“The River of Forgetfulness” – Acrylics on canvas, 48″ x 36″
I painted this abstract and am partial to it. My sounding board doesn’t include it in his Favorites list, though. Perhaps too primitive in its rendering? Too clustered for his tastes?
I see two perspectives. One, aerial, looks down on the river which teems with cities, targets, shapes, currents and silhouettes. Beyond the shores of the river, structures and numbers: 5 becoming 6.
The other perspective is straight ahead, as though the river were contained within a small mountain. The water runs beneath the earth. Above, movement suspends or attempts to escape the pull of the river.
I randomly pulled a playing card to link up to this painting: the 6 of spades. According to the book “The Cards of Your Destiny,” the six of spades “is the most powerful of the sixes, which all have to do with settlement of debts…or of having to take full responsibility for one’s words or actions.” It’s a “karmic payback card.”
Well, isn’t that fitting? We drink from the River of Forgetfulness before we take on our lives in the physical body. We drink so as to forget our eternal nature and home.
I especially liked this imagery regarding the river Lethe:
Virgil, Aeneid 6. 705 ff (trans. Day-Lewis) (Roman epic C1st B.C.) : “Now did Aeneas descry deep in a valley retiring, a wood, a secluded copse whose branches soughed in the wind, and the Lethe River drifting past the tranquil places. Hereabouts were flitting a multitude [of phantoms] without number . . . Aeneas moved by the sudden sight, asked in his ignorance what it might mean, what was that river over there and all that crowd of people swarming along its banks. Then [the ghost of] his father, Ankhises said:–`They are the souls who are destined for Reincarnation; and now at Lethe’s stream they are drinking the waters that quench man’s troubles, the deep draught of oblivion . . . They come in crowds to the river Lethe, so that you see, with memory washed out they may revisit the earth above.’” (from Theoi Greek Mythology)
Ecstatic and doomed, the souls enter and hover…