Moses was a Liar:3 EXODUS 5: The Power of Women

Posted: October 28, 2011 in SciFi

The winter that hit Red Valley was vicious. The villagers interpreted it that they were no longer welcome or at the very least needed to find a more equitable climate. The cold swept in from the north with great blizzards covering the ground in snowdrifts such as had never been experienced even by the Red Priestess whose childhood memory could recall cold winters in the English countryside. This was different. The weather was trying its utmost to wipe the last vestiges of the scourge of the planet i.e. man, from the face of the earth.

No-one ventured outside while the storms at times raged for two weeks without let up. Those who had heeded the predictions of the Red Priestess and prepared themselves properly had sufficient firewood and had built shelter for their domesticated goats and chickens. They survived. Those who had delayed and procrastinated, perished. The Valley did not tolerate fools.

All three villages were affected by the bitter winter but it was mostly felt in the City of the Jesuits. The tornado had left many homes damaged. Families were forced to take in neighbours in order to survive and with the barren cold earth unable to produce any crops, hunger spread throughout the valley.

In the cave above the valley, Rachel had closed the entrance with a wall of stones which she plastered with mud from the nearby spring. A small opening was left which she closed with the cured and soft skin of an eland slaughtered many decades ago by Karl Hofmeyer.

Inside the cave it was warm and dry. Two fires were burning merrily. The smoke from the fires escaped straight upward through an invisible hole in the roof of the cave. From the unknown dark depths of the cave a fresh breeze ventilated the whole cave.

Unbeknown to the girls in the cave, the deep recesses of the cave served as a virtual pantry. Cold air which flowed through the cave from openings high above them in the roof of the cave served as a very effective cooling agent.  Meat and grain stores were kept in relative cold and dry conditions and while rats were a constant problem these were often captured and eaten as a delicacy by the inhabitants of the cave.

Rachel was sitting with her back to the wall of the cave. In front of her the young girls were sitting in a semi-circle. In their small hands, each child cupped a small cup of char, their favourite herbal tea. They were debating something in which they all had an avid interest: the role of a woman in the New World.

“In our family, my mother had a lot of influence over what we did but it was always my father who took the final decision. Also my brothers were always preferred when gifts were handed out,” one of the girls was saying. The speaker was called Eliza. She came from Caesarea.

“In our family we were never allowed to speak in front of the men,” said another girl, called Esther. She was from the City of the Jesuits.  “Even my younger brother had more right to speak than I or my mother did. We were not badly treated but it was made very clear that the woman of the house was there to see to the needs of her man and the children.”

“Children, I want you now to listen closely,” Rachel said. “In the world of the Ancients, women were discriminated against for thousands of years. It was only after they fought bitter battles against a male dominated society, that it was admitted that women also had needs and that they actually had brains. We must never again allow this situation to develop. You are going to be confronted with the same, if not worse, discrimination and bias. Men will send you on your way with words like “this is man’s work, be off with you” or “what does a woman know?” Remember, a woman is able to do exactly what a man can and besides, she can bear children!”

They all laughed at the mere thought that men could bear children. Perish the thought!

“Why are men like that?” a child called Kerry asked. She came from New London and was the oldest of the girls

“The history of it starts with child bearing. A woman’s body was considered to be a mysterious thing by men, but a thing to be used for their pleasure. Most religions of the world portrayed the woman as being a sinner and in fact the original sinner; as being devious and wicked and even as being dirty because she menstruated, which as you already know is a perfectly natural process. Some societies actually used to isolate their women during that time of the month in fear that men may be contaminated! The Jesuit Bible actually says ‘Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one.’[1] This silly statement implied that even a newborn child is tainted, dirty and sinful and that woman is unclean.”

“Maybe the men were angry and hurt and believed wrongly that at certain times of the month we could not satisfy them or that something they did not understand was happening to our bodies. At the same time we as women must know that a man can never feel what we feel as women and a woman can never feel what a man feels. It therefore follows that we as women should never suppose that we can think for men as much as men should never be permitted to think for us as women.”

“I know. I know,” Esther loudly interrupted the Red Priestess who merely laughed because she encouraged a questioning mind and open debate: “One day, I c’n remember it clearly, my father read from the Bible. It said something like woman was created to be man’s servant forever. He also said the woman must submit to man.”

“That’s correct,” Rachel continued, “it goes to show that throughout history, the woman has at best been ignored; not appreciated for her mind and at worst she’s been exploited and even abused with impunity by men. There was a time when the Catholic Church of the Ancients which was the biggest Christian church in the world of the Ancients, argued that women did not have souls. They even debated whether they were human.”

“What is a soul and why did they believe that women did not have a soul?” Kerry asked again.

