Voynich Manuscript

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The Voynich Manuscript is an amazing document. Both its history and the illustrations contained within. It probably has a great story too, but so far nobody has been able to translate it, so who knows what it actually says.

I’ve read all sorts of interesting theories about it, who wrote it and why. Over the years, I come across bits of information about it in random places, which I always enjoy. At one point, it was thought to be a forgery, but after many many test it has been determined to be completely genuine (well, by most experts anyway. Maybe there are some that still don’t agree). Although, again, nobody can really make much sense of it. I’ve heard it described as a witches grimoire, a history of medieval herb lore, or perhaps some sort of alchemical journal. I’ve even read one theory that it was created by Leonard Da Vinci (which has been proven false because the ink and velum are much older than that). One thing most articles I’ve read agree on is that it was probably written in code to pass along information that the Catholic Church was trying to stamp out.

One thing I do know though is  I do like looking at the illustrations. They are primarily made up of plants, plant people, and (what seem to be) strange astrological charts. Pretty cool and unique stuff!

www.voynich.nu

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Broken Smiles

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I come from  a family of pretty creative folken. Anna wrote about my mom and sister Tonya a few years back, for example.

Well another sister, Tara Mayoros, has a book called Broken Smiles coming out this week on September 23rd and I am very happy for her. I know how much goes into that sort of thing!

In addition to picking up her new book, you should also follow her on Facebook (linked below) and be sure to check out her blog. She has many more exciting ideas and stories that she has shared with me, and these are great places to keep up with what she has going on.

www.facebook.com | Author-Tara-Mayoros

taramayoros.com

Jodorowsky’s Dune

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Frank Herbert‘s Dune is definitively up there among my favorite books of all time. I mean, I know there are a whole lot of people love these books, but I do too!

Over the years we’ve all been teased with film adaptations of Dune, but they’ve never turn out all that well. To be fair, I guess there have only been a couple film adaptations as far as I know, but both kind of suck.

Well, I watched a documentary this week called Jodorowsky’s Dune. It was a pretty good film about what director Alejandro Jodorowsky had planned in the ’70s for his adaptation of Dune… about the the Dune movie that was never made.

Like I say, the film was pretty damn good. What interested me the most was seeing how much goes into getting a film made (or not made, in this case). Writing the script, drawing the storyboards, creating set designs, putting music together, interfacing with the studio. Crazy crazy time consuming.

Who knows, Jodorowsky may have been the one who made a Dune movie worth seeing. I’m really not too sure about the changes he had planned for the story, but I do know he had some very talented people working on the project with him. With the late great Mœbius working on the film’s storyboards (which, my goodness, I’d love to own the hardbound storyboard drawings shown in the documentary!), H.R. Giger (of Alien fame) working on the sets, Salvador Dali hired on as an actor, and Pink Floyd planning on scoring the music (this right after finishing their masterpiece, The Dark Side Of The Moon)… well, it is had to see how any project could go wrong with talent like that working with ya.

But it did go wrong I guess, because the film was never made. But this documentary about the unmade film was made, and I liked it.

The Epic of Gilgamesh

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imagesIts said that The Epic of Gilgamesh is the oldest known story in the world. Even though I am a history and mythology nut, I had never read it before this last week. I was somewhat familiar with the myth and characters, but man-o-man, what a great tale. Gilgamesh said “I will stamp my name upon men’s minds forever!” Even though his story was lost for a time, I think he has.

Reading this, it is easy to see the inspiration behind many mythologies, with the most famous probably being the account of the bible’s Great Flood and Noah (who is known in The Epic of Gilgamesh as Utnapishtim). This shouldn’t be a surprise because, from what I remember, the biblical Abraham migrated out of the same near-eastern region. You can even see the origins of many modern myth in the clay tablets (there was much more than just the legend of Gilgamesh recorded in the clay tablets). There are a whole lot of people today who use these myths to explain UFOs, Panspermia, and the Annunaki origins of man. Not to mention Enkidu, who sounds a lot like Bigfoot when we first meet him. Not that I think he literally is or anything, or is even supposed to be, but when he is first introduced Bigfoot was exactly what I thought of…

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The Gilgamesh mythology speaks of the roots of civilization, how mankind first left the forest as an animal to later became human (that’s what Enkidu’s tale says to me anyway), how we’ve sought and gained control over nature (represented by the Cedar Forest and the monster Humbaba), and addresses questions about the meaning of life and the meaning of death.

The story behind the story is also pretty amazing. It was originally written down onto baked clay tablets which were lost and buried underneath ancient ruins for over 2,000 years. In 1853 the first fragments of those clay tablets were discovered among the ruins of Nineveh (the ancient capital of Assyria), but the text couldn’t be translated until decades later.

