My Night Quest—Journey into the Unknown

Moon Goddess

That night, I woke up with a familiar start. My heart was pounding unevenly, like a jailed bird trying to break through the cage of my ribs, it was hard to catch my breath. I put my hand on my chest to quiet it, so it would not wake up those who were sleeping.

I put on some clothes and went outside. The night was heavy. There were no stars in the sky or in that place one would expect to find the sky; it was difficult to discern its outlines. The earth and the sky were joined in that warm, fluid, pungent, dark substance that was probably air, as I was inhaling it, in spite of it being so heavy and thick. Instead of slowing down, my heart raced, and my skin, tantalizingly prickled by heavy air, transmitted a few waves of ecstasy. The waves left three zones of tingling expectation in my body: one in my mouth, one in my nipples, and one in my genitals. This often happened when I was excited.

I left my clothes behind; I knew that the Journey had begun. I sprung up and started swimming through the thick fragrant night air, occasionally landing back on the soft ground and pushing against it with my toes, the joyful expectation increasing with every stroke of my burning arms.

I landed back on the ground when I sensed the proximity of the Gate. Although I could see more clearly now, my eyes were still unreliable in such deep darkness. The Gate was immense; I could not see its top or its sides.

Here are the gates of the pass of Night and Day, and a lintel and a stone threshold enclose them. *

A small group of people of indeterminate gender was gathered near the entrance. Two of them were slowly pulling the Gate open. I was disappointed that there were no chariots. I expected one!

The mares that carried me as far as my heart could aspire were my escorts: they guided me and set me on the celebrated road of the God who carries the (man) of knowledge. . .

A beautiful, tall woman approached me and introduced herself as Maya.

And the Goddess graciously received me, taking my right hand in hers, and she spoke and addressed me thus: ‘I greet you. For no evil fate sent you to travel this road but Right and Necessity. You must learn all things, both the unwavering heart of truth and the opinions of mortals in which there is no absolute trust. But nevertheless you will learn these things too—how what seems had reliably to be, forever traversing everything. But come, I will tell you—preserve the account when you hear it—the only roads of inquiry there are to be thought of: one, that it is and can not be, is the path of persuasion (for truth accompanies it); another, that it is not and must not be—this I say to you is a trail devoid of all knowledge. Only one story, one road, now is left: that it is. And on this there are many signs that, being, it is ungenerated and indestructible, whole, of one kind and unwavering, and complete.

Here are the gates of the pass of Night and Day, and a lintel and a stone threshold enclose them. *

A small group f people of indeterminate gender gathered near the entrance; two of them were slowly pulling the Gate open. I was disappointed that there were no chariots. I expected one!

The mares that carried me as far as my heart could aspire were my escorts: they guided me and set me on the celebrated road of the God who carries the (man) of knowledge. . .

A beautiful, tall woman approached me and introduced herself as Maya.

And the Goddess graciously received me, taking my right hand in hers, and she spoke and addressed me thus: ‘I greet you. For no evil fate sent you to travel this road but Right and Necessity. You must learn all things, both the unwavering heart of truth and the opinions of mortals in which there is no absolute trust. But nevertheless you will learn these things too—how what seems had reliably to be, forever traversing everything. But come, I will tell you—preserve the account when you hear it—the only roads of inquiry there are to be thought of: one, that it is and can not be, is the path of persuasion (for truth accompanies it); another, that it is not and must not be—this I say to you is a trail devoid of all knowledge. Only one story, one road, now is left: that it is. And on this there are many signs that, being, it is ungenerated and indestructible, whole, of one kind and unwavering, and complete.

 

I bowed and inquired about the chariot and the light (I still could hardly see anything). The Goddess chuckled, but stopped when she sensed my embarrassment.

“The horses are too fast and the Light is too bright,” she said in a low velvety voice with an unfamiliar accent, “We cannot use them for our purposes. You will have to use your skin and your songs, my child.” As she let go of my burning hand, my heart began to slow down and beat more regularly, but each beat felt deeper, sending seismic waves through my hyperactive body, forcing it to pulse to the same rhythm as my heart. I no longer felt overwhelmed and frustrated, but the feeling of ecstasy intensified.

By that time the Gate was fully open, and the lanky androgynous forms, as naked as I was, floated towards us. They encircled us and we all moved inside. Yet another disappointment awaited me, however; instead of moving along the surface, we traveled downwards. When I looked back, the entrance no longer appeared to be a gate; instead, it seemed I was in a cave. Its opening was oriented towards the sky, which was full of huge glittering stars. Maya touched me lovingly and my disappointment dissolved; I knew there was a reason for everything. The unexpected brightness of the starry sky blinded my eyes; it took  some time to recover my vision.

Here I cease to tell you my trustworthy argument and thoughts about the truth. Henceforward, learn mortal opinions, listen to the deceitful arrangement of words. For they determined in their minds to name two forms, and that is where they have erred. And they distinguished them as opposite in form and set up signs for them separately. Here the ethereal flame of fire, gentle, very bright, is in every direction the same as itself and not the same as the other; that other is opposite—unknowing night, dense in form and heavy. The whole arrangement I tell you so that a mortal mind may never confound you.

 

The narrower bands are full of unmixed fire; in the middle of them is the Goddess who governs all things.

 

First of all the Gods She devised Love.

 

As we went further down inside the earth, I realized how absolutely quiet the night had been so far. An orchestra of sounds slowly began to penetrate the heavy silence as we approached the underground world of the Unknown. There was something else, too, something that I could not quite identify—the very unusual sensation of intuiting the shape of the colossal chambers through which our group was floating. These sensations came in pulses, they penetrated my mind and oriented me in space in spite of the lack of visual clarity.

The underground space appeared to be separated in variously shaped chambers. Some of the chambers appeared to be very much like ordinary rooms, filled with extraordinary things; others were more like outdoor spaces, like forests meadows and riverbanks. Occasionally, a chamber looked as if it were being viewed through a microscope or a telescope or even  a moving camera—the size of the objects was so unexpected.

Throughout, there was continuous motion and activity: splendid crystals formed right in front of us. I touched them, to complement my dim vision; enormous balls of liquid fire, that neither burned nor blinded, twirled around, expanded, shrunk, and occasionally exploded.

To be continued

*ancient Greek mythical poetry

 

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