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by Traude Wild

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How much is our life centered on securing ourselves from ever-changing circumstances? We want to be safe and feel in control of our life situations. Quite often, if we are honest with ourselves, we want to control other people in order to guard our safety. We build walls, distance and isolate ourselves, so we may be protected from uncertainties and the things we fear. However, instead of being protected, we become prisoners in the walls we have built.

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In order to regain our vitality, youthfulness and joy for life, we must have a willingness to step into the unknown and be changed by life itself.

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When I walked the 88 Temple pilgrimage – an 800-mile hike around the fourth-largest island of Japan – my steps into the unknown began before I left home. I wanted to be well-prepared and intended to hike up Piestewa Peak in Phoenix at least once a day. But several weeks before my departure, I became so ill and weak that I ran out of breath after walking 30 feet uphill. My physical problems intensified my major doubts about walking alone in an exotic foreign country. Voices whispered to me in silent moments: “You are not prepared enough. You are too old. You will get lost. You will not be able to communicate without knowing Japanese.”

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At my lowest point – when fears, doubts and my body’s weakness nearly overtook my consciousness – I took a pen and scribbled a drawing with my non-dominant hand. I called it “simply just walking.” It expressed my determination to walk the pilgrimage, regardless of my fears and the potential disasters.

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When I boarded the plane to Tokyo, I carried all the insecurities and doubts with me. I had to accept who I was, facing my vulnerability and fears. In my mind, I was ready to accept every experience I would encounter, even death. This may sound strange and I did not want to die at all. However, in reflecting back on this attitude, I realize that the intention to accept every experience helped me to start the pilgrimage without fear. It was like stepping through the entrance gate of a Shingon Buddhist temple where often a wooden beam was placed on the bottom of the gate. The pilgrim had to be careful not to touch this beam while stepping over it. I had to be careful not to give in to my fears and insecurities.

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I started the pilgrimage at temple number one, Ryōzenji, in Tokushima Prefekture. Stepping through the entrance gate, a world utterly unknown to me unfolded in front of my eyes. The sound of bells mixed with the voices of chanting pilgrims. All were Japanese. They wore sedged hats and white pilgrim’s outfits and walked naturally through the temple area. They knew how and where to bow, to purify their hands and mouth, to ring the bell and gongs, to light candles and incense, to donate name slips and money and, especially, how to chant.

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My friend Shigeo and I in front of the main Hall in Ryōzenji.

I, on the other hand, was totally overwhelmed and confused. I constantly made mistakes – forgot to bow, rang the small gongs in a bumbling way and stood in the way of other pilgrims without realizing it. My feelings of awkwardness and being out of place intensified with every temple I visited. Should I give up my intention to walk the pilgrimage like a traditional pilgrim? Following the pilgrim’s etiquette did not have any religious purpose for me. I wanted to use it for training in mindfulness. I could escape my self-imposed requirements and simply not do it.

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When I reached my lowest point, when my voice cracked while chanting the sutra and the feeling of being out of place made me want to disappear into the ground, a miracle happened. Another Japanese pilgrim suddenly appeared beside me, and we chanted the Heart Sutra together in a steady, strong voice. The Japanese words suddenly sounded grounding and assuring. They lost their strangeness. From that moment on, I continued with the rituals, and I loved it till the end of my pilgrimage. By simply just walking forward despite my strong feelings of awkwardness, my perception changed.

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Walking a pilgrimage is following a path to a destination. However, for me, the destination is never the goal. The goal is to be wherever I am right now. This was especially true in Shikoku. The 88 Temple Pilgrimage is a circle with no beginning or end. Although there is a physically marked path, it only becomes a path by walking it. The poet David Whyte states, “By walking, you make the path.” Each step is a step into the unknown. How do you deal with the uncertainties? You have to trust in life, be connected to silence and listen.

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During my pilgrimage, I often walked through remote areas with nobody around. Although I always looked for the little red signs, sometimes I could not find any marker and thought I had lost my way. Getting lost was one of my biggest fears.

