Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’m sharing my thoughts and reflections on a lexicon (vocabulary specific to a certain subject) of unusual, obscure, or simply charming-to-me words. Ludic is defined as “playful, in an aimless way” and that’s my plan for approaching this challenge – keeping my feet on the joy trail and meandering wherever the daily word takes me.
X is for…
xenagogy – (obsolete) a guidebook; guiding strangers
Some time ago I discovered the Wildsam guidebooks, which aren’t exactly your typical travel guide. In addition to what you might expect, they are also more like a tribute to the area they’re covering, and include personal essays, hand-drawn maps, interviews, and local lore. Exactly the kind of thing I adore. And with my love of maps, and my love of creating zines, creating a guidebook is always simmering somewhere in the back of my mind. I somehow imagine it’s just as Sharon Olds said:
“There is something in me maybe someday to be written; now it is folded, and folded, and folded, like a note in school.”
While I fully intend to create a physical guidebook of something someday, today feels like the perfect time to take you on a virtual tour. Today I’m going to take you on a road trip through my associative thinking.
Brain Stop #1
I woke up with Dashiell Hammett on my mind as he had a guest appearance in my dreams. It was a cameo role of no obvious significance and that in itself struck me as curious. Don’t you find it fascinating that odd things pop up to populate your dreams? Are they forever waiting in the wings, looking for a chance to sneak in? As I thought about Hammett, I thought about his book The Maltese Falcon. Then I thought about the movie. I love noir, and I’m going to have to watch film again soon.
Brain Stop #2
I recently heard about a news blurb about how product placement is coming for classic films. While I imagine there must be a whole slew of legal and privacy issues to be sorted through, it didn’t stop me from thinking what if the Maltese Falcon came to be known as the Maltese Kentucky Fried Chicken. Yep, off I went.
Brain Stop #3
After reigning in those thoughts run amok, it suddenly occurred to me to wonder if Maltese was somehow connected to Malta. How could I have not thought about that before? Malta! Now there’s a place I’d like to visit. Malta, home to the sleeping/dreaming goddesses.
Now let’s fold up that brain map (careful – get those creases right!)… and open up the map to Malta. This is what we’re looking for.
The Dreaming/Sleeping Goddess
Isn’t she beautiful?
I’ve had my figurine for decades. I’m never far from dream medicine/magic and once the sleeping/dreaming goddesses were on my conscious radar I tracked down a replica to purchase. I love her for all kinds of reasons – of course because of my dreamwork, but also because she’s a woman of substance. And for years when I worked as a therapist I kept her on my desk. Dreamwork was one of the first paths I found into my soul self and it felt fitting to keep her as a reminder of the blessings of that deep journey work. And over the years, particularly kids, would leave little stones or shells adding to the collection I kept surrounding her. It delights my heart knowing she helped hold space for so much healing.
The original two clay figures were found in Malta in the Hypogeum – one of the 9 remaining (of 40) goddess temples there. The figures are dated between 3000-4000 BC.
Of course the exact function of the Hypogeum and what the goddess figures represent isn’t known with certainly. But we can leave space for mystery and still recognize the power and blessings.
Jennifer Berezan, a musician I love, had the opportunity to record in the oracle chamber of the Hynogeum at Hal Saflieni, Malta, which is known for its amazing acoustics. The album she created using that work is Returning.
I can’t help but think of Saadi’s words:
So there you have it. My dream holiday. (Sorry I couldn’t help myself!)
While sometimes I think I literally have enough creative ideas and projects in the hopper to last me lifetimes, sometimes I like to open things up for outside input. Here’s your chance to offer your opinion. Should I do a xenography zine in the future, what would you like to see me create a guide for? The sky’s the limit (ah, perhaps that’s one idea already). Suggest away.
But now it’s your turn. Where would you like to visit? What would you write a guidebook for? Ever thought of mapping the stops of your brain? Do tell – you know I love to hear.