Excerpted from Vol.2, Chapter 23 of the book The Temple of Man
The master builder said to the disciple:
“You come from the earth, it has nourished you, and you will return to the earth. This element holds and keeps other elements. Know that everything that, of itself, diffuses outward without form needs a receptacle. Thus, Air retains the Fire of the Universe and Water retains Air, as Earth is the vase that holds Water and gives it form. Thus, Earth is the container of All. I speak to you of the Earth upon which you tread, the gross image of the spermatic Earth of which you are made.
Always see in the lower things that your senses reveal to you, the image of things that your spirit alone can conceive when your senses are closed to the world of transitory appearances.
I will speak to you of architecture not building technique.
The man of the Earth lives in his houses of Earth. The Neter comes from heaven and creates Earth: the house is but the emptiness enclosed. The forms of the world, in which are inscribed the laws of the Becoming and the Return, frame this emptiness. It is necessary to learn to read these signs in order to reach the sanctuary through the labyrinth of ‘possibilities.’ Learn how the doors are bolted by the secret of Nature, or else you would never attain the goal.
But the emptiness is defined only through the law of numbers. Numbers impose the form of the limits. This is the foundation. And through this Idea the formless spirit becomes gross, and vegetates into formed matter, since everything is sustained by the process of vegetation.
There is growth from the earth skyward: There is formation going from one horizon to the other. Then there is what is inside and what is outside. From the inside comes the ripened sap that gives the seed; from the outside comes the nourishment that the sky brings to the earth. This is the Idea of the Temple, the House of Neter.
Listen. The man who lives in his house impregnates it with his thought, the rhythm of his being. The house where a Neter dwells is impregnated by its Idea and the nature of its being. It is its house and not another’s; do not search for what will not be there. The Whole converges to define this Neter because it is Neter and yet inseparable from the Whole.
When you know the orientation of the Neter for which you wish to construct a dwelling place you know the Idea that will take form, that is, the basis of the plan. On this basis draw the number, or “geometry” of this Neter. This element of the origin will necessarily guide you toward all the forms that can result from it, but it can only be a guide and not an image.
Know the secret of number because it engenders. It is a seed that carries a fruit of its species within it. Mark the ‘inevitability’ on the floor of the temple for those who will come after you, so when the time arrives to remake this dwelling, they may construct a new one on this base. Any new form is made from the death of the preceding one. The heavens are the sphere that rolls the Becoming; the Neter is of the heavens come to live on earth, it must take form there in accord with the heavens, like a plant.
Next, arrange the enclosures according to number as they are found to be in the living organism of this Neter, in keeping with its ‘becoming.’ Thus you will make the geometry live. Time is growth and becoming; it is your only true measure. Each Neter has its time, as does each seed that gives fruit. And know that for man, the soul is fixed on forty days: MAAT; and it stirs in the fourth month. It can live at the seventh lunar month: AUSAR; or else at the ninth solar month: HERU.
Transcribe these numbers into cubits, digits, and thumbs, and into diameters, through the secrets of measures; then set the boundaries of your houses in the house of the Neter.
Thus the indestructible idea will take form in transitory matter. It will grow in its plane, and from this plane it will grow like a plant toward the heavens. Open and close the corollas of the columns according to the nature of the months of gestation of the Neter, from the entrance to the naos, and choose the stones in this spirit. Know the work of your hands. If it conforms to the Idea it will be creative and harmonious; thus the temple will be made indestructible. What difference if the stone and earth will crumble; the Idea is of the Neter and will be merged in Neter.
All this is archi-texture.
In order to understand numbers, know that Unity is triple in nature like the Verb of Neter. All number is founded on this trinity of point and on the triangle of surface; but the ternary volume is constructed on the four columns of the Elements or essential quality of things. Only the Creator can proceed from a point toward volume, and from nothing create All.
But you, as creature, must look for the point by proceeding from volume; because every perceptible thing is volume, is space or Spirit enclosed.The logic of your brain has no power over number. Number is the Verb of Neter and governs intelligence. Leave the numerals that count things to the intelligence of the head; search for numbers in the intelligence of your heart.
Look at your hand. On its inside surface, which is active, the destiny of your incarnate soul is drawn. Do not confuse it with the back of this hand where the Law that presides over Becoming is inscribed. On this side of the three phalanges of the fingers give the proportion of the sacred number, the section of all harmony. Never prostitute this number, under pain of disgrace; however, its secret is well protected from the profane.
