Transitions by Jan Malique – Thursday photo prompt – Blue #writephoto

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Image: Sue Vincent

As we approach the end of another challenging year my thoughts turn to the possibilities waiting beyond the horizon. More of the same or things life changing? In a positive sense of course. Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt #writephoto brought forth oracles standing in the shadows, bringing a message of hope and alchemical transformation.

Alchemical transformation sounds grand and rather unreal does it not? I tend to think in such terms as the human spirit is engaged in perpetual change and transformative cycles. Challenges are important catalysts in these transitions from one state of being to another. They can propel us into deep introspection and self-analysis. Tear apart our sense of self and throw us into the crucible to be melted down. Burn away the dross of our entire existence to reveal gold, incorruptible, eternal and beautiful. My thoughts now turn to an early post in the saga of Amunet the Alchemist. She’s come a long way from the young woman who underwent regeneration in spiritual fire to become the Phoenix, which is a symbol of alchemical resurrection, Elemental Fire and rebirth. Amunet appears once more in this post, to oversee the transition of another being standing on the threshold, not into death but into life:

She approaches, hidden in veils, enshrouded in the Blue of Sky and Ocean. A chrysalis in waiting, slumbering, receptacle of knowing yet to become. I see her ivory bones engraved with the history of her ancestors, nestled within ruby red flesh, and drenched in blood of scarlet and gold.

See how she struggles with the weight of life lived on a precipice. Each step taken as if walking on knives. They cut deep, not in flesh but of spirit. She is All and Nothing, femininity almost extinguished, warrior seeking redemption, priestess awaiting return.

I utter words of awakening, pour them into Soul, Heart and Mind.  How she struggles, burdened with ancestral history, ancestral pain, and ancestral shame. “These are not your burdens” I whisper, urge her to release, cut the cords that trap and enmesh. Her eyes lift and stare in wonder, truth can be revelation, can cut cords that trap and enmesh. The words of Power weave their spell, foretell of things mysterious and filled with awe. They shatter chains of slavery, unlock doors impenetrable. See how her heart blossoms, hears my words of Power.

She approaches, hidden in veils, enshrouded in the Blue of Sky and Ocean. A chrysalis in waiting, slumbering, receptacle of knowing yet to become. I see her ivory bones engraved with the history of her ancestors, nestled within ruby red flesh, and drenched in blood of scarlet and gold.

The Ancient Ones awake, come to the place of Becoming, bear witness to one who approaches from shadowed realms. We stand at the edge of the known world, where Earth, Water, Fire and Earth meet. She is Quintessence, known as the Fifth Element, the Philosopher’s Stone manifest. Come, come, we urge her, do not falter, have trust, have faith. See how she wears her humility with grace and innocence.

We stand in the temple between Earth and Heaven, Sky and Ocean. The flames of Blue blaze like a beacon, herald the transition from Death into Life. The chrysalis takes shape, turns from tomb to womb. See how she slumbers, passes through Blue flame, undergoes transition. Eons pass, memories fade, regeneration calls. We watch, silent as the depths of the Void from whence all springs and returns.

We stand between the passing of one epoch and another, we stand on the threshold between Death and Life, we stand in a place between surrender and acceptance. We offer Life. Will you accept it?

 

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Yearning 

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Image: Myriams-Fotos, Pixabay

Deserts are strange places, filled with silences infused with paradox. Now and again the wind carries voices and presences that require our attention. They sent me the Alchemist Amunet, but she didn’t come alone. The Jackal God and Seraph, the Fallen Angel followed behind. An intriguing and important trinity. They have their reasons for stepping out of one reality into another. Shapeshifters and catalysts are the Three. I have questions to ask of them, hoping for answers but will they be what I want to hear? Need to hear?

Image: Pixabay

Mystics, mages, and travellers throughout the centuries have wandered through these often silent and apparently barren places. Places set apart from the discordant centres of so-called civilisation. They aren’t always havens of the deeply spiritual. Phantasms and djinn step lightly on the sand, weaving mirages and unsettling dreams. Nevertheless, we mustn’t abandon our sense of wonder and adventure. Yearning for such things is the voice of the Universal Soul urging us on.

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Image: Engin_Akyurt , Pixabay

I’ve been sending prayers into the desert wastes since memory began, and the human throat learned to utter sounds. It feels that long. Sometimes music is the only key that unlocks the yearnings of memory. One such song has stayed with me for years, Jevetta Steele’s “Calling You” from the film “Bagdad Cafe” (directed by Percy Adlon). It’s been on my mind for days. I haven’t seen the film for years, yet it’s resurfaced. Why? I’ve attached links to both song and imdb site for the film for your delectation. It may answer this question, or not. Answers to dilemmas and salvation can appear from the depths of barrenness and solitude. Much like the protagonist in the film. She brings the waters of life and magic to an isolated community in the desert. She brings change, and transformation, for herself and others.

