Category Archives: self-sacrifice

The Fly in the Ointment

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ ]

There are “bad” people in the world, and there are “good” people. For the sake of argument, we’ll say that for every “good” person, there are on average, say, 100,000 “bad” people (I’m sure it’s way higher than that but let’s be generous). When I say “bad” people I’m not saying “criminally bad people” per se, I’m talking about people who simply don’t care, being self-centered and selfishly motivated, whereas “good” people are those who care about things other than as they affect them, or as they may harm or benefit them personally, i.e., “good” people are relatively selfless.

That said, there is a third, tiny minority of people who exist, it seems, strictly to throw the proverbial monkey wrench in the gears: the fly in the societal ointment. In ancient times they were known as prophets and these “naysayers” were always at odds with the propagandists (the false prophets – today’s main stream media and priesthood of that always popular self-help and positive thinking church) and with society’s leadership and society at large (the Establishment). Their end was often quite violent.

I happen to fit the label of the latter, whether I like it or not. Although the areas where such as myself can speak freely are rapidly diminishing I am thankful that I can still do it, for people with the prophetic curse/gift must speak or die. Remember Cassandra’s curse! As Lord Byron wrote: “If I do not write to empty my mind, I go mad.” We speak “the truth” not only as we see it, but as we are driven to see it and speak it. That more than anything else, is what really irritates people; not just those who stand to lose greatly if we are listened to, but basically everybody. And here’s why.

In a world such as man has made of this earth, the truth is neither pleasant nor painless for anyone confronted with it. It is civilization’s scalpel, and the more diseased civilization, the deeper the scalpel must cut in order to attempt removal of diseased parts and allow for re-construction. Once convinced of the seriousness of a particular disease and the need to amputate, a patient may finally accept the fact and come to rely on the surgeon to save her life. Here’s the rub: a prophet is not the surgeon who’s going to amputate the cancerous parts of the body politic and help activate healing and possible re-growth of missing parts. The prophet does two things: s/he will tell you what your problem is based on your symptoms, and s/he will also tell you whether any surgery can fix the problem or whether it’s too deep, too endemic, to be arrested and a healthy recovery possible.

The prophet does not wield the scalpel: you, as a member of that body, are the surgeon.

You, with full cooperation and participation of all other parts of the body politic must perform the surgery, must endure to pain, accept the prophet’s “prescriptions and diet” if there’s to be any hope of recovery.

If the prophet says the disease has delved too deeply and greedily inside the body for the body to recover, that is not the end of the matter either. If (that’s a huge “if”) all the parts of the entire body still insist they want to live as a body, nothing is ever impossible, nothing is written in stone. Recovery remains possible, but the costs of attempting such a recovery may be way higher than most are willing to undertake. Since the majority “share holders” of the body are endemically “bad” people, i.e., bad stewards and managers, the prophet, taking that into account, will say (to the “good” people), “Honestly Pete, it ain’t happenin.”

This little essay is a warning to all the “good” and certainly well-meaning people I’ve encountered, whose efforts on behalf of the world, the animals, the environment, the poor, the oppressed, the war-torn refugees are beyond stalwart, to not expect those efforts to actually change to body politic for the better. They are band aids, nothing more, because they will never be allowed to be more than that. Success would mean loss of privilege, profit and comfort for that overwhelming majority of “bad” people. As a prophet I’m not advocating the “good” people stop their selfless efforts on behalf of what they perceive as needy, including the global environment, far from it. But to avoid burn out, disappointment and worst-case scenario, despair, make it a purpose, not a goal. Be there, without expectations. Be there because that’s where you belong; because that’s who and what you are. Then come hell or high water, all will be well, even when you are drowning in tears of sorrow and the tiny beachheads you’ve created though a lifetime of effort are wiped out overnight by the men in jackboots.

