FOI Online Liturgy
Nuit of the Milky Way,
Alchemical Journeys of the Questing Twins
By: Olivia Robertson
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6. Realm of Virgo: the Woman Who Reaps
Hard Work Brings Self-Earned Reward
THE TEMPLE OF ALCHEMY
PRIEST/ESS ALCHEMIST (TO TWIN APPRENTICES): To pursue your alchemical journey, you are now required to remove conflict, by bringing into harmony the emotions of Cancer of the oceans, with the will to rule of the fiery Leo. To achieve this, we need to invoke the aid of the Goddess Ashtoreth, Who teaches us the virtues of hard work, which brings self-earned reward.
ORACLE OF THE GODDESS ASHTORETH OF PHOENICIA
PRIESTESS ALCHEMIST: We offer incense to Thee, Ashtoreth, Queen of Heaven. Oh Virgin of the Sea, Blessed Mother and Lady of the Waters, stay the waves of adversity! Goddess of the Moon bring us to know Thy Mysteries. Beautiful Lady, Goddess of Love, without Thee the cruelties of life, the tedious work, the harshness of changing time, bring us to despair. Who may live joyfully without hope of a spiritual life to be enjoyed beyond the confines of the severe laws of this material world? Aid us to reach Thy Heaven, now and beyond the grave.
ORACLE: You children of earth deplore the severities of Saturn, whose Golden Age sprang from justice rather than compassion: from the sciences rather than the arts: and from the riches of the material world rather than the angelic beauty of visions. You invoke me as you invoke sleep, weary from struggles and suffering - in the hope of receiving dreams more lovely than earthly life. And I welcome you to my realm! Yet to reach it you need to study and to work: to see my face behind the veil you have to learn to obey the rigorous laws of my Husband Saturn. Know that I am the Goddess Ashtoreth, the hidden Shekinah of Jehovah. Who dares gaze upon She who, guarded by Him, may neither be called by Her Inner Name, nor seen by impious men? Know that I am the Hidden Power behind the God of cause and effect: of law and time: I am His concealed joy and reward and His everlasting love. When you have learned to obey the outer laws guarded by the God, naturally you will mature and be brought to understand My Mysteries, that are only to be experienced by those ready to receive them.
Beware! There are those who think that, discovering My psychic Powers they may with impunity break the outer laws that bind others. These should remember the fate of Icarus, who tried to reach My Heaven with artificial wings held together with wax - which melted as he flew too near the sun. And so he fell as have many others. For truly you cannot reach My starry Heaven without Love and the Law. Love brings you the entry to my sphere: but Wisdom gives you the ability to stay there! Ambitious seekers may find themselves in Heaven: but without love or law they cannot see, hear, think or feel in a divine sphere beyond their capacity of enjoyment. And so they say there is nothing there and are disillusioned. So they bar the way to their return to heaven, and prevent others from making the attempt. So if you would find Me, use both the imagination and the intellect: love and the law: creativity and loyal endurance. So will you be holy, and be able to accept My psychic gifts with both hands.
PRIEST/ESS ALCHEMIST (TO APPRENTICES): You will enter into trance state. We shall accompany your alchemical journey.
MUSIC. COMPANY SINK INTO TRANCE.
PRIEST/ESS ALCHEMIST: Ascend the high hill wreathed in clouds. Once more the Temple of the Zodiac, with mighty sphinxes guarding the gateway rises high above you! The wings of the sphinxes reach the stars. You enter and face the Perpetual Flame. In the Southwest rises the South portals of Virgo. Elaine, when you see clearly, give us your report.
ELAINE: I appreciate the beauty of the portals of Virgo, which shines with golden and green light. Above it is a statue of a woman in a golden robe, holding a sheaf of corn. Her other hand holds a scythe like that of Time. Beyond, I have a tantalising glimpse of a landscape of heavenly beauty. I pass through the gateway. * * *
How glorious! It is warm here, but not too warm, and though the light is of the gentle gold of evening flushed with rose, there is no sign of a sun. I make my way down a pleasant lane, the kind I loved riding along when I was a child! There are the tussock ridges made by cart-wheels, speckled with buttercups and daisies. Shading the lane are hawthorn trees, their blossoms in that delightful rose colour as they wither. I see the flash of birds and my favourite, the kingfisher, is by a lily pond. I don’t think frogs and toads are ugly! I find them welcoming me here with their odd speech! I wonder what they are telling me. * * *
At the end of the lane I find the most cheerful picnic in progress! I feel I must be in Spirit World because everyone is in different historical costumes. The ladies wear shady hats and voluminous white dresses like a Sargent painting, and the men wear shirts with the lacy wrist lace of the eighteenth century. As for the children! They are like Renoirs, plump and rosy-cheeked – one little girl is wearing a red velvet dress trimmed with grey fur, curious choice for this warm weather! As for the boys – they have glistening white shirts and golden or black curls and are climbing apple trees loaded with red and green fruit.
Food is spread out upon a plaid rug – covered with bottles of champagne, lemonade, piles of sandwiches, sugar cakes, apple pies and bonbons. * * *
Oh! Suddenly there is anger! A raven pounces on a bonbon and flies off with it over a high wall! The people seem afraid of that wall, because they advise me to beware of what lies beyond. But I like ravens! I jump to my feet, scattering my cakes and I make for the wall. I find a small doorway half hidden by a yew tree. I hesitate and look longingly back at the picnic party. But then I push open the door and enter. * * *
At first I can see little, because of black fog. Then to my horror, I find myself in a shanty town. The air is polluted – I find it difficult to breathe – and I am attacked by wild children who are emaciated – like living skeletons. The adults hardly notice me. They sit huddled trying to protect their faces from the sharp chemicals polluting the atmosphere. How can anyone exist here? Answer – they don’t! I see make-shift graves. Now I hear what the children are doing. They are not attacking me – they are searching my pockets for food.
I make up my mind. I rush to the door and force it wide open. I bring the children through the door and the picnic party flees. I call them back and persuade them to share their food. The ladies in their white gowns and broad hats and the men in the lacy shirts and the rosy children all help to bring apples and sandwiches through the door to the people beyond the pale.
I have never worked so hard as I am now, carrying baskets of food. The picnic party are lively and happy, as the men stem the stream of polluting chemicals emanating from a waste dump. The ladies are cooking. But the people from the shanty town are enjoying themselves by falling into dreamful sleep, replete at last with good food and fresh air.
I am slowly coming back to you all, though I don’t want to. There is so much to be done.
ELAINE HAS ACHIEVED HER QUEST, THE COMPANY AGREE. REPORTS ARE SHARED. IF DIVINE AWARENESS IS DEEMED SUCCESSFUL, THE APPRENTICE GAINS HIS DEGREE. RAYS OF GOODWILL TO ALL ARE SENT FORTH. THANKS ARE GIVEN TO THE DEITIES.
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