(READ PART ONE, PART TWO. PART THREE AND PART FOUR OF THIS STORY)
The writer has welcomed Charlemagne, Samuel ibn Nagrella and Ziryab to watch images on a strange waterfall screen she calls the Rearview Window to the World, which started showing images in the Womb of Time, a cave behind the waterfall through which the men entered the writer’s realm. The three men penetrated the cave riding a “device” born of Samuel’s magic: Abul Abbas, the pet elephant Harun al Rashid had sent to Charlemagne, back in their time. The “reborn” animal embodies a real-life water clock invented by Al-Jazari, an engineer, artisan and artist who straddled the 12th and 13th centuries. Each man occupies a specific spot on the elephant’s howdah, the carriage positioned on the animal’s back: Charlemagne in the front as the elephant’s mahout, Samuel behind him on a rotating platform and Ziryab on top of the howdah.
Abul Abbas has just knocked down an image seen on the Rearview Window to the World: a fake tree adorned with strange panels that, because of the way their frequency interacts with oxygen, contribute to the worsening of the symptoms of a new respiratory disease that affects the world in the year 2020. The disease has come through a virus that looks like a “pomander”, those oranges or apples covered in cloves used as Christmas trees ornaments. Last Christmas, before the virus outbreak, the author had felt a strange urge to make a pomander for the first time, and now she sees this as a warning she was unable to interpret back then.
The writer’s voice is now echoing in the dark after the “disconnection” that occurred when the elephant knocked down the image of the “fake tree” seen on the waterfall screen.
-I must admit this is what the planet needed: a blackout, for the Earth to finally breathe better, she says.
-It doesn’t make it easier to see though, complains Charlemagne, who would like to watch more images on that strange water screen he finds fascinating.
-Patience is a virtue, Samuel says from the howdah’s rotating platform, willing to keep track of the important events to be revealed on the water screen. I am sure our host, whom I named “the embodiment of Shekhinah”, has more in store for us!
-Thanks for your trust, dear Samuel, says the writer, and for the honor of such a name. However, I would rather say that all of us are an embodiment of Shekhinah, the female aspect of the divine… We have so many ways to tap into the messages from the subtle voice above… and below. I’ve always seen our planet as a “she”, because of the Earth’s gender in my first language, I guess, but not only that. She, the Earth, is our mother; she nurtures us and she gives us shelter. If we think of it, the current blackout in the linear time of 2020, our Earth’s respite, has been made “possible” by the virus, so I was thinking that maybe we should redefine the status of that deadly “pomander”, and also our interaction with it. Samuel and Ziryab, in your respective lifetimes you were the most influential advisors to kings, and you Charlemagne were a leader yourself. I’ve realized the importance of specific words used by leaders talking to their fellow countrymen and women. In the midst of this crisis, I’ve heard two speeches by political leaders of two francophone countries in Europe. One of them, a woman, explained the exceptional measures the country needed to take for citizens to protect themselves and others, and she ended her speech with a warm “take care of yourselves”. In contrast, a man told the citizens who elected him that “they were at war” against the virus. Maybe this very word, WAR, is the problem. If we see everything in terms of war, we will always be in conflict. And of course I am not giving you this example to start yet another war between men and women. More than ever we need unity; we need to embrace the qualities of both our masculine and feminine traits. This is why I need your help, gentlemen, because I want to do SOMETHING. Like I said earlier, I am a vessel of the action building itself in the dream within the story, here in my writer’s den I call the Womb of Time. However this writer status only makes me a tool, whose inspiration comes from YOUR home, guys. You are the spirits, you come from the light, and we need your help here on Earth in these shifting times. Writing is what I can do to tell a better story than the current one, or rather the one we are leaving behind, and I am sure that I could learn a thing or two from your own experience after you crossed the veil, so we can combine your wisdom with that of other people from other times and places…
-We would love to help, assures Zyriab. Do you think the rightful anger of the elephant has damaged the water screen?
-Oh no, the water just needs a few minutes to restore itself and we will see new images in brief, assures the writer.
