Chrysalis, Catacomb, Cloud Part 2

R. Fludd, Utriusque Cosmi (1617)

Guest Post
Jen Hinst-White

Continued from yesterday

 

Rob goes to bed; I go to my desk and light white candles. Someone I know makes a yearly Lenten project of holding a poetry contest, soliciting translations of psalms from friends. The timing is good; I need a quiet task. Which psalm, then?

Years ago I memorized Psalm 25, and it’s become my favorite ground to walk in the book of Psalms. It’s the one I return to, a beggar’s song of waiting and yearning and aloneness.

Plus—it’s got tricks built in. In Hebrew, this psalm is an acrostic, with the first letter of each line spelling out the Hebrew alphabet. Why the acrostic? Maybe for easy recall when you have no presence of mind. Ache and longing made manageable by mnemonics. [Read more...]

Chrysalis, Catacomb, Cloud Part 1

Macha Chmakoff, At the Foot of the Cross (1990)

Guest Post
Jen Hinst-White

How did I never notice before? An ultrasound room has all the markings of a ceremonial space—a theater of mystery. The lighting is dim. You enter via ritual: undress, sit in this chair, clothe yourself in paper. The monitor is mounted so high on the wall that your eyes naturally go upward, as they would to a comet or reddening eclipse. You wait. And then you see things invisible to the human eye.

Throw in an attractive virgin and some hallucinatory vapors, and you’ve got yourself a perfect Greek oracle. But my sonographer’s name is Alison, she is dressed in cheerful scrubs, and she seems sober enough.

“This is number two?” she says.

My husband Rob sits in the corner behind me, with Charlie, our three-year-old, on his lap. [Read more...]