Wednesday, February 11, 2009

1999, The Turquoise Eye, Part 6

And there was Atum-Ra, smiling the same smile I had seen on his face before, in the grove. Wry, I would almost call it now. So I asked him, “Were you expecting me?”

And that made him laugh. I feel the need to reiterate that I underwent several days of torment prior to returning, to be laughed at. In one moment, I reached the end of my patience, became angry at an old man, realized I didn't really have anything to be angry about, and laughed along with him. He probably only noted the laughing, but one never knows.

“Why did you invite me to your ceremony?” I asked him. It seemed like a reasonable question at the time; I had the sense that he knew, if only in the most general sense, what the result would be.

“Because I believe you have the tools to confront darkness.” The way he said that last word surprised me. Not all druids behave like Atum-Ra!

“I have met as many druids as you have, I'll wager,” I said, “and do you know how many have said something like that to me?”

“None, probably.”

At that point I realized I was asking too many questions, and so I resolved to be patient. Patience, and quiet; that is what followed. We went to a room that attached to the temple by a breezeway, where Atum-Ra had tea ready. Maybe he was expecting company after all. We sat and drank tea and nodded across the table at each other.

Patience and quiet is a game at which I excel. My survival during several spans of my early life depended on invisibility and absolute silence. How else does one become interested in all the oddities that have attracted me over the years? And so I became quiet, still, patient. I once stood in an elevator with a couple who did not notice me until I spoke, three floors later. It was nothing magickal, understand, but there is a state of mind where one becomes so quiet and so introverted that they are just easy to miss. Though I have gained the ability to be boisterous when called for, I still slip up and startle people. Quiet, still, patient.

Yet I believe Atum-Ra was my match at this game. Also, it was I who needed answers. To what, I did not know, but I clearly needed something if I was ever going to practice my smithing, or sleep, or trust myself with... not that I had any conscious thoughts like that, but I had studied enough psychology to respect the power of those deeper parts of the mind. I would not risk it, no matter how rational I felt.

Do not tempt demons; that is their game.

After two pots of tea and a trip to the bathroom, I finally gave up and spoke.

“I am pursued by what appears to be a remnant of your demon. Apep.” I got a raised eyebrow, at least.

“Apep is no one's,” Atum-Ra said. “And in some ways it may be everyone's. How do you mean, that it pursues you?” A return question – I took this to mean I had only narrowly lost the game of patience.

I told Atum-Ra about the dreams, and about the sounds that brought back those terrors of the night, and about my Lady N. Finally, I asked him what it might mean.

“I can not interpret for you,” he said. “I can point you toward the path, but if I carry you the journey will be fruitless.” Then he said, “The strength of your reaction shows that your mind is open. Already you explore depths that most people choose to avoid. Whatever you find there, it will be rare in the eyes of those others.”

I had hoped for a better answer, truly.

So I continued to question. “Did you know I would be haunted?” There is the remote possibility that I might have throttled an old man if he had just said yes.

But in fact what he said was, “No. There are as many reactions to that particular ceremony as there are people. My own reaction was much like yours, when Lady Wadjet showed me. Others see nothing, and feel nothing. They are less lucky than you, I think.”

“Your mysticism is nearly impenetrable,” I said. But I knew his intentions were good, and that he was not going to volunteer more information, at least not yet. And frankly, he was playing on my love of mysteries. I have a perpetual, recurring, inextinguishable love of mysteries. And like Atum-Ra, I have never liked to reveal them all at once; it takes away all of the mystery, I think.

“So I must solve this riddle myself,” I said. “And I believe it is a riddle for a different part of the mind than the analytical surface. A ripple on the surface will not affect the depths. But move from the depths, and ah...”

“Yes,” he said. “You have the right tools. You have trained yourself for this, whether you know it or not. I would not have shown you if I did not believe it.”

But his words brought up something that I had to know.

“Did you invite me to speak at you temple just for this? Is this some trick of yours for sending people on journeys they haven't asked for?” Ha! The fantasies we contrive when we are squashed between pride and uncertainty. Ah well.

“No,” he said, and I got a laugh from him. “I was genuinely interested in the subject matter, as were several members. And Osiris wanted to meet you in the hopes that you might exchange metalworking knowledge. You can expect correspondence from that one, I'll tell you.”

Then he looked grave and said, “But I never let pass an opportunity. I saw the possibility, and my only choice was to show you the looking back.” What a sense of purpose Atum-Ra's order had; and what a rare thing that is.

