Category Archives: Death

Suicide, Near Death and Looking Back

[thoughts from    ~burning woman~   ]

It’s good, sometimes, to just look back. If nothing else, it’s exercise, even if the neck complains and desperately wants to crick and push the head to face forward again. The thing is, is there something to look forward to? Mind and head disagree, but mind wins. Head is but a physical appendage after all, some sort of contraption stuck on a poorly designed swivel joint above the body.

Let’s never mind that, it’s not what I’m interested in at the moment. I’m looking back, some way back, at something that puzzles me sometimes.

Have you ever attempted suicide? Or even seriously thought about it? Have you had what they call a “near death” experience?

I’ve tried to explain “death” to my self, but my self isn’t interested seeing as it doesn’t die, it just morphs, ever and anon and takes it for granted. This, that, the other thing, whatever: life goes on, chameleon-wise.

Sure, life goes on, of course it goes on. If it didn’t we wouldn’t be here. The thing is, hardly any of us have the least idea what we’re here for, or where here is, for that matter. Some of us (many of us, too many) resolve the question by putting faith in something, usually a god. Then they play with their mind toy, imagining that it says and does all sorts of things it never does, of course, but it doesn’t matter. Dolls, stuffed toys, a favourite blanket, a dog, a pet god, it all serves the same purpose: it fills a desperate need within the Earthian creature; a need with no bottom. It answers the “death” question by making the believer-fondler forget the question.

If you haven’t, try to imagine what it’s like to come out from under an attempt at suicide. You went to all that trouble only to discover that, as in most things in your life, you muffed it. You’re not only alive but in the same body you were going to get rid of. Oh well…?

Well, no, not ‘oh well’ because you have a revelation. You think: I was dead and I’m resurrected. That means I can be a different person than I was. I can change anything about myself that I want because now I’m a mutant. I don’t have to try to fit anymore, and I don’t have to give a flying you-know-what about what anyone else thinks of me because, well, I’m dead. I’m a ghost to those who see me. To myself I’m very much alive, but this self is not what that self was. That self is dead. This is a new self, or at least the mindset is new, even if the body isn’t.

So I look back and remember: that’s how it came about that I became a totally different person. I died. Then I came back so I could be a different person; so I could choose who me was going to be. When one is no longer bound by the old rules (especially the ones that make little girls cry!) there is a lot of choice and a lot of freedom at the head of that path. The old rules still make me cry, but I don’t cry for myself anymore, I cry for the victims of the rules.

“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (from the gospel according to John, the New Testament)

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Tu me Llamas “La Terrorista”

[thoughts from burning woman – visions of the future]

Tú me llamas “la terrorista”
but I was never a terrorist.

You came into my home in the night,
pulled my lover, me, my baby from our bed.
You made me watch as you tortured and killed my lover.
You stripped me and gang raped me and beat me
and you took away my baby girl.
You threw me naked in one of your cages,
to mock, to make sport, to make me talk.
Talk! Talk? What did I know? Nothing.
I asked, begged, pleaded, for my baby:
you threw acid to my face and laughed.

I escaped from your cage of terror, ran into the jungle
I was naked, starved, dirty and my face was burning:
that was last year, as time is counted. Or was it
the year before that? I found other dispossessed,
victims of your terror goon squads.
We survived, we hid, we found clothes and shelter.
We found more of our own and we vowed revenge;
oh yes, revenge the like even the gods had never seen.
We stole camo gear, weapons, computers, radios
then it began and we made it real in hand to hand combat.

For my face, a dozen of you lie rotting in the jungle.
For my lover, a hundred of you bloat and float
down the river, or lie in the fields to be eaten by pigs.
But for my child, a thousand of you will die, some
not so quick nor painless. I will ask you where she is.
You in turn will beg and plead your innocence:
“¡No lo sé! ¡Por favor!” and I will laugh, and kill you
one by one.  Not once will I feel regret, not ever!

I now wear my scarred face with pride. For a necklace
I wear grenades around my neck. At night
I sleep with a machine gun in my arms. My new lover,
he is very potent, walks his talk, gives me courage.

