Monday, August 29, 2016

The Whirlwind _ An Allegory

I leaned from the low-hung crescent moon and grasping the west pointing horn, looked down. Against the other horn reclined, motionless, The one they call , the Deliverer or Saviour, looking at me, but I was unafraid. Below me the hills and valleys were thick with humans, and the moon swung low that I might see what they did.
"Who are they?" I asked, for I was unafraid. And he answered: "They are the Sons of God and the Daughters of God."
I looked again, and saw that they beat, pushed and stepped on each other. Sometimes they seemed not to know that the one they pushed from their path fell under their feet. But sometimes they looked as he fell and kicked him brutally.
And I said to him: "Are they ALL the Sons and Daughters of God?"
And he said: "ALL."
As I leaned and watched them, it grew clear to me that each was frantically seeking something, and that it was because they sought what they sought with such singleness of purpose that they were so inhuman to all who tried to hinder them.
And I said, "What do they seek?"
And he answered: "Happiness.
I asked, "Are they all seeking happiness"?
"ALL", he replied.
"Have any of them found it"?
"Do they ever think they've have found it"?
He replied, "Sometimes they think that they have found it".
My eyes filled, for at that moment I caught a glimpse of a woman with a babe at her breast, and I saw the babe torn from her and the woman cast into a deep pit by a drunken man with his eyes fixed on a shining lump that he believed to be (or maybe to contain, I dont know), perhaps, Happiness.
And I turned to him, my eyes blinded.
I asked, "Will they ever find it?"
And he said "They will find it."
"All of them?"
"All of them."
"Those who are trampled?"
"Those who are trampled."
"And those who trample?"
"And those who trample."
I looked again, a long time, at what they were doing on the hills and in the valleys, and again my eyes went blind with tears, and I sobbed....
"Is it God's will, or the work of the Devil, that men seek Happiness?"
"It is God's will"
"And it looks so much like the work of the Devil".
He smiled.
"It does look like the work of the Devil".
When I had looked a little longer, I cried out in protest: "Why has he put them down there to seek Happiness and to cause each other such pain and misery?"
Again he smiled obscurely: "They are learning."
"What are they learning"?
"They are learning Life. And they are learning Love".
I said nothing. One man in the group below held me breathless, fascinated. He walked proudly, and others ran and laid the bound, struggling bodies of living men before him that he might tread upon them and never touch foot to earth. But suddenly a whirlwind seized him and tore his purple robe from him and set him down naked among strangers. And they fell upon him and mistreated him terribly.
I clapped my a child who was filled with joy.
"Good! Good!" I cried, happily. "He got what he deserved."
Then I looked up and and all of a sudden once again saw the inscrutable smile of the teacher.
And he spoke quietly. "They all get what they deserve".
"And no worse?"
"And no worse."
"And no better?"
"How can there be any better? They each deserve whatever shall teach them the true way to Happiness."
I was silenced.
And still the people went on seeking, and trampling each other in their eagerness to find. And a realization came over me..that the whirlwind caught them up from time to time and set them down elsewhere to continue the search.
And I said, "Does the whirlwind always set them down again on these hills and in these valleys?"
And he replied: "Not always on these hills or in these valleys."
"Where then"?
"Look above you."
And I looked up. Above me stretched the Milky Way and gleamed the stars.
And I breathed "Oh." and fell silent, in awe by what was given to me to understand.
Below me they still trampled each other.
And I asked him.
"But no matter where the Whirlwind sets them down, they go on seeking Happiness?"
"They go on seeking Happiness."
"And the Whirlwind makes no mistakes?"
"The Whirlwind makes no mistakes."
"It puts them down sooner or later, where they will get what they deserve?"
"It puts them sooner or later where they will get what they deserve."
Then the burden that was moments before crushing my heart lightened, and I found I could look at the brutal cruelties that went on below me with pity for the cruel. And the longer I looked the stronger my compassion grew.
And I said, "They act like men driven"?
"They are driven."
"What drives them?"
"The name of that which drives them is Desire."
Then, when I had looked a little longer, I cried out passionately: "Desire is an Evil thing."
But the face of the teacher grew stern and his voice rang out, startling me.
"Desire is not an evil thing."
I trembled, and my thought withdrew into herself into the innermost chamber of my heart. Till at last I said: "It is desire that drives men on to learn the lessons that God has set."
"It is Desire that drives them".
"The lessons of Life and Love?"
"The lessons of Life and Love."
Then I could no longer see that they were cruel. I could only see that they were learning. I watched them with deep love and compassion, as one by one the whirlwind carried them out of sight.
