An ancient game

As is custom on Samhain day every year in the land of Ériú, Life, Birth and Death met in Life’s house at her invitation to tea. They would play a game so ancient that none of them could remember when it started and so sacred that no one would dare ever, in the whole of eternity, not show up to play.

The three sat in a circle around a small table, Life positioning herself in the centre between the other two. She poured the tea and the three began to play.

They knew and were content that their game would go on for hours, all the way into the grave of the night and as it’s always been, it wouldn’t come to an end until the Sun had lit all her candles the next morning.

The game was made of many ancient stones that were, since Time had built Life’s house for her countless Moons ago, held in her protective possession, where they would remain for several eternities.

At the beginning of the game, she placed all of the stones in front her. She could not help but gaze at their beauty and marvel at their endurance.

Being stones, they seemed to never get worn despite having been played numberless Times across the ages.

She loved those stones deeply and without falter, so much that she would never allow another to take them from her house , not even temporarily. However, there was one time every year she would permit the touch of others hands on her precious stones. This was on Samhain day and it would only ever be these two, Birth and Death , because of who they were and how sacred was their work.

Between the three they played the stones which upon being vitalised by their holy hands released beautiful rays of the whole of Light’’s spectrum. The beams of Light filled Life’s house and for every window or opening there was, it would not be contained as it shone through and outward wherever it got the chance.

As it is every Samhain, the three were utterly enchanted by the Light. So mystified by this ecstatic beauty, they almost lost themselves to a trance but it was Life that came to her senses first and called their attention back to the game.

She then instructed the players to look closer and deeper into the rays of light so they would be able to see the detail.

In that detail was a recording of every single occurrence of the past year, the present day and the future, held by these beautiful ancient rocks.

The records held were so vast it would not be possible for any mortal to bare witness but these three had immortal eyes and a seeing befitting of the divine duty they were tasked to uphold.

Everything from the centre point of Infinity, all the way down through the microcosm and up through the macrocosm, was held in the records of those small, seemingly humble but so very precious stones.

The game rules meant they must see and feel and hold it all with unwavering reverence and as always they did without reluctance.

This was no ordinary feat for what they saw and felt and held could not be done by a mortal one.

No mortal could bare the soaring heights of joy nor the depths of the suffering and sorrow these three bore witness to in one day every journeying year around the Sun.

But witness they must and they’d been doing it so long now that their ancient wisdom gave them strength, endurance and understanding of the visions laid out before them .

These visions were of the nature of infinity, the breadths and depths of existence for all that exists.

They knew by now that there is nothing in existence that doesn’t live nor anything that can avoid either birth or death for these were the dualistic pair that joined in union to create Life!

Yes the holy two were her Mother and Father and these three together, Birth Life and Death held the balance of all that is.

They themselves did not know who was the One had that bestowed this task on them. They had no memory of this One.

Birth and Death awoke together ions before, not knowing from where they came.

The only clue they had was the stones that had been left by their side.

These were the very stones they had gifted their daughter, Life on her birth and the very game they had all played once a year on Samhain day since.

When they had seen and felt and held in honour all the stones had to show them, in accordance with the rules of the game they began their exchanges.

Life, by now knew almost without thinking what her game strategies were for creating the coming year which she shared with the other two.

To turn her plans into truth she must offer some of her stones to death.

As she did visions of the dying of thousands of beings passed through the room.

There was so much pain and sorrow and she wished she could show them the game so as to ease their torment, so they’d know this was but a moment of change but she knew it was not permitted because their sufferings were as holy as their joys.

Without either there would be neither.

She cried tears of loss handing over her stones but knew there was no need really as they would be returned to her in due time for she was Life.

She was immortal. She would always live.

Death accepted Life’s stones knowing there would be a warm and tender embrace waiting for his new arrivals once this game was over. He knew those who came to him would need a deep rest in his loving care for a time before they were ready for renewal and he was ready to be their gentle host.

He would now have to offer some of his stones to Birth. By infinite law he was not permitted to hold more than an amount of stones at any one time. He passed his stones, to Birth where they immediately began to gently glow with a warm and subtle light.

Birth never got to hold her stones for long, for she was Birth.

Her task was to nurture and release new beginnings.

She and the two carried knowledge of an infinitude of realms they had loving reign over. Dimensions of existence impossible to understand from inside any one but when her beloved Death called on the living, she would then offer them beginnings they could never have imagined before.

She delighted in gifting her stones to her daughter and seeing the radiance they gave her and those in her care.

Upon accepting Birth’s stones, Life then offered all of Herself to her beginners in all her realms. There were so many of each.

In each realm she placed messengers who could tell the tale of the ancient holy game. These story tellers would bring solace in times of sorrow and need.

To the Earth realm She offered her beating heart, her breath, her warmth. She mixed the elements of galaxies in her cauldron to feed and shelter them and quench their thirst. And she planted her seeds of consciousness in them so that through their lifetimes of joy and suffering, those seeds would be nourished by the food of experience and in time would break open to reveal to the living their sacred nature.

And so after a long night of witnessing the cycle these three have charge of, through the visions offered by the stones, the Sun began to light her candles and the three knew this years game was to come to an end.

These three, Mother Birth, Daughter Life, Father Death were so very close and would never be far apart. Though they did not live in the same house they were close neighbours and would call on each other often.

But the holy game of ancient stones would only be played again after the next journey around the sun, on Samhain day, as it had been since….. they can’t remember when.

Annette Morris Keane

October 2019

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