corn gatherer

8

When love beckons to you, follow him, though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, though he hides a sword among them. And when he speaks to you, believe in him, though his voice may shatter your dreams. Love will crown and crucify you. Love for your growth so he is for your pruning. Love will caresses your tenderest branches and shake every clinging root. Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself. He threshes and sifts you he grinds until he kneads you and then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast. All these things shall love do unto you, that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment. A fragment of Life’s heart. Now if in your fear you seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure, better cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor. Into a seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all your laughter. And weep, and weep but not all of your tears. Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is enough. You should say, “I am in the heart of God." You cannot direct the course of love. For love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course. To wake at dawn with a winged heart, to come home in the evening with gratitude; And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise on your lips.

The prophet (2014)

There are inexplicably 9 Children of the Corn movies, each one cornier than the last. The only way to out corn them is to cornathon them all for 18 hours straight. To aid you on your corney (journey), consume one corn-based product during each movie. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out which product to associate with each movie to maximize cornsumption, so take this list seriously, y’all

Children of the Corn (1984) - Corn on the cob

Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice - Cornbread

Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest - Corn nuts

Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering - Grits

Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror - Corn chips (any flavor)

Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return - Creamed corn

Children of the Corn: Revelation - Corn chips (honey BBQ only)

Children of the Corn (2009) - Corn dogs

Children of the Corn: Genesis - Popcorn

To Challenge Love Itself (A Gravepainters Origin One-Shot)

Oh hey there.  You’re probably expecting the next chapter of “Out of Place”.  Well, I’m still trying to finish that Armando picture (which is becoming a b*tch to line). And I swore that I’d finish that before getting to the next chapter.

So, instead, how about another (super freaking long) origin story?  Here’s a re-imagining of how La Muerte came to be and her eventual marriage to Xibalba, with a few notes pulled from the Greek myths “Pygmalion” and “Persephone”.

Also, be prepared for a lot of Aztec folklore, which most of which is loosely interpreted - and some even ignored due to speculation. Or blamed on the time-space continuum. *throws hands in air*

——————————————————————-

Once upon a time, when San Angel was nothing but an empty canvas of dust, there existed an Aztec city - Tenochcualli - in the heart of a deep jungle.

Now, on most days, Tenochcualli was a prospering metropolis, happy as one could be in those days.  Wars were few and far between.  Well-kept prayer temples burned bright for their respective Gods and Goddesses.  And they were never without food.  A truly blessed city.

However, Tenochcualli was plagued by…one thing.  When the sun began to set, Aztec men and women could be seen locking themselves in their homes, keeping away from windows and doors.  Proud warriors would cower, and children would hide in their beds.  For at night..Xibalba roamed.

A relatively new God to the Aztec pantheon, he was known for being a wild trickster - who had a penchant of pushing things too far for his own amusement.  Every night, when Huitzilopochtli, the Sun God, had left his post, Xibalba would get bored of his dead, dismal kingdom and sneak amongst the mortals in disguise.  Sometimes he would be a ghastly jaguar, snarling with gnashing fangs and glowing green eyes.  Other times, he would pretend to be a beautiful woman, luring men into the jungle to become hopelessly lost - or dead by walking off a cliff.

Everyone in the city feared Xibalba.  And he relished the taste of it.

One day, the people of Tenochcualli had had enough, his last trick resulting in the burning of their latest corn crop.  They gathered together when the sun arose, and debated on what to do about the God of Manipulation and Tricks.

Some suggested to pray to Xiuhtecuhtli, the God of Fire, to punish Xibalba in the most literal sense of the word.  Others suggested Metztli, Goddess of the Moon, to forbid him from breaching the surface during her time in the sky.  Finally, an elderly midwife, who had seen enough of Xibalba’s trickery, gathered her brood of women and held up a finger.

“Xibalba is a young God,” she spoke shakily, wobbling into the center of the crowd, “So he must be treated like a young man - with fire in his belly, ambition in his heart, and idle hands!”

The Tenochcualli people listened to her quietly, her brood nodding in support.

“And how does one defeat fire in the belly?  Take the ambition from the heart? Stay the idle hands?” she asked, but no one knew, “Hahaha, you can’t!  Like a river, one must direct the fire - divert the ambition.  It is so easy, can’t you see?!”

The Tenochcualli people shook their head, and the brood laughed in synchronization, their cackles rising high above the crowd.

“We give him a woman,” she raised her hands, forming an hourglass shape in the air suggestively, “One that can make his idle hands work, capture his heart, and place that fire elsewhere.  We must pray to Tlazolteotl!!!”

Tlazolteotl was the Goddess of Lust and Purity, of sexual misdeeds, trysts, and also forgiveness. The Tenochcualli people discussed it, some believing that Xochipilli, the God of Love, would be better suited to the task.

"No,” said vengeful parents, widowed women, and pride-torn warriors, “He doesn’t deserve love. He must suffer the heart’s pain, but not its rewards.”

Unable to disagree, they decided to pray to the Goddess the midwife had suggested.  She gathered her brood to congregate at Tlazolteotl’s temple, praying long and hard.

And upon hearing their heartfelt prayers, Tlazolteotl accepted their cry for help.

The next night that Xibalba visited them, he came face to face with a tall, imposing woman.  She was half-naked, but her front was covered in stone-necklaces and beads.  A feathered headdress of turquoise, bone, and gold was weaved into her long black hair, and her face was tattooed in dark ink. Her lower half was clothed in long, white robes, stained with mud and earth.

“Who’re you?” he asked, flexing his wings outward in show.

“I am Tlazolteotl.  I have heard my people’s prayers, and I have been sent to choose a companion for you.”

Xibalba scoffed, amused and offended by the idea.

"I need no companion,” he waved his gloved hand, as if to swat a fly, “Nor do I desire one.  I am content with what I have.”

“A lonely kingdom, dark and without comfort?" Tlazolteotl walked towards him, the moonlight illuminating her curves, “Not even a God can tolerate such isolation.  Why else would you come here?”

