Includes a Lecture by Rudolf Steiner:
“The Mission of Raphael in the Light of Spiritual Science” (Berlin, Jan. 30, 1913; CW 62)
Ultimately, the Madonna is the supreme representative of the Eternal Feminine for Western souls—the wisdom of Sophia, the compassion of Kwan Yin. Divine, cosmic, earthly, and human, she is primordial, contemporary, and still to come. Once and future, she is an evolving mystery, as we are, suggesting that our destinies are linked in ways beyond telling. We may strive toward her. We may discover her inwardly, feel united with her in a new way, in our own fashion, and find it healing. As the poet Novalis affirmed:
Adorably I see you shown
But none of these can show
As my soul beholds you.
These images should be approached with reverence, an open heart, and an open mind, humble unknowing, vulnerability, and gratitude. The images will speak for themselves, in the moment, in a mode appropriate to your needs (even if you are unaware of them). In the pure encounter, something will happen. Let Raphael’s vision become vision in you. Hold it in your heart. Take it into sleep. Thumb through the book, the image that calls you will find you. Perhaps it will be a different image each time. Make it a daily practice and improvise.
Or simply enjoy the images. They will transform you anyway.
(Image shown: Madonna della seggiola, c. 1514, oil on wood, 28 in., Palazzo Pitti, Florence)