A Different Rhythm: A Short Interview with Orryelle Defenestrate-Bascule

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Orryelle, when and how did you become Orryelle Defenestrate-Bascule?

Ah that is quite a longer story than you might expect, so perhaps an interesting start but feel free to edit if its too much personal information! -although there are reflections of my magical journey and purpose inherent in the process of obtaining the names.
It was a progressive acquirement as I first received just the name Orryelle, which I used on its own before I got Defenestrate many years later, then Bascule a few more after that, all wrought with magical synchronicities. I wondered for a while why I had two last names and used them alternately, until it all fell into place when after taking oestrogen to wo-manifest my anima for nine months I decided to alchemically marry myself in 2000 and thus joined my last names together with a hyphen -the union of the serpents OD (Orryelle Defenestrate) and OB (Orryelle Bascule) whose heads I have tattooed upon my hands, so my arms may entwine about the staff of my spine caduceus-like.

The name Orryelle came from trance glossolalia (speaking in tongues) at least 20 years ago, as I didn’t like the name my parents gave me so was searching for a new one. I found it from the sound and vibration, and only later discovered any conscious meaning for it- the sound being the same as the English word ‘oriel’ from the French and meaning a window in an attic or a round window. Seems appropriate since I’ve always liked attics as places full of strange old treasures and cobwebs. There are other layers of meaning to the segments of the word in other etymologies but I won’t go into that.

The name Defenestrate came many years later, I heard of the word and its meaning:- to throw someone or something out a window- at the perfect time in my life, for I was feeling like I wanted to put more of myself out into the world, that it was time for the strange things in the attic of my head to emerge into a greater reality. So when I was told of this word one night when very stoned I ended up rolling around on the floor laughing, crying, ‘That’s my last name! That’s my last name!’

And then the name Bascule, a few years later still, arrived as a result of reading about Od and Ob as names of the two Serpents which entwine the Caduceus staff, the polarised yet complementary serpents of many ancient cultures -for example the Ida and Pingala serpent nadis which entwine the spine in Tantric physiological cosmology. So it seemed as my initials were OD as Orryelle Defenestrate then I needed a counterpointing (counter weaving?) last name beginning with B so I would be OB as well as OD. I found Bascule simply by going through the B section of an English Dictionary, looking for a word which would balance the outwards/expansive concept of Defenestration with a more inwards/contractive concept. Surprisingly I didn’t find one directly about this, but instead a B word which means the process itself of balancing or levelling: A Bascule is a ‘device or apparatus of which one end rises when the other end falls’, common examples being a see-saw and a set of scales.
Having at the time been just beginning to delve into the magick of Maat, Egyptian Neter of Truth and Balance (Justice Archetype in the Tarot) this grabbed me right away. And so I became alternately Orryelle Defenestrate or Orryelle Bascule, using different last names at different times according to mood and inclination. It seemed an odd (and ob) thing to have two interchangeable last names after a while though, and the reason why only became fully apparent a few years later when I embarked on a journey of HermAphroditic reification, ingesting oestrogen daily for nine moonths while invoking various Goddesses, with the intention not to change genders but to become as female as I could without becoming any less male – a balancing process itself. It was only towards the end of that nine months (what began as an unspecified period) that I contemplated what grand ritual I should do to culminate and celebrate the process, and to maintain what I could from it when ceasing to take the hormones. I realised with glee that as I had made more wo/manifest my anima (female within the male) I should complete the journey with an Alchemical Marriage, making this a literal wedding ceremony rather than just a metaphysical metaphor. And so Orryelle Defenestrate, the serpent Od married the serpent Ob, Orryelle Bascule. We’re still getting on well most of the time, now sharing the hyphenated last name Defenestrate-Bascule.

The clincher of this progressive dance of magical names came when in Italy I was told that the word Bascule there usually refers to weighted levers used to open and close windows in attics!

Could you pinpoint a specific core or focus to your work? I’ve been aware of your writing, performance, art and attitudes for many years now and your recent book from Avalonia Time, Fate and Spider Magic assembles this into a format which I relate strongly to; my take on it being your work is an assembling of interpretations of mythologies that makes sense to your own intuitive perceptions of reality and your journey through it.
What triggered this journey?

It’s hard to pinpoint a specific core or focus to my work, precisely because of this great web of interconnectivity you allude to. I indeed follow a primarily intuitive (though not without reason/logic also) course through mythic tales and archetypes, and often its the connections themselves, the relationships between different cultures and symbols that fascinates me, the strands of the web as well as its nodes. I have learned over the years more and more how important it is to acknowledge differences as much as similarities however -things can be ‘like’ each other without being the same and the specifics of correspondences should not be contrived for the sake of continuity -the pattern of the web is created by its glorious diversity. So if there is any core to my work/play it is perhaps a void, the still point at the centre of the spiral, but it can go anywhere from there.
Foci in my work shift according to inclination, although this feels often as much the imperative of whichever Gods or Fates grab my attention and creativity at a particular time. They are the triggers as much as any internal personal quest, though at times I wonder if there is really a difference.
If anything this relationship itself is a continuing theme in much of my work -that between fate and free will (which I do not believe to be mutually exclusive), self and/as deity. Eroticism (in its broadest sense as a kind of pantheistic ecstasy) is also often a major aspect of my work, in that I celebrate the physical world in contradistinction to monotheistic religious attitudes that think the body and earth are merely obstacles to be transcended. For me spirit is not separate but intrinsically enfleshed -at least while we are here- and this is something to be enjoyed. Yet is not only the physical which impels eroticism, but the energy and spirit which moves through the flesh -I call this fascination esoteroticism.