We are daily made aware that we are awash in the blood of martyrs. That blood is not a healing balm upon the earth, but an acid burning Earthian civilization to its bones and to its very marrow. So much blood has been shed in the last century and the first decade and a half of this one that nothing but a complete wipe out of man’s current civilization can begin to expunge man’s grossest-ever crimes committed against helpless and peace-seeking innocence. As a species, man has plunged (and continues to plunge) lower than even hell can imagine. That’s not the worst part. The worst part is, that for the vast majority it’s just more “business as usual.”  The day belongs to the “bad” people. 

“We have met the enemy, and he is us.” A quote not to be used lightly in these, the last days of this civilization. Yes, the last days, for the necessary will to change does not exist and will not be allowed to come to pass.

I’ve got Questions: You got Answers?

[more troubling thoughts from   ~burning woman~  ]

Are there questions that need asking, but are unfair to ask?  I suppose, but then I suppose it depends who (or is it whom?) you ask.  What does it mean when you claim to be a human being?  What sort of creature, character, invention, mistake of nature, is a human, or at least, a human of earth in particular?  How do you define a generic human being, for the sake of argument agreeing for the moment that “we are not alone” and there are lots and lots of “other” humans out there among the fiery stars?

Maybe I should approach it from the opposite end: what isn’t a human being?  Is it everything else that exists that isn’t Homo Sapiens, or very similar in shape and deportment as HS?  And is it pushing the envelope to notice that HS also stands for Homeland Security?  Why does Homo Sapiens require “security” from something or someone, all the time?  Why does the character always feels threatened; always needs some sort of safety net around her/him?  Family, tribe, clan, separate group, government, a god, a police, a military, insurance, guarantees… knowing it’s born to die and there are no life guarantees worth the paper they might be printed on? 

Here’s one that tends to make a lot of people uncomfortable, but fits in with the need to hide, to be protected: the wearing of clothes.  I’ve never been able to understand why earth humans feel this instantaneous and deep shame if caught naked, exceptions being lovers at a certain level of their ephemeral steamy relationships and of course little children in their short-lived age of innocence.  Why the shame?  Why the fear?  Why the shamers?  And why the laws against public nudity? Come on, Why?  What’s really behind this control?   

OK, I’ve brought that up: we can’t go naked, it’s shameful.  Wow.  How come it isn’t shameful to condemn millions to death in order to spend zillions on war?  Tell me that!  Why isn’t it shameful to kill innocents in war?  Why isn’t war a collectively felt ultimate shameful act?  War is not just about monetary profits; millions support war, and cheer on the warmongers even when such wars are dispossessing them and their families; even when such wars bring the dragon closer and closer to home.  We’re in it right now; we can all see it happening.  Join up, go to Pakistan, to Libya, to wherever, doesn’t matter, just be ready to kill innocents in their own countries because… the point being?  The point being that the shame of such acts simply does not register on the human conscience, at least not in any significant level that could raise some doubt.  The point being that Earthians love war – they can’t have enough of the violence and if they can’t get it as the real thing, they’ll seek it in various aspects of their entertainment.  Watch the movies, read the books, play the games…

There’s a truly great word that describes man’s acts on this world: dysfunctionality.  Dysfunctionality increases exponentially, following the population curve.  The more people, the more dysfunction; the less thinking; the more knee-jerk reactions and knee-jerk reactions to reactions.  The world, it seems, is on the verge of turning into mob rule – as if that wasn’t already the case!  What are rogue states that ignore and routinely violate international agreements on aggression, such as the United States, but mob rule legitimizing itself with a thinning veneer of civilized government control?  What makes that work?  Collective denial.  Another example of a rogue state?  Britain.  What makes that collapsing fake democracy function?  Same thing: collective denial and some remaining pathetic belief that a change of party rule can make a difference, when all that is, is the carrot on the stick, while the stick is getting longer and the carrot smaller.  Speaking of rogue states, why don’t I mention China and Russia?  I probably would, if I knew more of their internal politics.  Not mentioning them doesn’t mean I’m ignoring them. 

