Illu­mi­na­ted manusc­ripts are one of the grea­test trea­su­res to come out of the medie­val era. Their vibrant pages, alive with glowing colour and gold leaf have ins­pi­red and cap­ti­va­ted mil­lions of people throug­hout the cen­tu­ries. In today’s world of mass pro­duc­tion and com­pu­ter gene­ra­ted ima­ges, the idea of a handw­rit­ten book deco­ra­ted with ele­gant minia­ture pain­tings, and glit­te­ring with gold is both delight­ful and enc­han­ting to the modern rea­der.

There is a magic and mys­tery to these precious books. They are a place where spi­rit and mat­ter meet amidst the enig­ma­tic sym­bo­lism and exqui­site detail. They are a celebra­tion of life as evi­denced by the rich­ness of design, colour and won­der­ful port­rayal of medie­val life. They are also a celebra­tion of Light – the uni­ver­sal Divine energy that imbues all life, through their use of gold leaf that shi­nes as the page is tur­ned, reflec­ting the smal­ler light of the sun or candle. 

Howe­ver, as beau­ti­ful as these books were…there was also a sha­dow side to them. The medie­val church used them as a very power­ful source of indoct­ri­na­tion and mind cont­rol. It was vital to the clergy’s exis­tence to ensure that people viewed them as God’s repre­sen­ta­tive on earth. Only they could interpret the word of God. Only they could bridge the percei­ved sepa­ra­tion between God and huma­nity.

It was also vital to con­vince people that they were sin­ners in need of redemp­tion. The church spoke of a ter­ri­fying God who would punish sin­ners by con­dem­ning them into the jaws of Hell to burn for all eter­nity. The manusc­ripts are fil­led with these grim and grap­hic ima­ges.

They con­vinced people that they were born into sin and that Christ sac­ri­ficed him­self on their behalf to appease this ven­ge­ful God. These ima­ges of the cruci­fixion, cons­tantly rein­forced the idea that redemp­tion was only pos­sible through Christ. And the only way to Christ was through the ins­ti­tu­tion of the Church. Any­one who belie­ved anyt­hing cont­rary to the Church’s teac­hings was label­led a here­tic, and usually mur­de­red as an example to others. 

These power­ful visual sym­bols were used to keep most people in a state of ato­ne­ment, guilt, fear and obe­dience; fee­ling small, power­less and discon­nec­ted from the Divine and their true sel­ves. The repercus­sions of all this have pas­sed down through the gene­ra­tions and are still felt keenly today. As a con­sequence, reli­gion has been discar­ded by many lea­ving a deep vacuum and many wounds wit­hin.

Today, in an over ratio­na­lized world where logic reigns supreme, many people long to reach out bey­ond the mundane…and touch somet­hing ext­raor­di­nary. Deep wit­hin, many people are searc­hing for a new path that leads back to the Divine… A path that is devoid of guilt and shame. A path based on uncon­di­tio­nal love not fear. A path where free­dom and explo­ra­tion of all beliefs is not only accep­ted, but encou­ra­ged. A path that res­to­res the balance wit­hin.

Tania Cros­sing­ham: Per­fec­tion.

As a child I was brought up in the folds of the Chris­tia­nity. I loved tal­king to God and sin­ging songs in church. As a young woman I began asking a lot of ques­tions to my church lea­ders. No one could answer my ques­tions des­pite trying seve­ral dif­fe­rent churc­hes. I was hungry to learn more; to unders­tand how life really wor­ked, but reli­gion had not­hing more to offer me. So I left the church, as it no lon­ger met my spi­ri­tual needs. Bur­de­ned with a guilty conscience, I went searc­hing out into the world, tur­ning my back on all that I had belie­ved in. 

In the early 1990s I disco­ve­red the beauty of Illu­mi­na­ted Manusc­ripts and began crea­ting illu­mi­na­tions myself. With no teac­her, I gra­dually deve­lo­ped my skills by stu­dying manusc­ripts and prac­ticing on my own. It was as though I was just remem­be­ring what I already knew how to do. A few years later I began stu­dying eso­te­ric wis­dom in an effort to unders­tand life’s mys­te­ries. At first, the mate­rial for my work was drawn from the work of other aut­hors, or the bible. As I progres­sed along my own spi­ri­tual path, I began to rea­lize that I could con­nect to a great source of wis­dom, and that if I ret­rea­ted into the still­ness, then the ins­pi­red words nee­ded for my work were gif­ted to me. 

