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What’s In a Name?” with Stephen Gerringer”

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  • #73710

    Thank you for visiting this discussion of “What’s In a Name?”, (click on link to read), the most recent entry in JCF’s MythBlast essay series from Yours Truly. Of course, to expand this beyond a one-sided, single-post monologue and make it a true conversation, your participation is essential. Feel free to jump in with any thoughts, questions, or observations you have related to this week’s MythBlast.

    My intention for this essay was twofold:

    First, I wanted to highlight the precision and care with which Joseph Campbell chose the titles of his works. Each offers a preview of what’s to come when you crack open the book – but they share a poetic quality. Many combine a singular term with a plural (e.g., The Hero with a Thousand Faces; The Masks of God; The Inner Reaches of Outer Space). That same deliberate precision applies not just to the titles, but to all his written work.

    Campbell discusses his writing style in an interview with the Bloomsbury Review:

    The rhythm of the prose is at the very center of the problem. I wouldn’t know how to instruct anybody, but it’s terribly important. And that’s why, when some goddamn proofreader turns something around, as they very freely do, the top of my head blows off. I’ve sweated it out to have it that way instead of the way that it’s been corrected to. Often what has been done is to restore a style that I have eliminated already. It may be more rational, clearer, but there’s no music.”

    To achieve that rhythm, Campbell read every word that he wrote aloud to his wife, Jean Erdman. Every comma, every colon and semi-colon and parentheses are placed to achieve that rhythm – which offers a clue when I have trouble penetrating an argument he makes in a densely packed paragraph (especially The Hero with a Thousand Faces, The Masks of God tetralogy, and several of the more academic essays in The Flight of the Wild Gander): I simply read the difficult passage aloud, paying attention to the rhythm of the punctuation – amazing how much that enhances clarity!

    Second, I wanted to offer a glimpse into how Campbell approached symbols as more than just words on a page. He thought of a mythic symbol as “an energy-evoking and -directing agent” generating a response that “bypasses the brain and dilates the heart.” As but one example among many, whether a playful nickname for his car or a paperweight he kept on his desk, the image of the gander works on the unconscious as well as consciousness.

    Which brings up another possible direction this conversation can take (keeping in mind that it’s not an “either/or” – we can discuss many things at once): feel free to ask about Joseph Campbell’s work station. The photo below is a reconstruction – team effort put together in the basement at OPUS Archives – in preparation for the art installation referenced in the caption to the photo in the MythBlast of the gander figurine that Jean gave Joe (notice that Campbell’s desk is actually a handcrafted black walnut picnic table, a wedding gift made by Tom and Elizabeth Penning, friends from his Woodstock days; Joe spent forty years writing his books while sitting not in a chair, but on a bench!).

    Joseph Campbell's Desk exhibit

    #73757
    philspar
    Participant

    Great article Stephen.  I have had a few thoughts on the book titles myself over the years.  When I first read “Fire In The Mind” there was a passage on page 281 that has always stuck with me.  It details a conversation between a young Campbell and Henry Morton Robinson:

    After reading some of Campbell’s early essagys, Robinson said, “You know, you write like an academic.  You build your points one after the other – very nicely – and then finally come to the climax of your discussion.  What you really need to do – especailly for the trade reader – is the other way around.  Start with the climax, and then show the reader how you got there.”

    I’ve always imagined that some of Campbell’s titles were chosen to advertise a book’s climactic argument.

    PS: Any chance we can get a 3D/VR photo of Campbell’s desk? 🙂

    #73756
    jamesn.
    Participant

    Stephen; your piece to me by far expresses how I think about Joserph’s work and how profoundly his insights have affected my life. In other words the way we see ourselves and the life we are living as being composed by ourselves; not by the society or the cleric or the political order; but through our own experience of it. His sayings of: “The rapture of being alive”; “the meaning of your own life is whatever you ascribe it to be”; “Follow your Bliss”, “the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are”; this deepest call of your soul to it’s own high adventure is as he put it: “the Hero’s Journey”. To me the: “personal myth template” is what he is talking about. And one of the main components of this model is what he describes as the: “Sacred Space”.