I love this mythology!

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http://earthstation1.simplenet.com

 

The Vegetative Universe

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A quick post today, with some words that keep rolling around in my head. An excerpt from William Blake‘s poem Milton:

The Vegetative Universe, opens like a flower from the Earths center:
In which is Eternity. It expands in Stars to the Mundane Shell
And there it meets Eternity again, both within and without

The Green Man

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osirisI’ve been thinking a lot about plant people and will probably sit down to draw them soon. One of my favorite plant buddies would have to be the Green Man, god of the forest. I’ve already painted him a few times over the years, but yeah, he is starting to play in my imagination once again. This week, I’ve decided to post a few pictures of him throughout history.

2012-ZL-Greenman-WEBI’ve read that the first incarnation of the Green Man (that we know of) may have been the Egyptian god Osiris.  His body representing the land of Egypt as it goes through the winter months when he is murdered, dismembered, planted in the ground, only to rise again for harvest (with his skin a nice shade of green). The Green Man has certainly evolved since then, and has been represented throughout Europe, and even India and Asia to represent the guardian of Nature. Even the Catholic church couldn’t get rid of the Green Man, and his image can be found inside and incorporated into their medieval cathedral’s architecture, columns and stained glass.

green-man-bambergI love the Green Man. Branches and bark on his face and skin, leaves as his hair, with flowers and foliage growing out of his mouth.

I remember being very happy as a kid if he’d show up in one of the books I’d be reading. I may have initially encountered the Green Man the first time I read Tolkien, where the he was embodied by the Ent, Treebeard. I’ve come across him many times since, in comics (Yay Swamp Thing!), literature, artwork, sculpture, and out in the wild wood. He shows up all over the place, and if you keep your eyes open you will see him everywhere!

Some books and things:

The Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest

Green Man: The Archetype of Our Oneness with the Earth

A Little Book of the Green Man (Little Books)

The Earth Has a Soul: C.G. Jung on Nature, Technology & Modern Life

Saga of the Swamp Thing, Book 1

The Green Man Tree Oracle: Ancient wisdom from the greenwood

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"Fall" by Todd Powelson

“Fall” by Todd Powelson

"Green Man" by Todd Powelson

“Green Man” by Todd Powelson

The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Nag Hammadi Library, and Gnostic Gospels.

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A little over a week ago I went to the Leonardo in downtown Salt Lake to see their exhibit, the Dead Sea Scrolls. I was excited for the show but put it off until January because I wanted to avoid what I thought might be a Holiday rush. I’ve always liked learning about the history of the Scrolls and probably read my first book on them when I was still in high-school. Seems like I’ve also always been a geek about archaeology, anthropology, and art history. My interest in the Scrolls has never really faded, and since those younger days I’ve gone on and read a number of different books about the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Nag Hammadi Library, and other Gnostic Gospels. I guess I probably started with reading the work of Elaine Pagels, but then went on to read a lot more, including individual books like the Book of Enoch, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary, the Gospel of Judas, The Thunder Perfect Mind,  and more. I’ve probably mentioned here on ArtDuh before that I am not religious, but there is something about this history and Gnostic teachings that really interests and speaks to me. As a general rule, these books interest me a whole lot more than scripture that was approved by the Council of Nicaea.

The show itself was put together very well and I am glad I went. I guess it’ll probably sound like a slight criticism, but there was a whole lot more pottery than there were parchments. Still, I know that the pottery itself plays a huge role in the Dead Sea Scroll’s history, because the pottery was filled with these documents and then hidden in caves. And I guess if it weren’t for that pottery the Scrolls would never have been discovered, because it was the sound of a breaking pot that attracted a shepherd’s interest after he threw a rock into one of those caves.

Maybe a little off topic, although somewhat related (at least in my own mind), but if you’re interested in this subject I would strongly recommend learning about the Nag Hammadi find as well. Both the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi were discovered around the same time, but the Nag Hammadi writings were discovered inside a sealed jar in Upper Egypt in 1945. It is just so interesting to see what made it into the “official” Bible, and what what suppressed (often violently) by the Holy Roman Church. It makes me wonder why some of these beautiful apocryphal books were excluded… although I can make a good guess.

Also off topic, but I would definitely recommend that everybody become familiar with the myth of Sophia because it central to a lot of Gnostic thought. It is also one of my favorite myths. Something about the story speaks to me and is so beautiful. There are probably quite a few books written about it, but two of my favorite would be “Not In His Image” by John Lamb Lash, and also the “Corpus Gnostica” by Brent Paris. Corpus Gnostica is a modern and fictional retelling of the story, but I really liked it!

Also, if you have any interest in Gnosticism, you might like the Aeon Byte podcast.

Amen!

www.theleonardo.org

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