Master and the Green-Eyed Hope
By Johanna Kern
Priestess of Powers and Hope
That morning, I started to write a journal. I didn’t want to forget any details of my meeting with the Master, and what he had taught me.
I wrote in my notebook for several hours. It wasn’t easy. My mind couldn't fully comprehend what I had experienced. Finally, I found a method. I decided not to control the writing. Just as Rhami-yata had said -- I didn't have to understand, I didn't have to figure it all at once. I was simply registering the story on the page, without trying to give it any meaning.
It was almost noon when I finished. I went for a short walk and skipped the groceries. I was hungry for the next lesson more than anything else in the world.
When I rushed home, and was climbing the stairs, there was a loud noise filling up the building. It kept getting louder with each step. It was unbearable by the time I reached our floor, and it was clearly coming from the apartment next door.
I stood in the hallway for a while, listening to the noise. They’d started the renovations today! Of course, I’d completely forgotten that I had read a note from the management the previous week, displayed on the board in the lobby: “We apologize for the inconvenience...” etc.
My luck exactly – I sighed. Just when I need silence. Just when I’m ready to roll full speed. My entire plan goes to pieces! How will I ever be able to concentrate and go in trance, when monsters from hell are throwing a party next door?
I ran downstairs to read the note again. To my terror, it said that the renovations would take approximately seven to ten days. And that there would be no construction work after six pm. Oh, well, that wasn’t so bad if one had been working during the day, and wanted peace and quiet afterwards. But I did not have anywhere to go during the day! It was winter, and being in trance in the park was out of the question.
Hm... perhaps I could spend the days in the library, and then have my trance-lessons at nights? - I thought. Yes, maybe. But when am I going to sleep? No, this is not good, - I shook my head.
I knew that even if I were spending my days at the library and somehow had managed to squeeze in the time for sufficient rest at nights – I would’ve been reading books, being “in my head” for long hours, while what I needed to do was to get “out of my head”. Being “in my head” would prevent me from having proper focus and energy to allow me to fall into trance, and write down the lessons.
I went to a coffee shop around the corner. I didn’t drink coffee at all, but I remembered that when I had passed by, there had been some people eating bagels.
The small space was quiet, there were only three customers there. Two giggling school girls, munching chocolate donuts, and a bearded man, sipping his coffee and reading the day’s paper.
My cream cheese bagel and hot tea with lemon were superb, and put me in an excellent mood. After all, my life was beautiful and I was living my own adventure, just the way I wanted it to be! Renovations – I thought – big deal. It’s only noise, not an earthquake for God’s sake!
I walked to the pharmacy with a radiant face, and smiled at a couple of strangers passing me on the street.
The pharmacist was a round, middle-aged smiley man, and he was very sympathetic to my “renovation problem”. He sold me a set of earplugs, and it made me feel truly equipped, like a trooper who had just assembled her weapons and a survival kit. Oh, yes, the unstoppable girl, ready for anything, anytime. I almost saluted the round man while leaving his pharmacy.
I ran upstairs, happily humming, and closed the door behind me.
I carefully unpacked my big weapons, the yellow earplugs. I ceremonially placed them in my ears. I closed my eyes, and let out a sigh. Then I opened my eyes quickly. The noise was still there! A bit quieter, yes, but as invasive as it was before. What’s more, I could now clearly feel the vibrations of the drills and hummers in my entire body. God damn it and shit!
I walked around my apartment for a while, hoping to find a place where the noise and vibrations would be bearable. No such luck. It was all the same, everywhere. I noticed an interesting thing happening though. My mind and my body were gradually getting used to the vibrations, and the noise!
It’s probably because they are fairly constant – I thought. So they sort of become like a natural, monotonous rhythm to my senses. As if I were on a train, or a boat, and the noise of the engine, the movement, sooner or later would become almost unnoticeable, like background music.
When I was a child I had already learned how to get used to loud noises, such as screaming or slamming the door, so that I could function in my mother’s house. It wasn’t easy, but I had done it. My mother’s explosive temper, her violent manner, had actually helped me to find my own calm. I had been meditating then, unknowingly and spontaneously. Now I needed to take that ability to the next level.
My beautiful bed, which had taken care of and comforted humans for almost two centuries, now helped me to achieve my personal victory: falling into trance in the midst of building renovations.
