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    In reply to: Mandala of Ascensions


      “…..salt free inquisition born of effete privilege…”

      Dispersee shook her head and cackled to herself while reading Stinks Mc Fruckler’s (a double agent posing as a descended trickster) report.

      “These dupes, so arrogant in their idiocy have become an incredibly powerful voice which effects us all, this being why I rail against them, they are the new repulsive face of self righteous sanctimonious evangelism, a salt free inquisition born of effete privilege, modern day ill informed witch-burners intent on removing choice, blocking scientific advances….”

      Stinks may well get lynched for that one, she thought with a fond smile. Nobody expects to get away with criticizing the salt free inquisition. It was a position only a former salt smuggler would understand, as Dispersee well knew. “Salt of the Earth” was a well known turn of phrase (though not nearly as amusing as “salt free inquisition born of effete privilege” as turns of phrase go), but few took to heart the actual meaning. It was to be a good few years yet before the Return of the Salt to the turbulent planet, and salt, for the meantime, was still public enemy number one in the collective mind.

      Dispersee closed the report and turned her attention to her own.

      Despite her demonstration with the pool (complete with illustrations), throwing spoons haphazardly into the murky pool with no regard for the hidden fishes and broken chairs in the depths of the dirty water, despite the resulting swarm of earthquakes, only a handful of individuals understood the point she had been trying to demonstrate with regard to what was known in new age circles as “pooling” ~ not to be confused with team flow, which was something else entirely. (The fact that she had not understood what she was illustrating at the time, merely following a strange impulse, was neither here nor there ~ the point was quite obvious in retrospect, which was all that mattered).

      Pooling had become almost as popular as the Salter lynchings, and the unfortunate common denominator was “best intentions” ~ best intentions, vaguely pasted hearts, and no real understanding or questioning of the contents of the pool they were all diving into. The Pool Lemmings dived in one after another without washing off their associations, weighed down with their constructs and baggage, splashing the foul slime outside the pool where it seeped into the common water table, tainting the entire neighbourhood. The best intentions sank to the depths, perhaps to be fished out by an especially skilled fisherman of best intentions, but likely not. It was the clingy slippery algae of the associations that really thrived, and they attached themselves and flowed back out of the pool. Really it was a mess. Even her practical demonstrations of non return valves and two way valves had gone over their heads (as had the contaminated water).

      The second part of her demonstrations had been to illustrate the importance, and indeed the beauty, of bubbles ~ dewdrops suspended along webs ~ connected via gossamer thin but extremely strong networks, perfect reflective bubbles that kept their shape and individual purpose, rather than forming a dank puddle of slime in the overflowing muddy ditch. Admittedly Dispersee has not been aware of what she was demonstrating at the time, she was just following another strange impulse.

      She decided to finish her report tomorrow, and await todays strange impulse for further information.


        ~ ~ ~ ~ She forgot the trout! ~ ~ ~
        ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ A read herring, was as good as red. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
        ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ But for a clue-fish, who would diss a trout ? ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
        :fish: :fish: :fish: :fish: :fish:


        Liz’! Liz’!”

        ELIZABETH !” (sometimes caps were better to catch her attention)
        “I’ve come back from Mars to take you home.”

        She couldn’t make out whether the medications were wearing off or kicking in, or was that really Godfrey, back for her?

        Liz’, I’ve got to tell you the most astonishing things.”
        Godfrey… I think you should wait a bit…” she slurred words died out in a pool of drool
        Liz’, wait till I explain you all about the blue benders. Aliens, new frontiers! >-) There’s hope yet for a new best stellar! I’m taking you out of this dreadful nursing home!”


        In reply to: The Hosts of Mars


          Pádraig was alone as usual with his dog when he felt the first tremors. Dust started to fall from the large columns of sandstone inside the cave. He wasn’t too worried at first, as the area still had some faint thermal and seismic activity, but the second aftershock took him by surprise.

          He almost fell violently backwards if he hadn’t had good enough reflexes to grab on the half carved ledge of the column he was working on.
          His dog started to howl violently.

          “Hush, Poppy!” the dust made him cough. “Must be those stupid government guys from the nearby base. I thought they’d stopped their nuclear testing decades ago…”

          The dog didn’t stop barking though, but darted out in one of the carved galleries. It stopped just before going out of sight, as if waiting for his master.

          “Oh, what now silly? I’m getting old for these games.”

          But the dog was stubborn, a trait they had in common, his dead wife would have told him. So he relented, and went in the direction the dog was leading to.

          It took him a few hundred meters in the tunnel to realize something odd had happened. The air was full of moisture, quite unusual at this time of year. He pressed on.
          The dog’s paws were making tick-tick noises on the stones, and echoed in the chambers. His gait was less light, and he had to stop a few times to catch his breath. His life’s work was now quite monumental, and it could take quite a while to go from one end to another.
          Before they reached the last chamber, he had to stop. His feet were getting wet.
          It had been his dream for a long time, to bring water deep down to create a sort of natural healing pool, and bathe in the beautiful minerals, but he’d done some research, and although he’d always believed some underground river was nearby, he’d never managed to find it, or find any trace in the cadastral maps.

          Seemed it wasn’t as far as he’d thought after all.


          In reply to: The Hosts of Mars


            It was a quiet day in the mines.
            Godfrey’s teams were operating at less than 10% of the usual. Most of the Indian guys who worked there had taken unpaid leaves for the observance of the Ganesh festival.

