The Twos – Drawings from December…


Two of Pentacles
collage, ink and colored pencil on paper
8.5″ x 11″

Letting The Subconscious Lead…

My exploration of the tarot continued this month as I found myself drawing the twos. Balance, choices, decisions – these are some of the main themes involved with the second card in each suit of the minor arcana.

One of the background themes on my mind this month, which you can find in these two drawings, is the ever-present reality of death – we consume food and we will become food. I’ve been re-reading some of Carlos Castaneda’s writing over the month, and much of the wisdom of the shaman Don Juan includes the constant reminder that death is always just a moment away, that time is not a luxury you can waste frivolously, and we are all a part of the process of consumption – consuming and being consumed. By making death our friend and companion we learn we’ll never know death’s touch until the perfect moment. Death, in this case should not be thought of through the filters of Western Civilization thinking which fears death, but instead should be thought of in the shamanistic way, with acceptance as one of many important steps along the path of life.

The drawing above is the Two of Pentacles, or Coins. It shows a person juggling his choices while shuffling his feet to maintain his balance. Surrounding, and ultimately constraining his choices is the symbol for eternity. The dance of his decisions is done within the jaws of the World Tree, always connecting the Above with the Below – the interior vision with the exterior world.

The drawing below is the Two of Swords. Swords, in the tarot, are symbolic of the air, of the intellect. The crescent moon rules over the mind here, which is blindly making decisions while the eyes of many serpents move up and down the World Tree. The teeth of the “dog-eat-dog” world are constantly present as a reminder of death and it’s ever-present closeness.

In both of these drawings I’ve been pleased by the amount of subconscious material has been embedded in the symbolism of the drawing. Each time I look at them I find more material revealed, more ideas surfacing to be considered. The descriptions of the drawing provided here are just a starting point and are by no means a final description – the point here is for each viewer to find ideas formed in their own minds triggered by the various symbolism of the drawings.


Two of Swords
collage, ink and colored pencil on paper
8.5″ x 11″

These drawings are part of a group called the Esoterica Series – you can find more drawings from this series in my Portfolio:

Some Thoughts About Decisions, Dreams, Words and Big Sur

jon99bw1Decisions, Decisions…

Time is a map and we build upon it with our dreams and decisions. Every thing we do, and every action we engage in has an effect upon ourselves and on the world around us.

The abstract expressionist painter Robert Motherwell wrote that a painting is the result of thousands of decisions. If you have ever been involved with the creative process (and who hasn’t) you’ll understand what he meant.

We each do the same thing with our lives, make decision after decision, choice after choice… you can not avoid that responsibility. Even if we delude ourselves into thinking someone else has control over my life, I still have the responsibility for how I react and the decisions I make based on other peoples choices that affect me.

In hockey it works like this; the referee might let a little infraction slide, but if a player takes matters into his own hands and retaliates, most likely he’ll end up in the penalty box. I think most parents will understand the social management wisdom on the part of the referees.

In this world people will offend you, will cut you off on the road, will cut in line, smile to your face and then stab you in the back, cheat on you, lie to you, steal from you and worse… why, because we’re all becoming human beings, and in this world you will have suffering. That’s not my original thought – every great religion will point that out and you don’t have to live long to experience the truth of the matter…

But that is not the end of it – you have choices, and you have dreams.

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