Pratum Felicitatis: An Art Pendant Series by Folklore
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Pratum Felicitatis: A Parable
These pendants are handmade, hand sculpted, and hand painted with one of a kind cabochons. No piece can be replicated. This is a series near and dear to my heart, one that started Folklore years ago, before it ever received its new moniker. This story brought me back to my art and creation in all of its form. It is also the name of our beautifully floral and fragrant Pratum conjure oil, its inspiration coming to me during a time of desolation, a time of seeking hope for the future ahead. While perusing classics, I stumbled upon an examination of the journey of the soul, told through visceral hermetic and alchemical language. It spoke to me immediately; and, of course, I had to dive deeper. I watched the story unfold of a soul coming to see and integrate within itself its truths, one of ultimate understanding and an outpouring of love not only for others, but a forgiveness for the desires of the self.
It is through this journey, through these truths, and through this love, that I present you one of a kind crystal pendant keepsakes. A fae portal surrounded in apatite, moss, and amanita with a gorgeous, calming amethyst window; a tree of the Meadow Herself, containing rhodochrosite, a heart stone at its center to integrate the spiritual and physical, with alchemically transformed citrine as its base; color shifting flora; amanitas with amplifying quartz, emotionally balancing lepidolite, and alchemical citrine gems; the meadow of felicity contains it all.
Read on to experience the parable of Pratum Felicitatis:
"As once I strolled in a fair forest, young and green, and contemplated the painfulness of this life, and lamented how through the dire fall of our first parents we inherited such misery and distress, I chanced, while thinking these thoughts, to depart from the usual path, and found myself, I know not how, on a narrow foot path that was rough, untrodden and impassable, and overgrown with so much underbrush and bushes that it was easy to see it was very little used. Therefore I was dismayed and would gladly have gone back, but it was not in my power to do so, since a strong wind so powerfully blew me on, that I could rather take ten steps in advance than one backward.
Therefore I had to go on and not mind the rough walking.
After I had advanced a good while I came finally to a lovely meadow hedged about with a round circle of fruit bearing trees, and called by the dwellers Pratum Felicitatis [the meadow of felicity], I was in the midst of a company of old men with beards as gray as ice, except for one who was quite a young man with a pointed black beard. Also there was among them one whose name was well known to me, but his visage I could not yet see, who was still younger, and they debated on all kinds of subjects, particularly about a great and lofty mystery, hidden in Nature, which God kept concealed from the great world, and revealed to only a few who loved him.
I listened long and their discourse pleased me well, only some would break forth from restraint, not touching upon the matter or work, but what touched upon the parables, similitudes and other parerga, in which they followed the poetic fancies of Aristotle, Pliny and others which the one had copied from the other. So I could contain myself no longer and mixed in my own mustard, [put in my own word], refuted such trivial things from experience, and the majority sided with me, examined me in their faculty and made it quite hot for me. However the foundation of my knowledge was so good, that I passed with all honors, whereupon they all were amazed, unanimously included and admitted me in their collegium, of which I was heartily glad.
But they said I could not be a real colleague till I learned to know their lion, and became thoroughly acquainted with his powers and abilities. For that purpose I should use diligence so as to subdue him. I was quite confident in myself and promised them I would do my best. For their company pleased me so well that I would not have parted from them for a great deal.
They led me to the lion and described him very carefully, but what I should undertake with him none could tell me. Some of them indeed hinted, but very darkly, so that the (Der Tausende) Thousandth one could not have understood him. But when I should first succeed in subduing him and should have assured myself against his sharp claws, and keen teeth, then they would conceal nothing from me. Now the lion was very old, ferocious and large, his yellow hair hung over his neck, he appeared quite unconquerable, so that I was almost afraid of my temerity and would gladly have turned back if my promise and also the circumstance that the elders stood about me and were waiting to see what I would do, had allowed me to give up. In great confidence I approached the lion in his den and began to caress him, but he looked at me so fiercely with his brightly shining eyes that I could hardly restrain my tears. Just then I remembered that I had learned from one of the elders, while we were going to the lion's den, that very many people had undertaken to overcome the lion and very few could accomplish it. I was unwilling to be disgraced, and I recalled several grips that I had learned with great diligence in athletics, besides which I was well versed in natural magic [magia] so I gave up the caresses and seized the lion so dexterously, artfully and subtley, that before he was well aware of it I forced the blood out of his body, yea, even out of his heart. It was beautifully red but very choleric. I dissected him further and found, a fact which caused me much wonder, that his bones were white as snow and there was much more bone than there was blood.
