The Magic of Ed Rehmus: A Collection of Creations

In my role as editor of Gift of Fire, Ed was not only a good friend, but a valuable resource. If it was way past midnight when publication was due, with multiples of four pages required, I could email Ed to request one to three pages to fill out the issue. I would tell him what topics seemed to be most on members minds and in virtually no time at all Ed would send me an article — usually with one or more of his drawings that fit in size and on topic. His drawings were unique; when he drew, the pencil would sometimes never leave the paper till he was done. A gallery of many of his works is included on this site.

“Insights and comment” had been requested from readers with regard to the symbolism employed in Ed Rehmus’s oil painting on the cover of this book when it was used as the January 2006 cover of Gift of Fire to which Ed had been a frequent contributor.  That cover is shown below.  Readers didn’t react as I had thought they might although Albert Frank did demonstrate the relevance of the Tarot ‘Magician’ card shown at right that is, of course, pertinent to any quest to understand Ed Rehmus.

Ed’s daily journals (as indeed any communications with Ed) revealed that he was much into the occult – considered himself a “magi(c/k)ian” in fact, in its restricted sense, and so the Tarot card is indeed key to understanding what he would have had us infer from the image.  “Magician” in this sense involves just what those who are into astrology take it to mean, in particular as representing “the life force as directed by the mind, cloaked in passion and purity teaching the manifestation of reality, and drawing power to transmit Divine Energy.” But such a magician is also a scientist in a more traditional sense, an initiated master and skilled illusionist focusing his awareness to improve concentration.  That was Ed.

The symbols are traditional of the occult including the “holy grail,” etc..  But of particular interest are obvious excursions from the traditionally drawn image, the most ostentatious being the inclusion of pyramids incorporating Ed’s emphasis on Egyptology as a basis for much of his thought.  And of course, the smiling moon!   Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code suggests a male-female tie between the pyramids and grail. As suggested in this reference also, there are covert allusions to homosexuality in some of this symbolism, which certainly is to be expected of a proud dorian.  Also, the personage is clearly Ed in his younger years.

So why did the editor choose this as a cover? Because the image intrigued him upon first seeing it, the 12 by 14 inch painting has tolerated his scrutiny from the top shelf of the book case in his office for a couple of years now.  But one day out of the blue he noticed what should have been obvious at first glance:  There are two left hands!  Ed was too adept at art and thinking for that to be a oversight.  Maybe per Brown it refers in some way to his homosexuality.  Everything Ed created bears detailed scrutiny.