Mather Walker

But helpless Pieces of the Game He plays
Upon this Chequer-board of Nights and Days;
Hither and thither moves, and checks, and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.
-Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Edward Fitzgerald Translation


The Tempest is a very strange and complex work. Any real insight into the work begins with an understanding of the nature of the author of the work. Unless the nature of the author is understood the nature of the work cannot be understood. And the nature of the author can only be understood if the ultimate potentialities possible for man are understood. The subject, although dealing with matters generally considered supernatural cannot be divorced from the natural processes of nature because it pertains to the study of potentialities that exist in nature. This is the study of the transformations of certain creatures in the course of their lives - a phenomena known as metamorphosis. The immediate effect of metamorphosis is the transition from one level of environment to another. For example, the tadpole, strictly a water animal, metamorphoses into a frog, gaining the ability to live both in water and on land. The Larva, strictly a land animal, metamorphoses into a butterfly, leaving the land behind and gains the ability to function in the atmosphere beyond the earth.

In metamorphosis, the first form, and sometimes several of the early forms, may deviate so radically from the mature form as to obscure their membership in the same species or even genus: the early form masks the mature type and is consequently called a larva. Insects and crabs, worms, snails, mollusks, and echinoderms are the groups in which metamorphosis is most frequent. Among the vertebrates the frogs and salamanders are familiar examples of metamorphosis.

The blind, crawling larva, weaves a cocoon about itself. It stays in this cocoon as if dead for a period of time. During this period which is known as chrysalis, it is inanimate as if in a tomb, but at the end of this period the cocoon is broken open, and there emerges instead of a blind creeping larva, a radiantly beautiful butterfly which soars away into the air. The life which animated the larva has effected its transition not only from one form to another, but also from one "level" of environment to another.

It is a mistake to suppose that the potentiality of metamorphosis applies only to lower life forms. Nature is conservative with Her stratagems and replays the card at a higher turn of the spiral. Pertinent information can be found in the Bible. The stages of metamorphosis and the details of the episodes in the life of the man Jesus in the Gospels are closely related. Even the word matches. Where Jesus was transformed on the mount the original text used the word "metamorphoun", i.e.,our text should read metamorphosed instead of transformed.

Consider the crucifixion in The Gospels. Instead of one man undergoing the crucifixion, there are three. Just as in the metamorphosis of the butterfly there are three stages. Unregenerate man, ignorant and helpless, is the stage between the ovum and larva - the unrepentant thief. The man who is beginning to awake and seek the higher kingdom is the second stage from larva to pupa - the repentant thief. And the third stage from pupa to imago, the unfolded, enlightened soul - is Jesus himself. These three are shown crucified in the Gospel records, because it is these three who must die before the metamorphosed creature can emerge.

Following the crucifixion Jesus was enclosed in white cloth just as the larva is enclosed in the white material of the cocoon. Then he lay for a period of time within his cocoon of gauze as if dead, just the larva while in the process of metamorphosing into a butterfly. At the end of the time it was not the same man who came forth, but one who had entered a higher kingdom in nature, that kingdom above the kingdom of man.

After his metamorphosis Jesus had a brief contact with his old environment. Just as the butterfly perches on its branch waiting for its wings to dry. Then he ascended. There ends our record of the man Jesus. This is incomprehensible from the viewpointof ordinary man. Why did Jesus not remain with his friends giving them the aid and teaching he had given them before? Why should he, filled with love and compassion, have deserted his friends just when they needed him most? There is no explanation from our viewpoint. But viewed as an example of metamorphosis there is a ready explanation.

Just as a grain of wheat in becoming a plant goes out of the sphere of the life of germs; just as an acorn in becoming an oak goes out of the life of acorns; just as a caterpillar in becoming a chrysalis dies for caterpillars, and in becoming a butterfly goes completely out of the sphere of observation of caterpillars, in the same way the superman goes out of the sphere of observation of other people, goes out of their historical life.

Something strange happened two thousand years ago in that barren, sun baked land of Palestine. Something so extraordinary that two thousand years later the world is still trying to understand. A stage show was enacted. But this stage show was very different from what we normally associate with stage shows, for this one involved real people, and real events, in real nature, and even a real death of the protagonist. This stage show was designed to exhibit to the world the real possibilities of man. And the crucifixion was carefully calculated to enable Jesus of Nazareth to make the transition to the next higher kingdom in nature. It had even been rehearsed. Jesus had attended schools in Persian, India and Egypt that gave the three phases of the teachings to man. As the book of Revelations says, he had already been crucified (in the initiation ceremony) in Egypt.

When the metamorphosis of Jesus occurred his physical body was translated into a body of light causing the material in which he was wrapped to collapse, and causing (some would maintain) his image to be imprinted on the shroud in which he was wrapped. Thereafter he had complete control over his physical vehicle at a subatomic level, possessing the ability to dematerialize or materialize his physical form at will, as his appearance in the upper room with the locked doors shows. For the real superman the elements of time and space are surmounted. 10,000 years or 10,000 miles makes no difference. He has telepathic contact with all other supermen whenever or wherever they may be. This is a phenomena referred to in the Bible as "the communion of the saints". He also has access to all knowledge and events that have taken place on the planet. The real superman is also immortal. In this best of all possible worlds perfection means permanence and imperfection mean impermanence.

Why was the life of Jesus used to publish to the world the possibilities of man becoming superman? At the time Jesus lived there existed in many countries two religions side by side. One dogmatic and ceremonial, the other mystical and esoteric. This other, hidden religion, was known as the religion of The Mysteries. Those only were admitted to it who had gone through special preparation called Initiations. What is not so well known is the fact that the life of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels represents the same Mystery as that which was performed in Egypt on the Island of Philae, in Greece at Eleusis, and in other places. The only difference being that one was performed as a drama, and the other took place in real life, amid real nature.

