Saturday, April 3, 2010

Woodland days and webs of being

I can see why this place is called the web. Some years ago I read a tale set in an Anglo-Saxon pagan England and it told of a shaman's apprentice and otherworldly visions of every single thing being held together by spidersilk. Every thing, animate and inanimate, tree and stone and book and person and crow, all linked by a thread, a thread the shamans could travel up, and a thread through which vibrations of others could be sensed. This ancient view of things is common amongst shamanic cultures worldwide I think; it somehow feels true. The book was The Way of Wyrd by Brian Bates and it is based on a thousand year old Lacnunga Manuscript held in the British Library.

-- Rima Staines, ex-itinerate, but still nomadic in spirit, over at The Hermitage.

Rima has come in from the cold, so to speak, no longer living in her converted horse-box on wheels without electricity or hot water.  She has set down roots in a small house with lots of space now for her books and art and cherished objects.  A self-described "painter, illustrator, and maker of things and teller of tales", her online Hermitage is a "phantasmagoria of fancy, museum of myth and realm of the ridiculous," as she continues her journeys with nature and art, to the delight of her many followers.

Moss and Lace
An excerpt from "A spring walk one sunny evening by the river"

You're sitting at your desk piled up with work and wishing you could step outside and walk in the woods, listen to mountain water cascading down old, tired rocks, hear birds singing in the tall trees, smell the fresh early, mountain spring air, stroll by the meadows, warmed by the sunshine, feel Nature "being" ... but it's a 20-minute drive to where you won't find any people, noise, or pollution, to a place of sheer quiet that would allow you to hear the land breathing.  The little videos on Rima's web side taken during her "spring walk" yesterday allowed me to do just that this morning.  Thank you, Rima (and I love your lampshades!).

I like the idea of "every single thing being held together by" something:   spidersilk, shared affinities, common experience, or the eventual plight of all human beings on this earth--especially significant today when so many in the world seem cemented in the ever-present "Us-Them" divide. 

Rima's  Misrule, Mockery and Monstrosity, with its myriad examples of marginal imagery, provides an interesting discussion of just such a divide. (I found her chapter on "The Outsider Figure and the Concept of "Otherness" especially compelling.  Worth checking out, particularly with regard to those "peripheral people" in history and society--disregarded beings shunned for their perceived otherness, their not-quite-worthiness; marginal people with whom one's established circle experiences discomfort, or contempt--"frindge" people. The "other" that challenges the status quo, where discomfort results in reaction: ridicule, judgement, censure. Understanding why this is so tells us things about us that we may perhaps not wish to hear.)

 Glad I dropped in at Rima's Heritage this morning.  If you can't make it to the meadows, beach or forest and are limited to vicarious journeys, this one's a treat.

I am left with this melody in my head:  Utter stillness except the sound of water, falling over rock.

Photo above of woodland lampshades made by Rima, of "far-hefted ivy twigs, some leafy handmade paper and a bit of wire and string."

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