Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Decisive Moment


I had a caller on January 7th who admitted she had written down this question last year with the intention of calling but had chickened out. This year, she bravely went forward and posed her question to the Universe. (I will point out that this was a bitterly cold day and the minute I left my house and went out into the sub-freezing temperatures, THEN, she decides to call. How did she know??)

Here are the photographs I made for her (not knowing her question) in the sequence they were taken. Only after I emailed her the photos did she reply with her question.



Will I die young like my Daddy did?
Very often you hear someone compare some statistic, income, health, retirement savings, to their parents. It's an almost unwritten law that you are expected to surpass your parents in all manners.  That is a continual theme in America - forward progress is desired above all. I wonder if it comes from our continual push westward, the feeling of such abundance that it could never be exhausted and the American Dream - that each generation could gain in wealth and social position, generation after generation. I think my generation might be the first that will, on average, achieve less than our mothers and fathers, that is, in the realms of wealth and status. What we have certainly achieved is a greater understanding in matters of health and as a consequence, may live much longer, if we make good choices. Note - that last image was definitely in homage to Henry Cartier-Bresson. So, what does "decisive moment" mean in the context of the posed question?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

I Want Candy

Been slightly tardy posting this Oracle commission which was completed on December 7th.  This was a fun one - I was at a opening for an exhibition at Kibbee Gallery and received the call AFTER the fire jugglers performed.  Of course, at the time I was dissappointed. I mean, wouldn't a photo of people juggling fire be perfect for the Oracle - rife with meaning and novelty? I have become something of a collector.  Having done this for years, I'm kind of jaded and I get excited when I come across an image that I haven't encountered before.  And I have to tell you, I had not even thought about fire jugglling before.  But, the Unvierse wisely knew fire juggling would be completely inappropriate for this question. The caller is apparently quite charming and there are four men she is currently seeing.  Here, then is her images and her question:

Which person will I end up with?
She did mention that one man was a painter, she just saw his work in a gallery, and he likes candy. Oh dear - now I have the Bow Wow Wow song stuck in my head - 'I Want Candy'

Monday, December 9, 2013

Justice - Mid-Century Style

Here's a reading that was commissioned last week.  This is an example of those times when the images don't provide an immediate answer but once you start really looking, analyzing and listing, in a matter-of-fact way, what is being represented, then some relationships start to emerge. Here's is how my thoughts went as I looked at these...

First are small fake creatures in front of a drawn landscape. So they are all representations of an experienced reality, not reality itself. In which case, justice is a phenomena that is part of the natural world. Or, we could note that they are all man-made and that would mean that justice is something completely constructed by Man. What else - I do notice that all three of these are lit by flash, not natural light.  Which would be another point for the fake, unnatural column. Or could mean nothing at all. Does it matter that all the animals are iron? Hmmm.

The second is the cool-o radiation monitor.  It is a man-made device, constructed to measure danger, to measure radiation.  you could say that justice is a measurement of danger to society. Again, it is a man-made system that relates to naturally occurring phenomena. 

Third is the toy nurse kit.  Nursing is about healing, making one feel better, nurturing.  Justice can been seen as a way to heal.  Do you think it matters that the kit is a toy? Could the concept of justice be pretend - that is, there is no such thing as real justice?

I also notice that all of these were shot full-frontal, straight-on, the subject is positioned in the center (balanced). You can think of justice as looking at situations directly, looking for balance in situations.

What is justice?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Rainy Blustery Day

Such a day was yesterday. Not a day for an Oracle. But here we are.

What direction should I take my photography to be successful?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Life Is Loving, Loving Is Life

A commissioned reading was scheduled for Friday. For these readings, the client and I schedule the day they are to call so I can make sure to have my cell phone with me and someplace with cell phone service (ie not the mountains at a silent meditation retreat). Since I don't know when they will call, it is still quite random. As usual, I had a full roster of errands so I would be in a variety of visual and cultural environments. It turns out that when they called, I was actually at the vet's checking into my dog's labored breathing and hacking cough. I took the first two photos there while waiting to get the final diagnosis, which was so shocking that I forgot about taking the third picture until I was at my next destination. Obviously, not good news. Two months ago I adopted a rescued dog who has been unloved for all of his 12-13 years but in spite of that, has been nothing but adoring, cheerful, bright and  and perkier than a 2 year old. And funny looking. Old Man Genkins has huge ears, he is missing half his teeth, his front legs are bow-legged, his kneecaps are in the wrong spot and his rear end is way taller than his front.  Imagine a rhinoceros mixed with a chihuahua. Sadly, he also has an enlarged heart and it's a matter of when it will rupture, not if. In shock, I drove on to the hospice facility where my mother is temporarily staying while my father takes a much needed break. She can't speak but she can sing, although I don't recognize any of the tunes. But it's easy to follow along with her since it's mainly a lot of "la la la's" and "dee dah dee dah dee dee dee" and she really enjoys my attempts to harmonize. After she fell asleep, I had time to think about the day. Rather than feeling depressed, I felt very much needed and very lucky that I was in a position to love the little dog as much as I can while I can so that his last days are happy ones. I believe this will no doubt involve bacon and walks. And after a life-time of being unable to help my mother's suffering from schizophrenia in any way, I cannot express what a joy it is to make her laugh and sing.  Eventually, I remembered that I was an Oracle and I took the final photograph and emailed all three to my caller. When I received her question, I replied that I wasn't sure if the images themselves answered the question but my activities I was involved in while taking the photographs were the answer to the question for me.

