Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Part III: Off to the Asylum - Rational Anti-psychiatry

This visual narrative is based on the works of Professor Richard Benthall, particularly his book Doctoring the Mind.

The difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist is that a psychiatrist treats diseases of the brain (which can produce mental disease) and the latter treat diseases of the mind. Psychiatrist's first line of choice for treatment is drugs. The psychologist's first line of choice for treatment is thought processes, the mind, emotion and behaviours.

In the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s psychiatrists experimented with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT - commonly known as electric shock treatment), prefrontal leucotomy (the lobotomy) and insulin coma therapy on their patients in asylums.

ECT convulsions could break the patient's bones, so they introduced muscle-relaxant drugs. The closest man was getting to perceiving mental illness was spiritual and of the mind, is by the use of ECT which was using electricity as a force, to quell the emotionally charged (spirit) mind. The ECT was traumatizing and could cause brain damage.

Insanity has a continuum starting from sanity to thought disorder – apathy – antiedonia (inability to experience pleasure) – emotional flatness – personality disorders – psychotic behaviours (bipolar disorder: manic depressant), unipolar depression and then schizophrenia.

Psychological problems fall under the term psychosis. Psychosis includes bipolar and schizophrenia. Schizophrenia people have psychotic disorders during which hallucinations and delusions can occur.

Hallucinations can be auditory, visual and tactile. Delusions are bizarre beliefs.

Psychiatrists often use heritability as a statistical measure. This is somewhat true in the extent that in Christian psychology, curses through the generations are often affected in families. Christians use family constellations and check generational curses that may be apparent. These are removed by the curse being broken through the name of and by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The New Testament gives us such examples of Jesus exorcising demons from insane people e.g. the man who had a 'legion' of demons in him, and they were cast out by Jesus and then sent into a swine of pigs who then went crazy and drove themselves into the sea to die.

The ancients were also clued up in that the origins of mental instability was spiritual but they perceived it differently. In The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of Bicameral Mind, Julian Jaynes' book present a startling thesis, based on an analysis of the language of the Iliad, that the ancient Greeks were not conscious in the same way that modern humans are. Because the ancient Greeks had no sense of "I" (also Victorian England would sometimes speak in the third person rather than say I, because the eternal God - YHWH was known as the great "I AM") with which to locate their mental processes. To them their inner thoughts were perceived as coming from the gods, which is why the characters in the Iliad find themselves in frequent communication with supernatural entities. Jayne's theory (which is not taken seriously by modern classicists), therefore, implies there was a time that hearing voices was once a normal and 'natural' experience.

The process of the mind works as thus: a thought enters the mind (this could be from a bad spirit or a good spirit), that thought for a Christian is then taken for discernment. A Christian is obliged to be obedient to Christ with their thoughts, pulling down any vain imagination that would exalt itself against God. It is within this split second that the thought can charge the emotions, which will cause the action (or resultant behaviour happening). If one is under the influence of drugs or alcohol this is tampered with.

If that thought produces anger, jealousy, resentment, bitterness or whatever emotion it then leads onto a behaviour being acted out. e.g. anger may lead to murder, resentment may lead to some gossip. This is why it is important for the Christian to take every thought to the captivity of Christ, so we do not allow our emotions to control us or make us sin.

Psychologists use CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) in an attempt to help patients achieve emotional stability by finding more rational and adaptive ways of thinking.

Thought enters the mind --- in a split second it converts into emotion of some sort (it may be a strong emotion or weak emotion, e.g. anger, jealousy, hate or mild - contemplation, serenity etc) --- then it produces the behaviour --- the bodily action (speech/words, physicality/expressions).

One common functioning of the psychotic mind is premature evaluations and jumping to conclusions. Patients with psychotic disorders, especially those with delusions, tend to guess prematurely.

There are three major problems:

  1. Self esteem
  2. Jumping to conclusions; and
  3. Theory of mind problems.

Self-esteem is on a continuum belonging to the EGO. To the far left is a low self esteem, middle - healthy self esteem and far right - arrogance. What affects this for the individual is the emotion of pride. People who are very proud will either fall at arrogance, but ALSO at low self-esteem. It is still a problem of pride, but inverted so. Self consciousness and excessive shyness is about using pride to protect oneself from rejection or being hurt; it is still extreme behaviour dominated by the emotion of pride. A humble spirit will fit safely in the middle of this continuum.

Jumping to conclusions is when the thought has entered the mind (and it may just be a vain imagination) then the emotions are charged and acted on straight away without waiting and checking first.

Theory of mind problems is centered around dysfunctional assumptions about the world around a person. For example depressed patients are prone to such thought because of their pessimistic reasoning style and often lack of hope (more on this later).

Two jars are filled with beads, one with mostly white beads and a few that were coloured red, and one with mostly red beads and a few that were coloured white.

The jars are then hidden away and the participants are shown a single bead and told that they could either guess which jar it had been taken from or ask to see another bead from the same jar. Most people taking this test wait ask to see another few beads before reaching a decision.

