A Story out of Mythology

WARNING: This page contains nudity

10-10-06 - DREAM - I woke up from this dream feeling really disgusted, not knowing that it had a great meaning, which was revealed to me by a friend an hour later.

In the dream, I was in New Berlin, WI. I went for a walk outside the house and discovered that someone had made a tunnel into the hill behind the house. I needed to investigate the tunnel so I would know what was going on, because this tunnel looked like it was under my house. 

I walked into the tunnel, and it appeared to be a garage of some kind where there were old vehicles needing repair. A moment later I saw a workman, dressed in an orange-red coveralls. I didn't want to be confronted by the man, so I ran up some metal-like stairs to the next level up and ran down a long hallway.

I found myself in a large room with some very strange people and creatures.  There were naked people in the room, one woman was laying on a lounge-type couch with a blanket only over her feet.  I recognized her and called her Barbara. She had dark, very curly hair - like the Greeks are shown in paintings.

Over further, I saw a creature which looked part goat-part cow, with 4 udders up by his neck. I don't recall seeing his hands - many of the people's arms ended in skinny stumps with no hands.

Then a woman came up to me, she was tall and beautiful. Then a huge swan came up to her and she bent to kiss it on the beak. Suddenly, the swan dipped his whole head into her mouth and pulled out her heart and swallowed it.

I expected the woman to die instantly, but she didn't. She said, "He took my heart!" and I saw the swan swallow her heart like a snake swallows its prey.  She went over aways a lay down with a smile on her face like she was in love and leaned against a man figure laying down on a pallet on the floor.

I knew I had to leave this place, so I walked past Barbara, and rubbed her short hair and told her, "Barbara, I love you."

I left the room as quickly as I could, but by the stairway were two midgets. Neither one had hands either - their arms ended in skinny stumps.  One midget had a huge square head. The other one had a huge round head.  I couldn't see their faces as they were turned away from me. I just wanted to get out of there and ran down the stairs and out the tunnel.

NOTE: I didn't want to write this weird dream down because it felt so disgusting in my mind, but the phone rang and we told each other our dreams. My friend said, "You were dreaming mythology.  I just saw a picture of that in DaVinci's book of paintings. That is Leda and the Swan.  There is symbolism in the paintings of the time.  People back then knew how to read paintings - every one told a story."

Michelangelo and Da Vinci had a running competition to out do each other at the time.

The story of Leda and the Swan is a Greek myth which is told in various versions. Leda, the wife of the king of Sparta, was loved by the god Zeus. He transformed himself into a swan and came to lie with her. As a consequence of their union she bore the twins Castor and Pollux, who were hatched from eggs. The subject was popular during the Renaissance.

Zeus was the supreme ruler of all the gods and mortals. He is also known to the Romans as Jupiter. His powers enabled him to change into the shape of anything he wanted, which he often did in order to mix with mortals on earth. He also used these transformations to hide from his wife, Juno, while he was pursuing beautiful women. Zeus/Jupiter may appear in paintings disguised as a swan, a bull, an eagle, a cloud or a shower of gold. The stories are from the 'Metamorphoses', a long poem by the Classical (Roman) poet Ovid.

NOTE: The name "Barbara" is of Greek and Latin origin, basically meaning "foreign woman." It was a common name in Scotland. The Gaelic form is "Barabell" (BA-ra-bul). The Scots-Gaelic form is "Barabal." The Irish -Gaelic form is "Báirbre" (BAR-bruh) and the pet form "Baibín" (BAB-een).


Zeus is the ruler of the Olympian gods. He is also known as Jupiter and Jove (both Roman). His attributes in iconography include the lightning bolt, the eagle, and the sceptre.

