Another theatre memory

In my job I was often called to theatre to provide real time fluoroscopic imaging during orthopaedic surgery. The work varied a little but mainly it was elderly patients for DHS (Dynamic Hip Screws) following a fracture of the neck of femur or young males for a tibial nail ( following a mid shaft fracture of the tibia a long metal rod was placed down the shaft of the bone to hold the two halves together during the healing process). Both of these procedures saw me sitting a mobile C-arm between a patient’s legs and aiming at the fracture site whilst providing flash images of the site or real time scanning while screws were put in or holes were drilled. Mostly these procedures are done under GA, or general anaesthetic. Sometimes though you would get a very frail older person who desperately needed the hip screw but couldn’t be put under GA due to other health issues so they would have a spinal injection and the procedure would be done whilst the patient was awake.

Now I had attended other less gruelling procedures where younger patients were not under anaesthesia, for example k-wiring of a broken wrist which was easily done with a nerve block or ligature and would be over and done with in five minutes. Anyway, I was called up to do a theatre list which included a little old lady having a DHS under nerve block. I thought nothing of it and moved my machine in and glanced around to see the patient had a green drape covering them from the chest up akin to the drapes used during a c-section birthing. The surgeon made his incision and had me flash the hip to show the fracture in two planes, once from the front and once from the inside leg, the latter position I was to stay in for the rest of the procedure as normal. The normal chatter of the theatre was a little subdued to normal and I could hear the anaesthetist chatting away to the patient. Didn’t phase me, it was just a variation on a theme for me. Then the big guns came out, namely an air-driven drill, an air-powered screwdriver and a hammer along with the metalwork that was to be placed inside the patient’s femur. As the surgeon drilled and screwed I overheard the patient complaining to the anaesthetist that they shouldn’t allow builders to make so much noise around theatres when they are filled with patients. I wasn’t the only one to hear it, I glanced at the surgeon who had stopped drilling to listen and saw his eyes crease at the edge of his facemask indicating he was smiling to himself. He indicated to the anaesthetist to let it go and not unduly worry the patient about the ‘building work’ noises coming from her groin.

X-ray image of my own hip, with orthopedic imp...

X-ray image of my own hip, with orthopedic implant on femur (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That had me smiling but when the surgeon was cauterising some muscle and blood vessels to attach the screw plate to the femural shaft the lady then commented to say she did not realise theatre was so close to the canteen. The surgeon had to put down his tools at that point and walk away briefly as he was creased up with laughter. The scent of cauterised human flesh is akin to roasting pork or frying bacon.

NB: the image is not MY hip but is taken under GNU free license from Wikipedia

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How to Keep a Straight Face When Your Patient is Buzzing

I was a radiographer still in my first year so technically a probationer. I had just really started doing out of hours, had the odd drunk making lurid suggestions and coped well maintaining a professional face throughout. It’s amazing how sensitive a nose can be when placed up against the x-ray plate for a skull x-ray but that is another story.

I’d done my normal 9-5 day and had taken the usual three hour break before the start of the night shift. Night shift started at 8pm with 2 colleagues, one working 2-10pm the other on the same shift as me, 8pm-8am. The evening had been steady, a normal influx of patients with injuries, usual ward rounds and theatre. Midnight approached and my remaining colleague and I split the rest of the night between us, I was taking the first half of the night and my colleague would cover the 4am – 8 am portion unless we were snowed under in which case we would both be on until the workload eased. Midnight and my colleague went off to bed leaving me alone in the X-ray department. Now we had a strict protocol for out of hours use of the x-ray department. We did nothing that could wait until morning, we literally covered just emergencies.

There was a new intake of interns in accident & emergency so I expected to be vetting requests quite heavily all through the night and as it turned out I was right. X-ray examinations are done if a radiographer and/or radiologist deem it appropriate and as such all requests are vetted but I expected to be bending the ears of most of the new interns for silly requests.

It got to 2 am and I was just getting ready to head to the staff room to get an energy drink to get me through as I could tell A&E was still quite busy. My pager went off and it was one of the interns, I asked the porters to bring the request around and it arrived on the reception desk as I came back with my drink. The request card had very little information on it regarding what the examination was for. I looked the card over for clues as to how urgent this might be. The clinical information given was FB? Abdomen. Not a lot to go on even for a qualified practitioner. Basically it meant the doctor was querying if a foreign body was present in the abdomen, foreign body being an object that should not be present in the body under normal circumstance. For example a splinter or a swallowed coin. I looked at the patient information and discovered he was an adult of around 40 years age. Now normally things that require retrieval in an adult are penetrating injuries from for example falling through a tree and ending up with a branch poking through. If that had been the case I would have expected to see more history on the request to tell me I was expecting something traumatic or even to be examining the patient in Resus with a mobile unit. It didn’t even occur to me that it might have been something inserted by the patient from the little info I had, so I called the doctor who had made the request, one of the interns who I had not had much from through the night. I asked what we were looking for and she told me straight out. I was still only in my early twenties and quite inexperienced in certain things so I was embarrassed into silence briefly. I recovered quickly and asked if there were any special views she might need and she replied that they just wanted to see how far in the object was so they could decide if surgery might be needed. I made notes on the back of the request of what the intern had told me and told her I would send the porters for the patient once I was ready.

I looked at my canned energy drink on the desk and decided I no longer needed it and put it back in the staff room for later and poured water instead. I called the porters from the staff room extension and asked them to bring the patient straight away, made my way back to reception and started to focus on the task ahead, which would mainly be maintaining a straight face. About 5 minutes had passed when I was roused from my internal reverie by a noise coming from A&E. It was literally just past one set of fire doors so I could hear pretty much anything above a whisper around the first couple of bays in A&E from the X-ray department side. the noise continued for about a minute and then started to become louder. I realised what it was when I saw the porters face through the window on the door. I beckoned them in as I moved from the reception desk towards the examination room. I’m not entirely sure how I kept a straight face for those first few seconds as the patient came through on a trolley, buzzing quite loudly now the sound dulling effect of the doors was gone, but I did and managing to do so put me at ease and me being at ease put my patient at ease too. The porters kindly pushed the trolley right into the x-ray room for me and then left. My eyes followed them briefly and I was glad that they were also keeping straight faces on their egress from my department. I think the faintest flicker of a smirk would have broken my own façade.

Now in the privacy of the x-ray room I worked to put my patient at complete ease. I asked him his details to check his identity and then moved on to general conversation about what had brought him to the area. He was quite forthright and admitted to being in the area for the gay festival in town but ostensibly here on business. As I prepared the x-ray plate in the shelf under the trolley we continued to talk, I told him I was recently qualified and on my first full night shift and he laughed and joked about what sort of patients you got on a weekend night shift in Manchester, including himself in that group. He asked if the night had been busy and general chat ensued right up to the point of me laying my hand on his stomach to align the x-ray’s LED guidelines to his body and the main landmarks of the abdomen, namely the belly button, the symphysis pubis, the xiphisternum and the iliac crests. I put my hand on his tummy and immediately pulled my hand away as I had felt the strong vibrations of the vibrator stuck in his intestine. At that point he said “Its got fresh batteries in it” and we both burst into laughter. Breaking the ice, that is the key to maintaining a professional appearance, not maintaining a stony silence and a matching stony complexion. Pointing out the elephant in the room makes it much smaller than it appears to be. So he had been naughty away from home, he was certainly not going to be doing it again, at least not exactly the same way. I took the x-ray and my heart fell, the vibrator would definitely need surgery to remove it as it had worked its way from rectum up to the splenic flexure.. no amount of gloved rummaging around would find it. He had mentioned hoping not having to stay overnight as he was due back home the next day. I found it was actually more difficult to maintain the smiles once I knew things would not be going the way he had hoped. I felt so very sorry for him I had to take a few minutes to compose myself.

I suppose there are a couple of morals to this tale. The first, don’t play away from home. The second moral is to not use fresh batteries. And the third is to not put anything in that you can’t get out again easily even if you have to put a rope around it so you can pull it out when you lose sight of the bottom as it runs away to explore the vastness of the large intestines.