These pseudo-countries, these mobs, well, they’re made up of people, aren’t they.  Look at how so many Americans are now vociferously blaming Trump, or those other potuses’ for the mess they are in.  Hello, who voted them in and cheered them on, deliberately or willy nilly?  If you live in a democracy, or if you at least believe you do and at the very least vote, then you’re admitting that you’re the one to “blame” for the state of the union, or the nation.  That’s how it is, unless you choose not to participate and walk to a different drummer.

War, murder, killing: tell me, Is there ever a morally defensible reason for someone who considers himself a member of the human race, to kill a child

Do you have an answer to that?  This isn’t an “ethical” question or a debatable one.  Before you answer, consider whether you are a member of a “democracy” which means that through participation in the process you are equally accountable for the death of a child if such death resulted from your “democracy’s” exploitative, oppressive, illegal, martial activities.  Remember that every nation, in one form or another, is involved in these murderous activities.  Where are the clean, the bloodless hands, in today’s world?  Every Earthian human (or pseudo-human) being has innocent blood dripping from hands, teeth and lips. 

Based on the above, are Earthians, human beings?  Let’s see: what are some particular character traits that define a human being?

First and foremost, to mean anything at all, a human being must have a compassionate nature, that’s a given. 

More character traits of a real human, as given to me by my Teacher, Phaelon, some years ago:

A human is innately self-sacrificing. 

A human never takes another’s life but would give its own to save another, regardless of who that other is.  For the human, such a sacrifice could never be for personal gain or recognition. 

A human never needs, or experience the need, to protect itself: it is not a predator, nor ever a victim. 

A human being doesn’t recognize any other as an enemy.  (It takes a higher level mind to grasp what that means.)

By those basic descriptions, how many human beings are you personally acquainted with and how does this acquaintance affect the way you think, speak and act?      

The Edge of Human (Borrowed title from Blade Runner 2 by K. W. Jeter)

[Voice from  ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

In the beginning was the Past.  Father God stood alone, last remaining Titan, proud in his quasi-Omnipotence gained from the overthrow of his enemies.

 
He created Time, the lever with which he would reach across eternity and weigh all life.  And he stood at one end, holding it, fondling it, loving it.  Then he created the fulcrum, which he called the Present and which history named the Christ.  Then he created the human, the man. 
 
But the man was cold and afraid in the dark and cried.  And she heard his sobs in the darkness and drawn by compassion, came forth to comfort him.  She came from Spirit, without father or mother.  And she made herself human for him and called herself Eve.
 
“Be not afraid” she said, pressing herself against him.  But the man was provoked by her naked truth and violated her.  Then she saw the emptiness of his soul, the ugliness of it.  She ran away from him but could not go far.  She became heavy with child as she walked down the time ramp hoping to find its end.  She bore her child in pain and horror but also in love.  It grew heavy in her arms and took the life from her as it suckled greedily and painfully. 
 
Father God felt the presence of her weight and that of her child upon his lever and in his quasi-Omnipotence, pushed down to force her to come to him.  He sensed a great fear and hatred of her, as if she could somehow put an end to his self-delusion of Omni-grandeur.  Eve struggled along the incline of the lever, intent on finding the end.  She knew if she surrendered and went back she would be swallowed in the anonymity of slavery and her child would die.  But her humanity pulled her down.  Exhausted, she dragged herself upward, splinters entering her hands and knees.  On and on until finally she could go no more and collapsed.  She put the child down and waited.  
 
The End, my End, will find me here.”  She reasoned.
 
“Why have you stopped, Eve?” Came a gentle voice from the darkness before her.
 
“I can’t go anymore.  I am empty.  My child is starving.  This is my end.”
 
“It never is, Eve.  You have travailed throughout the history of humanity and you bore the future in your womb and in your arms.  You suckled it from your spirit.  It surely will not die.  And neither will you.  Listen carefully — It is always the darkest and coldest just before the dawn.  You are not dying, you are changing. 
 
