Monday, July 7, 2014

The Anatomy of a Dream (Intus Natura, Vita Eternus*)


Cast-stone box-lid, taken from a carved plaster original - app. 3" X 5"- 1993, DS
(click on all images to enlarge)


“There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living; this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive.

This ecstasy, this forgetfulness of living, comes to the artist, caught up and out of himself in a sheet of flame; it comes to the soldier, war-mad in a stricken field and refusing quarter; and it came to Buck, leading the pack, sounding the old wolf-cry, straining after the food that was alive and that fled swiftly before him through the moonlight.”


“But especially he loved to run in the dim twilight of the summer midnights, listening to the subdued and sleepy murmurs of the forest, reading signs and sounds as a man may read a book, and seeking for the mysterious something that called -- called, waking or sleeping, at all times, for him to come.”


“He was sounding the deeps of his nature, and of the parts of his nature that were deeper than he, going back into the womb of Time.”

- Three quotes from: Call of the Wild, the 1903 novel by Jack London.


***


I generally try to avoid recounting dreams on blogs, because, for anybody but the dreamer, they're generally boring. But, in the case of this morning's (July 6th) dream, I actually tried a different technique of dream interpretation and searched its elements online. So, while anyone reading this may or may not find the dream itself terribly exciting, this method of unravelling dream symbols might intrigue.

The Dream:

I was living with my friend, Moo, or, possibly just visiting, but, due to the weirdly circuitous nature of dreams in general, I only became conscious of the dream at the point I'm about to describe.

At this point, someone (?) inquired about the disappearance of Mindy, Moo's family dog. Horrified, I suddenly realized that I had let Mindy out the previous night, but had forgotten all about her! I immediately ran to the door I'd let her out of... it was huge white door, filling one wall of the tall, but narrow, white room it opened from. Oddly enough, I found that it was open and slightly ajar, so, I had never actually closed the door at all. I still felt guilty, but I surmised that the dog could've come back indoors if it wanted to.

At this point the dream convolutes in such a way, that I realized that Mindy has gone far off into the surrounding woods. I can see her. But, the dog I actually see in the woods is a large St. Bernard. Mindy is not, in reality, that breed of dog (although there is a St. Bernard in Moo's son's family), but this didn't occur to me till I woke up. It also came to me in the dream that, perhaps, Mindy had gone up in the woods to die. But, while this upset me, I was suddenly struck by the rightness of such a choice. That is, it occurred to me in the dream, that the most ideal setting for any creature to die is near the earth with nature surrounding them.

In the last segment of the dream, I was proposing to Moo that we establish some variety of fund or fellowship - related in some way to death and nature -  which had for It's symbol (and would be given or carried by its members) a small, leafy twig tied with a bit of fabric.

And then I woke up.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Creatura - What You Can't See, Can Kill You (Update 7/18/14)


Typhoid bacteria found here.

The post - under construction - which originally appeared here: "Creatura - Metamorphosis, Myth & Mirrors," has fallen back into the implicate fold.

Sorry to say, but it's time has not yet come... and may not come. It's the sort of philosophically extravagant blog post I'm avoiding these days, because, in reality, I haven't the time for intensive, online explorations of overwhelmingly dense subjects. In any event, any form of "Creatura Hypothesis" - which, tentatively, was on my agenda - would be premature at this point, and I've decided to parcel out the quotes and images that appeared here into a succession of pared-down future posts.

Blame it on bacteria... that Creatura from the microscopic realm. I am on my second run of antibiotics to rid myself of an upper-respiratory infection, and am hardly in "top form". In a virtual "Battle of Creatura" which one will win?

Hopefully, the one writing this, but don't put your money down just yet! ;-)

***



"Some intrepid biologists at the University of Southern California (USC) have discovered bacteria that survives on nothing but electricity — rather than food, they eat and excrete pure electrons. These bacteria yet again prove the almost miraculous tenacity of life — but, from a technology standpoint, they might also prove to be useful in enabling the creation of self-powered nanoscale devices that clean up pollution. Some of these bacteria also have the curious ability to form into ‘biocables,’ microbial nanowires that are centimeters long and conduct electricity as well as copper wires — a capability that might one day be tapped to build long, self-assembling subsurface networks for human use."

