LOST: Tarot Cards by Alex Griendling

This morning (6.30 AM in Madrid) I woke up to watch the final chapter of LOST, and since it has definitely finished I cannot stop of thinking about it. I have just the chance of comment the wonderful LOST Tarot Cards created by Alex Griendling as a tribute to the best TV series of 21th century.

Alex Griendling. "The Enigma". All rights reserved.

The fact of design Tarot Cards connect directly with the mystic and magic world that is the island, true protagonist of the series. Though the scriptwriters tried to give it an explanation through electromagnetism, this is not enough to understand the black fume, the statue of Taweret, the eternal youth of Ricardus, the numbers, the unpregnancy, etc. So, the island is the Mistery itself and this affects directly to all characters. So, the title for this card is The Enigma, and is represented very fortunately by a compass rose.

Alex Griendling. "The Doctor". All rights reserved.

The Doctor is the title for the card dedicated to Jack Shepard. His symbol is a cross made by pills and medicines. Maybe this cross could represent the main attribute of Jack: the faith. Because of it he returned to the island, he knew he had a mission to solve in his return.

Alex Griendling. "The Believer". All rights reserved.

John Locke is The Believer, and his symbol is an Egyptian cross and a knife inside of it. Faith and fight, this could be the slogan for this main character. The monster chooses his shape because he was a leader when he was alive, and he wanted a powerful man to reincarnate.

Alex Griendling. "The Grifter". All rights reserved.

I think James Ford is much more than The Grifter. The card represents a case plenty of dollards, but the island reveals that James is a very good person, quite individualistic, but finally he fights to save all his friends. He is also an example of good fighter.

Alex Griendling. "The Fugitive". All rights reserved.

Kate Austen is again represented by  her past, The Fugitive. He killed her father by his cruelty to her mother, it was a vengeance. The island again shows her good qualities. I’ve been impressed when, at the end of the last chapter she declares her love to Jack. A very emotive scene that we all wanted to happen before, not when Jack is going to separate from her definitely. We cannot forget another question: she finally killed the monster, it makes she to be a heroine.

Alex Griendling. "The Millionaire". All rights reserved.

4 8 15 16 23 42. The numbers to pulse in Dharma station to stop the electromagnetism every 108 minutes. These numbers made Hugo to be The Millonaire playing the lottery. But all this money didn´t give happiness to Hugo. The big Hugo is, no doubt, the kindhearted person in the island, he never fights or kills to anybody. He deserves to be the number one in the island after Jacob and Jack. He broke the ancient rules of the island and the future of his friends changed.

Alex Griendling. "The Devoted". All rights reserved.

Sun and Jin, they compose one of the dramas of the series. They are The Devoted. They are married but suffer incomprehension and doubts along the series. They are going to be separated in time and space. They finally meet again but their happiness is ephemeral. They die sunk in the submarine. They are represented as two hands that cannot touch each other, with the compromise rings in the middle of the palms. It reflects their fate of living fall apart.

Alex Griendling. "The Soldier". All rights reserved.

To finish  this post, another great character, Sayid Jarrah, The Soldier. He comes from Iraq and was a member of the Royal Guard. He was obligued to do tortures to the prisoners.  He wants to forget his past but it´s impossible, he has to be cruel and practice the torture sometimes along the series. This is sad because his soul is kind but his circumstances are always terrific. He is represented by pliers and a tooth, maybe a very cruel way to represent a brave man that never doubts to help his companions.

It’s sad to say the saga has finished, because a lot of questions are still alive. What happened with the survivors when they leave the island in the plane? In what time and space all the characters meet in a church? Maybe these sequences that look flashforwards are showing the protagonist living in the Limbo waiting to go to Heaven close to their beloved? There will be no answer, we just to imagine our own end. Anyway to enjoy LOST it´s enough price for us.

I appreciate so much the work of Alex Griendling in LOST Tarot Cards, maybe we should play with them to find our own answers. If you want to see the complete Tarot Card Set of LOST, just click here.

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Mithras Tauroktonos of Cabra (Córdoba)

"Mithras Tauroktonos of Cabra". (2nd - 3rd century A.D.). All rights reserved.

This is the second time I talk about the Persian cult of Mithas that was expanded all over the Roman Empire by the Legions. The piece I´m going to coment is one of the proofs that reveals that this cult arrived to the occidental part of the Empire. This is not the only rest found in Iberic Peninsula, there are more evidences in Mérida, Braga, Tarragona, San Juan de la Isla or Caldas de Reyes. In all these places have appeared rests of reliefs or paintings, also parts of Mithraeums (the buildings where was practiced this cult). However, the Mithras of Cabras is the only exent sculpture piece of Mithras in the wellknown pose called Tauroktony in Spain.

The Tauroktony represents the main point of the Mithraic cult: Mithras killing the bull with some other elements that are constant in the tauroctonies found all over Europe. Mithras wears a phrigian hat that relates him to Persia. With one hand takes the head of the bull and with the other sticks a Knife in the neck. The bull is sat over a rock and around it appears some animals: an scorpion sticks its pincers on the bull’s genital organs, a serpent bites its back, and a dog –the Mithras companion- licks the blood that flows from the neck of the bull.

