Short Story by Mary Vareli
The old man untied his small boat heading for the rough sea quite worried, though, not so much for himself but more for his wife and daughters who lose the color from their rose cheeks on every single one of these pitch black nights of winter on Samos. Before he got into his boat the man looked at the westerly road south of Karlovasi which was curling around the soaring mass of Samo’s highest peak, mount Kerkis, a dormant volcano often crowned with a halo of cloud and mist like a remembrance of eruptions past.
While the old man was lost in thoughts his elder daughter was praying to Hera secretly. Worshiping the old Religion and following the Old ways was not so much of a thing one admits freely on the island, let alone the rest of Greece in modern times. The girl had lit four candles, put each one of them on each sign of the horizon and stood in the center of the circle touching her face with feathers of peacock, the symbol of Hera, in order to establish a connection with the energy she was evoking. She managed to reach an ecstatic state by dancing around the circle, drumming and repeating continually Hera’s three properties:
“Hera the Girl, Hera the Fulfilled, Hera the Separated, help my father!”
Doing this the girl formed a gigantic thoughtform of protective energy and projected it to the universe. She did this because she was less than assured that that night would be one of her father’s lucky days. So did the waves, which on the last days were annoyed by large iron human-made objects, floating among them disturbing the sea world and feeding baby fish with dynamite. The girl had heard the waves whispering the other day.
All pagan people are aware that everything around them possesses a certain amount of awareness and everything is connected to everything else. She even heard the sun shouting, trying to warn the fish against the forthcoming murders the fishermen would commit.
Away! Shouted the Sun
to fish scared by man
engrossed, blindfolded , greedy , vain,
hopefully tying his golden chain…
The man got into his boat and released the ropes. He formed the sign of a cross and prayed to Madonna, the holly mother of Jesus for help on that rough windy night. Is the divine element in one’s life separated from nature? Does everyone get what they deserve or every being shares others’ faults equally? The girl knew the answers to the questions and this was what was worrying her most.
Nature is blind, like justice. There is no good nor evil in Nature, when it punishes it punishes equally. As a result the old man’s fears along with his daughter’s fears became a reality. The water elementals disturbed by the explosions the fishermen with the dynamites had caused the previous days formed high waves with loops of foam eager to gulp anything human or human – made they found on their way . The poor man only used fishing nets to make a living and lamps to attract he fish at nights, but again Nature did not care.
While the man was trying to put the water out of the boat with a bucket, his daughter was spreading incense around his room to ease the disturbed elementals. The pale young girl, even paler by the fear that was coming out of her stomach, kept on praying to the protector Goddess of marriage, Hera. The wind was screaming outside and mist started covering everything.
The fisherman soaring wet and tired by his effort not to sink along with his boat stopped for a while and looked at the waves, for one minute he thought that he could hear wild laughter coming from them. A sense of complaint filled him, he always respected the sea, why this was happening to him, he wondered. It was not just that he had lost every orientation but also the winds kept coming from every direction and his only chance to save himself by directing the boat towards the shore seemed unrealistic, since darkness had covered everything. He tried to scrutinize in obscurity the peak of mount Kerkis and the lighthouse, but he could see nothing. Then he realized that his only chance was to be carried away by the rioting winds towards the rocky shore by means of paradoxical counter-help by his furious companion of water elementals and at the same time receive mercy from the earth elementals, namely the rocks, and not die due to the collision.
Once more he tried to steer the boat towards a random direction but even this seemed to be an elusive dream as the boat started spinning around like a toy. He was about to give up hope when he gave up hope. He started crying as mixed images of his wife, his two daughters and the haunted eyes of the fish he had killed all blended together to form an eerie, unworldly conspiracy soaked by guilt. It was the first time he had felt guilt for the sea creatures he had killed and this shocked him more. It was the first time this thought crossed his mind. With the eyes closed he started praying to every single Christian deity he could think of. After a while his body refused to receive any more torture and paralyzed, stuck under the wooden divisions of the boat leaving space for his spirit to travel through Time becoming one with the root spirit of his ancestors, and then he had visions, he saw pictures…
Images from he Bronze Age …Cycladic and Minoan cities, hyper-speed walks among Minoan palaces of wood and unbaked brick covered with frescoes and flowers. 1,900 years of peaceful unfortified history failed to keep out the earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and the Dorian invaders from the North. More pictures emerged; Geometric and Archaic huge statues cast their marble shadow to his new persona who seemed to feel one with its simple abstract pottery designs. Another 500 years passed in a cinematic way in front of his eyes only to be replaced by 120 years full of images of Athenians of the Classical era, dominating the Aegean Sea and building the Parthenon. Then another 350 years of Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic era with its emotional baroque approach and passionate hopeful violence. He even saw himself admiring the Nice of Samothrace and the long-gone Colossus. The feeling of his visions changed after this point.
He dreamt of newly born sweet Jesus and fat Romans purchasing fair copies of Classic and Hellenistic art. 499 years went by before he even blinked when another 933 years of blood came with knights building Byzantine castles and basilica churches destroying the Old Religion and mentality in the name of a new, misunderstood avenger and imperialist Jesus. What was left remained to be memorized by another persona of the old man during the 400 years of the Turkish occupation in a secret school, at night… The same strength he got learning by humble priests secretly how to read and write Greek gave his new persona strength in a concentration camp just some seconds before Hitler or Mussolini executed him at the tender age of 18. A sudden sound coincided with the sound of the bullet and got the man out of his trance.
What a mystery… The fisherman’s prayers to Jesus mother were also projected to the universe and functioned together with his pagan daughter’s ones. The one energy found the other twirling into an archetypal dance of similar energies. was that an electric reaction penetrated the darkness producing a strange phenomenon. A large luminous source with its rays lit the top of mountain Kerkis was that an electric reaction penetrated the darkness producing a strange phenomenon. A large luminous source with its rays lit the top of mountain Kerkis. So bright was the un–natural phenomenon that the man opened his eyes to see what was causing all this luminosity. What a mystery… He saw the huge body of a shining enormous woman almost floating in the air over the mountain’s sharp rocks. He formed the sign of the cross admiring her long hair and her pale skin. The woman was wearing a long white dress and her hands were wide open as if she was ready to hold the whole world. “Madonna” he shouted, “You have saved me!” and burst into tears. The waves also seemed to calm down as soon as the light appeared and the man could easily steer the boat to the shore after having seen the peak of the island. The elementals of the rocky coast were also cooperative obeying to the divine light.
At the same time his daughter had another vision through her magic mirror by means of which – projecting her thoughts to the surface of the mirror- she could observe her father’s fight with the waves. She had the same vision her father had. Exhausted and with tears in her eyes she shouted: “Hera, you have saved him!”
* Samos: Greek island of the Aegean Sea, the place where Hera was born.
* Mount Kerkis: Samos’s highest mountain. Fishermen there say that they see a strange light at the peak of the island which helps them find their way when the sea gets rough and when they lose orientation. They believe it belongs to Pythagoras, the ancient Greek mathematician and philosopher because Samos is the island where he was born. This belief among fishermen gave me the inspiration for the story.
* Thoughtform/aetheric construction: an energy produced by one’s thought which forms a kind of a new creature with life of its own that carries the properties of the initial desire that produced it. The energy floats in the astral plane eager to be fulfilled…
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