copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert. BeThink.org
For many, Valentine’s Day is but a consumers’ celebration. The purpose is consumption. The public is encouraged to purchase cards. Surely, Hallmark, American Greetings, Carlton, or any of a number of stationery store suppliers has crafted such a silly holiday, the critics say. Confections are considered but a momentary crime of passion. People forget their diets or determination to eat healthy for just a day. Only on this sacred occasion will millions indulge and delight to their heart’s content. The intricacy of intimacy requires such a submission. Cynics are critical; there is no love in obligatory benevolence. Goodwill is not found in guilt-given gifts. Red and white ribbons do not bring joy to those disdainful of what they feel certain is but a gimmick.
A bit of history may serve to enlighten. It seems the desire to acknowledge one who has touched the heart tenderly is not grown from the greed of commercialism. Long ago, try as it might, the Church could not suppress love and the need to avow fondness. Policy decisions did not daunt those who love deeply. Nor did political boards pass laws that might help promote an economic stimulus for proprietors who wished to profit from a supposed frivolous saint’s day. Passion thrives today as it did for centuries, although the powers-that-be, no matter the era, attempted to quell emotional expression.
Please peruse and ponder “Valentine Heart of Our Hearts” by Donna Henes. The history of the day on which, worldwide, humans celebrate love may intrigue as much as intimacy does. At least, the knowledge is less fattening than chocolate and less costly than a handful of cards. May you enjoy, engage, and express your love on this and every Valentine’s Day.
copyright © Donna Henes, Urban Shaman. Donna Henes
The Romans celebrated the sacred sexual frenzy (Febris, in Latin) of the Goddess of amorous love, Juno Februa, on February 14, coinciding with the time when the birds in Italy were thought to mate. These orgiastic rites of the Patroness of Passionate Love, merged with Lupercalia, the festivities in honor of the pagan god, Pan which were observed on the following day, February 15. On Lupercalia, men and women inscribed their names on love notes or billets and then drew lots to determine who their sex partner would be during this festival of erotic games.
At last love has come. I would be more ashamed to hide it in cloth than leave it naked. I prayed to the Muse and won. Venus dropped him in my arms, doing for me what she had promised. Let my joy be told, let those who have none tell it in a story.
Personally, I would never send off words in sealed tablets for none to read. I delight in sinning and hate to compose a mask for gossip. We met. We are both worthy. -Sulpicia, First Century BC Roman
Lupercalia, which combined elements of worship of Juno? Februa and Her Northern equivalent, the Norse goddess Sjofn, was the original Valentine’s Day. Naturally, the fathers of the early Christian Church outlawed its observance as lewd and heathenish. However, they were quite unable to halt the practice. Eventually it was necessary to create a sainted martyr whose feast day would be observed on February 14th. In this way, the Church could sanction a celebration that it simply could not suppress. There are, depending on the source, anywhere from three to eight Saint Valentines. Each has a conflicting biography concocted by a different author. But in every version he emerges as the patron of lovers, bowing to the original intention of the occasion.
The first St. Valentine’s Day was celebrated in 468 AD In the beginning, the Church attempted to institute the practice of exchanging billets printed with pious sermons and scripture to encourage a holy attitude – what a dry substitute for a direct experience of divine ecstasy, which the people craved. Needless to say, the experiment failed on a grand scale. By the fourteenth century, the celebration of Valentine’s Day had lost all Christian content and had reverted back to the love feasts of old, albeit, tempered by more than a thousand years of church-imposed morality built on the separation and opposition of body and soul. One now strove for perfection of the spirit through the repression of the body. Courtly love, which was chaste and pure, was the ideal in the Middle Ages. The monks of the Middle Ages identified fifteen classes of kisses, only one of which was unchaste:
1. The decorous or modest kiss
2. The diplomatic kiss, or kiss of policy
3. The spying kiss, to ascertain if a woman had drunk wine
4. The slave kiss
5. The kiss infamous (a church penance)
6. The slipper kiss (practiced toward tyrants
7. The judicial kiss
8. The feudal kiss
9. The religious kiss (kissing the cross)
10. The academic kiss (on joining a solemn brotherhood)?
11. The hand kiss
12. The Judas kiss
13. The medical kiss (for the purpose of healing some ailment)
14. The kiss of etiquette
15. The kiss of love
The symbols of Lupercalia come down to us intact, but thoroughly cleansed, completely abstracted from their original flesh and blood intensity. The cute little chubby Valentine angel so familiar to us, is an insipid and impoverished characterization of Cupid, the Roman equivalent of the Greek god Eros, the Hindu Kaman. He was the son of the Roman, Venus and Mercury, The Greek, Aphrodite and Hermes. S/he was thus an Herm-Aphrodite, an embodiment of the duality and opposition of the sexual union.
