Wednesday, February 3, 2021

The Mother of Darkness (Part Two)

 (This is the second of two parts.  Please read Part One, published yesterday, before reading this.)

Her smile widens.

I understand,” She says. “Perhaps some more stories will help. Since you are from the United States, I will start there.” Her smile becomes sad. “In Billings, Montana, many years ago, a young Jewish boy put a paper menorah in his window. There were people in the town that didn't like that Jewish folks had moved to the neighborhood and threw a stone through the window and the menorah. The boy's father talked to the police who suggested that he put bars on the window. Then he talked with his neighbors who were outraged that this happened. Soon there were paper menorahs in the windows of hundreds of Christians in Billings, as well as in the windows of churches and the windows of the Catholic school. In a small town in Nova Scotia, more than a decade ago, a ninth grade boy wore a pink shirt to school on the first day of classes and got bullied for it. A couple of twelfth grade boys found out and bought as many pink shirts as they could and by the end of the week most of the senior boys were wearing pink shirts. In a Massachusetts suburb, a lesbian couple put a rainbow flag outside their home. They woke one day to find that someone tore it down. When the neighbors found out, there were soon dozens of rainbow flags flying in the neighborhood, most in front of homes where the occupants were heterosexuals.”

But...” you start to say, when She makes a gesture that beckons you to wait.

Not long after the Twin Towers fell, there were two bricks thrown through the windows of an Islamic bookstore in Virginia, with some very nasty notes attached. The store owner was looking at the mess when a local rabbi stopped by to see what he could do to help. Several Christian ministers also came by to help and an anonymous businessman paid for a new window to be installed. Five years after that, in Pennsylvania, a milk truck driver shot and killed five young Amish schoolgirls before killing himself. At his funeral, several of the Amish showed up to comfort the killer's widow and mother. They also donated money to help the widow with her three young children.” She pauses for just a moment.

And long ago, in Nebraska, a rabbi from New York City moved to a small synagogue to become the spiritual leader there. He soon started getting threatening anti-Semitic hate messages. He discovered that they were coming from the head of the Ku Klux Klan in Nebraska, who happened to be a disabled man. The rabbi responded by leaving loving messages for the Klan leader and offering him rides if he needed to go anywhere. It took quite a while, but eventually the KKK leader said that he wanted to give it up and started talking to groups about the perils of hatred. When he became ill, the rabbi and his wife took him in and nursed the man who had threatened them until he died.”

Those are nice stories,” you say, “but what do you want me to do?”

The word that you are looking for,” She says, “is kindness.” She is beaming now and a glow shines through her dark skin. “Be kind.”

You wake up and the sun is rising. It's dawn and the day is clear.

Dedicated to and in acknowledgment of the influence of four Black women:

Audre Lorde

Luisah Teish

Octavia Butler

and adrienne maree brown

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

The Mother of Darkness (Part One)

 by Raven Moonwood

It's night and you're dreaming when before you stands an open door. You step forward and fall into it. You land on a very small island in the midst of a restless sea.

The sky is black but full of stars which shine so brightly that everything appears sharp and clear. The sea around you is like ink with a sprinkling of foam on the churning waves.

There is only room for two people on the island and sharing it with you is a dark skinned woman wearing magnificent robes of pale blue with bits of pink and white. She is wearing scarves on Her head in an almost Islamic style, that cover Her hair. You realize that you are naked, and it's fine, but all that you can see of Her is Her face and hands and bare feet.

Who are you?” you ask Her.

Let me tell you a story,” She says. Her English is flawless but it might be a bit too perfect. You think that maybe She is from some African nation. “Slavery existed in many nations, many times around the world. It existed in Africa long before the Europeans came, but the Europeans took people from western Africa, brought them far from their homes, and sent them to work in the New World. Among other indignities, these folks who became enslaved were told that their old beliefs were primitive and savage and that they were to become Christians and worship a new God, who was the Son and the Father and the Spirit that was Holy. They were told that they could pray to the Mother who was named Mary. Mary was known not only as Virgin Mother, but as the Star of the Sea. In Her statues those who were enslaved saw Yemonja, Yemaya, Imanje, their ocean diety. So they began praying aloud to Mary, knowing that they were praying to the great Ocean Mother.”

Are you Yemaya?” you ask.

You don't see, do you?” She says. “Perhaps another tale.” She smiles and appears amused.

