After going slightly insane discovering connections between Tom Swift, Paul Hazelton, Caspar the Art Oracle, The Shell Grotto and an ancient religious cult, I came across this text typed up and stuck in a scrapbook. It’s obviously a more recent transcription of an older document, although I can’t find the original on the internet.
“Nunquam aliud Natura, aliud Sapientia, dicit.”—Juvenal xiv. 321
The Mystical Sciences, followed out to their fullest extent, are of the noblest subjects to which human minds can give themselves. Beyond the measure, rule, balance and compass, and past the line of the pencil: these are the sciences of the mind, more than the mere observations of the eye.
There is a particular and refined beauty and majesty in the Mystical Sciences when applied to the constructions of man, which pleases certain prejudices and preconceptions of the eye, and inspires and informs such trains of meditation in the mind as to show the true beauty of nature. The peculiarity of the Mystical Sciences applied to the Poetry of Architecture which will be found most interesting is that they trace the distinctive characteristics of the nations of the world.
The ancient Shell Temple at Margate is one such construction, and it is clearly the work of refined architects who understand the sacred geometries and the mathematics of the planets, as it aligns once yearly with certain astral configurations – but the Mystical Sciences behind the edifice are considered by many to be long lost, belonging to some ancient configuration of religions and beliefs. The general public, and I say it with sorrow born from observation, have little to do with the encouragement or consideration of purpose, and substitute spectacle for beauty and understanding.
If such members of the public as make their way to the Shell Temple were to study the measure of the arch, the circle and the serpentine passage they would trace the distinctive patterns of the Poetry of Architecture found in antiquity of the Ancient Romano temples, with an adaptation to the situation and climate in which it has been constructed, betraying that the prevailing turn of mind at the time of such construction was towards the worship of the Sacra Anatis. The intricacies of the construction and the peculiarity of the shells turned inwards to provide particular acoustical properties are found only in temples to this arcane and ancient belief (which considers that the noise of Sacra Anatis is unheard by the Oread Echo), which is known to have spread from great minds of the Oriental scholars to the Mediterranean and the ancient Roman philosophers, hence arriving in Briton on the Island of Thanet.
This temple once stood on the banks for a river, and the flow of the river would be part of the proportioned whole: The Shell Temple must not be seen all at once; and he who reaches one end should feel that, as he can arrive at no conclusion other than he has been on a sacred journey, he is now impressed with a feeling of a universal energy, pervading with its beauty all life and all inanimation.
While the belief in Sacra Anatis is at deliciously low ebb in Great Britain today, the arrival of the Italian brethren into our expanding cities, to provide such excellent skills as brickmaking and fine work in our manufactories, may yet see a return of this belief. And what is the consequence? The return of Sacra Anatis, at a time of revolutionary change and given the fullest considerations of the industrial mind, driven by steam, the manufactories and the advance of mass production with aesthetic consideration, and the iron rail and steamship to spread such understanding across the Mother Country and the Empire, should yet be wondered at.
JR, Margate, January 1874