“The time will come to assert the ideas of women at the expense of those of men, whose failure is consummated so resoundingly today. It is up to the artist in particular, if only in protest against this scandalous state of affairs, to make everything that arises from the feminine system of the world as opposed to the masculine system predominate to the maximum; of emphasizing exclusively the powers of women; better still, of appropriating her to the point of making it jealously hers, of that which distinguishes her from man in her way of evaluating and wanting.”
André Breton, Arcanum 17
This is another example of the surrealist passion for tarot. The title of Breton’s long prose poem, Arcane 17, refers to tarot card 17, the “stars” card (Les étoiles), usually a symbol of free-flowing love and renewal of forces. However, Breton’s imagination brought new associations, multiplying the morning stars and infusing them with fluid meanings. Breton describes the figure in the center of the card as a naked young woman kneeling as she pours out the contents of two urns, one into a pond, the other onto the ground. He associates this woman with the legendary figure of Mélusine, a legendary mermaid who became a symbol of the difficulty to reconcile “reality” and “magic.” There is hope, however, that the “inexhaustible” urns could renew our disenchanted world. Indeed, even though the pond gives off the “pestilential odor” of social conventions, it is still longing for “a new dream.” The fragile butterfly is another symbol of “consoling mystery.” Chilean painter Roberto Matta designed the four colorful illustrations in the shape and size of tarot cards (or “arcanas”) pasted in the book.
Utopia is Feminine by Enrique De Santiago
Love descending incandescent and calm
from the primordial nature of the universe
to embrace the hope full of your walk
in your women’s hands that welcome
in your womb container of light
on your lips that educate and dismiss poetry
on your back that holds the arcanum of the morning
with that epiphany that looks like your body.
This is how I take flight rebellious
bathed by the celestial of the bodies wrongly called celestial,
where I learned to love the brevity of the possible in the impossible
to go up with my luggage to another utopia
clearing away the old tears
in front of a showcase that is empty
and that is condescending with my people
in its persistent lack
where I also know my measurements
and who excessively hugs them
in these hours of opaque tides
with their lost leviathans
of heads sunk in the mud of consumption
without noticing the hands of those who ask
between remains of bodies
that are invisible to him
A star, as Bernard Roger recalls, “has served forever as a guide to nocturnal navigators whether
over the oceans of the globe or over the philosophical sea of the Argonauts.” Echoing him, Jorge Camacho notes the star “has shown the solitary sailor his route over the high seas. By faithfully following it throughout his long voyage, he is sure to reach port safely.” The star burns with such an intense gleam in the surrealist imaginal realm that in 2004, the Czech painter Martin Stejskal organized a large exhibition near White Mountain in which it “was declined in all its natural, cultural, as well as mythical aspects, in the union of traditions (astrology, kabbalah, alchemy, Freemasonry) as in the poetic union of the male and female in each individual, borne by the work of surrealist friends, and by the uncarved stone placed at the castle entrance that bore this phrase that sings in our hearts like a magical couplet: constructed on the side of abyss, on philosopher’s stone . . .” as Marie Dominique Massoni points out in issue 5 of S.U.R.R. However, “You can never see this star like I saw it. You don’t understand: it is like the heart of a heartless flower,” as Nadja, the “magician,” says.,,
A harmony founded on the spiritual in all its forms, love of humanity in all its beauty, we can thus clearly see the richness of the esoteric domain approached this way by the surrealists, who incidentally made the Star, in the Deck of Marseille, the symbol for the suit of Dreams, whose face cards are Lautréamont, Alice in Wonderland, and Freud. This deck was conceived (these things are never invented) between the Villa Air Bel and the café Au Brûleur de Loups.
“A very powerful myth continues to have a hold on me, and no apparent contradiction of it in the course of my previous adventures can prevail “Find the place in the formula” merges with, “possess truth in one soul and one body: That the highest hope has the power to unfold before it the allegorical arena which holds that every human being was thrown into life to search for a being of the opposite sex and only that one who is paired in all respects, to the point where one without the other seems like the result of the dissociation of dismembering a unit of light”
Featured Painting by Enrique De Santiago She raises the day, oil on canvas, 140 x 100 cm.