Near a small village called Roundwood, a giant zombie seemingly rises from the swamp. Known as The Ferryman, this impressive statue is just one of the many sculptures found in Victoria’s Way; a privately owned meditation garden in Ireland. And, rather than rising from the murky waters… he is, in fact, forever drowning and unable to reach the shore.
As part of the Indian Sculpture Park, the undead creature is said to represent Parinirvana; the last of seven stages representing Siddartha’s transition from un-freedom and distress to liberation and bliss. However, the official description of this piece takes a much darker point of view… sounding more like a zombie rather than some joyous state of nirvana.
The ferryman’s craft lies dead in the water. Unable to move, he can no longer reach the ‘other’ shore and touch it. Unable to touch he cannot become real, identified and fully energized (hence joyful). Unmoving, he sinks and dies.
The ferryman’s craft is his capacity to create difference.
The sculpture of the Ferryman’s End is a metaphor for the individual who is losing touch with the real world, personal or general. Because the sense of realness and the release of energy (read: enlightenment) resulting from the fusion of ‘this’ with ‘that’, therefore between differences, happens as after-affect of contact (i.e. of touch), loss of connectivity results in increased feelings of un-realness and loss of energy (experienced as depression), which in turn results in the fading of identity (and self-meaning) and increased unhappiness (the latter telling the individual that he or she is failing/dying.
When put in the proper context, it’s easy to see how this could describe a zombie. For example, as an “after-affect of contact” such as a bite, an individual’s strength and energy begin to fade away, eventually resulting in the loss of identity. And just as a zombie exists in a state somewhere between life and death, so does The Ferryman of Victoria’s Way.
You can read more about the Indian Sculpture Park at Victoria’s Way by visiting the official website online. And for those of you near Ireland this spring, the 22 acre park will reopen to the public on April 18th. But come prepared to spend well over an hour in bad weather!