In this third and final volume of Julia Turk's Navigator's Dream series, the Navigator makes one final voyage into the realm of tarot to ultimately find enlightenment-but it will be much more difficult than a simple turn of the cards for our psychiatrist-turned-philosopher and mystic. In Seatime, the hero ascends into the Major Arcana of the tarot deck via a sailboat led by the Higher Self of the Navigator, known as Guide.
Joined together with a motley crew, the sailboat takes the Navigator and Guide deep within the islands, or Sephiroth, of the Mystic SEA. These are not tropical islands intended for peace and comfort; each island is different than the last, and each carries a mystery that must be unraveled. Although the Navigator has learned much amidst the tarot cards, has the hero learned enough to make it home?
Externally, the Navigator has difficulties, but internally there are problems as well; as the riddles unravel, so do the deeply held psychological issues of the Navigator. By the end, the mysteries of the Major Arcana might be solved, but will the Navigator be able to heal the wounds built prior to the tarot adventure?
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The Navigator's Dream Volume 3Seatime
By Julia A. Turk
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2012 Julia A. Turk
All right reserved.
Chapter OneEncounter with the Qliphoth
The sweat poured off me as I awoke and dashed drops of moisture from my eyes. A red glow suffused everything, and the clanking of metal tools and harsh voices filled my ears. It sounded as if I was back in the deepest area of the mine where we had first encountered the Qliphoth, and the foul stench of them filled the air.
Looking down, as I attempted to sit up on the hard metal floor, I found my legs held firmly by something heavy and soft, like a big sack of corn, that rested on my feet. It was hard to make out exactly what was there in the dim light. Its silhouette was illumined by sparks from the metal works clattering away beyond, and I could distinguish some sort of head that swung to and fro, as if it were watching something I couldn't see.
My labored breathing barely allowed me to draw in enough stagnant air to remain conscious. I could hear the sound of great bellows and the intermittent roar of flames, the clatter of hammer against anvil, the sizzle of red hot metal hitting water, which all indicated that we were in the clandestine blacksmiths' forge near the mine upon which Trid, the Page of Pentacles, and I had stumbled. The pressure on my eardrums signified that I was deep underground. This posed a problem, as they had captured me at sea over one of the deepest trenches known to exist. I felt sure we were underground, but where could we be? Deep beneath the ocean trench, or below some unknown island, I could not imagine. Maybe it was another forge – there could be dozens of them everywhere.
Meanwhile, it was necessary to focus on the heavy object that pinned down my legs. I leaned forward, stretching out my arms to give it a push, but found I could not reach it. My legs seemed to have grown much longer, and the creature that sat there seemed to slide further and further away, but I still felt the weight of it. I fell back to the floor, banging my head, and lay there enduring the pain. Thoughts of food flashed through my mind, and I realized that I had not eaten for some time.
A movement by my side and a brief puff of clear night air made me turn to the left. I saw the prow of a boat, made of copper, and in it sat my banished entity, Aquirot, she who represented my greed for money, now vanquished. Above her rose the graceful form of the goddess Isis, who bent down and, handing me a plate of bread and a skin of wine, spoke to me softly.
"Do not despair. To you, it seems as if you are deep under the earth, but you are not. The land of the Qliphoth is neither above nor below, neither beside nor behind, nor is it in front of you, but it is within you. The molecules of the evil ones exist within your body, side by side with those of blameless virtue. You have made mistakes, of course, and you have been brought here by the Shells to atone for your errors." Isis continued with a smile. "Aquirot asked me to come to you, for she also lives in this eternal passageway because of her desire for material wealth. She is not a bad entity, and I feel that one day she will be able to leave her prison if she becomes more moderate and frugal. I am here to tend the dead, and to feed the living to give them strength to pass through this endless tunnel. The passage is spiral shaped, yet the end of the spiral is also the beginning, like a Moebius strip, so that one needs special powers to escape from it by traversing its outer limbic membrane." She sighed, and then went on. "You must first remove the sack of garbage across your limbs. This baggage is stopping you from moving on. You have been collecting it for years and it has now taken on a life of its own. The gold anklet that you stole from Endevvy, during your adventures in the Six of Cups, attaches it to you. See how it moves its head? The Shells and their mining operations fascinate it. Above all, you must not allow it to become attracted to the Seven Shades, for they are intent on capturing it. Remember, the more you try to reach for the creature, for it is alive in your mind, the more difficult it is. You must remain detached, only knowing that this obstacle has been placed on you by the Hoodwinker, your Shadow self, who is nearby and watching."
