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An Answer: Pagan Mythology in the Shur

January 25, 2018

ithadows

An Answer: Pagan Mythology in the Shur
Matthew Sawyer AKA Mr. Binger

“The power to manifest your will is what makes you a god,” Mr. Binger, a community lecturer and alleged pagan-sympathizer, announced to the sparse persons in his audience at the University of Superior in Wisconsin. The stiff wooden seats in the auditorium discouraged attendants from sitting, so many stood bunched near the dark exits at the back of Webb hall in the Holden Fine Arts Center.

“I said it.”

They were listening, but the fact was only evident in that none would leave. The fifteen Fahrenheit degrees below freezing, outside this late January afternoon, could never dissuade a single of these burly Midwesterners – all were plump in their gender-agnostic winter clothes and accustomed to the stark weather. Mr. Binger imagined they murmured so that he felt motivated to tell everyone again about a dead religion.

“The Chosen are gone,” he told everyone lingering. “The heathen will never leave their desert. There are no terrorists here, not in northern Wisconsin, so no will be coming to hang me upside down and unzip my guts.”

Someone then grumbles. Mr. Binger thinks the coarse complaint had come from a girl, ahem, a youthful eighteen or nineteen year old woman, but the sound was difficult to distinguish. This year, just as every year, everyone suffers colds, fevers and coughs throughout the winter. Awoken from hibernation, the contagious bug inflames faces and makes cheeks red. The blush was never because the cold weather outdoors. The people of Wisconsin knew so much to always bundle themselves up to their eyeballs.

“You kids have started smoking again,” Mr. Binger said to himself. “That doesn’t help.”

“Okay,” he admits to his audience, “The content is graphic, blasphemous to the Abrahamic religions, Hinduism, the Canadian Eskimos, but as I understand, you are all adults. Also, this lecture qualifies as point-two-five of a credit for sociology, anthropology, creative writing students? Studies like those, here in this school?”

Without a response, Mr. Binger adds, “That wasn’t rhetorical, that’s really twenty-five percent of one whole credit. So, all you young people are privileged to choose, what, four lectures of this sort for a full credit. I suppose that’s better than spending your time on social networks. But, I suppose nowadays you can do that at the same time, too.”

“Yeah,” answered a muffled voice. This one had sounded suspiciously feminine.

Mr. Binger requests in general, “Well, turn off your phones and keep the volume low. I have to say that every time. And no taking videos, please. I hate seeing myself online. No pictures of me; it’s enough that I keep coming up on stage.”

“The other thing you should know,” Mr. Binger warns his audience, “This is a lecture; this is not a story. You might think this is fiction because it all sounds pretend, but this is true anthropological history. Living people in the past believed this mythology. Just like the Roman Empire and its Catholic Church, these pagan beliefs and practices still impact us individuals and our nation in the modern age. Our world began in this past.”

“What I have to present to you is information, facts. Whatever I say does not go beyond what I tell you. This is not going anywhere. There are no pagans, there are no more Chosen. I am not advocating any religion. Besides, heathens consider us all Unchosen – people who are told what to believe. I’m telling you about the things pagans believed before any of us were told.”

A stomach growls the same moment Mr. Binger stops abrupt. An echo of digestion joins the reverberation of the speaker’s voice in the tall lecture hall. Mr. Binger then ignores a subsequent noisome body function, notably not his own. The distance between him and his disperse audience allows him immunity against anything but the sound. Spread so far apart from each other, nobody acts assaulted by wafted winds.

Immediately past the ill-timed eruption, Mr. Binger says, “Okay, the universe has always been.”

“It’s hidden dimensions are only now unconcealed,” he clarified. “Forget a flat earth, the Big Bang, an expanding universe and that ridiculous contracting universe theory. Heat death? Pff. This is what pagans in the Shur believed.”

“The universe has always existed, it will always be, and there is only one universe, concealed by veils of darkness. There is space, right, but it is genuinely infinite. Space has always been there, stretched beyond the reaches of light.”