"Because mortals are ugly, stupid things that are only good for amusement,” Xibalba spat, and he moved past her, “My kingdom is boring, not lonely.  I don’t come here seeking their praise or their love like you do.  I come here for fun.”

His teeth became sharp points as he turned back to grin evilly.  Slowly, those teeth began to elongate, and he became a jaguar once more, ready to bound off into the streets of Tenochcualli to terrorize anyone still out that night.

Tlazolteotl stepped in front of him, narrowing her eyes. She was a powerful Goddess, granted with guardianship over many thresholds. Xibalba was still young, and his land new. In the hierarchy of Gods, she was above him - and to refuse Tlazolteotl was a challenge.

She waved her hands, and his form distorted into a tar ball before Xibalba changed back to his original form, confused by the forced reversal of his powers. Tlazolteotl crossed her arms, the wind blowing the black hair from her back to reveal more dark, swirling tattoos.

"You are a hopeless whelp, Xibalba,” she declared with glowing white eyes, looking down at him, “I offer you a gift, and you refuse?”

She stared down at this imp, this…fool who dared to speak such words. Like all young Gods, he was taller than a mortal, but still shorter than the other older deities in the pantheon. Xibalba’s skeletal, tar face was dotted with green symbols, and his black skull-like pupils held an air of arrogance as they narrowed at her fearlessly. A small patch of white covered his upper lip and chin, which would no doubt turn into a mustache and a beard. His regal crown resembled antlers, coal black and a poisonous shade of green, with a few black candles that glowed eerily. And his lower half was a robe that went from jagged edges to dripping, deadly tar. A pair of ash-covered wings flared out, making the thin, skeletal God bigger than he seemed. Most off-putting was the black rib cage that held blazing green hellfire, licking the bones as if cooking him from the inside out. Instead of burning him, however, it was content to remain within him, even ignoring the giant necklace made of blackened bones that covered the area from his neck to the middle of his chest.

“I know what the Tenochcualli want,” he spoke quietly, regarding the Goddess with wariness as she stopped observing him, “You offer me no ‘gift’, but a curse - a chain to bind me with.”

“It doesn’t have to be,” a beguiling smile spread on Tlazolteotl’s lips, “True, I don’t offer love like Xochipilli, but all they want is for me to find you a woman that can entice you.”

Here, Xibalba paused and smirked, an idea worming into his mind with eagerness. He started to circle her, and Tlazolteotl did the same, as if facing down an opponent.

“I say that you can’t,” his tar lips poisoning his words, “You are a mistress of the ugliness that I find so repulsive among the humans. Xochipilli would have been a better choice indeed.”

Tlazolteotl’s eyes burned hotter than red-hot coals, and he could see the anger building in her slender frame.

“Xochipilli is a foolish, prancing boy who does nothing but play,” she seethed jealously, “Take care in provoking me, Xibalba. I give forgiveness for mortal sins, not you.”

“Hmph…then prove that I am wrong,” Xibalba flexed his wings, taking in her burning white eyes with glee, “Let us wager.”

“‘God of Trickery and Games’, is it?”

Tlazolteotl knew this to be his title, but wouldn’t it be more delicious to put the bratty God in his place by beating him at his own game? She licked her lips and stood straight, a devious smile of her own forming.

“Fine. I wager that I can find someone who can capture your gaze.”

“And I wager you won’t,” Xibalba answered, just as confident as the woman in front of him, “I’ll even be generous and give you two full moons to do so. Shall we?”

He held out his hand, but Tlazolteotl was not a fool. The Goddess went to him, but instead snatched his eyes, causing him to blink at the sudden darkness.

“How do I know you won’t cheat, Xibalba? If you see one you like, but try to resist for the bet?” she held his skull pupils in the palm of her hand gingerly like a pair of dice.

Xibalba growled darkly, reaching for her blindly to take his eyes back. Tlazolteotl took a deep breath in, then blew on the skull pupils, causing the winged God to recoil at the phantom sensation.

“What have you done?!” he accused angrily, now wildly flailing towards her, “You say that I might cheat, and steal my eyes from me the next!”

The painted woman gave him his eyes back, smirking at the scalding look that immediately donned his face.

“I merely used my powers as Goddess of Lust to ensure fair play,” she began mildly, walking around him to look at Tenochcualli, “This way, if you find one who captures your vision wholly, I will know. You didn’t think I trusted you to tell me when you found one you liked, honestly?”

Xibalba touched his eyes tenderly with a single thin claw, frowning with the sulky pouting of a child that had been caught.

“By the Ancient Rules,” Tlazolteotl submitted, finally extending her hand.

“The wager is set,” he finished, and shook her hand.

—————————————————

And so, each night Xibalba would return to Tenochcualli’s borders. And each night, Tlazolteotl would present him with a bride - a human one.

With a smirk, he would reject her - instead using the failed attempts as excuses to invent new scares.  Scores of women would offer their daughters to Tlazolteotl, in hopes of stopping this new onslaught of terror.  However, Tlazolteotl knew this was not the answer.

Though many a God in the Aztec pantheon had human wives and mistresses, it would not work with Xibalba - he hated humans, after all.  Thoughts of pairing him up with a female Goddess had passed through Tlazolteotl’s mind, but none were willing to stand his pungent tar smell and foul mood.

No…Tlazolteotl would need to think differently for this one.

In the new generations of worship, two new Gods had been welcomed to the pantheon - one to protect the world above, and one to protect the world below. As both had entered godhood at the same time, they had become fast friends - despite their opposite personalities (and Xibalba’s own reluctance to label them as such). So, the Goddess traveled to the underworld, and sought the help of one God - The Candle Maker.

“Candle Maker,” she began, the cloud-bearded God lifting his head to look at her, “I am looking for a companion for Xibalba.  I must know…what must I look for to tempt him?”

The Candle Maker tightened his shoulders, looking uncomfortable.

“Well…if there was a woman that Xibalba could dig,” he raised his tattooed arm, gold wax swirling about his arm, “I don’t think she exists.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean…I know you’re trying to hook him up with a lady friend from the world up there, but he thinks all humans have bad hearts.”

