A Speculative Analysis of the Heavenly and Terrestrial Alignments of Lichfield Cathedral, England, UK
“For the truth to be revealed, it must first be hidden.” Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan (1934–1983)
Lichfield Cathedral in Staffordshire, England, is unique in being the only medieval English Cathedral with three spires. It is built halfway up a sandstone hill, with the church of St Mary’s at the lowest point. The first Cathedral built on the present site was in 700 AD when Bishop Headda built a church to house the bones of St Chad (664–672, died 2nd March). The Cathedral is close to many historical sites: being opposite the house of Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of Charles; a short walk from the birthplace of Samuel Johnson; housing a library containing artefacts including some from Elias Ashmole and other priceless ancient texts. The Cathedral was devastated in the English Civil War during three city sieges from 1643–1646. Robert Greville, 2nd Baron Brooke, was famously killed on 2nd March 1643 by a deflected bullet hitting him between the eyes fired from John “dumb” Dyott, a sniper situated on the central tower of the building.
The author speculates that Lichfield Cathedral is unique in many ways, some of which are discussed here and others in later articles. This uniqueness is related to the building connecting many different and diverse spiritual and religious faiths going back to the ancient Egyptians. We speculate that the terrestrial position and alignment of the Cathedral are related to Jerusalem, Mecca and Bethlehem. It is known to be dedicated to St Chad’s memory and to St. Mary and Jesus Christ. It may also be dedicated to the patriarch Abraham (of blessed memory). These dedications are all supported by evidence calculated by the astrology of their named days.
It is also possible to find Paleo-Hebrew letters (the script used to record the original texts of the Hebrew Bible) in the Cathedral that indicates a link to the Hebrews when they were held captive in Egypt and through them to Moses (of blessed memory). This is distinct from the current Hebrew alphabet.
The astrological link to Abraham also links the building to the principal ancient Egyptian deity Amun-Ra (the hidden one). In repeated symbolism the Cathedral indicates the coming together of the male and the female in humanity, Nature and spirituality. In this article, we discuss these earthly and heavenly alignments.
Since the eighth century, most churches and cathedrals have their altar at the east end and their façade and public entrance to the west. In church architecture terms, this is known as ‘orientation’. The opposite positioning of the altar being in the west is known as ‘occidentation’. This is likely related to the rising of the Sun in the east and setting in the west. In European churches, it is linked to the direction of Jerusalem in the east.
So, let’s first define the longitudinal alignment of the Cathedral. Lichfield Cathedral has its easterly aspect, the Lady Chapel, facing north easterly at about 59 degrees. The Nave is aligned through the centre of the westerly façade facing 240 degrees. A line taken from the centre of the crossing through the northern west spire (the female spire) faces 250 degrees, and a similar line through the southerly spire (the male spire) faces 230 degrees. The north transept faces 330 degrees, the south transept 150 degrees and the chapter house between 20–30 degrees.
A popular folklore idea is that churches and cathedrals align with the Sunrise on their patron Saint’s Feast Day. However, the evidence does not support this view. Rural churches in the UK have been shown to have a broad range of alignments, including: the Sunrise of the Saint’s Day; the sunset of the Saint’s Day; the Easter sunrise; East-West; magnetic east; for topographic reasons; according to the Sunrise or sunset in the Julian, rather than the Gregorian calendar. Regarding Lichfield Cathedral, we will examine both this folklore and these additional research findings.
For Lichfield Cathedral there is the complication of a misalignment of the Chancel with the Nave, of around 1.5 degrees further to the north when compared to the Nave.
The tilt of the Chancel to the north is said by some to symbolize Christ’s head tilt to the right if the Cathedral plan represents the body of Christ laying on the ground, with his feet at the west spires, stretched out arms as the transepts and his head the Choir. The tilt of his head to the right may be linked to the etymology of the word ‘right’ as in right/left and right/wrong, Lat. dextro/sinistro (as in sinister). In addition, the crucified thief on the right of Christ on Golgotha was the one who was saved. Christ also sits on the “right hand of God” in heaven. There are other scriptural analogies, such as in the eschatological Matthew 25:33, “And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.” There are other speculative explanations for the Nave-Chancel tilt, and these are discussed in later articles.
The Earthly Alignments of Jerusalem, Mecca and Bethlehem
“And their Prophet said unto them: Lo! the token of his kingdom is that there shall come unto you the ark wherein is peace of reassurance from your Lord, and a remnant of that which the house of Moses and the house of Aaron left behind, the angels bearing it. Lo! herein shall be a token for you if (in truth) ye are believers.” The Koran, Al-Baqarah (The Cow), Sura 248 (Pickthall translation)
Let us first examine the terrestrial alignments of the Cathedral. Using online tools (see footnotes for details), it is possible to calculate the distance between the Cathedral and Jerusalem and then convert this to Roman miles, which were the unit of measurement in Jerusalem at the time of St Chad in 669 AD. By doing this, we reach a calculation of 2480 Roman miles. Its compass bearing is 130 degrees.
