CESNUR - center for studies on new religions


June 17-20, 2004 - Baylor University, Waco, Texas

The Use of Violence in Religion and Spirituality. A comparison between Dogville and The Alchemical Wedding of Christian Rosycross

by Sébastien Gregov
A paper presented at CESNUR 2004 international conference, Baylor University, Waco (Texas), June 18-20, 2004. Preliminary version. Do not reproduce or quote without the consent of the author.

Why am I a Rosycross?
This question is born from sorrow and a great despair. It is not the result of a reasonable cold-blooded choice. This question sprang from my deepest soul; it is born from blood and tears. It is awareness after many years of fight.
Jan Van Rijckenborgh, speech made clandestinely in Haarlem- the Netherlands (1940-1945)[1]


The question we want to discuss here is if violence and its use could be distinctive criteria to mark a boundary between religion and spirituality. Indeed, maybe the relative new rising of cults is based only on this search for the sense of spirituality.
Our approach is a comparative one. A confrontation between two far-off pieces of art, a top modern movie and a four hundred years old writing (masterpiece in the founding literature of the classical Rosycross), which normally have nothing to do neither with each other nor perhaps with the goals or interests of the CESNUR-members.
Is there religion in Dogville? We just hear about a mission house with no appointed priest. Is there a trace of spirituality in the masterpiece in the founding literature of the classical Rosycross: the Alchemical Wedding of Christian Rosycross, anno 1459 (written in 1616), when the book is supposed to be just a joke, a farce, or a “ludibrium”, as the presumed author himself, John Valentine Andreae, pointed out? But it is funny to notice that the anagram of Dogville is Godville, and so it can remind us to Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett, whereby the mysterious non-coming visitor might be God. So, as a character says in Beckett’s play: “All of us are born silly. Some of us remain so.”


It’s time to present our method of work, a particular way of interpreting texts or movies in search for spirituality… in a Gnostic way.

 For the purpose of stating precisely the role of violence in some NRMs, we ought to remember this very crucial detail by studying cults and society: every religious or sociological study takes (whether consciously or not) the example of religion(s) as its starting point, i.e. cases where violence is nearly omnipresent from the historical point of view. Now as far as Dogville by Lars von Trier (2003) is concerned, it is interesting to see how meaningful violence is, in present-day American movies reflecting on it as such. The trauma of Columbine (see Bowling for Columbine by Michael Moore or the recently primed film in Cannes Elephant by Gus Van Sant) is a good example.

In short, what does the movie deal with?

The beautiful fugitive Grace finds refuge in a very isolated town called Dogville, where inhabitants, with some encouragement from Tom, the self-appointed town spokesman, agree to hide her (from the police, as well as the team of gangsters from which she is on the run). In return, Grace should work for the little community.
However, when a search sets in, the people of Dogville demand a better deal in exchange for the risk of harbouring poor Grace. But this soon allows them to ask for “hidden extras”. They even abuse the woman, in, in fact, a very sadistic way. And she learns the hard way that in this town, goodness is relative.[2]
But she never complains or rebels, she only endures the public violence, until the man searching for her comes in the small town (she is obviously given away by her lover, the philosopher of Dogville, after a last terrific humiliation: the township lets her believe, she could escape the town on her own, but in fact, only her last money is stolen from her, and then she is driven back to her starting point in order to be given to the one making the best offer for her head.
ery end of the movie, it becomes clear that she is actually escaping her destiny because she didn’t want to become like her father – a killer - and to succeed him at the head of the crime syndicate; then he manages to convince her that she should take over from him; she says OK and orders then tit-for-tat killings.
The whole township will be burnt; all its inhabitants are killed in advance. She personally kills the philosopher, her lover, the only one who did not touch her among Dogville’s men! But his “moral” violence is maybe the most insidious; he tries to manipulate her and the township, because he hopes to be a new guide for mankind. In short, he wants to be a kind of spiritual father, to create the new religion of mankind. A NRM, indeed! But he fails.

Now we must analyse the reasons for this dramatic failure which wipes the whole town off map.
In other words, how religion is building itself, and with which great powers it makes the dream real in all human beings… And why the dream becomes a nightmare…
The movie indeed illustrates some of the preliminary notions of every Gnostic teaching.

