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This archetype suggests the duality of human nature and animal instincts. We see the face of the great goddess and a lioness merging together as one and underneath there is a symbol that keeps recurring for me which I have taken to represent the opening of a door / doors through which there is a flow of information and wisdom that can be switched on and off using that symbol.
(Sun/Mars) Feelings of self worth and Love, notoriety and fame, confidence and strength, desires and sexuality, renowned figures.
The dreamer, held in the watchful care of her guiding spirit, beholds the vision of the constellation of Leo, the lion – Caitlín Matthews
On several versions of this image in the Tarot we find a lady with a lion and there is a great deal of controversy over whether she is opening or closing the mouth of the lion. It appears to me that she is showing her fearlessness by opening the lions mouth as a gesture of mutual trust.
Symbolically you can take this as representing the stage in the spiritual journey where you have found the elusive hidden strength within, a spiritual strength that everyone has inside and you can now begin to act from that place of inner strength that was previously unobtainable. Becoming attuned with the mysteries and wisdom of the past will give you a much broader perspective from which to tread your unique path.
Considering the astrological sign of Leo the lion, which is also attributed to this image, and consider those ancestors who once gazed upon the constellation of leo, coming from a different time but awaiting the rediscovery of their secrets and wisdom. – Excerpt from the forthcoming Initiates Way by Jade M
(Moon) Outward personality, heritage and family lines, childrearing, limelight, deep personal feelings, responsibilities, personal space. July (dog days Sirius rising)
On the Soulscapes version of the Chariot one of the first things that we notice is that the central figure is a warrior wearing armour, and a helmet, is carrying a spear and is poised ready for something.
Is it battle?
This particular figure is drawn by the power of two sphinx like creatures, one black and one white presenting a mystery that is to be solved regarding the opposing natures of war and peace.
The canopy behind the head with the stars upon it represents the state of bliss or nirvana that we can reach through deep meditation and the cube within which the figure sits is indicative of the four elements in which we live out our earthly existence.
On the Soulscape Chariot you can see the full moon emblazoned on the front of the chariot and underneath there is a solar disc with wings that has two ureas serpents coming out of it. This symbolism was used by the Egyptians and can suggest the need for balance between the left and right hemispheres of the brain and the awakening of hidden senses within.
If we understand the Solar aspect of personality being that which is awake or switched on, and the lunar aspect of consciousness as being that which is unconscious, or that we are unaware of it until we find a way to reach this information through meditation and ritual.
I call to the Guardians of the East, South, West and North to attend our (my) circle should it please them. I (We) am (are) here of my (our) own free will to work with Spirit in all of its forms, to honour the Goddess and God within and without. Spirit Guides, Ancestors, Elders, Helpers, Teachers, Angels and those who work with the light please join us (me) in this evening (moment) so that we can work together to strengthen the connection to the otherworld while we work in our Sacred Space.
You can speak aloud the text above or say it in your mind before you begin.
Thought, intelligence, quickness of mind, choices, communications, technology, cycle ending, visitors, interactions. June
In most images for the Lovers in the background there is a large sun behind an Angelic figure. The Sun representing the seat of the personality and the wholeness of being that can be achieved through inner work.
Sometimes it is necessary to go through a cleansing or detoxification process first before we can reach the stage of initiating the conversation with ones Holy Guardian Angel.
There is harmony, polarity and division all represented in the same image. The bow and arrow that makes an appearance in some images seeks to draw your attention to the tension of the string and the point before the arrow flies. The two figures can be thought of as the perceived duality in human beings, male and female, yin and yang, light and dark. Etc.
The experience that I had when painting the lovers image for the Soulscapes Tarot was that of a deep connection with nature on a heart level, feeling the presence of something outside of the human experience and so much greater than our species and an understanding that we as humans are a very small part of a much greater consciousness, but connected nonetheless.
On the Soulscapes version of the lovers above the arrow there is an opening which looks like it is the navel of the Angelic being, this refers to the idea of polarity between the sexes which can be equalized and balanced in the union which is achieved between the lovers during the sexual act, and presents the idea that “something” is created during lovemaking that doesn’t always result in the birth of a physical child but instead can form an idea or a creation that germinates and grows into something. When I was painting this image I heard the term term “Kteis” whispered in my ear during the meditative state and found that upon investigation it means “vagina” or “shell” which was a commonly used phrase to portray the Great Mother or Goddess in the past.
(Saturn/Venus) Systems of belief, spiritual guidance, rituals and rites of passage, male dominated institutions, talents, organisations, learning.
On the Soulscapes image there is an ancient bearded figure dressed in long red robes with a naked lady standing in front of him wielding a sword. He is standing on a raised platform with the open sky behind him. Behind him is the sacred cow and his feet are in the middle of one of the interlocking circles which represent Isis, Osiris and Ra. He points towards the path we should take at this stage in the development journey and in the other hand he holds a set of keys with which he can assist us to unlock a door and release our imprisoned nature from its cage. There is a full moon behind the Red Merlin with a pentegram projecting out from within the Moon.