You’ve come to the edge of human. 
 
Look at your child – it’s not like you, nor like its father.  It is all that you ever wanted for your world and yourself.  Let it stand on its own.  It will take your hand and lead you into a new world.  The world in your mind.  For that is who this child is: your world.  You created it, from your hopes, dreams and feelings.  From your sufferings and pain.  From your dignity and strength.  From your walk that refused to surrender to any man, demon or God.”   
 
And her child stood beside her and picked her up.  With one blow, the curtain of darkness was rent in half and she saw a shimmering light beyond, at the end of the coarse wooden ramp she’d walked on for so long; where she had left a trail of tears and blood.  The great hell of time deflated like a balloon behind her and she walked forward, knowing that she was now more than human, more than god or goddess, something entirely new. 
 
But she remains Eve. 

“Follow the raven into shadow and you will find the light”  (medicine man saying)

Maybe life isn’t meant to be taken seriously?

              [thoughts from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

I’ll start with a few chosen quotes…which I may use later to illustrate some points.

“Propagandists are experts at convincing clueless dolts it’s raining when their government is actually pissing down their backs.” (1EarthUnited-WordPress)

“It is not good for man to cherish a solitary ambition. Unless there be those around him, by whose example he may regulate himself, his thoughts, desires, and hopes will become extravagant, and he the semblance, perhaps the reality, of a madman.” ― Nathaniel Hawthorne

“Modern anxiety is expressed in the longing for what most people fear, even as modern grief is expressed in the unconsummated mourning for what they never really had.” ― Joseph Roach

There are connections between those quotes.  Who, for example, listens to propagandists?  Well, people who feel a terrible need to take everything seriously, like me, for example.  Only I go a step further: I go to all the trouble of rejecting their propaganda, which means that I had to first, listen to them, then make the effort to realize they are liars, then tell myself I was filling my mind with lies and I needed to exert extra energy to cleanse my mind of their lies.  Stupid.

Who but someone who takes things too seriously, particularly herself, would cherish a solitary ambition?  What’s the point of practicing the art of abnegation; of extreme unselfishness; of giving and giving until nothing remains but a husk when you know at the beginning of the exercise the more you give, the more you go along, the more you clean after, the more will be expected and demanded until a plantation field hand slave is richer and better cared for than you?

Let me paraphrase something I read in the Bible a long time ago.  In the King James version it said, “be anxious for nothing… your father in heaven knows your needs and as he takes care of the birds of the air, so he’ll take care of you when you serve him.”  I said, paraphrase, remember?  But that’s the gist of what I was taught.  I believed it too – I wanted to believe it, and as I was raised in relative poverty, often in a kind of hand-to-mouth existence, I needed to believe it because even as a child I saw many people much worse off than I, or my family, ever were.  Being raised very religious I thought I needed to understand God.  I never did – for the record. 

So I thought, well, maybe I’m supposed to be “god” – not in the fabulous (blasphemous) sense taught by all false religions, but in the giving, caring, understanding, helping and also the warning sense.  I should have written, to be “like” God – and that didn’t pan out either because the more serious I got, and the more ways I sought to maximize my personal efforts on behalf of the less fortunate, the less like God I became because the more I actually cared about justice and the less I cared about what people believed.

That brings me to writing about the greatest loss of my life: when I lost “God.”  As I quoted above, Joseph Roach said, “modern grief is expressed in the unconsummated mourning for what they never really had.”  That’s how it was: I grieved for the loss of something I never had, I just imagined (powerfully so) that I’d had it.  The mourning I experienced lasted years, and it returns time and again and I have to make a huge and deliberate effort to shake it off, send it away.  

