The Sunday Anchoress

Posted November 23, 2014 by JJ
Categories: Miscellaneous Cards

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Early Kamakura period (1185-133). Wood with traces of color. H: 38 3/16 in. W: 8 1/2 in. D: 4 3/4 in.


It seems to be my week for gods and goddesses. Sculptures of Shinto deities were not common before the mid-1700s, so this one doesn’t have a particular iconography just a goddess designation. They were made to be hidden in private shrines probably for household worship.

It is carved from a single block of wood more than a meter high. She has a Tang dynasty Chinese hairdo but the robe is one that an upper-class Japanese woman of the Nara period would have worn. I guess we aren’t the only society that liked retro things or romanticized earlier periods in art.

She has a quiet, motherly look about her. I can see where a home or palace might like to have her in a shrine cabinet, sort of like an anchoress in a medieval monastery in Christian worship. She has an amused look about her as if she sees what is going on but can’t chastise you for it.

I like that idea of an anchor but a non-judgemental one, like you might expect from a mother. A good feeling for a Sunday.

Happy Sunday!



Nara Messages from 1300 Years Ago

Posted November 22, 2014 by JJ
Categories: Miscellaneous Cards

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Bonten: Nara period (645-794). Dry lacquer. H 55 3/4 in. W: 14 1/2 in.
Taishakuten: Nara period (645-794). Dry lacquer. H 55 1/8 in. W: 15 1/2 in.


“Bonten and Taishakuten are Japanese names for the Vedic deities Brahma and Indra. Brahma, the central Hindu deity, is the creator of all things, while Indra is the god of thunder. In the Japanese pantheon, the two figures are attendants of Shaka, the historical Buddha. These examples, full frontal and upright with graceful torsos, are beautifully colored.”

I found the information on the dry lacquer technique interesting. It originated in China, and the method used several layers of fabric soaked in lacquer and applied to a clay core. The core was later removed leaving a lightweight but durable sculpture. It took a long time and was costly so after the Nara period which these sculptures date from, they stopped using the technique. It’s a bit like papier maché in principle.

I don’t know, I keep thinking of being empty inside yet having strong layers. The emptiness being the floating realm of the Buddha, the layers being your physical body, the representation of the Self, while inside you are the empty, open. The folds of fabric, like the statues are beautiful. Folds of the Universe, folds molding to each body.

Well, something like that.

Don’t you love artwork?

Sure you do.




Lojong #59

Posted November 21, 2014 by JJ
Categories: Miscellaneous Cards

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I hesitate to even write about this, being rather ignorant of the Lojong slogans, but I received the lovely deck I bought from Bev King of the cards she designed and photographed. While I was browsing through the booklet, this slogan zoomed out at me, so I chose this slogan and card to reflect on.



This is pyrite or fool’s gold. When I was young and we camped and boated on Georgian Bay, we children would often find bits of pyrite and think how valuable they were, how special. Then an adult told us they weren’t valuable and it took away the feeling.

A friend and I were talking about this several times this week; it bears remembering. I was also speaking of it with another friend this morning. We are all artists and creative types and notice that we periodically go through discouraging times when no one seems to pay attention to what we do, or we feel we aren’t getting anywhere, yet other people who don’t work as hard or have originality gain much attention.

Resentment is a thing that niggles, is it not? And yet, we all keep creating and enjoying projects or writing, learning new things, but somewhere deep inside we have expectations, we want some sort of recognition. Recognition is not a problem but expecting it is. Also, in order to gain recognition you might do things or follow the trends and values of others that normally you would not follow, even to the point of compromising ethics.

Part of the Buddhist tradition about opening your heart is that, by golly, no one is going to give you anything back. It’s normal, and everything you do is done for its own sake, and that should be the reward.

Most of the time it is, but on days when we feel hopeless or fatigued this thing rears up and takes away our good feelings, takes away the benefits of what we create. We know it’s senseless because we felt so good when creating, and to pin our good feelings to something outside of ourselves ruins it.

Fool’s gold is still very attractive and we like to look at it and collect it. Regardless of any value or non-value others place on it, we can still be pleased and have fun, get the joy in seeing, in finding.



Looking Back at the Void

Posted November 20, 2014 by JJ
Categories: Miscellaneous Cards

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Now here is a nice raven. Apparently he has just popped in from the black void of pure creation, where good and bad don’t exist, things just are as they are. Another card about focus and that what you focus on is what you create.

The non-judgement of the present moment shakes a feather or two. I actually like Sandra’s thought about there being lots of ravens and crows around us in the environment, which shows how plentiful magic is.

Yesterday and today I experienced a lot of muscle tension. Partly stress from our bathroom renovation, which has been halted for 4 days while the contractor finishes another commitment, and partly stress from trying to exercise. This is a good reminder to me not to focus on pain and muscle tension, but to focus on something else I want to create.

It does tend to overwhelm me and make me feel sick. I was bundled up yesterday in two blankets with a hot water bottle and a pillow; feeling a mite frail and old. So this just exists, it is the way things are and I can acknowledge that and then paint some flowers.



Swallow That Energy

Posted November 18, 2014 by JJ
Categories: Miscellaneous Cards

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I love swallows, my husband has been putting up a nesting box for our tree swallows for decades and they always use it.

Changing perspective is a good thing. Day two of our bathroom renovation, and I slept for 7.5 hours. I feel better, with a new perspective and I’ve got a laundry in already.


Speaking of perspective, this bathroom looks so much smaller without the tub. The pink tub. Whee, it’s gone along with the blue and black tiles.




Rip Into Unlimited Possibility

Posted November 17, 2014 by JJ
Categories: Miscellaneous Cards

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Isn’t that the truth? Our contractor is here ripping the bathroom apart. The tub and surrounding walls are gone and it looks like we don’t have any rot, so he is putting in the new tub tomorrow and doing a few other things, but won’t be tiling until next week as he has another job to go to.

In this image, the black void represents unlimited possibilities and if you don’t resist change there will be a smooth transition.

I assume the tiling and everything else will go well as my tiny bathroom flies out of the dark ages.



Deck Review: The Messenger Cards by Sandra Kunz

Posted November 17, 2014 by JJ
Categories: Miscellaneous Cards

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I just put the page up for this. See the sidebar under Deck Reviews or click here.

Another great deck if you’re looking for Christmas gifts. Artists and naturalists would love this.


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