Phantasy Friday’s Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel, near Edinburgh, holds many secrets. Linked to Freemasonry, the Knights Templar, legends of “hidden sacred secrets” and even the Quest for the Grail, it draws many thousands of visitors yearly. But one secret has been revealed: the music of the cube carvings. It is one of the most hauntingly beautiful pieces I’ve ever heard.

Rosslyn Chapel    

For better than twenty years Thomas Mitchell was drawn again and again to Rosslyn Chapel. Something about the carved cubes attached to its soaring arches called to him, their patterns triggering a subconscious response .

And well they should. You see, Thomas J. Mitchell was a WWII cryptographer, cracking some of the toughest enemy codes during the war. Yet it wasn’t until he reached 72 that what he’d been looking at blazed clearly in his brain. The carvings on the 600 year old Rosslyn Chapel represent a coded form of a musical score, the father-and-son team of Tommy J. Mitchell, 75, and Stuart Mitchell, 41, say.

In a quoted statement from his website T. Mitchell says: “Rosslyn Chapel holds a musical mystery in its architecture and design. At one end of the chapel, on the ceiling are 4 cross-sections of arches containing elaborate symbolic designs on each array of cubes (in actual fact they are rectangles mostly). The ‘cubes’ are attached to the arches in a musically sequential way. And to confirm this, at the ends of each arch there is an angel playing a musical instrument of a different kind. After 27 years of study and research, we believe he has found pitches and tonality that match the symbols on each cube, revealing its melodic and harmonic progressions.”

 This musical score has been ‘frozen’ in the chapel for 600 years. Inside the chapel, there are 13 angels Tommy Mitchell calls the “orchestra of angels”, which are carved into the chapel’s arches and who appear to be musicians. 213 geometric symbols are also found that resemble sound waves at different pitches. After decoding all the symbols to match the sound waves, they found the song researchers say is part of the “cymatics” music system. The cymatic system is also known as the “Chladni patterns”, which is the study of wave phenomena associated with the physical patterns produced through the interaction of sound waves in a medium.  Ernest Chladni’s 18th century research was later continued by musician and amateur scientist Margaret Watts Hughes, who invented a device called the Eidophone to produce these patterns.

In themselves, the patterns are simply visual representations and thus nothing out of the ordinary: what is amazing is that the Rosslyn cubes were carved 500 years BEFORE the supposed discovery of the technique.

     The Stave Angel        Knights Templar

The Apprentice Pillar

Above are The Stave Angel, The Knights Templar. Right, the Apprentice Pillar.

Long associated with the Templar Knights, several other mysteries are believed hidden in the numerous, intricate carvings. One being the Apprentice Pillar, which is said to be representative of a strand of DNA. Raging curiosity always makes me take things a bit further. Is it just general DNA? Or the DNA of a particular individual?

But we’re a romance blog! So I’ve included one last photo for you to enjoy as you listen to pieces of the Rosslyn Motet, interspersed with a bit of physics for the skeptics–actual images on an Eidophone.  If you’d like to hear the Rosslyn Motet uninterrupted, there are several on the internet and worth the search. I just couldn’t pass up including the technology!

    A Bride of Rosslyn Chapel




10 Responses

  1. The more I read your posts, the more I realize that I’m a closet history fan!
    Okay, here goes: My name is Tammy and I love history. Whew, it feels good to get that off of my chest. Thank you for helping me come out of the closet. 🙂

  2. WONDERFUL! Love this, Runere. You captured an awesome place AND I’m also curious about that DNA!
    Thanks for a great post.

    I HAVE to add- why in the heck did your tags on this page pull up a Victoria’s Secret free panty ad? LOL!

  3. Great post. You know I’m a little spooky challeneged but this one intrigues me! I like it.

    And sfcatty? Why not, everyone deserves some free VS panites!

  4. Great post – I loved reading about the history and mystery!

  5. Oh, I love this! Was just watching a show re The Da Vinci Code and the fact/fiction mixed into it.
    My brother is a big Mason/Shriner and I love to annoy him by spouting off theories about Cathar gold and Rennes Le Chateau etc
    And give me and SFCatty enough wine and we will share our theory about Princess Diana, the Euro, and the Holy Bloodline. (Yes, we are history nerds and proud of it!)
    So visiting Rosslyn is very high on my bucket list.

    • It sounds as if I need to show up with a couple bottles of pinot grigio! lol I LOVE sharing this kind of stuff and would love to hear your theories! My younger brother is a Mason, too, and it freaks him out how closely some of my practices paralel his. Keep tellling him “Common ground, little brother, common historical ground! Wanna hear what I do for Winter Solstice?” He just runs off waving his arms over his head in total denial. It is rather eery though, even to me, but I’ll never admit it to him!

  6. Oh Lois, love it.. I’m going back to reread it.. lol.. sorry I’m late on getting here.

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