The Hermetic Code comes to an end
Popular series will be published as a book as early as this spring
Sat Dec 9 2006
By Margo Goodhand
TODAY we publish the last instalment of The Hermetic Code, a 15-part special project revealing the occult mysteries of Manitoba's Legislative Building.
It's been a tremendous success, if we do say so ourselves, with lots of great feedback from amateur historians to occultists to surprised fans who've learned far more than they ever imagined about hieroglyphics and Hermes.
We've also fielded hundreds of calls and e-mails requesting copies of the book.
The bad news is there is no book, yet.
The good news is we are compiling the series now and will publish it as a book as early as this spring. When it comes out, we promise to let you know.
Meanwhile, Frank Albo's research continues. We were going to run an epilogue today, following the last chapter on A16 and 17, describing just exactly where he was headed next.
But having put words in Frank's mouth for two whole weeks, we decided it was time to let him speak for himself.
Here's what he wrote us yesterday from Amsterdam:
BY FRANK ALBO
A coveter of secrets, infamous for transforming base metals into gold, and possessor of the Philosopher's Stone -- the alchemist was no ordinary scientist.
His craft, outlawed by royal decree, exiled him into darkened, cavernous laboratories to pore over occult manuscripts amidst pestle, mortar, crucible and furnace. In 1678, this English physicist, astronomer and natural philosopher surreptitiously jotted down notes about "hermaphrodite," about a mysterious chemical compound associated with alchemy, and other cryptic references like the "menstrual blood of the whore" and the configurations and dimensions of Solomon's Temple.
By day, he was a distinguished member of Parliament and president of the Royal Society; by night, a magus of occult knowledge and Hermetic formulae.
He spent endless hours scouring ancient Greek myths for hidden truths about nature and the universe, in search of encoded alchemical recipes. His obsession with alchemy yielded nearly a million words contained in his private papers unearthed in 1936 by the famous British economist John Maynard Keynes, but was deemed of no scientific value.
At the age of 25, he was already the greatest mathematician the world had ever known.
He is the father of modern science. His name is Sir Isaac Newton.
Although often portrayed as the epitome of irrationality, alchemy and other occult arts have attracted some of the greatest minds of western thought: Robert Boyle, John Locke and the German polymath, Gottfried Leibniz, to name a few.
Would it be any surprise, then, that the son of a minister, a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and professor at the Edinburgh School of Art also dabbled in the occult?
Frank Lewis Worthington Simon, designer and classically trained architect, incorporated recondite principles into the beautiful stone monument that is Manitoba's Legislative Building. How he attained this knowledge remains a mystery.
My present research will soon take me to Menton, France, the burial place of Frank Worthington Simon, to follow a compelling lead concerning his connection to the Irish poet and devout Hermeticist, W.B. Yeats. My PhD research will also take me to Paris to scour the archives of the Masonic lodge: Les Coeurs Simple de l'Etoile Polaire, the most important lodge of Masonic architects.
While in Paris, I will visit the Grande Loge de France, which houses invaluable Masonic documents first seized by the Nazis in the Second World War and then recovered by the Russian secret service.
This material has only recently been made available to the public, and perhaps there I will find Simon's name in the membership lists of Masonic lodges hitherto unknown.
Beginning next month, I will be back in Winnipeg to teach a course entitled Western Esotericism: Access to Forbidden Knowledge, on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon for 12 weeks from Jan. 6 to March 31. The course will survey the history of western esoteric traditions, from the resurgence of Hermetic philosophy in the Renaissance and the rise of secret societies such as Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, and the Illuminati, to the "occult revival" of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Many people have assisted in the genesis and development of my research over the past five years, and it is both my duty and honour to acknowledge their contribution.
First and foremost, I wish to thank my wife, Tara, for her enduring wisdom and editing "expert-ease"; my sister, Ida, and brother-in-law, Rick, at the Fort Garry Hotel for their unyielding support; Jim Burns of the Murphy Foundation for boldly endorsing my research with a generous grant; Premier Gary Doer, who never wavered in being a staunch ally and supporter; Salako Kalfou, Dan Merkur, George Fulford, Victor Popow, Marilyn Baker; and all the staff of the Free Press who were always accommodating, even in the face of my unruly pedantry, especially Andy Ritchie, Margo Goodhand, Buzz Currie, and last but not least, Carolin Vesely.
I would also thank the workers, artists, and designers who contributed to the building, in particular F.W. Simon, whose tireless vision and obsession to detail resulted in an exquisite monument of unparallelled worth of which Manitobans should be sincerely proud.