♦I was born on the side of a mountain. This was another life, not this one.
We lived toward the top of the craggy peak and the sun would cast shadows through the clouds that were long and dark with flecks of rainbow light. It was the highest mountain in the region and my father was a shaman. My mother was his witch. Near the cave we lived in there was a flat rocky space, large and open to the wide and miraculous tibetan sky.
This was a very important place because it was the village sky burial grounds where the final offering was given by the corpse, back to the sky and the earth- the descending and hungry vultures would circle above then swoop down and feast upon the body that had been chopped up and wrapped tightly in white cloth.
My father loved the mountain and my mother drew her power from the sobbing and goodbyes. I loved the vultures and as a child would play in the burial grounds waiting for them to land and walk over to me. When they were eating, we would play tug of war with the entrails. I would laugh and laugh. They were so much fun.
Their eyes were gold and their feathers were soft and shimmery and when they would feast upon the carcass they would make sounds similar to a pig squealing. I gave them names and they were my only friends. I loved the vultures so much.
My father taught me to pray but I didn’t. My mother taught me magic but I didn’t care at all.
I just wanted to return to the burial ground and play with my vulture friends or build things with the sparkling white bones scattered everywhere. I even built a little tent with the bones -that I wrapped the bloody white shredded corpse cloths around. I would stay there all day and as long into the night as I could until my mother would come yelling my name “Dawa! Dawa!”
(Dawa means Moon)
So this went on for years and I was mostly happy. The day came though when I was 13 that my parents sold me to a man to be his wife.
I hated him. And I hated my parents. Everyday I would sit in my teepee plotting to run away, murder my new husband or my parents or both-
I didn’t know, I just didn’t want to be married and also since he lived in the next village I would have to leave my birds. So I did something my father taught me, I prayed for the first time.
And I sat and I prayed all day and all night for the 3 weeks leading up to the wedding. 4 days before the wedding there was a huge avalanche one sunny morning. The sun had just risen and I was outside with the vultures. My parents were still sleeping and there was this thunderous sound and suddenly with no warning at all huge rocks and boulders came bouncing and rolling down the mountain side destroying everything in their wake.
And a huge boulder fell covering the cave opening and another 3-4 boulders fell inside the narrow entrance between two mountains where visitors could enter to either visit my family or take a corpse to be eaten. It was all blocked completely. Nobody could get in and nobody could get out. The boulders were so gigantic it would take forever to find a way to move them.
I was all alone and a little cut up and bruised from chips of sharp rocks and pebbles exploding as they hit the mountain walls and ground. I felt sad that my parents would die and it crossed my mind that my prayers could have caused this. I didn’t ask for an avalanche but my father always told me that the great spirit answers prayers in mysterious ways.
So I would live alone now. Just me and the vultures and I wouldn’t have to get married. I ate berries and worms and drank water from a nearby waterfall. I stayed in the burial ground all day just watching the birds and feeling the sky.
There was a huge pile of white bones that I turned into a shrine to the angel that had answered my prayers. Things were going well.
After a few years of perfect peace I would sometimes get this strange feeling that I was being watched and I would look up to the mountain peaks but saw nothing. After some time I started growing paranoid as the feeling of being watched was growing stronger.
Late one full moon night while I lie sleeping in my tent I heard the flapping of wings, then I heard a heavy swooping noise and a shriek. There was a cacophony of chaos amidst the birds as I opened the flap to my tent and stepped outside.
The white light of the moon had disappeared and the sky was pitch black just for a moment as a huge shadow figure with wings swooped across Her face. I also noticed that somebody was riding the flying shadow. And it came closer and the shadow was a giant 30 foot vulture with deep golden eyes and a red throat.
And seated upon him was a man about 8 feet tall and he wore a dark cape with a hood and on top of the hood was the head of a vulture with beaming jewel eyes. He had a tail like a snake whipping behind him- otherwise, he looked exactly like a man. His eyes were luminous and dark. His eyes were heavy lidded and he reminded me of my father who had been a shaman.
The birds gathered around him as he dismounted his ride and as he walked towards me all the birds followed and then formed a huge circle around us. He said, “who are you?”
It was dark enough that I could still hide my face and I just stood silent.
He thrust out his arm and pointed his finger at the ground and flames shot up and a bonfire lit my appearance. In the light of the fire he looked at me and when he saw my face he smiled, then looked me up and down and then turned around and walked away into the night, into the swarm of worshipping vultures just beyond the trees.
I went back inside my tent and sat down and tried to figure out what I’d just seen and who he was. After an hour or two I couldn’t take it anymore so I quietly snuck out of my tent and went to find him.
Out beyond the trees another bonfire had formed and He was in front of it floating about 4 feet off the ground -and seated before him were the ugliest and most horrifying creatures you have ever seen. Demons. And the vultures were circling the sky above them in perfect form.
Suddenly he yelled, “You! Come over here!” and he turned his head and looked at me.
I was in shock and so I did what he said. He had a very magnetic power that made you want to obey him. When I was standing in front of him he pulled me by my arm closer into him and said,
“Look at Her! Do you see Her!”
The demons sat gawking.
He said to me, “take off your skin”
and so I did.
He said, “get in the fire.”
and so I did.
He said, ” breath smoke”
and so I did.
He said, “kiss me with your flames”
and so I did, licking his face from afar
He said, “peel back the layers of flesh from your bones.”
and so I did.
He said, “love me with all of your bones.”
and so I did, and it was magical.
He said, “get on my back”
and so I did.
He said to the demons,
“She is the sky you eat. She is the night you avenge. She is the moon that I have cast over you. She is my body and my thoughts.”
And he opened His wings and we flew through the smoky sky.
I heard my mother cry “Dawa come home!”
I saw my father casting spells.
I knew he was my angel.
I knew I was a weapon in His hands.
And we contorted into One upon the back of the bird. And his wings kept us warm. And we plunged to the bottom of the earth. And the serpent entered the crystal cave.
And the waters that flow deep in the womb.
And the ashes that rise from volcanic fire.
And the bones that carry the sky in her heart.
Became the Rising Sun in Dawa.