One of the Raven Stories: Given to Tasara by a raven
[Meant to be read Out Loud.]
The people were living in a dark time. They didn’t really know it because that was all they had ever experienced, day after day, foraging for food by smell, bumping into things that other people had moved into the trails sometimes.. They had a way of living that was just fine, with berries and nuts and a story here and a story there but there was something missing…something they knew they missed somewhere deep in their bones but without knowing it in their heads.
But Raven knew it for sure because she had been to places of light and of dark and seen them both, along with everything in between. She was a great traveler and a great shape-shifter. She traveled in the dark so often it was as natural for her as a fish swimming in the ocean. She could see perfectly well in the dark. She could see the souls of beings and see their veins running fresh with hot blood. She could see the blocks in their patterns and their hidden secrets as well. She could see the curves of the dark cavernous walls and feel their vibration, and she knew them to be in the inner vessel of the Great Mother’s womb.
She wanted her human companions to be whole and balanced, thinking not only would it be nice and nurturing but that it would also be a whole lot more fun for her. It was time for them to go live somewhere else, anyways. So she donned her traveling cloak and became a half raven, half man. A wily man, full of spunk and adventure, all ready to take on anything, to call on all sorts of mysterious and cantankerous powers in order to accomplish his means… or goals…or means..or whatever. 😉
Then he ventured off. But he was barely out the door and he got a craving! And you know how that sort of thing works with a raven..cravings…curiosities…. 🙂 So he went down to the wide, wide Cauldron of Compassion that is hidden underneath the Tree of Life and dipped and SIPPED his beak into the pure and delicate liquid gold. Yummy-nummy!
The priestess who tended the Cauldron just smiled at his greediness, watching how he treated this elixir like candy, seeing the path he was about to take.
He went and climbed the highest branches up until they were only tendrils so light there was nowhere else to step but right onto the white-sketched avenues of the upper realms. He waved at Spiderwoman but didn’t get too close because he knew that she had a job for him and it was impossible to say no to Spiderwoman. He steadied up the crazy ladders to see what was up there..only finding stardust and not much real light so to speak for his naked bodied friends down in the caverns.
I mean, there was lots of light, being so close to heaven and such but there wasn’t what he was looking for. He knew it only by color and feel and he felt he needed the color and kind of light that the Sun seemed to have. The Sun had so much of it, he thought that perhaps he was a big thief that needed to be taught a lesson. Maybe the Sun was the whole cause of this problem with people bumping into things and not being able to look into each other’s eyes – ever. It was the Sun. And he was a big thief.
So he concocted a plan. He jumped up onto a passing asteroid and went straight towards the sun, pretty unnoticed until he saw a piece of the most perfect light he could find, in shape, smell, size and song. He grabbed it as he was passing by! But it was sticky, which he did not expect. His cloak stuck to the sun piece and he was pulled off the asteroid like a bad accident swirling, to find himself floating in the sun realm, all without direction or paddle or anything. The sun piece was like glue…or lava… it certainly was not a piece of anything but rather a blobby, fluid, unmanageable thing. The more he tried to manage it, the more it changed shape on him.. and the more he just got it all over himself. What a mess.
Oh what a mess. And on top of that, he was hot! Ooooo so getting so hot ooooohhh!! OOOHHHHHH!!! And he burned, burned, burned, the sun liquid burned all the way through him until it reached his stomach, where the Elixir of Compassion was still from his morning drink.
The combination of the two golds sent a shock through him and at this moment he thought he was going to die but instead he heard the voice of the Sun saying, “Son. What in the world are you doing?”
“Thief! Thief! I am teaching you a lesson and returning the light to the naked people!”
“You funny man, you, Raven being. You have spent so much time in the Darkness that you have forgotten that one does not have to steal any light from anyone. One only has to ask. And one does not have to cross great divides to find it. It is found everywhere inside, outside, alongside and inbetween. This sort of light cannot be stolen, only given. And just because you amuse me with your antics again, I will tell you another secret; it is in it’s nature to grow when given. HOW COME DO YOU THINK I GOT TO BE SO BIG?!?”
And Raven was tumbled back down to the earth, feeling all fried and a bit broken from landing on a protruding root at the bottom of the Tree of Life. Stars were whirling around his head but he batted them away, annoyed that they were not the kind of light he had ventured off to get.
He lie there for a long time, dying, singing about dying, getting bored with not dying, until he heard a sweet song from beneath him. It was the lady of the Cauldron of Compassion, singing to him. He crawled, dramatically, to her entrance, until he found it easier to just walk in and find out what she was doing. She was singing, sweetly, as I said, and smiling at him all at the same time.
She dipped a ladle into her pool and served him a nice cup of golden elixir broth. As he reached out to accept it, it turned into a bowl of delicious elixir broth. He almost dropped it in surprise and that made her giggle.
She said, “You see?”
And he GOT IT and said, “Oh yes. I knew that.”
Which made her giggle again.
“Would you like a ‘to go’ lid for that?” she said.
“Well.. yes. I was just going to say that.”
So she bundled up the elixir of love and compassion for him. When he handed it to her so she could do that, it grew a little bit so she had to go find another container. When she handed it back to him, it happened all over again but she knew that was going to happen and had put it in a container with extra room in it just for that reason.
Raven was beaming now, all beamy and smiley and unable to think of anything to say, (especially anything smarter than she probably had to say) so he did a little bow, quirked a Raven quirky noise and traipsied out the door….to make his way back to the darkened cavern. Where his naked people friends were.
But on the way down there, he kept thinking of trouble. The trouble was that the darkened caverns were suppOSed to be dark and if he brought light down there, there wouldn’t be any place for darkness to be anymore.
So he came up with a beautiful plan. He snuck down there really quiet with his ‘to go’ container all covered, slipped back into his Raven Beauty warrioress healer clothes and then … then she ladled out the dinner soup of the night with little drops of compassion in each bowl. Not too much to blow the ceiling off or even brighten a hovel but enough to lighten the hearts of his little naked friends and show them the way out of the caverns to another place. Their time here was done and she knew it was wise and best for them to take what they have learned about being in the dark and find a tree somewhere with bright sky and sun overhead.
After dinner, she set some dim sconces up on the walls, fifty feet apart, so people could find them, one by one, wooed by the self-love in their hearts to the love in the guidance to move to a new place. It was really, really fun work to do. Gold meets gold and things just grow. Naked people come but naked people gotta go at some point, y’know? Momma’s gotta make room for more naked people comin’ in!
As the people gradually made their way to the higher tunnels, where the light leaked down, they went into a state of shock, stumbling a bit for not being able to understand the things they saw and match them up with what they felt. But then they remembered their night ‘vision’ which was not something that had anything to do with their eyes, but with other senses they did not have names for. When the sun finally hit their eyes, if you had been there you could have seen flint in them, a permanent mark of passing through the dark, a knowledge that would never wash away, ever, as they held each others hands as they used to in order to find their way…as they walked into a brilliant golden sunset.
One night, to discover the glories of fireflies and singing night birds and moon flowers before the full intensity of what was to come, came – and it sure did come with the next morning.
The people learned that connection could be warm, not only from survival. They learned that if they gave, then the giving made what was given even larger than it was before. They learned that they could not control or shape or bind or hold what was given… they learned lots of other things too that could just go on and on.
And the Raven walked back into the darkness. There was much work to be done in there.. and a whole lot more space to do it in. She smiled and cackled and played with the sconces as he gathered them all up to return their light back to the Lady of the Cauldron. What would he do with all that stuff anyways?
The next plan at hand was to spy on the people in a fortnight and find out what in the world they were doing.