The research (R. E. J. Dudley and D. E. Over, 2003, People with delusions jump to conclusions: a theoretical account of research findings on the reasoning of people with delusions in Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 10: 263 - 74) shows in this exercise that those with psychotic disorders, tend to guess prematurely, in fact many guess after seeing just one bead.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fact File: Series 2: Chess

  1. Chess was primarily played by the upper classes of society and royalty, and thus became known as the game of kings.
  2. The rook is named from an Arabic word rukh, meaning chariot. During the Middle Ages when chariots were no longer in use, the rook was gradually modified to look more like the turret of a castle.
  3. Researchers think chess may have originated in India as a war game, chatarung, dating to as early as A.D. 600. Chess originated in India in the 6th century. It was called "chaturanga", which means literary "four divisions of the military". Another theory is that is started in China around the 2nd century BC. Chess reached Europe and Russia around the 10th century.
  4. The piece that is now the queen originally was the king's adviser. Europeans changed it to a queen, and it became the strongest piece on the board in the 1400s.
  5. The word “checkmate” came from the Persian phrase “shad mat.”, which means the king is defeated.
  6. Lewis Carrol’s novel “Through the looking Glass” was based on a chess game, just like Alice in Wonderland was based on playing cards.
  7. The Arabic world, the Chinese, and later the Europeans used the chessboard as a tool for calculating and a means for expressing mathematical concepts. In medieval England, financial accounts were settled on tables resembling chessboards. When the Normans created the royal office of collection for the crown, they called it the Exchequer, and its minister the “Chancellor of the Exchequer”, because the court originally used a checkered cloth to cover the table where judgments were made. Exchequer comes from Old French, where eschequier meant counting table, and eschec meant chess. This makes the "Chancellor of the Exchequer" literally the "Chancellor of the Chessboard!"

Friday, December 10, 2010

Part II: Meet the Mad Hatter - the Psychology of Insanity

The latest visual narrative in the series Knight Move Thinking. This one is about the psychology of insanity.

Everywhere, in all times, among all classes of humanity insanity is denoted by an enormous expansion of egotism. The expansion is so great that for the time being it constitutes a state of mind in which the sense of self in the victim is exaggerated to the point of supreme superiority to any and all others. Whoever, or whatever seems to question this superiority, is at once an anathema, is a fit subject for discipline, for being "put in their proper place." A corollary manifestation is an immense acceleration of pride, of conceit, of vanity, of determination to demand respect and obedience.

There is no room for Love but self-love, any sympathy but self pity, any charity but pardon and forgiveness to rebels who surrender, to converts who render obeisance, to supporters who accept without question the Authority.

Drawings from Sir John Tenniel.
Cards from : The Unemployed Philosopher's Guild

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Part I: Knight Move Thinking

More images by John Tenniel can be found here:

Knight's move thinking: a knight moves 1 square orthogonally or 1 square diagonally.
In psychological terms a person can follow an individual's train of thought as there is a link of sorts – a progression of ideas – but it veers off. The problem is that the ideas are linked in ways which make very little overall sense to anyone but the sufferer. This is often a feature of psychosis related to mania or dementing disorder.

It is a disturbance of speech, communication, or content of thought – e.g. delusions, ideas of reference, poverty of thought, flight of ideas, perseveration, loosening of associations.

What is thought disorder?
Our thoughts are revealed in our speech. Thus, observation of patterns of thought naturally involves close observation of the speech of the individual being considered. A psychologist will observe degree, frequency, and the resulting functional impairment. However, it is not to be confused with petit mal seizures, hesitation brought on my anxiety or excessive self consciousness, or slow thought processes.

There are numerous categorised thought disorders, here I have compiled a brief list with simple definitions.

Clanging: a rambling stream-of-conscious-train with a pitty, poetic phrase (can be seen in hip hop lyrics with those under drug induced psychosis). Rhyming or alliteration may lead to the appearance of logical connections where none in fact exists. This disorder is also associated with the irregular thinking apparent in psychotic mental illnesses (e.g. schizophrenia). Sentences are usually patently absurd. Most clang associations are usually non-sense. A manic bi-polar could say "he raged at the hypocrisy of the aristocracy democracy."

Blocking: Interruption of train of speech before completion. This is commonly seen when a joke is being told and the speaker forgets the punchline. True blocking, however, is when the speaker does not recall the topic he/she was discussing. True blocking is a common sign of schizophrenia.

Circumferential speech: speech that is delayed at reaching its goal. Excessive long-windedness. Speaking about many concepts related to the point of the conversation before eventually returning to the point and concluding the thought.

Derailment: (Knight move thinking): ideas slip off the topic's track on to another which is obliquely related or unrelated. "I decided to take control of my life and went outside, err waxed my nails in the thunderstorm".

Distractible speech: during mid speech, the subject is changed in response to a stimulus.

Evasive interaction: attempts to annunciate ideas and/or feelings about another individual comes out as evasive or in a diluted form.

Flight of ideas: (Knight move thinking): a sequence of loose associations or extreme tangentiality where the speaker goes quickly from one idea to another seemingly unrelated ideas. To the listener, the ideas seem unrelated and do not seem to repeat. Often pressured speech is also present.

Illogicality: conclusions are reached that do not follow logically (non-sequiturs or faulty inferences), e.g. Do you think this will fit in the box? draw a rely like "well duh, it's red isn't it."

Incoherence (word salad): speech that is unintelligible because, though the individual words are real words, the manner in which they are strung together results in incoherent gibberish e.g. the question "Why do people smoke a pipe?" elicits a response like "because it makes a twirl in my life my cup is broken help me white elephant. Isn't the goldfish brave?"

Loss of goal: failure to show a train of thought to a natural conclusion e.g. "Why does my computer keep crashing?" "Well you drive a truck, so the tweezers need to be in another drawer".

Phoenemic paraphasia: mispronunciation; syllables out of sequence: e.g. I slipped on the lice and broke my arm."

Pressure of speech: an increase in the amount of spontaneous speech compared to what is considered customary. Difficult to interrupt the speaker; the speaker may continue speaking even when a direct question is asked.

Semantic paraphasia: substitution of inappropriate word e.g. "I slipped on the coat, on the ice I mean, and broke my book."

Stilted speech: speech excessively stilted and formal e.g. "his attorney comported himself indecorously."

