I have been asked about book two of the Insidious Trilogy - 'The Insidious Sign'. I am currently undertaking the 'polishing' edit and it will be published towards the end of 2020. In the meantime this is an excerpt from Chapter 1. It is a story told by the Aunt (you met her in book 1) to the girls she minds every day after school..............
The silence continues for a few more moments during which, for one reason or another, each girl has decided to close their eyes. In the silence they cease to be aware of their surroundings as if in a deep sleep until they awake to the awareness of the voice of the Aunt speaking gently.
“The Mother always sat at the same spot in the courtyard garden, resting on a large moss covered stone, gazing upon the tree set in the very centre of the immaculate lawn. The tree was beautiful to behold and indeed all the birds, animals and insects who lived in the vicinity of the garden came once a day to contemplate and worship its very existence. All the fruit of the world tried to find purchase within its living branches, and there was even a vine climbing bravely from the bottom to the very top branches of the tree which stretched up to the bluest of blue skies.
She and all other living creatures were aware this was the tree of knowledge, planted at the dawning of earthly creation by the extremely old and rather cantankerous gardener. Whilst he would allow all creatures to come and admire the beauty of his handiwork (which, it has to be said, he rather enjoyed), and would even allow them to rest occasionally underneath the tree’s leafy boughs, he expressly forbade anyone to either climb up the tree or eat of its fruit.
The tree was the living simulacrum of creation on earth. It held the secrets of life itself. The gardener was adamant - you would not want to be acquainted with the secrets of life or to bear the responsibility such knowledge inevitably brings with it. Neither would you wish to endure the extraordinary hardships demanded in recompense for the fleeting ecstasy experienced within the exquisite flavours of the fruits nurtured on the tree.
For some time she had been willing to accept the gardener’s rules and regulations. But now she realised the gardener identified as male. Her husband was a male, and as far as she was concerned her husband was pretty dull and boring. Yes - she understood the gardener - he was a typical man hiding the truth from the female and she now knew she had to find out what that truth was.
She stood up slowly and walked over the lawn to the tree. As she reached out her hands and placed them through the body of the vine to feel the soft touch of tree bark she heard a voice as if speaking out to her from the tree.
‘Yes, of course you would like a little part of me – but do you really comprehend the price you will pay for my knowledge?’ The voice continued speaking ‘You live in contentment, why would you wish to sacrifice all for the ephemeral moment of ecstasy that comes with eating my fruit?’ ‘Whilst my knowledge will give you power above your Man, will you take responsibility for him, knowing that your gifts of love will never be recognised – I think not....’
As she listened to the voice and felt the words reverberate through her body she immediately pulled her hands away from the vine. She felt a deep sense of unease. Nevertheless she also felt a thirst that required quenching and a hunger which necessitated feeding. Impulsively she decides to climb the tree. Placing her hand on the vine she starts to use its thick stems to clamber very gently and surprisingly quickly up the tree. And once she had started her ascent, her ambition to quench her thirst and feed her hunger is quickly replaced by another – the need to climb to the very top of the tree and view her world from a new perspective.
In that moment everything became silent, the birds stopped singing, the animals stopped talking and the insects stopped moving. The wind ceased in its activities. The only audible sound which could be discerned within the courtyard was that generated through the near imperceptible exertion of the Mother as she continued her ascension to the very apex of the tree.
Finally she reached the canopy and looked out over the land. The view was beautiful to behold. Beyond the walls of the courtyard garden she could make out the pastures and the woodlands where she held home with her husband. She could see the rivers flowing down towards the distant ocean - it was a sublime work of art that the gardener had created for them to reside within.
It was whilst she was admiring the view, and just as she was turning her gaze slowly from left to right, when her vision was enraptured by the sight of a fruit. Some people say it was an apple – I don’t believe it was. What I do know, however, is that it was golden, round and without a single blemish on its skin.
The Mother recalled her initial aspiration to quench her thirst and hunger and reached out to gently pluck the fruit from the branch. She took hold of it and removed it gently from the tree. The silence surrounding the courtyard deepened in anticipation as she held the object of her desire in the palm of her hands. She examined it carefully. She had never seen an object of such exquisite beauty before.
Our Mother continued to search the fruit for any blemish within the lustre of its golden skin - she could find no fault. It was full and ripe with the dew of nature adding a lucent sheen to what was already perfection. Slowly she placed the fruit to her mouth and took the first bite - for the one bite was all she required.
The exquisite flavours of the fruit surrendered into a myriad of textures within her mouth and, all of a sudden, her whole body was transfigured by a golden light which emanated from both her head and feet, crisscrossing up and down the whole of her body. The fruit had a large soul and the knowledge of the universe which the gardener had chosen to distil within it was laid bare and exposed to her mind. Through the sharp clarity of its bountiful taste she saw and knew - now she understood - now she felt truly powerful; for the fruit revealed knowledge as the universal ruler of all - to be consciously aware of this substantiation would enable her, the possessor, to attain complete control over her destiny, to lead her life fully, and to inspire her domain with truth.