The distance between the Cathedral and Mecca using the medieval Arabic mile, or the Umayyad mile, both used around the time of St Chad is 2480 Arabic miles. Its compass bearing is 136 degrees. These figures are all approximations and verifiable using the latitudes and longitudes of these religious sites (see footnotes).
The Heavenly Alignments of Aries, the Sun and Virgo
“This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David … of Abraham … of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.” Matthew 1: 1–16
On St Chad’s Day 669 AD, with calculations adjusted according to the Julian calendar, the Gregorian Saint’s Day of 2nd March becomes the Julian date of 27th February in 669 AD. If we assume the Cathedral is aligned on St Chad’s Day in 669, then Sunrise was at 06:59 hrs bearing 102 degrees. The Lady Chapel, including the northerly kink, points 59 degrees. This is very close to the star of the head of the ram of Aries (Hamal) as it rises over the horizon. On this day in 669, Venus is just below the horizon by minus 8 degrees of altitude at almost the same azimuth as Hamal. The etymology of ‘Hamal’ is derived from the Arabic for “head of the ram” and marks the ram’s head or horns.
The first two times a ram appears in the Torah is when God speaks to Abraham. First, in Genesis 15, God tells him that he will have a son, and by this son, as many descendants as there are stars in the sky. Second in Genesis 22, after this son, Isaac, is born. In this story, ‘The binding of Isaac’, Abraham is about to sacrifice his son as commanded by God but is stopped at the last minute by a messenger. He then sees a ram with its head caught in a thicket and sacrifices it instead.
The symbolism of the ram and Venus, aligning with the purity of the Lady Chapel, may be symbolic of both the control of the male life force by the desire for and virtue of the female. Furthermore, by extension, the story of the binding of Isaac is the reward of fruitfulness from the control of that life force and the many descendants of Abraham and the Abrahamic faiths.
Husband and wife, no longer two but one flesh
The Lady Chapel is decorated internally by ten female Biblical figures and is the only part of the Cathedral with a checkerboard floor, perhaps symbolic of the darkness into which half of these virgins find themselves in Jesus’s parable of the Ten Virgins. This parable tells of the brides waiting for the bridegroom of the King in his chamber, but five are unprepared when he arrives.
Further indications of the Cathedral symbolizing the coming together of the male and female are in the west façade. Here there are two westerly Spires, one to the south representing the male (headed by a statue of Adam) and the one to the north representing the female (headed by a statue of Eve).
The longitudinal axis of the Cathedral, from west to east, figuratively represents the ‘outer’ three of the five parts of the Hebrew soul (Nefesh-Ruach-Neshamah, Nave-Choir-Lady Chapel respectively), which are believed to be joined together when a married couple consummate their vows. As is said, “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:6). This is explained in more detail in a later article.
The Ancient Egyptians and monotheism
Between 2150 BC and 1 AD (the time of the patriarch Abraham), the path of the Sun through the Earth’s sky placed it in Aries at the northern vernal equinox (the astrological age of Aries) marking the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. This is why most newspaper astrology columns start with Aries. The Age of Aries allegedly ushered in efforts to replace polytheism with monotheism.
Some authorities claimed the Egyptian Pharoah Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) attempted to introduce a form of monotheism around 1350 BC, decreeing the Sun God ‘Aten’ as the supreme deity.
However, other scholars claim that the ancient Egyptians also believed in monotheism, with Amun (the hidden one) later Amun-Ra as the supreme deity with other ‘Gods’ not considered deities but rather forces of Nature known as Neters. This perspective marries together the astrological symbolism of the age of Aries with images of Amun as Amun-Ra found in temples throughout ancient Egypt. Many of these Neters may be transmuted and preserved in the images of the Tarot cards, as believed by various esoteric orders still in existence today, such as the Rosicrucians.
However, due to the Earth’s precession, or wobble, the Sun has now moved to Pisces for this equinox, has done for the last 2000 years and is now moving into Aquarius.
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
“And Mary said, ‘My soul glorifies the Lord.’ (Luke 1:46)
Next, consider the Day of the Feast of St Mary’s. This day marks the reverence paid to her assumption, the day of her death, and is preceded by a month’s fasting by some Christians. Assuming the date of the death of St Mary is on her Feast Day, the 15th August, and estimated year of death as 30 AD (corrected to the Julian calendar this is the 13th August 30 AD), then the Lady Chapel points to the top of Virgo ascending from the horizon at Sunrise at 04:46hrs. By 04:56hrs the upper boundary of the constellation of Virgo begins its ascension into the daytime sky. Astrologically this image symbolizes her ascension into heaven.