Your prostituted media posts pictures of me,
of before you burned my face and destroyed my life.
They call me “la terrorista de la jungla”
the woman terrorist of the jungle… but know this,
you who die at my hand and that of my comrades:
you made me what I am: the she-wolf deprived of her cubs.
congratulate yourselves!  While you die, think of the girls
you raped and tortured. Was it worth it? It better.

Like my hero, Che Guevarra, will you capture me
some day, torture me, kill me? Perhaps. But know this:
a fire that consumes the likes of you is sweeping this world,
from one end to the other, we rise, we rise:
we have learned this one thing, that though rising
may see us die, we are equally dead in your hands and arms.

No mas, no mas, no mas. La justicia nos llama y nos estamos
levantando!

[transl: No more, no more, no more. Justice calls us and we are rising!]

The Warrior’s Fire

[an allegory by    ~burning woman~   ]

After the dark night of the soul, when the battle is won, morning comes. But the sun does not shine that day.

You’ve won the battle, you know this, but all around you are the bodies of friend and foe alike and in this twilight you can no longer tell the difference, nor care who the dead are, except that they are dead and so are you.

In your own eyes; in your feelings, you’re not the great winner; the hero; the one who took the day. You’re the survivor while the best things of your life lie dead at your feet.

You don’t know what to do. You feel blood on your hands; on your body. Though most of it isn’t yours, yet you well know it is an indelible mark that will never wash away. You remember. You’ve been here before.

Do you blame others for putting you in this place because you were known to be a warrior and they expected it of you? They are all dead, what good would blame do? Would it ease your broken heart that continues to beat though your broken sword lies at your feet, it too washed in the blood of strangers?

You ask, though tired beyond the cure of sleep, did I not choose this path? This action?

Then you look within to the time before the battle, for is it not of supreme importance now to know what feelings; what moods; what emotions; pushed you to lead your small troop over that hill and confront the invader?

What was your motivation, you ask? Was it fear? Anger? Rage? Lust for revenge? Was it purely the sense of duty and did you move under the banner of simple courage? Was it just habit?

Does it matter now? Step after bloody step I made it from the top to the bottom of that Hill. Yes, from the top to the bottom. Perhaps that is what would qualify me as a hero, were there any left to do the qualifying. History will keep no record of this day and if it did, I would not be reading it.

Now, though I sincerely wish I were one of those blessed and cursed dead lying on the hillside, there remains but the fire burning within, unquenchable. I don’t know what I am in this moment of deadly quiet before the scavengers of the night and the tombs claims the bodies that mark my passage, but whatever I am, my fire within made me.

That fire, it will re-forge both sword and heart and continue to drive me relentlessly against every foe to the ends of the universe and of time; a wild fire that burns under sun and moon, burrows under the peat bogs below the snows until the sun draws it out again come the raging passion of spring and mad lusts of summer.

“There is no rest for the wicked” saith the Lord. If I cannot rest, what then, does that make me?

Whatever is Needed of Me

a short story,  by Sha’Tara

[Private time is in short supply these days, so much going on in the “service” world! Tonight particularly, though not to wax melodramatic, my thoughts are cloudy, dark; senses dulled by certain terrible news. This is Earth, said the Teachers, and you will experience these dark times. Accept them, feel them, drink them to the dregs. There are priceless lessons in them. I know this is true from previous experience but with each new “attack” the bearing of the darkness grows heavier, not lighter, nor easier. This world has not evolved enough for any empath to find comfort here. And so the reason for the following story.  Not much of a story perhaps but an expression of a kind of hope through accepting change one would certainly rather avoid if at all possible.]

She knows the end has come.  Abandoning her crude, water-logged dugout canoe to float away with other logs down the muddy stream, she runs up a sandy and wet grass-covered bank to the willow line.  There she stands quietly, looking in the stagnant waters of a woodland pond, the rusty grasses now barely standing and at the raspy curling leaves from dying trees all around.  The breeze carries the smell of death, the stench of a dying god somewhere beyond the hills where lie the remains of a city.
 
