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Pfaueninsel

Ein Märchen

Von der Pfaueninsel-Projekt von Ann McCoy

Im Zeitalter des endlosen Winters war die Sonne eine blasse Erinnerung im Himmel und dunkle Wolken verschleierten die Paläste des Ostens und des Westens.

Die Kreuzzüge des Ostens hatten die Armen des Königreichs ausgelaugt. Im weißen Palast des Westens waren die Körper der Gefallenen an den Wänden gestapelt und über die weißen Marmortreppen goss das Blut. Fette schwarze Krähen blähten sich auf Leichen junger Männer und der Gestank wurde unerträglich. Der endlose Krieg hatte eine ebenso endlose Anzahl toter Soldaten erzeugt. Im Osten gingen die jungen Mohren in ihre Gräber: Ihrer Religion entsprechend wurden sie begraben, man sah nur die Haufen verschleierter Körper, begraben neben denen der alten Krieger in ummauerten Friedhöfen.

Die Offiziellen schenkten dem keine Aufmerksamkeit. Es waren die Menschen außerhalb der Mauern, deren Bedrückung mehr und mehr zunahm. Während die Söhne der Armen tot und entstellt von den Kreuzzügen zurück kamen, fiel das Königreich in eine düstere Stimmung. Der Gestank wurde schlimmer und schlimmer, die Geier und Krähen saßen auf den Mauern der Stadt, Mütter weinten um ihre toten Söhne, wie sie es seit Jahrhunderten taten.

Die Männer des Königs stapelten die Münzen in den Kontoren, Ölfässer und Gold füllten die Schatzkammern des Ostens. Sowohl die fernen Länder und das Königreich waren geplündert, König und Hof wurden jeden Tag reicher. Es ist die alte Geschichte: Ein alter König, zählt sein Geld im Palast, während sein Land ausblutet und die Bewohner verzweifeln. Es gab keine gute Königin, die in der Kapelle für die armen Seelen des Königreichs betete.

Der König war ein Feigling und hatte sich als junger Mann geweigert in den Kampf zu ziehen; er hatte immer andere in den Tot geschickt. Jedoch trug er militärische Kleidung und marschierte so auf den Planken königlicher Schiffe.

Am Tag als der König im Kampfanzug durch die Stadt marschieren sollte, fiel er zu Boden: Er schwoll an wie eine Laus, sein Kopf bekam die Grösse einer Melone und er konnte auf seinen dicken Beinen nicht länger stehen. Sein fiebernder Wahnsinn war allen offensichtlich. Ärzte aus allen Reichen wurden gerufen, den König zu heilen da seine königlichen Ärzte ihm nicht mehr helfen konnten. Nach dem jeder bekannte Arzt sein Können versuchte und versagte, wurde der Alchemist Johaan Kunckel und mit seiner Assistentin der Gräfin von den Kammerherren gerufen. Jener Alchemist und seine Partnerin heizten den Schmelzofen in betender Einsamkeit.

Kunckel hatte ein geheimes Labor auf der Pfaueninsel. Er war bekannt für seine Heilmittel und für das Erzeugen von Rubinglas. Seine Glaserei lag abgelegen, um das Verfahren geheim zu halten und keinem Besucher war es möglich an der Insel anzulegen. Das Labor war als Ort der Seelenheilung und der Rubinglaserzeugung von der Gräfin und Kunckel erbaut worden. Die Schmelzöfen brannten gleichmäßig dank ihrer großen Aufmerksamkeit. Die Insel war friedlich und im Garten streunten Hasen und Pfauen.

Der Körper des Königs wurde auf ein Schiff verladen und zu Kunckels Labor auf die Pfaueninsel gebracht. Eine lange Barke trug den geschwollenen Körper des Königs in einem bleiernen Sarg. Immer wieder schrie er: Jener, der mich rettet, wird mein Königreich erben. Seine Verzweiflung wuchs. Im Dunkel der Nacht landete sein Boot an der Insel. Kunckel begann seine Schmelze mit Buchenholz zu feuern. Gräfin blies Wind in die alchemistische Schmelze mit Blasebalken. Der König wurde auf einem Brett getragen und in die Schmelze gelegt.

Auch den Körper des Königs aus dem Osten brachte Kunckel herein. Der Mohrenkönig war in einen ähnlichen Zustand verfallen, er war schwarz wie Pech und musste in einem Bleisarg getragen werden. Die Mohren waren die Erbfeinde des Koenigreichs. Die königlichen Truppen waren im Osten gewesen, gegen die Mohren kämpfend, im großen endlosen Krieg. Auch der König der Mohren wurde von Kunckel in den Ofen gelegt. König und Mohr wurden drei Tage gebacken. Als die Öfen sich öffneten wurden zwei Haufen Asche in den Schmelzen gefunden. Kunckel nahm die Asche und vermischte sie im Mörser und zerrieb sie mit einem Stößel. Die Gräfin gab heiliges Wasser aus der Kapelle der Insel hinzu.

Die Asche wurde mit der schwarzen Flüssigkeit gemischt, die in die Pfanne am Boden der Schmelze gesickert war.

Kunckels Glaserei benutzte Gold in seiner kleinsten molekularen Struktur, um blutrotes Glas herzustellen. Diese Vereinigung von schwarzer Essenz und Asche wurde in einen roten Glasbecher gegossen und in die Sonne gestellt. Schwarze Krähen begannen aus der schwarzen Flüssigkeit in die Bäume zu fliegen. Die schwarze Flüssigkeit aus König und Mohr verdickte sich und wurde dann in eine Pfanne gegossen und in einen langsam brennenden Ofen aus Backstein gelegt. Die Flüssigkeit verdunstete und der Teig begann die Form eines zweiköpfigen Mannes anzunehmen. Kunckel und die Gräfin beteten Tage neben dem Ofen. Als der Ofen geöffnet wurde erschien ein Unipedes, ein Einfüßer, mit zwei Köpfen. Ein Kopf war der des Koenigs, einer war der des Mohren. Die beiden Köpfe sahen sich an und riefen: Wir sind eins. Der Unipedes ist wie eine Münze; der dunkle Bruder und ich, wir sind dieselbe Münze, aber die zwei verschiedenen Seiten. Wir projizieren unser Böses aufeinander. Diese Projektion muss weichen, sodass der Prozess weitergehen kann.

Das Unipedes kämpfte mit dem Gehen auf der Insel und setzte sich auf einen Stein, weinend auf das Ufer blickend. Die beiden Königlichen Schiffe lagen am Kai, aber jetzt würden sie nie zu den verschiedenen Koenigreichen zurück segeln können. Der Mohr und der König waren in ihrer Trauer verbunden. Kunckel kam und führte das Unipedes in sein Labor. In Kunckels Haus sahen sie einen Tisch mit einem großen roten Reagenzglas. Ihre Tränen wurden in diesem Reagenzglas gesammelt und über einer Flamme erhitzt. Im roten Licht begann eine kleine Frau im Reagenzglas zu wachsen. Das Unipedes weinte weiter bis all die Tränen das Glas füllten. Das Unipedes fiel zu Boden, eine leere Haut. Kunckel kehrte die leere Haut auf und warf sie in das Feuer.

