"Impressive," her brother
replied. "Einstein, Bohr, and Hawking are modern geniuses. But are you
reading anything older?"
Katherine scratched her head. "You mean like . . . Newton?"
He smiled. "Keep going." At twenty-seven, Peter had already made a
name for himself in the academic world, and he and Katherine had grown
to savor this kind of playful intellectual sparring.
Older than Newton? Katherine's head now filled with distant
names like Ptolemy, Pythagoras, and Hermes Trismegistus. Nobody
reads that stuff anymore.
Her brother ran a finger down the long shelf of cracked leather
bindings and old dusty tomes. "The scientific wisdom of the ancients
was staggering... modern physics ,s only now beginning to
comprehend it all."
"Peter," she said, "you already told me that the Egyptians understood
levers and pulleys long before Newton, and that the early alchemists
did work on a par with modern chemistry, but so what? Today's physics
deals with concepts that would have been unimaginable to the
"Well... like entanglement theory, for one!" Subatomic research
had now proven categorically that all matter was interconnected...
entangled in a single unified mesh... a kind of universal oneness.
"You're telling me the ancients sat around discussing entanglement
"Absolutely!" Peter said, pushing his long, dark bangs out of his
eyes. "Entanglement was at the core of primeval beliefs. Its names are
as old as history itself... Dharmakaya, Tao, Brahman. In fact, man's
oldest spiritual quest was to percieve his own entanglement, to sense
his own interconnection with all things. He has always wanted to
become 'one' with the universe... to achieve the state of
'at-one-ment.'" Her brother raised his eyebrows. "To this day, Jews
and Christians still strive for 'atonement'... although most of us
have forgotten it is actually 'at-one-ment' we're seeking."
Katherine sighed, having forgotten how hard it was to argue with a man
so well versed in history. "Okay, but you're talking in generalities.
I'm talking specific physics."
"Then be specific." His keen eyes challenged her now.
about something as simple as polarity - the positive/negative
balance of the subatomic realm. Obviously, the ancients didn't
"Hold on!" Her brother pulled down a large dusty text, which he
dropped loudly on the library table. "Modern polarity is nothing but
the 'dual world' described by Krishna here in the Bhagavad Gita over
two thousand years ago. A dozen other books in here, including the
Kybalion, talk about binary systems and the opposing forces in
Katherine was skeptical. "Okay but if we talk about modern discoveries
in subatomics - the Heisenberg uncertainity principle, for
"Then we must look here," Peter said, striding down his long bookshelf
and pulling out another text. "The sacred Hindu Vendantic scriptures
known as the Upanishads." He dropped the tome heavily on the first.
"Heisenberg and Schrödinger studied this text and credited it
with helping them formulate some of their theories."
The showdown continued for several minutes, and the stack of dusty
books on the desk grew taller and taller. Finally Katherine threw up
her hands in frustration. "Okay! You made your point, but I want to
study cutting-edge theoretical physics. The future of science!
I really doubt Krishna or Vsaya had much to say about superstring
theory and multidimensional cosmological models."
"You're right. They didn't." Her brother paused, a smile crossing his
lips. "If you're talking superstring theory..." He wandered over to
the bookshelf yet again. "Then you're talking this book here."
He heaved out a colossal leather-bound book and dropped it with a
crash onto the desk. "Thirteenth-century translation of the original
"Superstring theory in the thirteenth century?!" Katherine wasn't
buying it. "Come on!"
Superstring theory was a brand-new cosmological model. Based on the
most recent scientific observations, it suggested the multidimensional
universe was made up not of three... but rather ten
dimensions, which all interacted like vibrating strings, similar to
resonating violin strings.
Katherine waited as her brother heaved open the book, ran through the
ornately printed table of contents, and then flipped to a spot near
the beginning of the book. "Read this." He pointed to a faded page of
text and diagrams.
Dutifully, Katherine studied the page. The translation was
old-fashioned and very hard to read, but to her utter amazement, the
text and drawings clearly outlined the exact same universe
heralded by modern superstring theory - a ten-dimensional universe of
resonating strings. As she continued reading, she suddenly gasped and
recoiled. "My God, it even describes how six of the dimensions are
entangled and act as one?!" She took a frightened step backward. "What
is this book?!"
Her brother grinned. "Something I'm hoping you'll read one day." He
flipped it back to the title page, where an ornately printed plate
bore three words.
The Complete Zohar.
Although Katherine had never read the Zohar, she knew it was the
fundemental text of early Jewish mysticism, once believed so potent
that it was reserved only for the most erudite rabbis.
Katherine eyed the book. "You're saying the early mystics knew
their universe had ten dimensions?"
"Absolutely." He motioned to the page's illustration of ten
intertwined circles called Sephiroth. "Obviously, the nomenclature is
esoteric, but the physics is very advanced."
Katherine didn't know how to responde. "But... then why don't more
people study this?"
Her brother smiled. "They will."
"I don't understand."