Your art and performance seems to require you spend a large portion of your time travelling, Orryelle. Is this purely for the practicality of putting your work out to a wider audience, part of a specific quest or plan, or because you feel that there is some sort of spiritual or creative stimulation available further afield that is not available or accessible in Australia?

All of those things are factors, in various combinations at different times. The spiritual and creative stimulation I get in Australia -though no less vital- is of a different nature to that I get in Europe and when traveling in general. There is a kind of dreamtime trance there which while quite slow has its own gnosis in that very nature -the sparse population, wilderness and distance from the rest of the world there are as much a blessing as a curse, I tend to do more inner work there and more outer work in the northern hemisphere, which seems generally a lot feistier and obviously more diverse culturally.
Wider audiences are an important aspect (in a real, personal contact way rather than just via virtual media), but I enjoy travel itself also, there is always so much to learn as well as to share with new places and people. Although I find I need to balance the long trips I do with periods of introversion and isolation in a single locale (usually for at least 5 or 6 months a year).
There was a specific quest/plan to some of my travels until recently, as I was co-ordinating via the HermAphroditic ChAOrder of the Silver Dusk group rituals at various sacred sites globally which resonate with different chakras in the human system, from base to crown from 1999-2012. Now that cycle is complete, I am more just meandering with travels, going where the Gods, Fates (often via performance/exhibition opportunities) and spirits direct me, with an eye out in recent years for finding a possible base somewhere in Europe, which I do love for its compressed diversity.

Do you feel that the creative spiritual attitudes between Australia and other countries are different? Australia has a relatively short period of colonial history, but an access to the core of the land’s history via the Australian Aborigines…the inverse of countries like England whose original dwellers are long gone, but with many of its present dwellers having a long and historically accessible relationship with the land.

There is certainly a strange kind of cultural displacement from growing up in Australia, at least for someone conscious of mythic memories. Sometimes I feel a strong link with the Australian land, probably a result of being born there, but often feel the current neo-European ‘culture’ there to be quite alien to me, with its lack of traditions and roots and a still quite pervasive colonial attitude. Not being fond of much of modern western mono-‘culture’ generally, particularly the architecture which is primarily pragmatic at the cost of aesthetics, I crave the ancient traditions and structures which are so prevalent (and diverse) all over Europe.
While what little remains of the Australian Aboriginal cultures is interesting to me, and I can resonate with it via the land we share (which is of course integral to their Dreaming), I also feel it is not mine to appropriate and they are understandably protective of it, not liking it to be mixed with other mythologies. As a natural syncretist I thus respectfully maintain a distance from it; but the European mythologies thrum through my very blood and when I travel here I am regularly astounded by the latent memories I find in the lands and the traditions. Oddly I thus feel a sense of going ‘home’ both when returning to Australia and when arriving back in Europe!
On the other hand the cultural dislocation of growing up in Australia also gives one a kind of spiritual freedom perhaps. For instance I also embrace and worship the Hindu Gods and Goddesses, and maybe this wouldn’t come so naturally if I had been born in Europe? In fact the ancient Dravidian (Shaivite) people of India share close genetic resemblance to the Australian Aboriginals and this link can be seen and felt culturally also, in conjunction with the obvious Indo-European confluence.

What inspires you?

Ha, that’s a big question! I couldn’t pinpoint a singular thing, and it definitely varies at different times -I think having a variety of inspirations helps keep one’s work/play diverse and evolving.
A general thing which continues to inspire me is eroticism. This is perhaps not saying much as to my mind the erotic impulse is the same basic drive as the creative one, so its kind of like being inspired by inspiration itself! But I like to explore the connection more consciously, to allow the sexual and other creative expressions to channel into each other and cross-pollinate. So the process of creating art itself becomes akin to an erotic activity, even as it is often a dominant subject in my work. The connection between the erotic and the esoteric is also integral for me -not just the outer play of bodies and forms, but also the play of energies which impels and is impelled by this.
I am also often inspired by the surreal. Strangeness intrigues me, it indicates the potential -and emergence through art- of the new. I don’t mean mere novelty, but that which makes the world more interesting by making it stranger, in an aesthetic and profound rather than just a shocking or superficial way.
Making the invisible visible, by manifesting visions and less tangible energies into form via art, engages with this process of helping to bring some wyrdness and beauty back into a society that seems increasingly focused on the pragmatic and functional over the aesthetic, mystical or deep. I am inspired by enchantment, and enchanted by the Muses…

Many thanks for this Orryelle. I’ve known you for many years now but feel as if I’ve learned more about you from the above conversation. In many ways I feel we dance along the same path, although our rhythm varies!

For those who want to know more about Orryelle’s work, check out http://www.crossroads.wild.net.au/bio.htm

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About charlottejane2002

Author of 'P is for Prostitution', 'The Bloody Sacrifice' and co-editor of 'A Contemporary Western Book of the Dead' which are all published by Mandrake of Oxford. Italian publisher Roberto Migliussi has recently released 'The Sky is a Gateway, Not a Ceiling', a book of Charlotte's collected essays printed alongside images of his own art work. Charlotte is also an artist who creates spiritually directed art works from road kill and found objects. She has had her written work printed in anthologies and various magazines and on line publications and has given presentations at many events and institutions including Edinburgh University and Brooklyn's 'Museum of Morbid Anatomy'. Her art work has been exhibited widely including at London's Chelsea Gallery and The Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute, and is soon to be shown in New York.
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