I just finished watching the first season of Apple’s Original TV series Foundation based on Isaac Asimov’s book series by the same name. I was especially interested in how Asimov deals with the inner workings of a highly advanced technology-based empire spanning the entire galaxy. This Empire must deal with all the peculiarities that make life so interesting and precarious on Earth, except it manages hundreds of thousands of planets that are spread light years apart from each other. It’s an Empire whose human descendants don’t remember where they came from, which of course is Earth.
Some unexpected things happen to Gaal on Trantor. People in the galaxy call this planet the machine planet. It is where spectacular special effects occur. Apple won a Golden Globe (or something like that) for the special effects in this first episode, called TheEmperor’s Peace.
Home of the Empire
Trantor is also the planet where the Empire is based. It looks like a machine from space because its needs a massive amount of infrastructure to run and rule an entire galaxy full of people who are constantly getting into conflicts and warring with each other. That’s an Empire’s job–right?–to run and rule the people of its realm fairly and justly and to keep the peace?
“No,” you say?
Well, you are right…most empires, including future highly technical ones, tend to do a pretty crappy job of ruling their territories and people. Disparities tend to develop between those with power and those who supply the power to run the empire. For instance, everyone in Trantor lives in the machine environment that goes 100 levels underground. The exception is the people living at the Imperial Palace. Here it is green and lush and luxurious. That’s one obvious inequity. There are many more and there are various rebellions against each one, all at a different stage of rebellion against the Empire.
This is what Hari is trying to warn the Empire about. There is a looming disaster coming that is going to crush everything. The Empire will fall and humanity, what is left of it, will plunge into 30,000 years of primitive darkness unless…
It’s the same problem the Lorax had with the Once-ler.
Empires often resort to use of excessive force to put down resistances. They don’t want to look weak! They also tend to think they know everything, and thus different points of view such as Hari’s are viewed as threatening and something to be exterminated. Rules and laws mainly serve as a pretexts for violence and use of deadly force to control the masses. And then wait until you see how this Empire deals with the rather awkward process of succession. Changing from one ruler to another ruler is always a rather fragile and weak time for empires. Researching Ruthless Rulers for my book, ancient Rome was a viper’s nest around issues of succession.
Critique About Series
I read criticism from one source that after the first episode, the Apple TV series veers far from Isaac Asimov original novels. Apple has Asimov’s daughter consulting on the script and in production. And as for veering from the storyline of the books, these critics simply don’t have anything else to criticize. Of course a TV series or movie is going to veer from the original written work, film is a completely different story telling device. A filmed telling of this vastly complex world is necessarily very different than a written telling of it… full stop.
Female Cast and Characters
I think Apple hits it out of the ball park with the female leads! They are impressive.
Lou Llobell plays Gaal Dornick. I couldn’t find much on Lou, but I sure want to see more of her. She is so feisty, intelligent, instinctive, and deeply intuitive–she far surpasses her male counter leads.
Leah Harvey plays Salvor Hardin, the Warden on Terminus. I didn’t find much on her either, but she knocks it out of the ball park and beyond in this role. She too is feisty, tough, intelligent, instinctive, curious, protective, and deeply intuitive. She also far surpasses her male leads…though I do admit, I have a serious crush on her lover, Hugo.
Laura Brin plays Demerzel. She is the last of her kind after the Robot Wars. She serves as Minister to Emperor Cleon. She is one powerful mix of Deanna Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation; 7 or 9 from Star Trek: Voyager; and Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones. She knows how to handle Cleon’s mercurial moods.
T’Nia Miller plays the religious leader Zephyr Halima who is from Mirrus Twelve. She is positioning herself to be the next Proxima; the head of a mother worshipping religion dedicated to the Three Goddesses–Maiden, Mother, and Crone. She is a stunning and mighty woman. I would follow her.
Kubbra Sait plays the Grand Huntress from Anacreon who has a big grudge against the Empire. She is badass, fast, cunning, and beautiful in a terrifying way.
Male Cast and Characters
The male cast members are great too. They include:
Jared Harris plays Hari Seldon, very convincingly. He is a professor, mathematician, and creator of psychohistory algorithmic science. Basically, your good old troubler maker for the Empire. Is he a good guy or a bad guy? You’re going to have to watch to find out.