In the Mysteries special techniques were utilized to enable the temporary enhancement of the consciousness of ordinary men so a temporary contact could be effected with beings from the higher kingdom in nature. Initiates of the Mysteries claimed that the gods were contacted during their celebrations. The greatest minds of antiquity were left with an experience that inspired them with awe for the remainder of their lives. Of course scholars of today are too clever to believe such a tale as this. Therefore in their studies of the Mysteries they examine all the other records furnished by the Initiates, but this very one which is the key to the entire thing, they dismiss entirely. As the old proverb has it, "he who is clever is stupid". For if the Mysteries effected a contact with superman this would explain why in them man was shown the possibility of entering the higher kingdom in nature.

At the time of Jesus, conditions in the world had become so degenerate that it was realized the Mysteries could not endure much longer. The life of Jesus was used by the beings behind the Mysteries to publish their message to the world so that it might remain for all mankind to read. Of course, as usually happens with such things, the special information given in the Gospels about man's potentialities has been distorted into the farcical notions of modern Christianity. Instead of the kingdom of heaven denoting the higher kingdom in nature, it is a paradise where people enjoy eternal bliss after one short life on earth presuming they do exactly what the people who have distorted the doctrine to gain control over their minds tell them to do. With the end of the Mysteries our formal contact with these higher entities came to an end. But there are cases since where, very rarely, individuals have attained to the stage of metamorphosis, to the level of the threshold to the next higher kingdom in nature beyond mankind. Francis Bacon was one such man. He was a superman - a walking god on the threshold of becoming a true god. As Helena Blavatsky said, "The rare efflorescence of a generation of inquirers".

Superman is defined by his state of consciousness. As far as public record goes only one man in modern times understood the possibilities of human consciousness. This man was George Gurdjieff. According to Gurdjieff REAL CONSCIOUSNESS IS A STATE IN WHICH A MAN KNOWS ALL AT ONCE EVERYTHING THAT HE IN GENERAL KNOWS. This is aionic consciousness, the consciousness of superman. This was the state of consciousness possessed by Francis Bacon. All other states of consciousness are embryonic, fragmentary, and illusory. Real consciousness functions at a level unimaginable to embryo consciousness. The power of memory is maximized sinceall data is always available. Cerebral celerity is maximized. A higher order of consciousness exists inconceivable to embryo consciousness. Francis Bacon combined the powers of observation and memory of Thomas Wolfe (Look Homeward Angel) combined with the aionic consciousness. A miracle, indeed! And left the signs of his passage wherever he went. Laneham (lean ham). Primaudaye (first to see day) Greene and Peele (green peel). Marlowe (experimenting in catering to the public taste-more low). Montaigne (Mountain). All according to his stated method in Argenis, demonstrating his mature expression form under the aegis of Pallas Athena (shake speare) whose speare of light when shaken caused the darkness of ignorance to fade away!

The small, seemingly pellucid play of The Tempest, presents an intractable cognition hurdle for the linear consciousness of Homo Sapiens. Products of aeonic consciousness, such as The Tempest, can only be perceived piecemeal by Homo Sapiens, like small-scale snapshots in lieu of full-scale holographic images. Moreover, in addition to realizing our understanding of The Tempest is severely limited because The Tempest comprises an almost unbelievable array of different levels of meaning melded into one unified whole, one must also realize that understanding The Tempest requires a dual process involving the analysis of both symbol and "series and order". In a mind such as Bacon's the consciousness of the soul self, that in ordinary man exists sealed off from the waking consciousness (and is experienced only in the symbolic content of dreams), has been merged with the waking consciousness. The Tempest is expressed in the mode of thought customary to dreams. That is to say, in a basically symbolic mode of thought. Thus you can afford infinite attention to "series and order", but unless you understand the symbolism that allows you to follow the meaning of the elements that make up the "series and order" your time is wasted.

Presenting more background on symbolism before dealing with the "series and order" of the high-level mapping in this part of the study will be well worthwhile. In my essays (at /Matherpage.htm) I have covered most of the various strands of significance in The Tempest of which I am aware. One glaring exception is the Masonic symbolism in The Tempest. In the future I hope to address this. As an aside, I will note here that in the Masonic temples the chequered floor denotes the essence of the reality behind the outward seeming of things. This corresponds with the chessboard in the unveiling in The Tempest. Another Masonic parallel is the legend in the third degree of the building of the temple of Solomon. The Temple of Solomon is a model of the universe, and corresponds with the microcosmic model of The Tempest. In Masonic symbolism this denotes the union of man with the ultimate reality that occurs as a result of transforming oneself into a true model of the universe. Bacon also refashioned the rituals of the existing brotherhood to reflect the Mysteries. This parallels the incorporation of the doctrine of the Mysteries, in The Tempest.

In the present study (in order to avoid being lost in the maze of meaning) I have tried to apply a more focused approach by concentrating on Bacon's Discovery Device. Information presented in this part of the study will enable a significant step toward realizing the aim of understanding the subject of my focus. In the immortal pledge of Joe Isuzu, "You have my word on that!"