“Yes, and what does that have to do with my question?”

“If you can find a woman with only pure goodness in her heart, then you might have a chance,” the Candle Maker paused, “But we all know there’s nothing like that.  You’re the Goddess of purity - she who forgives sins.”

He began to make another candle, but his mind and hands wandered as the shape started to change.

“I wouldn’t mind a lady friend for myself, ya know,” he grinned, drifting in thought as he shaped the wax, “The Cave of Souls gets pretty lonely from time to time, even with Xibalba around.”

Slowly, the Candle Maker made the face of a beautiful woman, her lips full and her eyes half-lidded with temptation. Intrigued, Tlazolteotl circled the wax sculpture, and in her mind’s eye, she could see Xibalba at least doing a double-take.  Tlazolteotl licked her lips, a twinkle in her eyes.  Her instincts were never wrong when it came to this sort of thing.

“Is this your…type?”

“N-Naw, she’s just…well, I mean…” he shrugged with an embarrassed look on his face, “I’m gonna be honest - I sort of got a little inspiration from you.”

“…Candle Maker,” she spoke suddenly, and he blinked at the way she called his name, “Do it again, but this time, make a whole woman.”

With Tlazolteotl’s guiding hand, the Candle Maker started to mold and shape various figures, using Tlazolteotl as a model.  Little statues, big statues, and all the sizes in between were made.  Eventually, the blushing Candle Maker was able to make one that he had put his heart and soul into, resulting in a tall, naked, fiery woman with her arms out - as if dancing.  Tlazolteotl asked for kindness and a gentleness in her features, but her painted eyes smoldered as if hiding a secret.  Long hair fell and rose in beautiful, but wild waves.  And her lips were full and luscious, spread apart in a heart-stopping smile. Innocent and naive, but knowing and secretive - all at once.

Yes…this would do.  A plan, a perfect plan, formed in her mind.

Tlazolteotl thanked the tired Candle Maker and whisked the wax figure off back to her realm. In an instant, she began to work on the wax figure intensely. She searched through gifts from suitors and worshippers, and appropriated them on the statue like a doll.

The best and sweetest sugar from a crop harvest years ago became its dazzling white skin. Eternal marigolds that never died adorned its hair, made from spun obsidian, and its wrists and ankles. Wax eyes were replaced with blood-orange ruby marbles. Her best paint and inks went into designing an intricate painted skull on the statue’s face, starry blue saved for its eye lids and vivacious red for its lips.

Gently, Tlazolteotl began to dress her: red cloth, patterned with yellow swirls, became a short, bare-shouldered blouse that ended just under her bosom. A long-tailed loincloth, similarly of crimson and gold, hugged her voluptuous hips and left her long legs bare. Last, but not least, she took a feather from her own headdress, and placed it in a headband lined with skull patterns and marigolds. She put it on the statue’s head tenderly, and sighed happily, proud of her work.

“Now,” she spoke, pointing a finger over its heart, “I command you to breathe.”

Simple as it sounded, the statue came to life and began to breathe, its eyes blinking wide. Tlazolteotl opened her mouth to address it when she paused, realizing something. It had become a she. But what ‘she’ was she? More accurately, ‘who’?

“Hmmm, what to name you…” she put a dark finger to her mouth, pondering, “If all goes well, I suppose you’ll be entwined with the Prince of the Dead. For a name, I shall give you…’La Muerte’.”

“Thank you, mamá,” La Muerte spoke, and Tlazolteotl froze in place.

Tlazolteotl had never been a mother before, but a new warm, melty glow awoke in her heart at the beautiful little creature staring up at her. With genuine pride and unexpected joy, she smiled down at La Muerte and put her hands on the young woman’s face. Her new daughter beamed and hugged Tlazolteotl around the middle, lovingly.

"Come, child,” she pulled the girl from her to lead her, “I have much to teach you.”

And teach she did. From her craft of seduction, to the Gods of the Aztec Pantheon, Tlazolteotl gave her a solid schooling in the remainder time of the bet. She taught her the beauty of the worlds around her, both Above and Below, and the cycle of nature as one is born and as one is dying. She taught her smiles that could weaken knees and hypnotizing dancing that could allure both Mortal and God, though there was an air of innocence in La Muerte when she did the same. When it came to Man, Tlazolteotl was surprised when La Muerte embraced them so wholeheartedly, but couldn’t help smiling at the love in those beautiful orange orbs.

Finally came the last day of the bet. As Huitzilopochtli waved to her, signaling that he was about to relinquish his place to his fellow Sky God, Tlazolteotl knew the end was near. She told La Muerte that she had taught her everything there was to teach, and as a graduation present, relinquished one of her necklaces to her. It was originally large and blocky, as was most of her jewelry, but when placed on La Muerte, it morphed to a small gold token that hung lightly from thin black thread.

“What is it, mamá?” La Muerte asked, touching a sugary finger to it.

"No God or Goddess is complete without their own threshold,” Tlazolteotl answered softly, smiling warmly at her daughter, “I give you Guardianship of Forgiveness - of mortal sins and wrongdoing. So that you may always have compassion in your heart.”

Overjoyed, La Muerte hugged her once more, and became the Goddess of Forgiveness in the Aztec pantheon. Never had Tlazolteotl been so proud. Or worried. In her bonding with the sugar skull, Tlazolteotl had come to love La Muerte as though she’d birthed her herself - and the thought of giving her to that whelp Xibalba made her boiling mad. So…she concocted another plan.

————————————————————————

On the last night of the wager, just as predicted, the dark Prince of the Underworld came back to the world of the living.  He looked around, wondering where Tlazolteotl had gone off to.  She hadn’t shown up for the past few days, and he smirked to himself, wondering if she’d finally given up.

Glee welled up inside him - because it would mean that he won, and she lost. Her! A supposed ancient God of the cosmos - losing to a younger God!

Then, he heard festive music playing, something that was unheard of during this time of night - especially with Xibalba skulking about. He narrowed his eyes, teeth sharpening to fangs as he grew outraged. How dare they celebrate in his presence?! They knew he hated those types of sounds - panicked and terrified screams were much more to his liking, after all.