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Image: Engin_Akyurt , Pixabay

I stare across the expanse at the Three. They’ve been called, petitioned but never summoned. Who would have the temerity to demand their presences? Not I.

“Calling You”? Their voices answer, chant songs of everlasting life, death and rebirth. Bring forth sentience from the Void, urge us to listen to the heartbeat of the Universe. Urge us to be courageous, surrender finally and step into the precipice.  In ancient times chants were uttered, sung to deities, praising divinity, praising the wonders of the world. There were magical incantations, bringing forth mysteries, shattering perceptions. What do they ask of me?

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Image: MihaiParaschiv, Pixabay

Amunet reaches forward and lays a butterfly touch on my throat centre, one that has been in great need of release. His Nibs (Anubis) lays a gentle touch on my lips and Seraph places a kiss on each palm.  Much to contemplate and take action on. It’s time to return from the desert and rejoin those that have been waiting at the gates of the temple. The Neophyte must progress.

http://m.imdb.com/title/tt0095801/

 

 

She Walks In Light: Amunet’s Development and Journey

Image: Pixabay

I’ve thought at length about the possible origins of my character.  She emerged as a result of a writing challenge entered a while ago (Sue Vincent’s #writephoto); and was called the Alchemist’s daughter until an appropriate name was found. Amunet was chosen as my heroine emitted a sense of “otherness” that necessitated further investigation. For that I needed to revisit  ancient Egyptian creation myths. There wasn’t any conscious effort to mould her into a representation of wisdom and mystery. Like many other characters, she developed from gut feelings and nebulous images in the mind. These creations become significant over time, being echoes of lost histories. If we’re receptive to their voices they can be encouraged to tell us their stories. This seemed the most sensible approach to take.

To be honest this character’s an enigma to me. I stare at her from my position in the present and wonder at the nature of adventure we’re participating in. Amunet appears to be forming the basis of a bigger project, something I’m getting excited about.

I suppose we should now journey to the beginning of all things in my character’s universe. A time before time existed in a formless space:

The Ogdoad in The Hermopolitan Creation Myth

Amunet belongs to one of the Ogdoad (group of Eight), who are four pairs of ancient Egyptian deities thought to be the oldest of all gods. A statement made by other creations myths of that land about their gods! Regardless, these beings represent primeval elemental powers existing before creation of the world. The four male gods are frog headed, and their female counterparts snake headed:

  • Amun (Male) and Amunet (Female) represent invisibility.
  • Kek (M) and Keket (F) are darkness.
  • Heh (M) and Hehet (F) are infinite space.
  • Nun (M) and Nunet (F) are the primeval waters.

The world they inhabited was shrouded in silence and darkness, if you can imagine a place consisting of nothingness you’ve done well. I don’t always manage to.

When the waters of chaos retreated they revealed the first land. It was the sacred Mound upon which the Cosmic egg was laid by either an Ibis (sacred to Djehuty) or a goose, called the Great Cackler. In another variation of the myth the darkness was pierced by the light of the child Ra who rose from the depths of Nun in a lotus. This creation myth focusses on the mystery of creation out of non-being to being. Something that has fascinated and perplexed me since childhood.

These powers are part of a group of deities indigenous to the ancient centre of Khemenu (“The Town of the Eight”), named Hermopolis Magna by the Greeks. The other deities are a hare and baboon. This place was the cult centre of Djehuty (Thoth) from early dynastic times, and with his arrival at Khemenu these deities were absorbed into his mythos. Two in particular retained their status though, the Hare goddess Wenet and the baboon god Hedj-wer. Wenet was the totem animal of the 15th or Hare Nome (administrative division) of Upper Egypt, so it may have been difficult to obliterate her presence. As for the baboon god, he was worshipped here from pre-dynastic times and became closely associated with Djehuty as one of his manifestations. From here we briefly face the divinity that is Djehuty.

Djehuty and the Symbolism of Eight

It’s appropriate that the spirit of Djehuty pervades my heroine’s life. He is after all the Master Alchemist, God of Wisdom and Magic, oversees the arts, and sciences. In fact ruling all intellectual pursuits. Djehuty is also said to have invented hieroglyphs. The number eight embodies his essence perfectly as it symbolises harmony, balance, and cosmic order. It’s also the number of perfection, infinity, abundance, and power.

So far, so good. Amunet therefore contains within herself perfect knowledge and Being. She’s the Priestess sitting in front of the Veil obscuring the Greater Mysteries of Life and Beyond; and also Divine Fire clothed in material matter, hidden, waiting. She contains potential within herself, of greater things. That’s what so fascinating about her, as she represents the hidden potential within all of us. The ability to bring to light the invisible aspects of our natures and the Cosmos. That’s why She Walks in Light.