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My First Lifetime With Aine

My pre-born slumber was different this time. I dreamed a lot and was partially aware of my brothers and sisters in the womb with me. The dreams were different also. The slumber of my first incarnation was filled with my journey to this blue planet and for all of the dreams I had had, I was alone. This time my dreams were of my life as the great shark I had been and my brothers and sisters shared my dream with me. This struck me as odd as I did not think the brothers and sisters sharing this womb had also been sharks. Indeed as the dream progressed it became apparent this was a dream I was sharing with new siblings. They followed my journeys and asked me questions, asked why I had chosen this area of the ocean, why I had eaten this particular meal, what was it like to be this creature, how could I stand to be immersed completely in the ocean. I had been my own entity for so long now I had almost forgotten what it was like to be part of a single mind. It was a welcome change to be reminded of what I had been in the beginning. This thought must have pervaded my dream as my siblings voiced their own feelings about individuality. Some were literally newborn to life and were finding it a strange transition but an exciting adventure, others had been through the process many times over and were comfortable but still yearned to be with the greater consciousness. One, who had been most recently a rodent eaten by what would now be her mother, expressed profound thoughts on the matter. Her view was that we were still all one, experiencing life as one but through many eyes. The routine of being eaten or dying naturally and being reborn was just a change in perspective and this reunion in the womb was a way to disseminate our experiences back to other parts of the greater collective consciousness. To further explain this she allowed us to enter, then, her own dream which she pushed back to a life as a hive insect. She had great skill in navigating her past incarnations and I hoped I could retain my memories as she had, but even as the dreams faded as we prepared to be reborn, so did the memories. I was no longer a spirit who had lived as a shark but now was a spirit eager to try out life as a cat with no distinct recollection of what I had been just a deep-seated feeling I had been something other than what I was now.

I awoke with a start. Mother was licking me around my face trying to remove placenta and mucous to enable me to breathe. I took a gasping breath then another and another. Mother licked me along the sides, the massaging strokes forcing my diaphragm to move more strongly. My breathing became regular and strong and I mewed my appreciation. Mother continued to clean me and soon I was this small creature with fur sticking out at all angles from my skin. I nuzzled close to mother and eventually found a nipple. The natural instincts I had learned whilst in slumber came to life and I clamped my mouth to the nipple and suckled. Warm milk ran into my mouth and I swallowed for the first time. My tummy filled, I fell asleep and dreamed of running through grass, hunting prey. I was learning, whilst I slept, how to live as this form. I woke again and sensed another presence  I could not see as my eyes had not yet opened but I knew mother and I knew my siblings and this new presence was something different. It felt much bigger and yet insubstantial, and, somehow, it felt familiar to me. I roused and stumbled away from mother to investigate this new presence. It was odd, there was no scent of an animal though I perceived it as such, instead it smelled of the ocean and the rain, of lakes and rivers. This creatures words filled my head. Go back to your mother, it is a dangerous world and she alone will provide you with the protection you need until you can fend for yourself. We will meet again for I am never far away. You know me, Ephah, you have always known me. We will have time to spend together, but for now you must return.

Her words confused me and yet made sense. I did not understand what she had called me but it felt right, it felt like my name. And I knew that I had known her forever even though I did not fully understand the concept. I went back to mother and found my place at her belly once more and suckled again.

I was, by far, the smallest cub of the litter to begin with, but mother, appreciative of the efforts made to save this body, her life and that of my siblings, she made an extra effort to make sure I could always find a nipple to suckle. I felt this a little odd, my natural instincts screamed at me that this was outside of the natural order, that I should have died. This brought about in me a fighting instinct and soon I was able to force my own way to feed. I grew quickly and became strong even for my smaller stature. I accepted I would never be quite as big as my brothers and sisters but I decided to make up for it however I could. My siblings also fussed over me and never complained about being pushed aside or being stood on to reach a nipple higher than the ones they were feeding at. I began to feel special and indeed when I heard the adults talking they often mentioned that I was special, that the goddess had spared my mother and given me to her, a gift of appreciation of the adoration my mother gave the goddess. Things began to emerge in my own mind and I struggled with memories of being outside of mother, laying on the beach with a figure like mother but bigger standing close to me and speaking with me. I recalled the voice and matched it to the one that had spoken inside my head. I decided it was time I sought that creature out again.

I walked away from my family and out to the edges of our lair. I sensed her immediately near a pile of bones and scraps of animal hides, offerings from my pack to the goddess, for that is how my pack, my family, perceived this creature. Again I smelled the sea and rivers and fresh rain. I saw her in my mind now. A glorious specimen of a cat, muscles rippling underneath a coat of shiny striped fur, the paler stripes seeming to emanate a glow not unlike the yellow circle in the sky…. our Father star I recalled. Memories flooded back to me now and I saw my past life and what I was before, a dark shadow flowing across the face of .. Mother Earth.. yes it was all coming back. I insinuated myself next to her, running my small form against her legs and surprising myself by actually feeling substance. I moved to her front legs and she lowered her head to mine. I rubbed my cheeks against hers and she rubbed hers against mine. I felt my inner glow rising to match hers, similar but different. I looked over myself and realised something I had not before. I was not striped like my family or her, I was completely black, as dark as a moonless night and my inner glow was dark like a shadow. I heard noises behind me and turned to see my kin staring at me as if I was something new. Aine spoke to me and to all my pack. This is Ephah, my soul mate and your god incarnate. Venerate him and rewards shall be abundant. My pack all bowed their heads in reverence to Aine and to me. I was in awe, I did not know how to respond. Aine spoke to me in the recesses of my mind. Stand proud, though you were a pack member they would have eventually let you fall in the hunt for you are small and weak in comparison. You must channel your inner self and become a leader to them, channel your instincts to find prey, use your other abilities to bring down the weaker prey, show them how to hunt successfully for they are sorely lacking in skill. This is why I decided to come to you when I felt your spirit passing from life back to shadow. You will live up to your name and become the bringer of shadows, you will teach them how to hunt in darkness when their prey is less alert to danger. If you fail this species and all others that would come from it will no longer exist, they will all eventually die of injury or starvation. A world without these creatures and their descendants will be poorer. Please do this for the greater good, for them… for me. I was the first of their kind and am mother to this species. Do not let my children die.

I left her behind then and walked tall amongst my pack who bowed their necks to me as I passed amongst them and I led them back to our den. The daylight was fading and the pack had not been successful in hunting after hunting for most of the daylight hours. I was too small to hunt but I decided to play with the adults, to show them different ways of bringing down animals larger than themselves so that they had a better chance of bringing food to the pack rather than the pack half starving because not all could leave their cubs to join the hunt. Soon my siblings were joining in and we were taking down the adults around us, tripping them and leaping on them our teeth dangerously close to tearing into them had they been adult teeth. We played long into the night, every one of us having a go at my techniques and each succeeding. We were all hungry, particularly mother who had only eaten twice since giving birth to me and my siblings but it did not matter to her or the other adults, all of the new mothers lay down to let their cubs suckle. We suckled heavily and soon fell asleep with overfull tummies.

The days passed with much play and very soon with much food too. The adults were increasingly successful in bringing larger prey back to the lair and soon everyone was able to eat their fill. I sat thinking to myself how things had turned around. I had seen the dire straits the pack was in once Aine had shown me the peril. I was a little disturbed by the reverence shown me by my siblings and by the pack as a whole though, even in light of what Aine’s words had done to the morale of the pack. I didn’t feel she should have called me a god nor herself a goddess. I didn’t know what had led her to these actions and it disturbed me. Yes we had been a part of the great consciousness but now we were far from the source and I felt far from divine. I was small, weak.. but I had my memories of being a shark.. they had helped with the stealth techniques and the lunges… I had my memories but I knew my siblings had lost most of theirs at birth. Oh they would regain some of them when they passed back into the shadow but they were lost without them. It became clear to me that some of us must remain in the shadows to keep memories alive so we could remind the living. Aine’s place with the pack became clear now. She was the first and had passed and remained in shadow to guide them. It was THEY who had perceived her as something akin to a god. They had lost the memory of being at one. Without the reminder of Divinity in their short time as living creatures they would be lost, alone, without hope. And in this state they could not learn how to BE alone.

