How does a Thing Become “a” Precious?

            [thoughts from  ~burning woman~  ]

…  and the closed bud shrugs off
its special mystery
in order to break into blossom:
as if what exists, exists
so that it can be lost
and become precious
—Lisel Mueller, from “In Passing,” Alive Together: New and Selected Poems. (LSU Press; First Edition edition October 1, 1996)

          A thing can be longed for, can be thought of as precious, but until it is lived for; deeply sacrificed for; even bled for (or killed for) and finally apparently hopelessly lost, that thing can never be accurately described as truly precious: it remains an illusion, a story in a book of fiction.  However good the fiction is, it is still fiction.  The book isn’t purchased, it isn’t owned, it is merely borrowed from a library. It hasn’t cost anything that is irreplaceable: I think that’s the key here.  

          In J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and continuing in “The Lord of the Ring” there appears a character called Gollum.  Gollum possesses a ring which he calls his “Precious” and is driven mad by it.  Gollum’s ring was indeed his precious because he had paid a great and terrible price to attain it.  Back in the ancient days when he was still a normal being he was called Smeagol and he had an inseparable friend, Deagol.  It was Deagol who found the ring at the bottom of the river Anduin, but when Smeagol saw the ring his desire to possess it exceeded all bounds.  Deagol wouldn’t give up the ring, so Smeagol killed him for it.  Many long years later, the outcast Smeagol, now known as Gollum, lost his “Precious” to Bilbo Baggins, the Hobbit.  Then did the ring truly become Gollum’s precious – he dedicated his life to finding the ring and getting his revenge on “the nasty Hobbit Baggins.”  In the end as we know, Gollum died with the ring: they both fell in the fire of Mount Doom. 

    How many of life’s offerings can we call precious?  Of all the obvious: air, water and land from which we draw our sustenance and cannot live without: precious?  Not according to my observations of how man treats his natural environment – definitely not his “Precious” is it. What about people relationships?  I suppose for the few, some relationships become precious as they are engaged, then irretrievably and inconsolably lost.  But for most?  Generally speaking relationships come and go, most easily replaceable.  The gregarious Earthian prefers its creature comforts of body and mind to the pining and the dying for, that puts the meaning of precious in a relationship. This is especially true of today’s consumer “throw away” society.  Most relationships are cheap and easily replaced. 

    I’m obviously fishing in deep waters here: what comes up from the deep?  I’ll tell you: the unexpected; the frightening; the dreadful and also the ineffable that literally takes our breath away so that when it disappears we long for its return to the point that we are willing to die to find it again.  I’m talking about the things that lurk in the depths of the Cosmos; that sing and dance and call beyond our memories, our experiences, our survival instincts and all our paraphernalia of security or ecstatic expectation.  Beyond the symbolism of religion, the greatest works of the mystics and even the best efforts of the poets.

    Nothing can keep us safe from what shows up to become something truly precious.  For to be precious it must be of a nature capable of taking over both mind and heart, all of one’s life, and can never be owned or controlled.  Once one has engaged one’s Precious, one’s life is forfeit.  It belongs to its Precious. 

    According to ancient wisdom, there can only be one Precious in one’s life. “No-one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”  After many long years of thinking it was irretrievably lost to me, I found my Precious, or rather it found me.  Well, perhaps to be fair to both, we met half-way and recognized each other.  Following that meeting, there was a test of my commitment: it called for my life and I in a gesture of genuine forfeiture, gave it.  That it gave me my life back, if for a time, only lengthened the period of testing – it did not conclude it.  It will be my “master” until I die, and beyond, for my Precious is of a nature that does not die and it is now as much a part of me as I am of it. We are inseparable.  Just to make sure I am not misunderstood here, I am not talking about another human being, or other “being” such as a god or “saviour” in a romantic or agape-love type of relationship.  Nothing so common: this isn’t about love.  Repeat: this has nothing to do with love.

