Posts Tagged ‘mythology’

“Nut”, Egyptian Goddess

March 13, 2018
My beautiful picture

“Viriditas”, wc, janekohut-bartels, 2000

(Hardly an illustration of Nut, but will have to do for now.)

I post this poem for there is evidence the earliest Berbers were followers of Ammon and Isis, Egyptian deities.  



I am the Temple,
the Universe at night.

I am Goddess Nut.

I spread my body over
dark, silky skies
and the Sun is born from my
yawning mouth at dawn.

Fading moon
Creeps up my bowels at break of day
as does brother Sun
when his glory dimmed
and I cradle both
within me their majestic
glory now dulled down
like sleepy children
until release throws them
High in the sky.

I am the keeper.

All Celestial bodies
I, the nourisher
of life and death that passes.

I, Nut, sleep at day,
my stars and I well hidden
by the birth of Sun
but courted by Geb, Earth God
who sucks the night dew
from my two breasts with sweet lips
reaching with stiff member
makes the Earth fertile with love,
and the universe fruitful.

I am the River.

Water where distant
planets and stars sail
on their skyward journey,
the celestial travail.

My Houri marks time,
passage of cosmic travel
discarding veils
until naked at dawn,
retire to the horizon.
They sleep once again under
My belly and gathered near.

I am the passage.
I am the Keeper of Souls.
I am mystery.

My presence lends fear to man
I touch eyes with sleep.
I round out the universe
dark fulsome Night.

I am Nut.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2015

(Goddess Nut was published in Pitcher of Moon, 2014, (Createspace)


“Orpheus and Eurydice”, for Open Link Night at

September 21, 2017




Hear my rendering of an oft-told tale

(mixed with a leavening of Bullfinch)

Composed in view of Orpheus’

Lyre in the Cosmos.


Orpheus, son of Apollo and Calliope

(I forget Eurydice’s heritage)

Was to be blessed by Hymen.


He brought no happy omens.

His torch smoked, drew tears.

Flowers wilted,

Gods and Goddesses coughed and sputtered.


Orpheus, master of the lyre,

Whose notes melted tiger’s hearts

Made trees uproot and creep near,

Rocks to soften-

Loved his Eurydice.


But Fate conspired with happiness.

Eurydice, chased by Aristaeus

Was raped.

She died a broken, bloody death

On the end of Aristaeus’…. sword.


Fast did Orpheus descend to those Stygian depths!

His tones pleaded for the return of his Eurydice.


Sisyphus sat on his rock to listen,

Ixion’s wheel stood still

And the Furies eyes now wet with tears.


Ah! The Underworld turned upside down.


Eurydice came,

Garbed in her winding shroud,

fresh with young death.


Here’s the deal. Walk out of Hell

And don’t look back.


Orpheus! You almost made it!

Eurydice, twice dead, disappears.



In both love and death-

 It only takes one glance.



Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016










“Mystic Marriage”

March 16, 2017

Sailboat, watercolor, Jane kohut-bartels, 2006

I’m removing this poem from the prompt at dversepoets pub.  It doesn’t really ‘meet’ the prompt and so it will be removed.

Lady Nyo.

Mino begs a gift of Poseidon-

From the sea comes a white bull.


Glorious Bull! With hooves of gold,

Eyes of fire and sweet of breath.

Pasiphae, Mino’s wife

Besotted with the sight of him

Begs Mino to spare his sword–

Offers her handmaidens

In sacrifice.


Tender-hearted Mino allows his queen

To rule his judgement,

All sense pushed aside–

Havoc soon overturns the throne.


Pasiphae builds a wooden cow

Now besotted with lust

Climbs into the decoy–

Seduces the golden- hoofed Bull.


The Minotaur is born,

Suckled from Pasiphae’s paps,

Grew wild and strong–

A labyrinth

Built as a prison to hold him.


Unnatural love-making produces

Unnatural Minotaur

Half man, half bull,

Given freedom only in a maze,

Fed on virgins of both sexes.


