Friday, July 31, 2015

Lughnasadh Interlude

Lughnasadh (detail) - digital - 2007, DS

Lughnasadh and the "blue moon" synchronistically fall on the same date this year. What does this mean? It's a prompt: get your Pagan on!

For more information about Lughnadadh try here. For an astrological take on the current blue moon, try here.

Blessed Be,

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

In the Company of Green Women (IV): Of Lost Creatures & Forgotten Tales (The Textile Artists)

À mon seul désir - one of six in the series of tapestries entitled: The Lady and The Unicorn - Flanders, 1500s - currently housed in the Musée de Cluny - National Museum of the Middle Ages, Paris, France.

"In the nineteenth century Prosper Merimé the French Inspector of Historic Monuments drew the attention of authorities to the beauty and importance of the tapestries after finding them hanging on damp walls in the rat ridden decaying Château Boussac in 1835. They were still there in 1844 when the renowned author of her day George Sand mentioned them in her novel Jeanne. She endeavoured to use her celebrity status to have them removed to safety, but to no avail.They were still there in 1853 when Baron Aucapitaine drew the attention of Edmond du Sommerard, the Curator of the Cluny Museum at Paris to them and he subsequently negotiated long and hard to secure them.Two important details still elude researchers; the personality of the artist who designed the tapestries for Jean le Viste and the place where they were woven."

- Carolyn McDowall, from The Lady and The Unicorn and ‘Millefleurs’ Style Tapestries.

The Unicorn is Found - one of a series of seven tapestries entitled: The Hunt of the Unicorn - 1490-1505, Brussels - currently housed in The Cloisters, NYC, New York.

"I was so excited to see the tapestries, I think I almost cried.  They are so amazing and the colors are still so vivid.  The tapestries are believed to have been created in the Netherlands, between 1495 and 1515.  The first known record of their existence is from 1680 when they were part of the inventory of the belongings of a French Duke...

...During the Revolution, populist mobs looted the chateau and took the tapestries where they remained out of sight for several generations. It was rumored that they were used to cover espaliered trees and protect potatoes. In the early 1850’s a peasant’s wife came forward with news of some “old curtains” that were covering vegetables in the barn. Can you imagine? It’s amazing that they have managed to retain their pretty, bright colors."

- Thimbleanna, from The Unicorn Tapestries

Salone dei Mesi (Month of March) - Francesco del Cossa - 1470

"The most famous remaining medieval tapestry cartoons were the ones painted by Raphael for "The Acts of the Apostles", a series of tapestries commissioned from a Brussels tapestry shop by Pope Leo X in 1515 for the lower level of Rome's Sistine Chapel. We remember Raphael's name... he's a very famous artist. No one remembers the names of those countless Belgian weavers."

-  Found on this Unicorn page.

"Today it is said that the unicorn never existed. However, it is marvelously clear that when the unicorn was first described and centuries later when the tapestries were woven, everyone believed in unicorns."

- From Marianna Mayer, The Unicorn and the Lake.


Whenever a medieval work of art is found hosting a colony of mold, plugging up a fireplace, or "protectively" wrapping a bin of potatoes, it almost goes without saying that it must have been "women's work." At least, that's the impression I got as I vainly pursued and attempted to identify medieval women artists and artisans. It seems to have been a trend... and, one we'll revisit, when we've arrive at the topic of Renaissance paintings (note: despite my best efforts, this will not be achieved in the present post).

Which is why I believe the two sets of Unicorn tapestries (examples shown above; also below the jump) - most especially "The Lady and the Unicorn" - were most likely the work of women. This is not to say that men were not involved in the production of textiles in the Middle Ages. They most certainly were. Weavers were often members of all-male guilds, because - apart from the work emerging from convents and monasteries - women were supposedly banned from the loom. By the 15th century, however, when the Unicorn tapestries were created, the situation had reversed, and female weavers began to predominate; especially in the Low Countries, where the Unicorn tapestries - both sets - originated.

