Porque Somos Uno
The opening salvo of the freedom series.
Damp, fragrant pieces of bark clung to the hair on her forearms as Lana surveyed her days' efforts with a satisfied smile. The spring earth was warm under her bare feet. Soft dark earth covered the field, hidden safely now under the camouflage of the deep, moist mulch she'd just finished laying down. The air smelt fresh and perversely alive, full of mushrooms, wet dirt, and pine bark.
This day, she had honored Inanna to bless the land. She served with the work of her hands and the vision of her creativity. It felt good to tend to the great cycle. And after a whole day in the field, she was also completely ravenous!
Yuri was cooking tonight, so there was a good chance dinner was going to be amazing. Her stomach rumbled at the thought. And Meda had just brought in that load of cured sausage. With all that and the production from the orchard gardens too? The land felt abundant and full.
She felt the echo of this fullness in the weight of her hips lately. Feeling into her body, she bent her knees and swayed side to side, echoing the ripples of wind in the grass with her sibilant movements. Spring brought the return of heat to the land on many levels. In good health and with her tribe to help, she briefly thought to have a child this year. Was it time? Now might be a powerful time to enter the portal of motherhood, she mused.
Before she left the field, she still wanted to commune with the earth god. So she connected her feet intentionally to the cushioned soil, letting her arms hang by her sides and closing her eyes. Taking a slow breath into her belly, she felt the earth flow as if she had plugged a charging cord into the port on the bottom of each of her feet. Thin white threads of mycelium curved up and around the edges of her bared feet, reaching gently up for her as she stretched her awareness down.
Cool, viscous energy flowed up through her legs and into her lower abdomen, pleasantly pulling her weight into the soil. She dropped her consciousness from her head into her lower belly, and relaxed. Allowing intuition to flow up, and any needless tension to fall away, she slowed to listen.
Into her waiting, Soma spoke to her in wordless form. The palpable nurturing of the earth god filled her connection to him with a sacred sense of belonging properly. Her heart brimmed with appreciation, as a soft exhale slipped softly through her lips.
Just a moment to rest into the union, and then on her inhale, she felt a sense of effortless lift. Her awareness rose back up, sliding away from conscious contact with the ancient earth god and back to imminent reality. The white threads around her feet sank away, relaxing back into the lush ground.
Though the closing ritual took only a single minute, her whole energy field felt recharged. Gratefully she scooped up her bag of tools and with one last look at her work, she began to walk back to the path.
Now her belly growled with the hunger of another ancient ritual. Eating! She wondered what deliciousness Yuri was putting on the grill for the evening meal.
Lana smiled in anticipation. Slinging her toolsack close against her back she set off, loping down the narrow earthen path towards the village.
The sun was still above the horizon, but only barely. The dirt path wound along between the ashe juniper as she closed in on the big hill.
She loved the paradoxical combination of needlelike mesquite thorns and the needle-laden paths that felt soft under the soles of her feet in these brushy woods. Her favorite spot along the trail came at the place where the hill dropped out from under you like a breaking wave.
In the expanse of view that opened up there, you could see the curving oulines of the Water Village, nestled into a large pink rock formation. The landscape was ruggedly lush and the clouds turned the color of strawberry and peach sorbet as the sun trekked towards the horizon.
Colorful purple-blue wildflowers edged the path all the way to the eastern edge of the village, where there was an opening in the cluster of domes which formed a rough ring around the center gather, Slender pathways threaded among the domes, and she could see the brick patterns that had been built into part of the gather floor.
The qidishtu temple was just visible past the edge of domes, its distinctive rings of differently colored bricks sitting atop a ring of softly glowing arches.
Slowing her long pace to a vigorous walk, Lana inhaled and exhaled with grateful awareness of the clean air and her healthy lungs. There was a delectable aroma of charred peppers and sausages wafting over from the cook fire. And something else too, with a delicious bitter tinge to its aroma. She couldn't place what it was.
But Yuri was already at it. Sweet. She'd be getting at it soon too. After a quick rinse and her prayers.
"How'd the amendments go today, lovey?" a voice from a nearby window called, pulling her attention. She paused and swung into the arched aperture of Wilder's front porch, raising a mock-serious eye at her friend who lay reading a book in his hammock, positioned just so to catch the breeze. You could often find him here, either reading or napping.
