The Sacred Artisan: Vessel of Divine Inspiration
“…See, Yahweh has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Ur, of the tribe of Judah, he has filled him with divine spirit, with skill, intelligence and knowledge of every kind of craft, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, in every kind of craft. And he has inspired him to teach, both him and Oboliab, son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with skill to do every kind of work done by an artisan, by a designer, or by an embroiderer in blue, purple, and crimson yarns and fine linen, or by a weaver – by any sort of artisan or skilled designer” (Exodus 35:30-35).
This passage from the Holy Torah is speaking of the sacred artists who are called by Ha-Shem to help the prophet Moses build the holy tabernacle and create sacred objects it will house. Essentially, Bezalel and Oboliab, along with all of their apprentices, are called to create the great vehicle of Divine Revelation and Light Transmission of their time, and to help manifest something of the divine vision of the prophet before the people. Accordingly, just as the Holy Torah teaches that the navim, the seers or prophets, are chosen by Ha-Shem, and are filled with Ruach Ha-Kodesh, the Holy Spirit, and given the gifts of a navi – sight into the World of the Holy Spirit and wonderworking power, so also are the sacred artisans called by Ha-Shem, filled with the Holy Spirit and given the gifts of the artist. In fact, if we study and contemplate this passage we find that the structure and way of the assembly of the artisans is exactly like that of the assembly of the navim – there is a master artisan and his protégé, and an assembly of artisans working with them, and there is a spiritual empowerment passing among them, and just as with the assembly of navim they are anointed and inspired by the Divine Spirit. If we consider their labor, they work very closely with the navim, and they share in the divine vision of the navim, for through their sacred art they make something of the divine vision of the navim manifest in a most tangible and accessible way.
Quite naturally, sharing in the divine vision and inspiration of the navim, the vision-bringers, the prophets, they must know and use something of the way of the navim in their sacred art and creative process, but they are seeking the empowerment of the skill and intelligence to manifest something of the divine vision and inspiration in the form of sacred arts and crafts, while the navim seek the empowerment of knowledge and understanding of spiritual transmission by other means. Thus, initiates of the Order of St. Haniel are intimately acquainted with the teachings and practices of the Order of St. Gabriel, the way of the navim, and very often they may work closely with the sons and daughters of the navim.
In their practice of the creative process and sacred art the chosen artisan is a revealer of the hidden beauty, glory and power of Ha-Shem and the invisible spiritual world, the kingdom of heaven; yet, with their sacred art they are doing something more than mere interpretations of spiritual truths and realities so that the people might see something resembling them – in their creative process and art they are invoking something of that spiritual truth and power being represented, creating vessels or vehicles for the Divine Presence and Power, and in so doing they are bringing in, holding and anchoring something of the Divine Presence and Power in the world.
True sacred art is a vehicle of Divine Revelation and Light Transmission – there is a living presence and power moving with, in and through it, and becoming manifest as it. In a word, sacred art is talismanic, and filled with spiritual power it is magical – wonders can transpire in the experience of people through it.
True sacred art is an action of divine theurgy!
In this regard we may merely consider the great power of the legendary ark of covenant, the “mercy seat” upon which the Shekinah of Yahweh rested – according to the tradition immeasurable power moved with, in and through this sacred object, and the ark become inseparable from the sacred objects it contained, a direct extension of the presence and power of Ha-Shem.
In a similar way we might contemplate the bowl that was fashioned which legend says caught some of the blood of Christ, becoming the Holy Grail, or any other great holy relics that has been generated through an artistic expression – they are the pinnacle of sacred art, representing the true aspiration of the sacred artist to make something of the Divine Presence and Power manifest for the people and the land.
In this you may understand that true sacred art is a special labor for the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven on earth among the people – one that is, perhaps, most accessible to the people, participating in forms with which people can most easily interact and relate, and per chance enter into something of the same experience that inspired the artistic expression.
In this, perhaps, you may also know and understand that something of the very same continuum of the spiritual life and practice is within and behind the creative process of a sacred artist as within and behind prophecy and wonderworking – the sacred artist has a very deep interior life of prayer and meditation, and the development and creation of their art is filled with the light-power of prayers and meditations, and is itself sacred ceremony and worship.
