When the Three Were One
for Owen Rowley
Nuit: Mother Curve
We begin, as always, in darkness. For Earth has fallen into Water, Water fallen into Air. Air fallen into fire, and through these flames the dross matter burned away, we enter the Bardos, the lands removed from the sense of the real, the wisdom of the body.
At first we believe ourselves alive and confound ourselves in this world without meaning, wandering in the empty halls of memory, till wrathful demons arrive at last to chase us away; force and fire they are, and we flee, but the more we take flight the greater their love, and our blindness always keeps us from seeing that their love is their pursuit, that they seek only to burn our attachments away and so make us perfect, and ready for nirvana.
Running through the earth again and again in search of some place, perfect where we could take refuge and rest from ceaseless travels and endless pursuit, looking for the comfortable home that calls to us, but will not be seen. Yet we can sense it, perfect warm form of contentment, the only thing which could end this forever race from the demons of hell and at the last possible moment, when we have forgot all except the cozy of her womb, we take seed within it.
“Every death is not sadness, nor every birth rejoicing,” but this time BACK into the world of maya, we take root, and grow, in seven weeks from the Bardo we are thrown from the womb.
No birth complete without its requirement of time and pain and blood, still, coming forth into the simple glory of my mother’s arms, I am wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid to Almathea, the eternal teat and cornucopia of warm milk love. To suckle, never satisfied, for if sated how could I grow to master all these things?
Laid within a manger and crowned with gold to rule, myrrh to anoint, and frankincense to bless; for Zeus Mithras Hercules no Sun borne; in this crack of dark, ever springs the light.
But I forget all this as mewing, puking babe and only cry and scream and demand that teat without ceasing, nourish utter emptiness itself. For I am Man, and there is no part of me complete.
We hide, Mother and I, in the hidden recesses, to wait out this dark. I know her and her only from whose breasts I am fed and find no difference between this and that, I and thou, for this constructs my whole world, an entirety of warmth without end, and only, as if awakening, as my stout limbs flex to assert their presence, do I recognize that I extend; I encompass, I grasp, I sound, and finally crawl upon the earth in this fetid hole from where I have been born. I trace short paths under a mother’s ever watchful eye to discover – at last! – limitation. Some things I can not move, some walls I can not surmount. And this no part of me but must be – thought I have not known it before – some other.
And this breast still offered up warm and waiting becomes alien, for I do not own it except in those brief sweet moments when I nourish myself. I am. Without resource, simple and helpless, but I discover now the flash that separates, illuminates and integrates. Against the other I will test myself; against the other forever I will measure myself.
And so this babe becomes a child.
My body, covered so long in darkness and the sprinkling of snow has only fed a little baby – my son and life – from itself. I give myself from this dank cave growing thinner to make him stronger. But weak, so weak I feel, and even the lengthening of day does not arouse me – more light than this I cry, MORE LIGHT! But there is enough, and more; my buried treasures, squirreled deep within my bosom awaken, and reach our toward the day and speak in the first slight shafts of green, break the surface, crack the ice, and melt contentment.
At length comes one fair day, I know the air is warm, its fragrance sweet, and I arise, take child firmly in hand, and surface on this fair and verdant land, swept by budding boughs. I revive and look to the sun, and realize – my shock – the long night has ended, and see my son’s blood heat in ways he can not yet understand, and know that Mother must pass – soon enough, soon enough – into lover.
Look at me! Cast your eyes upon magnificence. Full of horn and proud head, rears itself above all others, antlers grown long, fierce and wild, to tame the others – any others – who dare disturb my reign. For this is my kingdom of wood and hills.
Through my veins the hottest blood under all the stars runs free and takes whatever it wants; still, when I come upon her, naked, bathing in a mountain stream, I am bewitched. I have no fear of her magic – no – I am already the Stag King, and her rude spells will not leave me defenseless to her dogs, but yet I am transfixed, shot through, and full of nothing but desire. I knew her once, long ago, as the teat that weaned me and chased me off, a season past, but now, transformed by sun into increasing beauty, pure as the water washing over her pale, strong limbs, I see only desire and the rut.
