Through whom have our myths come? Artists and writers bring them to us; Botticelli's vision of Venus, and Homer's stories of Mars are prime examples. Who is qualified to tell a legendary love story? Certainly the lovers themselves. Through their tantric relationship, Becca Tzigany and James Bertrand have found themselves advancing the old story of Venus and Mars into modern times. Their visions of sexuality embody the erotic from both female and male perspectives. Venus and Her Lover - Reinventing the Myth has transformed their lives. Following the guiding muses of the project, they sold their house in the Caribbean to make possible a move to Italy (Venus' and Mars' old stomping ground) and then, on to Hawai'i, the American Southwest, and finally to India. Their devotion, over 11 years, across 4 continents, and through the production of 64 paintings, resulted in two books, an oracle deck, and ongoing inspiration for accompanying music and video.
Becca Tzigany has written poetry and prose all her life. For eight years she was a regular contributor to the avant-garde literary magazine, The Writer's Cramp. She has written copy for newspapers in the service of environmental activism and travel articles for the magazine International Living. She has two novels in the works (A Country Named Rebecca, The Highest High) which were shoved to the back burner by the Venus and Mars project. As a teenager living in a Greek village, she would wonder about the mythological characters in the nighttime sky, a fractal echo of her future work. Her lifelong spiritual quest has led her to apprentice under Christian ministers, a Hindu Brahmin, Native American shaman, Zen Buddhist nun, and Indian yogi. In turn, she has taught meditation and led workshops in the healing arts. Through her world travels and first-hand experience with several spiritual traditions, Tzigany gained insight into the psychological impetus behind mythology and the cultural expressions of relationship. As a vagabond adventurer and merchant, she chose to linger amid the cultures of Mexico and Guatemala, the Caribbean, Canada and the US, Brasil, Morocco, Greece, Italy, and Hawai'i. With a resumé that runs the gamut from teacher to organic gardener to handicraft peddler, she considers her most important job to be that of mother. Becca says, "For years I have devoted myself to the cause of world peace, knowing full well that the only thing we can really change is ourselves. In raising my son I have been able to practice love as a verb more than a noun. He has mirrored to me my fears and hopes, as well as those of the world. More than ever I know that with love, all things are possible."
James Bertrand states, "A project of this scope picks the authors - not the other way around." He considers his entire life - especially his art project 20/20 Vision, in which he traveled and painted in 20 countries over the course of 20 years - as preparation for Venus and Her Lover. Faith in himself and an optimistic attitude always assured him that after 20 adventurous years on the road, something profoundly significant would result. Venus and Her Lover is what awaited him. He has applied his artistic talents, global experience, and compassionate heart to this task. As Bertrand says, "With its all-pervasive philosophy of domination through threats and terror, the current patriarchal systems have brought the human race to the precipice of extinction. Yet, there is an ocean - a sea of change - whose waves are rippling across the face of the Earth. It is the new paradigm of Universal Love, a new way of participating in the human race. Many scoff at such a notion, and although their denial runs deep, the simple fact remains: the Patriachy's scheme is dramatically collapsing (as empires always have) and the tides of higher consciousness toward our Mother Earth, each other, and especially ourselves are on the rise.
James and Becca currently reside in Mexico.
Rocco Iacopini is a writer, tarot and palm reader, and lifelong student of esoteric wisdom. Since 1977 he has minded Mago Merlino Teahouse, a literary salon in the heart of Florence, Italy. Actors, musicians, poets, and exotic dancers have been drawn to Mago Merlino Teahouse to perform their art and banter ideas with Rocco and the others who find their way there. Naturally the European debut of Venus and Her Lover took place there, in 2002. When not at the teahouse, Rocco roams the souks and bazaars of India, Thailand, Syria, and Morocco (to name a few), searching out rare herbs and spices and dialoguing with the locals. "Probably without realizing it, I am searching for the basic ingredients of the elixir of life," he says.
On summer evenings Rocco can be found in the historic center of Florence, reading palms and tarot cards to the curious who approach his table. His 30 years of sitting with his Italian-, English-, French-, German-, and Spanish-speaking clients have garnered a wealth of experience, which he is putting into a book entitled Memories of a Street Fortune Teller.
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