Java and the Sacred Spiral: Part I

Java and the Sacred Spiral

I took Faerie for the first time: finally folding under the peer pressure of my Shaman friend, Joseph, who had already tried it the week before with his own Spiritual Advisor. First, we Prayed and smoked the Peace Pipe in our usual manner. Then Joe added the green crystals to a hot cup of coffee for each us. The Faerie added a slight sweetness which reminded me of stevia.

Just after finishing the last sip of the cup o’ joe, both of us began to take the Spirit Walk. I immediately left my body sitting cross legged by the campfire, rose up toward the crescent moon and saw the forest recede away from me.

Just then I saw a bright chariot approach me on a Rainbow Bridge pulled by giant cats: pumas, tigers, panthers, cougars, jaguars and lionesses. At the reigns of the chariot was an unimaginably beautiful Woman with a hunting horn around her neck and a spear in her right hand. At once I recognized her as Freyja the Norse goddess of Fertility and Passion. I raised both hands as a sign of submission then Freyja spoke: “Welcome, Java, I have been hunting you in your Dreams of late, but only now with Faerie do let me in?”

I nodded for speech eluded me at the moment.

“Now you know exactly what your next step can be?”

I nodded again: mute.

“Very well, young Java. Remember you are just a Dream away from me. You can call on me at any time and I will assist you. Now, go with Courage in the Risk you must now take.”

I then lowered my head and knelt down Humbly to pray with Grace.

Then her voice became the Cry of a Hawk: “Rise, Spiritual Warrior! Go Boldly into the Void!”

Immediately I returned to my corporeal body sitting beside the campfire. Joseph had obviously not yet returned from his own Vision Quest and appeared in a State of Bliss. Just then I noticed a third man had joined us around the fire. He was softly drumming a heartbeat rhythm on a simple djembe drum. I noticed he had a patch over his right eye and a threadbare old, floppy grey hat which matched his timeworn grey cloak. At that moment I felt that my right hand had a tambourine that was keeping time with the steady heartbeat of the djembe by the Stranger. Soon the Stranger began to sing in an alien tongue which sounded like “Hey, yo, you. Yeah, yo.”

The Drummer stopped suddenly and asked: “Who are you, my Friend?”

“My friends call me Java.”

“Like coffee?”

“Exactly. I am a Java Shaman by Nature and by Trade. Who are you?”

“My friends call me Wodin.” He replied.

“Like the Norse Sky God?”

“Exactly.”

“That’s funny because I just got done talking to your wife, Freyja.”

“Funny ‘Ha, ha’ or funny ‘What’?”

“Funny ‘What’ I guess.”

“Yeah. She and I have been on the rocks, lately. We had quite the row a few days ago.”

“Regarding?”

Awkward Silence.

“Well, anyway, it’s really none of my business.”

“On the contrary. You are who we were fighting about.”

“Really!?!” I exclaimed.

“I’m more hands on. She prefers subtlety.” He began to drum the heartbeat softly again, so I began to see him as the god or angel that he truly was.At that moment two Ravens landed on the ground just at the edge of the light of the campfire. Joe still had that faraway look in his eyes: oblivious.

The first Raven spoke to his Master: “We must be gone from this place. The Enemy approaches! Caw! Caw!”

The second Raven joined in: “Caw! Caw!” And then whispered into Joe’s ear. Instantly Joe came out of his Revelry:
“Say what?”

“We must go. Now!” Wodin yelled.

Joe looked at me with a “‘who’s this’ expression on his face. I just shrugged my shoulders with an ‘I’ll explain later’ look in my eyes.

In the distance I heard the sound of horses approaching and was filled with Fear.

“Worry not, my new found Friends. That is the sound of our Salvation.” Wodin explained. Three horses appeared at the edge of the clearing and I noticed that one of them had eight legs: Sleipnir, Wodin’s horse. The other two were a palomino and a red roan. “Quickly, my Friends, we must away: Swiftly!”

“I have never ridden bare back, Wodin!”

“Worry not. Hang on to their mane. They know to follow me. Away!”

We galloped away from the campfire and down a dark and narrow trail. Branches whipped at my face and my hat was knocked off my head. No one had been down this trail for a long time. The thought came to me that I could still be sitting by the campfire following Wodin on another Vision Quest. But the sting of the branches on my face and the rippling of the horse’s muscles between my legs assured me that I was in the Here and Now: following a god toward an Unknown Destination.

