Sunday, January 01, 2012


SOL OCCAXUS (Sunset) Monday, 19 September, 2011

CREPUSCULUM (Evening Twilight)

I. Friday, 23 September, 2011
II. Thursday, 29 September, 2011
III. Thursday, 29 September, 2011
IV. Sunday, 16 October, 2011

VESPER (Evening Dusk)

I. Sunday, 23 October, 2011
II. Sunday, 30 October, 2011
III. Wednesday, 9 November, 2011
IV. Monday, 14 November, 2011
V. Monday, 14 November, 2011

CONCUBIUM (First Sleep – Coitus – Rest)

I. Thursday, 17 November 2011
II. Sunday, 20 November, 2011
III. Friday, 25 November, 2011
IV. Thursday, 1 December, 2011
V. Thursday, 1 December, 2011
VI. Thursday, 8 December, 2011
VII. Sunday, 11 December, 2011


I. Sunday, 1 January 2012


MATUTINUM (Dawn Goddess)

DILUCULUM (Dawn Twilight)

SOLI ORTUS (Sunrise)

SAECULUM – The Story So Far:

Michael Mara is a biogenetic entrepreneur whose company Hoxygene has developed a plant virus which is able to destroy the Cocaine leaf. As a consequence the company is fighting a battle on two fronts: a hostile bid from a rival manufacturer, and an American administration, which want to sequester his patent designs for the cocaine virus. Michael senses that control of his life work and his life in general is slipping from his grasp and is feeling very vulnerable. While in Granada, Spain attending a conference he encounters the exotic Isabella Sanjil and a mysterious Alonzo Aldahrze and that vulnerability is laid bare. Aldahrze appears determined to instruct him in the knowledge of an ancient legacy and Isabella in a more immediate reality. Michael’s wife Caroline and his business partner the Australian Rod Mallory are encouraging him to sell his company and this he feels this is a major betrayal and is adding to the isolation he feels. Caroline Mara is a currency counterfeit expert who is in Mexico attending a US-Mexican multi-agency anti-drug cartel task-force meeting and irritated by Michael’s intransigence has accepted a dinner date with one of the Mexican task force officials, Diego Rios.




Michael Mara arrived at Alonzo Aldahrze’s house a little before the agreed time. An elderly housekeeper, a woman with sad eyes and a prominent moustache, opened the door and led him to the inner courtyard where orange blossom and jasmine scented the air. A small table with two chairs had been set in the shade of a small wooden pavilion, whose roof arched up to a narrow point and whose sides were a series of exquisitely, and intricately carved lattice panels that appeared to expand and contract in response to the light or shadow that fell on them. The housekeeper was pointing to a chair for Michael to sit on when Alonzo appeared. The distressed features of the previous evening were gone as he grasped Michael’s shoulders and kissed him on both cheeks. “You are most welcome my friend. Please take a seat. Would you like a glass of wine?”
“Thank you. White please,” Michael said. It was only at that moment he noticed the inner ceiling of the pavilion. It appeared to descend to meet him in a series of green-and-gold-coloured tiled stalactites like cascading verdant comets from a glittering sky. His mouth automatically opened at the wonder of its design and execution.
Alonzo stood beside him, and stretched up his hand as if to catch a star. “This is the pavilion of my pleasure, the house of my heart, the true centre of the garden of my happiness. It belonged to a Sufi mystic shayk who once lived in Cordoba. He had called it the Khalwat el-rumman. Wonderful, is it not?”
“Incredible.” Michael answered genuinely. “What does Khalwat el-rumman mean?”
Khalwats were the spiritual retreats where Sufi’s could ‘remember’ God and el-rumman is the pomegranate fruit. In Sufi mysticism the pomegranate was the fruit of the Garden of Essence, the final stage in their journey of exploration and the symbol of the Unity of Being.” Alonzo turned away to speak to the housekeeper in Spanish. She ambled off towards what Michael supposed was the kitchen. Alonzo giggled in a child-like way as he sat down. “Señora Hernandez and I have been together for nearly twenty years. I have no idea what age she is only that she is much older than me and I am seventy-two. She is going to bring us the food and wine and then go home. Her cooking is never predictable but always substantial. I am glad there is someone else to share it with.”
“Last night. Was everything all right?” Michael asked, concerned.
“What?” Alonzo replied a little startled. “Oh I understand! The need for me to go out? Yes. Of course. There was no real urgency after all. I am sorry that it interrupted our evening.”
Señora Hernandez shuffled back with the food and wine, and flashed a big toothless grin at Michael as she placed an overflowing plate of cold meats and cheeses in front of him. She then said her good-byes and Michael could hear a nearby back door locking behind her as she left. The two men ate in relative silence until satisfied they had both done justice to her efforts.

