by JG Bertrand and Becca Tzigany
The Pillow Book of Venus and Her Lover – Legendary Passions Brought to Life is an illustrated book by painter J.G. Bertrand and writer Becca Tzigany. Peeling back layers of cultural conditioning, they present the archetypes of Woman and Man through the Greco-Roman deities, Venus (Goddess of Love and Beauty) and Mars (God of War), who now appear as Tantric lovers. The new relationship between Venus and Mars bridges the chasm of the “War Between the Sexes”. Interwoven with archetypal themes from myriad civilizations, their erotic explorations take them to spiritual heights. Myths evolve as the consciousness of a people evolves, and mythical characters of long ago reappear through paintings and poetry with revelations for lovers today.
The Pillow Book of Venus and Her Lover – Legendary Passions Brought to Life explores the relationship between the Feminine and Masculine Principles through art, poetry, and commentary, and encompasses 5 different perspectives:
Tantra – the spiritual perspective – specifically, the nondual spiritual path that includes sexual practice
Mythology – the cultural/religious/mystical perspective from world cosmologies
Archetypes – psychological and yes – even scientific – perspectives of the forces at work in the Kosmos
History – a historical perspective on the status of men and women, including human pre-history and pre-pre-history, as influenced by geography, life conditions, extraterrestrial visitors, and consciousness
Sexuality – a sociological perspective on how human sexuality has expressed itself throughout history, and its effect on gender relations
Beyond its initial sexual appeal, The Pillow Book of Venus and Her Lover – Legendary Passions Brought to Life delivers stunning visuals and a sensitive treatment of the themes that intrigue everyone who has ever been in a relationship: Why are men/women the way they are? How can romance last? How can we live our lives in a truly meaningful way? It also shows historically how a few fundamental attitudes have brought armed conflict, economic disparity, and environmental crisis into our world. Like the Buddhist axiom that says, “Our temptations are our enlightenments”, diving into the deep pool of sexuality reveals the underpinning mythos of our society, our beliefs, and our behavior. The accompanying text illuminates the story of how relationships became so unsatisfying and dysfunctional. It then explains how the power of our archetypal ideas can result in personal growth for mutual enjoyment.
The rise of feminism and the growing men’s movement are converging in an expression of broader human rights, environmental awareness, and sexual freedom. As people re-evaluate their roles, they are also re-structuring relationship. Venus and Her Lover documents and illustrates an emerging holistic paradigm based on spiritual practice. This is healthy eroticism – prime for a world eager to find passage into a contemporary, relevant mythos. The last frontier of the mind-body-spirit synthesis of the New Age movement seems to be sexuality; the first two chakras may be the last to emerge from the shadows for enlightenment, or at the very least, for lightening up!
While it is evident that the Earth is changing rapidly, and humanity is reacting in destructive and dangerous ways, less visible is the fact that evolution is pushing into manifestation new modes of living that are caring and sustainable. A more encompassing frame of reference allows us to experience our consciousness through body, mind, soul, and Spirit. A “New Paradigm” is coming into being! Already there are life-affirming doctors, scientists, farmers, politicians, manufacturers, economists, educators, artists, and others, and their pursuits will succeed, provided they can bring forward the attainments of the past into a more holistic embrace. Included in this embrace is our physical root, our connection to the Earth and one another: our sexuality. The Pillow Book of Venus and Her Lover – Legendary Passions Brought to Life goes to that root and provides a mythos – a fresh set of ideas and stories – for the co-creators of the New Paradigm.
We believe that the depth (or lack of) our self-awareness affects our relationship with ourselves, each other, our Earth, and the Kosmos. Through Venus and Her Lover, we portray a mythos that celebrates our rootedness in our physical bodies, our sexuality, as well as our essential spiritual natures.
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explore the following sections:
Originating as secret stories describing life at the royal court of classical Japan, a pillow book is a genre of “journal-type book(s) kept to record sexual dreams and escapades. It is usually for the reader’s eyes only.” (Wiktionary) Advancing the tradition, The Pillow Book of Venus and Her Lover reveals archetypal dreams of a collective longing for sensual and exalted relationship. You are invited to take a peak into ecstatic scenes from divine possibilities. Instead of recording what was, The Pillow Book of Venus and Her Lover portrays what could be.
The Pillow Book of Venus and Her Lover – Legendary Passions Brought to Life accommodates itself to the personal tastes of the reader, who may open it at any point to contemplate the imagery, share poetry with a lover, delve deeper into each archetype through the cross-referenced sections, or read it from beginning to end.