Copyright © Deborah Nuckles 1996
Do not copy or reprint without express permission

HerStory - Memories of the Past

In the beginning, there was no time. People wandered the earth searching for food, warmth and shelter. Ice covered the land. Slowly the ice began to melt and the long winter gave way to a fertile spring. As the sheets of ice retreated further and further northwards, the earth which they uncovered unfurled its green shoots. In the wide grasslands the first plants grew, followed by bushes and finally trees. The land became covered with grasslands and forests. Animals, birds, insects and flowers flourished. Eating berries and ripe fruits, the wanderers trapped animals and noticed the changing seasons, times of plenty and times of darkness. Traveling across the land they were guided by the sun during the day and by the moon and stars by night.
Afraid, and very small in so vast a land, the people looked to the sun and moon as their guides, as spirits which protected them. The sun always moved in the same direction and remained constant, but the moon, mysterious light of the darkness, changed her shape. Like the women in the tribe, she sometimes swelled as if full of spirit and at other times she was not there. The darkest of nights. People within the tribes, older women, young girls before their first bleed, began to take the light of the moon, who had become Mother, into their bodies, and young men took in the male god of the hunt, dressed in skins and horns. These sacred workers traveled into the Other world of shadows, spirit realms, where the moon kissed them and the sun warmed their bones and they were taught all mysteries. They knew how to fly with the dead ones and take their spirit home to the Mother. In the Other world they learned how to make the sacred drinks to heal the sick and to read omens for the hunt.
The People began to settle, at first in caves and later, as more families gathered together, they built huts of wood and stone and moved down on to the plains. As the communities grew, laws were made from tribal customs and the clan elders formed councils. Sacred potters made images of the Goddess, the Great Mother of All whose ample breasts and belly brought health and fertility to the tribe. Drawings were made in caves of the hunt, the gods of the chase, and the Old Ones who carried the sun and moon.
Millennia passed; the Old Ones became the Great Ones, their civilizations flourished: In Sumer, Egypt, Atlantis. They watched the passage of the stars, charted them and the divine science of astrology was born. They counted, and saw and recorded the sacred symmetry of numbers. Watching the souls of the dying and the incoming of the new-born, they followed the soul's passage through the many heavens. Studying sickness and health they theorized on the body and its relationship to the soul, and made healing plasters and elixirs. They looked for omens and auguries to make sense of the vicissitudes of their lives; the plagues, the floods, the curses and blessings. They named their gods and built shrines to them, and the shrines grew into temples and then whole cities were dedicated to the Goddess.
Great in their glory; the power of the Great Ones was awesome and terrible, and behind their lesser gods was the Cosmic Mother of All, whose breasts poured milk into the firmament and who birthed new stars, whose curved and luscious body was the very earth they trod on. Her undulations were the forest, grove, copse, and spring. Immanent, she was everywhere. In each rock, each leaf, in the lowliest animal and in the greatest. She nursed them all, brought them to life, held them as they grew, fed and protected them, and when their time was over, she took them back to her.
Burrows were made and stone circles, temples and high towers; she was worshiped in fields and groves, in towns and on the wildest shore. The land grew rich with grains, all manner of fruits and sweet wine, and with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air.
The Temples flourished. Priestesses of the Goddess, who had many names, presided over birth and death, the blessing of fields and the building of cities. They became rich, their rites more complex, their caste more separate. This was a Golden time when peace reigned. But as ripened fruit soon rots these idylls perished by fire and flood and bloodshed. Atlantis, the sacred island, was subsumed by a great wave, all its glory washed away like so much shingle. The primeval waters of the Mother washed away the greedy and corrupt priestesses, who, forgetting her, imagined her power was their own and used the sacred Kundalini fire for temporal things.
Tilted dangerously in the soft blue waters of the Mother, the world shifted on its axis, madly tumbling its helpless people into the fire of blood and iron.
Men came, hordes of them from the southern deserts, in wave upon wave, from the northeastern wastes. At first they fell under the spell of the Goddess, but as more and more poured in, wielding swords, raping and burning their way across the land, the rule of the fathers smashed the Mother's paradise. Everywhere the world went mad. The invaders moved downwards, and the tide of rape, pillage, and bloodshed was unstoppable. Omens didn't help, neither did sacrifices. Once begun, the hordes who knew no gods but war and no beauty but blood and iron, raped and pillaged and enslaved all women. Priestesses were hung by their hair in sacred groves, temples and shrines were burned, desecrated, defiled.
With fear and hatred they took over, and with an iron glove they ruled. There was no end to their audacity; they usurped the Mother Goddess and put a father in her place. The people were afraid. They gathered in fields, in market places, in shrines and caves, frightened at what the Mother might do, what terrible vengeance she might wreak.
Plagues came, wave upon wave of terrible sickness. People died screaming in agony on the streets; there was no God. Thousands upon thousands were choking own their own blood, with swelling, blackened limbs, deadly boils. The Black Death swept with the Reaper's cloak across the land. Crows picked the eyes off corpses and the Morrigan stalked the land. Hecate in her night time places urged rebellion. The pustule of the Father, which the people called love, burst open, spewing forth all manner of demons. People died in agony, crops failed, wars raged. God the father in his death-head mask replaced life. All hope was gone.
