From the perspective of “The Storyteller’s Night Sky,” the beautiful mystery of Dante’s Divine Comedy is that the entire journey comes to resolution in the pilgrim’s realizing the divine nature of being human, which is expressed in its highest form as finding one’s star.
The Divine Comedy is presented in three parts: The Inferno, the Purgatory, and the Paradise, and at the conclusion of his journey through each of these regions, Dante ends, quite specifically, with the word “star.”
This Friday, January 27th, 2023 marks the anniversary of Dante’s exile from his beloved Florence, in 1302, a devastating blow for him as a statesman, because, in addition to his tremendous talent as a poet, he had a terrific capacity for leadership.
Dante wrote his Divine Comedy during the 20 years of his exile, concluding in 1321, when he died at the age of 56. He had never returned to Florence.
The Inferno is a roiling, raging, storming region that, in an esoteric sense, can be likened to the realm of imagination, where the seeker is challenged to distinguish between truth and error. The Purgatory becomes more ordered, and the time spent here is governed by the rising and setting of the sun; there is a clear striving toward virtue, and a sense of being able to find one’s way. This is known esoterically as the level of inspiration.
Then there’s the Paradise, through which Dante is led primarily by his beloved Beatrice, and through which he experiences the souls that inhabit the planetary spheres, and the divine spiritual beings of starry worlds. Here we come to the level of intuition, where communion with the divine is made possible, expressed in the final words of the work, when Dante writes of the beautiful mystery of love, a power that moves the Sun, and all the other stars.
Ever in awe of Dante,
ps don’t miss this forthcoming title from Steiner Books on Dante’s Revelation!
Cover image: William Blake’s rendering of Dante’s Paradise, Canto XXVIII, in which the pilgrim has a vision of the deity from whom proceed the nine planetary spheres. For as I turned, there greeted mine likewise what all beheld who contemplate aright that heaven’s revolution through the skies. One point I saw, so radiantly bright, so searing to the eyes it strikes upon, they needs must close before such piercing light.