The Gnostic teaching is dualistic and states that the world we all know is dialectic, i.e. things change non-stop, and nothing remains but is always changing itself into the opposite: light into darkness, day into night, love into hate, and life into death… Searching for the status quo is nonsense.
But there is another reality, the Statics, (the reverse universe of the Dialectics) where things or beings are eternal. This is God’s kingdom.
Now Dogville appears like a representative sample of the (fallen) world: a cross-section of all human beings: white and black, young and old, fit and sick, working and unemployed, rich and poor. And if there is a mission house in the town, no priest is appointed!
First of all the inhabitants are representative for the fallen sinful mankind; the human nature is corrupted (everybody thinks of money, sex, power), man is violent and aggressive (firstly Chuck’s son (who is supposed to be very close to the pure state of nature – as a child! – tries to blackmail Grace, and secondly Chuck, who assaults her), in a word: man is nothing but egoistic. But Grace considers them all as “good people”.

This is what makes all human beings equal: this yearning is within all, is universal. Jan Van Rijckenborgh, a Dutch contemporary esoteric author, describes a fivefold path which drives back to this Promised Land, as like as a path drove the old Semites from the captivity in Egypt to the New Jerusalem[3]. Egypt can link up with Dogville or the hell. In Jan Van Rijckenborgh’s book, it means the condition of life of someone who is conscious to be imprisoned, oppressed, who protests and wants to escape this oppression (in this case, the oppressor is Grace’s father, the gangster Mulligan): this is Grace’s state of being at the real beginning of the film. But to say it clearly: it is also a “state of grace”! No other situation would lead someone to leave his state of being for another, if it was not hellish!
Nevertheless there are many pitfalls ahead until one escapes this dangerous area, as the movie shows. The worst stumbling block is the thinking that you can make better the individual or collective conditions of life as well as the external situation of imprisonment. And two complementary attitudes of life are born under such situation: the attitude of Tom and the attitude of Grace.















 On The one hand, the occult type tries to make better the individual conditions of life; on the other hand the ethic human being attempts to make better the collective situation.[4] As a philosopher, Tom organises evening meetings in the mission house (actually, the meetings are therefore serving as church services!), where he encourages everybody to think for himself. And let us point out too that he is a son of a doctor. Philosophy is here to be regarded as the medicine’s daughter, a kind of soul medicine. And Grace works with love for everyone, for the blind old man as well as for the paralysed child. And she really wants anyone lucky.







In the romantic scene on a bank, when Tom tries to declare his love to Grace, he does not succeed because he wants to command his feelings. So he will be the only one who does not abuse Grace, but he will be in the same time horribly frustrated and will commit something that cannot be undone: he calls Mulligan on the rebound and brings about Dogville’s downfall.





In a conclusion, both types, when they are acting separately, only reach deadlock. And with both of them a religion is born, that is namely the way how religion comes into existence. Jan Van Rijckenborgh writes[6]: “If we try to obtain something with the strength of the I, we automatically use our will-power, thought-power and strength of desire. If we pursue with our I, whatever it may be, the entire apparatus of the dialectical personality is brought into action. Our I not only desires, but it also suggests the project, and this project is also willed. (…) In countless cases it is a half-occult process and the result is a negative state of affairs [= Tom’s strategy].
Naturally the well-known “forced non-willing”, the much desired denial of the process of the will, has the same consequences. People who are victims of negative occult overshadowing are usually very much afraid of it. They often apply a conscious non-willing as a defence, but this does not produce the least positive result, but a contrary result [= Grace’s strategy]. The beginning of I-lessness must always be found in the third faculty of the consciousness, the faculty of neutralization and negation, the faculty of becoming disinterested in the things of this world.”[7]

We saw how religion can be brought into existence. Now why does the dream become a nightmare? Because religious people (they are the one who react to the yearning for salvation within themselves on the horizontal level) do not face the fact that nature cannot be compensated for culture. It is not only impossible, but precisely trying to do so causes the opposite: Barbary. The inhabitants of the township are not especially good, but they do not yearn for perfection. Grace does. Tom does too. That is why they free the devil, firstly within the inhabitants, then within themselves. Tom is inactive (lost in his thoughts and abstractions), he is supposed to write books, maybe the book of his life, but in fact, his thoughts prevent him from acting properly: he is unable to contain the evil which he has set free himself; he was inactive, now he is powerless and nearly impotent.
But if the inhabitants are now like dogs or animals, she is much more dangerous, she is monstrously cruel and in the film, they bind her to a heavy cart wheel and she carries a dog collar with a small bell: she looks like a jester, indeed, she is fool to deny her own human nature, as if she could settle God’s Kingdom on earth. But this is the supreme delusion of religiosity.