Wilder was the best hunter in the village, and she knew his lazy chill was the counterbalance he had found for his hunting intensity. You could sense the keen skill by which he stalked his prey, even as he lay harmlessly, book in hand. He had an olive complexion and curly black hair that fell in a thick tangle to his shoulders. His light grey eyes were shockingly bright under thick black brows.
"Only them that've done the work on the land get to revel in the accomplishment," she scolded affectionately, poking at his slim leg and rocking the hammock with her foot. "You'll see when you see. Unless you want to come out and help me plant on the morrow?"
Wilder waggled his head, indicating some slight possibility of his help in the fields. But she knew he was more interested in tending to her personal fields than doing painstaking labor in the work fields. Although the thought was tempting, she wanted to get the field planted. Not just spend time rolling around in it!
He grinned at her with a roguish sparkle in his grey eyes as she walked back out to the street. Her field felt the familiar caress of his eyes on her backbody as she walked away, and a little zing of goosebumps ran up her spine.
That man had been given the perfect name, in her humble opinion.
Other than the temple and the dining pavilion, most of the structures were built of rammed earth that had been cleverly shaped into interleaved and curving walls.
The organic warren of domes and pathways was cozy, and she felt the comfortable embrace of belonging as she strode towards her sleeping quarters. Her home was just past the southern gate, among the sleeping domes clustered along the wall under the redbud tree.
She stepped gracefully thru the arched entrance, dropping lightly to the neat, stone-topped bench built into the wall of her entrance. She slid her bag off her back and set it on the hook. Then she rose, raising her hands in prayer mudra to her forehead as she passed into her rooms.
Bright white dome walls curved around a small but comfortable space. A sleeping loft covered half the open space, giving her plenty of room for a comfortable and large bed. The round window above gave her access to the brilliant starry night and could be swiveled open to catch the breeze when it was needed.
The bottom part contained a small clothes press, and a few sitting cushions loosely grouped together around a short round table. A large pitcher of water drawn from the community still sat on the shady shelf under the windowsill. Small light globes nestled along the curved wall of the roof, which she now turned on with a quick double snap of her finger.
Ignoring the rumble of her belly for the moment, she stripped off her soiled pants and shirt and laid them next to her press. No time for a proper bath before prayers, she thought. But she could definitely afford to rinse off.
Grabbing a clean towel from the linen shelf above the bench, and loosely wrapping it around her ample hips, she walked over to the privy in the center of the dome cluster. She passed by the wooden sauna box, and hooked her towel on a peg by the showers, then walked in to turn the single knob.
A little squeak escaped her lips as very cold water poured over her face and into her long dark hair. She scrubbed her hands over her body, breathing vigorously through her nose to stay warm. When the dirt was rinsed from under her fingernails and her feet were as clean as they were going to get she turned the faucet, grabbed her towel, and started to dry her legs.
As she toweled off, she caught a glimpse of herself in the long reflector on the wall. Strong legs and wide hips carried a small, rounded belly. Her breasts sat small and round under muscular shoulders that led down to her large hands. She flexed and stretched her hands now, watching her reflection do the same.
Deep brown eyes stared back at her, and she wondered what else Inanna had planned for her to learn this year. She swore, every year the lessons from the Goddess burrowed deeper into her knowing.
The melodic call to prayer made her jump.
Cielo, Tierra, Mar. De ti para mi y de regreso. Ven a rezar tus oraciones, y estar conmigo. Porque somos uno.
Meda's voice was smooth and rich as she sang out the old words for the dusk prayer.
She wrapped the towel around her long damp hair and twisted it into a turban as she hustled back to her prayers. She could feel the temperature start to cool as soon as the last bit of the sun slid below the horizon. A purple-blue gauze was slipping over the sky from east to west as she spread her mat on the dome floor, and stood naked in the cool air, watching the darkening eastern sky through her window.
Once again she rooted down through her feet. Then she raised both hands to the sky to begin the summons of the guardians of the watchtowers of the directions. Eastern air, southern fire, western water, and northern earth, she invoked them one by one, calling on their principles and welcoming their energy to the sacred circle.
Then she raised both hands above her head, tilting her face back to look straight up.
"Father sky, I honor your transcendence. I revel in your light and the ability to take action to make change happen. I am inspired by the structures you create. Thank you for all you are, and welcome!"
Finally, she let herself sink to her knees on the mat, pressing her hands and her forehead to the earth as her breasts settled against her knees.
"Mother earth, I honor all your gifts, even the ones I do not understand. I sink into your darkness and the power of knowing nothing at all. I surrender to you that I might rise again. Thank you for all you are, and welcome!"
