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Chapter 7A

Chapter 7

Later, the High Priestess helped him to his feet and showed him a small bowl of oil and clay goblet of wine sitting on the altar. Moistening a finger in the oil she traced a symbol in the middle of his forehead where his third eye was located.

“I mark you with the triple sign.”

“I consecrate you with oil.”

Dipping her finger in the wine, she again drew a symbol on his forehead.

“I consecrate you with wine.”

“I consecrate you with my lips,” she said lastly and softly kissed him on the lips.

Then she handed Tobal a piece of paper. He recognized the Oath of the Apprentice written upon it.

“Now you must sign the oath you have just taken.”

Tobal signed the paper as everyone cheered and applause erupted all around the circle. Looking around the circle for the first time, Tobal saw fifty or sixty people cheering and waving cups at him in celebration and congratulation. After the applause died down the High Priestess handed him a pair of gray woolen trousers.

“The color gray symbolizes the imperfections that are within each of us. As we strive toward the spiritual life these imperfections become harmless and as we accept them they in turn nourish our souls like the seed is nourished by the dark rich soil of the earth. Our imperfections help us to grow stronger if we use them wisely and learn from our mistakes.”

She handed a sheathed knife and belt to him. “This is your true weapon. It symbolizes the mastery of thought and intent over the material world. As you learn the art of survival in the wilderness you will come to appreciate how important this simple tool can be. It will one day save your life. You will also use this tool in your dreams as your spirit grows stronger and is tested by your personal fears and demons.”

As he buckled the belt and knife around his waist the High Priestess gave him a decorated wine skin filled with mead.

“This is the vessel of the Lady, the Holy Grail of immortality. From this we drink in friendship and in honor of them both. It is the emotional joys and pleasures of human companionship that make life deep and rewarding. It is in sharing our lives with others we find purpose and reward. Life is an eternal celebration and it must be celebrated with others lest we find ourselves alone and unloved.”

“These are the tools of the Apprentice. In the second degree you will learn other mysteries.”

Then taking her own knife in hand she said, “Brother Oak, to learn you must suffer and be purified. Are you willing to suffer in order to learn?”

“Yes,” Tobal answered.
Gripping his right thumb the High Priestess expertly made a small cut. “You signed the oath with a pencil but your Higher Self signs with the blood of your life.”

She took his bleeding thumb and placed it on top of his signature. Then both she and the High Priest placed a drop of their own blood over his saying, “I know you as a beloved brother. Our blood is forever mingled. I will defend and help you according to my Higher conscience and Higher Self to the best of my ability.”

She gazed intently into his eyes, “Look at this oath that you have signed, witnessed by your Higher Self.”

Turning she stepped and threw it into the bonfire. He started as the paper burst furiously into flames. She continued, “As a symbolic act this paper is consumed and purified by the flame of the bonfire until nothing is left but your pure intent. So also in reality may all levels of your being find their true place in the transforming fire of the Lord and Lady that are both found within your own heart. Your commitment and oath is between you and the Lord and Lady. It is not a matter for us. This simple act is a token and symbol of your desire to live in the spiritual light and to be purified in mind, body and spirit.”

“Yet, this is not enough,” she continued.

She took his wine skin and drank from it before offering it to him. “Truly the powers of your higher self flow ever into your being and if you are open to the process your life will be changed forever. Let the chalice of your soul freely receive the wine of your spirit and experience divine intoxication thereby.”

At her gesture Tobal lifted the wine skin and drank the mead. It seemed to glow in the fire light as if it were full of some vital energy that had a life of it’s own. He felt the warmth and energy spread through him warmly bursting with energy and love. As the golden fluid poured down his throat into his stomach he could feel the warmth grow until he was standing in a large ball of energy and spiritual light.

Then the High Priest and High Priestess both placed their hands on his head invoking the highest power of the Lord and Lady. The energy poured into him sealing his initiation forever.

