> RELIGION > MIRACLES
The one penultimate event that defines
what miracles are for Bergonians within their religious
history is the Prophet Ierecina’s
life-ending transformation and ascension.
one penultimate miracle within the bounds of Bergonian mythological
time is the resurrection-transformation of the God
Lacori after his
brother-god Tanteli slew him in dishonest combat.
To understand these miracles it would help first to acknowledge
some fundamental assumptions in the classical Bergonian world-view.
Joseph Campbell, Mercea Eliade and other mythologists have been quick to point out the underlying theme of rejuvenation in the
tales of Ierecina and Lacori, and accordingly link Bergonian mythology to
the mythologies of other (primarily Eurasian) cultures.
But few Bergonian academics agree.
Instead of the theme of rejuvenation (and the repetition and
immortality it implies) the Bergonian sees a theme of transformation—a
demise of one form when the essence manifests itself in
another form and moves onward. This is the theme of the Ugly Ducking, the myth of the
Butterfly, a theme that comports with the Bergonian view that time is an
unfolding process, rather than the repetitive, cyclical process of archaic
cultures of Eurasia and the Americas. The idea of rejuvenation means
the return to youth, and is really nothing more than an imitation of the
annual vegetative and agricultural cycle, which to the Bergonian is about
as dynamic as a merry-go-round. The Bergonian doesn't want to return to youth,
but to go on and become another, superior creature. The agricultural
cycles that inform so much of what Eliade & Campbell turn out to be
rather static and changeless, no less than the Ancient Greek ideal of the
Even though Christianity was in essence a historical
religion, where mythological themes play out in a historical drama
involving all mankind, the ultimate ideal of Christianity is the ideal of eternity (filled with endless
light and space, observed Oswald Spengler), which is static,
mythologies confined time within a circle, an endless loop; the Greek
ideal was incarnate and physical, frozen like a stone, while Christian
eschatology is the fusion of real history with the totally metaphysical,
climaxing in the apocalyptic termination of history, with time flowing
into eternity. So, it seems, all three in their own way block and
extinguish the flow of time. Neither Eurasian mythology, nor the Greeks’ perfect body, nor the Christian eternity
of heavenly bliss permitted any movement or change.
The Bergonians see instead a world of fire and water always
in mix and motion, dissolving and boiling away old forms, and through a
dialectical alchemy of light, warmth and nurturing moisture producing new
forms, which unfold and growth, then mature, age and wither away, if
not blown away or consumed by some other unfolding. (Bergonian
languages have no verb “to be,” but there is a basic verb meaning
“to become,” and another meaning “to age, wilt, sicken, shrink, disappear
or dissolve.”) In
this never-ending flux no one may prevail and no restful sojourn is
allowed. There was nothing
Aristotelian in this world-view—rather a kaleidoscope
provided the perfect metaphor. (Medieval Bergonians, brilliant glass-workers, made a wide variety of kaleidoscopes.)
The Modern ideal of evolution and progress promises endless change
for the better-- the ancient Bergonian world-view had more in common with
it than with the static ancient and Christian world-views.
except the Bergonians laugh and jeer at the hope that all inevitable
change is for the better, because it can be decidedly for the worse,
and often is. That is why so many of the 64 Gods
are so destructive and cruel.
A miracle will occur in the act of
transforming, and (according to
orthodoxy) occurs when/as/because an entity reaches a purified state.
The miraculous does not occur because of a directive of grace (or a
manifestation of the holy), as when Christ transformed other entities
(e.g. lepers, demon-seized swine, loaves and fishes). Instead the
miraculous occurs as a feature, a side-effect, of attaining a new state--
and the holy man becomes transformed himself.
There is rarely a subject and an object in a Bergonian miracle, but
rather the subject transforming himself.
The God Lacori sprung back to life, laughing and dancing with
incredible power, and with purified emotion that no longer allowed lust
for the maiden or hate for his brother.