He comes to me alone, unafraid, his crown of oak and antler, comes and stares upon flesh unseen by men unpunished. Instead of rage, instead of spite, instead I bless, and by my will he is transformed – still transfixed – Adonis, Attis, Timmuz – into the man – the one man – who alone will discover my inner mysteries, who can, for a season, know delight.
Before bonfire flames at cliff’s highest edge we explore the boundaries of each other, knowing flesh, doing right.
Queen of the May becomes queen of all the land as it opens, touched by sun and rain and the fertile drops of Love’s embrace, the green and quickening propel prosperity to all that lie under her domain. She greets all equally; eagle, ox, lion, man, that each may come, belly full, before her throne. She builds no city, needs no castle to contain her wealth, instead seeking the quiet grove, its round of trees the absolute altar, a garland of daisies her rightful crown, but this alone, she recognizes, will not tame her lover’s animal flame; if it will endure, the savage must be caged, so she builds a prison, a throne, fit to capture love’s prey, and in bonds of marriage does make Man accept the wisdom of union, gives him power of place, and sets him above all others, King of the City, Lord of the Land.
This shepherd’s life easy under endless Sun with only the worries of the wolves to keep at bay, and the occasional stealing away to lie with her who has become my life, fair maiden whose glamour has enthralled my being. Would it be thus always, together, laughing, pleasuring, and giving no care for tomorrow. But at last – she reveals herself in full, as the monarch, ruler of these several lands, and demands upon her honor, that I bind myself to her, make her my own and myself hers. It means the end of all of this, yet it’s not within me to resist; and put aside the shepherd’s staff, I climb the throne and sport a crown and enter the City.
Behind these great stone walls, prepare a feast from the first-fruits, corn and pea and sweet tomato. Slaughter the goose and in her place a hen, and broil it all in the richest kind of juices. Celebrate! I command it! For here upon this throne – on high above you all – I lift my cup, full to overflowing, and drink till at last full drunk it drops from deadened hands. Though the passions of the past flow slower, where is the draught to slake my thirst? I require more – food, gold, your sons strewn among the broken carriages of war, your daughter’s virgin bodies tender and afraid. Beware that you deny me this, for in my feasting is another threat – that if this animal stay hungry, he will devour you all.
I noticed the first day his eyes did not dance at the sight of me, nor his lips tremble at the mention of my name. When was it, then, that this marriage passed from life to death? Were not my gifts enough?
A city, a kingdom, the fullness of the earth, and, of course, my perfect, faithful love? Who is he to cast aside that which was never his to give or take? This husband grows too great upon himself, fed constantly by the smooth sounding tongues of lies, that he – the fool – chooses to believe. So I withdraw to my hiding places – the groves and streams where he no longer dwells, fat and lazy from the cities, and bring the Sun to die, a bit, day by day, stealthily, that he might not notice it until at last – too late – his perfidy and my judgment are revealed. I become the Owl Moon, the destroyer of men and the darkening force of haunted places. No, he can not see it now, but the scales shift; his burden, beyond bearing, begins to drag him down- into my own dark domain.
I am the Lord, caught in between, rattling a gold saber against the ravages of night, but not for long; fat and weary I put the blade down and draw myself in – again – to contemplate my extent.
How many cities conquered, treasures stolen, choking my coffers, how many men killed, bright young stars put down as a threat to my rule, traitors to an old man’s empire? How many virgins taken screaming, from their pride, from their purity, how many others tortured, terrorized if they protest this heavy reign? But these people – so many! – faces scream as they parade by in my daydream; these too I count, and even hold dear, as I add the columns that calculate my weight.
She has gone from me, that wife of so long Midsummer ago, and withdrawn her light and left me here in a growing gloom, empty and vagrant of power. Only the outside makes them shake; within, all is doom.