I began to spend more time with Aine as I found my memories became more alive when I was close to her and I enjoyed her company again as I had before, in the beginning. I understood why she had announced me as her soul mate, we belonged together, we completed each other, I was the dark to her light. I understood why she had made me a god incarnate. The others could see her as I now did but they did not share the same memories. Making me a god brought a new dimension to how she could guide her descendants, how she could teach them and bring them all closer to being gods again themselves. I was living flesh and could more easily show them how to progress as was already the case with hunting.

Summer passed and winter was drawing in. I had heard from the elders that food would be scarce as beasts migrated to warmer areas to find their own foods. I was at a loss as to how we could go about hunting fewer prey to keep us through winter. I returned to Aine to ask her of past winters and how the pack would normally survive it. The simplest answer is that they do not. Many will not survive the winter without sustenance. The old and sick and the very young and weak will all die. We will lose about a third of the pack over winter but come spring there will be new cubs again.
She sensed my dissatisfaction with this before I voiced it. She had put me into this position as god incarnate to save her descendants and that was what we had to do. I told her to get thinking about how we could keep the pack alive over winter and I would do the same. I think it is the first time our words to each other have been anything other than loving and cordial.

I went back to the pack and studied each individual. Most were healthy after a good summer, the cubs were well grown and independent of their mothers. Some of the less adept hunters were recovering from injuries but even so they were also doing well. I would not sit and idly watch as members of the family fell by the wayside one by one. I was the bringer of shadow, most of the pack had thought it meant I was the harbinger of death but I saw that with Aine at my side bringing light and healing and energy to the pack I could lead them in shadow, following our prey as they migrated. We had no need to stay where we were, if our food moved then so would we. I ventured out with the hunting pack that night and observed how they moved, how they struck and generally how they had adapted to being creatures of the night. I was surprised to see how quickly they had adapted. I was sure my plan would work. I returned with the pack from hunting, helping where I could to bring the prey to the lair and I lay amongst my kin as each tore into the fat beasts we had brought down that night. My adult teeth were well grown now and I could tear off pieces of flesh for myself and so I did until my appetite was sated. I turned from the pack then and went to Aine and told her of my plan. I can range ahead and keep track of the herds as you lead the pack in the shadows and keep them from danger, we can make this plan work together. She lowered her head to me and thanked me for being strong enough and willing enough to work a solution out.

The pack were unsure of the plan when I relayed it to them. they looked around at each other, noting weaknesses. I assured them it would not become a problem to have slower members as Aine would be keeping track of the herds for us through the day so we didn’t have to kill ourselves to keep up with them. The pack leader stood and came to me and asked if we would come back again in the summer. I said we would, that we would become as mobile as our prey, that where they went, we would follow, if they came back to their normal grounds in summer then we would return to our lair. He asked if their tributes to Aine would be safe over winter. I hadn’t thought they would be concerned with these odd pieces of bone and skin so I thought quickly about it and decided that the tributes would be buried in the ground for safekeeping, this way if another pack came across our hunting grounds over winter they would not find it lucrative, they would not see the vast array of remains left behind. We set to work burying the remains, little knowing we would not return to this lair again.

The years passed and the world changed. As we had followed our prey to avoid the coming cold, so the cold had followed us, pushing us further and further south. Unbeknownst to us, the first great Ice Age had arrived. My decision to move the pack had come at just the right time, for if we had not followed the herds we would surely have starved. As time passed the pack grew stronger and more vast. Soon our pack divided into smaller packs and moved off taking the knowledge of following herds, of how to make the kill and keep the pack alive, with them. Aine’s descendants were becoming independent of her, they were able to go out into the world alone and form new packs and new bonds. She knew it was time for her to move on and continue her own journey elsewhere. I too was becoming old and of little use to the pack any more. I had taught them all I could and could no longer keep up with them. The black shadow of my fur was now tinged with the white of snow, my eyes no longer saw as well, my bones ached and my skin sagged around me. I had not been in this shape as long as my last one, nowhere near as long, but the rigours of life weighed heavily on me. As it was Aine’s time to move on, so it was that my time was coming to a close too. I was heartbroken to be leaving the pack behind but my path now lay, at least for a time, at Aine’s side. I had no children of my own so I called for my dearest kinsman, a heavy set male with an easy attitude, and told him we would be leaving. He accepted it with grace and assured me that the bloodline was strong and would continue. He bowed his head to me and left me alone with Aine, to give me the peace to pass over and to take the time to let the pack know we were leaving them, that they were now strong enough to live without us. I knew the pack was in safe hands with him, he, more than any, walked the path of the god with wisdom and intelligence, courage and empathy. I had a feeling our paths would cross again sometime so I had not said goodbye, a word which had no meaning to the pack but had begun to have meaning for me. I lay  beside Aine, comforted by her glow and her voice. She sang a sweet song to me and soon my spirit loosed its grip on the flesh and I was shadow once more.

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Don’t Fear The Reaper

I gaze at the form I have left behind and wonder how the elements will dispose of it and recycle it. It was a nice form while I was in it and I had become quite attached to it. I had spent so much time in that form that I no longer recognised the land around me, not the plants nor the not-plants. There were more not-plants than plants. I began to distinguish differences between the not-plants. There were the creatures of the water, fish, there were creatures that walked upon the land, animals, there were creatures with armour on the outside of their bodies, some crawling along the ground, some burrowing in it, some flying around in the air like elementals. And then there were creatures that walked on the ground and flew in the air. I learned over time that the armoured creatures were insects and the softer animals that both walked and flew were birds. I watched the birds with great interest. They seemed to have such grace in flight that they were as close to elementals as possible, able to travel without difficulty over any terrain. I looked deeper around me and saw other creatures of spirit like myself. They were no longer formless things but they had taken the forms of the things that surrounded me. I saw great bird-like spirits, I saw tree spirits, insect spirits and animal spirits. The living creatures were aware of their presence and some appeared to be communicating with them. One was leading a small pack of four legged creatures to my body. The spirit was twice the size of these small animals and strode purposefully, turning often to beckon its followers, the living versions of itself, or rather I perceived the living versions which it had taken the form of. As the pack of animals reached my body the great spirit version moved aside and came towards me. The small creatures were diving into my body, ripping out chunks of the flesh. I looked with some fear, then, at the spirit coming towards me, wondering if it planned to try to engulf me too as its creatures were devouring my body.

You don’t recognise me, do you? I have changed much since you last saw me. And I see you have changed much also.

My spirit soared at the sound of this familiar voice. I had found her finally. We had both changed over the aeons but fundamentally we were still the same. I cursed myself for not recognising her but she chided me for it, telling me I was recovering from death, it was normal to not recognise everything, to feel lost and alone. I saw you when you stumbled on me as a fish, I felt your pain as you saw me die. Death is not something to fear, it is the natural cycle of things, the way we travel from one experience to another, the way we learn. She gestures at me to take a look at myself and with amazement I see my spirit has retained the form of the body being quickly dismembered behind her. One of my pack of worshippers is about to become a mother. Her body has created more inside her in the way Mother Earth created us the first time within herself, within her spirit. One of the new bodies lies empty within her, the spirit that was to give it life has moved on to its new challenges already and this leaves a problem for me. If the empty body stays dead within her she will be in danger of losing her life and with hers the lives of the unborn will go to. I do not want this to happen. You must do what I did when you saw me last, you must enter the body and take residence within. She knows of the trouble she is in and I have promised to find a new spirit to take the empty form, I cannot go back on my promise but no other spirits have wanted to be cats at this time. I felt your death and hoped to find someone willing to take new life straight away. Can you do this for me? 

Of course I will, how could I leave my love now I have found her, how could I leave her with problems when I could help her to solve them. I focus upon myself and change my spirit shape to match hers and prepare to enter the lifeless body within the female but then I perceive I am too large and must become much smaller. I tentatively try to reduce my size and I find I do so without diminishing me though my memories fade and some I lose altogether. She talks to me as I change, reassuring me that I will remain and will retain some of the knowledge I have learned. She begins singing then, a soft melodic tune and I feel the  lethargy I had when Mother and Father sang to me. I stumble on my spirit feet towards the female carrying my new body and leap into her womb, squeezing between the other children til I find the empty body, smaller than the rest, it seems I will have some catching up to do when I awake next. As I drift to slumber I remember what she had called these creatures. Cats. The word had a good feeling about it. It hinted of great things and the word fit her well somehow. I sank into the new body and sank into the sleep of the unborn once more.

