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Elf Whisperer

Witch Magic

The Elf Whisperer

“Portland. This is Portland. Portland. Local time is 4:45 pm. End of the line. Check with the ticket agent for your bus numbers if you are headed north or south from here,” the bus driver intoned over the loud speaker. Marie Rose woke and raised her head from where it had been resting against the window. She scowled owlishly, confused. What had he said? Portland? Why was she here? She had finally gotten her life together. Why had she left a perfectly good job and an apartment that was not a cock-roach infested hell-hole? Why had she packed what she could into her backpack and left Salt Lake City in such a hurry?

She wrested the heavy backpack out of the overhead rack and trudged sleepily to the front of the bus.

“Thank you,” she said to the bus driver. The man did not look up from his clipboard, merely grunting as she passed him. Marie Rose stepped out onto the wet pavement and took a deep breath. It had rained recently. Shadows ran like water across the pavement and pooled in the puddles of the uneven parking lot. It would rain again sometime in the night. She needed to find somewhere safe and dry to sleep before then. Walking through the bus station, she pulled out her phone. By the time she stood curbside, she had a Lyft ride and the address of a hotel with monthly rates.

The hotel looked promising. Being part youth hostel, it boasted a coffee shop and a restaurant that catered to the less sophisticated tastes of the average college-age summer backpacker. The Lyft driver was personable and chatty. By the time he dropped her off in front of the hotel, she had the names of a half dozen restaurants that were cheap and clean where the locals ate regularly.

On the sidewalk in front of the main doors, Marie Rose paused, heels hanging off the edge of the curb, as she studied the edifice of the five-story hotel. Old. Post WWII, or a little earlier. Ghosts hung inside by the dozens, just off the edge of knowing. She took in a deep breath, pulling light out of the Void and letting it wash through her, cleansing her of any shadow she might have picked up on her journey. As expected, at the flare of light, most of the ghosts took note of her presence and pressed their noses against the windows to stare down at her with hungry longing. Marie Rose shouldered her pack and walked through the front doors.

A ghost of an old man drifted near. Too late, it realized that the storm of light surrounding her was a whirlpool. Caught in its eddies, it was pulled apart and sucked away. Marie Rose pretended not to notice as she crossed the lobby to the front desk. The clerk studied her speculatively. She knew what he was thinking. She was too young to be a derelict. Too old to be a college student on a walkabout. Travel had rumpled but decently dressed and clean. Nondescript in a way that proclaimed her disdain for current fashion trends.

“Can I help you?” the boy behind the counter asked. He was that age that made him unremarkable – young and sheltered. Life had not yet marked his face with the lines of pain and anguish that left their indelible scars on a human soul.

“Your website says you have monthly rates,” Marie Rose said.

“Those rooms are taken. I have a few beds left in the hostel or you can pay the nightly rates for the rooms on the top floors.”

Marie Rose nodded and pulled out a credit card. “Give me a room. As high up as possible. And put my name down for the next monthly-rate room.”

The boy had a couple of guardian ghosts. Older women. They scowled at her from over the boys shoulders. Marie Rose scowled back. They looked surprised as they fled through the front doors and hovered out on the sidewalk. That was fine. She could tolerate them there. They could pick up their boy when he went home.

Marie Rose smiled at the boy as he took her credit card. “What is your name?”

“Ethan,” he said, pointing at his name-tag in annoyance. Ethan Hutchinson. A nice Viking name. She liked how he tasted. His great great grandfather had come over from Scotland back before the turn of the last century. Five generations later, this boy was the same mixed heritage of all white Americans, the magic of the old gods now just a mere whisper running through his veins. She sent a tendril of power into him, and the old magic flared into life, bringing Ethan one more step closer to awareness of his own power. His hand hovered over the keys as he blinked in confusion. Shaking his head, he completed the transaction.

He swiped her card and watched the screen, probably expecting it to be declined.

“Ethan. Will you tell me when you get a vacancy or do I need to come down here everyday to check?”

Ethan handed the card back with a long-suffering sigh. “I will make a note for tomorrow’s shift. The restaurant closes at 7 pm if you are hungry. The coffee shop opens a 6 am.” He took a card blank and ran it through the machine. “Your room is 521. Top floor facing the river.”

“That’s perfect, Ethan. Thank you very much,” she said as she took the room key. She turned and scowled at the room full of ghosts that had gathered while her attention was elsewhere. Not all of them belonged to the hotel. Her presence had called them here, clearing the city for blocks around. She took another deep breath and filled the room with white light. The power of it wanted to rage out of her and fill the world. She struggled and managed to contain it to just this building. When the power subsided and she could see again, the room was empty.

“Uh, the elevator is to your left,” Ethan said helpfully, misunderstanding her hesitation.