Die Flüssigkeit der Tränen und die kleine Frau wurden neun Tage in einen hochkantigen Tonofen gelegt. Als der Ofen geöffnet wurde, erschien ein roter junger Mann. Er kroch aus dem Ofen und stand nackt dort, ein schöner Junge. Kunckel ließ die Gräfin für diesen jungen roten Prinzen ein königliches Kostüm aus Gold und roter Seide schaffen. Der Prinz spazierte über die Insel, das Schloss und die Gebäude erforschend. In einem Hain entdeckte er einen kleinen, der Venus gewidmeten Tempel. Ein roter Vogel ließ sich auf seiner Schulter nieder und forderte ihn auf den Tempel zu betreten. Drinnen fand er eine schlafende weiße Königin kalt wie Eis auf einem Stück Marmor. Sie hatte seit Jahrhunderten geschlafen und war in griechische Roben gehüllt. Als sie ihn küsste, erwachte sie und ihr Körper begann sich zu röten. Blut schoss durch ihre Venen und er erkannte sie als die kleine Frau aus dem Glas des Alchemisten. Auf dem Boden des Venustempels schliefen Priester und Ritter. Sie erwachten, stolperten aus der Gruft, ihre Augen vor dem Anblick der nackten, leuchtend roten Königin schützend.

Sie rannten in den Wald. Die Venuskönigin erzählte dem Prinz von ihrem langen Schlaf durch die Jahrhunderte. Sie war in einen tiefen Schlaf gefallen, als jene Männer, die ihn ihrer Gruft geschlafen hatten ihren Tempel zerstörten.

Die neuerwachte Königin und der Prinz gingen in den Wald der Insel bis sie an einen Brunnen kamen. Der rote Vogel hieß sie ein Bad zu nehmen. Nackt badeten sie im Brunnen und begannen rot ihm Sonnenlicht zu leuchten. Sie tauchten in das Wasser und tranken vom Brunnen. Ihre Körper waren jugendlich und glichen einander wie die von Bruder und Schwester. Der Prinz hielt ihre linke Hand in seiner Linken und bat sie ihn zu heiraten. Eine weiße Taube schwebte vom Himmel herab und flog um den Brunnen. Während sie vom Brunnen tranken wurden sie zueinander geführt, in einer im Königreich bislang unbekannten Leidenschaft. Es war eine Vereinigung, sogleich heilig und gewalttätig, gleich zwei Wölfen, die sich in zwei Pfauen verwandeln. Das Wasser des Brunnens floss rot und glitzernd im Sonnenlicht.

Prinz und Königin schlenderten über die Insel, Leitern erklimmend und Früchte von den Bäumen pflückend. Die Körbe voller Früchte wurden auf die zwei geankerten Schiffe der toten Könige geladen und nach Ost und West verschifft. Sie trugen Bottiche mit rotem Wasser des Brunnens zusammen und füllten es in rote Gläser als Fracht zu den Völkern, leidend im ständigen Krieg. Rote Vögel wurden geschickt um zu singen. Und auch Gebete des Alchemisten Kunckel und der Gräfin waren Teil der Ladung. Es ist diese rote Flüssigkeit, Vögel, Gebete und Frucht, die in den Zeiten des Krieges am nötigsten sind. Alte Könige müssen sterben und durch neue ersetzt werden, Tänze zu uralten Göttinnen aufgeführt werden, sodass die Felder neue Früchte hervorbringen.

Jetzt war es Zeit eine königliche Hochzeit zu planen. Zusammen mit Kunckel und der Gräfin trat das Paar in den Rosengarten. Nur ein wiedergeborener König der sich Tot und Verwandlung unterzogen hat, konnte wie er den Garten in Begleitung seiner Königin betreten. Die Königin übergab dem Prinzen die Schlüssel zum Garten und das königliche Paar und Kunckel und Gräfin traten ein. Sie gingen in den großen Kreis und saßen zwischen roten und weißen Rosen, während die Rosenbüsche goldene Münzen abwarfen. In der Mitte des großen Kreises zogen sie einen zweiten Kreis für ihren Hochzeitspavillion. Die Sonne fiel auf die Münzen und spiegelte die Strahlen zurück in die Himmel und die Münzen begannen sich zu vermehren.

Um einen Pavillon zu bauen würde man neue Architektur und einen neuen Architekten brauchen. Das Gebäude muss einer Vision entspringen, dem Traum eines Architekten. Boten wurden in die vier Himmelsrichtungen gesandt um solch einen Erbauer zu finden. Schließlich fand sich ein Architekt aus Indien. Ein Kreis wurde in einem Viereck gezogen und vom Schutt gereinigt. Goldene Münzen, Diamanten und Federn roter Vögel wurden mit Rosenblüten aus dem Garten in den Kreis gelegt. Die beiden Paare saßen auf dem Boden und Kunckel und die Gräfin beteten, um die roten Vögel aus dem Himmel herab zu holen. Weißer Schnee begann zu fallen und die Gärten wurden von sanften weißen Flocken bedeckt. Ruhe legte sich über die Insel und es herrschte eine friedliche Stille.

Der Architekt ging in Kunckels Glaserei. Hunderte Scheiben roten Glases wurden hergestellt. In der Mitte des Gartens wurde ein kreisrunder Pavillon erbaut mit Palmen und Rosen und hunderten von Pfauenpaaren. Vor dem Pavillon stand eine weiße Burg mit einem männlichen und weiblichen Turm. Die beiden Türme waren durch eine Brücke verbunden. Der rote Prinz und die Königin trafen sich auf der Brücke und von unten betrachteten die Besucher wie sie sich umarmten. Jene die den Gartenpavillon betraten mussten allen Hass, alle Angst und Eigensucht aufgeben und im Gebet und mit Vergebung kommen. Jeder Besucher wusch die Füße seines Bruders und seiner Schwester und trocknete sie mit Blütenblättern des Gartens. Danach grüsste jeder Gast das Göttliche im Anderen und verneigte sich. Jeder Anwesende machte ein Versprechen der Vergebung, Während sie in das Gebäude eintraten. Im roten Glashaus gab es weder Dunkel noch Licht, nur Wärme und Eros. Der rote Prinz erschien, die Königin zu heiraten, die Göttin des Himmels und der Erde. Kunckel und Gräfin bauten einen roten Pavillon um die Rückkehr erotischer Leidenschaft, göttlicher Liebe und mystischer Vereinigung zu loben.