Before proceeding onward down the road less traveled, a glance back at the road just traveled will be helpful. In previous parts of this study I followed Bacon's practice of utilizing allusion, and left hints pointing toward the denouement I will now make. I began 101-1 with the concept of "hide in plain sight", and ended that part with an allusion to "Through the Looking Glass". In 101-3 I showed all action in the play leads to the one episode in the eighth scene on the isle where Prospero draws aside the curtain and discloses Ferdinand and Miranda playing at chess together. Now it is time to reveal what was hidden in plain sight:


from the painting by Barbara Gaffney
appearing on the front cover of the book Francis Rosicross by Karl Hollenbach ,1996

depicts Bacon inside The Compton Room in Canonbury Tower which was one of the rooms he used for
special meetings of the Rosicrucian Fraternity


Proof for this claim will be presented in this article. For the present I draw my line in the sand and the submit the following hypothesis:

in The Tempest , Bacon built the dialectic, analytical process of his Discovery Device around the schema of a chess game.

The process of inclusion and exclusion through which his Discovery Device operates, was directly alluded to by Bacon as corresponding to light and dark . In "PRINCIPLES AND ORIGINS according to the fables of CUPID AND COELUM" he said:

"Now that point concerning the egg of Nox bears a most apt reference to the demonstrations by which this Cupid is brought to light. For things concluded by affirmatives may be considered as the offspring of light: whereas: those concluded by negatives and exclusions are extorted and educed as it were out of darkness and night."

and there is evidence of an induction process proceeding from both ends of the play. This parallels the chess board paradigm of the struggle between the "white" and "black" players that move from the opposite ends of the chessboard. At the same time the drama follows the inquiry into the "form" of all knowledge up the "Ladder of the Intellect". This also fits the chess game paradigm. Characters aligned with Prospero are those on the side of light, i.e., the white pieces; while the opposing characters in the play are those on the side of darkness, the black pieces. In a chess game the traditional direction for the movement of the white pieces is "up" the chess board. Moreover, The Tempest is divided into 1 + 8 scenes. These are: one scene at sea in the tempest, and eight scenes on the isle. The eight scenes on the isle correspond to the eight ranks up the chess board - witness the following map of The Tempest at the highest level:

Scenes in Act
Total Scenes
Scenes on Isle
Act 1

Ship at sea in tempest


Before Prospero's cell

Act II

Another part of the island


Another part of the island


Before Prospero's cell


Another part of the island


Another part of the island

Act IV

Before Prospero's cell

Act V

Before Prospero's cell

There are subtle indications everywhere in The Tempest of the chess game nature of the play. Ariel dispersing the passengers from the ship in groups about the isle suggests the player dispersing the chess pieces about the chess board. The pieces can be divided into three different groups, the first of which represented by a single central piece just as Ferdinand (one of the three divisions of passengers) is a single person. The second group consists of a variety of pieces displaying different kinds of movement and value. Let us call them "officers". This group is represented by the King's party. The third group consists of pieces which may not move backward and which are of smaller value than those of the second group. They are known as "pawns", and the menial Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo clearly belong to this lower division of pawns.

The game originally transmitted to Europe from the Arabs was called Shatranj and had a firzan (counselor) in the place of the queen, corresponding to the counsellor Gonzalo who is the continual companion of the King in The Tempest. Like Gonzalo in The Tempest, the counselor in the Arabian game was a weak piece, much weaker than the modern chess bishops. Another indication of the chess game allegory is the character Alonso - the king. In the game of chess the king is the most helpless, ineffectual piece on the board. In the play Alonso is curiously helpless and ineffectual. Of course Bacon builds in a rationale for this. Alonso is apathetic because he is in a state of grief over the fate of his son Ferdinand whom he believes drowned. But this is just one of many allusions that raises the "chess game" flag, as did my own earlier allusion to "Through the Looking Glass". For the non-initiate, "Through the Looking Glass" is a book by Charles Dodgson modeled on a chess game. Dodgson not only models the story on a chess game he also incorporates an unorthodox chess problem in the allegory. The book begins with casual references to a black and white kitten and the game of chess. Alice then goes through the looking glass, and the remainder of the action in the book is a thinly veiled chess game. Alice succeeds in becoming a queen just as does Miranda in the play.

Dodgson's book is by no means the only example of the use of the chess game motif in literature. Thomas Middleton, in A Game at Chess (1624), uses the game to represent the intrigue of the Anglo-Spanish conflict. In Thomas Hardy's A Pair of Blue Eyes (1873), in the process of demonstrating how in matters of social game-playing, his heroine suffers from the unsatisfactory education she receives from her controlling father, Hardy parallels the situation with the plot of The Tempest. And the first recorded game of modern chess, a Catalan manuscript written circa 1490 in a manuscript entitled "Scachs d´amor, describes the game in the form of an allegory that is resembles the allegory of The Tempest. Mars, playing with the red pieces, tries to obtain the love of Venus, playing with the green pieces. Mercury acts as an arbiter. The gallant game of love creates an allegorical battle where chess pieces represent different aesthetic, even moralistic, embodiments. Beauty, Reason, Will or Shame play over the board a love game where descriptions of the technical aspects are interwoven with other layers of expression.

In The Tempest the scene with Ferdinand and Miranda playing at chess, in the eighth scene on the isle, ends the ascent up The Ladder of the Intellect. A quality of illusion permeates the play before this point. When the curtain is drawn back, and we are shown Ferdinand and Miranda playing at chess, Bacon reveals the level of reality. All was illusion before because the action prior to attaining this level was the unreal world of the chess game. When the curtain is drawn back and we see Ferdinand and Miranda playing at chess we are suddenly above the level of the illusionary world inside the chess game, and reality is revealed. The illusory tempest is then seen, from this perspective, as the turmoil of chess pieces being shaken out of the bag where they have been stored, as they are dropped onto the chess board (the isle) where their wanderings (the movement of the pieces during the game) take place.

The division in The Tempest of the scenes into 1 + 8 scenes is deeply significant. In her book Eight and Nine; The Sacred Numbers of Sun and Moon in the Pagan North (1982) Prudence Jones said:

"In the Nordic universe, there are nine worlds, four in the horizontal plane, four on the vertical, and Midgard, our own world, in the middle of them all. Here we have eight outliers and one central focus, perhaps the magical unifying number."

Pennick explains that the "one surrounded by eight" pattern is almost universal, having a basic geometrical structure in square geometry, and a universal symbolism. Eight is seen as the number of being, enfolded by nine. Nine represents the "lunar" method of reckoning, which starts from the single unit, and expands the number by repetition.

Eight is the corresponding "solar" number, which starts again from the unit, but which subdivides it regularly by repeated halving. Astronomically, the number nine occurs in conjunction with eight in the 99 Moons or lunar months which made up eight full solar years. In the old day reckoning of the North, nine nights were necessary to complete the period of eight full days, the old Pagan week. In ancient Irish tradition, the '1+8' numerology of the nine square pattern is further evidence of the numerical parallels between cosmology, sacred geometry, canonical numbers and board games that runs throughout northern European mythology. (As an aside I will note that Bacon's De Augmentis published in 1623 the same year as the First Folio, is divided into the 1 + 8 division also. De Augmentis is comprised of 9 books, but the first book does not deal with the divisions of knowledge as do the succeeding 8 books. There are further very detailed parallels of the divisions in the book with the divisions in The Tempest. One could almost prove Bacon's authorship of The Tempest from these parallels alone).

In part 101-3, I described an experience I had some years ago in which I apparently perceived the entire play as its author perceived it. In this description I said:

"In this experience I was aware of the entire play in one perception. There was a unity to it's totality. At the same time, the play was an exquisite array of precisely counter-poised opposing entities; each precisely equal to its opposite, so that, overall, there was an absolute equilibrium of opposing entities; the two radical entities being darkness and light."

The explanation for this experience is that although my conscious mind did not recognize the existence of the chess game schema in the entire play, my super conscious mind did, and showed me the panorama of the play against the background of light and dark, i.e., the white and black squares on the chessboard:

I have made the point that the play deals with an inquiry into the form of all knowledge. I discussed the idea of this being grounded in the old problem about the relationship of the observer to the "real world" out there, and the question as to what that "real world" really is. This concerns the relationship between the internal and the external world. All we have any knowledge of is what is "in here". We can never know directly the world "out there". We only know the conditions of our consciousness, i.e., our sensations and nothing else. Our five senses tell us about the existence of this familiar world and provide us with information about it. That is, we get a physiological "read out" inside ourselves, that consists of some kind of model reassembled from the electrical and chemical signals that feed into our brain. But our contact with the "reality" out there goes no further than our skin. We never know the external world in itself. The panorama of our experience is played in the arena of the "Same" that exists in our minds, but it is always played against the background of the "Other" that "world stuff" that constitutes what actually exists out there. And that "world stuff", in its essence, is only the distinction between the contraries, the light and dark, the "form" of all knowledge, corresponding in The Tempest to the light and dark chequers on the chess board.

Since the subject will surface again later in our discussion I will establish a nomenclature to be used when referring to the two basic concepts I have called the "Same" and the "Other". Berkeley thought that all that existed was in the mind and adopted a formula: esse est percipi, i.e. "to be is to be perceived". I take a modicum of pleasure in turning his idea on its head, and adopting the term Esse to refer to the "world stuff" out there, and Percipi to refer to what is in here, i.e., the model we build in our own minds. Hereafter I will use these terms Esse and Percipi in referring to these two ideas.

Other important ideas presented in previous parts of this study were the ideas of the macrocosm/microcosm, i.e. Bacon's "Intellectual Globe" which was a replica in miniature of the great globe - the earth. Another idea was that of cyclical time periods. Moreover the wanderings of the king's party on the isle is twice compared to wandering through a labyrinth. Gonzalo says:

My old bones ache: here's a maze trod indeed
Through forthrights and meanders.

And Alonso, near the end of the plays, not only refers to a maze, but brings up the subjects of an oracle:

This is as strange a maze as e'er men trod,
And there is in this business more than nature
Was ever conduct of. Some oracle
Must rectify our knowledge.

I discussed in a previous part of this study how the divination systems of the I Ching and Astrology were based on the foundation of the Esse. Alonso touches on divination with his reference to consulting an oracle to rectify their knowledge. The question becomes: what does the game of chess have to do with divination? What does the game of chess have to do with an oracle? What does the game of chess have to do with a labyrinth? If Bacon did, in fact, utilize the paradigm of the chess game in the whole play it should combine all of the diverse elements that are found in The Tempest. What does the game of chess have to do with the Esse, the "world stuff" that constitutes what actually exists out there? What does the game of chess have to do with cyclical time periods? What connection does chess have with the macrocosm-microcosm relationship? We know Miranda becomes a queen, but Ferdinand addresses her by the title of goddess when he first sees her. What does the game of chess have to do with Miranda as a goddess? There are astronomical references in The Tempest. What does the game of chess have to do with astronomical references? The message at the beginning of The Tempest: SIT THE DIAL AT NBW indicates the connection of a compass with The Tempest. What does the game of chess have to do with a compass?

Strangely enough a thorough knowledge of the background of chess shows that it has a connection with all of these elements. Many of these connections can be found in the very interesting little book titled "GAMES OF THE GODS - The origin of board games in magic and divination" by Nigel Pennick. The remainder can be found in a number of other sources that deal with the background of the game of chess.

