Beginnings

Beginnings

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Acrylic on canvas, gallery wrap, (painted on edges), 18″ x 24″ – SOLD – limited edition prints available.

I am always researching and collecting images, and the central scene depicted in the painting "Beginnings" comes direct from the book "Lady of the Beasts–Ancient Images of the Goddess and Her Sacred Animals", by Buffie Johnson. The author states– "The tree is central to the realm of the sacred; it is an upward extension the revered earth. Venerated as divine, ‘tree’, encompasses an incredible variety of meanings…as a pole… center of ancient temples, as a pillar that represents the Great Goddess or Tree of Life as shown in both Crete and Mycenae…"

"In Mexico the combination of bird and pole continues. Among the Mayans and Mexicans, the spirit is a bird that descends in order to impart life to the pillar. Among the Mexican and American Indians, crosses meant to invoke rain are usually composed of tree trunks, each with two horizontal branches and a bird perched on top."

"Among the Mayans, the Sacred Tree blossoms in the form of the ‘tau cross’ with a quetzal bird alight on the upper fork. Under the tree’s snakelike roots the great earth serpent arises, and from  the trunk hang figs resembling human breasts. It is a peculiarity of the sycamore fig that the fruit stems from the stock of the tree and not, as in the common fig, from the branches. Two figures, …face each other across the tree trunk and reach out to pick the nourishing fruit for humankind."

Accompanying the text is a small b&w illustration— "Two figures pick figs from the sacred tree. Pre-Columbian Mayan Codex, Fejervary, Pre-Columbian"

From this simple, (and tiny), illustration I took the central theme for the picture- the more basic the idea, the more open it is to my own interpretation. Also, the motif of two similar figures facing a single interior pole or other device is a common design crossing cultural and historical boundaries, and therefore has, in my opinion, an archetypal significance.

The implied interior hill is reminiscent of the Irish fairy mounds which are said to be inhabited by an earlier race of beings; In folklore, the mounds are said to open at certain times and under certain conditions.

The myriad of images inside the hill implies the beginnings of creation, the dreaming dark where ideas become reality, where abstract concepts take on form.