shining Path



wood, shed python skin, silver, paint, strontium aluminate (glow-in-the-dark) pigment

77 inches X 36inches X 10inches

This sculpture is based on a triad of references: the Kaballah Tree of Life; the 20+ foot ball python Delilah (please note in the image below that those are 1 foot square tiles!) that lives in Artisans- the art supply store here in santa Fe, and a dream I had thirty years ago of the snake form of Kundalini. The shape and loops of the snake sculpture corresponds directly to the path of meditation on the Tree of Life that has been drawn through the sephiroth, or points on the Tree, known as the "shining Path".

The study of the Qabalah in western magical tradition is truly complex, each sephira having many correspondences with forces and factors in the manifested and esoteric universe, in which the different paths represent the successive stages of the development of the human conciousness. The sephiroth correspond with specific cards of the tarot. Paths of meditation through the sephiroth also correspond with the chakras as in Kundalini yoga.

This sculpture is a story of my own path as an artist, and my personal references interpret and reinterpret these esoteric traditions.

The sculpture is constructed of many pieces of recycled scrap sugar pine, laminated in three layers, then hollowed out. I cut the hatch doors after the carving was hollowed out and laminated back together using epoxy resin for stabilization and stiffness. The hatch doors are correspondant to the placement of the sephiroth on the Tree of Life.

I covered the carving with the shed snakeskin from Delilah, the ball python, who is roughly the size of the sculpture. Beneath the snakeskin, the carving is painted with strontium aluminate pigment that glows in the dark.

Beauty, strength, Crown

The inside of the snake is painted with stars, the constellations of the ecliptic (zodiac) showing up at hatch doors specific to each sephirah. Hanging inside each hatch is a cast silver amulet that has the descripitive word/value of each sephirah on one side and my interpreted image on the other. The doors have each a painting of either my interpretation of the corresponding tarot card, or my intuited image of the sepiroth's value, painted with One shot sign painter's enamel.


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2007 Erika Wanenmacher