Friday, 5 January 2018

Art Play 2018

First piece, WIP, created via 'Lifebook' Class
Guardian Self ~ High Priestess
Basically, the first class involved a visual meditation, love those, and after strolling through a forest, receiving a key, and opening a secret garden door (inner-self) I came across a stag, grand and magnificent. My initial impression was that he was male counterpart of 'Divine Feminine' (doe) hiding in the deepest parts of self, me. It could also mean that opening the door, unveiled the connection of 'Twin Souls' on a spiritual level. I didn't need to say anything...he offered me strength knowing it was what I needed. My soul found peace within this magical place. In my mind's eye, he became the 'White Hart', but in the physical, remained red/brown Stag, standing proud, strong, confident, generous, almost regal in bestowing his gift. In that process, I became the 'High Priestess'. 

This initial part of the art journey uses symbolism to create a piece as a supportive guardian through the course. It's a beautiful way to express spiritually without too much thought. An instinctive process. Below, I describe the symbols and meanings. I go quite deeply into these areas but my notes relating to artwork are in a different font so you can skip the bulk of the research text. 
Lotus ~ In the garden
Means perseverance (growing through the mud). 
In Buddhist symbolism the lotus is symbolic purity of the body, speech, and mind as while rooted in the mud, its flowers blossom on long stalks as if floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire. It is also symbolic of detachment as drops of water easily slide off its petals.

The lotus flower is one of the most ancient and deepest symbols of our planet. The lotus flower grows in muddy water and rises above the surface to bloom with remarkable beauty. ... Untouched by the impurity, lotus symbolizes the purity of heart and mind. The lotus flower represents long life, health, honor and good luck.

(with wings)
In one direction, the key is a symbol of openness. It opens what is closed, what is hidden or opens a door. The key can, therefore, by extension, symbolizing knowledge and access to it. It refers in this direction to understanding, interpretation, and has a response value, "the key to the problem", "the key to the mystery." It enables to discover a truth and opens our eyes. Owning the key is possessing the means to access a wealth, an external or internal discovery. The key can, therefore, open the door to a new dimension.

As a tool that allows opening, the key is also a symbol of freedom.

As a tool for closing this time, the key can symbolize privacy and security. To ensure that they are not stolen, we put our most valuable goods in safe-deposit boxes, locked up. We keep our homes locked when we leave, to preserve our privacy and our secrets.

The key is also a symbol of power. In Christianity, the keys of heaven give the power to enter into eternal life. Many medieval painters represented the object.

The key gives the right to rule, to own and to decide, in the image of Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and endings, choices, transition, and doors, often depicted with a key.

The first lock with key was discovered in Egypt and dates from about 3000 BC. It was made of teak wood, measured about 60 cm and controlled the access to a temple.

Gemini Symbol
Inbetween the pillars is the symbol for Gemini (my sun sign) It can also represent no.2, lovers. Every zodiac sign is ruled by a Tarot card from the Major Arcana. The zodiac sign of Gemini is ruled by The Lovers card

Yin and Yang
I tried to represent this with a subtle use of colour - each half of the page different. Dual emotion positive and negative, masculine and feminine. 

The yin-yang symbol holds its roots in Taoism/Daoism, a Chinese religion and philosophy. The yin, the dark swirl, is associated with shadows, femininity, and the trough of a wave; the yang, the light swirl, represents brightness, passion and growth.

In a way, the stag reminds me of a knight and so I drew him on a shield as a White Hart to represent this. It also means guarded, inner-self. Protection, again symbolic to the knight, with strength.

Knights represent honour, courage, and chivalry in all their glory. Knights, in your dreams/unconscious, are symbols of protection. Being a knight means that you are bound by the knight’s code and are required to uphold the law and protect the weak. It should bring you great comfort to know that you have a protector or are a protector to those around you.

When a knight is used in symbolism, you may feel a need for protection. This can be a warning to avoid poisonous people. A woman dreaming of a knight can represent your romantic feelings, if you are, you may be looking for eternity. A white knight symbolizes the man of your dreams. (White Hart/Divine Masculine/Twin Flame).

A knight represents your higher self and what you dream about for yourself. For me, this was courage and strength.

V ~ Venus (Goddess)
(V of Dress)
In myth, Venus-Aphrodite was born of sea-foam. Roman theology presents Venus as the yielding, watery female principle, essential to the generation and balance of life. Her male counterparts in the Roman pantheon, Vulcan (fire) and Mars, are active and fiery. Venus absorbs and tempers the male essence, uniting the opposites of male and female in mutual affection. 

