pretentious cosmic picture


They had another class after dinner. This one, on the liberation of the ka, sometimes called the astral self. The instructor was an older man. "The liberation of the ka is quite a simple affair, so simple that it's hard to do, like thinking about breathing rather than doing it unconsciously. After all, every night, your ka leaves your body and journeys to Pippiath's realm in the Greater World, and later returns, and is called a dream. Every night, you journey further than the bredth of the World Waterrimmed.

"The trick is to do it...conciously. And the trick is to trick the body. Meditation, slowing of the body, trying to emulate sleep without losing consciousness. Once you learn how to do it, it will get easier each time.

"Does anyone know what sort of dangers there are?"

Falnee raised his hand. "Getting seperated from your body forever?"

"Yes. The body will fall into a deathlike sleep, a coma. The ka moves in ways that are alarmingly easy...and alarmingly easy to get lost in. There is something connecting the ka with the body, the...?"

"Silver chord!" they said in unison.

"Very good!"

"What is madness?" asked the instructor?

Heosun answered. "Getting lost in the dreamlands, and having the chord cut. Your soul and body stay, but your ka, lost in the dreamlands, can only reflect the chaos there."

"What kind of thing can trap the ka? Can a Kaan trap a ka?"

"Yes," answered Braele. "Zaer does it all the time."

"Very good. Is it wise to send your ka to the misty lands of Zaer, or high Chialta, or places of great power such as the Bright City?"

They all shook their heads. "Exactly. Such are made where they are as dangerous to a wandering ka as a raging waterfall or a wildfire would be to the body."

He had them all assume meditative poses, begin breathing in unison, closing their eyes. "The first one of you who falls asleep gets kitchen duty. Stay awake! Just simulate sleep!" As they kept on breathing, listening to their hearts beating, he kept on talking. "Your body shall fall behind, and you will soar free, as if in a dream..."

Minutes passed. Nothing seemed to happen. A student Falnee didn't know yet suddenly let loose with a snore, and everyone laughed. The instructor rolled his eyes but grinned, and said, "Well, it's going to be kitchen duty for you! Boy, that ruined the mood...let's try it again."

They tried to sink into the trance again...his voice stopped. Then...Falnee felt something grab at his wrist...and before he could react, drag him out of something warm and comforting and solid...

He saw his instructor, hovering above the floor. And he saw his instructor, slimped in a meditative pose, seemingly asleep. At the same time. Then he saw his own body below, and saw he was floating above it, and felt a sudden lurch of vertigo.

The instructor talked, and although the form was the same, there was no trace of age or weakness in his voice. "Sometimes it's easier to pull you out, and force the issue. Don't panic. You'll learn how to do it on your own." There were several other students floating, and soon they were all out, their kas like their waking bodies, save the colors were much paler, all attached by a silver chord to their bodies.

"Follow me," he said. "Just concentrate on the direction you want to go, and your kas will follow." Up they soared, and they saw the Elvenwoods dwindle below them, and they could see the magnificent Wal Langand, Elvish Isle, below laid out in all its glory. Clouds they passed and saw the moon far overhead in all her glory. Below them, the island was very small, and the ocean stretched out far to either side.

There was no chill, no wind. In that it seemed dreamlike. Yet the image was crystal-clear and sharp. It was the first time he soared with his ka, and made an astral journey. He knew he would remember the play of moonlight on the sea forever, and that this was a step towards a true be able to travel without limit, yet return easily to where he began.

It was a high he had never experienced before...and one that he knew he would have to return to, again and again.

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Copyright © 1997 Al Schroeder