Edad - inspiration, also legend in your own mind issues
Or - gold, value
Start from love being aware of delusion, wait for inspiration, guarding against delusion, find true value.
I have to say the real theme of the concert was unbridled happiness. The crowd was happy and sang loud and strong on every chorus. The choir and rock band were happy to be working with such great music and with such a professional band leader. The quartet was happy to really hear some of their tunes as they were meant to be played and to be paying to a completely packed and higly enthusiastic house (had to add two rows of seats). I was happy, because it had been my idea 14 months ago and it achieved musically more than I could have hoped for. A great night for sure and now I want to find a way to do it again.
It's been a year since the idea first flitted across my consciousness and unlike most of my mental ramblings, this one is becoming a reality. The Unitarian-Universalist Church of Silver Spring is hosting Jennifer Cutting's Ocean Quartet for our winter music residency. Extra musicians have been lined up for the electric parts and a small choral group from our choir will join Jennifer for songs that have choiry parts. Concert is this Saturday night at 7:30 and doors open at 6:30. Tickets are cheaper in advance:-)
Jennifer will also be with us for Sunday services doing traditional solsticy music from the Songs of Solstice CD along with the aurally stunning, Song for the Night Sea Voyage from the CD of the same name. I get to do a reading of a winter solstice poem I wrote some time ago. I've come to appreciate the Rev. Dr. Leon Dunkley as we worked collaboratively to find a way to make the solstice alive and meaningful for a mostly non-spiritual congregation. Sunday services are at 9:30 and 11:30.
( Collapse )The scene is the Workmen's Pub at Christmas Time. In many ways it was a rough crowd as a barfight had already occurred. But here are Sven Berlin's words about the painting quoted in Strewing the Pateran, by John Pateman.
“. . . out of playing the bones and spoons while the wild old men did extraordinary tap dances with fantastic vigour, as though animated separately with strings, out of the sudden laughter or wailing from grief released in drink (for the Gypsies do not talk of their dead – they walk at their elbows) out of all this I made paintings with a new vitality from the source of things, involving once more the human drama with the mysteries of invention from the darkness of the mind. In the dust there was still gold.”
I've signed to audit two upper level courses at the University of Maryland this semester - Gypsy Culture and Old Norse. Gypsy culture will be an enjoyable breeze as the prof is a chill old hand deeply into all aspects of gypsy culture. Old Norse will kick my butt, no two ways about it, but it is an opportunity that I can't pass up. In addition to impressing the heathens, I may even be able to read an Icelandic newspaper when I'm done:-)
The religious system is Quintarian. There are five deities: the Father; the Mother; the Son; the Daughter; and the Bastard. Pretty standard until the last eh? The first four have their seasons in order: Winter; Summer; Autumn; and Spring. The Bastard has a day but is ever present. The creation myth begins with a World Soul that creates the Father and Mother so that it can apprehend itself. And from their love flow the Son and the Daughter. The Bastard has, as you might expect, an interesting parentage. A reclaimed demon and the Mother produce the Bastard though the mechanics are somewhat in theological doubt.
Death customs support much of the plot. At death, holy animals of each of the deities approach the corpse and one will stay with it to indicate that the god or goddess has accepted the soul. Usually it is simple, the Father accept the fathers, the Mother accepts the mothers, the Son the unmarried males and the Daughter the unmarried females. The Bastard accepts all others although it is possible, through a thoroughly messed up life, to be unaccepted and go on to a a slowly diminishing discarnate existence. What is clear through death customs and the cycle of festivals is that religious life is vibrant and Deity is real in the hearts of the people although outside of death ritual Deity rarely touches daily life.
That touch is made manifest in the chief protagonists of both novels. In The Curse of Chalion, the hero Cazaril's life is sustained directly by the Daughter in a condition of Sainthood, the direct presence of Deity in the world. He opens himself to be a cup for the gods in willing surrender, the cup perhaps related to Celtic three cauldron tradition. Surrender must be willing because Deity has no direct power in the world. In this there is a sympathy with R. J. Stewart's work wherein he states that there are things we cannot do that the fey can and things that the fey cannot do that we can. Deity searches for a vessel to undo the Curse and Cazaril is the unwilling and mostly unhappy victim. How that victomhood evolves into awe and poetry is masterfully prosecuted.
Ista, the heroine of The Paladin of Souls, is twice sainted first by the Mother, leading to disaster, and then by the Bastard (and briefly by the Father in a sidejob). Her prayers to the Bastard are highly inventive curses from the heart. And yet, in the end, there is that same surrender and being filled with Deity's purpose.
Throughout this, there is no inflation of ego, no power for power's sake although magic does happen. Rather, neither Cazaril nor Ista want anything to do with Deity as it has lead them mostly to pain until the end of both books. The world of Chalion requires a willing partnership between Deity and human or it fails. That partnership, while a hard and uncertain road, leads to spiritual fulfillment beyond any personal power. May it be so!
If you don't get to the books, the wikipedia article on the religion of Chalion is quite thorough. Obviously others have been touched by these works.