“You were about to tell me the story of the seals, Alonzo. I would still like to hear it.”
Alonzo pulled out his pipe and making sure that it was well filled took obvious pleasure in lighting the tobacco. After a ritual series of puffing and packing manoeuvres he finally appeared satisfied and watched Michael for a while through a fog of billowing smoke. “Do you believe in fate Michael or do you still find the circumstances and discourses of our meetings a bit strange or offbeat?”
Michael Mara pondered the question for a moment before he stood up to touch the roof of the pavilion and walk the full circle of its inner perimeter. He was behind the older man when he replied. “That is a difficult question, Alonzo. I have generally determined my own destiny but I enjoy chance encounters or at least I think I do. Perhaps it is more a natural inquisitiveness but I am happy to allow the encounters follow their course. If that is fate then I welcome it. Meeting you seems right somehow, comfortable, and I have not questioned it. Should I?”
“A little perhaps but it is not important at the moment. What about the mystical aspect?” Alonzo probed.
Michael retook his seat. “Like many people I have at times come across the writings of both modern and medieval esotericists in their promotion of an ancient, and continuing, wisdom. Similarly I have read scholarly works on the concept of secret organisations and their possible impact on society, be it benign or malign. To be honest with you, I have often enjoyed and responded to their sometimes well-argued hypothesis but shied away from their strident advocacy. Nothing I have read or encountered became a revelation or offered a life-changing philosophy but . . .”
“But what Michael?”
“A number of years ago my local Freemason lodge approached me with a view to joining them. Sure I was interested in the speculative side of Freemasonry but a non-belief in a Supreme Being rather precluded my involvement.” Michael searched Alonzo’s features for a response, but the older man’s face remained impassive. “Yet when I look around your surroundings and listen to you speaking there is an inescapable and palpable sense of timelessness and of some kind of intellectual inheritance. That intrigues me but, in part answer to your original question, it was not an exploratory path I was prepared to undertake. My life and work has been . . . is dedicated to the solution of questions posed by the physical world surrounding us and not the soul.”
“You corrected yourself, Michael. Any reason?” Alonzo smiled.
Michael nodded, realising that that the answer was already obvious to the older man. He also realised that, where Alonzo was concerned, it was necessary for him to vocalize that answer and he pondered silently on his response for a few minutes, before replying. “I am often accused of being too pedantic or absolute. By my wife Caroline mainly.”
“Your wife. She is not with you.”
“No. She is in Mexico at present…working.”
“Ah. I see.” Alonzo observed with a degree of finality. “Go on Michael. You were explaining yourself.”
“I wish I could Alonzo. My inner life has become somewhat sterile, responsible yes, but devoid of real emotion. I’m selfish, self-contained, compartmentalised in my relationships and often diffident. Yet in the past few days since meeting you and …”
“Yes you and Isabella. I have had this overwhelming feeling that I want to lay myself open, to fully expose myself to the wind and rain of that experiences regardless of the consequences.” Michael paused.
“Continue Michael. Spit it out, as you Americans say.” Alonzo reached out to touch his companion's knee.
“Firstly. It scares the shit out of me because I cannot control the outcome. Secondly I wonder if this ‘desire’ is just a further indulgence because I’m in the financial and intellectual position to make that choice. Am I running away or towards something? I don’t know, Alonzo. I’m confused. Am I making any sense?”
“Yes Michael, you are. But only because I have travelled much the same road as you are now.” Alonzo paused for a few seconds. “I do not know why it was determined that my life and the legacy of the Voices should be so interlinked. I resisted the demands of such a legacy, for many years.” The older man placed his hand on Michael’s and squeezed it gently. “In pursuing the possibility you, my young friend, are opening far more doors than are being closed behind you. But are you willing to continue?”
Michael Mara felt a strange sense of euphoria. His frown disappeared to become the excited face of a nine-year-old boy again. He did not hesitate. “Yes Alonzo . . . Yes, I am!”
Alonzo settled back in his chair, flicking fallen ash from his pipe off his shirt. “Good. So be it! Would you like more wine?”
“No thanks, Alonzo. Please go on.”

