Farhad O’Neill -
Visual Artist

Artist and the Soul. Animus Res - Soul Object

The Animus Res, a creation of the Art, is an object imbued with the spirit of its maker. The creation of the object is made possible by the exercise of the Art. Although the laws which govern the making find their origin in Nature’s Rule and are therefore universal, the execution remains personal and difficult to describe - for who could magnify, in images or in words Divine Revelation, any more than bring back a moment in time?

Historically well known, albeit degenerate, examples of the Art would include the adept’s quest for the transmutation of elements and the other investigations which sought as their end the direct and immediate control of natural forces and persons, with or without the aid of external devices and factors, i.e., machines and suchlike. These devices, although being by themselves incapable of initiating movement, were nonetheless capable of movement, the manipulation and magnification of tension with the resulting ability to create exponential increases in energy, which in turn served the maker’s purpose. These devices find corresponding reflections in the structure and composition of the object, and, by enabling its function, fulfill its purpose. The methods employed by the artifex in the creation of the soul object differs in intent from what has been described above in the nature of the relationship between maker and created object. Here, the sublimation of ego leads to greater control and successful creation. For, despite the skill of the maker and for the sake of truth, the avoidance of heresy, and the pursuit of virtue, even the most powerful maker remains the child and not the parent.

For, just as a child will mimic the deeds of the parent - not in mockery but because it is the child of the parent - so too does the artifex perceive that the Art’s process emulates transubstantiation. That is to say the Art’s purpose is the partial transference of the True Presence from one’s self to one object. Or, and it is the cost demanded by devotion or the necessity of love for a result which represents true creation, that the true essence of what one thing is - in this case the soul of the practitioner, contained within the body and also perceived, by Nature’s permission, as finding repose in an external location has been placed by the artifex within an object created by the use of the Art. The transubstantiated Eucharist is the Supreme and Only Perfect example of the Art, having divine origin in Christ.

The practitioner seeks to create truly, and perceives the soul object as having simultaneous existence in multiple realms: the Physical Realm, being a corporeal object of beauty; the Metaphysical Realm being, like an icon, a platonic reflection of perfection; the Divine Realm, being the repository of the soul in which resides a fragment of that primal source which is God - who is both first cause and the originator of movement; and in the realm of memory - subject now to time and having a life like that of its creator bound physically to matter. The soul object is unlike its creator in that while the soul of the practitioner outlives its body the object’s animus, strictly speaking, does not. Rather, natural dissipation releases its spirit back into nature, while violence destroys it. An object of this kind is the result of a positive act of creation, and it’s destruction by ill intent represents a violation against Nature.

Our senses and the sleeping mind naturally perceive that which is soulful in nature, and in art, even when the waking mind which receives all sense impressions does not - it’s vision become clouded when faith has become a matter of opinion and experience divorced from the natural world. For most people an awareness of the presence and workings of the Art in their midst is of little importance, for all sentient beings will at times experience a natural affiliation, powerfully felt, with a mountain or valley or tree or river or spring of water or object or location in nature and feel at rest in its presence. The artifex shows forth this most natural of relationships via the use of the Art in the creation of the animus res. Successful use of this discipline, although guided by focus and skill, is dependent upon the adept’s good intent and desire for virtue as principle instigators for his investigations, lest clouded vision mar pure composition.

All this reflects the union within every human being of body and spirit, the union between the human and the natural and the divine, and the reflection of these unions within created works. This maker perceives that these truths find their fullest human expression via the fulfillment of and triumph over platonic thinking, via a reversal of its observations, in the physicality of created art. And here the artifex is reminded both of this and of the triumph of truth over doubt, as when St. Thomas felt the wounds of the risen Christ. The Art is, therefore, the means by which all truths which stem from either human nature or the natural world find their fullest human expression.

For, all peoples and sentient beings, i.e. animals, respond naturally to the animus res, as they do equally to the animus indiges - a location which functions as like but where no object is present. For this, the Christian maker gives thanks to God the Father - architect and originator; gives thanks to God the Son, who perfects both natures within Himself and the eucharist; and gives thanks to God the Spirit, who as the ever present medium of God on earth and the spirit of beauty, truth, and goodness, makes the creation of the soul object - the animus res, possible.

Farhad Nargol-O’Neill Sculptor/Artifex/Ealaiontoir July 18, 2018

Brennan Hall. St Michael’s College

University of Toronto