The Red Merlin is gesturing with his fingers after having drawn a golden hexagram in front of him. The hexagram intersects with the image of a divine child. Unlike the previous two Soulscapes images which had their eyes closed, his eyes are open but what does he see?
The green snake winds its way up the central figure representing life force or kundalini that is awakened within the teacher, and rising in front of him is a naked goddess / priestess figure wielding a sword. There are many names attributed to the power being presented here that describes the sleeping force or serpent power within each individual which awakens and is controlled by the priest / priestess through the Chakra or cakras sometimes referred to as psychic centres that contain the potential energy of each person waiting to be released through twin spirals of force which are masculine and feminine.
There cannot be polarisation of these sexual energies, or balance between the male and female without the opposing energy and this suggests that there is a way or a path that is a valid spiritual path that is dual by nature and is shared by both men and women and that they both play their respective parts within it, that is to say that it is not dominated by one or the other sex. The mysteries are not exclusive to one or the other sex and the difference between this image and one which represents simply a male religious leader is that it recognises the divine feminine as well as the divine masculine. The rest of the subtle imagery suggests that the figure is not inside a building but that he is somewhere outside and is standing upon some sort of stage or platform.
The red Merlins robe begins as red but once it has merged with the blue of the sky it changes at the hem to become a beautiful deep purple. If we consider for a moment the circles of colours on the body of the naked woman representing the Chakras, the second Chakra is Purple and the Root Chakra right at the bottom represents our connection with the Earth, the blue Chakra is our communication centre and when mingling together with the red of the Earth chakra and the blue of the communication Chakra we get the purple of the Third Eye Chakra or our awakening to second sight, or the gift of prophecy. The eyes are open but this prophet does not see with those eyes, instead he uses intuition and his third eye and instincts after gaining the gift of foresight, clarity and inner knowing through learning.
The three intersecting circles at the bottom of the Soulscapes image can be understood as representing three cyclic ages. The lady is standing in a red circle which represents the child God-conciousness or that of RA the divine child, the Green circle on the left represents the Mother, Goddess or ISIS consciousness and the Yellow representing the Father/God, or Osiris aspect of consciousness. As a race we have moved through cycles of Mother/Goddess Matriarchal or Father/God Patriarchal spiritual movements into that of the Child God – which we can understand as an age of awakening or revealing. The Bull has associations with the Astrological sign of Taurus and the fact that it is a female bull that he is sitting on gives us a hint towards the time of the origins of certain belief structures.
Each painting is a stage in the spiritual journey and presents an archetype that is the embodiment of that particular stage in the journey. To get to know these stages intimately yourself Jade has created 22 Guided Meditations so that you can participate in the journey from the comfort of your own armchair.
Esoteric Art is simply Art that comes from within and the process of creation requires only that you be able to still the mind and listen in the silence before you begin to create. If you would like to attend a workshop Jade will be offering a group guided Meditation and a talk about the Initiates Way on the 20th of May at the Old Fire Station in the Parquet room. £5 entry fee.
When you visit the exhibition take a photo of yourself wearing the fool hat and pose with the jester stick and post to social media with the hashtag #initiatesway. Don’t forget to sign the guestbook!
The Initiates Way paintings will be produced as a set of Tarot Cards later in the year with an accompanying book about the process of creation and explanation of the symbols and the Imagery.
Check out the Magicians Table at the back of the room where you will find the tools of the trade.
Jade created her first Tarot deck the ‘Soulscapes Tarot’ in 2013 which you can also try out for yourself at the exhibition, and decks can be purchased directly from the Artist.
If you would like to know more or you are interested in learning to read Tarot for yourself you can contact Jade on Instagram
(Venus) Nurturing, receptivity, openness, unity with others, abundance and plenty, beauty, art, creative endeavours. March
Traditionally the Goddess/Empress is seated in this image on a throne as she represents sovereignty, in other words she is the throne. She is the doorway through which we enter this life in the first instance from the womb of our mother, and spiritually she represents the doorway that we must find within, open and journey through so that we may create ourselves anew.
We can also think of her as Gaia or the soul of our planet. There are two eagles on the Soulscapes card and when painting the image one of these was intentional which is the one that is above the head of the figure, however the yellow eagle head on the right hand side of the image just happened as I was scraping the red paint on the background with a palate knife. It wasn’t until the image was finished and I stood back to look at it that I saw the second Eagle.
In this Archetype there is a strong female figure whose opposite, partner or counterpart is the God, or Emperor, but neither have power over each other they simply compliment each other as it should be within all strong healthy human relationships. Think of the Yin and Yang in the oriental traditions and as humans having within both a feminine aspect and a masculine aspect. Depending on the maturity of our personality one of these archetypes may dominate and there may need to be some work done to achieve a balance between the dual natures.