The arrows that Cupid shoots are the phallus, the lingham. These projectiles of passion are often depicted as piercing the heart. The heart, the center of the soul. A bittersweet image, which intimates that love, hurts. A graphic image of penetration, which is reminiscent of the arrows that Hopi’s shoot into rounded bundles of corn as a ceremonial gesture of fertility.
But just what is this heart-shaped symbol supposed to signify, anyway? Certainly it bears no resemblance whatsoever to an anatomically correct actual heart. The zoologist, Desmond Morris speculates that the heart symbol represents a bending over buttocks. A form that is reminiscent of the sexual habits of our ancestor kissing cousins, the apes, which do it from behind. PLEASE! Spare me.
The horizontal-double-dip-cone-of-a-shape that we call a heart has to be two round breasts riding proudly above the magical fertile triangle of love. A full-figured female torso just like that of the Venus of? Willendorf. The tits, hips, and lips of the late Great Mother Earth, Herself. The venerated love of our lives.
Let Her never be out of our hearts.
My heart, my mother;
My heart, my mother!
My heart of transformations.
~ The Egyptian Book of the Dead
copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert
Tis lyrical, possibly spiritual, and definitely, it is a miracle that any of us survive love. In the year 2008, we might embrace more than a fantasy or the fleeting whimsy of sand, or the syrupy notion of love that lingers long, and lives large in the hearts of many. Might we consider that just as the glassy granules flow across the screen, as these tiny particles create an image of perfection, all illusions can be wiped away in an instant.
People, are as pictures. They are not perfect; nor are individuals created solely to suit the needs of another. As we witness the tentative nature of sand as it whirls across a table, might we imagine that life, and love, are unpredictable. Many changes are likely to occur in the course of an interaction.
In one moment, lust carries us through, just as the wind might. Seconds later, boredom sets in. Frustration fills our being when we are in the presence of the person we once defined as the-one-and only. Hours pass, and our heart aches to be with the individual we, once again, think of fondly.
When two persons meet, if sparks fly, they consider themselves lovers. They mesh; they intermingle. Just as quickly, as the two became one, persons together for a time may conclude it is best to be friends, nothing mores. One person can be ever so significant, and less so, even simultaneously.
In the New Year might we more realistic. Imagine, if we look at each other as people, not wonderful beyond reason, or flawless, unblemished, or pure. If we were to empathize, sympathize, have compassion, and care to our core, then perchance the aggravation, irritation, disappointment, and dissatisfaction with love and life would fade away.
Let us learn from sand and all that it creates. Each of us is but a grain on the beach of humanity. Separately, we are defenseless against the winds of our emotions. Together, we are impervious to forces that might destroy us. Imagine if we humans were less susceptible to fancy and what moves us away from true tenderness. Love is a full and fulfilled understanding.
Information on the Artist, Llana Yahav . . .
Ilana is a multifaceted artist whose talents include: sketching, sculpture, and three dimensional art.
Ilana is now showing her Sand Fantasy video art around the world.
Ilana draws on sand, using only her fingers. As she weaves together sand, lighting and music, Ilana creates incredible three dimensional vistas they play out in perfect time with the musical accompaniment, Indeed, it is difficult to decide if the music accompanies the work of art, or vice versa Ilana’s fingers dance in the sand on the glass to the music, the resulting aesthetic dynamic is powerful and moving.
Ilana uses this original technique in the creation of advertisements and image building clips..
copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert
How many of us live in the dark; yet, our eyes are wide open. We have the ability to see colors and faces. However, what we witness is what is within us. We notice none of the nuances that are the persons, places, or possessions that exist around us.
When we look at a friend we perceive what we judge to be real. Our family appears to be as we believe they are. Objects observed are obscure. Our own vision impairs our perception.
Imagine how different the world might be if familiarity was gained through touch. If others talked and we listened for visual cues did not distract us. Perhaps, if we did not distinguish or discriminate based on sight our experience of this planet might be different. Without the ability to observe, we may learn to appreciate what stands before us.
While I would not wish such an impairment on any one. Perchance, if we take a moment to put ourselves in the place of those unable to appreciate what we take for granted . . . Empathy is the best educator.
copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert
Please sit; settle in. Ponder the configuration. Contemplate, and come to a world more serene than the one you imagine you live in. Center your self and trust the woes within need not be. Often as we dash about, dilemmas abound. Few of us take the time to understand what we create. Chaos is contrived. We hide hurts, and hinder any healing. We “communicate,” chatter, speak, shriek, and rarely listen. We do not inquire, “How do you feel?” Well, we do; however, our query is as insincere, hasty, or as inhibited as the average answer.
Perhaps on this tranquil day of rest you, he, she, or I might pose the question “How are you?” to our selves. Breathe deeply and reflect. Then, after ample thought tell your self what you have not dared utter. Speak of the fear that kept you quiet. Share the story with those you are close to emotionally. Perhaps, you will discover as I have on many occasions; I never needed to veil the horrors that harmed me.
