Journey of Psyche and Her Redeemer

How I know you love me is to be with me constantly;
And how I long to belong to you as you long for me,
But through many trials we each must pass for love,
Like Psyche and Cupid of ancient lore, who did more
For union of Love and Soul than the whole pantheon
Of gods and goddesses, but our own takes us higher
And we must never tire in the travail of communion,
As I remember how you rescued me and brought me
Into green pastures beside still waters to there abide
Till I found my strength once again and to begin again
To live, and more, for you to lavish me with affection
In perfection of compassionate passion day and night,
Under the light of both moon and the sun, but so soon
Did the Serpent bite and his might I could not resist,
So now we persist in drawing out the hideous poison
That separates us, yet in the frustration of tribulation
As we seek purgation there is only an inflation of love;
Ah! But my very soul is vexed with worry and distress
As I long for you to again be with me ever constantly;
And when will this end, except Father God command
And demand an ending to this strife so rife with pain?
Let the Almighty One speak now for the meek ‘n lowly,
And then we shall enjoy union in eternal communion!

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Dark At Night; Dangerous Without Light

Oh how the Evil One can appear as an angel of light, indeed, and how so very attractive the promises made! In my mytho-poetic series, this was my second encounter with wickedly alluring Bast. And would I give myself up to her death? This piece is an altogether dark beginning of an unsettling episode in my mythic journey. If you have not before, please enjoy now. (Also, this represents a continuation of my exploration into poetic narrative; not to everyone’s taste, to be sure, but poets do experiment!)

moon1“It’s dark at night and dangerous without light,” she said, while holding candle by bejeweled, golden handle. “Vandals run as wild here as desert beasts… You are alone?” She was an altogether radiant maiden, fragrant with exotic oils and incense, and made no pretense of threat. “You should get up and come; you’re only some way from water and better rest in nest of greenery and flowers, neath protective bowers.”

Yes, of course I’ll follow. Why lie here so hollow in desert sand, waiting to be killed by wandering band? And so I struggled to my feet in complete determination to go where she led to be fed from clear, cool watering hole, though tottering on weak legs; nevertheless, in such state as this, whose soul would not beg to go on? So I approached her; she reproached me not, but smiled and beguiled my heart.

The candle? Now where? No where, but how? Still the flame with which she came … No, more expansive, impressive … even growing more massive. Wonder overtook me and shook me. Moving, flaming ball, practically brewing in her hand … changing colours ranging the artist’s palette. What mystic talent does this one possess? Her smile only widened but seemed all the more kindly, so I blindly tread forward toward this sprite of the night.

With every step the flame began to elongate more and more into some kind of straight slate. She could see my confusion, but remained sedate, content to await my arrival. But for what? To help or end my survival? All began to take more shape and I could not escape noticing that fire now burned underneath what looked like funeral pyre… Funeral pyre! I suddenly looked straight into the wickedly beautiful eyes of Bast, who’d cast her spell once again without warning bell.

“No wait! I throw out no bait,” she said in near desperation, as in exasperation I’d started to turn away. “Come no closer, then, but stay where you are; stand away thus far, but hear what I have to say… Stay.” I looked at her again — foolish sin — and she appeared differently, intently gently. Innocent yet magnificent. Calm. Herself numinous balm for all my wounds, hurts and pains and strains. “Don’t go away. Stay.” And so I did.

She looked sad, but under glow of bright light of the moon, not at all bad. Neither was she mad, but upon my stopping and turning back toward her, just a bit glad … mournfully so, but not scornfully as she had been when we’d met before and she’d set about to emasculate me! Had she changed? Perhaps she has a story, too, so why should I worry to hear her tale? Can I not bear as much, or shall I so utterly fail as a man?

“I was thrown out by my mother; blown out by God to live forever upon sod of earth,” Bast began as if in answer to my thought … but what had I just bought? “I am wicked, twisted, afflicted, and unacquitted. Restricted here … convicted of crimes I never committed, I admit I’ve become addicted… Oh! But hear me, dear one! Let some other sun shine in your heart! Give me mercy’s part, and let our relationship begin again without stain of past nor strain of lies!”

I began stepping forward toward her again. But what of funeral pyre? Is she still the same liar? Will she set me to the fire? Desert wind blew threw and somehow I knew … but I came well within reach of arm and potential harm, yet strangely with no alarm. She changed, I could clearly see; wrapped herself around me, bound me. I made not a sound. Nothing of this seemed to confound. “You have only to pass through the fire as if in a chasse.”

