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Photo of the Month - exploring the Story behind the Image...

The Bearer of Hope and Wishes

The Bearer of Hope and Wishes

Year: 2010, Month: April

Argentina > Rio Negro > San Carlos De Bariloche

This month's 'Photo of the Month' image reminds me of places I have visited all around the world. All continents, except maybe Antarctica. Many, many countries. If there is one thing that is universal in the human psyche, it is the need for hope. We all need hope, whoever we are. Our hopes may be different, in many cases, but its something we all have, something we all require. Without it, is there any point in going on? Maybe Dante Alighieri realised that, when he suggested that the inscription above the gates to Hell would read 'Abandon hope all ye who enter here'. With hope, people will fight any battle, endure any hardship, carry on when all seems lost, when anyone else would have abandoned the undertaking long, long ago.

This photograph shows hope around the neck, in fact literally around the neck, of one individual: Jesus Christ. Small things, brought by many people, who feel the need to ask for hope, or to say 'Thank You' for the their hope that was granted to them. In other religions, this may take a different form. In Japan, for instance, people will tie their wishes and messages of hope to a tree. I did this once, on a visit to Tokyo. Did it come true? Its too long ago now to know. In Scotland, people will hammer coins into the bark of trees. Even Queen Victoria tried this, in 1877; the year she was proclaimed 'Empress of India'. In China, there are many wish trees. In Hindu mythology, the Banyan tree is also called Kalpavriksha, meaning 'wish-fulfilling tree', as it represents eternal life because of its seemingly ever-expanding branches. In Mongolia there is the 'Ovoo', a Shamanistic cairn for travellers, who won't go past without tying on a blue prayer scarf. Do a search on this site for 'Ovoo', and you will see what I mean. And lets not forget the Christmas Tree, which we decorate each year in the West with garlands and tinsel: it was introduced in 1840 by Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, but it replaced the Wishing Tree, an evergreen bough that was hung with apples, sweetmeats, and candles and decked with ribbons representing wishes.

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A pyramid of sticks mark the start of an Ovoo on a mountain top overlooking green valleys.

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