Thoth

Hierophant-Crowley

crowley-ace_largeI don’t have a whole lot more to say about tarot here on ArtDuh for now, except the Thoth deck is mindbogglingly beautiful! Created my Alister Crowley (spooky! haha) and illustrated by artist Frieda Harris. These images and symbols are very rich and meaningful, and the way Harris has portrayed them is pretty much perfect.

Like I say, I don’t have a whole lot more to add about oracles, but I do want to post and look at these beautiful pictures!

adb655bf1709753f2bd754bc56e11815I’m no expert by any means, but a quick note about Crowley. I know that he has a questionable reputation with a lot of people. Its understandable, I guess, since he was so unconventional. Even though I do think he was brilliant, I won’t even try to defend him. Not my place and he did a lot of shocking things. Plus, I don’t claim to relate to or like everything he said and did (although this Thoth deck is one of the things he did very well!). I’ve come to understand that a lot of the things that were so “controversial” are, most lot of the time, just theatrics (but not always, to be sure). He had many profound insights, but I kind of think of him as a performer to some degree. He liked the public eye and played to that as well.

lustaAlso, about Thoth… an amazing historical teacher. Considered to be the one who taught the Egyptians magic, science, and how to write, he is also thought to be the author of the Emerald Tablet. He is also often associated with the Greco-Roman god Hermes/Mercury, the messenger of the gods. It is also accepted by a number of people that Thoth and thrice great Hermes Trismegistus are one and the same person. I have even read before that Thoth and the biblical Enoch were probably the same person too. Thoth has a very rich history, which make for extremely powerful symbols.

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QueenOfDisks

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Prince-of-Swords

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Wildwood

ww_shamanWWT-III have a very strong interest in oracles and omens and I think if we can keep our eyes open, we’ll realize they are everywhere. I know, in this modern world that isn’t very well received, but I don’t care. If I come across a certain animal, bird, tree or rock… well, sometimes those encounters have very deep significance for me, even if I can’t explain why at the time. The synchronicities of everyday life, knowledge gained, an action, a conversation or casual comments… these everyday things can really fire my imagination at the very least. This is a pretty amazing place!

It is hard to put into words, but I feel a deeply spiritual connection between myself and pretty much everything else I share this world with. And even beyond this world. Even though I love science very very much, I instinctively feel like we share connections with each other and the rest of nature that science cannot easily measure. I’m probably starting to sound pretty woo-woo, and I usually try to avoid that at all costs, but I guess I also feel like I’ve got to explain so I can also understand…

pageofarrowswrenI have a very strong interest in and am amazed by divination. I think, if you’re open to it, divinatory systems can give glimpses into our shared physical, mental and spiritual connections. Ancient books like the I Ching are, quite simply, beautiful to me. The history behind the Sibyl and other prophets fascinate me. But on a personal level, what I relate to the most would be the Tarot. As an artist, my eyeballs devour this world, and then I express my thoughts and feelings about it visually through symbols. I find the artwork and symbolism on some tarot decks to be extremely powerful and moving. Its goal is to represent visually the different aspects and experiences we all go through, symbolically, on separate individual cards. Even if you’re not all that open to these symbols as a divinatory system, I think all of us can learn by examining them. Maybe it’ll help at first to think of the pictures as a very complex Rorschach test. Check it out, see what ya see.

KingBowsI don’t have many decks by any means, but if I see one I like, I will pick it up. My personal favorite deck is my Wildwood Tarot. There is something about its primal and animal characters that speak directly to me. With beings like the Green Man, the Ancestor, or the Son of Life running through the deck, how could it not?

As if this post wasn’t already long enough, I have a little side-tangent I’d like to explore.

I don’t know why, but it seems like most of my life I have been drawn to stone-age and bronze-age mythology and magic(k). Not that I practice it really, I don’t think of myself as a pagan or Wiccan, but maybe I lean that way a little bit. I suppose maybe the biggest reason I am drawn to the Wildwood is because it portrays that primitive and primal mythology instead of a medieval court (like many other tarot deck do).

WTT-7SI’ve explored a lot of different religious beliefs. I am very drawn to Hinduism especially, but what I relate to most are the ideas of ancient (i.e. pagan simple country folk) Europe. Nature is magic to me, and spirits move through it. Animals are my friends and trees and rivers whisper secrets. I’ve felt this way for a very long time. The wind cries Mary. I like the city and technology quite a lot too and, even though in a lot of ways it is now, I don’t think it needs to be incongruent with the natural world. Its all a part of Nature I guess. When I was younger running around under starry-skies and tree canopies I used to think to myself that modern man simply cannot relate to ancient customs and thought. Even though I felt a longing for them in my heart, I also felt like an outsider to those customs. I thought the animal in us had died. I think I was right, to some degree. We have changed. But I have come to see more and more that we are all still a part of Nature, and she has evolved with us, and (hopefully) we with Her. These ancient symbols and beliefs still have relevance, and returning to respecting Nature, trying to understand Her language and symbols (and also our own symbols at the same time) are perhaps some of the only things that makes any sense to me anymore. Not that we need to go live in caves, but we need to realize we are a part (not apart) of Nature too and respect that.

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I should mention that the Wildwood Tarot was created by John Matthews, Mark Ryan, and illustrated by Will Worthington. Great job fellas!

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5 The Ancestor

 

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… And More New Drawings

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Dragon Dancing

Crowd of People

Crowd of People

Here are a couple of additional new drawings I just finished. Really only one piece, a diptych, over two pages.

Jan van Eyck’s Last Judgement

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I’ve been looking at a lot of old religious artwork lately, and have been enjoying the work of Jan van Eyck especially. One piece in particular stands out, and that is his Last Judgement, pictured above. This incredible piece is really a part of a diptych, made up of two panels, called Crucifixion and Last Judgement. The truth is, it is the Archangel Michael in the middle of the Last Judgement that I just keep looking at (I just realized that I wrote about another painting of Michael not too long ago. So there ya go). With his peacock wings filled with eyeballs, holding hell at bay with his shield and sword. Pretty sweet!

"Last Judgement" detail

“Last Judgement” detail