Archive for goddess

Ten Views of Mum

Posted in Conceptual Art, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2012 by javedbabar

Alex had been forced by The Authority to mix adults and teens in his PIA: Philosophy In Art class. This could get complicated, so he’d decided to keep things simple.

After an introduction to Japanese artist Hokusai, famous for his series of one hundred, thirty- six, and then ten more, views of Mt Fuji, the class had agreed – or at least not disagreed too strongly – to take ten views of various topics.

“Welcome to class,” said Alex. “I’m delighted to see that most of you have made it back. We could have done thirty-six views of things, one each! But you opted for ten views. So who’s first?”

A girl said, “What’s the topic?”

“Ah yes, the topic. Hmmm…” Alex kicked himself. Why hadn’t he prepared something? How stupid. “The first thing I can remember in life is my mother. So let’s start with that. Who can tell us something about their mother?”

“Are we going to draw her?” said the girl.

“Maybe later. Right now I just want you to use your imaginations. Think of as many kinds of mothers as possible.”

The adults were holding back for some reason; they were leaving it to the teens. More precisely, to the girl.

“What do you mean?” she said.

“Okay, I’ll start – a mother is a woman who has given birth to a child.”

The girl made a face, others did too. “Why do you need to tell us that? Mothers are just mothers.”

He felt strongly self-conscious. Did these teens respect their mothers? Would some soon be mothers themselves? Why didn’t the adults say something? Were they scared of looking foolish? He’d known it was a bad idea to mix adults and teens.

“A mother is someone who has raised a child.” It was a boy at the back speaking. “I was adopted at birth. I don’t know my biological mother. Mother for me is the woman who fed and clothed me, and rubbed my knees and elbows when I fell in the street.”

A man in his forties said, “A woman can become a mother by donating her eggs, which are united with sperm and implanted into another person’s womb. It was the only way my wife and I could have children.”

“I was suckled by a wet nurse,” said an overdressed woman; she seemed to be a present to herself in yellow wrapping. “My own mother dried up. The wet nurse was a mother to me too.”

“Are grandmothers also mothers?” asked a boy. The class giggled and he looked down.

“Of course they are,” said Alex. They are…”

“I was raised by a stepmother,” said an old man. “She was a horrible woman, always cruel to me. She said that if I ever told my father, she’d tell him to send me to an orphanage.” This made everybody sad.

“We eat the lush fruits of Mother Earth,” said a woman that Alex knew was a poet. “Gaia gives us all.”

“In mythology there are mother goddesses – Hera, Durga, Amaterasu, Isis, Kwan Yin…”

“And don’t forget the Holy virgin – Mother of God!”

A boy shouted out, “My mother is a lesbian and recently got married, so now I have two mothers.” Everybody agreed that he was very lucky indeed.

Erased

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Conceptual Art, Mystical Experience, Unknown with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2012 by javedbabar

The city’s elders told Bobby that the way to escape from the drawing was to “Cut through the skin to the edge of the blood flow. There mark thyself.” When he asked them if they meant tattooing, they nodded but said nothing more.

What a strange notion, thought Bobby – drawing on yourself within a drawing. Did that mean that you became more a part of the drawing or less so?

There were no tattooists in the city. No one spoke of it. It was a forbidden art, forever taboo. Then why did the elders mention it to him? Maybe like corruption and murder, or a sweet tooth, it was allowable to some.

He brought needles and ink and asked Naomi to tattoo him. She was too squeamish to do it, and impossible to persuade, but said, “I don’t mind if you do it to me though.”

“You want me to tattoo you? Are you sure?”

“I’ve been to Diya’s house lots of times. We make henna patterns on our arms and hands. It’s lucky.”

Bobby showed her the needles again. One of them had to try it, but he would prefer it to be him. “But this is different. It will hurt you. Do you really want me to do it?” She nodded.

Naomi was remarkably tough. Maybe it was a result of her being in the drawing. She didn’t flinch. Bobby started with a single red flower, and then filled a meadow, which was in a beautiful valley, with a river running either side. There was a white mountain at one end of the valley and a dark one at the other, seeming equals yet opposites. The rivers were teeming with salmon and trout, and the forests were filled with coyotes, deer and bears.

“I feel like I’m home,” she said.

She wasn’t though, her physical location was the same, but she was somewhere else spiritually. She had become the archetypal goddess whose body is the world.

Within the drawing Naomi and Bobby were influential beings. People thought of them as manifestations of the Ancestors Aqu and Pani, so their deeds were observed and copied. Rather than singers, sportswomen, or salesmen, people emulated the Ancestors. They were the ultimate role models.

Whereas before, mutilation was seen as a sin, now it was embraced enthusiastically. Everybody was decorated with tattoos, including priests and leaders.

However Naomi’s tattoos soon began to fade. Maybe it was the effect of early sun-exposure, or her picking away scabs – Bobby told her not to, but she couldn’t resist – or simply Bobby’s lack of skill. When people saw that her tattoos were disappearing, they also began to get theirs removed. The tattoo industry largely disappeared.

