Tag Archives: sacrifice

Another Gift of the Magi (part 3)

Near the end of that year her body finally gave out and she remained bedridden.  Ariana spent as much time as she could spare comforting her and listening to some of her experiences in the world of high class prostitution.  Sometimes they could be heard bursting out in laughter, followed by Sylvia’s terrible coughing fits.  Surprisingly, and perhaps not so surprisingly, during that year some of Sylvia’s clients who had helplessly fallen in love with her, traced her to the hospice and she was permitted to receive them.  There were strange tearful reunions and many a new anonymous donation appeared in the “Hope Fund”.

The week before Christmas was the hardest.  Sylvia labored for breath and could not eat.  Fed intravenously, she was slipping fast.  Christmas Eve came and she couldn’t hold any longer.  Ariana came in and saw that the battle was over.  She reached down and held the frail, wasted body of her sister and said: 

“Remember our vow – no matter what the circumstances, we would always spend Christmas day together?  You have to hold on tonight.  You have to celebrate the birth of our Lord with me tomorrow.  You can’t break your vow.  You can’t!”

Sylvia understood.  She held on and passed away in the evening of December 25.  Ariana looked out the window into the city night.  Snow had fallen all day and everything was covered in white.  Street lights reflected their pale luster upon store fronts decorated with various aspects of the kind of commercial Christmas the world has come to accept as normal.  For a brief moment the city, attired in a virgin’s white hid her ugliness.  Ariana thought it fitting that it would make an effort and put on a white mantle for the passage of her sister’s soul.  Above the city, between high-rise escarpments, Ariana saw a couple of stars twinkling in the cold night.  Only then did she allow the floodgates of sorrow from her heart to open and she cried silently, for a long time.

A year went by.  Things returned to their normal madness in the hospice.  Sister Celeste drove herself even more now, but learned to ease up on the younger postulant nuns and things ran smoothly.  On Christmas Eve she found herself alone in her small office in the old house that served as rooming house for nuns and postulants, and office for the hospice next door.  She had done her final rounds to ensure that all was under control there under the night shift. 

The old house felt terribly empty as those not serving in the hospice had gone home to their families to celebrate Midnight Mass and Christmas day.  She pulled out her rosary, thought of Mother Teresa doing the same thing and smiled to herself as she looked out her office window into the night sky filled with grey clouds that presaged more snow on Christmas day.  

The beads of the rosary slipped silently through her fingers from years of practice.  She thought of Sylvia and tried to imagine the kind of life she was now having.  Pangs of sorrow, regret and emptiness hit her.  Had her foolish dream, however well it had turned out, been the cause of her sister’s death?  She shook her head as she prayed through the rosary.  “I cannot entertain such thoughts.  It is wrong. Sylvia and I were as one and she made a choice that I would have made had our positions been reversed.  She chose her life of sacrifice, not just for me, but for the people here, for the city, for the world.  We both did, and found what we wanted most.”

The front door buzzer brought her out of her meditation.  She checked the monitor.  Two men, unshaven, poorly dressed and obviously hungry and cold, stood at the door.  Compassion moved her heart as she looked at them and in violation of an unbreakable rule she had made, against all common sense, got up and went to open the door.  She invited the men inside and as she turned to lead them out a side door to to the hospice cafeteria, they grabbed her, threw her to the floor and raped her at knife point.  Then the one with the knife plunged it in her heart several times.

As Ariana lay dying, her blood-soaked hands holding her punctured chest, she whispered, “I forgive you…!”  Her final thought from this side of the veil was, “As promised, I’ll be with you for Christmas, sister.”

It is not given to us to see beyond this point.  Death guards his territory with terrible jealousy.  His reasoning, often tragic to us, remains impenetrable.  We cannot investigate further; we can but speculate on the fate of those who “cross the bar” and never return.  Some will think, heaven, and some will think, there is no more to the story.  That is how it should be but regardless of our belief choices, it is given to us to have the mental means to contemplate the lives of people such as these two sisters; their motivation and the results from such sacrificial offerings to us and our world. 

