Archive for the ‘dream image’ Tag

Images and Imag(in)ing   1 comment

[Updated 12 March 2020]

(Elizabeth Mayor is one of the artists at
Two Rivers Printmaking Studio
85 North Main Street, Suite 160
White River Junction, VT 05001 USA.)

fox-em2Up to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center again this morning, for a follow-up to a series of tests and nuclear medicine imaging scans (good news, nothing worrisome at this point: “watchful waiting” for now), I finally remembered on this fourth visit to photograph some striking prints I’d spotted on the walls of one corridor and seek out more info on the artist.

The med center is about as comforting as a hospital can manage to be, with soft colors, open bright spaces, plants, paintings and photographs. You can visit here for a good sample of the art on display.

owl-em2These two images are part of a series of five animals by Lebanon, NH artist Elizabeth Mayor, and labelled “gift of the artist” to the hospital.

I love their energy and lines. They have a kind of shamanic vision quality to them. Fox and owl are my favorites of the five. I’ve emailed a contact person on the med center website for more info on the artist, and will post it here if/when I hear back.

These feel like spirit guides for the dark half of the year.

Two nights ago my wife and I were awakened by coyotes yipping outside our front door. I’d left some spoiled food outside the door, intending to dump it on our midden out back, and forgetting about it altogether in the middle of dishes and writing and stoking the fire and bringing up the laundry to the drying racks — the usual tasks of winter.

The coyotes’ midnight song reminded me.

Here are images for dream-work and meditation. They may not resonate for you like they do for me. I present them as examples of finding art (and supporting artists whose vision moves you) and feeding your imaginal and imagining self. As the intermediary between realms, imagination asks for our loving attention, and I continually try to make space for it and for the imaging-working self, which seeks out representations, doodles them, paints and draws and photographs them if we give it a chance and the materials, carries the images into dreams, and works with them in ways words cannot accomplish.

Praise to the Nameless that looks out through my eyes with me, through all our eyes at the other eyes looking back!

As St. Francis remarked, What we are looking for is what is looking.

I continually try and often forget, till an image grabs me and nourishes a hunger I’d forgotten to attend to, and then I’m off again, the imaging self making and playing with pictures, a language older than words.

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Photos of prints by Elizabeth Mayor, Lebanon, New Hampshire.

Dated article on Mayor here.

Cuteness, Archetypes, Konrad Lorenz, and “We Who Watch”   2 comments

As visual creatures we’re programmed to respond to faces.  We project faces and human figures onto landscapes, the moon’s surface, cloud formations, etc.  We make quick judgments about others on the basis of their faces and habitual facial expressions. And up to a point, we’re often justified in doing so.  After all, we feel most comfortable around those who look like us. The “looking” part is key.  Eyes tell us a great deal, and who hasn’t wanted at some point to remove the sunglasses from a stranger’s face so we can “read” the person’s eyes?

hellokitty

Hello Kitty

In particular, the properties of “cuteness” — large eyes relative to head size, rounded features, a set of proportions frequently common to young animals and humans — induce a “cuddle response” which the Austrian Konrad Lorenz asserted motivates adults to care for the young.  Subsequent study has confirmed that the response is universal, crossing cultures — and incidentally allowing such things as Japanese cartoons like Hello Kitty to catch on in the West.

Of course there’s a large element of “warm and fuzzy” sentimentality in such images, and in how we react to them. Marketers know this and capitalize on it.  And environmentalists, not surprisingly, find they can succeed more easily in garnering support to protect an endangered bird or animal that happens to have some features of cuteness over one that may be grotesque or otherwise off-putting.  The Ugly Animal Preservation Society makes this point through its official mascot, the Blobfish.  As the UAPS president notes, the group is “dedicated to raising the profile of some of Mother Nature’s more aesthetically challenged children. The panda gets too much attention.”

blobfish

Blobfish

Perhaps this is why cultural images that actually possess real power can shock and startle us into waking up a little, because our increasingly sentimental cultures seem to have produced fewer of them in recent times.  We may even fear the archetypal and subconscious energies that emerge in such images, because they can reveal the hollowness of much of our emotional and spiritual lives, as well as pointing out ways towards greater depth and integrity.  We don’t know where we are with such images, and we may turn away in discomfort or disgust, or accuse the visionary or artist who helps manifest them, or misunderstand our own dreams where such archetypal images and figures may also appear, instead of understanding them as prompts to look inward.

Tsagaglalal

Tsagaglalal

The Wishram Indians of Oregon U.S. tell a story about Tsagaglalal  (tsah-GAHG-lah-lahl) “she who watches,” whose image appears on a stone above the site of an ancient village. In part it’s also a story about Coyote, the archetypical Trickster figure of the Americas.  Warning Tsagaglalal of a coming time when women will no longer be chiefs, Coyote tests Tsagaglalal’s resolve to protect her people.  When he finds her worthy, he changes her to stone to guard the village she overlooks.

Visitors can see the combined petroglyph/pictograph of “She Who Watches” at Columbia Hills State Park near Dallesport, Washington.  A guide now accompanies you — the image has been vandalized in the past.

[On a side note, when we lose our connection to the sacred, we may access a subsidiary glimmer of the original energy through the act of profaning it.  Degradation and blasphemy do generate power of a sort.  Human spiritual history testifies to this in figures and movements who have explored their possibilities.  If they were too public in their explorations, they outraged the sensibilities of the wider culture.  In the end, such practices seem consistently not to deliver what it is we seek anyway.  Like the “withering away of the state” in Communism, human limitations sully the abstract ideal.]

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Images: Hello Kitty; BlobfishTsagaglalal;

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