Thursday, March 7, 2013

Some inspirations for the upcoming "Language of the Birds"

After running late with February's image in the Magical Calendar project, it's been hard to catch up.  As I work to finish the image, I'd like to share some of the things that have been inspiring me.

A brief primer:

"The “language of birds” has many names; some call it the “Language of the Gods”, others the “Green language”. Michael Sells has referred to this “sacred language” as the “language of unsaying”, whereby the core of what needs to be said, is actually not said, though everyone understands what is being said.
The “language of birds” is therefore the mystical language, by default an unpopular subject amongst scholars, specifically because of the apparent lack of “clarity”: a clear and distinct sense. The sense is inferred."

"The origin of the “bird language” may go back to primitive societies. When shamans enter a trance, they attempt to speak the language of nature; they are said to speak “the language of birds”. Historians of religion have documented this phenomenon around the entire world and depictions of shamans with wings or as a bird are common. "

Essentially, there is this idea in all different mythologies, cultures and magical traditions that there is a magical / secret language of birds through which knowledge can be passed.  Sometimes the Language of the Birds is literally considered a coded language.  I looked at the representation of birds and bird-headed figures in relation to the passing of knowledge and the evolution of spirit.

There is a connection between serpent knowledge and language of the birds in Amazonian "shaman" culture, as evidenced in
The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge
Jeremy Narby

Edward Bruce Bynum

Bird gods / goddesses and symbolism are of course huge in ancient Egyptian (Kemetic) beliefs. 
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Thoth the scribe was an ibis.  A scribe = magician. 

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If most people are not literate and you need a written spell or talisman, you consult a scribe.  Thoth invented language, and Thoth invented Alchemy.  The Greeks decide that Thoth is their own Hermes, who becomes the godfather of Alchemy.

There are female aspects of this as well, namely Ma'at, goddess of order, who basically keeps the universe from falling apart.  She is represented as an ostrich feather.
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From an Egyptian tomb now in Vienna:

The Kemetic notions of Ba, Ka and Akh

Hugin and Munin (Thought and Memory) on Odin's shoulders.


Bird / Serpent connection:
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Compelling, powerful, terrifying women.  Women monsters.  This ties in, I suppose, with some of the things I've been dealing with in Earth Magic.
"In art, Sirens appeared first as birds with the heads of women, later as women, sometimes winged, with bird legs. Sirens were placed as guards on tombs of the sixth century BCE. Greek Sirens may have evolved from Egypt. In Egyptian religion, the ba is a portion of the soul which is generally represented as a bird with a human head."

These ladies are all over Vienna:

First published image of witches in flight.  "De Lamiis et Phitonicis Mulieribus."
Ulrich Molitor (1489)
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Bird's Head Haggadah -
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Max Ernst:  Robing of the Bride
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Sunday, January 20, 2013

BABALON information and inspiration

If it isn't obvious, I'm running a couple of days behind in releasing BABALON, the February image for the Magical Calendar project.  The main reason for this is that I feel it is an image with a great deal of history, and I've been fussing over a multitude of tests to ensure that I feel I've conveyed this in the finished image.

Detail images of two tests:

This are both fairly quick and loose, mainly acrylic paint applied over photo collage. 

I will be releasing more information in the next couple of days.  In the meantime, here are some of my references and inspiration for this image.

Babylon, as described in the Book of Revelation

Which in turn Aleister Crowley adapted as BABALON

"Lust" card from Crowley's Thoth Tarot deck, as illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris

Which in turn Jack Parsons further adapted, invoking her as a goddess in his Babalon Working

Kenneth Anger's Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, starring (Marjorie) Cameron Parsons, Jack Parson's widow, as Babalon

 Similar imagery was used in Fritz Lang's 1927 film Metropolis:

William Blake

It's been said that Jack Parsons's Babalon Working symbolically opened the floodgates for modern witchcraft.  Whether you agree with this or not, the figure of Babalon as a powerful goddess certainly brings to mind certain images of witches and witchcraft throughout the ages.  I couldn't help but draw parallels between images of Babalon riding the Great Beast to some of my favorite images of witches riding to the sabbath.  

One of my favorites, Falero's Departure of the Witches:


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Effective immediately, all Magical Calendar prints will sell for the price of $125 (versus the previous price of $200).

While $200 is a wonderful price for such a limited edition museum quality print, I wanted to consider the length of the project as a whole.  After discussing the matter with several collectors of my work, I realized that many might be reluctant to enter in to such a long-term project while knowing so little about it.

This is a project that I believe in very much, and want other to have an opportunity to follow this journey. 

There is still an opportunity to purchase the Lilith print for January at this new price.

Friday, December 7, 2012

A more revealing view of LILITH

The full image now available as a limited edition print:

LILITH prints now available for order!

First test prints coming out of the printer.

I'm happy to announce that the first print in my Magical Calendar series is now available for purchase!

This single print printed as an archival pigment print on a heavy weight (310 gm) museum quality 100% cotton rag paper with no optical brighteners (for archival purposes), signed and numbered in a limited edition of only 13.  Numbered prints will be sold in order.

In order to assist those who wish to collect the entire year’s worth of prints, those who purchase any print will have early access to purchase others throughout the year.  For example, if you purchase the January print, you will have the ability to purchase the February print one day before the general public.

As an additional bonus, anyone collecting the entire year’s calendar will also receive for free an additional 13th print not available for purchase otherwise.

Orders in the the United States will be shipped flat, orders outside of the United States will be shipped in mailing tubes in order to easy the burden of International shipping.  If you would prefer your print to be shipped flat, please contact me to calculate additional shipping rates.

Please note:  this sale is for the January image only.  As this is a year-long project, there is no way to purchase the entire calendar at once.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Website update

Please visit my website to see what's new.

Monday, December 3, 2012

LILITH preview

A detail of the first image from the Magical Calendar project.  The full image will be revealed first to those who purchase the print, available this coming Friday.

The image is a silver print, hand colored and painted.  Other details for the calendar are rendered in india ink and paint.

To be notified as soon as this print, limited to an edition of only 13, is available, please email with the subject "magical calendar."

The inspiration for this image comes from a long history of portraying the figure of Lilith as a serpent figure, bearing knowledge. 

Possibly the most famous representation of this is Michelangelo's Temptation and Fall from the Sistine Chapel Ceiling.

For more images of this throughout history, visit here.

I'd been fixating on this subject while on our honeymoon in Vienna.  While there, we visited a museum of Medieval armor and chanced upon this:

It was at this point that I decided that it made perfect sense for Lilith to be the first month of this year in magic.