Your hand has four fingers, the elements of Ausar; it has twelve phalanges, the zones of the sky. The fifth finger governs the others, as spirit does form. It is the fifth essence of things. The inside of your hand is active, but I will also tell you this: The second inside phalanx belongs to Min-Amun, the procreative milieu. Now you will be able to make hands speak.
The first surface is the triangle and its root is the incomprehensible Unity. When this Unity surface – the triangle – divides in two, there is male and female, a couple procreating through the four elements: this is the square cut by its diagonal.
The four elements are the square of heaven. Understand that the side of a square is the foundation of every right triangle. Draw the diagonals in the square; they form four triangles that are equal to one another and thus manifest the essential law that rules right triangles, the law of the whole applied science of numbers. Now you only know its function. Look for its nature and on this basis draw the canevas for the architecture of the world.
The first number is Three, the second is Four, and the third is Five. These are the primary values of the sides of the sacred right triangle, whose application has innumerable consequences.
Every surface is curved, because the world is a Becoming and a Return: all within it is cyclic. Calculate as if a surface were a plane, but with numbers that rectify this plane into a curve; otherwise you will be a surveyor and not a geometer of the temple. Only draw the curve for the sky and for what it relates to Ausar: the Becoming and the Return. Our numbers are universal and our measures are established to rectify the straight line into the curve, planes into volume, length into time, heaven into human, genesis into life. Neter is the model because Neter is the Master of all in All.
Watch a human grow when they are detached from their mother, because the living soul in them tends to shape their body toward a perfect proportion. A human is made in the image of heaven; look at the imperfections to know the faults they have yet to pay for, but know that they are the Universe; this is why you should take a person as your model, as the reflection of the Creator. The whole work of the creation is a person; put humans in their place in the Temple. A person is born and a person will die; between these extremes a person lives.
This life is the expression of consciousness.
The heart beats the rhythm of time, the lungs breathe and link intangible substance to living matter, the organism digests, separating the pure from the impure.
Our face is our life’s utterance; our mouth expresses our thought, our eyes reveal our consciousness. Our voice can render all the sounds of Nature, any words that are expressed. Each human gesture speaks. Humans are the complete incarnation of the intangible and inaudible Verb that through this form makes itself known. Make the statue live by causing the truth of the Neter to be expressed in it.
If you represent a human body on the wall, show only one of its sides if the other is identical; show it facing forward if there is an inequality in the two parts, because human beings are a duality in their fallen nature, but Unity in their origin.
In humans, the east side receive, the west side gives. Evil is in our brain, which always separates, good is in our heart, which always unites.
Thus you will make the image of humans speak.
Watch the animals of the air, the water, and the earth. Each expresses one of the aspects of which the whole is Neter. Each one expresses one of the words of the divine language that is the Universe. Make the animals, plants, and colors speak; make them say what they in truth are. Guard yourself from making them spokesperson of what you yourself think. Elevate what is right; lower what is heavy; learn to know what causes the heavy to rise and the light to fall and gives weight to it. Spirit is that which is most light, and the “odor of the Neter” is that which is most heavy, as the seed incarnates into spirit and reduces it into body.
In this way make the temple speak; and then draw the encircling wall around it, the collar of Fire, in order to drive away the enemy of life, this life that desires eternity. Plant flagpoles at the entrance, magnets of heaven, that their flame may be nourished by the spirit of the four winds. I have given you the rudiments of a great science, so that you might learn to distinguish the builders of human dwellings from the master builder of the temple. May this guide you in what you must learn.”
The disciple saw the companion of the master builder coming toward him.
“My brother, I have been directed to lead you through the science of architecture, to show you particularly the sites at which you can observe what will subsequently be hidden from your eyes in the finished work. But I would be ungrateful if I were to attribute to myself the high science that was taught to me. So I will explain these things to you in the same way the answers to my questions were given to me.
First of all, is not water the beginning of everything? Thus, we use the mean level of the highest groundwater to establish the horizontal and the foundation mark of our monuments.
The fathers of our fathers observed long ago the time it takes for the earth to increase through the depositing of silt and for the heavens to cause the level of the waters to rise. Thus, we know in advance the time of the collapse of our works, gnawed away in their foundations like a root that dies after giving its fruit, and then which reinseminates the earth; and we calculate its life by the rhythm of the cycles of the sky so that the growth of our temples might conform with the changing of the great seasons of the Universe.
