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Hilma Af Klint

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10 minute read
Sacred Scribe Translating the Invisible
If you have ever had the pleasure of experiencing the works of Hilma Af Klint, you would have noticed a peaceful coexistence of colours and geometric shapes interlocking and colliding. There are spirals revolving upwards, words emerging and discs overlapping. The presence of these mystical images gently persuades the viewer to contemplate the metaphysical perplexities of our inner universe. 

By drawing attention to her work, we notice passionate colours bringing out the beauty of duality. And what’s to say about duality? She masterfully communicated this concept onto the canvas through the budding and blooming shapes representing human consciousness. By unifying the soul and personality i.e., the healer and the teacher, she explores crisscrossing energies inherent in all dualities 1 2

With Hilma, we enter Scorpio's mysterious, omnipotent constellation, the Goddess of Kundalini, whose aim is Union with cosmic consciousness. She is Stella Maris, the Star of the Sea, the igneous serpent with magical powers. This powerful archetype comes from the kingdom of Pluto 3she stands firmly upon the earth with arms raised to the stars, guarding the portal of the 8th house, the grand house of purification, calibration, and upward and inward evolution. 

In the 8th house, we learn to be aware of the subliminal effects of symbols, signs and patterns which act as access keys to the world where the spirit resides. Scorpio as a water sign is a driving force of all nature; she acquires her strength from the emotional psychic centers of the mind. 

There are three powerful archetypes merged together in one constellation: The Scorpion, The Phoenix, and The Eagle. The Scorpion symbolically transforms within the realm of fire.  The Phoenix rises out of the fire into a new life. And the Eagle flies over the earthly realm with an upgraded state of existence. This transmutation is a symbolic process of Scorpio's gift, which is bold surrendering and divine resurrection of the self.

Thanks to her unwavering faith in her celestial archetype, Hilma was not only a creative cartographer of the spirit but also a sacred scribe translating the invisible into the visible. She was known as someone who managed to fight for her beliefs whilst remaining humble in the face of creation 4

“You have mystery service ahead and will soon enough realize what is expected of you.”

Hilma was born in 1862 in Sweden in an intellectual and disciplined family 5. The accounts show that Hilma was very close to her mother and lived with her in childhood and later on in life. In her childhood, she displayed artistic talent. This led her to study Fine Arts and graduate with an honours degree. 

Although Hilma af Klint's portrait gives the impression that she was conservative and poised
6, with her hair neatly tucked in a bun and collar buttoned high, Hilma was nothing if not radical in her approach towards spirituality and art 7.

The event that marked her life forever was her sister’s passing. This forced her to re-evaluate life at a very young age, releasing the notion of individuality and taking a more comprehensive perspective on life. During this time, Hilma learned about the frailty of life, and the inner transformation from dark to light, from despair to joy. To prevent the sea of turmoil from consuming and destroying her, she turned to art 8Her art became her light in the darkest of times.

Through her observation of the beauty in nature, Hilma created a communion with the divine presence 9. She sensed an omnipresent consciousness in all forms of life, in every tree, in every plant, and in every flower. She was interested in the world beyond what we perceive with our eyes 10. The world that transcends duality and unravels the mysteries of the physical world, human psychology, and biology.

“When the atom expands on the Eather plane, the physical part of the Earthy atom begins to glow”.

In her work and personal life, Af Klint was known to possess a tremendous amount of patience and exceptionality 11. She lived in two worlds at once and orchestrated the divine dance between creative intuition and inspiration.

This can certainly seem like magic or madness to those on the outside looking in, as one often hears that an artist commonly walks the fine line between two polarities: mysticism and madness, genius and insanity.

“Life is a farce if a person does not serve truth.”

Fortunately for Hilma, she possessed an invaluable skill that made this mysterious process possible. The skill of groundedness. She allowed her body to do 'nothing' and to exist as an alchemical chalice in the here and now. In this way, Hilma was prepared to receive the higher alchemical energies that activate greater spiritual and creative powers 12.

Scorpio inherently knows that the realm of form and
spirit can merge together only when the mind is flowing freely within the 'other' mind and when the feet are firmly planted on the ground. This is when the physical body ascends in frequency, and the spirit body descends and elevates one into the states of consciousness where time and space do not exist. 

