Archive for spirits

Voodoo Valley

Posted in Conceptual Art, Mystical Experience, Sacred Geometry, World Myths with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2012 by javedbabar

Dynamic reflection was a term Sami first heard while making architectural models. It showed the way that little design changes caused related changes elsewhere. For example, a building’s cladding changing from wood to steel would affect its levels of heat and moisture, but also its visual reflectivity and life cycle sustainability. Every change had additional effects beyond the building, affecting the landscape in subtle ways.

“The first time I went to the old quarry, I had a vision,” said Sophie, visiting Sami at the Transfer Station’s 3D Unit. “It was filled with every kind of art. A host of creations poured from the place where Mother Earth was butchered. There was a need for healing.”

“Was that the inspiration for QARY?” asked Sami. Her QARY project, converting the old quarry to a multimedia venue, had been a huge success. Most seasons were sell-outs. He had invited Sophie to visit the lab to find out how she did it. Maybe some of her wisdom could be applied to Guru Baba’s charitable projects, for which he still volunteered.

Sophie said, “Do you know the Gaia Hypothesis? You don’t? It says that the earth is a self-regulating organism whose complex systems work together to maintain the conditions for life. They ensure the biosphere’s wellbeing, encouraging evolution of life forms, but acting against them when they threaten the earth’s habitability.”

“Gaia sounds like a tough mistress,” said Sami.

“So am I,” said Sophie, and then realized what she’d said. She appeared uncomfortable. “I hope that was helpful for you. I’ve got to get back to QARY to boss the crew around. We have a new show starting tomorrow.”

Sami was intrigued by Sophie’s words, particularly the notion of self-regulating systems. They were like human bodies, writ large. If that were the case they must feel both joy and pain, joy being harmonious growth and pain being destructive chaos.

Sami had an idea. He fed a map of Lucerne into the 3D printer. He fabricated a quick model which turned out pretty well. Why not model the whole valley in sections? As well as its physical aspects, he could symbolically include its spiritual aspects.

He categorized Mt Alba, the white peak above the village, and Mt Negra, the dark peak at the far end of the valley, as dynamic poles. He fed in cultural information. He didn’t know how to factor in a supreme god, but was able to include subservient spirits, responsible for various aspects of life. He scoured folk tales for forest elves, river sprites, cloud goblins, raindwarves, lightning giants, hillpixies, field witches, and cave ghosts. Their changing personalities would reflect many possibilities.

Was he tired, or was the model changing? It seemed to be shifting subtly. Trees walked, rivers changed course, clouds danced and darkened, rain stopped and started, lightning gathered and cracked, hills rolled around like bugs beneath skin, fields grew crops that were mystically reaped, and caves moaned and howled.

Were these effects extending beyond the model? Sami became scared. He deactivated the electromagnetic charges of Mt Alba and Mt Negra. Without these dual energies, providing light and shadow play, the spirits settled down.

There was now homeostasis, a stable state. Inertia. More fiddling with the earth would create imbalance and re-energize the spirits. There would then be the need for elaborate ceremonies and cure-all spells. The spirits would need soothing, and their price may be high.


Invisible Horses

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Unknown with tags , , , on January 28, 2012 by javedbabar

Ben used to hear the horses outside his bedroom window. They snorted with surprise and delight, and the earth would shake as they tore across the field. He didn’t see them much in daytime, but at night he heard their strange language of frothy laughs and hoof clicks. He didn’t know much about animals, but the horses seemed happy here. They were rescued horses; who knew what horrors they had endured? No longer whipped at a circus, choked in a mine, or stuck in a filthy basement. Now a field in the Lucerne Valley – surrounded by forests, rivers, mountains, and glaciers – was their home.

But a beautiful location attracts attention. The owner made the mistake of mentioning to a real estate agent at a Christmas cocktail party that she was thinking of selling. The agent had “motivated” buyers on his books already, and the listing attracted many more. The bidding war was won by an Australian couple who wanted the land but not the horses. So the horses disappeared with the previous owners – but to where was unclear. Thankfully Ben, the tenant, could stay in his cabin.

