I just have a few finishing touches to make on a commission for my mother’s partner. She had a plain wooden box that someone had given her and wanted me to decorate it. The only guidance was that she wanted to use the box to hold her kabbalah cards. Each card has one of the 72 names of G-d printed on one side. The other side had a short meditation related to that specific name. Knowing this client, I knew that she would want want something elegant and understated.
For this piece, I used a water-release decal paper for the Hebrew names and the winged solar disk line drawing. I painted the sides and trim gold and left the top and front unpainted. After applying the solar disk, I painted the inside of the disk gold. I glued black felt to the inside and bottom of the box. I still need to touch up the golden disk and some of the varnish, then clean up a little gold paint in places to neaten it up.
Since the cards focused on the 72 names, I thought the same motif on the box would work. At one point I was going to do all sides of the box with the names, but then thought that would be overkill and visually cluttered. I went with the winged solar disk after reading about the wings of the Cherubim on the Arc of the Covenant. I also liked the idea of blending symbols from Hebrew and surrounding cultures — much like any good Hermetic would do. Plus, the solar disk reminded me of the sephirah Tipharet, which in Hermetic qabala is the highest level of spiritual evolution humans can attain and still be incarnate.