Wednesday, March 5, 2014

BOOK OF SECRETS

A very old bible of the Ethiopian Christian church, carefully inscribed on parchment in the sacred language 'Geez'.

Secrecy by Margaret Atwood

Secrecy flows through you,
a different kind of blood.
It's as if you've eaten it 
like a bad candy,
taken it into your mouth,
let it melt sweetly on your tongue,
then allowed it to slide down your throat
like the reverse of uttering,
a word dissolved
into its glottals and sibilants,
a slow intake of breath --

And now it's in you, secrecy.
Ancient and vicious, luscious
as dark velvet.
It blooms in you,
a poppy made of ink.

You can think of nothing else.
Once you have it, you want more.
What power it give's you!
Power of knowing without being known,
power of the stone door,
power of the iron veil,
power of the crushed fingers,
power of the drowned bones
crying out from the bottom of the well.


 Secrecy by Irini Gonou. See more of Irini's beautiful work here.

"Tracce di un dio distratto" by Maria La. Read more about this piece , here.

Sharmon  Davidson shares details from Book of Secrets, a work in progress. Read more on Sharmon's blog, here.

"My inspiration for the piece came as I was thinking about secrets and how they are so hard to keep; no matter how well hidden we may think they are, or how well-guarded we believe them to be, there is always a bit showing here and there around the edges. I was thinking of esoteric knowledge, such as magical grimoire (spell book), and how these two ideas are related" - Sharmon Davidson

Book of Shadows, a movie prop from Practical Magic.

Saruman's Book by Daniel Reeve (Movie prop in Lord of the Rings)

A Book for Devotion: BL M S Egerton. It is believed that the pages have been partially erased  by kissing.


Batak, Indonesia (wood, fibrous leaves and string) Late 18th - 19th Century


 Batak Book of Wizards, Indonesia. See more here

 The Batak people of Indonesia recorded information on genealogy, religion, devination, and magic on long strips of bark, some as long as thirty feet, which were folded accordion-style and bound between wooden covers. See more here.

"All the secrets of the world are contained in books. Read at your own risk." - Lemony Snicket



 Commentary on Averroes' Middle Commentaries on the Isagoge of Porphyry, the Categories and De Interpretatione of Aristotle

If you've read the comments you will be as curious as I am about Priya Sebastian's illustrations for the poem Secrecy by Margaret Atwood. See Priya's blog post, here.


Secrecy, Verse 1 by Priya Sebastian.


 Secrecy Verse 1, Verse 2, Verse 3 by Priya Sebastian. See more of Priya's beautiful illustrations at her website, here  and see her blog, here.

72 comments:

  1. Thank you Robyn. ….and now I'm dreaming of crunchy pages and thankful for all those bookbinding classes I've taken…hoping to resurrect my skills..…p.s. I love hearing about your life across the world

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    1. Something I would love to try. Hope you resurrect those book binding skills soon.

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    1. There's something magical about secret books :-)

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  3. thank you Robyn for this gorgeous post and thank you again for including my small "secrecy" between all these treasures!

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    1. Thank YOU Irini. Your work continues to enchant me.

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  4. so mysterious and beautiful, your post has me clicking on the links to learn more

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    1. There are some delicious books here aren't there?! A few links I want to return to myself.

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  5. Awesome post, Robyn - so much mysterious beauty that I want ti investigate further. I had never heard of the Batak, but those books are truly magickal-looking. The poem by Margaret Atwood, one of my favorite writers, goes with the post perfectly. Thanks for including me with such impressive company!

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    1. Thank YOU Sharmon. Batak books are intriguing! I found many images but had to cut down drastically.

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  6. I practically know that poem by Margaret Atwood by heart. It is such a powerful and unforgettable poem which leaves me a bit shaken each time I read it. ( I must dig out the illustrations I made for it from a long time ago and post them).
    The books by the Batak people of Indonesia simply blew my mind. Their beauty has to be digested slowly and processed.
    Those books, that poem....Phew!

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  7. Priya, please dig out your illustrations!! I would love to add one to the post.

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  8. YES YES YES!!!!!!! this is a wonderful wonderful post, robyn! i love it all.

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  9. I just love all these books, oh to be able to sit with them and delve into their secrets. Love that opening poem too.

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    1. Aahh ...that would be something wouldn't it?To sit with them paging through and studying them face to face.

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  10. I'm with Velma - books glorious books! Thanks again Robyn.

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    1. I thought you might like them Fiona :-)

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  11. Great post, sent me searching for a snake skin I cant find! thank you for pointing me towards Sharmon's blog.Fascinating books and secrets.