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A Shark’s Tale

Mother Earth and Father Star sang to me then and I was lulled into sleep. I dreamt of the forms I could take but all seemed too small or too weak for me. And then I remembered, in my dream, the giant fish that had torn my love apart. I would become that creature. I had seen my love enter that creature’s body and become a new child of the Earth. If I were to have a chance of meeting her on common ground then I must take that form also.  Mother cradled me as I slept, her spirit embraced me and took me inside herself. I felt her will even as I slept, I felt her will taking my form and moulding it into that creature I wanted to become. I became afraid, afraid that I would not know how to live as this creature, unsure if I could rip another creature apart and feast upon its flesh. But I remembered again that vision of my love, her joyous rapture at beginning this cycle of life again. She had felt pain upon her death but she was soon free of it and soon sleeping the slumber of the unborn, regenerating her spirit as her new form grew about her. I relaxed into Mother’s embrace and allowed her will to form me.

I eventually awoke, I don’t know how long I slept, but I awoke in the waters of Mother’s womb. She sensed me awaken and with a gentle push she thrust me out in my new form out into the oceans that covered her, that formed her, that were the centre of her ability to procreate, that were in essence an extension of her spiritual womb. I moved through the waters with ease, my new skin tingling with the sensation of the water, I could feel, through my skin, other creatures close by, others like myself and others not like myself, some much smaller, some vastly bigger. The skin across my eyes separated and I could see, I swam around looking with my newborn eyes, tying in the information they were giving me to the information I was getting from my skin. I stopped swimming, briefly as it turns out, as I felt waves of nausea and dizziness over me when I was not moving which faded as I moved again and shook my head from side to side. The gills along the side of my, I suppose you would call it neck, seemed only to function fully when I moved. I accepted that I had to keep moving in order to breathe, accepted I needed to breathe to live, I was dependant on small amounts of air within water for my functioning as a living creature of flesh. I also came to realise that it was elements of earth that made up my body, elements of fire that made my nervous system function, passing signals from my brain to the rest of my body. It was complex to be a living creature, needing all the elements to exist, of course I was both water and spirit so I made the larger contribution to the body and indeed it was my spirit which controlled this body, I made it move, I was the origin of the signals in the brain that told my body what to do.  Whilst I was asleep in the womb I had been getting information from the elements making up my body, feedback from the organ called the brain, I had a crash course in controlling the form, what I had to think about and what I could set to auto-pilot for the elements that made up the brain to disseminate information to the other organs of my body on the work they must do. All I had to think about was keeping moving, finding food and not becoming food… I thought this would give me plenty of time to think about searching for my love.

Years passed and I grew and grew in both size and experience. I was a feared creature by almost all, only my kind and larger than my kind held no fear. I had had battles with my kind, I had to dominate my territories, fight for new ones as I relinquished old ones as I continued searching the waters for my love. They had been tough battles and I carried scars as did my opponents, but we never killed each other so we did not fear, we just did what was necessary. It became known amongst my kind that I did not keep a hunting territory for long, I was always moving on to new ground. Word spread, if word is the right word, that it were easier to allow me to take a territory and to fight over the old one as there was always a fresh supply of hunting grounds in my wake. I took from each territory only enough to get me to the next so there was always plentiful supply of food. More years passed and I eventually had covered the entire ocean, or so I thought. I had changed the waters on the face of mother before but they had been changed again. I wondered what else had changed and decided to try for dry land.  A foolish choice in hindsight. I ended up beached on a distant shore. This body would not survive if I could not get back to water and as the Earth’s sister travelled on her celestial path the waters receded and I was stranded, slowly drowning.  I thought back over the life I had lived so far, saw how much time had passed and wondered what I had done with it all, why I had squandered it on meaningless pursuits. I had been this creature for so long and yet it felt so little, I needed more time, wanted more time. I drew my last breath and realised I had had plenty of time, I had learned much, had covered much water in my search, it was time to let go and move on to new hunting grounds.

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Mother Earth

The Little Blue Dot, Eden, Paradise. All these names can describe this mass of elements dancing around this small, yellow star. I will be calling it ‘home’. Home because I am welcomed here, home because my brothers and sisters abide here. Home because this is where I choose to live in this, my youth. I may be immeasurably old in comparison to the fleeting life forms that abound here but I am still growing, still learning, still rash and impulsive and so this is home because I choose to grow up here. And home because my spirit senses that the one I search for is here also, so my heart is here. She has thus far eluded me but I know I will find her here. For now I have surrendered myself to this planet, to this mother, to allow her to mould me as she will. She sings to me continually and the life forms on her serenade me, urging me to take a leap of faith and join them and experience this thing they call life.

This may be home but it is still strange to me, I am not yet used to the elements joining together to form cells. The tiny size of them makes me afraid, afraid of diminishing further. My fear holds me back from joining them fully and I roam the planet in my familiar form, a dark shadow across this beautiful expanse of blue and green. I find others like me, my brothers, and I join with them and together we roam across the surface. We cross the land and as we do we change it, we repel the light waters and leave bare earth behind us. Mother chides us and urges us to work with the light waters, to work with all the elements, for that is what we are, we are elementals. 

And so we learn to work with our sisters and brothers both light and dark and under mother’s guidance we transform her face and her core. We sweep through the seas, herding the waters into distinct areas, leaving behind bare earth where Mother allows it. Under her guidance we create a habitat on the bare earth, encouraging the creatures in the life-giving seas to venture out and bask in the warmth of their Father’s light. Soon the bare earth is covered with green creatures, Mother calls them plants, and then other creatures emerge from the seas, taking shelter and sustenance from the plants. Mother gives names to them all, insect, bird, animal… I cannot tell the difference but she assures me that they are. For now I shall call them plants and not-plants until I have learned Mother’s wisdom and can distinguish them better. She laughs at me and tells me to use my eyes, to see the creatures and to see their differences, she tells me that even the plants are not just plants, that there is just as great diversity within them. I am eager to please Mother by learning the lessons she wants to teach so I take time away from my brothers and just sit and watch the passing of time and the evolution of the creatures that are born and die upon her. Yes, I learn of death. The physical form is constantly changing as the spirit within outgrows the form. The spirit separates from its physical shell which returns to Mother to be used again by other creatures, as food or as shelter until we, the elements, strip away the components to their raw base and scatter them on our sister, Air. Without realising it I have become a part of the machinations of Mother, part of the ground team that recycle and replenish. I am content with my role and do it with vigour, sometimes a little too vigorously and I am chided for causing chaos by returning the physical forms to elements before their time has run its course. Mother calls me her natural disaster, not in malice but in love. She tells me it is good for her children to know uncertainty, to know fear. This shocks me but I gradually begin to understand. Without adversity her children become complacent and just revel in life rather than seeking out learning, their purpose for being. I realise that I too must learn and grow, I cannot just play with the seas, goading them into covering the earth now and then, or gathering the clouds together with brother Air and holding them until they cover vast areas and cannot hold their water any longer, guiding them then to areas of land and watching with glee as they pour their contents across a saturated earth, laughing as the flood waters rise and carry off plant and animal alike, returning them, dead, to the seas from which they first came. I remember also why I came to this place, I remember I am searching. I didn’t forget her, but without being able to find her and having so much to do for Mother to gain, I thought, her love, that I found I had no time to search.