Die Planer endloser Kriege können solch eine Insel nie besuchen. Sie müssten all ihr Wissen aufgeben. Denn die Insel ist ein Ort in dem Vögel und Hasen und kleine Waldgeschöpfe mit königlichen Paaren wandeln und Friede herrscht. Musik, erotisches Spiel, Gartenkunst, Alchemie und Gebete zu den Himmeln beschreiben den Weg der Seele. Die Männer des Krieges können nie solche Freuden kennen. Die Pfaueninsel ist keine gewöhnliche Utopie. Um zur Insel zu kommen wir verlangt, dass man stirbt und seine Form ändert. Die Seele, seit langem im Westen vergessen, erwächst hier im Rosengarten, von dem Alchemist Kunckel und seiner geliebten Gräfin gepflegt. Die roten Vögel umschließen jede Seele mit ihren Flügeln und setzen sie sanft in die Blütenblätter der wachsenden Rosen. Rotgefärbte Wasser ernähren zart die Wurzeln der Büsche und die Seele wächst in Frieden.

Ann McCoy
Translated by Martin Reckhaus

Pfaueninsel

A Fairy Tale

from the Pfaueninsel Project by Ann McCoy

In the reign of the endless winter the sun was a pale memory in the heavens and dark clouds covered the palaces of the East and the West. The Crusades in the East had depleted the kingdom’s army. At the White Palace in the West the bodies of the fallen were piled against the walls and blood poured down the steps staining the white marble.  Fat black crows grew bloated on the corpses of the young men, and the stench became unbearable. The endless war had produced an endless supply of dead soldiers.  In the East the young Moors were hurried to their graves in accordance with their religion; piles of shrouded bodies were buried along with those of the ancient warriors in walled cemeteries.

The officials in the White Palace seemed to take no notice; it was the people beyond the walls who grew more and more despondent. As the sons of the poor returned home from the Crusade dead and disfigured, the kingdom fell into a dark mood. The stench became worse and worse, the vultures and crows sat on the city walls.  Mothers wept for their dead sons, as they have for centuries.

In the counting houses, the king’s men kept piling up the coinage. Vats of oil and gold from the East filled the treasury. Both foreign lands and the kingdom had been looted as the king and court became richer with each passing day. This is an old tale; an isolated king in a palace counting his money while the land becomes depleted and the people despair.  There was no good queen to pray in the chapel for the soul of the kingdom.

The king had been a coward and had refused to go to battle as a young man; he had sent others out to die in his place.  Instead he wore military garb and paraded about the decks of the royal ships.  On the day the king was to parade about the city in his battle dress, he fell to the ground.  He was bloated like a tick, his head was enlarged like a melon, and he could not stand on his swollen legs. His feverish madness was apparent to all.  Doctors from every kingdom were called to cure the king because none of the royal physicians could help him.  Finally after every known doctor had been tried and failed, the alchemist Johaan Kunckel and his female assistant Grafin were called by the chamberlains.  This alchemist and his female partner kept the alchemical furnaces burning in their prayerful solitude.

Kunckel had a secret laboratory on the island Pfaueninsel.  He was known for cures and for making Ruby Glass. His glass works was isolated to keep his process secret, and no visitors could embark on the island.  The laboratory had been built by Graftin and Kunckel as a place to cure souls and make ruby glass.  The furnaces were tended with the most constant care burning with an even consistency. The island was peaceful and rabbits and peacocks roamed the island’s gardens.

The Kings body was placed on a ship, and he was taken to Kunckel’s laboratory on Pfaueninsel. A long barge carried the body of the swollen king in its lead coffin.  He kept crying out, “He who saves me will inherit my kingdom.”  His distress grew. In the darkness of night, his boat docked on the island.  Kunckel began to load the furnaces with beach wood and stoke the fires.  Grafin blew wind into the alchemical furnace with bellows. The king was carried on a plank and was placed in the furnace.

Kunckel also brought in the body of the King of the Moors from the East.  The Moor king had fallen into a similar state, he was black as pitch and had to be carried in a lead coffin.   The Moors were the archenemies of the Kingdom.  The royal troops had been in the East fighting the Moors in the Great Endless War. This Moor king was also placed in an oven by Kunckel.  The King and the Moor were baked for three days.  When the ovens opened two piles of ash were found in the two furnaces. Kunckel took the ash and combined it in a mortar and ground it with a pestle. Grafin added holy water from the chapel on the island.

The ash was combined with the dark liquid that had seeped into the pan at the bottom of each furnace place.  Kunckel’s glass works used gold in its smallest molecular structure to make the blood red glass. This merged black essence and ash mixture was poured into a red glass beaker and was placed in the sun.  Black crows began to fly out of the black liquid and into trees. The black liquid from the King and the Moor thickened and was then poured into a pan and placed in a slow oven made of brick.  More of the liquid was sweat out and the dough began to make the form of a two headed man.  Kunkel and his female apprentice prayed beside the oven for days.  When the oven was opened out came a uniped with two heads.  One head was the King and one was the Moor, the two heads looked at each other and shouted, “We are one.”  The Uniped is like a coin; the dark brother and we are of the same coin, only different sides.  We project our evil onto each other.  This projection must be withdrawn for the process to continue.

The Uniped struggled to walk about the island and sat on a rock, crying and looking out at the shore.  The two royal ships sat in the slips but now would never sail to their separate kingdoms.  The Moor and the King were united in their grief.  Kunckel came and led the Uniped to his laboratory.  In Kunckel’s stone house they saw a table with a large red vile. Their tears were collected in the vile and were heated over a flame.  In the red light a small woman began to grow in the vile.  The Uniped continued to cry until all of the liquid from the tears filled the vile.  The Uniped fell on the floor, an empty skin. Kunckel swept up the empty skin and threw it into the fire.

The liquid from the tears and the small woman were placed in an upright clay furnace for nine days.  When the furnace was opened out came a Red Man.  He crawled from the furnace and stood naked, a beautiful youth.  Kunckel had Grafin make a royal costume for this young red prince of gold and red silk.  The red prince wandered about the island exploring the castle and the buildings.  In a grove of trees he came across a small temple to Venus.  A red bird lit on his shoulder and told him to enter the temple. Inside he found a sleeping white queen cold as ice on a marble slab.  She had slept for centuries and was clad in Greek robes.  When he kissed her she awoke and her body began to turn red.  Blood rushed through her veins and he recognized her as the tiny woman from the alchemists vile.  On the floor of the Venus temple were sleeping priest and knights.  They awoke and stumbled from the tomb shielding their eyes from the sight of the naked glowing red queen.  They ran into the forest. The Venus queen told the prince of her long sleep through the centuries.  She had fallen into a deep sleep when the very men sleeping in her tomb had destroyed her temples.

The newly red queen and the prince walked into the island forest until they came to a fountain.  The red bird instructed them to bath in the water.  They bathed naked in the fountain and began to glow red in the sunlight.  They dipped into the waters and drank from the fountain.  Their bodies were adolescent and resembled one another like a brother sister pair.  The prince held her left hand in his left hand and proposed marriage.  A white dove descended from the heavens and flew about the fountain. As they drank from the fountain, they were thrown together in a passion not known in the realm. There was copulation at once holy and then violent like two wolves then changing into two fawns.  The waters of the fountain flowed red and sparkled in the sunlight.