The story is fictitious, certainly, but how many real lives provide the flesh and blood background for stories such as this one?  My question, as always, is: can we take ourselves beyond just admiration and perhaps temporary sadness?  Is there some food here for us? Something to move us to better ourselves and take new steps, however hesitant, towards becoming compassionate beings? Surely, anyone who has read the story to the end must realize such are not given to us simply to entertain, or bring out a few temporary tears, as beneficial as such may be to our eyes strained by the harsh glare of consumerism. 

 I do not easily give Christmas wishes for to the degree that I understand the concept I strive to live without hypocrisy.  However, I will do this: on behalf of Sylvia and Ariana, cast out any darkness from your hearts during this time and do give yourselves, one and all, a merry Christmas!

Another Gift of the Magi (part 2)

The anonymous donations kept coming, always enough to meet the rent and the basic needs.

But where was Sylvia?

After she collected the original amount, she quit university and hired herself out as a model and a call girl.  It was the only way she could see to raise money in sufficient amounts, consistently and quickly enough to meet her sister’s obligations.  Her sociable ways, confidence, physical beauty and intelligence soon made her the number one choice companion in the “underworld.” 

She changed her identity and had a false address.  She took the name Folie Delacroix.  She had one rule only: no entertaining in her place.  She rented a run-down basement suite in the old part of town, among the poorer segments of society.  Some she even directed to her sister’s hospice.  Every dollar she made not needed for immediate personal necessities she put in her sister’s “Hope Fund” as they now called it.

Every Christmas, as they had promised each other, Sylvia came to visit her sister.  When pressed about her doings in the world, she remained  evasive,  explaining that getting her degree had been put on hold due to more immediate commitments.  She spoke of trips to Europe as assistant secretary to the CEO of some software company.  She made up stories of exciting times on the Riviera and other places.  She was determined to keep her deepest and, to her, most shameful secret.  

At the end of their yearly visit, they would hold each other and say nothing.  Moments that brought back so many happy times for Sylvia and gave so much hope to Ariana.

The anonymous donor was faithful.  The money was always there, sometimes more than expected.  Then on the tenth anniversary of their vow, as they met for another Christmas, Ariana noticed her sister looked pale and thin.  The luster in her eyes was dulled. 

“Syl, what’s wrong?” 

Sylvia shrugged.

“Don’t do that,”  admonished her sister, “I’m a trained practical nurse and I handle sick people everyday.  I can read the signs.  What’s with you?”

Sylvia began to cry… “I’m sick, Ari.  I’m… I’m dying.  I’m being punished.”

“What are you saying?  What have you done?”

Sylvia sat crying for a long time without saying a word.  Ariana waited, holding her, sensing her fear and confusion.  Finally, Sylvia unburdened herself and told the story of the last ten years.

Ariana was shocked.  She kept staring at her sick sister and finally exploded:

“You foolish, foolish woman.  What have you done?  Why?  You gave away everything you had, everything you were, including your reputation, to give me this hospice?  You sacrificed all that meant anything to you so I could have what I wanted?  You gave away your life for me.  Syl… I never knew until now what love is.  You… you did this — for me, so I could fulfill my dream…

She stopped.  Sylvia continued to sob, their tears mixing as they held and kissed each other. 

Ariana held her sister’s hand in a tight clasp, looking deep into the sad blue eyes.  She said: “Listen to me very, very carefully, Syl.  Few people could do what you have done.  Let me never hear you speak of punishment.  What awaits you, sister, is not terror but joy.  You have demonstrated once again that love given freely, unconditionally, to another –which is the same as saying “to God” is the greatest gift of all – it’s the gift of the Magi.”

“Say no more.  You will remain here.  I will look after you from now on.  No more work,” and in a gentle whisper, “Please say you will stay?”  “Please!” “For me?”

Sylvia protests: “But how will you meet your expenses if the money stops?”

“Remember what you said to me once?  ‘Has God ever failed either of us sister?’  The money won’t stop.  For some time now, the overall donations have exceeded those of the one we called “God’s Agent”.  The Church has, shall we say, adopted this hospice and it will be regularly funded.  You have done your part, now let me do mine and let us do ours.”

