Tag Archives: Mary

Exploring “Spirited Ageing”

Two weeks into the New Year and I have finished reading my first book for 2014, albeit one I started some time back, in 2013. The book, which I have been reading, at a very leisurely pace, is  Spirited Ageing ~cultivating the art of renewal   ~ by  Juliet Batten .

Juliet, in her book, tackles, with a delightful combination of grace and common sense, the subject of preparing for one’s old age. She invites the us “into the adventure of conscious ageing”  and  provides basic, easy-to-follow, strategies to help us discover our source of energy,  the “illumination” or “regenopause”, upon which  we can draw  to fuel  a ‘ vibrant’ and ‘expansive’ old age. She also invites us to, amongst other things,  care for the soul, do new things constantly, identify treasure and clutter, bring creativity into our lives, and to focus on increasing the  renewable *spirit* of our being, as our physical capacity diminishes.

Clap your hands and sing

Clap your hands and sing

With Juliet’s suggestions in mind, I have been enriching my spirit, in recent days,  by researching  a post I meant to write more than a week ago; a post to acknowledge the closure of one Christmas season on January 6th and   the beginning of  another; that of the Coptic Churches, on  January 7th. I would have gotten to this *work* sooner, if it weren’t for those mayhem-making Moments you may remember from my previous post 😉 . However, when the subject of the post is of a  millennial vintage, a delay of a moment or two, or three ,or four, is neither here nor there.

So, with research completed, here is that delayed post, which has two parts:

Part One;

a visit to  the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland  to gaze upon  the Museum’s collection of Ethiopian illuminated manuscripts and icons;

Diptych Icon with Saint George, and Mary and the Infant Christ

Diptych Icon with Saint George, and Mary and the Infant Christ : Early 15th Century, Tempera on Wood

The Walters Art Museum has “one of the largest collections of manuscripts, icons and processional crosses outside of Ethiopia. Historically, Ethiopia was a Christian kingdom with strong ties in both trade and religion to the cultures located around the Mediterranean. Ethiopia’s Christian tradition dates back to the 4th century, when the ruler of the Aksumite kingdom converted to Christianity; by the 15th century, this African nation had developed a tradition of icon painting that rivaled that of the Orthodox empires.http://art.thewalters.org/browse/category/ethiopia/

and Part Two;

an introduction to the three books I will be reading, now that I have finished “Spirited Ageing”. All three books are by  Elizabeth E Wein ~ The Winter PrinceA Coalition of Lions and The Sunbird. They are visually beautiful books and lovely to hold, as well. I am eager to stretch my imagination and  embark on the adventures they promise in ancient, mythical lands.

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But, in case, you should think, with this post, that I am already lost to  those most ancient of days, I am pleased to report  some relatively recent news, which is  that the city of Vancouver has banned doorknobs in all apartment buildings and   private homes to be built after March 2014. http://www.vancouversun.com/story.html?id=9173543  They will be required to have easier-to-use, universal design levers. That’s the spirit Vancouver City! May I come and spend my old age with you?  🙂

© silkannthreades

 

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Epiphanies, real and imagined

Monday, 6th January,  was the celebration of  Epiphany   for those people, churches, cultures, countries that follow the Gregorian calendar for feast days.

The sky was heavenly blue

Heavenly blue sky for Epiphany

Heavenly blue sky for Epiphany

and, nearer to me, the flowers were blue-hued too.

And,  every which way  I turned,  I saw more manifestations  of blue,

until I felt as though I were swathed in  the most precious of  precious-blue fabrics, in much the same way as Mary, the Madonna, is often depicted, cloaked in a mantle of Mary-blue,

Federico Barocci, The Madonna and Child with Saint Joseph and the Infant Baptist ('La Madonna del Gatto'), probably about 1575 © The National Gallery, London

Federico Barocci, The Madonna and Child with Saint Joseph and the Infant Baptist (‘La Madonna del Gatto’), probably about 1575 © The National Gallery, London

or  ultramarine , as it is more properly called.

And it felt good; it felt blissful to be luxuriating in an aura of ‘divine’ blue-ness, as I went about my small tasks and errands, dressed, in reality, not like an artistically rendered Madonna but like this…

Glad Rags or Ordinaries

Glad Rags /Ordinaries

Epiphany Dressing

Epiphany Dressing

in very ordinary, cotton garments that are showing their age, and mine. Yet, oddly, they are garments that might be considered, by some, as slightly more glamorous than what Mary was actually wearing in Bethlehem, and thereafter 🙂 . I wonder about that. I wonder what Mary thought about her clothes;  or if she thought about them at all.  I wonder,  if on the day the Magi came with their gifts, Mary felt as if she were wearing the plainest robes, or as if she were wrapped in  the ‘richest’ cloth her world had to offer?  And I wonder if she would  be surprised at how we have dressed her through the centuries; would she say, ‘But you are dreaming..”, or would she say, ” Yes, it was so; exactly so.  I was beautiful.”

To be continued….possibly

© silkannthreades

Variations on a Blue Christmas

The National Gallery in London features a painting each month which you can download as a wallpaper. Over the last 12 months I have enjoyed some lovely paintings, courtesy of this wonderful service. The masterpiece for the month of December is  ‘The Nativity” by Piero della Francesca.

The Nativity (1470-5)

The Nativity (1470-5)

The Gallery notes explain the painting, and its context, and it’s fascinating to read about the magpie, and the angels without wings, and why the donkey is not paying attention to Jesus and the ox is. But there are four aspects of this work that I adore; the blue robes, the hairstyles of the angels, the informality of Joseph’s relaxed foot and the little birds amongst the plants near the angels’ feet?

The coolness and calm created by the gentle colours in this Nativity reminded me of the year I decided to decorate a little potted Christmas tree, in my garden, in white and silver and blue.

White and Silver and Green

White and Silver and Green

That Blue Christmas was in 2005, I think, and, although I don’t have a Christmas tree this year, indoors or out, I felt a great need for another round of Christmas Blues. So I set to, quietly and slowly, piece by piece, filling my world with blue.

Perhaps my mood was influenced by a 15th Century Italian interpretation of the Nativity or, perhaps, like  Juliet Batten, author of Spirited Ageing, I am responding to a natural need to be soothed and swaddled and lullaby-ed through what can be a hot, rushed and hectic Antipodean festive season.

Last night an early summer storm raged through the inland section of our province. Hail stones destroyed farmers’ crops but, here, in the city we were spared the worst of it. As a result I woke this morning to the blessing of gentle rain on my parched garden

Rain in  the early morning light

Rain in the early morning light

and the  tranquility and peace of the soft tones of  morning light on the blues of my Christmas preparations.

In one corner of my living room, I have placed my own Nativity Scene. Not made by a famous artist but painted by the small, meticulous hand of my daughter when she was about nine or ten. The figures are  slightly worn, the lamb has sustained a chip, but the Nativity set is loved, and a  favourite decoration, no matter how I choose to colour my Christmas.

A Child's Nativity

A Child’s Nativity

No Christmas time is complete without music. I love the traditional old world songs but, this year, I am enjoying a loved New Zealand carol,  Te Harinui  (Great Joy ), written by  our own Willow Macky to mark the first Christmas service in New Zealand in the Bay of Islands in 1814. 

Meri Kirihimeti

© silkannthreades