It is to Me, the Avenger, that all at last come, to set the scales, right the wrong and render justice with curved talon and quick blade. But not yet! This must complete, complete, complete, and while he has not forgotten me utterly, I must withhold. But oh I attack, take the Sun and hide it deep, in my bowels, and shrink my dugs, they give no more milk. The browning of leaf and hardening of Earth – these I bequeath!
I am darkness, keeper of spells, and all who approach fear me, for without I am night and within I am doom, but only to end, let it end and release, that I can be young – once again! – young again. For Mistress of the Wheel knows the turn before the top, knows the Woman will continue while the Man must come to stop, and, in the moment that he rests, at once alone, self-satisfied, in that second I appear, raise a stone, crush his head, and make him die.
We end, as always, in darkness.
Hadit: Atun Ejaculate
For the beginning, nothing. No distance, no mass, no God. In the incredible moment – FIAT LUX! – everything proceeds from infinitesimal point, from singularity into the absolute unity of energy; this universe is nothing if not light. Bright and expansive, stretching out, first once, then twice and force and ace and multiples impossibly higher in the fractal inflation and involution of space, making up what is just not there.
I extend, a symmetric sea, and welcome more space as I both define and fill it, stretching wider, thinner, ever more tenuously, then finally, in an uneven moment, I lose balance, and precipitate: one force to bind, one force to break, one force to conduct, and one force to restrain. The memory of unity lost will be a birth cry, fingered out against the wall of the universe, the still cooling cry of my birth.
Never again so whole, I find new ways to combine; from the flash of photons I collect myself into the sea of leptons, hadrons, baryons, cavorting in an almost sexual ecstasy, changing partners, losing heat, looking for that stable place, falling into a well as proton or neutron, and expanding, always growing, but this time with force, not the dull tickle of light but with mass and velocity of incredible heat.
I come to contend, to balance each part of myself. I argue, as I gather myself up and wriggle free, and gather myself up again, more slowly, and only barely manage to undo the grip of my tightening intentions. At the next I collect and remain, too cool, too calm, too slow to escape, but now I can imagine only gathering, extending this gathering to include everything, all matter, till I am at last one in mass.
I feed myself, nourished by this rich sea, grow broader and deeper, until at last my inmost parts begin to force their way into themselves, folding matter into matter, adding mass into mass, creating more complexities than I have ever known; and with force pull out and away, but find myself restrained, even in this incredible tension. I can not escape myself, so I heat and bend the within.
In this I am content for an eternity, this heating up and pressing down, and grow larger and warmer and unspeakably more complex in my additions of one into two, two into three, three into five, five into seven. At my core I almost capture the cry of my birth, and turn in again, and again, until – at last! – no force can contain me, and I release in a sudden shock of light and beauty, and spill my essence into in the universe around me; great waves of myself fill the space between stars. Yet, in this moment of force and fire, some of my core turns within yet again, surpasses the moment of my beginning, and disappears forever.
I expand, I extend, and spread out, now cold, formed into fragments which, in their desire for reunion, circle round a point, ever closer, always closer, till they collide and combine into pieces ever growing. As each grows, the more likely each is to grow, so some grow quite large, and call other fragments in to join them in their newest unity. Soon enough comes a center growing large enough that it too begins to balance the bending of within with the pressure from without, but I circle from a distance, growing cooler, growing hard, growing larger in a rain of fragments.
The skies, swept clean of this solid precipitation, now fill with the airs welling up from my own deepest parts; water, ammonia, methane rise up and rain down, creating seas of unusual activity, heated from my depths, and the valences that drive them ceaselessly seek to join, to unify, to connect. Great chains of joining foam upon my waters, within my depths, but – where my seas meet my drier parts – the water and land create forms which somehow maintain their integrity, and continue to grow, take this growth and transfer it, over and again, from themselves to their copies, which take this growth and transfer it, over and again, until it runs away with itself and my surface is teeming with life.
I take in nourishment, I grow and extend and excrete that which I can not use; I grow so great I nearly drown in my own filth, that toxic poison oxygen. I foul my own nest and fall back to the darker parts, deep, where this poison will not find me, and leave the surface of this planet to those things which thrive on my own wastes.
