The Day had arrived. The first lecture.
Juniper was fiddling with her outfit in front of the mirror, mumbling her lecture to herself. She had decided not to get fancy with her outfit. She was sticking to her trademark look, red boots, jeans, t-shirt. Easy. The t-shirt was white today in relation to the subject matter of today class. The first element. Air.
Juniper stopped to take herself in. Breathed and felt for UA.
I am here, Juniper. Are you ready?
I’m nervous, is what I am!
That’s completely natural.
That doesn’t help, UA!
Well then breathe for a bit. But don’t take too long or you’ll be wasting your hour of prep time with ANA.
Why is it that I’m always running to be on time?
There is no time, Juniper. But actually, you really should get moving.
Juniper took another breath, before gathering her notes in her satchel and heading out of the House of Keahak and towards her very first lecture.
She reached the Hallway of Lecture Halls, which she had learnt the previous night was simply referred to as The Way. It was the collective of lecture halls with similar abilities to ANA. Her brothers and sisters.
As she approached ANA she realised the hologram was already there and waiting.
“Good morning ANA”, Juniper said as she stepped up to greet the Lecture Hall, “I hope I’m not late.”
PERFECTLY ON TIME LECTURER JUNIPER TREE
ANA did her little bow, which Juniper returned. As they both straightened up, ANA continued,
RIGHT THEN. LET’S GO INSIDE AND GET STARTED
Juniper nodded. ANA turned and faded back into the doors, which then opened to allow Juniper entry.
She wasn’t entirely sure what she was expecting. Probably more like the default of the holodecks in Star Trek before receiving the command of which program to run.
This was not it. In front of her stretched a beautifully crafted auditorium similar to what Juniper would expect to see in the old universities of Earth. In the front of the room was a stage with a lectern and a table. Juniper climbed the stairs onto the stage and looked out at the tiered rows of seats stretching away from her.
“How many?” Juniper whispered, suddenly looking around for ANA, who was nowhere to be seen. “ANA?”
Juniper heard ANA’s voice coming at her, as if from the walls.
“ANA? Where are you?” Juniper was turning this way and that looking for the Indian girl, when her voice answered again, this time sounding a little closer, like it was coming from the lectern behind her.
I AM THE LECTURE HALL. I AM EVERYWHERE. YOU ARE STANDING ON ME.
Instinctively, Juniper found herself lifting her foot, before realizing she was acting demented and to get a grip on herself.
“Is there any way you could communicate with me, in my ear?”
The voice was still coming from the lectern, to which Juniper had walked and was now standing behind. On it she saw an earpiece, materialize out of thin air. Silence followed. It took Juniper a moment to realize that it wasn’t entirely silent but that ANA’s voice was now… off course… coming from the ear piece. She lifted it up from the lectern and fitted it to her right ear. The voice became instantly audible at the perfect volume.
IS THAT BETTER?
“HA! Yes, so much better!” Juniper exclaimed.
WITH THIS CLOSE A CONNECTION WE MIGHT EVEN BE ABLE TO COMMUNICATE TELEPATHICALLY. CARE TO TRY?
‘What an interesting thought’, Juniper thought. Before hearing in her ear.
YES INDEED A VERY INTERESTING THOUGHT. AND IT WORKED. I HEARD YOU PERFECTLY. SO YOU’LL BE ABLE TO GIVE ME INSTRUCTION WITH THOUGHT.
‘Handy’, Juniper thought as she walked out from behind the lectern, ‘You may remove the lectern and the table.’
The lectern and table disappeared. The stage now empty, Juniper turned to the seats stretching away in front of her.
‘Let’s see what you can do.’ Juniper proceeded to give ANA directions to the first scene of her lecture.
At the end of the rehearsal period, standing back on the stage Juniper marveled at what she had just experienced. “You are amazing ANA!” she said out loud.
The hologram of the Indian girl appeared next to Juniper on the stage and took a bow.
THIS COULD BE A SHOW STOPPER, JUNIPER TREE. I AM PLEASED I WAS ASSIGNED TO YOUR CLASS. I BELIEVE WE WILL CREATE SOMETHING NEW HERE.
Juniper smiled at that. It had been fun. “How long before they arrive?” she asked ANA.
THEY ARE HERE. THEY ARE WAITING TO BE CALLED TO CLASS. ARE YOU READY?
The Indian girl disappeared and left Juniper on the stage by herself. Is she? Well she’d better be, because it’s here.
‘Let’s get on with it’ she thought. ‘Ring the bell.’
A chair materialized behind the table next to the lectern.
YOU MAY WANT TO SIT FOR THIS THE FIRST TIME. IT CAN BE QUITE JARRING.
