Chambers of the Mind: Art, Imagination and the Inner Eye

“The ancients knew something which we seem to have forgotten.”
Albert Einstein

ROCK ART from the upper Palaeolithic period through to the Bronze Age, depict numerous symbols associated with the stars, the Sun, sexuality and the emanations of a vital magical power in nature. Other symbols speak of duality and the forces that have shaped our. It’s as if the artists that created the images on rocks, in caves and along the canyons of the ancient world were trying to explore, through their art, a newly found aspect of their own inner being. Alchemical illustrations produced by artists/alchemists from the Middle Ages also depict the same deities and archetypes as did the earlier temple art of Egypt, Greece and further a field. What seems obvious is that a priesthood of alchemists or shamans were recording and illustrating the sequence of events, mainly through symbols and allegory, which explain the connection between the ‘divine’ and the human senses. It is my view that drawing and art is a form of communication that was considered near to the higher consciousness, for our ancestors and this is why the shaman used symbols and imagery, so to communicate deeper and more profound levels of understanding.

According to the Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist Carl Jung, the collective unconscious contains Archetypes which are universal primordial images and ideas. At Jung’s time the archetypes were accepted mostly as cultural phenomenon or as something originating in the inherited structure of the brain. However, scientists since, have begun to look for a physical mediator between the brains of the people, still assuming that the archetypes, which control our minds, are originating and containing in the structure of the brain. The mass extinction’s of species were actually mass replacements of species with more advanced brain capacity, while having the capability to hold memories of previous evolutionary phases within the very cell structure of our bodies. From this perspective the brain can be compared to a computer and the mind to the software that facilitates the evolution of our Universe. Not only has the hardware (brain) been altered through evolution, but the software (the mind) too has been written or programmed to project set realities or paradigms. Humanity has within its genome structure the memories of past evolutionary phases and the ability to call on the time commonly described as the ‘fall’. In the Twelve-Century the artist, visionary and abbess Saint Hildergard of Bingen also said of the time before the ‘Fall’:

“Art is a half effaced recollection of a higher state from which we have fallen since the time of Eden”.

This statement along with much research into cave art, by historians and nuerobiologists hints at the possibility that the human consciousness, our prehistoric ancestors, went through immense neurological and biological changes around 40,000 years ago. You could say that our human ancestors brains were upgraded, (as if by magic), to facilitate what some scientists refer to as a ‘higher-order consciousness’. In mythology and oral traditions spanning the globe this ‘new found ability’ of a ‘new earth race’ was described as the ‘gods’ giving knowledge to the first humans. Legends associated with Prometheus and the ‘light bearers’ recorded in ancient myth are part of this story. However, the more one researches into the subjects of alien visitation symbolism and relevant mythological accounts, it seems that one strand of our original ancestors, the Neanderthals, disappeared abruptly, while their ‘replacement’ Homo sapiens seemed to flourish. It is the latter species that we in our modern physical form are said to have originated from. The course of this book would be insufficient to cover this particular strain of the subject in great detail and I am not a scientist (obviously). But I feel it is worth investigating further the so-called sudden fall of the Neanderthal in line with the discovery of Earth’s oldest art works.

Atlantis & the Artist Apes

It seems from an overwhelming amount of historical and modern day evidence that a highly evolved civilisation once existed on the planet. This civilisation has been referred to as Atlantis, Antilla, Aztlan, Shangri-la, and Hyperborea, to just mention a few. According to many ancient texts, this global colony was one of several continents now submerged under the sea in the area now called the Atlantic. Its is also said that its sister continent was another ancient landmass called Lumeria, located in a place now where the Pacific Ocean formed. Many battles between the gods recorded in ancient myth, are really stories that tell of the earth wars and the technological ‘star wars’ between these two continents. My own reading of the subject leads me to believe that what was called Atlantis was actually a state of mind and the manifestation of that level of evolution could be seen in a very different topology on the Earth. It may also be feasible to suggest that what has become a collective amnesia point in history called Atlantis (Lumeria), may well have been a place or state of mind that exists beyond the physical world. Therefore Atlantis the movie (part one) became Atlantis the fall and much art and myth, especially in the ancient world, seems to capture themes that relate to these two Earth ‘states’ of existance.

bigfoot  grot7

When Our Ancestors Became Aware of the Inner Eye!

As human we are naturally gifted with an ability to see, feel and imagine and it is often referred to as our charisma, magnetism or our aura. The origins of the human soul, or spirit and the imagination are all aspects of the source that creates all life. As creators in our own right, we have the ability to draw in and express this vital energy, especially when we are in a heightened state of awareness. You could say that it is this magic and power emanating from a person that makes them seem super-human and charismatic to others. In some cases this energy can be turned on and tuned into by forces that exist outside of this three dimensional reality, so that the individual concerned, seems ‘god-like’. Some of these thought forms (energies) can be of a lower frequency range; others are of a higher level of love and wisdom. What we align ourselves with through our thoughts and actions will attract the same states of mind to us. As always it is the intention behind the thought that creates reality. In this way angels can also be demons, depending on our state of mind and how open our hearts are. In more modern terms it could be said that what we eat, watch and think, we become.

