Two )0( Stories

Here are two stories that accurately reflect the essence of Paganism.

Wizards Magick

There was, at such a time and such a place, a wizard of great repute. Such were the wonders and learnings ascribed to him that he was forced to erect great trials to thin the ranks of those clamoring to learn his secrets.

From fire and water, through sand and air, and past fear and greed emerged two. The first, a young man of reverent demeanor and holy ways, introduced himself thus: "Master, my humble life is dedicated to the persuit of that Holy of Holies, Truth. I offer my life and my fortune and all that is in my power if you will aid me on my quest."

The second, who's eyes burned with an inner fire, spoke thus: "Great Master, I too have a quest. It has come to me that if I work to know the seeing of many things and the knowing of what I see, a day may come when I can add my grain of sand to that which is known. All that I have, all that I am, I put at your disposal."

The Master, quietly pleased, said "All I offer is the chance to do the meanest of tasks in my household while you earn the rights to learn the least of what I can teach. If this is agreeable, then you may start."

After many years of effort the two learned much of the four arts. They learned to read and understand the stories told in letters, numbers, and the stars. They learned to draw water from the desert, to climb the air as a ladder, and to walk on clouds as though on solid ground. It was in this last place that they came to the time of the final teaching.

"When you have mastered this skill, you will each have the final tool you need for your quest." This said, he gave them the secret of knowing the Truth in whatever they beheld. Once they had shown their mastery, he spoke thus: "The time of teaching has come to an end. Now each of you must seek his destiny. I send you on your way with this final gift and thought: until this day, until this moment, nothing I have taught you or told you has been the Truth."

The reverent apprentice, seeing the Truth in the master's words, plunged to his death in despair. As one, the old master and the new spoke: "He has found his Truth."

Thus, the Truthseeker found his Truth, the seeker learned to see and to know (and added many grains of knowledge to the world), and the wizard added to the magick of the world for a time.

Two Witches
A Modern Craft Fairy Tale
by Mike Nichols

Once upon a time, there were two Witches. One was a Feminist Witch and the other was a Traditionalist Witch. And, although both of them were deeply religious, they had rather different ideas about what their religion meant.

The Feminist Witch tended to believe that Witchcraft was a religion especially suited to women because the image of the Goddess was empowering and a strong weapon against patriarchal tyranny. And there was distrust in the heart of the Feminist Witch for the Traditionalist Witch because, from the Feminist perspective, the Traditionalist Witch seemed subversive and a threat to 'the Cause'.

The Traditionalist Witch tended to believe that Witchcraft was a religion for both men and women because anything less would be divisive. And although the Goddess was worshipped, care was taken to give equal stress to the God-force in nature, the Horned One. And there was distrust in the heart of the Traditionalist Witch for the Feminist Witch because, from the Traditionalist viewpoint, the Feminist Witch seemed like a late-comer and a threat to 'Tradition'.

These two Witches lived in the same community but each belonged to a different Coven, so they did not often run into one another. Strange to say, the few times they did meet, they felt an odd sort of mutual attraction, at least on the physical level. But both recognized the folly of this attraction, for their ideologies were worlds apart, and nothing, it seemed, could ever bridge them.

Then one year the community decided to hold a Grand Coven, and all the Covens in the area were invited to attend. After the rituals, the singing, the magicks, the feasting, the poetry, and dancing were concluded, all retired to their tents and sleeping bags. All but these two. For they were troubled by their differences and couldn't sleep. They alone remained sitting by the campfire while all others around them dreamed. And before long, they began to talk about their differing views of the Goddess. And, since they were both relatively inexperienced Witches, they soon began to argue about what was the 'true' image of the Goddess.

'Describe your image of the Goddess to me,' challenged the Feminist Witch.

