31 January 2013

A sense of continuity

In the shamanic past, the reasons for assuming animal form were many...and they were often highly practical, in terms of a tribe or clan’s wellbeing or even survival (the shaman might foretell, or perhaps influence the weather, for example), but what I am searching for, as I stare into the eyes of a Haida bear mask or the hooked beak of a Tlingit crow man, is a sense of continuity with other living things so rudimentary that the Inuit simply took it for granted.
-- John Burnside.

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