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Satyr
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PostSubject: Discussions on Paintings Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:27 pm


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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Mon May 21, 2012 6:04 pm

So, from what I gather, so clumsily, so instinctually

from this


To this


Couple'o'millions of years of life condensed into a fucking internet post..
Oversimplifying?

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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Mon May 21, 2012 6:12 pm

What you are doing there is using the end result, the apparent, to represent the entirety of Becoming.
Just like your face is the end product of an entire history of struggle and survival and (inter)acting.

Now fill in the details.
Follow every crack and crevice back to the source and Know Thyself there.

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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Wed May 23, 2012 8:30 pm

And what of using the end result, that which is apparent and readily in front of me? So that there may be a more vigorous becoming? A canvas, a brush, some paint..

Like my face is the end product of a numerous peoples and pavements colliding, and hard? You are being obtuse and to a fault enigmatic.

Then again, this could as well be said of such an examplary being as I am.

Heh.
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Wed May 23, 2012 8:33 pm

What is obtuse is the pretentious over-compensating desire to appear deeper and more challenging than you really are.

What is "enigmatic" about your appearance being the end product of an entire historical and not past?

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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Wed May 23, 2012 8:45 pm

Following cracks and crevices is the domain of archeologists and historians, the pebble counters of the past. We're not here to count pebbles, tho they do amount to a pile somewhere I am sure. We are here to butt heads, for fun.
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Wed May 23, 2012 8:48 pm

Knowing what pressures your skull can take might prove useful to someone who stretches his neck to butt heads.

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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Wed May 23, 2012 8:53 pm

And you don't butt your head with buttheads everyday? How could this wonderful digital contraption be different?
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Wed May 23, 2012 8:58 pm

I do...but I explore my past beforehand.
I "follow my cracks and crevices" to see and to know and to understand my weak spots.

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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Wed May 23, 2012 9:05 pm

Then there is no butting of heads here, unfortunately. I have passed a finger over most of that which led to a me being a here. I am fully engaged with these overgrown with moss crevices of the past. It's good sport.

I think you are just spoiling for a fight. As am I. Smile

It is exhilarating.
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Wed May 23, 2012 9:07 pm

A fight implies a conflict.

I do not play-fight.

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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Wed May 23, 2012 9:14 pm

Does anyone?
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Wed May 23, 2012 9:15 pm

Is there a real conflict here....or are you here to create a make believe stir?
The only time I play-fight is when I get to fuck her afterwards.

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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Wed May 23, 2012 9:20 pm

If I could, if my power was enough, I would make a make believe stir the world would speak of for aeons..

Alas, I am just a man. "Respice te, hominem te memento"
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Wed May 23, 2012 9:52 pm

begin with this humble forum...make us think.

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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Fri May 25, 2012 6:44 pm

Missed one of the biggest events - The Judgement of Paris and the Trojan War.

Jean Watteau:
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Rubens:

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Francesco Primaticcio:
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Dumezil framed the Judgement in terms of the typical I.E. tri-functional scheme:
Hera [Sovereign first function], Athena [Warrior second function] and Aphrodite [Prosperity and fertility third function]:
"Although several attempts to apply the three-function model to the entire Iliad have proved fruitless, we find a reference to it in the structure of the ornamentation of Achilles shield as analyzed by Yoshida (1964), portraying successively a wedding and a court-scene (first function); a war (second function); three agricultural scenes, one pastoral scene and a peasant¹s celebration (different aspects of the third function). The legend of the judgement of Paris, remote cause of the Trojan war, is trifunctional: the three goddesses between whom Paris is to choose embody the three functions, and in opting for Aphrodite who embodies the third of them, he makes the wrong choice and sets his people on the road to disaster. In addition, the legendary history of the first kings of Orchomenus is built around the same model as is that of the first king of Rome." [Dumézil 1986a: 496 n. 1 (bibl.)]

Women were active Wealth much like the idea of Cattle to the I.Es.
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The Icelandic Rune poem on Fehu - the feminine rune of wealth and cattle goes:
"Wealth source of discord among kinsmen
and fire of the sea and path of the serpent."

