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Mixed media installation, DVD and projection. MiniDV.
Part of
The Banyan Project with Alfred Banze


Clim(b)ax is the climax, climbing the ax, the axis, from the center to the door of Heaven.

The mysteries of Mithra used a ladder with seven rungs of seven metals: the first of Lead, the heaven of Saturn, the second of Tin, the heavenly sphere of Venus, the third of Bronze, Jupiter's sphere. Next comes Iron for Mercury, then Copper for Mars. Silver is the Moon and the Golden rung is the seventh heaven of the Sun. Above is the realm of the fixed Stars the Ultimate Heaven.

The shamans in Siberia climb a ladder of seven rungs, shouting out what they see at each heaven as they ascend for the laymen below.

The Karens and the Lolo's place a ladder on their tombs to help the dead ascend to heaven.

In India, the Vedic Yupa is a seven notched sacrificial pole. In Babylon, the ziggurat had seven levels which the initiate had to ascend.

It is from Indo-Iranian symbolism that the importance of the number 7, the seven planetary spheres, comes. This is the root of Occidental religious culture.

The ladder is important in cultures that have a conception of three cosmic regions: found in Vedic India, ancient China, Germanic, "Primitive", central and northern Asian cultures. The center is the Cosmic Mountain, the imago mundi - scaling the temple of Barabudur.

Egyptian funary texts talk of ASKET PET, Re's ladder linking heaven to earth, a MAQUET.

The Book of the Dead says: "The ladder is set up that I may see the gods."

Dur-an-ki is the link between heaven and earth. Temples built here are called Nippur, Larsa, Sippara. In Babylon, the bab-apsu, the gate of apsU, the ziggurat, was built above the waters of Chaos.

The tehOm in Hebrew was likewise built upon the rock of Jerusalem above the subterranean waters.

The capitol of the ideal Chinese sovereign should be built near a miraculous tree: KIREN-MOU, "shaped wood" - at the intersection of the three cosmic regions.

• The Jewish Tree of Life
• The Christian cross or crucifix
• The Alchemistic tree of sacrifice with seven branches
• The body of Man as an ANTHROPOCOSMOS - as the Thai believe, the feet are the roots in the profane earth and the head is heaven.
• The pole or hole in the center of a tent or yurt
• A spider web connecting to the moon.

The connection to Heaven has been lost - only shamans, priests, sovereigns, and heros can ascend, and then only temporarily.

Jacob saw a ladder to heaven in a dream. The shaman, during his initiation, is believed to receive three branches of the World Tree from the hand of God. From these he builds the frame of his drums which he uses to put himself into a trance. Climbing is an initiation representing the rupturing of the planes.

In the mythical geography, sacred space is real space, sacred reality is unquestionable.

The Tree of Life is the axis at the center of the universe. The Tibetan MANDALA is the center, or, that which surrounds. Rituals of penetration often involve walking around, circling, progressive elevation, as occurs at the Temple of the Golden Mount in Bangkok.

"The way to absolute reality is ascension", climbing the axis to heaven, the climax.

The ladder is the link, the tree, where the incursion of the sacred into profane space takes place.

-for the Banyan Project

© Clea T. Waite 2004


The Fiji Museum, Fiji

Kunst Galerie Fürth, Germany

The Banyan Tree
National Gallery Bangkok

Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Galerie am Körnerpark
Berlin, Germany

Centre des Metiers d´Art Tahiti
The Paul Gauguin Museum Tahiti

Gewalt-Tabu - keine Gewalt gegen Frauen und Mädchen
Salzstadel Regensburg, Germany

Thailand New Media Art Festival
MAF'04, Bangkok, Thailand

The Banyan Project
performances & exhibition Künstlerhaus Bethanien

© Clea T. Waite 2004