And there was Light! – BPH Educational Project 2

And there was Light! (En er was Licht!): an educational project by the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica in collaboration with the Jan van Rijckenborgh School Hilversum and the Minerva Academy Groningen, made possible through a grant from the Iona Foundation.

And the Elohim said, let there be Light! And there was Light…

And there was Light!

On 15 April, 21 schoolchildren aged 10-11 from the Jan van Rijckenborgh School in Hilversum visited The Ritman Library together with their teacher Rolinda Veldhuis. They were there to take part in our educational project En er was Licht! (And there was Light!) A three-part programme had been set up to make the children discover the treasures of the library. The first part was a tour of the colourful artworks in the current exhibition ‘Beauty as the Imprint of the Cosmos’ by Eline Bochem, followed by a story on the rainbow and its seven rays told by Rachel Ritman. The second part was a do-it-yourself workshop on perception based on prism experiments led by the Amsterdam artist Evelien Nijeboer. The third part involved a treasure hunt to find Words of Wisdom hidden in the heart of the library, the rare books room, where Esther Ritman took the children on a journey to the smallest and the largest books and their secret stories about human existence.

Photo Collage of the visit of the children of the Jan van Rijckenborgh School Hilversum.

Photo collage of the visit of the schoolchildren of the Jan van Rijckenborgh School Hilversum.

And there was Light! is closely associated with the current exhibition ‘Beauty as the Imprint of the Cosmos’, which shows anthroposophical and theosophical literary and artistic works dealing with the subtle body of man. The educational project focussed on the principles of light, darkness, colours and perception. Everything we perceive relates to colour. The spectrum of colours as we see it in the rainbow exists in the atmospheric light above our heads. All tangible objects, such as flowers, fruits or clothes, are also coloured. Colours can be related to both light and matter, they represent a bridge between earth and heaven, the world of matter and the world of spirit. Or, as Goethe might have said: colours come into existence in an interplay between light and darkness. In theosophical thought, colours are related to rays.  The seven colours of the rainbow are associated with the seven rays of human consciousness. These seven rays also correspond with seven metaphysical principles influencing the life of the Soul.

Chakra's and Wheel of Life

The seven chakras in the colors of the rainbow, next to it the Ouroboros, the cosmic serpent biting its own tail corresponding to the regenerating Wheel of Life.

In terms of the human body, the seven colours relate to the seven portals of Light: the chakras. The circle of colours here represents a symbol referring to the circulation of the life of the Soul, that of the human being or microcosm, but also that of the universe or macrocosm. In the Vedas, a large body of texts including the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, the circulation of the Soul life is pictured as a (cosmic) Wheel of Life, the ‘Bhavacakra’. We cannot only perceive colours, we can also sense them. Every colour is characterized by its own energy, which you undergo when you perceive the colour, making you experience its vibrational field or frequency. We as human beings are described in various spiritual writings as Beings of Light, not only do we have a physical body, we also have a subtle body or Body of Light. Our emotional life expresses itself by means of colours and shapes which become visible in our aura.

Man Visible and Invisible, first edition, Charles W. Leadbeater.

‘Man Visible and Invisible’ by the Theosophist Charles W. Leadbeater, first published in 1903.

The aura is a bio-energetic field of subtle radiationwhich is also associated with the astral body, a special type of the subtle body so to speak. It can be perceived by people with extra-sensory capacities or who have trained their senses by means of special techniques. The concept of the aura already occurs in Hindu and Buddhist teachings and became a central concern in Western initiation schools such as the Anthroposophical Movement and the Theosophical Society.

More on our educational project ‘And there was Light’! will follow soon. Stay tuned for the video of this visit, more pictures and the report of an upcoming visit by art students of the Minerva Academy in Groningen on Friday 9 May!



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