“This forest, or another forest - forests without end. As faith retreats and reason sleeps those times shall come again.”
Surrealist Prophecies #3
The third in a sequence of surrealist prophecies written using the divinatory technique of automatic writing (with subsequent revision). The theme of the sequence is the collapse of our global civilization due to uncontrollable climate change, leading to a mass rejection of both faith and reason and the re-enchantment of our world among the ruins of our failed creations. Some of the poems in the sequence are set before the Fall and portray the spiritual and emotional dilemma of our current crisis. Some describe the Fall itself, and the strange changes in thought and perception that will be needed if any are to survive a world in which humanity has been radically de-centered. Some describe the world to come, a world newly alive with gods and spirits yet free of all dogma or fixed belief – a world of beauty and strange magic.
The third prophecy centers around Rudolf Otto’s concept of the numinous as the immediate presence of the Other, often experienced as a “terrible and fascinating mystery” and described by Otto in The Idea of the Holy as “daemonic dread… the horror of Pan.” In “Junkyard Nemeton,” an abandoned junkyard becomes a druidic grove as the trees advance, and the numen walks in the reborn forest. In this case, only a few lines from the final poem have their origin in automatic writing.
Dead cars and broken plastic crates with empty bottles bloom.
Roots twist and turn while weird lights burn, out there beyond the gloom.
Discarded wedding rings and books, lost toys and headless dolls.
The forest grows and no one knows what comes and goes, what calls.
There’s something there, with tangled hair. It walks, and drips, and moans.
The song that calls me to the night sounds sweeter than my own.
I step across the muddy ditch and jump the broken fence.
Between the trees, the night-owl sees, and flees in self-defense.
I raise my hands in recompense and mutter words of prayer.
Strange laughter fills the junkyard night. I whisper “who is there?”.
Novitiate, initiate, at last I shall be shown.
The lies that brought me here tonight seem truer than my own.
I lived my life in constant strife, in service to a creed.
But here at last I have no past, for here there is no need.
I stepped across the border and I crawled across the wall.
Here reason sleeps and faith retreats. The forest eats them all.
I’m startled into silence by a long and lonely moan.
The truth that called me here tonight seems stronger than my own.
Ten thousand years now disappear. In some forgotten time,
My ancient dead here bowed their heads as I am bowing mine.
This forest, or another forest - forests without end.
As faith retreats and reason sleeps those times shall come again.
I speak, but I could never tell the things that I was shown.
The words that I would need are so much stranger than my own.
The wings that flap, the eyes that see, the creatures with their call.
The mountain past the forest looms - strange, black, and fat, and tall.
The birds, like gods, are eating flesh. Skulls guard the cave of bears.
Nine-fold the numen walks tonight, and dogs are howling there.
In polar coldness, near the heart, flame flickers on a stone.
The star that leads me to the light is brighter than my own!
Christopher Scott Thompson
is an anarchist, martial arts instructor, devotee of Brighid and Macha, and a wandering exile roaming the earth. Photo by Tam Zech.