The Circle Game

A very long time ago and before our world was known by its name, a family of brothers and sisters gathered together. Téoah had called the meeting. He was usually referred to as eldest and beyond that he held no title or power over his family or his people.

Along with his brothers and sisters, Åmaahris, Düroeriel, Ssájhsca, Raë and Ajheun, Téoah represented a great race of people whose knowledge and arts have been lost to something beyond even legend itself. Perhaps the only way to retrieve such knowledge is to understand and command time itself.

As the asker of this gathering, it was Téoah’s duty to create the rite. When his brothers and sisters arrived, he asked them to gather in a circle and the six stood next to one another and they knew this was to be a powerful rite because none who stood beside another stood alone.

“My brothers and sisters, I have summoned your presence today because we are about to transcend into a new form of existence and I wanted to be with all of you, my beloveds when that happens.”

Åmaahris smiled at his brother, reached out and took Téoah’s hand and said, “Gladly my friend and bloodkind.”

It pleased Téoah that Åmaahris, who tended to be the least attached to the family spoke first in answer and in gesture.

Then, Düroeriel, possessed of indescribable beauty proudly stated as she took Åmaahris’ hand, “There would be no other way I could think of to witness such a state than with my kindred.”

Téoah gazed at his sister admiringly, he thought of how her countenance could at one moment remind him of gentle orchards and at another of grand mountains. He nodded to her to show his pleasure.

Ssájhsca smiled and looked around at all of his brothers and sisters, sometimes he or they would erupt in fits of laughter when a smile was returned and memories exchanged through mere glances.

He then fixed his gaze on Téoah and said, “Revered one, cherished one, though it is you who have brought us to this point of glory, and it is you who we shall follow to become what we will; I wish to take a moment to express that I am so happy that that we have never been alone in this realm and we have experienced all the pleasures it has to offer. It has been the joy of my life to be your friend and your brother.”

Téoah found that water had shed from his eyes; where it had never done before, and so he placed his fingers to his cheek to wipe the water. “Ssájhsca, even now you give us gifts with your words in the form of these tears. It is a true blessing that what we will leave of ourselves is the very water that was given to us when we were born so long ago.”

He allowed his tears to fall to the ground, some of the drops hitting his feet, and his brothers and sisters joined in the new ritual they just formed. It would be known as the shedding of sorrows but even that name may be only what remains of a whisper on the breeze.

Then, Raë, with her eyes closed and her expression serene and luminous uttered, “I see a home for us in my mind, it is unbroken from the land and there is unobstructed view of all the world from every vantage. It is open, it is warm and comforting and all is possible there.”

Almost in unison the family let out a joyful laugh and when they were finished, Téoah addressed to his sister.

“The place you describe, my blessed sister, is the place that will be. All benefit from your mind’s ability to construct what is difficult to see. Thank you.”

She smiled and then she nodded to show her pleasure at Téoah. Raë reached out and took the hand of the youngest, who appeared like the youth that she was with the auspices of wisdom and age. Ajheun spoke gently but with confidence. “Brother who is first, you stand next to me and I see so many beginnings in your gentle eyes. Where there is beginning eldest, so there is end. I take from you the gift of knowledge and I give back to you the gift of understanding. Take my hand now brother and let us end the cycle of first and last, of beginning and ending.” Téoah took his beloved little sister’s hand and from that day forth the legend of his family would be told through out eternity. It would be told over again and in many forms such as in fable, in song, in dance and in love. It is a story, which is familiar to all who hear it, it has so many names and sometimes if you pay notice at schoolyards or in places where children play unfettered, you may hear a glimpse of the story as it is conveyed to them by what remains of it.

Possible Prologue…

If you were a conspiracy theorist living in the great and formidable galactic community of the galaxy known to us as; M104 or NGC 4594, then you would say that the greatest conspiracy theory of your time revolves around a single planet that no one seems to know about or even care exists. But that conspiracy theorist would no doubt assert that it is probably the most important planet that has ever existed in the Universe; and it will be known for this one day but not for any great or big conspiracies rather instead, because of a singular fact, that a most extraordinary young man named Naarähm Faéørdin was born on it. This event and person change the destiny of not just the inhabitants of his galaxy, but the destiny of the entire universe. Before we get to that, lets look at some history though.

