Philemon Foundation Projects

The Rose Window is a mandala and we come here to a curious analogy between East and West, the mystical flower which is the seat of the divinity.

We have already often spoken of the Indian Padme or Lotus.

It has a female significance, for it really symbolises the womb.

And we read in the Paradiso, Canto XXXIII:

“For in thy womb rekindling shone the love
Reveal’d, whose genial influence makes now
This flower to germin in eternal peace:”
This rose is the rose we read of in the beginning of Canto XXXI:
“In fashion, as a snow white rose, lay then
Before my view the saintly multitude,
Which in His own blood Christ epoused . . .”

This is· the multitude of the whole Church and the centre, the womb so to speak, is the innermost sanctuary,
the Deity:

. …. , “In that abyss
Of radiance, clear and lofty, seem ‘d, methought,
Three orbs of triple hue, clipt in one bound:
And, from another, one reflected seem’d,
As rainbow is from rainbow: and the third
Seem’d fire, breathed equally from both.”

Ignatius was probably familiar with all these things, they appear again and again right through the Middle Ages
and even up to the present time.

Dante represents the whole sphere of Heaven as consisting of a series of circles and the highest or
last is the rose.

That is an exact parallel to those eastern mandalas where the lotus is in the centre surrounded by a
magic circle.

Curiously enough I came across a similar picture the other day, belonging to modern Catholic art, a
Representation of the birth of Christ, the Christmas mystery.

It depicted a snow landscape with mountains in the distance, there were some houses and quite in the
foreground a plant with four buds.

The Christ child is emerging from the central flower. [See sketch.)

This is a purely eastern idea, the god in the lotus and, as far as I know, it is not to be found in this form
in medieval art.

It may also possibly be an effort at syncretism, that is, at introducing the eastern symbol of the lotus into
Church iconography. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture 19 January 1930