Embodied Words

What precisely is there to say?

I intend to write a much longer narrative about these last five days, but I’ve hardly quite the idea where to start.

A physical description of the conference?  It was a bunch of people in a hotel in New York, talking to each other.  And then they left.

And thus we’ve all the usefulness and profundity of materialistic narrative there, and you now know nothing.

Last night, I sat by a stream, under a bridge.  I thought I’d there attempt to piece together all I’d seen, but streams have better ideas than such airy designs.

And I’ve told you nothing, still.

Maybe this will tell you something:

All sorts of people in rooms, names I’ve known as disembodied words, ideas and narratives and insights upon which I’ve had little meaning to tether except perhaps a small photo or a blog title.  They introduce themselves, and you immediately compare your senses of their manifest presence against what you’ve suspected and pieced together from their words.  Such a process is often jarring on internet dating: he’s usually shorter than you constructed, has a higher voice.  Often more attractive than you suspected, just as often less so.  Bodies don’t mediate well through the digital.  Sound does not so well either.  But that’s why we use words.

Sannion’s precisely as you think he is, unless you think he’s horrible and scary.  Galina? Has a stronger gravity than you suspected–her written words hardly convey the spirits that seem to accompany her as she walks.  Edward Butler is one of the kindliest sorts of people you can imagine–his searing intellect afeared me a bit, but then he’s got the warmest, most friendly reading voice you can imagine.  PSVL is precisely as you imagine, I suspect–tall (e’s awfully tall), brilliant, affable, and fabulous.  And the Thracian?  I–I almost don’t want to tell you how fucking amazingly sweet and fucking kind he is in all his dark presence, because I’d hardly want him to be swarmed.

And the other folks?  I’m not sure how to describe the beauty of watching Raven Kaldera sit on a couch discussing a rite for the trans-dead with fascinating young trans-punks, after drinking and smoking for hours on a sidewalk amidst conversations about housework as devotion, the agency of psychopomps in Goetic theory, what do to do now that we can’t stop climate change, geomancy, the complications of reconstructing the gods from Christianized texts, and how to handle fascist inroads into european cultural movements…with real fucking human beings.

There we all were, with all our bizarre quirks and beauty, all realizing we’re hardly alone.

 

I

 

About rhyd wildermuth

An intractable tea-swilling punk, queer hooligan, and dream-soaked leftist bard, Rhyd Wildermuth has left bits of his heart(h) everywhere—in a satyr’s den in Berlin, hanging from an elder tree over a holy well in Bretagne, scattered in back alleys of Seattle, and lost somewhere in the bottom of his rucksack. He’s devoted to Welsh gods, breathes words, makes candles, plays recorder, fumbles with tech, and refuses ever to learn to drive. His main blog is: paganarch.com. View all posts by rhyd wildermuth

12 responses to “Embodied Words

  • Polytheist Leadership Conference: it’s a wrap | True Pagan Warrior

    […] thoughts about the first Polytheist Leadership Conference, I should not be surprised that Rhyd Wildermuth is also at a loss for words.  So much of what happens when people with a common interest come together in person is simply […]

  • Kanenas

    Nice Lecture .
    You forgot the Hellenes. They did not forget you.

  • aediculaantinoi

    You’re too kind! ;)

    I cannot WAIT until you are around in Seattle, so we can hang out and talk in-person much more…Let me know as soon as you’re back. I will be in Seattle this Thursday, most likely, with one of my students, so if you are back by then and have time, perhaps we can have some food or something. And if not then, then in the coming weeks, with any luck!

    • disirdottir

      As a Seattleite polytheist person who could not attend the conference, if you will be back in this lovely city sometime soon I would love to treat you to tea at the emporium of your choosing. PSVL and the Thracian can vouch for me if need be, though I suspect you don’t suffer many qualms about accepting invitations to tea from strange people. ;)

    • aediculaantinoi

      So, yes, I’ll definitely be down there on Thursday, likely from around 3:30 PM onwards; I think we’re seeing a film around 7 or 8, but in the afternoon, we’d be free. And if you’d like to join us for the film, I’m sure I can get you in! If you have my e-mail, let me know if you have a mobile number so that I can contact you that day, and we’ll go from there!

  • Galina Krasskova

    It was really lovely meeting you in person, Rhyd. I only wish we’d gotten more time to chat. :)

  • cbrachyrhynchos

    And thus we’ve all the usefulness and profundity of materialistic narrative there, and you now know nothing.

    Well, clearly you are wiser, have more profound vision, and are better at it than a mere mortal such as myself. My questions of a Mouse would require a page to scratch the surface, the resulting vow at least another page to describe, and the answers I’m still trying to figure out over 15 years after our brief meeting. Life is weirdly fractal in that way.

  • Costel Hildr

    Awwwww man, this is a perfect description of the conference, oh wow. Thanks for this.

  • Duffi McDermott

    Evy, that you and PSVL will be hanging out shortly; delight, to have met you and have had some words; joy, to be have been at your presentation. Butler is right.

  • none

    I wish I could have been there. It sounds awesome.

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