Epiphany on Halloween

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In which Greta is Recruited and Nathan Learns some Lessons
[Extracted from my book “Reluctant Angels”]

epiphany_on_halloween

Even in the cosiness of his bed, Nathan could sense a crispness in the air outside. The temperature had dropped sharply overnight from Autumn to Winter. He walked to the window and looked down onto the normally verdant park below. The first frost of the season lay on the grass, on which starlings hopped about, leaving their footprints, like fifties teddy-boys beating the bounds of some new territory. Down the road, to the right, the same van was there as had been for some five days. Its colour was an orangey brown, rather like the hue of diarrhoea after eating at a dubious Indian takeaway. Two men, one in a suit, the other more casually dressed, sat in the front seats, who Nathan presumed to be agents from the Group for Citizen Realignment — euphemistically known in government public liaison circles as “Group R” — a psyop outfit jointly run by the military and police, designed to straighten out dissidents with “re-education” using a mixture of intimidation and wave technology. One can recognise them by the array of electronic gizmos built into the rear windowsill and a tiny antenna-like device on the roof which, appropriately, he always thought resembled a grinning goat’s skull.

Nathan had directly experienced the work of the Group for Citizen Realignment some months previously when he had suddenly been detained from the street in one of their diarrhoea vehicles and whisked away to a basement office in an unidentified part of town. There they accused him of being part of a violent revolutionary organisation and demanded to know the identity of the leader. He then delighted in explaining to them that he was indeed part of a group, but they were human angels and their guide (Livinia’s preferred description) was not of human origin and their weapons were not those of physical violence but of truth, epiphany, sagacity and spirit and that the aim of that group was nothing less than the dissolution of the present world and the foundation of the new. For three hours after that, intending to break him down, they ridiculed and scorned him and accused him of being a worthless degenerate with a dissolute mind who had a known history of instability and criminality. They kept pointing to a huge contraption in the corner, which they called “The Synapticutor”, in which they threatened to put him if he continued to resist their accusations. “We already know all about you, Nathan. We just need you to admit it. Then we can make some progress”. Nathan’s reply: “Your ignorance is stunning”.

As he gazed upon these four agents, he tried to see their souls, but they were buried so deep behind a defensive wall of armour that he could only see a murky darkness. He wondered if three of them had a soul at all. In the fourth, he sensed less malice and hostility. He was not so vocal as the others and when he did speak there was a strange timbre to his voice with which Nathan seemed to be familiar. As his eyes met with the agent’s on numerous occasions, he felt himself saying inwardly to him: “We will meet again, you and I”. He still believed that and would wait for an assignment from Livinia to bring him face to face with this mysterious man who seemed to be out of place hounding dissidents in a dirty interrogation room.

After they felt that they had sufficiently intimidated him (it seemed to him that they were playing with him like a cat with a mouse), they told him he was free to go. He wondered why they hadn’t put him in The Synapticutor. ‘It must be part of their mind-game’, he thought. As he rose to his feet, one of the men leaned into his face and said: “This isn’t the end, Nathan. This is just the beginning”. Nathan turned and leaned into the man’s face, smiling, and replied: “No. This hasn’t even begun yet. When you awaken from your sleep, then it will begin”. The man recoiled as if he’d been stung by a bee, giving Nathan a look of pure hatred. He turned to another agent and said: “Bag him up!” Then they again placed the black bag over his head and drove him to a derelict space in town where they set him free.

He marvelled that men like this could waste so much precious time in life when the whole of society was breaking down, with many parts of the city having become no-go areas for everyone except the inculcatedly riotous, deliberately-criminalised, easily-manipulated residents. For the creation of managed chaos by any means was the name of the government’s game. This gave them further leeway for more authoritarian control — all the while under the pretended cover of “democracy” and “security”.

Nevertheless, despite those minor distractions, Nathan Delver was thrilled to be alive — to have woken up with all his synapses intact, despite the continual bombardment of the waves from various mobile sources (against which he had learned the art of protection) — and the thought of any surprises that his service might bring on this new day thrilled him even more. He consulted his calendar. It was October 31st, 2022. He noted a meeting at 8pm with the local RAGS group but, before that, at 5pm, there was a mysterious meeting which Livinia had arranged for him in a downmarket greasy-spoon café, of all places. He had no idea if he was supposed to be meeting an actual person or was to be involved in some other assignment. All he knew was that he simply had to turn up and then whatever was meant to happen would happen. He had only been doing this work for eight months and was still feeling his way into it. Loving the learning curve, it was the only work he had ever wanted to do and it both excited and daunted him.

