisces around era-2012 and that’s the rebirth of the Sun in the precession cycle on the Galactic Cross. This moment denotes the start of a new precession cycle. Could it be that the Chartres zodiac was meant to denote this astronomical event?

    In the years of the Great Celestial Conjunction (1978-2017) the 5° Pisces - 5° Virgo axis of the Galactic Cross will align with the equinoxes, while the 5° Gemini - 5° Sagittarius axis (sidereal zodiac) of the Galactic Cross will align with the solstices. The Galactic Cross therefore occurs in the Chartres zodiac and is defined by the Vesica Pisces!

    Chartres Zodiac. The axis of the Vesica Pisces coincides with the axis of the Galactic Cross during the current Great Celestial Conjunction around 2012!

    The cross Taurus, Aquarius, Scorpio Leo cross corresponds in addition with the cardinal directions. If this cross is interpreted this way interesting new insights come to light. The Sun depicted in the upper right corner of the zodiac is now situated in the northeast at the place where the Sun rises during the summer solstice.

    Notice that a line is drawn from the Sun to the center of the zodiac. This line connects the Sun with the birthplace of the Sun, meaning inside the Vesica Pisces (the female birth canal) and at the centre of the Galactic Cross! The Vesica Pisces therefore suggests the rebirth of the Sun during the summer solstice in Pisces during the Great Celestial Conjunction of 2012.

    The symbolism used here suggests that the Christian doctrine of the ‘End Times’ is not about the rebirth of Christ at all, but actually about the rebirth of the Sun! This is most likely why Jesus is placed inside the vertical Vesica Pisces surrounded by the four beats of the End Times in the ‘Last Judgment’ in the first place!

    The zodiac corresponds with the summer solstice. The summer solstice Sun is depicted in the northeast (summer solstice sunrise).


    Black Madonna

    Are there more reasons to suspect that the biblical ‘End Times’ in reality is about the rebirth of the Sun? The fact is that there is actually a very convincing clue left in Chartres cathedral dealing again with the very same symbol, the Vesica Pisces.


    Left: Black Madonna Chartres. Right: de ‘Our dear Lady of the Pillar’ amidst eight pointed crosses

    Chartres cathedral is well known for its Black Madonna veneration. The Black Madonna however has nothing to do with Mary. In reality she represents the pagan Egyptian mother goddess Isis. In her arms she’s therefore not holding Jesus but the immaculate conceived son, the sun god Horus! Isis like Mary was a virgin who gave birth to a son on the 25th of December. This is exactly four days after the winter solstice, the moment of the rebirth of the Sun in the annual cycle after the Sun has ‘died’ on the cross of the zodiac at the winter solstice day.

    Tracing board with the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Mary is standing in between the two pillars of the temple of Solomon inside a Vesica Pisces. At the top the All Seeing Eye (representing the eye of Horus) is depicted. The tracing board symbolizes the birth of the solar deity Horus at the Milky Way.

    In the freemasons Tracing Board (see picture above) Mary’s Immaculate Conception is depicted. She’s placed inside a Vesica Pisces in between the two pillars of the temple of Solomon with the All Seeing Eye of Horus watching over her. This maconic Tracing Board reveals that the birth of Christ in reality is mimicking the birth of Horus, the Egyptian Sun God.

    Notice that the ‘virgin Mary’ in Chartres is placed on a pillar in a Vesica Pisces shaped cavity. The origin of this custom to place the virgin mother on a pillar in Christian traditions stems from the legend of ‘Our Lady on the Pillar’. The legend relates to the appearance of the virgin mother to the apostle James in the early days of Christianity on top of a column or pillar carried by angles.

    In Masonic traditions this pillar however represents the Milky Way. The symbolism of placing the Black Madonna with Jesus on a pillar must therefore be equated with the Sun (Horus) on the Milky Way. The Sun will be at the Milky Way at the ‘End of Time’ during the summer and winter solstice of 2012.


    Zodiac window

    In the ambulatory a stained glass window contains the twelve signs of the zodiac. On top in a four leaf clover, hence representing a form of cross, Christ is depicted in between the Greek letters alpha and omega. In Christianity Christ’s birth is represented by the letter alpha and his Second Coming at the ‘End of Time’ with the letter omega. The letters alpha and omega in this zodiac are therefore most likely representing the beginning and end of the precession cycle. The Great Celestial Conjunction of 2012 will be the alpha and omega point in the precession cycle, the moment of a cycle ending and new cycle starting.

    The four signs (Leo, Taurus, Aquarius, Scorpio) that are associated with the Galactic Cross are depicted similar to Christ in a four leafed clover. All of the other ‘regular’ signs of the zodiac are depicted in ordinary circles. There is however one little error introduced in this zodiac. Taurus of the Galactic Cross (Aquarius, Scorpio, Leo and Taurus) has been deliberately replaced by the sign Gemini. The summer solstice of June 21st takes place during the last day of Gemini (May 22 – June 21). By exchanging Taurus with Gemini, whereas Gemini must be associated with the summer solstice Sun, the summer solstice Sun is placed on the Galactic Cross! The summer solstice Sun at June 21st 2012 will reside in Gemini at the Galactic Cross where the ecliptic and the Milky Way cross!

    So this zodiac window in Chartres is clearly a reference to the summer solstice Galactic Alignment of 2012, the Great Celestial Conjunction of 2012.

    On June 21st 2012 (Gemini) the Sun resides on the Galactic Cross.
    Taurus is deliberately replaced by Gemini introducing an error in the zodiac sequence.