Alonzo Aldahrze smiled. “All of the lazuli seal stones or voices have ancient names which are passwords to their history. The first six that I will tell you about are called Syrbeth, Abrape, Nergimmel, Ayatau, Saclaresh and Nefradaleth.
“The names of the Voices. They are quite Hebraic. Why is that?” Michael asked.
“About 900CE the head of the Afghan gold merchants, and guardian of the first seal, Syrbeth, was a Jew called Alut Tagar Hiwi. Somehow he came to be aware of the significance of the seal and the story of the others. He decided it was necessary to be able to identify the Voices by a secret code and attached a Hebrew letter to each of their names. It has remained so to this day. Up to becoming the property of the goldsmiths Syrbeth had rarely left its original homeland in the high valleys of Nuristan, in Afghanistan. Its guardians, both good and evil, had always been the people of those mountains. Sometime after Alut Tagar Hiwi, perhaps as part of a legacy of his own, Syrbeth became an essential aspect of the traditional initiation ceremony of the leader, or Malik, of the goldsmiths of Kabul. In a final act of submission to their cause the new Malik had to kiss the seal. Few, if any of the guild leaders have known the true origin of their seal of office, yet were and are prepared to guard it with their lives. At present it is in the possession of Hasan al-Sa‘igh, the current Malik of the guild of goldsmiths in Kabul, but he plays a very dangerous game.”
“In what way?” Michael asked.
“Hasan al Sa‘igh is a friend of the al-Qae’da terrorist group who are helping the Taliban in Afghanistan, yet he is also the leader of a secret Karmatian organization, known as the Badhriya, which are loosely associated to the Northern Alliance and dedicated to the extermination of the Taliban. Al-Sa‘igh is the warlord who controls most of the output of the poppy crop of the region.”
“I don’t quite understand the connection.” Michael spoke with a puzzled frown.
“In past centuries opium was a side-line business for the goldsmiths, who always had controlled the trading contacts, but now is their main source of income. Hasan is greedy and it has brought him into open conflict with the Taliban who are determined to control the opium industry from Afghanistan as a statement of their intention to restore the rule of shair’a law in the country.”
“I read something about the tonnage they have destroyed so far.” Michael spoke quietly.
“I suspect, sometimes, that it is an empty gesture. There are too many of the old mujahadeen within the Taliban hierarchy.” Alonzo shook his head from side to side, a pained look on his face. “The danger for Syrbeth is that, in Hasan’s attempts to fund his conflict with the Taliban, outside parties have learnt of the seal and are attempting to acquire it. In addition, within Afghanistan, a carved stone like Syrbeth is seen by the Taliban as an idolatrous object to be destroyed.”
“Like the Buddhist statues of Baiman?”
Alonzo took the pipe from his mouth and accompanied by a slight nod of his head pointed it at Michael in acknowledgement. Alonzo lit his pipe again. Michael watched the smoke drift to the sky. He had not noticed it earlier but was certain that he detected the distinct smell of hashish. He decided not to mention it.
