The subject this morning is so vast that there is no preface. Also I have no means in this subject of referring to anyone else, the one and only area where that takes place. The subject is art. Art and craft are always put together. We will talk a little bit about craft, as craft is a separate entity as well.
We have considered the seasons. We have now perceived what is behind the tangible, separated, touchingnesses of time and place, and we have discovered the mystery: the four Archangels. If you will hold that in your attitude, the avenue will lead to the distance of the avenue of art.
Art is classic, beyond all accessible limits, forever. Art can never be amateur. It is not created in the mind. It is not reason, nor is it intellect. It is visual. Craft is in technique, reason, and intellect. Art is idée. The marriage of the leadership of art, demanding the ego—separated magnetic force, within craft, technique—to come out and use it: is creation. The craft and the art married are horticulture: the visible hand of God. Art is seed, is idée. Craft is plant, metamorphosis. Art is the utmost idée with no metamorphosis. Everything that we have in life is that, except growth. The art of color, the art of sound, the art of form, the arts of the senses, can all be in ratio, divorced, separated. The art of horticulture cannot be separated. Lives within itself.
Art in the human aspect—which as I have already mentioned in the first statement is beyond all accessible, forever—therefore in the human element is the attempt to touch idée, the invisible, into birth, unseparated. There is no reason in it. Oscar Wilde1 made the astonishing statement that bewildered everybody for a long time. They scattered on their heels when he said, publicly, “All art is useless!” When we look deeply into this, we discover further methods in reflection.
Art is without question joy, and joy is without question mystery. Therefore, technique is craft and is the procedure to physically, in separation, fulfill the art in a tangible form. Art is invisible. Art is then, within the kingdom of the stars, and is within the essence of seed. And seed contains the essence of mystery.
Look then at what we call art. You have a participle of separations: that the more classic
that your focus becomes in art, the more classic does the art, of course, become. And the more that you create separations, the more that you have to cross the bridge—which your very voice has to cross when you speak on your level—you have to cross the bridge that links the visible to the invisible.
Today, we are so utterly tied up with ahrimanic, that luciferic, although it is playing the utmost, is completely bewildering to us. The whole laboratory, the whole mis-art of agriculture, is this ahrimanic action: only that which is touchable by the physical, that there is only physical, that there is only death, not birth. It is this that has become stagnant for us. It is this whole mystery that art leads us out of. The whole of the arts that concern separatenesses are color, sound, and form, with the senses; they are the whole permanent and perpetual leaderships that are the radii of mystery that never leave us alone. Never leave us alone. They are our entire environement. They confuse us, they worry us, they trick us, and all our senses inwardly are reactive.
And the great envision-ments of classic art always strike to the very center of each individual, whether they accept it or not, whether they can perceive it or not. Just as the trees and the grass and the plants are the resuscitators and the forgivers: thus is art. The whole connection with what we must assess as religion, which takes the pomegranate as its fruit: being all seed and no fruit, therefore being all mystery, therefore being all essence of idée, and no metamorphosis. With the whole astonishment of humanity perceiving this, ad infinitum.
In the B.C., the whole attitude to gods and goddesses under God and Olympus, the whole essence of forms of Olympus, came about after the A.D. to become the cathedral, the monastery. Within the very essence of the focus of that is almost the center point of the approach to art. Was not the whole form formed by the tree, of the building? Was it not a majesty of this separation of idée? Was not the color, the light, was not the sound of the instrumentation, all separatenesses of idée? The art in ascension, wholly, in essence within a seed of the belief in mystery beyond all accessible limits. The whole beauty of that matter was that the cathedral, true mystery to total birth, creation of God, should be the greatest achievement of the art constructed through craft, that man could reflect. More so the feeling that this held, more so than his self, his family, everything around him, his possessions.
No art can possibly be empty. It is not. It is the reverse, the opposite course to separation. It’s a total marriage. The whole concept of every person who is called a ‘great artist’—and of course, none of them have the right to be called a great artist—there is no consideration of return of balance in the scale whatever to the ahrimanic, to the luciferic. It is utter image, idée. When everything is sacrificed to the idée, then everything can be sacrificed to the technique, the craft, to bring it about.
