Sign of the Serpent: Travel Curiosities

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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?

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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.”

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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.

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Graham-H, Pixabay

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Approaching Thresholds

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ulleo, Pixabay

I haven’t posted in a while due to being ill with a horrible bout of flu. A week is a long time in politics and even longer in blogging. This lurgy deserves to have all manner of nasty things thrown at it. It’s rendered me unable to eat properly, coughing like I’ve been smoking for years (I’m a non-smoker) and very tired. Today is the first day I’ve felt able to function properly and it feels goodish.

I’m reserving judgement until the virus is dragged screaming from my system and thrown through whatever portal it came through. A tad dramatic admittedly, but when you’ve had a raging inferno inside you there is no other option but to use harsh language. It passes the time and occupies idle hands.

The day’s been mild and sunny, which has lifted my spirits. Although there was one minor blip on my horizon. Our kitchen door has a habit of sticking and it happened this afternoon. I’d left my phone in the living room and couldn’t climb out of the kitchen window (either I need to lose weight or the window needs checking for malfunction); a valiant and embarrassing effort was made though. I managed to free myself eventually.

I was seated at the kitchen table consulting the Oracle and wondered whether this was a test. You know, to see whether I was taking notice of the messages being conveyed. My divination skills are rather rusty and ripe for refining. Illness has a habit of focussing one’s thoughts and attention towards the inner. Living in a world filled with a cacophony of noise can render you almost deaf to important messages emanating from your subconscious. It can also blind you to things that need to be noticed, prevent you from seeing through illusions, of situations and people not being what they appear to be.

The Oracle from the Magician’s Tarot (Quareia), Jan Malique

It feels like there are many thresholds approaching. Thresholds are intriguing places, both in the waking and dream states. They’re places of transition and transformation, and in architecture are decorated appropriately to denote their significance. They signify the separation of the profane and sacred, and are assigned guardians to prevent the incursion of those not prepared for the experience to come. They are also places through which we pass from consciousness to subconsciousness, we thus descend into the Underworld if the Guardians permit us to.

Which brings to mind the descent of the goddess Ishtar into the Underworld. There is no way of avoiding this fate if we’re to gain one ounce of self-insight.

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5477687, Pixabay

The unravelling is necessary but its power must be restricted once the objective has been achieved, that is self-awareness and self-mastery. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll be permitted access to the doors waiting further on the horizon until further trials and lessons are completed.

The threat of destruction (either real or symbolic) is heavily infused with ambivalence, it implies sacrifice and is part and parcel of the journey. The process brings fear but should not be allowed to overwhelm us. I’m not seeing things clearly and perhaps allowing the fear of whatever destruction implies, it isn’t always something negative.

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Dustytoes, Pixabay

I’m a different person to who I was a year ago, and a year before that, and beyond that. The passage of time has involved the shedding of old personas, much like a snake sheds its skin. Transitions and Thresholds have come and gone. Like the Shaman I need to face the invader (either physical or symbolic) within my system and ask why it’s there and what it wants. What lessons are to be gained from the interaction?

Self-awareness and self-mastery? For that I need to commune with the beings populating the inner landscape and my own self. I look to my ancestral line for answers to present day dilemmas and the gifts they’ve bequeathed (for good and bad). My healing will benefit them, for that is the greatest gift we can bestow upon them. It involves reintegration at the deepest level. A positive endeavour don’t you think?

Awakening – February 15: Flash Fiction Challenge

Natalia_Kollegova, Pixabay

An offering from the Water Elementals for the Flash Fiction Challenge:

We feel the arrival of life and welcome the time of awakening.
Our existence has been poised between neither here nor there, but in a place of abeyance.
Ice bound have we been so far but the warmth of the Life Giver now embraces us.
Who are we? We are holders of the Earth’s memories, recorders of ages, and matrix of life.
Our essence runs through your veins, feeds your inner landscape, and upholds your purity.
Hear our song as we unfold from our binding, flow with the breath of regeneration.
Listen well humans, we bring you hidden messages.

 

February 15, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story on ice. It can be an event on ice, a game on ice or a drink on ice. Go where the prompt leads you.

Respond by February 20, 2018, to be included in the compilation (published February 21). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

99-words (1)

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

SENIOR SALON 2018 — Haddon Musings

A wonderful post from Bernadette at Haddon Musings about the pioneering civil rights work of Septima Poinsette Clark.

I This is my first post honoring women during Black History Month. Please take a moment to get to know Septima who is considered the Grandmother of the Civil Rights Movement.  The Woman Who Schooled the Civil Rights Movement Erin Blakemore Feb 16, 2016 Who was the “queen mother” of the American Civil Rights […]

via SENIOR SALON 2018 — Haddon Musings

The end. From THEREBEMONSTERSHERE.COM

Another intriguing blog that caught my attention. This post raised a smile. You may think me strange, human nature can be at times.

Death sighed sadly to herself, she exited her battered old VW beetle. Secateurs in hand, she strolled through Maggie’s ward unseen by all. Mr. D’arcy trotted at her heel, a large doggy smile on his face. Maggies ethereal form stood beside the corpse of Maggie Trout. Wild and terrified was her expression; her […]

via The end. — therebemonstershere.com

Highly Restricted -Twittering Tale #70 – 6 February 2018

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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)

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Pause for Breath

StockSnap, Pixabay

My last post may have sounded doom filled and steeped in angst. It wasn’t meant to be. The posts that are most personal and intimate (emotionally) emerge when the inner world responds like a boat’s sail to winds bringing change and guidance. They herald moments of introspection and the need for silence.

My Muse, Anubis, tends to choose such moments to offer words of wisdom. You have to understand the interaction isn’t purely a creative device; it’s a glimpse into worlds a Seeker after Wisdom and Self-Insight finds themselves travelling. Legions of such Seekers, from all spiritual traditions and none, have undertaken journeys that have profoundly changed them and their perception of this world.

For some people the journey never ends as they search for elusive truths and answers. They place one foot after the other and walk through doorway after doorway. The Universe offers them a glimpse of a world that has suddenly become unfamiliar. It has always been the same but our perception of it has changed.

StockSnap, Pixabay

We become perplexed and doubt the validity of reality, doubt our ability to function without the illusion of a stable Universe. The truth is it’s never been stable, it’s in constant flux, shaped by our thoughts, actions and speech.  During moments of quiet we can hear the inner voice speaking its truth and engaging in dialogue, dialogue that is usually drowned out by the noise of our lives.

It appears many people can’t bear silence, makes you wonder what they’re fearful of hearing when the noise stops.

Pause for breath and listen to what the inner voice has to say.

The link is to a lovely piece of music evoking the beauty and grandeur of nature. It may help in your moments of pausing.

http://player.lemonadebox.com/kkbtwz
“Tundra” by the Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo (lyrics by Charles Anthony Silverstein)

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

 

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?