Fifty-Eight

I was with a great crowd in an arena or concert hall. They had their hands in the air, enjoying themselves. On top of the crowd, there was a faint, bluish light. It slowly turned red and thickened into a fog. It felt heavy and dangerous. Something in its shape and the way it moved reminded me of a snake, or a Chinese dragon.

I wanted to know where we were. I lifted up, higher and higher until I could see the Scandinavian peninsula and its surroundings.

Then it all narrowed down again, I was falling into a funnel. But instead of the arena, I was now in a room somewhere in ancient Egypt. There was a priest performing a ceremony. He was drawing symbols in the sand with a stick. And on the wall, all around us: golden bees. The door nearby had a dragon carved into its frame.  I looked at the priest for clues, but he didn’t want to be disturbed.

Suddenly, I dropped into a glass sphere. The Siberian man had been waiting for me. We were not alone, kids or people dressed as characters from a Super Mario game were running around us in a frenzy. I looked at him, it all felt so absurd. He shrugged “Teenagers”.

Through the glass, we could see dolphins and their vast sea. A huge wave hit them so hard that they were thrown into the air. A hole opened in the scene, like the black iris of an eye, and insects of all kinds were swarming out of it. Bees, too. They were badly hurt, charred…

The Siberian man grabbed me “We must go. Now”. His hands were burnt. We ran. Into a cave where a woman was waiting for us, dressed like the High Priestess in the tarot. She was surrounded by golden bees. Unhurt.

“What is going on?” I asked.

“We’ll wait here now until this passes” she replied. I noticed some strange shapes lingering in the background, but could not see anything clearly.

“We’ll weather this out”, she said.

Save

Forty-Seven

The sky was a sea, and there were fish flying above me. And a golden liquid thread was drawing bees into the air. I could feel the wind on my skin, sometimes warm, sometimes cool, gently pulsating. And I heard the Siberian man say: “People can be so unconscious, so diffused and diluted, they expand without awareness… So, instead of unfolding, they diminish and instead of becoming one with all, they eventually crumble and disintegrate into nothingness. It’s not the way. Hold your awareness tightly around your body, keep your consciousness close to your skin for now, just feel it. Do not let yourself spread further than what your awareness can hold together.”

I could feel the wind around me, then I started to see it, as well: it was like a second skin woven from the same golden thread the bees were made of.

Thirty-Seven

I was at the seaside. The water took the form of a woman, just like me. She approached, smiling. We held hands, staring into each other. And she fell back into the sea.

Then came the Siberian man, wearing a mantle decorated with translucent-golden bee wings.

“But aren’t bees feminine?” – I asked him.
He smiled and stroked my face gently.
“Isn’t it what consciousness is? A man initiated into the feminine mysteries?”

He started off at some speed, walking by the coastline, and I decided to follow him.

Thirty-Five

It was very dark, I was under the sea. I glimpsed at some lines running, they were contained by a transparent pipe, like communications cables. Then I spotted a pair of feet in the sand, on the beach, slowly washed by the sea. They must have belonged to a very old woman, but I could not see her, my vision was blocked, as if I was looking through a tube or a telescope.

Afterwards, there was deep darkness, but I could make out the outlines of a mountainous landscape. There came a flock of birds, darker than the night, moving fast, around and around. I could only see half of the circle they were making, and could not move my head or my eyes to see more. I still had tunnel vision.

A bit later, they started to circle in the other direction, flying backwards. There was a small river, flowing in a forest, and it started to go backwards, and a deer by the bank was running in reverse, too. Then I watched a butterfly crawl back into the pupa.

At that point, all went dark. But then, darkness itself was moving, circling around me. And I caught sight of a tiny, golden bee, glowing in front of me. She was in slow motion, not going anywhere, floating. I lifted my arms and tried to move them in the same rhythm. I took off.

She started to fly, and I followed, glowing against the blackness around us. We reached a hive, I could hardly see a thing, but it was buzzing with life. We moved forward and forward. Then we stopped, and I could feel that we arrived. I tried to make out what was in front of me. It was a hexagon-shaped cell in a wall full of hexagon-shaped cells.

Something was moving within, and I thought it was a bee hatching. But the moment it broke through the membrane, I realised it was not a bee, but an eye, looking right at me. I was intrigued.

Suddenly, I was outside, under a dark sky, again. And I saw the eye above me, still watching. There came some wind, and bit by bit, it was covered by clouds.

Twenty-Nine

I was by the frozen lake with the Siberian man. We were just standing there, staring into each other’s eyes. Suddenly, he seemed familiar. At that instant, I flashed back to the Asian man in my childhood – had they known about him, adults would have called him an “imaginary friend”. At the time, I thought he might be Chinese or Inuit. He taught me lots of things, helped me through a lot.

