Friday, November 14, 2014

Last week I lost my first teacher and mentor of esoteric things (also poetry, wine selection, and many, many other things). This past spring I lost my mother. The number of people who I can consult for reliable and wise advice is dwindling, and I am rebelling against being pushed to the front of the generational train, as it were.

I have been thinking about the concept of gift giving. In the Germanic tradition, this was the glue that held society together. And while coming across things people have given me--objects, writings, letters--it has struck me how deep the roots of a gift can run. Every time I read an article with my mentor's notes, every time I perform a task following my mother's instructions, every time I wear or use or look at the various gifts that have been given me by friends and kinfolk over the years, I think of them. I remember where we were and what we were doing when the gift was given, and I remember them--their words, their lives, their essence. I will always think of them when I see or use those things, and as long as I do, they will live for me in my memory.

If I give or bequeath these things to others, along with the stories that go with them, when I die or beforehand, those people will then think of the givers when they see or use those things. And thus, by the giving of gifts, they achieve a kind of immortality.