The art and poetry of The Pillow Book may be viewed through five different lenses (Tantra, archetypal psychology, mythology, history, and sexuality). The introductory chapters of the book are available here for your reading pleasure.
Introduction: Sacred Sex and our Art – Tantra explained, and its expression in the art and poetry of Venus and Her Lover
Living the Archetypes ~ the authors’ experience of invoking archetypes; explanation of how Venus and Mars represent Woman and Man; psychological implications since Carl Jung; physics considerations of how reality emerges from the Void.
Transcending the Myth ~ why mythology has relevance today; the evolution of our concept of the Goddess and God through the work of Sir James Frazer, Robert Graves, and Joseph Campbell; interpretations put forth by Venus and Her Lover
History, Herstory, and the Spiral of Evolution ~ exposé of traditional interpretation of history; revised history demanded by the archaeological remains of advanced ancient civilizations; the theories of archaeo-mythologist Marija Gimbutas; partnership and dominator social models proposed by Riane Eisler; the effects of left-brain dominance on myth and anthropology, according to the theories of Leonard Shlain; and an integral perspective on human development, following the lead of Ken Wilber.
Beyond the Couple ~ alternatives to heterosexual monogamy, how they have functioned in different cultures, and their application in Venus and Her Lover
Original Art – 64 paintings representing 16 traditions (such as those of Greece, India, Japan, Egypt, and the Americas), and dozens of deities. Giclée fine art prints are available of all the artworks listed. Please inquire.
Poetry – 64 poems which illuminate the paintings.
PAINTINGS & POETRY : the 64 works
|“Center Stage”||Venus, Mars|
|“Dance of Baubo”||Baubo|
|“L’Amore di Venere”||Venus|
|“Legends of Love”||Vulcan, Mercury, Anchises, Mars, Venus|
|“Lovers in Flight”||Venus, Mars|
|“Ode to Sappho”||Sappho, Venus, Mars|
|“Pan’s Dawn”||Pan, Mars, Venus|
|“Rapture in Blue”||Venus, Mars|
|“Rebirth of Venus”||Venus|
|“Red Roses & White”||Cupid, Mars, Venus|
|“Service for Two”||Adonis, Venus, Mars|
|“Sipping the Vast Spring”||Mars, Venus|
|“Son of Life”||Adonis, Persephone, Mars, Venus|
|“The Free Graces”||Venus, the Graces|
|“Thunder & Lightening”||Zeus, Hera, Mars, Venus|
|“To Dionysus”||Dionysus, Mercury, Mars, Venus|
|“Upon the Mount, Above the Clouds”||Mars, Venus|
|“Venus in Blue”||Venus, Mars|
|“Virtuosity”||Bellona, Mars, Venus|
|“War is Over!”||Mars|
|“Birth of a God”||Kali, Mars, Venus“Birth of a God”|
|“Birth of a Goddess”||Kali, Venus|
|“Ganesha’s Cave”||Ganesha, Mars, Venus|
| “Gateway to Heaven”
(“The Five Senses”)
|Mars, Venus, 4 dakinis|
|“Newborn Hearts”||Kali, Mars, Venus|
|“Queen of Heaven”||Sarasvati, Venus|
|“Theater of the Dakinis”||Mars, Venus, dakinis|
|“The Blessing”||Lakshmi, Venus, Mars|
|“Daughters of Lilith”||Mars, Venus, Maiden, Crones|
|“Under the Apple Tree”||Lilith, Mars, Venus|
|“Redemption of Adam”||Adam, Lilith, Bacchus, Mars, Venus, dakini|
|“Sanctuary”||Lilith, Eve, Mars|
|“Augustine’s Dilemma”||Man, Venus|
|“The Embrace”||Inanna, Dumuzi, Ereshkigal|
|“In Oshun’s River”||Oshun, Venus, Mars|
|“First Couple”||Isis, Osiris|
|“Climax – Create a More Pure Love”||Isis/Venus, Set/Mars, Osiris/Jesus Christ, Mary Magdalene|
|“Odin Empty Handed”||Odin, Frigg, Valkyries, Venus|
|“Green Man & the High Priestess”||Green Man, Demeter Artemis, Melissa, Venus|
|“Return of Morgaine”||Morgaine, Mars, Venus, Maiden, Crone|
|“The Second Coming”||Merlin, Nimue/Viviane,Venus|
|“Secrets of the Sacred Pipe”||White Buffalo Calf Woman, Mars, Venus, Indian brave|
|“The Harvest”||Kokopelli & the 3 Sisters|
|“Song of Delight”||Xochiquetzal, Venus, Mars|
|“Born Again”||Pachamama, Venus, Mars|
|“The Enlightenment”||Tara, Buddha, Venus|
|“Breaking the Chain”||Kuan Yin, Venus, Mars|
|“Amateratsu’s Mirror”||Amateratsu, Mars, Venus|
|“Pele and the Prince”||Pele, Lohiau|
Koori (Australian Aborigine)
|“Dreamtime”||All Mother/Manubi Venus, Mars|
Androgyne Origin Myths
|“Serendipity”||Man (Mars), Woman (Venus), Serendipity|
|“Carnevale di Venezia”||Venus, Mars, reveler|
|“Secrets of the White Rose”||Mars, Venus|
|“There’s No Place Like Home”||Dorothy, Mars, Venus|
|“Luna y Sol”||2 goddesses|
|“My Pleasure”||Venus & lover|
|“Reality of Dreams”||Mars, Venus|
|“The Pause that Refreshes”||Mars, Venus|
The Writer’s Process by Becca Tzigany
The Painter’s Process by J.G. Bertrand
Notes on the Works – technical aspects of the painting; interpretation of the poetry; historical notes and anecdotes on each work.
