Monday, 23 December 2013

Chapter III : Christmas Time.

Elton John and Elizabeth Hurley celabrating a christmas issue of British Vogue.
Pomegranate: ancient symbol of lucky beginnings and fertility.
Dazzling lights of the Christmas Tree.

"THE CITY had withdrawn into itself
And left at last the country to the country;
When between whirls of snow not come to lie
And whirls of foliage not yet laid, there drove
A stranger to our yard, who looked the city,
Yet did in country fashion in that there
He sat and waited till he drew us out
A-buttoning coats to ask him who he was.
He proved to be the city come again
To look for something it had left behind
And could not do without and keep its Christmas.
He asked if I would sell my Christmas trees;
My woods—the young fir balsams like a place
Where houses all are churches and have spires.
I hadn’t thought of them as Christmas Trees.
I doubt if I was tempted for a moment
To sell them off their feet to go in cars
And leave the slope behind the house all bare,
Where the sun shines now no warmer than the moon.
I’d hate to have them know it if I was.
Yet more I’d hate to hold my trees except
As others hold theirs or refuse for them,
Beyond the time of profitable growth,
The trial by market everything must come to.
I dallied so much with the thought of selling.
Then whether from mistaken courtesy
And fear of seeming short of speech, or whether
From hope of hearing good of what was mine,
I said, “There aren’t enough to be worth while.”
“I could soon tell how many they would cut,
You let me look them over.”

"Risate di gioia" 1960 italian film, a New Years Eve roman party.

Festive mood inside the legendary Studio 54.

A living discoball by Martin Margiela.

The heart of the winter, the special season to reunite with the family values, the essence of our human origins...and family may mean more than the stereotypes obey, in this meta modern era, in this metaworld true family isn't about common genes within a close circle of people, family is where the emotions grow and miracles happen once one lets go off mental inhibitions and discriminations, our extended family is the human species, the original message of Christ, a validated Christmas time of sharing hopes and fears, misconceptions and failures so everything can be transformed inside the safety that only  intimacy can provide, a divine grace to be born again inside humanity's primal infancy and redecide who you are and how you want to interact, what's your calling and mission on this earth.
Mother of the sun child Jesus,The Holy Mary.
A masked ball by Vogue Paris.
Roman Christmas, Panettone Gentillini vintage photo.

“You could look.
But don’t expect I’m going to let you have them.”
Pasture they spring in, some in clumps too close
That lop each other of boughs, but not a few
Quite solitary and having equal boughs
All round and round. The latter he nodded “Yes” to,
Or paused to say beneath some lovelier one,
With a buyer’s moderation, “That would do.”
I thought so too, but wasn’t there to say so.
We climbed the pasture on the south, crossed over,
And came down on the north.
He said, “A thousand.”

“A thousand Christmas trees!—at what apiece?”

He felt some need of softening that to me:
“A thousand trees would come to thirty dollars.”

   Most people assume that Christmas time has always been connected with baby Jesus but that's not truly the case. The New Testament provides no actual date or year when it comes to Jesus' birth. If we want to detect the initial start of this celebration we have to go way back to our pagan anchestors and their beliefs towards the worship of the male divine element, that is the apparitions of the Sun. The key factor to comprehend the signifigance of these certain days of December is to look up, to investigate the sky, it is there that takes place the astronomical phenomenon of the Winter Solstice, for the Northern Hemisphere this occurs in the cold, rather barren days of December, you know the days that Persephone (fertlity) has gone missing in the underworld...But what does the Winter Solstice indicate? It is actually the moment when the Sun's elevation with respect to the North Pole is at its most negative value since the December of the previous year therefore the Hemisphere has its longest night and shortest day while the night within the Arctic is one of 24 hours long. Most of the times the Winter Solstice is settled around the 20 or 21 of December each year ( do you remember the date of the prophecy of the Mayan calendar the previous year? ), that's a date very close to the 25th of the Christian calendar of the birth of Jesus and we're surely have to deal with lots of darkness and freezing around those days, our anchestors had to overcome  these uncertain conditions and still make it through and maintain a belief that the sunny days will return, that nature will bloom again providing for them, saving  and resurrecting them, not to mention the dangers that human imagination and uncertainty finds lurking in the dark...That is more or less the basis of the need for a Sun worship that emerged inside the consciousness of our ancient anchestors, a need that resurfaced psychologically inside the christianity after a while, since as mentioned the first christians didn't celebrate the birth of Christ ( archetype of the divine enlightened child ), it is rather the old urge for the security of the light deprived in the long nights of the December winter that came back to life, that is the calling for the rebirth of light,  Sol Invictus as ancient Romans would call it in their holiday of Saturnalia celebrated between 17-25 of December, it was actually in the 25th of December that they believed that the forces of darkness were being destroyed after a week of indulgence.