Lee Pace plays Brother Day. I hated this character at first, then I begin to like him. Oh yeah, he played Elvenking in the Hobbit too
Cassian Bilton plays Brother Dawn. He is less well known, but his performance is right up there with the women, especially when he is wrestling with the more feminine parts of himself.
Terrence Mann plays Brother Dusk powerfully. I liked him best first, then began to hate him.
Alfred Enoch plays Raych Seldon, Hari’s adopted son. He is awesome and deeply complex character shrouded in mysteries.
There are plenty more amazing characters; after all, this empire needs to populate an entire galaxy with humans!
I was sad to read Josh Friedman left as a key writer earlier in the series. He has written and produced blockbusters such as Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, Terminator: Dark Fate, and Avatar: The Way of Water. Wiki says he left due to creative difference with the network over radical difference in vision. I wish I knew more about what these were. He says he was pressured to leave. Several cast and crew left with him. This is a shadow on what I otherwise think is a TV series that is well worth watching and has done a tremendous job in making the cast diverse and reflective of many different skin tones, ideologies, and everything else we humans use to divide ourselves from one another.
Music Feature Archetypal Animation
Music: Foundation: Season 1 (Apple TV+ Original Series Soundtrack) by Bear McCreary  Foundation Main Title 1:27
Continuing with the theme of empires, there is a movie worth watching called Waiting for Barbarians (2019). It is based on a novel by the same name written by J. M. Coetzee and published in 1980. This story takes a piercing view into the bureaucratic nature of empires, particularly the warring aspect of them.
The movie begins in a lowly desert outpost on the frontiers of an unnamed Empire, but I can hazard a few guesses. It is run by a Magistrate (played by Mark Rylance) who is humble, curious about ancient artifacts, and does a very good job of maintaining the peace. Mostly he leaves the native people alone, listens, and looks for ancient treasures as he tries to understand what might have existed there before.
Then, Colonel Joll (played by Johnny Depp) arrives wearing his sunglasses!
The sunglasses tell you everything you need to know about him. By the end of the movie, you realize he’s the barbarian.
Four Letters to the World of Free Men and Women: Letter to the Ukrainian People; Letter to the Free World; Letter to Russian people; Letter to Americans
Letter to the People of Ukraine
Dear People of Ukraine —
I have let you down and the Free World has forsaken you.
You are dying because we are weak and afraid.
Please forgive us. We have forgotten how to live in the Present and how to be Present for each other.
If I could kill Putin with my thoughts, he would be dead 10,000 times already. And I would just be getting started.
The Russians don’t remember how Scythians fight, how long your unique and long history is.
They will remember when they see your eyes.
Know that you have already won.
Putin, his followers, enablers, and supporters wherever they are in the world will be uttered in the same breath as Hitler, Stalin, and all men who have chosen to become monsters instead of men.
The oligarchs full of piss and fear, the Chinas suppressing their people, the stupid ones like Trump and his menagerie will snivel like snails beneath the shadow of your courage, compassion, and willingness to die to live free.
If only the Free World had a smidgen of your dignity, courage, and spirit.
Instead, we sit and watch your pain, your suffering, your deaths like the spineless creatures we have become hiding under out fragile, artificial shell of civility.
We are not civil or modern.
We hide our barbaric nature with platitudes and policies and lies.
What good is civility when evil manifests in men like Putin?
Would Hitler have stopped his demonic rage had the Free World not finally intervened?
You have warned us: Putin’s madness will not end when Ukraine falls.
An evil like this is never satisfied by what it has.
It only has an endless hunger for more of what it already has and is willing to inflict great pain, agony, and destruction to get it.
How can we (the people of the Free World) abandon you at your greatest time of need?
How can we let this happen on OUR WATCH?
You are showing us (the Free World) how to be human when evil rears its ugly head.
Your dignity, courage, and spirit show us that to be fully human and not simply shells filled with doubt and fear, we show up to help our brothers and sisters.
Humans show up when their brothers and sisters are staring down the demons of destruction trying to devour their freedom like snakes from hell bent on turning our shared reality into a field of horror and our world into a living Hell.
You are precious. Every life Putin takes is a crime. I feel so helpless watching this happen to you. Please forgive us. Our failure to not do more is wrong.