On the islands of Japan, many centuries ago, Catholic missionaries came to preach and converted many folk. The emperor of Japan was furious and forbade Christian worship on pain of death. But many converts took statues of Kannon, the Japanese name for the bodhisattva Kuan Yin, and put tiny crosses on the back to remind them that they were praying to Mary, though the statue was of Kuan Yin.”

So, are you Yemaya and Kuan Yin and Mary?” you ask.

And Tara and Gaia and Pachamama and Sophia and Shakti and Shekinah. I am the Mother of Darkness, the nurturing mother of all that is chaotic, creative, dark, rejected, messy, sinister, smelly, erotic, confused, and upsetting. The Black Madonna, if you will.” Her smile widens. If there was such a thing as compassionate mirth, that might well describe the warmth that radiated from Her. “Perhaps a better question you could ask is where you are.”

Perhaps I should,” you say. “Where am I?”

This is the Interstitium, the liminal threshold that lies between.”

Between what?” you ask.

Between the known and the numinous, between the potential and the improbable, between what is and what might be, between almost and not yet. The waters that surround us hold all that is possible, yet all that is possible is change. And you must change, for I am change.”

And you see that the Mother is a doorway, a portal to the possible, and you're not sure that you want to go there.

(To be continued tomorrow...)

Monday, February 1, 2021

Prelude to The Mother of Darkness

 I had all but abandoned this blog.  I am spending lots of time these days posting stuff on the Commune Life Blog and the Commune Life Facebook page.

But recently I have been doing a bunch of writing of other types of stuff--fictional mostly.  I have decided to publish some of it here.  I just published a fictional 'book review' that I thought was funny (describing the past year as a "Bad Dystopian Novel").

I recently wrote a very short story (someone I shared it with described it as a 'treatise') that I called "The Mother of Darkness".  The story is a good description of my current spiritual beliefs.  It's also written in the second person, something that I don't recommend except for the briefest of stories (which I think that this is).  I intend to publish it in two parts, beginning tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

A Bad Dystopian Novel

Found in the Daily Planet archives, dated April 31, 1984

USA 2020—a review

by Jim E Olsun

First time novelist, Peter Parker, has produced one of the most outlandish pieces of fiction of the year. While USA 2020 is certainly an imaginative work, it stretches credulity past the breaking point by throwing in disaster on top of disaster and imagines a year where the president of the United States is a failed businessman, casino operator, and former TV star who attempts to use the office to make himself into the type of dictator more often found in Latin American countries and spends his time sending crazy messages to the public who apparently carry personal computers in their pockets disguised as mobile phones. (I am imagining the author intends this as some type of satire.)

The book has five gigantic wildfires sweeping across California and three burning through Colorado, so many hurricanes cropping up in the Atlantic Ocean that the meteorologists run out of people's names and have to use Greek letters, and a derecho (I had to look that one up—it's a rare windstorm) devastating much of Iowa and Illinois. The book also has multiple killings of Black men and women by police culminating in over 10,000 protests throughout the summer. A whole novel could have been written about any of these horrors but to claim that they all occurred in one year is way too much. There is even the mention of something called “murder hornets”.

Yet this doesn't even approach the biggest disaster facing the various people caught up in this insane imagining of a year in this country. The author actually throws in a plague-like pandemic which virtually shuts down the nation (and most of the world) and makes it completely unlikely that half of this stuff would occur. Then the author throws in characters who claim that the pandemic is a hoax and refuse to take measures to ensure their safety even as hundreds of thousands die around them.

To top all of this off, there is a presidential election that is unimaginable, won by career politician who barely campaigns. Although he is your typical presidential figure, his wife is a college professor who insists on being called Doctor and intends to keep her career rather than settling into being a first lady, his vice president is not only a woman but born of immigrant parents from Jamaica and India, and her Jewish husband refers to himself as the “Second Gentleman”. (The author certainly subscribes to political correctness) Although they win both the popular and electoral votes, the sitting president (who comes across as an out of control narcissist) refuses to acknowledge this and incites his followers claiming that the election was stolen through voter fraud.

This leads to the most unbelievable part of the novel, as it ends with a mob breaking into the Capitol building wearing fur and horned helmets and carrying spears and a Confederate flag, running around trying to find the vice-president so they could hang him while members of congress hide under their desks. Just the idea that so many people could just break into the US Capitol, one of the most secure buildings on the planet, with that much ease is simply highly unrealistic.

I am giving this book a C+ rating, only because it is a first attempt and is so highly imaginative, if equally improbable. My suggestion is that the author focus on only one disaster at a time in his next book. A year that had that many things go wrong in it is obviously impossible.