The older man continued, “The second seal, Abrape remained for most of its existence on Indian soil and did not leave that sub-continent until the late seventeenth century. The seal and its successive guardians had journeyed, with the other Voices that had left the Hindu Kush, across the mountain passes and down the Indus Valley to the sea. About 2500BCE, a thousand years after the other seals had departed, Abrape was to be found in Mohenjo-Daro but with the invasion of the Aryans it moved south-eastwards to the Banas culture at Adar. Its history after that is a little confused. Abrape made, what you might call ‘its public reappearance’ in the twelfth century of our time. It was given by one Jasodhar, a Brahmin of Pali, a town very close to the ancient Adar, as a tribute to Siha, the first of the Rathor Rajputs. Siha had it incorporated into a jewelled khilat ceremonial dagger that later was part of the dowry of Harkha, the daughter of the Rajput Bhar Mals, when she married the Mughal emperor, Akbar, in 1562. About 200 years later it was given to the Shah Shuja-ud-Daula of Oudh, for his support of the disintegrating Mughal Empire and when Warren Hastings, the Governor General of the East India Company, confiscated the treasure of the Oudh begums it was transported to England. After Hastings’s death the khilat passed through the hands of a series of private collectors and Abrape now rests in a bank vault in Switzerland. It has for company one of the other Voices and there are rumours that two or three of the others will join them soon.”
“You mean there are possibly five in the possession of one individual.” Michael asked.
Alonzo gave a grave nod of his head. “Yes. The Gatherer!”
“Who is the Gatherer?” Michael asked excitedly.
Alonzo held up his hand. “I will tell you later, but let me finish the stories of the Voices. It is important.”
Michael sat back. “Sure. Sorry.”
“The next three seals, Nergimmel, Ayatau and Saclaresh, have a similar early history. Arriving in Uruk about 3700BCE the Guardians kept our people in lower Mesopotamia until founding the Mittani homeland, centred at Washukanni about 1600BCE. If you remember the story I told you, it was predicted that the people would find their new homeland when they saw the constellation of Orion at the same latitude as the grove in the mountains.”
“Yes.” Michael nodded.
“Well, Washukanni is at that latitude and it was there that these three Voices separated for the first time. Nergimmel and Ayatau were eventually reunited by Roger II, the Norman King of Sicily in 1039CE.”
“One of my heroes!” Michael said as he took a sip of his wine and lit a cigarette.
Alonzo hesitated for a moment then shrugged slightly. “The seal called Saclaresh has had a much more mystical history. It is known also as the Voice of the Magi. It remained under the care of the Magi priests until the defeat of Darius III and sack of Persepolis in 330BCE. Alexander became its next guardian and Saclaresh remained in Babylon after Alexander’s death. In the third century of our time it became the possession of Mani and later of the Manichean Perfects, the priests of that religion. In 1038CE George Maniakes, the Byzantine General, conqueror of Syria and a Perfect, led his Varangian Norsemen and Bulgar irregulars to Sicily. Saclaresh was deposited in the church of Santa Maria di Maniace in Maletto until stumbled upon by Adelaide, the mother of Roger II, King of Sicily. She gave it to Roger at his coronation.”
Michael shifted in his seat. He was having some difficulty in following the history and was glad that Alonzo was skipping over many of the details. “So Roger II was the first great Gatherer?” he observed.
“Yes, Michael.”
“I see.” Michael felt stiff. “Alonzo, do you mind if we take a walk in the courtyard while you continue?”
“No, of course not. Let us go.”

