Thursday, February 6, 2014

Azul and the Visionary Victorian

One of my favorite fantasy books of all time is ROMANCE OF TWO WORLDS by Marie Corelli. This esoteric novel, published in 1887, was a bestseller and made Corelli's reputation as a writer. The story is told in the first person and the narrator character closely resembles Corelli herself although the characters and the story are fictional and fantastic. The book is filled with fascinating detail not only about contemporary Theosophical doctrines but about late 19th century high society, attire, and mores.

In a major passage of the book, the narrator is given a cup of a magic elixir by a Magus character. She drinks it and is brought into a visionary state where she is guided through multiple worlds by an angel named "Azul." Since "Azul" means "blue" in Spanish, I assume that this is a blue angel. In her psychedelic trance, the narrator, instructed by Azul, sees an elaborate interlocking spiritual mechanism of spirit beings, evolution, light, energy, and color, probably inspired by "The Secret Doctrine" of Madame Blavatsky.

I did this small piece in my 1981 journal, experimenting with a more stylized image with some Art Nouveau elements. I've left a little thought-balloon to the left which I added later, which says, uh, "god I'm so stoned." The stoned one is not me the artist (I don't partake of the herb) but the fictional/memoiristic character.

Brown ink drawing and watercolor on sketchbook page, 3" x 5 1/3", April 1981.

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