            It was all a bit silly, come to think about it, for so many reasons.
            One obviously, was that the dates were aligned on Earth’s calendar, for supposedly practical reasons, but which had nothing to do with the environment they were living in now. What good was a lunar calendar when Mars had two main moons, the lovely named Fear (Phobos) and Dread (Deimos), and of course completely different day times and years.
            Anyhow, that wasn’t the least of the incoherences. You’d normally have to find a natural body of water to immerse the elephant clay statues. Good luck with that on Mars. But there was no stopping the rituals to find ways to survive. He’d heard an artificial pool would be temporarily erected at the Matrimandir to allow for the ritual to be performed.
            A waste of good water, if you asked him.

            The only good thing about it was that there was more calm than usual, mostly robots diligently carving the walls, and harvesting the yellow stones.

            The day before, there had been an unusual ruckus after a heated speech by the Head Nutter of the Religious Nuts, the old wrinkled as a prune Mother Shirley. She spoke of dread and doom, and having to repent and all. Gosh, did she put on a show.
            He smirked. All that was missing was a human sacrifice, and they would be irrevocably back to the good old ways of the religious fanatics…

            Even his Hindu friends seemed to have been affected and shown a renewed fervour at their own rituals. After all, their Lord Ganesh was supposed to remove obstacles. Or well, truth is, He was also supposed to create obstacles for the demons. But you’d never know whether you were on his good side or not.

            Maybe the unusualness of that day gave him some heightened attention, but Godfrey started to notice some other strange patterns.
            The Finnleys on duty were acting glitchy this morning. Looking through the console, he’d noticed there were some logs for the past days’ activity missing, and an unusual activity around some of the old tunnels which were used for temporary storage of the sulphur’s crates.

            An irrational doubt started to creep on him, enhanced by the feeling of unusually low activity inside the dusty bowels of the red planet.
            There was really no reason to worry, he tried to reassure himself, but as he’d liked to repeat, better be safe than sorry.

            He pushed the intercall button and called for an emergency evacuation drill.


              Flora, rising late as was her custom, and feeling the relaxing glow of being on holiday, strolled leisurely out of her bedroom door in search of coffee. As she stepped into the corridor, one of the twins, not watching where she was going, collided with her surprisingly forcefully, knocking her to the ground. She knocked her head on the door frame, felt a rush of noise and the sweet metallic scent of blood before losing consciousness.

              “Flora! Miss Fenwick! Oh my god, Flora!” Corrie cried. After getting no reaction from the inert body and seeing the pool of blood spreading alarmingly, she sped off to find Aunt Idle.

              As soon as Corrie was out of sight, Prune emerged from the broom cupboard opposite, saw the body on the floor, and ran in the opposite direction in search of Bert.


              In reply to: Scrying the Word Cloud


                love galleon pool tell broken zebra quick clues
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                  “They said seventeen seconds, but I never would have believed it! Did you see that?”
                  “Seventeen seconds to barbecue a fish that size? Take a bit longer than that, Sha” replied Gloria.
                  Sharon rolled her eyes and turned to Mavis. “See that, our Mavis? See how that fish landed right on our barbecue?”
                  “Another trick out of that book you’ve been reading, was it?” Mavis replied. “Not bad really, but why were you asking for a fish? None of us like fish.”
                  “Ah, well….I wasn’t asking for a fish exactly, no. But the way it landed seventeen seconds from when I changed my energy, well…”
                  Gloria rolled her eyes and yawned. “When you work it out, I’m sure you’ll let us know. What did you ask for, anyway?”
                  Sharon blushed. “Remember that hot Russian guy I had a dream about the other night?”
                  Mavis and Gloria looked at the fish, looked at each other, and burst out laughing. They were still laughing when Igor landed in the strawberry pool just a few feet away from where they were sitting, soaking them to the skin. The barbecue took a direct hit from the pink deluge, and hissed.
                  Igor took a deep breath and dived under the water as Sharon staggered into the pool, while Mavis and Gloria hooted from the shore.


                    “Is a closet full of brooms the best place for a meditation ? I’m starting to get cramps” Terry whispered.

                    The three queens couldn’t see Sadie’s eyes rolling, but heard her sighing “Dearies, when I was your age, I could meditate in far worse situations…”
                    This wasn’t completely true, but Sadie knew a little truth bending wouldn’t hurt —to the contrary.

                    Setting the ezapper on “drum”, they all started to follow the instructions that Sadie had given to them. Follow your spirit animal to the techromancer’s hut. Simple enough.
                    Hell yeah she’d thought, feeling a little guilt at her cunningness if dear Linda isn’t going to send me back there, I’m going to find him, and a little pooling can go a long way.

                    And if… someone asked in the dark
                    If you don’t know your animal, just follow the bloody scorpions, they’ll help with the soul retrieval . Sadie answered, immediately regretting having spoken too much and opened the door for more question.

                    She raised the volume of the drumming and closed her eyes.


