1. i’ve been going through a Hagalaz time since January, with various shocks coming within a fortnight of each other in late January/early February, playing themselves out over the turning to spring, and now seemingly exhausted & spent. At the time these were mostly grim, one was blissful and mildly agonising at the same time, and now all are done and i remain.
A difference in age – even while a certain melancholy lingers from the blissful agony (ir liebez leben, ir leiden tôt/ir lieben tôt, ir leidez leben) i no longer look to the things outside of myself for cause or solution; i know it lies in me. And with this you pass from Hagalaz to Dagaz.
This was first borne upon me in 1998, when i read Kierkegaard’s Either/Or and Stages on Life’s Way: a balance between necessary passion and acceptance. This doesn’t come easily to youth. In my early 20s it was almost impossible, though Kierkegaard at least nudged me from murder/suicide/atrocity. It’s easier now, as i have outlived youth and can discern a pattern in my desiring & chaos, the working out of my Hamingja (ethos anthropos daimon).
2. A man’s fate is his innermost character, and his daimon/ Hamingja. In my case, much of my life becomes easier as i accept the compulsion of my Hamingja. There is a similar acceptance in Hamlet (between Act 4 and 5) and Unforgiven as Will Munny ceases to resist the bloody working of his character and fate.
This isn’t to say that one’s life becomes as one would wish it; but it becomes easier to bear; and in a sense even very grim situations are just as they should be and no more. For me, this is the great lesson of the great late 80s/early 90s action films, as the heroes come to face an enemy that is willed by their Hamingja. It is this concordance of character and enemy one sees in Predator, Lethal Weapon, Unforgiven.
3. i sometimes wonder why i know of my other lives, and remember the bits & pieces i do. It isn’t normal, since amnesia is almost essential to an ordinary, healthy human life. In my case, i think part of this elberry life is a moving-beyond elberry, not to become my other lives but to as it were simultaneously inhabit this & other attempts, as one might play a score while remembering other versions, other interpretations & partial failures. At least, knowing what i do makes it possible to discern lineaments of fate. So when i meet people “by chance, as we say in Middle Earth” i can sometimes perceive an order nonetheless.
4. In my last & difficult Arbeitsamt (JobCentre) class, which i taught from January to April, there were:
i) Dieter, a stern, humorous German in his 50s who planned to give a class presentation about Vikings; he took to referring to me by military rank, and on his last day we saluted each other, as seemed natural;
ii) A pretty, early-30s Bulgarian woman. She has a warm character and studied Philosophy. On our first day i asked after her favourite philosopher and she said “Wittgenstein”. We drew closer to each other over time and she gifted me her warmth.
iii) A radiant 30-year-old German giantess who is, i think, a “young soul”. Contrary to some New Age shite i’ve heard, old souls like me are often more confused and fucked up than relative youngsters, because we have so many divergent, contradictory lives – all exerting an influence on the present. The giantess flirted with me out of boredom & some curiosity, for example she got her neighbour Dieter to call me over to her side of the (large) room then as i bent to look at his notes she scattered confetti all over my head, laughing; or she offered me some of her lunch then made it clear i was to eat it out of her hand, so i did.
Some of the group went out drinking and there i fell into talk with the giantess. i knew she liked birds so asked which birds she favoured; crows, she said. We talked about crows and i felt that though she had no acquaintance with the Germanic god, she had an instinct.
i note such patterns and attempt some understanding. Such attempts are always against the grain of our world, always difficult and uncertain; it is important not to overextend reason. Much is beyond me. i can only see that there has been a conjunction of emotionally strenuous demands this year, beginning with the sense that my last book-attempt was shit; this coincided with more ordinarily human problems. i can’t will away my emotions: but i can see them with the eye in the well, with both mortal attachment and spectral distance; i can choose to inhabit this fraught clarity:
dem lebene sî mîn leben ergeben,
der werlt wil ich gewerldet wesen,
mit ir verderben oder genesen.
5. At present i have survived these tests, but they have so absorbed my attention & desire that with their passing i feel blank and void, much as i did after nearly-dying in France two years ago. It seems that my old life has been erased and i merely continue the mechanical processes from inertia, without heart.
This makes it difficult to write, since i no longer feel a centre from which to communicate. But i retain my old “toys of fire and smoke” and may be reborn.