To enter the second phase, she needs to escape, to break down all connections to the past. This is the phase of the Exodus, also called the desert… But she must clearly see that it is out of the question that her longing to make this nature static can ever succeed. But one more time she should not understand it in a religious sense! “Obey the law or violence will be done unto you”. Van Rijckenborgh comments: “You know this saying. That now is religious duty. Obedience: then the wheel of life turns smoothly, without too many difficulties; if not, the rotations of the wheel will inexorably make you experience bondage by severance and violence in a real course of sorrow. (…) Who can blame a person for being religious in this way? Yet we add in the same breath that such religiosity is nothing more than obedience due to fright and fear. Therefore, this religion is without any love, it is very selfish, hard and cold. (…) You know the childlike bustle of the prayer-meeting when there are difficulties and the thanksgiving service when all is well. This is the religiosity of ordinary, stone-hard nature.”[8]

But he adds further: “Such religiosity is perfectly understandable. What else can one do on the horizontal level? But deeper reflection in the light of the Gnostic path makes us see clearly that this cannot, after all, be the sense of life. A co-ordination of conditions, of the utmost miserable conditions in prison cannot be the sense of life.”[9]
Even he says then: “All of us, without exception, in our course through ordinary life, are completely religious in such a sense that we must submit to the law.”[10]

But Grace will escape either the township not her father.
Firstly: because she got all animals in Dogville excited. All the dogs are now running after her. Naturally, they are some parts of her: all sorrow of which she bore the weight and which she repressed, to sum up: all the ghosts of her past. After having adulated her like a goddess, they burn her effigy, celebrate her auto-da-fé: in virtue of dialectics, the forces which she has liberated rebound on her, passion turns into hate, and luck becomes sadness: rising, shining, fading is the way of all things in dialectics.
Secondly: because her worst enemy must be defeated. In the Gnostic teaching, he is called the aural being. In short all what the previous lives printed in the memory of one’s subconscious.

All thinking-, willing-, feeling- and desiring activities of fallen man, even the so-called good activities, call into existence aeons, that is unholy powers of nature, which dominate man and keep him prisoner on his fettered course in the nature of death. On the individual level, these forces are considered in esoteric writings as the aural being. In the movie, they are represented by the gangsters. Their chief is a killer, a mobster and a trickster. He killed many times the new soul who was arising in the I-personality, because then he would have to disappear. So he tried to kill the own daughter too.
His argument is always the same: Grace is too arrogant[11]. But only a force different from the ordinary nature can escape this order of nature, not a force from the ordinary nature. But if Grace now gives up, she becomes on her turn a murder; she is killing the new rising soul, and takes over from her father. If the heart is hardened, the head cannot hear the voice of the Gnosis anymore, so Grace kills then Tom without the slightest compunction.

When heart and head are divided, the consciousness is bypassed, so that Grace can become a monster, the spitting image of her father. Yes, that is him all over. She definitely wastes another possibility for the soul to rebirth.
And of course, violence increases. “The outcome of such resistance - and how can it be otherwise - is always violence, electromagnetic oppression and an appalling misery, which all of us have experienced from time to time. This represents dialectics full of wickedness and woe.”[12]

This is a bit of a lesson what a Gnostic text or film interpretation can be.
Figures are mainly characters bearing a group identity with universal value. Some of them can even bear many significations in turn.
Grace is sometimes the new rising soul trying to escape this order of nature (Jan Van Rijckenborgh calls it bluntly “nature of death”); sometimes she is only the female aspect of the personality who needs the male aspect (Tom) to go forwards; and sometimes she is Judas, the voice in man which sentences Jesus to death, the rising soul, by hardening the heart and smothering the reason (killing Tom at the end, and thereby refusing to forgive, which is the only reasonable solution for her)
When she refuses to forgive, she turns on her heel and walk away from the spiritual path. She does not cross the Rubicon, which is the same as the Jordan in the New Testament – and that is already the third stage on the spiritual path: crossing the Jordan: she does not free herself from the passion of blood. And her blood cries for vengeance.

