“ICON” IN AFRICAN TRADITION
In African Tradition the equivalent of the C16 English word “Icon” (Greek eikon, ‘be like’) was derived from their “Star/Halo” concept of 20,000 BC. Prompting this concept was their intense interest in Stars of the sky. Like any “Star,” there radiates an image they referred to as a “Halo”. The word “Halo” originated from an agricultural root fashioned by Very Ancient African farmers who threshed grain by driving a team of oxen. The Greeks called the resultant oxen tracks “Halos” (i.e. “circular threshing floors”). By understanding and using the mathematics of Forms, African Sages shaped Halo forces of the Spiritual Elements into”Idea-Forms“–patterns representing a Cosmic Image called an Icon. That Icon was likened to the Halo’s “circular threshing floor”. This concept had application in Ancient African Sages’ realization of Life being a combination of Spirit and Matter in unity. One application was to the essence of the Cosmic Circle of Wholism encompassing Life. Since God is at its core (“Star”), it is the underlying and inner consistent pattern of all Life. The same Circle resides in each human as God’s “Halo, serving as the source where a human’s divinity arises for expression. This Circle has Integrity–meaning it is complete (i.e. having all its parts, is carried to its fulfillment or is fully developed); whole in all aspects and throughout, healthy, natural, flawless, not divided against itself; strong against opposing forces, Incorruptible (not subject to moral decay) and Irreproachable (free from blame) in responsibility. It was from this Circle’s Integrity that the word “Icon” had its original meaning because, like metaphors, Spiritual Icons illuminate the reality imaged in the Cosmic Circle of Wholism and wherever the effects of that Circle were present in the Cosmos. Two examples in early African Spiritual Literature referred to the “gods” in Metaphysical realms and to the “Soul” in humans–both analogized to the lesser equivalent of “Stars” since possessing God’s Image imbued them with God’s Substance (the Ultimate Super-Star).
In a sense, Spiritual Icons are Metaphors (meta, ‘across’; pherein, ‘to carry’) as a result of the Halo ‘carrying over’ or ‘transferring’ the sense or meaning or message in an illuminated fashion of what is in the Substance of God. The Effects of these independent units working together for common purposes include: providing fertile ground for evoking and expressing Feelings (i.e. Instincts conveying the will of God); provoking and stimulating thoughts of self-assessment; and nurturing insights into what constitutes Certainty on a consistent basis. These allows ones to move around in Metaphysical realms. Whatever out of all of this Circle of Wholism that Ancient Africans’ minds could grasp was put into a “Verbal Metaphorical Image.” All such Spiritual Metaphors involve a particular linguistic tension in which the image and the thing imaged are identified but remain distinct. In other words, the Spiritual Icon, despite being united with what it images, is also distinct from it–like two sides of a coin, with the Image being of a divine nature while the name “Spiritual Icon” is a human application. Both also arise out of the human image-making/icon-making faculty known as the ‘Imagination’. In this process the thing spoken about is illuminated by the image used. Spiritual Icons, like the Metaphors elaborating on them, are ‘doors of perception’, ‘windows into eternity’ and ‘glasses of vision’. In being distinguished from everything else in the Metaphysical and the Selfhoods of humans, these Spiritual Icons–these “Halos” indicate–short of God’s Substance–the most outstanding attributes of things of Worth (i.e. Beauty).
The “Spiritual Icon” and its Metaphor gave rise to the concept of a Contingency (a word with extremely complex meanings). Perhaps Contingency is best understood by contrasting it to “Necessity” and substituting “must” for Necessity. To say a proposition is Contingent is to introduce the concept of “may” because it is a posteriori (derived from experience)–and that in consequence such knowledge after the fact is never certain but at most only probable. Examples of Contingency: “such will happen in the yet unborn”; “the thing in question, by owing its being to activity of some other thing, does not exist through itself alone, as one owes ones being to ones parents. So, a “Spiritual Icon” and its Metaphor–by being interrelated as an ‘identity in difference’–are contingent in that both ‘are’/‘are not’ what they image and also owe their being to the “Star.” jabaileymd.com
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