Xibalba looked around one more time, trying to see if Tlazolteotl was around, before deciding to have some extra fun before claiming his victory. Taking on his familiar jaguar form, he galloped towards the noise and burst through the jungle with speed that scared all the birds and animals into a frenzy. When he’d reached the border just outside of Tenochcualli, Xibalba let out a mighty roar and leapt out of his tropical cover to scare whoever was on the other side.

Instead of a group of humans, as he’d expected, it was merely one tall girl - with magical instruments playing by themselves in time to a happy beat. And as soon as he’d crashed the party, literally, the instruments dropped to the ground - lifeless.

The girl - no, woman - had jumped and fallen to the ground on her back, startled by his intrusion. In the soft moonlight, Xibalba was given a full view of his prey - and he was absolutely floored.

Starlight twinkled on her pure, white skin, which sparkled so intensely it almost hurt his eyes - yet he couldn’t look away. Midnight-blue hair fanned out under her, making it look as though she were lying on a dark ocean made of the night sky. Her hourglass shape didn’t help much either, as his green jaguar eyes traced her outline with awe. But the most outstanding was her painted face - wide glowing eyes that burned like suns stared at him, outlined in orange and gold petals. A perfect little nose that was colored black, as though it were like a skull’s. And those lips…they were open slightly in surprise, then closed like a lusciously-red venus flytrap, and finally opened again in a blooming smile.

“I’m sorry,” her words flowed like honey, making Xibalba’s stomach do backflips over and over, “Did I wake you up, little one?”

Xibalba remained in his tensed position, frozen as if in stone. The beautiful woman stood up and approached him, Xibalba’s poor heart beating harder and harder with each step she took. Long legs of startling white flexed and stretched, taking up his entire vision when they’d stopped before him. Then, a small delicate hand reached out tentatively before placing itself on his head. He felt himself relax all at once at her touch, sighing happily as the soft, gentle hand ran down his head and over his neck. Xibalba’s tail swished to and fro, bells chiming delicately in his mind as a second hand joined the first to rub his long, furry neck.

Then, those mesmerizing lips of hers placed themselves on his muzzle, and he practically melted into her arms. Any dignity or pride he had left had floated away, just like his sensibilities. He purred drowsily and dazed, and a happy, silly cheshire grin appeared on his face.

Never had someone this beautiful or kind approached him, cared for him like this. Most of the other Goddesses and Gods preferred not to interact with him, his horrid tar smell and tendency to play tricks driving them away. Yet, this one gorgeous, innocent being embraced him - and he felt a peculiar feeling well up in him…this strangely-hot, sticky feeling that bubbled and jumped in his stomach up to his out-of-beat heart, making it burn hotter than lava. Oh, how good she felt! How right everything seemed when she pressed her face to his!

“There…feeling better?” she asked softly, and he spoke without a second thought.

“Yes…” he hissed in sheer giddiness, pressing himself further into her embrace when he felt her suddenly retreate.

The God-turned-jaguar fell on his face with a painful thud, and he looked up quickly, realizing his mistake. The lovely maiden put her hands to her mouth, surprised that he could talk, and backed away. Immediately, his form swarmed with ash and he flew in front of her, reluctantly becoming Xibalba the Trickster God once more.

“P-please, I didn’t mean to scare you,” he put his thin hands up, desperate and nervous, “I just…I mean, what I wanted was…uhmmm…”

As he struggled to explain himself, Xibalba started to fuss and stumble over his words. And the more he tried to fix what he was saying, the worse it got. The candles on his shoulders and crown nearly went out, cowardly sputtering once or twice. He couldn’t even think or breathe with her staring at him. How could he form words properly? What were words?!? What was he even trying to —

Then, like the parting of dark clouds that opened into curtains of sunlight, he heard a giggle. His wide eyes turned to her. Xibalba had expected her to flee in terror, or wear a look of disgust. Instead, a playful, innocent smile was all that she gave him, and it was gloriously beautiful.

“Shhhhh,” she shushed him, those heavenly hands coming up to hold his shoulders, “And breathe.”

Xibalba wanted to tell her that he couldn’t - she took his breath away. It was as if the world around him fell away, and only she remained, in all her wondrous, amazing glory. She made him feel complete, as if nothing else in the world would make him as happy as he felt now - with this woman by his side.

“Are you a God?” she asked curiously, and he straightened his posture.

“Yes,” he replied, but blushed when it came out hoarsely and broke over the vowel like a pubescent mortal boy.

Again, another tiny giggle escaped her lips, and he had half a mind to smile with her like a fool. Xibalba cleared his throat, steeling himself.

“Yes, I am,” he spoke once more, and thanked the heavens he didn’t screw up, “My name is Xibalba, and I rule over the Land of the Dead.”

“I am La Muerte,” she let go of his hands, to his disappointment, and bowed slightly, “Goddess of Forgiveness.”

She must be fairly new, he thought. He’d never heard of a Goddess like that in the pantheon. This would explain why she didn’t run in terror…she’d never heard of the things he’s done. A small panicked feeling welled up in his gut, and he was tempted to sweep her up in his wings and carry her off to his dark kingdom - keep her isolated from the truth of his nature.

“Your wings…I don’t think I’ve ever seen another God with wings before,” she admired in an awestruck voice, taking notice of the black appendages behind Xibalba’s back.

It was true that none of the other Gods or Goddesses had wings - and he knew that it was a topic of jealousy that none of them spoke of. Usually, he would preen and show off his extraordinary wings, but in front of La Muerte, all he could think about was how dusty and disgusting they looked. He turned his head to look at them, opening them meekly as pieces of ash fell like embarrassing dandruff.

“They’re beautiful,” she breathed, leaning in closer to brush a sugary finger tip or two across his feathers.

His eyes widened, her lithe body pressed against his, and he started to feel his thoughts stray to places he had never thought of before - particularly the way her curves softly molded against him oh so well. His wings popped out with an audible snap, stretching out fully to shadow the both of them. La Muerte drew back in response, biting her lip in a worried manner.

