Tag Archives: change

The Programming

[thoughts from ~burning woman~]

Are people “programmed” to act the way they do collectively? If so, what does it mean to be “programmed”?

Programming is similar to brainwashing but much more intrusive as one is born with an operating system her/his society equally uses. A brainwashed individual might stand out from the herd, but when the entire herd is programmed, nothing stands out. If something does stand out, usually because the programming failed at some point, it will be hounded to death or hailed as some kind of saviour. Either way the herd will not think of changing its own ways to match that of a deprogrammed way shower because the herd is what it is. The programming is society and society is the programming.

There, now I’ve explained, without explaining anything, why exemplary individuals are either praised or martyred but never achieve any lasting success within society. Each new birth among the sheeple herd is a reaffirmation of the programming and is not affected by the words or acts of exemplary odd-ball individuals.


Each new generation has to realize the status quo is a result of the programming, never what free-thinking individuals would choose to rule over themselves. Each new generation must challenge the status quo if it is to hope for meaningful change as opposed to religious, government or economic whitewash. To do so every programmed new born must, upon reaching some “age of reason” realize it is acting from programming and not from natural input.


Earthians, i.e., Homo Sapiens, are not now, nor have they ever been, natural creatures. They have been, and remain, “invented” and severely programmed, controlled, entities. Even if the inventors appear to no longer reside in the neighbourhood their installed operating system runs through DNA and genes and whatever other methods of control little or nothing is known about at this time.


It bears repeating the obvious, that however many times “the people” have sought to make significant changes to the status quo, it invariably all returns to square one. The board is cleared and the pieces are re-assembled in their original start of game position. The pawns (peons or pee on’s) are on the front lines, the nobility safely behind this protection. Only when most or all Pee-On’s are dead does the nobility take the field and notice that they reserve special moves for themselves not available to the pawns… unless a pawn by some miracle becomes a member of the nobility. So a new game begins in the proper order according to the rules of the program. No deviation allowed.

Any change made to the rules will be endlessly reversed because it does not affect the programming of those who are born after the changes took effect. The “next generations” do not understand the need for the changes nor comprehend or care for the sacrifices that were made to achieve it. (Try out some history on that, see if I’m in error here.)

It had been hoped that “education” would eventually ensconce the change within society’s group think; within the societal mindset, but that turned out to be a false hope. If someone has a toothache you can make them read books about people with healthy teeth but it changes nothing to that person’s reality. They have to figure out a way to overcome their own problem and that does not come from mere information. Education is information. It has no power to change society. All that can be hoped is that certain individuals will realize, as they educate themselves (in my case despite all that “academia” tried in order to change my mind) that they are mind slaves of “something” much greater than themselves or their society. Then they must challenge themselves to uncover the cause of this “malaise” within their own mind and through no small effort, eradicate the original programming by literally re-inventing their thinking patterns through changes of belief and unbelief until something new is achieved and the old program completely eliminated.

Then what? Well, then they find themselves at odds with much that their society teaches, insists upon, takes for granted or accepts as necessary, even when such beliefs, concepts or acts make absolutely no sense.The programmed and the deprogrammed no longer understand one-another; they speak a different language.


As long as Homo Sapiens programmed entities are born to take over the status quo nothing permanent can change here. Going from a bone knife to a nuclear submarine is not change: the mindset remains the same because the mindset is the programming and it’s the mindset that determines the future.


The programming or operating system I speak of was once used to benefit the “inventors” of Homo Sapiens by controlling their minds to keep them enslaved and unable to reason things for themselves. Now its elites have discovered how to use this controlling programming to their own advantage. They use it to force the programmed mind-slaves to work for peanuts; to destroy their world to extract baubles that are of little or no value and in the process find it necessary and justifiable to destroy each other.


This final destruction it would seem, was always part of the original plan. The current mess we are in and cannot get out of is a consequence of a program that was meant to run the entire survival time of what has been aptly called, ‘the slave species of god.’

Since the programming cannot be stopped, there being no intelligence capable of exposing its existence; since it controls everything an Earthian thinks and does; since no mind powerful enough to counter it exists on Earth in this time, then the species must end.

It will not be destroyed outright: where’s the fun in that? It will be forced to self-destruct, watching itself helplessly doing so: the final gift of the gods. Amen.

A Short Walk in a Denied Reality

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ ]

Billions of mind slaves are daily driven to do “stuff” no normal person would even think of thinking about or doing. These slaves are whipped along their self-destruct path by a tiny bunch of psychopaths who have arbitrarily placed themselves in charge of the planet and declared that all of it belongs to them. It’s always been that way but it seems to us the more obvious today. Yet this untenable situation is not just tolerated, but the majority actually approves and quite often cheers on their predators.

Being, in my own estimation at least, reasonably intelligent, such a fact forces me to ask, “Why?” Why do people put up with this deadly charade? Why do they allow the psychos to eat them alive while destroying the only world they, and their children, have to survive on? Why can’t they collectively say, “Enough!” without having to wait until they’re all starving to death, or dying of various preventable plagues to plunge into pointless bloody revolutions?