Taking a deep breath she casts off the rest of her ragged clothing and raising her arms to the rust-colored skies she cries out, “Whatever is needed of me I am willing to give.”
 
At the sound of her voice, or at the power of her words, the waters of the pond stir and rise in a dirty waterspout.  Several of the dying trees twist and turn to each other and morph into a dark form.  The spout and the dark entity merge and there, in front of the naked young human stands an enormous man, or rather a nature-being morphed to resemble a human male.  He changes his size until he stands only some two feet taller than the trembling girl.  The ground shakes as he walks to her.
 
In a voice that echoes far away across the river and into the hills he says, “Who awakens the Woda entering the great sleep of the world?” 
 
The silence following his words is even more deafening to the girl.  Yet she replies boldly, “It is I who calls.  I wish to continue. I do not choose for this to be the end.”
 
The nature giant moves closer to her and he pierces her with his eyes.  She does not flinch but waits, lowering her arms but raising her head, bringing her firm breasts up for him to look upon.  He reaches for her and embraces her.  She gasps as he takes her and feels herself being filled with new life.  Instantly she knows she is carrying his child, their child.  She offered, she accepts, she waits for him to explain.
 
“You now possess the redeemer body and within you are two beings: a man and a woman.  To these twins you will give birth and you shall care for them until they are of age to look after themselves, after which you shall be free again.  During this time of gestation and rearing you belong to us, to this world and to them.  You must remember this.”
 
He touches her nipples and again she feels that current of new life coursing through her. 
 
He speaks again: “I have given you the power to bring forth the sacred milk of the goddess.  Your breasts will never run dry as long as you feed the twins.  To the boy-man you must give your left breast and to the girl-woman your right.  Know now and always remember that these beings are not as you would think, brother and sister, but the parents of a new species of Earth humans.  Now go.  Do not return to your kind for they will sense this new life in you and in fear they will kill you and your unborn.  Go into the mountains, into the west.  There you will find caves to live in.  Find water flowing from within the stones and it will be pure for you.  Food you will gather from the green things that grow around you.  Fear not.  You offered freely and without conditions.  This means you are a powerful woman of Earth.  We would not have listened to anyone else.  Now go.”
 
Though she senses it is hopeless to ask, she does anyway: “Will you not come with me and help me?  Shall I live alone in the mountains and among the rocks and give birth without help?  How can I possibly do this?  I am on the wrong side of the river.  How do I escape to the mountains?  And why can I not remember my name?”
 
“We are leaving; you chose to remain.  So we gave you the gift of continuing life in response to your offer.  Be thankful.  In your many lives here you learned how to do all the things now required of you.  Just remember.  The river you must swim as you have watched deer and coyote swim it for many years.  You know this.  Rocks you know how to climb.  Green things you understand.  Giving birth alone you have done.  You have no name because in accepting our gift to you, you became “Other.”  You are Mother and Redeemer.  Only when they give you a new name will you have a name.  Or when you are free of them you can return to your own names.
 
“Banish your fear as you cast off your ragged clothes, it is an old, useless shadow.  During this time do not seek company of anyone for any company that joins with you will die in your arms, adding to your burden and your sorrow.  You cannot help any of them except by completing this journey.
 
Remember this: at the end of this journey you shall find bliss.”

Looking for, Searching, Seeking, Questing

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ ]

When we go looking for something, either it’s something we want, need, or it could be something we misplaced, or lost. Either we find it, or we find a replacement and life goes on. Soon enough we forget we ever even went looking.

When we engage a search, whatever it is we may be searching for, there is the certainty that we will find something. Sometimes, that something will so surprise us it will eclipse whatever caused us to begin our search in the first place. Such a serendipitous happening we will tend to remember as some kind of magical intervention in our life.

Seeking is a deeper engagement, with the staunch and upholding hope, and faith, that whatever we are seeking for, we will find if we are diligent and do not get sidetracked to the point where we lose interest in the dream, for seeking must involve dreaming.

