thoughtsfromthepanda

I do my best thinking while driving. I drive a Fiat Panda.

Archive for the category “From my (still unpublished) fiction”

Beetles in the road

Flashback.

A teenage boy is standing in the middle of a deserted road in the middle of the day in the middle of a semi-desert. He is somewhere far north of Johannesburg, somewhere en route to Namibia in fact, and a long way from suburbia. In front of him, what seems like a small army of beetles is crossing his path. There are so many of them that they are, quite literally, filling the entire width of the road.

The sun overhead is beating down viciously and the tar is melting in the heat. The beetles are uncountable. He steps forward and as one they immediately stop moving. Among them there seems to be a collective consciousness of his presence: as he moves forward, they stop; as he stops, so they move forward once more.

He knows he could step into them to keep moving forward on his journey, crunching them underfoot in the process, but the soles of his boots are unwilling.

He cannot move forward right now to the nothingness he was hitching towards, and there is nothing immediately behind him that he wants to return to. He stands there, paralysed, for what seems like hours while the unseen stars overhead continue in their indifferent orbits and directly in front of him the army of beetles continues to cross the road.

He does not want to kill any of them; he does not want to feel them crunched underfoot. And so he stays there for those long, uncounted moments – maybe minutes, maybe an hour or more.

He is there because it is school holidays and his father, once again, has flung him out of home with a little money in his pocket and an injunction to go and hitch hike around the country.

Be a man! Have some adventures!

Be a man. Go. Get out.

And here he stands, watching this army of beetles in the middle of nowhere, possibly the only person under this southern sun to be witnessing this weird phenomenon. What does it mean and why – amid all the pain – does he still manage to feel a strange, reluctant sense of peace; a oneness with the universe as he stands here, temporarily paralysed, unwillingly halted?

He is sixteen years old. He wants to be at home. Above all else, he wants his mother.

 

scarab beetle

 

Author’s commentary: What does it mean?

The mystery of the boy’s presence at the exact moment of the beetles’ crossing is not for me to answer, although I can (and do) surmise. Below is some interesting research about the symbolism of beetles, including from the dim early history of man as a spiritual creature.

 

He who is coming into being

(Source here)

The god Khepri, which literally means “He who is Coming into Being”, was a creator god and a solar deity. He was represented as a scarab or dung beetle, or as a man with a beetle head.

 

Existence – day after day after day

(Source here)

…For the ancient Egyptians the common scarab beetle, Scarabaeus sacer, was a daily reminder of KHEPRI, the manifestation of the sun god RE in the early morning. Khepri’s job was to help the rising Sun journey across the sky each day, and he is often portrayed as a beetle rolling the Sun in front of him. The Egyptians noticed that the scarab beetles rolled balls of dung along the ground, and they saw this as an analogy for the Sun moving across the sky.

…For thousands of years scarab AMULETS were carved in Egypt. It was believed that wearing a scarab amulet brought protection and a long life. It was actually a pun, for the word kheper in hieroglyphs means both “scarab” and “to exist”.

 

Egyptian scarab

 

Resurrection, rebirth, protection against evil 

(Source here)

The scarab beetle was the most important amulet* worn by ancient Egyptians. It was symbolically as sacred to the Egyptians as the cross is to Christians.

*An amulet was worn to protect the wearer against evil and was worn on a chain, cord, or strap.

The Egyptians believed that Scarabs were associated with the Egyptian god, Khepri. It was Khepri that pushed the sun across the sky, just like a Scarab beetle would roll a ball of dung. The scarab beetle became an ancient Egyptian symbol for rebirth, the ability to be reborn. Each day the sun disappeared, always to rise again and be reborn the following day.

scarab amulet

 

Innocence and the pursuit of goals

(Source here) 

Beetle.– Beetle is a being of peace, wishing nothing more than to live at one with nature and the world. Metamorphosis, resurrection, past lives, rebirth of the soul, innocence of purpose. Beetle signals a confirmation we are on the right track and we should pursue our goals. .Some beetles are good omens and some beetles are bad omens. You need to learn which ones mean what in your area by studying their behavior and what occurs after you see one. Some beetles are messengers of good and bad weather. In some cases, beetles have devastated acres of trees, but they symbolically warned everyone before the attack.

