Book ExcerptsPosted by Stevan Wed, September 21, 2016 14:11:59
From the book TRUTH ACCORDING TO MICHAEL by Stevan V. Nikolic, Chapter Three / Part II

Michael and Victor climbed up a narrow wooden staircase to the chapel balcony. There were about eighty other men there already. They were all different ages and of different origins. From twenty to over sixty years of age, most of them were black or Latino, with a dozen white and a couple of Asian men. “The real New York in small.” Michael was thinking.

The Pentecostal preacher who spoke that morning was a novelty for Michael as well. Before in his life, he attended many different Christian Churches, but they were all mainstream traditional denominations: Orthodox Christian, Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, and Lutheran. But he was never in a Baptist or Pentecostal Church, and never met any of newborn Christians. He couldn’t hear everything the preacher was saying because of the bad sound system, but he heard a Bible verse that the preacher repeated several times: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” It was Jeremiah 29:11.

After the service, the students went to the dining hall. It was a large room with fifteen round tables each seating ten, and with the serving line and kitchen in the back. Breakfast that morning was simple, oatmeal and fresh bananas. Michael took his plate with oatmeal and looked around the hall to find Victor and sit next to him.

Victor appeared with a cup of milk from somewhere.

“Do you want some milk in your oatmeal? It will cool it down. It’s too hot.”

“Sure,” Michael replied.

“So, you guys are new here?” A chubby young man with thick glasses sitting across from Michael asked. Michael looked at him. He couldn’t figure out if this kid was Latino or white, but he couldn’t be more than twenty years old, Michael thought. His thick greasy hair was dark brown, almost black, but his eyes were blue and he had red chicks and pale white face.

“Yes, we came last night,” Michael said.

“Do you have beds yet?” The kid asked.

“No, we slept in the chapel last night. They say maybe something will be available today.” Michael answered.

“Oh, by the way, my name is Jeremiah.”

“Michael,” Michael responded and nodded his head.

“I’m Victor,” Victor mumbled trying to swallow a mouthful of oatmeal.

“There are two guys going from the second floor to the fourth or fifth floor today, I think,” Jeremiah continued, “All new guys are given a room on the second floor the first month. After that, they move to either the fourth or fifth floor. Those rooms are bigger and they have seating areas. I am still on the second floor. I came two weeks ago.”

“Good morning.” Rick, the old man from the clothing room came and sat at their table. “How’s your first night at Bowery?” he asked Victor and Michael.

“We were with Francis in the Chapel. He was walking up and down the aisle all night,” Victor answered.

“That lunatic, I don’t know why they allow him to spend nights here. I think the Mission director has a soft spot for him. He is allowed to do many things that nobody else can do,” Rick said. “The other day I gave him pants before a shower, and he threw them back into my face while yelling ‘bad man, bad man.’ I don’t know why he called me a bad man, I didn’t do anything, just gave him pants.”

“Oh, he lives in his own world. Who knows what is in his head,” Jeremiah said.

“Hello, gentlemen,” A tall and well-built Hispanic man in a dark gray suit and blue shirt without tie, cup of coffee in hand, came and sat at the table. “We have newcomers here, I see.”

“Welcome, guys,” he continued while looking curiously into Michael and Victor. “I know you,” he said to Victor. “Were you here before?”

“Yes. Twice, but I haven’t completed the program. The first time, I was kicked out for leaving without permission and getting high; the second time, I just left before the end of the program.”

“The third time’s a charm. How about you, young man?” he said with a bit of irony in his voice while looking at Michael.

“It is my first time here, or in any place like this, for that matter,” Michael answered.

“I hope it will work out for you. It did for many. I am Pastor Lee Quinones. I have been a counselor here for the past twenty years. Twenty-four years ago, I came here the same way you did, as a homeless man.”

“And they kicked you out three times,” Rick said with a smile.

“Yes, I am not ashamed to admit it. I was a wild kid, hooked on everything that was available on the streets. It took me four times to complete the program. But I did. Anyway, you two probably don’t know who will be your counselor yet, but if you need anything ever, my office is on the third floor. Also, I am the only counselor who lives in the Mission, so pretty much, I am available twenty-four-seven.”

“Thank you,” Michael said.

Michael finished his oatmeal. He didn’t know what to do next. As students were finishing their breakfast, they were leaving the dining room and going to get ready for morning Bible classes. But since Michael wasn’t assigned to any room yet, he didn’t receive his schedule either. All he knew was that he could not leave the Mission anymore without permission. And he didn’t have the desire to leave anyway. Still tired from sleepless nights on the subway, all he was thinking of were rest, food, and peace.

He stood up and took his tray with the empty plate to the station for dirty dishes at the corner of the dining room. He looked around. Homeless people were already taking the chairs of the students who were leaving. There was a big contrast between them. All of those in the program were in clean and often brand new clothing, shaven and clean, while most of the homeless from the outside were in ripped and smelly clothing, unshaven, and they all looked very stressed.

There were quite a few women with small children among the homeless. It was a sad picture to look at. It was the world Michael didn’t know anything about. But for the last ten days, he was a part of it. He knew that for some of these people being homeless was the only way of life they knew. He couldn’t understand how they could cope with it.

The last ten days had been like being in hell. And it seemed to him that he had escaped by a thread yet again. The more he looked at the students around him, the more he was convinced that he got lucky by joining this program. They all looked well nourished, well dressed, and content. The program would give him time to recuperate, recharge his batteries in peace and in a safe place. That is exactly what he needed.

That afternoon Michael got his bed in a room on the second floor. The admission counselor gave him a slip for clothing and he went to Rick in the clothing room to pick everything he needed. He got four pairs of jeans, four t-shirts, four dress shirts, four pairs of underwear, four pairs of socks, two new sweaters, a leather jacket, sneakers, brown dress shoes, and slippers for the bathroom. He also got four towels, shampoo, and more toiletries. Most of the things he got were brand new. Nothing one would expect to get in a homeless shelter.

“This is crazy. Like in a candy store where everything is free,” Michael said.

“We call it “Blessing-dales” department store, you know, like Bloomingdales,” Rick answered. “Most of the students come here without any clothing and by the end of the program, they have so much clothing that they don’t have to buy anything for at least the next two years. The Bowery is one of the oldest and best-known Missions in the city and has many big donors. Some of the best fashion houses, like Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren, donate clothing directly to the Bowery. So you have a homeless guy just coming from the streets into the program suddenly wearing a three-hundred-dollar shirt and a suit worth over a thousand.”

“This would be a good place to work,” Michael said.

“It is good, but it is not easy at the same time. Twice a week we have a crowd of about two hundred homeless men from outside taking showers down here and we are providing them with a change of the clothing. It is like a mad house. Half of them are crazy, the other half wants only brand new clothing, so they can sell it after they walk out of here, and then after two days they are back in their old rags; and again demanding brand new stuff. Some of them are really nasty; like it is their right, not a privilege.”

