For me, it all started a few years ago when Jay Weidner asked me what I thought of Fulcanelli. Being full of my own opinions, and sure of their validity, I gave him the quick run down on the contents of that memory file: “Mysterious 20th century alchemist featured in Morning of the Magicians, and therefore somewhat suspect. Colin Wilson suggests that he is another alchemical con-man such as Cagliostro or St. Germain.”

Jay laughed and suggested that I read Mystery of the Cathedrals, Fulcanelli’s first book, and The Fulcanelli Phenomenon, by Kenneth R. Johnson. When I did, I realized that they described one of the most fascinating puzzles of all time. Alchemy was certainly a key part of the mystery. However, at its heart lay something even stranger — ancient knowledge of the location of the center of our galaxy and from that a way to estimate the date of a celestial event of eschatalogical magnitude. The sophisticated astronomical culture of the Central American Maya considered this event to be the end and beginning point of time itself. After the fall of the ancient cultures in the Old World, simple knowledge of the event became the secret possession of the initiated elite.

As the mystery unfolded and the puzzle appeared before us, Jay and I were astonished that no one else seemed to have seen this. And then we realized that of course they had.

We had stumbled on the big secret, the grand macguffin of human history. All of humanity’s psychodramas seemed to have the secret at their core, even when knowledge of the secret was limited to the initiated few. From this perspective, what we had been taught to regard as history looked a lot like the residue of a millenia long global conflict over control of the secret and its ramifications. As we researched this conflict, three main currents emerged. These currents, actually more collective viewpoints, we defined by their relationship to the secret.

The first current, which we will call the Priest/Kings, believed it had the right to possess the secret based on ancient traditions and bloodlines. In contrast to this basically Osirian position were the nihilistic Setians who wanted to possess the secret exclusively and were willing to destroy everything to get it, or to keep anyone else from getting it. The ancient myth of Osiris, the rightful King, whose power is usurped by his evil brother, Set, and then revenged by his son, Horus, echoes this struggle over control of the secret. The myth retains its power even today, as witness the success of Disney’s “The Lion King.”

In between these extremes, in some moral and social gray area, are the Opportunists who are willing to own the secret, use the secret, control the secret or whatever it takes to provide for their own wealth, power, ego graitification and so on. We have few mythological metaphors for this group because they are recent, developing only in the last two thousand years.

All three of these groups are mutually antagonistic, yet interdependent. None want the others to gain complete control, yet none, on their own, can gain it themselves. But most of all, none of them want to share their information with uninitiated outsiders.

However, someone in the late 17th century built an enigmatic mortuary monument in the quaint Basque coastal town of Hendaye. More than 250 years later, an equally mysterious author, Fulcanelli, would add a new chapter to his twenty year old book claiming that the “Cyclic Cross of Hendaye” was the ultimate expression of “Chilaism” (a belief in the Last Judgement as a literal end of time) as well as a description of the Great Work of Alchemy. These simple facts point to several interesting conclusions.

Not only have the initiated few survived for centuries, right down into our own time, but apparently some of them wanted to reveal the secret. Interesting as these conclusions are, they force us to an even more dramatic one. If one of the initiated gave the secret away in 1957, it could only have been because the secret was in danger of being lost. Or, even worse, co-opted and distorted. By 1957, the balance of power had shifted and the nihilistic Setians scented final victory on the Cold War breeze.

To understand the importance of Fulcanelli’s message, we must remember that by the late 1950’s it must have seemed, to those in on the knowledge, that something fundamental had changed. The Setians and the Opportunists had finally learned to cooperate. The Priest/Kings, with their mystical connections, had almost been destroyed. The Setians were in the process of convincing the Opportunists of the need for mass suicide by way of an atomic war. The secret of the end of time and the possible transformation of the human species was in danger of being lost, forgotten or changed beyond recognition.

The value of Fulcanelli’s revelation can be seen by the amount of misinformation and distortion that obscures any discussion of Fulcanelli or his work. Even Johnson’s Fulcanelli Phenomenon, the only major work on the subject, reads like a mass of purposeful confusion. The epitome of which is the penultimate chapter, a bizarre science fictional analysis of the Cyclic Cross by someone called “Paul Mevyrl.” From the information presented in this work, we might be forgiven for thinking that, while not quite a con-man, Fulcanelli and his disciple Canseliet were perhaps as deluded or delusional as any other alchemist of the past.

