Thursday, March 10, 2011

Letting the Lore Go to Seed

Now what you've got to do is you've got to study the old lore, and really get to know it, and let it sink into your bones. You've got to take the many expositions from varied perspectives, the beautiful and elegant reasonings of the pagan philosophers and the cogent and penetrating insights of the best of modern scholars, and then you have to let this beautiful garden go to seed. You just let it go, and let it go wild, and hairy, and let it grow into what it will grow into.

One way to do this is to study folklore collected from the mouths of rural and working folk, whose lives inflect their lore with their grittiness, their color, and their texture. These from-the-mouth testimonies give a picture of how lore gone to seed can look, whether they are first-person narratives, as one finds in some of the Foxfire books (which compile oral histories from the Appalachias, and provide a wonderful inview on hillbilly life), or ballads.

Thus, the study, the lore, is just the seed-form. It will become wooly. It's that wooliness that characterizes heathenism. It's that wild, rustic edge that takes the beautiful seed, and lets it become its ruffled, hairy, thorny, stubby, tall and lush self.

This characterizes the lore of witches. When we look at the lore of medieval witches, we may think of it as impoverished and cut off from its heathen root, and at times that is true, but at other times, what they have done is they have merely taken that root and they have allowed it to come into its wild environment and branch off in the directions that it wills. It's that rough and tumble, tough as nails, sometimes scolding, often shrill, and grounded in women's mysteries, which were never written down by the hand of man, and thereby hold up an untapped mirror into the wholeness of the ancient wisdom of the heath, that is needed in order to complete our training.

Every master, every teacher, has an angle, has an inflection. They usually have a blind spot as well, but together, being passed from the hands of teacher to teacher, you can fill in a lot of the blind spots, and gain a much more holistic perspective. No one person, no one book holds the truth. It's that which grows between all of these which manifests truth, and I say "grows" between, because it's not just the between, but it's that going to seed of the learning that really brings out its flavor.


Blogger AmethJera said...

So very well said in this excellent read! As a witch, I have learned to just absorb what is...the history is all around us in the seed, as you pointed out. I tire of being beaten over the head with history books and dictionaries-which do have their place in the scholarly pursuit- but as you say, it's the seed which causes growth. Much of our history is intuitive.

8:14 AM  
Blogger SiegfriedGoodfellow said...

Much of our history is indeed intuitive. Some forget this. Most good reading happens between the lines.

3:36 AM  

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