|Remembering Eternity by Autumn Morrison|
When last we left our heroes, Simon and I were thinking the second gate, which involves oneiromancy, would a be a cult dedicated to a god of dreaming. But then there came a dream revelation. Mine was a dream of the Trojan War. Simon dreamt of a Goat at war with a Great Red Dragon.
The Second Gate is the Gate of Dreaming, but where is key to such a gate? When Ereshkigal taught me these gates, here is how it was phrased: "You’ve come to the gate, the first gate underground, the Serpent Gate, the gates of Irkalla, the underworld gate, the first gate under the ground. On the other side of the gate, further and further into the dark, deeper and deeper into the dark, you hear the river, bubbling, calling you forward. When you’re past through the gate, the Serpent Gate, the Gate Underground, you find you left your body. You don’t need it here, you can’t take it here. It will wait for us, safe and secure, for us to return to the land of life.
The corridor continues, deeper and deeper, further and further, into the World Below. The path curves to the left, to the right, then left, left and right and left, right, right, left, turning and turning, the labyrinth under the world, the dry lands, the path of stones. Here are the Old Powers, the ancient ones under the earth.
A second door rises up before us, a cast portal, shimmering like the moon, wavering like mist. The Dream Gate, which you pass through every night, now you walk through while you are awake. On the other side you still hear the river, bubbling like a stream, cool and quenching. Passing through the gate, we leave all our illusions behind, seeing only true things, and knowing them to be true. The path continues, turning and curving, winding and winding, sloping ever down, down, down, deeper and deeper, further and further, into the unknown dark."
How does the Dream Gate manifest in this game? Both Simon and my dreams told us the same answer, once we were ready to listen. The Cult of Philadelphia when the Church was planted there was the Imperial cult of Rome. BUT, before the deification of Caesar as the father of the entire Roman People, each Roman worshipped the Father of their own Clan. Long before Catholics were breaking people of ancestor worship, the imperial cult was already stealing the protective gens from every people it encountered and subduing them to the will of the State. Opening the second gate provokes a dream to help you find the cult of your fathers (not mothers, specifically fathers; we think mothers will come later), and thereby restore an essential part of your own dignity as a human being that has long been missing.
In Rome, the "god of your fathers" was called your "genius", a tutelary spirit on the Meandering mortal path between the god you used to be and the god you are becoming. For example, the genius of Julius Cesar was Venus, the parent of the Aeneas, the ancestor of the Julii, the founder of Rome. But, every people and every person has a genius; the second gate is about finding yours. The oldest, most powerful, most aristocratic Roman families had geniuses that everyone in Rome worshiped because the progenitor of their line was the offspring of an actual god. Or, perhaps it is that those progenitors which received the most worship are the only ones who become gods. Either way, this, is the central conceit of ancestor worship as a magical, rather than religious practice: By worshipping your ancestors, you elevate them to divinity, and that elevates you into a Hero: someone who is born of a god. The gate of Philadelphia is the gate of brotherly love. One key to the second gate is ancestor worship. Do that. Here's a key to provoke the necessary dream, crafted by Andrieh Vitimus, which worked for me, when I opened this one. But, if you want one specially crafted just for you, based on YOUR father's father's gods, all you have to do is ask me before Halloween and I will make one just for you.
In plain language, here is the key that will unlock the second gate, the gate of the moon. (Fun fact: someone who can carry someone across the threshold of the first gate is called a magician. Someone who can carry someone through the second gate is called a priestess.)
1) Decide you want to have a revelatory dream to teach you the name of your genius, who will carry you across the second gate.
2) Awaken your connection to your ancestors. This time of year, that gate is open by itself right now, whether you open it or not. Whether you like it or not. The Gate of the Ancestors is open all week. Unlocked. Just walk through it. They're shouting the answer at you right now.
3) Dream a dream of the cult of your ancestors. As soon as you commit to having such a dream, you will have it. Even if you don't usually have access to memories of your dreams. Even if you thought you were going to fail this gate.
4) Figure out the clues in your dream to acquire Knowledge of your Genius. This Knowledge is the gift of the third gate. When you know your genius' name, you'll have crossed through the second gate, and be a winner.
