Solar Ingress into Scorpio

My Notes on The Magical Carousel by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, chapter eight, Scorpio.1

Death and Liberation,
The Vital Force Released

In the last chapter a winged horse escorts the children who are being “pulled through the infinite blue,” and into the realm of Scorpio, the Unknown, far, far away. A thick gray midst begins to fill the sky, and the more it seeps into the atmosphere the murkier it gets. The opening scene picks up where the last chapter left off, with the children snatched up into the talons of an Eagle. The children can feel themselves being taken but are unable to identify their kidnapper easily with conditions as drowsy and saturated as they are, like driving in pea soup my Irish grandmother used to say. They only know that it is an exceptionally large bird who carries them, and that it is getting darker.

The descent continues as the temperature rises. With so much moisture in the air things become stifling hot and sticky. Instincts grow increasingly sensitized to the weather, one can smell the rain, or feel a storm coming. The atmosphere becomes heavy in a way that feels just like it does before a downpour; the heavens become suffocating. As the bird plummets, it sees a spot on a rock to put the children down, which it does, notwithstanding the extreme heat and the peculiar vapor the heat generates.

Scorpio is described as a land of shadows and fog, apropos of the difficulty the children have making out the shape of things, forms are not easily discernable and only vaguely identifiable. There seems to be a correspondence between the buildup of heat and moisture in the air and a heavy sense of foreboding. The children are stuck fast until a large thunderclap sounds, and the skies open with such a deluge of water one might think it impossible save it was you who were caught in the downpour. They can no longer stay where they are and need to move out of harm’s way.

The landscape is treacherous, ladened with rocky crags that are slick and slippery when they’re wet, and even extremely dangerous when dry. They seek shelter in a cave, making their way there carefully and then moving inside despite their apprehension of what might be lurking within, but they need shelter from the elements, so they venture inside, into the Unknown. Tension builds and they have nervous words with each other, as Pom-pom shares his bravado with Val, reminding her that he has the Golden Sword should they need it. They move deeper inside, away from the elements outside and remain there for a long time until they hear the rain finally stop. Then they retrace their steps in the darkness, using the wall of the cave as a guide until a light appears, showing the way out. Everything looked new with even the slightest bit of light, because when they first arrived inside the cave it was so dark. Recognizing that the entrance to the cave as now the way out of the cave foreshadows action later in the chapter but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Just when you think the children are about to emerge from the cave a large dark shadow blots out the light, something ominous blocks their escape. A giant Scorpion with its stinger intact. The children are overcome with fear despite Pom-pom stepping up in good form but trembling for the sake of doing the responsible thing.  

The Scorpion moves aside, and the children make their way out of the cave. On the way, it’s pointed out that there was a temporary disregard for the dangers they faced not moments before, nevetheless deciding to venture past the Scorpion, cavalier, but under some mysterious power of control, or hypnotism. Noted, the story continues with some apprehension and suspicion building, that something is not right. It is difficult to see where they are going as their destination is partly hidden, but thankfully the air becomes less burdensome. Heavy still yet beginning to clear. They approach the bank of a large body of water and the Scorpion encourages them to board a raft that is waiting there for them. It’s a ferry that slowly moves toward a menacing assembly in the distance… as they approach, a symbol and the number 8 appear underneath the overgrowth. Val unlocks the door using the key and the raft keeps on its way, drifting steadily. The sound of the water lapping up against the raft is the only sound that can be heard for an extended period, only darkness and silence accompany the children, and the raft. There is a rhythmic beat of drums, however, that grows from a muffle to an unremitting knock and gets louder as if whatever it is, it is getting closer, and as it approaches it resonates palpably with the sound of one’s own heart in the heat of passion or out of fear, or both. (Sound of Your Hearth)

A few streams of light break through the cracks in the canopy of leaves overhead as the steady drift picks up, and the water begins to flow. The sound of the drumming increases in volume and pace. The beat rouses the spirit, urging movement, and motivating the body to move on its own accord. On shore there are a group of ominous looking natives dressed for war. The raft picks up momentum. Its pace is relentless. Its direction fixed and undeterred. There is no stopping the flow of the raft now, so the children are delivered into captivity as soon as the raft touches shore. From there they are escorted in a covered “sedan chair” that is lifted and carried forward. The journey is drawn out and long, but eventually they come to a stop and are placed back on the ground. The curtains are pulled back and then the children are shuffled into a tent nearby. It’s dark! The smell is strong and pungent. They wait!

After a long while a “full and mysterious voice speaks from a corner: Two — this time you have brought two. And one carries a sword! Our ritual will be especially powerful and for this you will be well rewarded. Take them away and prepare them.”

The children’s eyes adjust to the darkness, but they can now barely make out Hayala, although her eyes are luminously beautiful. The only thing clear in this land is that everything is mysterious and hidden. Part of the preparation is to let the children rest. They fall into deep sleep patterns and dream the most visceral dreams they’ve ever dreamt. When it is time to wake, their sleep is interrupted and they are ritually primped, and groomed, combed, and perfumed, but no word is spoken. The groomers are too absorbed in the concentration of the tasks at hand. Their jobs are taken seriously, with a deep sense of responsibility, and duty to the mission.

The children are left inside the large tent and told to wait as the grooming party takes their leave. Suddenly it is noticeably quiet outside. The rain has stopped, and the drums no longer keep the beat. There is only silence, and the sound of their own breath. Then the sound of silence is cut by a long loud bong that reverberates in the air, and a lingering note that just hangs there. The flap on the tent is pulled open, and the children emerge to an empty encampment. They move toward the center but “there is not a soul about.” There are two chairs on an altar, and a throne between them, and then a voice that says, “be seated!” The voice belongs to “a tall, fascinating woman… covered in long, flowing, wine-colored robes, with thick, dark hair falling over her shoulders. They are captured by her penetrating stare and recognize the eyes that so enraptured them in the tent. All the warriors are behind her, bowing low to the ground. They seem to have emerged from nowhere. Silently she approaches and her movements recall those of a fine cat.” This is Hayala, she drapes silver chains, around each of their necks, the chains thread a heart shaped locket, and each locket is filled with a king of liquid. They are told to drink the potion when instructed.