    The is the place of creative incubation where one can bring forth who and what they might be. It is also the creative space of the artist; and whether in movement or stationary this enclosed mind-space is the tabernacle of the individual’s creative soul expression; the holy space out of which the individual identity expresses itself. A place where the prayer is whispered; the song is sung; the picture is painted; and the word is written: and it may include thinking of others as well as oneself. And it is also expressed within the daily life through the things that “symbolize” access to this sacred realm. It is a place where dreams are born and nurtured and expressed and meaning is given as to their value in one’s life. And these most intimate of human gifts and realizations are not brought forth by demand from any religious deity or social order or construct; but by the human heart that recognizes in it’s expression it’s other half. He felt these things were absolutely critical to having any kind of an inward life which is what the soul cries out for.

    In the above post you write:

    I wanted to offer a glimpse into how Campbell approached symbols as more than just words on a page. He thought of a mythic symbol as ‘an energy-evoking and -directing agent’ generating a response that ‘bypasses the brain and dilates the heart.’ “

    I love this because it expresses so much of what to me Joseph was trying to communicate within his themes. As he said; “The world is a wasteland”; and if one does not listen to what the inward life is asking they risk; as he puts it: a possible schizophrenic crackup because they are not addressing the soul’s inner needs.

    In the MythBlast article you write:

    Mythic symbols, for Campbell, are more than just words on a page. Embodied in pictures, figurines, a car’s nickname, a book’s title, or even one’s own breath, they serve as touchstones that pitch the mind past the material world, to that which transcends.”

    These were a few of my thoughts on this tremendous article Stephen; so I’ll stop for now to see if others have any thoughts they would like to share.

    #73755

    Hi Stephen, Philspar, and All,

    What a lovely Mythblast–I find it lovely because I love words and writing and all that they can entail. I will go through the essay again and one by one bring up the thoughts I had while reading it, on its many excellent points.

    I too as most professional writers I know or have known do painstake over the titles of their work; this is especially important for a title since it is a concentrated summary of the contents of the piece of work. Sometimes I have played around, however, with weirdly long and fun titles that act like a sentence: Most publications have a 17 or 18 (which one I in this moment forget!) word limit to the author’s title. Different “rules”–or “ways of doing things” are often unspoken in various types of publications, but word-play is often welcome in the creative arts and its publications, such as in the title of a poem (as well as the poem itself) or of a piece of art. Very popular and even encouraged in the currents of the publishing world is to, in a longer title, which usually will occur in a longer work (rather than a short essay), use a colon to say, “Look and Please Read This Title Completely: Herein Lies What This Book is About.” Philspar mentions this idea also in his response to this Mythblast. I like how Philspar writes that, “I’ve always imagined that some of Campbell’s titles were chosen to advertise a book’s climactic argument. I also like it that Philspar mentions Campbell’s title, “The Fire in the Mind.” I guess those can be seen as opposites also and transcendent because we know the fire has to be spirit-fire or soul-fire and therefore a metaphor, so the opposites here mix the physical body or earth with spirit, or any such combination of these words I could try to list. I like the sound or idea of “spirit of the mind.”

    One thing I love about the book titles Stephen mentions above is how the singular and the plural nouns in each title demonstrate and give a feel for the one and the many. It gives that cozy feeling of the personal condition in the singular noun juxtaposed with the plural form of the universal condition–exactly as in The Inner Reaches of Outer Space does in its definition/synopsis. The title itself as well as the material then becomes transcendent because it bridges the opposites into that point where they meet as one in the same place and time in one’s experience of being.

