4. Apollo and Artemis
"In 1998," said Diana, "I left Cascadia for compelling personal reasons and set off on a leisurely tour of Europe. I hit a lot of the ancient Thulean power spots from the neolithic, pagan, and civilized eras, and did rituals at all of them. It drew some interesting people to me, but nobody I wanted to stay in contact with, until I got to Greece.
"I went to the Temple of Apollo on Mount Parnassos at dawn, which is the best time to greet the Sun, and also to avoid the usual crowd of gawkers. Sure enough I was alone, and I invoked Apollo, climaxing with a long chant of his name in my best voice. And..." She paused for an upwelling of feelings, then said: "And it worked ~ he appeared!"
Several people spoke in one breath: "What, the Sun God came?" "Was it an apparition?" "How tangible was he?"
"He couldn't have been more tangible," said Diana ~ "he came in the flesh." This was greeted by a collective puzzled gasp, so she explained: "A man stepped from behind a pillar. His vibe quickly told me that I had nothing to fear. He walked up to me and made eye contact, and we got into an instant mind-meld. He took my hands and chanted 'Artemis' in a magnificent baritone."
"The Greek version of your name," said Mindy.
"Yes ~ the Sun God and Moon Goddess were greeting each other through us. We kissed, and were surrounded by the numenal forms of all our Godly kindred, just as they used to congregate at that temple in olden times."
Apollo and Artemis by Barry Windsor Smith
"What an experience!" said Nasreen. "So what happened next? Who was he?"
"Believe it or not, he was a Greek named Apollo who came to the temple ruins at dawn on a regular basis to commune with his namesake deity."
"And this is the man who became Gavin's father?" asked Kamran.
Flash replied: "His father is the Sun and his mother is the Moon."
There was a sotto voce chorus of 'ooh's, 'aah's, and chuckles. Then Diana resumed: "I hardly need to add that it was love at first sight. We spent a couple of months getting to know each other really well. He was a successful entrepreneur, and had a beautiful villa on the Aegean with a huge garden and a small olive orchard. His widowed mother lived with him, and she and I hit it off really well. Her English was rudimentary, so it served as an intuitive crash-course in Greek for me, supplemented by some recorded lessons. She was very traditional, and considered herself the duenna when I moved into a nice little suite of rooms on the premises."
"Did that, um, hamper your relationship with Apollo?" asked Nasreen.
"Not at all, because he was just as traditional. Whenever our amorous activity approached a certain threshold, he would always pull back and start talking about wedding plans."
"That's beautiful!" said Sylvia. "And then as I understand it you both came to Cascadia?"
"Yes, and everyone loved him. They instantly recognized him as a Solarian, which was Marcus' original name for Thuleans, and in this case had a high double entendre. This was in January of '99; one day a bunch of us were chatting, and Apollo and I told them that we had tentatively decided to have the wedding on Lughnasad, the first week of August. Jessica, Eric's wife, said, 'Oh, are you going to see the eclipse on your honeymoon?' I said, 'What eclipse?' ~ and that's when I first heard about the celestial events at the turn of the millennium."
A woman named Carol, who had riveting grey eyes and an intense demeanor, said: "Were they aware of the significance? I mean, it's all so obvious to us in hindsight, how the Indo-European solar eclipse and the planetary alignment nine months later shifted the foundation of the white world ~ but not many people had the scoop in advance."
"At Cascadia they did," said Diana, "because they got it from the ultimate inside source: the Asgartha ashram, where Marcus got a crash course in Aryan spiritual development back in the 1950s. Naturally they're adept in Jyotish, Hindu astrology, and they were blown away when this looming miracle appeared in their charts. Since Jyotish uses the true zodiac, just like astronomers, they immediately saw the portent of the planets lining up in Aries in May 2000. But they also knew how it would be misinterpreted by the Western astrologers with their so-called 'Tropical Zodiac', placing it in Taurus."