Moreover, both the "Lady and the Unicorn" tapestries, and those comprising "The Hunt of the Unicorn," employed the Millefleur(s) - thousand flowers - technique; a style which (I'd hazard to guess) even the most genteel of men would find hard to swallow, let alone spend countless hours over its execution. I think, too, that it's significant that the French feminist writer, George Sand (French Wiki link) , made a point of championing "The Lady's" recovery (from the no-longer-rat-infested Château Boussac). She sensed there was something "curious" about them.*

But, when both sets of tapestries were finally "saved," it didn't take art historians long to realize that the textiles were artistic masterpieces. As it presently stands, the Unicorn tapestries (of both groups) are officially considered to be the most outstanding examples of medieval art and craftsmanship the world possesses...

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

In the Company of Green Women (III): The Illumined and the Illuminators

Zelus Dei - Illumination from Hildegard von Bingen's Scivias - 1151 or 1152 - found here.
(Note: click on images in this post for enlarged views)

"I looked and behold a head of marvellous form ... of the colour of flame and red as fire, and it had a terrible human face gazing northward in great wrath. From the neck downward I could see no further form, for the body was altogether concealed ... but the head itself I saw, like the bare form of a human head. Nor was it hairy like a man, nor indeed after the manner of a woman, but it was more like to a man than a woman, and very awful to look upon.

It had three wings of marvellous length and breadth, white as a dazzling cloud. They were not raised erect but spread apart one from the other and the head rose slightly above them ... and at times they would beat terribly and again would be still. No word uttered the head, but remained altogether still, yet now and again beating with its extended wings."


"From my infancy until now in the seventieth year of my age," she says, "my soul has always beheld this light, and in it my soul soars to the summit of the firmament and into different air... The brightness which I see is not limited by space, and is more brilliant than the radiance around the Sun... I cannot measure its height, length, breadth. Its name, which has been given me, is 'Shade of the Living Light.' ... With that brightness I sometimes see another light for which the name Lux Vivens has been given me. When and how I see this I cannot tell; but sometimes when I see it all sadness and pain is lifted from me, and I seem a simple girl again, and an old woman no more."

- Two quotes from Hildegard von Bingen, via "The Scientific Views and Visions of Saint Hildegard;" from Studies in the History and Method of Science (full text), 1921, edited by Charles Singer

Frontispiece from Scivias depicting Hildegard von Bingen receiving "divine" inspiration.

O virtus Sapientiae

O Wisdom’s energy!
Whirling, you encircle
and everything embrace
in the single way of life.
Three wings you have:
one soars above into the heights,
one from the earth exudes,
and all about now flies the third.
Praise be to you, as is your due, O Wisdom.

Antiphon for Divine Wisdom by Hildegard von Bingen. This was one of her many musical compositions which are still being performed to this day.

"Therefore the whirlwinds tell me lies in many voices, which rise up within me, saying, 'Who are you? and what are you doing? and what are these battles you are fighting? You are indeed unhappy, for you do not know whether your work is good or bad. Where will you go? and who will save you? and what are these errors that are driving you to madness? Are you doing what delights you? Are you escaping what distresses you?... It would be better for you if you did not exist!' 

And after these whirlwinds have risen up thus within me, I begin to tread another path that is hard for my flesh to bear, for I begin to practice righteousness. But then I doubt as to whether or not the Holy Spirit has given this to me, and I say, 'This is useless.' And I wish to fly above the clouds. How? I wish to fly above the faculties and start things I cannot finish. But when I try to do these things, I only stir up great sadness in myself, so that I do no works, either on the heights of sanctity or on the plains of good will; but I bear within me the disquietude of doubt, desperation, sadness, and oppression in all things."

- Hildegard von Bingen from Book 1, Vision 4, Scivias, (1151/1152).

"Claricia was a German illuminator who included a self-portrait in a South German psalter produced circa 1200 CE. In the self-portrait, she depicts herself swinging from the tail of a letter Q with her name inscribed over her head. Her uncovered head, braided hair, and style of dress (close-fitting tunic, long-waisted dress, long flowing sleeves) suggests that she was a lay student at the convent." - via the Wiki article.

"Nuns created artwork that varied in style, function, market, and quality, like all artists everywhere. Some nuns made private devotional drawings, and some crafted products in a variety of media for sale outside the convent. They had opinions about their work, too. In an early sixteenth-century letter to her brother, a nun in Nuremberg asks him if he would show some of her embroidery to his friend Albrecht Dürer, otherwise known as the Elvis of the northern Renaissance. In another letter she says, 'I have no recreation except painting; if I could only have Dürer for a fortnight so that he could instruct [me].'"

