MY Journal

Quotes from the Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

The unicorn lived in a lilac wood and she lived all alone.

"I've never really understood," the unicorn mused as the man picked himself up, "what you dream of doing with me, once you've caught me." The man leaped again, and she slipped away from him like rain. "I don't think you know yourselves," she said.

But she knew beyond both hope and vanity that men had changed and the world with them, because unicorns were gone.

You know better than to expect a butterfly to know your name. All they know are songs and poetry and anything else they hear. They mean well, but they can't keep things straight. And why should they? They die so soon.

Creatures of night, brought to light.

The touch of a human hand would wake her out of the deepest sleep the devil humself could lay on her. And Mommy Fortuna's no devil.

No creature of man's night loves cold iron, and while the unicorn could endure its presence, the murderous smell of it seemed to turn her bones to sand and her blood to rain.

"This is strange sorcery," she said softly. "There's more meaning than magic to this."

"You see, the spider believes. She sees those cat's cradles herself and thinks them her own work. Belief makes all the difference to magic like Mommy Fortuna's. Why is that troop or witlings withdrew their wonder, there'd be nothing left of all her witchery but the sound of a spider weeping. And no one would hear it.

"Fear nothing," he began grandly. "For all my air of mystery, I have a feeling heart."

By the sorrow and loss and sweetness in their faces she knew that they recognized her, and she accepted their hunger as her homage. She thought of the hunter's great grandmother, and wondered what it must be like to grow old, and to cry.

Cool things from Getting Medieval by Carolyn Dinshaw

From Carolyn Dinshaw's Getting Medieval, Sexualities and Communities, Pre- and Postmodern. Duke University Press 1999.

From the Introduction, written in John Mirks Instructions for Parish Priests

Also wryten wel .I. fynde,
That of synne aȝeynes kynde
Thow schalt thy paresch no Þynge teche,
Ny of that synne no thynge preche;

Also I find indeed in writing
That concerning sin against nature
You shall teach your parish nothing,
Nor preach anything about that sin

"synne aȝeynes kynde" "sin against nature" was deemed unspeakable, you shall teach your parish nothing. The phrase, used in serveral places in Medieval literature, could be used for any nonprocreative sex, but it becomes THE sin against nature in reference to sodomy. In addition, 'kynde' has a variety of meanings. It can be directly translated from anywhere as "kind" to "seed/semen", but also has the attached meaning of nature and morality. This shifting meaning of kynde is essential to its use in relation to 'the sin against nature'. What does this mean for understanding queer history in these times if the act itself is unspeakable, and what does it mean when it is, despite this, spoken?

The Twelve Conclusions

"...the twelve Conclusions oppose church endowments and the church's spiritually deathly practice of "appropriation" that frequently leaves parishioners without pastoral care (1) The entirely earthly priesthood itself, which is not ordained by Christ (2); required vows of clerical celibacy, since such vows brought sodomy into the church (3); transubstantiation, which conduces to idolatry - worshiping a piece of bread (4); exorcisms and false blessings, which are really necromancy and not theologically sound (5); the holding of secular office by spiritual leaders, which effects and improper mixing or double estate rather like a hermaphrodite or person who takes payment from both sides (6)l special prayers for dead men's souls, which are motivated by gifts and therefore not far from simony (7); pilgrimages, prayers, and offerings to images and crosses, which, again are akin to idolatry (8); auricular confession, since with the feigned power of absolution it enhances priests' pride and gives the opportunity for secret dalliances (9); manslaughter in battle or punishment, which is expressly contrary to the New Testament (10); vows of celibacy for nuns and widows, since they might by preforming nonprocreative sex acts as a result (11); and arts such as goldsmithy, armoury, and other crafts that are deemed unnecessary and thus sinfully wasteful, surious, and engaged with ornamentation (12)

The Twelve Conclusions provide an example of the Lollards (a proto-protestant Christian religious group started by John Wycliffe) ideology, though they were not a homogenous group, AND provides us a glimpse into mediveal discourse involving THE queer.
Of the twelve conclusions the 3rd, 6th, and 11th conclusion are notable. In the 3rd, and 11th conclusion vows of celiabacy amoung preists, nuns, and widows lead to sodomy, nonprocreative acts, aka homosexual relationships. This is a poor footnote of the actual content of the book which goes into much more depth and critical analysis, including the interlinking relationship of the word sodomy with other crimes against the church, including simony, murder, and heresy. Suggesting that sodomy itself permeates all other serious accusations.