“But if you want, you can ask your counselor to send you here to work,” Rick continued “Just so you know – I am the boss here, and there is a lot of work every day. We receive bags and bags of donated clothing and all of that needs to be sorted out, folded, and placed where it belongs. The good part of working here is that you get to pick the best pieces for yourself; of course, carefully, nothing in excess. Otherwise, other students will complain.”

It took Michael only a few days to adapt to the new situation. He was assigned to a counselor, Pastor Charles Jourdan. He was a Haitian man in his fifties, always with a smile on his face, and always starting every conversation with a quote from the Scriptures. Every Monday morning, at 9:00a.m., Michael had to go for a session with the counselor to discuss the progress of his recovery, his plans for the future, and anything else that may help him get on the right path after the completion of the program.

Most of the working days in the Mission were the same. All students had to work one of many jobs within the Mission. Some were working in the kitchen, some as ushers in the Chapel, others in the clothing room or any other duties needed in running and maintaining of the Mission.

The lights would go out at ten in the evening and by that time everybody had to be in bed.

On Wednesdays and Saturdays from ten in the morning until noon, students had the right to go out to the nearby park, to walk around or play sports. Michael used that time to walk to Barnes and Noble on Union Square, look through the new magazines, and check out new book titles. After a while, he started feeling normal again. He started thinking about the future. He still didn’t know what he would do after the Bowery Mission, but he was gaining his confidence back.

He managed to be assigned to work in the clothing room. It was a good place for him. He was good at organizing things, and he also liked good clothing. After just one month of working there, he had quite a nice wardrobe that would have cost a lot of money, if he had bought it in the store.

The only thing that bothered him was that he was completely cut off from the outside world. Yes, he could walk around the city twice a week, but there was no way for him to get in touch with anybody if he wanted. He didn’t even have a quarter for the phone. And the use of internet in the computer room was limited and supervised.

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Book ExcerptsPosted by Stevan Wed, September 21, 2016 14:08:43
From the book TRUTH ACCORDING TO MICHAEL by Stevan V. Nikolic - Chapter Three/ Part I

He was relieved that after so many days, he was going to take a shower, have something to eat and have a safe place to sleep. But six months looked very long for him to be cut off from the outside world. He promised Eliza that he will bring her to New York by the end of the month.

“What will I say to her? he was thinking. He didn’t have the means now to contact her anyway. And for six months he wouldn’t be able to look for a job or a way out of his situation. It seemed like such a long time. But he knew that he had to go one day at a time.

“For now, I am safe. Mid-March and the weather in New York is like winter in full swing. It is so cold. It is good to be here for now,” he thought. “Gives me time to think about what to do next.”

The stocky man in the t- shirt came back.

“Hi guys, my name is Mike. You are Victor and Michael, right?”

“I am Victor.” The man with the big afro said.

“And you are Michael, like me?”

Michael just nodded his head.

“You are now the fourth Michael in the program. There are two more here. I will take you guys down to the clothing room to find something clean to wear, and then to the showers. I understand that you will be staying in the chapel for a couple of nights. It is not that bad of a deal. It is better than outside. I heard that two students are leaving today from my floor. Maybe, you’ll get lucky and sleep in a bed tomorrow.”

They went down the narrow staircase from the second floor back to the reception hall, and from there through the Chapel, they continued to the basement of the Mission.

On the left side of the long basement hall, with walls and ceiling painted in gray, was the clothing room door. Further down the hall were shower rooms. All three of them, led by Mike, entered the clothing room.

The clothing room was a large basement space lit with neon lights and painted white. Alongside one longer wall were metal shelves filled with folded clothing up to the high ceiling. On another side, were clothing racks with coats, suits, and shirts. Lined in the middle were long folding tables covered with piles of unfolded clothing.

“Rick, these are new students. They are going to take showers, so they need a change of clothing. Can you help them?”

“Do they have clothing requisition slips?” the skinny old man, hardly five feet tall, with gray hair, and a strong West Indian accent, asked.

“No, Rick. They are not assigned beds yet, so they will come with slips later. They just need one change of clothing for now.”

“Okay. Here are underwear and socks.” Rick started pointing with his hand around the room. “Here are pants and t- shirts. On other side are dress shirts and jackets. Over there are sweaters. Over here are towels and toiletries. Take one of each for now and when you get a clothing requisition slip, come back and I’ll give you more. If you need shoes or sneakers, they are here, on the shelves. Try to find your size. Toiletry sets are on that table. Each contains razor, toothpaste and toothbrush, and a soap.”

Once they got clean clothing, Mike showed them where the showers were. Michael threw his worn underwear, socks, and shoes in the garbage.

“Hey man, this really stinks. How long you went without a shower?” Mike asked.

“Almost two weeks. I spent the last ten days sleeping on the subway.” Michael answered.

“No wonder it stinks.”

Michael couldn’t remember the last time he enjoyed a shower that much. He kept rubbing himself with soap, trying to remove the stench that got into his skin and his nostrils.

After the shower, Mike took them to the Manager’s Office to introduce them to the Manager on duty, showed them the dining hall, and returned them to the chapel.

“Dinner will be in an hour and a half after the evening service here in the chapel. When service is finished, you just go to the dining hall and get in line with the other students. For now, you can stay here.”

“Mike, can I go out and have a smoke?” Victor asked.

“Well, maybe, this is your last chance. You are not assigned a bed, so you are not technically in the program yet. If you have a cigarette, smoke it now because later you won’t be able to. And go around the corner, not in front of the building. Students are not allowed to smoke.”

Victor turned and looked at Michael. “Do you want to go out too?”

“I don’t have a cigarette. Can you spare one?”

“I have two last ones. May as well smoke them. Come.”

They walked out of the Chapel through the main red door. In front of the Chapel, along the building wall, all the way to the corner, a line of homeless people waiting to enter the Chapel had already formed. Victor and Michael went around the corner to the end of the line, stood on the side under the street light pole, and lit up cigarettes.

“This feels good,” Michael was thinking. “I am clean, in clean clothing, have a place to sleep tonight, and soon I will eat.”

“Can you spare a cigarette?” Michael heard behind his back.

A chubby girl, not more than twenty years old, with curly blond hair, a pale face with red cheeks from the cold, and smudged bright red lipstick approached Michael from the back of the soup kitchen line. “So, can you give me a smoke?” she repeated.

“This is my last cigarette,” Michael answered.

“Listen, bro, don’t be stingy. I’ll suck your dick for a smoke.”

“Sorry, I really don’t have another cigarette,” Michael said and turned towards Victor and away from the girl.

“Oh, what a faggot,” the girl said and went back in the line.

Victor started laughing. “You see, man, if I didn’t give you my last cigarette, she’d be sucking my dick now.”

Michael couldn’t believe what he just heard from this homeless girl. How desperate she was, that she would perform oral sex to a complete stranger for one single cigarette. “How tragic is the world I just entered,” Michael thought.

