Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Big Cheese

One fine day in the summer, I visited the cheese festival in Bra, Piedmont. Bra is the birthplace of the slow food movement and so the event was heavily attended. I could hardly get near the cheese for a clear shot! The symbolism of cheese defaults to that of milk and even the Bra festival programme is clear - milk in all its shapes! I thought about associations of course. I was a foreign guest and so I was the Big Cheese. I was treated well, so I didn't get cheesed off. The shape of cheese is all important and manufacturers spend quite some time on deciding what shape their product should be. Unlike milk, its solidity means it cannot be sprinkled and it is seldom white. But it does retain the symbolic essential of milk - immortality. Plenty of dream books offer profit and gain as the meaning of eating cheese as a dream symbol. This derives from the work of Artemidorus, a 2nd century Greek diviner and interpreter of dreams, who was quite specific about using context for dream interpretation. Eating cheese in a  dream may have quite different meanings depending on the nature of the dream and its connections with the dreamer. Eating half a kilo of cheese before bedtime is likely to ensure that you have dreams that night!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Luck from the Carpet

I was waiting for a train and had a bit of time to wander around, so I was delighted to come across a carpet shop with many colourful delights. On my first visit to Turin, I was amazed that there was a television channel devoted solely to carpets, so maybe it's a big carpet place. Carpets are rather symbolic in their own right and include many other symbols in their design. Particularly in the east, carpets are very important because they share the same symbolism as the house and garden. They offer a place apart - as in a prayer mat - and given the correct circumstances, they can fly. The colours are also vital to meaning. Yellow and gold speaks of rank and power, whilst white is pure and peaceful. Black is for rebellion and green is rebirth. I can see all of these in the picture. In some cultures, a tuft of wool might be taken from the border and burned to protect against the evil eye. The shapes contained in carpets are also important and all are magical. Dogs, peacocks, trees, doves and camels all symbolise different kinds of fortune for both the weaver and the purchaser of the carpet. So the next time you're looking at an oriental rug shop, have a chat with the owner about designs and what they mean for his or her culture. And may the violet colours in the photo bring you good luck!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Skylight Blue - waiting for Heaven

I am always advising that we should look up. By looking straight ahead or down, there are things that we miss and these can be a such a delight. This is merely a skylight window in Eataly, where I tend to have lunch if I'm in Turin. While I'm waiting for what is always a culinary treat, I do look up at the lattice of window frames. At that time of year, I can usually rely on a blue sky - so my treat is doubled. Blue is possibly the coldest of colours and here it even looks a bit frosty. Translucent blue - the colour of the heavens. Shapes tend to disappear and vanish into blue, so this composition is, for me, as delicious as the food. Maybe these shapes symbolise heaven, which in itself always represents awareness. Sometimes I sit and count the boxes, and imagine them as compartments of an aware and conscious psyche - many separate rooms that lead off into one another. I notice too that some have more light. The pillar is also symbolic, because here is the supporting column without which everything falls - and this column also represents the tree of life forms part of the kitchen below. Directly under this roof, diners sit in a gregarious circle around the edge of the kitchen and serving area. Perhaps some part of me sits there with them every day.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Snorkeling Pig

I spotted this abandoned toy near my apartment in Turin. Passersby were laughing and I couldn't help being amused by the artful arrangement. But pigs always get a bad press in sayings and in symbolism it's no different - so I snapped a quick shot, then went on my way and forgot about it. Later I was reviewing my shots for that day and there it was. so I smiled for the second time. Universally, pigs are always about gluttony, greed and insatiability. Above all, the pig is seen as ignorant. We frequently cast pearls before swine - creatures who are not worthy of understanding or receiving our offerings. Yet there are two places where the pig is worthy. In Sino-Vietnam the pig is a symbol of plenty and in Egypt, the Sky Goddess Nut is depicted as a sow suckling her litter. But what about my neighbour here? Perhaps the person who gave him that symbolic food felt he looked like a pig out of water. He needed nurturing. Or perhaps Cerce the Greek witch was upset with an unlucky suitor. She may have touched the hapless fellow with her magic wand, transforming him into something that suited his character. Snorkeling as a pastime is for observation in the shallow waters - so maybe that got him into bother!