He had, they said, sent his only son, the Prince of Peace, avatar of love, but the men of the Father killed him too, like Odin nailed to a cross. The Prince of Peace, who overturned the money-lenders' sordid trade, and had his sacred whore, the Magdalene, closest to him. His words fell like raindrops on a parched desert; priests of the Father quickly kicked over the traces and carried on as before. Embodying the mirror image of love, their darkness knew no end, no depth too low for them to sink.
With force and fear they conquered and spread a putrid stain across the world. No corner was safe, they sailed to the farthest lands, the fairest people, and butchered them.
The Old Ones took to the hills, when persuasion and discourse failed. They moved away from the new cities of pomp and gilt, to the Mother's sacred groves and mountainsides. They hid and kept their counsel.
Fear kept them from writing. The Old Ones moved, roamed around, nomads again, telling their tales, curing and counseling. Speaking of ancient myths of sacred lineages they carried news from sacred groves to every hearth and orchard where a welcome waited for them and the Old Ways were kept alive. They still watched the stars and kept to the eight sacred festivals. Watching the moon move from dark to full, they calculated poetic meters, the names of the Goddess and the centuries that might pass before peace prevailed. They hexed and healed with incandescent verse and watched over their healing sisters as they laid out the dead, birthed new life and mothered the clans.
The darkness grew. The Father's men grew more afraid that the common people would not swallow the lie and did not set much store by empty rituals. Neither did the fine monuments or churches, nor the bones of saints move the heart of commoners. They looked for their Goddess and found a sterile Mary; a pale replica of the fecund thighs and belly and the wild, deep mysteries of the Mother. In small wells and shrines they worshiped. The priests danced alongside them at festivals, whose named they changed, in the hope the people might forget their origins. But the spirit had gone. Where was this love of God they preached? They listened to sermons of hell-fire and damnation, of their wickedness, their filthiness, their sin. But the people saw other things, the whorehouses the priests ran, and the wine shops. They saw the priests' wealth while they starved. They saw how their greed was like a canker, how they wore robes of the finest silk and satin, huge jeweled rings and crucifixes, and how they carried golden goblets and filigree salvers while the people shivered outside in coarse robes, shoe-less in the snow, with the tithes to be paid even if there was no food for the table.
War was declared against all unbelievers. Great armies, men, women, clerics, walked and rode to Jerusalem, the Holy City. They left behind a land starved and parched. These soldiers of Christ were promised blessings in the afterlife while their families starved and anarchy followed in their wake. The sacred world of the Goddess splintered further and further. The rich grew richer and brought untold wealth from far lands. They brought disease and famine.
As the Holy wars were fought, plague after plague decimated the people. They became angrier, more desperate and some planned rebellion, revenge against the All Powerful Mother brought low.
The people gathered in mountain groves, in secret caves, on beaches in the moonlight. They were afraid. This was the Mother's Curse, the land laid bare. Nothing prospered, no green shoots or chinks of light were seen. In despair they called to Her and other avenging Gods: Hern the Hunter, Hecate the Revenger, Themis the Wise. The Father God gave them no hope, offered only more pain and suffering in a dark place called Hell. Groups formed, societies, sororities of seekers after truth, who wished for peace, for a return to order and an ending to all the bloodshed.
The Father's men responded in kind, declared another war, a break between crusades and the conquering of Paradise. They declared all Witches should be burned, tortured, to the very limits of human endurance. Their money would fill the coffers of the church, and they would denounce their friends and family. Law after law was passed; there was no hiding place, Europe was aflame with the pyres of burning women. Children, pregnant women, the old were burned by the purifying fires of the Father. Half a millennium later nine million women were dead and society was rent from bottom to top. No woman was safe, not one.
Witch, Witch, Witch. An icy fear ran through the veins of each woman. It meant rape, torture and death by hanging or burning. But not before she had named twelve accomplices and watched her children tortured or burned before her eyes, screaming. The inquisitors grew fat, protected by their henchmen and armor beneath their robes. They went about in fear of revenge. Some few were indeed strung up by outraged families--but not enough. The inquisitors carried their evil into the New World, and tortured and killed their way across the continent.
The Wise retreated further, although the hills offered precious little protection. Family clans turned in among themselves, exchange stopped, no one talked or even looked the other in the eye. There was silence.
You cannot kill a people, a culture. It lives on, after the last person has been slaughtered. In the rocks, the trees, the rivers, in the very winds which moisten the land. The spirits wait in sacred hollows, in springs and rock pools until the bloodletting has finished.
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©1996 Deborah Nuckles