That night Michael was sleeping on the mat on the tiled floor of the Bowery Chapel. Besides him and Victor, the only other person there was a homeless guy named Francis. He wasn’t in the program, but he was almost a regular guest at the Bowery Mission. Everybody there knew his story and felt bad for him, so sometimes they allowed him to sleep in the Chapel even if it wasn’t very cold outside.

Until five years ago, Francis was a young and ambitious adjunct professor of American History at Baruch College. His colleagues were predicting a bright future in higher education for this upbeat and very talented black man. He managed to rise up and out from his poor childhood in the Bronx projects to become a respected educator. Francis was married and had a two-year-old son. Then one day, in a freak hit and run accident, on Queens Boulevard, his wife and son were struck down and killed. Francis had a nervous breakdown, got hooked on drugs and alcohol and soon after ended up on the streets of Manhattan, wandering around all year around, year after year, sometimes almost naked, covered in his own feces, and refusing any help. The only place he would come for an occasional meal or shower was the Bowery Mission.

Michael was lying down, covered with a blanket, and looking at Francis walking up and down the aisles of the Chapel, mumbling to himself in some strange tongue that Michael could not understand. The light in the Chapel was dimmed and Francis, with his tall and very skinny body, looked almost surreal to Michael. He was barefoot, with ripped Docker pants and no shirt at all. His short black hair looked like strong thick brush coming out of his skull. His feet were sliding over the red Chapel tiles silently, and it appeared to Michael like he was not walking but floating.

“Don’t worry about him, he is crazy, but he will not harm you,” Victor, who was lying on the mat a few feet away, said to Michael. “I’ve seen him before. He is a lost case. Only God knows how he is still alive.”

Soon after, Michael fell asleep. He was really tired after so many nights on the subway trains. Finally, he felt safe. He knew that he needed a break, a place to renew his strength and time to figure out what to do next. The Bowery Mission was his only choice, and it looked to him like the right one as well.

Michael didn’t know what time it was when he was awakened by something very light falling on his face. He opened his eyes and saw Francis standing over him with a rose stem in one hand. With the other hand, he was picking petals from the half dry red rose bud and tossing them at Michael. While wiggling back and forth with his upper body, he was chanting with a screechy voice,

“Wake up, wake up, the end of times is coming,

Wake up, wake up, Santa Maria is waiting,

Wake up, wake up, soldier of Christ Almighty,

Wake up, wake up, Mother of God is crying.”

Michael looked around. All over his blanket and around the mat were dry rose petals. He jumped into a sitting position and said, “What the fuck is wrong with you, man?”

Francis turned around fast and ran to the back of the Chapel while screeching: “He is awake! He is awake! He is awake!” He ran out of the Chapel through the side doors leading to the entrance of the Mission.

A few minutes later, a man dressed in a neatly ironed white shirt with tie and black dress pants entered the Chapel.

“Let’s go, guys,” He said. “It is time to get up. The Chapel will be open soon for morning service. You can go downstairs to the bathroom to shave and wash and then come back here for the service. After that is breakfast. And take your mats and blankets downstairs with you. Leave them behind the stairs. You may need them tonight again if you don’t get beds assigned to you today.”

Michael looked at this man. It was the same manager that he was introduced to by Mike last night. The light-skinned black man, with a completely shaved head, glasses with golden metal frame. With a large shiny watch on his wrist, and his medium build, a bit overweight, and a limp, he looked more like a Bronx car salesman than a manager of the homeless shelter.

Victor and Michael went back to the same bathroom they took their showers in the night before. Michael took a shower again. He still felt the stench on his skin from his days on the subway.

Victor was running a pick through his hair.

“So Michael, what brought you here? You don’t look to me like an addict, he asked.

“I left my wife, made a few bad business decisions and lost money, fooled around with women, drank more than I should, pretty much messed up my life and one day found myself on the N train without money, friends, or a place to go.”

“Yeah, that would do it…,” Victor said. “Sometimes I think that guys like you have it worse than guys like me. God gave you something and then he took it away. So it hurts badly. I grew up in the projects, never knew my father. My mother was constantly high and disappeared when I was twelve. I grew up with my aunt. Never finished high school. Been using drugs since I was fourteen. In and out of jails and shelters forever. This is my third time here. Never had a wife to leave; never had a business to lose. And I always say to God – better don’t give me anything if you gonna take it away from me.”

Then he stopped fixing his hair, turned towards Michael and said with a broken voice: “But he always finds a way. Always… Two days ago, my only baby sister overdosed in front of my eyes, with the needle I gave her. I still see her lying there, her eyes wide open. That is why I came here. I need to break this circle. There must be a better life out there. I need to clean out. I am tired of this.”

Michael didn’t say anything. He just looked at Victor. He never met anybody like him. Never knew anybody from the projects. The closest, he came to stories like this one was on the local evening news. And now he will spend the next six months with people with similar stories.

They went back to the chapel. It was already full of homeless people who came to have breakfast at the Bowery. The way it worked was that everybody would enter the Chapel, listen for an hour to a sermon by the Pastor or a guest preacher, testimonials by the students who completed the recovery program, and then they would, in an orderly fashion, go to the large dining room where the meal was served. It was the same routine for all meals: breakfast at six in the morning, lunch at noon, and dinner at six in the evening. Students in the program were sitting on the chapel balcony during the service, and had their meals before the homeless people from outside.

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Twenty-Six Days Before Grace

Thoughts & QuotesPosted by Stevan Mon, May 30, 2016 00:56:21

She often looked at the lives of others as at the show she didn’t want to play. It was a storyline, distorted and fake, with predictable beginning, plot, and end, confining their characters to the suffocation of the heavy book covers, without any chance of ever feeling free and their own. She always wanted to have a complete life with a sense of purpose, but the one she lived so far, made her feel repulsive and detached. Rejecting uniformity and compromise, she was watching this, for her, strange phenomenon, of people molding each other in the forms suitable for their togetherness. It was the worst kind of degradation and manipulation of one’s soul – she thought - twisted picture of warmth and unity, uncertain experiment in happiness. So, she didn’t want any part of this so typical and calculable life experience. It was just a spectacle, so distant and unattainable. She didn’t know if she would ever be ready for it.

Defiant to the demands of life, she kept running away from her true needs. To her, they were just mindless and frantic echoes of anxiety and adversity. And she denied and rejected them like monstrous apparitions, jolting the image of herself. They were the major cause of the uninvited lethargy. To discard them meant to awaken the spark of desire for change. Constant change. It was the only thing that made her feel herself.

Suddenly, all this noise in her head stopped and she began to enjoy in the silence. After so long and relentless mind quest she had found peace in being with herself. She sat quietly and felt that bitterness and anger were leaving her. Nevertheless, some unclear energy, irrational hallucinations and dreams were accompanying her even when she was completely calm. She already felt an intimacy with them and seemed to be seeking the comfort of mind in these dream creations. With them she was never alone, and they were almost always faithfully serving her desires and kept her on the course she was comfortable with. They were sending an unquestionable message to everyone – this was her own world.