As he set about preparing his usual simple breakfast, he became aware of a disturbance in the Quantum Curtain which signalled to him that this was no ordinary day. “What’s happening here?”, he said aloud but almost under his breath. Then, within, he thought: ‘There’s a strange little touch of darkness in the air. Where’s it coming from?’ He walked back to the window, tea in hand. The car had gone; but there were other, stranger, things afoot in the street. A man was walking along in a determined sort of way with a band placed on his head with two pieces of metal sticking out of each side, so that the effect was of a long knife thrust through his brain. Red gunk was oozing out of where the entry and exit wounds were supposed to be. His face was painted white as if in shock and the eyes were blacked-up as if they were sunken in a skull. The girl beside him, struggling to keep up with him on her excessively high heels, was covered in “blood spatters” with two exaggeratedly elongated canine teeth and a huge wooden stake which looked as if it was sticking through her heart and coming out of the back of her chest cavity.

“Of course!” said Nathan aloud. “Now I understand! It’s that day again! A whole year has passed since the last one, and yet it feels like a few weeks. Where IS time going these days?” A complete essay then wafted into his mind, entitled “The Telescoping of Time in the Closing Years of this Aeon”. [Readers can find this essay in an appendix at the end of the book].

It then dawned on him what Livinia might intend for him to handle today. He was going to be like an innocent abroad — like a child alone on the street in a zombie movie — like putting a live grenade into an arms cache. He spent the day preparing himself by doing simple cleaning chores around his home; for those were an outward symbol of what he also had to do within himself on a day such as this. Inwardly, there would be much cleansing prayer and meditation as his hands performed the outward tasks. Little epiphanies popped into his mind and old skins fell away. Crucial questions were taking shape in his head out of nowhere, like condensation forming on a windowpane. And always the silent whisper of Livinia reassuring him like the hand of a faithful friend on his shoulder.

At 4pm, Nathan Delver stepped out of the house into the cold clean air of the day; his breath clouding around his face playfully. Within minutes, he became aware of a strange sense of excitable energy at work among the people that he passed in the streets. They were upbeat and positive; focused and outwardly joyful. It was as if they were escaping from the slavery of their work and the monotony of their lives into a space in which they could at last be themselves and express their true heart. That’s what one would think. People emerged excitedly from the doors of shops, offices and buildings along the way. They were laughing with glee as if their lives were finally being fulfilled. Yet all of them were dressed up in ways which shocked Nathan to the core. It seemed as though every ugly, dirty, rough, nasty, violating, belligerent, violent, dark and evil urge had come to the surface like bloated corpses floating in a sewer. It was as if people were trying to outdo each other in filth. The competition on the street was “how can I gain kudos by being as repulsive as possible, with no constraints on bad taste or morality?” It was as if people had risen that morning thinking: “How can I best celebrate darkness today?”

“What kind of a world am I in?” said Nathan aloud to himself “where people would even want to behave like this?” Of course, he already knew the answer; but he was always shocked by it nevertheless. He considered how much a sense of togetherness and harmony is an important part of social cohesion; but what kind of cohesion is it when it is based on the worst and most violent impulses in the warpedness of the fallen human heart?

He tried to stand in people’s shoes to understand what was happening around him. But that changed nothing. For when faced with the choice to emulate an angel or a demon he would choose an angel every time and could not understand why anyone would do otherwise. Why, if all people wanted to do was enjoy some good fun based on imagination skills and shared experience, could they not play at being angels, faeries, nymphs or tree spirits? This is the way he was thinking.

