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Mythic Rock

2017, 32Ē x 36í acrylic on panel by Jenny Badger Sultan

Painting titled 'Mythical Rock', by Jenny Badger Sultan. Click to enlarge

I had been drawn to this rock out in the water at Landís End for years. It seemed to embody this experience Iíd had so long ago.

(Hermit Rock at Lands End)
(written c. 1970)

While we were talking I had a vivid image of the island I had been to, I donít know how or when, whether it was in a dream or in another life or whether I had simply been there in one of my soul journeys and had never realized it until something in our conversation parted for an instant the curtain that usually hides such experiences from my consciousness.

Anyhow I knew that I had been there and that it had been very moving to be there.

The island was huge--very massive and very tall, rising directly out of the surface of the sea, a sea so blue, so bright blue and clear, with nothing else visible as far as the horizon on all sides. An island all alone, all by itself, perhaps the only place that existed in that whole immense stretch of intense blue sea.

And it was sunny, very bright and clear, the sun shone off the blue of the water and off the surfaces of the rock, for the island was solid rock, a great mass of rock rising abruptly from the sea--no earth, no shore, just the rock with its ledges and crevices.

The color of the rock that was the island was a warm reddish, yellowish hue, warm like the sunlight all around.
Detail of painting 'Mythical Rock', by Jenny Badger Sultan. Click to enlarge

We were walking around the island, exploring it, walking on the ledges and slopes of rock which dropped off sharply to the blue water. The island was so large that it was hard to take it all in, too large to be completely perceived or imagined.

And as we walked around we found things, huge sculptures of gods that had been made by unknown people unknown times ago, immense carvings that transformed a whole shoulder of the island, a whole surface of the rock, into a personage, a god of great power.

There was a feeling in walking around the island, in discovering these rocky incantations, that we were on the very edge of the world, that maybe the rock was the whole world, or that the rock was somehow a map of the whole world.

There was no sense of time passing, the island contained all time. There was no feeling that anything else could be happening anywhere else. The island was all there was and it was enough, and our walking around it was the only possibility existing. There was nothing else and there was no need for anything else.

And that was it--the feeling of the completeness of the island and the wholeness we felt in being there and walking around the island were so true that no other reference points existed.

What we found, carved into the surface of the rock or existing in the caves and niches of the rock were the true and eternal images of the powers and the gods, almost as if they had left their own traces there for us to discover. And we went on walking around the island, discovering them, recognizing them, on the edge of the world, and there was nothing else.

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