• A very great deal more truth can become known than can be proven. Richard Feynman
    "The Development of the Space-Time View of Quantum Electrodynamics"

Kiya on Twitter

Other Blogs

  • CowOfGold Moving
    An update on my previous post: Cow of Gold will have a new home here when the maintainer has a chance to put up the site again (with some revisions, apparently).
  • Minor Call for Nerdy Action
    I know I’ve been profoundly absent for a while – my research stuff has gone a bit by the wayside – but I wanted to bring something to people’s attention: The Egyptian mythology/symbology resource “Cow of Gold is hosted on Wikispaces, which is Going Away. Not all of the pages of Cow of Gold are […]
  • Unsettled Time
    We are living in unsettled time. Wp Rnpt has ended the time between time, the Days Upon the Year in which time is upended and unordered, but time is still not aligned fully. We have space in which action exists, in which we can uphold the world, set ma’at in its place, the leverage to […]
  • Hills of the Horizon: The Past is Another Country
    The problem with extrapolation from history is that nothing is testable. The evolution of a religion over time is not a predictable and easily comprehensible thing, where we can look at a point in time and say, "It was like this then, so it would be like that now." The process of deciding what needs […]

Embodiment, Theology, and Ursula K. Le Guin

I wrote about the passing of Ursula K. Le Guin over on the authorblog already, but of course there is always so much more to write, to say, to mull over, at times like these.

I wasn’t going to write here, but then I was reading so many of the explosions of comments, of articles, of references to old speeches, and I read this:

People crave objectivity because to be subjective is to be embodied, to be a body, vulnerable, violable.

Ursula Le Guin’s Bryn Mawr commencement address, 1986

Usually when I hear people talking about embodiment, I’m in a Craft conversation.

Which of course started cascading, all these things about the nature of story and the nature of theology and narrative and things. But I am quite certain I would not be here, not be as I am, if I had not learned basic principles of magic, of theology, of the nature of the world, from Ursula K. Le Guin. (And some others. But I cannot understate how much depends.)

I am quite certain that I would not be as convinced of the theology of names as I am without Earthsea, nor would I understand the creative power of language. And Earthsea shows not only the power of naming for the dramatic magics like the compulsion of dragons, but also the inner work, the shadow work, the confrontation and healing of one’s inner demons.

I’ve been in circumstances where I’ve been asked to talk about my Craft elders, the inspirations and guides on my way, and I’ve always felt weird and awkward about it. I read so many of the witchy books of the early 90s, and other things, but none of them had the right songs to them. I learned what I learned from stories, because stories could teach me what was true.

If I draw up the strains of my magic, of the things that I know to be true, of the core portions of my spiritual understanding, I find these things: I find the power of language, of narrative, of words; I find the magic of names; I find symbolism of light and darkness patterned together; I find dualities in balance and union; I find interlacing science and ethics, mathematics and philosophy; I find service and freedom; I find power and liberty. I find ruminations on gender, on materialism, on actions and consequences.

I find Earthsea.

I find The Left Hand of Darkness.

I find The Dispossessed.

And when you fail, and are defeated, and in pain, and in the dark, then I hope you will remember that darkness is your country, where you live, where no wars are fought and no wars are won, but where the future is. Our roots are in the dark; the earth is our country. Why did we look up for blessing — instead of around, and down? What hope we have lies there. Not in the sky full of orbiting spy-eyes and weaponry, but in the earth we have looked down upon. Not from above, but from below. Not in the light that blinds, but in the dark that nourishes, where human beings grow human souls.

Ursula K. Le Guin, A Left-Handed Commencement Address

Comments are closed.