Ancestor, Pyromancer

 

Sometime ago, while walking, huddled against the rain and wind of Dublin, I happened to glance skyward, hoping to catch a glimpse of blue against the infinite grey. What I encountered instead, high above in the window of ancient tower, alarmed and excited me. Despite the hooded garment, which partially obscuring her face, I could see that she was sitting, staring downward. Illuminated by the flame of her candle, it seemed as though she was writing.
          I shifted my gaze momentarily towards the sound of rustling in the trees below, and when I returned my attention towards the window, she was gone. 
          Inquiring at the church, St. Luighseach’s it was, the cleric told me that it was impossible for any such person to be in that tower, as it had been off limits for many years, and even he himself was not permitted to climb that ancient staircase. 
           Not one to shy away from the inexplicable, I embarked upon a new and absorbing undertaking, determining from that day forward to investigate what I had seen. I was quite certain that the figure was as solid as her candle, her cowl and her writing implement. I knew as well, that even if I could not gain access to that tower and even if I could and should find it uninhabited, there was something in this experience that I was meant to uncover.

            My Ancestor, Pyromancer as I came to know her, is a contemplative. A woman of letters, she invents symbols and word characters to represent written and spoken language. Her ciphers are transpositions of synesthetic events, ambient sounds, psychic visions, animal communications. Too, she is weaver, a crosser of threads. And it is through the association of this activity, which actually anticipates her body of glyphs, that she discerns the links between thread, structure, communication and tactile and innate experience.
            Her methods, the knots and singed papers are unions of opposites: utility, durability / vulnerability, dissolution. Yet, her devices, candle flame, cords and twigs, refer to the histories of basic fiber configurations and archaic forms of communication.

Following in her footsteps then, as we may our venerable ones, I explored a language of nets, knots, loops, braids and singed papers. Inspired by Celtic knots and networks, the traditions of the Incan Quechua language and its system of Quipu knots, Shime rope structures and demarcations of the Shinto religion, and other less culturally specific forms, this research reiterates the notion that in addition to their material uses, basic thread formations operate as language.

 

Notes

On the Topology of Celtic Knot Designs
http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.161.9792&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Unknotting Knot Theory by Julie Rehmeyer
http://sciencepal.blogspot.com/2008/11/unknotting-knot-theory.html


rock flower: transience and renewal in japanese form by Günter Nitschke
http://www.east-asia-architecture.org/ieaau2/rockflower.html

Mathematics of the Incas by J. J. O'Connor and E. F. Robertson
http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/HistTopics/Inca_mathematics.html

Ceclia Vicuna: Quipus
http://www.ceciliavicuna.com/quipus