    I love the Campbell quote from Stephen’s post:

    The rhythm of the prose is at the very center of the problem. I wouldn’t know how to instruct anybody, but it’s terribly important. And that’s why, when some goddamn proofreader turns something around, as they very freely do, the top of my head blows off. I’ve sweated it out to have it that way instead of the way that it’s been corrected to. Often what has been done is to restore a style that I have eliminated already. It may be more rational, clearer, but there’s no music.” (Retrieved from https://www.jcf.org/resources/discuss/topic/whats-in-a-name-with-stephen-gerringer/#new-post)

    I used to write for newspapers in arts and entertainment and community/human interest stories, and I have felt what Campbell has expressed here, not so much, for me, about newspaper editors and proofreaders as about copy editors. One largely circulating paper I wrote for had copy editors that sometimes rewrote my titles which I felt did not adequately target the main point of my article and sometimes the inner content got botched or chopped up to an “all is not well” as well. Editors who communicate with their writer are one thing, yet copy editors who work in the wee dark hours of the night when writers are either home sleeping or perhaps home writing in those same wee dark hours of the night are another. There is no communication or back and forth–copy editors works fast, overnight, and their results appear in the next day’s headlines before the writer knows what happened!

    Sometimes a smaller newspaper has an editor that wears all hats: General Editor, Managing Editor, Proofreader, and Copy Editor. I once had an editor who did not bother to read an article I wrote before publishing the paper when I had two typos in the title when I sent a rough draft of an article I wrote to the final proof board instead of the final draft and it was a terrible mess. She then told me she had not looked at the article before sending it to press because she never had to ever edit or do any changes to my work before. It seemed somehow like the reverse of crying wolf.

    I agree also with Campbell about rhythm–rhythm sets the tone like a title and introduction do and the other point Stephen makes here. Depth Psychologist Susan Rowland wrote extensively on the use of language of C. J. Jung in this way. I will look for the articles she has written on this topic. Some of it appears on the Academia.edu website and can be found if you browse her work.

    I love the image of the gander on Campbell’s desk. I was at the OPUS archives before (which was a wondrous expedition!) but do not remember at that time seeing the gander symbol on his desk. I like that the definitions given for gander are both a (male) goose and also “to take a gander,” a look, at something. Campbell does seem to be one of those very observant people, of both the outer and the inner meanings of perception and symbols. Much of what he relays to us are how the symbols in myth (and customs and rituals as part of that) are both to and from the unconscious to the conscious and back again, like the idea of the eternal dance encircling the cosmos. I am reminded also of Campbell’s book, The Flight of the Wild Gander.

    I want to also quickly mention that I love watching and hearing the geese fly back and forth between north and south and back again every year and love when they stick around a while in the summer months. I have a ceramic goose figurine that is sort of a Mother Goose figure that was once my grandmother’s.

    I agree that the writing itself is very important down to the rhythm of the words themselves (even in journalism and not just in artistic or creative essay or creative works, as journalism too has its rhythm). This was a refreshing topic for me and made me think about how context and content are related as writing teachers  tell  their writing students.

    Thank you for bearing with me here in my response which was also to bear with me in my search for a response,

    Marianne

     

    #73754

    I loved this essay “What’s in a name?” Stephen Gerringer

    thank you for this lovely piece on Joe Campbell!

    It is true, the names of these works linger poetically in the mind and heart.

    I returned to Campbell long after the first broadcast with Bill Moyers. At 10, though interested in the images, I was not ready for that “mythic journey.” Dance was calling me instead and as a tap dancer definitely have an appreciation of rhythm! But at 17, when The Power of Myth was re-broadcast…looked for as many Campbell books as I could find!

    loved it! Also love poetry, reading, memorizing and writing since early childhood.

    So this piece has a beautiful resonance!

    It shows a beautiful balance between the small individual and the Greater Self and the Yin/Yang within each of Joe Campbell’s titles. The “many” and the Self are clearly shown as parts of a “whole,” touching on Universal Consciousness.

    This balance imho would be wise and healthy to remember.

    Have other thoughts on this but they may be better saved for another J. Campbell pg.