My Art became both a pilgri­mage into the int­ri­guing and grace­ful world of medie­val illu­mi­na­ted manusc­ripts, and an odys­sey into the elusive mys­tery of the Self. A deep pas­sion began to grow wit­hin me. I wan­ted to share with people what I had lear­ned from life using the power­ful medium of medie­val illu­mi­na­tions; to create pieces that evol­ved bey­ond Chris­tia­nity with its limi­ta­tions, fears and guilt. I wan­ted to empower people to create their own dia­lo­gue directly with the Divine and con­nect to a dee­per aspect of them­sel­ves. What fol­lows is the mes­sage of my work, with the hope that it will ins­pire you to begin to see your­self in a new Light.

Tania Cros­sing­ham: The Immor­tal Self.

I began to unders­tand that Redemp­tion is not somet­hing that can be pal­med off onto a ’Saviour.’ The Mas­ter Jesus left us many power­ful mes­sa­ges, but his grea­test gift was the example he set for us to fol­low. I believe that he did not want us to deify him, but become like him. He wore the energy of the Christ Conscious­ness and showed us the path to our own enligh­ten­ment. It is now time for Huma­nity to come of age and take res­pon­si­bi­lity for our own actions on an indi­vi­dual level. 

Lear­ning to mas­ter one­self is a vital part of taking on this res­pon­si­bi­lity for our­sel­ves. Being aware of our thoughts as well as our actions is the key to this. The only dif­fe­rence between a mas­ter and a novice is that the mas­ter has made so many more mis­ta­kes and lear­ned from them. Each mis­take is an inc­re­dible oppor­tu­nity, and once unders­tood, a jewel in the crown of self-​mastery. Get­ting it wrong is ok. Jud­ging our­sel­ves a fai­lure just keeps us small. Huma­nity has crea­ted the idea of per­fec­tion and set itself up for per­fect fai­lure every time this impos­sible goal is not met.

The Divine is not a dis­tant, ven­ge­ful dic­ta­tor wai­ting to con­demn us to an eter­nity of bur­ning in Hell, but a loving and com­pas­sio­nate crea­tor; an inner light at the heart of every living being. The path to the Divine and all its wis­dom is crea­ted through our own heart. We do not need a media­tor or an ins­ti­tu­tion to act on our behalf and tell us what to believe.

Tania Cros­sing­ham: Heart Wis­dom.

I see wit­hin so many people a hope­less­ness, a des­pe­rate lon­ging for somet­hing to fill the inner void. This emp­ti­ness can only be fil­led by establis­hing an aut­hen­tic rela­tions­hip with a big­ger pic­ture of our­sel­ves, and a re-​connection with Spi­rit. Sit­ting in silence with an open heart allows this to hap­pen.

The heart car­ries its own intel­li­gence – one of a hig­her cali­ber than the mind. It invi­tes us qui­etly and gently to enter wit­hin its cham­ber. Here awaits our Soul, which has the acqui­red wis­dom of many life­ti­mes. When we con­nect and lis­ten to the heart, the seat of the soul, we are con­nec­ting to a power­ful source of infi­nite wis­dom. Here, the big­ger pic­ture beco­mes appa­rent and life begins to make more sense as the soul whis­pers words from our divine path, gui­ding us on our way with pur­pose.

I also see wit­hin people a nega­tive and dama­ging rela­tions­hip with them­sel­ves. So often in life we are made to feel small and insig­ni­ficant, worth­less and not capable of doing anyt­hing out of the ordi­nary. We start to believe that this is who we are. Howe­ver, not­hing could be furt­her from the truth. Lear­ning to con­nect with our hig­her self opens us up to our true poten­tial and the end­less pos­si­bi­li­ties that offers. Then we may become ext­raor­di­nary beings, with the abi­lity to co-​create wha­te­ver we need to lead ful­fil­ling, joy­ous and pur­po­se­ful lives.

There is an old eso­te­ric saying, “That which is above is as that which is below”; the phy­sical mir­ro­ring the spi­ri­tual. We are made in the image of God, not in a phy­sical sense, but ener­ge­tically. We all carry Divine gifts wit­hin us; the abi­lity to use our will and intel­li­gence to be power­ful crea­tors, show uncon­di­tio­nal love to our­sel­ves and those around us, and live in a balanced state of har­mony and peace. When we make a conscious choice to align our­sel­ves to the Divine wit­hin, then these att­ri­bu­tes can create amazing change in our lives and the world around us.

Stan­ding on the achie­ve­ments of the past, we as a society are reac­hing into the future, see­king new fron­tiers to conquer. Some say that space is the final fron­tier, I say it is conscious­ness. A glo­bal awa­ke­ning is hap­pe­ning all around us, as more and more people feel the need to con­nect with them­sel­ves on a dee­per level, find hea­ling from the past, and rea­lize that they have a part to play in the co-​creation of the future uni­verse. As a species, we need to evolve our conscious­ness to keep pace with a New Era and all that it offers.

