I have a print called, "The Path." It depicts the path humans must travel to gain spiritual victory. It symbolically portrays a male human ascending an ascent filled with physical and subtle challenges of the most horrific kind. This warrior is fitted with the protections and weapon he needs to win the victory: a helmet, to protect his mind, but with a opening to clearly direct and focus his vision to the path of victory, a double edged sword, tempered with the strength of his desire, so he may vanquish his inner and outer dragons, a shield to protect him from his foes, the physical and the shadow forms, and a coat of mail, protecting his body, so it will not know fatigue.
The shield not only protects the seeker, but also temper's itself with each assault from the physical and shadow forms. It thus becomes the metaphor for the faith and determination upon which the seeker stands. Behind all right spiritual progress is the right spiritual knowledge, and that right spiritual knowledge is that all human beings are, at their essence, a god-spark, the face of god, the Higher Self, the progeny of the divine. Katherine Tingly, a Theosophic. says this idea so well in
her book, "The Path of the Mystic," "...For man .cannot find his true place in the great scheme of human life until he has ennobled and enriched his nature with the consciousness of his divinity."
This ennobling and enriching of man's nature with the consciousness of his divinity is no small feat. It takes the realization of our dualistic natures, and awareness that there is a continuous struggle between our spiritual side and material side for the dominance of our soul; a drama as old as our self-consciousness. Not one of you can remain neutral; you cannot serve two masters. The cry has gone out to each, and each must choose A choice and a corresponding path must be taken. The spiritual path though steep and rough it ends in integration with divinity. The material path though broad and smooth, but from its crown on rocks the traveller is tumbled down, and ends in disintegration. The spiritual path proceeds in concert with Universal Nature. The material path proceeds in direct opposition to Universal Nature.
Katherine Tingly warns those who choose the spiritual path, "Let us be careful, in making this forward step, that we do not ungird our armor through fear." ..."Fear nothing, for every renewed effort raises all former failures into lessons; all sins into experiences"... ..."So fear nothing for your self, you are behind the shield of your reborn endeavor, though you have failed a hundred times. Try slowly to make it your motive for fidelity that others may be faithful. Fear only to fail in your duty to others; and even then let your fear be for them, not yourself."...