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Co-existing with the "other": hummingbirds, doves and twins

Some people have dogs, others have cats, I have hummingbirds. Two of them mostly. I give them nectar, they roam free- and I'm happy with that. Sometimes they'll sit on a wire at a certain distance from each other, totally aloof, then one will plunge and less than a second later the other one will charge behind, playfully.

Occasionally they'll feed together but most of the time they fight for access to the nectar. Observing them makes me think about how we humans also can fight for resources- though admittedly it's much cuter in hummingbirds.


A few years ago my hummingbirds were models in a symbolic drawing I had done as a self-portrait. When my sister saw it the first thing she said was "well that's you and me and the ocean in between".

That sister is my twin, and she lives in Europe- and evidently she knows me better than myself. We happen to be identical twins, not only that but the kind of twin that had the twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), meaning that blood flooded between us in the womb and we shared the placenta unequally (so my sister ended up smaller than me at birth).



Talk about unconscious stuff. To me my drawing was like an equation (as a reference to my background in mathematics), being left brain/right brain, the layering of variables, yadi yadi yada. In reality it was more like biological history!

But math and art were still useful because both helped "resolve the equation": two doves peacefully sharing the same house (or womb) and united through the collective unconscious. My twin and I had 80 to 90 percent chance of dying but somehow we made it (and our mom too! she also nearly died).

Yes we shared the placenta unequally but perhaps through the overlaying transfusion we also helped each other even things out enough to both survive? Other than rivals we might have been allies.


I bring up these old drawings again because I'm in the process of redrawing and rethinking the series they're part of in full color and turn that into an original tarot set- maybe call it something like "the tarot of relationships" (now in process as an Oracle cards deck titled the Ingenious Animal Oracle).

Even if each one of these started out as personal stories I believe they represent universal patterns that exists in all of us. It took a few years of  introspection to get to that level of understanding but I'm starting to notice similarities with the main archetypes of the traditional tarot (as well as those within our current society).



I see the hummingbirds as similar to "The Lovers", which coincidentally happens to be associated with the astrological sign of Gemini or "The Twins". And the doves drawing seems closest to "The World", which represents completeness- the union of male and female, cosmic consciousness, and giving back to the world.

In today's society this can translates besides relationships as having to compete for jobs, trade wars between countries, or on the other hand friends we can count on and alliances we hope to maintain.



These two pieces above have a different subject but strangely- and unconsciously- they contain essentially the same ideas as the hummingbirds and doves. The lilies are like me and my twin, both planted in the same placenta with the leaves touching like our connected blood vessels.

The two birds bathing in the fountain - a quick sketch from inside my living room, but on a closer look the door is like the house enclosure with the birds being outside, quite literally in "the world".  And as there are more and more people and competition in that world, isn't it important to make art that shows we're all in it this together (humans, animals, and plants)?



animal archetype illustration painting wall-art

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