healing haven

August 9, 2008

Searching for Triton (14)

Filed under: Enchanteur,fiction,SoulCollage — by thalia @ 7:12 am
Tags: , , ,

 

Talking with the people gathered at Rainbow Beach, Thalia heard mention of others who already departed to travel to Mudjimba Island and the Triton that one has to meet before being allowed entrance.  First arrange for a ferry, then be literally dropped off into the water to meet the Triton and appease him in some undefined way, and then, hopefully, finally getting to the Island.  What a long drawn-out process. The ferry is away on a trip so I would have to wait for its return and then do my own bargaining.   I wonder if there isn’t a quicker way so I can catch up with the others.   Sounds like the more adventurous are already there.  And who is this Triton?  What does he want from me?  I just have some odds and ends in my satchel—I can’t imagine there would be anything he wants.

 

She sat down on the lovely sand, specked with the now-crystal Crayola specks from the Crayola Rainbow.  Gathering up a few of the crystals and watching the interplay of color and light, Thalia decided to look for at least one crystal of every color. 

 

How long will this take?  But how beautiful they are.  Definitely worth the time to create a ‘Crayola’ box of 64 light-crystals.  Just read that the box of 64 is now 50 years old after having been introduced on the Captain Kangeroo TV show in 1958.  Crayola says more than 200 million of these boxes were sold containing enough crayons to circle the earth 24 times.  Maybe that is where my Crayola Rainbow Ride came from. 

 

I love the quote by Robert Fulghum?  “Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon.  A happiness weapon.  A beauty bomb.  And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one.  It would explode high in the air – explode softly – and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air.  Floating down to earth – boxes of Crayolas.  And we wouldn’t go cheap, either – not little boxes of eight.  Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in.  With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest.  And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.”   

 

Yes, wouldn’t that be wonderful—bombs of Crayolas—of color to delight instead of bombs to kill.  Look at how they catch the light and shimmer.  It’s like a kaleidoscope, a light show.   She held the crystals this way and that, becoming totally immersed in and mesmerized by the sparkle.

 

*****

 

Atlantis rises again, just as they said it would.  We measure the rise in barely perceptible increments, thus allowing us time to formulate plans and, perhaps, time for us to adapt.  As the ancient ones always said, a world gained is a world lost.

 

We go to survey the changes, Sssss-irl and I.  We will then return and report to the engineers so they can calculate how much time remains now before new evacuations are needed.  Swimming to the rising Atlantis, we scramble over chunks of marble gleaming in the moonlight to the apex of the high temple ruins and measure the distance to water’s edge.  Each moon-pass saw us there, walking a heartbeat’s distance further down the slope.  The incoming waves scour the marble one final time, a final smoothing-out of edges originally rough when entering the deep, and worn smooth over the millennium by the peace of the water. 

 

 

I remember playing amongst the original columns and buildings, running lithely, the one who is now Sssss-irl chasing, never quite able to catch me.  Those were the lifetimes when we could run gracefully on land.  Now, all has changed.   We have changed.  But still we play amongst the ruins, swimming and frolicking with ease, enjoying the light filtering through the water as flocks of multi-hued fish glint colors as they bank from one side to the other.  Sometimes the big fish, the Sharp-Teeth Eater, would appear, scaring us into hiding amongst the marble half-hidden by plant-growth.  We wriggle down into the algae, becoming as still as the ancient skeletons of lost civilizations entombed with us. 

 

As we wait, the shadow of Sharp-Teeth and old times passes over us, and we remember.  It is the transitions that are hard.  Over time, we move from one form to another, initially not remembering the others.  But during moments of quiet and awareness, the impact of the whole can overwhelm.  Questions swim and dart like a flock of fish as we wait.  How long will it take?  How long did it take?  What will happen to us this time?  Should we even try to adapt – once again?   We haven’t totally completed the last transition, and now another? 

 

With a long out-breath, hiss of water over gills, I turn to Sssss-irl and observe her legs almost blended into powerful back flippers, remnants of fingers showing from front flippers, eye membrane complete over eyes that have gradually migrated sideways to increase visibility to 180 degrees.  Yes, over the ages we adapted to our watery surroundings, and now?  Now what?  Do we stay below and continue this process, or rise above and start the reversal?  Atlantis rises again. 

 

*****

   

Whoa!  What was that?  When was that?  Who was that?  But it gave her an idea. Why wait for the ferry?  I can change shape and swim to meet the Triton.  Who knows what sights are in the waters around here?  She carefully gathered all the lovely crystals.  Tucking the largest jet-black crystal into her pocket, Thalia placed the rest into a plastic baggie from her satchel and returned the bag of lights into the satchel, feeling sad as their sparkle disappeared from view.  She walked to water’s edge and sat down with her legs extended into the blue world.  Thalia then took the black crystal from her pocket and wound it into her long hair. 

 

A moments pause, focus, intent… and she shifted, flipping to face the water, then squirming deeper into the brine, satchel diagonally across her scaled body, legs now fused with tail flipper.  Another wriggle and the satchel settled into a better placed for long travel.  She was on her way to search for Triton.

(see also http://enchanteur.wordpress.com/2008/08/09/searching-for-triton-2/#comments)

 

 

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August 1, 2008

Hall of Remembrances: Divided Identities

 

She found herself walking back to the entrance to the catacombs, taking a torch, going past the statues of Jesus, the angels and the gargoyles, wondering if she would be able to find her way back to the Hall of Remembrances.  Walking down one tunnel, Thalia came across a statue of a regal-looking cat on a tombstone. 

 

 

Oh, oh.  I didn’t come this way before.  Must have taken the wrong tunnel.  I would have remembered seeing this sleek cat.  What does it say?

