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The Birth of Surrealism… Paris, Spring of 1924

– – – Louis Aragon (1924)

It sometimes happens to me that suddenly I feel as if I have lost the thread of my own life:  I find myself wondering – sitting in some little corner of the world, next to a cup of coffee that is steaming and black, with polished pieces of metal around me, amidst the comings and goings of sweet but imposing  women – “by what road of madness have I landed finally under this arch that they so accurately call ‘the sky’?”  And this moment… when everything becomes un-graspable… when huge cracks appear in the palace of the world… I would give my whole life for this moment,  if it would only continue – at such a silly, risible price…     And at this time, one’s spirits detatch a little from the  mechanism of human activity: at this time,  I am no longer the rushing bicycle of my own senses,  I am no longer the grinding-mill of my own memories and of the people I’ve met.  At   this time, I am aware of the contingent, the temporary, the ephemeral in myself…  I understand all at once how I am more than my accustomed  self:  the ephemeral is actually  m e  !!!     And once I have arrived at this thought,  I find myself laughing  when I think of every kind of  human activity.

And it is at this point, no doubt, that those people fall silent: those men and women who leave, on a particular day, with a clear look in their eyes. And this is when, certainly,  t h a t   way of thinking begins: which is no longer – no, not at all any longer – that old game of mirrors – or of several, excellent mirrors – and that is so lacking in danger.  If you have felt – even  one time  – this vertigo, then it becomes impossible to go on accepting those mechanical, mechanistic ideas which are the way, today, almost every human activity is summarized. And it becomes impossible to accept the comfort and tranquillity which comes from that.  And you can sense, at the root of every train of thought, however clear… an axiom that you hadn’t thought of, that you cannot quite grasp, which belongs to some other, forgotten system of thought, no longer up for discussion,  but which still leaves its rutted tracks at the back of your mind…  this formula that was not the thing you were talking about…

And so…  philosophers speak in proverbs, and they make their proofs.  They tie up their imaginations in these strange chains, stolen from famous tombs.  They shine light only on facets of the truth, and what they believe to be true is only partially the truth.

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If, suddenly, I find myself thinking about the way my life runs… and if I forget the way my mind and thinking have been taught to be… and if I reign in a little my awareness of that life which runs its course through me – and which escapes me… then all at once: “What does it all mean?”  Suddenly I have no expectations of the world. What do I care about some new discovery, and its practical applications?  Knowing!!!  A stone thrown into the abyss knows nothing but its own acceleration – and doesn’t even know that, to tell the truth…  You have to see how a man is victim of his own mirrors.. the mirrors that he erects… crying out with all the emotion of his own little theatre: “Oh!!!… what is going to happen?”  As if he had some choice… when it is so completely pointless: “Oh boiling sea, I am your battered cliff.  Rise, rise, child of the moon: you tides… I am the one who is gradually worn away, and carried off by the wind…”

And here is a simple practice: when the night is too dark for me –  with its phantoms, and its horrors – if I reach out my hands to the light of distant light-houses… if I join together the famous constellations with the imagined lines that make them – a simple practice – if I sing – very quietly – if I walk… if I think… and if I just open my eyes that have seen nothing yet.

But amongst all the tunes that sometimes I hum, there is still one that gives me, even today, an untrammeled illusion of Spring and of fields: an illusion of real freedom. Sometimes I forget this tune… and then, suddenly, I find it again.  Freedom, freedom… it’s the time of day – the time of the evening – when the wind’s chains of transparent links fly away across the watered silks of the sky, it’s the time of the evening when the ball and chain become slaves of the ankle, and handcuffs become jewels… And sometimes, on the walls of his cell, the hermit and recluse scratches into the stone an inscription that sounds on the hard surface like the sound of wings. And sometimes he sculpts, above a rivet, a calligraphed symbol of the lovers of the earth. And it’s because he’s dreaming. And I, too, am dreaming… am transported… am dreaming…  And I dream of a long, long dream where everyone else is dreaming, too… I do not know what will come of this new movement of dreams. I am dreaming at the edge of the world, and at the edge of the night.

