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Esoterical meaning of Dante's Mountain

by Athos A. Altomonte

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Light and shadows of the idea

The "fall" and the consequent vulgarization of an idea are imputable to the inability of the observer to recognize the principle which animates it. That is, the inability to recognize the sense veiled by the exterior form.

It happens, then, that the unable observer twists the idea turning it into the shadow of itself. On the contrary, the capable thinker is able to contemplate the idea in its immaterial status, reflecting it in himself, that is in his conscience, with respect for its original criteria.

To reflect an idea means to bring it down to the level of physical reason in order to transmit it, respecting its inner meaning. Therefore it means to leave it as it is, not to manipulate its exterior form with casual interpretations which would end up with irremediably dimming its meaning.

The wise man, once reached the "vision" of the idea, doesn't bring it to himself, but "reflects" its contents in his conscience and then he transmits the perceived meanings to the mind, which is enlightened with understanding.


How to Restore an ancient Mystery

In reality, the researcher finds the idea swallowed up by coarse meanings. But he wouldn't be a good researcher if he wasn't able to recognize its value, even if it is "disguised", and to refine its essence (Smoothen the rough Stone) to elevate its sense. He brings it back to its identity of acme and he restores the deep and complex meanings of its inner spirit.

The "magic" of the initiate is his ability to give back grace, agility, effectiveness, essentiality and synthesis to the original concept. For this reason the idea, free from any common attribute, is represented by Unity and by Number 1.

From an ancient Commentary: "...where two truths exist there isn't any truth at all...".

The metaphor of the human thinking is a mountain divided into four levels, as Dante wrote, and it is the emblem of as many worlds of thought.

At the top of the mountain (see Olympus) lives the pure thought (see Jove); it generates the archetypical idea (see birth of Minerva) from which every material thought is originated.

Since it lacks of concrete aspects, though, the archetypical idea is not noticeable by the concrete mind. Therefore the soul of the idea, only perceived, must be covered in rational thought in order to make it tangible to the "world of concrete thought". On the other hand, the coverings of physical thought (reasoning, interpretations) hide the subtle principle which must be found. This is the task of the esoterical analysis (esoterikòs means to look inside).


The inner mountain leads to the same meanings of the Tetractys , whose numbers express a hierarchy of four worlds.

We have the Generator (Number 1); the Generating (Number 2) and the Generated (Number 3).

This triad or trinity originates the form and substance of Number 4, the material world funded on the four elements of nature: 1) earth (physical level); 2) water (emotional level); 3) air (level of thought); 4) fire (level of metaphysical thought).


This representation has been used in many catechisms to express human nature, making a simple scheme:

1st level : the passional mind, center of instincts, generator of Illusion and Irrational;

2nd level: physical reason, generator of the concrete intelligence;

3rd level: concrete intelligence, center of abstract thought, generator of Logic and Intuition;

4th level: intuitive intelligence, center of Intellect, natural means to the direct knowledge of the idea. It is the generator of the bridge between mind and conscience and the access to the metaphysical levels of thought or Pure Reason.

At the first level knowledge is consolidated by acknowledging what is understood through the physical senses. The mind reads events which can't fully understand. Therefore, it uses hypothesis and imagination to complete the missing meanings.

It is the level of illusion, with its dreams and tales, Mother of Chaos and its sorrows.

It is the cult for exteriority, unable to perceive the deep sense of meanings which are covered in symbols and distinctive signs, hidden by conventions and ideologies. Hidden by the literal interpretation of signs and words which are originated by attraction (sympathy) or repulsion (antipathy) movements and lack in specific sense, therefore giving shape to judgements without any real fundament.


In the second level the reasoning originates by the attention applied to what one wishes to know. It is the level of the mind that elaborates what it learns , and understands that to each action corresponds a similar and opposite effect.

In the attempt to tidy up the effects, the mind starts learning the art of building events, focusing its attention on the basic principles to manage its existence. The starting point is the interpretation of its needs, the discrimination between real and ephemeral and the distinction of emptiness from fullness. It learns, therefore, to recognize the value of what is said, touched, seen and heard.

In Freemasonry this is the level of the Ars Muratoria.


The third level is the first of the invisible ones. It is the level of abstract mind; it senses how every event generates other events and starts operating factual changes on itself and its existence. It distinguishes both the external causes and the internal ones and starts preventing events.

This is the time when the degree of perception of the thinker is developed. It sharpens its mental vision (metaphor of the inner eye) through which it realizes the logical drawing of every observed reality. Through this ability it creates invisible geometries made by relations between ideas and the process of thoughts, between people and the process of events.

The art of building oneself grows in relation to the quality desired for one's life. The sense of life becomes more and more refined, together with the psychological instruments of the "builder". In Freemasonry this is the level of Ars Regia.


The conjunction point between third and fourth level is given by the ability to recognize the tridimensionality of every observed concept.

The mind that reaches this degree of expansion starts resounding with the meanings (see empathic intelligence) of the ideas, hidden in their "inner space" (see silent sounds).

It is the level of wisdom, where the conscience of the initiate is transformed by the knowledge perceived everywhere, in and around himself.

In Freemasonry this is the level of the Ars Pontificia.


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This article comes from Esotericism Readings

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