THE COSMIC HEART--centre of life in the universe as man's tiny heart is his centre of life--meant to the ancient Aryans "Breath," the ceaselessly ascending and descending spiral which is the life-sustaining symbol of the universe. To the ancient Egyptians the cosmic heart was the Mind: "It is He (the Heart) who brings forth every issue, and it is the tongue that repeats the thoughts of the Heart." To the Chinese the heart of the universe was Buddha; it was also "the skilful workman," who made all the different conditions of existence in the ten regions of space; it was the "universal essence" from which everything in the universe came into being. Heaven and Earth, with this heart, they said, pervades everything. Man obtains it, and then it is the heart of man; when things obtain it, then it is the heart of things; when grass, trees,
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PLATE XXXV. THE EARTH OF THE MYSTICS--THE HEART OF GOD (From Theologia Mystica, or, The Archtypous Globe; John Pordage, 1683)
birds, and beasts obtain it, then it is the heart of each of these. And the heart of man, they said, is simply the inborn Buddha, which belongs to everything that has conscious existence, that infinitesimal particle of the divine that gives and sustains all. Somewhere, then, in the universe this divine heart of the cosmos pulsated, and if the Earth was the centre of the cosmos, then the Earth was its heart and its life.
Just as the unknown author of De Imago Mundi had worked out his scheme of the universe on the image of the Cosmic Egg, John Pordage, an Englishman of the seventeenth century, developed his mystical theory of the "Archtypous Globe" as the Cosmic Heart. Plate XXXV gives his drawing of the Eternal World, wherein the Holy Trinity do manifest themselves, as in a clear Chrystalline Glass or Mirrour." In it, he discerned three distinct places, the Outward Court, the Inward Court, or Holy Place, and "the Inmost Court, or the Abysmal Eye in the centre of the Heart of God, . . . which essential Eye of God, looking into it self, and finding nothing besides it self, by dilating it self, gives a beginning and an end to it self; which beginning and entring into, and joyning with one another do constitute and form the Globe of Eternity . . . for the Eye, turning it self inwards into it self, comes to know it self, and to see, feel, and taste it self; and if it look outward, it sees nothing but it self neither, because as the Eye is God, so is the Globe nothing but the dilation of the Eye . . . for the natural formation of a Globe or sphear is by the Centre's dilating and expanding of it self; a circumference being nothing else but a centre dilated, or
a central emanation bounded by it self. . . . I am ashamed to present you such a dead lifeless figure of it; but no pen can decipher it on paper, it is only the Spirit of the Eye that can open it self, and give you the living and ravishing sight of its own essentiality without similitudes or figures, though I can express it outwardly no better than I have in the foregoing figure."
Pordage explains the tiny "figure in the Margent," as typifying the Holy Trinity. The Eye in the midst of the Heart represents the Father, the Generator of the Son who is the Heart of the Father; and the out flowing exit of powers, like a breath, represents the Holy Ghost proceeding from the Father, through the Heart of the Son. Thus the birth of the Holy Trinity is manifested in the opening of the Eye, to be a Trinity in Unity; the Eye is in the Heart, and the Heart is the Eye's Centre, and the Spirit is a proceeding Spirit from the Eye and Heart; and thus they are one in another, in one Essence, and undivided and inseparable; the Father is one with the Son, and the Son with the Father; and the Spirit proceeds from the union of these both, and abides one with them. Wheresoever the Eye is, there is the Heart; and wheresoever the Eye and Heart are, there the outgoing of powers streams forth from them."
Map makers are not usually mystics, and certainly there is no indication that Petrus Apianus, distinguished German mathematician and astronomer of the sixteenth century, was proposing to do more than make an extraordinarily beautiful world-map according to a pattern he himself explains. On Ptolemy's figure of Earth, Apianus
made his famous "cardiform projections" towards the poles, and obtained his heart-shaped map of the world. This is one of the earliest maps on which the just discovered western continents appear under the name of the Americas. (See Frontispiece Plate XXXVI.)