LIFE AS MYTH
A living myth
Seven year cycle
A living myth
Telling an untold story
A different way of seeing
The power of unanswered prayer
Sitting with the buddha
Colliding with St. John
The beginning of wisdom
A single flower clearly
The deep uncanny mine of souls
COLLIDING WITH ST. JOHN
Picture Six: Riding the ox home. Ten Oxherding Pictures. Attributed to Shubun (n.d.) Japan, Muromachi period.
Handscroll, ink and light colors on paper.
One wonders why it is necessary that a part of one be so badly wounded . . . But many legends inform us that we must pay a price for the departure from the Garden of Eden and the journey to higher realms of consciousness.
Robert Johnson (b. 1921), author, lecturer, psychoanalyst; quote from The Fisher King and the Handless Maiden: Understanding the Wounded Feeling Function in Masculine and Feminine Psychology
St. John. We first met in an exhibition room at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. His face, however, was not nearly so clear that day as online reproductions that I have viewed since. In the museum it was clouded by fluorescent lighting, the colors and soft details shrouded by dim, blue light. But the poor lighting actually contributed to an atmosphere of mystery which was part of the wonder of encountering Redon's St. John for the very first time. Encounter would be the right word here. Or maybe collision is even better.
I circled through the d'Orsay numerous times, leaving St. John behind to visit other exhibitions -- only to find my way back, time and again, to Redon's visionary world. What was it that kept calling me back? The answer is at the heart of great art and great artists, the idea of pointing to something unseen, something transcendent, something beyond words and ideas. And that is what I experienced while colliding with Redon and St. John.
(left) Parsifal, also known as St. John. Odilon Redon. 1912. Musée D'Orsay, Paris. Redon (1840-1916) was an outstanding Symbolist artist. His early work, monochromatic with dark themes, reflected his struggle with depression. He recovered at midlife, his art transforming into luminous color-driven work.
ST. JOHN, also known as the beloved disciple, was a fisherman and a disciple of John the Baptist before joining the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. The New Testament portrays him as a favorite of Christ, the only disciple who stayed with him during the crucifixion, and the one who promised to honor Christ's request to care for his mother Mary.
According to church tradition, John is the author of several New Testament writings: the Gospel of John, the three Epistles of John and the Book of Revelation. However, there is disagreement among modern scholars as to the authorship of the Book of Revelation. In this debate, there is a distinction drawn between the Apostle John and the John of Patmos, who is the author of Revelation.
John was the only disciple to survive into old age, dying of natural causes at the age of 94. He is the patron saint of writers and his feast day is December 27.