Board games in general, and chess in particular originated in magic and divination. There has always been the problem of the Percipi and the Esse. Percipi is the concrete, everyday, physical world - actually illusory in its very nature, since it is only a model built in our own consciousness. Esse is the "Other", that mysterious "world stuff" out there that is "real" in so far as reality exists, but persists in sending strange signals to us about its true nature via the investigations of such varied individuals as mystics, and quantum physicists. Humans, although living in the "too, too solid world" of the Percipi, have always sensed the presence of Esse. From time immemorial special sacred sites have existed where it was believed the connection with the Esse was facilitated. These were where the great oracles in the ancient world were located. There have also existed techniques for utilizing a "read out" from the Esse to forecast future events. The techniques involved special places where one could go to consult an oracle, but they also dealt with the broken lines of the I Ching, the positions of the heavenly bodies of astrology, cracks in dried-up mud, the rustling of the wind in the willows,birds flying in formation, patterns of beans cast on the ground, ripples in water, or even tea leaves. We can easily see that these techniques deal principally with the recognition of patterns. On the surface they appear anti-rational.

However, the history of the intimate knowledge of various experts with patterns is not without cases where the reading of patterns, that on the surface seem to be entirely anti-rational, have proven to be completely rational. One case is that of the islanders of the Pacific. They were noted for their epic voyages between islands, sometimes hundreds of miles apart, undertaken regularly in small sailing craft without the aid of anything modern navigators would deem essential. They had no compass, no charts, no navigational instruments whatsoever. Yet despite this situation, which to a modern sailor would spell disaster, they were able to sail on accurate courses between islands. The principal reason was they had an expert and intimate knowledge of wave patterns on the surface of the ocean. To those without this knowledge the examination of the wave patterns by these islanders would have seemed some form of magical divination. But it was not. It was a science.

In part 101-3, I glanced at the idea of the microcosmic nature of the game of chess. It is obviously a microcosm of the medieval life that existed at the time it was modified from the older game from Persia and India for the milieu of Europe. This is easily realized in the chess game depiction of two kingdoms warring against each other complete with Kings, Queens, Bishops, Knights, Castles, or Barons, foot soldiers, and so on. It epitomizes the medieval world. Moreover, the microcosmic content is alluded to in the dialogue of the two chess players Ferdinand and Miranda: Miranda says,

"…for a score of kingdoms you should wrangle and I would call it fair play."

Ferdinand answers,

"I would not for the world."

But the connection of board games with the macrocosm-microcosm concept, and more specifically the connection of chess with this idea, has a more universal background. Since time and space does not exist in Esse, Esse is everywhere macrocosmic to the microcosm of Percipi. The realization of this among ancient people seemed to have played a large part in their universal notions of the macrocosm and the microcosm, although along side this existed the other idea of the emanative basis of creation in which everything began with a protocosmos that was replicated on successively diminishing scales. The symbolism at the beginning of The Tempest depicts a descent into the world of time from the world of the Esse. The root from which the word "tempest" is derived, actually means "time".

In his monumental work, "Anacalypsis" Godfrey Higgins says, "Among the ancient philosophers there was no superstition or doctrine more universal than that of the microcosm, though it is now nearly lost." In "Heaven's Mirror", Graham Hancock examines sacred sites around the globe and finds that they had the common feature that they are designed to be microcosmic replicas of the heavens above. In "The Orion Mystery", Robert Bauval and Adrain Gilbert show that the position of Great Pyramid of Giza along with the other two smaller pyramids beside the river Nile were exactly designed to replicate an image on earth of the three stars in the belt of Orion beside the celestial river of the Milky Way. In his "Secret of the Great Pyramid" Peter Tompkins showed that the Great Pyramid of Giza was designed to be a replica in miniature of the northern hemisphere of the earth projected on a flat surface on an exact scale of 1:43,200. Microcosmic constructions were by no means limited to ancient times. The great traditional fairs still flourishing in England today, such as the Cambridge Midsummer Fair, were laid out in grid patters as a microcosm of the country itself, reflecting not only the country but the order of the cosmos, temporarily brought to earth at a specific place for a limited duration.

Along with microcosmic constructions originating in the ancient recognition of the Esse, was the wide spread use of this grid pattern which was later embodied in the chequered configuration of the surface of board games. Many divine beings were represented as carrying or embodying the sacred grid. An image from an ancient Indian manuscript show the goddess as a chequerboard. Pennick says:

"the grid was a powerful symbol of the structure of the world, and of divine or human dominion over it. The form of the world, the layout of the countryside, the capital city, the holy temple of the gods and the palace of the king were all symbols of order expressed as the grid."

This was also related to the fact that unlike today, when most people are unaware of which way anything faces, in former times directions played an integral part in traditional ways of life. Pennick says:

"Not only is the telling of time directly related to the direction of the Sun, but the construction of houses, the construction, ornamentation and orientation of furnishings, the layout of temples and law courts, divination and the playing of board games were all done with consideration of the qualities of the directions."

Today accurate time is a commodity almost as available as air and sunshine. Most people have a watch. Those who don't can find clocks almost anywhere. In Bacon's day these useful devices were scarcer than the fabled Philosopher's Stone. Common people knew the approximate time of day by the location of the sun. More accurate time required consulting someone especially skilled in the art of Aettcunning. "Aett" means eighth. Aettcunning was the knowledge of directions. This was such a familiar part of life in Bacon's day that almost no one bothered to write about it. Aettcunning is closely connected with the origins of board games and of chess. It is important for understanding the cosmological symbolism that underlies the sacred layout of the countryside and its microcosmic reflection - the game board.