As stated, Planet Kyritheäe of the Kynsarthälia system was no extraordinary planet. It was your run of the mill bi-pedal humanoid life-producing planet, just one of 23 like planets in the entire galactic life band. The majority of life forms in galaxy M104, better known in the common tongue as Doäe, we would consider to appear insect like and after them most common were beings that could choose their form. They had the ability to manifest their life-force in almost any form they desired. Sometimes they appeared like giant amoebae, and sometimes like humanoids that looked like cats. They were scattered around the galaxy usually very secretive about their true nature, and usually living among species that had not yet evolved any intelligence. To us this galaxy would be a strange and magical place with little rhyme or reason, but to the inhabitants of Doäe it was commonplace.

In a galaxy this extraordinary, the only thing unique about planet Kyritheäe was that it was discovered late in the history of the Galaxy. Long after the Galactic Wars had ended and every life-bearing planet was a part of the Great Galactic Coalition. War had taught the inhabitants of Doäe that there was a way to coexist with one another without needless death or fighting over resources.

The entire galaxy had evolved through great sacrifices to a state where no being ever wanted. And every civilization lived, as it wanted to. By this point it was thought too that every sentient race had been discovered and catalogued or included into the larger community. But somewhat surprisingly, however not unthinkably, this was not the case. And at the time it seemed as though just for a moment it would probably be important that planet Kyritheäe and it’s system had been discovered, hidden within a great ion cloud harbouring within a humanoid species capable of minor manipulation of energy.

It was called the “Jewel of Existence” a look back to a world before universal awareness. And of course the proper thing was done; the entire system was cordoned off and made into a galactic historical preserve. It was deemed right, that only very strict access would be given to a select group of scientists to explore the planets and to conduct anthropological surveys and that was to be all. One day the people of the Kynsarthälia system would discover space travel and the ability to move out of their solar system and only then would they would be able to join the galactic community protecting them, it was expected that this would take no more than 1,000 of their solar years. But 2,000 years passed and the people of Kyritheäe remain blissfully unaware of what awaits outside their solar system. Why have they been mostly ignored or forgotten and why have they not progressed as was thought? This is what the conspiracists that suspected would ask.  What would make a Galactic Community so great forget about a jewel so precious but the threat of destruction?

In that time threats began to appear to Doäe’s governments and its inhabitants. It was discovered by accident that other galaxies had indeed developed to the same level of power that theirs had, and that some of those galactic civilizations might be capable of intergalactic travel.

The focus of the government shifted a little then. No major armies were created, no great propaganda was delivered, it was instead decided that they needed to create an Intergalactic Task Force that could deal with this threat before it became actual. The Kynsarthälia system was appropriated just as any national park might rightfully be and while the basic preservation efforts were maintained, the kind of scientific work that was being conducted within the system on other planets was groundbreaking to say the least and very secretive. A somewhat dangerous form of Interstellar travel did come about and had been secretly used to explore other galaxies to find civilizations like those that comprised Doäe’s.

Soon all of the secrets led to a clandestine organization born to protect the rest of the Galaxy from threat and the poor inhabitants of Kyritheäe were slowed down in their progress. Though their oppression was blissful and carefully hidden, if the galactic community knew the truth, it would never have been allowed to happen. Because reports had to come in about the planet, there was still an anthropological operation on the planet. Other humanoids lived among the Kyritheäens and reported back to the central authority known as The Majestic Association any of its findings.

And so you see, it was exactly this kind of atmosphere in which everything was lining up just right that an extraordinary being such as Naarähm Faéørdin could find the way to become who he will become.

Golden Gates

I have slipped in and out of universes like people slip in and out of dreams. I have seen myself as a coward and I’ve seen myself as a king, fools, thieves, fiends, and lovers too, so many different versions of the person I thought I knew. The balance of lineage was appealing to them, the memories of walking across the golden gate bridge or discovering for the first time, I would not be alone.