The High Priestess said, “I now salute you in the name of the Lord and Lady.” Turning, she led him to each of the four smaller fires at each quarter of the circle and proclaimed loudly at each station.

“Brother Oak has been consecrated Apprentice of our ancient craft and is become a Child of the Lord and Lady.”

As she finished the entire circle came forward in a wild celebration and swept over Tobal. The party had begun.

“Hey, get up! Get up!”

Someone was pushing and shaking Tobal. Groggily he raised his head. It was Rafe shaking him and grinning mischievously. “Hey, c’mon. We’ve got a lot to do today. You going to sleep all morning?”

Tobal groaned and put his hands to his head. He had a splitting headache and a nasty hangover feeling in his gut. Must have had too much of the mead and home brewed beer last night he thought morosely. He rolled over and tried going back to sleep but Rafe was shaking him again cheerfully.

“C’mon, I’m not kidding. It’s a busy day. Let’s go get some breakfast.”

Tobal sat up and looked around realizing he had been sleeping in one of the teepees he had seen yesterday. He didn’t have any idea how he had gotten there. There were empty blankets where other people must have slept but they were all gone. He was the only one left.Sitting up he looked bleary eyed at Rafe.

“What are we doing today?” He tried valiantly to ignore the throbbing in his head and the churning in his gut.

Rafe gave him another light hearted, good natured poke with an elbow. “How does it feel to be a witch?” He asked cheerfully. “Perhaps I should say an Apprentice witch.” He chuckled.

An Apprentice witch?” Tobal mumbled. “I didn’t know I was going to become an apprentice witch! What the hell are you talking about anyway?”

Rafe hunkered down on his haunches, “I keep forgetting your parents are dead,” he said. “I can’t believe all of this is completely new to you. Most of us have grown up within the system and understand it.”

“Well I don’t,” grumped Tobal. “Maybe you can fill me in on what I’m getting myself into here.”

“There are three separate degrees in our system,” Rafe told him. “These three degrees correspond to the three degrees of the ancient mystery schools, the three degrees of ancient Freemasonry and the three degrees of witchcraft. We simply call it the three degrees of the Craft.”

“The first degree of Apprentice is concerned with learning the basic survival skills that will keep you alive in the woods during all seasons of the year. We are given gray tunics and trousers…by the way.” He grinned. “How do you like your new trousers?”

Tobal flushed and grinned back, “They are pretty nice actually. It was getting kind of drafty after they shortened my robe.”

Rafe snickered, “Well anyway, the color gray symbolizes the degree we are in. The second degree is black. You probably noticed your guards last night were wearing black?”

Tobal grinned. He was starting to feel much better. “They were pretty rough too, but my guide was nice looking, that dark haired girl?”

Rafe ignored him, “That’s part of the Journeyman degree. The Journeyman degree is where you learn self-defense among other things. “ Rafe looked at him quizzically, “Do you remember how you have to train six other people to solo before you can enter the Journeyman degree?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, to complete the Journeyman degree you need to beat six other people in hand to hand combat. That doesn’t mean how many times you get beat yourself,” he grinned ruefully.

He looked a little worried and Tobal couldn’t help but think Rafe was a bit anxious about becoming a Journeyman. That was probably due to his small size. It was hard to think Rafe could beat anyone in a fair fight.

“What about the third degree then? What’s that degree about?” he asked curiously. “Are they the ones dressed in red tunics and robes?”

“Yes, they are dressed in red.” They are titled Master of the circle and accorded the highest respect. You never know when your life is going to be in their hands. Their obligation is to serve as emergency medics and to officiate during circle and initiations. They monitor the health and well being of everyone. You will see them riding around on their air sleds. They monitor our med-alert bracelets and are instantly alerted if our vital signs change through injury.”

He held up his silver bracelet to show Tobal. “If something ever goes wrong and we are badly hurt our wrist alarms go off and it is the third degree Masters that give us the medical attention we need. Sometimes they are too late or nothing can be done. Other times they will take us to sanctuary or the hospital for serious injury or illness. Basically they keep tabs on everyone and make sure we are healthy and doing all right. They serve as medics for three years. After three years of medical service they are accepted as citizens into Heliopolis.”

