Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Spiritual gravitation


"Man attracts spirits according to his own temperament," as William Butler Yeats observed. To "the sanguine, the spirits of fire, and the lymphatic, those of watery nature, and those of a mixed nature, mixed spirits." While observing that like attracts like, Yeats was also fascinated by the way that opposites may be drawn together, to complement and complete each other, and to spark that creative friction that brings new things into being.  
    Yeats' friend, the Celtic visionary artist George William Russell (whose pen name was "AE") defined the key principle at work here as "spiritual gravitation", and described how it spills over into the play of synchronicity or objective chance. 
 
Your own will come to you. 
 
AE summarized the law of spiritual gravitation in this single thrilling phrase. In his beautiful little book The Candle of Vision he explains
 
I found that every intense imagination, every new adventure of the intellect endowed with magnetic power to attract to it its own kin. Will and desire were as the enchanter's wand of fable, and they drew to themselves their own affinities. ..One person after another emerged out of the mass, betraying their close affinity to my moods as they were engendered. 
 
     In our lives, this plays out through chance encounters, through the dreamlike symbolism of daily events, when we turn up the right message in a book opened at random or left open by someone else on a library table. If the passions of our souls are strong enough, they may draw "lifelong comrades".
     In The Candle of Vision, AE gave a personal example. When he first attempted to write verse, he immediately met a new friend, a dreaming boy "whose voice was soon to be the most beautiful voice in Irish literature" This was William Butler Yeats. "The concurrence of our personalities seemed mysterious and controlled by some law of spiritual gravitation." 
     In his later life, AE found a soul companion in the Australian writer P.L.Travers, the author of Mary Poppins and also a deep student of the Western Mysteries and a world-class mythographer. AE wrote to her about a further aspect of spiritual gravitation: "I feel I belong to a spiritual clan whose members are scattered all over the world and these are my kinsmen."
 
"Bathers" by George William Russell (1867-1935) 

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