“Welcome, Daughter,” said Rhami-yata, when I arrived in the Chamber of Seven Powers.
“There you are,” I said.
“Yes?” For the first time I saw him surprised.
“I decided to stick with my new schedule,” I said with pride. “And I’m ready to roll.”
He smiled. And then he sat down on the stone floor, exactly where he was standing.
I quickly sat down in front of him. I made myself comfortable and crossed my legs.
“You said that Five is the number representing Progress, the Second Power. Why?” I asked.
“There are five senses that help you to learn the material world. The more you learn how to use them, the more you perceive of the material world. The better the tools, the bigger the Progress,” he explained.
“What about spiritual Progress?”
“Also represented by the number Five,” he said. “And that is because the Pentacle symbolizes the five initiations in our Temple”.
“Initiations?” I was curious. “What initiations?”
“Those initiations are five paths to be taken and followed by Priests of our Temple,” said Rhami-yata.
“Five paths…” I wondered. “Do the Priests choose one path from the five available and then, once initiated on their path, become High Priests?”
“No,” he said. “All five initiations, all five paths must be completed. The Priests follow each path until it is completed, and each completed path is an initiation. They follow and experience each path until the time is fulfilled”.
“How is the time fulfilled? Is there a deadline for that?” I wanted to know.
“No,” he shook his head. “There is no time frame and even the order of completing each path is different for each Priest. There is a different design for everyone. It all depends on what you’re ready for, and when. One of the things that Priests learn during their initiations is how to master the Seven Powers creating the world.”
I got up and went to the Statues on the left.
“What is it that the Priests can learn when they master the second Power?” I touched the second Statue. “Progress of the material world?”
The Master appeared beside me in a split second. “Understanding the way the Powers work in the material world allows us to rule Matter,” he said.
“Rule?” I turned to him.
“Yes. That’s right.”
“Do you mean intellectually? Like in science, technology?”
“No. I mean having power over Matter.”
He explained that the true understanding of the material world and its rules did not happen intellectually. That’s why technology, when separated from the knowledge of the essence of manifestation, had been and always would be limited, often misleading, or even self-destructive.
I looked at the Statue representing Progress in the material world with great respect. “How do I learn about Progress? How do I master such enormous Power?”
“It’s enough to ask,” said my teacher. “You always get what you ask for.”
Somehow, I understood. Everything was clear and I felt complete.
“The Progress of Matter”, I said, “is the Power which creates the world together with the Progress of Spirit. Both Powers are equal, and both are holy.”
I felt my arms spread creating a bridge between the Powers represented by the Statues on the right and those on the left.
Just as the other day, words came to my mind, and I felt no need to control or understand what I was saying.
“I honor and worship you, holy Progress. You lead me to freedom from the limitations of my mind. For you I light the candle, and I am grateful for your blessings upon the the material and spiritual world.”
From the holy cresset, burning in the center of the chamber, I poured some oil into a small bronze cup, and created a candle for Progress, the second Power.
Rhami-yata was observing my every move. “Make sure the candles are always lit in the Chamber of Seven Powers. That’s one of your duties here.”
“Yes, Master,” I said. “I will make sure.”
“Attend to your body now,” he said. And then he used some strange sounding name for me.
“What was the name you just called me?” I asked.
“That name means ‘the Green-eyed Hope’. And that is your name from now on.”
“Green-eyed Hope,” I repeated. “I love it.”
When I came back from the Temple, I noticed that my body was numb, and it took me a while to fully awaken the muscles.
Then I recorded the lesson in my notebook. I tried to write down my new name, and finally found the letters that would represent the strange sound: “Hermenethre”. The name stared at me, spelled on the sheet of paper.
The construction work still continued after I finished writing. I realized that the noise was much easier to deal with while I was focussed on my memory of the lesson. But when I closed my notebook, the noise seemed to rise, together with my irritation.
I walked to the kitchen, and opened the fridge. No, I wasn’t hungry. And I couldn’t take the noise anymore. All I wanted to do was get out of there as soon as I could. I shut the fridge door.
Quickly, I put on my boots, grabbed my coat, hat and gloves and ran downstairs.
When I got out on the street, I sighed with relief and now was able to button up, adjust my hat and put on the gloves. I realized I’d forgotten my scarf but wouldn’t go back and get it if my life had depended on it.
