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.
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.”
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.