Now when my dear elders, who stood above around the den and looked at me, were aware of it, they disputed earnestly with each other, for so much I could infer from their motions but what they said I could not hear since I was deep down in the den. Yet as they came close in dispute I heard that one said, “He must bring him to life again, else he can not be our colleague.” I was unwilling to undertake further difficulties, and betook myself out of the den to a great place, and came, I know not how, on a very high wall, whose height rose over 100 ells towards the clouds, but on top was not one foot wide. And there went up from the beginning, where I ascended, to the end an iron hand rail right along the center of the wall, with many leaded supports. On this wall I came, I say, and meseems there went on the right side of the railing a man several paces before me.
But as I followed him awhile I saw another following me on the other side, yet it was doubtful whether man or woman, that called to me and said that it was better walking on his side than where I went, as I readily believed, because the railing that stood near the middle made the path so narrow that the going at such a height was very bad. Then I saw also some that wished to go on that path, fall: down below behind me, therefore I swung under the railing; holding tight with my hands and went forward on the other [left] side, till I finally came to a place on the wall which was very precipitous and dangerous to descend. Then first I repented that I had not stayed on the other [right] side and I could not go under to the other side as it was also impossible to turn round and get on the other path. So I risked it, trusted to my good feet, held myself tight and came down without harm, and as I walked a little further, looked and knew of no other danger, but also knew not what had become of wall and railing.
After I came down, there stood in that place a beautiful rose bush, on which beautiful red and white roses were growing, the red more numerous, however, than the white. I broke off some roses from the bush and put them on my hat. But there seemed to be in the same place a wall, surrounding a great garden. In the garden were lads, and their lasses who would gladly be in the garden, but would not wander widely, or take the trouble to come to the gates. So I pitied them. I went further along the path by which I had come, still on the level, and went so fast that I soon came to some houses, where I supposed I should find the gardener's house. But I found there many people, each having his own room. They were slow. Two together they worked diligently, yet each had his own work. [The meaning may be either that working alone they were slow, but in twos they worked diligently; or two of them worked together and were diligent. Both amount to the same thing as we shall later realize.] But what they did, it seems, I had myself done before and all their work was familiar to me. Especially, thought I, see, if so many other people do so much dirty and sloppy work, that is only an appearance according to each one's conceit, but has no reason in Nature, so it may also be pardoned in you. I wished, therefore, because I knew such tricks vanished like smoke, to remain here no longer in vain and proceeded on my former way.
After I had arrived at the gate of the garden, some on one side looked sourly at me, so that I was afraid they might hinder me in my project; but others said, “See, he will into the garden, and we have done garden service here so long, and have never gotten in; we will laugh him down if he fails.” But I did not regard all that, as I knew the conditions of this garden better than they, even if I had never been in it, but went right to a gate that was tight shut so that one could neither see nor find a keyhole. I noticed, however, that a little round hole that with ordinary eyes could not be seen, was in the door, and thought immediately, that must be the way the door is opened, was ready with my specially prepared Diederich, unlocked and went in. When I was inside the door, I found several other bolted doors, which I yet opened without trouble. Here, however, was a passage way, just as if it was in a well built house, some six feet wide and twenty long, with a roof above. And though the other doors were still locked, I could easily see through them into the garden as the first door was open.