Nativity Byzantine icon.

Glowing Daughter, Givenchy Spring/Summer '14 ad.

Mithras with stars beneath his cape, detail of fresco from Mitraic temple in Marino, Italy.

 Mythologies and traditions around this colorful world do tend to pay their respects to the Sun deities, and those are most times of male characteristics but there are also some sun goddesses as well, a habit so deeply rooted inside our mentality cannot vanish easily; two are the hypotheses, the Sun deities represent our inner calling for growth, prosperity, sanctity, transcedence of our limitations so we can create a heaven on earth, so we can enjoy the company and advice of a Buddha, a Christ, a Mithras, a Apollo, the divine and exhilarating touch of an Avatar, the englightened one among us burning all of our doubts and leading us to the light here and now...or it is our subconscious understanding that the Sun existing in the sky, just like other planets, hides the secret of our human encoding and creation, no wonder that in most mythologies, sumerian, african, greek, native american, roman, egyptian, hinduistic, tibetan, norse, those sun gods are often found riding or driving a vessel across the sky, it can be a boat ( Προφήτης Ηλίας), a chariot or even a cup! Does that mean that the plan of our creation was speculated somewhere else in this vast universe?...Surely those common beliefs indicate something similar.

Jesus, bearer of the Light.
A modern Jesus, toy boy of a material girl.

The Christmas of the golden boys and dow jones stocks.

   Nowdays Christmas time is a period of popular customs and manners, lighted tress and ornaments made of synthetic stardust, christmas carols along with a great consumption of food and alcohol ( the spirits ), all night long parties and excursions to the malls along with transatlantic flights, flights and escapes to winter resorts around the world or even exotic destinations...childhood nostalgia and toys for adults...lots of chocolate and some melancholy for the lonely...nowdays christmas is a market of excess, an excuse to have some fun, but no fun is truly an initiation and psychagogy, it passes leaving no change inside the individual...Imago+ is all about poetry and meaningful love making ( of any kind ), the journey of transformation and decoding the unknown inside the image, making it one's own till no mystery exists and everything is mutually communed by driking the wine of knowledge ( Tree of Knowledge ) and liberation, by opening the chakra of the heart ( unlocking the Anahata) and living dreams to the fullest while paying attention to the lessons that aesthetics can teach, shining brightly like the most unique star. Everything is meaningful once the heart meets the mind in truthful harmony and participation, this Christmas we wish you the most beautiful YOU†††!

Then I was certain I had never meant
To let him have them. Never show surprise!
But thirty dollars seemed so small beside
The extent of pasture I should strip, three cents
(For that was all they figured out apiece),
Three cents so small beside the dollar friends
I should be writing to within the hour
Would pay in cities for good trees like those,
Regular vestry-trees whole Sunday Schools
Could hang enough on to pick off enough.
A thousand Christmas trees I didn’t know I had!
Worth three cents more to give away than sell,
As may be shown by a simple calculation.
Too bad I couldn’t lay one in a letter.
I can’t help wishing I could send you one,
In wishing you herewith a Merry Christmas. "
"Christmas Trees" ( A Christmas Circular Letter ) by Robert Frost.


Sunday, 13 October 2013

Chapter II ( Part II) : Eros.

"Psyche Revived by Cupid's kiss" by Antonio Canova, 1794.

