One People, One Planet, HON!

Past Present Future

1968, poster, pen and ink, 24¼”x 14”

In April of 1968 Hieronimus designed this poster for an exhibit in which his work was featured along with that of painter Mark Reynolds and photographer Dan MacKenzie. The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. just five days into this exhibit, and the resulting riots and social tension, added to the antagonism expressed against some of Hieronimus’s anti-establishment work of this time. In particular, the coffined “American Express” was on display at this exhibit and drew much criticism.

By this time in his research and development, Hieronimus was keenly interested in spiritual alchemy, or rather the process of turning lead into gold. Alchemy is about taking an intolerable situation (lead) and transforming it into a divine experience (gold). The elements within the poster are designed around an eagle, which in alchemy symbolizes the process of sublimation, a process of refining and purification. The title of the exhibit “Past, Present, and Future” is illustrated with Rosicrucian principles. According to some Rosicrucian teachings, human evolution in the past is symbolically associated with the moon and the element of water. Present man is associated with our earth, and the element of earth and physical mass. The future is associated with the planet Jupiter and the fifth element – that of spiritual understanding.

Starting at the bottom, the first sphere depicts the past with the symbol of a winged dragon. This is reportedly what the beings of the moon were like, when humans went through a period of animal-like existence suspended in the atmosphere (wings on the animal). At this stage in the past, these beings had an internal picture consciousness, like dreams. Surrounding the life form are symbolic depictions of the first three elements: air, fire, and water.

The next sphere depicts the present earth phase of human development showing an outstretched human. According to Rosicrucian teachings, the present phase has two periods: a Mercury period and a Mars period. The glyphs for the Mars period, Scorpio (h) and Mars (E), are depicted on the scorpion below the human. On the left is the Jerusalem or Crusader’s cross referring to the four elements of the Mars period, and on the right is a five-pointed star containing glyphs for Mercury, Virgo, and the Earth. Within each of the points of this star is a glyph for Aquarius, which taken together with the five hearts between each of its points indicate that Love is the cohesive force in the universe. The human body is filled with astrological glyphs and 5-pointed stars. On its abdomen and chest are symbols indicating the process of transformation and spiritual growth, which is why this human is looking upwards into the future.

The future sphere depicts two beings gazing into each other’s physical and spiritual third eyes. They are communicating mentally and their conversation is about the symbol for Deity (?). This symbol is ablaze, meaning it is activated consciously. Both of these beings are covered in the same alchemical formula: Mercury (C) and sulphur ( ) within a hexagram. Mercury is symbolic of the first purification of feelings, imagination, and the dominant female principle. Sulphur is symbolic of a more profound purification of reason, intuition, and the male principle. Placing these glyphs within a hexagram shows that they are in balance. The other glyphs on the bodies are the Sun (?), Jupiter ( F), and Sagittarius (i) all representing the Jupiter period that is our future -- a time when spiritual understanding has been attained. Around the periphery of the future are two serpents (wisdom) facing one another.

Surrounding the body of the eagle along the edges of the poster are 10 symbols depicting the 10 divine incarnations of Vishnu. Starting at the bottom left, there is the avatar of the fish, the tortoise, the boar, the man-lion, and the dwarf. On the bottom right there is the sixth incarnation of the avatar Rama with the axe, Rama-Chandra with his bow, Bala-Rama who is depicted with three eyes, Krishna who is depicted by many hands, and finally Kalki who has yet to come in the shape of a giant with a horse’s head who will put an end to the wicked.

The dates, times, and location of the exhibit are listed around the eagle’s head and down both sides. The names of the three artists are found in the tail of the eagle. Wedged between the names you’ll see a flag Hieronimus designed for the future of the American Republic. The symbols in this flag indicate that America’s purpose was the founding of a representative form of government – a republic which has inspired a world republic, a world in which all peoples have a say in world government. There are 7 stripes and just one star within the canton. The star has 6 points and a glyph on the inside of the circle with a dot in the center (?). At the top of the poster, there are the flames of transformation around the word “Future” and the eagle’s head. This suggests that the eagle is actually a phoenix, and that all which has transpired from past to future is an alchemical process of rebirth into the higher dimensions of consciousness.