I find myself more and more attracted to the Hebrew alphabet and other ancient alphabets in general though I can’t exactly say why. I try not to give too much weight to things just because they are old, opting to try to see things as they are without prejudice. Perhaps because it is something which is a link to people in the past, a clue to what they knew and believed.
I really think language is one of the reasons that people exist, if there is such a thing as fate. What do we do that no other animal does? We have language and a written record. Writing and language is, in that way, magical and divine. I probably mentioned a while back that I was thinking that perhaps it’s our, maybe unnatural, fascination with patterns in sound and vision that led to our development of language and writing and also the remnants of the same keeps us having deep feelings for art and music.
There is something special in these old languages. There is something special in our current languages as well. Like all other symbols I wonder, looking at each, what they mean, what they point to.
The 8th letter of the Hebrew alphabet, heth, means a wall or a gate. The glyph in the Phoenician alphabet for the same letter resembles a fence or a gate. That is exactly what I am working on here in the 8 of Swords. I hate to admit that I don’t remember exactly how I got to this point as just like usual I seem to forget a lot of what I work on with tarot, it seems to come from a dreamy like place that is quickly forgotten when you wake up or in my case when I resume my mundane life. I try to write everything down though so I have a record of it.
Anyway, here I am with this image for the 8 of Swords. It is a gate within an archway. I love it! It has been so much fun. I have a castle on a hill that you can see through the gate and arch. While researching arches I realized the whole composition looked very similar to the Masonic tracing boards. I also, at some point, thought about making 2 towers with one closer and one off in the distance but after sketching it like that didn’t like it at all. Then as I looked at this sketch it dawned on me that it didn’t just look like a view through a gate to a castle, but a view from the gate of one castle to another. It connects this whole transposition thing I have going on with the 8s.
There is a magician in there. I was sketching the door on the far tower gate when I made a squiggle with my pencil not meaning it to be anything and realized it looked just like a classic magician. So there he is! I’ll make sure to keep him there.
Then I sketched in 3 windows that will be lit up. I thought it would be neat to have a bird or two flying through the arch then as I started to sketch it I remembered a snippet of a dream I had where 3 small birds had gotten into the house. Sparrows or something similar. They were sitting there all together on the ridge of something I can’t remember. So I drew them in then realized they were the counterparts to the 3 windows and also realized you, the viewer out through the arch were the counterpart to the Magician.
Something I have long wanted to do is a gateway of 2 sphinxes. They might show up in some form on one of the other 8s but in this one it has morphed into the 2 sides of the arch, I should say the arch grew from the sphinxes. And the pillars holding the arch, or the sides of the arch are Jachin and Boaz. Of Course. Ha ha. I was struck with an idea then. Yes I admit it is a bit random and intuitive not necessarily backed up by any facts, but I felt the Boaz and Jachin could be Babylon and Jerusalem. Both had great towers or temples, yes? And if you look at the two ancient cities on a map you see that they formed a gateway to the most ancient of civilizations, at least one that seeded much of our existence, Mesopotamia.
thought of not mentioning this here or anywhere, keeping it to myself, just one of those little things I play with but figured what the heck, I’ll put it in the journal but I think I’ll leave it off the book – if anyone is interested they can have fun deciphering it, I know I would. So, down the left pillar is Babylon. It starts with an English B and then I am going to make the rest of the word….well let me tell you how I did this; I first translated Babylon into Hebrew. I know the real ancient Hebrew spelling is bet bet lamed, and comes from the Akkadian word for gateway to heaven (!), but I decided to find some middle ground between the ancient and modern so I took the more modern translation of letters, if you must know, bet, alef, bet, yod, lamed, ayin, nun, and then I translated those into Phoenician letters and those are the letters that will be on the pillar. I think I will try to make them very subtle. I did the same with Jerusalem.
Now, if you take those midway between old and new translations and add up the gematria, Babylon is 57 which reduces to 12 then 3. Jerusalem is 597 (I could probably go on and on about that alone) which reduces to 21 and 3. See it? 1221 or 2112. The oh so …irrational, lol, belief that the world will end. Maybe there is just something in your head knowing you will pass through a gate on that date. The hanged man and the Universe. Also notice that 12/21 is the date or very close to the Winter Solstice…..ahhhhh it all starts making sense, in that weird intuitive way.
Like I said I am having a lot of fun with this.
Of course there is an 8 pointed star on the keystone though you can’t see the uppermost 3 points, as it should be. The gate I fashioned from another dream I had years ago. It isn’t exact, I would need a wider space and really a much bigger canvas to do that justice but the design has the same simplicity and just simple crosses on the top of the bars. The cross I think reminds me of the central point of the 8 where the two worlds collide or the desolate wasteland you stare across to see your enemy or other or counterpart, the person you must put yourself in the place of in order to reach a complete understanding.
I also realized today that being 40, I am now the same number as Mem, elemental water, great connectedness between all things. And Death. And The Emperor.
Ok, now that I got that down on virtual paper I am going to get back to my sketch! Ciao!