New Logo: The Sphinx

January 17, 2010

Oedipus and the Sphinx - Gustave Moreau

Sitting at Ozzie’s, a coffee shop on 5th ave and Garfield in Brooklyn’s Park Slope area, i came across an astrology book printed in the 70’s, but first published in 1943.  Its writing described an aspect of astrology that i began to understand a few years ago, yet had found little other writing to support a way of thinking about the zodiac.  Simply, it is an analogy of the cycle of the development of human life (from young to old, infant to elderly)  to that of the sky’s cyclical system of rotating zodiacal signs.  The western astrological cycle does not correspond to our sense of time in years with say, January being the beginning.  Instead it begins at the end of March in Aries.  In this way of understanding the zodiac, Aries is the beginning, the infant, the blank slate, the state of wonder of the world.  Pisces (which comes right before Aries) is the end, has seen it all, tried everything and understands through experience, or from innate empathy for it encompasses what has come before.
This book at Ozzie’s, Astrological Signs – The Pulse of Life by Dane Rudhyar, illustrated a striking state of the transformation of time between Leo and Virgo.  This point in the zodiac interests me as my love, partner and collaborator, Cole Caswell is a sun in the cancer-leo cusp and i am a virgo-libra. We live together on the bridge from Leo to Virgo.  Here Rudhyar describes is where:

Productive activity on the basis of strict individualism and emotional self-expression presents to man a riddle.  How can physical and nervous exhaustion, emotional tragedy and disillusionment be avoided?  In essence this is the question which man everlastingly asks of the Sphinx; and there is a fitting tradition which says that the point of the zodiac which ends the sign Leo and begins the sign Virgo carries the symbol of the Sphinx.  This mythical creature which still faces today the sands of Egypt has the body of a lion and the head of a virgin — this is indeed the meeting point of Leo and Virgo.  It symbolizes the answer to the eternal query we have just stated.  What is this answer?
The answer is two-fold; yet the two sides of it should be integrated and that integration, difficult in practice though simple in theory is the very secret of the Sphinx, which is two being in one.  One side of the answer refers to the wear and tear produced by the impulsive and stressful type of activity and its dramatic gestures.  The answer can be summed up in one word: Technique.  The other side of the picture deals with a repolarization of the emotional nature itself.  Technique and emotional repolarization are the two keys to the secret of the Sphinx.          p.70-71

I found it fitting that the symbol of the Sphinx is one that presents us with riddles and answers to the meaning of being alive.  Life, here, is composed of both animal and human parts, two perspectives Cole and I often consider in our work.  As artists, Cole and I collectively rack our brains and trudge onward wondering how to avoid and cope with “physical and nervous exhaustion, emotional tragedy and disillusionment” coming up with methods for coping and staying conscious become the crossbeams that allow our learned techniques in the visual arts to build a larger and more secure and sustainable structure where we can continue to produce work under.    With the head of the virgin and the body of a lion, i imagine an accurate representation, a well organized example of curiosity, emotion, and integration of what leo-virgos do in the time between each other.

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