biblical tale

Jacob’s Ladder.

Jacob’s Ladder is the colloquial name for a bridge between the Earth and Heaven that the biblical Patriarch Jacob dreams about during his flight from his brother Esau, as described in the Book of Genesis. The story of Jacob’s Ladder is actually an ancient allegorical biblical tale describing the Alchemical process of reaching complete Gnosis or what some may call, Sainthood or Enlightenment. A Symbolic Ladder that we all must climb if we wish to reach the Spiritual Heights of the Divine in the Heavens while we are encased in Physical Matter here on Earth. As we climb, we must purify ourselves, our thoughts, habits and actions so that we may reach that seventh and final step of our ascent in order to activate all of our seven senses and DNA.

I usually don’t like posting low resolution images (for me: anything below 5MB) but this photo of the pulpit of Saint Hedwig’s parish church in Dobroszow, Poland was too good to pass up. Its corpulent cetacean form no doubt alludes to the Biblical tale of Jonah and the whale, and could have been a warning to rambling clerics to “say what needs to be said.”

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Harriet Powers, born into slavery outside Athens, Georgia (1837). She was married at 18 and gave birth to nine children. She lived most of her life in Clarke County, where in 1897, she begin exhibiting her quilts at local cotton fairs. She was believed to have been a house slave and first learned to read with the help of the white children she cared for.

Power’s quilts used a combination of hand and machine stitching along with appliqué to form small detailed panels. She then organized these squares to unfold a larger story, much like a modern graphic novel. This teaching style of quilting has its roots in West African coastal communities, and her uneven edging of panels mirrored the complex rhythms of African-American folk music. Through her quilts, she recorded legends and biblical tales of patience and divine justice. Only two pieces of her work have survived: Her Bible quilt of 1886, which she sold for $5 in the aftermath of the war, now hangs in the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. Her Pictorial quilt of 1888 is displayed in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Powers’ work is now considered among the finest examples of Southern quilting from the 19th century.

The city of Athens held a centennial celebration in her honor in 2010, and the mayor officially declared October 30th as Harriet Powers Day.

Longer thoughts on 10.23, “Brother’s Keeper” (spoilery, Destiel-y)

This wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great, either– and a season finale needs to be great for me to love it. This was just about the weakest season finale SPN has had, so far as I can remember.

-I did like the Darkness. Even though the info dump explaining that the Mark is actually a lock and key holding back something awful seemed to come out of nowhere, considering that we’ve been dealing with the Mark for a year and a half now, it’s still an interesting idea. Darkness is a common part of many creation myths (someone pointed out that one word for it is Erebus), and it is a part of the Biblical tale of creation too:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spiriti of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.

Sounds cool, and looked very cool. Unfortunately, SPN’s budget seems to pretty much require that all bad guys look like humans, so the Darkness will probably take human vessels, which means it won’t seem all that different from angels and Leviathan and every other bad guy. Still, it beats the hell of the Styne family, so I won’t complain too much.

(A side note about spoilers for 11.1, echoing something I posted previously: Actress Taylor Poyfair claims to have already been cast for the season premiere, playing a character named Helen. This is more believable to me now, because Helen, in case you didn’t know, means “Light.” That seems like an obvious setup for a major character to fight the Darkness alongside the boys– and maybe a love interest, too.)

-Rowena has accumulated power– enough to cast a spell on an angel. Presumably she’ll be around next season too. I’m pleased by this, as she’s grown on me. At first I found her annoying, but I’ve come to like her as a character.

-I was very annoyed, however, that Rowena’s love for Oskar became a key component of the spell to free Dean from the Mark. Rowena? Really? In a season in which Cas and Sam been devoted to saving Dean, they go with the idea that it’s Rowena’s love for some random guy that matters in the end? Similarly, in a season in which the title card appeared to show angel grace obliterating a smoky devil’s trap, they went with a magical spell freeing Dean, rather than a particular angel’s grace? Really? That felt kind of like a deliberate slap in the face to Destiel shippers, frankly.

-Brotherly codependence and angst, again. It’s expected in the finale, but if it’s not balanced with something more interesting, then it feels like the same stuff we’ve already rehashed over and over again. I felt like the boys were getting somewhere last night in recognizing the toxicity of their bond, but maybe not far enough. And then Sam’s well-meaning efforts to remove the Mark came to fruition and set the Darkness free anyway. (I felt like Gabriel at this point: “Let me guess. You two muttonheads broke the world.”)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am sick to death of brotherly angst, to the point that I just don’t care any more. I want a season eleven that resolves the codependency up front, and shows us the brothers (along with Cas, Charlie, Kevin, Bobby, and other friends) fighting the Darkness as a strong, united front. I want the writers to give the brotherly angst a rest, and let our boys have other permanent people to love in their lives.

