Saturday, 25 August 2012

Paintings

Earlier this year I recommenced a painting career that I abandoned when I left school. The story is worth telling: I found myself at a crossroads (even then, early in my life) and auditioned for Drama School and Art School. I was accepted into both, but the former won out. I never lifted a brush again, until early this year.

 
I had been compelled – to put it mildly – to paint a portrait of Set. And this is exactly what I did. I bought the required materials and found that the artistic hunger that I had ignored for so long came gradually rushing forth. Rapidly, and strongly.
 

Set

 
I then painted a portrait of Heru, followed by Sekhmet and then Maat. I was churning the paintings out at a rate. I noticed that with each painting my technique and skill got sharper. I made friends with Paul Compton at one of the artist shops here in Melbourne and took his advice on many things from brushes, to colour, to textures. (He has been really valuable to this process).

 
Heru
 


Sekhmet



Maat


I had another 3 portraits planned, and then a meditation revealed another inspiration which “demanded” attention, and thus I painted about the Lion Path experience!
 

"Metamorphosis"

 
Returning back to the portraits, I commenced Amon Ra, and the 1st of 17 tiny little canvases from a planned series called “The Avenue Of Little Votives”. I have only completed Set for this series so far.
 

Amon Ra
 
 
I am completing Khepera right now, and have a massive painting of Set sketched out onto a canvas which is the next project. I most likely will paint that one in conjunction with the last of the portraits, Sokar.

"Avenue Of Little Votives" Set"; I have dubbed this one "Speedo Set"
 
 
I am only compelled to paint Kemetic themes. This is in keeping with my thing of bringing the Netjeru back into the world. Part of that is how to bring Them to this world so very different from the ages where They existed previously. Part of my artistic quest is to make images and art that are unmistakeably Kemetic, but in a way that is not solely focused in the antique past. How to provide an updated version?

 
In my portraits you can see that each Netjer has a halo. This was inspired by visiting the Coptic Museum in Cairo in 2010 where there were examples of the Kemetic transitioning into the Christian world. I have made other interpretations here and there too, such as with wigs and colour for example.
 

I love this picture of Set, my first painting in my new era, on my easel in my Shrine / Meditation Room
 
Once I have a plan for the painting –and it usually comes as sketch that I pencil onto the canvas – I commence. Often the paining evolves as I paint it. When I tune in to the Netjeru of subject, sometimes I will “get” to use a colour I did not plan to or think would work. And it does work. This process of surrender is new for me in my artistic life, and has also mirrored in other artistic endeavours in other mediums.
 

My largest painting endeavour is ahead of me; this image of my sketch projected onto this big canvas (it is bigger than me!) has been pencilled and is ready for realisation
 
I plan to have an exhibition in the first half of 2013.


 

Thursday, 23 August 2012

O is for Oracle


My second “O” post for the Pagan Blog Project is about card decks and tiles used for cartomancy.

I have used varying oracles over the years, mostly gravitating to and sticking with Kemetic themed ones.

I had a stint reading professionally for a while, which was very interesting, but it was some time ago.

I tend to use the oracles less these days, as I find that my focus is on the present. Unless I get a specific “vibe” to connect with Netjer through the Book Of Doors, I usually only consult when looking for a solution that is not yet apparent.

The 4 oracles that I write about in this post reflect the ones that have had most influence and meaning in my life over time. (I have not included the most recent addition to my set of oracles which is the Shamanic Mysteries of Egypt deck).


The way of cartouche

A 25 deck card oracle by Murry Hope

My first ever deck. I was inspired to get these through a dream, where I was consulting “Egyptian” runes. When I asked for same at the bookshop, they suggested “Way Of Cartouche”. The 25 cards have a correspondence to the 25 runes.

I read these cards professionally at a place in Brisbane called the Gemini Tea Rooms. Brisbane in the 80’s was a strange place, and I arrived to live there during a time of the city transitioning from a corrupt and draconian government to something else. What was curious was that all throughout the city and some of the ‘burbs were these little coffee shops - “tea rooms” - that served tea and scones and included short card readings in the price. It was a strange, yet charming in many ways, culture.

Readers of my blog may recall that earlier this year (in my “C”post for the PBP)  that I mentioned there was a cartomancy connection with my UFO encounter. When I arrived in Brisbane and found my way to the Gemini Tea rooms I went as a customer. A reader there, Shirley, through oracular sight, saw that I read cards and said that I needed to speak with the owners about working there, which she arranged after the reading. She also foretold of the pending trip – just a few days later – to the countryside where the encounter would happen. For this reason, I connect “The Way Of Cartouche” with my “UFO” encounter.

