Thursday, July 7, 2011

Rosslyn Chapel and 2012

Rosslyn Chapel was intended to be one of more than 37 collegiate churches that were built in Scotland between the reigns of King James I and James IV (1406-1513). The chapel is actually the choir of what was intended to be a much larger cross-shaped church. 

The chapel was founded by Sir William Sinclair of the St. Clair family, a Scottish noble family from Orkney descended from Norman knights and, according to legend, linked to the Knights Templar. The foundation stone of Rosslyn Chapel was laid on St. Matthew's Day, September 21, 1446

After Sir William died in 1484, the larger building he had planned was never completed. Rosslyn Chapel's founder is buried in the chapel's foundation. Today, Rosslyn Chapel still functions as a place of worship for the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Quick Facts

Site Information
Rosslyn Chapel; Roslin Chapel;
Collegiate Church of St Matthew
Lothian, Scotland
Original/Primary: Catholic
Current/Secondary: Scottish Episcopal
St. Matthew
Sir William Sinclair
Gothic Sculpture
Visitor Information
Roslin, Midlothian, Scotland EH25 9PU
55.855445° N, 3.159851° W(view on Google Maps)
+44 (0)131 440 2159
Public transport:
Buses leave from Princes Street in Edinburgh. It is a short walk from the bus stop to the chapel.
Opening hours:
Mon-Sat: 9:30am-6pm; Sun: 12-4:45pm
Last admission 30 minutes before closing
adults £7.50; concessions £6

Note: This information was accurate when published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Adorned with mysterious figures, the chapel has long been the subject speculation regarding its possible connection to Freemasonry, the Knights Templar, and the Holy Grail. Some carvings even seem to depict American plants such as maize and aloe vera, carved fifty years before Columbus's voyages, while others have thus far defied interpretation.

The mysteries of Rosslyn Chapel were brought to the attention of a much wider audience by Dan Brown's bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code. On Brown's official website, under "Bizarre True Facts from The Da Vinci Code," is the following statement:
There exists a chapel in Great Britain that contains a ceiling from which hundreds of stone blocks protrude, jutting down to form a bizarre multi-faceted surface. Each block is carved with a symbol, seemingly at random, creating a cipher of unfathomable proportion. Modern cryptographers have never been able to break this code, and a generous reward is offered to anyone who can decipher the baffling message.

In recent years, geological ultrasounds have revealed the startling presence of an enormous subterranean vault hidden beneath the chapel. This vault appears to have no entrance and no exit. To this day, the curators of the chapel have permitted no excavation. 

After The Da Vinci Code was published in 2003, the number of visitors to Rosslyn Chapel rose by 56%. In 2004, almost 70,000 visited the building, making it one of Scotland's most popular tourist attractions.
As long as the Holy Grail has not been recovered from the sealed crypt underneath the chapel, a real ‘treasure’ was revealed on ground radar scans, the rumours about the secrets that the chapel is supposed to hide will only increase. The Rosslyn Chapel Trust preserves the myth by not allowing the crypt to be opened. Ground radar scans made without the consent of the Rosslyn Chapel Trust have so far revealed a secret tunnel between the chapel and Rosslyn Castle. Also, Researchers, using the latest scanning, MRI, and Ultrasonic technologies, plan to view under the ground to attempt to locate the "secret vaults" present inside.
The question however is if the Holy Grail that is supposed to be buried underneath Rosslyn Chapel is the chalice of the Last Supper, the Ark of the Covenant, or as some think Baphomet the head of John the Baptist? It is far more likely that the secret of Rosslyn Chapel concerns esoteric knowledge that was acquired by the Knights Templar during their crusades to Jerusalem and used in the design of churches, cathedrals and temples, possibly even this chapel.

