When Hillman professed, “We forget the old lesson, and mistake the finger that points at the moon for the moon itself,” he was referring to music as one of the invisibles, an elemental mysterious force that is bridged into visible form by its notations. Like the myths, music will always remain an uncanny creature, beholden with an archetypal story: an unknown power to mirror and shape-shift psyche. Like the dream image, music comes from the otherworld, it is beholden and colored by the voices of the ancient ones; it is the siren call of the dead, lulling me to gesture creatively. Even more, it shows me how to leave the dream soul and return to the daylight realm, where I do not always want to exist.
I dedicate this mythical tale to the spirit of my father, D Trotter, a musician of Loveland, who gave me the thread of the fates, illuminating the path of a mythopoetic muse.
I bow to the fates for summoning an intuitive and accomplished photographer, Joey Paynter, who captured my compelling relationship with the mythical image: the underworld of soul.
Prose: Gina Rochell
Photography: Joey Paynter
Music: ESSE, Deep Heart: https://youtu.be/tMdBfbVOjvk
ESSE, Dissolve : https://youtu.be/NEP2NINOrF0
Hillman, J. (1996) The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling, New York: Grand Central Publishing, 94.
A promise of devotion: The poetics of gestures
“Music: breathing of statues… you stranger: music.”
(Rilke, p. 147, To Music)
Please listen… listen to the cadence of my voice in the way you might be caught off guard by a resonant melody… listen with anticipation for that timbre that creates a stirring melodic incantation within the belly… then move with an understanding that this is not a dance with our beloved, but rather, towards soul: the poetics of gestures.
I am appealing to our sense of serenity, for all of us…just this once… to find a way to listen… to find the rhythm between words, the space between the bars of sound, for if we do this, then possibly we may find in this moment, that the one I am describing is as alluring and incandescent, as a perfect melody.
Listen to the way these words breathe, creating layers of tonality, carving out a statue that appears to you in a dream scape, a familiar being, and yet, an emboldened stranger that we can not resist… ne’er to turn our gaze. Just maybe if you listen to my parched and husky voice, we may then imagine what it means to fall upon a woodland creature, a giantess figure, gesturing with tree branches. We may then fathom the existence of ghostly faeries that gesture poetically, as if they are a conductor of a musical composition.
And so, there she is… do you see her?
Even when I pronounce her name… Aslaug, I am gesturing, I am summoning the presence of the gods; the fates to tug on the thread just a little, conjuring my brother Albin to also turn his gaze, because if he, just for one moment stops his melody, he will find that he is reflected in her eyes; reflected in her name forever: a promise of devotion. You see, they believe in that sort of moment, the magic of another, tilting their head to get a better view and then falling into destiny.
Albin introduced her, sang out her name in a melody, Ass…laug… his eyes cast out to the eternal summer sun, whispering, “a statue, malleable to the touch… a woodland creature prancing for the trees.” Já … he used those words, faerie… woodland and from that moment on, he became her beloved in human form, for there are others. He is betrothed to her essence and her crooked thumb, a gesture to the Ensouled, and with each musical composition he crafts for the gods; she poetically motions her fingers upon the leaves of each tree.
It begins with a bow in honor of the ones who sleep deeply with the Ensouled… and then Aslaug speaks her own name aloud, calling forth the one she honors as a mythopoetic gesture…imagine this… Assss….laug…
For the gesture to Albin’s melodic voice, leads to the intoxication, the swirling dance, engendering the scent of tree bark, illuminating the tilt of the neck. Let us catch a glimpse of the pewter pen twirling between her fingers, notating the tones of nature, for she knows it’s only the ravens that listen.
The journal filled with faerie tales and dream images, a companion that mimics the shades of her heart, pressed between her palms, as she recites lyrical lines, captures the language of psyche; its mythopoesis, revealing that metaphors from the dream soul can be alluring to the wolf’s ear.
The red wooden wagon left by a child, the blue plastic pail and bucket drying in the sand, behold their own mythical essence that conjures a gesture, a subtle movement found in a glance towards the sun.
Such objects must reflect a way of knowing… they express and reveal the way to move and shift with the soul of the world, appealing to those who perceive the shadows beyond the veil. For Aslaug, dancing has nothing and everything to do with a partner; it is not the one who comes with an outstretched hand, or who leads her in an old-fashioned waltz. For Aslaug, gesturing is language, poetry and prose, encapsulated in one word, poetics… an offering from the dream image, given to us by the ancient ones.
Now please… will you cast your gaze upon her…
and then listen…
It was the day I saw her prancing amongst the statues in Einars’ garden, arms waving, as if she wanted to cause the rocks to swirl in the air. It was then that I realized it is not really dancing the way we know it, but a poetic gesture, I would say… and it is a gesture towards the elements, the archetypes: the collective unconscious and the figures of the dream underworld… she is not gesturing or moving with them, but towards them… a shifting towards darkness so that she may know it, understand it and then accept its essence.
We must also know this about Aslaug… she has been gesturing for them since she was five. It was that iridescent dream soul that appeared before her, as a small child with a blue-black overcoat and top hat. Aslaug was breathless, as she described the manner in which she focused on the child’s back, waiting for her to turn around… she calls her Hagalaz, the never-ending hail storm…
and with Aslaug’s breath held in her throat, she tried to speak out and reach for her, but as it sometimes is in the dream soul, the words would not take form before the child. So she waited, and just when Aslaug finally took one step forward, the child was faster than a falling star, arms linked around Aslaug’s body, stepping on her toes, creating a cavernous wound within Aslaug. But Aslaug did not flinch, for she knew the child was a door…
an entrance to another realm, another way to greet soul, another way to see through to the other perception of the world, for you must understand, the anima mundi is constantly beckoning, and we must not turn away.
Let us also remember this… when we say the underworld: the dream soul is not real, we mean to say it does not exist because we cannot touch it…
But this underworld of soul is just as tangible to Aslaug, as it is to kiss the statues in the garden…
this gesture towards the elemental figures of the underworld is a poetic incantation to all things that have a name, and with each name its essence is revealed by even the slightest movement: the palms of the hands, tilted towards the sky.
May we always be devoted to that mysterious poetics of gestures… kisses…