In the art world, I got caught up in the conceptual elitism, that pretty white cube gallery. Then in Berlin I stumbled into a group of witches, tarot readers and astrologers.
I realised my art had been all ego. I’d intellectualised my imagination into a constipated box.
From the self conscious atheist, witchcraft helped me welcome in the weird, wonderful and synchronicities of a tangible imagination.
I Spy with the Witch’s Third Eye
Learning the Tarot archetypes really challenged my perceptions and self-limiting beliefs.
The Tarot helped me listen to the unseen, my intuition and opened a whole new way to reading visuals.
In the visuals arts: we read artworks in the context of their social-political-historical-etc context. Basically the external context.
It was surprising to experience the Tarot as reading the visual cards according to your internal context. What resonates? What might you be processing or hiding in your subconscious?
As I began practising witchcraft, I came to see and breath the living textures of symbolism. Spell crafting took this internal vs external dualism, into a context of non dual otherness.
This is tricky to explain in words…
In the visual arts, I thought symbolism was like one-liners, perhaps their meaning altered by what kind of painting they were in and how they were painted. I.e.: an opened book in a portrait symbolised the sitter was well read.
In Tarot, no matter how intensely you study each card, new symbols and details will call your eye depending on the question and situation. The symbols weave different messages, meanings and emphasis according to your internal, subconscious and collective context.
In Witchcraft, symbolism expands into experiences: synchronicities, correspondences, rhyming, manifestation. The physical, internal and otherness cross their contexts.
The Fool’s Journey
This year (2019), I started a self portrait challenge through each of the Tarot’s major arcana.
The last few years I’d been reading and learning the Tarot. Now, I’m experimenting with invoking these 22 archetypes, the first few are up in my Artist’s Fool series.
Post Script – Later in October 2019, I tried my hand at continuing this series via Inktober up until a block at the Devil card. I think this is going to be one of those never-ending stories. 😅
💾 Image Credits 🎥
The Fool – Tarot card copyright credits:
Illustrations from the Borderless Smith Waite Tarot Deck reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902. c. by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. The Smith-Waite Tarot deck is a registered trademark of U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Photographed & colour edited by me.
The portrait collage of Frida Kahlo & Florence Broadhurst & the digital scribble of a tarot reader was made by me.