According to scholars there is no clear documented connection between the Knights Templar and the founder of this chapel, the 3rd Earl of Orkney, Baron of Roslin, William Sinclair, however there are sufficient clues to suggest that such a connection must have existed. Officially the Sinclair’s were even present at the trial of the Knights Templar in Edinburgh in 1309 after pope Clement V had officially forbidden the Templar Order. This fact alone would contradict any supposed connections between the Sinclair family and the Knights Templar. In addition the first stone for the chapel was laid roughly 150 years after the abolishment of the Knights Templar.
It is a fact however that the chapel became a symbol of Scottish Freemasonry and that it has been a real pilgrimage for freemasons for centuries. In 1736 the 21st Baron of Rosslyn, co-incidentally also named William Sinclair, became the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The foundation of this Lodge is supposed to be the start of Scottish freemasonry, however as we will demonstrate the architecture of the chapel itself contradicts this claim and the relation between the chapel and freemasonry must be much older.

The chapel has multiple aspects that reveal its descent from freemasonry and its connection to the Knights Templar. The single Latin inscription that can be found in the church is already reason enough to suspect such connections. The inscription carved in stone reads: ‘FORTE EST VINUM, FORTIOR EST REX, FORTIORES SUNT MULIERES: SUPER OMNIA VINCIT VERITAS’ (Wine is strong, a king is stronger, female are stronger still, but truth conquers everything). This Latin phrase connects Rosslyn Chapel to Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, the temple where the Knights Templar supposedly discovered a big secret during their crusades. Zerrubbabel got permission from king Darius after winning a contest to rebuild the destroyed Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem and to lead the Jews from exile in Babylon back to Israel. Zerrubbabel won the winning price of Darius’s contest question ‘who or what was the strongest’. Zerrubbabel’s answered that the truth would conquer everything. As a reward he was allowed to rebuild the temple of Jerusalem. The winning answer to king Darius’s question is carved in stone in Rosslyn Chapel.

Also the depiction of two knights on a single horse that is displayed in Rosslyn Chapel is an image that can also be found in the official coat of arms of the Knights Templar.

Gravestone of William Sinclair with an eight pointed cross
A convincing clue that William Sinclair can be associated with the Knights Templar can be found on his grave in the chapel. The inscription on his grave reads: ‘William de St. Clair, Knight Templar’. Historians however point out that this statement is incorrect and that it is completely uncertain who of the many William Sinclair’s has been buried here.

What is far more interesting than this straight forward clue suggesting that William Sinclair was a Knight Templar, is the presence of an eight pointed cross on his grave stone. The official coat of arms of the Sinclair’s is a four pointed cross in a stitch pattern and it’s a well known fact that the Knights Templar used four and eight pointed crosses in their coat of arms (see the head of this article) as well.

Sinclair coat of arms
We will demonstrate that these four and eight pointed crosses have a deep esoteric and astronomical significance that must be well known to the freemasons.
When the grave stone of William Sinclair is studied in detail we notice that besides the eight pointed cross there is also a four pointed cross depicted. The name of the founder of Rosslyn Chapel is spelled in Lombardic letters ‘Willhm de Sinncler’. It’s remarkable that the last two letters ER are set apart and are reversed in spelling. It reads RE. RE in the author’s opinion is a reference to Amen-Re or Amen-Ra, the Egyptian solar deity. It makes sense since Rosslyn Chapel is not just some ordinary chapel, it is a solar temple. Rosslyn Chapel was inaugurated in 1450 as the ‘Collegiate Church of St. Matthew’ on the fall equinox (21st September). The chapel is perfectly aligned to the cardinal directions similar to the ancient solar temples. Another conspicuous feature is that the depiction on the grave stone resembles a key. Could this depiction be the key to the secrets of Rosslyn Chapel?

Depiction on the grave stone of William Sinclair, founder of the chapel.
At the east end of the chapel there are three very important pillars perfectly aligned to the East. These pillars are the Master Pillar, the Journeyman Pillar and the Apprentice Pillar. The authors Robert Lomas and Christopher Knight have shown that Rosslyn Chapel is a copy of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. They argue that the Master Pillar and the Apprentice Pillar correspond with the two pillars Boaz and Jachin that stood in front of Solomon’s Temple.