Swallowing hard, I whispered to Isis. "How can I remove it, then?" I didn't want anyone to hear my plans, for I knew that others were listening closely.
"The Bride gave you a steel triangle, open at one corner, with a small bronze rod beside it. That triangle will summon her, for she rules over all virtues and vices that exist in the Island of Malkuth. She may be willing to assist you. Do you have the triangle with you?"
I had placed several objects, gifts received during my earlier journey down the river, in my pockets and in the hem of my cape before I sailed away from the Bar. I searched around anxiously, relieved to find the triangle. I struck it with the rod, and it gave out a humming noise, as of many bees in a hive. I peered anxiously into the fiery gloom, not noticing that Isis had faded away, I was intent on the search for she whom I loved – the beautiful Bride of Malkuth, the World Dancer. Would she appear before me?
But, no! The moments passed, and still I heard and saw nothing but the dismal clanking of hammers and the raucous voices of the Shells as they worked. Their reason for existing was to extract lead from gold, and manufacture the counterfeit coins that my parents had received long ago and sent out into the world. My sack of garbage seemed to become heavier and heavier, until the pain in my immoveable legs eased as they gradually became numb. I wriggled and tried to throw the weight off my feet until I gave up in despair, I saw no way out of my predicament.
In desperation, I held up the little triangle once more and struck it again, once, twice, three times the humming noise reverberated in the fetid air. This time it roused the workers, who straightened up from their toil and turned towards me in a sinister way. Several of them began to advance upon me. I looked fearfully at these horrific metal objects, searching for their faces - their eyes - but all I saw was a twisted mass of bloody metal shards, for the Shells had no eyes, no faces. Four of them grabbed me by my arms and legs and dragged me across the floor towards a round opening in the far wall that was a continuation of the tunnel.
They rudely shoved and pushed me into a small annex at the side of the tunnel. A figure, dressed in medical clothes, lifted me onto a table and took the heavy sack off my legs, removing the gold anklet by snipping through it with chain cutters and, instead, attaching the sack to my ankles with a large elastic bungee cord. Then the faceless Shell massaged my legs until the blood flowed into them once more.
"Thank you, thank you," I murmured gratefully. "Now I can walk again."
"Don't thank me, you ignorant fool." It responded rudely. "My aim was to recover the gold anklet, which is ours, for you told the mango vendor a lie, saying that the anklet was poisoned, so that you could keep it. Your dishonesty means the anklet belongs to us now, for we claim all objects obtained by theft, Ponzi schemes, and outright deception, and we can melt it down to hide the lead that we manufacture. All gold is valuable at this time, but beware of those who would buy it cheap, for they will profit from you."
The Shell sniggered and went on. "We have only shifted the weight of the baggage you are carrying so that you can proceed on your own legs along the tunnel to your next encounter. You will still have to drag the sack along with you, so don't imagine that you are free of the hindrance. In fact, most people find it particularly exhausting to haul their sacks of garbage behind them. Your task is to free yourself of it, for as long as it is attached, you won't be able to pass through the tunnel membrane. Think of the triangle, for Isis has given you a hint. Think of three sides, three only is the number to hold in your thoughts. Go on, now. The Council of Eight is waiting for you in the conference room ahead."
I gingerly placed my feet on the ground and took my first step, wondering who the Council of Eight could be. The sack, strapped to both my ankles, made each step forward a burdensome jerk as the cord rebounded and slapped the back of my legs. I tried shuffling without lifting my feet off the ground, to lessen the effect on the cord. The sack twisted this way and that, catching on snags protruding from the floor of the tunnel, as I made my way slowly into the conference room.
This was an ugly metal box, about twenty feet long, with a stainless steel table and matching chairs, the arms of which stuck out like cactus spikes and looked very uncomfortable. To my dismay, the figures that sat around the table were all too familiar. The horrible Seven Shades lounged rudely around the table, assembled to pass judgment on me, I assumed. At the head of the conference table sat the Hoodwinker herself, and I felt sure she was grinning in a most discomfiting manner, although I couldn't see her face.