“Is it really you?” – I asked the Siberian man.

He bent his head down slightly and didn’t reply.

Out of a sudden, he was different, he lost his human form, and became a dark light playing in complex, fascinating colours, like the aurora borealis. It felt as if I was perceiving him with a different organ. It was the same kind of perception as when I saw myself from the outside, or when I looked with the eye in my navel

I got scared. Our safe, inner place became an opening of some kind, to something else, maybe a crossroad between the worlds. The abruptness of this change frightened me. I felt vulnerable.

“Are you… real?” – I asked.

“What do you mean “real”?”

“Do you exist only within, or are you… who are you?”

He didn’t reply. He changed back to his human form. But I was still scared, breathing rapidly.

“It’s okay, everything’s okay. slow down your breathing, slow, slow, slow”

We waited until I felt calm again.

“Where have you been all this time, where did you disappear?” – I asked. I couldn’t remember how I lost my “imaginary friend”…

“I was here, with you, the whole time.”

“Why?” – Why would he do that? Stick around?

“None of us are on our own, little bee, you know that. We are all connected” – he said, stroking my face.

“Yes… yes, I know.”

Twenty-Four

I was on a mountain, riding a horse. It was almost dark, foggy, the air was damp and cold. I felt sad. The horse was slowly moving ahead on an invisible path.

My hands were in my lap, and a glowing ball started to grow there, it gave warmth, and its light was cloudy and soft. It reminded me of the Moon. There was something comforting about it.

My horse went on steadily. I thought we were descending. It was getting darker and darker. We were in the night forest I already knew from other journeys. I could see the bee coming out of the glowing sphere, it cheered me up a bit to see him/her. It flew a bit ahead, as if trying to light the way.

I suddenly had a memory of my father pulling me on a sleigh. It was dark, we were in one of the neighbouring small streets. It had just snowed, but people were inside, it was just the two of us. The streetlights were on, snowflakes were whirling, floating, glimmering everywhere. All I could see from my father was his coat and his boots. I could smell the fresh snow. He sped up until I started to laugh. It suddenly hurt to remember him. I missed him so much.

Next, we were in the living room, it was dark, the shutters were closed. My father had taken a white bed sheet and fixed it on the doors of the wardrobe. We were watching filmstrips. All afternoon long, he was holding me in his arms, reading the words written under the pictures. When the projector got too hot, we took a break, brought some food and hot tea. As I came out of the room, I could smell his shoes on the shelf, they really stank. I told him, and he laughed. I suddenly didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to miss him. It hurt. I wanted to get away.

Then I was in the dark forest, again. The bee was in front of me, leading me somewhere. His light was very feeble, but I could see something like a wooden statue. I went to it, it looked like my father. I wanted to stroke his face but I was too small, I couldn’t reach it. I was a child. I wanted to grow so that I could touch his face, and I did. I was stroking him and suddenly the left side of my head started to go numb.

“Don’t let it go, keep it together” – the bee said.
And I tried. I tried not to go numb, but it hurt. I was chasing after the numbness, trying to catch it within my head.

Suddenly I was in a snowstorm, at night, in the middle of endless plains, chasing a figure wearing a white fur coat.

“Stop, please stop” – I shouted after him.

Running hurt, my head felt like it would explode, but I kept on running, faster and faster. I reached him, touched his fur coat. He turned and I realized it was a large polar bear. He went for my neck, grabbed it with a single move and held it tight. I could feel its teeth in my flesh, my blood flooding my throat, I couldn’t breathe, I was suffocating. I could see myself and the bear from the outside. He finally let me go.

My throat was a bloody piece of unrecognizable flesh, and I was choking in my own blood. I sounded just like my father after he drank the acid. But there was no blood then, and I did not see him, I could only hear him from the next room, I was frozen to my chair.

I was still looking at myself, but I didn’t make sounds anymore. maybe I was dead. I was staring at the dark red pool in the snow.

Suddenly, the bear transformed into the Siberian man. He gently put his hands on my tattered throat. I wasn’t outside anymore, I could feel the warmth of his hand, and pain. Then I saw ourselves from the outside again. The Siberian man let his hands go, and my neck was completely healed. He was kneeling in the snow, lifted me up. He held me in his arms, stroking my head, gently rocking me, softly murmuring, full of love.

