Excerpt (IAM)

May 5, 2017

The Hounds of Hel

“Your grandfather wishes to speak to you,” said my friend Rita. “He says to tell you Barney is with him.” She giggled. “That’s an odd name. Is that an American name?”

“Barney was my childhood dog,” I replied. It is also the name of President George W. Bush’s Scottish terrier and the name of a well-known children’s character. It became a popular dog name, but few had heard of the purple dinosaur or Bush Jr. when Rita gave me this psychic reading. I was way ahead of the canine Barney craze.

“Did you really name your dog Barnabas Collins?” the kids at my school asked incredulously when I got my first puppy. It seemed over the top to everyone, but I was the #1 fan of the vampire soap opera, and I later mourned the demise of Dark Shadows almost as much as the death of Barney.

Rita was relaying messages from my grandfather, who had recently died. He was considered a difficult man by most, a curmudgeon even when young, but he had always been good to me. He related better to dogs than to people and formed a close attachment to the dogs of all his children and grandchildren. I had always felt uneasy about being away from home when Barney died, and it relieved me greatly to know that my grandfather was watching over him in the spirit world.

When I gave Barney that unfortunate name, I did not understand just how much dogs and vampires have in common. Dogs, like vampires, belong to this world and to the land of the dead. They have a predatory aspect and are associated with blood. They incite fear. But unlike vampires, who operate as rogue agents, dogs are yoked to a greater authority. They are emissaries from the otherworld, sent to portend the end of life, protect us from untimely death, and guide us on the final passage.

Excerpt (DAG)

May 3, 2017
Mistresses of Prophecy

The Thriae (pronounced THREE-eye) are from the Aegean islands or possibly Anatolia. They have bee bodies and women’s heads, and they are covered in pollen.

The sun knew nothing but the time of day, until on a certain island, along a certain mountain slope, beside a certain pond, three powerful sisters emerged. These were the Thriae, the bee maidens, who could read the future in the shapes of clouds, the flight of birds, and the patterns on the water. They could hear the voices of tiny stones. They could read the history of mountains, understand the stories of trees, and decipher the music of insects. By consulting the three sisters the sun could not only measure time but also understand what it contained.

For a long time this remained proprietary knowledge, because it is the nature of the sun to witness but not to speak. But the observant crow, who can steal anything and keeps no one’s secrets, learned about the bee maidens from watching the sun and told anyone who would listen. All the people of the island could now ask the three maidens anything, knowing they would have the answer.

The bee sisters became capricious in response to the crow’s treachery. They told correct answers, wrong answers, conflicting answers. They gave one response in the morning and reversed themselves in the afternoon.

So as with any miffed and temperamental creatures, the Thriae must be approached in the right way, lest they respond in the wrong way. They must be sweetened with presents and kind words, and still they will not favor everyone. The maidens who wallow in the pollen know everything, however, so it is worth your while to coax them into truthful prophecy, if you can.