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.

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Thirty-Four

I was in a cave with the Siberian man. There were small fires everywhere, giving warm light. There was a lake in the middle, fire dancing on the water. “How can this be?” – I asked the Siberian man, but he didn’t reply. Then the cave opened into a night field, but the grass was not grass, it was water. It was neither liquid, nor frozen – these narrow spades were long, soft and supple, almost transparent, moving in the wind. The watery vegetation was glowing in a soft shade of turquoise, and when I looked up at the sky, I saw tiny bursts of fire in place of the stars.

As I moved further, slowly walking in the field, letting the water-grass stroke my hands and legs as I went, I noticed a different, harsher kind of light to my right, to the West. I knew something was on fire but could not make out what it was. Its shape was indistinct.

Then  I saw butterflies darting up over my head and into the dark, their wings on fire. I was saddened, wondering whether they could feel pain. Then a bird took off to my right, to the East. Whatever it was above us, it seemed to have pores and wrinkles, like skin. The bird tore it up in her flight, and the sky was slightly bleeding, a watercolour red gently melting into the dark blue. And the turquoise water-grass was still glowing, still billowing. And the sky was still mixing its red with its blue, gently pulsating to the same rhythm, spreading all shades of translucent purple around.

Thirty-Two

We were in a cave, the walls were lit by an unknown source, or maybe they were glowing by themselves. The Siberian man was behind me, and we were following a row of figures, enrobed in white, semi-transparent cloth. I asked him who they were, but he didn’t reply. “Is this some kind of procession? of whom?”

No reply.

Then I looked up at the ceiling of the cave, and to my surprise, I saw the stars.

“How can this be? How can we be down in the belly of the earth, in a cave, and see the stars at the same time?”

The Siberian man didn’t reply. The starry sky above was so vast, so beautiful, so alive, it took my breath away. We started to float, both the translucent beings and I. The Siberian man got hold of me by the ankles, and while we were flying higher and higher, he climbed up on my legs, until he was hugging my waist. I could feel his breath on my nape. We were floating among the stars, feathery, iridescent, luminous. Merging with the infinite.

“This is amazing. I want to stay here.” – I told the Siberian man.

“Like hell you will. We’re going down… gently, gently.”

“Do we have to? Why?”

“Because we are going down.”

And he was becoming heavier and heavier, weighing us down, until we arrived, feet on the ground, down in the cave. It was empty, and I felt sad.

“Did we really have to come back here?”

“Yes, we did”

Then the old woman dressed in white descended from one of the paths of the cave.

“Oh, look at you” she smiled at me “oh, the flight of the soul, beautiful, isn’t it?”

I didn’t reply. I felt sad. They exchanged looks with the Siberian man. The old woman nodded:

“Let’s sit down a bit, shall we?”

We did.

“Who were they? The beings? Did they just die, or something like that?”

“Well, they were never actually alive, you know, not the way you mean it.”

“You mean not in a body?”

“Oh” she sighed, with a little shake of the head, smiling. I understood she meant it was complicated.

Suddenly, I was in a winter forest. It was night. Snow everywhere. And wind. I saw a fox, chewing the bark of a tree. Then I saw a pack of wolves, and they started to run together, all like one, swift and quiet.

They were running through the forest, among the trees, from a hill or mountain, down into the valley. I saw an owl on a tree branch, turning its head around and around. Then I was with the wolves, running, and the Siberian man was with me. Suddenly all stopped. No animal moved, no wind stirred. The world stood still.

And then I knew why. Now I could hear it, too. A baby, crying. As if we all rushed there for this child.

The wolves gathered in a circle, and in the middle, there was a basket. The Siberian man went there and lifted it up, checking if the baby was alright. He smiled at me.

Thirty-One

We were in a wintry landscape with the Siberian man. Broad daylight. There was nothing around us. Nothing could be seen, nothing could be heard… It felt as if the snow was the frozen echo of the bright blue sky, and we were submerged in this dazzling silence.

Then we could hear a soft murmur growing into a roar. It stopped, it started again. My heart sank. I looked at the Siberian man, he was worried, too. “We go that way”, he said “as fast as we can. or faster”. It was not easy in the deep snow. Every step was a struggle. But we kept on going.

We reached the edge: we were on a plateau. A distant world below us, far, far away. The earth was vibrating under our feet, maybe some kind of avalanche was coming.

“We go”, said the Siberian man. He jumped onto a small landing just below the edge. I followed.

In front of us was the vast, white abyss, and behind us there was a cave. We entered. He lead me the way, and we went deeper and deeper.

Suddenly, I noticed that there was someone in front of us, a woman dressed in white, gently glowing like the moonlight. From the way she moved, I guessed she was very old.

“Who is she?”, I asked the Siberian man.

“Be polite”, he replied.

I was perplexed. What did he want me to do? I felt like a child. “Be polite”. I never knew what exactly adults wanted me to do when they said that. A lie is a lie, truth is truth. What is “polite”? Then, years later, I told a man how I never figured this out. And he said “You don’t get it, you don’t get it. So what. Darn politeness. you are kind and you care. Those who don’t feel it, well, there’s plenty of space around, they can just walk away. Politely.” And we laughed.

The old woman turned around and came to me. A powerful presence. She smiled and put a finger on my temple.

“He means be quiet. In there, too. Hush.”

I shut up.

“Good girl” – she said. I saw from her mischievous smile that she knew exactly how irritating that sounded, she did it on purpose. I got even more curious about her, I wanted to ask questions, but I understood from the glances of the Siberian man that this was not the time. We were in her realm now, and we had to get going, there was probably a long journey ahead of us. And so we set forth in total silence.

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?”

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