By Tracy R. Twyman
Originally written for Dagobert’s Revenge Magazine, Copyright 2001
(Does not necessarily represent author’s current viewpoint.)
Most people are familiar with the Biblical tale of the Tower of Babel from Genesis. After the Flood, when the Earth was still of one language and one nation, man decides to build a tower (specifically, a seven-stepped pyramid, or ziggurat), “in the land of Shinar (or Sumer)” whose top reaches Heaven, so that they themselves may ascend thereto. At the same time, they resolve: “let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the Earth.” The term “name” may just indicate that these people with a shared language and culture wished to preserve their identity by building a monument to their language and culture that could be seen by God himself — big enough and strong enough, they thought, to survive any future cataclysms. However, the word translated as “name” was actually the Hebrew “shem,” which other authors have translated as “shining (or fiery) stone” — specifically, a conical capstone to a ziggurat temple. Such a “shem” is depicted in the “Victory Stele of Naram-Sin” from Akkadia, c. 2280 B.C., where it is shown covered in Sumerian hieroglyphs. Interestingly, “Shem” is also the name of one of Noah’s sons in the Bible, and Shem’s descendants are listed immediately after the end of the Tower of Babel narrative.
Whatever was meant by “shem,” the end result of the Tower of Babel story is the same. The Lord and his angels, seeing that mortal men had built a tower that reached unto their heavenly abode, took this as a sign of man’s haughtiness, and decided to destroy it. The repercussions of this were that the one language which the world had enjoyed somehow became scattered, “confounded” into a million various tongues, all somewhat similar and connected in various ways, but only concealing small, fragmented bits of the puzzle that was the original language. Thus does our English word “babble,” for nonsense language, derive from this story. The tale, including the tower that reaches to Heaven and the bizarre, inexplicable connection with a universal language that got dispersed when the tower was destroyed, is confirmed in the records of the Sumerians (who add the detail that it was covered with the seven colors of the rainbow), as well as in the records of other cultures, even as far away as Central America, indicating that the story is factually based.
Furthermore, symbolic representations of this story can be found elsewhere, for instance, in the story of the Emerald Tablet of Hermes — a tablet upon which is written the pinnacle of human wisdom, often depicted as having been inscribed upon the side of a volcanic mountain. Hermes was later said to have been buried with this tablet in a secret location, presumably in Egypt, where it was later discovered by both the Pharaoh Akhenaten, and on a separate occasion, Alexander the Great. This same story is echoed in the description of the tomb of Christian Rosenkreutz, legendary founder of the Rosicrucian brotherhood, said to be buried in a mountain in the center of the Earth, the tomb covered in strange hieroglyphic symbols. The Tomb of Christian Rosenkreutz is said in the rituals of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn to be the symbolic equivalent of the tomb of the Egyptian god Osiris. Given this, it is interesting to note that, as pointed out in The Atlantis Blueprint by Colin Wilson and Rand Flem-Ath, if the continents were reunited as they were before the continental drift, the pyramids at Giza would be at the direct center of the Earth’s land mass. The pyramid, then, like the Tower of Babel, was a representation of the world mountain at the center of the Earth which Osiris was buried in.
Then take into consideration this: the Cheops pyramid was once crowned with brilliantly-colored tiles of limestone, hued in seven bands that matched the seven colors of the rainbow — just like the Tower of Babel in Sumer. At the top of this would have been the fabled missing capstone, which many have speculated to have been of crystalline form. Whatever it was, it was undoubtedly red-colored, to give it the appearance of fire issuing out of the top of the world mountain (1), and also because red is the uppermost color of the rainbow, so it would naturally have been at the top. The colors of the rainbow range from top to bottom in order of their temperature, with yellow, orange and red at the top, being warmest, the most “fire-like,” and green, blue, indigo and violet down at the bottom, being the coolest, the most “water-like.” Thus, the pyramid would have been like a massive standing representation of the world mountain reaching up out of the flood waters towards the fiery heavens. It would also be clearly linked symbolically with the Tomb of Hermes, the Emerald Tablet, and the Tower of Babel. Or rather, the pyramid, the Tablet, and the Tomb of Hermes are all symbolic echoes of the original Tower.
It does indeed seem reasonable to think of the Tower of Babel as a man-made representation of the world mountain covered with the strange characters of the original universal language. And such a structure would make a fitting tomb for Hermes, the father of writing. The “Emerald Tablet” may in fact have been a “Rosetta Stone” for deciphering this original language, and Hermes may very well have had it inscribed on the side of his tomb, an artificial mountain or ziggurat located in the center of the Earth. Mythology is replete with stories of patriarchs and father gods attempting to preserve the secrets of civilization, most notably math and writing, in a set of “pillars” against future catastrophes of fire and flood. This may refer to an actual attempt by the man called Hermes to preserve the original language for future generations. (2) The disintegration of the Tablet/Tower would have resulted in the eventual disintegration of the language into various imperfect copies, which is what we have today. (3) This would be the mythological equivalent of the loss of the Holy Grail, or of the secret “Word” of Freemasonry. The goal of occult research, then, would be to recover this lost language. A language is a code, and in order to crack a code, you need to find the key. A California theoretical physicist named Stan Tenen may have found that key, and its origin lives in that ever-present Fibonacci sequence.