Heaven and Earth in Bethlehem
“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Jesus Christ, Matthew 28:18
Now, the alignment of Bethlehem from the Cathedral is based on the compass bearing of the rising Sun from the Cathedral at the end of the longest night currently the 21st December, or equally the 25th December 01 AD. This is the closest our software can take us to the estimated year of Jesus’ birth, actually thought to be nearer 4–5 BC. The Sunrise is at 08:30hrs and the bearing of the Sun is 130 degrees 46 minutes. This is not too dissimilar to the direction of the Sunrise on the same date in 2021. The bearing of Bethlehem from Lichfield is 130 deg 38 min.
The author believes that the Paleo-Hebrew script can be found prominently within the Cathedral, most specifically the letter ‘Bet’, which has the meaning “house” (modern Hebrew: בית) and this, in turn, has its origin in the ancient Egyptian hieroglyph.
The appearance of this Paleo-Hebrew letter is likely to be a reference to the Cathedral being a “house of God” and is also significant as the first letter in the Hebrew Bible (Beresheet, meaning ‘In the beginning’).
It may also symbolize the connections of the five parts of the ‘Jewish soul’ as they unfold figuratively in the Cathedral from the Crossing: Yechidah (Crossing) — Chayah (Chapter House) — Neshamah (Lady Chapel) —Ruach (Choir) — Nefesh (Nave). This initial letter Beit and the word Beresheet have been commented on in great detail by the Kabbalists, most specifically in the Sefer Zohar and Sefer Tikunim Zohar. The site of this Paleo-Hebrew and its symbolism within the building are covered in a later article.
“Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family, And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you.” Genesis 12:1
Now let us detail the possibility that the Cathedral is dedicated to the patriarch Abraham using connections other than the astrological. Abraham is the father of the Abrahamic religions, the group of monotheistic religions that endorse worship of the God of Abraham. These include Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Bahai, Samaritanism, Druze Faith and others. We have demonstrated the alignment and comparative distances between the Cathedral and Jerusalem and Mecca. Abraham is linked to both sites.
Here is listed some of these other connections:
Connections with Jerusalem
Legend says that Abraham went to Jerusalem as a young child to study the tradition with Noah and Shem.
When Abraham returned to the Promised Land, instructed by God, he negotiated peace with King Abimelech of the Philistines, occupying eastern Jerusalem, then known as Salem, to assure the safety of Shem’s academy.
Currently, the then Altar of the old Land of Moriah, now the Dome of the Rock, an Islamic shrine, is located on Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. This marks the site where God commanded him to bind and sacrifice his son, Isaac. After being stopped by a messenger, Abraham offered the ram up for a burnt offering instead of his son. Following this, he then named the place “Yirah” or Yiru (Jeru), meaning “awe”. Later this was joined with the eastern part of the city, Salem, and the city got its present name, JeruSalem, implying “complete awe of God”.
Abraham met the king of Salem, Melchizedek, also a priest of El Elyon, who brought out bread and wine and blessed Abram and God. A collection of early Gnostic scripts dating on or before the 4th century, discovered in 1945 and known as the Nag Hammadi library, contain a tractate pertaining to Melchizedek. Here it is proposed that Melchizedek is actually Jesus Christ and this may be made explicit by the author of the New Testament book ‘Letter to the Hebrews’. Although Melchizedek does not appear in the Koran, some identify him with Khidr a character with great wisdom, who in Isma’ilism (a sub-sect of Shia Islam), is believed to have ‘initiated’ Abraham into prophethood.
Connections with the Kaaba, Masjid Al-Haram, Mecca
Muslims believe that Abraham (known as Ibrahim (عليه الصلاة والسلام) in Islam) and his son Ishmail (Ishmael (عليه الصلاة والسلام)) built the Kaaba, though the Koran does not claim this. It is alleged that he returned to the valley of Mecca several years after leaving his wife Hajar (عليه الصلاة والسلام) (Hagar). While he was building the Kaaba, an angel brought to him the Black Stone, which he placed in the eastern corner of the cube. Muslims also believe that the angel Gabriel, who communicated the Koran to the Prophet Muhammed (عليه الصلاة والسلام), also spoke with Abraham (عليه الصلاة والسلام).
Some believe he may never have gone there, though the book of Genesis does recount Hagar (عليه الصلاة والسلام)and Ishmael (عليه الصلاة والسلام) travelling there and Hagar (عليه الصلاة والسلام) finding the well of Zamzam to quench the thirst of her son.
Kabbalah (mystical Judaism) connections
One interpretation of the Hebrew words in the above verse in Genesis 12:1 is, “Get out … / Go forth ‘’ (Hebrew: Lekh lekha) that are meant to be understood literally as “Go to yourself!” as in, “Search deep within to discover your true self”. This is the essence of the primary function of any sacred space, both literally and spiritually.
