From The Temptation of St. Anthony, Hieronymus Bosch
Readers who follow this space regularly have probably noticed how many photographs are cropping up from the Temptation of St. Anthony; and there is a reason for this. I am currently working on a second volume of my book, The Esoteric Bosch, entitled Bosch Decoded. This new volume will contain detailed esoteric explanations of the Temptation of St. Anthony, the Hay Wain, and contain chapters about several other aspects of Bosch's work.
Symbolic language and imagery, which has an unparalleled power to penetrate into the depths of man's psyche, has been nearly extinguished in the modern era. We still live, spiritually and psychologically, deeply embedded in the world of Carl Jung's collective unconscious and the soulful realms of Swedenborg's Heaven and Hell, Dante's Divine comedy, and Gurdjieff's All and Everything. These realms are as real, to man's psyche, as the iPhone is to modern communication; yet little or no attention is paid to them. One cannot, I would argue, begin to understand who we are or what life is without a rich and extensive contact with this world of symbolic language and imagery; yet we devolve steadily into a world of Philistines, creatures that swill down food and consumer goods like automatons as though that were the sole purpose of life.
As I work on my interpretations of Bosch, it occurs to me that the messages he painted are, as unlikely as it may sound, essential to our understanding of ourselves, in the same way that an understanding of literature and the arts is essential to the formation of society and culture... this is, without a doubt, what Parabola magazine is all about; keeping the tradition of tradition alive.
At any rate. Perhaps this is not exactly what I planned to talk about as I began this post, but it is what has emerged. This space serves so often as my personal diary for what I am currently experiencing and thinking about, it hardly bears mentioning — and as tightly focused as most of my essays are, I think the readership will be willing to indulge me if the occasional post rambles about a bit in the back 40.
Last year, I wrote a series about the perfections . Returning to posts from February, on the singleness of all Being, I would like to comment about the nature of perfection within time, in relation to individual arisings.
The perfection of Being takes place through an interaction between the organism and the receiving of emanations from higher sources, either our own sun, or higher suns. Perfection is an intermittent experience, because of the nature of emanation and the way we receive it; but perfection does reveal itself in all objects, events, circumstances, and conditions—according to our receptivity.
That is to say, all of these elements of Being — i.e., arisings experienced through conscious participation — are perfect, and have an inherent perfection that is indelible and eternal.
Because of how we usually are, objects, events, circumstances, and conditions do not manifest this property within our perception. We are stunted; only a three centered perception — which leads to the arising of a fourth state of awareness — can see the perfection that exists in all things, at all times, everywhere. It is, in a very subtle sense, the sensory experience and vision of God Himself in absolute manifestation within the relative.
I realize these words begin to sound difficult. I apologize for that. All I am trying to say is that God is everywhere at all times, and it is possible to come into direct physical, intellectual, and emotional contact with this quality of Truth. It is a mystery; but it is not a mystery meant to be cloistered in secret, sacred places where robes are worn and arcane chants are engaged in. This kind of experience takes place in broad daylight, everywhere, all the time. We are simply desensitized to it.
Understanding the nature of symbolic language and imagery has a bit of something to do with preparing the soul for the receipt of such understanding. But only when the symbolic language and imagery properly serve a sacred purpose. The art of this has largely been lost.
But we can find traces of it everywhere, if we look.