Concluding remarks to the first part
Right now we can risk an interpretation for the fact that the main street in Dogville has been baptised “Elm street”, although there have never been any elms in the street: elm is a kind of anagram: in French, you can write it: “elle aime”= “she loves”. In a conclusion, she has never loved people, because she has been only busy with herself and too condescending to share with Dogville’s residents their too fallible human condition. It was only mystic love, detached from any earthly conditions, but as a matter of fact unreal: a blind belief in the own superiority. In a word and maybe paradoxically: religiosity!
Besides the non existing elms in Dogville, the special circumstance that may have given its title to the film is the name of the dog: Moses. It might be an indication that the film illustrates the law of the Old Testament: “lex talionis”. Grace demands at the end an eye for an eye, but she pardons the dog, what the voice-over (someone provides for the pictures at the beginning of each chapter) calls a miracle: Moses survives[13]. But it means in fact that the old spirit of vengeance and reprisals is still alive: nothing changed ever after![14]


Of course, we can analyse now the book of John Valentine Andreae in a similar way, finding another signification for violence. The movie emphasises the descending spiral of violence; there can be an ascending spiral of violence too, a kind of rising movement of the soul which goes from below upwards towards its real destiny… This is, this time, what the book by Johann Valentine Andreae deals with.

Let us come back to the basic prolegomena, as indicated at the beginning of the first part. Exactly the same method will be employed here. Let us therefore consider the whole story of the Alchemical Wedding as a “psycho-geographical” “mindscape”[15]: what occurs to Christian Rosycross (or C.R.C.) is in fact what each candidate on a spiritual path must live or endure! He is just a prototype (like Jesus in the Gospels)
And all figures, characters and motifs are parts of him; each one is an aspect of his psychology, a moment in his soul-life.

In short, what does now the book deal with?

  • The castle of the Alchemical Wedding: a “psycho-geographical mindscape” (J.J. Wunenberger / E. Morin)

An 81 years old eremite is invited the day before Easter to the royal wedding and starts an initiatory journey of seven days (Day One). After all sorts of incidents, he arrives at least in the castle. All the guests are welcome (Day two), but they must submit themselves the day after to a selection. Despite not being allowed, some people came in, so many among them or those who are not ready to continue are banished from the castle in a more or less violent manner: some are even executed, others flagellated, a few only are scolded for their impudence and dismissed (third Day).
The few remaining candidates can visit the castle and are treated then like guests of honour (until they must accomplish their alchemical duty: the renewal of the royal couple before it gets married). On the fourth day, they are present at a comedy played for the king and they have to swear allegiance to him. Finally six royal persons are solemnly beheaded, but C.R.C. is the only one who sees how the coffins are taken away by boat to the isle of Olympus in the middle of the night. On the fifth day, he drops in unexpectedly on Venus who is asleep in her tomb and he is caught in the act by Cupid, Venus’ son. After the burial, the nine alchemists go to the isle of Olympus in order to resuscitate the cadavers. They fulfil the alchemical mission all together on the seven floors of a tower, nevertheless C.R.C. and few other guys are expulsed. Instead of being punished, they can really fulfil the regeneration process of the king and his wife on the eighth and last floor.
The following morning they come back to the castle and are all dubbed knights of the Golden Stone. But one more time, C.R.C. is very disappointed to find out that he is tried for his crime (on D 5) to replace the keeper for life. Instead of this, the morning after (Day 8)… – but the two following pages had got lost (sic!) – … He has gone home. So takes the story an abrupt end without further explanations.[16]

  • When Grace stops, C.R.C. goes on; Dogville ends and Godville begins

But what we notice is that violence plays different roles, yes, violence undergoes changes, the further the candidate advanced on the path: in the first phase, violence purifies and protects the sacred field from intruders and not enough prepared visitors; then it can be very destructive and hard; the stage after, violence helps to purify the candidate himself, it is a guarantee of initiation. It takes care of the candidate. Master word is for him obedience, humility; and in the third stage, on the contrary, there is a praise of transgression: it is the turn of the candidate to do violence to the rules and laws: it is exactly the opposite position than the further one. This is the transition from religiosity to spirituality. In the fifth stage, violence is normally ruled out, abolished.

