Magic in “Flight of the Valkyries”
(another of the very short papers for the class on the spirituality of creativity)
I know of several works of art with a mythic element which I find inspiring — I even created some of them. For this assignment, however, I picked the one I’ve known and loved the longest: Wagner’s Flight of the Valkyries. This is one of the few pieces of art I know of which makes me feel like I could be something dramatically more than I currently am.
When I was a teen living in Texas, and we kept our show horses on our little plot of land, we would often ride our horses for exercise out in the nearby fields. There was one long, gradual slope which I loved because it could be cantered up easily, and my big black mare enjoyed stretching her legs there. Under a cloudy, tumbling sky, with the wind whipping through my hair and her mane, it was very easy to believe we were right on the edge of stepping outside our ordinary, material selves. She would start snorting with excitement as she went pounding up the long, low hill, her powerful body working exultantly under me and making me feel like we could fly. I would nearly drop the reins, laughing aloud with her, and fling my arms up, and “Flight of the Valkyrie” would be thundering in my head…
I always felt so close to magic in that moment there, as if there were just one last word or gesture or thought which I needed to perform — and then my mare’s hooves would cease to thunder in the dirt of the field, and her arching body would start to angle upwards as we ascended, exulting together as we galloped almost effortlessly up into the heavy, rolling clouds — and the fierce, wild Valkyries would sweep downwards on the roaring wind to meet us, with battle-song and trilling laughter and sisterly welcome on their lips — then tear away through the stormy skies with one more warrior woman amongst their number.