Sign of the Serpent: Travel Curiosities

lake-dusia-3154671_1920

mati-foto, Pixabay

Another day and another town, such is the lot of the traveller passing through, glimpsing places preserved in aspic and showered with sweet almond pastries.

Sunrise bathes all in gold and sparks of flame, catches breath in throat. Church bells ring, announce the time of prayer and silent contemplation.

You wonder what lies beneath, how true its heart is and how deep the well of memories plunges. You ask to sip its waters, wait hesitantly for permission.

The silence flows endlessly, gives no indication, and gives no quarter. “Tell me” you urge and yet like a lover engaged in games of intrigue it answers not.

Eyes peer curiously from windows and doorways, mutter in tongues unfamiliar and offer yet more silence. Dare you engage? Dare you invite responses?

animals-2607753_1920

StockSnap, Pixabay

Words drop like pearls from your mouth and smiles banish the last of darkness. Welcomes unfold, hospitality ensues.

They ask what your journey entails and what you seek. Dare you enlighten them and reveal the plan? The Serpent calls, beckons and promises. Knowledge awaits, initiates yet more journeys.

They reveal the way, tell of the Sign of Infinity, of Serpent poised above the portal. They point the way, deep into the heart of this city it lies, hidden in narrow, mysterious streets. No map is given, they only say “follow the voice of the wind. No guidebook will furnish you more.”

shed-2362184_1920

doggerel, Pixabay

So the adventure continues, the labyrinthine streets bear witness to pilgrimages past and to be undertaken. You stand bewildered, silhouetted against stone and wood, bereft of purpose. Silence cascades like a mountain stream, stretches into infinity. So long it seems, so long, and then, the wind rises, gives voice to what you seek.

The shadows vanish, melt into gold and then it emerges. The Sign of Infinity, the Sign of the Serpent. You glance at your guide-book, page after page of blankness, of histories yet to be written. The first and not the last of travel curiosities.

snake-3159050__480.jpg

Graham-H, Pixabay

Advertisements

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

Highly Restricted -Twittering Tale #70 – 6 February 2018

embassy-1492980_1280

Photo by PIRO4D at Pixabay.com

My little ditty for Kat Myrman’s Twittering Tale. The horror of what was going to be unleashed left me a little lost for words. Make what you will of this news:

Headed Highly Restricted
It was lifted from locked files and sent to shadowy cliques

This was point of no return, and others had to be warned now

The contents were dire.
How could they unleash this on the world?

Surely It was Marketing gone mad? Why? Ken and Barbie sing show tunes.

(280 characters)

1510584710974

Meeting at the Crossroads

JanBaby, Pixabay

A crossroad beckons on the horizon once more, and my feet are approaching it at a leisurely pace. So unlike me it has to be said. Evidently I’m mellowing in middle age.

Change is a coming and I’m not sure how to face it. Much like my reaction to prevailing weather conditions. It’s been cold, windy and rainy for weeks, and I haven’t even ventured into the garden to say hello to its inhabitants. My usual seat at the kitchen table has remained empty, which is a shame as it’s an important part of my writing and dreaming. It’s window facing and provides a lovely view of life unfolding through the seasons. It also gives me space to go inwards and sense the emotion of my inner landscape. One might say being a spectator has its uses, but disengaging from participating in life’s dramas makes Jan a dullard indeed.

The spectres of inertia and frustration are ever-present in our lives, beasts that are unwilling to loosen their grip. They gnaw at our innards and inject soporific poisons into our veins. We need all our courage and survival instincts to break free and run. That is until we get to a place of safety and gather our resources, summon our magician’s powers and bind the damned creatures. I’m talking more Gandalf than Harry Potter.

“More Gandalf than Harry Potter?” a voice queries from behind me.

That voice, with deep threads of mystery and dark wickedness running through it. His Nibs. I’ve neglected him for a while, just as well. No disrespect mighty one, the work we will be undertaking will require all of my strength and resilience, as well as hope. The path I’ve chosen to walk isn’t easy, more fool me! When you ask to enter into the service of Anubis, you need to carefully consider the implications of your decision. He’ll test your substance and spirit to almost breaking point.

He mutters with indignation, “that sounds a little harsh, you’ll scare them off.”

