Saturday, December 26, 2015

Some notes on 'Daphne,' 2015

'Daphne,' 2015
Wood, vintage photo and gold leaf.
I made this piece before a moment of serendipity when I picked up the book, Myths, Dreams and Relgion, and coming across the chapter on Daphne and Metamorphosis. Below are the highlighted notes that I will use if I have to write a statement or essay about the piece or hopefully body of work.
I always find it difficult to some up a piece in a statement.  Hopefully the notes will help the view get a clearer picture of what may have been going through my mind when making it.
'Daphne was a nymph, a daughter of the river god Peneius. As a result of a boasting match among the gods, Apollo fell hopelessly in love with her. At the same time that Cupid's golden arrow shot Apollo full of love, one of Cupid's lead-tipped arrows pierced the heart of the nymph. The result was that she wanted nothing to do with love. She persuaded her father to allow her to remain unwed. Neither knowing this nor caring, Apollo pursued Daphne, trying to persuade her with talk of his great worth, but she wanted nothing to do with him and ran while he tried to woo her.
This merely made Apollo more determined, so he pursued her and gained on her. When he was about to reach her, she pleaded with Peneius to help her, to let the earth swallow her up or to change her form. Peneius obliged. Daphne was turned into a bay laurel tree to escape Apollo.' 

 Some notes from the chapter, 'Daphne, or Metamorphosis,' by Normon O. Brown, from the book, 'Myths, Dreams, and Religion,' edited by Joseph Campbell.

-The symbolic equation Girl=Tree; the symbolic equation Girl=Phallus. The virginity is virility; the virility is virility. We harden like trees. 
(O. Fenichel, "The symbolic Equation Girl = Phallus." Collected papers.)

-Promising immortality. or awaiting resurrection. not dead but sleeping. the maiden is not dead, but slept. The tree is the sleeping beauty. She made herself a bed in my ear and went to sleep. And everything is her sleep.
(Matthew 9:24. Rilke, Die Sonette an Orpheus, I, No. ii)

-The reconciliation of spirit and nature; the opposition of sexuality and sublimation overcome. When our eyes are opened, we receive that in sexuality the object is not the literal girl; but the symbolic girl, the tree. It is always something else that we want. The object is always transcendent.

-Metamorphosis into a tree. The sublimation is at the same time a fall, into a lower order of creation; an incarnation. The way up is the way down. The sublime Apollo is desublimated, descends; in love with human nature he takes on human, all-too-human form-the hound of heaven, ut canis in vacuo leporem cum Gallicus arrive-to be united with the virgin. And what she finally gives him is wood, the maternal material. The Virgin is his mother; Osiris, Adonis, born of a tree. In her womb he puts on wood; in her womb he is surrounded with wood, crowned with the laurel, embraced by the Virgin.' (Ovid Metamorphoses I, l. 533. Ovid Moralise I, ll. 3245-3250)

-The lady and the lover are one tree. 
(J. Onimus, "La poetic de l'arbre," Rev. Sciences Hum., No. 101, p.107. Ovid, Metamorphoses, VII, I.813)

-The metamorphosis of sexuality: sublimation.
The Gods that mortal beauty chase
Still in a tree did end their race.
(Rilke, Die Sonette an Orpheus, I, Nos. i-ii. Ovid, Metamorphoses, I, ll. 552-553.)

-..a golden crown. The alchemical gold of sublimation. the green girl is a golden girl.
(goethe, faust, I, l.2039)

 -Ever-green is ever burning. Daphne a fire branded; the laurel is full of fire. The branches of that tree which antiquity dedicated to the Sun in order to crown all the conquerors of the earth, when shaken together give out of fire. The laurel is the burning bush, the Virgin Mary;

-May she become a flourishing hidden tree. (Yeats, "A Prayer for my Daughter.")

-What she finally gives him is the wood of the cross.
The gods that mortal beauty chase
Still in a tree did end their race.
In a tree or on a tree. sublimation is crucifixion. Even so shall the Son of Man be lifted up.
There is a Coptic tapestry fragment from a fifth-century tomb showing the tree-girl, naked and sexed, handing to Apollo a flower which is a cross. Ovid Says osculate dat ligno. 
He Kisses the cross.
(In the Louvre Museum. Ovid, Metamorphoses I, l. 556.)

-She is his mother; the Great Mother; the naked goddess rising between two branches.
(E. Neumann, The Great Mother, pp. 241-256)

-Metamorphosis into a tree. A fall, into the state of nature. The spirit, the human essence, hides, buried in the natural object; "projected." 
(Schiller, "Die Gotter Griechenlands.")

-Daphne hath broke the bark, and that swift foot
Which th' angry gods has fastened with a root
To the fix'd earth, doth now unfettered run
To meet h'embraces of the youthful Sun.

-The final metamorphosis in the humanisation of nature. It is a question of love: the transformation of the bear into a Prince the moment the bear is loved. The identification is a change of identity; the magic is love.
(cf. F. Yates, Giordano Bruno and the hermetic tradition, P. 127.)

-A Girl
Ezra Pound

The tree has entered my hands,
The sap has ascended my arms,
The tree has grown in my breast--
The branches grow out of me, like arms.

Tree you are,
Moss you are,
You are violets with wind above them.
A child- so high- you are,
And all this is folly to the world.

-A spiritualisation of nature; an invisible spirit in the tree.

-The tree is the teleological end, the eschaton (end of the world, end of time). We shall all be changed, in the twinkling of an eye. Resurrection is metamorphosis, from the natural to the supernatural, or spiritual body. It is raised a spiritual body. Casting the body's vest aside. The harps that we hung on the willow trees, the organs, are our natural bodies, the sexual organisations.
(Methods in Rahner, Greek myths and Christian Mystery, p.137)

-The supernatural body reunites us with nature; with rocks and stones and trees. It gives us the flower body of Narcissus, or the body of Daphne. Love's best retreat. It is the resurrection of nature in us; nature transformed into invisible spirit. As Rilke says, Earth, is that not what you want: to rise again, invisible, in us. 
(Rilke in Heller, the Disinherited Mind, p. 169)

-Every poor schizophrenic girl is a Delphic priestess; or a Daphne, saying "I am that tree." "Thats the rain-I could be that rain. That chair- that wall. its a terrible thing for a girl to be a wall." It's a terrible thing for a girl to be a Delphic priestess. In the cave the priestess raves: she still resists the brutal god, to shake from her hapless breast his breast; all the more his pressure subjugates her wild heart, wears down her rabid mouth, shapes her mouth into his mouthpiece.

-One tree, in kaleidoscopic metamorphosis.
(Wordsworth, Prelude, VI, ll. 637-639)

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