Every question is based on an answer, not the other way around. So taught the Teachers. When I ask “Why?” I don’t expect to hear an answer, I expect to find one depending on how I ask the question. It’s like pointing a rifle at a target. The rifle isn’t going to find and lock on the target, I have to do that first. The target is the answer I’m shooting for.

Why are people so dummied-down and collectively stupid as to accept being their own worse enemies? I asked and replied to myself, over the years, “Think!” The answer was rather obvious: propaganda. Official lies is another name for it.

Which begs another “Why.” Why does propaganda work? That was a bit more complex. Well, people are predisposed to accept the propaganda and to reject any other idea that doesn’t fit into the official lie. That’s the basis for the success of brain dead organized religion, the deception of government (in any guise) and the banditry of banking.

Which brings up the next “Why?” Why are people predisposed to lean favorably to official lies and reject common sense? The answer to this third and last “Why?” is where people go running for the hills, their collective ears solidly plugged with any substance found so they won’t have to hear.

The answer is as simple as it is unacceptable to the rank and file: programming. How to put this simply?

Basic foundational question: What is an Earthian, that *ISSA creature that insists on calling itself “human” when it can’t even demonstrate a humane life; that creature that revels in gratuitous violence? It is not a natural creature and it’s lifestyle proves it beyond any shadow of doubt. It is totally dependent upon its life-sucking systems to remain alive – and that is no contradiction: being alive does not necessarily mean being alive.

Take away all of the “benefits” or “advantages” of civilization this very day then come back in a year to count the ones still alive and functioning as normal, natural creatures.

The Earthian creature is a cloned and programmed entity, designed as a slave to serve masters. It can’t help itself. If it breaks free of one master it will seek another and begin serving again. It cannot imagine itself as a free and autonomous creature. In fact it resents the thought of real freedom because that entails taking full responsibility for all aspects of its own life without relying upon social support systems.  Wild animals can do this because they have more free intelligence than Earthians hence why Earthians are programmed to kill off the wilderness: nature is always a threat to Cyborgs.

Being unnatural, it cannot comprehend nature so must rely on its masters for its survival and knowledge. This is where it get truly touchy. The creature is “endowed” with a wonderful thing it calls a soul. Even among atheists the concept of “soul” keeps its validity. It is variously thought of, or spoken of, as some natural aspect of the creature or a gift of the gods, or God; the repository of consciousness or mind.

All of which is of course total BS – in capital letters.

The real story?  The soul was designed as a controlling implant. It is used to motivate and to generate and maintain an endless array of repetitive and cycling belief systems within the implanted ISSA creature. It is programmed to keep the creature believing in “something” (basically anything at all) that is always superior to itself, something that holds the carrot and the stick. The foremost of soul laws are: obey and never question. The ever-present hope is that through obedience one receives the carrot and not the stick. When the creature sees others getting the stick it doesn’t hear their cries; it hears the propaganda that says, “Hey, they deserve what they’re getting, they are disobedient.” The nature of that “disobedience” is not questioned. Or they hear the other line: “They are the enemy and must be subdued or they will come “here” and take what you have.” If it wasn’t pure programming control, how many would fall for those inanely simplistic explanations that condone theft, mass murder and genocide?

Some say, I don’t believe in the soul like that’s supposed to be an answer. Not believing makes it go away? Closing your eyes to danger makes the danger go away? Billions of Earthians are crowding the world with their heads solidly stuck in the sands of denial hoping that denial will make the bad go away. Billions have their minds hacked on a daily basis, filled with dis-mis-information, salivating when the soul message dings and passing social media lies with likes and hits and clicks blissfully unaware they are frantically contributing to their own demise.

Isn’t it time to wake up to reality? Isn’t it time to realize if something has never worked it isn’t about to miraculously start working just because we are approaching dire straits? Protests, wars, revolutions, changing of the political guard: none of that is going to resolve our current dilemma because it never has.

Time for something truly new, like new thinking; like a new idea?

*ISSA being: an intelligent, sentient, self aware person.

The Prophet Spoke Again

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]

The Prophet spoke once more in the latter days, long after any had been and these be the things she said into the minds of those that would listen.

I am not bringing any good tidings, she said to them, therefore it is entirely up to you whether you listen, or fail to listen, for the message will be given even if only the stones of this world, the pavement of its streets or the girders of its highrises hear it.

You will have noticed that your world has changed once again, and in that change it has turned against you. You speak amongst yourselves of climate change; you debate whether it is the works of your own hands, of the world itself or perhaps a combination of both. You do not know and while you are confused, refusing to face the music you yourselves ordered to be written upon skies, seas and lands, you cannot dance. You but plod, and you weary yourselves with petty thoughts of greedy corporate executives and bankers, corrupt politicians and the endless charade of religion. Thinking yourselves wise, you have indeed made yourselves fools; the duck thinking to survive the winter in a child’s wading pool.

You seek answers where there are none! You deliberately ignore your history to fall ever and anon in the same trap your ancestors fell in and died in. You continue to believe that if you replace this puppet with that one; this god with another; this system with a more “environment friendly” one, you can carry on with just such light brush strokes on the old canvas; that you can carry on with no self-sacrifice, no purifying of heart, no transforming of mind, therefore no essential change.

But know this, if you cannot see it for yourselves: your canvas is rotten, even to the frame that holds it together.