Too weak to protest and fully aware that life as “Folie” was over, Sylvia stayed at the Sisters’ hospice.  Despite her sister’s dearest hope and prayers her health did not improve.  But while she could still work, she helped with the chores and her singing voice often echoed in the rooms where she worked. 

 

Dear God: an overdue Email from ~burning woman~

Dear God,

I am not expecting you to reply to this email, in fact based on your modus operandi through these recent Earthian ages, I know you won’t.  So let me get right to the point.  There are still billions of people on this benighted world who not only believe in you, but who actually spend time praying to you hoping for some pathetic handout, crumbs from a rich God’s table.  I just heard from one of those hopefuls and it made me both deeply sad and extremely angry, that a God would thus feed himself upon the gullibility of a mentally defective species.  But then that is exactly why you made them that way, so they would worship you regardless of how you dealt with them.  The more you lie to them, the more you abuse them and confuse them, the more they will stick to you believing that you’re the lesser of evils in the eternal set-up of you versus your alter ego known in this Christian part of the world as Satan. 

suffering

Hope springs eternal in the human breast / Man never is, but always to be blessed: / The soul, uneasy and confined from home,  / Rests and expatiates in a life to come.   –Alexander Pope

So there you have it.  The whole house of cards you set up based on your dead-ends of faith, hope and love.  Man never is, but always to be.  Yet man is an inveterate gambler, and he’ll hope, he’ll beg, he’ll spend time and money, he’ll donate his life even, to your service and you will give him your eternal cold shoulder.  Do you and yours in your heaven get a lot of laughs from man’s pathetic behaviour?  No doubt you’re surrounded by Pharaohs, Kings and Queens, Emperors, Satraps and Despots, Dictators and Presidents, Generals, Conquerors, Great Counter-Revolutionaries, Bullionaires and Billionaires, Popes, Inquisitors and Crusaders, Jihadists and Reformers, in short all those elites who empowered and enriched themselves with the blood of the poor and the oppressed.  How you must find us amusing!

Of course you know me.  You know I don’t believe in you.  I have no use at all for any of your claims, either of supremacy or salvation.  But let’s not give anyone reading this the wrong idea: I know you exist.  I’m not so stupid as to spend my time writing this to non-existence.  But I want people to know what I know about you – not what I think about you, but what I know.  I know you are a powerless fake, a liar, a cheat and a coward, my dear God.  For millennia, you’ve been hiding behind monstrous lies erected by monstrous liars to promote yourself and inflate your ego.  During those times the earth has flowed with the blood of those who believed in you versus those who believed in you – that is not a misprint. 

As a psychopath you must find that extremely satisfactory.  Or you would find it deeply fulfilling if you didn’t know very well the only reason these puppets kill and die for you is because you force them to.  They are programmed by you to act thus.  That must irk, no?  Knowing that if these people had their freedom of reason they wouldn’t kill and die for you?  That they wouldn’t love you?  That they wouldn’t build mansions and cities to your name?  Well, that’s the price all abusers pay.  Their winnings are hollow, without substance.  They get worship and lip service from fear,  brainwashing or both and because it leaves them empty, they need more… and more.  Are you feeling hungry yet? 

When you kick started these Earthian civilizations you imposed a programming in their minds that ensured they’d never be free to choose whether to love you or not.  So until now all those civilizations were based on some kind of divine worship.  What could they do?  No choice in the matter, was there.  And it didn’t matter to you how they worshiped you, whether as natural spirits, wood, stone, silver and gold idols, or as some singular chimera.  In fact that’s what made the game so enjoyable.  The more different ways the numbnuts imagined you, the more they hated each other and the more blood was shed. 

And the game isn’t over, is it.  In these latter days you let them play with other idols, like democracy, communism, science, socialism, humanism, New Agey gobbledygook and even let them go hog-wild with your great pretend arch-enemy: money.  But you know I can see how you’re pulling it all back to yourself.  There’s billions of human and non-human lives that are about to be sacrificed, or going to sacrifice themselves, to the System in the coming years.  And that System, that Matrix, ultimately is the mask you hide behind.  It is you.  Billions of sacrificial victims whose blood you need in order to revitalize yourself after these last hundred or so years of dieting – oh you had the wars but they weren’t completely in your control – are about to turn this world into one vast bloody altar to you.  I know you’re not going to miss out on such a banquet.  It just wouldn’t be like you and if there is one entity in the universe that will never change its nature, it’s you.