In a reading this card may suggest someone who is very feminine and centred in their domestic life as a mother and carer. In old celtic oral traditions the triple forms of the Goddess and God each had their reflection that we encounter as characters in bardic tales such as the Vita Merlini.
In the Waite/Coleman Smith version of this image we see a shield emblazoned with a phoenix which suggests that she is the gateway through which one has to pass in order to live, and in a mystical sense being reborn through the Mother Archetype one is initiated or ‘born again’ into greater mysteries. In some tarot images she is stepping on a crescent moon and heavily pregnant suggesting again that she is regeneration.
“Wake a world inside, old souls looking through new born eyes” – JadeM
The important symbols associated with the High Priestess are sleep, knowledge and everything that is ruled by the lunar tides, or the fluctuating currents that one cannot see but affect everything on our planet from the rising and falling of the sea to our moods on a daily basis.
The tiny sliver of light we see after the dark of the moon which heralds the beginning of a new lunar month in the agricultural calendar some believe is the time for thinking about starting new projects and retreating within to listen to ones own inner guidance, and certainly a time for sending out healing to those in need.
On the Rider Waite image of the High Priestess we see Isis veiled, crowned with stars and she has a solar cross on her breast and an open book on her knee. It is the book of the TORA or Tarot, wisdom and understanding and we can think of her as the virgin aspect of the triple goddess, or one who acts as an oracle through their connection to the infinite wisdom of the universe.
“Peace, calm, inner world, seeing the unseen, light in the dark, study, knowledge, spiritual wisdom. I also feel that this card presents us with the Ethereal world. A being we can seek out and who can give guidance to us that is both within ourselves and is a separate, spiritual, entity. She rests in the recesses of our souls to shed light on what is hidden from us. Illumination of shadows within ourselves.” (Christina Malarkey)
“Apart from oceans and the sky, blue is the rarest colour in nature. Interestingly, Tarot scholar and artist Robert Place once said to me that the pigment ultramarine was used liberally in commissioned medieval art because it was derived from costly stone lapis lazuli. In this light, the blue robe suggests “concealing that which is precious” or even preciousness itself. Mother Mary is often enrobed in blue, suggesting spiritual beauty, purity and transcendence. Note that blue was rarely used in primitive art or among illiterate peoples, but is often connected with the elite (blue ribbon, blue blood, blue-chip stocks).” (Taschen, 650) Janet Baker Boyer
“Sitting on the brink between a world of light and dark, the Priestess has overcome her inner turmoil and looks back to those in the dark offering a hand of guidance. Unwilling to walk into the light while others still suffer, she turns back towards the darkness, shining light to illuminate the world. She symbolises personal transition having walked the path of darkness seeking and finding the path of enlightenment. She also symbolises sacrifice and suffering as her willingness to carry others with her transcends her personal quest of walking in the light. With all that is magic in the world alive in her heart, the Priestess of the Silver Star offers a guiding light to seekers who wish to explore the deeper realms of mystic and magic as long as she is careful not to let the darkness engulf her.
Light – The Priestess can help you tune into your inner wisdom, strengthen your intuition and work with your dreams to explore the inner realms of the problems you face. Holding the lamp of the truth she provides the seeker with the strength they need to face the shadows and guides them to walk forward on their path courageously.
Shadow – Having walked a difficult path the Priestess can become exhausted and weak. At times of weakness she may slip back into the shadows of darkness and can be susceptible to anxiety and depression as she contemplates whether those in pain will ever be free to walk in the light. She encourages seekers to reconnect with their inner selves and the deeper mysteries at such times to regenerate and gain strength for the next stage of their journey. She also reminds the seeker that they are worthy and that in times when personal healing is required that a little self-indulgence can be just the trick to restore balance. “ (Rashelle Reid)
On the Soulscapes Magician when you look at it a certain way there are two very owl like eyes peering at you from a background of ever moving energy that culminates in the eternity symbol, or if you look at it another way there is a being standing with arms upraised invoking the power within to emerge into the world, becoming self created.
Above the head of the magician in most traditional decks there the eternity symbol or lemniscate and in the Soulscapes image it is entwined onto the background becoming an integral part of the process of being, understanding the fluctuations and flow of information, the cyclical nature of time, the ebb and flow of consciousness which can be directed by the individual once they become aware of the processes within.
On the Rider Waite / Pamela Coleman Smith image the symbols or treasures are laid out on a three legged table. The cup, wand, sword and pentacle representing the minor Arcana, or tools of the trade of the magician and it is suggested that he / she understands and uses these forces.
In some decks the title of this card is the juggler and the very act of learning to juggle is a skill that must first be learned and then practiced and honed in order to be able to perform. Getting aquainted with our creative faculties and imagination requires the same process.