FOI Online Liturgy
Booklet: Ishtar of the Starry Heavens,
Shape-Shifting of the Alchemical Twins
Written by: Olivia Robertson
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6. Golden Eyes, Black Night
"The True Visionary Sees in the Dark"
TEMPLE OF ALCHEMY
PRIEST ALCHEMIST (TO TWIN APPRENTICES AIDEN & ELAINE): To choose between darkness and light, the known and the unknown, requires courage. We need to invoke the aid of the Goddess Gangur, The Protector.
PRIESTESS ALCHEMIST: Holy Goddess Gangur, Who from the darkness bringeth forth the sacred river of Being, Guardian of the helpless, whom you nourish with the waters of infinite love, we invoke Thee.
ORACLE OF THE GODDESS GANGUR
Life may be compared to a courageous family fleeing from present danger from war, disease and death by building a boat on a river which will bring them to a far haven. But the wise ones of their village warn this family of the dangers ahead, of cataracts, of floods, of the descent of the river below the earth where it becomes black and poisonous. They beg them to stay where they are, where they can survive by following their ancient ways.
But some intrepid men and women choose to follow the way of the Mysteries. The temptations that beset them range from arrogance to despair. My way is to teach such pilgrims to empty themselves of ego and accept a Guide. At dawn and dusk the psychic veil thins, and followers of the Mysteries learn to acknowledge the presence of Divine Spirits – whom they cannot see, hear nor touch with physical senses. We you call Deities, dwell in All Time, so we may foretell coming dangers. Heed our counsel, and we will bring you to a safe haven, the Source of all that is.
PRIEST ALCHEMIST: We give thanks to the Goddess Gangur for Her Oracle.
PRIESTESS ALCHEMIST (to ELAINE): You are worried because your conscience is daily becoming more insistent, so you hardly dare make decisions, because these may lead to your new-found guilt! To learn to have the courage to make possible mistakes and learn from them, you need to face the Ordeal of the Lynx. Seek the portal of this constellation, if you choose, and enter! We shall be with you in your trance, but not help you.
ELAINE: I am climbing the hill to the Temple of Alchemy of the Stars and enter. At first I cannot find the portal to the Constellation of the Lynx, for it is concealed behind black curtains. On either side are depicted two mighty feline sphinxes, and to reach their territory I must pass between them. ***
Oh! I am again in the future! But instead of wearing my usual white trouser suit, I am picturesquely robed in a white sari trimmed with gold. I feel my coronet – it is made of flowers. My hair is flowing down my back. This shall be a wonderful experience! My heart is filled with longing, for I have been engaged to speak of the Mysteries of the Goddess Gangur in Her Ashram, crowning the summit of a shining mountain. I have attained the status of Guru and have many disciples. I long to bring them with me on the ascending path of Enlightenment. ***
Oh no . . ! As I approach my gleaming plane – one of these craft without wings – escorted by my disciples, our way is barred by an angry mob! They are both aged and young – men and women – and all are both poor and furious. Soldiers are guarding a plane with their strange, menacing weapons, which they are pointing at the demonstrators. Suddenly my sari is pulled and I swing round. A girl of about twelve is pleading with me to come with her. Her green top and bikini are all she wears, along with swinging necklaces of shells. She has painted a blue crescent moon on her forehead. I hesitate, for the guards have made a passage to the plane and my disciples are already boarding. Then a Guard strikes down an elderly man, who lies face downwards on the earth, clouds of dust rising above his bony body. Quickly I make up my mind. I follow the girl and the other protestors into a wood.
*** This is a veritable jungle. I can hardly see my way. We reach a clearing. The girl explains that the Rulers have built a mighty dam across their holy river. These people have been driven from their homes and now, on waterless land, are given deep well shafts bringing them water from an underground tributary of the holy river. They have been assured of the excellence of its waters … it is poisoned with arsenic. Here a young man tells me that the organisms that eat from the black waters naturally avoid the arsenic, which is left in the wells. The rulers give no redress, as the dam brings waters to new mighty cities. The greater good must prevail.
With a shock I understand what these rebels plan. It is to undermine the dam and release the river. Will I help? I think. Then I make my choice. I will join them. Whereupon the girl says: “You cannot be robed as you are! You will be pot-holing. You need to change!”
*** I find I have changed and feel much more comfortable. We make our way deeper into the heart of the jungle. The girl tells me they are searching for an old well-shaft through which they can get to the very foundations of the dam, through an underground passage. I join in the search – at last I discern a deep blackness through the tangled tree-roots. It is a pit. Stones tumble from my feet and fall – there is no sound of their reaching any bottom. The dissidents are overjoyed. They produce ladders and equipment to undermine the dam above. This takes so long – I am beginning to feel guilty – when there is a terrible crash and the roar of a mighty river breaking its bonds. The black underground river has risen and joined the deluge. What have we done?
In the darkness comes blinding light. I turn. The young girl reveals herself as the Goddess Gangur. She holds a blue lotus. I hear her words like the soft flow of a stream. “My dear daughter, if you had sought me on the heights, you would not have found me. For lo, I am here, as I always am, saving my children from the black river of greed and ignorance. I needed your keen vision.” She stoops and strokes me and I feel her blessing course through my crouching body. I am a lynx! She calls me back to my human self and to you all.
THE COMPANY AGREES THAT ELAINE HAS ATTAINED HER ALCHEMICAL DEGREE ALONG WITH ALL HER HARD WORK DURING THE YEAR. THANKS ARE GIVEN TO THE DEITIES. RAYS OF COURAGE AND WISDOM ARE SENT FORTH TO ALL.
END OF RITE.
Sources: “Hindu Scriptures”, Everyman. “Images of Devi in Pahari Paintings,” Chhote Bharany. Clarion. “Indian Mythology”, Veronica Ions, Hamlyn. “The Goddesses of India, Tibet, China & Japan,” Durdin-Robertson, Clonegal Castle. 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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