Orphic hymn to Eros (love).
~The Fumigation from Aromatics.
I Call great Cupid [Eros], source of sweet delight, holy and pure, and lovely to the sight;
Darting, and wing'd, impetuous fierce desire, with Gods and mortals playing, wand'ring fire:
Cautious, and two-fold, keeper of the keys of heav'n and earth, the air, and spreading seas;
Of all that Ceres' [Deo's] fertile realms contains, by which th' all-parent Goddess life sustains,
Or dismal Tartarus is doom'd to keep, widely extended, or the sounding, deep;
For thee, all Nature's various realms obey, who rul'st alone, with universal sway.
Come, blessed pow'r, regard these mystic fires, and far avert, unlawful mad desires.~
The game of love.
Eros. Photo: Juan Martin.
Psyche. Photo: Mert and Marcus for Love Magazine.
The chemical composition of Thujone and its connection to Absinthe. Love intoxication.

Iconic kiss. Sailor kisses the nurse celebrating the end of world war II, Times Square, Augst 14, 1945, photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

Eros kissing Psyche.

The form of the body and the eternity of the orgasm. Mandara film, 1971 by Akio Jissoji.

The scent of attraction. Molecule 01 perfume.
Love, the primordial need and urge, one half of the pair of life's main drives as Freud would suggest in his "Eros and Thanatos" dipole. Love as the muse of the poets and as the heartache or ecstasy of  common men. Love the blinding god, the illusionary state to be, the connecting and the detaching one. The great riddle and mystery of the still unidentified creation, the science that united the first molecules of existence, the orgasmic glue, the fulfilled and yet still to come...Repetitive but always unique, it is like every time someone falls in love that the world is being born again, a new chance given so that the same mistakes will feel like a prototype, when in love all the love songs are written for us only, all the sunsets are welcoming the erotic nights.

The sentiment and the vulnerability of eros provides more questions than answers, one can only wonder at first if the feeling is mutual, but even if that is the case the two personalities are in struggle, physically the hormonic activity is rising, the magnetism between the bodies is looking for the most appropriate and pleasant outlet. Powerful feelings can be paralysing, the first symptoms of love are very much similar to those of a disease...

~ the sweetness of your laughter: yes, that; I swear it
   sets the heart to shaking inside my breast, since
   once I look at you for a moment, I can't
   speak any longer,

   but my tongue breaks down, and then all at once a
   subtle fire races inside my skin, my
   eyes can't see a thing and a whirring whistle
   thrums at my hearing,
cold sweat covers me and a trembling takes
   ahold of me all over: I'm greener than the
   grass is and appear to myself to be little
   short of dying.~
   Sappho "Like the gods..."

Memorable celluloid kiss, From Here to Eternity.
Running carelessly. Terry Richardson and model friend.
Where lovers meet, the island of Santorini and its famous sunset.
Freelove. Terry Richardson kissing Tom Ford.
~OH, when I was in love with you,
  Then I was clean and brave,
And miles around the wonder grew
  How well did I behave.
And now the fancy passes by,       
  And nothing will remain,
And miles around they ’ll say that I
  Am quite myself again.~
                                                   "Oh, when I was in love with you" by A.E. Housman.

Is it possible that the lovers live and act in another dimension? The museum of love is full of kitsch statues of cupids and also many scars...the promising 'forever' can easily lead to 'never again'. The love talking of the first encounters is that of a honey tongue, nourishing for the soul that seeks an 'other half', but words can easily evaporate in thin air if one isn't being attentive to the love matters, the honey can turn to poison. "I once met a boy, you may have met a girl, and then another boy as you were into another girl...", names come and go, bodies exchange their flavors and then vanish, the story always continues, only the sentiments leave a permanent impact, our projections on the object of our desire...some seek the same 'model', their first love, so that they can fall in love again and again, others fancy variety, some are more daring, others more romantic, the love vocabulary is a labeled one, although difficult to navigate.
Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection after all and consequently drowned. Laconic and revealing as a paradigm, only an echo remained to remember him. Love magick, potions and spells, the folklore tradition of seduction, or is it despair?...Do we seek love to connect our traits with those of the other person, or do we seek love to find an excuse to forget ourselves? When in passion and love making we do not just become one with each other but also with the universe, that is the tantrik way, love as art and thoughtful preparation that leads to enlightenment, the female power of Shakti 'The Great Divine Mother' awakens during the soulful sex act and can lead us to other life paths and revelations. As Osho believed " Tantra is the science of transforming ordinary lovers into soul mates and that is the grandeur of Tantra. It can transform the whole earth; it can transform each couple into soul mates."
But not all sex acts are soulful or heartfelt, especially in the west where sexual energy is rarely channeled towards true intimacy, therefore there's this huge gap after the bodies part, some kind of shame towards the actual nakedness, which is not that of the body but of the self.
“Love isn't something natural. Rather it requires discipline, concentration, patience, faith, and the overcoming of narcissism. It isn't a feeling, it is a practice.” Erich Fromm says in "The art of loving". When you see yourself as a product, something final and unnegotiated you have nothing more to give anew, and love is a process always demanding participation,  love requires a heightened rhythm of the sensual within us, a constant evaluation.
                                               ~For love - I would
                                             split open your head and put
                                                  a candle in
                                               behind the eyes.