This high alchemy is often observed in great performers and artists who become awareness itself, an awareness that perceives. Performance artist Marina Abramović reveals the aforementioned implications in her work 'The Artist is Present.' Marina, like Hilma, explores the limits of the body and the possibilities of the mind. Very succinctly, Marina says, "the body is the stylised medium." Through her performance, she brings to consciousness the divine and flawlessly implements this connection between the ethereal spirit and the physical body. 

By remaining deeply connected and grounded within the physical vehicle, Hilma had an effortless ability to free the mind from the dominance of reality and activate states that are otherwise hard to access 13. Through this surrender, both artist and the muse reveal themselves to each other and feel the intensity of their co-creative engagement.

“I stood in front of the easel, so small, so insignificant, but within me flowed such a
power that I had to thrust forward”.

So what does that do to our perception of the body? Dare we take a certain view that our body is the church where the universe asks to be reverenced? It stands out clearly to all capable of understanding that the body is the intuitive one; the body is the psychic one. To my way of thinking, this alchemical process of higher consciousness descending into the lower is 'the key to the kingdom,' the key to the evolution of the human race.

It is interesting to observe how Hilma's life story certainly serves to bring us closer to this truth.  Our sacred scribe wasn’t seeking to connect with something alien to her but her very own essence, her veiled blueprint 14.

She paid attention to what was happening inside: her breath, her feelings, and her thoughts. With this inward focus, she cultivated trust in her mental abilities, and for this reason alone, she was proficient in foreseeing and facilitating her ideas into the world. The union of Hilma’s psychological duality created mastery 15which can be inferred from the highly vibrational frequency held within her artwork. Mind rises above duality to see beyond its shadow.

On many occasions, Hilma made herself available for divine visitations 16. Through this, she understood the purpose of her existence as a co-agent in the great universal work. Over 10 years, she was inspired by a mediumship connection and created a series of 193 paintings entitled “Paintings for the Temple.” All this was given to her by someone - whom we could call the spirit, the muse.

“The pictures were painted directly through me, without any preliminary drawings
17, and with great force. I had no idea what the paintings were supposed to depict; nevertheless, I worked swiftly and surely, without changing a single brush stroke.”

Hilma was strongly influenced by her mentor Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy and the Waldorf System of education, and Helena Blavatsky’s theosophical work. Steiner advised Hilma to keep the paintings private as the viewer of that time was unable to understand the message she was putting out. She consequently followed the advice of Steiner. This raises the question: Was the public simply not ready? Or was it that her contemporaries were not ready to perceive them?

Not much is written about Hilma’s romantic life. Being eagerly devoted to her metaphysical studies, mediumistic work, and her immediate family, one would presume there wasn’t much time left for romance 18 19. However, her placement of Venus in the 12th house aspect indicates that she might have wanted love of blissful oneness. Someone who cultivates a spiritually profound form of love that measured up to the richness of her artistic life 20.

Our Scorpio vanguard never got to exhibit her unique co-creation with spirit during her lifetime. Her family, however, recognised the value of her work and formed a foundation to keep her art safe along with other sources that documented the artist’s thoughts. Hilma left behind her secret works of art, which would not be fully appreciated until the future. These paintings say it all: they are secret works that were destined not to remain secret.

Literary source:

Almqvist, K. & Belfrage, L., 2015 Hilma Af Klint The Art of Seeing the Invisible, Sweden: Axel and Margaret Ax: son Johnson Foundation.

Tuchman, M. 1968, The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890-1985, 1968, New York: Abbeville Press.

Voss, J, 2019, The first abstract artist? (And it’s not Kandinsky), UK: Tate Etc,

Westermann, I, Rousseau, P. & Lomas, D., 2003, Hilma Af Klint: A Pioneer of Abstraction, Germany: Hatje Cantz.

