Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

nature is red in tooth & claw

Some animals I live with, a zoological study

Friday, October 17, 2008


Monday, September 8, 2008

the little side cave

"It was in the mid-eighteenth century, when Moravians questioned the gender of the Trinity, attributed maternal characteristics to Jesus, and celebrated a sensual, mystical personal relationship with their Savior, that Moravian iconography began assigning erotic qualities to the side wound of Christ itself. This included inscribing sensual, colored expressions about Christ and the side wound on hundreds of small cards, many of which contained striking water colors depicting the side wound [...] and/or showing daily activities – eating, sleeping, going for a walk, etc. – inside the wound." -- from Jesus Is Female: The Moravian Challenge in the German Communities of British North America, Aaron Fogleman

"Deep Inside! Deep inside! Deep inside the little side!"

Monday, July 7, 2008


Pilgrim Badges in a Medieval Book of Hours

"But perhaps the commonest medieval amulet of all was the pilgrim badge, made of tin-lead alloy, or poor-quality pewter. These badges were sacralized by being touched to a relic or shrine of the saint commemorated [...] Pilgrim badges might be obtained specifically to fulfill their role as amulets. Th French King Charles V, whose health was always delicate, obtained three enseignes 'for the disease of the kidneys,' as recorded in 1379-80. Sometimes they were used not just on the individual's body but to protect other people, places, or animals."
-- from Visualizing Medieval Medicine and Natural History, 1200-1550, Jean Ann Givens

Pilgrim's Badge Depicting the Shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral, 1350–1400

"Although pilgrim badges might look insignificant in comparison to other works of art, they are a valuable source of information for medieval iconograhy, because as these miniature images were produced, purchased, and dispersed in substantial numbers, they actively participated in the spread of visual language."
-- from "Medival Pilgrim Badges and Their Iconographic Aspects", Marike de Kroon

Erotic Pilgrim Badge

"The importance of these badge finds can scarcely be exaggerated; in addition to Bedaux, other scholar have also concluded that the profane badges, no matter what their imagery, were devices intended to avert bad luck, and by corollary, bring good luck. Those designed with sexual imagery represent a remarkably high percentage in the assemblage of profane secular badges. Dating mostly from the late 14th into the fifteenth centuries, they often contain images of, or are designed as, male or female sexual organs, or as combinations of male and female; sometimes they are devised as copulation scenes, and there are related variations. [...]If any doubt lingers about the apotropaic significance of sexual symbols, I point to some medieval amulets, dated in the fifteenth century, which eminently demonstrate what powerful protection most people believed-- at least in the fifteenth century-- sexual symbols to possess [...] They clearly declare the principle that the more talismans you ave, the more protect you will have; and they also manifest a significant cohabitation of apotropaic Christian and non-Christian motifs."
-- from Averting Demons: The Protecting Power of Medieval Visual Motifs and Themes, Ruth Mellinkoff

Contemporary Pilgrim Badges, My Collection

Tuesday, March 18, 2008





Sunday, March 16, 2008


sounds of saturn, here.

"Saturday, which is Saturn's day, the oldest of the gods, claims for its distinctive talisman the most splendid of all gems, or the queen of precious stones, the lustre-darting diamond."
--from Finger-ring Lore: Historical, Legendary, Anecdotal, William Jones, 1877

"The first Diamond necklace made in Europe was given by Charles of France to Agnes Sorel, and was called a 'carcanet,'—(an iron collar),—because the sharp edges of the gem hurt the neck of the favourite. "
--Precious Stones, for Curative Wear and Other Remedial Uses, William Thomas Fernie, 1907

a hexagon on saturn ? article here

Friday, February 15, 2008

jesus as image

In early Christian art Jesus was represented emblematically: he appeared as a fish or anchor carved on stone walls of the catacombs. He was rarely represented with the cross; for his early followers, the cross represented the death of a common criminal.

Even more abstract were the inscriptions of chi-rho (PX), the monogram formed from the transliteration of his greek title, Khristos. This monogram appeared on funerary slabs, simple gold rings, and even on the coin of Constantine in the fourth century. Lesser used were verbal images from the bible, including the metaphors of Christ as the vine and Christ as the Good Shepherd.


The first surviving relief showing the crucifixion appeared in the fifth century. His image is flat, expressionless: nothing like the gory images that came to dominate the late medieval period. By the thirteenth century, Jesus was depicted with all the trappings of morality— blood leaked from the wound in his side, tears streamed down his face.

He had become embodied, and in turn, devotion to his pain became a staple of Christian imagination. The devotion to the wounds of Christ flourished: a cross would often feature five carbuncles representing his five wounds.