To the Indo-Europeans, a person's greatest wealth was their Reputation, their Name; and the recreating feminine was mythologized with the power to confer this sovereignty. Cf. Irish Medb and the Táin Bó. Because cattles denoted wealth, cattle-raids were looked on as Theft and dishonour on oneself. Medb came to represent the very sovereignty of Ireland and the power to offer sovereignty to kings by pouring them mead or ale or ritual drinks.
'niba ri ar an Erind . mani toro coirm Chualand.'
he will not be a king over Ireland, unless he gets the ale of Cualu.

"A good deal of evidence suggests that actual historical kings were believed to be wedded to the local territorial goddess and hence to the land that she embodied. As Proinsias Mac Cana notes (Celtic Mythology 94), the goddess "symbolized not merely the soil and substance of [the] territory, but also the spiritual and legal dominion which the king exercised over it."
In a number of early Irish stories, a goddess appears who is called explicitly In Flaithius, 'The Sovereignty'. In these stories the goddess ensures the rule of a king or his successors by granting a drink (or drinks) of ale or other beverage."
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"Pinault, studying the Gaulish proper name Epomeduos (‘the one who masters horses’), points to the homonymy between the IE roots *medwo-, ‘drunk, intoxicated’ (from *medhwo-) and *medwo-, ‘master, the one who rules’, which gave the verbal theme med- ‘to rule’ and the word medu-, ‘mead’ in Celtic.
Lambert infers from Pinault’s analysis that the name of the goddess Medb can refer both to the intoxicating drink and to political power. The Ancients must have cultivated the ambiguity between the two homonymic words, because, sovereignty and intoxication were interrelated: it was the drink, personified by the goddess, which granted sovereignty. The play on words between laith, ‘ale’ and flaith, ‘sovereignty’ in the Irish texts supports that idea."
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"[H]ow the scope of kingship evolved from tribal leader to warlord commanding men from many different tribes.  In order to bind together such a disparate group, it was necessary to create a fictive kinship, and the easiest way to do this was for the warlord to assume the position of father while his wife took the role of mother.  For this reason, the warlord was often referred to a hlaford, or loaf-giver (the one who provided food for his people).  Enright argues that it would be only natural for the queen, therefore, to take on the role of the provider of drink.  In this way, liquor service in the mead hall not only served as reinforcement of oaths (spoken over the horn), it also helped to create a family structure which formed the backbone of the comitatus, or warband."
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I compare Satyr's thesis of females as genetic filters and males needing to prove themselves to the typical mythic functional role of the Maiden with the Mead-cup and the Hero's Quest:
"The main conclusion has been that a myth of a mead-offering “Maiden” exists as a rather prominent theme in the Poetic Edda, and that this “Maiden-mythology” is particularly concerned with trials of initiation."
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Alf Hiltebeitel [Ritual of Battle] compares Medb to the Indic goddess Sri [Sovereignty] and locates them in the tri-functional scheme:
"Sri, Medb of Connacht, set up a requirement that each suitor, and thus rival for the central sovereignty which they bestow, must be "without jealousy, without fear, and without niggardliness," or, in other words, he must be just [1st priestly function],  brave [2nd warrior func.], and generous [3rd prosperous func.].

In other words,  as filters for the most heroic spirit.

Gustave Moreau's illustration and description of how he views Zeus-Jupiter as the all-consuming Male and sheer manly power is just intense:

""Semele, penetrated by the divine effluence, regenerated and purified by this consecration, dies struck by lightning...“In the midst of colossal aerial buildings, with neither foundations nor roof-tops, covered with teeming, quivering vegetation, this sacred flora standing out against the dark blues of the starry vaults and the deserts of the sky, the God so often invoked appears in his still veiled splendor."... The painting is a representation of “divinized physical love” and the overpowering experience that consumes Semele as the god appears in his supreme beauty has been called “quite simply the most sumptuous expression imaginable of an orgasm”."


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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*


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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Fri May 25, 2012 7:03 pm

What a wonderful period for women when they were still, for men, a valuable resource; a prize they kept only for themselves.

And now?
Vaginas gaping wide ready to welcome any seed with the right key.

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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Fri May 25, 2012 7:30 pm

Seems you have the key, then. Har Har.

