The Daemonic as ‘Duende’

As far back as Goethe, it has been realised that the Daemonic is cognate with the ‘duende’ of Gypsy Flamenco music.

Duende is ‘deep song’, or ‘cante profundo.’ It is forged in ‘black inexplicable pain’, as Lorca calls it, or ‘existence pain’, as Yalom describes it. Kierkegaard calls existence ‘absurd’, not only because it does not ‘add up’ in any sensible, or rational, manner, but also because it does not come to us as already meaningful; on the contrary, meaning is at depth unsecured, non-guaranteed, uncertain.. Everything we thought solid is revealed as poised over nothingness, in existence we are ‘out over’ an Abyss..

The Daemonic is discrepant with any natural and cosmic ‘given’ pattern, not just with the rational order of science and other intellectualist schemes. The Daemonic cannot be fitted into the Circle Dance of the Whole, the metaphysical and universal Order that ‘holds things together’ in [amicable] harmony, and [flowingly] balances all opposites. It does not fit within this fluid integration, it is not the discord that resolves in harmony, it cannot be harmonised, it cannot be balanced with any opposite, it is not the converse, the twin, or any kin, of anything in the Great Round. The Daemonic rises where pattern, metaphysical or rational, comes to an irrevocable and wounding end. The Daemonic is not a part of any Sacred Geometry. It does not compute, arithmetically or holistically.

Henceforth, ultimate meaning will only be made in a depth that can, and more often does, kill all meaning.

Manuel Torre: “All that has black sounds has duende.”

Federico Lorca: “The duende, then, is a power, not a work. It is a struggle, not a thought.”

The dagger
goes into the heart
the blade of a plough
into barren land.

Don’t run it through me.

The dagger,
like a ray of the sun,
sets fire
to terrible depths.

Don’t run it through me.

Dry land
quiet land
of immense

of oil lamps
and sorrow.
of deep cisterns.
of death without eyes
and of arrows.

And Lorca added: “The duende only comes if death is a real possibility.”

The Daemonic is a mystery and a presence that calls the heart into the existential arena, to test the ultimate by subjecting it to the passing.

This is the mystery of the heart, its terrible grief, and the terrible power that comes of standing on groundless ground.

Before the wound of the Daemonic, the heart is not called. It dances with the mind and the soul and the body in the great circle, but it is not called. When the Daemonic wounds the heart, it wakes. It is called. Its terrible and beautiful name is spoken, because it is summoned to the fate only the heart can bear, only the heart can endure, and only from the struggle with black inexplicable pain will come the strange destiny worthy of the heart.