DEATH IS YOUR GIFT — THE PROPHECY BESTOWED on Buffy by the first Slayer. She wasn’t wrong, for Buffy or for any one of us for that matter. It’s the only constant, for sure; not thinking about it seems like a high–risk strategy for life (especially with hindsight) don’t you think? We know what you’re thinking, that was an abrupt segue from Battlestar Galactica to Buffy the Vampire Slayer (SPACE OPERA TO VAMPIRE ROMANTICS) in one story… We can’t really talk about Kara Thrace (call–sign Starbuck) and Buffy Anne Summers, without talking about facing our own fear of mortality like a wild woman: ‘It’s your chance to find out if you’re really god or just a bunch of circuits with a bad haircut.’
NUMBER ONE: We are all going to die (even Buffy has died twice technically).
It’s not wrong, it’s a fact and inevitable. We know this from the first time we scream in hunger. Somehow we manage to pretend we’re not and ignore this basic fact of life. I am going to die and so is everyone else. It’s what defines us as living after all.
NUMBER TWO: When we die we go home.
We don’t want you to think this is lacking in positivity. Do you think we came from nowhere? The Atlantic Salmon knows exactly where home is. Whatever you feel should happen will probably happen when you die. We appeared out of nothing and plan to return to the same and in between we have a life that is probably the most alien experience possible.
NUMBER THREE: Facing the reality of your own death and that of your loved ones.
It is the only way to deal with fear of the forgotten state beyond life. Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche says it best “Someone asked me recently if I am afraid to die. Truthfully, I am more afraid of not living my life fully — of living a life dedicated to cherishing and protecting myself. This fear–driven approach to life is like covering your couch in plastic so it won’t get worn. It robs you of the ability to enjoy and appreciate your life. It takes courage to accept life fully, to say yes to our life, yes to our karma, yes to our mind, emotions and whatever else unfolds. This is the beginning of courage. Courage is the fundamental openness to face even the hardest truths. It makes room for all the pain, joy, irony, and mystery that life provides.” In this crazy (CRAZY) time we must find our strength and courage to live our lives and reject the media (MATRIX) and it’s programme of cognitive dissonance around dying being wrong. When at the same time they promote unhealthy lifestyles and food that kills. As Ralf says “but you don’t hear me, right!’
We can learn a lot from our fictional characters (we are aware of the article about Switching off Television) the non–binary Starbuck never held back in life, not for anyone and they turned out to be the harbinger of death. Nor did Buffy (oh dear the grave we are digging is getting deeper). Focus on that great quote by Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche that our good friend Carol shared with us.
The photographs (and drawing) are all from one of our favourite places to sit, think and meditate; Barnoon Cemetery in St Ives, Cornwall — home to Alfred Wallace’s beautiful ceramic tiled tomb. It faces the wild turquoise of the Atlantic Ocean and is lashed with sea spray and mist. It’s a wonderful place to contemplate life and death with the endless sound of the waves crashing below on Porthmeor Beach and Jackdaws ‘tchack–tchacking’ as they make their way through the tall grass, hopping from cross to angel to anchor
IN PICTURES—Gravestones in St Ives, Cornwall.
Words: Glen Robinson & Rebecca Robinson
Photography and Drawing: Glen Robinson & Rebecca Robinson
Part of an ongoing anthropological study of layered narratives found in naturally occurring intersections between the metaphysical and terrestrial worlds. We examine and document the fabric of our journey through the continuous production of an interconnected body of knowledge and data gathering.
All photographs taken in the UK (Cornwall) in September 2016 and 2018. Shot on Olympus OMD.