Mr. Binger pauses again. This time, he sees more uncomfortable seats have been taken. So few people stand near the exits that light from the vestibule outside is seen streamed through glass windows set in the doors. More attentive faces stare up at the elevated man, but their communal affect is of boredom. Mr. Binger has endured the reaction before; it has been each time when a reader stops reading.

“I know I’m not speaking your language, folks,” he told everyone. “You’ll get what I’m saying, I’m from here, Wisconsin, south of Madison.”

“Cheese-eaters,” a young man whooped from shadows next the exit.

The audience replies with Mr. Binger and moan a correction in unison. “Cheesemakers.”

Chuckles are quick to die. In the brief meantime, Mr. Binger says with a smile, “Think of it like this – beyond the light in the room, there is an invisible veil. Beyond that veil is darkness and another veil. There is then more darkness and another veil.”

“You get the idea,” Mr. Binger explained for everyone. “The veils are as infinite as space and the darkness themselves.”

“Pagans had a name for that darkness, for the darkness was alive. The darkness was life itself – enough life for all the dead matter in the universe.”

“That living darkness between the veils of space was called Mitencohli,” Mr. Binger deigned for his audience. “Mitencohli was consumed by Rudra, but not the mightiest-of-mighty Hindu god we know on our world. This alien Rudra was a sentient element from beyond a deeper veil. Rudra was the god who tasted life at the dawn of creation.”

“Before that breakfast, there was matter in our visible universe and beyond the veils of space, but nothing was alive. Well, Mitencohli; the living darkness was alive. We now know about the alien Rudra, and his mother and father, the flesh-less Wenwi and his obese wife, Tecolent, but they were not technically alive – not in the narrative sense.”

“These three were sentient elements before they became gods; Rudra was to Wenwi and Tecolent as Helium is to Hydrogen. He was always inevitable, as was his brother Awaran – as the pagans believed. All three consumed the living darkness trapped in the skeletal chest of Rudra, for Rudra barely contained Mitencohli, but he holds on. That is why we have light.”

Mr. Binger clears his throat and he helps to redirect the droning thoughts of his audience. He waits while one old-fashioned university student finishes scratching graphite against desiccated hemp pulp. Mr. Binger then asks, “Where did Mitencohli and the sentient elements come from?”

“Like I said, they have always been there. Without the life of darkness, the sentient elements remained inert.”

“How do we know this?” he further asked.

At the same time, Mr. Binger declares, “Tablets.”

A single cough then a throat clearing from squeaky seats prompts the speaker to explain, “Sandstone tablets were smuggled out of the Shur years ago – after the fall of Khetam and the Chosen were decimated.”

“They were old – the stone tablets were – ancient. Pagan.”

Yet excited by the illicit discovery and the mythology that was unveiled, Mr. Binger interjects, “We learned, Rudra tasted the living darkness when Mitencohli went hunting for food. The darkness first touched the sentient element – that’s an important point, a universal truth. Life was hungry, then itself was eaten.”

“Ahem,” he said upon realizing the topic of his speech had gone disjointed. “Or, rather, amen.”

For the sake of clarifying himself, Mr. Binger specifies, “The stone tablets were fragile and they were already crumbling – some were broken and we recovered only pieces.”

“We don’t know who the author was. Or, maybe, the artist: because the mythology had been recorded in hieroglyphs.”

“Those hieroglyphs were pagan, almost Sanskrit. Some scholars might legitimately say the etchings resembled a poor rendition of the Japanese alphabet. I am, of course, referring to my critic, social justice activist, Dr. Eric Dwyer.”

Mr. Binger ignores the diversion inflicted by the memory of his critics. He tells everyone, “That’s not important. I had nothing to do with the translation. I haven’t even seen the remains of the tablets, ever. They are not anywhere on display.”

“All the same, I am talking about the pagan mythology. It doesn’t matter what anyone else has to say. We don’t need the original stone tablets, not any more; we have digital copies. It is what it is – mythology.”