That is the sum total of my tidings, to do with as you see fit. I did not come here to make the change for you, I came but to give warning. If you care about each other and particularly if you care about your own children, you will listen. If you do not, I may as well once again take the name of Cassandra and die in the fall of your great and impregnable city.

Is there any hope? I don’t “do” hope, but I am addressing people who believe in such things. So, look about you, anywhere, and see if there is anything truly new rising from your world; from within your many systems: anything you would bet your life and the life of your children upon? Anything that cannot be bought and sold in the global marketplace or corrupted beyond recognition in your high places of government, banking and worship?

Every prophet is mad, I as much as any other who has ever dared incarnate on this world and in my madness I dare imagine that some of you will ponder this and cry out, ‘Yes, we can see how it is coming apart,’ and add, ‘what should we then do?’

As I said, I am not here to give you answers, that was not part of my job description.

Let me remind you that everyone like myself who has come before and given you strict guidance and rules of conduct has been an abject failure because the teaching was imposed, it did not arise from within yourselves, thus it was powerless to change you. Go ahead, read your prophets, the full time, the part time, the ones you defamed, tortured and killed. You could do worse than re-reading “The Prophet” by Khalil Gibran. Read other way showers and rule givers and go as far as pondering the voices of those who called themselves saviours and see what you find these many years later.

I will give you hints though, even if it violates my strict self-imposed mandate. Simple hints. First, your civilization as you experience it and as you’ve known it throughout your very short history, is finished. Its days have been measures and found wanting.

Its very nature is inimical to the concept we call life. It has exceeded its limits to growth. It feeds entirely on bloodshed and destruction and many there are who profit from this and many more who rejoice in the results. That is its greatest sin from which it can neither be healed, or ever rise again.

Second hint: if you would do something that has a chance of bearing fruit, though it likely will be but for yourself as an individual, choose the path of the compassionate being. “How” is entirely up to you.

Quote: “A dominant myth is inclusive, in the sense that people feel lost without it. They can’t attribute any sort of human activity to anything else but the myth. They can’t see their way past it. They feel stymied without it.” (Jon Rappoport) and my added comment: “And what is civilization but a dominant myth?”

 

Is there a Collective Unconscious and a Collective Dream?


[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara

(Introduction) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Collective unconscious (German: kollektives Unbewusstes), a term coined by Carl Jung, refers to structures of the unconscious mind which are shared among beings of the same species. According to Jung, the human collective unconscious is populated by instincts and by archetypes: universal symbols such as The Great Mother, the Wise Old Man, the Shadow, the Tower, Water, the Tree of Life, and many more.

Jung considered the collective unconscious to underpin and surround the unconscious mind, distinguishing it from the personal unconscious of Freudian psychoanalysis. He argued that the collective unconscious had profound influence on the lives of individuals, who lived out its symbols and clothed them in meaning through their experiences. The psychotherapeutic practice of analytical psychology revolves around examining the patient’s relationship to the collective unconscious.

Psychiatrist and Jungian analyst Lionel Corbett argues that the contemporary terms “autonomous psyche” or “objective psyche” are more commonly used today in the practice of depth psychology rather than the traditional term of the “collective unconscious.”[1]

Critics of the collective unconscious concept have called it unscientific and fatalistic, or otherwise very difficult to test scientifically (due to the mythical aspect of the collective unconscious).[2] Proponents suggest that it is borne out by findings of psychology, neuroscience, and anthropology. [end of Wikipedia introduction]


In a recent post I wrote about an interesting dream I had involving certain “symbolic characters” currently much in the collective mind: Donald Trump as president of the USA, his press secretary, KellyAnn Conway, and the White House represented by a “Black House” in the dream.

Since, I have met one other person who had a similar dream on or about the same time I did, involving Donald Trump asking for help. 

In the comments section of my article, Katharine Otto  ( https://katharineotto.wordpress.com/ ) wrote: “Sha’Tara,  Your dream has been working on me since I wrote the above, and I do indeed believe you are functioning as a catalyst. I believe Trump is also a catalyst, in that he is rattling so many cages, but he can’t control outcomes. The outcome (or outcomes) depends on how we as Earthians deal with the changes. We do have the opportunity to uplevel individual and group experiences, maybe with a little help from our more evolved, extra-terrestrial friends, whoever or whatever they may be.

Maybe in a group-dreaming mode, we can dream up some visions of the kind of society we would like to inhabit.

Is there a collective unconscious (or objective psyche) and could this involve a kind of collective dreaming involving those free-er minds no longer bound by belief systems as promoted by organized religion or atheistic scientific materialism?  That somewhere between these antagonistic extremes exists a subtle reality preventing extremism from totally destroying a living sphere; a reality that dreamers can access and input into, thus adding to its power to dampen or control volatile conditions brought on by excessive greed and predatory lust leading to insatiable appetites for the predators; fear and uncertainty for their victims?

The “Teachers” warned me time and again not to embroil myself into the physical struggle for balance in the worlds of religion, politics and money.  They cautioned me not to “take sides” by exercising my voting “rights” as all such moves reveal a sense of powerlessness on my part and a gloating on the part of the enemy. 