- From an ExtremeTech article - July 18, 2014: "Biologists Discover Electric Bacteria..."


I bring to you the latest in weird biology news... although it appears a Danish group made a similar discovery a couple of years ago. George Dvorsky, meanwhile, reflects on the alien life angle...

As for me... well, electric bacteria might have been exciting news at some point in the past... in the days when biological discoveries added to ones sense of wonder, and an overall respect for the natural world, without necessarily providing support and/or tools ("biocables" and "nanoscale devices") for the Techno-Mechanistic agenda. 

Instead it's just beginning to deeply depress me. As does articles like this one: "Should We Deliberately Edit The Genes Of Wild Animals?"

Should a bear not shit in the woods?


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Creatura - Songs From the Oyster Bed


Oysters on a desk-top - Digital Photo - 2014, DS


"The co-evolutionary story between rocks and life began 4 billion years or so ago, when the planet had only rocks, air and oceans to work with. The origins researchers that followed Miller and Urey’s heady success soon realised that air and oceans aren’t enough to create life, no matter how lightning-filled the sky. Only with the addition of carefully selected minerals will simple, nonliving biomolecules concentrate and combine in complex biologically useful ways.

Life arose from minerals; then minerals arose from life. The geosphere and biosphere have become complexly intertwined, with numerous feedback loops driving myriad critical natural processes in ways that are only now coming into focus."

- from an 2014 article by Robert Hazen, found at Aeon magazine.



"Mr. Gerard further states: 'Just before crossing the boundary of Ludak into Bussalier, I was exceedingly gratified by the discovery of a bed of fossil oysters, clinging to a rock as if they had been alive.'

In whatever point of view we are to consider the subject, it is sublime to think of organic remains lying at such an extraordinary altitude, and of vast cliffs of rocks formed out of them, frowning over the illimitable and desolate waters, where oceans once rolled."

- from Shells on the Snowy Mountains of Tibet, Asiatic Register,  found here.



"... the great power and human destinies are couched in the virtues of Stones and Herbs. But to know from whence these come, a higher speculation is required. Alexander the peripatetic, not going any further than his senses and qualities, is of the opinion that these proceed from Elements, and their qualities, which haply might be supposed to be true, if those were of the same species; but many of the operations of the Stones agree neither in genere nor specie. Therefore Plato and his scholars attribute these virtues to Ideas, the formers of things. But Avicen reduceth these kinds of operations to Intelligence, Hermes to the Stars, Albertus to the specifical forms of things.

...Now consequently we must discourse of Intelligences, spirits and Angels. An Intelligence is an intelligible substance, free from all gross and putrifying mass of a body, immortall, insensible, assisting all, having Influence over all; and the nature of all intelligences, spirits and Angels is the same. But I call Angels here, not those whom we usually call Devils, but spirits so called from the propriety of the word, as it were, knowing, understanding and wise."

- from De occulta philosophia libri tres (Three Books Concerning Occult Philosophy), 1530s, Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa









As readers of this blog know, the moment summer arrives, one can often find a peculiar, solitary woman (me) roaming the sandbars on the Connecticut shoreline; every now and then bending down to pick up an object or two... possibly even talking to herself (or the objects) before placing them back down, or, resuming her search (if that's what it is), possibly still holding one prized object (carefully) in her sweaty little paw.

There are no "ordinary" objects at the shore... and some, like the one above (shown from various angles - click to enlarge) are to be celebrated. When I first found these three shells cemented* to a fragment of rock, however, I wasn't even sure what I'd found. Were they some form of barnacle? Had a human glued some shells onto a rock in such a pretty array?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Creatura - The Sentient Seaweed (the Extended Version)


Live scan of an unidentified seaweed - 2014, DS
Note: This scan is a product of a new flatbed scanner... which, apparently had difficulties
reading the black background, hence the weird color artifacts (unfortunately intensified online).
I've tried - and failed - to correct it. Sorry.
(click to enlarge)


creature |ˈkrē ch ər|
noun
an animal, as distinct from a human being : night sounds of birds and other creatures.
• an animal or person : as fellow creatures on this planet, animals deserve respect.
• a fictional or imaginary being, typically a frightening one : a creature from outer space.
• archaic anything living or existing : dress, jewels, and other transitory creatures.
• a person of a specified kind, typically one viewed with pity, contempt, or desire : you heartless creature!
• a person or organization considered to be under the complete control of another : the village teacher was expected to be the creature of his employer.

