Oct 062018
 

The production of draughts and medicines is a duty I perform on many occasions, but someone was once foolish enough to ask me what I was ‘cooking’, as if I were a common slave. As it was such an inappropriate question I simply declined to answer, as is my habit whenever a foolish or inappropriate question is asked of me. Then there are the questions to which there are no easy answers.
Once I was asked when he – Dionysus – first came here. At first I could only smile, for what is time to the kingdom of eternity? There are only hours of the day, seasons of the sun and cycles that are marked by the passage of the moon. Most vehemently have I been warned by the Saints to never fall beneath the sway of time because that would bring death to all prophecy. The pendulum might swing, but such as I must master the art of remaining above it in a state of perfect balance, shielded from the terrors of Cronos who yet we must touch without our hearts failing or minds being lost.
Daily am I reminded that ordinary time is of no consequence and fate unfolds precisely as the gods command it. When this occurs is immaterial, the potential for all action being ever-present. We are chiefly concerned here with what is infinite, although men so often desire to make fixed points for the dead books of their history.
“For this reason”, Timocrates informed me – quite gravely, in fact – when I questioned him on the matter, “the League has taken it upon itself to regulate all calendars of the civilised world that we might subjugate for perpetuity the menace of time at the centre of the Earth.”
I privately doubted it would be possible to truly safeguard the world from Time but kept this thought to myself. We were duty bound to try.
For the sake of the inquiry, it was sufficient to say that Dionysus comes at first sighting of the Pleiades, accompanied always by Euterpe, whose hypnotic sounds will soar over Parnassus from flutes poised like spears of moonlight on the muse’s lips. What happens then, who can say? It is one of the mysteries we cannot share easily, for like dreams in the stillness of the night, memories of those days are as mist in the fire of morning.
Though my mind may roam free, my life here is wholly proscribed in many ways. Indeed, it is set in stone. I sometimes dwell on the fact that nothing ever changes and perhaps I wish it might, but I am more aware of my great good fortune and that I enjoy liberties and other privileges the majority of my sex dare only dream of.
All the same – and because of that liberty, I know all too well – that I have seen nothing of the world beyond this temple and its outlying areas, although I frequently hear rousing stories of other lands from the men who come here. Stories I have over-heard, for the most part, or which come to me via my teachers, for it is not permitted for ordinary men to speak freely with a woman who is married to the God.
I most often hear about the great foreign kingdoms of Egypt and Persia – seats of wisdom and warfare, respectively – and of the various colonies founded abroad by generals and merchants of Greece, often upon the advice of my divinatory office. These tales can cause a sense of longing that I find difficult to overcome and there are times when I wonder if it is to the sea that I shall one day return.

Jul 212011
 

Once I was asked when he – Dionysus – first came here.

Who can say! I should laugh at such a question, for what is time? There are only hours of sun, seasons and days marked by the passage of the moon. Most severely have I been warned by the priests to never fall under the sway of time, because that would bring death to all prophecy.

Daily I am reminded that time is of no consequence, as fate unfolds precisely as the gods command it to and ‘when’ this occurs is immaterial, the potential for all action being present in every moment.

We are concerned here with what is infinite. “For this reason”, Timocrates informed me – quite pompously, in fact – when I questioned him on the matter, “the League has taken it upon itself to regulate all of the calendars throughout the civilised world in order to subjugate for perpetuity the menace of time at the centre of the Earth.”

For the sake of the initial inquiry, however, it was sufficient to say to say that Dionysus comes at first sighting of the Pleiades, accompanied always by Euterpe, whose hypnotic sounds will soar over Parnassus from flutes poised like spears of moonlight on the muse’s lips. What happens then, who can say? It is one of the mysteries we cannot share easily, for like dark and endless dreaming, memories of those days are like mist in the fire of morning.

Nov 072010
 

And on the first day of the week when the sounds of the temple bells sought their ears, one spoke and said: “Master, we hear much talk of God hereabout. What say you of God, and who is He in very truth?”

And he stood before them like a young tree, fearless of wind or tempest, and he answered saying: “Think now, my comrades and beloved, of a heart that contains all your hearts, a love that encompasses all your loves, a spirit that envelops all your spirits, a voice enfolding all your voices, and a silence deeper than all your silences, and timeless.

“Seek now to perceive in your self-fullness a beauty more enchanting than all things beautiful, a song more vast than the song of the sea and the forest, a majesty seated upon a throne for which Orion is but a footstool, holding a sceptre in which the Pleiades are naught save the glimmer of dewdrops.

“You have sought alawys only food and shelter, a garment and a staff; seek now One who is neither an aim for your arrows nor a stony cave to shield you from the elements.

“And if my words are a rock and a riddle, then seek, none the less, that your hearts may be broken, and that your questionings may bring you unto the love and the wisdom of the Most High, whom men call God.”

And they were silent, every one, and they were perplexed in their heart.

Kahlil Gibran, The Garden of the Prophet