Monday, June 11, 2012

Faerie and Dementia

I've taken pains to import all of my blog posts to facebook. I add them as notes, so that I can see them collected all together, and then I add them as updates so they show up in news feeds. But there are a couple notes from facebook that I haven't put on my blog, and I'd like to.

There are two that I can think of. They both went on facebook rather than here originally because they were related to a class I was sitting in on, and mostly the thoughts were addressed to people in the class. At first. Didn't get as many comments as I hoped there, though, and they have to do with Mom, so this seems like a good place, too. Feel free to skip over these if you've seen them before.

This first one, "Faerie and Dementia," was written on 9-7-11, and was based on a class session based on the movie "Spirited Away" and these books and stories: Phantastes by George MacDonald, "Smith of Wootton Major" by J.R.R. Tolkien, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, and Lud-in-the-Mist, by Hope Mirrlees. However, when I wrote it I was primarily thinking of Phantastes. Here it is:

Preliminary thoughts on tonight's Fantastical Lit session, "That Bonny Path":
1) Faerie is a place of heightened reality and it compresses growth.
2) Many people discover who they are in Faerie.

Therefore, Mom's dementia is like something from Faerie. One of the EVIL things from Faerie, granted, but still Faerie. Fr. David told me dementia seems to compress relationships, and I know it's been a weird sort of mirror, showing me aspects of myself I hadn't seen before.

Mom's obscured, as by a Fey mist, but the pieces of her I can still see, the pieces that aren't actually deceptive, give me a heightened sense of who she is. My reactions are intensified as well, and I see pieces of myself reflected back from the mist.

Dementia is too complicated to represent in Faerie as only a single obstacle. It could be anything from a life-sucking ogre to a mere veil of illusion, masking some grand lady. But whatever it is, how would the hero most nobly respond? How would he or she meet the trial and come out, farther down the path, as a better person?

Current tactic? Mostly ignore it and concentrate on other aspects of life. Yeah, that doesn't seem like it would end well. It's true the pressure's off right now -- before, I was also dealing with the stresses of a new job, plus some other hormonal issues. Everything beat down. It's easy, when I'm not feeling so depressed, to say, "Let's not go there." Heck, I genuinely feel good right now!

But in Faerie, if my spirits have lifted, it is not so that I can ignore the obstacle still standing in my path.

On the other hand, it's not my responsibility to guide the bright path into a darker valley, if that isn't where the road is going. The answer is not to beat my spirits back down, or to retrace my steps or circle back to where I've been before. Hmm.

But the ogre's road and mine seem to lie together for some distance. How does one accompany an ogre without being eaten? And respect the lady in the ogre's clutches, when one can't save her?


RachelM said...

"How does one accompany an ogre without being eaten? And respect the lady in the ogre's clutches, when one can't save her?"

I think--maybe--one dazzles the ogre by loving the lady so fully that even the ogre begins to understand.

Marcy said...

Thank you. That sounds like a very good idea.