Does dancing solve the problems? No, but I do, while dancing. -Shaltmira
For ancient philosophers, mystics and shamans body and mind were not disconnected. Plato was a famous wrestler; Socrates the toughest soldier in the Athenian army and Cleanthes the stoic was a boxer. Healthy body - healthy mind, the old saying goes, but do we truly understand what it means?
Simulating a situation in your head while you think is equivalent to living through that situation while you think. I would like to show that people’s thoughts, choices and insights can be transformed by physical interaction with things. In other words, thinking with your brain alone – like a computer does – is not equivalent to thinking with your brain, your eyes, and your hands – as humans frequently do.
We can think with our legs too, it is common to go take a walk or jogging, when we feel the need to refresh the mind.
Physical acts are a way of dealing and working out our thoughts. Psychologists are now recognizing something that artists have intuitively always known, that we 'think with our hands' as much as our brains.
While dancing we use all our body, hands and legs, and torso, and neck - we give life to our body machine. We can see our thoughts and ideas visualized via body language and movements.
Everyday we do many movements that we are not aware of. Small movements, fast movements, holding objects in hands, putting them somewhere and forgetting, hitting the elbow to the corner because lack of awareness, getting clumsy, slow, tired, making many unnecessary movements.
What if we could have our thinking process going as smoothly as well synchronized dance? Wouldn't that be a relief, a calming harmony reached? Indeed.
First things first. To be able to dance requires acceptance of your own body.
How often we hear 'I don't dance', 'I don't know how to dance', 'I'm bad at dancing', 'Dancing? Not for me.' What I think when I hear these words? Well first that a person has some issues with his/her/their self-image and self-esteem.
What I hear beyond the poor justifications is a person, who has fear to be judged by others. There's a fear to look silly, ridiculous, make a fool of self. That's what stop us from action, from movement, from making the first step. That fear comes from the childhood, from the experiences we had, from social conditioning.
We came to this world free, free to move, free to think whatever we want, free to express ourselves. During the years we learnt how to be ashamed of our bodies, choices, ideas. We got way to serious, stopped dancing and became somehow robotic, fulfilling the functions, surviving, with not much joy, not much adventures, still in fear not to make 'a bad move'.
Well, fuck it, I said to myself and started to move. I started by playing song in my room and dancing in front of the mirror. I look at the reflection and don't really know what to do, but I don't give up and keep on awkwardly moving my shoulders to sides, swinging hips, not that bad, I soon get short of breath and get sweaty and stop. Next day I put my headphones on and go for a walk. I play the music I like, some cool techno mix, while waiting for the train, and I move a bit to the beat, I know there are people around me and some might be watching, but I pretend I'm in a room and close my eyes and just swing a bit more. Day after day I go around and find little moments where I start dancing. One day in the forest, next day in the grocery shop, third day in the train. Can feel how my body gets more comfortable with itself and gets tired less easily, and I do enjoy this new feeling of more flexibility and connectivity. The way people look at me - doesn't bother me anymore, I do my dance, at any place, at any time, because I ALLOW MYSELF.
'But you wear a mask while you dance!'
'I do wear a mask to bring the message, that behind the mask could be anyone, me, you, anyone! Mask is a symbolical representation of the human being, a person, that we want to be.'
These dancing practise I always saw as exercise helping me to connect with my body. You know when we have some heavy thoughts we can get a headache, or if we are heartbroken we might feel the pressure and pain in chest area? By engaging in physical movement we not only increase the serotonin level which is responsible for our good mood, but also on the spiritual level we move the energy in our body, access the spot where muscles are contracted and release the pain.
In old times shaman would perform rituals, involving singing, drumming and ritual dancing circles. Today is 2018 and instead of playing drum and singing - I play my own recorded song on the speakers and invite you to join me! That's right, after dancing to others music I thought, why I can't create my own music, saturated with the words that has a meaning for me, the words of power! So I did, I started to collaborate with other artists, musicians, and this is how the soundtracks for my dances were born. In comparison to the other cultures, such as Korean shamanism, the role of music seems intermediary between the possession trance model and the Siberian model: in the Kut ritual, the music, played by musicians, first calls on the god to possess the mudang (shaman), then accompanies the god during their time in the shaman's body, then sends back and placates the god at the end. I am contemporary urban shaman, and my rituals take place everywhere from obscure Berlin techno dance floors to the Grand Canyon. My music is channeled via speakers, headphones, phone and laptop. As I put the mask on - I summon the greatest and most powerful creature existing, I RECLAIM MY POWER AS THE CREATOR OF MY OWN REALITY.
Where am I you going? From point A to B, from the birth to death, from one thought to another. The physical journey is just a metaphor. As the ancient saying goes 'think with hands', so the same I could say - 'Think with legs too!'. While solving inner conflicts and mysteries - continue dancing.
When an artist makes an artwork they are giving life to their ideas. We can literally see them. They are not detached and analytical. There are many people who act without thinking, and others who think without acting. Artists think as they act. An artist doesn’t draw and then think, he draws and thinks at the same time. That is why their ideas have such power.
But many of us feel some kind of stigma attached to this word, 'artist'. 'I'm not an artist!', many will say. To discuss what is and what is not 'art' is pointless. That's why I like the word 'creator'. Maybe we are not the artists in a sense that we don't have society's confirmation in the shape of bullshit university papers, maybe we are not crafts-men/women who can make a realistic bronze sculpture, but 'baby, I can dance'.
I can dance the same as the tree moves in the wind, slowly lifting up the branches. I can dance as the river floats, to one side and other, discovering new paths to flow.
If you want to formulate new ideas, think with your body. Make a movement as you reflect.
In modern culture, philosophy has become detached and analytical. It’s become a dry subject for a small group of elite academics. My philosophy is alive in the way I move through the world.
Some doors do not open from the first time. I took a train to explore myself, next station - deeper knowledge. To guard my own journey I turned myself into an Urban Shaman: masks with sigils cover my face,under it - the warrior’s face paint, the skin tattooed with fantastic anthropomorphic beings, spirit animals, totems, Egyptian and alchemic symbols. The necklaces and amulets I carry reminds me of the strength of the ones I met, who shared their wisdom with me. I continue the journey, my spiritual journey and therefore nothing looks real. The dance represents the question. I dance in front of the doors, the gates, that seems to be locked. With turning self into Urban Shaman via my Ritual - I allow myself to accept idea that I am the Key. To be able to unlock the higher levels of the game of life. We create ourselves as The Shapeshifting Key. I know behind these gates is everything I ever wanted. Will I walk away or I’ll make a decision to make myself suitable to unlock it? As some keys doesn’t fit the locks, so does some words don’t suit to get where we want. Can we chose different words to have a different effect? If I want to have a nice relationship with a friend, will I act as if I do not care? I perfect my dance, polish my words as keys, to unlock the realms of existence I only dreamed of. I’m not running away anymore. I have nothing to rage about and stay humble while I do my inner work, because now i know - it’s only up to me to decide, if I allow myself to be open to receive all the goodness presented to me in various forms. Via dance I mold self as the Key to the Garden of The Ultimate Fulfillment.
RECLAIM YOUR POWER at YAGA GATHERING with SHALTMIRA
Let's go to Lithuania! YAGA GATHERING. I invite you to join me in the HEALING AREA, 8:30 pm on Saturday and to unleash the suppressed potential. The theme of this year is 'MODERN RITUALS: SHAPESHIFTING'
'Seven segments, the seven parts of festival’s body will guide you through and help to experience it to the fullest, it is time to follow its footprints further. Just like the festival that ceaselessly transforms itself into something tangible, audible and perceptible, you are bound to transform along: reaching new spiritual heights, immersing yourself into new physical levels and becoming something you always wanted, but never dared to become.'
RECLAIM YOUR POWER
Free from desire I realize the mystery. Caught in desire I see only manifestations. Yet mystery and manifestations arise from the same source. It’s called - darkness. Darkness within darkness - the gateway to all understanding.
RECLAIM YOUR POWER. Ritual Workshop by SHALTMIRA
@YAGA #lithuania 9-13, August. #Shapeshifting
In everyday language we use many words, but we are not always aware how the words we use becomes the events and happenings in everyday life. By choosing the right words, we use the right formulas, as in math, to find the solution of the any challenge that comes upon us. If the idea we have in head does not work, we abandon that thought and reform and restructure the way of thinking, so it would lead to successful answer and the result that we desire. ‘Reclaim Your Power’ is a self-hypnosis ritual, where by repetition and tantric movements we create the rhythmic pattern, which overwrites the running mental system. We have the power to change our perception. The truth is what we believe is truth. Focusing on positive affirmations and deleting the words that do not serve. Words, ideas, behaviours that do not support must be deleted. Establishing the ritual via repetitive behaviour via time establishes new pattern, in this case, positive and empowering. The goal is to understand that we are the masters of our destiny, that power to create life, as we want it to be, is not outside of us. By becoming aware of how we sabotage ourselves - we refuse to be our own worst enemies. We are Love. We are mastering Shiva’s Dance. Via Ritual we connect to the ancient cultures and by activating sigils we express our truths most eloquently through symbols. Take these subtle hints and get into programming of your own reality. #shaltmira
Courage is to see the world burning and yet, burn together and learn everything about fire.
First step we take is the most scary, because we leave our comfort zone, and we leave it without even knowing exactly where are we going. There's inner understanding, that the action needs to take place, that gives us no calm. It must get very uncomfortable sometimes to get into position, where no more postponing and procrastination will be tolerated. Think about the shoes which are too small. We outgrown them and now to continue the journey we have to get the new ones. Or maybe the ones we had are broken and it's uncomfortable to walk in them anymore. Or our heart was broken and we and not comfortable carrying that pain in the chest anymore so we start looking for solutions how to fix the situation, how to fix ourselves, where's that shop of fresh thoughts and new attitudes and healthy body parts, show yourself, because I'm on a shopping spree! I buy myself a new head space with the currency of my own will, which I generate with patience and dedicated work of self-observation.
- What does this symbol means?
- Shaltmira for Success!
- Success? That's like 'Shaltmira' for a president.
- Yes, I do believe in self-government.
THERE ARE NO BAD MOVES:
Movement is Action.
Action is Courage.
Via Courage You Will Know Yourself.
Last week went to a place I never been before - Mallorca. A weird choice? Maybe. But what is weird anyway? Been posting some thoughts along with photos on my Instagram and now decided to share them on my blog. Also edited two videos from the #shaltmirizethearea rituals I did there, added the music created by Michael Cashmore, from his and mine upcoming solo albums. If you are around Berlin in November - come see us playing live! We'll be warming up Psychic TV at Astra Kulturhaus on November 15th, just one day after my 30th birthday! That's truly a magick manifested and I'm grateful for life aligning it all to happen.
