It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me that I’m a big geek. Hells, part of the way my brain processed rewilding and Daniel Quinn and Derrick Jensen et al was through the roleplaying game Werewolf: The Apocalypse (White Wolf Productions). I still use their term for a harmful spirit --bane-- to describe dangerous memetic structures / spirits to the kids.
I wrote the following up on a website to try and explain a variety of ways to relate to spirits other than the duality of ‘Good Spirit / Bad Spirit’ (bleh) that most gamers are used to. I’m putting them here (and removing the White Wolf references) because it might be useful for people trying to examine their relationships with Other forces. It’s certainly been helpful to me.
What do we need to be protected from?
Monsters, is the easy answer. Things that threaten the People (both wolves and human). In the past, it was simple. Now, it’s a hell of a lot more complex. Consider this truth first: since everything sprung from
the same forces, EVERYTHING is related. That’s the most important truth. Now, let’s break it down:
The term – spirit – refers to the motive forces that passes through a thing, making it act. You have a spirit. Let’s be specific here – the spirit is not in you; you are in your spirit. This is important (especially with possession or when a part of your spirit gets lost).So, sometimes a rock is just a rock, sometimes a rock is a ROCK.
People treat spirits like family, sometimes as distant cousins, sometimes as aunt or uncle, rarely as brothers, sisters or parents. Spirits act like People; some lie, some cheat, some help, some heal. All sorts of wonderful variants apply.
These things can go under a number of names. Some of them aren’t even singular –they are aggregates of spirits who work as one body. Gods embody something: an act, a notion, a way of being. More complex than spirits they are often more difficult to talk to and placate as well.
This term refers to spirits which are incompatible with life as you know but vital to life as a whole. A simple example: fish. You can’t live underwater. They can’t live on land. Another: spiders. Creepy but necessary to keep other insects in balance.
The Beautiful “I”s are creatures which through no fault of their own are completely and totally self-absorbed. They see themselves and perfection and desire sometimes worship, sometimes absorption into their unity. This can take different forms but all willworkers know, if a spirit wants to remake you into a copy of itself, it’s a Beautiful “I”.
Beautiful “I”s have their uses. They often have a clarity of vision or purpose that can cut through a complex situation and bring it to conclusion.
Here’s a truth about the world. Things often come at the expense of something else. A successful kill for the People results in the suffering of its prey and the despair of the prey’s family. Harmony is now broken. However, this is NOT an unforeseen event.
The Mystery has placed in the world medicines that heal the broken, that bring them back into balance and allow them to lay down a crushing burden. The most drastic (but readily available) method is death.
In death, a spirit is emerged in the black river and made smooth as it travels along until it is ready to return. That’s the drastic cure, though. There are literally hundreds of thousands of less permanent ones.
In the past, a broken spirit would be caught and contained until a cure could be found to heal it. But now, so much has been broken, some of it continuously, that a world of suffering exists.To live is to walk on jagged glass. Civ excels at breaking things, sometimes so badly that only death is the answer. That’s why the term “Broken One” is too often synonymous with “tainted.”