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Archive for 2013|Yearly archive page

la belle Verte

In All, Cinema, Spirit on May 8, 2013 at 5:45 pm

la belle Verte

Made in France in 1996 this obscure yet deeply significant film was banned in its homecountry and in Russia for reasons unknown. It was largely ignored by the rest of the world.

Using a whimsical, almost amateurish touch it raises profound questions about our inter-connectedness, humanity and self-actualization. It also boasts two of the funniest scenes captured on film, one involving a classical orchestra gone haywire and the other a football match turning into Swan Lake.

Irresistible food for thought.


(for other language subs please link here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNrOUUnF06Y)



In All, Musings, Spirit on April 13, 2013 at 8:20 am


Sometimes an encounter with another human being has an otherworldly quality.

Like coming across a moonscape drenched in soft pink light in a dream tucked in a dream.

Everything one normally thinks, feels and does becomes appropriately suspended so as to create a space arranged by sacred geometry for the experience to unfold.

And it unfolds slowly.

Beginning from a central point, extending in all directions at once.

image source: http://favim.com/image/356894/

To Keep What is Yours

In Music, Spirit on April 1, 2013 at 5:55 am

sunflower-611-14Omnia Sol Temperat (The Sun Warms Everything).

The 4th movement of Carmina Burana’s score, written by Carl Orff in 1937.

Sung by the great lyric baritone Fischer-Dieskau.


The Lyrics in Latin:

Omnia sol temperat
purus et subtilis,
novo mundo reserat
faciem Aprilis,
ad amorem properat
animus herilis
et iocundis imperat
deus puerilis.

Rerum tanta novitas
in solemni vere
et veris auctoritas
jubet nos gaudere;
vias prebet solitas,
et in tuo vere
fides est et probitas
tuum retinere.

Ama me fideliter,
fidem meam nota:
de corde totaliter
et ex mente tota
sum presentialitar
absens in remota,
quisquis amat taliter,
volvitur in rota.

The Lyrics in English:

The sun warms everything,
pure and gentle,
once again it reveals to the world
April’s face,
the soul of man
is urged towards love
and joys are governed
by the boy-god.

All this rebirth
in spring’s festivity
and spring’s power
bids us to rejoice;
it shows us paths we know well,
and in your springtime
it is true and right
to keep what is yours.

Love me faithfully!
See how I am faithful:
with all my heart
and with all my soul,
I am with you
even when I am far away.
Whosoever loves this much
turns on the wheel.

image source: http://www.deshow.net/flowers/sunflower-pictures-611.html#pic

Thunder over Wind. Constancy. 32.

In All, Books etc., Culture, Spirit on March 21, 2013 at 1:50 pm


Constancy is to have strength of character in both giddy and weeping times. The Oracle extends this idea to relationships. A true relationship needs constancy. This hexagram symbolizes an enduring marriage, with the husband providing leadership (thunder) and the wife providing a gentle, all-permeating influence (wind). The two trigrams are united to form a single hexagram, just as a husband and wife must remain steadily united. If that happens, their marriage will have all the qualities of heng : it will be constant, regular, persevering, enduring, and continuous.

Marriage’s strength begins with a vow. There is a significant message for all who want to base “reality” in material things. Nothing about any material object or either person’s body changes with a marriage ceremony, and yet, from that moment on, two people agree to one of the clearest points of change possible. What happens? All that happens is that two people make a covenant with one another. They promise to love each other, no matter how much their lives change, no matter how much fortune or misfortune visits them. They promise to face life together, even if demands separate them temporarily. They promise to respect their differences, and to find strength in their similarities. By giving unselfishly to each other, each one is strengthened in a way that neither could ever accomplish on his or her own.

Marriage is not a melding of one person into another. It is the joining of one person with another—two people who remain individuals and yet are joined by a simple promise. It is the challenge, the honour, and the beauty of that one promise withstanding every adversity known to human life. It takes two people to make a vessel large enough and strong enough to hold all the joy and happiness that come to a marriage: the sharing, the communication, the delights, the pleasures. It is the thrill of working for a home and family, and the joy of seeing daughters and sons carry on in the ultimate expression of their constancy.

The constancy required is not stubborn clinging to one position. Rather, we must have a constancy of heart and spirit. It means we have to know ourselves, and remain steady. A boat may navigate both placid lake and twisting rapid, but it does not lose its shape or cease to float.

Constancy in change means grasping the truth about yourself and your situation. It means always being honest with yourself and your mate. Without that truth—measured solely by the standard of your commitment— there is no constancy, and thus, nothing enduring.