But Poseidon laughs last.

He was the gift, the snow white bull

And cuckolds Mino

For his greed.


Mystic marriage overturns a throne,

A kingdom,

Reveals the deception of a queen–

And produces monstrous offspring.


In the Minotaur’s maze

All paths lead to the grave.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016


A Sonnet: “When Cu Chulainn Courts Emer”, and Chapter 26 of “Devil’s Revenge”, and a bit of Celtic Mythology.

February 18, 2015
"Viriditas", wc, janekohut-bartels, 2000

“Viriditas”, wc, janekohut-bartels, 2000

"Winter Into Spring", watercolor, janekohutbartels, 2006

“Irish Shore”, 2007, Jane Kohut-Bartels, wc.

The  sonnet below was written when I was doing research into Celtic mythology for “Devil’s Revenge”.  Though the chapters posted haven’t spoken to this element, Celtic mythology is deeply part of the middle of this novel. And also it gives a push to the discovery of various issues in this book.  Celtic mythology can be overwhelming, and I will post only a few parts of this history as I go here.

Lady Nyo

When Cu Chulainn Courts Emer

“In that sweet country, I’ll rest my weapon”

Said Cu Chulainn to beauteous Emer

And a war spasm came upon him fast

With face distorting, hair stood upended

Teeth barred in anger, cock a rigid mast

His body whipped around, his knees unbended,

And sweet Emer prayed his luck would last.

Her father, King Lug, Celtic God of Light

Set her swain to tasks and toil unending,

While Bricru the Poison Tongue cries in fright:

“The Hound of Ulster, Irish unbending,

Leads in battle for comes he in his might!

And Emer waits with patient love the day

When Cu Chulainn comes near and claims his right!

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010

“Devil’s Revenge”, Chapter 26


Madame Gormosy has made herself scarce. This is welcome because I can spend just so many hours playing faro and waving a fan. The Demon disappears behind his books during the day, and frequently leaves the house, returning by dusk. I am left to myself.  I fill my hours trying to finish the novel, the event that brought me to this place.

We have an unspoken agreement. I will not trespass on his time with his books. He will not bother me when I am writing. I now see that regardless how I end the book, things have spiraled out of control, and there are forces at work far beyond what I have imagined.

This dream of Cernunnos bothers me for more than what is obvious. Perhaps this ‘fancy’ was not so random. Perhaps it has a deeper meaning, unrevealed, and it was ‘placed’ there by some unknown force, hopefully leading somewhere. Although the Demon claims control, I think he is unaware of what it portends.

Madame is a tricky devil. She claims the demon comes from a royal line, and is no common demon. I have called him a ‘demon’ because I have no other way to define him, my knowledge of mythology scant. Of course, magic confuses the picture, and devils are known for their trickery. Perhaps that is the seat of the confusion?

As the Demon left the house, I went into the library and looked for some clues. There are enough books, all of them old. I thought about the libraries at Alexandria, destroyed by barbarian hordes. There, surely, with the combined knowledge and wisdom of Persian and so many cultures, would be the answers I seek. But that is dust and this is just dusty, and I am left to find what answers I can.

As I removed books from a high shelf over my head, one large book was unbalanced, and fell at my feet. I stooped to pick it up. It was of Celtic Mythology. I was not one who was superstitious, but this seemed as good a place as any to start.   The dream of Cernunnos ran parallel to this book in my hand. Upon opening it, the first words I read expressed a dichotomy that was alive in my present life.



It seems to Bran a wondrous beauty

In his curragh on a clear sea

While to me in my chariot from afar

It is a flowery plain on which I ride


What is a clear sea

For the prowed craft in which Bran is,

Is a Plain of Delights with profusion of flowers

For me in my two-wheeled chariot


Bran sees

A host of waves breaking across a clear sea

I myself see in Magh Mon

Red-tipped flowers without blemish


Sea-horses glisten in the summer

As far as Bran’s eye can stretch

Flowers pour forth a stream of honey

In the land of Manannan son of Ler


Speckled salmon leap forth from the womb

Of the white sea upon which you look;

They are calves, bright-coloured lambs

At peace, without mutual hostility


It is along the top of a wood

That your tiny craft has sailed along the ridges,

A beautiful wood with its harvest of fruit,

Under the prow of your tiny boat.


