May 9, 2007

Faith and Mel gave me a novel birthday present this year, a silver quaich—a cup of friendship, or “loving cup”, for drams of whisky—engraved not with a Gaelic motto in this case but a Welsh one, Eni Newydd, which means “new birth.” Faith also chose a birthday card for me which pictured a birthday cake decorated with model workmen digging into the icing with miniature shovels and erecting the candles, because life is always under construction, she says.

So it is, though I would call it re-construction, rather. The city of Berlin is a good example of constant birth, destruction and reconstruction! They call it Umbau or Wiederaufbau, over there.

So while those bones in my foot are under reconstruction, I’ve been thinking about all this symbolism and of how life sometimes seems to have come to an end, when you think that what follows will be no more than a mere pretence at living. But after a while, you realise that it’s not like that after all; you’ve been somehow reconstructed so that you are truly alive again. Either that, or another self has taken over from the one that perished, perhaps… that idea comes into shamanism. Chris and I met someone calling himself a modern shaman last year who’d written about a man in a therapeutic trance whose various selves had all gone for a walk together…


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