Today went to Cala Blava beach and after was done with doing nothing, on the rented chair under the umbrella, had dejavú of woman, who now was in front of me, saying ‘hi’, looking into the eyes and smiling, and I knew she will ask that if I’m leaving, so I said ‘hello’ and then nothing, continued putting things back in the backpack. Put my headphones on and played Behemoth laud. Packed my shit and when leaving gave the chair’s ticket to someone from the same company that woman came with. Another woman took it and been a bit surprised, talked in Russian. I understood. Then the woman turned to me and passed the beer - ‘Desperados’. I said ‘spasybo’ and left.
#RECLAIMYOURPOWER It is not outside of you. #shaltmirizethearea and build a bridge #iamthebridge#uniteandempower all is possible - no gods, no masters, no illusions, no delusions- don’t be don’t be don’t be your own worst enemy. Exercise your power. My willpower can move people. Mountains bend their back for us to rise. Greet the new day, welcome to your autonomic Kaos enterprise. #shaltmira #mallorca #93 THE ASSASINS. Each of those who enter the realm of the Imam-of-one's-own- being becomes a sultan of inverted revelation, a monarch of abrogation & apostasy. <...> For them the hierarchy of being has compacted to a dimensionless punctum of the real–for them the chains of Law have been broken–they end their fasting with wine. For them the outside of everything is its inside, its true face shines through direct. But the garden gates are camouflaged with terrorism, mirrors, rumors of assassination, trompe l'oeil, legends. <...> True, in this myth some aspirant disciples may be ordered to fling themselves off the ramparts into the black–but also true that some of them will learn to fly like sorcerers.
The emblem of Alamut holds in the mind, a mandals or magic circle lost to history but embedded or imprinted in consciousness. The Old Man flits like a ghost into tents of kings & bedrooms of theologians, past all locks & guards with forgotten moslem/ninja techniques, leaves behind bad dreams, stilettos on pillows, puissant bribes.
The attar of his propaganda seeps into the criminal dreams of ontological anarchism, the heraldry of our obsessions displays the luminous black outlaw banners of the Assassins…all of them pretenders to the throne of an Imaginal Egypt, an occult space/light continuum consumed by still- unimagined liberties.
#taz #hakimbey#linkingsigil #dkmu
It will hurt, but you know what? You will rise above it.
It will hurt so bad that you will make that decision and it will be
Don’t be too happy when you find it, don’t be too sad when you lose it. That’s how an old Lithuanian saying goes. Life is happiness short lived. But better have a taste than just to go around tasting nothing. When it is the hardest moment sometimes we face it alone, sometimes a miracle happens, and for a moment we believe that the person that now stand in front of us is heaven’s sent, to share that pain and brighten the day. But even miracles have the end date. Even the divine escort has working hours. Some things work and some things don’t. Some things you have to work out yourself. The time alone is precious. The swords of thoughts can kill. We might be allies or we might rise the hand against each other. All these actions is our play against the mirror. The moments we see our reflection are changed by moments of the surface covering self with the impenetrable darkness. Darkness within darkness. The gateway to all understanding.
The miles traveled turns to dust and I feel motionless. Three faces I carry circling the flying cosmic ball: one I show to those who pass me, the other to the ones I deeply care about and love, the third is seen by no one. The first is looking to the future, the second - looking to the past. The third one is relaxing into present. The words you hear coming from beyond persona - don’t be to quick to judge. The innocent child left alone in the woods me a wolf and grew up in the wild nature. These sharp teeth and claws helped a lot. But most people didn’t see the child behind the thick layers of the fur. They saw the beast, a threat. The way child learnt to hunt was damned by professional hunters, who were jealous of the prey. That was the game of the first mask. It rests in the past. The future face was made of fear and passion. Those who see with the loving eyes - see with the eyes full of hatred as well. We are not chasing each other. In the future we are just tired lonely wolves. Wounded mystics finding a kinship across the world of men. If you would kiss me - they would call it an act of terror. So let’s run to the opposite sides, protecting the child like heart, run with the wolves. For a brief moment I relaxed into present and invited you to take off the masks. And yet ‘you’ appeared to be a mirage, glitch in the rendered sky of hope. I smile through the bloody teeth, ‘that was a good one’, I collect my bones, put on my mask and empty the trash, which once was the biggest treasure. I run faster and faster. Racing with self in mind rendered world. The mask becomes the face. ‘You’ becomes a metaphor. ‘Us’ - me, myself and I. The beauty of the fairytales are that they suck. There’s always some tragedy in some perfect scenery waiting. That’s the dynamics of the cosmic dance. It humbles. I’m grateful, for the pleasures and sounds equally.
If you can’t enjoy small things - you won’t enjoy the big things. I like to look at water, tell when being asked what I’m going to do in Mallorca. I pack my bag and leave the hotel, it’s in front of Puerto de Palma. The heat is almost making me laugh, it’s pretty deadly, I enjoy that. Pick up some water from the shop and walk towards the Cathedral. It is Sunday. A souvenirs seller comes to me and asks if I know Goda. I do. He tells me he’s her roomate, she’s also from Lithuania, been writing to me, but we didn’t meet. He tells me last night they went to the bar to search for me after I posted Instagram story about being there. I’ll come back, I reply and smile looking at his suntanned face. Then continue walking. The panorama from the top is great. In my backpack I have just essentials: three faced mask, tripod, 3d printed sigils, some clothes and make up. Phone, tablet and vape. 3 keys. Passport. I look around. ‘What can we do here...’ I decide just to walk around and surprise myself. I’m a fun fan, will put a mask on and will do what I do - #shaltmirizethearea In case of question - do what thou wilt. There’s not much black color around. It is hard to think about anything else but getting into water or in the shadow. But I will art. Have couple hours before my flight and nothing better to do than just enjoy my exploring experience. Feels like finally live as Assasin Creed. I hear the church organs playing and sneak inside. The mass is happening, the sign warns that no beach clothes allowed. Oh well. I turn to other side and discover nice inner yard. Here I’ll perform my ceremony. Let’s get it balanced. I set up my tripod and do a little adoration of the moment. The continue taking some pictures with the mask. As the timer counts down from 10 I hear man’s voice yelling ‘no no no’ and see middle aged guy rushing towards me, but stay in the same pose till the photo is taken. Then take off the mask. He’s angry and I smile. He has no idea I’ve been here for a while and made a video. Pick up my things and leave. Rules rules rules, self imposed, others’ dictated - boring. Today the guard met confidence’s trickster.
Today I ask myself, what are my priorities? I grab a pen and paper and start designing my mind map. Write ‘me’ in the middle and circle it around. Then draw one arrow and write ‘drawing’, from that circle make more arrows and write ‘canvas’, ‘commissions’, ‘comics’, ‘tattoos’, ‘graphic novel’. The second big branch is ‘music’, which includes song writing, recording, performing and music videos; the third - ‘internet’, which is social medias, web and online shop. There are much more sub-branches and the paper is becoming filled fast. I stop. Priorities!
It’s all about asking the right questions. What is most important to me? To experience life to the fullest and during the process get to know myself, my relationship with the world and people, then share the lessons learned via art, which is all above. Drawing, movie, song. In religions it is said that god created this and that, I wander how god decided what is more important to create first. Or is it important at all what you create first if you know that you have a job of creating the whole fucking universe? I dance in the the empty church. A woman comes inside, but keeps the distance. I cover my face with three faced mask, cover the part that is usually visible and uncover the parts that are less common to be seen.Now it is all about values and knowing what I truly want, what will make me the happiest.I dance in the empty church and leave smiling. However, decision must still be made. I must take the bull by the horns, yet weighing the pros and cons.
This picture is symbolic representation of my headspace, it is up to me what kind of interior I’ll create, what will I bring inside, his close will I let anyone to come in.The dance of creation is happening and there’s plenty space left for a miracle. It might look silent, that’s why I create the music. The walls look empty - that’s why I draw. It looks static - that’s why I film my dance. It feels incomprehensible - that’s why I write. In the end of my work the temple will be fully active to stimulate all human senses. My only goal is to maximize my true potential and I know I have so much more to give. The universe expands because creativity never ends.
RECLAIM YOUR POWER!
IT IS NOT OUTSIDE OF YOU!
We finally met, first time after years of online communication. Algiz rune between us represents the divine might of the Universe. We are standing tall while our friend, outsider artist Henrik Zoltal Doren, is taking the picture. Berlin, 2018, May. The energy of Algiz makes it all feel sacred as opposed to mundane. It is the symbol which could be powerfully equated to a satellite dish. So do we are reaching toward the heavens and communicating with the great Unknown, the Old Ones, Nocturnal Entities, who dwell in the Void, and ever active Force of Love. I dip my fingernails into the cyber world and open the portal for you, reader. Welcome to the Creative Mind of Michael and Shaltmira.
THE ACTION OF CREATION IS SELF-MULTIPLICATION
As one saga describes Odin, 'when he sat with his friends, he gladdened the spirits of all of them, but when he was at war, his demeanor was terrifyingly grim.' When Odin sacrifices himself to Himself to receive the runes, he was setting an example for us: to sacrifice the things that make us small or petty, to give up our fetters, addictions and vice to seek something much greater within ourselves. Funny fact, Odin't name translates as “Master of Ecstasy.” This collaboration wouldn't have happened earlier, Michael says. 'It was my decision to change and step out of my comfort zone. This collaboration happened, because of my personal transformation.'
"The Universe is Mental - held in the Mind of THE ALL." - The Kybalion.
Hold the thought long enough and it will get material shape. The action of creation is self-multiplication, accomplished by transferring a portion of the spirit into the material substance. Spirit and Matter are but the two poles of the same thing, the intermediate planes being merely degrees of vibration. Spirit transcends our understanding, but we can get a sense of it by discussing it's material manifestations. This is what I will be doing today, I invite you to the backstage, to the labaratory of mental alchemy.
THE MUSIC IS LIKE STREAM, IT IS LIKE WATER.
IT IS NOT FROM FIRE, IT IS FROM WATER.
Michael Cashmore is an English composer and musician currently living in Berlin. He has created music under the name of Nature And Organisation since the early '80s and more recently (2006) under his own name. Michael Cashmore has also been a member of the group Current 93 since the late 1980s and composed the majority of the music for the group since joining. He has collaborated with many artists including David Tibet, Antony and the Johnsons, Bill Fay, Marc Almond, Nick Cave, Rose McDowall, and Steven Stapleton. In 2015, the German label Trisol released the long-awaited CD reissue of the complete World Serpent recordings by Nature and Organisation including the two albums "Beauty Reaps the Blood of Solitude" and "Death in a Snow Leopard Winter" along with the "A Dozen Summers Against the World" EP and another compilation-only track. Entitled "Snow Leopard Messiah," the double-CD set features lyrics and entirely new artwork by Michael Cashmore.