Here is my confusion. Here is an answer, though only a piece of it. The Demon and I came from separate worlds, but now occupy the same. He floated through mine, and I stepped into his. This poem was spoken by the Otherworldly Manannan, attempting to explain to the mortal Bran how their differences in perception lie at the root of their divergent realities.

This spoke to the bafflement that ran through our life together. This spoke to my frustration.

As I read on, I began to understand the symbolism of the dream, as it was reflected in the world of the Celts. The natural world surrounded these people on all sides. They were aware of its presence and their dependence on its balance and fertility for their basic nurture and comfort.   Nothing bypassed this dependence, whether the soil, their crops or the animals. The hunters went out to the forest, to bring food for their families. The wolves and bears stalked the settlements for their own. Nature, in fang and claw, in blood and gore, would have shaped days and nights and filled dreams. It would have seeped into every hope and fear. The satyrs were symbols of the fusion of humankind and animals, and part of the magic and religious system that they carried in belief. And Cernunnos? He was the embodiment of the fertility that was necessary for the seasons to turn and mankind and all else to survive. I was, in that dream, very much part of that ritual of life. I could have been a vessel for that seed, from Cernunnos’ loins, planted into the soil, to be fruitful and nourish new life.

There was much more of this same theme as I read on. The foundation, the building stones of what I was reading, and this Celtic culture, was called animistic thinking.   I came across a dramatic example of this in the poem Cad Coddeu, or “The Battle of the Trees”. A mythical battle between two forces, one mortal against the forces of the chthonic deities, dwelling beneath the earth, where a wizard Gwyddion transformed a forest of trees into a writhing, hostile army.

“…Alder, pre-eminant in lineage, attacked first

     Willow and rowan were late to the battle

   Thorny plum greedy for slaughter,

   Powerful dogwood, resisting prince….

…Swift and mighty oak, before him trembled heaven and earth…”


Perhaps the Demon, though, at times I could no longer think of him such, would call forth a similar army.

This was a time, a period, and a culture, where shape-shifting was part of it all. It was part of the ‘DNA’ if you will, of a culture remembering the totemistic myths of previous ancestors. Clans seemed to arise around a particular animal. There might be bird-people, or wolf-people, oak-people or river people. Each clan would feel a strong kinship to a particular animal or element. It would be taboo to violate these totem creatures in any way. These spirits, these ancestral spirits protected the clan from disease and violence. To harm any member of the clan would provoke the wrath of this daemonic spirit. I thought perhaps, considering his courting manners, that the demon Garrett, …was part of the Goat Clan.

The more I read, the more I became convinced what I was witnessing here, between Garrett and Obadiah, was a magical conflict that battled though out an early history. In the myth/song, Tain Bo Cuailgne, the rivalry of two bulls, in separate regions, became a war of many transformations for the bulls. In fact (if that word can be used in mythology!) the two bulls were rival druid priests. They transformed themselves for their conflict into ravens, otters, and ‘screeching spectres’ and many other creatures, before they transformed themselves into grains of wheat, to be devoured by cattle and reborn as the two great bulls, Finn, The Light One, and Dub, The Dark. I could find no termination in their feud. But it was a story of kidnapping of each other’s consorts, mates, and enslavement for revenge. All within an animistic frame of reference.

There is comfort in knowing your dreams and illusions are shared by others. Small comfort, but not to be ignored. But why had I framed Garrett and Obadiah in the Christian mythology? Because it was the only one I knew. Though not a practicing Christian, and for a few years interested in pagan religions, I had Christian culture surrounding me from birth. It seeped into the brain and consciousness and formed my only reference for myth. But here, within the Celtic myths, was a culture with dark and light, perhaps good and bad, and this was easy to understand.   Religion stripped of its saints and devils harkened back to the first companions of mankind, the animals. This I could embrace. It felt natural.

