The Gods Sail With Me / Where Sky Becomes My Mother

Where Sky Becomes My Mother

I have remembered those waters of my first beginning,
sheltering the banks on either side where I travel;
before my mother, before my father, before my earth and sky,
this deluge from which the holy mound rose on the first day.
Darkness, shade, and the snares of nightfall cannot know me,
nor can my scent reach their ravenous nostrils;
they who know time, flesh, and the bones of living men,
who seek the company of earthbound spirits to bring them down.
But the Gods sail with me when I take to the celestial waterway,
their luminescence reaching out with hallowed arms before me;
no shade can stride farther than their reach of electrum brilliance.

I am in the entourage of that dazzling heron of the first dawn,
whose plumage bespeaks the light rays of the sun,
his bill of pure gold fresh with the perfume of the lotus.
His enchantments sail with me and upon my strong arms;
like those of a god of the First Occasion, whose voice recalls the sacred flood,
my words of power pierce the cloud banks and are heard by all spirits.
Great Heron is my name when I sail the nether waterways,
when my silver-white crest is read from a distance of millions of strides;
and the spirits say of me:

“Behold!  There is one who comes among us with the torch of a god;
his savor is essence of lotus, and his plume is the crest of the sacred heron.
His beaming face is the disk of the Sun-God,
whose electrum mirror knows the uppermost sky.
See how the shades and twilight spirits flee before his feet of sharp malachite,
which have traversed the hallows where Ra the great Ram-Soul is reborn.
Smell his essence of myrrh which goes before him,
predicting his rising from the corpse of the silent earth;
but silence does not become him,
and his tongue rends the sky with divine language.
The Gods sail with him when he takes to the celestial waterway”.

My words are the memory of that First Occasion which came before men,
rippling out across the opaque waters of our beginning.
Having heard the swallows in their primordial sky,
I repeated to my heart what the Sun-God spoke when he first opened his eyes:
I summon the body of the sky from the nether waters;
the sky is my mother who shall give me birth from her body of fine gold.
I summon my light-body from her belly to burn as one of the Imperishable Stars;
she is my mantle, and I am the flame that burns for her by day.
I summon my bones as a ladder reaching up to the arms of my starry mother;
she stretches out her arms of gold for me and takes me to her breast.
I summon my hair of lapis lazuli to glint upon her shoulders by night;
she takes my shining locks to her brow as sovereign of the upper regions.
I summon the silver crescent of twilight to embrace her holy thigh;
my mother of the sky receives her eventide mantle as light of horizons.
I summon the golden net of nightfall in which flicker the souls of stars;
her breasts and thighs glisten in her veil upon which the Gods reign.
I summon my two eyes from the cover of the shady waters;
she hallows my right eye as daylight and my left eye as evening’s guide.
I summon my nostrils as the essence of that first lotus upon the flood;
she takes my breath as her voice by which the repeating dawn is heralded.
I summon my two lips in darkness and open my mouth to the waters;
she opens her dappled thighs and fills the void with her waters of the nether sky.
I summon my two ears by the east and west-facing mountains;
she breaks open her horizons at the thundering voice of my light-body.
I summon the day and the night as the two horizons of my travels;
she swallows me at dusk to give me birth on the first morning of the sky.

These are the enchantments I heard from the swallows
when the first morning clothed the naked sky with his ruddy mantle;
my eyes peering out over the celestial waterway to receive its turquoise glare,
I beheld the mound of the earth ascending from the pristine flood.
Who held back the torrent for my ship to pass when the waters surged?
The Gods sailed with me in their breath of magical power,
coming forth by daylight as the language of the Sun-God’s names;
they hold his forms and his tongues in secret,
known only to the swallows who ascend with his unceasing rays.

Great and elder sun I call out your names
when water travels fast over the banks of my earth,
when come the floods of shadow that rend boats from their moorings.
I have remembered your language from which the Unwearying Stars rose;
their lights are my lights, and their rising is my rising in the florid sky.
O banks of the earth who hold corpses fast in their trappings,
you cannot hold me in your time or your decay,
for the Gods sail with me when I go forth by day into the nether waters;
they take me round the great mooring post in heaven,
where the indestructible stars shine with the fire of my names.

Darkness, shade, and shadows cannot find me where I glimmer,
nor the snares of water catch my lotus essence where it glides.
They who know only shade will never see me as I pass,
for the light I bear turns eyes away that cannot know their beginning.
The Gods sail with me when I take to the celestial waterway,
when these eyes of mine take to the horizons where sky becomes my mother.

All text copyright © 2016 Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

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Sacred Verses (18): Coming Forth By Day

Coming Forth By Day

I have left my body behind
in the earth that hungers for flesh and bone;
flesh of my mother’s keeping, transfigured into an effigy;
bone of my father’s shaping, silent as a stone by the wayside.
Am I now a cold lamp guttering as eventide clothes the mountains?
Am I spirited from my skin and blood to become a dusky shadow
of those mountains my eyes have always seen from a distance?

There is no distance now between I and the mountains, brooding;
between I and the wayside, littered with stones;
between I and the black soil, cold without life’s footfall;
between I and the cavernous hallows where the Sun-God is swallowed.
Now I am swallowed beyond the joys of the earthly banks
where life does not tarry.

