Framing reality

“The Otherworld is ready for you, but are you ready for the Otherworld?”

This is the premise and tagline for Lee Morgan’s book ‘Standing And Not Falling’.

The following quotation comes early in chapter 1, but I keep coming back to it. Reimmersion in the strange doesn’t come easily to the modern, raised on post-Enlightenment rationality. I think this extract yields some heady fruit when considered deeply.

This is why a witch hundreds of years ago didn’t seem to go through the same self-examination and scepticism about whether she really met a horned devil at the fence stile in the flesh or whether it was a hallucination.

Not having a word for hallucination makes it easier not to worry about hallucinations. her culture supported her, even down to the words it had and didn’t have, from childhood onward, the notion that such things as horned devils were possibilities. So strenuously was it believed that the practice of meeting with such individuals was against the law… For a witch like Isobel Gowdie, there was no towering authority of any stamp that held sway in her time saying such things didn’t exist, only that they were bad. And there is a far shorter leap from bad to misunderstood that there is from untrue to true! It is hard to stress enough what a radically different framing reality would have had for people in the past.

Lee Morgan, p12, ‘Standing And Not Falling’, Moon Books, 2019

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