Marie Rose nodded and turned in that direction. Shadows chittered excitedly from behind the walls. It would take more than a bit of white light to banish them. She needed to get behind walls that kept them at bay.

The elevator was as old as the building and took forever to descend to the lobby. She felt the sweat form on her skin. Damn, damn, damn. New places gave her the heebie jeebies. Hotel rooms especially. Never mind the ghosts. The dark anguish of the past inhabitants clung to everything and no amount of soap and water could wash it away. She need to get up to her room and start cleaning.

The elevator opened to a long hall that smelled of wood rot and mildew. The room, while relatively clean, smelled of harsh cleaning products and old sweat. Marie Rose crossed to the window, threw back the curtains and pushed up on the old style casement. It only rose half a foot before it ran into something that blocked it. The hotel wanted to guard against the random suicide. A cold wind swept down the river and sent eddies into her room. It would have to do. She went to the bathroom and turned the cold water taps on full in the tub and the sink. Water splashed against the porcelain and gurgled down the drain, chasing away the shadows that hid there. She striped naked and hung her clothes on the hook behind the door.

Returning to the room, she unzipped her backpack and dumped its contents on the bed. Finding the incense sticks and the lighter, she put flame to tip until it glowed red then she walked the edges of the room, wafting the sweet smoke into every corner. Between water and smoke and breeze, the stagnate energy began to break apart.

She made a second circle of the room but this time the smoke from her incense stick glowed white and the runes and sigils she inscribed in the air hung stationary where she placed them, glowing softly. Taking a deep breath, she sent power coursing through her body. The spirals and circles and triangles inscribed bone-deep by the old shaman years ago burned brightly through all the layers of muscle and skin, turning their white light golden. The sunlight was disappearing from the sky but she did not need to turn on the lights to see in the growing dusk. Her body was light enough.

Marie Rose pointed two fingers at the wall and a flaming blade sprang into her fist. She made a circle for a third time, the blade of light cutting through the walls and incinerating any shadow that was too slow to get out of the way. She returned to the center of the room and used the blade to inscribe a spiral in the floor and then put an identical spiral in the ceiling above her.

Satisfied, she returned to the mound of belongings on the bed and picked up the rag doll. Propping it against the head board, she pressed her fingers into the crystal in its heart and whispered the words that opened the portal into the other places. A name fell from her lips, spoken in a language had not been heard on this planet for thousands of years.

A creature of light and shadow stepped into the room.

“Killeel,” she murmured with pleasure, throwing her arms around him.

“Ah, my lovely witch, Rose,” Killeel said, burying his fingers in her mass of dark hair as he pressed his forehead against hers.

His pointed ears poked out of the fall of his pale hair as he studied her face with eyes that sparkled like faceted amethyst. He was every bit as naked as she and he was very male. She ran her hands over his hard belly as his lips dropped to nibble on her earlobe.

Maddenly, he stopped and lifted his head to look around. Was it the bright sigils floating in the air or the chitter of shadows beyond the wall of light she had created that disturbed him?

“What is this? Why have you moved?” he asked.

“They were getting too close. People were getting hurt,” she said with a shrug.

“And you do not think they will notice this?” he asked frowning at the magic that laced the room and shown through her skin. “This extravagant display of power will surely be turning heads. They will notice. If not now, soon. You grow in power. It disturbs them.”

“They are busy feeding on a city full of ghosts. The dead and the death at the stadium will keep them happy for months.”

Killeel grunted. “It is getting easier and easier to find a mind open to such possession. It is a wonder that you do not have mass shootings on a daily basis in this country. I cannot tell if it is intrinsic in their nature to kill or if the Dark Lord triggers them on purpose.”

Marie Rose grimaced. “Or maybe it is me and my meddling.”

Killeel shrugged. “There is that possibility also. I was not going to say anything. If you have one failing it is that you are too cautious.”

“Cautious? That is not the word I would have used. Sloppy. Haphazard. Careless. I have no problem deciding the fate of the ghosts and shadows but I cannot bring myself to force humans down a path that will save them from their own folly.”

“You wake them but then abandon them to their own resources afterward.” Killeel reminded her as he brushed a stray curl from her shoulder.

“I keep hoping they will use their beloved free will to actually do the right thing,” she said, crossing to the window to stare down at the river. “Ten thousand years of toxic parenting and all the humans have to show for it is books full of lies and no wisdom.”

Killeel shoved her belongings unceremoniously onto the floor and laid down. ”What is that quaint saying your people have? Something about making a horse drink water?”

Marie Rose turned, momentarily puzzled. “You can lead a horse to water . . . Yeah, horses are pretty stupid as my mother used to tell me all the time. Are you going to spout my grandfather’s wisdom back at me all night?” she asked crawling onto the bed to straddle him.