“A soul is something many religions say the human being possesses. It is a like a spirit which leaves the body when we die, they say. This soul is then supposed to go to heaven where a god or an angel will welcome it if you were good or banish it if you were bad as a person in the world. According to these religions, the human soul lives forever but it has never been proved that we do have souls. The implication of this is also that the physical body is unclean and impermanent while the soul is pure and everlasting. I personally think we are energy forms as any animal or plant is an energy form. When we die as we all must, this energy is passed on into the universe to become part of another energy form. In my opinion, a soul is merely a way the religions try to convince people that they must live a good life because if they don’t, their souls will perish or be banned forever.  It doesn’t make any sense except to mystics. To me seems like stories to tell children. It is also a way to manipulate people’s behaviours.”

“Is a soul and a spirit the same?” Dianne from Caesarea asked.

“No, many religions state that the soul is the non-physical side of a human being’s existence which cannot die, while a spirit is many different things to different people. Spirit is a term often used to describe the existence of entities which populate the so-called spirit world such as ghosts, goblins and poltergeists. In Caesarea, Zyndileka, which is the spirit of my dear friend Zyndile, is believed to be such a spirit and because Caesareans believe that she looks after them, she’s considered to be a ‘good’ spirit. The notion that man possesses a soul is the manner in which those of religion have tried to explain that man is everlasting.”

“The way I would like to explain the life of a person is to use the example of a river. It is born tiny and pure, perfect in every way. It then streams forth in delight; bubbling, laughing and it slowly grows, gathering experience along the way, sometimes good, oft times bad; being added to by tributaries almost like brothers or sisters. It reaches great lakes and quiet pools, falls down dizzy heights and grows stronger and deeper; it cascades over rocks and wrecks; struggles in dry seasons and roars in anger during floods, until one day it reaches the seas which like death, is a marriage with all the waters of the world; then it evaporates into the heavens only to be reborn again as rain, somewhere as a new river. Every river is unique, different and special like a human life; some strong, flowing with great force; others small and tiny, yet wonderful in their own way. Some give life, some take lives and finally when a river dries up, life around it also dies.”

“I also believe it’s important to understand that man, woman and child are more than the sum-total of their physical makeup. People have the capacity to be creative, to add value. They do this in music, art and other creative activities when they create value. When they die, this creative capacity is lost forever. Your dead body is unable to tell the world what you were able to do when you were alive; it is merely a shell that decays. But what people have left behind is like the sediment of a river; this is their legacy and becomes the inheritance of their descendents; if this is foul and poisonous, the world will die as will the memory of such person in the minds of those left behind. However if the heritage is fertile, useful and valuable, it will bear fruit and feed the people; the person’s life would have added value to the world. Hopefully your descendents will value what they’ve inherited and build upon that to increase its value even more.”

“People of great ‘spirit’ are those who are able to break the mould in which they were cast; who are able to channel their energies, both physical and mental to achieve great things; who often possess wonderful qualities such as compassion and love for fellow-beings and in the final instance are able to rise above expectations of themselves and others. We should learn from them and thus carry their lessons into the future, much as you are required to do when you leave this valley.”

“So why did the church think we women don’t have souls?” the same girl asked again.

“The churches of the Ancients were designed by men; rulers were mostly men. The Catholic Church refused right to the end to allow women to become priests, thinking that men were the only ones who could understand their god. Through sheer arrogance, the implied gender of their god was male. Many other churches however allowed women priests and also allowed their priests to marry and bear children which is as it should be. Historically, women were relegated to being the child-bearing property of men. Even daughters were handed over during marriage to their new husbands as their property. It was only in the later years when I was already a child that women were given equal status to men. Even then women had to fight every inch of the way to achieve greatness. Yet some religions such as Islam still discriminated against women and even sentenced them to harsh punishment including death when they sinned according to their harsh and unreasonable laws, such as falling in love with someone else when they were already married, having extra-marital sex or even wearing trousers. In the world I came from a great argument developed concerning the clothes women may or may not wear if they were of the Muslim faith. Those who had settled into cultures where women were allowed to think for themselves and wear what they wished to wear, were sometimes forced, as were their sisters in Islamic countries, by the mystics of the Muslim faith, to wear clothes which covered the whole body so that a man’s eyes would not tempt him to think impure thoughts. Men of course could wear what they wanted to. It follows that when women spoke out against this discrimination they were often very severely punished. You’ll notice that again it is the woman who is the source of evil, not the man whose thoughts could be impure. This created an enormous gap between people often leading to violence, bombings, murder and importantly to the subjugation of women. It is a symptom of the male’s arrogance that women are considered to be impure and the cause of man’s sins.”

“But men are much stronger than women,” one of the more diminutive girls from Caesarea, called Haly said. Rachel knew that Haly was her long departed sister’s grandchild but the girl was not aware of this.