- Whitney Burkhalter from “Nuns Can’t Paint”: Sexism, Medieval Art, and Dudes on Mopeds.

"To accommodate the demand, book-making, writing, and illustrating expanded out of monasteries and into secular production houses.  These commercial scriptoriums were prevalent in most major cities, but especially Paris, by the 1300s.  Furthermore, a great deal of the actual painting of these manuscripts was done by women.  Yet another female-dominated industry in the middle ages that you might never have guessed."

-  Merry Farmer from: Medieval Monday - Illuminated Manuscripts.

From: La voie de Povreté ou de Richesse (The Way of Poverty or of Wealth) -1400s, France
Previously attributed to "a follower of the Bedford Master", it is now attributed to the "Fastolf Master". 

“I know a woman today, named Anastasia, who is so learned and skilled in painting manuscript borders and miniature backgrounds that one cannot find an artisan in all the city of Paris – where the best in the world are found – who can surpass her, nor who can paint flowers and details as delicately as she does, nor whose work is more highly esteemed, no matter how rich or precious the book is. People cannot stop talking about her. And I know this from experience, for she has executed several things for me, which stand out among the ornamental borders of the great masters.”

- Christine de Pizan, from The Book of The City of Ladies, (1405), via Mary French's article: Lady Truth and the Author: Female Networking in Medieval Manuscripts.


As you may have noticed, I've a new ploy for getting myself to post these days; I put up the images first - which is half the battle anyway - and this forces me to add my "narrative glue" sooner than I would have otherwise. Unfortunately, sometimes even this maneuver back-fires, and I drum up additional information, and more links, and so many bits of disorganized data, that the whole task becomes hopeless.  And, in the case of medieval women, this has been true from the first and second posts in this series - plus the post that started it all - straight through to this one. And why is this? In four words: it's those rabbits again. I can now pronounce, from deepest experience, that whatever else the Sign of the Three Hares may mean, it - without one single doubt or hesitation on my part - is a magical symbol. It is a symbol of increase. Period. And, as Elmer Fudd might've said, when confronted with three Bugs Bunnies (!): Be vewy careful.

And, so, we come to the medieval scribes, mystics, and illuminators - specifically the invisible feminine side of the medieval equation. And, like myself, you were probably under the impression that this was primarily an empty set, containing one or two obscure female anomalies of little import. In which case you - like myself - would be wrong. And, really, if you follow this blog at all, it should come as no surprise... considering that even very contemporary women of artistic achievement have already seemingly fallen through the cracks of History (emphasis on "His")...

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Triangulation & The 3 Hares (In Memory of a Beautiful Mind)

Four Degrees of Triangulation - 2015, DS

"Each planet has energy through it via a visible light spectrum and produces it’s own output albeit in a longer thermal wave and the production of atmospheres, and the concurrence of fluids ruled over by the Trident of Neptune. .. One could call our solar system an example of the conservation of energy...or perhaps not. Perhaps this is a strange astrology..cyclic and yet prone to flux. The visible conjoined to the invisible. And beyond this?

Is there a triadic ordering to the anomalous between existents and non existents? Is there a dipole to this that creates a dynamo that produces a music strange to our senses..attenuated to this exchange resulting not in physicality nor non physicality, but rather a reconciling force?

Your guess is as good as mine. I suppose the interdependence of what Bateson saw as two drum beats creates not a seeming harmonious rhythm but rather discordance as translated by our own triangulations."

- Bruce Deunsing, from his post The Physicality of Metaphysics

Four Degrees of Triangulation (2) - 2015, DS

"Nicola Tesla (1856-1943) in his whole life, did not own a home, he lived in hotels, never got married and besides him being a genius, his interesting personality was always the center of attention. Since he arrived to New York in 1884 he stayed in many hotels (especially the New Yorker which was the one he stayed the longest in) he would order his meal by phone, he would sit all alone in his suit at the table, since he had an obsession of numbers that could be divided by three he would order his napkins according to this and after a thorough hygiene control he would eat his meal."

-  Via this Tesla Society page.

"One of his proudest achievements was his TMT, (Tesla Magnifying Transmitter), or Tesla transponder. The few that have looked into this at a mathematical and experimental level seem to reach the conclusion that it is a system of resonant transformers harmonically balanced to the electric condition of the Earth...If the phase angle of the earth pulsation frequency lags the phase angle of the pulsating frequency, energy is abstracted from the earth's supply of energy and delivered as "free energy" to the transponders. Three distinct standing waves, each coupled to the other through two points of refraction are involved in its operation. This is GROSSLY simplified to arrive at a possible solution to our 3-6-9 problem."

