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Symbolism

The purest and most profound form of communication is no doubt symbol. For by its color, shape and proportions a symbol can represent a complex idea, a living principle or concept, perfectly at a glance.

At the same time, however, the meaning of symbol may seem impenetrable to those uninitiated to its meaning. It is for the latter when faced with symbol to contemplate, toss aside as meaningless, or sense the presence of profound meaning. The long and careful research, contemplation and introspective consideration of a symbol may yield a certain level of understanding. However, as with the hieroglyphs of the Egyptians, the true keys to their esoteric meaning can only be revealed through the initiation of those who have been thoroughly tested and found to be pure, worthy, and self-mastered by those who see and know all. Far be it for Joel to claim to be among the former. However, the thirst is there, and this is all important in taking up the long and arduous path towards full, permanent and transcendental illumination.

The use of symbol in Joel's work is primarily intuitional backed up with metaphycial study. It may be that having possibly been initiated in the past Joel's higher consciousness knows full well certain meanings of symbols or glyphs. In turn this knowing may be only communicated semi-consciously into his work i.e. without full understanding. To this end, while Joel has his own views or feelings concerning the meaning of certain symbols, the veracity and appropriateness of his use of them must be left to be judged by those who have full knowledge.

AN EXAMPLE OF COMPLEX SYMBOLIC MEANING: THE ANKH

Let us look at the Ankh, commonly referred to as the Egyptian symbol of life, as an example of how a symbol can be the synthesis of numerous concepts to bring about a specific living principle, function, or idea.

If one contemplates the Ankh one might say that it is a composite of three distinct parts.

Figure A.

Here we see a circle, a horizontal line and a vertical line.

The Circle: Think of the qualities inherent to a perfect circle. The circle is a line with no beginning and no end, and in this manner it symbolizes eternity. The circle may be said to be whole, one, and undivided. As such it represents the "All of creation or the "Whole of the Universe with all its attributes and dimensions undivided, the coming together of all consciousness. The perfect circle is also the shape of the Sun, it therefore, represents light and illumination which by analogy could signify total consciousness, total awareness, an understanding of all truth. (Of course there is a dark side to consciousness however it is always dominated in principle by the light. When one gets a bright or brilliant idea it always uplifts one consciousness. When one contemplates some dark, treacherous, or devious action or thought, it invariably drags one down.) Finally in association with light one finds the quality of life. This association is multi-leveled and no doubt complex beyond our understanding. However, consider for a start that without Sunlight there would very soon be no life on earth, and that all living things have aura's of light.

Thus we can say the circle represents a complex association of ideas: Oneness, perfection, eternity, life, light and the complete consciousness of all that exists; interestingly all seem interdependent.

The Horizontal line: This is a line with a beginning and an end. It may be measured. It begins in one place and travels in one direction to another. To my mind, these are attributes associated with time. Time itself may have no beginning or end but the experiencing of it has moments which we define as such. Moreover, the horizontal direction of this line suggests that it travels on a plane or perhaps within a certain dimension. When we leave the dimension of waking consciousness and fall asleep our sense of time leaves us. Perhaps because so much of our time based experience is associated relative to the two dimensionality of the earth's surface the experience of time seems relative to movement on a plane or surface which seems horizontal. This is true both in the sense of the time it takes man to travel any distance and the fact that the movement of the sun, moon and stars are all seen as regulators of time in relation to the effects of a horizon.

Therefore, let us conjecture that the horizontal line symbolizes the dimension of time.

The Vertical line: We don't experience the passing of time as something which leads us from below to above or vice versa. So what experience or phenomena may be conceived in this manner? From a physical point of view the higher we rise the more we see. This is one way of expressing a scale of heightened awareness. Obviously when one begins to speak of levels of awareness or consciousness an unending realm of possibilities opens up. But however we may conceptualize different states of consciousness it is easy to imagine them being ranked on a scale from highest to lowest and vice versa. Higher consciousness is aware or lower consciousness. The opposite is most probably unlikely though the mystic might argue that lower consciousness in the case of man has an innate awareness of higher consciousness. And that the latter makes itself felt through ultimate impulses of general dissatisfaction and self-destructive behavior within lower levels of human consciousness. This is because, try as he may, man, being fashioned after sublime and eternal principles, can never be at peace groping among the illusions of the mire.

Indeed the architecture of man's very body was designed with all the elements of higher consciousness built in. Part of this architecture of higher consciousness are the chakras aligned one above the other superimposing shushumna and the spinal column. The lowest chakra, in kanda, superimposes the reproductive organs and consists of a four petaled vortex of power which harmonizes with matter, the four elements and four directions of the physical plane. Six chakras above, superimposing the cranium, is the crown chakra. Described as the thousand petaled lotus, it is the sleeping portal of light which opens up to cosmic consciousness when actions and will, by their perfection, have brought it to full activation. Thus, within the body itself as a mirror of the universe, consciousness rises along the vertical line, from lowest to highest.

Therefore, let us imagine that the vertical line represents consciousness in all its states from lowest to highest with the highest interpenetrating all that is below.

Figure B

Here the three elements of symbol remain the same except that one part of the circle's unending line has been drawn down into a point.

Figure C

Finally the three elements: the perfect circle, the horizontal, and the vertical line are united in a specific manner which brings together all the dimensional concepts associated with these.

Thus the Ankh may represent:

Perfection, light, and eternity as part of cosmic consciousness pulled into a point in time which one could call the eternal now, which in turn permeates all other realms of lower consciousness or which exists as the summit of all awareness, all reality. This might be considered as a definition for the essence of Divine or Supreme Being. Or, seen another way, it could represent the true definition of eternal life or eternal spirit. And indeed all the Gods or Neters of Egypt are portrayed holding the Ankh as symbol of their being one with Life Eternal.

This approach to contemplating the meaning of Egyptian symbolism and hieroglyphics is entirely indebted to R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz and luminaries like John Anthony West who have carried on along the same path. Both might point out, however, that the true understanding of symbol cannot be rationalized or verbalized; it must be experienced.

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