Eager to return to his speech, Mr. Binger first makes a personal observation. “I can tell you one thing, the pagan hieroglyph of a cat looks like a cat.”

“So, you know,” he reinforced for his audience.

“The mythology of the pagans,” Mr. Binger repeated. “An artist, who had been paid to reproduce the hieroglyphs, he called the mythology, ‘Mortui’ philosophies – ideas on death, I suppose.”

“M. Sawyer,” Mr. Binger identified for everyone. “Mortui is what he had written in his sketchbooks. No one in academics calls the mythology that. It’s just pagan; that is what the Chosen and heathen called them.”

“That artist, by the way, tried to capitalize on his copied drawings, too,” Mr. Binger said in segue. “Nothing wrong in that.”

“He sold designs of monsters made directly from the hieroglyphs. Being hieroglyphs, you know, his monsters looked just like the graven images. No copyright infringement there. You might even find a t-shirt online with one of his designs. All I know, no one is buying that, either. I certainly don’t get a commission.”

Only a constantly accelerating sound of steam in boiler pipes accompanies an abrupt return to the topic Mr. Binger first introduced. “The pagan mythology,” he said.

“There was Rudra and Wenwi and Tecolent, I told you about them. They were sentient elements; the last born from the first,” Mr. Binger summarized. “Wenwi and Tecolent were first, you understand. It was a dual role.”

“There was Mitencohli, too, but the living darkness was not a sentient element. Some early scholars identified the alien god with space and the veils, or the darkness between the veils.”

The speaker grumbles in his throat then clearly states, “No, the living darkness is alive. The darkness is life. Mitencohli had been consumed by Rudra and that led to creation, as in life across all the veils of space. Animals, plants, plankton, people – three sentient elements from beyond a deeper veil imparted life to all of us, all the worlds throughout all of space.”

“But, the living darkness forever consumes Rudra from within. You see in this metaphor, life itself is ravenous in any shade. Yet, because of the life inside him, Rudra was made a god. He’s hungry, always skeletal, but never dying. Rudra always, desperately, gropes for the life that escapes him. The living darkness that comes leaked from his bones feeds both his parents, too, Wenwi and Tecolent.”

As if unconscious, Mr. Binger motions to shuffle non-existent notes upon an invisible lectern stood invariably out of reach. The speaker never requires reminders when he speaks about M. Sawyer’s Mortui philosophies, although cards would have helped straightened the track ahead of him. ‘The line lain after,’ Mr. Binger thinks in quick retrospect, ‘That may have also been straighter.’

Nevertheless, the speaker progresses to his favorite part of the mythology. “After feasting upon the living darkness excreted from their nuclear son, Wenwi and Tecolent, now hungry and alive, consume each others waste. Still, life was never enough. Tecolent, the tablets tells us, she feels so badly starved that the goddess perpetually consumes herself.”

“The origin of good lays here, at this part in this mythology,” Mr. Binger specified for his note-takers. “Selflessness. All else is just trying to eat you, because the fateful alternative is greed.”

“Unable to bear life without his wife, Wenwi feeds himself to Tecolent. He does so throughout eternity and she grows obese. Wenwi appears only better preserved than his son, Rudra, but he, too is consumed by the living darkness inside him. And all his flesh is gone – Tecolent eats him raw. She eats what Wenwi gives her and, too frequently, she grasps for more – just like her son. She then became the Mother of Grossity.”

“Upon the cannibalism, Wenwi and Tecolent no longer bear living children – the darkness they expel was made impure and only monsters now come to bear. These creatures are born starved for life.”

“The first abomination was Awaran,” Mr. Binger bulletined. “This shapeless hunger, one given a name, attacks Rudra. Upon his half-birth from the waste of his parents, Awaran kills his suffering brother. Rudra was easily overpowered, you understand, for the living shadow always eats the god from within. I say so in the present tense, because them being gods, you know. Their stories never end there.”

