Saturday, November 22, 2008

Calling Forth My Light, Not This, Not That

I am just enough Celtic in sentiment and lineage that the wee folk are part of my thing. I am happy to invite them into my poesy as well as into my life. Sure, Faerie doesn't REALLY exist. Well... but I want them in my life. Wouldn't mind a few grays also as long as they didn't do weird things to my body. I grew up reading my Dad's (and then my own) F & SF. I WANT life to be strange like this. Anyway, one day the Starfish put up a photo of bell-like flowers and that married with my wish for fairies. Here's the result.

Calling Forth My Light

Fairies ring flowers
Like churchmen ring steeple bells
And dew sprays like sound.

Calling me to devotion,
Fairies lead me to my knees.

They dust me with love
And touch my cheeks, kissing me,
Calling forth my light.


The following is the result of my tendencies toward the Hindu views of things. I am not especially fond of the Western apology for polytheism when the apologists want to point out the superiorities of Hindu philosophy (indeed, Vedanta is a superior analysis of consciousness).

Instead I like the wet and sweaty, meaty and gritty realities of Gods and Goddesses. There is a tendency in me toward that breadth of divinity, not crammed all into one God, which seems stifling to me. I am only writing of my instincts. Philosophically I am conscious of the polytheist, panentheist, monist and monotheist positions and know the Western proclivities that culminate in modern Judaism and Christianity. I know that Islam at least initially, just like Jainism in India are each attempts to gather us into the whole. Bahai also tries for that. In the east, Buddhism pointed out that you can be fully spiritual and dedicated and bypass God entirely. And yet I LIKE to chant to Brahma and Shiva and Durga and Parameshwari and Rama and Ganapati. Once I asked quite sincerely for a new language and was offered Sanskrit. Wow.

"Not this, not that" is the more common translation of the Sanskrit "Neti, Neti," a sacred phrase. You might notice how close "not" and "net*" are. This is no accident. "Net" and "not" are members of the class of Indo-European language family root words, such that at least linguistically the speakers of Sanskrit and most European languages are related to each other. This is so thoroughly mappable beyond all possibilities of chance that specialists in linguistics have confidently created a whole science around these connections and their ramifications.

Not This, Not That

I have no real name.
Born one way, gone another,
No, not this, not that.

I flow windswept and contained
In this waking dream of mine.

I was solid once
But burst in too much warm truth.
I now stream away.


  1. Beautiful reflections. My earliest thought on religion was prompted by reading BEN HUR. Somewhere in the middle of the chariot races remains this intense conversation asking if all the souls who didn't believe in Christianity would be damned to a floating lake of fire in hell. I was shocked right out of the story at the answer and have ever since believed many paths to truth exist. Your blog is a wonderful collection of poetry, spiritual and affirming. Thank you for posting.

  2. That last one is a wonder.

    I find the philology of the Indo-European languages fascinating, did a short dissertation on it at university, though memory fails me some now. Yoga and yoke come from the same root, too.

  3. Lucy, there is a great resource in an outfit called The Teaching Company if you have the time and the funds. They sell college level learning courses on CD, DVD, and audio tape. I took two of them in linguistics, one a survey of the whole shebang but of course slanted to American students from an American black professor, and the other a History of the English language.

    Oh my God. I love this stuff. How freeing it is to recognize how nearly everything about a language changes at least a little over time. The meanings of certain strong words are amazing.

    Take "strike". It has varied so much over its really long usage that my dictionary, a Webster's unabridged takes nearly a page to cover all the notations, and the etymology shows threads through Old English, Old High German, Old Slavic, and even Latin. What? How did Latin get in there?

    Strike, struck, stricken - now there's old English, but wait, also striking - and that's a whole other line.

    Originally, meaning to pass over lightly, to do you get from there to a walk out of union workers in anger over contractual matters? Fascinating for the likes of me.

  4. Me too, I could live on a desert island with a good etymological dictionary!


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