Mother tells me she loves me anyway and that I should not have left it so long to find my other half. She urges me to take time for myself to search and so I do. I take leave of my brothers and set out across the face of Mother again, her song to me one of encouragement and constancy. I spend time coursing through the rivers that weave through the lands. She is not in any of them, nor is she on any of the land. I head for the oceans, skimming across the surface like fog. I venture down into the depths of the ocean and search and search and search. I had not realised how vast the oceans were, and this one was the smallest of them all. I do not find her so I cross land again until I reach the shores of the next ocean and again I skim the surface and then venture deeper. Eventually I find her but she is too busy fleeing from a predator fish to notice me. The predator catches her, tearing her in half and I call out in horror as I see her flesh falling apart and being devoured. But then I sense her spirit, it flows around me and I hear her laughing. I sense her spirit lunge into the giant fish that just ended her life and see her take up a new form, a tiny cell within this vast creature, a tiny cell that is growing and dividing and becoming something new, a new form of life within the one that took her life from her. I have just witnessed the miracle of reincarnation, the process of dying, becoming spirit and becoming flesh once more. I follow this giant mother fish but she is aware of me, senses my destructive nature and flees, faster than I can move and so I lose sight of her. I feel the pain of loss most keenly again and I float aimlessly through the vast ocean, creatures fleeing before me without being noticed. I unleash my pain on the surrounding waters and they rise up against me, heaving me across the expanse before depositing me quite unceremoniously on a distant shore. I lay on the sands in a daze, I have just felt the full force of the elementals of Light water, they would not allow me to take out my anger and sorrow on their creatures and so have left me to Mother. Her spirit embraces me and in time my sorrow and anger subsides. I realise I have found her despite the vast size of the Universe, that this planet was minuscule in comparison, that I would find her again, it would just take patience and perseverance, things I now realised I had in abundance if I just tapped into them. I sense Mother smiling at my realisation and my spirit lightens. I even find myself enjoying the heat of Father’s touch. They both speak to me now, talking of how I could become flesh and find her without repulsing other creatures with fear of my true self. My fear of diminishing becomes insignificant next to my need to find her again. My next adventure awaits me, an adventure to come together with other elements to form a body of flesh, to take the form of a living creature finally.


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Lord Tetclist

In the beginning there was just me. One vast consciousness. Aeons passed this way, time unmeasured and immeasurable  And then I made the decision to do something with myself, to make more of myself and so it began with a division. Let there be light and dark, and it was so and I was still me but with two aspects. Let there be male and female, and it was so and I was still me but with four aspects. And so the divisions continued until one day I split into two and became her and me. She was vast and beautiful, bright and shining and warm. I was dark and secret, cold and silent.  I no longer knew what she was thinking, only what I thought and this was new and strange and unnerving. We developed more from a need to communicate, to know the thoughts of each other and so we developed what can only be described as telepathy. We tuned our minds to each others and we could hear each other’s thoughts. And it was good and it was exciting, we communicated for aeons, enjoyed the company of the other but it grew stale and we had to grow once more. As we divided we diminished, losing ourselves to others that sprang up in the void. This made me feel something I had not felt before: fear. Fear I would be lost completely, fear I would lose her completely and she felt the same so we strove to keep our contact with each other, to keep us from vanishing utterly. But we had no reason to fear. The division was creating new ones from us, taking some of our personality but leaving most, instead building on that which was taken and then duplicating what remained. And so where there was one, now there were an infinite number of souls floating in the void.

As the aeons passed we realised, she and I, that we were no longer the main whole but a small portion of it, that we had been divided off from the whole. Our fear subsided but our yearning to be together continued unabated. The greater consciousnesses, the Light and the Dark, were now working together to build structure for the rest of us to reside within, a structure that would allow us to grow and become like them, our greater counterparts. We were diminished but we had potential to grow but we needed to be challenged. The first change for us was becoming material, no longer floating wisp-like in the void as mere consciousness or spirit but now floating with physical form in a Universe of both physical and spiritual, or in modern terms, particles and waves. The Universe was both and so were we. I saw her then and she was beautiful to my newborn eyes, vast and shining, her inner fire illuminating that which surrounded her. But fear gripped me once more as I saw her drifting away from me. The wrench of separation was almost too much to bear. I heard her weeping and wept also. Weeping long until she was past my range of sight, weeping for centuries until I could bear it no more and pushed against my companions and set myself floating in the direction she had gone. I had to find her, had to be with her, had to make myself whole once more. As I moved through the Universe I discovered that my form was not the same as all others. My spirit was fluid within me, and it could stretch ahead of my physical form and then pull me along in its wake. I stumbled over solid spirits, spirits so immoveable I could do nothing but go around them, I stumbled over stars and their fire caused me pain and I was repelled from them with a hiss. My journey would not be easy and I no longer knew if she and I could be together, I did not know what form she had been given. I passed through other spirits, other elements, found I mingled with those similar to me and those of a more airy nature. I hoped she was still like me or at least like these others who were almost insubstantial.

As I moved through the Universe it changed around me. All were moving towards a fixed pattern from the Light consciousness, those of us from the Dark were moving to fill the space in between. Nebulae, star nurseries, formed from the union of fire and air, stars formed and moved out spinning in a spiral dance around their mothers. And other things were forming too. Planets of earth and webs of air, rivers of water and pits of fire. Everything was coming together in a specific pattern. Stars held planets to them, planets held air around them and allowed water to flow across their surface. The universe as it is now known was coming into being. I passed now through the centre of the Universe where a mass of light and a mass of dark lay. These were my parents, this was where I had come from. I felt joy and elation but still I longed for her and so I turned my back on my parents and continued my journey.

I came to a standstill as I looked upon a small galaxy of stars, several nebulae and a black and hungry mass. Particles of light from one small star within this galaxy flew past me on their own journeys. As they passed me they sang to me, sang songs of a world that was growing, that was the most beautiful thing to behold, sang of their sadness to have left it behind. I urged myself forward once more and followed this train of light to its source. I stayed just outside of its reach and looked upon the dance of planets around it. A small planet of blue and green and white caught my attention as it twirled past me in the joyous dance of life. This planet was not like others. It had the voice of a mother singing to her children in the same way that the stars sang to their planets I focused and listened to her song and in brief pauses I heard her star singing back to her, the song of a lover for his mate. The other planets had their songs too, songs of love and passion, war and hate. I listened again to the song of this little blue and green planet and was stunned to hear millions upon millions of songs joining with hers, the song of children! I moved in closer and saw the blue was from water, the white from air mixing with water to form clouds, the white at the poles from water become like earth, solid yet fluid. All the elements were here and they were working together without strife to create something I had not seen before. The surface of the planet was covered in new life, life with form so beautiful it made me weep, vast in its differences yet so similar in that all the elements were within each one in some way or another. Harmony. Paradise. I decided to rest here a while to replenish my energy for the continued journey to find her.

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Four Squared : The Final Transformation

As in the real world matter has its opposite or antagonist of dark matter, so the astral world has opposites within it. The natural balance is now in jeopardy though and all of creation is threatened.

It has been an eventful month. 28 days ago we were tasked by the Guardians of the Watchtowers to take the forms of the elementals themselves. Paralda, Queen of Air gave us this task with the promise of great power should we achieve the forms and perform a further task for her and the other Guardians. Now we are about to greet the Guardians once more and find out what task they have in store for us. I have no doubt it will be something quite difficult, power does not come without its price. Mastering the forms has been relatively easy, mastering their abilities has proved challenging, especially with only one night to master each of four forms. The circle is cast and we invite the Guardians to watch over it once more. Queen Paralda instructs us to form a cone of power just with our thoughts and will and then directs us to release the power to the four quarters. The circle begins to glow brightly and then fades to a whisper as the Guardians draw on our power. They all enter the circle together from their realms beyond the veil and bow before us. I begin to understand now how Paralda had been able to cross into the realm of the circle on the last full moon ritual where we transformed Aunt Lettie back to human form. There had been an excess of power which drew her across the veil. Now whilst the circle allows us to see past the veil it does not allow travel between, in normal circumstances at least and at least in these modern times when the practitioners of the ancient arts are few and far between. I catch a glimpse of the past and remember how my ancestor, who began the Book of Shadows that started this journey, Lettie’s sister, had detailed how they had communed directly with the elementals and the Guardians, joining with them in the Spiral Dance. Queen Paralda steps forward to speak.

