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After one has sat quietly and still in a Lodge room for several moments, a curious phenomenon may be witnessed. The air seems to become dense and permeated with energies, for lack of a better word, that appear to flash and move before one's eyes. It is as though the spaces between the objects in the Lodge room are active with currents of electricity, the definition of which seems just beyond one's visual capacity, not unlike seeing "through a glass darkly." Upon mentioning this phenomenon to an aged Past Master of our Lodge, his response was "perhaps the souls of the deceased members of our Lodge assemble when we meet, like a sort of Communion of the Saints, to borrow a phrase from the Catholics." While our esteemed Brother's romantic musing is charmingly fanciful and indeed not impossible, there may yet be another, more plausible explanation.

The mosaic pavement of King Solomon's temple is said to represent this world, "checkered over with good and evil." Its colors, therefore, are black and white, signifying the interplay of those opposite forces. This interplay of forces continues well beyond the realm of the symbolic and abstract and directly in to one's field of vision. For, black and white are complimentary colors, and as such they appear to 'flash' with energy when placed side by side, as in the case of the checkered pavement. It is precisely this complimentary 'flashing' which induces the phenomenon described above in the opening paragraph.

This visual effect is not unknown to the occult world and it was actually used by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, most notably in their famous Vault of the Adepti and in their use of color-coordinated tattwa cards. The Llewellyn Encyclopedia explains that the flashing color or "stroving" effect was associated in the Golden Dawn with a "stirring up of the etheric energy, and flashing colors were therefore used in consecrated working tools and talismans as a source of additional energy." It is no wonder then that the phenomenon also plays a part in the 'consecration' of the Freemason.

Before the inception of the Golden Dawn, American Rosicrucian Paschal Beverly Randolph was employing this same stroving effect to develop what he called tirau-clairism. Tirau-clairism was defined by Randolph as the power to "think clearly to a point, and know use the will to bring any image, flash, spark or scintilla before you and never take the mind's eye from it." As is apparent from his definition, Randolph was using the flashing complimentary color phenomenon to develop what he considered to be a legitimate psychic power; the ability to see the subtle, energetic plane wherein he believed this flashing was taking place. Tau Allen Greenfield explains how said ability was acquired.

"Place against the wall a black card, round with a white center, or white with a black center, and gaze on it steadily, one minute... Then slowly turn your face to the blank wall and the optical effect will be an apparition of the card -- colors reversed -- [slowly passing] across your line of vision."

The student was expected not only to eventually control this visual apparition, but also to be able to conjure it up at will without the assistance of the cards. Once tirau-clairism had been mastered the student then moved on to visualizing and evoking to visible appearance any chosen spirit or person, living or deceased, at will. In this way Randolph believed and taught that one could control individuals and spirits from a distance. Randolph's applications and interpretations are fascinating and colorful to say the least.

More recently the use of complimentary colors to induce meditative and even visionary states has been expounded by occultist Jean Dubuis in his book The Fundamentals of Esoteric Knowledge. There, the use of a checker board is resourcefully prescribed.

"Find a checker board...with black and white squares. Place it horizontally in front of you. Place...burning candles on both sides. Fix your gaze on the checker board. This does not necessarily happen on the first session, but the checker board progressively takes on a uniform color, the squares tend to disappear. The white squares stand for the active energy, the black for the passive energy. The uniform color is the result of a balance of the two. The exercise when successfully completed contributes to the rebalancing of these energies in us."

Like Randolph before him, Dubuis seems to ascribe to the notion that legitimate psychic benefits may be garnered from this practice. We’re about to find out that they may not be far from the mark.

As psychologist Celeste McCollough demonstrated, the flashing color phenomenon is not due merely to an optical illusion. Alternately staring at complimentary colors for extended periods of time actually causes changes to take place in the brain. In the McCollough Effect, for example, the complimentary exchange of colors that lingers in the form of an apparition for moments after a viewing (as in Randolph’s tirau-clairism practice) can actually persist for up to three and a half months following the experiment! Sitting in the Vault of the Adepti in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn therefore would have actually caused changes to take place in brain chemistry, possibly influencing even one’s thoughts and behavior for months following in the process. That is some powerful magic!

Perhaps the most popular and well known application of the flashing color phenomenon is in the poster and album art of the psychedelic revolution of the 1960s. In addition to wild, surrealistic motifs, the psychedelic art of the sixties counterculture made heavy use of bright, complimentary color schemes that seem to vibrate with an electricity not unlike the flashing colors of the Golden Dawn’s Vault of the Adepti. Psychedelic artists worthy of note from this period include Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso, and especially Freemason Wes Wilson, all of whom participated in the founding of Berkeley Bonaparte, an agency created for the purpose of producing and distributing psychedelic art. Bridget Riley was another who was chief among the psychedelic artists of the sixties. Riley is one of the foremost figures on op art, or optical art, which makes use of phenomena such as flashing colors in the creation of fascinating optical illusions.

We have shown that the checkered pavement of King Solomon's temple serves a function previously unsuspected and yet wholly practical. The stroving effect produced by the black and white mosaic has the potential to induce in one a profound meditative and possibly even visionary state. Therefore, in closing, we leave the reader with an invitation to seek out and view Bridget Riley’s 1961 painting Movement in Squares for further meditation and experimentation. It is a perfect example of the type of ‘flashing’ illusion that can be created from blocks of complimentary colors such as in the checkered pavement of King Solomon’s temple.

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THE CHECKERED PAVEMENT: Its Visionary Function 1728 P.D. Newman 28-Jan-18 18:11
Re: THE CHECKERED PAVEMENT: Its Visionary Function 821 Itatw70s 30-Jan-18 01:51

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