ORIGIN Middle English (in the sense [something created] ): via Old French from late Latin creatura, from the verb creare (see create).



"In the philosophy of consciousness, sentience can refer to the ability of any entity to have subjective perceptual experiences, or as some philosophers refer to them, "qualia". This is distinct from other aspects of the mind and consciousness, such as creativity, intelligence, sapience, self-awareness, and intentionality (the ability to have thoughts "about" something). Sentience is a minimalistic way of defining consciousness, which is otherwise commonly used to collectively describe sentience plus other characteristics of the mind.

Some philosophers, notably Colin McGinn, believe that sentience will never be understood, a position known as "new mysterianism". They do not deny that most other aspects of consciousness are subject to scientific investigation but they argue that subjective experiences will never be explained; i.e., sentience is the only aspect of consciousness that can't be explained. Other philosophers (such as Daniel Dennett) disagree, arguing that all aspects of consciousness will eventually be explained by science."

- Excerpt from the Wiki entry on sentience.



***

The summer solstice (the pagan holiday of Lithia) approaches, and with it, my inevitable trips to the shore. Sometimes there's an agenda; mostly there isn't. But, when the ocean calls, it never needs to leave a message; I just get in my car - sans towels and sunblock lotion... sans beach blankets, beach balls,  beverage coolers and lounge chairs. I'm there for meditative purposes, investigative purposes, or, more generally, no purpose at all. The ocean calls, and that's enough.

Last week, however, there was a method to my madness as I plodded along the sandbars. My mission was to gather bits of seaweed for an image I was trying to rework and, hopefully, finish. Normally sea plants hold no interest for me, but, for the image, I needed the seaweed's specific organic contours.

The one shown above almost looks like human lung tissue in the scan... which is not what I was looking for at the time, but - in that special way that the sea trumps all expectations - it became the perfect lief-motif for a deeper inquiry, and, hence, the star of this post.

First off - and I didn't know this for sure till I googled it - the seaweed is not a plant. Which is not to say I didn't realize this in some fashion, when I first held this unidentified branch of sea-life in the palm of my hand, because, weirdly enough, something about it made me nervous. Consciously I could recognize it as seaweed - and, reasonably, it was just a small portion, not the whole plant - so I wasn't killing anything (!) - but I detected something else. It's as if my sentience was scanning its sentience before it hit the surface of my flatbed scanner... and it didn't really "feel" like a plant. It was not, for instance, something I'd eat, although, no, I'm not a vegetarian. 

So, in spite of their names, seaweeds are not weeds at all. They are, in fact, algae. But, strangely enough, beyond the term "organism" there is no exact definition as to what algae actually is. Go figure. It is described as a plant-like eukaryote... but, then, pretty much all living creatures - including plants and humans - are eukaryotic.

But, it got me to thinking - call it a "hobby" -  about sentience and creaturehood. Because, ultimately, in the absence of brains, blood and mammalian body tissue - a set of baby-blue eyes, for instance -  how do we determine sentience? At what point does living matter reveal its essential creaturehood? Does it have to quote Shakespeare, present a credit card and show several forms of ID?

No, of course not. We know a dog is a sentient creature; it wags its tail and yelps in hopes you'll feed it. Fish, well, maybe not so much - fish do not, after all, possess limped brown eyes and a winning smile. By this we might gather that sentience is present in some creatures more than others, and quantified by degree; degree of engagement with us, participation in our agenda... and placement on the "food chain".

But, I swear I had an exotic fish once who reacted to music - he was a fan of Joni Mitchell - and watched TV...**

Is there really a hierarchy of sentience, and is it really found on a "food chain"? Is it a fact that creatures of higher intelligence and advanced sentience make meals out of those who inhabit the "lower" echelons?

