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Color quest, fall edition

23 Sep

The leaves haven’t turned yet, but I’ve recently been encountering echoes of some of the images I found, during this year’s sometimes drab spring, in my quest to incubate some vivid color into my dreams. The spring quest took a lot of tries before I got dream color: I wrote three posts about my multiple efforts.

Bel Borba aqui

One of those posts mentions a DVD titled Colors of a Creative Culture, about street artists in and around the city of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, engaged in community art projects: Continue reading

Spring color quest (2): Pluralistic color

1 Jun

(Read the first installment, “March flowers brought May showers.”

My next ventures in search of color tended toward more pluralistic sources than Macy’s or Merriam-Webster, 3M Post-it Notes or an educational institution the size of New York University.

For a more heartfelt depiction of Brazilian color than the Macy’s flower show could offer, the next day (March 31) I finally checked out of the library a DVD I’d been seeing on the shelf for many months, Colors of a Creative Culture, by David Zucker.

Continue reading

Spring color quest (1): March flowers brought May showers

31 May

“May flowers” came in March’s near-record warmth here this year, and long before Memorial Day, New York’s flora had replaced much of its flower color with leaf green in shades of spring and even summer. Combined with the stretches of gray overcast we’ve had since March, the weather left me longing for more color at times, although I didn’t realize it until I noticed that color was on other people’s minds, too.

Around March 6, looking something up on the Huffington Post site for a NYC client, I stumbled upon an article about a Hindu festival of color called Holi. It looks like a a holiday I would happily embrace. I went to one of New York’s Little Indias to see what I could see, but I was too late.

Coloured powder cakes Hindus celebrating Holi (photo from The Huffington Post)

Coloured powder cakes Hindus celebrating Holi (photo from The Huffington Post)

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The mystical meaning of Jacob’s ladder

12 Dec

"El sueño de Jacob," by José de Ribera [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“El sueño de Jacob,” by José de Ribera [Public domain]

Dr. Eitan Fishbane is a prolific professor (three books published in the past month or so) at The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. His specialty is the history of mysticism, including medieval Kabbalah.

In recent months I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot about JTS, which is how I became aware of Dr. Fishbane’s December 8 article in The Huffington Post,From Darkness to Light: Entering Holy Time.” It’s a powerful and lovely commentary on “Divinity as Light . . . an idea that has been developed extensively in the history of religion and in the history of mysticism in particular. Mystics of many different religions (including Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism) have described God as a radiant Being, a force that shines and illuminates all of reality.” Thus the fall and winter festivals of light—such as Hannukah, Christmas, and Diwali—have implications of our inner struggle against darkness as much as our primal, physical fear of daylight’s disappearance.

This concept played a pivotal part in my own opening to other dimensions of consciousness many years ago, before such topics had their own huge sections in the  average bookstore—an openness that allowed me eventually to accept the possibility of psi dreaming, and later to experience dreams of seemingly paranormal origin extensively. I was taking an undergraduate, rocks-for-jocks–level undergraduate course on the theory of relativity, and I wrote my final paper on the theory’s epistemological implications—a process that shook up my understanding of reality so drastically that I was physically shaking the whole weekend I worked on it. What I realized was that if two points in time can coexist, as suggested by Einstein’s thought experiment of two clocks showing valid but different times, then all points in time can coexist. It was true only at the speed of light—and according to the mystics, God is Light. Or (And?), some say: Consciousness. Continue reading

Perchance to dream

24 Jul
Movie poster - Ethan Hawke in "Hamlet"

Movie poster - Ethan Hawke in "Hamlet"

The indie movie on last night’s Reel 13 (on Channel Thirteen): Ethan Hawke as Hamlet (2000), set in modern NYC.

I loved it. Glad I hadn’t read the reviews on IMDB first, although I’m gaining more discernment from them. That’s the prelude to a second watching.

Because of my very limited experience of European travel, Denmark has a special place in my heart: I was there for the 2004 annual conference, in Copenhagen, of the International Association for the Study of Dreams.