"So what did you do when you found out?" asked Nasreen. "Did it change your wedding plans?"
"No, but we took Jessica's suggestion and set up the honeymoon trip for a place where we could see the eclipse. We found that a lot of it was already booked by astronomy fans and spectacle-seekers, from England all the way down through the Balkans. Finally we found a bed & breakfast in Braunau, Austria."
There were a few gasps. "Holy shamoley!" said Mindy, "I didn't know that humungous little detail. How far was it from where the Moon's shadow would pass?"
"It was directly in the path of totality."
Now there were 'Wow!'s and other exclamations. Puzzled again, Dunstan asked, "What the heck is it about Braunau?"
This cast a pall of silence, until with a broad grin and a little shrug toward Gwendolyn, Spike said: "Our Uncle Adi was born there."
"And in fact," said Diana, "there were some important similarities of Hitler's birth chart to the horoscope for the 5-2K alignment ~ that is, May 2000. Some people believed it would be his second coming."
There were a few laughs, but Gavin said, "It's true in a way ~ I've got a big piece of him inside me."
"Who else is inside you, Meisterlein?" asked Albrecht with a straight face.
"Kalki," said Gavin earnestly, "and the Aryan Christ, the one described by John in his Gospel and the Book of Revelation. The prophecies are almost identical with those in the Kalki Purana."
"So the Second Coming is no joke?" said Nasreen wide-eyed.
"Actually the tenth for Kalki. There were nine previous Avatars of Vishnu."
"I didn't know about this," said Kamran," but I can believe it. In your short time on the front, some of our foes as well as our allies thought you were the Imam Mahdi."
"I'm honored," said Gavin, "especially by the foes. They're harder to impress."
Spike, Flash, and a few other men laughed heartily. Then Diana said, "All this may seem heady to some people, and a lot of our kin in Cascadia remain unconvinced. But so far Gavin is flowering magnificently along the lines that his father and I envisioned. We made love in the umbra of the eclipse in the woods outside Braunau, with the conscious intent to conceive a divine child, a white Avatar. And it wasn't just a hope and a prayer ~ we both had the magical skills we needed to infuse the act with all the numenal power of the conjunction of the Sun and Moon."
"I did know that part, "said Mindy, "but it just bends my mind all over again hearing it."
"What happened to Apollo?" asked Nasreen. "When did he die?"
Diana was shaken by a heavy sigh. She said, "Unfortunately our aegis wasn't strong enough to protect us against the immensely powerful backlash of the eclipse, which took place in a grand cross, the most negative astrological configuration. Not long afterwards Apollo was stricken with an illness which, not surprisingly, the doctors couldn't identify nor explain. But we knew the cause, and that it was fatal. This time we prayed, and it was fulfilled: he lived to witness Gavin's birth, and died with his son in his arms." A sob escaped her, and tears flowed from others around the table.
When collective composure was regained, Kamran said to Gavin: "So the planets were in full array when you were born?"
"All seven," he said.
Flash clarified: "The seven planets known to the ancients, which included the Sun and Moon by their reckoning."
"The general timing wasn't a surprise," said Diana, "given the nine-month interval between eclipse and alignment. But what truly confirmed our wildest hopes was that he passed the mouth of my womb precisely at the height of the alignment, which was the moment of the New Moon: 9:13 PM Pacific Daylight Time, on today's date, May 3rd."
Seated next to Carol was her husband Vance, who shared her aura of intensity, though with softer edges and a smattering of sparkles. He said to Gavin, "Well, that won't look as impressive on your Avatar resumé as a choir of angels, but for us non-believers in coincidence it's just as convincing."
"And for astrologers too," said Flash, "who know the astronomical odds for such precision timing." There were a couple of groans at his pun; he smiled and added, "But as Gavin well knows, Avatars are made as well as born."
"Right," said Gavin, "I have a long way to go ~ but hey, I'm on the way!"