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Image by Anastasiya Dobrovolskaya

“The light within the earth, what the alchemists called the lumen naturae, is a primal source of energy and power that has yet to be fully accessed by humanity. It belongs to our natural relationship to life, to creation and its sacred nature…We cannot work with earth’s light, nor will we know the real names of creation, through a consciousness of separation or duality. We need to claim the consciousness of oneness that is waiting for us…Working with this power within creation, we can reclaim our heritage as guardians of the earth, of its sacred and mysterious ways. We can once again be initiated into the deeper levels of existence, the now-hidden ways that energy flows within and around the world. — Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Once your first response to a dream, a bit of news, an idea divides immediately into the moral “good” or “bad,” psychologically you are Christian. Once you feel sin in connection with your flesh and its impulses, again you are Christian. When a hunch comes true, a slipup is taken as an omen, and you trust in dreams, only to shake off these inklings as “superstition,” you are Christian because that religion bans nondoctrinal forms of communication with the invisibles, excepting Jesus. — James Hillman

The quote by Vaughan-Lee is fascinating, because it concerns a vision of the world that contradicts Western received wisdom about the structure of reality. We see ourselves here and God up there somewhere. We experience our belief that we are separate entities living on planet Earth, separate from each other and separate from the deity who created us, who wound us up and turned us loose to run amuck if we wanted to.

James Hillman addresses the question this way; “ Once you feel your own personal soul to be distinct from the world out there, and that consciousness and conscience are lodged in that soul (and not in the world out there) and that even the impersonal selfish gene is individualized in your person, you are, psychologically, Christian.”

This dualism is rooted in our culture and keeps us living on the surface of a very concrete world. We have become geniuses of the material paradigm. We have taken it apart and found a few of its secrets, which we monetize to the hilt. Naturally, we don’t suspect the violation of the sacred that’s involved in our ways.

We’re just trying to keep body and soul together, as they say.

We have missed its soul though, that lumen naturae of which Vaughan-Lee speaks. We have yet to discover it because to find it we may have to be capable of sensing its existence. We may have to remove the blinders we were fitted with as babies.

A spiritually handicapped culture needs people who live on deeper levels. Those are the teachers, the pathfinders and bringers of meaning. That’s what is inspiring about being a writer or artist, I think. You push past the frontiers of beauty and discover the mystery of Creation. For me being an artist is a calling, no less spiritual than any other.

Art is vision and it’s visionary. It goes beyond entertainment into eternal questions. That is why humans can’t do without it. Humans need art in order to be fully human.

We also need the “invisibles,” as Hillman calls them. Our rational, dualistic world is too limited. We imagine the world we inhabit in a remarkably poverty stricken way. Our focus excludes the intuitive knowledge of the world.

In the evolution of the human mind, perhaps we will come back around to the kind of knowing that children quite naturally possess, a metaphysical playfulness. That childlikeness that learns by playing and creating beauty.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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