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Mystical Realms Newsletter for October, 2006

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  • jef.murray
    I m posting this newsletter to Mythsoc at the behest of another member of the group. Please don t hesitate to let me know if folks think this is not the best
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 6, 2006
      I'm posting this newsletter to Mythsoc at the behest of another member
      of the group. Please don't hesitate to let me know if folks think this
      is not the best place for these musings, and I'll be happy to refrain
      in the future! I also beg forgiveness from any group members who have
      already received this previously... Jef

      - - - - - - - - - -


      Happy (belated) Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi! And welcome to my
      newsletter for October, 2006! Please feel free to forward this to
      anyone you think would be interested in keeping up with me. To receive
      these newsletters regularly, drop me a note or subscribe online at:

      Events =========

      - The great folks at the St. Austin Review have included one
      essay/reflection, several sketches, and many of my painting images in
      their Sep/Oct 2006 issue. It also features, on the cover, my recent
      painting of "Eve". Entitled "Toward a Definition of Culture", the
      issue includes essays by folks such as Robert Asch, Alice Von
      Hildebrandt, Joseph Pearce, James Schall, and many others. Many of the
      articles discuss the nature of Catholic art, and the whole is well
      worth a read (despite my contributions :-)!

      - Related to the above, I have added several new painting images to my
      website. To see these, please go to http://www.JefMurray.com . In
      particular, there is one new Tolkien work, two new Narnia images, one
      new religious/sacred painting ("Eve"), one new "Fairy Tale" painting,
      and quite a few new wildlife "critters". Do let me know what you think
      of these!

      - When you scan through the galleries, you'll likely come across a few
      painting images that not only allow you to purchase prints, but also
      originals. I've been threatening to add original artwork prices to my
      website for some time now, and this marks my first attempt to do so. I
      hope to add prices for many of the works already online that have not
      already been purchased. If you have a favorite work that has no price
      for the original online, please reply to this email and I can
      let you know its status.

      - My ongoing art show, entitled "Into the Woods: Tales of Myth &
      Magic," will continue at the Defoor Centre through October 28, 2006.
      This show includes a generous selection of Middle Earth and
      Narnia-inspired original canvasses, plus many large cutout paintings
      of wildlife, dragons, and other mythological beasties...over 60 works
      in all. The show is quite child-friendly, and kids should really enjoy
      the "critters". For a detailed description, please see
      http://www.defoorcentre.com/site/events1.asp . Gallery hours are M-Th
      9am-9pm, Friday 9am-4pm, and Saturday 10am-4pm (note that Fri. and
      Sat. hours are subject to change; please call 404-591-3809 in advance).

      Epiphanies ===========

      Fall is here again. This is the restless season; the season of
      disquiet and apprehension. Inevitably at this time of year, Lorraine
      and I find ourselves casting about, searching for that ineffable
      element that seems out of synch with our lives. We find ourselves
      longing for a place of real community rather than settling for
      sleeping quarters and a salary.

      I don't know when this first started. It seems that every fall and
      winter we begin exploring alternate universes. We wander through
      websites and pillage periodicals for hints of home.

      J.R.R. Tolkien probably captured this disquiet better than anyone. His
      entire legendarium, from the Music of the Ainur through the Lord of
      the Rings, is permeated with a sense of loss and longing. In Aman,
      Tolkien suggests that a true home only existed for Elves, not for men.
      Elves, who themselves were at least as close to angels as they were to
      men, nevertheless did not have the same restlessness; they loved the
      earth as they remembered it, and were content to try to hold onto the
      things of the past that they remembered best and loved most.

      I have some of this longing as well. I remember times when I sang in a
      church that encouraged the use of Gregorian chant, and I loved the
      sound and feel of this most ancient of written musical forms. It
      harkened back to the time of Christ and beyond, since the chants
      themselves derived from the Jewish melodies that were sung in the
      Temple; and these long before the rise of the Roman Empire. Despite my
      meager talents, I once directed a small schola of singers, intent on
      helping others discover the loveliness of these ancient anthems. But
      the churches of today seem not to be interested in Latin, and
      congregations clamor for cacophony over calm, noise over nurture.

      Yet, this longing for the past is not quite what Lorraine and I
      experience at this time of year. We live in a metropolitan area and
      have done so for all of the 24 years of our married life, and more
      years beyond that. Yet, what we seem to want is something smaller,
      something more human-scale.

      We'd like a church we could walk to, and one that approaches the
      Roman liturgy with respect for the transcendent. We'd like a few
      small shops and restaurants where we might occasionally wave at
      friends while sharing a meal. We'd like family close to hand so that
      we could break up fights between the young ones, and a stable
      neighborhood where we could offer to walk the dog for a neighbor who
      was ill.

      We have no "Kilns" to retreat to, as C.S. Lewis had. Atlanta has a
      reputation for paving over its history, and so it does to this very
      day. We would love a place to set down roots where we would not be
      priced out of our home by property taxes, where neighbors are not here
      one day and gone the next. We long for the company of academics and
      artists and authors, but not at the expense of nature nudging next to
      us; we have expectations of expansive fields to walk through and
      striking sunset skies.

      So, the search continues....

      Are we truly unhappy? No. Are we being forced by economics to consider
      leaving Decatur? No. Are we certain that there is a better place for
      us to live out our years? No.

      Almost certainly, our restlessness is the one that God intended; the
      one that Augustine writes of, and which is planted in all "Sons of
      Adam and Daughters of Eve" such that they will never be satisfied
      with anything less than God Himself. Unlike the Elves, even the
      attraction of ancient anthems and aethereal architectures only salves
      our souls to the extent that it points us past our earthly bounds...to
      our one true home.

      Yet, every autumn, the restlessness begins again. We sense the song of
      the Elves...are waylaid by their wanderlust. With that first turning
      of the leaves gold and brown and crimson, we feel the bluster and blow
      and note more keenly the sparking sunrise, ever later, wondering if
      this will be the season...if this will be the season...if this will be
      the season.....

      Nai Eru laitalyƫ (may God bless you),

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