                      “How very strange” said Igor, when they eventually reached the waterfall.
                      “What?” asked Mirabelle, who was paying more attention to the parrot perched on her shoulder. She tickled him under the chin. “Who’s a pretty boy then? muah muah muah pretty parrot, where have you been?”
                      Igor rolled his eyes at the kissing noises. “Look!” he said, pointing at the waterfall.
                      “It’s a fucking waterfall, yes, I see it!” snapped Mirabelle. Finding Huhu had distracted her from the discomfort of hunger, thirst and an aching body, but Igor’s questions brought her back to the reality of their situation.
                      Then it dawned on her. The waterfall plummeted downwards, in a seemingly infinite series of cascades and pools. It was impossible to see the bottom with the spray and mist, especially in the fading daylight.
                      “But we are still at sea level, Igor! The waterfall should be going up, not down. I mean to say, we should be looking up at the waterfall flowing down. This isn’t making any sense. But look” she said, pointing to the first pool on the right. “There is a little hut there and some people. Fat people.” she added. “I bet they will have some food, let’s go and ask.”
                      Igor stepped cautiously to the edge and and peered over, looking for a way down. He looked down, then looked back at the little stream they had followed from the sea, and then back down again.
                      “This water is breaking all the rules!” he cried. “It’s flowing in both directions!”
                      “Don’t be silly Igor, are you delirious? Everyone knows that water flows downhill towards the sea.”
                      “See for yourself then, look!” he put a stick in the stream and they watched it flow gently back the way they had come, towards the bay. “Now watch,” he said, as he tossed another stick over the edge of the waterfall. It quickly disappeared from view as it rushed downwards, in the opposite direction.
                      “Where is the source? Where is the water coming from?”
                      “Those fat people might know. Have you found a way down yet?”
                      It appeared that the only way down to the pool of the fat people was via the waterfall itself. There were sheer cliffs of malachite and rose quartz on either side of the waterfall as far as the eye could see.
                      “I think we will have to go down the waterfall itself, Mirabelle.”
                      She gasped and took an involuntary step back.
                      “We will have to steer ourselves towards where we want to go, that’s all.”
                      “Oh no, not me, if you think I’m going to just throw myself over a waterfall…Oh! Huhu come back!”
                      The parrot flew down to the pool of the fat people, and settled on a banana tree, watching Mirabelle above looking down at him.
                      “Fucking parrot,” muttered Mirabelle. “I’ll clip your wings when I catch hold of you, I swear I will. For your own fucking good! Well?” she said, turning to Igor. “Are you coming or what?” and she launched herself over the edge and into the waterfall, with one thought in her mind ~ the bloody parrot.
                      With a great splash, she landed in the rose coloured pool, bobbing to the surface like a cork. Disgruntled silvery fish leaped out of the water, one of them landing on the barbecue. Mirabelle waded out of the pool, oblivious to the fish, and the looks of amazement on the faces of the fat people, and walked over to the banana tree.
                      Huhu ripped a banana off a ripe yellow bunch and dropped it, squalking in delight as Mirabelle caught it in her hands. When Huhu saw that she was focused on peeling it and eating it, he fluttered down and perched on her shoulder. She gave the parrot the last bit of banana, and then turned her attention to the fat people and the barbecued fish.


                        The breeze was brisk and refreshing despite the weighted heat of the sun, and there were windblown plums and oleander flower heads like dried roses scattered over the patio. Lisa turned the pump on to hose down the dog piss, and started in her customary fashion of starting at the bottom of the patio to wet it down to prepare for a smoother flow from the top near the house. A bit like whetting it’s appetite, she thought, for the stream of diluted yellow piss and detritus. When the bottom was lubricated, she dragged the hose to the top and meticulously hosed every leaf and dog hair from every nook and cranny, behind plant pots and chair legs, under the welcome mat, and the surface of it, chasing the debris with a narrow intense focus of water at times, and at other times with a broad spray, depending on which method was more efficacious in the situation. If it was very hot, sometimes she would spray the tree tops, for no reason other than to stand under the false rain and cool down. She avoided doing this in the middle of the day however, for fear of the water droplets becoming magnifying glasses and scorching the leaves. Making jungle showers was best done as the sun was sinking, when the heat of the day shimmered from every thing saturated with dense warmth.
                        But it was morning, late morning, and not too hot yet as Lisa continued directing the cleansing flow. She realized that she was very meticulous about hosing the patio, minimum twice a day, and always flushed the rubbish from behind each and every obstacle, even though it was not really necessary to do it so often; merely washing away the smell of dog urine would be enough. It was like a ritual, and she noticed for the first time that she was much more conscientious about, and indeed proficient at, manipulating a hose than she ever was with a broom or a duster. In fact, Jack had once said to her that she handled a hose like a Moroccan, and that had she been working on the building site that he was working on at the time, he would have given her the job of hosing. He said not everyone could handle a hose in such an efficient manner. Lisa was not known for being adept with tools at all, preferring to get on her knees to rake leaves with her hands than struggle with a rake. But with a hose, she was good, very good.
                        Lisa always checked that the bird bath was topped up with fresh water, and the water bowls for the dogs, wasps, and other creatures were replenished.
                        The levels that Jack had constructed worked marvelously well, and as the hosing continued the various streams gathered speed and joined together for the last slope into the garden, and down the path to pool at the bottom, next to the well from where the water was being pumped to the top from. Back to the source, full circle, impurities filtered through layers and layers of rock until sparkling clear once more, to restore and refresh another day.
                        Oh go on with you, Lisa giggled to herself, What a load of flowery nonsense.


                          Second Journey ~ August 24th, 2014

                          Duration 24 minutes

                          Directions : Meet with your power animal, ask them to lead you to the upper realm to meet with your guide. Ask the name of your guide and what they will be likely helping you with. Ask them for your personal symbol and how you can use it. Then follow your power animal into showing you the potential development for the stories.


