Mandala Aces – The Four Elements

 


I created these mandala paintings to represent the four elements in the Tarot, Earth for Pentacles, Air for Swords, Fire for Wands and Water for Cups.

While I was painting them, I was aware that they were becoming so much more than just the representations of the different suits in the cards. As always, while I am painting I feel messages coming through as I am led to create a piece of art that holds a special significance.

The Water Mandala is named The Fountain of Love.  It is the chalice from which comes unconditional love, the Christ Light.

The dove of peace perches on the chalice, its beak touches and gently breaks the circle which is the spiritual host.  She awaits her twin flame, the divine masculine, to reunite with her to bring unification and wholeness to the world.  Everything in the painting, the lotus flowers, the water, the fish and the rays of the sun are brimming with this new 5th dimensional energy that lights up our lives. The movement of the water in the painting is flowing lovingly in and around the flowers as they move in rhythm to a new song, a new way of being, a new way of living.  The water element gently pulls us into this flow of love and life as we become one with our own sacred selves.

The Eternal Flame Mandala originally had its conception in the Ace of Wands Mandala. 

That first little ‘doodle’ I did for a tarot project many moons ago.  It was stolen off my blog post and used all over the world.  Just my luck that one of my images went viral and my name wasn’t on it!! (Universe….do you hear me?) It all came from my imagination –  out of the blue.  One thing lead to another.  First the wand, then the tree connecting the wand to its roots and the sky.  The Kundalini energy rises through the trunk. Then emerged the butterfly with two pieces of the same heart on each of its wings.  The two halves of the heart are in constant motion as the butterfly moves her wings; first together, then apart, in the dance of life. My intuition brought forth the most incredible paradox; that we must split apart (as unique souls) or separate (as twin flames) in order to  journey back together again and become united.

The fire of life, the eternal flame of our spirit, is held in the grace of the holy spirit as we strive to become whole through our endings and beginnings.  Don’t ask me why we are here on earth school to do this and to learn this.  Our loves, our lives and our relationships are in constant motion, creating and re-creating our ever growing consciousness.  This is the story of life.  The process of creativity which is kept alive by the eternal flame, the original spark, that light in the dark.

As Carolyn Myss says, “We’re not here to get it.  We’re here to DO it!”

The Ace of Swords Mandala  is still being developed. The Swords suit in the Tarot carry the energy of Air; communication, dialogue and truth.  They also denote some of the most painful situations in our lives that are directly linked with physical and mental suffering.  If you have ever experienced heart-ache or the dark night of the soul you will know exactly what I am talking about.  The swords however are  two-edged objects.  They can be used to kill as well as defend. Herein lies the dichotomy of the swords suit. My original card was a sword pointing downwards.  A friend pointed out that this is a tricky position for the sword to be in.  One the one hand we are claiming our truth.  On the other hand, the energy is directed inwardly and remains trapped.  Our lessons in life are mostly cutting and sad.  (Have you ever met anyone who has had a swords-free existence?  Me neither.)

Yet. This is exactly what we must learn with this swords energy.  The need to turn our troubles around and direct our energy outwards and upwards to OVERCOMING our obstacles.

We do this by LEARNING from our mistakes.  (Learning is directly linked with the Mercurial energy of the mind and communication, hence AIR, the substance of this suit. Directing the swords energy outwards does not mean passing on your shitty day to someone else or dumping on them (as we humans are wont to do!).  It means we must learn to rise above the trouble.  See it from a distance.  Gain perspective.  Look at the situation from a worldly point of view.  In this way we raise our vibrations to the next level.  Swords give us perspective, clarity, truth.  Sure we can stay in our misery, fears and anxiety.  But learning this will help us to overcome one of the most base instincts we’ve been put on this earth to overcome.  That of our small selves.

I will be developing the Swords Mandala in the coming weeks and will post here when it is ready.

The Secret Garden Mandala represents the suit of Pentacles and Earth.