I started to walk fast, away from the noise, away from my “sanctuary”, as if I were trying to escape from the Master, the Temple, perhaps even myself? Yes, I felt sudden anxiety, the old friend whom I had hoped to forget. It had crept back on me, like a serpent emerging from the underground. It might have been the invasive renovation noise that made me feel that way, even though I thought I was able to deal with it.
I kept walking fast. The anxiety was now “at my throat”, like a hungry guard dog with a crooked tail.
What on Earth am I doing? - I thought. Is this what I wanted? Lonely nights and days, filled with fantastic tales of my meetings with an imaginary friend? While the the world is filled with real people, their real lives, their real hammers and drills! Oh, God... - I felt tears about to overflow my widened eyes.
I closed them, only for a moment, to prevent myself from crying, and that’s when I bumped into a small and thin old lady. She dropped her shopping bag because of the impact of our collision. Oranges, apples and pears were rolling on the icy sidewalk. I quickly knelt down and started to pick them up, while apologizing to her a thousand times. I couldn’t help the tears anymore. They started to roll down my cold cheeks. The lady was surprised by my crying, thinking I felt guilty from almost knocking her over.
“But... dear child, accidents happen. It’s nothing, really. Look, the fruit is not bruised at all.”
She helped me up to my feet, as if it had been I and not she who had been harmed in any way. She reached in her pocket and took out an old fashioned cotton handkerchief. I looked in her pale blue eyes while she was wiping my tears. I couldn’t help thinking that she reminded me of my grandmother, who was over four thousand miles away. The same pale blue eyes, small thin body, kindness, soft voice, and the white cotton handkerchief.
I finally smiled, as if I had smiled at my dear grandmother. The old lady’s eyes smiled at me in return.
“Have a pear,” she said handing me the fruit. “It’ll make you feel better. You’ll see.”
We walked together for a while. I was eating the pear, and carrying her shopping bag with the other hand. I learned that the old lady came out of town and was visiting her granddaughter here in Toronto. The young girl was a fashion design student at Ryerson University. She had sewn a whole collection out of ribbons, shoelaces, and kitchen cloths. She had pierced her nose and dyed her hair green. And the old lady was very proud of her.
“It is our dreams that make our lives worthwhile,” she said. “That which happens inside us, is the only real thing. Everything else is just a distraction we use as an excuse to avoid that real thing. Because it takes a lot of courage to live one’s truth.”
The building was quiet when I returned. There was no noise after six pm.
I decided to go out the next day, and buy some linen canvas. I had a set of oil paints, and excellent brushes I had brought with me from Europe. An idea for a painting had already developed in my mind, and I wanted to put it on canvas over the next few days.
It was a very cold morning. As if winter wanted us to really feel her frosty breath on the last day of February.
I left the building early, before the noise began, and went to Chinatown. There was a small art supply store there that I liked very much. A painter’s paradise filled with canvas of any size, paints for every possible technique – from simple acrylics to sophisticated oils, brushes of various quality and purpose, and all imaginable tools.
The owner was a middle aged man, and one could tell right away that he was a painter himself. There was a certain expression on his face, when he looked at things, that only painters had. The instant assessment and appreciation of shapes, colors, textures, geometry and relationships between objects. Yes, definitely, he must have been a painter.
I hadn’t painted for several years. My husband was the truly talented one, and it was he who had done all the paintings in our home, not I. Including the water drop portrait that I had always admired. It had been my favorite painting of his. But all was gone now. My husband, our home, and the water drop.
I got the canvas I needed, and managed to get home without knocking anyone over with the brown paper package when I was making my way on the streetcar and the subway. No accidents, no encounters, no old ladies to bump into and then apologize to. I considered myself lucky to have had such an easy ride home.
Then I fell. Just as I was approaching my building, only a few yards away from the entrance. I was sitting on the sidewalk and looking at my precious package. The wrapping was torn, and my canvas was broken too. I didn’t bother to get up from the cold sidewalk, until I thoroughly examined the canvas. Yes, the wooden frame was broken, but the linen was still OK.
It’s not that bad – I thought. I’ll buy some wood and repair the frame.
And that’s when it happened. One of the hellish construction workers, my enemy, the renovations’ Satan himself, appeared out of nowhere in front of me.
“Let me help you, Miss,” he said.