Reactions of aHelpless Watcher Witnessing Evil Live on TV #1
Instagram Posts Beginning Night of Russian Invasion
Letter to the People of the Free World
To All People Who Value Freedom in the World —
This is a struggle in which the Free World cannot sit on its hands and watch. This is a struggle for all persecuted, suffering people anywhere in the world. People who are persecuted for any reason–racism, religious beliefs, gender, sex or political beliefs. The Ukrainian people are being overrun and killed by a ruthless dictator.
Do you think this ends when Ukraine falls? Putin’s vile plan seeks to destroy freedom and democracy anywhere it appears in the world. He has chosen evil and he will keep moving steadily destroying democracies and freedom wherever it appears in the world. I do not agree with Biden saying it is going to be OK. It is not OK watching the Ukrainian people being slaughtered. In what world that values freedom and human life is this OK?
Our world has drastically changed since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
The Free World is weak. It stares at its own navel hung up on its own comforts and conveniences. We (the people of the Free World) have left so many people behind who have been struggling for freedom, self-determination, and sovereignty over their own lives. The United States was particularly cruel and careless in its withdrawal from Afghanistan; however, the Free World has done far too little for the peoples in countries where “Arab Spring” protests were brutally put down, where protests in Hong Kong were harshly suppressed, where the military takeover of Myanmar and Rohingya genocide was savage, and this list goes on and one.
The Ukrainian people are fighting for their lives and freedom. They are standing up against a vastly superior force. They are showing the entire Free World how to fight for freedom. How to be human! Their courage, compassion, and dignity stands mighty before the rest of the world concerned about themselves and sadly it seems little more.
Putin is a maligned, demonic force of evil in the world. Such evil must be fought by all who stand for the right for life and freedom. This evil is never satisfied by what it has. It constantly hungers for more than it already has. It takes pleasure in inflicting senseless horror and pain on others. This fear, this pain that we are watching the Ukraine people suffer feds this kind of evil. It will never rest until it destroys all free people and all freedom in all lands everywhere in the world. Only then, will it finally turn on itself and devour itself.
Putin is a man who has chosen to become a monster. His madness is spawning thousands of minions who are carrying out his biddings. Yes, there are Russian soldiers shocked at what they are being asked to do and surrendering to Ukrainians.
But, there are also soldiers who are dragging people out of apartment buildings, lining them up along a wall, and shooting them. The longer this goes on, the more harden and brutal some soldiers will become to accomplish Putin’s ruthless wishes, indeed, they will be ordered to become ruthless killers. Huge explosions are being now used to destroy and level civilian infrastructure (e.g., apartments, schools, hospitals, colleges), not military as Russian “officials” said would be the focus. There are also reports of Russian soldiers shooting fleeing civilians in their cars as well as desperate phone calls to family members who made it across the border to Poland or Hungary of Russian soldiers coming into family homes and terrorizing loved ones who could not escape in time.
Putin lives in a world of savage fantasies. He lusts for ultimate power and glory, which sprouts from the demon seed buried deep in his depraved soul. His heart has been corrupted beyond all repairs. And his barbarism is being carried out with cold calculation by suicidal army meticulous trained to turn off their humanity and act like Putin’s attack dogs from hell. They have only heard and been fed a constant stream of distortions, lies, and misinformation. It keeps them in a foggy, soggy, sub-human conscious state of being, making them perfect puppets who carry out one man’s mad rage upon the world.
Deep down they know what they are doing is wrong. But I doubt it will burn away fast enough to save the people of Ukraine. And then, Free World, we are next.
This episode discusses what is happening in Ukraine with Leila Fadel (reporter on the ground in Ukraine), Kurt Volker (former US Special Representative for Ukraine), and others in the know about what is going on. What jumped out to me were the following elements.
Leila Fadel told about one woman she met on a train going back into Ukraine. She told Leila she felt Ukraine is a proxy war, a game being played by Russia, the US, and China for influence and power in the world. She is right.
Leila also talked about how all lives matter. She told about how she has met and talked with individuals who fled other war zones (e.g., Syria, Afghanistan, and many other places where the super powerful have violently suppressed the super vulnerable) and settled in Ukraine and now they are fleeing again.
