Daily mythology: Roses


Of course the rose is the flower of all flowers. Roses do stand for the qualities of the heart as well as those of sexual organs: condition of life (just imagine, your heart would stop to beat only for one minute of the 86 years of your life!), unique ability of life to reproduce itself. Lilies as polarity to roses stand more for birth and death (but that would be another story). Many wise gardeners pushed the breed of roses since the time of old Iranian empire, many types were created by them and if you study the names of roses you study history, tradition and mythology: Ömer Chaiyam, Penelope, Cassandra, Aicha, Venus’ thigh, Josephine de Beauharnais, Grand Hotel, Henri Matisse, Helmut Kohl, Chevy Chase, New Dawn… Did you know, that Suriye means “land of roses”? And that Bulgaria does even nowadays the biggest export of rose-oil (with it you should (!) care your skin). That Virgin Mary is called “rose of the world”? That American writer Gertrude Stein – though she wrote many good sentences – remains famous by her saying: “a rose is a rose, is a rose”? That one of the greatest bestsellers in the nineties of last century was the book “The Name of the Rose” by Umberto Eco? And that it is enough to write “rose” several times to prove her connection with love? Look: ROSEROSEROSEROSEROSEROSEROSEROSEROSEROSEROSEROS


Mythologie des Alltags: Oben trinkt Wein (aus: Hotel Naipaula)

Ein unkomplizierter Verwandter Obens, Naimerlot, sass ganztags in seiner Weinhandlung am Markt. Oben war einer seiner Stammkunden. Aus Italien kannte er Sangiovese; Pinot Grigio und Barolo (von seinen Zeiten als Student, wo sie unterwegs immer eine mit Werg notdürftig verschlossene Flasche Chianti im 2CV dabeihatten, wollen wir hier nicht reden); aus Spanien Rioja und Navarra; aus Österreich den Grünen Veltliner und den Blauen Zweigelt, aus der Schweiz den Dôle und natürlich den Fendant, aus “deutschen Landen” den Mosel-Saar-Ruver, mit dem man Socken flicken kann (jedes Loch zieht sich sofort zusammen, wenn es mit ihm benetzt wird…)…
Und natürlich der griechische Retsina: “Wine makes everybody hopeful” hatte beim Minos auf der Innenseite des Etiketts gestanden, erst beim mählichen Leeren der Buddel konnte man es lesen…
Oben waren die Attribute der Conoisseurs bekannt: Ob ein Wein nun würzig, herbtrocken, spritzig, pfefferig im Abgang, ausdrucksvoll, samtig, edel, weich, anpassungsfähig, geschmeidig, vollmundig oder langlebig sei, für Oben war am Ende nur entscheidend, ob der Wein gut oder schlecht war. Am liebsten mochte er eh, wo immer er gerade war den offenen Landwein. Jetzt gerade sass er am Ufer – zu Besuch in einem seiner Lieblingslokale, dem “Tschapa”, schaute übers Meer und murmelte: “epi oinopa ponton”. Er kaute an einem Schluck Syrah. Der Mond hing am Horizont und hatte einen Hauch Kaffeebohne im Abgang…

Mythologie des Alltags: Freiwild

Früher war das Freiwild das zum Abschuss freigegebene Wild. (Die armen Rehlein! Denkt der Tierschützer jetzt. Der Jȁger aber weiss, dass er in seinem Revier viel mehr Rehe hat, als er abschiessen kann. Gibt ja kaum noch Wölfe und Luchse. Die lieben Tierlein fressen dann die Rinde junger Bȁume und verursachen enormen Waldschaden). Heute wird das Wort nur noch metaphorisch gebraucht. Manche Frauen glauben, sie seien Freiwild für die Mȁnner, sozusagen vögelfrei. Warum? Nehmt doch Mȁnner als Freiwild!