The Traditionalist Witch smiled, sighed, and said in a rapt voice, 'She is the embodiment of all loveliness. The quintessence of feminine beauty. I picture her with silver-blond hair like moonlight, rich and thick, falling down around her soft shoulders. She has the voluptuous young body of a maiden in her prime, and her clothes are the most seductive, gossamer thin and clinging to her willowy frame. I see her dancing like a young elfin nymph in a moonlit glade, the dance of a temple priestess. And she calls to her lover, the Horned One, in a voice that is gentle and soft and sweet, and as musical as a silver bell frosted with ice. She is Aphrodite, goddess of sensual love. And her lover comes in answer to her call, for she is destined to become the Great Mother. That is how I see the Goddess.'

The Feminist Witch hooted with laughter and said, 'Your Goddess is a Cosmic Barbie Doll! The Jungian archetype of a cheer-leader! She is all glitter and no substance. Where is her strength? Her power? I see the Goddess very differently. To me, she is the embodiment of strength and courage and wisdom. A living symbol of the collective power of women everywhere. I picture her with hair as black as a moonless night, cropped short for ease of care on the field of battle. She has the muscular body of a woman at the peak of health and fitness. And her clothes are the most practical and sensible, not slinky cocktail dresses. She does not paint her face or perfume her hair or shave her legs to please men's vanities. Nor does she do pornographic dances to attract a man to her. For when she calls to a male, in a voice that is strong and defiant, it will be to do battle with the repressive masculine ego. She is Artemis the huntress, and it is fatal for any man to cast a leering glance in her direction. For, although she may be the many-breasted Mother, she is also the dark Crone of wisdom, who destroys the old order. That is how I see the Goddess.'

Now the Traditionalist Witch hooted with laughter and said, 'Your Goddess is the antithesis of all that is feminine! She is Yahweh hiding behind a feminine mask! Don't forget that it was his followers who burned Witches at the stake for the 'sin' of having 'painted faces'. After all, Witches with their knowledge of herbs were the ones who developed the art of cosmetics. So what of beauty? What of love and desire?'

And so the argument raged, until the sound of their voices awakened a Coven Elder who was sleeping nearby. The Elder looked from the Feminist Witch to the Traditionalist Witch and back again, saying nothing for a long moment. Then the Elder suggested that both Witches go into the woods apart from one another and there, by magick and meditation, that each seek a 'true' vision of the Goddess. This they both agreed to do.

After a time of invocations, there was a moment of perfect stillness. Then a glimmer of light could be seen in the forest, a light shaded deepest green by the dense foliage. Both Witches ran toward the source of the radiance. To their wonder and amazement, they discovered the Goddess had appeared in a clearing directly between them, so that neither Witch could see the other. And the Traditionalist Witch yelled 'What did I tell you!' at the same instant the Feminist Witch yelled 'You see, I was right!' and so neither Witch heard the other.

To the Feminist Witch, the Goddess seemed to be a shining matrix of power and strength, with courage and energy flowing outward. The Goddess seemed to be holding out her arms to embrace the Feminist Witch, as a comrade in arms. To the Traditionalist Witch, the Goddess seemed to be the zenith of feminine beauty, lightly playing a harp and singing a siren song of seduction. Energy seemed to flow towards her. And she seemed to hold out her arms to the Traditionalist Witch, invitingly.

From opposite sides of the clearing, the Witches ran toward the figure of the Goddess they both loved so well, desiring to be held in the ecstasy of that divine embrace. But just before they reached her, the apparition vanished.

And the two Witches were startled to find themselves embracing each other.

And then they both heard the voice of the Goddess. And, oddly enough, it sounded exactly the same to both of them.

It sounded like laughter.



Percussive Maintenance Required

I've change the setting for comments here to "registered users": this means to leave a comment you have to sign up for / login from a blogger account. It's free, but since this blog will mostly be languishing as a lump in cyberspace -- anyone who trips over it and wants to say something will have to be registered.
Not that an enterprising imp can't boondoggle the system, so I guess I'm counting on the laziness of the average malcontent to simply not bother me.
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Yeah, I am still smarting a bit from getting reamed over on the forum. A mild case of influence-ahhhh.

