Tuesday, 4 November 2008
Tawny Clouds of Thunderous Honey
Well, the school is launched. Thirty of us braved the moorish embrace of Samhain weekend to gather in the old way: to wrestle with the tusks and flowers of the mythworld, sleep under fluttering canvas and by a blazing burner, to see Artemis and Parseval flare up in the startling faces of our fellow companions.'How can i be with you if i am not sad?' ask the Irish and we stayed loyal but not bound to that-much laughter seemed to circle the campfire and catch each teardrop. Thank you to the crew of the camp-Jonny, David, Del, Scott and William-and Joe for being the Ash-Man of the burner.
So i guess this blog (the least sexy and unmythic name i have ever heard)is to hopefully be of use for anyone with an interest in myth, poetry, wild nature and rites-of-passage, whether they are at the School or not they are most welcome.
First up is books for the school bag. Further down is a big list for the real lunatics but here is a tiny condensed one. Off the top of my head and a drop in the ocean-
Laying the Ground:
THE CLASSIC FAIRY TALES Edited by Maria Tatar.
MYTHS AND FOLK-LORE OF IRELAND Jeremiah Curtin
I found it on a rain swept farm in Oregon-Robin Williamson swears by it too. Old school (19th Century)-carries some of the word magic of the traditional storytellers in its linguistic patterns.
GODS/GODDESSES IN EVERY WOMAN/MAN (two separate books) Jean Shinoda Bolen
THE USES OF ENCHANTMENT Bruno Bettelheim
SHADOW AND EVIL IN FAIRY TALES Marie Louise von Franz
THE ARCHETYPE OF INITIATION Robert Moore
Essential reading on rites-of-passage; really lifts it from a tribal ritual into the shape of the experience in both our concious and unconcious lives.
CROSSROADS: The Quest for Contemporary Rites of Passage
Edited Mahdi, Christopher,Meade
BETWIXT AND BETWEEN: Patterns of Masculine and Feminine Initiation
Edited Mahdi, Foster and Little.
Both full of useful essays and threads to other writers.
SHOCKING AND BRILLIANT SECTION
TRICKSTER MAKES THIS WORLD Lewis Hyde
THE OTHER WITHIN: the Genius of Deformity in Myth, Culture and Pysche
Some of you know Danny, he's a long distance faculty member of the school. THE OTHER WITHIN is one of the deepest and most distilled commentaries on 'Trickster Wisdom' that we have. Trickster in its widest context, rather than a commentary on Native American stories.It's a book of great generosity-it contains dozens and dozens of examples of both stories and poetical threads to follow. For my money it also amplifies a train of thought that moves through Eliade, Bringhurst and Bly-namely
'the feral intelligence of the wyrd road'. He tackles this issue well:
'it must be established, therefore, beyond all doubt,that deviance,cunning, trickery, in and of itself, is not enough; for the real fruits and blessings of our cursed asynchrony are the undifferentiated, unprecedented, and hierophanous generations of liminality'.Trickster is no by-word for rip off: it needs a sacred context to flourish.
It is a hard read but offers great rewards-you will come back to it again and again-and benefits from note taking. Hopefully we can get this great scholar and wonderful
human being to come back to teach next year.
THE WISDOM OF THE MYTHTELLERS Sean Kane
THE WHITE GODDESS Robert Graves
As a coherent introduction to the Celtic world this is problematic.It is a thicket of speculation and obscure opinons about things most of us have never thought about.In the introduction he actively encourages you not to read it.THE WHITE GODDESS
is a horse that has escaped from the corrall, a candle lit in a chapel no one visits, a horny wolf in the lecture theatre. It has been attacked by acadamics since its release. However, if you enjoy wildness to actually exist in language and ideas, if you value a writer who's hands are stained with berry juice and cold welsh streams (i.e. he means it), if you arn't going to attempt to turn it into some 12 step easy plan to a 'wild and creative life.com' then you may want to check it out.I think poets are almost always the best writers on myth and i celebrate Graves allowing his 'luna'tic opinions to live in this doomed, resolutely arcane shape. It feels like time in the Magicians hut; as he cuts the air into strange constellations,lots of half successful spells, mice becoming pens, the road home to the rational turning into a small buggy of wanton nuns singing boozy madrigals.
SHAMANISM, COLONIALISM AND THE WILD MAN: A Study in Terror and Healing
Great work on when the shadow and power of the west hits the brujo jungle.
On my own bed table right now is:
PARZIVAL Wolfram Von Eschenbach
DIONYSOS: Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life Carl Kerenyi
BASQUIAT: A quick killing in Art Pheobe Hoban
GARY SNYDER: The Real Work-Interviews and Talks 64-79 Edited Scott Maclean
ON THE ROAD Jack Kerouac
Robert Bly's own copy-he left it in my study by accident.
At 81 he was reading it for the first time.After being rude about Kerouac for 40 years he said it was feckin brilliant.
and i am waiting for....
SHAKESPEARE AND THE GODDESS OF COMPLETE BEING Ted Hughes
Out of print and coming from Uni of Plymouth.I am predicting wild, unruly brilliance from a great hero of mine.
I just got off the phone with Robin Williamson-he has graciously agreed to teach at the school -on the evening of Feb 27th and all day 28th- 'Tales From the Tuatha de Danann' This will be a serious jump into the Celtic underworld from one of the worlds finest storytellers.More to come..
After a summer of insane levels of work (i just taught 14 days straight in the U.S.) i am settling into an autumn of writing, walking with the girls and trying to do a better job of mopping the kitchen floor. The chicken stew i'm cooking is looking promising though, even if i do say so myself.Time to open a bottle...I'm revising 'A Branch from the Lightning Tree: Wilderness, Myth and the Life not yet Lived' to include an entirely new final section on longing-drawing ideas from Siberian,Irish and Romanian Gypsy stories.Longing feels so undervalued but so crucial-the working title is 'The Currency of Longing and the Malignancy of Disappointment'.
Signing off with something from the new translations of Olav H. Hauge, 'The Dreams We Carry'
Orion has arrived now in the west, hunting, hunting-
he has not come any farther than i have.
The cherry tree outside my window is naked and black.
the sky is a bell, dizzingly blue, where the hard
fingernail of the new moon is making scratches.
Posted by School of Myth at 06:13