It could be said that all life exists because of the creative impulse that ignites the ideas, which become solid forms in our world. Everything from a mountain to a teaspoon only exists, because of an energy that formulates particles of matter, which solidify or slow down to become physical objects. Whether it is the mind of the Earth (Gaia) shaping the landscape of her body to accommodate changes brought on by how we as a species relate to her; Or an idea in the mind of an individual, which then becomes a painting, book or film in the physical world. All physical forms exist because of the influence of unseen forces and how they aid us in delivering our personal magic to the world.

The eye, the cosmic and philosophical egg and the matrix are common subjects found in visionary art. They have also found there way into science fiction films, not least the film The Matrix, which I will consider in great depth in a later chapter. The Egyptians used eye symbolism to symbolise the fact that we see with the brain and not the eyes. In scholastic tradition there are three chambers of the brain, which work on a co-operative basis and this concept can also be found in the aboriginal stories relating to the dreamtime. These chambers are the imagination, knowledge and memory.

Alchemical studies also show the macrocosmic concepts in relation to the eye and the egg and how we perceive the world around us, using our imagination, knowledge and memory. The astronomer and mathematician John Dee (1527 -1608), who was close to the Tudor Blue Bloods, used the egg as a glyph for the ethereal heavens, simply because the orbit of planets within it forms an oval. For the 15th century doctor and philosopher, Paracelsus, “the Sky is a shell which separates the world of God’s heaven from one another, as does the shell of the egg”. “The yolk represents the lower sphere, the white the upper; the yolk: earth and water, the white: air and fire”.[1] The 17th Century alchemist and artist Robert Fludd also said of the eye and the chambers of the brain:

” … in relation to the five senses of man: earth: touch, water: taste, air: smell, ether: hearing, fire: seeing. This “sensitive world” is “imagined” in the first brain chamber, by the transforming power of the soul, into shadowy duplicate, and then transcended in the next chamber of capacity for judgement and knowledge: through the keenness of the spirit the soul penetrates to the divine “world of the intellect” [heart]. The last chamber is the centre of memory and movement.”[2]

Paracelsusalchema

Alchemists and visionaries throughout history connect images of the egg and the eye, and both relate to macrocosmic understanding of how we see the world. Large parts of William Blake’s poetry are concerned with a detailed engagement with Isaac Newton’s materialist view of the world. Isaac Newton as we have seen was a high ranking member of the Rosicrucian Order and connected to the creation of the ‘this-world-is-all-there-is science. For Blake the physical are was dull and dim “like a black pebble in a churning sea”, and the optic nerve, to which Newton pays homage, “builds stone bulwarks against a raging sea.”[3] Blake instead turned to the work of Jacob Böhme, a 15th Century philosopher and alchemist, to develop his own optics of the visionary. In fact every level of Blake’s poem Milton is based on an optical model within the form of a cosmic egg. The egg shell for Blake, as seen in the illustration of the Four Zoas, signifies mankind’s limited field of vision, “an immense/hardened shadow of all things upon our vegetated Earth, / enlarged into dimension and deformed into indefinite space.”[4] The egg represents what is often called the ‘freeze vibration’ and is also a symbol for the conditioned ‘enclaved’ aspect of the human soul. The four intersecting circles are inscribed with the names of the four Zoas, the apocalyptic creatures that represent the elemental forces of the Universe (for more on this see Through Ancient Eyes). The egg-shape for Blake also represented the world of Los, a mythical figure for the eternal imagination, which forms the illusory three-dimensional space defined by the two boundaries of opacity (Satan) and the material condensation (Adam). Stripping away the religious terminology, the eye (egg) obstructs man’s free vision of things as they really are.

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The scientific journal, Scientific American Mind ran a special edition in 2004, which covered similar themes relating to seeing and the illusions, conjured up by the interaction of eye and brain. Science can show that the brain’s assumption that light shines from above the head is preserved even when we rotate our field of vision 180 degrees. Viewing shaded spheres like the ones here (illustration), at 0 degrees and 180 degrees, we find that a visual switch occurs as if the sun is stuck to our heads and shining upward from the floor. Signals from our body’s centre of balance the vestibular system -guided by the positions of little stones in our ears called otoliths, travel to our visual centres to correct our picture of the world (so that the world continues to look upright) but do not correct the location of the sun.[5] Interestingly rock art, made by shamans dating back to a window between 13,000 and 5,000 BC also depict the sun as though it is ‘stuck’ to the head of the figure in their imagery. Imagery of this kind, along with the huge amount of prehistoric art depicting wave forms, may well suggest that our artist ancestors were fascinated by the illusion of light opposing dark and the invisible forces that structure how we ‘see’ the world – or don’t see?

Notes:

[1] Paragranum 1530.
[2] R Fludd, Ustriusque cosmic, Vol II, Oppenheim, 1619.
[3] Blake, Milton 1804.
[4] Blake, William, The Gates of Paradise, 1793.
[5] The Scientific American Volume 14, Number 1 2004, p. 100.