That day, his parting words to me were, “Already you walk the path that Wadjet walked. When you reach your destination, I greet you as a citizen of a new world. Farewell for now.”

I left. But later I wondered at something. Lady Wadjet had founded the order in 1901, or so I understood. If she had shown the vision of the looking back to Atum-Ra, just how old had she been when she showed him; and how old was he? It is not an impossible timeline, by any stretch, but certainly, I thought, it implied a mightily long career.


  1. "Ha! The fantasies we contrive when we are squashed between pride and uncertainty"
    That is a profound piece of writing- wow- thank you for sharing x

  2. Thank you Lisa, and you're welcome. I have found myself there on occasion, to be sure.

  3. Hello Rab, and thank you for your visit and kind comment on my blog. I remember I liked your comment on The Pink Cowboy's blog.

    You have a most unusual blog here. I am so impressed with your art and also your layout and design. Here am I struggling with line spacing between paragraphs and you have such a wonderful bespoke background!

  4. Atum Ra believes you will surpass him--I gather that he might be content with that.

    “You have the right tools. You have trained yourself for this, whether you know it or not. I would not have shown you if I did not believe it.”...ah. Innate skill in the art?

    Magnificent as always! I can safely say that I wouldn't make it in the realm of druids and orders--you do a damned good job though Rab! I suppose it's always useful to know a druid or two.

  5. Natalie - Glad you are here! I see that you empathize with my squashedness.

    Raph - So nice of you to visit, sir. Thank you for the compliment on my backgrounds,etc.; I did try to tailor them to the content here. Visual composition is not my specialty, but I strive to learn. Gradually I will conquer the time demons and place some hand drawn illustrations up; between you and Clay I am starting to feel lazy ;)

    Clay - I have spent much time in solitude, as you have, and I have also joined groups of scholars. Both have their advantages.

    Regarding innate skill - that is something I once believed in, but I have since revised my opinion. I now believe that 'talent' and related concepts are, in about 99% of cases, explanations for serendipitous accidents whereby we acquire both the skill and the desire to do something. The idea of innate ability can aid us at times, but it can also be used against us. It too often becomes a deterrent to achieving what we want to achieve, because we assume that others have more 'innate skill.' In my experience they do not; they simply have more drive and more preparation, even if the preparation is an accident of their upbringing. Now we have something that can be overcome.

    Thank you Clay for the compliments! We shall see if I am a druid or not, as the memory continues...

  6. While you may have wished for a better answer, he was a wise man to say what he did. He did actually say quite a lot in those small few phrases.
    I was once told that I had a way with interpreting dreams...I haven't thought about that in a long time...

  7. M'Lady Wings - to interpret dreams is a profound thing. It shows that you can see through symbols to the inner truths. In that way, it is a kind of genius. If you feel you have a foothold in this skill, strive never to lose it. You can walk very far down the road to enlightenment simply by listening to your dreams; and you can gain insight into other people's inner workings. I can recommend Carl Jung's writings as a resource; Jung spans both the scientific and the mystical, doing an uncommonly good job at both.

  8. And yes, Atum-Ra is a man of uncommon wisdom. I suppose what I thought of at the time as a 'better' answer was really more 'the answer I wanted'; which would have included an easy way out, probably. Thank goodness there wasn't such an answer, or I wouldn't be me today.

  9. Hi Rab, me again. :)

    The comment you made in response to Clay, about innate ability sometimes becoming a deterrent is something that has whirled around my head all my life. The fact that you just brought it into the light, has had an instant effect on me - an epiphany of sorts, if you will.
    I have been struggling with some annoying little personal demons for a about a week now.

    You have given me the courage to push forward.

    Thank You my friend.xx

  10. Natalie! Regarding demons - too many have haunted our species for too long. We are unique in nature in our ability to give life to these foul creatures. Even the so-called annoying ones weigh us down until we fall under their combined weight, or fall prey to their bigger kin.

    Each demon slain is a breath of fresh air for the world; that you have chosen to fight them is a truly wonderful thing.

    Demon Slayer, face thine enemy bravely, showing never thy heels.

    Spirit and confidence are your weapons.

  11. Rab, I had a very long comment written out to respond back to what you said about striving to never lose it..and then I lost my internet connection.... But I will take your advice and look up Carl Jung. Thank you.

  12. I think you will not be disappointed with Jung. His book Memories, Dreams, Reflections is particularly interesting to me.