Excerpts from "The Great Work. Alchemy and the Power of Words" by Paul Kingsnorth

At the heart of art is the same paradox as lies at the heart of religion: we don’t know anything. We can only act from our unknowing, with faith and determination.


Writing, art, creation: this is smithwork. You set your fire; you use your bellows, your pen, your paper, to heat it to the right temperature. You set your base metal in the flames, heat it until it is white. Then you begin your transformation.


Read a great poem aloud to yourself and take note of how your physical body reacts. This is the transformation that the written word can conjure.


I think we miss magic. We bend our shoulders beneath the official notion that the material world is explicable, just as we bend our shoulders beneath the notion that words are merely units of information. But something in us—something which sings when the moon is up—knows this to be a lie. We miss the songs that were sung through us, whoever it is, whatever it is, that sung them. We live in an age of loss, our stories collapsing around us, our people dividing into tribes, anger and rage and condemnation overruling nuance, compassion, and attention. Looking around our outer world right now, it can seem as if we are being driven mad by something. It can seem as if we are stuck, raging at the world, missing something we deeply need.


The hidden attunement is better than the open. Heraclitus, R. P. 34.

Dust and Shadow Reader Vol. 2. Previous: planet centred design. Next: shinto

  • dust_and_shadow/great_work.txt
  • Last modified: 2019-08-30 18:24
  • by maja