I sank to the ground, fear striking me as I curled into a fetal position with my head buried in my arms. I yearned for the comforting arms of Paragutt fastened around my back, but he had apparently remained at the amethyst tower of Belvedere. One by one, the foul Shades came up, some of them kicked me, and some beat me over the head, while others pinched me and used their little whips on me. I did not move or cry out, which must have disappointed them, for they took their seats again, grumbling amongst themselves.
The Hoodwinker spoke to me sternly. "Stand up and look me in the face."
Struggling to my feet with difficulty, I searched for her face, but it remained hidden deep within the cowl of her cloak. The faces of the Seven turned towards me were also in shadow, so this command was impossible to obey. I shrugged my shoulders helplessly.
The dark voice continued. "You are here because you have made many mistakes during your long journey. Now you have entered the domain of the Mystic SEA, which holds many terrors. My friends and associates, who assemble here, each dominate one of the seven lower Paths in the Mystic SEA and hold their position relative to the secret significance of that particular Path. When you reach that place, you will encounter the appropriate Shade, who will teach you many things – although you may not enjoy their lessons!"
A low and musty giggle of approval ran through the group and they wagged their heads up and down, coughing and spitting grossly onto the metal floor while they searched their garments for fleas and other irritating pests, scratching and muttering amongst themselves.
I found the courage to speak up. "I really don't see that I've done anything so terrible. All I want is to be left alone, and return to my sailboat. The crew may need me. Please let's forget this and let me go."
My pleading was fruitless. The Hoodwinker responded smartly. "Alas! Alas is my favorite word, by the way. Your journey has reached the stage from which you can never return. You made that choice on the day that you set out. This is a process, which you can only resolve by true understanding of the paradox between good and evil. As you must realize, pain and suffering are better teachers than a life of ease and plenty." She paused, taking a small bandanna decorated with crocodiles from her sleeve and passing it under her cowl, where she dabbed her eyes for a few seconds. "We - who are the embodiment of bad choices, are here to initiate you and enable you to move into the life of – I would like to say Riley, but I desist – a fuller life, let me suggest."
Again I was roused to reply. "I already have a very full and busy life! I don't need any more challenges. I'm tired of meeting people who need help and advice. Can't anybody stand on their own feet these days? I just want to relax and have fun. Please allow me to leave and return to the Bar, and I won't trouble you again." I began to sniffle, and wiped my nose on the hemp sleeve of my tunic. The straps around my ankles hurt sorely. Strangled with sobs, I managed to stutter out. "Pl ... please, le..t me out of here and ..." snivel "... take off this dreadful sack that I'm dragging behind me...."
A howl of delighted laughter filled my ears. The Shades bent over the table, holding their sides, and almost choking with mirth. They rolled in their seats, slapping each other on the back and crying out "Bravo!" as they mimicked my hunched attitude.
How cruel they were! I hated them to the core of my being. I was entrapped, stuck in a situation that I felt was none of my fault, neither was it my choice. Why, the whole affair was out of my control! My entities, whose manifestation I had relied on to take my part in every situation, had abandoned me. They had branched out in their own lives and, instead of being grateful to me because I had birthed them and nurtured their attitudes throughout my own existence; they felt they owed me nothing. Now I had lost control of my self, too. I was at the mercy of my Shadow self and its minions.
The Hoodwinkers' sharp voice broke through my misery. "Pull yourself together! You are weak. You wallow in pity for yourself. Now, you cannot avoid what lies in front of you. However, we will divide your journey into sections, which is very considerate of us, so when you approach each Island by the allotted Path, you will only have to deal with the elements relating to its correspondences. We must complete this voyage cautiously, taking each of the ten spheres – or Islands, as you call them – one at a time, in a set order that has been ordained since time began. Each of my compatriots here -" She made an indicative sweep of her cloak, "is assigned to one of the seven lower Islands. You will deal with them one at a time, for your stupid Paragutt cut the copperhead snake into seven pieces while Knight Ignitia watched. He should have killed the snake as one, which would have eliminated all the Shades at once. Your journey through the Paths and the Spheres is the reverse order of Divine Emanation, and it is called the Way of Return. We who are lost down here wish to participate in that release, and we must reach towards the mysterious root of it in gradual stages. If we did not, the overload would drive us mad. Mad! I say, believe me."
She threw back her head archly and the cowl suddenly slid from her face.