As a “reward” for her trust in the process, the writer’s words are followed by a crackling static sound coming from the waterfall, like interference on a radio station whose frequency is not perfectly tuned. An image gradually starts to form on the water surface again, showing an ugly gas mask. Soon the three orifices of the mask turn blue. Under the pressure of the growing blue spheres, three images of the Earth, the mask bursts open, shattering pieces all around. Now the triple Earth takes all the screen space.
The delicate network on the “left-eye” Earth, so far hidden under the mask, reminds Charlemagne of his recently-acquired weaving skills, from when his spirit inhabited a spider’s body before meeting Samuel and Ziryab.
-All those lines surrounding the “left-eye Earth” form such an amazing artwork, from a spider’s perspective, he says.
-I agree, says the writer. I’ve spent a lot of time reading and learning about ancient knowledge and stories of origins. In some Native American stories, Spider Woman is considered the weaver of reality, the cosmic storyteller, mankind’s maker. Also, the “spider web” around our Earth is said to connect important energy points, which in turn are related to our own human body’s energy fields and frequency. We are supposed to work in unison with the Earth frequency, but so many things have disconnected us from that original state of harmony… The waves emitted by those strange panels around the fake trees do that job, but also the heavy metals that are sprayed in our skies. Some people still choose to believe that those expanding white lines seen daily in the “turquoise bowl” above are normal and “ok”… They’re not ok at all! The harmonious and delicate “spider web” of energy points of our Earth is gravely disturbed by those toxic elements, which end up trapping and asphyxiating the planet and all her inhabitants!
-Those broad lines on the third Earth, where the mask mouth was, really look like prison bars, and I can see why they prevent the Earth from breathing, agrees Zyriab.
-That prison is due to those excesses in the use of harmful technology, and when it’s combined with the spread of a health hazard born from the manipulation of very dangerous organisms, we’re headed for a fall…
-Let’s hear what the waterfall has to tell us then, begs Zyriab. Water cleanses all… that’s why it is so important in my culture.
The writer brushes her fingers across the surface of the water screen to “scroll” to the next image. The “three-Earth face” soon disappears to give way to a plague doctor looking at another masked character wearing purple feathers. “Baci di Venezia” (Kisses from Venice) says the postcard. But when the plague doctor tries to kiss the purple masked character with his beak, the latter vanishes in a purple puddle, soon carelessly stomped by hundreds of people who splash the plague doctor’s black coat.
-I tried to warn them, he says, but they did not listen…
People are laughing and shouting “Tutti a Cannaregio!!”
The plague doctor shakes his head in sadness.
-They shouldn’t, they shouldn’t… But what can I do…
The daylight disappears from the scene and darkness is crisscrossed by illuminated boats navigating between houses. The water of the canal is purple like the vanished masked character, and the large crowd on both sides of the canal is waiting to see a show.
From their vantage point in the Womb of Time, the writer and her three spirit guests see light letters appear on top of the waterfall screen:
February 9th, 2020, Venice, Carnival’s Floating Parade. Canal di Cannaregio.
-Finally! Here’s some concrete space-time information, says Samuel. I will write it down.
As he dips his black feather in pomegranate wine to keep record of the first day of Venice Carnival 2020, the artistic scenes on the boats gliding on Canal di Cannaregio show several dreamlike characters: a devilish man figure joyously plays with fire; a man clad in a white costume that evokes both a whirling dervish and Pierrot / Pedrolino of the commedia dell’arte walks inside the bubble in which he is imprisoned; a man and a woman clad in red dance leotards swirl around a flowery hoop; and a lonely woman in a poppy-like evening gown hovers over both canal and crowd, hanging from a huge cluster of red balloons.
-This red cluster gives me the chills, acknowledges Samuel. It looks like the deadly “pomander”…
-That’s what I was thinking too, says the writer, but now I want to see something else in there. I am reminded of a red balloon that I let go of when I was 4 years old. The balloon ended up landing in a milpa, a cornfield, in the heart of México… I’ve always felt that the red balloon was taken there by a magical, cosmic hand…
-Maybe this beautiful corn ear that landed in my hand comes from the same cornfield then, says Charlemagne. Maybe it’s what the giant cluster has brought here, for us to decipher a hidden message…
At these words the phoenix atop the howdah gives a complete spin on its axis, exactly at the same time as one of the performers of the floating parade also rotates on the axis of a float.