In the mid 80's Cashmore came into contact with David Tibet (ex-PSYCHIC TV) of the group CURRENT 93, which he later joined in 1990. For the next 20 years Cashmore wrote almost exclusively all of the music for the group including the seminal albums "Of Ruine or some Blazing Starre", "Sleep has His House", "Soft Black Stars" and "Thunder Perfect Mind". Not only is he responsible for influential songs like "A Sadness Song", "Whilst The Night Rejoices Profound And Still" or "The Bloodbells Chime" that are long considered classic of the progressive folk and industrial genre, he moreover has written music for British wave legend Marc Almond (SOFT CELL) and avant-garde sensation Anohni (ANTONY & THE JOHNSONS). An artist renowned for his eclectic work and poignant nature, Cashmore is revered by music lovers as one of Britain's most influential and inspiring composers.
MICHAEL CASHMORE AND SHALTMIRA
'This release is a special collaboration with artist, occultist, shapeshifter, nomad and enigma Shaltmira who contributed the extraordinary images for the artwork for this record. The unique design of the packaging has created the first ever vinyl release in history to have two front covers. The sleeve has foil embossed lettering on both sides in two colours, this release is pressed on white vinyl and contains an printed inner sleeve. As this record is limited to only 500 copies this 12" vinyl will become an instant collector’s item and much sought after. This record is an important documentation as part of the transformation of an influential artist.' - TRISOL.
SHALTMIRA: So how many solo albums you are working on now, Michael?
MICHAEL CASHMORE.: I'm working on 4 solo albums as well as three other albums. I want release three albums this year if possible, a solo album from me, your album, and I've just finished a collaborative album with an English dark, indie group called VUKOVAR (https://vukovarbrutalisthouse.bandcamp.com/) .
S.: Let’s talk about how the idea to do a collaboration with my voice and your music was born. We were chatting online for a while, as we were working on this album which I provided my photos for. And now, as I record tracks for your upcoming solo album, as well as recording vocals for my solo album, let’s travel back in time a little to the moment when the idea to use my voice with your music was born in your head.
M.C.: I sent you some music I was working on for one of my solo albums and you sent me a video message via Facebook with my music playing in the background. I suddenly thought, wow, they sound incredibly good together, your voice and my music, and that’s how I had the idea of inviting you to collaborate with me, all accidentally, you know? After that video message, I thought that your voice and my music are really perfect for each other.
I AM RELEASING MYSELF FROM THE PAST
S: When was the last time you played live? Would you like to perform again and where?
M.C.: The last time I played live was in Moscow with Current 93 in 2012. I'd definitely consider playing solo shows in the future but I don’t want to be a guy who sits in front of a laptop, I don’t find that interesting, I want to see something happen on the stage like Hendrix and The Who did so I am not sure at the moment how I should approach it. The country I would most like to play in would probably be Japan, but I'd Love to go back to New York sometime again in the future. I was in Japan in the 90's in Tokyo and Kyoto, I collaborated with a Japanese artist but can’t remember his name right now. It would be nice to come back with my solo album to Japan, but would cost a fortune! (laughing). When I was in Tokyo I was walking around and found this little record shop, I found the Current 93 EP ‘Lucifer over London’ and couldn't believe it. I didn’t have internet in those days so I never knew that we are were known all over the world, that our records spread so far. It’s crazy to see something you created a year earlier just on a weekend between working a regular job sitting on a shelf all the way in Tokyo, you know? That was the first time I realised, wow, this is big, this is going all over the world to people, I didn’t realise it before.
S.: Did it make you happy?
M.C.: Yeah, kind of, I was surprised. Imagine, you are so far away from home and you walk into a tiny record shop and your record is sitting there.
S.: You're known for playing acoustic guitar, is that what we can expect from you in the future?
M.C.: No, I am transforming myself as a person and my music must reflect that otherwise it wouldn't be true, I am releasing myself from the past. I wouldn't say that I will never play guitar again, I don't know, but right now I find the most accurate way to express myself is through electronic music as well as through melody and chords on a piano.
S.: Do people recognise you in Berlin? How long you lived there and
where did you live before?
M.C.: I've lived in Berlin for fourteen years, I lived in Birmingham, England before. I miss the food, English food, that's for sure. People do recognise me here sometimes, but not so often. One time I was in a shop called Dussmann, it’s a big book and records shop and this guy came up to me and said, ‘You're Michael Cashmore!?’, I said ‘Yes’ and he fell to my feet in the middle of the shop, he was so shocked, that was crazy! When people recognize me we have a little chat, they want to take pictures sometimes.My good friend Anohni told me that when people call me a genius, which is of course not true, I should always accept and respect it as their opinion.
S.: Do you take pictures with them?
M.C.: Of course I do, I do anything for people.
S.: ANYTHING! (both laughing)
S.: Are you not exhausted from getting attention from your fans?
M.C.: I get attention of course, but not an overwhelming amount. People send me their cd’s sometimes, recently someone sent me a drawing, they want me to listen to their music, probably because I inspire them in some way, you know?
S.: Do you listen to the music people send you?
M.C.: I always listen to what people send me, I appreciate them thinking of me, I want to encourage them and give them positive support and feedback but sometimes that's difficult if they are just basically a copy of Death In June or Current 93, I don't want to hear copies, I want to hear originality.
I DON'T WANT TO HEAR COPIES, I WANT TO HEAR ORIGINALITY.
S.: Your mentioned you are working with the record label TRISOL, in general The Trisol Music Group are considered a major European label for works within the realm of Dark Alternative music. How is it going?
M.C.: It's going great with them, the label boss is named Alex Storm, he is a big fan of mine and he is so kind to me, he gives me everything I want for the packaging of my records. I've pretty much reissued all of the back catalogue from Nature And Organisation, but for the future I am looking for a different label to work with as my music is expanding and developing and doesn't really fit in with a label that is associated with a single genre.
RECORD MADE ITSELF IN SOME WAY
S.: What can you tell me about this album, MICHAEL CASHMORE - SHALTMIRA, that nobody else knows?
M.: It was not composed, it's a intuitively recorded improvisation.
S.: Do you remember the evening when you were recording it?
M.C.: Not particularly, I don't have such a good memory, and also in a way I was switched off, I just recorded without much thought, that record made itself in some way.
S.: What do you mean by intuitively recorded?
M.C.: I just found a sound that I like and I just played it and recorded it without knowing what I would play.
S.: How did you find the sound?
M.C.: I have hundreds of different synthesisers sounds in my recording program so I just randomly search until I find something that I like at that moment and strangely I always find something very quickly.
S.: Do those synthesisers sounds have names?
M.C.:: They do have names, I'm normally attracted by them.
S.: Do you have a favorite?
M.C.:: No I don't, I try to use them only once and not again.
S.: After you recorded it, how long did it take for you to edit this album?
M.C.: I recorded the basic structure then added extra elements later, added the flesh to the bones, I guess it took around a month.
INTUITIVELY RECORDED IMPROVISATION
S.: How did it come to your mind to use the images of me?
M.C.: Because I saw them on Facebook and thought they looked stunning. It's the first time I've ever made the artwork for a record before recording the music, using the artwork to inspire the music in a way.
S.:Have you ever used other people's pictures in your albums?
M.C.: Mmmmm...no I don't think so.
S.: Do you design your album covers yourself usually?
M.C.:: Yes, all of them.
S.: Do you record all your music in your home studio?
M.C.: Yes I do, in the olden days I would record in a studio but home recording is much easier, I can work when I want without the restriction of having to be at a studio at a certain time. It's much more flexible, I can do more, I'm working on 7 different albums simultaneously at the moment.
S.: Is it not confusing?
M.C.: I like to be confused a little bit. (laughing)
S.: Do you work on your music everyday?
M.C.: I would love to but I have a regular job which means that I am restricted, that ideas start to flood into my mind but then I have to look at the clock because of getting up for work in the morning which is frustrating, so I work at weekends.
S.: What is the thing that interests you most?
M.C.: Transforming myself, my music reflecting that and in turn helping me to transform, I plan to create new musical genres in this way.
After the interview with Michael, I would like to tell a bit about the images that accompanies the vinyl, and which inspired Michael to create this record.
Most of the images was taken while I was living in Berlin in 2016. I was doing my artist's research - 'Urban Shamanism and Visual Perceptual Learning' , which was funded by Lithuania's Council for Culture. The important part of the project was to move to Berlin, which I saw as the capital of Europa's spirituality, in order to explore and cultivate the life of the modern day Urban Shaman.
The cover of the album is my auto-portrait taken in summer, 2016, while was living in Neukölln. This is my TRIANGLE OF MANIFESTATION. In my hands I'm holding the chain by my friend fashion and accessories designer Freya Roisin Randle (WOLFE CHAINZ), as well as wearing the clothes made by her, from recycled bicycle tires.
According to metaphysics, in order to manifest something, three components must come together. These components are time, space, and energy. I accepted my destiny as I marked my forehead with the Gebo rune. “For every gift a curse.”
The triangle facing down is also representing the element of water. The system of the four elements, Air, Fire, Water and Earth is a key foundation stone in the development of the Western Esoteric Tradition, and practices associated with it can still be found in almost all the modern traditions of magic and mysticism, including Alchemy, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Ceremonial Magic, and Qabalah through to the Wiccan Tradition, Neo-Pagan Witchcraft and Druidry.
The lock represents me as Scorpio, being fixed water sign. In Astrology, the fixed signs are the second, fifth, eighth and eleventh (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius). They are characterised by the keyword "stability". Scorpios are fixed in terms of their emotional reactions. They feel more secure when they know what feelings other have. Scorpio seeks to know the deep emotions that others have which motivate them.
The need for exchanged energies and powers to remain equal in amounts is at the heart of the rune Gebo. Every decision we make requires the acceptance of one thing and simultaneous sacrifice or release of another. Self-sacrifice (for honor in battle or for the greater good) is a common theme with the death of warriors. I painted my face in order to connect with my inner warrior spirit/archetype. As Odin on the tree sacrifices ‘himself to Himself’ in his shamanic initiation to discover the knowledge and wisdom of the runes, so did I sacrificed my old ways of living, as I went on the quest towards deeper understanding of the existence.
HEALING THE FRACTURES IN THE UNCONSCIOUS PSYCHE
In Berlin I organized series of Ritual Performances, which were connected into COSMOGENESIS cycle. It is the documentation of evolution of the self-Universe. The picture above is taken by photographer Paul Henschen, from SATANIC YOGA Ritual Performance, which took place in Berlin Tempelhof Airport, Once the site of Nazi rallies and the Berlin Airlift, the airport is now a huge park.