Recently I compared the political processes world-wide as a game of snakes and ladders.  “They” cast the dice, we walk the line only to rise, then fall in turn.  “They” are the gamers, we the pawns.  Thus it always was, thus it always will be, until perhaps, as Katherine points out, more and more of us are drawn into the dream, expanding that gentle realm until the extremes dry out from lack of food. What is the extremist’s food? Violence.

The lesson of non-involvement through detachment is harsh and apparently pointless.  The dreamers are the conchies or conscientious objectors, not just to war, but towards all forms of violence.  All violence is always, without exception, an extreme counter life force.  All types of competitive behaviour is based in violence, like it or not.  Is voting then a from of violence? Yes it is because it’s a competition, a vicious game.  It is a religion, the  support of one’s particular “household gods” in the hope that they will bring peace, or if not, then the defeat of the enemy, whatever and whomever that enemy is – in politics, religion or finance there is always an enemy and all of it results in competitive behaviour and that always results in victimization, suppression, oppression, marginalization and often the genocide of innocent victims.

Who is the enemy of religion, politics and finance? The answer is obvious: me, if I dare become an individual who refuses to offer innocent sacrifices on the altars of oppressive and oppressing “divinities”.  Me, the self empowered who dares enter into the collective unconscious dream and therein draw off power from death-dealing structures to engender new life.  From this place I am neither heroine nor victim: I just am. 

The Gyre Sniffer

a short story by Sha’Tara
(inspired, in part, by the article, “Gyres” by Bucky McMahon
View at Medium.com

There are twelve of us aboard the “Gyre Sniffer” as we call our sloop. She isn’t pretty, but can take gale-force winds as if they be but a breeze. All her gear is top of the line. Our crew is the best of the best of the best as they so proudly say in the military.

Our job? Well, more of a lark, really, because we were all very well off and could spend money liberally, was to find the sea’s most horrific, deadly, large, stinky, poisonous floating garbage island. We had heard that it was guarded by a giant sea monster evolved from the materials it had found inside the floating plastic garbage.

We hadn’t had much results with satellite feeds or “Googling” our target and we didn’t care. Actually, we didn’t want to rely on advanced tech for this, we wanted it to be a sort of Moby Dick adventure. We were first of all, going to have as much fun as possible, even when we came face to face with the plastic sea monster and prepared to kill it.

It was Selina, the Portuguese girl, who was the first to throw her tablet and cell phone overboard. We remonstrated her about this, of course, but her reasoning was impeccable: they’re kin to what we’re searching for, follow them! We’d had a few drinks, the joints had been passed around and under the circumstances we thought she made total sense. That’s how serious we were.

We had managed a pretty good gender mix, five women, seven guys, everybody from late teens to mid thirties range and all of us totally freed from any sex taboos. When the sun shone we went about naked and enjoyed ourselves whenever in the mood, wherever we happened to be lying or standing, by reading and studying – yeah, right!

We ploughed on, using solar power to run our freezers, fridges, computers and minimal guidance systems, enough to avoid colliding with any cargo vessels we may encounter which to this point was none. We would get excited when we saw flotsam and made for it. But like Selina’s tablet and cell phone, they were on the way, not there yet. Since following was too slow, we calculated the flotsam’s direction and pushed on.

When high, a couple would jump in the sea for a dive and swim and more sex. Sharks? We figured in such an empty world they had better hunting nearer beaches. Yeah, we’d all seen “Jaws” – we even had a copy on a disk drive aboard. That’s how serious we were.

We weren’t so much interested in killing a monster. We certainly didn’t see ourselves as heroes. We were, to tell the truth, just a tiny segment of the earth’s richest “kids” utterly bored with our lives. We had met here and there, at parties, ski resorts, spas, even in board rooms, make that bored rooms, and in semi-drunken, stoned talk, had put this thing together. We ‘coagulated’ together as we discovered our mutual skills and sexual attraction.

We bought the sloop, had her completely overhauled, came up with the Moby Dick idea, geared ourselves up and met one foggy, dreary morning at some dead-beat marina along the Florida coast. We sailed, I mean that literally. We had thrown out the diesel engine and back-up gas engine also. We were going to sail, come hell or high water. If it meant it would be a one-way trip, so be it because nothing is worse than depression borne of absolute boredom.

Though we had this vague goal of finding a garbage patch and, mythologically speaking, finding a plastic sea monster circling and guarding it, the main point was to become the residents of an ark, the last and only remnants of humanity. So, we would enjoy ourselves, pleasure ourselves, to the hilt and to the dregs.

We ploughed on. The seas rose and fell as did our sloop. We got used to the sussuration of the sea against the hull and the music of the wind in the rigging. We got browner, tougher, smarter and quieter as the weeks passed. We began to see one-another, not just as fun partners or sex objects or casual acquaintances but as individuals; as people, as brains and minds with gorgeous bodies not just made for sex, but to admire and to remember, even in our dreams.

I dreamt of our elected captain, Sir Oliver Hampwell the Third, or “Cap’n” who was twelve years my senior.

As I thought about Cap’n I felt years slipping from my heart. I was getting younger and increasingly introspective. I found so much emptiness in my heart, I had to dig in our stores to find the classics Eugene and Mira had insisted on packing (though they had yet to pull out a single one.) I chose Moby Dick simply because I’d studied it in college but never actually read it. Certainly not to grasp the deep philosophy underlying the story. I read. I actually read. When approached by Darwin who’d been swimming and looked like he really had a ‘need’ I actually turned him down, me! “Not now, Darwin, I’m busy. Later maybe?”