The prince and the queen walked about the island climbing ladders and picking fruit from the trees.  The baskets of fruit were loaded onto the two docked ships of the dead kings and were shipped to the East and West.  They also collected vats of the red water from the fountain and placed it in red glass vials for shipment to the people suffering in the perpetual war.  Red birds were sent in cages to sing. Prayers from the alchemist Kunckle and Grafin were sent along with the cargo.  It is this red liquid, birds, prayers and fruit most needed in times of war.  Old kings must die and be replaced by new ones, dances to ancient goddesses be performed, if the fields are to bring forth new crops.

It was now time to plan a royal wedding.  The pair joined with Kunckle and Grafin to enter the island’s rose garden.  Only a re-born king who has undergone death and transformation may enter the garden accompanied by his queen.  The Queen handed the prince the garden key and the royal pair and Kunckel and Grafin entered.  They walked into the great circle and sat among the red and white roses as the rose bushes shed gold coins.  In the center of the great circle thy drew a second circle for a wedding pavilion.  The sun fell upon the coins and reflected their rays back up to the heavens.

The coins began to multiply.

To build a pavilion would require a new architecture and a new architect.  The building must spring from a vision, the dream of an architect.  Massagers were sent to the four corners of the earth to find such a builder.  At last an architect from India answered the call.  A circle was drawn inside a square and cleared of all debris.  Gold coins, diamonds and the feathers of red birds were placed in the circle with rose petals form the garden.  The two pairs sat on the ground and Kunckel and Grafin prayed to bring down the red birds down from the heavens. White snow began to fall and the gardens was covered in soft white flakes.  A calm descended on the island and there was a peaceful stillness.

The architect went to Kunckel’s glass works.  Hundreds of sheets or red glass were made.  A circular pavilion was constructed in the center of the garden with palm trees and roses and hundreds of pairs of peacocks. In front of the pavilion was a white castle with a male and female tower. The  two towers  were joined by a bridge. The red prince and the queen met on the bridge and the visitors below watched them embrace. Those entering the garden pavilion had to relinquish all hatred, fear, and selfishness and come in prayer and forgiveness.  Each guest washed the feet of his brother and sister and wiped them with petals from the garden.  Each guest then saluted the divinity found within each guest and bowed. Each participant made a vow of forgiveness as they entered into the structure.  In the red glass house there was no dark and no light, only warmth and Eros.   The red prince came forth to marry the queen, goddess heavens and earth.   Kunckel and Grafin built a red pavilion to praise the return of erotic passion, divine love, and mystical union.

The planners of endless war can never visit such an island.  They would have to relinquish all they know.  For the island is a place where birds and rabbits and small forest creatures roam with the royal pairs and peace pervades.  Music, erotic play, gardening, alchemy and prayers to the heavens chart the path of the soul. The men of war can never know such delights. Pfaueninsel is no ordinary Utopia. To come to the island requires that one must die and change form.  The soul, long forgotten in the West, grows here in the rose garden, tended by the alchemist Kunckel and his mistress Grafin. The red birds wrap each soul in their wings and place them carefully in the petals of the growing roses.  Red tinted waters gently feed the roots of the bushes, and the souls grow in peace.

Ann McCoy
A dark winter in New York 2007

The Death and Transformation of the Monkey King

An Alchemical Fairy Tale

KHOJ , New Delhi, 28 October 2005

Intro PortraitThe fairy tale takes place in the America of the American Indian, a play on Indian versus American Indian.  George Bush is the American Monkey King who through an alchemical process is turned into the Indian Monkey King, Lord Hanuman, one of the most popular Indian gods.

Part I
The Birth of the Monkey King in the Kingdom of Black Essence.

KHOJ Monkey King-01

(wall 1)  The People of the Magic Pipe, once inhabited by the land of the Monkey King. They worshiped the buffalo whose herds numbered in the thousands. They honoured the buffalo with songs and dances, and asked for the buffalo’s help, cooperation, and forgiveness, during the hunt. The buffalo sacrificed one of their members when the tribe needed food. The people of the Magic Pipe never killed without hunger or crossed a boundary of killing an extra animal. The White Buffalo carried the soul of the people of this land. One day dark clouds covered the land and white men in boats with guns and their armies slaughtered the People of the Magic Pipe. They built a great iron snake to take them to the west. The white men stood on the back of the iron snake and shot the millions of buffalo and left them to rot in the sun in great piles. No buffalo were left except a few who escaped to the north. When the buffalo was driven from the land, a dark demon entered the kingdom.

(wall 2)  The white men did not know that to kill too many animals goes against nature’s greatest taboo. The White Buffalo Woman wept and wrapped the souls of the dead in a buffalo robe. The white men did not know that the White Buffalo Woman, who lives in the sky, is the keeper of the land. The rulers and the white people began to need more and more of everything, bigger fields, cattle to kill, more firewood. Cattle were butchered at the rate of three per second. The white men grew fatter and fatter.  Banquets were held and the excess food fell from the table. Their hunger could never be satisfied. The quest for more gold, more grain, more carriages, and more warehouses, became an obsession. The poor in the land became invisible; they no longer mattered. The few remaining People of the Magic Pipe starved on small reservations with no buffalo, prisoners in their own land.

KHOJ Monkey King-02

(wall 3) The Monkey king was born into a wealthy, sinister household. His father, a past Minister of Secrets, had been a former king. They were merchants of death, making a fortune from guns and bombs, and the black essence. This black essence powered the kingdom. Soldiers died to procure it in faraway lands. Large iron birds drew the black essence from the ground. The mother of the Monkey King was the evil queen Barbara.  She said the poor deserved their lot. She did not want to “spoil her beautiful mind with thoughts of dead soldiers.”  Poor soldiers fought in her son’s place because he was afraid of battle. Barbara ruled the Monkey King and he remained a child, behaving like a child. Barbara stole his heart and ate it, and put a coal in its place. Queen Barbara taught the Monkey King to steal from the poor and give the money to their friends the arms merchants and sellers of the black essence. The Monkey King was surrounded by Tin Ministers. These ministers were made of tin, a base metal, and had no hearts. Their sole purpose was to conquer foreign land to steal the black essence and sell arms. Any country that refused was occupied.  By the time the Monkey King was placed on the throne by his father’s judges, 177 countries were occupied. People said the kingdom of the Monkey King most resembled ancient Rome. Arrogance has gone before a fall since ancient times; the sages were alarmed.

(wall 4) Using a pack of lies, The Monkey King invaded Mesopotamia to steal black essence.  He dropped firebombs killing thousands of women and children. His own soldiers also died.  Like his own mother he could not look at the dead, especially his own dead soldiers. He could only dress up in uniforms, and play pretend warrior like a child…landing on ships. He was too afraid to speak to the mother of a dead soldier who camped out at his gates, asking him for what “noble cause” had her son died. In the land the people were sad and had no dreams to comfort them. The White Buffalo Woman watched from a hole in the sky and wept. The ice and snow began to melt and the land became hotter and hotter. Storms and floods came washing away poor black people in the lowlands. The Monkey King retreated to his palace and played farmer and rode his bike from room to room like a spoiled child as people died. He lost all contact with his people, isolated in his protective bubble.