“They ate their children,” Mr. Binger stated in his raised voice. “Newborn monsters are usually eaten at birth because Wenwi and Tecolent had also tasted the living darkness. And, so, they were the hungry gods of creation. I would claim we are the lucky children who got away, before our parents began consuming themselves. We didn’t get out of the house, but we are hidden behind the curtains – of space.”

“I’m talking about the veils beyond the reaches of light,” Mr. Binger immediately explained for his audience. He admits aloud, “I’m afraid I’m losing your attention. Hold on.”

He promises the occupants of Webb hall, “I’m almost done. I only have to tell you about one more alien god. There are others, but they a lesser gods, powerless sentient things of the universe. Their names are accordingly unknown.”

“This last one, Awaran, too, consumed the infinity of living darkness inside Rudra, and he also became a god. Awaran was a monstrosity, but the corrupted flesh of his family did not define his shape within the veils us mortals can see with our own eyes. The tablets tell us so much.”

“We, the first children of Wenwi and Tecolent, before the corruption, we perceive Awaran in the form that had helped him part the veils of space and discover our world. The tablets describe him for us. They tell us what happened and why this alien god is a milestone.”

Mr. Binger corrects a personally important misconception. “This is where scholars begin calling these entities from the pagan mythology Elohim, like, from the Bible, the Christian Bible. That’s in Exodus, if you want to look it up, the pluralistic gods. They’re probably not the same thing, but you never know.”

“Chosen called them Elohim,” Mr. Binger remarked. “So do heathens, to this day, if you can find any to tell you so and they don’t eat you first.”

“There are those stories today about the monstrous children of Elohim manifesting inside Khetam, about the time heathens breached the Chosen’s Wall. Nothing is substantiated. War time horror stories, Dr. Dwyer concluded.”

After stopping himself, the speaker inhales then says, “The tablets tell us nothing about these Elohim visiting our world. Although, they do teach us how Awaran parted the veil into our space. Understand, the pagan were warning us the Elohim were coming. Rumors about what had been witnessed in the ransacked Promised Land were meant to be confirmation their monsters are here on our world. I guess, we’ll see.”

“From behind the deepest veil of space,” Mr. Binger said with a lowered voice, “Arose another entity like Mitencohli, the living darkness. Awaran discovers the one called Ithadow – for this was the name all sentient elements sing throughout time. This is the name heard throughout the cosmos – the noise in space, like a vibration. The sound led Awaran to this new source of living darkness.”

“You see, the tablets say, Ithadow – actually, the name cannot be pronounced and Ithadow is just convenient to say –  this entity had come hunting for the living darkness Rudra consumed. Ithadow survived upon the living darkness. Without this food, it consumes both the first and the escaped monstrous children of Wenwi and Tecolent. Awaran had discovered Ithadow draining life from these worlds between the veils of space.”

An anxious shuffling of feet and the one or two persons heading toward the back doors reminds Mr. Binger he had again broken his promise. “I know I told you Awaran was the last Elohim I was going to talk about, but Ithadow, like Mitencohli, is not an Elohim. That’s just what scholars and lay-people say because it’s also convenient, but it’s lazy. Neither Ithadow nor Mitencohli have ever reproduced. They don’t fit all the categories that would make them into gods we would accept. Neither have minds as we know a mind, nothing there in all we have been told.”

“I’ll tell you what pagans believed Ithadow looks like, because this entity was not like the living darkness. Ithadow has a shape.” The speaker had spun a finger over his head that same moment he spoke. Mr. Binger then says without motion, “A manifestation that cannot be perceived by the mortal mind. The image of Ithadow in the eye of a living being brings madness.”

“Nevertheless, pagans created a hieroglyph for Ithadow. The entity is portrayed as a jellyfish with long arms and claws. The whole thing is inside a crenelated shell that sits at the center of a web. I’m not going to draw it for you. Besides, I’m not an artist. All I could do is scribble something you would see if you did lose your mind. And there isn’t even a chalkboard here on stage with me, so you won’t get that.”

