Guest Post: Lyn Baylis on “Ritual, Death, and Magic”, Part 2

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Chris Brock Photography

Post death

The ancient Egyptians ensured that the body was carefully prepared. Magic and lengthy rituals were essential to prepare each person for their eternal existence. The journey was fraught with perils, and to reach the destination the dead person needed ample provisions, the help of rituals and magic spells. In the end, if everything was done properly, the deceased had an opportunity to become a transfigured spirit, blessed with magical powers and ready to live forever among the gods.

The Egyptian concept of the soul, which may have developed quite early, dictated that there needed to be a preserved body on the earth in order for the soul to have hope of an eternal life. The soul was thought to consist of nine separate parts:

The Khat was the physical body.

The Ka one’s double-form.

The Ba, a human-headed bird aspect which could speed between earth and the heavens.

The Shuyet was the shadow self.

The Akh, the immortal, transformed self.

The Sahu and Sechemaspects of the Akh.

The Ab was the heart, the source of good and evil.

The Ren was one’s secret name.

The Khat needed to exist in order for the Ka and Ba to recognize itself and so the body had to be preserved as intact as possible.

The belief that the spirit of the person never dies but will in time return again to learn the lessons missed until they reach perfection.

(documented by Raymond Moody).

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Image: Foundry, Pixabay

I follow a broadly nature based spirituality and believe that death is not the end of our existence.

That all creatures possess a spirit or soul and that spirit or soul is eternal therefore when the body dies it is only a physical death and our spiritual journey continues.

If we look at nature we can see in all things a cyclic pattern.  It is so, I believe, with our lives.  Many honour this circle of birth, infancy, childhood, youth, maturity and old age. I believe they should also find honour in death, knowing that although the body undergoes physical Transformation, the Spirit remains unchanged.

I understand that those who have no belief in the continuation of the spirit may find death frightening, as the self they know will disappear forever. However, I’m convinced that when the spirit leaves the body it doesn’t necessarily mean that all ties to those left behind are disconnected. I know that Spirits have the power to manifest themselves to us and in some instances they also communicate with us. From my experience, specific Spirits are called upon to provide us with assistance relating to a particular need. They may be from our own family and can come to us during dreams or in visions.

When the individual is dead a light is lit which will represent the deceased person, and be a focus to remind friends and family that the spirit is still there. This soul/spirit requires help to undergo transition, a task usually done by the Elder, Shaman or senior member of the family while preparing, washing and anointing of the body. Incense is used to cleanse and to bring peace and harmony to the place where the body is laid out.

Cleansing and purifying the deceased

On the altar place two earthenware bowls, two flannels, and two towels.

Place to one side a clean winding-sheet or shroud (and coffin).

Have ready a candle, incense, oil – frankincense, (for birth) myrrh (for death), water in a jug, rosemary leaves (antiseptic) or similar sweet-smelling flowers and a piece of Yew.

Explanation of ritual

In this ritual we honour the one who has transcended the mundane and stepped through the threshold of life into the realm of death.  In many spiritual traditions the soul/spirit does not leave the body for three days, in others it stays close to ensure that those left behind can cope.

As guardians of the gateway we seek to ensure that our charge is ready to face the world beyond. Therefore, with full ceremony we wash and dress them as they would wish to be. They may then stand cleansed and pure before their Divine Ones and Ancestors.

The sacred flame has been burning since they died, or if not will be lit at the beginning of the ceremony.   Three drops of the three oils are added to the water in the jug, which is then blessed and poured into the two bowls and the incense is lit.

The clean robe/ sheet is placed next to the body and the following words recited:

“We acknowledge the sacred journey of your life, and wash you so that you may step through the gateway into the next world and face your ancestors and your Gods cleansed and with dignity.”

Take one flannel and start to wash the deceased. Start with the face, and neck, hands and arms and them torso to the waist.  Take the other flannel and start at the feet and wash and dry up the torso, the genital area last.

* If the deceased has been at home and is not suffering from a contagious disease there is no need to take special precautions.  However if the deceased has recently been in hospital it would be appropriate to wear gloves and cover all exposed skin as MRSA lasts up to 8 weeks and is easily transferable and CD lasts even longer.

Then place the right leg over the left leg, turn the deceased gently on the left side and continue as before, top to middle, then feet to middle.  Once you finish washing then place the sheet down the side ready to slide into place.

Take the myrrh (to mark and to honour the completion of life’s journey and the beginnings of a new life). Anoint the chakra points on the body plus the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet, and the lips.  Recite appropriate words, e.g. may these feet that have walked the sacred paths be blessed.

Position the left leg over the right, gently roll to the right and pull out the sheet. When the body has been anointed, fold the blanket right side first. Over the heart place a sprig of rosemary (for remembrance) or similar, then fold in the other side and place a spring of rosemary there. Continue to fold the sheet until it covers the body leaving the face free. Cover it with muslin (if the body is to be there for a few days it may be best to cover with a light blue muslin) until the time comes for the final journey.  Place the body in the coffin or bed, preferably on a hard surface, or board which will be used to carry the body to the final resting place.

