July 22, 2023

 Today, the experience was similar to the last journey…but also different. I first became aware of someone sitting crosslegged in front of me. This time, the creature was male and appeared like an anthropomorphic lemur. He was small, lithe, furry with large eyes and ears. He appeared to be an adolescent. His face, unlike the rest of his body, was bare of hair much like the ‘troll girl’ from last Saturday. Like the troll girl, he was extremely excited to meet me.

I was seated, also crosslegged, facing him. The ‘firefly bees’ were back, this time forming a crown of sorts around my head. The lemur boy reached out to touch me, his big eyes filled with wonder. I noticed we were sitting inside a ‘tent’ of green leaves. They folded over the top of us, illuminated in the soft, gold light emanating from within me and from the firefly bees.

The boy stood and pushed aside the leaves, leading me out into a primeval forest. This forest was tropical and filled with immense, fat-trunked trees that reminded me of baobabs. It was moonless night time and bright stars were shining through the canopy. The forest was filled with life, a cacophony of sounds surrounded us. The bees flew out into the night like the last time, brightening the forest. The colors were a mix of blues, greens and purples. In the tree limbs overhead were many other lemur people. They called out to us as we emerged from the greenery, lifting their heads and shrilling with excitement.

The boy bounded over to a huge tree and effortlessly leaped up into its branches, using the many vines curling down to the ground for assistance. I followed, somewhat less agilely but still finding it not very difficult to ascent. On a fat branch, a holy woman of this lemur clan waited for us. She held a wooden staff aloft and the night sky opened behind her, revealing a vista of the immense forest that went on seemingly forever.

On the tip of the staff was an orb that emitted a cold blue light. It shone like the moon; however, this light was not moonlight. Rather, it was the light of the River of Souls, a sort of deathless glow that sent shivers down my spine. I’ve seen this glow many times before and it is as beautiful as it is otherworldly.

As soon as I saw the light, I was transported into the orb and found myself standing on the ice of an immense, frozen lake. All around me were ‘statues’ of souls, frozen in place. It’s possible that they were simply moving so slowly that I couldn’t tell, though. The firefly bees that had spread through the baobab forest remained behind and, when I looked behind me, I could see the blue orb of the holy woman’s staff shining like a portal.

I walked out onto the ice, moving among the ‘frozen’ blue souls. They were glowing slightly but only slightly. Most of the light came from the ice itself. It wasn’t inviting but it did possess an unearthly beauty. I wasn’t afraid but I didn’t feel exactly comfortable, either.

The ice was covered by a layer of snow. Eventually, I reached a part of the lake where the snow had been partially blown off, revealing pitch black ice beneath. Ah, the Absolute! This was another incarnation of the black ice I’d seen on my last journey. Unlike the last journey, though, there wasn’t a shaman waiting for me here; I was all alone (except for my bee friends, the ones who had remained inside my body.)

Upon seeing the utter blackness, the word, ‘Mother,’ escaped my lips. For reasons I can’t explain, I was reminded of my spiritual mother, the one I sometimes think of as the ‘Matron of Death,’ who rules a forest of death, a perpetual twilight realm where everything is toxic and yet also quite beautiful. I have no idea why I thought of her; she just came to mind, maybe because, among other things, she appears as an incarnation of the Absolute.

I found my body slipping into the black ice. The lake was frozen throughout…and not frozen at the same time. In other words, I could tell I was sinking into dense ice and yet my body could move freely as if I were suspended in water. The blackness was, well, Absolute and dissolved everything. Nothing could survive it and yet it was also bursting with Life. The Absolute is its own Law; everything is a paradox and yet everything makes complete sense.

Suspended before me, frozen in the black ice of the Absolute, was the most beautiful being I’ve ever seen. She had gossamer wings like a butterfly’s and her body was incredibly lithe and light. She appeared as little more than a ghost of silvery white before me. I ‘swam’ over to her, taking her in my arms and hugging her body to mine. She became more substantial as I did so and some of the firefly bees within me poured into her when we made contact. Her eyes opened and she smiled at me.

It sort of goes without saying that I was crying at this point. Actually, I’d been crying the whole time–these experiences are so rich and vivid and also heartbreaking–but at this moment my tears increased. I wondered about her. She seemed both ‘human’ and more than human at the same time. I put the word, human, in quotes because, while her body was vaguely humanoid, she wasn’t exactly human. I don’t know what she was because form in the Imaginal is never meant to be taken literally. One thing was clear, though, she was revered by the lemur people. This is probably why I was called by them: To free her.

We drifted down to the bottom of the lake and, holding hands, walked across the black, sandy floor together. The firefly bees that had ‘flown’ into her remained inside and her body glowed with a soft golden-green light. She was quite stunning.

We hadn’t walked far when a faint white glow appeared before us and I knew in my bones that we had reached the destination: The Crossroads. Sure enough, there was an opening that looked down upon a white, misty landscape. The landscape was enshrouded in fog and felt completely lifeless. We walked out of the cave and then strode down the misty hill to the Crossroads.

