Reliquiae Vol 9 No 2 (Autumn 2021)
Edited by Autumn Richardson & Richard Skelton
xxii + 190pp
- First 100 copies come with an art print of 'Lamma', a Sumerian protective goddess -
Reliquiae interleaves ecologically aware writing from the past and present, ranging from the ethnological to the philosophical, the lyrical to the visionary. As of 2019 it is published biannually.
Peter Mark Adams, Sarah Alcaide-Escue, Luanne Armstrong, Aztec Mythology (Autumn Richardson, Trans.), Bagobo Folklore, Alvaro Alonso Barba, Ruy Belo (Richard Zenith, Trans.), Martin Blochwitz, Boëthius, Lord Byron, Chippewa Folklore, Daniela Cascella, Kym Deyn, Timothy Dodd, Egyptian Folklore, The Exeter Book (Peter O’Leary, Trans.), Mark A. Fisher, Abigail Flint, Adam Flint, The Gilgamesh epic, Maria Graham, Navajo Folklore, Nicola Holloway, The Icelandic Rune Poem (Richard Skelton, Trans.), Inuit Folklore, Callum James, Olga Kolesnikova, Christina Lloyd, Mathew Lyons, Nemir Matos Cintrón (Joseph Ellison Brockway, Trans.), David Mohan, Kiera Moore, C.P. Nield, Paracelsus, Parmenides (Dan Beachy-Quick, Trans.), Scottish Folklore, Richard Skelton.
Volume 9 No 2 is our most multilingual edition to date, with Akkadian, Chippewa, Danish, Ancient Greek, Old Icelandic, Iglulingmiut, Italian, Nahuatl, Navajo, Old English, Portuguese, Scottish Gaelic, West Saxon and Spanish all represented.
As ever, we have unearthed a rich vein of folkloric and ethnographic material from around the world. There are Egyptian charms against demons and chants to ‘the unwearied stars’; Navajo prayers to sacred mountains and to ‘the house made of dawn’; Gaelic enchantments against the evil eye and poem-spells invoking the power of sacred herbs; Inuit shaman songs channeled from the spirits of meteors and hermetic discourses on the occult healing powers of minerals; fragments from the magical prognostications of Paracelsus and lines written after the prayers of St. Teresa of Ávila. There are evocations of gods, goddesses and mythological beings, including Changó, the transformative Yoruba deity; Yemayá, the mother of all Orishas; and Omecihuatl and Coatlicue, the Aztec progenitor deity and the serpent goddess.
Among the new English translations are an Aztec song of the mythological ‘cloud serpent’, a riddle-poem from the Codex Exoniensis and Parmenides’ writings on the natural world. In prose there is a Chilean ‘materia medica’ and an incantatory essay on the circling liturgy of the word; an ethnographic account of Bagabo conceptions of the nature of being, including notions concerning the ‘right-hand’ and ‘left-hand’ souls; an ancient treatise on the medicinal qualities of elder trees and a historical survey of the immemorial landscapes situated between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara.
There are poetic allusions to ‘witch-hills’ and ‘blood-rich fields’; to the Pleiades and the mythological origins of rivers; to the ancient inhabitants of the Atacama desert and the ‘star-filled ones’; to ‘blue-ice bodies’ and the darkness beneath glaciers; the ‘waxing’ of newborns and ‘the ecstatic dead’. There are conjurations of the ‘amniotic of the bog’ and the ‘labyrinthine deep’; of ‘flood-moons’ and ‘black fires’; of ‘the unknown ways of the sun’ and ‘the hidden history beneath grass’; of the ‘ashes of old forests’ and ‘the world’s mineral essence’; the ‘hart’s bell ringing in the wild wood’ and ‘the ancestral melody within’.
In addition to these, a central text of this volume is the Flood Tablet from the Gilgamesh epic, which describes how ‘the deluge-tempest overwhelms the land’ of ancient Sumer. The myth is revisited later in the journal in the form of a contemporary ‘flood-erasure’, exposing the absences in surviving versions of the epic due to the damage sustained by the tablets themselves. These oceanic elements are swelled by poems on ‘the eternal flowering of rivers’, shamanistic invocations to ‘the great sea’ and ‘flood-tides’ rising from the Icelandic Rune Poem. The volume closes with a Byronic dream-apocalypse, during which ‘rivers, lakes, and oceans all stood still’.