Juniper trusted ANA and took the seat offered and was glad she had.
What happened next was an experience she is unlikely to ever forget. The ‘pressure’ as 1500 Angelic Beings descended, seemingly through ANA’s ceiling, and dropped into amorphous bodies in each seat was immense and dizzying. Slowly each body started to take the shape of either a young male or female human.
As the energies settled and the dizziness faded, Juniper took in her class of angels. Now seated in their newly materialized bodies, they were all dressed in white overalls.
Juniper, off course, had wanted to dress each one individually, but ANA had warned that she should consider introducing the idea of individuality slowly. Juniper had instantly seen the wisdom in that, and acquiesced to the white overalls. They were also barefoot. Shoes, it appeared was another concept to introduce slowly to newly formed feet and toes.
Juniper breathed, then slowly stood up and moved behind the lectern.
All eyes were on her, no one was breathing. Juniper stifled a giggle, before beginning with,
“Let’s all take a good deep breath.”
Nothing happened. Juniper stepped out from behind the lectern and walked to the center of the stage. Using her arms to try and demonstrate the process of the first breath, Juniper took a deep breath, flinging her arms wide. “Like that!” she said.
The auditorium erupted in 1500 pairs of flailing arms. The angels were hitting each other in the face, with almost no reaction.
‘Right, this is going well,’ she thought, ‘Don’t panic!’ to which ANA responded in her ear. START YOUR LECTURE THEY’LL GET IT BY THE END
Juniper decided this was sound advice so launched into her prepared lecture:
“Every human experiences life through the elements. Humans have been philosophizing their importance since ancient times. In a Greek text called Kore Kosmou ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus he writes the following about the elements,” Juniper paused for effect before reciting the quotation she had been memorizing this morning.
“And Isis answer made: Of living things, my son, some are made friends with fire, and some with water, some with air, and some with earth, and some with two or three of these, and some with all. And, on the contrary, again some are made enemies of fire, and some of water, some of earth, and some of air, and some of two of them, and some of three, and some of all. For instance, son, the locust and all flies flee fire; the eagle and the hawk and all high-flying birds flee water; fish, air and earth; the snake avoids the open air. Whereas snakes and all creeping things love earth; all swimming things love water; winged things, air, of which they are the citizens; while those that fly still higher love the fire and have the habitat near it. Not that some of the animals as well do not love fire; for instance salamanders, for they even have their homes in it. It is because one or another of the elements doth form their bodies’ outer envelope. Each soul, accordingly, while it is in its body is weighted and constricted by these four.”
Another pause to check in on the faces of the Angels. Nothing, not so much as a flicker.
“Today, I will attempt to introduce you to the first element. Air.” Now, Juniper thought and ANA’s response was seamless.
The auditorium, with its stage and its rows of seats disappeared. Now the NEwbies were standing, barefoot on a beach, at the edge of an ocean.
It was the final minutes of night time. On the horizon you could just faintly start to make out a thin line of blue. The Lady of the Night was preparing to lift her skirts to make way for the Lord of the Day.
The night sky had many stars and no moon. The air was still and the temperature was dropping, as it does on Earth, just before the sun rises.
The NEwbies were clueless. You could see their on-loan bodies were reacting to the cold. Their skin breaking out in goosebumps, some were starting to shiver. But none were moving. They all stood dead still at attention. Shivering.
Juniper looked on, in amazement. Surely they’ll instinctively start moving, to warm up? She left them standing and realised that no; they would not. Some’s lips were turning blue.
‘Ok ANA better let the sun rise, so they can warm up,’ she thought.‘And cue the music let’s see if we can get a feeling out of these NEwbies.’
On cue, the sun peaked out from the horizon. All along the beach, NEwbies turned, one by one, to face the rising sun. After a few minutes, Juniper notices some starting to walk towards it, into the sea!
“Stop! Stay where you are please,” she exclaimed. NEwbies reluctantly stood back in line, the yearning from the feeling of the sun seemed to have them mesmerized.
The gentle tones of Bach’s Air on G String came as though on a wind from over the ocean, as the sun lazily rose up into the sky.
‘Now ANA. Begin.’
The air started to move. No longer still, a gentle breeze started up from inland, behind the NEwbies moving towards the ocean.
It was so gentle to begin with, none even became aware of it, so entranced were they, by the rising sun.
‘Ok, begin increasing’ Juniper instructed.
ANA responded by increasing the breeze to a gentle wind. Now it was flicking at the hair of the NEwbies, which was long, as per Juniper’s instruction. The flicking hair was getting some awareness from the NEwbies, but all still stood rooted facing the sun.
