“Magic Words,” from a Netsilik shaman, Nalungiaq (as recorded in Jerome Rothenberg’s Shaking the Pumpkin and in Robert Bly’s News of the Universe), reproduced here from Bly’s anthology:

In the very earliest time, when both people and animals lived on earth, a person could become an animal if he wanted to and an animal could become a human being. Sometimes they were people and sometimes animals and there was no difference. All spoke the same language. That was the time when words were like magic. The human mind had mysterious powers. A word spoken by chance might have strange consequences. It would suddenly come alive and what people wanted to happen could happen— all you had to do was say it. Nobody can explain this: That’s the way it was.

Monster Creation

Page last modified on March 31, 2008, at 01:20 PM