Þe thirdde conclusiun sorwful to here is Þat Þe lawe of continence annexyd to presthod, Þat in preiudys of wimmen was first ordeynid, inducith sodomie in al holy chirche; but we excusin us be Þe Bible for Þe suspecte decre Þat seyth we schulde not nemen it. Resun and experience prouit Þis conclusiun. For delicious metis and drinkis of men of holi chirche welen han nedful purgaciun or werse. Experience for Þe priue assay of syche men is, Þat Þet[i] like non wymmen; and whan Þu prouist sich a man mark him wel for he is on of Þo. Þe correlary of Þis conclusiun is Þat Þe priuat religions, begynneris of Þis synne, were most worthi to ben anullid. But God for his myth of priue synne sende opyn ueniaunce.
The third conclusion, sorrowful to hear, is that the law of continence [chastity] annexed to the priesthood, that was first ordained against women, induces sodomy in all holy church; but we excuse ourseleves [for naming it] by the Bible against the suspect decree that says we should not name it. Reason and observation prove this conclusion. [Reason] for delicious foods and drinks of men of holy church will have necessary purgation or worse. Observation [proves this conclusion] for the secret test of such men is, that they like no women; and when you prove such a man mark him well, for he is one of those. The corollary of this conclusion is that the private religions, beginners of this sin, are most worthy of being anulled. But God, for his might, send open vegeance on secret sin.

The phrase "mark him well, for he is one of those" seems to cross time in its sentiment. To be marked, to be the other, to be "one of those" is a statement not unfamiliar to, I'm sure, people everywhere which is maybe why it stood out to me when reading. This text also brings up the interesting point that the Lollards thought, logically, reasonably, obviously that sodomy arose from the partaking in delicious food and drink. As Dinshaw argues, with further evidence, that this purge of living richly is still seen as a natural proccess. A person MUST purge either by vomitting or by sodomy, from living deliciously.

In regards to queer women their seems to be some confusion, or more allusive consequences for same-sex relationships. The solution for women is to be redirected toward men, but for men there is no turning straight. Womens desires are often centered around men in texts, and that penetration in the center of female sex. " Female sexual activity without men is incompletely imagined -".

John/Eleanor Rykener

In 1394, the Cheap Ward in London, Eleanor and John Britby were arrested for "that detestable, unmentionable, and ignominious vice". Eleanor, a man in womens clothing, a sex worker, and queer, proved to be of some importance to the court for his/her confession was recorded. Maybe it was because she had "sex with so many clerics that he couldn't remember them all". Maybe it was because John/Eleanor was able to live and pass as a women, defying the categories that the Lollards had set about "one of those", throwing their ideas of sexuality and gender into disarray. The record itself is confused, using different pronouns for him thorughout, showing that they themselves were unsure what to call her. The fate of John/Eleanor Rykener was not written, though it would not be unlikely that they were executed, that was the punishment for sodomy at the time. This is my favorite chapter in the book, looking a real queer person, who we will never know what label they may have used, but that we do know was queer. Rykener's clients surely weren't interested in purely heterosexual desires. In their own queerness they reveal the queer around them in mediveal times.

Putting the ecology back into insect cognition research

Lihoreau, M., T. Dubois, T. Gomez-Moracho, S. Kraus, C. Monchanin, and C. Pasquaretta. 2019. Putting the ecology back into insect cognition research. Advances in insect physiology 57:1-25.

An excellent quote they start with:

“… que se passe-t-il dans ce petit cerveau d’hyménoptère? Y a-t-il là des facultés soeurs des nôtres, y a-t-il une pensée? Quel problème, si nous pouvions le résoudre; quel chapitre de psychologie, si nous pouvions l’écrire!” [… what happens in this little brain of Hymenoptera? Are there abilities similar to ours, is there a thought? What problem, if we could solve it; what chapter of psychology, if we could write it!] Translated from Jean-Henri Fabre (Fabre, 1882, p405)

This paper makes an argument for complementing the use of lab-based studies with the use of cognitive ecology in entomology so that we may better understand the social, ecological, and evolutionary connections to their cognitive abilities. One of their interesting points includes that field experiments may add social context. Bugs act, and make decisions differently based on whether they are solitary or in a group, and whether they were raised in a social environment. They conclude with posing some questions that show why we should be asking ecologically relevant questions compared to some questions asked in the lab. "Why should insects count? What does it mean for an insect colony to have optimistic and pessimistic foragers?"