I now see my work as an ener­ge­tic bridge between a bygone era and the vibrant and power­ful ener­gies of this New Era. It is about assis­ting people to resolve old issues from the past and move forward into a newly emer­ging world of awa­ke­ning conscious­ness and Divine con­nec­tion.

Tania Cros­sing­ham: As Above, So Below.

The wri­ter is an artist and eso­te­ric mys­tic con­templa­ting life, self and spi­ri­tua­lity.

Kuvat: Tania Crossingham



Kes­kus­te­lin Tanian kanssa kir­joi­tusta pyy­täes­säni siitä, kuinka töistä välit­tyy joil­tain osin kriit­ti­nen suh­tau­tu­mi­nen kris­ti­nus­kon ope­tuk­siin - hän otti tämän itse avoi­mesti puheeksi. Aiheel­li­nen kes­kus­telu, vaikka Aar­re­aitta onkin eku­mee­ni­nen, eikä tavoite ole edus­taa esi­mer­kiksi vain yhtä kirk­ko­kun­taa, vaan käsi­tellä kris­til­li­sen kuva­tai­teen kent­tää mah­dol­li­sim­man laa­jasti. Minusta on kiin­nos­ta­vaa, kuinka Tania poh­jaa työnsä suo­raan kris­til­li­seen kir­jan­ku­vi­tus­pe­rin­tee­seen, tekee siitä oman tul­kin­tansa ja kuvaa sen avulla omia hen­gel­li­siä koke­muk­si­aan. Uskon myös, että jokai­nen voi rikas­tua töi­den välit­tä­mästä vil­pit­tö­mästä totuu­den etsin­nästä, itse­tut­kis­ke­lusta ja rau­hasta.

Minua kiin­nos­taisi kuulla myös luki­joi­den mie­li­pi­teitä!


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Mikä on tämän sivuston nimi?

Omena on vakiin­tu­nut hyvän ja pahan tie­don puun hedel­män  kuvaksi kris­til­li­sessä kuva­tai­teessa ja popu­laa­ri­kult­tuu­rissa. Tosin, jos hyvän ja pahan tie­don puu tul­ki­taan ver­taus­ku­val­li­sesti, sen hedelmä voisi olla yhtä lailla mikä tahansa asia, joka tar­joaa tie­toa. Raa­ma­tus­ta­kaan ei löydy ome­na­tul­kin­nalle suo­ria perus­teita. Hie­ro­ny­mok­sen Vul­ga­tassa lati­nan­kie­li­nen sana ”malum” kui­ten­kin tar­koit­taa sekä pahaa että ome­naa – kak­sois­mer­ki­tys ker­too, että sym­boli on vanha.

Kris­til­li­sessä kuvas­tossa omput alkoi­vat domi­noida kes­kia­jan lopulla, vaikka aiem­min hyvän ja pahan tie­don puun hedelmä kuvat­tiin useim­mi­ten vii­ku­nana. Jee­suk­sen kädessä kuvat­tuna ome­nalla vii­ta­taan syn­nin kan­ta­mi­seen ja sovit­ta­mi­seen, kuten esi­mer­kiksi Lucas Cra­nac­hin maa­lauk­sessa Neit­syt ja lapsi.

Nyky­ään­kin ome­nalla kuva­taan usein viet­te­lyk­siä, syn­tiä ja syn­tiin­lan­kee­musta. Melko tuo­reena esi­merk­kinä tulee mie­leen Dome Karu­kos­ken elo­kuva Kiel­letty hedelmä (2009), jossa les­ta­dio­laiyh­tei­sössä kas­va­neet nuo­ret läh­te­vät Hel­sin­kiin etsi­mään itse­ään. Tytöt kyläi­le­vät liik­keestä eron­neen, paheel­li­sena pide­tyn Eeva-​isosiskon luona, joka hou­kut­te­lee mais­ta­maan ome­nasta teh­tyä sii­de­riä.

Tie­tois­kun poh­jana on käy­tetty Sanansaattaja-​lehden (11/​2018) Tyhmä kysy­mys -pals­talle kir­joit­ta­maani vas­tausta kysy­myk­seen “Miksi kiel­letty hedelmä kuva­taan aina  ome­nana, vaikka Raa­ma­tussa ei ole mää­ri­telty, mistä hedel­mästä on kyse?”

Lue lisää esi­mer­kiksi:

Ilpo Kari Raa­ma­tun­lu­ki­jain Lii­ton sivuilla:

Liisa Väi­sä­nen Kirkko ja kau­punki -leh­dessä:

Pentti Lem­piäi­nen, 2006: Kuvien kieli Ver­taus­ku­vat uskossa ja elä­mässä

Kuvat: www.pexels.com/photo/four-red-apple-fruits


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Aurin­komme ylös­nousi, pais­taa voit­to­vuo­rella. Läm­min valo sieltä lois­taa, surut, mur­heet hajot­taa. Kokoon tul­kaa, tai­vaan lin­nut, suvi-​ilmaan puh­taa­seen. Viser­tä­kää, pie­net lei­vot, vii­ni­puussa tuo­reessa. (Suo­men evankelis-​luterilaisen kir­kon vir­si­kirja, vir­ren 105 ensim­mäi­nen säkeistö.)

