Lately, I’ve been musing about Mannaz, the “M” of runelore, the linked hands of mankind. In ogham, I am reminded not of M but of N, Nin the weaver’s beam — which makes this an intercultural consonantal journey of sorts! (Forgive the whimsy.)
I’ve had some difficulties, though, through the years with the human tendency to fret over another’s success or spotlight. It’s the weakness in the weaver’s beam, the weak point where joined hands drop.
It’s often called ego, but I think that’s a misnomer. It’s a perception of inner scarcity, of lack, of the zero sum game.
“We hate it when our friends become successful,” moans Morrissey — a much more famous singer and musician than I’ll ever be, truth be told. Nothing is worth doing unless you’re the top, the center, the crux. Fame or bust.
Personally, I don’t need to be the center or even near the center. Sometimes, it’s good to simply participate and enjoy — to read another’s book, listen to another’s music, attend another’s event — with no need to insert one’s self, one’s ego, one’s self-worth, always perceived as wanting.
Through the years, I’ve known a lot of the “inserters,” people who always need to one-up: You have a nice, new instrument? Just wait — I’ll get the same but better, no matter the cost! You can sing, sure, but I can sing too, even if it’s your gig! It’s your ritual or your reading, but I know I can do it better! So, now, I’ll just step into the center….
Why aren’t you reading this year? Why aren’t you performing? (Insert barely disguised put-down and cue the song from Annie, Get Your Gun….)
In truth, I offer peace-prayers to folks like that. It must be so wearisome to always climb, compare, undercut. How much work that is — to saw through the beam, unravel the tapestry, crush another’s hand in the attempt to impress them with your grip.
The hum underneath, the hidden current, lays us bare: Fame fades and beauty bursts as a bubble. Nothing lasts — not attention, not your physical form, not your ability. It doesn’t matter whether you go gentle into the good night or fight it, clawing the ground every step of the way. Into it you shall go, along with all you have been and all you have done.
But it’s only ugly if you make it so, if you gaze into the bitter glass, as Yeats would have it.
If you see beauty, open your hands and your heart to it. Dance if you are moved, and enjoy the offerings of others without stinginess or fault. Support one another.
Be the weaver’s beam, supporting the cloth of community, the linked hands of Mannaz. You have nothing and everything — be joyful in that.