5) BONUS ROUND (Hero Mode): Have a conversation with your genius. Get it to teach you how to make a key that unlocks other people's higher geniuses. Hold the door of the second gate as wide open as you can, for as long as you can. Get as many people through as you can. Liberate an army of Djinn.
A report from a scout, looking back over the open second gate to the first: Here, on the far side of the second gate, is the bower of blessedness, where is consummated the marriage of Sun and Moon. The bridal bower stands upon the hill of Philadelphia. From here, you can see a long way. In particular, the third gate comes sharply into focus. That is the gate of birth, of the body, of matter; the gate of place and time. As the first Gate was the Illuminating Sun, and the second was the Invisible (but Reflective) Moon. The third Gate is is the gate of Mankind, the gate of the Body. I cannot, at this moment, provide more hints about the third gate, but Simon can. Because, really, I can imagine no better Hero of the Gate of the Body than he. And so, it is with complete confidence that I assure you, by Wed, Nov 2nd, there will be a key to the third gate ready. When I opened this gate, it was with the assistance of Ereshkigal, the Flint-Nailed Lady of Pain. Her teaching to me was thus:
"A third door, sold iron, is solid and heavy. This is the Gate of Fear, and the only key that opens it is Love. On the other side of the gate, you might find a fear. Look on it unwavering, accepting, and loving, and that which you feared will become your good guide. As the gate swings open, remember to love. Your fear will arise, but simply abide, love your fear and make it your guide. You’ve mastered your fear, felt the fear but stayed true, you loved your fear and now it’s an ally. The Gate of Fear Turned to Love is behind you, continue to walk, walk the labyrinth path underground. Walking deeper and deeper, further and further, into Irkalla, into the depths of the dark."
NOTE: I have no reason to believe that this gate is scary or painful for anyone except me. I just did it wrong the first time.
And yet, while I cannot (yet) describe to you the key that unlocks the third gate, I do know what lies beyond it. Once you have passed through the first three gates you will see the sign of Pluto, who is the cross of Man, holding aloft the Moon's crescent, surmounted by the ball of the Sun. Pluto, who reigns in the Underworld, is, these days, usually understood as a god of death, but before he was that, he was already the god of treasure. Pluto, who became king of the Underworld was not born there; he entered into the Underworld to remove its treasures, and married the Queen he found there. The treasures of Pluto are buried in the Underworld, but they did not originate there. They are of the world and in the world, and are the world.
The next four gates (once assembled) are called, in Latin: Prima Materia; the First Matter, the Primal Mother. In Greek, they are called Anima Mundi, the World Soul, the Living Map. But we will tackle it in four pieces.
The first is the gate of fire, the torchbearer will lead us up the first step from the Underworld into the light. Next, we will cross the gate of air, where the will-o-whisp Wind will whistle our way.
Thence to the gate of earth, in Smyrna, where our guide will be the terrible slayer of Heroes, the Great Hunter, the Warrior Dragon, the Palm Tree King, Lord Saman-ana, the Bison-beast, the Mermaid, the Seven-headed Snake, the Six-headed Wild Ram.
Finally, in Ephesus, we will open the gates of the primeval waters, reuniting the water below with the water above. And in Ephesus, we find the Mystery that was the Greatest of the Seven Wonders of the World, of which Antipater said: "I have set eyes on the wall of lofty Babylon on which is a road for chariots, and the statue of Zeus by the Alpheus, and the hanging gardens, and the colossus of the Sun, and the huge labour of the high pyramids, and the vast tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the house of Artemis that mounted to the clouds, those other marvels lost their brilliancy, and I said, "Lo, apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught so grand"
In Ephesus, we find the Pillar-Formed, Many Breasted Lady of Beasts. In Ephesus, the Cult that chased Paul out of town. The Gate of the Ephesian Mystery might be locked, but with their dying breath, they tricked Paul into recording the passcode to their Mystery:
Μεγάλη ἡ Ἄρτεμις Ἐφεσίων!
This has been the final public revelation of Apokalypsis, but the Game is not yet over. There are four more missives available to players. All you have to do to ensure you are a player is play, and if you want to be on my team, just ask.