Kurt Volker talked about how there is much more the US can do for Ukraine while walking the line of avoiding an outright conflict between nuclear powers. Yes! That is what I feel and desperately want the Free World to push it leaders to do (no more watching!!!).
And they discussed discrimination that African and Asian individuals in Ukraine have faced. They are also trying to flee violence and annihilation. Sara Sidner (American journalist with CNN) is in Poland and talked with individuals facing this sort of discrimination and says that they just don’t understand why they are being treated this way. There have been terrible documented treatment of foreign nationals with dark skin, but also many instances of compassion and humane treatment.
This is a very complex, fast moving tragedy that is changing constantly. All experts of this episode urge watchers, especially on social media, to dig for the latest information, not media and posts that are several days old. They also warn of misinformation efforts launched by Russia and Russian sympathizers around the world–vet the information you consume and vet your own systems of belief!( I get into this much more deeply in my letter to Americans.)
To the Russian People
The Free World is not at war with you. We are not your enemy. The anger you see from the world is directed at Putin. You are as precious to the world as the Ukrainian people who are being slaughtered by your President Putin. You are not being told the truth about this war.
This list goes on to account 58 journalists who have been killed in Russia between 1992 and 2022 with Motive for Death Confirmed as accounted for by the Committee to Protect Journalists. You may not trust anything except Putin’s State TV, but you know who are the Russians who have died.
You know critics of Putin have ended up dead.
Boris Nemtsov, 2015 — political leader of Russia’s “young reformers.”
Boris Berezovsky, 2013 — A self-styled tycoon who become a fixture in Yeltsin’s inner circle in the late 1990s, Berezovsky is believed to have been instrumental in Putin’s rise to power (including a media campaign that smeared Nemtsov)
Anna Politkovskaya, 2006 — Russian reporter for Novaya Gazeta whose book, “Putin’s Russia,” accused the Kremlin leader of turning the country into a police state.
"She was shot at point-blank range in an elevator in her building. Five men were convicted of her murder, but the judge found that it was a contract killing, with $150,000 of the fee paid by a person whose identity was never discovered. Putin denied any Kremlin involvement in Politkovskaya's killing, saying that her "death in itself is more damaging to the current authorities both in Russia and the Chechen Republic ... than her activities." -- Here are 10 critics of Vladimir Putin who died violently or in suspicious ways | Washington Post By David Filipov, March 23, 2017
This list goes on. Again you may think the Washington Post is fake news, but you know these Russians are dead.
You know Alexei Anatolievich Navalny sits in prison because Putin fears him. And you know that Navalny has called Putin insane and urges anti-war protests. Putin is insane. What man would kill innocent children?
The Free World knows you are afraid. Putin has terrorized you with his slow steady trickle of threats, deaths, assassinations, and unjust imprisonments of anyone Putin fears. Heck, he’s even afraid of a fragile but brave old woman.
You have every right to be afraid, but should this also inform what you know?
The world stands with you, but please wake up to steady lies Putin feeds you to put you into a catatonic state of frightened inaction. Putin does this to you, the Russian people, because you have collective power. He knows that and he is afraid that you will wake up.
Look at what Putin’s restrained and targeted attacks look like on the ground by your brothers and sister in Ukraine.
Please wake up. The world needs you now. We need you conscious and alive and human more than ever!
We stand at a precipice inside the human soul. This precipice exist inside every human being alive right now.
People of Earth, do you call yourself human or monster?
Your actions (and inactions), your words, your thoughts tell us which you chose to be.
Those who call themselves human must reckon with this moment fully to the very core of who they are and what they believe, what they love, what they hate, what they know (or think they know) and what they don’t know.
Each person alive on this planet right now is choosing a stream of thought and system of belief that inform your actions in the next weeks, the next days,the next hours, the next minutes, and the next seconds.
And each second that goes by, each choice made realizes who lives and who dies in this brutal war waged on the innocent people of Ukraine.
We must chose something different than we have ever chosen before to stop this senseless slaughter that stalks the entire human race ever since we crossed the demarcation line that lets us know that we know who we are. The lists of genocides and ruthless slaughter is very long. It will not stop unless we change it inside ourselves. Each person must embark on this work. It will hurt, but it will not hurt you. It will wake you up.
