Sunday, January 24, 2010

New Years and Blank Spots

Firstly, We'll start out with a New Years Benediction from Neil Gaiman:

I know I promised the obligatory New Years post a while ago. I am fortunate to have not specified a really solid time frame.

Now, in my myriad new years madness, I've made several promises to myself, and one of which has been a book rotation schedule. As I dearly love books in a proportion that borders on a sexual fetish, I need to make more room for them.. which means I must give up a treasure to get one. I have two very large plastic bins of books I shall be giving away, or selling, but getting rid of, in order to feed my habit. Ever in the pursuit of knowledge, I'll be reading an occultly oriented non fiction book, with an informational text of purely "mundanely" practical purpose, followed by fiction, as I don't read nearly as much of that.

As such, in my rotation I have just started to read Neil Gaiman's "American Gods", and am falling in love with it. There are a few writers that can weave a story that inspires the mind to ecstatic heights, that write with such beauty and depth that it moves you in that ecstatic way that true Art does. It exposes that rawness in you, making everything you touch so vivid, so REAL that it hurts, but you revel in that hurt. Neil is one of those authors. Catherynne Valente is another writer I've read (even though I've only read her a little..) that can do that.

It's made me think of art, and the creative process.. And those blank spots on all of our maps. What a shame it would be if we filled all of those in. How claustrophobic to never have an unknown, a new frontier. To never venture past the bounds of our charted corridors into a place that is totally new, totally open.

I have noticed, through the years I have spent so much time and energy trying to fill in all those blank spots, down to the smallest minutiae. What results is a prison. One you think you know every inch of.

But you don't. You never do. To hold hard to our maps is to ignore the reality of the situation as it is. To never venture to those unknown places, those places of monsters and dragons, is to be deprived, sorely deprived, of our creative spark.

I have always adored Gods who are more than one thing. Linminal Deities and tricksters. Gods who rip things down and create anew. The moment we solidify anything cracks will form. It's in those blank spaces that we draw the future, that we are shocked enough to feel the raw Realness of Reality as it is. Something that snaps us out of our sleep, and makes us appreciate the world in all its Beauty and Terror.

I have a good friend who is a Chaos Magician, and that girl has worked some serious magic with the simplest and most mundane of tools. I've said often that magical systems are like computer OSes. You start out as someone who maybe can use it for basic needs, then move to someone who can use it professionally, and when you get really good, you can program for it, or rework it into something new. In there, in that programming aspect is the Promethean spark. We always fall short so long as we look for a static Truth. Even material science and mathematics are constantly impressed about how much MORE there is to.. well.. everything.

Truth is dynamic. Any time you think you have it all figured out, you've simply found the current walls of a prison. Crowley's definition of Magic is quite good. Art and Science.. Most folk tend to favor one over the other.. I tend to favor science, but science can box you in. Science is methodical. Art is Ecstatic.

May you all in this coming year receive the full glory of Neil's blessing, and receive the blessing of Art itself, and be broadened, brightened, loosened, and set free past the bounds of yourself and the known world into something far deeper, and far more beautiful that you had seen before. May you redefine yourself, and allow yourself to be fluid enough to pass any obstacle. May you also have the full boon of science, and always have enough resources, and good planning to be full of food, and pay the bills.

I leave you with one of my favorite Dune quotes, a book series that speaks heavily to boundaries, limits, and how to break them.

“Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.” -The Sayings of Muadib

Om gam ganapataye namaha!

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