    As I was writing this and thinking about the truth of it, I was wondering how many people have a working relationship with their Precious; how many are even aware that such a state of mind is desirable for life to make sense; how many are aware that without a commitment to one’s Precious, one is left helplessly open to being consumed by some force or other with which it has the relationship of a slave; of a believer in wizardry. 

    The force or forces one responds to when not committed to one life-linked “Master” or “Precious” would say in so many words, “The purpose of our relationship is on a need to know basis, and you don’t need to know.  Just follow any of the approved paths the rest are on.  Believe and don’t step out of those paths.  The outcome isn’t for you to know, just to worry about.” 

    And that worry becomes fear, fear becomes anger, anger becomes hate and the rest is history, or as some like to say, His story.

{Your head’s like mine, like all our heads; big enough to contain every god and devil there ever was. Big enough to hold the weight of oceans and the turning stars. Whole universes fit in there! But what do we choose to keep in this miraculous cabinet? Little broken things, sad trinkets that we play with over and over. The world turns our key and we play the same little tune again and again and we think that tune’s all we are.” — Grant Morrison, The Invisibles, Vol. 1: Say You Want a Revolution. (Vertigo June 1, 1996) }


10 thoughts on “How does a Thing Become “a” Precious?

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Guns would be a good guess, if a society can be said to have a “precious” – I hadn’t thought about the collective, but then of course: look at religious people, no doubt what their “precious” is.


  1. Woebegone but Hopeful

    Thoughtful post Sha’Tara.
    I wish I could answer but in my scatter-shot mind ‘Precious’ is associated with Gollum and the various actors who portrayed the voice.
    Sorry ’bout that.


  2. We come from dreams ~

    Over the years my various “Precious” fascinations included book, musical equipment, drug experiences. “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.” Time took away my books, my studio, and any imagined or inherent value in mind-blowing experiences; and today I can say, “good riddance!” Especially the last-named: if you compare an intense psychedelic experience to a nuclear blast, after the mushroom cloud blows away, what remains is the Same Old You.


    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks for your comment Roy. Actually I was writing about something much deeper than the sort of things you mention. I doubt your “preciousses” ever sat down beside you and asked you if in complete freedom and of clear mental faculty, you would be willing to die for “it”. I’m assuming here, of course, but as explained at length in the essay a “Precious” is something you give yourself to irrevocably. Once you have your Precious there is no turning back. You are it and it is you, and no, you are never again the same old you. In fact that is the reason to meld with “the Precious” – to be forever changed by “it”. In my case “Precious” is compassion. Our bonding came about through the intermediary work of one of the Teachers whose name, interestingly, is El Issa.


      1. We come from dreams ~

        In those terms, and as you plainly laid out in the essay, no, I would not have killed for these things, nor died for them. This resonated with me because I was, umm, seriously attached to my books and my studio. Once I “had” my “things,” though, I never noticed that they had me as well. My clutching to them was that of a small child who is afraid that its cruel parents will take away something that makes her or him smile. I was telling these two scamps earlier today how my mother disapproved of any of my friends who got me “too excited.” Huh? I’d come home all giggly and laughing, and, well, that was just too much for a mind which was twisted with the idea that children are naturally evil and need to have the devil beaten out of them. My / our bond is based upon, “the heart is infinite,” which is a far cry from what I grew up with.

        Need I comment that “El Issa” is good ancient Church Syriac for “divine man Jesus?” That’s a whole other lecture, uhh, story; but if this ancient translation of the Greek New Testament (known as the Peshitta) is any guide, the nature of Jesus underlying the “originals” was very very different indeed from what the Matrix-generated “Church” wound up shoving down our collective throats.


      2. Sha'Tara Post author

        The real ISSA was a transgender compassionate being, and as I have been for some decades quite incapable and uninterested (except as a compassionate observer) of romantic entanglements or attachments. This ISSA character from what I gather has reincarnated many times and in many different societies on this world. Nothing of this character resembles the Jesus of the Christian gospels.


      3. We come from dreams ~

        “Jesus of the Christian Gospels” is 99.44% whole fabrication. What the remaining .56% might be isn’t in the Gospels either.


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