I read further. There seemed to be three consistent parts to the Celtic mythology. The conception by magical means, the divine descent through amours of a divinity, and finally, rebirth.

Garrett had no knowledge of his parentage. Like Etain, who forgot her former existence as a goddess, new and mortal now. So it was with Cuchulainn, of great significance in Celtic myth, reborn as his father Lug. From the Father Lug, to the son, Cuchulainn, to be reborn again as the Father, Lug. It sounded like the Christian Trinity to me. But what was the Christian Trinity in Ireland, but Christianity covering the myths and religions of thousands of years before? Garrett had no knowledge of his parentage. He was like Etain, Cuchulainn, and so many others caught up and born in the fog of myths. But I had the clue he was of royal blood. His powers were too significant to auger mere magic. There was something of the supernatural to him. Perhaps these Celtic myths pointed the way, as readily as a compass held in the palm of the hand did.

And as I read further, I found more of interest. As mankind in his settlements achieves greater ascendancy over his environments, the gods and goddesses change to reflect his powers, mortal though he be. The gods showed more increasingly human characteristics. They had fallacies, weaknesses, had a connection with mankind. They bred with mortals, populated the earth with their seed. These half mortals have powers, and they are the heroes of their tribes and regions. They are represented by their fathers as numerous as the stars in the heavens. For different tribes had different Gods and Goddesses. There are tremendous parallels with what I know of the Greeks and other similar cultures.

I came across the experiences of the bard Taliesin in the Cad Goddeu :


I was in many shapes before I was released: I was a slender, enchanted sword – I believe it was done,


I was a rain drop in air, I was a star’s beam,

I was a word of letters, I was a book in origin,

I was lanterns of light for a year and a half;

I was a bridge that stretched over sixty estuaries,

I was a path, I was an eagle, I was a coracle in the seas…



Shape-shifting among these immortals seems to be of two powers. One that was applied to oneself only, and other higher power, where it was possible with self and others. Garrett had shown his ability with the second. I remember the ride in the carriage, where he had transformed my face and form to an elderly, repugnant woman. I thought of his powers of flight, where he transformed distance into mere seconds. Even this snapping of his fingers and his ale appears, and my tea. He calls it ‘common, vulgar magic’. To me, there is wonder and awe in it. He talks vaguely of many transformations, and I have come to well believe him. He is arrogant with the power of knowledge and experience. He seems some sort of god to me. Or close enough.

Something that intrigued me, that focused my attention sharply, was the reading of relationship of king (god) to queen (goddess) to the land. In the embrace of a true king, the land would be fertile, for the role of goddess (queen) would be to do so. In the embrace of a false king, the land would suffer, the seasons harsh and long, the harvests thin, and births were either deformed or infrequent in both humans and animals. The queen, the goddess, would languish, until a proper consort was found. Until the false king was overthrown, was sacrificed either through war or death. Vanquished so the land could become fecund again. I thought about Garrett and Obadiah, such opposite forces. Surely they would represent the true and false kings. And I? I was to remain the constant, though I believed myself barren. Already, my Demon has stirred my womb and I bleed. He protects my ripening fertility, he says, from all others. And yet, did he have control over Cernunnos? If I bred, would I carry Cernunnos’ seed or was that seed on my thigh Garrett’s? And if Obadiah would kidnap me away, would I breed to him for the same purpose? Is this what Garrett hinted in his words to me? I would have ‘power’ in his dimension…I would have prestige besides him as his consort.

