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Mystical Realms Newsletter for June, 2007

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  • jef.murray
    Greetings! Welcome to my newsletter for June, 2007. Please feel free to forward this to anyone you think would be interested in keeping up with me! To receive
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 7, 2007

      Welcome to my newsletter for June, 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 =========

      We continue without rain. Between the heat and the constant winds, all
      of Georgia is browning or burning. Grass shrivels, leaves droop.
      Wildfires in southern counties pump smoke into Alabama, Florida, South
      Carolina. The odor and haze of burning brush causes Atlantans to dial
      911; they report conflagrations that seem imminent, sure that some
      building blazes only a block or two away.

      Those of us in urban canyons wonder at the crackling air. It feels
      wrong. Mosquitoes which normally torment us lie in dormancy; they
      coccoon in cracked canal beds.

      Lorraine and I were driving once through swamps along the Florida gulf
      coast. Firefighters had torched part of the wetlands to clear out the
      underbrush, and at one point the tongues of flame came to the very
      edge of the road. We went from daylight into twilight in moments. I
      slammed on the brakes because I could only see a few feet ahead.

      With windows tight shut, we crept more than drove through this shadow
      world. Odd shapes loomed on either side, never quite resolving
      themselves. We wondered, first privately, then out loud, whether this
      wasn't something more than a normal fire. It occurred to us both that
      perhaps we'd had an accident; perhaps what we were experiencing was
      neither of heaven nor of earth, but rather a glimpse into a place
      where smoke and fire and embers burned without end.

      These fires make me think of our passions, and how they come and go.
      We're addicted to advancement, sycophants of style. We have a personal
      prejudice that to really _live_ is to be an explorer of every new
      conviction and cult. We prove our "aliveness" by keeping up with the
      latest diet, following the exploits of the latest celebrity, humming
      the latest tune.

      But these, like the wildfires, are passing things.

      G. K. Chesterton put it best: "The whole curse of the last century has
      been what is called the Swing of the Pendulum; that is, the idea that
      Man must go alternately from one extreme to the other. It is a
      shameful and even shocking fancy; it is the denial of the whole
      dignity of mankind. When Man is alive he stands still. It is only when
      he is dead that he swings."

      This, then, is the challenge; we must learn to quiet our souls.

      Let the earth bake and the flames fill us with the illusion of
      novelty; it is still only in deep silence that we can hear the
      whisperings of God. And it is only by being still that we can know
      that we're truly alive.

      Events =========

      - I have completed the preliminary conversion of my website,
      www.JefMurray.com, into two different sites. The latter will continue
      to highlight my oil-on-canvas paintings of sacred images, imagined
      fairy tales, and scenes from Middle Earth. The second site, at
      www.JefMurrayWildlife.com , will include all of my oil-on-wood cutout
      paintings ("Wildlife Silhouettes") of "critters", both realistic and
      whimsical. Please check them out and let me know what you think! I'd
      also appreciate pointers to any problems or inaccuracies you come
      across with either site.

      - At http://www.JefMurray.com , I have posted two new Tolkien images
      and three new "Once Upon A Time" images. I've also updated the
      sacred/religious gallery to include the "St. George" painting posted
      last month. Do let me know what you think of these new works!

      - At http://www.JefMurrayWildlife.com , I've begun the long task of
      placing listings of _all_ available Wildlife Silhouette originals so
      that they can be purchased online. There are brand new images in the
      first three galleries ("River & Reef", "Cloud & Cliff", and "Field &
      Forest"), plus some older works that haven't been online in quite a
      while, if ever. JefMurrayWildlife.com is oriented towards
      nature/wildlife lovers, so if you have friends who love the great
      outdoors, please let them know about the site! I think scuba divers
      and aquarists, in particular, will enjoy it!

      - The May/June issue of the St. Austin Review (StAR)
      (http://www.staustinreview.com/ ) is out. It features a number of
      excellent articles on liturgy, plus 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/ ).

      Nai Eru laitalyƫ (may God bless you),

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