At this point, the knowledge about Hilma af Klint’s worldview is still quite superficial. However, it seems to have been mostly dominated by a combination of Christian, Spiritualistic and Theosophical ideas. This means that her beliefs were governed by the conviction that the Christian God was the ultimate source for everything and that the Holy Scripture contained deeper and hidden meanings. To this, Theosophical concepts of evolution and reincarnation were added that made spiritual development through birth and rebirth the general law of the universe. Humanity is only a small part of this grand scheme, and other invisible levels of reality existed between humans and God: first the spirit world and later the Theosophical astral plane. These levels were inhabited by a range of spirits and other beings that could act as mediators between God and humans, thus communicating a higher wisdom and directly influencing earthly life.
From this blend, two major ideas are worth mentioning in-depth, that of evolution and that of gnosis, which has partly been touched upon in connection to The Five. Evolution is often mentioned in connection to af Klint and is represented in her paintings by a spiral. Her understanding of evolution was based on the Theosophical idea of spiritual evolution as the grand scheme upon which the cosmos relies and where divine perfection, rather than biological as with Darwin, is the ultimate goal of humanity. It is closely connected to the idea of gnosis, the belief that there existed a higher, hidden wisdom about the true nature of the world that can be realized through certain means – for af Klint through trance and spirit channelling. Such a conviction was not unique to af Klint but is at the basis for many esoteric practises and currents throughout history. Taken together, it means that af Klint believed she channelled spiritually evolved beings who had climbed the evolutionary ladder and therefore possessed higher wisdom. This was a wisdom they shared with her and helped her to visually translate into the Paintings for the Temple. Thus, she saw her oeuvre as the embodiment of gnosis, a higher knowledge she wanted to reveal to the viewer within a spiral-shaped temple.
Lastly, a theme that must be mentioned in connection to af Klint is what she called ‘the dual’, or more specifically, the idea that the universe is made up of polar opposites that need to be reconciled. Such ideas of unification permeate the history of Western esotericism and can be found in traditions from modern Theosophy to early modern Alchemy. For Hilma af Klint, it was especially the male and female principles that fascinated her, and how a state of balance between the two sexes could bring about spiritual development. This had different representations in her work. In The Large Figure Paintings, one finds a graphic image of a man and woman copulating, while The Swan series gives a more symbolic interpretation in the merging of a black and a white swan. These swans have their beak and feet painted in yellow and blue, representing the male and female in af Klint’s colour language. Hilma af Klint also searched for her own “dual soul”, and believed every human had a soulmate, either on earth or on the spirit plane. Thus, her idea of duality was both linked to overarching notions within Western esotericism and reflected a personal curiosity for love, sex and gender.