bloody-religion

So, dear God, enjoy your coming bloodbath… and may you drown in it.  May the very last woman, or man, or child finally stand up, and give you that symbolic holy of holies… their carefully and deliberately extended middle finger.  You deserve it.  Meanwhile, go to Washington; to Mecca, to Jerusalem, to London, to Islamabad, to New Delhi, to Beijing, to Tokyo or Moscow or Paris and needle your henchmen to increase the blood flow in the Middle East, between each other or everywhere: does it matter as long as it flows?  Especially as long as women and children, weak, helpless, poor, old, homeless are bleeding and dying?  You’ve already given them the weaponry, the poisons, the insane greed, the madness of power, so motivate them or are you waiting for goddess Killary/Isis to take over the reins of the Empire for the nukes to start flying?  Are you that weak?  Truly, I expected more. You disappoint me.

Sincerely,
~burning woman~ 

 

“The Move” – a short story by ~burning woman~ aka, Sha’Tara

There is Something inside everyone of us that seeks to Communicate.  While our languages maintain a quasi-universal barrier to Open Communication, it is yet possible to decode some of the information flowing all around us, through us and from us.  

Life, after all, is the sum total of all our questions that have arisen from our experiences which have become our knowledge; knowledge that begs new questions that in turn demand that we continue to “move”… though we cannot know what the “where” we are moving to will be like.  Yet we hunger, yet we thirst, yet we quest.   Or we die.
 
 Sometimes, the following happens.
                                                “The Move” 
                                                                                          
“They’ll never know.”  Voice intoned.  “They must never know.”
 
“Some suspect…” 
 
“Hypothesis; conjecture — we’ve always encouraged that.  We’ve also encouraged the opposite: belief that physical proof is necessary to acceptance.  They’ll follow the pattern.  Those who do not, who “see” will be disparaged and disbelieved.”
 
Council dissolves.
 
In their private chambers, Orthon and Agria discuss the matter. 
 
“We are manipulating their minds, Orthon.  This goes against the Teaching.”
 
“This is a very primitive race, Agria.  We must prevent global panic at all cost.”
 
“The move will create great disruptions, as the Council has been made aware.  The tips of the spirals will overheat and some of the smaller worlds will be burned up.”
 
“The Generators are working on the psi shields, are they not?”
 
“They won’t be ready in time, and there is no way to test their resilience to such a move.”
 
“Erthe is a minuscule entity.  Surely we can produce a powerful enough effect to shield it while it is being moved?”
 
“We… ahh, hope.  Why is the Council so concerned about Erthe?  Why not let it burn?  The Biologons from Elgir scanned it and found nothing remarkable, except for two unalterable facts:  one, it contains the greatest diversity of life forms anywhere and two, the Erthes are destroying their own living space on it.  Why would the Council want that world spared, particularly?”
 
“It has deep reasons, Agria.”
 
“Convince me, Orthon.  Impress this truth upon me.”
 
“You have my trust, Agria.  I will share with you.”
 
And as Agria opened herself to his mind probe, she began to sense why the Council would be duly concerned by Erthe’s fate.  Deep under one of her oceans the Biologons had recorded the existence of  an Anomaly.  The recordings described an intelligence unlike any other on Erthe,  expressing from within the magma.  The Council had attempted to have the expression analyzed but every available transponder/decoder had failed to translate the anomalous expression.  It remained the only unreadable expression emanating from any of the known Universes.  Even the great Lotharias Logos could not make any sense of it.  In fact, when the recorded expression entered its logic fields, the Logos temporarily froze.
 
But the times had come.  The Galaxy had to be moved to a new location or it would fall prey to the black hole caused by an imploded star know as Sol Dallin.  The ripple effects were spreading as more and more matter-beings were sucked into its giant maw.  Soon the entire Galaxy would be beyond saving.  But if it could be removed from the vicinity, the danger of a Universal melt-down to anti-matter posed by the black hole could possibly be averted.  There were no alternate options in the mind of Council.
 