Questing is entirely different. Unlike looking for, searching, or seeking, questing does not entail fulfilment. A quest, by its very nature, can never be attained for it is a path; a way of life, not a goal to be reached. If it is completed; if the object of the quest is found, or reached, it wasn’t a quest but a seeking.

Deep down inside me, no matter where I’ve stood in my long years of turmoil trying to put “closed” to determining whether life is terminal or eternal, I worked out a philosophy that allowed me to know the answer to that vexing problem. It was quite simple, actually. All I had to do was find a life purpose that required eternity in order to make sense of it. To engage this purpose I had to completely switch my thinking regarding life. I needed to find that elusive “something” that even death could not put an end to. I didn’t want to cheat death, or conquer it, or end it, as in the John Donne’s cry, “Death, thou shalt die!”

I stopped asking “What is life?” and began asking, “What is my purpose within that which I call life?” I knew the first question could not be answered honestly though any number of guesses would fit the bill yet remain non-answers. But the second question brought it home to me. I made myself “life” and from that awareness I could but ask, “What is my purpose here?” I didn’t have to ask “Who am I” anymore because from here on I would be a different person moment after moment. What I believed today I might very well laugh at tomorrow. It no longer mattered “who” I was; it mattered what I was and what I would become as I travelled the omniverse and the cosmos.

I had passed the religious stage where some saviour divinity would determine my worth, or check my credentials at death’s door and give me a fail or pass. Childish and definitely superstitious. I had also passed the stage I describe as “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die” – a common enough belief in today’s post-Christian world that would never keep my questing mind satisfied.

If I could find and define a purpose for myself that required an eternity to make sense of then I would have found the key to eternal life through self empowerment. That, however, had to remain securely beyond any fit accusation of hubris. Thus I had to reject the New Agey belief that “I am God” or that we are all gods. This is so obviously false, it’s laughable. Can I produce a miracle on demand? By miracle, I mean something that clearly defies all the laws and rules of nature as we understand them. Could I give an amputee a new arm, or leg? Could I bring someone who’d been in a coma for years back into the land of the normal living? Could I raise the dead? Make a blind person see? No. But neither can those who believe in Christ, for example, even though they have a scriptural promise that they would be able to do such things. I had to know that it was not a matter of being divine, or having faith in some divinity. It would have to be more!

This quest, or purpose as I call it, had to be totally reasonable, totally doable by absolutely anyone. It would have to be seen as relatively normal in an everyday kind of world. It would be a way of life that could be observed, even experienced by those “others” it touched yet would never call for hero worship, desire to be followed (as a guru or teacher for example) or freak anybody out by outlandish words or performance. It would remain non-threatening; it’s effectiveness hidden in simple self-effacing outworking. It wouldn’t ask, wouldn’t preach, wouldn’t proselytize and if some impressionable person became attracted to the one living this purpose, they would be told to seek their own way.

This purpose would not be the making of a path for others to follow upon. If, for some it had a way-shower quality, they would be reminded that it was based on self empowerment, never on believing or following. ‘If it seems good to you, emulate certainly, but do it of your own desires; of your own power; for your own reasons.’

No one could ever follow, buy or believe their way here. There is no path given to anyone that requires abdicating one’s own selfhood. Anything that makes such a claim is a deadly error, hence, in conclusion, all organized religions and their imitators, are deadly impositions upon this mind-darkened world.

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou thinkst thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow
And soonest our best men with thee do go
Rest of their bones and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppies or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke. Why swellst thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die!
(John Donne)

If Only this Damned Rain would Stop

[a poem by ~burning woman~ ]

If only, she sighed heavily
it was raining harsh and hard
on the shelter’s tin roof
spring flowers taking a pounding
across the street in a stranger’s yard
I wish it didn’t remind me of the bombings
the screams, the shouts and the blood
the running away scared in the dark
the fires lighting lurid shadows
when death lurked everywhere

If only I didn’t feel
this anger, this terror, this hopelessness
when my little sister was killed
my older brother carried her
until his strength failed and he could not
we buried her under rubble
so she would not be found
her body desecrated