- Via "Steve" from this Physics forums page: Why was Tesla Obsessed with the Number 3?


I thought I'd let the triangulations speak for themselves for a while before I put in my left-brained "two cents". As it stands, I'm having a difficult time writing these days, and I regret stalling on posting to this blog, but it can't be helped. I am currently immersed in 2 relief-sculptural projects - yes, I'm carving plaster again(!) - and the "brains" are battling each other for time.

Then again, I've just been informed that the planet Saturn has gone retrograde. Never a good thing, my fellow earthlings. The bottom line: beware of Karma... yours and everyone else's.

This post is sort of a companion piece to the one posted here - a memorial to fellow blogger, Bruce Duensing, who just happened to be a misunderstood genius - but it's inadvertently dedicated to another "beautiful mind" and another misunderstood genius, Nicola Tesla, with whom Bruce may have had a few things in common...

Friday, May 8, 2015

In the Company of Green Women (II): Medieval Masons & Sculptors

Detail of an allegorical miniature of Christine de Pizan before the personifications of Rectitude, Reason, and Justice in her study; then helping another lady to build the 'Cité des dames', from The Book of the City of Ladies (Le Livre de la Cité des Dames), Christine de Pizan, Fifteenth Century.
(Click on post images for larger size.) 

"Regarding how women were perceived who engaged in this type of work, the voices of many historical authors make it clear that women should be discouraged from working outside the home, and especially should not engage in manual labor. Women who could not adhere to this prescription were considered to be of the lowest class in society, just one step above the class of prostitutes. Their poverty was seen as a punishment for sin. These attitudes led to the vague recordings of women‘s activities in historic documents and to women‘s historic invisibility on the construction site.  However, there were certain crafts related to building design that were deemed acceptable employment for women, such as sculpting, painting and the weaving of tapestries, which were believed to uplift the mind and maintain the virtue of chastity.

In addition to written documentation, there is graphic evidence in European illustrated manuscripts and books that demonstrate women as both laborers, craftswomen and as patrons of building construction.  Some of the imagery appears to be literal documentation of work, however the majority of the known examples use the idea of a woman as patron or as laborer in a symbolic context.  One well-known example is a miniature in Christine de Pisan‘s, The Book of the City of Ladies (Le Livre de la Cité des Dames)."
- From Women in Construction: An Early Historical Perspective, Yilmaz Hatipkarasulu, PhD and Shelley E. Roff, PhD,  2011 (.pdf) (emphasis, mine)

"Baron catalogues the painters, illuminators, and sculptors listed in Parisian tax records of the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries. Although her work does not focus primarily on women, Baron does discover at least twelve female painters, illuminators, and "ymagieres" (a term of uncertain meaning), as well as three other women involved in the stone-working industry...

Medieval women and medieval art have shared an unfortunate fate. Both have been deprived by historians of the very real power that they may have exerted over human thoughts and actions in their own era. As a field of inquiry, the history of medieval women artists and their art invites us to redefine these proverbial objects as dynamic forces in the medieval past."
- From Medieval Women Artists and Modern Historians, Lila Yawn-Bonghi (.pdf)

Medieval Mason and Carpenter Guild emblem 

"Every clause in the 1389 Certificate of the Guild of Masons at Lincoln referred to both brothers and sisters. Carpenters admitted women, and stonemasons often combined with them the other artisans. The 'Old Charges' referred to 'brothers and sisters', 'Masters and Dames' and to "...he or she that is to bee made a mason..."

"There have been suggestions that there may have been an error whereby ‘he or shee’ should have read ‘he or they.’ Of this possibility, Rev. Cryer says: 'Now I have to tell you, that my predecessors in Masonic Research in England from Hughen and Vibert and from all the rest onward, have tried to pretend that the ‘shee’ is merely a misprint for ‘they.’ I now am the Chairman of the Heritage Committee of York. I know these documents; I’ve examined them, and I’m telling you, they say ‘she,’ without any question.'"