The whole astonishment of this therefore, in music: how like a copy of the bee hive is the whole orchestra that we know of today, where every single entity in the hive operates upon her reflection to a leadership. Not one of the female workers require to have the sexuality of life, but they all do, through the queen. How interesting that all the musicians in an orchestra do not wish to compose the piece that they are playing. It has already been composed by art. And they are performing craft. But in performing craft, they have in their very essence, in their heart, the seed of art. Creation is there and they are fulfilling it.
But every one of them is one hundred percent obedient to a conductor. And the conductor did not compose the score. The score was composed and thrown in the air and written on the wall in notation. That notation is craft, technique. And it’s the possibility for every technical ability to follow it, compose it into paper. How astonishing that you can take a score of music and everybody can play it. It is only black dots on a piece of white paper, and this is verbosity, and this is wordism. They can play nothing themselves, nothing whatever. But out of rhythm, out of true art, true language, comes creation.
The whole of consideration of the art of medicine: when man lived in balance, his food was his natural balance. The word ‘medicine’ did not exist. It was compete. It was complete. It was art. And as man separated his reason and intellect, his mind from idée—art—his internal organs became unbalanced and required more focus from the craft, technique, of the juices of plants, to restore, and the doctor came in. Before the doctors came in, it was the participle of the Druidae, who of course, as you know, were vastly B.C., it was them whose duty it was to be what is called the priest and the doctor, who attended to the spirit of man: the vision, the seed, the art, and the craft; the health of the people. It is the duty of the Druidae priest to be the priest and the doctor. And then reason and intellect divorced, till it limits the art. Too hot; too cold. And the medico, as the family doctor, was no longer valued, and became a specialist, and then became a specialist dietician, and then became a mental specialist, and well you have got some idea of where it has got today.
Remember, then, the statement that origin essence contains the utmost energy. The more divertissement of that origin contains less and less degree of the energy. Now you understand why herbs are moral forces. They contain the utmost energy. The figure, if you like, of the modern horticulturalist, the self-appropriated, divorcing horticulturalist, who is thinking more of himself and his fellow men than Nature, produces a plant that has less energies. The herb is a moral force. The herb is art, contains art. Plants of the garden, generally, not as energies at the present, contain less art and more craft.
Now enters the word ‘arty-crafty’, what you approach in that, what it is. And then invariably you say, “Oh that person. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant! Very clever. Terribly crafty!” Hmmm. So much acumen, that looks so wonderful to the physical eye, and contains no essence, so little idée. Very crafty: complete bewilderment, do you see? But also perceive that all craft, technique, completed with the marriage of idée, is so perfect that craft cannot perceive it. You cannot find the technique of perfect art through the imperfect art. And what is imperfect art? That craft which has not been properly married to idée.
It was in this matter that Leonardo2, as a huge informative within, which he realized that the silhouette of the great Dutch period that followed the van Eyck3, where van Eyck, the van Eyck family, placed the whole background of Nature to the background of the human being, marrying idée with metamorphosis. And that following that, metamorphosis came into the major picture of wanting a subject. It, that we can see them, we can touch. And so they painted everybody’s face on brown sauce. Nature was gone. Essence, idée, was beginning to disappear. You couldn’t go ‘round the back of the head, it was just brown sauce. And you can’t go on swimming in brown sauce.
Leonardo, the enormous observer all the time of the scene, as Plato says, “I do not know, but I do perceive”: he looked always at Nature. He realized that the whole attitude of draftsmanship was a basis and that it was deceptive in that it was touchable, like a photograph is, that is so acceptable to the ice cream palette. The children may swallow it, but the aroma of
Angelica is not. And in his perception he realized the nearest that could be got with color and form was that it must exhibit the vision of idée, the almost bringing of invisible birth into the very painting that is completely a constriction of patterns.
