Collage, glass, oil, enamel, Tarot cards, wood...

This section contains three works, all illustrative of the wisdom lying at the heart of the Tarot. I use the last two as teaching tools in my 'Tarot for Personal Growth' classes, workshops, and presentations.


Earth Mandala

Collage and mixed media on board, 2400 mmm diameter , 1993.

This work is installed at the Karuna Falls' main community building, Karuna Falls Community, Coromandel Peninsula, NZ. Click here for a larger photo in a pop-up window.

In 1993 I wrote a personal 'vison' for where I felt my life was headed, and for where I wanted to encourage it to go. I was inspired in this exercise to write about a large Mandala that would be in my 'mythic' home (called the 'Spiral Rainbow Goddess') which would have at its centre a black cloth-covered 'softboard' where photos of myself, family, and friends could be placed, all within the context of the larger 'circles' of life.

Soon after writing this vision I acquired lots of 'National Geographics' (and 'New Zealand Forest & Bird's etc.) and decided one day to bring that part of the vision 'home'. What I am still pleased about is that the result was very close to what I had originally envisioned.

It took 8 days, during which I juice-fasted, to complete the work. Discarding a few lesser-quality photos along the way, I synchronistically discovered I otherwise used all the photos I iniitially collected.

There are three circles of images: people, creatures, and elements. The outer two are arranged to the four directions as follows: East/Air/Spring/birds, North/Fire/Summer/higher creatures, West/Water/Autumn/water creatures, and South/Earth/Winter/lower and heavy creatures. The circle of people are spread out (as they are) through the four directions.

The camera flash in this image obscures a picture of the Earth/Gaia in the centre amid a backdrop of painted stars.


The Fool's Journey Mandala

Oil on board in an octagonal wooden frame divided four ways, enamel paints as text/image on frame. 1050 mm diameter, 1996.

This work is featured in the Taromandala Teachings section of Q*Tarot, so I will only briefly describe it here. For several years I had been developing theoretical and graphic 'wheels' descibing aspects of the four elements and cyclic processes of transformation and initiation. Finding 'serendipitiously' when we moved into this house that someone had left stored under the house the frame of an octagonal coffee table gave me the sudden inspiration to combine many of these 'wheels' into a painting. What's one more onto a triptych?

Happily the cards from an old Marseilles Tarot deck proved to be just the right width to fit around the frame (polyurethaned over). And astrological symbols and pagan festival names I squeezed into the wooden lip that the glass coffee table top would have once sat on (shame I didn't still have the glass). Small wooden triangular inserts, stained the right colour, carried the words in silver paint at the centre that essentially describe my understanding of the great "Fool's Journey" of the Tarot around the circle (anticlockwise from the East) in four phases: 'Image' to 'Guide' to 'Shadow' To 'Gift'.


Taromandala Light Mandala

Glass paints on circle of glass, mounted on raised wooden mandala frame, on wooden box frame with electric lamp inside. 640 mm x 640 mm, 2001.

This work is featured in the Taromandala Teachings section of Q*Tarot (it is in fact the basis of the whole teachings), so I will only briefly describe it here.

During my Diploma in Computer Graphic Design course we were given a 'keyboard-free' design assignment based on the theme of 'The Journey'. While I baulked at such a nonspecific 'theme' (anything could fit, right?), I happily took the opportunity to portray the greatest 'journey' of them all in my mind: The Fool's Journey of the Tarot, a symbol of all journeys in life and consciousness.

I'd bought the piece of glass at a second-hand shop a few months previously (another coffee table top!? see 'Fool's Journey Mandala' above). Because the design could have worked with just a square pane of glass showing through a circular hole in the frame, I consciously chose a 'tricky' style where the glass sits just a touch above the box frame, held in the eight grooves cut out of the corners of the raised 'mandala' shaped woodwork.

Hopefully this - my original symbol of the holistic nature of the Tarot - and the work mentioned above, might intrigue those 'design-oriented' folk, that have found at least my Q*Design work, to take a look at the Q*Tarot section also. Go on - it's not 'mock-gypsy trumpery' of some such (in fact 'Trump'-ery of a very different sort - little 'in joke' there). The Tarot is very much a primer on design principles also.

And to end this section on a high note. Making the Taromandala Light Mandala was a real condensation of my studies of many years, and so no surprise to add a very 'condensed' one sentence as a 'cryptic description' of it when I had finished it. This could apply to the 'Fool's Journey Mandala' above also.

The 'Journey' of Life.

"The journey of life is to embrace all opposites at the heart in a realization of paradox, wandering the circumference of the world in fractal cycles of initiation, reuniting images with their shadows, remembering the light of inner guidance and outer guides to bring forth gifts from hidden places, in service to the lessening of separation, to dwell in peace at the heart, in the world but not of it, at home in the company of the great realizers."