Not really. Let's face it, microscopic parasites can make short work of just about anything - but it's unlikely you'll be electing a virus into public office any time too soon. (I said unlikely, not impossible). Besides which, (logically) it would follow, that an advanced extra-terrestrial race visiting this planet, for example, are less likely to befriend us, and more apt to toss us, our families, (and the family pooch) into a salad.... something like the "algae" below.

So, I guess we're back to this: what determines sentience?  Ultimately, might the true "degree" of ones own sentience be determined by ones ability to detect (and respond) to the sentience - the creatura - and/or a variety thereof, that exists in other organisms?

Just wondering...


A seaweed salad found here.


* Scrolling down the Wiki entry for sentience you will find:
"Sentience quotient:
The sentience quotient concept was introduced by Robert A. Freitas Jr. in the late 1970s. It defines sentience as the relationship between the information processing rate of each individual processing unit (neuron), the weight/size of a single unit, and the total number of processing units (expressed as mass). It was proposed as a measure for the sentience of all living beings and computers from a single neuron up to a hypothetical being at the theoretical computational limit of the entire universe. On a logarithmic scale it runs from −70 up to +50."

(?(Something tells me it was an abject failure.)

** In a timely fashionthis just in from Graham Hancock's news page: Are Fish As Intelligent As Crows, Chimps... Or People?

***

... And then again, over at boingboing, Xeni Jardin just posted (July 1st) this fairly awesome video of one innovative - and fashionable - little lovebird.

Note: An interesting article about the human digestion of seaweed, can be found here: "Japanese Guts Are Made for Sushi".

***

Secrets of a Cryptomonad...



"A UNSW Australia-led team of researchers has discovered how algae that survive in very low levels of light are able to switch on and off a weird quantum phenomenon that occurs during photosynthesis. The function in the algae of this quantum effect, known as coherence, remains a mystery, but it is thought it could help them harvest energy from the sun much more efficiently."

In the better-late-than-never dept. (7/5/14): I don't know how I missed this, but, Greg Taylor, over at the Daily Grail posted a link to this article last week (the source of the quote above)Quantum biology: Algae evolved to switch quantum coherence on and off.

No, the article doesn't refer to seaweed, but, instead, refers to a Cryptomonad and/or Cryptophyte (photo sourced from the same linked page), a one-celled algae

Ah, but what circuitous lives we lead, because it was this very Creatura which inspired the star of this post: Creating Art: a Mediumistic Experience.



Saturday, June 14, 2014

To Decode The Living Matrix... Featuring the Work of Cristóbal Vila


From the video: Isfahan (a detail of this detail) - 3D digital still - 2005, Cristóbal Vila


matrix |ˈmātriks|
noun ( pl. -trices |ˈmātrisēz| or -trixes )
1 an environment or material in which something develops; a surrounding medium or structure : free choices become the matrix of human life.
• a mass of fine-grained rock in which gems, crystals, or fossils are embedded.
• Biology the substance between cells or in which structures are embedded.
• fine material : the matrix of gravel paths is raked regularly.
2 a mold in which something, such as printing type or a phonograph record, is cast or shaped.
3 Mathematics a rectangular array of quantities or expressions in rows and columns that is treated as a single entity and manipulated according to particular rules.
• an organizational structure in which two or more lines of command, responsibility, or communication may run through the same individual.

ORIGIN late Middle English (in the sense [womb] ): from Latin, ‘breeding female,’ later ‘womb,’ from mater, matr - ‘mother.’