  • A threefold use of violence

In the Alchemical Wedding, a weighing machine is installed on the second day to weight the moral strength of the visitors: who gets on the scale must not be found too light, or he is ejected in the air. The day after the verdict is brought in. This is the protection of the sacred: or as it is said in the Bible, separate the wheat from the chaff[17]. C.R.C reacts slightly amazingly, when he says: “Such execution [death] really brought tears to my eyes: not because of the punishment which was justified by their crimes, but for I saw how blind mankind is, so that one perseveres in his crimes on which the first fall has already put the seals.”[18]
The candidate can now purify himself. Violence becomes more symbolic, but remains still edifying. After the weighting, C.R.C. stays in the garden, and a white unicorn appears and drinks water at a fountain… A lion was standing still on the fountain. He broke the sword he had in its claws and a white dove brought him an olive branch which he swallowed down immediately before he quieted down. Bernard Gorceix proposes an alchemical interpretation of this allegoric scene: the unicorn is the sulphur, a female element, and the lion the mercury, a male element. The conjunction of both (fiancée and fiancé) symbolizes the philosophical marriage; that is why the lion gives up using brute force (he breaks the sword) and he falls in love with the female principle and is at once peaceful (after he ate the olive branch).
And love is precisely what Grace lacked in Dogville. Love is the condition to enter the way of inner initiation. And love is evidence that is beyond any control of the aural being. The second use of violence in the Alchemical Wedding follows the thoughtful task to free the personality from the jaws of the aural being. For the purpose, we will sometimes call it the superego too[19]. Of course the aural being is not only negative. Jan Van Rijckenborgh explains that it also contributes to maintain the personality alive. After death, only the deepest nucleus of the consciousness, the spiritual flash or dialectical spark, is temporally reaccepted in the aural being and forms the basis of consciousness for the new personality, which is built up by the aural being in cooperation with the powers at work within the mother. Now “what in this world is meant by “man” is but the maimed personality of a degenerated microcosm [i.e. real man, a very complex spherical life-system as planned from the beginning of the divine creation]. (…) [The aural being] represents the sum total of powers and values that are the result of the lives of the diverse personalities in the manifestation-field [= communication-field between the aural being and the personality inside the microcosm].”[20]

  • A threefold alchemical process

Therefore, a change of being of the personality must be preceded by a change of being of the aural being, and the latter is possible only by the self-sacrifice of the I-being, the total self-demolition. To say it in an alchemical vocabulary, it is the nigredo: all lights in the manifestation field must be blown out. “These lights are magnetic foci which, according to their character, define the quality of the magnetic spiritual field, that is, define the nature of the powers and materials that are attracted out of the atmosphere and incorporated into our microcosmic system and so also into the personality.”[21] Here begins spirituality: it is the way leading from the knowledge of the superficial network (see diagram 1) to the knowledge of the microcosmic dimension of man (diagram 3). But you can reach it only if you break through the second network – the superego (diagram 2).

Christian Rosycross is tonsured by main force at the door; he must take off his old clothes; in a dream, he is injured at the head, while he was escaping out of a shaft; in brief, his old manners (of thinking, doing …) are now obsolete. For the same reason, he is always the laughing stock of the court. Yes, ha has to obey and learn the hard way what humility is.

  • Step into spirituality

The next experience, or rubedo, is much more significant, but in the same time, much more difficult to understand. Two rather distinct readings of the book are here in competition with each other.
The current reading assumes that Christian failed. He is fired because he scorned the royal authority and committed an offence: he saw Venus naked. So the court dismissed this “political troublemaker” and took him his next job as a guard away. And he returned home.
The Gnostic version bases on the esthetical norms of the period on the one hand, and on the Gnostic interpretation of Genesis, chapter 4 on the other hand. The mannerist of the seventeenth century likes uncertainty; nothing should be clear or sure, but vague and false. He is keen on lies and plots, special, optical effects; his world is painted in trompe-l’œil, in short “all the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages”. (Shakespeare, William, As you like it, II, 7) And as is the world false and perverted, so is the man scheming. That is why also the divine light must be tricky to save a fallen soul. To help Christian Rosycross, the court will give the impression to harm him; what is strictly forbidden is in fact precisely the thing he has to do to know more about him and the world.