Peoples of the World, you must chose to protect and sustain all life or let it continue to be destroyed by men who have chosen to become monsters.
Every human choice matters to alter the course of our shared fate.
What will you choose?
Reactions of aHelpless Watcher Witnessing Evil Live on TV#2
Twitter Posts Beginning Night of Russian Invasion
Letter to American People
If you call yourself a patriotic American, you don’t root for Putin and you don’t spread Russian misinformation.
Americans rooting for Putin are imitating evil. It will lead us to the same remorseless, ruthless state that Russia has become.
American rooting for Putin, do you really want to cut your soul off from your humanity? From the very essences that make you human? Do you really think it is worth it to become a demon just so you can control everybody and everything to your desires?
Yes, I hear your complaints levied at the liberal left. You feel that you are being overlooked and left out by political correctness and cancel culture, but you have persuaded yourself to feel this way. You know darn well you have the same rights, responsibilities, and privileges as every other American, except those who are not white. You know darn well you fear the power that white male supremacy has conferred to you is slipping away. And this is why you bawl and brew and stew.
We have paid a terrible price in the United State for nursing our grievances by using the fake news and misinformation spread by Putin to further our own cause. Now evil grows on American soil inside American minds and it will not be long until Ukraine’s fate is America’s fate as well.
Think hard about how easy your comfortable American life is, even poor Americans have it 10,000 times better than the people in Ukraine right now.
It is so disheartening to hear a poll after Biden’s first State of Union address that said 60% of listeners thought the US economy was more important than Ukraine.
This is why we are not doing more to help the brave, compassionate, and beautiful people of Ukraine survive. This is why we are watching them being slaughtered.
Because we prefer our own comforts over someone else’s?
Yes, it has been a hard 2 years. There are still supply chain issues and higher prices, and these are probably going to get worst. Yes, wearing masks to protect others who are more vulnerable to COVID has been hard, but it is worth it, isn’t it to save someone else’s life?
Or are we a people who just think about ourselves obsessively and shallowly?
These things have made life harder to juggle, but American people, you can still juggle these things. You still have homes. You still have jobs. You can still go to the store without being shot at or bombed. You can still go outside and go about with your life without fear of being burned alive in your car. Ukraines are being burned alive in their cars. They are being shot. They are being bombed. They are being hunted like animals.
Are so many Americans really so blind and so heartless?
This is a disgrace.
We are a nation disconnecting from our capacity to empathize with other people.
How heartless the American heart seems tonight.
The frontline that Ukraine is fighting is EVERYWHERE!
There is no place to hide from this kind of evil for comes from inside us. If Ukraine falls, this horror rests on us for failing to put aside our differences as Americans, our comfort, and our policies and act like human beings.
Ukrainians are showing us how human beings act. Human beings help each other when trouble descends, especially when evil manifests its ugly power in the world.
Are you going to be human or monster?
I know my words are harsh. Please look into your heart. Please feel the pain of the Ukrainian people and the pain of all persecuted people because you can do something about it. It may hurt, but it will not hurt you. It will wake you up.
The choice is yours.
From the Perspective of Americans Working to Destroy Democracy
The Letter to the American people is informed by a former friend who I e-mailed the day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. My husband and I had happened to see Matthew Chance putting on his flak jacket the night the first bombs started dropping all over Ukraine. We were shocked and horrified knowing we were witnessing the beginning of the War.
The next morning, I sent an email to a person who I have been very tolerant of in his support of Donald Trump. Knowing how cowardly Trump was in standing up to Putin, I asked my former friend flat out, who does he support–Putin or Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine. Here is his reply.
I sent him a scathing reply, then blocked him. I told him he is not my friend, his beliefs are cat poop, and I stand in opposition to him. Even 10 days into the heroic fight the Ukrainians are giving the Russians, some Americans are still rooting for Putin.
These are not Americans that believe in freedom and democracy. These are wannabe dictators who are just as insane and mad as Putin. I say lock them up just as they chanted to lock up Hillary, but really they are just sad anti-Americans who have every right to voice their cocky, cockeyed opinions. And, they are really, really sad examples of being human in this century.