North American Wood Thrush

“As we listen we lose the sense of time—it links us with eternity…Its tones…seem like the vocal expression of the mystery of the universe, clothed in a melody so pure and ethereal that the soul still bound to its earthly tenement can neither imitate nor describe it.”
- Anonymous Twentieth Century naturalist describing the Wood Thrush


"It was dawn and as I lay there listening to the birds w/ my eyes shut I began to see a weird pattern emerging from the darkness... an almost graphic pattern similar to computer graphics... It looked like chopped meat being criss-crossed (sic) by a rapidly moving concentric ring pattern... similar to my cyclocentric* patterns but more intricate. From this emerged what seemed like another darker dimension - again filled with cyclocentric patterns but these were made of various colors of light... and some were large and whirlpooling (sic) while smaller brighter patterns emerged... all of them moving and vibrant and living and all of them revolving and forming harmonics by which even tinier glowing patterns emerged. It was as if I was delving into a series of many dimensions... but I could only glance at certain aspects (of the patterns) for milliseconds at a time (as they were) far too complex and enmeshed for human resolution...

...In the beginning I found myself entranced, but it finally became frightening because I was awake, and when I opened my eyes I continued to see the patterns. I thought I might be going mad...that my work with the cyclocentric patterns had triggered some variety of psychedelic experience... Just then, a thrush began to sing outside my window, I willed myself to concentrate on its song which, incidentally, is my favorite birdsong**. When listened to closely, however, it is very much like a broken symmetrical pattern... unfinished in some way... as if some of it was beyond the human range of hearing. I hadn't noticed it before but there's this series of clicks at the end of some notes that sound like static - as if, had you slowed them down - they might sound quite different.*** So, in a sense, I traded one pattern experience for another and was thereby able to stop the visual patterns from firing..."

- Excerpt from a journal entry I wrote May 31, 1996, originally posted (in full) here.

   * A reference to cyclohedral nets.
  ** Listen to the wood thrush here first. Then watch them here or here.
*** Lo and behold, I found this sample of the thrush song slowed down... but, not slow enough, I'm afraid.


***







I rediscovered the video (above) - Nature by Numbers - by Spanish 3D artist, Cristóbal Vila - on Aeon yesterday, although a link had been languishing on this blog's sidebar for some time. It's four years old, which may be a significant number in terms of cyber-years... but, in terms of the matrix, where time is a continuum, it's no time at all. Today is yesterday. Tomorrow is now. Or, something like that.

We live in a matrix; that is, not necessarily The Matrix, but, a living, phenomenal matrix... a dense, organic fabric of geometrical relationships that rivals anything men or machines might conceive (though, admittedly, some might argue with me on this point). But, we do have myriad glimpses... in art, in science... and, sometimes, even dreams. I dreamt * once of such a fabric (recorded above) but, even in the dream the sheer complexity of the matrix was impossible to fathom without becoming certifiably insane.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Dog and Pony Show - "Live" from Love Street


"Horses and Hound" - digital mash-up - 2005 DS
(click to enlarge)



"Dog and pony show" is a colloquial term which has come to mean a highly promoted, often over-staged performance, presentation, or event designed to sway or convince opinion for political, or less often, commercial ends. Typically, the term is used in a pejorative sense to connote disdain, jocular lack of appreciation, or distrust of the message being presented or the efforts undertaken to present it."

Dog and Pony Show via Wiki


"Before multi-platinum recording artists and Oscar-winning films celebrated Bloomington, Indiana, the city already occupied an important position in entertainment history. Although these days the term “dog-and-pony show” is usually used ironically, in the late 1800s the Gentry brothers of Bloomington brought glory to their hometown with just such an act.

Having trained a few animals and corralled his three brothers, 17-year-old Henry B. Gentry bought a train car and got a show on the road in 1885. “Gentry’s Equine and Canine Paradox” soon came to feature 40 ponies and 80 dogs in each of two traveling units. Having bought out several of its competitors by 1900, the outfit that was then known as Gentry Brothers Famous Shows lived up to its name with four separate units boasting camels, sacred cows, monkeys, and elephants that entertained crowds as far away as Mexico City."


- via Gentry Brothers Circus, 2006, Yaël Ksander



"She lives on Love Street
Lingers long on Love Street
She has a house and garden
I would like to see what happens

She has robes and she has monkeys
Lazy diamond studded flunkies
She has wisdom and knows what to do
She has me and she has you

I see you live on Love Street
There's this store where the creatures meet
I wonder what they do in there
Summer Sunday and a year
I guess I like it fine, so far"

- from "Love Street" by The Doors, 1968 - (video)



I'd been spending a lot of time in my "black vault" a few months ago... when I first drafted this post; reacquainting myself with old documents from my previous websites: The ShadowBride (poetry), The Circle Zone (geometry), and Araqinta's Gallery of Transmutations (digital illustrations). And, it's specifically that period - from the late 90s to about 2007 - which I've come to recognize as the "good old days."

