For The Love of Coal (public domain photo)
For The Love of Coal (public domain photo)

Another train derailed today. Or was it yesterday? I can’t be sure.

This month’s column for The Wild Hunt was probably the most difficult piece I’ve ever written.

For the last few months, particularly upon returning from Wales and Dublin, something’s been off with my vision.  Or ‘on’ with my vision–I can’t be certain.

I’ve made reference to this a few times, having ‘learned to do something’ I didn’t know how to do before.  What I encountered on Llyn Dinas was powerful and soul-opening and maybe a little difficult to integrate into the rest of my world.  And unlike closed-circle/container rituals, which keeps the ‘Other’ from ‘spilling out’ into the rest of your life, a Pilgrimage doesn’t just end when you return home.

The Singers in the Darkness is a name for the gods I’ve encountered since returning, though they are the same gods I knew before the Pilgrimage.  Just–something more fierce, more brutal, more urgent about Them then before, an aspect I’d not been able to see before the darkness of Newgrange on the Solstice.

Gods really don’t fuck around, huh?  They don’t fuck around when it comes to our destruction or even theirs, their un-worlding as the humans who world them slaughter themselves in pursuit of power and plastic.  And seeing another aspect, one that’s not waiting around for us to ‘heal’ or ‘center’ or ‘do a few more divinations’ before hearing their message is jarring.

Another matter ’bout that piece.  That nuclear power plant?  Didn’t know about it until 12 years ago, right around the time it closed.  As I mention in that piece, my ‘papaw’ (grandfather in Appalachian) died of a massive brain tumor.  His death was quite quick, fortunately.  My uncle, my father’s identical twin brother, however–his was awfully slow.  The tumor he’d gotten from working in that plant (though I’m sure the settlement my mamaw–grandmother–got likely denies any responsibility) developed over years, and he’d fly into strange rages with his family, talk incoherently about demons, take off all the doors in his home, and apparently black-out for weeks (while still being ‘conscious.’)  At the end, my father had taken him into his house as no one else could handle him (the man was 6 foot 3, 300 lbs–my patrilineal line seems descended from Oxen).  He’d stopped caring for himself, would defecate all over himself, and the only way my father could clean him was to spray him with a hose in the basement.

That plant closed in 2003.  It was 6 miles from where I grew up, and many of the people I know from that area have strange birth defects usually attributed to ‘inbreeding.’  I was born with a massive cyst below my neck that I guess could’ve killed me at some point.  I reckon it could’ve been the power plant, or maybe waste from the coal mining or toxins in the water from the paper mills–who knows?

Also, I’ve alluded in the past to that vision quoted in the essay.  It–fuck, I’m still not certain who that was.  It wasn’t Brân, but someone who served him, or someone sent from him, some dead bard of his, I believe.  One never fully knows.

A friend inquired why all of this stuff was so important to me that I’d alienate people, why I’d sacrifice unity and community and peaceful co-existence for my politics.  It’s not the first time I’d been asked this, particularly why I’d be so harsh with my analysis of modern society when there are certainly lots of people who find meaning and even joy.

That piece is the only answer I think I can possibly give.

11 thoughts on “Kaboom

  1. Your words are necessary. I think many people hear what you hear and see what you see. I do at times. But I’m living very much on the inside of the system, having a family will do that to most people, save the very brave. To change anything (if it is not too late) both your voice and moderate voices from the establishment and ordinary citizens will be needed. Yours is the uncomfortable but pure reminder of what many people hear in the back of the head, but drown out in their daily lives.

  2. My heart and soul and mind are all in total agreement with you.

    Unfortunately, the body they currently inhabit relies on medical supplies that would not be possible, at bare minimum, without the postal and other trucks to bring them in.

    The one who serves Bran: Efnissien, he who said and did what set the two islands at odds? Though history and literary criticism are not kind to him, he may be what is needed now more than ever…it was also he who destroyed the cauldron of rebirth. Perhaps in the casualties that will cause (including my own life), that will be the wake-up call needed…?

    1. Oh, my friend….yeah. Efnisssien; breaking the cauldron; at some point the city can no longer rebirth itself.

      Would we ever be able to understand our visions without others to point such things out? Thank you. 🙂

  3. Wow, if that was my experience I’d feel just as strongly as you. Respectfully, I won’t be reading your piece currently as I’m trying to limit my intake of news and intense political commentary to help with my depression. Trying to get psyched up to look for work, and thinking about the evils of capitalism doesn’t really help with that. I think of the prophetic tradition in the Bible (Jeremiah/Isaiah et al) telling people what they need to hear, but don’t want to hear, and the Bard, particularly the satirist is the equivalent in Celtic traditions. I think you, and John Michael Greer and other folks are very much heirs to that.

  4. I’m seriously shocked to hear about the effects working in the nuclear power plant had on your grandfather and uncle. I have a friend who has worked decommisioning those things.

    Your experiences in the city with the Singers in the Dark, the Singers at the Gates of Death… in the Celtic (and other religious traditions) I think there’s a long history of omens from the otherside which we once feared and revered and but that fear and reverence has mainly been lost in the simulacra of horror films… thanks for giving voice to this. It’s important.

  5. The Singers in the Darkness sound just like what Lorna and I, amongst some others,are coming to know of as a group of ungods called the Andedion. Chthonic spirits concerned with the land and fertility, feared and respected and later described as the hosts of hell kept in place by Gwyn (more likely he was their Otherworld ruler).

    I suspect the are also the one oraclular work comes from.

    Lorna has a tidy article which mentions them at: https://lornasmithers.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/gwyn-ap-nudd-and-the-spirits-of-annwn-remembering-the-underworld-gods/

    1. I’m still trying to parse all of this out, but yes–it seems very much similar. The one aspect that confuses me a bit is that they also seem to be darker aspects of the gods I’ve already known. Like Brighid of the caves and underground wellings rather than of the light and the flame. That they seem the same gods but somehow more chthonic is a matter that will take me awhile to unravel.

      Definitely oracular, though–yes. And that part gets confusing too, as it seems the dead are primarily involved in this aspect for me…

      1. “Definitely oracular, though–yes. And that part gets confusing too, as it seems the dead are primarily involved in this aspect for me…”

        I don’t know how exactly or how this works, but I am totally on board with the idea that there is a close, if not very close, link between the Andedion and the dead. I do know that there are quite a few cultures where the ancestors are linked with fertility and chthonic-ness, so it may be our ancestors believed and saw their dead as joining the ranks of the andedion.

  6. They’ve been singing in my ear since I was a child. Recently it’s become all but deafening. I wonder if the singers are the same. The song certainly seems to be.

    Thank you for that post.

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