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Reply To: Reimagining Boundaries and the Gods Who Inhabit Them,” with Craig Deininger”


When you mentioned the Tain Bo Cuilinge, it made me pause. So I looked it up “Cattle Raid of Cooley.” Then ohhhh! (Haha) Though it’s been a long while…so it was nice to refresh my memory.
But to be on site or near those sacred places…Orkney…standing stones…

Yes, that is even better! I have not been to any of those places! (only briefly to England for a Beatles tour in 2018. Not much time to go off trail.)

And I remember your mentioning backpack trekking in relation to another essay.

It’s one thing to read about such places in a book but something else entirely to be there! Then there is that something else…that calls. Much more than ambience alone. Energy?


I’ve had other experiences…my family and I visited Mesa verde years ago on a trip out west. Dad and I saw the Kivas and climbed up the steep ladders to get back out. (My mom didn’t like heights so she stayed up at the top)

But when I saw the small handprint in the stone where the people used to free climb…(as I clung to mt and ladder tightly) it took my breath.

And there is something about the cloisters in Manhattan as well. All the stone and objects some over 500 years old brought from overseas?
There is a sense there. And my Mother and I and a friend had an experience worthy of the imaginal, which involved chanting monks.

We were walking through the cloisters and suddenly these deep male voices are chanting (like the Gregorian monks)

And it sounds close, very close…so the three of us try to see where it’s coming from…and it felt like the sound was moving. 

Even another lady peeps her head out a doorway…she hears it too but she’s the only other one.

Any moment I expected to enter a chamber and see the monks…but when

we came through a door it was just the main hall entrance. I felt a little disoriented. (Speaking of those shifts and senses in the body, heartbeat etc)
(And no it wasn’t the music in the gift shop…I checked…they were playing female singers and had been for awhile.)

I also asked a custodian if there was a performance or rehearsal happening and she thought I wanted the performance schedule…but there wasn’t currently a performance or rehearsal happening.

Don’t know what to call all that, other than mystery. But certainly have not forgotten!

On a slightly different note, my Mother introduced science to me through wonder…holding fallen leaves and seeing the differences in their shapes…looking at the shadows, seas and craters on the moon but introducing that by asking if I see the “woman in the moon? Her long hair?”

or the “ears of the rabbit?” from the Cherokee tale…since she and my Dad taught for one year in the 70s on the NC reservation…Mother/astronomy and earth science. Dad/mathematics.

My mother certainly had knowledge of Newtonian physics and all those other facts related to astronomy. And she shared her knowledge with others.

She also had the wonderful experience of teaching astronomy at Fernbank Science center and was there in 1969 when NBC came down to cover Apollo 11. She saw the lunar module through the big telescope.
In later years, she continued to teach in other places: high schools, community colleges, local libraries and nature centers…

But observational astronomy was always what she loved the most.
AND she loved to  “share that experience of seeing the stars,” with other people.

People never forgot the sights she showed them through her telescopes.

Even years later, people come up and tell me just how much it meant to them.

My Mother felt a little sad that some of her contemporaries were primarily focused on “rote learning” and “memorization.” I think it was that human connection…and the ability to share the Awe and Wonder…of experiencing the stars, the heavens…that truly inspired my Mother!

(to allow others to discover that experience for themselves.)

I think that is what my Mother loved most about astronomy and teaching!

And I know it made a difference. That especially hit home, when I was a kid and mother invited up a play director and her 24 year old son. Her son had leukemia.
He loved every moment of seeing the stars and nebulas  and told my mom…one night you’ll look up and I’ll be up there.

Heart wrenching.

But forgive me…I’ve gone way off track here!

As for other veils and boundaries, Tolkien conjures a wonderful image in Lord of the Rings.

“The gray curtain of the world will rise…and all will turn to silver glass…”

And I’m not so sure that Tolkien does not delve into the imaginal in some of his essays…well at least the one on “Faerie?” It surprised me when I first read it…both considering his background as scholar and tutelage under his adoptive father, a catholic priest.
But I think others have pointed out, that some of his writings come from different viewpoints…so that makes sense…contradictions, conflicts, different opinions…changing thoughts etc.

I’m sure that is true of many others as well!

It is fascinating to me how the “imaginal,” gives a “place,” for a “certain awareness.”
Thank goodness for poetry, music and art…those all help express those places in-between…those boundaries…

while perhaps they also add a balance of grounding lest one go spinning off into space…or maybe they provide an “imaginal vehicle?” Who knows!

Thank you for another thought provoking essay!