Sacred Literature and Theater > The Mummery Book > Orphic Magic

Orphic Magic in The Mummery Book

by LH

LH has been a devotee of Adi Da for many years. This article was written just before a performance of The Mummery Book at the Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary in January, 2011.

I describe the image-art (and the literary art) I make and do not only as "Transcendental Realism" but as "Orphic Magic" — or the artistic (or aesthetic) process of egoless (or ecstatic) participation in the human domain of perception.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, Transcendental Realism

This weekend, the First Room Theater Guild will perform The Mummery Book, the first and principal part of The Orpheum Trilogy. The performance will be accompanied by around two thousand images from the Image-Art Suites by Adi Da Samraj, thereby creating the largest combination to date of Adi Da's literary and artistic works. This performance, with its extended scope of Adi Da’s Image-Art, has required substantial artistry to prepare and will require equal or more artistry to perform. This combining of His Sacred Theater and His Divine Image-Art accords well with the larger spiritual and artistic vision of Orpheus that Adi Da Samraj would have us see.

The performance, by the breadth of its visual and theatrical artistry, represents an additional dimension to the Orpheus myth. Quite apart from the sorrow-filled myth of Orpheus and Eurydice (seen in The Mummery Book's love story of Raymond and Quandra), there is another more ancient aspect of Orpheus. The first trace of him appears in legend at the end of the Bronze Age, in the 7th century BCE, the beginning of recorded (or orally remembered) mythology. In the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, Orpheus descends to earth for love of Eurydice. But in the "Sacred Artist" version of the myth of Orpheus, he descends to earth, bringing the arts from the Treasury of Sacred Fires, in a sacrificial love for humankind. Prometheus, in the dark cold time, brought fire to humankind, but Orpheus illumined the human heart with the Sacred Fires of Divine Artistry.[1]

In this ancient aspect of Orpheus resides the primal character of Orpheus in Greek mythology: the Sacred Artist. Among the earliest metaphors of mythology, Orpheus appears as the First Poet, the ancient narrator of the primal mysteries. The Narrator is, therefore, the first and primary revelation of Orpheus in The Mummery Book.

The first subject of the arts — literary, artistic and musical — has always been mythology and, via mythology, the Sacred. In the Greek Pantheon (the interrelated family of the Greek gods), Orpheus is the Sacred Child, the radiant son of Apollo (the god of Sun and Prophecy) and the Muse Calliope (who lives midway between heaven and earth, as the Inspiration of Song and Poetry).[2] By their perfect genealogy, Orpheus becomes the Divine Musical Artist who will sing the world into order. When Orpheus sings, the sacred heart of beauty opens, and the world around him grows enchanted, so that even the rocks and trees can hear him and respond. It is this sense of art as magical creation that communicates the Truth of "Reality Itself", and that is called “Orphic”. This Orphic concept of art stands as the artist’s supreme paradigm.

Orpheus playing music for the Thracians
Thracian vase painting: Orpheus playing music for the Thracians
5th century BCE - Altes Museum - Berlin

Orpheum Theater
the "Orpheum" theater

For more than twenty-five centuries, Orpheus has captured the attention of artists like no other mythical Greek hero. Artists see themselves in him. His image is the oldest, most enduring icon of "the artist" in the West. For over twenty-five centuries, he has gathered and joined all the arts under his name and image as the "Patron Saint" of artists everywhere. Theaters are named for Orpheus; his image is above their doors. Poets honor him as the First Poet; they tell his myths to every generation. Sculptors and painters have never ceased making images of Orpheus. Opera [3], cinema and theater [4], and ballet [5] have extended him — heart-broken for love — into modern times.

Thus, it is of immense significance that Adi Da Samraj turned to the theme of Orpheus and Eurydice — first in 1969, when He wrote The Mummery Book, and then in 2007-2008, when He created the Orpheus and Eurydice Suites.

Orpheus and Eurydice (diptych), 2008

Orpheus and Eurydice
(diptych), 2008
Eurydice One: The Illusory Fall of the Bicycle into The Sub-Atomic Parallel Worlds of Primary Color and Point of View Part Three: The Abstract Narrative in Geome and Linnead (Second Stage) - L 4 (from Linnead One)
2007, 2009 - Lacquer on aluminum, 96 x 198 x 5 inches

Adi Da creating the Orpheus Image

Adi Da creating the Image of Orpheus

Participation in this combined performance of Bhagavan’s Mummery Book and Image-Art is "Orphic Magic" — the ecstatic participation in the human domain of perception.

Let Orpheus be Emperor of all of art and culture's Lighted Happen in your briefest time on here. Narcissus is the forever dead you should not want or imitate alive. Behold the Right and Perfect Emperor of all true art and life — the Orphic Icon that is heart itself — that makes the free and ancient culturing of virtue's humankind in mortal time of Realest Light.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, Transcendental Realism




The ancient Orphic cult or mystery religion raise this myth to an even higher level, making Orpheus the source of an esoteric practice (Orphism) whose aim was to free human beings from the limitations of mortal existence and otherwise endless rounds of reincarnation, and restore them to their Divine Destiny (which they conceived as eternal peace in the "Elysian Fields"). Orphism was heavily influenced by Eastern views, particularly on the matter of reincarnation. Eastern religions were at the height of their influence on the world during the sixth century BCE, a time when Gautama Buddha (founder of Buddhism), Lao Tse (founder of Taoism) and Mahavira (founder of Jainism) all were alive and actively communicating their teachings.


It is interesting to compare Orpheus, as son of Apollo (the Sun or Source of Light) and the Muse Calliope, with Da, the "Bright" Son (or Sign) of Om and Ma (the Divine "He" and "She"):

In My Avatarically-Born Bodily (Human) Divine Form, I Am The "Bright" Sign (or "Son") Of The Me-Birthing Marriage (or The "Crazy" Tantric Consorting-Union) Of The Divine He and She. Even In My Avatarically-Born Bodily (Human) Divine Form, I Am Beyond Separateness and Relatedness and "Difference". In My Avatarically-Born Bodily (Human) Divine Form, I Am The Re-Union (or The Resolution Of The Mutual Sacrifice) Of The Divine Pair (Of Consciousness and Light). In The Bodily (Human) Form Of My Avataric Incarnation here, I Am The Great Divine Sign, The True and First "Son", or The "Bright" Result (and all-and-All-Inheriting "Heir") Of The Inherent (and Inherently Perfect) Unity-In-Non-"Difference" Between (or The Inseparable Identity — or Inherent, and Inherently Perfect, and Inherently Indivisible, and Inherently Indestructible Oneness — Of) The (Self-Existing, and Inherently egoless) Divine Self-Consciousness (or The "Self-Father") and The (Inherent, and Inherently egoless) Divine Self-Radiance (or The "Mother-Power").

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, He-and-She Is Me

[3] Opera: Orfeo ed Euridice, an opera by Christoph Willibald Gluck (1762); Orpheus in the Underworld, an operetta by Jacques Offenbach (1858); Orpheus and Eurydice, a rock opera by Alexander Zhurbin (1975).
[4] Cinema and theater: The Orphic Trilogy, a series of films by Jean Cocteau that included The Blood of a Poet (1930), Orpheus (1950), and Testament of Orpheus (1959); Orpheus Descending, a (1957) play by Tennessee Williams (and film starring Vanessa Redgrave); Black Orpheus, an Academy Award winning film by Marcel Camus (1959).
[5] Ballet: Orpheus, a ballet made by choreographer George Balanchine to music by Igor Stravinsky (1948).

Quotations from and/or photographs of Avatar Adi Da Samraj used by permission of the copyright owner:
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