Tore Out of Mother Earth’s Entrails


“Little knife! They tore your iron
out of Mother Earth’s entrails,
built a fire and boiled the ore,
made it weep and bleed and flood,
hammered it and tempered it,
plunging it in icy water,
heating it inside the forge
till your blade was blood-red, scorching!
Then they made you wound the water
once again, and yet again,
till the steam was boiling fog
and the water cried for mercy.
And when you sliced a single shade
into thirty thousand shadows,
then they knew that you were ready,
then they called you subtle one.
But little knife, what have you done?
Unlocked blood-gates, left them wide!
Little knife, your mother calls you,
from the entrails of the earth,
from her deepest mines and caverns,
from her secret iron womb.
Listen!”
“Blood! Obey me! Turn around,
be a lake and not a river.
When you reach the open air,
stop! And build a clotted wall,
build it firm to hold the flood back.
Blood, your sky is the skull-dome,
your sun is the open eye,
your wind the breath inside the lungs,
blood, your world is bounded. Stay there!”
“Oak bark, spider silk,
ground moss, saltweed—
grip close, bind tight,
hold fast, close up,
bar the door, lock the gate,
stiffen the blood-wall,
dry the gore-flood.”
—Serafina Pekkala, in The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

***
What comes to your mind after reading this, my Wicked Luvs? I have read His Dark Materials several times—I seriously can’t remember how many—but I can tell you that Serafina Pekkala’s witchy spell moves me. I’m enchanted by the dark rawness of her chant, by how it goes for the gut of the matter.
Vanessa from A Fanciful Twist was kind enough to let me borrow this witchy cauldron.
Serafina’s spell, Vanessa’s cauldron, August’s end… Can you feel the pull of All Hallow’s Eve? 

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30 comments:

  1. "Dry the gore-flood". Coolest. line. ever.

    \IiiI

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    1. I thought so, too. And this time around I actually listened to the book. My goodness, the reader is so amazing. I swear I played it over and over, and might have danced a bit in the terrace like Serafina and her witches ;-)

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  2. ...& high time to be feeling the pull!

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    1. Indeed! Nothing like an approaching October to remind us about all those things that exists in-between. Have you read this book? If you haven't, I would try it. I think you will like it.

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  3. This spell chant reminds me of the linguistic rhythms and wordplay of the ancient epic poems like Beowulf. Plus, love that graphic!

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    1. Philip Pullman is a genius of the written word. And I love the way he presents his characters. They all feel like they are the main one. He makes you love them or hate them and then gives you reason to turn around and wonder why you did so in the first place. Like I said, genius ;-)

      When I reread the chant I thought of Vanessa's cauldron. I spent a little time looking for it, but I found it buried in a 2008 post. I happy, I put them together.

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  4. The first part put me in mind of Wm Blake's 'Tiger, Tiger burning bright', particularly the lines about God making ther tiger in His furnace "What the anvil? What the grasp Dare its deadly terrors clasp." Then my mental images switched to visions of a uterous and menstral blood. A very poewerful writer, Magaly.

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    1. Pullman quotes so many poets at the beginning of each chapter of his book, Blake included. Next time I read the books, I will look for similarities in the style. They definitely share many motifs, but it would be interesting to see if the rhythm is also similar. The darkness of the two? Dead on!

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  5. Wow. Just wow. I felt the pull last night stronger than ever before. I see, perhaps, that I wasn't the only one. :-)"Blood! Obey me!" I got chills. I wish I'd read this spell before my husband's surgery so I could've been running these words of Power through my head. I will be reading more by this writer now that you've made the introductions. Thank you Magaly!

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    1. I've always said it, the best fiction is the one that touches us so deeply that we feel like bringing it into our reality. And sometimes we do ;-)

      If you get a chance, read these books. Pullman is amazing!

      The movie about the book is horrible.

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  6. I love those words.....strong willed summons to heal a wound inflicted in haste. Haven't read these books. Already prepping for All Hallows....we just didn't bother with summer here so Autumn is flying by too :) XXX

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    1. You didn't bother with summer because we were burning our butts off for you. My tomato plant is moving on *sigh* but the strawberry and everything else stand strong and flipping the heat off. I'm a summer girl, but I'm actually looking forward to the cooler months this year. It was just too hat.

