Marvel’s Doctor Strange, The Multiverse, The Wizard of Oz & Lichfield Cathedral
“Every night I dream the same dream, and then the nightmare begins … Dreams are windows into the lives of our multiversal selves.” Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness 2022.
NOTE: There are some spoilers for both Doctor Strange movies in this article.
We previously explored the uniqueness of Lichfield Cathedral, and its connections to Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Mecca. We examined how it can represent parallels between ancient Egyptian mythology, Judaism, Islam and Christianity. There are also links in its design to Eastern spirituality and the sacred architecture of Buddhist temples. It uses large-scale patterns, human-scale geometry and fractals to draw you into contemplation of an infinity of infinities.
In this article, we look at how the aesthetics of the Cathedral’s architecture expresses the concept of the multiverse, by describing the geometry of higher dimensions. We look at how these higher dimensions are reflected in the lower world of our conscious experience and the meaning of the Hasidic principle, “the highest things in heaven are reflected in the lowest things on earth.” Through this exploration, we make references to the history of mathematics, physics, and music. We also look again at the modern-day Marvel Studios Cinematic Universe mythology, this time in the Doctor Strange movies of 2016 and 2022.
Gates of Light and Higher Dimensions
“You’re a man looking at the world through a keyhole. You’ve spent your life trying to widen it.” The Ancient One. Doctor Strange. Marvel Studios 2016.
The Greek philosopher Plato famously talked of higher dimensions in his allegory of the cave in his work Republic. It describes people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all their lives, facing a blank wall. They watch shadows projected on the wall from objects passing in front of a fire behind them and give names to these shadows. The shadows are the prisoners’ reality but are not accurate representations of the real world. The shadows represent the fragment of reality that we can normally perceive through our senses, while the objects under the sun represent the true forms of objects that we can only perceive through reason. He explains how the philosopher is a prisoner who has freed himself from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows are actually not direct sources of the images seen. The philosopher aims to perceive the higher levels of reality. However, the other inmates of the cave do not even desire to leave their prison, for they know no better life.
What do these dimensions look like in geometry? Below are the expanding dimensions of the cube up to the fifth dimension. Anything above the third dimension requires some imagination because our minds do not have the ability to visualise above the dimension we exist in. Any higher image is projected down to its image in the third dimension.
Cubes are not the only objects that exist in higher dimensions however, the number of shapes that can exist is limited. In fact, only n-spheres, n-simplex (tetrahedron), and n-cross-polytopes (octahedron) also have this ability.
So let’s start with the dimensions that are seen in the architecture of the Cathedral. These are explained in greater detail in other articles. They are also considered as gates, or Divine emanations, on the journey to a higher spiritual understanding. Walking around the Cathedral and exploring these areas is meant to aid such an awakening.
Here the dimensions, or gates, are listed without explanation. One: The Top of the West Face Spires. Two: The West Face & Narthex. Three: Nave. Four: Transepts. Five: Crossing. Six: Choir. Seven: Lady Chapel. Eight: Chapter House. Nine: The Top of the Central Spire. Ten: Nowhere. Zero: Everywhere.
In the Multiverse of the second Doctor Strange movie, each higher dimension is yet another room, or reality, that opens in his mind, and each new room is an ever larger and grander palace with even more rooms. These also parallel the rooms his opponent, the Scarlett Witch, explores at the same time. Visits to each new room/palace occur in his dreams, the import being that you travel through your own multiverse each night you dream.
Jesus described this when he said, “In my Father’s house, there are many mansions … I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2 KJV). It is easy to get lost in this hall of mirrors. In the central room of your final palace, there exists a room where one finds another version of oneself, perhaps. Using higher dimensional cubes as a model for this house the number of rooms in this sequence would be as follows: 1, 8, 40, 160, 560, 1792, 5376, 15360, 42240, 112640, 292864, 745472, 1863680, 4587520, 11141120 … Hence you can see that when you move from the first room the next, you actually enter a house, and the next room from this house is a mansion, the next a palace and so on, getting an exponentially larger number of rooms.
In the central room in the film of this multiverse of rooms, his opponent Wanda Maximoff (as the Scarlett Witch) finds herself looking up at a more loving and ordinary version of herself who easily wins over her for the love of her/their children. In this way, the evil and far more powerful Scarlett Witch is defeated by the loving Wanda (and Strange), even though she is only a figure in her dream. In the second Doctor Strange movie, the gate between each multiverse is seen as a five-pointed star. This alludes to the fifth dimension which, as we have discovered earlier, is a ‘gateway between worlds’.
This story, and its symbolism, are similar to how Dorothy Gale in the Wizard of Oz, unwittingly defeats the Wicked Witch with a bucket of water (in her dream), and at the same time, wins over Amira Gulch, who threatens to destroy her dog Toto, in the real world. Dorothy beautifully describes the experience of travelling the same multiverse in the lyrics of the Oscar-winning song, ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’.