    Cross rib vaults

    In my Rosslyn Chapel article published in Atlantis Rising (issue 71, august 2008) I have argued that the architecture of Rosslyn Chapel contains a secret message concerning 2012. This secret in my opinion is the best kept secret by the highest degrees in Scottish freemasonry, the Royal Arch which has connected its name with this secret. The 2012 message has been cunningly embedded in the architecture by using cross symbols in the arches and cross rib vaults. These arches are not only found in Rosslyn Chapel but in most of the Gothic cathedrals as well.

    The ground plan of a Gothic cathedral is a cross. This cross comprises a nave in the East-West direction (aligned to the solstice Sun) that is bisected by the transept that is perpendicular to the axis of the nave. From a bird eye’s view the cathedral forms a huge cross aligned to the solstice Sun.

    The vaults of the Gothic cathedrals are for the majority four pointed cross rib vaults with the exception of the vaults of the apse that form a semicircle. The only exception to the four pointed cross rib vaults is the eight pointed cross rib vault of the Crossing. The Crossing is the heart of the cathedral where the nave and the transept intersect.

    This is a common ground plan of a cathedral:

    Ground plan of a cathedral with the eight pointed cross at the Crossing. (Centre of the cathedral)

    On top of the Crossing in most cases a tower is placed. This tower is shaped in the form of an octagon like in the cathedral of Coutances en Conques (France). Other examples are the cathedrals of Amiens, Auxerre, Laon, Rouen, Senlis en Toulouse that all have eight pointed cross rib vault at the Crossing of the cathedral.

    Crossing of nave and transept in the Notre-Dame of Rouen with an eight pointed cross rib vault.

    An interesting detail is that the four main pillars on which the vaults of the Crossing rest are named after the Four Evangelists. The Four Evangelists as mentioned before represent the four signs of the zodiac, Taurus, Aquarius, Scorpio and Leo.

    It is important to realize that the eight pointed cross resides at the hearth of the cathedral. It is the only eight pointed cross in the cathedral since the rest of the vaults are four pointed crosses. In my opinion the four and eight pointed crosses of the cross rib vaults that are part of the design of the cathedral have been intentionally introduced to leave a message about the End of Time. The ground plan of the cathedral in the shape of a huge cross has therefore most likely very little to do with the cross of Christ. It is far more likely that this cross represents the zodiac cross which explains why the cathedrals are aligned to the solstices.

    Crossing of Amiens cathedral, two different four pointed crosses, the main pillars
    form the Galactic Cross
    named after the Four Evangelists.

    The Notre Dame of Amiens, just like the Notre Dames of Rouen and Paris are aligned to the winter solstice. The axis of the cathedral runs from northwest (azimuth 295°) to southeast (azimuth 115°). The azimuth of 115° of the cathedral corresponds exactly with the azimuth of the sunrise at the old Celtic New Year’s Day Samhain (Halloween’s day) at 9-10 November.

    The angle that the length axis of the cathedral makes with the east-west cardinal axis is 25°. Due to this angle the Sun at the summer solstice will resides exactly one hour before sunset at azimuth 295° (270° for the West + 25°). This means that the Sun is facing the west portal of the cathedral to shed its last light on the ‘Last Judgment’ in the tympanum. The setting Sun symbolizes the ending of an era, the ‘End of Time’.

    In the nave of the cathedral an octagonal labyrinth is situated that during summer solstices aligns with the setting Sun along with the ‘Last Judgment’. In the centre of this labyrinth an octagon is depicted with two different crosses inside.

    Labyrinth of the cathedral of Amiens

    The first cross is formed by four angels, the second cross by four human figures among them the king, the local bishop and the architect of the cathedral.

    The cross of the angels aligns with the cardinal directions and hence with the equinox axis. The intriguing fact about the octagonal labyrinth is that it aligns to the equinox (cardinal directions) and the solstice axis (with an accuracy < 2,5°) at the same time!

    Remarkable geometry of the labyrinth of Amiens

    It’s of course no coincidence that the summer solstice evening Sun aligns exactly with both the ‘Last Judgment’ and this labyrinth. In my opinion the message of this labyrinth with its eight pointed cross existing of two separate crosses is that it is a reference to the Great Celestial Conjunction (Smelyakov/Wicherink 2006) of 2012 when the zodiac cross after 6480 years aligns again with the Galactic Cross. This moment corresponds with ‘The End of Time’.

    Notre Dame de Paris, the eight pointed cross at the roof of the choir is exactly aligned with the winter solstice sunrise.

    On top of the apse of the cathedral de Notre Dame de Paris an eight pointed cross is aligned to winter solstice sunrise since the cathedral has an azimuth of 115° (South East).

    This is not unique for the Notre Dame de Paris since most cathedrals and churches have similar crosses placed on top of the apse, hence the cross symbolism is not restricted to cathedrals. At the spire of virtually every church a wind vane is placed in the shape of an eight pointed cross to denote the ‘cardinal’ directions. However it is completely impossible to tell the direction of the wind by means of this cross. There are two reasons. The first is that this cross is placed vertically and not horizontally so it is not aligned to the cardinal directions at all. The cross is placed perpendicular to the length axis of the church and in case the church (or cathedral) is aligned to the solstice (which is often the case), it means that this cross is aligned to the solstice Sun in stead to the cardinal directions albeit in vertical position.

    Wind vane directed to the solstice sun

    Since the function of the wind vane can’t possibly be to tell the direction of the wind, it can only have a (Masonic) symbolic and/or esoteric significance.

    In conclusion, the French Gothic cathedrals bear an astrological message about the End Times of the New Testament. As has been demonstrated in this article the biblical End Times is the equivalent of the Great Celestial Conjunction around 2012. The Second Coming of the Redeemer at the End of Time must therefore by interpreted symbolically as the rebirth of the Sun at the ‘End of Time’ heralding a new age.

    Jan Wicherink

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