by Lewis da Costa
ISBN: 0 9578530 68
Publisher: Fountainhead Press
I regret that this book, and its predecessor are no longer in print. Lewis passed away in 2005. I was once in contact with someone who had copies but I no longer am.
If by any divine chance that person reads this please contact me. If only to let me know that all is OK.
Many thanks, Ellis
In their seminal work, The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail, authors Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh are confronted with the enormous task of sifting through the complex and voluminous material which comprises the now famous ‘Prieure documents.’
‘At times,’ they write, ‘we nearly dismissed the whole affair as an elaborate joke, a hoax of extravagant proportions. If this were true, however, it was a hoax that certain people seemed to have been sustaining for centuries- and if one invests so much time, energy and resources in a hoax, can it really be called a hoax at all? In fact the interlocking skeins and the overall fabric of the ‘Prieure documents’ were less a joke than a work of art- a display of ingenuity, suspense, brilliance, intricacy, historical knowledge and architectonic complexity worthy of, say, James Joyce. And while Finnegan’s Wake may be regarded as a joke of sorts, there is no question that its creator took it very seriously indeed.’
It all reminds us somewhat of Johann Valentin Andrea, the German writer who confessed to having written The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreuz as a ‘ludibrium.’ And Israel Regardie, sifting through the the original Golden Dawn documents, utterly convinced that neither McGregor Mathers- for all his skill- nor William Wyn Westcott could possibly have been responsible for creating the riches he therein discovered.
A similar conundrum faces the reviewer of The Secret Diaries of An Alchemist. Just as a second-rate actor is incapable of doing justice to King Lear, how does an average person even begin to review a work that bears comparison with everything listed above? The Prieure documents- and the Secret Diaries themselves- lend credence to Da Costa’s big idea: that the King James Bible is, in its entirety, a mathematically-encrypted cipher whose function is not to preserve history but a secret. (We will get to what the secret is shortly.) In them, the reader must come face to face (or soul to soul) with minds so vast as to afford the smallest of glimpses into the kind of consciousness capable of computing the biblical gematria. The thesis becomes plausible, so long as there are initiate-trickers like Lewis still around, delighting, confounding, revealing and concealing; and displaying the fruits of a total immersion in the loftiest of Gnosis.
And yet Lewis- according to his own estimate- was barely ‘capable of uncovering five per cent’ of the mysteries of scripture; and as a reviewer faced with the task of uncovering his own inner workings I can relate to the inadequacy. This is never going to sell like The Da Vinci Code, despite the revised fictional conceit with which the diaries themselves are sandwiched: an expedient made necessary by certain factions with book-burning tendencies. And Lewis knows that he is writing for a very select audience, and admits as much. Many are called but few are chosen. But for those who manage initiation even to the 37th degree (which amounts to two hundred pages of closely-packed text) the alchemical rewards are huge.
For this is a book which truly does transform. It also enrages and frustrates; as for Lewis, his only aim is to wake you up. But he is far from being any sort of ‘peak performance’ guru. This is not Chicken Soup for the Soul; and if that is the kind of narcoleptic you prefer then Lewis would far rather you remained in bed. I can say this with some certainty because the spirit of the man draws close in his words: you too will swoon to his poesy, and fall in love with a certain Petit Prince all over again. And if you should happen to catch a distant gale of laughter on the wind, that will be Lewis having earned his reward.
There are unexpected pleasures, in fact, to be derived from almost every page. Open at random and watch the gemstones pile up. Ever wondered about the real secret of Rosslyn? (And if you haven’t then this book is not for you, nor even this review.) ‘Its real significance would seem to be enshrined in the red serpent/rose line (the Paris meridian.’) Let those with ears, hear. Or have you, and by God I know I have, ever contemplated the intimate relations between the sacred and the profane? ‘Esoteric art- synonymous with erotica- and the thirteenth stone’s location in the genitalia of the Holy of Holies, a part of the human body that we instinctively hide.’ But I am trespassing upon the secret here, and there is only so much that I dare to reveal. Suffice it to say- and let this serve as a fitting tribute: Unstable atoms are multi-dimensional.
I will write more about this book in due course. Right now, this book is writing me. An esoteric classic that will honour the mantelpiece of any serious reader: Lewis Da Costa, your time has finally arrived.