I’m poring over some stuff I’d written about individuation and found a little part to share here. The image is physiological, but keep in mind its psychological relevance:
Individuation is to be distinct from the world around you. Not isolated, but distinct. It is in this way you can function in the world. Most organisms have to be, in some way, physiologically individuated in order to function well in the world. The cells that comprise my body have to be individuated from one another if my body is not to reduce into a useless blancmange.
It’s soothing to think that no human is 100% rational. A lot of times I observe human behaviour and think that doesn’t make sense (even of myself), and then I remember that we all have deeply animal roots going back millions of years and think oh, okay, the nonsensicalness does make sense, if that makes sense. But there’s still that rational doubt that it’s just so weird!
I think that’s partly why I’m a druid, I can make a space for indulging my irrational self (myth, magic, miracles, etc) without losing a grasp on my ability to reason, and also I get in touch with parts of myself that may, under more rational circumstances, not be allowed to surface. Instinct, imagination and intuition must have evolved for a reason (reasonably explainable, lol). But even if we do encourage those “non-rational” parts of us we can still maintain a “level head” (providing we have a level head in the first place), and therefore distinguish between the sacred power of wyrd and what us just plain weird!
This may seem contradictory, but without Other there can be no wholeness. We find wholeness in some way through Other. As a person I can be whole unto myself, but without the life experience we don’t find wholeness. Much of the life experience is in relation and interaction.
I don’t rely on Other to define who or what I am, or to complete me as a person, but that in my encounter with the Other my experience of life is broadened and made more complete.
We’re social creatures, living in a world where not everything is “me”, nor am I an isolated entity experiencing a mirroring void, but a self in relationship with other selves. Part of the wholeness of human life is in the interaction, relation and communication with a truly distinct Other.
The other day I was talking about the differences between “other half” and “significant other”, and that I would much rather have a relationship with “my significant other “. Personalities are complex and “incomplete”, and we are often forced to look for those holes in us, perhaps in other people. But if we don’t find it in other people, or refuse to, where then can we find the “other half” that would complete us?
Could it be that as we grow up we shun the parts of ourselves that are “unacceptable” and let them sink down into hidden part of our minds (that mysterious unconscious that them psychologists tell us about), and lay there waiting for us? Could it be that the “other half” has been within us all along, waiting for us to reclaim it instead of fruitlessly searching for it outside of us?
Could be, could be. 😉
“My other half” and “my significant other” are two phrases that basically point to the same sort of thing: husbands, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, or some sort of longterm life partner. Superficially they look the same, because they are used interchangeably, and also because they share the word “other”, but if we look at them they can mean very different things.
“My other half” is the person that completes me, someone that compensates my shortcomings, and vice versa. Without them I cannot live a full life, and can never be a person in my own right. Together we form two functions within a wholeness, but it cannot be called a relationship because we are not two wholenesses interacting with each other.
“My significant other” is someone in my life who is not me, who does not complete me but is important in my life; significant. We do not supplement each other’s personalities, we don’t need to. I may need you to cement the house, and you may need me to paint it, but that’s not for lack of wholeness; it’s simply because our skills are complementary, and we are working as a team, not serving co-dependent functions.
Personally I like “significant other” because that means there is an Other to have a relationship with. “Other half” isn’t a relationship, it’s a arrangement, my lungs aren’t in relationship with each other, they are organs that form functions for a whole (my body). A relationship happens between two wholenesses, two individuals that have their own thoughts and feelings. They can interchange skills and be a balance in the life of the other without completing each other.
Since I am in a relationship with “my significant other” and not “my other half”, where exactly is “my other half”? That’s a question for another time. 😀
Spring is so much in the air that it even appears in my dreams. Last night bees appeared, and then this morning I saw lots of bees hanging around one place. Like the times I dream of wild boar and the next morning there’s fresh sign of them.
Nature speaks to us even when we sleep, lol.
The winter seems to have been brief and quite mild. Usually we have to turn on the outside tap to stop the pipes from freezing, but none of that. Instead the birds are singing, the fruit trees are blooming, and flowers are popping up everywhere. It’s still cold, we still have a few weeks using the fireplace before it gets warmer, but spring is certainly on its way.
Now, aren’t druids supposed to do something at certain times of year, with rituals and festivals? Don’t we go out in our robes, stand in circles and do druidic things? Chanting, singing and dancing? Yes. And no.
I have done those things, and sometimes I make little symbolic gestures, something very simple and intuitive, but not the whole scripted version with (sometimes literally) bells on. For me it suffices to watch the seasons change; since I live in the middle of the countryside, it’s hard to avoid. And then there are the rituals that permeate my life, actions and activities that have a certain consistency in my life. But more importantly I think there is a ritualistic attitude, a sense of observation about the ebb and flow of life, and maintaining a balance or equilibrium.
For me ritual is about finding a thread, a point of stability in life, and staying taking that from the ritual to experience it in life (because it’s got to be important in living). It is not a “special ceremony” performed at a “special time”, it is a way of life. Okay, sometimes I might dress up, I might “evoke the gods” (even if they are imaginary), I might even spontaneously howl at the moon sometimes, but that’s for the sheer fun of it, not an important part of my druidry.
This Spring Equinox I’m going to watch the flowers bloom.
Two different things. You look at the newspaper, you walk down the road and see examples of human behaviour, condition by our upbringing, by our culture. Momentary glimpses of what humans really are peak through, intermingled with our habits, yet distinct.
I think human nature, or at least the potential for human nature, is a lot better than what’s on display. “That’s how we act” doesn’t have to be “that’s how we have to be.” We don’t have to resign ourselves to the (worst) examples we see in the world, because there’s something better deep down inside us , and we can choose that.
5:00 teatime: does it exist?
A few people I’ve met seem to be familiar with “5:00 teatime”, and yet I’m not. And I’m English.
Okay, there is a time in the afternoon when it’s customary, and I remember on day trips to my granny’s a time in the afternoon, after lunch and before dinner, when we’d have tea, scones, buns, cake and scotch pancakes. But I don’t remember 5:00 as a specific time for tea.
In fact when isn’t it time for tea? You wake up, tea. You leave for work, but just before that, tea. You get to work and put the kettle on. Break times and lunch time are certainly times for tea, and if you work in an office or shop it’s always good to have a tea on hand. Then you get home, tea. Perhaps more teas before or after dinner, and just before going to bed… tea!
Just 5:00? Oh, it’s far worse than that: it’s just about any spare moment…