KHOJ Monkey King-03

(wall 5) The Monkey King had been given a very, very special mirror by his ministers, which allowed him to see himself as Jesus.  He looked in the mirror day and night and saw himself as perfect and good.  What he did not know was that the world saw his shadow, that part of himself he did not acknowledge, like a dark twin. All women, all men and all nations possess a Shadow. The Monkey King’s shadow was seen by the world, they saw him as the devil himself. The world tired of his arrogance, name-calling, greed and quest for the black essence. Each of us must see our shadow, that part of ourselves we do not claim. The more we ignore it, the more others see it. Only a person or a nation who owns and deals with their shadow can move forward in a positive way.

Part II
The Death and Dismemberment of the Monkey King.

(wall 1) This process began with Osiris in Egypt, and the Aztecs and was known in every land in ancient times. The king represents the ruling principle in the land.  When the land becomes sick and fallow, the king must die.  He is usually buried in the fields to insure a good harvest, and then his son (the new order) comes to the throne. This allows for a renewal in the land.  For the king and the land are linked. Both must be renewed. This is a very difficult process. The Alexandrian Alchemists understood this problem well, and created the best recipe for this task. The king was placed on a rack and the black bile was sweated out along with his greed, and arrogance.  Many times he would be boiled and roasted crying out at each step.

KHOJ Monkey King-04

(wall 2) Then the King was chopped up like Osiris and the pieces were ground up in a mortar with a pestle. These pieces were bleached and ground into a finer powder, and made into a dough king. He was made into a cake and was baked.   In the oven first he became black, then white then red. This process is circular and was repeated many times. This process, takes place in the dreams of all men and women, the inner and outer merge. As the dough king baked he was sprinkled with the green powder of Osiris.  Osiris the green god, the god of vegetation, must live in a king to connect him to all plant and animal life. For Osiris was also worshiped as the great Apis Bull. Every year each Egyptian made a mud form of Osiris containing wheat seeds, which sprouted when watered, ushering in another cycle of agricultural renewal.

Part III
The Introduction of the Anima, the feminine soul.

(wall 1) In the land of the Monkey King the Nature Goddess had been forgotten. She and White Buffalo Woman watch over all animals and plants.  She also presides over the inner life, the life of the soul.  She guides those who follow her footsteps through the darkness.

KHOJ Monkey King-05

(wall 2) The alchemists called her Nature and she presided over their arts. All men and all nations need her to navigate the darkness. The king must marry also her if he is to rule wisely. First he must seek her in the depths of the earth and then be united with her in the heavens realms.

Part IV
The Birth of the New King Hall of the Elders, Saints, Gods, Animal Spirits and Elders.

The marriage of the reconstituted King to the Nature Goddess produces the birth of a new king in a golden egg. A tiny piece of this egg can be found in all men, and women. Some call it the divine, the Self, Atman, the eternal spark. This is no ordinary egg and must be attended by all men as well as the heavenly hosts. To hatch such an egg requires constant attendance. We know the Jinas and Elders by their goodness, non-violence, wisdom, and kind deeds. They represent our highest possibilities.  We strive to mirror them on earth; we bow down low to them. In this realm also live the sacred animals. They are our guides and connect us to the Gods. To hatch this egg requires the breath of all, even the most common folk.  For the egg to hatch, all must breath in unison and offer up prayers of love, forgiveness, and gratitude, and respect all the different gods and goddesses and their points of view and traditions.  Anakantaved.  

KHOJ Monkey King-06

Ann McCoy
Oct. 28th 2005

The Pfaueninsel Project

The Transformation of the King and the Alchemist of the Pfaueninsel

Galerie Zero, Berlin, January 2008

http://www.zero-project.org/ann_mccoy.html

Ann with The Ruby Glass, Galerie Zero, Berlin 2008
Ann with The Ruby Glass, Galerie Zero, Berlin 2008

My fairy tale takes place on an island off Berlin called Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island).  The island was the home of Johaan Kunckel and alchemist who made red glass.  For me the Ruby Glass was a perfect symbol of the rubedo (the red stage if the alchemical process), when passion and pneuma, spirit and a devotion to the heart (feeling) enters the process.  My fairy tale takes place during a period like the Hundred Year War.  We are living in an age of perpetual war now.  In some way my fairy tale suggests an answer to this dilemma.

In 2005 I began writing fairy tales with alchemical themes similar to “The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkrantz”, written in 1459. For me, alchemical model is not antiquated and is much needed in our time.  In alchemy, the shadow, our dark partner we project onto others, must be acknowledged and integrated. The pairs of opposites are brought together and transformed into a new third element.  In our age of black and white thinking, with the shadow projected onto the Arab and others, this model provides a welcome change. Alchemy has to do with transformation, transmutation, and changes in the inner life which become manifest in the outer world.  Without the transformation of the individual, there can be no transformation in the collective. Alchemy connects the inner transformation process through fantasy to the outer world.

My first exhibition featuring alchemical fairy tale themes was “The Death and Transformation of the Monkey King” at KHOJ in New Delhi. George Bush as a monkey king was put through an alchemical process of death and dismemberment and was baked in an oven and reborn in a golden egg as Hanuman the Indian monkey king. I adapted a third century Alexandrian alchemical recipe to transform a sick head of state into a divinity. Mary Renault uses this motif in her novel “The King Must Die.”  An old king represents the ruling consciousness in a land.  When the land becomes arid and the crops fail, the king is killed and buried in the fields.  The new king (his son) represents a new perspective, which will bring fertility to the land.

After this exhibition I began writing fairy tales for our time, which included themes of both personal and collective transformation. The fairy tale is a powerful way to connect with the public and present alchemical models for change.  I was also able to combine my writing with my art in a new way.

In 1977 when I was on the D.A.A.D. in Berlin, I visited Pfaueninsel, an island inhabited by a 16th century alchemist named Johaan Kunckel, who made ‘ruby glass”. Werner Herzog made a film about this red glass called “Herz aus Glas.”  Kunckel chose the island with its limited access to insure secrecy for his alchemical process and also as a precaution against fire, glass works were notorious for starting fires and were put outside of city centers. Kunckel’s glass works did eventually burn down in 1693, but the island forever was associated with Kunckel’s alchemical mysteries.  When I visited the island in 1977, shards of the red glass could still be found.

Pfaueninsel, a hundred years later. became a retreat for Frederich Wilhelm II and the Potsdam Court.  His mistress Grafin Lichtenau supervised many of the plans for a castle, a game park, rose gardens and pavilions for musical and theatrical pleasures.  Thousands of plants including exotic palms for the Palm House and animals were brought in to create a South Sea fantasy for the court.  The island was created as a natural paradise on the model of Rousseau. A zoo with peacocks gave the island its name.

