Hidden 

DasWortgewand, Pixabay

I felt the need to further explore my character Amunet’s past and this is the result. There appeared to be an underlying message in this “communication”. It was connected to the land and a people that seemed to vanish into forgetfulness and legend. In this chapter she appears as a woman called Magali (the Occitan form of Magdalene). Magali, as she was named by the Cathars who took her in, was considered a living embodiment of a Sleeper. One who decides at death to step back from the cycle of life and death and instead remain asleep in the land, dreaming, foretelling, and communing with all life.

The Cathars (“Pure Ones”) were condemned as heretics by the Church in the 13th century, in an age when its doctrines had hardened into dogma and politicking. The fate of these people was terrible, ending in 1244, in a nine month siege of their mountain fortress of Montsègur (in the Ariège department, south-western France). It culminated in a massacre. Many legends have grown around these mysterious people, with their true essence being hidden beneath a covering of subterfuge and illusion.

Occitan is a Romance language spoken in southern France and other areas. Occitania is the nomenclature given to the area where the language was first spoken and covers the Occitan Valleys in the Italian Alps, the old Aquitaine, Languedoc-Roussillon, the Aran Valley in the Pyrenees and the Principality of Monaco. Here ends my very brief outline. I visited the region many years ago and can testify to its special atmosphere. There is more, but that journey is for another time when the inner silence reveals another piece of the puzzle and allows me a clearer vision of these people. My fascination with them has a purpose. What does Magali have to say?

Mysticsartdesign, Pixabay

Where is here? A place where there are remnants of a people I once knew. I dreamed their fate, touched their fears and yearning, but they’re gone. Crumbled into dust, and scattered by the winds. I slept but was stirred back into life, heard their cries for help, saw what approached. Their eyes stared unseeing at visions rising from the horizon, an omen of things hidden within, cloaked from recognition. Their time was at an end, was foretold, of an age when hate and ignorance would rise in the place of greatest darkness.

My eyes saw their disintegration, as piece by piece their souls flew from shells burning on a multitude of pyres. Danger reigned supreme and the river of poison ran fast and deep, dragged their carcasses to places that should not be uttered aloud. The wind mourned them, brought whispered entreaties, and showered these ruins in melancholy. What an ignominious end to such a civilisation! Yet, hope clung on and Light retreated to a place of safety, waiting and watching.

Where people once enjoyed lives of serenity and contemplation is now shrouded in a loveliness born of sadness and tears. We search the past to find meaning in the present. Brush away earth and sand to reveal artefacts to catalogue, name and display as a manifestation of a knowledge that is ultimately empty. The land will not reveal its secrets to those who have no understanding of the meaning of this life and the mysteries of the Universe. I will not reveal knowledge and understanding that must be earned, in hardships many times. If you will not listen to me, then you are free to meet your fate on the road ahead, do not bemoan what befalls you.

These ruined buildings of stone and mud brick decay in this dry, wind and sun blasted place but life always find a way. It sends roots deep into the earth, is nourished by the heart of the planet. The spirits of this city sing to me, welcome me back but know it has come at a cost. More than they care to acknowledge. What glories this place has seen, drawing in luminaries from worlds seen and unseen. Bejewelled towers sprang forth to vanish into the clouds, testimony to a civilisation worthy of its name, now forgotten. I call to it, urge it to rise from its untimely grave. Hear me my beloved heart, take my hand and walk the roads of illumination and majesty that were once your right. Perfection of the spirit was your ultimate destination, it was the spring from which your people drank and bathed their sacred centres. I tended to the gardens of their soul, taught them the ways of mysteries, brought them to the place of death, and rebirth into a second life.

Mysticsartdesign, Pixabay

As for me, I stand with feet buried in sand and memories, see dreams cast shadows across eyes that stare unseeing across the ages. See me for who I really am and be welcome. I bring the deep comfort of a mother’s arms, nourish your soul and aspirations, and cut the cord joining us when the time comes. My blade has a sharp kiss, and draws blood that fall like rubies, embodying both beauty and terror. I hold your ancestral history and my blood is your blood, ruby red and filled with wonders. I was Hidden but reveal myself now. See me, hear me.