But pyres are for funeral fires, I thought to myself, though I’d already brought doom upon myself. I didn’t care; to escape the DarkWomangloom of this world was enough for me to assume any change would be fresh breath, even death. How to pass through, though, when lying down and dying is what’s called for here? Bast laughed, but not half as cruelly as she could, and coolly explained, “I was speaking metaphorically, but not horribly, my love; certainly not with austerity or in vulgarity.”

Cold. Cold in her hold. Breath. Her breath smelled of death.

“Only lie down and drown yourself in the flames, and do not blame yourself for so doing… You’re going to be mine.”

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In the Corner with Maftet in Bubastis

Here it begins: my long series of mytho-poetica inspired by two very talented writer-poet-bloggers ~ see below ~ one interwoven, multifaceted tale that would consume me for months. For those of my readers who have not read: Enjoy! (But you may want to begin with the two pieces that inspired me… Again, see below.)

qadesh2[1]What am I doing here in this drear room in Bubastis in doom of shadow corner, so many sadistic strange faces? And who’s the witch that paces back and forth like she’s the frackin’ dream queen?

“Yeah! That witch is the bitch of war, my dear,” voice at my shoulder, and I shuddered. “She’ll dance and prance, but blood lust is a must for Bast; she just likes to drown her victims in fine wine first before lunging for the kill.” Light laughter. “Yeah, it’s her thrill.”

And the cats; I like cats, but their purring was alluring. Slap! “Bitch! Wake up unless you wanna be her boy-toy! She’ll suck you dry and leave you to rot in graveyard lot! Stupid man! I knew you needed me here; your haven is craven fear, right? Right! No might, no sight, no fight… Pathetic! Come here… No! Near, my love. Why the hell do you have an ear if you can’t hear?”

“But who are you?”

“Maftet, wife of Ma’at, but why in God’s name do you want to know? Just shut the hell up and stand behind me, kind of like you’re scarred, because you are ~ like an infant ~ far from home.” Wide shoulders, strong as boulders, silken hair, back bare and luscious. “Look! Her next victim, so unaware! Listen to her dictum, and the man is so blind! Men have always been, and there’s the purr of her cat to allure! Gods! I’ll rip apart the cats and make hats of hell ere I tear into her and chime Shai’s death bell!”

Bast like feline and soothed among cast and crew of old tale spun, told anew, unheard by little bird, “ah! but his mistress sees now how he’s ready to bow! Good so far; maybe she’ll steal him for her own meal, if she’ll stop drinking Bastian wine so finely laced, not benignly … Is she stupid, too; so putrid! She still doesn’t see!”

“See what?” Trembling. Assembling courage, but so damn pitiful in mystical presence of pleasance of Maftet, my savage protectress so ready to ravage … who? One and all to maul? Maybe I should crawl…

“The stich, my love-dove, so weak and bleak! The stitch on the rich bitch-witch!”

“Where? I see no tear…”

Living_Ma__at_by_sphinxmuse[1]“Ha! No wonder! You blunder through life anyway; yeah! you need to stay with me, even after this day! You’re too damn blind to find your way; that’s how you stumbled into the gloom of this room in the first place, and with no trace beyond Ma’at … and she ought to have pity on you!” I moved closer to her back for lack of strength. Laughter, demeaning but preening, too. “Look! The stich covers more than a niche! At the bottom of her neck.” More laughter, this time cruel with some bloody drool. “You should’ve seen her before, just after… Star-knife slice and I made her a wreck!”

The man moved closer. His mistress pricked, gave an unseen kick. Ah! But Bast and Maftet noticed ~ it was really obvious ~ but the man was oblivious. And then the woman began to weave as something began to leave with spirit heave… And cat’s eyes turned green, so serene … hypnotic, exotic, erotic. It wouldn’t be long now…

Instinctively I grabbed Maftet for fear… “It’s alright, my dear, just stay near… We’ve played this play many times before, and it’ll not be you who hits the floor!”

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Note: This was all very gratefully inspired by the creative work of unbolt and Tony Single, specifically their collaborative work, the second part of which is entitled, Sekhmet. Thank you both for this fascinating, exciting new venture … not, mind you, an addition to their creative work. One might consider this an inspired ‘spin-off?’ Whatever the case may be, hope you (my readers) enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed imagining and writing it!