After the phoenix spin, the dragon that slumbered atop the column holding the howdah opens its mouth to receive a small sphere from the mouth of the raven-hawk perched by Zyriab’s left shoulder. With the sphere in its mouth, the dragon comes down by Charlemagne’s hand and opens its wide mouth.
-Thank you, says Charlemagne as he grabs the sphere. Do you want some corn in exchange? he asks, giving the “beast” two kernels from his cob.
Satisfied, the mythic animal lifts its head and climbs back to its initial spot, where it ends up giving one of the kernels to the bird.
The Frankish Emperor notes that there is something written on the sphere:
-“Love / Power”
Now on the waterfall screen, night turns into day again, and the four people in the cave see the details of people’s costumes. One of them, staring directly at the screen, is a clown with white hair and a white face, dark spots around his eyes, red and white stripes and his body covered with giant melting vanilla and chocolate ice cream cones.
-Wait! shouts the writer as she ‘freezes’ the image with her hand. We need to talk to him. He is the embodiment of previous writings of mine, a glitch from a past story living somewhere in my imaginary universe. In that story a voice was accompanying me in a rainbow-color maze, and at some point we were imagining how it would be to hold a twister upside down, like a huge ice cream cone in reverse, just like the one this clown is “wearing”! Maybe the current pandemic was also symbolically announced by the twister that appeared in my mind! I think that conversation is stored somewhere under the title ‘A Black and White Dream’… Long story short: we were working on the symbolism of chakras, and ‘the voice’ and I agreed that everyone can tap into another’s dream when they still know how to dance the dream that connects us all.
-What are ‘chakras’? asks Charlemagne.
-Well, answers the writer, I really liked the definition given in the children’s show the voice and I were remembering. In that show, the boy undergoing the initiation understands that chakras are “pools of spiraling energy in our bodies, which need to be kept pure and clear through a good opening between the paths that unite the pools”. It is a very deep topic, but to be concise, let’s say that the seven basic chakras, each associated with a color, may be blocked by “muck in the pool” that needs to be transmuted through the transformation of energies or emotions… I always keep this image with me, she says as she reaches to her pocket with the hand that is not holding the frozen screen. It reminds me to work daily on that inner transformation.
-Oh, maybe that’s why the waters were purple a while ago? suggests Ziryab. Maybe the water was trying to give the world insight through a cosmic event; maybe also to help people remember that they are all in this together.
-Maybe, yes, agrees the writer. In my previous story, the voice and I talked about Shamans: how they heal themselves and others through astral traveling in that big collective dream, and how their work takes us back to a nature-oriented reality, which will only be made fully possible once humanity disconnects from its current nightmarish dystopia… What if that moment we spoke of is now? What if people are sensing this all over the world as they draw rainbows (the colors of the chakras) everywhere? They accompany those drawings (mainly by children) with the saying ‘everything will be all right in the end’ in their respective languages!
-I am starting to think that I undertook my soul journey to heal some of those chakras myself, understands Charlemagne. I had to transmute shame and guilt within me…
-Absolutely, agrees the author. And through healing them in yourself, you’re helping us heal other blocks that might have occurred because of those stagnant energies…
-I am realizing that the illness striking the world of the linear present is attacking the area of the lungs, which surround the heart, observes Samuel. So I guess the world has to transmute grief into love!
-Yes! exclaims the author as she snaps her fingers, enabling the motion on the screen to resume.
On the red and pink stage behind the clown on Piazza San Marco, two women are surrounding Casanova, who wears a golden crown atop his marquis baroque wig. The women too wear crowns or eccentric headgear: one as the Queen of Hearts, the other as the personification of a chess game. The chess game lady shouts something in English with a very strong Italian accent: “On thise dday of the Festa della Marie, under this beautifulle Carnival theme of il Gioco, l’Amore e la Follia, Game, Love and Madness, a clown wishes to talk to us. Wille we listenne?”
