Archive for symbols

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.

Archway

Posted in Conceptual Art, Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Sacred Geometry, Unknown with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2012 by javedbabar

Sophie loved wandering in the Botanical Garden; it was a great way to wind down after work. She knew the main path well, but there were always new side-trails appearing. She often crossed paths with this haven’s creator, The Gardener, and young crews who, he said, were studying Extreme Gardening.

She’d been upset by her argument with Danny. Last night had started well. He’d bought a cheap but surprisingly good wine; they’d cooked together, watched a movie and gone to bed. After making love, he’d brought up the subject of marriage. God knows why. Wasn’t that the girl’s job? He’d said, “Sophie, do you want to be with me forever?”

She’d said, “Let’s take it slowly, love. We’re only just getting to know each other.”

After a brief silence, he’d said, “But don’t you think that when you know, you know?”

“Well, maybe, but I don’t know yet.” That had been the end of the conversation and the start of the fight.

Sophie saw an arch in the distance, covered with red flowers. It appealed to her anger, and she walked towards it. What kind of flowers were these? Their petals seemed as if made of glass. She was afraid to touch them in case they shattered. Their red was hot, evoking power and anger, also passion and danger, and blood.

Sophie sat in the garden for a while. The sun appeared from behind dark clouds and the flowers on the arch seemed to change colour. They were now yellow, making Sophie think of summer, gold and joy, and the wheatfields of her uncle’s farm in the prairies, where she’d spent so many childhood summers. Wasn’t it amazing how colours changed your moods?

The sun continued its daily journey, now slipping beneath the tree canopy. There was a new coolness and freshness. The flowers on the arch appeared to be green. What neat shadowplay there was in this part of the garden. These strange verdant flowers cast a spell of fertility upon her filled with health and youth, and if it was too late for that, at least renewal.

The sun dipped below the horizon. Sophie realized that she’d been here from six to ten pm – four hours! She better get home; she rose to exit the garden.

The flowers on the arch now seemed blue; the colour of sea, sky and mountains, also of deep space. It was a colour that brought peace to her soul. Calm. Stability. Harmony. A colour of acceptance of the larger things in life; awareness that she was a tiny character in a vast cosmic story.

As she passed through the archway, she saw movement ahead. Danny was rushing towards her.

He said, “Where were you, babe? I’ve been looking for hours. I was worried.”

“I’ve been here,” she said.

“You missed dinner. I couldn’t get hold of you. I feared the worst.”

She looked at him with kindness. He really cared for her.

He calmed quickly and said, “For some reason I thought you might be here.”

The archway’s colours had transferred from the outer world to her inner realms. She said, “You were right. Now I know.”

Unseen Graffiti

Posted in Conceptual Art, Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Unknown with tags , , , , , , on May 22, 2012 by javedbabar

The Authority was tough on graffiti, which was seen was an early sign of degeneration of civil society. Fine arts were encouraged as ways to develop the soul: landscape paintings celebrating the sacred earth, and portraits honouring noble individuals. Conceptual art too had its place. Graffiti however was a stain on the community. It was made by those without formal art training, and usually in lurid colours. It was appreciated by youngsters and a worrying number of aesthetically illiterate adults.

The Authority came down hard. In this last year they had imposed many fines, issued Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, expelled students from high school, and relocated families to D-rated socio-demographic zones in the City where poor behaviour was tolerated. They could do what they liked there, but not in Lucerne.

Ali and his friends hung around the car park beneath the Transparent Temple. It was the only dry place to go. Water rushed down the ramp when it rained hard, but was channelled away, never causing a flood. It was a good place for them to ride their skateboards and BMX bikes, and play baseball and football. Ali’s father had a cricket bat, which was also put to good use. It was a popular game for a week or so before everyone got bored. They also jumped into the access ditch in the corner when it filled with water. So cool.

Some days they stood around talking shit. On one of those days Ben produced a spray can. Ali said, “What are you doing, man? Are you crazy?” Before long however he was adding his tag too, a crescent moon to acknowledge his Islamic heritage. It couldn’t really be traced to him. It could be any of the three hundred Muslims in the Village.

“Neat idea,” said Ben, and added his Star of David. Mary sprayed a cross. Other kids added an OM, Dharmic Wheel, Khanda, Taijitu, Water sign, Torii gate, Pagan star, Bahai star, and mystical Black Spot.

Mary said, “Wow! It looks like a painted chapel in here. I saw some churches like that in Ethiopia. They’re a thousand years old, carved out of rock underground.”

“When did you see those?” said Ali.

“I lived there as a kid. My parents were missionaries in Africa for three years. It’s an amazing place. I want to go back there one day.” Ali and Ben curled their lips out as a form of recognition, and nodded.

They returned the next day to find their symbols all gone. They had been blasted off with a pressure washer and painted over. Every few days they repainted the signs and the next day they were gone.

This situation continued till July, the start of the Village’s financial year. Budgets were slashed by The Authority, and maintenance cut back severely. The Village couldn’t afford security so closed the car park, however this decision caused parking chaos on the main road, and was reversed immediately. Ali and his friends returned to their grotto nightly and played games and sprayed graffiti.

