Nine Deadly Sins with Coffee, part 40 – The Obedience of the Heart
Little furry model animals don’t normally do much for me, but this one, placed in the middle of our usual table in the cafe, made me giggle. It had big doe-eyes, the sort you’d see in Japanese comic books. With somewhat smaller eyes, at least proportionately, John was smiling at me from across the table. I took a breath, but Rose arrived with our two lattés before I could speak.
“One of my favourites, this,” he said, still grinning like the proverbial Cheshire Cat and stealing the silent pause.
“Because it’s my birthday this mythical month?” I asked, somewhat cheekily.
He laughed. “The sign of Cancer, the crab; Glorious June…rather far in the future… won’t buy you a pressie just yet!” he said, doing his best to copy the deer’s eyes and using them to peer, pathetically, out at the dark and wet November morning. Then he added, in response to my mock frown, “Go on then, tell me the story.”
“Okay,” I said, ready. “Heracles is tasked with capturing a wild fawn, and taking in to the Temple of Apollo, the Sun-god. He finds himself looking at a beautiful landscape. On one far hill, near Apollo’s temple, he spies the female deer, but, as he looks at it, the voice of Artemis, the huntress, comes from the disc of the moon, overhead, and warns him that the animal is under her protection and that she has nurtured it from its infancy.”
“Very good,” said John. “Was it Artemis alone who warned him off?”
“No,” I answered, “The mighty Diana, the sky huntress dear to the Gods, claimed ownership of the fawn, too. Both said they had guarded it to maturity.”
As I spoke, John leaned forward, as though listening intently, though there was nothing wrong with his hearing. In so doing, he inadvertently pushed his hot coffee mug towards my left hand, lying flat on the table top. I could feel the heat and my hand moved, automatically, away from the scalding pot.
He seemed not to notice my discomfort. “So Heracles had an easy time of this one?” he said. “He just used his powers to capture the fawn, knowing that the temple to which he was to return the creature was that of Apollo, the greatest of the Gods?”
“No–” I said, conscious that my left hand had again flinched away from something hot. I looked down and saw that his cup was, again, very close to my skin. His eyes were on me, as though boring into my soul. It could only have been a repeated accident, so I continued. “–far from it! The two goddesses spent a year helping the golden-antlered fawn to evade Heracles, despite his great skills.”
“But he caught it, eventually?” said John.
“Yes…” I replied. “After a year of trying – it was rather sad. In his exasperation, I presume, he shot at the fawn and wounded its foot, Unable to flee, it was captured and carried by Heracles into the temple of Apollo, and remained there, claimed and healed by Apollo himself, despite the protestations of Artemis and Diana.” Suddenly, I became conscious of the burning, again. “Bloody hell!” I exclaimed, “You’ve got to be doing that deliberately!”
With eyes like a cobra his gaze never left mine, not even looking down as I moved my hand far away from the hot mug to show him what he had been doing. “And what did the fawn symbolise?” he asked, apparently unbothered by my outburst.
There was that funny ringing in my head when he said this. He had set up one of his situations while we were speaking. What was the link between my singed skin and the fawn?
“Did you need to use reason to decide to pull away your hand?” he asked, continuing to look at me intensely.
I was calming down – knowing that there would be a noble motive behind the idiot’s actions. “Reason?” I muttered, still hurt with the idea of being burned like this, even though the pain had been slight. “No, of course not – my body knew exactly what to do in reaction!”
“So it did,” he said. The intense and unsettling gaze was subsiding. “And the fawn represents that instinctive nature… but this fawn was taken from its natural state, hunted for a year by a hero, shot at the point on its body where it made contact with the earth, and then carried, lovingly on the breast of Heracles, into the highest of temples…”
There was a noise in my head that was not a noise but something more profound–more like a beating of wings…Something was opening up. I grasped at what he had said, the slight pain in my little finger forgotten. “So, an instinctive ability, not requiring reason, is hunted, despite the grasp of two goddesses, and, though wounded, successfully delivered to the Sun-god in his temple?”
“Where it heals and is returned to the same hillside on which Heracles first saw it.” His eyes had resumed their normal kindly state. The cobra stare had gone. He was now sitting back in his chair, the offending mug transferred to its normal duties.
“So, what was transformed, or rather, re-homed?”
I didn’t want him to tell me. I knew this was important. “Can I have a week to think about that?” I asked, watching him smile and nod into the latté.
Nine Deadly Sins with Coffee is usually published on Thursdays.
All images and text ©International copyright, The Silent Eye School of Consciousness, 2015.