Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I, Gyrovague

A gyrovague is a kind of wandering monk, one of the 'Four Kinds of Monks' in the Rule of St Benedict:

1There are clearly four kinds of monks. 2First, there are the cenobites,that is to say, those who belong to a monastery, where they serve under a rule and an abbot. 3Second, there are the anchorites or hermits, who have come through the test of living in a monastery for a long time, and have passed beyond the first fervor of monastic life... Their law is what they like to do, whatever strikes their fancy. 9Anything they believe in and choose, they call holy; anything they dislike, they consider forbidden.10Fourth and finally, there are the monks called gyrovagues, who spend their entire lives drifting from region to region, staying as guests for three or four days in different monasteries. 11Always on the move, they never settle down, and are slaves to their own wills and gross appetites. In every way they are worse than the sarabaites. 12It is better to keep silent than to speak of all these and their disgraceful way of life... [Quoted from]

I love the language of this passage (which somewhat resembles a Doctor Who script conference). Obviously the gyrovagues aren't being held up as a shining example, so why nail my colours to this particular mast? I guess it's a kind of self-mockery; I may not wander from monastery to monastery but (like many) I have sampled more than one tradition from the spiritual supermarket. Even in my current berth as an Anglican I am relatively rootless - attending my local parish church irregularly, a dormant member of i-church, visiting the Othona Community when I can, still hanging out with Quakers, finding resonance amongst pagans, new agers, liberal Anglo Catholics. But more than that, the quality of being a gyrovagues (hence 'gyrovagueness') has a kind of postmodern tang to it that seemed right for what will be an eclectic blog (if it stutters into life at all.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mister Roy,

"Always on the move, they never settle down, and are slaves to their own wills and gross appetites..."

Is this why my beer supplies go down after one of your visits?

'Tis a holy calling!

Hope you and that other vague entity will pass by my house soon!