“Three years!” Tobal blurted. “It will take forever to become a citizen!”

Rafe shook him hard and looked seriously into his eyes. “Don’t even think about becoming a citizen,” he warned. “Focus on learning and living right now in the present moment. Get this right or you will not live to become a citizen.”

Tobal found his pack and carried it silently thinking about what Rafe had just told him as they went off to find some breakfast.

The second day of circle was pleasant. Rafe introduced him to many friendly people he instinctively felt comfortable with. Tobal wondered how many of these new friends Rafe had personally trained and helped solo. He noticed Rafe was well liked by many circle members. Even more interesting was a certain section of the circle that seemed to really dislike Rafe. Tobal wondered why.

This small group went out of their way to be disagreeable to Rafe and to him. After one roughly pushed past him Tobal asked Rafe about it.

“What’s with those jerks anyway?” He asked.

May Morning

May Morning
 
The May morning shimmered,
She sat silent and pale,
Her sweet eyes glimmered,
And slowly became moist.
 
Shadows of pain darkened
Her white features,
And large tears glittered
Like dew in the sunlight.

A butterfly gawked
At the sad, silent couple,
And fluttered
In her blonde hair.
 
His look; gloomy thoughts,
Sucked away her charm.
The hour, that trickled away,
Gave them pain, after pain.
 
They remained silent; each suffering,
In equally bitter torment.
So the two sat separately,
United for one last time.

-Mia Holm
translated by Joe Bandel

Live And Let Live

Freedom is a powerful word and it evokes powerful images within each of us. To each of us freedom may be something different. Freedom is a need and it may express itself in many ways to many forms of life, not only human life. Freedom may be expressed as:

The need to be free as a falcon. The need for family. The need to hunt. The need to kill or be killed. The need to fly and soar. The need to find our own true will. The need to live and die with honor. The need to be true to ourselves at all costs. The need to live according to our conscience. The need to find the master within.

When we grant others personal freedom and respect we have the right to demand the same freedom and respect be granted to us. There is a great difference between the concept of live and let live and this concept. In the freedom concept we acknowledge that others have a need to act in the manner they choose. We also acknowledge that we have a need to act in the manner of our choosing.

Most importantly we acknowledge the dynamic necessity of each of us living in the same world. The concept of live and let live is passive and carefully avoids the placing of value or morality on any type of life. It denies the need for any conflict in life. In the use of this live and let live concept we avoid the need for giving our support to others. This concept is one of withdrawal and isolation. Live and let live does not work.

Each one of us is a unique individual. We each have personally experience things others have not experienced. We know some things from first-hand experience that others only speculate about. The people and environment in my life are different from those in anyone else’s life. The differences exist even to those closest to me because my world is seen through my eyes and their world is seen through their eyes.

Everyone must walk a unique and individual path in life. One person’s weakness may be another person’s strength. There is no way to say that anyone’s path is better than any other path.

Nature has ordained that all paths must be walked so that we may discover which paths are the best. We must be able to be supportive of those that walk a path different from ours.This is especially true when someone’s path is in conflict with our own. The concept of live and let live does not allow or encourage the support of others. The concept of allowing each to have personal freedom does allow this.

There is a need to acknowledge the rightness of competition. There is a need to be able to say may the best man, woman or team win. There is a need to acknowledge the dynamic vitality of life. There is a need to be united in the mutual need for freedom as opposed to just passively letting everyone do their own thing. There is a need to become involved in the lives of others and in community. There is a need to create an environment for others so they can flourish in a supportive atmosphere.

There is also at times a need to tell others to back off and alter certain behaviors that are disruptive or harmful. At times there is a need to confront others. At times there is a need to fight for what we believe in.