For the astonishing thing is, that when you go into a gallery and look at a picture, you never go up and touch it. But everybody does want to. They go right up and try look ‘round. And because they can’t make it out, they have to look and see what is written underneath to tell them what the painting is about.
This whole matter that he realized, where he perceived Nature always, because he lived in idée. He never really lived in metamorphosis, as when he proceeded from the plan he made (of flying machines), flying in the height of the sky, and led his vision right out of himself, and left it there. And so he realized that all of anything he wanted to paint as a subject, must absolutely be lost in totality. In this he discovered that he must use some synergist that would make no silhouette, no edge, no line. For there is no edge in Nature. There is not an edge to the stem of a tree, which only our educated parental mind pretends that is there. It’s a pretense.
So he discovered that the juice of the fig was that magic synergist. And so secret was his discovery, that of course, like all great artists, as they must, must hide it in the dark and never reveal this. All great artists are secret. They will not confide. Nobody is ever allowed into the rehearsal of a great player. Nobody is ever allowed into the studio of a great painter whilst the painting is going on. When music is being practiced, it is not open to the public. It couldn’t be. That would become amateur. But nobody must perceive the craft, the technique, for that is going to surround and be obliterated by idée. This then is art. This is classic art.
You see something of it in Aeschylus4. Aeschylus wrote this play Prométhée (Prometheus Bound), which today, how interesting, nobody can sit it out because they can’t follow it. The whole mind of the thinking of metamorphosis cannot permit the reflection of idée. For it doesn’t add up. “I am sorry but I can’t hear. I’m sorry but I can’t see. I’m sorry but I can’t feel. Because I have no sixth and seventh senses or inner touches. All the movement that is a lizard in me, that is the flight of an aphid, I have drowned. Because I hate, and it is no longer in me to touch it. It is in me, I know, but I can’t any longer touch it. Because I am of such vast separation from idée, from art. But, I am only craft, and I am utterly crafty.” This vision, then, in this Prométhée, which is so profound, it probably goes beyond the other great dramatic works that are concerned in the whole mystery of fable, parable, mythology, fairy story—that connect with this whatever, inestimable, un-accessible vision that is art.
Nobody knows where fairy stories come from. And you can’t write one. Why? Oh, because it is too full of very obvious metamorphosis. And everybody says, “He just thought it up!” A fairy story, basically, is around idée. And as you can’t touch idée, you can’t make it come out and say, “There it is.” Oh yes, there’s a moral there, but you can’t take it out. And when you hear the parable, or a fable, or a fairy story, you find yourself not listening to words at all. You are traveling to unknown, un-envisioned worlds. And they all connect differently with different radii of personality, of individual. Fairy story is not the same to any of us, any more than is color or sunlight. It is not the same to any of us. It’s mystery.
In this Prométhée then, is the enormous envisionment, such as Puccini5 brings out in the unfinished opera of Turnadot, and as Wagner6 brings out in Parcival, the search for the Holy Grail. Only the Pure Fool can find the Holy Grail. Not anyone with reason. Only that one who can resolve into art, idée, can find it. And so in this Prométhée, we get this astonishing story, revelation, when you consider when it was written, four hundred and fifty years B.C.; that here is the whole word that we use now, ‘love of humanity’, stretched on the furthest extents of the unvirtuous world, of cruelty, on the rocks of the highest mountain, for the vulturous bird, the destructive bird, to tear out the liver every day, that it should grow again, into another. And that this agony must be survived, because it reflected art, seed, to the gods, who change, who under God, who are all governed by God. That those gods were unchangeable is nonsense.
And because Prométhée represents the utmost vision of art, seed, in his great love of humanity, in which he brought this fire in the (hollow) stalk (giant fennel stalk—Ferula communis), the story is that he must be stretched in this way by all the basilisk of the world, the steel bands of hardness, of the furnace that produces the movement of steel, the hardness, the most resilient, of infamy. That he should be bound to the highest mountain, to the wickedness of the utmost bird, to strike at the midwinter of Zeus, to bring his vision to God, to art. What an astonishing thing to be able to put in words. And that all the ancient Greeks went to it and to a degree comprehended it.
