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On the Spirit

January 14, 2013

In looking at Andrei Rublev’s Holy Trinity (above), one can’t help but notice the wide chalice, looking almost like an elevated fruit bowl, with a dark colored mass of “something” in it. In my experience, that something is me. Us. You. It’s a clump of reddish-brown clay to be sculpted into something.

The Philokalia, Prayer of the Heart, is a collection of texts written between the fourth and fifteenth centuries by spiritual masters of the Orthodox Christian tradition (says the translators and editors: G.E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, and Kallistos Ware). Men of religion claim men of religion as authors on God authority. And these Orthodox men have stated that the angels are only male. With these two thoughts in mind …

Tell me why these BEINGS in Rublev’s Holy Trinity (probably the most famous Orthodox icon) look so feminine, and so angelic. I do not see a single beard. No heavy brows. And their frames are tall, but slight boned. And, of course, the hair … that hair.

I know the color and composition here are not true to the original, but the point is … there is a magnifying feminine Essence that Energizes the soul when mediating on this Writing. This reads no more masculine to me than the following image …

Icon Archangel Salathiel

Archangel Salathiel   Archangel of Prayer 

In truth, the angels are whatever GOD deems them to be, and this could be absolutely anything – anything that serves God’s Purpose. But how do we know the femininity or masculinity of angel, messengers? My answer would be this: Why does it matter? The message is cogent. It’s as much feminine as it is masculine, which, if looking at it from the perspective of most Orthodox and Catholic religious leaders, is a sort of Word made male; however, the Word made flesh (not male, but flesh) is culpable only in its presentation under God Authority. Why? For we are that putty ON the table.

So, what does that Table represent? Wisdom of the Word. The Law of the Prophets. God Foundation. Wisdom is feminine in the bible; law and prophets both demonstrate Sophia; foundations are generally thought of as a she (examples include: house, rock, tree or wood, marble steps, ladder … ain’t she a beauty is an expression used for a good specimen of something).

Now let’s take this cogent message a step deeper, higher. Leavened Bread. What would make a compatible image in these two icons? Well, I can see a host of imagery. I see the two fingers shown on the table coming from the central figure in the Trinity, and two hands together in Salathiel. I see two garments worn on each figure. A pair of hands, feet, eyes, lips, wings … all of which belong to both the male and the female. But what makes any of these active? What allows these to rise from a set position and become something else? Hands joining to sculpt, hands joining to pray, hand to hand leadership, ability to speak, wings to fly … to name a few. And how does this translate into our metaphor – that spiritual meaning of being ON the table, or ON the mat (if you eat picnic style)?

John Five: Eight: Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed (mat) and walk.” 

Now, if women are not active in this as well as men, then I’d like to see every religious male claiming God authority carry a female to wherever he is called by God to enter. And if you choose to silence the starter – no rise.

Good luck with that on the Word, fell.ows!

 

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