“Sorry, but it’s the truth. No point in sugar-coating what’s essentially a season ticket to the Underworld and Duat, ferrying the dead, lost, guiding initiates, breaking through fear, glimpsing awe-filled mysteries. I could go on.”

“Fine, things have been a little difficult for you lately, that’ll die away. Sorry, occupational hazard.” His voice trails off at the withering look on my face.

IMG_20180204_121554128_HDR.jpg

View from kitchen window, Jan Malique

Human existence appears to be experienced in cycles and tantalising episodes in a rite of passage drama. Rites of passage seem to be barely celebrated in modern societies; almost becoming relics from a past that’s viewed with curiosity and nostalgia. That’s my opinion. Commercialism and materialism have taken over, retailers dictate when and what we should be celebrating. We’re urged to empty our wallets and spend rashly on the old plastic in order to show our affection and commiseration on specified dates. Why? Can’t we be trusted with showing care at any point in the calendar year?

“I like seeing you like this, a good rant releases useful chemicals in the brain. Go for it my little friend.” Says an ancient Egyptian God wearing a hoodie.

He then flashes the Ace of Spades in my face. I look at it and wonder why he’s showing me the card.

The Jackal God watches closely, absorbing every detail of my expression.

“The Ace of Spades is traditionally considered the Death card, but not always with physical death. It’s associated with personal transformation, changes, endings and beginnings. Such things are sometimes viewed with fear and troubled minds. Yet, there’s no rebirth without the ending of our old selves. New growth can’t flourish without removal of all that’s dead. This card symbolises ancient mysteries and hidden truths. See it and drink in its message.”

I understand and tell him “Death has appeared many times when I’ve consulted the oracle.”

“Who’s the oracle? Anyone we know?” he asks quietly.

I answer equally quietly “The Magician’s Tarot by Quareia.”

Pexels, Pixabay

I can see the readings vividly in my mind, beautiful but disquieting images. Portents of seemingly dire events and possible futures, of messages from powers beyond this plane, of restriction, illness and healing. The Abyss and Underworld showed their faces. There was more but I’m not jumping to any conclusions. He knows all this but isn’t saying anything. Our meeting at the Crossroads heralds a time of reassessment, doesn’t it always!

“How may I serve?” I ask again, for it’s a question that needs to be articulated, with confidence and without fear. I’ve searched for him for so long, entered into the womb of the Underworld and returned changed, not always prepared for what’s unfolded. In hindsight it’s helped in the process of shattering a restrictive carapace and unhealthy conditioning.

I look at the hoodie wearing God of the Dead and Transformations and call his name, ask for guidance and clarification. I ask to learn the songs of grief and unchaining as my journey progresses, I ask for the wisdom to recognise and acknowledge the lessons being bestowed, for myself and others. He takes me to the Saqqara, the necropolis of ancient Memphis in Egypt, a place he’s walked again and again in long distant times. The sun bleached sand and stone of its landscape still holds a sleeping power, resonating with echoes of the dead and curiosity of throngs of the living.

We watch the two worlds intermingle, their inhabitants pass by each other, sometimes catching glimpses of things that puzzle and induce longing. The centuries roll by before us, he’s seen it all. Time falls like a huge waterfall, drenching us in its spray. There’s only silence flowing around us, gleaming like water illuminated by the Sun. It stretches beyond the horizon. It’s the Silence of Knowing. A tool to break our shackles.

NeuPaddy, Pixabay

 

Honour My Name He Says: Lament for a Warrior

desktop-background-3091211_1920

Nietjuh , Pixabay

The fallen warrior gasps his last breath, entreats comrades to “honour my name, place rosemary upon my pyre in remembrance”

All stand in silence, remembering what had passed, what had unfolded, so did their tears fall like rain from the skies

On this day did the gods of their land bid one more sweet farewell, sing did they, tales of beginnings, and tales of heroic acts

Carry him do they to the funeral pyre, with torches of divine fire, set the heavens alight, open the gates to the narrow and silent path

So does the Guide open her arms, welcomes the departed from places of light and laughter, beyond these lands all is shadowed

All is devoid of sound, precious words buried deep in gloom

His honour guard line the way, carry forth his spirit, for they too are the beloved dead, enacting sacred rites, and offering beauteous prayers

