Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Help. Are fish caught in the vineyard edible?

I need help with dream interpretation.

Last night I had this dream, actually it was more of a dream-like text message (with just over 140 characters). It asked if I could eat any of the fish caught in the vineyard?

My visualization of the fish in the vineyard dream. A rower in the Bella Vida vineyard looking towards historic Knudsen vineyard in the hills above the Dundee, Oregon.
So how would you interpret this one? Despite Freud's well-documented beliefs about dream interpretation,I don't get this one.

And would the fish have a Pinot flavor?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Mother and Child as tribal symbols: African Mursi vs European German

Today, the day before we celebrate the birth of Christ, I was listening to an NPR report about paintings of the Virgin Mary, surely the Western symbol for our collective mother. 

Just at that moment I happened to be scanning a film photograph I took of this Mursi tribe mother breast feeding her child in remote Ethiopia. 

A Mursi tribe Mother breast feeding her child while finishing a clay lip plate. The lip plate has become the iconic tourist symbol for the Mursi tribe in Omo River Valley, Ethiopia.
Visually, I couldn't help but juxtaposition images like Hans Baldung's 16th century painting—which sold for more that $300,000 a couple of years ago, with the tender photo of the Mursi mother in Ethiopia. 

The Virgin as Queen of Heaven by German-born Hans Baldung, also called Grien, I believe painted in 1517. This oil on wood panel was auctioned for more than $300,000. Oh, isn't this painting dripping with iconic symbols with the crown, angel and  halo.

While German-born Baldung's image is definitely Western Christian, interestingly, the religion in Ethiopia predates the painting by about 1400 years.  While the exact date is difficult to pin, Christianity in Ethiopia dates at least back to the 1st century AD and was even declared the state religion in 330 AD.

Count the ways both images burst with cultural symbols.

All images copyright ©Janis Miglavs 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Can this Cattle Boy be the future of Africa?

I'm in the process of scanning thousands of slides taken during my early Africa film-only trips for the Africa's Undiscovered Myths Project. Here is one gem I rediscovered today.

Cattle boy. This young bare-footed Hamar tribe boy leads his family's cattle just over a mile to the water hole every day. Hamar (Hamer) tribe, Omo River Valley, Ethiopia.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Is a heart attack an obstacle or part of life's pilgrimage?

In March I want to visit the Spanish-colonial-period-inspired vineyards of Bolivia. 

After I got excited, arranged my flights, a friend, who had lived in the landlocked South American country, mentioned a US State Department warning of high altitude dangers to unsuspecting heart attack victims. 

And Bolivia has oxygen-denying altitudes. Teetering on the Andes Mountain slopes, it houses our planet's highest cities and nose-bleed elevation vineyards.

But. Having already ventured on the myocardial infarction of the left anterior descending artery (translates to "widow maker"-sized heart attack) route, I took the warning to heart. 

I agonized for two or three weeks. Yes. No. Yes. Maybe. My adventurous spirit wrestled against my more practical part that wanted to stay alive.

During this time of indecision, I happened to be scanning film-day images captured in the remotest parts of Africa. They inspired me. They tipped my decision.

In remote tourist-free Okohimu village, Namibia, a Himba tribe woman paints my face with the same ochre mixture she uses to cover her own smooth body. I just wasn't sure if she was telling me that my wrinkled face looked old (the ochre paint somehow keeps the Himba women's skin youthfully wrinkle free in the harsh African sun) or that my tan wasn't up to par. Regardless, after the facial, I couldn't hold my camera to my painted face for two days.
Stay tuned to hear what happens in Bolivia.

What obstacles have you faced in your pilgrimage through life?

All images copyright ©Janis Miglavs 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

World's Most Amazing Vineyards #2 Red Willow

 With its iconic hilltop stone chapel, Red Willow Vineyard is probably the most recognizable farm of wine grape vines in Washington state. The small rock monument can be seen for miles across the flat Yakima Valley

A stone chapel sits above the Syrah vines at Red Willow Vineyard in the Yakima AVA of Washington state.

Inspired by a trip to Italy, along with the death of his longtime friend Monsignor Mulcahy, Mike Sauer had a stone chapel built atop the highest hill on the family farm to honor the memory of the Monsignor. The hilltop chapel, built with stones from the farm, took three years to complete.

Located in the far western end of the Yakima Valley, Red Willow Vineyard is one of the oldest vineyards in Washington state.

The history of Red Willow started when irrigation canals were dug throughout Yakima Valley in the mid 1920s, and settlers flocked to the sage-covered land to farm. Included in this first wave of settlers was Clyde Stephenson, the first generation to farm the land which became Red Willow.

The first vineyard, planted in 1971, was 30 acres planted with Concord vines. The few token rows of wine grapes, Chenin Blanc and Semillon, did not survive on the rich soil where the Concords were planted. However, the Cabernet Sauvignon vines planted in 1973, are still in production today.

Red Willow Vineyard is part of the 4th generation Stephenson family farm that dates back to the 1920's.
Mike Sauer sits on his get-around-the-farm 4-wheeler at the base of the hill with the iconic stone chapel.
Third generation farmer, Mike Sauer, provides wine grapes for many of the most recognizable winemakers in Oregon and Washington.

All images copyright ©Janis Miglavs 2014

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Did drunken gods really create the first human?

When the world was first created, each god had a specific job to help maintain the land. But being fresh off the boat of creation, the gods were not used to hard labor; so, like any adolescent god, they complained, demanding help. 

Tired of hearing the constant whining, one day the water goddess Nammu, birth mother of heaven and earth, decided to create man to help care for the land. She assigned Enki—the patron of all arts, crafts, wisdom and magic, and Ninmah—the Great Mother goddess and Enki´s feisty lover—the creation task. 

But like happens with teenagers, the two creator gods got drunk before beginning the job.  The idea was that Ninmah was to create beings out of clay, while Enki found a role for each creation. Imagine doing surgery while drunk.  Well, the first creation was completely un-viable, unable to stand or feed itself, and had to be held in Ninmah’s lap. 

And thus, by the hands of drunken gods, was born the first human infant.

A modern storytellers version of the Sumerian creation myth
(Remember, the Sumerians were one of the earliest urban societies to emerge on our planet.)