old-diagrams

I am the one thing in life I can control
I am inimitable I am an original
I am not falling behind or running late
I am not standing still I am lying in wait

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THE COMET SEEKERS - Helen Sedgwick

Róisín and François first meet in the snowy white expanse of Antarctica. Their shared desire to explore the world has brought them here, but to do so both have left family and loved ones behind.

As we loop back through their lives, glimpsing each of them only when a comet is visible in the skies above, we see how their paths cross as they come closer and closer to this moment. Theirs are stories filled with love and hope and heartbreak, that show how strangers can be connected and ghosts can be real, and the world can be as lonely or as beautiful as the comets themselves.

The Bayeux Tapestry plays a significant part in the story so we felt embroidery was the perfect medium for our jacket design. We commissioned Chloe Giordano to create the artwork, and asked her to depict François and his mother beneath a sky full of celestial activity. The comets on the jacket are inspired by old astronomical diagrams, including Halley’s Comet which appears throughout the story.

Chloe kindly took photos of the embroidery throughout the process. You can see more of her beautiful work here

The Comet Seekers is published by Harvill Secker in August 2016

Boëthius - ’De Musica’, is a manuscript about the theory of music. The main focus of the treatise is the mathematical basis of music, and the beautifully-drawn diagrams with their graceful arches illustrate the mathematical ratios which produce the various intervals in the musical scale. Sometimes these diagrams take on animal forms such as here.

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B. W. Betts - Antique Diagrams showing the Stages of Human Consciousness, “Geometrical psychology”, 1887.

In his metaphysical explorations, Betts attempted to represent the successive stages of the evolution of human consciousness with symbolic mathematical forms; he was quite pleased to find that his mathematical representations frequently resulted in plant-like forms, taking this to mean that he was on the track to some universal representation of consciousness. Incidentally, he also believed that human consciousness was the only thing that we as humans could study directly since everything else must necessarily be perceived through human consciousness.

Walter Russell - Periodic Table of the Elementsconsisting of 9 Octaves, showing 2 dimensional representation of a 3 dimensional concept of a 4 dimensional Reality, “The Universal One”, 1927.

In the 1920s, Walter Russell suggested a Periodic Table of Elements - which enhanced and fulfilled the previous Mendeleev Periodic Table of Elements. Walter Russell’s Table consists of Octaves, and, whilst ignored by mainstream science, has proven worthwhile in hindsight, when a “missing” elements had been discovered after several laboratories had isolated the elements which he had foreseen: Deuterium, Tritium, Neptunium and Plutonium, seeing that the Table of Elements of Russell actually already defined them.

C. G. Jung - Systema Munditotius (The System of all Worlds),  “Septem Sermones ad Mortuos”, 1916.

This diagram portrays the antinomies of the microcosm within the macrocosmic world and its antinomies. At the very top, the figure of the young boy in the winged egg, called Erikapaios or Phanes and thus reminiscent as a spiritual figure of the Orphic Gods. His dark antithesis in the depths is here designated as Abraxas. He represents the dominus mundi, the lord of the physical world, and is a world-creator of an ambivalent nature. 

Sprouting from him we see the tree of life, labeled vita (“life”) while its upper counterpart is a light-tree in the form of a seven-branched candelabra labeled ignis (“fire”) and Eros (“love”). Its light points to the spiritual world of the divine child. Art and science also belong to this spiritual realm, the first represented as a winged serpent and the second as a winged mouse. 

The candelabra is based on the principle of the spiritual number three (twice-three flames with one large flame in the middle), while the lower world of Abraxas is characterized by five, the number of natural man (the twice-five rays of his star). The accompanying animals of the natural world are a devilish monster and a larva. This signifies death and rebirth. 

A further division of the mandala is horizontal. To the left we see a circle indicating the body or the blood, and from it rears the serpent, which winds itself around the phallus, as the generative principle. The serpent is dark and light, signifying the dark realm of the earth, the moon, and the void (therefore called Satanus). The light realm of rich fulness lies to the right, where from the bright circle frigus sive amor dei (cold, or the love of God) the dove of the Holy Ghost takes wing, and wisdom (Sophia) pours from a double beaker to left and right. This feminine sphere is that of heaven. 

The large sphere characterized by zigzag lines or rays represents an inner sun; within this sphere the macrocosm is repeated, but with the upper and lower regions reversed as in a mirror. These repetitions should be conceived of as endless in number, growing even smaller until the innermost core, the actual microcosm, is reached

Rydberg’s Reconstruction of Old Norse Cosmology derived from the Poetic Edda.

Using passages from the Eddic poems, Rydberg shows that the genuine Heathen conception of the Cosmos places Yggdrasill’s three roots in the Underworld, and its branches in the Heavens. The Underworld consists of a warm green land called Hel in the south, and a cold dismal realm called Niflhel in the north. The Bifröst Bridge connects the Underworld with Asgard, passing outside of the rim of the Midgard plane.

He demonstrates that the events spoken of in the Icelandic mythological poems are linked together in an epic chain of events arranged in chronological order from the Creation of the World through to Ragnarok. The mythology is in effect, a history of the Gods and their interactions with man. This ancient epic originated in Proto Indo-European times and afterwards developed independently in the Germanic region until the conversion to Christianity.