“About that web,” Mr. Binger rejoined himself, “It’s a part of him, like an external digestive tract. Ithadow spins the web, casting his guts beyond the veils of space. The web is how Ithadow hunts for food. Strands of the web of Ithadow throughout the universe taste the living darkness in all things that are alive. Following these strands is how Awaran passed through our own veil.”

“The story on the tablets say there came an eternity when there was no more food for the Elohim. The strongest of them, Awaran, traveled to the cusp of space searching for even his own offspring he might consume. There, he glimpsed the web of Ithadow shining as a star where there were no stars to be seen. Following this light, and a vibrating chant, Awaran breached our veil where Ithadow had already come through into our space.”

Mr. Binger stalls then says through a firm face, “Pagans warned us the web of Ithadow had already touched our world. They feared what else was coming.”

“Like the ancient Sumerians, pagans in the Shur believed evil more than often prevailed over good; not in any sense of morality nor justice but of sheer strength. The only recourse against any ill was to appease a stronger evil. Awaran was said to be that candidate, so I guess pagans had some hope. And, yet, it was only by the example set by Wenwi that they persisted so long as a people. Heathens, as you know buried all of them alive in the sands of the Shur – archaeological excavations had verified that as fact generations ago. The way was made clear for their Living God, as heathens would say.”

“Yes,” Mr. Binger affirmed in the course of a sigh. “Pagans worshiped there own desert demons – Uzapu, Lord of the Waste, Beomouth, Thilimoth – and mythical beasts, like the lekko and lanters…”

“Paws and claws and the other, like a lion with a skull like a moose.”

“Oh, there is scientific evidence a few of their bizarre cryptoid actually existed, for instance; the damned mehtad, the slovenly mwele and the sly strumatru. They may be real and alive today, out there, hiding. That’s all I’ll say about that.”

Mr. Binger pauses only to refill his lungs. Full again of stale winter auditorium air, the speaker recommences.

“Ahem.”

“When the web of Ithadow touched our world, and it woke these sentient elements, the web also evolved the minds of sensitive human beings. Heretical prophets foresaw the coming of Awaran; they predicted the emergence of the greatest evil. These visions were passed onto their children.”

Mr. Binger stipulates, “I’m not here tonight to talk about our own earthbound pantheons, that’s a speech I can give later. All of you are probably on the edge of your seats waiting for me to tell you what Awaran looks like.”

“He looked like his parents,” summarized the grinning speaker. “Until he tasted Ithadow. Awaran drained an endless flow of life from the web of Ithadow, but it was not enough. The Elohim follows the intangible intestinal tract upstream, if you will, and he discovers Ithadow.”

“Did I mention Ithadow was as large as our own Milky Way galaxy? A single strand of its web would easily swallow our planet. Truly, pagans had told us we are indeed inside the exuded gullet of Ithadow, his web, with all the ghosts of living darkness around us, waiting to be digested.”

“That’s us,” Mr. Binger said as he points his finger at himself and everyone in the audience. The few remaining listeners might be counted in a single breath. He tells each of them, “So you know, those ghosts in the web; we’re them. A little piece of living darkness constitutes each of our souls. We are Mitencohli, at least, that was what pagans believed. And that is why Ithadow has come to consume us after we die – once that darkness escapes our fractured shells.”

“Anyway, Awaran could not possibly consume the mindless Ithadow. Ithadow is immense and powerful. If anything, Awaran was in danger that he, himself, was eaten.”

“His brother, Rudra, contains all of Mitencohli, sure, but the living darkness is different. I told you that, yeah? Mitencohli was vast, yet, the living darkness is without dimension. Ithadow, on the other hand, is real; made of matter and not energy, nor something astral or ethereal. Nevertheless, Awaran makes Ithadow bleed and the Elohim escapes our space with blood on his hands. We’re not told how.”

“Before Awaran passes our veil back into his own space, the alien god is so famished that he licks the blood of Ithadow from his fingers.”

The speaker stops talking and he stands still an exact three seconds before saying, “Then Awaran changes.”