Nice pix, btw.
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Wed May 01, 2013 7:30 am


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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Wed May 01, 2013 11:50 am

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Tue Jun 25, 2013 3:02 pm

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:50 pm

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Mon Feb 03, 2014 9:56 pm

Schendel von Petrus
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:54 am

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Quote :
"Bataille summarizes the central problem that concerns Lukacher: consciousness is an anguished separation experience that cannot marry Being and becoming. For Bataille, the leap into becoming is Dionysian (intoxicating, erotic, ecstatic, frenzied): “I dissolve into myself like the sea” (184). Afterward, however, one necessarily returns to a state of individuality and separateness: to a condition of particular Being denied access to Dionysian experience except by way of contrivances like art (lyric poetry, painting, symphonic music, etc.). Experience, then, is a consciousness of the difference between Being and becoming that is reminiscent of Jacques Lacan’s concept of alienation, in which having one thing comes at the price of not having another. For Bataille, alienation either from Being or from becoming is traumatic, since both conditions lack something. The Dionysian consciousness experiences ecstatic feelings but lacks their objectification and recoverability; the Apollonian consciousness experiences selfobjectification and knowledge but lacks emotional dynamism and continuity. Bataille argues that to be suspended in this difference is suffering, because Being and becoming are fundamentally wedded, despite our inability to experience them as such.

Lukacher touches on this aspect of suffering when he discusses Titian’s Bacchus and Ariadne (1523), handsomely reproduced on the cover of Time-Fetishes. A detail depicts Bacchus leaping rather awkwardly from his chariot to make his way to Ariadne, who has just been abandoned by Theseus. According to Lukacher, Titian’s painting was known to Nietzsche and may have been fateful for the theory of eternal return. The painting is an allegory of the rapprochement between Being and becoming in which Bacchus is the personification of Being and Ariadne the personification of becoming. The interest in this painting, Lukacher says, is to be found in Bacchus’s leap from his chariot as described in late antiquity by Ovid, since this leap represents “the active principle that cause[s] Being to spring toward the world of becoming” (48). In short, the painting is “an esoteric allegory of eternity’s longing for time and time’s longing for eternity” (48–9). In leaping toward and fixing his gaze on Ariadne, Bacchus pulls her “back from an imminent nothingness and into the cymbal-filled din of the bacchanal” (49). In Friedrich Hölderlin’s account, too, Dionysus serves as an interpretant for Titian’s painting:

“Is not Hölderlin’s point that Dionysus is an allegory of the movement of the starry cosmos that brings the immensity of the natural world into some relation with human history? The leap is a kind of dance, and the dance is an allegory of the disruptive and unsettling relation of the time of universal nature to the time of human existence” (49). As such, Dionysus is a khôragus, or choral conductor, who leads the universal motion of the heavens, a figure that ties into Lukacher’s prior analysis of Plotinus, in which the khôragus “names a tremendous reserve or reservoir from whence springs the gift . . . the emergent event of Being that Heidegger calls Ereignis” (27–8 ). In observing this connection, we see the extent to which the analyses in Time-Fetishes are interrelated. That said, it should be pointed out that Titian’s painting, like Plotinus’s khôragus, is a time-fetish that instantiates the formalization and stabilization of a painful contradiction between the eternal and the evanescent: the fact that they cancel each other out even as they require one another for completeness."


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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Impression, Sunrise Sun May 11, 2014 12:27 pm

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I wonder what's going on in that very black boat, in the center of the foreground. That figure couldn't be rowing. This is no Venetian channel to be rowing standing up, and the uneven shapes of the water, and the foreground brush strokes on the water lacking a common direction suggest an agitated surface. Perhaps he is leaning on his paddle, and about to get a blowjob---which would explain the bulge in his figure, (he is pitching a tent), and the position of the other figure. Or, (perhaps), he is fishing. But those lines in the background (at left) are masts of large ships, and to be fishing in the center of this channel... well, maybe I'm reading too much into the story, rather than the picture.

The boat nearest to the viewer is the blackest; the colour is the most solid and consistent in the whole painting. The other boat, closer to the shadow of the smoke stacks and smog, starts to dull. Why is that?  And along the populated line of the shore, everything seems to be clouded in a similar hue/colour as the smog from the smoke stacks. In fact, is that a third boat, along the same line as the other two, or is it a shadow? I can’t see anything for it to be a shadow of. Anyways, the similar colour gives me the impression of the fog blanketing these objects, particularly as they fade to the background.

Is this a calm maritime scene? No, I think not. The subtle agitation, both in the water, and in how the smoke emerges from the stacks, is active. The shapes and lines aren’t uniform, they jut out.