Place flowers inside the coffin, or on and around the body – a sprig of yew is also often placed on the body to denote that death is not the end but a beginning and to confirm that like the yew each year the deceased will return anew.

Prayers can then be said to the deity, ancestors, spirits of place or those who watched over the deceased in life to thank them for being with them throughout life and asking that they watch over them as the await transcendence,  renewal or rebirth.  Many will hold a 3 day vigil- singing, talking to the deceased and sharing with family and friends stories of their journey of life, covering the shroud with reminders, or the coffin, with reminders or writing and drawings. (In this way even the children can have a part in making the coffin ready).

At the end of this period the body is taken to its final resting place, and the deity and spirits thanked for their help. Those whose job it was to help the deceased through life will also be thanks and given leave to depart.  If there is to be no vigil this will be done at the end of the washing ceremony.

The body is now ready for the Vigil or the Wake or if none are being held – ready to be placed in their casket for either burial or cremation.

Some Native American tribes still put grave goods and gifts with their deceased as do some Pagans, and other nature based spiritualities. Buddhist monks will chant when preparing the body for the funeral fire. They don’t call it magic but that’s what I would see it as.  The reason for doing this is to help the dead person to be released from their fading personality.

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Image: Pixabay

A third magic is sometimes used to ensure that the spirits of the dead do not come back and haunt us or seek vengeance on those they think are responsible for their death.

Sometimes this third layer of magic is used in conjunction with the other magic. The main reason for using this is to keep the spirits focused on their last journey. This ensures that they pass over without turning back, and that they have nothing which continually calls them back.

Many spiritual traditions believe that if the rituals are not done correctly, the spirit can return to cause mischief. This belief has led some cultures to burn the deceased’s house and all of their possessions. The family would move to a new house in a new location to escape the ghost of the deceased. The Roma also had similar practices with the burning of the caravan. The ancient Egyptians laid curses on the tombs so that the deceased would not be disturbed, and come back to haunt the living.

Our own Anglo-Saxon Ancestors funeral rituals placed grave goods with the departed spirits and these were also protected by curses. A runic inscription found reads:

Ragnhildr placed this stone in memory of Alli the Pale, priest of the sanctuary, honourable þegn of the retinue. Alli’s sons made this monument in memory of their father, and his wife in memory of her husband. And Sóti carved these runes in memory of his lord. Þórr hallow these runes. A warlock be he who damages(?) this stone or drags it (to stand) in memory of another”.

This last sentence puts a curse upon anyone who damages the stone or places it as a monument to another person.

Across the world there is a strong tradition of not speaking the name of a dead person at least until they have departed, as it will keep them bound to us. Photographs or depictions of a person who died may also be seen as a disturbance to their spirit. Often some families will put the photos away or will cover them.  Echoes of this are in the Jewish religion where the mirrors are covered and in our own traditions, made popular in Victorian times, closing the curtains and covering the mirrors. Some African cultures carry the coffin over water so that it cannot return; other take it to a cross-road and turn in around three times so that the spirit won’t be able to find the way home. Our fear of the dead is just as strong in the west but we hide it under a show of sophistication.

We don’t embrace death in our culture and we have so many ways to avoid talking about it.  However, it has been proven in very real terms that a good funeral eases the grief and can bring peace to the family of the departed.

A beautiful ritual as well as bringing peace to the congregation reminds those left behind of the life that was, and it brings hope and even joy to those who remain.  Perhaps this is yet another kind of magic.

 

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Elusive

 

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Image: Jan Malique

It’s been a while since I heard from The Opener, as Anubis is sometimes known. He can be an elusive entity, frustrating even. The past few months have been challenging, forcing me to look inwards, a necessary process in hindsight. I’ve been clearing out defunct mind-sets, beliefs and behaviours. There’s still more work to be done and doors to be closed. Fortuitous that He’s appeared at this moment, as all manner of obstacles have separated me from my “Mentor” for too long.

I’m trusting myself and the Universe more, which is producing positive results. You could say I’m beginning to see the return of my authentic self, the Jan that I love and believe in. So many people suffer the frustration of not being who they truly are due to life circumstances. This is something one shouldn’t dismiss easily as it’s an issue that strikes at the heart and psyche deeply. It weighs people down and you can see the shadows shrouding the vision of those so afflicted. Almost as if all colour and vitality have left the person and they’re living as copies of their true selves.

His Nibs (Anubis) looks at me without speaking, and then squeezes my hand. It’s taken a while to get to this point but we’re here, thankfully. For too long I’ve neglected myself and felt my energy bleeding out, okay illness has in part taken its toll. Many people around me are in varying states of unhappiness and indulging in unhealthy projections towards others. They’re pressing my buttons and I’m pressing theirs. This continues to create toxic environments, on the inner and outer.

