Iconographic Series: Shifting Over Time, An Infinity of She And I / by Sam Abelow

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This is suggested music, which may be enjoyed along with the paintings and words.

Exuberant Self-Portraits - 1/25/17

I have been established as a dweller among the shining ones; and the underworld has been opened up. I have divided the heavens, I have passed through the horizon, I have traversed the earth. I am borne away by the mighty and shining ones because, behold, I am furnished with millions of years which have magic virtues. I eat with my mouth, I chew with my jaws; and, behold, I am the god who is the lord of the underworld: May there be given unto me, that which abides forever without corruption. [Paraphrasing the Egyptian book of the Dead]

Exuberant Portraits of Madeline - 1/25/17

Sister, we know that the Teacher loved you more than other women. Tell us the words of the Teacher which you have in mind since you know them and we do not.

She answered and said, “I saw the Teacher in a vision and I said to him, 'I saw you today in a vision.' He answered and said to me, 'Blessed are you, since you did not waver at the sight of me. For where the mind is, there is your visage’ I said to him, 'The mind which sees the vision, does it see it through the soul or through the spirit?' The Savior answered and said, 'It sees neither through the soul nor through the spirit, but the mind, which is between the two, which sees the vision, and it beholden to it.” [Paraphrasing the Gnostic Gospel of Mary]

Self Portrait (Red/Blue) - 2/1/17

The Seekers questioned the Teacher and said, ”Do you want us to fast? How shall we pray? Shall we give offerings? What diet should we observe?"

The Teacher said, "Do not tell lies, and refrain from what you hate, for all things are plain in the sight of Consciousness; For all is uncovered in the light of awareness.

Portrait of Madeline (Red/Blue) - 2/1/17

Madeline said: “Those who will receive the mysteries of the Ineffable — blessed indeed are those souls; but if they turn, transgress, and cease in their commitment, and if they seek union with the beyond without having purified themselves, they will perish in that transcedent region. Blessed are all the souls which shall receive of the mysteries of the Ineffable for they refrain from transgression. [Paraphrasing Pistis Sophia, by G.R.S. Mead]

Self-portrait (Prime) - 2/23/17

"The Wisdom formed the celestial substantiality within the one element by means of the Mother; but the planets and elements of this world formed the external man, providing him with a natural body. Thereby this form had its own particular state of perception and sensation, and the divine state did not mingle in such a manner (with the terrestrial form) as to cause the former to be diminished, but remained what it was before the incarnation took place -- without any separation, differentiation, or division from the unified field. Thus the soul remains in the totality of the ultimate form of Wisdom -- the Father -- and the natural human state was attained in the womb of the Mother. [Paraphrasing Jacob Boehme, (Three Principles, xx. 86).]

Portrait of Madeline (Prime) - 2/23/17

"The soul of man stands in three principles; namely, the realm of the wrath and hatred, the realm of the love for the ultimate Wisdom and the realm of the material world. Upon death, the Soul, in the form of the young girl, then will become manifest in either the chaos and destruction or serenity and peace. To whatever plane the Soul has surrendered to during earthly existence, therein She remains after the external kingdom has departed from Her." [Paraphrasing Jacob Boehme, (Mysterium, xv. 24.)]

Self-portrait (Mandala Form) - 2/23/17

"There are really two kinds of contemplation. The former is the result of perfect faith, the latter of rapturous love. For in the rapture of love a man attains realization to such a degree that his whole being is absorbed in the thought of his Beloved and he sees nothing else.” [Sufi text, translated by Routledge, Kegan Paul 1914]

Portrait of Madeline (Mandala form) - 2/23/17

“She is a pearl hidden in a shell of hair as black as jet, / A pearl for which Thought dives and remains unceasingly in the deeps / of that ocean. / He who looks upon her deems her to be a gazelle of the sand-hills, / because of her shapely neck and the loveliness of her gestures." [Sufi poem, translated Routledge, Kegan Paul 1914]

Self-portrait (Pastel) - 12/29/17

He, who is / Essence of all. Knowledge. / Action. / Giver of consciousness / Who art all. Whose love is unbounded. Mounted on a bull.” [Paraphrasing Durgaatanama Stotra, from the Visvasara Tantra found in Hymns to the Goddess, by John Woodroffe, [1913]

Portrait of Madeline (Pastel) - 12/29/17

“She, whose nature is the true bliss. / Endless one. / In whom are the three dispositions. / Accessible by devotion. Auspicious. / Pervading all things. / Mother of all goddesses / A many-sided gem of knowledge” [Paraphrasing Durgaatanama Stotra, from the Visvasara Tantra found in Hymns to the Goddess, by John Woodroffe, [1913]