This painting symbolizes the mirror of the soul — of consciousness — and how we relate to that which surrounds us. It is about simultaneously looking within ourselves and taking in our externalities in order to achieve balance and oneness with the universe. Even though we exist in a material world, we are capable of reaching beyond and realizing our highest and most divine ideals, and in so doing, freely transitioning between physical, ethereal and visionary realms.
The leopard in this painting symbolizes the third eye, our capability to see beyond the physical reality in front of us. It also represents the instinctual wisdom of the animal kingdom that is accessible for us to share. The circle symbolizes the material world and the wings symbolize our ability to move freely and unconstrained, and to expand our consciousness if we so choose. The woman represents the connection between all, the outstretched palms connecting with the outside world while the joined palms represent what lies within.
The title of this card - Self Portrait - informs you that you are looking at an image of yourself. You see yourself as both human, in contemplation of other worlds, and as the alert leopard - its gaze peering into your own as you share each others perceptions. The legs, or “grounding sticks”, of both figures disappear off the portrait, making each one dreamlike, with some portion of themselves hidden in mystery. If you are seeking an answer regarding the probable results of a chosen endeavor, this card is saying that your pursuit of that endeavor will yield the greatest kind of success - a greater knowledge of your authentic self. Whether or not your success will also include hoped-for goals of a more mundane nature is not yet clear, because there are choices yet to be made that will shape the course of this phase of your life.
You are invited to imagine yourself as the subject, to take her place and experience what she is experiencing. She shows us where we can go and encourages us to come along. We have the choice of whether or not to go with her.
The social structure of the ancient tribes included a male leader whose job was to protect, make sure that necessities of survival like food and shelter were provided, as well as keep order among the members. Alongside the leader was a female shaman whose role it was to connect with the higher spirit of nature and receive communications from The Source. The leader consulted with the shaman and together they decided what was best for the tribe. This was the perfect and absolute balance between male and female, between heavens and earth, and between all inhabitants.
One day a tribal leader decided to replace the female with a male shaman. From that moment on the balance was upset as the leaders, instead of focusing on the good of all, began to think about power and force, acquiring greatness for themselves at the expense of others. In so doing, they destroyed the peace and harmony of coexistence. We can see this today as religions of the world that are run by men vie over power and control. Perhaps one day the shamanic female will return to her role and the peace and balance we once enjoyed will again be shared and experienced by all people.