"Thus, women not only endured the fatigues of labour in the building trades but also, at least in the Würzburg case, vastly outnumbered the men! Indeed, because of the prevalence of women and their acceptance of lower wages and relatively high productivity, the journeymen’s lodges, fearing for their own prospects, agitated for their exclusion, and that of foreigners, from most trades in the late middle ages. Claudia Opitz , described tension over pay rates towards the end of the middle ages, saying: The competition between various interest groups raged all the more fiercely, especially when times were hard. Journeymen played a key role in these battles; since female maids and apprentices earned a third less on average, the men fought successfully to have them excluded from virtually all guilds by the end of the Middle Ages."

"While we may debate details concerning the involvement of women in the medieval building trades, we find they had an enduring presence that was sufficient for their participation to be legitimized in the Old Charges. I conclude therefore, that the Emperor has no clothes!—That no amount of repetition can make a falsehood true!—And that there were women in the building trades and as Stonemasons!"
- Four quotes from Craftswomen in the Old Charges, in Building Trades and as Stonemasons, by Philip Carter; found on The Quarry Masonic Forum here and here.

"There were so many early women Freemasons about whom we now know very little and what is left is rapidly slipping away. With each passing generation, we know even less. It’s too late to recover the names and stories of the very vast majority. The scholarly squandering and impoverishment cannot be undone. While we may grieve at that, we must accept it and strive not to add to it."
- From Haunted Chambers: The Lives of Early Woman Freemasons, by Karen Kidd, Cornerstone Publishers, 2009 (.pdf)


I'll never forget the moment it seriously entered my head that a few of the medieval Green Women (and Three-Hare symbols) may have been carved by women (as I intimated at the end of my previous post in this series). Having learned absolutely nothing about the existence of female artists in the Middle Ages - let alone female sculptors or masons - in art school in the 1970s, and (at the time) dismissing the entire possibly that women might have been involved - the unspoken it-goes-without-saying assumption on the part of my male instructors (i.e., women were and are not capable of creating anything artistically meaningful) - It was with great trepidation that I even dared to google such phrases as: "female medieval artists and sculptors" let alone "female medieval masons". Truthfully, I felt embarrassed to ask... and figured the search engine would just skip over the word "female" altogether. Which it mostly did. I had to crawl through a lot of material which just featured medieval artistic representations of women by male artists, which was hardly my point.

But... surprise, surprise! Every now and then I did hit pay dirt; in fact I managed to amass so much data that pulling it all together has been an almost impossible task. But, the upshot is that, yes, it so happens that women most assuredly were employed as both artists, scribes, and masons during the Middle Ages along with the more accepted feminine skills such as spinning, embroidery, etc.. I did not know this. So, perhaps, following rabbits is not a bad thing after all...

Monday, April 13, 2015

In the Company of Green Women

Green Woman boss, Carlisle Cathedral - 2006, Greenshed
(As always, this image, and those on the remainder of the post can be clicked to enlarge.)

"The Greenman is known by just about everyone. His leafy face has appeared in many cultures. He is the symbol of nature's rebirth in the spring, he is the guardian of the forests, he is the protector of the wild places, and he is a positive masculine image of men as caretakers."
- via the Beneficent (Fraternal) Order of the Greenman

"Usually referred to in works on architecture as foliate heads or foliate masks, carvings of the Green Man may take many forms, naturalistic or decorative. The simplest depict a man's face peering out of dense foliage. Some may have leaves for hair, perhaps with a leafy beard. Often leaves or leafy shoots are shown growing from his open mouth and sometimes even from the nose and eyes as well. In the most abstract examples, the carving at first glance appears to be merely stylised foliage, with the facial element only becoming apparent on closer examination. The face is almost always male; green women are rare."
- via the Wiki entry for Green Man

A modern representation of the iconic Green Man
Green Man 3 - Resin Bronze - John Bonington

"There seems to be a connection between the Green/Wild Man of the woods and the Green Man carvings.  Both have obvious associations with plant and woodland features and both are likely to trace their origins back to pre-Christian folk traditions and Gods.  However, whereas the Wild Man was always seen as somewhat threatening and not of this world, early carvings of Green Men were of friendly, well dressed young men of the period."
- via an English Folk Church article.

"A Green Man is any kind of a carving, drawing, painting or representation of any kind which shows a head or face surrounded by, or made from, leaves. The face is almost always male, although a few Green Women do exist (examples can be found at the Minster of Ulm, Germany and at Brioude, France), and Green Beasts (particularly cats and lions) are reasonably commonplace."
- via this Green Man Enigma page.

