Wednesday, 29 February 2012
is the link to information about the Wilderness Quest: The King and Queen Must Wed The Land. Please contact us today if interested. Places are very limited.

I have been heads down in the finishing of this new book - which keeps uncurling into new and shadowy areas - so forgive me for no entry last week. Here is a little piece from the commentary on the Brutus of Troy story - the commentary should not hold too much in the way of problems if the story is not familiar. The below comes from a general awareness of a changing and probably turbulent times ahead. From artistic and philosophic communities there is talk of 'otherness' 'liminality' 'fragmentation' - in mythic terms, Trickster talk. This is healthy. But Trickster is trying to get us to see re-see holy things; if there is no divine edge then Trickster is simply not present. So this is just a little on that - and really trying to re-emphasise the idea of certain myths as an echo location (see last entry) from the earth to us. If there isn't this earthy pulse in an idea then i suggest we leave it alone. The soul won't be convinced.

Where is the Altar in Altermodern?
It is clear, just like the story, that culturally we are in a period of huge but incredibly speedy transitions. Old Kings, old notions, old fixities are taking arrows to the heart on an almost hourly basis. The writer Nicolas Bourriaud claims the post-modernism is over, done. The corpse is stiff, waxy and congealed. This new emerging he calls the Altermodern.

The modern and post-modern attention to a primarily western fixated culture is at an end. There is no clear centre anymore, but an emerging polyglot. The velocity of exposure to endless varieties of society, opinion, texture, is cooking up an enormous creolisation, at the expense of multiculturalism and regional identity. For the emerging generation, culture is resolutely globalised, slow ground is no ground.

Bourriaud sees this new universalism as being based on subtitling and generalised dubbing. How could it be any other way when the heavy task of actually learning a new language, or being immersed long term in another culture is a ridiculous labour when compared to clunky, un-nuanced, sub-titled, un-informed, but an absolutely instant montage of image appearing on the glowing laptop screen? This is one aspect of the Protean Age I mentioned in the introduction. We are receivers of a vast backdrop of information, but identical to the vastness is thiness of relationship. And out of that vast panorama, roughly two inches deep, can only arise modern art.

Whilst the turning from a western fixated centre should be celebrated, celebration is halted when we realise the replacement is not rich diversity but globalization. This is the very opposite of a mythline- something found slowly by diligence, place, reaching out into history, myth and the wild thought of a landscape. This is more like the smoke streams from an aeroplane, briefly visible with but with long term affects.

The ‘Alter’ in ‘Altermodern’ refers to multiplicity, and also notions of otherness. What happens to otherness when everything is subsumed into the blinding light of the new creole? Will otherness become the new constant? It would appear so.

Of course, we can see Hermes, Coyote, and Loki scampering around in this new dis-located, un-Olympian, flattened out barrage of instantaneous connections, but how long will it keep their interest? – all three are in service to speed and a little chaos,but only when it serves more than profane. No matter how grubby their appearance, Trickster is pushing us back into encountering divine forces. But this thiness of knowledge, this denial of the local, where does this place Saturn and his candled study of long term goals? What of the loving construction and steady logic of Apollo and Athene, or of home loving Hestia? Have we forgotten the Altar in the alter? I worry that we bore the Gods.

Eras of time used to be seen within a kind of straightline history; but the Altermodern is no straightline, it is a maze. And a maze with no centre to locate, no flag to be embedded. Like (and I do stress ‘like’) Coyote, its life force is not really gathered in one place, like a heart, certainly not in Old Europe, and that is one of its positives. There is a starting from scratch at work. Realms are no longer stratified and boundaried, but gateway riddled plateus. We have information but do we have meaning?

We would do well to remember: Coyote requires settled areas for his wider travels to take on real significance, he needs something to run up against. He enjoys some sovereign heft. If everyone travels, then we encourage a form of his demise. Occasionally Trickster establishes as well as transgresses boundaries. But if the boundaries no longer exist at all, then where is Trickster?

The issue is that the Gods are a complicato. Hermes is at his best when relating to other forces; fierce Hera, Aphrodite, Zeus’s kingly gaze. The rough and tumble of their shared intrigues create culture, they are not to be separated. Globalisation is monotheism. Hermes within this format is not Hermes at all, but a mimic. Bernard Neville talks of ‘Hermes inflation’, as a psychological, not mythological, alignment with the western ego.

An attempt to reorient could be to remember the specific form of Hermes communication – to communicate the gods messages by psychic means –from soul to soul. So if the soul does not open, then Hermes is not present. If there are no other god's to send messages back and forth to, then Hermes is not present. Remove the flowers and the bee is taskless.

Copyright Martin Shaw 2011

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