She Called It "Borrowing"
She called it "borrowing", this daughter of Freya, this priestess-naïf with long locks of burgundy, and spoke of it so casually it was as if an everyday experience. "You know, when you are looking at a sparrow on a tree-branch, and suddenly you are inside the sparrow's body, looking back at you, and the sparrow is in you looking at you, the sparrow...". So obvious, so matter of fact, just-so, and plain as day. And my young baffled mind, furiously intrigued, but not knowing, skeptical yet immediately enchanted. And called "borrowing", for the body of each "borrowed" the consciousness of the other.
Was she able to say this, was she able to see this, because she was broken, because, like Freya in her tower, her hair too was tied in knots, and eyes far-away to escape the anguish of unwanted assault? Yes, perhaps. Perhaps. It may be in this world that the broken are those gifted to seethe, for spirit boils and bubbles within them in great pathos and desperation.
I had never heard of any such thing, not, at least, spoken of with such mundane certainty, such common sense borrowed from the stars. But then I read of witches, who told Inquisitors that they transformed into rabbits, and mice, and cats, and feathered things, and it sunk : this was something archetypal. This was not but a fairytale, but an ecstatic experience common to many in the world. And fairytales perhaps were but the informal scriptures of this experiential spirituality.
Then it was that I prayed for enchantment, oh, that one might experience beneath an old, gnarled tree in the woods, losing one's mind, and all sense of time, and touch those deeper, stranger roots where magic happens, not as a manipulation of the material world, but as a sense of wonder and awe more incredible than one had ever hoped.
So it was I fell in love, and was cursed and blessed with the gift of enchantment for which I prayed. It was at this time a book fell into my hands, one I had seen before but passed by. In a New York used bookstore, Hans Peter Duerr's Dreamtime fell into my hands, and it spoke of everything I had heard and hoped for. This was the enchantment for which I had wished, affirmed in words, etched with philosophical erudition and scholarly power.
Oh, that love, love that could marvel, love that stretched and strained one to the breaking point, love that chased after hundreds of miles, from one town to another. Love full of the anguish of the cuckold's horns, Freyr's antlers with which one discovers one's manhood. Manhood in the otherhood, by emptying out one's humanity, into the earth, into the anguish, into that surrender I heartily call abandon. There and then I knew, for I felt my satyr's legs hairy reach down with hooves to the salty, dusty, hay-smelling earth. This is my mate. This is the one for whom my hormones are cellular spells cast creation in the first primeval soups. She is the Earth speaking to me.
Odr and Freya, the one after the other, and reversed, again and again. In those long voyages seeking, tasting that rich red wine of melancholy upon which the greatest poets are drunk, but beyond, begin to see, I, I began melting, transforming, tentatively tasting what she called "borrowing". An oak meadow of golden-brown savannah south of San Francisco. There I felt myself becoming the entire field, my soul stretched out to its very limits, and I was one. There I experienced myself as the oak. Can you imagine? To feel it within one's very body, not an imagination, but a physical, kinesthetic experience of becoming the tree, feeling oneself as the bark and heartwood, boughs and leafed branches. Oh for certain it was that now I was broken that I could so feel. I had asked for enchantment, and was given that broken heart through which alone the mind of the mundane may be opened. I fell into that Ophelia-space she so readily drifted within, and there I tasted the seethe of her seidthe.
Oh, then to Deleuze and Guattari, not to chase after postmodernisms, but seeking words deranged and wild, as Rimbaud turned and twisted into philosophy, that might speak such strange derangements love had brought me. For you see, I had been gifted with an elfin gift, a light rarely able to linger in this world, and that was the realization that though I belonged to her, I yet did not belong, and thus, I belonged where I did not belong. It was, in other words, the knowledge that in impossibles our highest essence is to be found, for in contradiction there is light as like unto no other. (An Odinic realization!) And thought is not that which has been thought before. It is rather the puzzle in the paradox, the struggle within the riddle's contradiction, the careful thrashing within the tarry cat's cradle whereby one struggles to be free, and join together what resists synthesis.
There is yet a catch to such love and such madness. Where love coheres in the impossible, it cannot long be sustained in this world so intolerant of contradiction, so enamored of resolution. What may dance in the wave equation is so far beyond its collapse upon which the atoms of this world are built! So you might touch eternity, you might know the transform of the beloved beyond all forms, and yet, in time, it might pass on, disperse, and be lost. The love of your life.
And then you might spend years dazed, longing, desperate to bring it back, like the shepherd in the tale who once having seen the Fairie, wastes away from thereonin, for nothing within this mundane world can ever compare to such Exhaustive, Inexhaustible Beauty. Oh, say Deadly Beauty! Yet tales are warnings ; I would not waste away, nor would I let waste such wonder. For when you are given a gift, you are also given a debt, one that must be repaid, and when it is magic, with interest.
There are lessons others may provoke within us, but it is we who must claim them. Another can only evoke for so long. Then, if we find that which has been sparked to be of any worth, it is we who must find a way to make it live within us. Such could be the task of many years, or even decades. But it defines the very difference between the diligent and the lazy. Such is a devotion that may well be called religious, for did you not know that the genius is but that fairy-fylgia the Norns and Gods assigned to us from places more divine?
Her name meant "light", her name meant "lands of bliss beneath the earth", her name meant "broad pastures", and these were each true names. And oh, within her form, did Freya speak most freely. If ever flesh were epiphany, if cells might portals be that open the gateways to spirits' call, she was, she was. And all began, some foolish young maiden, with simple talk of "borrowing". Oh, simple indeed!