Lo siento,” she apologized, thinking she’d done something wrong, “I didn’t realize they were so sensitive -“

To reassure her, Xibalba turned before the Goddess, to her surprise, and opened his wings shyly.

“It’s all right,” he offered, his black skull now alight with his green blush, “You can touch them if you’d like.”

Xibalba’s knees quivered at the way an excited smile broke out on her face, and her hands started to do the most marvelous things to his wings. Rubbing, stroking, tracing - and she just had to run her fingers through his feathers so damn temptingly…

“La Muerte!” a voice broke Xibalba from the trance La Muerte was placing him in and the pair looked to see Tlazolteotl emerge from the brush with a raised eyebrow.

Mamá!” La Muerte cried, and Xibalba’s jaw dropped when she ran to Tlazolteotl to hug her.

That Tlazolteotl was this beautiful creature’s mother?!

“Hmph, here you are, Xibalba!” Tlazolteotl briefly returned the hug before directing her attention to the shocked God before her, “Tonight, I found a particularly good bride for you to — ”

She stopped mid-sentence, and the wide-eyed look she had soon gave way to a full, devious grin.

“Your eyes,” she said, “They’ve changed.”

Blinking, Xibalba touched his eyes before Tlazolteotl summoned one of her personal mirrors, letting him see that his eyes had indeed changed - from their usual black to a bright, telltale red.

“You’ve found someone that’s captured your attention!” Tlazolteotl smirked maliciously, “That means I’ve won, Xibalba!”

There was a subtle rage that crept into his bones, gritting his teeth as he prepared to howl at the victory that was snatched away from him. However, as he noticed La Muerte staring at him, that rage was snuffed out like the light on a candle - and only sweet, amorous feelings filled his head. He might’ve lost the wager, but he found someone so wonderful, someone so beautiful to become his companion.

“Heh, fine, you got me,” he shrugged off the loss as if it were nothing, surprising the older Goddess, “I lost. I submit to your gift, Tlazolteotl. You did well in finding such a lovely -”

“The wager was if I found someone who could match you, Xibalba,” Tlazolteotl reminded him in a sing-song voice, interrupting him, “I never said you were to have the person I’d offered. And…when did I ever offer my beloved La Muerte, hmm?”

His heart dropped into the dark, empty pit of his stomach. And Tlazolteotl couldn’t help but grin at the way the realization began to dawn on his face, like a slow-motion scream.

"Meeting La Muerte here was…by complete chance,” Tlazolteotl spoke nonchalantly, though even a rock could tell that she was telling a lie, “She was never intended to become a bridal candidate for you. Not in a million years. In fact, I was planning on you meeting her at her wedding!”

"Wedding?” he echoed after a short pause, then growled deeply as the flames on his crown exploded into an inferno, “To who?

"The Candle Maker, who else?”

Xibalba started to protest before he registered the name. The Candle Maker? His only friend, though he was loathe to admit it, was going to marry the woman of his dreams? His wings sagged to the ground, and his candles settled into a low flame.

The Candle Maker was the exact opposite of Xibalba - kind, energetic, happy, and always eager to make others laugh. Looking at the beautiful La Muerte, he knew that she deserved happiness. And to think of her in his dark kingdom, surrounded by souls of the dead that moaned and cried, with not a shred of sun or moon to give comfort…it would be like burying a flower in a stone tomb.

Would he really be able to make her happy, like the Candle Maker could?

“I see you understand, whelp,” Tlazolteotl shook her hair out behind her, sighing, “What could you possibly give her down there? Hmm? Everything you have, everything you possess is dead and cold and hopeless. I will not have my La Muerte have the same fate.”

Xibalba looked at La Muerte, who seemed confused. Then, those burning orange eyes looked to him, and he felt Tlazolteotl’s words sink in harder.

“I told you to take care in provoking me, Xibalba,” Tlazolteotl walked towards him, pushing her daughter behind her to hide in the forest, “I am thousands of centuries older than you, boy. To have the audacity to challenge me, I’m not sure whether it’s bravery or stupidity…but you know the truth now, don’t you?”

The clouds above Tenochcualli and its borders darkened as Aztec Gods and Goddesses from all corners of the heavens gathered above to watch the spectacle. Rumors of the wager between a new God and old had sparked interest in the pantheon. What’s more, it was the impetuous upstart Xibalba who had challenged the Goddess Tlazolteotl. Many were eager to see the dark God fall, either jealous of his wings or hateful of his tricks.

"You could never win against me, whelp,” Tlazolteotl whispered close to his head in a dark, saccharine tone, “You’d do well to remember that.”

Standing up proudly, the heavens applauded her in thunderclaps and lightning that arced between the clouds with excitement. Xibalba, crushed not by the victory but of Tlazolteotl’s trickery, had fallen to his knees, Tlazolteotl bowed deeply to her fellow Gods, and made a gesture to whisk herself and La Muerte away when the softest words reached her ears.

"Please don’t take her.”

“…What did you say?” she asked, though she knew perfectly well what he said.

“Tlazolteotl,” Xibalba began, still looking down at the ground, “I beg you…don’t take her away.”

“Did we not discuss this? La Muerte would never be happy with you. The Candle Maker would ensure - ”

“I’ll give you whatever you want. I swear by the Ancient Rules.”

…The clouds seemed to quell its excitement, a feeling of tension gathering as Tlazolteotl turned around with interest.

“You are a bigger fool than I thought, Xibalba. Do you have any idea what you’ve promised?” the taller Goddess whispered venomously, “I could turn you into my personal slave. Make you my errand boy until the end of time. Or perhaps I could make you disappear into nothingness?”

La Muerte came out of her hiding place, eyes wide as she watched the confrontation between the God she’d just met and her mother. What in heaven’s name was he doing?!

“…” he remained silent, only staring at the ground.

“Hmph,” Tlazolteotl walked around him, then noticed his wings twitching nervously, “…You’ve only just met La Muerte. And yet…you care for her enough to promise me anything that I desire from you?”

