I got the idea for this card by looking at pictures of ancient Greek pottery. They do wonderful drinking cups in this shape with stylized eyes on them, so I thought it might be fun to make the eyes more lifelike.
Wine, dancing, music, communion in cups. This is a real human connection that is very powerful but often also illusory and temporary. It’s wise as Crowley of all people points out, to distrust the good things in life. And yet without experiencing those moments of Bacchanalia we can never really grow to our full potential. People who never lose control are living in fear of their own inner beast. And fear is a half life.
In a more literal sense these are three muses that appear so often in this card, three women in fact, whose coming together is so often the catalyst of great things in life. Certainly it has always been this way in my life. It also depicts the increasing effect of each glass of wine. I think it is very often women who make the connections between people blossom. Without the great sea of common affection and support that exists between women, the human race would have gone extinct millenia ago.
When you hurt a spider
You hurt the goddess.
This card is the suit of form in the sphere of form, Binah. Binah is the dark mother so I chose spiders to represent her. The spiders are Arachne, the weaver, who creates beautiful but useful art. Anyone who has seen a spider web sparkle with early morning dew knows the meaning of aesthetic functionality.
Personally I am a great believer in useful art. Art that is used every day becomes a part of people, seeps into their consciousness much more effectively than art that sits on a gallery wall. It is devalued by the establishment because of its feminine attributions, just as Binah, the dark mother has been, and by association, the beautiful spider. These are the type of spider that decorate my garden, and in fact the whole city, dangling everywhere from trees and power lines and reaching sometimes the size of a mans’ hand. They aren’t white though…that is my artistic license and a symbol to me of trying to subvert the cliche of evil dark spiders. My spiders are the good guys. There is certainly nothing to fear from Golden Orb Weaver spiders, whatever colour they are, unless you are an insect. They are such industrious and creative creatures, but they also know how to wait, which seems to me the perfect formula for work of a spiritual and artistic nature.
If you want to understand more about the Qabalah and the system and meaning it gives to the minor arcana there is no better book on the subject than Dion Fortunes “Mystical Qabalah”. Witty, amusing and crystal clear…there are very few occult tomes you could say that about. Quite often she makes me laugh out loud.
Hell of Mirrors is a story by Edogawa Rampo. Its about a man who sends himself crazy with mirrors…I’m not going to spoil it more than that. But the general idea is that he was unhinged by being forced to look at his own demon.
Like in the movie Chinese Oddysey, a version of Journey to the West. Monkey is reincarnated as a human and forgets he is King Monkey. But someone gives him a mirror which reflects inner demons, and he is shocked to see his Stone Ape face.
And the Lady of Shallott and her mirror of course, because she is a metaphor for the curse of the artist, doomed to reflect life rather than experience it. Being gifted with a resident demon, such as this one. The DEVIL is a great patron of the ARTS.
A quote within a quote…
“A disturber of the peace, a spoiler, a serpent or corrupting agency is necessary to “get the play going”. It must function as “Lucifer”, a bringer of light, of new information and awareness. Initially the disruptive element will tend to be percieved as evil, and the disturber who personifies it will be rejected and made a scape goat.
The Greek word “DIABOLOS” means “confuser”.
Goethe makes god say:
For, man’s activity can easily abate
He soon prefers uninterupted rest
To give him this companion hence seems best
Who roils and must as devil help create.”
Quite clearly, creativity is implied by the poet as the intention and purpose of the “devils” antagonistic function”.
Alchemy of Healing
I’d certainly say that no other card has affected me more strangely than this one, and it still does. I finished it almost a year ago and have kept it hidden away since then. It spread a dark haze over my life last summer but ultimately it has been liberating. Maybe I had to keep painting to come to terms with it. Also to reward those of you who actually read the blurb I have put a photo of me in the in Enter the Tarot page, just to prove I’m really NOT the DEVIL. XD
Not on the surface anyway.
I certainly have one resident though, or maybe even several.
“Indicates the ARTISTS contempt for earthly glory”.
Fortune or the Wheel of Fortune is a symbol of the cycle of life. A man climbs, enjoys a brief spell at the top, and then falls again. I suppose I chose to call it Fate because it seems to me more reflective of this cycle than Fortune, and less fixedly materialist, like the endless hamsters wheel of the rat race.
Amor Fati (Nietzsche)…love your fate…it means to be reconciled with your true self, to love what you really are and to accept that loss and decline are as valuable and necessary as gain and growth.
“My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it—all idealism is mendaciousness in the face of what is necessary—but love it.”
From “Why I am So Clever”.
The blank white star in the middle is like the unknown. It gives a feeling of falling into the void…a leap of faith. The emergence of birth, the white out of anasthesia, and the light at the end of the death tunnel. It is a portal into another dimension.
Take The Wheel is really what this card is about…your fate is in your hands, like a steering wheel, like a ships’ wheel and when storms hit you have to lash your self to it. Or a spinning wheel making the thread of your life. The thread that leads you through the Labyrinth of life and then is cut.
Also there’s the idea of going “chest to chest with the cosmos”. which belongs to DHL. Lying on your back, looking up at the stars, you are chest to chest with the ever spiraling universe. This kind of communion is what I was trying to express.
And also the obvious one, conception, both actual and metaphorical.
The Butterfly Collector
The light that is one though the lamps be many.
Narcissus of self love. It was picking a Narcissus that caused the Earth to spring open at Persephones’ feet.
Leary identified it as the Teenage Barbarian.
“The Hermit monk rejects or postpones hive-parental responsibility and searches for a higher role.
Extended adolescence is the genetic blossom of a successful species.”
Research by Carl Jung concludes that when one has been alone for an extended period of time, ones psyche produces visions and revelations.
The butterfly…hm. I found it on the path.