It was a time in internet history - and maybe you remember -  before the twin scourges of consumerism and commercialism grabbed the helm...  those blissfully private days before the advent of social media and "Smart" devices, when the cyberspace vista was gloriously free of NSA spooks, various trolls, hackers, blogsuckers, bullies, profilers, insidious retailers, and all the myriad other strains of cyberspace creeps. (Update: an example of a particularly virulent UK variety...)

Commerce was merely selling things in those days... now it's become a religion, a philosophy, the manufacturer of social trends... insinuating itself into your private life as a matter of course. Your retailers are now your very best friends; one is prompted to "Like" them on Facebook, waste time scanning their codes into your (Smart) phone, or text-messaging them for their latest promotional deal... all the while trying to convince you that you need them... when the reality is quite the opposite.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Judy Chicago - A Butterfly for Brooklyn


A Butterfly for Pomona - Pyrotechnical display - 2012, Judy Chicago
Photo: Donald Woodman 


Noted previously on the sidebar of this blog, fans & followers of Judy Chicago have been doing a lot of celebrating lately... in honor of her 75th birthday (July 20) this year. 

As part of an ongoing tribute to Judy (April 4- September 28, 2014), the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum is presenting a A Butterfly for Brooklyn; an elaboration of her original 1974 pyrotechnic art performance, A Butterfly for Oakland, and an encore performance of A Butterfly for Pomona (pictured above) which was created in California in 2012 (...a great video of which can be found here).




The event is free and open to the public!



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Forevermore, Dr. Evermor - In Praise of a Steampunk Pioneer


"Dr. Evermor's Forevertron, built in the 1980s, is the largest scrap metal sculpture in the world, standing 50 ft. (15,2 m.) high and 120 ft. (36,5 m.) wide, and weighing 300 tons. It is housed in Dr. Evermore's Art Park on Highway 12, in the town of Sumpter, in Sauk County, Wisconsin, United States."
(Photo found here.)

"I don't think there’s any damn need to alter anything at any given point in time, because any kind of shape or form can be anything! It’s all in the way you look at it! I make that vast statement in the many birds I've created here. Those special bird bodies out there – I’ve got electric motors in them. Who says you can’t have electric motors in a bird to make it a power-bird? It’s a rebellious forum that I am presenting in all these things. If an art teacher says, “You can’t do that, you've got to have a bird body shaped like a bird body, I say, “The hell with that, I’ll put any kind of body I want on it!"



"This is a very different kind of art, because there’s never anything imposed on the piece itself - the parts are always used as they are. Thus, you have to put a little twist or torque into it, in order to get some kind of human communication between the finished piece and the more or less rigid, sterile, pre-existing shapes and forms. You have to get some kind of magic going there, and we have a lot of people who have come here, taken pictures, and then they go home and produce things. There are fifteen to twenty people out there trying to do Evermors, but they fail on just that issue of getting enough energy flowing so that the piece has a little magic."

- Two quotes from Dr. Evermor found in this interview.





Tom Every was a depressed man in 1983. At the age of 45, after a disillusioning battle with Big Brother, and in a state of chronic dissatisfaction with the burgeoning commercialism and de-humanizing artificiality he sensed in the modern world, Tom  - a former demolition expert, born in Brooklyn, Wisconsin - turned to the one thing he knew well: scrap metal; vintage industrial machinery. His epiphany arrived in the form of a fictional character - and a story - which emerged in his psyche at the time... the story of "Dr. Evermor", a Victorian inventor from Eggington, England, whose singular purpose was to build a spacecraft to the stars. But, this was no ordinary spacecraft; nor was its proposed destination found on any official celestial map. This vehicle was designed to propel Dr. Evermor to the center of creation - the phenomenal, virtually-timeless lap of "God"- on a magnetic beam of lightening within a magnetic force field, both conjured and fabricated by Evermor, for his first and final solo-mission.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Merkabah and a Sixth Sense - A Practical View (Annotated)





"The idea or reality of the esoteric chakra system may or may not be relevant to the phenomena I am referring to - from what I gather, the chakra centers are considered symbolic and psycho-spiritual and have no apparent physiological manifestation - but, as I am not aware of any other "maps" at my disposal, contemporary "subtle energy" diagrams provide one place to begin the inquiry.

