Thursday, October 30, 2008

light and shadow

across cultures, religions, and time, altars exist as special places upon which offerings, rituals, and ceremonies take place. an altar can be erected anywhere - in temples, churches, shrines, homes and even street corners or mountain tops.

a few snaps of altars captured around and about ....

The dead are not gone forever.
They are in the paling shadows,
And in the darkening shadows.
The dead are not beneath the ground,
They are in the rustling tree,
In the murmuring wood,
In the flowing water,
In the still water,
In the lonely place, in the crowd:
The dead are not dead.
Birago Diop (1906-1989) Senegalese author and veterinary surgeon, this poem was adapted into a song by sweet honey and the rock

Lamps make oil-spots and candles need snuffing; it is only the light of heaven that shines pure and leaves no stain.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German playwright, poet, and novelist

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
Buddha (563-483 B.C.E.) Hindu prince, teacher, philosopher

The greatest difficulty is that men do not think enough of themselves, do not consider what it is that they are sacrificing when they follow in a herd, or when they cater for their establishment.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) philosopher, poet, essayist

But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.
Luke 2:19

There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief.
Aeschylus (525-456 B.C.E.), Ancient Greek dramatist

Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.
Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Danish philosopher and theologian

notes on photos:
1) dia de los muertos (day of the dead) altar, cleveland, ohio, october 2007
2) st. mary's church, mcadoo, pennsylvania - this summer st. mary's has closed it's doors may, 2008
3) tibetan buddhist altar erected by monks from namgyal monastery, cleveland, ohio, september, 2005
4) altar at the ruins of palenque, chiapas mexico (yes, that is me lying on the stone) august, 1974
5) altar to our lady of guadalupe, cathédrale notre dame de paris, france, october, 2005
6) street corner altar in honor and memory of a young girl, cleveland, ohio, october 2008
7) home altar, october 2008

lisa gerrard of dead can dance performing sanvean- I am your shadow from her first solo album.


Merle Sneed said...

Altars give me the creeps.

bitchlet said...

I see too many people bowing before altars, imagined or otherwise.

bitchlet said...

ps- you look cute.

Saretta said...

I'm not crazy about altars either, but your photos are gorgeous, as usual! And, you had great legs in 1974 I might add! ;-)

e. said...

i forgot to tell you, no dia de los muertos parade this year... and remind me later to post for theme thursday.

Megan said...

A very interesting range of altars! It was fun to pick out the similarities (and the differences).

marxsny said...

I don't think there is a bigger Lisa Gerrard DCD fan than myself and yet I've never seen this video, only the Towards The Within concert version. Thanks.

Lori ann said...

Beautiful photos, all. I love your home altar. I can't wait to look around some more in your blog, i think i love it here.

WAT said...

Oh these are pretty interesting altars. Thanks for sharing a concept I never even would of thought of blogging about!

WAT said...

Oh, and what a cute gal you were my dear! August of 1974! MY GOD! Goodbye Richard Nixon!

Unknown said...

What a wonderful post - gorgeous images with wonderful and wise words.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

merle - even though altars give you the creeps I was most impressed that you played along with theme thursday! and what an altar in the most surprising of places.

b - I bow to you. thanks been a long time since I was 19!

saretta - ah, and you live in the land of many fine altars! thanks - ah to have such firm legs again, but again, it's been a while since I was 19....

e - ah, we'll have to do our own parade and maybe make an altar for grandma and grandpa wing since they are smiling "down" that you posted a photo of their church.

megan - I've always believed humans have more in common with one another than differences - even with our altars!

mrk - glad I could turn you on to a new vid. I too love dcd - I didn't know till I was looking for a song from them to post how many films they've scored!! talented duo that is for sure!!

lori ann - thanks for dropping in at the mouse. it's so fun to discover new kindred spirits...I enjoyed visiting Lx5 and look forward to plenty of nibbles!

wat - well, I always think of el dia de los muertos at this time of year so, altars seemed like a good theme and ched is away so I was on my own!! the pressure!! nixon goodbye and good riddance; however, like w he didn't leave soon enough!

vanilla - thanks! unfortunately I couldn't find my pics of some haitian voodoo altars - they were spectacular - all the sparkley sequined things - on my home altar is a small sequined haitian bottle but I don't know if it can be seen in the photo....

jenclair said...

Love the photos AND the quotes!

tut-tut said...

Oh I love altars, flickering candles, icons, photos. I had never thought of my little setup in my photo as an altar, but I think that's exactly what it is. What great concepts you devise, Kimy. One word is all it takes to come up with so much and so many connections.

I think the connection of the altar to religion and dogma is what upsets many, but as a tribute to relatives who are gone, it becomes something else, doesn't it?

Frankly, sometimes the more visual aides, the better. Until it's too much, and then I need just quiet and my own thoughts.

Your little ole' self on that sacrificial altar . . . I could go on making connections, but this is enough of a comment, isn't it? Happy Halloween to you.

lettuce said...

wow, thats some altar in the second pic!

i really like the 3rd one.
and the pic of you, of course.

Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

I have altars to all things sacred and banal. They don't have to be religious, they just signify what is "sacred" (i.e., important) to us.