“Grandfather? The one you like or the one you hate?” Killeel asked returning his attention to her earlobe.

She forgot to answer.

Hours later, sometime in the middle of the night, they woke to the angry hiss of a fairy hovering over Killeel’s head. The elf lord sighed as he swatted at it halfheartedly. The fairy dodged his hand with ease and burned a little brighter. Marie Rose moaned as she threw up a hand against the glare.

“Duty calls, my love,” Killeel said, pressing his lips against the line of her jaw. In the next moment, he was gone.

Marie Rose sighed and tried to find sleep again but sleep was far away. She went into the bathroom and took a long hot shower instead. Sex always made her hungry but it would be hours before the coffee shop opened. She filled her belly with light to ease the hunger pains as she pulled on a t-shirt and crossed to the open window to stare out at the city lights.

The fiasco at the University of Utah stadium had not been the result of a random angry human confused by the burden of shadows being lifted from his mind. No. This time it had been different. Three men with a small arsenal of weapons, in a highly organized operation, had sprayed the sold-out stadium with a hail of lead, killing players and audience alike. The death toll was still being counted when she had packer her bag and boarded the next bus out of town. They had found her and the stadium was their way of giving her notice that they would create untold havoc until she showed herself. Not that that was ever going to happen. Maybe they just hoped to catch her in their net of chaos like the random spray of buckshot into a flight of birds.

She thought about that for a long time. What was the point of running? They would find her eventually. They always did. What was the point of her existence, when you got down to the core of her problem? What good came from waking a human to the true nature of the Oneverse if they woke to a world in which Darkness held sway leaving only helpless hopelessness?

The shadows chittered there, behind her walls. What was the point of any of this? This room was one tiny clean spot on a planet mired under layers of filth. Maybe she granted the world too much autonomy. After all, had anyone ever asked her if this was the life she wanted? She had been born awake and aware, seeing everything, feeling everything, overwhelmed by the sea of ghosts and the tides of Darkness. It had taken her this long to beat back those tides and reclaim her sanity. Up until this moment, everything she had done, every spell cast, every wish whispered into the dark cesspool of this place had been an act of survival.

Maybe now it was time to do something more than just survive.

Marie Rose drew in a deep breath and filled her body with light. Golden light washed the walls once more as the magic inscribed in her bones burned hot.

She took another breath and create a bubble of white light and placed it just outside her body. The next breath pushed that bubble to the limits of the room. The shadows in the walls grew silent, breathlessly expectant. There she stopped, panting at the effort it took to control the energy that wanted to come streaming through the Void into her. What if . . . what if she just let it loose? Would it consume her? Would the cleaning staff open the door to her room tomorrow and find only ash? If she were wise, she would do this carefully, erring on the side of caution. It would be kinder for everyone involved. But she was sick and tired of being kind.

“What is the point of being me if I am not true to my nature?” she asked the Oneverse. The Oneverse was surprisingly silent, as if it too were holding its breath waiting for her to act.

“Fuck it,” she whispered, opening the door in her mind all the way and letting the energy rush through her. She lost herself in the cataclysmic eruption of white light as it poured out of her and exploded out into the city. She became the bubble of light that spread out into the world. Shadows popped and were consumed in the event horizon of her will. Darkness became fuel to further feed her fires. An atomic bomb was a mere firecracker in comparison to the size of the thing she released into the world. It was still spreading out into the universe when she blacked out.

Killeel found her there, crumpled on the floor in front of the window, shivering. He gathered her up and lifted her onto the bed to cover her with blankets.

“Silly girl. What were you thinking?” he murmured, wiping the cold sweat from her forehead with his fingers.

“Killeel? How? How are you here? I did not open the door into Fairy.”

“Many doors opened with what you did. Opened permanently. This reality has not seen the like in well over ten thousand human years. Not since the Dark Lord sealed them shut.”

“What of the Dark Lord?” she asked from behind heavy lids. “Is he gone?”

“No. But you have him on the run and with the doors open, you have gained a thousand new allies in the fight.”

“I should have done this long ago.”

Killeel lay down beside her and gathered her into his arms, laughing. “You were not ready. It would have destroyed you before now. But I will tell you this. Waking the old gods in the boy, Ethan, did the same for you. Now the Dark Lord has some competition. Your world is about to divide itself in two. Those who wish for the mindless oblivion of the Darkness will clash with those who want to embrace the Light.”

“Fuck,” Marie Rose murmured. “Nothing is ever easy, is it?”

Killeel laughed. “With you? No. Nothing is ever easy. You would not allow it to be otherwise, my love,” he said as she fell asleep.

