Key to the Sacred Pattern

19 October 2007

A Visit to Rosslyn Chapel

My first time visiting Rosslyn Chapel was in 1999. Remember the pre Da Vinci Code days when you were reading Born in Blood and people were perplexed when you told them the book was about Templars and Freemasons? Those were the heady days when I visited Rosslyn.

There was no one in the Chapel except myself, my buddy Craig Bryant, and maybe two other folks. The Chapel was a quite place of reflection on the mysteries the Sinclairs left for us. It was almost like the stones talked to you in the silence. Possibly the voices we heard was from the hangover from the copious amounts of Scotch we’d drank the night before. No matter the reason, it was like stepping into the Holy of Holies when entering the Chapel in those days.

Another Biblical scene entered my mind when visiting this go around. The money changers had entered Temple when Laura and I visited Rosslyn this Monday. There were at least 150 people roaming around the tiny Chapel and the grounds when we arrived early Monday. Loud, plodding tourists had invaded one of the world’s most enigmatic structures. One had to literally step over the other visitors just go get a decent picture of anything in the Chapel. The up side to the increased traffic to the Chapel is additional funds for conservation and research. I just hope the additional funding is going to the right places.

However, this trip wasn’t without a few new insights and revelations into the Sinclair’s masterpiece. The first being a cordoned off area right behind the Apprentice’s Pillar. There was a 4’x3’ area enclosed with yellow and black caution tape around a thick piece of plywood sitting on the Chapel’s floor. I had asked one of the Chapel’s employees what was going on in the cordoned off space. Their answer was that it was, “Repairs or some such work going on over there.” There is a slight step behind the Apprentice’s Pillar that could have been damaged by increased foot traffic.

Is the cordoned off space keeping visitor’s safe or is it keeping the public from seeing something else that’s going on behind the pillar? Whatever is happening behind the Apprentice’s Pillar happened sometime between the middle of September and the first of October. I searched back through my Google alerts on “Rosslyn Chapel” and found some bloggers that had taken pictures in the Chapel in the last few weeks. This image on Fickr uploaded on 22 Sept 07 does not show the barrier. The picture in this blog dated 3 Oct 07, with almost the same perspective as the first photo, shows the barrier up. I had one picture turn out with the barrier shown, and in the slide show below. The other pictures I took of the barrier were on a bad memory card. I’ll be searching though the video we took to see if I have some better shots today and will post when, and if I can find them.

With everything that’s been transpiring in the news and the anniversary, it makes one wonder if the folks at Rosslyn aren’t trying to find something behind the Pillar. It is long been thought that the secrets of Rosslyn are hidden in the Apprentice’s Pillar. Could this be a small shaft to look at what’s inside the Pillar from below? Once again, Occam’s Razor and wishful thinking usually get the best of me.

Since Rosslyn is also the working Saint Matthew’s Church, we had happened on a ten minute prayer service. Laura and I decided to descend into the crypt area of the Chapel to explore while the short service was happening. The crypt area was much as I remembered it with one exception. In the first two niches in the wall, as you walked down the stairs, were sprays of flowers. A bouquet of red roses in the left niche and one of white in the right niche were present. Both sets of flowers looked like they were a few days old. Evidently, someone had the same idea about placing flowers at Templar related sites at Rosslyn and Paris on the 13th.

Going back up to the main floor after the service was over, I had an errant thought. There is little dispute that the Chapel was designed to teach or show a story. This would make the entire Chapel a type of Masonic Tracing Board in the form of an actual building. Possibly, each set of windows in the Chapel represent a lesson that would be taught to an initiate. If this was the case, there is one thing missing that would be the key to deciphering the whole meaning of the Chapel, the original stained glass. There is not a single piece of the original stained glass in the entire building. I began to fear that the mysteries of the Chapel would never be found without that information. The Sinclairs had frustrated me yet again…

Laura and I left the Chapel shortly thereafter and headed over to the Grail Restaurant (I’m a sucker, what can I say?) for a lunch. With haggis, neeps, and taddies fortifying our souls we headed over to the bus stop to return to Edinburgh. We realized that I had misread the times on the bus schedule and had another 45 minutes to kill in the village. Wandering around, we found the Rosslyn-Sinclair Masonic Lodge just down the village’s main road. Tucked away behind the main buildings of the burg, it was nice to see where my Brothers meet in this village of mystery. Maybe next visit, I’ll arrange to set Lodge there. Those guys must have some stories to tell…

Making our way back to the bus stop we ran into a couple of interesting travelers. They were two down on their luck gents who were obviously backpacking around the country looking for a home. One of the fellows had a very loyal dog with him who rarely left his side. The dog’s owner had a number of tattoos on his right forearm of various esoteric symbols. One was of the Eye of Horus between his left thumb and index finger. Both men sat very quietly waiting for the bus and did not seem to be your usual down on your luck types. Maybe the lads had some other purpose in being there that day. Pushing my penchant for the fantastical out of my head we waited for the bus to continue back to Edinburgh.

Below is a sideshow of some of the things we saw that day. Due to the restrictions on flash photography, some of the photos didn’t come out as well as I would have wished them to. I’ve also thrown in a not-so-good picture of the Stone of Destiny where it sits in Edinburgh Castle. The photo was taken outside the vault where it rests. I had to take this one on the sly since photos were not allowed inside the vault. However, no one said I couldn’t take a picture of the Stone from outside the vault looking in…

No comments: