Friday, June 28, 2013

Well, I'm going to try to keep up with this thing again. The fact that I haven't posted in more than three years probably doesn't bode well, but maybe .... Any way, here's something I wrote for the for the Litha Ceremony of the River Temple of Athens. I'll try to write more, later.
There is, the Poet tells us, one story and one story only. Mostly, it starts with a cruel ruler, a beautiful princess, and a hero who kills the cruel ruler, marries the beautiful princess and rules wisely and well. This is a part of the story that doesn’t get told as often. There came a time when the king had ruled well and wisely and they had all lived more or less happily for something like ever after, when the King came before his people on the longest day of the year, and they all applauded him, as he staggered up to his throne wearing his crown of golden antlers, limping as was his wont from old wounds, gazing at them all from his one good eye. The crops were ripening in the fields, tending toward another fine harvest. Most of the people were as happy and as satisfied as people ever are, and if some grumbled about this result or that result of the King’s justice, they were on the whole more satisfied that justice was done in the kingdom than not. But the King said that day, when the sun was as high in the sky as it ever gets, “I have to tell you that I will not be with you much longer. Last night, a man came into the castle and to my room with a sword and a dagger, and we fought. I fought hard, but it was like fighting my own shadow, and I was wounded badly.” At that, he pulled aside his golden robe and showed a great red stain on his side and blood flowing down his leg. “This is a wound that will heal, and you will sing my dirge by the time the last crops are brought in from the the field. but listen to me: Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid for me. For me, it’s just the beginning of another journey, and someday there will be one among you who will say “Yes, that was me who died by I am not him. Who will you make me be?” “Do not be afraid for yourselves. You say to yourselves at this time ‘While the King was here, we had prosperity and justice and peace, but when he is gone, what will happen?’ “But it was never me. Rather whatever I have been, for good or ill, it was because you, my people, made me be better than I was. I came here as a freebooter, seeking power and a woman. Because you needed me to be a hero, I became heroic; because you would not accept unjust judgments, I became just; because you would not raise your arms in a bad cause, we have had peace. I raised no crops, nor built a house, nor wove a bolt of cloth. If we have prosperity, it is because you have worked for it and have dealt fairly with one another, and have not denied those among you who were in need. “I have been called the savior of this country, but rather I am the one who saved by your belief in me. And for that I am grateful to you all: I have been better than I would have been but for that belief. “But here is the secret of everything: the sun rises and sets and rises again, the summer come and dies away to winter and returns as spring, everything that is born dies then is born again. The Great Wheel turns over and over again, but it does not always run on along the same trace. Sometimes is track bends toward darkness and despair and want, and sometimes there will be pain and terror, but it also will bend toward peace and justice and plenty. “But what guides the wheel is your will, all of you together, the way the path turns, toward pain and want, or toward peace and plenty, is a choice you all make every day, and if you will commit yourselves to that day when peace and plenty and justice can be taken for granted, then the path will bend that way, maybe on long and uncertain curve but with certain end. Believe me in this.” “Now that I have to leave you, prudence bids me finds someone to replace me. I present you my brother, the man who gave me this wound.” A man walked out from behind the throne. He resembled the King closely, but was dressed in robes of midnight blue and silver gray and his head was bound with branches of holly, so that the pricks of the leaves dug into his skins and blood ran in threads across his forehead. The crowd gasped and moved forward, but the King held up his hand. “ He is responsible for my death, but I command you, as you love me, to raise no hand against him and to follow him and to believe in him as you would me. What happened between happened as it had to happen, and has nothing to do with you. I love him and he loves me, and I trust him with this Kingdom as I trust myself. In a sense, he is me, although he laughs less loudly and truly prefers songs to swords. But he will guard my queen until she bears my heir. Then he too will die and you will choose your future. “Remember all that I have said and remember me with love,” the King then said, and rising, limped off the dais, and the dark man took is place on the throne.