Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2 Creatures

YET ANOTHER ALMOST-STORY

I once happened across a Native American folktale, said to be of Algonquin origin, that tells of how a hunter espied a group of beautiful girls descend from the sky in a basket and dance, and how he used a trick to win one of them for his wife.  I was immediately struck by the close resemblance to the old Korean tale of 'The Fairy Maid and the Woodsman'/ 선녀와 나뭇군, which tells of a humble peasant who espies a group of beautiful maidens descend from the sky and bathe in a pond, and how he used a low trick to win one of them for his wife (I referred to this legend in the July 10, 2010 post).  There is more to both stories (the Korean one has a sad ending while the Algonquin one is more optimistic), but it's got me wondering about the close similarity, and if there are also stories from other cultures that tell of similar doings. Perhaps it's a metaphor for man's desire for unity and wholeness, and the girl from the sky symbolizes the anima?  Is the Greek myth of Psyche and Eros another iteration of this theme, with the gender roles switched?

THE MEGATHERIUM AND THE REPENOMAMUS,
A TALE OF SEPARATION AND LONGING

Monday, February 27, 2012

Glowing Shape In The Sky

It bears a curious resemblance to an old-fashioned telephone receiver ("Talk to God, now!"), or... to an embryo, perhaps ("The Starchild! Kubrick was right!")?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

It's Almost Spring

Warm daytime temps are returning -- and they are returning, as well.


As I have said once before, I don't know if these are a new generation or the same ones returning -- but either way, it's reassuring to know that the cycle continues.


Related post:  Daimones

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Driving Home In February

Another picture I risked my neck for at 70 mph.



I wouldn't mind it at all if it were always twilight like this, 24 hours a day.  It would be beautiful and dramatic.  I also wouldn't mind it if it rained a lot more around here -- like 250 days a year, maybe?  In fact, I'd like it if it were way cooler throughout the year.  That would be great.  I guess warm, sunny, dry Southern California is the wrong part of the country for me to be living in.  Oh, well.

Related post:  Driving Home In January

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Fall Of Lucifer, Version 2

How perfect is this!  Lucifer ('Light-Bearer') falling from heaven, literally.  The Sun and the clouds were cooperating yesterday.

NATURE IMITATING ART

I suppose, though, this image is also a shoo-in for 'Phaëton's Doom', as well as the cataclysm described in Revelation 8:10 ("The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky...").

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Fall Of Lucifer

Something I started years ago, inspired by William Blake's Bible illustrations and -- well, pretty much everything else he did - and also Max Beckmann's Falling Man (with apologies to both masters).  I just took it out and dusted it off today.  I quite like the conceptualization;  I don't remember why I rolled it up and put it away unfinished.


That broken chain around Lucifer's ankle was a mistake, though.  It isn't really necessary to show his subjugation, and it kind of makes it seem he is hanging rather than falling.  I'm going to have to paint it out.  Also, I'm going to add stars to the space around him, to show he is falling through material space, having been cast out of God's spiritual realm.  The strange mechanistic shapes to either side are intended to show that the Bright One has been exiled to the world of reason and material law, our world that is, which Blake equated to hell.

Related post:  Devil on the Floor

A Dream II



A Dream I



Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Sun-Headed, Rainbow-Plumed Bird

I don't know if any existing mythology mentions this creature, but today in the skies over Los Angeles it came to glorious life.


Related Posts:  Rainbow clouds / Iridescent clouds

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Another Expression Coined

'Bucket-o'-class'

as in:

"My, isn't she an absolute bucket-o'-class!"

 
Wonder what was going on in my head today to bring that on...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rainy Day

AND A SKYFUL OF WEIRD THINGIES

It rained today.  That means heavy cloud cover -- and that, of course, means Cloud Creatures.  I guess the conditions that promote the formation of clouds, also attracts them.  Either that, or there is something in clouds they want.  Anyway, I was rewarded with a few really interesting images of CCs in action.  Take a gander at this one -- it's almost apocalyptically dramatic, yet beautiful:



 And this very unusual one -- I'm not certain, but I think I caught a pair of CCs engaged in the act of mating:



Maybe I should have prefaced that one with an 'Adults Only' warning^^.  And while shooting this next, 'Jawa with a gun'-looking individual...



