This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Sunday, 25 November 2012

The Demon And The Sun

The Sun rose over the horizon. He was full of his health and strength, vital with energy, and he looked forward to making his way across the blue vault of the heavens before putting himself to bed in the evening.

Unknown to him, though, a terrible danger awaited his coming.

Suddenly, the Sun shivered. A strange fear gripped him. Glancing over his shoulder, he beheld a strange and terrible tide of darkness advancing on him. It was the Demon come round again, and with a scream of silent terror the Sun plunged forward, but he was too late. A moment more, and he felt the icy tide of the Demon’s darkness stealing over him, reaching out to swallow him whole.

The whole of the Universe was perturbed and disturbed.

Set in their eternal orbits, the Stars shivered in their turn, with fear and anger, sending their malign influences flashing through the Cosmos in waves of evil energy that bounced and curled and lashed out like whips. A tide of this black energy swept over the Universe in a flood.

And down in the world of Men, the sky went dark, and food turned into poison in the mouths of those who, in defiance of the sages, wished to eat it. And the women who were born in the Astrological House most affected by the energies the Demon had unleashed as it continued swallowing the Sun suffered, too; their babies died in their wombs and their breasts fell dry as they tried to suckle. And worse was to befall, because, as the sages had foretold, their offspring and their parents began to die; for was it not written in the Scriptures that the children and parents of these women would die if they did not propitiate the gods?

A sad and terrible generation it was, the one that inhabited the world of Men, a generation that had ceased to venerate all their forefathers had held sacred. It was a generation that would suffer, and suffer indeed, for who knew when the Demon would release the Sun again from its iron grip?

And then the sages arose, and rang the temple bells; and all along the length of the holy river the terrified people stopped their accursed work and listened to the temple bells. And then they came, running, walking or limping, in their cars and carts, to the temples where the bells rang.

And then spake the Priests to the sinful people; “Go ye, and make yourselves worthy of salvation; fast and pray, and bathe in the holy River, and blow conches, that the Demon may be affrighted and let the Sun go; for surely otherwise he will swallow the Sun whole. And then Darkness will come down on the world, and surely everything will wither and die.” And the people were frightened indeed at their words.

Then spake the Priests to the women of mankind; “Behold, ye are sinful, and neglect your duties as mothers and wives, and think only of yourselves, and a blight is come upon you, and surely your children and your parents shall die for your sins. Go ye then, and set coconuts on pots of water, and place flowers, and fast, and pray. Pray, and do not step out of doors until the Demon has disgorged the Sun, or else you are lost for Eternity, and whatever befall your children and parents shall be your fault.”

And the men and women bathed in the holy River, and blew conches, and fasted and prayed, desperate in the face of the Demon, even as darkness fell upon the land. And yet, as they prayed and bathed and fasted, the Demon was forced back, and lo, the Sun emerged from his maw, little by little, until he was shining in the Sky once more.

Then the people prostrated themselves to the Priests and said, “We were unworthy and You have saved and succoured us. Pray accept our humble obeisance.” And the Priests tolled the temple bells to let the world know the danger was past, and the Sun shone again on the bright and wondrous land of India.

And far above, the moon sailed serenely on her lonely path, and the sun on his, so she no longer hid him from view, and her shadow did not besmirch by its touch the ancient world of Men.

The eclipse was over.

(Most of this – including fasting, ritual bathing and praying for the lives of one’s parents and children – will actually happen today in India, which claims to be the oldest home of science, when theannular solar eclipse due for this early afternoon takes place.)

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