Monday, November 12, 2012

Goddesses in the Dust: Indoor Clouds, Joni Mitchell and Nephele

Unearthing the divine feminine, one archetype at a time...
Believe it or not this image was not photoshopped. 

This is a real cloud, created by the Dutch artist Berndnaut Smilde. There is something so ethereal, so mystical about this I felt compelled to share the artist's website

here

which got me to thinking about clouds.


The Greeks, naturally, had their own stories about clouds. Nephele, from the Greek word for cloud, nefos, was a nymph molded out of clouds by the god Zeus in the image of his wife, Hera. He did so to fool Ixion, a wicked man who intended to rape Hera. Thinking Nephele was Hera, Ixion attacked her. As his punishment he was tied to a flaming wheel and banished to the Underworld. Nephele, unable to return to her original form, was constantly being mistaken for Hera. Confused and bewildered by her fate, she spent her days weeping, leaving passing gods to wonder, "what is the matter with Hera?" 
Ixion with Nephele, Peter Paul Rubens, 1615, Louvre
Zeus married Nephele off to Athamas, the King of Beotia, but eventually she became depressed once more and tears drizzled from her like rain. Athamas left Nephele for Ino, the sister of Semele, who was having an affair with Zeus. When Hera found out, she scolded Athamas for his stupidity and spirited Nephele off to Mount Olympus, where she put her tears to use by filling the water trough in the stables.  

Personally, I've never seen an indoor cloud myself - not to mention a cloud in the shape of a woman - but I've shot some clouds around the globe...
  
...en route to my sister's in Montana, through the skylight and front windshield

a trio of tempest shots

worthy of the Olympian goddesses (and perhaps Nephele!)

hovering above a friend's house in Poulithra, Greece.

Self portrait with clouds above Mount Rushmore...

...and almost touching them on the top of Beartooth Pass.

Nephele's tale, like a gray, rainy day, focuses on the depressing, obscuring aspect of clouds. But Smilde's image is completely uplifting. Am I really weird, or are there others of you out there like me who would LOVE to have a pet cloud inside your house?

Sing it, Joni

Indoor cloud photo by Cassander Eeftinck Schattenkerk

24 comments:

  1. What a stunning photograph of that indoor cloud! And an amazing idea too. I love clouds and have suffered neck ache from looking upwards at real ones, and those painted upon grand ceilings. Do you know about The Cloud Appeciation Society? A wonderful resource of information and photos .... http://cloudappreciationsociety.org/

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  2. MInerva - I've not heard of the Cloud Appreciation Society but will certainly take a look - thanks!

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  3. I wouldn't mind having a pet cloud. I love clouds and I also love taking photos of them.

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  4. i was so taken by joni mitchell i had to face that i can't keep the greek cross crosses straight! but poor Nephele: that is not fair. she gives new meaning to 'cry me a river!"

    i always think of my Mother when I look at clouds. that is because she never fails to notice them.

    isn't it amazing that affairs and tears go back to adam and eve and the apple?

    with love, amanda
    kj

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    1. some of those greek myths are so complicated they make you go cross-eyed trying to keep everyone straight!

      it's lovely kj that you think of your dear mom when you look at clouds - what a lifelong comfort this brings!

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  5. I was so intrigued by this indoor cloud that I admit I stared at the photo for a couple of minutes.

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  6. what about flying in he clouds? amazing feeling!
    życie & podróże
    gotowanie

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  7. Okay, so now you've gotten me to wondering just what are clouds made up of if I'm going to start letting them inside the house. Seriously, I think they're better off up there where they belong so we can appreciate the sky and something a bit greater than ourselves. Cool pictures Amanda.

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  8. I am so impressed by this photograph!! Thank you for sharing this artist´s work , I will take a look on his website.
    And I didn´t know about Nephele's story, amazing...
    Last week, my daughter suddenly started laughing out of nothing inside the car while I was driving and she said : " Mom, there´s a cloud that looks like a chicken that´s running after a dog! " And then I stopped the car and , yes, indeed , it was so cute and funny!!!
    kids...

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    1. wow, that was some kind of amazing cloud camila saw! :))

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  9. Your face at the end made me smile.

    Amanda, I love the phrase, 'putting tears to good use.' And I also love the sock on the dash. :)

    A lovely, ethereal post.

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    1. haha - can't remember if that was my or my son's foot up there!

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  10. Having a pet cloud would be pretty cool. I'm picturing walking around the house with it trailing behind me wherever I go :)
    Here in the Luberon, sometimes the clouds descend on us. I've walk out my front door and into a cloud and you can see the moisture just hanging there in the air :)

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    1. oooooh - that is a dream of mine - to actually be in a cloud (and not just in an airplane) does this happen in the luberon only at certain times of the year, or year round i wonder?

      i've seen this a couple times in my life and always in greece - once around the site of olympia and once in a high village on an island. i literally drove just under a cloud, almost touching it. so cool.

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  11. That inside cloud art is amazing! I'm not sure I'd want a cloud in my house, but I'd love to see one in a museum. I enjoyed your cloud images, especially the funky window reflection at Rushmore - it takes imagination to get an original shot there. When I saw the title, I guessed/hoped you'd play the Joni Mitchell song. Love it!

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  12. Aaaaah Joni, how beautiful. Just a guitar and you singing. The good old days.
    Clouds have always made me want to sit on them.
    I also noticed the socks on the dash, haha. Hi Amanda, I hope to hear more from you!

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    1. dear geli - i am working slowly through my edits but i promise i will be in touch about the book - right now i am hoping to be sending it to you in january. thank you again my friend for offering to read♡

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  13. Oh, joy! Clouds as pets, yes! And ice cream castles in the air! What a wonderful post, Amanda. The link you provided leads to a fascinating site. I'll be exploring the photography over there, as well. But your clouds are pure joy. And I especially one the self portrait.

    This brought back so many nostalgic feelings of laying out in the grass, a blade of green between the teeth, gazing at the clouds, figuring out who they are. :)

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  14. Lovely cloud pictures, and a delightful story.

    I don't know about keeping clouds inside; I think they would be hard to domesticate and house-train.

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  15. The cloud in the room image is breath-giving and breath-taking. The room itself is wonderful. But an indoor cloud is a revelation.

    I've noticed that clouds have been more present the last few years. Or else I have noticed them more. On my drives in the country to and from work the sky is as important as the fields.

    Love your connections.

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  16. ,,,another good school lesson for this old county codger...thanks for letting sit a spell in your classroom...:)

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  17. Dear Amanda, what an interesting post.;) You always manage to add a bit of the ethereal and esoteric to every natural phenomenon.;)
    I too love the sky and the clouds are to me the art created upon the blue canvas. I can stare at a sumer sky for hours, as the water vapour changes in front of my eyes. And clouds can create the most stunning sunsets and sunrises.
    Have a great week dear friend - and love all your captured clouds.;)
    xoxo

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  18. Hi Amanda..such a gorgeous post..breathtaking images..and the first is pretty spectacular!I will always be in awe with cloud-magic..thanks for sharing such a wonderful read!
    Blessings friend!!
    Victoria

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