The Endless Column of Constantin Brâncuși – A Symbol of Ascension

From time immemorial, the Column has always represented a universal aspiration and dream of mankind. The Column of the Sky is a mythological motif that was first met in the prehistoric period, all over the world – explains the world-renowned Romanian anthropologist Mircea Eliade. The Column of the Sky supports the firmament – it is a cosmic pillar, a mountain-like  Axis Mundi that ensures communication between the Sky and the Earth, through which man is able to communicate with the celestial powers in a sacred manner .

The ascensing verticality of the Column signifies man’s aspiration towards the Sky. The ladder represents the passage to a superior level, the transcendence and mythical passage from one world to the next. For example in the Old Testament, Jacob fell asleep on a stone slab and dreamed that above him there was a ladder on which the angels were going up and down. The celestial ladder has the function of a spiritual tool which helps us receive energy and information from the higher dimensions for inner transformation, and this allowed Jacob to see the angels go up and down.

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The Endless Column of Constantin Brâncuși

The archetypal sculptor Constantin Brâncuși has created the Endless Column as a monument dedicated to the heroes who gave their lives for the victory in World War I. The column can be compared to the Romanian May Pole (our version of the Whitsuntide Tree a.k.a. Arminden). For this festival, people erect in the villlage square a tall tree whose branches were pared down, and the top of the tree is decorated with flower bouquets and ribbons.

The festival celebrated youth; it was for young people. In other countries the erected pillar was a fixture throughout the May festival, every year. At the beginning the people who danced around the Pole were exclusively male, but as time went by, women too were allowed to join the dance. In Romania we have the Călușari, sacred dancers who dance with a miniature Column or Tree. They are the sacred keepers of the Power of the Sun, the intermediaries who download in a sacred manner the Divine Masculine energy on earth when they knock on the ground with the lower part of the their ribbon-decorated stick.

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The May Pole in England

In many cultures, the Column symbolizes the Divine Masculine (associated with the Sun in the Sky), but the Column is also the Tree of Life (for example for the Sioux Indians of the Great Plains in North America). It is also a symbol of moral values. It brings out the heroism of Self-Sacrifice and Ascension, associated with Crucifixion. In the Sioux tribes of North America, the Native Americans fast for days in preparation for the Sun Dance ceremony, then they are suspended on the Tree of Life with chords attached with hooks under the muscles of their chest, and they remain suspened on these chords sometimes for a day, a sacrifice that is not imposed on them – it is a voluntary choice! During the ordeal they have visions and they experience a powerful connection to Spirit, which brings blessings and abundance to the comunity to which they belong.

The Sioux Sun Dance in North America

The Column erected in the center of the circle creates a 3D mandala shaped like a cone, which reminds us of the pyramids and the funeral mounds. The Column resembles the funerary pillars in the Hațeg region of Romania, traditionally erected on the tombs of unmarried young men.

The photos below are taken from the following article:

https://www1.agerpres.ro/social/2015/04/20/reportaj-alba-stalpi-funerari-cu-porumbel-in-cimitirul-din-loman-arta-din-care-s-ar-fi-inspirat-si-brancusi-12-52-01

The Dacians used to erect funerary columns on graves. On top of the funerary columns there were birds or sacred geometry shapes such as the Merkaba (which represents the Light Body) and the Seed of Life.

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Funerary pillars in the Reghin district, with the Merkaba symbol and the Seed of Life (apud R. Vulcănescu, Coloana Cerului, 1972)

Brâncuși was familiar with the Dacian tradition of the funerary pillars. He made several versions of pillars on top of which he placed the Bird of the Soul.

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The Rooster, made by Constantin Brâncuși

Initially, Brâncuși wanted to build a column with a bird on top to honour the heros of Romania, but he finally decided to adopt today’s version. Mathematical calculations have demonstrated that the height of the Endless Column (29,33 meters) related to the height of every module (180 cm) is 16,2, which is ten times the value of the Golden Number. The 16 modules of the column are like the beads of a rosary, symbolizing homage and gratitude for the ancestors who sacridiced their lives for their country. Brâncuși actually used the word „beads” when he talked about the modules of the Endless Column. (Brâncuși, Meridiane Publisher, Bucharest, 1980).

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The Endless Column of Constantin Brâncuși

The modules of the Column also signify the sacred union of the masculine and the feminine, which endlessly perpetuates life through time and space, by creating new generations. And the sacred union of the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine gives birth to the Holy Ghost.

A Christian interpretation – The Christmas Tree with the Sun on top has a conical or pyramidal shape which symbolizes the evolution of the soul (spiral) at the time of the Birth of the Saviour, when the Teacher has come to show us the right way (the straight trunk of the tree).

Ascension Ladder, Column of the Sky, Shiva Lingam, Tree of Life, a representation of the Holy Ghost and Transcendence, of the communication between Sky and Earth? All these and much more are found in The Endless Column built by Brâncuși at Târgu Jiu, an artistic work of inestimable value which connects us to our ancestors and to the Ancestral Spirit of the world… because the archetypes are similar all over the world… they are the same all over the planet, as we can see in the examples above. The work of Constantin Brâncuși takes us back to source, to the archetypes and the primordial shapes to regain our spiritual dimension, and this gives Brâncuși a national and a universal value.

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Two more pieces constitute the Ensemble at Târgu Jiu, dedicated to the heroes who died for the victory of Romania in World War I. The Table of Silence is a circular stone table surrounded by twelve seats shaped like hour-glasses, which symbolize the cosmic calendar of time and our solar system.

The Gate of Kiss, of Banpotoc travertine (marble), features the motiv of the Masculine-Feminine Union on the gate pillars. The Flow of Life (and the heroes’ transition to another life) occurs through The Gate of Kiss. The Ensemble was inaugurated on October 27, 1938.

INTERESTING:

It seems that Brâncuși received no payment for the monumental ensemble at Târgu Jiu. This was the artist’s gift for his beloved country.

The Rejected Offer – At the end of his life, Constantin Brâncuși offered to the Romanian State 200 art works and his workshop in Paris. On March 7 1951, in a meeting presided by writer Mihail Sadoveanu, The Academy of the Popular Republic of Romania discussed this offer. Representative figures of the Romanian culture of the time were present at the meeting: George Călinescu, Iorgu Iordan, Camil Petrescu, Alexandru Rosetti, Al. Toma, George Oprescu, Jean Alexandru Steriadi, Victor Eftimiu, Geo Bogza, Alexandru Graur, Ion Jalea, Dumitru S. Panaitescu-Perpessicius and Krikor H. Zambaccian. The Academy members and intellectuals rejected Brâncuși’s offer on the grounds that he was „a member of decadent bourgeoisie”, and thus the workshop of Brâncuși in Paris was taken over by the French State! (information taken from Wikipedia). This is another example of the way in which communism has destroyed the cultural inheritance of Romania. The Academy members who voted to reject Brâncuși were terrorized by the Communist regime and they feared for their families and careers.

 

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