Samira, a blind girl, was new in town. She had been born that way. She had been teased horribly when young, but here, she was acknowledged as the coolest one among them. How she managed to look so good without seeing herself in a mirror was a mystery. All the boys tried to hit on her when she came along. Samira was nice to the nice ones but never fell for the charms of the rogues.

“I love the energy of the car park,” she said, and spent her nights hanging around with them there. She couldn’t skateboard, BMX, play baseball or football. She had a go at cricket, and sometimes took a dip. But she mainly felt her way around the walls, touching the graffiti that had built up there. She felt the truth of the holy signs. The symbols acquired extra dimensions as she felt their many unseen layers.

One day she called Ali over and asked him to touch the Black Spot. “What do you feel?” she said. Ali said nothing but shook uncontrollably. In that moment he saw everything. The painted chapel showed him the layers of his life, and the points at which they joined. The Black Spot connected Ali to Samira in ways unknown. They were joined within its darkness forever.

The next day the new village budget was approved. The graffiti was pressure-washed and pointed over.

Black Spot

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

Gemma said, “Mr Amin, have you seen what’s happened in the Temple?” Being the manager of Open Hearts seniors daycare centre had its challenges and Gemma was one of them. She always complained about something – the food, the staff, the decor, and now the Temple. What a shame really. The Temple was a place where people came together regardless of differences, yet even that was a target.

“What has happened, Gemma?”

“A black spot,” she said emphatically. “A black spot has appeared. I don’t know what else to call it. A nobby. A circle filled with black paint. That’s what.”

A range of black spots dotted Mr Amin’s mind. A piece of paper given to pirates as a verdict of guilt. A fungus causing rose diseases. An accident-prone section of motorway. Parasitic cysts on fish. Night attack aircraft used in Vietnam. During his time as Northern India’s Minister of Culture, he recalled discussions about buying some from the US government; their low light level radar was revolutionary. “And what is your issue with this black spot?” he said. “There are many signs in the Temple. It is a place of free worship.”

“The other signs are holy symbols,” she said. “That sign is creepy.”

“But didn’t you knit that sign for Guru Baba?” he said. A week before, Gemma had made hats for Guru Baba’s disciples, each with a different symbol. One had featured a black spot.

“Yes but that was a pattern on clothing,” she said. “Not something to worship. Are you going to remove it?”

“The Temple is for everyone,” he said. “If someone has installed a meaningful sign, we should keep it there. It’s not offensive.”

Gemma looked annoyed and returned to her knitting. Tik-TAK-Tik-TAK-Tik-TAK-Tik-TAK. Mr Amin thought that he’d better take a look. James was in the Temple sitting quietly. Mr Amin nodded a greeting despite knowing that he would not react. This second – or was it his third – stroke had made him unresponsive. He now just sat wherever he was, looking straight ahead. Mr Amin however always greeted people. It was simply good manners.

The Black Spot was a perfect dark dot, nestled between glowing holy symbols. These included a silver Cross, a shiny blue Star of David, sparkly green Crescent Moon, glittery OM in saffron, dark blue Khanda, red Dharmic Wheel, pale blue Cofucian Water sign, purple Torii Gate, white Pentagram, seven pointed Bahai Star, and Taijitu. The black spot seemed to be pulsating. Mr. Amin rubbed his eyes. It was appearing and disappearing. It was just an optical illusion though. When you stare at anything for too long it fills your vision and continues to exist even when you look away. Mr Amin nodded to James again as he left.

Gemma didn’t mention the Black Spot again, and Mr Amin thought that the matter was settled. She must have accepted it.

Mr Amin visited the Temple weekly to meditate upon the holy signs. He was most drawn to the OM sign – feeling its potent vibrations first fill his eyes, then his head, his mind, and the world. But he was also moved by other signs. The Cross centred him, the Star of David pointed up and down, to heaven and earth, the Crescent Moon ruled nature’s cycles, the Khanda’s swords inspired bravery, the Dharmic Wheel spoke of non-attachment, the Confucian water sign symbolized duty, the Torii gate allowed rebirth, the Pentagram bore magic, the Bahai Star held unity, and the Taijitu symbol revealed the essential complementarity of  the “ten thousand things”. And what about the Black Dot – what did that mean?

Mr Amin saw that it wasn’t there. Had Gemma removed it? Maybe somebody else had. He would find out who did it. What a shame, he had been looking forward to including it in his meditation.

Later that day James shuffled into the Temple. He settled into his usual comfortable brown chair. His motions were limited and it was hard to adjust his body. The plastic one was too hard on his back and he sometimes slipped while visualizing. The comfy chair kept him stable. He stared daily into the constellation of symbols before him, and manifested his own one. His favourite. The Midnight Sun, or Black Light, known to mystics worldwide. The union of opposites. The synthesis of impossibilities. The light of the underworld. The womb and tomb. The power of belief. The light born of darkness, known as Hope. James made the Black Spot real.