Photographs of Peacock Island

The various elements present in the history of the island fascinated me and I began to write a fantasy history of the island using these historical elements as a basis for my fairy tale. The rose garden, the peacock, the furnace, and the island appear in many alchemical texts.  These alchemical themes were also present on Pfaueninsel in structures developed by the court Rosicrucian Christoph von Wolner who was instrumental in the planning of the Neuer Garten, and Jacob’s Well, Temple of Serapus and placement of statues like Dianna of Ephesus on Pfaueninsel.  This Rosicrucian influence was prevalent in German courts such as Frederick and Elizabeth’s at Heidelberg in the Papatinate from 1613 onwards.

I have condensed several hundred years of the island’s history into a fairy tale about a King, his mistress, and an alchemist. Two important German fairy tales steeped in alchemical symbolism would be models for my tale: “The Chemical Wedding of Christan Rosenkreutz” by an unknown author, and Goethe’s “Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily.”

The fairy tale will hopefully be performed either on the island or in a Baroque theatre like the theater at Potsdam this coming summer.  A video could also be shot of this performance.  Actors from New York’s THEATERLAB and the Berlin group OPENSPACE will perform the fairy tale.

I would use the Pfaueninsel Castle as a screen and project a series of images from my dreams on the castle façade.  I teach projection at Yale in the School of Drama.  The performance would combine my written fairy tale, my work in projection, and the talents of the actors.

I have spent thirty years reading alchemy both in Rome and in Zurich.  I worked with C.G. Jung’s main heir Dr. C. A. Maier in Zurich for twenty -five years doing studies in depth psychology and alchemy.  When I was on the Prix de Rome, I read alchemy at the Vatican Library and the Palazzo Corsini.  My main interest is late German alchemy, mainly Michael Meier, the founder of the Rosicrucian Order.  The island was a Rosicrucian and alchemical fantasy.  I want to use it like a stage set for my alchemical fairy tale.

Ruby Glass

The Ruby Glass
2008
Eight part series
Watercolor and pencil on paper
45” by 35”

Pfaueninsel Castle

Pfaueninsel Castle
2008
Watercolor and pencil on paper
60 by 42 inches

Pfaueninsel Drawings

First row from left to right:
The Uniped, King,  and the Moor
. 2008, 62 by 42 inches, watercolor and pencil on paper
The Black King Meets the Red Bird, 2008, 62 by 42 inches, pencil and watercolor on paper
The Queen and The Red Bird, 2010, 15 by 11 inches, pencil and watercolor on paper
Venus, 2008, 11 by 15 inches, pencil and water color on hand made paper

Second row from left to right:
Rubedo, Albedo, 2008, 11 by 7 inches, each, watercolor and pencil on hand made paper.
Alchemical Birth, 2008, 17 by 11 inches, watercolor on hand made paper
The Queen and the Red Bird, 2008, 9 by 7 inches

12) performanceruby glass3

Performance of the fairy tale at Galerie Zero, Ann and Philip Brehse

Fairy Tale in German

Fairy Tale in English

Divine Feminine

Goddess Works

Then following a great crowd of the Goddess’s initiates, men and women of all classes and in every age, their pure linen clothes shining brightly. The women wore their hair tied up in glossy coils under gauze head-dresses; the men’s heads were completely shaven, representing the Goddess’s bright earthly stare, and they carried rattles of brass, silver and even gold, which kept up a shrill and ceaseless tinkling.

Apuleius, The Golden Ass, Robert Graves translation.

The Temple of Isis grew out of a long series of dreams, long before I visited the site of the Temple of Isis in Pompeii.

Dream I

A temple to Isis is being unearthed and rebuilt.  A field of pillars and stones will be reconstructed to include a rotunda.  A silver-clad woman comes up to me and hands me an unknown instrument.  She is wearing a peplos.  The instrument is bronze and looks ancient.

Temple of Isis

Temple of Isis: Pompeii
1987
Pencil on paper on canvas
9 by 15 ft. 7 inches
Isis ProcessinalIsis Processional
1988
Bronze and lead
19 x 11 by 75 Inches

Alter I

Altar I
1989
Cast bronze, lead and wood
54” by 28” by 4 ft.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Alter II 1990

Altar II
1989
Cast bronze, lead and wood
54” by 28” by 6 ft.

 

Votive Box

Votive Box with Deer, Sistrum, and Eggs
1984
Cast bronze
7 ½ by 16 ½  by 3 7/8 inches

One day I found a brochure from an Egyptology shop in my neighborhood.  I called for a n appointment.  Entering the shop, I saw a sistrum from the 26th Dynasty in a case and bought it.  The sistrum is the only instrument associated with Isis worship, the Egyptians believed that the rattle of the sistrum caused the Nile to rise and fall.

Dream II

I am with a group of Archeologists working on the restoration of a temple.  My guide around the temple precinct is a draped woman whose veil hides her face.  As we speak, she bends down and lifts her skirts to expose her legs, which are covered with fish scales- rainbow colored like those of a tropical fish.  I find myself both fascinated and repelled.  She turns her head and I realize that on her neck are gill slits.  Fins protrude from behind her ears.  As the fish goddess and I are speaking, a radiant child enters the precinct in a procession.  On the ground are vials containing fetuses.

Kore

Kore
1986
Pencil on paper on canvas
9 by 14 ft.

Barque and Kore Installed

Installation at La Jolla Museum of Art

In 1990 when I returned from Rome I had the following dream:

Dream III

I am in Santa Martia Minerva, attending a mass.  All of the priests are stuffed like baked potatoes in jackets.  I think of the Capuchin Fathers catacombs with the dead priests in vestments.  During the mass a Black Madonna and child begin to float up over the altar.

Black Madonna of Einsiedeln

Black Madonna of Einsiedeln
1993
Pencil on paper on canvas
9 by 14 ft.

Barques

A reoccurring childhood dream was of an Egyptian boat in a sea surrounded by floating animals and whales and elephants.  The boat was a block long.  I had this dream when I was about seven.  It was not until 1955, when I was nine that the boat was discovered at Giza in the pit near the pyramids.  It would not be put together from fragments and assembled for about thirty years.

The Egyptian boat sails through the hours of the night, transporting the king through the underworld.  Many cultures, including Native American bury their dead with tomb boats to navigate the afterlife.  For me, the boat is a powerful symbol of the voyage through the unconscious.  My dream foretold the discovery of the Giza bargue, and had a lasting impression on me.

