Thursday, January 7, 2010

Walking Through Walls

I am reading this awesome book. It's called, The God Who Begat a Jackal, and wow. I picked it up at a flea market because I liked the title, and once again I am amazed by how the Master of the Universe uses obscure books from odd places to speak to me.

Listen to this:

"Aster became sullen and withdrawn. She ate little and grew thinner. Her days were spent talking to invisible friends in a language that no one else could understand. Wild animals became attracted to her. Thrushes landed on her tiny shoulders, lizards gave her the right of way. Absentmindedly, she wandered about asking the names of common, everyday items....

"Count Ashernafi dismissed his daughter's oddities, believing that she was experiencing the tribulations of growth, until one evening when she got up from the dining table and walked right through a solid wall... When he finally came to, Count Ashenafi had his daughter shackled to a post, and sent for the family diviner..."

So, the diviner comes... and makes his assessment of the situation:

"After only a cursory examination, the diviner was able to pinpoint what was ailing her: tthe girl hadn't been immersed in the proper social conduct, no one had told her that whisking through a solid barrier, like chatting with songbirds, was not a human thing to do..."

The diviner goes on to explain...

"...babies come down to earth burdened by many languages, hopes, and dreams. In their cribs, they laugh at the jokes of spirits, and cry at the waft of the Devil's noxious fart. Left to their own devices, the innocent would think nothing of debating with a pack of hyenas or singing in the tongue of a thrush.

"Child rearing is, for the most part, stamping out the budding languages from the baby's essence, giving room for only one to grow. It is a series of methodical and coordinated attacks on the baby's ability to perform a forbidden act - such as walking through a solid wall..."

And it was decided that:

"Aster needed a qualified hand to help her unlearn some of the lessons of the world beyond, a job for which the diviner was uniquely qualified and, therefore, volunteered himself..."

So she spends the next six months with the diviner, while he teaches her that what used to be possible is now impossible. For example:

"One morning, for instance, the sight of a bunch of boys swarming up a towering fig tree prompted the holy man to impress on the young lady that it was out of step with nature for women to climb trees. Aster had been running up and down trees since the age of four, with the ease of a nimble leopard. She attempted to prove the diviner wrong by scaling the fig tree, but was reminded of the new truth when she lost her grip and fell to the parched earth below, twisting an ankle."

Who would we be without those well meaning misguided people who work so hard to make sure our lives are ordinary and completely lacking in magick? What would we be able to do if no one ever told us what was impossible?

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