Zeus, King of the Gods, uses his magical powers to transform himself into other forms (here, a swan) to seduce (in this case) Leda, much as traders & investors transform themselves into millionaires through the magic of the stock market and seduce countless people. I imagine Leda embracing the swan upon the back of her husband, King Tyndareus of Sparta, who despairs at her infidelity. Beneath him is his own hidden mistress or perhaps his anima. A chorus of figures emerge from the shadows -- they are trying to reach the mighty Zeus, or perhaps they are spurned lovers, victims of greed & misused power.


by Jamie Cisco
Leda was the daughter of Thestius and the wife of Tyndareus. She has been known as the Queen of Sparta. Leda was seduced by Zeus when he came to her in the form of a swan. Leda gave birth to an egg. From it hatched the Dioscuri, the twins Castor and Pollux. With Zeus she also had Helen and with Tyndareus she had Clytemnestra

Clytemnestra was the wife of Agamemnon, king of Mycenae. She was one of the tragic women in the Trojan War. While Agamemnon was away in the war, Clytemnestra took Aegisthus as her lover, and together they plotted to kill Agamemnon when he returned. One of her reasons was her husband's sacrifice of their daughter. When Agamemnon returned Clytemnestra pretended to greet him. Later, while Agamemnon bathed, Clytemnestra murdered him. She, herself was killed by her son Orestes.

Helen of Troy was said to be the most beautiful woman in Greece and the major cause of the Trojan War. While still a young girl, Helen was carried off by an Athenian hero, Theseus. Before any harm could come to her the Dioscuri rescued her. Later, she was sought after by almost every prince in Greece, but she finally married Menelaus, king of Sparta, who was the richest of the suitors. Helen and Memelaus had one child. Her name was Hermione.

Helen and Menelaus' marriage was threatened when Paris, a Trojan prince, fell madly in love with Helen. Taking advantage of Menelaus' absence from the palace, Paris abducted Helen and then left for Troy. This was the cause of the Trojan War. All of the other prices had promised Tyndareus, Helen's father, that he would in case of need, come to the aid of the lucky man who became Helen's husband. Faithful to their oaths, all the princes of Greece took power under the command of Agamemnon to avenge the outrage done to Menelaus.

For ten years the battle raged before the walls of Troy. Finally the Greek warriors were able to enter the city by hiding in the hollow flanks of a large wooden horse (see: Trojan horse) which the Trojans themselves had put in the city. Troy was conquered and set on fire. Helen was returned to Menelaus and they were reconciled. After Menelaus' death, Helen was put among the stars with Dioscuri.

Castor and Pollux had a magnificent temple erected in their honor. They accompanied the Roman army on its campaigns and during battles were seen among the cavalry. They also protected sailors and travelers at sea. At Ostia they calmed a storm which was not allowing ships loaded with corn from entering port. Castor and Pollux carried off the two daughters of Leucippus and married them. This was the reason for their quarrel between Idas and Lynceus, who were also seeing the two young women. Pollux killed Lynceus while Castor was mortally wounded by Idas. Pollux wept over the body of his brother; for being himself immortal he could not follow Castor to the Kingdom of Hades.

"In their quality of marine god they naturally presided over commerce." In the second century CE they were incorporated in funeral rituals and their popularity was so great that even Christians did not deny that they were symbols of life and death.

From: http://www.pantheon.org/articles/l/leda.html

This page has a small version of Francois Boucher's painting - seen in large size below.


David, Michelangelo - 1504

Michelangelo,  born,  Michelangelo Buonarroti
(b. March 6, 1475, Caprese, in Tuscany,  
Republic of Florence [Italy]--d. Feb. 18, 1564, Rome),

Perhaps the greatest influence on western art in the last five centuries, Michelangelo was an Italian sculptor, architect, painter and poet in the period known as the High Renaissance. His great works were almost entirely in the service of the Catholic Church, and include a huge statue of the Biblical hero David (over 14 feet tall) in Florence, sculpted between 1501 and 1504, and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome.

The second of five brothers, he was one of the most inspired creators in the history of art and, with Leonardo da Vinci, the most potent force in the Italian High Renaissance.    