“Ah… my dear Orthon, I thank you.  We stand to lose much, perhaps everything, if we do not act swiftly.  So, Council would first move Erthe to Galaxy Eleven, then move Galaxy 58 to Sector P19?  There is more to the Anomaly than you have shared with me then?”  
 
“The Logos believes the Anomaly may be the Source of All Life.  It fears the implosion of Sol Dallin was caused by the Anomaly in a move to destroy itself.”
 
“But why would the Source seek to do such?”
 
“The Logos suspects a malfunction within the mind of the Anomaly triggering a self-destruct sequence.  It believes the All Life desires to terminate.  The Logos cross-referenced all its available data and concluded the activities on Erthe were the trigger.”
 
“Tell me more, Orthon.  Why, for example, would All Life be located in Erthe, particularly — or why did the Logos reach this conclusion?”
 
“Facts about Erthe herself, my dear.  Well-known facts.  For example, diversity of life, despite Draconian attempts to control, has continued to expand and mutate exponentially on its surface and in its atmosphere and oceans.  The resultant complexity has apparently caused overloading in Source Mind.  Such otherwise unknowns clashing with each other – fear, hate, violence causing physical terminations on scales unimaginable; these juxtaposed by passionate explosions of love and protection.  Predators met with ever-adapting means of evasion and defense.  Violent rejection, violent attraction.  Wars between Erthes themselves.  Life birthed in blood and pain, sustained by death, giving way to laughter,  then pain, cries and loss and turning to dust.  A maelstrom of organic dysfunction.”
 
“It frightens you to look into these things, friend.” 
 
“Yes, it does.  And do you see?  Fear was never a part of our psyche Agria.  This fear we now feel, it was generated from our brief, accidental contact with the Anomaly.  As to its location, logic dictates that wherever the All Life is located such a place would become endowed with more life than any other.  Erthe, if truly the heart of creation, would pulse with an over-abundance of creative energy.”
 
“Yes my dear.  But the All Life chose Blessed Rest after the Completion.  Is that not the Teaching?”
 
“It is.  But the Logos believes the All Life was Binary.  When the One chose rest, the Other was forced to enter the process Continuation.  It was inevitable.  Life demands continuous involvement, change, expansion.  The Other tried to limit its input and involvement, withdrawing, hiding within the core of Erthe but even this was too much.  Life’s needs increased over the billennia.  The Other served life with compassion, all the while accepting the need for the destruction to prevent over-building and collapse.”
 
“What will happen if the All Life located in Erthe’s core is destroyed, then?”
 
“Entropy, Agria.  The Logos believes this will apply to all known worlds.”
 
“And what will happen to us?”
 
“We will experience termination.  Without fresh input the extant will fall into stasis and cease.”
 
“Well my dear, let us continue with our plans to build our psi shields.  I do not think they will suffice but it will keep us focused while we contact the One who chose Blessed Rest and re-unite the All Life Binary.”
 
“My dear Agria, there is no Teaching even hinting that the One could be brought out of retirement and reunited with the Other.  If such was possible, would they not have done so?”
 
“As below, so above Orthon.  What the Teaching does not say is “why” the One chose Blessed Rest, leaving the Other to carry the burden of All Life.  But we, the female energies of Om, know intuitively what happened.  Simply put my friend, there was disagreement in the Binary, resulting in the Split. 
 
If I can approach the Anomaly and am allowed to enter her Mind it may be she will share her fear, anger and feelings of rejection with us .  She may yet choose to live, Orthon.  She may have learned the lesson that all of life has yet to learn: that no part of life is greater than any other, not even the All Life, and that any part can be friend with any other part.”
 
“Well said, friend, but where would you begin to search for the One?”
 
“Not necessary.  If I can make her aware her loneliness and desolation are caused by her separation from the Twin Energy, it may be she will allow us to contact the Blessed Rest and speak to the One on her behalf.”
 
“Agria!  Have we come so far that life would have the wisdom to speak for the All Life?  That we, the created, could bring peace within the realm of the All Life, thus bringing peace within all of life?”
 
“They made us in their own image, Orthon.  It is time we made use of this awareness.”
 