“H’m… sure. I’ll find somebody else, no probs!”

That’s how it was with us. No one would ever insist on getting their way, they’d just find another way, someone else. I was ‘in love’ with all our guys actually, it’s just that I was discovering I developed ‘my moments’ when I had to belong to myself. It was nice to be desired, of course, but even more so to be understood and left alone in those times. I think one could say I was re-birthing myself, re-creating myself. Actually it would be more accurate to say that I was giving myself a life: I’d never really had one before.

We ploughed on. Less and less we listened to satellite radio feeds. There was so much traffic, so much noise, it jarred with our ocean-filled ears. We got more serious about life, more introspective, more eager to share and understand; to listen to another’s story. I would say, “Jesper?” and not “Hey you!” I wasn’t the only one changing, we were all going through it.

We became philosophical. Imagine that, us, the spoiled brats of a planetary elite, seeking the meaning of life.

“When we return to the real world, it’s going to be so different,” said the diminutive Suki. I wonder what I’ll do…”

“Maybe we won’t return. Maybe Suki, this is the real world and we all came out of an illusion. Maybe this ship will sink into the waves and we will become part of something so big we can’t even imagine it,” said Clive, our fabulous cook with the body of an Adonis. I didn’t want to see Clive drown, what a loss, it seemed to me then.

“We won’t sink, we’re past that now. We will sail, we will grow, we will learn more and more. We will all change, evolve. Best of all, we will seek and gain understanding. We will see signs and events in the sea and the sky no one ever saw before and that will make us both, certifiably crazy, and the wisest of people. We can never return to our old lives, you realize? Our past is non-existent. We can only go forward.” So spoke Cap’n, the wisest among us.

We ploughed on, the seas parting freely for the sloop’s proud prow. One sunny morning, with the spray shooting up, I walked up, naked, to the jib’boom to lie on it like a goddess figurehead pointing the ship in the direction of good luck, and a safe harbour. I made it, eyes full of salt spray and I saw the gyre-created island to starboard. I cried out, “Island to starboard!” and slowly worked my way back to a safe deck then joined in the work of rigging our change of direction.

We circled the plastic island for days, smelling the horror of it when downwind. We were indeed horrified. We thought there could never be a man-made disaster worst than this.

Then we heard the news as we were attempting to communicate our find to the “real” world: The US had just dropped nukes on North Korea and both Chinese and Russian nukes had annihilated the US surface navy and taken out most major cities of continental US and Europe. In automatic response, US and European nukes were heading for Russia and China.

Our monster had struck before we could confront it and it mocked us as it sang to us of the end of the world.

The Sword, the Bow and the Staff – Part I – Section 10

Moving right along,  and dragging you along with it, here’s another section of the growing (hopefully not growling or grating) novel.  The game’s afoot, it’s but a question of discovering where that foot is stepping, or on whom.

________________________________________________________________________

 

“I am surprised you speak my tongue, sir. I thought Nal had to translate for you?”

“I listened carefully while you and Nal spoke earlier and I recreated the syntax in my mind. The pronunciation is a bit rough yet but I think that by Thursday afternoon when we reach your village of Torglynn, I will have that under control.”

“No one can learn a new tongue so quickly. There’s sorcery here, there be!”

“You may call me ‘Lo’ and I’d prefer that. Would it trouble you if I told you there is indeed sorcery hereabout, or rather, wizardry?”

“Oh no, not at all… hum… Lo. I like the way you and Nal make me feel. I have so much energy and I can sense things better than ever before. There’s good power coming from you.”

Her thought was interrupted by a sharp whistle from Nal who had wandered off the trail on some personal quest, or need.

Lo replied with his own whistle and he heard her call: “Water, if anyone is needing a drink!” She called back. With a careful look around, Lo pointed down the dirt embankment Nal had gone down and Donna dropped out of sight. Lo followed and at the stream Nal had discovered they drank their fill, then with Nal leading, she being the shortest and providing the smallest target, they returned to the trail by another route that by-passed the crumbling embankment.

Again, Nal led the trio, picking the proper trail from among an increasing number of lesser trails that branched out left and right only to quickly peter out among rocks or undergrowth. These were mostly hare and fox trails, probably also used by quail and grouse or even pheasants in the warmer seasons. There was silence on the trail for a short time. Then after asking if talking was permissible, and been given permission to do so, Donna continued her comments and questions.

“How did you and Nal attain to this sorcerer’s power you have? Aren’t many sorcerers or witches an’ the like left since the advent of the Christian church in these parts. The priests and monks that come this far are determined to eradicate all aspects of our previous “pagan” way of life, they are.”

“How does that sit with you, Donna, this eradication of your traditions?”

