Kim H Veltman
The World Tree, Alpha and Omega: Towards a New Model for World Culture

Ever since the Renaissance there has been a trend to search for local roots of culture and a quest to localize symbols from larger contexts. By the late 20th century many proclaimed that universal systems, stories and symbols were passé.

This lecture suggests that a closer study of the annual cycle of the seasons and astronomical cycles provide an underlying set of symbols which go across and unite all cultures, although there are of course national, regional and local variants. This fascination with astronomy is part of a larger program: to understand manís relation to the universe; to understand the secrets of balance and harmony in the universe and link these with balance and harmony in the individual. To understand these harmonies required that one overcome oneís own disharmonies and weaknesses. So the quest for† understanding became a quest for perfectability in various stages ranging from 3 to 33. So microcosm-macrocosm analogies are much deeper than handy metaphors. They are linked with a series of stages of† awareness which are linked with the origins of religion. This lecture shows how an understanding of this big picture, which began with the story of the sky (astronomy) is a key to understanding the 8 auspicious symbols of Buddhism, the deeper meaning of AUM, of Alpha and Omega and the ornament which decorates our buildings, our tapestries, furniture and almost everything around us.