I wear white as a direct reference to what is called Albedo stage in Alchemy. This is the stage of illumination and amplification. The process through which previously unconscious contents are brought into the light of consciousness and a dialogue with the unconscious psyche/soul is initiated. The Albedo stage establishes a dialogue that involves both symbols and language, and builds a bridge between the two. They are brought into a state of synthesis and the fractures in the unconscious psyche are healed.
The name of the ritual I chosen was inspired by discovery of the article in Lithuanian press, in which Poland Catholic priest Sławomir Kostrzewa said that those whose are doing yoga 'will be going to hell'. It made me to contemplate on the fear based control of the masses, that religious establishments employ. Yoga is a method of self development and empowerment. Organized religion, such as Catholicism, claims that knowledge and power is being something, what is outside of the individual, in the hands of the others, which therefore become superior over them.
Between 1569-1795 Lithuania and Poland was a dualistic state, The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Constitution of 1791, acknowledged Catholicism as the 'dominant religion'. Now Lithuania and Poland are separate and independent, but is known as conservative and religious countries. I like to look back to the past, the times as Lithuanians were proud of being pagans. Times, when connection with nature and it's forces were strong, and peoples lives were aligned with natural rhythms. Lithuania was the last pagan country in the Europe.
My SATANIC YOGA was a symbolical protest. It is my riot against the dying of the Light. When the dominant religion is Catholicism, everything what doesn't fit its frame is being called 'blasphemous' or 'satanic'. Growing up in Lithuania I witnessed limitations imposed over the years into collective unconscious via religious dogmatism and I used it's own polarization to fight back.
Lithuanians, who emigrated or wanted to criticize Lithuania, pointing out the socio-economical underdevelopment, would refer to Lithuania as the 'Bananas' Republic'. I brought bananas, placed them in the shape of the pentagram and marked them with the hashtag SATANA. The second layer of the Ritual was about facing my own demons, connecting to my inner child and forgiving the self-others-past, which is represented by the old photo with my father, which I placed in the center of the pentagram. The third layer included the physical movements. 'Where the spirit doesn't work with the hand - there is no art'. I was dressed in white as my friend Greek artist Markella DV, who joined me in the Ritual, was dressed in black. Standing in front of each other we were mirroring each other's movements, and this is how we were establishing the connection, symbolically building the bridge between the conscious and unconscious psyche. The old wounds were healed.
French director Emile Cerf was documenting the process, and used the filmed material in short documentary called 'POP SATANISM'.
The picture on the back cover of the album is auto-portrait that I took in Puebla City, in Mexico, 2017. In November, 2016, I left Berlin and went to New York for three months, then to Mexico City, visited Puebla, Morelia, and reached Bogota city in Colombia. I continued to work with the idea of being the bridge. The physical journey was happening simultaneously with the spiritual journey that I was living. I was searching for the methods to connect with people beyond the language. The mask I am wearing in the picture is the persona, who wanders the world freely. The persona, who knows, that mental chains can be broken. That everything is permitted. In Puebla, the town of 300 churches, I stood and spread my black wings. Shaltmira's Sigil on my forehead and number 23 on the chin. Even Odin was often cursed for being a fickle trickster. 'In the land of faceless - the one with the mask will be the Queen!', the words echoed in space, turned into electric current and resonated in the other side of the world, reoccurring as the intuitively recorded stream of sound.
MICHAEL CASHMORE – Shaltmira (12” Vinyl, 14 copies signed by both artists)
MICHAEL CASHMORE – Shaltmira
(12” Vinyl, 14 copies signed by both artists)
• White 180g 12" vinyl
• Mastered specially for vinyl by Bricoleur (CURRENT 93)
• High quality, super-audiophile disc – German pressing!
• Photos by Shaltmira
• Sturdy cardboard sleeve, foil blocked in two colours (green and red)
• Printed inner sleeve
• Printed vinyl labels
• Strictly limited to 500 copies worldwide
Some people see the world in colors, some see it in black and white. Which one are you? Shaltmira decided to make an experiment and to find, what would happen if other people would add some colors to her drawings. Would it become a masterpiece or disaster? We love both! Scroll down and find out how by coloring you can win Shaltmira's SIGIL T-SHIRT and signed ART PRINT!
Have you ever seen any weirder coloring book? If so - let us know, we like to get inspired. But as for now, we have some weird dancing animals, half human - half beasts, bears with high heels, and strippers with sphynx heads waiting for you here. Aliens? Of course! Thirty strange illustrations are waiting for the human touch. Or maybe you want to color it all in black? That would be a cool statement too. Let's do this!
1. Get yourself Shaltmira's COLORING BOOK. (You can do that in our online store or by emailing email@example.com.)
2. Go crazy and color it with pencils, blood of your enemies or ink, add whatever you wish, enjoy!
3. Send us up to 3 pictures of you MASTER-DISASTER PIECE to firstname.lastname@example.org till 15 of May, 2018.
4. Author of the funniest colored page will get a gift - SHALTMIRA'S SIGIL T-SHIRT and hand signed ART PRINT!
5. The winner will be announced on 20th of May and informed personally via email.
Can't wait to see what you will come up with!
Brake a hand!
COLORING BOOK by Shaltmira
Shaltmira’s COLORING BOOK is full of weirdness that you now can color! Aliens and mermaids, half humans - half animals, creatures you never saw - they are all here. Many times Shaltmira ben asked ‘when you will start using colors’, well question and wait no more - grab the pencil and go crazy! Inside this book you will find 30 illustrations ready to be colored and updated according to your phantasy.
Big thanks to ‘Koop Larek’, ‘Kitokia Grafika’ and ‘Menu Zona’.
It was printed in Lithuania, specially for Lithuania’s biggest Book Fair, 2018.
Limited to 100.
WIN SHALTMIRA'S SIGIL T-SHIRT and hand signed, high quality ART PRINT!
There t-shirts were created in collaboration with Green Lion Printing and made in limited edition of 100. They are unisex and come in different sizes, S, M, L and XL. 100% cotton. There is the main symbol, Shaltmira's sigil on front and two little sigils on each shoulder.
SHALTMIRA'S SIGIL. Shaltmirize the Area and enjoy the Shaltmiracles! Shaltmira's Sigil represents Success and Strength.
LINKING SIGIL abbreviated as “LS,” and called “Ellis,” is a sigil, a symbol used in magic, particularly chaos magic. It was developed around 2004 to link locations believed to be imbued with magical power and create a network of energy that can be accessible and harnessed by magical practitioners of any paradigm. The Linking Sigil was later used in the "Assault on Reality" by a group of individuals, to rebel against, protest, and awaken those who are a part of the "consensus reality," and it is still used by practitioners for this purpose.
MEETING SIGIL (MS). After working with Linking Sigil (LS) I created the Meeting Sigil (MeSee). After connecting, further step is actually meeting in real life. We can be linked online, or as with LS, linked into Ellis Web, but without actually meeting, the bonds and effectiveness of communication drops. MeSee is actual acknowledgment of the existence of the other human being, but getting in contact in traditional, non-digital way. MeSee Sigil can also be seen as the sigil used to match and reach your goals. Meeting the Goals. Foreseeing the Future.Predicting Future events to compliment the intentions.
One of these prints, hand picked and signed by Shaltmira, will reach the winner of the coloring contest.
Author of the funniest colored page from Shaltmira's coloring book will get a gift - SHALTMIRA'S SIGIL T-SHIRT and hand signed ART PRINT!
Send up to 3 pictures of how you colored Shaltmira's COLORING BOOK till May 15th to email@example.com.
The winner will be announced May 20!
BIG THANKS TO OUR FRIENDS!
Fallow KITOKIA GRAFIKA on Instagram to see more fun printing projects!
Also keep an eye on what at KOOP LAREK, and don't miss to treat yourself with some underground art delicatess made in Lithuania!
Email Koop Larek and get some hand made t-shirts, like COSMIC BALLET! Here: firstname.lastname@example.org
And last but not least - check out our Lithuanian friends MENU ZONA page to keep up with all authentic underground art and music action in Lithuania.
When I was tattooing in Vilnius, a girl wrote me, 'I would like you to get a tattoo of alien looking into the mirror.' I get her. An alien looking into the mirror. This is how I felt many times. One of the most vivid memories with the mirror comes from childhood. It was my birthday and I was maybe six, or maybe eight. I woke up and ran to the bathroom to see if I had changed. Unfortunately, there was terrible disappointment waiting me there. No significant changes! And I thought that birthday is a day which brings big, visible changes!
But disappointments with mirror didn't stop there. When I was older, I remember myself standing in front of the same mirror, gazing at the reflection, and silently asking self, 'who are you, creature?', and then the tears started to run my cheeks. I didn't know.
My uncle used to call me 'sene', he would say I'm an old woman in a child's body, because I would enjoy spending time and talking to adults and felt more meaning in it, that playing with kids my age.
So what I suppose to do, I barely felt this little body of mine is me. Should I keep looking into mirror and cry? There must be an answer, if there is a question. And if there is no solution - it is not a problem.
'Vyte' or other known as Shaltmira's Coat of Arms is by aggreement allowed to use for the inniciators and organizators of National Emancipation Day in Lithuania. By their initiative the flag with 'Vyte' was made and hang in the heart of the capital of Lithuania, Vilnius, Lukiškių alėja.
‘A hundred names of females, who helped to establish Lithuania’s State was read, because they are rarely ever remembered. They were book smugglers, writers, literary scholars, doctors of science, Jewish people saviors, scientists and so on. During the event, the 17th of February Act was declared, which was inviting to create a democratic state, in which all groups of people would have the equal opportunity to participate in the state's life.’ is written in Lithuanian page Manoteises.lt ( ‘My rights dot com’).
The location of the event was the balcony of the hotel 'Narutis', located in the old town, because the original pace where the Act of restauration of Independence was signed, refused to host the event.
The Act of Independence of Lithuania was sign by twenty signatories, none of them were females. That's what all this initiative of Act of February's 17th is about and what it originally is referring to. It is a conceptual art project and together a social initiative, provoking to rethink the history. Lithuanian female artist Shaltmira already made a version of Lithuania's symbol, Coat of Art, with female on the horse instead of a male and Lithuania's president is female, so it looks like there are some positive changes happening during the 100 years. More here. And here.
In the article written in 2017 and published on manoteises.lt was being said, that a group of feminists is suggesting to declare the 17th of February to be the Nacional Emancipation day. This proposal, is being written further, might sound weird only for those, who are not familiar with the history of Lithuania. The month of February in 1918 is famous not only because of The Act of Reinstating Independence of Lithuania, but also as the first protest in the country. The website was talking with the initiative organizators, art critic Laima Kreivyte, politologist Dovilės Jakniūnaitė and the equal rights expert Margaritos Jankauskaitė, why it is worth to remember February’s 17th and how Lithuania could benefit from re-actualization of this day.
So what is the importance of February's 17th in historical context?