Green Woman roof boss; St. Nikolai Church, Quedlinburg, Germany
Photo Credit: 2006, Groenling

"Since Lady Raglan’s article a Green Man was supposed to be the head of a man. Period. We were mesmerized by this dictum for years, just looking for Green Men, not women, not recognising them when we encountered them. In fact, when we visited England in 1991, Joke took a photograph of a Green Man roof boss in Canterbury Cathedral, manufactured between 1379 and 1400, stems and leaves issuing from the corners of his mouth. It took us years to notice that the figure in the centre of the vault is a Green Woman."
- From The Green Man & the Green Woman – part I by Ko & Joke Lankester, July 31, 2013

"I’ve also included two images (17 and 18) from Exeter Cathedral which do not seem to me to portray men. We should be careful not to allow the terminology to flatten or oversimplify our perspective of Green Men, few of which are green, not all of which are men but which participate in a remarkable, arresting and varied motif."
- From Gabriella Giannachi's 2012 article: Dr Naomi Howell tells us about the Green Man.


Perhaps this article is meant to help eliminate a certain deficit on the world-wide-web: the dearth of medieval Green Women. Then again, maybe I just want to free up some of the Green Women held hostage on the Flickr collections devoted to Green Men, such as the Green Men collection, or the Company of the Green Man, or Jack in the Green, or Green Men, Green Beasts.  If you query Green Women, four paltry pages seems to serve as the entire Green Women compendium... a compilation of a few samples of contemporary art, and photos of women painted green. Maybe this is due to a few misconceptions that need to be corrected. Or, maybe the ghosts of Green Women are just feeling bitchy... as well they should!

Blame it on those rabbits. Or maybe the Hare in the Moon. But, what started as a innocent venture into the mythic realm to celebrate the first day of spring eventually blossomed, multiplied, freaked-out, imploded, exploded, and finally rearranged itself into several interconnected heaps of themes, images, links, quotes, and what-have-you which have held me hostage for the past two weeks. Ones inner daemon-muse-imaginative-other is a harsh taskmaster. But, start following rabbits and... well, we know what happens to people who start following rabbits...

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Judy Chicago - Live Feed Update!

(click to enlarge)

I just found this in my inbox.  If you catch this post on time, some of you should still be able to view the live feed via the link below.

If not, the same link will take you to the video of the show:

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Three Hares; the Moon Hare, a Hare-witch, and Saint Melangell

Three Hares boss, church of St Hubert's, Dorset. Photo Credit: Eleanor Ludgate.

"From the perspective of European folklore, the rabbit is a creature with strong ties to witchcraft and magic. Rabbits and hares were commonly considered to be favorite familiars of witches. Additionally throughout Wales, Ireland and Scotland it was often believed that witches would transform themselves into hares in order to travel about undetected. In the case of the witch or her familiar it was said that the only way to injure or kill the supernatural hare was with the aid of a silver bullet. Interestingly enough, and a concept with potential significance, some European traditions held that the devil himself would often take the form of a hare with only three legs. This inspires further thought when we note that one of the few claimed powers of the Rabbit’s Foot in Europe was its ability to protect against witchcraft. The color of a rabbit was also of importance as some believed that to see a white rabbit was an omen of death, whilst black rabbits were often thought to be the reincarnated souls of ancestors."

- From an article by Matthew Venus entitled The Rabbit's Foot.

"According to local legend, a huntsman called Bowerman lived on the moor around one thousand years ago. When chasing a hare he and his pack of dogs unwittingly ran into a coven of witches, overturned their cauldron and disrupted their ceremony.

They decided to punish him, and the next time he was hunting, one of the witches turned herself into a hare, and led both Bowerman and his hounds into a mire. As a final punishment, she turned them to stone - the dogs can be seen as a jagged chain of rocks on top of Hound Tor, while the huntsman himself became the rock formation now known as Bowerman's Nose."

- From John Page's "An Exploration of Dartmoor", 1889, found here. (A photograph of Bowerman's Nose can be found at the end of this post.)