The other thing that leaves me with an uneasy feeling when looking at the painting, is that the hot and cold colours (of the sun, versus the smog), don't blend around the sun itself. Rather than have the colour radiate outwards from the sun, as it does in a sunset, the sunset seems to be represented only in the reflection---both on the water, and in the sky. The rest is covered by the cool smog colour. Which makes the bright dot of the sun jarring. It’s like a pimple on otherwise clear skin. And the painting draws your attention there, by the way the darker colours of the boats, the lines in the foreground, and the shadows curve toward the sun.

There's a non-definiteness about the shapes, objects, and lines in the painting. You can see it in the thickness of the broad strokes of the lines on the foreground water. That vagueness is everywhere in the background, where the outlines of things seem to bleed into each other. Something other than simply representing the scene outside of yourself (as sharply as possible) is at work in the painting. There's a non-definiteness to the depiction of the port.

When I try to recreate, in my mind, a landscape from a memory I've had, there is a fogginess about where every line and shape should be. It's the same for trying to recreate someone's face on the black of my eyelids, even immediately after looking at them. Ironically, to try to make every representational line as sharp and precise as to be there looking at it with open eyes actually obfuscates the reality of the scene. One can't get it right. I can't.  

(And you know the phenomenon of when robots that look the most like humans also look the creepiest and most fucked up). The non-definiteness, or fogginess, actually preserves the landscape, by not trying to force it into what it isn't---which is definite and clear and vivid---everything it would be if I was there looking at it, with open eyes, in person. I like that, because every painting is a representation of something, but impressionist painting is more self-consciously representational. Oh, hence the name!
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Thu May 15, 2014 11:54 pm

I've seen places like this, port cities... an endless sucesion of vessels, people, cargo, machines... the visual pollution, the noise pollution, the dense, dirty air, the scraps of vegetables on the gutters, the debris floating on the water here and there where the current is slow, the the men at work shouting at one another, the cigarettes that they smoke. To think of places like this does not bring me good memories... It makes me think of the speed and violence of progress, eating away at a beautiful piece of seaside.

And yet...

This picture of one such place conjures a sentiment of serenity, hopefulness, confidence. It is full of light, of motion... it shows a day of many possibilities ahead.
The artist did not see the human interference on the environment negatively, as I do. He looked upon that scene with a feeling of hope, and he captured that impression beautifully.
It is very telling to think of this painting under the context in which it was create. It was right after the end of the franco-prussian war, which France lost. The prominet artists of the time
saw it as their mission to instill pride and hope on the population, and to call upon them to rebuild their broken nation.
Thus, a painting called sunrise, romanticizing craft and industry in a time in which rebuilding was necessary.

An interesting component of this painting is Monet's uncanny mastery of light. It uses the popular color contrast theory of the time (mixing two primary colors and then putting the third alongside it, in this case orange + blue), but he selected the precise hues of blue and orange to make that whole option of the painting luminescently neutral ( if you look at the painting in shades of grey, the sun disappears) giving it a very natural look, despite the shocking color contrast.


Is luminescently a word ? Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Fri May 16, 2014 3:44 pm

ZZzzzZZzzZZzzzzzzZzzzzzzZzZZZzzzzz.... After much contemplation.. Here's the final summarization:

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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:55 pm

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:56 pm

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Re: Discussions on Paintings Mon Sep 22, 2014 8:19 pm

Lyssa wrote:
Missed one of the biggest events - The Judgement of Paris and the Trojan War.


Dumezil framed the Judgement in terms of the typical I.E. tri-functional scheme:
Hera [Sovereign first function], Athena [Warrior second function] and Aphrodite [Prosperity and fertility third function]:
"Although several attempts to apply the three-function model to the entire Iliad have proved fruitless, we find a reference to it in the structure of the ornamentation of Achilles shield as analyzed by Yoshida (1964), portraying successively a wedding and a court-scene (first function); a war (second function); three agricultural scenes, one pastoral scene and a peasant¹s celebration (different aspects of the third function). The legend of the judgement of Paris, remote cause of the Trojan war, is trifunctional: the three goddesses between whom Paris is to choose embody the three functions, and in opting for Aphrodite who embodies the third of them, he makes the wrong choice and sets his people on the road to disaster. In addition, the legendary history of the first kings of Orchomenus is built around the same model as is that of the first king of Rome." [Dumézil 1986a: 496 n. 1 (bibl.)]