  • Praise of transgression

Christian is well-known as somebody who is curious, a night owl, and melancholic. So the door of Venus’ tomb is open, what is unexpected for a snoop like him: naturally, it is a heaven-send opportunity and he jumps at his chance! His page is pigheaded and encourages him to disobey; all is done in order that he sees what he was supposed not to know (the transport of the cadavers). This kind of violence seems to be a Machiavellian persecution, a terrific manipulation, where Christian is always found guilty – and he must pay for his faults – but the price to pay is to abandon the illusion that he can do anything right with his own forces. The use of violence in matter of spirituality becomes the praise of transgression. For no laws, no rules can define the divine, which is total freedom. If you are free, you don’t need to obey the law anymore. Besides, you are the law. In spite of the verdict, Christian Rosycross does not replace the guard; he is free to enter the last stage, or albedo, which is the aim of the transfiguration: he returns home, he returns to God.[22]
And consequently, the one who were sure that they were right (the natural alchemists) are completely wrong and those who did not do the break through stay the victims of the aural being: they take him for God and do not see through him.

Removal and occultation: how does God test and protect Cain in the same time

In the Bible, in the book of Genesis, the same occurs with Abel and Cain[23]. God seems to denigrate Cain’s efforts and gifts (although he has to work very hard for it because he is a ploughman, while Abel is just a shepherd: Cain gives what he made, Abel just what he received); and God seems to make Cain jealous of his brother; and he seems to lead him to commit a fratricide! And after that, Cain’s sentence is even eased! What for? It is impossible to understand without considering the third use of violence. What God forbids is an invitation to do it; but in the same time, the others cannot see that there is a trick: there are blinded. A sign protects Cain; he cannot be killed by Abel’s descendants. Jan Van Rijckenborgh writes: “In his misery, God offers him a helping hand. He defines for the Cain-man a particular way of development. He gives him a safe-conduct for all eternity and marks him with the sign of inviolability.”[24] And Jan Van Rijckenborgh goes on: Cain symbolizes the man in whom the fire burns, who is craving for the Spirit. Abel characterizes the man in whom the light shines, who possesses a soul-consciousness. Cain cannot despise the (religious) soul-consciousness (i.e. kill Abel) or he will reject the light of Christ. He should work with the soul too, not only with the spiritual force. That is what he does when he gets married and has a son, Enoch. Enoch means literally “initiation”. “Cain reaches the initiation. What he has been yearning for, what he worked for again and again, tirelessly, now is given to him. He discovers the way upwards. While Abel is still quietly meditating in his soul, Cain goes forwards from force to force, with the sign of inviolability in his soul.”[25] And so Cain builds the city of the initiation. That is the castle of the Alchemical Wedding, Godville. And those who enter are longing for spirituality. Like Grace, they are of the Cain-type. They can obey and disobey, until they are the law. But for this purpose, they must firstly admit that they need to develop the new soul as well as to assimilate the spiritual foods! Then they are like Christian Rosy-cross, a reborn soul-spirit-man.


In conclusion, religion can be considered from a Gnostic point of view as the worst enemy of spirituality. It may sound paradoxical and a bit extreme[26], but we are not talking about social or sociological facts, but it is the matter of levels of consciousness: as far as the spiritual process of inner soul rebirth, as described , is not complete, but taken out of its way (which must be the I-death or I-demolition - the Cathars said: “endura” ) and “twisted” to a special way of life taking care of the I in a very subtle manner (because it seems to deny the I, and in fact it strengthens the personality: I-culture and I-splitting are both failed imitations of “I-lessness”), this operation indeed is the worst act of violence you can commit against spirituality, against the Spirit.
To say it shortly: religion is abortive spirituality. It does not actually mean that religion is the contrary of spirituality, but it is a needed, yes, and an essential step to spirituality. But if you stop the progression before its final stage, consequences are dramatic for the divine soul within you.
And now regarding the drastic Law of Dialectics, if you do not achieve such a work in progress, it backfires on you, and that causes violence. That is why the Gnostics of the past said: “all or nothing”. No spirituality is distress. But trying spirituality (that is: giving the soul a chance to live in you) and aborting at a bend of the path is cruel violence against the Order of the Spirit, which causes so much trouble on earth.
That is the reason why Jan Van Rijckenborgh wrote during the Second World War: “An immense sorrow reigns over this world, and this is due to a natural necessity; a sorrow which is to be regarded as liberating and of which man will ultimately understand its causes and structural lines of force. So, in this sorrow and thanks to it, man can find the inner peace, and through it, reach the Light.”[27]



