July 7, 2023

 I wasn’t intending to visit the Imaginal this morning but it happened anyway. I first became aware of an underworld ‘monster’ that was obviously not a monster. As you no doubt have gathered if you’ve been reading these entries, monsters are very rarely monsters in the Imaginal. Generally, they are beings who have been deluded into believing they are monsters. Sometimes, they are beings of compassion disguised as monsters. I, ahem, might know someone who does this at times. ;-)


This monster was more hideous than usual. Its ‘skin’--if you can call it that–was a mess of bloody, pustulating flesh. It reeked of every substance that can possibly be extruded from the body. In short, this thing was not pleasant in the slightest. The appearance of the monster was one thing but its inner nature was also obvious to me; this was a human soul. He was male, probably in his thirties when he died. He was also full of guilt, which I suspect was the reason he’d adopted a monstrous form. I couldn’t tell whether the guilt was for real things he’d done and regretted or, more likely, over his sexual orientation. Some sort of Catholic guilt, perhaps? I’m pretty sure he was gay and this was at least part of the source of his guilt. It also probably explained the prevalence of sperm splattered all over his body. (I could write a treatise on sperm, gay men and repressed guilt/desire.)


Curiously, my body in this place–which was pitch black, definitely the underworld–was sickly green. It was the green of decomposing flesh. And my skin was cold and slick…like decomposing flesh. Actually, it was more than just the green of decay; it was also the green of compassion. You know, the delicate, jade-like color of true Compassion or Loving Kindness. Quite a weird combination going on here, death/decay and loving kindness.


A tear cut through the darkness, exposing a world of sickly jade. It took me a moment to realize who had slashed through the veil of the underworld and then I saw him: A jade god wielding a blade of sharpened jade. This god was very Mayan. (Or maybe he was from a related culture? I don’t know much about Mayan cosmology but I could tell this guy had been worshiped by an ancient Mesoamerican sect.) Given this, I knew the jade blade’s purpose was human sacrifice.


The god had jade-like skin much like mine. He was quite terrifying in appearance but I was unruffled, even though I knew that I was the intended sacrifice. Stepping out of the blackness and into the jade world, I calmly submitted to him and lay down on the altar. He quickly cut out my heart with the jade knife and held it up as it was still beating. I should note here that the sacrifice caused me no pain and I was unafraid. I understood that sacrifice is often required in the Imaginal and figured it might as well be me. Why? Because I knew that no harm would actually come to me.


The god promptly devoured my heart and I was sucked into his maw along with it. Once inside the god’s stomach, I found myself back in the blackness of the underworld. This time, however, there was a figure lying before me; his body was illuminated by a jade-colored beam of light from above. I approached him and knelt down, seeing that the man’s body was no longer monstrous but very human once again. His skin, however, was the sickly green of a corpse.


This man was manifestly dead. I picked up his body and carried him in my arms into the darkness. As I did so, the blackness opened up into a springlike world. Unlike the last world, though, this time the green held no trace of death and decay. It was purely the fresh, bright green of Loving Kindness. Entering this new world, the man came alive, growing younger before my eyes until he was the age he’d been when life had been fresh and new and untainted. He appeared to be around ten years old. It’s hard to tell what race he was but I suspect he was of Mayan ancestry.


The springlike world was more detailed than the previous jade world had been. The jade world had been abstract but this one was beautifully alive. We were standing in a forest on the cusp of spring. It looked like winter had only just receded and the trees were beginning to leaf out. Wildflowers were just emerging from the leafy ground. The forest was hilly and the boy was overjoyed, running and leaping and whooping at the top of his lungs. It was quite enjoyable to watch, especially after seeing the heavy, scabrous form he’d originally inhabited. Now, though, all the guilt and heaviness were gone; he was young and free again. It felt good watching him.


I followed him downhill and the forest grew gradually more wintry and mist-filled. I knew we were heading to the Crossroads. Sure enough, we eventually arrived at that well-worn path through the misty woods. And the Lady in White was waiting for us, only this time she was a man. Wearing white animal skins, ‘he’ was quite impressive and also, I have to say, quite flamboyantly gay. His skin was dark and his features were clearly indigenous, probably Mayan. He inclined his head to me, smiling knowingly, as he took the boy’s hand and led him off. The boy was unafraid and grabbed his hand, grinning with happiness. I watched them walk off down the road until the mist swallowed them and they disappeared from view.


***


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