Thought insertion: this is the experience of one's thoughts not being one's own but that they have been 'inserted' into one's head by a third party. People experiencing this symptom find it extremely difficult to organise or control their thoughts, partly because they see little point in trying to control the thoughts which belong to someone else. These 'inserted' thoughts are often demanding or controlling and can lead the sufferer to behave in ways they normally wouldn't. In the Christian context this is demonic possession.

"God has not given to us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a SOUND MIND."

To moralize if I can, young people (teenagers and young adults) are particularly vulnerable to psychosis brought on by the use of drugs and excessive consumption of alcohol to drunkenness.

Psychotic disorders: schizophrenia, drug-induced psychosis, psychotic depression, bi-polar disorder, Alzheimer's disease, multi-infarct dementia, delirium tremens, Korsakoffs' syndrome (alcohol related dementia).

Two main psychotic symptions: hallucinations (the more serious) and thought disorder.

Below some of the images used for the visual narrative and collage.

Alma Tadema

Knight's Templar playing chess

Enxadrismo Gravura

Napoleon Chess Set

Rick Ross Blade Runner Chess Set

All Strung Up: Temptation ... Frustration you know how bad it gets!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The myth of Cupid and Psyche: Just another fallen angel

Genesis 6: 1 "When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God [angelic beings] saw that the daughters of men [humans] were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose."

The bible attests to angels being shape-shifters, that is they could take on human form: eat, sleep and would be able to have sexual intercourse. It is of my opinion that angels were also male in gender (but were not given in marriage as they were not created to be procreative as humans - another reason for their jealousy of mankind).

Verse 3: "Then the Lord said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal [making a comparative inference that the angels were immortal, therefore, God has to change the human's life span]; his days will be a hundred and twenty years."

Verse 4: "The Nephilim were on the earth in those days --- and also afterward --- [after what? the Deluge?] when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. [Greek mythology's foundation is found here, the demi-gods are born]. They were the heroes of old, men of renown. [that is the heroes of mythologies and legends].

Verse 6: "And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth [remember we are made in God's image, unlike the angels], and it grieved him at his heart."

Verse 7: "And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, [but here it gets tricky, why would God want to destroy the beasts as well? because the angels had sexual intercourse with them and produced hybrid animal monstrosities and beasts; the fallen angels introduced bestiality to mankind] and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repents me that I have made them."

Nephilim: the word means 'giant' in the English language. The nephilim were believed to be the offspring of the illegal marriages between the sons of God and the daughters of men. They are believed to be the mighty men of renown who ruled the world before the flood, as recorded in Genesis 6:4. Thy were considered to be tyrannical bullies that ruled the mortals of their era with cruelty and ruthlessness, including human sacrifice to appease their anger.

Extensive etymology of the name infers they were fallen creatures, angelic beings whom Jude tells us kept not their first estate. These were, according to word meanings, considered to be the fallen angels who cast themselves down to the earth to inhabit flesh and so procreate themselves to take over its rule. They wanted to experience what humans were experiencing: sex. (See Jude 4). They were judged by the Creator as fugitives and inferior as angels go. They were archons of the day and are presently under Creator arrest until such time as they are released on the earth for its final judgement.

The story of Cupid and Psyche is classic of the probability of how some of these fallen angels worked in relation to women's propensity for being deceived.

Story from the book Classic Myth and Legend by A. R. Hope Moncrieff

Chapter One:
Aphrodite's Rival (Roman goddess - Venus)
Once upon a time a king and queen had three fair daughters, of whom the two eldest at fit time came to wed princely suitors. But the youngest, Psyche, was so wondrously beautiful that no one durst woo her, who seemed worthy rather of adoration. Men gazed at her from afar as at a goddess and the rumour went that this was no mortal maiden, but Aphrodite herself revealed one earth to show her matchless charms in flesh and blood.

So eager was all the world to behold this prodigy, that far and wide the altars of the true goddess stood cold and silent, her chief shrines at Cnidus, Paphos, and Cythera deserted by the crowds flocking to strew flowers under the feet of Psyche. The jealous Aphrodite, seeing herself neglected for such a rival, called on her son to avenge her with his mischievous arrows. 

"Inflame her heart with love, but with the hottest love for the meanest wretch alive, so that together they may come to poverty and sorrow!"

Young Cupid needed not the kisses and caresses with which she would have coaxed him to such an errand. Ever too ready to play his cruel tricks, he promised to do his mother's bidding, and flew off to work harm for Psyche. But at the first sight of her beauty he was so amazed that he dropped on his foot the shaft he had made ready for her, and so became wounded by the enchantment of his own weapon. Himself unseen, he loved this mortal as hotly as he though to make her love some unworthy man.

Meanwhile it grieved Psyche's parents that so many came to wonder at but none to wed their youngest daughter, left at home like a virgin-widow, lamenting her too renowned charms. The anxious father sought an oracle of Apollo to know how she should find a husband; and the answer filled him with dread. On the top of a high rocky mountain, he was told, he must leave his daughter alone in bridal array. There should she be wooed by one of whom the very gods stood in fear: she whom men likened to Aphrodite was worthy of no common mate.

Hard was it to part with their daughter thus; but her parents durst not disobey the oracle. At nightfall they led her up the mountain, with a wedding train that seemed rather a funeral, for the light of the torches burned dim, and the songs of the bridesmaids turned to dirges, and poor Psyche was fain to dry her tears with her bridal veil. But having resigned herself to this strange fate as the will of the gods, she strove to comfort her weeping friends. The top of the mountain reached, they quenched the torches, and with tearful farewells left the maiden alone at dead of night as if borne here to her tomb.

When all were gone, Psyche stood shuddering in the chill darkness, so full of fear that she had almost called them to stay, or hurried after their footsteps while still heard on the mountain side. But soon came a gentle Zephyr [angelic being who creates wind] that softly wrapped her about and carried her away to lay her on a bed of scented flowers, where all the rest of the night she slept off her sadness and weariness.

