Refinement of Nature Through Art

Elias Rubenstein

Kabbala offers a treasure of symbols and a perfect concept of the path of self-awareness.

The symbols of the Western Mysterytradition, as those of the Rosicrucians and Alchemy, are particularly powerful and provide a signposted path of self-knowledge. Their uplifting impact is in contrast to the so-called “therapeutic art” of many historic and contemporary artists. In “therapeutic art”, creative artisans use art to dispose their unsolved psychological problems or complexes. There is no denying that most people’s lives are paved with problems and challenges. Often, one can discern the poor soul development or the inner war or hatred in “therapeutic” artworks. A lot of modern artists tend to create destructive, taboo-breaking or repellent artworks, as the sensationalist public lusts for such objects. The current trend promotes such art movements, which can then be eyed up at imposing museums, combined with intellectually overstated guidance. Inasmuch as popularity of these allegedly intellectual circles grows, these therapy objects migrate to the dwellings and offices of those prospects, who can thereby flaunt their luxury or air their “cultural” understanding. Some artists get bogged down in a stage, when they come to terms with their problems, and mistake artistic work with therapy. The main factor responsible for these destructive trends in art, is the rudimentary comprehension of life. A professionally managed psychotherapy could provide more relief than a random “art therapy”. Oftentimes, one can surmise a fundamental identity crisis behind.

Stein der Weisen

Other artists, however, reveal an inner soul development during the course of their creative cycle, undeterred by prevailing trends. Then, the quest for meaning, religious topics and aesthetics come to the fore and stand in contrast to the youthful rebellious and uncontrolled excesses. Inasmuch artists experience inner spiritual transformation and are able to express this through their creative work, they can fulfill their life mission – therefore their vocation – through artwork. Comprehensive self-knowledge is a prerequisite for this pursuit. Hence, artists are able to make a conscious decision about whether they want to make a valuable contribution by designing something for their fellow beings, which is constructive, enriching, meaningful, aesthetic and uplifting.

“That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done; So there is nothing new under the sun.“ (Ecclesiastes 1: 9)

In a cloudless night, when we look at the starry sky, admire the sea surf on rocky cliffs at sunrise, or an imposing thundering tropical waterfall, then it is perfectly understandable that common ordinary art is not capable of competing with these natural beauties. Divine creation holds splendid beauty, provided our senses are trained to recognize it. Thus, it becomes obvious that the task of creative artists can not be rooted in aping the visible nature. Nevertheless, man is able to develop a skill to frame higher spiritual concepts through art.

„One Look is Worth A Thousands Words.“ (Fred R. Barnard, 1921)

Nature does have some inherent limits, and thus, can not depict these mysteries, which are referred to as the “refinement of nature through art” in alchemy. If an artist is granted the grace to fathom these mysteries, he will permeate the superficial appearance to the existence behind. This truth behind can be foreshadowed by symbols and abstract depictions. These symbols constitute merely a hint, but they are not to be confused with the truth itself. The deeper the self-knowledge of an artisan is founded, the more authentic is this reality behind expressed. The absolute beauty of this reality can not be fully expressed by art, since art itself is restricted by its means and transience. However, art is capable of conveying a dimension, which could not be experienced by man.

The term “Hermeticism” comes from the name “Hermes.” In Greek mythology, Hermes is the intermediary between mind and matter. Hermeticism holds methods for unfolding spiritual abilities in order to understand the meaning of existence, to become connected with the spiritual light, and to build an inner, permanent relationship with the Creator of the All.

The Hermetic wisdom tradition has kept proven tools for the spiritual unfolding of mankind for thousands of years. It also holds verifiable answers to the most important, fundamental questions in life.

Hermetic Academy