The sluice gates have been opened and all this crap is being “washed out” into the greater Universe to be neutralised and transformed. Visualisation is a fantastic tool dear readers. It can create true magic and open up unbelievable vistas.

“You’ve remained in the darkness of the tomb for too long” He states matter of fact.

“Not willingly! I answer. What else is there to say? I couldn’t see a way out, the seals on the tomb doors looked unbreakable.

His Nibs shakes in laughter, not unkindly it has to be said. The Opener can be unpredictable and should not be underestimated, ever. Saying that, this inscrutable deity can be hugely protective, loving and patient if he befriends you.

“I’ve not left your side at all, but had to stay aloof in order to let you ask for help” He explains in measured tones.

“Ah, the free will thing” I murmur.

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Image: photo credit: seyed mostafa zamani via photopin (license)

We understand each other but do I understand myself? I gaze into the distance and see a desertscape blasted by strong winds. There’s a long figure walking across the sand, it looks like the Opener. Yes, it’s him in human form. He seems impervious to the grit filled wind swirling around him. The horizon is hidden from gaze, only hinted at when the wind drops. The ancient deity is in his natural element and knows neither fear nor uncertainty in this harsh environment. He is the loneliness of the endless expanse, a mirage created from the yearnings of our Soul. He is the bestower of hidden knowledge, giver of Life and Death, Judge of our Hearts and True Intent.

I ask Him for a blessing for the journey to come, to give my heart courage and resilience. He complies and comments “don’t leave it so late before calling me. We have work to do Jan.”

I nod ruefully. This is a time of Coming into Being. The scent of incense tantalises my nostrils, an offering to The Opener it appears. We part in love and peace, until the next time.

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Image: skyhp009, Pixabay

Dionysos Pursues: Spirit of the Vine

Image: werner22brigitte, Pixabay

Once again we enter through the portals of the bar hidden deep within the heart of the city. A place only found by those who truly seek answers to questions of the Soul. Three hold court in its hallowed premises, the Spirit of Dance, Love and Memory. Which one shall the visitor gravitate towards? He stands silhouetted in the doorway, passion and gnosis encapsulated in breath taking beauty and disintegration. This is no ordinary seeker. Humans, non-humans and gods have passed through this place, leaving profoundly changed in some way. He enters holding the symbol of his divinity, the thyrsus surmounted by a pine cone. A panther, horse and bull soon follow. All eyes gaze knowingly at the tableaux. Something is afoot they sense. The man’s eyes search the dimly lit room, they’re intense and piercing. Many yearn to touch his sensual lips, not knowing why such an urge should overshadow reason and decorum. He brings a wildness of spirit and madness in his wake, with little change of escape for the unprepared.

The Triad watch silently, knowing well who he’s come seeking. The Spirit of Love gestures to a figure waiting in the shadows. A beautiful woman emerges into the light. Nut brown hair is held back form a fine boned face, which is flawless except for a tiny scar next to the right eye. This only serves to highlight her beauty. Her green eyes shine brightly, vulnerability clouding them briefly. They close for a moment, the man then seizes his chance and kisses her lips lightly. Such restraint the woman thinks. Many were the nights when the sleepy eyed god would rain kisses upon her, offering his Body, Heart and Soul. The fruit of the vine flowed like his blood, a sacrifice that was readily accepted by his worshippers, especially the Maenads.  Mighty Dionysos!

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Image: werner22brigitte, Pixabay

The woman curls her arms around his neck and they begin a slow dance in the centre of the room. The orchestra plays a wistful and hypnotic melody that fires the blood and reaches deep into your memories. It sings of the passion of worship and illumination, of unconscious urges rising from the depths and fragmenting in the light of day. Those present feel its primeval beat and unbridled emotions. They perch on the edge of surrender, surrender to forces beyond human comprehension, as do the two figures on the dance floor. Dionysos whirls away from the woman and performs a dance in ecstatic frenzy. He gives up himself and his very being in this ritual of unbinding and vulnerability.

“Come, maenad, tear me asunder and set me free” he begs his partner.

The woman walks round him, slowly and seductively. She stands in strength and power, confident in every way. Her grace and serenity beguile and warm the heart.

“Unbind your beauteous hair my love and let it flow like a waterfall over my arms” he beseeches to no avail.

“I loosen my hair for no one Great One, those times are gone. I no longer rend my clothes and spirit for you” she whispers in his ear. He moans in protest and then laughs.

They circle each like warriors on the battlefield. Memories swirl around them like ribbons of light, shimmering in intensity when the emotions overflow the cup. His ecstatic trance flows like a river in full rage, unstoppable and dangerous. The Triad held the power at bay if only to protect the bystanders. The driving beat of the melody urges the dancers onwards to a higher state of consciousness. The God of the Vine gazes intently at the woman facing him, her lips whisper prayers uttered in his honour in ancient times. His eyes close in humility and thanks.

