Saturday, October 5, 2013

Solitude

"Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god."
~ Aristotle

Mage Music 73

I'm writing this post on my laptop while sitting on a porch of an isolated lodge overlooking an alpine meadow in the wilds of the White Mountains in Arizona. I'm on vacation and I'm at a quilting retreat.

The occasional bald eagle flies overhead. Horses graze in the distance. A pair of pigs (ultimately intended for bacon and chops) trot by. Wind soughs through the pine trees. It's peaceful out here. 

Inside the lodge - not so much.

Inside there are wall-to-wall tables set up in the main room for nearly two dozen women who bend over sewing machines. Some of these women have quilted for decades, for half a century, maybe longer. Some, like me, have come to it more recently. Everyone knows everyone - whether from before the retreat or because of it. And everyone has a lot to say. Twenty-some women, all talking about sewing techniques, fabric, family, food and life in general - all at once. The retreat is an opportunity to gather to share knowledge, to complete projects and to be inspired to new creativity. For me, it's an internal battle between opportunities not usually available to people who live a solitary life - as I do - and the desire to run, screaming, from the clamor of so many minds and voices.

Magick, and creativity in general, benefit from solitude. In some cases, they require it. The solitude doesn't have to be physical, but being alone makes it easier to find the psychic and spiritual quietude from whence Magick and creativity arise. This is the inner silence that is the equivalent of a blank canvas or sheet of paper, the silence of a room before the first chord.

Creativity in art and Magick starts with the identification of the spark of a new thing that has not existed before in this world, a spark deep inside the self. Less than a spark, actually - creativity begins with the discovery of the idea of a new thing, an intangible potential so fragile and elusive that almost anything can become a distraction that leads to its destruction.

The psychic noise of everyday life, while providing comfort and stimulation for most purposes, can destroy all but the most demanding and insistent creative thought. The most delicate nuances may be stillborn, unable to compete with the loud and insistent noise of tribal interaction.

This is not to say that an artist or Mage must dwell in isolation, but only that he (or she, of course) needs to reserve an inner space for the Work, and to hold that space inviolate for the creative process. For some this can be achieved by withholding the inner self from the public eye while yet living in the spotlight. For others, it means hiding out far from the maddening crowd.

For me, it means I have to take frequent time-outs so that I my soul can uncurl itself and breathe freely.  The women here may sense I'm some kind of wild beastie compared to themselves, but if so, they're very understanding.



3 comments:

  1. They're very understanding, and you're a real great writer. Glad to read you're in a so comfortable place, it seems very nice.
    Solitude, and i know this very well, is not necessary a bad thing, and when it is so, it has also a positive side. And so does sadness. When you're alone you can get your thoughts togheter and create something from them. And when you're lonely you can experience feelings that may be your inspiration. Be isolated, phisically or psychically talking, is like be safe from the outside noises, safe in our silence. In this moment we can say we are in a intimate place, inside ourselves, where the Magick can flow pure and crystalline. People's eyes can see a strange person who is asocial and introverted, but we're alone, we're safe. And this means that not everyone are mages, and someone not even understanding.

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    1. Thanks for the thoughtful comment!

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    2. You're very welcome my friend!

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