“from Adam to Zeus”
The Way They Were – individual mythological characters and their stories, as well as revised perceptions in light of archetypal psychology, and new archaeology and anthropology. Arranged alphabetically for easy reference.
Glossary – particular vocabulary used in the book.
Symbols – revised interpretation of goddess symbols co-opted by patriarchal religion, and other symbols that appear in the paintings.
Over 500 resources used in the production of the book
“The way Bertrand and Tzigany explain the connections between the erotic and the sacred is effective. I like the synergy of the different mythologies. I believe their strategy will be successful in getting the attention of people who are questioning the whole idea of monogamy and possessiveness as well as the prevalent materialistic reductionism about sex – without causing the non-initiated to feel threatened – which is great!”
– Serena Anderlini D’Onofrio, Ph.D.
Author, Gaia and the New Politics of Love
” Venus and Her Lover makes the world a far sexier (and juicier) place, and I, for one, am grateful!”
– Annie Sprinkle
“When nudity is revealed, all we see is surface. All we see is the skin. When a work of art is revealed, what we see is the soul of the artist. With Venus and Her Lover what we see is a rare combination of body and soul on both the most physical and spiritual levels, which arouses our deepest inner senses and being.”
– Joe Cardella
Publisher, ARTLIFE LIMITED EDITIONS
“The themes of Venus and Her Lover are the cutting edge of what society is ready for today. The exquisite imagery and revealing poetry put this “societal longing” into vision. I can imagine a place of honor on my coffee table for a book such as this.”
– Suzie Heumann
“The lush colors of the paired human bodies depicted in symbolic poses of connection and transcendence turn on our inner archetypal resonance. We feel as if we have entered a familiar room or dreamscape of profound mystery. We hear in the simple cadence and evocative imagery of the formally-shaped poems of Tzigany something of the whispered language of spiritual seduction. Her poems speak that mystery to us. Together, their complementary works, with their peculiarly iconic, almost static scenes of intense sexual longing and ecstasy, provoke a very profound response. This book resonates like a familiar mystery we long for in purer and purer doses.”
– Robert Chianese, Ph.D.
Professor of English and the course “Eroticism and Literature”,
California State University
” Venus and Her Lover has much to teach us that is valuable in restoring us all to a renewed symbolic life and psychic harmony. It is a step toward . . . the new emerging mythology induced by the seismic shift in archetypal forms posited by Carl Jung.”
– excerpt from the article “Venus and Her Lover : A Jungian Perspective”
by Vincent J. Coffey, Ph.D.
“At last – a contemporary portrayal of women and men that we can all live with! Every bedroom should have a copy of Venus and Her Lover.”
– Deborah Taj Anapol, Ph.D.
Tantra teacher/Sex therapist/Author,
Polyamory: The New Love Without Limits
THE STORY BEHIND THE ART
Venus and Her Lover – Transforming Myth, Sexuality, and Ourselves
The adventure “behind the scenes” of producing this Tantric art project, as told by Becca Tzigany. A companion volume to The Pillow Book.
Are you ready? Investment opportunities, large and small, exist now for those who resonate with our project. We are ready to address inquiries about representation of our products and/or publication of The Pillow Book. Be part of establishing a functional mythos in our collective dream.