With the two interpenetrating domains in play, it’s time to turn to the wind-up that ends Whitehead’s account by focusing on what the most intense expressions of the interaction between God and World looks like (350–51). It’s a dynamic process (no surprise), but Whitehead does suggest a basic fourfold pattern that describes it. It is along this axis that complex and durable spiritual entities form, most importantly our selves. That process (not the subject of the process) loops back upon itself, the result being the initiating element in another dynamic process.
I’ve been going through the thirty-one drafts that I had accumulated for this blog. I went through them ruthlessly and was left with nine posts that I can’t quite let go. They were composed at various points over the last few years, some reference discussions on blogs that don’t exist, and they are united in not quite fitting in with whatever I was working on at the time, oftentimes picking up a thread from an earlier post that I had left behind.
I want to shut this blog down cleanly, so before I get to the summation I am going to clear them out. That means some rewriting and, so far, that process has already resulted in one of those posts being binned, happily. Others of the nine will surely follow it into the bin, but I will probably end up posting at least a few of them. Those that do will be posted because (1) I like them, flaws and all, (2) they might be useful to someone else thinking about these things, even if only to disagree with, and (3) they are linked to some discussion that has gone on here, even if it is a very old discussion.
Story’s have beginnings and endings. Even those stories that end leaving us with a sense of messiness and incompleteness, or that open in a disorienting en media res, they have a beginning and end. The sense that they continue, that they extend indefinitely beyond themselves on their own terms is a narrative illusion, trompe l’oeil, but for our sense of time.
Being sick last week had the silver lining of getting to spend a fair bit of time with both Marija Gimbutas’s The Living Goddess and The Language of the Goddess. There is enough accumulated opinion around her work that I might not have otherwise done that had not sickness whittled my world down to a spare space around the couch, where her books, fresh from the library, sat within easy reach. That’s more than a little ridiculous, when you think about the scholarship I would otherwise tolerate from within the greater magical community.
Of course, that’s part of it, isn’t it? The magical community has garnered for itself a sense of academic credibility (at least in its own mind) in part by accepting certain fashionable academic opinions as givens, including the ones that basically suggest Gimbutas is full of it. The spirit of seriousness lures us with the promise of acceptance if only, as Michael Serres observed, we exclude this third man from our dialogue. Or, well, pace Serres, not a third man, but a woman.
I’m just riffing off of the recent reading and household discussion of Elizabeth Wayland Barber’s Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years. It’s a great book and part of its strength is its strength lies in its tight focus on the archaeological record. That costs her some breadth (though it is still a broad book)—for example, there is little said about Africa, Asia, or the Americas. This is generally fine given her argument that the regions she is studying serve as the cradle of string and subsequently weaving technology. Given her deep time frame, diffusion into Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia is easy enough.
I am just trying to pull together a little constellation of thoughts and conversations. This post spins at the crossroads of Wole Soyinka’s Myth, Literature, and the African World (ergo a little of Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy by way of Soyinka’s dialogue with it), Zdenka Volavka’s Crown and Ritual, Margaret Thompson and Henry John Drewal’s Gẹlẹdẹ, some household conversations about Dionysos, a smidge of Károly Kerényi’s Dionysos, and a friend’s offhanded observation that the so-called ‘Artemis’ of Ephesus’s so-called ‘breasts’ looked a lot like the nests of bumble bees (having to use ‘so-called’ twice says something, doesn’t it?).
This may also be brought to you by the letter ‘M’ and the number 8. This isn’t intended to be a mash-up of all these elements, but deep-rooted mysteries tend to have many branches and sometimes they intertwine. This is gestural, pointing out how what is disparate in proximity might converge if we trace the outline of their trajectory.
These are two more snapshots of the Virgin moving outside of the European sphere, this time from the Kongo. The first snapshot narrowly precedes Columbus’s voyage to the Americas in the fifteenth century while the second picks up the thread of her kikongo sojourn in the seventeenth century. I’ll share each one, then link them.
Mohaveh aggressively organizes itself around the book of Baruch, to the point of reorganizing and retelling Baruch’s mythology, partially in light of previous work through my more diverse and contingent sources (sources which include: the Popol Vuh, diasporic West African cosmology, and accounts of the Sumerian underworld). Mohaveh named itself fairly early, but only recently began to provide me with a sense of its internal structure. The Kabbalistic work has been essential for that, but so, too, has this strange little heresy reported in A Refutation of All Heresies.
I’m weird about cosmologies. I constantly make use of them in the middle of things, as a way toward structuring a specific spiritual working, but I am suspicious of them and, to be honest, generally think of them as a bit twee and precious. When it comes down to it, though, in the grand scheme that is the shape of human endeavor. Our ideas make so much possible, but it is their fate to be dissolved in the labors of daily life, to be undone and remade.
And, if I am going to talk about Mohaveh, I have to accept that it comes wrapped in its own cosmology, even if it is the cosmology of a sea anemone, all ragged and hungry. So, let me get to that. The aim here is to provide a cosmology that is both complex and clear, instructive and useful.
When the Democratic Party realized that they should maybe, kind of, make an effort to campaign in my home state, President Obama descended upon one of the local campuses to give everyone the ra-ra-ra. Small little flags popped up, lining the walkways of campus like mushrooms, to disappear almost as suddenly afterward. Afterward, in the wake of the Democratic Party’s defeat, I came across a single little grimy flag entangled in some holly bushes, its pole broken and its fabric creased and crumpled.