Skambha paddock, Palani Hills, and Thea’s tree, planted by her in 1986 from a slip of the ‘Realisation’ tree from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry.
Aeon Centre of Cosmology (ACC), situated on the land known as Skambha, was established in 1986 near Perumalmalai in the Palani Hills of Tamil Nadu, South India, by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet (Thea). The Centre ‒ 17 km below the tourist area of Kodaikanal ‒ stretches across acres of hillside and pastures, bordering the Gangavar River. Aeon Centre of Cosmology is supported by Aeon Trust, a not-for-profit Educational Trust registered by the Home Ministry of India, holding 80G status.
Skambha Falls, Gangavar River
Aeon Centre of Cosmology: Early History and Current Activities
In January 1987, Thea wrote to her newly appointed Board of Trustees about the founding of her Centre:
The focus of this past year has been the founding of the permanent site for our Aeon Centre of Cosmology, with considerable success. Its location is a very sacred place and propitious for our work. I would like to point out that this is not an ‘ashram’ in the traditional sense of the word. Nor is it a conventional educational institution.
For this reason I am calling it a ‘centre’, meaning a central focus of a new force working in the world, where people may come who are interested in the new Consciousness that is manifesting on Earth, a place where they can come into contact with the living essence of that Consciousness and learn to become channels for its expression in life. To establish the ‘life divine’ of Sri Aurobindo’s vision. This is a centre of cosmological/yogic studies, by an applied cosmology, and a practice of Sri Aurobindo’s revolutionary Supramental Yoga.
Because of this newness, it is not possible to compare ACC to any other place on Earth, find models for this work in any other organization or ashram. We are ‘hewing a path’, and therefore it is often not possible to explain a work that is unveiling itself before the clear lines of its new course have been traced. We are discovering and disclosing a completely new path, ‘a new way’.
…. This work can be a beacon, a stable point in the midst of a dying civilization. For this reason I have named the new land ‘Skambha’, that ‘Support of the world’ sung of in the Arthavaveda,
that ‘cosmic pillar’, that ‘axis mundi’. When all else falls and collapses, Skambha shall ever remain.’ With blessings, Thea
Founder and Director, Aeon Centre of Cosmology
Thea was drawn to India by the Mother in 1971 where she received many keys of knowledge which led to profound realisations regarding the continuation and fulfillment of Sri Aurobindo’s work in India and the world. The greatest key proved to be the Mother’s original vision and measurement of the Inner Chamber of her temple—and its luminous core, which the Mother describes as “the symbol of the future realisation.” Another key was The Gnostic Circle – a term she used to describe the configuration of the Vedic Year with its 9 planets and 12 months within 360 degrees.
The Tenth Day of Victory, Volumes 1 and 2 are an autobiographical account of her extraordinary initiation into the Supramental Yoga and what was revealed to her thereafter.
Thea passed on 9 October 2016. Her departure leaves behind a world-wide family of friends and students who are infinitely grateful for her part in the descent of Supramental Gnosis in our Age of Aquarius, introducing a higher understanding of our place in the evolutionary scheme, and paving the way for the higher manifestation of the Divine in the world.
Thea – Early photo at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1973
ACC – Early History
One of the first actions upon founding Aeon Trust was to establish a branch in the USA for the promotion and distribution of her articles, video conferences and her books. Aeon Group: A Corporation for Spiritual Renaissance, based in upstate New York, continues that commitment. For cover art, excerpts, and a description of each of her books, see www.aeoungroup.com.
Visitors to Skambha always comment on its exquisite planning and construction, honoring every tree and stone and contour of the land. It is hard to believe the estate was once a bare scrubbed mountainside. Thea’s primary concern always included improvement of the environment as well as the living standards of the people from the adjacent villages.
In a document she wrote in 1989, titled Project Proposal, Cheese Factory and Related Services, she gives a detailed description of her objectives and the situation at that time. Perumalmalai was considered a rural territory with a population of about 1500, and the region which once had housed thick shola had been significantly denuded by contractors over the years. The people employed on the estates were primarily a floating population of immigrants from Sri Lanka who had very sporadic work; their homes were mostly mud and thatch roof. The road passing down into the valley from the main Palani Ghat Road was ‘more akin to a river-bed and not fit even for walking’.
In this proposal, Thea states that the Trust and Aeon Centre of Cosmology had a role to play:
“We do not believe in charity. We do believe in Development. Nor do we believe in a development which benefits only a few, and usually the more affluent. The Aeon Centre of Cosmology does not wish to grow in the midst of poverty. And it is ideally situated and prepared to bring about an integral development of the small area where it operates. It is the aspiration of the organization that this valley will one day be in a position to stand as a model for the rest of India, in particular the hilly regions…”.
Aeon Trust and Aeon Centre of Cosmology have acquired a reputation over the years of integrity and seriousness of purpose. The result has been that with little funding Thea, her students and staff have enriched the lives of the local people.
Thea, 2005, at a Skambha Puja with Sai Srinivasan, Trustee
With her students (and with the help of the cow and horse she had been gifted) Thea started making parmesan and gouda cheeses ‘the old fashioned way’, in a large pot in their kitchen. They were so well received throughout South India that in 1995, they moved into a large cheese production unit on the property. Later, in 2000, Thea officially incorporated Caroselle Dairy Products Pvt Ltd.