As goddess of love and sex, Venus played an essential role at Roman prenuptial rites and wedding nights, so myrtle and roses were used in bridal bouquets. Aphrodite's major symbols include myrtle, roses, doves, sparrows, and swans.

The cult of Aphrodite was largely derived from that of the Phoenician goddess Astarte, a cognate of the East Semitic goddess Ishtar, whose cult was based on the Sumerian cult of Inanna

Kings in Uruk may have established their legitimacy through a sacred marriage ceremony in which the king took on the role of Dumuzid (Inanna's consort) and engaged with the priestess of Inanna. Through Ishtar, Inanna influenced the later Phoenician goddess Astarte and, through her, the Greek goddess Aphrodite.

Inanna appears in more myths than any other Sumerian deity. Many of her myths involve her taking over the domains of other deities. She was believed to have stolen the mes, which represented all positive and negative aspects of civilization, from Enki, the god of wisdom. Mes is one of the decrees of the gods that is foundational to those social institutions, religious practices, technologies, behaviors, mores, and human conditions that make civilization, as the Sumerians understood it, possible. They are fundamental to the Sumerian understanding of the relationship between humanity and the gods.

444 ~ Angel Number
(This number came up in a tarot reading)
When you do see an angel number (recurring number sequence) pay attention. What you were thinking about, or doing when you saw the number? This will contain clues into it's hidden meaning.444 is a sign that your angels are with you.

The angel number 444 reminds you that all is well. Your angels are supporting you from behind the scenes, protecting you and urging you to choose yourself, and take steps to make your dreams a reality.

When you see 444, know that you're loved supported, and assisted. Release any doubt and fear, and trust. By attuning yourself to their vibration and by staying in a state of love, all things are possible.

Remember to ask for help from the angels, and also support yourself with positive thoughts, habits, and by remaining aware in the present moment, you can assure you are positively progressing on your path.

I drew the crescent moon above the HP head and inside is the colour of the sun with a seven-pointed star. Reading up on info, it also seems to me to represent a womb carrying a child - Moon female and the sun (son) her child. I.E Mother aspect, Great Mother, and Mary, Star of the Sea, Aphrodite, etc. This really resonates with my writing 'The Women of the Sea', a future novel. This is part of the process of how I gather inspiration from lore and develop with creativity and connecting patterns via research written and visual. In this sense, art and word combine stories. 

Celtic mythology and symbolism is big on balance. There is a moon goddess also worshiped by the Celts, who is associated with the lunar cycles. The word “crescent” comes from the Latin term ceres meaning to “bring forth, create” and crescere, the Latin term for “grow, thrive”.

A crescent shape is a symbol or emblem used to represent the lunar phase in the first quarter (the "sickle moon"), or by extension a symbol representing the Moon itself. It was also the emblem of Diana-Artemis, and hence represented virginity. In Roman Catholic Marian veneration, it is associated with the Virgin Mary.

The crescent symbol was long used as a symbol of the Moon in astrology, and by extension of Silver (as the corresponding metal) in alchemy. The astrological use of the symbol is attested in early Greek papyri containing horoscopes. In the 2nd-century Bianchini's planisphere, the personification of the Moon is shown with a crescent attached to her headdress.

Its ancient association with Ishtar/Astarte and Diana is preserved in the Moon (as symbolised by a crescent) representing the female principle (as juxtaposed with the Sun representing the male principle), and (Artemis-Diana being a virgin goddess) especially virginity and female chastity.

In Roman Catholic tradition, the crescent entered Marian iconography, by the association of Mary with the Woman of the Apocalypse (described with "the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars" in Revelation) The most well-known representation of Mary as the Woman of the Apocalypse is the Virgin of Guadalupe.
A heptagram, septagram, septegram or septogram is a seven-point star drawn with seven straight strokes. The heptagram is a symbol of magical power in some pagan spiritualities. The {7/3} heptagram is used by some members of the otherkin subculture as an identifier. In alchemy, a seven-sided star can refer to the seven planets which were known to ancient alchemists.

The heptagram was used in Christianity to symbolize the seven days of creation and became a traditional symbol for warding off evil. The heptagram is a symbol of perfection (or God) in many Christian sects. The heptagram is known among neopagans as the Elven Star or Fairy Star. It is treated as a sacred symbol in various modern pagan and witchcraft traditions.