So what is it you want to say to me, you, who are way off in the distance?  Calling out to me with cupped hands, laughing at what the dreamer is doing… At the edge of the night and of crime, at the edge of crime and of passion… Oh,  Rivieras of irreality… your casinos – without distinction of age – open their gambling halls to all and everyone who wants to lose!  It is time, it is really time, believe me, to not be winning any more…

“Who’s there?”  Well, okay then: let infinity enter!

pp. 9-10,  27-29    A Wave of Dreams

a complete English translation is here:

…Cold is a purifying agent…

…cold is a purifying agent – just like salt and alcohol (sake), flowing air and perfect words – like the first two, it is a traditional means of preserving food. When you perform misogi, not only do you stimulate the hind-part of the brain associated with altruism, and kick your blood circulation and your immune system into overdrive…. you also drop your body temperature to a place where many micro-organisms slow down or cannot survive.

But I’m realizing, as the temperatures in Boise hover in the single digits and the teens: this cold, and the snow and the ice, transform our walking, cycling, driving, into a meditation practice.

read more…

…from Cool Memories IV, 1995-2000…

– – – by Jean Baudrillard

A photographer dreams of an arctic light, of rarified air where things acquire the precision that they would have in pure vacuum. This is also the illusion of the mind, which perceives an idea, a word, or even a whole sentence delineated with absolute clarity, with only the slight scintillation that distance creates, and it has this belief that the whole world is like this – right there, too – but in a hidden dimension, from which only a few fragments emerge, touched by the grace of the moment.

* – * – *

As for Lévi-Strauss, he is immortal. He awaits, from the depths of his scholarly immortality, the return of cultures without writing. He perhaps does not have much longer to wait. Because the one that approaches, illiterate and overflowing with information, will be without writing, also. That is our future ‘primitive’ society.

* – * – *

Let’s stop blaming our actions on some outside, objective cause: which is the same as saying that we have nothing to do with anything that happens – which is actually humiliating.  Let us accept the hypothesis that our problems befall us because of some malignant spirit which is our own. Let us be worthy of our own perverseness, of our own propensity for evil: let us be equal to our own tragic stupidity.

pp. 75, 87

AN AME-NO-UZUME-NO-MIKOTO-ZOU for Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America

[UPDATE:] …the AME-NO-UZUME-ZOU is cast and remains a laborious and painstaking process of polishing…CASThokothreejewels2CROPCASTassemblingwLHspearCROP

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[UPDATE:]  Application of the mold rubber to the drum is complete…
…and in the background, Barry-san prepares a lego container for the first layer of mold rubber to be poured onto AME-NO-UZUME-ZOU’s spear…
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UZUME_April6_drum_mothermoldbegin_72dpi800pxWCROP

..outside the silicone, Barry-san applies burlap soaked in plaster-of-paris as the first layer of the drum’s mother mold…
UZUME_April7_removMoldFromDrum_72dpi800pxWCROP...as Barry-san removes first the mother-mold and then the silicone rubber from the original sculpture of the drum, it becomes obvious why a supporting mother mold is so critical to the process!

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[UPDATE:]  AME-NO-UZUME-ZOU’sarms are being molded separately… so many layers of multi-colored silicone are applied…

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Back to the main part of the ZOU:  all the layers of mold material have been built up. Next is a hard shell: sometime referred to as the mother mold. This  will be comprised of several separate sections. Parting lines of water-based ceramic clay define the sections (the wet clay is covered overnight with plastic to keep it from drying out).

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Barry begins to apply the “Plasti-paste II” which will form the hard mother mold. The paste is a two-component, fiber-filled resin:  when the two parts are mixed the paste is workable for JUST 10 MINUTES before it begins to set. Barry-san must mix and apply multiple small batches of Plasti-paste. AMEZOUstartingmothermoldCROP

[UPDATE:]  Kimbal Sensei builds a base for AME-NO-UZUME-ZOU, using an actual wooden tub as a basis for the clay sculpture of a taiko drum… AME-NO-UZUME-NO-MIKOTO danced on an upturned tub, to tempt the Sun Goddess out of the cave… thereby inventing both Kagura sacred dance and taiko-drumming…

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[UPDATE:] Meanwhile AME-NO-UZUME-ZOU is now in the molding room – at Laf’n Bear Sculpture Studio, pictured here with Dojo member, Barry Moore, of BearCast Molding and Casting:

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Barry-san begins to apply the first “imprint” coat of silicone molding material  carefully drizzled on with a brush, then moved into fine detail areas with compressed air.  

24 hours later, the silicone has set to a rubbery firmness, and more layers of silicone are added,  to build up thickness.  

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Barry-san tints each coat to help keep track of the layers.  On day 2, AME-NO-UXUME-ZOU is robed in purple…

First thing in the morning on day 3, another layer, this time pink.  Each successive layer is somewhat more viscous and thicker than the previous layer.

