About This Page
This page describes the cover image of the Book of Lambspring. (Over time we will also publish pages for each of the fourteen Figures of the Book.)
The Book of Lambspring cover image shows a large strong knight, who seems to be fully in control of his situation, dressed in a tabard bearing a rich coat of arms. He towers over an alchemical oven, and appears to be indicating that he has accomplished some work relating to this oven (in the way that he grasps the oven).
And what is this work? Possibly something that takes place within the oven, something requiring the gentle cooking of psychic contents in an alchemical process (akin to therapy).
This gentle cooking may be about emotions and how these can be tempered into higher levels of consciousness.
The Oven with Its Seven Openings
The oven is a solid, brick abode – perhaps a symbol of both our body and psyche (soul). The oven has seven openings in three levels. Seven is a common number in esoteric philosophies (See, for example, the seven rays.)
Keyes’ Seven Centres of Consciousness
A related idea is from Ken Keyes’ Handbook to Higher Consciousness (from 1972), in which he describes the seven Centres of Consciousness and how we can work to live more often in the higher Centres, rather than in the lower. Keyes’ Centres are as follows:
The Three Lower Centres – Producing Unhappiness in Life
- Security. Compulsive fears and anxieties about the future and what it might hold and what we might lose.
- Sensation. Compulsive striving for enjoyable sensations; satiation; boredom; fear of loss of sensations.
- Power. Competing with and attacking others; defending; anger and irritation; suffering counter-attacks.
While we might become very successful (in the eyes of the world) using these Lower Centres, it is unlikely that we will be happy.
Four Higher Centres – Producing Happiness in Life
- Love. Unconditional acceptance of everything and everyone around us. (This includes acceptance of the fact that people who we experience as difficult are on their own journeys toward higher levels of consciousness, unbeknownst often to themselves.)
- Cornucopia. The release from the addictions of the Lower Centres makes available a vast supply of energy, and the person feels enormous openness towards the world and others.
- Conscious-Awareness. A release from judging or evaluating the activities in any other of the Centres. The development of a witnessing presence, free from disturbances, and at peace.
- Cosmic Consciousness. Becoming the experiences themselves; being beyond even a witnessing presence to them, but being completely in them. (This is a very rare experience, in Keyes’ view, and although it’s not possible for most people to attain it, it’s worth knowing of its potentiality.)
For Keyes, working to live as much as possible in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of the Four Higher Centres is within the reach of most people.
The Knight’s Tabard
The symbol of the hermaphrodite was important for alchemists. In the Knight’s coat of arms we see the dual-headed eagle as this symbol. To enable the opposites, such as Sun/Moon and Male/Female, to come together is considered an achievement, and Gestalt Therapy works with polarities and examines how these can be unified. For alchemists, such unification always happened within a vessel (in this image, the oven).
As this Golden Dawn article says:
Hermetic inner alchemy is in reality a system that uses the subtle fires of the human body, including love and sexuality, as potent tools for spiritual development by transmuting the matter of the physical body into ever purer and more refined forms of energy.
The Lambspring cover image offers a sense of the work to be performed. The Knight has undertaken a journey of inquiry, has worked with the gentle heat of the furnace, and has attained a level of unification of the opposites (the emblem of which he wears as his coat of arms). The image offers us direction for the work to be performed.
The vessel (the oven) is a powerful symbol both in personal work and in couples work. The therapy room is a form of vessel, in which emotions can be gently worked upon; similarly, a couple relationship can be considered a vessel in which work can be done to enable the partners in that relationship to live more often in their higher levels of consciousness. This feeds both the relationship and the two people in it.