R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz (1887-1961)
This Franco-Germanic blend lends a curious characteristic to his work. The writer, Christopher Bamford, suggests that Schwaller thought in German, but wrote in French. He was given the title “de Lubicz” by the Lithuanian poet and diplomat O. V. de Lubicz Milosz, for his efforts on behalf of Lithuania in the aftermath of World War I.
René Adolphe Schwaller de Lubicz is known to English readers primarily for his work in uncovering the spiritual and cosmological insights of ancient Egypt. From 1938-1952, he and his family resided in Luxor, Egypt conducting research concerning many of the great monuments and temples, particularly the Temple of Luxor. In books like Esotericism and Symbol, The Temple in Man, Symbol and the Symbolic, The Egyptian Miracle, and the monumental The Temple of Man, Schwaller de Lubicz argued that Egyptian civilization is much older than orthodox Egyptologists suggest. He also argued that the core of ancient Egyptian culture provided a fundamental insight into “the laws of creation.”
Nothing in Egypt is accidental or purely ornamental – every element from the type of building material used, the size of the blocks, the dimensions of the walls, number symbolism, the placement of hieroglyphs and symbols, the orientation of the site – all were consciously chosen to have a predetermined effect. Even apparently mundane scenes of daily life can have profound symbolic importance. For example, scenes of the Pharaoh single-handedly overcoming an enemy army are not merely vainglorious boasting; they represent the forces of light overcoming those of darkness – the same battle that each evolving human being must fight every day.
In The Temple of Man, Schwaller demonstrates how the Egyptians were aware of, and consciously used, advanced mathematical concepts normally attributed to the Greeks. One of these was the Golden Section, a mathematical function which occurs throughout nature, for example in the ratios of a spiral galaxy or the orbits of the planets. When used in architecture, it allows the building to become an embodiment of these same universal principles, which were later used in Greek temples and Gothic cathedrals, and which account for some of their power. These elements work synergistically together to express the particular nature of the cosmic principles built into the temple.
Schwaller de Lubicz’s Egyptian studies were only a part of his overall work as a 20th Century alchemist and philosopher. One book by Schwaller de Lubicz, Symbol and the Symbolic (Du symbole et de la symbolique), expresses much of the philosophy of Time elaborated by the Zen masters. To read Lubicz is to understand how an Adept alchemist thinks, how the Elixir affects or clears his perception of reality. Lubicz only understood Egyptian esotericism after completing his alchemical studies. He makes clear that comprehension of ancient Egyptian thought will only be feasible if we change our Western mental paradigm.