Worthless & Priceless

“And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” — John 1:5

Light   besieged   : “ Vision fantástica o Asmodea,”  one of Goya’s secret     Black Paintings    , murals on the inside walls of the house where he withdrew near the end of his life.

Light besieged: “Vision fantástica o Asmodea,” one of Goya’s secret Black Paintings, murals on the inside walls of the house where he withdrew near the end of his life.

Imagine … an Unquenchable Light

Lock such Light away in a dungeon … of Absolute Dark.

Here is a metaphor of Soul trapped within Body.

Imprisoned Light burns

but cannot illuminate.

Displaced Dark moves to envelope Light,

to enclose Light within a shroud, a cloister, a stone gaol.

Theirs is an unbearable intimacy. Each chokes upon the other.

… Essence besieged by Flesh … Body scorched and charred by Soul …

Spiritual quests often begin at such an unhappy divide of Body and Soul. To reconcile Soul and Body is a pilgrim’s formidable task. If the adventure ends well then the traveler returns home to celebrate a triumphant Wedding. Contraries unite in a happy marriage.

Light opens the seeming emptiness of Dark,

revealing its depth and heft.

Dark deposits shadow behind the raw glare of Light,

outlining what is revealed so it may be seen.

Alchemists struggled to understand this mystery through their own metaphor, the Philosopher's Stone, matchmaker for the Chymical Wedding in a laboratory. The Philosopher’s Stone, as a metaphor, has no one form or shape or physical description. It is a numinous device, a catalyst that purifies and ennobles whatever it touches: base metal transmutes into gold and common medicine becomes the elixir of immortality.

An alchemical text, Aurora Consurgens, calls the Stone both

"vile and dear…"

"worthless and priceless…"

The Stone is an antinomy, a paradox which breaks all laws of logic, which goes against all that is allotted or assigned in the material world.

Tradition assigns ambiguity and disorder to the Female. Both the Stone and the Soul are named as Female. From Aurora Consurgens:

“nought is more base in appearance than She, and nought is more precious in nature…"

"men and children pass Her by daily in the streets and public places, and She is trodden into the mire by beasts of burden and by cattle…"

Imagine the Philosopher’s Stone as a raw diamond, unrecognized amid rubble and rocks and clods of earth, lying unnoticed by Road, Way, or Path. That which is most precious hidden in plain sight amid that which is most common.

Light accessible : Detail from Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s allegory,   The Effects of Good Government  . The countryside is safe, peaceful, and productive. Travelers have greater opportunity for seeking  She  who is hidden in plain sight amid clods of earth by the road.

Light accessible: Detail from Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s allegory, The Effects of Good Government. The countryside is safe, peaceful, and productive. Travelers have greater opportunity for seeking She who is hidden in plain sight amid clods of earth by the road.

Why clothe Her, valuable and sacred, in material that is mundane and profane? Because in that dress She becomes accessible to all Seekers alike …

… rich and poor

… righteous and criminal

… learned and ignorant

… wise and foolish

… a Treasure free for the asking, a Door open for the knocking, a Virgin eager for the loving.

 

Like elections, metaphors have consequences. One is that which makes Degradation a devout and pious disguise for the Female. So orders Tradition in its authoritative voice, the voice that booms from inside burning shrubbery and from the foggy summit of divine mountains. Tradition acts offended when we real-life/non-symbolic females reject devotion and piety and degradation — but that’s entirely an other subject. Confusing the literal with the metaphorical is a hazard of Consciousness, one of the Trickster heuristics.

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