PASSION AND DEATH
An allegorical tale
By Vince Giuliano
Farah, steely Queen of the
When Belle became a comely young woman, the village blacksmith Nadir asked Farah for Belle's hand. Farah said she would go along, but only if Nadir agreed to one condition. Nadir must take the basket with the vipers, and swear to feed and care for these snakes without limit on time. It seemed like a small price to Nadir, so he said "fine." So Nadir took the basket of vipers, and he kept it in a small cage beneath his and his wife's house. He suspected that the snakes were part of keeping Belle docile, and thought that the snakes therefore probably served him.
Above all, Nadir yearned for the ultimate in passion, for total ecstasy that could come to him only through losing himself in total sexual immersion. He wished for this more than anything. He often tried to find this ecstasy through union with his wife. But somehow it seemed always to escape him at the last minute. He often would tell his wife Belle he wanted to die in her embrace, in the reverie that follows sexual completion.
Nadir did not realize that one of the vipers in the basket which Farah had given him was the key to realizing the passion he so longed for. But there was something else too. What was known to no-one, not Nadir,or Belle, or even Farah, is that when Farah stole Belle's vitality and truthfulness, the goddess Khali took a special interest in Belle, taking her into her service. Khali had enlisted Belle in the prostitutes of the sacred and profane.
Khali had laid upon Belle a blessing and a curse -- and that is that any man who completely joined with her sexually and emotionally would, by that very act, be transported to heaven. Directly. Without passing go, so to speak. Of course, Nadir was protected by the numbness of lack of feeling in Belle, so for a long time they lived their ordinary lives. Belle just getting by, without feeling much or thinking of much, Nadir pounding hot iron by day, but by night being unable to find the heat of passion he yearned for.
But this is all in the line of background.
Our story starts when Belle was a seller of vegetables in the town marketplace in the square where the beggars gather, many years after her marriage. A wise male witch, Mohab, a man black of skin and good of heart, sells bread in the stall next to Belle's. Mohab likes Belle and sees the numbness and lack of joy in her. Mohab invites Belle and her husband Nadir to a cave where members of his secret witch-coven meet to dance rituals of truthfulness and aliveness by the light of magic fires through the night. Belle and Nadir go that night and participate in the dancing rituals. They dance and dance in a frenzy. And as they dance, surrounded by the magic of the black witches, something begins to seep back into Belle -- the lively and truthful part of her becomes restored to her from the viper.
So also is Nadir's spirit enlivened by the magic dancing, and that night Belle and Nadir make passionate love -- that which Nadir has most craved all his life is now realized. After that they go to sleep, and, according to the powers of Khali invested in Belle, Nadir's soul is transported to heaven while he sleeps.
Well, so much for Nadir. Let's not worry too much about him. After all, there were all of Khali's sacred prostitutes up in heaven to take care of him.
Grieving her dead husband but even more cherishing her newly found aliveness, Belle is at first a new person to her mother, sister, and others. Her radiance enlivens all those around her. However Belle is still under Farah's spell, which gradually reasserted itself. Her truthfulness and aliveness drains back into the viper, and in a few days she grows tight and closed again. Once again, the viper re-possesses those important parts of Belle's spirit. Unconscious of this, Belle continues to feed the snakes, though she as always is uncomfortable in their presence.
Traveling in the country one day by carriage to visit her mother, Belle has to cross a ravine which is flooded due to a sudden storm. In the midst of crossing the water her horses bolt. Belle is thrown into the cold muddy water and her carriage upset. Clymus, a hermit and Shaman who lives nearby, sees this happen, and rescues Belle from the water. He takes her to his cave to dry and rest. There they talk long of many things.
Looking into Belle's soul, Clymus sees the emptiness of her spirit, that she has trouble simply speaking the truth, and that her joy is somehow absent. As their friendship deepens, Belle tells Clymus of the basket of vipers that is under her house. Wise in the shamanistic ways of the natural order, Clymus tells Belle to bring the cage of snakes to him, which she does the next day.
Clymus looks into the eyes of the vipers, and sees there, sparkling deeply, Belle's aliveness and truthfulness and Jonquil's restraint and judgment. He then speaks silently to the two vipers in the language of snakes, and starts to bargain with them. He will set them free in the wilderness, if they will agree to release Belle's truth and aliveness and Jonquil's restraint and judgment. The vipers happily consent, and Clymus lets the two snakes go on a remote mountain ledge. As they go, they leave behind two pomegranate seeds, one shaped as a heart, the other shaped as a star.
Clymus instructs Belle to eat the pomegranate seed shaped as heart, and to deliver the other seed to Jonquil and have her eat it. As Belle eats the heart-shaped seed, a tremendous wave of freedom and lovingness washes over her. Awash in euphoria, gratitude and seeing the truths and beauty of life fully for the first time, Belle wants nothing more than to make love with Clymus. She still knows nothing of the curse of Khali that is upon her. But before the snakes had slithered away they had hissed the secret to Clymus, warning him that Belle was in Khali's service and that he could forsake his life by making love to her. But Clymus has lived many lives and seen many things, and knows death will soon retrieve him by one means or the other. So he chooses to go directly to heaven by making love with Belle. They perform the sacred act of love. It is transcendent in its beauty. The next morning Clymus is dead too, his soul transported to heaven.