From the Perspective of Americans Working toSave American Democracy
One of the guest said, “This is a fight to be a human or a monster. Every person on this planet is part of this fight,” one speaker said today. I have been echoing this too. Action is required NOW.” #UkraineRussianWar#Ukraine#Zelensky#StopPutinNOW
Another guest said, “Two weeks ago, Zelenskyy was unknown. Today he is the most loved man on the planet. Courage is the sexiest trait a man can have…so don’t be afraid!” says one of the speakers today. Listen to this. #UkraineRussianWar#Ukraine#Zelensky
This is what makes America and democracy great. Diversity and lots of different people with different ideas who can come together to do something worth doing, something essential, something that will leave a mark on the world of mankind that is good, that humane, that is for life and all living beings not against it.
Images for this animation come from the video featured at the top of this blog and from my previous blog: Moonlight Shaken from a Cranes Bill(Oh how so much can happen in such a short amount of time. I published this blog 7 days ago when the world was a different place.)
First Archetypal Animation
Music:  Anybody Out There 3:48 | Ouroboros | Saint Punk
Image from: Ouroboros | Nether Realm on SoundCloud
Image from: Legends and Secrets of the Cosmic Ouroboros “There are few creatures that evoke the range of emotions like the earthbound snake. Across ancient cultures and civilizations, snakes have been viewed as mystical, dangerous, repulsive, and ultimately one of the most fascinating beings in the animal world. However, there might be a deeply rooted reason for human’s fascination with this creature, one that is embedded in the oldest mythology known to humans: Ouroboros, or the one who devours itself.”
“It’s an ancient circular symbol, dating back to 5000 BC, which depicts a snake or dragon eating its tail. Archaeologists discovered the oldest known example of an ouroboros on a jar that is possibly 7,000 years old. It belonged to the neolithic Yangshao People, who lived along the Yellow River in what is now eastern China.”
Background: Sláine is the 4th Warrior-Priestess in the story Sapience. I was working on her story when my father suffered his heart attack. The emergency responders worked on him for 15 minutes before they got a shockable pulse. Against all odds, he came back and was flown to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota where cutting edge life saving technologies and practices were implemented by highly trained medical staff whom I came to know and respect so deeply for everything they did brought dad back to us for 9 precious days. And, we almost got him all the way back for he was so close to recovery two days before he died, but fate took a terrible turn. In those hours and minutes wrapped inside those 9 precious days, tragic and miraculous things happened. Things I am still reckoning with to this day, but this cluster of short stories about Sláine I am ready to share now for this is also the story I was reading to him the day he died.
What follows are just thumbnails of who this Warrior-Priestess is. One day, I hope I will be able to get the full story made available for readers who would like to meet her, and perhaps you will come to know her like I have come to know her for she is incredible. But, she is also an accident—someone who was never meant to have existed. But here fate interfered as well (and as it usually does in reality and in fiction), thus bringing her from nothing into the world of the mid-800s—a time when the Vikings plundered and raided much of Europe alongside the growing strength and influence of the Catholic church.
Sláine grows up as an orphan at a convent in Ireland with Sister Theresa, Sister Charlotte, Sister Margret, Mother Superior, and the other nuns. There is so much more to her early story, but I will write only about the part I was working on when my father died. At this part of the story, Sláine is being guided across a glacier spanning between Odda to Rosendal in Norway. Her guide, Thorsten, has fallen into a deep glacial crevasse after being distracted by an extraordinary vision created by a phenomenon called a Fata Morgana, which creates fantastic mirages over great spans of water or ice. When Sláine and Thorsten see this phenomenon, they are sure they are seeing god and goddess Ullr and Skaði. Then, Thorsten vanishes into the crevasse. Thanks to the precautions Thorsten took by creating a long gap between them, Sláine has a few seconds to understand what has happened and react, but they were connected by a rope, and so Sláine is quickly pulled towards the crevasse after him. Had it not been for a boulder perched at the edge of this crevasse, Sláine would have gone in too. Somehow she manages to steer herself into it, breaking her ski and a bone in her hand. But, she stops herself and Thorsten from falling to their death. This moment is a transformation for her she is leaving the child she has been behind and turning into the woman she is becoming—a woman of many faces and realms, a woman who will learn how to wield wisdom like a sword to save the ones she loves.
