271. Maggie and the Minotaur

(YouTube wouldn’t accept my upload, so its back to the printed word until I learn RSS podcasting)

OUT OF ESSEX – CHAPTER 37

 

“If you can’t go back to your mother’s womb, you’d better learn to be a good fighter.” 
Anchee Min

 

 

2014 unravelled into its second month. Rain continued to pound Essex.

Mary hurried across the Southend East railway platform. Taking a window seat, she pulled out her mobile tablet. Her Christmas present from Rose. Her daughter had also paid the train fare to London, where David Stuckler, an Oxford University sociologist, was lecturing that austerity was seriously bad for the health of any populace, and thus an economic drag.

As the commuter train pulled away, she read her husband’s most recent newsletter. Dan mentioned that 27 Anglican bishops were blaming Prime Minister David Cameron for creating a “national crisis”, in which half a million UK citizens had visited food banks since April 2013.

She switched to his writing on the moneyless communities, where he noted the latest addition, an encampment in Stoke-on-Trent. She loved her husband’s description of Southchurch Park’s psychological journey. “Something transformative happens when people walk away from money,” he wrote. “Maybe the explanation lays in Einstein’s idea that no problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

He continued: “Money is a skin that resists shedding. Even when discarded, it attempts to grow back, like a pernicious weed. Egos suffer in the new communities. They have little room to escape each other; and may need months to learn to take back seats. New community logistics may take just as long to gel, while our routines can seem tremendously dull and uninspiring in the cold darkness of winter, when some of us have drowned in thoughts of a hot bath or a visit to a warm pub or cinema.”

Dan continued: “But the good news for those in Stoke – and our peers in Bristol, Coventry, Hastings and Newcastle – is that I see happier, more helpful, cooperative humans each day. People learning to just be, naturally, without competition or conformity.”

At Southend Central, two lads in their late 20s boarded and sat opposite. One was talking about a suit in dark charcoal with a faint blue stripe, which he wore to both weddings and funerals. “Mate, I was a bit shocked that nobody else with a suit like mine was wearing a tie. Any ideas what style of shirt I should try this look with: button-down, straight or spread collar?”

It reminded Mary of when Satan had talked animatedly last summer about suits and the notion of respectability. In the park’s early days, he had been its psychological anchor. Now, his body language was morose. Whenever he emerged from protracted slumbers in a dark corner of the cricket pavilion, his energy seemed sour and bitter. In a recent but rare visit to the café, he told her that he wanted to hibernate. “It’s as much as I can do not to sneak back to Morgana and the boys, and console myself with bouts of torture.”

He had begun to grind his teeth, which was difficult to be near. When she asked what ailed him, he looked across the room to Lauren and Sarah Dawson. Then he brought out a hip flask, on which he took a deep pull.

As the train approached Leigh, Mary glimpsed the hillside road containing Siddharta’s spiritual centre. Rain surged down the slope. Mary had visited the previous week. She almost had to don shades when looking at Stan, such was his aura. Jess, relaxed in red and yellow robes, was almost unrecognisable as the former bus driver who moaned incessantly.

“Five months ago, I had no clue what meditation was,” said Sally, who had befriended Mary over several visits. “Now Sid has pushed it into the stratosphere. It’s like he’s trained us to become spiritual storm-troopers, spontaneous in any situation. Last week he made us stay awake for 66 hours, using will power. I have never felt anything like when that moment arrived. I had become so awake, that sleep would have been impossible.”

As always, Sid offered Mary tea and cake. She asked for a summary of the regime for his pupils. “You need a master,” he replied. “You need to surrender, absolutely. This is a crash course for these humans to become Buddhas themselves.”

 

***

 

Jesus traced his finger down the naked spine of Mary Magdalene, as they lay in his quarters. His simple home at The Place resembled the Essene community at Qumran, off the Dead Sea’s northwest coast, where he had lived frugally as a youth.

“What a fine thing, what a precisely distilled vessel of love is the Sex Magic of Isis,” he offered, quietly. He pressed her coccyx with an index finger. Mary turned to look at him. “Yes, it is our one true responsibility, darling Yesh. The ecstasy of connecting to the best version of ourselves.”