The children feel the power emanating from her that never could they or would they want to do anything contrary to what she ordains. Hayala claps her hands, and a long ceremony begins.”

The ceremony described seems to border on the obscure and ridiculous. The children cannot follow what’s going on, there are weird behaviors precipitated by heavy drinking, ceremonial fruits, or mushrooms, strange birds, and creepy snakes, all carried in cages and presented to Hayala as gifts. She is amused and satisfied. Then her wiry fingers gesture to bring the prisoner forward… the people in attendance heckle the prisoner, as Hayala tell the children how this individual participated in the ceremony the year before but is no longer of any use to anyone. So, a judgement must be made, and a sentence given. Whatever the offense was is concealed and remains hidden. There is a flip of the hand, and a barely noticeable nod of the head from the mistress. The crowd breaks out into a raucous cheer of approval for the verdict.

Instantly, Hayala leaps to her feet, as if she were compelled by some unseen force. Her hands and arms spread wide and reach up toward the sky, her head falls back on her neck, and then forward until her chin rests on her collar bone. And back again! She begins to sway back and forth, chanting as every single warrior in unison collapses to the ground like obedient dogs, and they hide their faces like scared rabbits, afraid to be caught seeing what’s about to take place. But they join in the song and begin to chant one by one until the whole encampment is filled with a chorus of voices that penetrate the bowels of the hills and the mountains, shaking and vibrating the most sensitive parts of the body. Her movements awaken the drums! The pace quickens! Mysteriously, the instruments that keep the beat are felt deep down, deep within the land, down in the very core of existence, and the thumping and pounding builds faster and faster with every blow, the most powerful and rhythmic thrust of life is expressed as a sort of dance. Hayala moves to the clearing. And to the children’s wonder “she twists and writhes in a way which makes them think she is both cat and serpent, a bewitching movement they have never seen before. As she dances, she emits strange cries and mutters unfamiliar words that make the warriors tremble. On and on she dances to the frantic beat of the drums and at the climax another gong sounds and the gigantic Scorpion reappears. Hayala calls to the children: ‘Now drink the potion! Drink and you will never be in need of anything! You will learn the secrets I possess and shall never want to leave Scorpioand! Drink!’

Hayala goes back to dancing and becomes so engrossed in her movements that she is unaware that the giant Scorpio is near and moving in on her. Getting closer and closer as she dances, getting more frantic with every beat of the drum. She is enrapt by the sound and the feeling, but also by the idea that the children will indeed do as she says and drink. The Scorpion’s stinger rises high in the air. Under the spell of Scorpio, the children forget their original instructions shared by Glow. They nearly drink the potion, to which All would be lost. But Val jumps up and screams for Pom-pom to do something, and he spontaneously wields the sword and cuts off the stinger.

The warriors stop chanting and the drums cease. For a long while, which seems like an eternity, the entire camp is petrified.”

A loud clanging breaks the silence as Pom-pom’s Golden Sword falls, rattling to the ground. Hayala too falls to the ground, profoundly upset at Pom-pom’s heroics. Her voice is faint, she’s melting at the thought of her beloved Scorpion being disarmed, which by association leaves her powerless. Cynically she chastises the children, but it’s a weak whataboutism, an if-only they hadn’t kind of plea, that they might have “learned many things, many secrets…” but instead of all that, there is nothing.

Val and Pom-pom are frightened to death by what’s transpired. Hayala was enchantingly beautiful, and they felt compelled to rescue her… they couldn’t have known she was conspiring with the Scorpion. The warriors gather, slowly rising one after another, and circle the children. There is nowhere to hide, and they climb the alter, and then the throne, and then the back of the throne, to get as high as possible and out of the reach of the warriors who have begun to ascend the alter themselves intent to grab the children in defense of their mistress. Just when it appears that all will be lost, because there doesn’t seem to be anyway out of the mess, they find themselves in, the sky alights with flames that “shoots through the air and falls on Hayala’s tent setting it ablaze.”

Chaos ensues and the warriors move to save themselves from the inferno and mass destruction. The children hear something else besides rain falling and drums pounding, they hear the “sound of galloping hooves.” It’s a magnificent, dazzling archer who rushes in on the scene firing arrows dipped in flame… his body is half horse and half archer. A vigorous and feisty beast who leaps up onto the altar, zips the children onto his back and gallops away, leaving the warriors in his dust, and to their own self-destruction. But the Scorpion continues the pursuit, snakebit and consumed with anger to avenge his mistress… and although slowed by a loss of power and stingless, Scorpion still projects an ominous threat. The chase is on all the way back to where they came from… to the door they first entered which now blocks them, and the Scorpion is on their heels. Once again, a sense of foreboding that the end is near gives pause and heightens concern for the very survival of the children. But the Centaur has been lighting the entire way with a string of fiery arrows… and as they approach the gate, he “sends a mighty arrow” that lands like a knock at the door, delivered by a fist of fire that creates a conflagration across the entire entrance. The children hold fast, and the Centaur leaps through the flames, quite comfortably, because he is, of course, in his own element. And the Scorpion is left behind, more harmless than not, stinger less, “and rendered impotent by the fire.”

1 Norelli-Bachelet, P. (2017). The Magical Carousel and Commentaries: A Zodiacal Odyssey (2017th ed.). Notion Press, Inc.

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