They remained however on gladiators, slaves and soldiers – to prevent their escape and desertion. Prisoners were also marked for life here; there was no forgetting of crimes. Gangsters took pride in the markings they’d received in prison, and added to them, creating complex codes. A tear meant you were a killer. A trail of tears, a mass murderer. Livestock continued to be tattooed rather than branded, which was considered cruel.

There were also uses in the field of medicine. Tattoos allowed precise alignment of instruments during medical procedures. These cut through the skin to the edge of the blood flow, and then went deeper. Maybe that was the only way to escape the drawing.

Most of the Stars

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Mystical Experience, World Myths with tags , , , , , , on March 10, 2012 by javedbabar

“Where’s the sci-fi section?” Gemma asked the librarian. “There? Over there? Uh, ok.” She walked over to the wall filled with her favourite writers – Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Frank Herbert, Robert Heinlein, William Gibson, Philip K. Dick. She’d read them all. There aren’t too many women authors, thought Gemma. There’s Ursula Le Guin and Margaret Atwood, but that’s pretty much it. I wonder why? Maybe I will become a sci-fi author to swell their ranks.

She wandered by mistake into the poetry section. P is pretty close to S. She didn’t mind skipping the Romance section. Romance books are often cheesy, and always stupid. She’d rather do it than read about it anyway, so never mind.

Let’s take a look at the poetry, she thought. William Shakespeare… To be or not to be, that is the question. William Wordsworth… I wandered lonely as a cloud. William Blake… Tyger! Tyger! burning bright, in the forests of the night. Walt Whitman… I sing the body electric. It was great to see more women here. Maya Angelou… You may trod me in the very dirt, but still, like dust, I’ll rise. Emily Dickenson… Because I could not stop for Death, he kindly stopped for me. Sylvia Plath… I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; lift my eyes and all is born again. Kathleen Raine… And see the peaceful trees extend their myriad leaves in leisured dance….

She saw an old book out of place among the new ones. It was pretty battered. A layer of dust slipped off when Gemma retrieved it. Its outer was deepest blue, reminding her of night sky, and the same colour continued within, featuring the sun, moon, planets, stars, and comets. The image must have been over-printed many times to achieve such depth of colour. The book was called “Most of the Stars”, and consisted of one long poem which began:

“Most of the stars rose up within in her;

And she met her needs by reflection…”

Beside these lines was the stunning image of an upside-down, inside-out, heavenly goddess. It was a most unusual illustration, possibly Victorian. The lines were clean, yet held great fluidity. Gemma wondered how she could be standing proudly, but also be upside-down? And have a substantial body, but also be inside-out? The celestial objects filling her body made it heavenly; to know her required stellar navigation.

The Goddess reminded Gemma of her teenage years. They were very difficult years. Her skin changed as she grew. Multi-coloured blotches appeared across her body. The doctor said that they were unusual, but nothing to worry about, merely pigmentation abnormalities, known unofficially as “Spectral Skin”. But as Gemma continued her study of stars, she noticed that her blotches were not random patterns. They matched the positions of heavenly bodies, and moved around. There were ten main blotches that circled around her, appearing and disappearing around her front and back. Gemma knew that her search must be among the stars.

She recalled her childhood’s most thrilling event: visiting the planetarium. Entering its vast, cool white dome made her think of the inside of her skull. The stars appeared magically, and shone everywhere forever. Wherever she looked, there was sky.

The Goddess in the book seemed Mistress of the heavens’ motion. She could see the stars from any position in the world, at any point in time. She seemed a living starball, and also a spherical projection screen.

“Do you want a telescope for your birthday?” her father had asked her. “You spend so much time with your head out of the window, you may as well.”

“That would be great,” she’d said, and was soon an amateur astronomer. She peered at the moon mostly, saw its craters and scars – that poor little thing had really taken a battering. Mars had also had a rough ride, and were those long streaks really canals made my Martians? Saturn’s rings were creepy, looking like they would cut it in half, like a magician’s bad trick. Most of all she loved Jupiter’s red blob, like a bloody eye, staring back at her. Plus all the comets, nebulae, star clusters, and galaxies. She wondered how this universe formed.

Her mother read their horoscopes daily. She said, “The stars are fate, showing secrets permanent and predestined.” She’d call out, “Honey, do you want to hear what’s going to happen to you today?” They were never very accurate though. Gemma found a website that asked for your time and place of birth. It calculated the positions of the sun, moon, and planets above that particular place at that precise moment, and predicted everything about you. Its central principle was that of our cosmic integration, recognizing divine communications within celestial cycles. It said, “The cosmic order determines the place of everything in the universe – stars, planets, people. We were not apart from anything, ever.”

When Gemma had problems she didn’t take them personally. She knew them as opportunities written in the stars. She realized that we see the world as we are. As above, so below. As within, so beyond. The planets circled around her always. And her soul was their sun. What she yearned for now was a Starman. A Tyger who truly was, to join her lonely wanderings. To rise like stardust together. To lift their eyes. He would extend his hand and ask her to dance. Till death stopped for them.