Daylight awoke her to look round in wonder. CLose at hand, she saw a grove of tall tress, though which flowed a crystal stream, and on its banks stood a house so noble that it appeared the home of a god. The roof of costly woods was borne up by golden and ivory pillars; the floor was paved with coloured marbles, and the walls glowed with pictures inlaid in gems and precious metals. When Psyche ventured to enter, the found vast inner halls more and more splendid the farther she stole on tiptoe, filled with treasures from every part of the earth, and everywhere lit by a gleam of gold shining like the sun. And what seemed most marvellous all these riches were unguarded, every door stood open, and no living form came to view, as she passed from chamber to chamber, lost in astonishment at the wealth of their unknown lord.

"Who can it be that owns so many rich and beautiful things!" she cried out at length; and soft voices answered in her ear, though as yet she saw no human form.

"All are thine, Psyche! And we are they servants, appointed to wait on thee. Command us as thou wilt, and it shall be done."

When she was tired of wandering through the palace, and feasting her eyes on its beauty, Psyche took courage to try what such invisible attendants could do for her. Having refreshed herself by bathing in a bath of silver, she took her place at a golden table that was at once spread with the finest fare; then as she ate and drank, soft music arose and a choir of sweet voices filled the room where she sat alone.

So the day passed by as in a dream; and when night feel, she would have lain down on a soft couch spread for her by those unseen hands. Now was she aware of a shadow by her side, and had almost cried out for terror. But her fears were kissed away as she found herself warmly embraced in the darkness, and heard a voice murmuring in kindest tones ---

"Dear Psyche, I am the husband chosen for thee by destiny. Ask not my name, seek not to see my face; only believe in my love, and all will be well with us!"

The very sound of his voice and the very touch of his hand won Psyche's heart to this unseen bridegroom. All night he told her of his love, and before daylight dawned, he was gone, since so it must be, promising with a kiss to return as soon as darkness fell.

Thus it was, night after night, that went by in tender speeches and endearments; yet never culd she see her lover's face.

Chapter Two:
The Jealous Sisters
Psyche rejoiced in the love of this husband who came to her only by night; but sad were the long days through which she had to live alone. She soon wearied of wandering about her splendid house that seemed like a gilded cage; the daintiest food did not please her so long as no one shared it; the sunlit hours went too slowly by in sighing for the darkness that should bring back the joy of her life. In vain she begged him not to leave her by day, when she might see his face.

"It may not be," he whispered, and sealed her lips with kisses. "A dire danger threatens thee, if thou shouldest know who or what I am. Be content to trust in my love, that is ever thine."

Strive as she might to be content, still poor Psyche pined in that daily solitude; and she besought her unseen husband to let her have at least a visit from her sisters to cheer her in his absence.

"Dearest Psyche!" cried he, "I fear they will come to do thee harm. Already they seek thee on the rocky crest where thou wert last seen of men; but they bring hate and peril for our love."

Yet she wept and entreated, till in the end he gave her leave to see her sisters, making her promise to tell them nothing about himself. So next morning, when he vanished with daylight, the same Zephyr that had wafted Psyche to this beautiful valley, was charged to catch up her two sisters and bring them to the house in which she lived alone with invisible attendants.

Glad was she to see them again, and not less amazed were they by the riches and adornments of her new home. But when eagerly they questioned her as to the master of all this wealth, she put them off with short answers. Her husband, she said, was a handsome young prince who strayed out all day hunting in the woods. And lest she should be tempted by their curiosity to say more, she made haste to dismiss the sisters with costly presents before the hour that should bring him to her arms.

But they, filled with envy of her good fortune, came back next day set on knowing who could be that great lord so much richer than their own husbands. With caresses they again sought to worm the secret out of her; and this time, forgetting what she had said of him before, she gave out her husband as a grey-bearded merchant, whose affairs called him often away from home. Nor did the sisters fail to note how she contradicted herself, so letting them understand she had something to hide.

Again dismissed with rich presents, the jealous elders were hotter than ever to know the secret of Psyche's marriage. They guessed that this husband of hers must be no mere man, and enviously railed at her for making a mystery of his real name. So they hatched a plot, of which he was well aware, for that night he murmured in her ear ---

"Dearest one, beware of thy sisters. To-morrow they will tempt thee to look on me; but that would be the end of our happiness."

With tears and kisses Psyche vowed she would rather die a hundred times than disobey his least wish; and when left alone in the morning, she was determined to keep her secret. But soon came the sisters, who now coaxed and threatened her by turns, till in her confusion she owned to not having told them the truth. At least they pressed her to a confession that she had never seen this bridegroom who visited her only by dark night, and that she knew not even his name.

"Dear sister," said they, "it is as we feared. Believe us, who are older and wiser, and mean thy welfare. That false bridegroom is in truth a loathly monster that durst not meet the eye, lest love should be changed to horror. For all his fair words, his purpose is to devour thee secretly; and such will soon be Psyche's fate unless she act by our counsel."

"What shall I do?" cried Psyche, wringing her hands, for she believed their false words, knowing not why else her husband should remain every unseen.

"Have ready a lamp and a sharp knife," they bid her. "As soon as he is asleep, light the lamp, then the sight of the monster's hateful form will steel they hand to drive the knife to his cruel heart. THus only canst though save thine own life."

Earnestly urging her to follow their counsel without delay, her sisters left Psyche tossed in mind like the waves of the sea. She doubted whether to obey them or her own heart. She at once loved her unseen husband and hates the monster they pictured him to be. But as night drew near, she made ready the lamp and the knife, with which she hoped to find courage to save herself from the threatened destruction.

