Encounters with the Empress
The help will go without miles counting.
- Mother Meera, in ‘Answers’
It happened in that time of significant trouble. The outward dilemmas had finally ceased. These included but were by no means limited to the two women that had appeared, and through a particular sort of magnetism, caused certain misfortunes to Jacob and themselves. They had been like sirens or like some kind of bright purple or orange fighter fish adorned with painted bodies. It took a long time to put them in abeyance, along with other more amicable contacts that had turned conspiratorial. And what was more; there was no twelve step program for matters of the soul, or even for more nuanced problems of the secular type. But it had been done, and to give up the past proved akin to letting go of a chemical dependence or at the least something sorely required.
The problem was that there was an inner life also. Its ache and voice would not be dulled or stilled. Universal processes and all of that. Jacob just went along, having faith in things unseen, which as they say, is a definition of faith in itself. Soon days and weeks turned to months and even years. He was in some kind of transition period, difficult to be sure, but necessary. It resembled the abyss, of which he was familiar, but was not an abyss as such. Turquoise can be mistaken for shattuckite, as both have various blue hues and are beautiful, but both hold different characteristics and properties, come from different mines, and most importantly of all, assist in different purposes. The uninitiated might scoff, and say a stone is just a stone, and both are stones, not flowers of Southern France, Chinese lanterns, industrial machinery, crochet needles, or metropolises, and those times of dark are just that,- times of dark and nothing more or less. But though both prove difficult to maneuver within, and appear similar, the abyss and the time of transition are not the same animal.
In the middle of it all an archetypal and esoteric figure made an appearance. She came to see Jacob and Kara in a part of the night that was deepest and most silent. A part of the night before and yet beyond- in depth- the proverbial witching hours. A labyrinthine part that inhabited a secret envelope contained in an under layer of an under layer. There are things there, and they are difficult to remember. Jacob had lived there at times, and Kara was a visitor to such places, and often came back from those places to speak about future events in the lives of those she knew.
The figure appeared with a door behind her, and holding an object in her left hand, though the exact identification of the object was not known about right away. Kara, normally a woman of strong spiritual stature, was starting to go into shock, and soon was paralysed with fear. The figure was tall and looking out from black eyes that stood under white hair. She wore a long green dress that had small symbols emblazoned on it. Jacob walked over to her and hugged her. At his point, as stunned to her core as Kara was, she went into an even deeper shock.
Something else on.
The woman was staring at and straight through Kara. The figure looked and looked some more and then with unwavering intent, in a raised voice, spoke one word. It was the only word that was spoken at all during the visit.
And so Kara knelt. With a sure-fire immediacy the figure raised what she was holding in the hand. She then struck Kara with the cylindrical object.
Second body into first.
In a moment, they were out of that instance. Kara explained to Jacob that the woman was simply too powerful.
- I was overwhelmed.
- She came to tell you to take it easy on me.
- Why does it always have to be about you?
- It doesn’t. Maybe she just came to kick your ass.
In the light, by the new hours of days, Jacob contemplated the Empress. He thought about other things, such as Mother Meera, a divine incarnation of the feminine that worked mostly in silence. He had written to Mother Meera once upon a time. Her words, if there were any sent back from Germany, did not reach his hands those years and years ago. But she had spoken to answer questions at some point and Jacob remembered reading the words of the divine mother. She had said that ‘The help will go without miles counting’.
Maybe, Jacob thought, for now, somehow, with the aid of the divine feminine figures, he had managed to end up on the right sight of the difficult transitory hours.
There was a place at the outskirts of a city where I did not like to be per se. Since I found myself there anyhow, I looked through shelves at some wares hoping to become inspired b something. The proprietors were busy with other people and I was left to myself. This was good and well because solitariness lent to a feeling of not being hurried or hassled. Not much happened. I was getting ready to leave, to not force the matter as it were, when something caught my eye. It was a stone that had been tumbled with grit to a size of about an inch squared. Blue, green, white, and brown hues made intricate lines, dots, shadings, and gave the impression in certain places of depth, of inroads, of textured worlds hiding within textured worlds.
I was unmistakably drawn to the stone, and saw on a label affixed to a piece of glass above it that it was called shattuckite. The merchant weighed it, I paid what they wanted, and as I entered the day out the door, I paused a moment. In a sudden instant I felt an unmistakable and pronounced energy emit from the rock, an agile electrical pulsing that began to course through my fingers, up my arm and down my body, but also up towards and through my head simultaneously.