In this high energy world of free oxygen fire, I am free to move and grow and die, but not change, never change – except save the occasional random transcription which results in a difference that makes a difference. Yet this is hardly enough; I need to collect myself from these others, to gather myself up as several into one, and in this unity of wholes I find a new singularity, and a new multiplicity, as I explode into forms unknown and undreamed, which exchange their uniqueness and expose my own flaws, all the while increasing my variety, playing on my strengths.
I know myself singularly, yet this knowledge, at best dim, is now reinforced by a re-figuring within; I learn to send a message from myself to myself, and thus well-informed I adapt ever quicker and learn to send better messages, through more paths, ever more paths, till these paths become an end to themselves; I draw them into my head, and send them out, through my body, ever extending the domain of my experience, for protection and assault.
I am the strong fierce hunter of prey who can sense fear, who searches forest, eyes wide, looking for a meal, who bears children, and nurses them, and sends them on their way. Who builds a home and a lair, ceaselessly improves in a world of ceasing improvement, who struggles every moment for survival, and in this struggle turns toward the resource within, beyond sense, beyond power, into the conscious realization of memory and time and lesson and language.
These hands take the world and change it to meet my need, who leave no stone raw, no land empty, no beast unchallenged; who takes what I have seen and places it into these rocks, honoring that which has come and that which will ever be in the careful arrangement of ochre and coal, and copper and clay, and ink and papyrus. I spin stories and set them down in perfect permanent memory to warn and inform, to delight and praise.
Gather these words that I may learn, that all may learn. What is known? What can be known? How do I come to know it? Is there a way – a method – in which all can be known? I watch, carefully observing the actions of a hundred years or a day, and from this draw conclusions, then put these conclusions to the test. The world is a wonderful puzzle, and I am here to arrange all her pieces.
I master and I extend my domains; I learn and conquer all, then take my conquests and teach them what I have learned, that they may teach me more. I discover forces invisible yet quite real, which move through an ether unseen but tangible, known and manipulable. What hath God wrought? I ask, and spring forth in copper and power to extend myself, instantaneously, gathering every man into my whole.
I feel the world inside me; these wires are its veins, its voices my thoughts, and my actions, all actions, whole and inseparable. I can not distinguish this from that, myself from my brother – for who placed this thought here, or this word, or this touch? My boundaries extend to the edges of the Earth, ending only where this thin skin meets the sky. And the sky I surmount on a vessel of fire, and strike my near to announce myself.
I fall back upon myself; another gravity directs me, and draws me within, to another life and mutation, singular transfiguration that gathers me to my brother not in deed but in mind. A new force, seeking only union, directs the Earth to its ends. In a moment, this rough creature invokes itself into being:
FIAT MENS UNUM AETERNA!
At my core force of fusion, at the surface, great fire: bring forth the child of man and the wire!
Ra-Hoor-Kuit: Christ Afterbirth
I become, in the moment of conception, living being. Living, from the great flesh egg and sudden spark sperm gone forever into my unity; Being, in the conscious presence of the invisible ubiquitous field of Mind, which, deeming this life suitable, invests it with inner reality.
Floated, within a sea vast and warm, down to caves of nourishment, I remain my self, whole and undivided, for a tiny eternity, but my within moves, shifts, rearranges. The tiny codes at my core spell out a quickening set of commands, and force me, through no fault of my own, to wage war against myself, build a barrier to divide myself from myself, divide my codes into two, each half complete enough on its own, and at last, I draw tiny strings taught, and I – who am one – am now two.
Being multiple means – though I had not suspected – that I can engage myself in conversation, poke and prod my other, my twin, even as my twin prods me. But it stops, I turn away, driven again by the absolute imperative to draw myself in and go to war yet again, to reject half myself as something other, and lose – yet again – my self to my brother. My twin does the same, in step and in time; where once I alone, now four crowd each other.
