January 16, 2023

 A wasp, a tortoise and a bear. WTF? It’s times like these that I revert back to my old belief that these journeys into the Imaginal are brain farts or flights of fantasy.

First, it was the wasp. It was encased in amber like the fossilized wasps and other insects that you see in museums. As I watched, the amber liquified into a honey-like substance and the wasp emerged, methodically cleaning itself until it was free of the substance. And then it flew off.

I followed it.

It led me out of a cave and onto a rocky hillside. Flying uphill, it led me to the mouth of another cave. We were on the side of a mountain and everything was stained red by the setting sun. On the rocky outcropping in front of the cave was an albino tortoise. It was a beautiful creature, unlike anything I’ve seen. It’s shell was shiny and the leathery skin of its outstretched neck was soft and delicate. The wasp alighted on its back and the tortoise led me inside the cave.

A golden glow touched the rocky sides of the cave and I entered behind the tortoise to find a bear on a golden throne. It was clad in the vestments of an Eastern Orthodox patriarch…which struck me as strange. Was this a subtle commentary on Putin (the Russian bear) and his relationship with the church? Probably not. The Imaginal isn’t prone to commentary on contemporary politics.

For some reason, I was drawn to the door behind the bear’s throne and pressed past to find myself in a crypt. Inside the crypt was a sarcophagus containing the remains of a patriarch. The lid had been pushed back and I could see his grey and withered body. He was staring at me with glowing grey eyes. I looked down at him in confusion. Was this the guy I’d been led here to assist? If so, I was less than thrilled. This man, clothed in the rich garments of a patriarch, had been worse than a dog. In my opinion, he wasn’t ready to be redeemed yet. But, of course, it’s not my choice who gets redeemed and when.

I stared down at him for a while before becoming aware of another presence. I could tell that the corpse-like patriarch was terrified of this presence, that he had been haunted by it since even before his death. When I looked over, the presence at first appeared to be ghoulish but, upon closer inspection, I realized it was a youngish woman dressed in a gray cloak.

Ah, I thought, this is the one I’ve been sent here for.

She was dark-haired and, while certainly not ugly, was far from beautiful. Still, there was something about her essence that was strong and pure and this made her beautiful. (I know it’s sexist of me to comment on her beauty but I hope you realize I comment on the beauty of the men I meet in the Imaginal even more frequently than the woman.) There was something sort of beaten down about her, the telltale evidence of abuse. I got the clear sense that her life had been a struggle and that she had been exploited, probably sexually, by the patriarch. Also, I think her demise had something to do with him which was why he was still haunted by her.

It was my pleasure to inform her that her wait was over and she was now free to continue her journey. There were a wasp, a tortoise and a bear waiting for her in the other room and they were happy to serve as her trusty guides. She departed, leaving (very slowly) with her trio of guides. There was, of course, no hurry because, really, there’s nowhere to go, no place to reach.

This left me alone with the skeletal patriarch and I couldn’t help wrinkling my nose at him. I told him that I hope he molders in this crypt for many years, atoning for his sins. And then I left.

I expected to go back to meditation but instead found myself in someone else’s memory fragment. In this memory (which is not mine nor is it one of my past life’s), I am a woman and I am reclining on a sofa, gazing out upon a winter sunset. I am in a modern house and quite a nice one at that. The sunlight is rich red and it touches the boughs of the pine trees outside and stains everything in the living room scarlet. It’s quite a cozy scene.

And then I am outside in the crisp, cold weather. Before me stands a man who I am pretty sure is Griffin. He is big and strapping and auburn-haired like Griffin and he is happy. He takes my hands and whirls me around in the snow before catching me up in his big, strong arms and hugging me to him.

Why, I wonder, am I living this woman’s memory? Is this some sort of punishment? Even though it’s a beautiful memory, it’s also cruel for me to relive it because it’s not mine. Griffin is out of reach, forever inside me and inseparable from me, but also gone. It leave a bitter taste behind when it’s over.


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