To those who may be receiving one of these post-notifications for the first time: This is not a blog; it’s actually part of a book, and will make little sense to you without knowledge of what has come before—which you can easily obtain, along with a goodly amount of satirical theatre as matters progress, by simply entering ttgftyri.org into your web browser, opening the menu, and starting at page one. J.J.
And as Gaim is passing this last, some man in beggarly garb runs up to him bearing a captive cobra that he claims is actually the Great Serpent and argues that his demonstrable sway over it reveals that he—the fakir himself—is destined to become the next great leader of it all!
While another waves him over to the Tree, identifies himself as its divinely appointed guardian, and informs him that by merely knocking on its wood he might turn away turn away whatever threatening misfortune—for but a few spare coins, of course.
And he’s followed by a woman who introduces him to the Bird in the form of a dove and claims that its constant cooing foretells the future—while only she herself, for a suitable offering, might interpret it.
Scarcely to mention the man standing by the River who advises him to just toss a coin into a quiet pool along the bank and make a wish—really, just any wish.
Or this woman in a Star-covered Wrap who offers to read his fate from the starry patterns in the sky later that evening—while nearby, another simply comes on as Lady Luck herself, personally spinning the Wheel and promising to annoint whatever number that he might choose to ride through life.
And then, when it came to picking a number—why, he’s certainly offered plenty of advice.
“Hey, not for nothing,” some nearby kibitzer nudges him, “are there exactly three stages of life: birth, maturity, and death. And three parts to a family: the mother, her eldest brother, and a child. And three layers of the world: earth, air, and sky. And three phases of the moon: right-handed, full, and left-handed—in sum, revealing that there’s something very special, if not downright sacred about that number!
“So put your faith in that one,” the fellow urges him, “—and meanwhile, you should be careful to knock on that Tree-wood three times; expect the Divine One to wave her personal twig or ‘wand’ of it three times; demand nothing less than a three-Ring circus, and then of course, three-act dramas; make up a lot of three-part jokes; and I guess suffer three-part rhetoric from all our priests, politicians, and other public orators ad infinitum ad nauseum.”
* * *
But then another argues, “No, no—there are actually four stages of life if one includes one’s passage through the underworld. And similarly, four phases of the moon. And four cardinal directions. And four seasons. And four main aspects about the world: earth, water, wind, and fire. And even four uses for fire: light, cooking, warmth, and purification.”
While another suggested twelve, or the number of months in the modern year—and even dared to propose a whole new counting system based on that number, rather than continue with the old, traditional one based on simply the sum of one’s fingers.
And then, with regard to making one’s mark—and especially, when recording those of more than one person—another takes this opportunity to point out to him, “You know, should one actually lie on one’s back with one’s head making north, as in that famous depiction of the Divine One up at the marketplace, one will find the east at one’s left hand; meaning that maybe we should probably be making our mark left to right!”
However, someone else thought that they should just face east, as in the beginning of all this stuff, but record their marks top to bottom.
Or should it be west, as with the natural flow of things, still another wondered—whence people should really record their marks bottom to top, whether as a traditional right-handed or some oddball ‘southpaw’.
And then, just as Gaim is turning to leave, some prosperous looking fellow sidles up to him, simply points downstream and reminds him, “You know, down there, at the end of the Great River, death awaits everyone—scarcely excluding you—while need I point out, woe then unto those who’ve broken any of the Great One’s Laws!
“However, should you yourself happen to have broken one—and well, who doesn’t get into a little something once in awhile,” the other winks, “—I should inform you that I know of someone who can put you in touch with all your dead relatives, that you might persuade them to put in a good word for you with the Divine Mother up there in Paradise.
“Or should your offense really be serious,” he continues when Gaim just stares back at him, unable to think of an adequate response, “why, I can also introduce you to someone who’s willing—for the right price, of course—to take your burden as his own, thereby relieving you all further worry about the matter.”
And as Gaim just shakes his head and pushes contemptuously past the fellow, the other cries after him, “So what if I could absolve you of all future sins as well—thereby allowing you to indulge yourself howsoever you might like for the rest of your days, while absolutely guaranteeing your ultimate admission into that Wonderful Beyond?”
And sure enough, that very evening as he approaches the end of the river, Gaim encounters someone dying—who turns out to be none other than the old Queen, accompanied by a few servants and her eldest daughter, the Princess-in-waiting; who informs him that her own name is Gamita and invites him to entertain them with whatever new, tales, and gossip that he might have brought from up-country.