In the beginning we were all one. One consciousness floating in the void. We lacked purpose and we lacked knowledge of ourself. We grew in awareness over the uncounted and uncharted aeons until we realised we should grow. That growth began with a split, first into light and dark, then into masculine and feminine and this splitting continued. Even in the midst of this division, though, we thought as one. And then our consciousness divided also and now we were two, one dark and one light. From each then grew masculine and feminine and from there the division continued. We learned from this and thought of new ways to change and grow. Eventually we took the step from consciousness without form to form with consciousness, the elements were created, both light and dark. What you see before you now is the result of that division, we are the elements of the light. We became masculine and feminine as you see us before you now. Our dark counterparts are present in your reality, another result of the continuing division of ourself. Now this division is not a bad thing, indeed it is the opposite. We learn from our experiences and that was the goal of the decision to grow. Growth of the spirit, of the consciousness, is from learning and experience. We strive constantly to learn and to learn about ourself, to explore this creation of ours and so see what it is that we are. Everything went well until recently. 

Gone are the days of old where each creature knew its place in the whole, remembered its roots. Humans, the pinnacle of evolution in the mortal realm, are beginning to prove our downfall. Humanity has lost its way. There are those who have forgotten the truth that we are all one, they follow a false truth and bring division where there should be equilibrium. They turned on those who had the truth and who followed its teachings and revered their root in the Divine, understood their place within the Divine. And it happens again with a different tribe now. Fighting with ourself will only lead to our own destruction. Peace must be restored, the Natural Balance must be restored. We are not saying the new paths are wrong, but they have little of what they once were, practitioners who worked with nature to maintain the balance between each division. We fight with ourself because we know something is not right, that the balance is out of line. Our goal has become lost in the race to gather material wealth, to be better than the last, to be better than the rest. Our task for you, for I, is not an easy one and it has been many years in the making, waiting for the time to be right, for the players in the game to be right, to have enough power to let us through once more to the mortal realm where we can do our work to maintain balance. Our opposite, the Dark Element, has grown in strength and in numbers. Man’s greed has fed the Dark Element, has created a god of darkness, twisted the archetypes of old into evil effigies. Man has created Satan in his own image.

I see you all understand this. I also perceive you are unsure of what it is we may need to do. We cannot destroy, we can only create or transform. The Dark Elements far outweigh the Light Elements. We must join forces together, elementals and powerful mortals, to create an army. An army which can transform some of the Dark into Light to restore the Balance. The trials and tasks you have faced have taught you what you need to know in order to lead the battle, a battle to life rather than death, to creation rather than destruction. Once we succeed, as succeed we must or else all is lost, you will have at your fingertips the power of the elements; the power to create and transform. You will just have to imagine it, think it, visualise it, and it will be.

We understand all too well the dangers of imbalance. Individually these can be physical illness or mental distress, globally it leads to the loss of ecosystems, the loss of habitat for native animals, birds, insects, fish. We have already lost countless species across the globe as a result of hunting, trophy gathering, deforestation to grow crops for humans, deforestation to provide grazing land for livestock. Green warriors fight the large corporations to save what we have left to us. But this imbalance of which Queen Paralda speaks.. the consequences are unimaginable. It would be like a black hole opening up in the centre of the Universe and swallowing everything and crushing it into oblivion. This would echo back into the spirit realms and the great consciousness of which we are all part could be swallowed whole, leaving just this second new consciousness to consume itself. It might bring a new birth but a birth of what? As I said, the consequences are unimaginable. But what are we to do?

What we need you to do is to become a tesseract, a cube within a cube, creatures of four dimensions. Your physical selves are 4 individuals with 3 layers of power. You have the power innate within yourselves from the alignment of the Universe at the time of your births, the power from your names given to you by parents descended directly from the bloodlines of archetypes, the power you have found within yourselves which stems from the Divine. 4 to the power of 3. Now you have stepped into the spiritual realms by taking on the shapes of the elements and each shape comes with its own triplicate power. When you take the forms of the elements as a group you become a cube within a cube, a cube in the physical and a cube in the spiritual. Together your powers are infinitely greater than ours as elementals, residents of the spirit realm. You will need guidance to perform your task, we need you to remove the veil between our worlds so we may step out of the Circle and enter the mortal world to join battle with you.

We asked you to take the forms of all the elementals and not just your own because you need to work together in harmony and to do that you each have to know what you can do in the forms taken. You also need to be able to direct our forces to where they can be most effective, knowing the skills and power of each will let you direct us efficiently. Our opposites are four, a match for ourselves, but their minions reside in your world, and they are numerous. We must enter your world to confront their minions and take them for our own, convert them from negatives to positives, redress this imbalance before it spreads to the Universe herself. Once we begin, our opposites will manifest to confront us all, it will be down to you four, our tesseract of power, to subdue them. They have become power hungry and blind to the end game, the goal of us all, to learn of ourself. So, let us join, one and all, in the Spiral Dance, loose our bonds which hold us outside of the mortal realm.

We join together around the outermost edge of the circle and begin our deosil dancing, power rising within us all, the threads of power spreading out to join at the centre of the circle’s dome, like ribbons on a maypole. The threads created, we being to weave in and out around each other, the mortals dancing deosil and the Guardians dancing widdershins. The threads of power grow into broad ribbons of energy that crackle and spark as they touch each other, forming new threads between themselves so the result looks almost like warp and weft threads in loom. We dance still and we come together, closer and closer until a vast energy core is made and as we touch one last time the energy burst outwards, shattering the veil of the circle and revealing the mortal realm beyond.

We all look around, in wonder at first as we see the Guardians solid and real standing with us. This elation is quickly soured by the realisation that we are surrounded by similarly solid and real entities that can only be the dark opposites of our Guardian’s minions. Some might look on them as monsters for their tasks are to wreak havoc amongst the mortal realm where the elementals task is to create harmony. They surround us in ranks, no mixing between them. They are all familiar to me, familiar from myths and legends, creatures dismissed as fantastical creations of fevered imaginations. They stand between the cardinal points, ranks of goblins and vampires, lycans and grey ones. The goblins are short and spindly, green skinned bearing spears dripping with poison. The   vampires are tall and ivory skinned, fangs bared in grim smiles. The grey ones are almost featureless except for huge, dark, oval eyes, their arms in front of them, their long fingers weaving the air. The lycans, eyes burning bright, hackles raised, stand bent almost double, ready to drop to all fours and leap upon their prey, their muzzles curled into a gruesome snarl. In the brief moment it has taken us to take stock of what surrounds us the Guardians have pulled through their own minions.

Without thinking we mortals have shielded ourselves with our elemental forms, invisible to the mortal eye but very real around our physical forms. We have become the tesseract, physical entities with a spiritual form as well as a physical, power beyond comprehension flowing through us. We raise our power together to form a protective shield around us and our allies. One of the lycans charges at us and hits the shield, bouncing back and snarling at us, foam frothing around its lips and dripping to the ground. A spear flies through the air at us and pierces the shield, as it penetrates I focus on it and change it, changing it from a weapon of assault to a shield of defense. Ghobb leaps in the air and grabs this new shield as it falls then passes it to his closest minion. More spears are thrown and as they penetrate we change them. Soon we have a line of gnomes about us holding two shields each. A grey one approaches next, fingers weaving before it, it reaches out and pushes its hand slowly through our protective barrier. Paralda’s sylphs swarm around it as it enters fully. We, the tesseract, focus on it and force a charge of energy upon it until it itself is charged with positive energy and transforms into the form of a sylph. Our first true success in this battle. More of the grey ones come forward and try the assault as a group. It takes no effort at all to charge them and change them. Paralda suggests that we no longer need her guidance in the matter, that we have in fact taken charge and shown the course of action to take. The minions of our Guardians rally around each of us, grouping with us according to our elemental superform. The attacks come from all sides now, some insinuating themselves through the shield slowly, others striking and tearing at it with spear or tooth and claw. Each one through becomes turned and in turn fights for our side, turning their own brethren to the light. A few succeed in using our tactics against us and some of our number are transformed into creatures of the dark, but the power of the tesseract is unbreakable and soon the numbers are equal on both sides and then we begin to outnumber them.

