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My painting of Michael in his aspect as archangel of the Qabalistic sphere of Hod, which corresponds to Mercury and Water.
The dragon holds a crescent tattwa of Water in its hand.
Upon Michael's armor are the Chinese characters for the first line of the Daodejing: Dào kě dào, fēi cháng dào ("The Way that can be trodden is not the true Way.")
For years I’ve been puzzled by the traditional attribution of Michael with the sphere of Hod/Mercury, which represents the Mind and Intellect. What does the quintessential warrior angel have to do with mentation and cognition? This painting reminded me that the greatest battles are those we wage with our neuroses, traumas, biases, and emotions, and that we win not by killing but by entering into right relation with them.
Seen in this light, the old motif of Michael “defeating” a dragon takes on a new, sublimer meaning. Dion Fortune wrote of this:
“The assignation of the mighty Archangel Michael to Hod again gives us food for thought. He is always represented as trampling upon a serpent and piercing it with a sword, and frequently holds in his hand a pair of balances, symbolic of equilibrium and expressive of the same idea as the Yetziratic words, ‘Mean of the Primordial.’ ... The serpent upon which the great Archangel [Michael] treads is primitive force, the phallic serpent of the Freudians; and this glyph teaches us that it is the restrictive ‘prudence’ of Hod which ‘shortens’ primitive force and prevents it from overflowing its boundaries.”
This image of an enlightened being in right relation with a primitive force is not new. It can be seen in the traditional motif of Quanyin riding a dragon—a symbol of the Enlightenment-mind (specifically with its quality of Compassion) taming and even being supported and empowered by the forces of instinctual and tumultuous experience. Likewise, a passing statement in the Younger Edda reveals that, of all the Aesir, only Tyr had courage to feed Fenrir the wolf—the same beast he would later assist in binding, through the sacrifice of his hand.
Illustrator of the sacred, based in Los Angeles. With a focus on occult, magickal & spiritual themes, I use analog & digital and 2D & 3D mediums to bring viewers—including myself—through a visual journey into the sacred aspects of our lived experience. My hope is that my art confronts & invites the viewer towards the understanding that the sacred is always already imminent.
This is a gallery-quality giclée art print on 100% cotton rag archival paper, printed with archival inks. Each art print is listed by sheet size. Our 4 inch prints feature a minimum half-inch margin while larger sizes feature a minimum one-inch margin.