Let us now consider the principal directives of applied architecture.
Without philosophy there is no architecture, only building technique.
The temple must be read like a book. If it had nothing to teach, it would be but a house for people instead of the house of Neter. If the Neter that it shelters is beautiful, the house will be beautiful; if the Neter is displeasing, the house will also be so because it is a description of the Neter.
If it were only a matter of describing a myth, one would be able to write on the walls as one does a papyrus; this would not be THE TEMPLE. To build the house of a Neter is to create the Idea of that Neter in every sense, with the material as with the measurements and the texts on the stones. The Idea, thus materialized, is inscribed forever in the substance of the Universe; but there must be no error.
The secret is in understanding the meaning represented by the Neter. Now, every Neter is but one aspect of the Whole that is Unity; it can only be considered when integrated into one or the other of the great lineages, the one to which it belongs.
The teaching as a whole is that of the genesis of the world. To situate only a phase of it would make no more sense than to describe one part of the human body without connecting it to the entire body through a general function. This is the first directive.
What good would this teaching be if it were not the key to a science that we could usefully apply in our lives, and still more so in the afterlife? We are not concerned with a play of thought, but with a sacred reality. If fantasy embellished a Neter with attributes for an aesthetic purpose, it would be an unpardonable error, even though done in ignorance, because its image must be true, without a trace of falsehood. This is the reason for a rigid canon that cannot be changed except by the sage who has the knowledge of time and the secret of the writing.
The teaching is given for those who live on earth, who come and come again to search there for the way that leads to the Immortal. This is our world of duality, of birth and death, and of rebirth in bodies. Everything here is double, and one of the two defines the other; everything here is crossed, the weak defines the strong, the low measures the high, and aversion calls forth sympathy. Here reigns the fallen Sethian prince, who in making good created evil, and in making evil called forth good.
This determines the succession in the architecture of the temple, and it is the second directive.
Those who already know how to renounce the body for the life of the soul alone no longer need walls to delimit the body and fix it into mortal forms. For them the time has come in which Neter alone is the temple; for them there is no longer a temple on earth. Know what you search for, but when you look at the temple, know that you do not look at the unique creator, but at the teaching of this world, born of the Unique; therefore let your work conform to the goal that this imposes.
Do not be concerned with the material duration of your work. Place sandstone, which represents Earth, upon limestone, representing Air, if the Idea requires it. What does it matter if the limestone crumbles, or if the construction of clay and silt, representing Water, risks caving in. Choose granite for fire because that is where it all comes from.
Know also that all life is the fruit of the black destruction of death, that this blackness is the root, the origin of what will be white or red, like the veins that sometimes runs through our black stones.
Cut the stones in the quarry itself; choose them judiciously. Give them the measurements foreseen on the plan, because the joints must measure the images; they can measure the head from a figure or cut out a part of the body. Choose the stone stratum that conforms to the principle to be expressed.
Let each room – each chapter of your book – be conceived as an entity, even if it means building walls that will one day fall; but place a link through joining walls only if the idea ‘traverses’ from one room to the other. Embed your key-stones in the wall and in the ground at exact places of the measures and the numbers that establish the plan. Make the Idea rise from the ground to the architraves, from the earth to the heaven, where the laws are inscribed. Make the Neteru rise toward NETER, as the sun attracts to itself the flower of the plant.
This is the third directive.
The number of scenes represented is limited by the general canon, but each scene is the foundation on which, through measures and attributes, a thousand nuances of thought are inscribed.
Know that the door expresses the key of the idea that is transcribed in the place into which it leads. Make this door a precise study, because the temple will only be consecrated if no error is committed. As for the obelisks, they will search the sky for the generative Fire of the temple; the master will inscribe on them the laws that cause the worlds to revolve.
And now come, touch with your hands and see with your eyes the transcription of what I have said to you, because you must observe how we work. You will see that we carefully ‘turn under’ the previous temple in order that it be the seed and the bed of life from which will come the new temple conforming to a new time. You shall count the number of stone layers in the foundations, and you shall learn of their significance. You shall observe the choice of inscriptions; they will be guides for those who know how to read them. You shall look for the teaching in the foundation deposits and the cornerstones. You shall see with what love of truth our masters founded the empire of knowledge and of great prayer.”