Sunday, February 13, 2011

Endurance

Patient endurance attaineth to all things.
--Saint Theresa of Avila





Click to play


The Fabled Hare

I shall go into the Hare
With sorrow and such mickle care.
I shall go in the Lady's name,
An while I come home again.

I've been cursed, I've been despised
As a Witch with darkest powers.
(I shall go into a hare.)
I've been hunted, trapped, and punished
In these my darkest hours.
(With sorrow and such mickle care.)

I've been thrown into the fire
But I do not fear it.
(I shall go into a hare.)
It purifies and resurrects
And I can bear it
(With sorrow and such mickle care.)

I've outrun dogs and foxes
And I've dodged the tractor wheels
(I shall go into a hare.)
I've survived your persecution
And your ever-changing fields
(With sorrow and such mickle care.)

I will run and run forever
Where the wild fields are mine
(I shall go into a hare.)
I'm a symbol of Endurance
Running through the mists of time
(With sorrow and such mickle care.)

I shall go into the Hare
With sorrow and such mickle care.
I shall go in the Lady's name,
An while I come home again.
* * *

This song, by the group Moonrise, is gratefully shared with you all thanks to permission from Robin Dolan, a member of this trio, which also includes D.J. Hamouris and Denise Castleton. Robin insisted I include the original from which this cover is derived, by Maddy Prior; that one is lovely, in a spooky way, but I still prefer Moonrise’s version.

The song alludes to the true case of Isobel Gowdie, a Scottish housewife and Witch who, when put on trial, announced that she would escape her torturers by sending her spirit into the body of a hare. (Terry Pratchett describes this practice, called Borrowing, in the first book of his popular Tiffany Aching trilogy, A Hat Full of Sky.)

The quotation from Saint Theresa, TTV's Gatekeeper of Mysticism, finishes: "Who God possesses, in nothing is wanting. Alone God suffices." An Eastern take on the same idea comes from the Tao Te Ching, chapter 28: "Receive the World in your arms. If you receive the world, the Tao will never leave you."

The implication: Endurance, as sung here, belies the idea of Endurance-as-Resistance. It goes beyond the solid, heavy, rock-in-a-stream connotation. Instead, consider Endurance as it pertains to the Original Hare, the Trickster (Bugs Bunny, even): He offers us Endurance as Wit, as Speed, as living to fight another day (an idea we recently visited in the posting on the Taoist virtue of Bugan wei tianxia xian.) Isobel eludes her captors, but does so with “such mickle [great] care,” and only until (“an”) she comes back to herself. In other words, for just a moment at least, she is Spirit, and she attains Transcendance.

How do you dodge the “hounds and foxes” of your own daily grind? Can you, too, “go into the Hare” to find your own Resilience?

May we see the gates of Endurance, and perhaps make a home there.

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