As always, her husband came home with the darkness, and after embracing Psyche, lay down in bed. Curiosity now aiding dread, she made up her mind at least to see what shape he bore. When his breathing told that he was asleep, she rose to light he lamp; then holding it up in one hand and the sharp knife in the other, she stole softly to his side.

A cry had almost burst form her lips, as the lamp-gleam showed the sweetest and loveliest of monsters, Cupid himself in the bloom of youthful beauty, with ambrosial locks curling about his rosy cheeks, and snow-white shoulders on which his wings were softly folded like flowers. At such a sight the knife dropped from Psyche's trembling hand. Beside him lay his bow and quiver, whence she drew out one of the golden-tipped arrows, and in examining it pricked her finger, instantly inflaming her blood with new love for a husband no longer unseen.

Bending over this sleeping form, she would have hastily stooped to kiss him, when in her agitation she let a drop of hot oil fall from the lamp upon his shoulder. Roused by the smart, Cupid sprang up, and at a glance understood all.

"Ah, Psyche!" he exclaimed, "thou hast ruined our love. Why listen to they treacherous sisters rather than to my warning? Now we must part for ever!"

In tearful entreaties she sank before him, and sought to clasp his knees; but he spread his wings and flew into the air without a look of forgiveness. At the same moment, the enchanted palace vanished about her like a dream, then Psyche stood alone in the cold darkness, calling vainly for the love she had lost, with his last words ringing in her ears.

Chapter Three:
Penance and Pardon
Psyche's first thought, as she turned away from the scene of her lost happiness, was to die in despair. Coming to a river bank, she threw herself into its black water; but the pitiful stream washed her ashore on the further side, and she wandered on, hardly knowing where she went. She passed through the cities where lived her sisters; and these jealous women would have persuaded her that she had done well to follow their advice, since love was a cruel monster, for all the fair shapes he would take. Yet, on hearing truly how it had gone with her, the sisters in turn stole away to the top of that high mountain, each hoping that she herself might be chosen for the bridge of a god. Far otherwise it fared with them, when, one after the other, they were caught up by a strong wind and cashed to destruction over the misty cliffs.

Meanwhile Psyche went her way alone through the world, everywhere seeking in vain for her vanished love. He, fevered by the pain of his burnt shoulder, or rather by the same grief as gave Psyche no rest by night and day, had taken refuge in his mother's chamber, and lay sick of a wound he durst not own. But a telltale bird whispered in Aphrodite's ear how Cupid had deigned to love a mortal, and hot was her anger to learn this no other than the very maid boasted on earth as her rival.

In sore dudgeon the resentful goddess tended her son with rating and upbraiding. She threatened to take away his arrows, to unstring his bow, to quench his torch and to clip his wings, that he might no more fly about playing mischievous pranks on gods and men. And though she could not bring herself to punish him as he deserved, all the more eagerly she sought out Psyche for her vengeance. In vain her sister goddesses strove to appease her, making excuses for that wilful boy, reminding her that he must not be treated always as a child, asking who might choose a bridge if not the god of love, and why marriage should be hateful in her family of all others.

Their jests but stirred the mother of Cupid to direr wrath. By leave of Zeus, she sent down Hermes to proclaim through the world that whoever sheltered Psyche should be punished as an enemy to the gods, but seven kisses from Aphrodite herself were offered as reward to whoever gave her up. This proclamation reached poor Psyche's own ears, when, tired of the bootless search for her husband, she was ready to throw herself on his mother's mercy; and, going from one temple to another, some kinder goddess gave her counsel to seek forgiveness at the queen of Love's. Having none other refuge in her hapless plight, as a humble suppliant she approached the halls of Aphrodite, where she had no sooner told her name than one of the servants dragged her by the hair into her mistress's presence.

"At last!" the goddess greeted her with mocking laughter. "At last, thou comest to greet they mother-in-law! Or is it to visit that husband of thine, that lies sick through they hurting? I have had trouble enough to catch thee; but now thou shalt not go without learning what it is to rival Aphrodite."

Tearing her clothes for rage, she gave over Psyche to be scourged by sore tormentors who stood ready to obey her will. The next morning she was called to where Aphrodite had mixed up together a heap of wheat, barley, millet, peas, beans, and other seeds. 

"Behold!, sift me all these seeds, laying each kind apart; and let me see it done by evening."

But a little ant took pity on Psyche's despair, and called out a troop of his kind to help Cupid's bride. 

At nightfall Aphrodite came back from the feast, wreathed with roses, scented odours, and flushed with wine. Darkly she frowned to see how the task had been accomplished.

"This is no work of thine!" she cried and thrust Psyche a crust of bread. Aphrodite had taken care to have her son locked up in an inner chamber, lest he and his bride should come to know how near they were to each other.

Next morning Psyche was roused betimes by her tyrant, who led her in sight of a rocky hill, and showed her a thicket at the top, about which fed a flock of wild sheep with fleeces shining like gold.

"They are untamed as lions," Aphrodite told her, "But I must needs have a handful of their golden fleece. Fetch it for me before the sun sets."

Psyche thought of throwing herself from the rocks rather than venture to handle such beasts. Then she looked down upon a deep pool which seemed fit for a grave, the Nymph of that fountain spoke form its depths.

"Psyche, defile not with they death my sacred water! I know what troubles thee, and can give helpful counsel. Now, in the heat of the sun, the wild creatures play and fight, and it would be dangerous to come near their sharp horns, yea, their venomous teeth. But when they are tired, they will lie down to sleep in the shade; then thou mayst safely steal up to where they have left their fleecy gold, torn by thorns or handing to the branches."

She took this good advice, and when the sheep lay down to rest, she was able to gather off the thorns a whole lapful of their golden wool, which she brought back long before evening. But obedience still gained her no favour.

