Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Naming the devil

Novelist Ursula Le Guin creates new worlds where old truths are told in  stories of quest. One of her characters – Ged – unleasheswith his own vanity a dark shadow  from the underworld. The shadow hunts him and threatens to consume him until finally Ged turns and begins to hunt the hunter. In Le Guin’s world it is the ability, the knowledge, to truly name a thing that is the source of power over it. In the last pages of the story, the confrontation happens.

Aloud and clearly, breaking that old silence, Ged spoke the shadow’s name.
And in that same moment, the shadow spoke without lips or tongue, saying the same word: “Ged”.  And the two voices were one voice.

Until that moment (Ged’s friend) Vetch had watched him with an anxious dread , for he was not sure what had happened there in the dark land.  But now, when he saw his friend and heard him speak, his doubt vanished. And he bgan to see the truth. 

That Ged had neither lost nor won but, naming the shadow of his death with his own name, had made himself whole: a man who, knowing his whole true self, cannot be used or possessed by any power other than himself, and whose life therefore is loved for life’s sake and never in the service of run, or pain, or hatred, or the dark.

In the “Creation of Ea” which is the oldest song, it is said,
“Only in silence the word,
only in dark the light,
only in dying life:
bright the hawk’s flight on the empty sky.”

There’s a newer song that asks….Pleased to meet you - Can you guess my name?

Please allow me to introduce myself
I'm a man of wealth and taste
I've been around for a long, long year
Stole many a mans soul and faith

And I was round when jesus christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game

I stuck around st. petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the czar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain

I rode a tank
Held a generals rank
When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
Ah, what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah

I watched with glee
While your kings and queens
Fought for ten decades
For the gods they made

I shouted out,
Who killed the kennedys?
When after all
It was you and me

Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me lucifer

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah, get down, baby

Rolling Stones Sympathy For The Devil


And there’s an old story about Jacob, who was to be Israel, wrestling with a stranger in the dark. And there’s another old story about a meeting Jesus had in the wilderness after forty days of fasting.

Pleased to meet you. Can you guess my name?

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