    Though I see a few other posts touch on that as well.

    Yet this was so inspiring, I did not feel like leaving the path just yet or wandering in the marshlands of another thought.

    i have no wings and might bog down.

    But back to the Gander (smile)

    It reminds me of another book, “The Geese of Beaver Bog,” written by the naturalist and ornithologist, Bernd Heinrich. On the front is a photo of geese nesting on a lake in Vermont. That image feels very syncretic to this essay. Heinrich in a rougher Thoreau manner also encompasses poetry in his experience of nature both the beautiful and harsh.

    We need the poetry. We need the myth…in that heart beat…in that rhythm.

    Especially now.

    It seems the quest of the individual soul is at stake.

    This makes one think of the Bards and other story tellers who kept the traditions or passed down the tales.

    Or the modern musician who can play and sing hundreds of songs…how memory is magically held through rhythm and cadence and music.

    Thank You so much for this lovely essay!

    p.s. love the image of Campbell in his Red VW “The Gander!”:-)

     

    #73753

    Happy Day, philspar (and everyone else as well),

    Thank you for the kind words. I considered replying to everyone in one long post, especially given some overlap, but massive blocks of text on message boards tend to discourage the fainthearted reader (especially given how social media platforms have successfully re-programmed shorter attention spans in their users the last several years), so I’ll respond to each of you in turn.

    I wholeheartedly agree with your observation about Joseph Campbell’s titles. From The Masks of God (which Campbell described as a “natural history of the Gods”) to The Historical Atlas of World Mythology (which emphases the historical and geographical distribution of mythic motifs), each title captures and conveys the essence of that work.

    As for a three-dimensional virtual reality rendering of Joe’s desk, I would have needed to take pictures with something other than the ancient Blackberry I was still using at the time. However, here are a few close-ups to go with the photo above:

    #73752

    Thank you, jamesn, for sharing your thoughts.

    You write

    This is the place of creative incubation where one can bring forth who and what they might be. It is also the creative space of the artist; and whether in movement or stationary this enclosed mind-space is the tabernacle of the individual’s creative soul expression; the holy space out of which the individual identity expresses itself.”

    Absolutely right, James! Though we’re ostensibly talking his work desk, that photo is a pallid re-creation of Joseph Campbell’s sacred space (“pallid” because it’s just a mock-up in the basement at OPUS Archives – and though there was more magic to it once it was transported to the Cherry Art Center in Carmel [rather than Monterey, as my caption states], it was still lacking that which gave it life – the man himself). But you’ll notice he surrounded himself with items full of significance – works of art by friends and colleagues, the image of a Geisha and a set of wooden Kokeshi dolls he picked up during his six months in Japan in 1954, the crude bookcase he built himself to hold his set of Encyclopedia Britannica (which is where he began the research for every one of his books), “The Shaman and the Sorcerer ” yarn painting given to him by a Huichol shaman that he included in  The Historical Atlas of World Mythology to illustrate the section discussing the Huichol peyote pilgrimage, a Tibetan bell, tiny corn husk figurines, a hand carved antler letter opener, and a Mother Goddess figurine, and of course a picture of young Joe and Jean together – these provided comfort and helped transport him out of the mundane world to that “place of creative incubation” you describe.

    And no surprise that, in addition to the sentimental value, each object on and around his desk from the mythologies of many cultures hold profound symbolic significance, serving as tools that activate the mythic imagination . . .

     

    #73751

    Marianne,

    You write “Thank you for bearing with me here in my response which was also to bear with me in my search for a response.” I know the feeling: I write to find out what I think. Hence the value of journaling, which we have discussed in other threads on these discussion boards.

    Campbell too was very much into journaling. In fact, I once had the great good fortune to transport several volumes of his journals from one place to another many years ago – long, complicated story, but they were in my possession for a few nights – so I stayed up around the clock and went through several sets of white archivists gloves reading everything I could.