I wandered into the garden in God's name, and found in the midst of it a small garden, that was square and six roods long, hedged in with rose thorns, and the roses bloomed beautifully. But as it was raining gently, and the sun shone in it, it caused a very lovely rainbow. When I had passed beyond the little garden and would go to the place where I was to help the maids, behold I was aware that instead of the walls a low hurdle stood there, and there went along by the rose garden the most beautiful maiden arrayed in white satin, with the most stately youth, who was in scarlet each giving arm to the other, and carrying in their hands many fragrant roses. I spoke to them and asked them how they had come over the hurdle. “This, my beloved bridegroom,” said she, “has helped me over, and we are going now out of this beautiful garden into our apartment to enjoy the pleasures of love.” “I am glad,” said I, “that without any further trouble on my part your desires are satisfied; yet see how I have hurried, and have run so long a way in so short a time to serve you.” After that I came into a great mill built inside of stones, in which were no flour bins or other things that pertained to grinding but one saw through the walls several water wheels going in water. I asked why it had equipment for grinding. An old miller answered that the mill was shut down on the other side. Just then I also saw a miller's boy go in from the sluice plank [Schutzensteg], and I followed after him. When I had come over the plank [Steg], which had the water wheels on the left, I stood still and was amazed at what I saw there. For the wheels were now higher than the plank, the water coal black, but its drops were yet white, and the sluice planks were not over three fingers wide. Still I ventured back and held onto the sticks that were over the sluice planks and so came safely and dry over the water. Then I asked the old miller how many water wheels he had. “Ten,” answered he. The adventure stuck in my mind. I should have gladly known what the meaning was. But as I noticed that the miller would not leave I went away, and there was in front of the mill a lofty paved hill, on which were some of the previously mentioned elders who walked in the sun, which then shone very warm, and they had a letter from the whole faculty written to them, on which they were consulting. [In our modern mode of expression, the elders had directed a letter to the sun, and so I find the passage in an English version of the parable. This generally bungling translation is nevertheless not in the least authoritative. And although an acceptable meaning is derived from it, if one regards the sun as the just mentioned “prince,” yet I believe a freer translation should be given ... the elders walked in the warm sunshine; they consulted about a letter written to them by the faculty.] I soon noticed what the contents must be, and that it concerned me. I went therefore to them and said, “Gentlemen, does it concern me?” “Yes,” said they, “you must keep in marriage the woman that you have recently taken or we must notify our prince.” I said, “that is no trouble as I was born at the same time as she and brought up as a child with her, and as I have taken her once I will keep her forever, and death itself shall not part us, for I have an ardent affection for her.” “What have we then to complain of?” replied they. “The bride is content, and we have your will; you must copulate.” “Contented,” said I. “Well,” said one, “the lion will then regain his life and become more powerful and mighty than before.”
Then occurred to me my previous trouble and labor and I thought to myself that for particular reasons it must not concern me but some other that is well known to me; then I saw our bridegroom and his bride go by in their previous attire, ready and prepared for copulation, which gave me great joy, for I was in great distress lest the thing might concern me.
When, then, as mentioned, our bridegroom in his brilliant scarlet clothes with his dearest bride, whose white satin coat shot forth bright rays, came to the proper marriage age, they joined the two so quickly that I wondered not a little that this maid, that was supposed to be the mother of the bridegroom, was still so young that she appeared to be just born.
