Originally, my first approach to Tiferet was a very literal transcription of the texts. Tiferet sits between Gevurah (Strength and Judgement) and Hesed (Compassion and Love) passing their energy back and forth; converting it from one to the other and back again.
To be honest, I still enjoy the design and may revisit the idea in the future, but Pete felt it didn’t do a good job of evoking a visual identity. Tiferet was too contingent on this action/context to be Tiferet. He made a good argument for creating a symbol that could move and turn and still be the Emanation it was supposed to be. So, I went back to the drawing board.
As I mentioned in a previous segment of Content and Context, I found I needed to internalize a lot of what I was reading to design the Emanations. I hadn’t done that with Tiferet, I merely interpreted the writings into an image that I felt made sense. Turns out it made too much sense and would leave the viewer with nothing left to explore.
So, where did I fit into the narrative of Tiferet? How could I be like Tiferet? What conversions was I a part of? These were the questions I needed answers to in order to solve this.
Going back to the reading helped a lot. The Emanations tend to be described in dual attributes; for instance, Keter is both the Emanation of the Crown and of Nothingness. Each attribute has its own narrative and spiritual context allowing the reader to find their place between two points.
Where it begins and where it converts is essentially the journey of each Emanation.
Looking at the Tree of Life that way, Tiferet is a major axis for conversion. The top half (Those belonging to Keter) is converted into the Bottom half (Those belonging to Malkuth) at Tiferet. Understanding it allows you to understand the greater context of the Kabbalah and Tree of Life.
But this was maybe too big an idea to try to convert into a single symbol. I can barely write it down and make any sense of it. No, I needed to find a more “local” position to talk about Tiferet.
Armed with this broader understanding of Tiferet’s role, I revisited the basis for my initial drawing and focused on how the conversion happens. There is a bit of prose/song/prayer that addresses it in the texts. It talks about how Tiferet reverses the polarity of energy to make the transference happen.
Suddenly my initial design had a new dimension.
I discovered, that if I changed the context of this “action” by changing its participants I could do a lot to solve this problem. So instead of making Tiferet story about his relationship to Gevurah and Hesed, I made the conversion local. I made the narrative about the conversion of energy from within and without. This allowed me to make Tiferet the only character and allowed me to internalize the narrative to myself, and visually internalize it within Tiferet.
The design became a reflection of my process. While all the hands reach inward toward the object/idea/truth and energy/creation/art emanate outward.
This is what I believe Artists do. We dig and dig inward, trying to find the thing that is our message or identity or style and that process of internal exploration is converted into our bodies of work and our way of being in the world.
This is how I exist. Constantly reaching into my imagination to pull out all the things that make me Me. This became an important part of my personal narrative and is the reason why I’ve used Tiferet as the symbol for my Kickstarter. If this Kickstarter was going to be a reflection of my role in making Angelarium: Book of Emanations, I wanted to use the Emanation that I learned the most from as my symbol.