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One time, on my way to a mountain temple, I had walked for hours through a dense cedar forest without meeting anybody. Nearly at the top of the mountain, I had to climb an iron ladder over an almost vertical rock. Not far away from this climb, I came to a crossroad with signs pointing in three directions – back where I was coming from, left and right. The signs had only Japanese words on them, which I could not read.

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I was sure I had lost my way. What should I do? My heart pounded stronger, and I felt light panic creeping up. I decided to stop, wait and go into silence. Suddenly, I heard a sweeping sound in the distance. I followed it uphill, and to my surprise, in the middle of the forest, there was a man sweeping the path! He assured me I was on the right way. My fears vanished in a second and were replaced by deep gratitude.

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But I faced my biggest time of uncertainty when I approached the entrance gate of Zuiōji. This temple belongs to one of the most traditional Sōtō Zen training centers in Japan. I got a permit to stay there for eight days. When I walked up to the gate in pouring rain, with heavy mist hanging over the treetops, the outer world seemed to reflect my inner one – not seeing farther than my immediate experience.

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I had read stories about foreigners staying in Japanese temples that made me shudder – they felt totally abandoned, crushed and lost. Maybe I was making a big mistake to come here. In my dripping wet red raincoat, I entered the kitchen, the only place I could find anybody. Two cooks were working there. One of them immediately spotted me, welcomed me with a big smile, and greeted me using my Buddhist name: “You must be Garyo-san! Welcome to Zuiōji!”

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Although I was the only foreigner and only woman, I was able to practice with the monks the traditional way of Zen. The stay in Zuiōji became the highlight of my pilgrimage.

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Saying good by to the over 90 year old

abbot of Zuiōji, Tsugen Narasaki Rōshi

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The walk into the unknown did not end with my Japanese pilgrimage. Back at home, I unexpectedly felt depressed and disoriented. Familiarity threatened to take away the freshness I had experienced in Japan. Over and over, I had to train and discipline my mind to stay alert in my familiar world, to be open and stay in resonance with life around me.

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While writing my book, the unknown became more of a fine aroma or a hardly felt breeze. However, this radically changed when publishing the book. Insurmountable obstacles seem to prevent me from putting the book into the world. Suddenly, I was confronted with a situation I feared most – I had to walk the last steps of publication on my own. Computer technology is an overwhelming world to me, like a dangerous jungle with many unexpected traps. I felt abandoned and helpless. However, I had to dare to take these steps, despite my insecurity and fear. With a friend beside me, I walked through the jungle of electronic book design and unfamiliar technical language. And at the end, a miracle happened – the book was accepted and published.

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A pilgrimage is not different from the journey of life. Whether we’re on an unfamiliar trail or simply waking up to a new day, we have to step out of our narrow space and into one of the most challenging and scary situations in life – the world of the unknown. To let this happen, we have to let go of the identity we hold onto and the stories we tell about ourselves and give ourselves away to the direct experience of life. This requires openness, vulnerability and a willingness to become intimate with silence. It is not easy to do.

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Rilke, one of my favorite poets, describes it in the following way:

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God speaks to each of us before we are, before he’s formed us –

then, in a cloudy speech, but only then, he speaks these words to each,

and silently walks with us from the dark: Driven by your senses,

dare to the edge of longing. Grow, like a fire’s shadow casting glare,

behind assembled things, so you can spread their shapes on me as clothes.

Don’t leave me bare. Let it all happen to you: beauty and dread.

Simply go – no feeling is too much –

and only this way can we stay in touch. Near here is the land that they call life.

You’ll know when you arrive by how real it is.