 

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The Thirteenth Face

The face of the Goddess

The face of the Goddess

The old goddess died, finally, at the ripe old age of 2782. Nobody alive could remember what to do next. The High Coven sent the secretaries into the archives and after a month of dusting off the sheepskin parchments, and staring at the fading illustrations of ten thousand year old scribes, they brought their findings to the Great Hall.

“Well?” Mother Dolzella asked, speaking first as was her right as Mother to the Coven.

“She has been reborn. Even now, she walks the world in a new body.” the eldest secretary said.

Mother Prinka, Dolzella’s second, looked over at the seers. “Is this so?”

William Farseeing looked at his compatriots. None were keen on speaking out of turn. He sighed and rose. “The thing that was housed inside the body of the Goddess did not pass out of this realm. We were not without protection even for a moment. We believe she wandered the Horse Plains, taking shape as a white mare and then a white hawk and then a white mouse. But recently, she settled somewhere, into something, and fell asleep. It is possible she now walks the earth as a human infant.”

Mother Cendissa turned back to the secretaries. “And how will we find her, this new incarnation of the Goddess?”

“The texts are … vague at best,” a secretary stammered nervously. “The gender is problematic.”

“A goddess must be female. Right?” Mother Cendissa asked pointedly.

“Uh, well, in times of great conflict, the Goddess has walked the Horse Plains in a male form that she might better kill her enemies.”

“We are not in such times,” Mother Irma said.

“No, but the goddess is timeless and all-seeing. Only she can see what is coming at us down the timeline,” the secretary said apologetically.

“This is sacrilegious, this talk,” Mother Prinka snapped. “Tell us how to find her.”

“The child holds the memories of all the Goddesses, not just of the recently deceased but all who have ever walked on this side of the Veil. You will know her by her words and her works.”

“Works?” Mother Dolzella asked.

“Uh …,” the secretary hesitated as he looked down at his notes.

“He means the magic, High One,” William Farseeing said. “That much magic, contained within a small body, will be noticed. Extraordinary things will happen around her. We must send out to all the land and have the people be on watch.”

****

Nona sat on the porch and watched her youngest child play with her wooden horses in the dust around the stone walkway. She should be glad but her heart was heavy. She was old, too old to be bearing anymore children. All her other children were close to marrying age. Except this one. When she found herself pregnant once more, more than four years before, she thought she had the wasting disease. It had only been when her breasts began to swell that it dawned on her that she was pregnant once more. Ingrem had been beside himself with joy, hoping for another son.

Izzy felt her mother’s eyes on her and looked up with those impossibly blue eyes. Blue eyed and fair while the Horse People were dark haired and black eyed. The healer and the midwife had said it was unusual, but it was known to happen, what with Nona being old and her eggs as aged as she.

Izzy met her mother’s eyes. She did not smile. She had forgotten how to smile, lately, Nona thought sadly. The nightmares haunted her, even in the daylight, now.

Nona smiled encouragingly at Izzy. She missed that smile and the easy laughter. This was the bright child she would have liked to keep close to her until her dying days but it was not to be. The Horse Soldiers were coming today. Yesterday, the messenger had brought her the High Coven’s sigil along with a terse note. “Be prepared” the note had said. Nona had packed Izzy things, few as they were, this morning, being sure to include her stuffed horse doll with the mane and tail made of the finest lamb’s wool. Nona had made it herself, even down to felting the cloth herself from the sheerings of the black goat that had been born the spring before.

Black goats, another strange omen.

The world had become full to brimming with strange portents. The local witch had taken note and sent a runner to the great white city where the High Coven held court. The Coven had sent a seer who spent the days of the Birthing Moon interviewing all the local children born not long after the death of the Old Goddess. The seer had looked bored right up until Izzy walked into the room, hugging her black horse doll, entrancing him with her strange looks, perhaps. Izzy was a silent, solitary child who did not like strangers. She had clung to her mother’s side and refused to speak.

Nona looked down at the sigil she had clutched in her hands. Maybe it was a mistake. They would come, these Horse Soldiers, and they would see that beyond her strange coloring, Izzy was just an ordinary child. She would not tell them of the insanity that seemed to take hold of her child, nor the strange dreams that no four year old had any right to dream.

Nona looked up. Her strange, fey daughter lifted her head and stared towards the road, her little body tensing. The three ranch dogs came galloping around the corner of the house and took up a post around their small charge, their hackles up. Izzy looked over at them and whispered something, holding out her hand. The dogs relaxed, perhaps reluctantly, and went to her, nuzzling her neck. Izzy scratched each in turn behind the ears before sending them up onto the porch. The dogs came to Nona and sat at her feet, guarding.

