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Alchemical Astronaut

Alchemical Astronaut

Size: 11x14

This is a sgrafitto work on paper

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This piece was from a meditation process on the tarot card temperance.

Alchemical Astronaut


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The sgraffito method used to create the images in this series is a surrender to the creative process. This image started as an oil pastel that was then completely covered in black tempera paint, with the hopes that it would reemerge with more character. Through scratching into the shadowy blackness, I reveal the oil pastel below. In this way textures, details, and a more complex image evolves. This process is symbolically meaningful to me and makes the work more potent. It represents the beauty that is found once we have accepted our own discovery process.

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What does it mean to exist in duality and be the balance point for opposing energies? This Alchemical Astronaut came through as a meditation on the archetypal energy of Temperance. In tarot, Temperance is a call to fully embody all that flows through us as a union of opposites that takes place within. This energy calls us to higher understandings and acceptance, which can take on the alchemical combination of fire and water. Once we move into understanding with Temperance, we can easily release anxiety, overcome stress, and remain calm no matter what we encounter. 

I was teaching an online class on Temperance and spent a month in contemplation of this energy. This figure of the Alchemical Astronaut kept arising in my mind’s eye. Once I captured the initial image I understood more of my own relationship with this force. The skeletal figure represents the underlying structure we all have within us. While the serpent images are symbols of the opposing forces and energies that compete for dominance in our life expression. In an active engagement we become capable of holding both in true awareness. While at first this may appear a simple balance, it takes focus, strength, and surrender to be be a vessel of Temperance. There is beauty in this life-giving tension.

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