Pennick points out that ancient augurs were always aware of the horizon visible from a site, "both for the observation of the apparent motions of Sun, Moon and stars, and to be in harmony with the powers inherent in the shape of the landscape." He says their basic layout was organized according to natural measure by the division of the circle into its four quarters by conceptual lines running north-south and east-west. The horizon was then divided by lines that bisects the four directions. This created eight directions. These were related to the physical structure of the world, the north-south polar axis and right angle lines of the east-west directions. Moreover, in addition to the fixed structure of the world, there were variable features composed of the apparent motions of the heavenly bodies in relation to the fixed site.

The position of the rising and setting Sun, at the solstices (the longest and shortest days), and on other important sacred festivals of the year, were at different places on the horizon from the lines bisecting the four cardinal directions. The height of the horizon above or below the viewing-point would alter the rising place of the Sun, Moon or star, and unless the site had an equal-height horizon all around it, this would destroy the symmetry of sunrises and sets. On a level horizon, a solar geometry exists in which midsummer sunrise is diametrically opposite midwinter sunset and midwinter sunrise opposes midsummer sunset, and since the length of day varies with the season of the year that is clearly designated by the position of the sunrise on the horizon, the calendar can be marked by means of the direction of the sunrise. The extreme south position of the sunrise marks the midwinter solstice, and the extreme north marks the midsummer solstice, thus defining the two halves of the year - the dark half, and the light half. In the traditional rural calendar of the north the division between the two solstices marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter at the festivals of Beltane (May Day) and Samhain (November 1). A further division of the aett (the eight) was made into the traditional European division of the upper hemisphere into 16 lines running from the center to the circumference - that was the fourfold division of each of the four quarters. An equal division was made of the lower hemisphere deriving the 32 division that were adapted to the use of the magnetic compass and remains with us today in the names of the directions. In the original usage aetting designated the actual compass direction.

At Chartres Cathedral, a white pane of glass in an otherwise coloured window allows the rays of the Sun at midday on Midsummer's Day to strike a brass tablet in the pavement, marking the moment of the Sun's apex. At Tonnerre, a brass lemniscate shape (figure-of-eight) in the floor tracks the position of the midday Sun throughout the year. The great architectural symbolist W.R. Lethaby noted in 1891 that 'Even now in some of the French cathedrals-Bourges and Nevers for instance-diagonal lines may be seen right across the floor graduated into a scale of months and days.' The design of sacred buildings, and the grid which underlies those built according to canonical principles, is always directly related to the perceived structure of the world, and its interactions with celestial phenomena. When rays of the Sun are projected onto such a grid, the various portions of it have a specific geometrical relationship to a time of day and the time of year. By these means, a harmonious relationship with the universal order is created.

The cosmologist C.P.S. Menon believed that chequered playing board came from the custom of representing the year-cycle and its subdivisions in a square format. This format survived in European horoscopes until the eighteenth century, and is still used in laying out the figures in divinatory geomancy. The children's game of Fortune Telling, played in Britain to day, involves a paper square folded on the same pattern. Allied symbolism exists in the square cosmographic mosaic pavements of medieval Europe, such as those at Canterbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey in England. These are overt symbols of the structure of the world, with the four directions, elements, and humours laid out in corresponding geometrical patterns and colored stones. Menon argued that the Chess board originated as a symbolic planisphere upon which the motion of the seven planets of traditional astronomy were represented by corresponding pieces located in appropriate correspondences. He speculated that the Knight's move in chess may have originated in the movement of heavenly bodies in their orbits 'round the corner' of the square planisphere.

In books or articles on the history of chess the origin of the game is usually given as India. But it is interesting to observe that only regions along the Silk Road, the trade route for goods and ideas linking China with the Mediterranean world, have been named as possible countries of origin for the game of chess. A number of people have endorsed the idea that the game of chess actually began in China. In his monumental work Science and Civilization in China Joseph Needham of Cambridge, not only gives China as the country of origin for the game, but also gives some very interesting information that has a very close connection with the symbolism in The Tempest.

In the course of delivering some Thoughts on the Origin of Chess, Needham says the game of chess (as we know it) has been associated throughout its development with astronomical symbolism, and this was more overt in related games now long obsolete. According to Needham the battle element of chess developed from a technique of divination designed to determine the balance of ever-contending Yin and Yang forces in the universe. Chinese literature has the "image-chess" (hsiang chhi) developing during the reign of the Emperor Wu of the Northern Chou dynasty (+561 to +578), and the date of the first treatise on the subject is definitely named as +569. The preface by Wang Pao still exists. The pieces on the board in the divination technique represented the sun, moon, planets, stars, constellations, etc. The suggestion is that this "game" passed to +7th-century India, where it generated the recreational game conceived in terms of battling human armies.

The "image-chess" derived in turn from a number of divination techniques which involved the throwing of small models, symbolic of the celestial bodies, on to prepared boards. A dice element as well as a move element was involved, and there were many intermediate forms between pure throwing and placement followed by combat moves. All these go back to China of the Han and pre-Han times, i.e. to the -4th or -3th century, and similar techniques have persisted down to late times in other cultures. On a parallel line of development numbered dice, anciently wide-spread, were on a related line of development which gave rise in +9th-century China to dominoes and playing-cards.

The most significant of the ancient boards was the shih (used from the Warring States period onwards) - a double-decked cosmic diagramm having a square earth-plate surmounted by a rotatable discoidal heaven-plate, both being marked with cyclical and astronomical signs (compass-points, lunar mansions etc.) as well as the symbols of the I Ching (Book of Changes) and other technical terms used only in divination. "Pieces" or symbolic models were employed with this in a variety of different ways, and in the round heaven-plate of the shih we can recognise the lineal ancestor of all compass-dials.

