Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping, into the future…
I am definitely going to take a course on time management … just as soon as I can work it into my schedule. All kidding aside, I realized I’ve not posted any progress pictures on the new deck since Cancer season, and here we are in Libra season already. All right one more time joke: Time flies like an arrow…fruit flies like a banana.
Time. It seems to be all I can do to finish the painting within each roughly ten day decan period, even working daily with few exceptions. The cards have each and every one been finished in the correct decan, come hell or high water – I’ve made sure of that. But the writing bits – both in the book for this deck I’m working on, and of course the updates here and in the newsletter, keep being woefully behind. Seems to be all I can do for now is complete the art on time. But winter is coming and there will be fewer chores related to the harvest and garden, so maybe I’ll catch up then. I need to pray to Saturn – the lord of time and the management thereof. Appropriate for the most recently finished card, involving Saturn (time) and Libra (balance).
Since the last post, the remaining Cancer cards, the Leo cards, the Virgo cards, and the cards of the first two faces of Libra – and the Queen of Swords, have been completed. So here is a look at the most recently completed card for the second or middle decan of Libra. The second face of Libra corresponds to the Three of Swords, Lord of Sorrow.
The decan ended this morning. Last night on Crowleymas, Crowley’s birthday, (after a meal involving curry as a nod to the Beast), I finished the Three of Swords, Lord of Sorrow, with a bit of late night painting. This card took the entirety of the decan period to finish painting the line art that was completed in the same decan of 2021 (and I do work hours daily), probably because of the magical description of the decan in 777: A man, dark, yet delicious of countenance.
The focus on his delicious countenance led me to do a more close-up portrait-style rendering than other cards, so I took a lot of time getting the face and hands shaded in, as well as testing color combinations of the decan’s colors and a wet-in-wet paint technique for the robe. I did the testing on the back of the image before committing to it on the front, something I do often.
The main color for the card (Binah in Yetzirah) is Dark Brown, and I also had the colors of Libra as the sign and Saturn as ruler of the second face of Libra. Which gives the greens and blues of Libra, and for Saturn we have the darker colors Indigo, Black, Blue-Black, and Black, rayed blue.
Though I’m not Catholic, the artistic inspiration for the card is pretty obviously somewhat influenced by those renditions of Jesus with the flaming heart, symbolizing his sorrow and suffering due to his compassion for humanity. Except this heart is flying. Swords for me are a suit of Air – not Fire, and the flying heart theme is something I painted before years ago, so I guess some of the inspiration was from my own previous pre-tarot-creation-era art. Here’s picture of one called “Wings spread wide into the Sun”. Not the best picture and the center of the heart is incomplete, but it gives you some idea of the gestation of this theme. I did this for my solar return in 2006, about a year or two before starting the creation of my first tarot the Rosetta:
You can see how this may have been a seed for my latest Three of Cups card:
Saturn is exalted in Libra, so this card, though called Sorrow, is associated with wisdom gained through experience, however painful it may be.
In this face, relationships (Libra) may be bound (Saturn); two things joined by a third: the pierced heart. 36 Airs of the Zodiac gives the deity as Kairos, a god associated with time management and perfect timing; as in the right or critical time; as time is a function of Saturn. This god was said to have a front forelock of hair, but no hair on the back of it’s head, the implication being that the right moment had to be seized or it would be too late to grasp it. Often the knowing of this moment involves pain and knowledge (Saturn) of the heart (Venus) – as well as formal contracts or bindings (Saturn) connecting people (Venus).
Yet this card also more often involves self-knowledge earned in a possibly heavy way: the mind influenced by the heart having been cracked open. Crowley refers to the wisdom of the Buddha, who discovered that there is suffering that leads to the end of suffering: the sorrow of Buddha led to his enlightenment.
“If Will stops and cries Why, invoking Because, then Will stops & does nought.” – Aleister Crowley, Book of the Law, Ch. 2, v. 30
Happy Birthday Uncle Al.
Since it has been a long while, here are a couple more cards completed since the last post. A selection from the last quarter of a year and the months of Leo, Virgo, and Libra. A minor arcana, a major arcana, and a court card.
I’ll just post the images here and the 777 descriptions rather than a write up of the artistic influences, symbolism depicted, and meanings. Time being what it is lately, you may have to wait for the book for that!
For Leo: The second face of Leo, Six of Wands, Lord of Victory: A man crowned with a white myrtle leaf, holding a bow
The Hermit, for Virgo: Wrapped in a cloak and cowl, an Ancient walketh, bearing a lamp and staff. Before him goeth upright the Royal Uraeus serpent.
The Queen of Swords, another for Libra as she holds the first two faces of Libra (and the third face of Virgo). Per Book T: A graceful woman with wavy, curling hair, like a Queen seated upon a Throne and crowned. Beneath the Throne are grey cumulus clouds. Her general attire is as that of the Queen of Wands, but she wears as a crest a winged child’s head. A drawn sword in one hand, and in the other a large, bearded, newly severed head of a man.
That’s all for the moment, but if there is a particular card you are interested in seeing, and you have the time, drop me a line and if there are requests for a certain card or cards I’ll try to work some into the next newsletter (subscribe here), as soon as it’s time comes.
More about timing: All of the decan cards as well as their zodiacal majors and courts will be done at the end of this decan walk (the March 2024 Solstice). The Aces are done, Princess of Disks is done, and The Fool is just about done except for a finishing flourish I’m waiting to add at a certain astrologically appropriate time. Then there will still be the seven planetary majors, the other two elemental cards, and the remaining three of the Princess cards to do the color versions of – unless I work some of them in during this decan walk – if I get windows of time opening up. I estimate that the cards should be completed by the June 2024 Solstice.
Next up on my work bench, and needing to be done before Scorpio season gets here are the Four of Swords, Truce, and the Libra major, Adjustment/Justice. Enough words from me, for the time being anyway.
“Having to talk destroys the symphony of silence.” – Aleister Crowley
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