Astros Filmic Arts Society
On 5th Avenue in downtown New York, there’s an awe-inspiring Cathedral by the name of St. Patrick’s. Upon entering, one is immersed into a realm of breathtaking beauty beneath the gothic spires and radiant sunbeams shining through the adorned stained glass windows. In the ‘Power of Myth’, Joseph Campbell speaks about the experience of arriving to this place of worship and being stricken with a sense of timeless transcendence, yet, the moment one walks out the door, thrust into the busy, relentless aura of the city, this feeling of transcendence or wonder seems to all but completely evaporate. The question he asks, and that which we in the Astros Filmic Arts Society continue to ask ourselves today, is how does one take that experience from within the Cathedral, and carry it with them out to the world of everyday experience? It is not a turning away from the intensity of the city and running back into the Cathedral, but rather cultivating an ability to see the transcendence of the Cathedral within the seemingly chaotic and random environment of the mundane. Traditionally, religious practitioners have relied on prayer and mantra to transport their mind and soul back to these moments of awe and wonder when engaging in worship or faced with a difficulty. While these prayers and mantras have power, to some they may feel out of date or rather impersonal, perhaps even limited outside of a monastic practice; and furthermore, there are always new methods to explore and build upon in this experience. Therefore, for those of us who wish to see the Cathedral in all experience or “To see a world in a grain of sand / Heaven in a wildflower / To hold infinity in the palm of your hand / And eternity in an hour” as William Blake puts it, we are called upon to revitalize and develop new methods of entering back into this state of timeless transcendence. In this series of dream themed cinematic events, the idea is to develop a shared symbolic understanding to communicate more deeply with the awe-inspiring moments and images in film. In this way, we aim to cultivate methods or heuristics, through which we may be taken back to the Cathedral that was manifest in our experience of the sublimity of cinema. This newly developed shared language may then act as the scaffolding, which we can climb and wield to build the Cathedral within our own minds. By advancing a personal and collective symbolic language through which we can reflect on our own dreams, the dreams and films of others, and our experience, we can create pathways that continually guide us back into the halls of the Cathedral to achieve a vision of the timeless transcendence in all things. The richness of a film and symbolic interpretation is truly in its dynamic nature. It affords us not merely one singular objective analysis or perspective, but rather an infinite possibility of deeper meanings arrived at through the intermingling of the personal psyche and the essence of the art, experience, or event. These symbolic meanings need not have any objective significance, by virtue of their ability to confer a benefit to the understanding of oneself in a greater context, instill deeper meaning, and illumen a sense of awe-inspiring wonder, they are the spirit of all that is good and beautiful in this world. They speak to us from a realm beyond ‘this’ and ‘that’ and welcome all to see.