The Life, Work and Secret of Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci. Self-Portrait.
1512. Red chalk on paper. Biblioteka Reale, Turin, Italy

 Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci, Italy, April 15, 1452 ? May 2, 1519, Cloux, France) was an Italian Renaissance polymath: an architect, musician, anatomist, inventor, engineer, sculptor, geometer, and painter. He has been described as the archetype of the "Renaissance man" and as a universal genius, a man infinitely curious and infinitely inventive. He is also considered one of the greatest painters that ever lived.

In his lifetime, Leonardo his surname is unknown, "da Vinci" means "from Vinci" was an engineer, artist, anatomist, physiologist and much more. His full birth name was "Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci", meaning "Leonardo, of ser Piero from Vinci". Leonardo is famous for his paintings, such as the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, as well as for influential drawings such as the Vitruvian Man. He designed many inventions that anticipated modern technology, such as the helicopter, tank, use of solar power, the calculator, etc., though few of these designs were constructed or were feasible in his lifetime. In addition, he advanced the study of anatomy, astronomy, and civil engineering. Of his works, only a few paintings survive, together with his notebooks (scattered among various collections) containing drawings, scientific diagrams and notes

It was the period of the renaissance when Leonardo da Vinci was born on 15. April 1452. Leonardo was born probably in this farmhouse in Anchiano, which is 3 km away from Vinci. The family of Leonardo lived in this area since the 13th century. The father of Leonardo da Vinci, Ser Piero, was a 25 years old public notary when Leonardo was born. In the same year when Leonardo was born Ser Piero married his first wife. He didn't marry the mother of Leonardo, because probably she was a daughter of a farmer. The mother of Leonardo was called Catarina. Her first name is all what we know today.

His original of Leda and the Swan did not survive. It is known only through copies.

Excerpted from:


Leda and the Swan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Leda and the Swan: copy after a lost original by Michelangelo, one of the iconic images of 16th century Mannerism
Leda and the Swan: copy after a lost original by Michelangelo, one of the iconic images of 16th century Mannerism

The motif of Leda and the Swan from Greek mythology, in which the Greek god Zeus came to Leda in the form of a swan, was rarely seen in Gothic art, but resurfaced as a classicizing theme, with erotic overtones, in Italian painting and sculpture of the 16th Century. The most familiar examples are the copies of Leonardo da Vinci's lost painting, with the two sets of infant twins, 1508; Correggio's elaborate composition of c. 1530 (Berlin); and two versions of a lost Michelangelo (illustration, right) that is also known from an engraving by Cornelis de Bos, c. 1563; the marble sculpture by Bartolomeo Ammanati in the Bargello, Florence; and the painting after Michelangelo, c. 1530, in the National Gallery, London. The Michelangelo composition is a definitive example of Mannerism.

Leda and the Swan furnished a common motif for the rapidly unfolding visual arts into the 19th century.

"Leda And The Swan" is a poem by William Butler Yeats first published in 1924. Reviving what had become an insipid classical cliché by combining psychological realism with a mystic vision, it describes the swan's mating with Leda.

According to later Greek mythology, Leda bore Helen and Polydeuces, children of Zeus while at the same time bearing Castor and Clytemnestra, children of her husband Tyndareus, the King of Sparta. As the story goes, Zeus took the form of a swan and slept with Leda on the same night as her husband, King Tyndareus. In some versions, she laid two eggs from which the children hatched. In other versions, Helen is a daughter of Nemesis, the goddess who personified the disaster that awaited those suffering from the pride of Hubris.

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.
How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?
A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower[1]
And Agamemnon dead.
Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?
  1.  "Was this the face that launched a thousand ships/ And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?" (Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus). Both Helen and Clytemnestra were Leda's daughters.


Copy of Da Vinci Painting.
These scene was 'very' similar to the scene in my dream.
The woman and the swan were identical positions from where I stood
only I was closer to them - very close.
In my dream, she did not turn away, she kissed the swan and he dipped
his head into her mouth and throat and pulled out her heart and swallowed it.

