Dawn of Peace
Symbolical picture by Mrs Stewart Smith – Explanatory Key
To those who understand something of the influence of occult impressions upon our daily life, it may be interesting to learn how this symbolic picture has evolved.
It was begun on 4th November, 1878, under deeply psychical conditions. The purport of the painting seemed to be to depict the overthrow of Antichrist or the Spirit of Evil, and to herald forth the New Dispensation with the final triumph of the Good. The date 1881 was very conspicuous at that time upon a large Bell, and the message given through a psychic friend was, ‘Ring the changes ; this is only the beginning of the End.’
For two or three years the picture continued to progress; and again asking when it would be finished, the answer came, ‘In the Golden Wedding year, but you must live it out first.’
Then in the year I885 deaths and removals completely stopped the work of painting, and for more than twenty years the unfinished picture was curtained off, and all idea of its being prophetic was entirely forgotten. Suddenly in the month of October 1913, the impression came strongly upon me that I must bring the picture out from its resting-place and finish it, which seemed almost an impossibility under the circumstances, from want of space and proper light. There was no sound of war at that time, and the Golden Wedding year was close at hand. It has come now and is fast closing, but the picture is finished, and the End of the Beginning has indeed commenced, for the reign of Antichrist is waning, and the Dawn of Peace is breaking through the fire and smoke of Armageddon.
JANE STEWART SMITH.
25th March 1915.
THE DAWN OF PEACE – FROM SHADOWLAND TO SUMMERLAND
This picture represents the mystic Roll-call to the White Cross warriors who have volunteered from every nation and every clime to fight against the Antichrist-the Demon of Hate and Destruction, whose overthrow they are here being called up to witness.
The Mystic Trumpeter, as the Angel of Destiny, is seen in mid air, having drawn his bow and shot forth the arrow of Truth, which has penetrated the eye of the Dragon with blinding effect, thereby frustrating the fulfilment of many of his evil purposes, and effectually sealing his doom. As Archetype of brutal force the Dragon arrogates to himself the dominion of land, and sky, typified here by his powerful wings, his cruel claws, and fiery tail. His crown also betokens his power and despotic character. The ten balls represent ten kingdoms, and the live vipers issuing from within the crown express the outcome of the desires of the brain in the form of intellectual vices, such as Ambition, Pride, Arrogance, Lying and Self-conceit, with Contempt of others. Having sacrilegiously cast down and trampled on the White Cross, the world-wide symbol of righteousness, he is startled and disturbed by the up springing of the living emblem of purity, the Resurrection Lily in place of the shattered relic, and he is struck with fear as the ominous shadow of a black cross suddenly confronts him, forecasting desolation, sorrow, and death, not only for himself but also for all who uphold him.
Endeavouring to shake himself free, he now finds that the iron chains which he had forged for the captivity of Loyalty and Good Faith have so irrevocably entangled and enchained himself, that by the unalterable law of retribution he is fixed and bound to the same Cross where Faith and Fortitude are standing firm, persecuted but not overcome by the Dragon’s fiery tail.
These two figures represent the Two-in-Oneness of humanity, male and female, conjointly tried and tested by fire, immutable, inseparable, for ever one as the angels of God in heaven. Faith, radiantly triumphant over Fear, points upwards to the Rainbow of Promise and downward to the White Cross Shield, while Fortitude, as Commander-in-Chief, repeats the Angel’s call upon the mystic bugle. They are both encircled by the band of Light-bearers, who bring their lamps to be replenished at the shrine of Faith.
The seven Crusaders on horseback represent seven Life principles which make for the righteousness and prosperity of nations – Law, Order, Justice, Temperance, Humanity, Honour, and Truth.
The mustering troops are being marshalled by the White Cross Trumpeter, and each body of men as they pass beneath the Searchlight of the watch-tower are tried and tested before they are accounted worthy to stand and fight for Liberty and Right. Their leading commanders are Valour and Virtue, who are faithfully holding the azure banner of Truth and the shield of Faith, under which they have the good fight coming out conquerors.
‘For Right is Right since God is God,
And Right the day must win,
To doubt would be disloyalty,
To falter would be Sin.’ – FABER.
Partners and co-workers with this noble army of heroes are the brave sister heroines, who with self sacrificing sympathy nurse the sick and tend the wounded, soothe the sorrowing, and comfort the dying. They also feed the and raise the fallen, reclaim the drunkards, and plead for the down-trodden, thus fulfilling woman’s duty as angels of mercy to thousands in the slums, prisons, and hospital wards.
In contradistinction to Faith as a living power, are the sombre worshippers of the dead Christ, wandering in darkness among the tombs, without a ray of comfort in the mighty power of Christ’s Resurrection, and the sure and certain hope of an endless life beyond-ever seeking, the living among the dead.
This brings us to the upper portion of the picture, the pilgrims’ transition from Shadowland lies in a deep dark valley where sin and sorrow reign, through which runs the ever-flowing and never-ebbing River of Death, through which every mortal “soul must pass alone, alone with God, The first thing which the struggling souls in that dark stream have to overcome is Fear, fear of the Dragon, until they know through Faith that the Demon is chained. Then hope appears as their guardian angel, giving support till the point of safety is reached at the foot of the seven slimy steps on the other side. These steps represent seven vices or besetting sins which have to be overcome.
Every pilgrim soul, with the guidance and help of some loved one on the other side is thus led step by step on the upward path through the spirit fires which purify the five senses, symbolised by the five crosses.
The ascent of the next flight of seven steps means the winning of the seven Virtues by the overcoming of the seven Vices, these latter steps leading directly to the Gateway of Life, over the entrance of which are two
Latin inscriptions – Mors Janua Vitae, ‘Death the Gate of Life’; Pax Intrantibus : Salus Exeuntibus, ‘Peace to all who enter here : Salvation to all who pass through.’ Between these two inscriptions are the signs of the denoting the influence of the starry heavens on man’s destiny.
Before entering the Temple of Peace the pilgrims receive the scroll of their past lives, and learn the new watchword, ‘Excelsior,’ without which they cannot enter the Inner Court. Then upward, ever upward, two and two the pilgrims wend their way through rosy bowers to the Garden of the White Doves, where the apple blossom tells of Love’s awakening and the spring-tide glows with the newness of life. Here, within the mystic veil lies the sanctuary of the soul, where sacredness and silence dwell.
Side by side on the spirit plane are the ever open Halls of Inspiration and Soul Recognition, where loved ones meet in heart to heart communion, and watch the little children playing in the Garden of Delight beside the Home of Rest, all hallowed by the Temple of Silent Prayer.
Two boats on the River of Life are ever plying between this Summerland Home and ours, especially in the calm hush of night, when the body sleeps and the soul is awake. One of these boats we call Love, and the other Sympathy.
The picture is designed to express the Heaven-sent fruitage of Earth’s labor and love, shown by the corn and wheat, and the grapes and autumn vine, with the garlands of roses all redolent of love.
It also portrays the dual nature of all things living. Every bloom in the floral realm, and each of the cooing, nestling doves, has its counterpart. The same with every human soul which emerges from within the mystic veil ; again appearing on the higher plane and still ascending until they reach the Bridal Bower of Two-in-Oneness, and win their crown of angel-hood, passing up to the sunlit sphere from whence the angelic heralds proclaim the Dawn of Peace.