|Clim(b)ax is the climax, climbing the ax, the axis, from the center to the door of Heaven.
The mysteries of Mithra used a ladder with seven rungs of seven metals: the first of Lead, the heaven of Saturn, the second of Tin, the heavenly sphere of Venus, the third of Bronze, Jupiter's sphere. Next comes Iron for Mercury, then Copper for Mars. Silver is the Moon and the Golden rung is the seventh heaven of the Sun. Above is the realm of the fixed Stars the Ultimate Heaven.
The shamans in Siberia climb a ladder of seven rungs, shouting out what they see at each heaven as they ascend for the laymen below.
The Karens and the Lolo's place a ladder on their tombs to help the dead ascend to heaven.
In India, the Vedic YUpa is a seven notched sacrificial pole. In Babylon, the ziggurat had seven levels which the initiate had to ascend.
It is from Indo-Iranian symbolism that the importance of the number 7, the seven planetary spheres, comes. This is the root of Occidental religious culture.
The ladder is important in cultures that have a conception of three cosmic regions: found in Vedic India, ancient China, Germanic, "Primitive", central and northern Asian cultures. The center is the Cosmic Mountain, the imago mundi - scaling the temple of Barabudur.
Egyptian funary texts talk of ASKET PET, Re's ladder linking heaven to earth, a MAQUET.
The Book of the Dead says: "The ladder is set up that I may see the gods."
Dur-an-ki is the link between heaven and earth. Temples built here are called Nippur, Larsa, Sippara. In Babylon, the bAb-apsU, the gate of apsU, the ziggurat, was built above the waters of Chaos.
The tehOm in Hebrew was likewise built upon the rock of Jerusalem above the subterranean waters.
The capitol of the ideal Chinese sovereign should be built near a miraculous tree: KIREN-MOU, "shaped wood" - at the intersection of the three cosmic regions.
• The Jewish Tree of Life
• The Christian cross or crucifix
• The Alchemistic tree of sacrifice with seven branches
• The body of Man as an ANTHROPOCOSMOS - as the Thai believe, the feet are the roots in the profane earth and the head is heaven.
• The pole or hole in the center of a tent or yurt
• A spider web connecting to the moon.
The connection to Heaven has been lost - only shamans, priests, sovereigns, and heros can ascend, and then only temporarily.
Jacob saw a ladder to heaven in a dream. The shaman, during his initiation, is believed to receive three branches of the World Tree from the hand of God. From these he builds the frame of his drums which he uses to put himself into a trance. Climbing is an initiation representing the rupturing of the planes.
In the mythical geography, sacred space is real space, sacred reality is unquestionable.
The Tree of Life is the axis at the center of the universe. The Tibetan MANDALA is the center, or, that which surrounds. Rituals of penetration often involve walking around, circling, progressive elevation, as occurs at the Temple of the Golden Mount in Bangkok.
"The way to absolute reality is ascension", climbing the axis to heaven, the climax.
The ladder is the link, the tree, where the incursion of the sacred into profane space takes place.
for the Banyan Project
© Clea T. Waite 4/2004
||Clea T. Waite Berlin: "clim(b)ax" Installation
Clea T. Waite lives and works in Berlin, Germany and New York, USA
The Spider Project (working title):Video/CG installation. In progress.
Website "notebook": Spirals&Tangents
What was Lot's Wife Name? two channel video sculpture/poem salt, projection, and monitor, 1999
KUR: (Sumerian ca. 3000 BC.)
The Great Unknown; Underworld; Mountain; Enemy Territory:
"4-Dimensional", non-linear video installation: four stereoscopic video projections, quadraphonic audio, room installation, digital video. video:1996 / installation:1997.
cyber.3: computer animation and digital video, 0:49 min. 1994.
Nothing Broke but the Heart: computer animation and digital video, 6:55 min. 1994.
Talisman (nothing broke but the heart): two channel video installation: computer generated animation, digital Echo Planar Images (EPI), LCD monitors, objects. 1994.
under the moon ii: lunacy: experimental dance video. 7:15 min., 1989/1994.
T.R.A.V.E.R.S.E.: experimental video, 2 min. 1993.
Nothing Broke but the Heart: installation: X-ray photographs, magnetic resonance imaging digital images, computer generated animation, Plexiglas, and objects. 1993.
Stella Maris: experimental video, 11 min. 1988.
--- Diary: Dates of Killing Frost and Length of Growing Season: experimental video, 8 min. 1987.
--- Absolute Object: installation. computer punch tape and laser light. 1987
--- HOPE: experimental video music (music by the Ordinaires), 4 min. 1986.
--- The Golden Calf: video sculpture/installation and poem, 1986.
--- under the moon: experimental video, 2 min. 1985
Torso Studies: B&W silver print lenticulars, 11x14", 1992.
Angel Series: color prints, 1988.
"Time on Space: Kur, a Four-Dimensional Film", Bild-Medium-Kunst, edited by Yvonne Spielmann & Gundolf Winter, Wilhem Fink Verlag, Munich, 1999, pg. 235-250.
'Visualizing Time on Space: from Sumer to Quantum Physics', Consciousness Reframed Proceedings, (Newport: Center for Advanced Inquiry in the Interactive Arts, University of Wales College, July, 1997).
'Of Interiority and Exteriority, Subject and Object', Germany in a growing Europe: Reflections by the fourth group of Bundeskanzler Scholars 1993/1994 (Bonn: Alexander Von Humboldt Stiftung, 1995), pg. 85-87.