 

Mysticsartdesign, Pixabay

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Zaa’tar and Cheese Flatbread – Fatayer Zaa’tar — Hanady Kitchen

A post from another favourite blog. It’s more than recipes and encompasses reminisces, cultural insights and memories. Food is a necessity and the sharing of it should always be a pleasure and gift. In that spirit, let us break bread together.

Fatayer zaa’tar or flatbread is characterized by a rustic combination of olive oil-infused yeast dough, fresh zaa’tar, and goat’s cheese. The herb and cheese are folded into the dough several times in a way that produces layers and layers of goodness. This recipe makes for a chewy bread with a crisp surface, resulting in the […]

via Zaa’tar and Cheese Flatbread – Fatayer Zaa’tar — Hanady Kitchen

Emulating Banksy: My Life On A Wall

Bull rhyton, bought from a favourite shop in London, , ©Jan Malique 2018

I haven’t taken up graffiting but look to Banksy for inspiration on this occasion. The anonymous graffiti artist, political activist and film director has attracted controversy, criticism and praise in the pursuit of his art form. Some may view his activities as vandalism, others as an important commentary on the socio-political life of this world. I leave that up to you. What of my efforts?

I photographed a number of personal objects and applied a photographic effect, funnily enough called Banksy from the Superphoto app. Loved the results. It was a surreal experience seeing much-loved associations take on new nuances.

Imagine walking down familiar streets day in day out, absorbed in your thoughts, focussed on getting to your destination, bored, happy, sad, angry. Then one day you emerge from your cocoon to find startling images on the walls in your neighbourhood. They look familiar, in fact they’re aspects of your life. Snapshots placed in a huge scrapbook that’s the world of sense and imagination.

You stop and stare, wonder who created these intriguing images and for what purpose. They look back at you and say “you’re the canvas we’re painted on”.

You may notice a lack of people in these images, that’s because I want to preserve their privacy. Although there is one image showing myself, a cousin and siblings on a visit to London Zoo. It captures a happy moment in our lives and is therefore treasured. Books feature for many reasons…

Anubis stauette, what can I say that hasn’t been said?, ©Jan Malique 2018

Buddha statuette, a present from a former colleague who bought it in Thailand and had it blessed by a monk, ©Jan Malique 2018

Ptah pendant, one of my most valued possessions, as he is my main ‘man’,©Jan Malique 2018

Cookery books, encapsulating life, hospitality and warmth, ©Jan Malique 2018

A childhood memory, visiting London Zoo, ©Jan Malique 2018

A favourite book, uplifting and profound, ©Jan Malique 2018

Passion for Gardening, and source of healing,©Jan Malique 2018

Alchemy and Mysticism, a journey of twin paths, ©Jan Malique 2018

Another favourite book by Jeremy Naydler, and a focus of my studies,©Jan Malique 2018

Carl Kerenyi’s classic of things hidden and transcendent, ©Jan Malique 2018

A treasured find, and a mystery still unravelling,©Jan Malique 2018

Entrance to Bryn Celli Ddu, neolithic burial chamber on Anglesey, a portal between worlds,©Jan Malique

Shiva Nataraja (Lord of the Dance), heartbeat of the Universe,©Jan Malique

A great passion: Tango, ©Jan Malique

A great passion: Flamenco, ©Jan Malique

 

The Scent of Jasmine – #white flowers -flash fiction challenge

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Image: janeb13, Pixabay

The scent of jasmine pulled strongly on her memories, like a fishing net it scooped up the darting pieces of her past.

She peered intently at each and every bejewelled creature, for her memories were sentient and potent presences.

Piece by piece they rearranged themselves into mandalas of mystery, symbolic of lives lived with passion, lives lived in tear filled intensity.

She looked out over the landscape, now covered in a sea of white flowers. A blessing from the Old Ones for one of their own who had gone beyond the veil. She was now infinite wisdom and power.

December 21, 2017, Carrot Ranch Literary Community prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) include white flowers in your story. This is a repeat prompt, but one that has an ability to be emotive. Humor, drama, irony — go wherever the white flowers lead.