Before I knew it, I was standing up on my feet. Oh, he was strong, that devil, and I quickly looked at his face.
To my surprise, I was looking at the possible incarnation of Santa Claus! A jovial, warm, round
and old face, garnished with a round reddish nose, and a pair of small cheerful eyes. Even his belly was perfectly the way it was supposed to be. A jolly, funny belly. And the white hair – all was just the same!
“Are you all right, Miss?” asked the Santa Claus.
Still in shock at his appearance, I only nodded several times.
“And what have we here?” He was now examining my miserable canvas. “Nothing I couldn’t fix for you,” he smiled widely. “No charge.”
And he was right. It took him no time to make a new frame for my canvas. After all, he had all that was needed, right at hand: the wood, the hammers, the drills, and the nails.
I also learned from him that the renovations would last just another few days! It might have been the only time in my life that I had seen construction workers finishing their job before their deadline.
The noise seemed to be much friendlier that day. To my ears, it sounded now more like Santa Claus’ busy workshop than a devil’s orchestra.
I lay on top of my covers, and let the noise melt into one rhythm with my breath. All soon drifted away, and I arrived in the Temple with a smile on my face.
Rhami-yata was already waiting for me in the Chamber of Seven Powers. I wanted to greet him, but I somehow knew that it was he who was supposed to greet me first. I felt confident, I felt like someone who knew important things.
“Welcome Daughter,” he said. “Sit down”.
We both sat down and he added, “Mmm… Your pride is rising inside you. Do you feel important?
“I’m very sorry,” I said.
“Remember to remain the modest student you are. Always.”
I didn’t blush. There was no need. There was so much understanding of my little faults in his smile. And so much dignity in his goodness.
My thoughts were escaping, chasing a thousand things – the old humble lady, who knew the secrets of life. The jovial construction worker, who enjoyed fixing what hadn’t worked. And the image of a painting, strongly present in my mind, but yet to be put on canvas. I couldn’t concentrate, and the Master noticed my state.
“We can postpone this lesson till you’re ready.”
“No. Please don’t. I am ready, Father,” I said.
“Parting is the Third Power creating the world,” he started almost instantly. “And it is represented by the number Three, as you already know.
“You were saying before that Parting is the same as Receiving.”
“Parting from the Illusion, that makes one live in misunderstanding of the world and its nature, is receiving of the Truth. Taking leave from projecting of what's good or wrong, and coming to accept the harmony of it all. Parting from doubts and resistance, and arriving at trust. Leaving behind the Illusion of pain and discomfort, and welcoming the presence of Love, equally expressed in life."
As he was talking, I felt his words inside me. All that he was saying seemed to be already written across my heart. At that moment, I did understand the great wisdom he was trying to share.
In just the past two days, I had experienced the shift from the discomfort he had been talking about to the awareness of Love and joy, residing in all life. Both the old lady and the construction worker had helped me to experience human kindness, and the harmony of the seemingly orchestrated events.
Just as the Master was saying: there was the Truth, and there was the Illusion of things. The Truth was seeing all in-Love. The Illusion was being in pain. And the Third Power creating the world, Parting, was what made all the difference.
I felt my arms spreading. Wide. I couldn’t sense any matter around me at that moment, as if I were somewhere beyond matter. I couldn’t sense my own presence, and I didn’t remember my name. Nothing existed as before, and all became one. And within that Unity, I was a bridge.
Then some words came to me, as it happened twice before, and I started to say a prayer.
“I worship you, Power of Parting,
Open my heart to Unity.
I praise you, Power of Parting,
Bring me the gift of Eternity.
Holy Power, in every dimension,
Holy Parting, in all of creation.
Love and Grace, blessed be.
I am one with Thee, Thou art one with me.
Holy Pentacle, rise in my heart,
Holy creation forever intact.
Five Sacred Spirits of the Pentacle Way,
Five Sacred Guardians that lead us today.
Five Holy Paths united in Truth,
Blessed Gate opens to let us through.
When I finished, I heard the Master say: “Light the candle for Parting, the third Power creating this world.”
“I can’t do that,” I said, “I don’t feel ready yet. Not… clean enough,” I said that to my own surprise.
“Use the healing stone. Cleanse yourself with the stone.”
I felt a large, oval object being put in my hand.