The Moon appeared above the trees in all its fullness and beauty so that the Trail clearly before us for the first time: Wide and straight up the ridge line of a rocky mountain. I leaned forward on the horse to make the climb easier for both me and my horse. Without warning Wodin’s great steed leapt off the top of the mountain in to thin air and began to hurtle through the bright night. Our horses followed him as if the air was solid ground.

The Aftermath: Banishment

The Aftermath: Banishment

“A Real Friend is one who Knows your
Faults and still Loves you
In spite of Them.”
Grandma

I was in deep shit. Not only did I take her Virginity, I went ahead and got her Pregnant. Now I must leave my family and my whole Village. One factor was in my favor, I had a Real Friend: Joshua.

Joshua and I had been friends as far back as we can remember. Joshua showed his loyalty when he admitted to the counsel that he had been the one who stole the booze that lead to the events that Infamous night. It had no effect on my punishment: Banishment. So Joshua threw himself on the mercy of the counsel. “I will leave here with Jarl. I am culpable.”

“Now way, Joshua! I and I alone must be punished for this . . . Uh . . . Crime.”

“You are my Friend, Jarl, and I join your Quest for Redemption.”

“Very well. The council has spoken: both Joshua and you are hereby Banished”

“No wait. Josh you cannot do this! I do not accept this sacrifice.” I pleaded.

“Jarl, you are my Friend until the End of Time.”

As we gathered our backpacks, Joshua noticed a note in his bag. It said simply: “FAG” So Joshua and I left, never to Return? Alone in each other’s faults.

We approached the nearest village and were not allowed in the front gate. So they gave it a wide birth. It was the case at the next three villages who knew of their crimes already. Joshua and I trudged our path without a word: Alone in our
thoughts and prayers. When will this punishment end? I ruminated.

What have I done? Who have I hurt? Repeated in Joshua’s mind as he prayed to his Ancestors.

“Joshua, you have made a True act of Selflessness. You will be rewarded in this life and the next.” Then Joshua broke the silence. “We will be there soon; I can feel it!”

“Be where?” I questioned.

“Where we’re supposed to be.”

“Yeah, right!” I scoffed. “We will always be Marked from this day forward just like Cain in the old stories. Get used to it!”

“No Jarl, my friend. This, Now, is the first day of our New Life. Time is on our side, Java. Every day, the Closer we are to Fine.”

“’The Closer I am to Fine?’ Bullshit!”

“You make a bad Optimist, Java.”

“Goramn it, Josh, quit calling me Java. That’s my True Name!”

“I’m here for you, Jarl . . . We’ve won the anti-lottery, my friend. It cannot get any worse than it is right Now!”

“Now that’s right.” I admitted. “We’re Starbuxed!”

“If we are at the bottom, then there is Hope . . .”

“What if we just keep skipping off the bottom and falling down again?”

“I tell you the Truth: This is the beginning of the End. For my Ancestors have spoken the Truth to me.” Replied Joshua.

“When?”

“They came to me while we were walking in Silence. I forgive you, Java.” He said softly.

Taken aback, “Thank you, Joshua, my Brother.”

“You are welcome, Brother.”

The Brothers Trudged On.
The Fireside Song

Later, we sat close to the Fire as frost was in the air and I began to sing:
Our circumstances were truly dire.

The air was heavy with the thought of our Sin.
Where to start, where to begin?

We know our Friendship keeps us warm.
We give each other shelter from the Storm.
I’m here on my soapbox, here to Inform.
Our Love is so strong that the World will Transform.

The song over, both of us sighed and lightened the grip that we held on our blankets. Despite the cold, we both felt an inner warmth. Warmth from the ancient ritual of Song. I spoke first to break the Spell: “That was Tremendous, my brother.”

“I felt I was Home.” Joshua shed a tear.

“Me too,” I said with a long sigh.

After a dreamless sleep, Joshua and I woke to the “Caw Caw” of two Crows that were eating last night’s dinner. Both of our bodies ached from the previous days Trudge. However, we both felt somehow refreshed. I attempted to scare off the two Crows, but they insisted on finishing their meal while keeping one eye on us.
I’m into superstition: Black cats and Voodoo dolls. I feel a premonition, that Crow’s gonna make me fall.