Rings, too, bore inscriptions that sought healing from the wounds of Christ. Particular attention was paid to the wound in Christ’s side: pierced by the lance of a roman soldier, it pronounced him dead, and was considered the door to his heart. The instruments of the passion narrative— including the crown of thorns, the lance, the nails, and the bloodied scourge— became hieroglyphic reminders.


His wounds— particularly the wound in his side— became flattened, turned into emblems: a red one-dimensional lozenge (diamond) shape formed part of the “divine heraldry.” The wounds and instruments were often formed to make up a coat of arms of Jesus.
The wounds were sites of devotion, literal openings for the believer to "enter" Christ.

read: Sacred and Legendary Art, Anna Jameson
Christ Lore Fredrk Hackwood
Corpus Christi: the Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture Miri Rubin
The Image of Christ Gabriele Finaldi

Sunday, February 10, 2008

lord of the rings, part 1

So Pharaoh said to Joseph: "Since God has made all this known to you, no one can be as wise and discerning as you are. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people shall dart at your command. Only in respect to the throne shall I outrank you.
Herewith," Pharaoh told Joseph, "I place you in charge of the whole land of Egypt."
With that, Pharaoh took off his signet ring and put it on Joseph's finger. He had him dressed in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck. He then had him ride in the chariot of his vizier, and they shouted "Abrek!" before him. Thus was Joseph installed over the whole land of Egypt.
from The New American Bible, Genesis 41

The use of signet-rings as symbols of great respect and authority is mentioned in several parts of the Holy Scriptures, from which it would seem that they were then common among persons of rank. They were sometimes wholly of metal, but frequently the inscription was borne on a stone, set in gold or silver. The impression from the signet-ring of a monarch gave the force of a royal decree to any instrument to which it was attached. Hence the delivery or transfer of it gave the power of using the royal name, and created the highest office in the State.
from William Jones' Finger-ring Lore, 1877

And, coupled with mythology, we have, according to the ancients, the origin of the ring. Jupiter, from revenge, caused Strength, Force and Vulcan to chain his cousin-german Prometheus to the frosty Caucasus, where a vulture, all the livelong day, banqueted his fill on the black viands of his hot liver. [...] but as Jupiter had sworn to keep Prometheus bound for the space of time mentioned, he, in order not to violate his oath, commanded that Prometheus should always wear upon his finger an iron ring, to or in which should be fastened a small fragment of Caucasus, so that it might be true, in a certain sense, that Prometheus still continued bound to that rock. Thus, as we have said, came the idea of the first ring, and, we may add, the insertion of a stone.
from Charles Edwards' The History and Poetry of Finger-rings, 1855

Pliny believed that the use of rings had not existed even in Greece at the time of the Trojan war, and he tells us that the first date in Roman history at which ho could trace any general use of them was in A.u.c. 449, in the time of Cneius Flavius, the son of Annius. Yet, as he adds, after this date they must have come into use very rapidly, for, in the second Punic war, they were so abundant that Hannibal was able to send from Italy to Carthage three modii of thorn. The next advance in luxury was the practice of inserting or setting a precious stone in the gold of the ring, and it was not till a still later period that the use of signet rings was adopted, which implied the engraving of a device, of some kind or other, on the stone of the ring.
from The Intellectual Observer, Review of Natural History, 1867

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

jasper & feathering

I John saw. I testify
to rainbow feathers, to the span of heaven

and walls of colour,
the colonnades of jasper [...]
--from Trilogy, H.D. 1944

And the building of the wall of it was of pure jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.
--from The Bible, Revelations Chapter XII, "The heavenly Jerusalem, with a full description thereof."

A popular etymology of the Greek and Latin name for jasper is reported by Bartolomaus Anglicus, who writes that "in the head of an adder [snake] that hyght Aspis is founde a lytyl stone that is called Jaspis."
--from The Curious Lore of Precious Stones, George Frederick Kunz 1913

Adder, an example of specialization in meaning, no longer refers to just any serpent or snake, as it once did, but now denotes only specific kinds of snakes. Adder also illustrates a process known as false splitting, or juncture loss: the word came from Old English nĒ£dre and kept its n into the Middle English period, but later during that stage of the language people started analyzing the phrase a naddre as an addre—the false splitting that has given us adder.
--American Heritage Dictionary

Quetzalcoatl: plumed serpent god of the Toltecs and Aztecs, 1578, from Nahuatl quetzalli "tailfeather" + coatl "snake."

read: "Strange Rumblings at the Center of Our Galaxy"


sea lace.

mayan canal.