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.
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:
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.
On 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.
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.
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.
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.
we can easily see a seven-pointed star - just look at the
placement of the stones in my "henge" in the banner - but we cannot construct
or derive this obvious placement. It turns out that we have to see such a placement
first before we can duplicate it - in other words, this image must be revealed
to us, we cannot easily discover it in nature, nor ever construct it from using
the ordinary tools of geometry. other figures on our own, it cannot be crafted,
nor is it a number that is easy to discover in Nature. However, once we have
seen this number, we just love to use it: the seven cakras, the seven seas,
the seven dwarves, the seven ages of man, lucky seven, and so on. For a more
detailed examination of this number and its properties, you can search this
site or look through my Number Symbolism in Astrology
document (available for purchase)...I recommend starting with
my source-material file.
back to the banner, the 7 stars represent the aforementioned septile, and its unique power of penetrating beyond Reason into the Nous itself. They are also represent the 7 Rishis from whom the Vedas sprang. Below them stands a stone circle, marking a seven-pointed star, with a three stones at the Northern end, forming a portal into a deeper wisdom. There is also one more stone lying within the circle - making a total of 10 stones connecting 7 points. This combination of 7 and 10 is meant to reference the celestial objects used in philosophic astrology: the 7 Chaldean 'planets' - Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn - to which are added the three Trans-Saturnians: Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. And then there's the human counterpart - the seven cakras which become 10, after the Sahasr,ra has been illumed and the Sage now brings new light to Mind, Speech, and Heart.
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
. Manly Hall discusses this doctrine in his The
Secret Teachings of All Ages
; after that, you're on your own.
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.
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.
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.