The Pride of Heaven

(Please note: This is an example of modern myth-making, which I based in part on the feline pantheon used in the novel The Book of Night With Moon. Author Diane Duane created those characters and owns them; this is written as my own exploration of the possibilities of the genre and in homage to Duane’s excellent world-building and myth-making.)

At first there were Queen Iau and her mate, the tom Urrua. They loved each other, and out of that love came life. The first litter of that life was four: First was the Lady of the East, the Maiden, named Miu, who watches over the Earth and the Spring, and she is silver tabby with green eyes. Second was the Lady of the South, Aaurh the Mighty, who is the Fire of Summer and the Flame of the South, and she is  red with bright golden eyes. Third came the Lady of the West, H’rauf the Silent, who speaks wisdom and watches over the flow of Water in its sound and in its silence and the coming of Autumn, and she is blue, all over, with eyes of a deep green. Last came the Young Tom, the spirit of Winter, who watches over the Air and the North, who was later called the Changer, and he is pure white, with one blue eye and one yellow eye.

These Four went out and made the worlds. They shared the tasks of making the worlds and the life that went into them. They watched over the seasons in turn, and all that is in the worlds. Then the Queen and the Old Tom took form in the worlds as the Moon and the Sun; they alternated watching over the worlds, by night and by day throughout all the seasons. So the Sun is called the Old Tom’s eye, the eye of the golden tiger-cat, while the Moon is called the Queen’s eye, the eye of the lilac-pointed Siamese who is the Mother of all.

Now the Young Tom looked at what he brought to the worlds, and thought that his were the least important of all the gifts. He looked at the love between the Old Tom and the Queen, and between his sisters, and he felt least-loved. In time he grew to hate the love between the Old Tom and the Queen, and he turned his eyes, his mismatched eyes, away from that love, and eventually he closed his eyes to that love entirely.

In looking for something other than love, he found hate; in looking away from life, he found death that comes out of balance. He invented something new, and brought it into the worlds: he brought death that comes out of balance, untimely, or because of hate, and he brought hate, the negation of love and life that desires destruction of another.

He brought these new things to the worlds, and wrought much grief and destruction through them. He made the darkness and the night times of fear, times of doubt, and he made the winter a time when it seemed that the whole world was wrapped in death. His sisters mourned and wept over the results, and they rose up and raged against the Young Tom and his creations.

They fought with him, and they sought to inflict his own inventions upon him: they hated him and sought to kill him. They threw him down, and he rose up; they threw him down again and again, and he rose up every time. His ears grew scarred and ragged, and yet he would not die a final death. They defeated him seven times, and their rage grew until they called on the Old Tom for his assistance. Neither they nor the Old Tom would ask the Queen to raise her paw against her own kit, but the Old Tom fought.

The Lady of the South and the Old Tom joined together to warm the world, to drive back the cold and the darkness. They succeeded in killing the Young Tom again, but they could not remove his touch and his creations from the world. They could not warm the world too much, for the sake of the life that was on it, and they could not eliminate the Young Tom for ever, and they knew that he would rise again.

Then the Young Tom thought that he would attack the Queen. He rose up and went to the Queen, and he declared his intent to her, to attack her, and to destroy the love that he felt had ignored him. She did not shy from him. Then he was curious, because she did not turn from him, and she did not lift her paw against him, and so he asked why she acted as she did.

She answered, “I love you,” but he did not understand. He did not believe her. He had dealt in falsehoods, and now expected them of others, little thinking that the Mother of All could no more lie than she could cease to exist. They strove in mind against each other, and finally she won.

Then she knew that the other Powers That Be had used the wrong approach against the Young Tom, trying to use his own creation against him. She used a different tool against him: she used the honest vision that can only come from one who loves. She looked full into his mismatched eyes, and she made him see with his own eyes again. He saw what he had brought into the worlds, and the pain that his contributions had caused, to her and to others.

And he saw, too, that she loved him; not as he had been, nor as he should have been or could have been, but as he was. He could not bear the burden of the fullness of that sight as it filled him. He lay at her feet and grieved, as his sisters had grieved, for the wrongs that he had done, and the imbalance he had caused. He wanted to make reparation, but he did not know what would be sufficient.

Then the Queen did lift her paw: she cuffed him across the ears so hard that he saw stars, but he did not draw back from her. The Queen leaned down and bit him on the back of the neck, and he purred his assent. The Young Tom wanted to give himself, the only thing he had left, to repair what he had done. He breathed out, and closed his eyes, and willed that this death would be the last and greatest, and that with this he would be able to take his creation into himself and out of the worlds. He waited for the bite that would break his neck, but it did not come.

The bite did not come. Instead, he felt himself lifted tenderly by the scruff and carried like a kitten. He did not know how long she carried him, but he felt himself grow cold and wet, as if she carried him through a river. When she put him down, he was wet all over, but she was dry. When he looked around, with his mismatched eyes, he saw his sisters, and the Old Tom.

He did not know what to say to them, but the Queen said, “It is good,” and the Old Tom curled up around his wet body, and the Young Tom felt the Old Tom’s heat warming him. His sisters sat around them and greeted him joyfully. The Queen lay down on his other side and began to wash his ears like a kitten’s, and with her licks, he felt his ragged ears become whole again. She said, “It is good. You are good. Let this ninth life be a true life, now that you have seen truly.”

He looked into her eyes, and he saw there both the darkness and the light, and it reminded him of what was called Her Eye in the worlds, which grows dark and light by turns. “Yes,” she said, “You came from me, and there is darkness in me, for all that is, is in me. But there is more than that; all the death you have brought has returned lives to me that have been made new. They live now with me, where they are ever in the light and warmth of the Old Tom. I have resolved them into balance within myself, and your choice will enact that same healing within the worlds. You have chosen anew. You have returned to us, and in this is the healing of all hurts.

“I have laid on you a heavier burden than you thought: you will not die and remove hate and death forever, but rather you will live, and use that life to make all anew, especially what is affected by hate and death. Now will night be a time for rest and growth, and winter a time of preparation for the spring. And death itself will be brought into balance: not a horror, but a transition; not an ending, but a change necessary to preserve the balance of the worlds. You will work in the worlds again, making life and love with your sisters, and the worlds themselves will rise up and help you. And when the balance has shifted, all will be brought into the Ninth Life, the life higher up and further in. And all is well.”

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About Literata

Literata is a Wiccan priestess and writer. She edited Crossing the River: An Anthology in Honor of Sacred Journeys, and her poetry, rituals, and nonfiction have appeared in works such as Mandragora, Unto Herself, and Anointed as well as multiple periodicals. Literata has presented rituals and workshops at Sacred Space conference, Fertile Ground Gathering, and other mid-Atlantic venues. Literata offers healing and divination services as well as customized life-cycle rituals. She is currently completing her doctoral dissertation in history with the support of her husband and four cats.
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4 Responses to The Pride of Heaven

  1. Amaryllis says:

    Thanks for posting this!

    she made him see with his own eyes again.
    That’s perfect. Isn’t that exactly what’s hard but necessary.

    I liked your use of doubles and triples and quartets, too.

    all will be brought into the Ninth Life, the life higher up and further in. And all is well.
    Another nice touch. “And all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”

  2. Grafton says:

    Still love this one. Never fails to bring a tear. :D

  3. Rakka says:

    Dammit. There’s salt in my coffee now. Thank you.

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