Never go home again
Our lives are not what we thought they were.
That’s part of the trick the world plays on us. And I’m not talking about the universe, I’m talking about the very precise delineated cultural expectations we are inculcated with, the depth and breadth of our personal sphere of influence.
Certain things that are impressed upon us from birth, which form the bedrock of our society and culture, are based upon misapprehensions.
And when we encounter something from the Otherworld - which is in fact, merely a distancing technique, since all that wyrd, primal stuff is right in here with us, and we were never ‘safe’ to begin with..well
That’s why magic is an attack on reality. Because ‘is’ splits, forks, shifts. Reveals itself as a fleeting ephemeral image that dances away with mocking glee, some pied-piper playing a tune that seizes the hind-brain. Some come-hither-maiden, some curly headed sly fellow, some old wanderer beckoning you to follow amidst a troupe of spirits with their own agenda.
Bilbo was never the same, was he? Neither Frodo, nor Sam; Merry and Pippin become something else too. The Ring might be melted in the fires of Mount Doom, but it’s the Hobbits that pass through fire and come back changed, more themselves than they ever were. And what, do we think the Sackville-Bagginses of the world thought, long after those tales were mere poems and stories?
Structures are reconfigured - Tolkien knew this intuitively. He knew the heroic tales of the North like the back of his hand, felt their pulse under fingertips stained by pipe-tobacco. He looked about him, and saw, not the lack of an English mythology, but the cultural amnesia.
Because the first and greatest act of magic is remembering who you are.
Reaching back, extending backward, to make electric contact with the days of Future-Past.
Through the dark of futures past, the magician longs to see. One chants out between two worlds, fire walk with me! - Twin Peaks
Hold still then, close your eyes, and there in the darkness, remember.
Remember all poetry, all song, all magic, all might, may-hap and may-be comes from the place which loops over and under your very skin, in the spaces between your recognisable, coherent thoughts.
Mountains are made there. The sky darkens as wolves and jaguars eat the sun, or pull it into the sea. The streets you walk along contain seeds of shadow, waiting to blossom, to scent the lightning tang which containsthe serpent’s venom-sting, which lies behind and beneath all human artifice.
There are indeed things humankind was not meant to know, and this is not some hierarchical divine fiat, but a simple understanding - when you have the knowing of certain kinds, you are no longer what would ordinarily be considered human. Your days as a two-legs are done, and only then are you aware of the subtler powers of the mask.
You will walk amongst them, but you will never be one of them again.
Because you never were.
The sheer ontological shift will render you, will rearrange your priorities and values. The unnecessary, formerly so beloved, will fall away -and you will no longer care.
All that matters is that flame, that Eros which draws you ever on, the flickering cunning torchlight held in the house of princes, the agony of fever and sickness which sets you to sleep and chafe and dream strange dreams .It sits at the heart of every atom, a crystalline shine, sunlight endlessly refracting of a million facets.from its position in the centre of the very earth.
Ἀπόδοτε οὖν τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ (Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s)
And to whom do you pay tribute? Whose head is on the coin of your Soul?
Whose blood-salt sea do you sail, dark as wine?
You will be asked to leave the premises behind. The landlord has called time on your intoxication. All that lies ahead is a dangerously seductive and joyful sobriety, available only to to those who purge themselves. Cast into the street, there’s only the strong hand of wild and feral creatures of thorn and ash to hold back your hair and whisper in your ear with honeyed lullabies.
Oak-strong, with feline grace, they carry you away, supporting you with lithe bodies, until, like Samson, you rage and bring their temple down upon your head.
And there, amidst the masonry and bones - now indistinguishably stained as the inner becomes the outer, its secrets now revealed - there lies a sense, not of self, but of Being.
Our lives are not what we thought they were. We die and are reborn, moment to moment, our hands and hearts open. All is flux. This to shall pass. We possess nothing, except our very Selves, the starry constellation of eternal, recurring possibility
Our lives are not what we thought they were. And neither are our many deaths.