VISIONARY REVUE

      Winding their way up the tree are a serpent and a lotus, symbols known especially to Egypt, Hinduism and Buddhism. The serpent continually sloughs its skin, knowing in its flesh the mysteries of death and rebirth. In this way it brings knowledge, wisdom and awakening. The lotus flower closes and sinks below the surface of the water at night, then rises and blossoms open above the water each day. It too is a symbol of death and rebirth, wisdom and awakening. The archer - a women with her arrow pointed to the heavens - suggests transcendence.
      Above the tree appears the Eye of Horus within the triangular halo or nimbus associated with God the Father of Christianity. This Eye of Horus, the Wedjat Eye of Egypt, is above all an image of sacrifice: Horus the falcon god sacrificed his eye in combat with Seth to restore his father Osiris to life. And below, indeed, we see the falcon god Horus descending, while the Phoenix ascends. Known as the Bennu bird in Egypt, the phoenix emerges from the flames - once immolated and now resuscitated.
      As our meditation takes us to the next co-centric circle of images, we behold the Christian tetramorph of the winged angel, bull, eagle, and lion. Traditionally, these four are found surrounding sculpted images of Christ on the facades of Gothic cathedrals, symbolizing the four evangelists, and hence, the four revelations of the divine Word.
      But, the Christian image is taken from the prophet Ezekial and his vision of an angel "As I looked, behold... a great cloud with brightness. From the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures... Each had the face of a man in front... the face of a lion on the right side... the face of an ox on the left side [and] the face of an eagle on the back."(Ezekial 1:4) Ezekial himself derived this imagery from Babylonia and its large sculpted door guardians symbolizing the four directions and the four seasons (each season beginning with a sign of the Zodiac: Aquarius the man, Leo the lion, Taurus the bull, and Scorpio who appeared as an eagle).



 
 
 


PARIS - SPRING 2003

UNIO
MYSTICA
(DETAIL)

      We have once more a complex image: firstly, of revelation through the Word, and secondly, of space and time as they frame the hidden, underlying Unity.
      Trying to hold all the imagery of these co-centric circles together, we come finally to the innermost circle: a wheel in flames with the yin/yang at its centre. The flames are a revelation and a conflagration - they devour ignorance and fear;

at the end of time, they transform all things. They are also the sun, the source of light and life, with its door in heaven offering us this world’s transcendence.
      The eight-spoked wheel is the Wheel of Becoming in the Hindu tradition, turning from one cosmic era to the next (yuga), from one life incarnation to the next (samsara) in a never ending cycle of death and rebirth. But, that same wheel later became the six-spoked Buddhist Wheel of the Dharma, the teachings of the Buddha which would turn in the opposite direction of the Hindu Wheel and eradicate its suffering.
      At the centre lies the yin/yang - Taoist symbol of male and female energies in dynamic balance. The Tao recognizes the law of alteration, the exchange between forces, the eternal that underlies the ever-changing and ephemeral.
      A prolonged meditation upon the Unio Mystica would reveal to the beholder, ultimately, the ancient Unity underlying all these images from their disparate traditions. It would also offer him a vision of the Unity from whence the contemplative himself first emerged and to which he will ultimately return. This, anyway, is the sacred teaching of the three traditions mentioned by Johfra as the inspiration for his work: Neo-Platonism, Hermeticism, and the Cabbala.




 
 
 


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