                         Translated by Leonard Cottrell

You can find more information about my pilgrimage in

SHIKOKU, THE 88 TEMPLE WAY: POETICS OF A JAPANESE PILGRIMAGE

available for Kindle or in paperback from Amazon.com or on my blog: simplyjustwalking.com

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Traude Wild, a long time member of Spirit of the Senses, who resides in both Vienna and Phoenix, has been a lecturer of art history and practicioner of Zen Buddhism. Her passion is walking, especially walking pilgrimages. Two of her books describe her walks in Ethiopia and Nepal. Her current book is  ‘Shikoku, The 88 Temple Way: Poetics of a Japanese Pilgrimage’.

 

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egypianexpedition

by Pearce Paul Creasman, University of Arizona

A short-lived king of ancient Egypt’s 18th Dynasty, Tutankhamun (transl. “the living image of Amun”; but born Tutankhaten, “the living image of the Aten”) is the most widely known pharaoh today.  Tutankhamun’s notoriety in the present is primarily due to the discovery of his largely intact tomb in the Valley of the Kings (Luxor, Egypt). In 1922, the English archaeologist Howard Carter’s team discovered the tomb, now known by its location and sequential find number: “KV62.”1 Lavishly appointed, the tomb contained extravagant trappings of the sorts that were likely buried with most kings of Egypt’s New Kingdom (ca. 1550–1080 BC; including the ruling families who composed the 18th, 19th and 20th Dynasties).2 Since virtually all other tombs in the Valley of the Kings had been serially robbed from antiquity to the present,3 that this tomb escaped most such activity makes it remarkable (it was slightly plundered in two brief events in the few years after the king was interred, but then rested safely until its discovery in 1922). Prior to the tomb’s discovery, Tutankhamun was a minor figure in the history of Egypt and even less important to the history of Egyptology.

Tutankhamun was the son (perhaps by a minor wife) of a prior pharaoh: Akhenaten. Akhenaten is best known for his erstwhile attempt to convert the integrated religious-social-political system of Egypt to a single deity (the Aten) above and in place of the traditional pantheon.4 Akhenaten ruled for nearly two decades from a new city (Akhetaten, a site called Amarna today, from which this period takes is name: the Amarna Period) and imposed his preferred system on the populace, but after his death the old ways returned.5 After exceedingly brief reigns of one or two other kings, one of whom perhaps began reformation of Akhenaten’s ways,6 Tutankhamun was placed on the throne of Egypt at about the age of nine. He ruled for some nine years, aided in the work by advisors and relatives. This time continued the transition back to the polytheistic ways and re-advancing the previously favored gods (i.e., Amun). While many works in this vein were conducted in Tutankhamun’s name, it is likely that the king himself played a minor role in the effort.

Even though his mummy is available for study, Tutankhamun’s death, around the age of 18 or 19, is shrouded in mystery. Numerous theories have been offered and rebuffed,7 but whatever the cause, his death seems to have come somewhat suddenly, to gauge from the hurried appearance of preparations of his interment.8 However sudden, Tutankhamun was rewarded for his participation in the rejuvenation of Egypt after its Amarna interlude with a proper kingly burial. It was the duty of the new king to ensure that his predecessor received such treatment, as death awaits all kings. Tutankhamun waited in the darkness of his tomb, unassumingly and overlooked historically, only to be brought to light by Howard Carter. The discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb and its treasures captivated the world and have continued to do so for nearly a century.

Of late, Tutankhamun and his tomb have returned to prominence. In a July 2015 publication, Nicholas Reeves (a renowned expert on the Amarna Period, and Tutankhamun specifically) proposed that more remains to be discovered in KV62. Based on numerous lines of evidence, Reeves posited that at least two additional chambers (or portions thereof) may remain undiscovered in this tomb in the Valley of the Kings.9 While the data employed and the theory that something else is to be discovered in KV62 are scientifically sound and well justified, Reeves advanced the case to suggest that that “something” would be, specifically, the burial of Nefertiti. Nefertiti was Akhenaten’s favored wife and step-mother to Tutankhamun. Furthermore, it now seems likely that Nefertiti ruled briefly as pharaoh herself, albeit under a different name.10 Nefertiti’s burial place has never been found but has long been hunted. However, the case for Nefertiti co-occupying a tomb in a hidden chamber(s) with Tutankhamun, while certainly possible, remains supported by largely circumstantial evidence rather than the scientific data that indicate the existence of something beyond the walls. Any number of other royals from the period are viable candidates for co-occupancy, and it is just as likely, based on the data in hand, that the something comprises one or more empty or incomplete chambers (which are common among the other tombs the Valley of the Kings).

The head of archaeology in Egypt at the time, Minister of Antiquities and Heritage Dr. Mamdouh El Damaty (accompanied by a special Investigation Committee to evaluate the theory), invited Reeves visit KV62 in September 2015 for an up-close empirical investigation and initial vetting of the theory. With the support of the Minister, in November 2015, an international team conducted a non-invasive and non-destructive remote sensing examination from the interior of KV62 to evidence if, indeed, additional chambers are present.  The results suggested that Reeves’ theory was correct.11 Two subsequent studies by other international teams came back divided on the result.12 At present, the work stands here. Announcements have been made that a special committee is evaluating all of the data collected and will advise the archaeological authorities in Egypt on any future work.13 Presently, the most likely course of future action appears to be additional scans from inside the tomb with different technologies. Ground-penetrating radar scans from outside the tomb (from the surface level) have not yet been conducted and would provide perhaps the most definitive statement on the theory short of accessing the spaces by drilling a hole and inserting an endoscopic camera or similar device. So Tutankhamun’s tomb may yet hold more wonders.  Only time—and technology—will tell.

References & Further Reading

Mark Howard Carter, The Tomb of Tut.ankh.Amen: Discovered by the Late Earl of Carnarvon and Howard Carter, 3 volumes (London: Cassell, 1923–1933).

2 Nicholas Reeves, The Complete Tutankhamun: The King, the Tomb, the Royal Treasure (London: Thames & Hudson, 1995).

3  C. N. Reeves, Valley of the Kings: The Decline of a Royal Necropolis (London: Kegan Paul International, 1990).

4 Nicholas Reeves, Akhenaten: Egypt’s False Prophet (London: Thames & Hudson, 2001).

5 Barry Kemp, The City of Akhenaten and Nefertiti: Amarna and Its People (Thames & Hudson, 2014).

6 James P. Allen, 1994. “Nefertiti and Smenkh-ka-re,” Göttinger Miszellen 141 (1994): 7–17; Nicholas Reeves, Akhenaten: Egypt’s False Prophet (London: Thames & Hudson, 2001).

7 For example: (multiple causes) Zahi Hawass et al., “Ancestry and Pathology in King Tutankhamun’s Family,” Journal of the American Medical Association 303.7 (17 February 2010): 638–647; (kick by a horse or donkey) W. Benson Harer, Jr., 2006. “An Explanation of King Tutankhamen’s Death,” Bulletin of the Egyptian Museum 3 (2006): 83–88.

8 See Reeves 1995.

9 Nicholas Reeves, The Burial of Nefertiti? (Tucson: Amarna Royal Tombs Project, 2015).

10 James P. Allen, 1994. “Nefertiti and Smenkh-ka-re,” Göttinger Miszellen 141 (1994): 7–17; Nicholas Reeves, Akhenaten: Egypt’s False Prophet (London: Thames & Hudson, 2001).

11 Mark Strauss, “Infrared Scans Show Possible Hidden Chamber in King Tut’s Tomb,” National Geographic Online (6 November 2015), http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/11/151106-tut-tutankhamun-tomb-thermal-imaging-nefertiti-archaeology/ .

Mark2 Peter Hessler, “In Egypt, Debate Rages over Scans of King Tut’s Tomb,” National Geographic Online (9 May 2016), http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/05/160509-king-tut-tomb-chambers-radar-archaeology/ .

Mark3 Publically stated by government authorities at the “Second Annual Tutankhamun Grand Egyptian Museum Conference in Cairo” on 8 May 2016, for which the author was in attendance; see also Hessler 2016.

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by Corinne Geersten

Narrative Art. But wait, there’s MORE!

I’m a digital artist. I assemble pictures by remixing Victorian photos, Civil War tintypes, photos we’ve taken over fifty years and scans.

The Borrower Bird, Corinne Geersten

The Borrower Bird, Corinne Geersten

My pictures are quirky visual narratives about psychological situations. They pull a lot of subconscious strings. I especially love a good quandary.

My work leans toward surrealism, with odd juxtapositions, non sequiturs, and an element of surprise. It’s narrative.

Let’s be simple. Narrative art is storytelling. Let’s uncapitalize it right now.

The label “Narrative Art” appeared in the mid-1960’s. What now is narrative art used to be history painting, genre painting, and previously, cave painting.

From the 1500’s to the 19th century, art was organized into a hierarchy of genres. History painting was thought to be the highest, noblest kind of painting. (Still life rated at the bottom, just below animal painting and was priced accordingly.)

Narrative art now can be photography, dance, performance art, film, even graphic novels.

In the US and Europe in the 1960’s and 1970’s art was conceptual and minimal. If you’re in London, don’t miss the installation art piece 20:50, a spatially disorienting room in the Saatchi Gallery filled waist high with motor oil. Narrative was out of favor.

When I was studying art in the 1970’s, if someone made a piece that told a story, we all felt it had cooties.

Young artists brought it back in the 1980’s.

I suspect the popularity of narrative art now is entwined with its evil and not-so-intelligent twin, social media. The story of our lives is reported, disseminated and commented on relentlessly.

I think we’re hard wired for storytelling. We put what happened in a sequence, choose supporting details and tell. We begin when we learn to speak. This is often how we form ideas about what kind of person we are as an individual, and within our culture and our place in history.

Often, how we remember a person is by a story that represents our idea of them.

Stories are significant. Because they’re made by a human mind, they’re revealing of what it is to be human. They may tell us what it’s like to be somebody else, saving us a lot of bother.

Neil Gaiman says it so well: The reason why story is so important to us is because it’s actually this thing we have been using since the dawn of humanity to become more than just one person.

Good narrative art does these things.

How does one build a narrative picture?

1. It’s helpful to learn to think in pictures and stories, stories and pictures.

I grew up in what was the biggest city in Montana, population 60,000. I didn’t see any real art until I was 18. But I had what I needed: The Blacky Tests.

My dad was a psychologist. A psychologist in the 1960’s might show someone a drawing and lead them to talking openly. The Rorschach plates are beautiful. The color Rorschachs are diaphanous, lyrical and evocative.

I liked them, but I liked the Blacky pictures too.

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The Blacky tests were for children.

We named our first dog Blackie.

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Dad had another set that’s missing its box. It has more wear than the other testing materials in his kit. They’re just numbered on the back, so I can’t tell you the name of the test. The pictures are done by different artists and are nothing but wonderful. When you look at them, you think in stories.

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To make a narrative picture, you need to be able to see a good story wherever you look.

2. Don’t show a thing while it’s happening.

It’s far more interesting to show the moment before. It’s like a good book. We want to know what happens next.

This is The Moment Before the Consequence of an Error.

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It’s also intriguing to show the moment after. Here is Charm

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What one person saw in Charm: “It’s like the Cinderella scene where the birds are singing and flying about, tying bows for Cinderella. This woman is so evil she can get a crow to light her cigarette just by thinking about it.”

When you show what happened before or after, then subtleties, causes and intentions appear almost on their own.

Lean towards plot. Forester said, “The king died and then the queen died is a story. The king died, and then the queen died of grief is a plot.”

3. Space and time: deal with it.

When you read a book or go to an opera, time is what keeps everything from happening at once. When you’re looking at a piece of art, there isn’t time for things to happen in a sequence.

When you build a piece of narrative art, you work trickery with space to give the illusion of chronology.

Susanna and the Elders is a ripping yarn, a story from the Roman Catholic Book of Daniel. Lorenzo Lotto leads our eye around the painting in a merry chase, telling the story sequentially.

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Susanna took her clothes off. They’re lying about. She just finished her bath. Two elders rush in. They’re followed by two serfs who will collaborate the elders’ poisonous lies about Susanna. Look back by the castle and you’ll see what happened first – Susanna is her on the way to the bath. Her two maids have left her and are on their way back to the castle.

Voyeurs is my Susanna, only with kangaroos.  The sequence is more streamlined. The Kangaroo in the skirt and the two guy kangaroos form a horizontal oval path for your eye to travel like a race track. The two trees on the left horizon represent the two kinds of trees that caught the elders in their lies and led to their deaths.

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If you’re wondering about the hot air balloon, what could be more voyeuristic?

Here’s Call Back.

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The velvet clad boy has dialed back to the Mesozoic era. The dinosaur has declined the call. Your eye bounces back and forth like a ping pong ball between the Victorian era and the Mesozoic. (When I made this I was thinking of split screens in 1960’s television.) Here’s a phone conversation over space and time.

4. Know what goes in and what to leave out.

This is Interview. It’s easy to take power lines out of the sky digitally, but the picture is about communication. Leave them in.

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I liked the blue-grey clouds across the top of the sky when they first went into the picture. I liked them even more when I realized I had subconsciously placed them as stand-ins for cartoon speech-bubble talk.

The negative space between the giraffe and the girl/horn/tape recorder combo holds them together.

I audition objects by The Yikes Method, which is a really fast, bastard cousin of the scientific method (seventh cousin, three times removed).

I hunt through my archive of 37,000 images with a loose theory of what might work. Perhaps I’ll try a hundred elements in a picture, one at a time. If something doesn’t work, yikes, it’s out of there.

Start with one element in the picture. Add another. The third begins a story. It gets more difficult as each new thing is added, because every new thing you add has to fit with more things.

I build the right place for things to happen. I look for the right shapes, colors, textures, lighting, sidekicks and belongings. They need to have the right impact. They need the right amount of detail. They need to be the right size. They need to add negative space that contributes to the nature of the picture. Sometimes things fail by being too intentional or corny. It’s a minefield.

The last few things that go into a picture will use every brain cell you have. Recognizing them and placing them will be the most fun. Eureka!

The details you add are breadcrumbs to help the person looking at the picture.

If possible, introduce some objects that add struggle and an uncertain resolution. This is What Happens at Night. What’s not to like about a good plight?

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5. You can add to the story with symbolism.

This is Migratory. A child, a voyage, an owl, a boat, a turtle: each is symbolically loaded. When you can add something with symbolism, that something makes itself at home and unpacks. It brings more than itself to the picture.

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BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

I have a solo show at the Mesa Arts Museum from September 9, 2016 to January 8th, 2017.

You can be part of the show if you like. Just choose a picture from the portfolio pages of my website that speaks to you. Write something that relates to the picture. A limerick, haiku, a fictitious letter. The mother of all weather reports. A grocery list. Playful, serious, scholarly, how you write is your choice.

Your narrative will hang beside the picture you wrote about. Our show is called The Footnote Chronicles.

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

If your writing is chosen, you will receive a signed, original print of the art you wrote about.

Details here: http://corinnegeertsen.com/extras/the-footnote-chronicles-and-you/ 

Portfolio pages here: http://corinnegeertsen.com/artist-portfolio/

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TraudeJustWalkingBlog

Dear friends,

For several years now, I had the privilege to talk about my hikes and pilgrimages at the Spirit of the Senses Salons.  One of the longest hikes was the 600 miles long pilgrimage in France, the Voie de Vezelay two years ago.  Last year, I walked the Camino Primitivo in Spain, the original pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

Beginning of March this year, I will start the pilgrimage of the 88 Temples in Shikoku/Japan. Many years ago, I heard about this ancient pilgrimage route going back to the 9th century circling around the 4th largest island of Japan in an over 800 miles loop. I never thought that I will be able to do it myself – there was the hindrance of not knowing the Japanese language, the pilgrimage itself seemed too long, too foreign and contained too much uncertainty. 