    The written word meant so much to Campbell. Here is an excerpt where he speaks to that (from the yet-to-be-published manuscript I’ve been editing):

    The Muses are the personifications of the energies of that unconscious system that you touch when you sit down as a writer. You just have to find them.

    When I’m writing, there are two ways that I write⁠. One is badly, and the other is well. And when it’s badly it’s dictated from up here, and that’s the stuff that goes into the scrap basket. There’s often a period of trial, pushing around to see where I can get that trapdoor to open. And when I hit it, it’s almost—physical—the feeling of opening a door, holding it open, not giving a damn for the critics, what they are going to say or think. Meanwhile, I’ve thought out what’s going to be in this chapter. All that has to be planned first⁠. . . .

    The wonderful thing is when I get on a certain beam that hits the level of mythic inspiration. From there on I know about three words ahead what I’m going to say. When the writing’s going like that I know I’m in the groove; it feels like riding a wonderful wave⁠.”

    We’ve all read enough of Campbell’s work to know he found that groove more often than not.

    #73750

    Sunbug,

    Thank you for that upbeat reverie!

    You sing “We need the poetry. We need the myth…in that heart beat…in that rhythm.”

    Here’s Campbell, in sync with that message:

    Music has an awakening function. Life is rhythm. Art is an organization of rhythms. . . . The rhythm of the music awakens certain life rhythms, ways of living and experiencing life.” (The Hero’s Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life and Work, p. 223)

    This no abstract reasoning on Campbell’s part; he’s speaking from experience. From 1922 to 1926, while attending Columbia, Joseph Campbell played alto sax in a seven-piece jazz band with Paul Winkopp, in venues ranging from fraternity dances to the Plaza Hotel (no mere hobby, that – Joe banked $3,000 from playing in the band in 1925 alone – a considerable sum for a college kid nearly a century ago!).

    Like you (a tap-dancer – talk about rhythm!), that experience for Campbell holds a key for engaging life.

    Music is nothing if not rhythm. Rhythm is the instrument of art . . . It’s wonderful to see a jazz group improvise: when five or six musicians are really tuned in to each other, it’s all the same rhythm, and they can’t go wrong, even though they never did it that way before” (A Joseph Campbell Companion, p. 249).

    And neither can we.

    The World is embodied music, and we are all playing in the band.

    #73749

    Hello Stephen,

    Such a lovely article. I loved it and the title too,   “What’s in a name?”

    “Ham-Sa” – What’s in a Name? It could be the sound of my breath, or our breath, it could be the hand of god, hand of Mary or the hand of Fatima, or the hand of Inana, or the hand of Venus. “What’s in a name?”

    Thank you for the same. Besides the Hindi/Sanskrit/Urdu meaning of Ham-Sa, the name “Ham-Sa” reminded me of the  sacred symbol in many cultures, Judaism and Islam too. The hamsa (Arabic: خمسة‎ khamsah), a palm-shaped amulet worn as a protection or used as a sacred wall-hanging, or used as “Alam” in Shia-Islam. So, “Hamsa” has had a special meaning in my heart, mostly as the hand of Fatima, and now the beautiful breakdown of this word (which by the way, I should know very well) added another dimension to this symbol.

    Hand of fatima

    In Hindi/Urdu, Ham means “I” or We, and Sa, is usually, combined with Jai (life) so Jai-Sa, meaning like or as (masculine gender) or Jai(life) and  Jai-Si (feminine gender). So, Saying “Ham Jai-Si or Ham Jai-Sa” is as common as saying “you know” for the English speaking. Hence “Ham Jai-Sa” = “Like me” or “As me” or “Like us” or “As us”.