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    1. Glad I introduced you to Sharmon's work, Penny.

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  12. my favorite Books. so much to drool over/! thanks so much. lyle

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  13. over the moon
    and deeply moved
    by word, container and image
    as only you Robyn
    can do it...

    sigh,
    xox - eb.

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  14. oh, Margaret....she knows about Secrecy.....
    your post makes me breathless Robyn...would love to see pRiyA's illustrations.

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    1. I was so delighted when Priya sent me her illustrations. A lucky break to have Margaret's poem illustrated for this post.

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  15. And Lemmony Snicket knows about secrets!
    As does Attwood.
    Great post.

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    1. Thanks Carole. I had to google Lemmony Snicket.

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  16. I am a sucker for books and bookbinding, so of course I would love this post, especially since you started with that lovely photo of the Ethiopian Bible. Thank you again for such beautiful inspiration!

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    1. The Ethiopian treasures make my heart race. Beautiful aren't they?!

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  17. Priya Sebastian's illustrations hit the secrets on the bulls-eye! Thanks to you both for sharing them.

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    1. I think abstract illustrations fit perfectly.

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  18. some poetry enters the body in a rush and then sets up home in a quiet corner and stays. This is one of those poems that is now at home within. I would love to illustrate this one day .... I really enjoyed this post Robyn - secrecy and slow revelation, things half hidden, half revealed - the mystery of it all. These things are always a source of fascination for me. Each photograph is special and I want to investigate each piece.

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    1. Thanks Susan. This post has been brewing for months. I really enjoyed bringing all these beautiful pieces together.

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  19. Books always interest, inspire and move me. The collection you have posted here has done all that and more. Thanks for the visual beauty!

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    1. Thanks Seth. We all seem to be book enthusiasts here.

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  20. Books are so beautiful, and your tribute to books in this post is fascinating Robyn. Thank you for all that stunning information must delve deeper.

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  21. what a totally fabulous, mysterious and magical post Robyn, Priya's illustrations are stunning!

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    1. Thanks Mo. Priya is an amazing artist with a wonderful sense of humour. I know you would appreciate her other illustrations. The facial expressions are spot on.

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  22. Robyn, Such a wonderful post. I will take my time checking out the links. I love books and a magic book is even more wonderful, as are books that are works of art.
    Thank you for this.
    xoxo

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    1. It all started with Practical Magic.... I had to do a post!

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  23. These secrets are what keep us coming back. Hints of what could be, might be, will be, should be.

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    1. Mysteries and secrets.... tantalizing!

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  24. Oh Robin, this post takes my breath away, especially the first photograph. I love the symbols and how no two secrets are the same... I think one of the reasons that books are magical is because of the secrets they hold. It is so wonderful to be here today!

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    1. Something to capture our curiosity :-)
      Glad you enjoyed the post Roxanne.

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    1. Thanks M. I always think of you when i include poetry.

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  26. oh yes all of the above and hauntinglyalicious Robyn! From an early age, I fantasized on finding an ancient book on magic spells - visually all these books fit the bill, the bible is magnificant, oh in fantasy heaven.... and I love Sharmon's work too!

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    1. hauntinglyalicious.... lol.. I like that! I also fantasized about finding an ancient book of secrets...... but would we open it? What if a spell was caste upon us?

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  27. Wonderful books - doing some research for my workshop 'precious things wrapped in a scroll' I came across the lovely Swedish limp binding book, but from the top pic I think we'll have to make a protective bag, too....the next workshop?

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    1. Definitely a protective bag workshop! Google Ethiopian scrolls. They are wonderful!! All with bags.

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  28. R - treasures - both within and without. B

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  29. Glorious books...quite inspiring. You do find the most wonderful artistic gems.

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    1. ...or the most wonderful artistic gems find me .....

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  30. Now I'm so inspired to do magic, potion, secrets, maps of hidden treasures BOOKS.... Oh, here you've done it again Robin. I have a wonderful painting I must finish first... but the inspiration for books will be in my head the entire time. Stinker. xo PJ

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    1. PJ, you make me very happy knowing you are so inspired!

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  31. What fabulous books... so creative, so textural, so inspiring... and the words add to the secrets covered and uncovered.

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  32. Donna, I was inspired to create my own secret book for this post but it's not quite finished yet.

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  33. I love your post about bookbinding.The secret books are very inspiring and the used techniques are amazing. Thanks.
    Greetings, Zem.

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