The Gods In The Mirror
1/ The River
A moment ago the river was flowing gently through the valley. The monoliths of the gods on either side of the banks were stable, looming over the waters as if to change the color to dusk. Separate and timeless, the captive stones had waited for uncounted centuries for the banks to wear away. No hand had touched them for as long as they could remember which stretched long into the mists of pre-history before the birth of mankind. Some were so tall and translucent they seemed made of cloud; the monoliths of the gods of stone. Some stood at odd angles as if a breath of air would topple their weathered ancient forms; the monoliths to the gods of the unformed and unnamed. The monoliths to the gods of the Greeks, Romans, and Celts sparkled in their bright newness compared with the unnamed, ancient ones mingling on these banks together with them. Time was a single moment, inhalation unmatched. The Mayan and Aztec deities were fresh with jungle dew, compared with those asleep in the cocoons of the monoliths.
The water moved past them without a sound as if the landscape was holding its breath despite its stones and swirling waves. Somewhere in the distance a small singular echo resonated in the stale air and caused it to pulsate ever so slightly. A breeze, barely a breath, ruffled the glassy surface of the water as the river seemed to stand still in response to the steadily growing sound; footsteps. Someone was walking towards the river!
On its surface was a kaleidoscope of images as the man approached; the sound of his precisely placed feet punctuated by the kicking up of centuries old dust with every step. The river surged forward, breaking the glassy surface with ripples and waves of gurgling liquid. Alone, even in each other’s company, the assembled stones suddenly flashed together on the surface of the newly disturbed river. The air became pungent with the sound of murmuring as the buried gods slowly became aware deep in the recesses of their rocky monolithic slumber. Hearing them, he stumbled with awe and confusion. His careful precision of step was interrupted as he moved toward them hesitantly.
He was mesmerized by her eyes as he danced to raw loud music with the most alluring woman he had ever seen in a small smoke filled bar. Her eyes flashed with a preternatural grey shining. As his mind filled with erotic fantasies of what he wanted to do with and to her, they kissed. Tumescent with desire, he suddenly found himself walking with extreme care in the midst of clouds. Shock moved through him as he realized where he was walking and his step became measured and careful as he continued to move one foot in front of the other until the clouds thinned to nothing and he found himself on the banks of the river listening to the haunting murmuring of the monoliths.
“Wha…where am I?”
His question mingled with the sounds of the now vociferous waters of the river. Even confronted with his unexpected surroundings, he couldn’t forget her eyes. They were the color of the ancient dust that now swirled around him with every step. They were the echoes of his childhood and the shadow of everything he had ever desired.
Slowly the gods roused from their uncounted years of reverie and slumber. The monoliths slowly took on a glow as the presence of the gods energized the stone with awareness. The river was now rilling and bubbling with life and sound as another note entered the mix. The low hum of awakening gods slowly gained volume and resonance ‘til one by one the monoliths vibrated with the question:
“Who walks among us?”
The gods were awakening but one of them had not been sleeping for a very long time. She had been walking among mankind since the dawn of time, her dusty grey eyes shimmering with pleasure. So many names had been Hers that she was almost nameless. Most recently She had been invoked as Venus Aphrodite and popularized as the Goddess of Love. She always smiled at that appellation. Love was such a critical ingredient in the potion of transformation, but not without desire and she was both the Goddess of Transformation and Desire. The sharp edges of Her desire carved out new human territory.
What was it about this man that so intrigued Her? He was no holy man, no guru of the spiritual realms, no mystic. Well, not precisely, but he was a man who’s eyes were wide open and who listened for the rhythms of the stars and planets in his own heartbeat. He was a man with a willingness to move into places he didn’t know or understand. He was always looking into the dark unknown spaces of his own heart and mind; jacking up the ante to find the risk of something new. Risk, that’s what She saw in his eyes and what she smelled, was the sharp clear vitality of desire mirrored back on the dance floor. She loved to dally with humans especially when so many of the Old Ones lost interest in life. So, here he was now in Her realm. How would his responses change it? Taking a deep breath, She decided to watch what he chose to do, but not without giving him something to think about first.
The flowing liquid babbled in assent, and at a look from the Goddess, a section of the river became as calm and smooth as mirrored glass again. The sky reflected in the glassy surface seemed to expand. Something was rising out of the water. A huge mirror in an ornate frame broke the surface, becoming slowly visible. The frame shimmered with jewels and gold inlaid with images of the gods and goddesses, roses and bees buzzing around the perimeter. At the top of the mirror was the image of the Goddess dancing. As it continued to rise out of the water the sky was reflected on the surface. The water swirled around the edges of the framed silvered rectangle, beading up as it turned to bubbles that became crystals glittering in the light. The fragrance of roses and the chiming of bells filled the air as the mirror floated to the shore stopping at the feet of the man who was now standing there.
He stepped towards the object as it slowly rotated coming to an upright position levitating in the air in front of him. It towered above him reflecting the river and the sky. Curiously, as he stood gazing into the silvered glass he was amazed to see no reflection of himself in it. The Goddess stepped up behind him, placing her arm across his shoulder but all he could see in the mirror was Her arm draped in the air where his shoulder should have been!
“Am I dead?”
He turned to Her with fear in his eyes for the first time.
“No. You’re not dead or undead, either.” She smiled at him reassuringly. “You can’t see yourself in this glass…yet. This is the Mirror Of The Gods! But look again. There is something in the mirror for you now.”
Slowly he turned back to the floating glass. In it he saw a gigantic boulder reflected on the glittering surface. It was glowing with soft lavender light and he could see the figure of a woman trapped in its side just below the surface. The woman seemed to be frozen in the block of glowing stone. He could see her eyes; the eyes of the woman he had been dancing with just moments ago. They were ash grey and alive with curiosity and wonder but no fear. She seemed at peace even though she appeared to be trapped in the giant stone. He wondered how she could seem so calm. She looked directly into his eyes from her reflection in the mirror. He suddenly realized that he could see her reflected in the mirror and she could see him back! Those eyes shook him. Who was this woman? Her eyes smiled though her body remained immobilized in the monolithic rock.