Or at least, it was like that until now.

And then, an unexpected multitude of thoughts from him spilled over to her. Who was he? What gives him the right to disturb her dreams? His thoughts were like army of invincible outlaws and the enemies of her common sense. Armed with deception and cunning, artists of fraud and undisputed rulers of manipulation, reinforced with the desire to enter her dreams, and place him there as the only solution for her destiny. How did he ever managed to get so far? He knew all her tricks. He was almost like the mirror image or the male version of herself. Yet, she wasn’t ready to accept him as her counterpart. Her world of dreams was just that – dreams. And he wanted to pull them out and materialize them in time and space. What nerve! What lunacy! He was either a bigger dreamer than herself or a reckless player in the game of life. He made her feel happy and complete, but the idea to achieve that in reality was too scary and a dangerous thought. She already felt the loss of herself, the collapse of the power of her imagination. She was being suffocated by her own love for this uncommon man.

Even if this conversion of dreams into reality was possible, her everyday life was far too common to fit such glorious dreams – she thought. One or the other would collapse. And in some ways, she even liked her life. Of course, it was nothing like her dreams, but it made her feel secure and in control. She never cut the cord with her childhood and that connection with her roots were a big share of the feeling of being the part of the whole circle of existence. She didn’t want to lose that connection. Not for anything.

And he knew all of that. Yet he was determined in his ambition. Of course, he was aware of all obstacles they were facing. But he believed in her dream. After all, it was his dream too. She kept him in there all her life. She allowed him to find her. And he loved her for it. He loved her eternally. But he thought that the world we live in would never get this far without dreams. It was made of dreams. Even the Good News came first in a dream to Santa Maria.

Their good news will come true as well… In twenty six days… in Santa Maria. He knew that.

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The Last Train From Lisbon

Thoughts & QuotesPosted by Stevan Mon, May 30, 2016 00:46:40

That Friday evening

As the lights turned on

She walked out

And left on the pavement

Her footprints

Like music notes

From moonlight sonata

Since then I carry on my lips

A kiss as glorious as Milky Way

And I am looking for a word

That will describe her magic

I was born that evening

On the Faro train station

An orphan with no past

Deceived by the future

Accused by my own words

Cursed to love

Without ceasing

Enchanted goddess of longing

Naquela sexta-feira à noite
À medida que as luzes se acendiam
Ela saiu
E deixou no passeio
As suas pegadas
Como notas de música
De uma sonata ao luar
Desde então, carrego nos meus lábios
Um beijo tão glorioso como a Via Láctea
E procuro a palavra
Que descreva a sua magia
Eu nasci naquela noite
Na estação de comboios de Faro
Um orfão sem passado
Enganado pelo futuro
Acusado pelas minhas próprias palavras
Amaldiçoado para amar
Sem descanso
Deusa encantada de saudade

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O Desfiladeiro de Amo – A história do último unicórnio

Thoughts & QuotesPosted by Stevan Mon, May 30, 2016 00:42:08

O unicórnio é um animal lendário, que tem sido descrito desde a antiguidade como um animal semelhante a um cavalo, com um corno grande, afiado e em espiral a sair-lhe da testa. Era geralmente descrito como uma criatura muito selvagem, que vivia na floresta, símbolo de pureza, graça e independência, que só podia ser capturado por uma virgem. Nos tempos antigos, acreditava-se que o seu chifre tinha o poder de transformar água envenenada em água potável e de curar maleitas. De acordo com a lenda, havia muitos unicórnios na terra há alguns séculos, mas, lentamente, com o avanço e a pressão da civilização humana, acabaram por desaparecer.

Nas montanhas do Sul de Portugal, algures na região do Alentejo, há uma ravina que se chama “Desfiladeiro de Amo”. Há algum tempo estive lá e ouvi os habitantes locais contarem a história do último unicórnio chamado Amo. De acordo com a história, havia dois unicórnios: o macho Amo e a fêmea Ama, mas ninguém sabia dizer o que tinha acontecido a Ama. Alguns acreditavam que ela ainda estava algures, a correr pelas florestas e pelos prados. Pelo menos, era o que dizia a lenda.

É assim que a história se passa. Há cerca de trezentos anos, já só havia dois unicórnios no mundo. Um macho chamado Amo e uma fêmea chamada Ama. Eles não se conheciam um ao outro, porque viviam em terras diferentes, mas sentiam a existência um do outro. Com regularidade, sonhavam um com o outro e sentiam uma estranha saudade, como se pertencessem um ao outro, mas a vida continuava e eles viviam as suas vidas separadamente, nunca esperando que se encontrassem algum dia.

Ama era uma jovem unicórnio, feliz com o seu ser, orgulhosa da sua independência e liberdade. Olhava muitas vezes para os outros animais, questionando-se por que é que deixavam os humanos

domá-los e usá-los. Não conseguia compreendê-los. Ela apreciava cada pedacinho de natureza que a rodeava. Adorava as flores selvagens, os ribeiros de águas geladas, as florestas profundas e misteriosas, os sons do vento nas árvores e a música dos pássaros. Só se sentia completa quando sentia a terra, correndo sobre montanhas e vales. Sentia, então, a plenitude da criação. Sabia que era uma das criaturas vivas mais majestosas e estava orgulhosa desse facto.

Ocasionalmente, os humanos viam-na correr pelas terras e admiravam a sua beleza e a sua graça. Naturalmente, queriam apanhá-la e domesticá-la, mas ela nunca o permitiria. Gostava de sentir a sua admiração e de brincar com eles. Apreciava mesmo a atenção que lhe devotavam. Por vezes, Ama deixava os humanos aproximar-se e tocar-lhe, manipulando os seus sentidos, para que sentissem que ela era real e não um sonho. Em seguida, fugia, deixando-os a pensar o que teria acontecido e, muitas vezes, tristes por terem perdido a oportunidade de apanhar um animal tão precioso.

Não tinha a certeza sobre aquilo que sentia pelas pessoas, mas sabia que não estava disposta a abdicar da sua liberdade e da plenitude e felicidade que sentia quando corria sem rumo pela natureza. Era assim que ela era e ela não queria ter de mudar, por nada no mundo.

Por outro lado, numa parte completamente oposta do mundo, vivia Amo. Assim como Ama, sendo um unicórnio, apreciava as mesmas coisas e estava orgulhoso da sua independência e liberdade.

Era bastante mais velho do que Ama, mas ainda era um unicórnio macho bastante forte. No entanto, sendo macho, sempre tinha tido a necessidade de mostrar a sua força e superioridade em relação aos outros animais. Ele sempre tinha precisado de reconhecimento. Especialmente da parte dos humanos.