Leonardo was very absorbed with the theme of Leda during the time he was working on Mona Lisa and while in Milan he made many sketches of the swans in the moat around the Castello. The picture was described by Cassiano del Pozzo in 1625; at this stage it was in the royal collection in Fontainebleau:

"A standing figure of Leda almost entirely naked, with the swan at her and two eggs, from whose broken shells come forth four babies, This work, although somewhat dry in style, is exquisitely finished, especially in the woman's breast; and for the rest of the landscape and the plant life are rendered with the greatest diligence. Unfortunately the picture is in a bad state because it is done on three long panels which have split apart and broken off a certain amount of paint."

By the eighteenth century the artwork was completely lost to us; fortunately several things remain to give a good idea what it looked like. There are Leonardo's drawings of the head and bust of Leda; a famous drawing done in 1506 by Raphael; a red chalk drawing which may have been done by an assistant to Leonardo; a picture by Bugiardini which was based upon Leonardo's original cartoon (done in 1504); another copy probably by Francesco Melzi and based on Leonardo's second cartoon (drawn around 1508); plus a copy by another pupil, Cesare da Sesto; this final work is said to be closest to Leonardo's original and is displayed on this page. Leonardo's head and coiffure study for Leda and the Swan is signed; it should be noted that this is not his signature, having been added at a later date by one of the owners. 

Of the two cartoons Leonardo did for this work one showed Leda kneeling and used mostly curved lines to suggest aa writhing movement which emphasised fertility; the other had her in a standing position. In the final painting Leda was in the second of the two poses and seeming to recoil from the swan, while at the same time showing a shy attraction towards it. Leda's head was modestly lowered giving a virginal look, in contrast her figure was opulent, a mature body with a young head on her shoulders. Like many of Leonardo's subjects her hair was painted in minute detail. She was surrounded by the most fertile landscape that Leonardo -- by this time aged 54 -- had produced since his workshop days. The swan was Jupiter in one of his many disguises and the babies were Castor and Pollux, and Helen and Clytemnestra. 

This is a copy by Cesare da Sesto (1477-1523) after the lost painting by Leonardo da Vinci.

The eye, believed by Leonardo to be the key to everything. He once
said , "Who would believe that so small a space could contain the
images of the universe?" It was through his eyes  masterpieces were
conceived and painted.

Francis Boucher
France - 1741


Paris 1703 - 1770 Paris.

The extraordinary career of Francois Boucher was unmatched by his contemporaries in versatility, consistency and output. For many, particularly the writers and collectors who led the revival of interest in the French rococo during the last century, his sensuous beauties, coquettish milkmaids and plump cupids represent the French eighteenth century at its most typical. His facility with the brush, even when betraying the occasional superficiality of his art, enabled him to master every aspect of painting - history and mythology, portraiture, landscape, ordinary life and, as part of larger compositions, even still life.

He had been trained as an engraver, and the skills of a draftsman which he imbued in the studio of Jean-Francois Cars stood him in good stead throughout his career; his delightful drawings are one of the most sought after aspects of his oeuvre. As a student of Francois Le Moyne he mastered the art of composition - although in later years he was to deny his debt to Le Moyne - while the four years he spent in Italy, from 1727-1731, gave him the education in the works of the masters, in the classics and in history, that his modest upbringing had denied him.

On his return to Paris, in 1734, he gained full membership of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture with his splendid Rinaldo and Armida (Paris, Musee de Louvre), a bold rococo statement which, while showing his awareness of the famous composition of Domenichino in the French Royal Collection, is marked nonetheless with the very distinct characteristics of his own, maturing style. Although he occasionally painted subjects taken from the Bible throughout his career, and would always have first considered himself to be a history painter, his own repertoire of heroines, seductresses, flirtatious peasant girls and erotic beauties was better suited to a lighter, more decorative subject matter.

His mastery of technique and composition enabled him to move from large scale tapestry cartoons (he worked throughout his career for both the Beauvais and Gobelins tapestry factories, becoming director of the latter in 1755), to intimate masterpieces such as the Diana Resting (Paris, Louvre) or Leda and the Swan (ex Stair Sainty Matthiesen, New York and now Los Angeles, Private Collection) and the occasional scene from everyday life such as The Luncheon (Paris, Louvre), with its elegantly dressed figures grouped around a well-laid table.

