General forms, or types, connect us to what endures over time. By inhabiting traditional forms, types or patterns we are put into ‘correct’ or harmonious relation with each other and our wider environment, according to tradition (i.e. what has worked thus far). They help the individual to survive and the tradition to endure.

A “mask” is something very precise, delineated, and structured. So man as person (= mask) is already differentiated thereby from the individual: he has a form, is himself, and belongs to himself.

Consequently, whenever a civilization has had a traditional character, the values of the “person” have made of it a world of quality, diversity, and types.

And the natural consequence has been a system of organic, differentiated, and hierarchical relationships: something that cannot be said of mass regimes, but also not of regimes of individualism, of “values of the personality,” or of real or pretended democracy.

Unlike the individual, the person is not closed to the above. The personal being is not himself, but has himself (like the relation between the actor and his part): it is presence to that which he is, not coalescence with that which he is. Moreover, a kind of antinomy is brought to light: in order to be truly such, the person needs a reference to something more than personal. When this reference is absent, the person transforms itself into an “individual,” and individualism and subjectivism come into play.

Henceforth, that which is personal loses its symbolic value, its value as a sign of something that transcends it and by which it is sustained; it loses also, little by little, the typical characteristics, that is, the positively anti-individualistic ones due solely to that higher reference.

As a last aid to orientation, I shall now define the meaning of "typicality” in a traditional environment. It represents the meeting point between the individual (the person) and the supra-individual, the boundary between the two corresponding to a perfect form.

Typicality de-individualizes, in the sense that the person then essentially incarnates an idea, law, or function.

In such a case, one cannot speak of the individual in the modern sense; the individual disappears in its casual features, when faced with a meaningful structure that could even reappear almost identically wherever the same perfection is reached.

The individual is in fact made "typical,” that is to say suprapersonal.

[Julius Evola]
Ride the Tiger, p. 109-10

As a ritual drama, the Mescalero Apache Girls' Puberty Ceremony celebrates (and ensures the perpetuation of) the existence of the Mescalero people through the balanced juxtaposition of the female and male forces that are seen to exist in the world.

Simultaneously, the ritual dramatizes the essential rightness of life by its reaffirmation through chants, dances, music, use of space, and sharing of food. Concomitantly, the rules for proper existence and the ordering of the universe are given form.

The daily social order is legitimized through its recreation in the Ceremony. Girls learn how to be better women by playing the part of the "perfect woman." The society is presented with a complex drama reinforcing ethnicity. Mescalero Apache life is dissected, explained, reaffirmed, and celebrated. In both literal and figurative senses, the Singer is singing for life.

[Claire R. Farrer]
‘Singing for Life: The Mescalero Apache Girls’ Puberty Ceremony’, Betwixt and Between, p.260

Related posts: