The Path of Initiation in Dante´s Divine Comedy – Part 4

The Empyrean, a rose of light, enables the meetingwith the very deity

The Path of Initiation in Dante´s Divine Comedy – Part 4

(Return to part 3)


The initiation’s aim is not completed with the arrival into Eden or Paradise, which implies the restoration of the “Edenic state”, the human being state before the immersion into matter. Beatrice (symbol of the Soul-Spirit) has led Dante to Paradise, but this is only one more stage, no matter how elevated this may be. With the arrival to Eden, that is, with the emerging of the Soul-Spirit, the candidate is indeed prepared to begin his “celestial journey”, the conquest of a new consciousness or cosmic consciousness. Such a conquest, which in Dante’s story leads before the presence of the Holy Trinity, implies an elevation through successive stages represented in astrological language by the nine stellar and planetary spheres giving order and movement to the Universe.

At this point, Dante follows traditions such as the Iranian: “the souls of the dead crossed the Cinvat bridge and then climbed to the stars; if they were virtuous they could reach the moon and after the sun, the most virtuous could even reach the “garotman”, the infinite light of Ahura Mazda (1)”

That same belief has been preserved in the Manichean gnosis which was known in the East. Pythagoreanism gave a new impulse to the astral theology, popularising the notion of Uranic Empyrean (or spiritual).

The first heaven, the closer to the earthly world is the Moon-heaven, followed by the Mercurian (formed by the souls which had obtained good reputation and glory through their good actions). The third one is Venus-heaven, the loving souls. The forth one is the Sun-heaven (theologian) followed by Mars-heaven (martyrs of the church) then Jupiter (the just) and Saturn (the contemplative spirits)

  1. Mircea Eliade, Treaty of the History of the religions. Morfology and dialectic of the sacred. Edition Cristiandad, Madrid, 3rd edition, 2000.

Three more circles are added to the planetary seven:  the heaven of the starts (where we find Adan and Jesus-Christ followers) the crystalline heaven (angelical chorus) and the highest of all, the Empyrean (where they are Virgin Mary and Saint Peter and where a rose of light allows the meeting with the very deity:

 In fashion then as of a snow-white rose
Displayed itself to me the saintly host,
Whom Christ in his own blood had made his bride.

 (Paradise, XXXI, 1-3)

Each circle or heaven composed of celestial hosts, turns around the previous one and all nine of them do it, around the divine centre.

After contemplating the Threefold Light, the poet finishes his Divine Comedy leaving testimony, in the last verses, of his will and desire turning like wheels round the “burning love moving the Sun and the other stars”.

Therefore, Dante finishes his work alluding to the spiritual love (the platonic love) focused upon Beatrice whom he has tirelessly been looking for, as the soul-spirit possession is the base and accomplishment of all alchemical process.

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Date: May 13, 2022
Author: Jesús Zatón (Spain)
Photo: Waldo93-Pixabay CCO

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