Every action has an impact on the world, even the tiniest squabble may lead, through the immutable laws of cause and effect, to the death of someone you have never met in some far flung corner of the earth you have never visited. Well, in taking the first mouthful of fruit the Mother committed a deed, the effect of which resounds throughout the world to this day and from which, as direct result, you and I, and all our sisters, are bound together in the spirit of unknowable truth. It was at that point in time we first met and became the daughters of Eden, suffering the joys and hardships that arose within the ecstasy from partaking in the flesh of the fruit. It was at that time our relationship with husband and son was transformed forever.
Now within many of the traditions where the remembrance of this tale is more commonly respected it is recounted that our Mother only ate the one fruit. This is in fact inaccurate – in reality she ate four. Let me tell you what happened next.
She had already started her descent from the apex of the tree when another fruit caught her eye. This one was as pure silver, cool and pleasant to the eye. Without giving it a second thought she plucked it off the branch and started to carefully examine it for any blemish. She thought to herself this fruit could somewhat cool her body which was suddenly beginning to feel overheated from the physical exertion of her climb. Surely the eating of this fruit would make her journey to the bottom of the tree a more pleasing experience. Slowly she placed the fruit to her mouth and took a bite.
The taste was different from the first fruit - it was somewhat lighter in texture and more playful in its nature. The impact, however, was as dramatic as when she had partaken of the first fruit. As its flavour inspired her mind silver light exploded from her abdomen bursting into the most brilliant of stars. The stars moved up towards her head surrounding it in a halo of silver light which broke into mist before re-entering the body through her mouth and nostrils. Within the winsomeness of the taste she immediately perceived the beauty of creation; she heard, as if for the first time, the music of the birds, who at that moment, spontaneously began to sing their songs of love; she feels the rhythmic play of the wind as it passes through the leaves of the tree; and, beneath the beauty of it all she became conscious of the distant tolling of the bell from which all creation was nurtured. From the exuberant luminosity of its taste she comprehended the full potential of creative purpose - the reality that without creativity knowledge has no purpose, no way to gestate and come into life. Likewise without knowledge there can be no creative intention of any worth.
Embodying the newly actualised state of realisation within her being, she traversed further down the tree. As she clambered through the branches she felt elated and satisfied she had chosen to ignore the dire warnings of the craggy old Gardener - well now she would show him, what she, a woman, could achieve.
She arrived at the heart of the tree and, pausing for breath, her attention was drawn to yet another fruit. This fruit held a milk white colour with a texture akin to the most perfect pearl you could ever imagine. It shimmered in the light of Eden. It was impossible to ignore and although she was no longer thirsty or hungry she intuitively knew, having eaten from the previous two fruits, that its very presence was offering to quench a thirst and feed a hunger that was deeper than the need itself. She quickly plucked the fruit from the branch and, holding it in her left hand, placed it somewhat greedily to her mouth to take one single bite. As she did so her mouth was filled with the taste of freshly drawn milk flavoured with the most exotic of spices.
Mist appeared around her head and moved very slowly down to her feet. All at once she was filled with an immense sorrow and a deep sense of guilt. Nevertheless, the essence of this fruit was love, and within the nurture of its flavour she recognises her atonement - all she has learnt from the fruit she has eaten will have to be shared in the service of others. For knowledge and creativity administered without the application of service in love is both selfish and dangerous.
She continued somewhat forlornly down the tree carrying within her essence the burden of understanding. Just before she reached the bottommost branches she catches sight of another fruit. It was black as the darkest onyx you will ever see, yet also bursting with a ripeness waiting to be plucked from the branch. The Mother paused for a moment and was about to proceed towards the base of the tree, when a sudden impulse makes her pick it, put it to her mouth and take a single bite. Why she chose to do that we don’t know. The flavour was bitter to the mouth but not unpleasant. It had a salty quality something akin to a ripe olive. As she tasted this last fruit there were no swirls of gold, silver, or pearl, just an overwhelming realisation that her life was no longer going to be the same as it was before. She had been lifted through the heights of ecstasy and was slowly returning to the earth. The truth from the fourth fruit was simple in its undeniable flavour – everything she had learnt from the three previous fruits would require her to labour, without recognition, throughout the long days of her life in service to all those around her who, who, she now realised, she loved.”
The Aunt paused, and it was a while before the sisters realised that the story had come to a close.
I Hope you have enjoyed the read. If you haven't read book 1 you will find it on Amazon - search for 'The Insidious Vine'. Likewise you can stream the book with the music from www.theinsidousvine.com free gratis whilst we are still in lockdown..
Love to you all