Saturday, July 31, 2010
After a late night of mysticism in the town of Gheel and spirit filled synchronicity at the well of Zammel, Robert Eringer, Jimmy Harper, Floater and I returned to Gheel for the goods. As the boys went off to do their deed I searched for my motif.
Making my way between the catastrophic clutter of tombstones I set up my easel in the damp silence of Dymphnakirk's thousand year old cemetery. The gloom was thick as I started to sketch the profile portrait of the ancient masonic bell tower. I was especially intrigued by the red brick building beneath the Bell Tower. It was built specifically for the purpose of performing exorcisms. Inside this building,the possessed were made to crawl under the relics of St. Dymphna; to help purge themselves of their demons.
As I painted I felt I was not alone, I noted the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. I turned around to look and saw nothing other than a cluster of grave markers all whom seemed to have Joseph, and Dymphna, etched upon them.
I held out my had and said, "Hi! I know you are here watching me, and I wanted to thank you for hanging out. Thanks for being here." This was my way of reliving the stress of the moment where I felt a presence.
After an hour or so, I was finished. Packed up my gear to leave, and with perfect timing, met Eringer, Floater, and Jimmy on the path out of the cemetery. They went on their quest for the relics, and had success.
Because of the sensitive nature of their belongings we waited until we got back to the Bedlam Bar in London, before they were revealed to me. We then placed them in a special container and placed them beneath Jimmy Harper's beautiful portrait of St. Dymphna where they remained until the close of the Bar two years later.
Once we revealed the relics upstairs at Bedlam, the Dance of Orbs had begun. Every picture I took had celestial globs of light dancing in unpredictable, asymmetric fashion. It seems now that all we had to do was to follow the bouncing orb to our next chapter, delving deeper into creativity and madness.
Friday, July 30, 2010
There it was, Dymphna's Cathedral. Lonely, stark, and Medieval Dark. Built by the Mason's One Thousand Plus years ago in homage to the young girl, martyred for not giving in to her father's request for incest.
Robert Eringer, the boy's and I, had gone into the Cathedral to find the evening mass just ending. (only two old lady's wearing black were in attendance). The cathedral inside was also very dark; guess they had problems paying their electric bill?
We asked the Deacon, Joseph, (everybody here is named Joesph or Dymphna) after the two martyred saints) where the relics were, and he said they were across the street in the Museum. We then changed our plans to come back tomorrow when it was lighter outside, (and not so creepy).
I spent the rest of the evening painting this lonely painting of the Full Moon over Dymphnakirk, and having surreal moments at two am near the town of Zammel five miles away (Where Dymphna and Amand (Joseph) lived at the time of the murder.
HERE IS THE FULL ACCOUNTING OF THE MARTYRDOM.
THE DYMPHNA LEGEND: (Excerpt from Surreal Bounce)
She was born in Ireland in during the Merovingian period—very early in the seventh century--the daughter of a pagan king named Damon and a mother who converted to Christianity to ensure Dymphna would be educated under the tutelage of a priest named Gerebern.
Dymphna’s beautiful mother died suddenly. Her father, inconsolable, fell into what today we would call clinical depression. Courtiers worried that their king’s mental health would further deteriorate unless he took another wife, so they urged him to do so. Damon dispatched envoys around Ireland to find a woman as beautiful as the wife he’d lost. When they returned empty-handed, a deranged notion struck the lustful king. Hmmm, my fourteen year-old daughter, Dymphna-–she looks exactly the same as her mother…
Dymphna was horrified by her father’s proposal. Each time she refused his advances, the king’s rage grew worse. Gerebern, the priest, was also perplexed by this situation, and he plotted an escape for them both.
With assistance from the court jester, Dymphna and Gerebern crossed the English Channel by boat and sailed up the River Schelde to Antwerp. Feeling unsafe near a waterway, they made their way inland to Zammel, a small settlement of about fifteen houses and a well six miles from what would later become Gheel.
When King Damon realized his daughter and her pesky priest had duped him, he went nuts. (Also, he no longer had a court jester to help him see the lighter side.)
With a small army of warriors in three boats, the king set sail in search of Dymphna. How did he know where to go? For two months Damon followed the money. Dymphna and Gerebern recklessly left a trail of their native coins as payment for services rendered en route to a new life abroad. The final tip came from a woman at an inn called The Kettle, in a village called Westerlo. She pointed out the direction Dymphna had taken. (Legend suggests arthritis cut in immediately, for the woman’s arm remained rigidly outstretched for the rest of her life.)
When Dymphna and Gerebern learned the king and his warriors were near, they fled Zammel. But not fast enough. The king caught up with them six miles away.
Blaming the couple’s misadventure on Gerebern, Damon slew the priest without further ado (no trial necessary). Then he asked his daughter one last time: “Will you marry me?”
Damon commanded his warriors to execute his daughter. Not one stepped forward. So the crazed king raised his mighty sword and severed Dymphna’s head with one blow. (No one knows what he did to the court jester.) Adding insult to murder and mayhem, Damon and his warriors left the scene without bothering to bury their victims.
Zammel’s citizens were greatly distressed by the carnage they found at the scene. They interred Dymphna and Gerebern at the very spot they were slain.
Word of what happened that tragic day in 621 A.D. traveled around Europe. Within a few hundred years (word traveled slow back then), the burial site became a shrine for mentally disordered pilgrims. They discovered that if they prayed at Dymphna’s burial site, to her relics (bones), their mental illnesses gave way to sanity. (It sure beat an Abilify/Zoloft cocktail.) After notching up a few such miracles, Dymphna qualified for sainthood.
A whole town grew up around it. The town of Gheel.
Today, a marble statue marks this site-–diagonally opposite Dymphnakerk: Demented Damon, under the influence of a demon, poised to decapitate Dymphna–-martyred for her morality.
Image: "Dymphnakerk" by Thomas Van Stein
View the full comedy @ www.surrealbounce.blogspot.com
Monday, July 26, 2010
Still reeling from the absinthe of clothing on the models, in the two different stores , we continued down the street towards Relic Room, or Dymphna's Cathedral. As Robert Eringer, Floater, Jimmy Harper and I walked along the street, we were soon accompanied by two of Gheelie Girls.
We didn't understand what had happened to us.
What? Why were these girls dressed like this? Something was definitely askew here. Was it us?
I Quickly grabbed my camera and took a shot of this pair of (?)'s
One of them then went to the door of a house and knocked. I took another picture as this little boy came out to hand her something; (candy? Cash? Meds???) I don't know.
But the look on this little kid's face says exactly what I was wondering at the time, "What the F---?...over!
We'd entered into some strange world, that I couldn't figure out which side of the edge we were on.
We finally made ourselves to St. Dymphna's supposed site of slaying;
which now enshrines a marble stature of a lofty Moorish(but really Irish) Man wearing a turban, ready to lop off the head of his own daughter innocently praying on her knees. It looked like a Muslim Honor Killing, only in this case, Dymphna's father was lopping off his daughter's head cause she wouldn't consent to becoming his incester.
We turned the corner and laid our eyes on a dark and austere, foreboding structure with a belfry.