“Physically yes but mentally no,” Rachel countered. “Physical strength has its uses my dear, but it’s mental strength at the end of the day which is more powerful. That’s why men who feel that a woman’s mental strength is stronger than theirs, often resort to violent behaviour and even rape or murder. Men who feel inferior to the intellect of a woman usually are inferior. This could lead to improper behaviour such as drunkenness, violence and verbal abuse.”

“So how do we fight for our rights when men and even boys are stronger than us?” Haly asked again.

“Never try to match physical strength or brute force with force. You merely lower yourself to the level of the brute. You have a mind which will always be superior to those who resort to force. When faced with brute force, either flee or submit. You cannot argue with a person who holds a knife to your throat. That sounds cowardly doesn’t it? Remember that survival against these odds is more important than a hollow physical victory.”

“Yes but that would mean that we are the slaves of the brutes; they will just continue to dominate us with force,” Kerry chipped in.

“Only if you allow it to happen. Life is all about choices; if you want to be a slave so you shall be; if you choose to be superior without the use of brutish force you must apply your minds. For example do not allow the attack to take place by becoming a victim in your mind. Brutes and bullies are usually cowards who hide themselves in numbers. Avoid gangs of men; stay away from drunkenness when their minds are affected. Look for signs of aggression; even in your homes you may have noticed your mothers playing an argument down when your father is aggressive. You cannot win a physical confrontation but you can win by being clever and using your own strengths. Never let your guard down; always look for the signs when men become arrogant and abusive and never allow men or anybody to drug or mislead you with false promises or even with beer and wine. Remember you have your own strengths.”

“Like our physical attraction?” Kerry asked again. She realised that her developing body would create interest among the men. The other girls giggled.

“No! But yes many women have done exactly that throughout the ages, but it invariably made them victims as well. No, because you have more than physical beauty. When the time is ripe this physical beauty will attract the right mate to have children with; but if you resort only to beauty you are no better than the male who uses force to achieve his ends. But please remember that not all males are abusive. There are many wonderful and kind men out there. Befriend them and give them the respect they deserve but don’t allow even them to dominate you or to deny you your right to think and to be an independent person in your own right.”

“You must believe in yourself and have the confidence that your decisions and minds will generate respect from others. One of the Ancient world’s most respected religious leaders, the Dalai Lama often said that the world can do without religion but not without love, tenderness and compassion.”

Rachel looked at the girls who over the last five months had matured beyond all expectations. They had come to love these lessons and they absolutely revered her as much as she loved them as a mother, mentor and even as a granny. Since the revelations on KRAT five months ago, they had been hard at work learning all about the challenges which lay in wait for them on their long exodus from Red Valley. Their daily sessions with the Red Priestess were the highlight of their day.

 

The Inner Circle of the Jesuits was experiencing a major crisis. The Vicar General had been deposed and replaced by Father Timothy. The deposed Vicar General did not accept his lot with dignity and accused all of being bewitched by the Red Priestess. He isolated himself in his small room and swore that anyone who followed the exodus from the valley would be cursed. This led to Father Timothy to call a General Convocation.

After the traditional opening rituals and prayer for the important meeting, Father Timothy introduced the discussion: “Brothers, we have taken the unusual step to call another meeting of the Convocation so soon after the last one during which Father Joshua was asked to step down. We are pained that this is required but we believe that it is our sworn duty to revert to the Convocation in times of crisis and we believe that we now have a crisis.”

“We are all aware that Father Joshua has isolated himself and now he refuses to eat. He only drinks the water we are able to pass through the door of his room which he steadfastly keeps shut. He allows not one of his brethren inside and curses any who venture close to him. I am a particular object of his invective and dare not venture close to his room. He seems to sense my presence as if I am evil.”

“While his hunger regime is clearly his own choice and one through which he seems to seek communion with Jesus Christ our Lord, we believe that Br Joshua has become filled with not only hatred but more seriously that his soul has been possessed by Satan most foul. We have prayed for him even outside his door so that he could hear us invoking the power of God to drive Satan out of his spirit, but to no avail. He merely increases his threats and curses. Satan surely has him in his grip.”

The Convocation murmured in alarm.

One of the elders stood up: “Br Timothy, you have called us here this evening to give consideration to a most serious affair. It is clear to us that Br Joshua has been singled out by Satan.  We do not understand that. We know that none of us are spared Satan’s jealous eyes nor his hatred for all that is good. What are we to do?” He turned around facing the rest of the gathering: “I say to you that we do not have the weapons to confront Satan. With a single look at us he is able to destroy us and all our generations. If it was so easy for Satan to invade Br Joshua’s soul how much easier would it not be for us to fall victim to his evil as well.”