"I will try thy courage and strength where there will be none to help" said Aphrodite. "Behold that cloudy mountain, from whose crest flows a black stream that waters the Stygian marsh and falls into the fiery river of Cocytus. Haste to fill this crystal urn from its icy source, then bring it back to me before sunset."

Psyche took the urn, and patiently set out on her errand, from which soon she never thought to come back alive. For as she toiled upwards, she saw how the way was guarded by fearsome dragons that from afar glared at her with burning eyes and hissed out of their swelling throats. And the cold stream was its own guard, falling over the slippery cliffs in cataracts that, as they dashed into a dark abyss, warned her back with angry voices.

"What doest thou here? Away, or be swept from our path!"

Long before she got near the top, Psyche sank down like a stone, too much dismayed even for tears. But a friend was at hand. Overhead hovered the eagle of Zeus, that, mindful how Cupid had guided its course when sent to fly away with Ganymede from Mount Ida, was now willing to serve his hapless bride.

"Weak and unknowing one," screamed the royal bird, as it swooped down upon the mountain side, "Canst thou hope to steal a drop from that sacred spring, or even to approach it? The very gods, yea Zeus himself, hold its black water in dread. But give the task to me."

She let the urn be snatched away in the eagle's claws, and swiftly it soared over the heads of the spitting dragons, and above the boiling cataracts into clouds that darkly wrapped the summit; then soon it came back with the urn filled from Stygian springs. Psyche thankfully took it, to carry it carefully down without spilling a drop. Yet not a whit was her mistress appeased.

"Ar thou, then, a witch, or wicked enchantress, so lightly to finish such perilous tasks?" said Aphrodite mockingly. "But thou shalt be tried still further, my darling, and learn what it is to have the goddess of love for foe!"

But those trials had an end when Cupid got to hear of his mother's cruelty, that made him love Psyche all the more. Escaping secretly from his sick-chamber, he flew up to Olympus, and besought Zeus to favour his wedding with a daughter of men

"Art thou one to ask indulgence at my hands!" quoth that father of the gods, stroking the lad's smooth face. "On which of us, pray, hast though not played those tricks of thine? I myself have been turned into a bull, a swan, or what not, through they forlicsome roguery. But we cherish thee kindly as the spoilt child of Olympus, for all they faults; and if I grant they prayer, be mindful of the grace thou hast ill deserved."

Forthwith Zeus sent out Hermes to summon a meeting of the gods, to which Aphrodite must come among the rest on pain of high displeasure; and Psyche, too, was brought in with downcast eyes that lit up at the sight of her lost over among the radiant band. When all were assembled, the father of heaven thus addressed them --- 

"Gods and goddesses, ye all know this tricksy boy, who has grown up among us, and whose wild pranks I have often had to chastise. Now he is of an age to settle down, with his wanton restlessness fettered in chains of marriage. He has chosen a bride among the daughters of men, to whom he has plighted his troth for weal or woe. What is done, is done; and so be it! Thou, mother  of love," he turned to Aphrodite, "Do not grudge this alliance with a mortal. To make her the equal of her spouse, I raise her among the gods: henceforth let none despise a child of heaven; and thou, Psyche, take from me the gift of immortality in reward of they faithful love."

With this he held a goblet of nectar to her trembling lips. Psyche drank the wine of the gods; but the charm of deathlessness that ran through her veins was not such a strong cordial as to find Cupid's arms once more thrown round her, in full light of day. All the gods hailed their union; for even Aphrodite ceased to frown when she saw her son's pouting face now bright with smiles, nor could she scorn a daughter-in-law welcomed to Olympus. 

After all their troubles, Cupid and Psyche were made happy; and their first child was a daughter named Joy. Nor was this last of the immortals the least among them in the eyes of generations to come, and in the honour of poets for her that had no priest. 

Further information about fallen angels:

Friday, November 26, 2010

Magic Lantern theatre: the beginning of movies.

Beginnings of the Movies:
The Fantastic Phantasmagorie -- Halloween

Though not the first such show, one of the best known of early horror shows was the Fantasmagorie (Phantasmagoria in English) -- the forerunner of the Halloween Show. It was produced by a Belgian, E'tienne Gaspard Robert, who called himself Robertson. At first Robertson simply gave scientific demonstrations with his lanterns. But upon discovering the French public's appetite for the macabre in the declining years of the Revolution, he opened an elaborate ghost show in Paris in 1799.

Beginnings of the Movies: The Phantasmagoria, One of Many Such  Magic-Lantern Traveling Shows Beginnings of the Movies: The audience reacts in delighted terror at the 1799 Phantasmagoria magic-lantern show in Paris -- the ancestor of today's Halloween horror movie.
The Phantasmagoria was held in an old convent that was converted into a magic-lantern theater. Dark passages decorated with mysterious pictures and the bones of dead monks led the audience to a catacomb hung with black velvet and lighted by a single lamp. The audience sat facing a screen behind which Robertson's magic-lanterns and assistants were hidden. He began by discussing "in scientific terms" the sensations created by thoughts of phantoms and witches.
Suddenly the lamp went out. Thunder roared and lightning flashed. Church bells tolled, the lightning and thunder increased, and a tiny figure -- half-human, half-demon -- appeared in the air, shimmering and ghostly. Gradually the figure seemed to approach, growing larger and larger, until suddenly it disappeared with a wail. Bats fluttered on the walls, ghosts and goblins groaned, skeletons came hurtling toward the audience.
Women who had come to the show fainted in terror. Bold men hid their eyes.
The show was a smash success -- the toast of Paris.
Robertson's performance was staged with the help of several magic lanterns and six assistants, all hidden behind the screen, on which the images were rear-projected. To make the images change size, Robertson used lanterns fitted with special self-focusing lenses, and mounted on large wheeled platforms. The lanterns could move backwards from the translucent screen, making the goblins and skeletons appear suddenly larger, as though they were moving toward the audience. Other images were projected on smoke, which make them swirl magically. Others were projected on the walls with hand-held lanterns, so that bats could flicker in the corners and dive-bomb the women's hair.
Robertson imitators were soon performing all over the continent, and throughout the coastal United States as well. The first Phantasmagoria show in America, in New York in 1803, was only four years after Robertson's show in Paris.
Half a century later the Phantasmagoria was still going strong. Joseph Boggs Beale, the man who would later become America's leading magic-lantern artist, saw a Phantasmagoria show as a young man in Philadelphia during the 1850s.
The Phantasmagoria intensified the tradition of ghost and goblin shows from the lantern's early days of the wandering showmen, and led to a whole genre of macabre magic-lantern slides. 

