An ancient heritage
After centuries of secrecy, the Tables of Chartres were shared publicly again only a few decades ago when they were handed down by French Gypsies.1 The Tables have been preserved in the floor plan geometry of most Gothic cathedrals, including the Chartres Cathedral of France, which became the eponym for the Tables.2 The builders of those cathedrals, who called themselves the „children of Solomon“ (Old Testament king), and went down in history as the Knights Templar, knew about the enormous importance of the Tables as a heart key to the collective dimension of human unconscious. They tried to establish a Gnostic Christianity based on immediate inner cognition (holistic perception) throughout Europe, however at the beginning of the 14th century the Knights Templar fell victim to a conspiracy.
The Tables of Chartres refer to a visual archaic meditation technique or brain training that balances the activity of our two cerebral hemispheres in a very immediate way. This can lead to the development of our full potential of consciousness and perception, resulting in a holistic view of ourselves and the world. Just as the inscription at the ancient temple of Apollon at Delphi says:
„Know what you (really) are“
In a simplified model we might say that our left hemisphere represents the individual mind, as well as our external sense organs, while our right hemisphere represents conscious access to the heart and internal sense organs (chakras). In our heart is the space within which our three-dimensional individual existence appears, known by different names in different traditions such as samadhi, tao, kingdom of heaven, now, emptiness, nirvana, etc.
Modern man experiences himself predominantly identified with the individual mind. His resulting one-sided self-image is now also reflected as a corresponding 3D world-image, and becomes the primary cause for the out-of-balance conditions on Earth. Unconsciously lost in the identifications of its own projections, the separate mind now creates a dangerous skew in the 3D mirror image of its own consciousness.
Based on this realization, it becomes clear the only way to end this imbalance sustainably is to unite the conscious with the unconscious. The Tables of Chartres provides a very immediate access key to open the door of this cage caused by the minds’ separation. Neuroscientists who study the effects of meditation on the brain through EEG measurements have identified a condition called synchronization, where the same signal can be seen at all measuring electrodes throughout the brain, meaning the two cerebral hemispheres are cooperating synchronously with each other. The result of this harmonization and connection produces a holistic experience of being human, and an individual inner journey into thoughtless, silent, heart spaces and hypnosis-like states of being.
The Tables of Chartres include two rows of Tables (geometric shapes), each consisting of a circle, a square and a rectangle, with the circle at the bottom. One looks at the Tables like a stereogram, in which the two rows first double into four, and then the two central rows merge into a single row by superimposing each other. The superposition is achieved by squinting slightly inward, where the left eye looks at the right row of Tables and the right eye at the left row. This way of seeing was popularized in the 90s with the publication of the book Magic Eye, with its computer-generated images that create a 3D effect when being viewed in the above way.
In the Tables of Chartres, if one superimposes the two rows of Tables this way, a virtual third row appears in the middle, which seems to float. This middle row now becomes an anchor for the meditatorís eyes and mind, and the stimulus for full relaxation into accessing the heart space that we collectively embody. Within this state of being, one is moved by the desire to share this collective love and harmony with all fellow human beings and fellow creatures.
It takes about 20 minutes for the brain to tune into the Tables and for the brain wave patterns to adjust accordingly. Typically, for beginners, the colors of the middle row alternate between red and blue. This indicates hemispheric activity since the visual centers are split between both hemispheres of the brain. In this stage, the brain is still trying to decide in which of the two colors the middle row should be seen. After some time, however, it stabilizes as a light purple, and thus gives an indication both hemispheres of the brain have started to cooperate, and that hemispheric dominances are balanced.
Beginners may have difficulties with the subtle cross-eye technique in finding and fixating the middle, virtual row. It will take some practice to get the eyes to rest relaxed on the middle row, which is part of the process. To help adjust the eyes properly, fix the forefinger of an outstretched hand between yourself and the Tables, and then vary the distance of the forefinger until the double images are superimposed and appear as three rows. As soon as the middle row appears, it can be focused upon and the finger can be slowly removed from the field of view without changing the position of the eyes. Keep focused on the third row.
Your view of the Tables also acts as an anchor of consciousness in the case of any possible cathartic discharges that may occur during your heart focus. Simply let the emotion flow that has risen to consciousness and keep your eyes focused. It is recommended to practice three times per week, between 30-60 minutes per session.
There are no guidelines for the positioning of the Tables, except that all three Tables are in the field of vision at the same time. The meditation can be performed as the illustration shows with Tables lying on the floor, either sitting or standing. However, they can also be pinned vertically on a wall or placed on a music stand. If you prefer to meditate while lying down, you can also fix them to the ceiling. However, in this case, make sure that the atlas vertebra at the very top of the spine is not exposed to any pressure by a cushion, since the cross-eye technique, via the eye muscles, also causes a readjustment of this vertebra.
In order for our brain to truly achieve inner quietness of signal, all nearby electrical and electronic devices should be deactivated; in particular, the smartphone and WiFi because they are pulsing within the frequency range of our brain waves, and thus can disturb the synthesis of molecules within the pineal gland. Avoid artificial light sources because their color range is very limited. The most intensive results with the Tables are achieved in daylight for the sharpest imagery possible. Meditating in front of the computer monitor is also not recommended due to the consciousness-inhibiting effect of artificial electromagnetic fields.
 Pierre Derlon: Die Gärten der Einweihung, Sphinx Verl. Basel 1978
 Louis Charpentier: Les Mystères de la Cathedrale de Chartres, R. Laffont, Paris 1966
Robert de Borron: Die Geschichte des Heiligen Gral, Ogham Verlag, Stuttgart 1979
Robert de Borron et al.: Der Prosaroman von Josef von Arimathea, Georg Weidner (Hsg.), Eugen Franck’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Oppeln 1881
Bildband: Merveilleuse Notre Dame de Lausanne, Editions du Grand Pont, Lausanne 1975
G. Pennington: Die Tafeln von Chartres (German), Patmos 2020
G. Pennington: Chapter 1 of the book „The Tables of Chartres“ – English
G. Pennington: The Tables of Chartres – Meditation Template A4 Cardboard, Lenzwald Verlag
G. Pennington: Kleines Handbuch für Glasperlenspieler, Lenzwald Verlag 2017
G. Pennington: Vom Schielen und Schauen, Lenzwald Verlag 2017
G. Pennington: Die Tafeln von Chartres – eine archaische Meditationstechnik und ihre Bedeutung für die moderne Bewusstseins- und Hemisphärenforschung, in: Psychiatrie des rechten und linken Gehirns, Hsg. G. Oepen, im Dt. Ärzte Verlag, Köln 1988
G. Pennington: Das Geheimnis der alten Kathedralen, in „esotera“ 4/86, S.25ff, H. Bauer Verlag, Freiburg
© copyright of text content by Michael Berstecher / version: 1.0 (07.2023) / publication date: 07.2022
Photo (Title-image) courtesy Bradley Weber, Creative Commons License