 

 

 From out of the Depths

Image: Pixabay

More from the non-poet as I like to call myself. Again something inexplicable emerges from an unusual image. I leave it up to you dear readers to make what you will from this offering. Perhaps create the next stage of the story. This isn’t a writing challenge but I would love to see what it instigates. Please leave your offerings in the comments box.

You don’t have to be a strong swimmer to participate, bring armbands if you wish:

Between Sky and Water lies a space set apart. It defies laws and belief. From conscious to subconscious does it flow. 

Power nascent emerges and enfolds. Alchemy of a strange kind enacts, Sun reaches out to Moon. All becomes hidden and transformed, as Alchemy of a strange kind enacts. 

We Are in the Place Between

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Image:

What is this place between? A state of mind or a state of being? One stands yearning, the other spurning. The space between is heavy with meaning.

Matter looks on, eyes blazing, heart beating. Spirit responds, utters softly, remonstrating.

He breathes on skin, fingers trailing. Her eyes close, senses flaming. She reminds of unions past, of times of ecstacy and of pain. Hands cup face and lips seek lips. What is unfolding?

He is Sun and She is Moon. Reflecting and absorbing. Spirit infuses Matter, shapes and moulds, gives love freely.

Human and Divine co-mingling, Spirit and Matter re-uniting, seeking fulfilment and illumination.

They are in the place between. A space withdrawn, held in abeyance. Filled with possibilities, touched with oracular truth, touched with starlight. Touched with Love.

Immortality: The Alchemist’s Daughter Recollects

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Image: Pixabay

Achieving immortality has been an enduring goal for legion upon legion of humans over the centuries. Tomes have been written hinting at the existence of wondrous elixirs and arcane rituals giving/offering the chance of eternal life and youth. To what end we may speculate, perhaps to abate our fear of dying, perhaps to prolong our contemplation of matters philosophical and metaphysical. Ultimately the real reason may only be known to the individual engaged in such a pursuit. Immortality is a fable retold century after century, our passion for it undiminished, our longing unquenched. We are born, live and die, a simplistic viewpoint of our existence on this material plane. Yet, there is so much that lies before us. At what point do we lose our sense of wonder about the Universe and our place in it? Continue reading

Bijoux: Exploits of the Guild of Dishevelled Assassins – Part 1

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Image: Pixabay

This story was revealed to me by an associate who chooses to remain anonymous, mostly due to embarrassment. She’s part of an exclusive community of characters residing in the Shed, a Tardis like building I’m fortunate to own. Our facilities are simple but homely. The house rules are a little strict due to an incident a while ago, involving two drunken dogs and several traffic cones. I can’t reveal who the perpetrators were (Cerberus and Anubis if you wanted to make a note). The POV is confusing, details are patchy and I started to get a nervous twitch halfway through. This tale is long and convoluted and for now has to be mercifully short:

“The Apothecary’s art is subtle and filled with mystery. See their phials of jewelled tinctures, resplendent on handcrafted drawers and cedar perfumed shelves.  Beautiful in nature, yet edged with terrible power, nascent, silent. Nature provides but advises caution, She yields her secrets only to those with the eyes to see, the ears to hear and the heart to feel. For things not of just one world but many. Hers is the skill of artificer and alchemist”.

‘Ms A’ stopped typing and sat back. It’ll do, the local ‘newspaper’, as the rag liked to call itself wanted a short bio from her. She didn’t trust any of their muckrakers not to twist the facts, no insult meant, they did indeed clean the Squire’s stables.

This odd little community was unaware of her previous profession. The imbecile of a town council would choke on their sherries if it was ever revealed. Most of them had appeared on her ‘list’ and were still considered candidates. She opened the desk drawer and took out a document. The wax seal had been broken long ago, it was fingered nostalgically. What heady days they were, socialising with the cream of the profession. Their AGMs were riotous affairs (behind closed doors) and held in the most intriguing locations the organisers could find. The Guild of Dishevelled Assassins had a lineage going back to the early 8th century BCE. Their history was documented meticulously, it had to be as the auditors were quite particular. Fortunately or unfortunately they uncovered discrepancies in several documents, the issue appeared to start in the Dark Ages. One of their number had been falsifying ‘hits’ and transferring Guild funds into an unnumbered account in Mongolia. Not exactly one’s idea of a tax haven. Regardless, it was a dirty business, tainting the good name of the Guild and its Members. Luckily the tabloids hadn’t got wind of this affair.

