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Mystical Realms Newsletter for May, 2007

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  • jef.murray
    Greetings! A blessed and happy month of Our Lady to you all! And welcome to my newsletter for May, 2007. Please feel free to forward this to anyone you think
    Message 1 of 2 , May 7, 2007
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      Greetings!

      A blessed and happy month of Our Lady to you all! And welcome to my
      newsletter for May, 2007. Please feel free to forward this to anyone
      you think would be interested in keeping up with me! To receive these
      newsletters regularly, please drop me a note or subscribe online at:
      http://groups.google.com/group/Mystical_Realms . Notices of new
      paintings and events are at the bottom of this email.

      Epiphanies =========

      This coming Sunday, May 13, 2007, marks the 90th anniversary of the
      appearance of Our Lady of Fatima to three children in Portugal near
      the beginning of the twentieth century: a century that was marred by
      more ideologically-driven violence and bloodshed than any before it.
      These 90 years since the first appearance of the apparition have been
      a reminder to all of us that we don't, perhaps, understand our world
      as well as we might suppose. And this can be a cause both for anxiety
      and for hope.

      The world's citizens seem to break down into two camps. The first camp
      includes those who, for lack of a better phrase, don't believe in
      anything transcendent. That is, unless something can be proven to
      them, unless they can see it with their own eyes or measure it with
      their own hands, they will not believe in it. These are the Skeptics.

      The second camp includes those who believe our world is only seen
      "through a glass darkly," as St. Paul tell us. For these folk, there
      may be myriads of angels and archangels, elves, demons, and devils
      that inhabit the world with us, along, perhaps, with other creatures
      for which we have no names. And above all of these is a Supreme Being,
      for whom there are many names. These are the Believers.

      When I was very young, there was no doubt that I was a Believer.
      Growing up in the north Georgia mountains, one is enveloped in nature
      so rich with possibilities that one can imagine elves under every leaf
      and demons under every bed. I saw our house in the woods as peopled
      with ghosts and hemmed in by woodland spirits.

      But "higher education" cured me of my belief, at least temporarily.

      Reductionism and materialism, both of which represent a deep mistrust
      of anything that cannot be controlled, underlie much of what passes
      for college training in the western world. Anything that smacks of
      magic is only achievable through technology. And any other sort of
      magic is mere delusion. Material success and the generation of wealth
      must be the ultimate goal of all humanity.

      Such is the mantra of western materialism. And its catechism is
      taught in virtually all western colleges. We are a culture of weapons
      without wisdom, of power without prudence.

      It took me many years after I had graduated with my Masters degree
      before I started getting inklings that my training was deficient.
      There were the almost mystical experiences Lorraine and I had at the
      seashore, including several that defied (and continue to defy) logical
      explanation; there were "chance" meetings with those who helped us
      both question our lack of belief; there were books that guided us. And
      I'm reminded now of C.S. Lewis' comments about an atheist's need to be
      very careful about his reading materials.

      Eventually, Skepticism fell away from me as easily and as naturally as
      does a cocoon from a butterfly. And I've come to think that being a
      Believer is our natural state. We can be trained to be Skeptics, but
      our natural inclination is to learn from what is around us and to seek
      something in existence that fills a deep void within.

      And this brings us back to Our Lady. We may never know for certain all
      that she told the three children in Fatima some 90 years ago. We may
      never fully understand her warnings or what might have happened had
      they been heeded.

      But we do know that a world without such messages is an impoverished
      place, a place with no deep and meaningful answers. And even if it
      seems sometimes that there is no magic at all in our world, we are
      enriched by believing that it is still possible.

      As Puddleglum suggests to the witch in C.S. Lewis' "The Silver Chair",
      even an imaginary world that includes the transcendent is more worth
      living in than one of despairing materialism. Even make-believe would
      be, in this reckoning, more real than reality.

      Events =========

      - The ZENIT news service out of Rome (Italy, not Georgia )
      interviewed me in April for a short news release on J.R.R. Tolkien's
      "The Children of Hurin". I was delighted to see such interest in the
      book! Plus, according to the final version of the resulting article, I
      am now officially a Tolkien expert, and not just a Tolkien artist! ;-)

      - I have many new paintings to post, but am in the process of breaking
      my website, www.JefMurray.com, into two different sites. The first
      will continue to highlight my oil on canvas paintings of sacred
      images, imagined fairy tales, and scenes from Middle Earth. The second
      site, which will be at www.JefMurrayWildlife.com , will include all of
      my oil-on-wood cutout paintings of wildlife, both realistic and
      whimsical. I'm hopeful that this change will make the focus of each
      site a bit clearer. It will also allow me to make my oil-on-wood
      cutout originals available for sale online. This change was suggested
      by a recent patron of my "Rivers, Reefs, and Reading Rooms" show, who
      is a scuba diver, and who wanted to be able to send let her diver
      friends know about the aquatic creatures I painted.

      - The May/June issue of the St. Austin Review (StAR) (http://
      www.staustinreview.com/ ) should be out shortly. It features a number
      of excellent articles on liturgy, plus includes my first regular foray
      into the world of feature writing(!). With this issue, StAR
      inaugurates a column entitled "Fenestrae Coeli", or "Windows into
      Heaven". The column will highlight the work of contemporary Christian
      visual artists from around the globe. The May/June column discusses
      the work of Tommy Canning, an extremely gifted Catholic artist from
      Scotland (see http://www.art-of-divinemercy.co.uk/ ).

      - My latest show, "Rivers, Reefs, and Reading Rooms", was a resounding
      success, both critically and financially! Of the 45 pieces originally
      placed, 16 were sold by this last Wednesday(!). More importantly, the
      feedback from those who were able to attend was without exception
      extremely positive. Many thanks to all of you who supported the show
      and who passed word on to others!

      Nai Eru laitalyƫ (may God bless you),

      Jef
    • Berni Phillips
      From: jef.murray ... I saw that on Zenit, Jef, and meant to post to the list, but my Zenit subscription is to my work e-mail and my
      Message 2 of 2 , May 7, 2007
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        From: "jef.murray" <jef.murray@...>


        >- The ZENIT news service out of Rome (Italy, not Georgia )
        >interviewed me in April for a short news release on J.R.R. Tolkien's
        >"The Children of Hurin". I was delighted to see such interest in the
        >book! Plus, according to the final version of the resulting article, I
        >am now officially a Tolkien expert, and not just a Tolkien artist! ;-)

        I saw that on Zenit, Jef, and meant to post to the list, but my Zenit
        subscription is to my work e-mail and my mythsoc is to home, so they didn't
        get together. Congratulations!

        Also, I noticed that THE CHILDREN OF HURIN was the #1 best seller for
        fiction on the New York Times list this past week.

        Berni
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