Which artists did you like? I did say that I understood Finnish Shamanism only after getting acquainted with Shinto - how I got familiar with the dynamics of the Japanese mindset and spirituality was through manga and anime. I rarely consume Japanese pop culture these days though, but I think the way that old beliefs and modern concepts mingle in their tradition can be very illuminating in the best cases. Also, the sincerity with which they make syncretic and organic combinations of foreign themes is what I aim at. Like here, a view of neo-baroque France through a Japanese lens. The day I'll be able to incorporate mythical Finnish imagery in a similar way into my art, I can finally rest in peace.
Ukko's three daughters? I've forgotten that passage unfortunately, or do you mean the daughters of the Moon that weave the silvery thread of fate and are presented at the beginning of Kalevala when the big oak is created? I think that when I drew this I may have rather been subconsciously influenced by the idea of the Three Fates or Norns (of which I know next to nothing) and an earlier dark piece where I drew a constellation that made the shape of a swan that was destined to suffer. The white mice are the specimen in the laboratory of the enchantress playing with fate, cutting and pasting the connections that make stars into constellations and redefining meanings. But death may be the beginning of new life - the red stars symbolise to me blood, chaos, rebirth, energy and magick.
God, this is another example how I can never give a straight answer - but you can always ask!
As a boy my favourites were the old Final Fantasy illustrators, although as games go, FFVII was my favourite. Hands down. I also appreciate the Chinese watercolour art which often appears in the cheap calendars one can get from a China eatery in Maine. Imperial Japan had similar prints, some of my favourites actually depicted a Japanese Catholic Mass.
Norns. Urd - past, Verdandi - becoming, Skuld - should (as in 'that which will be.') The Norns are the personfications of time. They help to organise Wyrd (the whole of fate/destiny, which is what I believe is meant by Almatki Ass, the Overgod we've discussed elsewhere.) The Norns are said to have a spinning wheel and thread, which illustrates the lives of mortals. They are like the Greek Fates, or Morai. The Norns hold their council at the base of Yggdrasil, the World Tree of Life, a giant Ash. Perhaps there is a corollary between Ukko's bairn and the Norns? Also. There are more than the three chief Nornir. You also have Fylgur (fetches) which are like guardian spirits, but they are also a part of your soul - according to my ancestors' lore. They are within and without you.
I like your symbolism. You see, this reminds me a bit of Seid. Seid is a Scandinavian form of magick. It's hard to explain. But if you like Jung, it is like the balancing of Anima and Animus - male and female soul. It is also trance-like. But not always. I have always found a great comfort in trying to unravel the thought patterns of women, how they are different but compimentary to men. Your art is layered. It thinks as a woman does. Sometimes I feel like mine is a hammer. I may have complex thoughts here and there, but they always wish to narrow the playing field into black and white terms.
Now that's an interesting coincidence! Yoshitaka Amano happens to be one of my favourite artists and the Final Fantasy games a main influence behind my spiritual awakening when I was fourteen. What I have attempted to do in my work has been to a certain extent, trying to understand the whispers that I sense from his illustrations. One of my drawings is a homage to FFVI - perhaps the only piece of fan art I've ever made. You can find more about it in the description. kuume.deviantart.com/art/Wande… Also, my insistence on reaching an Intermediate level of Chinese on top of Japanese is affected by the delicacy of Chinese mythological art, which I believe is behind the dynamism of Amano's work.
If you ever want to know more about Japanese or Chinese concepts, I can give small lectures on the subject. East Asian studies is my Minor, anyway, and I did my Candidate's on the symbolism of the shamanic animal-human transformations in Japanese folklore and how it reflects the relationship that the Japanese have with their innermost heart, nature, ritual purity and the correct balance between dualities. You could, like Jung would from a global comparative perspective, say that the whole of Eastern culture focuses explicitly on the subtle balance between Anima and Animus, or Yin and Yang. "chi" or "qi" is a formless ether created from the subtle resonance between the poles, where the Light and the Dark work in such perfect complementarity with regard to a specific goal that it turns normal perception into pure intuition. This is related to what I said about Gemini.
Yes, chi may seem to have no specific direction, but it makes attaining anything you wish possible and eventually reveals the way to the most well-hidden secrets. Like water flows over a stone, instantly fathoming every nook and crack and crevice, where the eyes alone would think that it's merely "round". It's behind the concept of flow in the martial arts as well - perceiving reality in the Now with your sixth sense, so that you could just as well fight blindfolded, guided so closely by your other senses to anticipate the next move of your opponent when it's still emergent. "Feeling" things can be much more than sentimentality; actually, I think that the sort of sentimentality that you see in Western Yoga workshops works against this goal. In the West, the East has been considered more "feminine" as a whole, but I'm sure similar processes can be found in other cultures as well, approaching it from a different angle. But I personally believe that you can't learn it without trials of fire that gradually peel away your illusions, and that you're driven to its full manifestation as much by pain than desire.
