Saturday, November 17, 2012

Codes & Riddles

Theban Alphabet, via Trithemius' PolyGraphia.

“Back in Lund, Önnerfors grew surprised too as he continued to plumb the Copiale. In the midst of the descriptions about Oculist rituals, the document took a narrative turn. It described a meeting of “a few good friends” who talked about people’s desire to “know something only because it needs to be kept secret.” The friends decided to use this curiosity to play a little prank. They set up a fraternity and “would agree immediately as they would like to pretend that a great secret would be behind their unification.” They called this farce, this hoax, this grand psychological experiment Freemasonry. In other words, the Oculists were making an outrageous claim: that they founded Freemasonry … as a joke.

That certainly wasn’t true, but at the very least the Oculists seemed to be watching Freemasonry’s every move. Starting on page 27 and continuing for the remaining 78 pages, the cipher detailed the rituals performed by the highest degrees of the Masonic order—rites unknown to ordinary Masons at the time. Nothing was omitted from the Copiale’s descriptions of these top-level rituals. Not the skulls. Not the coffins. Not removal of undergarments nor the nooses nor the veneration of Hiram Abiff, builder of the Great Temple of Jerusalem, whose decomposed body became the alchemical emblem for turning something rotten into something miraculous and golden.”
- They Cracked This 250 Year-Old Code, And Found a Secret Society Inside by Noah Shachtman, Accessed 11/17/12.
Runes of Honorius (Theban), via Agrippa's Third Book of Occult Philosophy, Part 3; Chapter 29.

[EDIT]: The scholarly sources I've consulted seem to indicate that there are a chunk of alchemical manuscripts, roughly 1/3rd towards the high end, that are considered 'insane'. This may be because the Alchemist was undergoing the experiences of heavy metal poisoning from Mercury and Lead... However, something I've often considered and rarely seen discussed is that they may actually be highly advanced cipher-codes, from substitution codes (like Theban) to the more complex Ciphers that Copiales 3 is part of. The next few centuries promise to be interesting, assuming that we don't simply run out of gas: we can finally begin cracking those codes and seeing into the lives of some of our lesser known predecessors who were practitioners of the Great Work...
X2: You can download some high-rez scans of the encoded/ciphered text here. It is, in a word, beautiful.


Scylla said...

Can I start lining up to pay this guy to tackle the Voynich NOW, or do I need to wait until the newyear?

(Captcha : "Ulcultu")

Alice D'Aeon said...

Tubal Cain, brother.