Tuesday, 24 May 2016
Our Common Dwelling
a lamp made from a cat's skull;
a female figurine;
acrid dried herbs;
mystically engraved animal bones;
old scrolls and codices;
images of owl, serpent and dolphin;
a wizard's rattle and drum.
Christian Corentinus visits Forsquilis to compare his visions with hers but, while he is in the secretorium, he averts his eyes, remains standing and refuses wine. Forsquilis suggests that they do share a dwelling, the world. He replies:
"'You are mistaken, dear. Earth has no roof or walls. It stands open to the infinite. We by ourselves have no defence against the business that walks in the dark.'"
-Poul and Karen Anderson, Dahut, Chapter XVII, section 3, p. 377.
There is much to disagree with here. Our roof is the sky. Our walls are the joining of earth or sea with sky at the horizon. We are at home in the infinite. We no longer fear the dark but banish it with electric light:
"'...the ghosts of night-bound peoples evaporate from their mythologies as soon as they're able to produce light even at midnight simply by tripping a switch.'"
-James Blish, Cities In Flight (London, 1981), p. 507.
"Ten leagues beyond the wide world's end.
"Methinks it is no journey."
Walking across a field above Morecambe Bay, I suggested to a Wiccan High Priest that this was our temple, the sky and everything beneath it. He replied that some buildings do give a sense of a vast sacred space. I remembered that York Minster did not feel like being indoors. The same guy and I noticed a strange effect when sitting by a fire on the Bay at night. Seated facing the fire, we might have been enclosed in a cave. However, by simply standing and facing outwards, we became aware of distance, space and stars. We were at home in the cave and the space and they were the same place.