You see, this loss I experienced was that of a comfort that gave no comfort, just the idea of it.  I had faith in an idea; my love was for an idea; an idea I idealized to the point where I expected “it” to empower me to live a good, righteous, selfless, basically “sinless” life and this ideal would make this life short enough that I could see it to the end without ever having time to doubt.  

That’s taking life seriously. 

In all likelihood I will continue to take life seriously… but not today.  Not right now.  I’ve been following the antics of “the world” as they spin off from Washington, the Pentagon, Wall Street and the very same “trinity of bull shit” in every other nation on the planet, trying desperately to make sense of something, and well, it would take even greater faith than I poured into “God” in the first half of my life to believe that in all this “information” pouring into my brain, any of it matters.

As of right now, until whenever, I’m saying yes, I’ve been taking life way too seriously.  Humanity is a joke.  A very bad joke, but a joke nevertheless.  It’s an orgy of dysfunction that is in love with itself and seeks to expand itself exponentially – and does. 

But listen, it isn’t just man that’s gone off the reservation.  All of life on earth is nuts – certifiable.  It’s not immediately obvious to most people because they don’t look at the tapestry from a certain distance, they look at it piecemeal.  They don’t see the dysfunction of a predatory system that rules everything here.  Were it not for the massive and on-going killing, everything would have been overrun long ago and earth would be massive dead swamps and deserts.  That’s the legacy of this world if its modus operandi doesn’t change.

Did it start as a massive joke from some long-gone “creators” for their entertainment, or did some programming go wrong?  Either way, it’s now laugh or cry, and today, I’m laughing!  A dysfunction of such massive proportions dwarfs the shenanigans of the Greek, Roman and Nordic gods.  Man doesn’t need gods, man is the gods.  Everyone is a participant in the final playoffs.  Whether it’s the Hunger Games or The Price is Right… enjoy the game.  Give yourself a great, loud belly laugh, today.  As Robert DeNiro so famously said, “Let’s worry about next time, next time.”

 A couple more quotes, to close.

“My experience of life is that it is not divided up into genres; it’s a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel. You know, with a bit of pornography if you’re lucky.” ― Alan Moore

  “We are not idealized wild things.  We are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that mortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication, so wired that when we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves. As we were. As we are no longer. As we will one day not be at all.” ― Joan Didion

The Times After (conclusion)

   [Short story, by Sha’Tara]

For some time, Lon watched Reuben as he disappeared, then a cry from the orphanage made him turn and run to the ramshackle building.  Two of the adults were already there, calming the children and bending over one three year old lying on the ground, the little body thrashing, if feebly.  Sweet little Amri.

“What’s wrong with her, does anyone know?”

“Maybe something she ate.  The children are chewing on anything they can eat.  They’re all in terrible pain, Lon.

“I know, Maggie.  I agree, we need to move, no more delays.  We’ll get started right now, pack what we can, hide what we can’t carry and go.”

“Where?”

“Ruben said he’d go north if he was free to do so.  He walked west when he left, but you know Ruben – he’d do that automatically just to confuse anyone wanted to follow or track him.  I know he’d turn as soon as he was out of sight, but which way?  I wish now we’d gone with him.  We’ll have a quick meeting in about an hour and decide our direction, then we’ll just go.  We cannot stay here, there’s nothing left to eat, and the water is no longer safe to drink.”

Soon the miserable camp was stripped and obliterated of recent human habitation as much as was possible.  The children were lined up and given a rope to hang on to.  The meeting was short: they would go east; no reason why except a secret vote turned up a majority of two for an eastern direction. 

Lon was bitterly disappointed, he’d hoped they would try to follow Ruben, though he well knew that was impossible.  He left his message for Ruben and they began their danger-fraught quest for food and water.  Already Lon had violated one of Ruben’s warnings, to only travel at night.  Adults took turns carrying little Amri and the weaker children.  The rest of the children began to lose some of their listlessness as they noticed changes along the route.

