Sunday, 17 June 2018

Dazzled By The Mirror Of Heaven

Dazzled By The Mirror Of Heaven
Acrylic on linen
48" x 36"
June 2018

This painting is the 6th in my The Netjeru In America series. The sketch for the painting is 3 years old, and was conceived in the United States during my sojourn there for the project much discussed in this blog of looking at the manifestation of Netjer and Kemeticism in that country today.


The painting has been a long time coming and is in my opinion one of the most powerful in the series to date. Conceived in the Boston Museum Of Fine Arts, problems relating to snow during my visit meant that I stayed at the venue longer than I had planned, and I came across a sculpture in the Art Of The Americas wing that inspired this work.

The actual sculpture of Angel Of The Resurrection in Pennsylvania Station by Walker Hancock
The sculpture is called Angel of the Resurrection and portrays Michael the Archangel lifting up a dead soldier out of the "flames of war."  It is a one third in scale model of the Pennsylvania Railroad World War II Memorial (pictured above) which is a monument on the main concourse of 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The work was designed and created by sculptor Walker Hancock (1901-1998). Hancock made wonderful sculptures of the male physique and angelic / deity figures that my painting tips a hat to.
The "model" of the actual Hancock piece which I saw in Boston MFA
Photo: Wikipedia
The actual sketch for Dazzled was made in the last leg of my trip in San Jose, where on an unseasonably warm day for that time of the year I sat by the poolside and created the sketch. It was on this leg of my visit that I went to Pantheacon and The Rosicrucian Museum. It was a magickal time. I had just met Kemetic iconographer Ptahmassu in West Wendover, and now got to meet Rev. Tamara Siuda (who did an excellent presentation at Pantheocon) and the late Richard Reidy (who also did a wonderful presentation along with HiC Luttmers). I met other members of the Kemetic Temple Of San Jose and San Francisco and participated in my first Kemetic ritual, honouring the Divine Lady Bast.

The hieroglyphs
I later commissioned Tamara to render the Pyramid text passage for me specifically for this work. She changed the context of the piece so “this Pepi” was removed and “I” was inserted.


 The text is my Mission Statement on that page of my website.

The doors of the basin of the starry sky are thrown open to me           
And I go through them.
My leopard skin is on me
And my sceptre is in my hand.

The Pyramid Texts (modified)
Pyramid of King Pepi I
Old Kingdom (6th Dynasty) circa 2332 – 2287 BC  

I have chosen this excerpt from the Pyramid texts as my artist statement because it speaks depths about what I do and am as an artist. It resonates with me in a way that I will attempt to explain. I first became aware of this passage in The Lion Path.

The doors of the basin of the starry sky are thrown open to me
My access to the other realms is not recent, but as I have grown to understand it, and especially as my craft as an artist unfolds, I am able to make better sense of it. My paintings reflect this process, and the process enhances the paintings.

The starry realms are the Duat but include other realms too. My exploration in Soul Anatomy suggests that the different elements of the soul that we possess may interact with these realms in ways particular to that body / element, and I suspect grant access to same. How sharply the senses of any particular body are honed governs the level of perception in and of those realms. The goddess Nut Herself is these realms.

And I go through them
Sometimes consciously, sometimes otherwise. My recollections of these realms vary from stark and actual to dreamlike and subtle. I think my attraction to and use of black lining in my art is my attempt to concretize and capture these feelings and notions.
My journeys usually occur in sleep, meditation, the float pod and when I have enhanced my olfactory sense with certain essential oils.

My leopard skin is on me
The leopard skin is the mantle of the shaman. I wonder if what we refer to as the Ancient Egyptian priesthood was actually a society or office of shamans? Shamanism  has been the subject of many books and films. The freedom of the wild that we equate shamanism with calls us in a way religion can’t.
The skin of the leopard is supposedly meant to represent the stars of said starry sky. Whether or not this is true, there is something about leopard print that enhances the shamanic process. Do you notice the abundance of leopard print wearing in our culture? Why does it “work” on some but not others? In ritual there is a difference noticeable when wearing and not wearing leopard print.

And my sceptre is in my hand
Another mantle of the shamanic / priest office, and another device that seems in and of itself to act as a key and opener into the dimensions beyond this one. The Ancients possessed a number of ritual staffs, and I assume that they all had a different function. The uas sceptre seems to be the most common one when viewing images of the Netjeru from the ancient past. The figure in my painting holds a uas sceptre.


 3 types of blue
I have used two types of cerulean blue in the work. One on the skin figure held by Set, and the other surrounding the glyphs that form part of the wall decoration. 
Various metallics form the top half of the painting whilst the rest has a deep rose madder emphasis. The 3 glyphs chosen for the wall: akh, ka and sekhem have esoteric significance.
The 3rd blue is a new Pthalo Light colour from Golden Paints which I have also been using on another soon to be completed work. This colour is the tattoos that adorn the body of the blue figure, and where a god or goddess is represented tattooed is “beloved of” that deity. The deities featured in the tattoos are Set, Heru, Mehen, Nehebukau, Anpu, Wepwawet, Auset, NebetHt, Wadjet and Nekhbet.


The magickal and mystical story that the painting tells I will leave for the beholder to contemplate.