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Cancer – Descent and Growth of the Soul in Matter

Cancer represents the descent of the soul into matter and the relation of mother and child. At birth the soul ‘falls’ from the spiritual world into matter, imprisoned in the dense sheath of physical incarnation. The mother nourishes the child and gives her affection. Mother Nature protects the child until it awakens to the soul and consciously ascends from matter back to the spirit.

Meditating on the symbolism of Cancer I caught a glimpse of a converging spiral. In the spiral I perceived the different steps of the descent of the soul into matter, and this linked to the mother protecting the growing child. Their interaction reminded me of the glyph of Cancer, ♋.

However, it took some time of searching until I found access to the actual composition of the painting. As a point of departure, I chose a Shalagrama stone, an ammonite, whose spirals are regarded in the East as a symbol of the universal principle or God. I transformed light reflections from butter-lamps in an Indian temple to represent the stages of the descent of the soul, superimposing them on the spiral in different colour shades. For the mother and child I used elements of two Italian Renaissance painters: the mother from a painting of Fra Filippo Lippi (1406-1469) and the child from a painting of Fra Angelico (1395-1455). The spiral ends and also begins in the heart of the child, being near the heart of the mother – Cancer rules over the heart centre. The looks of Mother Nature come out of a veil of light; the face of the child radiates strength and purity. The surrounding greenish blue hints at the higher ruler of Cancer, Neptune.

See more pictures on the site with my paintings. If you want to print the image, you can download the file in medium and high resolution format.

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06 March 2016, pencils and photo work

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