                          My snake animal guide appears very fast, I see its eyes first. It shifts into a powerful cobra, and fans out its hood into multiple heads, like Ananta (Shesha Naga), and says I can call him Nagini (like in Harry Potter, that’s also the playful name I give to the plush snake at our doorsteps).
                          It wraps its multiple heads around me like a ball, and we woosh into the ground to what I guess is the underworld, it seems like a long coiled path around a sort of vortex, after a few moments in a sort of crystal cave, I’m a bit skeptical what we’re doing there, I catch a glimpse of a white horse from the back, so I guess Jib’s Conan is checking on us, and restate my intent.
                          I go though the light of one of the brightest glowing crystals, and the travel resumes, this time like the giant snake wraps ourselves in coils around a column of rocks, and we climb that high mountain very fast. It reminds me of Mt Meru in Buddhism or the Immortals palace in the Chinese Buddhist tales (like in the 2014 movie The Monkey King).
                          The place is like a beautiful platform/palace of giant proportions, with a golden light. When we arrive, the snake becomes much smaller, and golden too, and wraps itself around my left arm. It guides me to explore different places, a temple, a place over the clouds where there are dances, etc. I decide to rest under a tree and meditate and be open to possibilities.
                          The snake shifts around in various forms as if to reflect the nature of my mind, a giant parasol, or a stream of many paths at my feet. It connects me to a picture I saw of a Buddhist painting where the mind represented as an elephant is led by the monkey brain around a snake-like path. I realize the person I saw briefly earlier is the guide that helped Sunwukong (the monkey king) and seems to be the guide I’m looking for.
                          (I find the name later is Puti or Subhuti).
                          When I mentally ask for a name, the name Pachacamac comes strongly. He shows me many things related to my symbol. As a spinning cube with the floating feather in the middle and the arrow pointing towards the heart. The spin of the cube creates illusion within illusion, the arrow wobbles but stays towards the heart.
                          He shows me a chasm and how to create a bridge over the clouds, by showing me the mirror image in my heart chakra. The bridge is built inside. At the same time, I was trying to focus on the music to deepen the trance, and realized outside (one storey below) was Jib’s music played on the speakers, aligned with the one playing in the headset, although a few seconds off, the rhythm was perfectly in synch…
                          He also shows me another image, of a deep well deep inside the mountain that we can see from above the clouds. The image inside is dark and fluctuates with the water’s surface, and also reflecting quite a small portion of the beautiful landscape around.
                          He explains that the well is the world we create, the mind and the perception is the water’s surface. It’s the external world, while the heart is all that we perceive as we discuss.
                          There are other things shared at a subjective level.

                          After I connected with my power animal, we went to the upper world. We went through water to get there until we came to land.
                          I asked for my main guide.
                          I think I took on the characteristics of my guide. by that I mean I felt myself become a different being, and then switched back and forwards between myself and the other. It was very clear. The other was masculine, strong, very alert, very watchful, powerful.
                          I asked for the guide’s name and received the answer, Carlos.
                          I asked for the area which the guide would work with me. I have had a sharp pain in my left abdomen under my rib for half an hour. I felt my guide reach in and do something energetically in that area. The pain left and has not returned.
                          I asked for a symbol and saw what looked like a key-hole shape.
                          There was a key too.
                          It was a very particular shape.
                          There was a door. And the key hole was up very high in the door.
                          I had to reach up high to get to it. And I put the key in.
                          I wasn’t sure if those were symbols.
                          The key hole and the key were shapes.
                          I was tracing them with my hand.

                          I settle in myself and arrive directly in a kind of lava world. There are stalagmites and magma puddles, it’s very fiery and earthy. Then I call my horse who just nudge my left shoulder, he was already there.
                          I ride him first and take time to bond with him. Then ask him to take me to the upper realm to Michel. Without much transition I am there, I feel a definite difference of feeling and texture. I say hi and ask Michel if he can show me the use of my personal symbol or particular aspects to it.
                          The he focuses my attention to the octagon and the connection with the number eight. He shows me how it connects with the musical octave and sounds as a resonator. It can also be used like the shamanic drum. The coil inside is connected with the circle, the spiral and the labyrinth. My symbol is a kind of labyrinth with the diamond representing the central room where the graal is, so to speak.
                          He shows me other stuff that I don’t recall at the moment.
                          When I realize that it will be all, I ask my guide if he can introduce me to another guide that can help me with the use of my symbol. He sends me in a direction that goes up in a cave world. There are faceless figures, I don’t pay much attention to them. When I arrive, the guide sits me on the ground and a journey inside my symbol begins. With the octagon connecting quite strongly with the lava and earth again. I am in a lava world again, which is strange. I ask the guide what is his name and I suddenly understand it is Athumbra the Dreamwalker from whom I’m fragmented.
                          He shows me the connection of my symbol to the fire and earth, and the depth of the world. He suggests me that instead of focusing on the shape of the symbol I connect with how the different parts connects together and to other aspects of consciousness, and how they are representative of my own energy personality. Not try to look outside for an answer in a way at the moment.
                          So I begin to experience the shapes, and it turns like a clock, take different colors, etc.
                          This will be something I’ll have to do again.
                          Then I ask my power animal to show me what would be interesting to me to explore in the story now.
                          He shows me a nest and I connect it with the stork nests I’ve been talking about in the last comment and that I used in the quote of the week picture. Without consciously connecting the two. I’ve written the comment before making the picture.
                          It will have to do with how the nest is comfortable but don’t make you learn much about life and your potentials.
                          Then he showed me something related to ants and colonies, that I connected with Mars, the colonies of Mars. There is something about community and social network for me to explore.
                          Then I asked him to help me decipher the energy transmission Eric sent to me the other day, and it had something to do with networks again and how we create a space of something through our relationships, the space of love, the space of friendship, and we create fields and connective tissues that we nourish through experience and attention and involvement.
                          At some point in the beginning I briefly wondered what was happening with you guys and felt propelled into something like water and impression of struggling with current, there were two moon crescents holding together by their “backs”, and purple or pink colors.