    Imagine that  — such a deep word, so commonly used in my soul-language, and I never knew its significance as Joe explains, “This is a song we all sing. If you focus on your breath, you’ll hear the sound “ham,” just barely audible, every time you inhale—and the syllable “sa” sounds with every exhale. “Ham-sa, ham-sa,” sings our breath all day, all night, all one’s life, making known the inner presence of this wild gander to all with the ears to hear. ”

    Yes indeed, “Mythic symbols, for Campbell, are more than just words on a page. Embodied in pictures, figurines, a car’s nickname, a book’s title, or even one’s own breath, they serve as touchstones that pitch the mind past the material world, to that which transcends.”

    With gratitude

    Shaheda

    #73748
    Participant

    Hello,

    lovely salamander symbolism.

    “INELUCTABLE MODALITY OF THE VISIBLE: AT LEAST THAT IF NO MORE”

    “diaphane in. Why in? Diaphane, adiaphane. If you can put your five fingers through it, it is a gate, if not a door. Shut your eyes and see.”

     

    I am life incarnate in death …

    I am death incarnate in life …

     

    I enjoy the contemplation of the Hamsa. An abstract hand. The evolution of the hand. Four fingers with opposable thumb. The five pillars the five wounds of civilization. The human grasp , tool builder. Grasping all we see. Seeing all we grasp. With our eye. Building. With our intellect that can soar to the heights of human perception. Standing on the shoulders of giants. We can see back through history through the wound of one hand to prehistory. We can see through the wound of the other hand to the future to post history , where the many narratives shall be woven into one. Through the two wounds flows the blood of history. We grasp with science the very fabric of the woven quantum universe. Strings woven in M theory. We can grasp add to the symbolic knowledge language of our ancestors. We can regenerate their passion their inquisitiveness their awe. Petition their protection and guidance through the written word. A tool of great worth. With pen in hand sight shall be bequeathed to the reader. The fire regeneration transmigration metempsychosis of the soul shall be achieved as a torch pass from generation to generation. A laying on of hands. A passing of the breath of Life …

    We are being watch by ancestors of the past. We are being watched by children of the future … through holes in our outstretched hands … may they applaud our incarnation …We are hung between these poles…  Our generation … Ours is the sound of one hand clapping … Can you grasp ?

    May our citizen  Dedalus  lay the golden egg of wisdom at the feet of our children as he migrates from past to future over the mountain 🏔 of civilization of institution of temporal form … on Sandymount Strand …

    Is there any information on the cover art ? Symbolism ?

    #73747

    shaheda rizvi 

    What wonderful observations, especially regarding the meaning of hamsa in Arabic as the Hand of Fatima. As far as I can tell, there’s no direct connection between haṃsa in Sanskrit and خمسة‎ (khamsah) in Arabic, but the resonance is compelling (I’ll touch more on the hand as a mythic image in a response to Robert, since that plays through his stream-of-consciousness post).

    What really speaks to me, however, is how that image lives in your heart. That is the value of a potent mythic image – it keeps opening out, on to ever greater depth and dimensions. And the same holds for words when we move beyond the literal, as in poetry – or myth; so much below the surface, working on our unconscious.

    One relatively minor correction re the following passage:

    This is a song we all sing. If you focus on your breath, you’ll hear the sound ‘ham,’ just barely audible, every time you inhale—and the syllable ‘sa’ sounds with every exhale. ‘Ham-sa, ham-sa,’ sings our breath all day, all night, all one’s life, making known the inner presence of this wild gander to all with the ears to hear. ”

    Those aren’t Joseph Campbell’s words, but Stephen Gerringer’s (though I am thrilled to have my elucidation mistaken for Joe!). I can understand that can be hard to tell, given the lay-out on the page (appears our design team faced a challenge trying to navigate the text around the images).

    Something similar happens for me in the four volumes, published posthumously, of Heinrich Zimmer’s work [Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization (1946), The King and the Corpse (1948), Philosophies of India (1951), and The Art of Indian Asia (1955)], all edited by Joseph Campbell. In the essay I liberally cite Zimmer, whose books I think think of as “proto-Campbell”: can’t help but hear Joe’s voice coming through in the rhythm of his words and the delight he takes in the subject – which I find missing in Zimmer’s Artistic Forms and Yoga in the Sacred Images of the East (Kunstform und Yoga im indischen Kunstbild), translated into English by Gerald Chappie and James B. Lawson (an excellent work, by the way – but missing that Campbell charm).