Ocasionalmente, deixava-os apanhá-lo e fazia-os acreditar que o tinham domado. Durante algum tempo, trabalhava nos seus campos, puxava as suas carruagens, corria nas corridas de cavalos e fazia tudo aquilo que esperavam dele, apenas para mostrar a sua superioridade e força e para apreciar a admiração dos humanos. No entanto, acabava sempre por se aborrecer e fugir, deixando o caos atrás dele. Mandava celeiros abaixo, partia cercas, pisava as colheitas em que estava a trabalhar, arranca as vinhas, tudo para mostrar aos humanos que não podia ser usado e querendo que pagassem pela crença de que podiam domá-lo. Em seguida, corria livremente pelos campos até à vez seguinte em que se deixava apanhar pelos humanos.

Com o tempo, foram-se espalhando rumores sobre Amo entre os humanos e havia muitos que, zangados, queriam apanhá-lo e puni-lo pelo rasto de destruição que deixava sempre atrás dele. Alguns diziam até que ele não era um verdadeiro unicórnio, mas um cavalo selvagem que merecia ser abatido. Para eles, os unicórnios eram criaturas graciosas, que nunca agiriam daquela maneira. Amo, no entanto, não queria saber da opinião deles. Sabia quem era e continuava a viver a vida da mesma maneira.

Depois de muitos anos, cansou-se de jogar o mesmo jogo e decidiu estabelecer-se num local onde ninguém o conhecesse, numa parte diferente do mundo, de modo a evitar os humanos para sempre. Veio para as montanhas do Alentejo, sem saber que se tinha mudado para a terra que era habituada por Ama.

Uma manhã, estava no alto de uma cumeeira, a apreciar o calor do sol matinal, quando, repentinamente, à distância, viu Ama a correr nos campos. Não podia acreditar nos seus olhos. Ela era a criatura mais bela que ele já tinha visto. Era aquela com quem ele tinha sonhado. O seu coração começou a bater com força. Ela também o viu. Ama estava igualmente excitada, mas cautelosa. Por um lado, estava contente por ver outro unicórnio. Era um pouco mais velho, mas parecia ser forte e bonito. Perguntava-se a si própria se seria possível que ele fosse aquele cuja existência ela tinha pressentido toda a vida. Não tinha a certeza se devia aproximar-se dele, pois tinha sempre receio de se desiludir.

Amo correu na direção dela. Corria velozmente, tentando impressioná-la e mostrando a sua força. Durante algum tempo, correram lado a lado, mas ao mesmo tempo iam-se examinando. A cada quilómetro, Amo aproximava-se um pouco mais. Ama continuava receosa, mas deixava-o encurtar a distância entre eles. Quando a noite chegou, encontravam-se ambos no mesmo pasto. Enquanto bebiam do mesmo ribeiro, observavam-se um ao outro com cautela.

Finalmente, Amo chegou-se a Ama. Ela estava imóvel, olhando para ele. Podiam ouvir o bater do coração um do outro. Ele tocou-lhe e deitaram-se ao lado um do outro, com os corpos a tocarem-se. Foi uma sensação gloriosa para ambos, uma sensação de realização. Uma sensação de sonhos que se tornavam realidade.

De manhã, acordaram e continuaram a correr e a andar pelos bosques, apreciando o que os rodeava, mas, acima de tudo, apreciando-se um ao outro. Ama estava verdadeiramente feliz. Finalmente, havia um unicórnio verdadeiro a seu lado, alguém que pudesse entendê-la e que não ia tentar domá-la, alguém com quem partilhar a alegria da liberdade e da criação sem limites e sem condições, alguém da mesma espécie. Ela não queria acreditar que finalmente acontecera, mas estava mesmo ali, à frente dos seus olhos. Tinha algumas dúvidas, pois tinha passado toda a vida sozinha, sendo ela o único unicórnio, mas ele estava mesmo ali, forte e real.

Amo também estava feliz. Prometeu que nunca sairia do seu lado. Pensava que estaria sempre lá para quando ela precisasse, mas Ama não queria que ele estivesse ali para ela, mas sim com ela. Nunca tinha sentido que precisasse de alguma proteção ou ajuda. Era forte o suficiente e inteligente o suficiente para tomar conta de si própria. Por tudo isto, queria estar com Amo como dois seres iguais e independentes, capazes de respeitar e apreciar a liberdade do outro. Queria partilhar com ele a grandeza do seu amor puro, assim como as experiências da natureza. Queria enriquecer-se com a presença de uma alma tão parecida com a sua e não ser restringida ou retardada por ela. Queria partilhar o afeto pelas coisas que ambos estimavam.

Bom, Amo sabia o que Ama queria e queria a mesma coisa, mas o tempo que ele tinha passado junto dos humanos tinha mudado um pouco a sua natureza. Por um lado, queria fugir com Ama até ao fim dos tempos e desfrutar da sua união na liberdade dos campos, florestas e montanhas. Por outro lado, também queria ter um sítio a que ambos pudessem chamar casa. Algures onde pudessem instalar-se e sentir o calor da sua união.

A casa que ele tinha em mente inseria-se na categoria humana. Para os unicórnios, casa era o universo no seu todo, o espaço sem fronteiras. Era a isso que Ama chamava casa. De qualquer modo, Amo era persistente. Levou-a à cumeeira que tinha descoberto. Queria construir-lhe um jardim, cheio de plantas e frutas diferentes. Ela olhou para ele, pensando que ele estava a brincar um qualquer jogo infantil. Por que haveria um unicórnio de querer um pequeno jardim no qual teria de trabalhar, quando o mundo inteiro era um jardim enorme pronto a ser explorado? Ainda assim, durante algum tempo, ela divertiu-se a planear e, até, a ajudá-lo a construir o jardim.

Sim, pensava ela, talvez, ocasionalmente, pudessem parar ali para descansar, mas assentar num único sítio era impossível – algo que ela pensava que nunca iria apreciar. Amo não percebeu que ela queria um unicórnio igualmente livre e independente, alguém que ela pudesse admirar pela sua liberdade. Ela queria dar-lhe o seu amor, mas não queria ter de sacrificar a sua liberdade. Era algo que não estava na natureza dos unicórnios. Ela seria infeliz para sempre, mas também não queria que ele sacrificasse nada pelo amor e pela união deles.

Amo pensava de maneira diferente. Pensava que se se estabelecesse num local e aí construísse uma casa, ela quereria juntar-se a ele. Demasiados anos entre os humanos tinham-lhe turvado o pensamento. Agora pensava como eles. Por isso, sacrificou a sua liberdade e estabeleceu-se na cumeeira. Queria mostrar a Ama que sacrificaria tudo pelo amor dela, até a liberdade de unicórnio, e que esperaria por ela pacientemente.

Ama aparecia ocasionalmente para passar algum tempo com Amo. Ela amava-o verdadeiramente e tinha esperança que ele percebesse a sua verdadeira natureza e que voltasse a correr livremente com ela como os unicórnios faziam, esquecendo-se definitivamente dessas ideias de casa.