Women were active Wealth much like the idea of Cattle to the I.Es.
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The Icelandic Rune poem on Fehu - the feminine rune of wealth and cattle goes:
"Wealth source of discord among kinsmen
and fire of the sea and path of the serpent."

To the Indo-Europeans, a person's greatest wealth was their Reputation, their Name; and the recreating feminine was mythologized with the power to confer this sovereignty. Cf. Irish Medb and the Táin Bó. Because cattles denoted wealth, cattle-raids were looked on as Theft and dishonour on oneself. Medb came to represent the very sovereignty of Ireland and the power to offer sovereignty to kings by pouring them mead or ale or ritual drinks.
'niba ri ar an Erind . mani toro coirm Chualand.'
he will not be a king over Ireland, unless he gets the ale of Cualu.

"A good deal of evidence suggests that actual historical kings were believed to be wedded to the local territorial goddess and hence to the land that she embodied. As Proinsias Mac Cana notes (Celtic Mythology 94), the goddess "symbolized not merely the soil and substance of [the] territory, but also the spiritual and legal dominion which the king exercised over it."
In a number of early Irish stories, a goddess appears who is called explicitly In Flaithius, 'The Sovereignty'. In these stories the goddess ensures the rule of a king or his successors by granting a drink (or drinks) of ale or other beverage."
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"Pinault, studying the Gaulish proper name Epomeduos (‘the one who masters horses’), points to the homonymy between the IE roots *medwo-, ‘drunk, intoxicated’ (from *medhwo-) and *medwo-, ‘master, the one who rules’, which gave the verbal theme med- ‘to rule’ and the word medu-, ‘mead’ in Celtic.
Lambert infers from Pinault’s analysis that the name of the goddess Medb can refer both to the intoxicating drink and to political power. The Ancients must have cultivated the ambiguity between the two homonymic words, because, sovereignty and intoxication were interrelated: it was the drink, personified by the goddess, which granted sovereignty. The play on words between laith, ‘ale’ and flaith, ‘sovereignty’ in the Irish texts supports that idea."
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"[H]ow the scope of kingship evolved from tribal leader to warlord commanding men from many different tribes.  In order to bind together such a disparate group, it was necessary to create a fictive kinship, and the easiest way to do this was for the warlord to assume the position of father while his wife took the role of mother.  For this reason, the warlord was often referred to a hlaford, or loaf-giver (the one who provided food for his people).  Enright argues that it would be only natural for the queen, therefore, to take on the role of the provider of drink.  In this way, liquor service in the mead hall not only served as reinforcement of oaths (spoken over the horn), it also helped to create a family structure which formed the backbone of the comitatus, or warband."
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I compare Satyr's thesis of females as genetic filters and males needing to prove themselves to the typical mythic functional role of the Maiden with the Mead-cup and the Hero's Quest:
"The main conclusion has been that a myth of a mead-offering “Maiden” exists as a rather prominent theme in the Poetic Edda, and that this “Maiden-mythology” is particularly concerned with trials of initiation."
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Alf Hiltebeitel [Ritual of Battle] compares Medb to the Indic goddess Sri [Sovereignty] and locates them in the tri-functional scheme:
"Sri, Medb of Connacht, set up a requirement that each suitor, and thus rival for the central sovereignty which they bestow, must be "without jealousy, without fear, and without niggardliness," or, in other words, he must be just [1st priestly function],  brave [2nd warrior func.], and generous [3rd prosperous func.].

In other words,  as filters for the most heroic spirit.

Gustave Moreau's illustration and description of how he views Zeus-Jupiter as the all-consuming Male and sheer manly power is just intense:

""Semele, penetrated by the divine effluence, regenerated and purified by this consecration, dies struck by lightning...“In the midst of colossal aerial buildings, with neither foundations nor roof-tops, covered with teeming, quivering vegetation, this sacred flora standing out against the dark blues of the starry vaults and the deserts of the sky, the God so often invoked appears in his still veiled splendor."... The painting is a representation of “divinized physical love” and the overpowering experience that consumes Semele as the god appears in his supreme beauty has been called “quite simply the most sumptuous expression imaginable of an orgasm”."







