Something shifted today. I have no idea what it was. But I had the easiest, slowest, most gentle tai chi day I can recall having. I got up, I did the two forms at normal speed for me, and then I eased into the form. And it was simple, and smooth, and it took me about twenty minutes. I have no idea why it took me 20 minutes, but it did. The tai chi did me, rather than I doing it, I guess.
Yesterday was a marathon art studio day for me.
With the exception of one small hour-glass-shaped hole in the upper right hand corner, I finished all of the linework for this mandala of geomancy that I’ve been working on for weeks. There’s three more small roundels to be inked, but the pencil drawings inside of them are completed. They’ll be inked this morning, probably. The sign for Amissio looks too much like a death’s head mask or bag, but maybe that’s appropriate. I’m trying to decide whether to add color to the image or not, beyond the line work joining the points of the star; I think I will eventually, but probably not today. I have two other art projects I’d like to finish today, if I can, and sort of “clear my desk” for the other things I have in mind to work on.
It’s of some concern to me that the image for Cauda Draconis (lower edge of the photo, center) is so much denser than the other roundels. But hey, sometimes that’s how these things play out.
In the process of making this mandala, I had to build my own compass before I could even start working on this very large paper. I had to learn how to do the geometry for a sixteen pointed star. And then I had to learn which of the several sixteen-pointed stars was the best choice for a geomantic mandala. I then had to wrestle with the challenge — they were all perfect for a geomantic mandala; BUT, I could only do one of them at a time, to this level of detail. Which I’ve now done (and I’m not sure that I want to do any of the others). But more than that, I had to find the right mental headspace where the work — initially difficult and involving a lot of thinking, and rethinking, and overthinking — suddenly became easy, not hard; and shifted from “why am I doing this?” to “I know what I need to do next for success.”
And I think I’ve gone through that process with tai chi, too. It’s interesting that in the layout that I eventually settled on, these various forces came together on the mandala:
Here are the some of the luckiest forces in astrology and geomancy and alchemy, all coming together in the same quadrant of the mandala — oriented with Kether below them on the tree of life at the center. Here is the Philosopher’s Stone, the power of projection in alchemy; Fortuna Minor and Fortuna Major — lucky breaks, and personal strength; and Illumination in alchemy — the Sun winging out of the sepulcher of ruin.
And, set amid all these lucky and prosperous signs and auspicious success, and grand achievements, is the prison door of Carcer — the most negative of the geomantic emblems, the most downtrodden of signs, the most unlucky symbol.
Sometimes, success comes from accepting limitation, and focusing one’s self single-mindedly. Sometimes the narrow cell is the best place for accomplishing great work.