Commitment comes first in all essential things, and then only constant cleaving to truth will nurture our promise into duration. What does it mean to be constant if the world is in constant flux? The usual message of the Oracle is that we must be flexible and conform to the will of heaven. The idea of constancy, however, seems contrary to that. Yet t h e Changes urges us to find a constancy that can withstand the overpowering pressures of change.

The Statement reminds us to be steadfast and ethical, to have the will to pursue right even when surrounded by vile people, and to serve others. In these ways, you must be constant. In a world where opportunities come and go, and where there is both good fortune and misfortune, it is only the person of quiet determination who can persevere long enough to prevail. We cannot afford any flagging. The pursuit of a goal must be steady and unswerving. Only then can we continue, find gain through purity of character, and press toward our destinations.

The Image leaves us with a picture of the wise one standing firm, refusing to change direction no matter how forceful the thunder and wind might be. That is an intriguing counterpoint to the usual wisdom of yielding, and it is also a standard for everything that we do: can we choose a position that is worth standing firm for, no matter what comes?

Fleeing, huddling, even crawling may seem easier that standing firm. Yet those who understand change know that what is easiest may not be the correct choice. To stand in constancy, and what is more, to stand hand in hand with another, is a constancy of spiritual dimensions.

Deng Ming-Dao, The Living I Ching, Hexagram 32. 

Lady Lent on a Clean (Ash) Monday.

In All, Culture, Greece on March 18, 2013 at 10:35 am

Clean Monday.

Today is Clean (Ash) Monday in Greece. In Greek, Kathara Deftera (Καθαρά Δευτέρα).

It signifies the end of the Carnival and the beginning of the 40 days of Lent leading up to Greek Easter.

It is called Clean Monday because on this day housewives would clean all cooking pots and bronze utensils with hot water & ashes so as to initiate the detox.

On this day the food eaten is halva, fish roe salad, lagana (unleavened bread), olives, pickles &  seafood.

Depicted is Lady Lent*.

A woman with folded hands and seven legs,  symbolizing the 7 weeks of fasting, one leg for each week. She prays and fasts with a closed mouth.  The Lady Lent is a drawing on paper, a special calendar that counts the weeks of Lent, the days of fasting. Every Saturday a leg is cut off.

The last leg is cut on Holy Saturday. This piece is then used to wrap a dry fig which is hidden. Whoever finds it is said to be lucky.

In other parts of Greece the Lady Lent is made with dough.

The traditional Clean Monday unleavened bread, lagana, is said to look like her.

It is a rapidly vanishing Greek tradition.

 * image source: http://e-children.blogspot.gr/2012/01/blog-post_22.html

i’ll meet you there.

In All, Cinema on March 11, 2013 at 8:01 pm

bread, flower, girl.

Moshen Makhmalbaf is one of Iran’s most celebrated directors.

When he was 17 and still a student, he stabbed a policeman during an anti-Shah demonstration. He was imprisoned for 5 years. Years later he made amends with the man he stabbed. In 1996 he made the film A Moment of Innocence (Nun va Goldoon) based on the incident.

Unequivocally one of the most important pieces of filmmaking in cinematic history, quietly climaxing toward one conclusion, best expressed by Rumi:

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

You can watch the entire film with closed captioned english subtitles here.


In All, Greece, Poetry on March 9, 2013 at 9:55 am



“Cavafy stands at the boundary where poetry strips herself in order to become prose,” Seferis stated in a lecture in Athens in 1964. “He is the most anti-poetic (or a-poetic) poet I know.”

This is my favorite Cafavy poem.

Nero’s Term

Nero was not worried when he heard
the prophecy of the Delphic Oracle.
“Let him fear the seventy three years.”
He still had ample time to enjoy himself.
He is thirty. More than sufficient
is the term the god allots him
to prepare for future perils.

Now he will return to Rome slightly tired,
but delightfully tired from this journey,
full of days of enjoyment —
at the theaters, the gardens, the gymnasia…
evenings at cities of Achaia…
Ah the delight of nude bodies, above all…

Thus fared Nero. And in Spain Galba
secretly assembles and drills his army,the old man of seventy three.

H Διορία του Νέρωνος

Δεν ανησύχησεν ο Νέρων όταν άκουσε
του Δελφικού Μαντείου τον χρησμό.
«Τα εβδομήντα τρία χρόνια να φοβάται.»
Είχε καιρόν ακόμη να χαρεί.
Τριάντα χρονώ είναι. Πολύ αρκετή
είν’ η διορία που ο θεός τον δίδει
για να φροντίσει για τους μέλλοντας κινδύνους.