In the Kabbalah, the Sephirah (a divine attribute or emanation) of Mercy (Hebrew: Chesed) represents the God of love and is seen as the faith of Abraham, described as “Abraham My lover” (Isaiah 41:8). He is the first of God’s earthly followers, and similar to Chesed, the first quality to emerge within God. Abraham is the man of love.
The oldest known Kabbalah text, Ha’Sefer Yetzirah (The Book of Formation), believed to have been written by Abraham, contains a detailed description of the Tree of Life. Part of this describes the ‘Cube of Space’, a five-dimensional abstract construct defining all of space, time and spirituality.
Abraham and the Cube
The symbolism of the cube and the number 2480 (Roman or Arabic miles) links Abraham, Jerusalem, Mecca and Lichfield Cathedral. Abraham is the father of the Abrahamic faiths.
Through his children with Sarah and Hagar, from his life has come “descendants [multiplying] as the stars of heaven” (Genesis 26:4).
One mathematical and geometric meaning of the cube’s geometry is that its volume increases exponentially with ever higher dimensions. This is seen in the geometric sequence: 2, 4, 8, … which demonstrates:
a. the length of a line within a square containing a circle of one unit radius (2)
b. the area of a square containing that circle (4)
c. the volume of the cube formed therein (8)
d. the number of unit cells in a 4th dimensional cube (16)
e. the number of unit cells in a 5th dimensional cube (32)
f. and so on …
Should this sequence continue, it would increase exponentially to infinity (… … 64, 128, 512, 1024 …), just like his descendants. This means that theoretically, any sized cube that is extended to higher and higher dimensions will eventually have a volume that is equivalent to the size of the universe.
This is probably the source of the popular BBC fiction character Dr Who and his/her TARDIS, which is “bigger on the inside”, and can move easily to any place or time in the universe.
The cube is the only geometric shape that increases in volume like this in ever higher dimensions. All other shapes either cannot exist in higher dimensions or simply vanish into nothing as if into their own black holes. We will examine this in more detail in later articles.
In Jerusalem, both Solomon’s Temple and the later Second Temple were constructed around the cube’s geometry, in the Holy of Holies, and as is more obvious in the Kaaba at Masjid Al-Haram in Mecca.
Finally, the geometry of the cube, and its higher dimensions, are found both centrally and throughout the design of Lichfield Cathedral. The future New Jerusalem in the Book of Revelation is also a cube, albeit much larger.
These similarities are all telling us the same thing. The Lord is our God … the Lord is One … Lord of the Worlds … Master of the Universe … Infinite …
Dr Nick Stafford
Excerpt from “Eye of Heaven. Lichfield Cathedral a Theory of Everything”, published by Unicordia Forest Publishing UK
All the ideas discussed in this article are pure speculation and the author makes no claim to any truth(s) therein.
The Kaaba and the Masjid Al-Haram during Hajj, 4th December 2008, from Al-Jazeera English. Camera location 21.2520 N; 39.4938 E
The Western Wall, Jerusalem by “Golasso”. 18 November 2005.
Temple relief of Akhenaten and Nefertiti seated, holding 3 of their daughters, under the rays of the sun god Aten giving Ankh-symbols to them. New Kingdom, later 18. dynasty, Amarna-period, ca. 1350–1340 BC — material: limestone — height: 32 cm — findspot: Achet-Aton / Amarna. Now in the Berlin Neues Museum.
Amun-Ra depicted as a ram (l’esprit des quatre elements, lame du monde material), Jean-Francois Champollion (1790–1832), from “Panthéon égyptien, collection des personnages mythologiques de l’ancienne Égypte, d’apres les monuments; / avec un texte explicatif par M. J. F. Champollion le jeune, et les figures d’apres les dessins de M. L. J. J. Dubois”, Brooklyn Museum.
Compass bearings are relative to true north were possible. Local Lichfield measurements from the current online Ordnance Survey data.
Astronomical calculations from astronomy software using Redshift Premium (Version Premium 1.3, 2021). Dates before Christ (BC / BCE) not possible with this software, adjustments made and stated in these cases. www.redshift-live.com
Dates calculated according to online calculator, https://keisan.casio.com/exec/system/1227757509
Compass bearings and distances calculated using PLANETCALC, https://planetcalc.com/7042/
Terrestrial courses and great circles plotted using https://www.acscdg.com/
Latitude and longitude locations used:
1. Lichfield Cathedral = 52.688 N; 1.8303 E
2. The Jerusalem Western Wall = 31.7767 N, 35.2345 E (no adjustment made for the Western Wall Tunnel Holy of Holies Room, now in the Muslim Quarter)
3. Bethlehem = 31.7054 N; 35.2024 E
4. Kaaba, Masjid Al-Haram, Mecca = 21.4225 N, 39.8262 E