Sunday, 29 October 2006

Still searching for the perfect spell

The Samhain season is never long enough for me. If I could stretch October and November to cover half the year, I would. Just to hold onto this feeling of eerie suspension, when the rhythm of the world slows to a throb. I love the sweet, rich scent of decay, the way the earth feels darker and thicker while the air grows thin, the wild, cold-loving old crone of my heart. I love the darkness, and all the promises that hide there.

Reading Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, which is ideally suited for autumn consumption. The story and language feel like they have been brewed, strange, unknown ingredients perfuming the reader’s mind. One of my favourite descriptions - a portion of painting in a monastery, in which there existed “all the animals of Satan’s bestiary…brutes with six-fingered hands, sirens, hippocentaurs, gorgons, harpies, incubi, dragopods, minotaurs, lynxes, pards, chimeras, cynophales who darted fire from their nostrils, crocodiles, polycaudate, hairy serpents, salamanders, horned vipers, tortoises, snakes, two-headed creatures whose backs were armed with teeth, hyenas, otters, crows, hydrophora with sawtooth horns, frogs, gryphons, monkeys, dog-heads, leucrota, manticores, vultures, paranders, weasels, dragons, hoopes, whales, scitales, amphisbenae, iaculi, dipsases, green lizards, pilot fish, octopi, morays and sea turtles. The whole population of the nether world seemed to have gathered to act as vestibule, dark forest, desperate wasteland of exclusion…”

Looking forward to Tuesday’s showing of The Phantom of the Opera – the 1925 silent film staring Lon Chaney. The screening, at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, will feature live organ accompaniment. I hope they make the room very dark. I want to be chilled, magic fingers of macabre sweeping so softly up my spine, stopping just below my ear, so that instinctually - obediently - I lean back my head to expose my neck.

Wednesday evening shall include ghostly tales and songs, as part of the Scottish Storytelling festival. Thursday I’ll digest my fears and recover with more stories during Afro-Celtic night, an evening dedicated to the rhythm of words and drums.

I am of two minds at the moment. I feel I need to get out more, do more, see more. But I also just want to sit. Find some graveyard and just stay all night, in the company of shadows and friends.

1 comment:

Marcheline said...

Ah... Samhain. I knew you were one of us.