Mystery of the Three Hares

I love stories like this!

“An ancient symbol in the roof of a Dartmoor church turns out to link paganism, Islam, Christianity and Buddhism over almost 2000 years, in a fascinating historical detective story.

Writer and historian, James Crowden, follows three historical detectives from a church in Devon to a high mountain kingdom in the Himalayas searching for the meaning and origin of the ancient symbol of the three hares.

The search began with a carving in the roof of a medieval Devon church, but the hare-chasers trace its origins through medieval Europe; via an ancient casket said to have contained the bones of St Lazarus, a 13th century monastery bell, and a Chapter house roof where the hares are found rubbing shoulders with the pagan Green Man; all the way to the mountain Kingdom of Ladakh and 12th Century China.

So what does the symbol mean and how has it travelled such immense distances?

The answer connects the pagan goddess who gave her name to Easter to the Virgin Mary, the Buddha, and the great Mongol Empire.

You can see photos of the hares, find out about the Three Hares Project and contribute your own sightings at: the three hares project
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There are seventeen parish churches in Devon (my local county) with Hare motifs in prominant roof bosses. What I love is how this image has woven through this western religion from the east, and the associations here that hare has to goddess-type religions. I like how you can follow the spread of the symbol across the map, through Europe to here. And I like the escher-ness of the three ears altogether but each hare has two ears.

… I have the feeling I’m becoming a bit trainspotter-like with my archetypes and symbols. Fun tho. 🙂

Why does it fascinate me so much?

Star Wars and meme-tagging

Star Wars III

I finally watched Star Wars III, and really rather enjoyed it. Even if I did find it almost tangibly painful to watch the inevitable. I’ve seen some good comments on the film on friend’s journals, what strikes me is that people pick up on certain aspects of the story which tend to relate to problems/areas they are struggling with themselves. To me this shows some of the powerful mythic themes underlying the CGI and special effects of the Star Wars films(to be pretentious for a minute) (link: “Myth and the hero’s journey: Big screen blockbusters Star Wars, Spider-Man – tell timeless tales”>

So for me, the main angle that I saw was to do with growing up and seeing the world contains light AND dark, and that love is complicated. The first three Star Wars films where all seen in the comfort of my parent’s living room when I was around..12 ish? It was nice and clear cut – Vader was the Bad Guy, Storm Troopers were Bad Guys, and the Jedi etc were Good Guys. Even though this did get a bit confusing with the “I am your father” part it was still fairly clear. I never gave much thought about where Vader came from or who he was or how he got like that. Now having seen the ‘history’ I can alsmost feel my perceptions being reconfigured. This has become quite a common feeling in the last year or so.

insomnia sucks
In the last two weeks, the most common feeling has been insomnia. I hate it I hate it I hate it I hate it. I get woken up by a combination of nocturnal flatmates/squeaky floors and then can’t get back to sleep again. I really do wind myself up over it, get frustrated, cry and generally angry. If I was put in a brain-washing camp where they deprived you of sleep, I’d crack in about three days. What’s interesting/worrying is just how neurotic it makes me. I REALLY NEED DECENT SLEEP. I get indignant because it seems like some sort of basic human right is being taken away. But then I can’t force my flatmates to go to bed before 11 because that’s taking away there choice and will make them annoyed as well.

Saying “hate leads to the darkside” doesn’t help.

I will go back to earplugs and valerian. 🙂

With that in mind, I got tagged for memes, and since it was by people I know I feel a strange sense of obligation.

meme tagging things

Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a new and forward-thinking approach to the treatment of mood disorders and psychological problems. It integrates the evidence-based techniques of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with elements of Zen meditation practice, relaxation techniques, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and the conscious cultivation of awareness and acceptance.Through MBCT patients aim to change their relationship to negative thoughts and feelings associated with depression and anxiety. Rather than allowing themselvesto be “stuck” in such thoughts and feelings, they work to develop the ability to “de-center” from their thoughts, “make space” for their feelings, and to view thesenegative states as “mental events” rather than as enduring aspects of a true“self.” ”

It seems that things are coming together. I’d never heard of this before, even if all the ideas are familiar. I’m not sure if it’s something that’s even available in the UK yet,and though there are a plethora of meditation classes nothing really geared towards helping people with depression etc

The good news is there is a research assistant job being advertised at my local university – the aim is to see if MBCT could be integrated successfully/cost-effectively into mainstream National Health Service! This combines my interest in combining mind-body stuff together AND trying to get academic stuff out into the ‘real world’.

The bad news is I have 2 days left to get an application form in, and there will be a lot of competition. Still, I will try.

In the meantime, I need to practice meditation etc again! I’m finding valerian helps…

I am so bad at patience. I like the below because it makes the point that waiting is NOT always about indecision. Deciding to wait and bide your time IS a decision in itself. My family, especially my parents (now living far away thank god) are pushing and pushing for me to know the rest of my life all planned out right NOW. Suddenly I no longer have their encouragement support but rather their panic and worry. In a rage, my mother scorns everything that has been my choice.
This is not her life.

I watched the “Cat returns” recently. One of the messages was about “no matter where you are, be true to yourself” cheesey, yes, but important. It feels so easy to sell out for the sake of security of one kind or another.

Give me the strength to wait. Give me the conviction not to make choices that go against my heart.

It seems to me, you need faith to wait. Grant me such faith; for the alternative path at the moment looks too much like a descent into frantic neurotiscism, jealousy and panicked insomnia. gah! 🙂

— on Waiting —

Rebound (Movement. Music. Humour)

I’m feeling much better today. Thanks for the comments re:art. I’ve actually taken the advice, and spent all of lunchtime yesterday doodling, and have broken my work with quick sketches in the notebook next to me rather than angsting. It’s funny how memory is so selective; I was being all nostalgic remembering drawing comics etc on my teenage desk, but I totally forgot about the continous stream of doodles, sketches etc drawn in the margins of most of my class exercise books!

I also got up early this morning and went to the gym(!!) After some brief cardio exercise whilst watching MTV, sitting in the steam room and then a shower, I had time to lounge in the coffee bar and read a book. The book I’ve gone back to is “Moving into Ecasty” by a woman called Amoda. I found it three years ago, during the first major “wake up” moment I can remember.

I’ve realised it’s time for some major revision, and infact re-reading the book now I can feel myself interpreting the same words from a perspective a little further down the path.

The same old basic message : get out of your head and into your body. This is hard when you’re sitting infront of a computer, especially with the internet, sometimes it feels like I’m being sucked in through the screen.

Amoda calls herself an “urban mystic” which I rather like.
What is an Urban Mystic?

Not drawing (frustration)

Right now I want to draw so much I’m ready to cry. Over the last few months I’ve had many vivid ideas surface then sink again as I never actually manifest them. I want to draw and paint and doodle and see my work transform.

It’s now been well over 5 years since I actually created regularly. I don’t know how to fix this. Other people manage to fit in drawing/creating into their lives so, why can’t I?

I think perhaps the biggest conflict is, to create I need uninterrupted isolation. But I also like spending time with other people.

I’ve wondered about trying to schedule time to myself, to draw, but this either makes me feel wrongly guilty/selfish OR it doesn;t work because the rhythmn doesn’t tend to fit with a schedule. Plus the 3 hours I get in the evening after work isn’t enough – I want whole afternoons!

Also, creativity feels like a fire, which your whole life feeds, and I think I burn a lot of it up trying to stay relatively buoyant whilst doing a disapointly dull and boring job that’s taking me nowhere. I also extinguish it up with pointless worry and rumination.

Just doing my bit to maintain the LJ-angst volume.