“Is this omen good or bad, Joshua?”

“I’d say Good. They seem to be enjoying themselves.”

“Caw, caw?!?” I asked.

Good. We’ll be better when are bellies are full.

“Caw, caw?!?”

Yes. We are here to help you.

“Caw, Caw?!?”

No, I don’t know.

“Should we follow you?” Asked Joshua.

Yes. We are satisfied, now. Do as a say: Try to keep up! And with that both Crows took flight.

Joshua and I packed quickly and took off in the same direction as the Crows: Due west. The pace was quicker than we would like, but we knew we had to keep up. By noon we were exhausted and fell to the ground: Spent. But the Crows flew on. On a hunch,
I took out some bread and threw it on the ground. Both Crows circled back and began to eat with one Crow on sentry duty Yes, we are hungry, too. I smiled to myself . . . so we ate and then packed up and moved on.

As the day neared darkness the two Crows landed in a tall white pine tree for twilight was a dangerous and powerful time of day. Plus it is easier to setup a tent before the sun sets. Crows are the Kings of Twilight so they felt safer to converse with the two travelers. Where do you two think you’re going?

“We seek new Adventure.” Joshua lied.

Are you seeking or are you running from? Hahaha! Everybody wants to Rule the World. Hahah! The Crows were in a good mood: Enjoying their role as guides: Knowing they would soon eat again. It comes naturally.

I questioned: “Who sent you?”

Odin, of course. I am Muninn and this is Huginn.

“Memory and Thought in Old Norse.” I explained to Joshua. “These are Ravens not Crows. Thank you for your Service.”

My pleasure. We are at your Service.

“What a gift, Java!”

As darkness fell with no light from the New Moon, Joshua I finished a meager supper. When Joshua threw another log on the fire sparks flew into the air. Then he began to sing:

Twilight Song

I met two Ravens today.
Why they came, I cannot say.
Odin’s own: Muninn and Huginn,
Memory and Thought in unison.

Munin and Thunin guide our Way.
From their Path I will not Stray.
I Trudge the Way Unknown.
Our Past we cannot outrun.

The days they run together.
No Home for a tether:
Renegades on the Run,
The Old Ways we do not shun.

With no news at all from Home,
We’re Cursed, yes Cursed, to Roam.
All we own is on our backs:
Living the Life of an Amnesiac.

The next day was warmer because the Sun was out the entire day. I kept my eyes on the Crows and Joshua kept his eye out for a path. The phrase ‘As the Crow flies’ has new meaning for me. When we needed rest, we would stop and put out food for the Ravens. Sometimes the food attracted other animals as well: hawks, buzzards, squirrels, mocking birds and little finches. None of these spoke, however. The Ravens, Muninn and Huginn, in their true form were half again as large as a normal Crow. This fact helped me pick them out in the sky.

Several days after they met, Joshua and I found ourselves looking down into a gully much larger than either had ever seen. The other side was only 50 yards away, but it might as well be on the moon because of the depth of at least 3000 feet. The Ravens stood on the other side. You must get over here, as soon as possible. The depth is only an illusion. Walk out on Faith! Just then Joshua noticed a dust trail on the horizon. Now! You must come! They are coming for you! Walk out on Faith!

We did not move: like 2 deer caught in the head lights. Run! Run Now! I was waiting for courage to run on Faith. “Do what they say, Java!” Screamed Joshua as he ran toward the cliff. To his delight he ran onto solid ground where there should be none. I followed close after. On the other side we hugged each other and the two Ravens watched. The two SUVs stopped short of the edge of the cliff. They spoke through a loud speaker: “You are Trespassing on private property!”

Java yelled back: “Were! You mother flowers!”

A while later as we made camp, I sung:

Here we are Safe and Sound:
Our Blessings do abound.
To our Fear we have not caved:
By two Ravens we were Saved.

We used to be full of Fear:
Wanting to just disappear.
Now we both have the Courage we need:
Free in both Thought and Deed.

Fear is the mind killer.
I know you will concur.
You can Learn for yourself:
‘The only thing we have to Fear is Fear itself.”

False Evidence Appearing Real.
If you believe your Fate is sealed.
No Free Will can you find:
To your Fate you are resigned.

My friend for me did sacrifice;
He did not even think twice.
We are Masters of our own Fate;
Our Future do we now create.