Daily mythology: Headroom


“Mens sana in corpore sano” (“a sound mind in a sound body,” a line found in Juvenal, “Satires”)
The author is sitting in Gümüşlük , feeling rather sound, though much thoughts go around in is head…..
Brutus, as we know from school, murdered the great Caesar. As we know in Yarımadası too, he fled to Gümüşlük, ancient Myndos, and lived there for a while, far from the capitals of power.
“Brutus” means “stupid”, earnest, without whit; in fact we created “brutal” and “brute” from this adjective. It was told that Brutus, Marcus Junius, swore to save the Republic, the most modern achievement of common life, from people wanting to be the boss, the chief, the head of the state, and thus he stabbed his friend Cajus Julius Caesar…., who betrayed the Republic in wanting to be the one and only holder of power, the “Caesar”.
Five centuries earlier there was another Brutus (from the same family of Junii) stabbing the last of Roman kings, Tarquinius Superbus, which raped the beautiful Lucretia This ancestor was thus founder of the Roman Republic. It was said, that both Brutuses were quite planning and intelligent and disguised for a long time as fools. (You just watch the fools in Shakespeare’s plays).
But in spite of these Brutuses, the body of the Republic was replaced by the reign of the Caesars, the imperators, the queens and kings, the sultans, the başkan. Republic and real democracy are up to our days a rare and menaced species…….
From the Roman days up to our time there is as well the tradition of creating busts in public places. The human head marks the impact of individuality (and it is like one of those ironies of history, that one of the best early busts is that of Brutus…). Up to our century the bust, the human head without any body, is an icon, placed in academies, on altars, in gardens, barracks, above entrances, in public space, being the ornament of numerous representative buildings like parliaments, opera houses, churches… Even here in Turkey, still belonging to the non figurative sphere of eastern cultures, the portrait (for example of Kemal Atatürk), takes a decisive place in public sphere.
Thinking about that two facts forced their way into my mind: Islam destroys faces – for example of holy people shown in paintings –
and french revolution invented the guillotine, the machine to “harvest” cut off heads by dozens and hundreds……….
I may be allowed to put an etymology of the word “head” here:
Head: – old English heafod = “top of the body”, also “chief person, leader, ruler”, in old Saxon it was hobid (the hobbits!), German “Haupt”, Gothic “Haubib”, from the Proto-Indo-German kauput, Latin “caput”.
More or less derived from these we find a bunch of (important) words we rarely reflect about: headline, to head for, cabbage (!, from caput. French people even say ” mon chou” as a love word), cap, chief, captain, caporal/corporal (the head as leader of the corpse, the body), capo (in mafia), capital (the main town of a country) capital (the stocks, the property), capitalism, cattle (moveable property, especially livestock, Turkish küçük baş hayvan = sheep, goats, büyük baş hayvan = cows and horses…), capsize (when a ship is sinking by the head), cape, chapter, handkerchief (ker chief = cover head), Kennedy (said to be from old Irish cinneide = ugly head), pasha ( from Turkish baş = head (just collect the composed words of it), chaperon, penn (Gaelic = head, ”Pennsylvania”) and many many others… (see: Online Etymology Dictionary http://www.etymonline.com/index.php)
Is there any body?
Now have a look at – maybe – the oldest human sculpture of the world, the monumental “Venus” – which measures only about a span!, found in Willendorf near Vienna and about 30000 years old. Her body – a heap of wheat, as king Solomon would say, but her head, her face like wrapped in sheets and invisible. The body, today often a matter of shame, of strange desires (köfte! dance!! naked swimming!!!), which has to be covered, which one don’t has to talk about (Queen Victoria was not amused about visible ankles of her subjects) was then the important, the face still unindividual and not to be remembered…..
Obviously this Venus is similar to the ancient mother-goddess Kybele. Kybele – kubus – Kaaba/means “cube” (originally, says the tradition, Kybele was represented neither as human nor as animal but as a stone. Mekka as far as that the place of an adoration far older than the time of Prophet Mohammed…….)
The holy stones like the Kaaba were called Bayt Allah/Beth El “house of god”, these stones often were meteorites and are to be found in much important places. A late recall of these atavistic places of adoration may be the “Black Madonna”s to be found for example in Polonia or in Chartres and said not to be created by humans (“from the stars”)
Every year from 15. to 27 of march the Hilaria, the “ludi megalenses” were celebrated in Rome: to the honour of “Magna Mater” (the great mother, as Kybele was called too) a pine trunk was erected by young men and girls and women, covered with the blood of an sacrificed oxen, danced around it. These festivities had orgiastic character. In ancient Rome, Hilaria were a class of holidays, times of pomp and rejoicing; there were public ones in honor of Kybele at the spring equinoxes as well as private ones on the day of a marriage or a son’s birth. In reduced shape they did come up to our days: to the “Maibaum”, a trunk put every spring in the centre of German villages, often the new married couples or the new born babies were represented on the top, which shows the fertility touch of that tradition.
What a coincidence. It was on 21 march that Brutus murdered Cajus Julius Caesar….. as we might say now, the defender of the body (the people, the republic) against the head/face (look at coins: there’s the face of the mighty one!)
Do we know anything about the body of our kings and presidents? But we see her faces everywhere.
I am smiling now: as a big exception to that I saw huge photographs in public space, showing Mustafa Kemal in pants sitting on the shore….
But in a future article let’s talk about the body and it’s members: hands and feet…..