Now I do not know what sin these two must have committed except that although they were brother and sister, they were in such wise bound by ties of love, that they could not be separated, and so, as it were, wished to be punished. These two were, instead of a bride bed and magnificent marriage, condemned and shut up in an enduring and everlasting prison, which, because of their high birth and goodly state, and also so that in future they should not be guilty in secret, but all their conduct should be known to the guard placed over them and in his sight, was made quite transparent, bright and clear like a crystal, and round like a sphere of heaven, and there they were with continual tears and true contrition to atone and make reparation for their past misdeeds. [Instead of to a bride bed the two were brought to a prison, so that their actions could be watched. The prison was transparent; it was a bright crystal clear chamber, like a sphere of heaven, corresponding to the high position of the two persons.] Previously, however, all their rare clothing and finery that they had put on for ornament was taken away, so that in such a chamber they must be quite naked and merely dwell with each other. [It is not directly understood by these words that a cohabitation in modern sense (coition) is meant. According to modern language the passage must be rendered, “had to dwell near each other naked and bare.” One is reminded, moreover, of the nuptial customs that are observed particularly in the marriage of persons of high birth. In any case and, in spite of my reservation, what occurs is conducive or designed to lead to the sexual union.] Besides they gave them no one that had to go into the chamber to wait on them, but after they put in all the necessities in the way of meat and drink, which were created from the afore mentioned water, the door of the chamber was fast bolted and locked, the faculty seal impressed on it and I was enjoined that I should guard them here, and spend the winter before the door; the chamber should be duly warmed so that they be neither too hot nor too cold, and they could neither come out nor escape. But should they, on account of any hope of breaking this mandate, escape, I would thereupon be justly subjected to heavy punishment. I was not pleased by the thing, my fear and solicitude made me faint hearted, for I communed with myself that it was no small thing that had befallen me, as I knew also that the college of wisdom was accustomed not to lie but to put into action what it said. Yet because I could not change it, beside which this locked chamber stood in the center of a strong tower and surrounded with strong bulwarks and high walls, in which one could with a small but continuous fire warm the whole chamber, I undertook this office, and began in God's name to warm the chamber, and protect the imprisoned pair from the cold. But what happened? As soon as they perceived the slightest warmth they embraced each other so tenderly that the like will not soon be seen, and stayed so hot that the young bridegroom's heart in his body dissolved for ardent love, also his whole body almost melted in his beloved's arms and fell apart. When she who loved him no less than he did her, saw this, she wept over him passionately and, as it were buried him with her tears so that one could not see, for her gushing tears that overflowed everything, where he went. Her weeping and sorrowing had driven her to this in a short time, and she would not for deep anguish of heart live longer, but voluntarily gave herself to death. Ah woe is me. In what pain and need and trouble was I that my two charges had quite disappeared in water, and death alone was left for me. My certain destruction stood before my eyes, and what was the greatest hardship to me, I feared the threatened shame and disgrace that would happen to me, more than the injury that would overtake me.
As I now passed several days in such solitude and pondered over the question how I could remedy my affairs, it occurred to me how Medea had revived the dead body of Aeson, and I thought to myself, “If Medea could do such a thing, why should such a thing fail me?” I began at once to bethink me how I would do it, found however no better way than that I should persist with continual warmth until the waters disappeared, and I might see again the corpses of our lovers. As I hoped to come off without danger and with great advantage and praise I went on with my warmth that I had begun and continued it forty whole days, as I was aware that the water kept on diminishing the longer I kept it up, and the corpses that were yet as black as coal, began again to be visible. And truly this would have occurred before if the chamber had not been all too securely locked and bolted. Which I yet did not avail to open. For I noted particularly that the water that rose and hastened to the clouds, collected above in the chamber and fell down like rain, so that nothing could come of it, until our bridegroom with his dearest bride, dead and rotten, and therefore hideously stinking, lay before my eyes.