@Perpetual, in regard to the question on Helen you had asked - I had touched on it from a diff. perspective in the above, but there's an interesting passage in the book I suggested just now to Mo and how Helen was translated into J.-Xt. terms:


Quote :
"As in the Historia, Faustus’s encounter with Helen marks the point at which he finally succumbs to the deceptive power of signification. He mistakes the devil’s representation of Helen for the real woman, and his properly spiritual aspirations are idolatrously focused on this image. Marlowe describes the psychological effect of idolatry with great precision; Faustus alienates his soul at the moment that he deifies the image. He immediately lapses into fetishistic sexual- ity, replacing spiritual telos with carnal pleasure:

Her lips sucks forth my soul. See where it flies! Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again.
Here will I dwell, for heaven be in these lips,
And all is dross that is not Helena. (5.1.92, 95–96)

The word “dross” is drawn from alchemy; here it indicates that Faustus has abused his art to attain a carnal, earthly end, and this mistake entails the idolatrous misrecognition of an actual referent in an empty diabolical image. The figure of Helen of Troy has been heavily fraught with magical significance for three thousand years. Even in the Iliad, the disproportion between one woman’s adultery and ten years of war is pronounced enough that Helen is more symbol than person. Mihoko Suzuki has shown how the sack of Troy came to be regarded as “a secular Fall; accordingly, Helen attained the status of a secular Eve.” But she remained an ambiguous figure. The Platonic equation of beauty with truth lend her some respectability; in the Gnostic tradition, she could represent sophia [wisdom] and ennoia [understanding], and she was sometimes worshipped under the form of Athena. Roy Erikson finds in Marlowe’s treatment of Helen an echo of Augustine’s apostrophe to Wisdom in De libero arbitrio: “Woe to those who love not you, but the signs you show, and forget your meaning” (2.16.168). There is also the alternative tradition of Stesichorus’s “Palinode,” which suggests that Helen never went to Troy. This poem’s purpose is to defend the divinity of the real Helen, who was worshiped by the Spartans, by suggesting that the Helen over whom the Greeks and Trojans fought was merely an empty image, an eidolon.

Euripides criticizes Helen in The Trojan Women but absolves her in Helen, endorsing the tradition that an eidolon of Helen went to Troy in her place. In the latter play, Helen claims that Paris stole “not Helen, but a phantom endowed with life . . . made in my image out of the breath of heaven; and Paris thought that I was his, although I never was—an idle fancy.” The creature who was supposedly the object of the Trojan war was not a real woman but a mere image, whose resem- blance to Helen herself was purely nominal: “So I was set up as a prize for all the chivalry of Hellas, to test the might of Phrygia, yet not I, but my name alone” (ibid.). The relationship between this virtual reality and divine creation is the subject of a lengthy debate between Helen and Meneleus. He asks her “How then couldst thou have been here, and in Troy, at the same time?” and she responds that “The name may be in many a place at once, though not the body” (ibid.) Meneleus is curious as to how a nominal identity can acquire physical form, and Helen’s answer is the one that would be given by magicians and their opponents alike for twenty centuries: the phantom was manufactured out of air. As in the Odyssey, where she is able to imitate the voices of all the other Greek women, Euripides attributes supernatural powers, including that of flight, to the heroine.

Other advocates of the eidolon tradition include Herodotus and the sophist Gorgias, whose Encomium excuses Helen from blame on the grounds of her passivity. As Suzuki notes, the central question raised by the competing myths is “Was she a subject or an object?”. Norman Austin argues that the opposition between Helen and her eidolon became the primary symbol through which the Greeks debated the relationship between nominal identity (onoma) and material actuality (pragma, which could mean “thing,” “deed,” and “commercial transaction”). For Matthew Gumpert, “the eidolon is the standard Helen myth in its starkest, most explicit form,” because it alludes to Aristotle’s understanding of exchange value. In Gumpert’s view, Helen inspires a “chrematistic economy”—that is, a system of exchange for profit, as opposed to a system of production for use. The eidolon is the imaginary form of value that human beings impose upon natural objects in the process of exchange, and the distinction between the faithful, chaste, real Helen and the faithless, carnal eidolon is a mythological expression of the emergence of exchange value as an autonomous power." [David Hawkes, The Faust Myth]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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