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Two Poets on Poetry and Ritual

A post worthy of your time and consideration.

Tree of Many Feathers

Last fall, I asked my friend Paul what the difference between poetry and a spell might be. The poet (me), doesn’t see a difference. The magic worker might, at least to some degree, I surmised.

Paul answered, “Intent.”

Perhaps, yes.

Kristoffer Hughes has written eloquently about the Welsh “Englynion,” a form of “song-spell” that “often appears hand in hand with acts of magic.” Hughes notes that “Bards of the Celtic nations were magicians in their own rights who used words to transform, inspire, satirize, create, and also destroy” (Celtic Magic 5).

Similarly, the ancient Gaels knew the power of language. In some Scottish clans, there were two crimes that could result immediately in exile (a fate worse than death for a clan-based people): murder and satire. (Imagine if today’s satirists–Jon Stewart, Colbert, Samantha Bee, John Oliver–were silenced for effective critiques.)

When I write poetry I am intentionally opening a moment of sacred memory…

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