Story Clip: Sláine drags Thorsten next to the rock she used to pull him out of the crevasse. She works quickly to unpack the things she needs to make a place for him to rest and warm up. Moving as quickly as she can, she uses her left hand, ignoring the pain shooting through her fingers, up her arm, and into her head to construct a shelter from the wind made out of her ski poles, Sister Sodoma’s arm and staff, and the horse’s hide. She pulls Thorsten into it. He is so cold, so she takes off her bear cloak, wraps it around him, then crawls in beside him using his cloak as a barrier underneath them from the ice. She pulls his knees close to his chest and surround as much of his body with her body as she can. At first, his coldness saps all her warmth, and she shivers uncontrollably. Little by little, Thorsten’s body begins to generate its own warmth, but he remain unconscious. Soon their bodies generate enough heat to create a place of safety and warmth. Exhausted, Sláine doesn’t even remember falling asleep, but when she does, she dreams of home—a home that is so far away now—the beautiful cliffs of Ireland; a land she may never see again, but a place her soul will never forget.
In her sleep, she dreams about ravens who showed her the cave in the cliff when she was quite young before the other girls came to the convent. She relives the day she came upon the tree filled with ravens and how they took flight and surrounded her. But, she was not afraid for she knew they were talking to her, and she knew she could talk to them. They lead her to the cave, which became a sanctuary she escaped to often everafter after. When the other girls came to take their vows to become brides of Christ along with her, she finally found a friend to share her adventures over the moors. She and Nell would skip afternoon prayers, escaping to the cave where they would stare out over the ocean for hours dreaming of fantastic adventures and voyages. One day, they came upon the ravens in the tree just like the day the ravens showed her the cave. Immediately, she wanted to show Nell how she could talk to the ravens. But, Nell ran in terror and never talked to her again until the day the Norsemen came, which hurt so much. But oh, those green, green moors of her beloved Ireland and the blue, blue sky and sea—if only she could go back to this place where she knows her mother’s beautiful soul resides looking out upon the land from her final resting place with such peace and love waiting for her beloved daughter to return.
Since 2012, I have worked on a story that I hope (with help from dear friends) will be available this year as a self-published work. As I sunk deeper into this story and discovered more of its terrain, I came to know the Warrior-Priestesses. I was working on the story of the 4th Warrior-Priestess, Sláine (a name from Viking lore) when tragedy befell my family. Now, as I work my way back from this tragedy, I illustrated and summarized some of the story of Sláine. It is these shorts that will follow. As I did this work, I learned about the work of Margret Wheatley and her idea about Warriors for the Human Spirit. Though my work is fiction, its message is about consciousness, climate change, and the gap we collectively stand in Now where the choice is clear: Do we continue to proceed on our current path that is bringing us ever closer to the cliff created by deepening divides between beliefs and the haves and have nots or do we see beyond our current systems and structures and choose something wiser, more compassionate, and sustainable?
Margret says about the warrior training she provides: “Warriors for the Human Spirit are awake human beings who have chosen not to flee. They abide. They serve as beacons of an ancient story that tells of the goodness and generosity and creativity of humanity. You can identify them by their cheerfulness. You will know them by their compassion. When asked how they do it they will tell you about discipline, dedication and the necessity of community. — Warrior in Training
I believe we’ve had such humans among us since the beginning of humanity. Now, we stand at a crossroads where we must choose who we are and what we will do, and we need these warriors again in great numbers. This is where story and storytelling are infinitely important in helping us see around corners and imagine different futures (different realities). This type of knowledge is needed Now to help us make better choices in our Here and Nowfor it is our capacity to imagine that helped humanity become the tool makers and bio-geo engineers of our world that has allowed us to transform our planet through technology and the creation of societies driven by economics. Much good has come from all this, but also bad, and along the way we seem to have discarded or forgotten something essential in ourselves—the more ancient ways of being in the world and wisdom needed to live sustainably and compassionately with each other and all life. But, we are the New Ancient’s rising today. And we can learn once again how to swim in the deeper waters of our consciousness for we have inside ourselves the new stories needed to create a better, more sustainable future (reality). I believe we can reclaim these lost parts of ourselves where wisdom waits patiently.