I drew my dream in a large work called:

Samhain for Constance Gore Booth Markiewitz

Samhain for Constance Gore Booth Markiewitz
1983
Colored pencil on paper on canvas
9 ft. 3 inches by 27 feet

Barque for Isis and Hathor

Barque for Isis and Hathor
1984
Cast bronze
12” by 40” by 4 ¾ inches

Barque with Celestial Staircase

Barque with Celestial Staircase
1984
Cast bronze with green patina
15 ½ by 32 by 6 inches
Roy E. Neuberger Museum, Purchase, NY

Barque with Lion Goddess

Barque with Lion Goddess
1986
Pencil on paper on canvas
91 by 145 inches
The Principle Building , Des Moines, Iowa

Barque with Lion Goddess

Barque with Lion Goddess

Barque with Lion Goddess
1985
Cast bronze
42 by 10 by 161/2 inches, 9 by 51/4 by 5 inches, 12 ½ by3 ½ by 6 inches

Barque with Condor

Barque with Condor
1984
Cast bronze
91/2 by 14 by 4 inches

Barque with Sacre Coeur

Barque with Sacre Coeur
1984
Pencil on paper on canvas
84 ½ by 58 inches
Collected by Elisabeth Goth

Barque with Staircase for Osiris

Barque with Staircase for Osiris
1984
Cast bronze
10” by 21” by 4 inches

Pris de Rome

The Tubs of Aphrodite

Dream

I am in an unknown sanctuary on a hillside.  The hill is terraced with parts of the sanctuary occupying three different levels.  The uppermost room of the sanctuary is roofed, the lower open to the sky.  The atmosphere is hushed, the silence which precedes either the mysteries or a natural disaster.

I am with Yvonne on the terrace.  In front of me I see a large Roman tub made of copper.  The tub begins to rock with the tremors and overturns.  I mount it like a capsized boat and am saved, but Yvonne is crushed underneath and dies.  The quake has sent mudslides into the sanctuary, torrents of mud and water.

Ann working in plaster at her studio, American Academy in Rome
Ann working in plaster at her studio, American Academy in Rome

One month before going to Rome in 1989 I had the preceding dream.  My first morning there I took a walk on the Via Dandolo, near the American Academy in Rome. Discovering at the bottom of the Villa Sciarra, the Syrian Sanctuary, preserved like a bee in amber.  Its general plan was exactly like the sanctuary in my dream.

The Syrian Sanctuary contained an open-air temenos –a consecrated area- on the lower two levels and a vaulted sanctuary on the upper levels.  Later I learned that mud slides had covered the back walls of the temple in antiquity, preserving them up to their vaults.

Ann working in plaster at her studio, American Academy in RomeThe Syrian Sanctuary, in dreams and in reality, became a stage set for a divine drama.  As a modern woman and an artist, the sanctuary, its purposes and uses, the Goddesses Aphrodite and Dea Syria, and the principles they stand for, have come to life in a special way.

In the dream I was saved, by crawling inside the copper tub. Copper belongs to Aphrodite, it is her metal, and acts as a conductor for her energies.  The tub, sea, and the bath are her domain.  The Eros principle of Aphrodite, is also the agent of dissolution: in the dream I am saved by bathing in the Eros principle.

The sanctuary and the tub are filled with mud and water.  In many creation myths, water is the original matter out of which the world is created.  Because it fills the womb the womb, water is related to birth. The earth element is also key, as in many Native American creation myths.  A ball of mud is brought up through the waters, or a ball of earth is scraped from the arm of the Creator to from the world.  Here the earth and water cause one form to disappear, and a new, regenerated one to emerge.

 

Ann working in the Foundry Mariani, Pietra Santa, Italy
Ann working in the Foundry Mariani, Pietra Santa, Italy

The spring, the pool and the use of water in the pagan mystery religions, and those that followed, are linked to the power of the moisture principle, a primary source of life.  Bothe Aphrodite and Dionysus are associated with water; they are associated with spontaneity, regeneration, and feel as opposed to restraint more associated with Apollo.  Aphrodite symbolizes birth, fertility, and procreation.   The bath and immersion images relate to baptism, healing, and rejuvenation.

Ann working in the Foundry Mariani, Pietra Santa, ItalySocrates and Plato imply that it is women-Aphrodite, Diotima, and Sappho- to whom one goes for the truthful vision of love.  The academies of Aphrodite taught not only love, also positive human relations, and ethics in the ancient world, even soldiers studied at her academies.  We need this positive Eros more today than ever.

Aphrodite was not without her dark side, in the form of nymphs who lure men to their deaths in deep waters. The goddess can also be implacable and remorseless, the root cause of hatred, rivalry, jealousy, and cruelty, as we learn from the hymns of Sappho.

Vasca I

Vasca I

Vasca I
Cast bronze from lost wax
24” by 56” by 50”

Inscription

“Your golden chariot yoked: sparrows beautiful and swift conveyed you, with rapid wings a flutter, above the dark earth from heaven through mid-air;

And soon they were come, and you, fortunate with a smile on your immortal face, asked what ails me now, and why  I am calling now”

Sappho

Vasca II

Vasca II (In Exhibit)

Vasca II
Cast bronze from lost wax
38 ½” by 97” by 116”

Inscription

“Richly-enthroned immortal Aphrodite, daughter of Zeus, weaver of wiles, I pray to you: break not my spirit. Lady, with heartache or anguish”

Sappho

Vasca I (Drawing)

I made the winged tubs because for me they seemed to come from the heavens. Aphrodite is ornithic, and is often paired with the dove, the goose, and the swan. Or she is born by waterfowl.

Ann McCoy
Rome 1990

Rome Wreaths 2

Wreaths, I though IV
Cast bronze with green patina
15 ½ “ diameter

Majdanek

Conversations with Angels

Majdanek, Lublin Poland, Summer 2003

Dedicated to the Women of Barrack 9

Ann McCoy - MajdanekMajdanek, a former Nazi concentration camp near Lublin in Poland where 235 thousand perished, is for me a place where one encounters an incomprehensible darkness.  As an artist I try to be a light bringer, and believe that art has the capacity to both heal and enlighten.  All of my work over a thirty-year period has been involved with the idea of reconciliation, and spiritual transformation. I felt drawn to Majdanek because of a small shrine on the site started by German and Jewish youth, where one can pray and think about forgiveness.  It was as if the visitors are given an opportunity to not only think about the site, but to somehow shift and transform the darkness found there into something more positive for themselves and others.

Majdanek Installation

Leo Tolstoy wrote a book on the practice of nonviolence, and corresponded with Gandhi who read his book. The Jains of India also influenced Gandhi. Gandhi took much of his message of nonviolence from the Jain philosophy of Ahinsa. The Jains practice nonviolence (Ahinsa), and Anakantavada, respect for the multiple truths found in different views.  In our world torn apart by violence and sectarianism, these values of tolerance for other views, and nonviolence have an appeal for me. Majdanek is certainly a site that has known some of the worst violence against the human spirit, and a lack of tolerance for a religion, a people, and a culture.  As a Catholic, I was deeply moved by the Jain devotion to forgiveness.

Each morning in Puja, Jains ask to be forgiven for all they have done and in return to forgive others.  The Jain prayer is, “May I forgive all souls and have them forgive me.” For me Majadanek represents the heart of darkness, a place where all of us could meditate on how to be forgiven for our acts of violence in word and deed.  So much of modern culture seems programmed for violence; we now live in a start of perpetual war.  A second part of morning puja involves holding a mirror to reflect images of the divine (transcendent Self) into the heart center.  The practice presents a way of bringing the divine and forgiveness in our own hearts.