Tenan’s discovery, made way back in the 1960s, was that the Fibonacci spiral is the apparent basis for the Hebrew alphabet, as well as the Greek, Arabic, and Sanskrit alphabets, making it the root of the universal language used at the Tower of Babel. It all started when he discovered a pattern in the original Hebrew letters of the first sentence of Genesis — a pattern that appeared when he counted the letters in base three. He then placed these letters into geometric shapes based on that pattern. When placed in a square shape, with like letters placed next to each other in concentric square rings, the result was what looks like a “bird’s eye view” of a seven-stepped ziggurat like the Tower of Babel. When this was then placed upon a torus or “doughnut”-shaped surface, and the excess space stripped away, what Stan Tenen had was a three-dimensional representation of the Fibonacci spiral, a shape that can be found in numerous occurrences of nature, including the shape of a developing fetus, and the horns of a ram. This somewhat snakish, flame-like shape Tenen then placed inside of a crystal tetrahedron — a four-sided prism or pyramid. When light was shined through the object in a shadow-box, Tenen found that he could form every single letter of the Hebrew alphabet — in order — just by changing the position of the shape relative to the crystal. With a slightly different orientation, he was able to produce the letters of other alphabets as well. Appropriately, Tenen named the shape the “flame letter.”
The Fibonacci spiral is a representation of the golden mean proportion that occurs so often in nature, and which has been used in all of the most magnificent works of art and architecture, going back to ancient times, including the pyramids at Giza and presumably, the Tower of Babel. Even the colors of the rainbow are made by different wavelengths that vary in size in a golden mean proportion relative to one another. This can be seen in the varying widths of the color bands in a rainbow. (4) The seven colors correspond to the seven notes of the diatonic music scale, and the mathematical, golden mean relationship between the notes, as they ascend and descend along the scale, matches exactly the relationship between the colors of the rainbow. The fact that colors have musical equivalents is reflected in the twelve-note “chromatic” musical scale. As described by author Michael S. Schneider in A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe: “The chromatic twelve-scale includes the diatonic seven-scale plus five sharps or flats between them, giving the scale shades of musical color.” (5) This may provide a factual basis for the sensory phenomenon known as “synesthesia,” in which certain people naturally see certain colors when they hear certain sounds, and vice-versa. Such people often report seeing the letters of the alphabet in certain associated colors as well. The modern musical scale system used in the West is based on that invented by the ancient Greeks, and attributed to the sacred “lyre of Apollo,” which also belonged, in turn, to Orpheus, Pythagoras, and originally, Hermes. Schneider writes that, “As one stroked the strings upward, the tones descended to earth through E-D-C-B-A-G-F.” Elsewhere in the book he states that the scale would be ritually strummed by priests in order to call angels down from Heaven!
Imagine if you will that the Tower of Babel encompassed all of these concepts — that it was built around the “flame letter” of the Fibonacci spiral, a true “fire in the middle” of the pyramid, or ziggurat — a pyramid colored like the rainbow and covered with the hieroglyphs of the first universal language. Perhaps the “flame-letter” shape was even placed inside of a crystal capstone on top, just like the pyramid at Giza. Perhaps this is what caused the letters to be formed on the outside of the Tower — shadows refracted through the prism as it spun around in various positions, creating the various characters. Christian Rosenkreutz’s tomb is said to be covered with letters written on multi-colored squares that “flash” — perhaps echoing this concept. The spinning around of the shape would have also, when propagated through the magnetic field that would have been created by the rapidly-moving crystal, have created sounds, music even, perhaps, that would have been broadcast through the heavens just like a radio transmission, calling the angels down from Heaven. (6) That is exactly what the Tower of Babel was supposed to do as a “gateway of the gods.” At this point, it is interesting to note that in The Book of Enoch, supposedly written by a prophet who is considered to be the same figure as Hermes, the angels who descended from Heaven to Earth did so from the top of “Mount Hermon,” a name clearly derived from “Hermes.” If the Tower of Babel and the Emerald Tablet are one, then they are also the Mountain of Hermes.
