Melek Ta’us Art Print by Paul B. Rucker
Melek Ta’us, the “Peacock Angel”, is the patron of the Yezidis (Yazidi) of Syria and Northern Iraq. For them, Tawusi Melek was created by God to assist in the making of the universe; he is now the tutelary spirit of the world as well as their special protector. He takes the form of a peacock or a youth with a peacock tail or wings because all of the colors of the rainbow (creation) are found in the peacock’s feathers.
Melek Ta’us has been assimilated into the Feri tradition as the image of the first-born son and lover of the Star Goddess, the primordial Creator. Some lines of Feri see him as the Celestial or “Bird” Twin of the Divine Twins, to whom is paired Lembé, the Green One, the “Serpent in the Well”, the Terrestrial Twin. He is the God of the deepest self, the splendor of Heaven embodied in earthly form. External traditions conflate him with Azazel (Lucifer) though the Yezidi do not; for them he is God’s agent only. There is some speculation that the Peacock Angel may have originally derived from India, as peacocks are not native to the Middle East.
Victor Anderson, the founder of Feri in America, told me in our only face to face encounter, that Melek Ta’us, is “Freedom– the Lust of God– the King of Many Colors!” My painting of him was created in a pre-internet time when almost no information was available about Melek Ta’us. Two years in the making, this became the first wholly original image of the Peacock Angel to be seen in the West.
Paul B. Rucker has been making art from personal visions of the spirit world from a very early age, seeking in visual language to render metaphors, and ecstasies. Theatre, myth and ritual influence this search.
He paints in acrylic and other water-based media, as well as pen, pencil, and mixed media assemblages, combining various materials with hand-painted bones. Rucker also performs face and body painting on subjects photographed in selected environments; the resulting images are further elaborated with digital painting techniques. In addition, he has created theatrical backdrops, murals, collage, sign painting, mask-making in clay and paper-mache, silk painting and costuming.
His approach foregrounds the ennobled body– usually but not always, that of the human being– as a vehicle for archetypal revelation; the body in an extended connection with sacred Nature. His worldview is that of a modern Pagan: “making art is how I think in ‘Pagan’.”
His work has been exhibited in the Twin Cities, Tuscaloosa, AL, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Chicago; and has been seen online and in print through many venues in the USA, Canada, Australia, and Europe.
Rucker has curated and founded several Pagan-oriented arts events in the Twin Cities area, ranging from the Crossroads Festival in the 1990s to the Third Offering Gallery at the annual Paganicon convention in St. Louis Park. He is a core member of the Minneapolis Collective of Pagan Artists (MCPA), founded in 2014.