And yet, when we read Mystery of the Cathedrals, we find no confused charlatan rambling on about imagined esoterisms. We come face to face with one of the most penetrating intellects of the twentieth century. The power of this intellect appears, especially in Cathedrals, to be driven by an urgent need to communicate the outlines of a great mystery. In delineating this mystery, Fulcanelli tried, by piling up images and allusions, to suggest a vast initiatory process at work in human history. At the core of the book, though, is a question.

The first edition, published in 1926, ended with the question unanswered, although a glimpse of the answer can be seen embedded within the brilliant synthesis of ideas at the heart of Cathedrals. By the time of the second edition, 1957, the question had apparently been answered. Someone told Fulcanelli the secret of the end of time. When Cathedrals was reprinted, he added a new chapter more on “Chilaism” than Alchemy in which he sketched out the ground rules for solving the puzzle of the Cyclic Cross of Hendaye.

Five years later, Morning of the Magicians, by Pauwels and Bergier, became an international bestseller. In many ways, this was the start of the New Age movement and the beginning of the process of obscuring Fulcanelli and his work. This would continue through countless collections of enigmatic events and unsolved mysteries by Colin Wilson and others. The Fulcanelli Phenonmen, published in 1978, compounded the problem and convinced most readers that any mystery having to do with the Cross of Hendaye was simply paranoiac delusion.

Perhaps that’s what the book was intended to do.

* * * * *

And here matters remained until Jay and I rashly and naively decided to solve the puzzle. Like some esoteric Tar Baby lurking at the astral crossroads waiting for a couple of happy-go-lucky Brer Rabbit-type researchers to come along, the monument’s mystery proved irresistable once touched. We were stuck with it, all the way to the briar patch.

The quest took us from Elberton, Georgia, (where a mysterious R. C. Christian has built a new monument to the end of time) to France, Peru and Egypt. Along the way, we were aided by so much synchronicity and coincidence we eventually concluded that there was a fourth group at work, far behind the scenes, who actually want the secret revealed to as many people as possible. This free will party, as we jokingly called it, seemed to be guiding our research and at times manipulating events.

Deciphering the monument’s message turned out to be the easy part. Once we had the message our emphasis shifted to finding out what it meant. The monument pointed to a specific time period, the intersection point of several celestial cycles, and we wanted to know exactly why Fulcanelli had described this event as a “double catastrophe” by which the northern hemisphere would be tried by fire. Judgement Day, in other words.

Fulcanelli’s use of the word Chilaism gave us a clue. Chilaism is a Gnostic conception of the Christian Last Judgement in which a new existence, a spiritual reality, supercedes our flawed common reality at the extreme end of time. Many scholars (see Pagels and Couliano) consider Chilaism to be the most sophisticated of the many 1st century AD eschatological perspectives.

The Egyptian origin of this concept suggested to us the antiquity of its insight. Following this thread, we found evidence that Alchemy, as we have known it historically, is nothing more than a demonstration of the physics at work in the galactic core. The true inner core of Alchemy appears in this light as the ability to apply the physics of creation to the task of personal immortality. And with this, of course, would come the ability to survive the double catastrophe.

If the secret, the grand macguffin of human history, is the ability to chart the celestial timing of the eschatological event, then the only serious questions become: Is it true? And can we survive?

An epic amount of research later, we can definitively answer the first question. Yes, it’s true. We are about to receive a cosmic wake-up call from the center of the galaxy.

The details of our research can be found in this book, A Monument to the End of Time: Alchemy, Fulcanelli And The Great Cross. Here, we give a detailed analysis of Alchemy through the lens of Fulcanelli’s unanswered question as well as explaining how we deciphered Hendaye’s message. We also draw upon the work of other scholars and researchers, such as Schwaller de Lubicz, Graham Hancock, John Major Jenkins and Dr. Paul La Violette, for evidence of the secret’s reality, its use as a sacred time clock by other cultures, and scientific proof of the celestial event’s effect.

As for the second question — Will the celestial event bring extinction or enlightenment? — the answer remains open. However, the existence of a fourth current, the free will, share the information party, suggests that there is an answer.

Perhaps human evolution, once certain physical parameters are reached, becomes an internal, personal process of initiation. Defining this personal process is a galactic wave of change that brings the opportunity of transformation to those who have reached the required level of internal transmutation. To those who haven’t, it brings madness and destruction, perhaps even a global catastrophe, in its wake.

Because of the politics of secrecy surrounding the knowledge of this on-coming celestial event, we, as a culture, have been blissfully unaware. Eschatological speculations long ago became the property of cranks and religions. Science has given the appearance of abdicating the responsibilty of interpreting its own findings. And yet, the information survived the secrecy and persecution and is now on the verge of becoming once again a common cultural perspective.

The fourth current, the free will party, might just have won out after all.

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