Monday, January 07, 2008

I can see where someone might get into having their spoken word transcribed so they didn't have to worry about spelling and pauses and such, the actual scribe would fill all that in. That skill would be so valuable, so many people could benefit from having their words put down to paper just the way they said them. Of course, to be really valuable the people would need to read, and writing would have to be somehow understandable across the board, across the lines of class and time. I mean, to be really useful, how nice it would be to know how and what Ramses I said while puttering around His capitol. I have a DVD of my dad chatting with some of the family, some cousins, I believe, and his cadence and laughter would be lost in a simple transcription, but maybe the wisdom would not. Maybe what he said would have been handy sometime to read. I know just for a chuckle or two I recall some of his stories. I think I have better stories as far as humor goes, but his are certainly better for being real, assuming most of them are. If they aren't then there's thousands of people who would be disappointed to know. I personally love the one about him tiger hunting in India. That would be a shame to lose that one to our great grandchildren. Of course, by then the tiger will be extinct because of people not very different from Dad except they shot the tiger and Dad drove away. But I like Dad's story better because it's just like him not to hurt an animal when sober. He liked animals, and that's kind of interesting when I think of it. Not the usual stuff about the hard guy having a soft inner life, Dad wasn't soft anywhere except his gut and that was later on. No, it's that he had to have an empathy for the beasts he raised, cured, helped or saved. He had to feel as if he and the beast were somehow worthy of equal respect and succor. So he bound the wing of the same dove that he might have been shooting at before. But he was shooting to kill, not to hurt. He was shooting to eat. He wouldn't have eaten the tiger if he had shot it, so it would have been cruel, and more importantly, unethical. Ethics requires a relationship between the parties that is somehow equal.

Then there are Archetypes. These are People who stomped the earth, who made the valleys and seas. They invented Tools, or Mead, or Death. You can deal with a man walking into a jungle, drunk and wild, looking to shoot a huge animal and bring the skin home. That's a wild, really great story, but if the tiger is Tiger, then the man dies and never becomes a hero, not even to his son. But Hero, the Great Man who dares and dies (or doesn't die but who will in Time), have to die or he's just another immortal and there are so many Gods. Every freaking piss ant Pharaoh was a God. Volcanoes were gods quite often, although their idea of creation was often making a great vineyard on top of a civilization. You had all too often a God who blew His stack and buried a People, or at least a Tribe. In western Europe there is a kind of shaman called a Magi, which is not to be confused with the Three who were One. A Hierophant is another example of the same. Certain levels of archetypes can have multiple names right from the start. So you have this Merlin-Gandalf archetype of the Magic, all-knowing one, waving, speaking, doing something otherwise pretty common looking and then everything gets better. We win, our side goes home with the pig. But, in the valley below are the bones of those, just like us, who went home with the pig, too.

I have a pile of bones in the studio, most, I think, are deer. When Jon got hurt I went out to the desert and found them there. I think I wrote about it before. I've been moving them around, looking at patterns, making designs and meditating on them. One thought that came to me when I first found them in that wash was the wash itself. There are bright iron oxide colored stones everywhere in Arizona and every wash is a tonal poem of muted red and orange and brown. The bones are red, too, like some kind of chalky red. The stones broke off into reddish sand and washed around the bones of the red deer that fell into that wash. Or the young redhead who went out to party and never came back, but whose ribs and leg bones were mistaken for an animals by a man blinded by grief. Or they were just the bones collected there from a deer or a pig or a person and there are no stories, but only patterns to see in the way they move around on the table top. I have flint tools, stone hammers, bones, horns and skulls. All the things you'd need to make an altar or a bonfire(bone-fire) or if you wre a scholar maybe you find out something about a whole People and how they came to be where they were doing what they did. Great stuff, bones. Some of the earliest human art is scratches on the leg bone of a pig. Nobody thought to ask why a pig would carve up his own leg, or have it done on a bet. They just assume one of Us did it.

I'm quite sure I have seen a few gods/goddesses in my time here. There's that look about them, they can't hide it. The thing is, seriously, very few of them are Creators, so how can you blame them the way things go? You gonna get pissed at Mars for the Iraqi Occupation being a complete bust? First, it's not his domain, and second, if there was a Deity of that Problem I am sure they would take the side of the Iraqi Insurgents because we are the ones who started dropping bombs on sacred ground. Sacred to the Babylonian gods, the Sumerian gods, Assyrian... you name it. We did the Shock and Awe bit on Babylon. So when you wake the really ancient Gods and Goddesses of War you have to expect to take a few hits. They are right, though, that by and large we can just keep sending bodies to the altars of war and we won't get much backwash here at home, not from those Gods. Our Gods of commerce are capricious at best, and these ain't the best of times.

Having taught the ancient armies of the East how to defeat the young upstart empire of America, the Merchants of War sell the People to their new masters. Comes of re-reading the Book of Five Rings and watching a fine Kurosawa film. Kurosawa was well versed in Archetype theory when he directed Seven Samurai and the rest. Rashomon is a fine testament to the Trickster as any I've seen. So in all things the concept of Honor is brought up, the concept of Ethics, is brought up, as if these were so common they didn't need much definition, just some filling in the spaces. Like which People is it that the Hero is sacrificing himself for, or nearly if he has another miracle to perform? There's a lot of people and a lot of tribes, more, I think, than the number of Gods if you include Corporations. Here in America we have a myth that a Corporation is the same as a Person, that is they have the same rights and even sometimes, more rights. Because Corporations are like lots of People and so they have Lots of Rights. But still, in the end a corporation can only be a person and absolute power corrupts any person, always, by definition. Only a Hero or Magi is safe from ego and we don't have one of those handling things in our world today. We have Lawyers, and Corporations, and Pundits... all kinds of new Archetypes designed to fill in the gaps between the Gods and frankly I don't think it's working.

You know why I don't think it's working? Because people with machetes are cutting people's arms off, even when the people in question are very young and defenseless. People are blowing themselves up, flying into buildings, standing up in a crowd. That's how I know it's not working. This is why I go back to the earliest Archetype and see where We went wrong. It's Mama. Her and Her big Tits and Her eyes. The first Mama was a Bird Goddess. She took care of Her young, even throwing Herself in front of a Hunter to save Her children. The hunter remembered Her flying up at him when he found the nest, and how She tried so hard to protect Her young. Mama Pig was also very soon a part of our pantheon. She with Her numerous babies and Her numerous tits. She provided for all. But those who watched closely saw the Turtle snap up the ducklings, or the hawk snatch the chicks of the Mama Grouse. It confused a few, for why would Death so easily defeat Mama? A closer look reveals all the Mamas in the soil, the bodies, the water and the air. She's freaking everywhere! So Life goes on and Mama goes on, but She can be very disappointed in her babies. And Mama disappointed can be Dark Mother, the Crone, taking us down. If you are going to wake up your mama, you might want to do it from a safe distance. Now ask yourself, where is it safe to be from the Mother of Life? Looks bad for the miscreant.

So I plan my garden, collect the seeds and make sketches. If the spring is dry enough, we'll have new kilns and we'll start on some wood carvings, all of this in spite of the Recession, the War or the Other Crap. You still have to gather seeds and plan or the Garden goes to Shit.

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