  • Dung Beetle (Scarab). Resurrection, regeneration, new life and vitality. Connection to spherical power, ability to move heavy objects

two shiny scarabs

 

Synchronicity

(Source here)

…The Father of Meaningful Coincidences, which he called Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle, was the great Swiss psychiatrist, Carl G. Jung. Jung articulated his concept of synchronicity after many years of study and reflection based on experiences with patients in psychotherapy and conversations with astrophysicists Albert Einstein and Professor Wolfgang Pauli.

By saying that coincidences were “acausal” Jung meant that they could not be accounted for or explained in purely physical or material cause and effect terms, but that nonetheless they had a meaningful connection or link to reality itself. In other words they are not just mere coincidence or happenstance. The universe participates in the human quest for meaning.

Jung said that synchronicity indicates that coincidences are “more than chance, less than causality”, a “confluence of events in a numinous or awesome atmosphere.” Moreover, he became convinced that these synchronicities arose during points of crisis in people’s lives and contained insights for future growth and development.

…Synchronicity and the scarab beetle

Jung’s most famous case of synchronicity in psychotherapy was with the woman patient who recited a dream she had had in which she was given a costly piece of jewelry, a golden scarab (beetle). While she was relating the dream Jung heard something tapping at the window from outside. Jung opened the window and in flew a scarbaeid beetle which he caught in his hand, its gold-green color resembling that of the golden scarab in the woman’s dream. He handed the beetle to his patient and said, “Here is your scarab.”

blue green scarab beetle

The woman, who was highly educated and intelligent, had been resisting dealing with her feelings and emotions. She was very adept at rationalisation and intellectualising. After the scary scarab experience she was able to get to the root of her emotional problems and to make real progress in her growth toward wholeness.

The universe had somehow cooperated in her therapy by giving her a meaningful coincidence. The scarab that tapped on Jung’s window was no ordinary bug. It was somewhat rare in those parts. It has, as one writer notes, “perennially symbolised transformation and metamorphosis, the very things that this woman’s unconscious was calling out for. It was as if the struggle in her soul had been projected like a powerful movie image into the outer world” and the universe responded accordingly.

…find your own meaning

…find your own meaning. The universe will assist you if your quest includes the heart as well as the head. Examine the course of your own life and see where seemingly meaningless chance turned into meaningful coincidence right before your eyes. Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth. Integrate wonder back into your life.

 

integrate wonder

 

 

And finally…

(thanks to the photographer here)

Let’s not forget where the ‘us’ began.

Beetle beetle...

 

HOWZAT for synchronicity?

 

smiley face

 

 

Advertisements

(extract from) The siren song

When I was very young and all the lessons lay before me, I revered the music makers as god-like creatures from another planet. Each week, with fanatical devotion, my friends and I would buy the magazines that printed interviews, photos and song-words, and from these and top-40 radio we were informed, entertained and guided.

The music makers fed our emotions. They said:

This is good, or

That is bad, and

we believed them, and were mystified if we didn’t understand. We wondered then what they heard that we were deaf to.

The music makers are

male

female

tall

short

mostly thin

often long-haired

bald maybe

bearded

clean-shaven

old, young or somewhere in between

smartly-dressed

scruffy

drugged-out

drug-free

usually friendly, and

always opinionated.

In other words, music makers come in various guises, but there is always some mark that sets them apart. I always thought it was something in the eyes. If you look closely, and in the right light of course, you will see a different sort of soul shining through.

Different. There’s the thing. Different how? Different why? And do we envy the music makers, or pity them for this mark that sets them apart?

This depends. When they soar through the heights, we envy and adore. When they fall, we are mocking, scornful or sad, depending on our own innate generosity.

I shared my life once with a music maker. I put words to his music and spiritually, for a while, we were twins.

A genius with the guitar, he had a voice like honeyed smoke, with that bad boy allure any good girl worth her salt wants to tame. His hair was long and said ‘So what?’ to the rest of the world, and I really liked that – later. In the early moments of seeing him though, he had no street cred for me at all except in his soaring fingers, because he was stuck in a raucous pub doing bad covers for the drunken Friday night masses. Wasting his considerable talents being the background notes to a bottle blonde who fancied she could sing, he was disillusioned with life and hungry for something new. We met at the bar counter while the blonde was strutting her stuff without him in the misguided belief she was doing the song unplugged.