The field outside Ben’s window was soon leased to a farmer. It was ploughed and planted – initially with clover, next year with alfalfa, and then there would be spuds. Ben got used to the silent field outside.

“Did you hear that?” he said to his girlfriend, visiting from the City.

“What’s that, love?” she whispered, moving her head slightly towards him.

“I heard the sound of running.”

“Well go join ‘em, Road Runner, I’m staying in bed.” Then she added a sleepy, “Neep-neep.”

“No, not a person,” said Ben. “A horse. I heard a horse running.”

“I thought the horses had gone, love.” He loved how she always continued conversations, however tired she was. She was especially sweet when half-asleep.

“They have,” he said. “That’s why it’s strange. There aren’t any horses there.”

Ben pushed himself out of bed and went to the window. The moon was almost full. The tight rows of the field shone silver, like a mountain Zen garden. But there was nothing to contemplate but invisible horses.

Another night, Ben heard the horses again. This time their hoof clicks were more pronounced, and echoed along the road. “Can you hear them?” he said to his girlfriend. She liked getting out of the City, and was visiting again.

“Go ride ‘em cowboy,” she said in a manner so drawn out, it became a lament.

Ben threw on his dressing gown and ran outside. He was right! A dozen horses were ambling along the road. They gathered around his neighbour’s magnolia tree, tearing off petals. Some fell like big shining teeth. Ben recognized these horses – they were the wild ones from Lilly, which grazed freely on reserve land. But he had never seen them in the Meadows before – only causing mayhem on reserve roads. He watched them wander, and sometimes canter, up the road, moonlight gleaming off their glossy backs, seeming unexpected lone waves. The next day he heard that they were rounded up, and finally put in paddocks.

Once while cooking, a little drunk, Ben left a bunch of beet tops on a fencepost. He forgot that the horses were no longer there. But in the morning the tops were gone. He wondered if the neighbour’s cow had somehow gotten to them. Would she now produce red milk?

Another day there were muddy hoof prints around the field, but it had rained plenty, so their shapes were hard to define. Large patches of clover had been grazed. Ben wondered if this was by migrating deer.

As well as hoof clicks, there were other sounds. There were long blows, like greetings; vibrating snorts, as if sensing danger; a sort of snickering, like sharing a joke; a loud whinny to attract attention; a squeal of surprise; or a scream of aggression. It must be the wind carrying these sounds, thought Ben, from stables way up the road.

The neighbour’s dogs were always barking. One night they howled, and after that only whimpered and cowered. Had they been scared by a bear?

Ben spoke of these strange occurrences to an Old Cowboy he knew. The Cowboy said that he would come over one night, make a fire, cook some rice and beans with bacon, sip whisky, and watch. “There is more to horses than you’ll ever know,” he said. “Tell me when your girlfriend’s visiting. We can show her something special. Mind you, I’m not sayin’ you don’t already.”

When Ben’s girlfriend next came, they joined the Cowboy around the campfire. He was making lots of food. “Why so much?” asked Ben.

“You’ll see,” he said evasively.

Ben wondered if they would be feeding the invisible horses. When four pickups arrived, he realized they were feeding cowboys. They ate and drank and sang all night. The campfire talk was pretty rich, and Ben’s girlfriend said she was going to bed. What a waste of time this has all been, thought Ben, and followed her in.

“You’ll miss the show,” said the Old Cowboy, slurred and smiling.

“Well, why don’t you wake us up for it?” said his girlfriend.

“Yes, Ma’am.”

There was a dark tapping on the window, blended with light thundering. Ben and his girlfriend went outside.

“Look,” said the Cowboy, pointing to the sky.

Subtle shapes slipped across the heavens. Within these moving patches, the stars shone more brightly, as if cut out of the sky. Ben saw that there were many of these patches, and as they drew together, their thundering became intense, and neighs and whinnies echoed through darkness bejewelled. Brilliant stars glittered at the front of each surging patch. Ben gazed in wonder at these leaping constellations.

“Those horses hadn’t finished their healing yet,” said the Cowboy. “Their souls were stuck here; they couldn’t leave. We stroked them with the Old Songs and sent them on their way.”