|Mystical Figure from Jacob Martin Papers, Ephrata|
|"Awakening Man", from Gichtel, Eine kurze |
Eroffnung, 1696. An individual on the
spiritual path, engaged in spiritual struggle
About 6 months ago I was reading Wisdom’s Children: A Christian Esoteric Tradition, by Arthur Versluis, and was startled to find this same Mystical Figure staring back at me from the page. I believe the illustration from the Jacob Martin papers of the Mystical Figure pictured above is a depiction of the illustration on the left. This illusration was published about 70 years earlier than the Jacob Martin creation, but I believe that they are one and the same.
The illustration on the left is actually from a series of 4 plates and it comes from a treatise published by Johann Georg Gichtel in 1696: Eine kruz Eroffnung und Anwesung der drei Prinzipien und Weltenim Menschen – (“A brief Opening and Demonstration of the three Principals and Worlds in Man”)
(1638-1710) was a writer, visionary and theosophist, who promoted the work of early 17th-century visionary and mystic and compiled the first complete edition of Boehme’s works. He also distilled the ideas and writing of Boehme and was extremely important in spreading Boehme’s ideas and thought to Conrad Beissel and other radical pietists. The illustrations and writing by Gichtel depict planetary symbolism and the process of spiritual transformation on the body. Other Alchemical and symbolic representations also appear. The Mystical Figure from Ephrata is a representation of the 2nd plate, “Awakening Man. Arthur Versluis also describes this figure as “an individual on the spiritual path, engaged in spiritual struggle.” Boehme
What what was the significance of Jacob Martin's Mystical Figure? Why was it created and what purpose did it serve the religious beliefs of Jacob Martin and The Ephrata Community? In the next blog I will delve further into the meaning of Gicthel’s illustrations and compare his interpretaions of the figure with that of D. Michael Quinn, and speculate on the the significance it held for Jacob Martin and Ephrata.