Τώρα στην Pώμη θα επιστρέψει κουρασμένος λίγο,
αλλά εξαίσια κουρασμένος από το ταξείδι αυτό,
που ήταν όλο μέρες απολαύσεως —
στα θέατρα, στους κήπους, στα γυμνάσια …
Των πόλεων της Aχαΐας εσπέρες …
A των γυμνών σωμάτων η ηδονή προ πάντων …

Aυτά ο Νέρων. Και στην Ισπανία ο Γάλβας
κρυφά το στράτευμά του συναθροίζει και το ασκεί,
ο γέροντας ο εβδομήντα τριώ χρονώ.

More poems by Constantine C. Cafavy, in english, can be found here.

An introduction to Cavafy by W.H.Auden can be found here.

The portrait of the poet belongs to the artist Mihalis Grigoreas and can be purchased here.

the zen is truly mightier than the sword.

In All, Spirit on February 28, 2013 at 11:23 pm

the zen is truly mightier than the sword.

In a state of no boundaries, no code, the zen is truly mightier than the sword.

Or is it?

For days now I haven’t written. I am looking for the abiding place and the interval into which not even a hair can be entered as described in the writings of Takuan Soho.

Enlightened master swordsman, philosopher, gardener, poet & man of cutting wit. Born in Japan in 1573.

Three essays put together make up The Unfettered Mind. Writings of the Zen Master to the Sword Master.

You can find the english translation here.

Must read in its entirety.

*Depicted above is Yamaoka Tesshū, famous samurai of the Bakumatsu period.

The shepherd boy who could talk to Pan.

In Books etc., Children / Young Adults, Greece on February 20, 2013 at 4:30 pm

The Sheperd Boy who spoke with Gods.

When I was 11 or 12 years old I read a lot. Mostly English books. Occasionally Greek.

This is my favorite Greek children’s book: Old Olympus.  

The image you see here is from the original hardcover still gracing my bookshelf.

It is about a young shepherd boy called Giannos who lives at the foot of mount Olympus (the tallest mountain in Greece and home of the mythical Greek Gods).

One day he discovers that he can see the Gods, nymphs, fairies and other great historical figures and speak with them. So he embarks on a magical journey of discovery, adventure and learning through the legendary mountain and the history of Greece.

It has never been translated into English but here’s a small excerpt:

Pan had started jumping around letting out his now familiar cheerful cries while Hermes was already tying the gorgeous sandals on his feet. The child’s eyes locked upon those golden sandals, with straps that tied upward, criss-crossing above the ankles and sporting two small wings, one on the inside and one on the outside, making them appear like birds’ wings.

– These sandals are surely divine, the shepherd boy muttered in admiration.

– Of course they are divine. These take me wherever I want, fast like the wind’s breath, over endless lands and foaming seas.

Giannos’ eyes opened wide.

– What if someone else wears them?

– My winged sandals? And who would wear them? Am I not supposedly the messenger of the gods? Did I not make them myself, weaving patiently and with incredible craft the thinnest branches of myrtle?

– It would seem that he wants you to lend them to him, interjected Pan laughing out loud. Not that he ever gave them to me either, not for one little minute, silly shepherd boy. But I, being your friend have arranged everything for you, everything will be just fine and dandy, you hear … foolish child.


Written in the 1970’s by Fani Papalouka, this book is a gem of historical fantasy for children.

It is rarely found in print anymore. Pity.

good psychiatrists & bad policemen.

In Greece, Poetry on February 18, 2013 at 8:41 am

Good psychiatrists & Bad cops.

Katerina Gogou* wrote:

They have all these ways
and everyday routine you get used to
they’ve made us dogs
ashamed of holiday
proud of unemployment
That’s how it is.
They are waiting for us at the corner
good psychiatrists and bad policemen.

In Greek:
Έχουν όλους τους τρόπους αυτοί
και την καθημερινότητα που συνηθίζεις
σκυλιά μας έχουν κάνει
να ντρεπόμαστε για την αργία
περήφανοι για την ανεργία
Έτσι είναι.
Μας περιμένουν στη γωνία
καλοί ψυχίατροι και κακοί αστυνόμοι.

(*A poetess who chose to live in the margin but loomed larger than life until the day she took her own life in 1993. She was then 53 years old.

 Born in 1940 in Athens she began as a mainstream actress but progressively morphed into an engagé literary figure committed to anarchy & the radical left. She wrote poems, lived off cigarettes, alcohol, pills & never minced words. 

Her first collection of poems, entitled “three clicks to the left” was published in 1978.)