“For a brief moment, we met,” he agreed, finally speaking, “And in that moment, I glimpsed a future with her. Something wonderful, and beautiful. I would worship her far better than any mortal, protect her better than any guardian, and do everything to make her happier than she ever thought she could be.”

Desperate red skull pupils peered up at Tlazolteotl slowly, the sort of eyes that unnerved the Goddess. They held a spark of something genuinely true, and pure. It shocked her.

“I love her, Tlazolteotl,” he admitted hoarsely, and La Muerte put her hands over her mouth to stop the gasp, “I fell in love with her the moment I saw her. And now, I cannot live without her.”

Tlazolteotl stared down at him, trying to determine the amount of truth to his words, but her stubborn nature made her untrusting and cruel at times.

“Would you even give up your wings, Xibalba?” she asked, and grinned when he stiffened, “Your prized wings, that not even us old Gods have?”

He looked behind him, fanning his wings out before turning back to Tlazolteotl.

“Yes,” he answered, and the clouds started to thunder once more.

Egged on by her fellow Gods, and angry that Xibalba could think all would be forgiven by his sacrifice, Tlazolteotl raised her hands and the ground began to shake.

“You never should have challenged me, boy” she yelled above the din, thunder clashing above her and the earth shaking below, “Now you pay the price! By the Ancient Rules!”

Xibalba merely shut his eyes and prepared for the worst as Tlazolteotl’s hands reached for his wings.

“YOUR…WINGS…ARE…MI - !!!”

“STOP!!!”

All at once, the noise did indeed stop. The ground halted in place, and the Gods above stopped shaking the heavens, settling down into hushed repose. Tlazolteotl herself had stopped just before her fingers reached Xibalba’s wings, instead almost brushing a glaring sugar skull. The older Goddess pulled back and stared at La Muerte, who had dared to stand between her and Xibalba. Long moments passed before Tlazolteotl spoke again.

“La Muerte, this has nothing to do with you. Stand aside.

"No,” the brilliantly white Goddess refused, and continued to stand firm, “He doesn’t need to give up his wings for me.”

La Muerte turned to look down at Xibalba, and reached her hands out to touch his shoulders. He jerked, thinking it was Tlazolteotl, but was surprised to see La Muerte’s beautiful smile greeting him instead. She took his hands and helped him stand, her eyes wide and a blush arising on her cheeks.

“I choose him, mamá,” she whispered softly, staring into his eyes, “I choose him.”

Simultaneously, everyone’s jaws dropped. Xibalba’s. Tlazolteotl’s. The Gods’. Even the Tenochcualli people’s, who were watching nearby.

"…La Muerte,” Tlazolteotl finally gathered her wits to speak, “Surely you don’t mean…?”

The sugar-spun woman nodded, and Xibalba nearly fainted.

“I’ve never heard anyone talk about me like that before,” she explained breathlessly, squeezing his hands gently, “And I started to feel something deep inside…I love him, too.”

The winged God all but collapsed in her arms, happiness spreading into every fiber of his being. She loved him! She said she loved him!

“B-But he is corrupt! Cruel! A monster!” Tlazolteotl sputtered, trying to convince La Muerte, “He’s done terrible things to the mortals! He’s tricked many Gods and Goddesses, and didn’t bat an eye at the consequences!”

“I forgive him,” La Muerte stated simply, smiling, “After all, didn’t you give me threshold of Forgiveness to be compassionate?”

Tlazolteotl wanted to kick herself.

“You may forgive him for his sins now, my child,” she warned, becoming desperate, “But how will you stop him from continuing to play tricks in the future? Even you will tire of pardoning him!”

La Muerte thought for a moment, pondering as she looked at Xibalba’s loopy, distant gaze. Appearing to have found an answer, her eyes lit up and she tapped the tar on Xibalba’s face insistently. He awakened and looked down at her, grinning like an idiot. La Muerte beckoned his head to come down towards hers with a single finger, and he leaned in, eyes half-lidded.

“Yes?” he asked, thinking she was to whisper something, when all of a sudden, he found himself being kissed.

And not just any kiss - but a deep, fiery, passionate kiss! She moaned lightly as she opened her lips against his, her hands grasping his green neck to keep his head to hers. The heat from his soft, tar lips melded against the harder sugar of La Muerte’s, making his head spin. Xibalba’s wings flapped wide open in surprise, then began to flutter rapidly as the kiss went on for one more second…three…six……..

By the time she’d finished, pulling back with a satisfied, wet pop and a seductively coy grin on her face, Xibalba had melted in a puddle of goop in her arms. He dripped to the earth, slipping from her fingers to make a large pit of tar. La Muerte giggled as she knelt and ran a finger underneath his dripping, melty chin, making him chuckle in a dizzy, drunk gurgle.

Tlazolteotl gaped at the scene. Was everything she taught and gave to La Muerte going to bite her in the ass?

“Xibalba…” La Muerte cooed as she held his skull, or what remained of it, against her chest.

The strange black liquid he’d become shook at the sweet sound of her voice, and slowly embraced her back, snuggling and enfolding her in its sticky mess.

“Yessss?” he answered, oozing around her.

“Would you like me to kiss you like that again?” she whispered suggestively, “Or maybe something…more?”

No sooner had she purred the implication to him did he snap back into his original form, a wolfish look in his red skull pupils as he leaned into her eagerly. And he nodded so fast that those skulls of his rattled about in his head like a pair of die in a cup.

"Then you have to promise me not to trick anymore Gods or humans, at least not as terribly you’ve done before,” La Muerte put a finger on his lips, stopping him from leaning in further, “Can you do that?”

Xibalba was roused from his lust-driven thoughts to realize what she was asking. He enjoyed playing tricks on the others, it was his bread and butter! How could she possibly think that he could even think of -

“For me?” La Muerte removed her finger and brought her lips to ghost over his temptingly, “Balbiiii…?”

Instantly, he was back under her spell and he sighed with a tremble in his breath.

"Anything for you,” Xibalba brought his wings forward to wrap around La Muerte securely, “Mi amor…

"You swear? By the Ancient Rules?” she asked innocently, and he nodded in return.

