​From Seed to Jade

Since I was a child, I've been very attracted to Nature. When I was 7 years old we moved to a house with a garden where I still live. I have seen countless plants being born, growing, reaching their splendor and dying. That's what nature is all about. An unstoppable cycle of births, growths and deaths. The atoms are passing from one being to another, they are part of a chain that began at the beginning of time. A garden is changing, in it different characters appear and disappear according to the time, the trips, the gifts, the loves and the chance. Some have managed to remain, to resist the changes, and they still accompany me. Others I remember very much. All of them fulfill their life cycles.


The cycles of life brought us to the Coronavirus and a world quarantine was decreed. Confinement. I'm a hermit gardener. It's not at all uncomfortable for me to stay in my favorite place. I set out to photograph the plants by isolating them from their surroundings, thinking about their lighting, their location, their poses. I dedicated myself to portraying them.


How different from each other. Each one requires different treatment, an approach designed to exalt their powers, be they flowers, textures, shapes, transparencies, defenses or attitudes.


Each plant represents an archetype, it fits some of the archaic images we have of ourselves since our origins, in all cultures. There are so many of them in the garden to encompass the images contained in the Major Arcana of the Tarot of Marseilles. A representation of the path of the Inner Garden, of that realization that comes from having full consciousness of oneself. Know yourself, preach Apollo. Be yourself, says Dionysus.


The twenty-two Major Arcana represent what Jung postulated as Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious, ordered in a sequence that can be interpreted as the process of individuation: the stages of consciousness until reaching plenitude, knowledge, acceptance and the realization of oneself as a complete work. This sequence, which begins with the indetermination and potentiality of The Madman and ends with the perfection of The World, passes through various stages and polarities that encompass all the possibilities of our path, with its ups and downs, successes, failures, loves, sadness, illusions and disappointments. Each arcane adds a learning process that leads to the final goal: to reach the world. To be The World.


This passage through the quarantined garden opens a channel between our life and each one of the Major Arcana in a vegetal epiphany. It incites an introjection of what the plants say. Let them serve as a mirror and image for the contemplation of that Garden which we are and of the ascending spiral which leads from Seed to Jade.

All images were taken in my garden during the coronavirus confinement.

Antonio Briceño

Caracas, April 2020


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