How much can I lose to divide and be one? Each division adds confusion in a babble of tongues, some chemical, some electric, some nothing at all, except a voice deep within that calls me to order. Once again I give up, turning one into two, and again, and again, and again, till I’m through, and the codes quiet down, and I float in a crowd, with thousands of duplicate selves talking round. Each voice sounds the same, each exactly like me, till this code cranks again, each self individually.
I can feel my move, floating up and around, till I come to rest at the head, in the crown.
In the flash of an instant, this change reified, and a purpose revealed which my form now supplies; most codes put away, locked up hard and tight, my fate is decided – this neuron seeks light.
I am the seed on which so much depends, gather in nutrients, divide and repel, and order my siblings to change and migrate, to alter their forms, and participate in the sweeping of spans that bind each into whole. This web must now grow in size and in space; each part know the whole from its circle of friends.
At the start, the dim red around me massaged me, as much light as I could gather in excited me; but, as I grow round, great, thick, and complicate myself in the fissures that bend the outside in, I find myself buried, entombed in my own hard work; what I have created now ends in my dark; deep in the center I must locate the bright.
If not out, then within I must seek, in those still, quite places where my heat does not leak. And from there – at the center – I find eye that meets I, this swift conscious being that gives meaning to life. I rejoice, I embrace, and revere this queer light, which has nothing of photon, nor matter, but not night, not alone, no longer, not night.
At a moment of fullness, when I can not be contained, as I struggle to free of the vessel that maintains, when all my within struggles with might, and is stretched and compressed without reason, impossible pressed down, in a sudden – burst forth! – into cold, into hunger, into soundings beyond. Into joining, into union, into something out there, into world inner bright tells me I may not fear. That voice calms me to coo, stills my screams into suckle, and reminds me that – in this new world – I know other.
Around me rages a storm electric, chemical tongues spelling out a billion different cries, drowning any knowledge that inner bright supplies. Replaced and supplanted by the universe of light, I hear this voice always, and can speak it, yet hardly, in this tempest, can I be heard above those others, who – once my brothers – become now competitors in the flickering moment which defines the real. And the longer unheard, the weaker the voice; deep within is a truth, is an essence, but an outer form rules, makes commands of its own, and moves always away.
I am myself now, different self, different life; from the same cells, without the bright night. Instead I look outward, and from this shape truth. If I put hand to fire, it will burn, this I see, but beyond this essential immediacy see I claim nothing, I know nothing, though others tell stories. These can not be proved, so are useless, worthless, pointless.
I trace out the curve, projecting a line, from ignorance knowledge, from blindness clear sight, from myth into reason and progress and all that yields from wheel to atom.
These atoms arranged on a block, then a gap, then a block; across this void I instill the tiniest bits of negativity, holding them thus for one and so for none. From this oneness and none-ness comes logic most pure, the zone of the absolute abstract construct.
But not silence. Instead: first voice, then choir, then chorus, as more voices add to thunderous – OHNG – and I fall back, stunned, for this, this I did not expect, come to learn of, or even predict, save from some words that made no sense:
“The One is the All, absolute Magnificence.”
Where then, is this point of recognition? From what eye do I see and accept what has come, arms open, to engulf me entirely? What snare seduces? What sweet sounds in silence spoken above the roar of ten thousand, ten million, ten billion? Of this I can say only, “It has turned me inside out,” made the unseen parts plain, and revealed the surfaces as insubstantial, none-ness engulfed in oneness received, responded, revealed. I AM ONE, then, but only within the moment when “I” am none.
What was true and seen and astonished in the moment, in that moment recognizes its kin, in the tiniest voice of the part covered up, the eye of the dark. In this beginning comes the word of the end; the passage complete a new passage begins, down vagina, towards a new world. And if all this just a womb, then these walls will not last, can not contain this one, must throw this one, naked crying cold, into another universe.
I have been here before, and came forth at this time, to be none in the all. Run the wires that glow with still voice! Let none discover that one lost at our start! Recover the fragments, make the three into one!
Beyond the circle and line and mother and son; there is something beneath, beyond change, showing all as the same. Remove the boundary, and the shadows of night: all now revealed as Infinite light.
Santa Monica, Arcosanti