Monday, January 28, 2013
Friday, January 25, 2013
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
I just love emergency vehicles. I think it's a bit child-like but I refuse to give up! If I see an emergency vehicle, I make for it immediately. This was part of an exhibition of emergency vehicles exhibition in Piedmont and I arrived before everything was properly set up. I was like a child with free reign in a sweet shop. Manitou is not only a brand of very fine work vehicles. It's a spirit of the Algonquian native Americans. Christian missionaries appropriated the name to help them work with Native Americans and used it to mean God. but the difference is that Manitou is a contactable person that inhabits all manner of objects - even machines. Maybe this vehicle has the spirit of Manitou and we could stroll over and engage it in conversation. What's the worse that could happen? The notion of a spirit within all things is not uncommon. Shamanistic culture specifies a common connection between the totality of things and quantum mechanics may prove that is so. In Christianity, all things are part of the nature of God, but he doesn't seem as accessible as Manitou. That is a more a case of projection of our hopes and fears and wishes, than an acknowledgement of a life force that binds us witin a universe. So if you see me speaking to a vehicle, have no worries. I'm just having a chat.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
I think I mentioned these ruins on Facebook but I am somehow drawn back. It is extremely difficult to photograph ruins - the result is never what one expects. In this case I used many filters and adjustments but eventually returned to the original colour, complete with orange sodium lights. I used available light, so apologies for any camera shake - it was an eighth of a second. This is La Città dell'Acqua, the City of Water in Rome and it was discovered during the renovation of a cinema. Now the cinema and the ruins co-exist and you can see them at almost any time at very low cost. It's one of the best deals in Rome and most tourists pass it by - so don't miss it! Popular culture and Ancient Rome are sad bedfellows these days. We hear more about bloodthirsty events, rather than civilisation. Great and lasting architecture, mercantile trade, excellent plumbing and indeed, early democracy are savaged in an ahistorical tirade that rubbishes the ancients and (at least on television) privileges more dubious events of recent times. Jungians would describe this as the shadow. We point at others and fail to recognise ourselves. It's poor science to compare the mores of ancient civilisations with ones that developed over a further 2000 years - it's akin to blaming Archimedes for having not the slightest clue about quantum mechanics. My lecture is over! But if you want to see the fascinating Città dell'Acqua, it's at Vicolo del Puttarello 25. From the site of the Trevi Fountain, exit from the east side of the square, turn right, and walk a few meters to the Vicolo dei Modelli. Turn left onto the Vicolo dei Modelli, then turn right at the next corner. La Città dell'Acqua is mid-block.
Friday, January 18, 2013
These columns mark a circumference around St Peter's Square and probably many of you are familiar with walking underneath them. I took the picture with this blog in mind - but also because I liked the crushing of perspective. I used the small camera with as low an aperture as I could get - hence a high shutter speed. Columns are a big time symbol. They provide support, but they are also a bit like trees with roots. So like the trees, they support life. Columns frame gateways and mark boundaries yet mostly they represent a passage from one state to another. Now while Hercules was a great raiser of columns (the Pillars of Hercules), they can be shaken. Samson was one of these shakers and although he died in the process, his temple-demolishing skills defeated his Philistine enemies. Jung tries to make things clear. The column or pillar is about the cross. Jung* quotes Robertson on "Evangelical Myths," (p 130) observing that he contributes interestingly to the symbol of the carrying of the cross. Samson carries the pillars of the gates from Gaza and dies between the columns of the temple of the Philistines. But in ancient art, he is depicted carrying the pillars in such a way as they resembled the cross. If we accept Jung's proposition, then this is in all likelihood the origin of the story of Jesus, who carries his cross to his execution. No surprise then, that these columns surround St Peter's.
*Jung, CG (1916) Psychology of the Unconscious: A Study of the Transformations and Symbolisms of the Libido (A Contribution to the History of the Evolution of Thought ) Moffat, Yard and co. New York
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Saturday, January 5, 2013
Many castles are often stately homes built by rich aristocrats to show off their wealth. This one in Ostia is far from that. Begun in 1483, by the future Pope Julius II, it was the seat of the Papal Custom Houses and regulated excise payments on goods entering the Roman Port of Ostia. It was besieged by the Spanish at the end of the Franco-Spanish War and substantially damaged. A flood ended its prominence in 1557, after which it was used variously for agricultural storage and then a prison. Convicts were conscripted to assist in archaeological excavations in the ancient port and the castle became their prison. In symbolic terms the castle is usually defensive. It’s a fortress and attack is not part of its business. If you dream that you are in castle, it’s just possible you are being defensive about something in your life or feel imprisoned. But there is another interpretation. It might be something about yourself that you are unable to access. This castle is very traditional – it has quite a deep moat. It was difficult to get out, but also extremely difficult to get in. In Kafka’s novel, the Castle, the hero “K” tries to obtain access to authorities in a castle. He is completely unaware of why he has been invited there and the more he tries to reach the castle, the further away the castle appears. K is doomed to wander aimlessly outside rather than inside the castle. It’s all about the seeking after Self, the darkness of the unconscious and our continuing attempts to become aware.
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
The roundabout or carousel is usually the province of fairgrounds but this one seemed to have escaped! It was on the banks of the Tiber, near the Palace of Justice. It's rather a nice example, so I paused to take a wide angle photo on the basis it would look a bit wild against the architecture of the buildings. It reminded me of childhood and the atmosphere of fairgrounds, which should be exciting and dangerous and other-worldly. Fairgrounds are usually temporary. They come and go - and that transitory state is exciting for the young. Children can find impermanence threatening, but the fairground provides a relatively safe container for these feelings. Children like the dizzying motion of rides especially when they stagger off-balance afterwards. "Swings and roundabouts" is a relatively recent expression describing the futility of winning and losing. It's always about balance. The up and down of the swings is somehow balanced by the circular movement of the roundabout. I don't think about that one too much, because it makes my head spin! Yet the Buddhist notion of continuity, of birth and rebirth, springs to mind. I avoid the more aggressive fairground rides these days but this one looks gentle. Dreaming of fairground rides is another matter and depends on how you felt in the dream. Was it fun? Were you dizzy? Were you losing your grip? A vast territory for the dream analyst!