She kissed his eyes, which had glazed. “I know your thoughts husband. They wander to the Dark Archetype, Moloch, and how to confront and break it.”

“New names for new times Mary.” His eyes were all but lost to her. “In the now they know it as the Military-Industrial Complex. All is lost, unless this entity, which churns war, debt and entertainment, is confronted and vanquished.”

“You cannot confront the war instinct, Yesh. Many of the greatest shamans, recent shamans like JFK, Martin Luther King and John Lennon, paid the ultimate price for daring to go against the Dark Archetype. War endures. It preceded man, it waited for him. But you can starve it.”

There was a knock at the door. Jesus slipped on an undyed woollen robe. He stepped lightly across the pounded earth floor. Opening the wooden door, he beheld Maggie, adorned in martial arts kit. “Please, help me,” she asked. In her face, determination beat down hesitation. “Find me the courage to fight Satan’s beast, the minotaur.”

He bade her come in. Mary brought them Lebanese red wine, with a plate of cheese and figs. They sat, while Jesus looked quietly at Maggie. Finally, he told her his spiritual name was Yeshua ben Joseph. His truth, he said, was told most accurately by the Gospel of Thomas, which was edited from the Bible. And a very direct route for diving inside and raising one’s vibration was trance music, he insisted.

Then he quietened, having swept a metaphorical path to channel Mary’s wisdom. As soft words began to tumble from his wife’s mouth, he stole away, inserting himself into the surrounding rurality. The last words he heard were “Maggie: everything that can break should be broken.”

 

***

 

He felt himself slip further away. Beyond thought. Beyond duality, all agitation ceased. His favourite headphones pumped out Snakey Shaker, from Hallucinogen’s ‘Lone Deranger’ album. As he re-emerged from the unplanned meditation, minutes or hours later, Land of Freedom, by Transwave, bubbled to its climax. Yesh reached in his pocket, found the mushrooms.

Goa Trance had emerged in south western India as an early 1990s underground scene, lit up by shamanic dancing rituals. It triggered memories of his eye-opening trip to the sub-continent with Mary. Her favourite was LSD, another from Hallucinogen.

Torso twitching now to Etnica’sVimana, Jesus surveyed his home at The Place, where caves and small rectangular huts replicated Qumran’s small first century community of farmers, shepherds, cowherds, beekeepers, artisans and craftsmen. All had regarded money contemptuously. All had returned from their daily tasks rejoicing.

When he later told Maggie about Qumran, it was pleasing how she quickly squared it with her post-Oxbridge conviction that smaller, human-scale communities bring the best out of people.

Next up was All About Kash, by the Masters of Goa Trance. Siddharta had exploded with laughter to see a massive stone Buddha on the album cover, wearing headphones.

Entranced by trance, Jesus knew 21st century humanity was set for a surge in consciousness. The rich were rich: that was their karma, to make of it what they would. But it was learned behaviour, rather than instinct, for humans to chase money, and to ask, ‘what’s in it for me?’

 

***

 

In the days that followed, trance became a welcome distraction from Yeshua’s efforts to help Maggie. He attempted to read her autobiography, sticking it out to page 409. A book of unending straight lines. On page 8 she provided a clue: “Values instilled in church were faithfully reflected in my home.” He thought forlornly of the indoctrinations. If you failed to look within for spirit, you could end up in Vatican Square, looking up to the balcony.

He read, eyelids drooping, of her stance that “personal virtue is no substitute for political hard-headedness”. His spirit fought for wakefulness against her list of dates, events, strategies and retrospective vindications of policy. When learning of the pride with which she had rigidly observed the wartime rationing level – five inches of bathwater – he keeled over into deep sleep

The Files had summed her up neatly: “She lacked an inner poetry”. There was nothing wrong with her emphasis on hard work, but rest brought balance and harmony. He fell with joy on the small detail of her sweet tooth, wanting knowledge of her favourite chocolate and sweets. Maggie deemed this unworthy of inclusion.