The battle is ended and the war not far behind, how weary the warriors appear, eyes blazing with star fire, thoughts burdened with mourning, and hearts gripped by sadness

The deities of war scour the battlefield, gather souls caught between this world and the next, pour libations upon bloodsoaked earth, and offer up prayers

cemetery-1670231_1280

MichaelGaida, Pixabay

The Guide appears, begins the lament for the fallen, honours their names, embraces her children, ushers them beyond the gates of the places of light and laughter, into places of silence, devoid of sound

Greater mysteries lie in these places of silence, devoid of sound, precious words buried deep in gloom

 

 

 

The High Priestess — Archangel Oracle ~ Divine Guidance

I find myself in another creative rut, one filled with questions and vision obscured by mist. The oracles have been sporadically  active through the written word, but there has been something missing. Until today. When the High Priestess speaks it is time to listen.

Daily Angel Oracle Card: The High Priestess, from the Shadowscapes Oracle Card deck, by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, artwork by Barbara Moore The High Priestess: “The The High Priestess opens herself to the sky. She basks in the radiance the stars cast upon her upturned cheeks. She soaks in that tremulous, incandescent light, feeling it glow […]

via The High Priestess — Archangel Oracle ~ Divine Guidance

View Across The Water: Part 1 Of The Living Vessel

Image: Jan Malique

The month of the Crane was approaching, bringing with it mists from across the headland. His ancestors stood with him, gazing across the water to the sanctuary of the one known as the Hermit. The little white washed building stood on the remains of a temple dedicated to an unnamed deity. It was said this goddess had watched over his people from a time of cold and silence; when the world was frozen by the breath of ice giants. Or so legends said.

The Hermit had also acquired near mythological status, as people of his kind were often viewed with fear mingled with deep respect. His origins were unknown, but many kingdoms called him one of their own. Merlin was the name he answered to, although his true name was hidden.

The man on the shore had travelled for a year to reach this place. A year of hardship and danger, evading hostile forces, both human and supernatural. This was a time of warring factions, of cosmic and human battles. It was foretold by the Oracle that a time of balance was approaching, when choices would have to be made, and destinies shaped.

A sense of heaviness lay on the man’s shoulders, composed of a sense of duty and sacrifice. Sacrifice of things not physical but spiritual. He had undergone trials that would have broken someone with less resilience and humility. He had been forced to look deep within his soul and face its true reflection. Not an easy task. Self-insight never is.

During the most terrible moments of his sense of isolation the tears flowed like a raging river. As did his anger. Where were his gods when he needed them most? This state of abandonment had left him almost broken, shredded his humanity, left it bleeding profusely on the ground. Thus was he prepared for the task they had chosen him for.

He was marked as a protector of the ancient relic his people had been guarding for ten thousand sunrises. A ritual object their gods had dreamed into being, holding the power to transform, create and destroy. It had no physical form but resided within a living vessel. He was now the chosen vessel, bound by unbreakable oaths. So it was that this man was brought to the edge of an unknown land seeking his guide and teacher.

wizard-1293759_1280

Image: OpenClipart-Vectors, Pixabay

The Hermit felt the man’s presence and prepared himself. The instruments of his art were gathered and his fire replenished. The sky and water simmered, infused with the scent of storms and portents. He whispered his student’s name, let it snake its way across the water, and enfold the human in a protective cloak.

The man swayed as if in a trance, standing on the threshold of this reality and the ones beyond consciousness. The relic sensed the presence of the Hermit and throbbed in response. The man opened his eyes and saw the Hermit before him. He spoke but no words issued from his lips. He conveyed knowledge through signs and visions. Through song and silence. So was a connection sealed with the vessel and relic.

The man stood unseeing and unspeaking. Then the dream shattered, releasing illusion and falsehoods. He felt the weight of suffering vanish like mist in the rays of the sun. Merlin beckoned the student and both got into the coracle waiting on the shore. A mist rolled in swallowing the two men. The ancestors stood guard on the shore; for as long as their kin was under the tutelage of the Hermit they would be present.

Here begins the journey of the one known as the Living Vessel.

