Creating the art

The evolution and creation of my paintings is sparked by a deep and intensely personal journey into the realm of the subconscious — the kingdom of archetypes and the home of mysterious symbols. Looking back, I can see that this esoteric quest has been a theme running throughout my life and an odyssey that has become more subjective over time. The Tao Oracle project is a work that I personally experience as a timely and relevant source of insight, and I refer to it often. My aim is that for many people in today’s rapidly changing world the Tao Oracle will also function as a wise and trusted friend. My intention was for the I Ching’s wisdom, first collected thousands of years ago, to feel familiar to people today. Thus, the Tao Oracle ‘speaks’ in a down-to-earth and accessible manner.

The style of painting I used for the Tao Oracle is varied, textural and deep in tone, creating an aged effect. My aim was to express each hexagram’s qualities in a style of painting that would facilitate the viewer’s understanding of its message. For example, in Hexagram #2, The Receptive, the painting is of a female torso — round belly and breasts in gold and deep blue. Later the entire painting was covered in a fine-line pattern of trees and waves, birds and flowers. Only then did the image more fully depict the receptive principle that Lao Tzu calls ‘The Mother of all that is… the earth that supports and nurtures existence’. At first glance, with the eye captivated by the intricate pattern overlaying the female form, the viewer could be distracted and miss the meaning expressed in the art. Only after a deeper examination of the painting can that subtle meaning be revealed. To paint in this way required introspection, detachment and perseverance; the work became a full-on meditation.

This is my approach to life as well as to art — because I’ve learned that much of life’s rich experience is missed by going too fast. By slowing down and being with whatever IS, the interconnectedness of things and events is more readily apparent; then understanding and the way to proceed become clear.

Excerpt from “Embracing Heaven and Earth”
Viha Connection Magazine Volume XV Four

Osho Zen Taro

The Lovers

We are the World


All paintings from The Osho Zen Tarot are copyright © 1994 by Osho International Foundation

Tao Oracle

Attraction of Opposites

The Family

The Receptive

Excerpt from an interview…

with Ma Deva Padma by Percy Balemans for Aeclectic Tarot

What made you decide to create the Tao Oracle?

Before completing the Osho Zen Tarot, I knew in my bones that another deck was waiting to come forth. At first I thought it concerned runes, but through a series of extraordinary moments of understanding I ‘got’ that the inspiration was to be the I Ching. The realisation was then very clear to me that karmically I had to work to bring together these two pillars of wisdom: the east and the west.

What are the main differences between the Osho Zen Tarot and the Tao Oracle?

Upon completing the Tao Oracle, I realised that it resonates at a different frequency from the Osho Zen Tarot. I see the Zen deck as a bit like the sun: brilliant, vibrant; captivating in its colourful, graphic, clarity. In a purely tactile way, the Zen deck snaps; it is easy to handle. It functions like a Zen stick straight to the head, creating a flash of understanding that then sinks beneath the chatter of the mind to create heightened awareness and insight. That’s essentially how it facilitates self-transformation.

On the other hand, the Tao deck is like the moon: it beckons you to go very deep. Its images and card quality are older than the Zen deck, more antique in appearance and feel. In many of the cards the paintings are intricately detailed and were originally created as large canvases. The Tao deck resonates as a deep hum. It feels ancient, after all, it is anchored in the centuries old I Ching. It’s as though it has entered the present, the now, in a form that we can relate to, but it has also been around for thousands of years. Once you work with it, you will return to it often as to the wise sage it has always been.

To my mind, together these two decks comprise a complete cosmology and are a mighty tool for transformation.

What is your favourite artwork from the Osho Zen Tarot and the Tao Oracle?

I have no favourites, as each one, in its own creation, blew my mind … all 143 of them.