Oh Sweet Selene of Yaşam Ruh’u

So silently, surreptitiously, and smoothly do you slide in with ocean tide to abide in abode of my soul, making hearth of my heart your home, again and once again, yet never to stay, to be held at bay, whatever I might say; so sing your song sung blue and true, old and ever-new. Have only some few become your lovers, who hover around your every word, hoping for your tender, titillating touch, not much but just enough.

ΞΡ

Oh sweet Selene of Yaşam Ruh’u, what do you do in your smoothly silken, silver brush through the air, so fair and wild, what we cannot bear yet in which we share but for fleeting moments, enough to lift our care. Ought we beware of you, so true but wrapped in mystery, your history largely unknown because that you have not shown. We have but some small share in the treasure you bring, as you sing in the breeze with eloquent ease.

Sailing in the Sea of Eternity (Free Verse)

Α

One day flows seamlessly into another, night passing night,
As Gaia circles round and round His Majesty, magnificent Sol,
Even as Luna circles round and round her bound lover Earth;
Father Time keeps rhythm with Mother Nature in every crack
And crevice of Creation. . .

Light shines brightly, light shines nightly, at once radiant,
At another silently dim and serene, for Selene wears the dark
Of the Cosmos with stars for dress as she walks hand in hand
With Gaia between the days through nocturnal maze, and both
Keep pace with the heartbeat of the Universe, despite Curse.

And the great Eagle wings his way high in the sky, looking
Down upon all creatures moving to and fro in frenzied life
So rife with pain, but pleasure too, and he marks the minutes
Of trials and errors, strife and success, desires and defeats;
Day upon day, the great Eagle eyes the activities of humanity.

What are we, cast upon this orb? Who are we to dominate each
And every shore? We have seconds of eternity to make our mark
On the barque of Gaia in the midst of infinite, quiet Cosmos
That lives and grows without remark to the vanity of humanity;
We are sailors for but one season. . .

And we sail the Sea of Eternity enwrapped by heaven and earth,
Light and night with fellow creatures upon the same venture. . .
Ah! But to what shore do we sail . . .
As one day flows seamlessly into another, night passing night?

Ω

For Valentine’s Sake

Α

Someone died because another one lied;
Someone tried the innocent and tied him
To the stake for the sake of the guilty;
Burned him alive at a quarter to five
On the day of love for following the way
Of cross and celestial crown that brought
The frown of a silly but powerful clown;
But who would remember and who could tell
His tale in this land of forgotten memories?
As sand flows thru the glass, the wind blows
Ashes of Valentine round the hills of Rome,
His tome shot thru by little Cupid’s arrow
In barely narrow remembrance of real love.

Happy St. Valentine’s Day!

Ω

Mythos: An Interview With Robert Lambert Jones III

RobertRobert Lambert Jones III is a college biology professor who earned his Ph. D. in Molecular Biology from Indiana University. He is married and has three grown daughters, a granddaughter, and a dog named Buckley. He enjoys hiking, cycling, reading, watching movies, playing his electric bass, and (of course) writing. Robert Jones blogs weekly at Pneumythology.

  • When and how did you first become interested in mythology? Tell us something about your early love for this grand subject

iliadodysseyIt might have started with a childhood love of monsters, especially dinosaurs. I also remember my parents owning an encyclopedia called The Book of Knowledge. That little tidbit of information might date me, but in that book I read an abridged account of Beowulf’s battle with Grendel. In high school English class, we read excerpts from The Iliad and The Odyssey which also fascinated me. These were intrinsic processes, and I can’t really explain them other than to say I have been drawn to spiritual concepts since I was a boy. Ironically, this did not translate into an interest in Christianity until later.

  • When did you embrace the Christian faith-religion?

I have heard that “the eleven-year-old atheist” is a term used by professional counselors. This is evidently the age at which children start figuring out that there are contradictions between what they experience and what they are told. Essentially, when many children were moving away from a belief in God, I was moving the other direction. I never really doubted Christianity before that since I was raised by Christian parents, but I just wasn’t interested. The idea that I should actually do something about it reached critical mass about a month before I turned twelve. I was always an introspective kid with a desire for intellectual honesty, and I made an actual decision to become a Christian at that time. At the age of seventeen, I re-evaluated what this actually meant in more mature terms with the result that I became more committed.

  • What cultural mythology (or mythologies) enamor you the most, and why?

