Journal Entry 23547
It occurred to me the other day that our pop cultural conceptions of particular people have been hindering us from recognizing the other realms around us. It’s based on the idea of magical realism, a genre particular found in books where the mystical and the arcane or supernatural are everyday occurrences, but is actually a problematic term given it’s very colonialist approach to the world. For some people and cultures there is no such thing as magical realism, and if we look to the past there wasn’t any for our ancestors either.
We see this so readily in languages with a greater tie to history than our modern ones, like that in which I am currently writing. Take what was called Swedish and its siblings, Norse both Bokmål and Ny-Norsk, and how readily creatures, beings, the very realms in which I am exploring were lumped together. Now it may seem contradictory, but the lack of a taxonomy was also in part a recognition of the nebulous nature of their existence within what we call “our world”.
Elves, dwarves, gnomes, trolls, wizards and the like all had a single term - troll. It was an all-encompassing description and in doing so provided no clarity. With time individual names were assigned to the creatures, but often they were loan words from other cultures. A mark of the colonization I wrote about earlier, and the need for that taxonomy is part of it.
My point about pop culture - what if the descriptions or the terms we applied to certain beings was misconstrued due to the lack of clarity in early translations. So what we’re presented with is a mixture of characteristics for peoples we haven’t seen in generations. Thus what we call elves today are anything but mere wishes. They are a personification that does not reflect the reality that’s been hidden from us by time and the separation of realms.
It’s something I need to think on further. There may be more to this in the old runes. I must check.
Today’s art is courtesy of Pat Fix from Warsaw, Poland.