Winter Solstice 2015

Winter Solstice 2015

The image at right represents a seven stage process. Each stage is signified by a Roman numeral from I to VII. And within each stage a substance … in response to a celestial influence … undergoes a transformation. The result is something refined and balanced that might be interpreted as a representation of wholeness.

The process begins just above the western horizon and concludes before dawn with the rising of the moon.

Here is a map of the symbols from which the image is assembled and their plain-English associations.

I Lead Lead Saturn Saturn Calcination Calcination
II Tin Tin Jupiter Jupiter Dissolution Dissolution
II Iron Iron Mars Mars Separation Separation
IV Gold Gold Sun Sun Conjunction Conjunction
Copper Copper Venus Venus Fermentation Fermentation
Mercury Mercury Mercury Mercury Distillation Distillation
Silver Silver Moon Moon Coagulation Coagulation

Regarding celestial influences, imagine two on-going channels of motion always at work on a cosmic scale. One is the continuous expansion of the universe such that, ever and always, structures eventually find their limit and break apart. Their components falling into new orbits. Systems ever dying. Ever being born.

And the other channel is the cycles that whirl to life as structures mature such that a person can look up at the night sky a year older and see, perhaps less clearly, the largely identical cluster of stars that shone the year before. Every thing moving a little further away from every other thing, witnessed in patterns of repetition. Much has changed, yet so much is the same that a memory stirs of the last such season. The last time Venus was there just above the horizon. The last time the moon was full. The last time.

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Winter Solstice 2014


Winter Solstice 2014

The image at right is an arrangement of visual components drawn from the tradition of the Yi Ching. In that tradition all of existence can be represented by two lines.

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solid

One line is solid and represents half of all that is, including masculine qualities. The other line is segmented and represents everything else, including feminine qualities.

Together, they might be thought of as depicting a state of balance, about which the Yi Ching has much to say. But the Yi Ching also comments upon 64 states of imbalance, each of which is represented by a hexagram composed of six lines.

The image in the upper right above presents 63 hexagrams from the Yi Ching arranged in such a way that when viewed together they imply the otherwise omitted hexagram, which is called T’ai (Tai).

solid

solid

solid

solid

solid

solid

The hexagram T’ai depicts masculine aspects grounded by feminine aspects. Earth above heaven. One interpretation of that configuration is that even though deep chaos abides, by carefully responding to the rhythms and cycles of the world, peace can be found.

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Winter Solstice 2013


Gold Silver Mercury

Before physics and chemistry there was alchemy. The alchemists asked questions that were beyond the resources available to them to provide satisfactory answers. Many of the gaps between what they wanted to know and what they could find out through experimentation were filled in with speculation and imaginings – usually added on top of the speculations and imaginings of those who came before them.

Substances, like people, generally behave in fairly predictable ways consistent with their personalities. Since the alchemists were intensely interested in substances, and studied them over long periods of time, they felt they knew them. And they saw a little of themselves in their glowing caldrons.

When the alchemists projected aspects of themselves on the substances they studied lots of internal stuff – psychological stuff – was revealed. The image above is composed of 12th Century alchemical symbols arranged to suggest the ongoing process of individual experience.

 

  represents the sun and gold and is a metaphor for consciousness.

 

  represents the moon and silver and is a metaphor for the unconscious.

represents mercury, a fluid state, and is a metaphor for a personality in transition. This symbol is composed of both the symbols for gold and silver, plus a cross that represents space and time divided into quadrants – crosshairs suggesting “you are here.”

Sometimes stuff flows from through  to  and sometimes it flows the other way.

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The “Pulp Art” of Katie Gilmartin

Katie Gilmartin

The image at right is one of a series called “Pulps” by San Francisco artist Katie Gilmartin. It is titled “A Dame Called Dolores” and I hope you will click the image to go to Katie’s site where you can see a larger copy and get a better look at the amazing craftsmanship.

Considerable information about Katie is already available on the Web, including descriptions of the process she employs to create her images. So I’ll mention just a couple of things I find jaw-droppingly astounding about her technique, then offer some thoughts about this particular image.

From time to time for several years I came upon one or two of Katie’s pulp images in various shops around San Francisco. Because I could not imagine that anyone works as hard as it turns out Katie does to create “a print”, I had assumed that she composed on a computer. And I used to stand in front of one or the other of her works wherever I happened to be and wonder, “How the heck does she do that?”

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Image: Sky Lizard


Sky Lizard

One of the things I discovered when I pulled together my thoughts regarding the image at right is that it is the most recent in a related series. Predating the black-and-white digital composition is an unfinished oil painting. And long before both there was the ornately carved exterior of a large trunk my grandmother brought back from “the Orient” in the 1920s.

Also it appears that the process by which the reptile image migrated from canvas to pixels was not entirely conscious. I do not recall most of what occurred. Rather, my contributions were like what might be expected of a hired hand who can follow instructions but really isn’t all that personally engaged in the work from moment to moment.

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Image: Silver & Golden Apples


Silver & Golden Apples

Through his poems, prose, plays, and the friendships he fostered, W.B.Yeats encouraged the recovery of aspects of Irish cultural that were fading away, including a considerable amount of mystical lore.

In 1890 he was admitted to a magical fraternity called the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and in 1899 he composed this poem:

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Image: Geomantic Divination


Geomantic Divination

Hello. This is the first Evening Pilgrim blog post.

The image pictured at right offers a pattern of symbols representing ideas from a book by Israel Regardie titled, “A Practical Guide to Geomantic Divination.” Mr. Regardie was an enthusiast of mystic traditions, and the word “geomantic” refers to the Earth.

When engaged in the form of divination Mr. Regardie describes, a person seeking insight randomly scratches the earth with a stick while considering a question. Then, by grouping the scratch marks into odd and even sets, symbols in the book are referenced. Each symbol corresponds to ideas that can be interpreted as suggestions.

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