To her credit was that she trusted her judgement. Preached her convictions. Not unlike an Old Testament prophet. One philosophical strand, enunciated at the 1975 Conservative conference, was that having the state as servant, not as master, was part of Britain’s inheritance. Jesus badly needed to dance again.

 

***

 

Not for the first time, Yeshua found himself outside the maze built by Satan, choking. Maggie held her nostrils, gripping her sports bag tightly.

He asked again how she might realistically go about fighting what had once been the pet of King Minos, until the brave Theseus ended its days on Earth. The minotaur now helped Satan prevent further reincarnations of certain souls. With the head of a wild bull, atop the body of a magnificently muscled human, it had ripped apart and devoured the souls of several dozen particularly dark financiers, popes and politicians. And had totally removed one James Savile from the realm of creation.

Flinching at each sound from within, each stomach-spinning growl and snort, Maggie talked Jesus through every possible battle scenario.

She took the business of preparation fanatically. In 1958, she had been one of four candidates to apply for the safe Conservative seat of Finchley, in north London. She read everything she could obtain and prepared a speech “until it was perfect”, said her autobiography. Further along the political path, when preparing for her first major parliamentary speech, Maggie raided the Commons library and read every finance bill, every budget speech since the war. Countless hours of work preparing for the autumn 1966 party conference was repaid the following autumn when Prime Minister Ted Heath made her a shadow cabinet member.

While you could out-prepare government ministers, preparing to fight a mythical beast was tougher. “You must own, deep within yourself, every scene from your battle to come,” said Yesh. He picked up on something beyond fear, so told the story of Theseus to distract her.

 

***

 

Jesus towered over Maggie, watching her reactions. Aegeus, the King of Athens, had offered the tyrannical King Minos of Crete a deal so that Minos would desist from attacking Athens.

Aegeus would send 14 boys and girls to be sacrificed to the awful minotaur, within its labyrinth. Determined to end the terror, young Prince Theseus told Aegeus, his father, that he would go, as the seventh male, to kill the monster.

Maggie looked up, face etched with concentration, neck straining.

When the children arrived on Crete, said Jesus, Minos’ daughter, Princess Ariadne, took a shine to Theseus. She slipped a note under his door. If she saved his life, would he take her away from the island so others could admire her beauty? She hid a sword and a ball of string inside the labyrinth entrance. When the children entered, he must tie the string to the door, let it unroll so he could find his way back, and tell the others to stay by the door. He found and slayed the minotaur, and they sailed away in the dark with the Princess.

Maggie interrupted. “It went wrong, didn’t it?” She was irritated that, on the way home, Theseus abandoned Ariadne on the island of Naxos and then forgot to display a white sail signifying that he was alive. When Aegeus saw a black-sailed ship approach, he committed suicide, presuming his son dead. This act secured the throne for Theseus.

“Don’t you just love those Greek sagas?” grinned Jesus. “Ups and downs, twists and turns.”

 

***

 

A deep rumble shook the lair. “You do not have to do this,” said Jesus. In response, Maggie turned, sprinted across the room. Screaming, she took off and kicked hard into a punchbag, crumpling a faded minotaur image that Satan’s lads practised on. She landed cleanly and walked back, frowning. “I could not have lived with the shame that I had killed my father.”

“Thank you, Margaret,” said Jesus. There it was.

Placing his arm around her shoulder, he said: “If you feel ashamed, you will hate and reject yourself, in any incarnation. And you will be afraid.” Her eyes mirrored it. “Remove that shame, and I promise you shall trust your nature and flow with it. Would you like to dance with me, to trance music?” She would not, she said.

The minotaur produced a noise straddling a burp and a fart.

Jesus tried again. “Tell me your darkest shames. Trust in me.”

He delighted at her negotiation. “On one condition,” she said, eyes glinting. “You must tell how it felt to be crucified.”

He spoke easily, no hesitation. “It was not a complex thing – and I saw it coming. It was clear that authorities in Jerusalem and Rome could not tolerate my message. That life is not a business, or a riddle solvable by thought. Rather it is a mystery to be lived, in which people should move from Holy Spirit within the heart. That the simplest and greatest truth is to love each other, unconditionally. So that your unfairness becomes my injustice, your joy my ecstasy.”