The Etheric Double

The two outermost electron rings possible for an atom each have 32 electrons which they can hold. This is much more than any of the previous inner electron rings or shells. That means it takes 32 bits of awareness or soul fragments to complete each of these astral bodies. For most of us this is the work of a lifetime or it may never happen at all. it takes a lot of energy to activate 32 bits of awareness. But each bit is simply an electron and an electron of hydrogen is the same as the electron of any other element. Each is the same and takes the same effort to create.

The innermost of these two shells creates what is called the Etheric body and the outer final shell creates what is called the elemental body or etheric double.

The Etheric body contains 32 bits of awareness and reflects a full range of sensory abilities within dreams like reading, writing, smell, hearing and texture.

Sensations like taste and pain are still absent for the most part. They belong to the elemental body or Etheric double.

The Etheric planes are the classic astral planes of magical working. Most magic takes place on the Etheric planes and alters them in some way which will affect physical events before they happen.

In the process of developing our astral bodies there are two paths to follow. The magical path works to develop all 32 bits of awareness which creates the Etheric body and then integrates with the Etheric double. This means trying to develop 32 bits of awareness through the generation and cumulation of physical energy for the Etheric body and then 32 bits more to free the elemental body and integrate the Etheric double. This takes a very long time and a lot of energy!

The most common means of developing these nonphysical bodies is through hard physical exercise and sexual activity. This path works from the bottom upwards and has much in common with the martial arts. Its strength is the ability to manifest physical events. This is the natural path of athletes.

It’s weakness is the extremes of both pain and pleasure which must be physically experienced. You will experience that which you fear the most as well as that which you desire the most. Because everything operates at such near physical levels many toxic or negative factors cannot be safely neutralized. This is why magical adepts seek to develop the higher astral bodies as well so they can neutralize toxic energies.

The mystical path works from the top downward activating the innermost spiritual self first. This shell has only two bits of awareness as mentioned before. Then the second and third shells or mental bodies are created. Each of those has eight bits of awareness or soul fragments. In this manner the higher astral bodies are developed before the lower ones are. The fourth and fifth astral bodies or emotional bodies each are created out of 16 bits of awareness or soul fragments. This can take a lifetime or more as well to achieve. Physical effort and vitality are channeled upwards to activate these astral bodies.

The strength of this path is in invulnerability which neutralizes the worst toxins and negative factors long before they can manifest physically. Nothing can hurt this adept significantly. They are able to transmute negative energy and make it work in positive ways. The weakness of this path is an inability to physically manifest desires in real life. The lower astral levels govern physical events before they happen and these adepts is not strong at these levels. That is why these adepts constantly try to become stronger at the earth levels.

What we call our physical body is really including the elemental body which only separates from the physical body at death or in rare circumstances. These bits of awareness form our physical senses as we understand them. As these bits of awareness are developed they become free to leave the physical body to form what is called the Etheric double.

The integration and mastery of this Etheric double grants us the ability to have normal physical perceptions at the lowest levels of the astral planes and travel the physical earth in out of body experiences. We do this when we integrate our shadow. There have been many instances recorded of this type of classic astral projection. In reality we can project with any of the seven astral bodies if they have been developed correctly.

Female Magical Energy

Female magical energy has some very definite differences from male magical energy. I’ve already mentioned that the Tantric path is very natural for the female. The female orgasm automatically floods the body and sends energy into the astral. This is one reason why females have always been accused of being witches and having the ability to do magic. They are naturally active in creative magic. From the Tantric point of view all they really have to do is prolong the edge of orgasm as long as possible. Tantra also suggests that the woman learn to use the muscles of her womb during sex to press the penis and enhance the pleasure. This is essentially the kugel exercise that pregnant women are taught. That is all old stuff. I want to share new stuff, stuff that hasn’t been shared before my knowledge.

The source of magical orgasm power in the female comes from the ovaries and womb which are located near the heart and solar plexus energy centers. For practical purposes the female orgasm includes all of these energy centers in a massive full body sensation so the heart and solar plexus also play an important part in this for the female. Often this might be such a strong feeling that it might seem the orgasm is centered in the heart itself. So orgasm for the female is very love centered and very powerful and involves more than one energy center or chakra!

