(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.
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.
(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)
(Mars) Masculinity, assertive behaviour, ambitious, energetic, assuming control, progression, setting goals for the future, high achievers. April, Aries
Rather than the double-headed eagle symbol often seen on other Tarot decks on the Soulscapes Tarot Emperor / God I painted two winged fire creatures either side of the head, and a radiant brow. The mythic figure Taliesin was said to have been born with a “shining” or radiant brow meaning that he is inspired so this image can be likened to that of the spiritual leader inflamed with passion of God, the Persona, or an outward projection of his personality or Ego. Coincidentally our financial year ends and begins anew in April with which this archetype is associated. The Emperor/God’s power wand that we find on most representations of this archetype has two ends that signify his status as an important leader, and the responsibility that comes with it. It is said though that absolute power corrupts so there is a real need to find and maintain balance through our humanity and seeking to marry the god and the goddess within to become whole.
This wise bearded face puts us in mind of an archetypical priest – kingly ruler, benevolent and just, but a leader of men, but one who is guided by the seasons and tides of nature and is in direct communion with the land and its inhabitants.
Consider briefly the four directions or points on the compass, the four seasons, 4/4 time signature in music, four points on an equal armed cross etc. There is an equal armed cross in the bottom right corner on the Soulscapes image which is similar in nature to that of the Maltese Cross or the emblem of the Knights of Malta which subtly suggests a connection with religion or holy orders.
We can associate this image with the idea of leaders whether of Church and state, lawgivers, educators, Religious icons, psychological movements, philosophical movements, spirituality, initiation, meditation, and contemplation.
As much at the Empress/Goddess is concerned with domesticity, child birthing and child rearing and the mother figures in our lives the Emperor / God is concerned with parenthood and responsibility, businessmen, successful males and authority figures.
Learning to be assertive and have the confidence of our own convictions, gaining mastery over our physical lives and creating firm foundations and security for the future are important factors to consider in this stage of the spiritual journey.
Phoenix symbolism on some versions of this card has the same implications as that of the previous archetype only this time the rebirth is through the archetypal father who wears the crown of the North Upon his head. In some decks his posture is that of one standing on one leg with the other crossed at the knee to signify the alchemical symbol for sulphur, and in some images carrying an orb in one hand and a scepter in the other, both of which are also symbols of power or rulership. On some decks we also find the solar and lunar symbology and rather than the head of the king facing the front we see that his face is in profile.
Take out the High Priestess (of the Silver Star), Magician / Messenger , the Emperor and Empress and lay them out on the table in front of you the High Priestess next to the Messenger and underneath the High Priestess place the Empress, and underneath the Messenger place the God. What relationship do you see between these images?
The Initiates Way series of paintings is currently showing at the Florence Arts Centre in Egremont. The paintings will be on show until the end of April if you would like to go and see them for yourself. It is free to attend the exhibition.
Each of the paintings has a guided meditation that accompanies it and if you would like to try this for yourself in your own sacred space they are available on the youtube channel.
On the 22nd of March I will be facilitating an Esoteric Art workshop at the Florence Arts centre for anyone who would like to learn how to Meditate before creating Art.
Sunday 22 April 1pm to 3pm
Cost: £5 per person
Would you like to learn how to use the Tarot and Meditation as a tool for transformation and opening the doors to your own creativity? To accompany her exhibition, Initiates Way, artist Jade M will be hosting this one-off workshop…
Esoteric Art simply means art that comes from within. Learning to meditate was the first hurdle for me as an artist to access that space within that allows creation from the heart. There doesn’t need to be any specific outcome or idea of what will be created, it is simply engaging in the process which is the act of creating. Stimulating the source of inspiration within and expressing emotion through colour and technique.
If you would like to come along to the workshop all you will need is blank canvas / sketchbook in a size of your choosing, or canvas boards and whichever medium you like to work in. Fo example, you could bring some acrylic paints…watercolours…chalks or pastels… oil paints. Whatever works for you.
Brushes are not a neccesity as we will probably use fingertips to connect with colour and express. I will guide and instruct on how to begin breathing and visualization techniques which allow you to ground and centre within yourself, and create a sacred space from which to begin your art.
Suitable for children aged 12+ (under 16s must be accompanied). Places are limited so booking is recommended.