May 18, 2024 "Death's Door"

I suspected that I’d be called during this morning’s meditation. I could feel the pull of the call last night so, when I sat down today, I wasn’t surprised when I opened my ‘eyes’ and saw a curtain billowing in the night breeze. I was standing at the entrance to a formal garden. The French doors were open. I parted the curtains and stepped outside onto the terrace where I first thought the moon was rising. After a little while, though, I realized the moon was actually a gargoyle who was crouched down, hugging his knees. His body glowed silver white like the moon.


He straightened as I approached and held out a clawed hand. I took it and he cradled me in his big arms, flapping his leathery wings until we were aloft over the garden. Below us was a night city, soft lights twinkling in the darkness.


We flew to the edge of the city where it ran up against the sea. Then the gargoyle took flight over the sea, spreading its great wings, as we sailed over dark waters. It was quite beautiful and mysterious, everything dripping with double meaning.


Not far off shore was a small island. It was covered in emerald green grass and in its center was a circle of standing stones. They were ancient and mossy but pulsed with ritual magic. The gargoyle placed me down on the grass just outside of the circle and I entered, finding a crude chalice in the center. The chalice was filled with sacrificial blood.


What to do but drink the blood? As soon as I did so and the iron taste filled my mouth, I started crying. Blackness descended upon me and I found myself deep inside a murky cave. There was a form that glowed silver and white like the gargoyle before me. She was sprawled over the ground and at first I thought that she was one I’d been summoned to assist. However, when I gently pulled her up, I realized she was lying atop the body of another. That body–an immense, hairy black body–was the one I’d been sent for.


The ‘woman’ who had been lying on top of the black form was shaped sort of like the gargoyle. She was much more delicate and willowy than the gargoyle…and not as hairy. She had wings but they were gossamer and her horns were slender and shapely. She was very beautiful and I could tell she loved the one whom she’d been lying atop but he couldn’t see her. He was oblivious to her presence.


I knelt down beside the big, black, hairy creature that the gargoyle woman had been lying on. He was in a pool of his own blood and I understood then that he had committed suicide, sacrificing himself for some reason. His blood was in the chalice from which I’d drunk.


I have no idea about the specifics of why he sacrificed himself but I could feel the deep guilt and remorse in him. He had done something that he believed was reprehensible and thought he deserved punishment. I suspect he really had done something awful but I also knew that he’d punished himself enough and told him so.


Unlike the ‘woman,’ he could see me and I most certainly could see him. He was shaped like the gargoyle as well, but his body was covered in pitch black fur. His face was wide and his lower jaw thrust forward. He had curling horns on his head. Whether he was actually a monster or simply chose this form because he thought he deserved it…well, that’s a matter for debate. I’m still uncertain whether he was a human soul or a human-like soul.


“Look at me,” I told him. “I’m no different from you. We all do horrible things. We can’t help it. That’s part of life. As you can see, I know darkness, too, and I also know regret. There are so many things I wish I could undo, wish had never happened, wish I hadn’t done. But I can’t undo them. I’m stuck with the guilt and the shame and the bitterness.


“We can’t fix things but we can learn from them. Owning them, feeling them deeply and letting them shake us to the very foundations of our being is, paradoxically, the way out.” I pointed to my chest where a hole into the depths of the Absolute lay. “This is the way out. Now, I can take you if you’re ready to leave.”


He was crying, too, by this point. (He’d been crying all along, actually.) And I hugged him. As I hugged him, I was pulled into his black body. His body, like mine, was a doorway to the Absolute. We dissolved together and, for a time, I was all alone in blackness and then I wasn’t even anything for a time.


Gradually, I came back into being and found that we were lying on the forest floor at the Crossroads. The Crossroads, however, were unlike I’ve seen them before. It was night and everything seemed to be made of starlight. So delicate and precise and beautiful!


The man, if you can call him that, had changed and now was no longer a monster. He was still very big and quite hairy and he may have even still had little horns. This is why I’m not sure if he really was a human soul or simply like one.


When we looked up, the Woman in White was standing before us but she wasn’t human. Her form was giant, monstrous yet beautiful, too. She towered over us, her silver white body covered in fur. Tall horns spiraled upward from her head. She was terrifying to behold and the ‘man’ sank to his knees in supplication. I could tell that her form meant something to him, perhaps she appeared as one of his gods? 


She bade him to rise and then extended a clawed hand to him. He took it and she led him away down the path through the forest of night…but not before she patted me fondly on the head in farewell.


When I turned, I was startled to find the gargoyle woman and man behind me. They were staring at me in wonder. “How did you do it?” she asked. “How did you carry him through Death’s Door?”


How to answer that question? I don’t even really know but I suspect it has something to do with being mortal. “He did it himself,” I said. “I only showed him how. I don’t know how or why I do it. I think it has something to do with cessation, with Death. I’ve experienced it many times and love it more every time. The blackness of death is an opening to the Divine, to all of creation. If you allow yourself to fall into it, it can take you anywhere. I think this is the gift of the Divine to us mortals. Who would have thought that our very frailty is actually our greatest strength?”


I have no idea if this is true but it feels like it. I think you have to be mortal in order to cross through the doorway of the Absolute…but I don’t know for sure. Maybe being mortal just makes it easier? Maybe someday I will find out.


***


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