Despite all these concerns, over the last couple of years, the Shikoku pilgrimage became more possible and took on form.  One big factor was the invitation of my Japanese friends Yuko and Shigeo to visit them in Tokyo. They will travel with me to the start of the pilgrimage and walk with me the first couple of days.  Another Japanese friend told me about the very old tradition to help the Ohenro (pilgrim) in need on the way. Those two factors gave me the courage to do the step into the unknown. 

My intention is to walk with an open mind and firm ground under my feet. I allowed myself to take two months to finish my pilgrimage (the average is 45 days) in order to write, take photos, not to be stressed for time.  Every day (if there is internet connection) I will poste one haiku (Japanese poem) and at least one photo to catch the mood of the day.  It would be great if you would walk with me and Kukai the 88 Temple pilgrimage. (Kukai is the name of the 9th century Saint in whose footsteps the pilgrims walk.  It is believed that Kukai is walking with every pilgrim on the way).

http://simplyjustwalking.com/

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Gertraud Wild, author, photographer, and adventurer, first crossed paths with Spirit of the Senses almost twenty years ago during a chance meeting with someone while at Biltmore Fashion Park.    She and her husband joined the group right away.

 

Gertraud and her husband David Ricks live in Vienna, Austria and reside part of the year at their home in the greater Biltmore area.  She describes the salons of Spirit of the Senses as the soul of Phoenix for her.   The salons offer an abundance of exposure to the arts, sciences, and culture that gives enrichment to her every day life.  “Spirit of the Senses makes me feel at home and the group provides a continuity and belonging while I’m in Phoenix” she says.

 

Over the past few years, Gertraud has been invited to talk at salons about her exotic walking treks in different parts of the world.   She has spoken about her travels in Ethiopia and in Nepal.   She has also written two books in the German language about these treks.   The two books are filled with her photographs that reflect her personal encounters and offer a diary of how she experienced her travels.  Her salon discussions at Spirit of the Senses have provided her an additional way to revisit these experiences and show others images of her personal treks.

 

“When traveling I like to experience directly the places I am visiting by having a close  relationship with the place, the people and the culture.  I want to experience with all my senses.”

 

One evening at a salon discussion, Gertaud spoke of her travels with her oldest son Lawrence through urban and remote parts of Ethiopia.  She showed photographs of the people she met along her trek and discussed her encounters with the culture and religion.

 

Another evening at a salon discussion, Gertraud discussed and shared photos of her 21  day trek in Nepal with her younger son Robert and daughter Anna-Sophie.  In preparation for her trek in the Himalayas, Gertraud trained by hiking Piestawa Peak every day.   Gertraud’s trek to Nepal was close to the Tibetan border along ancient trade routes to the base camp of the mountain Manaslu, the eighth highest peak in the world.   Gertraud and her son and daughter also trekked in the sacred Buddhist region, The Tsum Valley.

 

Gertraud is planning her next salon for sometime this winter with Spirit of the Senses.   She will discuss her 14 day trek along the World Heritage Trail through the Wachau Valley along the Danube River in her native Austria.

 

Spirit of the Senses brings different perspectives together in conversation on important issues.  Spirit of the Senses invites many of the leading thinkers and talents in the arts, architecture, science, medicine, law and philosophy to have conversations that enlighten awareness of the world and stimulate ideas.  Many of these salon discussions are hosted in homes near and in the Biltmore area.   In addition to the salons hosted in  the Phoenix area, Spirit of the Senses plans salon trips to New York City, California, and Boston.   If you would like to become a part of the conversation you can find information about Spirit of the Senses at www.spiritofthesenses.org or by calling (602) 906-0091.

 

Robert, Anna-Sophie, Gertraud Wild in Nepal

Robert, Anna-Sophie, Gertraud Wild in Nepal

 

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