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Artist Info:
The banner at the top of each page of this site was designed and drawn by Barbara Holtermann Novogrodski. I suggested the elements, and we both took our inspiration from the magical illustrations of Pauline Baynes - especially her treatment of the C. S. Lewis Narnia Tales. I owe Barbara a great deal of thanks for her patience, skill and willing participation in helping me discover the tone and symbolism appropriate for this site and my ideals.
Should you wish to contact her for comments or requests for her services, simply send E-mail to the following address, and I'll see that she gets the information promptly.
Contact Barbara Holtermann Novogrodski:
Regarding the elements of this banner, they are primarily built around the number Seven - which is also part of the site name. Although the tone of the picture starts with the gentle touch of Narnia, the inspiration is more deeply rooted in that singular alchemical text, Splendor Solis - a book I have studied for nearly 40 years. Finally, my teacher Anthony Damiani's hand is surely in here somewhere, for he was a master of blending wisdom and art in whatever he touched.
hengeOn the left side there are 7 stars and a stone-circle built upon a seven-pointed star, and comprised of 10 stones, while the Moon shines in her Gibbous phase.
mountains On the right side of the banner there are 7 mountain peaks, 4 trees and 3 animals. The Sun is shining through the mountain and into the morning sky.
Between the two lies the Ocean of life. The right side represents the revelations we 'find' in Nature, and the left the revelations that have been left to us by the Ancients - otherwise, Astrology and Wisdom, or Jñâna.
The Number Seven has a remarkable property, which is best revealed in its geometry. Although we can draw a seven-pointed star, we cannot do so precisely, nor can we construct one using a straight-edge and a compass. In astrology, an aspect of one-seventh is called a septile, and measures 51°25'42" and change - for 360/7 is an irrational number. And therein lies the power of the seven. It breaks through the rational order of the circumference and gives us a peek at what lies beyond; it allows something from beyond the orderly measure of the solar system to enter our world truly for the first time.
Returning to the right-hand elements of the banner, they are all governed by the Sun, the Solar-Logos, whose triple light creates, penetrates, and illumines the world. A profoundly subtle example of this image can be found in Plate 19 of The Splendor Solis. Manly Hall discusses this doctrine in his The Secret Teachings of All Ages; after that, you're on your own. animalsThe three animals are a horse, a fox, and a deer. The Horse has many meanings; the one I like best is the Cosmic Horse of the Brihadârañyaka Upanis:ad. The Fox, besides having a personal reference, is an important figure in Buddhist and Native American tales, as is the Deer. For now, let's say that each represents a different sort of living wisdom - that of the body (horse), the mind (fox) and the heart (deer). At another level, they represent Reality, Deity, and Self, respectively. All three manage to live well and together under the blazing power of the Sun.
treeThe four trees might represent different types of trees - oak, ash, fir, and maple, but mostly they're just trees. The choice of four is more important. There are four basic functions that spring naturally from the ground of our psyche: sensation, intuition, feeling and thinking. These are dim echoes of the four Great faculties rooted in Soul: Intuition, Reason, Sensation and Imagination (as defined in Plato). In either case these faculties do not change in themselves - they simply provide us with different approaches to the given contents of experience. In contrast to these, the three animals represent the paths of Karma, Jñâna and Bhakti - each using a specialized form of Willing, Knowing, and Feeling (respectively) which modifies as the person matures. It is also said that the four lowest cakras - our self-survival, our desires, our collective identity and even our individuality all fall away upon our death, while the upper three - our morality, wisdom, and consciousness - live from life to life.
In the end, this banner is about two things: feeling-tone and symbolism. The living world is a miraculous blend of perceptions, images, symbols, ideas, and reality. For myself, it is unlikely that every experience or aspect of our lives can carry all these elements - and it is impossible that we have no commerce with any of them. One of the primary themes in my work (as I have learned in preparing this site) is this fact: we are blessed and enriched as we learn to see the interwoven layers of experience. The best tools we have for this learning are the durable revelations of the Wisdom Tradition, and the daily instructions of the Planetary cycles. I hope to show you something of these tools through my various efforts, and I expect to learn far more from you in return.
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