Bliss Queen & Aspirant

© Jennifer Wagner, 2002

reduced from life size

The theme of the old wise woman, or crone, in conversation with a younger, hopeful woman has 'shown up' in several of my drawings of these faces. Importantly, the first time was in the very first drawing I every made of two faces, in 1987, and that story is a good one to tell. The older woman I portrayed in that first drawing was so frightening I almost threw 'her' away. Ironical - as I now am 62, I am more aware of this urge to not look at the aged, which is so very strong in our culture! I was 38 at the time I discovered this process, and so, not at all ready to look at myself as an aging person. Of course, in the first many more than original 42 (depicting my relationship to the archetypal energies of the 21 action cards of the Major Arcana of Tarot) face drawings that I completed, I wasn't seeing the characters who emerged as SELF-portraits, at all. It took quite a while to realize the (inner / psyche's mirror) self-portrait aspect of this art process. In conversation with that crone, the other woman I drew that first time appeared to be a sort of chatelaine, or elegant and capable woman, perhaps in her late 20's or early 30's - and her countenance was most serene! I was so shocked at the 2 women, firstly because I'd expected to find a 'kiss' between my inner masculine and feminine (yet, not thinking 'self-portrait'), and here was something quite different! I drew a line between the third eyes of their foreheads, and that is when the image of the face-vase popped out! The woman whom I called a hag, I named "Minerva" - and later looked her up to remember Minerva is the Goddess of Wisdom and Invention - and then, loved her! How could I ever have been so irreverent?! I called the chatelaine woman "Prudence", with the humorous and hopeless thought that should I ever be prudent, I would be so serene. While I've forgotten the journal-writing conversation I created for Minerva and Prudence, their relationship was less a wisdom figure and an aspirant, more as two wisdom figures in relationship. After understanding the implications of "Minerva" I thought they were both most hopeful. I have lost the first set of drawings except in a photo, I'll work at getting Prudence and Minerva to this page. I also remember another drawing of a young woman aspiring in conversation with an older wise woman, which I did in this technique. "Anthripa and Jewel" portrays a younger woman wishing for the comforts of wisdom and self-confidence that come naturally with age. Anthripa is younger than "Her Aspirant", and Jewel is older than Prudence and younger than The Bliss Queen. When I look at The Bliss Queen and Her Aspirant these days, I am always reminded that there is always a source within myself for the happiness of wisdom and certainty. Seeing these two women together reminds me that there will always be a younger part of me, and an older. That the gifts of youth, and of old age, are sure - and are golden!