Urbs et Alba – City of Water

Francesco Perono Cacciafoco’s academic paper, Origini remote. Il caso delle “città d’ acqua”, di Olbicella e della radice *alb- informs us that:

“Paleo-Ligurian place-names of the type Alba, Old European river names Albis and the like, as well as their ablauting forms Olb- (> Orb- in Romance Ligurian) do not reflect directly Proto-Indo-European adjective *albho- ‘white’; rather, they all continue a Pre-PIE extended root *Hal-bh- ‘water’ cognate with Sumerian halbia (> Akkadian halpium ‘well, water mass, water hole’). A further analysis of *Hal-bh- leads to a comparison with PIE root *Hal- ‘nourish’. PIE suffixed form *HwaH-r ‘water’ exhibits a similar diffusion.”   

In Romanian, the closest language to Latin today, we have the words “alb” for white, “apa” for water, “albie” for riverbed, and “hali” for eating in a rush, which is very interesting in relation to the above cited paper. Cucuteni Culture from the Neolithic pre-dates Sumerian by 600 years at the very least, and its pottery introduces a distinct, geometric, wave-like symbol which became known as an iconic Greek design.

By extension, this ancient root found in place names can explain more about the identity of the mysterious “Alfar,” “Elves,” “Apkallu,” etc. – the initiates of old making various appearances in Irish monastic texts. It is assumed that their name means “white” (whether this refers to their supposed “Indo-Europeanness” or religion such as white magic), but by utilizing this linguistic study, I can glimpse that their identity is actually linked with water, fluidity, phasing (transitioning), and “shades of grey.” And this water symbol is in reference to a Serpent, by means of the waves. “The Serpents” was likewise a name by which initiates were known; they were driven to hide in the depths of uncharted forests and eventually disappear from Ireland – a feat celebrated by religious elites as a victory over evil. Yet in a few of those texts, there is questioning as to the true nature of the Elves. The monks reason it out, concluding that these beings are (in no uncertain terms) of both heaven and hell, but that their knowledge can only come from heaven, as heaven is what their knowledge creates. In other words, they are the people of the knowledge, which comes from heaven, through the Serpent. As for their appearance, it is that of the human.

The nature of this knowledge (nourishment for the soul) is something I found myself debating with many apparent initiates in recent times, which wasn’t a lot of fun. Then I remembered reading that some of the Alfar had fallen to the illusion of duality, distorted the knowledge, and taken most of Mankind along for the ride. Well, that explains it. I’ve always felt different in this humancentric society, but be that as it may, I never resonated with esoteric circles – while at the same time I’m always laughing at those who claim this knowledge is evil. Such claims only serve to keep others ignorant and fearful of a legacy that is inside us all. What is really fun, though, is discovering the ancient legacy encoded in cities that I visit: architecture, sculptures, random associations of objects in shop windows, and other design details which the artist has placed there to communicate information. I was also inspired by Aya Kato’s digital art series dedicated to different cities – where each city entity appears as an allegorical woman, dressed up for a special occasion.

1. One Thousand and One Nights. Charcoal. An unknown city lost to the desert, described in medieval times as containing miracles and wonders such as ghostly images inviting you to discover the city, and metal horses that could be unlocked with a key and take you flying towards the sun.

2. The Rain Curtain. Pastels. The statue of Freddie Mercury in Montreux, overlooking the water. The name Alps is in reference to the white-capped mountains, but according to an online documentary to do with career paths and the overall mental switch that happened at the end of the last millennium towards more ecological enterprises, it is the dwellings of the Alfar that are supposed to be remembered through the name.

3. Broken Toy. Pencil. Toy shops are usually a magical feature of every city, one of those things that take me back to fairy tales about Dwarves and their crafty skills. However, this time I explored the feeling of guilt that arises in childhood when we break a toy. It feels as though we have broken someone’s trust in us.

4. “They promised us truth.” Ink on paper. A drawing of Michelangelo’s Pietà at the Vatican. The character Mother Mary was based by different writers around the personality of the Virgin Mary Magdalene, a follower of Jesus. Contrary to modern beliefs, nothing actually happened between them that fits our ideas of a relationship, though it would (in another world) fit the Greek idea of your trainer being your lover which applied only among males. She had been shamed by her peers for being very strange, acting like a man, so she desired a material family of her own to prove them wrong. He explained that not all people require one; his explanation is what the Grail story is about. The title is from the Bon Jovi song, Miracle. After his passing, she lived the rest of her life as an Artist.

5. The Road to Atlantis. Photograph. A shop window in Budapest, Hungary.