Why this Were here, now?

[This post oriignally appeared on Timothy Bateson’s blog, mid Oct 2019]

Let’s say someone wants to write about werewolves but nothing they’re coming up with fits “werewolf.” Probably they’re putting the hearse before the horse. Their interest is on the were, not the were’s purpose in the story.

Let the “were” serve the story’s purpose. Don’t make it the story’s purpose.

 
Werecreatures are nothing new. Cave drawings frequently depict humanimals. Study any culture’s mythology and one wonders who wasn’t a werecreature. The concept of versipellics as evil is relatively new compared to human recorded history (about 800 years v 35,000 years).

A significant aspect of versipellic history is that skin-changing was a spiritual exercise, not a magical exercise. This spiritual aspect remains today in the concept of shapeshifting as evil. The Malleus Maleficarum provided details about all such “magickal” practices but the reason to hunt down practitioners was political; practitioners threatened the power and authority of Mother Church. What do you do when you’re a religious authority and you want to get rid of the opposition? You label it evil, demonic, satanic. You’ll find much the same propagandic reasoning in today’s political speeches. The US was The Great Satan to Ruhollah (Ayatollah) Khomeini. Reagan called Soviet Russia “The Evil Empire,” and Trump’s rhetoric…well, let’s not go there.

Culture makes a difference. Judeo-Christian teaching is that versipellics are evil; God and the Angels never change shape. Satan and the Fallen Angels do (they don’t want you to know who they are). Read religious dogma from other cultures and versipellism is good or evil depending on why it’s being done. It’s the individual’s reason for shapeshifting, not the fact that they can shapeshift, that determines the morality of the transmutation.

Modern scifi/fantasy may have versipellism caused by any number of reasons. Hank McCoy (Marvel’s Beast, genetic) owes much of existence to versipellism, as does Bruce Banner (The Hulk, radiation). Superheroes as a group owe a nod to versipellism; they have two identities, two personalities, one wears the skin of everyday clothing, the other the skin of their superhero costume, and like any good werewolf, the needs of each identity are at odds with the other. Only recently have superheroes walked among non-supers openly (The Incredibles, The Incredibles 2, Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark procliaming from the podium “I am IronMan,” Amazon’s “The Boys”).
Continue reading “Why this Were here, now?”

Shaman Story Chapter X – Borrowing

Read Shaman Story Chapter X – Hide-and-Seek.


Shaman Story Chapter X – Borrowing

 
Sometimes Grandpa’s friends ask “May I share how I do it?” to help me learn how they do something Grandpa does, something he is teaching me. They let me piggyback down their path. Sometimes we have to travel far and they become a ladder and I climb up their rungs and the ladder flies and you learn how to be a ladder and fly.

I piggyback and climb their rungs so I can borrow from them to learn how to do it, to understand my way, my path would be different from theirs and different is okay, it is the outcome that matters.


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Shaman Story Chapter X – The Childhood Door

[I mentioned in Shaman Story Chapter 5 – Lessons that chapter numbering would get wonky as Shaman Story is a work in progress.
At this point, I’m adding chapters to the beginning to foreshadow events happening in later chapters, this one being a case in point.
I’ve learned to live with such things. Hope you do, too.]

Read Shaman Story Chapter 7 – Sensing.


Shaman Story Chapter X – The Childhood Door

 

Buppa stops, turns, let’s me see him in another place. Somewhere beyond the moon, under the sea, through his garden, into the earth.

A big wooden door, made from trees and branches all woven together, leaves grow out of limbs making eaves and lintels. There’s a little window but it’s too high for me to see in. A light flickers through the glass. A candle.

“What’s that, Buppa?”

“It’s a door, a very special door. But only for you, Gio, not for anybody else.”

“It’s my door?”

“Yes, but only if you want to learn more. If you want to learn more you have to go in.”

The door has no handle. I step closer, onto a mat of tightly woven hay and flax.

The mat opens eyes. It lifts and spins like it’s caught in a whirlwind. It pushes me back, grows four legs, a spiky tail and a giant head. The woven flax and hay become golden fur. It stops spinning and lands on its feet, larger than me, larger than Buppa, larger than the door.

It looks down at me. “Are you afraid, Gio?”

“Yes.”

“Good answer, truthful answer. Do you want to go in?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

I don’t know what’s expected. “To learn more?”

The creature smiles. It has many, many teeth, like needles. It drools. Its drool splashes and steams like acid on ground that isn’t there. “Are you asking or telling?”

I want my Buppa. He’s not here. He’s always with me. Where’s my Buppa?

“Anything else?”


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The Lonely Oak’s in Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 5!

Once again, I am honored.

The glorious, wise, and beautiful folks at Sixth Elem6ent, home of Harvey Duckman Presents and many awesome, independent books, published The Lonely Oak in Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 5.

 
(and they want more of my work!)

Whoa!

Other fine authors are in HDP5 as well. (you should read them all)

(have to see if i can get a few more links in that opening paragraph…)