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Food & Wine Restaurants Travel

The Best Italian Food in Los Angeles

Dan Tana’s on Santa Monica Blvd. Listen to Joe Rogan talk about it below. This is written in the middle of this unbelievable pandemic. So let’s it’s still open by the time you or I or anyone is able to try it out.

Categories
Mythology Philosophy Pyschology Spiritual

The Essential Function of Mythology and Religion

It’s to put the psyche in accord with nature. Once a hero begins an adventure he quickly learns he has to let go of his ego thinking and let the quest itself be his guide. In some adventures the hero is humbled (Odysseus, Parsifal, Job, Indra). In others he is completely eaten up or otherwise destroyed (Jonah, Jason). In all of these cases some kind of submission is required to an unintelligible, invisible force. That submission has to be utter (Actual death in the Christ story, and a complete willingness to die in the Buddha—at which moment his fulfillment is activated, and he achieves Nirvana). Yet all the while he is still striving for his goal. Though chaos may blow him all over the place for reasons that don’t seem fair, he somehow maintains his inner acceptance even in the face of the ultimate. And continues to try to move forward. The schizophrenic is the person who does the opposite: He won’t let fate wash over him, won’t let his consciousness transform, and keeps insisting on his ego’s program of control. He can’t accept the cards he is dealt and when the world around him won’t conform to his ego’s desire (which in truth like Jay Gatsby’s can never be fulfilled) he finally refuses to play the game. But that leaves him in a frozen state in which the intensity of suffering only increases until he feels he utterly cannot escape it and finally is left wailing on the ground.
So the hero is representative of a psyche that has learned to accept, submit to, and otherwise come into accord with nature, which is also analogous to his subconscious and as Jung put it, his “undiscovered self.”
Some heroes start out too proud and have to be humbled. Others start out too humble (Al-addin, many peasant types in the Grimm tales, Jack, etc.) And their adventure consists of realizing the diamond glowing inside. The lowly peasant boy, usually the third and youngest child, whom no one else respects either, turns out to be the only one in the kingdom with the courage to defeat the dragon and win the princess. Somehow his willingness to get in the game with the same type of straightforward intent, yet without expectation, and even more crucially without desperation, just like the Buddha’s acceptance under the Bo tree, and the Christ’s acceptance hanging ostensibly, metaphorically from that same tree, activated his superpowers, transformed his consciousness and that of the whole world around him.
Religion is simply when the act of being with these stories, symbols, and rituals, has the same effect on your psyche. The labyrinth is your socially conditioned mind and body. What’s trapped inside is your undiscovered self, your soul. Adriane’s flax thread is symbolic of religion and mythology itself, the song of the soul’s calling. One only has to follow it. The Great Way, as the koan says, has no gate.

Refusal of the call converts the adventure into its negative.

Joseph Campbell

Categories
Arkansas Culture Food & Wine Lifestyle Restaurants Travel

Great Places to Eat in Arkansas

  1. I saw a Facebook friend of mine post that he was at Taylor’s steakhouse. I’d never heard of it, so I figured he was in another state. Nope. He was in Dumas. Everybody in the comments was raving about the place. Ever since I got back from Charleston, Little Rock has seemed like a Wasteland at least in the eating department. Of course, nothing compares to Charleston, but it would help if I’d get outside the city limits every once in a while. This is a gorgeous state, but I probably know less about it and have seen less of it outside of Little Rock than someone living half way ’round the world.
    Of course, when I clicked on Taylor’s facebook page, they don’t even list there address, much less have a website, and of course they’re closed this Saturday because their daughter is graduating from grad school. That’s par for the course when it comes to a real rural restaurant, but it’s also a pretty good sign that when they are open they really get into what they do. Also, the fact they didn’t have their own website was actually an upside surprise for me because what they did link to was a website of a “gal” as we like to say who specializes in discovering new great little gems of restaurants all around the natural state. Her name is Kat Robinson. The name alone has me closed as a fan. Expect me to do some traveling in the Natural state exploring her finds. Who knows, maybe I can bring my guitar and find a place that’ll let me sing my ditties as well.

2. [Update 8/14/20] Another Foodie friend of mine posted this tonight with the caption: “THE BEST Charcuterie In LR.” The Restaurant is Sonny William’s Steakhouse in the Rivermarket district. Here’s the photo she posted:

Categories
Culture Music Spiritual

A Generation X Woodstock View

As a teen I romanticized it. Now, I realize that’s the same as mythologizing something. Of course the reality of the experience was anything but. Unless you were having a good trip, as it were. As a young teen in the early eighties, maybe from my older sister’s record collection, I was into CSNY, Dylan, Clapton, Beatles, Stones, etc. This was odd for 1983 I suppose. Even though MTV fascinated me in and of itself, I always “hate-watched” the content thinking it was so superficial compared to my beloved 60’s.
But enough about my thoughts on this now. I’ll add to them later including a whole chapter from my novel “The Horizon’s Blue Chance” which is all about a re-enactment of Woodstock at a college party in 1988. (the Chapter that is, not the whole novel. It’s the next to last one in the book, so it serves a prominent purpose to the story as a whole, at least psychologically and spiritually, a sort of “belly of the whale” experience.”)
I saw an article in today’s New York Times entitled “Woodstock Was the Birthplace of Festival Fashion” and like so much of my blog I just wanted to create a repository for media concerning topics I’m interested in.