When lost in deep thought, time passes quickly. So it didn’t seem long before he arrived at The Eldorado Café. It was an insalubrious dive inhabited by labourers, lorry drivers and students from the nearby university slumming it in order to be trendy. The food had a reputation for being revolting but it was cheap for those who merely wanted to stuff their faces. Nathan had been there once before. He remembered how the door had been so stiff to open that he had even wondered if it was closed. So this time he pushed on the door (which had obviously been rectified) with such force that it flew open and he literally fell into the café. The whole room looked round at him. He straightened himself and sat down at an empty table. It was covered in graffiti which had been painted or carved into the surface over decades. One said: “This year thousands of people will die from stubbornness”, underneath which another hand had written: “No we won’t!” In another place, it said: “Some people are so poor that all they have is money”. He chuckled heartily to himself at the inventiveness of the human spirit.

“What’s so funny then?” said a voice next to him. It was a waitress ready to take his order. “Oh, it’s just the table”, at which she had no idea what he was talking about. After all, how could a table be funny? “Do you have peppermint tea?” at which the waitress raised her eyes to the ceiling and said “Typhoo, orange juice, pepsi or water.” He ordered a juice and waited to see what would happen. He became mesmerised by a shaft of sunlight which shone through a skylight window onto a girl’s face at the table next to his. She had a serious expression, while those of all the others around her were jocular and animated. Soon, he became aware of some sniggering from that table. It was bustling with students in pre-party mood who were revelling in what they thought was a cool working-class paradise in which to hang out. They wanted some sport. Then a voice said: “What are you going as?”

Nathan turned around: “Excuse me?” The table was chock full of inebriated students meeting up before going to their Halloween party.

“I said what are you going as? You don’t seem to be dressed as anything”.

It was true that the contrast between Nathan’s garb and those at the adjacent table could not have been more marked. There he was in an olive duffle-coat, flowery open-necked shirt and orange trousers, while the table next to him sported a range of (mostly black and white) bloodfest gothic clothes-porn.

“That’s right, I’m not dressed as anything because I’m not going anywhere as anything other than myself”. And then he smiled kindly.

Almost the whole table then started jeering and mocking him. “Get in the spirit, old man! Come with us if you want”.

“That’s very kind of you to offer but I’ll take a rain-check, thanks”. Nathan was most amused to be called “old man” at forty-two years of age. He felt an urge to continue the conversation into the territory where he now realised it was supposed to go: “I see you’re wearing a tee-shirt with ‘Je suis tueur en série’ written on it, in dripping red paint, by hand — presumably by your own hand”. The boy nodded furiously while laughing grotesquely. “That’s French for ‘I am a serial-killer’. Are you aware of that?” He nodded even more furiously, as if he was possessed. Then almost the whole table started to cackle with laughter with him.

Nathan fixed his gaze on them all and said: “What would you think if I came in here wearing a tee-shirt which had the words written on it, “I am a Rapist”? Immediately, their demeanour changed into one of anger and gravity and one of the girls said venomously: “Yeah right that’s not funny, okay?” Nathan fixed his gaze on them even more, thinking ‘These young brainwashed grinksa are so easily triggered’. He then said in a quiet, non-aggressive voice: “You’re dead right. It’s not funny at all. But where is your logic? You think it’s perfectly okay to pretend to be serial killers, vampires, demons and any other psychos which violate people’s space and lives but you draw the line at a rapist. Yet they are all essentially on the same sick, invading, controlling, destructive power-trip”.

“Yeah but that’s so not true”, said one of the other girls. “Rape is really really serious, but the other things are just a joke, right?”

“No, not right”, Nathan replied. “Not for those who’ve been hurt by a serial-killer or any other psycho. You think it’s funny to celebrate wanton bloodshed and massacre? They are in the same dirtbag drawer as rape. You’ve been brainwashed by trendy movements so much that your logic is all over the place. You may think vampires are a funny thing to mimic but they’re symbolic of parasites in another dimension which really do take over people’s minds, sucking the life out of them. This is dark stuff. Very dark. But it’s one of the elements of life in this world which we need to understand before we can begin to make sense of our existence”. Nathan became animated and moved his arms around in slow sweeping motions. “Who do you think controls all these activities — even the so-called celebrations you’re doing tonight? Why do you think there are so many movies about vampires and zombies and aliens taking us over? Why do you think that movie-goers are being desensitised to extreme horror, violence and bloodshed? Look up the word ‘archons’ when you get the chance.”

