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Angry Mountain

“What are you doing my young friend?”

“Is it not obvious?”

“You are spending considerable energy striking the ground with that shovel. You remind me of an angry mountain about to erupt. Come, sit with me, the garden looks stunning; many varieties of flower sharing one space.”

Slowly, the thuds of the shovel ceased. The young man looked exhausted.

What took you to the point of venting anger on the beloved earth?

“A neighbor.”

“Once again, earthly troubles placed at a neighbors’ door. What did she do?

“She doesn’t get involved except to calm his anger. He is unreasonable, his anger boils when things don’t go his way.”

“Tell me about him.”

“There’s not much to say. He occasionally lives in the house next door. I have no problem with that but wonder if that’s where his lies. He told me about things he’s had; property he owns and how wealthy he is.

When they visit, he expects life to stop accommodate his. It’s like the lord of the manor has arrived.”

The old man laughed to himself and stepped into the flowers.

“See how they move when I walk among them. Nothing I do halts their progress unless I step on one or pull it from the ground. All they need are minerals from the earth, water, air and sunlight. Humans are similar; each have basic needs but perceived unmet, they reach out and search.

Some have more than they need and want more. They don’t wish to see somebody better-off so, they collect and hoard. Do you remember our talk about competition?”

“Where does the anger of one man connect to that?”

“Something in his past has brought about insecurity. He needs to eclipse everybody’s sun because he’s jealous of their daylight. He compares himself to others and sees them as his competition.

Possibly developed from one instance in his life but allowed to go unchecked, it has grown out of proportion. “

“I understand and relate although I don’t identify with anger. I once found myself in a loveless relationship and didn’t realise I substituted it with ‘things.’  Nice cars, holidays, clothes . . . “

“You still do that my friend. Did anybody ever say, ‘be better, do better . . . ‘“?

The young man laughed without humor. “It is a mantra echoing around my mind since my early years.”

“The man next door brings challenges to your ego which reminds you of the mantra. Push it aside my friend and forget about the neighbor. Friendship is not an option so, blow him away with a tender heart like you would a dandelion clock.

Memories

Near the summit of a high mountain, a young man sat in a rocky alcove.  Wandering the universal consciousness, he came across an old man. They greeted one another as friends do, and the old man bid his friend to follow him toward the summit. It wasn’t long before the elder pointed out a way-mark.

“Those rocks are memories from your current life. Do you see anything in particular?”

“Yes,” said the young man. “A light shining through the rocks.”

Indeed, there was a small point of light shining through a gap halfway up the way-mark which stood at about two metres tall.

“An old,  insignificant memory holding you back. You have no further need of it. Take a rock from the ground and use it to block out that light.”

The younger man did as his friend instructed and they walked away.

French Connection ii

Reserach for Beyond The Pyre took me deep into the pyrenees where it must be said that the lifestyle is far from typically French. I’m not going to analyse that now, suffice to say, it is very different up there. When I visit, I can feel it, it is a wonderfully spiritual feeling and life there is certainly not a breeze for many.

Like many places, there are myths and legends. Who knows, some of them might be true. If not the entire story, there might well be messages within.

Jean de l’Ours or John Bear is an old French legend that originated from a village in the French Pyrenees. Traditionally told by word of mouth and passed down through the generations. I have read and reread this story; there are so many possibilities of meanings and interpretations. What do you think?

Once upon a time, a woman meets a large bear in a forest. The bear takes the woman into a cavern and prevents her from getting out by putting a large boulder in front of the entrance.

The woman and the bear have a child named Jean de l’Ours, and he becomes very strong. One day, Jean pushes the boulder away from the entrance, and he and his mother leave the bear’s cavern.

Then, Jean works for a blacksmith, but the blacksmith doesn’t pay him well. So, with some pieces of iron, Jean makes himself a cane and leaves on a journey.

Jean eventually meets three strong men: Roue de Moulin, Coupe Chêne, and Porte Montagne. The four men travel together and find a castle in the middle of a forest. They enter the castle, and on the next day, they decide that three of them will hunt for food while one will stay home and prepare dinner. Once dinner is ready, the person will ring a bell to tell the huntrs to come back and eat. They will alternate who will stay home at the castle every night.

Roue de Moulin is the first one to stay at the castle, and he is preparing soup for dinner. He hears a noise coming from the chimney. Then, a hand, an arm, an ear, and a head fall down the chimney like hail, and they form together to become a man. This man is the devil, and he asks Roue de Moulin to light his pipe. However, Roue refuses, so the devil beats him up and prevents Roue from finishing the dinner or ringing the bell. The others come back to the castle without hearing the bell, but Roue fabricates an excuse and doesn’t reveal what really happened.

Coupe Chêne and Porte Montagne have the same experience as Roue de Moulin when it is their turn to prepare the meal.

A few days later, Roue, Coupe, and Porte are out hunting, and Jean stays at the castle to prepare dinner. When the devil comes down the chimney and asks Jean to light his pipe, Jean hits him and puts a large boulder on top of him. Jean prepares dinner, and he rings the bell to call everyone back to the castle. Before they get back, the devil escapes from under the boulder and goes down the water well next to the stove.

Jean de l’Ours tells his friends the story about the devil and that he has escaped, and the four men look around the castle. Eventually, they see the water well next to the stove and the rope that the devil used to escape. With the rope and the bell, Roue, Coupe and Porte follow, but they get scared and ring the bell to signal they want to get back to the kitchen.

Then, Jean takes his turn, and finds a castle at the bottom. An old woman there tells him she is the devil’s wife who introduces him to the devil. He gives Jean three treasure chests and three princesses. Jean rings the bell, and he and his friends use the cord to lift the chests and princesses to the surface. When they get the chests and princesses to the top, Jean’s friends run off with them and leave Jean at the bottom of the well.

Jean talks with the devil again, and the devil gives him a white eagle that’s locked up in a cage. The devil tells Jean that if he gives the eagle raw meat, it will fly. So, Jean gets on the eagle’s back, gives it some raw meat, and they begin to fly back up the well. However, Jean runs out of meat before the eagle brings him all the way up. So, he cuts off a piece of his thigh, gives it to the eagle, and they continue until they reach the top.

Then, Jean goes to the city with his cane in search of his former friends. When Roue de Moulin, Coupe Chêne, and Porte Montagne see Jean, they jump out of a window, run away, and Jean never sees them again.

Jean de l’Ours marries the youngest princess out of the three given to him. He uses some of the money from the chests to buy his mother a horse-drawn carriage. Jean, his wife, and his mother live happily ever after in the castle in the forest.

Women Power

Somebody asked me who the strong characters in Beyond The Pyre are. Thoughts of the blacksmith Maréchal zipped through my mind but didn’t stay long because six women are undoubtably the strongest characters in the story.

Simply put, each of them knows how to manage and never runs for cover when the going gets tough and very difficult for some of them it does become.

Early in the story, Catharine’s Wicca interests and some of her knowledge is declared. Others too would be happy to be called wiccan but unfortunately in their own day, they had to be content keeping their interests quiet. There was more than enough ‘witch-hunting’ going on in their worlds without risking being called a witch on top of everything else.

To be continued . . .

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