An unspoken ceasefire ensues, neither side seeing any benefit in continuing. The air crackles around us and we sense the approach of  more powerful creatures, the difference between minions and leaders. A huge wolf-like creature appears in the midst of the lycans. Its fur is black with flashes of silver around the mouth, eyes and ears, white stripes around wrists and ankles. Its belly hangs low and flashes of pink reveal it to be female. She moves to the front of her pack and sits on her haunches, raises her head and howls before fixing her gaze upon Djinn and Joe. From the midst of the goblins strides a female figure, skin emerald green, shining in the light of the full moon. A short skirt of leather hangs around her gaunt hips, her hand gripping a spear. Her chest and stomach are bare and reveal a series of nipples with small mounds of breast tissue running underneath them in a series of peaks. Her hair is long and matted like dreadlocks on a Rastafarian. She comes forward to meet the gaze of Ghobb and Agnes. Next comes the leader of the grey ones. It is almost a foot taller than its minions making it about 9 feet tall. It wears a suit of black with its buttons on the gentleman’s side, the only thing that gives its gender away as male. It fixes its gaze upon Paralda and Lettie. Finally, the lord of the vampires comes forth. Tall and young, a firm jaw and glittering blue eyes, black, glossy hair neatly coiffed into a soft look, a downy beard on his jaw line and lip. He stands with feet apart, shoulders down and chest forward. He is dressed in an almost military style suit of black with red trim, a dagger at his belt and a cloak draped haphazard across one shoulder. His gaze fixes upon Nixsa and upon me. I cannot help but feel a spark of attraction to this creature.

The lords of the dark elementals move closer together and, likewise, so do we. We end up facing each other like two great armies on the battlefield. The young vampire lord steps to the front, “It seems we are at an impasse. Perhaps it is time for parley  Who speaks for you?” I look around at Queen Paralda who steps forward, “I speak for the elementals, the mortals should speak for themselves.” I look around at our group and without words I am nominated as the leader which seems a little unfair to me, I am the youngest of them all, I feel an older and wiser head should be elected, but despite my silent protest they all stand firm. “I am nominated as the voice for the tesseract” I say, reluctance in my voice to which the vampire lord smiles. “Then let us lay enmity aside and parley  I am certain we may come to an agreeable settlement.

We sit on the floor, the light elementals to the right and the dark elementals to the left with us, the tesseract, between them both. “Introductions would be a good place to start I feel. You, mortals, know the names of our opposites, they know your names, we are a mystery to you both as you, mortals, are unknown to us. Allow me to begin. I am Lord Tetclist, lord of vampires, Queen Klaab, lady of the goblins, Queen Soo’resh, bitch of the lycans and Thraxa’xab’ojnx, general of the greys.” He looks directly to me, his eyes seeing through to my very soul, or so it seemed. “This is Joseph, son of Pan, Agnes, daughter of the stars, Lettie, daughter of Diana. I am Arin, grand-daughter of Diana.” “How wise of you to emphasise your lineage. Your companions chose you well as their voice. I hope you will prove challenging to me.

He holds my gaze a few moments longer before encompassing the rest of us in his gaze. “I know that you all want the balance restored. This would be an easy thing to agree upon. However, I am tired of my existence as it is. I have outgrown my role. I would bargain with you. I will step aside from my role as leader of the vampires, a new lord shall take my place and agree to keep the balance. I want to grow however, I need a new role to challenge me. I want other things also, I want companionship, love, perhaps even a family of my own. But I do not want a mere mortal existence. I do not want just any companion. I want Arin. And I want to be an archetype. I am ready to transcend this existence and so is Arin though she does not yet know it. Arin and I, we are both ready to lead the mortals of this realm, those who still know or follow the truth. I lied when I said we did not know you, mortals, I have known Arin for a very long time.” He stands then and offers his hand to me. “Are you amenable to my proposition?

I flounder and look around at my companions and allies. I do not know how to react. Yet Queen Paralda seems sure of herself and stands and takes my hand in hers. “I am amenable as are my allies. This alliance between you both is fore-ordained. All of this has been in preparation for this moment.” And with that, Paralda offers my hand to Lord Tetclist. “Do you both agree to this joining?” My mind struggles with the concept but my heart and soul know this to be the way forward, I know this creature even though we have just met, I …. love… this creature. I cannot explain it but from the moment his eyes met mine I felt a pull on my soul. I look deep into his eyes and my inner eye sees him for what he is, the negative to my positive, the maleness to my femininity, the key to my lock. My mind explodes with knowledge, I remember my past lives, remember who I was before creation, remember him always being there, the other half of me. I nod for that is all I can do. He smiles and nods also. “You will each take your true name in this coupling of twin souls. Lord Tetclist, you will revert to your true name, Ephah, bringer of darkness. Arin, daughter of Diana, you will revert to your true name Aine, goddess of light. Together you will mend the breach between us all. Your apotheosis will be complete when you seal your coupling and the Universe will rejoice!” As Paralda speaks our names everything becomes clear to me. I see the beginning and the division. This mortal human brain is not big enough to comprehend the knowledge it is holding, I lose consciousness.. and awaken to Ephah’s lips on mine, my body caught in his embrace. I kiss him back and, as we kiss, our bodies transform into something more. Mine fills with light, his fills with a core of darkness, my skin becomes silver and his takes a golden hue and lastly, from our shoulders mighty wings form, mine the colour of a dawn sky, his the colour of a twilight sky. The elementals, both dark and light, and my mortal companions, bow down before us, our apotheosis is complete and balance is restored. The world has two new deities to lead them into a bright new age of learning and aspirations.

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Web storage

Ok, so last week we did clearing out your cache, this week’s a quickie.

What IS web storage? Well, if you have adobe flash player, ie the free software thing that lets you watch video clips on your browser (the thing you access the internet by) be it on your Facebook news feed (where you find all the stuff that’s been posted recently) or on a friend’s Facebook Timeline, or play some flash games like Farmville or Candy Crush Saga etc., you will have a little spot on the adobe website that stores additional data on the web rather than on a piece of hardware inside your computer (the cache we covered last week is stored on your hardware). To see what is stored on the adobe web storage you need to follow this link here which will show you exactly what is stored as an interactive little window, interactive meaning the picture on the page is something you can interact with rather than just a photograph.

Once you have clicked the link you will see something like this


There are different things you can do on this web page but for now, what you want to do is click the button marked “Delete All Sites” You will get a pop up box to confirm, click “ok” and the list of nasty little bits of useless data will disappear,. Now if you do delete something that you use often  don’t panic, next time you try to do that it will ask you if you want to use web storage or it will automatically open a bit of web storage space. You won’t lose anything important by doing this but it will make your browsing experience smoother. This is because you have just cleared out the filing cabinet of its dust bunnies and your new browsing will make a new file if necessary.

It’s a basic maintenance that should be done every month or so depending on how heavily you use the internet. Whenever you go online little dust bunnies of data are made and stored here and if you leave dust bunnies long enough they breed and eventually slow your system to a crawl as your browser wades through each little packet to find the one you need right now. Think of it like bleaching your toilet, each data packet is a bacteria sat under the rim and if you leave it long enough it will get bigger and you will notice it and it will start to smell pretty bad, get the gloves on, get your plunger and squirt the bleach right under the rim.. that’s what the button “Delete All Sites” does for you, it gets right under the rim and cleans out everything.

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Four Cubed : the Four Elements

Well, that was quite a turn up for the books, wasn’t it? A task from the Guardians with an offer of even more power. We’re only really just getting to grips with the amount of things we can do with our powers as they are. We have just a few days to prepare for our first transformation into elementals, luckily Lachlan is going to help us out, he’s contacted other spirit guides to help us get to grips with the forms and what we can do whilst in them. This first time will be to learn the shapes or forms of the elementals, to really become familiar with their trappings and traits. The spirit guides will take human shape, as Lachlan does, and will transform back to their elemental forms as we observe them. We know the forms of the elementals but it is another thing to transform into something less familiar in our day to day lives. The elementals of Air for example, are wisp like and occasionally can be seen within clouds, an insubstantial form which can coalesce into human form, often mistaken to be ghosts, not something we see every day or realise we actually do see every day. Gnomes, the elementals of Earth, short, humanoid creatures, always dressed for battle, never without a shield, and something earthy about them, as if they are made from living clay, something the ancients tried to mimic by creating golems by using clay from the earth to make the shape then magic to imbue life or a semblance of life into them. These days only familiar to those who play fantasy games on their computers or the dungeons and dragons community. The salamander, a creature which we are familiar with but don’t realise are not actually creatures of earth but are creatures of the ether, elementals of Fire. And lastly the one we hear described by sailors of old, the Undine, elemental of water, the mermaid of myth, humanoid but with the tail of a fish or dolphin, seen less now that humans are mastering the sea more, but still rumoured to be the creatures who take the souls of those lost at sea into the afterlife.

