Saturday, November 28, 2009

FROM OUR WORKSHOP: The Queen of Wands

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The Queen of Wands © November 28, 2009, pen & ink on Strathmore Bristol 100 pound vellum. The original is approximately 14" x 17" , and is cut out and mounted in layers.

I started this piece in late October and didn’t expect it to take over a month to complete. At that time I was on a roll, producing art quickly and with regularity. I was focused initially on a self-portrait of myself and my spirit guide, Gregor. I’ve always wanted to do a self-portrait, but never got around to it. Maybe it’s because I never knew myself fully until this point in my life. As the piece emerged, it looked like a strega (Italian witch) and her guardian, which was appropriate because I have past life memories and impressions all around these geographic and esoteric areas. In fact, when walking a path that included the Craft, the only documented facet of modern day witchcraft that resonated to me authentically was the old religion, Stregheria. Everything else seemed reinvented. That was long before meeting my spiritual mother. I was much younger, and I’ve written much about it.

Wands, (also called Rods or Sticks) are one of four minor arcana suits in a tarot deck. They are about spirit, or spirituality and intuition. The royals in this suit are about spiritual mastery and intuitiveness. Likewise, this Queen is highly intuitive, and is a catalyst for growth in others. If this Queen is in your life (in one form or another), or if you meet her and interact with her, you will grow. You will grow because of her or in spite of her. But, have no doubt … you will change and grow.

The key phrase for the Queen of Wands is I know myself. This Queen has walked the paths of both dark and light, selfishness and compassion, and made a conscious choice toward personal evolution. She knows who she is and accepts herself wholly and without illusion. She no longer needs to see her reflection in the eyes of others for personal definition, and is beyond looking to others for approval. However, she remembers the lessons of her past.

The dragon in this piece indicates the presence of the most primal spiritual energy in the Queen’s existence. Not spirituality that you read or write about and not the kind you go to lectures to learn. Dragons, in a spiritual context, represent the day-to-day spirituality which is intrinsically a part of our lives ... also known as little voice that speaks to us. Dragons are the supreme guardian, present even before Christianity defined angels, and the modern new age movement defined spirit guides. Before all this, there was the primal and ancient dragon, whose presence as guardian, mentor, and messenger kept us connected with our spiritual and emotional natures, the truest form of who we are as spiritual beings. Now, as the earth shifts on its spiritual axis, dragon guides re-emerge to awaken the sleepers (us).

I struggled with this piece for days, through the new moon in Scorpio, the Saturn/Pluto astrological thing, a wicked case of premenstrual syndrome and as work (my office job) ramped up intensely. Suddenly, my time and attention were pulled elsewhere, and I felt like I was navigating life under water for a week. The image of the witch and her dragon seemed blurry as they competed with one another for space on the page. I had the hardest time doing her face, too, and tried and failed more than once. I reached out to my family and artistic friends on the net, looking for guidance, and for a time, I considered scrapping the piece entirely. But no, I was too in love with the dragon, my beloved Gregor, even if the rest of the piece didn't work well. So, I reworked it intensely, cutting, redo-ing, resizing, and reshaping. Then, satisfied with my efforts and in a moment of defiance, I decided to let the piece birth itself for better or worse.
I woke up one morning and realized as much as this was a self-portrait, it was also a portrait of the Queen of Wands. Herein was the cathartic moment. It was still me, but it was She, as well. With this realization, I found the Queen's inspiration, and the muse began dancing. I'd like to say the composition and flow moved perfectly thereafter. But, it didn't. She still gave me a lot of grief in her birthing. Maybe she's just a difficult Queen to get along with, hm?
I present to you the the second in my series of Tarot Queens (which began with the Queen of Pentacles in September).
So much love,


Norn Cutson said...

She's very special, Donna!
i like how you solved the problem of blending together!

V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios said...

This is stunning! So beautiful. What a triumph. I think this is my favorite piece of yours.

Donna L. Faber said...

@V-Grrrl -- really? A favorite? Wow, that is something given how much I went through to get it done! I'm so glad!!

@norn -- ah norn, I do so appreciate your input. When I was struggling with that blending, your input really helped me get my head on straight. Thank you so much!

Thanks to both of you. Facebook and Twitter are all cool. But there's nothing quite like getting comments on your blog, right?


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