Re-blogged from this link.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fact File: Honey and Bees: Series 1

Here is my first attempt at Vonny's Did you Know series.

This is all about the honey bee.

I'm pretty much going to type that out, as this is not quite a good idea writing over patterned paper.

Bees and Honey Fact File:
Did you know?

  1. Honey is 25% sweeter than sugar.
  2. Honey is the only food that never spoils, it does, however, ferment.
  3. Honey is the only food produced by insects.
  4. The antioxidant called 'pinocembrin' is only found in honey.
  5. Honey was found in King Tut's tomb.
  6. The term "honeymoon" derived from drinking mead (honey wine) for a month (moon) after weddings.
  7. Honey was used right up until WWII for medicinal purposes when antibiotics were introduced in the 1940s.
  8. The life expectancy of a bee is 38 days.
  9. An average colony of  60,000 bees contain one mature queen and approximately 100 drones.
  10. Each worker bee functions in the roles of cleaner, nurse, stores, repairer, guard, and finally scout (forager) during their short life span.
  11. Each new job that a bee performs is signalled by a change in its body chemistry. For example, the bee has special pharyngeal or milk glands which are located in front of the brain. When these glands enlarge, the bee assumes its second identity; that of a nurse. As a hive is constructed in an hexagonal pattern, as a 'nurse' the worker bee begins with the oldest larvae in the hive. It feeds them and continues along the cells of eggs, working its way to younger larvae. Its milk glands will degenerate and it can no longer work as a 'nurse'. When forager bees return from the field the nectar is transferred to a worker bee who is in its third stage of development.
  12. The bee has a built in tool which works as a wiper to clean its eyes of pollen.
  13. The bees are a great example of co-operation and efficiency. If the hive is damaged, the bees change their responsibilities as if in a civil emergency. The secret is contained in the message of the honey the bees pass among themselves. Each bee contributes a distinct glandular secretion to the honey according to the function it performs. If one secretion is missing, a moaning sound travels throughout the hive. All the bees throb as though they were afflicted. This is their signal to adapt and change their roles.
  14. When the scout bee returns to the hive it brings a sample of the taste of a flower for other bees to taste.
  15. The bee then communicates back to the other bees in a body motion to indicate distance. The rate of a "tail wagging" motion is in direct proportion to the distance of the nectar. 
  16. The bees use the sun as a reference point to signal the direction of the nectar source from the hive. The bee will point its body vertically or downward position to convey angles. If this directional information is not correct the bees will die if they don't reach their destination as they only carry enough honey (which is their fuel) for that journey, unless they locate another glucose source; if they carry too much honey they will not have enough room for more nectar.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Honey Therapy: the health benefits of nectar and honey

I have just finished my visual narrative - Poisonous Venomed Barbs: Words that kill, you know the drill; and whenever I finish a visual I look at other ways of promoting it. I make collages to be the cover:

Then if I still have left-overs I make ATCs (Artist Trading Cards):

This time I've focused on the positive message of the visual narrative, so instead of the serpents, barbed wire and stabbings that were in the visual, I've taken on the positive message about our words.

So the collage and ATCs are aptly named Their Words Drop Like Honeycomb.

From this theme I like to develop it further as my visual narrative is about a medley of philosophical, psychological, religious, belief and spiritual elements; I feel I need to throw something in on those lines.

The Bee - is a symbol of co-operation, order, diligence, immortality and collaboration. It is often used in Christian symbolism. Also honey represents sweetness. Ancients regarded honey as a substance of great purity. The bee is also associated with royalty.

Bees resent with great fury any interference by men with their retreats (Deut 1:44; Psa 118:12).

Beeswax - is used for candles (liturgical alters) which signifies light.

In the Old Testament honey was not to be burned on the altar. This is because honey ferments. However, it could be used for first fruits and was presented for the use of the priests (2 Chron. 31:5).

Beehive - is a symbol of freemasonry and heraldry. It also represents the church.

Honey - References to honey convey sundry moral lessons found in the Bible (Ezek 3:3; Psalm 19: 10; Prov 16:24).

In Old Testament honey symbolized abundance and prosperity (Deut 32: 13; Job 20:17; Psa 81:16; Jer 41:8).

But honey can also be a symbol of deprivation and judgement (Isa 9:22). Proverbs tells us it is good to eat honey but not in excess.

In the Song of Solomon eating honey is symbolized for sexual pleasure (Song 4:11; 5:1).

Honey was administered soon after birth, when evil spirits were meant to be especially potent. Honey and sweet things were believed to drive evil spirits away. This was due to its ability to restore a person's health, which had been initially believed to be caused by evil spirits.

The Poles ornament the bride's lips with honey. This is interesting when we look at it from the perspective of the Book of Proverbs and Song of Song. In Croatia and Turkey a cup of honey is handed to the bridge at the door.

