Finding unity of the Self through inner sight
My latest piece of work, “Blessing the Pharaoh”, reflects an alchemical unity of the two. The two figures on either side of the central figure manifest this unity, in a way that reflects the human soul and tells a story of inner sight.
“He who looks outside dreams. He who looks inside awakens.”
– Carl Jung
In painting “Blessing the Pharaoh”, my intent was to represent the light of a new age; one which returns the sacred feminine back into harmony in our psyche.
A cross-cultural story depicting ancient Egyptian gods in connection with Māori myths
The story of “Blessing the Pharaoh” is anchored around three figures; a central Māori goddess, with two Egyptian gods on either side, representing her two brain ways of thinking.
The left and right figures are the Egyptian gods Horus and Set; inspired by and based on the Egyptian statue of ‘Horus and Seth blessing Ramesses III’, found in Cairo museum.
“I am drawn to the ever-unfolding wisdom and links between Egyptian and Māori myths, which demonstrate principles of nature in the form of gods and goddesses.”
Fascinated by the link between my Māori heritage and the ancient Egyptians, I have created a cross-cultural story, which explores a transformation of consciousness, or ‘state of awareness.’
At the heart of this process, I'm using symbolism from esoteric teachings and Māori art and tradition to pass on taonga (treasures) of ancestral knowledge to future generations.
The goddess at the threshold of life and death
Symbols of the divine feminine
The central figure depicts our Māori ancestral mother. She embodies atua wahine – divine feminine lunar energy.
The black background of Te Pō (the long night) that surrounds her embodies this goddess energy too; reflecting the Māori cosmology of ‘the womb of potentiality’ – or, the sense of ‘potential being.’
I have depicted our ancestral mother with my eyes, reflecting my Māori heritage, and connecting my own wairua (energy/spirit) to the painting. She also has the same moko kauae (chin tattoo) as my Ngati Porou tupuna (ancestors).
The atua wahine (goddess) guides our souls through Rarohenga (the underworld). She is the Māori goddess who dwells at the threshold between life and death – Hine-nui-te-pō.
“Maku e kapu i te toiora o a taua tamariki” – “I will secure the spiritual welfare of our children.”
The story of Horus and Set; the Egyptian gods
Pictured on the left, is the Egyptian falcon-headed god Horus; the son of Osiris and Isis. Depicted on the right is his uncle Set.
Horus’ father Osiris was a great king, but he was willfully blind to the danger of his brother Set; he underestimated him. Set had been plotting against his brother, in an aim to thieve the reigns of the kingdom. It is understood by Egyptian legends that Set stole his brother's throne, chopping Osiris into many pieces and scattering his body across Egypt.
Though Horus’ father was destroyed, his spirit and soul lived on in culture and tradition; something Set was unable to take from him. This legend harkens back to the broader idea surrounding the human soul and inner sight.
Just like our ancestral Māori mother Hine-nui-te-pō, Isis – Horus’ mother – was the queen of the underworld. Another connection between Māori goddesses and Egyptian gods; reinforcing the idea of divine feminine lunar energy.
Horus - the son of the powerful Osiris and Isis; Horus – like a falcon in flight – has the crucial ability to see with great perspective. Horus used this power of perspective to battle his uncle Set. In honour of his father, he fought to retrieve his father's kingdom. Horus won this fight, but lost his left eye in the process.
The loss of the left eye; the loss of a holy, unified vision
One of the many symbols in “Blessing the Pharaoh”, is the unity of left and right brain ways of thinking.
In human sight, the vital nervous energy from our left and right eyes cross an “optic chiasm” to the opposite sides of our brain.
So, in Egyptian legends, when Horus lost his left eye, he lost his imaginative, holistic “right” brain way of thinking. Leaving him with his right “solar” eye – as depicted in the painting – and his “left”, analytical brain way of thinking.
Ultimately, the loss of the left eye symbolises a loss of a holy and unified vision.
Returning to the centre of self and embracing the vital principle of opposition
After Horus defeated his uncle, legends reveal that he journeyed to the underworld to repair his left eye and reunite with his father Osiris. Gifting his repaired eye to the blind king, he returned to the world together with his father.
“Horus is the concept of return, returning home or returning to the centre of self.”
Although Horus defeated his uncle Set, he did not kill him. Instead, he reconciled with him. This reconciliation symbolises that without challenge and opposition, there is no creation or achievement. If Horus hadn’t lost his eye in battle, he wouldn’t have journeyed to the underworld and reunited with his father.
Egyptologist John Anthony West described Set as "representing the vital principle of opposition. Before the painter makes their first mark, the blank canvas stares back at them in challenge. When a writer opens their laptop, Set defiantly blinks at them as the cursor on the screen, daring their creative will."
Awakening to the soul by discovering balance
“Blessing the Pharaoh” symbolises a new state of being where left brain logic and right brain holistic thinking do not overrule one another, but actually establish unity at a deeper level.
Our Māori queen; the ancestral mother of the underworld represents unity in the centre of the painting. This is the principle of “the third” which emerges from the “two-ness” of Horus and Set who stand on either side of our queen.
“Just as vertical, masculine, divine will is sacred, so too is horizontal, feminine imagination and manifestation. We remember ourselves on the cross of spirit and matter, perfectly balanced at the central seat of consciousness.”