“Excuse me,” said a bookish boy. “Do you know where the sci-fi section is?”

Leaving Party

Posted in Mystical Experience, Sacred Geometry, World Myths with tags , , , , on February 25, 2012 by javedbabar

“Hey, I’m glad you could make it!” said Anna. “You’re just in time!”

“It was nice to be invited,” said Max, stepping into the third-floor apartment. “I’m sorry to hear you’re leaving. We’ve only just met really.”

“Never mind, I’m sure there will be other occasions. Just come in and make yourself at home. What can I get you?” Max saw a well-stocked bar behind her – there was beer and wine; whisky, vodka, rum, and gin; ports and sherries; some mysterious bright bottles of Mexican liquor. He also noticed many different smiling photos, likely friends.

“Just a beer to warm up, thank you,” he said. “I’ll pace myself.”

“Hey man, don’t be shy. Me casa es su casa! Here’s a cinnamon whisky – cheers!”

Max became conscious that he was the only guest present. “Am I too early?” he said. “You did say around nine didn’t you?”

“No, you’re right on time,” said Anna. “I’m not sure who else is coming tonight. I have a leaving party every week, so people don’t come every time.”

“You have a leaving party every week?” said Max. “Where do you go?”

“Well I don’t go anywhere really. But I could go. That’s the point.”

“Huh?” said Max. He wondered now if coming here was such a good idea.

Anna looked at him closely and said, “I have a medical condition. My kidney – I only have one – has reverse functionality. Instead of cleaning my body, it makes toxins which seep into all of my organs. So every week I am full of poison, and on Mondays I go to the health centre; they hook me up to their computers for checks.”

“Whoa, babe!” said Max. “That’s pretty heavy stuff.” She smiled at him broadly. “Well, I guess you’re right to celebrate… I think.” He scanned the bar again. “But what’s with all the booze? Wouldn’t it be better to cut back on that a bit?”

“I’m just like most people,” said Anna. “I do my drinking at weekends. But the difference is that I have a check up every Monday morning. Pretty responsible of me really, wouldn’t you say?” Max could only nod. “Hey, wanna help me with a jigsaw? I need to get it done by tomorrow.” He nodded again, and thought, what a strange girl I’ve met. She seemed so normal when we chatted in the library, and now its reverse-kidneys, full-bars, and urgent jigsaws.

Anna handed him a banana-rum, and led him to the dining table. Upon it was a giant goddess jigsaw, mainly completed, whose capacity was difficult to gauge. The image was of a starry woman floating in the heavens; so it had cosmic scale. However its physical size was the same as the dining table – so about human-size. The starry borders had been completed first, and pieces worked inwards from there. The outline of the goddess was finished, as were her limbs. The space within her however required completion.

“So what do you think?” said Anna. “Pretty neat puzzle, huh?” Max raised his eyebrows. “Well, shall we start?”

“Looks like you’ve done most of the hard work already,” he said. She looked at him strangely – nervously, he felt – and handed him pieces from the remaining pile. He spread them out; they all seemed approximately the same shape, and somewhat pinky-blue. Was there any real difference between them, he wondered? Were they interchangeable? He noticed the pieces’ strange texture – they were slippery to the touch, maybe waxed.

He hadn’t completed a jigsaw in years. It was a good test of patience, and exercised your peripheral vision, he knew. But it seemed pretty pointless. Instead of re-making something that existed already, why not make something new and better?

Max knew that the shapes were formed of rigid cardboard, but they also seemed malleable. He squashed them between his fingers. Anna was perspiring and looking dazed. “Are you ok?” he said.

“Actually, I’m feeling a little dizzy,” she said, “and a little silly. Maybe you were right about the booze. Do you mind if I go and lie down for a while?”

“Er, sure. Do you want me to go home?”

“No, please don’t,” she said. “Can you help me to finish the jigsaw?”

“I think I’m getting a feel for it now. I’ll do my best.”

Anna poured him a cherry gin, then went into her bedroom and closed the door. Max continued toying with the waxy, squashy pieces. There seemed to be too many to fit into the space remaining, and their shapes were strangely ill-defined. They sort of fitted together, but they also didn’t. The more he tried to squeeze them together, the more rebellious they became. Some popped out again after he’d fitted them; some slid into new arrangements; some were just plain impossible to fit. After an hour – maybe – he’d managed – amazingly – to squeeze them all in, though he was not sure how. Well he’d done as requested, and had better go home. He finished the lemon-flavoured firewater he’d poured himself, and put on his coat and shoes.

As he was about to go, the bedroom door opened, and out came beaming Anna. “Boy, I feel good again!” she said. “Thank you!”

“Me?” said Max. “What did I do?”

She said, “Please don’t be scared; it’s called sympathetic magic, used for thousands of years. What you did to the goddess, she did to me. You helped me to rebuild myself, piece by piece. Those clinic people can never believe that I’m still alive. I have my friends to thank for that. For me every leaving party is a living party; the day that no-one comes to my party is the day that I die.”