In ‘The Stone Puzzle of Rosslyn Chapel’ Philip Coppens describes the initiation rituals of the freemasons; The pillars in Rosslyn Chapel correspond with the three degrees in freemasonry. In the initiation rituals of the freemasons these pillars correspond with the solstices and equinoxes. The novice initiated into the ‘Entered Apprentice’ degree in freemasonry is placed in the Lodge near the pillar in the north east corner (Jachin). This pillar corresponds with the summer solstice. A freemason who is initiated into the ‘Fellow craft Mason’ degree is placed in the south east corner (Boaz) corresponding with the winter solstice. A freemason who is finally initiated into the Master Mason degree is placed in front of the middle pillar corresponding with the equinox. During the ritual the candidate dies but he’s eventually resurrected from his death. At the moment of his resurrection a light of a five pointed star is lit. This five pointed star is the brightest morning star according to Coppens.

I believe that this ritual concerns the ‘resurrection’ and ‘rebirth’ of the Sun. The sun dies each year on the cross of the zodiac during the winter solstice to be fully reborn on the spring equinox in the annual cycle. During the spring equinox the sun is fully raised from the death as it revives nature that starts to blossom again.
Not only does the sun die to be reborn in the annual cycle, it also dies and is reborn in the larger astronomical cycle called the precession of the equinoxes. This cycle takes 26.000 years to complete and is caused by the wobbling of the Earth axis causing the spring equinox to shift. We are presently living in the Age of Pisces but as a result of precession we will enter the Age of Aquarius in the near future.
The most important thing of the extraordinary time that we live in, is that the sun will be reborn in the precession cycle around the year 2012, to be more specific in between the years 1978-2017. Around this time the sun will reside on the Milky Way at the winter and summer solstices. It coincides with the ending of the Maya calendar on December 21st 2012. The ending of the Maya calendar happens on the winter solstice when the sun aligns with the Milky Way. This event is regarded as the moment that the sun is reborn in the great cycle, the precession cycle.

In my opinion this extraordinary astrological event is symbolized by the initiation rituals in freemasonry. The pillar that is so important in freemasonry is a symbol of the Milky Way. When the Pillar of the Apprentice is studied we notice that at the base of the pillar eight snakes are sculptured. This pillar is associated with the World Tree that we find in many cultures around the world.

In the Nordic mythology the World Tree is called Yggdrassil and it had eight snakes curling around its roots.
The World Tree or Axis Mundi represented the cosmological centre in ancient times; it connects the Earth with the four cardinal directions as well as the heavens with the underworld. In the Maya culture the World Tree represents the Milky Way or Wakah Chan according to Mayanist Linda Schele. To be more precisely the Wakah Chan is the crossing of the Milky Way and the ecliptic, the virtual track of the sun around the Earth. This cross point is exactly the place where the sun resides on the Milky Way on the winter solstice of 2012.

The initiation rituals of freemasonry where the candidates are placed near the pillars of the Lodge are associations with the solstices and equinoxes, they symbolise the astronomical alignment of the sun (candidate freemason) with the Milky Way (pillar). The pillar represents the World Tree or the crossing of the ecliptic and the Milky Way. The alignment of the sun with the Milky Way on an equinox or solstice is called a Great Celestial Conjunction (Smelyakov/Wicherink 2006). There are exactly four such conjunctions in a precession cycle of 26.000 years. Around 2012 this conjunction takes place again after 6480 years.

The initiation ritual of the Master Mason whereby the candidate is placed near the equinox (Journeyman Pillar) with the five pointed star that rises as the morning star, is I believe a astronomical reference to the start date of the construction of Rosslyn Chapel. The construction of Rosslyn Chapel started at ‘St. Matthew’s Day’ on the fall equinox of 1446. The ‘brightest five pointed star’ is no doubt a reference to Venus. Venus traces a pentagram (a five pointed star) along the zodiac in her conjunctions with the Earth and is the brightest morning star in the sky. At dawn on the day of the start of the construction of Rosslyn Chapel, Venus rose as a morning star. In addition there was a conjuncture of Venus and Regulus, the brightest star of Leo. 