...I noticed a tiny speck floating there among the clouds, which turned out to be an extremely gonzo object -- a novelty balloon, perhaps..?  Anyhow, below are the three best of the several shots I took of the thing before it was lost to sight.  Each full image is followed by a detail.








And finally, I noticed this spooky-looking face, seemingly staring at me--



I hope it was just curious.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Synchronistic Event #19

Just now, as I was typing the line towards the end of the previous post about most Germans not knowing all the words to 'Der Erlkönig', immediately after I typed the word 'German', I heard my co-worker say to someone 'German' something or other.

Another Wonderful Discovery

TACKLING 'DER ERLKÖNIG' WITH A COLD

Yesterday I happened across this daimon posing dramatically in the shadow of a tree:

"MIT KRON UND SCHWEIF"

The figure looked to me like all those mysterious and scary supernatural beings from all the fairytales of old rolled into one.  In particular, I was reminded of two characters:  Chernobog, the Satan-like deity in the 'Night on Bald Mountain' segment of Disney's Fantasia, and 'Der Erlkönig', the sinister spirit in the poem and song of the same name.  Which reminded me...

Some years ago I went to a party at a friend's house.  There I saw this attractive young woman sitting by herself, seemingly in sore need of a chivalrous gentleman to come and offer her his company.  I had come alone myself, so I offered her a glass of punch (turned out she already had one, but I hadn't noticed) and engaged her in conversation.  She spoke English with a charming foreign accent, and it turned out she was from Stuttgart, Germany (unlike many people in the English-speaking world, I happen to think German is a beautiful-sounding language).  Well, I had to do what I do whenever I run ito a German person -- I proceeded to impress her by breaking into a heartfelt rendition of 'Der Erlkönig' in the original German.  It's a truly wonderful lied, with the words of Goethe set to a melody by Schubert (others have composed tunes for the poem, but Schubert's version is the most famous -- the one most people automatically think of when they hear 'Erlkönig';  also, it's the only version I can sing).  The song starts thus:

Wer reitet so spät durch Nacht und Wind?
Es ist der Vater mit seinem Kind;
Er hat den Knaben wohl in dem Arm,
Er faßt ihn sicher, er hält ihn warm.

(Translation)
Who rides, so late, through night and wind?
It is the father with his child.
He has the boy well in his arm
He holds him safely, he keeps him warm.

-- and so on.  The words tell of the young child describing to his father the blandishments the 'Erlkönig', or the Elf King, the supernatural lord of the woods through which they are riding, is whispering to him, unheard by the father, to try and take him away.  The King starts out soft and seductive at first, but becomes increasingly insistent.  With each new enticement the child grows more frightened, and at each turn the father tries to reassure the child that it is only the leaves rustling or a sheet of mist, that he mistakes for the Elf King.  Finally the child cries out desperately that the Elf King is dragging him away -- and as the father, now terrified himself, reaches the destination, he finds the child dead in his arms.

Wow, I just got goosebumps as I typed those words, replaying the song in my head!  With an amazingly effective piano accompaniment to underscore the action, the song divides the drama among four vocal parts -- the Elf King, the child, the father, and the 'narrator' -- plus the galloping horse, whose hoofbeats are heard in the piano throughout the song.  When I first heard the song I was just a kid and had no idea what it was about, but I fell in love with it anyway.  I found the German lyrics somewhere, together with a translation, painstakingly worked out the pronunciation (interestingly, even though this happened when I was just ten or so, long before my move to the West and acquirement of English, somehow I had learned to read German phonetically -- go figure) and read them aloud over and over until I had memorized them.  Talk about being obsessive-compulsive -- but I guess when your brain is still young and springy and absorbent you can do things like that.

The thing about trying to sing this song is, though, that the different vocal parts are sung at different pitches;  the narrator occupies the neutral, easy-to-sing middle register (except at the very end).  The victimized child and the Elf King are at the higher reaches of the range, and the father, calm and dignified, is lower-pitched than the others.  Although I like to sing my vocal range is not so great and when attempting 'Der Erlkönig' I have to take care not to start too low, just so I can reach the lowest notes later.