Laima Kreivytė is saying that the signing of the The Act of Reinstating Independence of Lithuania was all male panel classics. It was well known, that there were no females between all twenty signatories, therefore the contribution of females towards the restoration of the independence is underestimated. But to be true it all happened not because of passivity of females or disconnection from the public life. The leaders of the national rebirth didn’t follow the laws, that declared the equal rights for both males and females in participation in political activities, stated in the contracts of The Great Vilnius Court (Didžiojo Vilniaus Seimo (1905 m.) and the Conference of Petrapilis (Petrapilio konferencijos (1917 m.). Nevertheless the big part of people understood what is right differently, therefore in 1918 m., February 17th in Kaunas, second largest town of Lithuania, happened the protest, during which it was asked to involve the females into the team of Lithuanian Council (Lietuvos Taryba). Soon after for the Council was given the petition, which supported this demand, and it was signed by 20 000 lithuanians.
There were lots of variations during the years of the Coat of Arms of Lithuania. The coat of arms of Lithuania, consisting of an armour-clad knight on horseback holding a sword and shield, is also known as Vytis (pronounced [viːtɪs]. It is one of very few containing symbolism adopted from ducal portrait seals rather than from coats of arms of dynasties, which is the case for most European countries. More here and here (in english).
The knight on horseback without a specific name was mentioned in the Tobolsk Chronicle as a symbol of Narimantas. The charging knight is depicted on the seal of Grand Duke of Lithuania, Algirdas, dated 1366. The earliest coins featuring the knight come also from the last quarter of the 14th century; the other side of these coins depicts Columns of Gediminas. The emblem was handed down through the generations, from Algirdas to his son, Grand Duke Jogaila, then to Jogaila's cousin Grand Duke Vytautas and others. In the 14th century, the knight was featured on a heraldic shield, first on Jogaila's seal in 1386 or 1387, and also on the seal of Vytautas in 1401. At the Battle of Grunwald in 1410, the major victory of the united Polish–Lithuanian army against the Teutonic Order, thirty Lithuanian regiments out of the total forty were flying the "charging knight" banner.
At first, the charging knight was depicted riding to left or right, and holding a lance instead of the sword. Two seals of Lengvenis of 1385 and of 1388 exhibit this change. The lance was more often exhibited on the seals of Skirgaila and Kaributas. By the first half of the 15th century, the rider is always shown riding to the left (as seen by the viewer) with a sword in his raised hand and a shield in the left hand (if he rode to the right, the shield would be concealed by the rider). During the 15th century, the colors of the seal became uniform: a white (silver) charging knight holding a sword and a shield on a red field.
Use as a state symbol
By the 15th century, the heraldic knight became representative of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and of its central part, the Duchy of Vilnius. Its name Pogonia is first recorded in the Statutes of Lithuania of 1588.
In the 16th century, the knight's shield was depicted as blue with a gold double cross, constructed in such a way that all six ends are equal in length. The double cross was attributed to Jogaila, who was said to have adopted it after his baptism as Ladislaus and marriage with Hungarian princess and King of Poland Hedvig Angevin in 1386. It is derived from the Hungarian cross, the assumed coat of arms of Saint Ladislaus, King of Hungary, which is in turn a derivative of the Patriarchal cross.
The Vytis was the state emblem of the Republic of Lithuania until 1940, when the Republic was annexed by the Soviet Union and all national insignia were outlawed. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Vytis, together with the Columns of Gediminas and the national flag, became symbols of the independence movement in Lithuania. In 1988, the Vytis was legalized. On March 11, 1990 Lithuania declared its independence and restored all of its pre-war national symbols, including the historical coat of arms. On March 20, 1990 the Supreme Council of Lithuania approved the description of the State's coat of arms and determined the principal regulations for its use. The design was based on Juozas Zikaras' design that was used on all litas coins in the interwar period. This was to demonstrate that Lithuania was continuing the traditions of the State that existed between 1918–1940. On September 4, 1991, a new design by Arvydas Každailis was approved based on recommendations of a special heraldic committee. It abandoned romantic interwar traditions and went back to the times of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It re-established the original colors. However, early coins of centas still bore the old Zikaras' design until 2015.
National Emancipation Day
'I've been personally asked if my illustration, the version of Coat of Arms of Lithuania, that I drew, could be used as a symbol of National Emancipation Day of Lithuania. I said 'Yes' immediately. I didn't ask anything in return, I felt honored to be able to contribute to this meaningful social and cultural initiative, which helps to form the democratic country's face.' - Shaltmira
In the picture we see the art critics, writers and culture workers, human right activist having a discussion as a part of serie of events of National Day of Emancipation in 2016. Photographer Neringa Rekašiūtė.
The sculpture 'MeToo', created by. Eglės Grėbliauskaitė, was presented at the same event in 2017. The flag with Shaltmira's 'Vytė' travelled together to this event, which took place outside Vilnius Art Academy. The place was chosen not accidently, the scandal about teachers sexually assaulting students echoed here as well. Photographer Dalia Mikonytė.
But the story of the Female on the Horse has it's own prehistory as well. Once the illustration of her was created - there were lots of dissatisfaction. Let's go back to see what happened then.
In the picture we see Shaltmira during the interview with INFO TV, showing how the artwork was created. In 2014 on her Facebook wall Lithuanian photographer Ruta Jankauskaite (known as Marla Singer) posted, that if she would be the president of Lithuania, she would ask another lithuanian artist, Egle Tamulyte (known as Shaltmira), to make a new version of Lithuania’s Coat of Arms (Vytis). Shaltmira saw the post and reacted very quickly and made two versions of it, and posted both in the comments. First was with the red background and second with the green background, and in both there were female on the horse, instead of a male.
When the tv reporters came to take the interview - I greeted the in a good mood. Later I saw that they talked with some politician and he told them, that if my father would have spanked me - this would had not happened. Others said if would have more time - would put me to jail.
'Female on the horse is not needed in Lithuania' - the article in the most popular Lithuania's news portal appeared. The media first caught attention of the Coat of Arms of Shaltmira, when they heard about the potential case of censorship, that Shaltmira encountered.
The case of censorship happened when then 25 years old Shaltmira was invited to participate in the group exhibition ‘Season’4: Romanticism’. When she first went to talk to the gallery with the curator of the exhibition and the director of the gallery herself, they all were looking at Shaltmira’s artworks on her website, shaltmira.com, and discussing which artworks and how they could use and display in the upcoming event. Shaltmira herself suggested to show some comics, which were based on social criticism of Lithuania’s society, but the organisers saw ‘Vyte’, Shaltmira’s Coat of Arms, and with huge enthusiasm suggested to show big scale print of it in the main window of the gallery, which was located in the center of Vilnius. Shaltmira agreed and ordered the selected artwork to print to the printing house, and asked to make it huge, 2 meters tall.
Couple days after the meeting, the curator called to Shaltmira and apologized for not being able to use the selected artwork, because the director of the gallery is worried, that it could cause troubles to the gallery. Recently the group of females artists did a performance at some other event, in different place, during which they sang their own version of Lithuania’s anthem, and they were having a scandal because somebody saw the disrespect in national Lithuania’s values in the performance and were complaining to the police.
Shaltmira agreed not to show her now already printed artwork, and just bring the documentation of the whole story printed, and display it, as well as to do the performance next to it. Even posting her drawing online caused lots of rage on internet, there were many hateful and disrespectful comments, so Shaltmira wanted to show the reaction of the society to her art in this way.
The group exhibition happened and Shaltmira showed the documentation made from Facebook screenshots, as well as both versions of Coat of Arms she created, one in green and other in red backgrounds. Then she also did a performance, where painted herself as the female on the horse, which is in her version of Lithuania’s coat of Arms. Many people came to see the event and in general it was successful, people were positive towards it.
But what all this 'KEBAB' is about?
Let's talk a bit more about the symbolism, that Shaltmira added to her illustration.
From her teenage years Shaltmira were a big fan of metal and gothic subcultures, dressed in black and listen to so called heavy music. She was known as underground artist and would draw illustrations for bands, for their album covers. She also was a big fan of 'do it yourself' culture, which was all about self-publishing and creating outside of ordinary systems. Shaltmira was also known in Lithuania as one of the first who helped to spread the comics culture. Her one strip black and white comix were depicting the everyday problems that people her age encounter, under sarcasm revealing the social problems of the society. What at first sight looked shocking and weird, after more deep investigation, could be understood as a careful study of the human subconscious, and the depth that the image would sink you in, was somewhat close to the session of the psychoanalysis itself. Here's an example, about how people think, that they know, how things suppose to be or look like:
Shaltmira's art was always known as provocative, mostly black and white, style influenced by another underground artists and meta and gothic music, but lots of people also would tell, that they felt the close connection with the creator after digging into her comics. You can see her comics here.
As you can see from this comics, that Shaltmira used similar drawing style and details when redrawing her version of Vyte. This illustration has a spirit of the comics itself. First let's look at the shoes. Vyte is wearing army boots, typical for anyone at that time, who were belonging to some subculture. Shaltmira wanted to her symbol of Lithuania to give a fresh look, how Lithuania would be free from fears, and she understood that it could be done by the method of reversing, that what is underground - to make visible, since she saw that there where she was and how she lived is somewhat of freedom. The army boots she was wearing herself, characters in her comics were wearing, and the woman on the horse was wearing now. In those days it was common to see lots of young people wearing army boots. Metalheads liked black ones, punks - colorful. Army boots were a sign that you think outside of the system, that you do not adapt to the common dress code, that you are not 'square', that you are not normcore.
Oh, and people hated to see the hairy legs and armpits, of course. And that the horse 'had make up'.
The green background is opposition to the red one. As the red light in the traffic means to 'stop', so the green light means - 'go'. Red is somewhat associated with restriction, alert, danger, and green - with freedom and nature. Lithuania is full of forests, we are proud of fresh air and the amount of trees, isn't it more suitable to have more green in our symbology? We were the last pagan country in Europe, the last ones who accepted christianity, we were the last pagans.
There are six pentacles, or pentagram symbols in the drawing as well. What do they mean?
The number 5 has always been regarded as mystical and magical, yet essentially 'human'. We have five fingers/toes on each limb extremity.We commonly note five senses - sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. The number 5 is prime. The simplest star - the pentagram - requires five lines to draw and it is unicursal; it is a continuous loop. Expressing the saying Every man and every woman is a star, we can juxtapose Man on a pentagram with head and four limbs at the points and the genitalia exactly central. This is Man in microcosm, symbolising our place in the Macrocosm or universe and the Hermetic / Tantric philosophy of associativity as above, so below.