No entanto, Amo era persistente e continuava na cumeeira. Ela estava cada vez menos excitada por ir ter com ele. Era só uma cumeeira, mais uma entre as muitas montanhas alentejanas. Ela começava a perder a paciência com Amo. Não percebia como é que um verdadeiro unicórnio podia comportar-se como um humano. Um verdadeiro unicórnio nunca sacrificaria a sua liberdade, nem mesmo por amor, pois a liberdade é parte do amor verdadeiro. Para os unicórnios, o amor era uma categoria incondicional. Na verdade, ela via o seu sacrifício como uma fraqueza, algo que a fazia perder o respeito por ele e não ganhar-lhe mais afeto. Tinha ouvido algumas das histórias que os humanos andavam a espalhar sobre Amo e, por vezes, perguntava-se a si própria, Que tipo de unicórnio alguma vez agiria deste modo? Talvez ele seja mesmo um cavalo selvagem a fingir que é um unicórnio. Seria possível que ela se tivesse enganado a respeito dele? Um dia, ela já não suportava mais olhar para ele dessa maneira. Ele simplesmente não parecia o unicórnio dos seus sonhos. Quase sentiu pena dele. Aquele não era o Amo que ela tinha conhecido – o unicórnio rápido e forte a correr a seu lado. Ela disse-lhe que nunca mais voltaria à cumeeira, que tinha tudo sido um erro e partiu. Estava desapontada e magoada, mas sabia que se sentiria melhor uma vez que voltasse a correr pelos campos abertos e através das florestas densas. Era o ar livre das montanhas altas que a faziam sentir-se livre. Para ela, era melhor que Amo permanecesse onde sempre tinha estado, nos seus sonhos.

Amo ficou na cumeeira, a sentir pena de si próprio e do amor perdido de Ama. Não acreditava que ela o tinha mesmo deixado. Negligenciou o seu jardim e em pouco tempo não tinha comida para comer. Durante dias não comeu, não queria comer, não queria viver. Já não se preocupava com mais nada. Só pensava no quanto precisava de Ama. Finalmente, percebeu que tinha cometido um grande erro. Tudo o que ela queria dele era que fosse aquilo que era, um verdadeiro unicórnio. Estava zangado consigo próprio por ter agido como um humano. Como podia ter sido tão estúpido?

Enquanto ele passava dias deitado na cumeeira, os humanos do vale, que andavam à sua procura para o castigar, deram pela sua presença. Começaram a subir a colina, cada vez mais ansiosos por fazê-lo pagar pelas suas más ações. Ele viu-os a aproximarem-se. Não tinha a certeza se devia fugir ou ficar e enfrentar o seu destino, até algo dentro dele lhe dizer para saltar e correr, para tentar ser um verdadeiro unicórnio. Talvez um dia, não interessava quando, voltasse a encontrar Ama e, então, poderia mostrar-lhe que ele era o tal: um verdadeiro unicórnio, o unicórnio dos seus sonhos.

Levantou-se devagar. Não podia descer a colina, porque seria encurralado pelos humanos. A sua única hipótese era saltar daquela cumeeira para outra cumeeira, por cima da ravina funda. Calculou a distância. Costumava fazer saltos muito maiores no passado. Ia conseguir, pensou ele, e saltou. Os seus músculos estavam fracos e o seu corpo já não era aquilo que costumava ser. Além disso, os dias passados deitado, sem água nem comida, tinham cobrado o seu preço. Ele não conseguiu alcançar a outra cumeeira, caiu no fundo da ravina e acabou por morrer aí.

Quando os humanos chegaram à beira da ravina, viram o seu corpo inerte e ensanguentado no fundo. Um deles disse, ”Bom, estavam certos. No fim de contas, ele não era um unicórnio, apenas um cavalo selvagem que teve o destino merecido. Um verdadeiro unicórnio teria conseguido saltar esta distância.”

Anos mais tarde, no sítio onde ele tinha caído, surgiu uma nascente na rocha com uma abundância de água extremamente pura e fresca. Os habitantes locais falavam das propriedades mágicas da água, que curava muitas doenças. Alguns habitantes lembravam-se que o unicórnio tinha caído e morrido naquele local e ligando as duas coisas, deram à nascente o nome de “Nascente de Amo” e ao desfiladeiro o nome de “Desfiladeiro de Amo”. Alguns dizem que era assim que ele quereria, que sempre tinha almejado pelo reconhecimento humano. Agora, tinha-o finalmente, para sempre.

Ocasionalmente, as pessoas juravam que viam Ama a descer o desfiladeiro para ir beber água à nascente de Amo. Mas eram apenas histórias. As pessoas gostavam de contos de fadas.

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Amo’s Gorge - A Story About The Last Unicorn

Thoughts & QuotesPosted by Stevan Mon, May 30, 2016 00:37:27

The unicorn is a legendary animal that has been described since antiquity as a horse-like animal with a large, pointed, spiraling horn sticking out from its forehead. It was usually described as a very wild forest creature, a symbol of purity, grace, and independence, which could only be captured by a virgin. It was believed in the old times that its horn had the power to turn poisoned water drinkable and to heal sickness. According to the legend, there were many unicorns inhabiting the earth centuries ago, but slowly, under the advance and pressure of the human civilization, they disappeared.

In the mountains of Southern Portugal, somewhere in the region of Alentejo, there is a ravine called “Amo’s gorge.” I was there some time ago and heard from the locals the story about the last unicorn called Amo. According to the story, there were really two unicorns. Male Amo and female Ama, but nobody could tell me what happened to Ama. Some believe that she is still somewhere around running through forests and over the meadows. At least, that is what the legend says.

This is how the story goes. Some three hundred years ago, there were two last unicorns left in the world. Male called Amo and female called Ama. They really didn’t know each other because they inhabited different lands, but they felt each other’s existence. Often, they would dream of each other and felt some strange longing, like they belonged together. But, life was going on and they lived their lives separately never expecting that they would ever meet.

Ama was a young unicorn, happy with her being, proud of her independence and freedom. She often looked at other animals wondering why they allowed humans to tame them and use them. She couldn’t understand them. She enjoyed every bit of nature that surrounded her. She loved wild flowers, cold streams, deep and mysterious woods, sounds of wind in the trees, and the music of birds. She could only feel complete feeling the land, roaming over mountains and through valleys. She felt the wholeness of creation. She knew that she was one of the most majestic living creatures still around and she was proud of it.

Once in a while, humans would see her running over lands and they admired her beauty and grace. Of course, they wanted to catch her and tame her, but she would never allow that. She enjoyed their admiration and liked to play with them. She really enjoyed the attention they were giving her. So, sometimes, Ama would even let some humans come close and touch her, manipulating their senses, just so they could feel that she was real and not a dream. Then she would run away, leaving them wondering what happened, and often, leaving them sad for the missed opportunity to catch such a precious animal.

She wasn’t sure what she felt about people, but she was sure that she never wanted to give up her freedom and the wholeness and happiness that she felt running aimlessly through the wilderness. It was who she was, and she didn’t want to change, not for anything in the world.

