(The Sorcerers’ Crossing by Taisha Abelar)
“Let’s go into the house. I have something to show you.”
“What do you have to show me, Emilito?” I asked, remembering the time he had wanted to show me something in his room and I had refused to follow him.
The name Emilito suited him to perfection.
He had become a most cherished being to me, just like Manfred.
One of the lofty insights I had received while perched in the high branches of a tree was that Emilito was not human at all.
Whether he had once been a human being and the recapitulation had wiped all that away, I could only speculate.
His non-humanness was a barrier that impeded anyone from crossing over to him for a subjective exchange.
No average person could ever enter into what Emilito thought, felt or witnessed.
But if Emilito so desired, he could cross over to any of us and share with us our subjective states.
His nonhumanness was something I had sensed from the first time I encountered him at the kitchen door.
Now I was able to be at ease with him; and although I was still separated by that barrier, I could marvel at his achievement.
I asked Emilito again, since he hadn’t answered me, what he was going to show me. “What I have to show is of ultimate importance,” he said:
“But how you will see it will depend on you. It will depend on whether you have acquired the silence and balance of the trees.”
We hurriedly walked across the dark patio to the house.
I followed him through the hallway to the door of his room.
It made me doubly nervous to see him stand there for a long moment and take deep breaths as if to compose himself for what was to come.
“All right, let’s go in,” he said, gently tugging the sleeve of my shirt:
“A word of caution.”
“Don’t stare at anything in the room. Look at whatever you want, but scan the things lightly, using only quick glances.”
He opened the door and we entered his extravagant room.
Living in the trees had made me completely forget the first time I had walked into that room the day Clara and Nelida had left.
Now I was again startled by the bizarre objects that filled it.
The first things I saw were four floor lamps; one at the center of each wall. I couldn’t even begin to conceive what kind of lamps they were. The room and everything in it was illuminated by an eerie, mellow amber light.
I was familiar enough with electrical equipment to know that no standard light bulb, even if it were seen through a lampshade made of the most unusual tissue, could ever give off that kind of light.
I felt Emilito take my arm to help me step over a foot-high fence that parceled a small square area in the southwest corner of the room.
“Welcome to my cave,” he said with a grin as we stepped into the partitioned area.
In that square there was a long table half hidden by a black curtain, and a row of four most unusual looking chairs.
Each chair had a high solid oval back that curved around the body; and instead of legs had a seemingly solid round base.
All four chairs were facing the wall.
“Don’t stare,” Emilito reminded me as he helped me to sit down on one of the chairs.
I noticed that they were made of some sort of plastic material. The round seat was cushioned, although I couldn’t tell how.
It was hard as wood, but it had a springiness that gave way when I moved up and down on the seat. The chair also swiveled as I moved sideways.
The oval back, which seemed to wrap itself around my back, was also cushioned but equally hard. All the chairs were painted with a vivid cerulean blue.
Emilito sat in the chair next to me.
He swiveled his chair around to face the center of the room, and in an unusually strained voice, he told me to swivel around also.
When I did, I let out a guttural gasp.
The room I had crossed a moment ago had disappeared.
Instead, I was staring at a vast flat space, illuminated by a peach-colored glow.
The room now extended out into seemingly infinite space right before my very eyes. The horizon in my view was jet black.
I gasped again for I had a hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach.
I felt the floor was moving out from under my feet and I was being pulled into that space. I no longer felt the swivel chair underneath me, although I was still sitting on it. I heard Emilito say, “Let’s swivel back again.”
However, I had no strength to make the chair turn.
He must have done it for me, for I suddenly found myself looking at the corner of the room again. “Incredible, wouldn’t you say?” Emilito asked, smiling.
I was incapable of uttering a single word or asking questions I knew had no answers.
After a minute or two, Emilito made my chair swivel around once more, to give me another eyeful of infinity.
I found the immensity of that space so terrifying that I closed my eyes. I felt him turning the chair around again.
“Now get off the chair,” he said.
Automatically I obeyed him and stood there shaking involuntarily, trying to get my voice back. He bodily turned me around to make me face the room.
Gripped with fear, I stubbornly or wisely refused to open my eyes.
Emilito gave me a sound rap on the top of my head with his knuckle which made my eyes pop open. To my relief, the room was not black endless space, but the way it had been when I walked in.
Discarding his admonitions to only look in glances, I stared at every one of those unidentifiable objects.
“Please, Emilito, tell me, what is all this?” I asked.
“I am merely the caretaker,” Emilio said. “All this is under my care.” He swept his hand over the room:
“But I’ll be damned if I know what it is.
