Mike’s Prattle


Archive for August, 2012

A year later

Posted by Mike on August 28, 2012

On September 1 last year I posted my first piece of artwork and a couple days ago I finished my 74th. And very much like last year I’m yet again experiencing a really numinous period of time. While I am planning, in a certain manner, to relate the story of the last few years, I feel at times that every time I try to get my mind around it, it grows.

Last night, a lot of the emotion of the last couple years came up again, for the first time in a really long time and for no particular reason I could figure out. Some of those who have heard my story know that it had to do with a woman named after a goddess, someone who has since passed out of my life. So when yesterday I got the emotional reaction followed by owl synchronicities, I found it really strange because it was the type of activity that usually led to some sort of mega-synchronicity having to do with this woman.

And so the nagging was bothering me most of the day today, this strange and numinous connection I’ve never really been able to fully understand with someone who I haven’t seen in months. Until lunch, when she walked in the restaurant I was at (and yes we talked). I am still so stunned it’s hard to get my head around.


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The Garden of Eden After the Fall

Posted by Mike on August 21, 2012

It’s noisier in the workshop right now than in my gallery, mostly because I’m slowly and meticulously working on a recreation of The Garden of Eden After the Fall diagram. There are a few versions of it here. Am hoping to be done by the weekend, but I’ve already spent more time on this than any other piece and am still maybe halfway. These are basically some notes and thoughts on the diagram and process.

This isn’t the first time I’ve reconstructed a Golden Dawn diagram. I’m still very happy with Logos, which was something of an inversion. And there’s also Garden of Eden Before the Fall which didn’t end up being a reconstruction so much, in fact with the current project I can imagine I’ll be going back to that one at some point.

The diagram known as the Garden of Eden After the Fall was described in about five lines in the Golden Dawn cipher manuscript before these lines were expanded for use in the Philosophus ritual. These lines state:

9.             H. explains a picture of the fall
10.The goddess who in 3 = 8 supported
11.          Microprosopus
12.          Hs. Fall in & with her Adam
13.Great dragon arose
14.Second Adam is needed

The expanded description of the diagram can be found here. But the diagrams themselves actually differ a little. The description describes how the seven headed and ten horned dragon became the eight headed and eleven horned via Daath. In the version found in The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic (Regardie, New Falcon) the dragon is 7/10, while in the version found in Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries (Zalewski) the dragon is 8/11. I went with the latter.

Part of the (artistic) difficulty of reconstructing the diagram is all diagrams have the dragon rising up to the crossbar with Daath ending up at the center of the cross. Malkuth is clear in the Regardie diagram but there’s only one sephirah in between (assumedly) Daath and Malkuth. The Zalewski diagram is even busier, with all four sephirah and eight dragon heads stacked below the crossbar. I believe the Daath and Yesod heads have dual horns, but the third double horned head (Tiphareth?) isn’t indicated, possibly due to head angle.

In my opinion, in almost every previous diagram, this is not much of a dragon, more like a multiheaded tadpole. I’ve never felt the tadpole to be much of a symbol of desecration and thought it would be more effective to get more dragon back in. Dragons, however, have scales (they do, they really do) and in reconstructing the beast, I’ve drawn about a billion dragon scales. The dragons also now have teeth. They’re still essentially red (or rather magenta) centrally, but I’ve altered each head’s scales a little depending on the sephirah (for example the dragon head in Hod is mostly magenta with some orange scaling in the mix). And I’m using glaze pens to help raise the scales a bit off the vellum.

There really is a great deal of red/magenta in various previous colored versions. Not only is the dragon magenta, but so is the left crossbar, and in the Regardie diagram the flaming sword is also similarly colored and only slightly different, the sephiroth. I’m still debating over what color I want the sephiroth and flaming sword. I’m leaning to yellow on the sword, but feeling it may be a more artistic than symbolic choice (suggestions welcome).

The only issue with having a thick scalier beast among closely spaced sephiroth is there wasn’t room to use a coil to separate Malkuth from the rest of the tree, so I innovated on this part.

The other major development I’m using is with the “letters of the name.” In all versions the kerubs are given symbolically (emblemically? :D) with the letter, however I wanted to bring the kerubs out fully with each kerub drawing the letter. I think I’m just managing to get them in.

The diagram, even static, strikes me as moving. It’s difficult trying to keep a symbol like a cross geometrically straight on a 19×24 sheet, but over time some of this felt like the tension of the diagram in play. Over a larger space the “godhead” above the flaming sword feels almost aloof from the rest of the diagram. In previous versions it felt like the tadpoles were nibbling at the sephiroth, in the reconstruction it feels more like the flaming sword is preventing more nibbling.

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