small Sun photo in Johfra Bosschart's Aries

Black Chancery text

small blue Moon glyph in Johfra Bosschart's Aries


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Aries, by Johfra Bosschart

Aries poster from the Zodiac Series by Johfra Bosschart

Aries by Johfra, pg. 138 in your personalized book You and the Universe



         Above is the first painting in Johfra Bosschart's Zodiac Series: Aries. Front and center are two symbols of Aries’ ruler Mars: the soldier and the ram. Pure ego energy, both are mindless of others and relatedness as they lay waste to civilization, symbolized by the ruined house immediately behind them. Through the house woman, symbol of relationship, walks blindly, guided by the flame of an oil lamp. In the back, left, is the Magician tarot card holding aloft a lighted wand or candle rather than the more usual magician’s wand in the Rider-Waite Tarot deck. The Magician’s right hand holding his wand is pointed towards heaven, his left towards the earth, representing the hermetic-astrological concept of "As above, so below:"

         The original text from The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus reads "That which is Below
         corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below,
         to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing [an alchemist's bringing his natural body
         to perfection, which was the accomplishment of the Magnum Opus or Great Work]

In Bosschart’s painting, however, the wand is ignited, perhaps symbolizing here that fire is the magician’s transmuting symbol in addition to the hard-earned wisdom of his wand.

         On the Magician’s temporary outdoor table are displayed symbols of the Tarot’s Minor Arcana: Swords, Cups and Coins; the magician holds the fourth suit Clubs in his hand. In the Tarot card the swords are completely on the table, their lengths non-threateningly parallel to the table’s long axis. In Johfra’s painting, however, they face outward, protruding menacingly outward off the table, perhaps symbolizing that even knowledge and wisdom can be suborned by passion and anger. In Johfra’s painting there is also a wooden door in the rock behind the magician not in the Waite card bearing 12 stars, perhaps opening to infinity (also within reach above the magician's head) through the teachings of the zodiac and Johfra’s other hermetic studies. Hell reigns all around, for Pluto/Hades is the higher octave of Mars, related to Mars energetically as is the magician to the soldier: the transformational evolutionary kundalini energy of the magician to the ego energy of the soldier. The painting is bordered with bizarre transmutations of martial armor encasing hermetic symbols.

         Aries is the cardinal fire sign of the zodiac, and its keyword is "I am." It is the point of al beginnings: the beginning of the zodiac, the beginning of the light and dark cycle on earth, and the beginning of the soul in building a personality here on earth. It symbolizes the energy of the ego that is centered on the self. Aries individuals are courageous leaders, executives and pioneers with energy to burn, but need to learn coordinating, completion, conservation and how to relax. Aries rules the head in the human body.

         In 1973 Johfra was commissioned by Verkerke productions to paint posters of the 12 astrological signs, known later as his Zodiac Series. By that time he and his wife Diana were already members of the esoteric group Lectorium Rosicrucianum in Haarlem, and the Gnostic orientation he picked up there strongly influenced the symbolism in that series. In his 1981 book Astrology Signs of the Zodiac, Johfra talks about that endeavor: “I knew that it would be pointless to add yet more examples to the many hundreds of representations that already existed...Therefore I decided to elevate as many sides of the signs as possible through a brief meditation and contemplation on the principle figure, who becomes the main point of concentration. The many different symbols related to a certain sign, gathered together into a harmonious composition, would give each painting more depth; they would offer the observer more possibilities for his own free associations.”

         Johfra attributed three esoteric systems as inspiring the symbolism in his paintings: “These systems are precious treasures from our past, offering the artist unlimited creative possibilities. Above all, three great philosophical schools have strongly influenced esoteric thinking in Europe from the Middle Ages to our present day. Taken together, they constitute a secret science. They are: Neo-Platonism, Hermeticism, and the Jewish Cabbala.” (Astrology Signs of the Zodiac, pg. 3). Johfra set about painting these complex hermetic images; for perhaps he felt that the visual modality could assist spiritual awakening in the observer: “The deepest truths come to us through myths and symbols. They cannot be conveyed through exegesis or philosophical treatise. The truth can only be hinted at, and will be understood only by those who already know it to a certain degree. Such a seedling of knowledge lies dormant in each of us.” (Astrology Signs of the Zodiac, 1981, pg. 2).



Links to all 12 of Johfra Bosschart's Zodiac Series posters:







small Scorpio glyph in the Johfra Bosschart sign-links table










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Pages 2-3 from your astrology reading in a fine art, personalized astrology book: You and the Universe









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The personalized Fine Art Book You and the Universe.








© Carl Woebcke: Aries, by Johfra Bosschart, 1991-2017. All rights reserved.