I'm going to be parking most of my thoughts over at
the other one, or the forum.
I'm letting this one just sit for a while. I may yet delete it.
I really don't know.
It's a first effort
and I've learned a lot here.
Thank you to everyone who ever took the time to read it -- and bless all the comment writers who took the time to share their thoughts.

loving thoughts, always.
"The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon." -- Robert Cromier


The Jackal and the Partridge

no deeper meanings here, none at all....
The Jackal and the Partridge
An Indian Tale


A Jackal and a Partridge swore eternal friendship; but the Jackal was very exacting and jealous. "You don't do half as much for me as I do for you," he used to say, "and yet you talk a great deal of your friendship. Now my idea of a friend is one who is able to make me laugh or cry, give me a good meal, or save my life if need be. You couldn't do that!"

"Let us see," answered the Partridge; "follow me at a little distance, and if I don't make you laugh soon you may eat me!"

So she flew on till she met two travellers trudging along, one behind the other. They were both footsore and weary, and the first carried his bundle on a stick over his shoulder, while the second had his shoes in his hand.

Lightly as a feather the Partridge settled on the first traveller's stick. He, none the wiser, trudged on, but the second traveller, seeing the bird sitting so tamely just in front of his nose, said to himself,

"What a chance for a supper!" and immediately flung his shoes at it, they being ready to hand. Whereupon the Partridge flew away, and the shoes knocked off the first traveller's turban.

"What a plague do you mean?" cried he, angrily turning on his companion. "Why did you throw your shoes at my head?"

"Brother!" replied the other mildly, "do not be vexed. I didn't throw them at you, but at a Partridge that was sitting on your stick."

"On my stick! Do you take me for a fool?" shouted the injured man, in a great rage. "Don't tell me such cock-and-bull stories. First you insult me, and then you lie like a coward; but I'll teach you manners!"

Then he fell upon his fellow-traveller without more ado, and they fought until they could not see out of their eyes, till their noses were bleeding, their clothes in rags, and the Jackal had nearly died of laughing.

"Are you satisfied?" asked the Partridge of her friend.

"Well," answered the Jackal, "you have certainly made me laugh, but I doubt if you could make me cry. It is easy enough to be a buffoon; it is more difficult to excite the higher emotions."

"Let us see," retorted the Partridge, somewhat piqued; "there is a huntsman with his dogs coming along the road. Just creep into that hollow tree and watch me: if you don't weep scalding tears, you must have no feeling in you!"

The Jackal did as he was bid, and watched the Partridge, who began fluttering about the bushes till the dogs caught sight of her, when she flew to the hollow tree where the Jackal was hidden. Of course the dogs smelt him at once, and set up such a yelping and scratching that the huntsman came up, and seeing what it was, dragged the Jackal out by the tail. Whereupon the dogs worried him to their hearts' content, and finally left him for dead.

By and by he opened his eyes--for he was only foxing--and saw the Partridge sitting on a branch above him.

"Did you cry?" she asked anxiously. "Did I rouse your higher emo---"

"Be quiet, will you!" snarled the Jackal; "I'm half dead with fear!"

So there the Jackal lay for some time, getting the better of his bruises, and meanwhile he became hungry.

"Now is the time for friendship!" said he to the Partridge. "Get me a good dinner, and I will acknowledge you are a true friend."

"Very well!" replied the Partridge; "only watch me, and help yourself when the time comes."

Just then a troop of women came by, carrying their husbands' dinners to the harvest-field.

The Partridge gave a little plaintive cry, and began fluttering along from bush to bush as if she were wounded.

"A wounded bird!--a wounded bird!" cried the women; "we can easily catch it!"

Whereupon they set off in pursuit, but the cunning Partridge played a thousand tricks, till they became so excited over the chase that they put their bundles on the ground in order to pursue it more nimbly. The Jackal, meanwhile, seizing his opportunity, crept up, and made off with a good dinner.

