Sirens, rebels, androids, fighters, and very careful “not” chosen ones decide to not lay down under oppression but to fight back against the wrong in defense of the wronged. Poetry and short stories full of passion and rage against the deus ex machina.
This is a key line that resonated with me and with the anthology as a whole: “Forgiveness is meaningless in the face of oppression.”
There is a lot of power in forgiveness but it all dies on the vine if offered while being oppressed. It is something that can be granted after the fact. You have to be free to forgive honestly.
My dad passed away shortly before I saw this book pop up on social media bringing to mind Dylan Thomas so I bought it on a whim. I am not disappointed and I appreciate the editors and writers sharing a bit of their will and persistence in the face of travails with their words and ideas. Few things help me more right now than a kind hug from my little one and some great fiction to consume gratefully if not gently. Thank you.
You can buy the book here: on amazon.
“I have the cadaver sir!” I said quickly to the wise old man.
“Good work kid is this one fresh?” smiled the graying former lady’s man or as rumor says maybe more than that.
“Yes he fell on his head repairing the church’s roof.” I stated happily.
“Hmm were you able to save the head?”
“Yes sir! And he is in great shape!”
“So I assume you want to watch this time young Martin,” wryly said the great artist.
“This time no help me get him onto the operating table.”
We struggled until we got the dead roofer onto the table and I watched him dissect the body and look at each muscle with fascination. I can’t wait till I’m older and I get a chance to do the same thing. Human bodies are so interesting!
Grasping the still beating heart of the enemy in my hand I yelled the words of placation to the great smoky mirror Lord Huitzilipoctli.
“Grant us dominance and grant us safety and postpone the coming of the Sixth World, oh lord of Sacrifices and master of evil!” I yelled in the magical cadence of the priests of the Dark God.”
The earth rumbled and I smiled for with the sacrifices of these thousand enemies to the Aztec ways I had postponed the Gotterdamerung and saved the world for another year or two at least from the waves of tzitzi demons held back by Huitzilipoctli until the time he tired of the world’s pleasures.
Wiping the blood from my arms I walked down the pyramid to the holy baths and performed ablutions to the Gods satisfied with a good days work. Beautiful women served my beck and call and relaxed me and I fell asleep in the perfumed baths.
“Holy One, Holy One!” yelled an annoying insect penetrating the fog of slumber.
“What peasant! It had better be good to waken me or I’ll take my obsidian blade and cut your genitalia off!” I snarled at the poorly dressed messenger.
“White men have landed on the shores of the east just like the prophecy of Quitzalcoatl.”
“What? Send a message to the General to mgjsafrs…”
“What Holy One?”
I slumped to my death and failed to save my people from the Spanish and I haunt my temple to this day…
I, baronet Valois de chevregn write these words to pass down my experiences to my family and any other who would follow in my footsteps.
This holy land is not the barbaric land we are told of in France. In fact I would say that we are the barbarians here. They bathe regularly and read the works of the Greeks and discuss philosophy like the Romans once did. I have come to enjoy bathing even though many priests condemn it as the work of the devil. They say that a good Christian should never spend his life clean for this would give the sinner the wrong idea that this physical world was good and that we should wallow in mud as we wallow in sin.
They are wrong. This world is wonderful and we should not go around killing everyone that disagrees with us! I have met a wonderful Muslim here by the name of Alhazen and he has shown me wonders with his enhanced eyes. To see like the hawk or to see the rainbow reflected from one of his glasses inspires me with wonder about the natural world. Reading the works of the neo-platonists I’m finding that the cosmos is a beautiful thing that naturally seeks harmony and it is the false beliefs imposed by the church against what the Anointed One actually said. Note that he said love thy neighbor not massacre him.
Soon the hospitallers will be coming to execute me and several Templars for our attempt to improve sanitation and build a hospice for sick pilgrims and injured crusaders. They say our work is that of the devil and that God wills when someone recovers not some chirurgeon. I came to the Holy Land to make a better world but they didn’t come here for the same reason.
“But, teacher I’ve been studying all day!” I said while placing the expertly pouted face towards the Brahmin.
“The length of time spent studying is not as important as completing your studies young Raja,” replied the white bearded philosopher.