                          The Zebra walked towards me across a grassy plain then I circled him, floating, and we went down a slope through the trees, an old road paved with stones. We wound down and came to a great expanse of metallic pink water, like a wise (typo! wide) river.
                          There was a guy in much heavy stone coloured rough clothes on with a very old face who didn’t look at me, he was on a raft with a long pole for steering. Asked his name and got Frudo. (was slightly skeptical that I got the name right) The symbol was like a clubs of cards, 3 circles interlocking with an in flow of the stem part. Domain was water, flow and fluidity (and dams, apparently).
                          We went down with the raft on the wide pink river, and the pace increased and there were people of all kinds lining both banks, watching. The wide river came to an immensely steep and deep waterfall, but there were pools and much smaller waterfalls on either side of it. All the water was pink.
                          We navigated from pool to pool on the right of the waterfall mostly, each pool had people, some of the pools were dammed, and some were more open and easily flowing to the next pool. Some dams were high and some pools had people looking over the edge at the waterfalls below their pools.
                          In a pool on the right, a very fat pink baby was sitting in the middle, I picked him up and held him and asked his name and it was Ezekial.
                          Then a fly landed on my right shoulder and I looked to the right and saw a scrunched up face of my mother, with a tight smile. My breathing started to get constricted and I saw mustard yellow mangle of tubes like intestines in that pool.
                          Then there was a lot of fingers stroking and pulling threads out of the dam around that pool, like pulling soft pink wax. Breathing continued to be restricted, and some becoming vapour or mist stuff that wasn’t very clear or droplets leaping from pool to pool as an alternative route to surface pools and waterfalls….
                          Then went down down down into a vast pool of pink water, faster and faster towards a narrow tube at the bottom, and then flipped over onto my back and saw the sun far above and rose slowly floating towards the surface.
                          Several times I saw purple and light green.
                          The breathing thing was interesting if not so pleasant.
                          The personal symbol may be connected to the flow from pool to pool somehow.


                            “Are you sure this is the right direction ?” asked Sha.
                            “The young guy at the Hotel d’El Refugio said it was down South the Sea of Bee Leaf, past the mangrove and the mystic wall”, said Glo.
                            “Are you sure about that ? Look, the brochure indicate the pyramid is past the misty wall”, interrupted Mavis.
                            “Mystic, misty, what’s the difference anyway ?” Glo tentatively rolled her eyes, but gave up the gym. “The young lad said mystic”, she added, not wanting to let go so easily.
                            “What young lad ? You mean the one at the swimming pool that tried to flog the helicoleopter trip over the underwater tunnels of Lacuna to Sha ?”
                            “Oh! I recall him well”, said Sharon, “He told me his name was Jube Lee ? He’s no older than eighteen. Don’t tell me you turned cougar Glo.”
                            “Bloody hell, what ? Noooo !”
                            “Here it is, the fog wall looks quite thin.”
                            They heard the sound of big flapping wings.
                            “Oh! Are you an angel ?” asked Sha. “What a beautiful face you have, young lady. As pure as vodka.”
                            “My name is Fanella”, said the sphinx with a wide smile, “Answer my question and you’ll be free to cross the corridors of time.”
                            Excited by the perspective of some fun the three ladies listened carefully.
                            “What’s the difference between a cat and a complex sentence ?”
                            “What the f*%$k ?”
                            “Is that your answer ?”
                            “No, no, no. I’m just thinking aloud”, said Glo.
                            “That rings a bell”, whispered Mavis to her friends, “I think that’s from one of Steven Kong’s books. It has something to do with the claws and the paws. Yes ! That’s it. I have the answer”, she announced proudly.
                            “Are you sure ?” asked Glo. “What happens if she give the wrong answer ?”
                            “You won’t be able to enter the pyramid for ten years.”
                            “Oh ! That’s all ?” said Sha disappointed, “I thought you were going to devour us or something similar.”
                            “You must have mistaken me for someone else. As you are already in transition, there isn’t much that we can do to you. So, what is the answer ?”
                            “A cat has claws at the end of its paws. The sentence has a pause at the end of its clause”, Mavis articulated clearly.
                            The sphinx smiled, and let them pass.
                            “Just one last thing”, she added as the three ladies were entering the Lion’s mouthed gate, “As you choose to go through, only go further, don’t stop or try to turn back. You may get lost in time and never come back. If you complete your taks, you may well find a new life.”
                            She disappeared, leaving only her enigmatic smile in the memory of Sha, Glo and Mavis.


                              “We’re going under water, Mandrake, you’re sure you don’t need a suit?” Arona asked her cat.

                              All she needed was his permission to manifest a scuba diving suit for the cat, but the cat was putting on a brave face, and refused altogether.

                              “Well then, maybe you want to accompany me under a diving bell, I’m not too reassured on my on” she said with a sweet voice. Reverse psychology always worked with this one.

                              In no time, they were looking at the underwater cavebed, following the directions of the sabulmantium. The dragon egg enclosing the coloured sand seemed to shield them from the strange effects of the cave, and project fleeting images around the glass bell. Derelict places full of mould and cobwebs, alien places and animals.
                              Arona resisted being drawn by the images. Her years of living with dragons had taught her to navigate through illusions. That was then that she saw it.
                              The graceful turtle, silently swimming in front of them, in a curved line up and down, up and down. It was big, much bigger than Mandrake, but in no hurry to get there, wherever there was.