Quotes that make me feel things from The Bird

L'Oiseau by Jules Michelet 1868

Page 18-19
Man will not be truly man—we return to this topic at the close of our volume—until he shall labour seriously to accomplish the mission which the earth expects of him:
The pacification and harmonious communion of all living nature.
"A woman's dreams!" you exclaim. What matters that?
Since a woman's heart breathes in this book, I see no reason to reject the reproach. We accept it as an eulogy. Patience and gentleness, tenderness and pity, and maternal warmth—these are the things which beget, preserve, develop a living creation.

Page 23-24
But it was not to be so; and the dove was not my first love. The first was a flower, whose name I do not know.
... Feeling very sad and sorely discouraged, I descried one morning, on a pale-green stem, a beautiful little golden blossom. Very little, trembling at the lightest breath, its feeble stalk issued from a small basin excavated by the rains. Seeing it there, and always trembling, I supposed it was cold, and provided it with a canopy of leaves.

-Written by Athénaïs Michelet

Page 64
Talking about the egg...
A stone pressed so long to the heart, to the flesh-

Page 66
She sees it delicate and charming in its soft down of infancy, and she predicts with the vision of hope that it will be vigorous and bold, when, with outspread wings, it shall eye the sun and breast the storm.

Page 66
With us the mother loves that which stirs in her bosom—that which she touches, clasps, enfolds in assured possession; she loves the reality, certain, agitated and moving, which responds to her own movements. But this one loves the future and unknown; her heart beats alone, and nothing as yet responds to it. Yet is not her love the less intense; she devotes herself and suffers; she will suffer unto death for her dream and her faith.

Page 68
Melodious sparks of celestial fire, whither do ye not attain? For ye exists nor height nor distance; the heaven, the abyss, it is all one. What cloud, what watery deep is inaccessible to ye? Earth, in all its vast circuit, great as it is with its mountains, its seas, and its valleys, is wholly yours. I hear ye under the Equator, ardent as the arrows of the sun. I hear ye at the Pole, in the eternal lifeless silence, where the last tuft of moss has faded; the very bear sees ye afar, and slinks away growling. Ye, ye still remain; ye live, ye love, ye bear witness to God, ye reanimate death. In those terrestrial deserts your touching loves invest with an atmosphere of innocence what man has designated the barbarism of nature.

Page 76-77
O wonder of maternity! Through its influence the rudest woman becomes artistic, tenderly heedful. But the female is always heroic. It is one of the most affecting spectacles to see the bird of the eider—the eider-duck—plucking its down from its breast for a couch and a covering for its young. And if man steals the nest, the mother still continues upon herself the cruel operation. When she has stripped off every feather, when there is nothing more to despoil but the flesh and the blood, the father takes his turn; so that the little one is clothed of themselves and their substance, by their devotion and their suffering. Montaigne, speaking of a cloak which had served his father, and which he loved to wear in remembrance of him, makes use of a tender phrase, which this poor nest recalls to my mind—"I wrapped myself up in my father."

Page 83- 84
Wilt thou be a man, and share in that royalty of the globe which men have won by art and toil?
No, he will immediately reply. Without calculating the immense exertion, the labour, the sweat, the care, the life of slavery by which we purchase sovereignty, he will have but one word to say: "A king myself, by birth, of space and light, why should I abdicate when man, in his loftiest ambition, in his highest aspirations after happiness and freedom, dreams of becoming a bird, and taking unto himself wings?"
It is in his sunniest time, his first and richest existence, in his day-dreams of youth, that man has sometimes the good fortune to forget that he is a man, a slave to hard fate, and chained to earth. Behold, yonder, him who flies abroad, who hovers, who dominates over the world, who swims in the sunbeam; he enjoys the ineffable felicity of embracing at a glance an infinity of things which yesterday he could only see one by one. Obscure enigma of detail, suddenly made luminous to him who perceives its unity! To see the world beneath one's self, to embrace, to love it! How divine, how lofty a dream! Do not wake me, I pray you, never wake me! But what is this? Here again are day, uproar, and labour; the harsh iron hammer, the ear-piercing bell with its voice of steel, dethrone and dash me headlong; my wings are rent. Dull earth, I fall to earth; bruised and bent, I return to the plough.

Page 85
...the frigate-bird, sweeps along at the rate of eighty leagues an hour, five or six times swifter than our most rapid railway trains, outstripping the hurricane, and with no rival but the lightning.

Page 88
Man does not wish to be a man, but an angel, a winged deity...
...Woman never doubts but that her offspring will become an angel. She has seen it so in her dreams.