Elsinor Castle in Denmark

Elsinor Castle in Denmark

Given that this version of Hamlet is set in New York City, the state of Denmark becomes the Denmark Corporation. Much of the action takes place in the Hotel Elsinor. The post-conference event in 2004 was a trip up the coast for the summer solstice / Sankt Hans celebration . We stopped for a few moments at the real Elsinor Castle, which we could see only from the outside. (Shakespeare, reportedly had never been there, or to Denmark). Continue reading

Spatial experiences in dreams

24 May
Elephants Dream

From the movie Elephants Dream.© copyright 2006, Netherlands Media Art Institute / http://www.elephantsdream.org

In the better late than never department (I’ve been preoccupied away from the blog for a while)…

In the book Black Elk Speaks, the Sioux holy man recounts a dream he had at a young age, in which the Powers of the World—of the West, the North, the East, and the South—appear to him.

New Yorker Susan Tyburczy holds that story dear to her heart. She enjoys standing at the ocean’s edge and imagining what transpires in the vast space beneath the surface. Being a young sleepwalker and sleeptalker were also precursors to her choice of dissertation topic. In earning a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Saybrook University, she studied the spatial experiences reported by dreamers.

Susan Tyburczy

Susan Tyburczy, Ph.D.

Dr. Tyburczy, a Staten Island psychotherapist who’s a member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, described her research on Sunday, April 3, for IASD’s New York Metro Area group. In the audience were a number of the dreamers from among the 28 she had interviewed for her study. Even the settings of the interviews had had spatial variety—places that ranged from her home to theirs to parks to restaurants (she and I sat in a corner of a diner for hours when I told her my dream). Using the method Susan devised of arranging items to represent the characters, objects, and movement in their dream, one dreamer even laid his out in the trunk of his car. Continue reading

Tulips dream and photos

29 Mar

I remembered this dream from yesterday after checking my email a little while after I woke up yesterday. A friend here in New York had forwarded a series of photos of tulip fields in northern Holland, with the subject line “The Netherlands in May.” I suddenly remembered the dream (I had already remembered a different one) and realized, of course! The Holland connection for the dream should have been obvious to me, given the upcoming conference in Kerkrade, Netherlands, of the International Association for the Study of Dreams. (Also, the caption mentioned Tulip Mania— “Their dazzling colors are thanks to the years in the 17th century when tulip mania swept the globe and  the most eye-catching specimens changed hands for a small  fortune”—and Robbie Bosnak had referred to Tulip Mania in his January 30 talk for IASD-NYC.)

Here’s the dream:

Sunny windowsill, like in my WPR [waking physical reality] kitchen; I’m facing to the right. I think, “I should pull out that dead avocado [as in WPR].” I look to my left, at the avocado plant, and discover that the young leaves of a number of tulip plants are showing in the pot, around the stem of the avocado. “Oh! I forgot I planted tulip bulbs there. I guess I can’t pull up the avocado until the tulips are done.”

(Feelings) Surprised. Impressed that I made such good use of the space in the pot, and pleased to anticipate seeing tulips–a nice surprise. But I’m disappointed about not being about to get rid of the avocado, which has clearly died and is beyond my help.

Interesting that that email caption about Tulip Mania goes on to say something I didn’t know, but somewhat parallels the combination of flowers and food in my dream’s flower pot: “But like a Rainbow, this colorful landscape is a short-lived phenomenon. When the flowers are gone, the land  will be cultivated for a rather more mundane crop of  vegetables The Netherlands produce more than nine million bulbs a year.”

I’ve found the same photos on a couple of blogs—not credited to a source in either place–but they certainly are beautiful. Click on the following photo to get to more of them:

Tulip Fields in northern Holland (unattributed photo at Tourism on the Edge)

Tulip Fields in northern Holland (unattributed photo at Tourism on the Edge)

What this dream leads me to do:

I won’t be in Holland in May (but June, I hope!)…so what about tulip festivals locally? A bit of Googling finds a few in May:  in Albany (Saturday, May 7) … and in Huntington, LI (Sunday, May 1). In Manhattan, the West Side Community Garden (West 89th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus) had its “day of [planting] 10,000 tulips” in November, so as spring warms up, it’s bound to be a beautiful place to visit. I haven’t checked the Brooklyn and Bronx botanical gardens, but there are sure to be at least some tulips showing up in each. Time to get out and get some color!