When I originally uploaded this essay, I was convinced I would be building my own fear fetish in a matter of days or, at the longest, weeks. But it didn't happen. So this is, instead of an essay becoming a real, three-dimensional sculpture, a pile of words comprising the three-dimensional concept.
of Other Solstice
Becoming of a Boccio
Preliminary gathering of maybe boccio components —
Regular readers have seen the turtle flute, baby shoe, level, covered brass bowl, rose petals, maybe the heart (transparent, to avoid projections?), fish box, smudge stick, little bent bottle. The dragon pendant is old but recently polished (I wear it when I feel especially vulnerable). There's a brass bell (scatteres chi), some picture hanging wire, some paper, a Dolan tape, Pelican feather, and one from some other bird, some duck down (gentle), super glue, an old sprinkler head, battery, combination telescope/microscope (for looking out and in). And the small wood leopard and elephant that sit atop my monitor (power and memory).
Story + Photographs Copyright 2004 by JR
All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without permission.
I am not a sculptor.
Though that is my best medium. The one I feel most at home with. And talking about. An amazing, diverse medium I am more in touch with than even my own — photography, through my physical senses and beyond — perhaps at soul with.
It's the ideal medium to construct a shamanistic figure, a gentle, ceremonial Boccio to be used as a symbological focus for my personal psychotherapeutic practice. Less primitive than my little friend, the Fon Fear Fetish of Essays 55 and 36, but mythologically powerful as both art and healing.
I am a writer.
So I am creating this personal guide in words. I am also a photographer, so I use light images to share my fetish on these pages. Whether I will create an actual object I do not yet know.
Were I a sculptor, I'd have to ask what materials and containers and powders and unguents would I make my guide from.
What matter, constructions, color, shapes and textures will give this object the most personally meaningful symbology?
What will let help me watch carefully, not project; keep me vigilant and aware; in-the-moment, not lost in the fictional fracture of futures; lend me the time I need to grow and accept, learn and understand; help me be love-worthy, but also loving; teaching as well as learning; joining with others and solitarily creative; giving and receiving; trusting and trustable. Help me create my books, stories and community; tell my truths, cleanse and cure me?
What life- and power-giving matter will comprise my chicken blood and millet to physically and psychically feed my fetish, my outter shaman? Inspire it. Activate and energize it? My own blood would be easy. I draw some daily to check blood sugar.
I know if I ask the right questions, and listen carefully and often, the answers will manifest self-evidently in forms as I seek through my home, yard, neighborhood, the Lake and the park around it, art spaces, and other people and treasured places.
How will I build its skeleton to hold up and in the apt symbology and mediums? Words will define and make it. This ample stuff will create its reality, give it life and power. Need it physicality beyond the photographs? Another unanswerable, but a question that repeats.
What are my symbols? answers obvious in these essays — turtles, dragons, rocks, flowers, birds and feathers, water, glass, crystals and other translucencies and transparencies, the sky, circles, paper, ink, copper wires and cables, lots more.
Which ointments and unguents and herbal cures belong to me? Mentholatum, of course, comfrey salve, Dr. Bonner's almond soap, ear wax melter, hydrogen peroxide, Clorox, insulin, cyrstalized ginger. Tears should be easy to come by ...
thunderstorm guttered rainwater
And Soul— what quidity will form its essence? Carved stone, metals, rust, fire, candles, tail light reflectors, magnifiers, lake water in a tiny bent bottle, rainwater guttered from a thunderstorm, pelican feathers...
Bottles and bowls, of course. Lots or colorful translucencies. What other containers? That covered brass bowl, the tiny rounded fish box, a couple cigar boxes, pill cylinders, the leather purse cum camera bag Mom gave me, a Marty pot, a Bowman bowl ...
What will be contained by it? Earth from my compost heap, broken favorite pottery from the garden, poetry and pages of books, wire and tiny enigmatic items, one of my prized chain watches would give me time.
And what will make the bones of my ancestors? Boccios contain them from especially powerful progenitors to lend continuing familial power. My past and future — tradition and possibility. I have forbear stories of valor and humor and beginnings my mother wrote and family photos, lots of those.
Perhaps a Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross or Purple Heart? The DFC ties my heroic father and the sky; its propellar implies impelled (air) force and its medal (mettle) gives weight; its equal armed cross signals this transition's crossing.
Something of children, perhaps, or at least the child I once was, and am again some joyous moments, is appropriate. Those clunky white shoes perhaps, containing my early steps, my wondering explorations, sitting in the orchid tree eating its wild flowers when I was five ...
I see, gathering in this spirit object, a sophisticated, primitive man comprising translucent bottles and clay bowls, hunks of aged wood, chunks of metal, rocks, a small but powerful dragon, or two, a turtle with removable and polished shell, a capped projection lens, something of a computer monitor and drugstore reading glasses, audio and video tape, a small brass bell, masking and duct tape, red yarn, a microphone, some pens, computer cables, RAM, candles and wax, wires and small screwdrivers, something of White Rock Lake, things gathered from walks, bits of paper, instructions, owners manuals, my baby self, dried leaves and petals, pottery and poetry, light blue tile, rusting metal, mentholatum and shreds of brushes and slivers of shelves, lenses, pretty glass and some coins and stamps, photographs, beads and chains.
It will not only be mine; it will be me.
I can't help think of EASL's upcoming Fantasy Furnishings & Fetishes show 2-6 Sunday August 29, 2004 in the Fort Worth Community Arts Center. This object, when complete — or its little broher, may be there.
A dozen years ago, Mary Iron Eyes constructed a portrait of me comprising things that meant something, things of me I gave her for the project. That simple totem is informative in this process:
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