Monday, December 15, 2014

The Celestial City in the Sun

I collect visionary texts, as you may remember. These are narratives, usually by a female mystic, of journeys to other worlds where she meets beings from heavenly dimensions. There is almost always a spiritual, esoteric Christian element to these narratives. And they are presented not as fantasy writing but as truth experienced by the seer.

These fantastic (if not fantasy) narratives often contain lavish descriptions of cities, fashions, transportation, and architecture, which inspire me as an illustrator. This image you see comes from just such a text. The story is called "My Visit to the Sun" and it is by Phoebe Marie Holmes. It was first published in 1933, which is quite late for this kind of writing as these texts were most popular in the later 1800s and early 1900s. Interestingly, there are some visionary texts currently produced in the fundamentalist Christian communities, where they are presented as true visions of heaven and hell. But the esoteric element is absent.

This is not the sun of the scientists, of course, not a giant ball of glowing gas. Phoebe's sun world is another dimension where the solar sphere is hollow and populated by countless angelic and spirit beings who live in huge vertical, multi-level cities set in parklands freshened by fountains of light energy. This image illustrates one of those cities. The architecture is inspired by Indian temples. The golden tint of the whole piece is meant to evoke the yellow of sunlight. 

Phoebe's book, a rare edition, was reprinted by an esoteric reprint house many years ago and even the reprint is a rarity now. I still have my copy though I don't know where it is in my cluttered library. If I find it I might be inspired to go solar again.

"The Celestial City in the Sun" is acrylic on illustration board, 11" x 14", November 1996. Click on the pic for larger view.


Tristan Alexander said...

Very nice, I love the whole gold tone look. Personally I would like something like this without the angels, but overall it is a great image.

Robby Baby Dark Poet of Amour said...

I love the vibrancy/loveliness of the golds here. It does indeed make you feel like you are close to/in a Sun realm. The petite angel is very charming :)