Female orgasm energy will tend to fall or drop down to lower levels unless it is consciously worked with and deliberately raised to the higher energy centers. This can be achieved through conscious meditation and circulating her energy upward. This is one of the reasons why many women sink into depression. Their natural energy is drawing their awareness down unconsciously. The reason it falls is because it is a manifesting energy and seeks physical manifestation.

Male energy when mixed with female energy tends to raise the female energy and help it be more buoyant. That is because male energy is expansive and more solar in nature. A mutual working that includes male energy helps the female awareness to rise to the highest levels. In Wicca this practice is called drawing down the moon! It is also why the female often seeks a highly spiritual male partner to lift her own energies as high as possible. This is also why spiritual relationships are so important.

By itself female orgasm energy is very powerful and can be used to block something or used in self-defense by creating a magical barrier of protection around the female or those she loves. The more sexual energy generated for this purpose, the stronger the protection.

One final particular about the female is her ability to choose which energies that she will accept and which energies she will reject or block. She is extremely powerful in this ability and her magic is very strong. The female can magically choose her partner and the energies that she shares with her partner.

The male requires the female to create a space for him energetically or he will not find balance and peace. To create a space is how the female can make an empty house a home filled with love and joy. Without female love the male is empty and without love.

When the female takes in male energy and mixes it with her own it becomes plastic and can be magically worked with to create things within the astral which she desires. Her energy by itself solidifies astral creations while mixed energy allows her to magically work with them and shape them.

I’ve already mentioned how the female takes in the males energy until she is completed and her soul or Observer self is created. She then continues to take in male energy, until she becomes astrally pregnant and gives birth to an astral child which the male then embodies as his own soul body or Observer self. This is the hidden occult meaning of being born again! Females often have dreams of such babies!

Chapter 6B

No one came for him as he sat meditating and watching the moon rise. He guessed it must be around midnight and the moon was full and bright. The sky was very clear and the stars were brilliant. Then he saw a black robe coming toward him in the moonlight with a torch. As the figure neared, Tobal saw it was a dark haired girl. Feeling a little self conscious, he scrambled to his feet and steadied himself.

She stopped in front of him holding the burning torch in his face. “You are a lost and lonely soul wandering in the darkness and searching for light. Without wisdom you are wandering blindly and doing harm to yourself. If you wish, I will act as your guide. Do you seek the light and wisdom of our clan?”

Tobal answered, “Yes, I do.”

“There are two passwords you must remember or you will not be allowed into our sacred circle.” She slowly whispered, “Perfect Love” and “Perfect Trust” into his ear. “Can you remember these two passwords?”

Tobal nodded in silence.

“You must speak, Yes or No,” she demanded shoving the torch at him fiercely.

“Yes, I can remember them,” he stammered backing away from the fire.

“Come with me, but first I must blindfold you.” She took a strip of gray cloth and bound it tightly across his eyes so he couldn’t see anything.

She led him stumbling in the darkness toward the central fire he had seen in the distance. As they neared he could feel it’s heat and hear the flames crackle. He could also hear the muffled stirrings of other people as they hushed to watch and listen. Another female voice spoke loudly from the center of the circle.

“Listen to the words of the Lord and Lady. Whenever you need something call upon us, the guiding spirits of the human race, male and female. We shall answer you and assist you in all things. You are meant to be free, to dance, to sing, to feast and to make love. Do these things all with our blessings for the “Blessings” of physical life and the “Blessings” of spiritual life are as one within each human heart.

Embrace your dreams and desires as you strive to make them real. Let nothing stop you or turn you aside. Accept our blessings and help because life is meant to be a joy of the heart. We, male and female, can be found within the dust of the earth and the light of the stars. Our awareness encircles the universe and binds it to our wills. In our union is the beauty of the green earth and the white moon among the stars, the mystery of the waters and the desires of the heart of man. We call upon your soul to join us in the creation of nature and the expansion of the life force into the universe.