“Please answer the question.” Yesh loved Maggie’s tenacity. She was just as precious as all other souls that ever existed.

He had known exactly what to do on the cross, alone, wracked by unimaginable pain, mocked by the Roman soldiers and one of the crucified thieves. “I remember it as a test, a dare even. From my early teens, I learned shamanistic powers, directed at healing other humans. Further knowledge accrued in Tibet. Ways of shielding oneself from dark powers, and of leaving the body when overwhelmed.” He looked right into her. “The pain was beyond description. As was the magnificence, when I was able to drop into the void, to escape.”

“Were you afraid beforehand?”

“No, because I lacked shame. Shed yours, and you are ready to face a minotaur.”

“What about redeeming mankind’s sins forever on the cross?” asked a puzzled Maggie.

Jesus shook his head. “I asked mum to forgive those who conspired to crucify me. Satan was unable to. As for sins, the church made up all sorts of refuse. Rummage around in the Hebrew and you will find that sin and error are indistinguishable.” She gulped. “Now. Your worst shames.” She prayed he would not chastise, knitting her fingers.

“Before I led Britain, mentally disturbed people were housed in good homes staffed by proper doctors and nurses. I closed those homes to save money, leaving some very vulnerable people with nowhere comfortable or caring to go.”

Honest tears laced her cheek. “And I won over working people by indicating that the Conservative Party would continue the post-war narrowing of the gap between very poor and very rich.” Her voice wobbled. “Instead I began this horrible process of marginalising and criminalising working-class communities.” She looked across humbly.

She was still holding back.  Jesus reassured her that some of her advisers were more cunning than she could ever know. He sent out a ribbon of purple light, wrapping her.

The minotaur stomped heavily in its maze, nostrils steaming, remembering Savile.

5 thoughts on “271. Maggie and the Minotaur

  1. I sense that we are in the last 3/4 of the story. Yes? No?

    Same favorite sentences: Everything that can break should be broken.
    If you failed to look within for spirit, you could end up in Vatican Square, looking up to the balcony.

    The Gospel of Thomas was edited out of the Bible, huh? So was reincarnation, I believe. I’m not a Bible person; I’ve never read it. But it makes one wonder what else was removed….for the sake of convenience rather than wisdom or care for humanity. After all, who wants to REALLY know what Jesus was talking about? That might make the picture too simple instead of clouding up the message and ensuring almost effortless control of the masses.

    I noticed the “purple ribbon of light” at the end. Why purple instead of white or golden? Does purple signify something more powerful rather than soothing or calming? Thank you for your response over in my blog about the ribbon of light. It’s not new to me–I know about the grounding yourself and the light coming from the heart and spreading and inhaling the dark, grimy air through the nose and exhaling the white, clear air through the mouth or inhaling slowly counting to three and exhaling “don’t know” each time. Lots of different ways, I guess.

    But for some reason, it’s hard for me to picture people’s faces, 1, and the light surrounding them, 2. I guess I’ll try it different ways and come up with something that works. Maybe just “knowing” who I’m thinking about is okay, not having a picture-perfect vision of them in my mind.

    In the story, I feel like Maggie’s going to fail, and even though she’s “trying,” I don’t have much empathy for her.

    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pretty sure that Jesus sends Satan purple healing light somewhere at the front of the book (which is now in the last quarter).
      Purple just came to me, so I used it. The Hanmi Buddhists (whose Dari Rulai temple/HQ is in Long Beach) typically use golden light. The ribbons idea came from Maureen, who specialises in giving presents, and kind of saw ribbons as a great ‘holder’ and ‘bestower’ of the light.
      As for people’s faces, well, I’m no expert, but I reckon that knowing who you’re thinking about is fine. In fact, your own rules for most things is the best way in life (which is why I find myself almost torn in two by the lockdown and social distancing, and why I can never stick for long in any group!).
      Without giving anything away, your intuition regarding Maggie is …………empathetic.
      🙂
      🙂
      🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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