Friday, November 30, 2018

The Holy Circle

The circle is the first, original shape, the primary form, the sound of the universe...

"The circle (or sphere) is a symbol of the Self. It expresses the totality of the psyche in all its aspects, including the relationship between man and the whole of nature. Whether the symbol of the circle appears in primitive sun worship or modern religion, in myths or dreams, in the mandalas drawn by Tibetan monks, in the ground plans of cities, or in the spherical concepts of early astronomers, it always points to the single most vital aspect of life – its ultimate wholeness." Aniela Jaffé, in "Symbolism in the Visual Arts" from MAN AND HIS SYMBOLS by Carl Jung

The Japanese word ensō may mean "circle" but the Zen Buddhist concept it represents is far larger than a single word. It contains the ideas of enlightenment, cycles, unity, time, nature, the void, infinity, and the totality of the universe itself.

Everything makes a circle.

Imagine for a moment that you are man primeval, on a plane, looking out around you, with little or no linguistic skills, and certainly no scientific or objective knowledge of what you are seeing. Above you is a flaming circle, giving light and warmth. When that goes away, quite regularly as it turns out, it is replaced by a great white, glowing circle that inflates and deflates over a short period of time. The two of these things chase each other in a circle as they go from side to side in the sky. At night, the sky is peppered with tiny twinkling circles. On the plane around you, berries and fruits and flowers are circular. You turn in a circle, surveying the reality around you, as your body describes the shape of a circle, and you stand as the still point, the center of this circular universe. You are in the center of the circle. The still point of the circle is where ever you are. Plants grow, are harvested, it grows colder, tiny white cold circles fall from the sky, and then soon, the warmth comes back and the plants once again begin to grow. The circle of time. And reality is an endless circle which allows that to happen.

If I were to invent a religion, its symbol would be a circle.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

BEAUTY: Men--The Natural

I love a natural on African-American men. It's regal and beautiful.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

BEAUTY: Painting--Gulyás Edina

Before she became a painter, Gulyás Edina studied Agricultural Engineering which clearly influences her current choices of subject matter. The lush, verdant mash-ups of different landscapes and locations (much like the layering and blending of differing locations and events of yesterday's artist Golnaz Afraz, here) are a dream-like homage to the plant kingdom...

Monday, November 26, 2018

BEAUTY: Painting--Golnaz Afraz

I have been craving color and I found it in the lovely work of Golnaz Afraz. Her heavily populated narratives feel like dreams and memories of places and crowds and gatherings and friends and family. I love the colors and the composition but there is also an intriguing, palpable, emotional depth. The cumulative effect is touching.

Top to bottom: Colors of My Dream; Find HereFrom There; Last Summer; Le Fête; Le Reflet du Monde; Life Elsewhere; Somewhere; The Dream Upside Down; There Is No Way

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Johnson Somerset Does It Again!

Another staggering remix from Lord Somerset (previously here), this time for "You've Got The Love" by Florence + The Machine (previously here). Somerset's layering of swirling, thick sound and texture creates a transcendent listening experience.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

R.I.P. Nicolas Roeg

Nicolas Roeg, one of our great filmmakers, died today at the age of 90.

While not prolific by some standards in the film world, he leaves behind an arresting, gorgeous, and highly influential body of work. He directed, among many films, "Performance" (with Mick Jagger), "Walkabout," the modern Gothic masterpiece "Don't Look Now" (on my list of favorite films seen to the right), "The Man Who Fell To Earth" starring the late David Bowie, and "Insignificance."

Julie Christie, Donald Sutherland, and Nicolas Roeg on the set of "Don't Look Now"
David Bowie, Candy Clark, and Nicolas Roeg on the set of "The Man Who Fell To Earth"

Friday, November 23, 2018

"Words With The Shaman" by David Sylvian

I had an occasion recently to introduce a friend to the music of David Sylvian (previously here, here, and here)...she had never heard of him and I was delighted to loan her a stack of CDs (yes children, CDs!). It prompted me to go back through his catalog and have a listen to some astounding pieces of music. If you don't know him or his solo work as well as his prolific collaborations with other incredible musicians like Ryuichi Sakamoto, Robert Fripp, Holger Czukay, Jon Hassell, and Mark Isham, then do yourself a favor and give yourself a master class in his career.

Meanwhile, here is the absolutely hypnotizing, phenomenal triptych "Words With The Shaman," in its entirety. All three parts are meant to be listened to together, straight through.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving 2018!

In these trying times in the United States, I'd like to address all my followers and regular readers of "Oh, By The Way:"

On this holiday of gratitude, let's give thanks for the recent glimmers of hope, the things that make us good, strong, honorable, and loving human beings. Let's give thanks to the people who bring light and calm and love to our lives and to the world. Because we are basically leaderless and because of a small faction of people who wish to bring ugliness and darkness to our country, let's give thanks for the actions and goodwill in our lives--whether done by others or ourselves--that strengthen the fabric of humanism and the choices to unite, protect, and find value in this existence. Hold dear these things and live up to these ideals for which we are grateful. Let us find value in ourselves and others and express this gratitude in our intentions, deeds, and words. Let us counteract the current dark tone with this gratitude for life and living. Let's be grateful for the value of human experience and know that their darkness has no true power and will not take that away.


Thanks, Jesus 2018

As we eat our Thanksgiving meal, let us thank not an imaginary figure in the sky but those who are TRULY responsible--migrant workers and immigrants legal or undocumented--for helping to bring our food to our tables, through their numbingly long days of low-wage, backbreaking work.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

BEAUTY: Painting--Krassimir Kolev

I have always said that if, as adults, we were allowed to bring stuffed animals and plush toys with us into our everyday lives like children, the world would be a much better place. And Bulgarian artist Krassimir Kolev seems like he might agree, with the portraits in his Fables Series, a sweet homage to these soft, cuddly friends.

Top to bottom: Best Friends; Family Gathering; Family; Friends; Lovers; Lovers II; Lovers III; Lovers IV; With Grandpa