It was about a month later that I had reason to pass a kiosk that sold hand crafted jewellery. The idea came to me to take a look or ask if they had heard of or had any shattuckite. A woman with semi short hair that suited her well turned around, and she did not know the stone, somewhat obscure as it was. But she lent a good ear, and I noticed that she was grounded, kind, patient, and pretty, with dark eyes that had a type of knowingness and calm alert grace, - eyes beyond what any stone could ever be. I had an intuition of both the nature empress with her sense of quiet or patient wisdom and understanding, and also of the electric light queen, a more modern branch of the same feminine beauty that has great and soulful qualities on the inside and out both. These two wonderful aspects, both of the nurturing and life affirmative presence, seemed to be contained in her being.
She showed me a turquoise cabochon set in a handmade silver ring. Her hands were adorned with a few rings yet did not appear showy or gauche. Far from it. She seemed to wear everything well. This helper o the path wished me luck in finding another shattuckite. I thanked her and carried on. The way she had pronounced ‘cabochon,’ made me for some reason remember an event that had taken place years prior. Though I had not found more shattuckite maybe that, namely the recollection of something that took place years earlier, was the good that was produced by my brief interaction with her.
Something was remembered. A something that made me remember something else that contained an incredible depth. It was a type of thing beyond the dualities of Aristotelian logic, linear thought, and secular and even religious indoctrination. I had been in another place that was on the outskirts of yet another city. Getting rural. I liked it there. I laid anchor there for a year because that is where kismet led me. There are a thousand tales and inroads, and the larger context itself within which they played out. But that is not for here. What is for here is that I was standing at a counter where I had just chosen, cleaned, and displayed about thirty or forty cabochons. Super seven, more commonly known as sacred seven, mukalite, amethyst, ametrine, the whole bit. A lady was there with her grown daughter. Nobody else was around. They were quiet, understated, on the plain side of things. It was something she, the mother, said, without turning to me or formally addressing me but only continuing to stare at the piece of jewellery I had handed her to see. Her voice was calm and even, confident and matter-of-fact.
-Do you know that there are spirits in the cabs?
I didn’t say a word. Not a first.
Some kind of grace.
Light that is not light but that appears as regular shadows but that is light.
Sounds. Spirit sounds.
Spirits in everything.
Calling out to be known.
Not as in a movie.
As in they are there.
The world wears them.
The world wears these.
The wares of the world.
The wares of the world that the world wears contain things not of the world.
I looked at her. I wanted to do one thing and one thing only, and that was to discern whether she was ‘off’ mentally for one, or a would-be-self-proclaimed, harmless enough, but sad sort of deluded seeker, groping to be something she was not, in order to make up for a lack of something, or to deny an extra-something that she did not want such as an emotional, physical, or psychic scar. She continued to look at the cab. She was okay. Solid. On the level. Fine. Everything was fine. It was said by her because I have a sign on my head that tells people to tell me things. I have heard much. That is a statement I can own. We proceed. Me beginning now with
- I think I know that. I know they are other places.
- Because they know that to show themselves outright would frighten us. They show themselves there.
- It is good.
- It is how it is.
- Do you see one?
- I do. Come see.
I go and see, and it is there. I remember more at that moment. I remember that I used to see this, to know this, a long time before. I remember not only that, but that they were there all the time.
Loud in their own way.
Always talking to me, though I could never make out what they were saying.
This aching and known sadness from a source unknown.
Like existence was sad.
Like a mistake had happened.
We look some more and eventually disperse. I wonder at the socially and manufactured reality we share and at other realities. The days pass by. Others know. Not all, but some. If you gently look you can see. If you push it you fool yourself into pseudo-artificial seeing. Like a Rorschach thing. But the real is not the Rorschach. Weeks go by. I find myself, a sure and unmistakable likeness, in a cab. It is not shattuckite but charoite, dark purple- nice. I am in the middle but near the upper half of the cab. I am surprised only somewhat. I am more surprised that I am not surprised.
There are places on the outskirts of cities...
Mom and pop shops that are fast becoming anachronistic. The strangest things can happen there.
The strangest things.
Brian Michael Barbeito is a resident of Ontario, Canada. The author of the prose poem novel Postprandial, a compilation of short writings entitled Vignettes, and a collection of flash fiction called Windows without Glass. A Pushcart Prize nominee, he is a writer of fiction, non-fiction, book and film reviews. He has writing in or forthcoming at various venues such as Glossolalia, Synchronized Chaos, Otis Nebula, Kurungabaa, and NFTU (Notes from the Underground) magazines.