Our Lady, Star of the Sea ~  is an ancient title for the Virgin Mary (sacred / Divine Feminine). The words Star of the Sea are a translation of the Latin title Stella Maris.The title has been in use since at least the early medieval period. Originally arising from a scribal error in a supposed etymology of the name Mary, it came to be seen as allegorical of Mary's role as "guiding star". Connected to the High Priestess both wear blue cloaks and have secrets. 

I placed this symbol on the throat as communication felt not said (throat Chakra). Although, perhaps, should be spoken at the right time after contemplation process which the High Priestess represents. The function of the Throat chakra is driven by the principle of expression and communication. Behind the heart is light, this means the information not said is being communicated without words - spiritual. 

Heart Chakra ~ A balanced heart chakra is a beautiful thing. 

The heart shape (♥) is an ideograph used to express the idea of the "heart" in its metaphorical or symbolic sense as the center of emotion, including affection and love, especially romantic love.

The combination of the heart shape and its use within the heart metaphor developed at the end of the Middle Ages, although the shape has been used in many ancient epigraphy monuments and texts. With possible early examples or direct predecessors in the 13th to 14th century, the familiar symbol of the heart representing love developed in the 15th century, and became popular in Europe during the 16th. Before the 14th century, the heart shape was not associated with the meaning of the heart metaphor. 

The geometric shape itself is found in much earlier sources, but in such instances does not depict a heart, but typically foliage: in examples from antiquity fig leaves, and in medieval iconography and heraldry typically the leaves of ivy and of the water-lily.

The first known depiction of a heart as a symbol of romantic love dates to the 1250s. It occurs in a miniature decorating a capital 'S' in a manuscript of the French Roman de la poire (National Library FR MS. 2086, plate 12). In the miniature, a kneeling lover (or more precisely, an allegory of the lover's "sweet gaze" or douz regart) offers his heart to a damsel. The heart here resembles a pine cone (held "upside down", the point facing upward), in accord with medieval anatomical descriptions. 

Conifer Pine Trees are one of the most ancient plant genera on the planet, having existed nearly three times longer than all flowering plant species. The Pinecone is the evolutionary precursor to the flower, and its spines spiral in a perfect Fibonacci sequence in either direction, much like the Sacred Geometry of a rose or a sunflower.

It is considered by many to be our biological Third Eye, the "Seat of the Soul," the “Epicenter of Enlightenment” -- and its sacred symbol throughout history, in cultures around the world, has been the Pinecone.


Behind the High Priestess hangs a curtain embroidered with pomegranates and palm leaves. It is said that perhaps the pomegranate rather than the apple was the original ‘forbidden fruit’ so there is a sense that The High Priestess guards great secrets. The palm leaf may represent integration and balance of male and female, conscious and unconscious mind, the seen and the unseen.

The pomegranate originated in the region extending from modern-day Iran through Afghanistan and Pakistan to northern India and has been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region.

The name pomegranate derives from medieval Latin pōmum "apple" and grānātum "seeded". Possibly stemming from the old French word for the fruit, pomme-grenade, the pomegranate was known in early English as "apple of Grenada"—a term which today survives only in heraldic blazons.

In the Waite-Smith Tarot, the High Priestess sits between light and dark. On her backdrop are pomegranates, the food of the land of the dead, whose six sweet seeds caused Persephone to become Kore, Queen of the Underworld. Typically, the High Priestess is associated with Pope Joan or Virgin Mary. Persephone's annual journey to the underworld seems akin to the High Priestess' journey beyond the veil and into the unconscious.

Persephone as a vegetation goddess and her mother Demeter were the central figures of the Eleusinian mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon and promised the initiated a more enjoyable prospect after death. 

The me'il ("robe of the ephod") worn by the Hebrew high priest as having pomegranates embroidered on the hem, alternating with golden bells which could be heard as the high priest entered and left the Holy of Holies. According to the Books of Kings, the capitals of the two pillars (Jachin and Boaz) that stood in front of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem were engraved with pomegranates. Solomon is said to have designed his coronet based on the pomegranate's "crown" (calyx).