On The Eve of Battle

kun-fu-2515501_1920

Image: Mysticsartdesign, Pixabay

Elemental Air prepares.

priestess-1605963_1920

Image: Mysticsartdesign, Pixabay

Elemental Fire summons.

dragon-2160257_1920

Image: Mysticsartdesign, Pixabay

Elemental water parries and thrusts.

skull-and-crossbones-2442283_1920.jpg

Image: Mysticsartdesign, Pixabay

Elemental Earth consoles.

As a non-poet this is my non-poem to battles fought, and to warriors facing the onslaught of chaotic forces, within and without. I was watching the last Lord of the Rings film, Return of the King when composing my little piece. Epic dramas have a tendency to carry you along in their wake, pull stirring emotions from their safe harbours and thrust them into stormy waters. Waters filled with strange shapes swimming in their depths:

On the eve of battle did the elements gather, enter into conference

Form battle plans, and seek counsel of greater spirits

Be wary of blood lust and the scent of fear, they whispered

Seek the path that is balanced, measured and still, did the cry echo

Gather forth our greatest warriors, unleash the storm that waits

Sing tales of old into life, unfold the sacred texts, and chant the songs of  binding

Elemental Air prepares, offers allegiance and utters “I Come”

Elemental Fire summons, offers allegiance and utters “I Come”

Elemental water parries and thrusts, offers allegiance and utters “I Come”

Elemental Earth consoles, offers allegiance and utters “I Come”

The Fifth waits for their melding, holds aloft sword and shield, readies to pierce the heart of ancient foes

Five voices chant, entreat all to “Gaze into the heart of the whirlwind, feel its peace, gather its wisdom, and free its power”

Wipe the shadows from your eyes, fulfil your oaths and unfold your destinies

 

Mark of the Dragon

Image: Stab-32, Pixabay

They fell, these dragons of fire and implacable wisdom.Fell like dying stars from places unreachable and forbidden.

Left scars upon the matter of existence, branded its subtle nature. Did they truly rebel, or were they privy to plans divine?

Seraph pondered on the consequences of the so called battle in heaven. Such tales were spun, truth mythologised, twisted and shaped like the threads in ephemeral webs.

The truth was more subtle, more shocking than humanity could ever conceive. Eyes blazed into fire, witnessed the fall as it was lived.

His voice was muted once humanity was bestowed, and memory drenched in matter. True nature stirred, pushed at the limits of endurance.

Seraph saw the beat of wings push aside atom after atom, slice consciousness with a scalpel fashioned from free will, and determination.

The Mark of the Dragon was inedible, infinitesimal. Flames poured from his hands, consumed ashes, and seared insolence. He watched and uttered not a word. The world spun on its axis, age after age passed but inherent nature stood still.

angel-1539198_1920

Image: Comfreak, Pixabay

Seraph fell, consumed matter, reshaped matrix after matrix, discarded blueprint after blueprint. Then a glorious countenance descended, moulded with love, birthed into being one and the other, female and male. Androgyny split was asunder, each seeking the other in a dance eternal.

Wings of gold turned ashen, mirrored Crow, messenger between worlds, oracle of possible futures. From out of ashes followed resurrection, She rose resplendent, stared out at a world unknown and unimpressive.

 

old-book-1179262_1920.jpg

Image: josemdelaa, Pixabay

She held out her hand, clutched a book of knowledge, of perfection beyond comprehension. “Guard it well” they entreated, for her mission was secretive, and her fealty unshakeable. Thus did the blueprint of creation fall, taken to places of safety. Thus did Seraph’s mission begin, thus did her life begin.

Twittering Tale #67 – 16 January 2018 – “The Tree”

pexels-photo-veeterzy.jpg

Photo by veeterzy at Pexels.com

Kat Myrman has presented us with a marvellous challenge this week in Twittering Tale #67, a thing of beauty to be praised in my opinion. To that end here is my offering to the World Tree:

Deep in the Forest lies the origin of All
Seen in dreams and visions within sacred pools
Guardian of the Ancestors, Bestower of Resurrection
Sacrificial temple
Tree of Life, bearer of the Worlds
Let us proclaim your beauty
Let us proclaim your sovereignty
Hail Proclaimer of Mysteries!

(279 characters)
1510584710974