Sep 092018
 

The moment I step from the building and out into the dry, dazzling world, I behold a sea of olives undulating before me. It is a breath-taking panorama which stretches far as the eye can see. I could never grow weary of such a vista and I remain still for a few moments, breathing in the warm, sweet aura of tranquillity, giving thanks for the grace of the gods which brought me here to live my days.
Anyone who has been here understands that Holy Mount Parnassus is the closest place to Elysium on Earth. From it springs the fountain of all arts and poets, artists and musicians – devoted lovers of the Muses – all pay testament to the prophetic mouth of God that wields power and influence here.
The Sphinx which guards both the entrance to our temple and mysteries of the world is made of a warm-coloured stone. It blazes in the sun like fire and I incline my head as I walk past it down the gleaming marble steps, still surrounded by the monumental dedications of various cities.
It is not long before I have entered the walled kitchen yard, where I immediately see one of the Tetrarch’s slaves giving water to a package mule that is tethered to a small fig tree, already unburdened of the offerings he bore. My heart leaps for joy, breaking at once my serenity of mind and implacable demeanour. I am happy to see this faithful beast, for not only do I have quite some affection for the animal, but his owner is of the greatest interest to me as well.
His image appears at the front of my mind. Like rays of sun flooding into the Temple’s cool interior, it casts deep shadows into hidden places. The Tetrarch is the eldest son of the ageing Tagos of Thessaly, a great aristocrat of Greece. His tribe, the Aleudae of Larissa, was founder of the Amphictyonic League, one of the most powerful military forces in the world.
Now that Thessaly is the chief protector of Delphi, its surest and strongest ally, the Tetrarch – as leader of the cavalry – commands more respect than almost any other man who comes here. No other living man commands as much of my own respect as he does, except perhaps Cleisthenes of Sicyon.
The Tetrarch conducts much of his official business at the sanctuary, as do the governments of other city states, for all men come here to learn the secrets of Gods. There are also those who wish to meet with their muse, or listen to the poets, musicians, philosophers and other great men of this world share their inspiration.
I take a few moments to pet the placid animal, which is dozing peacefully in the dappled shade. His velvety-soft muzzle tickles my palm and he bows his head for me to scratch his dusty forelock at its peak. The warmth of the sun penetrates to my bones and for a moment I feel relaxed and carefree, as any other 19 year old girl on a halcyon summer’s day.
I do not intend to linger long, however, as my reason for being here is to prepare a special elixir for Timocrates, which will be used to facilitate his nightly travels through Psyche’s realm. Timocrates is a Saint of Delphi – one of the Thracids – and he has been my teacher and guardian for as long as I can remember. He is a highly learned man who is devoted to my education and well-being. I count myself fortunate it was him and not another the Gods decreed must raise me, for he has permitted me a degree of freedom that stricter Saints would not tolerate. I understand the value of this privilege and ensure the fruits of my mind are known to him alone amongst men, together with my lovely and graceful sisters, who are my dearest friends.
As the slave returns to wash the mule’s dust-caked flanks I make my way into the kitchen and examine a bundle of ingredients that were gathered on the seventh day of the moon. They are laid on top of a solid Myrtle-tree table, a gift to the sanctuary from Corinthian priests of Aphrodite. It is from these ingredients that I shall concoct the special elixir for my Earthly guardian.
Working steadily and also rather quickly, for it is a task I know well, I clean the plants and divide them into proportions, then place them together in a copper cauldron. I am vigilant about obtaining precise measurements for the preparation of such mixtures is a very exacting science.

Jul 032015
 

eagleAn indeterminate length of time later the witness re-emerged, relieved of magazine and whiskey glass but clutching to heart an exceedingly large, old and important-looking volume. The disappearance of Pros Theon had ended a few short minutes after its guardian entered the large, cluttered bathroom, whereupon it was joyfully rediscovered amidst a towering stack of books.

Unspeakably relieved with seven years of life added back on, the witness placed the priceless treasure on the polished wooden desk with a great sense of ceremony, lit an ancient lamp and turned to the penultimate section:

Μεταμόρφωσις λκυονίδες (Transformatio Dies)*

Translating and interpreting the metamorphosing text was a mission that took every effort of will and imagination, the fruits of the prophetic tome being rare and arcane indeed. At a certain point – in need of divine assistance – the witness looked over the text and out of the window for inspiration, focusing on the swaying tree tops as a breath-taking vision manifested with perfect clarity in the darkening ether.

A great supernatural bird – a huge white-headed eagle – awoke prophetic memory with his clairvoyant eyes then spread his enormous wings and took to flight towards the window. His sights were locked with terrible precision on the fixated witness, who felt a heavenly upsurge of pure joy and ran in the eagle’s direction as if physically lifted from the chair, having reverted back to childhood in a twinkling of the eye.

They reached the window as one and were simultaneously faced with the realisation that a window between worlds was separating them. The knowledge brought both grief and gratitude in equal measure, as the love-struck witness was just able to grasp one of the bird’s magnificent tail feathers and later attach it to the sun-tinted dream catcher. More evocations of Halcyon Days would be captured by this than all the other feathers combined.

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“What you seek is seeking you”

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* Days of Transformation