This series of dimensions can also be found in the Jewish Hannukah Menorah. Here, the dimensions are the candles, numbered from one to nine, from the left, making the central one the fifth. This means that there is a pairing, or reflection, between the following gates: one/nine, two/eight, three/seven, four/six. In Jewish mysticism, the same correspondence may, or may not, exist with the same Divine emanations or Sephirot as they are known in Hebrew.
“Sometimes dreams are wiser than waking.” Black Elk.
In the second Doctor Strange movie, Strange has a recurring dream where he finds himself in an epic battle to save the ‘saviour’ America Chavez. The battle takes place in a space identical to the centre of the Vatican in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Bernini Baldachin (seen above). There is a fight for a book at the centre of the Baldachin, something that America needs to win the battle. In an earlier article, we discussed this space being super-symmetrical and at the global centre point of the Roman Catholic Church, in the same way, that Mecca is to Islam. Every time Strange is about the lose the battle, he finds himself strung up before the Baldachin and a new dimension opens up before him in the shape of a large five-pointed star and then wakes up.
Architecture, according to Goethe is “frozen music” in that the tone of mind produced by walking around the architecture approaches the effect of music. This reveals a universal theme of expression in all creative disciplines. Goethe’s idea suggests all processes of creativity are connected by a human’s need to express something, regardless of the medium of construction. It could be said that the architect “paints” with building materials, the composer “constructs” using vibrations, and the scientist “composes” forms and formulas using the “modes” of math and physics. In an earlier article, we also examined the super-symmetry of the Bernini Baldachin and how it can help us understand the structure of consciousness.
In regards to music, the ratio of the base of the Baldachin geometrically describes the musical interval F:A flat, this being a minor third. This interval is found repeating in the counter melody of the song ‘Over the Rainbow’, in the 1st and 3rd lines of each chorus (“Someday I’ll wish upon a star/Where troubles melt like lemon drops”) and in the penultimate line, “If happy little blue birds fly”. Some birds sing the interval of the minor third, and an example is the Common Loon. You can hear its haunting sound in the video below.
In the second Doctor Strange movie, when he and America finally get to the battle at the Baldachin in their conscious waking lives, this space becomes the central ‘chamber’ of their journey. Here Strange and America lose the book at the centre and Strange has to find a way to ‘resurrect’ a dead version of himself in another dimension in order to help win the battle with the Scarlett Witch. The expectation of this resurrection is found in several biblical works. In the Old Testament Book of Ezekiel, there is an anticipation that the righteous Israelites will rise from the dead. The Book of Daniel developed the hope of resurrection with both the righteous and unrighteous Israelites being resurrected, after which there is a judgment, with the righteous participating in an eternal Messianic kingdom. (reference: Britannica.com)
In the first Doctor Strange movie, he travels in search of answers to heal himself in Kathmandu, Nepal, by awakening his spiritual self. In Nepal, it is common to find temples designed that show a clear understanding of the hyper-dimensional cube. In the below image we see a Buddhist Temple in Japan with a five-dimensional cube design. In fact, this design is common in Buddhist, Taoist and Hindu temples across Nepal, India, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and other parts of Asia.
The Gates Between Realities
“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with..” Dorothy Gale. The Wizard of Oz by Noel Langley.
As highlighted in an earlier article, dreams have had a huge impact on our world. They have famously helped people find solutions to problems. Mary Shelley had a nightmare that led to her writing the first science fiction novel, Frankenstein. Paul McCartney dreamt the entire melody to his song Yesterday. Neils Bohr dreamt the structure of the atom. Einstein found some of the answers to his theory of relativity in dreams. Other discoveries in dreams include the chemical structure of benzene, the periodic table and the sewing machine. They figure large in most religions. The dreams of Muhammed are central to Islam in particular. Dream analysis was once a very common form of therapy in psychology and has become somewhat of a lost art. More recent research on dreams also demonstrates that they can offer emotional support and find solutions to problems.
In ancient Egypt, the God of travelling in the night is Khonshu, who appears in the Marvel Studios series ‘Moon Knight’. The term traveller also relates to the nightly travel of the moon across the sky. Khonshu was instrumental in the creation of new life in all living creatures. He was the son of the gods Amun-Re and Mut. Being the son of the principal God Khonsu he has similarities with Jesus Christ. It was said that when he caused the crescent moon to shine, “women conceived, cattle became fertile, and all nostrils and every throat was filled with fresh air.” In Tarot artwork, linked to the symbolism of ancient Egypt, and also related to stories unfolding in the Torah, Khonshu is linked to Key 2, the High Priestess, who sits between the columns of Boaz and Jachim inside the entrance to Solomon’s temple holding a scroll marked “Tora”. She symbolises subconsciousness, the unity of being and the unity of love.
