A close up of an eye looks back at you. When I first began my card I painted a complete picture, with all of it's attendant features and accoutrements, but when I came in to do some close up work, I was suddenly struck by the complete message being in this small area. Less is more as they say. The eyelashes tell us this is a female, although the card is not gender specific. I was a little worried about just having this huge eye as the focal point for my card, as it is such a huge departure from the traditional imagery found in the Rider Waite/Pamela Coleman Smith deck, and all it's clones, which are generally seen as an 'industry standard'.
My High Priestess stares back at you from somewhere unknown, we cannot see where she is, but we are drawn to her. To look deeply into her eye, to see what lies behind it is both alluring and formidable. This is the veil that many RWS decks and clones refer to. There are no Alchemical, Astrological or hermetic symbols in my High Priestess. She simply 'is', with no need for embellishment, as she invites you into her world.
By symbolising the High Priestess as I have, we can see that her eye represents the duality of what lies on the surface and what lies beneath. The timeless beauty of her and her ancient nature. At once both the Virgin Priestess at Delphi and the Old Crone that replaced her. Her beauty lies within her age-old wisdom. People have, for thousands of years, been drawn to the well of their innermost voice, just as Persephone was drawn back to the underworld kingdom of Hades for one third of the year, according to the Homeric Hymn to Demeter. She was abducted and taken to the Underworld, yet she re-emerged again to be with her mother and the other Olympian Gods, thus having access to both worlds.
Having been tricked into eating of a pomegranate whilst in the underworld, Persephone was forever doomed to return there for part of the year, just as the High Priestess moves between the two worlds of conscious and unconscious thought. My card is an invitation to dive into her secret well of intuition and inner knowledge. Sometimes we are the Priestess, looking within ourselves. Sometimes it is another who helps us look within. Either way, we may or may not like what we see! The knowledge gained is for us to decide as to how we use it, but the Priestess whispers in our ear that we should discriminate and use it wisely.
I painted the piece in Acrylics and Caran D'Ache watercolour pencils. I then used my Fuji FinePix 6900zoom digital camera and fused them all and generally mucked around in PhotoShop 7. The model for the eye is my daughter, and half a set of false eyelashes :O)
I graduated from Northbrook College of Art and Design in 2002 with an HNC completed in one year instead of three, and an HND completed in one year instead of two. An HND representing to the industry technical knowledge, whereas a Degree represents personal development but I'm as well developed as I need to be :O) I have been reading tarot cards for many years now, but since coming to Aeclectic my eyes have been opened to a whole new facet of Tarot, and my readings have been endowed with a whole new dimension also.
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