If only I could remember
something else, something
that did not hurt so much
if I could hear her voice singing
just once more, oh, just once more remembering
how her beautiful slender fingers
made our piano keys dance
and we all smiled with tears in our eyes

If only I could still be sure
I believed in heaven once
God was good to us when we were at peace
we prayed, we worshiped dutifully
as was expected. It seemed right
but now it makes no sense anymore
after they stole everything
and destroyed our home

If only this could be home again
but it will never be home, never
the people here hate us and fear us
if only they knew what their hate does
how it killed my beautiful little sister
how it killed me
I am dead now
their hate can no longer kill me, just hurt

If only, she thought
this damned rain would stop, just
stop.

A World’s Tale

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ ]

I’m going to tell a story and I want you to remember that it is a story. As far as anybody knows, it’s a fairy tale, or perhaps science fiction or fantasy. The point is, it isn’t supposed to be true at all, none of it.

That is called a disclaimer.

Once upon a time at the far edge of a galaxy far far away there was a small world no one paid any attention to. Although it was chock full of interesting life, no one in its neighbourhood cared about that. Better things to do, bigger fish to fry. The world carried on as worlds are wont to do when left to their own devices, and until they are interfered with. Which is predictably what happened.

Eventually, that small world was noticed by people aboard a passing space ship. They probed and finding it rather inviting they landed advance missions on it to have a look around. Probing and exploring, they discovered the world was rich in resources lacking on their mother ship and on their home world where such resources would be worth fortunes. With no one to challenge them they established bases from which to proceeded with exploitation.

Among the rich number of sentient life, they had hoped to find some life forms suitable to serve as slaves but after experimentation and trials, nothing. That wasn’t going to stop them however. They had the technology; they cloned suitable worker slaves by mixing local DNA with their own. They made themselves quasi-intelligent slaves and set them to work in mines, fields, construction, maintenance, bureaucratic support and entertainment. As the creatures increased in numbers the work of exploitation also increased and as to be expected, there developed major conflicts among the invaders as to who owned which parts of the planet and their rights to exploitation.

Diplomacy having failed, the aliens resorted to warring with each other. The cloned slaves were trained and armed to fight for their masters. Much bloodshed and destruction followed these internecine conflicts particularly in areas where weapons of mass destruction, chemical and nuclear, were used. The results of these conflicts would have been predictable but hubris and greed ruled the day. The world was rendered uninhabitable for the aliens and they left after removing as much of their technology as they could find. They had already learned to fear their cloned slaves.

The slaves, who were beginning to develop a greater sense of selfhood and independence had suffered many horrible deaths from the wars. The worst part was the mutations and the new diseases they were saddled with and prone to exhibit. Some mutations however proved successful. Powerful leaders of giant stature arose among the slave people and predictably the old enmity reasserted itself. Certain races claimed superiority and certain places for themselves and closed themselves away from others. The cloned females who had been designed as slaves of the males were enslaved within these new mutant societies although the constant border clashes and wars decimated so many males that in some areas the women were able to claim a share of equality, ownership and eventual leadership.

Climate change and diseases spread from proximity, caused a great die back among the slave races and as their numbers dwindled they moved away from each other in their quest for basic survival. For many years there was relative peace on the world as there were not enough survivors to launch any effective wars, nor could they imagine any need for such since there was more than enough space and food to accommodate all of them. They had stopped mining and collecting the “resources” they had been programmed to find having no more use for any of them. During those hunter-gatherer times as they are called, the masters were remembered as creator gods and any remembrance of their technology became the stuff of legends and tales of great magic.

The naturally imposed peace among the mutants wasn’t to last. The ancient hubris of the gods reasserted itself among certain groups of mutants. They also re-discovered some of their masters’ skills with metals and that turned to weaponry. That began an age of rampaging conquests that changed the face of the world forever.

That is where the tale ends for today.

“Does this world have a name?” asked a bright-eyed child.

“All worlds have names, child. This one, you give a name to.”

“How does the story really end?” asked another.

“That is up to you, isn’t it.” replied the story teller.