“Oh well, I dunno. Truth is, it hasn’t made much difference at all. We’re treated no better and maybe worse, but our clan confrontations, that hasn’t changed at all. Once our Druids blessed the men going into war with blood sacrifices by killing donated animals. Now the priest does it an’ collects gold fer it. The dead and wounded; the captives for ransom and the enslaved, it’s all the same. The new God doesn’t protect any better than our old ones, so say the old people. I can’t say such things in the village of course, but I think ‘em, I do. I hate subterfuge and lies an’ this new God I pray to, he’s no better ‘n the old ones. He favours rich and powerful men too and is more dangerous to women and children.”

“You’re a great observer and somewhat of a philosopher, ye are Donna. How old would ye be then?”

“I’ve seen fourteen summers already, my fifteenth coming up. I’ll be old enough to be given as bride come the middle o’ summer an’ t’will be expected I’ll be livin’ with a husband in our own home come the winter next.”

Lo sensed her despair in her voice and felt sorry for her, but what could he and Nal do? They were on a serious and deadly quest and surely they could not saddle themselves with a girl they’d be cursed for taking and hunted down with a vengeance to get her back. Or would they? He thought about that and realized they’d seen nothing of humans since the disappearance of the bandits. Should there not have been some sign that trackers were searching for the three captured girls?

Lo called to Nal for a stop. “We’ll eat here, now. I need to speak to both, you and Donna about our situation.”

“We have a situation, have we?” Nal was in a lighter and happier mood and not afraid to throw some of it around. “Good, I love situations. Should I pull my bow and some arrows to counter it?”

“Funny Nal, very funny!” and Donna was laughing too. “But I was only trying to be serious myself. Maybe I’ll just make all the decisions. After all, I’m the man here, and what do women know anyhow?” This he spoke mockingly and lightly, but there was a sting in it for Nal. She immediately stopped, frowned and gave him a piercing look.

“Thanks for that reminder, Lo.” Her face was dark now.

“Oh, so I do have your attention then? Good. While we eat I want to share something that bothers me some.”

The packs were opened and the food was shared carefully. They would have still liked some cool water to go with the dry bread but there was nothing they could do about that, having nothing to hold water in.

“Water would be good here,” Nal said. “Ye know, if I could go barefoot again, we could use my boots for water skins.”

“Gawk!” exclaimed Donna. Lo followed up with, “What a thought that. Imagine the fine toe aroma to spice up that plain, clear mountain water. I’m surrounded by geniuses, I am!”

The following laughter was much needed as all of them had had several very tense days, and if Donna didn’t remember her ordeals, her body did just the same. Unknowingly, she was also no longer a virgin, and that weighed on Lo’s mind, knowing how promiscuous girls were treated in her society – or almost any society he had been through in recent years. Would Nal have to re-instate Donna’s memories of horror, and could she even do it? Or, could Nal repair Donna’s hymen and had she perhaps already done it? He’d have to speak to her in private. For now there was the problem of the village itself, and of them returning Donna to it.

“We need to decide how we’re going to approach Torglynn in a couple of days, that being the time I’ve calculated it will take us to reach it – Thursday afternoon it will be – and well, we need a consistent story to tell whomever in authority we must confront. There will be suspicions all around, of that I’m sure, and we will be treated as spies, or worse. I don’t fancy just walking up to the portcullis if there is one and demanding admission. This is war time.”

It was Nal who spoke her own thoughts next. “What bothers me in all this is the fact we haven’t encountered any search parties this way although the trail is quite clear and obvious. I’m already thinking that something is seriously amiss at Torglynn. Now here’s what I think has happened. Our two bandits went back there with a story of having encountered bandits on the trail. They had been attacked and in defending the girl they had freed, they lost one companion and the girl herself, barely escaping with their own lives. They would have made a generous addition to the gang of bandits now numbering a dozen or more and cautioned the locals from engaging the trail in search of the girl. They’d have insisted that she’d be dead by now.”

Donna looked quizzical. “What are you talking about? What bandits? We haven’t seen anybody since you found me wandering about. I still don’t know how I got into these parts all alone. I would never do this and I know I wouldn’t run away from a battle when wounded people needed me desperately. What am I doing here?”

“We’ll try to explain that if possible,” said Lo, “but I must speak to Nal privately, and use the common tongue of the south. Will you mind?”

“No, I don’t mind.” So he and Nal moved away a little and he spoke, “Nal, she was supposed to remember some things but you wiped out all of her ordeal’s memories. How do we work with that? How do we explain it?”

“Sorcery Lo. She believes in Sorcery. She believes that we are both sorcerers and have all kinds of powers she doesn’t understand but has an affinity for. Don’t worry, she knows the dangers of mentioning any of that. So, she has amnesia from the fear her capture gave her. That is all to our advantage, she can’t speak what she can’t remember.”

“But what if they do not believe her and put her to the torture for the truth? You know those priests and how they hate the young women they can’t have. If torture is the only way they have to justify stripping a girl naked to look at her, or possibly to rape her, it’s what they do, all the time, Nal.”

“What you are saying is, we can’t return her to her village. Is it because you care about what will happen to her, or have you fallen in love with her?”

“It’s both. I care more about her situation, but physically she is irresistible to a living healthy male body. I can beat this, of course, but for now it may be something we need. And I know you understand fully and that you have no jealousy in you, even to the sharing of a husband with another woman. I know because I know who you are now and that is the thing I meant to tell you some days ago. I meant to tell you who you really are.”

