It is a very special experience to see how a spiritual doctrine, which was part of the spirituality of Europe, has become a formed structure, a cathedral. What was expressed in Dante's 'Divine Comedy' in poetic words has here in all its miraculous pythagorean wisdom of proportions been built in stone. It is because of our dullness of mind that we can just go in there as if it were some interesting church. And yet I believe that everyone who goes in there absorbs something of eternity, of the cosmos too, of the miracle of the human body as a microcosm.
In Chartres, the spiritual teachers only had a fragment of Plato's dialogue, the Timaios, which describes the creation of the world and the human being and in which a modern scientist cannot enter. The proportions of number seem to be chosen at random and ‘taken from the air’, the descriptions of the body are plastic and primitive. But when looking into the works of Augustine - without thinking about the church- father -, of John Scotus Eriugena, of Boëthius, of Alanus ab Insulis, of Bernardus Silvestris, then you will come to different thoughts and judgments.
Bernardus describes Creation as a collaboration of great beings, starting from Noys (Nous), which masters the formless and unwilling Silva or Hyle, the matter, according to her supreme spiritual will and for the formation of the body calls Natura (the elements and the lower ether forces) brings together with Ourania, the heavenly ether. They work with Physis and they form the true proportions of the body. Noys finds her inspiration in Tugaton, either Virtue or Good, who rises above the stars as the Divine Trinity...
We have tried to experience something of this in Chartres. But we alsovisited the cathedral itself. About that next week...Chartres - 2 by Mieke Mosmuller