Thursday, 25 March 2010

Ramon Llull on the Beloved

Devotions to the Beloved by the great Spanish mystic Ramon Llull (1232-1315), who was also the first great writer in Catalan and was an extraordinarily prolific teacher, traveller and writer with over 265 books to his name.

The painting is the Madonna of Port Lligat by the famous Catalan painter Salvador Dali. The rectangular holes in this abstract depiction are supposed to symbolize transcendence.

The Lover asked his Beloved if there remained anything still to be loved. And the Beloved answered that he had still to love that by which his own love could be increased.


The Lover was all alone in the shade of a fair tree. Men passed by that place and asked him why he was alone. And the Lover answered, "I am alone, now that I have seen you and heard you; until now I was in the company of my Beloved."


Said the Lover to the Beloved, "O you that love, if you have fire, come light your lanterns in my heart; if you have water, come to my eyes whence flow the tears in streams; if you have thoughts of love, come gather them from my meditations."


The Beloved instructed the Lover to go out into the world and not hide the marks of his love. The people saw him and asked, "Say, O Fool!, what is solitude?". He replied, "It is solace and companionship between Lover and Beloved." "And what are solace and companionship?" they asked. "Solitude in the heart of the Lover," he replied, "when he remembers naught save only his Beloved."
~*~ ... ~*~ ... ~*~

May grace come to my power from this great influence, that I may ever have power, knowledge and will to honour Thy power—to my knowledge that I may honour Thy knowledge—and to my will that I may honour Thy love.


Between the sun and its splendour there is a difference, and between fire and its heat. But between Thy Love and Virtue and Truth there is no essential difference; and all that Thy Love disposes in truth, It does with infinite virtue in love and in truth; whereas all that is done in things beside, is done with virtue finite in quantity and time.


Virtue, Truth and Glory met in the thoughts of Blanquerna when he contemplated his Beloved. Blanquerna considered to which of these three he would give the greatest honour in his thoughts and will; but since he could conceive in them no difference whatsoever, he gave them equal honour in remembering, comprehending and desiring his Beloved.



  1. Beautiful post! I was entirely ignorant of this painting and most of the quotes. Lovely!

  2. Wow! I love the painting...

    I do not understand the quotes... can you explain?

  3. Thanks, Nancy! It is Spanish wine of the mystical variety to lift us up from sadness.

  4. Ahh, Cyn. It is good isn't it... even the Pope approved of it apparently. It's surprising that Dali could paint anything that the Pope would approve of, so it's a great example of breaking boundaries without upsetting people.

    I think it's interesting how the rectangular boxes resemble frames of paintings themselves... as well as being passageways within the painting... so it makes me think that a painting leads us into another world, and perhaps that's how they capture the transcendent theme.

  5. About the Beloved, a mystic like Nancy could explain this in far more detail than me. But here's my understanding.

    The Lover is the contemplative, meditating on the Beloved who is the divine spark in all creation (represented from Ramon Llull's perspective by the Christ figure on the cross that is a symbol of the trinity of Father, Son & Holy Spirit). The Lover wants to lose himself utterly in his Love for the Beloved and become one with Him/It/All. This Love is infinite and boundless unlike earthly love that is restricted within time and space. Finally, not only does this Love represent virtue and truth. It is Virtue and it is Truth, and in its memory and understanding and desire for Him/It/All, the Lover is exalted in Virtue and Truth.

  6. Or to answer in a haiku.....

    Life's a question mark,
    You are the dot in suspense...
    And the answer's Love.