There are many ways in which the making of this heavenly music could have been facilitated by the golden mean-based architecture of the tower itself. In The Mysteries of the Chartres Cathedral by Louis Charpentier, the author explains how the pointed arch known as the “ogive” used in Gothic architecture (which is based on golden mean principles and may have originated with the Knights Templar) acts as a dynamic sound vibrator. Their specific geometric designs, again always based on Golden Mean principles, can control the action of sound vibrating within them, and the architects of these buildings tuned them like musical instruments. Similar means could have been used in the construction of the Tower of Babel. Given this, it is worth noting that the ancient Greek music system included seven modes of musical scale, and each mode was associated with a style of architecture known by the same name. I should also note that these same ancient Greeks believed that music could affect solid matter in prescribed, mathematical ways. Thus it was said that Orpheus used the magic lyre of Apollo (and Hermes) to cause trees and rocks to “dance,” and thus they were moved into geometric patterns in which they remain to this very day. According to this method, the Tower of Babel could have been built by Hermes himself just by employing these mathematical principles of music.
Even the name of Stan Tenen’s research group, “the Meru Foundation” confirms the relationships between the world mountain (or a representation thereof), the alphabet, and the golden mean. “Meru,” of course, is the name of the world mountain in Tibetan myth, and it is depicted as forming a perfectly geometric stepped pyramid shape — as though it were artificially made. As Tenen points out in his videotaped lecture entitled Geometric Metaphors of Life, the word “Meru” is also used in Eastern India as a title for the number sequence known here as “Pascal’s Triangle” — a whole number representation of the Fibonacci sequence. The Cheops pyramid, colored with those seven bands of the rainbow and located in the center of the Earth’s land mass, was also, he says, called “Mera.” But most amazingly, Tenen also says that the Hebrew name for their sacred alphabet is none other than “Meruba.”
The Hebrew alphabet was, according to cabbalistic tradition, formed by the “flame of God” — presumably, the “flame-letter” of the Fibonacci spiral that Mr. Tenen has discovered. The alphabet consists of twenty-two letters, broken down into three groups of three, seven and twelve, with each letter corresponding to a number as well. The numbers 3, 7, 12 and 22 occur repeatedly in my research into the Grail mystery, too often to merely ignore. Note the musical scales of 7 and 12, and the seven primary planets, set against the twelve houses of the zodiac. 3 plus 4 is 7, and 3 times 4 is 12. 22 is an important recurring number in the mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau, and the human DNA strand, when placed in tetrahelical (block) form, as Buckminster Fuller envisioned it, has twenty-two sides. If Hebrew letters were placed on these sides, it would form a snake-like cable — the meaning of the word “cabala.” But this snake would, like the Orobouros, be swallowing its own tail in a way, for if you take the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet and conjoin it with the last letter, you get Aleph, the first letter of the alphabet.
Clearly, there is something remarkable about this set of letter-numbers said by the Jews to have come directly from God. That this alphabet and the Fibonacci spiral which forms it are encoded into the text of the Torah shows that attempts have been made to preserve the secret of the “flame letter” — the source of the original language in the Tower of Babel — for future generations, honoring its creator, Hermes/Enoch’s stated wish. Jewish tradition says that the secret of the Torah is encoded in its first letter. That letter is Bet, which means “house.” This represents the Grail — the vessel or container of God, of the source of all knowledge, and the ark of its preservation. In the form of the Fibonacci spiral at the heart of man’s writing, art, music, architecture, and numerous other sciences inherent to civilization, enclosed within the vessel of the world mountain, or the Tower of Babel, the Grail would certainly be seen as the source of all knowledge brought to man by the gods, and the vessel of its preservation for the future, like the Tablet of Hermes engraved upon a mountain, set in the Center of the World.
(1) The word “pyramid” means “fire in the middle.”
(2) In fact, if both the Tower of Babel and the Cheops pyramid existed at the same time, they may have been near-replicas of one another, constituting the two “pillars” of Hermes, only one of which still survives in a greatly reduced form. This is speculation, perhaps, for another article.
(3) The Emerald Tablet was, according to legend, once in the possession of Moses. I have speculated that this may have, in fact been the tablet that was placed within the Ark of the Covenant. The loss of the Ark, and indeed, the breaking of the first set of tablets by Moses could be seen as representative of the loss of the Emerald Tablet and thus, the Tower of Babel.
(4) This color spectrum, by the way, can be created by refracting light through a crystal prism, or tetrahedron, just like the letters created in the shadow-box.
(5) Interestingly, Schneider also says we have a ten-octave hearing range due, somehow, to the Fibonacci spiral shape of our ears!
(6) Playing the scale in the opposite direction would presumably result in the opposite effect, that of causing human, earthly consciousness to be raised to the level of the gods. This is the same process as that of the Kundalini snake (the appearance of which resembles strongly that of Tenen’s “flame letter”) being raised through the seven chakras of the human body (analogous to the seven levels of the ziggurat, the seven notes, and the seven colors) to the pineal gland or Third Eye (the analogue of the tower’s capstone.)