Living within, abiding in the company of the Holy Shekinah – walking with Ha-Shem, something of the Divine Presence and Power is imbued into their sacred art through their creative process itself.
Now, if an initiate feels called to the way of the sacred artist, having been given something of the skill and intelligence of the sacred artisan, in much the same way as aspirants among the daughters and sons of the navim, they will seek purify and prepare themselves as a holy channel or vehicle of the Divine Spirit, and they will consecrate themselves, dedicating their creative process and art to the manifestation of the Divine Will and Divine Kingdom, and they will seek the anointing of the Holy Spirit and sanctification from Ha-Shem. At the same time, in their spiritual labor of self-purification and preparations, they will seek to refine their artistic skills and intelligence, praying for greater skill and intelligence in matters of sacred art, and the will take up any apprenticeship or studies of arts and crafts necessary to fulfill their call, their true will – in every way the aspirant to the Holy Order will seek to make themselves a fit and refined vessel of Divine Inspiration.
As an innate part of their apprenticeship, an aspirant of our Holy Order will also seek to work closely with a holy tzaddik or apostle, seeking to learn the ways of the seer and wonderworker within and behind their spiritual works, and they will labor to apply their spiritual art to the needs of the Continuum of Divine Revelation and Light Transmission – it is not only their own vision and inspiration that they will seek to serve, but the greater Body of Vision in Sacred Circle, Community, and the Continuum that they labor to manifest.
Here it must be said that the creative process and art of a sacred artist is not for themselves alone, but it is for the people, and for the sake the kingdom of heaven and the glorification of Ha-Shem, and just as in the way of a prophet or wonderworker, the sacred artist must purify her or himself of ego-grasping, and egoistic desire and fear – they must purify the mirror of consciousness in which the Divine Images and Divine Movements appear and are reflected.
As we are taught in this passage of the Holy Torah, a sacred artist is chosen and ordained by the Spirit of Yahweh – no one but Ha-Shem and Ruach Ha-Kodesh can give us the spiritual gifts of a sacred artisan or make is a sacred artist; if we are chosen and called to be a sacred artist, then the Holy One and Shekinah will give us the corresponding gifts – so it is with every spiritual labor to which we are truly called. If we are called as a sacred artisan and given the skill and intelligence for it, we can, however, receive a blessing and empowerment from a holy tzaddik or apostle – a special form of Light Transmission, akin to what is imparted aspirants in the way of the navim, which may facilitate a greater opening of our sight into the World of the Holy Spirit and empower us as a vehicle of the Creative Spirit.
The labor of preparation given above prepares us for the reception of this spiritual blessing and empowerment in the Order of St. Haniel.
In this, perhaps, you may have a bit more insight into the way of the sacred artisan as taught in our tradition and understand how aspirants enter into the Order of St. Haniel and prepare themselves for the spiritual empowerment of the Order.
Now, here we can share that as masters of the way of sacred art Bezalel and Oboliab are tzaddikim that are commonly invoked by initiates of the Order for knowledge and understanding of the creative process in sacred art, as well as for creative inspiration, in much the same way as initiates of the Order of St. Gabriel invoke the spirits of great prophets like Elijah and Elisha for knowledge and understanding of the way of prophecy, as well as for prophetic inspiration. Likewise, in the same way that initiates in the way of the navim may invoke ivurim of the souls of the great prophets for prophetic inspiration and illumination, initiates in the way of the sacred artisan may invoke ivurim of masters of spiritual art for artistic inspiration and illumination.
Along with invocations of Archangel Haniel and Archangel Uriel, invocations of the spirits of Bezalel and Oboliab as holy tzaddikim are very common among initiates of our Holy Order.
So, too, initiates of the Order often contemplate and meditate upon this passage of the Holy Torah, for there is deep wisdom of the way of the sacred artisan in it.
May all who are called as sacred artists be blessed and empowered to take up their crafts fully, and to reveal the great glory and power of the kingdom of God among the people – may the Pleroma of Light shine through their art and illuminate the world! Amen.
Blessings & shalom!
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