The Green Man, Venus and Their Place in Modern Life

Tannhäuser and Venus – Still Showstoppers

The recently finished Tannhäuser revival at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, broke all daftness records, but is the production we shall remember. Was it the 40 hospital beds on stage for the exhausted returning pilgrims, or the 20 suits of armour that were raised and lowered randomly, throughout the 3 hours – sometimes replaced with a set of devils? Silly theatre can be so powerful!

During the overture, Tannhäuser, (played by a stunt man) is lowered the 50 feet or so from the top of the stage, waving arms and legs. He takes several minutes to descend into a sea of female flesh, albeit with artificial breasts. I assume, there cannot be a female chorus, so well endowed, with not a wobble in sight. I wondered what the women would do with Tannhäuser’s full suit of armour once he was beneath the sea of limbs. I wasn’t disappointed. During the crescendo of brass, bits of armour were thrown up from the depths and then appeared the real, exhausted Tannhäuser, ready for his domestic with Venus.

Why is Venus important to us in 2017, or why was she important in 12th century Christian Germany, or 19th century Paris? Why is she a key figure in Wagner’s opera, Tannhäuser? I believe it is because she is a good vehicle for the artist to express creativity and challenge popular ideas. That is the role of the artist.

Pagans helped us to Chrstianity

We can understand why Wagner uses Venus as a dramatic vehicle, but why does St. Chad’s Church in Harpswell have William Harrington, (rector, died 1350), resting on a superb Green Man? The Cathedral in Würzburg has a Green Man overlooking God. Nicosia churches have multiple Green Men. The 13th century minstrels were fascinated by Venus.

Is there a connection? Is there an explanation?

Waldemar Januszczak has an offering I’d like to test. In his fascinating BBC4 program on the Dark Ages, he pointed out that early portrayals of Christ gave him a feminine, or at least very boyish face. Only later, with the Mary cult well established in Christianity, do Jesus depictions move toward the heroic Jupiter-face. Waldemar explains thus. Early Christianity had an image problem – how to appeal to the 50% of the population, who were women. To get around this, artists often went for an androgynous Jesus. The later, post Mary-Cult version of Jesus with Jupiter’s face, was designed to bring the pagans on board, without detaching them from their old religion.

Once one starts looking, Waldemar’s argument stands up in many scenarios.

St. George’s female side is beautifully portrayed in any number of early 15th century sculptures by Bernd Notke. The Katherine Church in Lübeck has plaster copies. One of them cannot be a mistake. George is more feminine than the princess waiting to be saved from the dragon. Is the female George another example of the boyish Jesus?

It didn’t happen in a day.

During early Christianity, there were still pockets of pagan sympathy, and belief in gods such as Venus was a staging post between pagan and full Christian. Venus helped keep new Christians in their old comfort zone. Minstrels and poets used her to express sides of their characters, that were no longer acceptable as medieval Christian dinner talk. Was an androgynous St. George a useful comforter for both genders? Why did Venus reappear so many years after her demise as a Roman goddess?

The theory is, that the middle ages were not as Christian as our history lessons have us believe. For example, the Slav King Jaczo, reigned over the area we now call Berlin Brandenburg. He crossed to Christianity in 1154. That was when, with his horse sinking exhausted into the Havel, he did a few try-out prayers to various deities. Things improved after summoning Christ and his horse was helped to the bank of the river. He decided to become a follower, but did he give up his three-headed pagan god Triglav, immediately? Probably not. We all need islands of safety within our vision, before we can take the leap.

Wagner and Venus

Time to apply Waldemar’s theory to Wagner’s Tannäuser. Wagner merged two medieval sagas for his opera. That apart, he remained (nearly) faithful to the original yarns.

Venus lived in the Venusberg, somewhere in what is now Thuringia. Tannhäuser told Venus that he wanted to leave her, because he missed the sky and birdsong. The Venusberg was subterranean, in a mountain, rather than on it, and hidden from mortals. Hold that thought. The protruding bone, which supports female pubic hair is called the mons veneris in anatomy – Latin for Mount of Venus. In the saga, men who entered the Venusberg, accepted perdition.

Let’s assume Venus and Tannhäuser were in a vast cavern, waited on by as much voluptuous flesh as a man could want to gaze upon and sample. You can have too much of a good thing – apparently. Tannhäuser, after an hour of operatic wailing, shouting and accusations, leaves Venus, and returns to the Wartburg. This medieval castle is on a mountain in Thuringia, and is where the rest of the operatic action takes place. The hall can still be visited. In the Wartburg, he rediscovers his love for Elizabeth, the symbol of Christian female purity. She is waiting to be taken and dominated by an honourable knight. Tannhäuser, a knight and minstrel, had been her dream man, before he went sampling without portfolio in the Venusberg.

