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  • Daniel Bernhard

THE MEAD OF POETIC RESILIENCE

When the two tribes of Norse gods, the Aesir and Vanir, gods of Sky and Earth, finally had to face the fact that none of them would win the war they senselessly started and that was about to destroy all of the worlds at once, they all spit in a bowl in order to seal a peace treaty. Out of this godly spit, the dwarf Kvasir was created, a great teacher to humanity – and the inventor of poetry!


Of course some jealous dudes killed him later on to produce a beverage out of his blood, the Mead of Poetry. It would turn anyone who drank from it instantly into a master poet. And of course some other dude then hid the Mead of Poetry deep inside a mountain, trying to monopolize on Poetry. But that’s another story. What this tale told me is this:


When battles are unwinnable, like the war between Heaven and Earth, when crises are unsolvable, when planetary destruction looms in ways that we don’t have words for yet, one way forward is to go inside, where the Mead of Poetry is kept.

The act of turning unbearable feelings into beautiful song is the most profound form of alchemy humanity has invented so far. It doesn’t just offer consolation and a response to the unspeakable, it is a process of world-weaving. The sheer fact that we can still create something out of the rubble, the debris, the fallout, changes everything. We are not speechless.


Etymologists suggest that „Kvass", a traditional fermented beverage still popular in Russia and Eastern Europe, has an origin similar to the name „Kvasir". The weaver of song is a product of fermentation! Something decomposes, thus making its spirit, its essence available: Poetry is Alchemy.


In South America, some people still produce „Chicha", another fermented drink, by spitting chewed Cassava into a bowl. The spit of many people is left to ferment together, then enjoyed by the whole community. Something decomposes, then composes newly affirmed relationships: Alchemy is Poetry. And peace is created once again.


Most of the ancient healer gods were gods of music and poetry as well, because that’s how healers across the world would heal: with powerful words, tunes, vibrations, mantra and song. It is proven that singing reduces stress symptoms and releases anxiety. It is a way to build resilience in moments of distress.


Mending the broken World can not be done from the calculating mind and political action alone. We need to cultivate this kind of Poetic Resilience, urgently.




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