Image References:

1.  Two Hindu women 1837 Image taken from ‘A Digest of the different castes of India’, published in Madras.

2. Beatus a Liebana, Commentarius in Apocalypse, Bibliothèque nationale de France.


3.  Kyan, John Howard 1838, On the elements of light and their identity with those of matter, radiant and fixed.

4. Franz von Stuck 1906 'Salome'.  

Sun in Scorpio represents a concentration of the vital force to be, to act, and to initiate. Hilma came forth with a special mission of awakening the warrior spirit. Both her Mars in Aries and her Pluto in Taurus equally support this energy.


Mars reawakens the kundalini energy in her work, the forbidden serpent in the garden of Eden, and Pluto leads it to 'Gnosis' - Knowledge. A healer and a Teacher are two opposites coexisting together.


Pluto in Taurus urged Hilma to find her own base, independent of cultural norms. The last time Pluto was in Taurus was from about 1853 to 1883. That was a generation that believed strongly in material progress and slow, steady improvements.  


Sun conjunct Mercury seeks to mentally cut through and shed light upon all that is not in alignment with the personal divine spirit. As Mercury does this, it activates its own psychic abilities and opens the doorway to concealed spiritual mastery. 

Hilma's family had a unique and visionary approach to life (Saturn conjunct P. Fortune) The native with this placement is happy when they are contributing to the world. They have a firm awareness of their place in the larger collective and feel it is their duty to care for others. 

Sun in trine with Chiron indicates that Hilma had an intense and healing presence. She also had a very reserved nature and was naturally predisposed to hide all clues to the inner self through the outer mask.


Mars in Aries conferred on Hilma a great strength of character, an independent and ambitious nature, as well as an inordinate degree of self-assertion. Moon in trine with Mars symbolises the gradual shift of focus from self to others. What value do I bring to the world? 

Chiron in Pisces speaks the universal language that unites the world. With this placement, Hilma absorbs the full evolution of the Chiron signs and learns to master the two fish swimming in opposite directions. 

Venus conjunct Jupiter - Jupiter expands whatever it touches, and in this case, it's enlarging the qualities of Venus: refined aesthetic sensibilities and artistic impulses hidden within the imaginary world of one's own inner processes. 


South Node conjunct Uranus indicates that Hilma deeply understood spiritual dimensions and stellar origins.


Determined and strong-willed energies (Sun in trine with Saturn). Hilma had the need to deepen and broaden the knowledge of their innermost soul. The powerful influence of the Serpent continuously rejuvenated her mental capabilities forging a working relationship between mind and action (Saturn in Libra).


Neptune in Aries has a soul of a romantic. Hilma's creative energies ran towards the mystical. She was simultaneously present with other people and yet paradoxically also far, far away. 


Jupiter sitting closely to the Ascendant indicates that Hilma had the ability to initiate powerful journeys within all four planes of existence; physical, mental, emotional, and/or spiritual; seeing beyond 'worlds' and beyond 'words'.

In past lifetimes, Hilma was most likely engaged in occult practices and taboo relations with others (South Node in Gemini). Her soul carried this knowledge across many lifetimes. Her past life contributed greatly to colouring Hilma’s mastery in this life (North Node in Sagittarius).  

Chiron aspects Neptune marks an individual with tremendous spiritual powers. Hilma was a born empath and a healer, extremely sensitive to the psyches of others. Having come through a painful examination of her own psyche (Mercury in trine with Chiron), Hilma was able to see more clearly and compassionately into the minds of others also.


Her automatic drawing séances led her away from conventional art toward the 'channeling' art (Mars in quintile with Uranus). She moved away from the work that she was doing as a student in the academy to a more open idea of what art could be (Moon trine Mars). 

Uranus is about intuitive, divine esoteric wisdom. Uranus studies in order to align with the subject itself. Once Hilma aligned with the energy of her Uranus in Gemini, the information would gently begin to flow to her and through her. 

Moon in Sagittarius indicates that Hilma’s soul was driven by the need for emotional freedom. Hilma was not averse to romance, it is the 'commitment' part that might have been difficult for her freedom-loving nature. 

She wanted to be free to explore her personal philosophy (Moon conjunct North Node); her emotions were deeply tied up with her soul’s mission.

Artistic, hypersensitive soul (Moon trine Neptune) in possession of spiritual and mediumistic abilities. She sought retreat and solitude within an environment that was soothing to her gentle soul (Neptune sextile Chiron).