"Katherine, we have been born into wonderful times. A change is
coming. Human beings are poised on the threshold of a new age when
they will begin turning their eyes back to nature and the old ways...
back to the ideas in books like Zohar and other ancient texts from
around the world. Powerful truth has its own gravity and eventually
pulls people back to it. There will come a day when modern science
begins in earnest to study the wisdom of the ancients... that will be
the day that mankind begins to find answers to the big questions that
still elude him."
That night, Katherine eagerly began reading her brother's ancient
texts and quickly came to understand that he was right. The
ancients possessed profound scientific wisdom. Today's science was
not so much making "discoveries" as it was making "rediscoveries."
Mankind, it seemed, had once grasped the true nature of the
universe... but had let go... and forgotten.
Modern physics can help us remember! This quest had become Katherine's
mission in life - to use advanced science to rediscover the lost
wisdom of the ancients.
"Clearly. And much, much more. There are symbols all over this room
that reflect a beleif in the Ancient Mysteries."
"Secret wisdom," Sato said with more than a hint of sarcasm in her
voice. "Knowledge that lets men acquire godlike powers?"
"That hardly fits with the Christian underpinnings of this country."
"So it would seem, but it's true. The transformation of man into God
is called apotheosis. Whether or not you're aware of it, this
theme -transforming man into god- is the core element in this
"The word apotheosis literally means 'divine transformation' -
that of man becoming God. It's from the ancient Greek: apo- 'to
become', theos- 'god'."
Anderson looked amazed. "Apotheosis means 'to become God'? I had no
"What am I missing?" Sato demanded.
"Ma'am," Langdon said, "the largest painting in this building is
called The Apotheosis of Washington. And it clearly depicts George
Washington being transformed into a god."
Sato looked doubtful. "I've never seen anything of the sort."
"Actually, I'm sure you have." Langdon raised his index finger,
pointing straight up. "It's directly over your head."
The Apotheosis of Washington -a 4,664-square-foot fresco that covers
the canopy of the Capitol Rotunda- was completed in 1865 by
Known as "The Michelangelo of the Capitol," Brumidi had laid claim to
the Capitol Rotunda in the same way Michelangelo had laid claim to the
Sistine Chapel, by painting a fresco on the room's most lofty
canvas-the ceiling. Like Michelangelo, Brumidi had done some of his
finest work inside the Vatican. Brumidi, however, immigrated to
America in 1852, abondoning God's largest shrine in favor of a new
shrine, the U.S. Capitol, which now glistened with examples of his
mastery-from the trompe l'oeil of the Brumidi Corridors to the frieze
ceiling of the Vice President's Room. And yet it was the enormous
image hovering above the Capitol Rotunda that most historians
considered to be Brumidi's masterwork.
Robert Langdon gazed up at the massive fresco that covered the
ceiling. He usually enjoyed his students' startled reactions to this
fresco's bizarre imagery, but at the moment he simply felt trapped in
a nightmare he had yet to understand.
Daemonum... Lemegeton... Ars Almadel... Grimorium Verum... Ars
Notoria... and on and on. He read them all, becoming more and more
certain that the world still had many treasures yet to offer him.
There are secrets out there that transcend human understanding.
Then he discovered the writings of Aleister Crowley-a
visionarymystic from the early 1900s-whom the church had deemed "the
most evil man who ever lived." Great minds are always feared by
lesser minds. Andros learned about the power of ritual and
incantation. He learned that sacred words, if properly spoken,
functioned like keys that opened gateways to other worlds. There is
a shadow universe beyond this one... a world from which I can draw
power. And although Andros longed to harness that power, he knew
there were rules and tasks to be completed beforehand.
Become something holy, Crowley wrote. Make yourself sacred.
The ancient rite of "sacred making" had once been the law of the land.
From the early Hebrews who made burnt offerings at the Temple, to the
Mayans who beheaded humans atop the pyramids of Chichén Itza, to Jesus
Christ, who offered his body on the cross, the ancients understood
God's requirement for sacrifice. Sacrifice was the original
ritual by which humans drew favor from the gods and made themselves
Even though the rite of sacrifice had been abandoned eons ago, its
power remained. There had been a handful of modern mystics, including
Aleister Crowley, who practiced the Art, perfecting it over time, and
transforming themselves gradually into smething more. Andros craved to
transform himself as they had. And yet he knew he would have to cross
a dangerousbridge to do so.
Blood is all that seperates the light from the dark.
What is my destiny? All the ancient texts spoke of good and
evil... and man's need to choose between them. I made my choice
long ago, he knew, and yet he felt no remmorse. What is evil,
if not a natural law? Darkness followed light. Chaos followed
order. Entropy was fundamental. Everything decayed. The perfectly
ordered crystal eventually turned into random particles of dust.
There are those who create... and those who destroy.
On the first landing, Langdon came face-to-face with a bronze bust of
Masonic luminary Albert Pike, along with the engraving of his most
famous quote: WHAT WE HAVE DONE FOR OURSELVES ALONE DIES WITH US;WHAT
WE HAVE DONE FOR OTHERS AND THE WORLD REMAINS AND IS IMMORTAL.