And yet today, there is not a performance of it that can either be given or be accepted. Just as in the enormity of that other drama of Aeschylus, the Oresteia, the great judgement of Orestes, for killing his mother, for his mother killed his father. And Orestes, being led by Apollo to perform the act, now has to come before the whole jurisdiction of art, to be judged. And that judgment is like the hundred keys, with the last key of the hundredth room. And that key is now the place of the ordinate, the judgment—not the mind, within the reason of Orestes.
And so it is to Pallas Athena, the epitome of female, who when she comes to give her evidence and cast her decision, which is to make the final decision for or against the existence of Orestes, she says to the Furies, who emancipate and stand for all of the basilisk of humanity, all of those things that bound Prometheus for his love and duty, it is that she stands forward and says, “There is only one edge, and that the mother killing the father, and the son killing the mother, are not equal.” That she, Pallas Athena, does not represent that mother, for she was created out of the mind of Zeus, and was not a person in herself. Well these enormities are visions, and this is art, classic art.
We are always trying to say today, because we live in this wonderful world that we have these wonderful motorcars and airplanes and everything at our fingertips, we can do just what we like, when we like, in every way. We are so clever…so far. And we really look upon the world as our discovery. In fact, you have just had a centenary I believe, or a bicentenary. But how different is that bicentenary to a birthday? A birthdate was a seed, an art seed. The bicentenary: it’s an illusion. It is a craft.
In the matter of what we are inclined to construct as art, we mix in craft. Craft is utterly incomplete, and cannot exist at all without art. But craft can be over-divorced, over-separated and applied to the visible and married. And where people are exemplified by living tangibly and visually only: carnal. Then art, an idée, a gift, is of course there. It has never changed its position at all. It is the sedge in everything. But it is not perceived; it is only a mirror. Therefore, you see, a person is not a person at all. A person is a technical achievement around art. And if you can consummate the huge vision of art, you are part of the reflection of the firmament. The other is only a part of a reflection of metamorphosis, which is very perceivable. And, only being seen, is very difficult to be unseen.
How very fascinating that everything that we have in this world, then, is even a slight metamorphosis, partly, of everything that is in horticulture, in the individual. Nature is without a doubt the craft of God, the technique of visibility of the art of God. And that is what that statement is, as you know, in Pliny and Virgil, and certainly out of Ptolemy. And the great mystery of Solomon. Where they all said that the teaching of the plants, of the herbs, was the teaching of God. This, then, is a very astonishing matter, that when you play your piano, when you sit on a carpet, when you put a jacket of green upon you, when you comb your hair, you are fulfilling the reflections of the metamorphoses of art. There is nothing that can be performed in the whole world, by anyone, that is not participle of art.
But, if the balance of craft is not of the reflection of the birth of art, then it is limitation, and can become sick. Is this not the tinned pea? Is this not the frozen pea? Looking at food then, do you perceive that out of the essence of horticulture, the garden, is the whole envisionment of all forms of the senses into the world of art. That is the invisible vision. And that any form of technique, of craft, that is reflecting that vision, will be creative. And it must be that way ‘round: within to without, and never without to within.
Referring to these matters of the carpet and its texture: “Oh!” you would say, “I am not thinking about trees or leaves or the hair on the plants.” Aren’t you? How do you know? For when you see a tree in the middle of a meadow, you would look at the tree and say to everybody, “Do look. It’s the most beautiful tree! Isn’t it wonderful?” And everyone says, “Yes, isn’t it wonderful?” But it isn’t it at all. It’s the approach to the tree. It is the light. It is what is behind it. It is either the blue sky, or the clouds, or the stars shining that is making the tree what it is. It’s totality in it.
