Thoughts on Working Backwards

For the last few weeks I’ve been producing images and copy for my website, which has been created for me by my IT wizard. It’s just as well that I finally shouted to him for help, because I can’t think logically enough to create a website in the way they need nowadays. Years ago I designed my old site in Dreamweaver, but at that stage you could design the front end and let the programming look after itself, which it did quite adequately. However, nowadays, things have become a lot more rigorous. You have to plan and do story-boards and decide what styles to work through the whole site, and this is not something I find easy – or even possible. I don’t paint like that, I don’t think like that, and fortunately I’m old enough to decide there’s no point in trying to change the way I work. Years ago I realised that I’m a kind of backwards person – which works fine, apart from trying to design a website of course, or plan anything logically. There’s a figure in Si0ux culture, the Heyoka, known as one who ‘sits the horse backwards’. If I’d been born Sioux (and a man), I think the Thunderbirds might have chosen me. (Did they have women Heyoke/i? Probably not.)

 So, when I start a painting – or even begin any new art project, I just start painting and wait to see what emerges. It could turn out to be a colour or a face, or even just an eye. My most favourite painting ever is called StarBorn, and was done on a workshop in Kent in 1990 or thereabouts. The instructor, who was wonderful, did a meditation which took us in our imaginations across a stream and through a gate, but then, he said, you should just see colours swirling around you. I saw a deep blue, and then a deep red (can’t remember anything else), and at the end of the meditation, he suggested we paint those colours. On a large piece of ply, with a large household brush, I painted some free brushstrokes using those colours plus turquoise, and then stood back.

To my amazement I could see an eye at the top – a kind of exotic, magical-looking eye. I remember staring at it and wondering if I could ‘bring the rest of him through’ – those were my thoughts exactly. And, somehow, I did ‘bring him through’. This painting astonished me and I still find the Being in it, awe-inspiring. I decided it would need to be both male and female, as I don’t believe that energies have gender.

Working so intuitively doesn’t work every time – more often than not, it takes a lot of hard work to ‘bring anything through’. Over the last few months I’ve been working hard on my latest deck (The Old Gods Tarot), and it is very different from my other decks as I’m painting direct into Photoshop. I use a Wacom tablet and pen, which is slow and painstaking, and the results are far more graphic (as in a graphic style) than any of my decks apart from the Intuitive Tarot – and that was painted in watercolour.  The idea was to connect the tarot archetypes to deities from many different parts of the world, and see how it all fitted (nothing more profound than that). However, synchronistically, I discovered books that delved deep into the spiritual practices of the ancient world, and I found that the deck itself needed to follow those paths down into the unknown. Ancient peoples were attuned to the numinous in ways we cannot match, with our left-brained, materialist mentality. Many places may well have had effective sound technology about which we have little idea. There were numerous healing centres where people went to dream of, or speak directly to, the deities about the healing they needed, and their mystery religions challenged participants to face death directly (often after extended periods in deep caves). The way people lived then was far more complex than we imagine today, with our money-focused superficial lives. They were also far more attuned to the numinous than we are, their religious life much more rigorous. And this is just in areas such as ancient Greece and Asia – who knows about the rest of the world?

So my Old Gods deck is morphing into something more challenging. New archaeological finds are happening every month at the moment, and I should be able to incorporate the relevant discoveries into the deck. So, when it is complete, I hope it will be an interesting investigation into a world almost entirely forgotten, but now, it seems, returning to our collective memories.

 

 

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Pip decks

Pip decks

Thoughts on pip decks   I have never used a pip tarot deck. I'm certainly not alone in this - many people prefer pictorial minors. But somehow, the Old Gods Tarot - which I'm creating at the moment - wanted to be a pip deck. Perhaps that's projection (I certainly...

The SACRED MARRIAGE

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I had a dream a couple of nights ago mainly about a set of twins. Not surprising, perhaps, as I am reading a book at present featuring twins (The Alchymist by Michael Scott, which, by the way, I can thoroughly recommend). I don't remember much about the dream apart...

Thoughts on Paradox, Ambiguity and Uncertainty

Thoughts on Paradox, Ambiguity and Uncertainty

  Humanity has never enjoyed uncertainties, and although we say we like mystery, we don’t, really. We do not deal easily with ambiguity. Things are either black or white (though we can manage grey - as a colour), up or down, dark or light. However, with the...

Multi-Dimensional Thoughts

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Thoughts on a Multi-Dimensional Universe Reading back on old books and journals, I see that I was already talking about the Devas being Multi-Dimensional energies in 1980 or so. If you think about it, of course, that makes complete sense ... even in our limited 3-D...

Sculpture

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Recently I've been making a clay sculpture for a friend. I use special self-hardening clay sourced from the US – it's a clay and epoxy mix, which dries hard in 24 hours, and you can then drill it, carve it, and paint it. The friend wanted a Madonna for the little...

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