VISIONARY REVUE

THE VORTEX
THE VORTEX

Illustration from the alchemical work:
Escalier des Sages
(1693)

      This is the first time in history that the four elements are mentioned. Empedocles’ vision also implies a circular view of time, and he states clearly in another fragment that “they all prevail in turn as the circle comes round.” (fragment 26).
      But the entire cosmos for him was also, in the spacial dimension, a huge spiral or vortex (‘dine’) continually turning round. The Many were drawn to the One at the centre of the vortex, out of love. But the One disintegrated along the periphery into the Many, due to strife:

      “When strife was fallen to the lowest depths of the vortex, and love had reached the centre of the whirl, in it do all things come together to be One only.” (fragment 35)



 
 
 


PARIS - SPRING 2003

THE ADORATION OF PAN (1979)

      This is the more ancient view of the Creation which Aristotle found confusing. He could not accept that the four elements were, at one time, One and, at another time, Many. He substituted the idea of ‘matter’, saying it unified the four elements while preserving their diversity.
      In Johfra’s Adoration of Pan, we have a magnificent vision of the ancient vortex where the four elements are manifest as both the Many and the One. On the periphery, we see ‘the Many’ as hundreds of minute figures taking flight from the earth, air, fire and water. In the centre of the whirl we behold the union of the four elements in ‘the One’ - the gigantic figure of Pan who, in name and in form, states that ‘I am the All’.
      And yet, as we have learned from The Witches’ Sabbath, the invisible power that moves through these swarming figures is not simply ‘matter’ or even ‘the four elements’, but Life. This is Life’s universal striving for union, which passes through matter, through the four elements, and through all human beings. We are nothing more than Nature bursting into life.



 
 
 


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