The clown approaches the microphone she holds for him and he warns the crowd:
“Smetti di giocare!
Smetti di farla impazzire!
Lei è la Terra; non ce la fa più…
Ha bisogno del Vero Amore,
non della follia della nostra vita moderna!
Ebony and Ivory, Ricchi e Poveri,
Il pomo d’ambra può ‘in-corona-re’ tutti…
Come un gelato alla vaniglia e cioccolato
Io non voglio vedere mai il mondo liquefarsi…”
The second the clown stops talking, the crowd disappears and all turns black and white on St Mark’s Square. The next image on the screen shows solitary gondolas slumbering to the rhythm of the soft lapping sound of a mourning canal.
-What did the clown say? asks Zyriab.
-Italian is like flowery Latin, answers Charlemagne. What I understood is that the Earth is done with our playing around, that she needs true love instead of the crazy rhythm of life in the present, linear time, and that all, black, white, rich or poor can be ‘crowned’ by the pomander. He ends his warning by saying that he does not want to see the Earth melt like his giant vanilla and chocolate ice cream.
-Vanilla and chocolate can be metaphors of the opposition of colors in the chess game, adds the writer. Notice that everything around has become black and white… I think it means no more duality or opposition.
From the slumbering gondolas shown on the water screen, a female voice emerges, yawning. A woman with curly hair under a cow boy hat sporting a star wakes up from her long sleep, seemingly disoriented.
-I could get used to naps on water… They are more peaceful than in my tent, she says. Where is everybody? Why am I alone? Where’s Cody’s gondola? We were following him…
As soon as the woman sits up in the gondola, the two hybrid birds that watched her from atop the howdah fly away from their perching spot. One of them robs the writer of the ‘chakra paper’ she held in her left hand and both fly through the waterfall to land in the boat in front of the lady who just woke up from her nap.
-Wow! You scared me, birdies! Where do you come from? she asks. You look so weird! As if one could not exist without the other because you’re both made of parts of each other… What is it you hold in your beak? she wonders, pulling the ‘chakra paper’ from the bird’s hold.
The raven-hawk twins start morphing into human beings, who turn out to be Lakota performers of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.
-You can keep this in that case where you hold your gun, bird man #1 tells her. What is it made of by the way?
-Elephant hide, mumbles a petrified lady…
-Poor thing, says bird man #2, we came riding one such living creature…
The lady has not yet recovered from the astonishment provoked by the prodigy that has just happened, but she obeys the shapeshifters, keeping the chakra paper in her shotgun case and staring at the two men in awe.
-Annie, you killed us in your story! reproaches one of the bird-men.
-What do you mean ‘I killed you’!?? I only kill pigeons, or I shatter crystal balls for the show! I would never hurt you! You know that, don’t you? I don’t understand, she says in a frightened tone.
-Say our names! commands the other bird-man.
-Well, right now, I must admit, I don’t remember… I am a bit disoriented- What day is this?
-April 14th, 1890, answers bird-man #1.
-Oh my God! gasps the writer, amazed by what is taking place on the water screen. It’s my birthday!
-In 1890??? asks a bewildered Charlemagne. My birthday is in April too…
-Not in 1890, silly… I was born on April 14th almost a century later, but still! Isn’t it quite a coincidence?
-No such thing as coincidence, says Samuel, happy to write down a new date in his records. Let’s pay attention to this conversation; it sounds fascinating to me!
-We gave you a big hint in our bird costume… sighs bird-man #2 as he answers to the woman in the gondola.
-I need a minute to think, she ponders. Your bird selves looked like a mix between a raven and a hawk, so I guess they were related to your names. Let’s see…
From the empty street by the canal where the gondola is slightly moving to the rhythm of the calm waters, the song by Freddy Mercury and Montserrat Caballé blasts its grandiloquent ode to the city of Barcelona.
Unaccustomed to hearing recorded music, the lady is startled, but the lyrics apparently bring back memories.
–CHARGING CROW AND BLACK HAWK! she exclaims. We left you behind after you fell ill with the “white scabs plague” in Barcelona! I remember now, yes. You stayed at that hospital where Cody had his tooth pulled!
-Yes! So nice of you to remember after all… bitterly answers Charging Crow.
-Yes, yes. Now things come back to my memory… This conversation with you on this gondola is not really taking place in April 1890, is it? All this feels so far away…
-You are correct, says Black Hawk. We are living a projection of that year. You are here in spirit. We summoned you from the waterfall cave, because we feel you can help us heal the world. In the linear time of the year 2020, the Earth is suffering from many ailments, one being a virus our friends in the cave call the ‘pomander’, because of its shape. We know what it is to be contaminated by other human beings… It almost wiped out our people, but Charging Crow and myself survived. We want to bring strength to the present suffering world. We wanted to materialize as former companions in the show, to take you to places of memories where some spirits left unfinished business. Some of those spirits, when alive, roamed areas that are extremely affected by the disease. Those spirits suffered from the kind of health issues provoked by this virus and its combination with the excesses of technology and disrespect for the Earth.
-Am I one of those spirits? asks Annie. Because I survived the Spanish influenza?
-Partly, answers Charging Crow. But also because of what eventually took your life.
-My lead poisoning because I had held so many bullets in my mouth? asks the sharpshooter.
-Yes, confirms Black Hawk. We believe that such death can teach us two things, useful for today’s humanity: the dangers of large quantities of certain metals in our bodies, and also the spiritual sickness related to warlike behaviors and the indiscriminate use of weapons.
-Oops, totally guilty there, recognizes Annie. I even tried to take some women with me to fight in the Spanish-American war… The President never took my offer seriously though. Retrospectively, I am so glad he didn’t. When I saw how World War I started, I felt terribly guilty and torn. Do you remember that day in July when we were in Berlin? The German Emperor and King of Prussia wanted me to shoot the cigarette from his mouth, like I usually did with my husband. After Kaiser Wilhelm became so famous for being credited for starting the war, I started researching a bit, and realized I had met his grandmother already, another member of royalty: Queen Victoria of England. I was so proud back in the day to “have met royalty”. I bragged about it on my letters… How stupid, honestly. I started understanding the futility of all this when I saw the horrible images of destruction that war brought to the world. And yes, “crowned heads” did bring many wars to the world…
Listening very carefully to the conversation taking place on the water screen, the three men, especially Charlemagne, cannot help feeling very uneasy about the big or small role each of them played in the conflicts of their respective times. However the wise words that follow Annie’s testimony help them work on their remorse and understand the profound meaning of this strange dream they are all in.
-It is perfect to remember this to feel that you would act otherwise now, from the wisdom of your soul, Annie, says Charging Crow. However, you must get rid of all guilt because of those “what if”. When you’re lost, watch what’s written on the paper you kept in your elephant hide case… Ridding the world of low vibration feelings is why we flew to you today. We are convinced that if we, spirits, can heal from our stuck emotions or trauma, we will not only heal ourselves energetically, but also many beings who are now suffering from that illness that enters the human body through the throat and then attacks the area of the lungs, around the heart. We believe that when taking care of what still affects spirits, and when healing it, we are taking care of everyone else among the living. We need to let go of untruths and grief to go back to a loving heart. Do you accept to help us in this task?
-It will be an honor and a privilege, answers Annie. And I am starting to remember details of when you two caught up with us in Rome in February!
-That’s good. That’s exactly what we want. We want you to relive some of those memories, for you to learn to see through others’ eyes, and to understand that our interactions affect us all, not only in the time of those interactions; they also ripple through the spiral of time if they are not properly addressed. What do you wish to share with us regarding your time in the show we were all in?
-First I would like to say that I remember I developed a strong dislike for Barcelona, because the audience was a bit cold, but mostly because of the illnesses that struck so many of us. I couldn’t believe the weather either! It snowed and rained so much!
-Maybe the water was trying to tell us something, suggests Charging Crow.
-Maybe, repeats Annie. At least it cleansed the premises, but many people fell ill because of the cold as well. And the poverty! I remember a woman who would come every day with her little boy, looking for food amongst our kitchen waste! Oh my God, it broke my heart, and I tried to help as I could.
-Yes, terrible, agrees Black Hawk. We found exactly the same conditions when we came back home after the Wild West Show, well, the ‘new home’ your government had decided to park us into… Pine Ridge, up to this day in the linear time of the 21st century, is one of the most poverty-stricken areas in the U.S. The living conditions of our people are still inhumane in many cases. Many times we wonder if anybody cares at all…
-This is terrible, laments a truly saddened Annie.
-Did you ever wonder how we lived both on the reservation and on the tour with you? asks Black Hawk.
-I guess not enough, recognizes Annie. How did they treat you at that Spanish hospital where you were healed of the “white scabs plague”?
-Very well, actually, says Charging Crow. The nurses communicated as they could, and one day the youngest one asked us why the Show hadn’t waited for us…
-You know the saying, ‘the show must go on’… says Annie in a sad tone.
-You wasichus who came to live on Turtle Island are always in a hurry, always thinking about money! Do you honestly think it was the right thing to do? asks Black Hawk.
-After all those years, honestly, no, I don’t. Many things I would now do differently. Actually I was starting to think of life in different terms when Frank and I caught the flu.
-We are curious, adds Charging Crow. Why did your book mention “two Indians” (with no name) who died in Barcelona? Words hold power, Miss Oakley…
-I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. That autobiography was written just before I died myself, I was mixing up memories from 30 years back. Please forgive me…
-Don’t get us wrong, adds Charging Crow. We’re not mad at you… and you are forgiven. We saw you interact with people during the tour; you do love people, but sometimes it felt like you were embracing your ‘manly’ attitude a bit too much. We all need balance between our male and female aspects. Maybe because you learned to survive at such a young age, being the ‘breadwinner’ in the household, you saw everything in terms of that strange concept of ‘winning at all cost’. It certainly led to a lack of important feminine traits.
-I believe you’re right, says a humbled Annie Oakley… Maybe that’s why I tried to compensate, wearing very feminine outfits while playing cow boy…
-It’s ok, Watanya Cicilla… Your Lakota name means it all… says Black Hawk. I don’t know why your husband changed its meaning into ‘Little Sure Shot’… That man was always thinking in terms of publicity and profit. Nice person, yes, but man… Spirituality was lacking in his world! Remember the true meaning of the name chosen for you by Tatanka Iyotake, Sitting Bull. Your Lakota name means “Little Person who does Great Things”, and the world needs those great and good things, now more than ever. This is your opportunity to find back the lost feminine in you, the sacred connection with us and with all creatures. All our relatives are dancing for healing, now in the linear time of 2020. Women are performing their jingle dress dances, men are performing their eagle dances; children are dancing too… However, rather than the virus, the real sickness is the lifestyle of people who proclaimed themselves ‘dominant’. This needs to stop. We need to go back to silence, respect, care for the global community, devotion to all life and love for the land… NOW.
-I agree, says Little Person who does Great Things, a tear rolling down her cheek. Teach us, please… Teach us again! I miss Sitting Bull so much. I should have followed him when he quit the show. After all he had ‘adopted’ me. But the people in my world would not have understood… I felt I was responsible for all of them…
-There’s no need to cry over what could have been and was not, says Charging Crow. Tatanka Iyotake loves you so much. He is still around, like all of us are. He has been teaching your soul ever since he saw you and recognized you. He does so earth walk after earth walk… Look around for a sign of his, gather your memories for what to do next; we’re sure you’ll hear your heart song soon, says Charging Crow, morphing back into a bird together with Black Hawk.
Little Person who does Great Things wishes to ask them details about what Charging Crow means, but the two birds fly away through the waterfall that has just opened a portal in the Venice sky in front of Annie. The two birds have now regained their spot on the elephant’s howdah, and their human selves hope she will be rightfully guided in her mission.
TO BE CONTINUED (here)
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