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Monthly Archives: August 2012

“Have my brothers not enlightened you?” asked the Sage.

“The priest gave me the conclusion to a story I do not understand, and the nihilist told me his conclusions about not understanding anything” said the boy. “I’m beginning to think that my questions will bring me no answers.”

The sage motioned to the square bowl of water in front of him and began stroking the surface carefully with a small wooden fork. “Well”, he said, “no matter how diligently I comb my little pool, I cannot seem to tidy away its waves, either. Perhaps our problems have something in common?”

The boy stared blankly at him for a few moments and then shook himself.

“Look, this has gone badly enough already – can you please just tell me a story I can retell when my friend asks what I learned today?”

The Sage smiled sadly at his wavering bowl, placed it by his side, slipped the fork into a pocket and began.

The Sage’s Tale

In the time before there was time, in the place before there was space, there was God.  She smelled of snow, cayenne, cinnamon, chocolate and starlight, she shone like hope, burned like rage and danced like nothing before or since. Her smile was a perfect sunrise and her eyes were deepest dream. She was the heart of the storm and the rise of the wave, and the terrors of the dark lay beneath her hands like silk, for hers were the gold of the sun, the wings of the night and the singing chill of the ice.

She was everything, and everything was beautiful.

Yet she was alone, and so, after a time, lonely.

This, my boy, was when everything started to go wrong.

Knowing herself to be wonderful, she made herself in her own image; laughing her essence into a second being, that she might glory in herself together.  Yet the second God, though perfectly made, was not the first. He was made, not born; creature, not creator; loved from his first instant yet without knowing the melancholy bliss of solitude. She needed him, and, though he loved her, he did not need her, did not want her, and so did not want himself. Thus was the bitterness born in him that sparked his change.

If he could not leave, if they were everything, he would divide them through will. He would be apathetic in the face of her adoration, he would distort her beauty into simpler forms that would not burn unbearably in his heart, he would refuse her acceptance of herself and deny his own suffering for what it was. He would break the mirror of their love and let the ugly shards hurt her in his cowardly stead, for he feared his maker.

And so the heart of all that is was sundered, and as her suffering grew, so did his guilt, until all existence shook with her uncomprehending sadness and he, unable to escape his disgust at himself, set upon her in a hatred like madness, tore her apart and devoured her.

It was this act of weeping cannibalism that birthed our world.

We all live in the belly of an empty and broken beast, as we are all formed from the remains of her who made him. This is why we see ourselves in each other and in all living things, even unto the stars themselves, yet feel alone in our selves, even as those stars burn, abjectly scattered and diminishing, across the freezing night. This is why there is no balance, and why things fall apart. And this is why, unless we reach out beyond our separation and recognise her in all that we are, together and as one, our world will end in desperation, and in pain.

*

The sage smiled quietly at the boy. “If I told you that the old names for the goddess and her brother were Munda and Menta, would that help you see the worth of this story? Munda means world, of course, but also mouth. Whereas menta means…?”

“The mind?”

“And the lie. So now you know why my people greet each other the way they do, touching the forehead” –he raised two fingers sideways and pressed gently against the center of his temples- “that we think true, the lips” –he lowered his hand and pressed the fingers’ tips gently over his mouth- “that we speak true, and the heart” –he lowered his now balled hand to his chest- “that we accept ourselves as true, no matter that we err in thought and speech.

And remember, when you talk to your friend, that stories do not have to be real to be true. Now leave me with your questions, I have ripples of my own to calm.”