Evening saw the group drop down into a small gully, to hide and for protection.  Kamal, one of the strongest adults, went off in search of water which against so many odds, he did find.  Everybody searched for edible plants and roots and some of the hunger was assuaged for a time.  Night came and the small fire was doused so it wouldn’t create a glow.  The people slept on the ground, in their old rags.  Dried grasses had been stacked to lay little Amri and two other sickly children upon and each had an adult companion to keep them cuddled and reassured.  The stars came out, harsh and bright, flickering like cold, unseeing eyes.  Unable to help himself, Lon who was one of the sentry detail, walked a short distance away from the fitful and fretting sleepers and looked into the sky, turning slowly as he did so. 

“Where are you Ana?” he thought to himself.  “You promised and you must know we are in dire straights now.  We need your help; I need you here.  Don’t let Ruben be right about this.  I’m desperately counting on you.  You know I’m a terrible leader and here I am, leader by default.  This is too much responsibility…”

Morning came early, gray and cold before the sun could rise.  The hungry troop stood up, drank some water, and took to the land again, walking in the general direction of the sunrise.  Everybody, even the children, walked slower, looking for plants and roots to eat.  Hopelessness more than sadness pervaded the group.  Who could blame them? 

Finally the sun was high enough to beam down some energy into their wasted bodies.  Laughter even erupted from some children as they noticed a butterfly.

“Follow it,” said one of the women, “it may lead us to some edible flowers, or even berries.”  There was a bit of a chase, but the children were cautioned not to interfere with the insect’s path.  Suddenly it rose up and they thought they’d lost it but it came down again to disappear behind a dip in the flat ground.  They came to the edge and looked down upon a miracle, a regular feast.  An entire embankment was covered in blackberries, more or less ripe. 

Lon cautioned his charges: “I know you are very hungry but these plants will hurt you terribly if you wander in them carelessly.  We have nothing to bind rips and tears in skin.  Please use extreme caution.  Do not be in any hurry, we will camp here.  There are many green things here, there must be water also.”

Kamal went out on water detail again, he seemed to have a knack for finding it, and he did find potable water – warm but quenching nevertheless.  The blackberries did not give up their bounty without bloodshed but they proved adequate to ease the group’s hunger.  That was a good ending to what had started as a very dismal day.

That night Lon had a dream.

It wasn’t Ana who came to him in the dream, but his older sister whom he had watched being gang-raped and die in one of the hunters’ camps.  She stood on the open ground, away from the camp.  He walked over to her. 

“Hello Lon, it’s nice to see you again.  I’ve missed you terribly.  I’m sorry I abandoned you in the camp but my body wouldn’t hold on any longer.  I knew you had survived and escaped.  How are you?” 

“I’m so glad to see you Nan, you have no idea.  I’m OK, but we’re in a very precarious situation here, the people I mean.  We need help.  The children are weakening; some are sick.”

“I know that, but things must take their course, Lon.  In a way it’s your own fault that things are this bad.”

“How can you say that, Nan?  How dare you!  I’ve done everything I could to help here…”

“From your point of view, yes, but did you listen to those who may have known more?  Did you listen to Ruben, or were you so worried about his wild streak, his atavism, that you refused to trust his better survivalist judgment?  Didn’t he counsel to take the group away several months ago when the drought started?  Didn’t you think he’d know where to take you all if you followed him?  Did you think that he was trying to gain control of the group and were jealous of him?  Weren’t you afraid he would break your rules when he deemed necessary to save lives?   I know you Lon.  You mean well, but you have never really mined those deeper aspects of your nature: the fearful, the coward and the user – those aspects of one’s personality that become the controller; which reside in your subconscious.  It’s those things that killed Ana, and have brought you to these straights.”

“What do you know of Ruben, or Ana?  How can you possibly know what’s in my subconscious?  How can you know anything if you accuse me of killing Ana?  I loved her!”