The Convocation erupted into a chaotic shouting debate with all of them terrified by the grim prospect of being confronted by Satan.

The newly-elected Vicar General held up his hands and shouted in great anger: “I have not come here, brethren to be told that we have no weapons to fight Satan! Have we not kept Satan from our doors all these stones, nay centuries? Shame on all of you for being so weak-willed! Shame on you for deserting your very faith in the Lord Jesus our Saviour who sacrificed Himself for our sins and forgave us our weaknesses. How shameful of you to forget the pain He suffered at the hands of His persecutors; yet He arose from the dead and walked among us. How dare you fear Satan more than the wrath of our Father, Jehovah who struck down all the enemies of Israel? How can it be that you who say you are faithful to Him now run away from God’s countenance?”

“We are faced with a more challenging exodus than the challenges faced by Moses, Aaron and Joshua, yet you falter; you doubt that Jesus Christ Our Lord is on our side. Moses baulked not at the challenge; they hesitated not for a moment but followed God’s guidance from Egypt, the oppressor. We are the chosen ones; we are the new Israelites and yet we entertain doubts concerning God’s counsel on the threat of God’s wrath and eternal damnation.”

The Convocation quietened down as the new Vicar General harangued them. His leadership was as yet untested, but they now listened in shame as he lashed out at them. It was as he had said: the Lord is with them; they must be firm in their resolve.

One of the younger members of the Convocation named Benjamin, stood up to be heard.

“Brethren, the Vicar General is correct and we must take note of his admonishments. But Vicar General,” he added turning to the Vicar General, “you must remember that we placed you in the position of Vicar General. We expect appropriate leadership from you, not a tongue-lashing. We are not children. We are as frightened as you no doubt are at the prospect of confronting Satan. This has never been necessary and will need our collective energies and powers to invoke the support of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Fear is not the energy required from us but conviction and true faith.”

The Convocation hesitated before loudly applauding his words.

“Thank you, Br Benjamin. Spoken like a true Christian. I stand corrected before you and am chastised,” the Vicar General responded with the appropriate look of one who has been chastised. He had taken careful note of Benjamin’s response. Here was a prospective leader, but also a threat. He was one that will require watching.

“Brethren,” he said more guardedly, “we are here to discuss the way forward concerning Father Joshua. We must decide the most appropriate way for us to meet this challenge. It is something we have no experience in yet; we must believe that the Lord Almighty will guide us. I ask for your guidance.”

Br Benjamin stood up again. It was unlike him to be so vocal and the rest of the Convocation wondered quietly what had brought about the change.

“Father Timothy, since the prophesies ill luck has been our fate on KRAT five months ago. It was also during this time that Father Joshua was shown up to be the illegitimate son of St John while the very St John has a history which we chose to ignore, nay even praise as the work of God. I saw not the work of God but that of a demented man whose soul was tortured. This is our legacy, for this we must collectively confess before the Holy Father. I believe that what we are experiencing now and especially what Father Joshua is experiencing, is the will of God. I believe we have been singled out for God’s punishment. The tornado only struck our village and killed our people. The pagans and Satanists of New London and Caesarea were spared this disaster. There is a message for us in this and we will be fools not to heed this. The only manner in which I am able to understand this is that Father Joshua brought this curse upon us. Is it not written that the sins of the father shall be visited upon his children? Is it also not written that ye be sure your sins will find you out?”

“I believe that the only way forward is for us to expel Father Joshua from our midst and banish him to the wilderness. Then we will know peace again. It is not in our power to combat or wrestle with Satan.”

Benjamin sat down amidst a deafening silence.

They were all shocked at his bold proposal and the confidence with which he had delivered it. Banishing their former Vicar General would be a most radical and deadly sentence, but then the Holy Bible does speak of casting out the sacrificial goat to cleanse a people of its collective sins.

He would be caste out into a wilderness where his death was certain; where he would be a total stranger and where even the meekest of animals is better equipped to survive. Father Joshua was not a young man and mercy should be shown, many of the Convocation thought to themselves.

A man of roughly the same age as Father Joshua got up slowly and with a bowed head, spoke so softly that those furthest from him, shouted at him to speak up.

“I have known Joshua since I was a child. We played together in the village streets. His mother, Sister Suzette once gave me a hiding for shouting too loudly on a Sunday afternoon. Joshua is not a perfect man just as we are not perfect. It is said that his father sinned in the very eyes of God. It is also said that the sins of the father shall indeed be visited upon the child.”

“This is the law! Neither you nor I wrote this law; nor is it open to interpretation or to mercy. It is our sacred duty to obey.”

