Saturday, 28 December 2013



My self is not confined to my body. It extends into all the things I have made and all the things around me. Without these things, I would not be myself; I would not be a human being. I would merely be a human ape, a primate." (JS, PP 202-3) The tendency to attribute human qualities to animals and the nonhuman world has been critiqued, even denigrated, as "merely" projection. Jung's approach to this issue opens up an important and fresh perspective that is in line with the newly emerging paradigm of interconnectedness: he considered the capacity to identify with animals an innate instinct arising from our shared evolutionary heritage. Disavowal of this capacity may itself be a symptom of the youthfulness of our species, in its effort to shore up our fragile consciousness by creating an artificially firm boundary between ourselves and other life, a boundary not considered as important among tribal people. 

Source: The Earth Has a Soul, C.G.Jung on Nature, Technology & Modern Life, edited by Meredith Sabini; North Atlantic Books, Berkley, California

Sunday, 8 December 2013


Capriccio: difesa apotropaica
Photographic documentation

capriccio --- 1. ...voglia o idea, che ha del fantastico e dell'irragionevole, e per lo più nasce in modo subitaneo, per leggerezza di natura o per poca riflessione. Probabilmente da CAPRO animale di bizzarra natura, di corto cervello, ovvero come se dicesse cosa inattesa che balza dal cervello, quasi salto di capra
2. Dicesi così anche quel tremore che scorre per le carni e fa arricciare i capelli per freddo, per febbre, o per orrore di checchessia. 

capriccio (whim) --- 1.  a desire or idea, both fantastic and irrational, which comes on suddenly, through lightness of nature or through little reflection. Probably from CAPRO (Goat) the animal of bizarre nature, dimwitted, or, as in saying of something unexpected that leaps from the mind, almost like a jumping goat ...
2. So too is called that tremor that runs through the body and curls the hair in reaction to cold, fever, or horror of anything. (My own liberal translation)

Source: Dizionario Etimologico Online

capriccio |kəˈprēCHēˌō-CHō|noun ( pl. capriccios )lively piece of musictypically one that is short and free in form.• painting or other work of art representing a fantasy or a mixture of real and imaginary features.ORIGIN early 17th cent. (denoting a sudden change of mind): from Italian, literally head with the hair standing on end, hence horror, later a sudden start (influenced by capra goat, associated with frisky movement), from capo head + riccio hedgehog.

07.12.2013 Goya y Lucientes

Atropos o Las Parcas
Francisco de Goya y Lucientes
Pinturas Negras /Black Paintings

The figure on the right, with her back to the viewer, holds scissors in her hand, leading Brugada to give this painting, with its strange scene, the name of Atropos: one of the Fates, who cut the thread of life. Indeed, the thread is held by the woman on the left, identified as Clotho, who uses it to bind a small human figure wrapped in cloth or paper. In the background, with a magnifying glass or a mirror, is Lachesis, the third of the classical divinities that controlled the lives and destinies of humankind. The figure in the foreground doesn't fit the classical myth of the Fates. The work has allegorical underpinnings and meanings that are more difficult to fathom, corresponding to the complex compositional world of Goya's imagination. 

Source: Museo Nacional del Prado, On-line gallery

The painting is a reinterpretation of the mythological subject of the goddesses of destiny—the Moirai or fates as recounted in HomerHesiodVirgil and other classical writers. These "Daughters of Night"[4] were headed by Atropos, the inexorable goddess of death, who carries a few scissors to cut the thread of life; Clotho, with her distaff (which Goya replaces with a doll or newborn child, possibly an allegory of life), and Lachesis, the spinning one, which in this representation looks across a lens or in a mirror and symbolizes time, since she was the one who measured the length of the fiber. To the three female figures suspended in the air a fourth figure is added in the foreground. Possibly male, this figure's hands are bound behind him as if is captive. If this interpretation is true, the fates would be deciding the destiny of the man whose bound hands cannot be opposed to his fate. It has been speculated that he may represent Prometheus, who was bound on a mountain and left to be savaged by an eagle as punishment for stealing fire from Mount Olympus.[5] All four are hideously ugly.[6]

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Walking with Goya, 
with thanks.