“Ah, Agria, please consider this before you proceed: the Logos predicted our conversation to Council.  It asked:
 
{What will you do if the All Life, instead of coming out of retirement or ending the self-destruct process, confers its powers upon you?  What does Agria-Orthon choose if offered the power of All Life?} 
 
“What do we choose, Agria?”  – the pain of conflict evident in his words. She answers: 
 
“Life, Orthon.  Always life, whatever it entails.”
 
Orthon bows to his Other in complete and perfect agreement.

Voice from the Other Side: Lessons of the High Priest to Ix’tal

 

As I remembered it, and as I wrote it, another lesson from the world of the Nagual.

The following story, which is my story from past life memory work, is not a “politically correct” story according to this world’s current understanding.  Although man “sacrifices” thousands of helpless victims everyday, the willing blood sacrifice from a chosen ‘victim’ carries a powerful social stigma.  I believe that this stigma is designed to help hide all the crimes perpetrated by this society upon helpless sacrifices deemed necessary to the maintenance of “freedom and democracy” (or whatever other slogans people use to propagate their particular brand of society) and the dichotomy in this belief is never considered, its consequences never explored.  It wasn’t always so.  There was a time when understanding of the cycle of life, death and re-birth, was real and palpable.  We lived to die and rise again, and we wanted our death to mean something.  The following is my attempt, from what I re-structured of a long ago life, of what that meant to me then, and what it means now that I have re-strung that thread upon my current needle.  Please accept it in the spirit of compassionate, caring, power in which it is offered.   
{from   ~burning woman~  written by Sha’Tara}

Voice from the Other Side: Lessons of the High Priest to Ix’tal

 “And you will hear and understand the voices of the dead.” (Teaching of Aenea – Rise of Endymion, by Dan Simmons)

 It is a long time ago, in what is thought of as the days of the great South American empires; the heydays after the great Quetzalcoatl had left us a marvellous civilization.

 What I was told:  My earth parents had made many petitions to the Temple for the Sun God to grant them a son.  But my mother, it seems, was barren.  Yet late in life she became pregnant.  She had, not one child, but two: a boy and girl twins.  As befitted the occasion, the infant girl was gifted to the Temple to be trained in the mysteries of the Sun God religion.  As she grew up, she could qualify to be one of a select group of girls from whom would be chosen the yearly sacrifice to the God, to become the Chosen.

 My name is Ix’tal.  It is not my real name but my Temple name.  I have lived my entire life of fourteen years within the confines of this place.  The other girls are my friends but we are encouraged to spend much time alone in quiet introspection.  My best friend is the old High Priest who oversees our training.  I remember, near the time of the choosing, a particular conversation.  There were a half dozen girls in the room.

 “None of you have ever known hurt, pain or suffering.  These have been carefully kept from you.  The temple has provided for all of your needs and has trained you into many arts which all but one of you will soon find very useful when you leave here.  Now tell me, do you understand what I mean when I say, you do not know what pain and suffering is?

 The girls nod affirmatively.  I look into the old man’s face and say, “I am sorry master, but I do not.  How could I?  If I have never experienced a thing, how could I know what it is like to not have experienced it?  One must come from the other and vice-versa.”

 “A wise answer.  Do you miss this not knowing?” 

 “The question begs the same answer, master.  One cannot miss not knowing if one does not know of the possibility of knowing.”

 “Ah… And do you feel we have kept things from you here in the Temple?”

 “Master, within the choices given me, I chose to serve the Sun God.  To dedicate my life to his desires for me.  Whether things were kept from me or not does not matter.  What came to me, I received because I choose to believe that is what He desired for me.  The rest would have been a hindrance or superfluous.  I am His as I am.”

 “Blameless and without blemish are you in this, your fourteenth year with us.  You have made our choice easy.  You have been Chosen.”  There was a sigh in the room.  Both of relief and of sorrow.  But what I remember is the joy of revelation. 

 And the rest I will never forget.  At the equinox, I was dressed in a simple white robe.  I was escorted by the High Priest to the foot of the pyramid of sacrifice behind which burned the eternal flame linking the Temple to the Sun God’s palace in the heavens.  Carrying in my hand the knife used for the ritual, I walked the 33 steps to a narrow platform at the top.  I turned and faced the people, all chanting and bowing in the yard below.  Were my parents there?  I would never know and it did not matter, just a fleeting thought. 