Both men slept well for the first time since they left.

I had a Dream last night . . . that I met Steve Jobs outside of a clinic. I was broke, homeless and desperate. I asked: “Are you Steve Jobs?”
“Yes.” He took me into a warm embrace and said: “Bless you, my son.” And I was. Then he looked me in the eyes: “Your Faith will set you Free. Go in Peace!” And I did.
End of Dream.

Joshua and I woke from a restful Sleep.

“I had the strangest Dream last night.”

“Me too! I met Steve Jobs.”

“No way! Me too.” Jarl was incredulous.

“‘Your Faith will set you Free.’”

“Exactly!” I exclaimed. “What the eff is that about?”

“We need to find someone to interpret the Dream for us.”

“How bout I interpret yours and you interpret mine.” I suggested.

“That might work.” Joshua was dubious. “You go first.”

“So . . . Yeah! Steve Jobs represents Christ who wants the best for you and will provide for you what you need.”

“I can see that. But who the Hell is Steve Jobs?”

“I think he was a King in the Old Times.”

“King of what?”

“He cured malaria.”

“For real?”

“I think so . . . Now it’s my turn. Someone will give you a gift . . .”

“You already . . .”

“Don’t interrupt me! You already have given a Gift of Love and Forgiveness. The Gift of Grace.”

“Oh. . .Really?”

Gia’s Rage: Evolution Strikes Back Chapter III

Gia’s Rage: Evolution Strikes Back

Chapter III

As far as I knew, Professor Yaklov Kalganov was the grandson of two artists killed in Stalin’s purges of the late 1930s. In 2001 he began teaching at a small liberal arts school in Ohio: Hiram College. He took the position of Chair of the biology department after a long yet unremarkable career at New York University as an associate professor. He was well-liked by his students there, but unequipped to handle the politics and demands commonly found at large research universities. Rumor has it that the decision to move to Hiram was made primarily by his wife, Anna, who never liked New York City anyway.
Soon Professor Kalganov’s human evolution class became so popular among students and even some of the faculty that he had to teach it in the largest classroom on Hiram’s small campus. He went from a small fish in a large sea to an on campus rock star.

Hiram’s biology department already had a reputation among liberal art schools as a top notch program for undergrads who wanted a leg up on others for graduate school: especially medical school. When Professor Kalganov first showed up to chair the biology department, his colleagues resented the fact that someone from their ranks was not promoted internally. However, because of Professor Kalganov’s undeniable charisma, most of the faculty came to respect him and some even to love him.

I met Professor K., as his students lovingly called him, in the fall of 2005 as one of sixty students allowed into his human evolution course. As an English major I was the only upper classman in the course who was not a science major. One of the main reason Professor K’s course was so popular was that anyone who made a B+ or better was eligible for twelve spots to join Professor K. on a summer trip to the Rift Valley in Ethiopia during the summer session for hands on research. Of course I desired one of these coveted spots and was willing to go to any lengths to get one of those coveted spots.

Since bribery was not morally a problem for me at that time, on the last day of class I brought blackberry buckle for Professor K: my grandma’s secret recipe: “Professor Kalganov. I brought you some of my grandma’s world famous blackberry buckle for you.”

“Zarl.” He pronounced my name. “Thank you. You shouldn’t have.”

“Goes great with whipped cream or some Breyer’s ice cream.”

“I will have my dear Anna pick some up then, Zarl. Thank you again.”

As the final was optional for those who had an A average, I left the classroom and returned to my apartment to complete the application for the trip to Rift Valley. I have loved Ethiopia since I had my first taste of Yirgacheffe coffee from there a few years ago. Growing up in the 80s, I also remember the awful videos of children starving in Ethiopia during the famine there. My Mom would remind me on evenings when I refused to finish my dinner that there were “starving kids in Ethiopia.” Guilt was never a good motivator for me as a child, nor has it been since. I had to go on this trip.

My next exam was at two that afternoon for German 311: Advanced Conversation. I did not have close to an A average, but the oral exam was required anyway. As the baking of the buckle interfered on my study time, I was not as prepared as I should have been. However, as I was one of Professor Anderson’s favorite students, I was not afraid of failing. And German was only my minor anyway. As I walked to Professor Anderson’s office, I fantasied what it would be like to walk the same ground as our not so distant ancestors of ancient Ethiopia.