“I swear by the Ancient Rules…”

La Muerte then turned her head to Tlazolteotl with a smile of victory, her mother finally admitting defeat. In the blink of an eye, the turmoil between Tlazolteotl and Xibalba and the people of Tenochcualli had been settled - all because of La Muerte.

——————————————————

In the next month, La Muerte and Xibalba had been married, to the shock of many Gods and Goddesses. However, drawn to La Muerte’s beauty and kindness, they found it within themselves to forgive Xibalba and granted the happy couple numerous gifts - one of which being more land for them to rule.

La Muerte became a Queen of Souls, and Xibalba a King of the Dead. The Candle Maker welcomed the new Goddess with a great big hug, though under Xibalba’s watchful and wary gaze. And Tlazolteotl…

————————————————-

“…What are you doing here, Tlazolteotl? Your beloved daughter just became the happiest bride in all the pantheon,” a voice echoed to the forlorn Goddess of Lust as she watched the proceedings from her lonely perch above the party, “Shouldn’t you be receiving well-wishes and congratulations from the others?”

Gloomily, she’d attended the wedding, but had decided to stay out of the festivities for the most part. She wasn’t exactly thrilled with the outcome, but she wanted to show her support (if minimally) for La Muerte. Tlazolteotl sighed, her eyes glancing at the figure that stood nearby.

“Spare me your condescending remarks, Xochipilli,” she reprimanded him tiredly, “You knew this would happen, you brat.”

The youthful-looking God, as though an 18-year old boy, stepped into the light, smirking at her. He was a bit shorter than Tlazolteotl, with dark hair curling underneath a large helmet that was lined with gold and flowers. Tattoos patterned his dark face and bare chest, trailing all the way down his arms and into his loin cloth. Strips of white and gold cloth were wrapped around his arms and legs in a fringe, and blocks of precious stones hung from his ears.

“Not at all!” he exclaimed, “I was just as surprised as the others when it happened.”

“Mhmm…” she murmured, unconvinced, “You did this to spite me. For my words.”

“On the contrary,” Xochipilli slid in close to Tlazolteotl, joining her, “I only pushed Xibalba a little like you asked. And he fell, surprisingly hard, more than I thought he would. La Muerte fell in love all on her own.”

Tlazolteotl grumbled a few ancient profanities before realizing a creeping sensation along her hip. She looked down and saw a hand encircling her waist. She narrowed her eyes and glared at Xochipilli, who looked all but innocent.

“Release me, Xochipilli,” she commanded, but he continued his assault, pushing her down with force that didn’t match his size.

“On the other hand, calling me a ‘boy’ is a bit unfair,” he whispered sinfully to her, remaining on top of her, “A ‘boy’ wouldn’t have made you scream his name night after night, some years ago.”

Tlazolteotl’s face burned hot and she pushed him away, rolling to sit and draw her knees up, looking like a pouting child.

“Don’t be like that, Tlazolteotl,” he laughed, walking to her and coming behind her, “You know I only tease you because I love you.”

He snuck a kiss to peck her cheek, and she buried her head further into her arms. Xochipilli grinned and traced a finger down from her shoulder to her elbow. She shivered, her knees squeezing together in a rather tell-tale sign.

“At least come down and talk to La Muerte,” Xochipilli implored, deciding to show her mercy, “She looks so beautiful, Tlazolteotl. You’d be proud.”

“…All right,” she replied sulkily, taking Xochipilli’s hand as he lead her downstairs, “You’re still a brat.”

“I know, I know,” he chuckled knowingly, “Just don’t forget that you promised me your companionship for my services. My bedchamber has been so cold without you…”

——————————————-

Even Tlazolteotl got her own sort of happy ending!

In Defense of the Fairy Tale | Mary B. Sellers

Most of us have our mothers to thank for our introduction to fairy tales. For me, it signaled the end of a day, a time where I was put to bed, tucked into a cocoon-like comforter’s embrace, and told a story. It was a time I looked forward to because I associated it with that parental one-on-one attention I so craved as a small child with two working parents, as well as a time that I was encouraged to explore the confines of my imagination. School, for the most part, was grounded in a reality that I was quickly realizing was less than perfect: the beginnings of responsibility, that I couldn’t have all of the Barbies I wanted, the ideal of sharing things with and treating my fellow playmates with a childish respect that was reinforced by the stern looks of teachers. But there, in my bedroom, surrounded by my playthings, my mother read to me about princesses and frogs and little children losing their way in the woods. I was allowed to ask questions; surmise, in my own tiny way, about the boundaries of reality and fiction. These stories and their characters were my lovely nighttime friends that I could re-visit night after night, and every time, they felt new to me. Despite my extreme youth, I knew these stories, at their core, were made-up. I knew, despite my love of them, that they could never really happen—but this didn’t stop me from pretending so hard that I’d forget for whole days that I couldn’t learn to navigate a broomstick, and that a prince riding up on a white horse was as likely to happen as me developing any semblance of athleticism. Still, I believed, and in this belief, I found a pleasant reprieve.

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anonymous asked:

there are soooo many reasons not to become vegan. you can't just replace the vitamins A, D and K2 with a bunch of organic stuff. plus no known culture has thrived off of a vegan diet. and if you're in this for 'cruelty free' no matter what you eat, something HAS to die. let's say you ate vegan cereal. the mice that were living in the corn fields, were demolished to gather corn. everything has a negative.

“ It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”


You also cannot justify immoral actions because all actions have some negative consequences. It’s like saying “Some people will always kick dogs, so it is okay or me to kick dogs.”

Yes some animals are accidentally killed in harvesting plants and that is sad, but it is not the moral equivalent of purposefully breeding billions of animals into the world for the sole purpose of raising them in abusive, cruel conditions and then brutally killing them because we enjoy the way that they taste.

anonymous asked:

Do you know of any rituals for taking shrooms?