There were no answers here, only pointers in many directions. But enough to start me to construct my own dimension with what I had read. Perhaps the dream gave a hint where Garrett was from. Perhaps this book, heavy and dusty and almost crushing my foot, had fallen for a purpose. Perhaps it was as much of a compass sitting in my lap as if I had held one in the small of my palm.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2015



‘The Kimono’, Chapter 23

August 25, 2011


Very recently, I have been working on this novel, something that has dragged on for 4 years now.  It’s done in stops and starts because of the research needed: writing about culture in 17th century Japan is new to me.  I have a better idea now, over the last year, where this story is going; before, I just let the characters direct the flow. Now I know that this can be a big mistake. (Especially when you are dealing with tricky tengu. lol) Someone has to be in control of events, and it better be the writer.

In this chapter, Mari visits a shrine to the Lord Jizo.  He is a benevolent god, the protector of travelling pilgrims, women and children, especially babies who have died at birth.  Mari has lost her first and pregnancy at five months, and is just getting to mourn this. 

Lord Yoki is a bothersome Tengu: a supernatural creature that figures into Japanese mythology. He has been following Mari since the beginning of the book, and shows up unexpectedly.  His magic is more…developed….a shapeshifter and time travellor…something that Lord Mori, with his own bag of tricks (trained as Yamabushi) can’t do.  Lord Yoki is aligning himself with Lord Mori, but he’s a tricky devil.

Lady Nyo

(Where Mari goes to the Jizo temple to light incense, and meets Lord Yoki.)

Mari and Lady Nyo returned from their shopping, and Mari went to lie down. Her feet hurt in the high geta. It took careful steps and concentration not to twist an ankle.

When they were out, Lady Nyo told her of a small shrine close by, dedicated to Lord Jizo. Mari wanted to make an offering.  When they passed the shrine on the road a few days before, Mari was deeply moved.  She had lost her first and possibly only child and perhaps now she could face grief.  She put it out of mind because of the disruption, and mostly the shame.

Lord Mori and Lord Ekei disappeared during the morning.  Neither Mari or Lady Nyo had a clue where the men were.  They were just women and not to be informed. Lord Nyo was left in charge. Mari thought it a good time to approach Lady Nyo.  She wanted to walk the short way to the shrine, to spend some time in thought and she wanted to do it alone.  Lady Nyo’s expression upon hearing Mari’s words expressed concern, but she promised to talk to Lord Nyo.

Mari knew she would have to have protection, either in the form of Lady Nyo or one of the men of Lord Mori.  This was not of her choosing.  She had no say in these things.

Lady Nyo found her in the tiny garden in the back of the inn, watching goldfish in the small pond before her stone bench.

“Lady Mari”, she softly called.

At the sound of her voice, Mari looked up.  It was still early, just past the noon hour, and the day was overlaid with clouds.  It had turned misty, but Mari was still hopeful she could make her visit.

“My Lord Nyo has agreed and is to send you with two men and I will send you with a servant.  I will provide you with coin to buy incense.”

Mari smiled.  She knew Lady Nyo was risking much in not accompanying her, but Mari wanted some distance from everyone.  She wanted some privacy to think and to be alone.  It didn’t seem possible in this century.

Lady Nyo was kind.  She sensed what Mari needed.  After all, this foreign looking, foreign acting woman was full of secrets, and she knew in time the tight ball who was Lady Mari would unravel.  She was willing to wait.  There was something much bigger about this woman, this unusual and rather ugly favorite of Lord Mori.  What it was, Hana Nyo did not know, but sensed it was worth her patience. There were clues, but these were too fantastic to believe.

Mari set out with two armed guards and one of the two women servants. This time she wore her straw sandals and her traveling kimono, with an oiled paper cloak to protect from the rain.  Mari had not been raised in either Shinto or Buddhist beliefs, though her mother privately offered prayers and burned incense at a small family shrine set up in a corner of  their house Mari for a time had attended a Unitarian church, the religion of her father.  Who Lord Jizo was remained unclear to Mari. The only knowledge she had was that he was the patron ‘saint’ of unborn, miscarried and stillborn children.  It seemed enough of a starting place for her. Perhaps she wouldn’t feel so empty after offering prayers for her dead baby.