Regulus is one of the four royal stars Aldebaran, Regulus, Antares and Formalhaut. These four stars belong to the constellations Taurus (Aldebaran), Leo (Regulus), Scorpio (Antares) and Southern Fishes (Formalhaut). Southern Fishes is the equivalent of Aquarius since it opposes Aquarius on the ecliptic. It is these four signs Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius that form the ‘Galactic Cross’  in ancient times. We will further discuss the importance of the ‘Galactic Cross’ in the context of this article below.

Fall equinox 1446, date of the start of the construction of Rosslyn Chapel,
Venus rises as the morning star in conjuncture with Regulus

Rosslyn Chapel creates an atmosphere of a garden or forest due to the abundant sculptures of leaves, flowers and plants. The association of the three pillars with the World Tree is therefore very appropriate. A noticeable presence in the Chapel is the so called Green Man. From his mouth branches and leaves are growing. There are over a 100 of these sculptures in the chapel in Roslin.

The Green Man
The Green Man symbolizes regeneration in nature and the blossoming of life during spring. It therefore also symbolizes resurrection and rebirth and as such can be associated with the rebirth of the sun. It’s a remarkable fact that the Green Man in Rosslyn Chapel forms another eight pointed cross.

Because the Green Man was also found in 11th century Templar churches in Jerusalem we find another clue that the architecture of Rosslyn Chapel may have been strongly influenced by the Knights Templar.

The highest degree in English freemasonry is called the Royal Arch. It is a higher degree than the Master Mason degree. Freemasons of the Royal Arch are initiated into the deepest secrets of freemasonry. These secrets are conveyed by the so called Tracing Board. The Tracing Board of the Royal Arch shows the two pillars of Solomon’s Temple Boaz and Jachin with on top op these pillars the Royal Arch.

The two pillars in front of Solomon’s Temple are most likely copies of the ancient Egyptian temples dedicated to the Aten (solar disk). One or more pylons (entrance gates) were situated at the entrance of the temple. These pylons in the temples of the Aten consisted of sets of pillars symbolizing the two mountains of the horizon, the Akhet in between which the sun rose.

Notice that in the Tracing Board underneath the arch of the Royal Arch there’s not only an eight pointed cross, but a four pointed cross as well.

Tracing Board of the ‘Royal Arch’ of English freemasonry,
To the left we see a four pointed cross underneath the arch, to the right an eighth pointed cross.
What can be so important about an arch in between two pillars such that it represents the highest degree in freemasonry? Let’s have a look at the pillars of Rosslyn Chapel, the pillars of the Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason.

Four and eight pointed arches                         
Drawing of the three pillars and their arches.

What is prominent is that the east side of the pillars the arches consist of eight pointed crosses, while on the west side we notice the four pointed crosses with the stitch pattern. These last four pointed crosses resemble the coat of arms of the Sinclair’s!
What can be the meaning of these four and eight pointed crosses (Green Man, gravestone of William Sinclair) that we find in abundance in Rosslyn Chapel and why were they also used by the Knights Templar? Why do the freemasons attach so much importance to these arches and why is their highest degree in freemasonry called the Royal Arch? Why do we find the four and eight pointed crosses in the arches of the three most important pillars at Rosslyn Chapel?

The explanation can be found in the astrological alignment of two astronomical crosses. The zodiac has two different crosses. When both crosses are superimposed, an eight pointed cross is formed. When both these crosses overlap to form a single four pointed cross this event is called a Great Celestial Conjunction.

The first cross is the cross formed by the equinox and solstice axis. The four signs of the zodiac that belong to the equinoxes and solstices are Aries (March 21st, spring), Cancer (June 21st, summer), Libra (September 21st, fall) and Capricorn (December 21st, winter) in the tropical zodiac.

In the Tracing Board of the Royal Arch, three of these zodiac signs are depicted on the arch. On the left pillar Aries is depicted, in the centre at the so called keystone Cancer is depicted and finally on the right pillar Libra is depicted. This explains why the pillars in freemasonry correspond with the equinoxes and solstices.

Under the Royal Arch of the Tracing Board, we notice a shield with a four pointed cross. In the four quadrants of this shield, the zodiac signs Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius can be found. These four so called fixed signs form a fixed cross in the zodiac. The importance of these signs is that they can be associated with the crossing of the ecliptic and the Milky Way.

