One of the things that came to me this past week was the oddest thought about philosophy. By that I mean: what does that mean to be in the Realm? To be of the Realm? Then I also remembered that, this week, I am giving a speech to a classroom of students. That brought me to wonder about the Realm, about what teaching is like there …
The Path from Truth to Love
When the summer begins to turn, the winds start to chill (just a touch), and the thoughts of those who have just, ever so recently, found their way to the Realm, turn toward just what they have gotten into, there’s one special time that comes for each succubi only once.
Some might think of it as orientation, some others their first real day of being truly part of the Realm.
For Tera, it is a moment that means so very much to her. It’s that moment when the truth is spoken.
Some might expect Tera to be lecturing, to fill up a hall with a hundred or so new succubi and incubi. She might be standing at the lectern, a ream of paper in front of her, perhaps some slides to emphasize her points.
The thing is … that’s not exactly how it goes …
It all starts with a silver card, about three inches by five. A simple message is written upon the card in a flowing cursive script, quite obviously feminine. This card is usually found somewhere on that first day after new succubi and iIncubi meet their tailselves for the first time. Some find the card on a table or pinned to a chair. It could be stuck with a piece of duct tape to a mirror or dangling from a thread outside of their front door. One might open a book and find it replacing the bookmark for the page they last were on; others might be looking for RediWhip in their fridge and find the card stuck to the can itself.
Whatever the means, wherever it appears, the card is discovered, and the message upon it is quite clearly and unmistakably Tera’s.
I’d like to tell you a story. Please, come visit the Glen.
You might think that some might shrug the message away, push it to the side perhaps. The RediWhip might be more attractive, or another nearby might be whispering what they could, or might, or most surely will, soon be doing with it. All of this is true; all of this, you might expect, might give some a perfectly good reason not go to find the Glen, whatever it is, wherever it is, but to just pass over the invitation instead. And yet, no one ever walks away from the invitation, Tera’s request. Why?
Perhaps it is because they feel an inner yearning to completely understand just what is happening to them.
Perhaps it is because Tera is the Queen, and it is unwise to ignore royal invitations.
Or perhaps, as Tera herself is so apt to reply, with that bemused smile of hers: “Just because.”
When each, one by one finds the Glen—and sometimes that takes a while to do—the newcomer finds it is an open space lined with cobblestone paths that twist and turn through what appears to be a series of statues. From a distance, one wouldn’t be able to see who, or what, the statues represent, but it is clear there is a path to be followed, and just as clear that Tera does not appear to be there.
For that matter, no one else seems to be about, either, which might strike one as odd on the one hand and just right on the other.
Once one has set foot upon the path, Tera’s voice is heard, quite clearly and closely, though she herself does not seem to be there. “The first step to understanding is taking that first step. It can be a physical one, as you have done now on this path, but it also can be a mental one or a spiritual one. You accepted the gift offered; that was your first step on your journey. You decided that I wasn’t crazy, that I wasn’t what you thought you understood about my kind. You took the chance offered to be, to change, to discover. In doing so that first step changed you. But it was only the first step, of course.”
Tera doesn’t say another word, but it is obvious that the path continues forwards, and so, after a short walk to consider Tera’s words, the first statue comes into focus. One might expect that to be a statue of Tera, for, of course, she is the Queen of the Realm and that would be a logical thing to find. There are two things wrong with that assumption: the first is that Tera would never do such a thing—but then those new to the Realm might not completely understand Tera’s view on things. The second problem is that the statue … isn’t exactly a statue.
What they each find is her or his own Tail, their other self, waiting for them. Perhaps they look at each other for a time, trying to say something to each other. Perhaps they might ask questions of each other … perhaps. But, in the pause where nothing is said, or after when all that needs to be said has been, Tera’s voice is heard again: “The second step was when you entered the Lake of Fire and met your tailself. You still do not grasp the importance of this, what it means to you, but also what it means to your tail. It means you are never alone. Your tail is there to help guide you, to help you see right from wrong, to help you learn that which you have not learned as yet. But your tailself is not you. You are in control, you decide your path, your future, your purpose. You decide what you will be.”
