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A Rose By Any Other Name
The above image was always a favorite of mine, so it was much to my chagrin that it never enjoyed much commercial success. The photo was taken about 20 years ago at a Renaissance Fair in Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Coconut Grove, Florida. Formerly known as Villa Vizcaya, the magnificent building and grounds on Biscayne Bay were once the winter residence and estate of James Deering.
Like the change in name for the property, the title of the image also changed names. Originally, Joe called it The Fortune Teller. I don't remember why, but later we changed it to The Story Teller.
Perhaps it was an effort to boost sales by adding a new keyword. If that was the case, it made no difference. The image made several sales initially, then it simply fell out of favor.
Although I'm not superstitious, I do believe the energy of our intentions or a particular situation does affect outcomes. And the making of this image has a bit of a "shady" underside.
We came to the fair early because Joe hoped to get some shots of the costumed cast in that beautiful setting without the interference of crowds of tourists. And shortly after entering the grounds, we came upon the character pictured in the image, standing on the platform with his walking stick in hand.
He seemed happy to see our approach, but his smile quickly faded when Joe asked if he would pose for a photo. I suppose he was expecting us to prompt for him a story or a fortune.
Once he heard Joe's request, he looked past us to see if anyone else was in view or earshot. But as of yet, it was only the three of us. Sensing his reluctance, Joe offered to give him one of the instant photos taken with the Polaroid camera. Still looking past us, the man started tapping the tip jar with his cane.
It was only after Joe reached in his pocket, pulled out some bills, and with a marked gesture placed them in the jar that the smile returned along with the character's cooperation—and release-form signature.
By this time the grounds were filling with visitors to the fair, and once Joe got the shot, we hurried off before it would become too crowded for any other unobstructed photos of the festival players.
Am I pushing the boundaries of superstition by wondering if the bribery marred the possible success? When by all indications and past experience a given outcome is not attained, I have to wonder.
It's hardly the first time an "exchange" was made between two parties for the benefit of all. But something that day felt "off." I think it might have been the initial negative energy surrounding the exchange that made the difference.
And this photo's story has another disturbing turn that further cements my intuitive sense that the image was tainted by its origins—or perhaps its namesake. Joe and I had one matted print of the image, ready for framing. We gave it to someone we admired. She was from Miami and a storyteller herself of sorts.
A few years later we were in the home of a mutual friend, who excitedly told us she had purchased a print of Joe's and ushered us into a bedroom to view it. There was the gifted print. Bad enough that our gift had been sold to another, but to add further insult to injury, the new recipient had cut the matte board to fit an existing frame and the imbalanced proportion of matte to image was jarring. A very sad and disturbing vision for both Joe and me.
No matter how beautiful the potential for the fragrant rose, if it's been planted in tainted soil, it can never achieve its intended function.
Fortune Teller or Story Teller: Is there a difference?
Since I've begun reading Tarot and oracle cards, I've been asked more than a few times if it's helped me win the lottery—and if so, could I do it for someone else?
Ew. No. And, no!
I don't consider myself a fortune teller, and I don't sell promises of any outcome. I can, however, accurately predict outcomes based on present energy and behavior. The cards reflect those to me. Yet every person is gifted with free will and determines the eventual outcome with their own choices.
And it's because we're all in charge of our own happy endings that it's more than helpful to get a glimpse of what's ahead...given we continue on a current path. If we don't like the projected vision, we can change our point of view.
Wouldn’t you prefer that to being hit over the head with the unexpected? Although major unforeseeable surprises do happen, most times we are not blindsided by unpleasant events, we are merely forced to confront realities we chose (consciously or not) to ignore.
I post a daily Card for the Collective. Isn't it worth a few minutes in the morning to reflect on the possibilities ahead and make conscious choices instead of just moving into your day and allowing circumstances to determine your path?
As of this writing, there are over 60 daily "Card for the Collective" posts. Read a few and see if they align with your experience of that day or week.
Top Image: The Story Teller ©Gemignani.
Interior Image: Stock photo from Deposit Photos.
Text ©Shelley Lieber
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