From the union of male and female all things must come and all things must return. Rejoice therefore in the duality of life and let your worship be acts of love and pleasure, beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence. Know that we are within you, male and female, and if you can not find our union within yourself, you will never find it within another person. We will be with you at your death even as we were with you at the moment of your birth.”

In the pause that followed Tobal’s guide stepped forward and said loudly, “A seeker is among us. Tobal Kane has claimed sanctuary. He wishes to join with us and follow the ways of the ancient craft.”

The High Priestess called out, “This is not a matter to be taken lightly. Your immortal soul will be deeply committed to the path of the Lord and Lady if you continue. Do you wish to join your destiny to that of the Lord and Lady?”

Tobal spoke out firmly, “I do.”

The High Priestess came up to him and placed her hands on his shoulders, “Know well that love and trust must be freely given so they may be freely received. Consider carefully your own words because your life’s blood may someday be required. Do you still desire to join your destiny with ours?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Very well, in following the way that stretches beyond life and death will you serve the Lady and reverence the Lord? Will you keep secret from the untrustworthy those things we will show you?”

“Yes, I will.”

“Have you chosen a name by which you will be known within the circle?”

“I have chosen ‘Brother Oak’ as my magickal name.”

“So be it brother Oak, enter the path of light.”

Tobal was pulled forward into the circle but his guide sharply pulled him back.

“Brother Oak, You cant’ enter our sacred circle unpurified.”

Tobal waited, wondering what was going on. He felt water being sprinkled over him.

“I purify you with water.”

He suddenly smelled incense very strongly.

“I purify you with fire.”

The High Priestess continued, “Know this, you will not be asked to go against the inner voice of your conscience or against your higher soul by taking the oath of our sacred circle.” He felt the sharp point of a knife blade pressing painfully into his chest.

“It would be better to rush upon this blade than continue with fear in your heart. There are two passwords that will allow you entrance into our circle. What are they?”

Tobal whispered, “Perfect Love” and “Perfect Trust.”

The High Priestess smiled, “These are most welcome within our circle. I give you another.” She embraced Tobal and kissed him, her body pressed tightly against his. With her body she turned him around and pushed him into the circle. Then she led him stumbling clockwise around the fire coming to a sudden stop.

“Powers of the East. Brother Oak is properly prepared for initiation as Apprentice into our ancient craft.” He was led further and stopped again at another point. “Powers of the South. Brother Oak is properly prepared for initiation as Apprentice into our ancient craft.”

This was repeated two more times, once at the West and once at the North. Then she led him back near the center of the circle where he felt the heat from the bon fire against the front of his body. “You are about to be recognized as an Apprentice of our clan and circle. As an Apprentice you are expected to gain the skills to survive on your own in the wilderness. You are expected to take care of your own belongings and eventually set up your own household.

You are expected to solo for one month to prove your mastery of survival skills. Following that”, she continued, “you are expected to train six others even as you will be trained. You must do these things before you are allowed to progress into the 2nd degree of our ancient and holy craft. Do you understand this? Do you agree to do these things to the best of your ability?”

“I do,” said Tobal.

“In agreeing to these obligations you have passed the test required and may now take the Oath of our circle. Are you ready to continue?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Will you always help, defend and protect brothers and sister of our clan from harm?”

“I will.”

“Then repeat after me, I, Brother Oak, in the presence of the Lord and Lady, most solemnly swear I will keep the secrets of our clan. I will never refuse to share these secrets with a brother or sister if they have been initiated as I was. I further swear I will not loose control of my thoughts, words, or actions. I will not use my powers for evil purposes and I will proceed with firmness and courage to the conclusion of this initiation. I will let my inner conscience and higher self guide me in all ways. I further swear by my hopes of a future life, mindful that my measure will be taken. May my weapons be turned against me if I break this solemn oath. So help me, Lord and Lady and my own Higher Soul.”

