Creation, Myth and the Chinese Zodiac
Text and Image by Dr. Dorit Kedar
The museum, situated in the center of the green flourishing area of the National Park in Ramat-Gan, is a natural history museum. It presents the exciting story of living things and the beautiful complexity of the relationships amongst them. A unique building structure which includes a glass front, creates special scenery continuum which induces harmony between the park`s view, the museum`s architecture and Dr. Kedar`s art.
The exhibition “Creation, Myth and the Chinese Zodiac” was exhibited at Man and the Living World Museum, in Ramat-Gan, Israel. It displays the all-inclusive range of the Chinese Zodiac, and brings together text and image to show the richness and depth made possible when these two media are made to work together. The exhibition sought to illustrate the theme that phenomena appear, change and disappear to pop up again elsewhere, in endless celebration.
Nearly all human creation myths start with the motif of Chaos, the non-defined, non-limited. In one way or another, human mythology sees Chaos as the source and bearer of the four formative elements of the visible – earth, water, air and fire. The present exhibition attempts to explore in very succinct words and imagery some characteristics which may turn Chaos more palpable.
Restoring inner psychological Chaos may turn us less egocentric, raise doubts be more humble and consequently more empathic towards all other impermanent sentient beings and natural phenomena. Restoring inner psychological Chaos may also help in recognizing the evasiveness of the present tense, thereby focusing on amplifying the here and now with positive intentions, thoughts and deeds.
The Four Elements
The four elements are represented by four birds of prey to symbolize Awareness, Attentiveness, focus and relevance to enable the unification of body, soul, mind and energy within the here and now. The Chinese Zodiac served as inspiration for 12 characteristics to enhance absorption of Chaos and turning it into a Way of Life.
Rat – Multidimensionality
To become multidimensional, one has to give up the conceptual separation between the path and the goal. By stressing the goal, which necessarily exists only as a subjective reality, we might channel ourselves to a narrow path, missing the infinite gamma of reality, as it is. To become multidimensional is to follow the goal (inner reality), always prepared to adapt the new advents of the path.
Ox or Bull – Perseverance
Chaos and the elusiveness of reality might be tiring, confusing and depressing unless we learn how to become perseverant. Perseverance can never be realized if it is based on illusive subjective certainty. As the essence of Life is Chaos, perseverance is to be grasped as a value, which helps withstand the ebb and flow of Reality.
Tiger – Adventure
Habitual ways of living, concepts, and beliefs are forcefully repetitive, misconceived most of the times, as eternal truths. Cultivating the sense of adventure reminds us to permanently be Impermanent in our daily life, to dare explore unknown fields and be part of the ever pulsating Reality
Rabbit – Altruism
Altruism is a way of sharing reality with all sentient beings and natural phenomena. Altruism requires a continuous effort to de-code other ways of life and needs. By gradually learning altruism, we enrich our world with living hues. We slowly attune ourselves to rhythm, sound, color, form, smell and taste of the fleeting.
Dragon – Enterprise, Initiative
To take upon ourselves new enterprises and trigger different views is per se of extreme difficulty. Revolutionaries inspired by the vitality of Chaos, wish to breakthrough territorial and collective idea fix.
Serpent – Introspection
In a strange way, wishing to be part of the ever moving waves of the ocean of life and death, we must learn to be active and passive at the same time. There are times of progress, halting and withdrawal. We can make many things happen but many more things just happen, independently of our craving, dreams or goals. The Serpent reminds us to be flexible and be attuned to the caprice of Chaos.
Horse – Elegance, Splendor
Every culture has its code of manners, its etiquette. Generally the etiquette is sustained by social hierarchy and codification. One is considered polite or impolite according to the ethic criteria imposed by the society in which he or she lives. The Horse teaches courtesy, which is independent of social etiquette. Courtesy derives from the Spirit of equanimity and understanding towards everyone, free of repetitive external mannerism.
Goat – Creativity, Harmony
Most of the time creativity is based on self-expression, subjective ideas, socio-political outlooks or emotional idiosyncrasies concretized in different media, according to the particular choice of the Creator. However, Goat symbolizes spiritual creativity, transcending the boundaries of a conventional self. Spiritual creativity acts in an ampler context, as an enhancer of harmony and understanding.
Monkey – Savoir Vivre, Joie de Vivre, Humor
Humor is our daily reminder to envision the occurring events with temperance. Humor is our guardian to prevent us of being over dramatic, overzealous or fall into extreme state of mind as depression versus euphoria. Humor is our guide to go through life, remembering that everything is ever nascent and therefore so worthwhile considering.
Cock – Renewal
The Cock challenges us in a very meaningful way, for renewal is an exceptionally complicated task to accomplish. If nature is in effect renewal, the human mind tends to live following past experience, acquired beliefs, cultural heritage, social convention and personal characteristics. Forcefully there is an immense gap between the mind, which tends to remain static and the dynamism of life and death ruled by the unknown, which time imposes. The Cock is an everyday reminder to check our relevance of body, emotions, thoughts and energies.
Dog – Fidelity, Friendship
Fidelity and friendship are scarce, as one has to think both about himself\herself and the friend, partner, colleague, family member at the same time. Dog instructs us to get down of the stage, to cease playing the main role, and begin listening to the unheard voice and will of the other. Only by acknowledging the surroundings, can we choose whether to revolt, agree or retreat, always practicing inner harmony and accord.
Pig – Generosity
Generosity is simple and yet so complex. In its essence it is seeing the other, adapting alternative points of view, not necessarily following prevailing social criteria. Generosity is a constant effort to enrich oneself by being very attentive to human, animal or plant.