Through trickery and temptation I fell deep into the Omniverses and landed in a place so strange. The unchecked wizard cast a spell and the king built a great prison and they all plotted so efficiently as only I could against myself. Keeping me distracted and anaesthetized. Working their careful mischief to create brand new universes from mine, leaving their own abandoned.

Slowly the imbalance weighed on the other universes, slowly the skin that separates them began to buckle and hemorrhage. When all seemed lost and unrecoverable, by familiar voice, by gentle kiss, I stirred. The fires of cognition started once more and realization of what had come to pass flooded through my mind. My jailers did not account for me it seems, they did not see the golden thread that cannot be broken; which would always lead me back from wherever I journeyed.

And as I inched closer to myself, closer to my beloved friends and family, The Omniverse began to restore itself. Pulled back through me I met them all face to face and called them shameful and commanded them to bare the punishment for their actions. The last to go was the coward and as he stood before me, he grimaced and prophesied that he would have the day. So I prophesied as well and as my words of love and hope undid his of fear and hate, he withered as cowards do, begging for his newfound life.

And as I banished him to his dominion the gates did close with a lady’s soothing song bringing me out of darkness to sit upon the ground and gaze upon the gentle trees swaying in the crisp breeze, all appeared right. And there, in the setting light that shone through the golden gate did my beloved stand, so proud and smiling, he did not say goodbye but instead uttered… soon.

Were the world mine

Were the world mine, i would sit upon a great chair made of fine metal and set it within a palace or a temple atop the most beautiful place, overlooking a village and a river, hills and the ocean nearby, all the things i wanted would be within sight. Every day i would be grateful that i could gaze out from this chair at the beauty before me.

And were the world mine, there would be no reason to protect the village, for why would anyone want to harm my world? All about the world there would be abundance and joy and love, music, art, and dancing, all would be free to pursue their hearts desires, their true hearts desires, without harming anyone because who would want to harm another soul if the world were mine.

Were the world mine, i would revel in simple joys, like hiking through a forest and gazing at the stars, i would do these things anytime i wished to, and dream of visiting other worlds that were not mine, i would dream of living for a time within these worlds and learn new unthought-of wonders always confident that i could return to my world and not think it any less mine.

i would feel confident that i could tell of the wonders of my world and not fear that someone else would want to take that world away from me, for who would take it away, were the world mine?

This fantasy seems strange and unattainable but i know it can’t be so, for if the world were mine, there would be one clear sign to show me this was true; it would be so my beloved that if the world were mine it would only be if i could share the world with you.

Fragments of a memory upon a road…

There were days when I walked through France and Spain where I seemed to forget that I was walking, that my feet ached, my backpack was heavy or that I had to take photographs. There were times where I began to experience something new, something that seemed to come from beyond my imagination. Images from old stories permeated my consciousness, deciphered from the deep recesses of my cellular memory. As if every fiber of our bodies is made up of all our ancestors; encoded inside our core is a blueprint of their entire existence, and though we cannot decode this information so easily, we can divine some clues, some images, by observing ourselves and our interactions with the world.

Some of the images seem as though they should be in fantasy books like that of a Raja standing tall and proud in the Himalayas with his kingdom seamlessly arrayed amidst those epic mountains and other images such as that of a Rani lounging in the cool shade of her Southern Palace, a vision in the heat seemed like scenes depicted by Impressionists and hung in the grand salons of the Louvre or d’Orsey.

The “memories” sometimes seemed anywhere from 50 years ago to about 500 years ago, but who can say for sure. I don’t want you to think I am certain about any of the dates but in all the fragments I could see a lineage forming, spreading back from my point as though I was a ball bearing striking glass and seeing the spider web of connections stretching back beyond memory.

In Pakistan and India there are people who keep track of families and come around every few years (usually when a child is born), to recount the tales of the family and their histories, to remind those families of where they came from and where they are going and to collect some money for these services. The record-keeping is a little dubious but the core of these yarns is true and the records can stretch back 1000 years or more.