                              Arona, do you hear that?” Mandrake’s voice was distant, and the sound of alarm was faint and muffled. “Aronaaaa!”

                              The impact of the rocks shattered the glass bell in millions of small pieces, that went floating like a wave of particles on the wind. Arona and Mandrake, in the big turtle’s wake were propelled through a narrow gurgling exit of the water that flushed them out of the cave into the thundering noise of a cascade.

                              Struggling with the current at first, Arona managed to let go, and finally emerged with her cat held firmly by the scruff of its neck. The current sent them on the shore of the pool of crystalline blue waters. In the middle of the pool, she could see the Cup, placed on a red cushion, surrounded by the mist of the waterfall, and glowing a vivid radiant light.

                              It all seems so easy… Arona was already wet, and the Cup was so close.

                              “Not so feeest, milady”
                              She had not seen the man emerge from the shadows of the cliffs. He was looking relatively harmless, but had a wild eye and a vagrant’s appearance.

                              “Leave me alone, old man.” was all she wanted to tell him. But for someone to be here, of all places, it had to mean something, and she’d better find it out using tact and diplomacy.

                              “Good day sir, may I inquire what you are doing here?”
                              “Fer sure, Ey em the Fisher Count but ye can call me Reney.”
                              “Mmm, I’ve heard about you. So you are real after all.”
                              “Indeed Ey em, quite real, huhu.”
                              DON’T!” Arona and Mandrake shouted almost at the same time… too late, as the blinking parrot reappeared, flying over them and shrieking “HU HU, FUCK FUCK, HU HU.”

                              “I meant,… DON’T mind the blasted parrot, it’ll go away eventually. It must have a fleck of Sanso, I’m sure.” Arona said, matter-of-factly. “Now, what do I need to do to get to drink from the Cup, dear Sir?” she continued with the best composed smile she could.

                              “Oh, et is veeely easy, vely vely easy. Ye just need to esk nicely, and as ye already did, there ye go.”

                              Suspicion and doubts started to come back, as it all seemed much too easy. “What will happen when I drink from it? Will I be able to astral?”

                              “Oh well, Ey don’t know fer sure, Ey think it is just a nice decoration, but if ye believe herd enough, enything es possible.”

                              Mandrake,” she turned to the cat “let’s go do some astralling.”


                                The layer of clouds that had been covering Abalone for so many years had cleared up in no time. So much had changed since they went through the labyrinth of time in the old temple three weeks ago. Karmalott and Gazalbion were no more. The giant beanstalk had simply disintegrated after the mass beliefs that kept it standing were reconfigured, and Karmalott had fallen on its land counterpart. It was hard to tell one from the other when they first came back to the place.

                                Gwinnie looked at the giant storks nesting on the cliffs of the sea of beliefs. Her heart bloomed, she felt appreciation and gratitude over Abalone’s Nature. She had spent so many years in the bog that it had infused her with the wisdom of the island. She had been able to go unharmed through the corridors of time, because she simply knew whenre to go.

                                As soon as they entered the Lion mouthed door, she had taken George’s hand and whispered : follow me and you’ll be safe. That man was so trusting in life and he had such a pure heart that he did as she said. He’d told her afterward that despite all the images and illusions, his mind was focused on the green light in his heart.

                                When they arrived in the central room of the pyramid, she had changed. Her skin was still green, but she had found in the corridors the years she had lost in the bog.

                                They had decided to stay and make a fresh start. The former King of Karmalott was now helping with the reconstruction of the entire island. With his natural leader talent, he’d been creating pooling teams of magi and non-magi for different tasks : clearing the ground of the fallen cities, regrouping the lost souls, soothing the injured and building the new transitional Spas. With Gwinnie’s innate knowledge of Abalone and his innate trust, they could do marvels at bending beliefs and reality.

                                Actually, the transitional spa was Rene and Fanella’s idea. The two of them had been very helpful, especially since Gwinnie had repaired the sphinx. He was created to guard the temple and warn people who wanted to enter the labyrinth of time with an enigma. The corridors of time were not for the faint of heart, but to help people contact their inner knowledge to grow past their fears and blockages. What his creators had not foreseen was their own departure of the island. Rene was attached to the temple and left behind as they took no material possessions with them.

                                His flaw was that he needed people, and as no one was coming anymore, with time he became obsessed with the idea of making new friends. Forgetting his other duties and his connection to the timeline of Abalone, his obsession leaked and the island was thrust through time and space, intersecting with earth reality at specific dates and places. It was becoming more and more difficult to control it and the bogs anomalies were becoming harder to contain.

                                Fanella simply recognized Rene as the tall ebony man in her vision. She told them the yellow man, that had saved her from drowning, had disappeared quickly as soon as they entered the labyrinth, but the hook-legged man had seized her and they were caught in the most horrid nightmares. She was saved because his hook got stuck in a tiger slug pit. Rene swore he had nothing to do with it, although it was clear he had a soft spot for the young maid.