The walk to the shrine was not far, and the road was banked with mulberry trees and beyond the road, bamboo stands looking like small forests of waving greenery.  A drizzle had started; it served to dampen the dust on the road.

There were few travelers today.  When they got to the shrine, Mari was surprised how primitive it was; not more than a raised open shed, a stone pillar with a carved face set back from the entrance.   There were offerings of toys, incense, pebbles, a few small coins. Children’s clothes were folded and laid at the base of Lord Jizo.  One mother had put a red bib around his neck and a white, knitted hat sat on his head.

The men and the servant stood back by the road, but not so far they couldn’t see Mari.  She walked up the few wooden stairs to kneel on the rough wooden floor.  There was a crow in the rafters, who looked at Mari, curious as to her presence.

Mari placed her unlit incense in the bowl of sand in front of the statue.  She raised her eyes to his face, and realized his features were faint, dissolved by time.  A small, smiling mouth, long earlobes, closed eyes.  Mari felt tears forming and gulped to swallow them.   She didn’t know what to say, what to pray for.  She had not been a religious person back in her own century, and things were too disrupted and strange to even contemplate the spiritual now.  The presence of magic had destroyed her belief in comforting things.

A strange sensation came over her.   She did not recognize it at first, but soon realized she was feeling more than the usual emptiness. She felt—filled with something, and at first she didn’t  understand.  Tears coursed down her face, and raising her eyes to Jizo these ancient details dissolved even more.  Whether it was her tears or some magic, she was looking at the face of a laughing baby.  She clasped her hands to her chest and uttered a soft, marveling cry.  Then, the vague stone features of Lord Jizo reappeared.

Mari was deeply moved, but frightened.  Perhaps it was the dim light of the shrine playing tricks or perhaps it was her confused mind. Whatever it was, she felt a peace, something she had not felt in a long time.  She felt as if a heavy burden had been lifted from her heart.

The faint sound of a flute came to her ears.  Sad, consoling music.  She looked up in the rafters to the left of the Jizo statue and saw a monk sitting there,  or what she thought was a monk.  He was playing a bamboo flute and floated down like a dust mote.  Mari looked around at the men and the girl outside. They seemed oblivious to anything happening inside the shrine.  In fact, they weren’t moving.  They looked frozen.

“Do not be afraid”.  The monk, a very dirty, dusty man in a ripped kimono, spoke in a raspy voice, clearing cobwebs from his face as he stood there.

Mari for some reason did not feel afraid.  Perhaps she was enchanted and this was a spell?

“Nah, you‘re under no spell.  But the men outside are.”  He giggled.

Mari blanched.  This monk could read her mind? 

The monk coughed, and spat, very unmonk-like behavior in a shrine.

“Were you the crow in the rafters?”  Mari’s voice was soft, disbelief making it hard to speak.

“You’re a fast study, girl.”  The monk laughed, seeing the astonishment on Mari’s face.

“What are you?”

“Ah….you are  a rude one! Perhaps the shock of seeing a crow transform into a man has robbed you of manners?”

“But what are you?”

“You already asked that.  I am Lord Yoki.”

“You obviously are not human.  Are you a figment of my mind?”

“Oh, I am much more than that, girl.  I am a Tengu.  Are you familiar with tengus?”

Mari shook her head, eyes wide in shock, now beyond speech.

“Ah….we have met before, Mari.”

“How do you know my name?”

The tengu laughed, a raspy sound from a thin, wizen throat.  Mari’s eyes traveled over his kimono.  It was patched and stained, none too clean for a monk.  He was barefoot and his nails were very long, in fact they had grown over his straw sandals and seemed more like bird claws. He was scratching at his hindquarters, too.

Lord Yoki smiled, blinked, and closed his eyes to mere slits.  Mari noticed his nose was very long and red.  Probably drank too much sake.

“You were visiting a friend in Kyoto. Coming home one night, I called out to you.”