On the other side, in a completely other part of the world, lived Amo. He was a different story. Like Ama, being a unicorn, he loved all the same things and was proud of his independence and freedom.

He was quite older than Ama, but still a very strong male unicorn. But being male, he always had a need to prove his strength and superiority over other animals. He always needed a recognition for who he was. Especially from humans.

Occasionally, he would allow them to catch him and make them believe that they tamed him. For a while he would work on their fields, pull their carriages, run in the horse races, and do everything they asked from him, just to show his superiority and strength and to enjoy admiration by humans. But then, he would get bored by it and run away always leaving damage behind him. He would knock down barns, break fences, run over crops he was working on, pull out vines, always wanting to show to humans that he can’t be used, wanting them to pay for the belief that he could be tamed. Then he would run free over lands until the next time he would allow humans to catch him.

Over time the word spread around among humans of Amo and many very angry humans were trying to catch him and punish him for the damage he was always leaving behind him. Some were even claiming that he was not a real unicorn, but just a wild horse who deserved to be put down. For them, unicorns were gracious beings, who would never have acted like him. Amo didn’t care about their opinion. He knew who he was and continued running through life the same way.

After many years, he got tired of the game he played and decided to settle somewhere where nobody knew him, in different part of the world, so he could avoid humans forever. He came to the mountains of Alentejo, not knowing that he moved to the lands that Ama was inhabiting.

One morning, he was standing on a high ridge, enjoying the warmth of the early morning sun, when suddenly in the distance he saw Ama running over the fields. He couldn’t believe his eyes. She was the most beautiful creature he ever saw. She was the one from his dreams. His heart started pounding fast. She saw him too. Ama was equally excited, but cautious. On one side, she was happy to see another unicorn. He was a bit old, but still appeared strong and handsome. She was asking herself if it were possible that he was the one whose existence she sensed all her life. She wasn’t sure if she should come closer. She was always afraid of being disappointed.

Amo ran to her direction. He was running fast, trying to impress her and show his strength. For a while, they were running parallel, but in the distance examining each other. By each mile, Amo was coming closer and closer. Ama was still afraid, but she was allowing him to shorten their distance. In the evening they came to the same meadow. They were drinking water from the same spring carefully observing each other.

Finally, Amo came to Ama. She wasn’t moving. She just looked at him. They could hear each other’s heart. He touched her. They laid next to each other with their bodies touching. It was a glorious feeling for both of them. A sense of completion. Of dreams come true.

In the morning, they woke up and continued running and walking through the woods enjoying the surroundings and more than anything, enjoying each other. Ama was really happy. At last, a real unicorn was next to her, somebody that could understand her. Somebody that would not try to tame her. Somebody to share in the joy of freedom and of creation without limits and without conditions. Somebody of the same kind. She couldn’t believe that it would ever have happened, but it seemed that it was right here, in front of her eyes. She still had her doubts, being all her life by herself, the only unicorn. But he was here, strong and true.

Amo was also happy. He promised never to leave her side. He thought that he would always be there for her, but Ama didn’t want him to be there for her, but with her. She never felt that she needed any protection or help. She was strong enough and wise enough to care for herself. She wanted to be with Amo as two equal independent beings, respecting and enjoying each other’s freedom. She wanted to share the greatness of her pure love, the experiences of nature. She wanted to be enriched by the presence of the same soul, not restricted or slowed down by it. She wanted to share the affection for the things they both cherished.

Well, Amo knew what Ama wanted. He wanted the same thing, but the time he spent around humans changed him a little. On one hand, he wanted to run with Ama to the end of time, and enjoy their togetherness in the freedom of open fields, forests and mountains. On the other hand, he also wanted to have a place that would be their home. Somewhere, where they could settle and feel the warmth of their togetherness.

The home that he was thinking about was a human category. For unicorns, home was the whole of universe. Space without boundaries. That was what Ama called home. Anyway, Amo was persistent. He took her to the ridge he discovered. He wanted to make a garden for her, full of different fruits and plants. She looked at him thinking that he was playing a childish game. Why would unicorns ever want a small garden to work in when the world was a huge garden ready to be explored. Nevertheless, for a while, she enjoyed in planning, even helping him make the garden.

Yes, she was thinking, maybe once in a while, they could stop there and rest, but for her settling somewhere was an impossible thing—something that she thought she would never enjoy. Amo failed to realize that she wanted an equally independent and free unicorn. Somebody that she can admire for his freedom. She wanted to give him her love, but she didn’t want to sacrifice her liberty. It was not the nature of unicorns. She would be unhappy forever and she didn’t want him to sacrifice anything for their love and togetherness either.

Amo was of a different mind. He thought if he settled down, and built a home, that she would join him. Too many years spent with the humans had blurred his mind. He was thinking like the humans. So, he sacrificed his freedom and settled on the ridge. He wanted to show Ama that he would sacrifice anything for her love, even the freedom of a unicorn. He was waiting for her patiently.

Ama would come once in a while and spend time with Amo. She truly loved him and she hoped that he would realize his true nature and continue to run around with her as unicorns should, and forget those ideas of home.

But Amo was persistent and kept remaining on the ridge. She was getting less and less excited to go there. It was just a ridge, one of many in the mountains of Alentejo. She was losing her patience with Amo. She couldn’t understand how a true unicorn could act like a human. A true unicorn would never sacrifice his freedom, not even for love. Freedom is a part of true love. For unicorns, love was an unconditional category. She actually saw his sacrifice as a weakness, something that made him lose her respect and not gain her love. She heard some of the stories that humans were spreading around about Amo, and sometimes, she was asking herself, What kind of unicorn would ever act like that? Maybe he is really some wild horse pretending to be a unicorn. Is it possible that she made a mistake about him? One day, she couldn’t look at him like that anymore. He didn’t appear as the unicorn from her dreams. She almost felt sorry for him. That was not Amo that she first met—the fast and strong unicorn running with her shoulder to shoulder. She told him she would not come back anymore to the ridge and that everything was a mistake. And she left. She was disappointed and hurt, but she knew that nothing would lower her spirits once she was back running over open fields and through deep woods. It was the open air of the high mountains that made her feel alive. For her, it was better if Amo remained as he was, just in her dreams.

Amo stayed on the ridge feeling sorry for himself and for the lost love of Ama. He couldn’t believe that she really left him. He neglected his garden and soon he had no food left. He didn’t eat for days. He didn’t want to eat. He didn’t want to live. He didn’t care about anything anymore. All he was thinking was how he needed Ama. Finally, he realized what a big mistake he made. All she wanted from him was to be who he was, a true unicorn. He was angry with himself for acting like a human. How could he be so stupid?

As he was laying for days on the ridge, humans from the valley who were trying to find him and punish him, noticed him there. They started advancing up the hill, getting more and more eager to make him pay for his bad deeds. He looked at them approaching. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to run or stay there and wait for his destiny, but something inside him told him that he should jump and run. That he should try to be a true unicorn. Maybe one day, it didn’t matter when, Ama would meet him again. He will show her that he is the one: a true unicorn. He was the unicorn from her dreams.

