The Yeru-Shalem Quest


Two accounts of a Visionary Art Project

1. Dr. Yitzhak Hayut-Ma'n, Cyber-Architect,

2. Hannah Omer, Artist and Yoga teacher.

The Yeru-Shalem Quest

Hayut-Ma'N's Account

When Hannah presented me with her portfolio, I felt I could see not just the works that she have done, but also the integration of the separate phases of her development in the works that she could, and should, do. Work on the first picture proceeded from sketches Hannah had about the angelic postures within the framework of "The Tree of Life" of the Kabbalah. The faces in the upper sphere of the picture (at the position of Da'at, depicting the archangel and the Shakinah, the Divine Presence of Earth) were entirely her idea. My own preoccupation (see monograph on "Realizing the Heavenly Jerusalem") was with the hyper-cube of the Heavenly Jerusalem (at the position of Tif'eret on the Heavenly Tree), as are the faces in the foreground (mine, hers, and her then lover) and the entire range of ancillary illustrations of the perennial quest to the Holy (wholly dedicated) Jerusalem - the Vision of Wholeness in all.

Positions of the Heaven and Adamah, the Living Earth, was inherited from a former artwork for "The AdaMirror " for an orientation to the Orient. Adamah is reclining, ready for entry, with Europe as her right leg, Africa as her left leg, and Jerusalem at her navel. The feminine form keeps appearing, in a self-similar way, through the various land masses. Heaven was first represented by a fierce blue lion with the sun and moon for eyes and Jerusalem for a mouth (this figure was covered as the details got clarified.

The birth of the conjoint upper face was a fairly painful process. For a long time, the Lady's face was pretty horrid. But she has become more beautiful as the inspiration of the Dome of the Rock motifs was adding the "soul bubbles". The angelic presence became clarified as Metatron "the boy" (haNa'ar ), the maintenance angel of This World. They are supported by representatives of the three "Abrahamic Religions", Judaism at the central (original) position, with Islam to the Right and Christianity to the Left. But there are hints that there are two more possible supports for this divine sphere deriving from the East (e.g. from Brahaminism and Taoism). As the face of the Lady was becoming more pleasant, the Boy was growing in vivacity and playfulness. As the revelation of the Dome of the Rock was making its impact, the soul circles on the dome of the sphere were multiplying to play balls for that Heavenly Boy to toss about.

The most difficult task became the design of the Heavenly Jerusalem hyper-cube. It took longer than all the rest combined. We were clearly trying to give a certain reality to a clearly impossible object. It was to be a grid, a matrix indeed, of cells wherein the souls of the pilgrims would be processed and reconstructed. These cells seemed to be simultaneously inside and outside, on its periphery, hinting, just as the whole picture, how the Outer can become Inner, the alienated prisoner a balanced human being, fully integrated with the heavenly presence dwelling within one of the Twelve Tribes of the Universal Israel. Hannah was slaving in fitting these cubes together in alternating perspectives. She finally managed to achieve an unexpected feat - The hyper cube was simultaneously both a 7 X 7 X 7 cube and a 10 X 10 X 10 cube. This interplay of 7 and 10 is implied in the division of the Sefirot into 7 lower, manifest ones and a supernal, unmanifest trinity. The work within the cell, thus, is manifestly oriented towards the six cardinal directions and the center, and towards another three orientations that transcend physical space.

The cubes led to the design of the perimeter (which derived from measures we inherited from accidents during the design of the "AdaMirror" Heaven-and-Earth picture) being made into 10 cm squares. This resulted in 38 such squares - which I was reminded was the number of positions on a roulette wheel. The interpretation of the picture as a game board was becoming a distinct possibility. The game that starts by aimless turning around the perimeter of life (much as in the game of Monopoly), seeking to enter the enchantment of The Center of The World. On each position there may appear signs and symbols of the Beyond. Our selection of the Key Symbols was "the 32 paths of Wisdom" of the Kabbalah, marked by the 10 cyphers-Sefirot and the 22 Hebrew letters, the Otiyot (which also mean "signals") - and six more elements: the four Faces (human, eagle, lion and bull) that support the Divine Throne in Ezekiel's vision, together with the marked state Below and the unmarked state Above. The placement of the letters entailed many attempts, by several people, until a simple scheme based on the Sefer Yetzirah suggested itself. The whole inner pictures thus indicated by ten levels and seven horizontal positions - a projection of a single cell onto the whole panoramic inner picture.

portrait of Yitzhak
Portrait of Yitzhak, click to enlarge

During this process I was getting an unsolicited gift from the artist who decided to put my own portrait at the position of the aspirant spiritual navigator. In a way, the whole picture became a portrait of what's on my particular mind - yet I believe and hope that it is still a portrayal of a universal quest. It took me time to see the depth of analysis she made of me by placing Don Quixote over my brow, the heavy "Thinking Man" pressing over my neck and the Crusader at my back. The little drama of observing the magical child on the other side of the sea to be crossed, a baby Atlas fascinated by the metamorphosis of the butterfly is not only mine to be witnessed.

In fact, the picture took its own oracular quality. Looking in retrospect, we see that of the three who started this quest, two managed to project their heads through their Sefirot to the heads of the supporters of the divine throne, whereas the third stayed outside, as unfortunately became the case in practice.

Having accomplished this picture, there was little question that the two of us should proceed, and this time take a closed view of that fabulous Jerusalem from the opposite direction.


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Heavenly Jerusalem Posters in the Art Gallery
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