ITHACA

This page is a visual account of the journeyman, using drawings in particular to describe the theme of ITHACA, or ‘The Way’ if you like.

I could imagine that if I was doing the Compostella Pilgrim walk in Spain, I might illustrate the journey thus. Which is not a bad idea if I ever do, or the other one from the Mount at Mont St. Michel. I may well do that some day as I have threatened to many times. That and the one that would take in Van Gogh’s resting place in Arles in Southern France.

But I am ahead of myself. This diary is a way of recording the journey that I am making visually. I have decided that this year I am embarking on a new venture and a new way to articulate that venture. I am working part time, and also am still teaching, but will travel to Japan and Darwin and then will early next year around Easter, make that trip to my beloved India that has been put off for so long now.

Below I have recorded with the Black inverted picture, my trip to the Kimberly made in 2006 with my beloved. I realised then that I was actually talking about the inner beloved as much as the outer one. But the realisation of course was that I was searching for the beloved, and the hook for me at the time was looking at Boabs in the Kimberly, which is one of most favourite places on earth.

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I therefore within this blog will try and bring a sense of the journey through the visual lens of my journeyman, reiterating the fact that we are all on a journey and that the only destination is actually where you are now.

That to me is the sublime message of Ithaca, and Cavafy gave us, who live in our heads, something to ponder on in reclaiming within ourselves, a sense of the sublime that we eternally carry with ourselves. The numinous in a sense is the wayfarer within, the traveller and the beloved that we carry on the journey.

The Numinous is alive and well and has never really gone anywhere. We have carried in within ourselves all along and the irony is perhaps, now that God has been officially declared in the West in particular, as being dead, we find it resurrected yet again, eternally, within, and this time with no gender attached. He/she simply… is. That illustrates the old adage that really, nothing new is ever shown. All that is known has always been known, yet we come back to it for the first time. TS Elliot coined this beautifully in ‘Little Gidding’

‘We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.’

I am always heartened when I come across this quote, as it always resonates within me as a seminal truth. We are all so wise, and yet, very rarely understand or exhibit this. We are more attached to our habits than our truths.

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Ithaca is the term that Constantine Cavafy used to describe the journey of Odysseus

Ithaca

When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,

pray that the road is long,

full of adventure, full of knowledge.

The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,

the angry Poseidon — do not fear them:

You will never find such as these on your path,

if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine

emotion touches your spirit and your body.

The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,

the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,

if you do not carry them within your soul,

if your soul does not set them up before you.

Pray that the road is long.

That the summer mornings are many, when,

with such pleasure, with such joy

you will enter ports seen for the first time;

stop at Phoenician markets,

and purchase fine merchandise,

mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,

and sensual perfumes of all kinds,

as many sensual perfumes as you can;

visit many Egyptian cities,

to learn and learn from scholars.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.

To arrive there is your ultimate goal.

But do not hurry the voyage at all.

It is better to let it last for many years;

and to anchor at the island when you are old,

rich with all you have gained on the way,

not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.

Without her you would have never set out on the road.

She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.

Wise as you have become, with so much experience,

you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.

              Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)

I love this poem, and it sums up so much of what we are. We are all on a journey, all of us, and there is no destination out there or ahead of us, but where we actually are. We are trained to think ahead and plan ahead and not live where we are. This has been the thinking of the West in particular, where we deny the land we live on and the body we live in and think of something better in the future or some impending salvatory concept.

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 This series of drawings came about whilst I was away from the Territory for a number of years in Adelaide. I was thinking about the rail link between Adelaide and Darwin and the historical link that Stuart made to establish the Telegraph link whereupon Australia was linked to the rest of the world.

My journeyman, the frog, appeared as an epiphanic character showing the way to an illumination of sorts, through the vehicle of glass or its seminal element, silica.

I also saw this journey as a way of the cross or right of passage, and through seven transformations, Frog finally arrived at a destination of sorts. It also was a salute to my father as well as the little boy that I carry within. And at the end of the day, I am the father of the man who is the father also of the boy.

The journey is what we are focusing on, and certainly not the destination. Who gives a fuck where we end up at, as at the end of the day, that could be on any shore. And not only that, but for how long? Sanctuary after all lasts only so long. It is never an eternal destination, but only a staging post between drinks.

 So… here we are and who would have thought?

Ithaca is the journeyman, and the methodology to movement thus growth, so look to where you are in this situation, and know that in many ways, it is never locality, but the internal matrix that governs anything really.


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