Gelli Fach

Gelli Fach

I'm a cell, I'm fragmented, I change my form;
I'm a repository of song, I'm a dynamic state.
I love a wooded slope and a snug shelter,
and a creative poet who doesn't buy his advancement.

Wyf kell, wyf dellt, wyf datweirllet;
wyf llogell kerd, wyf lle ynnyet.
Karaf-y gorwyd a goreil clyt,
a bard a bryt ny pryn y ret.

From: Legendary Poems from the Book of Taliesin, edited and translated by Marged Haycock

Friday, 14 November 2014

Insight in the Library - Gladstone's Day 6

Yesterday I set aside the morning to work out how to resize my video so that it would fit onto the page properly. I could see where I had to change the dimensions in the HTML but did't know how I would keep the correct ratio - being rubbish at maths. However, having googled and discovered that I would get the right height by multiplying the width by 0.8235 (who knew!) I had the bright idea of looking at YouTube dimensions for videos then took a calculated guess and hey presto! it worked first time. I felt inordinately pleased by this and quite energised. Having the morning free I set off for the Library with no goal in mind, knowing that something would catch my attention.

That something was a journal called Interreligious Insight, (volume 12, No 1, June 2014). There were several interesting articles in it and some things that I noted down to muse upon. One article mentions Karen Armstrong's use of myth and logos as useful vocabulary for talking about different approaches to our understanding of life and the world we find ourselves in: 

Myths, Armstrong says, are not concerned with practical matters but with meaning; the need to find significance in our lives else we despair. Myth is rooted in the unconscious mind; myths are ancient forms of psychology. Logos is the rational, pragmatic and scientific thought that enables people to function well in the world... Logos must relate exactly to facts and correspond to external realities. (Karen Armstrong, The Battle for God, 2000) 

I find these useful designations for the dual tools that are necessary for us to function effectively in the world as well as engage with meaning and significance, each mode of being or of thought complementing the other rather than being mutually exclusive as some would have it. In fact I believe that both are vital and need to interact and cross-fertilise each other in order to maintain psychic health for the group as well as the individual.

I was also interested in a mention of a book I hadn't come across before, The Mystery of Being by Gabriel Marcel. In it he says that mysteries such as the existence of God or of life and death are not problems to be solved because we cannot objectify them, we cannot isolate them from ourselves. They are inseparable from us and "encroach on our own data". How then do we approach mysteries? By participation! We participate in mysteries.

It seems to me that there is resonance between problem-solving and Logos and the participation in mysteries and Mythos. My need to fit my video into the required space was something outside me, a problem to be solved. The mystery of the elements as symbolic of my personal make- up and functioning, which I was contemplating earlier, is something to experience and participate in, by following intuition and imagination and promptings from the unconscious mind. Both are, for me, a necessary part of living and being effective in the world.

Today, after another session reading the Times Literary Supplement in a comfortable armchair in the library by the window, I bought a sandwich and then went to sit on the steps going down to a wooded and tangled area of the grounds. Sitting there, the sun warm on my back, the gentle movements of leaves in the breeze and the half-seen presence of various birds and insects in the wood, I am aware that I am totally happy.

Later it's time for tea. Gladstone extolled the virtues of tea, saying: "If you are cold, tea will warm you, if you are too heated it will cool you; if you are depressed it will cheer you, if you are excited it will calm you." I concur :-)

Here's a picture of him in the hall, taking tea with (one presumes) his lady wife.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for these insights from your readings, and all your other reflections and beautiful photos. You have made me think, and I feel I have shared some of the pleasure you have had during your stay.