Friday, May 8, 2009

Johnny, break it down


John the Baptist! What a being! Jesus' cousin. He's living in the desert, right? Preaching to all these people... "Get yourself in the water! The Man is right around the corner! Come on now! For the love of Christ!"

I love Leonardo da Vinci's painting of John the Baptist (shown in the post below). If I had the means to buy anything on earth, that would be one of the things I'd acquire. It's also his last painting... beautiful da Vinci... he would buy caged birds just to release them.

I was thinking of that painting and the line, "She's so good looking that she looks like a man," kept turning over in my head. (I'd always thought it was 'that' rather than 'but'.) It's a lyric that has puzzled me since I was so tiny. And I was remembering what Jesus said about woman becoming man and man becoming woman. Gender is a social construction. The actual sex of a person is the physical reality. Annie Lennox and David Bowie amaze me with their "becoming" the other gender for performance. It's like, "See? I'm the other, but I'm not. For like an hour, and then I'm back to the other one." So it's not real, you know? And yet gender is so deeply embedded into our perceived realities around sex, right and wrong, human value.... that for a woman to become man and a man to become woman... is to transcend our cultural blindness. Not in a way that I'll shave my head and wear leather, but in a way that I can be with you without engaging you as a certain prototype, without knowing you via any identity.

So it was appropriate to match Leo's St John painting with the Polythene Pam lyrics, and how totally cool is it that it continues "She's the kind of a girl that makes the News of the World," and John was the first guy to actually preach "The Good News"? Awesome.

You know how the birds sing in the morning before the sun rises? If we have no clock, and there is no sun to be seen, but there are birds tweeting in the night- we know by their singing that the dawn is near. John the Baptist is a singing bird that knows the sun is coming. A bird in the water.
(What else floats in water? Little small rocks! Churches! A DUCK!)

The water is the emotional realm. And John is like, "Ahem." (clears throat) "AHEM!" pointing to the water. In the early morning at dawn as the winds are stilled, the water is serene: glass, a mirror. It shines the moon, and the bright heart of the sun is reflected upon it. The rays of the sun move through the water, streaming rays that light up the underworld of fishes and newts and snakes and turtles and frogs and little small rocks. The water reflects the sky, "As above so below" and if we seek the sky then we seek the water, and if we seek water we find the sky, the sun, all the treasures of the underworld and the over world arching across the mirror.
* * * *

On the Fun-with-Androgyny subject... is important to mention that Da Vinci's sexual relationships were with men, as was the same for his contemporary, Michelangelo. They were two prominent image-creating powerhouses who were not attracted to the female form, and the women they painted often looked like men. The making of women into men or boys is still visually being done in the beauty industry; it is pop-sexy for a woman to look boyish. Being an old woman isn't honored in America. I just wanted to bring that up: that the over-slimming, over-youthening of women is not a bandwagon I want to be riding.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

God I love this painting you have created Shannon, is that a honey dripping wrist?...and John the sweet bird freer too, ate the sweet meat of the locust tree (carob pods). Honey locust trees grow by rivers. In Exodus 15, onward from the Red Sea..after being in the wilderness 3 days, they came to the river 'Marah' and the water was 'bitter', the people
'grumbled' against Moses. So he cried out to God and was shown a 'sweet tree'; he threw a piece into the water and the water became sweet. Yup, the cleansing waters! This is so rich!...and the darkest hour is just before Dawn.

PS That bandwagon passed by me Eons ago, lol!

Shannon said...

Wow amazing stuff!!! Thank you!

It is a dripping wrist and I didn't mean to do it, but what business is it of mine? ;)

Thanks very much- really appreciate the goodies you shared. :)

Angelina Hart said...

As for shaving one's head and wearing leather: when I did exactly that (while thin-skinny), those honey-dripping (ahem) boys adored me more than those honey-dipping (AHEM!) girls. Imagine that.

Anonymous said...

Right on...was a time long ago when I weighed 100 lbs, had a super short haircut, 'Daredevil' it was called, wore baggy green army pants, smoked Camels & shot Jack Daniels, and the same was true! Funny to remember that!

John drips the sweet honey of integrative...'Transcexdence' huh?
;)