The woman approaches and kisses him deeply. It tells of millennia of searching for her true self, of walking on roads unknown and fearful. Yet, she always sensed his presence wherever she went. The kiss told of her fragmentation and subsequent rebirth. It told of nights when the god approached and enfolded her in warmth and safety. It told of a love drawn from a bottomless well.

The two figures part and stand smiling at each other. She stands back and holds out her arms, two serpents emerge from behind and wind themselves round each arm. Her hair comes loose and flows down her back. The God of the Vine drinks bows his head in respect and gestures to a table in the corner. On it wait fruit of the vine and two wine glasses. The red of sacrifice has been replaced by the white of rebirth.

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Image: werner22brigitte, Pixabay

Duty Bound: Odin’s Gift

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photo credit: spratmackrel Auld One Eye via photopin (license)

There’s been much talk lately of Muses going AWOL and I’m duty bound to put in my penny’s worth, why not? Where the Shed is concerned should I be worried? Not really. Their absence gives me a little breathing space. I’ve been looking at my activities and decided that a change is due. This state of affairs may be the result of the number of Seers and Soothsayers congregating under my roof. They’ve been here a while, just peering intensely at the comings, goings and me. Rather disquieting, especially the ones from the far north, the land of fire and ice. They peer into your soul, divining fate and fortune from the bones of former lives. The realm of the One-Eyed One is a place not seen since the veils parted all those years ago, it occurred during a meditation if you have to know. Any more I can’t reveal, otherwise I’d have to hurt you a little. Your feelings that is.

We have a strange relationship, what a surprise…It’s the usual story of woman meets mysterious god, there’s an instant attraction and interests in common, god offers woman a proposal she can’t refuse, involving fringe benefits and travel. She accepts and may live to regret doing so. He offered me the runes, how could I refuse? It felt like a betrayal of my Khemetic roots, what would Anubis say? A ménage a trois wasn’t what I had in mind. Yet, the door he opened revealed aspects of myself not acknowledged.

This post had been languishing in draft form for several days, with little possibility of escape, until now. The One-Eyed one wasn’t going to let me work on anything else until it was completed. Damn you Trickster!

Who and what is he really? Will I ever know? Will I ever want to know? It’s difficult peering into my own soul much less one of something like him.

Who is Odin?

If you’re unfamiliar with Odin, he’s a Norse God who sacrificed himself on the World Tree, Yggdrasil, for nine days and nine nights in order to gain knowledge, the gifts of divination and prophecy. The ordeal on the Tree included extreme pain and suffering (as he speared himself on the side) in the pursuit of his goal. This whole experience has strong shamanic overtones… There’s usually a price to pay for seeking knowledge hidden from the living; his was the sacrifice of an eye in order to gain access to the well of wisdom beneath Yggdrasil. Such experiences serve to break down notions of Self and perceptions of reality. They shift the boundaries between different states of consciousness (sometimes referred to as non-ordinary and ordinary reality); so enabling the individual to interact with transpersonal beings in the pursuit of a particular goal (i.e. healing, gaining a guardian spirit animal).

The god is known by many names that reflect different aspects of his personality, one that encapsulates the might and power of nature:

  • The name is said to have its roots in the Old Norse word “od”, meaning wind or spirit (Óðinn).
  • In Old English he’s referred to as “Grim”, meaning “hooded or masked”.
  • Another name is Hrafnáss (“raven-god”), rather apt as he’s attended by two raven familiars called Hugin and Munin (“thought” and “memory”).
  • In Old High German his name was Wōtan.
  • He’s also known Allvíss (“all-wise”).

Odin’s reputation can be a little sinister, varying from duplicity to cruelty. He’s said to be able to change shape, practice necromancy, divination and prophecy. Battle, death and the gallows are other associations. Two wolves named Geri and Freki accompany the god on his travels and may hint at a wolf cult associated with him. As for his appearance, usual depictions are of a tall, thin, one-eyed man with shoulder length grey hair, usually wearing a long cloak and a wide-brimmed hat. The staff he carries is made of blackthorn. His steed is an eight legged horse called Sleipnir.

As you can see he’s excellent at multi-tasking. Okay, I’m trying to avoid the real issue here, having to fulfil my end of the bargain. Those often favoured by the gods are also subject to their (cruel) whims.

“You’ve seen sense now apprentice”, a voice mutters from the side-lines.

It’s all in the, er, eye, it stares at me with unsettling intensity.

“Unsettling intensity?” he stutters in shock.

“Please don’t pretend shock, you know what you’re doing”, I manage to get out, sighing loudly.

“Jan, Jan, how long have we known each other? Where’s the trust gone to?”, he responds in a pleading tone.

