Category Archives: Sacred Art

Knowledge of the Symbol by Pietro Negri

According to Dante (Convivium, II, 1), ” texts can be understood and expounded according to four senses”: the literal sense; the allegorical sense, which Dante says, “is a truth concealed behind a beautiful lie’; the moral sense; and the anagogical sense. The anagogical sense occurs when “reading in a spiritual way a scriptural passage, which in its literal meaning and in the things being signified points toward the things of eternal glory”; in other words, it is the innermost meaning of a text that, even when it has a literal sense, deals with topics of a spiritual nature. (…) Dante calls this anagogical sense “super-sense.” An-agogy means “to lead” or “to carry upwards,” or “to elevate.” Moreover, when employed as a technical naval term, it designates the act of weighing anchor and sailing away. Metaphorically speaking, when it is referred to spiritual topics, anagogy therefore indicates spiritual elevation or a rising up from the earth. In the symbolism of “navigators,” it designates leaving that “earth” or terra firma to which human beings are tenaciously anchored, in order to hoist the sails and to find a strong current, heading toward the open sea.

Dante was referring to the writing of “poets,” although the distinction of the four senses may undoubtedly be applied to sacred and initiatic writings and to any means of expression and representation of spiritual facts and doctrines. According to this distinction, the “super-sense” in every type of symbolism is always the anagogical sense. The full understanding of symbols consists in the perception of the anagogical sense concealed in them; if anagogically understood and employed, they may even contribute to spiritual elevation. In this sense, symbols are endowed with an anagogic virtue.

, by Kartavirya Also posted in Traditional Metaphysics | Leave a comment

Symbols And The Interpretation of Symbols: Two articles by Ananda K. Coomaraswamy

SYMBOLS and signs, whether verbal, musical, dramatic or plastic, are means of communication. The references of symbols are to ideas and those of signs to things. (…) The language of traditional art—scripture, epic, folklore, ritual, and all the related crafts—is symbolic; and being a language of natural symbols, neither of private invention, nor established by conciliar agreement or mere custom, is a universal language. The symbol is the material embodiment, in sound, shape, colour or gesture as the case may be, of the imitable form of an idea to be communicated, which imitable form is the formal cause of the work of art itself. It is for the sake of the idea, and not for its own sake, that the symbol exists: an actual form must be either symbolic – of its reference, or merely an unintelligible shape to be liked or disliked according to taste. (…) The scholar of symbols is often accused of “reading meanings” into the verbal or visual emblems of which he proposes an exegesis. On the other hand, the aesthetician and art historian, himself preoccupied with stylistic peculiarities rather than with iconographic necessities, generally avoids the problem altogether; in some cases perhaps, because an iconographic analysis would exceed his capacities. We conceive, however, that the most significant element in a given work of art is precisely that aspect of it which may, and often does, persist unchanged throughout millennia and in widely separated areas; and the least significant, those accidental variations of style by which we are enabled to date a given work or even in some cases to attribute it to an individual artist.

, by Kartavirya Posted in Sacred Art | Leave a comment

Interview with Peter Brook

Peter Stephen Paul Brook CBE, director, filmmaker, author, painter, pianist and theater man to the bone, is a giant of world culture. Born on the spring equinox in 1925, Brook produced an acclaimed Faust at Oxford at 17 and at 20 became the youngest-ever director of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. He has since directed over 40 major stage productions, created ten films, and with multiple stage, cinema and television versions returned the dramaturgically languishing gods of India’s Mahabharata to full-time international employment. Although he has produced works as varied and bizarre as Marat Sade, Lord of the Flies, Conference of the Birds, and The Ik, the Paris-base Brook constantly cycles back to the Shakespearean canon for renewal. His primary legacy to the modern stage is a sense of immediacy bordering on possession, taking theater back to the numinous ground where ritual, seance and coven convene.

, by Kartavirya Posted in Sacred Art | 3 Responses

The Mystery of the FUTHARK Alphabet

The alphabets of ancient Norse monuments found in both Europe and Central Asia have stemmed from a common origin in a very remote past. Then, it was only a natural development for the Turkish, and the Germanic tribes that, although in locations so far away from each other, they could seperately carry on with this heritage of writing. I hold the belief that I have been able to prove the claim summarized above by reading the monuments written in Futhark alphabet, or the Oldest Runic, in Turkish through the help of the Göktürk alphabet. (…) The European scholars have come to recognize from the very beginning the obvious similarity between the character forms of the Primitive Norse stones and those of the Central Asian Göktürk monuments, but for certain various reasons have refrained from tackling this point by denying all kinds of plausible relations. All throughout the period of 160 years that elapsed between the years of 1730 and 1893, that is between the discovery of Orhun monuments and their definitely final decipherment, fanciful theories were fabricated about the Vikings’ (or Indo-Germans’, or Celts’, or Goths’) prehistoric emigrations into Central Asia, and the erection of Orhun stones as landmarks of their presence and civilization dating back to several thousands of years BC in that region. Only when in 1893, it was understood that these inscriptions were not written in any other tongue but pure Turkish, then those fanciful theories were discarded, and the proposed pre-historic datings were revised to be not earlier than AD 700.

, by Kartavirya Also posted in Metahistory | Leave a comment

The Esoterism of Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Having attended the new production of G. Verdi’s opera Macbeth at The Gothenburg Opera, I was quite surprised by the unexpected chosen interpretation of this great adaptation of Shakespeare’s masterpiece. (…) The main question I must raise is this: Why is it morally wrong of Macbeth to kill Duncan, if they are the same and why then is it morally right of Malcolm (through Macduff) to kill Macbeth? If they are the same, as they are displayed in Mr. Radok’s concept, then where is the conflict? What is the purpose of writing such a play?
Macbeth’s guilt, agony, pain and nightmare-like visions would be entirely unmotivated if Duncan and Malcolm where displaying the same inferior moral or psychological nature as himself.
The esoteric core of both the play and the opera is manipulated and altered in order to provide room for the director’s outlook of the world and this outlook is a false one. (…) It must be noted at this point that it is not the actual killing that is the supreme conflict, since Macbeth is a general in Duncan’s service and we must expect that in holding such an office death is an everyday occurrence; ordering soldiers to kill other soldiers is something a general must be capable of handling. (…) The very heart of the entire play, however, is the killing of the righteous king; not only because of Duncan’s legitimacy to the throne based on blood heredity but rather from the aspect of what kind of material a righteous king should be made of in order to have a rightful claim to the throne according to universal law.

, by victor Also posted in Metapolitics | 3 Responses
  • If the soul is really immortal, what care should be taken of her, not only in respect of the portion of time which is called life, but of eternity! And the danger of neglecting her from this point of view does indeed appear to be awful.

    - Plato (Phaedo, 107 C)