Excerpt from Laura Bee's novel-in-progress called The First Melissa.
Setting: the "Fingers" are early god-forms embodying human-forms to help Melissa as she becomes an adult and a Priestess.
Kyphi is sacred, consecrated incense. Alma is Melissa's sister.
Philos sat, as usual, at a slight distance from the others. He nursed a pot of kyphi made by Nut, who ground it with her pure black feet to a song played on a lyre, in the moonlight. In it were four kinds of night-blooming blossoms, brought by four kings. There was amber also and sea amber and some black labdumen so the smoke had a fatty quality, like dessert. Philos was resting, his transparent orb reflecting the coal in front of him. His fingers moved slowly, like lazy embers.
Since the Fingers lived primarily in the dream state and had merged with the souls of the mountains many eons ago, the landscape of the in-between ran as a thick current through their minds. For Philos, the humans moved about like gnats or yard birds and he paid little attention to them. He did enjoy the music of their voices, however, as it fed the burning kyphi and in this way, he stayed in tune with their presences, like fog mists a hillside.
This evening he heard Alma in her prayers down far below the promontory he rested upon. A clarion braid of light spinning from her and her altar. The women with her augmented the colors of the braid, their prayers adding filaments, currents, webbing. When it reached the stratosphere it burst into a meteor shower and Philos watched the falling stars drift into chimneys and onto stable roofs throughout the land.
He traced the prayers onto the orb and the orb flared as if a key had opened a doorway.
Philos hunched in interest. This is what he saw:
A whirling disc, deep in the basket of night.
A dark whorl in the center, a place with no light or sound.
A devouring circle-cylinder, creator/destroyer in both directions.
He felt that he sat in the side of light and watched the center of it
bulge as if crowning with a baby’s head. He recognized this side as a great bowl,
a bronze bowl, pounded thin and limned with a star map.
He watched it fill with water, as if from a spring,
and pour down onto the mountaintops in the form of snowflakes.
Shuddering, he body-witnessed the Moon pull milk, and the stars weave lay-lines upon the planet around him.
Within the orb in his hands he watched meteors drift through the sky and Philos knew this was a re-membered, deep story.
The stars showered down in all directions, brought to Earth
in a shower of lodestones. He saw them crater the
Earth and saw the Earth fill with an Ocean then self-birth islands
that shifted and moved on the surface of her, floating like foam….
Behind him, Nut danced with her eyes closed. Her skirts whispered and fluttered in the night’s shadows. The bottom of her feet and the soles of her hands were red from dancing and compounding the Draco resin. Her devotees brought small oil lamps and placed them in a half-circle around Philos and Nut, leaving the promontory where Philos sat in the dark. Nut’s skirts and whirling illuminated in flashes. They had sewn small shell disks on a scarf around her hips and onto the rims of the hand drums which they played softly, the disks making a zzzzz-ing that sounded like the buzzing of a Hive.
On the ground beneath her feet, Nut’s footsteps traced lines, not unlike Philos whose fingertips left a glow against the dark sky. While Philos were often geometries, Nuts were always mandalas. The devotees watched them form on the ground, following the delicate movements of her toes and sweep of her hair and, in unison copied the movements into rhythms on their drums. The ground became painted with the calligraphy of her dancing. The Draco resin leaped into script and cuneiform and later, as dawn rose, the devotees would brush the powder into pots to use later for kyphi and resin drinks.
The Astronomers were sitting up the mountain, watching from above. Several of them were slack-jawed with their eyes rolled back in their heads. They were practicing sky vision. The others watched Nut dance in relation to the still Philos, she ebony and reddened but illuminated, flickering in golden flashes, he, his back facing the dancers and his front toward the dark. His head was like a fountain and his consciousness streamed into the void.
Nut’s ochre mandala formed and reformed under her feet. For those that could see, a net formed underground in rootlike webbing, streaking stone and pooling in caverns, seeking the underworld.