He smiled at me, and in the dim light at that particular moment I saw in his eyes the shadow of the mark. Noting the ‘So what?’ hair, my gloom lifted and I smiled back. He asked me then if I was enjoying the music – careless, unspectacular small talk. It irked me because I suddenly and instinctively knew he had much better conversation to share. I looked away briefly to order another red wine, and looked back. Red wine always makes me very truthful and sometimes a bit stroppy, especially when it’s a common-or-garden box wine as this particular glass was, and I decided not to get bogged down in small talk because it was boring and predictable and I really couldn’t be bothered any more.

So I replied truthfully: “No, not really.  It’s a pity you’re doing this commercial crap, covering other people’s songs, because I noticed you can actually play.”

His eyebrows shot up just as the barman returned and slid a red wine towards me and a whisky towards the music man.

“Put her drink on my tab,” said the music man, and the barman nodded and moved away.

(extract from) From the Other side

From the Other side I have Shadowed many different people down the long years. Most of my Subjects were defined as good, although a few were labelled evil; some were ordinary and others again reckoned great in the eyes of their fellows. Some died young and beautiful, and at other times I watched an ageing, wrinkled face and longed once more for the freedom of the Pool. I have been – fortunately – truly skeletal only once, and in the process of reflecting decay, I hid myself in the outermost planes before the clean bones came, and finally the blessed release handed down by the Law. I spent many ages after this particular episode in the Pool; it is understood by all that the cleansing, healing process is especially necessary after such a Shadowing.

We are the Kyrië. We are born with you and it is our task to Shadow your lives, although we do not die. We live on the Other side of the mirror, where humans do not dream of another dimension touching planes with earth wherever man and nature create copies. For any human on the earth at a given time, there is a corresponding Kyrian, with a surplus of our brethren quiescent in the Pool of Shadows. This is where we go when the physical entity we have been Shadowing relinquishes its spirit. We rest there, and ponder, growing more knowledgeable with the centuries and with each successive Imaging.

We are rational and calm beings. We strive to avoid the tangled emotions of humanity, preferring the role of passionless observers. To be sure, there is an element of discomfort in Shadowing a dead subject before burial or cremation. Without the mercy of prompt disposal rites, the Kyrian must sometimes Reflect, should the Dimensions be touching at the time, decay in itself until the release brought by fire or earth, or the peaceful surrender to water. We do not mind water. It is the quietest end; fittingly circular.

I said as much to the Leader one day. I was between Images and took the opportunity to benefit from his wisdom.

“Why,” I said, “do humans not always consign their brethren to water when they die? It is where they come from, after all; it completes a physical and spiritual circle. It is harmonious on both sides – or so it seems to me…”

I ended a little doubtfully; one is humbled by the Leader’s great age and tranquil wisdom. He looked at me with, I thought, an unusual expression that almost passed for surprise.

“That is a wise observation, child,” he said, “and one for which I do not have an answer. It is not our place to judge what we might consider their shortcomings.”

I was silent a while, sensing a mild rebuke.

“Well then,” I said eventually, “if it is permitted to ask: where did I come from? How did I get here – and all my brethren, too?”

He smiled.

“You ask many questions for one so young. You show traces of what, on the Other side, they call Curiosity – more so than your brethren.”

“Is it bad to be curious?”

“Perhaps.”

“I do not understand. How do we learn if we are not curious?”

“One must be curious about the right things.”

“Including where I – we – came from?”

“You are indefatigable. All right then, as you ask, I will tell you that you came from the splintering of sunlight in a raindrop – the prism effect of light refracted in water. You are leaping fire-in-water. You emerged at either sunrise or sunset, in the last split second when the earthly sun rose or fell at the horizon’s rim. You are the stuff of mirrors and dreams and beyond. On the Other side, you are Shadow; a breath of drifting smoke, without real substance but of changing form. You are another part of the Pan-Dimension – essentially wise and beautiful and untroubled by what They, on the Other side, call emotion. You are the fire’s smoke; water; air – three in one simultaneously but without sufficient particles to give substance, and untouched by ache or pain.”

“But – I have seen my Subjects fall and bruise themselves, or been cut and bleeding, and I have correspondingly reflected that in my self. And somehow – I thought I felt their pain.”

“No!” said the Leader sharply. “Do not say so. You merely experienced discomfort as a concept of which we are objectively aware, but cannot participate in.”

“Can not – or May not?” I ventured boldly.