“In the eyes of the Holy Trinity it was Br Joshua who struck at the heart of our faith, more so that he was a man of God and was expected to act as our leader in spiritual and material ways. It is therefore just that Joshua be banished as much as you would have banished me for a lesser offence in the eyes of Jehovah.”

Another younger man Paul jumped up to protest: “Brothers, listen to yourselves! Is it not true that Jesus Christ died for our collective sins? Is it impossible for us to forgive Fr Joshua for indiscretions which took place even before he was born? Yes the Bible instructs us that the sins of the father shall be visited upon the son, but the sacrifice of Jesus Christ changed all that. I do not support the proposal that he be banished. I believe that is a death sentence and we do not have that right. I propose that Fr Joshua be allowed to find his own peace; that he be informed that he is welcome to seek God’s counsel and find love for his fellow man.  Those of us who have decided to leave this accursed valley shall do so and leave the final decision to Fr Joshua to join us or to remain behind. That will absolve us from any guilt and a possible miscarriage of justice.”

The debate that ensued was heated and carried on until the early hours of the next morning. There was much uncertainty among the Jesuits. Many of them were loyal to Joshua and despite his history they believed that the proposal to banish him was excessively harsh for a man who had given his life to Jesus Christ, the Lord. The final decision supported the proposal by Paul. This was communicated to Fr Joshua the following day.

 

The winter was abating and spring was in the air, despite the cold which still cut through the valley. The exodus was a common focus in all the villages, but major differences were evident in the manner in which villagers proposed that the exodus be undertaken. The New Londoners were not interested in following some common “Moses”. They were in favour of and had already established, scouting groups which would scout the territory to be traversed and report back to their tribe[2] as all the villagers had now started calling themselves.

The New Londoners, being a smaller group than the other tribes, and who felt that they could move much quicker, suggested that they form the vanguard of the exodus and set up camp in advance of the two following tribes. This was resisted by the latter tribes, but after much debate with Karl serving as the chairman, it was resolved that the New Londoners be allowed to be the vanguard as an experiment. Karl would accompany them to serve as their navigator.

None of the tribes had any idea where they would be going but a system of signs and indicators was agreed on so that even stragglers could follow the leaders.

Of the tribes, the Jesuits were the most concerned, as well as concerning to Karl. They believed that only Jehovah could lead them and they steadfastly refused to follow the New Londoners or even Karl. At the same time Karl realised that they were the most ill-equipped for the hazardous journey set toward an unknown destination. They insisted on building what they called the Ark of the Red Earth and which contained their original illustrated Bibles and especially their New Testament which was their holiest document.

The Caesareans, in contrast were by far the best equipped for the journey. They had over the years developed substantial survival skills such as finding water in the dry veldt, trekking across, and overnighting in dangerous areas infested with snakes, scorpions and large baboon spiders. In addition they had weapons and tools that they could easily carry with them. Their women folk were hardy and educated in herbal foods, natural cures and the preparation of food in the veldt. Many of them had accompanied their men on their hunting sorties.

In addition Karl, as their legendary hunter/leader, was popular and everybody had accepted his advice and guidance for the preparations. An example of this was the preparation of large quantities of dried and salted venison which could keep indefinitely should they run short of fresh meat. Team spirit and cohesion among the Caesareans was excellent although some of them were quite arrogant and looked down upon the Jesuits and the ‘Boffs’ as they called the New Londoners, a sarcastic comment on their so-called ‘intellectual’ bias.

The Red Priestess kept an eye on all the preparations although she did not involve herself except when Karl asked for her advice. The winter’s cold was matched by the cold in her bones. She could feel that the end was near. Her only wish was to see the exodus commence; her task fulfilled. She had no illusions however that bidding farewell to her many friends and her son would be the hardest thing she had ever had to do. Bidding farewell to Karl and the young girls was something she refused to contemplate but realised she that she had no choice.

In the meantime she counselled and taught the girls all she could. She had also shown them a number of her video recordings as well as still photographs. Their memories were filled with information concerning the Beginning which included pictures of the Airbus wreck Rachel had taken when she had had an opportunity to do so. She had even slipped in some shots of the burial process of the passengers eighty years ago who had been flung off the cliffs of KRAT.

The girls had seen the very first Base Camp; the birth of Mt Brutus and the red seas and clouds above them; they had seen the trial of Bennie Smith, Jim Armstrong and his gang before they were banished into the seas; they had seen the first priest of the Jesuits, Father Ridgeway and his relationship with Suzette; they saw St Alistair as a precocious young boy who grew up to become a fellow priest with Father Ridgeway; they also watched him go into convulsive spells with foam from his mouth and jerking around in the dust and how Father Ridgeway poured holy water over him to immediately stop the seizures; above all they had seen the birth of Beowulf whom they had all heard of in fireside legends; they had watched him grow up into a strong young man who later so efficiently dispatched the murdering priest.