I gazed in bewilderment and shock, drawing back in amazement. This could not be! The face revealed to me was none other than the Bride herself. Greedily I ran my eyes over her beautiful features, cast in a silky skin of pale green, while her eyes, the color of bark on a young tree, regarded me somberly. She had a long, aristocratic nose ending in a charmingly curved mouth, while a tendril of her mossy hair escaped from the dark cowl that now lay on her shoulders. I had always believed that the Bride of Malkuth was sacred, and carried in her veins nothing but good for the earth. However, the Hoodwinker was adept at shape shifting, for she had demonstrated that ability when we attacked the hermit Hugh, who was incubating the negative egg full of demons, and destroyed it by hurling it off a cliff.
So, was this the Hoodwinker? Alternatively, was it really the Bride? I did not have the answer yet, but I was determined to find out the truth behind her astonishing metamorphosis.
The meeting between me and the Council of Eight ended abruptly, as metal began to drip and cascade down the walls of the room and all that it contained dissolved into a mist. I found myself standing in the middle of the tunnel, still attached to the sack of garbage that trailed behind me. My next question was how to get rid of it? I knew I could not pass through the tunnel membrane into Malkuth as long as I possessed it.
Some thought, originating long in the past, swept through my mind. Isis had given me a hint. The triangle! That had not worked, or had it? The Bride had appeared to me, if, indeed it was she. The triangle had three sides. When in difficulties, find three witnesses to talk to, and they would listen and resolve the problem one was facing. Nevertheless, where could I find these witnesses? I floundered clumsily along the tunnel, dragging my baggage and looking to either side for the entrance to a second room, which might contain a witness or two.
I had traveled some half a mile with great exertion, when I came to a sort of cross section. The tunnel stretched on in front of me, always turning slightly to the left, and two closed doorways faced each other across the corridor. I hesitated, trying to decide which of them I should attempt to open, the door on the right, or the one on the left.
With a shiver of fear, I tried the handle on the right hand door first, but it was locked. I rattled it fiercely in frustration, and a wheezy moan came from within the room. Someone was imprisoned in there! Maybe it was a witness. I struck the triangle forcibly with the bronze rod and it set up a strong vibration. A click immediately came from the locked door, and it swung open to reveal a dank and musty darkness. Faint groans came from a bundle that lay at the back of the room, just visible in the dim light from the corridor. Cautiously I moved in, yanking my sack after me, and bent over the shivering form, drawing back the thin blanket that covered it. The face that peered up at me, blinking its bleary eyes in the shadows, was that of – could it be? – my long-lost friend and mentor Swollup! I tore off the covers and took her thin body gently in my arms, carrying her out into the tunnel in order to see her more clearly. I laid her down and crouched over her, ignoring my unwanted baggage for a moment.
Swollup, my lustful entity, had passed away shortly before the end of my river journey in great sorrow, but she had made me a promise on her deathbed that she would return in a different form, and that her name, in the future, would be Pullows. I now addressed her, calling her new name softly.
Excerpted from The Navigator's Dream Volume 3 by Julia A. Turk Copyright © 2012 by Julia A. Turk. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsPrologue – Leaving the Bar and Passage to the Islands in the Mystic SEA....................1
Encounter with the Qliphoth....................8
Island of MALKUTH....................19
Path of the SUN....................75
Path of the MOON....................87
Path of the UNIVERSE....................99
Island of YESOD....................111
Path of the AEON....................125
The Island of HOD....................139
Path of DEATH....................149
The Island of NETZACH....................165
Path of the DEVIL....................176
Path of ART - Calcination....................188
Path of the TOWER - Separation....................205
Path of SUSPENSION - Dissolution....................218
Path of the LOVERS - Conjunction....................228
Path of the STAR – Fermentation....................239
Path of FORTUNE – Distllation....................251
Path of DESTINY - Coagulation....................266
Island of TIPHARETH....................282
First Path of the CHARIOT....................298
Path of the HIEROPHANT....................301
Island of GEBURAH....................312
Path of STRENGTH....................322
Path of the EMPRESS....................334
Path of the EMPEROR....................346
Path of the HERMIT....................357
Island of CHESED....................367
Second Path of the CHARIOT....................376
Island of DA'ATH....................381
Path of the MAGIAN....................389
Island of BINAH....................409
Path of the ARCHPRIESTESS....................420
Island of CHOCKMAH....................435
Path of the FOOL....................447
Third Path of the CHARIOT....................454
Epilogue to The Navigators Dream....................456