The Reason for Death

A time after the Lady began Her yearly trip through the Seasons, sharing Her reign first with the Bright King, then the Dark King, She began to notice that when She returned to the Upper World, many of the things She loved had perished. She spent much time replenishing the Earth with new plants and animals. This work was joyous — as the creation of New Life is always joyous — but She puzzled over it.

She inquired of her Companion, the Bright King, but He had no knowledge of what was happening to those things that had perished. He slyly suggested that when next She traveled to the Dark Lands to rule with the Dark King, to ask Him — the Dark One and Rival to the Bright King — the question that haunted Her so. "Perhaps," said the Bright One, "It is some mischief that He, the Dark One, has gotten up to. Then you shall have an answer."

Thus, during Her next time with the Dark Lord, She inquired into the matter. He answered, saying, "Yes, 'tis I." Angered, She demanded to know why all the things She loved must wither and perish away at His command — for was not the growing and care of all things Her own right?

He told Her that Death was the rest and release for all things. That all things must wither and pass away for a time, to make room for new things — New Life. He explained that mortals and animals and plants, not being of the fine, high, spiritual stuff as Themselves, were unable to sustain the fullness of Life for a long while — that they grew weary and longed for peace.

She became anguished at the thought of the pains of her creations, and wished to know for Herself how they fared in their short lives. The Dark King bade her go into a mortal body for its normal span to learn of sorrow, pain, age, and the longing for release.

So She did go into the mortal body of a woman-seed in the womb of one of Her people. She was born in great travail, suffered all the pangs of growing up, and then She began to age. The mortal years passed through Her as days, and yet it was hard and wearisome. Pains beset her, her joints grew stiff, Her eyes dim, and Her mind uncertain. The many wisdoms She had gained, She spun as tales for little children sprawled by the hearth-fire on bitter Winter days. she knew that though they listened now, they would forget all She had told, and have to learn and re-learn it all in their own time. Sadness fell upon the Goddess.

At last, troubled greatly by Her body's infirmities, She begged the Lord's release from the body that encompassed her spirit. The Dark Lord, Ruler of Death, closed Her eyes with a gentle, loving hand, and lifted Her forth. Her bright, shining presence was once again strong and beautiful.

The Lady's tears fell golden to the ground, capturing an insect, a flower — and froze there, in the cold light of Her understanding. These tears are found by mortals even today, and prized as gems. Not all have forgotten the beauty of the meaning of those golden teardrops.

She turned to the Dark Lord, smiling. She said, "I knew not that I knew not, but You have shown Me that peace, and rest and renewal are the rewards Death gives at the end of a hard and treacherous life. How sad it is that these mortals know nothing of Our Glory, save at the end of physical existence." He replied, "Lady, it is Law; whatever You have brought into existence never truly ceases to exist, but merely is changed into something new."

She pondered long on this, and then turned to the Dark Lord and said, "Therefore, let Us give them the ecstasy of Love for one another, that they may touch upon this great beauty while on Earth. Let it be the hope that spurs them on, though life seems hard at times. And let them remember and love one another again, when they have returned to physical form." "So be it," said He.

The Lady gathered up Her frozen tears, and strung them together with pieces of jet, taken from the Dark Lord's Hall. this necklace was to remind Her always of the intervals of Life and Death of all things.

The Lord kissed her hand twice, and watched Her walk away to green the Earth once more, resplendent in Her new understanding of Life, Love and Death.

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