"Ancient Chinese men before the Han Dynasty believed that there were no male rabbits and female rabbits only became pregnant by watching the moon and spat out babies from their mouths. The origin of the Chinese term for rabbit "tuzi" was drawn from this belief, where tu means 'spit' and zi means 'babies'. This belief was corrected in the Han Dynasty. Mulan Ci, the story of Hua Mulan, talked about the way to tell rabbits' gender by lifting the rabbit by its ears. It was said that male rabbit's feet kept moving while female rabbit's eyes squint."

- From The Symbolic Meaning of Rabbit in Chinese Culture.


I've been mulling over the Three-hare symbol since I featured it in my spring post... a lot! Something about its attractiveness and the mystery surrounding it took hold of me and the little wheels started turning. If symbols could speak - and, really, that seems to be the whole point of a symbol - then the rotating three hares were speaking to me. So, what is it about those cunning little rabbits? While I can't say anything for certain, my online research has taken me to so many odd places that I'd feel irresponsible if I didn't try to share some of the interesting bits of information I found along the way...

Friday, March 20, 2015

Hail to the (Mysterious) March Hare...

A stained glass window in the Castle Inn at Lydford.
Photo Credit: Eleanor Ludgate, found here.

Well, officially it's Spring, and it hasn't come a moment too soon... although, if you're like me, you aren't exactly seeing any signs of it yet.

Enter the mad, March Hare...

Let's face it, it's been a long winter. And if you're feeling a little grey around the gills, down in the dumps, and even a tad snarky, then, perhaps, you're in need of a Mythic fix. In which case, I'm here to give you one...

Saturday, March 7, 2015

March 12 Update: Glitch Fixed

Thanks to the Powers That Be, the mysterious video problem I was experiencing on my blogs has been repaired.

To celebrate, I was inspired to upload something for your viewing pleasure. I spent about 4 hours searching through YouTube fractal videos looking for something beautiful, lush, cool, unique, under 5 minutes, with a soundtrack that wasn't distracting, irritating, or downright obnoxious.

I found two, possibly three... and all of them can be found on Truman Brown's YouTube channel. The one above is Plantes d'Absinthe.

(Links to all three will have a permanent place in the Mandelbox section of the sidebar.)

Thanks, TB, you don't know it, but you saved my day!

PS  You'll note a new fractal link has been added, too: Frax... an awesome fractal generator designed by Ben Weiss,  Kai Krause, and, someone you might know from a previous post, Tom Beddard.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Mysterious Caves of Fontainebleau

From the caves of Fontainebleau... (click to enlarge)

The Forest of Fontainebleau

"This forest which is now a popular recreation area, was an isolated region for thousands of years. It was a haunt of robbers, fringe dwellers and fugitives who sheltered in its caves and carved the walls with inscriptions, designs, and abstract signs. More than 2,300 square yards of rock are decorated in this way.

Among the carvings are human figures with rectangular bodies, neck-less heads with sunken eyes and U-shaped noses. Their arms are outstretched, with the fingers spread like a fan, and often the legs are missing. A second group, in bas-relief, have their arms close to their bodies, In a third, the figures are dressed in skirts and have only three fingers on each hand.

The crosses, circles and hopscotch-like designs are almost impossible to date. They may be from prehistoric time, or they could have been drawn yesterday. All have been indexed and some are similar to designs which specialists located elsewhere. However, there are some designs which are found only at Fontainebleau. These are the irregular latticed designs which have been deeply incised into the rock. They have been found in the most inaccessible places, in cavities where only an arm can reach. Why were these engravings made under such obviously difficult conditions? They were certainly not made recently, but how old are they? What message did their engravers wish to leave, and who were they?"

- Text and photo (above) found in some older files; source currently unidentified.


Chances are, whenever the topic of prehistoric art crops up, the first examples that spring to mind are the stylized beasts (in shades of black, brown and red ochre) found on cave walls in France, notably those of Lascaux and Chauvet. Or, maybe, those enigmatic Paleolithic handprints which created a minor sensation in 2013; the handprints which, upon closer inspection, were tentatively judged to be the work of primarily female artists. On the other hand, the more informed Fortean mind is likely to turn to the stone carvings found at Göbekli Tepe (also, here), or the Nazca Lines.