“Awaran begins to become Ithadow.”

Mr. Binger admits, “Now, there was not enough blood – Awaran did not consume all the blood off his hands.”

“No matter,” he judged. “The Elohim grows myriad skeletal arms, Awaran becomes vast and he realizes, simultaneously, the mistake he had made.”

“Before tasting Ithadow, Awaran had consumed the living darkness leeched from the bones of his brother, Rudra – as did his parents, Wenwi and Tecolent. The living darkness also consumed Awaran from the inside, so they were once not so different. Both Rudra and Awaran were skeletal and starved. The blood of Ithadow helps Awaran retain his portion of living darkness, but the cost is terrible.”

“All that remains of Awaran are his countless bony arms and his skull. Ithadow allowed the hungry Elohim to keep his head. If there was any thought given toward the mercy, I suppose, Ithadow probably imagined he and Awaran were the same – two suffering space gods.”

“I can tell you, pagans tell us Awaran covers his shame with blood. The Elohim is draped in blood as if the gore was clothe; the robe of Awaran. There’s a pagan hieroglyph that depicts that robe as a rain of blood.”

Hoping to illustrate the image for his audience, Mr. Binger pokes a single finger into the air as if he taps at raindrops. “You know Awaran is near when blood rains from a clear sky.”

“There you go,” he punctuated. “The creation of our world, where we come from and where we go after we die – according to the extinct pagans of the Shur desert. The living darkness inside each of us will be consumed by an armored jellyfish – with pincers.”

“If the Elohim don’t eat us first.”

“Ithadow will get them in the end, then what will happen?”

“Will Mitencohli reemerge and again cover all the veils of space with darkness? I don’t know.”

“Where is our God in all this?” Mr. Binger spontaneously conjectured. “The god of Abraham, El, or the Christian Yahweh? One in the same, I suppose. Our living god? The tablets briefly mention the arrival the true god – a prime creator.”

“The Chosen tribes sacrificed him in testament to their power,” the speaker answered himself. “They claimed this god was mortal. Killing him was proof that mankind itself was divine. Chosen doctrine reduced the heathen Living God to being merely an awakened sentient element, like Uzapu.”

“Yet, Christians, like heathens hiding in the Shur, expect he will return.”

“The big difference how these two religions worship God is where Christians believe Jesus is coming back, heathens fear the living god will never return. They beg his memory with prayer and bloody sacrifices to bring him home again and build his kingdom in the Shur.”

“If you ask me,” Mr. Binger said mocking his own invitation, “And I realize I have not been asked, but I’ll just say, there is no God. Of all the disappointing revelations in my life, that has been my the most grand.”

“Heathens would accuse me of arrogance, just like the Chosen. At the same time, my brown hair and green eyes are proof enough for them that I descend from a Chosen tribe.”

“I don’t care,” a brave Mr. Binger postulated. “I’m not worried, and neither should northern Wisconsin. We’ll never see a heathen here nor anywhere in the United States. They can hide in the desert, and die there waiting for the god who will never return.”

“Thank you,” Mr. Binger then expressed to the single other shape remaining in Webb hall. He or she was standing in shadow near a door.

Moving off stage, the man ruminated aloud, so loud he is heard all the way in the back. “It’s getting cold out there, I’m worried about my car battery. You know, when it’s cold, it sucks the life out of everything. What would pagans know about that, huh?”

“Or heathens, or even Chosen – they live in a desert.”

Descending stairs stage left and into empty chairs, Mr. Binger finishes speaking upon saying, “Although, with weather like this, it is tempting not to just go into the Shur.”

-_END-_

Are you curious about the Chosen, heathens and these faiths in the Shur? The final incarnation of Matthew Sawyer’s Pazuzu Trilogy is available from Amazon

The Waste Book One
The Waste Book Two
Gaunt Rainbow

 

Other stories from Matthew Sawyer (AKA Mr. Binger) available from Smashwords

Hardcover and soft cover books available from Hulu

 

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