Saturday, April 28, 2012

Intaglios-Learning to Read Road Sign Etchings

 “Intaglio are techniques in art in which an image is created by cutting, carving or engraving into a flat surface and may also refer to objects made using these techniques.”  Wikipedia

"Mythological symbols touch and exhilarate centers of life beyond the reach of reason and coercion.... The first function of mythology is to reconcile waking consciousness to the mysterium tremendum et fascinans of this universe as it is." Joseph Campbell

Whenever I see the Hermit, I think of all the “ah ha” moments that I’ve been alerted to turn right now, cautioned to look more closely and grow here, or warned to make a U turn on my spiritual journey.  As I glance at the picture, the Hermit is holding up a lantern and to me is lighting my way back to Motherfather Spirit. But, there is something deeper going on. The Hermit is not only exposing the familiar stop signs, but also the ancient mythological symbols that many cultures and belief systems have left for us. Joseph Campbell would say the Hermit is shining a light into our collective human subconscious revealing myths and symbols that help us to understand how life works.

I studied tarot with Marti Sinclair in Columbus in the late 1980s. I liked how she compared what’s going on in the tarot cards by observing children’s movies. For example, understanding the differences in what an 8 year old sees in Mary Poppins versus an adult. To that 8 year old self, the movie is an entertaining and has many catchy tunes: Chim Chim Cheree or Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.  However, there is another layer that is revealed in that film as the adult. The eight year old surely didn’t catch political messages regarding women’s suffragette and working class versus wealthy class during the Edwardian era. Same is true with the tarot deck. There are other signs and symbols appearing in the pictures that are overlooked by the novice. Yes, it’s easy to memorize the traditional card meanings, but adding the other nuances brings with it other layers in meaning.

Gotland Rune Stone
Marti’s class has led me on an adventure to read and understand signs and symbols the ancient ones left. On vacation, I feel a lot like Dan Brown character or Indian Jones who’s interest lies in understanding religious iconology and symbology. Last summer my adventure put me in front of Denmark’s Jelling Stones and Gotland’s Rune Stones.

Triangle and Triquetra
“Three – two get together and give birth to three, a new circle or Universal egg of Maiden, Mother and Crone.”  Shekhina Mountainwater (Stein, Diane The Women’s Book of Spirituality. Llewellyn Publication, St. Paul Minnesota. 1989. 205)

The triangle is one of those symbols for me.  It alerts me to: coorperation and harmony.  It asks am I disconnected from creation or Motherfather spirit? 

Look closely at the Hermit’s lamp light you see a six pointed star. The star is made of two triangles. Some would say that the star represents a balance between male and female energy. Meaning the triangle with its point at the top represents male energy and the triangle pointing down female energy. In many traditions, the triangle symbolizes a balance between mind, body and spirit; past, present and future; or aspects of a triune God or Goddess. The triangle pattern is seen in the pyramids of ancient Egypt or etched in a symbol pattern to awake the Celtic dragon. The ancients (i.e., Sematic people, Greek, Phoenician, Early Christian Church) believed the triangle to be the symbol of a doorway between earth and the heavens.

So going into a church and seeing the dove (i.e., Goddess aspect) within a triangle puts a whole new spin on things.

In the Celtic tradition, the trinity knot is another form of the triangle.  It is a design that is unending.  The design can be found on ancient crosses and stones throughout Ireland.  It can also be found in the Book of Kells. 

The Celtic triquetra knot reminds me that we are all interconnected.  That there is an unending love between Motherfather Spirit and creation.  It reminds me I need to do my part to keep the circle strong. 

Sew your own triquetra

Copyright BEM
Materials needed:
6” x 55” piece of fleece
Sewing Machine

Fold over right sides together and pin.
Sew ¼” seam.
Turn tube so that the right sides are out.
Stuff (I used a ruler to help with the stuffing)
Fold into triquetra knot and sew ends together.

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