Painting Sketch:

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I’m working on a painting for school, for their annual auction.  I’m debating between the woman with raised hand, Al-Thurayya, as one choice, or doing a starry version of the Sefer Yetzirah.  What do you think?

Painting sketch

I’m most strongly attached to this one.  I’ve been meaning to do a version of this for a while, and then I saw someone else’s digital version of this version— the Tree of Life, with each Sephirah adorned with the geometrical star of that sephirah’s number.

One of the things that I really admire about this image — and the thing that came to me as I worked through each geometrical construction — is that each level of descent from the Crown (the single circle at the top) adds additional layers of complexity.  I’d never drawn a formal yin-yang symbol before, until I worked out the geometry of the S-curve that underlies the division of the circle in two.  The formation of the equilateral triangle at upper right is one of my favorite geometric constructions because it’s so very simple; and I love how it illustrates F. Buckminster Fuller’s synergetic geometry — a shape representing three actually contains four spaces: the triangle’s area, and the three arc-areas around it.  Four likewise contains five; but then five contains eleven, and also Phi. Six is a recapitulation of three — two equilateral triangles intersecting, and interpenetrating, which also suggests two.  Seven, eight, nine and ten become radically complicated, suggesting the increasing complexity of the visible universe — the realms visible in the light of the Sun.

Today as i was walking to get my coffee, I saw a daffodil, and realized that it contained within its bloom the Hexagram — the six-pointed star.   In symbols, thus, does Man imitate the work of the Sun — bringing to life hidden realities which can be seen in the Book of Nature.

Taiji Day 30: Work the hinges

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The hinges of the body turn out to be supremely important in taiji.  Wrists, fingers, elbows, shoulders, neck, hips, knees, ankles, toes.  And of course, Spine.  In the course of today’s working, I noticed these hinges quite a lot.  If the hips aren’t opened wide enough, the foot lands too close to the center line, and the posture called ward-off-left winds up unbalanced.  Do not flex the food during the windmill kick, and it lands improperly, with the toes scunched up. That makes the body unbalanced on landing, and not ready to project force into the next set of motions.  Each failure to work each hinge, and be in the right place, leaves the next action just a little off.

At the same time, taiji is dynamic.  It’s not a rote set of movements, and it’s not going to be the same every time.  During the close-to-the-ground sweep called snake-creeps-down, I don’t always achieve the same depth of knee bend. Some days are easier than others. Some days are slower than others, and it’s a better work out.  Some days the knees just don’t bend as well as I’d like.

But it used to be that my joints creaked. I’d hear them.  They’d pop and gurgle and crack, like a bowl of rice crispies.  Increasingly, though, my hinges move fluidly, with no alarming sounds emanating from them.  Exercise is like oil on the hinges — the body swings without squeaking.