-Cas didn’t interact with Dean, and that sucked. Furthermore, it’s becoming increasingly clear the writers don’t really know what to do with Cas. They are trying to keep him away from Dean, but they’re not sure what to do with him otherwise. They have downplayed his friendship with Dean to the point that Dean doesn’t even think of letting Cas know that he’s planning on getting Death to kill him, and Sam seems to be mostly using Cas as a tool again. No one even seems to have asked Cas to stay in the bunker, which is inexplicable and kind of dumb. They need to fix this.

-As others have already pointed out, Rudy had no point in the plotline except to water down the impact of Dean and Cas’ fight last week. Rudy’s death didn’t add anything to Dean’s realization of what the Mark was doing to him; the guy didn’t even die directly at his hand, but rather due to his arrogance and lack of caring. The death of the innocent teenager last week was far more shocking and horrible. That, and his memory of a bloodied Cas, should have been plenty of impetus for him to summon Death. Bringing in Rudy just diluted Cas’ apparent importance to Dean, reducing him to “I look in the mirror and see these guys I’ve hurt lately” rather than “oh God, I almost killed my best friend.”

-Echoing others, I don’t see the point in a lot of stuff they did this season now. Why have Cain make that speech about Dean living his life in reverse, when Dean didn’t kill any of them? Why have Dean make that speech to the priest about wanting different experiences with someone? Dean didn’t show any signs of caring about anyone besides Sam when he was planning on dying, so what was the point? Going further back into the last season, what was the point of making Cain’s story revolve around Colette?

-The Death thing was interesting. Dean’s killing of Death reminded me of On a Pale Horse by Piers Anthony, in which the incarnation of Death is periodically replaced by anyone who manages to kill him. So if you kill Death, you become Death. This would be an interesting outcome for an episode or two, but it is obviously unlikely that Dean will be Death for much longer than that. Dean serving food to Death to get on his good side was clever. I’m not sure why the hell Death would hand his scythe to Dean instead of just having him kill Sam with his own weapon. If Death was aware he could be killed by his own scythe, this would be ridiculously stupid, unless Death actually wanted to die. Then again, I’m not certain Death is actually dead. I’ll just wait and see what develops in that particular plotline.

-I admit I expected more blood and death out of this one, but that’s mostly because the actors and writers have been hinting at multiple deaths. But it was also a reasonable expectation based on the fact that we had a big dramatic death (which I still am totally pissed about, by the way) in 10.21. Knowing Supernatural as we do, one would expect a death of a more major character in the season finale. Instead we didn’t get one, which surprised me– I honestly expected Sam’s head to be rolling on the floor (to be fixed next season, of course), but in the end the only apparent casualty was Death. It all felt kind of anticlimactic after Charlie’s death, to be honest.

-So at the end, we have Sam and Dean and Baby in a black cloud (reminscent of both demon smoke and Leviathan goo), and Cas under the “attack dog” spell charging Crowley. (It wouldn’t have hurt them to explain the spell again– I wondered if casual viewers might be confused as to what was going on with Cas, because it’s been a while since we’ve seen that particular spell used.) All four of them can easily come out of this unscathed, and probably will. I hope that Misha and Mark remain regulars, and that Misha gets his episode count bumped up so they can have Cas actually move into the bunker and be a better integrated part of the story. Here’s hopin’ that season 11 is slightly more coherent than season 10, and with a Big Bad we can all love to hate!

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‘Arca noe, in tres libros digesta‘ is a take on the Biblical tale of Noah and his Ark. The book is a beautifully illustrated account of the building and layout of the Ark and the animals within, including everything monkeys and crocodiles to mermaids and unicorns…

Not the most scientific book in our Collections, but still a favourite.

Keep an eye out for some of the animal illustrations in the next day or two.

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#ThyCaptionBe: Breaking the Bank

You captioned this detail. And we’re revealing the full story now.

Yeezy, Renaissance edition or maids who love stretching? It’s actually a sad tale of a man who couldn’t stop spending his inheritance. 

Here’s the full story:

When these women say the party is over, apparently they mean it! 

The image tells the Biblical tale of the Prodigal Son. A man’s son demanded his inheritance early, and after the father agreed, the son went away, wasting his money on brothels and other wasteful pastimes until he was destitute. 

In the image, at left the fashionable young man arrives well-funded and eagerly welcomed into the brothel, only to be forced out at right when his fortune is gone. Despite his extravagance, the son in the end was gratefully received back by his father.

#ThyCaptionBe is a celebration of modern interpretations of medieval aesthetics. You guess what the heck is going on, then we myth-bust.