On 21 December, 1991, on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, Thea wrote:
‘Cheese making is a sacred operation. One is creating a cosmos. One takes the milk of the cow in its ‘unformed’ state and one creates thereof a form – from this primordial energy. When it hardens (usually in a round mould like the universal bodies), it is then the Horse – for the Horse is that prana/time breath without which the process goes nowhere; the symbol par excellence of movement, hence Time.
In the cheese-making process movement is initiated, brought into being, accelerated. One is creating a cosmos (the cheese). One is taking the light-energy of the Cow and by the help of Time’s breath (of the ‘horse-sacrificial) – out comes the CHEESE!
After Thea’s passing, Aeon Trust found a partner in Tulya Milk Products and shifted the cheese making and distribution to their company located in Trichi. Under the new management of Mr. Balakrishnan, they continue to make world class Caroselle cheeses (see www.carosellecheese.com).
The Role of the Cow and the Horse at Skambha
In India, since Vedic times, the Cow and the Horse have been regarded as living symbols of Consciousness and Force, respectively. The important role played by these animals at the Aeon Centre of Cosmology is described by Thea in an early issue of The Vishaal Newsletter:
In the Vedic Age both Cow and Horse were sacred symbols—and they were often coupled to convey a single truth… The Cow symbolises Light and pure Consciousness. Indeed, the Sanskrit word for cow, ‘go’, means also light or ray (of the Sun). In the Rig Veda, however, the Cow was much more, the word being pregnant with meaning. She was synonymous with the Supreme Mother Aditi, and hence a symbol intimately connected with a creation in matter.
Taken alone, the Cow as synonym for Aditi, the Mother of Unity or undivided pure consciousness-being, is as if lacking the effective power she is supposed to possess in order to give shape through the Divine Maya to the material creation…
The Horse is the propelling power, the movement, the speed which allows for solidified bodies to come into being (hence the Upanishad presents the material universe in the figure of a horse)…. The Horse is hence that movement of the Supreme Consciousness without which no form can arise… The horse, we may say, is the materialisation of energy. By consequence in the Rig Veda it is the energy in the ‘cave’ which, when released, provides the vehicle and fuel for extension of the boundaries from mind to Supermind.
Thea, The Vishaal Newsletter, Volume 3, Issue Number 4
Thea interacting with students at ‘The Future Realisation’ Exhibition,
Aurodan Gallery, Pondicherry, January 2014
ACC’s Ongoing Work
In a paper titled, ‘Aeon Centre of Cosmology, its nature and activities’, Thea wrote that the study of universal harmonies is the focal point of her yoga, and of her centre: ‘… EVERY activity at the Centre is measured and assessed according to the cosmological yardstick. The tool for this exercise is the Gnostic Circle.
‘With this tool, work at the Centre encompasses every aspect of life in an apt reflection of Sri Aurobindo’s injunction. ”All life is yoga”. But the objective of the work at the Centre is to unveil the deepest inner truth of life’s varied expressions… In this light the Centre at Skambha is on the order of a laboratory. In this ‘nuclear space’ the formulas of the new cosmology are tested on the basis of non-speculative LIVED experiences… Its correct description is an APPLIED Cosmology, with time and its various cycles as the field for this verification…’
Skambha remains the place where Thea’s students aspire, in their daily lives, to apply this cosmological tool, the Gnostic Circle. With Thea’s passing, the primary activities at the Centre are to archive and make available her voluminous body of research and to promote her books.
Thea’s Indocentric Cosmology
An Introductory program is open to all who are interested to know more about Thea’s Indo-centric Cosmology. The details are as follows:
Welcome to Aeon Centre of Cosmology (ACC)
India has always been a civilisation with a purpose. The world needs her gifts, her ancient wisdom today more than ever. This is her message:
1. On February 29, 1956, Sri Aurobindo’s collaborator, the Mother, announced, “The manifestation of the Supramental upon earth is no more a promise but a living fact, a reality. It is at work here…”
2. “There is a new world being born… it is not the old one transforming itself, it is a new world that is born.” (The Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry)
3. “There must be one nation that serves as the womb during the birth of the new world. India by destiny is that centre, but she has yet to awaken.” (Thea, Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, Founder, Director ACC)
Introduction to Indo-centric Cosmology – 1 hour program
The program starts with a short walk through the forested grounds of Skambha. Entering the learning centre guests will view the ACC Gallery which shows images side by side of India’s traditional wisdom and the new cosmological tools which ‘update’ their ancient knowledge. Guests will view a power point presentation on India as the ‘geo-cosmological centre’ of the unfolding new world.
(left) The Mother of Pondicherry sitting before the map of Akhand Bharat. (right) The zodiacal sign Capricorn – ruler of India – fits perfectly on the land mass of this subcontinent.
For Adults and Teens 15 years and older. Suggested Donation – rs. 250/person
Books on the New Way Cosmology available for sale
For people interested in an introduction and ongoing study of Thea’s Cosmic Harmonies, the Centre offers a four part series. Each program opens with a concentration on Thea’s ‘First Breath Horoscope’ and is followed by a discussion and power point presentation on one of the following topics:
Part One (9) – The Gnostic Circle: A Synthesis in the Harmonies of the Cosmos
Part Two (6) – The Magical Carousel – A Zodiacal Odyssey
Part Three (3) – Indo-centric Cosmology
Part Four (0) – Chronicles of the Inner Chamber (revealing the profound Keys of Knowledge contained in the Mother’s Vision of Her Temple, the Matrimandir)
Thea teaching participants about the Gnostic Circle at the ‘Ennead of Convergence International Conference’, Skambha, 2008