Rachel did not show them the torture and murder of Christine again; they had seen enough but she showed them how the three villages had been built; she also showed them pictures of her world at London’s Heathrow Airport, the amazing jet liners, cars and restaurants. The children liked these the most and always asked her to repeat them. They were miracles and legends they became.

The girls had become repositories of history and legend that would be created anew. Rachel also instructed three of the girls in the use of the camera. They would take it with them on their travels and use it when they reached the Promised Land to inform and teach some of the ways of the ancient world.

 

Karl often disappeared from his home in Caesarea. He told no-one where he was going and when he re-appeared told no-one where he had been. These disappearances led to much speculation but as he had now become the leader of the exodus, Benedict and the leaders of the other tribes did not feel threatened by his presence or by his absences. As tribal leaders they all sensed that Karl had decided to take on the challenge to lead them out of the valley into the unknown lands; he had no ambitions to become a tribal leader. For his expertise in survival and navigation he was highly respected and this gave him the edge in the planning processes each tribe was engaged in.

The absences from his village had a simple explanation. He spent these precious moments with Rachel. He was being coached and informed as much as the young girls were. When he was unsure of himself, Rachel usually had an answer or a solution. He also knew that Rachel’s strength was waning and they had reached an agreement to extract as much from her as was possible.

When she died, a massive repository of knowledge and history would be lost forever.

During one of these meetings in the cave, with the girls soundly asleep, Karl asked Rachel how she thought the Jesuits would react to his leadership. He had brought her and the girls the fresh carcass as he often did, of a Thompson’s Gazelle which he had snared close to the cave. It would serve as rations for them through the rest of the winter as they dried the meat in the traditional manner while sweetmeats will be used immediately.

“I believe that they don’t really accept the fact that I’m to lead them as I am a pagan in their eyes,” he was saying.

“Yes, and a fornicator, remember?” she replied with a naughty glint in her eyes.

“That too,” he grinned. “Man cannot live by bread alone you know.”

“True,” she replied impishly, “and neither can woman but more seriously though, I think you’re right. They may rely on your skills in navigation and survival, but on the spiritual level you’ll have problems with them.”

“I know, but I’m not interested in their mumbo-jumbo. I’ve grown up in Caesarea and we have our own rites and traditions.”

“To successfully lead the three tribes you’re going to have to allow them sufficient space to practice their own traditions, Karl. It would be absolutely fatal, if you were to try to impose any single religion or belief system on any of the three tribes. In any event, I trust that you do not consider this to be your task. Your most challenging task’ll be to create a unified group from very different types of people who will jealously protect what they believe is right and good. To succeed I think you must learn about the different approaches of each tribe to their belief systems. Each one has strengths and weaknesses. The key will be to work on each tribe’s strength.”

“What do you think the strengths of the New Londoners are, Rachel?” he asked.

“Their open mindedness and intellectual freedom. They are able to assess any situation and rightly or wrongly come to conclusions which will inform and guide their actions. They are not influenced by mysticism and very significantly know that they and only they are responsible for the consequences of their actions.”

“How does that help me?” Karl asked again.

“When you are confronted with a situation you have never expected or have no experience of, such as being totally lost in a new and strange environment where even your navigation skills are unable to help you, the New Londoners will be able to help you to establish reference points, retrace your steps and find possible ways out of your dilemma. I know for example that they are currently hard at work trying to figure out ways of using the stars to navigate with. I told them that this was an ancient skill and highly prized by explorers in ancient times. The Caesareans as well as the Jesuits would tend to ask for guidance from their spirits and gods.”

“The big difference between the New Londoners and the rest is that the New Londoners use what used to be called an internal control approach; in other words a consciousness that they are able and therefore obliged to find solutions and face the consequences thereof, while the other two tribes subscribe to an external control approach which means that external forces such as deities, even as mystical as the moon and the stars, influence their lives and that they are mere victims of circumstance; some called this a fatalistic approach or euphemistically ‘what will be will be’. A typical response you’d get from them is that you have lost your way because you have sinned and have thus been deserted by the gods or worse still, that their god has led you into a deviation to show you that he or she has the power to do so. It’s their manner to create uncertainty hoping that this will expose your own inferiority in the face of the gods; or they may blame you for leading them into trouble and that you as a pagan whose soul is lost, are trying to lose them as well. When things get bad, for example when children get ill or die from an infection, they would blame spirits or at the very least say it was the will of their particular deity.”

“…and what then is the strength of the Jesuits?” Karl asked quite perplexed and somewhat intimidated by the task that lay in store for him. There were so many angles he had never thought about. He wished he could take the Red Priestess with him but knew that this would not happen.