Enormously successful and widely patronized, Boucher's output was prodigious. First patronized by the Crown in the 1730s, he executed numerous royal and princely commissions until his death in 1770, working particularly for Louis XV's mistress, the Marquise de Pompadour in each of her several palaces. Always ready to utilize his talents in other fields, he designed stage sets for theatre and opera and provided drawings to be used as designs for figures at the Vincennes (later Sevres) porcelain factory.

As a teacher he was much loved by his many students, who included Fragonard, Le Prince, Deshays, Brenet, Baudouin, Lagrenee, and Madame de Pompadour herself. Even David, a distant cousin, in his earliest surviving works with their colourful rococo palette, was clearly influenced by Boucher. Not since Le Brun had a single French artist held such a monopoly on the imagery of a particular society or left such a mark on the arts of his time.


Pradier, James. Leda (c. 1850)
Here, Leda is again unclothed and the swan is sculpted in a very sexual position.  Leda does not appear concerned and has her hand on the swan's neck, caressing it.  Despite the lack of clothing, the jewelry and arm band are done in Greek style


Dali, Salvador. Leda atomica (1949)
The most recent painting, or work for that matter, on this site.  Books and silver bubbles are floating around, plus Leda is on a pedestal, which are all objects added by the artist, as these have nothing to do with the Greek myth.  Four hundred years after Leonardo da Vinci's work, the scene is still the same.  Leda is caressing the swan, looks happy and is not dressed.  Some things never change.

In 1939, Salvador Dalí designed the set and wrote the libretto for a ballet entitled Bacchanale, based on Wagner’s Tannhaüser and the myth of Leda and the Swan.


Dalí employed extensive symbolism in his work. For instance, the hallmark soft watches that first appear in The Persistence of Memory suggest Einstein's theory that time is relative and not fixed.The idea for clocks functioning symbolically in this way came to Dalí when he was staring at a runny piece of Camembert cheese during a hot day in August.

The elephant is also a recurring image in Dalí's works, appearing first and very prominently in his 1946 work The Temptation of St. Anthony. The elephants, inspired by Gian Lorenzo Bernini's sculpture in Rome of an elephant carrying an obelisk, are portrayed "with long, multi-jointed, almost invisible legs of desire" along with obelisks on their backs. Coupled with the image of their brittle legs, these encumbrances, noted for their phallic overtones, create a sense of weightlessness. "The elephant is a distortion in space," one analysis explains, "its spindly legs contrasting the idea of weightlessness with structure."

The egg is another common Daliesque image. He connects the egg to the prenatal and intrauterine, thus using it to symbolize hope and love[34]; it appears in The Great Masturbator and The Metamorphosis of Narcissus. Various animals appear throughout his work as well: ants point to death, decay, and immense sexual desire; the snail is connected to the human head (he saw a snail on a bicycle outside Freud’s house when he first met Sigmund Freud); and locusts are a symbol of waste and fear.

His fascination with ants has a strange explanation. When Dali was a young boy he had a pet bat. One day he discovered his bat dead, covered in ants. He thus developed a fascination and fear of ants.

by Salvador Dali

See: http://www.greatdreams.com/bison.htm

Typical Leonardesque symbolism such as wild primrose, which represents resurrection, and the blue veronica flower, symbol of the eyes of the Virgin Mary.

In the Last Supper, the disciple to the left of Jesus pointing his finger towards the ceiling gives a clear indication that the mystery in this painting is hidden there

"There is a Holy Grail in the painting completed through the image of Jesus. If you interpret the painting in the light of mathematical precision, circular study and symbolism (the pointing finger) that Da Vinci uses, the disciple to the left of Jesus pointing his finger towards the ceiling gives a clear indication that the mystery in this painting is hidden there. Considering why the artiste left almost half the area of the painting to depict ceilings and doors," says Antony. A look at his interpretation explains it all. The 12 beams on the ceiling indication twelve levels of wine in a grail that can be extrapolated using the technique of mirror image above the figure of Jesus. A case of disguised symbolism, explains Antony. Similarly Francis uses the Vitruvian Man and circular study to indicate the presence of Holy Bread in the painting.

