Hello, dear ones. My body has been out of balance all week, so I’m officially giving myself a “leave of absence” for this week. [Can bloggers do that???] However, I do want to share the words of others that have been rattling insistently around in me.
The first is a beloved statement by Ben Okri that I’ve shared before:
“The earliest storytellers were magi, seers, bards, griots, shamans. They were, it would seem, as old as time, and as terrifying to gaze upon as the mysteries with which they wrestled. They wrestled with mysteries and transformed them into myths which coded the world and helped the community to live through one more darkness, with eyes wide open and hearts set alight.”
”And I think that now, in our age, in the mid-ocean of our days, with certainties collapsing around us, and with no beliefs by which to steer our way through the dark descending nights ahead — I think that now we need those fictional old bards and fearless storytellers, those seers. We need their magic, their courage, their love, and their fire more than ever before. It is precisely in a fractured, broken age that we need mystery and a reawoken sense of wonder. We need them to be whole again.”– Ben Okri
The next quotes are from Sharon Blackie’s remarkable new book Hagitude (pp. 188-189 & pp.193-196), which I am currently in the midst of reading. (I expect more references to this book will come along — She has much to say about the Old Woman in myth & story, including Trickster aspects & the role of the fiber arts in old stories.)
Writing about the work of René Guénon (Symbols of Sacred Science, 1962), Dr. Blackie says Guénon
“… argued that we now live in ‘degenerate times,’ at the end of a long era during which important spiritual truths have been forgotten, the ancient centres of wisdom have been destroyed, and the guardians of that wisdom are long gone. However, he suggested, the safest repository for such old truths has always been folklore. He believed that knowledge which is in danger of being lost can be translated into the symbolic code of a folk tale, and then passed on through the storytelling tradition. [….] Then, in better times, people might once again appear who understand the code, and who will penetrate the symbolic disguise and uncover the wider meaning behind. … It’s incumbent on us to tell the old stories — and to use those stories, when necessary, to hold the culture to acount.”
Later, Dr. Blackie describes Trickster beautifully:
“…Trickster is above all a disruptor of the established order, upsetting it so that necessary change might come about. Trickster happens along when something urgently needs to shift, sweeping out the old, arid and useless to make way for the new.”
“…Trickster holds up a mirror to all that is dysfunctional, hypocritical and perverse in us or in our culture, and challenges our deepest assumptions about our own nature, or the nature of the world around us.”
“The Trickster, then, in all her [or his] diverse forms, is the character who breezes in and breaks something in an attempt to wake us up, revealing to us the shakier truth which underlies a seemingly stable situation. And so Trickster can also be thought of as an archetype of the apocalypse — in the original sense of that Greek word, which means revelation: [quoting Richard Goswiller] ‘an unveiling or unfolding of things not previously known and which could not be known apart from the unveiling’.”
“What follows after Trickster’s intervention, of course, depends on many things — among them, the specific qualities of the Trickster who happens along in the story we are living through. And although we don’t always get the Trickster we imagine we might want, we mostly get the Trickster we deserve….”
It seems to me that we are really in the midst of major Trickster times on a global scale. Certainly we’re having to face “all that is dysfunctional, hypocritical and perverse in us or in our culture” & are being fiercely challenged on some of our “deepest assumptions about our own nature, or the nature of the world around us.” What do you & I see when we look in Trickster’s Mirror? And how & which of the old Stories can be of help? What & how am I (are we) telling stories? …These aren’t just “rhetorical questions.” I’m really pondering all this, thinking of my actions.
Anyway, I have to smile as I frequently repeat to myself what the Hunter’s Horse said in the story posted Sept. 23 : “Fear not — the worst is yet to come.” Don’t fear, don’t weep, the Horse says again & again. Step into the next part of the Story & deal with what you find. You might be surprised!
And, of course, we’re not alone. The Earth community in all its embodied forms is speaking to us all the time. Nowadays birds & deer are bringing me Stories. The Old Tree behind our house (or, I should say — in front of which our house has been planted) teaches me & shares her Stories every day. Who else is telling the Stories I/we need to hear? What are the Stories that need to be shared — in language and in a myriad of other ways? How does my fiber work speak? Much to contemplate…. and then to embody, to enact as a participant in this on-going story.