    The point that’s made, though, is what’s important, and that you get right – there is more to a mythic image than what’s contained on the page.
    💜

    #73746

    Robert,

    Once again I appreciate your stream-of-consciousness meditation on the hand, which resonates more with mythic imagery than a literal reading.

    cave painting stencils of hands
    This image is from the Cueva de las Manos, Perito Moreno, Argentina, dated from 9,000 to 13,000 years ago (created by multiple artists over time), one of countless examples found in prehistoric cave art.

    And the very first cave art image we know of is a red hand stencil in the Maltravieso Cave, Cáceres, Spain, dated through a uranium-thorium chemical analysis to over 64,000 years ago – 20,000 years before Homo Sapiens Sapiens, our branch of the  family, entered Europe – which means those faint images are the hand prints of Neanderthals!

    Seems to go hand-in-hand (pun intended) with your post . . .

    #73745
    Participant

    Stephen,

    I must hand it to you. You do inspire !

    It is these folk poetic conflations and associations that I enjoy. Some drowned in them. I swim. They broaden my understanding of myth. The puns are fun 🤩 The academic says , you can’t do that. The artist says , hold my beer, I just did … homonyms bring harmony rhythm rhyme …

    Some of the Hamsa emblems look like a hand with two thumbs three fingers to me. The thumbs mirrored bird head images . A bringing together of the opposites. Right and left. A common mythic theme. The two hands become one. It takes two wings for a bird to soar on high above the mountains. A nice metaphor .

    “In Jewish faiths, the hamsa represents the hand of God and is known as ‘The Hand of Miriam’. Miriam was the virtuous sister to Moses (who led the Israelites out of Egypt) and Aron (who became the first High Priest). Miriam’s honourable life led her to becoming a symbol of great protection and luck.

    Hamsa is also the hebrew word for five, and while some believe this represents the five fingers on the talisman, others say this symbolises the five books of the Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.”

     

    “In Muslim culture, the hamsa is known as ‘The Hand of Fatima’. Fatima Al Zahra was the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad and his first wife, Khadija. ‘Al Zahra’ is said to mean the shining one. As Fatima is seen as pure and without sin, The Hand of Fatima is considered a symbol of protection, power and strength.

    The Hand of Fatima symbolises the Five Pillars of Islam: Faith, Prayer, Pilgrimage, Fasting and Charity. Muslim communities also refer to the hamsa as ‘Khamsa’, the Arabic word for five.”

     

    “In Buddhism and Hinduism, the hamsa takes on a very different meaning. For Hindus and Buddhists, the hamsa represents the chakras, the five senses and their associated mudras (hand gestures) that re-direct energy flow throughout the body.

    Thumb- Fire element / solar plexus chakra.
    Forefinger- Air element / the heart chakra.
    Middle Finger- Ethereal elements / throat chakra
    Ring Finger- Earth element / root chakra
    Pinkie Finger- Water element / sacral chakra “

     

    The chakra body. Now there’s a vehicle with wings to convey one over the mountain of samsara !!!

    #73744
    Participant

    Musing on a water foul

    “Prehistoric carved bird. Prehistoric carving in mammoth ivory of a water bird. It is thought to be a diver, cormorant, or duck. This Stone Age (palaeolithic) artefact (47 millimetres long) was found in the period 2001-2 in the Hohle Fels cave, Germany. It has been dated to between 31,000 and 33,000 years ago, and is thought to have been produced by the Aurignacian culture. These early humans lived in Europe in the Late Stone Age (Upper Palaeolithic), between 45,000 and 30,000 years ago.”

    Musing on a water foul. Bird of two spheres.

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