The group was looking a little more serious now but still would not respond to his questions. There was a brief silence then one of the guys said: “Listen man, you probably don’t realise it but Halloween is an ancient pagan thing which has been celebrated for centuries. It’s harmless. Just loosen up. It’s all just some good clean fun.”

To which Nathan replied:

“My friend, I know only too well about the pagan festival of Samhain, of which Halloween is a vague modern remnant. Like many pagan festivals it was rooted in dark superstition and enslavement to demonic entities. I know it’s trendy and romantic to glorify paganism but that’s the height of naivety. Naivety and darkness is a volatile mixture”.

The group stared at him with a mixture of puzzlement and resentment. But Nathan continued…

“Samhain was seen essentially as a celebration of chaos and destruction, in which spirits of any kind would be unleashed on the earth. People would dress themselves as ghosts and ghouls to disguise themselves in the hope of not being possessed by the spirits. In order to depict the abolition of order and a descent into chaos, people would switch genders and cross-dress. Animal sacrifice was practised. So when you say “Halloween is an ancient pagan thing which has been celebrated for centuries. It’s harmless. Just loosen up,” you’re really showing your naivety. We are in the midst of a battle with the forces of darkness. This festival of yours is based on superstition and ignorantly wallowing in that darkness.”

“Oh man!” intervened one of the guys in the group. “Stop lecturing us! You think you’re so right. Just do your own thing and we’ll do ours!”

Nathan: “Well hold on; I’m not out to stop you doing your thing and, yes, I will continue to do mine. I can assure you that I don’t want to be right. I want to be light! But if you remember, I was just minding my own business waiting for a drink and you asked me why I wasn’t dressed as anything. It was you who challenged me. All I’m doing is responding to your phenomenal naivety. Why do you think this night is a celebration of evil, darkness, ghoulishness, demons, extreme bloodshed, slaughter, violence and mayhem — all of which is even encouraged actively by the government? The archons are laughing all the way to the soul bank! Can you imagine if there was a national day set aside in the Western world for the celebration of goodness and beauty, angels and seraphim, archangels, fairies, and so on? Would people want to be going to parties to celebrate that? I don’t think so. There is definitely some dark force at work which is warping people away from light into darkness.” Throughout Nathan’s speech, many in the group were rolling their eyes and looking at each other smirking.

Suddenly, a large rough-looking man made-up as an evil clown approached the group at the table, saying: “Is this guy botherin’ you?” jerking his thumb in Nathan’s direction. “I’ve been listenin’ to ’is bullshit from over there and I’ve ’ad enough”. One of the group replied “Yeah, he’s full of shit but he’s just some screwed-up old guy who hasn’t got a clue”.

Nathan smiled and began to take his leave. He raised his non-existent hat and swept it round in front of him and bowed. The evil clown who came over to the table shouted: “Now ’e’s takin’ the piss!” And with that he walked up to Nathan and grabbed him by the collar, pulling him towards the door.

Nathan: “Livinia, where are you when I need you. This hasn’t gone at all well”. Then he heard that silent voice within him saying “I’m always right here and it’s gone extremely well. Just watch and wait”.

One of the girls at the table who had been very pensive and quiet throughout the conversation rose to her feet and placed herself in front of the clown and said with the sweetest smile: “There’s no need for that. It’s okay. We can take it from here”. The clown looked surprisedly into the girl’s face — which was sure and radiant and framed by a halo of naturally-curly strawberry-blonde hair — and removed his hand from Nathan’s collar. He made an impatient noise with his teeth and lips, then departed quickly from the café, muttering to himself. Nathan realised it was the girl in the shaft of sunlight. His eyes briefly met hers and he smiled himself quietly into her being with a “thank you”. Strangely, he hadn’t been aware of her at the table as she had remained silent throughout. He made a note to himself to be more conscious in future of those who didn’t speak as well as those who did. He knew very well that music can often come from the silent ones even more melodiously than from those who voiced their words. He saw a deep beauty in those eyes, together with a reticent honesty which warmed his heart. That reticent honesty only seemed like a tiny spark in a darkening world, but it was the building block on which the new aeon would be made. From tiny sparks explosions flow. From little seeds, whole fields can grow.

