The previously unknown Bernard Lietaer

In his text “Credentials of a Flying Fish” Bernard Lietaer explained why he was so “passionate about supporting the evolution of our money system”: it best served his life-long search for “the highest leverage place for improving all other systems”.

The foundation for this approach was his view that everything is energy. And Bernard worked ceaselessly trying to positively influence the energy flows of this world for the better (find his own description of this in the interviews with Tesa Silvestre from 2008).

He studied the energy systems of the earth’s surface as a major influence on the planet and all life on it, and researched how they have been used all over the world, in different cultures throughout time, to reinforce the effect of sacred buildings – from temples in South America, to the Egyptian pyramids and gothic cathedrals. As an advanced member of Freemasonry, he had access to much esoteric (meaning: non-public) insights about such energies, sacred geometry, and similar traditions of knowledge and practice. 

Throughout his life, he pursued this part of his work in secret, even though he considered it foundational for his visible work in reforming money and finance. He was afraid that there would be little understanding or even repercussions from the world of economics and the general public. Consequently, for the small number of essays and articles he published on such topics, he used the pseudonym René de Bartiral (an anagram of his name Bernard Lietaer).

Towards the end of his life he decided, together with other Freemasons, that it was time to make much of the “secret” knowledge available to the public. This unusual step was taken in hope that it would contribute to the resolution of the pressing issues facing our world today. Another reason was the fear of some aspects of this knowledge being  misused against the best interest of all, if it was available to a few initiated people only.

When, only a few weeks before his death, he was asked whether he would agree to a comprehensive biography being written about him, he wholeheartedly agreed for that very reason. He wanted all parts of his life’s work to become known and, above all, to show the connections between the different fields that he so passionately researched. To his biographer, Peter Krause, he first revealed the use of his pseudonym. Until that moment, less than a hand-full of people were privy to this side of Bernard Lietaer, including for example his friend Axel Vervoordt, whose testimonial can be found below. 

Alongside the biography “Bernard Lietaer – Life and Work”, this new website aims to make all of Bernard Lietaer’s ideas, knowledge and hopes available to the widest possible audience. The library section contains all of his publications, many available for download, and can be filtered for texts written under his pseudonym (see author: “René de Bartiral“) and for all texts not primarily concerned with money and finance (see Curated Topic: “Non-Financial”).

The following text was written by Axel Vervoordt, renown interior designer and arts dealer from Antwerp, who was a close personal friend of Bernard Lietaer – one of the few that knew of Bernard’s expertise beyond money and finance.

“Soon after we  purchased the castle of ‘s-Gravenwezel, we were introduced to Bernard Lietaer through some mutual friends. He was a well-known expert on monetary systems and economics, which seemed to be far from my personal interests, so I never thought our worlds could meet so close. He became one of my most important teachers in sacred geometry, ratios, the golden section and esotery – the secret knowledge of old. Years before, the artist Jef Verheyen had already introduced me to these concepts, but Bernard deepened my knowledge and made me realise how important they must have been in the construction of the castle and its gardens. Bernard could talk for hours about the esoteric meaning of numbers and how architects from ancient cultures, from Peru to Egypt to the cathedral of Chartres, used their intimate knowledge of ratios to build the most iconic temples and churches. 

In Western Europe, this so-called “sacred geometry” was part of the esoteric traditions. The Compagnonnage, Freemasonry, and some religious orders, like the Benedictines, Augustinians and Cistercians, were the key transmitters of this knowledge. It was passed on to initiates in secret societies and was not meant to be shared with the general public. Bernard was convinced that knowledge from the past – be it in medicine, engineering or architecture – had to be recuperated and shared. In the course of the restoration of the property of ‘s-Gravenwezel, Bernard’s help turned out to be crucial. Over the years, in my work as a designer of furniture and interiors, this knowledge became more and more vital. It made me realise that the knowledge of proportions, to which Bernard instructed me so well, is essential in the search for balance and harmony. It’s the key to finding happiness.

In preparing the exhibitions for the Palazzo Fortuny in Venice (2007-2017), I organised “think-tanks” with scholars from various scientific backgrounds to contribute to the specific topics from their perspective. Subsequently, we made a synopsis of what had been discussed and this became the invitation we used to ask artists, collectors and museums to lend us their works. Bernard took part in these ‘salons’ and his contributions resulted in new insights that were essential for the final concept. 

For the exhibitions Academia. Qui es-tu? (Chapelle de l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 2008) and for PROPORTIO (Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, 2015), he contributed to the catalogues under his anagram pseudonym ‘René de Bartiral’. He was afraid that using his real name would cause him reputational harm in the financial and economic worlds where he was a respected and serious scholar. He was also afraid that the world wasn’t ready to receive the sacred knowledge that was kept secret for so many years. But when he came to ‘s-Gravenwezel, he could talk freely and without  fear about his interests in esotery, spirituality, shamanism and energy flows. At the end of his life, Bernard revealed  his pseudonym to the world and felt relieved that his complete personality was shared in the biography written by Peter Krause.

For the financial world, this side of him may appear as ‘the unknown Bernard’, but to me, beyond any such segregation, he was, first and foremost, a true friend and teacher who taught me so much.”

Axel Vervoordt (