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Image: Pixabay

The memories were rushing back like a bout of food poisoning. Poison, a subject close to her heart. Nature provided a huge assortment of raw materials with which to produce her elixirs. The mother tinctures were seven in number and guarded carefully, they had to be being extremely toxic substances. One even managed to eat through carbon fibre. What a result! Anyway, an undercover assignment ensued. It lasted about 600 years and the resulting admin paperwork was horrendous. For others perhaps, for her it was a dream. Everything was categorised and filed in alphabetical folders, which were backed up of course on an external hard drive and memory sticks. The files were cross-referenced as well. Sounds a little anally retentive? Not at all. The information was stored off-site in several locations. Security was of the utmost importance.

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Image: Pixabay

The trail lead to a cemetery in North London. One of their operatives, a necromancer, had their office/home in a perfectly presented mausoleum within the cemetery. They’d been tracking the rogue assassin for several years, finally locating them to an exclusive area of this part of London. Highgate was too obvious a place for this individual to escape to. Something was amiss, one of their number wouldn’t behave in such a slapdash manner. Their greed was resulting in mistakes and dulling their senses.  (at this stage I was screaming inwardly wanting her to move on). He was followed to a local coffee shop, where he proceeded to drink coffee, a lot of coffee. It was evident that he was addicted to caffeine. The shots of espresso only aggravated his latent psychosis. If he carried on it would put everyone in danger. They managed to sedate him and get him into a sorry looking Robin Reliant which was parked round the corner. A hearse passed them slowly, the driver looked rather familiar. It was the necromancer’s associate who worked part-time in the funeral profession.

Everything was going as planned. They reached Highgate Woods and parked the cars in an underground carpark, one no one was aware of apparently. It had been excavated by their Roman colleagues as a garage for their chariots and to stable the horses. My friend and her companions soon got to ‘work’ on their quarry. The session didn’t last long, a hefty dose of atrocious 80’s music and bad poetry had him sobbing and pleading for them to stop the torture. It unravelled bit by bit. He was only small fry, the real culprits were higher up the echelon. This was unwelcome news, the Guild had suspected something like this but hoped it wasn’t true. The rogue operative pleaded for clemency in return for further information. He was put in the witness relocation programme and ended up managing a seedy nightclub in a less salubrious district of Tartarus. Apt punishment one would say.

(The White Rabbit fell asleep at this stage, at least I think he did. It looked as if he’d lost consciousness. Whatever, he looked unwell. I think my sanity was just about hanging on).

Firebird

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Image: Viorel Marginean, WikiArt

I dreamed of you last night Firebird, vision glimpsed in forests of cedar and myrrh. Flame garbed oracle, portend of endings and regeneration. My memories urged ‘sing the songs of living and yearning. Let Hope bathe the place of sacrifice and resurrection’. To what purpose the inner voice questioned. No answer came.

My song was thus sung, offered in temple of sky and earth. None other spoke, none other saw, save you. You called forth from a place I have been and shall go again. It exists in the place of Coming into Being. Three times you have called and three more times shall it be, three more to end.

What will you have me do? Mine eyes cannot see what the spirit will not allow. There is always a price to pay by the unwary and unready. Deep does your cry take the soul, beyond mere night and eternal silence. Beyond sight and knowing. Beyond grief and joy.

Hush, hush you whisper. Awake, awake you urge. The blood races, heart hesitates and tongue refuses. I scratch in earth, to prepare whose grave? You answer ‘grave or treasure, it is all the same. It is your destiny’.

Your eyes of memory and imagination watch.What appears is not, until I realize it, call it into being. The dirt beneath my feet undulates, breathes. The dragon moves, prepares. We both embrace this dance of possible desolation. The tongue yields and lulls the beast within, soothes and cajoles. It gazes, looks to my very depths and embraces yet again.

I dreamed of you last night Firebird, vision glimpsed in forests of cedar and myrrh. Flame garbed oracle, portend of endings and regeneration. My song was sung, my soul was freed, my answer given.

Descent into Matter

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photo credit: Dani_vr Mirada perdida via photopin (license)

Time has moved on since the Alchemist and his infant daughter encountered the great angel Gabriel. The world has since fluctuated between tyranny and fear, settling down into a semblance of stability now. Their journey has brought them to a place that has seen the rise and fall of great empires. Knowledge and insight are to be found in many places, not all illuminated by light though. The lonely path is often strewn by jagged rocks and beset by hungry beasts, of the inner and outer. The path laid out for the child was always going to be challenging, for that is how she was to gain knowledge of the human condition. Both parent and divine being pour all care and attention into fanning the holy flame within the young woman. The omniscience is tempered by total innocence, for she is the Fool going forth into the world of matter. Her eyes mirror the totality of existence, worlds upon worlds emerging out of the great Cosmic Fire of creation. From out of Darkness and Silence do Light and Speech emerge. She knows ending and beginning and as her humanness evolves, an ocean of emotions tinged with sorrow and joy. ‘Is this wrong?’ she asks and they cannot answer. Her task is pierce the perception of what is real and unreal. Continue reading