The pentagram may be inverted with one point down. The implication is of spirit subservient to matter, of man subservient to his carnal desires. The inverted pentagram has come to be seen by many pagans as representing the dark side and it is abhored as an 'evil' symbol. Fundamental christians, indeed, see any form of pentagram as such. However, these are recent developments and the inverted pentagram is the symbol of Gardnerian second degree initiation, representing the need to learn to face the darkness within so that it may not later rise up to take control. The centre of a pentagram implies a sixth formative element - love/will which controls from within, ruling matter and spirit by Will and the controlled magickal direction of sexual energies.
In the context of this story, we face the issues caused by confrontation of the opposite sexes. The new generation is moving towards not defining themself in binary terms at all, but to avoid confusion, in this text we will stay in this binary system, it is still Lithuania, we need to know the context, a land, where most people do not know what 'queer' even means.
So we have figured out, that more than wanting to piss off people with certain religious beliefs, we must see these inverted pentagrams as a symbol representing the need to learn to face the darkness within ourselves.
And finally we arrive to the t-shirts saying KEBAB. There's a long story behind this, and I will tell about it, even though the organizers of the National Emancipation Day personally asked me to photoshop it off the illustration before taking it to represent the event, saying that 'it will help to avoid the confusion'. I did it, but all the story of my years taking action is closely related with this seeming sense not making choice.
Lithuania - the Land of Kebabs. That's how I saw it, when I was living in Vilnius in 2014. There were many kebab shops in town and everyone would go get one with the garlic sauce late at night after partying. What more it meant to me than to get stuffed with the 'cat meat' as people were joking, was once again, a symbolical value of the act. Lithuanians, so excited now about this food which is foreign, but still, themselves being so negative towards foreigners themselves. 'Lithuania for Lithuanians!' - that's a commonly heard phrase, there's some weird and dangerous pride rising from deepest insecurities of our souls. Maybe because we faced so many occupations, maybe because still are living in fear, so we squat with sharp elbows to the side while eating kebabs and devour our kebabs fast, in case we need to jump and defend ourselves. It is well known that the biggest kebab lovers are the guys, who from the first glance, anyone would call typical east europeans. Damn, I loved those kebabs myself, so for the sake of not just pointing fingers, made this comics (and been blocked from Facebook for a while after because of it) :
We were the kebabs generation. Me, then twenty-five, and my friends around same age. Some were those who were wishing for Lithuania to be more international, others wanted it not to change. I knew all kinds of people, skinheads, metalheads, punks, sport-suits aka adidas admirers, we all would meet at night at the same kebabs spot on the hill of Tauras (Tauro kalnas), to stuff another kebab into the void.
That void was not only made of hunger, it was also formed from anger. Anger towards 'others'. The anger rises from fear though. Lithuanians have deep complex of being 'not enough'. Not enough big country, not enough rich, not enough advanced, not enough winning, not enough achieving. Kebab was always somehow poetic to me. I knew there were lack of respect not only to turkish, but for most foreigners here, and still, we consumed their goods, and we felt that it is ok to be xenophobic because of the history of the suffering that the country experienced, which is the main thing that all Lithuanians are focusing on - the past.
Soon after the group exhibition 'Season 4': Romanticism' in Pamenkalnio gallery, as the articles about the censorship appeared in the press, the photographer Saulius Paukstys contacted me and suggested to do a solo exhibition at Oslo Namai. He told me, that there I could show my Vyte - Lithuania's Coat of Arms with no fear. I decided to go with the flow. Didn't feel guilty anyway, saw it as an opportunity to continue doing art, art brings me joy - so let's do it, I told him. I decided to call this solo exhibition 'Bad (Art)works' ('Blogi Darbai'), once again, playing this game of reflecting society its 'all knowing face', laughing at society knowing 'how the Satan's ears look like'.
The opening. For this occasion I even made KEBAB t-shirts, my friends, fans and fallowers came to congratulate me with this event wearing them.
I created five new canvas inspired by the comments I read after the articles online about the Coat of Arms and censorship at the group show happened. There were more than two hundred death threats and hateful comments after one article in the main magazine of Lithuania, 'Lietuvos Rytas' ('Lithuania's Morning'). For example, one painting is called ‘Hanged’, as the author of the comment number 177 was wishing me death by hanging. Other said that i should draw two lesbians kissing, and another that I should draw a man giving a birth on the horse. There were two positive comments, but they were not that much creative. I printed all comments I found and cut them and sticked to the walls all around the gallery.
Exhibition at Oslo Namai happened. People came. Some friends came and brought kebabs. For themselves and for me. Thy were eating kebabs while I was doing my performance. I painted a traditional landscape on canvas, while playing the record that I made from reading the internet comments after the articles about me, the most entertaining ones, wishing to draw a man on a horse giving birth, to draw two lesbians kissing on the horse, to hang myself and so on. I used some digital editing programs to distort my voice and make it sound ridiculous. At the same time I was painting the blue sky and green hills and then in the corner wrote myself best grade - 10, as the teachers would do at the school when we were kids. Because that is what is GOOD ART(WORK), right?
There's no moral, no conclusion. There's a Lithuanian saying, 'Sotus nuo meno nebūsi.' ('Won't be full from art') - so here you go a kebab. And then couple years after they see all this story inspiring, and ask to use the Female On The Horse to represent the National Emancipation Day. But please, hide the kebab, too much to explain.
For millennia the indigenous people who were making tattoos were also practicing shamanism, the oldest human spiritual religion. They allowed us to gain a glimpse of a culture that connected tattoo, ritual, religion, myth, and nature. Today many people are getting tattoos, age or career is no longer relevant. Some of them get inked for the aesthetic reasons, some use body as a diary of important events, others wants to have a work of their favorite artist. I look at tattooing as spiritually uplifting and empowering process. With all my respect for the ones, who started - I'm happy to continue the tradition of magic tattoos.
From the peaceful shamanic tents the art of tattooing moved to the cities, to the tattoo shops, and today we have all kinds of different styles, techniques, as well as attitudes towards tattoos and that's great. Each of us can chose what suits personal desires and needs.
Shaltmira tattoos a medicine student at INK INC studio in Puebla, Mexico. 2017
TATTOOING IS A RITUAL
When it came to their tattoos – the Aztecs were by far the most advanced in design and artwork. At a time when other cultures were merely tattooing rudimentary designs, the Aztec culture had developed incredible patterns with depth and detail on a massive scale. This devotion to body artwork comes heavily from the basis of the culture, which focused on tradition, education, and the arts.
The Aztecs took tattooing to a new level. Similar to the those tribes of Ancient Briton, the Aztecs were proud of their body art and created intricate, dazzling designs that still appear in modern tattoo culture to this day. But unlike the Ancient Britons, who tattooed for many reasons – including battle pride, worshipping, and recreational activities – the Aztecs’ tattoos had one sole purpose: ritual.
Each deity had its own specific symbolic pattern which helped attribute to the worshipping factor of the ritual. In addition to individual styles, each and every tattoo placement was well thought out, with every location on the body holding its own ritualistic meaning.
It is very interesting now to be in Mexico and get to know more about it, as well as inking ancient symbols and drawings.
These tattoos I did at INK INC tattoo studio in Mexico.
GUESTS' SPOTS & TATTOO SHOPS
Some tattoo artists work at tattoo shops, some at home and others like to travel a lot. Though while working in tattoo studio you can get tips from other tattoo artists and also trade tattoos! Last summer I've been living and working in Berlin, tattooing at Amor De Madre Tattoo Studio. This year I am working at INK INC. And recently visited Bogota, Colombia and been tattooing at Dr.Calavera's. As for self-taught tattoo artist I found it very useful to spend some months in tattoo shops, I learnt things this way much faster than it would have taken to discover on my own.
Dr.Calavera Tattoo Studio in Bogota, Colombia, where I was tattooing earlier this year.
Maybe because of my magical approach towards tattoos - I really like to tattoo at my home studio. Let me describe it, imagine... So here we meet, a tattoo artist and you, a client. But I prefer to call you my New Friend. We spent time discussing your tattoo online and now we are ready to do it. I play some music, binaural beats or techno, whatever we feel like into, and you can smell the incense burning. I'm a big fan of copal. Copal incense is one of the oldest forms of energy clearing. Using copal is one of the best methods for energetically cleansing the space. There's no hurry. We have a chat, a drink of choice and then, when feeling comfortable, start the ritual of tattooing. We can have as many pauses as we need. Then, when tattoo is finished, we take pictures, laugh and feel how this experience was both bonding and energizing. We smile. We know we have a connection for life. Do you feel it? Haha
In tattoo shop time is more limited, because tattoo artist has a long list of appointments. One session is maximum 5 hours. Luckily, whenever I was working - it was all great experiences and it taught me a lot of discipline, as well as other artists' tattooing 'tricks'. One of my favorite tattoo shop of all times is the one I work at now - INK INC, here in Mexico. In the picture above you can see me and my friend Mario, who already has 4 tattoos done by me! We stand in front of the mural I did at INK INC shop at Dr.Mora 9. It's called 'The Return of Santa Muerte', all done with acrylic markers. Feel free to visit and have a look yourself, it's huge! I'm happy to work with people, who appreciate 'out of the frame' art, like my boss at INK INC tattoo shop, he showed the green light and funded the mural and we even talked about expansion in the future! How cool is that?!
In the end, you need to answer for yourself: what you prefer? What kind of experience are you seeking? If you have clear idea and want get things done fast - go to tattoo shop. If you want more one-on-one experience with the tattoo artist, magical atmosphere, flexible hours - I would recommend the artist's studio.
Most of us practice the magic on a daily basis. How? The fact that most people on Earth know how to write or speak a language is a proof! Did you know that each letter of the English language was created using sacred geometry? Or maybe you are familiar with Gematria? A Kabbalistic method of interpreting the Hebrew scriptures by computing the numerical value of words, based on those of their constituent letters.
When our subconscious mind hears words phrased in a way that seems positive, it does its utmost to make sure we bring that idea into our lives. Every day we create the most powerful spells that will determine our future. Once we become aware of this - we can literally harness the power of words to transform our lives.
Words are magic spells. The way we phrase or use words create our future and getting a lettering tattoo is a chance for growth and empowerment.
From traditional to experimental fonts - options are unlimited.
NEVER TOO OLD
I have tattooed many older people, first was my 60+ year uncle. Don't listen to outdated stereotypes - it's never too late to do anything!
FIXING AND COVERING OLD TATTOOS
Sometimes we change our minds, change our lives and feel like old tattoo no longer represents our inner reality. Or maybe you still like it, but want it to look more fresh - it is time for a change - tattoo update!
Some old tattoos can be fixed, some new meanings could be added. But sometimes it's better to do new, bigger tattoo on top. If you have similar questions - feel free to send me an email, adding photo with your tattoo and we can discuss the best solution for your case.
Each tattoo artist has a bunch of tattoo designs waiting for their owner. Sometimes it has happens, that you see a drawing and immediately feel the connection. Lots of times people told me, that they felt as if my drawing was meant to be tattooed for them. Feel free to ask me if I have any new tattoo designs or check out TATTOO DESIGNS gallery here, on my website.
COMMISSIONED TATTOO DESIGN
You were thinking about getting a tattoo, but you don't want to have something you saw on internet, or what is now trending. You want something special, something what has a meaning for you, what represents you, stands for what you believe - then it's time to reach out to the tattoo artist and ask to create unique personal tattoo design. Even if I am far away from you and can not do the tattoo myself - you can hire me to create a unique tattoo design and then go to your favorite local artist to get it inked.
How it works? I will ask you to describe me your ideas and visions, or if it is still blurry in your mind - you can give me some keywords, for example: time, key, journey, geometry etc, and using them I will create the drawing. We will discuss the best size, location and before seeing the final version of your tattoo design - you will be able to have a look at the work in progress.
How much it costs? Depending on size and complexity the price can vary from 100 to 500+ dollars. For additional fee I would draw the tattoo design with ink on paper and later will send you the original artwork via traditional mail. Or, if it is digitally created tattoo design - I can send you the big resolution image via email - so you can print it and frame it, hang it on the wall or put on your magic altar - up to you!
An example of commissioned tattoo design. Work in progress and final design, turned into the illustration.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Q: HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR MY TATTOO SESSION?
A: Make sure you are well rested, well hydrated, and have eaten recently. Aside from that, take a shower, charge your phone.
Q: WHAT TATTOO MACHINE YOU USE?
A: LaceNANO! I pre-ordered it soon after it was invented and been using it all of the time! I love it and recommend it for those, who work with precision, thin lines and small details. The inventor, Peter, now is my friend and supports my work, so happy! Go check it out, it’s future: www.lacenano.com
Q: DOES GETTING A TATTOO HURT?
A: The tattooing process requires the application of pigment under the first epidermal layer of the skin. Receiving a tattoo is a painful process, but each of us have different tolerance for pain. The larger the tattoo - the longer it will take to do, so small tattoos hurt less. But remember, people wouldn't get a second tattoo if the first one hurt that bad.
At the moment I'm tattooing in Mexico City, at INK INC tattoo studio, where you and also find a huge mural I've done recently.
Q: HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO GET SHALTMIRA’S TATTOO?
A: The cost varies on the size of the tattoo, the complexity, and where you put it on your body. My prices start at $50.00 (for a symbol, sigil) and go up from there. For example, for big tattoos I charge 100$/hour. Feel free to send me an email with your idea and I will tell you more precisely. Tattoo shops have their prices, and usually takes 50% from the tattoo price you pay, leaving the rest for the artist. So if you are getting tattooed at the shop - ALWAYS tip the artist!
Q: HOW DO I CARE FOR MY NEW TATTOO?
-Leave bandage on for 3-5 hours.
-Remove bandage, wash with warm water & soap, pat dry.
-Apply Bepanten+ (healing cream) 3 times a day.
-Stay out of chlorine pools, salt water, and only minimum sun exposure while tattoo is healing.
-DON'T PICK AT SCAB. Tattoos will heal in 10-15 days.
THE MOST PAINFUL SPOTS
Getting tattooed in an area where your bones are closer to the surface of your skin (your foot, ankle, knee, ribs, etc) could be more unpleasant than a meatier part of the body. It doesn't necessarily hurt more, but many people don't like the “tapping” feeling of being tattooed over bone. However, I did an experiment with my friend, and first time tattooed the very unusual spots, inside of the belly button and the nipple. Check the videos below to see his reaction!
Q: WILL IT FADE?
A: I use the highest quality pigments found in the industry, but if you spend lots of time in the sun, or have specific skin condition, it will fade. Tattoos fade with time as your skin is changing and renewing constantly. Those who say that tattoos don’t fade are simply trying to impress you for commercial purposes. Usually after a while you might want to refresh your tattoo. Sometimes tattoos crack, specially in areas which bend, also fingers' and hands' tattoos need repetitive sessions, till they finally settles in. But good news are here - if you ever got a tattoo from me - I'll fix it and refresh it for you for free.
Q: CAN I BRING MY OWN DESIGN?
A: Just about any design you can think of can be made into a beautiful tattoo. Feel free to show me all the images that inspire you and tell me all the ideas you have. After careful examination of your inner real I will be able to create the most suitable tattoo for you. If you already know what you want and want this idea to be inked by me - great! I'm honored, but have in mind, that I give priority for my own created tattoo designs. If you want to get something that anybody can do - why you come to me? If you come to me - you must be craving for something special!
Q: CAN YOU FIX MY OLD TATTOO?
A: Old tattoos can be fixed or reworked into a fresh (although larger) work of art.
Q: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO HEAL AFTER A TATTOO?
A: The majority of your new tattoos healing process will be done within the first two weeks. However, the skin is still working to heal and rejuvenate and you need to plan on a 4-6 weeks for your skin to be back to its previous state.
Q: WHY DO TATTOOS START TO ITCH WHILE HEALING?
A: As the skin rejuvenates itself, usually about a week after the tattoo was done, the itch sets in. This is normal. Good moisturizers will help immensely with this. If lotion isn’t helping, run it under cold water for a few moments and you should be itch free. Do not scratch!
Q: WHY DO YOU REQUIRE DEPOSITS?
A: I will have hours of work, drawing and preparing for a tattoo before you sit down in my chair. Deposits help to ensure you will make it to your appointment and that I haven’t done hours of work for nothing.
Q: SHOULD I TIP?
A: You should ALWAYS tip those who provide services for you. Whether it’s your hairstylist or waiter - if they provide you a service you should tip them. This includes your tattoo artist as well.
When your heart is filled with love and kindnesses - your thoughts become pleasant, and your body heals more easily, animals will sense your love and people will welcome you everywhere and if you lose things, they will return to you.
The last one seemed funny to me, as I was crossing the busy street here in Mexico City center and listening to this Jack Kornfield talk, and I was putting my Iphone into the fanny pack and then some guy touched my shoulder and as I was turning back I saw his hand reaching towards me - he was giving me my Iphone back, coz I dropped it on street accidentally. Leather case was a bit bruised, but no serious damage. Then I was about to cry from weird feeling. Joke's on me. Now listen this every morning.
- Shaltmira, CDMX, 2017
DO WHAT THOU WILT SHALL BE THE
WHOLE OF THE LAW.
LOVE IS THE LAW,
LOVE UNDER WILL.
Nigredo, or blackness, in the alchemical sense, means putrefaction, decomposition. By the penetration of the external fire, the inner fire is activated and the matter starts to putrefy. The body is reduced to its primal matter from which it originally arose. This process is also called ‘cooking’. The black earth is closed up in a vessel or flask, and heated.
The Body is to be decomposed, that is one shifts one's awareness to the inner self. The planets are both stages of the process and energies in the body to be transmuted. The Saturn star is black as Saturn reigns over Nigredo. Sun and Moon are the opposites to be united, and fire and air are the elements stimulating the decomposition. The black crow is another symbol for Nigredo. The two birds coming out of the body are the soul and the spirit. One needs to become aware of one's soul and spirit. The circle emphasizes the idea of union or unification.
Putrefaction is so effective that it destroys the old nature and form of the rotting bodies; it transmutes them into a new state of being to give them a totally new fruit. Everything that has live, dies; everything that is dead putrefies and finds a new life.
AND IF YOU SEE THE FIRE -
WATCH IT BURN.
JUST WATCH IT BURN.
On the mythological level, nigredo signifies the difficulties man has to overcome on his journey through the underworld. Nigredo is sometimes called ‘blacker than the blackest black’. Hercules had to accomplish twelve, almost impossible, tasks. The pilgrim traditionally encounters shadows, monsters, demons. In the ancient mysteries the candidates had to undergo difficult, sometimes painful and even dangerous initiation tests. In alchemy, one of the symbols of nigredo is the ‘decapitation’, and also the ‘raven’s head’ (caput corvi).
Those symbols refer to the dying of the common man, the dying of his inner chaos and doubt because he is unable to find the truth in himself. In one of his works, Hercules cleanses the Augias stables. It is the cleansing of all the impurities in oneself.
Psychologically, nigredo is a process of directing oneself to find self-knowledge. A problem is given full attention and reduced to its core. This is not done so much in an intellectual way, but especially by feeling the emotions. By really going into to it, one causes putrefaction, the decomposition of that in which one had been stuck. The confrontation with the inner reality is often painful, and can lead to depression.
But once in the depth of the darkness, with the discovery of the seed of the problem, the seed in the ‘prima materia’, the white light is born (=albedo, whiteness, the next phase). A state of rest arises. Insight into the problem has been gained, it has been worked out emotionally, and knowledge arises on how to handle it in a more positive way and to build a more pure attitude.
Alchemists talked about unraveling ‘the mixture’ (=man with all his complexities) in order to return to the germ. That from which a thing has been made in a natural way, by that same thing it must return to a dissolved state into its own nature. Everything has to be dissolved and reduced into that form from which is arose.
‘Matter’ has to be stripped of its superfluities in order to arrive at the center, which contains all the power of ‘the mixture’. The seed is the essence and contains all the essential powers of the body. One has to go to the center of his problems, to the center of his emotions, to the center of himself. There is the power of transformation.
Saturn is the planet that rules nigredo. Saturn as an alchemical symbol is used, like Mercurius, as a symbol of chaos, the prima materia as rough stone, and as the philosopher’s stone. These are all symbols for man at the beginning of the alchemical process. Saturn, with his traditional scythe and hourglass, is the god of death and putrefaction, from which new life will arise. The scythe is another tool for penetration, as is the lance and the sword. Saturn is the philosopher’s lead. He is the god that can cause melancholy and devilish visions. ‘Melancholia’ is another term for nigredo. As melancholy can arise when alchemically working on oneself, the alchemists advised the use of music to lift the soul.
Saturn is also a god of fertility. Therefore "our black earth is fertile earth", an alchemical expression to express the transformation of death into new life, which is also clearly depicted in the thirteenth tarot card. The putrefaction is a necessary phase to start a new beginning. Life itself is a cycle of death and birth, ever creating new life, giving man the opportunity to work on himself and strife to improve his condition.
The alchemists say that nigredo lasts forty days. Forty days has a symbolic value. Jesus fasted for forty days in the desert. There are forty days of fasting between Easter and Ascension Day. The Israelites wandered for forty days in the desert. Saint Antonius spent forty years in the Sahara desert, being plagued by visions of extreme erotic scenes and devils.
The Peacock’s Tail. ‘Cauda Pavonis’, the peacock’s tail, or the peacock itself, is a phase in which many colors appear. Many alchemists place this phase before albedo, whiteness, although some of them place it after albedo. Gerhard Dorn (16th century): "This bird flies during the night without wings. By the first heavenly dew, after an uninterrupted process of cooking, ascending and descending, it first takes the shape of a raven’s head, then of a peacock’s tail; its feathers becoming very white and good smelling, and finally becoming fiery red, indicating its fiery character." The colors refer to the three stages of the Great Work, with rubedo, or redness, being the last one.