The axis connecting 5° Gemini with 5° Sagittarius corresponds with the galactic equator and forms the axis of the galactic cross. 5° Gemini and 5° Sagittarius are the places where the ecliptic and the Milky Way intersect in the zodiac.

In ancient times the galactic cross was denoted by the zodiac signs Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius instead of Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces which would have been more logical since the latter signs are the signs of the galactic cross. The reason is that only the former and not the latter signs are visible shortly before sunrise during a Great Celestial Conjunction on the equinoxes and solstices.

Left top zodiac crosses around the year zero, to the left bottom around the year 2012 (in between 1978-2017)

The importance of our present time is that the two crosses of the zodiac (galactic cross and equinox-solstice axis cross) that formed an eight pointed cross in the last 6480 years, now in the timeframe around 2012 merge to form a single four pointed cross again. This happens in between the years 1978-2017. After 2017 the two crosses separate again for the next 6480 years to form an eight pointed cross again.

The merger of the two crosses in the zodiac corresponds with the alignment of the sun with the Milky Way at the winter solstice in the period 1978-2017 also called the Galactic Alignment (John Major Jenkins). This moment signals the start of a new cycle in the precession cycle and this event I believe is expressed in the freemasonry initiation rituals when the candidate freemason (Sun) is placed in front of the pillar (Milky Way). 

This knowledge of the merger of the two crosses must be the deepest secret of freemasonry and it is preserved by the Royal Arch. Jeff Nisbet in ‘Forbidden Religion’ explains that one of the Templars who was arrested on October 13, 1307 explained during his interrogation that in the initiation rituals of the Order the candidate was shown the Christian Cross and was told ‘Put not thy faith in this, for it is not old enough’. 

Babylonian Cherubim
And indeed it seems that the knowledge of this cross predates Christianity and can be traced back to Solomon’s Temple. In front of Solomon’s Temple two pillars were standing called Boaz and Jachin. In the holiest of holiest in the inner sanctuary of the temple the Ark of the Covenant was stored and it was guarded by two Cherubims.

A Cherubim is a hybrid of a human and animals. We recognise the four zodiac signs that can be associated with the galactic cross in the animals of the Cherubim. The Cherubim has the head of a human (Aquarius), the body of a bull (Taurus), the back and tail of a lion (Leo) and the wings of an eagle (Scorpio or Aquilla). The zodiac sign of Scorpio is often replaced by the sign of the eagle (Aquilla).

In ancient Assyria the Cherubim was called a Karibu and it guarded the Tree of Life or the World Tree. Here we find a direct link with the Milky Way or better the crossing of the ecliptic and the Milky Way again, the galactic cross. In ancient Egypt we find the Cherubim in the form of Sphinxes that guarded the temples.

Finally the writers Tim Wallace Murphy and Marilyn Hopkins argue in their book ‘Rosslyn’ that Rosslyn Chapel is the destination of a pilgrimage route from Santiago de Compostella leading along French cathedrals including the cathedral of Toulouse, OrlĂ©ans, Chartres, Notre Dame de Paris and Amiens. As we have been demonstrating in our research also the Chartres cathedral that has been built with the aid of the Knights Templar contains the same esoteric knowledge about the Great Celestial Conjunction around 2012. Compostella means campus stellea (field of stars) and as such can be associated with the Milky Way. I therefore believe that the pilgrimage symbolizes a journey along the Milky Way with the solar temple Rosslyn Chapel as its destination. seems that the Knights Templar discovered this rare event in the precession cycle that was of great importance to the ancients and is also known to the indigenous American Indians. According to the Maya this astronomical event taking place on the 21st of December 2012 signals the end of one era and the start of another, it heralds a new World Age.

I believe that the four and eight pointed crosses form the true ‘Da Vinci Code’ of Rosslyn Chapel; it reveals secret knowledge about the Great Celestial Conjunction that must have been known to the Knights Templar and the secret brotherhoods that originated from them like the English freemasons.