Heathen nations offered honey to their gods, but the Hebrews were prohibited because it fermented (as previously posted). The fermentation in honey was symbolic of corruption.

Benefits of Honey
As with all remedies outlined below, you are cautioned not to use honey without the approval and strict control of your physician/doctor if you are on prescriptive pharmaceuticals.

Honey in biblical times was not only used in its separate state, but fruit was preserved in it too. It is good to eat honey, but not to indulge to surfeit (Prov 25: 16, 24). It is good for your health (Prov 24: 13).

It has invigorating powers (aphrodisiac). 1 Sam 14: 26; 29; 2  Sam 17: 29.

The ancients used this nectar from heaven as a remedy for everything from arthritis and asthma, to burns, constipation, and hangovers, form hay fever to haemorrhoids, migraine, and shingles, from varicose ulcers to bathe wounds. It warded off infections and speeded healing.

Why does honey have such a fatal effect on germs? It's to do with its capability of absorbing moisture (humectant). Honey can withdraw a moisture from a rock, metal or glass container. The moisture holding ability that honey has can be readily observed in bread and cakes that contain honey and that remain moist.

When germs come into contact with honey, all their moisture is withdrawn – germs shrivel and die. Disease producing germs cannot live without water, and honey sucks it out of them, causing them to die. This wards off infections and speeds healing.

Honey contains three ingredients that make it ideal for treating wounds – it's ability to absorb water, making it hard for bacteria to survive; it contains hydrogen peroxide that disinfects cuts and scrapes; and it contains propolis - a compound in nectar that can kill bacteria.  Manuka honey produced in New Zealand (where the bees feed on a type of flowering shrub called the Manuka) appears to kill the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers.

Honey should never be consumed in high doses or to infants as it may contain a small number of spores called Clostridium botulism. The spores can grow, causing a serious form of food poisoning.

Honey is also a fine heart stimulant, which peps up the heart temporarily and then wears off.

Honey is also a sedative so it relieves any tension in the nervous system.

Feel free to email or comment about this article if you have other material to add.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Poisonous Venomed Barbs: Words the Kill, you know the Drill

Here is another visual narrative based on a medley of Biblical proverbs. It's about life and death being in the power of the tongue.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Strumpets of Sodoma – the Burning

There were still left overs, so now I miniature collaged them (is there such a word?).

As you can see with new altering and embellishing of those frightful images of Sodom burning into flames, they have now become their own picture stories, or have taken on a completely new look and feel altogether --- a complete transformation.

Strumpets of Sodoma – the Burning

Here is the collage I made from excess materials not used in the visual narrative.

Monday, November 8, 2010

These images also acted as inspiration for my visual narrative Strumpets of Sodoma - the Burning. These images are collages taken from the Book Une Semaine De Bonte - a surrealistic novel in collage by Max Ernst. Published by Dover Publications.

The book is made up of four books with collaged images providing a story which the reader interprets.

Gods' Man - a novel in woodcuts by Lynd Ward

This is a book republished by Dover Publications. On every page is a wood cut by Lynd Ward. His workmanship is exquisite.

Reading it is like watching one of those silent films, as this book has no words on the pages. It is totally a picture book  --- Alice would have loved it.

It is about a young male artist who is seduced by a whore who takes advantage of him, he is then beaten by the pimps. It also brings a measure of the 'Faust' appeal, as he takes a sceptre from the devil himself.

When he is happily married with a family, the devil comes back ... but I'll let you enjoy the 'siting' of the pages.

This book was the inspiration for my visual narrative "Strumpets of Sodoma - the burning". It is dedicated to all those Sir Simple's out there.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Strumpets of Sodoma – the Burning

Proverbs 7
 1 My son, keep my words 
   and store up my commands within you. 
2 Keep my commands and you will live; 
   guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. 
3 Bind them on your fingers; 
   write them on the tablet of your heart. 
4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” 
   and to insight, “You are my relative.” 
5 They will keep you from the whorish woman, 
   from the wayward woman with her seductive words.
 6 At the window of my house
   I looked down through the lattice.
7 I saw among the simple,
   I noticed among the young men,
   a youth who had no sense.
8 He was going down the street near her corner,
   walking along in the direction of her house
9 at twilight, as the day was fading,
   as the dark of night set in.
 10 Then out came a woman to meet him,
   dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent.
11 (She is unruly and defiant,
   her feet never stay at home;
12 now in the street, now in the squares,
   at every corner she lurks.)
13 She took hold of him and kissed him
   and with a brazen face she said:
 14 “Today I fulfilled my vows,
   and I have food from my fellowship offering at home.
15 So I came out to meet you;
   I looked for you and have found you!
16 I have covered my bed
   with colored linens from Egypt.
17 I have perfumed my bed
   with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.
18 Come, let’s drink deeply of love till morning;
   let’s enjoy ourselves with love!
19 My husband is not at home;
   he has gone on a long journey.
20 He took his purse filled with money
   and will not be home till full moon.”
 21 With persuasive words she led him astray;
   she seduced him with her smooth talk.
22 All at once he followed her
   like an ox going to the slaughter,
like a deer stepping into a noose
 23 till an arrow pierces his liver,
like a bird darting into a snare,
   little knowing it will cost him his life.
 24 Now then, my sons, listen to me;
   pay attention to what I say.
25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways
   or stray into her paths.
26 Many are the victims she has brought down;
   her slain are a mighty throng.
27 Her house is a highway to the grave,
   leading down to the chambers of death.

The Seduction of Sir Simple.

Picture Credits
The following images have been used for this visual narrative:

Gustave Dore

James E McConnell

John Martin

John Martin

Diogo Pereira
Massys Jan

Louis de Caullery