Ierecina, in his end moment of a purified life, transformed into
the Silver Eagle.
The fluttering of the
eagle’s wings have been much compared to Lacori’s dance.
Both events immediately followed miraculous transformation. In ritual, dancing signifies the post-transformation state,
the advanced state of begin joined
with the world.
Bergonian Christians fixate
on the dove appearing overhead when John baptized Jesus in the River
Jordan, the event that began Jesus’ ministry.
(“Immediately on coming up out of the water he saw the sky rent
in two and the spirit descending on him like a dove.” Mark 1:10
“The Holy Spirit descended on him in visible form like a dove.” Luke 3:22) Here
is a manifestation that preceded a human transformation—indeed some in
Bergonia (the nativist Neo-Christians) see this baptism as the moment when
Jesus transformed from pure human to part divinity.
Perhaps his nature included no divinity until then,
or perhaps his divine nature first awakened at that moment.
Whatever Christ’s nature, divine or human, he as a missionary was
not ready without infusion of the Spirit.
Then (in Joseph Campbell "return of the hero" style),
Christ “returned” to the world with great gifts for humankind.
After Christ triumphed over death and ascended into Heaven, completing the
mythic chore, the Holy Spirit returned again, this time at Passover,
filling and motivating the Apostles.
The Ierecina myth for the
Bergonians however is more a matter of going on (or forward), than one of
coming back. Ierecina did not come back, but went on to "the
Place beyond the Abyss," or Star-City.
The schema of the Ierecina myth allowed people to get away with claiming
that they had experienced transformations of sometimes ridiculous
proportions. Among the most outrageous pretenders we would surely rank the pretensions
of the 17th century cult leader, Piatha Pantari. He
proclaimed that his inward purity permitted him to tap into and absorb
the “Christ-Spirit.” He
put it many ways, often claiming that he called the Holy Spirit to him
to anoint him with Christ’s Oil (and that the Angel washed his feet),
and even sometimes saying that Christ made love to him.
This insinuation that Christ had engaged in a sodomous union
provoked the Catholic powers then prevailing in two thirds of
Bergonia to track him down.
At his inquisition, held in the French-controlled city of Cationi
(on the western coast), he fully admitted all these things, except he
insisted that Christ became manifest to him as a woman.
The records of the Jesuit interrogation survive to us, and
contain both his fiery language and the priests’ livid reactions.
Priests and Piatha exchange accusations—each claim the other
worked as witches in Satan’s employ.
Piatha received the inevitable sentence, to die at the stake, but
he managed an escape from the priests’ dungeon.
No one ever learned how he did it, though the circumstances suggest
sympathetic jailers. When he reappeared to his followers he claimed he had
transformed into a bat and flew out a window.
With this Piatha tried to claim Ierecina’s mantle, having
already tried to poach Jesus' cloak. He subsequently imitated Ierecina in becoming a military and
political leader and forming a regime in west-central Bergonia (the
Ancita homeland, no less).
It took a French army of 20,000 and a British force of 12,000
(both consisting of native mercenaries under the command of European
officers) to end his extravagant campaign.
Toward the end, when he could see the inevitable, he claimed that
he would resurrect himself and ascend into Heaven to sit at Christ’s
side. One of his captains
who defected before the final battle told the French captain, “When you capture Piatha, you must kill him,
and you must display his body before as many people as possible, to make
impossible any claim that he has resurrected his body." The
French captain saw the practicality of this, and when his men later
captured Piatha he had Piatha's head cut off and mounted in
a stake in the main square of Lefitoni, where everyone could see it.
Nevertheless some his followers, as they fled into hiding among
the peasant villages, spun a tale of a final transformation, that as a
bat he escaped the stone keep in the center of Lefitoni where the French
had taken him, and flew off into the night.
(The Bat is not a clan animal; no strictly nocturnal animals are
clan animals; instead nocturnal animals are associated with Icotesi.)