High Priestess
(Re-appearing in tarot readings)

The High Priestess (II) is the second trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks. This card is used in game playing as well as in divination. In the first Tarot pack with inscriptions, the 18th-century woodcut Marseilles Tarot, this figure is crowned with the Papal tiara and labelled La Papesse, the Popess, a possible reference to the legend of Pope Joan. 

The High Priestess sits upright and graceful on a stone stool. She is dressed in a blue cloak reminiscent of healing power and a white dress indicating purity of intention. The blue cloak is the same colour as the background sky, reiterating natural connection. On her head is a crown echoing the phases of the Moon (new, full and old) which in turn symbolize the maid, mother, crone aspects of the Goddess.

With the Moon at her feet, the High Priestess is completely in touch with her emotions yet she is not controlled by them. Her manner is serene. Her emotions inform her of the subtle signals in the atmosphere around her.  The High Priestess may be asking you to sit with your feelings for a time instead of reacting.

In the creation of the Rider-Waite tarot deck the La Papesse card, so confusing to non-Catholics, was changed into The High Priestess sitting between the pillars of Boaz and Jachin (which has a particular meaning to Freemasonry). According to the Bible, Boaz and Jachin were two copper, brass or bronze pillars which stood in the porch of Solomon's Temple, the first Temple in Jerusalem.The columns represent the balance of power – dark and light, separate yet inseparable.

Other variants that came after Rider-Waite are the Virgin Mary, Isis, the metaphorical Bride of Christ or Holy Mother Church. In Swiss Troccas decks, she is called Junon ("Juno"), the Roman Queen of the Gods.

The High Priestess is also known as Persephone, Isis, the Corn Maiden, and Artemis. She sits at the gate before the great Mystery, as indicated by the Tree of Life in the background. She sits between the darkness and the light, represented by the pillars of Solomon’s temple, which suggests it is she who is the mediator of the passage into the depth of reality. The tapestry hung between the pillars keeps the casual onlookers out and allows only those initiated to enter. The pomegranates on the tapestry are sacred to Persephone. They are a symbol of duty (because Persephone ate a pomegranate seed in the underworld which forced her to return every year). The blue robe the Priestess is wearing is a symbol of knowledge. She is wearing the crown of Isis symbolising the Triple Goddess. The solar is a symbol of balance between male and female. The planet associated with the High Priestess is the Moon.

The High Priestess represents wisdom, serenity, knowledge, and understanding. She is often described as the guardian of the unconscious. She sits in front of the thin veil of awareness, which is all that separates us from our inner selves. The High Priestess knows the secret of how to access these realms. She represents spiritual enlightenment and inner illumination, divine knowledge and wisdom. She has a deep, intuitive understanding of the Universe and uses this knowledge to teach rather than to try to control others. She generally appears in a Tarot reading when you need to listen to and trust your inner voice.

The High Priestess Tarot card represents a link to the subconscious mind, which cannot be accessed through the everyday world but only through dreams and symbols. When this Tarot card appears in a Tarot reading, pay attention to your dreams and intuition. Look for areas in your life that may be out of balance or that require greater foresight and wisdom. Knowledge of how to fix it will not come through logic or intellect but through your intuition so put aside a time when you can meditate and listen to your own inner voice. Your intuitive sense right now is providing you with useful and helpful information and is assisting you to become more in touch with your subconscious mind.

For a male especially, the High Priestess Tarot card indicates that he must learn of his ‘anima’ or female side, or he will fail to grow. For a woman, the High Priestess suggests that she must learn to trust herself and to be truly feminine, rather than succumbing to the pressures of having to act more like her male counterparts.

Think of the High Priestess as the calm centre inside of you that is untouched by your external world and know that she is always there when you need her. She is a part of you that you have not had much time to connect with but she is an important part of you. Whenever you feel that things are just getting too crazy and you are faced with impossible choices, find a quiet space and listen to your inner voice. If you stop thinking about your issues or just give yourself some space and time of ‘nothingness’, the answer will come to you without having to even think about it.

The reversed High Priestess also suggests in a Tarot reading that you are normally an intuitive person who is connected with your inner self but in recent times you have lost this connection. You may be rushing around and worrying excessively about external issues and other people’s problems that you have lost focus on your own needs. You are not listening to your inner guidance anymore and this is leading you further astray. The strong message here is that you need to take some time out for YOU and you only, so that you can tune into your inner voice and connect once again with your subconscious mind. Meditation or spiritual study may help.

