Hero's Journey Part 3.
Death & The Moon


Canvas with swirling paint has a pool with ancient horned animals emerging next to Emily Schleiner and her mother's body.
Hero's Journey Part 3.
Death & The Moon
Mixed media on Canvas 9" x 9"
Emily Schleiner, 2021

When I was 18, my mother died of ovarian cancer. In part 3 you can see me with a plant growing out of my head next to my mother's bedside after her death. Before her death, I was a shy and disgruntled teenager. After her death I felt changed and read through a pile of her books, some academic works that she wrote, and a collection of poetry and short stories that she wrote. After years of conventional cancer treatment, she had more recently been reading books on mediation and alternative medicine. After reading these, I started doing yoga and hiking regularly. Spirituality became a priority in my life. As my mother's death receded into the past, I began to find courage and growth in myself inspired by my mother's life and works. I felt I was decades older than my peers. I made friends with my mother's friends.

In this piece, Emily Schleiner explores the experience of inner transformation associated with the Death Tarot card and the experience of finally perceiving a long held wound or pattern in the Moon Tarot card. Emerging from Roman salt pools in what is now Turkey, animals from the Lascaux cave paintings represent mysterious wisdom emerging from the depths. In Part 3, as Emily Schleiner mourns over her mother's body, new growth emerges from her.

A robed figure with a scull face rides towards the viewer.
The Death card from the Rider Waite Smith Tarot deck was created by A. E. Waite and illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith (also called the Rider-Waite Tarot deck). It is now a part of the Public Domain.
A dog, a lobster, and another animal emerge from water and move towards the moon.
The Moon card from the Rider Waite Smith Tarot deck was created by A. E. Waite and illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith (also called the Rider-Waite Tarot deck). It is now a part of the Public Domain.