“Now we are going to take your measure.”

Tobal felt the High Priestess and someone else stretch a cord from the top of his head to the ground and heard them cut it. Then the string was placed around his forehead and a knot tied as the measure was taken. Next he was asked to raise his arms and the string was placed around his heart where another measurement was taken and another knot tied in the cord. Lastly he felt the cord around his hips and genital area where a final measurement was taken.

The High Priestess wound up the string and placed it on an altar that stood near the fire. “Before you are sworn, are you willing to pass the ordeal?”

“I am willing,” Tobal answered.

A drum began to sound and he could hear the outer circle come alive as members began to dance and move around the circle. They gently pushed and nudged Tobal as they passed turning him until he was giddy and completely disoriented. This seemed to go on forever as a feeling of stuffiness, energy and heat within the circle became overpowering until the cone of power was raised. Tobal felt like he was about to faint.

Abruptly the High Priestess called a halt and turned Tobal back to face the bonfire.

“If you seek the light, you shall find it!” She shouted snatching the blind fold from his eyes.

He was momentarily blinded and couldn’t see.

“This bonfire is the symbol of the triumph of truth and wisdom. The light it gives is symbolic of the greater spiritual light you now seek.” Placing her hand on his head, she intoned, “In the name of the Lord and Lady, I transmit this blessing of love and light to stir your higher self and bring you into the light.”

A tingling and pouring of light and energy flowed through Tobal. It was so powerful he felt dizzy and happy at the same time.

The High Priest came up next placing his hand on Tobal’s head. “In the name of the Lord and Lady, I transmit this blessing of love and light to stir your higher self and bring you into the light.”

Again Tobal felt the tingling as a wave of energy swept through him. It was a different type of energy but just as powerful as the first. They felt different but somehow they also felt like they belonged together.

He felt himself being torn from his body and pulled into a vortex of energy that swirled him upward to be embraced in the arms of a man and woman of radiant light. This must be the Lord and Lady, he remembered thinking before he collapsed.

Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums

Katie, who reads my songs,
Wants me to write about chrysanthemums.
Chrysanthemums—
The flowers that Katie loves.
So now she stands before me at the writing desk,
And I put my head in my hands and search, search
For the soul of this flower—
And I think:
Yes—two images come to me,
That can put me on the track—
One: the delicate, sensitive Frenchman,
Pierre Loti visualized it and painted it
In the foggy tones of “The Boys of Glasgow”,
And hidden in a painting by Whistler,
He called his vision—“Madame Chrysanthemum”.
Yet these flowers speak differently to me,
Still, I can’t find their soft tones
And their voices—
Let me search further—
And the other image?
In my mother’s house, on one floor
In a brilliant white area is a
Black framed sketch of the Madonna,
The one sitting—and on both sides,
Are two small end tables,
Which hold large, gray vases.
But mother always puts chrysanthemums
In the vases,
Chrysanthemums, and only chrysanthemums.
Why only chrysanthemums?
No, red Mallows should be there,
Red, white and violet mallows!
And I search for the soul of this flower,
And can’t find a trace of it anywhere.
I have to ask Katie!
“Katie! Katie!”
Katie comes and rocks in the chair!
“Oh, you big fool!—you muse, muse,
Meditate and think—and my lovely flower
Says nothing to you?”
Then listen: “The coquette shepherd girls
From Trianon, at the festival
Carried colored chrysanthemums on their staffs—
And at the ball Katie laughs and dances,
And on her white shoulders laughs
Colored chrysanthemums.
Fluttering soft petals, like those of the
Colorful shepherd girls, that play in the wind,
That forget all troubles and sorrows.
And the short hours of sweet embrace,
That delight the poor senses!
You see—that—is everything!”
And I kneel:
“Katie, let me kiss your shoulders,
On your shoulders I kiss your flowers,
Soft chrysanthemums:—Katharina!”

-Hanns Heinz Ewers
translated by Joe Bandel