The reason for this is because among the symbolic models used there was one representing the Great Bear (the Northern Dipper), so important in Chinese polar-equatorial astronomy - carved into the shape of a spoon. This replaced the picture of the Great Bear, or Northern Dipper, which previously had been carved on the heaven-plate of the diviner's board. This model spoon was probably first of wood, stone or pottery, but in the +1st century (and possibly already in the -2nd century) the unique properties of lode-stone (magnetite) suggested in China the use of this substance. Since polarity would establish itself along the main axis of a bar of the mineral, whether or not it was removed from the rock in a north-south direction (i.e. in the earth magnetic field), the "south-pointing spoon" was discovered.

During later centuries the frictional drag of the lode-stone spoon on its bronze base-plate was avoided by inserting the piece of lode-stone in a piece of wood with pointed ends which could be floated, or balanced upon an upward-projecting pin. Such methods were used as late as the +13th century. But some time between the +1st and +6th century it was found in China that the directive property of the lode-stone could be transfered to (included in) the small pieces of iron float upon water by suitable devices. The earliest description still extant of such water-compasses, from which all subsequent forms must derive, is the early +11th century. By the +7th or + 8th century the needle was replacing the lode-stone, advantage being taken of the property of induction; on account of the much greater precision with which readings could be taken. By the late Tang period (+8th or +9th century) the declination as well as the polarity of the magnet had been discovered, antedating the European knowledge of the declination by some six centuries. The Chinese were theorizing about the declination before Europe knew even of the polarity, an event which took place at the end of the +12th century.

Thus the ancestor of all dial-and pointer-readings, the greatest single factor in the voyages of discovery, and the oldest instrument of magnetic-electrical science may perhaps be said to have begun as a proto-chess-man used in a divination technique.

According to Needham, the evidence indicated that the recreational game of chess, and the magnetic compass, with all that flowed from it, took their origin at a single point - namely, a group of divination techniques in ancient Chinese proto-science.

A site on the Web called "The Weave" presents a case for the claim that chess is the game of the goddess. According to this site, The original concept for "Goddess Chess" arose out of our participation in a discussion group in December, 1998, exploring the question of whether chess is the Game of the Goddess. Their claim is that for their hypotheses and proofs they explored ancient civilizations (Babylon, Lemuria, China, Sumeria, Egypt, the Hittites, the Mayans, Urartu, the Hykssos, and the Khemetians, among others), as well as etymology, proto-Indo-European language roots, ancient migration patterns, numerology, archaeology, astrology, Sacred Geometry, Magic Squares, and many other topics!

The Game, they say, is not one of war but one of Sensuality, Seduction, Fertility, Procreation, and Love. The pawns are females striving toward the ultimate goal of promotion to Queen and the possibility of union with the King; the Rook or Castle (the castle tower is an ancient symbol of the goddess, worn as a headdress by Ephesian Diana, Tyche, and the Syrian Cybele), is the protector of the width and breadth of the Chessboard, scanning for enemies while his Queen maneuvers toward unification with the other color's King. The Bishop once wore breasts and was the original female element on the chessboard; alas, she lost her breasts in the dim reaches of "History", when the rise of patriarchy gave way to persecution of the Great Mother Goddess and the concept of balance in The Game was subverted into one of war. Some of that original balance was restored to The Game in the late 1400's in Spain, where the Queen was first given sweeping new powers, perhaps a reflection of Spain's own powerful Queen Isabella.

Chess is played on an 8 x 8 grid identical to the board on which Ashtapada was played.

Many race games, such as the group containing Ashtapada and Saturankam followed paths similar to those of traditional labyrinths. In addition, it is worth noting in view of the Mystery symbolism in The Tempest, that many of the ancient Mystery sites were connected with labyrinths. There was a close and direct connection of chess with labyrinths.

Thus we see that, if we delve into the symbolism, The Tempest has a multitude of connections with the game of chess.

My theory is that: in The Tempest Bacon built the dialectic, analytical process of his Discovery Device around the schema of a chess game.

In order to test that theory it is necessary to "map" The Tempest in such a fashion that the patterns, resulting from the operation of the discovery device into The Tempest, can be detected. The first step is a high-level mapping of The Tempest:


The Tempest is composed of five acts and nine scenes:

Act I:

Scene 1: The ship at sea in the tempest

The character that take part in this scene are:: Boatswain, Mariners, Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, and Gonzalo (significantly, although Ferdinand is listed in the stage direction he has no speaking part.) The ship is given up for lost at the end of the scene and all of the passengers leap overboard.

Scene 2: Prospero's cell

The characters that take part in this scene are: Prospero, Miranda, Ariel, Caliban, and Ferdinand.

The scene begins with Prospero talking to his daughter Miranda. Prospero is a magician and was formerly the Duke of Milan. He has created the tempest and used it to make the men on the ship believe that they have wrecked. Instead he has ensured that all survive unharmed. He tells Miranda the background story that resulted in their coming to the desert island 12 years before. Then he places Miranda in a magic sleep and summon and talks to Ariel. After Ariel exits, Prospero awakes Miranda and they go together to talk to Caliban. Prospero send Caliban out to collect fuel and Ferdinand nears appears and has his first meeting with Miranda where they immediately fall in love.

Act II:

Scene 1: Another part of the island

The characters that take part in this scene are: Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, Gonzalo, Adrian and Francisco. They wander disconsolately,convinced that the young Prince is dead. All but Sebastian and Antonio are lulled asleep by Ariel's magic music, but these two remain awake to plot the death of the sleeping king Alonso and the aged counsellor Gonzalo.They might have succeeded in their plot had not the watching spirt Ariel awakened them.

