Composed of ambiguous and dreamlike images, "Life Is..." is an allegory of the possibility of spiritual development. The narrow and exposed pathway leading away from ground level off into the sky represents the opportunity of spiritual progress that has been given to us. A butterfly, symbol of the soul, sits on an arrow pointing to the start of this pathway; the signpost indicates that this is the path for our soul.
We see figures of people at various stages along the pathway. To the lower right in the painting, a man is leading a horse which is pulling a house on a cart. The horse has stopped while the man walks on toward the entrance to the path upward. In Russia, the house represents the physical body, the "house" of the soul. The horse represents our animal aspect, or , the lower part of our nature. To walk on this pathway, the man will need to separate from and leave behind his physical nature and lower self.
This path is narrow and has many twists and turns, leading past unknown planets, and the end of the pathway is not visible to us as we start off on this journey. Still, the signpost says, this is the way for our soul.
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