Not long after, a phalanx of mounted horses appeared on the rise. In no great hurry, they walked sedately down the road towards the house. Izzy cocked her head but did not move, her wooden horses still clutched in her little fingers. Nona wished Ingrem had stayed. She needed his strength right now. But Izzy was the apple of his eye. He could not bear the thought of losing her. Nona had sent him off to the high pastures to check on the new colts, fearing he would die on the lance of a Horse Soldier it they tried to take her from him. It was best the hard decisions of life and death were left to women.

****

The phalanx drew up before the long, low ranch house. A child played in the dust there and a women sat upon the porch surrounded by three enormous wolfhounds. The Captain dismounted and walked up to the porch to converse with the woman while his men held their horses in check. It had been a long ride and the water in the troughs along the edge of the yard looked fresh and clear.

Kaplan, reins loose in his hands, watched the child. The fair hair was startling on first glance. The child ignored all of them, seemingly busy with the play of moving little models around in the dust.

Kaplan was not the greatest of horsemen nor was he used to sitting in a saddle all day as these Horsemen were. He tried to relax the tense muscles in his back as he let his mount have its head, trusting that it would do what was good and proper for a Soldier’s mount.

This was the eighth candidate to be interviewed. He prayed it would be the last.

Back in his younger days, he had ridden whenever he could but caring for a dying Goddess had taken most of his time towards the end. His was the last face she saw before she faded and the breath stopped in her chest and it was thought he should go on these interviews to jog the memories of the new Goddess.

The Captain had an issue with the dogs. The woman shrugged and rose to her feet, taking the dogs into the house before returning. Satisfied, the Captain turned and stopped short. The child was gone.

Kaplan was suddenly terrified for no good reason. His eyes raked the yard, hunting for her. Her little bare feet betrayed her. He spotted them as she wandered under the bellies of the war horses. One misstep, a shift in stance and she would be crushed.

“Oh, dear god,” Kaplan hissed. “No sudden moves, any of you!”

A flicker of hand signals passed among the Guard. The Captain saw it and nodded. He held out his arm to keep the mother on the porch, the woman intent on retrieving her child.

The horses ignored the command sent down the reins to them from their riders and bent their heads to sniff at this strange thing walking under their noses. The child touched their velvet muzzles and blew softly into nostrils as she passed. Made bold by her familiarity, one even nibbled at her straw colored hair. The child laughed and pushed its head away.

Kaplan blinked in wonder. These were war horses. They were trained to kill. She walked among them as if she were one of them.

The child found him.

Kaplan stared down into those impossible eyes. She looked up at him and then held up her arms. Kaplan shook his head, thinking this interview were best conducted in the house. The child stamped her foot and grabbed the stirrup, intent on scrambling up into the saddle.

“Let me up, Kaplan,” she insisted.

Kaplan bent down and gave her his arm. She grabbed it and he pulled her up. She settled into the hollow between his body and curved saddle.

“Who told you my name?” Kaplan asked.

“It is your name. This form, this face, it has a name and it is Kaplan,” she said. “I dreamed you were coming.”

Kaplan nodded. Perhaps she was just a witch or a seer, come young into her powers. “Did you? What else have you dreamed?”

“The land is full of ghosts and shadows. I cannot shift them fast enough. She grew old and weary and the land suffered for it.”

“Who?”

The child looked up at him, annoyed. “This is not a game, Kaplan, though I know you think you must play it. The old goddess is who I mean. She handed me her skin as I walked into this world. Fool that I am, I took it.”

“Frionna? Lady? Wait. You had a choice?” Kaplan asked, perplexed.

“We all have the choice to say yay or nay to what fate hands us,” the child said. “My name is Izzy, by the way. Short of Izzabella. Do not mistake me for the old woman whose land this once was. I will not answer to her name. I am not Frionna, though I have all her memories inside here somewhere along with every other goddess from the beginning of time.” The child touched her temple, a frown between her brows.

“What …?” Kaplan shook his head.  He needed to get his wits about him. “What is your first memory?”

“I remember eating the sun and finding myself pregnant with this world.”

Kaplan hissed. How could she know this, if she was not Frionna?

The child, this thing called Izzy, reached up and patted his cheek. It was a familiar caress, something Frionna had done almost daily. Kaplan jerked his head away.

“Do you fear me?” the child asked softly, her eyes stripping away his flesh until she could see his soul. “My mother fears me. Nothing in her life prepared her for having a child such as me. I will go say goodbye to her. Secretly, she will be relieved, for she is confused by my burden.”

“What is your burden?” Kaplan asked, afraid of the answer.

“There is a storm coming. It will rage across the Horse Lands and strip them bare if I do not stop it.”