We can relate so easily to the earth element as we are made of this stuff.  The Pentacles denote our physical selves and physical lives.  It is very down to earth.  They represent our connection to the earth, nature, our day to day lives and working for a living.  Their energy is slow moving and is linked to earth time.  Earth time reminds us to ‘take our time’, ‘slow down’, ‘smell the roses’.  The five pointed star in the Pentacle represents our human body (1 head, 2 arms and 2 legs).  It also represents our 5 senses.  It is through connecting with the earth in a simple straightforward way that we can reach the heights of ecstasy.  Remember…how do you feel when you smell a rose (heavenly?).  What do you remark when you see a sunset (Breathtaking?).  It is in the small detail of the day to day routine of slow, sometimes boring, life that we are given the key to the universe.  You don’t believe me?  Try it.  Stop.  Slow down.  Meditate.  Become one with your body, your self, your heart and your breath.  When you do you will become one with all of life and know the answers to everything. It works.  Today say out loud…

“I am grateful for my life and all that is in it.  I am happy in my body.  I am happy being me.  I am here.  All is here.  I am the beginning and end of creation”.

Still don’t believe me?  Ask yourself.  How was I born.  A woman and a man came together to create you.  A human woman gave birth to you. The mystery of YOU came into being….. isn’t that God’s job?  Yes.  We are all Gods and Godessess.  Human Life is Sacred. In The Secret Garden the woman sits alone with nature, and through going within, becomes one with all.  She connects to her eternal cycles and the eternity of her being.

The Fountain of Love Mandala and other cards can be purchased as a giclee print or greetings card on my website katebedell.com.

 

Drawings, Drafts and Getting Down to it.

The high Priestess WIPFirst Drafts

I recently started following a few Tarot study groups and through the amazing networking, stumbled upon loads of info that will help me with producing my tarot designs.  This new-found knowledge has led me to believe that I WILL get this project done!

The power of connecting with other people is what is going to get this project done!

Although it may appear as boring as sin to a non artist, but the most important thing is to get the scale of the images right.  They need to be all the same size so that the continuity in the images is correct. Secondly if I do the paintings too large, when they are reduced down to a card size they will become much smaller and a lot of the detail will be lost. The third thing about size is that I need to figure out if I want the borders to be incorporated within the image or added on as an extra.  I have always preferred to go with the border-less cards, but do not want the title of the card to be lost or superimposed on the image.  Therefore I think I will incorporate it into the design.

The images above are drawn using a template from one of the card printing companies.  I’ve enlarged it but I still feel the drawing is too ‘small’ to work on as a painting.  I cannot get the modelling I want to achieve in the face.  I will have to scale the card up to what is workable for me. The beginning stages are so tedious….I feel something isn’t quite right.

I’m already doing a repeat of these pieces as the first ones were done with Winsor and Newton Drawing Ink with details in a black drawing pen.  The inks have faded leaving the pen drawing in Indian Ink stand out too much.  (These were done about 30 years ago).

As my style has changed and developed in the last number of years,  I need to recreate the card designs again.

I am very aware that my journey and experience of the tarot has changed since my younger days as an artist.  However I do feel that the essence of what I did many years ago still stands strong and I will use these images to build upon.  Once you have a good idea, it is sensible to carry it on.  The elements in the foreground of these two cards are very similar and show the influences of The Aquarian Tarot  by David Palladini, which I adored back then.  Still do, but I have more to add from my own personal experience of the energies of these cards.

The re-working of my original design of The High Priestess shows a mature woman, almost nun-like, yet not.  She is mature, but still young.  She wears the blue mantel of the Madonna, yet she has no children (known to us).  Could she possibly be  Mary Magdalene?

She hold the mystery of time in her left hand symbolised by the crystal ball.  In her right hand, the one in control, is the Torah, the history and law of the Jewish people and is said to be the blueprint of all creation.  We would normally associate the right hand and right side of the body with our masculine side and the side that is ‘in control’, while the left side is the feminine creative side.  However, we now know that the right side of the brain controls creativity, while the left side rules our language centres and our logic.  In the painting, the woman sits with her hands crossed, the right hand appearing on the left and the left appearing on the right.  Maybe she is pointing out that all life is a paradox? That nothing is as it seems.  Her crossed wrists also bars the way in, telling us that we have to do something in order to cross into her world. There is a lot of mystery within this card. She intrigues us, and yields her secrets slowly.

The Magician yields the power of the Universe and has the will to drive this energy into his creations on earth.

 

 

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