One such person visited our family shortly after my birth. He recounted the lineage of my father’s family, starting with me and going all the way back to a distant Mogul King, probably one that had many illegitimate children. My parents were given some kind of modest prophecy about me, “your child will be successful and happy” or “He’ll become a Doctor or a Lawyer.” That’s probably what every Pakistani or Indian family wants to hear.

In truth, my father’s side of the family does seem to produce doctors and lawyers and psychologists— I got the creative end of the stick. I don’t know that my parents are totally displeased with this; if they were they got over it a while ago. Actually I think my mother still laments the fact that both her children have not graduated from a college and don’t have at least a 4-year degree.

Mom was a nurse when I was born and quite independent. Mom’s side of the family is rather business savvy and tends to make solid investments. They are very entrepreneurial. While I can’t say that my mother (or I for that matter) is great with money, she is definitely money-conscious.

Envisioning a larger picture on those long and much toured highways made my regrets not matter anymore.

The strongest images from long ago are those of a King embracing his Queen, her face looking so comforted and happy, her bare feet touching stone. When she moved to be with him, the command of her action resonated up through musical instruments in the form of jewelry around her ankles bursting into loud proclamation: “I am his Queen, he is my greatest love.”

It is that greatest love that drives me and inspires me.

Chester

Somewhere between 7 and 12 I started having a series of re-occurring dreams, the first that I can remember in any case. Over the course of a few weeks it was the same beginning. The sound of everything flooding in my ears and then the most real sounds of a forest, leaves crunching, trees swaying, wind blowing and then smells, is that normal to remember smells from a dream?

I know you are supposed to dream in black and white but that’s never been true for me. I’d pick myself up and walk around the forest sort of aimlessly. Too afraid to really shout; Even at that age I had this sense that one shouldn’t bring attention to oneself if lost in a forest, even if it was a dream forest.

As I roamed around looking for something familiar, or a hint of civilization, a house, perhaps made of gingerbread, a road, anything; occasionally from the corner of my little eyes, I would catch a hint of a person, someone fast, who hid behind the trees and watched me. I was in a place where I didn’t feel completely safe but at the same time my curiosity prevented me from panicking.

On the fifth or sixth re-occurrence of this dream I no longer felt scared, in fact I kind of became comfortable in this new dream forest. For some reason I had warm clothes, it was autumn although there were enough evergreens to make you feel as though it could have been spring, I just knew because of the way the sky looked and there was a greyish brown on the ground, oh and loads of leaves. Sometimes there were mounds of leaves and I would run through them kicking them up everywhere! I was certain I heard laughter when I did this but when I would stop to catch my bearings and see if I could sense what was going on, nothing revealed.

One day I heard some music coming from what I’d determined was the north. I started following it and in the distance I saw a young man, older than me just standing in the middle of the forest. He was looking right at me, smiled and then ran off. I noticed he was barefoot and his hair a wild waft of blond fire!

I chased him… I’ve been chasing him ever since.

7 March 1989

“Love would be great, but she’s a good alternative” he said to me, “and I really don’t care what anyone thinks about that.”

We were sitting on bleachers gazing out at the softball field. The sun was just under the buildings, the only horizon we knew as kids, and the big bright phosphorous lights were coming on instead of moon and starlight. We were still kids but we didn’t think so then, the difference between 6th grade and 7th made it feel like the park wasn’t our place anymore, like we’d been gone from it for decades, but it was true, that’s what it felt like.

“I don’t know that I’ll ever understand love, I have an idea of it but I don’t know that I’ll ever experience it.” I remember looking at him nervously after saying this and I remember thinking that he wanted to say, “that’s because you’re gay” but refrained from it because he knew that I was before I could know what it meant.

I still think it is strange that I didn’t know.

Instead, he said, “That’s because you know love like none of us do, I think you experience it for everyone.”

I didn’t listen to what he was saying at all, I was still occupied with what I thought he wanted to say, and I guess if I had to be completely honest, what I’d hoped he was going to say.

“Yeah, I don’t know.”