At a certain point in the distillation the peacock('s tail) will appear. The symbol of the peacock’s tail was chosen because of the many colorful and brilliant ‘eyes’. It is said that originally they were the eyes of the Greek Argus, whose name means ‘he who sees everything’. Argus was a very strong giant with a hundred eyes, of which at all times fifty were open and fifty were sleeping. He was decapitated by Hermes. Hera, the mother goddess, placed the eyes on the tail of her favorite bird, the peacock. The phase of the many colors was also symbolized by the rainbow, or the goddess of the rainbow: Iris, the messenger of the gods, especially between Zeus and the mortals.
The peacock’s tail can have two meanings in the Great Work. It can be the collection and totality of all colors in the white light. Remember, the white light refers to the second stage, albedo, or whiteness. In this sense the peacock was seen as a royal bird in ancient times, and it corresponded with the phoenix.
Albedo - Whiteness
Je ne craignais pas de mourir
mais de mourir sans etre illumine.
(I was not afraid to die,
but to die without having been enlightened)
Comte de Saint-Germain, La Tres Sainte Trinisophie
The herald of the light
is the morning star.
This way man and woman approach
the dawn of knowledge,
because in it is the germ of life,
being a blessing of the eternal.
Haji Ibrahim of Kerbala
Lucifer, Lucifer stretch your tail,
and lead me away, full speed through the narrow passage,
the valley of the death,
to the brilliant light, the palace of the gods.
Being deep in nigredo, a white light appears. We have arrived at the second stage of the Great Work: albedo, or whiteness. The alchemist has discovered within himself the source from which his life comes forth. The fountain of life from which the water of life flows forth giving eternal youth.
The source is one: male and female are united. In alchemical images we see a fountain from which two streams of water flow into one basin.
Albedo is the discovery of the hermaphroditic nature of man. In the spiritual sense each man is a hermaphrodite. We can also see this in the first embryonic phase of the fetus. There is no sex until a certain number of weeks after conception.
When man descended into the physical world his body entered a world of duality. On the bodily level this is expressed by the sexes. But his spirit is still androgen, it contains duality in unity. Its unity is not bound to space, time or matter. Duality is an expression of unity in our physical world. It is temporal and will eventually cease to exist. When male and female are united again, one will experience his true self. Conscious and unconscious are totally united.
Albedo happens when the Sun rises at midnight. It is a symbolic expression for the rising of the light at the depth of darkness. It is the birth of Christ in the middle of the winter. In the depth of a psychological crises, a positive change happens.
Albedo, symbolized by Aurora, by the dawn, the morning star (Venus-Aphrodite), and by the sun rising up from the Philosopher's Sea.
Albedo is also represented by Aurora, the Roman goddess of the dawn. Her brother is Helios, the Sun. With a play of words aurora was connected with aurea hora, ‘the hour of gold’. It is a supreme state of conscious. When the Artist (=Alchemist) sees the perfect whiteness, the Philosophers say that one has to destroy the books, because they have become superfluous."
Albedo is also symbolized by the morning star Venus/Aphrodite. Venus has a special place in the Great Work. In ancient times Lucifer was identified with the planet Venus. Originally Lucifer has a very positive meaning. In the Bible we find 2Petrus 1:19 "…till the day arrives and the morning star rises in your hearts". In Revelation 12:16 Christ says: "I am the shining morning star". Here Christ identifies himself with the Lucifer! We find the same in mystic literature. In ancient times Lucifer was a positive light being. It was just one man who changed all that: when a certain Hieronymous read a phrase from Jesaja 14:12 (Jesaja talking to a sinful king of Babylon): " How did you fall from heaven, you morning star, you son of the dawn; how did you fall to earth, conqueror of people". Hieronymous used this phrase to identify Lucifer with the dragon thrown out of heaven by Michael. By the interpretation of this one man, Lucifer was tuned from a shining light being into the darkest devilish being in the world.
We find Lucifer in alchemy associated with impure metals polluted by rough sulfur. It means that the light being Lucifer in ourselves is polluted by what the alchemists call ‘superfluities’, ‘dross’, caused by man himself.
Mercury and Lucifer are one and the same. One talks about Mercury when he is pure, it is the white sulphur, the fire in heaven. As ‘spiritus’ he gives life. As ‘spiritus sapiens’ he teaches the alchemist the Great Work. Lucifer is the impure Mercury. Lucifer is the morning star fallen from (the golden) heaven. He descended into the earth and is now present in all humans. Lucifer is Mercury mixed with impure elements. He dissolved ‘in sulfur and salt’, ‘is wrapped with strings’, ‘darkened with black mud’. Keep in mind we are always talking about our consciousness. Lucifer represents our everyday consciousness, all the (psychological and other) complexes have clouded our pure consciousness, Mercury.
The light of Mercury that appears to us as Lucifer, because of the distortion caused by the impurities, gives the impression of what the alchemists called ‘red sulfur’. The red sulfur of Lucifer, as traditional devil, is actually an illusion. It does not exist by itself because it is only an image, a distorted image of Mercury. We ourselves caused the impurities, the blackness that veils our true light being.
Red sulfur is the same as what is called Maya in eastern philosophies. Maya is the world of illusions, or the veil that prevents us from seeing and experiencing true reality, where the eternal light is. By the impurities of Maya, man has become ignorant. He has forgotten his origin and thinks he is in a world which in actuality is an illusion.
The union of Hermes and Aphrodite. The moon is above the retort, indicating this is the stage of Albedo. The sun above is the next stage of Rubedo. At the same time sun and moon are again the opposites to be united. Aphrodite has two torches. One pointing down, representing the lower passions to be transmuted. The upside down torch is the purified energies. Aphrodite is standing on a tetrahedron, the perfect three dimensional body, as all corners are equally distant from each other, resulting in a lack of tension.
As we mentioned above, Aphrodite/Venus as the morning star is a central image for the albedo phase of the Great Work. Aphrodite was born from the foam that arose when the genitals of Uranus (cut of by Chronos, out of hate and jealousy) fell into the sea. The cutting of the genitals represents repressed and tormented love. The sea, symbol of the soul, however will bring forth the love goddess. Liberation will happen when we become conscious again of the contents of the soul.
As Aphrodite is born from the sea, she is the guide through the fearful world of the unconscious (the sea, or the underworld). The alchemist descends into these depths to find the ‘prima materia’, also called the ‘green lion’. The color green refers to the primal life forces. Venus also has the green color. An important characteristic of Aphrodite is that she helps us in our human shortcomings. She gives ideals and dreams to fulfill. But she also gives frightening images in order to make man aware of his lower nature. "By her beauty Venus attracts the imperfect metals and gives rise to desire, and pushes them to perfection and ripeness." (Basilius Valentinus, 1679)
LIBERATION CAN ONLY HAPPEN BY
BECOMING CONSCIOUS OF THE LOWER
NATURE AND HOW WE TRANSMUTE IT.
In Jungian psychology Venus/Aphrodite is the archetype of the anima (in alchemy also the ‘soror’ or ‘wife’ of the alchemist). The anima is the collective image of the woman in a man. It is an image especially tainted by his first contact with his mother. The anima represents all the female tendencies in the psyche of a man, such as feelings, emotions, moods, intuition, receptivity for the irrational, personal love and a feeling for nature. She is the bearer for the spiritual. Depending on the development of the man she can also be the seductress who lures him away to love, hopelessness, demise, and even destruction.
Other alchemical images for albedo are baptism and the white dove, both derived from Christianity. Baptism symbolizes the purification of both body and soul by ‘living water’. ‘Living water’ was regarded as the creative force of the divine. It allowed the soul to be received into the community of the holy spirit. Thus baptism allows the purified soul to bring forth the resurrection of Christ in oneself. This is the ‘hieros gamos’, the ‘sacred marriage’ between the soul and Christ. Christ here represent our own inner divine essence.
There are many other symbols in alchemy for the second phase, or albedo: the white swan, the rose, the white queen, and so on. As lead is the metal of nigredo, silver is the metal of albedo, transmuted from lead. As silver is the metal of the moon, the moon was also a symbol for albedo. Alchemists also talk about the white stone or white tincture. They all means basically the same thing, although one has to understand them in the context in which they were written.
“Berlin is pretty cool,” I texted when slowly chewing still kinda warm falafel, resting my bones in front of the flight of steps leading up to the concert hall. I’ve been starting to feel somehow spiritually elevated, socially conscious. I don’t know, man, might be that peanut sauce. It’s weird. I like it though. But to be honest almost took a selfie to check out am I the same person as you used to know. I’ve been lock on this von Dannecker’s sculpture for a good hour now. “At front left is Lyric Poetry with a swan-headed harp,“ googled. Been looping this new Swan - Song.mp3 for ages. Check this quote I shared, from Chaos Feng Shui Manual: 1. Cut a tree of life and make a pillar. 2. Repeat 3 times. 3. Put a life saving west on each. 4. Hit the floor and find a pearl. 5. Pick up a pearl. 6 Make a necklace. 7. Show pride. Anyways. Shadows with torches of independence proudly fired up with the #trending Chinese matches (I follow them in Instagram) started to gather around and I knew something #soBerlin is going to happen. Turn on camera. Direct event experience is so last aeon. Suddenly the bright orange carpet has been tossed in the air just as “66th Swan - Song.mp3” poured out of the loudspeakers, catchy techno beats made me want to stop filming, but I didn’t give up, the Shadows been singing: "Great souls suffer in Silence! In Harmony! x10” “What a time to be alive!,” tweeted and wrapped myself into the golden blanket (came with falafel), then slowly rolled myself between my palms until I managed to reach a nice round ball shape. Then threw myself into the trash can. *ORGANICS ONLY*. My fault. @shaltmira
TO BE CONTINUED...
I THINK I'M A #SATANA #BANANA TREE
#wip CHALAZEE. Shaltmira. 2016.
2016 January-June I am and will be in Berlin doing my artist research#COSMOGENESIS : URBAN SHAMANISM AND VISUAL PERCEPTUAL LEARNING. Project is funded by Lithuanian Council for Culture. Till the exhibition (one in Kaunas and one in Berlin) I won’t be posting final artworks, but some details of #wip, like now. All my posts with hashtag COSMOGENESIS is a part of my research. Visual outcome : tattoo designs made into full illustrations, which later will be silkscreen printed, showed in the exhibition, and published in the book. So the story doesn’t end with the exhibition, but will be carried around the world. If you would like to be part of the project and get a cosmic tattoo, email me email@example.com You can also show your support via patreon.com/shaltmira.