The High Priestess in a Tarot reading can also point to the unknown and can indicate that your life is changing. Things that once seemed certain can no longer be taken for granted. Some puzzling mysteries become clearer but all is not yet revealed at this point. On the plus side, you will find that your intuitive powers are increasing and you may be inspired to be creative. The High Priestess Tarot card is, therefore, a particularly good card for artists, poets, and writers.

Stag /Deer
When you have the deer as a spirit animal, you are highly sensitive and have a strong intuition. By affinity with this animal, you have the power to deal with challenges with grace. You master the art of being both determined and gentle in your approach. The deer totem wisdom imparts those with a special connection with this animal with the ability to be vigilant, move quickly, and trust their instincts to get out the trickiest situations.

The deer spirit animal will remind you to be gentle with yourself and others.The deer’s antlers can grow back once they fall. Because of this characteristic, this animal has been revered in many traditions as a symbol of life regeneration. There’s a cloud of mystery around this ability that gives the deer a magical and mystical quality. If you have the deer as a power animal, you could tap into life’s magical ability to renew itself.

By affinity with this spirit animal, you may also be watchful of your “predators”, which translate into a tendency to be sometimes overly cautious. It takes time for you to trust someone or feel safe in your environment.

Another quality that the deer spirit animal brings to those who have a connection with it is a felt sense of their own inner gentleness, a clear connection with the innocence of their inner child. The spirit of the deer reveals to you a fresh perspective on old issues. Takes advantage of this opportunity to revise and reverse patterns of thought or behavior that no longer serve you.

Stag represents Earth = Grounding. 

The Myths and Lore surrounding the Stag run across the world from Meandash, the mythic Saami Reindeer, all the way back to the earliest history from Sumerian of Dara-Mah 'The Great Stag'. 
Much information comes from Dr Bobula Ida's 1953 comparative myth essay on "The Great Stag, a Mesopotamian Divinity".

In Classical times the stag was of paramount importance to the Scythians and other peoples across the Eurasian steppes. The subject of the most striking Scythian gold jewellery, the stag has even been found as tattoos on the so-called ‘ice princess’ in the Altai Mountains. Here at the eastern extremity of the IE steppe culture zone, her frozen body was recovered with Scythian style stags still plainly visible on her skin.

The symbol of the cosmos and the mother of the sun was symbolised as a large horned female doe. The great horned doe often was shown carrying the sun in her horns, in some cases, the sun itself was symbolised as a stag the son of the doe of the legend. The Hungarian regos (bards) tell a story that illustrates the stag as the carrier of the sun.
The hind represents not the sun, but it's mother, the heavenly firmament, the cosmos, which carries the stars, the sun and the moon in its ‘horns’. For these reasons the Scythian stags often represented the horns of the stag-like flames.

In many European mythologies, the deer was associated with woodland deities.

In Irish mythology, Finn mac Cumhail, the legendary leader of Ireland's heroic band of warriors known as the Fianna, cornered a beautiful white deer, which his hounds then refused to dispatch. That night Finn was visited by the goddess Sadb, who explained that a spell had turned her into the deer Finn had chased, a spell from which his love could release her. Naturally, an encounter with true love broke the spell. Read more of the story HERE. 

In the Chronicles of Narnia, the White Stag is fabled to grant wishes to whoever catches him. And in the Arthurian legend, the white stag is the creature that can never be caught. King Arthur's repeatedly unsuccessful pursuit of the white stag represents mankind's quest for spiritual knowledge.
White Stag by Zopheia.

Love and light,

Sunday, 31 December 2017

It's officially New Year's Eve...

As we begin to prepare ourselves for 2018, I am making goals to create art as well as continue with writing. Online classes are perfect and can be done at your own pace.
So, with the 'Fabric Book' class by Kate Thompson, (previous post), I am taking Annie Hamman's, 'Creating Soulful Art with a Story' (1). Her art is beautifully soulful. It will be fun combining the two classes using mixed media. Another couple of classes that appeal are 'Lifebook 2018' and Ivy Newport's 'The Storytellers Art'.
Just click on the classes above to take you directly to the websites. 
I have also signed up for Art Therapy course ~ HERE
Looking at the next year, I'm wondering about venturing into this area for work. We'll see, meanwhile I'll be having fun exploring art and words. Yay! 
Annie Hamman
Annie Hamman
Annie Hamman

Annie Hamman
Wishing everyone a magical New Year.
Love and light,