Michael and his host stood up and linked arms as they walked the courtyard perimeter. “The other two Voices, Alonzo. What of them?” he encouraged.
“The next is Nefradaleth, sometimes called the Woman’s Voice. First surfacing in Sheba, in modern day Yemen it eventually arrives into Egypt. The Voice always stayed with a woman Pharaoh Queen such as Sobeknefru or Hatshepsut and finally was with Cleopatra VII of the Ptolemy’s in 51BCE. After the Roman occupation of Egypt, Nefradaleth became the responsibility of the chief Archon priestess, Sophia of the Gnostic settlement in Chenoboskion, on the east bank of the Nile near Qena. The rise of Islam saw it journey, first to Alexandria, then to Cyrene, and then to Tunisia from where it moved to Palermo. In 1111CE the Voice was given by Rebecca ben-Gerbi to Queen Adelaide when she moved the capital of Norman Italy to that city. Nefradaleth had been altered somewhat in its travels and in addition to the marks of our People, its total surface had also been covered in a series of hieroglyphic, Gnostic, Arabic and Hebraic symbols. Because of these strange marks, and their meaning, Adelaide directed that the Voice be deposited in the Antoine ascetic convent of Monte Vergine near Avellino in Campania. When Roger II built the church of S.Giovanni degli Eremiti in Palermo, Nefradaleth returned with the monks and nuns of Monte Vergine to administer the church. Roger II of Sicily had now control of four of the Voices.”
A breeze from the mountains was making the night air chilly and both men were happy to return to Alonzo’s study. Soon the sweet smell of hashish once again wafted through the room.
“Roger II commissioned al-Edrisi to create a map of the known world, which he did on both paper and in a silver planisphere. The four Voices that were in his possession were incorporated to represent the four cardinal winds and the huge planisphere was stored in the palace in Palermo. On 9 March 1161, however, there was a palace revolt against William I, Roger’s son and King of Sicily since 1154. In a four-hour orgy of looting, the palace treasury was ransacked and the planisphere disappeared. The strange thing was that the revolt was put down only two days later, yet there was no trace of the planisphere. It had already been broken up for its silver and the Voices were already dispersed. Nefradaleth became the responsibility of Clementina, Countess of Catanzaro and lover of Mathew Bonnellus, chief of the revolt against the King of Sicily. It was suggested that it was she who planned the coup, as she wanted to get all the Voices but had to settle for just one. William came after it to her fortress at Taverna but Nefradaleth was gone. It next surfaces within the Cathar community at Montesegur in the Languedoc. On the night of 16 March 1243, the last night before the citadel commander Mirepoix and the remaining occupants resigned themselves to their fate, a female Perfect called Esclarmonde de Foix, along with three others, secretly escaped from the fortress and recovered the Cathar treasure that had been hidden two months earlier in the cave of Sabaoth. It became the responsibility of successive female perfects of the Spanish Cathars who went into hiding, first amongst the Mara Gatos people of Astorga and then in 1259 to the newly established Kingdom of Majorca. The tradition continues to this day in the guardian-ship of the highest female initiates of the Alumbados.”
“What happened to the other three?” Michael interrupted.
Nergimmel was quickly recovered and incorporated into a jewelled chalice that became the property of Richard the Lion Heart of England, when he was given it as a present by Tancred, King of Sicily at Catania on 3 March 1191 in exchange for the supposed Excalibur sword of King Arthur. Later the following year Richard, on his way back from Acre, was shipwrecked on the small isle of Lokrum near the city of Ragusa, or what today we call Dubrovnik. He was only able to salvage a few personal possessions, one of which was the chalice. He gave it to the priests of the new cathedral that was being built in Ragusa, in thanksgiving for his survival. Ragusa was destroyed by an earthquake in 1667 and in the widespread looting of the city that followed, Nergimmel disappeared. Much later, Napoleon was thought to have acquired it when he created his Illyrian States but it soon disappeared again, only to turn up recently in the vaults of a Swiss bank…”
Alonzo stopped speaking suddenly, stood up and walked towards the inner library door. He stopped for a moment and looked back at Michael. “I am sorry that I must give you so much information in such a short space of time. But time is of the essence. There is a necessary urgency.”
“Why?” Michael asked. But Alonzo had disappeared inside.

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