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Gnome Pipe by Marc Potts (2012)

Gnome Pipe by Marc Potts (2012)

This post only partially regards gnomes. Which I’m sure are fine little cthonic elementals, but I’ve never actually been to Europe, so besides the ceramic garden variety, I’ve never met one.

It will, however, more acutely point out a complete lack of inspiration for the letter ‘G’.

Actually, that’s harsh. ‘G’ is a fine letter, and renders my name a full half a syllable and one Rune less than it might otherwise have been. But that’s not really post-worthy. So rather than let the blog sit for another week after getting a few ‘f’s up early for The Pagan Blog Project 2014, and to share some of what I’ve been doing/thinking with my growing number of readers and followers (“Hi!” *waves* “Thanks for being here!”), I’m going with gnomes, and a few other sundry items.

That’s no small thing. The Pagan Blog Project continues to amuse me, with new reads, ideas, new conversations and a growing number of followers and readers. That’s cool. I like the idea of people being interested in what’s going on at the bottom of the world in terms of all things witchcraft. It’s true, we’re totally awesome. And, as it happens for those playing elsewhere, heading straight towards Hallowmas which, I would say for the most part, Aussies celebrate at the end of April.

There’s actually a lot of inspiration to be had, just not a lot of ‘G’ related. Starting to prepare for Hallowmas, and also structuring rituals specifically for entering into places of power have lead me to a deeper consideration of galdrar, traditional Skaldic structures and how one “translates” that practice into a contemporary English one in the context of our environment. Inspiration is there, and the bare bones of incantation, and poetic invocation and story telling is not wholly difficult to grasp in terms of spiritual work and ritual. But at the bottom end of the world, there is a level of invention and innovation required. Musical, and repetitive styles for chant are not as easily rendered as one might imagine (and those who attempt this work will no doubt appreciate it can be hard work). In terms of things for which we have few nouns, an innovative kenning can be useful.

And those little nouns can be quite the bitch. In a conversation this week with a friend, we discussed how those little words can be a real barrier to experience, and more importantly, repeat experience and developed bodies of lore and relationships, most especially with genius loci. How often do we react to landed fae, call it a pixie/faery/elf/gnome, and then apply “Old Country” Lore to same? As my friend said, “that shit ain’t no Old Country Pixie I’ve ever seen!” (and she’s seen some shit in the “Old Country”, so to speak).  I wonder, do they get offended?

The truth is what the hell else do you call it!? I know 3 words from Indigenous tongues for landed faery-beings, appropriated into English: ‘mimi’, ‘yowie’ and ‘bunyip’. But there’s no reason to think that, with the plethora of elemental/fae beings and what have you, and associated lore, described across Europe, Australia is restricted to 3. Regardless, I’ve never heard a practitioner or witch in Australia suggest that their experience might’ve been one of those. (I’d certainly like to hear if anyone has!) Moreover, the country is no longer limited to the pre-Colonial purity. If a tree can be imported I see know reason to suggest other types of beings can’t be. Is it possible that whilst British men were conquering the Nation, British Fae were engaged in their own war wiping out Indigenous Fae? I have trouble with that as a concept because it’s preposterous. And mostly because there’s plenty of spaces in Australia free of oak and roses. Does the onus rest on the creativity and open-mindedness of practitioners and animists trying to engage with the environment in meaningful ways? We are not Indigenous. I wonder that immediately applying European folk customs and lore is maybe going to diminish our chances of making nice with the Dirt People. If human people can be offended by invasion, I see no reason to suggest other types of things can’t be.

Australian Aboriginal rock painting of Mimi spirits Anbangbang Gallery, Nourlangieen in Kakadu National Park - Photo by & © 2002 Dustin M. Ramsey

Australian Aboriginal rock painting of Mimi, Anbangbang Gallery, Nourlangieen, Kakadu National Park. (2002) © Dustin M. Ramsey @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimi_(folklore)

When in doubt, apply a creative kenning? It’s certainly interesting to think about. And probably more than interesting when engaging with the Land. Of course, I’d love to hear other people’s experiences.

I’m currently working on, or rather with, the Brush-tailed Possums (Trichosurus vulpecula), and I want to whilst I still have them in my backyard, which is not something I ever had in Sydney. I’ve also become overly fascinated by Ghost and Spotted Gums, and Bloodwoods (Corymbia var.), and hunting about the neighbourhood trying to identify a specimen or two. They’re not really a Tasmanian thing, occurring mostly on the Mainland, and I can’t pin point from where this preoccupation has come. For a long time these were classified as Eucalyptus, hence the “gum” moniker. But that’s an aside really. We call them gums, and they are very closely related, but I’ve become fixated with what exactly might be different about them, in terms of their more subtle nature.

Oh look! ‘G’ is for galdr, ghost gums, genius loci and gnomes. Neat.

This post participates with the Pagan Blog Project 2014, just.