‘Right, let’s push it up some more.’
Gentle, went out the window, and the wind picked up to a knot-age which would get even the drunkest Pirate to lift his head up off the table, on which he was passed out. Now the hair was really moving, and was obstructing their sight enough to get their attention. Hands were instinctively going up to try and control the hair.
‘Just a tad more I think should do it.’
A big gust of wind came so suddenly it knocked some Angels forward, stumbling into the surf. But for most it did the trick. Juniper watched as, one by one, they turned to stand with their faces to the wind. Now finally experiencing air, hair was now appropriately flicked back and whipping up little storms.
‘ANA … the barest insinuation of some gravity…. And now…’
There was the tiniest flicker. Juniper searched the faces to see if any NEwbies noticed. Nothing yet. Ok, safe.
With the sun now fully out, and the wind blowing freely, the NEwbies were starting to enjoy the experience.
‘Right ANA, time to show them what air can do.’
The strong steady wind suddenly changed pace. As the speed picked up, Pirates everywhere scurried for their boots. You could see them running one boot on, one off, down the jetty to the ship whose sails were unfurling into the coming trade wind.
The NEwbies however were standing on a beach facing a sand dune. The sand was starting to roll towards them. At first it hit their white overalls, so they didn’t notice. But as the strength of the wind kept increasing the sand whipped up so much, it was now impeding sight again.
Juniper wondered if they’d remember … and sure enough, one by one, they started turning back around again to stand with their backs towards the onslaught of wind and sand.
‘Perfect. ANA another tiny bit of gravity…now.’
Another tiny flicker. Juniper watched the NEwbies for signs of awarenss of the gravity. Still nothing. Juniper took a deep breath.
‘Last stage ANA. Bring on the black wind.’
Juniper watched the NEwbies closely, not wanting to scare them too much during the first lecture, she hoped to pull them out of the experience if she saw any signs of panic.
ANA increased the speed of the wind slowly … at first. And then in a sudden spurt, the wind hit gale force. The NEwbies went down like a line of dominoes all along the beach. Juniper stifled a laugh at the sight of NEwbies rolling around on the beach, getting wet in the surf, desperately trying to set themselves aright.
There were no signs of panic, Juniper noted.
Soon, however, the instinct to hide from the onslaught of a gale force wind on a beach sent the NEwbies curling up into fetal positions, backs to the wind.
‘Fuck it’s actually working! ANA next phase please.’
In a flash the scene was gone. Juniper stood in the center of an imagined place, it was dark and all around her hung NEwbies. With the change of scene, Juniper had instructed a change of body ages as well. The NEwbies were now occupying the equivalent to newborn babies bodies, hanging suspended in the air around her.
Suddenly in the space in the center of the mass of babies, a scene appeared. A woman was giving birth. How ANA was doing this Juniper didn’t know, but from her perspective the soon-to-be mother was right there in the space with the floating babies.
The woman was screaming as she pushed new life from her body. As the baby was lifted out of the woman, the scene focused in on it. It wasn’t breathing.
The hands holding the baby seemed to notice at the same moment, gripped two feet in the left hand, held it upside down and smacked it on the bum. Old school.
This had the desired effect all over. The baby in the scene took its first breath with a gasp, followed by a scream that would have made Pavarotti proud.
In the lecture hall all around her the NEwbies followed suit. First gasping, taking their first real breath, followed by screaming.
‘Back to default please.’
Instantly the NEwbies were back in their seats in the auditorium. The screaming had stopped, thankfully, and now they were breathing.
Juniper did however notice that some were still struggling with the concept of breathing and were doing more of a kind of panting. Oh well, good enough, she thought.
“Right class, let’s try one more time. A good, deep breath.” Juniper was standing in the center of the stage, looking at all of the NEwbies now truly taking their first real breath.
“What you just experienced was the element of AIR. Without it there would be no life anywhere on planet Earth. It will be the first element you make contact with when you are born, and it will be last element you exhale when you die.
But it’s more than only a physical element. It is also an energy. One you will encounter many times in your lives on Earth. The Air element’s energy is about beginnings.
The experience I just took you through on the beach was a metaphor for what your human mother will go through.
The sun rising represents your conception.
The wind starting to blow, are the first signs of awareness that she might be pregnant.
To the moment when she can no longer ignore it, and turns into the wind. Now fully committed.
The wind increases all through the pregnancy. Right to the point when the energy is now so fierce you have to turn your back on it again. Your mother goes into labour!
When the energy becomes too much to even stand up, she, like you, will surrender, lay down on the ground as you did, and release you from her body to take your first breath of air.
Thank you for reading! The Writer runs on coffee …