BOWLING FOR COLOMBINE, Moore, Michael, USA, 2001

DOGVILLE, Trier, Lars, Von, Denmark, 2003, 177 min

ELEFANT, Sant, Gus, Van, USA, 2003, 1h21

THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, Gibson, Mel, USA, 2003, 2h06

THE TRUMAN SHOW, Weir, Peter, USA, 1998


Beckett, Samuel, En attendant Godot, Paris, Les Editions de Minuit, 1952.

Choné Aurélie, L’Occident à la rencontre de l’Orient pendant la première moitié du 20ème siècle, intégration et transformation du savoir sur l’Orient dans l’espace germanophone à travers l’œuvre de Rudolf Steiner, Carl Gustav Jung et Hermann Hesse, Thèse de doctorat en Germanistique, sous la direction de Mme. Christine Maillard, Strasbourg, Université Marc Bloch, 2002.

Edighoffer, Roland, Rose-Croix et société idéale, Neuilly s/ Seine, Arma Artis, 1982, 2 vol.

Favre François, Mani, Christ d’Orient et Bouddha d’Occident, Tantonville, Editions du Septénaire, 2002.

Gorceix, La Bible des Rose-Croix, Paris, PUF, coll. Quadrige, 1970

Gregov Sébastien, La fuite du temps dans Chymische Hochzeit Christiani Rosenkreutz, anno 1459. Contribution a l’étude de l’imaginaire alchimique et baroque dans la période de la renaissance tardive en Allemagne, DEA en Sciences Religieuses, sous la direction de M. Antoine Faivre, EPHE (Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, 5ème section, Sciences religieuses), Paris, La Sorbonne, 2001.

Lodge, David, Un tout petit monde, Paris, Editions Rivages, 1992.

Maalouf Amin, Les jardins de lumière, Paris, Le Livre de Poche, 1991.

Morin Edgar, Amour poésie sagesse, Paris, Editions du Seuil, 1997.

Riffard, Pierre A., L’ésotérisme, Paris, Robert Laffont, coll. Bouquins, 1990.

Rijckenborgh Jan, Van, « Pourquoi suis-je Rose-Croix? », in Pentagramme, 9ème année, N°3, Tantonville, Rozekruis Pers France, 1987.

Rijckenborgh Jan, Van, Le mystère des Béatitudes, Haarlem, Rozekruis Pers, 1982.

Rijckenborgh Jan, Van, Il nuovo Segno, Milano, Edizioni Lectorium Rosicrucianum, 1992.

Rijckenborgh Jan, Van, La Gnose originelle égyptienne, tome 4, Haarlem, Rosekruis Pers, 1991.

Rijckenborgh Jan, Van, Sept voix parlent, Haarlem, Rozekruis pers, 1983.

































The Film “DOGVILLE” as told in nine chapters and a prologue


Prologue          (which introduces us to the town and its residents)

Chapter One     In which Tom hears gunfire and meets Grace

Chapter Two     In which Grace follows Tom’s plan and embarks upon physical labour

Chapter Three   In which Grace indulges in a shady piece of provocation

Chapter Four    Happy times in Dogville

Chapter Five     “Fourth of July after all”

Chapter Six       In which Dogville bares its teeth

Chapter Seven  In which Grace finally gets enough of Dogville, leaves the town, and again sees the light of day

Chapter Eight    In which there is a meeting where the truth is told and Tom leaves (only to return later)

Chapter Nine    In which Dogville receives the long-awaited visit and the film ends


[1] « Pourquoi suis-je Rose-Croix », Rijckenborgh, Jan Van, in Pentagramme, Rozekruis Pers France, Tantonville, 1987, 9ème année, N°3. [My translation]

[2] So jealous women take revenge by being sardonic and treating her like a slave; men are accustomed to abuse her sexually like a whore.