 Mari couldn’t think of where she had seen this creature.

“Ah…your friend, Miko? “

Mari gasped.  Miko was back home…in her century, the 21st, not the 17th!  What was happening here? Was she losing her mind?

Suddenly, she remembered.  There was a large bird on a wire high above her one cold night.  She remembered that night with Miko, telling her about the dream….a dream that turned out to be another reality.  She remembered being scared by a voice, and looking up in the dark, she saw a huge bird with a long red beak.

“Yup, at your service.”  The tengu bowed and giggled, like a girl would.

“But, but….how?”  That was another century, hundreds of years from now.  “How are you here?”

“Better you ask me why.”

Mari went to rise, and fell back on her backside.  Her legs would not support her.

“And….you speak English!  I must be losing my mind!”

“Oh, don’t get overly excited, girl”, he said, making a dismissive gesture with his hand.  “Weirder things have happened.”

The tengu grimaced, scratched at his scraggly beard . “Lice”, he said flatly.

Mari twisted from the floor, trying to see the men outside.  They had not moved an inch.

“Oh, don’t worry about them.  We have thing to talk about.”

The tengu folded his legs and sat facing her, tucking his flute into his robe.

“I am sure you have some questions for me?”  He looked at her expectantly.

“What questions could I have for you?”  Mari’s shock was lessening and she began to feel danger.

“Perhaps you would like to know what your husband Steven is up to.”

Steven!  Mari gasped, her eyes opening wide.  What would this old man, if he was one, know of Steven?

“Well, why don’t we start by you asking me some questions?  I bet I know more than you could guess.”  He folded his hands in front of him, looking rather pleased with himself.

Mari swallowed hard, wishing she had some water.  Her throat was dry.

“What could you know about my husband?”

The monk lifted his eyebrows a few times and winked.  Mari almost laughed.  He looked like Groucho Marx.

“I travel in many circles, girl.  I get around.”

Mari would have dismissed him as insane, but uttering Steven’s name meant something else.

“Then tell me what he is doing.  Is he worried about me?  Is he ok?”

The monk ‘s face softened.

“You don’t understand much about this time travel, do you?  Has no one explained to you what happens?”

Mari remembered only that Lord Mori said a year here in this century would be like a minute in hers.

Haltingly Mari told the monk what she knew.

“Yes, yes, that is part of it.  Going back and forth can be confusing, but do not worry.  You have no reason for concern about husband Steven.  See those men out there? And your servant? “

Mari saw the men and woman in the same position.  Still frozen.

“That is how your disappearance has seemed to Lord Steven.  He doesn’t have a clue.”

The monk chortled and the hair stood on the back of Mari’s neck.

Mari wrapped her arms around herself and looked at the floor.  Tears started to form.  What had she done to Steven, to her marriage?  Was she already dead and this was some kind of Hell?

“Mari”, said the monk in a soft voice.  “You are caught up in a web of magic, and none of this is of your doing.  You only bought a kimono having some history and you fell under its power.  What happens now is out of your control. From the  beginning, it was your fate.”

“What is going to happen to me?”  Mari raised her eyes to the monk, her face full of despair.

The monk, or tengu, or whatever he was, almost scowled, and spit again on the boards of the shrine.

“Do I look like a fortune teller?  I have no idea, girl, what is to be your destiny, but I know you are a pawn in a larger game.”

“One of Lord Mori’s making?”

“Lord Mori is also a pawn, but a much more important pawn.  We all are pawns in this present game, Mari.”

“What does he want of me?”

Lord Yoki looked at Mari, studying her face, but said nothing for a few seconds.

“Our Lord Mori is a complex man.  He can wield his own small magic, more tricks than anything else. There are other forces at work and our Lord is determined to find them out. This, in part, is the reason for this pilgrimage to Gassan Mountain.”

“But how do I figure in all of this?” 

The monk laid his head to one side and narrowed his eyes as he looked at Mari.  He looked like a blinking owl.