Tannhäuser gets embroiled in a singing contest on the theme of true love. Elizabeth’s hand is the prize for the winner. Tannhäuser’s friend Wolfram, dutifully sings of pure love – no lust. Tannhäuser blows a gasket and tells them that a bit of lusting after flesh hurt no one. Elizabeth is enthusiastic about the idea. Tannhäuser gets carried away and admits to a sojourn in the Venusberg. He is turned out the castle and told to join pilgrims underway to Rome to see if such a sin can ever be forgiven.

Elizabeth’s Libido, in his Dreams

Nowadays the same soprano sings Venus and Elizabeth, in the same costume and make-up. We have to ask – was the Venusberg a figment of Tannhäuser’s erotic fantasy? Did he fantasise about Elizabeth’s female libido? Is Elizabeth ready to show the lustful part of her femininity? Was this a match made in the Venusberg, rather than in heaven? We never find out. Tannhäuser leaves the distraught Elizabeth to wonder what might have been. She agrees that her husband must be presentable and accepts he must go to Rome. She prays for the Pope’s forgiveness.

Stunning Redemption

Tannhäuser returns from Rome and relates Pope Urban IV’s words. He is as likely to be forgiven such a heinous sin, as Urban’s staff is, to sprout leaves. Elizabeth sinks exhausted to the floor. Wolfram covers her with a shroud. Tannhäuser wants to return to the Venusberg, Elizabeth rises from under the shroud. Now she is Venus and tries to seduce him. Wolfram holds Tannhäuser back, and prevents him approaching Venus. Tannhäuser dies, as pilgrims enter to declare the staff has sprouted leaves – Tannhäuser is forgiven and can join Elizabeth in heaven.

Accepting Sex Drive

In 19th century Europe, many men believed, if women possessed sex drive, they were whores. No one asked the question, was Tannhäuser without guilt, when Venus and he engaged in so-called, sins of the flesh. Did the staff sprout, because there was no sin to be forgiven? In the medieval version of the saga, Tannhäuser does return to the Venusberg, and the staff still sprouts. Were those poets and minstrels trying to tell us, lustful sex is not a sin? Is this why we still love those ancient stories?

We know what Wagner thought. He celebrated female sex-drive on stage, most notably in Tristan and Isolde, although he did let the love potion take the blame for Isolde’s wanton behaviour. No one is fooled, nowadays. We know Tristan and Isolde have the hots for each other, long before the love potion is administered.

Why did Wagner go for the soft ending in his version of Tannhäuser? These operas divided society. The Paris premier of Tannhäuser, (1861) was a disaster and wrecked by the audience’s protests, because the dance was in the wrong place and disturbed dining habits. Perhaps, with such an audience, the medieval ending was unthinkable. The lovers had to go to heaven, not the Venusberg!

Jean Shinoda Bolen, in her Jungian analysis of the role of Goddeses in our lives, defines Venus as the woman with serious sex-drive. I left my copy of Bolen’s ‘Goddesses in Everywoman,’ in a prominent place in my house. No visitor has managed to pass the book without stopping and having a peek. We all need a bit of pagan!

Venus goes other Places

The Tannhäuser story has inspired many works of art, literature and the occasional film (Blade Runner). Aubrey Beardsley added to the genre in the 1890s, with his thin volume, The Story Of Venus And Tannhäuser. It wasn’t printed in full until the 1960s, because no one had the courage. Beardsley died before completion. He describes Tannhäuser’s entry into the Venusberg and the high jinks thereafter. It is pure smut and great fun. Another reason we need Venus – to remind us that life is to be enjoyed and you never know what you might like until you have tried it.

I couldn’t resist Venus and Tannhäuser either. The lovers, in my novel Goddesses, role play Beardsley’s ideas. The complete novel should be a published this year, providing my courage doesn’t desert me.

Goddesses set us Free

Gods and Goddesses, are there to let us let our hair down. They allow us to act out a bit of our character, which otherwise, wouldn’t find an outlet. They appeal to the non-Christian part of us today, as they did for the early Christians 1000 years ago. Waldemar is right. They let us off the hook, but in so doing, keep us on the hook. Let off steam sometimes, is the message. A little bit of what you like, does you good.