Daily mythology: Earthquake

Once Heracles upheaved Atlas, who was losing all his power then. Similar it feels for all of us during earthquakes: we are quite terrified (terra!) to lose the stable ground underneath our feet.

An earthquake feels rather like a living being (though we know the scientific explanation for it’s existence): not only the dishes sing and cling inside the wardrobe, but the earthquake itself roars and shouts! And soon after that the voices of the frightened people are to be heard in the dark all over the place: Are you ok? What happened to your things?

The big earthquake comes unexpected, but in the aftermath we wait every second for the earth to tremble again. We here had about 160 small ones, among them two of up to 5.0. Reassuring the speaker on TV said, that those had nothing to do with the big one but were completely independent ones. Were we reassured? One one side yes, but on the other: who cares which earthquake has to do with which one? And even if for years nothing happens we would wait for…



Daily mythology: Agave


Maybe the highest flower of the world. You need a very big room at home, to put a bunch of these flowers into it.

These plant has a mythology too. When god Zeus was born, one needed to hide him, because his father Kronos had sworn to eat all his kids (There were no vegetarians then). So the Kuretes made little bells out of their goats hoofs and rang them to drown out the noise of young Zeus. The baby was always thirsty: The Kuretes flew to the Gardens of Hesperides way in the west and made a juice out of Agave, only growing there. (Today this drink is known as Tequila). In time the Kuretes brought one agave with them and planted it in the Aegaeis – and today it is found nearly everywhere… To satisfy the thirst of Zeus they additionally made a drink out of brandy and anise – as this drink went milky when you added water they called it “lions milk”. But that is another story…..

Mythologie des Alltags: Rȁtsel über Rȁtsel

Müde kam Frédéric Chopin eines Nachmittags aus dem Café nach Hause. Heute, chérie, schreib ich mal was ganz Neues! und als er damit fertig war, spielte er es seiner Liebsten gleich auf dem Klavier vor. Aber das tönt ja mal wieder voll nach Chopin! rief George Sand enttȁuscht, immer diese ausgeschmückte Melodik, die mit ihrer freien rhythmischen Entfaltung so deutlich von Vokalen mitgeprȁgt ist! Na und, antwortete dieser hustend (auf französisch natürlich), ich habe die feingliedrigen Fiorituren und die Portamenti des Klaviersatzes eben dem Belcanto abgelauscht! Kannst du uns nicht mal überliszten und ein bisschen brahmsen? Das tun Schubert und Schuhmann doch schon zur Genüge, beim Cherubini! und überhaupt, was verstehst Du schon von Musik? Zigarre rauchen, Mȁnnerkleider tragen und mir nicht gehorchen, dass kannst du! Nimm dir ein Besipiel an Clara Wiek!

Was anderes: woher weiss ein in die Erde gelegter Kern eigentlich, dass er Olivenbaum werden soll? Müde lȁchelt der Botaniker. Die DNS natürlich, sagt er, die hat er doch in sich. Und? Wie kann er sie lesen? Er hat doch keine Augen?

Ich habe auf dem Markt junge Zwiebeln gekauft, die sind unten weiss und oben grün. Das macht das auftreffende Sonnenlicht, sagt der Naturwisschenschaftler milde. Wieder: was ist mit den Augen, wȁr nicht das Auge sonnenhaft, die Sonne könnt es nie erblicken! Und die Zwiebel hat kein einziges!? Der Stengel nimmt die Wȁrme wahr. Und wieso bleibt dann der Stengel auch in der kühlen Nacht grün? Einmal grün, immer grün, sagt Claudia Roth.