Gold trail

On the trail of eternity

Evolution No 4 by Hilma af Klint - Man and Woman

The Woman's Womb as Grail (Hilma af Klint, Evolution No. 4)

By on 15 May 2020


Hilma af Klint (1908), Evolution No. 4, Group VI, Series WUS/Siebengestirn

Evolution No. 4 by Hilma av Klint, Thoughts on the image

The 4th picture by Hilma af Klint on the theme of evolution: Man and woman and their roles

Hilma af Klint's painting, Evolution No 4, shows man and woman and depicts their place within the mystery of life. The man holds with reverence a shell with wondrous contents in his hands. The woman holds the contents, the life of the shell, in her hand.

The bowl / the vessel

The bowl has the appearance of a grail. It is divided into two parts. It contains the opposing aspects of life. The immaterial-feminine side, the realm of the soul and spirit, is symbolised by the golden light, the material-masculine side, the realm of the body, by the dark colour, which is permeated by a spiral-shaped, blue movement, as an indication of the life inherent in matter.

Matching: the small, double shell spiral, top left

At the top left, a golden and a black snail shape, intertwined, can be seen. This can be interpreted as a symbol for the unity of body and soul that constitutes life. Here the soul (spiritual, immaterial, eternal) is represented by the gold-white colour, the body as dense matter by the blue-black colour.

The large spiral shell in the middle

The outer shell and the man

The outer shell of the large ammonite form in the centre points with the closed side towards the man. This may be seen as an indication that masculinity has its focus on the physical-material side of existence. With his strength, the man creates the outer shell in which the indwelling life is sheltered.

The Inner Shell Animal and the Woman

The woman takes the inner shell-animal, which comes out of the opening of the shell.
This may be seen as a symbol for the vulnerable life. On the one hand, the woman carries her inner life in the solid shell of her body ("male"). On the other hand, in her function as a mother, she is also dependent on a protected, safe space that she can fill with life.

And what does all this have to do with "evolution"?

Many myths address the fact that man has "fallen" from the original unity and thus take up man's longing for unity and wholeness.
What is in truth destined to be one in love (male and female) has fallen into separation and division in earthly reality, in the struggle for survival (evolution) and supremacy (power).
But the opposites need each other in order to attain wholeness. They therefore strive for complementation and fusion.
New life arises from the union of man and woman.
New living reality arises from the union of spirit and matter.
By always creating new life, life continues to evolve.

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