“I’m not a prophet or a stone age man, just a mortal with the potential of a superman. I’m living on.”
Is it not the way of the shaman to sing of things we cannot see? You put in headphones, retreat into a cave of sound and the visions are there. We hear him slip away. There can be no replacement, but our shaman has left us with a thousand incantations to bring him back, even if only for a few minutes at a time. Perhaps not all the villagers believed in his magic, but it was ubiquitous nonetheless.
David Bowie was the kind of man about whom prophecies are written. Whose coming was drawn onto cave walls in flickering firelight. We had decades with our shaman, his words echoing in all corners, sliding in and out of our consciousness. His words were prayers and salutations and his final prophecies revealed his end. He would be the black star, whisking away in the night. He will take the place of Polaris.
“Time may change me, but you can’t trace time.”
Art has no need for transparency. The translation changes. The drawings on the cave wall become the written word, become the song, the painting, the film. The shaman has no need and every need for these mediums. It is through art that we interpret the world around us and ideas of what else lurks beyond our understanding.
David Bowie breathed art. He let art become his very life right down to the persona, crafted yet so wholly true. Even when he was someone else he was himself. Perhaps that is the very definition of a shaman, one who can take different forms to be a medium between the real and what cannot be comprehended. The shaman is a messenger, is a rebel, is an ageless wonder whose existence is as transitory as it is permanent.
“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”
Our shaman will be ours for eons to come. To share a time with his earthly life is to be unwittingly crafted and inspired by his existence. The shaman is fiction and nonfiction. Fantasy, science fiction, romance, and thriller. History, biography, and religion. How do you mourn the expanse of such a life?
David Bowie is singular, yet innumerable. A truth and a contradiction. To see him in his element, performing, practicing his art was like watching electricity form from thin air. There will be no second coming. We will shed our tears, beat our chests, and we will listen to his voice again and again.
We will look to the heavens, into the dark night, and we will see him there. He will be pointing us beyond North, beyond Earth. He will be pointing toward our souls and inviting us to go there.