She could feel the sphere of sacred space around her, vibrating in harmony with the frequency that rises up from the earth. She lay folded quietly on her mat, allowing breath to circle through her.
Each prayer drew Lana into the oneness. It felt like a space of timeless, fearless bliss. For her, the best part of constant small ceremonies woven into every day was the ebb and flow between unity and division.
Together, apart, together, apart.
The rhythmic participation in both ways of being had made the people less afraid of death, for now, they understood what their forebears had not. Death was never really an ending. It was something to be honored in it's fullness. This more connected understanding had brought such blessings after the chaos years, she thought to herself.
Then her stomach rumbled vigorously, squeaking and gurgling like a broken robot. She held back a giggle, then moved to close her prayer. A kiss pressed to the earth, another blown up to the sky, and a quick bow to each of the directions and she had closed her sacred circle.
She grabbed a long, sleeveless dress from her press and slipped it lightly over her head. A quick moment to pour water into her cup to be swallowed in a few gulps. She reached for a hair tie, then headed off to the pavilion for dinner.
Yuri was standing at the grill brandishing the big tongs. He looked like a lion with his stiff blond hair standing up from his head, and his short beard with just a streak of red hair along the left jawline. He was frowning down onto the fire, with the intense concentration of someone tracking many factors at once.
The links were expertly charred and nearly finished, spitting grease and a rich smell of garlic and herbs as Yuri used the tongs to transfer them to the big family platter on the stone pillar standing beside the grill.
Little grilled cabbages with sweet sauce sat next to a big fluffy bowl of rice. And another bowl heaped high with a mix of tat soy and green leaf lettuce completed the spread. Aside from the rice, everything else on the table came from the fields just outside the water village.
She walked over to where Yuri was standing by the fire and wrapped an affectionate arm around his strong waist. "Mmmmmm…." she moaned grinning at him as he embraced her back with a solid hug. "Everything smells so delicious!"
He brought his nose down to the nape of her neck and smelt the spicy warmth of her neck under her damp hair, returning her noises enthusiastically as he kissed her and squeezed her body with his strong hands.
"Yuri, is it ready yet? I'm so hungry!" Lilith yelled from the long tables sitting just inside the mouth of the caverns. With a glint in his eye, Yuri released her and Lana drew in a deep breath of intoxicated pleasure. Mmmm… she did so love to be squeezed.
He grasped the pull handle of the cooking bell, and rang it with gusto! "Meal's on," he hollered, giving her a broad smile. "Come and get it!"
Lilith walked over to the serving table, breathing in the scent of the food deeply, and letting it out with a sigh. A group of children straggled along behind her.
"Oh holy, this looks great!" she said appreciatively. "C'mon littles. Come and dish yourselves up. As soon as I snag this one… little… bite!"
Lana was hungry too, but patiently took her place in line behind the small group of kids who had queued up to fill their bowls.
As the littles queued up at the serving table, they each made a brief bow to the bowls of food, before dishing themselves up.
With a bow and a breath of thanks before serving, she filled her bowl first with rice, then topped it with a pile of sauced veg and a healthy tongful of sausages. Using her metal spoon, she pushed the whole mass to the side of the bowl and filled in the hole with mixed greens. In the unlikely event this feast wasn't devoured in one sitting, she was coming back for seconds. Yum!
Water Village had to be one of the best places to live on earth these days. She was lucky to be here. She knew it both in her mind and in her bones.
The systems of the village were designed to decentralize all the tasks of living, spreading a thin layer of collective work over everyone in the village.
Yes, people had their special skills. But no matter. Everyone still also took their turn in the kitchens and on the cleanup crews. And everyone put in some work, of some kind at the family house. No one was exempt. And everyone chipped in somehow to help raise the littles!
She couldn't imagine the mental health challenge in trying to raise kids within any kind of restrictive pair bond structure anymore. The village family structure worked much better than any nuclear family ever had.
Things had not always been so aligned.
Why, just the other day, she'd been reading an old book that told stories of the times before the portal. Back when humans had forgotten that they were related to the rest of the earth. It sounded absolutely horrid! Unbelievably their ancestors had built a culture around extracting carbons from the ground and burning it to create power.
They had even forgotten the Goddess if you could even believe it! And Somo the earth god that lived in the mycelial network was said to poison people who were foolish enough to ingest his fruiting bodies. Their ancestors had simply been taught that fear and control were normal, and to be expected.