The myth took hold, and today approximately 26,000 people belong
to the Church of the Cross and the Bat, mainly in Cuecha, Lampanira and Letlari
miracles have occurred spontaneously in the field of nature. Plenty of these occur in the Ancient Mediterranean as
well, especially in Roman Augury. In
Roman skies comets presaged great events, and eagles flew over armies
marching toward a destined victory.
These miracles perhaps occur because of something akin to what
Jung described as synchronicity—the coincidence of semantically
related events. In the
Bergonian world, nature (a god) would sometimes celebrate human events.
The most arresting of these attended the death of Bergonia’s
other great religious figure, Krathnami.
When he died he died alone in his hut, and because he had no
visitors at the time no one knew of his death until the next visitors
came. These were the
peasants in the nearby village who knew him well.
Then came three Hiestat priests who had come to see him, followed
by three Shufrantei priests who had refused to walk with them.
The six priests paused in wonder as they approached Krathnami’s
hut, because the air was thick with yellow and orange butterflies (Anthrocarus
Varscane, as in Varsca) so thick that one had trouble seeing to walk.
the tales say that in 1545 when the Spanish conquistadors burned the
library at Lepitar (destroying 5,847,133 volumes according to meticulous
Bergonian record-keeping), the birds ceased singing and for days
afterwards stayed quiet. (The
local atrei got some satisfaction out of tracking down the Spanish party
and stealing their horses.) The
tales also say that in 616 AD, when the armies of the malevolent warlord
Susrieca invaded the land of Pusuraino in central upland Bergonia (now Sefaieri), the
counterattacking defenders raised up a swarm of angry crickets ahead of them
so dense that it blinded Susrieca's scouts and soldiers.
relate how the Shufrantei saint Polislacin attained the far-reaching vision in
230 AD, a year of punishing drought.
At the moment of his attainment, gray clouds suddenly formed over
the parched land and released wonderfully heavy showers that brought all
the people out of their homes to dance.
The medieval texts overflow with descriptions of other such
miracles where nature celebrates or compliments a human act of
righteousness or holy attainment.
In these tales, butterflies abound, lightning crashes on the horizon,
flower bloom and animals come out of hiding. Parenthetically, one
cannot help but see that most of the claimed miracles involve
too nature acted as a counterbalance, a reaction against egregious human
activity—largely in a way that men could call punishing, by causing
destruction. The ancient
nation of Pueoi provides the most painfully obvious example of this. Pueoi began as one small settlement of refugees on
Bergonia’s southern coast, founded in 600, and grew to a powerful,
arrogant nation (with perhaps as many as 4 million people) by 888 AD—when
a hurricane of epochal proportions struck Bergonia’s southern
coast. Even among the stoic Bergonians, who tend to see the world as a
capricious, unpredictable place of danger and pain, some people insist
on seeing the world as a just
Almost immediately after his death people began saying that Prakai Eleusi, the conqueror who
murdered perhaps a million people, developed some awful skin disease
(pustules, painful boils and dire itching) in his last years, allowing
him no peace and robbing him of sleep—even though the very excellent
contemporary accounts of his life mention only a temporary skin disorder
(probably eczema) from which he enjoyed a complete recovery.
In many paintings, Prakai was portrayed with rashes and boils on his
the same vein, the Miradi traditions that fuel much of Bergonia’s
current environmentalism easily permit the notion that the divinity in
nature will get even with mankind for the industrial &
developmental excesses of capitalism (and communism). In our day, only the most traditional Miradi believers
still believe in explicit miracles. The skeptics and modernists challenge
the traditionalists by asking, "Why are there no miracles
anymore?" The traditionalists answer, "Because people do nothing anymore
to deserve them." The ecologists can at least logically claim
that a "negative" miracle of epic proportions is imminent, and
everyone in Bergonia whether Miradi, socialist or ecologist realizes the
link between the miracle of transformation and the bold muscular
assertion of will, with knowledge that they do have the miraculous conscious
power to transform their own lives, as well as their happy, isolated
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