 

BAST–MET

GENTLE FRIEND

FIERCE PROTECTOR

 

No date.  Wonder when this is from?  Wonder about the name—seems like an obvious combining of Bast and Sekhmet, both goddesses in Egyptian mythology, but is it?  Was Bast the name in itself or short for Bastet?  That would say a lot about the date right there.  And both gentle and fierce—how intriguing.  Well, the solid black statue doesn’t tell me why this cat was named a composite name of two Egyptian goddesses generally depicted as lionesses.

 

A faint noise coming from behind the tombstone caught her attention.  She listened, heard it again, and cautiously moved around in that direction.  She almost didn’t spot the kitten curled up on the floor, pressed against the tombstone. 

 

“Oh, how sweet.  How did you get in here?  Are you okay?”  Thalia squatted down and extended out her hand to stroke the kitten… and her hand passed tight through.  The kitten looked up at her and edged closer, obviously wanting contact.  “Why are you still here?  Did you know the cat…Bast-met?”

 

The kitten’s thoughts came throughThat is me.  I’m Bast-Met.  I’m actually the kitten who became Bast-Met.  But I’m still confused.

 

Why are you confused?  You were obviously loved by your owner.

 

Yes, I was.  But people don’t realize how important a name is.  I was confused because I was named after two different aspects of goddesses, even though both were lionesses at one time—Best and Sekhmet.

 

Lions?  I thought they were cats.

 

No.  Bast was the ancient Lower Egypt solar and war goddess and protector.  She was depicted as a fierce lioness while also associated with the sunlight so was called ‘Goddess of Fire’ or ‘Lady of the Flame.’  Later she became Bastet, her role diminishing as Sekhmet , a similar deity in Upper Egypt when Lower Egypt lost dominance in the unification of the Upper and Lower sections.  The feminine suffix of ‘et’ is the diminutive name that applies as she receded and Sekhmet rose to power.  Her gentler aspect as protector of the home and pregnant women changed as her appearance changed to a domestic cat.  Then during the times when the Greek occupied Egypt, she changed again to a goddess of the moon.

 

So Bast become Bastet and took the appearance of a domestic cat.  Why would a cat still be important?

 

Cats were revered highly because they could catch and kill threats to the fragile food supply like rats and mice and snakes.  So much so they were mummified before burial.  More than 300,000 mummified cats were discovered when Basts’ temple at Per-Bast was excavated.

 

What about Sekhmet?  Was she also a lion who changed to a cat?

 

Sekhmet was a warrior lioness goddess of Upper Egypt, the lioness being the fiercest hunter the Egyptians knew.  They thought her breath created the desert and so she was a protector of the pharaohs.  She was also a solar deity and became more powerful than Bast, so was seen as ‘The Avenger of Wrongs.’  Sekhmet was also seen as a bringer of disease as well as a healer of those diseases, with her worship centered in Memphis.  ‘She Who Is Powerful’ was depicted as a woman with the head of a lioness.  Pyramid texts themselves say the Pharaoh was conceived by Sekhmet who was the wife of Ptah, ‘The Creator.’ Other myths say she was created by the fire of Ra’s eye to use her as a weapon of vengeance to destroy men because of their wicked ways.  Sekhmet is the Goddess of the West and Bastet is the Goddess of the East.  Both are shown with heads of lionesses with Bastet wearing green and Sekhmet wearing red. 

 

So that’s why this statue has a jeweled collar of red and green gems.  A while back I even saw a refrigerator magnet with a picture like this statue on it.  Quite a contrast between being considered goddesses and being on a fridge magnet.  But why are you still here?

 

I was always confused as to who I really was and my mistress expected two different behaviors—sometimes I should be like a lioness, the aggressive war goddess, and other times I should be gentle like a healer and docile protector of pregnant women.  Mistress would encourage me to be ‘Avenger of Wrongs’ and ‘Lady of Slaughter,’ both titles of my suffix namesake.  But then would be upset when I caught a rat and brought it home to her to show I was the ‘Lady of Slaughter.’  No, now she preferred for me to be tame like the mummified cats.   

 

And all I wanted was to be me—a kitten needing to be petted and loved and let to develop naturally, not forced into predetermined roles.

 

Would you mind if I write your story down?  Because this also applies to modern day parents and children.

 

It does?  How?  I thought it was because I couldn’t talk to my mistress.

 

No.  Even when children are all grown up and can discuss issues like this with their parents, it usually doesn’t help.  Because parents who try to force children into a mold they want usually aren’t able to truly listen and understand what is being said.  Parents who listen and understand from the beginning usually tend not to force anything on anyone.  They realize each has their own way to grow into their adult selves. 

 

 

By this time the kitten was curled up in Thalia’s lap, purring as she was stroked.  She stretched out, putting her front paws on Thalia’s shoulders.  Thank you for listening and helping me to understand I was not alone in dealing with the expectations of others.  I would be verrrrry happppy for you to wrrrrite my storrrry.  I just wwwwanted to be mmmmme and not torrrrn in two diffferrrrent dirrrrections.  Can you call mmmmme Kitty?

 

 “My pleasure, Kitty.  You’re such a sweet kitten.  And your fur is so silky, Kitty.”

 

The purring increased in volume as Kitty’s substance solidified and matured.  Thalia and Kitty rubbed noses.  Then both Kitty’s purring and her body faded and disappeared as Thalia continued to stroke the empty air while thinking of an anonymous quote she had seen: “Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods.  Cats have never forgotten this.”  One more contrast.  Treated as goddesses and important enough to be preserved as mummies but now the likeness is on refrigerator magnets.  She said ‘NO’ to both aspects—she just wanted to be Kitty.

(see also http://cityofladies.wordpress.com/2008/08/02/hall-of-remembrances-divided-identities/#comments)

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