The Arcadian ideal - A secret kept through the ages

The Arcadian ideal – A secret kept through the ages

In Paris and Angers, Venice and Lisbon and in Cartagena in Spain there are very old taverns. Located on narrow streets, sometimes in alleyways, unseen by many. They have a charming atmosphere, and a certain allure in the air. Typically their owners brag that they have been meeting places of poets and painters, and perhaps even alchemists. And they are telling the truth. In these secret rooms they would gather then – and now- the seekers of enlightenment. What do all these mystical places, which can be found in every European city have in common? The inscription at the entrance writes forever ARCADIA.

Arcadia is a real phenomenon. No other land has left its imprint as strongly in history as Arcadia has. The reason why is difficult to explain. Usually without any difficulty it can be answered by he who arrives in Arcadia, then words are no longer an issue, they are not necessary after all.

Poets like Virgil and Goethe and painters like Poussin and the Pre-Raphaelites, have grappled with Arcadia. Every self-respecting composer has written a piece inspired by Arcadia. Travellers were unable to claim the title if they had not first explored Arcadia. Royalty such as Charlemagne and popes and princesses wished they could be descendants of Arcadia. People like Byron and Cervantes sacrificed their lives or their health in the revolution, fired by a single passion: the Arcadian ideal.

What is the Arcadian ideal? In its most popular form it is a reminiscence of innocent life, in a pastoral paradise. It is nostalgia for the pure values of a natural life, for unconditional surrender to the cyclic dance of time. It is a tribute to the Arcadian rule that does not allow humans to impose on nature. For those who seek it and hold the key, the Arcadian ideal is a world of power and knowledge.

In Arcadia life is a very old story. The myths insist that life started here. The Romans, in expression of their admiration, called it Arca Deorum, Ark of God. The renaissance codified the Arcadian secret in the enigmatic phrase ET IN ARCADIA EGO – I too was in Arcadia. The mystical tradition took this phrase, and made it even more puzzling: I TENGO ARCANA DEI. It is a perfect anagram. And it means, believe it or not: Keeps Secrets of God.

Throughout the ages enlightened people came here from far, far away, to comprehend these secrets of God. To be baptised in the Arcadian ideal. They wanted to come here to understand the meaning of life as it is interpreted by Arcadia. They came to enter into this stream of power that makes Arcadia a place apart from other places, a land beyond the earth. Arcadia, like all miracles, can not be explained. Just experienced.

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