"Are you satisfied now?" asked the Partridge.

"Well," returned the Jackal, "I confess you have given me a very good dinner; you have also made me laugh--and cry--ahem! But, after all, the great test of friendship is beyond you--you couldn't save my life!"

"Perhaps not," acquiesced the Partridge mournfully, "I am so small and weak. But it grows late--we should be going home; and as it is a long way round by the ford, let us go across the river. My friend the crocodile will carry us over."

Accordingly, they set off for the river, and the crocodile kindly consented to carry them across, so they sat on his broad back and he ferried them over. But just as they were in the middle of the stream the Partridge remarked, "I believe the crocodile intends to play us a trick. How awkward if he were to drop you into the water!"

"Awkward for you too!" replied the Jackal, turning pale.

"Not at all! not at all! I have wings, you haven't."

On this the Jackal shivered and shook with fear, and when the crocodile, in a gruesome growl, remarked that he was hungry and wanted a good meal, the wretched creature hadn't a word to say.

"Pooh!" cried the Partridge airily, "don't try tricks on us,-- I should fly away, and as for my friend the Jackal, you couldn't hurt him. He is not such a fool as to take his life with him on these little excursions; he leaves it at home, locked up in the cupboard."

"Is that a fact?" asked the crocodile, surprised.

"Certainly!" retorted the Partridge. "Try to eat him if you like, but you will only tire yourself to no purpose."

"Dear me! how very odd!" gasped the crocodile; and he was so taken aback that he carried the Jackal safe to shore.

"Well, are you satisfied now?" asked the Partridge.

"My dear madam!" quoth the Jackal, "you have made me laugh, you have made me cry, you have given me a good dinner, and you have saved my life; but upon my honor I think you are too clever for a friend; so, good-bye!"

And the Jackal never went near the Partridge again.


Living Like a Pig

Ok, so I've been writing everywhere else but here. I am going to address what's going on -- but here's something to think about mean while...

Living Like a Pig
An Indian Tale
One day, a guru foresaw in a flash of vision what he would be in his next life. So he called his favorite disciple and asked him what he would do for his guru in return for all he had received. The disciple said he would do whatever his guru asked him to do.
Having received this promise, the guru said, "Then this is what I'd like you to do for me. I've just learned that when I die, which will be very soon, I'm going to be reborn as a pig. Do you see that sow eating garbage there in the yard? I'm going to be reborn as the fourth piglet of its next litter. You'll recognize me by a mark on my brow. When that sow has littered, find the fourth piglet with a mark on its brow and, with one stroke of your knife, slaughter it. I'll then be released from a pig's life. Will you do this for me?"
The disciple was sad to hear all this, but he agreed to do as he had promised.
Soon after this conversation, the guru did die. And the sow did have a litter of four little pigs. One day, the disciple sharpened his knife and picked out the fourth little pig, which did indeed have a mark on its brow. Just as he was about to bring down his knife to slit its throat, the little pig suddenly spoke. "Stop! Don't kill me!" it screamed.
Before the disciple could recover from the shock of hearing the little pig speak in a human voice, it said, "Don't kill me. I want to live on as a pig. When I asked you to kill me, I didn't know what a pig's life would be like. It's great! Just let me go."


Reason and Fortune

I love fairytales. Well -- of course I do! *snort*. This is one I've never read before....
Reason and Fortune
A Czech Tale