For a long minute, Nal looked directly into Lo’s face. “I love you Lo. I love you enough to know that if you share your love with another it will take nothing from mine and I will lose nothing of you. In fact man, I made you sleep beside Donna last night so those feelings would surface and be set free. No dissimulation. You know I enjoy sex too and if I have opportunity as you had last night you wouldn’t find me keeping my clothes on! We’re part human Lo, and we don’t lie to our nature. All is as well, perhaps better, than it should be for us. Now, who am I?” She said it with a twinkle, but she was also very serious as well as curious, and he knew it.

“Oh, thank you Nal. Who you are is quite simple. I did some “testing” with a secret instrument I possess, and it never lies. It told me that you, my loving friend, are the actual reincarnation of my first and previous wife: Nah-La. You are, in fact, an Alaya, though you need to reawaken many, many memories that hold and nurture the gems we call our powers.”

“Oh… Lo, Lotharic, my husband, my husband! How long I have waited to be with you again. I remember, I think, some of our past… Oh, the joy of this moment, Lotharic. It has been so, so long.”

She threw herself in his arms and motioned to Donna to join her in encircling “their” man. Though unsure as to what was happening, the girl came forward and threw her own long arms around Lo, and felt her heart beat very, very loudly. Then she began to cry without even knowing why. She too was now irrevocably caught in Lo and Nal’s web of wizardry or sorcery. She also realized with her own great joy that these moments were changing her forever; that there would be, could be, no returning to Torglynn and its dead-end survivalist ways in pointless hope of some nebulous salvation by a God of blood and gore who hated women. No more. Then she had to yell it out, “No more!”

“Shhh…” Both Nal and Lo admonished her. “There could be ears about other than those of animals and birds. We need to be ever more vigilant as we approach Torglynn.”

“Why go there at all?” asked Nal.

Lo switched to the common tongue of the south, “Several inescapable reasons. We need supplies. We need to find out if the bandits we talked about actually did what we think they did, and where they went. We need local gossip. We also need to find a good escort for Donna, to accompany us back to the Cottage. What say you to a double wedding ceremony, should we find the fellow we think would suit? Convincing him will not be a problem, choosing him will. So what say you?”

“It’s necessary, but I can’t leave Donna out here alone and go in the village with you. You’ll have to do all that on your own. I wish, I wish, I had my power of telepathy functioning fully now! I need this to stay in touch with you.”

“By tomorrow, with the kind of energy you put into remembering, you should have it but you won’t be able to use it. We’ll talk about that later. By the way, while I’m gone, it could be a couple of days, perhaps more, what do you intend to do with Donna?”

“I intend to teach her to become somewhat of an Alaya. She has amazing gifts already. Also, I must teach her weaponry. Will you see if you can buy her a good, light sword and a long dagger? Oh, and a pair of high leather boots to fit her feet comfortably with a built-in sheath for the long dagger? She has long legs, it should be no problem. Don’t forget the swain! On second thought, why not forget the swain? There are some very eager boys at the cottage and they impressed me with their courage and fighting skills in that melee, particularly Roland. What say you to that?”

Back in local dialect, “Wonderful! Truly. Let’s carry on towards the village, but with extreme caution now. We can’t be seen, for if we are we will be duty bound to eliminate all witnesses. You know what that means, Nal?”

With a sigh, “I know what it means, Lo. I will never, ever fail you in whatever you have need of me for. I am Nah-La your wife. You know me.”

“Yes, but I only know half of you intimately. The human half cannot be known by anyone, not even the gods. That needs constant reaffirmation and can never be trusted. Accept that as I accept this same chaos in my own mind and spirit.”

“I accept it, Lo, as you do. We are both, what we are, and what we think we are.”

She turned abruptly, ran past Donna and started leading again, mindful of her place, pace, and the people trusting her… or not. The trail still beckoned although the sun was quickly dropping into the high hills in the southwest. An orange glow began to fill the sky as the distant sea, wherever it was, reflected the sun’s rays back into the atmosphere. A deeper silence now fell upon their surroundings and all three wanderers were keenly aware of the change.

It was Donna who spoke first. “I feel uncomfortable, as if something painful is taking place nearby. I feel its pain, I do. It’s over there!” She pointed to a copse some distance from the trail.

Carefully, they worked their way in the direction she pointed them in. Then Nal picked up the energies also. “She’s right, it’s nearby. Something is hurt and can’t move.”

Even more cautiously they entered the small wood and heard a noise, like a groan, or moan, then a throat rattle of someone in the throes of death. Moving forward, they came upon a grisly scene. It was two men, their two bandits in fact, lying on the ground. One was quite dead, the other caught like a deer in a weighted trap, beyond any physical help, not that he’d be given any. Nal looked at Donna, a look that said, ‘watch this’ and pulling out her dagger, pierced the bandit’s heart, putting him out of his misery.

“I might have been able to heal him!” whispered Donna quite loudly. “Why did you kill him?”

“I knew this man, and the other. They are vicious murderers, thieves and rapists. Be thankful that you never met them.” Nal spoke harshly to impress her words on Donna by her tone. “You cannot trust human beings, Donna. Not ever, not in any circumstance. Remember this scene and remember my words. They will save your life soon enough.”

