Now You See It, Now You Don’t: Ducks Vs Rabbits

There was a time when the gods were animals or took their forms, and the gods were natural phenomena or took their forms. Anansi the spider, who played tricks for kicks and Thunder Thor, who didn’t.

Others took animal forms at will – Isis the bird, for example, or Zeus the chauvinist pig.

Through the march of time humanity replaced the old gods with new ones, and those with yet more new ones – gods of id and ego, of higgs-boson. People came to consider themselves to be ‘spiritual’ rather than religious and revelled in the freedom this gave them to pick and choose their own rituals, ignorant of the true price of belief.

In a universe as fiendishly complex as the one we call home, there is a place for everything that exists, even if you can’t see it (especially if you can’t see it). And if it can be imagined, well let’s just say that fantasy is a form of existence. Somewhere deep in one of these pockets, far from the warmth of human affection, dwell the dejected, rejected gods of old. Some are so long in the tooth we have no surviving names for them.

There are no second acts in deified lives as Father Fitzgerald puts it.

But amongst these ragged hordes there are some we know well – some by many names. There is that old pigeon fancier, one-eyed Odin, and also the sprightly form of the Amun Ra, god of all the gods of the upper and lower kingdoms.

And like an optical illusion that is both rabbit and duck, both co-exist in the same space.

There’s a facetious theory that I’ve just invented goes like this: if you go searching for something, and you know roughly the form it will take, you’re almost certain to find it. And if you don’t want to see something, odds are you’ll never let yourself.

So it is that man found the atom, then realised it could be subdivided, and those subdivisions in turn could be subdivided, and even those sub-subdivisions could be broken apart to find, inter alia, bits of string, the singularity-aping infinites of somethingness and nothingness, room for God. Or maybe just further magnitudes of subdivision, new particles and a whole new universe of ignorance for the scientists to get excited about.

Or it could just be a hammer and that’s fine too.

That’s why the dinosaurs were giant reptile-looking sumbitches that died out but also grew feathers and flew away (hence why those who’ve seen Jurassic Park are wary of angering chickens) but also were just a joke left in the ground by some mischievous deity to mess with palaeontologists.

That’s why the devout atheists are wrong about religion and why the sceptical religious are wrong about science: both can co-exist in the same space.

Rabbits and ducks again.

Just don’t try to see it all at once; you’ll go cross-eyed.

The Gods Of Spring

There’s this outraged eye in the sky – an angry orb blazing with a baleful intensity; it must be some capricious god.  I must appease the capricious god.  Where’d I leave my sacrificing knife?  It’s obsidian, real hard to come by – found mine on Ebay.  Let’s see, I had it on Thursday when I had to make a quick sacrifice to impress the gods of tube strike.

Yeah that was me.  You’re welcome, people who didn’t suffer strike-related delays.

I’m sure I would’ve put it away in my kitchen drawer where I keep my rabbit feet and tarot deck.  Oh there it is, behind the crystals I use to predict future lottery numbers.  No luck yet, but then if you can tell the future you don’t really need luck.

Right, now to load up my maps app on my iPad.  Ok, so the best sacrificing stone is up the hill.  I could probably use the exercise.  Then again I don’t have much time – that fiery god in the sky probably doesn’t have much patience.  Hmm.  There’s a non-denominational sacrificing stone near the library.  It’ll do in a pinch – then again it’s municipal so there might be a queue.  And I really need to get my appeasement on.

It’s like a couple of weeks ago I had to sacrifice a goat in a branch of Burger King.  I just about got away with it, even though I had to do it with plastic cutlery purloined from the kebab place a few doors down.  You know the one – their lamb doner is award-winning.

Half the battle was convincing the staff that it wasn’t a health and safety breach.  But that was for a minor pothole god – oh they said call the council; they’re the appropriate highway authority.  Or higher authority – I wasn’t really listening because I was concentrating on my chanting.  Anyway, the pothole’s been fixed – the council took pains to look really visible with the branded hi-viz jackets and plant machinery.  But I know better; I’m privy to the real, secret truth.

I hung out with Odin on his tree, I helped Isis make do with some clay when she had to put her husband back together; I’m the one who convinced Prometheus that petty larceny was the way to go.  Christ taught me how to liven up a party and Krishna showed me how to love.

I know the secret names of Amun Ra and Yahweh and the trick to besting Anansi.

So while you might see the sun, shining slightly more fiercely now that winter’s on the way out, I can see more clearly.  I see an angry god in need of some tender loving care courtesy of a pure-blood sacrifice, or the spring won’t come.

I’m off to the IT department to find me a virgin.

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This post seems increasingly ironic as time goes by and the winter refuses to leave gracefully.  Like a drunk at a restaurant.