                                             Love is dead in us
                                                if we forget
                                            the virtues of an amulet
                                               and quick surprise.~
                                   "The warning" By Robert Creeley.  

It is in the relationship of the infant and the mother, "The First Eros", breastfeeding and eye contact with the mother that lies  the base of the intimacy, connectivity begins to form a pattern, a pattern we tend to generalize through a life time, if we're lucky and in a mood of self examination possibly in a conscious way, in a transforming one. We may change the first impressions if they don't suit us...
The myth of 'Eros and Psyche' is a recurring theme of this transformation, Eros (love) steals Psyche (soul) away, he spares her from the mundane affairs, but she doesn't get to see the face of her lover, he makes love to her in total darkness, the sensation is pleasant but she decides to defy his invisibility, she wants to find out the true face of her lover, the consequences of her defiance seem severe at first, Eros abandons Psyche...Psyche wanders around grieving, until she finds herself, Psyche needs a soul training, sometimes it seems we have lost something external and valuable to us only to discover that we must find our core first, our stamina and self love, and then perhaps Eros will re-appear in front of us, more shiny and passionate than ever

~They told her that he, to whose vows she had listened
Thro' night's fleeting hours, was a spirit unblest;--
Unholy the eyes, that beside her had glistened,
And evil the lips she in darkness had prest.

"When next in thy chamber the bridegroom reclineth,
"Bring near him thy lamp, when in slumber he lies;
"And there, as the light, o'er his dark features shineth,
"Thou'lt see what a demon hath won all thy sighs!"

Too fond to believe them, yet doubting, yet fearing,
When calm lay the sleeper she stole with her light;
And saw--such a vision!--no image, appearing
To bards in their day-dreams, was ever so bright.

A youth, but just passing from childhood's sweet morning,
While round him still lingered its innocent ray;
Tho' gleams, from beneath his shut eyelids gave warning
Of summer-noon lightnings that under them lay.

His brow had a grace more than mortal around it,
While, glossy as gold from a fairy-land mine,
His sunny hair hung, and the flowers that crowned it
Seemed fresh from the breeze of some garden divine.

Entranced stood the bride, on that miracle gazing,
What late was but love is idolatry now;
But, ah--in her tremor the fatal lamp raising--
A sparkle flew from it and dropt on his brow.

All's lost--with a start from his rosy sleep waking;
The Spirit flashed o'er her his glances of fire;
Then, slow from the clasp of her snowy arms breaking,
Thus said, in a voice more of sorrow than ire:

"Farewell--what a dream thy suspicion hath broken!
"Thus ever. Affection's fond vision is crost;
"Dissolved are her spells when a doubt is but spoken,
"And love, once distrusted, for ever is lost!"~
"Cupid and Psyche" by Thomas Moore.

"Cupid and Psyche" by Hugh Douglas Hamilton.

Newlyweds. Stella Tennant and husband.
Divine lovers practising tantra. Radha and Krishna.
Sensual falling. Photo; Helmut Newton.

Maternal love. Lara Stone's nude and pregnant portrait by artist Marc Quinn, 55th Venice Biennale, Italy.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Chapter II : The sun.

"Pater eius est sol..."
Tabula Smaragdina   
Sun dog phenomenon depicted in the Nuremberg Chronicles.