Izzy wriggled out of his embrace and swung out of the saddle, clinging to the stirrup like a little monkey as she dropped to the ground. Kaplan’s mount snorted in surprise as she ran under his nose but it was careful where it put its feet. The rest of the herd turned their heads to watch her as she scampered through their ranks.

Kaplan looked up, bewildered, at his friend William Farseeing. “You said it would be Frionna.”

“Is she not Frionna? The portents all tell me this is she,” William said, worried.

“Oh, Frionna is in there somewhere, but …” Kaplan shook his head.

“But what, Kaplan?” William asked, leaning over to place his hand on his friend’s knee. “Could you not feel the power roiling about her? She is wondrously alive with it.”

Kaplan searched desperately for the words that would explain his unease.

“Remember how the secretaries came back from the archives and warned that we would not get the Goddess we wanted but instead we would get the Goddess we needed?” Kaplan said, staring after the girl, who was hugging her mother as the woman wept.

“Yes. Why? What do you think she is?”

“There is a statue in the temple of a goddess with thirteen faces. The Coven keeps it turned so that the kind faces, the faces of compassion and love are all that one sees. I have climbed into that alcove and studied what faces the wall. They are terrible faces. Angry, ravenous, vicious faces. There is a face that is eating her babies. There is one that breathes flames. I cannot help but think of that now. What if we turned around and left, letting this mother keep her strange child?”

“Do you really want the Goddess running wild and loose among the herds, like some feral dog? Better that she is surrounded by all the wisdom of the Horse Lands and the power of the High Coven.”

Kaplan shook his head. “Yes. I know you are right.” He looked back into Williams face. “But I am sore afraid.”

“Why? Be glad. We have found our Goddess,” William said.

“If she is the Goddess of War, I will follow her into battle without question,” Kaplan said. “But, by all that is holy, I am an old man and war is a young man’s game.”

“Maybe you are mistaken. Maybe she is a more subtle Goddess. Perhaps the Goddess of Judgment.”

“Yes,” whispered Kaplan as he watched Izzy take the Captain’s hand and let him escort her down the sidewalk. “Who, do you think, will be weighed and found wanting? Us or our enemies? What happens when she seeks retribution for all the wrongs done to her?”

William shook his friend’s leg. “You sat at the knee of the old Goddess as she sank into senility. It has clouded your mind. We are the Horse People. We have lived here, in much the same way, for ten thousand years. If there is a danger it comes at us from the outside. Listen to the world, Kaplan. It is shifting. Even now she is un-making things and turning it on the lathe of her own heart. Trust in that, if you cannot trust anything else.”

“That is why I am worried. I am afraid she will make me love her and it will break my heart.”

William laughed. “Such is the way of magic, my friend. It makes us all fools. All you can do is relax and let it take you where it wills.”

 

6 degrees

6 degrees

You are born knowing the truth about yourself but by the time you reach maturity most of that truth has been replaced by the lies that others tell you. My favorite lie the the one that says you are alone.

This is the Truth:

You are born into a network of people who are connected whether it be through family or love or work or shared interests. These are real, visceral connections, measurable on a psychic level through a means that science is only now beginning to understand.

Imagine a long, elastic thread running from your core to the core of everyone who knows you. On the psychic level you would look like a starburst. Some of those threads are strong and bright. Some are tenuously thin. Some have faded to only an after image invisible except if you catch a glimpse of them out of the corner of your eye.

Now imagine all those other people being connected to everyone they know and those people being connected to others in the same way. It is hard for the human brain to imagine the infinite number of souls who are only a thought away along our long elastic thread of connection but the theory that you are only six degrees of separation from every human being on the planet is not far wrong.

We know about this network. It lies in deep in our subconscious, always there, always accessible. It is a comfort and a source of power that sustains us in our time of need. When people tell you that they are praying for you what they actually mean is that they have turned their attention to the long elastic thread that connects you to them and they are putting their attention and their intentions on that link, making it stronger while at the same time they are calling down the energy of the total network, channeling that energy through themselves, and passing it on down the line.

If you believe in your connection then it only takes a thought to open yourself to it and take what it wants to give you. The strongest links, the one that connect you to those who love you the most, these threads hold you in place and sustain you when  you are in deadly peril.

If you can let go of your fear, and trust that this network works as it was designed to work, then you can shift your attention away from the struggle to not die and shift it towards seeking the light that will heal you, body and soul.

When people die, they have to work really, really hard at it. Most of the pain comes from severing the ties that hold you to this place.

That part of what you think you know is true. Dying is very lonely work.

Up, Down, and Sideways

Which way is UP?

Which way is UP?

What if…

What if life on this planet rose from a space faring race who only come down into the gravity wells of solar systems to feed, breed, and seed the next generation of life?

What if the human form is a part of that process?

