Benjamin Higbee is an artist who approaches his work with a deep sense of the importance of process. It begins with sketches and digital sketches that are assembled into a ‘Comp’. This is printed in black and white as a template over which he inks a revised drawing on Vellum. The inked drawing is scanned and digitally edited and converted into a vector file. After tweaking, the image is imported into Photoshop and digitally painted. It is then printed in color on cotton rag paper and hand painted with acrylic and pigmented oil glazes to a finished state. It is then photographed and digitally merged with the original digitally painted version. This is then considered the master digital file from which the print edition comes. The result is an image that is rich in pattern and movement, with a visual relationship to woodcuts though made of shapes that interact with a light source. Patterns coalesce into forms and the forms are given shape by light playing on the patterns.
The inspiration for the imagery is developed by researching each zodiac sign, and its associated mythological symbols, and combining them together into a composition that reflects the characteristics described by the sign. Plants, trees, minerals, colors, and design elements associated with each sign are included in the composition. Some patterns and background elements are inspired by works in the history of art and are utilized as elements in the composition to create a connection with the past. In Pisces, for example, the top half of the work is a body of water reflecting light over a pattern inspired by William Morris. Water is a symbol of emotion and reflects a connection with the past.
Symbols we identify with (in a work of Art) and the meaning we ascribe to them are deeply personal experiences. These experiences are molded by culture and the network of subcultures with which we find affinity. It is a fascinating thing to stretch back beyond the time we live in and discover the sources of symbols and begin to see a lineage, a connection with the archaic past, and see it alive and well in the now, while subtly transformed, oftentimes nearly invisible. An example of this is the cross. It means certain things to present-day Christians and Catholics but if one were to transport back in time to Druidic England, before any influence by Christians, one would find the Celtic Cross. It predates the Christian cross by millennia. It was a symbol of the cardinal points, the four directions, the path of the earth around the sun, forming the 360 degrees of a full year, and the four seasons. Symbols are inherited, absorbed, and transformed in their meaning over time. Symbols and their connection to us in the present tether us all to a forgotten past in which sacred notions about the linearity of time begin to dissolve.
The Zodiac is a reminder of an important way of seeing, one in which cycles of time, the great circle of life, and the recurrence of patterns of phenomena enlighten our understanding of the distant past. In this way, we could consider the end of our civilization the birth of a new one. A previous civilization passes on its symbols, while many lives and many years serve to rebuild new meaning over its ashes. We might say of such a period: that it descended into the ‘Dark Ages’, wallowing in the ruins of collapsed magnificent edifices of once-great temples and had lost the systemic structure of knowledge that had once driven the populace to reach the apex of accomplishment. But that apex is only a blip on a much larger cycle of time in which the bar had been set much higher by a previous civilization, only to be erased by cataclysm, swallowed by the sea, or sucked into the earth's mantle and recycled into stone. and on and on into who knows how many previous ages. We consider ourselves today to be the apex of all civilizations and it is this arrogant notion that history provides a plethora of mockery for.
From Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrological_age
Though so many issues are contentious or disputed, there are two aspects of the astrological ages that have virtually unanimous consensus—firstly, the link of the astrological ages to the axial precession of the Earth and commonly referred to as precession of the equinoxes; secondly, that, due to the nature of the precession of the equinoxes, the progression of the ages proceeds in the reverse direction through the zodiacal signs. Normally, during the course of the astrological year, commencing around 21 March at the vernal equinox, the Sun moves through the zodiacal signs commencing with Aries, then Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and, finally, Pisces. After Pisces the Sun enters Aries and commences the cycle all over again. However, the astrological ages proceed in the reverse direction. Therefore, after the Age of Pisces, the next age is the Age of Aquarius, followed by the Age of Capricorn, and so on.
There is a third aspect of the astrological ages that has very wide consensus amongst astrologers. Though astrologers cannot agree upon the year, century or millennium for the start of any age, they generally agree upon the core historical events associated with the recent Ages since the start of the Holocene Epoch. For example, the Age of Leo with massive global warming that resulted in the deglaciation of Earth at the end of the last Ice Age, Age of Cancer with domestication and the Biblical Flood; the Age of Gemini is associated with the invention of writing, the Age of Taurus with Ancient Egypt and its massive pyramids, the Aries age with the Iron Age and the Age of Pisces with Christianity. Astrologers claim that each zodiacal sign has associated archetypes, which are often referred to traditionally as ‘rulerships’. For example, Gemini rules the hands, dexterity and communication and draws upon all these archetypes to produce the first written word in the Age of Gemini, specifically in Sumer, Mesopotamia.”
And so the zodiac is our map of the stars and their position can roughly be charted through the precessional four seasons and the 3 ages within each of them, by using the zodiac, telling us where we are, when we are, and what we are. And that is pretty amazing. And even more amazing than that is how amazing YOU are. Go be yourself in all your divinely bestowed majesty and make the world a better place from your having been in it. CREATE!
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The great precessional year begins in Leo, 13000 years ago. This date marks the end of the most recent Ice Age. It is also the date that many scholars such as Robert M. Schoch are now roughly ascribing to the date of the construction of the Sphynx in Giza, Egypt, (more accurately 7-9000 BC, but within the Age of Leo), rewriting the official dates ascribed by Egyptologists. In the Egyptians’ own historical records, carved in the temple of Edfu, is the story of Zep Tepi, ‘The First Time', in which the remnants of a destroyed people brought the Egyptians high civilization. They taught them how to build, carve stone, brew beer, etc. These people were from another place, far from the humble beginnings of Nile river tribes. The seven Apsu sages rallied the Egyptian locals into the first incarnation of 'empire' in what they and their descendants described as “The First Time”, 9000 years before the first Pharaohs. The first time since what? The first time after what? The first time for what?
It is a curious thing to consider that it may have been the first time after the end of the last Ice age, the first time in the precessional year, the Age of Leo, when globally, the promise of civilization began crawling out of the deep freeze that had lasted 26,000 plus years, ending 13,000 years ago. It has been 39000 years in total to this moment, and 100000+ years or so since the outset of the trend toward the last ice age began (This is a matter for further scientific study). It is a long time of forgetting, a past so far beyond memory it is known to us only in myth and legend.
There is evidence of a global civilization actively navigating all oceans, (as the Piri Reis map suggests), connected by technologies we can only dream of, prior to the maximum glaciation of the last ice age. It is written of in the Mahabharata of Ancient India, the first few chapters of Genesis in the Bible, on Sumerian tablets, in Greek and Nordic myths, and in the writing of Plato who mentions the ancient city-state of Atlantis and its Tamil parallel in the pacific, the legendary Lemuria Both could have been interconnected sites of the same global circumnavigating society.
New archaeological finds 150 to 400 feet deep off the coast of Western India, Yona Guni Island, Japan, under mounds of sand in Turkey at a place called Gobekle Tepi, in the high altitudes of Bolivia at Lake Titicaca at a site called Puma Punku, and in the layerings of Incan stonework, the deepest foundations of which even Incans themselves credit a previous civilization for having built.
These examples describe the concept of cyclic time and the relevance of its idea to us, of seasons of the earth in its great precessional year of 12 ages, each one 2150 years, from which the Zodiac itself was born, and each and every one of us born within it, that spinning sphere of Earth transiting the sun in a shallow elliptical orbit, with a slight wobble that takes 25920 years to complete a rotation through.
According to the Zodiac, we all are born in the age of Pisces and are witnessing the transition to the age of Aquarius. It is a tumultuous and interesting time to live. And what of our spiraling toward ever-increasing novelty toward a singularity as Terence Mckenna theorized?
Let's save that for later.
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