Friday, 6 December 2013

02.12.2013 Bis

Apotropaic effect of nakedness[edit]

Many historical references suggest that anasyrma had dramatic or supernatural effect - positive or negative. Pliny the Elder wrote that a menstruating woman who uncovers her body can scare away hailstorms, whirlwinds and lightning. If she strips naked and walks around the field, caterpillars, worms and beetles fall off the ears of corn. Even when not menstruating, she can lull a storm out at sea by stripping.[4]

La Fontaine plate
According to folklore, women lifted their skirts to chase off enemies in Ireland and China.[5] A story from The Irish Times (September 23, 1977) reported a potentially violent incident involving several men, which was averted by a woman exposing her genitals to the attackers. According to Balkan folklore, when it rained too much, women would run into the fields and lift their skirts to scare the gods and end the rain.[6] In Jean de La Fontaine's Nouveaux Contes (1674), a demon is repulsed by the sight of a woman lifting her skirt. Associated carvings, called sheela na gigs, were common on medieval churches in northern Europe and the British Isles.

Source:  Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,


Non solo gli amuleti che rappresentano simbolicamente il fallo, ma anche il linguaggio e gesti osceni sono destinati allo scatenamento di una potenza, quella sessuale, che ha effetti di provocazione fecondante sulla vegetazione, sul gruppo umano e sul cosmo, ovvero ha effetti apotropaici e profilattici contro presenze mitiche (demoni, male, morti, streghe, iettatori, un prete, un carro mortuario vuoto, un gatto nero), portatrici di una forza disgregante che attentano alla pienezza vitale. …
Ciò spiega anche perché, quando ci si sente aggrediti da una forza disgregante, ci si difende toccandosi i testicoli.
In una società di modello maschilista, a questa precauzione o difesa apotropaica può ricorrere evidentemente soltanto il maschio, anche se talvolta, negli usi contadini, la donna  ricorre a ripetuti colpi sul proprio sedere.  Altra pratica, simile  a questa … in forma residuale e con trasmissione da madre a figlia, è quella di grattarsi la natica destra, da parte delle donne,  per scacciare il malocchio. Senza dubbio, entrambe le pratiche equivalgono al toccamento dei testicoli, oppure volendo azzardare un'ipotesi che andrebbe più approfondita,  si potrebbe intravedere in questi scongiuri femminili un forma residuale tabuizzata dell'antico anasyrma, o sollevamento delle vesti, per mostrare gli organi sessuali.


Source: Malocchio e Jettatura,  Le forme, la storia, l'analisi di un'antic e universlae superstizione dalle prime testimonianze letterarie ai giorni nostri, di Erberto Peroia; Newton Compton editori s.r.l., Roma; 1995

Not only amulets that symbolically represent the phallus, but also language and obscene gestures are intended to unleash a sexual power, with the effect of provoking fertility on vegetation, on the humans as a group and the cosmos, that is to say, have apotropaic and prophylactic effects against mythical presences (demons, evil, the dead, witches, jinxes, a priest, an empty hearse, a black cat), bearers of a disruptive force that threaten the fullness of life. ...
This also explains why, when feeling attacked by a divisive force, one protects oneself by touching his testicles .

In a male model society, this precaution or apotropaic defence can obviously be only used by the male, although sometimes, in peasant traditions, women resort to repeated blows on their butt. Another similar practice, ... in a residual form and transmitted from mother to daughter, is the scratching the right buttock, by women , to ward off the evil eye. No doubt, both practices are equivalent to touching of the testicles, or, hazarding a hypothesis which would need to be studied more in depth, in these feminine exorcisms, one could catch a glimpse of a residual form of the tabued, ancient anasyrma, or the lifting of clothing to expose the sexual organs.

(My own translation from the original Italian.)  


From the series: Conversations
Star cloak (Mid-leap)
work in progress
ink on paper
14.8 x 10.6cm