Respond by December 26, 2017 (Happy Boxing Day!) to be included in the compilation (published December 27). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

 

 

 

The Book of Things Unfolding

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Image: photo credit: Deseronto Archives Nealon cover via photopin (license)

My character Seraph has appeared in other posts with Amunet the Alchemist and this is another glimpse into his mysterious life. He serves, much like Amunet, to voice questions about the nature of humanity. Seraph is an angelic being who has willingly taken on human form in order to understand the material world. He and the Alchemist have descended into matter to further their investigations, you could say they’re echoes of the original fall from spirit into manifestation. The notion of separation from a Universal Consciousness has been explored by many throughout the ages. I’m attempting to carry on this noble past-time. This story wasn’t meant to be about Seraph initially but as I typed the last word his name tumbled into my mind. Almost like a notebook falling off a shelf into our hands, urging us to turn its pages.

The notebook contains scraps of his life, blurred images, and moments caught in time. Its covers match the weather-beaten essence of his spirit, resilient and enduring. The leather feels rough beneath his fingers, it speaks of histories lived in turbulence and times serene. Dare he open this storehouse of images? They murmur softly, urging him on, eager to glimpse his face once more. They and he are entwined in intimate embrace, dancing to a hidden tune, living as Clotho spins, as Laches dispenses and Atropos severs. The Three Fates ordain and he enacts. His nature is eternal and his flesh ephemeral.

What is he? Who is he? These are the questions legions ask. He answers but they serve only to perplex.

“I am you, in all your perceived failings, sorrows and triumphs. My tears fall like raindrops thundering from the heavens, serving as both watery grave and fount of purification. Constantly searching for meaning in a Universe whose answers only lead to more questions.”

So he speaks and then fall into silence. Always silence, for it gives consolation and houses the temple within which the One waits. He enters this vast landscape and peers at the immensity of existence. The One surveys the Two, unfolds yet another piece of the puzzle. The Light illuminates the Two’s darkness and cobweb shrouded essence. Riddles, always riddles. The notebook invites further exploration. His fingers hold one page delicately as if it is a tiny bird, the breath issues like the song of angels. Like his song, sung so long ago when life barely existed. The page is turned and images of shade and light gaze up at him. Memories of things mundane, of people known and not known. Of myths that were once realities, their meaning now forgotten save by the few.

Once again he speaks:

“They are memories of raw pain, loss and regret. Of persecution and salvation. Of trusting in vain and of having trust fulfilled. Of hope and joy. Of illumination and wisdom. Of poverty and loneliness. They flare like dying stars and then withdraw into the darkness of the Primal Womb. I refused to let go of them, held on like a child to its parent, my actions serving no one. Is this what it means to be human? How contrary and poignant are such lives. My dual nature is at odds, one divine and immortal, the other moulded from flesh, blood, and bone, its life all too brief.”

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Image: photo credit: Marco Ascrizzi P1040437 via photopin (license)

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Image: photo credit: Giuseppe Milo (www.pixael.com) The pianist – Isernia, Italy – Black and white photography via photopin (license)

He closes his eyes for a moment. A light breeze caresses his face, loving and gentle in its touch. A multitude of voices fall from the pages of the book, his Book of Life. They cajole and encourage, the journey is to continue. His blazing eyes gaze out over the multitude of stars, finally alighting on the immensity of the Sun. It ebbs and flows, the breath creating as well as destroying. They gaze at each other across the expanse, understanding without language. The hidden hand writes and the revealed mind surrenders.

He speaks again:

“This is my life as Seraph, my autobiography if you must. One day I shall surrender it to your flames, waiting on transformation, of disrobing my humanity and bathing the Universe in Light eternal. I shall return to my beginnings, you know what I speak of.”

The regent of the Cosmos understands all too well the implications of this ending and the emergence of a new beginning. For now Seraph must journey further to meet the Oracle of Blood, Bone and Spirit.

 

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Image: Priestess of Delphi, John Collier, 1891, Wikiart

Titan’s Dream

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Image: kellepics, Pixabay

Frozen in thought and breath, his dreams drift bereft.
They who worshipped at altar of incense and fire withheld their sacrifices long ago.
Vanquished by armies of nightmares, soaked in blood and shrouds of hatred.
Homes lie forlorn, abandoned, and starved of life. Ruined in all respects.
Ghosts patrol the mountains, their mournful voices search endlessly,
Grasp at scraps of memories, cry at divinity’s loss.
The Titan’s heart still lives, still bears the pain of loss.
Where are his children?
Still he sits, frozen in thought and breath, his dreams drift bereft.
Ages pass, shape the land, and breed new life.
Still he waits, watches with unseeing eyes.