No wonder he was feared and approached with trepidation. Words were his weapon of choice, weaving hypnotic spells. You were tied up tightly without even being aware of his actions. He wasn’t one to be either spurned or ignored. Devious and manipulative so and so…

I eventually mutter, “how may I serve you High One?”

He answers, “accept what has been offered to you. Anubis and I have been waiting twenty years for your answer. Time for you to get moving sweetie,”

This is news to me, the fact that he and Anubis have been plotting together. Pantheons don’t always mingle but in this case they appear more than willing.

“Okay! Yes, yes. The finger will be pulled out and I’ll take it seriously”, my voice breaks in exasperation. He isn’t going to let go. I sob into my hands, well, pretend to.

“I can still see you Padawan, no point in trying to disappear. Can YOU see me though?” he whispers.

I peer at him through a gap in my fingers, one eye looks at the One-Eyed One. My attention flows towards the point of interaction, it swirls around him. The disguise falls away to reveal a strong and battle hardened face, an empty socket where an eye once was. He hasn’t been diminished by its loss at all. Such things he’s seen in the quest for knowledge of truths neither the living nor the dead can ever hope to learn. Odin has peered into the depths of the Void beyond existence, much like Anubis, and returned a different being. Perhaps this is what’s feared by our egos, change and letting go of old patterns. Also the deception of unworthiness, not being able to be up to the task and challenge. There’s safety in the familiar and known, that’s what we tell ourselves.

 

Walk With Me

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Image: Pixabay

“Then walk with me and embrace the mysteries of Heaven and Earth” he says.
The Hermit speaks no more but lifts the veil obscuring, bright is the light he offers, illumination of things hidden, things not spoken off but revealed only in symbols and dreams foretelling.

What is it that he offers? “Self-knowledge” he whispers. No more is uttered, such is his challenge to both wary and unwary. Each must choose the path of becoming and undoing. The Fates wait, with life thread spun and shears at the ready. We stand ready, scales fallen from eyes, new vision gifted, new life waiting.

We seek the temple with no name, image made perfect in visions and meditation,
guarded for all eternity, hidden from the profane.
It is a place of Becoming, the mountain path to a place of glory, Heaven made on Earth. He talks in riddles, places seed in soils fertile.

Softly do we tread in places Angels walk.
See their gaze alight on Seekers true, soul searing and questioning.
We say the Way is long, and they answer “only if you make it so”.
Such Truth is evident and all embracing.

Who bars our way? Guardians most awe-some, Warriors unrelenting.
Doubt has no place where we seek to go.
For it is a place hidden from the profane, a place of Becoming and Unfolding.
See his staff sweep across unknown vistas, star-filled skies and depthless oceans.
The Portal waits, is it real or a fancy of our dreams?
Doubt has no place where we seek to go.
“Then walk with me and embrace the mysteries of Heaven and Earth” he says.

Fall from Grace: Diary of a Previously Unemployed Knife Thrower

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Image: Eve, John Collier, Wikiart

Saturday 5 August 2017

The look on Eve’s face is telling, or is that the artist projecting his own notions of shame against the Mother of all? Let’s face it, She was set up. There was a power struggle going on, the male priesthood and establishment need a scapegoat and she fitted the bill. Compared to the divine ancestor my situation is a mere gnat bite on the body of humanity. Okay, a slip of the hand and my assistant, the little anaemic sop… Let me correct that, he was anaemic by the time they took him into the ambulance. Accidents happen at work, why on earth they had to involve the Health & Safety people I don’t know. It’s an occupational hazard for anyone involved in the business. To be fair his threat of a lawsuit forced their hand.

Talking of accidents, that no-good, con artist of an agent got her comeuppance today. The zombies she was representing finally had enough of being ripped off and demanded a pound of flesh. In fact they got several pounds of the stuff, the police had a problem identifying her. Justice has been served with a bottle of Rioja!

Sunday 6 August 2017

Still can’t get that image of Eve out of my head. When I knew her She was like a star of the brightest light. Why did it go wrong? Humanity wasn’t meant to be mired in darkness and ignorance. As for the lie about using one of Adam’s ribs to create a companion, well, it leaves you a little speechless. Does that mean that if she was injured or happened to become existentially challenged. Wait, what do I mean? Anyway, if she died, would he die as well? To be honest the heart of humanity suffered great a grievous wound when they wrote the various Books. Bad PR folks, look what they did to Lilith and Mary Magdalene. Shame, shame and shame. I’m ashamed to be a man. To be honest the women are just as bad, maybe even worse. Makes you wonder what kind of deity/Higher Being/Cosmic Conscious they believe in. I’m Freud would have plenty to say about that, he wouldn’t have minced his words. He was a straight talking guy when I knew him.