Our first trial is upon us. We are anxious to get the transformations right. This is the first task set to us by the Guardians: to learn the forms and take our elemental forms. Lettie will be taking the form of the sylph, Joe the salamander, I will take the form of an undine and finally Agnes will take the form of the gnome. We begin by creating a circle in the living room, the weather is stormy and not conducive to our needs, even though once the circle was drawn around the altar stone the weather would not affect us it is still something we prefer not to do with everything else on our minds to do tonight. So the circle is cast and we have the Guardians on hand we now proceed to draw summoning, or invoking, pentagrams on the floor at each cardinal point to allow the elementals who are going to guide us to more easily transition across the inner space between the realms.


Each pentagram is drawn by the one who will be taking the form of the elemental they are summoning.

Lettie is first and takes my athame and draws the blade in accordance with the diagram to invoke and summon the sylph who will guide us. As the pentagram completes a pretty young female appears, standing in human form upon the pentragram which, while insubstantial in the reality of our world, within the reality of the circle it is glowing, a blue tint to the incandescence. She steps to the side of the pentagram, and we see her clearly. She is quite childlike, average height but young and slender in a gown of sky blue that drifts and floats around her as if a breeze stirs it. She would look like the stereotypical prom queen if it were not for the blue great-sword at her side, it’s blade sparkling with an inner light, a giant blue sapphire on the pommel and smaller sapphires encrusted on the hilt, each one magnifying the sword’s inner glow so that it sparkles and dazzles the eye. She curtsies and then offers to Lettie a silver sword about half the size of the sword she carries, then stands with her feet slightly apart and both hands resting upon the sword hilt, the point of the blade resting just above the oak floorboards of the living room.

Joe is the next to summon his elemental, Fire. He takes my athame from Lettie and draws upon the ground the summoning pentagram. As it completes it begins to glow with a red tint and young man appears, dressed in full armour, but without a helmet, like burnished steel with a cloak of fiery red draped forward across one sholder, he bears a staff of living wood. The bark is still intact on the staff, it is pale like silver birch. Entwined around the staff are tendrils of ivy and at the crown of the staff flowers are budding and blooming from the staff itself. I cannot tell what sort of tree the staff was cut from, certainly none that live in the physical world as I know it. He steps to the side of the pentagram and, with quite a flourish, bows to us, offers a wand of the same wood to Joe then stands in similar attitude with both hands gripping the staff at waist height.

I am next and I take my athame from Joe and inscribe the pentagram on the floor, as expected, Lachlan appears but he appears in the prescribed human form of water and not the form I am familiar with. For one, he is now SHE. Lachlan stands in the pentagram which is glowing a soft aquamarine, he…she… is in the form of a slightly older woman, wearing a gown that is almost like a sari with long lengths of cloth wrapping around his… HER… torso, then flowing up over her shoulder, wrapping around her torso once more before flowing around her legs and finishing with a train not quite central at the back which gathers and flows around her feet like waves lapping at a sandy beach. The material of the gown shimmers, almost iridescent like scales on a fish, the colours shifting between blues and greens. She holds a large silver goblet in each hand. She moves to the side of the pentagram, curtsies and then pours water from the goblet in her right hand into the one in her left. She hands the goblet from her left hand to me and I accept it with a bow. She then stands with her feet together, the remaining goblet between both hands, her head slightly bowed.

Agnes is last, taking my athame she draws the pentagram for earth, it glows deep orange, like the colour of red clay. An old man appears on the pentegram. His hair, moustache and beard are all sparkling white and all flow around his face. He wears a deep brown monk’s habit, a long tunic to the knees with a cowl softly framing his face and a belt of rope around his waist, paler brown woollen hose cover his legs. Like fire before him, his feet are covered but in this case they are soft leather boots that reach up to the ankle. On a long, gold chain he wears a pentacle of gold and silver. He supports himself with a wooden staff which is carved at the top to resemble a caduceus. He moves to the side, as did the others, and this time his gift is four pentacles, which he deftly slips out of the pentacle at his chest, three of silver and one of gold, which he hands to Joe wordlessly and then he bows and stands taking support on his staff which is now in his left hand.

The elementals are now gathered in their prescribed human forms, each facing the one who summoned them. In turn they shift into their true forms. Air shifts into a wisp of cloud. She shifts slowly enough that we can see her body dissolve from the outside in and we see that her form is a skin, with nothing underneath, she dissolves until she floats like a series of miniature alto-cumulus clouds in the spot where she had stood. Fire shifts and takes the form of a fire salamander, or Salamandra salamandra, with a body covered in scaley skin of a black colour with markings of bright yellow. Again the shift is slowed so we can follow it and again it is as if the human form is merely a skin, the aroumd blackens to form the skin, the cloak melts into the armour and changes colour, the limbs shrink and a tail grows, the head becomes flatter and broader, the mouth wider. Lachlan transforms next and his transformation goes similarly, revealing the outer form to be a skin only. S/he shifts slightly, the gown around her legs wrapping tightly, the yards of material forming the train shorten and become solid, scales form on the legs and torso up to the breasts and then the scales dwindle at her décolletage into a pale green skin, her hair lengthens and curls about her shoulders, uncomfortable standing on what is now her tail she seats herself, bending at the waist and halfway down her tail portion to a kneeling position then resting back on her pelvis, her tail portion curling around her for support. Finally Earth transforms, shrinking in height to about half of what he was, the long beard and moustache darkening to iron grey and shortening too , his hair changes colour too, this time to green and shortens until it looks like grass upon his head. His clothing changes too and now resembles leather armour, his staff and pentacle now join to form a wooden shield with metal embossed in the front.

And now it is our turn to transform. Lettie goes first. Her face is a mask of concentration and as we watch her, her edges begin to loosen, becoming indistinct. this follows through her body til she appears ghost-like and then her atoms flow and pale until she is a widespread sheet of cloud, then she coalesces and begins to resemble a cumulos, like a cotton ball but a little more clumsy and stiff. She loosens again and the form becomes better, wispier but controlled. Joe goes next and with similar pace becomes a salamander, a lighter coloured skin with patches of orange and reds. And now it is my turn. I take a deep breath and release it,closing my eyes as I focus upon my own body. I visualise my hair becoming longer and finer, my dress, I chose it specially, beginning to cling tighter to my hips and legs, my legs fusing together and then elongating slightly, the hem of the dress flowing down and covering my feet and becoming like a tail. I wobble as my feet become flatter and thinner and fan out into a tail. I try as gracefully as I can to mimic the way Lachlan sat on the ground, but I feel uncomfortable curling my tail about me and instead sit as if I still had knees and ankles and feet, curling my tail so it sat underneath my pelvis. Lastly comes Agnes. She is finding it hard, it seems, to visualise herself as a gnome and she ends up with a few whiskers about her chin and lip which might be normal for the dwarves of Middle Earth but not so much for gnomes of the astral plane. Her brow furrows in concentration until, finally, she is the embodiment of a gnomish female, long hair only from the top of her head, gathered into a top-knot and otherwise clean-shaven.

I would tell you of how we go learning the abilities but I think we are in for a mighty task at the end of our series of transformations, so I shall keep those as a surprise for that. Until the full moon then, we shall be doing the same routine for each of us to learn each form. I don’t want to bore you with that unless something catastrophic happens, which seems doubtful as we get to grips so easily it seems. Something huge is brewing so I shall leave you now to prepare your mettle for that.

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