In the tradition of the Eastern mystics - and Western alternative healers - the chakras (Sanskrit for "wheels") are basically 7 main energy vortices or focal points that lie along the spinal column and skull. The uppermost point, and the one that concerns us here, is generally known as Sahasrara, the seventh, or "crown chakra". In some systems, the seventh chakra lies directly at the top of the head, but in others it lies above. In some systems there are a number of energy centers above the head - the uppermost, and the one that corresponds to my sensory zone is sometimes referred to as the "transpersonal point". In all chakra literature, the crown chakra's primary function seems to serve as a conduit for consciousness, generally of the "cosmic" or collective variety."

- from a web article "Non-Local" Causes and Effects on the Human Body (Tactile Sensations from a distance), Dia Sobin, uploaded 2007 (.pdf link at the end of this post)



***


No, it's true, I wasn't lying. I am "exiting the blogosphere." Unfortunately, I spent so much time laying Post-Mac Blues to rest, I haven't had time to deal with Trans-D at all. Meanwhile March has arrived. It still looks like January where I am, mind you, and, yet, it could always be worse... it could look like war. But, as is apparent (and not out-of-character), I was a bit premature when designating "Imbolc" as the "last post". There will be this post and one more to come. I'm aiming for exactly 90 posts. It's a matter of symmetry and symbolism.  Esoterically, the number 9 is the perfect place to tie up loose ends and let loose the finished "product" - ones little spaceship careening towards the galaxy's edge.




How poetic.

But then, my muses - and/or my unconscious self - have/has an agenda... and, generally one I can't figure out till the last phase of a project. The agenda of this post started innocently enough. My urge was to post another scan. On a whim I had scanned into this machine a small crystal Merkabah - a recent birthday gift from my friend, Moo. As we know, I love minerals, and scanning them sometimes provides startling results. So, allow me to explain the scans above and to your left.

First off, Merkabah is an esoteric name given to a certain polyhedron - essentially a triakis octahedron and/or a stella octangula... It has a kind of weird shape that combines both the cubic and the hexagonal - in other words, viewed from one angle it looks square, from the other it resembles a 6-pointed star (hence the "stella"); this is a result of the fact that it is comprised of two interlocking tetrahedrons. Kind of like physical reality. My aim was to capture both angles via my flatbed scanner. To this end I taped my Merkabah - with packing tape - to the inside of a shallow box. Posted above are the results. Posted below (and below the jump) are the same scans with the tape digitally removed.

But, it's the light artifacts in the tape which interest me. While its true that cellophane material will create some cool image scans, I was a little startled by the weird effects produced in conjunction with the crystal polyhedron. Let's just say that, optically, light had a field day. One might also be inclined to consider certain myths concerning the Merkabah in a more sympathetic light.

Originally, the word "Merkabah" arose from early Judaic mysticism and referred to the "chariot of God", specifically that envisioned by the prophet Ezekial.  Of course, nothing is so sacred that it can't fall under the auspices of New Age jargon (or, for that matter, Ancient Alien lore). But, kernals of truth are found in the strangest of places.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Imbolc


Noosphere Day Image -  digital - Tatiana Plakhova
(Click to enlarge.)

"By her many graces I call to Brigit who graces us this day;
Grace of eye and grace of hand,
Grace of word and grace of will,
Grace of caring, grace of birthing, grace in mourning,
Grace of carriage, grace of courage,
Comforter and mother,
Brigit of the Blessings I name the one
Who blesses us this day!"