I got good at reading the cards and developed a little following but quickly got to see it could burn me out, and never pursued the craft professionally after that time.

I hold affection for The Way Of Cartouche for the reasons mentioned above, but I feel that my understanding of the Kemetic principles and Netjeru represented here have surpassed what this deck is for and is. It was my introduction; I think this is a good way to put it.

 
 

Eyes Of Horus

A tile oracle by David Lawson

This set also numbers 25 and contains clay tiles with hieroglyphs (most tiles) and representations (Set, Heket, Pyramids, Sphinx and Apis) that are accurate reflections of Kemetic principles. The images representing the Netjeru and concepts of each tile have some cool interpretations too.

I worked with this set a lot during a major transition of my life and found it to be good.

 

 
 
Book of doors

A 65 card deck oracle by Athon Veggi and Alison Davidson

This is the Kemetic deck, and features an array of Netjeru not often reflected upon, as well as beautifully rendered modern interpretations of Kemetic themes and Netjeru. I am certain that working with this deck for years has inspired me to paint my own images of the Netjeru.

This deck is so special because it can grant access to the realms of the Netjeru themselves. There are only a few cards that do not represent Netjeru ( Kemt, Shen Ur, Imhotep, Aner En Rekh, Pert Em Heru, Unu T 4 – 5, Amenta, Shemu 42, Bennu) which means that you are working with the energy of the Divine Ones Themselves primarily! No wonder I fell in love with this deck. It also features a Netjer that was introduced into the Kemetic pantheon from elsewhere: Asthoreth.

The deck also works with magic squares and the book features references that show the creators really knew their stuff in knowing how to pull this together. I question some of the groupings (each card is grouped into a set of 8, meaning there is one card sitting outside the deck, Netjer Netjeru) but would be hard pressed myself to configure this deck otherwise so eloquently myself.

I bought this deck around the same time as I began the LionPath

My previous blog post also featured The Book Of Doors.

 


The Egyptian Oracle

A 28 tile set with a double sided placement board by Maya Heath

In my head I have this set dubbed “the oracle that does not lie”. It isn’t that the others are untruthful, but this oracle somehow cuts to the quick. I think this is because of the many intricate concepts that the tiles entertain. “Modern” concepts are tied to the ancient that give an uncanny reading when done properly. The modernising of the oracle does not take away from the inherent truths it posesses.

I used to use it in conjunction with the 12 houses (like astrology) side of the board, but gradually moved away from the board entirely and use the tiles alone.
 

Some of the graphics featured in the manual are brilliant

The tiles feature glyphs and the Kemetic numbering system on each. I like the directness of the tiles themselves.






Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Ogdoad

The term refers to eight Netjeru consisting of 4 each snake and frog deities that form part of the creation myth of Hermopolis (the city sacred to Djehuty). They specifically relate to the formation of matter.

I feature two expressions of the Ogdoad here: one from Wikipedia and the other from an oracle that I use called the Book Of Doors.


Comparison chart of the two sources I refer to in this post

From Wikipedia:
The eight deities were arranged in four female-male pairs: Naunet and Nu, Amaunet and Amun, Kauket and Kuk, Hauhet and Huh. The females were associated with snakes and the males were associated with frogs. Apart from their gender, there was little to distinguish the female goddess from the male god in a pair; indeed, the names of the females are merely the female forms of the male name and vice versa. Essentially, each pair represents the female and male aspect of one of four concepts, namely the primordial waters (Naunet and Nu), air or invisibility (Amunet and Amun), darkness (Kauket and Kuk), and eternity or infinite space (Hauhet and Huh).
 
The Book Of Doors has the Ogdoad (Tepi Aui Un) configured differently: they express Kauket and Kuk as Kekiu and Kekiut, Hauhet and Huh as Hehu and Hehut, Naunet and Nu as Nut and Nu, and Amun and Amaunet are expressed as Kerh and Kerhet, still with a meaning of darkness and night – the oracle expresses it as “secret”. According to them, Kerh is a form of Amon.

I like how the Book Of Doors points out that the Ogdoad are a duality already perfected within themselves, a never ending polarity of positive negative positive negative positive negative positive negative.







Kemetic creation myths vary from province to province and all exist alongside one another. The Kemetics did not see one creation myth as conflicting with another. All simply “were”.

Kerhet is depicted here with a frog head, signalling completion. I am not sure if this was a licence the authors have taken or if she was sometimes depicted as both snake and frog headed. I would like to know the answer to that.


My Ogdoad post is my first "O" for the Pagan Blog Project