What if one could recognize the evolutionary step that would take us back to the stars by the simple test of symmetry?

The evolutionary progression of biological symmetry goes from none (your distant cousins, the sponges) to radial symmetry (jellyfish and anemones) to bilateral symmetry (all vertebrates). Because of gravity, no form of life can be said to be spherically symmetric because, no matter what the environment, things need to know the difference between up and down.

Yet the conscious awareness of our own spherical symmetry is the skill set we are missing if we are to travel between stars or between dimensions.

After all, the only thing keeping human awareness from exploring the pan-dimensional universe is our inability to shed the need for an UP and a Down. For now, we must work the baby steps. Shoot for the rudimentary skill set; the ability to exchange UP with Down with Sideways at a moments notice.

What if the seemingly exponential explosion of neurological disorders like autism and ADD or OCD is not a sign that our genes are faulty but that the First Mother, who turned a corner and walked into this world to seed this gravity well, had a plan and a time schedule that ticks away inside the matrix of life on this planet, an internal clock that is forcing change upon the human species, not on their physical appearance but in the way the mind deals with the illusions and trappings of spacial reality?

What if we are meant to touch the ineffable, make it real, and learn to follow where it leads, out of the world and beyond this dimension?

What if, one day, those who “get it” simply walk out of the world. Would it be magic or miracle?

Or would it simply be growing up and leaving the nest?

 

Walking out of the World

Walking out of the World

The Riddles of the Sphinx

Guardians at the Portals

Guardians at the Portals

Life is not like a box of choc’lits, as much as we adore that kind of folksy wisdom.

If you want a truer analogy, one could say Life is very much like Harry Potter’s TriWizard Tournament maze. You are on a path with high walls that keep you from seeing the way forward or the way back. The possibility of something nasty jumping out at you around every corner is very real.

So, there are choices to be made.

How do you avoid the traps?

You can refuse to play the game. That is one choice. But you are human. This means you chose to play the game else you would not have walked though the Veil. Or you could stop and refuse to advance any further. Here again, the rules of the game make this an unpleasant choice for there is only two ways out of the maze, death and the big doorway marked “EXIT”. The way is littered with those who stopped and let the life seep out of them until the only thing left was the mummified husks.

Let’s assume you are playing to win. You turn each corner cautiously, your weapons ready in case the next surprise is something that means to eat you. When something jumps out at you, you have choices. Run or Fight. Easy enough. You defeat it and move on or it defeats you and you must find another route through the maze.

Sometimes you come around the corner and there stands a Sphinx. Damn. 

You have three choices, Fight, Flee or solve the Riddle.

I do not recommend fighting a Sphinx. They are magical creatures of a kind that cannot be defeated by even the most powerful wizards.

Going back to the next turn does not appeal since it has taken you so long to get this far and each trap has been progressively harder and more brutal. The maze does not want to be solved and resists you at every turn and eventually there is no going backwards.

OK, we can do this, you think. Just solve the Riddle. But be careful. The Sphinx will eat you and suck you into its alternate reality. But you are clever. How hard can it be, this riddle solving thing?

The Sphinx is an old hand at this game. It wants you to win but it does not want it to be an easy win. It is immortal and bored and ever wishing for a challenge, after all.

It asks the riddle.

It is then that you realize how clever this game is. The riddle is a paradox with no solution. Damn. Double Damn.

That is when you cheat.

Oh, come on. You knew there were cheats. Every game has them.

The Sphinx exists on multiple levels in multiple dimensions. One must merely find an alternate reality and then, standing within this place, you rephrase the the question so that the riddle is solvable.

Der? you might say.

Think about it. In the center of every paradox, at the heart of the reality in which all possibilities exist as truth, simultaneously and in opposition, there is a place perfectly balanced between the thousands and thousands of true answers. Standing in this place you face the Sphinx and deny any version of its truth but that which lives in the Heart of the Oneverse.

The Sphinx will smile and bow, letting you pass. It might even follow you, guarding your back as you finish the game. It is not often that the Sphinx is bested at its own game. It follows you because you are not boring.

Damn. Triple Damn. How the hell do you explain the Sphinx when it follows you home like a stray puppy?

the paradox Riddle

the paradox Riddle

Becoming the Nox

imagining perfection

imagining perfection

Science fiction is the tool used by those who wish to reinvent our history or imagine the future. Once upon a time, the historical philosopher might say. What if, the futurists ask.

What if our future was not so apocalyptic as some like to imagine.  Perhaps in all those possible timelines, in all those possible futures, there is a bright hope that does not involve zombies or the collapse of civilization or the ultimate apocalypse of species extinction.