“The charvaka are stupid teacher so why should I waste my time reading about their insane thoughts!” I stubbornly said.
“That is precisely why you should know about them my student.”
“That doesn’t make any sense. I should just study the wise philosophers…like you teacher,” I smiled slyly.
“Ah but students learn from mistakes and I’d prefer if you learned from the mistakes of others rather than your own mistakes given that your father is getting sicker each day and the time of your ascendance grows ever closer.”
“But what is there to learn from this dog turd philosophy then teacher?”
“The greatest lesson of all, even those steeped in wisdom become lost in their wisdom and pass on their flawed beliefs to their students who accept blindly what they are told and don’t learn to think for themselves.”
“So what the charvaka are dumb, I’ve got that.”
“Ah but they started on the right track and had many wise insights, but they took simple situations and than applied those simple concepts to complex situations were they did not apply. They followed the rule of reason rather than rule of belief…at least outwardly.”
“I see, they thought they were reasoning people because they were using the reason of others!” I suddenly saw teacher’s meaning and my eyes lit up.
“Yes, regurgitating what the teacher wants is never a way to become a true philosopher my Raja,” smiled my teacher with his glowing insightful eyes.
I looked down upon the fleeing Romans from atop my horse and smiled. Soon the remaining Roman strength would be distracted by the civilian refugees and my horse would sweep the disorganized and ineffectual infantry. A fine end to weeks of fighting and a fine land to win compared to frozen Scandia.
“Fools to have not maintained their cavalry aren’t they?” I stated to my son Ulf behind me.
“Yes, sire!” responded my young mirror with enthusiasm.
“What have you noticed about the lands here in Celtiberia?”
“Control of the central plains is dependent upon cavalry and control of the central plains gives all of Hispania to us eventually because without land trade they are dependent upon sea trade which our ships are in the process of gaining.”
“Very astute, we shall build a dynasty here that will last longer then the anything the Romans did for with this quality of land and the strong blood of the North combined with mastery of the horse and the sea we are invincible!”
“But, father the Romans believed the same thing,” said my son fiercely.
Laughing I turned to him and tousled his hair and rode down the plateau to my future.
The cold of the morning was countered by the new heat from the fire my daughter had prepared as she has done everyday this Shevat. My movement alerted Rachiman that I was awake and she quickly brought over a chalice filled with steaming water steeped with herbs that heightened awareness.
The two of us sipped the elixir and began tefilah and soon performed the Devakut to Astaroth. The warmth of chai filled us with the Shekhinah that binds the forty universes together with her holy spirit.
Still smiling we turn to the west where the sound of horse beats echoed down our valley to reach our ears.
“Mother that must be another noble!”
“ Will he anusim us to the new way of Yahweh the Alone?” whispered Rachiman in a trembling voice as she shivered in horror remembering the new patriarchal and monotheistic policies pushed by the last two kings; these policies strengthened the kohein to the point that they forced us out of our temple in Jerusalem and with that the wealth, prestige, and power that my family had maintained since the founding of Jerusalem generations ago.
The rider approached boldly crossing the pond and onto the sculpted path through my gardens leading up to our modest hut.
“Hail Binah, lady of wisdom and insight I have need of your gifts,” smiled the young man garbed in fabric finer than Binah or Rachiman had ever seen before. This raiment seemed to reflect the inner light within the youth and make his might visible to mundane eyes.
“What can a heretic of the Old Ways offer one as blessed as you appear?”
“I Solomon prince of the realm seek the lore of the feminine mysteries lost to the new priests in their zeal to create the new ways.”
“Young man, I am no baal shem eagerly seeking an apprentice of wealthy background to grant me political prestige,” said Binah sardonically.
“I know lady of light, I would share with you what I have experienced in exchange and maybe the new ways and the Old Ways may become One and we can protect Malkuth from the dangers of the Sitra Achra and Samael’s poisonous djinn.”
“Come friend and join me for a cup of tea and we can discuss this in a more comfortable environment,” I smiled hoping this day would bring peace as I noticed my daughter flush as Solomon brushed his lips upon her forehead in a gesture of friendship. Hmm…