I am a dreamer…
Some see dreams as messages from the ‘unconscious’ and a rich resource for the artist. Therefore, it would not seem to be much of a surprise that many artists that experiment in the visionary genre would be attracted to Tarot. The art and symbolism of Tarot cards is very much like a dream. They are steeped in mystery and tell stories rich in metaphor.
The original meanings of the symbols and motifs are, for most cards, lost in time. My exploration of the cards led me down the murky path of the history of Western (and Eastern) culture and religion. They way we communicate today is so different to when the cards first appeared in the 15th century. Tarot has evolved considerably over time and have come to include many world views. It has even been embraced by modern psychology courtesy of Jung’s application of archetypes. Many designers and some scholars today, would even go so far as to say the cards carry the echoes of an ancient pre-Christian European past and evoke this in their own interpretation of the Tarot.
A little over a year ago, I agreed to design a card for fun with an on-line forum. I was very new to Tarot and I selected the Moon card because of my personal associations with the Moon itself. I studied everything I could find on the metaphor of the moon card for nearly three weeks. I kept a journal of my discoveries and recorded my thoughts and impressions. Eventually, after having been so immersed in the images and writings on the subject, I began to live, breathe and dream them. My own ‘unconscious’ began to create first a written metaphor and then the visual one:
I have lived for millennia in the Ocean of Dreams
Watching obscure forms gently morph and sway in the soft waters.
I have moved across liquid Sands of Time
Basking in their filtered gaze.
In this moment, I stand in the in the reflected light of the sun
Deep shadows lay before me.
This place of transition frightens me
Its gifts lie beyond the darkness of the forest before me…
Who waits for me in the darkness?
Should I fear them?
Or are they like me – but shadows on the cavern wall?
I must sacrifice the light and pass through my fear for the wisdom beyond the shadows.
My shell is brittle on the surface – and broken.
I feel the shattered pieces pierce my soft flesh
And as I bleed in this strange place, I am mocked by courage.
I bathe my wounds in the healing silver drops of the Moon.
The tree spirits beckon me into the shadows that lead to the moonlit path.
I crawl out of the shards of my past, despite its painful release.
The path ahead is indistinct,
I feel my way to the threshold of the Moon’s illumination and receive her gift:
Where my fear is transformed into beauty….
Although my paintings are generally not of the visionary genre, I think the experience has taught me that Tarot, like art, can become a tool, and objects of personal meaning.
I finally got the composition for my “Painted Horses”. They will be moving to my studio canvas from the canvas of my dreams, finally….
Sites for the Soul
I love to read the blogs of other creative people. They inspire me to think about my experiences through the eyes of another. There is an outstanding blog called Fallen Woman. Her words are stirring and reach deep into the feminine soul. It is her posts on the night and life that remind me of why I create.
I also came across the blog of Kris Cahill – a wonderful visionary artist.