I’ve been six months in this temp job now, the people are just as dysfunctional as I am. Fit right in. Hard though being cheerful, not in my nature to be a ray of sunshine. It’s been a challenge keeping my tongue quiet, been sorely tempted at times to tell some of those people what I really think of them. Humans can be so, needy and malicious. At least your average chthonian or solar deity would display such negative traits with a bit more style and aplomb. Persephone warned me about cutting back on the bitchiness. Do I listen to her? Not always alas. I miss Eve and Lilith.

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Image: Lilith with a Snake, John Collier, Wikiart

Monday 7 August 2017

These thoughts about our lost Paradise are making me maudlin. Well, Paradise hasn’t been lost exactly. It’s just that humanity is on an attachment this material plane of manifestation for a while and will return to HQ when it’s been completed. Although I don’t think humanity quite understands the work that’s involved in working from the Divine Blueprint. That doesn’t apply to all the work experience people though, many actually get the concept of Free Will. I’m making it sound like a huge corporate nightmare, perish the thought! It’s more like a centre of learning/temple without walls or boundaries. That’s the best I can do. That reality is hard to describe, even though I’ve visited many times. The supervisors are numerous and often hard task masters, or that’s how it appears to human perception. I think humans know them as angels, archangels, etc. Just realised, I keep referring to ‘humans’. I’m, no, I used to be human. Not sure what I am now, not undead, not either living or even dead. It’s a strange existence, I straddle several worlds. Makes your thighs ache like mad! Heh, heh. I thought it was funny.

Tuesday 8 August 2017

Angels. Now that’s a subject I could go on about for hours but won’t in deference to them. They’ve been viewed variously as benevolent and sinister. Depends on which side of the divide you stand, the Abyss can be a nasty place to fall into. I’ve peered in and it isn’t somewhere you take the family for a night out. The ones known as the Fallen have been viewed with fear and more. There’s been so much misinformation bandied about them, some of it deliberate. The great ‘War in Heaven’…What was that about? Did we ever stop to think what was really going on there? Nothing, nothing, ever happens just by chance. Humanity has a destiny to fulfil but has managed to get side-tracked many times, not easy I suppose maintaining a balance between their twin natures. Hard having the both in one body can be problematic. Sandalphon ensures I get to hear all the latest news. We have a chat when it’s quiet and when I can bother to get out of ‘grumpy immortal git’ mode. I should open up to them a bit more but it’s centuries of conditioning I need to discard before reaching the inner, sensitive man.

Wednesday 9 August 2017

I’ve been getting to the urge to slap one of the team across the face with rotting fish. Swear I saw his eyes turn black momentarily and an aroma of sulphur follow him out of the room. He’s a wiry individual with a spiteful streak. He reminds me of one of the demons I came across when wandering the wasteland many years ago. Now that was the perfect place for some of the not so friendly Fallen. Gross material matter has a tendency to change things in unexpected ways. No laughing matter, I’ve seen the effects on so many that came through the planes of manifestation we know of, also the innumerable ones we don’t. Humans need to keep their boundaries more secure, by that I mean not allow any ‘walk ins’ to get a foothold. They allow fear to cause breaches in their protective shells, letting in things that are quite nasty.

Thursday 10 August 2017

This diary’s beginning to go places I don’t want to. Probably because of the hovel I’m currently inhabiting. The landlady advertised it as a ‘jewel of an apartment in a desirable central location’. It’s next to a recycling plant and built over a doorway into the infernal regions. Sounds funny written down but I’m not laughing. Even the cockroaches and silverfish had thrown in the towel and left en masse. They begged me to leave with them but I couldn’t afford anything better. Anyway, they left me a phone number of a good estate agent (think I just saw a pig fly past my window) just in case I changed my mind.

The landlady gives me the creeps and I spent several decades as assistant to a Necromancer in Tartarus. They were the worst years of employment imaginable. Something about her makes my skin crawl, although the plastic surgery has rectified that issue. I don’t look a day older than 670. My skin looks luminous (that might be the accidental exposure to radiation) and you can bounce a rubber ball off my toned posterior. Where was I? Yessssssssssss, my landlady. I’m not sure what else she does apart from instil a terrible feeling of dread in the soul. She’s never around during the day and as soon as twilight approaches her door creaks open to reveal…I can’t even write what she looks like because I can’t remember. Strange that. I have a theory about what she could be but uttering it aloud and even writing it down could cause a terrible tear in the fabric of the Universe. Sandalphon and even Mikael dropped hints about her true nature but I was rather preoccupied with other matters.

Friday 11 August 2017

I managed to corner Sandalphon and Mikael this morning. They were a little reticent about the matter. I think they were trying to be polite, kind even about my lack of awareness. They don’t view reality as humans do, and human emotions are quite alien to their kind but many have chosen to work with humanity. In order to help them achieve wholeness and evolve; to become divine beings once again and bring back knowledge of the material world to the Source and angelic hierarchy. Anyway, I digress. I was quite shocked at their revelation. Bad luck seems to follow me round like a hungry dog.

