Sunday, March 22, 2009

Under the Big Top

Roll up, roll up...

There's a bit of a circus theme happening in our house at the moment. Firstly, my youngest started "circus" classes a few weeks ago and is absoloutely loving it! It is doing wonders for her confidence: learning to balance, juggle, hoola hoop, cart wheel; she returns home with big smiles every Monday.

Then today we visited Silver's for the first time in many years. It was a really pleasant surprise. I had vowed to never visit a circus because of the mistreatment of wild animals (I had a bad experience with Circus lions once - such a sad thing to watch a beautiful creature that should be free being made to perform). But today there was not an animal in sight, just a bunch of really entertaining folk bringing us a great afternoon of fun - the African gymnasists were amazing. My 84 year old father came with us today too - he told the girls stories of when he was a boy and used to slip under the sides of the tent for a free matinee - they loved that!

I am always interested in exploring archetypes and the spiritual truths behind them - why does the circus hold that special mystique for us as children, that seems to stay with us as adults (even if the reality doesn't meet the fantasy). The circus is a place where dreams and reality intersect, where the limits of human ability and perception are tested and surpassed. It is a place of escape from the everyday (to “run away and join the circus”), a place of spectacle & entertainment, and a proving ground for the human imagination.

The circus theme continues on at our shops too....somewhere on a ship between here and Germany (snuggled gently in a big wooden box) are the new release Circus figures from Ostheimer, which should arrive on Australian shores in the first week of April. I can't wait to build a whole range of circus related toys around them in the stores. Already I am thinking: hoola hoops, diablos, juggling balls.

The Ringmaster
"If the circus is the field of the senses at play, then the ringmaster would be that part of your mind which directs attention from one thing to the next. The ringmaster is the master of ceremonies, the stage play narrator, the television talk show host or tv news interviewer who acts as interpreter of events on behalf of the audience. In the Tao Te Ching, he stands at the center of the circle or wheel and all spokes radiate outward from him."

The Magician

"In the Tarot deck, the Magician card stands for consciousness, concentration and the action of the Will. The card stands, in some sense, for the self-mastery required of the practitioner of this or any circus art: a singular dedication to study, improvement and self-mastery."


"Clowns invert social rules and roles in overly dramatic and ridiculous ways, enabling audience members to “blow off steam” and temporarily upset the normal order. “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound those who are mighty.” — 1 Cor 1:27"

The acrobat
"The acrobat trains and trains, building muscle memory and pushing the body to feats of flexibility, balance and elegance which to the ordinary person may seem near miraculous. The Ancient Greeks believed in the principle of a “sound mind in a sound body” for which they built elaborate gymnasia, compounds where physical exercise and training took place."

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