I realize it has been awfully quiet on my end. I’ve not posted even a peep here or sent out a newsletter in several months. Anyone following may have noticed that there are no longer any in progress images online as I removed them for reworking them and for other reasons. I hope to put back new better images soon.
The good news is that on August 1st 2022 I finished the inked line art for the final card of the 78 cards of this new deck – which is huge, for me at least! I started pencil sketching the Fool in Feb 2020 just before the world went into “lock down” – and doesn’t that feel like a lifetime ago?
I finished pencil sketches for the first five Majors over the next few months of 2020 and then set the project aside for a bit to intensely garden the summer of 2020. I made a shitload of pickles LOL for what it’s worth. I revived it in the fall of 2020 and officially ritually did the inking of the Fool on the 2020 Winter Solstice, and from there was working nearly constantly until completing the inked line art for the 78th card on August 1st, 2022.
So if the line art is finished why are things all quiet on the western front? Why am I not telling the world yet? I could blame a very busy period in other areas of life. I could blame some periods of depression and discouragement. I could blame the stars. Or it just is what it is, me just stopping for who knows why. I’ve done some preparatory work like gathering materials and art media, but haven’t done any painting for exactly three months now as of today.
While I had started the pencil drawings for some of the Majors for this deck very early in 2020, the inking of the Fool card started with a ritual under the auspices of the “Great Conjunction” of Jupiter-Saturn in Aquarius on the Winter Solstice at the very end of 2020, so perhaps there is some Jupiter-Saturn influence on the project. Jupiter (my Sun sign ruler in Western astrology) went retrograde on July 28 just days before August 1 when I finished inking the very last line drawing, which perhaps took some wind out of my sails.
Saturn, my Ascendant and Moon ruler (in either Western or Vedic astrology), has also been retrograde until recently and trudging back and forth over the exact degree of my Moon – which any Western astrologer will tell you is no fun, and any Vedic astrologer will recognize as the apex of a difficult (and far too long) period of life called the Sade Sati, or “Seven-and-a-half” (as in, 7.5 years of it!)
Saturn is actually friendly in my Vedic chart, but not so much in my Western chart, so it is hard to figure how to interpret this. The real reason for this being unpleasant times, is likely that my particular Sade Sati peak time also happens to coincide with a Vedic dasha (planetary period of life) ruled by Saturn-Rahu, probably the two most malefic forces that exist and far too similar to each other, as both being Vata energies they tend to dry things out and take the juice out of life during the dasha period, just like Saturn transiting natal Moon does, so it is a double whammy. 2022 has been interesting in the Chinese curse “May you have an interesting life” sort of way. Weirdly and very inconveniently I might add, my immediate family members are all experiencing challenging Saturn transits simultaneously.
It’s been one-after-another instances of what I call “frog-eating” – when you have to discipline yourself and just suck it up and do something difficult or unpleasant in order to just get it over with, in order to help your life move past it – or someone else’s life that you care about. It gets old (Saturn) after a while. But we are fine, really, and thankfully. None of us are strangers to hard work, and I have been diligent about propitiating these astro forces.
So anyway after hitting the milestone of getting the inked line drawings done, persevering in spite of all this all year, I stopped for a bit thinking I’d just start right back up after a quick break to regroup after finishing the line drawings after having worked steadily almost daily for a few years straight. Big mistake, to stop! Note to self: Never stop if you can help it – rust happens! For the last three months since then there has just been just too little energy left to break the inertia and lack of momentum and start again. But rest is important too to the artistic process so hey don’t ever beat yourself up for it.
There is one really cool thing to mention about this difficult astrological Saturn-Rahu dasha though, that I don’t think I ever mentioned here in relation to this project. I learned this during an astrological consultation with a prominent Vedic astrologer. I’d had a consultation where he had told me all about an approaching Saturn-Rahu period – and I was feeling pretty disappointed to hear all about the possible unpleasant ways this difficult period can manifest. Trying to look for a bright side, anything positive at all to cheer me or at least be proactive about, I asked if there was anything at all good that could come of such a time. Anything at all?? At first he just hesitated and said “well you will be busy”…which, ok, but who isn’t? As if being busy is good – that is a very Western concept.
But then a miraculous thing occurred as he surprised himself by quite spontaneously remembering a very little known thing about the Saturn-Rahu dasha that his guru had taught him about but that he said he had completely forgotten until it surfaced in his mind during our consult. And that is that someone undergoing this period can make talismanic astrological images that are for helping people, or spiritual images for the same purpose, and that not only was it a good time for doing that, but that it was really the only time that they could really effectively be made. Maybe because it is such a difficult period that somehow simultaneously taking on the work on the images then transmutes the energy so that other people can be helped to navigate life’s “10,000 joys and sorrows”? My guess anyway; I don’t know how it works. But I have a tendency to do spiritually oriented “occult” art anyway, as natally I have Venus in Libra with Ketu.
During that consult I got a huge psychic hit from hearing that talismanic art was something this time was good for, knowing exactly what I was going to do during this time, as I already had started the majors and planned to do something with the decans for the minors. That was just more confirmation of how right it was, and gave me something positive to channel the energy into. And that is exactly what I have done, making the minors of this deck talismanic images, working on them during the 10 day period of their appropriate decan starting from Aries 1 at the Vernal Equinox of 2021, using the magical image descriptions of the astrological decans, inspired from the exact wording as listed in 777.
My desk is now cleared off and the first image to paint is on it. I’m feeling the call of the muse return. I’m going to be soon sharing some of the processes of painting these cards to life with color, maybe in video if I can figure out how to make that work.
I wish I’d captured more of the inking process since it was all done with dip pens, which is pretty old school now that the majority of tarot deck artworks are at least partially or mostly digital art – or yikes, now being “drawn” by AI – Artificial “Intelligence” art programs fed text prompts from which they can build the requested image with the copied styles of various artists and cobbled together images from other artists’ works, from sources usually scraped from the internet that were programmed into the database. Or something like that. Much faster than doing analog art work, and also faster than doing digital art work as well which already was faster than analog. It’s actually pretty instantaneous, though I’m sure there is tweaking of the text prompts to get what you want involved for the creator or data entry person. Enough to make an old school slowpoke artist cry, and more cyber stuff my eyeballs don’t need, speaking for myself anyway.
I’m still in this Saturn-Rahu time for another year I think, so plenty of time left to work on now breathing life into these images with colored paints, inks, and pencils. Slow but hey that’s what I do. In my personal life there are still some frogs left to eat for the next few months, but I see the
train light at the end of this very long tunnel and I’m finally feeling the stirrings of life and inspiration return. Saturn is still on my Moon but he is moving forward at least and will cross one more time and then clear the exact lunar degree by the end of the year. Jupiter is still retrograde but just backed into Pisces now where he is very well placed, for a little while at least. Optimism returns?
Anyway, work continues now, break over, more to come.
Ever onward, your friend til the end,
(haha just realized that’s a perfect sign off for Dia de los Muertos today, a Tuesday with the Moon in Aquarius and Sun in Scorpio)
Written on ☉︎ in 9° ♏︎ : ☽︎ in 16° ♒︎ : ♂︎ : Ⅴⅴⅰⅰⅰ(11/01/2022)