And so he recounts his whole upstream adventure—and fails to notice that long before he finishes, the Queen simply falls off to sleep and dies.
Nor did the new one seem to notice.
* * *
And come daylight, Queen Gamita asks him to help ferry her mother’s remains over to the western shore—where Our Lady of Death, there unflinchingly depicted as a dried up old crone wearing a necklace of human skulls and bearing a blood-stained knife with which to sever the last strand of the Great Umbilical Cord, awaits everyone in one final temple.
And of course, that scarcely excludes her own priests and priestesses—who also tend to be quite old, Gaim notices, and have reportedly taken up residence there precisely that they might spend their last days in her service.
While sometimes, it was whispered, they simply uttered one last prayer, took up their own knife, and severed the no longer wanted thread themselves!
For few around there doubt that the worthy go on to a better place—and with that in mind, the head priest thereabouts doesn’t just bury people; indeed, he has figured out a way to preserve or ’embalm’ them!
After which, he lays them out in a fine, comfortable sarcophagus along with all their personal valuables and some favorite food for their journey, affixes a tight lid to it, and deposits the whole in a round, sepulchral mound or ‘tomb’—not unlike the deceased’s original womb.
And so it was with the late Queen—save that her tomb turned out to be bigger than most, since of course, she was taking along all her ceremonial paraphernalia.
And afterward, as they return to the land of the living, young Queen Gamita slips her hand into Gaim’s and continues, “So now let’s get down to business.
“You know, my mother never got around to making me a brother,” she informs him pointedly as they step back onto the eastern shore, “—but if she had, I’d certainly want him to help me do something about all this disgusting disorder that you’ve seen around here.”
Oh, as in today’s world, back then there were plenty of charlatans out there on the street and even in the temples looking to prey on the world’s more naíve believers; and there were also plenty of priests who sought to get rid of their rivals by simply slandering their deities and ultimately branding them as evil.
On the other hand, some were actually ‘born’ evil—if only because someone had invented them precisely to account for life’s more distressing experiences, thus shifting the responsibility away from their own, ‘good’ deity.
- Abere: Melanesian cannibal-deity useful for keeping children close to home
- Acco: ancient Greek deity of evil
- An Zu: ancient Syrian deity of chaos
- Ardat lili: evil Babylonian deity who was said to come out at night looking to make trouble, mainly by enticing boys and young men to masturbate and then turning their ejaculate into demons
- Atlacoya: Aztec deity of drought
- Ba Han: Chinese deity of drought
- Badi Mata: Hindu deity who is said to attack children at puberty; purportedly, her wrath is also what causes smallpox
- Choti Mata: Hindu deity associated with chicken pox
- Discordia: ancient Roman deity associated with dissent, strife, and chaos
- Eris: ancient Greek deity said to spread discord and strife everywhere
- Gabjauja: Lithuanian corn deity who was degraded to the figure of an evil demon by Christian priests
- Grahamatrka: Tibetan Buddhist deity whose name means ‘demon mother’; nonetheless, worshipped as a benevolent deity in adjacent Nepal
- Gulsilia Mata: Hindu deity said to inflict sickness on people
- Kankar Mata: Hindu deity who is believed by some people to spread disease, by others to be a benevolent mother deity
- Indrani: Hindu deity described as jealous and wrathful; some texts call her a demon; deeply involved in divine politics
- Khen-ma: Tibetan Buddhist deity who reportedly controls the world’s demons
- Muso Koroni Bambara: West African deity whose veneration has been severely repressed by Islam; today demoted to a witch, she’s currently held to be the ‘mother of chaos’, whose dangerously defiant spirit needs to be carefully controlled lest she manage to re-create disorder in the region
- Pa: Chinese deity of drought
- Pairikas: Persian deity of drought
- Phul Mata: Hindu deity associated with typhoid fever
- Saptamatara: group of seven mother-deities who were exalted in early Hindu texts but later reduced to figures of evil intent whom children should fear
- Shun I Fugen: Chinese drought and famine
1: Metal on Metal http://metalonmetalblog.blogspot.com/2015/06/david-palumbo.html
2: Greek Gods and Goddesses https://greekgodsandgoddesses.net/goddesses/eris/