Monday, September 9, 2013

This Ain't Kansas

I am mighty pleased with the reading I did on Saturday the 7th. These were all good image finds. I'd love to see what happens to the caller in the next year  - the images promise an almost menacing mix of the mundane (monochromatic) and the magical (color)


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Oracle Lives - Schedule Your Reading!

As of April 2013, I finished a full year of taking calls for the Oracle project, celebrating the beautiful book published last year.

But it's not over!!  While I am no longer taking calls on the 7th, you can still participate!  You can commission an Oracle reading for your own question at any time. 

How it works 
We schedule a day in the future. On that day, you can call me at any time from 9am to 9pm (so it's still random). I'll create 3 images and email directly to you - usually within 30 minutes. Once you reply back with your question, I will put the question and images together into one artwork. I'm happy to discuss possible interpretations with you.

The cost is $225 and includes a signed, dated print, sized 8.5" x 11" in a vertical format or you can purchase larger, limited edition exhibition sized prints too.

To discuss possibilities, call me at 404-805-5431 or email sbethlilly@gmail.com  And of course, you can also purchase a copy of the book from me or at many bookstores or online.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Telling Tales - Charis Books

Thursday May 9th, I'll be speaking at Charis Books in Little Five Points and, for the first time, sharing my personal experiences performing as Oracle.  Orace@WiFi began as an art project and an experiment, centered around a finding a way to connect with my audience and playing with random chance.  I was completely surprised at the astounding coincidences and inexplicable results of this home-brewed system of divination.

Now that the project is over (March was the last time I took calls), I'll be speaking at Charis and sharing the experiences that changed my understanding about the workings of the universe.  Yep. Interesting stuff indeed.  Come, bring your questions.  Copies of the Oracle@WiFi book will be on sale and I'll be signing copies after the talk. Talk begins at 7:30pm

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Wife Or Girlfriend?


Will I get back with my wife who left me or my girlfriend from 30 years ago?

Remember before Facebook when getting back together with a lover from 30 years earlier would not be even remotely possible? I wonder how it's going...

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Day At The Races


How can I make the retreat a success?

This question was concerning an upcoming meditation retreat hosted by my Zen Buddhist group, Red Clay Sangha.  I mention that because, as you can tell, I was at the race track in New Orleans and the names of the placing horses were quite interesting considering the question. First place horse was named "Special Energy" with "True Karma" coming in third.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Time to Get Funky

James Brown once said, "I only got a seventh-grade education, but I have a doctorate in funk, and I like to put that to good use.
Which direction should I take my own photography?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Trust the Force, Luke


I was born in the year of the snake. This is my year, so what's to come?
I was about to enter the zoo when this person called.  Zoos are nice but you know, when all you have is a cell phone with it's extremely wide angle lens, you try to take a powerful photo of the monumental elephant, the lens diminishes his presence and it's more like looking at a far off donkey. But I found these three I really liked and felt were capable of multiple meanings. So I emailed them and entered the Reptile House.  After I received the question, I wondered why, if I'm such the fancy oracle, why didn't I intuitively hold out for the reptile house?  Bemoaning my lack of psychic abilities and pining about "how cool would that have been" to have sent a photo of a snake when a friend asked me, "what if?" What if I had taken a photo in the reptile house?  "Look, here's a snake!" What could that photo mean?  All that would say is "you are a snake" and they already know that. The point of this exercise (well one, there are so many) is not to explore what we already know but to go beyond and consider other possibilities, other eventualities. So perhaps, intuitively, I actually did do the right thing. Along the same lines, another friend said, "You, Beth Lilly, are not doing anything. Trust the Oracle, trust the process".

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dating Best Friends


Will me and my best guy friend ever date?
The middle photo was a real surprise for me. At the time, I was trying to photograph a woman doing jumping jacks without appearing to be a stalker (a real talent if you can develop it) I was focusing so closely on being nonchalant that I didn't notice until after taking the picture how perfectly she appears to be suspended from the tree limb - suspended in time - held in stasis.  So I read these sets of images as 1. This idea of dating your friend is a trap 2. It's keeping you suspended in time, preventing you from moving on and developing other relationships and 3. There will be relationships after relationships after relationships, all as wonderful and dear and special as this one. Enjoy all of them to the utmost, for what they are, I say.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Electrifying Art!


Am I on the path towards my life's purpose?
People often ask my help on how to deciphering their "reading".  Often, that's just a jump start on the process of free association and other times, it's figuring out how to the structure the relationship of question to images.  For instance, sometimes, I think all three images put forward the same idea, just shown in slightly different ways,  like when a student asks me a question and I rephrase my answer in multiple ways until I find one that makes sense to them (based on their life experiences etc) Other times, it makes sense that the first image describes the situation, the second suggests a direction to take and the third shows the consequences of following that path.  For this question/image combo, it only makes sense to me if I consider the question a two-parter.  First, am I on the path? The first image says clearly you are on a path.  The second half the second half of that question, you must clarify what your life's purpose IS. The second image says, well, you are clearly plugged into your art/dreams/ideals and the third, to me, says every once in a while, you're going to "take a bath" (have disappointments) (yick! cold water from the hose!!) but you just got to take it and shake it off.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Oracle@Wifi Predicted New Pope!!!

Well, maybe. "What's the name of the next pope?" was the question posed by my second caller on Thursday. Here's the photos I took for him. Of course, I didn't know his question until AFTER I emailed him these images. I think I nailed it. Don't these images just scream "Argentina"???