The Mirror of the Heart, the Divine Voice and the Judgment of Angels
“Self-knowledge reveals to the soul that its natural motion is not, if uninterrupted, in a straight line, but circular, as around some inner object, about a centre, the point to which it owes its origin.” Plotinus 204–270 AD.
In previous articles, we have introduced the geometry of the hyper-dimensional ball. You may recall the above graph. It plots the volume and surface area of a ball of increasing dimensions. Rather counterintuitively, its volume is maximal in the fifth dimension (the 5-ball) and surface area in the seventh (7-ball). Its volume does not just keep on increasing. In ever higher dimensions, both these properties decline in value, until they approach zero.
It is clear from this graph that there is an approximate symmetry in the fifth dimension for volume and the seventh dimension for surface area. If we compare the five dimensions of the 5-ball with those of the 5-cube (whose geometry we find in the Cathedral Crossing), it contains three dimensions of space, one of time and one of spirituality.
Through the Crossing, the fourth dimension is reflected in the sixth. The sixth dimension is the Choir of the Cathedral, and the fourth is represented by the Transepts. The fourth dimension of time in the Transepts is seen in their geometry. The angle connecting the floor of the North Transept with the ceiling of the South is 23.5 degrees, the same as the tilt of the Earth. So the combination of its north-south alignment and its angle represents the evening-day cycle and passing of the seasons respectively. Moreover, the angle of the central Spire is 83.5 degrees. This is the same as the combined angle of the Earth and Solar System to the Milky Way Galaxy. In combination, this represents the Earth year and the Galactic year (250,000,000 Earth years). This is one part of the Cathedral that describes infinity and eternity.
Any movement in the sixth dimension (the first of the upper worlds/dimensions) is therefore seen in its mirror fourth dimension as the passage of time. This may be what Plato meant when he said, “time is the moving image of eternity”. In addition, we suggested in earlier articles that the Choir was the dimension of the ‘Angels’ and that mathematically this is suggested by the ratio of the volume to the surface area of the 6-ball being uniquely negative in this dimension alone. This reversed ratio, we suggested, metaphorically created the ‘ladder’ upon which ‘Angels’ moved between upper and lower dimensions, as Jacob saw in his famous dream described in the Book of Genesis.
‘Movement’ in a 6-ball would be seen in its surface area would causing waves to travel on its surface. We have described how in physics this would create a sound or voice. This is maximal in the 7-ball, suggesting that this is where the sixth (Angelic) and eighth (Priestly) dimensions meet. This is where the Divine voice is at its greatest, and in the Cathedral, we find this in the Lady Chapel.
Physics tells us that any movement or action coming from the lower worlds through the fifth dimension meets the ‘Divine’ voice from the seventh dimension by ‘interference’ in the sixth dimension of the ‘Angels’ in the choir. In the Kabbalah, this is considered the Sephirah of Gevurah, or Judgment. In the Abrahamic faiths, this is played out with different angels. In Judaism Jacob wrestles with the angel through the night, in Christianity Jesus is tempted by a fallen angel in the desert and in Islam, Muhammad’s first revelation was when he was visited by the angel Jibril (Gabriel), which was initially a struggle for him.
In physics, this parallels the phenomenon of wave interference. When movement between the lower and upper dimensions is congruent, or ‘moral’, then the waves cancel out in the sixth dimension, and the ‘surface of the water’ (in the fifth and sixth dimensions) is like a mirror. The ‘heart’ is clear. It is possible to see through the surface of the water, from above into the deep and from beneath the surface to above the water. Consciousness becomes connected across all realms and there is an awakening.
When movement between the lower and upper dimensions is incongruent, or there is ‘immoral’ action, then the waves amplify and the ‘surface of the water’ is turbulent and there is no mirror, it is not possible to see through the surface. The lower worlds cannot see the upper worlds and consciousness across the realms is clouded.
As the dimension of the n-ball approaches infinity, we approach the basic structure of matter. Just as each part of the universe is created by the One, so the One can be seen in all parts of the universe. This is how the One becomes many, into matter. Just as we see the part and no longer see the whole, or the One, we can see the One in the nature of the many or the matter.
When these dimensions are clear in our consciousness, as the Ancient One says in the first Doctor Strange movie, “[We] know how to reorient the spirit to better heal the body.”
Excerpt from “Eye of Heaven. Lichfield Cathedral a Theory of Everything”.
The ideas expressed in this article are pure speculation, and the author does not claim any truth or originality.
St. Peter’s Baldachin photograph by Jorge Royan 2006
Allegory of the cave artwork with thanks to 4edges
Resurrection explanation with thanks to https://www.britannica.com/topic/resurrection-religion
Pagoda image with thanks to 663highland
Khonshu images with thanks to https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Khonsu