Purple again… and by early afternoon on day 3, Barry-san is adding tabs of cured silicone to the seamlines to reinforce those areas.  Held in place by T-pins, the overall effect is one of an odd variation of acupuncture.  The tabs are “glued” into place with yet another layer of silicone mold material…

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– – – by Kimbal Anderson Sensei

For some weeks, now, I’ve been working at constructing a statue for Tsubaki Jinja in America.  While we tend to think of Shinto as being very much based in natural phenomena – we think of the beautiful torii gate in the middle of a  forest… or the sacred stones surrounded by shimenawa…there is, in fact, quite a bit of lineage concerning the making of sacred images. For instance, if you go to a shrine and you’re going to make a branch shrine – a secondary shrine – they will give you a go-shintai:  a go-shintai is something that has been blessed by the parent shrine, and it’s like a little holographic chunk of what the parent shrine has… and often it’s a little statue.
shindenwAMENOUZUMEZOU5CROP

SarutahikoZou2CROPNow, at Tsubaki America Jinja, there is already a
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statue, which I was able to construct, and which  has been there for many years, and it has found its way into rooting itself into the landscape properly.

I had made a statue of
AME-NO-UZUME-NO-MIKOTO
before, and wanted to give one to the shrine, as a gift from our school.  I feel that it’s really important to consider female  energy – she represents, of course, sacred movement, for us in aikido – but also the balancing aspect of having both kinds of energy in a place:  the sacred marriage of the energies.

AMENOUZUMENOMIKOTOzou2016inSHINDEN2CROPThe first time around, I built her just as a pure figure, with the properties which are folk-loric, but without the well-known story. But this time, we’re including the story, and that’s why she’s decorated the way she is, with a bamboo frond in one hand, and a head-dress  of sakaki and a belt of woven club-moss. Now each one of these has some meaning… and I also put tama in her head-dress, and suchlike…

I also looked at some ancient, ancient stuff: the shamanesses and oracles in old Korea –  women who danced – and women who are reflected in the first miko  that ruled Japan… I think that pretty much
AME-NO-UZUME-NO-MIKOTO
is a metaphor for them, and these dances… they are basically spiral dances.

AMENOUZUMENOMIKOTOzou2016CCROPAnd I wanted to make her spear a particular way,  so that while it’s not the Spirit that Creates the Earth in particular, yet there’s a reason she has it. So I like the idea of it being the jeweled spear of creation – and it’s also a  male principle that she’s holding, there.

I really like the old Jomon pottery.  There are so many similarities to the world of Shinto shrines as they are today: the Oyu stone circles on the top of a hill…  with a Te-Mizu-ya – a place for washing hands and mouth clean – just down the hill, before you oyuyangCROPget to the top…  and pottery discovered there, decorated with the image of people seated,  meditating, with halos…  from this time, the decoration always has a  very clear yang, or a very clear yin feel to it: and there are a lot of spiral  designs.

So I  reflected these spiral designs on her garments, as an allusion to the ancient knowledge.

AMENOUZUMENOJOMON2016CROPAnd I’m going to construct the tub that she  dances on in the story. And I’m going to use the old version: people often think it should  be something like an old whiskey barrel, but my own feeling is that  it’s much more like  the thing I make my sushi-rice in. More like  a straight-sided cylinder.

And I’d like to make it so that when the wind  blew, she danced  – I could balance her so she could rotate.

My inspiration is to support Tsubaki  America. I’ve been involved for 30  years, trying to help Guji-san make daigi7CROPthat shrine-world possible for Americans to experience. He’s done such an amazing job with the energy, there:  it truly is one of the most extraordinarily potent places on  the planet.

I think the
AME-NO-UZUME-ZOU
will be really be nice because  it’ll help balance everything.  Guji-san has a wonderful spot in mind, where she and her  husband will be able to see each other, so they can be conjoined in that spot. And people will be able to come and experience it.

haniwaI’d also like to make some of those figures, those really ancient Haniwa,  guardians… to give the shrine a connection to the very, very ancient stuff. If you look at these  ancient things, you know, they’ve carried  over… it’s the deep soil of it.

And I hope to have the
AME-NO-UZUME-ZOU
reproduced, reduced in size, for people  who would like to have one… about the size of a Goshintai, so if you have a shrine at home you could have it…

Ideally we’d cast it in meteorite-iron….  we’ll see!UZUME_April6_drum_mothermoldbegin_72dpi800pxWCROP