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Southern Cross Review

Review of fiction, education, science, current events,
essays, book reviews, poetry and Anthroposophy

Number 98, January - February 2015

"The Falling Angel"

Marc Chagall returned to Europe in 1946, arriving in Paris. In 1947, he finished The Falling Angel (1923-1947), which had been in the works for almost 25 years. Begun only a short time after Chagall's emigration from the Soviet Union, it is, in a way, a unified artistic statement for these years, expanded and built upon as Chagall's art developed. It combines Biblical and Torah lore with the modern world and with Chagall's personal symbolism in a juxtaposition of images that attempt to summarize the many experiences the artist had over the course of his work on the painting. [Continue]



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Editor's Page

We are the Lucky Ones / Nosotros somos los afortunados by Frank Thomas Smith

 
When I moved with my family to the country from Buenos Aires 14 years ago, we lived in an old house, once the core building of an estancia. There were ten acres of what was once farmland, but had turned into what my son, ten years old at the time, rather romantically and with his flair for exaggeration called a jungle. After a few days of snooping around in the “jungle” with his dog, he found a rusty old lunch pail. It had no lock on it, but it was rusted tightly shut, so he brought it to me to open, which I did with the help of a chisel and hammer. Instead of a rotted chicken leg, we found a...what should I call it? An essay, or simply an unfinished manuscript. Translated into English, it reads as follows. Continue reading


Fiction

The Long Walk Home by JP Miller

 
The day after I arrived in the Nam, I was immediately choppered out to Camp Radcliffe in An Khe where we were tasked to run operations in the central highlands as support for infantry units. I was green, a newbie, or a boot, and I took a ton of shit from the veterans. But soon the tides of war took over and as I flew mission after mission with those guys, the magical mystery tour began. We flew insertions, extractions, dust-offs, close in fire support and limousine service for VIPs. It was in that hazy soup that lay just above and around the various hills that we scurried back and forth with supplies, the wounded and the dead. I was one of them—a killer and a prospective casualty. Nothing can make you a member of a group faster than being a potential dead man or a member of a gang faster than being a killer... Continue reading


The Imposter Magi (traditional SCR Three Kings Tale) by Frank Thomas Smith

 
A boy from the village ran into our yard at lunchtime on the fifth of January and announced at the top of his lungs that the Three Kings were coming to the schoolhouse that night at nine o’clock. That’s how news in Las Chacras is announced – by word of mouth. I remembered that a neighbor had asked for a donation to buy sweets and balloons a few days before. Making enquiries on the main road, I found out that the Kings were scheduled to begin their descent to the school from the almacén at nine o’clock, which meant that they would more likely begin at nine-thirty and arrive at ten. My wife, twelve-year-old son and I left the house at nine-thirty for the fifteen minute walk to the one-room schoolhouse. We carried flashlights to light our way down the narrow dirt road. Although we know the road well, it is advisable not to walk without light in order to avoid the unpleasant surprise of stepping on a snake – poisonous or not – or a scorpion. My son is too old to believe that the Three Kings were coming to Las Chacras, but he wasn’t adverse to receiving a bag of sweets and witnessing the spectacle. It was a beautiful starlit evening, luckily not too warm. Continue reading

Los Reyes Impostores Magi

El mediodía del 5 de enero un chico del pueblo entró corriendo a nuestro patio y anunció a voz en cuello que los tres Reyes Magos llegaban a la escuela esa noche a las nueve. Así es como se transmiten las noticias en Las Charcas –de boca en boca. Recordé entonces que, unos días antes, un vecino me había pedido una contribución para comprar golosinas y globos. Preguntando en el camino principal, averigüé que a las nueve los Reyes tenían programado iniciar su descenso desde el almacén hacia la escuela, lo que significaba que más probablemente comenzarían a las nueve y media y llegarían a las diez. Mi esposa, mi hijo de doce años y yo salimos de casa a las nueve y media para caminar los diez minutos que nos separan de la escuela. Llevábamos linternas para alumbrarnos por el angosto camino de tierra. Aunque conocíamos bien la senda, es aconsejable no caminar a oscuras para evitar la desagradable sorpresa de pisar una víbora –venenosa o no- o un alacrán. Mi hijo es demasiado grande para creer que los Reyes iban a venir a Las Charcas, pero no era reacio a presenciar el espectáculo y recibir una bolsa de golosinas. La noche estaba hermosa y estrellada, por suerte, no demasiado calurosa. Continuar


Another Day in Maldavia by Gaither Stewart

 
Oh, no, it’s already beginning. As every morning the usual twisting and untangling myself to escape these capricious sheets. Already another day. I no sooner finally drop off to sleep than I’m waking and another long day seems to stretch out before me. Day itself seems like the dark of night … trailing me. As if I were alone in the world when I know I’m not, for I have wonderful David. But not days! And not all nights either. I wonder how other people handle this matinal sensation of hopelessness. With hope itself. Like putting out a fire with fire. Nights I don’t have these feelings of being forsaken by all. No ideas now. No way to get out of this black hole … as if hopelessness were my destiny... Continue reading


Children's Corner

The Emperor's New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen

 
Many years ago there was an Emperor, who was so excessively fond of new clothes that he spent all his money on them. He cared nothing about his soldiers, nor for the theatre, nor for driving in the woods except for the sake of showing off his new clothes. He had a costume for every hour in the day, and instead of saying, as one does about any other king or emperor, 'He is in his council chamber,' here one always said, 'The Emperor is in his dressing-room.' Life was very gay in the great town where he lived; hosts of strangers came to visit it every day, and among them one day two swindlers. They pretended to be weavers, and said that they knew how to weave the most beautiful cloth imaginable. Not only were the colours and patterns unusually fine, but the clothes that were made of the cloth had the peculiar quality of becoming invisible to every person who was not fit for the office he held, or if he was impossibly dull. Continue reading