From the South they came, from lands of verdant life and golden light.
Seeking ancestry in shards of ice and crumbling stone.
Their hearts quicken, soar at sight of grandeur, marvel at god rediscovered.
He senses things familiar, echoes of incense filled halls, and sacred utterances.
They approach in humility, laden with prayers, and awe-filled eyes.
Still he sits, frozen in thought and breath, his dreams drift bereft.
Is faith enough to waken forgotten gods? Their doubts shackle them.
He urges them on, sends thoughts of love, and vanquishes doubt.
“I’ve never left you” He whispers. Will they listen?

From behind the gates of Limbo something stirs, shakes off shroud of dust.
They feel his presence, gathering strength. He comes, glory unveiling.
Shadows recede from eyes of eternity, blindness melting like ice before fire.
Once more sacrifices of incense and fire grace his altars, nourish his essence.
He calls to their blood, of ancestry shared, gathers within divine embrace.
His children truly live! The dreamer has awakened.

 

Lament for Ishtar – Luna #writephoto

Image: Sue Vincent

Sue’s challenge for the Thursday Photoprompt Luna – #writephoto

presented us with a haunting image of a crescent Moon. My thoughts immediately turned to Ishtar, the Evening Star and daughter of the Moon God Sin. She was a goddess of Love and War.

The world she knew has long gone, now only a memory in artefacts and academic papers. Or so we think. She still lives in the DNA and spirits of those who once worshipped Her. Her temples are  in ruins, vanished into dust, and the prayers and adoration of her priesthood linger in windswept plains. You may think such thoughts are fancies, wistful imaginings. Yet, the past urges us to remember our beginnings, of standing under ancient skies, and even older moons.

We are urged to recall the voices of adoration and lamentation. Her priests and priestesses gaze at us across the divide of time. Their lips move but we cannot hear. Where is the key to unlock the door? Mighty Ishtar gazes in silence, hand held out, fingers curled over a secret. Our eyes hold the tears of a thousand longings, of regrets and hopes. Of whispered petitions for success in love and victory in battle.

How have we forgotten one so radiant and clothed in silvered light? How have we forgotten the old magic, primeval and potent? Its power still surges beneath our skin and flows like fire through our veins. Luna, Luna, beloved Evening Star! Hear our lament, our songs and prayers for what was lost and can be regained once more.

There is only silence now, but it is steeped in expectation. She hears us and ascends once more, clothed in stars and silvered light.

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.

What If: Not a Poem

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Image: Barmouth, North Wales, Jan Malique

What if I could bring back all that you’d forgotten? Will you smile then, run in fields of glory, be the child bathed in laughter?

Piece by piece assemble the memories of past joys and sorrows. Unveil faded images, lost and now found. Bring back Summers of familial bliss.

Offer a brief glimpse of smiles thrown beguilingly, of tears shed in anger, of sighs whispered in solitude under star laden skies.

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Image: Barmouth, North Wales, Jan Malique

You look at me with hope, a witness to the magician’s art, anticipation growing. What next you ponder, what next to emerge from thin air and dreams?

Such are the things memories are made of. The passage of time wears heavy on the tracks of our lives.

All is not lost, what if I could bring back all that you’d forgotten? Will you smile then, run in fields of glory, be the child bathed in laughter?

A Fleeting Glance

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Image: Pixabay

The spectre of a creature inhabiting the dark places of our subconscious emerges into consciousness once more. It’s been a while since I visited this landscape, the last time was in Ancient Bloodline – Moonlit # writephoto. Love, although a dysfunctional and destructive one, was the basis of that story. How could it be otherwise when it involves the Lady of the Bright Red Linen (one epithet of the goddess Sekhmet) and demons such as vampires. The ending was not a happy one. Why should it be?

The memory of that tale and an old project prompts me to weave another story involving yearning and love. My interest lies in exploring the depths of this creature’s psyche and also ours. Whether I succeed remains to be seen. Alas my protagonist doesn’t fare well much like the one in “Ancient Bloodline”. Crimson kisses and exquisitely painful emotions lead only to oblivion. My general of armies of darkness and blood has followed his ancient Egyptian priestess through centuries of search. Often glimpsing her but not quite able to touch, until now. Such an obsession is his undoing. Continue reading