“In fact, none of us knows what this is. We inherited it with the house from my teacher, the nagual Julian, and he inherited it from his teacher, the nagual Ellas, who had also inherited it.”
“This looks like some sort of backstage prop room,” I said, “but this is an illusion, isn’t it, Emilito?”
“This is sorcery!
“You can perceive it now, because you’ve freed enough energy to expand your perception. Anyone can perceive it provided they have stored enough energy.”
“The tragedy is that most of our energy is trapped in nonsensical concerns. The recapitulation is the key.”
“It releases that trapped energy and voilà. You see infinity right in front of your eyes.” I laughed when Emilito said ‘voilà‘ because it was so incongruous and unexpected.
Laughing alleviated some of my tension.
All I could say was, “But is all this real, Emilito, or am I dreaming?”
“You are dreaming, but all this is real. It is so real that it can kill us by disintegrating us.”
I couldn’t rationally account for what I was seeing, thus there was no way I could either believe or doubt my perception. My dilemma was insurmountable and so was my panic.
Emilito moved closer to me.
He whispered, “Sorcery is more than black cats and naked people dancing in a graveyard at midnight; putting hexes on other people.”
“Sorcery is cold, abstract, impersonal.”
“That’s why we call the act of perceiving it ‘the sorcerers’ crossing,’ or ‘the flight to the abstract.’ To withstand its awesome pull we have to be strong and determined.”
“It is not for the timid or weak-hearted: This is what the nagual Julian used to say.”
My interest was so intense that it forced me to listen with unequalled concentration to every word Emilito was saying.
All the while, my eyes were riveted to those objects in the room. My conclusion was that none of them was real.
Yet, since I was obviously perceiving them, it made me wonder if I too wasn’t real; or if I was concocting them.
It was not that they were indescribable, they were simply unrecognizable to my mind.
“Now prepare yourself for the sorcerers’ flight,” Emilito said:
“Hold on to me for dear life. Grab my belt if you have to or climb on my back piggyback fashion, but whatever you do, do not let go.”
Before I could even ask him what he intended next, he maneuvered my walking around the chair, and made me sit down facing the wall.
Then he swiveled the chair ninety degrees so that I was once again looking at the center of the room; at that terrifying infinite space.
He helped me stand up by holding my waist, and he made me take a few steps into infinity. I found it almost impossible to walk. My legs seemed to weigh a ton. I felt Emilito pushing and lifting me up.
Suddenly an immense force sucked me in and I was no longer walking but gliding in space. Emilito was gliding alongside me.
I remembered his warning and I grabbed onto his belt; in the nick of time too, because just then another surge of energy made me accelerate at top speed.
I yelled at him to stop me.
Quickly he eased me onto his back and I held on for dear life. I squeezed my eyes shut, but that made no difference.
I saw the same vastness before me whether my eyes were open or closed.
We were soaring in something that wasn’t air. It was not over the earth, either.
My greatest fear was that a monumental burst of energy was going to make me lose my hold on Emilito’s back.
I fought with all my might to hang on, and maintain my grip and my concentration. It all ended as abruptly as it had begun.
I was jolted by another blast of energy, and I found myself drenched in perspiration standing by the blue chair.
My body trembled uncontrollably.
I was panting and gasping for air. My hair was over my face, damp and tangled. Emilito pushed me onto the seat and swiveled me around to face the wall.
“Don’t you dare to piss in your pants while sitting on this chair,” he warned harshly.
I was beyond bodily functions. I was empty of everything including fear. It all had drained out of me while soaring in that infinite space.
Nodding, Emilito said, “You are able to perceive as I do, but you don’t have any control yet in the new world you are perceiving.”
“That control comes with a lifetime of discipline and storing power.”
“I’ll never be able to explain this to myself,” I said, and swiveled on my own to face the center of the room; to take another peek at that pinkish infinity.
Now the objects I saw in the room were tiny, like chess pieces on a chess board. I had to deliberately seek them out to notice them.
On the other hand, the coldness and awesomeness of that space filled my soul with unmitigated terror.
I remembered what Clara had said about the seers that had sought infinity; how they had stared at that immensity, and how it had stared back at them with a cold and unyielding indifference.
Clara never told me that she herself had stared at it, which now I knew she had.
So, what would have been the point of her telling me then? I would only have laughed or found her fanciful.
Now it was my turn to stare at infinity with no hope of comprehending what I was looking at. Emilito was right: It would take me a lifetime of discipline and of storing power to understand that I’m gazing at the boundless.