First and foremost, I am interested in Christianity for the simple reason that I decided it was true. Biblical stories have the elements common to great myths: deity, monsters (spiritual and/or physical), and fallible human beings who must respond honorably and with courage. My earlier interests mentioned in my answer to your first question resulted in me reading The IliadThe Odyssey, and Beowulf in their entirety as an adult. I especially became engrossed in The Odyssey. Some have referred to it as the first modern novel though it is actually a narrative poem. I was also impressed by The Divine Comedy. As for more modern works, I must mention The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings. Collectively, these works (especially the last two) have influenced the stories I have written.

  • What is the favorite story you’ve written? Why? And can you share with us a synopsis of this story?

I’m not sure I can adequately answer that question. It’s like asking a parent to choose their favorite child. So far, I have self-published a trilogy of stories titled The Dogwood Legacy (available on Amazon for those interested). The stories are (in order): Jacob Leviathan, Nathan Turner, and Obadiah Holt. Collectively, they represent a progression from a folk tale set in the Ozark Mountains, an invented urban legend set in an unspecified Midwestern city, and a re-imagined North American myth. These are all allegorical monster stories in which the monsters serve as foils for the main characters, and the story arc of the series takes place over multiple generations. My adult daughters have told me that they consider Jacob Leviathan to be the best-crafted of the three, so I guess I’d pick that if you held a gun to my head. I don’t know if I agree with their assessment, however. I like all three stories for different reasons. In addition I have written two fairly lengthy story poems (also allegorical) which won’t be published until I figure out how to get them illustrated.

  • If, say, a junior or senior in high school, or someone early in their college career, came to you with an desire to learn more about mythology in general, what book(s) and/or videos (or audio tapes, I suppose) would you recommend for them to “get their feet wet,” so to speak?

BeowulfI think my answers to your previous question would be most applicable. I must add, however, that reading the classical works takes patience and discipline for a modern reader, but the payoff is definitely worth it.

  • I’ve personally been intrigued in how you have, from time to time, integrated your Christian faith with your analysis of certain mythological studies. Do you often see Christian themes in mythology? Tell us something about that?

Maybe the best way to answer this is to say that I see parallels between Christianity and pre-Christian mythology. There are some major differences, of course, but there are also similarities. A Native American who is also a fourth generation Christian pastor from one of the Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma visited our church not long ago. He said some very interesting things about the parallels between the culture of his pre-Christian ancestry and that of Christianity. To be honest, it gave me an idea for a story I might want to develop in the future. Without going into tedious details, I might best conclude this answer with some questions. Do spiritual beings exist? If so, what are their natures? Do they communicate or otherwise interact with human beings? If they have done so in the distant past, might generations of distortion, unfamiliarity, or removal from these experiences have resulted in our current smorgasbord of religious beliefs? Might this also account for certain similarities between systems of faith? Answers to these questions can lead us into the area of comparative religion, most particularly in thinking critically about which religion is actually true or closest to the truth.

  • Just out of curiosity, what ‘brand’ of Christian of Christian are you? In other words, what is the denomination and/or tradition to which you belong?

I could probably best be described as a nondenominational Christian, but I was raised a Methodist. My maternal grandfather and three of his brothers were all Methodist ministers. And I don’t know if I could properly call them theologians, but G. K. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis stand out in my mind. I love their practical yet imaginative reasoning, and they are a delight to read.

  • As a Christian, do you perceive mythos as being part and parcel of the Hebraic/Christian stories contained in the sacred Scriptures? If so, which stories in particular?

Icon-Last-Judgment-1In my second post after starting my blog about a year ago, I included a quote by C. S. Lewis. If I may paraphrase, it said something about Christianity being a myth with the characteristics of all great myths but with the exception that it really happened. All of the prophetic visions written in the Old and New Testaments are mythic. The books of Isaiah and Ezekiel contain some interesting descriptions of how God appeared to men of limited sensory perception. The books of Daniel and Revelation describe visions with symbolic and monstrous images which are incorporated into predictions of future events. All of the stories which describe encounters between God, Satan, angels, demons, and humans fulfill the definition of a great myth. The Christian faith is founded on the cosmic struggle carried out through the fall of humanity, the virgin birth, the crucifixion, the resurrection, the ascension, and the ultimate return of Jesus Christ. Our culture has become so familiar with these accounts on a surface level that it has lost an appreciation of their drama and their grandeur.

Thank you so very much for your time and very insightful, provocative answers. I’m sure many of my readers will be quite interested in visiting your wonderfully intriguing blog and learning more about you. All the best to you with blessings!