Features
Buddhism A lecture by Jorge Luis Borges

 
The subject today will be Buddhism. I’m not going into the long story that began two thousand five hundred years ago in Benares, when a prince of Nepal – Siddharta or Gautama – who had become Buddha, spun the wheel of the law, proclaimed the four noble truths and the eightfold path. I will speak of the essential in this religion, the most prevalent in the world. The elements of Buddhism have been preserved since the fifth century before Christ: that is, since the epoch of Heraclites, of Pythagoras, of Xenon, until our times when Dr. Suzuki expounds it in Japan. The elements are the same. Now the religion is encrusted with mythology, astronomy, strange beliefs, magic, but because the subject is complex, I will limit myself to what the various sects have in common. They may correspond to Hinayana or the small vehicle. Let us first consider the longevity of Buddhism. Continue reading

El Budismo Una conferencia de Jorge Luis Borges

El tema de hoy será el budismo. No entraré en esa larga historia que empezó hace dos mil quinientos años en Benares, cuando un príncipe de Nepal - Siddharta o Gautama -, que había llegado a ser el Buddha, hizo girar la rueda de la ley, proclamó las cuatro nobles verdades y el óctuple sendero. Hablaré de lo esencial de esa religión, la más difundida del mundo. Los elementos del budismo se han conservado desde el siglo v antes de Cristo: es decir, desde la época de Heráclito, de Pitágoras, de Zenón, hasta nuestro tiempo, cuando el doctor Suzuki la expone en el Japón. Los elementos son los mismos. La religión ahora está incrustada de mitología, de astronomía, de extrañas creencias, de magia, pero ya que el tema es complejo, me limitaré a lo que tienen en común las diversas sectas. Éstas pueden corresponder al Hinayana o el pequeño vehículo. Consideremos ante todo la longevidad del budismo... Continuar


Science
Goetheanism in Science by Konrad Rudnicki

 
There is a widespread belief that a sharp distinction must be made between thinking (something entirely subjective) and perception (something having an objective origin but thoroughly contingent upon man's physiological and psychological constitution). It is through the interaction of perception and thinking that a gradual development of the process of the cognition of reality (Immanuel Kant called this a thing-in-itself) inaccessible in any direct way comes about. The subjective character of thinking is usually taken as an axiom. The conditioning of perception by physiology (it is electromagnetic waves that are really there, and we perceive them as colors, heat etc.) is supported with evidence from the natural sciences. Various theories of knowledge lead to various, even diametrically opposed conclusions - from the belief that the thing-in-itself is absolutely beyond any cognition to the assumption that there are ways of obtaining some knowledge of it... Continue reading


Current Events
Iraq no longer exists by Andrew J. Bacevich

 
“Iraq no longer exists.” My young friend M, sipping a cappuccino, is deadly serious. We are sitting in a scruffy restaurant across the street from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.  It’s been years since we’ve last seen each another. It may be years before our paths cross again. As if to drive his point home, M repeats himself: “Iraq just doesn’t exist.” His is an opinion grounded in experience.  As an enlisted soldier, he completed two Iraq tours, serving as a member of a rifle company, before and during the famous Petraeus “surge.”  After separating from the Army, he went on to graduate school where he is now writing a dissertation on insurgencies. Continue reading



Anthroposophy

"Apologia" concerning the publication of the the First Class Lessons: Apologia

Esoteric Lessons for the First Class of the School for Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum - Volume Three, Lesson Five (Recapitulation) by Rudolf Steiner

 
My dear sisters and brothers, in the description of the path of knowledge we have reached the place where we stand before the Guardian at the abyss of being. The Guardian of the Threshold has made clear to us that what surrounds us in the exterior world can never reveal our own being to us; how our observation of nature, what on and from the earth lives and moves, what shines and speaks from the realm of the stars – to the extent we can perceive it with the senses and with our reason – all that offers nothing to clarify the being of our own self; that the brightness, this glistening in the sunshine, this living and interweaving which is so grand and powerful, so beautiful and magnificent in the outer world, remains dark and gloomy for our true self-knowledge ... Continue reading


Karmic Relations, Volume III, Lecture Two by Rudolf Steiner

 
Today I shall say more about how the karmic forces of preparation undergo their further course of evolution when man has passed through the gate of death. So far as ordinary consciousness is concerned, the forming of karma, and indeed that of the whole intercourse with the world which we call ‘karmic’ takes place in the human being in a more instinctive way. We see the animals act instinctively. Words like ‘instinct,’ which are used so frequently in science and every-day life, are generally applied in a vague and undefined way. People make no real effort to associate them with clear conceptions. What is it that we call instinct in the animals? We know that the animals have a Group-soul. The animal, such as it is, is not a self-contained being...
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Poetry

Rootless in Patagonia; Toothless in Brooklyn by Frank Thomas Smith

   
In anyone over a certain age
Countless questions arise unbidden.
Often they're dead statistically,
Life and health insurance aren't interested,
Credit cards keep their distance, preferring,
like Mephisto, rosy-cheeked lads and lassies.

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Prologue in Heaven - from "Faust" by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

   
The Lord, the Heavenly Hosts, later Mephistopheles. The Archangels step forward.

RAPHAEL
The sun resounds as once of old
In loving spheres of motley song,
Predestined is its journey bold,
Ripening as it flows along.
Its sight the angels new strength gives,
Though none can fathom how its done;
The inconceivable still lives
In glory as when the days were one...
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