The house is built over part of the Abyss and the landlady is a ruler over one of its levels. I’m cursed, that’s the only explanation. Mikael gently commented that I was quite right about the curse. Coming from this archangel it is doubly wounding. Well, at least he’s on my side. I’ve upset many in my long and illustrious career, so it could be anyone. Mikael waited patiently for me to run through the suspects. Four hours and 42 cups of coffee later I remembered who it was, who cursed me that is. The ancient Egyptian serpent Apep. I recall trapping his tail in one of the gates in the Underworld. I wasn’t meant to be there at the time but wandered in through the wrong doorway. Set was about to spear Apep when I interrupted them. Well, you can imagine their annoyance. My brief sojourn in the Underworld didn’t go well. That Apep has one foul mouth on him! I need to get a hobby. Roll on the weekend…

What are You Seeking?

Image: Pixabay

We are what you name Watchers. You may ask what our purpose is and we will answer, “Watching you”. There are others less benevolent and these you must watch for humanity. You are gifted with free will, and as such we cannot interfere unless you seek our help.

Why tell you this? Our tale is one that does not end happily, at least for one of your kind. He straddled the Light and Dark, consumed by desires that condemned, and ultimately destroyed him. The vestiges of humanity vanished from his soul as did the lifeblood from his veins.

The bridge between conscious action and blind instinct is a narrow one. He fell, rushed headlong into the abyss. We counselled him but he did not listen. Even though he called us. Such hubris!

An ancient evil heard his cries, opened the gates of no return. She seduced, played him like a lyre, brought forth sweet, sweet music. Then, she feasted upon this prize. For an eternity they lay upon cobwebs and veils of Shadow. Pleasure upon pleasure both sought and received. Such deception she rained upon him until the moment of annihilation.

It was done. We were too late. Another soul was obliterated from memory, imprisoned in her vaults of terror. This is his tale:

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Image: Pixabay

I asks what he’s seeking. He pauses, giving much thought before answering. Eternal Life, regeneration, passion, love, and perhaps even power. 

I read his thoughts, seeking the truth of intentions. What he desires to embrace is total and utter annihilation of selfhood and existence. How little he understands the path being sought.

This human is intoxicated with the concept of life eternal, but sees little else beyond the shadows and nullifying emotions. The ones who look for the vaulted mansions of the undead come away with only dust filled minds. 

The red and black contain a myriad of mysteries. Yin and Yang, blood, power, life, and death. These are the mysteries he seeks but has little understanding of. Those who pass beyond the shrouded doorway are blessed indeed. They see past veils of illusion, into worlds glimpsed in dreams and nightmares. 

What strong limbs you have sweet one, and skin of honey. How his hunger gnaws away at manhood and mind. Soft breath, such soft breath. Dear, dear human! Should I admire your temerity in even approaching the gates of my temple? We watched your birth humanity, and cursed the day you drew breath.

To enter into the darkness is folly I tell him, but does he listen? No, he is beyond redemption. This I expected. What a distraction he will be.

‘Kiss me’ I cajole him. How easily he succumbs, pliant like clay in my hands. His lifeblood races through veins, flesh and bone. It calls to me, sings to me. 

Your scent intoxicates me, it calls to mind incense offered in my temples. Night blooming Hellebore, sandalwood, cedar, and opium poppies. See how he murmurs, yields to my ministrations.

The sun shall not rise for you again dear human. This is the twilight of your existence. The light fades soon from his green eyes, gone, gone. He sleeps now.

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Image: Pixabay

Is this the end you ask? Not quite. In the depths of his despair did he call out one last time to us and we readily answered. Do not be quick to mock, thinking our words reflect mere sentimentality and wishful thinking. The most precious part of this doomed soul we saved. His tiny spark we gathered in love, for the ancient one could do little to stop us. So did the hellish gates of her temple close, until the next time Nameless One. We wait and watch. So, what are YOU seeking?

Transcendent 

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Image: Frantisek Kupka, Wikiart

All proceeds from the divine Lotus,

Light issued from the First Womb.

Enfolded within is Child transcendent,

divine blueprint, whisper of dreams

unfolding. Risen Sun.

Night falls, Sun is setting. Light

descends into Darkness, Wisdom

withdraws into Silence.

Forgotten

Image: Pixabay

Immense and silent stand these cathedrals of old. Forgotten and wiped from the Book of Time. Its gods have retreated, never to return.  Are they mourned? Are they remembered?

The She warrior contemplates and pauses. Her vigil is yet to begin, but here of all places? The Old Ones demand much, stretching the bow, push it to breaking point. Does it hold, spring back with agility? She is chosen, foremost of many. Foremost of sacrifices.

The one who walks in Light must also face Darkness. The one who walks in Darkness must also face Light. They are ever entwined, locked in passionate dance. Each mirrors the other, a reminder of origins and of becoming.