All the while the sunshine in the moist weather caused an exceedingly beautiful rainbow to be seen, in the chamber, with surprisingly beautiful colors, which overjoyed not a little my overpowering affliction. Much more was I delighted that I saw my two lovers lying before me again. But as no joy is so great but is mixed with much sadness, so I was troubled in my joy thinking that my charges lay still dead before me, and one could trace no life in them. But because I knew that their chamber was made of such pure and thick material, also so tight-locked that their soul and spirit could not get out, but was still closely guarded within, I continued with my steady warmth day and night, to perform my delegated office, quite impressed with the fact that the two would not return to their bodies, as long as the moisture continued. For in the moist state nature keeps itself the same, as I then also found in fact and in truth. For I was aware upon careful examination that from the earth at evening through the power of the sun, many vapors arose and drew themselves up just as the sun draws water. They were condensed in the night in a lovely and very fruitful dew, which very early in the morning fell and moistened the earth and washed our dead corpses, so that from day to day, the longer such bathing and washing continued, the more beautiful and whiter they became. But the fairer and whiter they became, the more they lost moisture, till finally the air being bright and beautiful, and all the mist and moist weather, having passed, the spirit and soul of the bride could hold itself no longer in the bright air, but went back into the clarified and still more transfigured body of the queen, who soon experienced it [i.e. her soul and spirit] and at once lived again. This, then, as I could easily observe, not a little pleased me, especially as I saw her arise in surpassingly costly garments whose like was never seen on earth, and with a precious crown decked with bright diamonds; and also heard her speak. “Hear ye children of men and perceive ye that are born of women, that the most high power can set up kings and can remove kings. He makes rich and poor, according to his will. He kills and makes again to live.”
See in me a true and living example of all that. I was great and became small, but now after having been humbled, I am a queen elevated over many kingdoms. I have been killed and made to live. To poor me have been trusted and given over the great treasures of the sages and the mighty.
“Therefore power is also given me to make the poor rich, show kindness to the lowly, and bring health to the sick. But I am not yet like my well-beloved brother, the great and powerful king, who is still to be awakened from the dead. When he comes he will prove that my words are true.”
And when she said that the sun shone very bright, and the day was warmer than before, and the dog days were at hand. But because, a long time before, there were prepared for the lordly and great wedding of our new queen many costly robes, as of black velvet, ashen damask, gray silk, silver taffeta, snow white satin, even one studded with surpassingly beautiful silver pieces and with precious pearls and lordly bright-gleaming diamonds, so likewise different garments were arranged and prepared for the young king, namely of carnation, yellow Auranian colors, precious gear, and finally a red velvet garment with precious rubies and thickly incrusted with carbuncles. But the tailors that made their clothes were quite invisible, so that I also wondered as I saw one coat prepared after another and one garment after another, how these things came to pass, since I well knew that no one came into the chamber except the bridegroom with his bride. So that what I wondered at most of all was that as soon as another coat or garment was ready, the first immediately vanished before my eyes, so that I knew not whence they came or who had taken them away.
When now this precious clothing was ready, the great and mighty king appeared in great splendor and magnificence, to which nothing might be compared. And when he found himself shut in, he begged me with friendly and very gracious words, to open the door for him and permit him to go out; it would prove of great advantage to me. Although I was strictly forbidden to open the chamber, yet the grand appearance and the winning persuasiveness of the king disconcerted me so that I cheerfully let him go. And when he went out he was so friendly and so gracious and yet so meek that he proved indeed that nothing did so grace high persons as did these virtues.
But because he had passed the dog days in great heat, he was very thirsty, also faint and tired and directed me to dip up some of the swift running water under the mill wheels, and bring it, and when I did, he drank a large part with great eagerness, went back into his chamber, and bade me close the door fast behind him, so that no one might disturb him or wake him from sleep.
Here he rested for a few days and called to me to open the door. Methought, however, that he was much more beautiful, more ruddy and lordly, which he then also remarked and deemed it a lordly and wholesome water, drank much of it, more than before so that I was resolved to build the chamber much larger. [Evidently because the inmate increased in size.] When now the king had drunk to his satisfaction of this precious drink, which yet the unknowing regard as nothing he became so beautiful and lordly, that in my whole life I never saw a more lordly person nor more lordly demeanor. Then he led me into his kingdom, and showed me all the treasures and riches of the world, so that I must confess, that not only had the queen announced the truth, but also had omitted to describe the greater part of it as it seemed to those that know it. For there was no end of gold and noble carbuncle there; rejuvenation and restoration of natural forces, and also recovery of lost health, and removal of all diseases were a common thing in that place. The most precious of all was that the people of that land knew their creator, feared and honored him, and asked of him wisdom and understanding, and finally after this transitory glory an everlasting blessedness. To that end help us God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen."