Kavad 4.6 – north side

Kavad 4.6 – north side
Originally uploaded by anselm23

Via Flickr:
Here’s the whole north side of the kavad with both east and west panels open. The three windows on the left-center will be for the Druid elements or something from the scale of three in Agrippa. The twelve windows on the right will be the signs of the zodiac, and the triangles around them (outer columns) could just be color scales. Not sure yet. The eight circles in the middle… Birth stones, maybe? Signs of eight major stars? (royal stars in the four above? Four minor stars in the ones below? Maybe worth it to redesign this panel so each zodiac sign has a major star in it… hmmm. Decisions, decisions….)

Kavad 4.6 - zodiac signsOf course the basic discovery that I make each time I sit down to fill in a window, is that this information — which is so esoteric and weird — sometimes has an existing visual representation to help make it memorable, and more importantly has a whole series of interrelationships with all the other pieces of information that are eventually going to go onto this box.

For example, from the Flickr description of the photo at left, there’s the insight that this information HAS a specific layout on the page when arranged in columns and rows — earth, air, fire and water; and cardinal, fixed, and mutable.  This information is meant to be presented visually:

I realized after I laid out the months that in the next version I’ll want to lay them out so all the cardinal signs are in one column, fixed in another, and mutable in the third. That’s why there are twelve signs after all.

Also realized that my eight circles and sixteen triangles could become — with some wrangling in the next version — the signs of the twenty-eight Mansions of the Moon. Alas, in current arrangement, not possible. Smaller windows for the zodiac maybe.

And that means, that one of the effective functions of a kavad is to be a Palace of Memory.  A real, physical, portable one that you can transport around, and consult, and look at photographs of, in order to help one remember.  It can be a combination of altar, shrine, spirit bottle, memory palace, and energy battery, all at once.  That makes the power of this object to communicate information — to ANYONE — quite amazing.

It’s also amazing to me how many reference books I keep pulling off the shelves in order to find out what I need to know to do the next panel.  I shudder to think what my Google search files are starting to look like.


  1. I find that often times with anything that has to do with elements, planets, vedic astrology, western astrology, (the deeper parts of those, not just horoscopy stuff) and houses and charts- I just get really sleepy. My eyes get tired and I start to zone out, yet I can’t stop looking or absorbing. It’s a strange feeling that I haven’t had this vividly in a few years, and now, looking at some of your pages, I feel both out of my element and right in my element at the same time, and a nice mixture of inspired and also sedated…thank you for sharing it and helping me feel that again!

    • Astrology, in all its forms, was the rocket science of pre-modern times. It’s really complicated, really mathematical, and deeply counterintuitive in a lot of ways. There’s lots about it that I just don’t get. At the same time, it’s pretty clear to me that it’s part of the Palace of Memory that was used in the Renaissance, and that it can be used that way today, to help people become better at memory games and better users of information. Plus, it’s a beautiful way to learn how to be an artist, which is what I’m after.

      Have a nice night!

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