For me this practice is beautifully described in “Talking with Angels”. This book transcribes the conversations with angels experienced by four girls in Hungary between 1943 and 1944.  Three of the girls perished in the concentration camps, and the only survivor published the book in 1953.  I was very moved by one of the passages and its relationship to the Jain mirror (puja) practice.

“Listen carefully!  there is a wonderful mirror in you.

A MIRROR THAT REVEALS ALL!
IT DWELLS INSIDE OF YOU
AND REFLECTS THE DIVINE.
BUT ONLY IN SILENCE.

If a tiny mosquito alights on its surface, the mirror is clouded.
If the mirror is not clear, you can not create.
Focus all of your attention on it.
Heaven does not hide before the wonderful mirror.”

My idea was to have the viewer meditate on an image, and reflect it into their heart center using a small mirror. For me the clouding on the mirror is our lack of forgiveness, violence, negative judgment, and lack of compassion.

McCoy4majdanek copy

Most of the images come from my drawings of my dreams, and from the dreams and visions of the women of Barrack 9.  The women of Barrack 9 created an imaginary radio, and “broadcast” their dreams using their voices around the camp. These women knew that psyche and spirit are tools for survival in the darkest times. I had a contact with a member of the group they formed after the war; and had writing by the inmates of Barrack 9.  A widower of one of the women, Symon Bojko, helped me with the translation.

The piece was dedicated to these brave women of great faith, both Catholic and Jewish.  I found the women from Majdanek I met to be some of the most spiritual and beautiful souls I have ever encountered. Their lives provided a meditation on the Self; the transpersonal center of each person, which lies beyond the ego, and is our lamp in the darkness.

Majdanek

For me God often speaks through dreams and visions.  Our world has a great deal of violence and darkness.  Finding new roads to peace, love, and nonviolence through meditation is one way to honor those who died at Majdanek.  By dedicating the piece to the women of Barrack 9 who found a ray of light in the darkness, I tried to make the piece to commemorate their lives.  Some of these women who were still living came to the opening.

The barrack used for the installation was the old shoe factory, a space roughly 65 wide by 150 feet long.

I had a series of benches made by the Majdanek carpenters along with a hand mirror mounted to the right of each chair.  The mirror reflects an image projected on a scrim in front of the viewer, and the mirror reflects the image into the viewer’s heart center.

The museum is open only in the summer months due to a lack of heating.    Each summer thousands of visitors from all over the world come to Majdanek, the best preserved of all of the concentration camps.  Each year an artist is invited to do an installation for this visiting international public.  The Majdanek staff helped with some of the archival research.  The staff electricians also provided help with the wiring.  Brochures and mailers were provided by the museum in English and Polish.  I raised the funds to pay for the installation from individuals. I had partial funding from the Harriet G. and Estaban Vicente Charitable Trust in the amount of $3,000, $1,000 from Elisabeth Goth, and $500 from the Marjorie Weinberg trust, and Sandra Stephenson gave $300.  My total budget was $7,500.

I used 48 projectors without fans I found in an airline magazine; they are used to put Santa on your garage at Christmas.  I rewired the projectors and put them on timers.  The images were projected on bed sheet woven in the United States prisons. After the project was finished, the sheets were donated to orphanages in Lublin.

Mad Mother Series

A very difficult mother complex was something I had to come to terms with in my life.  My mother suffered from alcoholism and later dementia.  In my own life I had to come to terms with those parts of the mother that had become internalized, part of my own personality. I had a dream that my mother was in a bloody underground cavern.  She was a giant spider, a symbol of the negative mother par excellence.  In the eyes of the spider I put two drawings of my mother in her hospitalization.

Mad Mother Realm, 1999

Mad Mother Realm
1999
Pencil and watercolor on paper on canvas
9 by 14 ft.

The breakthrough for me came when I had a dream that my mother and I were swimming in a river with the dismembered bodies of lepers.  In the Bible Neumann the leaper, is cured by bathing in the Jordan.  In alchemy “the leprosy of the metals” refers to problems in the process.  My mother had always kept a stone from the Jordan River in her ivory reliquary box; so the idea of bathing in the river had a second meaning for me.  In the dream we were both bathing in the same river, are part of the same complex.  In India there is a huge pilgrimage called the Kumba Mele festival where millions bath in the Ganges.  There is also a wonderful fresco in a convent in Rome that shows Constantine bathing in a tub, as a cure. The bathing in the river is healing but also represents a kind of baptism.  For me the dream led to a breakthrough and a path out of the negative mother complex and the depression.  The waters became luminous and shining.  Like blue butterfly wings. I was able to dump a lot of the negative traits, and a new attitude could come forth.

Leprous Mother

Washing the Leprous Mother in the Jordan River
2000
Pencil and water color and gold paint on paper on canvas
9 by 14 ft.

The child represents new possibilities in dreams and visions.  In a symbolic way Christ as a child represents spirituality and renewal in the individual as well as the collective.  Erich Neumann has written a wonderful book on the archetype of the child. In Lunar Birth, I saw myself as a child in a lamp, some glowing inner child I had never been allowed to be.  My childhood was very dark.  In the drawing the crows, which symbolize depression, are departing. Processional with Light Bringer also has the image of the child as a light bringer.

Lunar Birth

Lunar Birth
2000
Pencil and watercolor and gold paint on paper on canvas
9 by 14 ft.

Processional With Light Bringer

Processional with Light Bringer
2005
Cast bronze with silver crown
19” by 7’2”
Processional With Light Bringer in Wax

Sanctuary came from a dream and an experience I had in India.  In the dream I was holding my mother like the Christ in the Pieta across my lap. After many years of being angry I was able to understand her life and empathize and forgive her.  She had had a tortured existence with the suicide of her brother and the death of another brother from the fall off a cliff.  Her life had not been easy.  To give up all resentments and anger is I feel an important step in everyone’s development.

Sanctuary also comes from an experience I had in the temple at Ranachpur in India, one of the great Jain temples in the world.  The Jains are one of the oldest religions in India.  They believe in forgiveness and incorporate it in a confessional festival called Perysiana where all Jains spend nine days contemplating forgiveness as well as in a daily ritual.  The experience in the temple was what a religious writer would call a “peak experience”.  I felt that an inner sanctuary had become mirrored in this outer sanctuary. More amazing still is that the plan for the Ranakpur temple came from one man’s dream.

Sanctuary

Sanctuary
2002
Pencil and watercolor on paper on canvas
9 by 14  ft.

The last work in the Series, White Birth, also came from a dream.  I see babies everywhere on a floating sea.  I am riding a white horse and there is a Roman ship on the waters.  I had seen an alchemical illustration with vials containing babies.  The dream was rife with new birth, new energy (horse power), and poetic inspiration.  The boat suggested a new voyage.

White Birth

White Birth
2004
Pencil and watercolor on paper on canvas
9 by 14 ft.