“I have no answers for you, girl.  I just know that you do. You will have to cultivate patience. You have no control or power as to what happens. “

Mari did not get much from his answers.  At least she now knew something about Steven, if she could believe this monk.  If it was true her absence had gone unnoticed by him, then perhaps there was something good in this.

What her role was to be here, in this century, in the presence of Lord Mori and the others, there had to be an answer for her.  At least she had the small comfort about Steven. If she could believe the monk.

She looked at him, but he had vanished. In less than a blink of the eye, he was gone.  Mari stretched out a hand to where he had been sitting.  Had she dreamed all this?  Was she also under a spell?

She heard voices. The men were talking amongst themselves, leaning on their nagatas.  The woman servant was plaiting reeds from her basket.

Mari left the shrine, only turning back once to look at Lord Jizo.  She still had no  answers, but for some strange reason, she felt comforted.  Whether it was Lord Jizo or the monk, she didn’t know.

‘Orpheus and Eurydice’, from “A Seasoning of Lust”

September 1, 2010

Orpheus and Eurydice, from

Reading mythology was a kick a few years back.    This short piece was from that time.  This is a well known story, but I tried to ‘update’ it a bit.

Lady Nyo

Hear my rendering of an oft-told tale, mixed with a leavening of Bullfinch and the sight of Orpheus’ lyre in the cosmos.

Orpheus, son of Apollo and Calliope (I can’t remember Eurydice’s heritage), were to be blessed by Hymen.

He brought no happy omens. His torch smoked and drew tears in all eyes. The flowers wilted and the Gods and Goddesses coughed and sputtered.

Orpheus, master of the lyre, whose notes melted tiger’s hearts, made trees uproot and creep near, made rocks soften, loved his Eurydice.

Fate conspires with happiness. Eurydice, chased by shepherd Aristaeus was raped. Now Eurydice’s hymen was remade each night for Orpheus’ pleasure, and she died a broken, bloody death on the end of Aristaeus’…. sword.

How fast Orpheus descended to those Stygian depths! His tones pleaded for the return of Eurydice. Sisyphus sat on his rock to listen, Ixion’s wheel stood still and the Furies eyes were wet with tears.  Eurydice came, in her winding shroud, fresh with young death.

Here’s the deal. Walk out of Hell and don’t look back.

Orpheus! You almost made it! Eurydice, twice dead, disappears.

Sometimes, in both love and death, it only takes one glance.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2008, 2010

“Orpheus and Eurydice”…it’s been a long week…

November 7, 2008

so I’m posting a short piece just to coast into the weekend.

Thank you, everyone….for your presence in my life, blog, and other parts  important.  Just stay out of my hen house.

Lady Nyo


Hear my rendering of an oft-told tale, mixed with a leavening of Bullfinch and the sight of Orpheus’ lyre in the cosmos.

Orpheus, son of Apollo and Calliope (I can’t remember Eurydice’s heritage), were to be blessed by Hymen.

He brought no happy omens. His torch smoked and drew tears in all eyes. The flowers wilted and the Gods and Goddesses coughed and sputtered.

Orpheus, master of the lyre, whose notes melted tiger’s hearts, made trees uproot and creep near, made rocks soften, loved his Eurydice.

Fate conspires with happiness. Eurydice, chased by shepherd Aristaeus was raped. Now Eurydice’s hymen was remade each night for Orpheus’ pleasure, and she died a broken, bloody death on the end of Aristaeus’ cock.

How fast Orpheus descended to those Stygian depths! His tones pleaded for the return of Eurydice. Sisyphus sat on his rock to listen, Ixion’s wheel stood still and the Furies eyes were wet with tears.  Eurydice came, in her winding shroud, fresh with young death.

Here’s the deal. Walk out of Hell and don’t look back.

Orpheus! You almost made it! Eurydice, twice dead, disappears.

Sometimes, in both love and death, it only takes one glance.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2008

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