The Woman in White was waiting for us. I was a little confused at first. Part of me thought this journey wouldn’t follow the usual pattern of handing off the soul to the Woman in White. I thought instead that the firefly bees that had remained behind with the lemur people were meant to serve as a beacon for me to bring this woman back home.  I could tell that there was a connection between her and the baobab forest and suspected she was a deity of sorts. But, no, I was wrong. The Woman in White beckoned to her, holding out her hand. The glowing woman let go of my hand and quite happily joined her. The pair walked off into the mist together.

I stood there at the Crossroads for a while before I realized I was being called back to the lemurs and the baobab forest. I closed my eyes and, when I reopened them, I was back on the branch with the wise woman-lemur. I had questions for her about the woman I had just assisted.

“She is like you,” the old woman said. “She is like your sister. We called you because only one of your kind could free her.”

I still didn’t understand but did remember a feeling of kinship with the woman who had been trapped in black ice. And the firefly bees had taken to her, so there must be some sort of consanguinity between us. 

“The Mother,” the old lemur was saying, pointing behind her. “You both have the same Mother.”

I looked behind us and spotted an immense baobab tree. Bigger by far than any of the other trees in the forest and sitting atop the highest hill, its limbs and leaves were pitch black and a deadly black mist wreathed its limbs. This was a Tree of Death, the counterpart to the Tree of Life. However, in reality, there is only one tree, just as there is only one Absolute.

This is the tree beneath which I’d been sitting when the young lemur called me to this place. I understood then why we had been sitting inside that green, leafy tent; the Tree of Death is poison to any who touch it and the greenery was a protection against its creeping blackness.

Apparently, the lemur people revered the Tree as holy. This may seem funny but it makes sense. After all, what is more beautiful and powerful and sublime than the Absolute, the birth and end of all existence?

And the presence of the Tree of Death/Life answered another question that I had. I wondered by the woman whom I’d freed from the ice didn’t return here and instead seemed destined to be born into a new existence.

The lemur wise woman smiled, inkling her head toward the Tree. “You already know that death is a gateway, an opportunity to grow. We don’t see it as a loss, just part of our sacred journey. The one you freed is dear to us, it’s true, but her passing does not alter her connection here. We will always be connected to her and she to us. Who knows? Someday she may return, although she will not be the same as before.” Her smiled deepened. “You’ve already met many of your siblings, haven’t you? Each of you has your own journey that, while unique, leads to the same destination.”

I sat with this for a long time, meditating. Eventually, I realized that one of my roles in the Imaginal is to serve as a fountain of sorts. It’s like I’m tapped into the depth of Being and it fountains up through me like glowing honey. It brings life and revitalization. It also makes it possible to travel between and within realms by way of the Absolute.

This is also true in the realm of ego and the physical. Oh, sure, they’re not nearly as flashy as the Imaginal but the need for a life-bringing/giving fountain of Being has never been greater there. Seen with the eye of the heart, the ego realm is a pretty gray and dispiriting place. It’s filled with sleep-walkers. Well, they’re not even really walking, just asleep.

The ego realm is bleak, dry, barren, stultifying and tasted strongly of iron. The sleepers are dreaming fitfully, mostly oblivious to their true state but are feeling increasingly pinched into unwilling wakefulness because the physical world upon which they are dependent is suffering. I’m not worried about the Earth; it’s resilient and will survive. I am, however, worried about the sleepers. (And I am a sleeper, too, probably far less awake than I believe I am.)

As I sat in the bleak ego realm, I became aware of the presence of the dark Mother, my mother, the one who gave birth to me. As a creature of the Absolute, she is ultimately a mystery. How can a giver of death also be a giver of life? Her nature is death in its purity and yet she is also a source of abundant life. It makes no sense but she is nonetheless a representative of truth, perhaps even  of The Truth.

I was with her in her twilight forest where everything is shadowy, illuminated only by the dim light of the setting sun. This red orb of the setting sun is also present in the world of ego. Does this mean we are in the twilight times? It’s certainly possible. And yet, because of the tremendous gift of death, it’s also a hopeful time. There is a cycle to everything. Maybe this is simply destined to be a time of dying?

It’s interesting that, as a denizen of the Forest of Death and as a child of the Dark Mother, I can thrive in this place and time of death. I don’t take this to mean that my body is immortal or that I won’t die or suffer. No, I’m going to get sick and die just like everyone else here. I am merely aware of my kinship with the Matron of Death. What does this mean? I don’t know other than it seems to mean that I have an affinity for the Absolute.

Mother is quite a being! She is everything all at once, life-giver and death-giver, young and old, child, maiden, matron and hag. She is ancient and yet timeless. She is harm incarnate and yet filled with the mercy of death. She is poisonous, toxic. And also a source of life, full of radiance. She is cruel and kind, monstrous and human, rending and healing. She doesn’t make any sense and yet is perfectly sensible. Such is the Absolute. Such is life. And death.


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