“The Jesuits are single minded in their religion and have utmost faith that Jehovah, through Jesus Christ will guide them. Their original religious order was a lot more fanatical and set out to destroy all opposition to their beliefs. In fact they were set up as the soldiers of Christ. They do not tolerate dissension and are very strict about adherence to the requirements of their so-called Trinity. The real strength in this is that if you could convince them that your leadership will enhance and not threaten their faith, they will support you regardless of your so-called pagan ways.”

“They strongly believe that Jehovah works in mysterious ways which may not be questioned. If it’s Jehovah’s will to use a pagan to lead them, then so be it. That is what Moses also did although he was not a pagan in terms of the belief system of the Israelites. He continually told the Israelites that God or Yahweh had spoken to him. They could not question him because he was Yahweh’s messenger. If Yahweh said do this or do that, the tribes of Israel had no choice but to comply or were faced with terrible consequences.”

“Such as?”

“When they were overrun by invading forces such as the powerful Assyrian empire, the prophets would put this down to the Israelites’ lack of faith in Yahweh. Moses would also tell them that Yahweh had instructed him to tell the tribes to exterminate their enemies such as the Canaanites who occupied Canaan. Moses’ successor, Joshua used the same approach. Moses used his so-called relationship, as did many prophets and soothsayers after him, with his god to influence and manipulate the tribes of Israel. The Bible of the Jesuits recorded this as if it was fact.  Moses was a very astute mystic and politician. He knew how to manipulate his tribe.”

“Rachel, are you suggesting I follow Moses’ example and actually mislead the tribes of Red Valley in order that they unite and follow me?” Karl asked in amazement. He had heard this before from her, but it continued to puzzle him that she used Moses as the example for him to follow. Moses seemed to be a poor example to follow.

“I’m not a supporter of lies, deception or mysticism, Karl. Good leaders are however normally able to separate myth from reality and are honest with their followers. The trick for you will be to convince your tribes that you are their leader and by following you they’re improving everybody’s chances of survival. Remember that your main strength lies in your navigation skills and understanding of the challenges of a wild and forbidding world. Especially the Jesuits are very weak in exactly this field and will need your skills sorely. Moses used the promise of Canaan as the so-called Promised Land, which it never really was. It was actually more likely that the Israelites had been in the region for thousands of years and were forced to unite to survive. So the historical accounts of Moses and Joshua in the Jesuit Bible are not accurate at all and are based on myth and legend. However, to give credence to the story, the promise of something good in Canaan was the uniting factor.”

“My advice to you is that you promise the three tribes a similar outcome of the exodus; a promised land, a new life and the prospect that they will all benefit by following your leadership. Of course your promises must be honest and you as leader above all must fulfill your promises. If you don’t, you will be as much a mystic as the leaders of the Ancient World were. You must also never forget that a leader is only as strong as his followers; lose their loyalty and you will cease to be a leader. Value them and give them respect and they will follow you to the ends of the earth; enslave them, mislead them, abuse them and they will destroy you.”

“And if they refuse to follow me, regardless of what I do for them?”

“What did Moses do?”

“He threatened them. OK I get it. You are saying that I should allow the tribes to follow me to this so-called Promised Land which will benefit all; those that go their own way will have to suffer the consequences and may perish in the process or something like that. Is that what you’re saying?”

Rachel smiled at Karl. He was not the most astute politician and neither was he a mystic. But he was learning and time would tell if his fabrications and possible false promises would destroy or unite the settlers of New Earth.

“Yes, Karl. That is roughly what I’m suggesting. However, I must warn you to constantly be on the look-out that the Jesuits do not use you to control the exodus and take over the other two tribes or on the other hand that the Caesareans to whom you will tend to show a preference because they are your tribe and understand the challenges, try to use this for their own purposes. You must maintain your independence and seek counsel equally from all the elders from each tribe. If you show any preference you will make implacable enemies which could lead to your downfall. It is going to be very difficult for you. To be the leader is a lonely task and nobody will thank you for it. You will have detractors and enemies who will seek to destroy you, even if you should become a popular and wise leader.”

“Why do you use the Bible of the Ancients to compare our exodus while at the same time you are very critical of the inaccuracies and deceptions contained in it?” Karl asked.

“I really enjoy seeing your mind opening up to the more complex matters. You have grown immensely from Karl, the Great Hunter,” she replied looking at the man sitting in the cave with her. He had become more of a son to her than her own son whose role, ironically was that of a mystic, in the pending exodus had been relegated somewhat to that of oracle and seer of the unknown.

