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The Lotus and the Serpent
  Lotus & Serpent

Rendered in Photoshop

This one was inspired by a Hindu creation myth. In the story, Vishnu sleeps on the serpent of eternity in the cosmic ocean before heaven and earth exist. Then from the depths of the universe, the humming of om awakes him. As the long night of eternity comes to an end, a lotus flower blossoms from Vishnu's naval. On the lotus sits Brahma. Vishnu tells Brahma to create the world, which was to last 432,000 years.

As you can see, I took some liberties, dispensing with the gods, and boiling the idea down to its mysterious essence. Here the cosmos erupts directly from the lotus while the serpent stands guard. The serpent is a potent symbol in many mythologies. Joseph Campbell suggests this due to the serpent's ability to shed its skin which can be seen as a kind of rebirth. In Buddhism, a serpent, representing the power of the earth, shields the Buddha from the elements as he strives to achieve enlightenment.

I had a great time creating the scales of the serpent, and believe you me it wasn't easy. Click HERE for a detail.

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All original images ©1970-2011 by Greg A. West. All rights reserved. Trademarks shown in examples and on the Links page are the property of their respective owners and are not available for reproduction.