ithell colquhoun magician born of nature
© All texts copyright Richard Shillitoe 2015-16  All artworks copyright the estate of the artist.

the occultist:

the tree of life
It is customary to refer to ‘The Tree of Life’ as though there is only one. This is an oversimplification. The Qabalah teaches that manifested existence is divisible into four worlds, or planes. They represent degrees of materialisation between the unmanifest and the solidified cosmos. As the Tree of Life projects downwards through the four worlds, it follows that each world has its own Tree and each sephirah has a fourfold nature. Amongst its other attributes, each sephirah, in each world, has its own associated colour. In most depictions of the Tree, the colours used for the sephiroth are those of Assiah, the material world. In Colquhoun’s paintings she has, for each sephirah, combined the colour attributions from each of the worlds, to produce images of great beauty, originality and magical powers.    At the time that she was working on these paintings, Colquhoun was also writing her poetic sequence “The Decad of Intelligence”. Here is the poem from the series for Chokmah, alongside her image. There is more about the image here . Illuminating Intelligence Sphere of the Zodiac Root of elemental fire Wisdom the Kings a male image Star-ruby turquoise musk amaranth Phosphorus hashish Right cerebrum pineal gland Line cross Philosophical sulphur Saturn as metal Air man as god-the-father Lingam robe of glory Devotion angelic Wheels Joy vision face-to-face Each poem details the magical attributions of a sephirah. It is likely that she intended the images, the words and the sounds of the words spoken aloud to be used together as aids to meditation on the Tree. The outcome of such meditation would be a transmutation of consciousness; an awakening of the latent and profound connections between humanity, nature and the divine, and of restoring a paradisial union between them. Could there be any grander achievement in her art?