Jonathan Carroll as a writer before now. He was recommended to me a few months back partly because I had written a book called Walkerabout shamanism in which a central character is a wolf spirit guide. The main character in Carroll’s book Sleeping in Flameis called Walker Easterling while a giant wolf features strongly in the first book of his novel cycle,Bones of the Moon. Then, of course, the shaman Venasque dances through all the novels. Venasque can teach people what they most need to know (be it swimming or playing a musical instrument or flying).
“I can teach you to fly. That’s the first step....It’s not such a hard thing to do.”
He can juggle time and space and death. Ah, truly a magician. But you have to learn for yourself; he won’t do it for you.
“You’ve got to kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight.” You have, haven’t you? Yet the darkness is also beautiful in its own way, no?
“Life has a very bad case of acne which it has no desire to lose, because that would mean it couldn’t look in the mirror fifty times a day and feel sorry for itself.” Hmm. There’s something in that, let’s be honest. We all like to feel sorry for ourselves; we can all revel in 'poor me' syndrome. Many of us clutch tight onto our pain and sickness for the strangest of reasons.
“How far was a dream allowed to trespass into real life, before it was caught and sent back to its proper place?” Ah, but what is dreaming and what is ‘real life’?
“It’s hard convincing yourself that where you are at the moment is your home, and it’s not always where your heart is.” Where is home? When is home? What is home?
“The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love. It may look paradoxical to you, but it is not. It is an existential truth: only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of going into the deepest core of the other person - without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, and without becoming addicted to the other. They allow the other absolute freedom, because they know that if the other leaves, they will be as happy as they are now. Their happiness cannot be taken by the other, because it is not given by the other.”
Is that true? I absolutely agree with the first part. One cannot be with another until one is unafraid of loneliness. But to be happy at loss? It is logical and my mind balances the equation but still my heart baulks.
“Dogs are minor angels, and I don't mean that facetiously. They love unconditionally, forgive immediately, are the truest of friends, willing to do anything that makes us happy, etcetera. If we attributed some of those qualities to a person we would say they are special. If they had ALL of them, we would call them angelic. But because it's "only" a dog, we dismiss them as sweet or funny but little more.”
Ah, and you know how I feel about that. :-)