[3] See Rijckenborgh, Jan Van, sept voix parlent, chapter V., Rozekruis Pers, Haarlem, the Netherlands, 1983

[4] In the movie, chapter nine, she says: “I want to make this world a bit better. The world would be better without this town” and she orders the destruction of the township and the sadistic murder of every residents.

[5] To be more precise, Jan Van Rijckenborgh, in the introduction to Dei Gloria Intacta, Rozekruis Pers, Haarlem, makes a finer distinction between I-culture and I-division (which both lead to the same disastrous result for man and earth)[6] Rijckenborgh, Jan van, The Gnosis in Present-day Manifestation, Rozekruis Pers, Haarlem, 1980, p. 228 sq.

[7]« Les Jardins de Lumière appartiennent à ceux qui ont vécu détachés » Mani
(quoted in Maalouf Amin, Les Jardins de Lumière, Paris, Le Livre de Poche, 1991, p. 248) (The gardens of light belong to the one who lived detached) [My translation]

[8] Rijckenborgh, Jan van, The Gnosis in Present-day Manifestation, Rozekruis Pers, Haarlem, 1980, p. 32.

[9] Rijckenborgh, Jan van, The Gnosis in Present-day Manifestation, Rozekruis Pers, Haarlem, 1980, p. 34.

[10] Ibid.

[11] See the funniest scene of the film: Mulligans’ reunion in the black Cadillac. A gulf lies between the father’s remonstrance (just like an old-world father could remonstrate with his teeny-bopper about a too childish attitude: he really makes her into a child) and the real consequences for the whole township, i.e. its annihilation. Mulligan says: “What I don’t like about you: you are arrogant and stubborn”. But this is exactly what she reproaches him before leaving: his arrogance! So she is him all over!

[12] Ibid. p. 33

[13] See the voice-over in the ninth chapter: “its survival was astonishing – a miracle!”

[14] And at the very end of the movie, the dog, which was just chalked up on the floor, becomes real, a dog appears, “in the flesh”… While all inhabitants are lying dead on the ground! Furthermore, after the false conclusion (a kind of open remaining question), the dog barks, so he has the last word!

[15] “psycho-geographical space” is an expression of Jean-Jacques Wunenberger, see « Imagination géographique et psycho-géographique », in Wunenberger J.-J., J. Poirier, Lire l’espace, Brussels, Ousia, 1996; “mindscape” an idea of Edgar Morin, in Amour poésie sagesse, Paris, Seuil, 1997, p. 57

[16] It is the same in Dogville. The feature ends with a question which has probably no answer. Listen to the voice-over (end of chapter 9): “Whether Grace has left Dogville, or on the contrary Dogville has left her and the world in general, is a question of a more thoughtful nature that few will benefit from by asking and ever fewer by providing an answer. And nor indeed will it be answered here…”

[17] See the whole description of the punishments in Gorceix, Bernard, La Bible des Rose-Croix, Paris, PUF, coll. Quadrige, 1970, p.68-70

[18] Ibid. p.70

[19] See diagram 1a and 1b. Complexus means in Latin “weaved together”, so our I is an association of many components of different nature. These diagrams try to untangle three main levels: ego, superego and microcosm

[20] Rijckenborgh, Jan, Van, The Gnosis in present-day manifestation, Haarlem, Rozekruis Pers, 1980, p. 267 (Glossary, entry word: microcosm (minutus mundus – little world))[21] Ibid.

[22] See for instance: Edighoffer, Roland, Rose-Croix et société idéale, Neuilly s/ Seine, Arma Artis, 1982, 2 vol.

[23] One more time Abel and Cain are two attitudes of life one can find in himself, at different stages of maturity.

[24] « Pourquoi suis-je Rose-Croix », Rijckenborgh, Jan Van, in Pentagramme, Rozekruis Pers France, Tantonville, 1987, 9ème année, N°3. [My translation]

[25] Ibid.

[26] « Je suis venu du pays de Babel pour faire retentir un cri à travers le monde » Mani
(quoted in Les Jardins de Lumière, Maalouf Amin, Le Livre de Poche, 1991, epilogue p. 252) (“I came from the land of Babylon in order to let ring out a cry through the world.”) [My translation]

[27] « Pourquoi suis-je Rose-Croix », Rijckenborgh, Jan van, in Pentagramme Rozekruis Pers France, Tantonville, 1987, 9ème année, N°3. [My translation]

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