It so happens I've been fighting a cold these last several days, and my voice is jammed way down in the basement.  Earlier while listening to Bryn Terfel's recording of 'Erlkönig', I started to sing along, and even though Terfel is a bass-baritone, I found I could sing the low notes just fine, thanks to the cold^^

Anyway, back to the girl at the party -- she was suitably impressed.  She said she doubted most Germans even know all the words (no, I didn't sing the whole thing).  Then her tall and handsome boyfriend came back.  So.

But I'll bet anything he didn't know a single line of 'Der Erlkönig'.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Self-Exorcisms

I have on a number of occasions explained to the curious that one way to understand Avidya is to think of it as a self-administered act of exorcism.  The multifarious faces can be considered the suppressed, negative elements within my own psyche that needed to be expressed, which have been assigned visible form and externalized (in a similar way, I think the Daimon photos are expressions of other psychic elements as well, but they remain more mysterious);  I used to think of this process as a kind of purging, but now I realize that is not what it is.  Giving aspects of the inner mind external form does not relocate them 'out there' like moving Lego blocks around, nor do I think they should be, even if such a thing were possible.  Anyway, I don't think these are necessarily 'negative' in the sense of being bad.  Perhaps it is better to think of it as a process of familiarization.  Meeting the inner me, in other words.


Related post:  Face

Friday, February 10, 2012

Two Views With Crows


VIEW WITH THREE CROWS



VIEW WITH FOUR CROWS


Funny

Maybe I do seem to spend an inordinate amount of time dwelling on Hell and the afterlife.  But this is a lighthearted one.

Sometimes, the streetscape of downtown Los Angeles seen against the dawning horizon




seems to channel Hell as envisioned by Hieronymous Bosch.


I guess there are those who would say that L.A. traffic IS hellish.

An Intriguing Incident

PRECOGNITION(?)... AGAIN

Well, maybe I should call it a 'suggestive' incident -- since it's most likely just an interesting coincidence, nothing more.  Anyway, that's what I would conclude, if I were a completely rational person.  Fortunately for the poetically-minded among us, I am not always so rational.

I have mentioned before that sometimes one of the tiny screws that hold my eyeglass frame together comes loose (I've even dreamt about it).  When that happens I tighten it with a tiny screwdriver:


Normally I keep it in a leather case that contains a basic repair kit consisting of various interchangeable tool heads plus a handle.  This morning I noticed the screw was loose again, so I took out the screwdriver, tightened the screw and was about to put the tool away when it occurred to me it would make more sense for me to carry it in my shoulder bag, instead of keeping it in a drawer at home.  That way, I would have it with me if I ever needed it away from home.  I don't know why I'd never thought of such a simple, reasonable thing, but anyway it was the first time I actually thought of it.  I started to put it in the bag, but then it occurred to me that inside that crowded bag the small sharp blade might press against the inner lining and damage it, perhaps even poke a hole through it.  And I didn't want to carry the whole tool kit -- so after a moment of indecision I put it down and left for work.

Not long after I settled in at work, co-worker Erik came ambling over and asked if I had a little tiny screwdriver.  He said he thought to himself that if anyone would have one around here, it would be Sam...

Interesting.  Did a precognitive solution to a future want fail in the execution?  Or conversely, did Erik choose to ask me for the loan of a min-screwdriver because I had thought about bringing it?  It certainly looks like it could be one of these scenarios, but how odd that an active impulse motivated by precognitive knowledge would be thwarted by another, countervailing impulse.  What was the 'point' of the foreknowledge, then?  One would think that if a paranormal even was going to happen, it would HAPPEN...  Perhaps this illustrates the principal that when something feels right, one should just do it and not overthink it.  Don't teachers always tell you that when taking a multiple-choice test, if you have to take a guess you should go with your first gut-feeling?

