mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Reindeer and shamans

Altogether elsewhere, vast
Herds of reindeer move across
Miles and miles of golden moss,
Silently and very fast.

That's Auden, The Fall of the Roman Empire. Just realized how much it echoes earlier lines of his:
Far from his illness
The wolves ran on through the evergreen forests
City-child me rather likes the idea of an altogether elsewhere- somewhere that's the essence of uncity- as a mental location, if not somewhere I'd ever want to be.

What have you just finished?
Aiken, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, and I finished it Sunday night. Work and wanhope have kept me from finishing anything since.

What are you reading now?
Laurel Kendall, Shamans, Housewives, and Other Restless Spirits: Women in Korean Ritual Life.

Am charmed by these small town Korean women in the 70s with their new TVs and hair stylists and rambunctious deities that come and possess them when invited to do so. The ceremony is a female occasion-- women make the request, women carry it out, and the guy for whom the ceremony is often intended is often enough sitting uncomfortably in an inner room drinking with a buddy and watching the women jump around in bizarre costumes. Though there's one anecdote of a man who came requesting a purification ceremony: his wife was Christian and would have nothing to do with the old customs. Having a shaman in to chase out evil spirits and pacify obstreperous ancestors seems a little like having a fortune teller in to read your stars, in a society where fortune tellers are more acceptable socially than they are here.

What will you read next?
Probably Stevie Smith, Novel on Yellow Paper, currently waiting for me at the library.
Tags: meme, reading_13, verse

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