Friday, March 28, 2014
Monday, March 24, 2014
This was a temporary acquaintance who came to see me when I was sitting in Herbert Park. I was fiddling around with a new camera - the tiny Pentax Q with the interchangeable lens - and trying to get the settings right. The robin helped me discover how good that camera is at this range. Naturally, birds just keep moving around and they're never easy to capture, despite the many photos of birds we see. The robin hopped on the park bench beside me and hung around so much that passers-by were commenting. It just wouldn't go away, so eventually it was left to me to bid goodbye. The robin has the reputation of being rather friendly, especially with gardeners with whom it shares a common interest - the eradication of small pests. The Christmas association for robins is thought to derive from red-coated postmen in Victorian Britain, nicknamed "Robins". But the tale of the plain bird who comforted Jesus on the cross and acquired some of his blood on its breast remains part of British folklore. With its rosy chest, the robin is very much a solar symbol in many cultures - because its breast suggests the sun rise. So if you dream of a robin it might just be the words of the popular song calling you. Wake up, wake up you sleepy head/Get up, get out o' bed/Cheer up, cheer up the sun is red/Live, love, laugh and be happy.
[When the red red robin goes bob bob bobbin’ along. Harry MacGregor Woods, 1926 as recorded by Al Jolson, June 1st 1926]
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Friday, March 14, 2014
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
I couldn't help but take a photograph because the filling looked like writing. Now as I recall, this is the Caffè Torino, a place of Belle Epoch splendour. You'll find it in the Piazza San Carlo in Turin - and if you're there, don't hesitate to plunge straight in. The Caffè Torino promises old world elegance and it delivers - although pricey compared with others, it's well worth the experience. It might come as no surprise that there is no particular symbolism for a sandwich. It would have to be either about the bread or the filling. But the sandwich has an ancient lineage. People have always wrapped food in bread and at one time a slab of coarse bread was regarded as a kind of plate. In the Middle Ages, a trencher was stale bread carrying other food. Like the edge crust of a Cornish pastie, it allows the eater to consume the food without necessarily touching it. In 110 BC, at Passover, lamb and herbs were sandwiched between two pieces of soft matzah, flat unleavened bread, which brings us back to symbolism. The above picture features is a rather more sophisticated arrangement and unlike bread, isn't old enough to have any symbolic value. But in Christianity, bread is nourishment and life. For the Eucharist, it is the sacred bread of eternal life. Traditionally, unleavened bread with no yeast refers to origins and purity, whereas bread made with yeast is about the active principle and spiritual transformation. All that aside, I do remember just how good it was to eat that sandwich.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
spiders and an orange phantom so there was some synchronicity. Symbolically, the spider packs a heavy punch too. Because its spins thread, it is regarded like the Fates. The web it spins is the fabric of life, but although it looks fragile, this is illusory. Webs are tough as old boots, especially for the fly. Spiders have properties of divination for many cultures and are sometimes seen as psychopomps, carrying souls on a boat made from webs across rivers to the Underworld. Yet it's the spider that swings on a thread that is important for psychoanalysis, because it can easily raise itself - a symbol for spiritual realisation and self-actualisation. If you dream of a spider, ask yourself what it's doing. Is it building or swinging? Or did it come for breakfast?