Once Reason met Fortune on a footbridge. "Let me pass," said Fortune.
Reason was inexperienced and did not know who should go first and said: "Why should I let you pass? You are not better than me."
"The one who manages to do more," answered Fortune, "is better. Can you see that boy who ploughs the field? Get inside him and if he is better with you than with me, I will let you pass any time and anywhere we will meet."
Reason agreed and got inside the boy's head. When the boy felt reason in his head, he began to think: "Why should I plough this field all my life? I could be happy." He stopped ploughing and went home.
"Papa," he said, "I do not like farming, I would like to learn to be a gardener."
His father said: "Have you become a fool?" But when he thought it over, he said: "If you want to, Vanek, you can, God be with you. Your brother will inherit our house from me instead of you."
Vanek lost the house but he did not mind it. He went away and began to learn at the royal gardens. He learnt very quickly and the gardener did not have to teach him much. Soon Vanek began to learn himself and did not need the gardener.
The gardener did not like it but when he saw that everything was being done well, he was satisfied: "I see that you are wiser than me," he said and let Vanek do everything himself.
The garden was nicer and nicer and the king was very pleased and walked in the garden very often with the queen and their only daughter.
The daughter was very beautiful girl but she stopped speaking when she was twelve and nobody heard her to speak since that time. The king was troubled by it very much and announced that who would teach her to speak, becomes her husband. Many young kings, princes and dukes came to try it but nobody managed it. The princess was silent. "Why couldn't I try it too? Maybe, I will be lucky," thought Vanek, "I will be asking her, she has to answer me."
He went to the king and was led to the room where the king's daughter was. She had a small dog and liked him very much because the dog was very smart and understood everything she wanted.
When Vanek and the king entered the room, he did not even notice the princess but began to talk to the dog: "I heard that you are very smart and I want advice from you. We were three journeymen--a carver, a tailor and me. Once we went through a forest and we had to sleep there. We were scared of wolves so we made fire. Each of us was to watch for some time. Firstly, the carver watched and because he had not much to do. He took a piece of wood and made a nice girl of it. Then he woke the tailor. The tailor saw the girl and asked what it was. 'You see,' said the carver, 'I did not know what to do, so I made this girl. If you want you can make dress for her.' The tailor took scissors, needle and thread and began to sew. When the dress was made, he put it on the girl. Then he asked me to watch. I asked what the girl was. 'You see,' said the tailor, 'the carver made this girl and I sewed the dress for her. If you want, you can teach her to speak.' And I really taught her to speak. In the morning, when they woke up, everybody wanted to have the girl. The carver said: 'I made her.' The tailor said: 'I made dress for her.' I also wanted to have the girl. Tell me, little dog, who should have the girl?"
The dog was silent but the princess answered instead of him: "Who else than you should have her? What is carver's girl without life? What is tailor's dress without speech? You gave her the best gift--life and speech--you should have the girl."
" You decided about yourself," said Vanek, "I gave speech and new life to you, so you should be mine."
One of the king's counselors said: "His Majesty will give you a good reward because you managed to give speech to the princess but you cannot marry her, you are not of a noble origin."
The king said: "You cannot marry her. I will give you a good reward."
Vanek, however, did not want to hear about the reward: "The king promised: 'who will make his daughter speak, will marry her.' The king's word is law and if the king wants people to behave according to law, he must behave in that way too. The king must give me his daughter."
"Bind him up," shouted the counselor, "he said that the king must do something, he will die. Your Majesty, his head should be cut off."
The king said: "Cut his head off."
Vanek was bound up and led to the place of execution. When they came there, Fortune said to Reason: "You see, he is not very well with you, his head will be cut off. Get out so I can get into your place."
When Fortune got inside Vanek, the headsman's sword broke. Before they brought another sword, the royal bugler came and after him the royal coach.
The king's daughter said to her father that Vanek was right and the king's word should not be cancelled and that the king can make duke of Vanek.
The king said: "You are right, he will be the duke."
They sent a coach for Vanek and instead of Vanek's head, the head of the counselor was cut off because his advice was not wise.
When there was the wedding reception, Reason came but seeing he would meet Fortune, he ran away.
Since that time, when Reason meets Fortune, Reason gives way so Fortune can pass.