On the controversy about the presence of Mary Magdalene in the painting, "It can be seen that the figure is taller than Jesus. Da Vinci would not have made a mistake of drawing a woman figure of greater height that Jesus," he says. Incidentally Francis embarked on a series De coding Da Vinci by tracing back The Last Supper step by step through under paintings.



Leonardo da Vinci, Ginevra de' Benci (reverse), c. 1474/1478, oil on panel, National Gallery of Art, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund

The sprig of juniper in the center of the wreath represents Ginevra herself. In Italian, the word for juniper ("ginepro") sounds a lot like her name. The same plant is featured prominently on the other side of this painting. It is a symbol of purity, while the laurel and palm represent intellectual and moral virtue. The Latin inscription "Beauty Adorns Virtue," with the word for beauty encircling the juniper, also reminds viewers that Ginevra de' Benci was a beautiful, intelligent, and virtuous young woman. 

He with a sort of religious sentimentalism, took for his device the mulberry-tree– the symbol, in its long delay and sudden yielding of flowers and fruit together, of a wisdom which economises all forces for an opportunity of sudden and sure effect.

Da Vinci used his hands as well as brushes to work on his paintings and left his fingerprints on his paintings, which people have recently used to identify him.


Leonardo was responsible for the decoration of the ceiling and vault of the Sala delle Asse (translation: 'room of the tower' or 'room of the wooden boards') in Sforza's castle, Milan and although this cannot be considered a 'painting' in the usual sense of the word to not mention it would be unforgivable. He was presented with this room for his own use; access being gained via a bridge and arcade he had built over the moat.

Painted between 1495--1497, the fresco is made up of eighteen willow trees, two of which skillfully encircle two windows in the room . Where the boughs meet towards the ceiling they intertwine, thought to be a symbol of  the marriage of Ludovico, Duke of Milan with Beatrice d'Este. Emblazoned throughout the branches is a fantastic golden rope made up of assorted loops and knots. Appearing to be several ropes, if it is followed the viewer discovers it is actually just the one cord which folds back on itself, twisting and turning throughout the entire pattern. Gold rope was a fashionable symbol of the day and appeared knotted on the clothing of Beatrice d'Este. Included in the work is the coat of arms of the Sforza family (falcons and serpents) which is painted in the very centre of the ceiling where the tree branches meet. Finally, four tablets were hung in the corners of the room to record important historic and political events of the day.

Sala delle Asse (Detail)
Sforza Castle, Milan

Much of the work on the 2,880 square foot canopy was carried out by Leonardo's pupils, but he did the design and this is a play on the word 'vinci', one meaning of which is willow. The search for any other hidden significance among the designs still continues, however it appears there is none to be found.

The hall was then used as a barracks and the paint deteriorated and flaked away. In 1901 a restoration was begun by Luci Beltrami; just enough of the original paint remained for this to be successful, but the work done was so extensive that the fresco was largely remade and repainted. Beltrami completed the restoration by taking the few remaining traces of the original and repeating the designs and motifs until the entire vault was covered. Like the Last Supper, this is not the work Leonardo would have originally presented to the world.

Further restoration went on in 1954 during which time a thorough cleaning of one small area was done and some boards removed which had been left untouched during the previous restoration; this revealed to some extent exactly how much the fresco had been altered by over painting. Originally the work was more open between the trees and branches, with the paint being less heavy, the leaves and branches more wavy. Large rocks were revealed through which roots were intertwined rising into huge tree trunks. Restorers of 1954 restrained themselves from completely removing all of the reconstruction done by Beltrami, restricting their own work to removing the heaviness evident in the new painting. With this they hoped the scene would achieve a more naturalistic look something Leonardo would have aimed for.




Da Vinci Code Research Guide on Da Vinci Paintings

Da Vinci Database on greatdreams.com

Dali Database on greatdreams.com

Mythology Database on greatdreams.com

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