Aurinko ja sen tar­joama valo ja lämpö ovat kai­kissa kult­tuu­reissa tun­nis­tet­tava elä­män sym­boli. Itse aurin­koa pal­vot­tiin juma­luu­tena esi­mer­kiksi Egyp­tissä, jossa aurin­gon­ju­mala Khepri kul­jetti täh­teä kuin uut­tera sit­ti­son­tiai­nen lan­ta­kik­ka­retta. Krei­kassa taas Helios kiisi vau­nuil­laan halki tai­vaan­kan­nen.

Aurin­gon kuva voi olla hel­pompi yhdis­tää eri­lai­siin luon­no­nus­kon­toi­hin kuin kris­ti­nus­koon. Aurinko ei ole­kaan siinä mie­lessä vakiin­tu­nut kris­till­li­seksi sym­bo­liksi kuin esi­mer­kiksi risti, kala tai kyyhky. Se on kui­ten­kin pal­jon käy­tetty ver­taus­kuva sekä kir­jal­li­sesti että kuval­li­sesti.

Kris­ti­nus­kossa aurin­koa voi­daan pitää eri­tyi­sesti kol­miyh­tei­sen Juma­lan kah­den per­soo­nan, Isän (Jumala, Luoja) ja Pojan (Kris­tuk­sen), ver­taus­ku­vana. Pysyvä, elä­mää yllä­pi­tävä voima kuvaa Luo­jaa ja Juma­lan vai­ku­tusta ja läs­nä­oloa maa­il­massa: Jumala sanoi: ”Tul­koon valo!” Ja valo tuli. (1.Moos.1: 3) Hän antaa aurin­konsa nousta niin hyville kuin pahoille ja lähet­tää sateen hurs­kaille ja juma­lat­to­mille. (Matt.5: 45) Aurin­gon­nousu viit­taa Isän jat­ku­vaan luo­mis­työ­hön, mutta myös Poi­kaan ja pää­siäi­sen ylös­nouse­muk­seen. Jee­sus itse kut­suu itse­ään maa­il­man valoksi: Minä olen maa­il­man valo. Se, joka seu­raa minua, ei kulje pimeässä, vaan hänellä on elä­män valo. (Joh.8: 12.) Evan­ke­lis­toista Mar­kus ja Luu­kas ker­to­vat, että Jee­suk­sen kuo­le­man aikaan aurin­ko­kin  pimeni (Mark.15: 33, Luuk.23: 44).

Aurin­koa pide­tään siis toi­saalta Juma­lan siu­nauk­sen, toi­saalta itse Juma­lan ver­taus­ku­vana. Kon­kreet­ti­nen aurinko on kui­ten­kin kris­ti­nus­kossa osa Juma­lan luo­maa maa­il­man­kaik­keutta ja hänelle ala­mai­nen: Ylis­tä­kää häntä, aurinko ja kuu, ylis­tä­kää häntä, kirk­kaat täh­det! (Ps.148: 3)

Raa­ma­tun moni­käyt­töi­nen kie­li­kuva on välit­ty­nyt myös kris­til­li­seen kuva­tai­tee­seen. Päivä pais­taa para­tii­sissa ja mes­su­ka­su­koissa. Heli Mäen mukaan aurinko on esiin­ty­nyt kirk­ko­tai­teessa Kris­tuk­sen sym­bo­lina aina 300-​luvulta läh­tien, siis siitä saakka kun kirk­ko­taide on alka­nut kehit­tyä. Juma­lal­li­sen valon hei­jas­tu­mia ovat myös kato­li­sen ja orto­dok­si­sen kir­kon kuva­kult­tuu­rista tutut pyhien säde­ke­hät.

Lue lisää:

Dor­ling Kin­ders­ley: Sym­bo­lit & mer­kit. Alku­perä ja mer­ki­tys. Suo­men­kie­li­nen lai­tos, Gum­me­rus 2009.

Heli Mäki: Kris­til­li­set sym­bo­lit, kuva­taide. helimaki3@weebly.com.

Kuo­pion museo KUHMU: Amanda Malm­ber­gin kasu­kat. 15.2.2016 https://kuopiontuomiokirkko200.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/amanda-malmbergin-kasukat/

Tam­pe­reen kirk­ko­sa­no­mat -net­ti­lehti: Sanat ja sym­bo­lit. http://www.tampereenkirkkosanomat.fi/8.

Kuvat: Marjaana Kojo-Eskola


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