***Warning*** Please do not try to identify or ingest either of these species on your own, as especially psilocype mushrooms are INCREDIBLY difficult to distinguish from other extremely deadly fungi! I am not suggesting or promoting the use of these mushrooms, but the knowledge and lore surrounding their use and history as presented by Richard Alan Miller. Be safe and think cautiously!***


Yeah! I’m not going to write out all the history and everything behind it, honestly because it’s just way to fucking much, but here is some background and praxis relating to both Psilocybe Mushrooms and Fly Agaric:

PSILOCYBE MUSHROOMS

Psilocybe baeocystis, P. cyanescens, P. pelliculosa, P. semilanceata, P. strictipes

“PRIMARY EFFECTS
Colored hallucinations, muscular relaxation, hilarity, inability to concentrate, alteration of time and space perception, and feelings of total isolation from the environment. Peak occurs from one to one and a half hours after ingestion. Total experience is approximately six hours.

PREPARATION
There is really no preparation other than making sure all manure or dirt is off the mushroom. They should not be stored in a plastic bag and frozen. If you wish to store them, the only correct way is to string them by the stems and hang them up upside down, free to air dry.
Once they have completed dried, then they can be powdered and placed in a bag that can “breathe.” The best way to serve the dried mushroom is to powder it and mix it with a favorite liqueur. Heat over 150 degrees F will destroy much of the psilocin. In other words, speghetti dinners are nice only if the mushrooms are added to the sauce at the last moment.

RITUAL USE
Sex magic: The first use of sex within the rituals of western traditions of magic began with the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), an 800-year-old Masonic order in Germany. Members had studied the Hindu traditions of Tantra and found that the energy contained in those rituals was greater than in any other known technique. At the turn of the century, Aleister Crowley became their new Outer Head of the Order (O.H.O.) and rewrote those rituals for a more contemporary application. For a clear picture of this technique, it is recommended that the student first read chapter 16 of The Tree of Life by Israel Regardie, followed by pages 82-86 of Liber Aleph, The Book of Wisdom or Folly by Aleister Crowley…
Mexican Love Feast: Each adult takes four, five, six, or thirteen pairs of mushrooms and experiences his or her own inner ecstasy while sharing feelings of brotherly love with the others. The curandero may chant or dance periodically during this event.
Mexican Prophecy Ritual: Before the ceremony a chocolate beverage is usually served. Women sing, dance, and clap hands. The curandero gathers some corn, parrot feathers, cacao beans, copal resin, green tobacco, and bark paper. He has fasted since noon of the preceeding day. For five days he has abstained from sex, alcohol, meat, and salt. This will continue for another five days after the ritual (otherwise he believes that he risks going mad). At sunset the altar candles are lit. Those present are seated on the floor. The question for prophesy is decided and clarified. The mushrooms are then eaten in pairs during a period of one hour. As many as fourteen pairs can be eaten. No one is allowed to leave. Silence is maintained. The curandero rubs green tobacco on his head and stomach and on the back of his neck. He blows out the candles. At 1:00 A.M. the prophecy begins.
Note of Caution: Make absolutely positive identification of the species of mushroom to be used. Also note that P. baeocystis contains other alkaloids that should not be used by any one with respiratory problems. In Mexico it is said that the mushroom is capable of driving a person mad if certain precautions are not taken. For this reason pregnant women do not consume the mushroom in Oaxaca.”



FLY AGARIC

Amanita muscaria
(Soma)

"PRIMARY EFFECTS
Dizziness, twitching, and possible nausea after thirty minutes followed by numbness of feet and twilight sleep for two hours, hallucinations both visual and auditory. The experience lasts from four to ten hours. Muscarine is a highly toxic hallucinogen, being a tropane. Muscimole is a CNS hallucinogen. Ibotenic acid causes flushing of the skin and lethargy or drowsiness.

PREPARATION
The fresh mushroom should be sliced vertically in ½-inch segments and heated in an oven at 165 degrees-175 degrees F until dried. The muscarine will mostly evaporate out of the mushroom and the ibotenic acid alter to muscimole. It is recommended that you have a friend available to help you in any emergency. The amount eaten should be conservative, perhaps a ¼ to a ½ of one mushroom with an 8-inch diameter, until you have a personal data on your own body’s reaction. Fasting is critical. The body does filter the muscarine, so you may wish to save the urine. Mushrooms that have dried unplucked in the ground are believed to be the most potent.

RITUAL USE
Soma has been regarded as spiritual food, which aids the growth of the spiritual body. Initiation (where the spirit comes out anew) occurs when this chemistry affects your psychic body. It is a major hallucinogen that defies comparison. Soma is the “flesh of the gods.” It is therefore used in initiation ceremonies and for spiritual growth.
Among the Koryaks, the women prepare the mushrooms for the men by moistening and softening them in their mouths and then by rolling them in their hands into sausage-shaped morsels. The men either chew these or swallow them whole. Usually three agarics are taken, one large and two small. Sometimes ten to twelve are eaten, but this could easily be a lethal dose.
Mushrooms are also added to soups, sauces, reindeer milk, or bogberry (similar to blueberry juice.
The Kamchadals prepare a wine by fermenting a mixture of amanita and bogberry juice.
The Aryans, as described in the Vedic hymns, gathered the mushrooms by the light of the full moon. The juices were then pounded out, filtered through a woolen cloth, mixed with water, milk, honey, or barleycorn infusion, and drunk during magical and religious rites.
The magical balance can be seen between muscimole and muscarine: although both are hallucinogens, they produce opposite effects on the body. One counters the effect of the other. One is a food for the spiritual body, the other a poison for the physical body.

Note of Caution: Although relatively small quantities of muscarine exist in A. muscaria, this is not true with other species, including A. pantherina, which is a white to yellow-white variety. Proper identification is extremely important.
The standard antidote for muscarine poisoning is atropine. If one of the more lethal amanitas (A. phalloidso or A. verna or A. verosa) has been ingested, there may be some chance of saving the victim’s life if
1. There is immediate medical attention
2. There is an immediate administration of antitoxin
3. There is a continuous intravenous administration of glucose to maintain the rapidly diminishing blood sugar level”

– This information comes from The Magical and Ritual Use of Herbs by Richard Alan Miller Copyright 1983, 1993, Destiny Books