Bolen defines women as character types, by using goddesses. If that sounds trite, read her book.

What about the Green Man?

We all love a mystery and the Green Man remains one. We have no idea of his symbolic meaning in pre-Christian society. Why was he so popular with gothic-church builders? Most mysterious, is his enduring popularity as a garden ornament. What position in our character does he personify? We don’t know, but we all like to be a bit mysterious. That is a character trait, too.

Clive La Pensee has used Beardsley’s take on the Venus/Tannhaeuser story, as a major part of his third novel, called Goddesses. He lets his two main protagonists role-play Beardsley’s action, with hilarious and ultimately, disastrous consequences. His heroine Connie, uses a variety of goddesses to achieve sexual liberation, in a way, which would have pleased Venus and Elizabeth.
His second novel – out soon, celebrates women risking disaster, to organise a hostile world to meet their needs. ‘Someone Tell Me What Is Going On!’
Clive has just released his first humorous/sad/wistful collection of poems, dealing with love in old age, Brexit, Fake News and the wisdom of youth. You can ask for your money back, if he doesn’t get a chuckle or a tear out of you.

How to Write a Great Resume Summary With Examples

A resume summary is a concise summary of who you are and the value that you can bring to an organization. Today (2018), all strong resumes are expected to have resume summaries in place of the antiquated “Objective.” The resume summary is essentially your elevator speech, which is a very brief “commercial” of who you are and how you can benefit an organization.

What To Include

First, be certain to include a resume summary right after your contact information. Excluding a summary or just listing a few bullets about your qualifications (or worse listing an Objective) will nearly guarantee your resume gets passed unless you personally know the hiring manager. The resume summary is essentially a condensed version of the “Tell Me About Yourself Question.” When writing a summary, you want to ensure that you include relevant and specific information that showcases who you are without being too generic. A great summary will include who you are, what you’ve done, what value you bring, and what your strengths are. Also, you should always include your resume title above the resume summary to make it clear who you are (i.e. Sales Professional, IT Executive, Project Manager, etc.)

Keep It Short

You may have been in an industry for 20+ years and have done enough to fill 100+ pages of text; however, your summary shouldn’t be longer than five or six sentences. TheLadders (2017) conducted a study and showed that the average recruiter spends 6-seconds reviewing a resume, so your resume summary should be concise and compelling. You need to quickly capture the hiring managers attention and highlight your top-selling points or unique value proposition. Avoid being redundant and including too many generic sentences that can apply to anyone.

Three Great Resume Summary Examples:

Example #1 – Global Vice Chairman

Results-driven global executive with a proven track record of successfully building and leading communications businesses in North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and Latin America. Expertise in corporate trust and reputation, operational leadership, business development, strategic planning, and streamlining operations to significantly increase revenue and profitability. Highly regarded commentator on issues of corporate trust, crisis, and corporate reputation for CNN, Bloomberg, CNBC, the BBC, and Channel News Asia in addition to delivering insights for print, trade, and other broadcast media on five continents. Presenter at the United Nations Global Compact Leaders Conference, the Clinton Global Initiative, The World Economic Forum’s Anti-Corruption Conference, FSG’s Shared Value Conference, and countless industry and client events.

Example #2 – Senior Sales Executive

Award-winning sales executive with vast experience in global sales/marketing and financial management. Expertise in sourcing and retaining new business as the deal lead and providing the framework for completing KYC due diligence for specialized clients. Demonstrated history of generating more than $100+ million in wins and bookings. Successful client-relations manager who understands client needs, manages expectations, builds lasting relationships, instills trust, and ensures the delivery of integrated solutions. Highly adept working in the FinTech industry.

Example #3 – Technical Director

Highly talented IT executive with a demonstrated track record of designing, building, and rolling out multi-million-dollar strategic, tactical IT, and operational solutions that significantly contributes to organizational performance. Oversaw the build-out of 450+ retail stores from a technology perspective including hardware, software, LAN/WAN, and telephony along with managing 350+ projects’ lifecycles from inception to rollout. Expertise in effectively leading teams, instilling passion, and developing people to achieve excellence. Strong ability to communicate with both technical and non-technical audiences.

All three of these examples clearly exemplify who the candidate is, what the candidate has done, what value the candidate brings, and what the candidates strengths are in a concise and compelling manner without unnecessary fluff. Fluff is a resume summary that’s filled with generic sentences like the example below:

Example #4 – Generic Fluff Summary

Energetic and creative professional with a cross-functional background in operations. History of working well with all levels of leadership and developing effective relationships. Strong ability to make immediate and valuable contributions to an organization. Flexible and open-minded with an outstanding ability to adapt to any situation. Excellent research, strategic thinking, communication, and presentation skills.