He shifted slightly and his aura changed. The Leader’s face took on a forbidding expression and the rainbow covering in which he had garbed himself gave out deep grey and purple hues. If I had been human, I thought fleetingly, I think I would have been what they called Afraid.

“Child,” he said gravely, “I have spoken to you of the Law. Do not let me speak again.”

Then he closed his mind to me and left me in the Pool with those who did not ask my questions.

= = = =

 

An editorial note:

I was travelling alone in Europe once when I was younger and while on a train in Italy, I was listening to the lyrics from Mr Mister’s ‘Kyrie Eleison’. The chorus is:

“Kyrie Eleison

Down the road that I must travel

Kyrie Eleison

Through the darkness of the night

Kyrie Eleison

Where I’m going will you follow

Kyrie Eleison

On a highway in the night.”

‘Kyrie Eleison’ means ‘Lord have mercy’ in Greek, and while I was on the road alone and listening to a song that I really loved, the seeds of the Kyrië story were born.

You can get the lyrics here and see them perform in this clip.

(extract from) Colour me blue, not grey

I like musicians. I like the passion they have for their music. It’s the over-riding colour in their lives; the vibrancy; the soul. Most of all I like rock musicians. Their particular brand of passion strikes chords in my own soul. When I first started hanging out with the band, my horizons expanded again.

“Dig that riff!”

“Listen to that sequence!”

“If I could write a song that makes someone break out into gooseflesh the way I do every time I hear this song… I’m telling you I could die happy!”

The musos I know are essentially gentle people. Four men make up the band and eavesdropping briefly on their lives is always a treat. An evening with Aneshree, Mick and company gets me out of the grey sameness my life has been taking on lately. Three of the group sport long hair and scruffy clothes and with all of them, the preferred drink on these occasions is usually beer or whisky, with music the overriding goddess. With a superior album playing in the background, the conversation is interrupted every now and then to listen reverently to an instrumental section or a piece where the vocals seem to soar into a higher realm – gooseflesh stuff indeed. Their girlfriends – it must be said! – are sometimes left out of the conversation for large chunks of time, but they’re never far away from being appreciated with a quick caress of the hair or a lingering gentle kiss at the right moment. This I observe with a smile as I sit happily cross-legged in a chair letting the music and conversation wash over me.

I met the musos because I work with Aneshree, Mick’s fiancée. Mick is the bass player and after Aneshree and I became friends it was an easy step into the band’s inner circle. Lately, I’ve found my thoughts being interrupted by visions of Francois, the singer, but I still haven’t felt myself ready for anything new despite Aneshree’s hints about how much he likes me. The memory of my last interlude is too sharp. So in the meantime, I’m happy to read his latest lyrics and keep promising that in return, I’ll show him my paintings one day soon – but not quite yet.

“What exactly do you paint?” he asked me the last time I was there.

This is a difficult question to answer.

“Uhm… I sort of paint emotions,” I said after a long-ish pause. “If something touches me deeply I put it onto canvas. Like you with your lyrics, I suppose. So mostly you see people in my paintings – not landscapes. But they’re not coloured according to reality most of the time – my people are usually sort of blue or green depending on the mood. Anyway, I put my emotions down onto canvas through pictures of people. That’s the best way I can describe it.”

“Ah,” he said, smiling. “So just when are you going to let me see these paintings?”

This was definitely striking a still-raw memory.

“Uhm… one day” I said. “Maybe.”

He gave me a sharp look.

“What colour are you right now?” he strangely said next.

“What?”

“Come on – don’t think about it – just answer off the top of your head. What colour are you right now?”

“You are odd! All right – colour me blue then. How about you?”

“Yellow,” he said. “Happy. Is blue happy or sad for you?”

“Both,” I said with no hesitation. “Happy and sad, depending.”

He laughed.

“You really are not helping me here! That’s a very contrary answer. All right – so when is blue happy for you? And when is it sad?”

I thought for a minute and said, “I’ll tell you about the happy but not the sad,” and then launched into the story of those glorious wonderful scary moments in the sky last year.

Man that feeling

Up there, earth below you and above you only sky

Sky and parachute like a great friendly bird taking you back down to earth on your own personal flight through wonderland

When I’m not here with the musicians and their music, my life is turning grey

I miss the aeroplanes and the sky

Life is so boring without blue skies

Must get back into it I miss it so much – even the crazy fear you put up with because it’s followed by the promise of the purest ecstasy I’ve ever felt in my whole life

Post Navigation