But, my fellow fans of weird archaeology, here's another place to add to your files: the mysterious abstract carvings found in the caves of Fontainebleau Forest, located 30 miles south of Paris. While some of the designs were wrought in the late Middle Ages, others have been dated back 15,000 years to the Upper Paleolithic or Magdalenian period; and, still others may have arisen as early as the Neolithic period. So strange and sophisticated are some of the carvings - along with the nearby presence of unusual rock formations, and what appears to be a bestiary of boulders - that it's been proposed the forest of Fontainebleau may contain the artifacts of an unknown civilization...

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Transdimensionalism 1:01... & Parallel Worlds

"Blueprint" for Unit 3 Aggregate 6 - 1983, DS

"We have ways of determining when a physical body is no longer, obviously alive. And, yes, we know how different living structures come together to produce more complex structures. These eventually result in a creature who can, quite possibly, walk to a local diner and order "home-fries". But, ultimately, this knowledge fails to illuminate us. While we can surmise that John Doe desires home-fries due to theories regarding genetic or environmental prompts which happen to coincide with that biological drive known as "hunger", we do not really know why it was that, while John was walking home from the diner, he got hit by a renegade truck. Nor do we know why John's wife, Sylvia, told him to stay home that day because she "had a bad feeling" about his going out. Nor do we know why John's son, Rufus, shot the neighbor's dog two days earlier. You can call in all the biologists and psychiatrists in the world, and possibly after several months, they might be able to determine the "how" of several elements of this scenario, but they'll never be able to determine the "why" of this succession of events because there is no obvious logic involved. And, that's life.

Hence, we have the "story", which is not so much a thing, nor a series of things, but a mad combination of all sorts of no-things that come together in a such away to amuse us or dismay us.  And it's a very strange occurrence to realize that some of these tales which filter into our brains, mysteriously become part of our own personal databank of experiences without ever attaining 'thingness' at all."

- from Transdimensionalism 1:01, a .pdf file I've just uploaded, containing material I wrote in 2010 and revised in 2015 (A link appears after the jump...).

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Shadow Self and the Mirror Image

"Some artists fear the judgement of failure: the manuscript unpublished, the painting unsold; and others the judgement of the marketplace: bad reviews, poor sales, disappointed fans. Some fear specific kinds of judgement: the lowered esteem of colleagues or certain critics, the negative opinions of family or friends. And for others, the harshest judge of all is the one who whispers inside our own head: You aren't any good. You don't know what you're doing. What makes you think you can write/draw/craft/compose/perform? You're mediocre. You're a fraud. You're a fool...

Only perfection will silence these critics -- or so we secretly believe, and since there's no such thing as the "absolutely perfect," we're damned before we've even begun..."

- Terri Windling from her blogpost When Every Day is Judgement Day , January 7, 2015

"Psyche has two main functions. It is both a non-material "hard disk" that stores memories as well as a non-material digestion organ that masters fear. Psyche can be of different complexity and can in this respect be compared to a mirror globe that has more or less reflectors on its surface. A globe with less mirrors gives a simple image of reality whilst a globe with many mirrors gives a highly complex image of reality. It is obvious that a highly complex psyche is able to represent reality more sophisticated but on the other hand is more prone to picture distorted images of reality."

- Gordon Praxis from Functions of the Psyche


I've just come back from a long, enforced hiatus from the internet recently. As it stands, operating out of the particular area of New Mexico in which I currently reside, reliable ISPs are hard to come by. But, that wasn't the only reason I avoided getting an internet connection; in the end, I just wanted to attend to my own projects without the added distractions cyberspace involves. In the past , I would've doubted that going cold turkey from the virtual world was even possible. But, I'm here to report that not only is it possible, it isn't a half-bad exercise.

For instance, within the past two months, I reworked and finished the first draft of a manuscript; a YA novel which had been sitting on "the back burner" for a period of over ten years. Had I been caught in the glare of that giant disco-ball we call virtual reality, this wouldn't have been possible...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Photo of the Day

Siberian Shaman - Photo Credit: Alexander Nikolsky
(click to enlarge)

Just found in the Siberian Times article, Shamans Rouse the Ancient Siberian Spirits, by Anna Liesowska... I don't condone animal sacrifice, but this story about the "Call of the 13 Shamans" held in the Tyva (Tuva) Republic of Siberia might interest those familiar with my themes.

(Thanks to Grail-seeker at the Daily Grail for the link!)

For your future shamanic news & research, try Shaman Portal (link has also been added to this blog's sidebar).