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Editor-in-Chief, Rubedo Press

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From Cathedral to Temple


From Cathedral to Temple


From Cathedral to Temple


The Life and Work of René Schwaller de Lubicz

An online seminar with Dr. Aaron Cheak

Digital download.

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The Twentieth Century’s Most Important Hermetic Philosopher

René ‘Aor’ Schwaller de Lubicz (1887–1961) was an Alsatian artist, chemist, revolutionary, Neopythagorean, and Egyptologist. More covertly, however, he was a practicing Hermetic adept deeply experienced with esoteric laboratory processes. Student of Matisse, recipient of the chivalric title ‘de Lubicz’, and collaborator with one of the most influential alchemists of the twentieth century (Fulcanelli, alias Jean Julien Champagne), René Schwaller de Lubicz made one of the most powerful attempts in the modern world to wed the metaphysical to the concrete. Perhaps due to the fact that his Egyptosophical masterpiece, Le Temple de l’homme (The Temple of Man, 1957–8), comprises over a thousand pages of dense geometric analysis, Schwaller is among the most revered yet neglected esotericists of the twentieth century. In academic circles, his symbolist approach to Egyptology incited a virulent controversy, while in literary circles he drew the admiration and attention of figures such as Jean Cocteau and André Breton. Despite or because of this, little academic attention has been paid to his work. What is sorely needed are some concrete entry-points not only into his œuvre proper, but also into his social, intellectual, and historical contexts. It is the purpose of this seminar to provide exactly this.

This class provides a detailed biographical and bibliographical survey of the life and work of René Schwaller de Lubicz. Drawing on seven years of doctoral research, I will guide the audience on a journey through Schwaller’s fascinating life, from the Parisian alchemical revival and the Hermetic experiments in stained glass, through to his fifteen year sojourn in Egypt, where he lived in daily contact with the temples of ancient Egypt. The talk will be furnished with original translations from the French, and illustrated with rare photographs.  



Lecture: 90 Minutes

The Parisian Alchemical Revival and Fulcanelli

From Alsace to Paris
Number and light
René Schwaller and Henri Matisse
Fulcanelli and The Mystery of the Cathedrals
Les Veilleurs
The name ‘de Lubicz’

Six-Thousand Feet Beyond Man and Time

The Station Scientifique de Suhalia
The name ‘Aor’ and The Call of Fire 
L’Homme rouge and the metaphysics of eros
Plan-de-Grasse and Palma de Majorca
Kamutef, trinity, tria prima

Symbolist Egypt

Temple as Anthropocosmos (The Temple of Man)
The goddess Opet and the apotheosis of the pharaoh
The milieu at Luxor
The war between symbolists and historians
The concept of symbolique
Number and neter

Return to France

Nature Word
The last “disciple”
Final words and death