What I did that was ghastly was more so to me than it was to those that love me. I learned long ago, in truth, I, we are less fond of me than others might be. Those close to my heart are far more knowledgeable than I when the subject is me, myself, and I.
Take some time on this quiet day of rest and let yourself be. Touch your heart, mind, and soul tenderly. Cogitate calmly. Deliberate deeply. Ruminate restfully. Meditate and say, “Me, meet me.”
Please share what you sense, your story, your spirit, or as you choose.
I invite you to celebrate the birth and life of Dennis Kucinich.
I applaud his commitment to peace and shared prosperity.
If you have yet to met this man, I invite you to behold the brilliance that was born on this day, October 8.
Kucinich Campaign update 10-08-07
Please present you tributes, thoughts, and tales on this day, October 8, 2007.
I offer my preferred salutation, with thanks to Dennis for the shared wisdom.
Strength Through Peace!
Postmodern Times is a series of short animated films presenting new ideas about global consciousness and techniques for social and ecological transformation. Our first episode, “Toward 2012”, introduces the project, explaining concepts from the best-selling book, “2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl” (Tarcher/Penguin, 2006) by Daniel Pinchbeck, in the author’s own voice. Future segments will focus on shamanism, sustainability, alternative energy systems, the Mayan Calendar, quantum physics and synchronicity, human sexuality, and a host of other subjects.
I have long been fascinated by time. Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years are all man-made concepts. Humans control the construct; yet, the perception of these notions rules us.
People perceive time as a constraint, a constant, and an excuse all at once. Writer, Daniel Pinchbeck asks us to analyze the element we call time. I invite you to share your point of view, your reality, what you believe is our “psychic evolution.” Will we advance individually and as a whole, or will this era be our end?
“The man’s the work. Something doesn’t come out of nothing.”
~ Edward Hopper
Born on this Day 1882
“If you can imagine a thing, conjure it up in space then you can make it . . .
The universe is real but you can’t see it.
You have to imagine it.
Then you can be realistic about reproducing it.”
~ Alexander Calder
Born on this Day 1898
Be an artist in motion. Imagine what is within you.
Then create it for all to see.
Please share your thoughts, your tales, talk to us.
Together we are the art, the beauty, and the beholder all in one.
copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert
Life is a dance. We twirl and twist alone, and in the same moment, we are whirling with others. You move one foot. I shift another. We shuffle, hustle, and bustle together. She or he may enter the dance floor. They tango; we rumba.
My body bends to your rhythm. Your mind steps to my beat. His tempo is a tap. Her stride is as a salsa might be.
I turn. You follow. We waltz through life. He be-bops with us. She does her jazz. Each of us has our rap. You lead and then I do. He and she foxtrot on in. We join each other. In an instant, we are one. We create an illusion; we are independent. Yet, we never are. We are connected, in concert, while we remain the unique beings we are in our every movement. The dance is our doing and we are divine as we dip.
Those that watch us from near or from afar witness a gentle ballet, a rhythmic run, a cadenced communication, and an energy. It is we, making music. The orchestration is inspiring and inspirational.
1week of art works YouTube
copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert. BeThink.org
We are forever painting our walls, our canvas, and the pages that are our life. People enter the scene and grab a brush. They offer a sweeping stroke, a poignant point, or a luminous line. Genius is born; yet ongoing. The characterization changes as does our perspective. We are influenced by the perceptions of another; yet, none of us has the power to persuade another. We relate, realize, recognize, and . . .
We exchange ideas and offer opportunities. These are taken, mistaken, or missed. It matters not, for whatever occurs will bring greater wisdom. We grow from within and throughout through our encounters.
He enters. She exits. Together we embrace the possibilities and expand our horizons. A dab of color here, a spot there. Lines, circles, squares, triangles; they each intersect and deflect. The composition is calm, chaotic, static, and moving, each and all at once.
Our awareness is altered, at times for the better. On other occasions for the worse, depending on your definition. That too is good. We will learn from our errors; these can also be considered inspirations.
Our endeavors encourage others; however, they do not change a soul.
We each walk to the beat of our own heart. Our spirit is singular. It soars, dives, and glides. Background, experiences, emotions, and the effects of these stimulate much movement. Our pattern, the flow we create, our direction is distinctive.
The elements in our environment add to our work; still, the art is ours alone.
We build our portfolio, while borrowing a page here or there. However, when his page or hers, is placed in our collection it becomes ours. The resemblance is difficult to distinguish; yet, unquestionably what we garner is of great use.
The process of painting our life is a progression. The end is evolving though the conclusion never enters our sphere. We continue into infinity, eternally.
Please paint with me. Oh, what we might give birth to. I trust it will be a beautiful design.