Conclusion

Think of your resume summary as the only thing a hiring manager will read, because in many cases it just may be. Your resume summary is your elevator pitch and should include who you are, what you’ve done, what value you bring, and what your strengths are in a concise and compelling manner. Remember to include your title above your summary to immediately identify who you are. You can use a generic “Professional Summary” or “Qualifications” if you have a very diverse background and it’s difficult to define who you are in a single title. Always remember to include a resume summary as candidates without one will surely be passed.

Gambling Vs Your Brain: Who Wins?

Disputes about whether gambling has a positive or destructive influence on your brain has been going on for a while among both ordinary people and scientists. The latter have done a bunch of studies showing some unexpected results. Gambling is not always a thing that will cause problems for people, it may be even useful for your brain, and life. In this short article, we’ll tell you how games of chance influence your brain.

Gambling as a Cure
Muhammad Ali, Robin Williams, and even Pope John Paul II had one common feature – all of them were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Most of the sufferers showed signs of slowness of movement, shaking, difficulty walking, and thinking problems. So how does Parkinson’s work? It literally destroys dopamine neurons in the brain that control body movement. Dopamine has another property – it’s one of the elements responsible for pleasure. From the point of view of gambling, the gaming process imitates the impact of the drug on your brain. In a nutshell, a person feels better, at least for a while. Of course, there are drugs which may help reduce the effect of the disease, but you need to increase doses every time you take the pill. And in the end, drugs becomes useless.

A Way to Keep Your Mind Young
Youth is something we wish to get rid of at first and then we desire to get it back. We can’t always be young, but at least we can slow down aging by using various innovational methods. As for the human brain, it also gets older with time. And if you want to be clever and witty in your 60s, then you should take care of your mind. The best way to look fresher than your peers is simple – just think and develop ideas.

Studies showed that those who keep their mind busy are much more likely to retain their mental capabilities than those who don’t have any brainstorm activities in their daily routine. Of course, there are plenty of exercises that can help you be a “clever guy” but all of them seem dull and mundane. And finally we’ve reached the major point – what about combining pleasure with utility? Gambling is at your service. And if you think that the previous sentence is nonsense, don’t rush to conclusions.

Almost all table games (Blackjack, Hold’em, etc.) require the use of short term memory. While you’re playing, you have to memorize and count cards. Besides that, keeping a conversation with gamblers, and making up a couple of witty jokes could never do any harm. Summarizing this paragraph, we can firmly say that gambling is a way to look bright in old age. By the way, choosing a proper place to play at is also a big deal. Most of the cool land-based casinos can be found only in certain cities and the ones you have in your hometown may not provide you with the necessary pleasure. Thankfully, nowadays, we can play at online gambling venues. But even when it comes to online casinos, it may be tough to choose the best option, since there are thousands of them. One of the best portals that review casinos and give you a reliable and informative opinion is HolyMolyCasinos. Those guys stand out from the crowd – the information is given in both funny and enlightening ways.

Addiction
Despite the facts listed above, gambling can’t be regarded as a totally harmless pastime, just as medicines can’t always be considered a cure. Games of chance may potentially become as addictive as physical substances. People who are heavily into betting feel an overwhelming desire to play more and more, until they win. And when players hit the right combination, the idea to win even more overcomes them. It seems to be a vicious circle.

The integral part of online casinos is a Self-exclusion program. Players can request this option, which will ban them from the access to a casino. So, if you’re afraid of getting carried away by playing online games, you can always force yourself to stop by reaching out to support agents.

Closing thoughts
We’ve reached the final point – it’s time to sum up everything that’s been said here. We have demolished a myth that gambling is always a “bad guy” and it’s better to stay away from games of chance and luck. Now you know that diseases like Parkinson can be prevented (or even temporarity remedied) by spinning slots, or playing table games. Another advantage is that not only is gambling a good way to spend your leisure time, but also you can retain your mental abilities for the rest of your life. But keep in mind that games of chance and luck may be addictive, and may cause some problems to players as well as their family.

Online Political Election Voting System Based On Blockchain Technology

We hear about Blockchain and Bitcoin every day; however, it should be noted that Blockchain is way beyond Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. It is a platform which is being used for carrying out economic transactions in the most incorruptible way. As a matter of fact, this technology can be used not only for economic transactions but for anything of value in a virtual way. Blockchain is being used in the pharmaceutical industry, fashion and accessory industry, food safety industry, airlines industry and many more.