For that is what must concern us now so deeply. It’s humanity that must concern us, for that is classic art. And then when you come back to us, well, alright. We’re in the position of being able to see fully again. If you take it out from one’s self, you have got the division of the circle into an angle of separateness. And it is unbalanced, has no proportion to view, to focus. What was Leonardo talking about this edge? It is all part of this vision. You can’t find it. It is not like today saying, “I know it.” Because that’s a wrong way of living. But how interesting that when wordism became so terribly dominant, instead of drawing, or music, which after all is so much more speaking than words, for that is why composers and painters do what they do. They are born with the absurdity of words. And poets are born with the absurdity of words, and they write poetry. They are putting art into craft, not craft into art.
Then a person studies with professors at a university, and they understand the craft. But nobody can understand art, because you can’t understand it. So they study craft, because that’s something they can do. And it is very important to do. And when they have done it, they do it. That’s metamorphosis. It hasn’t got any birth. So you get pianists and musicians and composers who write corpses. But even a piano, even a violin string that is catgut, stretched on pieces of wood, tied together and stuck: they’re all technique. They’re all craft. And inside it the original was idée and you can’t find it. You can’t find it inside a violin. I had a Stradivarius: I have often taken all sorts of microscopes and telescopes to look inside and try to find out where this happens. It did nothing.
How interesting then, that beautiful poetry, the beauty of words, was brought through idée, into metamorphosis—the gurglings we make in our throat: “Huh, huh, ooo, ooo, ahhh, ahhh, blub, blub.” An yet you all understand each other. And even the birds comprehend this, because there is idée: that’s the connection. How fascinating that at that time, in those idiotic guttural noises, within drawings, and we call them a vocabulary, you can read it with your eyes, and you can hear it with your ear. Do you understand me? I don’t. How can you see a sound? This is the metamorphosis, it is a technique and a craft.
You can do it. You can make a propeller go ‘round underwater and tear along. But it’s all about idée, quite literally. Yet if the technique and the craft is placed before idée, you can be sure there is something wrong. You have got the idea quickly. Then those guttural verbosities, put then in the formations of drawings, which we call words—they were a little ashamed, and as you know the Druidae wouldn’t allow it. They would only have it done through the guttural noise of the possibility. And then as little as possible. For they understood mystery. But when later it was done, and written and drawn in black on white, which is what we call print on paper, ha ha…you understand it clearly, don’t you? Yes of course. Do you? It is incredible, isn’t it?
None of this is really touchable. How interesting that they may have done that: black on white, print on paper, that they were a little ashamed, like Adam and Eve that had to put a fig on the wrong place. A fig leaf, I mean. (Laughter—someone jokes about the synergist of the fig juice.) So it was necessary, as you know, to draw vine leaves all around the pages, in order to say, “This isn’t the drivel that comes out of my spittle, this is Nature.” And so the books all had beautiful illustrative figures, and even the letters were violets coming out of the ivy leaves. And the whole of the front, which was made of Fagus wood, as you know, was all embellished with carvings that were of tree stems and leaves and the veins of leaves and so on. But all produced one, art, vision, that was to say to you, “Please understand that what is in here is idiot metamorphosis, but that somewhere within it is art!”
Do you want to talk about it? I have always loved art, within everything else in the world.
Q: Alan, you asked a question that you didn’t answer. What has become of the individual?
The individual is a mystery.
Q: Alan, you spoke about the ‘over-craft’. Where you were going out of the temperature zone. Is that where the craft becomes to the point it is copied?
The ætherial world, prima mobile, the secundus mobile, the visible, and the invisible. You know what you’re trying to do? What I have, in a sense, suggested to you, I have deprecated. You are trying to put a cage to put the bird in. For every one of us we have different Cancers and Capricorns, the areas around the equator, and different poles. You could’t survive very long as a person at the North Pole or the South Pole. As you come down towards Cancer and Capricorn in either area, you could begin to reflect. Every one of us would have a different area where that could happen. Do you follow? There is not a cage for the person. The planets do concern with arithmetic of the reflection of our lives. We are married with totality. The person is Nature.
I beg you, you must forgive this study. As I say, it does not refer. I did want to get this study in, because I said it does not refer. It should not be reasoned upon our intellects. Best to do it a little bit slowly.