Beyond what may look like a nice Dolomites crown, on the other side of the barrier there is something rather unexpected: a magnificent upland solely consisting of rocks, the Pale di San Martino di Castrozza plateau. So it isn’t a crown at all, but a huge mountain-mass plateau of about 50 sq. km., so wider than the entire Val Venegia. But, apart from the aesthetic marvel, what really does surprise is the consistency of what at first glance seems to be a high mountain desert, in fact under the surface there is a karst phenomenon, with wide sinkholes (See my article Busa di Manna, the Sinkhole).
Dolomites origin – Perhaps not everyone know that the Dolomites mountains range have peculiar origins: approximately 246 to 238 million years ago, in the area there was a tropical ocean. Around the raised areas of the seabed, the first marine animal communities (algae, corals, sponges, sea urchins, etc.) were capable, joining each other, to build real islands. It must therefore be in these organisms the birth of the first tropical archipelago of atolls from the Dolomite region. That is, the dolomites are mountains of animal and plant sedimentary origin (1). In fact these magnesia-rich sedimentary rocks are very brittle and, subjected to rain and snow physical stress, are slowly crumbling down. The “violin forest” might be an intriguing geotope. So, if not resonant with sounds, the area is resonant with life.
The Light – Let me add a final feature of the area which I did not paid attention to earlier, but just recently when strolling along the violin forest paths with my friend photographer, and also mentioned on an information panel on the spot: the unusual bright light conditions the trees are growing in. The panel insisted it is a main cause of the amazingly good resonance of the wood, since red spruce does its best in excellent light conditions. In fact, as my friend has pointed out, and as you can see from the presented media, surely these spruces aren’t growing in the dark.
The Roman Calendar – It’s time to get back to our main topic: the secret coded in the Roman calendar, directly related to the Stradivari’s soundboards cutting period. Mauro Corona is a writer, wood sculptor, alpinist, mountain lover and researcher in ancient Dolomites legends, and he also has something to say about the Stradivari mystery:
“From Caesar to Napoleon, from the Roman historian Pliny up to French, German and Austrian forest regulations, the best season for cutting wood is winter. The most favorable moon phase is the new moon or waning moon. If the wood was cut in the wrong time it was imposed with heavy fines upon, and even confiscation of trees.
The biological winter, or dormancy, of a tree, does not coincide with the calendar. Lymph circulation stops in the last week of August and starts anew in the end of January. The winter of a tree goes from September to January, in high mountain reaches the end of February.
During this period, in the inner of the ligneous tissue there is a limited concentration of chlorophyll, substance attractive to many species of insects and mushrooms. With the crescent moon, the translocation of chlorophyll increases, while it decreases in the waning moon.
For this reason, the ideal period for cutting a tree, are the days of waning moon in winter months. So, every month there are fourteen available days based on these rules, starting from the first day after the full moon; it is better to choose the days closer to new moon.
These were the official regulations, but the woodcutters did follow a more mysterious, and ancient, calendar, the ancient calendar of woodcutters: in November, the best month because the sap is motionless, the tree is still and twists less. You have to choose the waning moon for cutting, but if you have to make planks for bridges where we must not slip, adds Corona, it is better the crescent moon. These are the ancient traditions, in which the rule was to wait for the right time. For example, if you cut a tree in the first three days of March, it will not burn, but gets black on the outside and does not burn because it is really compact and therefore it is used to build blades for furnaces or chimneys.”
Corona concludes: “Stradivari knew the secret of the night between May 21 and 22 (2), the right time – one in which “the forest does sing” – to cut the resonance trees which are set to become musical instruments.”
From “Tempus Sacrum. Introduction to Roman Calendar Operative Practice”, Victrix 2001: “Maius, May, is the month dedicated to Jupiter’s fructifying power, the condensation of Flos ligneous sap, epiphany of Iovi Maiestas, Jupiter’s majesty. The month is sacred to the divine word Mercurius, sprung from the father’s mind, who pronounces the word which makes to fructify. Maia, the birth of the divine word directly from the ripe stage of the Sun, raised from the obscurity, Mercurius consequence of the Spiritus of Anima Mundi, he marks the dawn of knowledge. The divine child is being born, messenger of gods, agent word.
Maius XXI Agonalia Iovis Dies, the Rex, king, sacrifices a ram to Janus. Being the days sacred to Vediove one should repeat the cycle started in march. Ovid (Fasts): the constellation of Canis raises and also the constellation of Pleiades (Sirius and Alcyon)”. Ovid in the annals puts the birth of Pleiades on 13 of May and Alcyon when the Gemini is bending. Agonalia, in which a ram sacrifice was expected, were codified by King Numa Pompilius, the other two pinnacles were January 9 and December 11.
The astronomical alignment on May 21first – On May 21first the Sun is said to align with Alcyon star in the Pleiades. Alcyon is said being the center of the solar orbit. So Earth, Sun and Pleiades do align in this day. Note the rising of Canis according to Ovid ( he doesn’t mention if Minor or Maior, but when not mentioned ancient did mean Maior). We know Sirius is α Canis Maioris.
In Alchemy the divine child is the Philosophical Egg (3) that is used to emit weird sounds at regular intervals of 24 h. The Hebdomas Hebdomadum, the week of the weeks which gives birth to the Philosophers Stone, is traditionally placed in the second part of May.
The Philosophical Egg’s sounds represent the alchemical “word”. And Alchemy….. is the genesis in small. Would that valley be so interesting if deprived of its “Ice factories” and proximity to the Mediterranean sea? Heat and chill, movement and still, is the alchemical machine of our Secret Fire. How many assonances with our Great Work.
- See Dolomites Unesco Project ;
- Some state the real night is the night before May 21;
- See also Hieronymus Bosch and the Concert in the Egg, Piero della Francesca and the Philosophical Pendent Egg, Brouaut’s Frontispiece, the Organ Pythagorean Proportions, Atorène, Music Theory Course for Alchemists. Part 1, Canseliet, the Art of Music & Weight ;