In a world where technology has reached a point where scientists are coming up with flying cars, why is one of the essential systems that form the government of a country still unsecured and rigged? With the advancement of technology, everything has become a lot more transparent and convenient, then why is this technology not being used to carry out easy and fair elections? In most countries, voting is a right for every adult. Then why doesn’t the entire adult population of a country go ahead to vote on the Election Day? Maybe because the voting center is too far. People have to go and stand in huge lines just to cast a single vote. Some even believe that their vote doesn’t count because of unfair election results.

The solution to this huge problem has finally arrived. A platform that allows blending the perfect combination of technology and politics into one. This results in the invention of Blockchain Voting. If this technology can be used for so many other purposes, why can it not be used for the most important function that is voting? Blockchain voting is an online voting platform that allows a secure, hassle-free, reliable and quick method for the sole purpose of voting for an election. Blockchain voting can completely change the way we vote for the best. It will leave no scope of doubt or question in the voter’s mind.

In the modern day and age of technology, there are certain things that work best through the old ways only. However, voting is not one of those things. Voting is the process by which the citizens of a country choose their leaders. This process should be highly secure, fair and absolutely accurate; all which are the characteristics of blockchain. Blockchain Voting is immutable, transparent and cannot be hacked into in order to change the results. Blockchain Voting is an effective means to conduct elections. This will ensure that there is no voter fraud and no repetition of votes leading to a fair election. Blockchain Voting is the need of today’s democratic and adult population who believes that they can bring a change in this world.

The stakeholders involved in Blockchain Voting would be same as the stakeholders in the conventional method of voting. This revolutionary change can encourage a lot of people of the vote. Anyone who has an internet connection and is an adult which means they have the right to vote is eligible to be a part of this process of Blockchain Voting.The use of this technology from a voter’s point of view is very simple.

Anyone with a phone and internet access will easily be able to understand the specifications of the platform. The citizens who are voting don’t have to wait in long lines and don’t have to travel a lot to go and vote. This quick and hassle-free method of voting will engage more and more people to participate in the voting process and be a part of a more democratic world. This is definitely a cheaper and simpler method of conducting elections. As soon as various governments realize the importance of introducing this technology into their political environment, the better it will for nations to have easy and fair elections.

Why Art Collectors Are in Love With Floral Paintings These Days

Reproductions of floral paintings are selling like hot cakes in online stores dedicated to modern art for sale, sculpture home décor and more

With floral art and floral paintings becoming coveted products for art collectors globally, smart replications and reproductions of some of the most valued floral art forms are making their presence felt in art stores online. Art lovers have a fancy for floral art for two significant reasons, their beauty and meaning. Different flowers tend to have different kinds of symbolic messages attached to them; therefore some flowers tend to be more popular and wanted than others. Across history, artists had been inspired by the prettiest flowers and found them to be the perfect objects for their paintings.

Did you know that some of the earliest known paintings depicted flowers and plants? Here, we have assembled some floral paintings, sculpture home décor that are being purchased by art enthusiasts globally.

‘Roses and Sunflowers’ (1886):

A masterpiece by Vincent van Gogh, this 1886 creation is currently hosted at ‘Kunsthalle Mannheim’, a much famed museum showcasing modern and contemporary paintings. Like most paintings and art forms by Vincent van Gogh, this one was also created with oil upon canvas. An art store online selling floral painting reproductions would surely have this on its cards.

‘Bouquet’ (1599)

If you have already invested in the best modern art for sale online and would like to opt for something flowery for a change, then this Jan Brueghel the Elder painting is what you should go for without any further ado. Painted in 1599, the epic creation is one of the oldest floral paintings known to mankind. It portrays many beautiful flowers and serves to be a wonderful example of conventional floral art

‘Vase of Flowers’ (1480)

This coveted painting, like many others belonging to the same era, depicts religious symbolism to the hilt. These symbolic messages go back in times and may not have their desired relevance in the contemporary world; nevertheless, the painting in which they are presented is notching favors everywhere.

Still-Life of Flowers’ (1614)

This painting is unique in itself and showcases the talent of Ambrosius Bosschaert who created it in 1614. Depicting the still life lead by flowers in the best possible way, the detailing, realism and shading of the painting is beyond compare.

These and many other floral paintings are making it to the art collections of amateur and professional art enthusiasts in a big way. You may like to check out a few of such paintings for your personal or office space as well.