Lo had inspected the scene to discover what killed the other bandit. It was easy for him to figure that out. The log, held by a small chain, had swung out when the trap was sprung. The chain broke under the strain and one end of the log broke the one man’s neck, killing him instantly; the other end dropped on the second man, breaking his back and trapping him so he could not move. A fitting end to a very sad story. Five dead for nothing: two innocent young girls and three utterly despicable men, all as if there were no difference between any of them; pigs to the slaughter.

So it was why the village remained ignorant of what had happened to their three disappeared girls. No one had any idea how the girls disappeared or were taken, nor in which direction to search if indeed a search was a wise move considering the number of dead and wounded of able bodied men in the village. Perhaps some opportunistic bandits eager for ransom money would return the girls if a bit the worse for wear. That hope however dwindled day by day and the upset parents were advised to go to the kirk and pray and stop pestering the local magistrate. ‘Look at the dead here. Your girls are likely alive, consider that a gift from the Lord.’

O, earth, thou place of life veiling such misery and death!
O, faith, thou fickle companion for them that trust in thee!

End Section 10 – (Ten)

The Gift of a Life Changed

                                        [a short story, by Sha’Tara]

Oh, he knew her so well.  He remembered how she came and hovered over his crib when he was a tiny baby; how she fretted over him, and kept his rattle or soother at hand.  She was his “other” mom, and the older sister he never had.

Over the years she had come to him at different junctures of his life.  He remembered the glow of her presence at his first communion and later, his confirmation.  She encouraged him, and gently taught him to notice how other people, especially his elders, teachers and parents, lived their lives.  Don’t judge them too harshly, she’d whisper, but notice the hypocrisy, always notice that.  Don’t confront them, just note and remember.  Especially remember. 

Then he grew up and he didn’t see her during his time of rebellion, anger, chaos and confusion.  He saw girls instead and he lusted after them.  He did stupid things, boastful, ignorant, hurtful; things that endangered the lives of others.  It was as if he was possessed to do evil.  The girl he dated became pregnant.  He still had a sense of the old chivalry he’d learned from his childhood fairy tales and fantasies.  He asked her to marry him and she accepted.  Not the best start, but on their wedding day, she was there again.  He saw the glow and suddenly his heart opened and guilt filled his mind to overflowing. 

The moment passed.  Life was tough enough.  Wife, kids, a mortgage, car payments, responsibilities he was trained to handle, but nevertheless, stress.  There were other things to impede the good life: a growing awareness that the world was not a great place to be.  There was “the war” that needed protesting – he’d become a conscientious objector and tried to live by some personal code of non-violence.  There were draft dodgers from across the border to help find shelter and jobs.  Then environmental issues took priority and his life grew very complex and a darkness grew in his heart. 

The marriage failed.  He found himself, thanks to his losses, freed of a commitment he felt was complete.  But the darkness held him down.  He re-discovered religion and attended church.  It provided little.  He saw more of the old hypocrisy.  He saw how the claims failed to match the lifestyle.  Disappointed and discouraged he struck out alone looking for something, not finding. 

Lost in mid-life, he was walking along the river shore one cloudy day and sat on a fallen log on the bank.  Staring at the shining waters flowing past him, he formulated a prayer, or rather a request.  He addressed her and said, “You know, I’ve made a complete mess of things.  I wanted to do right, and did wrong.  I wanted to change the world and couldn’t even change myself.  The things I’ve done are horrible to me.  I’m sorry for my ignorance and stupidity, but most of all, I’m sorry for my pride. 

I need you to help me now, though I don’t deserve it.  I’m going to ask your for the greatest gift of all, knowing full well that it cannot be bestowed on anyone, that it can only be earned through experience.  I am asking you to grant me the gift of humility.  Only with that can I re-learn to live with myself.  I don’t expect to suddenly become humble, but I need you to guide my heart into this new and alien territory I intend to walk across until I reach the other side.  I’m going to proceed knowing that you are here, guiding me, and reminding me.  Thank you.

And so it was that he gradually changed.  He did not feel any more humble, rather the opposite, but others noticed.  Always he’d be shocked when they said something, or praised him for his kindness or gentleness.  That can’t be me, he thought.  Then he’d know she was there, calming his heart, softening his hands, making him choose his words with care, showing him how to proceed in all situations.  Over time he understood what it meant to be blessed.  He thought, I find it so amazing that the less I possess and the more I give away, the more I have; the more filled I feel.  And he learned to laugh. 

He lived long past his chosen time.  Those who knew him believed he’d discovered the secret of immortality but that was only their hope he’d always be around.  One day he left.  He walked away with only a small overnight pack on his back.  She walk silently beside him, then she touched him.  He was never seen again.  

A friend of his, having understood, said, we held on to him much too long.  We made him feel guilty about leaving but finally he allowed himself to hurt us a bit so he could claim his own freedom.  He’ll never be completely gone for he lives in each of us.  What he showed us, the wisdom he taught and the changes he wrought: those are the pieces of his heart we hold within ourselves.  He’s still here, giving us of himself when we emulate his burning joy.

Quote: Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to was never there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it. Where is there a place for you to be? No place… Nothing outside you can give you any place… In yourself right now is all the place you’ve got.” ― Flannery O’Connor