Human beings have always sought in art a transcendence that goes far beyond themselves or society – and they have always been helped to find it. According to Jan van Rijckenborgh and Catharose de Petri , historically, this interaction between the abstract and the concrete goes through three stages.
In the first stage, transcendence acts in favour of humanity. It is when the human being undertakes the process of the transformation of his consciousness, starting with external information that he perceives with his concrete consciousness.
In the second stage, transcendence works with humanity. The person goes through an experience of intense intuitive work and creates his own identity.
In the third stage, eternity in time is realised through humanity. An abstract superior consciousness is acquired that allows the human being to act in the world with transcendence. This is the path of connection with the divine, the spiritual dimension.
Life of each one of us passes through these three stages at all times in a non-linear way, and we firmly desire to achieve such a state that transforms us from beings of time into beings of eternity. In other words we seek Royal Art, or Spiritual Alchemy – the process that transforms lead (the superficial awareness of reality) into gold (the awareness of a higher reality). In this way, it is possible to reach the Philosopher’s Stone, the culmination of the Great Work: the alchemical marriage of Soul and Spirit. That’s why, just as art renews itself in various movements, we constantly turn our eyes to previous experiences, taking a deep breath to go forward and discover new paths.
If we draw a parallel between artistic creation and our personal state of consciousness, we can say that we are our own creation, our own work of art.
In the first steps of our spiritual journey, we often cling to all that is concrete and let ourselves be carried away by guides and external factors, or by narcissistic self-knowledge. Insecure, we repeat what we see, what we think we see, and what others want us to see. It is as if we were merely transcribers, copying what we see outside, following already known techniques.
At a second stage, we start to rethink our creation. We wish to show our impressions and expressions. We still use external sources, but we have already transformed them through our inner perception. It is the beginning of the search for Real Art. It’s as if we were starting an alchemy that is still earthly, but going a little deeper. After gaining further insights, we experiment with different possibilities, in search of higher self-knowledge. It is a turbulent phase, when we realise that we start to repeat ourselves, to copy ourselves. We have reached a state of saturation. Then we want to go beyond our own work: the ego itself is no longer happy with itself. We realise that we need to “get out of ourselves”, renew ourselves, be reborn.
In our life experience, all our emotions make us question the notion of what is ephemeral. As in a baroque painting, the fear of death makes us see the conflict between darkness and light and the grotesque and disproportionate within us. The passing of time provokes great spiritual urgency within our soul. Suddenly, all perspectives blend together. Surrealism is such that, even turning inwards, we remain in a state of semi-drowsiness, experiencing fantastic and fanciful dreams.
Until one day, tired of so much agitation, we seek silence – and, like a blank canvas, it envelops our souls. In stillness, we move into the third stage. Suddenly, the discovery of a new perspective shows us that there are countless points of view, and that each one of us, with our own identity, is responsible for our choices. After intense intuitive effort, we see a new being emerging within us, desiring to participate in the Great Work of inner alchemy, at the service of the world and humanity. From our constant rebirths and new and creative insights, fed up with our baroque drama, we finally surrender.
In the midst of so many transformations, caused by our consciously active work, alchemical transfiguration takes place in us, the transformation of “lead into gold” – because, as the alchemists say, it is necessary to practice ‘solve et coagula’ (dissolve and solidify). ‘Solve’, to dissolve everything that prevents us from transcending; and ‘Coagula’, to concretely manifest a full, abstract and eternal consciousness.
This is how, through these stages of transcendence, we become a channel of the Art of Real Life, receiving inspiration to then breathe out, radiant, from the inside to the outside.
 van Rijckenborgh, Jan et Petri, Catharose: A veste de luz do novo homem, in Coleção “O apocalipse da nova Era” volume I, chapter 3, Pentagrama Publicações, Jarinu-SP, 1st edition ebook version 2017.