Alive and inspired though grieved of Clymus, a consciousness begins to arise in Belle of the power of the goddess within her. She seeks her sister Jonquil, and gives her the star-shaped pomegranate seed to eat. As her sister does that, they embrace deeply, seeing for the first time reflected in each other the full beauty of their sisterhood. They encounter Farah, who sees that they have recovered what she had stolen from them and entrusted to the snakes. But she can do nothing to further contain her daughters.
Jonquil has a friend, Herodat, once a fast man with women, a trainer of race horses and successful gambler. But Herodat had been caught cheating in sex for the final time by his last wife, and caught cheating in money for the last time by the rich merchants who had trusted him. Now disgraced, poor, and three-times divorced, his family and possessions are gone. He is haunted most by the desolation of his own soul. He alone spits on himself, for others have forgotten him. Now, aging, he wants only to regain honor in the eyes of the gods, to make right his life.
Knowing of some of the magic of spirit that is now in Belle, Jonquil introduces Belle to Herodat, to see if she can balm the hurt in the heart of this wounded man. Belle consents. She finds Herodat strange in his woundedness, even repulsive, but she knows she had the power to make him whole. She knows too this can only be through abandonment in love and complete sex with him. But by now Belle is beginning to realize that embracing this man in absolute sexual love would destroy him too. He would be whole, but then would pass on to heaven. She does not want another man to die in her embrace. She prays to the Great Goddess to free herself of the burden of the curse that Khali had laid upon her, to relieve her of the special power to transport men to heaven.
Belle goes down to the river Nepenthe that flows near her house, draws a magic circle around herself by the light of the full moon, and begs for release. Khali appears before her and Belle cries "Please release me, let me be but a mortal, let me love without my lover having to die. Let me make full love to Herodat without your taking him."
Khali responds "I cannot do that. You are in my service as a most-sacred prostitute, a transporter to the higher domain. You have served me twice; now you ask release. Of course you can make love with him but hold yourself back, and he will be fine. Realize though that for you absolute ecstasy and death are bound together as one. Only by your complete lovingness and his complete surrender in your embrace can Herodat find what he wants. Then he must die. You can serve Herodat by giving him this transportation. That is all there is for you to do with him. He is not suitable to be your husband."
Belle asks "Must I serve you all my days?" Khali responds "Because you have served me well, I will release you after you perform a third service on my behalf. Make passionate love to Herodat; he shall then die; through you I shall give him the deliverance he wants and requires. Then if you wish I shall come to you once more, and you can choose to be released from my service if you wish."
That night, Belle holds Herodat in a tender embrace, and asks him again to say what his ultimate wish is. He says "It is very simple - to die clean, in true love in the arms of one I love and who loves me, in the release of making love in absolute passion to someone who is pure, who can cleanse me. Simply put I want to be fucked to the point where I have no more thoughts, no mind, fucked to death by an angel of light." Then, moving ever so slowly, they begin to make love, deeply and passionately. After finishing the act a first time, Herodat begins to cry with deep sobs. Then they make love again, and again he cries -- and laughs too. Only in the third bout is the experience complete and perfect, and Herodat falls into a deep sleep from which he does not awake.
Khali descends and bears Herodat's soul up to heaven. In seeing this, Belle sees the compassionate side of Khali, and comprehends the sacred nature of the service she has provided.
Belle radiates life and warmth to those she encounters at her vegetable stall after that. The sick and demented who experience her touch become well; good fortune falls upon those whom she beams upon. Even the ice in her mother's heart begins to melt. Her sister marries a kind and rich merchant, and bears two wonderful daughters of her own. But as the weeks and months pass, Belle becomes lonely; she wants a mate, a husband, a partner to share her bed and life with. So she goes back to the banks of the Nepenthe river in the full moon at again, and alone there draws the magic circle and once more summons the goddess Khali.
The goddess appears before her and Belle says "Khali, great goddess of love and death, I beg you to release me now from your service as you promised. I am lonesome. I don't want to be a transporter of strangers any more, a prostitute in your sacred service. I want a husband; I want to be an ordinary human. I want an ordinary life. I have served you thrice as you asked. Now release me."
Khali says "I will do that if you wish, but first you must understand the choice. If I were to release you, you would retain your truthfulness and your aliveness that you retrieved from the serpents, but you would loose the edge of your sexual passion, that edge I have given you that provides transportation to heaven. You would become an ordinary human lover, with human passion and compassion, but without ability to experience or convey the depth of ecstasy that transports. And I would have to take away all your memories of the gods, your memories of the magic you have known, your memories of the depths of passion you have experienced. That would be the price. Now, is becoming an ordinary human still your choice?"
Belle hesitates, and responds "Yes." With that word Khali vanishes, as does Belle's priestess power and memories. Belle walks home from the river, wondering why in heaven's name she had gone there so late at night. A few months later Belle meets a kind and handsome man, who she marries after an appropriate courtship. As the years pass she is sometimes happy and sometimes sad, but always radiant and giving to those around her. She grows closer to her mother and sister, but never compromising in her thirst for a full life. She dies an ordinary death at the age of 73, leaving a loving family and loving friends behind.
In heaven, her memory fully restored, the spirit that was Belle meets Khali. What she has to say is "Khali, of all things in my life, serving you was the most profound. I beg you, in my next reincarnation allow me to serve you again." Khali smiles in consent, and thus it is so. And thus another story like this one starts again, and then again another such story, and then another. Thus turns the great wheel of life, cycles of passion and death.
Author's comment: I married one once and she nearly killed me.
Copyright 2008 by Vincent E. Giuliano, all rights reserved