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.

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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

 

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Old Gods, Old Journeys – Thursday photo prompt – #writephoto

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Image: Sue Vincent

My offering for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt:

Thy file past, hearts and minds filled with a multitude of wishes, sorrows, and joys. This pilgrimage has remained constant since the time of their ancestors and beyond. The land and its guardians have watched over this sacred site long before humans had even set foot on its hallowed earth. The gods changed faces and names over time, but their true essence was always present and unchanged.

The Old Ones watch from the other side of the Veil, see the sincerity, or not, of the passing crowds. Petitions and offerings are laid at the shrine, many imbued with feelings of desperation and hope. Humanity seeks cures for its ills, lays its battered spirits at the feet of its gods. Tears are shed, potent remembrances of lives fulfilled and potential unrealised. Their pilgrimages are often hard, last acts of faith when all else seems lost.

The Oracles and Gods of yore dispense their wisdom in dreams and visions, undertake new journeys in the furtherance of continuity. A fact not lost on the wise at heart and beleaguered of spirit. Suffering brings with it a harsh reality and clarity of purpose.

As for this shrine, the One with Three Names and Aspects stands guard, watches intently for the suffering of her people. They reciprocate, flowing like tributaries into the greater River of Life. One pilgrim falls to her knees, beseeches silently, grasps the hand of compassion and healing. Perched on the edge of a precipice she has no other recourse but to pray with her last breath.

It may be a modern world but the inherent nature of these people is written on stones in forgotten languages. It is an old, old tune. One sung and chanted under Sun and Moon, memorised intently and reverently. It is present in legends and histories that are hidden. Some say the Old Ones created their children of flesh and bone to sing their praises, and enact the divine plan on Earth.  Is this truth? Is this illusion?

Such things are of no concern to those who journey to these places of power. For they seek nourishment of the soul and healing of deep wounds. Who can blame them?

 

Is death still frightening if you believe the self is an illusion? An astonishing study of Tibetan Buddhists

I too was quite surprised by the findings of this study.

The researchers wrote that they were astonished by their findings. By Christian Jarrett

via Is death still frightening if you believe the self is an illusion? An astonishing study of Tibetan Buddhists — Research Digest

Honour My Name He Says: Lament for a Warrior

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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

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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

 

 

 

Hot and Bothered – Twittering Tale #69 – 30 January 2018

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NY Times Best Selling Books

Kat Myrman’s Twittering Tale challenge this week provided interesting fodder. What book titles should I use?  Do I go down the road of either a gothic romance or penny dreadful? Decisions, decisions:

Her past was Diary of a Wimpy Kid, yearning after romance

Her reality is Fifty Shades of Grey, a forbidden palette and gallons of espresso

Lean In she implored And the Mountains Echoed with their laughter

Surely this was Proof of Heaven? Getting hot and bothered

How the Inferno rages

(280 characters)

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Whispers of the Heart: Is This Love?

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an_photos, Pixabay

Seraph’s fall into manifestation continues as does my journey with him. He, Amunet and Anubis form an important triad of universal forces. I place my feet in their footsteps, see through their eyes and feel the heartbeat within their chests. Amunet and Seraph were birthed into existence as a result of flash fiction challenges and have remained with me through various adventures. Anubis has always been with me. Their journeys are part of a greater project, this much I can see. This blog was started initially to record my musings about life and the Universe, as well as to generate ideas for bigger projects. I had no idea where it would either go or whether it would fizzle out after a while.

It’s becoming apparent to me that the main blog is coalescing into a few threads that form the matrix of a bigger web; one stretching into infinity. That’s how it feels. The search for meaning in an endless Universe can appear overwhelming, sometimes we touch sparks of star light that have a story to tell. All we can do is listen and record their tales.

On this occasion one such spark, named Seraph for convenience, has descended into human form for reasons that will become clearer further down the path. An angelic being, consisting of pure energy finds themselves inhabiting flesh and bone. What a dilemma! It’s not an easy state of being, force has been poured into a form and experiencing all its attendant problems. Imagine eons of feeling unfamiliar emotions and physical sensations. They’ve changed gender throughout many lifetimes. In this incarnation Seraph is female and this short excerpt shows her trying to cope with the realities of love and loss, bittersweet twin poles of human existence. Seraph turns to Amunet for solace. I’m not sure whether I’ve captured the true essence of this experience, but here goes:

Engin_Akyurt, Pixabay

Seraph:

Their life force pulses, ebbs and flows, finds your innermost places, whispers sweetly of worldly things, promises heaven. He touched my face with the gentlest of fingers, traced my lips in adoration, and looked at me with eyes brimming with light. I touched his heart, watched it take breath after breath, heard its whispers of longing, it called my name and I answered. Is this love Amunet? Arms held me within a such a grip, as if I was a treasure beyond compare. What could I do but respond and bury my face in his neck, draw in his scent, kiss his jaw. Skin to skin we lay on the grass, the stars being witness to entwining, heart to heart, soul to soul. I was lost, truly lost in these moments of love, of shared joy at being alive. My tears flowed, tasted of the Great Ocean of Life. Is this love Amunet?

Amunet:

My dear, dear Seraph, I can feel such pain in your words. Yes, it is love and much more. This is an integral part of their existence, of being human. It can bring with it utterly sublime experiences, filled with both tears and laughter. Let your sorrow bring healing, let it go my friend. You’ve been witness to eons upon eons of life cycles, seen the natural order of things, take the essence of such an experience and treasure it.

Seraph:

Yes, such has been my experience, never being drawn into the minutiae of life. Taking such sights and offering them to the Greater Consciousness. As for now, it was my choice to see their world. Their lives are played out on a stage filled with regrets, yearnings, greed, hatred, joy and love. Many wander the long road in search of meaning, in search of themselves. He came to me naked of pretence, filled my life with laughter, and enriched my knowledge of this unfamiliar world. I find it difficult to seek the words to describe how I truly feel at his loss. He became diminished, life essence bleeding away over time. Then one day, his heart no longer spoke to me, it whispered a song of departure. I listened, urged it to live. He went, left me. This is the sword hanging over all that are made of mortality. I know that, but it’s hard to accept.

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pixel2013, Pixabay

Amunet:

(Gently cradles Seraph in her arms and rocks her).

That’s it, let the tears flow. Capture these moments as memories frozen in time and space and place them in the Vaults of Remembrance my dear, dear Seraph. They will give you solace when the time comes to return to the stars, love is worth its weight in gold, forever incorruptible, remember that.

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rawpixel, Pixabay

 

Big Bad Humans and Benevolent Wolves — Open Graves, Open Minds blog

Followers of OGOM will know that we have been at the forefront of debates around the cultural representation of the wolf since the Company of Wolves Conference in 2015. We went on to collaborate more fully with the UK Wolf Conservation Trust and stage our Being Human event ‘Redeeming the Wolf‘ in 2017. If we…

via Big Bad Humans and Benevolent Wolves — Open Graves, Open Minds

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

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

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.

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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.