One hour later, the girl who stopped the clown was standing in the bathroom of her studio apartment looking at herself in the mirror. She had excused herself from the party to which they had all been invited. Recently, she had become increasingly dismayed by the whole Halloween routine and the discussion in the café had brought her suspicions home to her even more. She had the feeling that she was caught up in a charade which was not of her own making, as if she was a diamond in a mud-flow. She studied her appearance in that mirror and concluded that she had somehow tarnished herself in some deeply serious manner — not only tonight but accumulatively over many years. The blood spatters on her clothes; the simulated axe-gash on her neck; the ghoulish make-up on her face; the photographs of amputations she carried in her bag. The whole ensemble felt demeaning to her humanity. She ripped off the clothes and put them in a black plastic bag, closing it shut with a double-knot and leaving it by the apartment door. She dived into the shower to remove the make-up. Afterwards, she felt cleansed in more than just her body. Many questions popped into her head one after the other. Why had she never felt this way in earlier years? Why had that earnest middle-aged man suddenly appeared just when she needed to hear what he said? She knew she would never disguise herself in that way again. In her freshly-clean mind it almost seemed like a wonderful conspiracy, as if the entire Universe had planned this day for her [which indeed it had]. She remembered a saying she had once seen in some graffiti on a bridge: “When the pupil is ready, the teacher will come”. Now she was excited. More questions came bouncing into her brain like bullets ricocheting around a firing range. Her work, her relationships, her life, all came under scrutiny. “Why do I carry on doing a course which drains my energy and gives me nothing?” “Why do I go out with stupid men who don’t deserve one minute of my time?” “What is that ‘new aeon’ which that guy was talking about this evening? And what exactly are archons?” She had also often sensed the presence of some dark force seeking to interfere in her life, dragging her down into a morass of depression and even the contemplation of suicide. Suddenly, for the first time in her life, Greta Wagner (for that was her name) had the feeling of some presence within her which was the very opposite of dark. The words from the conversation earlier in the evening had made sense at so many points. She simply hadn’t joined the dots before. She wished she had said more to Nathan, asked him questions, instead of staying quiet; but peer group pressure is a worse taskmaster than an overbearing schoolteacher and many times more controlling. There was now a thirst within her for understanding, which surprised her greatly. She had never been one for studying and learning but now, here, on this Samhain night of supposed chaos and destruction, she instead felt a sense of order and reconstruction at a very profound level. Tears of gratitude welled up in her eyes and she fell to her knees sobbing. “Please help me!” she cried out. “Please show me the way!” She had no idea to who or what she was crying out. But the words just rolled off her tongue with ease. Although she had never done such a thing before, it all felt completely natural. She felt as if she was “home” without knowing what or where “home” was. Something had fallen into place — something she had longed for all her life without even realising it. A piece of the jigsaw puzzle had been put on the board which now revealed the big picture. A light had switched on that she knew would never be extinguished. She felt a deep healing taking place within her and a silent voice said to her soul — the voice of Livinia: “I am here. I will never leave you”.

At the stroke of midnight, on November 1st, 2022, Nathan was sitting on a park bench near his home. The local RAGS meeting had gone well the previous evening, but he had been shaken by something he’d said earlier in the café. He was ashamed that he had doubted the process of what had happened and that he had doubted Livinia’s superior wisdom. He knew very well how ripples of that spontaneous sea will always find their destination, whether or not he had any awareness of what that destination would be. He also knew that he would most likely never know which ripples went where. (He was then unaware of Greta’s recruitment into RAGS and would only find out later at a meeting in a disused quarry in Lithuania). He only had to stir up the ripples in this three-dimensional prison-planet and the higher powers would turn those ripples into tsunamis of revelation and transformation. Epiphany. This is how it works. Every time. “It will never happen again”, said Nathan aloud, hoping that Livinia had heard. “I know, my lovely, I know”, were the words which echoed silently deep inside him. And he wept.

So Nathan’s tears and the tears of Greta that evening were like a sacred flood to drive away all the dark spirits from their lives — to keep them at bay in the angel’s way. No rituals needed. No superstition, appeasement, religious acts, animal or human sacrifice. Two things only bring new life: A overwhelming realisation of all previous stupidity, alienation from spirit and violation of natural law, together with a passionate thirst for a present and never-ending light.

 

© Alan Morrison, 2017

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