The Seidr sound fascinating, and I do have a book about modern Seid that I ought to take a look at for my Thesis. I would like to know more about it, as it would make it easier for me to connect to Scandinavian and Germanic traditions on a visceral level, so anything you know I would be interested to hear. How do they connect to the rest of the religious functionaries? What is their role? What is their femininity like? The Norns also interest me, as I (apparently) have a thing about weaving threads and the idea of the fabric of fate feels very intuitive.
When we speak, I would love to hear your lectures. I love being lectured to. I much prefer the clever Maestra who cares for what she preaches than the callous pay-stubs I must pander to in my College in Maine.
And because I believe in reciprocity, I would be more than happy to trade your insights for mine - in Seidr, in anything you wish to know from me.
For now, I have been thinking and so I will tell you, that an example of Seid, I think, is the story of Harbard's Flyting. In this, Odin comes dressed as a Ferryman (like Greek Charon) and is accosted by Thor who wishes to cross the river and go back to the God Home. Harbard denies Thor his crossing, and the two engage in Flyting - which is like a game made of character assassination. Thor boasts of his manly deeds, Odin boasts of his sensual exploits. The secret understanding is that any man can smash an enemy with his hammer. But a wise man realises that his pursuit of Wisdom is like wooing a woman. Odin speaks of wooing, he also speaks of tricking, and sometimes even of confronting and imposing. In this way Odin has examined his "effeminate" side, by treating Wisdom as a woman to be won, he stops at nothing to seek her. She resists, but all his faculties are engaged, and his chasing of her increases his mental power. Thor, meanwhile, exhausts himself in fury, his body, already so strong, his warlike prowess so great - has limits. But Odin's transcending the normative gives him a different power. Odin triumphs, but at the cost of Thor's respect. However Odin is clever - in his Seid, his Wisdom allows him to become like another, and so Thor is none the wiser.
These three pieces seem to be developed in an advanced decorative style. There are images flirting thrillingly with the semiotics of cursive scripts, but refusing to be confined to the rules alphabetic order, direction or rendez-vous with any particular point in space and time. You themes stand exquisitely on the threshold of several related meanings.
Your observation is right-on again. In fact, I often tend to encrypt specific meanings or wishes into cursive symbols that I scatter around my images where one might expect to find writing of some sort. I tend to forget what I tried to 'say' through the abstract forms, but usually they're something connected to the more overt symbols in the picture. I have gotten a lot of inspiration from the Chinese script - the painstaking repetition of characters has gradually changed how I regard the relationship between ornamentality and meaning. I suppose my works have endless possibilities of interpretation, I'm always interested in other peoples' associations, as they enrich my own.
It's the quality of 'meta-meaning' I like. You stay tantalizing on the threshold of different meaning, yet you have the guts to stay with what is important - the meta-meaning. In a previous life I was an Urban Sociologist. I don't remember much about it now but we constructed composite variables which applied to no one thing but accounted for a certain amount of variance. I admire Jackson Pollock for the same reason - there is such imagic richness in his work because he had the discipline to not go beyond indeterminate form. My early attempts at abstract Art are characterised by me manoeuvring forms into a melange of recognisable objects. I had to develop a whole new system of mark making to overcome this.
Hmm, this is probably irrelevant, but I came to think about it and I suppose bats use echolocation and the moths merely try to avoid them. I'm currently writing an allegorical fantasy story based on moths on my tulinuotio account, so I suppose I should get my facts straight.
I suppose I like making my artwork into sort of mystical quasi-icons that give a lot of interpretive cues, to better delve into the subconscious. I enjoy theories, words and visual symbols, but for me they are less like boxes where to stack the multitude of lived experience than transforming single points in clouds of moving light particles that keep re-arranging. For some this might just be a metaphor, but in my case it is quite literal. Fine-tuning my choice of words, shapes and images to suit the context is based on a feeling of resonance that resembles the echolocation of the moth, sensing the empty space around objects. However, I am still in the process of deconstructing and freeing myself from form to give the reins to my intuition. I usually include a human or animal character in my pictures to anchor the abstract shapes in my usual mode of perception. I admire fully abstract representation, such as your work, but I have had some difficulties focusing on its creation. Hmm, this may be closest to abstraction that I have done, representing the feeling of a particularly satisflying musical transition, though even that has some sort of a face. kuume.deviantart.com/art/Ether… Oh and by the way, what do you mean by a system of mark making?