- Brigit Invocation from A Solitary Imbolc Ritual, Rob Henderson and Kami Landy, 1999


"Even after the Roman Catholics banned all Pagan ways, She was so firmly and permanently beloved, She was absorbed into Christianity as a saint. But the Wheel turns and we once more give honor to the Sun Goddess Bride (pronounced “breed” or “breej”), Brigit, or Brig(h)id. She is the Fire Goddess of Healing, Poetry, and Art. You can see Her embodied in the bright stars of the constellation we call Orion.

For millennia at Her temple at Kildare, Her priestesses, and later, the nuns of Her order, tended an eternal flame in Her honor. Although it was extinguished during the Burning Times (the Inquisition), in 1993, Sister Mary Minehan boldly re-lit St. Brigid’s flame in Kildare. It was lit again in 1997, in the square at Kildare by Ragny Skaisten, a member of the Norwegian Brigidine Sisters, at the opening of Her feast day, Feile Bhride."

- from Blessings of Imbolc!, Beth Owl, 2010*



There's sort of "Land of Milk & Honey" vibe about the pagan holiday of Imbolc (pronounced EEM bolg), also known and/or confused with the Christian holiday of Candlemas. While the actual date of the holiday varies, you can begin to see it in the change of light that occurs around this time. While winter isn't exactly over, it's possible to react like our ancestors must've reacted, inwardly breathing a sigh of relief: finally, a flicker of of hope on a previously desolate horizon.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Addendum


A series of drawings by Louise Despont - pencil on antique paper


"I think art is one way in which magical symbols and images can be presented to the public in a way that will not appear threatening. We know from the history of art in the past 100 years, that many genuine schools of occultism came forth to present themselves as what I am going to call mystical schools of painting, of sculpture and so forth. I am particularly concerned about one French school", says Bertiaux. "It is the pataphysical school. It was allied to Dada, surrealism, spiritualism and trance medium ship. The whole idea was that we would explore structures of the unconscious and come back renewed with a new kind of imagery and energy we can focus through works of art. The pataphysicians are my favorites, because what they sought to do was to create a kind of alternative science. I remember a pataphysician telling me, that as metaphysics is to physics, so pataphysics is to metaphysics, which meant an intuitive extension into the abstract or the transcendental or the less known aspects of experience."

 What were the characteristics of this school, I asked?

 "One of the characteristics would be their drawing of inspiration from dream states and a kind of somnambulistic meditation", says Bertiaux. "Another would be the idea that everything has a psychic history. This is related to “the cult of the found object” in modern art, the discovery of “the given.”

We know that there are many artists who will go around looking for what they call “a found
object” – actually they wouldn’t have to look very hard. According to the theory a found object
would “speak” to them and indicate to them that this was what was needed for the artwork of the artist.

The famous American sculptress Louise Nevelson - who worked with large assemblages and collages made from wood and wooden pieces - she had what I call her esoteric school", Bertiaux explains.

"These helpers of Louise Nevelson would get up very early in the morning. She lived in a town house in Manhattan, I believe; and they would go up and down the alleys, looking for discards. They were all kinds of individuals who were perhaps misfits in the outer world, but she believed them to be tremendously psychic. They all worked for her as her technicians, her helpers, in finding objects and wrapping them up in newspapers and paper bags, bringing them home; and then when they had all these treasures before them, they would let the objects tell them where to use them. And this came from a kind of psychic dialogue with the found object – which, I might add, was very similar to what Carl Jung taught many of his patients, to engage in with many natural things in their own experience."

- From: Arts and the Occult - An interview with Michael Bertiaux by Bjarne Salling Pedersen (.pdf file)

***

During the latter half of my research of the astrological sign Capricorn (and its constellation Capricornus) I stumbled upon an interesting man, Michael Bertiaux (b. January 18, 1935). According to Wiki, he is best known for his occult classic, "Voudon Gnostic Workbook", described as: "a 615-page compendium... spanning the sub-fields of Voodoo, Neo-Pythagoreanism, Thelema and Gnosticism". I somehow intuited that this man was someone I needed to acquaint myself with... and, when I pursued the .pdf file link provided, I was really amazed...