Scene 2: Another part of the island

The characters that take part in this scene are: Caliban, Trinculo, and Stephano. Trinculo the king's jester, reeling drunk, encounters Caliban; they are joined by Stephano, a drunker butler, who so delights the monster Caliban with his "celestial liquor" that he swears to follow him forever.

Act III:

Scene 1: Before Prospero's cell

The characters that take part in this scene are Ferdinand and Miranda. Prospero has subjected Ferdinand to the test of removing some thousands of logs and piling them up. Miranda who is looking on wants to help him, but Ferdinand refuses her help, and says for her sake he will prove himself a patient log-man.

Scene 2: Another part of the island

The characters that take part in this scene are:Stephano, Trinculo and Caliban. They plot at Caliban's instigation to kill Prospero and take over rulership of the island.

Scene 3: Another part of the island

The characters that take part in this scene are: Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, Gonzalo, Adrian, Francisco and Ariel. After wandering about the isle as through a maze, the king's party weary, and hungry and thirsty are show a vision by Ariel at the instigation of Prospero.Several strange shapes enter bringing in a a banquet, but when they attempt to feast, Ariel in the guise of a harpy appears, claps his wings upon the table and all the feast vanishes.

Act IV:

Scene 1: Before Prospero's cell

The characters that take part in this scene are: Ferdinand, Miranda and Prospero. Prospero presents to Prince Ferdinand, who he has released from enchantment, and the lovely Miranda, a prenuptial pageant, enacted by spirits in the guise of Iris, Ceres, Juno and nymphs and reapers who dance. Remembering Caliban's plot, Prospero stops the masque abruptly and orders Ariel to punish the foul conspirators. Ariel does this by tempting them with glittering rainment displayed on a line, and then setting upon them with his fellow spirits in the form of hunting dogs to hunt them about the island.

Act V:

Scene 1

This scene opens before Prospero's cell with Prospero talking to Ariel who tells him he has left the King's party as prisoners in the line grove that weather-fends Prospero's cell. Prospero send Ariel "fetch" them, and they enter with Ariel leading them. Immediately behind Ariels is Alonso attended by Gonzalo; then comes Sebastian and Antonio attended by Adrian and Francisco.They all enter the circle Prospero has made and there stand charmed. Prospero uses music to restore them to their senses and next draws back the curtain to reveal Ferdinand and Miranda playing at chess. Ariel then brings in the ship's master and the Boatswain.Prospero then sends Ariel after Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo, and Ariel returns driving the three in before him. After admonishing them Prospero sends them to "trim" his cell and next invites the king with his train to enter and spend the night in his cell before they sail for Naples the following day.

We are looking for patterns in the play. The most obvious is the following:


all characters from outside
all characters from outside in a tempest
at sea


scene 8

Ferdinand and Miranda playing chess
All characters together enter Prospero's cell

scene 4

Ferdinand & Miranda

scene 1
scene 7

scene 2
scene 6
Alonso Sebastian Antonio
Alonso Sebastian Antonio

scene 3
scene 5
Caliban Stephano Trinculo
Caliban Stephano Trinculo

The pattern here is obvious. If you follow The Tempest in both directions, from the beginning and the end of the play, you have two sets of players (as previously described) that meet in the scene 4 tableau of Ferdinand and Miranda. Ferdinand (one of the three divisions of passengers) is a single person. The second group consists of a variety of pieces displaying different kinds of movement and value. This group is represented by the King's party. The third group consists of pieces which may not move backward and which are of smaller value than those of the second group. They are known as "pawns", and the menial Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo clearly belong to this lower division of pawns.

If the play is followed backward the chess game is very evident. We begin with all the character retrieved from Prospero's cell where they were stored. We next see Ferdinand and Miranda playing at chess. And then we see the two sets of the three divisions. And if the focus is adjusted downward to a slightly lower level further correlations become evident. But the purpose of this part of Bacon-101 was to give a high level mapping of The Tempest. The present article has already gone beyond the length I had anticipated for it.

A low-level mapping will require a great deal of detail, enumerating and tabulating the speeches of the individual characters as correlated with various scenes. In addition this will need to be done both forward and backward through the play. That is beyond the scope and the intention of the present part of this study. However, I would like to make one point in concluding this part. In Bacon's description of his bi-literal cipher in his de Augmentis he has a pattern where the 24 letters of the alphabet are related to the 32 divisions that resulted from permuting the binary design through 5 places. In experiment 846 of the Sylva Sylvarum he has this same design of 24 related to 32. In The Tempest he has the total 24 years of Sycorax and Prospero on the isle related to the 32 directions of the compass. And in the overall structure of the plays, as I have shown in my Secrets of the First Folio, the over structure of the plays in the folio is designed to incorporate this 24 to 32 pattern also.

(as seen in the beginning of the 1623 Shakespeare First Folio this "W" begins the name of William Shakespeare on the list of the names of the principal actors . )

Apparently this is part of Bacon's Janus Design. In classical antiquity, unlike Europe of Bacon's day, instead of the division of the horizon into 16 regions and consequently the overall 32 regions deriving the 32 directions of the compass, the Graeco-Roman culture had a different system. It was still derived from the basic eight-fold division of horizon, but became twenty-fourfold, in accordance with the particular division they used. Therefore the 24 and 32 design is an emblem of the two faces, one looking backward to antiquity, and the other to the future.


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 - Sir Francis Bacon's New Advancement of Learning