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The late afternoon sun was sneaking through the cracks in the mini-blinds to create a diffused world of long shadows as I woke from a nap to find my weenie dog sleeping peacefully against my chest, the cat curled up purring at my knees, and the essence of a sapling eucalyptus drifting in through the open window. From the kitchen, the scent of spaghetti sauce brewing in the crockpot filtered into the mix, and the sound of Wendy moving around in the next room gave a sense of utter well-being to my world.

Less than a second had passed since waking as I took a slow, deep breath, marveling at the way the setting sun was playing with all the strange and dusty trinkets on my old altar - no longer used much, but nonetheless a standing icon to the days when ritual was used to hone and focus Intent.

Dust.

A pain stabbed at my heart - not in any physical manner, but in Spirit. And I literally felt the little smile that had been tugging at my lips fade back into the world of Dreaming. Something in the dust had brought me back to ordinary awareness - to the Knowledge that whispered in the voice of tree leaves dragging softly across the window, "You are a being who is going to die."

In an instant, I had been transported forward or sideways in the belly of Time, and the dust on my altar had become the ashes of the being who had inhabited the assemblage point of "Della". Perhaps it was 50 years in the future, or 5 months or 5 minutes. All I knew was that my time on Earth had ended, and I was standing to the side, watching, as other humans sifted through the ruins of all those things we leave behind when we leave this world. Funny, actually - that most of what we spend a lifetime creating ends up in some thrift store basement, or at the leading edge of a bonfire. The ashes of our self-importance scattered to the winds of Neverland.

It was as if I were watching the aftermath of my life play out on that old altar, where old journals have gone to gather dust, and hawk feathers and raven feathers and hatched snake eggs and broken beads and melted wax and little pebbles found in rare desert streams and a gaudy plastic pirate ring from Disneyland had found a resting place for a brief time. The items themselves have no power, of course. They are only trinkets of a phantom past - souvenirs of a life. The sun seemed to caress each one, and then the room fell softly and inevitably into the darkness.

For a few moments in that stillness between the worlds, I wanted to weep. And yet, at the same time, I wanted to jump up and pound my fists against the quantumly cold chest some non-existent Idea of God who had, according to the prevailing myth of our society, created a perfect world and then in his anger, imbued it with Death. It matters not in the least that there is no such being to whom we may turn our anger and our frustration. What matters it the absolute and undeniable realization that we are beings who are going to die...

...and something in that equation has always struck me as ironic and utterly inefficient; and despite the Knowledge I have gained on this path, that sense of "wrongness" has not changed. In fact, it's partially what motivates us as warriors - the sense that we are in a prison awaiting our own death sentence, and the only way out is the path to freedom that enables us to shed the organic body and trade it instead for the energetic vessel of the double. Sure - I understand all of that. And yet...

It also matters not in the least that I have gained an absolute comprehension of why things are the way they are. Without Death and Love and the two-part migration of the soul, chances are we would be little more than idyllic bliss ninnies running about the garden sipping honey from the bees and frolicking naked beneath The World Tree with our genitals flapping in the wind, for it is clearly the existence of Death that gives us our motivation to run for our lives through the jungle of all existence, carving a path toward our own evolution with a blade of pure Intent that has a tendency to slice away some of that beautiful foliage of the garden. Sometimes, it seems we can pause barely long enough to enjoy that One Perfect Moment of long shadows and sleeping weenie dogs and the dust of time on the journals of our journey.

Sure, I know all the right answers now - and I know them because I have done the work required by the path. But sometimes, I have to wonder - without expectation of an answer - if this is simply "the way things are", or if something went horribly wrong in "the matrix" that has resulted in this strange state of affairs wherein we find and even embody those moments of perfection, only to be forced to release them just as quickly, as Time grinds forward like some ruthless predator devouring our youth and whispering that the dust on the altar is really the dust of old friends and pets who lie sleeping in the ground, and our own future history writing its name in itself, in the dust of the Now.

Sometimes , knowing that I am a being who is going to die makes those perfect moment all the more perfect. Other times, it makes them all the more perfectly painful - and that is what drives me to occasionally run outside in the night as an eleven-year old girl, and shake my fist at the sky, and howl in despair and intent, "If I can't come to you, I'll bring you to me!" The double answered that little girl's cry, of course, and yet...

The dust on the altar defines a warrior's melancholy.

January 13, 2006
Copyright © 2006
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Part 2 of this article may be found at:
Death, Immortality & the Sorcerer's Trick

BACK TO The Birthday Gift
FORWARD TO The Sorcerer's Trick

 

 

 

 


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