This event recalls a case that is well known in the annals of parapsychological research.  Dr. Louisa E. Rhine, wife of Dr. Joseph Banks Rhine, the founder of the famed parapsychology lab at Duke University, and herself a noted researcher in the field, had an article published in which she recounted an experience that seems to parallel what happened this morning (in a much more dramatic way, however).  She wrote that when her son was a young child she once dreamt that she took him camping.  The child was playing by a stream when she began to do some washing but realized she had forgotten to bring soap.  She went back to fetch the soap, but when she came back the child had drowned in the stream.  Some months after having this traumatic dream Dr. Rhine took her son on an actual camping trip with some friends.  She took him with her to a stream to do some washing, then realized she had forgotten the soap.  She began to go back for the soap, then suddenly realized that events were unfolding exactly as they happened in the dream.  She ran back and snatched up her baby.  Nothing happened to him that day and he grew up to become a parent himself.

Here is a strange and seemingly paradoxical event; is it even appropriate to call it a case of precognition?  If the baby never drowned in the stream, Dr. Rhine's dream cannot properly be called precognitive, since the foreseen event never took place.  And yet, obviously it is precognitive in some sense!  If she had not had the dream, Dr. Rhine would not have gone back to pick up her baby and perhaps saved him from drowning.

EDIT:  And  of course, her almost-precognitive dream almost-parallels my almost-prescient experience.

Monday, February 6, 2012

2 More Views From Today

I have these hypotheses regarding the previous lives I may have lived:  #1. that I once was a little tree frog in a rainforest, who spent much of my time crouched on a big flat leaf as the lazy currents of warm, wet air bathed my damp skin and made the leaf gently rock up and down;  #2. that in the next life I was a bear and loved nothing more than to curl up in my dark, cozy little cave and watch the little visible patch of the landscape outside become blanketed by snow as I drifted off into the long winter's sleep;  #3. and perhaps in the most recent incarnation, I was human and lived in a bleak, empty land far to the north, where the days were misty and gray and the sun was barely visible through the cloud-ceiling.

Maybe I was channeling that last one today.





Related post:  Night Sun II

Impressive Iridescence

Imagine stepping out the front door and seeing this first thing!


Related posts:  Impressive IridescenceRainbow CloudMore Iridescence

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Some Really Old Art

This figure was planned to be one of two panels flanking a larger central panel.  I started the project (and never even got close to finishing it) during a period when I was especially enamored of the painters of 15th and 16th century northern Europe (I still am, but since then I have somewhat broadened my horizons to include others).


While I am a great admirer of the heroic figures painted by Michelangelo and other Italian artists of the Renaissance, I have always also been strongly drawn to the delicate figures of the Northern Renaissance painters.  Maybe it's because in their visualizations of the human body the Northerners didn't seem to niggle over brick-by-brick anatomy so much -- their idea of anatomy in a sense was the polar opposite of the Italian tradition;  it was of the perfection of thought made visible, not an idealization of the flesh from the ground up to meet the spirit.  With this I think my other favorite, William Blake, would have agreed;  he also admired Michelangelo's (or Michael Angelo's, as he would have spelled the name) figures, but he naturally preferred the supra-physical linearity of Gothic figures, and combined them in a personal synthesis of the thick and heroic, and the sinuous and graceful.


Related posts:  Eve #1Eve #2

Friday, February 3, 2012

NIght-Prowling Cat



The DVD release of the cult-favorite vampire movie Near Dark (1987) includes a scene that was cut from the theatrical version.  It shows a recently-turned newbie being introduced to the joys of being a vampire, which include the wonderful sense of freedom that comes with the ability to see as well at night as if it were broad day.  To simulate the vampires' night vision the scene is shot in full light, but in black and white only (thus demonstrating that their night vision is a physiological enhancement -- being still subject to the limitations of the rods and cones of the retina -- rather than a supernatural power).  That scene impressed me deeply with its suggestion of a whole new vista of life.  And when I checked out this photo of a cat on nocturnal patrol, the surprisingly bright image gave me the idea of treating it as if it were taken in daylight.  So I made it black and white and  tweaked it to minimize its 'nightliness'.  Enough visual cues remain, however, to give the picture a certain odd, not-quite-right feel which I like (and it may be that cats actually see something like this at night).

Another Random Cloud Photo

Just a pretty shot.