                                A week after they got out of the labyrinth, the girl had come to Gwinnie in the Garden of El Refugio. The green woman was helping with the introduction of new species of plants to Abalone’s circle of life.
                                “What is this plant ? “, asked Fanella.
                                “It is an okra. I’ve found it in the memories of one of the recently disengaged person from Earth.”
                                “The fruit has such an unusual shape.”
                                The silence that followed lasted for a few minutes. Gwinnie was focused on establishing a fulfilling symbiotic relationship between the plant and the island ecosystem, transforming one to acclimate the other and vice versa.
                                “How are your friends ?” asked the green woman.
                                “My friends ? Oh! They are good. Enjoying the spa and the new attractions.”
                                It was clear the young person had something in mind. Her loving glances to the sphinx during the last week had made it clear to everyone. The girl finally blurted it out.
                                “You know, Rene,” Fanella blushed as she said the name, “with the recent arrivals of transitioners, he’s got a lot of work for just one sphinx.”
                                “Oh! I’m sure he’s going to be just fine with that.”
                                “Yes, but, you know he’s been alone for such a long time.”
                                “Yes, Fanella?” Gwinnie stopped to look at the girl. She seemed frail, but she had this inner strength that helped her cross time and space before she ever came to Abalone.
                                “I want you to make me a sphinx so that I can be with Rene.” She said that without blushing, but pink colored her cheeks at the mention of the name.
                                If Gwinnie ever had a doubt of being in transition, it was dissipated. Her surprise almost broke the delicate connection of the okra with the island.
                                Becoming a sphinx wasn’t a trivial request. They still had to discuss about it, of course, and when it was obvious it wasn’t just a passing fancy, Fanella was granted her wish.
                                As a sphinx-wedding gift, George gave her his wings.
                                “They are robust and will serve you well”, he told her.


                                  Beside being a casino, the 888 pavilion had a particularity. It was one of those reverse buildings with a ground floor and all the other stories underground. Since the Great Reform of Feng Shui in 2088 by Feng Shui master Jeorge Huhu, who discovered that dead people weren’t actually living six feet under, it wasn’t considered bad Feng Shui any more to dig your home.

                                  Obviously, for practical reasons, such building could not go too deep in a volcanic island. A column of light in the center assured the lighting of the eight floors by an expensive network of optical crystals. The opacity of the end crystals could be adjusted using polarized filters to create a dark atmosphere similar to the old-time prohibition casinos, or simulate daylight as in the volcanic pool on the bottom floor, which was affectionately referred to as Hell by the 888 pavilion’s employees.


                                    Lisa was delighted when she woke up the next morning recalling a dream. She had just joined the new dream group despite hardly ever remembering dreams in the hopes that the pooling would improve her recall. In the dream she had been going on a trip with a few friends, and was waiting for the ferry to leave. The boat was on the beach instead of in the water, and there was thick fog but a number of people on the beach, so she went for a wander around and saw a man stretched out on his back, fully clothed, reading a book, the surfboard gently rolling in with the tide, and out with the tide, and back again. When she returned to the ferry it had turned into a building, the interior quite different from the ferry, and her friends were gone. Lisa checked her bag for tickets and camera, but they were missing, and the bag was full of plastic forks and spoons instead. Bloody Adeline! she thought. Plastic spoons and forks but no camera and no tickets!


                                      With years of intense Happiness training, and being herself a certified Happiness Coach™ in Rainbow Unified Bliss®, Sadie knew when to notice she was stuck and, even better, what to do about it.
                                      Techniques varied: some focusing on breathing, others on following impulse and all that, but most of them had in common that rabid thoughts had to be put to sleep, and the focus had to be kept on the immediate now.
                                      The beauty of the Hawaii island was easy on the eyes, although she could still find objections lurking in the corner of her mind that the beaches were scarce on this island, with many shores a blistering hot pan of molten lava rocks ceaselessly beaten by the waves.
                                      Then the sound of her companions came rousing some disturbance in her Rainbow thoughts, as she found out was mostly an annoyance with herself and her hair, the neat bowl cut starting to look a bit rugged on the edges.

                                      Again, the rabid thoughts were back. She had to go deeper, cling to a joyful experience, that pure moment of satisfaction. But the flow and inpouring of love stopped again like a sea anemone retracting at the light touch of a clown fish.

                                      She restrained the thought of loudly using the F word, and as well refrained herself from the desire to delete everything.
                                      She noticed a few tadpoles which weren’t here before, slithering in a little pool of water next to the spot where she was. She’d almost forgotten about the singing frogs. That such little creature could do so marvelous feats of logistics rekindled her spirits.
                                      What if she could just harness a little bit of her own energy. She started to list the things she was good at, besides haircuts.

                                      “I’m fucking good at limitations, and following other’s expectations” was what she came up with after some minutes listing some things without much conviction.
                                      “Bugger Linda Paul, and those ninc…” There it is she noticed again the thought.
                                      That’s what it’s about…

                                      You have to be nice and be quiet, Sadeline, the voice of her mean Breton grand-mother was saying. To which her equally loathable aunts would chime in religious rubbish of being nice and saintly and all.
                                      You have to be nice and be quiet, Sadeline, or go out of my way and die alone.
                                      She’d tried to exorcise the old goat, to rid of her, to appease her, to connect to the better version of herself that she is now since her transition. Well, nothing worked. She couldn’t find the angle. The old woman was still to her core a haunting and menacing presence with her mean irate insensitive lack of professed love.
                                      Maybe they’d developed better techniques in 2222, she suddenly thought. Of course…
                                      And then, Linda Paul wouldn’t have to know.

                                      “Girls?” she said in a sweet imperative voice (and slightly raucous, for the air was dry) “what do you think about having ourselves pay a visit to the local techromancer, I’ve seen the signs everywhere on the way to the beach. It’ll be a fun stop on our mission”.

                                      The three divas moaned under the sun, not specially enthusiastic at the effort, but then, Cedric, still himself haunted by the Russian’s vision managed to convince the others that some romance or exorcism or both, would do them great.