She felt like it would be easier to forget her own name than it would be to forget Inanna! It was amazing that there were still humans living on earth after the degree of separation they had attained.
This amnesia must have been why some humans were able to rip up the soil, explode rocks, pull gasses from underground, and kill each other with brutal abandon. They clearly had not known how to take the medicine, the poor backward folk, she thought. It was hard to imagine that humans actually lived like that once.
"Hey lady. I have been looking for you all day! What field were you working today? I have got to tell you about my idea for the fest!"
Lilith slid onto the bench next to Lana, chattering with lively energy while holding a bowl full of still steaming food and a tankard of heated mead.
The chatter included questions that Lana knew she was not supposed to answer. At least not yet. Lilith would slow down again after she got settled and they could have a real conversation.
Lana grinned. Lilith had been excitable and precocious for as long as they had known each other. Lana nodded at what her friend was saying, but kept eating, filling her belly with food in small bites and chewing the tasty food with appreciation.
She might need to go get some mead herself. She could see the spiced sweet steam rising from Lilith's mug. Pausing her friend's chatter with a raised hand, she swung her feet over the bench and stood up.
"I'll be right back," she said. "I want to hear your story! Also, this food is delicious," she said singing the words back over her shoulder.
Lilith nodded, taking a bite from her bowl and waving her fork at her friend indicating she'd wait.
Yuri and Meda were sitting across the long table facing one another and holding hands. Their food sat untouched before them as they both bowed their heads. If you caught the angle just right and had sensitive perceptions, you could almost see the devotions coming off the two of them like waves of heat.
Lana smiled towards them as she ladled hot mead into a fresh tankard for herself.
The pair had been a couple for many years, though not an exclusive one. There was too much fire in those two to be content with one lover alone! Lana counted herself lucky to be in their orbit to the extent that she was. You could see how the crucible of time had formed a strong bond between the two.
Yuri with his lion's mane, and Meda with her thick brown head of curls. They looked like old royalty together. Lana knew she was fortunate to be very close to both of them, even though she was much younger.
She smiled as she walked past them at their devotions, and headed back to her seat.
Surprisingly seconds had been available, so now Lana was happily sated. Lillith filled her ear with chatter as they lingered over their mead. She had been full of ideas about how she was planning to channel Inanna in the sacred hieros gamos of the ritual space this year.
The spring festival was happening in only 7 days, and there were many preparations to make. Although the Qisdishtu temple always held sacred space for the lovemaking rituals their tribe used to show honor to the goddess, the festival would NOT be business as usual at the temple.
With the spring equinox to celebrate, the festival was renowned for the wild turbulent rush of power that came from the sheer number of participants! There were ways and then ways to honor Inanna to bless the land. And evidently Lilith was planning on honoring her in every way she could this year around.
Lana didn't blame her. She had her eye on 2 different partners to celebrate with this year. Maybe 3 if the fire of the goddess was strong!
For now she was drowsy and content. The day had been full of honorable work and connected communion. She couldn't remember hearing the last thing Lilith had said, and she realized she'd better turn in sooner rather than later.
She'd have two more days of work on her field, and then she'd turn her attention to preparing her costume and props for the festival. For now, she was ready for bed.
Saying goodnight to her friend, Lana scooped up her bowl, utensils, and tankard and walked them over to the wash station for a quick scrub. They were hung on the hooks marked with her symbol, and then it was time.
Wilder waved a lazy night to her as she walked past the end of the long table by the fire, and she blew him a kiss in return. Heading along the path, she rounded out of the gather and headed back to her sleeping dome for the night.
Sleeping alone could be nice. But it was always liberating to have the option to take a lover any given evening too.
She entered the arched door of her rooms, and sighed in pleasure at the cozy warmth of the space.
Slipping her dress off and putting it atop the press, she poured a cup of water, then carefully carried up the steps to her bed. She put the cup on its night shelf, and flopped onto her back on the bed, looking up through the big circular window. The stars were bright and she could see the streak of the milky way crossing over her window.
She placed her hands over her breasts, and her fingers to the sacred point in the middle of her chest, rubbing in small circles. Then her hands dropped down to massage her ovaries, her tigress pearls. She was so tired she didn't even notice her when her weight dropped, and she fell into the dark of sleep.
She would dream of sacred union this evening, celebrating the spark of the divine manifest in the matter she called her self. The village grew quieter and quieter as the night bloomed into fullness.
And on the roof of Lana's dome, an old white owl landed with a soft hoot to bring the power to see in the night to her, though she did not know it.