Dream of the Red Chamber

Dedicated to Hildegarde Von Bingen.

Ah I enjoyed painting this one, and I have to admit, I enjoy looking at it as well.
I read a book called “Alchemy for Women” by Penelope Shuttle and Peter Redgrove while I was painting it, and it really crystallized my conception of this card and of the whole project. Because it is a female card, a mandala constructed mostly of womens’ bits (I love anatomy books). The book also explained my instinctive timing of my creative work to match the cycles of the moon. It’s wonderful that these powerful cycles of transformation exist in women and tragic that society has done it’s best to obscure them.
It gave me another interesting take on the meaning of the Magdalene as well. They see her as the deity of the menstrual aspect of the cycle, while Mary is a goddess of ovulation. Society being heavily dominated by the ovulators and those in whose interests it is that women perform solely the function of breeding, has lead to the exaltation of Mary and the denigration of Magdalene. This also has its legacy in the widespread pre menstrual illness, which is really an internalization of societies rejection of this other aspect of a womans’ cycle. Needless to say all the best creative and artistic activity coincides with the time of menstruation. So, in a way perhaps the significance of Magdalene is that she did NOT have a child, rather than her being some ignored christ bride.

3 responses

  1. This is wonderful. The faces look like horned female figures, looking out in all directions. I don’t know what the I Ching hexagrams are, never studied it, but I may have to look into it. That book sounds fascinating, I’ll have to look for it.

    December 6, 2010 at 11:43 am

    • I am a terrible I Ching junkie. I find it much more useful for day to day oracles than the tarot in fact, and for general practical wisdom and advice. Those hexagrams around the circle are the basic components of all 64 hexagrams. Top is Heaven, then clockwise Wind, Water, Mountain, Earth, Thunder, Fire, and Lake. This is the Fu Hsi arrangement, and oddly I didn’t plan the card to fit them, it just kind of happened.

      Also speaking of things Chinese, Dream of the Red Chamber is my favourite novel, also known as the Story of The Stone. For some reason it really suits this card. All about the alchemical power of women I suppose.

      December 6, 2010 at 12:49 pm

  2. Pingback: Ace of Discs | Tigerbrite's Blog

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