      And yes on the words, they hit with a bang ;-)

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  7. Astounding words....makes the heart race, and the imagination run away with wild and tumultous ideas. Whew!!

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    1. I know, right? It made me want to join their dance and chant. Okay, so I did join (it was an audio book). I wonder what my neighbors were thinking when they saw me on the terrace... lol

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  8. This is the first time I've read this. I was captivated by the images of the knife being forged. I've never read Phillip Pullman's books and the chant is so powerful. You can feel the command within the words. I can't write chants like that. Heck, I can't write anything like that period. Maybe one day...

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    1. I might have repeated this too much, but I will again: this man is an excellent writer. I was rereading the books to pay attention to the way he offers details without overwhelming the reader (I suck at writing details *sigh*) but I always get too much into the book and forget that I was doing research *cough, cough*

      You should try this trilogy. It's awesome!

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  9. I liked the term Blood Gates....made me think of a tsunami of blood poring forth....

    ...and yes, I am soooo ready for a respite from the heat and a thinning of the veil ;)

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    1. "a tsunami of blood poring forth..." now, there is an image. And I think the land agrees with you, too. Bring on the cool!

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  10. That first part made me think of Excalibur, perhaps the words spoken by Merlin before he plunged it into the stone.

    The 2nd seems to be regret, and the last...lol...puts a training montage in my mind's eye. ;)

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    1. I think it has to do with what Debra said, there is something about the rhythm of the chant that says ritual (and not one of those boring ones that put you to sleep). Have you read the books? If not, go for it!

      By the way, I just got Girlchild ;-)

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  11. All Hallows eve's pull is getting stronger each day now and isn't it such a wonderful feeling.

    Magaly I've left you a blog award on my blog Witchery Grove if you would like it.
    http://witcherygrove.blogspot.co.uk/

    J x

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    1. I know, I can smell the cackling and taste the dancing. Such a happy time, The Witches' New Year.

      Thanks very much for the sunshine, I shall spread the rays soon ;-)

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  12. I don't know what to say! Very powerful! Great words! My mind is running with imagination! ;o)

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    1. Nothing prettier than a mind running drunk, wild and inspired on imagination ;-)

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  13. It makes my heart fuel with fire and tells me I must read "The Subtle Knife!"

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    1. His Dark Materials Trilogy is on my list of best books I've ever read. Pullman is fantastic; such an intelligent man. I'm pretty sure you'll fall in love with Lyra as fast as I did ;-)

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  14. Oh honey, I didn't mean to hit the publish button yet! I wanted to let you know I will return tomorrow for more of your deliciousness. I am trying to catch up with all of my friends and of course this includes your beautiful self. Wishing you blessings of all that is great and wild. Mina

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    1. Now it's my turn to play catch up. I was on vacation, and didn't do much reading wanting to enjoy myself and the family (and eat all the blackberries in the world), but now it's time to get back to it ;-)

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  15. it speaks to the deep gut-heart-womb-life, the secret inner life of all things feminine and wild and soul-felt. It makes me remember that we're not all soft curves and blood and earth and joy - we're sharp and deadly and dangerous too, the womb and the blade both. It reminds us we're glorious, in all the ways that the majority of the world wishes we aren't.

    This makes me want to read those books, just by itself. I'd seen the movie, and kinda wanted to read them, but now I really do.

    Aaaaannnddd... if you haven't already, I insist you go out and hunt down some of Sara Douglass's books. Sexy, dark, witchy, with strong, beautiful, flawed women and equally strong, beautiful, flawed men who are allies, lovers, and enemies all at once. The Troy Game series, the Wayfarer Redemption, and Darkglass Mountain. Yes, this post made me think of those books.

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    1. These words do go straight to the gut and remind us that live is powerful, gory and in need of all our attention. I particularly love the relationship between the knife, nature and the witch, there is no competition in this spell, just a conversation where one entity reminds the other of its responsibilities. I do love it.

      Must check Sara Douglass' work. You've intrigued me ;-)

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