The tailself then vanishes into the ether, but never leaves the one on the path, and the one on this journey understands that. A short walk further takes the incubi or succubi to a marble pedastal, not much more than waist high, and carved into the marble on the top of the pedestal is a book. The cover has the name of the one standing there inscribed upon it, and Tera’s voice explains: “Each of us has our own book. Our books tell our story from the beginning, all of our successes and failures, all of our loves and losses, all of our joys and tears, all those whom we touch and who we are touched by. Our lives are open, freely shared with each other, open for all to know. The lessons learned by each of us are given to those who follow in our footsteps. And each of us can learn from those that have come before. All we need do is open our books, turn the page, and open our minds to see what is there for us.”
Some might touch their books, others might only look. But there is a connection within each of them to her or his own book, the one waiting for each of them elsewhere, waiting to partake of the knowledge in its pages.
As the succubi or incubi turns away, the book vanishes and the path beckons onwards. Coming around a bend in the path, just after it passes between two large oak trees, one finds a statue of two beings facing each other, with a third in between the two. On one side an angel, halo and all, on the other a devil, hooves and all. The two are facing the third statue in the middle, a statue of the one walking the path. The angel and devil seem to be pointing, as if to accuse the one in the middle of something unknown.
Tera’s voice returns to explain: “You are who you are. The thoughts of those around you are not as important as what you think of yourself. You make your own choices. Your will is your own. You decide what will be your focus, your thoughts, your future, and your purpose. You choose; not anyone else. This is not pride or aloofness, it is simple truth. It is a simple choice: yours. You have within you the strength to decide.”
The statues vanish then, the path continues, and the next stop reveals another statue. Again, it is a statue of the one walking the path, showing clearly his or her own horns, wings, and tail. The statue holds a book in one hand, and beside is a statue of her or his tail holding a pitchfork. Their backs are towards each other. Tera’s voice offers: “We suffer the rocks and arrows of those who do not accept that we are different, that we are not what they expect us to be. We defend ourselves with our words, which give us a voice to share. We comfort those in need, guide those that ask, and speak to the truth of who we are. We defend ourselves with our actions when our words are not enough. It is not a fault to try to avoid battle; it is a strength. A word offered that can save a soul is a true word. A battle fought for the right reasons is a battle won before it begins. Our fight is always to prove we are who we are, what we offer, and all that we do. The truth sets us all free.”
There is generally some contemplation of those words, perhaps the first glimmers of understanding, and then the statue is gone, and the path leads onward towards the next, over a slight rise, where the whole of the Realm can be seen all around and, overlooking that view, another statue. It is of a couple, obviously a loving one, though who they are isn’t quite clear. While they are facing the Realm, their eyes smile on a baby they hold together.
Tera herself arrives from the other direction, walking towards the one on the path. She stops an arm’s length from the statue and looks at it with some longing in her eyes before she explains: “The truth is that our Realm is the gift of love. We celebrate love in all of its forms, expressions, beliefs, wants, and desires. We share that love unconditionally, whatever the cost, if there is one, whatever the gift, if it is returned. Love, no matter what, is what we make of it. It can be the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. It can warm or chill. It simply is … love: as are we. We exist because of love and, so long as that exists somewhere in the universes, we shall, too.”
Tera offers her hand to the one on the path, palm open, a welcoming smile on her lips: “We are not perfect, though we wish we were. We strive to be the best we can be, always, though that path is as uneven as the path we stand upon. But we manage pretty well when we do the best we can. If we can see that, understand that, and believe in that, then all else comes into focus and we understand ourselves better than before.”
The one on the path might not understand all of what she or he has seen. This particular incubi or succubi might not have a revelation, epiphany, or complete understanding about what they have seen … yet … but they do understand … each in his or her own way.
A touch of hands, a smile, nod, or wink is shared as the two on the path turn to follow it onward, in body, spirit, and more. They walk along the path towards the place where the Glen ends and their separate journeys continue, on paths that lay before the new member of the Realm and that of the one who is first.
And, at the beginning of the Glen, where the path begins, another arrives, takes that first step, and hears Tera’s voice welcoming another new member on the first step of the journey, and another starts on his or her own path, her or his own understanding, his or her own future.
But, in all of that, the truth of the Realm remains constant, a living monument within the souls of those that live within the Realm, passed through its gates, and find their own truths within the truth of the Realm itself.
It is all about love.