The Nox was the concept of the writers of Stargate SG-1. They needed a perfect race. Someone who had figured out how to live in harmony with all things but who still had a sophisticated technological society. They needed a race that had figured out how to cheat death with the power of their will and their minds.

A lovely idea. But, one wonders, how did they get that way? Surely they were like humans of the present day.  What steps, what choices did they make that took them down the path to ascendance and a higher sentience?

Ascendance would only be a natural consequence of being a warlike and bloody minded people for it would take knowing the extremes of Darkness in order to appreciate the Light. Evolution is a pendulum swing that requires great forces to create great changes, after all.

Here is an amazingly transforming game. Imagine becoming the Nox. Then act as if this evolution had already happened. Now look around at the world and see it with your Nox eyes.

Something curious happens.

Hidden, amid all the seemingly random bits of chaos that is our modern life, there are seeds and nuggets of the beginning transformation into a species that fully intends to not only survive but thrive in harmony with each other and the planet we live on. You will not find it on the evening news or in the frenetic attention whoring of the news aggregating sites nor on the social networking sites.

Right now, there is a quiet revolution taking place as people stop waiting for things to change and begin making things change. Humans are at there best when they are solving problems and inventing solutions. What they are inventing is the future and it is the future that will put us on the path to becomging the Nox.

What does this future look like? It looks like urban villages. It looks like community gardens. It looks like non-profit health care co-ops. It looks like Critical Mass. It looks like the gradual abolishing of the Drug Wars. It looks like awareness and education and social consciousness through the transparent lens of the internet. It looks like networking circles and barter groups. It looks like the movement to live simple and simply live. It looks like shinning the spot light of public awareness into every little nook and cranny of our lives and stirring up the Shadows that still lurk in the cracks and crevices.

Once long ago it is said that the goddess Durga, in order to defeat the demon Raktabija, drank its blood to keep it from regenerating. It worked but Durga went mad as a result and turned into the goddess of destruction, Kali. It is only when her husband and lover, Shiva, stepped in front of her blade that her rage was quenched and she returned to being her true self.

This, if you think about it, is a very good analogy for the evolution of the human species. There was a time when it was needful and right for us to be Kali but one cannot stay Kali forever. There is no love or intimacy in Kali’s heart. The only cure for Kali’s loneliness is to put down the sword and remember that she is the Divine Mother.

Perhaps the Nox came to that same conclusion. Perhaps it is time to leave off carving a place for ourselves in the Universe and begin nurturing that which we have created. Let us hope we are on the right path.

Moving On

forgotten stones

forgotten stones

 

They say there would be no gods if man did not worship them. Where have the deities of the Egyptians and the Greeks and the Romans gone? They are ghosts, forgotten and grown silent in our neglect. This is the nature of sentience in a consensus reality. A thing only has power when we grant it that power by believing in it. The more believers a thing has, the more powerful and autonomous its sentience.

Man has invented, embraced and then discarded more organizing systems in the last ten thousand years than can be counted.

This is the nature of humanity, that he never stagnates. What we believe today is not what we believed yesterday and it will certainly not be what we will think tomorrow.

Some say that if you are unhappy with the current socio-ecomonic-political climate then you should be patient because it is bound to change.

I say your unhappiness is a sign that you have already moved on.

Look around. You are not alone in your unhappiness. No one ever is. We are a social animal with a shared Hive Mind. Someone, somewhere, out of sheer necessity, has invented The Next Thing. One by one, we will discover our new path and change direction. We call this phenomenon the Wave of the Future. It is a tsunami that will wash over all of us, eventually. Change is inevitable.

The temper tantrums of the fading systems become more violent, more bizarre, more laughably, ludicrously insane as their believers stop believing in them. Can you blame them? Even mindless, soulless sentient systems recognize the act of dying. They are living things with no higher self so dying is a terrible and terrifying process. The irony is that their death struggles only drive their believers away faster, thereby speeding their demise.

You know the end is near when the systems begin to rot from the inside out. People like Bradly Manning and Edward Snowden are symptoms of a particular kind of cancer that afflicts organizations that have long since ceased to serve a purpose. How bad can it be when the very people who depend upon a system for their livelihood would much rather take a suicidal leap into the unknown abyss than continue to align themselves with energies so out of sync with reality that they seem to create a vacuum filled dissonance around themselves as a protective barrier.

Soon the Hive Mind will shake itself free of the constraints of the old systems and move on. It has happened thousands of times before and it will happen a thousand more before man is done and gone. Like a snake shedding its old skin, we will scratch the itch until the vacuum between the new us and the old us is broken open and the old us falls away.

Now is not the time to be sleepwalking through life.  The last thing you want is to be caught on the wrong side, clinging to detritus while the rest of the world moves on with Life.

the ruins of history

the ruins of history