Reviewed by Joseph Caezza Back to publishers page. BREAKING THROUGH, by Andre Vandenbroeck.
City Lights, 261 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA94133, 1996, 375pp, $15.95.
Here is a literary masterpiece hewn out from the Hermetic quarry and its deeper vein of the alchemical forge and crucible, a mother load in the vast mine of collective imagination. It speaks with the most ingenious articulation and adept authority on mankind's origin and ultimate destiny. Such an accomplishment emerges only after a lifetime of philosophical inquiry, mystic contemplation and experiential gnosis.
This epic novel traces the quest of an Italian photographer for the exalted consciousness of the caveman. Piero Tallini, freshly returned to his Parisian home after a highly acclaimed chronicle on the Holy Men of India experiences an incursion of the transcendent in the form of an invitation to Cro-Magnon consciousness, the original mind where "everything speaks" and reality is known directly. He sets off for Spain amidst excruciating introspection to pursue his next project based on recent archeological discoveries, about the spiritual vision of stone age cave dwellers. Awaiting him there is an encounter with the Philosopher's Stone explicated in its, most pristine form as ultimate Self Knowledge.
The author Andre Vandenbroeck and his wife Goldian, an accomplished author in her own right, are both elite members of an emerging category of authority appropriately understood as planetary tribal elders. Both studied directly with R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz, unarguably one of the greatest Hermetic adepts of our age. Their impeccable translations of his major works, SACRED SCIENCE and EGYPTIAN MIRACLE constitute an invaluable contribution to Western esoteric tradition. They are also veterans of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondichary, India and now maintain a reclusive hermitage in the midst of a vast forest in upstate New York.
Vandenbroeck's recent work, AL-KEMI A MEMOIR: HERMETIC, OCCULT, POLITICAL AND PRIVATE ASPECTS OF R. A. SCHWALLER DE LUBICZ , blew the lid off the clandestine collaboration between Schwaller and the infamous alchemist, Fulcanelli. Fulcanelli's highly acclaimed work, THE MYSTERY OF THE CATHEDRALS, explained the Gothic temples as textbooks of alchemy written in stone but this insight was stolen outright from Schwaller. Such an allegation appears highly credible considering Schwaller's later work on the architectural symbolism of the Egyptian temple at Luxor.
The appearance of Vandenbroeck's "BREAKING THROUGH" coincides with the long awaited release of the English translation of Schwaller's magnum opus, THE TEMPLE OF MAN, the result of 15 years of on-site study at the Luxor Temple that exposes Egypt's deepest esoteric wisdom. The release of Schwaller's masterpiece has been hailed as the publishing event of the decade. It is a dense and demanding study of number, harmony and geometry that serve the supporting metaphysical foundations of ancient temple design. Yet these same dry insights resonate throughout Vandenbroeck's novel, BREAKING THROUGH, in a wholly vital dialectical format. To read it is to share intimately in the rupture of the imminent and the rapture of the transcendent.
Too many reviewers have already described this as a work of literary alchemy possibly detracting from the highest philosophy to which it aspires. The author shows us how the raw Paleolithic experience of stone reveals the common underlying substratum of consciousness called variously; Brahman, Tao or Logos. The emphatic insistence on harkening to the call of Self Knowledge reverberates from every page. It raises this story high above the stinking mire of contemporary occult fiction.
The fabulous collage illustrating the book cover designed by Vandenbroeck's wife, Goldian, reveals an esoteric challenge at least as deep as the text. Details of image and color bestow concrete reality to the abstract ideas and enigmatic characters embodied in this narrative. Here is the whole story presented with the symbolic grace of an Egyptian Hieroglyph.
Certainly the most distinctive feature of this novel is its radical uniqueness. The power of the written word is pushed far beyond its ordinary limit. It's function as a vehicle to illuminated Knowledge shines in a performance that elevates the reader beyond the confines of the ordinary mind.