I come to the gap in the silent earth
where the fragile body of the Sun-God is swallowed by his starry mother;
the ebony plaits of her hair swinging low as the net of the naked sky.
Her fecund breasts hang down to meet my parched lips;
these wanderers in the darkness with my tongue taking suck,
fed by the luminescence of constellations in her net.
Drink!  Drink!  These dancing fires say to me.
Fill your mouth with memory,
that you may know where you have been!

But my body has long since departed;
or is it what was within my body that has departed
to become a spectral light wandering?
It is the Sun-God who wanders with me into the Mother’s celestial hallow;
his aged and shaggy body like that of an old ram.
Ba!  Ba!  Sing the stars in their net as he passes;
glinting as silver, his creaking bones through his skin;
flashing as copper and gold through the dust of the ages, his flesh;
brittle yet vivid to my downturned eyes, his locks of lapis lazuli.

“You have at last found your father”, the Sun-God said to me;
“who is received in the west when twilight comes
to kiss the Two Banks with her starry lips;
and you have found your Mother.
You enter the mouth of your Mother who receives you,
who swallows you whole as she swallows the bodies of memory,
past and present;
who swallows all that is spoken, in the past and what is yet to come;
whose hunger encircles the earth and knows no limits;
whose body is time and whose stars are the future courses
of the earth;
whose constellations unveil the seeds of distant ages;
whose ages are the roots of a great tree where the Sun goes to die.
But he is reborn from the crown of its branches,
which pierce the flank of the Sky and draw forth Her lights.
She is the Sky of the First Beginning, this Mother into whom I descend;
she who gulps down the stars and the swollen moon,
all dancing for her in their orbits around the vault.
She is the Mother who gave me my true and secret name;
the name that contains every memory since time began”.

The Sun-God was swallowed before my very eyes;
naked and bereft of all light, naked of flesh and sensual blood.
I found the crocodile in his place, whose jaws spanning miles
held the quivering light of the moon.
“I swallow the Moon-God when he has grown bloated”,
crocodile said to me;
“when he has grown fat with memory,
and competes with the stars for their light.
I devour innocence as the fresh flowers on the bank;
the wind which comes from the promise of harvest;
the black earth from which green shoots spring;
the pregnant soil of the Two Banks which know the memory of life;
the sycamore whose leaves foretell the future and whose roots
cling to the past;
youth and its seasons of dalliance and pleasure;
experience, which itself is fragile as the shell of an egg.
All of these I devour at will, like I devour the Moon-God
and grow swollen upon his luster”.

To greedy old crocodile I said:
“I shall plant myself in the black mud of my Father’s body,
and during the twilight hours I shall transform into a lotus;
a lotus of the primordial blue of the Ancient Waters,
where are found all the things that endure the ages;
for you are the hunger of age and time,
which are never sated and can never be veiled.
There are nightfall and eclipse which hunger for the sun;
drought and famine which hunger for the earth;
locust and rat which hunger for the corn;
fire and flood which hunger for the verdant fields;
barrenness and impotence which hunger for the generations;
loneliness and despair which hunger for the heart;
and you are death and putrefaction,
which ever hunger for the substance of life and form.

“But I have been given memory from the milk of my Mother;
and I have been given knowledge from the seed of my Father;
these things which are passed down and inherited
within the keep of the Mysteries.
The sky keeps them according to the courses of the stars,
who spell out in their journeys the language in which memory speaks;
and this language is unknown to death and dissolution,
which cannot unveil the uncreated nor devour the formless.
I become that sky-blue lotus clad in the Ancient Waters
before time, age, and form came into being;
thus the Sun-God is conceived in my belly,
and disperses his light to scatter the crocodiles of the abyss”.

Crocodile is eaten by the first golden beams of the eastern sky,
piercing the iron scales of his body like gilded barbs.
What death and extinction fear most is memory;
the intangible language of the ages,
which twitters in the ears of time as do swallows in the eaves by sundown.
Come little swallow, hearty and vociferous,
and give your memory to become the language of my new lips;
to pronounce the secret name of the Sun-God hidden
within the keep of the stars.

What swallow whispers in my wet ears is the conversation
of the abyss which was first heard by the Gods;
that in darkness we find our beginning,
secreted from the life of forms;
forms that dissipate and know time, and age, and death,
as all that becomes form shall know.
But the created shall migrate into the uncreated,
which is light before is passes over into the seen world;
which is seed before it bursts into the green shoots of the field;
which is sound before it is received by the ears;
which is the wind before it stirs the waters;
which is the sky after dusk and before the sun rises;
which is gold, untarnished and not birthed by the hand of man;
which is language before it is written or spoken;
which is thus memory, transferred from form to form to form;
outside time, and age, and death.

Swallow has become a falcon of gold absorbed by the sky,
whose wings now taste the courses stars have traveled.
To become as He I must look to the patterns that dance through my fingers;
illumination that plays upon the earth at our feet,
and above our heads spells out that secret name of the uncreated Sun-God.

With darkness as my womb and light as my guide,
I pass down through my many ages where the uncreated hide.
Reaching far back before the birth of my form,
to recover the pattern of language from which memory is born.

All text copyright © 2016 Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa