The Psalms of Ascent are a particular progression found in Psalm 120-134. Sometimes called the Psalms of Degrees, these 15 declarations were memorized and sung as pilgrims stepped their way up to Jerusalem for the festivals appointed earlier by Moses. I am not Jewish. But I have long been interested in these songs and what they reveal to any God-seeker about significant forward movement in any true spiritual journey.
There are patterns here that are fascinating. The 15 have several groupings in a sure progression. There is a rhythm that continues unabated even through the seeming randomness, and in some cases desperateness of human trial that is spoken of in the Psalmist’s language. The imagery is a rich and meaningful minefield. The collection repeatedly speaks to the past, the present and the future. It is actually a recipe for hope, and a picture of the concerns of an enlarging heart.
What I am posting today image-wise is a little embarrassing. I did this in 2002. It is a rather large piece: 3’x2′, laid down originally with acrylic. I was ambitiously hoping to put into imagery what I see happening in this collection of Psalms, but critiquing my own attempt, this is brash looking, really uninteresting visually, too direct. For these reasons and others this piece sat hidden behind much else for the last 13 years.
Thinking about this progression of ascent again however, and studying the Psalms further, I decided I had to rework this attempt–to go right on top of it. Already the piece here viewed is much different (thank goodness–necessity becomes the mother. . .).
I worked on it all day yesterday and I have much more to do before I will show the finish. It is turning into a subtle landscape. I hope to veil the progression, while also making it more vital, hoping to articulate the wonder in these steps of inner and outer ascending. I am committed to it now.