The sculpture from Cabra is made in white marble and its dimensions are 0,93 meters high. According with the Professor Antonio García y Bellido, we could date the piece at the end of second century or at the beginning of third century A.D. The sculpture is an average figure, not a masterpiece, due to the disproportion of the elements: the bull is shorter, the scorpion is bigger and the dog is also shorter comparing with the male figure. The artist who sculpted this piece wasn´t an expert artist but knew perfectly the scene that had to represent, maybe he knew drawings or reliefs of the Tauroktony because the elements are located in similar position as the tauroctonies all over Europe (Vatican Museum, British Museum, Aquincum, etc.).

This Mithras sculpture let us think that in Cabra should be placed an important Mithraic center, and this sculpture should be located in an important mithraeum.

I visited last year the Archeology Museum of Córdoba, where is located nowadays this sculpture, and I kept fascinated contemplating it. It is not a masterpiece but let me thought in that important mystery cult born in Persia that was spread all over the Roman Imperium. This cult was very important at that age, just at the same time of the growing of Christianism. These were two rival religions and nowadays we don´t know exactly why Christianism was the winner.

If you want to learn more about the Mithras of Cabra:

http://descargas.cervantesvirtual.com/servlet/SirveObras/13572730989824832754491/021908.pdf?incr=1

Roger and Angelica

Arnold Böcklin. "Roger and Angelica" (1871-74). Nationalgalerie, Berlin. All rights reserved.
The story of Roger and Angelica comes from an epic poem called Orlando Furioso, by Ludovico Ariosto, published in 1532. It´s a very long poem that continues another poem from Matteo Maria Boiardo. Concretely, the tale belongs to the 10th chant, verse 92. It talks about a beautiful woman captured and watched over by a dragon. Roger, the hero, wish to deliver Angelica from this situation by which he fights and kills the monster.

This is not a new story, we have some examples very similar, from the ancient Greece, pagan traditions and Christianity. The oldest is the story of Andromeda and Perseus, who has to kill the gorgon Medusa to save the princess (you can read more about this in my previous post “Contemporary Medusa”). In pagan traditions from Capadoce there exists the legend of the God Sabacio who has to kill a big serpent riding a white horse. The Christian hagiography in the Golden Legend talks about Saint George and the dragon, another tale with the same protagonists: the knight, the princess and the dragon.

This theme was popularised by the painting of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres in 1812 called Roger delivering Angelica, made in classical academic style. But the painting of this post is later and belongs to the Symbolist style, just because Arnold Böcklin is one of the principal painters of this fin de siècle movement. There is no doubt that Ingres painting is a masterpiece, but the Böcklin one, not so wellknown, is important too.

This painting represents the moment just before Roger starts to fight with the dragon, we see him coming from the horizon. In front, there are Angelica tied to a tree and a very big turquoise dragon which tail rounds the body of Angelica.

In Symbolism the woman use to play a role of femme fatal in many cases, and a role of subordination to the male in many others. This reflects the misoginy that leads this movement. In this painting, clearly the woman plays the role of captive, that cannot be free without the help of a man. To emphasize this subordination, Angelica appears half nude, and Roger carries a long lance like a phalic element, both give the scene a sexual content, there is a sexual sublimation by symbolism. Even more, the tail of the dragon around the half naked body of Angelica could represent another sexual vinculation. In this case the dragon could play the role of the serpent in Paradise: there are three characters: female, male and devil, like Eve, Adam and the serpent in the Genesis.

Again, a painting plenty of meaning and symbolism.

Steam Kenobi

Sir Obi Wan Kenobi © Eric Poulton (2006)

I´m fascinated with the idea of re-thinking our present and future changing the gas by the steam or the digital technology by the analogical, and the style remaining victorian. This aesthetic idea underlies the Steampunk movement.

Just to locate this movement, we must look to the Cyberpunk scene in USA in the eighties, where appeared stories related with Charles Dikens, HG Wells and Jules Verne that drew a different present/future with the steam and engines related as modern machines. Since then there have been reinterpreted a lot of gadgets, a lot of stories, a lot of characters. Also the Sci-fi films has been revisited by this movement and Star Wars is one of them.

I want to talk in this post about one of these artists, Eric Poulton, Star Wars steampunker. He has designed a collection of seven images with the most well-known characters of this series. As me, he prefers the old trilogy of the saga, and draws some of their protagonists. So, our character today is Sir Obi Wan Kenobi.

Just to start, the title “Sir” denotes the victorian look of Kenobi, in conexion with it, he appears dressed in 19th century mood, as an English Lord. But Kenobi is, most of all, a Master, and this is the point I want to remark when I talk about him. I think Star Wars has given ethical and moral values to an entire generation, further than the stablished religions. Their protagonists have teached us many values. In this way, Obi Wan Kenobi teached me what means to be a Master.

Master comes from the latin word “Magister”, who is in the higher level of the society, opposite to “Minister”, who is in the lowest level, to serve and help the others. So, though these meanings have changed nowadays, the Masters are the people I admire more. So, Obi Wan Kenobi is the supreme Master (with the permission of Yoda). Kenobi is an Elder too, because of it, his long white beard and the look directed to the infinite. He represents the knowledge, the equilibrium, the light, the strenght and, most of all, the right side of the Force.

I do like this interpretation of Obi Wan Kenobi by Eric Poulton. Also the black and white (used in all the series), enhances this reinterpretation of the characters in the steampunk point of view.

There will be time for discuss about the Dark side of the Force, cause Lord Vader is another character of Eric Poulton’s Steampunk Star Wars. Soon in this blog.

If you are not patient, you can visit the Eric Poulton’s gallery at:

http://www.whereismyeyeball.com

May the Force be with you.