It was Midsummer's eve, and I was sleepy. It had taken some time to walk to this sacred place, and now I was there, the wild grass beneath my feet, and the ancient stone of the dolmen below me. I sat down to rest. The air was heavy with the sweet scent of heather, and the sun was gentle and warm, and the peace and calm of the surroundings drew me softly into slumber.
And in my sleep, I could see the clouds moving backwards across the sky, and night and day followed in a succession of swift, flickering images. Within an instant, the dolmen was unbuilt and had gone, and the sea rose and fell a hundred feet or more, and the trees and a valley stretched out where there had been sea.
Faster and faster the ages seemed to pass, until the earth convulsed in volcanic fire, and I was flung into space from the primeval earth. I was drifting, floating in space, watching the birth of the solar system, and yet I felt no fear, only a sense of peace. And I watched the earth as unformed to become scattered dust, and the sun reduce in brightness until its fires had also too ceased, and it too had been unborn.
Then I felt dizzy at the speed at which time was unfolding, so that I closed my eyes, and presently I felt that this strange motion of time had ceased, and I opened my eyes, and beheld complete emptiness, a dark formless space, with not the slightest spark of light. And I heard a voice, like a whisper, speaking.
In the beginning was the void,
And the void was without form or substance
And outside the void was light
But the light had withdrawn herself
And created the void
She had made the womb of creation
A space where there was no light
And light was concealed
And there was only a darkness of the void
Into which whole worlds could come into being
And suddenly there was a sharp sound, a pure note ringing as if someone had plucked a string from a harp, and the sound gradually faded. This resonated throughout the void, and I when I looked, I now saw a faint glimmer of light. By that light, I could see a crystalline surface of ten strange vessels, vast beyond imagination, the size of a million galaxies, floating in the void.
What were these vast artifacts? How had they been brought into being? I could not see all of them, for they were still dim. But I knew that something incredible was waiting to be known.
And as I pondered these questions, the voice whispered once more:
Through my word have created the vessels
And through my word these will be filled with light
Here is the beginning of all things
By these ten vessels shall all be created,
By wisdom and by understanding
By reason and by strength
By rebuke and by might
By righteousness and by judgment
By loving kindness and compassion
These are the gates of creation
The doors to all knowledge
And as I watched, the vessels began to pulse and glow with light, ever brighter and brighter, until I could barely see the incandescent shapes though half closed eyes. And they were full of such beauty and goodness that I could barely look upon them.
But then another tone sounded, a discordant ringing, and at this sound, seven of the vessels shook, and could no longer contain the light that welled within them. There was a great noise, and I was deafened, as the vessels shattered, and shards of light and dark flew out into the void, twisting and turning, and I shut my eyes briefly, blinded by this explosion, as the universe convulsed and ruptured.
In my vision, I realised that before the stars, before the planets, before all history, and all time, the stars themselves had blazed out in a cosmic explosion, coming into being as the primordial vessels of creation shattered.
When I opened my eyes again, I saw the shards of light and dark coalescing, forming the galaxies, and time moved onwards, swiftly, and the planets also formed from the swirling patterns of star dust. And I saw again the earth, burning with the heat of early fires erupting from the ground, then a white snowball in space, and finally the blue planet that I recognised as my home.
And I felt a stirring breeze, as the Midsummer sun began to set, and the warmth was leaving the land, and I knew I had awakened from this strange dream.
I opened my eyes and stood up, at this wonderful world which came from the stuff of stars, looking at the ancient stones, and the far distant shores below where the tide was rising, and the lush green trees on the hills around. Here was my birthplace, the only world in which I knew with certainty that the matter of the cosmos had become alive and aware.
But here was also scattered among this world, in its beauty and its grace, the sparks of light from the shattered vessels of creation, and I knew that these had become broken, displaced, obscured. And the voice whispered in the breeze once more:
Gather up the sparks of light
Do what is right and just
And heal the fractured world
With acts of knowledge and wisdom,
Understanding and love
Justice and compassion and beauty,
From the ashes a fire shall be woken
a light from the shadows shall spring
And that which is lost shall be restored.
And as I stood there, the sun set below the horizon, and one by one, the stars came out. And I was filled with joy.
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