“Of course you did.  You never realized you loved her too much under the circumstances, and you strangled her.  She didn’t know because in her own way she loved you too, but you choked her those many times when you insisted she come away from her duties to be with you.  She was conflicted; didn’t know where to stand between your demands, and the needs of the people.  Oh yes, you killed her.  She was an empath, Lon.  If you had allowed her full freedom to live her nature she’d still be here, with all of you, and she’d be laughing with you tonight.”

“It’s a dream, just a dream,” said Lon in the dream, “isn’t it?”

“If you want, but it is much more than a dream.  I’m here to help, Lon, but you must do as I tell you – exactly as I tell you – when you wake up into your real world.  You will abandon any idea of leading this little group.  Someone much more suitable is going to appear during the coming day.  Your hopes for the group will be fulfilled, but not the way you hoped they would be.  When help arrives, this is what you must do: walk away north, into the wilderness, by yourself.  Do not turn back, do not come back.  Your own redemption or your death, await in the young re-grown northern forests.  You will meet some people there and they will teach you about real love which is compassion.  I will see you again, Lon.  Goodbye.”

He watched her fade in the pale moonlight and woke up drenched in sweat.  Immediately he began to shake violently.  He got up, stretched and went on a short run to warm up, all the while thinking about his dream.

“That’s not a dream, that’s a nightmare!”  he thought.  Then he saw the possibility that it had been a vision.  “Morning will tell, tomorrow will tell.  I’ll wait until help arrives, I’ll see.”

Strange times call for strange events.  By the middle of the next day, as most of the people were busy gathering berries, eating, hauling water or keeping the children in line, the very first event of Lon’s dream came to pass: Ruben returned from his quest.  He approved of the stopping place with a few nods.  Always somewhat taciturn, he was even quieter than usual.  Lon queried him.

“What brings you back so soon, and how did you find us?”  Ruben frowned, then started talking:

“A blind man could have tracked your group Lon.  Haven’t I taught you anything at all about being circumspect?  What’s all around you, any idea?  What lurks out there?  What’s watching?  What’s scenting the air?  What’s listening?  Anyway, I saw your sign, and read your message at the old camp.  Also, I smelled your smoke – it travels a long way in this light breeze.  But that’s no longer your concern.  I’m taking over guiding this little group, for however long it takes before we get the help we were promised.”

“Say that again?  The help we were promised?  What do you mean by that?”

“I had a vision.  Saw a woman who claimed she was your sister.  She said that Ana had sent her.  She explained about your, well, character defects.  I already knew that, it’s partly why I had to leave, see?  Anyway the vision woman asked me to return to the group and be the guide until Ana and her people are ready and able to rescue and relocate those of the group who want it.  She said they’d all been waiting for you but you wouldn’t see it, so they decided to violate a bit of “prime directive” by contacting me.

You know me Lon.  You know I would not make this up – I don’t believe in any of this.  Somehow though, that woman, your sister, was very convincing. 

“Now you have to go.  Sorry, but it’s got to be short goodbyes.  Take whatever you want, or think you might need and head north.  She said Ana will meet with you when you’ve been gone long enough.  North, Lon, north.  It’s all waiting for your there.   Once my stint here is done, I’ll be tracking up myself – I won’t be going with Ana’s people, even if they’re only relocating the people to another part of this earth.  This, this land, this continent, is my world.  I belong here.

“I still don’t believe this, but irrational as it all is, I understand.  It’s not about belief, it’s the flow, just as in the wild.  All anyone needs to do is walk in the great flow of things.  The only time we must struggle is in opposition to those who do not walk in the flow of life.  That’s what gives rise to endless conflict.  I sensed your need to impose change and values.  You can’t wish, desire or impose non-violence anymore than you can stop a meat grinder by sticking your fingers in it, Lon. 

“I know this is harsh for you at the moment; you’re hurt and angry, but  you’ll learn.  The loneliness and the wild will teach you; the north, with its cold and its pristine snows will cleanse you and change you.  If you’re worried about food or shelter, observe the animals and the birds and learn: they’re the best teachers in the wild.  I’ll see you again, in the spring.”    