                                        Maria del Mar first met Pseu at the Estate in the City. Maria del Mar had been projecting to the City regularly during her sleep states (the kind of sleep that land based humans would consider to be a hypnogogic state, which was the natural sleep state for whales). Pseu had been showing Maria del Mar the tile collection for the Folly and explaining about KILTs (Key Incident Link Tiles), and her friend Janice had been sharing her collection of Story World tiles. Maria del Mar described to them a similar system in her undersea world, whereby whales (and indeed other cetaceans) used energy imprinted markers for various purposes, such as teleport and time travel portal markers, and more importantly, for tracking the crystal’s time-shifting location (time shifting the location of the crystal was a necessary safety feature during the uncertain times preceding the end of the 21st century). Some of the markers were large (relatively speaking, not so very large for a whale) such as the ghost galleon the Santa Rosa, and some were small and inconspicuous, resting on the sea bed, but easily detected by connecting to the energy contained within them.
                                        One such marker, a tile shaped piece of ancient coral that was designated to mark a particular portal to Atlantis, had been reported missing. A small earthquake off the coast of southern Spain had dislodged the coral marker tile from it’s location in the Alboran Sea in the western Mediterranean, and it had washed up on the beach. It was unusual for a marker tile to dislodge, but a particularly strong pooling of energy had been a factor, drawing the coral tile magnetically to a beach not far from the land based timebridgers portal in a beach bar further up the coast.
                                        Someone walking along the beach one summer morning (coincidentally the same person who had designated the beach bar as a Timebridgers portal just a few kilometers away) had found the tile and taken it home with her, entranced with the unusual appearance of it. The morning beach walker had felt the pull of something that she couldn’t quite explain, and despite the weight of the strange object, she felt compelled to carry it home with her, and display it on her patio.
                                        Maria del Mar, Janice and Pseu discussed various other ongoing adventures and projects, agreed to assist each others explorations, and established a network of energetic links for ease of communication.


                                          2222 had been hailed the pinnacle of human development (that is, until 3333 was at reach), which prompted a whole Time Tourism business during this year.
                                          It required a lot of finicky logistics, as to ensure a stable sustaining of this particular year and avoid predatory behaviour which could potentially lead to the collapse of the future as it was known —a matter which in most cases wouldn’t be given two figs about, but which here, could have dramatic repercussions on the ITBC (International Time Bank Conundrum) itself.
                                          As a matter of fact, it wasn’t before 2255 that Elbert Twostains elaborated the first working version of his Unified Theory of Time Puddles, hence ushering humanity into a bright future, and past, and present, where and when nothing would ever be the same again.
                                          As such, there quickly was an embargo declared by the ITBC on any close relationship and ancestor, and connected people which could lead to a disruption of their juicy business.
                                          Apart from these minor restrictions which were for the good people’s own good, a lot was actually possible and allowed. Some maverick travellers used to vocally resent and disapprove of those restriction, but mostly because they thought the theory would have been discovered anyway, Elbert or not, and secretly because they enjoyed beating the drums of the restrictions (which restrictions tended to get quite restricted themselves past 2222).

                                          Jonbert Dirk had made a fortune as a Time Tourism moghul, or so the official story went. Truth be told, much of his fortune was amassed thanks to time smuggling and past treasures plundering and reselling on the black market of antiques. Let’s not be hasty to judge the old man though, It was a tricky business back then, to find the proper time to retrieve a given antique so that your precious item didn’t look like the cheap porcelain fresh out a sweatshop in Sina.

                                          By 2233, he was a multi bullionaire (billionaire in gold bars, as gold was needed to time-travel, it was an even more precious commodity than before), and had outlets with his brand all over the places and times.
                                          Like the rich men of the past who had themselves built splendid yachts big as cities, he was of more modest and practical tastes, but not insensitive to the display of power this offered. So he had himself built a spacious submarine richly decorated and equipped with the last generation of TTEs (Time Travelling Engine). Over time, he’d found the use of a submarine much easier to conceal during his time travels, and like a Captain Nemo of the future, enjoyed the luxury of whale watching and underwater symphonies while sipping his caipirinha in the pool of his submarine.

                                          Few people knew how to contact him, so it was with some surprise that he’d received the request for genetically enhanced pacific frogs. Belligerent frogs were all the fad in last century, but this century had a soft spot for the smaller, and more resilient pacific singing frogs.
                                          A man of his immense resources was definitely the way to go if you needed such rare and exotic species delivered to you in short notice.
                                          He was in a good mood today, so he signaled the order to the central computer.
                                          As the batch was dispatched, he smiled wryly, thinking he had waited for the inquirer to be indebted to him for quite some time. Shrinking old was a mean business, and he had not amassed enough gold to jump past 3333, where life everlasting was discovered. He was certain this curious and elusive fellow would be in position to help.


                                            Pseu’s project was to provide connecting links between focuses of “Big Daddy” Benedict’s attention at any point in the shift chapter book, a sort of Oversoul 8 in some ways, but operating in a more physical manner, like a time traveller from the future, but she was neither and both of those things and more. Pseu Dan was pioneering a new type of Scope of Attention Pool (SOAP for short), and was appearing fully physical (as well as fully non physical in others) in a number of times and places simultaneously. Her area of particular interest was, however, developing more efficient links with the capability of transporting physical matter as well as energetic information, as desired. As well, Pseu was developing an energy field of un noteworthyness, so that she could participate physically without difficulty, but with a sort of cape of invisibility energy rendering her physical presence (or physical disappearance at times) to be completely unremarkable and unregistered objectively. To Cedric and Jacques, she was visible and familiar, but to the others she appeared merely as a sort of stage prop or scene populator. Sadie, though, ah well, that was a different story.

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