Sunday, 23 November 2014

Cardiff's winter wonderland

Christmas has come to Cardiff, the lights are up, shoppers bustle through the streets and festive music is playing everywhere you go. And with twinkling lights, rides and one more go style attractions so has Cardiff's Winter Wonderland.

I wandered past food galore; freshly made candyfloss, overflowing chocolate fountains, sizzling sausages and a an invitingly warm beer tent offering a great place to warm up.

The rides and attractions lit up the night, people screaming and laughing from bumper cars, the mad scramble of those foolish enough to attempt the fun house. And glowing over it all a whizzing tower that lifted its pundits high into the night sky.

The night was made for lovers as happy couples enjoyed the brisk night air, no where more then the ice ring where some couples glided and soared and some slid off their feet much to amusement of the person they were with.

 I left feeling joyful having enjoyed the romance, glitz and sparkle of this winter wonderland.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Penarth: And the sea came in

In the Sandman comics by Neil Gaiman, death is compared to the sea. Not a sudden surge that sweeps everything away but a tide that comes and goes gradually and slowly wears it all away. Penarth more then anywhere else in Cardiff reminds of this idea.

It once was a vibrant, bright promenade full of small businesses, a thrivingly active port and a bustling stone beach overflowing with families visiting the sea. But old age has crept slowly upon it and now with its gently decaying pier and slowly eroding sea front, the waterfront has taken on the atmosphere of a setting more akin to Wuthering Heights or the poems of Keats.

The night I took these pictures a storm was rolling in and the rain soaked me and the stony shore. I love nights like this when the sky turns to charcoal and the sea threatens to swallow everything in endless greys and greens. And I can for a second imagine a town recapturing what made it great, a beauty waterfront slowly reclaimed by the sea.

Monday, 3 November 2014

A painted veil

The veil is a powerful and recurring theme in mystical symbolism. In Islam God is said to wear a veil of light that will only be removed before his worshipers. In Babylonian myth for her descent into the underworld the goddess Inanna has to remove all her clothing in order to save her dead lover, the last item being her beloved veil. And in qabalah there are said to be three veils that separate existence from the supreme nature of God.

So what is the symbolism behind the veil then? In two of the above examples, the veil is something that obscures the true nature of divinity. In the above example it is said that the veil of light could also be translated as a veil of fire and it is said that if Allah removed this " the splendour of His countenance would consume His creation so far as His sight reaches."

The veil in qabalah present a mystical allegory, for they represent that which the mind cannot comprehend. The true nature of divinity is such that the mind would not be able to truly be able to describe or ascertain its true nature without direct experience of passing beyond these veils.

And the last could be seen as the lesson that only in humility can true spiritual gnosis be reached. For when Inanna first sets out into the underworld it is her rainments of heaven which she has to remove in order to reach her lover and finally have him restored to life.