Algernon Blackwood, Wendigo, Dark Forces of Nature
More than almost any other author, Algernon Blackwood seems to feel the terrifying, breathtaking, primal, savage divinity of Nature, as manifested by ancient nonhuman gods who are only appeased by bloody
There is a very eerie, beautifully written story by
Blackwood entitled "The Wendigo," based on the Native American myth of the wendigo, a cannibalistic creature. When I looked up the description of the wendigo in the Encylopedia Mythica
(http://www.pantheon.org/articles/w/wendigo.html), I was fascinated to discover that there is a condition,"peculiar to the Algonquin people,"
called "Wendigo psychosis," "in which the victim begins to crave human flesh. This condition has been used in courts of law as part of the defense of a person."
In association with the wendigo, Blackwood refers to the "call of the wild," a term, popularized by Jack London in his novel of that name, which expresses the often fatal allure of the wilderness. In
Blackwood's story of the Wendigo, he refers to "savage and formidable Potencies lurking behind the souls of men, not evil perhaps in themselves, yet instinctively hostile to humanity as it exists." I see
this force in Native American masks and perceived it in my childhood visions of "God." I believe that beyond the surfaces of things there is another reality, invisible to most people, which can be perceived and expressed by some through creative works, such as the masks. This pagan, non-human force, I believe, is the collective spirit of Nature,
manifested in various aspects by the entities within it.