The word "anagogy" derives from the Greek anagein; to lift up. Anagogy contains several connotations:
- Anagogy refers to entities (such as a word or a Sanctuary) which transport a person beyond himself to a higher consciousness. Anagogy denotes any element (entity or experience) through which a prepared person's actions, thoughts and feelings are lifted up from worldly sense experience to realize an experiential participation in the spiritual realm. To achieve this transcendent experience the aspirant must have the correct respect for Higher Knowledge.
- Anagogy also refers to a specific "mode of vision:"
" There are three modes of human vision . . ; the first external, and belongs to the outward eye; the second that of imagination, by which representations are visible to the internal sense; the third is anagogic, and an intellectual sight, drawn above, by which intelligible species are beheld, as a pure infusion of light to the understanding. The first mode is familiar, the second has already been discussed; but this third vision of the light is in Elysium: where the eye of mind, no longer as heretofore looking from without inwardly, beholds its object through the atmosphere of the natural life; but contrariwise, having passed through this, purifying to the center, is converted and raised; and, as a Unit, now regards the circumference transitively, including it as an understanding or reflector, as it were, to the focus of her light." M.A. Atwood, Hermetic Philosophy and Alchemy, 1850, 1960
All Perennialist teaching material utilizes the arcane anagogical faculty of language. Literature, architecture, music, and art cast in the anagogical mode have the power to lift up a person's actions, thoughts and feelings from worldly sense impressions to activate experiential participation in the spiritual realm. An anagogical experience is one that elevates the mind above the world of appearances to contemplation of and participation in the divine order.
The linguistic and artistic elements within Perennialist teaching material strain against their conceptual bounds; the anagogical forces overpower the ordinary meanings, allowing us to ascend to an actual participation in a divine Beyond. The evocative and transformative power of the material far outstrips the merely informative capacity and we move into higher realms of meaning and effect.
Illustration of anagogical divulgence