FOI Online Liturgy
Booklet: Ishtar of the Starry Heavens,
Shape-Shifting of the Alchemical Twins
Written by: Olivia Robertson
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12. Dragon Seed
"When all is lost, new life is won."
TEMPLE OF ALCHEMY
PRIEST ALCHEMIST (TO TWIN APPRENTICES AIDEN & ELAINE): Many brave death, but few can endure failure. To snatch your goal when it is lost to you, you need to face the descent of the Goddess Ishtar. Only so can you discover your own immortality.
PRIESTESS ALCHEMIST: Divine Ishtar, Goddess of Love and power, you descended into the Underworld to rescue your lover, Tammuz of the Starry Flocks. Help us to face life’s ordeals and our inevitable death.
ORACLE OF THE GODDESS ISHTAR
The Deities who brought you to life in a transient form, would not have done so were there any other way for you to develop your own souls! We do not want a race of robots humbly obeying our every command. We have little use for those who humbly seek for our favours beyond that of their fellows, and plan to avoid the misfortunes that beset those around them.
Yes, there are many paths and some do lead to success through total obedience to Orthodox Commandments. But my way is for the adventurous, and any single person or animal who chooses physical incarnation is by that very act – courageous. You learn through life’s ups and downs and those who most pray for help should try to make their own way heavenwards.
I teach not by words but by example. For instance, is the underworld of my Mother Queen Allat so terrible? Is heaven all you want? Why should you wish to rescue your loved ones? Do they need rescuing? The only way to find out is not to read, not to meditate, not to pray, but to follow my way, and find out for yourselves. You do this not by day, but by night: not while you are awake, but through sleep. Not in the light of the sun but by the shadows of the moon. With interest we the Deities await your reports. As these are original to each of you, they are of value.
PRIEST ALCHEMIST: Thanks is given to the Goddess Ishtar for Her Oracle.
PRIESTESS ALCHEMIST (to ELAINE): Our Beloved Elaine, you seem to be the very person to follow this eccentric path! You disobey rules because you do not notice them. You go your own way, even if this would be easier if you heeded our advice. Are you willing to follow the dangerous way of Ishtar, by entering the dark portals of Draco, Constellation of the Dragon?
ELAINE: I like dragons – though I haven’t actually met any . . . I accept the challenge.
PRIESTESS ALCHEMIST: We wish you well, and will join your journey at a safe distance.
ELAINE: I climb the hill to the Temple of the Stars, and I wonder when I ever broke rules. I didn’t know there were any. How mighty is this Temple! I never noticed before that the ceiling reflects the stars in their swirling orbits round their galaxies. They look, for all the world, like so many dragons! After honouring the Central Flame, I easily find the Portals of Draco in the South-East. I wonder I had not noticed it before, as it is so remarkable. It is a circular gateway and around it is one mighty figure of a Dragon of iridescent scales – beautiful and quivering as if it lived. I feel She is female, because around Her are pearls which I realise are Her eggs. Are these stars in the making? I realise that for some reason I am delaying entering, so I do so, with some foreboding.
The final catastrophe of a planet is being played out before me . . . This is the culmination of the ugly experiences I had foreseen in the future. Buildings, humans, animals, trees, are being transformed into a grey soggy mass.
“It will harden into a stuff like concrete,” a voice says. I swing round – and see a young man who, totally incongruously, is playing a tin whistle! Then I see he is amusing a small crowd of very old and very young folk who are sheltering in a corrugated-iron shed. They look both hungry and frightened.
“So you are from the past as well,” he comments. “It’s a dismal outlook. You see, as the warring factions are fighting about ideologies and religion, they are perfecting mind-changing rays, a development of brain-washing. This at first worked – they had a disciplined society. But when disagreement on theology and ideals led to war, each side had been so thoroughly brain-washed, that compromise was held to be evil. Suicide is now held preferable to any peace with ‘the Enemy’.”
I say sadly; “So this is the end. Our planet is doomed.”
Curiously I remember how the Babylonian Dragon Goddess Tiamat was cut up in pieces by the God Marduk. He not only killed Tiamat so that Her blood spilt over all the land, but he slaughtered all her children. This he did because they were deemed ‘zoomorphic;’ unnatural, perverse, deformed. They could not obey Marduk’s laws of uniformity because they were born disabled, albinos, short-sighted, psychic or with irregular teeth!
The young man comments. “You and I are classified as racially unacceptable because we are telepaths and visionaries. So here we are, you and I, the Unwanted. We are on the list for extermination.”
I cannot help myself. I burst into tears. The young man says: “Ah! You are bringing to life once more the ancient mysteries. You weep. When Tiamat saw all her children slain, she wept. Tiamat howled and howled.”
“Why should I not weep?” I cry out.
The Tin Whistle Player suddenly rises and shines with starry light. “Do you not remember me?” He asks. “I am Tammuz, Shepherd of the Stars of Heaven, and I am here as you are to help those too weak to help themselves. The Dragon is dying. It is time for you to put aside your earthly body and to arise!”
Suddenly I realise I am the slaughtered Dragon! I rise from my writhing coiled body, and above the dead bodies of my children, humans and animals and trees . . . Tammuz speaks again. “Remember yourself, Ishtar, and enter the Gates of Heaven! We bring with us the fruits of all our sufferings in the Underworld. There alone could we find its treasures.”
I look and we are surrounded by our children, our treasures, those who have risen from their bodies, and are with us in their true selves.
Tammuz smiles: “Mysterious is the way of the Gods.” He says. “For the righteous, healthy, law-abiding people down there are busy destroying each other, for some notion of doing good – whereas we the rejected, the psychic, the artists, the eccentric, the weird ones, are safe and sound. In time the respectable will join us!”
Tammuz is giving me his tin whistle. I wonder why? He fades into the starry background . . . and I find myself back here with you all. And I wonder, which is the more dangerous – to rush into adventures – or to do nothing?
***END OF TRANCE***
REPORTS ARE SHARED. THANKS ARE GIVEN TO THE DEITIES. ELAINE RECEIVES HER DEGREE, FOR SHE HAS TRANSFORMED HER ANGER INTO TEARS.
END OF RITE.
Sources: “Babylonian Liturgies”, trans. Landon, pub. Geuthner. “The Goddesses of Chaldea, Syria & Egypt,” Durdin-Robertson, Clonegal Castle. “Middle Eastern Mythology,” trans. Hooke, Pelican. “Mythologies of the Ancient World,” Kramer, Doubleday-Anchor. “The Zend-Avesta,” trans. Darmesteter, ed. Max Muller, Sacred Book of the East Series. “The Concise Handbook of Astronomy,” Ridpath, New Orchard. Used in all Rites: “Star Names, their Lore & Meaning” Richard Hinckley Allen, pub. Dover. “Jorkins Remembers Africa,” & other Jorkins novels on shape-shifting, Lord Dunsany.
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