“Karl, the Bible of the Ancients played a major role in our society and directed the thoughts and actions of millions of people. There are those who believed that the Bible was the only moral code and called on the faithful to adhere to it, just as other religions believed their scriptures were their moral codes. For the uncritical and unthinking, it provided a basis of conduct and in many cases it helped to give people a standard against which they could measure their behaviour. In reality the Bible is a very poor code of morality where their god is depicted as a jealous god who tolerates no other god, who supported ethnic cleansing, who considered people like Lot as being just and righteous yet who was guilty of incest and who condoned rape and the subjugation of women. However, these people didn’t question the word as it was written but believed in it blindly and faithfully. That made them the subjects of the priests and hence they were easy to manipulate and lead. The same principle applied in the world of politics where leaders twisted reality and told downright lies to justify their actions.”

“The parable of Noah which I told you about a few months ago is very similar to our situation here now. The metal bird accident could be likened to the story of Noah landing on the mythical Mt Ararat from where he and his family repopulated the world. Scientific studies have shown this to be a myth but that is not the message we need to take forth into the world. KRAT is our Mt Ararat, the airplane our Ark and we the seeds of the New World, a world you will have the privilege to see.”

“What has happened to our Ancient world happened before; the legend of Noah was the manner in which the Israelites and indeed Moses as the carrier of the message thought it wise to relate the floods they had experienced in very ancient times; and it will happen again, maybe in many thousands of years in the future. The difference is that they created fables and legends and described the floods as the wrath of Jehovah for the sins of the people of the world. It was merely the way the planet we call earth, functions in this beautiful universe which you have now come to see and respect. They did this to encourage their subjects to be loyal lest they be ‘punished’ again. This approach was repeated in hundreds of religions in the Ancient World.”

“Earth is not a stable place and will once again sometime in the future experience a disaster like the one we have experienced here. Your task and that of the girls is to take that message into the future and to ensure that it is written for generations to come. That message should reflect the truth and not be embellished with myth and legend to suit the agendas of the mystics. We have a massive advantage over Moses; we have the written word and need not rely on centuries of oral transmission and manipulation of facts.”

“That is a very big responsibility you are placing on me,” he answered dubiously.

“Yes, because I believe you to be free of much of the clutter and rubbish which mysticism has created. Even as a Caesarean you have been able to cut through nonsense. I think this is largely because you had to survive in the veldt and did not rely on spirits to guide you.”

“Well at times I did exactly that,” he disagreed with her. “One time I was injured when I fell from a ledge on a mountain and broke my arm. I had enormous pain and could not hunt. I had snared a gazelle like the one I brought you earlier, which I skinned with my good arm and then I wrapped the wet skin around my injured arm. As the skin dried I cried out to the spirits of the gazelle to repair my arm and to look after me. The pain I suffered was great. I lay in a small cave for more than twenty days before my arm, still wrapped in the skin was strong enough to use again. I believe that Zyndileka looked after me and even you agree that she was a good doctor.”

Rachel smiled at his naivety but realised that he was serious.

“Karl, Zyndi was a good doctor and if her spirit could look after you she certainly would have done that. Your belief in her strength is what helped you pull through that difficult time because it gave you an inner strength and confidence. What also helped you was the fact that you treated your injury in the best possible manner by making a support for the broken bone in your arm to give it time to mend. That was not magic or mysterious but plain common sense. The difference is that you knew what to do and did not merely rely on the spirits to help you.”

“If you had called on Zyndileka and waited for divine intervention, your arm may have healed but it would have been twisted in a way to offend the eye. The mystic would then respond by saying that is the will of the spirits or of their particular god. Wisdom will come to you when you are able to distinguish mysticism from reality. In my world there were religions which actually forbade the use of certain medical procedures which were tried and tested, with the instruction to their followers that if God wills it the person would live. Many died unnecessarily in this way. That is clearly where mysticism becomes dangerous and must be fought at all costs.”

As she was speaking she noticed that Karl was getting restless. It was time for him to return to Caesarea. There was much still be done. He needed to speak with the Jesuits as well as with the New Londoners. The timing of the exodus was a key issue and to synchronise the gathering of all the people to move out of the valley was important.

Standing up slowly from her stool, Rachel embraced Karl whose broad shoulders made her thin skeletal body look like a walking cadaver. Stepping away from his mentor, Karl held her at arms length from him: “Woman, I am going to need your ministry on my travels. I will miss you dearly. You must take care. I leave now but will be back to see if you are still with us. Go well.”

“You too Karl. You are like a son to me and I too will miss you and our talks; indeed I will watch over you if I am to believe anything the sages over the ages said about our everlasting souls and spirits. Farewell friend.”

Karl stepped quickly and silently out into the cold wind before the Red Priestess could see the tears coursing down his cheeks.


[1] The Bible: Job 14 verse 4

[2] The Red Priestess had subtly put the idea into all the leaders’ heads that they were different tribes.

 

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