     

FIRE SPIRIT

[a short story   by Sha’Tara]

A restless wind whispers softly in the spruce on the edge of a small lake. Brightly shining stars and distant, paling northern lights cast eerie shadows in the late summer night. A great horned owl calls, answered by the howl of a timber wolf echoed over the waters. A startled killdeer gives its plaintive cry, repeated several times, then silence again. Glowing softly, a small campfire throws its own little stars into the night, their flickering, sinewy path changing to the mood of the breeze. A young woman sits near the fire, staring, unmoving, her dark eyes reflecting its dancing light. The minutes pass slowly as the stars trace their endless circle around the tail of little bear.

At a  chosen moment the woman stands and throws some broken branches upon the fire, watching intently as the flames leap up, crackling, hungry. She begins a slow dance around the edge of the fire, her bare feet moving through the drying grass, her footsteps blending with the lapping of wavelets on the shore and the sighing of the wind in the branches. She hums in a low monotone, unintelligible words passing her lips. Gradually, the song becomes more forceful. Proudly throwing back her head, her black hair cascading down her back, she lifts her hands up and starts chanting. The song rises and falls, hauntingly moving, echoes of ancient voices seeking words to an as yet unformed hope.

Her dance takes on a rhythmic pattern, her knee-length dress swaying as she approaches the fire then steps back lightly into the darkness of the trees, to reappear from another direction. Her voice rises above the trees, flowing through the rolling hills…

From the midst of the flame, a form takes shape, graying head bowed, hands held in blessing. The form addresses the dancer: “Daughter, what are you doing? Why dance with danger tonight? Why seek death? You are the hope of the people. Would you tempt the white man again and be accused of witchcraft? Would you die in his fire too? You summoned me… now answer me!”

Swaying gently, without looking at the flame, the song dying on her lips, she answers the vision: “I am your daughter. I cannot be otherwise and I have your heart also. You died to save me, mother, though I never asked it of you. Now, you are Fire Spirit. You live in the heart of the volcano at the centre of creation and possess the gifts of life and healing in full measure: would you deny me my own birthright and refuse me my homecoming?

There is nothing left here, mother. The people are ashes, spirits without homes. Those who remain are slaves eating crumbs from the hand of their conqueror. Should I fear a moment of pain and I too become a slave?

No, mother! Do not try to dissuade me. Tonight, I dance with the spirits under the stars. Tomorrow, I will dance in the fire. Then I’ll come to you and together we will prepare the medicine for the wandering spirits. We will rise with the breath of the sun in our mouths, awakening the land, shaking the ashes of the people in the winds until all becomes one and life pulses freely in the land again. I’ll see you tomorrow, mother…”

The flames died down and the vision vanished. She took up her chant and her dance, delighting in a myriad of physical sensations heightened by the knowledge that this was her last night on earth. In the morning, her relentless pursuers would find her. The angry new god would have his victim and enjoy a short-lived victory over the past. From his fire she would rise to become Fire Spirit and wrest the future from his bloody hands.

Innocence finds her Freedom

[a poem, by Sha’Tara]

Innocence, what is that,
that anyone should care?
What does it produce
but chatter and silliness?
Innocence, how wasteful
of a life in need of direction.
We are here, we are here,
bring the child to our doors,
we’ll take her from here.
We’ll mold her character 

and teach her the Way.

Innocence flew off
frightened by the noise,
the angry words, the tears,
the blows that fell upon
that soft helpless flesh.
Farther and farther it circled,
rising up to the windows:
finding a broken pane
it slipped out and flew away.

On the cement walk
three floors below
the old school yard
a small body lies
battered, bloody, dead.
Innocence has broken out,
free at last, and happy
once again laughing
among the blue and the white
where the free winds blow.

What price freedom?
Don’t ask why: you know
there was no better way.