   As the Emerald Tablet, a hermetic piece of text on the transformation of matter, implies the sun is the male element of 'the creation  towards the birth of the holy child', the philosophical stone, Hermaphroditus. The sun teams up (hieros gamos) with the female power of the moon, and the outcome of this coitus is unexpected, an infant stronger than anything else in the cosmic realm of syzygies,  not male nor female but sharing in equal parts the contradictive attributions of the parents, a unified being and a psychological metaphor of higher consciousness.
  Carl Gustav Jung evaluates that the sun is an archetype of the human concept of Self and since humanity seems to share the encodings of its common origins deep in a  collective unconscious the sun archetype (just like the moon one) is common in all civilizations. It is the face of the mother as the round face of the sun in the abstract drawings of the early chidhood, it is the nourishing beginning and warmth, funnily enough the apollonian light so representative of the sun is of male characteristics; the logic that takes people out of the darkness and prejudice and introduces them to the sobriety of scientific reasoning and revelations beyond the folklore and the mythical. As formulated in classical chinese philosophy it is the yang element, the light, warm, dry, masculine principle of creation and the chinese don't neglect to add within it a tiny seed of yin (the female element), showing more wisdom. Cause it is in the absolution of the sun element as solely manlike principle that lies the danger, the paternal figure of god commanding from up above reminding us the god of Old Testament, lacks the flexibility of compassion, it is a life giving entity but also an unforgiving one for those who dare to doubt the rules, the sun then burns without  remorse for the consequences (negative sun). On another side of the coin the sun symbolism demands our attention and thoughtfulness so we can avoid the fate of  Phaeton, the son of Helios, who in his attempt to bring the therapy of the light to humanity neglected to master his skills on driving the sun chariot and went down with it aflame...The sun is all seeing (pantepoptes), when asked he confesses to Demeter having witnessed the abduction of Persephone by Hades. The sun reveals the beauty of  the natural world as it really is, and self-awareness showing mercy to those who have faced the cold too long and have paralysed, the flowers bloom underneath the therapeutic sun, we enjoy the playfulness of the sun rays on our skin and something awakens inside of us, we long for the long summer days. The sun can be proven  ruthless at other times, showing also the decay and responsibilities, the gap or deprivation, it burns the uninitiated one...One cannot be forced to face the sun, but introduced to it slowly...provided material or spiritual sunglasses...The sun can open eyes, too much sun at once can blind...Jacques Derrida  in his "Memoirs of the blind" claims that "the sun resembles the eye, the most "helioform" of all sense organs to the intelligible sun, that is, to the Good." Derrida has in mind the image of the absolute father as the absolute good while writing this.
 The imago of the sun possibly has to pay the price of its monistic ('this way or no other way') impact, a way so obvious in political, economical and religious systems of today, for this world is still so full of conflict and spiritual blindness, that reason as Logos (meaning, plan) without an ethical context can be proven as much  delusional as Pathos, a brute force, a nuclear catastrophe. On a metaphysical and psychological level the sun expresses the individual Self in the center of the collective unconscious, just like the actual sun is the center of the solar system, a model that allows freedom of will no matter the social biases of any era, an archetype of order, organization and unity, in a alchemical sense a model where Sol meets Luna again, allowing to each other's elements to melt into one another mutually. As the sun rises and sets ever watching peoples and generations coming and go hope is in order †††.
YSL as the sun god.
flaming sun.

The towering inferno, 1974.
The fall of Phaeton by Peter Paul Rubens, 1605.

YSL campaign by Juergen Teller.
The alchemical sun (Pater), by Robert Fludd.
Marc Jacobs fall '13/'14.

Sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh.
Greek cult film Girls in the Sun, 1968.
Apollo like, Roberto Bolle by Bruce Weber.

The positive sun.
photo: Hans Feurer.

Sun goddess, photo: Mert and Marcus.

Sun King, Nuba, photo: Leni Riefenstahl.
Coppertone vintage add.

Safe under the sun, photo: Hiro, 1963.
photo: Mario Testino, any objections book.
Apollo chasing Daphne by Theodore Chasseriau.
Gucci campaign by Mario Testino.

Panama hats vintage add.