Friday, May 01, 2009

Alhambra and Sacred Geometry | from Alex Grey's Chapel of Sacred Mirrors blog

1.
I am a garden adorned by beauty:
my being will know whether you look at my beauty.
Oh, Mohammed, my king, I try to equal
the noblest thing that has ever existed or will ever exist.
Sublime work of art, fate wants me to outshine every other moment in history. How much delight for the eyes!

- Poem at Alhambra, at the court of two sisters

2.
One of the most brilliant, pioneering and visionary artist and mystic of our time, Alex Grey with wife and artist Allyson Rymland Grey, recently returned from studying the mysteries of Islamic patterns and Sacred Geometry with Keith Critchlow at the Alhambra in Grenada, Spain.

On the experience in CoSm blog Alex shares his inspirational thoughts as I quote here:
"The Alhambra is an enormous palace which houses various mosque chapels and was built during the 14th century with a devotional energy rarely seen in any architecture. The Alhambra is a staggering outpouring of immense beauty and heavenly geometries seamlessly interlocking -- covering every surface with flaming prayers cascading into pools of crystalline architectural wonder with every step. The anti-iconic edict in Islam lead their artists to craft ingenious patterns of infinite interconnectedness. The Soul is made visible. Artists became receptive vessels of Allah in order to reveal divine order to elevate and enlighten the world.

After visiting the Alhambra and Chartres Cathedral, two of the most sacred and powerful artistic and architectural accomplishments of humanity, and analyzing the conditions which favored such creative endeavors, it appears that the current moment in the stream of eternity may again be capable of supporting such a dream. In unique mystic soil, rich with the confluence of great traditions, at times of conflict, such imaginings of Temples have been born. While the Catholic church led the crusades in an attempt to destroy followers of Muhammad, suppress the genius of Ibn Arabi, and bury the wisdom of Jewish Kabbalists, a small community devoted to the perennial philosophy, sought dialogue between traditions and glimpsed the outline of a more universal spiritual expression.

Though today certain exoteric religions threaten the foundations of life through wars and bloodshed, the esoteric truths at the core of all religions are being affirmed by great mystics and philosophers who are in dialogue as never before. A visionary interpretation of universal spirituality, a legacy of art and architecture expressing peace, inclusiveness and earth honoring, created by artists in our time, is possible and called for today."


3.
About Alhambra and Muslim infuenced Spain:

Islam in Spain among others have greatly influenced Christian Mystic Thoughts. Strange as it may seem, some of the most important mystical symbols used by St. John of the Cross and St. Theresa of Avila are of Islamic origin, specially that of Spanish Sufis. Miguel Asín Palacios, Spain’s foremost Arabist, was able to trace St. John’s dark night of the soul to the Shadilite school of mysticism, as well as St. Theresa’s seven concentric castles to an anonymous 16th-century treatise called the Nawadir. What the critics have deemed extremely mysterious and “original” in Spanish mysticism is, in many ways, just the adaptation of Islamic mystical symbols. And Alhambra and other great places of Spain are witness of such influence.

The Alhambra Palace was one of the greatest architectural wonders of the world when it was created in the 13th and 14th centuries, and it remains so today. It is situated on the hill of Sabika, overlooking the city of Granada. Alhambra means, literally, "The Red," and at its height it was the royal city of the Nasrid Kingdom, the last Muslim kingdom of Spain. At its peak, as many as 40,000 people lived and worked in the Alhambra. > Read details via Wikipedia Entry on Alhambra


4.
About Artist and Mystic Alex Grey:

Alex Grey was born in Columbus, Ohio on November 29, 1953. Young Alex would collect insects and dead animals from the suburban neighborhood and bury them in the back yard. The themes of death and transcendence weave throughout his artworks, from the earliest drawings to later performances, paintings and sculpture.

Grey was an instructor in Artistic Anatomy and Figure Sculpture for ten years at New York University, and now teaches courses in Visionary Art with Allyson at The Open Center in New York City, Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, the California Institute of Integral Studies and Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York.

Grey's unique series of 21 life-sized paintings, the Sacred Mirrors, take the viewer on a journey toward their own divine nature by examining, in detail, the body, mind, and spirit. The Sacred Mirrors, present the physical and subtle anatomy of an individual in the context of cosmic, biological and technological evolution. After painting the Sacred Mirrors, he applied this multidimensional perspective to such archetypal human experiences as praying, meditation, kissing, copulating, pregnancy, birth, nursing and dying. Grey’s recent work has explored the subject of consciousness from the perspective of “universal beings” whose bodies are grids of fire, eyes and infinite galactic swirls. Renowned healers Olga Worral and Rosalyn Bruyere have expressed appreciation for the skillful portrayal of clairvoyant vision his paintings of translucent glowing bodies. > details biographical sketch.


# Resources:
. A Virtual Walking Tour: The Alhambra via Saudi Aramco World
. Alhambra and Granada. A visit in 3D virtual reality

. Poem of written around the courts of Alhambra
. An Esoteric Quest for the Golden Age of Andalusia: Sufis, Kabbalists and Christian Philosophers in Medieval Spain (pdf)
. Moorish Culture in Spain
. The Alhambra Palace
. Cordoba Mosque and Alhambra
. Chapel of Sacred Mirros Pin It Now!

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