Face to face they must stand, engage in battle, sword and spear at the ready. The She warrior approaches, sword in hand and ever watchful. So begins the vigil in a place forlorn and forgotten. Yet, a glimmer of what was once remains, a last shred of hope and salvation. The shadows of those who served gather, encircling one of their own, protecting and nurturing.

Thus emboldened does she begin, enter into the Great Silence. Matter transmutes, is shaped and emerges. It bathes in the Waters of dissolution, is transfigured in Fire, enters the silent Earth, carried on Divine breath. The cycle is not what it seems but so much more. Elemental powers advance and recede, like waves upon the shore. Time rushes by, as if a river in fullness, powerful, danger filled and nullifying. The hidden rhythm plays, unfolds and drives to distraction. One-two-three-four. So it begins but when and where will it end?

One-two-three-four, these are her heartbeats, these are their heartbeats. Deeper she slips, riding high on waves of Nothingness. Matter transmutes, is shaped and emerges. It bathes in the Waters of dissolution, is transfigured in Fire, enters the silent Earth, carried on Divine breath. Deeper and deeper does she flow, through gate after gate, facing Guardian after Guardian. Then the rhythm ceases. How the silence weighs heavy, a place neither one nor the other. With sword in hand does she stand, poetical movement display, serpent’s wisdom unveil.

Darkness approaches, Light advances. One is in need of the other, one repulses the other. Circling, they are locked in passionate dance, ever entwined and watchful. Treachery and deceit hide in honeyed words, offer warmth and affection unbridled. ‘Beware’ cries her heart. ‘Beware the foe in friend’s guise, turn from path of no return. Guard the life that you bring.’ The Shadow circles, unceasing, taking on guise after guise, ever watchful, ever plotting. It seduces, places temptation, remonstrates, pleads helplessly. Resolute she must be against things of illusion, against things of sorcery.

One-two-three-four, the rhythm unfolds, emerges from Void and Nothingness. These are her heartbeats, these are their heartbeats. Silence shatters, screams echo, swords meet, battle commences. What is at stake? Cosmic Balance and Eternal Soul. One cannot exist without the Other. Deep the She warrior looks, deep within the heart of Darkness, within its very sanctum. Light resides within Darkness and Darkness within Light. This truth remains and cannot be unwritten. Does she accept? Does she abandon? What lies at the end of this path but only illumination? Face to face they struggle. One-two-three-four beats their heart, in harmony, in perfection.

How does the battle end? Life and Death conjoined, one cannot Be without the Other. Screams echo, silence shatters. Fire flashes from blade to blade. The Old Ones watch and ruminate. The river that is Time flows on ceaseless journey, worlds end and are reborn. One-two-three-four, the rhythm unfolds, emerges from Void and Nothingness. These are her heartbeats, these are their heartbeats. She can hear nothing else, only follow warrior’s sacred path, and choose balance. Fire flashes from Soul to Soul, ceases from blade to blade. The greater battle is yet to come. One-two-three-four, One-two-three-four, One-two-three-four. The Three unfolds, re-joins its kin and reaches the Nine. Then annihilation. Of ego, falsehood and fear. It is done.

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Image: Pixabay

The She warrior emerges, triumphant, foremost of many, foremost of sacrifices. They have their champion, they have their salvation. The gods have returned, her task is completed.

Born of Lightning

Image: Pixabay

I am born of lightning, fire and ice conjoined, a melding of dragon’s breath and poison. Mighty Odin, what seek you? Why birth me from my slumber, tear me asunder from stars blazing. I go through Voids unknowable, my sightless eyes piercing, my soundless voice shouting. Shall I prophesy, hold to account, reveal the hidden? I shall do your bidding, Birther of Seers, Elder God, Rune Lord. What do you answer to? Let me whisper it, mouth to ear, that which is your true self, your true name.

I rise from Nothingness, ride on bolts of fire and sear like a brand. I have no tales to tell, only knowledge forgotten, the song is not mine but will be soon. Send me the runes for I cannot foretell that which is hidden. The visions come like waves upon the shore. Bringing echoes of memories of war and of sadness, of worlds lost and regained. Our future selves consign us to a past they consider broken, thought of as meaningless, shadowed wraiths forgotten. Shall I prophesy, hold to account, reveal the hidden?

I see you hang upon the Tree, blood and tears conjoining, tearing apart that which is divine, hidden, glimpsed only in shadows. A worthy sacrifice, Elder God. Did you find what you were seeking? Did your pain rend the veils, walls of stone and disbelief? Knowledge such as yours does not come easily, has to be wooed and soothed with humility. You stand between worlds, changed beyond comprehension, not as you were before but something else. Such illumination is both burden and blessing.

I am born of lightning, fire and ice conjoined, a melding of dragon’s breath and poison. You see me hang upon the Tree, blood and tears conjoining, tearing apart that which is human, hidden, glimpsed only in shadows. Shall I prophesy, hold to account, and reveal the hidden?