 The High Priest then climbed in turn to stand two steps below me so his face was even with mine.  He was tall and I was short!

 I could still choose to live.  I could hand the knife in its heavy gold case back to the High Priest.  I would then be given some survival rations and gear and cast out into the forests to fend for myself.  I would not be harmed but would be an outcast, never able to return to this land.  Or, I could pull the knife from its golden case and holding the razor-sharp serpentine blade in my hand, pass the handle to the High Priest.

I seemed filled with a strange power I had anticipated but never known.  The choice at that  moment was so easy, so unbelievably easy!

Slipping the knife out of its case, I passed it to my friend and he took it.  He had confided in me before, “I shall endeavour to be as brave as you will be in your innocence.  But please forgive me if my hand shakes, for I love you dearly and I would rather kill myself than cut your heart open in this ritual.  Do you understand that?”

 “Yes, master, that I do understand.  And the little I know of love, I extend to you in return.  We will not fail.”

 The master was an adept.  He slipped his left hand behind my back to hold me and he cut my heart in half without hesitation.  As the blood poured out, he took some in his hand and put it on my head: this was my baptism and initiation for passage to the Sun God’s world.  As my body collapsed he pushed gently backward and I fell into the fire.  What I remember of that moment is the most intense feeling of joy any sentient being, I believe, could ever know.  Had I not already been dying, that feeling would have stopped my heart in any case.

 I remember conversations we had about life with the Sun God. 

 “Does every sacrificed Temple virgin become a bride of the Sun God?”

 “Yes.”

 “How many wives does He have, then?”

 With a broad smile:  “Only one.  It is not like here.  Time flows differently.  While you are his bride and wife, no one else will share this with you.  But you will desire to know more of life and He will give you many, many choices.  If you wish, you can return to earth.  He will make you into a ball of light and you will choose a mother and enter her womb at the moment of conception.  You can be a boy or a girl.  You won’t remember where you came from and you will have a normal life, although you may find that this “normal” life is not satisfying.  You will hunger for more, as anyone who has spent time with the God must.  Eventually, you will begin to remember. 

 As I did.  That is why I am High Priest here now.

 “What if I choose not to leave His side?”

 “Would you deny the next Chosen her rightful place in His life?”

 “No, of course not.  But if I fall ‘in love’ with Him?  What then?”

“You will be too wise and strong for such lesser feelings, my daughter.  You will know and it will be easy the choose the right path, always.  Your first real choice, to die in order to live, that is the most difficult.  Do that as impeccably as you have lived you life here with us and you will know. 

 Now let me tell you what it really means to be ‘Chosen’.  It means to become compassion.  That is what “knowing” means.  The rituals of the Ancients remind us, always, there is no higher calling.  And perhaps in some distant other life, this you will remember.  The lives we live and the deaths we die often bear strange fruit.  Many generations may pass before such seeds suddenly burst open.  Then, if it was engendered in joy, you will experience that joy once more — and it will all be yours.  You see, when we give ourselves up for others we give ourselves the greatest gift there ever was and possibly ever will be.  Life, as you will experience, is only about giving.  Whatever only feels the need to take and to hoard to itself is not truly alive.

 “I am confused.  Why does the Sun God “take” virgin sacrifices then?”

“A great mystery, child.  He does not take.  He frees.  In this world the lot of such as you is not remarkable.  Your life in the world, apart from being short, is filled with grief and sorrow interspersed with fleeting moments of happiness and even rarer joy.  The dangers to health and well-being are endless.  The God would have you by-pass that, just this time around so you may know there exists such a possibility.  The blood sacrifice is all of your life’s pains, sorrows, losses and grief’s combined into one act of selfless dedication to a communal dream of blessing — healthy children, peace from enemies and abundant crops.  One beautiful plunge to be followed by flight into the heavens to stand at the side of the God.  Having experienced this miracle, your compassion will then be forever sustained by this knowledge.  You won’t need to believe, you will know.

 [From “Lessons of the High Priest to Ix’tal”]