I am at heart an etymologist. I love digging at the roots of words, understanding where they come from and how they evolve. "almost shadow" -- what a neat concept! It seems mind boggling something could possibly be an almost shadow -- either there is a shadow or there isn't -- but it's a slippery concept; intriguing and a pleasant waste of time to contemplate.
I am feeling better. I think. lol. I don't know how much it has to do with my physical health, but mentally I seem better off.
and I have this Richard Lewis voice in my head saying, for now.

You know? I'll take it. Yeah. good enough.
I appreciate the "numb" in penumbra as well as the straight, non-fuzzy definition.
hehehe heh.

This week's theme is: In the dark. penumbra (noun) [pi·NUM·brah]

1. a fringe region of partial shadow around a darker inner shadow, as in an eclipse

2. the grayish outer area surrounding the dark center of a sunspot: "Rick used special photography equipment to incorporate penumbra into his abstract art."

3. an indistinct area, especially where something is unclear or uncertain

4. an outer region or periphery

adjective forms: penumbral, penumbrous

Origin:Approximately 1666; from New Latin, 'penumbra'; from Latin, 'paene': almost + 'umbra': shadow.

In action:

"I know what you're talking about. There's a kind of person who shines, who is quick and bright and hard to catch, around whom it seems that life is sweeter, lighter, faster. And you want to ride in their cars and go to the parties they go to. But when you get in the car suddenly you're like a bag of concrete in the leather seat, dusty and inert, and they look at you and you know they're thinking how heavy you are and how unpleasant it's going to be to have to carry you on their backs all the way up the steps of the glamorous house up in the Hollywood Hills where Ice-T lives.

All I can say is, you have some choices. You can be the slightly uncool guy who's always in the background, as if silence and shadow followed you around; there's a penumbra of uncoolness about your head so that it's almost hard to see you even in the bright sunlight. You can be that guy if you want, if you feed on this action and you can stand not to be in the spotlight, can stand being the driver, the fetcher of cocktails, the one who always goes for beer.

I have been cool and I have been uncool, and cool is pretty good, but uncool is better. Cool is too much work; you have to be an athlete of ennui, a virtuoso actor of sweet nonchalance, you have to look as though where you just came from was the most fabulous place in the world except for the place where you're headed to. You can do it if you study the movies. But you will always be pretending that you don't wake up lonely and afraid in the middle of the night."

Cary Tennis. "Since you asked: Attracting the wrong women," [There's a kind of girl I like, but I don't seem to get anywhere with her because I don't speak the 'cool people' language.] Salon.com (April 23, 2003).


Tune in tomorrow for: OPACITY


Jeen Lilly

I write alot.
But I recently discovered why it's hard for me to write fiction -- since my oevure's style is ...hmmm confessional, I suppose would be a good name for it, my entre nous funny tends to get argued and washed out when too much fiction tresspasses into it. I will go to great lengths to make it laughable -- but buried not-too-deep I find the funniest stuff has a diamond core of truth to it. likewise, I may start out writing a piece of fiction that gets a weird turn of reality -- all of a sudden I've got a flying fish from my past launching out of my stream of consciousness, and I wonder what disturbed it -- and what do I DO with this wriggling icky toothy alien life form gasping for it's accustomed breathable mix of H2O.
so I solved my problem of being me (hahaHA!) by creating a fictional character -- who writes biographically.
She's a screen, a beard, drawing board AND circular file. an Etch-A-Sketch.
Hardly a new idea -- Kilgore Trout, Carson Wheeler, (Vonnegut and Garrison Keillor respectively) are long time fictional aliases who tell a biographical sort of fiction.
good grief that IS Keillor's whole schtick.
Indeed anyone who writes fiction in the first person temporarily slips on a persona other than him/herself.
I've noticed this creation of mine is more me than I am.
That could be a red flag for a psychological disorder -- or more likely (of course since it's what I THINK, how reliable is it?!) what it is plain old healthy ego inventing itself.
Out of the shattered mess I am to start with, I have this idea of who I want to be... and permission to be it.
Jeen Lilly. Me -- as a semi-grown up.
ohhh yeah. Let the analysis begin....