What happened next was, again, very strange. I started to perform some sort of a ritual, and it wasn’t anything I could have ever learned. Yet, my body, and my mind, seemed to know what to do. All I needed was to let things happen, that’s all.
I touched the top of my head with the healing stone, and said, “I’m cleansing my mind to receive the Truth. Trust is filling me up, doubts and confusion drift away.”
Then I touched my lips with the stone.
“I am cleansing my lips. The Truth flows in and out with my breath.”
I touched my forehead.
“Now I’m opening my vision, to know the Truth everywhere. My eyes can see what is there for me to see.”
I put the stone to my heart.
“Harmony, enter my heart. Leave me, falsehood, make room for true peace. All is well and all is good.”
I touched my throat with the stone.
“Be gone, fear. You will not reside here anymore.”
Now I placed the stone on my belly and said: “All my intestines are being cleansed. No toxic leftovers are here today. Pure energy enters the cells of my body, and flows in my veins. I am receiving life and youth.”
And then I touched my underbelly.
“I now open my loins. The energy circulates freely, and completes the cycle. I am now clean. I am pure.”
When I finished, I didn’t open my eyes yet. I still felt the oneness, as if I were the bridge in the Unity of all.
I could sense though, that the third candle in the Chamber of Seven Powers was lit. It somehow lit itself while I was speaking. Suddenly I felt a movement inside me. I knew it was the Power of Parting, rising.
I felt my arms crossing upon my chest, and the holy insignias materialize in my hands.
All of it seemed to be very natural, familiar. Another line came to me and I spoke again.
“Blessed be the Powers, blessed be the World. All is one and balanced, within and beyond.”
Then, there was a sudden rush of energy, like fireworks exploding in my mind. I quickly became aware of my presence, and the surroundings. I opened my eyes and looked at the Master, inquiringly.
“You just had your first initiation, Hermenethre,” he said.
I looked at the insignias that I was still holding in my hands.
“But, how? Why? I’m not ready,” I said.
“Sometimes an initiation is a gift,” he smiled. “And all you need to do is receive it.”
“Thank you for the gift,” I said after a pause, and observed the holy insignias de-materialize. Apparently, the ceremony was over.
I also noticed that I no longer was wearing the little green skirt embroidered with gold. Now I was dressed in a white gown with long wide sleeves.
“What happened to my pretty skirt?” I asked.
“That’s how you will be dressed in the Temple from now on,” said Rhami-yata. “It’s a symbol of your initiation.”
Tenderness was rising in my heart, and liquifying in my eyes. I reached to the Master. To my surprise, he refused to take my hands.
“Now, that you’ve become a Priestess, you cannot extend your hands to me.”
“Why? What are you talking about?”
“That gesture is symbolic among the Priests,” he explained. “There is a hierarchy among us. The younger Priests cannot extend their hands to the Higher Priests.”
“What is this all about? Why is it so important to follow the rules? “
“It is important to you,” said Rhami-yata, “because you are the one who needs the rules and perceives the world through all sorts of symbols. And so, the knowledge has to be given to you in a way that allows you to receive it. Truth has no form, or shape. But you dress it in symbols that have meaning for you.”
I nodded. I understood.
“What then, in my world of symbols, is the meaning of extending one’s hand to the Higher Priest in our Temple?” I asked, and realized that I said “our” Temple. It felt good. It felt good to belong here.
“It symbolizes asking for guidance, teaching. Those who haven’t been initiated yet, may ask for such guidance at any time. But the initiated ones, the younger Priests, cannot do that anymore. It is because the Higher Priests know better when and how further teaching can take place.”
I was sure he was right. After all, I had been given the initiation when I wasn’t expecting it. The Priests had decided that I was ready.
I noticed that there was now a new sensation in my body, like an electrical current. A rushing energy was filling up my veins.
After I “attended to my physical body”, as Rhami-yata called my waking up from trance, the new sensation was still there. I could feel it strongly in my feet and palms. There was also softness in my spine, and something like liquid warmth in my heart.
Hours passed, till I had written down all that had happened. The construction workers were already gone for the day, and the building was quiet.
The electrical current in my body did not leave me at all.
Perhaps it’ll become natural over time? - I thought. Like a heartbeat, or pulse. Maybe I’ll learn not to notice it anymore?
Yes, indeed, over the years I even started to like the feeling.