Categories
Literature My Fiction

Fiction Writer’s Resources

I’m spending most of my time and focus on writing a novel right now. So, hence this.

“Words to Use instead of Said”

http://www.spwickstrom.com/said/
This was the top result when I googled: what are some words you can use to describe dialogue besides said


I created an “Alter-Ego” Twitter (@ottersransom) for solely for my artistic endeavors. My main personal account (@Pickering) which I’ve had since 2007 just seems to messed up and cluttered.
I got this next resource from googling: what’s a good hashtag on twitter for fiction writers and novelists

44 Essential Twitter Hashtags Every Author Should Know

Categories
Mythology Philosophy Pyschology Spiritual Uncategorized

The Symbolic Meaning of a Water Fountain

Water Fountain at Chenal Country Club
One can obviously see the phallic symbology of the water penetrating a yoni from beneath, but in a deeper sense, ironically a higher chakra sense, the form of a fountain represents each person and living being itself manifesting from a world of transcendence. And since each particle is of divine nature, so it your whole being.

The water represents the energy, the ambrosia of eternity pouring into the field of time. The endless flowing, the continuous flowing, represents the eternal nature of this mystical dimension and also the infinite nature of its source. Since you can’t see the water’s source, that represents that it’s coming from the ground of being and also that it’s coming from another dimension which is invisible to our senses. On a deeper level there’s the paradox and the archetypal sense of the infinite coming from nothingness, which ironically enough is being postulated as the literal truth in the latest scientific origin stories such as the Big Bang theory.

Most fountains that you see spring from a round bowl-shaped container or vase. The inside of the bowl or pool is sacred space, a “Holy Grail” you might say, which represents the transcendence of duality or on a psychological level, the gap between our thoughts.

Water has long been seen as symbolic of the ambrosia of eternity—and in mythology and psychology as symbolic of the subconscious. A fountain represents a sacred opening, gap or tunnel which is a connection to eternity itself—as well as to the depths of our own being.

In a way, a kind of mini temple, yet completely natural: a religious, mystical experience paradoxically combining both the mystical and the physical, representing a connection created by nature herself.

This is why it evokes an archetypal response of beauty in most people: The aesthetic being, at least on the symbolic level, the manifestation of a mystery.

02/09/16 Update: One element that struck me recently, especially looking at the still photograph, is the Lingam/Yoni symbolism. And there is a strong dichotomy of the Lingam, representing Shiva, coming out of the bowl/vase shaped Yoni, which is representative of the feminine aspect. But if you think about it from a Hindu perspective this makes total sense: The “Void” out of which everything comes and back into which everything goes is the Mother Goddess of the Universe. She is it. Symbolically speaking, the divine feminine represents life itself, and the Lingam, the male divine, represents the snake, who by piercing life, right through the middle, throws off death, just a snake throws off its skin.

The fact that the Lingam and Yoni are seen as together, like the Ying and Yang of Asia, as well as the water and bowl of a fountain, represents that the two are one, that the feminine and masculine are merely two different aspects of the same thing, just like the eternal and the imminent, the mysterious and the manifest, and indeed, life and death: this represents to the soul the transcendent nature of its own being.

Read this quote by Joseph Campbell

“Nevertheless-and here is a great key to the understanding of myth and symbol-the two kingdoms are actually one. The realm of the gods is a forgotten dimension of the world we know. And the exploration of that dimension, either willingly or unwillingly, is the whole sense of the deed of the hero.” – The Hero with a Thousand Faces, page 217, The Crossing of the Return Threshold

Here, the “realm of the gods” is symbolized by the Yoni, the void, the bowl, the feminine. And the “world we know” is represented by the Lingam/Masculine aspect. The masculine is representative of manifestation, but that manifestation has the potentiality to come in contact with the divine, indeed become divine, if it has the energy, drive, and intent to summon itself into one direction, namely that of the spontaneity residing inside the bowl of its own heart.

Another dichotomy: Notice in the fountain and in Hindu temples, the Lingam aspect is coming out of the Yoni, not going in: That’s symbolic of a resurrection. New life (Nova Vita) in this case not coming from sexual intercourse, but from a birth of the heart.