He stood up slowly. He couldn’t go down the hill. Humans were closing in on his escape route. The only way was to jump from the ridge to another ridge over the deep ravine. He looked at the distance. He used to jump further than that before. He would make it, he thought. Then he jumped. But his muscles were weak and his body wasn’t what it used to be. Days spent laying down without food and water took their toll on him. He didn’t make it to the next ridge. He fell into a deep ravine and died there.

Humans came to the edge of the ridge looking down at his motionless and bloody body. One of them said, “Well, they were right. After all, he was not a unicorn, just a wild horse who met his deserved destiny. A real unicorn would jump this distance.”

Years later, at the place he fell, a spring broke out from the rock with an abundance of extremely pure and fresh water. Local people were talking about the magical properties of the water that was healing many illnesses. Some local people remembered that a unicorn fell and died there and connected those two things, so they named the spring, “ Amo’s Spring” and they named the gorge, “Amo’s Gorge.” Some say, it was just as he would want it. He always craved human recognition. Now, he finally had it forever.

Once in a while, people swore that they saw Ama coming down to the gorge to drink water from Amo’s Spring. But those were only stories. People like fairytales.

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The Point within a Circle

Thoughts & QuotesPosted by Stevan Mon, May 30, 2016 00:32:04

One of the trade secrets of medieval stonemasons was “proving of the square” by use of the “point within a circle”. Indeed, if we make a circle, then draw the line through its center cutting the circle in half, at any point of the circumference which we would connect with these two points where line cuts the circle, we would form an angle of the square.

The point within a circle is one of the most powerful esoteric symbols. Its importance is not only in antiquity, which we may trace, neither in the bond between metaphysics and natural sciences, which this symbol makes, but also in many rich meanings, which a student of the Hermetic philosophy may read from it. As Manly Hall, in his book The Secret Teachings of All Ages, stated: ”The keys to all knowledge are contained in the dot, the line and the circle. The dot is universal consciousness, the line is universal intelligence, and the circle is universal force - the threefold, unknowable Cause to all known existence.”

Although undefined in geometry, a point can be described as indicating location with no size.

Nothing exists without a center. From the nucleus of an atom, the center of planet Earth, the Sun in the solar system to the black hole in the center of the Galaxy, everything has a center. Even the abstract idea has a center because we consider it “pointless” if there is not a center holding it together. The fixed point is called the center of a circle. At times, it is synonymous with the circumference, just as circumference (distance around the circle) is often equated with the circular movement. It is very often an emblem of the Sun, or it stands for Heaven, perfection, or Eternity. Psychological study asserts that the discovery of the circle in humans arrives at the age when the child discovers himself (“I am”), and distinguishes himself from others. According to Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961), ”a circle represents the ultimate state of Oneness”. To the ancient Greek philosophers, the circle was the symbol of the number One, since it was the source of all subsequent shapes. They called it MONAD, from Greek “monas” (oneness).

A circle, understood as a circumference, is a symbol of adequate limitation and of the inner unity of all matter and universal harmony. Enclosing beings, objects, or figures within a circumference has a double meaning: from within, it implies limitation and definition; from without, it represents the defense of the content of a circle against disintegration and chaos.

Origins of the point within a circle, as is the case with many other ancient symbols, are lost in the mists of antiquity. A point within a circle was the Egyptian, Chinese and Mayan Glyph for “light”. In many ancient myths and modern scientific theories about the beginning of the Universe, the universal creation process begins with the expansion from a Divine Center, or from the Big Bang, as in the very first words of God in Genesis “Let there be Light”. On early Egyptian monuments the circle can be found with two letters in the center of it and bordered by two parallel serpents symbolizing wisdom and power. According to some scholars, the letters in the center stand for “beginning” and “end”, indicative of God or Creator. Some other similar Egyptian symbols known to us are ANANTA (meaning “eternity”) – a serpent in the form of a circle biting its tale, and CRUX ANSATA - a cross within a circle, symbolizing eternal life.

In Hindu mythology, Brahma speaks aloud the word AHM -“I AM”, a word made of the first, middle and last letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, which represents the circle’s three parts: the center, the radius, and the circumference. The point represents our own spiritual center or God within us; the radius - our mental and rational limits of understanding of God and the circle the sphere of our material existence. We can find the “point within a circle” as a symbol of “Phallus” in some old Indian legends. In many countries around the world, remains of ancient temples consisting of stones placed in circle can be found, with a single stone in the center. Although, the explanations of the real purpose of these temples are still controversial, these are usually connected with Sun worship practices in some cultures. The best known examples are Druidic Temples in Great Britain.

In the Kabala, the point represents YOD, the creative knowledge of God, and the circle the space in which He creates. The two parallel lines are symbols of justice and mercy of God. They are equal and upright because they are regulated by His perfect Wisdom. Christian theologian Lucian (c.240-312) wrote in the third century: “God makes himself known to the world; he fills up the whole circle of the universe, but makes his particular abode in the center, which is the soul of the just”.

This symbol appeared in the Masonic ritual work, most likely, early in the 18th Century. The first Masonic record mentioning a point within a circle was Prichard’s “Masonry Dissected”. Today, it is mentioned, either in the lecture of the First degree, or in the opening of the Third degree in most of the Rituals. By tracing the development of this symbol through different cultures around the world from time immemorial, we learn of various understandings of its meaning. There are three elements constantly present in all of the stories: God, Man and the Universe.

When we think about God, we often refer to Him as Creator of all things, Great Architect of the Universe, the One with many names, Divine Omnipresence or Ultimate Cause of Everything. If one would have to present graphically or to draw a picture that would represent God or the Ultimate Cause, and be understood and accepted as such by all human beings what would that picture look like? Is it possible to express the infinite nature of God by drawing a point within a circle on a blank sheet of paper? Many accept this possibility because they perceive Him as being the center of existence, with the whole existence emanating from His creative power. One can understand it as God or as the Big Bang, but it is still there and still the Absolute Force, or Power or Spirit that created the Universe- the point within a circle.

Is there any better way visually to present the Universe than by using a point within a circle? Through the ages this has been the prime choice of Philosophers, Magicians, Artists, Alchemists, and Scientists. The origin of the word Universe is Latin unus versum, meaning “one turn”. The human mind is incapable of fully comprehending time and space without the help of this symbol, which exists because of man’s effort to visualize more perfectly immeasurable and infinite that Universe represents.

Finally, we come to a Human being, the point within its own circle of existence. This circle is one’s family, neighbors, fellow workmen, community; all that surrounds one in the warm light of the Summer Solstice and cold light of the Winter Solstice, represented by two parallel lines. But then, a person is the eternal circle itself, trying to place in the center and keep in balance, the hidden point within, which then creates the puzzle, how can one draw a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere?

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