this earth, this realm
I’m sure I should be exhorting you, gentle reader, to ground yourself and set strong intentions for this new year. But better folk than I are spending so many words on doing so that it seems hardly worth the effort to nag you who are so thoroughly chided to carpe annum.
Besides, I am resting up during this Mercury retrograde time and weary from my year of travel, I am looking for inspiration of my own. So Shakespeare. I love Shakespeare and have been reading his words since I was about 10. My mother was a fan and quoted some of the best bits when I was very young indeed.
I find comfort, solace and inspiration in the plays and the poems, and have been fortunate in my life to play many roles in these familiar works. When the times in which we live offer us enormous challenges–personal as well as civic–I have always found answers in the Riverside Shakespeare, read aloud in a silent room, read silently in company.
When faced with incompetent leaders, can we not turn to the War of the Roses and visit again the victories of Henry V torn to pieces by the lesser monarchs that followed him? Crazy leaders? Mad in their rage? There is Lear for that.
And Richard II, which I am watching now, yields this, seemingly about the nation in which I am a citizen… “This dear, dear land is now leased out…”
But I began the evening with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” All my work of late with the Fair Folk, with the Gentry–how right it feels to see the fey-haunted forests beset by asses and changlings and fumblingly-bad actors! And how perfect for the times that are our times today. So I am comforting myself with Shakespeare tonight.
What are the things–the words, the beings, the sounds–that nourish and repair your soul in times that clang with chaos?