Reliquiae Vol 10 No 1 features writing in Algonquian, Binisayâ, Chinese, Irish, Latin, Nahuatl, Old Norse and Spanish. Among the new English translations are excerpts from the Icelandic Vǫluspá, otherwise known as the ancient prophecy of the Seeress; a selection of ‘Tigmo’ — riddles and proverbs from the Philippines; a fragment from Boethius’ De Consolatione Philosophiae; and Chinese poetry from the Song and Ming Dynasties.
Contributors: Wáng Ānshí (Carolanna Lisonbee, Trans.), Aztec mythology (Daniel G. Brinton, Trans.), Natasha Balwit, Annie Besant, Ursula Bethell, Binisayâ folklore (Alton Melvar M. Dapanas, Trans.), Boethius (Victoria Punch, Trans.), Laura J. Braverman, Thomas Burnet, Chiyo (Clara A. Walsh, Trans.), Jose Gabriel Dávila, Kim Dorman, William Fairfield Warren, Alexandra Fössinger, James A.S. Grant, Lafcadio Hearn, Christopher Hopkins, Icelandic mythology (Nik Gunn, Trans.) Inuit folklore (Knud Rasmussen, W. Worster, G. Herring, Trans.), Fiona M. Jones, Edward G. King, Kootenay folklore (A.F. Chamberlain, Trans.), Jennifer Lee Tsai, Jane Lovell, Amy Lowell, Peter O’Leary, The Popol Vuh (Lewis Spence, Trans.), Donald A. Mackenzie, Autumn Richardson (Eoin Mac Lochlainn, Trans.), Lola Ridge, Kao Shih-chi (Florence Ayscough and Amy Lowell, Trans.), Richard Skelton, Li T’ai-po (Florence Ayscough and Amy Lowell, Trans.), Wabanaki folklore and mythology (Charles Godfrey Leland, John Reade, Trans.), G.C. Waldrep, The Courtesan Wáng Wēi (Carolanna Lisonbee, Trans.), Tamar Yoseloff.
In world mythology there are Aztec hymns to the goddess Teteoinan, otherwise known as the All-Mother; Wabanaki invocations of sacred, shining mountains; and excerpts from the great Mayan creation myth, The Popol Vuh. There are Wabanaki songs of the stars, who proclaim with their light ‘we are the birds of fire’; Inuit creation myths concerning the constellation Ursa Major; and discussions of the Milky Way in Chinese mythology, where it is characterised as a luminous ‘River of Heaven’. There are macabre Kootenay legends of the Coyote and the Owl; explorations of the universe in Babylonian cosmology, including its ‘seven heavens and seven hells’; Aztec hymns to the Hall of Flames and the God of Fire; and explorations of ancient Egyptian concepts of the soul, of ‘Ka’ and ‘Ba’, and the tribunal of Osiris, the ‘judge of the dead’. There are reflections on the destructive and regenerative cycles of the year in the Akkadian myth of Izdubar; Inuit stories of the transmigration of souls; and accounts of the ancient deities of Assyria.
There are poetic evocations of basalt, amber and chalcedony; of mother goddesses, chthonic kings, ‘rituals and wise blood’. There are lake mists, quick suns and bird-bone moons; ‘Mestizo’ invocations of the plants and animals of the Colombian Amazon jungle; and the ghosts of willow-trees awaiting embodiment. There are falling stars, spawning rivers and folded hills; cavernous depths, ‘pageants of flowing stonework’, and visionary recitals of apocalyptic and ecstatic violence. There are the spirit bones and broken forms of ancient animals; evocations of medieval bestiaries carved in wood; and the ‘lawless promise’ of ‘the daughter of the fields’. There are invocations of the heron, ‘deity of the river’; and of luminous places where every wound vanishes. There are the esoteric strivings of birds in flight, and the ephemerality of human agency set against the deep-time longevity of stones. There are ‘thin places’ and worlds ‘more permanent’ than the corporeal. There are sleeping minds, ‘dawn-sleep-death’ and memory’s ‘accrual of moments’; nature-spirits, etheric doubles and desire-elementals; newborn stars, Artemis and Mother Deer. There are seventeenth century cosmologies describing the ‘perpetual Serenity and constant Spring’ of the antediluvian, ‘paradisiacal’ earth, and phantasmagorical theories of a prehistoric Eden at the north pole, of year-long days, and of ‘uncreated lights and created lights’.