Virgo me has been really loving the spate of benevolent planetary aspects involving Venus, Mercury, and Neptune in Pisces and the trine to Jupiter in Scorpio. (For an in-depth look at the month’s transits (applicable for all signs), read my post I published on Saturday.) Yesterday’s exact conjunction between Venus and Mercury in Pisces kicked off a frenzied spate of artistic creativity: I did three paintings from start to finish in less than 24 hours, a new record for me! Huzzah!
A good friend of mine and fellow Chicago astrologer is an extraordinary esoteric painter named Victoria Martin; she kindly invited me, my friend and Fellowship of Isis Archpriestess Demetria, and two painter friends of hers to join her yesterday for several hours of painting in her gorgeously inspiring and liminal loft studio space on the border between Chicago’s Chinatown and Pilsen neighborhoods on the South Side. I wish I had the wall space in my condo and the “play money” to splurge on Victoria’s immensely powerful paintings, whose themes and energies synthesize the Western Hermetic Tradition and Eastern magical currents (chiefly Taoism but also Vedic). Their scale is epic.
Ever a gracious hostess, Vicci had plans to serve us all a home-cooked Paleo dinner sharply at 6 p.m. and she asked me afterwards to serve as the guest artist to walk everyone through a PowerPoint presentation she’d kindly created about my portfolio, highlighting my sculptures and paintings since 2005. Gods know I love public speaking (my natal Mercury is conjunct my Virgo Sun) so I had fun introducing the the newcomers to my wholly Polytheistic, religiously informed artwork. Given that the gentlemen artists were atheists, the ensuing discussion was quite lively, indeed!
So somewhere between the spirited talks and my stuffing my face with salad, I managed to squeeze out a Semetic (Egyptian and Hebrew) talismanic painting for personal spiritual protection from start to finish and produce two rough sketches of other works (a Gnostic serpent image from the 4th century C.E. and a portrait of Hekate Khthonia), which I took home with me and just finished painting this afternoon.
Here’s my first painting, Tyet Talisman:
A Talismanic Map and Calling Card of Sorts
The central ankh figure also fuses an Old Kingdom representation of the tyet (ancient Egyptian tjt), often referred to as the “Girdle of Isis,” one of the oldest apotropaic symbols in the West. It is colored red for its association with the blood magic of the goddess Isis/Aset, which was invoked during childbirth and other women’s mysteries. I can’t help but think of it looking like a red-robed little occultist with arms outstretched, ready to begin vibrating the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (LBRP).
The bottom left image is the hieroglyph for “body,” and diagonally opposite it is the hieroglyph for the “Akh,” or the perfected spirit that has favorably passed Judgment and can join the Gods in either the circumpolar stars or the journey with Ra on His celestial barge, which is named Millions of Years. Long-time readers of my blog will note that my chartered Iseum in the Fellowship of Isis is named The Iseum of the Rekhet Akhu.
The hieroglyph on the bottom right is “Ab,” the hieroglyph for “heart,” which the ancient Egyptians saw as the locus of all Divine Wisdom as well as human intellect/faculties of reason. (This is why the heart and not the brain gets weighed in Judgment against the Feather of Ma’at. The ancient Egyptians totally ignored the brain in the mummification process: once it was extracted from the deceased through the nasal cavity, it was discarded!)
The top left image is my postmodern play with a little-known variation on the ancient origin of the talisman that would come to be known after the Islamic conquest as the Hand of Fatima: the larger upper hand commanding Divine protection is met by a smaller, reversed and inverted hand…perhaps this is yet another way of the renowned dictum from the Emerald Tablet of “As Above, So Below” manifesting itself? At any rate, I wanted my hands to be neon pink!
The Hebrew script encircling the ankh/tyet symbol was taught to me in person by Vicci, who is Jewish and extremely well-versed in the Kabbalah. I won’t impart what it literally translates to in English, but the overall intention is healing, the repulsion of evil, and a summoning of angels. (Fact: Angels are far older than the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religions that attempted to codify Their nature and pin Them down doctrinally. They are, as my friend and fellow Polytheist Galina has told me personally, the “systems admin of the Cosmos!” That’s the best analogy I’ve heard yet!)
Best Gnostic Serpent Ever
The second piece, which I only managed to roughly sketch out before leaving Vicci’s studio space last night, is based on the image associated with a 4th century C.E. Gnostic gem (carved carnelian). The piece connotes the transmutation of (lunar) wisdom, i.e., the sefirot of Binah as the source of cyclic (and thus eternal) manifestation. The serpent is a positive symbol of wisdom and healing. I like how the tail becomes a star: in terms of Tarot archetypal energy, this image gives me the vibes of both The High Priestess card and The Star card. I instinctively chose Piscean, oceanic colors for this piece.
Hekate Khthonia: A Portrait
The piece I have been most excited about executing was painted from start to finish today after doing just a basic rough sketch at Vicci’s studio:
It’s a portrait of how I see Hekate Khthonia when She comes to me, serpents entwined in Her hair, brimming with the power, terror, and majesty of Her Underworld domain. Here’s the piece as a work in progress, ending with the final image of it having been completed about an hour ago: (If you’re curious, the medium is acrylics.)
All in all, this has been a tremendously inspiring Piscean current to harness for personal creativity! I hope you’ve been enjoying these benevolent planetary vibes also. If you create devotional art for your Gods and Goddesses, I’d love to hear from you!
Not everyone may be feeling artistically inspired at this time, and that’s okay. Pisces energy can also make us feel more tired than usual, so if your body is urging you to get extra sleep, do it! Long, hot soaks in the tub will work wonders also. Attune to water. Be sure you’re drinking enough of it.
Aries Fireworks Await Us All!
Mercury will start to go into His shadow period just after He and Venus enter the Cardinal Fire Sign of Aries tomorrow, when the energy dynamics start to shift in “interesting” ways. The mood of the month will change drastically from mellow to frazzled, so ye be warned. Take heed of the cautions I outlined in my post, stay anchored in Spirit, and be good to your body (and respectful of others’)!