Chimneys, Caves, and Castles
RED BRICKS

The demons perch on the
tip of my chimney
on my house where
I do live.

Day by day I chase
them to the highest
reach and wrestle them
to the cold cold ground.

Even as I struggle I
secretly carry out
a bold bold plan.

Day by day and
red brick by brick
I dismantle the chimney
and carry each red
red brick to my
new house
and my new
half-built chimney
where no demons
can be found.

INVITING THE DEMONS

If you ever see dark demons
hanging around outside
your painted doors,
don't be shy or frightful,
invite them in, fix them
a cup of coffee or tea,
offer them a piece of cake.

Just relax.

Some of those demons
tell the best stories,
some of those demons
make wonderful companions,
all of them behave
when they're invited guests.

--Nitty

Dear Nitty,

All I can seem to think of at this moment is utter nonsense about "Chimneys, Caves, and Castles." Perhaps the link between all three is the idea of contemplation; the interior going into and roaming around (in at least the two of them that can be considered as dwellings) to find truth. The chimney, I guess, is the passage to the outside or (as some would say) the real world. All abodes require some access to the enveloping atmosphere, whether it be to expel the undesirable products of combustion (smoke) or to recruit air to feed the fire.

And fire is what we're talking about isn't it? Aren't we all fueled by oxidation ranging from spark to ash? What happens in between these two poles is the story of our lives.

Nitty, is your new house to be a cave or a castle? One of them you will build for yourself quite consciously, and the other you will discover, from time to time, when you fall into it. If I were you, I'd build a castle and turn the basement of same into a cave so it's nearby when you need it. Also, I would think about inviting said demons to occupy the cave instead of the chimney, as you really are out of compliance with the combustion code by allowing them to clutter the flue as they have been doing.

I'm thinking about "The Desert Fathers." They were a group of fourth-century Christians eager to rid themselves of the corrupting influence of society. Many of them retired to caves, where they lived in austerity. They imposed stringent hardships upon themselves in the belief that, so stripped, they would move closer to God. Demons thrived under these conditions and gave the saintly hermits a run for their money. Lucifer loves the Christian concept of sin and the badness of Man. When people buy into it on a grand scale, it makes his job easier (and the same goes for when they indorse the opposite position.) Anyway, Nitty, caves tend to be for chastisement and punishment, and that is why I would you spend little time there.

Use, instead, your temporal allotment upstairs--in the kitchen (yes, castles have kitchens); bake a cake. Have a music room, why don't you, and suggest the demons take lessons. They will follow you out of the cavern you know--which is fine. They too, need to know there's more to existence than the grotto or the draft-shaft. Open them up to their counterparts which, when added to themselves, can render endless life-giving possibilities. They, then, will eventually understand themselves to be but part of a whole and will be less driven toward your undoing.

This should all be perfectly clear to you now, Nitty, and I'll conclude by reminding you of what Jung did at one point. To get back to himself (this was after he had that break with Freud) and reclaim forgotten parts of his psyche, he thought back to a time in his youth when he was truly at peace and happy. He had, he remembered, as a boy loved to build things out of stones. And so he set about to build himself a little castle of stone with which to refresh his imagination and invigorate his soul. No caves for Jung! He constructed a self-edifying, ego-quiet edifice and roamed the many chambers of his domain, all aspects aligned as they were meant to be. Notice, however, that he did put a chimney in. He, like everyone else, had hot air that had need to rise.

Once again, Nitty, I have been sacrilegious in tone and, I fear, irresponsible in intent. I mean no harm; I am in a terribly silly mood this evening and I think I must be missing MY stones. I left my big, beautiful rocks behind when I left where I was. I don't suppose you will remember how I left not even one of them unturned in my determination to lay a garden path. In order to implement my vision, (I was on fire) I would go into the woods and carry out those calcified creations, one by one, until I satisfied myself that I had collected enough to complete the fey, footpath mosaic. When it was done, I rested. And so did my demons. Actually, it was they who did most of the work. Neither they nor I have since been the same.

Yours in sacred confusion, Nitty, as always,

Nimrod


Copyright 1997 The Courage of Our Confusion. All Rights Reserved. Comments? E-mail comments@confusio.comback to table of contents