Ten

I was at the entrance of a cave. There were some golden dancers moving in a strange, fragmented way, I wondered whether they were real people or puppets. I entered. In the centre, there was an opening at the top, and I could feel a waterfall, but all I could see was a myriad of droplets floating around, dancing in the sunlight. I went to the middle, surrounded by golden drops, it was beautiful, serene. From the corner of my eyes, I spotted other dancers, some like dervishes, others like Native Americans, all moving in this strange, fragmented way. I looked upwards and realized that the droplets were golden bees, and noticed a figure like the High Priestess in the Rider-Waite Tarot deck at the side, she smiled. I was turning into a bee. When I was done, I flew upwards, and observed everything from above. It was not a waterfall, but two seas meeting, and as they clashed, instead of flooding the cave, they turned into droplets, into golden bees. I perceived so many things at the same time, it was hard to be aware of all of them.

At one point, it got dark, and I stopped. The sea was black, too, and there was a huge wave coming. I was frightened. The High Priestess came and lead me into the cave. She held my hand as we were waiting for it to reach us. I saw dead bodies,  so many of them… some were mutilated… The High Priestess was behind me now, gripping my arms, I could feel her head against my back.

– “Why do I have to witness all this?” – I asked her.
– “There are thousands of pasts, and thousands of futures. They all have to meet at one point, in one single present, even if only for a moment, to become conscious. My bees are all such junctures, such meeting points… I’m sorry, my little bee, I am so sorry that it hurts.”
– “But what is consciousness? And why does it matter?”

The black wave fell apart into golden drops, floating around us. The High Priestess turned to face me, then she looked to the side and the Siberian man came to join us. We formed a circle, holding hands. First, it was all black, but then came some light filtering through… I was in a dark, red place. I could hear some fluid pumping, I could feel warmth, some of the things around were soft, others were hard… I was inside a body.

Then, I saw something, very dimly: it looked like the pores of the skin, and some hair… I recognized my own temple from a small scar I have there. Then my eyelashes, my closed eyes, me lying on the sofa. It was all quite blurred. “It will get clearer in time” – the High Priestess said. I looked around the room, it was the same and yet not the same… It was how I would see it without glasses and in near darkness, maybe by moonlight. I saw the sofa, my desk, my computer, my chair… I noticed something moving. It was two people. They were the Siberian man and the High Priestess. They were in the room the same way as I was,  utterly real. I was so surprized that I opened my eyes and sat up to check… “what is this?… is this consciousness?”

Seven

I was in the forest again, by the yew tree, and wondered if I could meet Jupiter. There came the golden bee and told me to clench my hand around her. We started to fly upwards, spiralling around the tree; higher and higher, until we felt surrounded by water, as if diving. But it was calm only for a minute, then we started to whirl, and we were rocking more and more fiercely… suddenly, we found ourselves in a large boat or ship. The old woman was sitting there, waiting for us. Surrounded by a raging sea, a swirling, furious darkness, we could feel nothing but a fresh breeze on our face. We were moving ahead gently and steadily in the stormy waters, untouched. “where is Jupiter?” I asked her.  – “You’re on his ship”, she smiled, “makes a difference, hm?”, she beckoned towards the gale.

Five

I wondered, what would it be like to meet Jupiter? I thought I’d ask the bee. I found myself in a narrow boat,  like a canoe. There was somebody sitting at my head, rowing. I was lying on my back, staring at the sky above me. I saw some spots of light shooting by, they looked like fireflies, except the bee who was flying very close to me. Then I realized they were not fireflies but stars, and that even though it felt like we were hardly moving at all, we were in fact gliding so fast the stars seemed to leave a trail on our breaths…

It was a small river, and we were going upstream, the landscape changed from summer reed to autumn meadow to snow covered field, and the river got more and more narrow, until the rower had to step out and pull the canoe.

At one point, somewhere in the midst of autumn, we stopped by a field of harvested corn. Barely visible beings wrapped me in a large piece of white gauze, as if I was a newborn baby (I still couldn’t move). I saw my mother as a young girl, maybe seven, they also put a sheet around her shoulders, like a shawl to protect her from the cold. Then I saw another girl, about the same age, on the other side of the river (to the right) and they dropped the cloth on her head and tightened it around the knees, I was frightened for a second that they would suffocate her, she seemed scared, too, but didn’t move or give a sound. They loosened the gauze, and then my canoe sped off, leaving me to wonder if the girl took it off her head in the end or stayed under it…

Finally, the rower stopped pulling me across the snow, and I wasn’t sure whether we arrived somewhere or she just got exhausted. Then I heard a drum, two reindeers came to meet us, and I could feel a new presence welcoming us without words.

.


Note:

Going upstream the river to the north reminded me of the tree of languages, my mother tongue belongs to the ugric family, one of only three languages. The other two people are both native to Siberia, they are mostly nomadic reindeer herders – the drum could have been a shaman’s drum.

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